" />

Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

The Man Pulling the Anti-Sharia Strings

Print Friendly

In the evolving race for the GOP presidential nomination, the Islamophobic right has been given no short thrift. The state-by-state nominating process has generally allowed certain candidates to craft a national campaign out of a patchwork of anti-Islamic messages delivered to mostly local audiences.

 

Much of the groundwork for this campaign was laid by one group working to promote so-called “anti-Sharia” legislation in various state capitals.

 

Ever since the public outcry over the construction of the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” in Manhattan, state legislatures across the United States have debated a flurry of “anti-Sharia” measures designed to restrict the implementation of Islamic and other “international” laws in U.S. courts. While the movement has been aptly described by the American Civil Liberties Union as a “solution in search of a problem” and by the Anti-Defamation League as “the stuff of pure paranoia,” it has nonetheless enjoyed, according to the New York Times, an “air of grass-roots spontaneity” that “shrouds its more deliberate origins.”

 

“In fact,” continues the Times, “it is the product of an orchestrated drive that began five years ago in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in the office of a little-known lawyer, David Yerushalmi, a 56-year-old Hasidic Jew with a history of controversial statements about race, immigration, and Islam.”

 

The lengthy Times profile details how, with funding from right-wing outfits like Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy (where Yerushalmi serves as general counsel), Yerushalmi has made a career out of authoring scurrilous reports hyping the use of Sharia law in U.S. courts and crafting model legislation to curb it. Through Yerushalmi’s association with Gaffney, his work has reached a broad network of Islamophobic activists, including GOP presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich and former CIA director R. James Woolsey, as well as bloggers like Pamela Geller, who led the anti-“Ground Zero mosque” charge in early 2011.

 

Yerushalmi is the founder of the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), which serves as his primary anti-Sharia vehicle. Think Progress has noted that, while Yerushalmi has claimed curiously to have “never written anything that calls for discrimination against Muslims,” SANE’s website calls explicitly for 20-year prison penalties for those who “support the adherence to Islam,” a declaration of war by the U.S. Congress against “the Muslim Nation or Umma,” the expulsion of all non-citizen Muslims in the United States, and the denial of visas to all Muslims wishing to visit the United States.

 

The Times profile notes that when Yerushalmi and Gaffney were unable to get much traction for their anti-Sharia platform with the federal government, they shifted their efforts to state governments, where provincial attitudes toward Muslims and foreigners were more easily exploitable. So far, at least three state legislatures have passed laws inspired by Yerushalmi’s “American Laws for American Courts” template, and voters in Oklahoma approved a like-minded resolution last November, though this has been temporarily blocked pending a court challenge. Similar legislation has been considered in several other states.

 

With a relative dearth of examples documenting the actual triumph of Sharia law over constitutional law in even domestic relations or commercial courts in the United States—to say nothing of the utter lack of  “pro-Sharia” organizing by Islamic groups—such efforts amount, at best, to a waste of time. At their worst, especially given Yerushalmi’s body of racialist scholarship and Gaffney’s lengthy neoconservative track record, they represent an effort by Islamophobes to keep American Muslims at the margins of society and to build support for a militaristic, anti-Islamic foreign policy.

 

—Peter Certo

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Donald Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul and presidential-elect of the United States, is known for his racist and reactionary rhetoric, in addition to his ignorance about nuclear weapons strategy, Middle East conflicts, and the value of allies.


James “Mad Dog” Mattis is a retired U.S Marine Corps general and combat veteran who served as commander of U.S. Central Command during 2010-2013 before being removed by the Obama administration reportedly because of differences over Iran policy.


Mike Pompeo (R-KS) is a conservative Republican congressman who was voted into office as part of the “tea party” surge in 2011 and nominated by Donald Trump to be director of the CIA.


Ideas in Action was a rightist TV program co-produced by the George W. Bush Institute and Grace Creek Media that often featured prominent neoconservatives opining on U.S. domestic and foreign policy.


The now-defunct internet magazine Tech Central Station served as a platform for advocates of militarist U.S. foreign policies.


Once described as the “heart and soul of the military-industrial complex,” the American Security Council was an influential old-guard conservative group during the early Cold War that continues to press a conservative U.S. foreign policy vision.


An academic center of the American conservative movement, the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs has been a vigorous defender of the war on terrorism and an unequivocal supporter for Israel.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Print Friendly

Two eminent foreign policy analysts, historian Andrew Bacevich of Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies and political scientist John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, discuss fundamental problems with American foreign policy and the Obama legacy, particularly with respect to Israel-Palestine.


Print Friendly

Not only is Monica Crowley, Donald Trump’s pick to head communications for the National Security Council, the subject of a wide-ranging plagiarism scandal, she pushed fringe conspiracy theories about “Islamist infiltration in the U.S.”


Print Friendly

From a territorial perspective the Security Council resolution 2334, stating that Israel′s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law, represents an escalation in the way the international community relates to Israel’s borders and its settlements in the West Bank.


Print Friendly

On Oct. 27, 2016, the UN adopted a resolution to launch negotiations in 2017 on a treaty outlawing nuclear weapon. Two weeks later the US elected Donald Trump, who subsequently argued that the US must “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.”


Print Friendly

As Trump supporters gear up for a fight to weaken or destroy the Iran nuclear deal, a new poll has found that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. public opposes withdrawing from the agreement.


Print Friendly

For all of its faults, the Obama administration was acutely aware of the limits to the use of American military force, whether it was struggling with terrorist organizations or contemplating the impact the use of force would have on achieving U.S. national security objectives.


Print Friendly

A senior Israeli government minister has announced that he will introduce legislation to effectively annex Israel’s third-largest settlement, part of a plan to incrementally annex parts of the West Bank .


RightWeb
share