How the MLI is normalising Israel through selective narratives

The Shalom Hartman Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI) barely manages to conceal its agenda. Launched in 2013, it has strived to marginalise Palestinians through its programme that emphasises fabrications of “conflict” to justify the prevailing Zionist colonial narrative. The institute’s choice of manipulation tactics lies in how to apply selectivity and disseminate the results to a wide audience.

While such tactics are unlikely to convince anyone with an understanding of the Israeli settler-colonial expansion and violence in Palestine, the MLI’s programme includes visits to Israel with the intention of communicating the Israeli colonial narrative. In keeping with its purported expansion of “participants’ critical understanding”, it defines the space and context of how Palestinians are represented by the institute. The tactic employed is to manipulate Palestinian aims by eliminating their expression and speaking over them. Palestinians’ function, in this case, is to build the coloniser’s narrative and exist as a mere appendage, rather than embody their own history and memory.

“Serving Israel” is the foundation of the Shalom Hartman’s Institute. Through its programs, among these, the MLI, it invites “American Muslims to explore how Jews understand Judaism, Israel, and Jewish peoplehood.” The overt implication of religion obscures the ultimate aim — that of normalising Israel through selective narratives that serve the colonial project. Read more.

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