On June 10, leading anti-Muslim organization ACT for America, whose founder, Brigitte Gabriel once described Muslims as being a “natural threat to civilized people of the world, particularly Western society”, initiated a nationwide ‘rally against Sharia law’. Most anti-Sharia protesters were met with fierce opposition, but further organized action will be required to squash the violent surge of anti-Muslim sentiment that’s grown ever more ominous since the election of Donald Trump.
A recent rally in New York City sought to protest the Trump administration’s executive order targeting Muslim immigrants under the slogan ‘I Am Muslim, Too.’ Roqayah Chamseddine writes that the rally, and the popular Shepard Fairey image of a woman wearing a headscarf with a US flag design, may be doing more harm than good, “You don’t need to be Muslim to express solidarity, nor does resistance demand any attachment to nationalist mythology which turns Muslims into commodities only worth defending should they express the right amount of patriotism.”
Along with initiating the process to further militarize the US-Mexico border, Donald Trump will reportedly be signing an executive order to restrict immigration from Muslim-majority countries that are considered to be a ‘national security threat’—these include Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Hisham, a permanent US resident originally from Iraq, has been watching the news almost non-stop for any updates on Trump’s immigration policy. He says as his voice shakes, “I don’t know what I’m going to do. My fiance and her mother are going to be stuck [in Najaf] and I can’t explain to them why. How can I tell them that [Trump] is targeting Iraq because of “national security”? What has Iraq done? I’m confused and hurt. Refugees running from hell shouldn’t have to worry about another hell trying to get to a place of safety.”
One of the major questions facing the incoming Trump administration is whether it will move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Commentators agree it could have far-reaching consequences and embolden Israel’s right-wing. What may come as a surprise is that it could also end up further isolating Israel. “It increases the possibility that other countries—specifically the Europeans—that simply tag along behind the United States are going to have to start to make policy [decisions] for themselves…where they exact some form of consequence on Israel,” Ali Abunimah tells Mondoweiss.
Jason Greenblatt, the 49-year-old real estate attorney representing Donald Trump’s business conglomerate, has been named special representative for international negotiations which will include the Israel-Palestinian peace process. Greenblatt once studied at a religious school in the West Bank settlement of Alon Shuvot and may be the first leading adviser on Israel to a US President that’s done guard duty at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank “armed with an M-16 assault weapon.” In perhaps a sign of things to come Greenblatt told Israel’s Channel 1, “[Trump] has gone on record to say that the settlements in the West Bank can stay…I personally believe that they should stay. I don’t believe that they’re an obstacle to peace.”
Donald Trump has nominated 57-year-old Long Island native David Friedman to serve as U.S ambassador to Israel. Friedman served as Trump’s Israel adviser during the election campaign and has worked as Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer. He is a vociferous pro-settlement advocate who openly advocates for the annexation of the West Bank, and serves as president of American Friends of Bet El Institutions, a settlement advocacy group. Friedman will join an administration that has continually promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has made clear its opposition to the two-state solution. In announcing the pick Trump called Friedman “a longtime friend and trusted adviser.”
The feverish coverage of “fake news” has given rise to at least one elusive blacklist which features hundreds of websites and publications all of whom fall prey to one common accusation: they either willingly or unwillingly serve Russian interests by peddling propaganda targeting U.S audiences. Meet PropOrNot, the new McCarthyism—this time at the touch of a screen.
Bill passed by the Senate to expand Dept of Education’s anti-discrimination rules to include the 3 D’s of Israel speech — demonization, delegitimization and double standard — “will have a definitive chilling effect on campus organizing for Palestinian human rights around the country,” says Gabi Kirk of UC Davis.
Details have been unclear on Donald Trump’s ever-shifting call for a discriminatory ‘Muslim registry’ in the United States. Some proposals target Muslim-Americans, others focus on Muslim immigrants entering the United States. Nevertheless, the prospects are certainly terrifying, regardless of what Muslim community will be at the mercy of the state’s surveillance apparatus. Sana Saeed, a journalist based in San Francisco, tells Mondoweiss that the fear she is seeing in her community “is real and devastating.”