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Max Blumenthal: Anti-Muslim hate rally summons the ghosts of Jim Crow

Max Blumenthal on the anti-Muslim rally and its parallels to the Jim Crow era.

Anti-Muslim hate rally summons the ghosts of Jim Crow

(Max Blumenthal)

While watching the unforgettably hideous (and now viral) footage of the recent anti-Muslim demonstration in Yorba Linda, California, I could not help but think of Elizabeth Eckford, the African-American student who was forced to walk through a phalanx of violent white racists chanting “Lynch her! Lynch her!” during the federal government’s first attempt to integrate Little Rock Central High School. This iconic image was immediately recalled by the video of Muslim-American children walking through a crowd of protesters calling them terrorists, threatening them, and chanting “Go home!” as they proceeded towards a local community center for a charity event. Eckford was badly scarred by her experience; the trauma affected her life for decades. I wonder how the children who had to be marched through the gauntlet of racists in Yorba Linda will remember their experience.

Billed as a “Patriotic Rally,” the anti-Muslim demonstration was organized by official hate group leader Pam Geller, Tea Party outfits including the North Orange County Conservative Coalition and We Surround Them OC 912; and Rabbi David Eliezrie of the Yorba Linda chapter of Chabad-Lubavitch, a messianic Orthodox Jewish group. Though Chabad does not make its political positions explicit, I have learned through first hand experience how extreme its leadership is, especially in Southern California.

In 2002, I took a Hebrew class with a rabbi (I wanted to improve my very poor reading at the time), who led the West L.A. Chabad chapter and was supposedly a renowned teacher of the Kabbalah. At some point, the rabbi invited me and some other students over for a shabbat dinner which, given Chabad’s mission to proselytize within the Jewish community, would eventually lead to some form of pressure to join the organization. The rabbi’s father, who was also a rabbi, led off dinner with a bold prediction: “Within five years, the Palestinians will be eliminated by nuclear energy!” I was shocked and did not know what to say. At first, I attempted to politely register my displeasure. But nothing would stop him. “Either we use nuclear energy or we transfer them all!” he said. No one at the table seemed to have any problem with these wishes for genocide. “So will you use cattle cars to transfer them?” I asked. “We can use camels. Whatever,” he responded. Several of the men at the table chuckled at this remark. I excused myself from dinner soon after and would never have contact with Chabad again.

Rabbi David Elriezie at the Yorba Linda hate rallyCorrection: This photo does not show Rabbi David Eliezrie, however, Eliezrie has admitted to participating in the rally

Chabad’s Rabbi Eliezrie appeared at the Yorba Linda hate rally with an Israeli flag in one hand and an American flag in the other. Other participants displayed the Israeli flag as well. In fact, the Israeli flag seemed to be peeking out from a cluster of American flags that formed the backdrop for speakers including Republican Rep’s Ed Royce and Gary Miller, who both railed against the Muslim presence in Orange County. At 4:06 in the video, the crowd can be seen hectoring a Muslim couple with the chant, “We support Israel!” As even Haaretz has noticed, the Israeli flag is becoming a key symbol for a trans-Atlantic neo-fascist axis that thrives on violent resentment towards Muslim and Arab immigrants. Given the ethnocratic basis of the Israeli state and the country’s settler-colonial ethos, the trend is not ironic or very surprising.

Back in 1957, in Little Rock Central High, an awkward, acne scarred boy sat behind Elizabeth Eckford every day in class, muttering in a low drone, “Nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger.” Harassment from him and scores of white students would eventually drive Eckford to attempt suicide several times. Fifty years later, that awkward student, whose name is Charles Sawrie, expressed deep contrition for what he had done. “It was all kind of stupid,” he told journalist David Margolick. “I just wanted to get a name for myself. I don’t remember anything about her except she was black and my job was to make it as rough for the blacks as I could.”

Demonstrators celebrate their intimidation of Muslim familiesDemonstrators celebrate their intimidation of Muslim families

On the Facebook page of the North Orange County Conservative Coalition, adults who behaved just as Sawrie did as a high school student in the Jim Crow South are overflowing with pride. “This was a great opportunity to speak out against an oppressive threat to us all. The speakers were GREAT as were the Patriots who joined us,” remarked someone named Gibbs Carol. Another protester named Desare Ferraro commented: “Americans are finally waking up to the dangers of multi-culturalism and putting out the “NOT WELCOME” sign to terrorist supporting fundraisers in our communities.” “What a great rally yesterday in Yorba Linda!” said Neil O’Brien.

