Elly Bulkin

How Pro-Israel Forces Drove Two Virulent Anti-Muslim Campaigns

In the years since the 9/11 attacks, attempts to open a mosque, a Muslim cultural center, or an Arabic-themed public school have resulted in full-fledged, sometimes well-coordinated, Islamophobic campaigns that have lasted months or even years and have struck at Muslim and Arab communities in different parts of the country. Some of these anti-Muslim campaigns make it into the national news, but many do not. Yet all have national significance, because they involve attempts by mainstream groups and anti-Islam ideologues to dehumanize and demonize Muslims, portray them as a threat to the country, and undercut their basic civil, religious, and human rights.

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How the Anti-Defamation League Fuels Islamophobia

The Anti-Defamation League bills itself, and is typically seen by many in the mainstream Jewish community and beyond, as the "nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency.”[1] In fact, the ADL’s conduct over the years is at odds with this one-dimensional view of the group as a long-time champion of civil liberties. The ADL mission statement, for instance, describes it as a group that “fights all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all."[2] Yet, a record going back decades shows something very different, including a shift “from civil rights monitoring to espionage and intelligence gathering.”[3] Mistrust of the ADL among those concerned about civil and human rights has deep roots.

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How the Jewish Establishment's Litmus Test on Israel Fuels Anti-Muslim Bigotry

One of the ways Islamophobia is perpetuated is through dividing Muslims into two categories—“good Muslims” and “bad Muslims.” Islamophobic assumptions are at the core of the “good Muslim-bad Muslim” paradigm. Mahmood Mamdani, who introduced this concept in his book, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: American, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror, explains that it rests on the notion that, in a post-9/11 world, “unless proved to be ‘good,’ every Muslim [is] presumed to be ‘bad.’ All Muslims [are] now under an obligation to prove their credentials by joining in a war against ‘bad Muslims.’” 

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