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David Yerushalmi

Factsheet: David Yerushalmi

Published on 08 Dec 2017

IMPACT: David Yerushalmi has played an active role in generating anti-Muslim rhetoric. Through his organizations SANE and AFLC, Yerushalmi has launched various anti-sharia campaigns and awareness drives that have shaped anti-sharia policies across the country. He has also been an advocate for the criminalization of adherence to sharia and Islam.

David Yerushalmi is an attorney and founder of the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) and the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC). The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes Yerushalmi as the “father of the anti-Sharia movement” and an “anti-Muslim ideologue.”

SPLC describes SANE, which was established in January 2006, as an “anti-Muslim organization devoted to promoting [Yerushalmi’s] theory that Islam is inherently seditious.” SANE’s website is now password-protected for members only.

AFLC describes itself as “dedicated to fighting for limited government, federalism, and America’s Judeo-Christian heritage.” Its Advisory Board includes individuals who espouse anti-Muslim views and policies, such as Frank Gaffney and Andrew McCarthy.

In response to the August 2017 amicus curiae brief filed by the AFLC in the United States Supreme Court, Yerushalmi stated it aims to “protect this country’s security from the quiet and legal infiltration of jihadists.” In the brief, AFLC argues that President Donald Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban is “constitutional” and an “interim step to extreme vetting for Islamist sharia ideology.”

Yerushalmi served as counsel to the American Public Policy Alliance (APPA), an anti-foreign law non-profit group established in 2009. As counsel, Yerushalmi in 2010 drafted a model act called “American Laws for American Courts” (ALAC).

In a 2017 report, the Haas Institute at the University of California Berkeley concluded that Yerushalmi’s ALAC served as a model for “the enactment of 18 anti-Muslim laws in 12 states in the US between 2010 and 2016.”

ACT for America, which is described by SPLC as the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in the United States, lists 13 ALAC bills that it claims to have helped pass, starting in 2010 and through 2017.

In 2008, SANE created a project called “Mapping Shari’ah in America.” According to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the project aimed to “infiltrate American mosques in order to expose radical elements.” The report methodology outlined how “surveyors” were sent to visit 100 mosques around the country in order to “observe and record 12 Shari‘a-adherent behaviors” which it claims would demonstrate a “correlation between sharia adherence at U.S. mosques” and “violent jihad against the West.”

According to a New York Times profile of Yerushalmi, the “Mapping Shari’ah in America” project connected him with Frank Gaffney. According to Gaffney, he and Yerushalmi set out to “engender a national debate about the nature of Shariah and the need to protect our Constitution and country from it.”

In 2011, findings from the “Mapping Shari’ah in America” project were published in the Middle East Quarterly, a peer-reviewed journal run by Daniel Pipes’ The Middle East Forum, which the Center for American Progress (CAP) describes as “the center of the Islamophobia network.”

In a December 2010 article, Yerushalmi discusses what he believes would be the most effective way to block mosque construction in the US. “Other than on the basis of zoning issues,” Yerushalmi believes one must “get at the underlying problem which is effectively outlawing Shariah in the United States.”

In 2010, Yerushalmi co-authored a CSP report, “Shariah: The Threat to America,” which recommends barring those who “espouse or support shariah” from serving in the government or the armed forces, and suggested that imams and mosques that advocate sharia in the US be prosecuted for “promoting seditious activity.”

In a 2007 article titled “War Manifesto- The War Against Islam” that was published on SANE’s website, Yerushalmi wrote, “If you adopt Shari’a as your theo-political-legal doctrine, you constitute our enemy and you are in our cross-hairs.”

That same year, as reported by CAIR, Yerushalmi proposed a policy that advocated felony conviction — punishable by 20 years in prison — for those who “knowingly act in furtherance of, or to support the, adherence to Islam.” The policy also proposed that the US Congress declare war on “Muslim nation or Umma,” that the President declare non-US citizen Muslims as “Alien Enemies” and deport them, and a ban of entry visas to Muslims.

According to the SPLC, Yerushalmi has provided legal counsel for anti-Muslim organizations, such as the Center for Security Policy (CSP) and Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA).

Yerushalmi has also been involved in various high-profile cases related to Islam and Muslims, including the federal government bailout of insurance company IAG over “Sharia compliant financing”; a defamation lawsuit against CSP and others by Ahmed Mohamed’s father; and controversial ads by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) that were displayed on public transportation in cities such as New York and Washington, DC.

As reported by Mother Jones, Yerushalmi has also espoused anti-Black, misogynistic and Antisemitic views. They include:There is a reason the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote”; and liberal Jews “destroy their host nations like a fatal parasite.”

Last updated November 1, 2017