Below are two videos. The first is of the Arab American Institute’s congressional briefing on Rep. Peter King’s upcoming hearings on radicalization in the Muslim community, which will essentially function as a congressional legitimization of the anti-Muslim crusade. I speak at about 32:00 and describe the trans-Atlantic Islamophobic axis:

The second video contains my appearance on Viewpoint with Jim Zogby, where I discuss the Islamophobic axis in further detail with Maya Berry:

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  • NassirH

    Rocky Lore is simply a mouthpiece for retarded anti-Muslim commentary. Although the loons admittedly hate all Muslims, regardless of race, racist caricatures abound on their hate sites. Also, some Islamophobes have vendettas against certain Muslim-majority ethnic groups, e.g. Robert Spencer hates Turks and Sergei Trefkovic hates Bosniaks.

  • Hussam

    “Uh, newsflash, Islam is not a race.”

    Newsflash troll, racism is about how racists view and define groups of people, not a scientific definition of “race”. Muslims have been racialized — stereotyped as a race by racists so there is anti-Muslim racism.

  • Rocky Lore

    Uh, newsflash, Islam is not a race.

  • Michelle

    Thank you Max Blumenthal for standing up for what’s right.

  • Lo

    Asian Guy,

    You know how 2000 years ago animists lived in Singapore, and they were persecuted by the old the Buddhist Srivijaya and the Siamese Ayuthaya and the old Malay sultanate and the British colonialists? Well, all the animists today from all over the world want their land back and they are willing to kill its current inhibitants for it. What’s Singapore going to do?

  • Cynic

    It was only going to be a matter of time before Asian Guy devolved this thread into a discussion of Israel. We can only go on forever about the bad things that both sides have done, but what good does that do us? If you really wanted peace you wouldn’t be doing that now would you? So cut the crap please. And why are you calling everybody here Deniers/sympathizers? For denying that Muslims didn’t even exist 2000 years ago, and thus you’re full of shit? It’s like ‘you must support Israel unconditionally in everything she does, otherwise I’m gonna call you names. Give me a break.

  • “I’m still waiting for the Q&A site for hamas/hezbollah freedom fighters, I’m sure they must have their reason for using women and children as human shields and bombing the innocent Israeli citizens.”

    Because Israel has big guns and big tech? They can hardly stand there can they? They would be shot to bits in seconds. Their leaders have said for a long time that if they were on the same scale of weapons/tech, they’d go toe to toe, but they can’t. Please note, I hate both groups and Fatta too. They are part of the problem.

    “There can never be peace in the middle east with attitudes like that. If Israel were to succumb to all the Palestinian demands, I’m sure Iran and other arab/gulf countries will leave them alone right?”

    Even Saudi has tried to make peace with Israel. Saudi for crying out loud! Israel refused though, it simply won’t back down over stupid things like land it ‘annexed’.

    “Just look around the anti semitic cartoons and views and put yourselves in their shoes, would the average Israeli want to make peace with them?”

    I’ve seen pretty vile stuff about Muslims to, point? The generic ‘Israel Support Groups’ I see here in Malaysia pretty much exclusively run on the lines ‘bashing Muslims = good for Israel’ and ‘support of Israel is only possible by bashing Muslims’.

    “Even without the US aid, I’m 100% sure the Israelis would rather go down all guns blazing than give up their homeland.”

    No, I think that they would sue for peace if they didn’t have the top cover to do whatever the heck they liked. Right now they know that they can do what they want so they do it.

    “I’m sure that would make all you people happy because they deserve it right?”

    And notice a trend? Jews flee from Nazis to Muslim lands because they know they will be safe. Then Israel is formed, starts taking stuff and misusing its power, people in the area start to hate Jews… hmmmmmm I wonder why, join the dots… anti-semitism is a new thing in the ‘Arab’ and ‘Muslim’ world and it’s entry into the public sphere is at the same time as Israel starts messing around. I challenge you to find Muslim read anti-Semitic books etc from a time period before then as well as widespread anti-Semitic stuff (the Damascus affair is borderline).

    I find it odd that you tie so much to ‘Supporting Israel’, as if it’s the only country in the world, like the groups I mentioned. I note you make parallels between so many things there, it’s stupid. Not meaning to be rude, but get a bigger world picture.

  • Mosizzle

    AsianGuy, we don’t support Hamas or Hezbollah. By the way, here’s what another group of Israeli soldiers said in a letter to the Prime Minister:

    “We shall no longer lend a hand in the occupation of the territories. We shall no longer take part in the deprivation of basic human rights from millions of Palestinians. We shall no longer serve as a shield in the crusade of the settlements. We shall no longer corrupt our moral character in missions of oppression. We shall no longer deny our responsibility as soldiers of the Israeli DEFENSE force.”

