Electronic Intifada

Emgage has been dropped from the US Council of Muslim Organizations after it refused requests to end relationships with pro-Israel and anti-Muslim groups.

This comes a month after The Electronic Intifada’s exposé of Emgage’s ties to Israel lobby groups set off a heated debate among Muslim American activists and led to mounting calls for organizations to cut ties with Emgage – which aims to position itself as “the main civic organization for Muslim American communities.”

On Thursday, the US Council of Muslim Organizations announced that it had spent a month “working to investigate these concerns, address them with our friends at Emgage and develop a positive way forward.”

“Despite strong efforts by everyone involved and some progress, we were not able to reach agreement,” the council added. “As a result, Emgage is no longer a member of USCMO.”

The council, which brings together more than 30 organizations, affirmed that its members “must fully maintain the Muslim community’s united support for causes of justice here and abroad, including the cause of Palestinian freedom.”

It added that it is “unacceptable for a Muslim organization to collaborate with organizations that harm the Muslim community, or for the leaders of a Muslim organization to collaborate with organizations that harm the Muslim community.”

“We applaud USCMO for dropping Emgage from its body of council members,” the Drop Emgage campaign said on Friday.

“This critical step sends a message that Muslim American communities are unified in rejecting organizations that partner and collaborate with anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim Zionist organizations.”

Drop Emgage’s open letter calling on community organizations to end ties with Emgage has been signed by more than 200 Palestinian and Muslim activists and leaders over the past month.

And in Mondoweiss on Friday, Hatem Fariz, a Muslim community leader in Florida, writes that for years he and his peers witnessed “unprincipled behavior” by Emgage in its efforts to gain political influence.

According to Fariz, Emgage’s tactics only ended up making it “an extremely toxic organization that no one on the ground wanted to work with.”

Fariz lauds USCMO’s severing of ties with Emgage and urges “all remaining organizations and individuals interested in fighting Islamophobia and standing in solidarity with Palestinian rights to do the same.”

Ties to Israel lobby

In September, The Electronic Intifada published an exposé of the close ties between Emgage leaders and staff and several major Israel lobby groups, including AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee.

These groups are at the forefront of the Israel lobby’s efforts to shut down the Palestine solidarity movement by supporting legislation against the BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – campaign, and smearing activists as anti-Semites.

We applaud Missouri Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) for joining a growing list of states that have signed anti-BDS legislation into law.

BDS is a bigoted movement that seeks the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state.https://t.co/OnG1oPkbqS— American Jewish Committee (@AJCGlobal) July 13, 2020

Emgage board members and personnel have also participated in the Muslim Leadership Initiative – faithwashing junkets to Israel operated by the Shalom Hartman Institute, an organization with close ties to the Israeli military.

MLI is financed by the Russell Berrie Foundation, one of the biggest funders of Islamophobes in the United States, including notorious anti-Muslim agitators Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes and Steven Emerson.

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