By Karin Friedemann, World View News Service and Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
Many celebrated the construction of New Englandâ€™s largest mosque as proof of â€œthe Muslim community coming into its own.â€ Yet not everyone celebrated. In 2004, the City of Boston was sued for selling the land to Muslims. Racist commentators whipped up public hysteria against the mosque.
â€œMuslims are very upset,â€ said Mushtaque Mirza, who has lived in Boston for 30 years. â€œThe mosque is always depicted as [supporting] terrorism.â€
The lawsuit against the City was dismissed in 2007, but irreparable damage had already been done. Donations slowed to a trickle, the mosque only half built.
When in 2005, mosque directors Dr. Yousef Abou Allaban and Ossama Kandil sued Fox News and the Boston Herald for defamation, analysis of discovery materials exposed a professionally coordinated network of pro-Israel organizations, mass media, Islamophobic academics, and real estate developers. The directors accused a growing list of defendants, including Steven Emerson, the David Project, and Citizens for Peace and Tolerance (CPT), whose president is Dennis Hale, of â€œa concerted, well-coordinated effort to deprive … members of the Boston Muslim community of their basic right of free association and the free exercise of their religion.â€
The Jewish community
Some Jewish groups kindly distanced themselves from this conspiracy to deprive Muslim Americans of their constitutional rights, which is a federal crime, but Nancy Kaufman, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston, whose stated mission includes minimizing the political influence of groups feared hostile to Israel, stated, â€œNone of those organizations [who signed statements supporting the mosque] are members of the organizations of the JCRC.
We donâ€™t consider them to be a part of the mainstream Jewish community.â€
Who is Charles Jacobs?
In 2006, Dr. Yousef Abou-Allaban, chairman of the board of the Islamic Society of Boston, addressed Charles Jacobs, president of the David Project, in an open letter that was quoted in the Boston Globe.
â€œWe would like to know why you and others at the David Project appear to be so intent on inflaming relations between our communities,â€ Abou-Allaban wrote. â€œDo you really hate us that much?â€
Charles Jacobs, like Charles Krauthammer and Richard Perle, earns his living through a speakersâ€™ bureau called Benador Associates, which specializes in pro-Israel campus events focusing on Islam and terrorism. Fareeha Iqbal, a student at MIT, attended one of his lectures.
â€œDr. Jacobsâ€™ talk expressed blatantly racist and anti-Islamic views. In fact, I have never seen Islamophobia exuded so blatantly at a public forum at MIT, nor such racist views aired at a panel discussion on human rights.â€
A pioneer in the technological aspects of mass-marketing hate, CAMERA, which Jacobs co-founded in 1982 to enforce pro-Israel bias in the news, email blasts tailored â€œaction alertsâ€ to huge databases of specific target groups.
This Polish immigrant, armed with only a BA from Rutgers and a Masters in Education from Harvard has proven exceptionally effective in manipulating the US government and major American institutions into following policy blueprints created by his Israel advocacy organization, the David Project.
The David Project
The David Project is an affiliate member of the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC), a network of national Jewish organizations, founded in partnership with the Jewish student organization Hillel and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. (The three organizations share a building in Washington.) It is essentially an Islamophobia franchisor complete with manuals and training videos.
In October 2003, the David Project funded a film, produced by Ralph Avi Goldwasser, to slander professors Rashid Khalidi, Joseph Massad, Hamid Dabashi, and Georges Saliba of Columbia Universityâ€™s Department of Middle East studies. Joseph Massad became known as one of the most dangerous intellectuals on campus. Calls for the professorâ€™s dismissal were issued by Congressman Weiner and by the editors of the Daily News and the New York Sun, and the propaganda film was shown in Israel before a government minister at an anti-Semitism conference.
The David Project regularly places racist anti-Arab and anti-Muslim speakers on Harvard campus, but its first major accomplishment was blocking a $2 million donation from the late president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, for a chair in Islamic Studies at the Harvard Divinity School. The Projectâ€™s 2003 smear campaign, coordinated with the ADL, sought to exclude Arabs and Muslims from developments at Harvard University.
Charles Jacobs smeared Shaykh Zaidâ€™s donation to Harvard.
Jacobsâ€™ pro-Israel advocacy organization spearheaded the campaign to vilify the Islamic Republic of Sudan, and provided huge quantities of lurid, both popular and pseudo-academic material, in which Sudan is described as a â€œterrorist, genocidalâ€ state engaged in a â€œholy war.â€ Charles Jacobsâ€™ carefully designed â€œPR puff piecesâ€ about â€œslaveryâ€ in Sudan have managed to secure national media coverage.
While pro-Palestine activists have long struggled to halt public funding of Israel, the dishonest â€œSave Darfur!â€ campaign, put together by DP friends and trainees, is the quickest divestment success in history. Sudan divestment resolutions have become law in Iowa and are in the process of approval in 12 states. The JCRC coordinating with the David Project has further poisoned human rights discourse with this effort to turn Arab and African Americans against each other.
ISB Settles Lawsuit
The furor over the Roxbury mosque has exposed the ways Israel advocacy groups pollute discourse on US foreign and domestic policy, which have until now remained mostly invisible to American political scientists.
Two lawyers that were originally helping the David Project, Jonathon Leffel and Jacob Feinberg, apparently had a change of heart and handed over to the Islamic Society of Boston damning evidence against the David Project.
The ISB had always made clear that they would settle if the David Project stopped challenging their right to build the mosque. On May 29, 2007 the David Project offered to withdraw Policastroâ€™s appeal, and on May 30, 2007, the Muslim American Society announced that Kandil and Abou Allaban agreed to dismiss their defamation lawsuits.
Every time Jacobs, Kaufman, or Goldwasser look out of the top floor window of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies in downtown Boston, they will see the dome and minaret despite their best efforts to prevent its completion.
Karin Friedemann is a Muslim Media News Service (MMNS) reporter and editor of World View News Service in Boston, focusing on the Islamic world. Please visit http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/wvns/.