    “Even without the US aid, I’m 100% sure the Israelis would rather go down all guns blazing than give up their homeland.”

    That’s why they have the suicidal Samson Option:
    http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/03/radical-zionists-encourage-the-murder-of-millions-of-innocent-people-with-nuclear-weapons-just-because-they-are-arabs-or-muslims/

    And are you so stupid, so ignorant, that you haven’t realised the irony in your sentence. Wouldn’t the Palestinians continue to resist considering that their homeland has been stolen from them. If someone occupied Singapore, wouldn’t you keep fighting, even after 60+ years?

    By the way, you still haven’t answered our questions. How can you accuse Muslims of persecuting Jews 2000 years ago, and forcing them into Europe, when Islam has only been around for 1400 years and it was the Romans who kicked them out.

  • Hussam

    “I’m sure they must have their reason for using women and children as human shields…”

    Spouting Israeli propaganda to cover up its war crimes isn’t going to work. Multiple orgs found no evidence that “human shields” were being used. Un/funny, the one side that actually uses human shields is Israel. One example:

    Israeli soldiers who used Palestinian boy, 9, as a human shield avoid jail
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/21/israeli-soldiers-human-shield-avoid-jail

    This is the criminal state you defend.

    See also: http://harpers.org/archive/2009/10/hbc-90006003

    “4. Critics have also said that Hamas deliberately inserted its fighters among civilians and that doing so increased the civilian toll. Did you find that to be the case?

    We found no evidence that Hamas used civilians as hostages. I had expected to find such evidence but did not. We also found no evidence that mosques were used to store munitions. Those charges reflect Western perceptions in some quarters that Islam is a violent religion. Gaza is densely populated and has a labyrinth of makeshift shanties and a system of tunnels and bunkers. If I were a Hamas operative the last place I’d store munitions would be in a mosque. It’s not secure, is very visible, and would probably be pre-targeted by Israeli surveillance. There are a many better places to store munitions. We investigated two destroyed mosques—one where worshippers were killed—and we found no evidence that either was used as anything but a place of worship.”

    Don’t let facts get in the way.

    “and bombing the innocent Israeli citizens.”

    The over 1400 Palestinians in Gaza killed by indiscriminate Israeli bombings must have been part of my imagination. Similar barbaric bombings by the terrorist state in Lebanon 2006 which killed over 1000 Lebanese must also be part of my imagination. But let’s not forget that Israeli “soldiers” were humiliated by Hizballah resistance fighters during the war. There were reports from southern Lebanese villages that they could hear Israeli terrorists crying and screaming in their retreat. HAHAHA.

    Asian Zionist, you won’t be able to hide the violent history of Israel which has killed thousands of innocent people and forced millions into refugee camps and in exile away from the homeland of their ancestors.

    “Just look around the anti semitic cartoons and views and put yourselves in their shoes, would the average Israeli want to make peace with them?”

    *yawn* Do you have any idea how racist Israeli society is towards Arabs? Your question is silly anyways. The real question is should any Arab make peace with a state that has wreaked havoc in the region since its creation? The list of Zionist crimes are too long to document here.

    “Even without the US aid, I’m 100% sure the Israelis would rather go down all guns blazing than give up their homeland.
    I’m sure that would make all you people happy because they deserve it right?”

    I personally would love to see the day when Zionism (in all forms) is eradicated from the region and Palestinian Muslims, Christians AND Jews can live in the Holy Land together in peace free of Zionist racism and terror. The full restoration of Palestinian rights in THEIR homeland is a must for any lasting peace in the region. Deal with that reality, troll.

  • @Deniers/Sympathizers –

    I’m still waiting for the Q&A site for hamas/hezbollah freedom fighters, I’m sure they must have their reason for using women and children as human shields and bombing the innocent Israeli citizens.

    There can never be peace in the middle east with attitudes like that. If Israel were to succumb to all the Palestinian demands, I’m sure Iran and other arab/gulf countries will leave them alone right?

    Just look around the anti semitic cartoons and views and put yourselves in their shoes, would the average Israeli want to make peace with them?

    Even without the US aid, I’m 100% sure the Israelis would rather go down all guns blazing than give up their homeland.
    I’m sure that would make all you people happy because they deserve it right?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_Arab_world#Views_in_Modernity

  • Hussam

    at Asian Zionist:

    “It’s funny because max blumenthal protects a group of people who has expelled his people from their homelands for the past 2000 years”

    Actually, what’s hilarious is that you’re too stupid to realize that you’ve revealed your ignorance of basic history with this embarrassing comment. I see you’ve already been given a history lesson so I won’t rehash. But do try to read up a little before engaging in a debate unless you want to look like a total fool.

