George Bush today


Jewish Bible InstituteImagine, we elected this man as president twice!  He couldn’t bring on the apocalypse as president so he’s trying to do it as an ex-president?

Next week, former President George W. Bush is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser in Irving, Texas, for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that trains people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The organization’s goal: to “restore” Israel and the Jews and bring about about the second coming of Christ.

Bush would not be able to engage in such activity as president because it certainly be viewed as a violation of the First Amendment separation of church and state rights but pursuing such an agenda as a private citizen can only make one ask is this the true George W. Bush?  But isn’t this what Christianity believes, that no one can be saved unless they accept Jesus as their savior?  In that regard Bush is doing nothing more than what his religion demands.  The notion that people aren’t good enough as they already are however, is an idea that has to be abandoned if we are to live as citizens of America.

So, What did the Muslims do for the Jews?


according to David J. Wasserstein, plenty in an essay he wrote for of all things, The Jewish Chronicle OnLine

Jewish subjects of the Ottoman Empire, sevente...

Jewish subjects of the Ottoman Empire, seventeenth century. From the 1901-1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, now in the public domain. Category:Jewish Encyclopedia images (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Islam saved Jewry. This is an unpopular, discomforting claim in the modern world. But it is a historical truth. The argument for it is double. First, in 570 CE, when the Prophet Mohammad was born, the Jews and Judaism were on the way to oblivion. And second, the coming of Islam saved them, providing a new context in which they not only survived, but flourished, laying foundations for subsequent Jewish cultural prosperity – also in Christendom – through the medieval period into the modern world.

By the fourth century, Christianity had become the dominant religion in the Roman empire. One aspect of this success was opposition to rival faiths, including Judaism, along with massive conversion of members of such faiths, sometimes by force, to Christianity. Much of our testimony about Jewish existence in the Roman empire from this time on consists of accounts of conversions.

Great and permanent reductions in numbers through conversion, between the fourth and the seventh centuries, brought with them a gradual but relentless whittling away of the status, rights, social and economic existence, and religious and cultural life of Jews all over the Roman empire.

A long series of enactments deprived Jewish people of their rights as citizens, prevented them from fulfilling their religious obligations, and excluded them from the society of their fellows.

This went along with the centuries-long military and political struggle with Persia. As a tiny element in the Christian world, the Jews should not have been affected much by this broad, political issue. Yet it affected them critically, because the Persian empire at this time included Babylon – now Iraq – at the time home to the world’s greatest concentration of Jews.

Here also were the greatest centres of Jewish intellectual life. The most important single work of Jewish cultural creativity in over 3,000 years, apart from the Bible itself – the Talmud – came into being in Babylon. The struggle between Persia and Byzantium, in our period, led increasingly to a separation between Jews under Byzantine, Christian rule and Jews under Persian rule.

Beyond all this, the Jews who lived under Christian rule seemed to have lost the knowledge of their own culturally specific languages – Hebrew and Aramaic – and to have taken on the use of Latin or Greek or other non-Jewish, local, languages. This in turn must have meant that they also lost access to the central literary works of Jewish culture – the Torah, Mishnah, poetry, midrash, even liturgy.

The loss of the unifying force represented by language – and of the associated literature – was a major step towards assimilation and disappearance. In these circumstances, with contact with the one place where Jewish cultural life continued to prosper – Babylon – cut off by conflict with Persia, Jewish life in the Christian world of late antiquity was not simply a pale shadow of what it had been three or four centuries earlier. It was doomed.

Had Islam not come along, the conflict with Persia would have continued. The separation between western Judaism, that of Christendom, and Babylonian Judaism, that of Mesopotamia, would have intensified. Jewry in the west would have declined to disappearance in many areas. And Jewry in the east would have become just another oriental cult.

But this was all prevented by the rise of Islam. The Islamic conquests of the seventh century changed the world, and did so with dramatic, wide-ranging and permanent effect for the Jews.

Within a century of the death of Mohammad, in 632, Muslim armies had conquered almost the whole of the world where Jews lived, from Spain eastward across North Africa and the Middle East as far as the eastern frontier of Iran and beyond. Almost all the Jews in the world were now ruled by Islam. This new situation transformed Jewish existence. Their fortunes changed in legal, demographic, social, religious, political, geographical, economic, linguistic and cultural terms – all for the better.

First, things improved politically. Almost everywhere in Christendom where Jews had lived now formed part of the same political space as Babylon – Cordoba and Basra lay in the same political world. The old frontier between the vital centre in Babylonia and the Jews of the Mediterranean basin was swept away, forever.

Political change was partnered by change in the legal status of the Jewish population: although it is not always clear what happened during the Muslim conquests, one thing is certain. The result of the conquests was, by and large, to make the Jews second-class citizens.

This should not be misunderstood: to be a second-class citizen was a far better thing to be than not to be a citizen at all. For most of these Jews, second-class citizenship represented a major advance. In Visigothic Spain, for example, shortly before the Muslim conquest in 711, the Jews had seen their children removed from them and forcibly converted to Christianity and had themselves been enslaved.

In the developing Islamic societies of the classical and medieval periods, being a Jew meant belonging to a category defined under law, enjoying certain rights and protections, alongside various obligations. These rights and protections were not as extensive or as generous as those enjoyed by Muslims, and the obligations were greater but, for the first few centuries, the Muslims themselves were a minority, and the practical differences were not all that great.

Along with legal near-equality came social and economic equality. Jews were not confined to ghettos, either literally or in terms of economic activity. The societies of Islam were, in effect, open societies. In religious terms, too, Jews enjoyed virtually full freedom. They might not build many new synagogues – in theory – and they might not make too public their profession of their faith, but there was no really significant restriction on the practice of their religion. Along with internal legal autonomy, they also enjoyed formal representation, through leaders of their own, before the authorities of the state. Imperfect and often not quite as rosy as this might sound, it was at least the broad norm.

The political unity brought by the new Islamic world-empire did not last, but it created a vast Islamic world civilisation, similar to the older Christian civilisation that it replaced. Within this huge area, Jews lived and enjoyed broadly similar status and rights everywhere. They could move around, maintain contacts, and develop their identity as Jews. A great new expansion of trade from the ninth century onwards brought the Spanish Jews – like the Muslims – into touch with the Jews and the Muslims even of India.

A ll this was encouraged by a further, critical development. Huge numbers of people in the new world of Islam adopted the language of the Muslim Arabs. Arabic gradually became the principal language of this vast area, excluding almost all the rest: Greek and Syriac, Aramaic and Coptic and Latin all died out, replaced by Arabic. Persian, too, went into a long retreat, to reappear later heavily influenced by Arabic.

The Jews moved over to Arabic very rapidly. By the early 10th century, only 300 years after the conquests, Sa’adya Gaon was translating the Bible into Arabic. Bible translation is a massive task – it is not undertaken unless there is a need for it. By about the year 900, the Jews had largely abandoned other languages and taken on Arabic.

The change of language in its turn brought the Jews into direct contact with broader cultural developments. The result from the 10th century on was a striking pairing of two cultures. The Jews of the Islamic world developed an entirely new culture, which differed from their culture before Islam in terms of language, cultural forms, influences, and uses. Instead of being concerned primarily with religion, the new Jewish culture of the Islamic world, like that of its neighbours, mixed the religious and the secular to a high degree. The contrast, both with the past and with medieval Christian Europe, was enormous.

Like their neighbours, these Jews wrote in Arabic in part, and in a Jewish form of that language. The use of Arabic brought them close to the Arabs. But the use of a specific Jewish form of that language maintained the barriers between Jew and Muslim. The subjects that Jews wrote about, and the literary forms in which they wrote about them, were largely new ones, borrowed from the Muslims and developed in tandem with developments in Arabic Islam.

Also at this time, Hebrew was revived as a language of high literature, parallel to the use among the Muslims of a high form of Arabic for similar purposes. Along with its use for poetry and artistic prose, secular writing of all forms in Hebrew and in (Judeo-)Arabic came into being, some of it of high quality.

Much of the greatest poetry in Hebrew written since the Bible comes from this period. Sa’adya Gaon, Solomon Ibn Gabirol, Ibn Ezra (Moses and Abraham), Maimonides, Yehuda Halevi, Yehudah al-Harizi, Samuel ha-Nagid, and many more – all of these names, well known today, belong in the first rank of Jewish literary and cultural endeavour.

W here did these Jews produce all this? When did they and their neighbours achieve this symbiosis, this mode of living together? The Jews did it in a number of centres of excellence. The most outstanding of these was Islamic Spain, where there was a true Jewish Golden Age, alongside a wave of cultural achievement among the Muslim population. The Spanish case illustrates a more general pattern, too.

