The Man Behind the Sharia Hysteria

by Dan Quinn

So who is really behind House Bill 911, the proposed Texas legislation that supporters say will stop the mythical threat of Sharia law from being imposed on Texas? As we’ve said before, scratch the surface of the anti-Muslim hate and hysteria promoted by far-right pressure groups in this country and you’ll sniff the familiar stench of bigotry.

The House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee unanimously passed HB 911 last week. At the committee’s April 4 public hearing on that bill, an attorney told lawmakers that he had helped develop the model policy on which those Texas bills were based. And with whom did he work on the so-called “American Laws for American Courts” model? David Yerushalmi — an Arizona attorney and white supremacist who traffics in anti-Muslim and anti-black bigotry and is one of the biggest promoters of Sharia hysteria in America.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, Yerushalmi is associated with a virtual “who’s who” of anti-Muslims hysterics and hate groups around the country, including Pamela Geller, head of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). (Remember her?) Yerushalmi crafted his model anti-Sharia legislation for the right-wing group American Public Policy Alliance. Legislatures in Texas and other states around the country have been considering anti-Sharia bills based on that model.

An ADL factsheet provides some insight into the bigotry that feeds Yerushalmi’s work:

Yerushalmi has not only actively promoted his conspiratorial vision of Shari’a law, but has also sought to portray all Muslims as a threat. In one March 2006 article, for example, Yerushalmi even went so far as to claim that “Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization…The Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies.”

That same year, Yerushalmi founded the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), a “think tank” that has published anti-Muslim, anti-immigration and anti-black materials, as well as New World Order-style conspiracy theories. In 2007, SANE, declaring itself “dedicated to the rejection of democracy and party rule and a return to a constitutional republic [of the original founders of the US],” launched a campaign fueled by suspicion of all Muslims.

As ADL notes, Yerushalmi’s bigotry has targeted more than just Muslims over the years:

He also contended that African-Americans are a “relatively murderous race killing itself.” For Yerushalmi it was obvious: “If evolution and the biologists who espouse the theory are correct, then the idea that racial differences included innate differences in character and intelligence would[,] it seem[,] be more likely than not.”

Mother Jones magazine also explores Yerushalmi’s bigotry:

In a 2006 essay for SANE entitled On Race: A Tentative Discussion, Yerushalmi argued that whites are genetically superior to blacks. “Some races perform better in sports, some better in mathematical problem solving, some better in language, some better in Western societies and some better in tribal ones,” he wrote.

Yerushalmi has suggested that Caucasians are inherently more receptive to republican forms of government than blacks—an argument that’s consistent with SANE’s mission statement, which emphasizes that “America was the handiwork of faithful Christians, mostly men, and almost entirely white.” And in an article published at the website Intellectual Conservative, Yerushalmi, who is Jewish, suggests that liberal Jews “destroy their host nations like a fatal parasite.” Unsurprisingly, then, Yerushalmi offered the lone Jewish defense of Mel Gibson, after the actor’s anti-Semitic tirade in 2006. Gibson, he wrote, was simply noting the “undeniable Jewish liberal influence on western affairs in the direction of a World State.”

We wonder whether the authors of the two Sharia bills in Texas — state Rep. Leo Berman (HB 911) and state Rep. Randy Weber (HB 3027) — realize they are working with bigots and hate groups. What do you think?