David Yerushalmi is a lawyer and a political activist, and a driving force behind the anti-sharia movement in the United States – which already means that you have to be pretty thoroughly delusional. He is co-founder and Senior Counsel of the American Freedom Law Center (with Robert Muise), touted as “the first truly authentic Judeo-Christian public interest law firm” whose mission is “to fight for faith and freedom by advancing and defending America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral foundation through litigation, education, and public policy program,” and General Counsel to the Center for Security Policy, a think tank founded by Frank Gaffney. He is also the principal drafter of the American Laws for American Courts model legislation, an effort to prevent courts from taking foreign or international law into account; the legislation is in particular aimed at banning sharia, and has indeed been enacted into law in several states including Louisiana, Tennessee, Arizona, Kansas, and Oklahoma. As the American Bar Association, who generally opposes such measures, puts it, such legislation is “duplicative of safeguards that are already enshrined in federal and state law,” and rather obviously aimed at “stigmatiz[ing] an entire religious community.” Of course, some orthodox Jewish groups have been worried about such measures, since it would also outlaw halachah. According to Yerushalmi, however, that’s different, apparently primarily since shariah is Muslim and halachah is not.
More insidiously, Yerushalmi is the founder of SANE, the Society of Americans for National Existence, which has suggested, among other things, that:
- It shall be a felony punishable by 20 years in prison to knowingly act in furtherance of, or to support the, adherence to Islam.
- The Congress of the United States of America shall declare the US at war with the Muslim Nation or Umma.
- The President of the United States of America shall immediately declare that all non-US citizen Muslims are Alien Enemies under Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the US Code and shall be subject to immediate deportation.
- No Muslim shall be granted an entry visa into the United States of America.
So, according to Yerushalmi the “War on Terror” should be a war on Islam “and all Muslim faithful,” and the measures just mentioned would outlaw Islam and deporting Muslims and other “non-Western, non-Christian” people with the goal of protecting the United States’ “national character.” Given his own Jewish background I suppose he might have heard a thing or two about the efficacy of introducing such measures.
Yerushalmi is also very much opposed to a politically correct culture that prevents him from questioning why “the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote.” Indeed, “There is a reason the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote. You might not agree or like the idea but this country’s founders, otherwise held in the highest esteem for their understanding of human nature and its affect on political society, certainly took it seriously. Why is that? Were they so flawed in their political reckonings that they manhandled the most important aspect of a free society – the vote? If the vote counts for so much in a free and liberal democracy as we ‘know’ it today, why did they limit the vote so dramatically?” Indeed. He has also called black people “the most murderous of peoples.”
But Yerushalmi is also your standard wingnut across the board, and has not been exclusively occupied with his paranoid anti-Islam delusions and racism. In 2010, Yerushalmi and Muise filed the first federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, complaining about the “government’s takeover of the healthcare industry.” When they lost they, predictably subscribing to the rightwing myth of “activist judges,” described the judges as having made “a political decision.”
Diagnosis: Pretty close to being a standard white supremacist. A lot of people seem nevertheless more than willing to listen to him. A scary fellow.