It’s all about Israel: Why the Jewish establishment didn’t speak up about Peter King’s anti-Muslim hearings

There has been little objection from the mainstream Jewish establishment to Representative Peter King’s anti-Muslim hearings that took place yesterday, and some commentators are asking why.  Given the history of discrimination against Jews in the U.S., it should be an easy call to speak out against the McCarthy-like hearings that seek to demonize Muslim-Americans (laudably, J Street has spoken out, as well as, surprisingly, the Anti-Defamation League ).

But it should come as no surprise that the likes of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) have been silent about the March 10 hearings titled, “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.” It all comes down to Israel.

Rep. King, for one, a Long Island Republican with a past of strong support for the Irish Republican Army, is a staunch advocate for Israel, making any potential criticism of him by mainstream Jewish organizations all the less likely.

Immediately after the Israeli naval attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla last May, which resulted in the deaths of nine activists, King introduced a House resolution to “prohibit United States participation on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and prohibit contributions to the United Nations for the purpose of paying for any United Nations investigation into the flotilla incident.”

On his website, King proclaims that he has “consistently voted in favor of military and economic aid packages benefiting Israel and sponsored legislation that prohibits direct assistance to Palestinian Government entities associated with Hamas or other terrorist organizations.”

In return for his “Israel can do no wrong” attitude, King rakes in the dough; according to Open Secrets, over $100,000 in pro-Israel contributions have been deposited in King’s campaign war chest between 1998 and 2010.

And then there’s the larger issue of the Israel lobby turning a blind eye to Islamophobia, or actively aiding it, in service of their larger political goal:  unquestioning support for anything Israel does.  These hearings do nothing more than give Islamophobia more mainstream credibility in the United States, something that even the Anti-Defamation League, the AJC and others have no problem with, as demonstrated by these organization’s shameful positions when the furor over Park 51 occurred last summer.

Maintaining blind support for Israel in the United States requires the demonization of Muslims and Arabs, and contributes to the narrative, pushed by neoconservatives, that Israel is the West’s bulwark against Islamist extremism.  As Scott McConnell, the founding editor of the American Conservative magazine, put it, “it is hard to miss that anti-Muslim bigotry is becoming embedded in American political culture, and Israel and its supporters are playing a substantial role in generating it.”

M.J. Rosenberg, a liberal blogger and former staffer at the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, made this point succinctly in an interview I conducted a couple of months back.  Islamophobia “is tactical bigotry to weaken the voices of Arab-Americans and friends of Arab-
Americans when it comes to Israel/Palestinian issues,” he said.

Establishment groups are “just trying to protect AIPAC and the pro-Israel lobby’s political power. In other words, if you discredit every Arab group by saying they’re extremist or ‘pro-terror,’ then who’s ever going to stand up to the lobby on Capitol Hill?”

So there shouldn’t be any astonishment at the deafening silence from the mainstream Jewish establishment on these hearings.  If there was dissent, that would be news.

4 responses to “It’s all about Israel: Why the Jewish establishment didn’t speak up about Peter King’s anti-Muslim hearings

  1. Alright, we are back to blaming the Jews for everything.

    Did you know that Zionists send out secret mind control waves that causes Libyans and Iraqis to kill each other?

  2. Why doesn’t this Peter T. King investigate the “Home Grown” radicalization of Irish Americans, who support the tradition wing of the IRA (Irish Republican Army), or Noraid (The Irish Northern Aid Committee), and being recruited by “Enemy Overseas” or worse “Enemy Overseas” the “Catholic Church ”, where they radicalize the priests into raping our young American boys, what about that you hypocrite scumbag.

    Peter King is a hypocrite, he supported the terrorist group IRA, who killed innocent British people, but hey I guess that was OK, right? Killing innocent people is OK, as long as they are not born is the United States, yup that sounds about right. I guess Jesus Christ would give all you extra points for that, NOT!

    No, there are no dancing in the street when Catholics hear about a pedophile priest, but there has been a concerted effort to Deny, Deflect, Defend this “Enemy Overseas” the “Catholic Church ”, I don’t even think you could deny that fact. What would Jesus Christ, say about this so called Church, I have a few thoughts myself.—matt-stone

    47 seconds in;

  3. Marlene Newesri

    An excellent article Alex, but I need to make one very important criticism about mentioning the ADL as one of the Jewish groups who have spoken out. Quoting the statemet on the ADL website:
    Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:
    “Homegrown Muslim extremists pose a real threat to the United States, but the issue is one that may be difficult to explore seriously in a hearing that has engendered an unfortunate atmosphere of blame and suspicion of the broader American Muslim community. We need to be careful not to single out an entire community for special scrutiny or suspicion. ”

    May I ask what kind of double-talk is this? Are Muslim “extremists” the only home-grown real threat to America? Why not just say “extremists” which encompasses anyone of any color, ethnicity or faith? Certainl;y there have beem enough acts of terorism in this country not carried out by Muslims.

    What I find is that someone like Abe Foxman is an extremist for actually supporting in a sense what Peter King is doing (another extremist) and using methods which still demonize Muslims and does create fear and hatred in this country because it is all about Israel.

    Please Alex. Remove the ADL from your article because it defeats the purpose of your article.

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