Urth Caffe Defends Against Anti-Muslim Allegations...By Hiring Anti-Muslim Lawyer

Go figure: the latte art is of a dove
Go figure: the latte art is of a dove
Courtesy of Sara Farsakh

Urth Caffé isn't taking a lawsuit filed by Sara Farsakh and her hijabi friends alleging anti-Muslim discrimination at its Laguna Beach spot lying down. A day after the Muslim women held a press conference in SanTana announcing their legal action, the restaurant chain fired back, calling it "fraudulent." Urth Caffé plans to countersue by retaining the services of David Yerushalmi of the American Freedom Law Center. Only problem? Yerushalmi is anti-Muslim as hell!

"The lead plaintiff (Sara Farsakh) in the frivolous lawsuit is ... a college-age activist for Palestinan [sic] causes," Yerushalmi told the Orange County Register. "We intend to sue Farsakh and her co-conspirators for tresspass [sic] and to seek damages." (quick aside: did the Reggie fire all its copy editors?). The paper never bothered taking a peek at the New York-based lawyer's greatest Islamophobic hits. For anyone interested, don't do it at Urth Caffé during rush times, lest you lose your seat to its 45-minute policy before barely scratching the surface! 

So loathsome is Yerushalmi that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) placed the lawyer in its "The Anti-Islam Inner Circle" top ten list of hardliners. The 2011 feature has great artwork to go along with it but far more illustrative is Yerushalmi's own quoted words. "On the so-called Global War on Terrorism, GWOT, we have been quite clear along with a few other resolute souls," he wrote in a 2007 commentary. "This should be a WAR AGAINST ISLAM and all Muslim faithful." 

Yerushalmi's weapon of choice in that war has been what he calls "lawfare." Before hopping on to represent Urth Caffé, his previous clients included Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) hate group co-founder Pam Geller and Terry Jones, the Koran-burning Florida pastor who made headlines with his religious bigotry. Yerushalmi's moment in the spotlight largely came in 2011. A profile in The New York Times ran that year crediting him as the father of the anti-Shariah movement that passed legislation in several states against an imaginary Muslim threat to the U.S. constitution. 

That summer, Yerushalmi also authored a report in the Middle East Quarterly that claimed 80 percent of mosques in the United States either promoted or supported violence. "The Mythical ‘moderate’ Muslim … the Muslim who embraces traditional Islam but wants a peaceful coexistence with the West, is effectively non-existent," he added. Yerushalmi equates Shariah with Islamic extremism and views it as seditious to the "Judeo-Christian" core of the U.S., a stance so radical that even the Anti-Defamation League has trashed his views.

But hey, Muslims aren't the only ones in the scope. The SPLC reported that Urth Caffé's new lawyer once called black folk "the most murderous of people." Undocumented immigrants? They should be put in "special criminal camps" for three years before being deported. To Yerushalmi, "most of the fundamental differences between the races are genetic." An Orthodox Jew, he also spews bile against liberal Jews. Oy vey...

Okay, we'll stop there for now! But if Urth Caffé owner Shallom Burkman wants to dispel notions that Farsakh and friends got the boot from his establishment just for being Muslim, enlisting Yerushalmi in the fight sure ain't gonna help. And besides, with the lawyer's anti-Muslim views so blatant, shouldn't Burkman's wife be worried—you know, because she's a Muslim?

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