Monday, July 16, 2018

  • Monday, July 16, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

The Carter Center recently published a 128-page book called "Countering the Islamophobia Industry: Toward More Effective Strategies."

The title itself reeks of bias. While there are indeed plenty of anti-Muslim people and some groups in the US, it is hardly an "industry" that is endangering Muslims in America.

Jimmy Carter himself wrote the forward.

The most problematic article was written by Rabab Abdulhadi, the San Francisco State University professor who said that Zionists should not be welcomed on campus, and who bitterly complained when SFSU's president disagreed.

This was one of the people that the Carter Center chose as qualified to write about Islamophobia, and she did not disappoint.

Her abstract:

This policy paper reflects on the structural character and history of Islamophobia arguing that the Islamophobia industry corresponds to and overlaps with a powerful Israel lobby industry, a network of Zionist groups that is well-funded and politically well-connected. The goal of this Islamophobia/ Israel lobby industry is to utilize racism and fearmongering relying on their powerful funders and political connections to silence, intimidate and bully scholars, educators and advocates for justice in/for Palestine in McCarthyist-style attacks against dissenting voices.

Drawing on my scholarship in Arab, Muslim, and Palestine studies and critical race theory and my lived experience as Director and Senior Scholar of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies program at San Francisco State University,7 I offer here an anatomy of this industry, its connections and funding, as well as its goals. I do so to illustrate that this Israel lobby industry is not a grass-roots movement but rather a well-planned, well-connected, and powerful force that intentionally utilizes multiple forms in its racist and xenophobic arsenal to weaponize attacks against Muslims and Arabs, including Palestinians. I then focus on the Islamophobic, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian framing that grounds this industry and highlight in particular the gendered and sexualized Orientalist imagery enlisted by this industry to promote its agenda.
To say that the "Israel Lobby" (which she purposefully conflates with any pro-Israel organization) is inherently Islamophobic is scurrilous and false.

Abdulhadi also conflates anti-Palestinian speech with Islamophobia.

So throughout her essay she uses the phrase "Islamophobia/Israel lobby industries" dozens of times,  a classic method of propaganda where the reader automatically associates the two together no matter how tendentious her arguments. And her arguments are absurd, taking as a given that someone like Daniel Pipes is an Islamophobe (he is most certainly not, and I once went through dozens of "examples" of his supposed Islamophobia sent to me by a Muslim correspondent and showed that literally every one was taken out of context.)

She shows supposed links between people like Pipes and any pro-Israel organization to smear literally every Zionist organization in America, and to imply that these Islamophobes are highly connected in the government. This one paragraph shows how her entire "research" is to find tenuous connections that have nothing to do with any actual Islamophobic positions.

This structure of the industry also makes clear the overlapping network of Islamophobia and Israel lobby industries. This network is made up of a small number of individuals who sit on each other’s boards and rotate positions. For example, Daniel Pipes, named as a leading Islamophobe by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), sat on the board of Scholars of Middle East Peace. The co-founders of AMCHA also served on that board. Pipes was connected to the Clarion Project, on whose board Frank Gaffney served. Pipes acted as an intermediary, parsing out funding while receiving funds from eight of the 11 major donors cited by the IJAN Report. While the Islamophobia and Israel lobby industries cannot be classified as a grass-roots movement, the resources placed at these industries’ disposal makes their impact quite devastating in their campaigns to destroy careers and create a chilling effect among academics and campus advocates. In addition to their funding, the Islamophobia and Israel lobby industries are well connected politically to the highest echelons of the U.S. government. For example, Shelden [sic] Adelson is a major donor to the Israel lobby industry to the tune of $50 million and was the largest individual donor to the Donald Trump presidential campaign to the tune of $100 million. During the 2017 presidential inauguration, Adelson sat a few feet away from Donald Trump. Trump has appointed several supporters of Israeli settlements and right-wing government to his administration, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman; and his special representative to the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, Jason Greenblatt.
This is tin-foil hat level conspiracy theory, that should be enough by itself to cause SFSU to consider whether they want to employ someone with so little regard for actual research.

And she is only getting started. She accuses the liberal, politically correct New York Times of Islamophobia as well:

The coverage, including that of the New York Times, the main U.S. paper of record, of the execution-style murder of three Arab Muslim youths — Deah Barakat, a Syrian, and two Palestinian women, Yusor Abu Salha and Razan Abu Salha — in Chapel Hill, N.C., in February 2015, presented the killer, Craig Stephen Hicks, as a forward-thinking man who supported abortion rights and as an advocate of gay and women’s liberation. The implicit subtext was that of a renaissance man who could not be perceived as a white supremacist killer. Combined with the news reporting that the killing was a result of a parking dispute, the media message directs readers toward empathy with Hicks and away from seeing him as an Islamophobic killer or from understanding Islamophobia as a structural societal context that allows such crimes to occur.
The New York Times article did no such thing. It quoted his wife about his support for liberal causes, and it quoted Muslims about how he was a cold blooded bigot. It also quoted the police as saying that it appeared to be a parking dispute. Perhaps new facts were uncovered after that article, but at the time there was nothing wrong in its coverage - yet the Carter Center is happy publishing that the New York Times is Islamophobic, when not one NYT editor would ever consider publishing anything close to that.

As mentioned, this is only the most egregious example of poor scholarship in this publication. But it shows how little The Carter Center, and by extension Jimmy Carter, cares about truth or fairness.

(h/t Mitchell)

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