Anwar Khan “has been doing outreach to the Jewish community on behalf of the Muslim community for decades,” stated former American Jewish Committee (AJC) official Robert Silverman at Washington, DC’s Newseum on December 3. His praise for Khan, the director of the Hamas ally Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), typified the unsettling leftist Jewish ignorance of jihadist threats at this launch event for the Inter Jewish Muslim Alliance (IJMA).
Silverman addressed an audience that ultimately grew during the daylong conference to about 50. This included his fellow IJMA organizer, Microsoft External Affairs Director Suhail Khan, a “conservative” political operative with deep, longstanding personal Muslim Brotherhood (MB) ties. Other faces familiar to this author included the Gülenist Rumi Forum’s public relations director, Jena Luedtke, and the Iraqi-American co-founder of the American Islamic Congress, Zainab al-Suwaij.
Silverman’s association with the dubious Khan replicated Silverman’s experience as the first director of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, previously rightly mocked as the “Wolf-Sheep Advisory Council.” Therein the left-leaning American Jewish Committee (AJC) had joined with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a nefarious MB-legacy organization, supposedly to combat hate crimes and other manifestations of bigotry. An IJMA statement distributed among the conference handouts and now available at IJMA’s new website proclaimed that IJMA members wanted, “as a Muslim-Jewish alliance, to counter voices of hatred and bigotry within our own communities.”
Yet the day’s proceedings demonstrated a decidedly one-sided view of prejudice among Jews and Muslims, as indicated by the seminar’s first presentation by Elana Hain from the Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI) of North America. “Antisemitism is converging on Jews from both the right and the left,” she correctly noted, but while “everybody in this room knows about antisemitism on the right,” leftist antisemitism “is much harder to talk about.” Today “what we are seeing on the progressive left is a type of conversionist antisemitism that says, ‘Jew, we will accept you if you disavow your commitment to the state of Israel.’” She noted particularly that “my spouse works on a college campus, and I have seen how Jewish students are increasingly unwelcome in progressive spaces.”
However true, Hain’s remarks surprisingly contained not a single reference to antisemitism involving Muslims or Islam. Excerpts from three publications (see here, here, and here) in her handout included several dubious allegations of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy and administration inciting antisemitism. By contrast, “Muslims” appeared only once in a Tablet article’s reference to hate crimes, even though the American Interest article she quoted briefly discussed “Islamic antisemitism” in an uncited paragraph. Meanwhile, internet searches of the Tablet for “Islamic antisemitism” find numerous articles (e.g. here).
Hain’s blind spot seemed particularly disturbing given the annual conference in Chicago of the viciously anti-Semitic American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) just days before (November 28-30). The conference featured inflammatory condemnations of Israel’s right to exist from prominent American Muslims. This included former Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad, and CAIR San Francisco chapter leader Zahra Billoo.
This author accordingly presented to Hain an audience question noting the AMP conference and that AJC CEO David Harris has previously called for “trifocal lenses” to confront antisemitism from the “far left, the far right, and the jihadists.” She responded that she was “including in progressive antisemitism” the “antisemitism that comes from the Muslim community around Israel.” She added that she had not devoted particular study to Islamic antisemitism and suggested that Muslim conference attendees might be better qualified to discuss this topic.
Just as Hain only circuitously referenced Islamic antisemitism, she similarly indulged questionable tropes commonplace among many Muslims. For example, without any indication of whether Jews or others had any valid objections to Islamic beliefs and/or behaviors she used the Orwellian phrase “Islamophobia.” Conflicts between Israel and Palestinians should not “lead to antisemitism or ‘Islamophobia,’” she said, as if irrational Jew-hatred were the same as critical inquiry into Islam.
Audience member Imam Abdullah Antepli, a leader of SHI’s Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI), reflected Hain’s remarks with questions about “Islamophobic elements within the Jewish community.” “Within this organized anti-Muslim campaign in the United States, there are so many visible Jews,” he stated. Jews have a “fear of losing the state of Israel” and “when many Jews meet Muslims, that fear is all that they see,” she responded while again not explaining why such perceptions are meritless (consider Israel, Muslims, and Britain’s Labour Party).
Hain also equated Jewish national liberation in Israel with baseless claims that “Palestinians” represent a unique, historical nation and not merely a local collection of Levantine Arab communities. The statement “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people” is equally false as “Jews don’t have a history in that region” of Israel, she said. This is “mutual denial of peoples’ actual historical experiences,” notwithstanding numerous modern “Palestinian” fictions.
A veiled female Muslim audience member from the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, a group obsessed with all real and imagined “white supremacy,” prompted more historical revisionism from Hain. The Muslim claimed that historically the term “antisemitism” encompassed prejudice against both Jews and Muslims, and Hain suggested that antisemitism could include both “Judeophobia” and “Islamophobia.” In reality, the German publicist Wilhelm Marr invented the word “antisemitism” in 1879 in order to impart a scientific veneer to his rabid Jew-hatred.
The appeasing Hain, who called the leftist American rabbi Jill Jacobs a “colleague and a friend,” paralleled the reaction to Islamic antisemitism of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an IJMA sponsor. As Islamic antisemitism scholar Andrew Bostom has documented, ADL global surveys of antisemitism in recent years have identified Muslims as world leaders in prejudice against Jews. Yet the ADL has minimized such facts.
While Hain acted conciliatory towards Muslims, they often show little reciprocity, as a following article will analyze. Conference speakers after her like the radical “Islamophobia” expert Wajahat Ali were far more direct in their accusations of bigotry against various Jews while exhibiting little interest in the anti-Semitic milieus of conference participants like ISNA members.
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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. The views are those solely of the author.