Norman Finkelstein coined the phrase the “Holocaust industry” in his book of the same name, to describe the nexus of Jewish groups, lawyers, politicians, and communal leaders who enrich their power and pocketbook by trumpeting the anti-Semitism threat and causing anxiety and paranoia among world Jewry as a result. As a result of Finkelstein’s acute analysis, he’s earned outrage and scorn from those in the Jewish community who he has skewered.
For the past decade or more, since the 1990s demise of the Communist “menace” and its accompanying gravy train, neocons have turned to terror as their new bogeyman. A new Terror Industry has sprung up and it is populated with the usual retired generals (William Boykin), former government officials (Bolton, Gaffney), corporate opportunists (Aubrey Chernick), ideologues and intellectual heavy-lifters (Pipes, Horowitz, Podhoretz, Peretz, Kristol). Just as the Jefferson’s tree of liberty needed to be fed with the blood of tyrants, so the Terror apparatus needs to be fed with new political fodder.
Such is the effort led by Jewish pro-Israel neocons to turn anti-jihadism into the Terror Industry’s new mantra.
There at the creation was Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy. You’ll recall that Gaffney was a middle-ranking member of Ronald Reagans’ Defense Department. As early as 1990, Christopher Hitchens, before he became a parody of himself, wrote in his book, How Neo-Conservatives Perish, about Gaffney’s prescience in grasping at the need for a new source of political power to replace the decline of Communism. Since then, he’s become one of the go-to guys for all things hawkish, neocon and pro-Israel among policy wonks.
Today, Matt Duss wrote about a report on alleged American Muslim terror threats which was, I’m embarrassed to say, actually endorsed by three members of Congress. Among them were Her Looniness Michelle Bachman and Peter Hoekstra, former chair of the House Intelligence Committee. If you want a sense of what the national security agenda of a new Republican House majority would be read the report, Sharia: The Threat To America.
According to it, the new Muslim bogeyman is Shariah, about which the authors in their Times op-ed say:
Shariah is the crucial fault line of Islam’s internecine struggle. On one side of the divide are Muslim reformers and authentic moderates…
The other side of the divide is dominated by “Islamists,” who are Muslim supremacists. Like erstwhile proponents of communism and Nazism, these supremacists – some terrorists, others employing stealthier means – seek to impose a global theocratic and authoritarian regime, called a caliphate. On this side of the divide, Shariah is a compulsory system that Muslims are obliged to wage jihad to install and to which the rest of the world is required to submit.
For these ideologues, Shariah is not a private matter. They see the West as an infidel enemy to be conquered, not a culture and civilization to be embraced or at least tolerated. It is impossible, they maintain, for alternative legal systems and forms of government like ours to coexist peacefully with the end-state they seek.
…we need to come to grips with Shariah. Whether pursued through violent jihad or the stealthier techniques the Brotherhood calls “civilization jihad” or dawa (the call to Islam), Shariah rejects fundamental premises of constitutional governance and American society…
Here’s the money quote:
Shariah adherents – including a network of Muslim Brotherhood-connected organizations operating in the United States – are seriously pursuing civilization jihad in this country. Their agenda is about power, not faith…
…The endgame of Islamist ideology is the same whether pursued by terrorists or nonviolent activists: to extort American society into Sharia compliance.
The Sharia Report was sponsored by Gaffney’s CSP, and written by three former Cold Warriors turned anti-jihadis, among them James Woolsey and the National Review’s Andrew McCarthy. In the Washington Times where he celebrated the release of the report he had the temerity to say that among the Muslims Pres. Obama invites to the White House for Iftar dinners might be members of Al Qaeda. He’s also notorious for claiming that Pres. Obama “might” still be a Muslim. He also claims that the current administration has “communicated submission” to America’s enemies.
Duss in his post, has identified an old familiar Jewish extremist face peeking out of the CSP woodwork, its general counsel, David Yerushalmi (ne Beychok). When last seen in this blog, he had been banished by, of all people, Daniel Pipes for embarrassing the group, Stop the Madrassa (where he also was general counsel), with his ultra-extremist beliefs. That group was the catalyst for the anti-Muslim backlash that led New York’s mayor and schools chancellor to demand the resignation of Debbie Almontaser, the founding principal of the Muslim charter school, the Khalil Gibran Academy. She has successfully sued the city under an EEOC suit.
Though trained as a lawyer, Yerushalmi earns his living from the Terror Industry and its new anti-jihadi adjunct. He has reportedly become Frank Gaffney’s “rabbi” when it comes to the study of Islamism and jihadism. But where has Yerushalmi learned about Islam? Does he have a graduate degree, even from as slanted a source as Bernard Lewis? No. Did he study Islam with any noted scholars (even non-Muslim)? Doubtful. What Yerushalmi has are some half-baked notions he’s either read in a book or developed out of his own paranoiac imagination about the Muslim menace.
Among Yerushalmi’s more wacky views: American Muslims should be confined to concentration camps for the threat they pose of overthrowing the government. This is a quotation from his website:
The Congress of the United States of America shall declare the US at war with the Muslim Nation.
He and his anti-jihadi Gauleiter, Dave Gaubatz, orchestrated a “sting” against D.C. area local mosques by posing as worshippers and seeking to “out” the imams for their alleged support of jihad and terror. You’ll recall this is the same Gaubatz whose son posed as an intern while working at CAIR and stole internal organizational documents which dad was hoping would prove CAIR’s commitment to a Sharia overthrow of the U.S. government. Daddy G. just accepted a legal ruling that he must return the documents which his son had stolen.
Returning to the other Dave (Yerushalmi), giving the vote to African-Americans was a foolish idea. He calls this “raw” or “liberal democracy” and he’s agin’ it. Doesn’t think much of Abe Lincoln, either. Says the Founding Fathers opposed democracy as well. He may be one of the few Jewish white supremacists around. He calls Bill O’Reilly a “secular progressive” and of Sean Hannity, he says he ”participates in the destruction of America’s national existence.”
He’s apparently learned a lesson or two about keeping his outlandish views under wraps because his website, SANEWorks (Society of Americans for National Existence), used to be publicly accessible and now is only available to those who pony up the $2,000 subscription fee.
At the press conference which featured the announcement of report, Matt questioned Gaffney about the origin of the notions of Islam found in it. The former secured a damaging admission from the anti-jihadi wonk:
Noting some of the report’s broad and controversial claims about Islamic law, such as that all Muslims are duty-bound to wage jihad against unbelievers, I asked Gaffney how many actual Muslims or Islamic scholars he and his group had consulted with in writing the report. He could not name any, though he noted that he had consulted with various Muslims “over the years.”
So there you have it. A report on the threat posed by Islamic law to the United States, one of whose leaders admits to having started studying Islam only three years ago, whose authors admit consulting with no actual Muslims, produced by a think tank that has previously claimed that key members of the Obama administration are part of the Iran Lobby.
In short, this is all nonsense. But it is very dangerous nonsense. It is nonsense that could easily lead us into war with Iran. And that would be for starters. These ghoulish hatemongers propose a holy war against 1.4-billion people. They would have our country in a perpetual state of conflict, a latter-day anti-Muslim Sparta. As for me, I prefer to be Athens any day.
We must say no to the Terror Industry and their anti-Muslim ideologues. If they are ascendant in the national political debate, it means the destruction of everything many of us hold dear about this country. And we’ll say Dick Cheney was a piker by comparison.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.