David Yerushalmi is an accomplished and dedicated attorney who has done tireless work, much of it pro bono, for various anti-sharia legal initiatives. He works closely with Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller on legal issues concerning their activism against the Islamization of America.
Abe Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) — a notoriously hard-left organization, ostensibly advocating for American Jews — has recently taken against Mr. Yerushalmi.
Alyssa Lappen, an author who writes for the American Thinker, the New English Review, and various other publications, has written an open letter to Mr. Foxman, challenging him for his shunning of David Yerushalmi:
Dear Mr. Foxman,
I am absolutely appalled that ADL has smeared the name of a reputable attorney, David Yerushalmi alongside others who, unlike him, are indeed egregious in word and deed.
Attorney Yerushalmi was rankly faulted in a terribly unprofessional article some weeks ago. In my opinion, as a journalist of 35 years experience, this is a case in which he was genuinely libeled and I certainly hope he intends to sue. I believe he has a cause of action.
As you know, libel in America consists of stating something inaccurate (often intentionally) — and with purposeful malice. The article I note above contained no facts on which to base its opinions, and malice virtually dripped from the prose. In recent years, journalists have often made me ashamed of my lifelong profession, but this piece took the cake and the frosting as well. If it had any role, partial or otherwise, in your determination to add Mr. Yerushalmi to a list of hate-mongers, I would urge you to reconsider.
I have spoken with Mr. Yerushalmi as a source and find him one of the most precise attorneys I know. His information is absolutely credible. He thoroughly and exactly cites many Islamic law texts. He is never inaccurate. Never. He is certainly not the hateful man that you paint him.
Perhaps you are unaware that the national leadership of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), on the other hand, has repeatedly been identified by federal law-enforcement officials to have had links with terrorist organizations. This occurred in Nov. 2008 with the Holy Land Foundation Hamas and terror-financing case. The government obtained 108 unanimous verdicts on ALL 108 terror-financing, money laundering and tax fraud charges leveled against five HLF officers. Some of the funds they sent to Hamas had washed through CAIR accounts, proven by canceled check copies.
Federal evidence was again cited in the civil suit by the family of David Boim in the Chicago 7th Circuit Court of Appeals against the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) — CAIR’s predecessor and co-founder — in Dec. 2008. The federal judge in that case ruled that the CAIR predecessor — namely the IAP — was indeed inseparable from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Muslim American Society and he held their agents responsible, fully and finally, for the $156 million judgment in the Boim’s case against them. Thus $156 million less is now available to fund Hamas terrorism.
Then in October 2010, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that hundreds of individuals and organizations named as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation case — including CAIR — would not be delisted as unindicted co-conspirators, due to the preponderance of evidence against them. CAIR knew and knows that the evidence against its leadership and several CAIR chapters is indeed so strong that it could never have won an appeal, and did not even try. An appeal was filed by another North American Muslim Brotherhood organization with which you may not be familiar, the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), a subsidiary of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
It is a travesty that you brand as a hatemonger a man legitimately attempting — via the U.S. courts — to legally defeat efforts of the above groups, among others, to increasingly impose Islamic law through secular U.S. civil courts and institutions. Unfortunately, the encroachment of these laws is not a “theory” but is a well-established fact.
In Florida, in the last few weeks, a judge ruled that a mosque must — under secular U.S. laws — follow sharia to resolve an internal dispute between members. Those suing came to America to ESCAPE sharia law. Yet now a U.S. court has ordered them to adhere to it. They will appeal this egregious decision, rightfully so.
A New Jersey judge ruled some months ago that a man who had badly beaten his wife had the right to do so, since sharia condones this practice. Fortunately, that decision was reversed on appeal.
In Massachusetts, about four years ago, the ACLU motioned for dismissal of criminal charges against three terrorists who fraudulently obtained charitable tax-exempt status to fund suicide murder. Sharia law requires Muslims to give 2.5% of their wealth annually to charity (zakat); funding jihad and jihad fighters are covered by several of eight religiously mandated means to allocate annual zakat payments. The ACLU cited these facts in its motion, arguing that raising monies to fund jihad, fraudulently or otherwise, is Constitutionally protected religious practice under the First Amendment. Fortunately, the federal district justices in Worcester, Ma. denied this motion point blank.
Do you suppose that any of the above instances are part, at best, of some wildly imaginative conspiracy theory? I assure you the ACLU motion to protect the religious freedom of fraudulently collected “tax-exempt” funds for jihad was quite real. I held and read the motion in my own hands, and reported on the case. The argument was all too real — albeit surreal.
Mr. Foxman, contrary to your claims in the ADL commentary on Mr. Yerushalmi, these cases are not the figment of some lunatic’s mind. Unfortunately, in fact, dozens of similar such cases nationwide demonstrate an orchestrated attempt to inject Islamic law into the U.S. secular legal codes, both on state and national levels. In those cases that the goals are achieved, these sharia laws provide exceptions for Muslims alone — to legal standards normally considered foundational to Western civilization — on a vast array of points and issues.
Another difficulty is that, unlike other kinds of religious law, sharia law is composed largely of edicts and regulations to be imposed upon non-Muslims. If it is allowed to continue to its logical terminus, therefore, the only possible conclusion of this trend would be complete decimation of all manner of constitutionally protected freedoms, including freedom of speech, “out of religious respect.” Consider the case of Uganda. Yes indeed, Idi Amin was educated in Saudi Arabia and ultimately he fled to and died there. While this aspect of Amin’s history was barely reported, he hoped to impose sharia law on Uganda. Let us recall the genocidal results.
