Backgrounder: Muslim American Society
Posted: December 23, 2009
MAS leaders have made public statements moving beyond criticism of Israel to demonization of "the Zionists," a term they use in a derogatory fashion to reference the Israeli government and supporters of the state of Israel. MAS organizes anti-Israel demonstrations and other events at which speakers reiterate conspiratorial beliefs that Jews control the government, foreign policy and the media.
On June 6, 2009, MAS co-sponsored a rally in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C. where MAS leader Ibrahim Abdil-Mu'id Ramey said, "We cannot allow our President to back down from the Israeli lobby or from the Zionist pressure that will undoubtedly come against him."
Esam Omeish, former President of MAS, told the crowd at an anti-Israel rally co-sponsored by MAS in Washington D.C. on August 12, 2006, that "the deliberate targeting of civilians though the barbaric, indiscriminate, disproportionate Israeli war machine is indeed criminal and must end now, that all the prisoners and captives must be released." Omeish also made reference to the "Israeli agenda that controls our congress," referring to the U.S. Congress.
MAS has furthermore extended invitations to speakers whose anti-Israel remarks delve into anti-Semitic prevarications. In June 2006, MAS co-sponsored a town hall meeting in La Mirada, CA where former Ambassador Edward Peck delivered a keynote address in which he reportedly said, "There is a linkage between what is happening in Iraq and terrorism. It is linked to our support of Israel." Peck was reported as having "reminded his audience that the Nazis saw the rest of the world as untermensch – subhuman and not worthy of respect. He said that is how Israelis treat their opponents…The media, he explained, like Congress, is controlled by Jews."
MAS has sponsored anti-Israel rallies in the U.S. that featured virulently anti-Jewish rhetoric and expressions of support for terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militant movement that calls for the destruction of Israel. In December 2008, MAS organized a "National Day of Action" in more than 30 locations around the U.S. in response to Israel's military action in Gaza. Many of the demonstrations were marked by offensive Holocaust imagery likening Jews and Israelis to Nazis, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic rhetoric.
The MAS Freedom Foundation, a MAS branch that serves as the group's advocacy arm, has embraced those who embrace Hamas. Beginning in March 2009, shortly after George Galloway and the European Viva Palestina convoy delivered cash and vehicles directly to representatives of Hamas, MAS leaders raised funds to support similar efforts for U.S. convoy that visited Gaza in July 2009.
MAS chapters around the country, in coordination with MAS Freedom, launched campaigns to buttress Galloway's cause, including the "Let Gaza Live" and "End the Gaza Embargo" projects. At an anti-Israeli rally in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C Mahdi Brey, Executive Director of MAS Freedom, asserted: "On the 4th of July in NY, MAS Freedom—along with other groups—will be taking a caravan along with George Galloway and his caravan from New York to Egypt and from Egypt across the border to Gaza." MAS Freedom reportedly provided a container of medical supplies and equipment for the convoy.