For my job, I've been looking into the anti-Sharia laws advancing in several states, and I discovered that many trace back to a single man, an attorney named David Yerushalmi. Have you heard of this guy? I hadn't until a few days ago. He's a virulent Islamophobe with strong ties to the GOP establishment. He's also, get this, a Jewish white supremacist.
The push for anti-Sharia law is part of a broader anti-Islam movement that threatens the rights and safety of Muslim-Americans. It has also implications for national security and world affairs because fear of the "Muslim-menace" taints American foreign policy.
Mother Jones has a map on the anti-Sharia law effort. Seventeen states have considered or are considering anti-Sharia laws, and two states, Tennessee and Louisiana, have passed them. Cause we all know the Bible Belt's in danger of becoming the Caliphate: this, of course, is about bigotry, as the driving force behind the movement makes clear.
On the so-called Global War on Terrorism, GWOT, we have been quite clear along with a few other resolute souls. This should be a WAR AGAINST ISLAM and all Muslim faithful.
That's Yerushalmi, who drafted a sample bill for the Public Policy Alliance. According to Mother Jones, his sample law is the basis for at least six of the anti-Sharia laws, including the two that've passed. In case there's any doubt that he's opposed not just to a particular form of Islam but to Islam itself, check out this policy paper cited by Bruce Wilson, who's written a typically thorough piece about him.
"Whereas, adherence to Islam as a Muslim is prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the US. Government through the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the US Constitution and the imposition of Shari'a on the American People. . .It shall be a felony punishable by 20 years in prison to knowingly act in furtherance of, or to support the, adherence to Islam."
The central purpose of much of his writing, like this long book review, is to argue that there's no such thing as a peaceful Muslim.
At best, faithful Muslims will be peaceful when it suits them and violent and murderous when it suits them. At worst, just plain murderous.
Despite his anti-Muslim bigotry, I was skeptical when I first heard him described as a white supremacist -- Yersushalmi denies the charge -- yet after reading what he's written, I think it's an accurate description. The founder of Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), he's made a number of racist (anti-black) pronouncements and rails against democracy. He advocates a system of government that denies blacks and women rights, including the right to vote. Sadly for him, non-whites and women have over the years asserted themselves.
While our constitutional republic was specifically designed to insulate our national leaders from the masses, democracy has seeped up through the cracks and corroded everything we once deemed sacred about our political order. Prior to the Civil War, the electorate, essentially white Christian men, had access to local government. It was here, where men shared an intimacy born of family ties, shared religious beliefs, and common cultural signposts, that representative government was meant to touch our daily lives. With the social and cultural revolution which followed the emancipation, man’s relationship to political order was radically nationalized and democratized. Today, there is simply no basis to resist “democracy” and the “open society”.
This view, that America's White Christian-led society was an ideal, is central to his belief system. SANE's mission statement contain (or contained, he's done much scrubbing) this:
America was the handiwork of faithful Christians, mostly men, and almost entirely white, who ventured from Europe to create a nation in their image of a country existing as free men under G-d. The founding fathers understood that party-led parliaments and democracy were the worse form of government and sought to resist the movement that was soon to find fertile ground in France with the French Revolution.
Still not direct enough for you? Try this.
There is a reason the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote. You might not agree or like the idea but this country’s founders, otherwise held in the highest esteem for their understanding of human nature and its affect on political society, certainly took it seriously. Why is that? Were they so flawed in their political reckonings that they manhandled the most important aspect of a free society – the vote? If the vote counts for so much in a free and liberal democracy as we “know” it today, why did they limit the vote so dramatically?
That quote comes from an essay that Yerashulmi's done his best to erase from the public record, but it continues to live on that PDF. The essay is an example of the kind of pseudo-rational, I'm-just-asking-tough-questions pieces that you find in White Power publications (or the New Republic). Here are a few bites:
This entry addresses the troubling question of race. I choose to do so because several visitors to our Works for US website have commented on the dangerous line they suggest we tread here. What they mean by this in the main, if I may read a bit between the lines, is that a discussion of Islam as an evil religion, or of blacks as the most murderous of peoples (at least in New York City), or of illegal immigrants as deserving of no rights, is, if not racist, so close to being so as to be alienating.
[I]f skin color, disease, body shape and size, athleticism all have a biological basis, why is it that intelligence or predilection to violence might not also have genetic bases. In fact, there is enormous evidence to the contrary.
If standardized testing suggests a racial component to IQ, if the New York City and national murder statistics suggest there is a racial component to murder, why is that necessarily a bad racism?
So while Aryan Nation and the like would find his Jewishness abhorrent, they would find many of his views agreeable. Richard Silerverstein speculates that he's philosophical soul mates with Israeli fascists like Avigdor Lieberman. In any case, his racism hasn't stopped him from becoming an influential figure on the right. (Well, of course it hasn't.)
Despite his racist views, Yerushalmi has been warmly received by mainstream conservatives; his work has appeared in the National Review and Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace. He's been lauded in the pages of the Washington Times. And in 2008, he published a paper on the perils of Sharia-compliant finance that compelled Sen. Minority Whip John Kyl (R-Ariz.) to write a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Chris Cox.
More recently, Yerushalmi co-authored a report on the threats posed by Islamic law—among other things, he worries Sharia-compliant finance could spark another financial collapse—that earned plaudits from leading Republicans like Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra. The report was released by Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy, for which Yerushalmi is general counsel.