    Your attack on Max Blumenthal is equally pathetic. Blumenthal defends the civil rights of Muslim Americans from an increasingly radical right-wing in America that wishes to see Muslims marginalized and denied their constitutional rights. The fact that this irritates you shows you want Muslims to be 2nd class citizens. He also defends the rights of Palestinians in their struggle against Israeli occupation and ethnic cleansing. It’s his pro-Palestine politics that bugs Zionists like yourself the most.

    “That website is created because the soldiers feel that they have nothing to hide and they want to clear up misconceptions.”

    That website is for Zionist terrorist soldiers to brag about their daily crimes against Palestinians in “defense” of a shitty state called Israel, troll. I can smell your hasbara from a mile away.

  • Nur Alia

    Asian guy…

    I dont know you…but you cant seem to understand the difference in critisizing Isreali policy toward the Palistinians, and dehumanizing Jews.

    Crtisizing the Isreali policy toward the Palistinians has nothing to do with Jews and Muslims. It isnt anti Semetic to speak against violence and oppression for any reason.

    However, I am from Malaysia. I started to write this post in Bahasa, but figured it best in English so that all can see what I write to you.

    I really have never heard people from this area speak of this conflict in terms of Muslim and Jew. Yes, Singapore is a bit more friendly toward Israel than Malaysia or Indonesia, but even people from Singapore dont use these terms when describing the conflict that I know.

    They CERTIANLY never support blindly Israeli policies toward the Palsitinians as a group. Perhaps you are an anomoly in our part of the world.

  • Rob

    On the bottom left of friendasoldier.org, it says “Humanizing the Dehumanized”. Interesting choice of words.

  • NassirH

    Asian Guy:

    “It’s funny because max blumenthal protects a group of people who has expelled his people from their homelands for the past 2000 years.”

    Can you please show me where Max Blumenthal defends the ancient Romans or Byzantines? Thanks.

    The Byzantines forcibly converted Jews, expropriated their property, and expelled them from Jerusalem. In contrast, when Umar ibn al-Khattab conquered Jerusalem in 638, he allowed Jews to resettle in the city and didn’t forcibly convert them or steal their property. Perhaps you should read the following Loonwatch article.

    http://www.loonwatch.com/2009/11/the-churchs-doctrine-of-perpetual-servitude-was-worse-than-dhimmitude/

  • Mosizzle

    Rob, apparently Singapore has some good relations with Israel. Israel trained Singapore’s army and now Singaporeans go gaga for anything Israeli. This is why AsianGuy feels the need to do so some PR work for Israel.

  • Rob

    Asian Israeli Guy:

    “It’s funny because max blumenthal protects a group of people who has expelled his people from their homelands for the past 2000 years.”

    Not counting the fact that Islam is only 1400 years old, you might want to read up on who did most of the expelling and persecuting of Jews.

  • Cynic

    Since when do Ahmediyya and Christians get persecuted in Malaysia? I live here so you’re going to have to try harder to pull that one over on us. And parade don’t just site isolated incidents. I’m starting to doubt if you’re actually an Asian guy at all. In order to be a ‘moderate’, one has to give unconditional support to Israel? That’s crazy talk. Come to think of it, pretty much everything you’ve said was crazy talk.

  • Mosizzle

    “That website is created because the soldiers feel that they have nothing to hide and they want to clear up misconceptions.”

    Haha. If I ask the soldiers whether Israel has nuclear weapons, would they tell me? The Israeli government has remained silent on the issue, despite all evidence suggesting that they do have nukes. Would the soldiers clear up this ‘misconception’? After all, they have ‘nothing’ to hide…

  • Mosizzle

    “And if the arab/muslim world treated them so well, they wouldn’t have to go europe in the 1st place do they?”

    Such a poor understanding of history. The Jews emigrated to Europe long ago, way before Muslims came about, when they were expelled by the Romans and their Temple was destroyed. Many of the Jews in Muslim countries were actually escaping persecution in Christian countries. The Sephardi Jews who fled from the persecution in Catholic Spain found refuge in Ottoman Turkey. Many scholars agree that until 1945, Jews had a better time (though certainly not a perfect time) in Muslim countries than in Christian countries.

    It was only after the creation of Israel, that the persecution of Jews increased significantly and many were forced to leave. And since then Jews have been better in Christian countries than Muslim countries.

    Wait a minute, did you just day that Muslims expelled the Jews 2000 years ago? Damn, I know Jews are having a hard time in Muslim countries, but is the persecution so advanced that even their ancestors haven’t been spared? You may think we Mooslims are evil geniuses but we have yet to invent a time machine that allows us to ‘persecute’ people before we were even created.

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