Targeting conservatives, Silverstein charged: “After 9-11, the Republican Party discovered there was gold in them there hills in Islamophobia.” He explained: “Hatred of Islam was wrapped up in devotion to a far-right brand of nationalism.”
Former CIA analyst Kathleen Christison, in her “Islamophobia in U.S. Middle East Policy” workshop, emphasized the “Israel lobby” angle. “The discourse in this country at the moment is very Islamophobic,” she alleged, faulting “pressure from the pro-Israel lobby and Islamophobia lobby.” After all, “politicians are all afraid of opposing Israel publicly for fear of losing campaign funds.” She also faulted “neo-conservative fanatics” as “initiators of Islamophobia,” while slamming the Tea Party, “pro-Israeli zealots,” and “Christian fundamentalist extremists.” Apparently they all together work to “advance Israeli regional hegemony.” Admitting it’s “hard to trace a direct line, but I think we can all see elements of Islamophobia” among all these constituencies, she surmised.
“All of the major groups who are involved in promoting Islamophobia are interlinked in many cases,” Christison discerned. “They are the same people in one group or another.” In case anyone missed the point, she again named the chief villains: “They are Christian fundamentalists, Christian Zionists, Tea Partiers, Israeli supporters, and a lot of this Islamophobia comes from Israel, but it also comes from Israeli supporters.”
“The Israel lobby is very important in policymaking,” Christison carefully explained. Darkly, she rhetorically asked: “Who do you think it is who writes legislation having to do with Israel in Congress? Who is it who makes campaign contributions that prevent congressmen and senators from criticizing Israel?” She easily admitted that conservative Christians are “awful,” while adding: “But the Israel lobby has been around longer than the Christian right.”
So maybe the not so veiled strategy of anti-Islamophobia crusaders is to replace supposed hostility to Islam with a conspiratorial obsession with the purportedly omnipotent “Israel lobby.” The Religious Left comfortably demonizes America, traditional Christianity, and pro-Israel Jews. But for leftist church prelates, criticizing even radical Islam is simply a bridge too far.
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