The Pro-Israeli page “Stand With US” recently shared an image of a Muslim woman at a pro-Israeli rally. Saba Rasheed, the woman in the picture, wrote about how she wasn’t surprised by the reaction that she was getting from other Muslims because of the “disgusting behavior” pervasive in “Muslim culture.” In another picture shared by “Stand With Us” Rasheed brags that she felt like a celebrity at the Israeli rally because apparently “being a Muslim and supporting the truth is so rare.” On her Facebook page Rasheed writes that she should just blame her inability to play pool on the Jews because “That’s all these people do.”
I’m not at all surprised by Rasheed’s support for Israel and anti-Muslim rhetoric. There is no shortage of Muslims who act as “Native informants” to reinforce bigoted ideas about Muslims and Islam. These Muslims support Islamophobia ideas about the majority of Muslims in order to prove that they are part of the “good Muslims” minority. These are the Muslims who Fox news LOVE because they can be used to legitimize their bigoted views. Like Zuhdi Jasser who warned of the “quiet majority [of American Muslims] that hates America.” Or Tawfik Hamid who believes that a majority of Muslims “are brought up in a manner that considers a peaceful understanding of the religion as a sign of weakness rather than a sign of strength.”
What else do Jasser and Hamid have in common besides spreading disgusting generalizations about Muslims? They both are staunch supporters of Israel. Few things give you more credibility as one of the “Good Muslims” as supporting Israel without reservation and labeling all Muslims who disagree with you as anti-Semites.
So Rasheed’s actions are not rare. She is not a celebrity, she is not supporting truth. She is just another individual whose racial or religious identity is used to add legitimacy to a racist and oppressive system. She is a just another tool used to justify occupation, apartheid, islamophobia… the list goes on. She is just another Muslim used to faithwash the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by presenting it as a conflict between Muslims versus Jews rather than an issue of colonization and ethnic cleansing. This is of course completely problematic because besides covering Israel’s crimes, faithwashing also conflates Jews with Israel and Muslims with Palestine. Not all Jews support Israel, and as Rasheed makes clear being a Muslim does not necessarily mean you have any understanding of or connection to the Palestinian struggle.
In one of the pictures she is holding a flag for the Golani brigade, a brigade known for its human rights violations against Palestinian youth. Apparently that doesn’t matter to Rasheed, because her support for Israel and the Israeli Defense Force seems to be unwavering. I don’t know why she unconditionally supports a nation and army that doesn’t comply with international laws and violates daily the basic human rights of Palestinians.
Maybe she just likes the attention of being a “celebrity” at pro-Israel rallies. Or she likes feeling superior to the rest of the Muslims who she criticizes. It’s also possible that she is getting financial benefits for her support. This is not a conspiracy theory. Israel actually pays people to spread pro-Israeli propaganda (desperate much), as part of their hasbara campaign. Unsurprisingly, Rasheed is part of a Facebook group called “Israeli Hasbara.”
But maybe Saba Rasheed really just believes she is doing the right thing. Maybe she doesn’t actually understand what’s happening in Palestine and Israel. Either way, she is supporting the oppressors over the oppressed, while also reinforcing anti-Islam sentiment. Ignorance doesn’t absolve her of this, though she probably knows exactly what she is doing.