American Muslims defy Israeli funded Gülenist initiative
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULJul 02, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Jul 02, 2015 12:00 am
Prominent American Muslims have launched a campaign criticizing the Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI) and its program, an organization linked with the Gülen movement and funded by the Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI).
In a statement published in thepetittionsite.com, titled "A Principled Critique of the Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI)," the signatories of the petition asked for the suspension of the initiative. "We call for an end to this program that we consider a betrayal to the Palestinian people, and a betrayal of our own highest aspiration towards the loftiest ethics of justice for American Muslims" the statement said.
The MLI promotes itself as a program inviting North American Muslims "to explore how Jews understand Judaism, Israel, and Jewish peoplehood," while aiming to bring together its participant with Palestinians.
The group stated that the initiative, jointly run by Gülen-linked Abdullah Antepli and Yossi Klein Halevi, continued promoting its activities even after the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2014, which had claimed more than 2,300 lives, mostly civilians. Opponents of the MLI, whom have also involved with the program in the past, also accused the program of simply engaging with Zionist power structures, rather than focusing on the suffering of Palestinian people.
The statement accused MLI to cause a split among American Muslim community. "Over the past year, we have seen how this program has fractured American Muslim communities and institutions and has mobilized selective American Muslim leaders as tools to further conceal rather than challenge the oppression of the Palestinian people" the statement said.
The group also criticized the statements of Rabbi Donniel Hartman, President of SHI, on Gaza War of 2014, also known as Operation Protective Edge by the Israeli party. "I know that we are strong in the rabbinic sense, as well, which measures strength through the ability to restrain oneself from using it……I know that our society is at its core a decent and moral one and that our Army is committed to the highest standards of ethics on the battlefield… I do know that Operation Protective Edge is a just war, and as such, needs to be fought" were Hartman's words.
Shalom Hartman is also known as a self-identified Zionist educational institution, and, as such, any partnership by an individual or group with the institute directly undermines the academic boycott against Israel.
MLI has been criticized since it was discovered that Shalom Hartman had been openly highlighting the MLI as evidence of the success of their campaign against the activists committed to the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement who are protesting the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.
The statement said that MLI of confuses Zionism and Israeli propaganda mechanisms with Judaism, and stated that Jewish groups that currently works to increase awareness on Palestinian cause are constantly being undermined.