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CAIR’s Useful Idiot

Written by Evan Gahr

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Glenn Greenwald, the hard-left activist who fancies himself a journalist, is scheduled to speak next month before a terrorist-friendly agitprop group that masquerades as a Muslim civil rights organization.

In a big propaganda coup that will allow the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to achieve even more mainstream credibility, Greenwald will keynote the November 16 “Faith in Freedom” banquet of CAIR’s Greater Los Angeles chapter.

It is more than a bit ironic that Greenwald, who considers himself the most passionate defender of American freedoms since Thomas Jefferson, would speak at a CAIR conference.

CAIR has considerably impeded free expression in this country by helping to cast anyone who talks honestly about the distinctly Islamic nature of terrorism as a bigot. It has thus weakened the will of Americans to fight terrorism by helping to obscure its Muslim face.   

CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism funding case, flourishes because virtually all mainstream journalists omit damaging information about CAIR from their articles that quote the organization’s fanciful claims about rampant anti-Muslim bias in this country.  

And Greenwald, who has headlined at least two other CAIR events, has proven himself to be one of CAIR’s most useful of useful idiots in the media.  

Greenwald’s appearance at the dinner next month is certain to attract massive media coverage, which will allow CAIR to further pretend it is devoted to defending civil liberties from an oppressive government. 

Greenwald will share the podium with Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who was on the government’s list of unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing case.

Feminist Phyllis Chesler, an outspoken critic of the left’s infatuation with Islamofascism and author of a new memoir, An American Bride in Kabul, about her own harrowing encounter with Islam, says that Greenwald’s indulgence of CAIR makes a certain amount of perverse sense.

“Many Leftists share the false belief that ‘Islamophobia’ exists, (it does not), and that Islam is being persecuted in America (it is not). Perhaps Mr. Greenwald is among them.” 

Greenwald’s latest dalliance with CAIR shows just how morally obtuse and oblivious he is to the true threats to American freedom.

Yes, there is room for serious debate about whether the National Security Agency surveillance programs that Greenwald exposed are justifiable and effective.

But much of the reaction to the disclosures, particularly the decidedly curious notion that the NSA is the linchpin of creeping American fascism, has run the gamut from misguided to paranoid.

To use an expression of the late New York Post editorial page editor Eric Breindel, “little steps for little feet:” nobody at the National Security Agency really cares whether anyone is cheating on his wife.

They are looking for terrorists, not adulterers.

Nothing the NSA could even conceivably do with its expansive powers—and thus far Greenwald has not presented any evidence of serious abuses—poses the kind of threat to America that Islamic terrorism does.

Yes, it is theoretically possible that a rogue National Security analyst could inappropriately use information to reveal embarrassing personal details about an otherwise innocent American citizen. There have in fact been acknowledged cases where NSA analysts used their snooping powers to investigate the activities of their own love interests.

But those agents are certainly not likely to set off a bomb in a public place.

Phyllis Chesler says there is another reason why CAIR and Greenwald are soul mates: “Greenwald shares CAIR’s anti-Semitism.” 

Indeed, Greenwald has long trafficked in anti-Semitism, without any scrutiny by the media.

Greenwald fixates—like all classic anti-Semites—on the supposed outsized influence of rich Jews. Typical was his 2007 personal blog post that Large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups are the ones agitating for a U.S. war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel’s interests.”

In a 2010 column for Salon, Greenwald called pro-Israel congressmen “Israel-Firsters,” which, of course, suggests dual loyalties.

“These are standard anti-Semitic tropes,” says American Jewish Committee general counsel Marc Stern. “That Jews are not loyal to the country in which they live. It is the left wing or modern version of The Protocols of [the Elders of] Zion.”

Moreover, it is certainly ironic that someone who has aided and abetted America’s enemies by doing his best to cripple American terrorist surveillance programs would accuse anyone else of disloyalty to this country. 

Greenwald is a longstanding CAIR shill. Indeed, if he is not a paid spokesman for CAIR, they are cheating him out of a salary.

Greenwald told the CAIR-San Francisco fundraising banquet last November that “there really is no organization with which I’d rather be spending my time, or with which I feel more at home than CAIR.”

In his speech, a rousing call to arms against supposed government persecution of Muslims, Greenwald even quoted the renowned communist Rosa Luxemberg, identifying her, not surprisingly, as merely a socialist.

Greenwald also spoke at a CAIR-New York dinner this past May.

Now, Greenwald will have an even more powerful vehicle to dupe Americans and the media about CAIR. BuzzFeed.com last week reported that Greenwald is leaving his outpost at the Guardian to launch a new investigative website and news outlet bankrolled by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

It is a safe bet that he will not be investigating CAIR’s ties to Hamas, which terrorism expert Steve Emerson, the executive director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, has long documented.

Indeed, this new media venture will almost certainly peddle the same old media falsehoods about CAIR.

This column was originally published at Accuracy in Media.

Evan Gahr, a former press critic and editorial writer for the New York Post, has also written about the media for The Wall Street Journal and American Spectator.

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