Certainly we can demand respect for all faiths, without disallowing any criticism whatever. Look, for example, at your own criticism of Mel Gibson’s film on Christ. No one branded you a hatemonger. You merely expressed your opinion as a matter of constitutionally-protected free speech. And so it should be with all faiths — including Mohammed, Islam and sharia. How on earth can people learn any of its dark aspects if no one is allowed to speak on the subject without merciless and baseless accusations of hate mongering like those you leveled in this case.
You may recall Wafa Sultan, who lived under sharia, and spoke quite plainly against sharia and Islamic precepts on Al Jazeera, shocking the Arab and Muslim worlds. She has now done so in America too.
I would think you’d support the Freedom Pledge that Dr. Sultan and her other fearless Former Muslims United co-founders — including Nonie Darwish, who lost her father to a suicide “martyr” mission — have sent to dozens of Muslim leaders across the U.S. They ask these leaders to pledge to protect religious freedom of apostates to Islam, namely to promise to openly oppose fatwas calling for apostates’ deaths, and do everything else possible to protect their freedoms from medieval — not to say unconstitutional and illegal — practices like the Islamic death penalty for public abandonment of faith. Only two Muslims have signed, God bless them both. That is no figment of imagination, either, nor are the fatwas calling for their deaths.
Florida U.S. Rep., Ret. Col. Allen West agrees with Mr. Yerushalmi — that sharia proponents have put America’s secular laws under attack for years now and, via the judiciary, have already had considerable success eroding them. Having served two tours of duty in Iraq, Rep. West is familiar with the Islamic laws and has seen them in action on the ground.
That ADL is unaware of any of the above noted facts does not render “hate-mongers” of those Americans who pay keen attention to their surroundings and do not share your complacency.
Once upon a time, the ADL did excellent work to combat anti-Semitism, which of course was its founding mission. Here, the ADL has apparently taken the side of organizations that for decades have expressed zealous anti-Semitism, hatred of Jews and hatred of Israel — and indeed of the very concept (much less existence) of a Jewish state. They have done so both through their words at private organizational conferences, and writings in organizational publications and pseudo-academic journals — and with their money, for suicide bombers, in Jerusalem and Israel, among other things.
It is easy to find such statements and positions from their leadership over the last 30 years, and recently too. For years, dozens of hard-working non-profit organizations have researched these organizations to expose them. In several terrorism and related cases, the federal government has prevailed partly on the basis of their solid, professional research. That is but one way in which individuals dangerous to America (and Israel) were convicted of terror-related crimes, deported for fraudulent immigration applications or both.
Furthermore, in part, you label David Yerushalmi “extremist” for asking that the U.S. actually enforce existing immigration laws. You may not like it, but that is a legitimate political viewpoint, for legal reasons of course, but also for humanitarian considerations. It is certainly not grounds for the juvenile name-calling the ADL issued in this case. Actually, “undocumented workers” very often suffer horrendous landlord and employment abuses — and the highest rate of criminal assault, theft, fraud and so on targeting any population. For among those “undocumented workers” live tens of thousands of criminals. Indeed, several 9/11 hijackers were what some might, ten years later, call “undocumented workers.”
Taken together, these two positions in the ADL frontal attack on David Yerushalmi sadly suggest that the organization now opposes those who want only to uphold existing U.S. laws — legally, I might add — yet agrees with groups that regularly break U.S. laws, verbally and financially support anti-Semitism and terror, and have already in effect funded dozens of murders, perhaps even hundreds.
Agreed, there have been Jewish extremists. But they are very few and far between. More importantly, David Yerushalmi is not one of these. I think you do great disservice to the Anti-Defamation League and the time-honored fights against anti-Semitism and racism by siding with extreme, radical, hateful, proven terror-supporting organizations. They are intent upon demolishing his good name — and that of anyone else daring to criticize them or their agenda, much less their precepts of faith and religious law — and thereby to intimidate the American press and leadership into silence. Surely you should recognize this as the tactic of brown shirts.
Opposing the emergence of sharia law in American public life hardly exemplifies racism, or extremism. It is merely an effort to maintain and enforce the Constitutional separation of church and state, based on sad and very real experience over the last decade in particular.
Moreover, it is the earnest effort of many concerned minorities who ought to be ADL’s natural allies — former Sudanese slaves, former Muslims fearful for their lives (even in America), Maronite Christians, Hindus whose temples have been smashed by the thousands, Coptic Christians with families suffering mass slaughter (hundreds burned, alive, in churches), now, in Egypt and on and on.
Yet you attack Mr. Yerushalmi as an extremist.
Shame on you. Shame!
I read your mother’s oral history and am fortunate to have known and to know other survivors of the Vilna ghetto and Stutthoff, generally unknown death camps in its orbit and death marches. They bestowed a sacred blessing and this indelible lesson, to speak out, not to remain silent. Your mother, I think, did not save you from the Holocaust to do something so atrocious as this.
Alyssa A. Lappen
Investigative journalist and poet
CC: U.S. Rep. Allen West CC: Diana West, Syndicated columnist CC: Andrew McCarthy, Columnist and former U.S. Attorney CC: Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Cong. Mount Sinai and President, New York Board of Rabbis CC: Jeffrey Weinsenfeld, Philanthropist and Trustee CC: Debra Burlingame, Co-founder, 9/11 Families CC: Tim Brown, Co-founder, 9/11 Families CC: Editor in Chief, Jewish World Review CC: Gary Rosenblatt, Jewish Week CC: Matthew RJ Brodsky, Editor, InFocus, Jewish Policy Center CC: Rick Greenfield, Editor, Jewish Ledger CC: Susan Rosenbluth, Editor, Jewish Voice and Opinion CC: Steven Baum, Editor, Journal for the Study of Antisemitism