What happened in Islamic Spain – waves of Jewish cultural prosperity paralleling waves of cultural prosperity among the Muslims – exemplifies a larger pattern in Arab Islam. In Baghdad, between the ninth and the twelfth centuries; in Qayrawan (in north Africa), between the ninth and the 11th centuries; in Cairo, between the 10th and the 12th centuries, and elsewhere, the rise and fall of cultural centres of Islam tended to be reflected in the rise and fall of Jewish cultural activity in the same places.

This was not coincidence, and nor was it the product of particularly enlightened liberal patronage by Muslim rulers. It was the product of a number of deeper features of these societies, social and cultural, legal and economic, linguistic and political, which together enabled and indeed encouraged the Jews of the Islamic world to create a novel sub-culture within the high civilisation of the time.

This did not last for ever; the period of culturally successful symbiosis between Jew and Arab Muslim in the middle ages came to a close by about 1300. In reality, it had reached this point even earlier, with the overall relative decline in the importance and vitality of Arabic culture, both in relation to western European cultures and in relation to other cultural forms within Islam itself; Persian and Turkish.

Jewish cultural prosperity in the middle ages operated in large part as a function of Muslim, Arabic cultural (and to some degree political) prosperity: when Muslim Arabic culture thrived, so did that of the Jews; when Muslim Arabic culture declined, so did that of the Jews.

In the case of the Jews, however, the cultural capital thus created also served as the seed-bed of further growth elsewhere – in Christian Spain and in the Christian world more generally.

The Islamic world was not the only source of inspiration for the Jewish cultural revival that came later in Christian Europe, but it certainly was a major contributor to that development. Its significance cannot be overestimated.

Alice Walker has a much better sense of history than Herman Cain! Maybe she should run for President


Reading and talking about "Why War is Nev...

Image via Wikipedia

Alice Walker gets it, she understands her responsibility to humanity as a result of the struggles she and people before her went through in this country.

there is for me an awareness of paying off a debt to the Jewish civil rights activists who faced death to come to the side of black people in the South in our time of need. I am especially indebted to Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman who heard our calls for help – our government then as now glacially slow in providing protection to non-violent protestors-and came to stand with us.

They got as far as the truncheons and bullets of a few “good ol’ boys’” of Neshoba County, Mississippi and were beaten and shot to death along with James Cheney, a young black man of formidable courage who died with them. So, even though our boat will be called The Audacity of Hope, it will fly the Goodman, Cheney, Schwerner flag in my own heart.

And what of the children of Palestine, who were ignored in our President’s latest speech on Israel and Palestine, and whose impoverished, terrorized, segregated existence was mocked by the standing ovations recently given in the U.S. Congress to the prime minister of Israel?

I see children, all children, as humanity’s most precious resource, because it will be to them that the care of the planet will always be left. One child must never be set above another, even in casual conversation, not to mention in speeches that circle the globe.

As insightful as it can get. I admire someone who risks it all, including her life if we are to go on Israel’s past deeds towards such endeavors, to stand up for the rights of people and a cause that’s not politically correct. Perhaps Herman can and all the other demagogues of the GOP can learn a thing or two from Ms. Walker. The WSJ’s James Taranto’s claims of political correctness prohibiting him and others from advancing bigotry ring hollow when weighed against the moral certainty of Walker’s position. Respect!

Assaulting adherents of a faith because of their religious texts is a funadmentally flawed concept for Christians


and here’s why.

the Bible overflows with “texts of terror,” to borrow a phrase coined by the American theologian Phyllis Trible. The Bible contains far more verses praising or urging bloodshed than does the Koran, and biblical violence is often far more extreme, and marked by more indiscriminate savagery….

portions of the Bible, by contrast, go much further in ordering the total extermination of enemies, of whole families and races – of men, women, and children, and even their livestock, with no quarter granted…..

Commands to kill, to commit ethnic cleansing, to institutionalize segregation, to hate and fear other races and religions . . . all are in the Bible, and occur with a far greater frequency than in the Koran.

and so it goes.  With all the Biblical references to death, murder, terror does that mean that Christians are terrorists and murderers and in order to preserve mankind we must institute collective punishment against all those who proclaim the Christian faith.  Such talk is ludicrous, yet it is the type of talk directed towards Muslims who have been living peacefully, relatively speaking, for decades if not centuries in North America.  The purveyors of this idea of collective punishment, a Biblical injunction ironically enough, claim that they are not racist or bigoted because Islam is an ideology, not a race, but they seek to make  illegal practices of Muslims associated with the Islamic religion, like the ritual washing before prayer, or even the prayer itself even when such actions are beneficial to the greater society and not just Muslims like interest free banking, and they claim this is not racism or bigotry?  It is the very definition of bigotry: intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself  and xenophobia.

To say that terrorists can find religious texts to justify their acts does not mean that their violence actually grows from those scriptural roots….The difference between the Bible and the Koran is not that one book teaches love while the other proclaims warfare and terrorism, rather it is a matter of how the works are read. Yes, the Koran has been ransacked to supply texts authorizing murder, but so has the Bible…If Christians or Jews want to point to violent parts of the Koran and suggest that those elements taint the whole religion, they open themselves to the obvious question: what about their own faiths? If the founding text shapes the whole religion, then Judaism and Christianity deserve the utmost condemnation as religions of savagery. Of course, they are no such thing; nor is Islam.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

The King Charade


The folks at Loonwatch.com have called Rep. Peter King’s hearings Thursday political theater.  I think it’s something much more sinister than that; rather it is an attempt of bigoted King to legitimize legal oppressive measures against America’s Muslims, much like what is trying to be enforced by several state legislatures throughout the country.  Yet, for all the impressive pomp and ceremony of a congressional hearing that King could muster, there is no, absolutely no substance to his premise that there is any radicalization of America’s Muslim population by American enemies, perceived, imagined or real.

First comes this bit of news totally overlooked by King and his Republican colleagues on the committee that the number of incidents of “terrorism” is not at all worth the effort and tax payer money King has invested for his charade

The number of Muslim-Americans engaged in terrorist acts aimed at the U.S. declined in 2010 from 18 to 10. Including domestic and international targets, the figure dropped from 47 to 20….

“We have a tremendously efficient system of international and national news services that sift through all of the violence that occurs around the world every day and finds hints of Islamic terrorist intention, and then sends news of those incidents to the news services and to our TVs and newspapers and blogs,” Kurzman said. “The result is we end up with a skewed perception of the prevalence of Islamic terrorism.”

In total, he says, 11 Muslim-American terrorists are responsible for killing 33 people since Sept. 11. Per capita, Muslim Americans are more likely to engage in terrorism than the general population, but the threat is still miniscule in the context of the more than 15,000 homicides that occur in the U.S. each year.

Perhaps it might be more accurate to say that per capita Muslims are more likely to be “charged” with committing acts of terrorism as the news of the arrests of the “terrorist” cell in Alaska underscores, where instead of being charged with terrorist related acts, these defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit murder, arson and kidnapping instead.  What has happened and what King’s hearings help further is the notion that only “Muslim Americans” commit terrorism and are or should be charged with the offense, making it politically correct to associate the charge only to that group of Americans while anyone else  seen as committing similar offenses are less threatening to the existence of the body politic.  King therefore, despite his pleas to the contrary has given in to political correctness of American bigots by underscoring a myth, not a reality as the first link above demonstrates.

However, it’s nice to see that there are some, besides the Muslim community and in some cases in spite of it, who are resisting the temptation offered by King to become bigots like himself.  It’s very heartening to see that two minorities, Asians and Jews,  once tarred with the brush of American racism still remember its lessons and are asking King to be as civic minded as they in respecting citizenship.

Last week, Rep. Michael M. Honda (D-Calif.), who as a child spent several wartime years living behind barbed wire at Camp Amache in southeastern Colorado, denounced King’s hearings as “something similarly sinister.”

“Rep. King’s intent seems clear: To cast suspicion upon all Muslim Americans and to stoke the fires of anti-Muslim prejudice and Islamophobia,” Honda wrote in an op-ed published by the San Francisco Chronicle.

and again, here

Jewish historical experience remembers that not too long ago, we too were the victims of suspicion and hatred based on our religion and ethnicity. The actions of the few should not condemn the many, and every religion has its teachings both of violence and of peace. Jewish tradition demands that we remember the heart of the stranger, because we were strangers in the land of Egypt. If one minority can be singled out for congressional hearings or restrictions on places of worship, anyone can be.

