Important study shows that a small network is fostering widespread hatred of Islam inside US politics and public opinion
(Mondoweiss) -- by Philip Weiss --
On Friday, the Center for American Progress published an important and excellent study, called Fear, Inc: The roots of the Islamophobia network in the US. The study shows that the wave of Islamophobia in the U.S. --Americans mistrust Muslims more than they did even after 9/11-- is the product of a few energized individuals. And they're polluting our political discourse.
Specifically, it's a handful of exponents of Islamophobia, among them Daniel Pipes, Sharia-law "expert" David Yerushalmi (whom the NYT profiled in more neutral terms a couple weeks back), David Horowitz, and Steve Emerson, the CNN expert turned wingnut.
And the Center shows that they are getting money from just a few sources, but a ton of money at that. In short, a conspiracy, and an important one. You can't call it a conspiracy these days, it's a "network," or as Steve Walt says below, a "collaboration."
I'll get to excerpts of the report below, but the report recapitulates the history of neoconservatism. Recall that the Iraq war crusade was implanted into the American discourse in the '90s by the decided and earnest effort of a few true believers, backed by tons of money, who had a crazed theory of importing democracy to the Middle East by gunpoint, everywhere but in Israel/Palestine. And those beliefs soon swept the mainstream.
I'm hopeful that Islamophobia won't be so successful, and partly because the Center for American Progress has risen against it.
The report is careful to sidestep the Israel-motivation angle of the Islamophobes. I think this is intellectually irresponsible, but inevitable. No one in the Establishment wants to touch this angle. They don't want to be sounding like Walt and Mearsheimer, the Israel lobby. And of course, it's good that a portion of the Establishment is denouncing the ultra-Zionists. But supporting Israel is certainly an important part of the motivation, as I pointed out about Yerushalmi a few weeks back-- the Jewish right to Palestine is at the heart of his engagement, he even changed his name to Jerusalem. And donor Aubrey Chernick, whom the report focuses on -- well, again, Israel support is at the heart of his public actions.
Here are two quick takes on the report. Steve Walt at Foreign Policy:
The irony in all this that the extremists examined in this report have gone to great lengths to convince Americans that there is a vast Islamic conspiracy to subvert American democracy, impose sharia law, and destroy the American way of life. Instead, what we are really facing is a well-funded right-wing collaboration to scare the American people with a bogeyman of their own creation, largely to justify more ill-advised policies in the Middle East.And Ed Lasky at American Thinker points out the Jewishness of the list, though he leaves out the fact that George Soros is also Jewish:
The Soros-supported Center for American Progress blames rich Jews for stoking Islamophobia......MORE...LINK
The Obama-allied Center for American Progress has released a report that blames Islamophobia in America on a small group of Jews and Israel supporters in America, whose views are being backed by millions of dollars. This "network", according to the news release, have "have worked hard to push narratives that Obama might be a Muslim, that mosques are incubators of radicalization, and that "radical Islam" has infiltrated all aspects of American society -- including the conservative movement. Who are the figures mentioned as the promoters of prejudice? Most of them are prominent Jews and supporters of Israel, such as David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes and Steven Emerson (the founder of the Investigative Project on Terrorism). The eight foundations mentioned as funding this effort include are almost exclusively ones founded and funded by Jewish donors, and lest readers not be aware of this fact, the Center for American Progress lists not only the other beneficiaries of the charities and foundations (most of them having Jewish or Israel in the title) but also goes to the trouble of naming the individuals behind these charities -- not just the donors but also those who serve on the boards.