Over the next few weeks, the Boston area is set to host events honoring some of the most vocal anti-Muslim figures in the country.
Starting Sunday, Oct. 29, Christians and Jews United for Israel (CJUI), a Massachusetts-based pro-Israel advocacy non-profit, has invited the national President of ACT for America, Brigitte Gabriel, to deliver its keynote address for its annual Genesis Awards event. ACT for America is designated as an anti-Muslim hate group for its demonizing rhetoric about American Muslims and its propagation of anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.
CJUI is run by Ray Hanna, whose has longstanding ties to ACT. According to Hanna’s bio:
Searching for an organization to join none were to be found until 2008 when he joined ACT for America, the largest national security grassroots movement in the U.S. that today has over 200,000 members and more than 800 chapters. Ray has been serving as the Boston Chapter leader ever since.
ActBoston and other New England Act chapters have been working with Christians and Jews United for Israel since 2010. In January 2014 Ray joined their Board of Directors, and in October of 2014 became president. ActforAmerica taught Ray the importance of supporting and standing for Israel. Now Ray leads one of the most important organizations in New England in the fight against anti-Semitism, the BDS movement, and the vitriolic narrative that is rising on university campuses all over the USA.
The irony of an organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism while inviting Gabriel to speak should not be lost on observers. ACT for America’s official rallies this past summer attracted white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and even a Holocaust denier who was given a speaking role at a rally in Orlando, Florida. Gabriel and ACT have struggled to control racists in its ranks and was forced to cancel a second set of rallies in the wake of the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.
In mid-November, the Russian Jewish Community Foundation (RJCF), a charitable organization dedicated to supporting Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, is also providing a platform to anti-Muslim figures at its annual charity gala. This may be partly explained by the gala’s previous sponsors. Last year, Americans for Tolerance and Peace, an organization responsible for smearing Boston-area Muslim leaders while claiming that Islamophobia is a “bogus concept,” was listed as one of the event's supporters. Another named organizational sponsor in 2016 was CJUI.
RJCF's event features former Florida congressman and Muslim-basher Allen B. West who will deliver the keynote address. West has accused American Muslims of being a “fifth column” and has flatly stated that, “Islam is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology; it is not a religion.” In 2011 West invited a Florida-based anti-Muslim group, to give a Congressional briefing where they claimed to possess a secret list of 6,000 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood members.
Also being honored with the RJCF’s Jewish Advocacy Award is Rabbi Jonathan Hausman. According to the bio posted on RJCF’s gala page, Hausman has opened the doors of his congregation to several high-profile figures based in the United States and Europe known for their anti-Muslim views including:
Aside from making his congregation a welcome space for hate, Hausman himself has been involved in a Faith Leaders for America, a front organization created by the hate group Center for Security Policy, run by the conspiracy theorist and anti-Muslim extremist Frank Gaffney. Faith Leaders for America recently published an open letter to the Trump administration, lauding it for “following a discerning and Biblical approach” to immigration policy, including proposed bans on Muslim refugees, the proposed wall on the border with Mexico, and ongoing crackdowns on “sanctuary cities.”