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Israel approves funds for ‘anti-Muslim hate group’ to fight BDS

September 3, 2020 at 2:29 pm

Activists in New York stage a rally condemning Israel’s attack on Palestinians on 14 May, 2018 [Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency]

Casting further light on the nexus between Zionism and the rise of the Islamophobia industry, the Israeli government has approved a grant to an American “anti-Muslim hate group”.

Documents obtained by Jewish-American magazine, Forward, through a Freedom of Information Act request, revealed that Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, transferred $40,000 to a Tennessee-based Christian Zionist organisation which is on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLT) watch list of hate groups.

SPLT, an American non-profit legal advocacy organisation specialising in civil rights and public interest litigation, has compiled an extensive list of anti-Muslim hate groups, many of whom are staunch advocates of the state of Israel. According to SPLT, “these groups frequently traffic in conspiracy theories involving the infiltration of the government by Islamist extremists, warn that the US legal system is being subverted by Shariah law and portray Muslims in general as potential terrorist threats”.

The American Christian Zionist group, Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN) is named amongst the 40 or so anti-Muslim hate groups. PJTN lobbies against the teaching of Islam in American schools, claiming that children were being indoctrinated into the religion. It is a petition on its website protesting against what it calls the “Access Islam curriculum in US schools.”

The Israeli government approved funds for PJTN for its lobbying of US lawmakers to proscribe state agencies from working with groups that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. It’s also thought that PJTN was rewarded for mobilising Christian Zionists in South Africa, which is said to be a prime target of Israel’s public-diplomacy efforts.

READ: Israel is frustrated at the failure to tackle the BDS movement

Forward reported that the grant to PJTN was part of a broader push by the ministry to support pro-Israel groups fighting BDS in the United States, which has raised questions about whether those groups properly disclosed the support they received from foreign entities.

The Israeli government’s approval of funds to PJTN highlights the nexus between pro-Israel groups and the global rise in anti-Muslim hatred over the past two decades. Often described as the “Islamophobia industry”, the number of groups peddling hatred for Muslims and Islam has risen exponentially since the 2001 terror attack in New York.

A 2015 paper by Dr Hilary Aked concluded that there exists an “undeniable overlap” between right-wing Zionism and Islamophobia. The paper sought to identify the source of rising anti-Muslim hatred and found Israel related funding from Islamophobia industry donors to be a contributing factor.