These are organizations and their leaderships that purport to represent Muslim Americans but work closely with Israel lobby groups to undermine and silence Palestinian rights advocates.
We also talk about the professionals who defend these organizations as they advance their careers in corporate media, especially alums of the Muslim Leadership Initiative – faithwashing junkets to Israel operated by the Shalom Hartman Institute, an organization with close ties to the Israeli military.
Emgage leaders also have overt ties to major Israel lobby groups, including AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee.
“What we’ve seen over the past few weeks, over the past month, is that a lot of this that was under the surface is coming into the open,” he tells the Podcast.
“I think we’ve seen a lot more of the kinds of attacks on Palestinians that have always come from some of these groups,” Abunimah adds.
“Palestinians are seen as spoilers, or they’re seen as purists – Palestine is just an inconvenience for these people who – ultimately their goal is to be invited to a White House iftar if there ever is one again.”
In 2014, Salaita was fired from his position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign over his criticism of Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip – a flagrant violation of his rights and academic freedom.
He explains how media elites who purport to align with the Palestinian struggle choose to abandon Palestinian rights and falsely accuse Palestinians of anti-Semitism in order to advance their careers – whether in Washington, DC, or in corporate media.
“These false accusations of anti-Semitism are part and parcel of a broader Zionist project of delegitimizing our voices, of taking our pain, of taking our opposition to Zionist ethnic cleansing, of taking, really, our expressions of humanity and transforming them into something inhuman,” Salaita says.
He adds that giving away the idea of complete freedom is what the Zionists have always wanted.
“You’re going to need people, not me, all of us, to keep the idea alive,” Salaita says.
“You can’t concede your entire vision for liberation before you’ve even won anything. Philosophically, fine. Morally, fine. I’m talking strategically,” he says.
“What’s going to be there to survive in the end? It’s the idea, it’s the dream we have of what Palestine is capable of looking like.”
Articles we discussed
- “The Muslim Zionists” (Steven Salaita)
- “Do American Muslims Still Care About Palestine?” (Sana Saeed)
- “Meet Emgage, the pro-Israel Muslims backing Joe Biden” (Ali Abunimah)
- “Emgage has ‘no courage’ on Palestine, says ex-employee” (Ali Abunimah)
- “US Muslim council drops Emgage over Zionist ties” (Ali Abunimah)
- “An interfaith Trojan Horse: Faithwashing, apartheid and occupation,” (Sana Saeed)
Theme music by Sharif Zakout
Image: Steven Salaita (Haymarket Books)
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