Press TV talks with author Max Blumenthal who illuminates a hate campaign against Barak Obama by the Republic Party that targets Obama’s religious identity as a Muslim and how this campaign is having real life consequences on the entire Muslim community inside America.
Press TV: How far back does the Islamophobia campaign in the US go?
Max Blumenthal: It goes back to the 1930s and 40s when the American public was bombarded with anti-Arab/oriental images in the pop culture through cartoons and Hollywood movie productions for example. The movie Exodus (1960) with Paul Newman was about the foundation of Israel and the reason the film was made was because the American Jewish public was insufficiently sympathetic to or interested in Zionism and the establishment of the state of Israel so it portrayed Jewish terrorists as heroic and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem collaborating with Nazis portraying the Palestinians as Nazis.
There was already a pre-existing context where Americans were cultivated to hate and demonize Arabs. And after 9/11 it turned into a full-on political campaign. Through my research this campaign really started in the 1990s in earnest with a documentary called Jihad in America, which was broadcast on public television with a self-styled terror expert – Steven Emerson who claimed in this documentary that there were terror cells inside the US.
This led to round ups and prosecutions of Muslim leaders of which all of these prosecutions have been completely discredited, with no links to terrorism yet some were thrown in Jail anyway. People in congress at this time were not taking Emerson seriously, not until 9/11.