I doubt King will listen.  He’s far to emboldened by the insulated cocoon of racists, Islamophobes who have taken him under their wing to advance a political reality he is too eager to carry out, but it’s nice to see that the spirit of liberty and the resistance to this part of our culture still lives.  These are indeed dark times for our country….I’m glad Jon Stewart is around to liven and lighten things up……..even if it’s momentary.

 

 

Who is driving the anti-Shariah legislation in state legislatures


We’ve often spoke here about people whose views and opinions about their fellow Americans are so outdated and beyond the pale such dialogue belongs in the dust bin of American relics.  David Yerushalmi’s name needs to be added to the list.  He is one of the forces behind the emergence of this latest American phenomenon popping up in state legislatures across the country, called anti-Shariah legislation.  Yerushalmi and his minions have managed to frighten people in state governments into thinking their citizens want to “impose” Islamic law on others, the US Constitution notwithstanding, and therefore a clear and definite curtailment of the rights of Muslims to practice their religion is necessary to stop a threat that only exists in the minds of Yerushalmi, et.al.  The et.al who agree with this xenophobe is the Republican Party who has taken up the banner of Islamophobia in trying to enact this legislation.  If anyone has any misgivings about the GOP, they should dispel them now; it has gone over to the dark side and become the party of racists and war mongers.  How else can you account for them embracing someone as avidly racist as Yerushalmi.

this is a guy who endorses the principle that “Caucasians” are superior to blacks and that Jewish liberals are a cancer in the U.S. body politic.  The nearest Jewish “intellectual” antecedent I can determine would be Meir Kahane.  But Yerushalmi’s views are far more radical than Kahane’s.  The only difference is that Kahane embraced violence as a tool in his campaign against Arabs and anti-Semites.  The latter-day Jewish Islamophobe, an attorney, is far too slick for that.  He merely suggests that all non-citizen Muslims in the country be deported and many of the rest thrown in concentration camps. In Yerushalmi-world, any Muslim who espoused Sharia would earn him or herself a 20 year stay in the federal pen.

But there’s more

Stop the Madrassa leader David Yerushalmi also condemns democracy in the United States and, in comments that evoke classical anti-Semitic stereotypes, says he finds truth in the view that Jews “destroy their host nations like a fatal parasite.”

Yerushalmi, a national advisory board member, counsel and de facto treasurer for Stop the Madrassa, wrote regarding conservative criticism of Israel, Zionism and Jews: “Much of what drives it is true and accurate.” Conservatives’ primary “critique,” he said, “is that the Jews of the modern age are the most radical, aggressive and effective of the liberal Elite.”

“One must admit readily that the radical liberal Jew is a fact of the West and a destructive one,” he wrote. “Indeed, Jews in the main have turned their backs on the belief in G-d and His commandments as a book of laws for a particular and chosen people.”

In Israel, he said, other than the ultra-Orthodox, “Most Israelis are raging Leftists, and this includes the so-called nationalists who found a home in the ‘right-wing’ Likud political bloc or one of the other smaller and more marginal right wing parties.”

In Yerushalmi’s world, there is no room for dissent, even from his anti-semitic, fascist ramblings.  His  organization, Society of Americans for National Existence, SANE, declares, it  ‘is dedicated to the rejection of democracy and party rule and a return to a constitutional republic’.  You can read more about this darling of the Republican party who is more worthy of legal remedies to stop the spread of his anti-democracy message than even the strongest al-Qaida operative, here and here.  The fact that his ideas have found traction in todays America is both troubling and an indication of how backwards American politics have gone.

The Politics of Rape


It will be interesting to see if CBS reporter Lara Logan will come out and set the record straight on what happened to her when she was in Cairo, Egypt covering the downfall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime.  Surely she is reading, listening and watching the coverage about her alleged rape and the motivation behind it; some news reports claim the attackers were shouting Jew, Jew while raping her.  We here in America have been conditioned to believe that rape is a crime of violence, but in today’s hatred drenched society, where everything that has to do with the Middle East, Arabs, Muslims and Islam is magnified and collective guilt is the order of the day, rape has become a political football tossed about to further denigrate Muslims and Arabs in order to advance a political agenda.

In the case of Egypt, it’s not hard to know what that agenda is.  Mubarak, a long time ally of America is gone.  As the second largest recipient of US aid Egypt was instrumental  in allowing the genocide of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to go on unflinchingly by a bloodthirsty and determined Israeli military.  His loss is a blow to the aim of eliminating, wiping Palestinians off the face of the map.  The prevailing mood in Western societies today is to set up the straw man of Islam as something to be feared and there is no greater victim that is ravaged by Islam than a white woman.  Much like the fear of 20th century America to African-Americans and the thought that every white female was the center of their lust, the perpetrator has been replaced by the Arab Muslim.

There’s no doubt Egypt and Egyptian men have a problem with sexual harassment.  Just ask the countless number of Egyptian women who have had to bear the brunt of that despicable act, something I might add we wrote about here when no one else was talking about it but their problem has nothing to do with their religion if we believe in the conventional wisdom that says rape is violence.  Otherwise, what do we account for the statistics found here about rape and the American woman on American soil, far removed from the so called Islamic menace?

There were 248,300 rapes/sexual assaults in the United States in 2007, more than 500 per day, up from 190,600 in 2005. Women were more likely than men to be victims; the rate for rape/sexual assault for persons age 12 or older in 2007 was 1.8 per 1,000 for females and 0.1 per 1,000 for males.7

Nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life.4

Do these statistics mean that 25% of all American men are liars when they say they love the women in their lives who they eventually go on to rape, and that therefore ALL American men are liars and rapists?    Or what about this comment from a person in a position of authority who had this to say about the rape of a woman who had gone to him for help

…’it must have been God’s will for her to be raped’ and recommended that she attend church more frequently.”

are we to conclude therefore that the Judeo-Christian ethic at work in America turns a blind eye to victims of rape and suggests their only remedy is increased attendance at their houses of worship, thereby making the law as impotent as their rapist no doubt was?  Yet pundits like Michael Graham of the Boston Herald too readily dismiss such connections to American culture and rape while reaping it upon Arab and Muslim culture because such shoddy journalism is en vogue in today’s media.

Having 200 “good guys” gang assault a female reporter while screaming “Jew! Jew!” doesn’t fit the narrative. Is that why CBS sat on the story?

Or is it the cultural issue? A rape in a bar is a sex crime. But a pack of political protesters who rape a “Jew” in public is a story about culture.

Graham gets it wrong on both counts; a rape in a bar is a violent crime, that has nothing to do with sex, but with control and a rape in public by people shouting Jew, if that’s what they were shouting, is also a crime of violence but in today’s journalism, the goal posts can be easily moved around in order to validate the racism inherent in the notions about Islam and Muslims, and no one sees anything wrong with that.  Men, who may never commit a rape or wouldn’t even dream of it are able to cast aspersions against those who do and make huge leaps to ascribe motive when rape is as simple, or bestial if you were, as inherent and primal as human nature itself; as murder, assault, or any other crime against humanity.  Logan wasn’t assaulted because of  politics…..ask the countless numbers of women in Egypt and America if their rape had anything to do with politics or religion.  She was assaulted because of the rage and violence, the fantasy and the lust that whipped her attackers into a frenzied orgy of lawlessness.  If you don’t believe me, just ask one of the women you might know who was raped.  Chances are you do know someone who was.

Uncle Toming with bigots


Every group of people has them.  You know the ones who are effusive with praise for people who conceivably mean them harm, therby hoping to be accepted by these sheep in wolves’  clothing.  Jews call such people, self hating jews, and African Americans call them Uncle Toms. Meet today’s new Uncle Tom. Allen West, the newly elected US congressman from Florida went on The Shalom Show, that alone should tell you where this is going, and when asked a very leading and bigoted question about  Keith Ellison, another US congressman from Minnesota, and Islam had this to say:

Well I think it’s most important that I stand upon the principles that people elected me to go to Washington, DC and represent them on Capitol Hill. So that when you run into someone that is counter, or someone that really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established, you’ve got to be able to defeat them intellectually in debate and discourse, and you to just have to be able to challenge each and every one of their assertions very wisely and very forthright (sic).

First off, it’s embarrassing for a Jew in America, with all the history that means to ask anyone to comment on the religious preference of any other American in a defamatory manner.  I wish someone would call the ADL on the announcer, host Richard Peritz for asking a question he knew would solicit the kind of hatred he and other Jews in America once feared and fought against.  But then to have West, an African American member of Congress respond to  that fear mongering and bigotry in kind, well that’s just mighty white of him.

Hatred and racism have come full circle in America.  A black man and  a Jew team up together to denigrate the choice of a fellow American and imply that such an American has no right to that choice and should be discriminated against because of it.  That’s where America is today, in the 21st century, in the year of our lord, 2011.  This is who we’ve become and it is as ugly today as it was in during the days of the Jim Crow south and as worthy of the attention of the masses of people to protest and demonstrate against.  Racism must be alleviated in America; it is detestable no matter who spews it, even if they were once its victims, they cannot, must not victimize others with it!

Terrorism strikes again


Six people, as of this writing, were killed in a terrorist attack against federal officials in Arizona on Saturday.  That’s probably how the news would read if the attacker(s) were Muslim, but instead the “attack” is invariably called a “shooting spree” or merely a “shooting” and any notion that this was politically motivated is even further dispelled with descriptions of the shooter being mentally unstable, deranged, almost apolitical or so crazy that one cannot make any political sense out of what he did.

Jared Loughner, right,  is the man and there’s nothing about his identity to lead people to suspect anything other than the obvious…he quite simply is a murderer, like so many who’ve gone before him in this country.  What’s special about him is not the crime…..America is as violent as apple pie; we are a Nation steeped in violence and in many cases we inflict it on others.  Just ask the Iraqis.  What’s special about Loughner is he committed this crime at a time when we have politicized murder and led the country to believe that only a certain group of people are able to carry it out; that they lie in wait to unleash it against us and that all of our efforts should be aimed at this group of individuals exclusively to identify them, flush them out and bring them to justice.  It didn’t help that tangential notions like places of worship, choices of food, articles of clothing, ballot initiatives in Oklahoma, etc.,  got put into the mix to further confuse and infuriate us our goal was shortsighted and pretty damn near illegal.

In 2009 after Obama came into office and HIS Department of Homeland Security came into power and identified the treat to the homeland as being from right wing extremism, a hue and cry went up from those on the right lambasting government for targeting them….in much the same way as Homeland Security targeted others before Obama and it’s been denial ever since.  Perhaps even today, with the identity of this latest terrorist, captured alive I might add, there is every effort to distance him from the ideology or way of thinking he embraced. I opined somewhere that perhaps we might waterboard this captured shooter to know the extent of his act; whether he was helped in any way by others who might be ready to pounce on the next government official, since for now such a notion is likely,  and I was half joking.  Remember when “waterboarding” was considered appropriate for some in our not too distant past?

Why we aren’t more honest with one another during hard times is a case study for psychologists. Speaking of which I would like to mention one who I think has nailed down what ails us today.  In a piece entitled ‘Rudeness is a Neurotoxin’, Dr. Douglas Fields says we are a product of our environment and today’s environment is one of ‘profane language, hostilities and stress from which we adults, raised a generation ago, were carefully shielded.’  In other words the lack of civil discourse, the in-your-face, put-on-your-man pants attitude is the blowback which causes us, Americans,  to be terrorist and makes it perfectly acceptable in our minds, or rather the minds of those so affected, to kill men, women and children….there was a six year old girl killed yesterday.  After being battered for the last 10 years about the power of words and how important they are in giving ‘aid and comfort’ to the enemy when many of us rallied against government intrusion into our lives and the lives of others who were of no threat to us or our interest, we no doubt will be told how the words that rang in the ears of this latest terrorist are of no importance in talking about his heinous crime, and that, no doubt, will make us all feel better about what happened.

But really folks, what we have is an American terrorist, a murderer….all murder, especially against an unsuspecting victim is terror isn’t it?  He even used the tools of terrorism…..his suicidal confessional on his My Space page and Youtube were some of the trappings he had in common with other terrorists but he’s distinct from them in he’s more acceptable as a murderer than as a terrorist, because terrorists have a special place in the American psyche that only people of certain persuasions can occupy and therein lies the problem.  We have made race, religion, the standard by which we make things legal or illegal or how we categorize crime and criminals.  Once again, despite all the trappings of being an advanced society, mature and wiser after  all these over 230 years, we still have the inclination to either raise or lower the bar depending on who the perpetrator/victim is.  Jared Loughner is either a terrorist or a murderer, and Major Hassan Nidal is either a terrorist or a murder and they both belong on the same page in American history with the same designation applied to them and if they’re not then we still too color conscious to be just.  It’s our call America.

 

UPDATE

One has to wonder whether the news that this attempted assassination was religiously inspired, anti-Semitic in origin might make the “terrorist” label more palatable.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo reportedly notes that Gabriel Giffords is Jewish in describing the motives of the Arizona congresswoman’s alleged assailant.The memo, obtained by Fox News Channel, says that Jared Lee Loughner mentioned American Renaissance, an extremist anti-immigrant group, in some of his own postings.

“The group’s ideology is anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti-Semitic,” says the memo sent to law enforcement, which also notes that Giffords, a Democrat, was the first Jewish congresswoman from Arizona.

In this writer’s opinion, however, all of that is irrelevant.  It is now what it was then, an act of premeditated terror which resulted in the deaths of 6 humans and the maiming of many more.  Are the parents of the 9 year old girl killed by the assassin any more relieved from their anguish and grief that because one of the survivor’s of his terror was Jewish, therefore the crime which killed their daughter should be considered an act of terrorism?   Hardly!  The broadest most inclusive definition, ‘any actions that endanger human life or violate U.S. laws’ is indeed the best.  Not that it would mean anything more in terms of a punishment, but it removes the racist element of the term and hopefully makes truly combating and solving terrorism more urgent.

For American Jews Hating Muslims is good for Israel


Well that’s not really the title of this op/ed, but it says that’s what many are being encouraged to feel among some in the Jewish community.  A few excerpts appear below

I don’t know why I am at all surprised that the American Right - including the Republican Party - has decided that scapegoating Muslims is the ticket to success. After all, it’s nothing new.

I remember right after 9/11 when the columnist Charles Krauthammer, now one of the most vocal anti-Muslim demagogues, almost literally flipped out in my Chevy Chase, Maryland synagogue when the rabbi said something about the importance of not associating the terrorist attacks with Muslims in general.

It was on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, but that did not stop Krauthammer from bellowing out his disagreement with the rabbi.  Krauthammer’s point: Israel and America are at war with Muslims and that war must be won.

It was shocking, not only because Krauthammer’s outburst was so utterly out of place but also because the man was actually chastising the rabbi for not spouting hate against all Muslims - on the Day of Atonement.

The following year, the visiting rabbi from Israel gave a sermon about the intifada that was then raging in Israel and the West Bank.

The sermon was a nutty affair that tearfully made the transition from intifada to Holocaust and back again.

I remember thinking, “this guy is actually blaming the Palestinians for the suffering of his parents during the Holocaust.” I thought I had missed something because it was so ridiculous.

Then came the sermon’s ending which was unforgettable. The rabbi concluded with the words from Ecclesiastes.

“To everything there is a season. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap … A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…”

He then looked up and said: “Now is the time to hate.”

At first, I thought I had not heard him correctly.  He could not be calling on the congregation to hate. There were dozens of children in the room. It wasn’t possible.

But it was. To their credit, many of the congregants I spoke with as we left the sanctuary were appalled. Even the right-wingers were uncomfortable with endorsing hate as a virtue.

Yet, the rabbi was unrepentant. I emailed him to complain and he told me that he said what he believed. Nice.

One could ask what the Middle East has to do with the vicious outbreak of Islamophobia (actually Islamo-hatred) that has seemingly seized segments of this country.

The answer is everything. Although the hate is directed at Arab-Americans (which makes it worse) it is justified by invoking 9/11, an attack by Muslims from the Middle East.

This hate is buttressed by the hatred of Muslims and Arabs that has been routinely uttered (or shouted from the rooftops) in the name of defending Israel for decades

Just watch what goes on in congress, where liberals from New York, Florida, California and elsewhere never miss an opportunityto explain that no matter what Israel does, it is right, and no matter what Muslims do, they are wrong.

The writer of the piece doesn’t spare either side of the political spectrum with special contempt for liberals.  We expect such insanity from the “right” that has increasingly shown itself to be a lunatic fringe of social thought and political discourse, but liberals have been so ineffective in combating the “right’s” insanity that they too have become rabid in opposition to the insane right as ineffective in contributing to coherent, responsible and productive political discourse.

Political Zionism’s justification for death and destruction


For some in the religious movement of Israel, the killing of perfectly innocent people is permissible

When we approach a non-Jew who has violated the seven Noahide laws (The seven Noahide laws prohibit idolatry, murder, theft, illicit sexual relations, blasphemy and eating the flesh of a live animal, and require societies to institute just laws and law courts)and kill him out of concern for upholding these seven laws, no prohibition has been violated.

In any situation in which a non-Jew’s presence endangers Jewish lives, the non-Jew may be killed even if he is a righteous Gentile and not at all guilty for the situation that has been created..

Hindrances—babies are found many times in this situation. They block the way to rescue by their presence and do so completely by force. Nevertheless, they may be killed because their presence aids murder. There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.

After looking at these pictures from Gaza I can’t help but think that while there are those who may want to distance themselves from the above quotes, such sentiment expressed therein is actually the policy of the IDF, for the moment, in its interactions with Palestinians.

No Comment


Foot in mouth award


Shimon Peres is the latest Israeli leader to be awarded.  Earlier, while Benjamin Netanyahu in an equally disgusting show of contempt for the people who make it possible for Israel to exist made disparaging remarks against America which didn’t even cause a ripple stateside, Peres’ remarks about British politicians being anti-semitic caused more of a firestorm in England.  Americans are so used to being bitch slapped by Israel we just sit back and take the abuse dished out by our scorned lover, but the British who practically gave Palestine to Europe’s Jewish community took umbrage at Peres’ remarks so much so that he had to deny he ever made them.

Peres’ initial remarks that he now denies making, included references to the influence of Muslims on British policy, as if influencing the policy of a government  is something Israel would never do to any western ally, but it clearly shows the Israeli government’s attacks on Islam extend far beyond the borders of Gaza and the West Bank.  It didn’t help Peres that the Tablet confirmed his remarks and the reasons behind them while he was trying to deny them, the fact is his denial is a lie.

This illustrates two things common in both Netanyahu and Peres’ attitude.  First they are extremely manipulative of western governments by asserting  Israel is a victim in the ongoing battles with its neighbors in which Israel is always the aggressor and second they are scornful of their state sponsors, who have all but guaranteed their existence at the expense of Israel’s neighbors, by even refusing to acknowledge this support, usually undertaken  at great expense to sponsor states but little or no expense to Israel.  The recipients of this award  for a baffling comment by a public figure goes to both Peres and Netanyahu.  Please don’t congratulate them.

The ADL Defames its Jewish Heritage?


by Kamran Pasha

People often ask me what it is like being one of the first Muslims to succeed in Hollywood. There is always a hint of surprise in their tone, as if they never expected to meet a Muslim who has made strides in the entertainment industry. Because the real question they are asking is a more uncomfortable one: “How have you managed to succeed in a town filled with Jews?”

My response is one that usually takes them aback. I tell them that the only people who have helped me to succeed in Hollywood are Jews. It was Jewish studio executives who gave me my first writing breaks, and Jewish writers, directors and producers have served as my mentors and allies over the past decade. Without the help of Jews, this Muslim would still be writing scripts in a café somewhere, desperately hoping to find a way to break into Hollywood.

Others are surprised when I say that, but I am not. I grew up in Borough Park, a primarily Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, and most of my close friends over the course of my life have been Jews. Despite our often passionate disagreements about Middle Eastern politics, my Jewish friends and I always find common ground in our shared experience of being a religious minority in a predominantly Christian country.

Both American Jews and American Muslims know what it is like to feel out of place, to long for inclusion in a mainstream society that is often filled with ignorance and hate for our faiths. We know what it is like going to elementary school and being reviled by our classmates for not believing that Jesus is the Son of God. We know what it is like being mocked for having different customs at home, for celebrating holidays that our Christian neighbors have never heard of (and often can’t pronounce). We know what it is like to be preached to every day by neighbors trying to convert us and “save our souls.” We know what it is like to be told that our religion is inferior to Christianity by people who do not understand even the most basic tenets of our faiths (as well as their own).

Despite the real political differences that exist over Middle East policy between members of our communities, we have a common bond of being outsiders, of being the misunderstood “other” in a Christian world. And that common bond has always allowed me to transcend political differences with my Jewish friends and meet them on the field of shared loneliness that is the lot of those who are different.

And that is why it breaks my heart to watch a respected Jewish organization like the Anti-Defamation League fall into the abyss of anti-Muslim bigotry over the past several years. Many Americans, including many Jews, have expressed shock at the ADL’s recent announcement that it sides with bigots and fear-mongers who oppose the building of the Cordoba House Islamic center in southern Manhattan.

Regrettably, I am not surprised. The ADL, which was founded in 1913 as a powerful voice against religious discrimination in America, has over the past decade become increasingly xenophobic toward the Muslim community, which its leaders seem to view as a threat to Jews due to its lack of support for Israel. As a Christian friend who works in the Obama Administration lamented to me recently, the ADL has in essence become the “Pro-Defamation League” when it comes to Islam and Muslims.

The recent comments by Abraham Foxman, National Director of the ADL, against the proposed Muslim community center in New York are the latest in a long line of incidents where members of the ADL have promoted bigotry and discrimination against Arabs and Muslims. In 1993, the ADL illegally spied on American citizens who had spoken out in sympathy with Palestinians, generating a watch list of 10,000 names of private citizens and over 600 groups, and then selling the list to South African intelligence agents.

The ADL was sued for violating privacy rights and settled out of court. But the organization did not learn its lesson. Through the past decade, it has regularly organized smear campaigns around Muslim leaders and conferences, falsely imputing terrorist sympathies to some of the most moderate and respected leaders of the community.

In one of its ugliest campaigns, the ADL protested the right of Muslim college students at UC Irvine to wear graduation stoles that carried the Shahada, the basic testimony of Islamic faith: “There is no god but God and Muhammad is his Messenger.” The ADL claimed that the Muslim students were supporting terrorist groups like Hamas by wearing a common symbol of their religion. As a Muslim, I was left absolutely stunned at the stupidity of this argument. It was the equivalent of trying to bar Christian students from wearing crosses because the cross is a symbol that has been used by Christian extremists like the Crusaders and the Ku Klux Klan! The ADL was forced to apologize and retract its statements that the Shahada was “an expression of hate.”

To be fair, the ADL has in a few instances spoken up in defense of Muslim civil rights, notably when the topic of Israel is not involved. The ADL publicly denounced the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia and criticized the Swiss government for amending the constitution in 2009 to prevent the building of mosque minarets.

But the preponderance of its actions over the past decade have made it clear that when Muslim grievances against Israel are raised, the ADL will firmly side with its co-religionists rather than adhere to its underlying mission of standing for justice and equality for all humanity. On some level, perhaps that is understandable, if not excusable. But what is particularly shocking about the recent statements against the Cordoba House is that the ADL appears to have moved from a knee-jerk defense of Israel to an aggressive stance attacking American Muslims even when there is no criticism of Israel involved.

I have written at length on the Huffington Post about the founders of the Cordoba House and how they represent progressive Islam and embrace people of all religions, including Jews. I know Daisy Khan personally and she is a gracious and gentle woman who espouses love and wisdom, not hate. The writings of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf continue to inspire me and countless mainstream Muslims to improve our communities and defeat the extremists that threaten to corrupt Islam from within.

The opponents of the Islamic Center have gone out of their way to vilify and defame these honorable people, who are leaders of the moderate Islam that the media is always claiming doesn’t exist. Muslim leaders like Daisy Khan and Imam Abdul Rauf have endured with great dignity the double-pronged attack from their enemies. First, the media spreads the lie that Muslim leaders like them do not speak out against terrorism. And when they do speak out, they are either ignored or lumped in with the very extremists they are fighting. The Cordoba House is exactly the voice of moderate Islam that needs to be highlighted at a time when Muslim extremists and anti-Muslim bigots both want Islam, a spiritual path of great beauty, to be seen as a religion of hate and death.

But what is particularly painful for me as a Muslim is to watch how a group like the ADL, born out of the horrible experience of anti-Semitism and bigotry in America, can so easily turn its back on its heritage in order to join forces with the voices of hate and division. If any community knows what it is like to be branded with false stereotypes, to have the innocent condemned as guilty, it is the long-suffering Jewish people. To have its leaders now embrace the mindless, drunken crowd in its march of hate against a fellow religious minority’s right of worship, it is beyond obscene. And it is a fundamental rejection of everything that Judaism stands for.

In my latest novel, Shadow of the Swords, I delve deeply into the character of Maimonides, the great Jewish rabbi, who was friend and advisor to the Muslim sultan Saladin during the Crusades. In examining the experience of Maimonides, a Jew living as a minority among Muslims, I sought to demonstrate the ancient sympathy and understanding that Jews and Muslims had for each other at a time when both were being targeted by Christian persecutors. And I sought to share with my readers that the tenets of Judaism have always stood for social justice, mercy and wisdom, and that this ethical commitment served as a link of common understanding between Judaism and Islam at a time when Christianity stood for ignorance, murder and barbarism.

People who have read my book have expressed wonder at how two communities that were once intimate friends have become so estranged in the past century. The reasons for these modern divisions are long and complex, and are mainly linked to the trauma of Western colonization of the Muslim world, and the suffering of the Palestinians when Israel was created as the byproduct of that colonial history. Despite efforts by some Christians and Jews (as well as extremists among Muslims) to portray the current tensions between these communities as rooted in theological and cultural foundations, the reality is that Jews and Muslims historically got along much better than either group did with European Christians. When the Spanish Inquisition expelled Jews from Spain, where they had thrived under Muslim rule for 800 years, Spanish Jews found refuge in the Muslim Ottoman Empire and rose to positions of great economic and political power.

What the current leadership of the ADL does not understand is that there is no ancient enmity between Jews and Muslims. If many Muslims have problems with Israel today, that arises from real grievances about the treatment of Palestinians, not inherent hatred for Judaism in Islamic culture. What the ADL appears to fear is that as Muslims become part of the American fabric of life, that their critiques of Israel will lead one day to United States abandoning its long-term ally. This fear is, frankly, insane.

There is a place for dialogue, debate and disagreement about Middle Eastern politics among American citizens, and that discussion will not threaten Israel’s existence. As President Obama made abundantly clear in his speech to the Islamic world in Cairo last year, the bond between the United States and Israel is “unbreakable.” So Abraham Foxman should relax and take a breath. Muslim empowerment in the United States will not lead to a second Holocaust. Muslims praying at a mosque in New York City will not lead to death camps and mass extermination of the Jewish community.

Muslim voices joining the public forum will not add to anti-Semitism in America. But if the Jewish community is seen as willing to join in discrimination against innocent Americans to promote its own agenda – that perception will fulfill every anti-Semite’s ugly and false perception of the Jewish community as a self-serving and hypocritical group that only cares about its own pain and not the pain of others.

That ugly vision is not the Judaism I studied in college, the Judaism of Maimonides and Martin Buber, nor does it reflect the Judaism that I have experienced in my relationships with Jews all my life. But it appears to be the cheap and unworthy vision of the ADL leadership, and as such dishonors the Jewish legacy to this world.

The Judaism that I admire, that I write about in my novel, is the true Judaism of love for mankind, of humility before God, of service and compassion. It is the Judaism that stands for the rights of the weak and the oppressed against the arrogance of those in power. It is the Judaism of Moses standing in defiance of the Pharaoh on behalf of a group of powerless slaves.

It is the Judaism of Rabbi Hillel, one of the greatest religious visionaries of all time. Decades before Jesus Christ proclaimed the Golden Rule, Rabbi Hillel is famed for his response to a questioner who wanted to know the essence of Judaism, of the Torah, in the time it took him to stand on one foot. Hillel responded that the whole of the Torah could be summarized in one sentence.

“Do not do unto others what you would not have others do unto you.”

To Mr. Foxman and the rest of the ADL leadership, I ask if in your hearts you would want people to accuse innocent Jews of being enemies of the state? Would you want Jews to accept vilification of their entire religion if a handful of Jews ever did something wrong? Would you want Jews to tacitly accept the lies that bigots had projected on to them? And finally, would you want Jews to be forced to shut down their synagogues because of the misguided passions of a mob?

Would you want this done to Jews?

If the answer is no, then I ask as your Muslim brother that you follow the wisdom of Rabbi Hillel and the sages of Judaism.

Do not do the same hateful thing to my people.

Hat tip to Loonwatch!

Zionism Unmasked


The Dark Face Of Jewish Nationalism
By Dr. Alan Sabrosky

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu once remarked to a Likud gathering that “Israel is not like other countries.” Oddly enough for him, that time he was telling the truth, and nowhere is that more evident than with Jewish nationalism, whether or not one pins the “Zionist” label on it.

Nationalism in most countries and cultures can have both positive and negative aspects, unifying a people and sometimes leading them against their neighbors. Extremism can emerge, and often has, at least in part in almost every nationalist/independence movement I can recall (e.g., the French nationalist movement had The Terror, Kenya’s had the Mau Mau, etc.).

But whereas extremism in other nationalist movements is an aberration, extremism in Jewish nationalism is the norm, pitting Zionist Jews (secular or observant) against the goyim (everyone else), who are either possible predator or certain prey, if not both sequentially. This does not mean that all Jews or all Israelis feel and act this way, by any means. But it does mean that Israel today is what it cannot avoid being, and what it would be under any electable government (a point I’ll develop in another article).

The differences between Jewish nationalism (Zionism) and that of other countries and cultures here I think are fourfold:
1. Zionism is a real witches’ brew of xenophobia, racism, ultra-nationalism, and militarism that places it way outside of a “mere” nationalist context — for example, when I was in Ireland (both parts) I saw no indication whatsoever that the PIRAs or anyone else pressing for a united Ireland had a shred of design on shoving Protestants into camps or out of the country, although there may well have been a handful who thought that way — and goes far beyond the misery for others professed by the Nazis;

2. Zionism undermines civic loyalty among its adherents in other countries in a way that other nationalist movements (and even ultra-nationalist movements like Nazism) did not — e.g., a large majority of American Jews, including those who are not openly dual citizens, espouse a form of political bigamy called “dual loyalty” (to Israel & the US) that is every bit as dishonest as marital bigamy, attempts to finesse the precedence they give to Israel over the US (lots of Rahm Emanuels out there who served in the IDF but NOT in the US armed forces), and has absolutely no parallel in the sense of national or cultural identity espoused by any other definable ethnic or racial group in America — even the Nazi Bund in the US disappeared once Germany and the US went to war, with almost all of its members volunteering for the US armed forces;

3. The “enemy” of normal nationalist movements is the occupying power and perhaps its allies, and once independence is achieved, normal relations with the occupying power are truly the norm, but for Zionism almost everyone out there is an actual or potential enemy, differing only in proximity and placement on its very long list of enemies (which is now America’s target list); and

4. Almost all nationalist movements (including the irredentist and secessionist variants) intend to create an independent state from a population in place or to reunite a separated people (like the Sudeten Germans in the 1930s) — it is very rare for it to include the wholesale displacement of another indigenous population, which is far more common of successful colonialist movements as in the US — and perhaps a reason why most Americans wouldn’t care too much about what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians even if they DID know about it, is because that is no different than what Europeans in North America did to the Indians/Native Americans here in a longer & more low-tech fashion.

The implications of this for Middle East peace prospects, and for other countries in thrall to their domestic Jewish lobbies or not, are chilling. The Book of Deuteronomy come to life in a state with a nuclear arsenal would be enough to give pause to anyone not bought or bribed into submission — which these days encompasses the US Government, given Israel’s affinity for throwing crap into the face of the Obama administration and Obama’s visible affinity for accepting it with a smile, Bibi Netanyahu’s own “Uncle Tom” come to Washington.

The late General Moshe Dayan, who — Zionist or not — remains an honored part of my own Pantheon of military heroes, allegedly observed that Israel’s security depended on its being viewed by others as a mad dog. He may have been correct. But he neglected to note that the preferred response of everyone else is to kill that mad dog before it can decide to go berserk and bite. It is an option worth considering.

Hat tip to Sabbah blog

Memory Hole Material- Hitler’s Jewish Army


I am placing this article on the blog only to refer to it the next time I’m told because there were Palestinians who may have agreed, met or collaborated with Nazi Germany and Hitler they therefore deserve every bad thing they get……because I want to remind such people there were also Jewish Germans who served in Hitler’s army who fought, guarded over and perhaps even in some cases killed fellow Jews, and therefore by the logical extension of the first part of this sentence ask do the people from whom they came also deserve what they get?

The idea of collective punishment is a common one when talking about the Middle East and especially treatment meted out to the enemies of the state of Israel and Jews in particular.  Would they extend that argument to themselves?

Cambridge University researcher Bryan Rigg has traced the Jewish ancestry of more than 1,200 of Hitler’s soldiers, including two field marshals and fifteen generals (two full generals, eight lieutenant generals, five major generals), “men commanding up to 100,000 troops.”

In approximately 20 cases, Jewish soldiers in the Nazi army were awarded Germany’s highest military honor, the Knight’s Cross.

One of these Jewish veterans is today an 82 year old resident of northern Germany, an observant Jew who served as a captain and practiced his religion within the Wehrmacht throughout the war.

One of the Jewish field marshals was Erhard Milch, deputy to Luftwaffe Chief Hermann Goering. Rumors of Milch’s Jewish identity circulated widely in Germany in the 1930s.

In one of the famous anecdotes of the time, Goering falsified Milch’s birth record and when met with protests about having a Jew in the Nazi high command, Goering replied, “I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan.”

What this shows is the absolute corruptible nature of power.  In the case of Adolph Hitler he no more believed what he was saying about the final solution than he would about the man in the moon, but he went through all of that, and dragged the rest of the world along with him because it was acceptable to the masses of his citizens and people in his military, some of whom were Jews who took advantage of the power they had for personal reasons, in order to amass power, satisfy an ego out of control, and probably along with that collect a whole lot of money in process.  Hitler appealed to the basest of human nature……hatred and fear, even though he knew there was no reason for any of it!  He was giving personal dispensations to people so they would no longer be Jewish so he could retain their services to keep him in power.  If he feared them at all, the last place he would want them would be in the military apparatus that sustained him and his wars of aggression for so long.  He not only kept them he welcomed them into his fraternity of blood lust and murder, and they accepted and served willingly, knowing full well what that service was doing to the rest of humanity, including their own coreligionists.  This is the essence of the intoxication of power; it causes people to forget the rule of law, to bend all conventions of human interaction and contact, to suspend humanity in order to engage in the most ruthless and aggressive behavior asked them of the state they serve.  There are parallels in today’s various wars, and especially the war on terror which has turned into the war on Islam. One of the ways they succeed in enlisting otherwise good decent people to their cause is to demonize everyone that’s not a part of their circle of power; anyone not granted their “exemption” is someone to be considered “against us”, a negative, a negation, an “anti” not worthy of the right to exist, but rather the right to be destroyed, and all for the advancement of state power.  In many ways therefore, this is not about race or ethnicity; Hitler didn’t mind at all enlisting Jews who agreed with his program of the absolute acquisition of Power to work to that end, even while he claimed they were the “problem”, and George W. Bush had no problems lying his way into the ever expanding power of the federal government into wars of aggression where he had allies from the Muslim world who agreed with his demonic plots because they too relish power.

The point of all this is to remind the people who believe in the idea of collectivism that if they want to throw that stone at people who allied themselves with power, they should really look closely at those who worked for the State’s interests.  They might be surprised to find people from their own midst………..and what will they do then?

Pedophilia-Even Jews Suffer From Its Curse


rabbis IIOver the last decade much has been made of pedophilia and how predominant it is in Islamic culture.  Everyone from the last Prophet of God to Yassir Arafat has suffered the accusation that this deviant behavior is indicative of Islam.  Catholicism too has been branded by  pedophilia because of the many revelations  some of its clergy have abused worshipers in this way.  Under the title, ‘Protecting the pedophiles’, are we to assume with this latest revelation that Judaism, the oldest religion, is the progenitor of this way of life among the religions of the world?

For several weeks in April last year, the seven-year-old son of residents of the ultra-Orthodox Ramat Beit Shemesh neighborhood insisted on staying at home. “This was odd, because he always loved to go to school,” relates his mother. “All of a sudden he looked scared and tried to find excuses not to go.”

Then one day the boy suddenly told his elder brother: “The rabbi touched me.”

“The rabbi” is a teacher at the ultra-Orthodox Yishrei Lev school for boys, which the boy attended. “When his brother asked, ‘Where did he touch you?’” relates the father, “the boy pointed to his intimate parts.”

The parents, who immigrated to Israel from the United States about 10 years ago, are very active in the ultra-Orthodox “Anglo-Saxon” (English-speaking) community in Ramat Beit Shemesh. As soon as the incident became known they received phone calls from rabbis and community functionaries who tried to dissuade them from continuing to investigate, and pressure them to deal with the incident with the help of the Mishmeret Hatzniut modesty patrol from Mea She’arim in Jerusalem.

The parents, who initially submitted to the pressure, ultimately took courage and in August 2008 they filed a complaint with the police. From the questioning of the boy by the police it emerged that ostensibly innocent tickling descended into indecent acts every day during recess over a long period. Parallel to the investigation the parents turned to the school directors, and the teacher was fired. During the following months three other boys from the class also filed complaints against the rabbi with the police.

However, at the start of the current school year the suspect had no difficulty in finding another educational institution in Ramat Beit Shemesh, and has been teaching there ever since.

This week the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office decided to close the case against the teacher for lack of evidence. The boy’s parents have appealed this decision. They complain that the case was dealt with in a flawed way after several investigators were replaced during the course of the investigation. Beit Shemesh police dismiss these claims.

Ever since the affair was revealed, the parents have been vulnerable and exposed to a community that is condemning them for having laundered their dirty linen in public, and especially for complaining to the authorities. Later on their names were made public, and rumors were circulated to the effect that it was one of their sons who molested his brother. The father of the family has had to leave his synagogue because of the alienating way he was treated by the congregation.

But the most resounding slap, according to the father, was felt by the family when the principal of the school to which their son, the victim of the abuse, had been accepted during the summer, informed them that he had decided to revoke his acceptance on the excuse that he would need treatment that the school did not have the capacity to offer. “I think they simply want to distance us because we are a family that makes problems,” says the father. “My son asked me, ‘Daddy, is it because of what happened?’ What answer could I give him?”

The storm around the Yishrei Lev story refuses to die down, especially as other affairs involving sexual abuse of children have surfaced lately. Four 10-year-olds from the ultra-Orthodox Bais Shalom institution for boys filed complaints with police this year against two rabbis on suspicion of physical and psychological abuse. In the course of the investigation it emerged that one of the teachers is also suspected of sexual molestation.

According to a source familiar with the details of the case, the rabbi would yell at the children that they are stupid and dolts, hit them on their sexual organs and twist their arms tightly.

According to Rabbi Tzvi Rabinsky, the director of the Toras Habayis educational institutions, of which Bais Shalom is one of three schools, the management is not obligated to report as long as the cases have not been proven to it. Also, because the investigation of the institution was carried out during vacation time and found that they are clean, there was no need to suspend the teachers.

According to Rabinsky and educational supervisor Rabbi Yosef Juliard, the complaints refer to the two best teachers at the school, and throughout the entire year during which the parents are claiming the teachers abused their children the directors heard only praise of the teachers from parents. Moreover, according to them, one of the families that filed complaints continued to send the complainant’s younger brother to study with the teacher who is suspected of abuse.

To support their claim regarding the teachers’ innocence, the directors showed a graphological test of one of the teachers in which he came out clear of any suspicion. They say they were prepared to see to all the necessary tests carried out by expert psychologists, but the parents of the children were not prepared to cooperate.

“We initially thought of going to the police, but we can’t spill innocent blood. And apart from that the parents of the other children pressed us not to fire the teachers,” said Yuliard and Rabinsky. According to them the parents’ accusations against the teachers derive from the fact that the teachers sent their children for diagnosis, and there are parents who feel pressured by this.

The second case involves a complaint to the police in December last year by parents concerning the suspicion that their 6-year-old daughter had been molested when she was three by an assistant nursery teacher who is still working at the kindergarten. At around that age the little girl stopped talking and her behavior became problematic. The parents took the girl for various treatments and, as a result, two years later she began to function again normally.

According to the mother, only this year her daughter spontaneously related that the assistant used to strip her naked, tie her up and ask her to touch her body in different ways. “The child had never seen people behaving in a sexual way,” says the father, with tears in his eyes. “How could she have imagined all those details?”

In the meantime the case has been closed for lack of evidence because the girl did not cooperate with the investigation. About a year ago, when the suspicion of another case arose and the parents demanded that the institution take action, the kindergarten employee was suspended, but she has since returned to work.

In Ramat Beit Shemesh, the population consists mostly of ultra-Orthodox Jews from abroad, who are considered more open than the Israeli-born ultra-Orthodox. Most of them work and therefore are more connected to the world around them. However, as new immigrants they are prisoners in the hands of the rabbinical establishment that is the captive of the most extreme Israeli ultra-Orthodoxy. The parents’ reporting to the police in the three cases has been interpreted by the rabbis and school directors as traitorous to the community.

In all the cases, the children’s departure from the schools stirred up a storm. The parents have been cold-shouldered by neighbors and friends, and have had to stop worshiping at their synagogues. As a result of the demands to retract their complaints they are feeling threatened. One family has even left Israel but is continuing to cooperate with police investigators.

“Instead of looking inward in an attempt to understand how Ramat Beit Shemesh has become a city of refuge for pedophiles and how to stop the plague, they are thinking about how to silence us,” said one parent whose child fell victim to sexual abuse.

“There is denial here by an entire community,” says Helise Pollack, a former welfare officer from Ramat Beit Shemesh and an expert on children who have experienced sexual abuse, who is treating some of the children. “They simply don’t believe the complainants. The people suspected of sexual abuse do not look like monsters. These are people who have families, regular people. They make an excellent impression on their surroundings. What happens is that the victim’s family is put on trial.”

However, if thus far the community’s attitude toward those who decided to complain to the police has been one of condemnation, only now, in the wake of the additional cases, are voices beginning to be heard calling for protest against the silencing of the incidents at the price of exposing children to risk of abuse. Recently fear of the “plague of sexual abuse,” as people in the community are defining it, has led to some urgent assemblies of parents to discuss the problem.

About three weeks ago parents whose children are enrolled at the educational institution where the assistant is working convened to discuss what steps to take following a rumor that there has been another complaint against her. A week later, about 15 women met in a private home to hear Pollack and get her advice. “People in Ramat Beit Shemesh are taking the law into their hands,” Pollack said. According to her, “Pedophilia is an addiction. Pedophiles must not be around children.”

Pollack told the women that if the school does not fire the teacher, they must withdraw their children from the school in order to protect them. Her familiarity with the welfare system, the fact that she is religious and not ultra-Orthodox and the fact that she is Anglo-Saxon in origin have made her the address to which the parents are turning. The women were raised in a society where problematic topics like abuse are not discussed, and as mothers they are now going through a process of opening their eyes and mouths in order to warn their children.

“In ultra-Orthodox society the child’s voice is not heard. They prefer to be considerate of the adult,” said one mother.

The women confessed to Pollack their bad feeling about the beatings in heder (traditional school for young boys) as a matter of routine – a rabbi who crudely pushes a child’s face into the Pentateuch on the table, another rabbi who cruelly twists ears – and said that this reality has to stop.

“Write about us compassionately,” one of the women requested after the meeting. “I love this community. “

At another meeting held this month on the issue of sexual abuse, attended by nearly 100 people, the lecturer, a volunteer from the hotline on sexual abuse issues for religious women and girls, apologized for talking about immodest things. “I didn’t understand why she was apologizing the whole time,” complained one woman. “I got up and said, ‘We’re talking about child abuse. What does that have to do with modesty?’”

The speaker, D., is the mother of children who studied at an institution where sexual abuse took place. Ever since the abuse affairs became known, she has been acting unremitingly to fight the community’s terrible silence. “They are saying that to blame the teachers is murder,” she says, “and talking about how rabbinical law prohibits harming their livelihood. But against that, what about the danger of the harm to children? I am asking how it is possible to keep someone who is suspected of abuse at a school with little children.”

During the past year 10 families applied to the welfare office in Ramat Beit Shemesh and the National Council for the Child concerning such issues. According to the NCC’s director, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, this represents an increase in the rate of applicants from that neighborhood. However, according to Kadman and Pollack, in Ramat Beit Shemesh a kind of social chaos prevails. “Beit Shemesh has grown at dramatic rates but the welfare office has not been given extra manpower slots. There aren’t enough social workers and welfare officers,” says Kadman. “Among other things a population has arrived here that is closed and extremist, and requires complex treatment.”

The prosecution did not bother to inform the complainants in the Yishrei Lev case that it had been closed, because of a malfunction. This fact added to the parents’ overall feeling that they are being punished for reporting the abuse. “If in this particular community, someone who gathers up the courage and complains doesn’t get the fastest and best treatment, he will retreat and the whole community will get the message that it is not a good idea to report,” says Kadman. “We mustn’t miss this window of opportunity.”

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Part 1

Part 2

These are our neighbors


eboo_patel

“I Am an American With a Muslim Soul

Ilove America not because I am under the illusion that it is perfect, but because it allows me — the child of Muslim immigrants from India —

to participate in its progress, to carve a place in its promise, to play a role in its possibility. John Winthrop, one of the earliest European settlers in  America, gave voice to this sense of possibility. He told his compatriots that their society would be like a city upon a hill ,a beacon for the world. It was a hope rooted in Winthrop’s Christian faith, and no doubt he imagined his city on a hill with a steeple in the center. Throughout the centuries, America has remained a deeply religious country, while becoming a remarkably plural one. Indeed, we are the most religiously devout nation in the West and the most religiously diverse country in the world. The steeple at the center of the city on a hill is now surrounded by the minaret of Muslim mosques, the Hebrew script of Jewish synagogues, the chanting of Buddhist sangas, and the statues of Hindu temples. In fact, there are now more Muslims in America than Episcopalians, the faith professed by many of America’s Founding Fathers.

One hundred years ago, the great African- American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois warned that the problem of the century would be the color line. The 21st century might well be dominated by a different line — the faith line. The most pressing questions for my country (America), my religion (Islam), and all God’s people may well be these: How will people who may have different ideas of heaven interact together on Earth? Will the steeple, the minaret, the synagogue, the temple, and the sanga learn to share space in a new city on a hill? I think the American ethos — mixing tolerance and reverence — may have something special to contribute to this issue.

America is a grand gathering of souls, the vast majority from elsewhere. The American genius lies in allowing these souls to contribute their texture to the American tradition, to add new notes to the American song. I am an American with a Muslim soul. My soul carries a long history of heroes, movements, and civilizations that sought to submit to the Will of God. My soul listened as the Prophet Muhammad preached the central messages of Islam, tazaaqa and tawhid, compassionate justice and the oneness of God. In the Middle Ages, my soul spread to the East and West, praying in the mosques and studying in the libraries of the great medieval Muslim cities of Cairo, Baghdad, and Cordoba. My soul whirled with Rumi,  read Aristotle with Averroes, traveled through Central Asia with Nasir Khusrow. In the colonial era, my Muslim soul was stirred to justice. It marched with Abdul Ghaffar Khan and the Khudai Khidmatgars in their satyagraha to free India. It stood with Farid Esack, Ebrahim Moosa, Rahid Omar, and the Muslim Youth Movement in their struggle for a multicultural South Africa. In one eye I carry this ancient Muslim vision on pluralism; in the other eye I carry the American promise. And in my heart, I pray that we make real this possibility: a city on a hill where different religious communities respectfully share space and collectively serve the common good; a world where diverse nations and peoples come to know one another in a spirit of brotherhood and righteousness; a century in which we achieve a common life together.

A Rock and a hard place-the latest FBI Islamofascist scare


There’s really not that much to these “sting operations” anymore.  They are so predictable that even mainstream media is beginning to catch on, while cheering from the sidelines for the success of such dubious methods of law enforcement.  The latest catch of four social misfits tangentially related to Islam if that much is another example.  Spurred on by a fellow coreligionist  who flashed a lot of money and recruited them earnestly, because of a nefarious and compromising past that made it easy for him to be recruited by the FBI, four former convicts, one of them mentally disturbed, and two others heavy drug users, pot and crack, are the latest to constitute a threat of world wide proportions to the United States of America.  It didn’t help that an unscrupulous FBI special agent played a high profile role in the arrest of these men.  Special Agent Robert Fuller was responsible for the secret rendition of Canadian citizen Maher Arar to Syria and his subsequent torture at the hands of Syrians based on false information Fuller got from a wounded and some might say tortured Omar Khadr.  Arar has gone on to sue successfully the Canadian government and is in the process of suing the American government because of Fuller’s role in his torture.

Here’s the deal however.  The pseudo Muslim ringleader who was egging on the four charged defendants was clearly spotted by the members of the different masajid as an agent provocateur but because of their mistrust of the government, a mistrust clearly justified based on what happened to a group of Muslims in California, they were left with a brewing scandal and no one to tell.  The MO of this “informant” and indeed others who infiltrate places where Muslims gather is they appear out of the blue, invite other worshippers to meals, flash money, and  speak of violence and jihad, and offer  substantial amounts of money to others to join their “team.” The inertia or hesitation communities feels is really what the government wants in order to obscure its role in such operations. Government does not want to be pressed by a diligent citizenry to do its job.  Here then is my suggestion for people with an informant in their midst; use the internet.  Plaster the suspect’s picture on the masjid’s web page, blog about him or her, especially if they are advocating violence and contact your local media to inform them you may be a victim of a government sting operation.  Informants do not like to be exposed and if they are steeped in a past full of  illicit behavior with many victims someone will certainly notice them and do the government’s job of getting rid of them.

For the meantime, it’s sad to say the four men in New York most likely will be convicted amidst  a lot of publicity about their case that’ll highlight the potential for terrorism on the home front, but such miscarriages of justice, where people are entrapped by government will be avoided in the future as more and more communities become sophisticated enough to spot the likes of the informant in this case and educate their worshippers of the threat such false messiahs bring to their stability.  `

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