Former Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann, has declared a crusade against American Muslims in public life with her attacks on State Department aide, Huma Abedin and now, fellow Rep. Keith Ellison. She accused Ellison, without any proof whatsoever, of having longstanding ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. It appears that the Minnesota House member’s major sin was questioning letters Bachmann sent the four federal inspectors general asking that they investigate Abedin’s own ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Quite sensibly, Ellison asked Bachmann to produce any evidence that she had to support her contention.
Most of this lunacy was originally hatched in the brain of anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney, whose Center for Security Policy employs David Yerushalmi to write anti-Sharia legislation that is popular in many state legislatures. Several years ago Gaffney tried to pull this crap on Grover Norquist, who is married to an Arab woman who is also a government official. He accused Norquist of being part of a sinister Muslim Brotherhood plot to infiltrate the U.S. government. If this sounds like Joe McCarthy and the old John Birch Society smears regarding Communist infiltration of American government, it should. There’s almost no difference between these two hysteria-inducing movements.
Gaffney’s CSP finds willing donors in the Scaife Foundations and Nina Rosenwald’s Gatestone Foundation, the latter’s support documented by Max Blumenthal. Gaffney was ridden out of the conservative Republican right on a rail for his smears of Norquist. Similarly, John McCain, who’s suddenly developed a conscience and principles since his failed presidential run, has come to Abedin’s aid and denounced Bachmann for her anti-Muslim jihad. Even the ADL and John Boehner have joined in roasting her. Neither one is particularly known for coming to the defense of American Muslims, and I’m sure both wish she would just go away, since she distracts from their respective political agendas.
Bachmann seems to have a strange idea of how Congressional investigations work. She believe all she has to do is snap her fingers and demand that the investigators produce evidence for her claims. When the way these things traditionally go is YOU dig up the evidence yourself and then convince officials of the veracity of your charges. Glen Beck may serve as a willing conduit for this lunacy, but an inspector general and the sane members of the American public are a different thing entirely. Considering she sits on the House Intelligence Commmittee, you’d think she’d be able to cook up a more convincing set of claims than the ones she’s advanced. But doesn’t it scare you a bit that she’s overseeing our intelligence agencies?
It seems clear that with Michele Bachmann we now have a Pam Geller clone sitting in the halls of Congress. They each seem as certifiably loony and support the same outrageous Muslim-hating causes. A column by the NY Times’ Frank Bruni reminded me that while Bachmann’s devout evangelical faith is well known, her Christianity seems less devoted to love than hate. This insight immediately called to mind the radical Israeli setttler movement, whose political extremism is fueled by deep hatred of Arabs and Islam. The irony here is that there is little difference in affect between the hate and violence of the Jewish settler extremists and the rhetorical violence of Bachmann. They are ideological and theological birds of a feather.
In fact, she was a keynoter at this year’s Christians United for Israel’s Night to Honor Israel. which took place recently in Washington DC. She joined Bibi Netanyahu, who spoke via satellite. Michael Oren was scheduled to attend, but remained in Israel for Hillary Clinton’s visit there. Sen. Joe Lieberman was also in attendance.
Join 20,000 others who’ve signed a petition asking Rep. John Boehner to remove Bachmann from the House Intelligence Committee.
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.