The co-author of a provocative report on "Islamophobia" has ties to a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organization and is the host of a website known for trafficking in radical, anti-Israel propaganda.
Wajahat Ali is a self described "playwright, essayist, and attorney." He is also the co-author of "Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America," a Center for American Progress-sponsored report that purports to expose the "small, tightly networked group of misinformation experts" on the right who aim to reach "millions of Americans through effective advocates, media partners, and grass-roots organizing."
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In the 132 page report, Ali and his cohorts at CAP attempt to take a scholarly approach to Islamophobia, building the case that a small faction of well-funded right-wing activists are solely responsible for perpetuating pernicious stereotypes about American Muslims. A number of critics have objected to the report as misleading.
Ali, however, has long aligned himself with a cadre of radical commentators who routinely condemn Zionism and attack the state of Israel as racist.
Last month, Ali waded into the "Israel firster" debate when he promoted a Twitter message from the left-wing agitator Max Blumenthal.
"Is it me or are the Israel Firsters stupidly overplaying their hand?" Blumenthal wrote, employing a borderline anti-Semitic slur.
The use and promotion of this type of language has damaged the reputation of several CAP employees, including Zaid Jilani, who resigned from the think tank soon after the scandal broke.
Faiz Shakir, CAP’s vice president and editor of its ThinkProgress blog, subsequently conceded in an internal e-mail that "‘Israel Firster’ is terrible, anti-Semitic language." Shakir is a co-author of the Islamophobia report.
Ali’s own writings, which have been published on the Muslim Brotherhood’s English-language website, among other outlets, reveal a deep-seated hostility towards the Jewish state.
In a 2009 article on the leftist website Counterpunch, Ali argued that U.S. support for Israel drives terrorists to attack America.
"Obama needs to quickly revoke Israel’s perennial carte blanche and ‘get out of international jail’ Monopoly card for the sake of ensuring long-term American and Israeli security and eventually winning the ‘war on terror,’" Ali wrote. "It would bear reminding that the current US policy in Israel and Palestine is one of [Osama] bin Laden’s main justifications for his global, violent jihad against Americans."
He has also referred to Israel’s 2009 campaign in the Gaza Strip, Operation Cast Lead, as an "Israeli blitzkrieg." However, deadly rocket attacks from Hamas terrorists into Israel are merely "infractions of international law," Ali claims.
Ali’s personal website, Goatmilk, is a hotbed of anti-Israel vitriol.
In one 2009 essay, contributor Sasha Rabkin, who describes herself as a self-hating Jew, wrote: "The current stance of the dominant Jewish establishment is anti-Semitic and self-hating. The Jewish/Zionist conflation has become the biggest enemy of the Jews."
Rabkin added: "This establishment, it appears, would rather have a Jewish State than Jews."
Another article from 2010 argued that Jewish soldiers engaged in "ethnic cleansing" during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.
"This is true about the ethnic cleansing that Israel committed in 1948, which made half of Palestine’s population refugees, destroyed half the Palestinian villages and towns, and left 80 percent of their homeland in Israeli hands," Ilan Pappe opined in the site’s "Essay of the week."
Another article, which was cross-posted at the Los Angeles Times, is titled "Zionism is the problem."
Given his views, observers on Capitol Hill and elsewhere said that they are troubled by Ali’s participation in CAP’s Islamophobia report.
"Short of a convicted terrorist, it’s hard to imagine a co-author who more undermines the report’s credibility on this subject—not to mention that this report will have zero impact on any policy on the Hill," said a Capitol Hill source who requested anonymity. "If anything, Mr. Ali’s presence on this supposedly academic document may have the exact opposite reaction they’re looking for."
A senior official at a major American Jewish organization called Ali’s association with the report "shocking."
"They need to make a total break from the anti-Israel propaganda and the anti-Israel propagandists in their midst," said the source, who asked not to be named. "By continuing to promote anti-Israel ideologues and their hatred of Israel, CAP is delegitimizing their own voice from being a major player in the Washington public policy arena."
The source added: "I think that CAP, as the go-to think tank of the Obama administration, should take a deep breath and stop opining and spreading anti-Israel dogma."
David Reaboi, communications director at the Center for Security Policy, said, "The Center for American Progress is the chief leftist cog in what could be called the ‘sharia defense lobby’—a joint effort of Islamists and the far-left to weaken America’s national security in the face of the threat of a growing worldwide jihadist movement with genocidal aims. At the center of this cog is Wajahat Ali, whose involvement with Muslim Brotherhood groups and advocacy for convicted terrorists and Hamas fundraisers indicates contempt for American national security and diligent work for the advancement of political Islam."
"Ali’s radicalism is a perfect example of the bind that CAP is in," Reaboi added. "On one hand, it’s writers are clearly sympathetic to the Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood program—imposition of sharia, destruction of Israel, and the gutting of American national security; on the other, they have no choice but to hide their very real and frightening extremism from many of their donors, contacts on Capitol Hill, and others who are closer to the mainstream."
In addition to his writings, Ali has stated that he was elected as a board member to the Muslim Students Association, a group that unites Muslims on college campuses across the nation. The MSA is one of several organizations listed in a May 1991 document alleged to be affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Moreover, Ali is on record defending the Holy Land Foundation, an Islamic charity that was convicted by the FBI on charges that it provided material support to the terror group Hamas.
"Most observers accurately characterized this legal charade as a witch hunt, using Muslims and Arabs, specifically Palestinians, as its targets," Ali wrote in 2008. "In doing so the administration shamelessly abuses to advance its failed security measure and pro-Israel policy initiatives that systematically punishes Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank."