The lesson of 9/11: Don’t dare upset the Muslims

I keep finding myself, as of late, trying to imagine table talk about world goings-on at an average Muslim family living in Britain. For some reason, the imagined table always seems to be in West Bromwich, in the West Midlands. And I always picture the family members laughing like hell into their mango lassis.   

Following the major television news networks these past few days as they fretted over the burning “Will he or won’t he (burn the Korans)?” question, it became patently obvious that the headmaster is now terrified of the school bully, who – on this ninth anniversary of 9/11, when he should be begging the world’s forgiveness – now understands that “might makes right.”  

Of interest to me is not the attention-seeking nut in Florida, but rather the seeming desperation of the Western world – as reflected in its ridiculously exaggerated media coverage of this non-story – to fall over itself to appease Muslims and their possible reaction to International Burn a Koran Day.    

Hardly a day goes by without us witnessing appalling atrocities and provocations in the supposed name of Islam: suicide bombings, fatwas, stonings, burnings of effigies and flags, Holocaust denial, and other crude forms of anti-Semitism. Women in Gaza and Muslim countries daren’t even have an orgasm without first obtaining permission from their Islamofascist rulers. 

And who in the West dares to utter a word in protest?      

A loony pastor in Florida, however, with no more than fifty followers, threatens to burn a few Korans and the Western media descends into a state of frenzy, the story leading all the major news networks for days.      

Such disproportionate oversensitivity to and appeasement of Muslims constitutes a worrying sign that the West may already have given up the fight against the evil of Islamofascism. And when a former British prime minister is forced to cancel book signings in London because of fears of violent protests by wrongheaded scum, and no one says or does a thing, it is very depressing indeed.      

I am under no illusion about individuals such as Pastor Jones or, for example, elements of the English Defence League. What I do admire, however, is their refusal to lie down while their world and way of life – and in their own countries – is being transformed in front of their very eyes.   

Coming to West Bromwich soon?

Anyone who is more concerned about a few books being burned by some deranged pastor – and we are not talking state-sponsored, 1933-style destruction here – than about the creeping Islamization of our planet is no less irrational than the mook with the handlebar moustache.      

The spirit that got Britain through the last threat to its way of life, seventy years ago, would appear to have gone walkies. The British had better wake up soon and find it . . . before it is too late.


44 responses to “The lesson of 9/11: Don’t dare upset the Muslims

  1. 1. I think in real life a stoning doesn’t look as “pretty” as this piece of art:
    Stones must be of medium size, according to the penal code: Not so big that one or two could kill the person, but not so small that you would call it a pebble. In other words, about the size of a tangerine. The whole process takes less than an hour.
    pick up a tangerine sized stone … think of people you have seen in ER …

    2. Years back Berlin opera house cancelled a performance because heads of religion founders were displayed in some kind of idiotic modern the public needs education – including Mohamed. With all precaution, a lot of media and the German minister of the interior plus some really nice and “moderate” muslims attending it was performed again.

    Whenever somebody said the beast is dead I’ve wondered at the bubble people manage to live in, every school yard teaches one differently, every office department is constantly on the brink of switching into persecution.

    As to the Brits – a lot were for coming to an agreement with my forefathers, but they managed a last minute U-turn. Lets hope they wake up soon…

  2. Jonathan Hoffman

    On June 17 2003, vandals caused a fire in the South Tottenham United Synagogue (London) that resulted in the destruction of Jewish prayer books smuggled out of Central Europe before World War II.

    Maybe I missed it but I do not remember world leaders expressing outrage, led by the US President.

    I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that when Jews respond to offence, they tend to stick within the law, rather than perpetrating acts of terrorism.

  3. The ‘world’ needs to wake up .. does not look like 911 was enough of a wake up call.

  4. I think the point is not that it’s 1 idiot preacher in a small, backwater church. It’s another step on the road. How far back shall we go? Salman Rushdie (yeah a long time ago) got in hot water & had to live in self-exile for years over making up some poetry that reads a bit like Qur’anic verses. Actually, his biggest sin was creating an ancient, fictional parallel society w/ a goddess named Allat. So his biggest sin was cutting off Allah’s dick! That’s what earned him a fatwah.

    Ahead to Abu Graib where my fellow countrymen truly ran amuck w/ their disgusting behavior — terrorizing their prisoners AND burning Qur’ans & flushing them down the toilet. Skip ahead to the Danish cartoonist & his newspaper who published cartoons of Allah — again an almost fatal no-no. Ahead further to the twisted yet funny minds @ South Park who were forced to back away from using Allah as their plaything.

    Moving on to something truly significant: the brouhaha over the building of an Islamic Center — not mosque — near — not at — Ground Zero — which, for some reason, has become more holy than the Pentagon or that field in Pennsylvania. BTW IMHO the actions of the ADL in opposing it are especially disgusting & odious.

    OK, NOW add to all that, that idiot preacher who, under any other circunmstances, would not even be noticed.

    The problem w/ all the foregoing is not each individual incident — it is the sum. The concern is that we cannot give the Islamofascists any ammo to use against us. (It’s a twisted form of being a shande far di goyim.

    Screw this nut job’s 1st Amendment rights (free speech). I think the US Dept of Homeland Security should have locked his ass away as being a threat to national security … & then let the courts sort it out — AFTER he would have had a goodly amount of time to himself to spend in self-reflection, courtesy of te American taxpayer (i.e. a fortnight or so in the slammer).

    In addition to giving our enemies fodder to use against us, this is a disgusting example of an attempt to destroy another facet of the 1st Amendment (freedom of religion). Not his … the Muslims.

    To me, even worse (I’m sure this will come as no surprrise) is the objectifying of all Muslims as terrorists & the completely false proclamations that Islam is a religion of war & intolerance. The drowning out of voices both from the West & the majority of Muslims worldwide who know, understand & keep trying to demonstrate the positive aspects of Islam is, to me, both horrifying & frightening. Especially in the Jewish world. We who know best the effects of bigotry cannot afford to do the same to others. Rabbi Hillel taught: that which is hateful to you, do not do unto others. So I dare you, Mike, to justify it — especially @ this time of year!

    Rabbi Art Waskow, whom many readers know is my favorite radical-leftie-liberal, recently quoted Heinrich Heine who, almost 2 centuries ago prophetically wrote: “Those who begin by burning books will end by burning people.” Art goes on to say, “The theater piece for which he wrote those words … was addressing the Inquisition’s burning of the Qur’an. In 1933, university students in Heine’s own beloved homeland burned his books, along with many others. They burned people soon after. … The road to burning people is by no means so open here, now, as it was in Germany in 1933.” If that doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know what will!

    Reb Arthur ends w/ this poignant story … “When I was about seven years old (1940), my grandmother interrupted other Jewish women in line at the kosher butcher shop who were talking contemptuously about ‘the shvartzes’ — that is, Black people. She challenged them: ‘That’s the way they talked about us in Europe. This is America, and we must not talk like that!’ We must not act like that, either.”

    Genug shoyn. As the rabbis taught us not to end a Biblical reading on a sour note, please take the time to enjoy this piece filed by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic: In it he reports on his recent, lengthy, panim al panim meeting w/ Fidel Castro who is telling Ahmadinejad to “stop slandering the Jews.” … & more …

  5. Greg, when have I ever “objectif[ied] all Muslims as terrorists”? And what exactly would you like me to “justify”?

    As to whether “Islam is a religion of war & intolerance,” not having read the Koran, I wouldn’t like to say. What I will say, however, is that the manifestations of it are not too pretty.

    Your reaction (while lively and entertaining, as usual) is somewhat knee-jerk. All I am saying is that, in a normal world (or at least my idea of it), that clown’s threatened burning of Korans was never lead story material. And I am interested in what made it so.

    And don’t quote Heine! While Pastor Jones, left to his own devices, might well be the type to “burn people,” this was not a state-sponsored burning of books! Knee-jerk again, Greg.

    But shana tova to you . . . my good, bleeding heart brother!

  6. “Women in Gaza and Muslim countries daren’t even have an orgasm without first obtaining permission from their Islamofascist rulers.”

    Mike, darling, you’re assuming that they’ve got their – er – clit bits intact in order to have said orgasm. In too many of those benighted countries they’ve been subjected to the rusty knife to ensure they’ll never know sexual pleasure and thus stray from the men who own them.

    And then we’re supposed to believe that all cultures are created equal!

  7. You ask where you objectify Muslims — how about this: “Such disproportionate oversensitivity to and appeasement of Muslims …” You are painting all Muslims w/ a brush that should be reserved for the Islamofascists. It may seem a small thing, but that’s the root of bigotry.

    You wrote, “In a normal world …” unfortunately we don’t live in a normal world. You’re right — this nut job preacher never should have been elevated to world status. Unfortunately, w/ 24-hour “news,” crap like this goes viral, the same as the YouTube of the smoking baby. Should it be happening? No, but it does.

    Forutnately, we haven’t sunk to the level of state-sponsored attrocities … yet. But if you look @ what’s happening on the US political right, it might not be long. There are people running for office here on platforms that include banning the building of mosques — not just on pseudo-sanctified space, but anywhere here in the good old US of A. They get airplay on fixed/faux/FOX “News” & then it goes news-viral. We have the non-elected “leaders” (read hijackers) of the new Republican party – Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin & the once-tarnished now newly-burnished Newt Gingrich (newt??? a lowly lizard??? how fitting!) who are fanning the flames of our born-again Tea-partyers. Don’t forget what happened the last time a bunch of crazed colonists got together for a teaparty! That’s what scares me.

    Then when 1 of their number truly goes off the deep end, they feign innocence, claiming they never told them to do it. Technically they didn’t, but some of these dumb-as-fenceposts sheep aren’t smart enough to parse what the biggies are really saying. All they get is the message that hate & xenophobic violence is OK. So I’ll stand by Reb Art’s Heine quote. Yes, it can happen here.

  8. Daphne darling, how would I know anything about “clit bits”? I am a man! 😉

    What I do know about, however, is tits . . . and Greg is starting to resemble one more and more with each new comment . . .

    Stating my opinion, that there is “disproportionate oversensitivity to and appeasement of Muslims” in the media, does not “objectify all Muslims,” “paint all Muslims w/ a brush,” or make me a “bigot”!

    The focus of my post was the Western media’s handling of the Terry Jones non-story. Why can’t one have a thoughful discussion about issues related to “Islam” and “Muslims” without knee-jerk reactions every time the words are mentioned (which only goes to prove the title of my post)?!

    Just out of interest, Greg, what was your view about the Carmelite convent outside Auschwitz? And before you start to protest that “It is not the same, the mosque won’t be right next to Ground Zero, bla, bla, bla,” perhaps you will take a second to consider the real feelings of the families of victims of 9/11 . . . rather than grabbing the nearest Oxford Dictionary of Quotations or the Union for Reform Judaism’s Guide to Not (Chas Ve’Sholom) Offending Muslims.

  9. Since you’re a man, you ought to know about “clit bits.” Otherwise you must be aiming in a fruitless direction. 😉 In all seriousness, genital mutilation is disgusting beyond imagination. Unfortunately, it is another unforgivable perversion of Qur’anic teaching.

    While you might not be a bigot, the big problem is that all too many now equate being Muslim w/ being an Islamofascist/terrorist. While you might consider it nitpicking & even though it might be inconvenient because it takes longer to type, especially in these times, I believe our current situation demands a more precise choice of words. Let’s not dwell on this.

    Oy … convent v mosque … let me attempt to frame this differently …

    During what seems like a lifetime ago, in the days of the Viet Nam war, I was a Draft Counselor. For those who don’t know what that means, I (rather successfully) aided young men in avoiding conscription into the US armed forces thereby helping to fulfill the mitsvah of piku’ach nefesh. I.e. I helped them avoid becoming cannon fodder & having their lives sacrificed on the pagan altar of the American “military-industrial complex.” My “specialty” was helping these young men articulate their Conscientious Objection (is anyone surprised?) before usually hostile Draft Boards (comprised of civic-minded volunteers who saw nothing wrong in sending young men to their death).

    1 extremely popular question often posed during the Inquisition portion of the process asked if their grandmother was being raped & there was a gun nearby, would the prospective CO pick up said gun & blow the motherfucker’s brains out. Their point being if he would, then he wasn’t sincere in his objection to killing other humans as a mere cog in our governmentally sponsored war machine.

    The question was irrelevant. The US Supreme Court ruled that one’s actions in a unique incident has nothing whatsoever to do w/ agreeing to murder (my term) on command. It’s comparing apples to oranges … as is your question of convent v mosque.

    At the time the convent was proposed, there were no direct relatives of our martyrs either living in the region or even able to speak out, except perhaps Elie Wiesel (who is not exactly an individual). At least in that region, Hitler was reasonably successful in achieving his goal of exterminating us. So “corporate Judaism” world-wide (including Wiesel) stepped up to carry the ball.

    The situation in NY is quite different. It has been well documented that a significant number of survivor families are in favor of building the Islamic Cultural Center (NOT mosque), as are a majority of residents in the neighborhood. A significant number of Muslim-Americans also died in those buildings. Also, there already are mosques in the neighborhood & regular Islamic prayer takes place AT the actual site to memorialize the Muslim-Americans who died there.

    So what is the source of the objections? It ain’t religious — it’s strictly political — including NY’s former mayor, failed GOP presidential candidate Giulinani, who’s only concern is his own political ambitions, certainly not those of real people, despite the garbage that spews from his mouth. (You might notice I have no use for him.) Who else? The same right wing political cabal (who thankfully don’t hold elective office — yet) that I mentioned earlier. They are responsible for getting people stirred up. Where else would that Florida nut job have gotten his ideas? I guarantee you — those assholes couldn’t care less about the feelings of the survivors. All they care about is regianing control of the governement which will put Big Business & Big Money back in the driver’s seat & line their pockets w/ insanely large amounts of cash while at the same time oppressing the “average Joe” who’s situation they love to use only to their own selfish advantage.

    & then there is that sticky question of geography. I know you’ll correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to remember that while the proposal to build the convent placed it outside the actual grounds of Auschwitz — in this way similar to Cordoba House — it was on the way into that hellish place. As I remember, people would have had to pass by the convent on their way into Auschwitz — unlike Cordoba House.

    I don’t know enough about either English or Israeli geography to offer a comparison, but in NYC, a couple of blocks can equate to being half a world away. To illustrate: Columbia Univ, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Union Seminary & the Manhattan School of Music (formerly Julliard) all are in Harlem. Long before Bill Clinton opened his office there, whites didn’t venture into Harlem. We were safe in our academic enclave, but when my classmate & I had to walk to the Harlem post office to retrieve a package, we locked our watches & wallets in his apartment before venturing those few blocks northward. We even locked our car doors (in the days before they locked automatically) if we had to drive through that neighborhood, whereas we never locked them when headed south. You cannot see Ground Zero from Cordoba House nor can you see Cordoba House from Ground Zero. As I indicated earlier, the same was not true of the convent (I think).

    Bottom line: all this shit is political manipulation at it’s very worst! When it comes to doing things to destroy people’s lives, Osama & his merry bunch can’t hold a candle to these motherfuckers!

  10. Ellis Feigenbaum

    Greg, out of the 2000 or so crimes defined as hate crimes reported in America last year, some 7% were directed against Muslims this is a horrendous number, almost 140 hate crimes directed against Muslims.

    Except when you put it into context, some 70% were directed against jews thats 1400 crimes designated as hate crimes against jews.

    Where exactly is the outrage and the press coverage, the wringing of hands and the tearing of hair. Oh sorry I forgot its only jews they dont really matter, and in anycase they are unlikely to blow up our centres of power so who gives a f……………

  11. “While you might not be a bigot, the big problem is that all too many now equate being Muslim w/ being an Islamofascist/terrorist.”

    Ah! So you accept now, Greg, that I have never equated being Muslim with being an Islamofascist/terrorist?! By tarnishing me, however, with the same brush as the “all too many,” in that knee-jerk, leftie (if you will excuse me!) way of yours, you did to me – and are, no doubt, doing to others – precisely the same thing that you so decry being done to Muslims.

    In fact, using your construct, Greg, I might say something similar to your ordinary Muslim . . .

    “While you might not be an Islamofascist/terrorist, or support them, the big problem is that all too many of your coreligionists are or do.”

    Would that be a legitimate standpoint, Greg?

  12. Ellis, I don’t know where you got your statistics. I tried to find world-wide stats, but was unable to do so. I did find this on the FBI site: — their latest listed is 2008.

    “Of the 7,780 single-bias incidents reported in 2008:
    * 51.3 percent were racially motivated.
    * 19.5 percent were motivated by religious bias.
    * 16.7 percent stemmed from sexual-orientation bias.
    * 11.5 percent resulted from ethnicity/national origin bias.
    * 1.0 percent were motivated by disability bias.” …
    “There were 1,606 hate crime offenses motivated by religious bias in 2008. A breakdown of these offenses shows:
    * 65.7 percent were anti-Jewish.
    * 13.2 percent were anti-other religion.
    * 7.7 percent were anti-Islamic.
    * 4.7 percent were anti-Catholic.
    * 4.2 percent were anti-multiple religions, group.
    * 3.7 percent were anti-Protestant.
    * 0.9 percent were anti-Atheism/Agnosticism/etc.”
    To put it into context, please note these population figures (unfortunately from Wiki: &
    Jews in the US (2008) 6,489,000 = 2.2%
    Muslims in US (2009) 2,454,000 = 0.8%
    Which means the ratio of Jews to Muslims is 28:1
    But hate crimes are 9:1
    So, while Jews suffer hate crimes @ a higher rate than Muslims overall, when compared to population size, the difference narrows significantly.

    Mike, all I’m trying to say is that we all must be very careful to make sure that the words we use do not allow for stereotyping — even agaisnt us knee-jerk lefties. 😉 But let me hasten to state that I am far from perfect!

    Especially @ this time of year, I want to say to anyone who feels harmed by anything I said or did in this past year, that I am sorry that I hurt you & I resolve to attempt to do better in this new year.

    Tizku l’shanim rabot … G’mar Tov!

  13. Ellis Feigenbaum

    I got it from a very reliable source, Christian Amanpour, never known to be friendly to the Israelis used this number while doing an interview with the cleric in charge of building the mosque at the ground zero site.
    Now it is possible she got her numbers wrong , but i would be highly suprised.
    according to your numbers 65 or so percent of hate crimes were directed against jews but you like the 9/1 ratio.
    Hitler only killed 6 million jews thats a drop in the bucket compared with the other 50 or 60 million that died in ww2. its only 12% of the total, a nothing a mere bagattelle.

  14. Hitler is a cheap shot & you know it. Statistics can be manitpulated & I’m no great mathematician.

    The most relevant info I’ve only recently heard is that there were not 1, but 2 active mosques IN the twin towers when the buildings were attacked. So as far as I’m concerned, all this yelling, screaming & flag waving is totally fake & completely racist crap, cooked up by disgustingly dishonest people to further their own nefarious interests. All these right-wing, outside agitators, starting w/ Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Rudy Giuliani, that nut job in Florida & everyone connected w/ fixed/faux/FOX “news,” should crawl back under the rocks they came from. I can’t begin to imagine what punishment they should suffer that could even scratch the surface in any attempt to repair the great damage they have done. May their sins haunt them every day of their lives & even into olam haba! Y’mach sh’mam!!!

  15. “2 active mosques IN the twin towers when the buildings were attacked.”

    And that proves what exactly, Greg? Christians were murdered in Auschwitz, but most right-thinking people still considered a convent right outside to be in poor taste.

    Tell a 9/11 victim’s family that its opposition to the Islamic centre is “totally fake . . . racist crap.” Seems your humanity, Greg, is far more selective than we all thought.

    Also, “May their sins haunt them every day of their lives & even into olam haba!” doesn’t sound very New Year spirited . . . but more like the rant of a certain Florida pastor!

    Which all goes to prove what I’ve always said: bleeding heart lefties are not the tolerant souls they’d have us all believe . . .

  16. My tolerance ends @ intolerance.

    Unless I’m terribly forgetful (which always is possible), most of the stink raised agaisnt the Auschwitz convent came from Corporate Jewry’s spokesmen (mostly men). By corporate I mean the professional Jews — those who parade around the world pretending to speak for all of us. In the case of the convent, they were very successful in bestirring the wider Jewish community to roar it’s protest.

    Read it any way you wish. Somehow I doubt you can speak authoritatively for the survivor families, especially since a large group of them long ago expressed their support. Or did you forget that little detail? Much of the opposition against the Islamic Cutlural Center is, as I keep saying, stirred up by these disgusting trouble makers who have no real stake in this other than to promote their twisted agenda.

    There’s also something going on here — in the US –that you probably don’t see from Israel. We are in the midst of a very important election cycle. If these Tea Partiers are successful, they will be responsible for setting civil rights back probably by a century! The rights of the individual will be trampled by the interests of big business — the largest banks, Wall Street, obscenely paid CEOs, big pharma & big oil. They will repeal health care, give huge tax breaks to the very richest 2 %, dismantle environmental & endangered species protections, ban abortion & full rights for members of the LGBT community. Even worse, they might even get a chance to change the balance of our Supreme Court to make it lean once again to the right which will have effects lasting up to 2 generations. Some of these sickos have even suggested repealing the civil rights laws which will make blacks into 2nd class citizens. They also want to privatize Social Security & Medicare which will take away the safety net most older Americans rely on & it will give the money to the rich. They will stop the kinds of foreign aid that helps provide critically needed medical suupplies & programs to the developing world which will lead to an increase in Malaria & other diseases & which will erase most of the progress made in stopping AIDS in those countries. This list goes on & on, seemingly w/o end.

    The bottom line is that “we the people” will be screwed — & that scares me. So yes, nothing would make me happier than to see the Earth open up & swallow them — azoy vi Koyrech!

    Obviously, there are many who disagree w/ me (& my kind), but if it happens, you will see the results world-wide.

    I’m not sure how it will afect your life in Israel, but it is conceivable that our new govt would encourage Israel to bomb Iran’s reactors. My guess is it will stand by Israel’s right — the pro-settlers, anti-2-State, pro-confrontation w/ the Arabs … & I don’t know enough to know everything we should be concerned about. If the US takes a dramtic turn to the right, it’s a solid bet it’s allies & client-States (which is how some speak of Israel as being) will be enouraged & supported to do so.

    As the line goes, “be afraid, be very afraid!”

  17. Wrong, Greg. You are tolerant when it suits you. It is called being inconsistent (some would say hypocritical).

    Anway, have it your way . . . the families of all of the 3,000 people murdered on 9/11 are absolutely thrilled to bits at the prospect of an Islamic centre going up so close to the spot where their loved ones were slaughtered by Muslims in the name of Allah.

    Feel better now?

  18. Have it your way, Mike. All/None statements are never true.

    Who knows … do we really have free choice? If b’rosh hashanah yikateivun uvyom tsom kippur yeichateimun is true, then the decision as to mi yichye / mi yamut is out of our hands. Do you think the Islamo-terrorists might actually be agents of the dayan ha’olam?

    Nah … probably not … as it says, v’chotam yad kol adam bo.

  19. “All/None statements are never true.”

    What about Always/Never statements? 😉

  20. Indubitably 😉

  21. I shall post below Rabbi Eric Yoffie’s recent full comments on the Islamic cultural center. It’s a damn good read, but for those who won’t bother, here are the salient points:

    1) Religious Freedom is guaranteed by US Constitution — after WW II many communities in suburban USA tried to ban the construction of synagogues. US Jewish orgs worked very hard to esteblish the right to build, so we cannot now oppose

    2) Right to Build / Wrong Choice
    a. sensitivity to victims’families — most families are in support – confirmed by Mayor Bloomberg
    b. “while their personal pain needs to be understood & respected, they are not entitled to determine public policy.”

    3) Auschwitz convent
    a. C initially was planned ON A’s grounds, after protests was moved was moved off site
    b. convent is closer to Auschwitz than Cordoba House is to Ground Zero
    c. this issue is being used (to appeal to emotions not reason)

    4. Hallowed Ground
    a. need to understand NYC – 2½ blocks = 100 miles
    b. stores, strip joints & other places of worship are in the same area

    5. Liberal v Conaservative — those in favor come from all positions: Bloomberg = Independent; NJ governor = Conservative Republican; Congressman Ron Paul = Libertarian; Conservative magazine “National Review” (founded by ultra-Conservative William F. Buckley, Jr.)

    6. Re: Imam
    a. is a liberal Sufi, but has said things we object to – over 30 yrs – but who hasn’t?
    b. dialog is not needed w/ Muslims who agree w/ us in toto, but w/ those who might disagree & yet are “reasonable, sensible & courageous.”

    7. Most of what is going on is an “orgy of hatred against Muslims … not all opposed are bigots but the voices of bigotry set the tone.”

    Happy reading … Comments by Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie to URJ (the Reform Movement’s) Executive Committee — “Regarding Cordoba House Community Center and Mosque”

  22. Thank you, Greg, but please use a bit of seychel – post a link rather than articles in their entirety (I have amended above, on this occasion). I would like to think that melchett mike is a blog for original views and ideas . . . not verbatim regurgitation of those of others.

  23. Yes, Mike, I would have done so, but I got Rabbi Yoffie’s comments via 1 of the URJ’s internal organs & didn’t know they were available elsewhere. Thanks for the detective work!

  24. The following sermon – delivered by Atlanta’s Rabbi Schlomo Lewis on the first day of Rosh Hashanah – is a must read . . .

    What do you say, Greg? 😉

  25. Well, Mike, since you asked … Obviously he put a lot of thought into his sermon – something all too many rabbis don’t bother doing. He had me at the beginning; I was w/ him for quite a while. When he’s right, he’s right … but when he’s wrong, he’s dead wrong.

    Right: A rabbi’s job is to make his congregation think. My emeritus had a desk plate that said a rabbi’s job was to comfort the discomforted & to discomfort the comfortable. He also had a turtle on his shelf w/ a tag that read, “Behold the turtle – He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.” This guy’s done that.

    In order to win both battles & wars we must correctly identify the enemy. He did that, quite clearly. Our enemy is Radical Islam. I have no quarrel w/ that. & I totally agree w/ his statement that “… what I do have is hatred for those who hate, intolerance for those who are intolerant,” although I’m not sure I share his “guiltless, unstoppable obsession to see evil eradicated.” I think war-killing-murder comes w/ guilt – even if it’s righteous. Even God admonished his angels @ the Sea by asking how they could rejoice while His children were dying. Yes, they had to die, but there’s still a price to be paid for it. But I’m still w/ him – into the middle of pg 2 – 1,061 words. I’m impressed.

    He’s still right when he says that “there are there are unwitting, co-conspirators who strengthen the hands of the evil doers,” & that “the overwhelming number of Muslims are good Muslims, fine human beings …” etc.

    But then he starts to go off the tracks, saying, “these good Muslims have an obligation to destiny, to decency that thus far for the most part they have avoided.” I disagree w/ his claim that they have not & are not “condemning terrorism, denouncing unequivocally the slaughter of the innocent.”

    They are. They do. We’re not given the chance to hear it!

    Why not? Because the media, for the most part, do not report it. Why? I’m not sure. I think it’s because they get more bang for their buck by focusing on the bad. By & large, good news doesn’t sell newspapers or encourage advertisers to buy ads; it doesn’t entice large audiences to tune in.

    There’s plenty of blame to go around. Again, he correctly points out, “Brutal acts of commission and yawning acts of omission both strengthen the hand of the devil.”

    He’s back on track when he speaks about the lessons of History & the whole series of mistakes that if the right choices were made & courses of action taken would have resulted in the saving of millions of lives & prevented the death of a major portion of our Jewish culture & heritage.

    But hindsight is 20/20. Seeing into the futre isn’t quite so easy.

    & again he’s goes off the tracks. There have been anti-Muslim acts. Muslims have been attacked just for being Muslim. We just narrowly avoided Qur’an burnings. The problem is that for the most part, those atrocities get short shrift from the media.

    We’ve been through all this nonsense about where institutions should or should not be built. All of the examples he cites would be ON the grounds of the offending actions. EXCEPT Cordoba House. It makes no difference how many times it’s said or how many preach against it, it’s still hate-mongering to claim it’s on the site of or “only a few steps from” Ground Zero. BTW this rabbi serves a USCJ (Conservative Movement) cong, Etz Chaim, in Atlanta, GA – which, in case you don’t have your globe in front of you, is way more than a few steps from Ground Zero, so I sincerely doubt he’s capable of speaking w/ any authority about how Cordoba House affects real New Yorkers. (As an aside, his cong is among the many in Atlanta that can’t be bothered to hire a hazzan. Boo … hiss!)

    I understand his being disturbed & his connection to the ACLU. I stopped paying dues for a while after they supported a neo-Nazi groups’ right to march in Skokie, IL. My card is active again. Sure, I wish there were a manager for Burroughs – & the rest of us – to see.

    I could be wrong – & I’m sure you’ll tell me I am – but I think he gets lost on his tangent that everything that’s happened so far is but a forshpeis for what he predicts will be the ultimate destruction of our Western society. Part of what he engages in beginning on pg 4 is rabbinic hyperbole – not at all unexpected – he’s a preacher & that’s what preachers do. (Forgive my sarcasm – I’ve slept through more than my share of self-righteous, preachy sermons … right Mark?) & he’s wrong – it’s not all black & white – there’s plenty of grey.

    Remember when he said no Muslims speak out? The Imam of Cordoba House did & does. That’s why George Bush (& now Obama) sent him as an emissary to the Arab world. George Bush. Really? The guy he accuses of having “moral clarity?” SMFH Bush was NOT relentless in his war on terror. He let bin-Ladin get away. He allowed the Taliban to regain a stronghold in Af-Pak-istan because he was too busy finishing his daddy’s fake war in Iraq. Give me a break!

    Back on track … yes, we need to express outrage @ the way everyone – especially women & except the blessed few – are treated by Sharia law. But the price we would pay for putting it on every billboard (at least here in the US) is that the idiots who are too easily goaded by Beck/Limbaugh/Palin & Murdoch’s FauxNEWS will go off half-cocked & do more damage than good. (That’s why the world was consumed for a week by that dumbass, backwater preacher in Florida!)

    Gebirtig wrote: “shteyt nit brider … mit farleygte hent … lesht dos faier…” (which I sing – very effectively, I’m told – for Martyrology & Yom HaSho’ah), but I believe that fire cannot be extinguished by throwing gasoline on it. OK so call me a fool, but I believe the answer lies in diplomacy – which in my book is NOT appeasement.

    Now, for a different view of diplomacy, I hope you’ll read this editorial: “Abbas Extends a Hand” in The Jewish Daily Forward: I hope & pray that Bibi will do the right things to make this a really happy Cheshvan!

  26. “Diplomacy”? Who with exactly?

  27. Bibi & Abbas, for 2.

  28. Greg, even though I only ‘know’ you from here, I know that you are a top bloke . . . but you are also deluded as f*ck! Even if Bibi and Abbas did succeed in making some kind of progress, do you really think it would cut any ice with Haniyeh, with Meshaal, with even bigger nutters right across the Islamic world, and ultimately (it would seem) with Bin Laden? And do you really believe that, even if we could get to sit down with these folks, it would be real “diplomacy” . . . rather than us having to orally remove every dingleberry from their smelly brown botties . . . constituting appeasement that would make Neville Chamberlain look like Gordon Gekko?!

  29. There you go again, objectifying Abbas & every decent Palestinian – & exactly like the rabbi you admired, there ARE decent, peace-loving Palestinians – characterizng them as having sh*tty asses. In case you’re too blind to see it, that’s racism, so cut the crap & stop protesting that you’re not a racist – & it’s not helpful in the least.

    I chose to believe those who are much closer to the actual situation than either of us. They say that the Palestinians do want peace, that they’re tired of living in the 3rd (or 4th) world, that they’re willing to do what’s necessary to get the help they need – from the US & Israel – to become a real nation. That alone, they say, will be enough for them to say to I’m-a-nut-job, “back the f**k off.” That’s to say that if Palestine, as client state to Iran & Saudi Arabia, just as Israel is to the US, tells their string-pullers that they’ve had enough, it will work. Along the lines of Liberation Theology (go ahead, choke on it), when they say they’ve had enough of being the football & that they’re going home to build a real country, that will be the end of the game. It can work & I chose to believe it will work. By calling that appeasement, you’re being part of the problem instead of the solution.

  30. Nothing “racist” about “smelly brown botties.”

    Greg, Rabbi Lewis’s speech was about Islamofascism and global Jihad, so don’t keep playing the fool by taking the discussion back to the Palestinians. You also keep totally ignoring Hamas, who – hello, Greg?! – now control the Gaza Strip. In short, you haven’t answered the questions in my last comment above.

    And I am “calling that appeasement,” Greg, because that is all you are ever offering. If you think that burying your head in your fluffy clouds will achieve anything other than our destruction, you are a fool.

  31. Greg,

    So what exactly is your opinion about the state of Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations today? And how do you see the way forward?

  32. Sorry Mike, dingleberries + smelly + brown + botties = racist. You know you wrote it w/ the intent to objectify. That’s racism. If you insist on lumping the West Bank Palestinians w/ Hamas you are calling them Islamofascists. Again, racism. I’m very sorry you choose to blind yourself to that. Your rabbi said he doesn’t tolerate intolerance. Neither do I. It is you & the settlers & the hareidi & Bibi (& I don’t follow Israeli politics closely enough to name them all) who are being intolerant. That’s intolerable.

    The negotiations that might continue — if Bibi backs away from his stubborn, idiotic insistence on settlements — are w/ Abbas, not Hamas. Yes, Hamas is an Islamofascist group, but even in Gaza, there are people – people not Islamofascists, b’nei Avraham just like you, created b’tselem elohim just like you – who still want peace. Unfortunately they can’t come to the negotiating table. But the Palestinian residents of the West Bank can … & will … if the Israeli govt stops making it impossible for them to do so.

    Negotiating land-for-peace is not appeasement. It’s a stratigic tactic that has worked successfully for Israel in the past. It can work now. It has to be done 1 step @ a time; it can’t happen all @ once. Who else might be a possibility for negotiation? Saudi Arabia – they’ve come close, so maybe if Palestine becomes a reality, they might be willing to give it a go. OK, most probably not Iran, certainly not now.

    Neither of us are privy to what’s really on the bargaining table. You choose to characterize it as appeasement. I doubt it is. I have more faith in the US’ top negotiating team than do you. So shoot me.

  33. “If you insist on lumping the West Bank Palestinians w/ Hamas you are calling them Islamofascists.”

    Greg, you are so far detached from the reality, it is just embarrassing!

    “OK, most probably not Iran, certainly not now.”

    You don’t say, Greg?! You’ve got your finger right on that pulse!

    As for “smelly brown botties,” I don’t think you even understand what you are writing when you continually use the word “objectifying.” It is just another one of your easy cliches (like “you’re being part of the problem instead of the solution,” etc, straight out of an undergraduate student meeting). Falling back, too, on accusations of “racism” against all those who don’t accept your pie in the sky bollocks is also easy.

    But easy is the extent of your comprehension it seems, Greg. Perhaps you should stick to JStreet, etc – not as accountable as you thought, eh, concealing all that funding from George Soros? Quel surprise! – because you are not going to get easy here.

  34. I guess there’s no point in arguing, Mike. You choose blindess when it comes to your own racism or bigotry or whatever you want to call it. Fine. Genug. I’m not the Dayan Ha’Emet. You don’t have to answer to me.

    Following are some links J Street has provided re the funding flap, & as they point out no equivalent organization is required to disclose their funding, so the question can rightly be raised as to where those right-wing-my-Israel-right-or-wrong groups get their funds. I’m quite sure you won’t be satsified w/ J Street’s explanations, but that’s OK.

    From J Street – The following are the essential talking points on each issue:
    Soros himself:
    1.We are proud to have his support.
    2. We may not agree with every position he has ever taken but we share his values and principles.
    3. We oppose efforts to turn those who criticize Israeli policies into enemies of the state of Israel or of the Jewish people.
    4. George Soros has no operational or policy role with J Street.
    5. The family’s support amounts to just under 7 percent of the total operating and political money raised by the J Street family of organizations from 2008-2010.

    Not revealing his support:
    1. I (Jeremy Ben Ami) have personally accepted responsibility if I misled anyone on the issue of George Soros’ support for our effort.
    2. J Street began receiving support from the Soros family in the late fall of 2008, well after we launched J Street, and it was my decision not to proactively announce that he had started providing support.
    3. The privacy and confidentiality of donors to 501(c)(4) donors is legally protected, and other advocacy groups do not reveal their donors. For all the high-minded criticism of our failure to reveal our funders — how many of the organizations that the critics support reveal their donors?

    Hong Kong Donation:
    1. This donation reflects the generous support of Pittsburgh philanthropist Bill Benter who agreed to raise and contribute substantial funds to J Street as it got off the ground. Bill is a generous philanthropist and his good work in Pittsburgh, Hong Kong and for peace in the Middle East is summarized in this Wall Street Journal piece .
    2. He asked his business associate (Consolacion Esdicul) to make the donation from an account she administers in Hong Kong, where he lives for part of the year and has business holdings, and she was listed as the donor of record on our tax return.
    3. The Esdicul donation represents a significant portion of the one tax return that was leaked, but only just over 7 percent of the total funds raised by all aspects of J Street since it was launched.

    J Street does have several large donors — including Benter and Soros as well as foundations that support our Education Fund. The bulk of our support is provided by the over 10,000 donors we have attracted in the past two and a half years.

    Goldstone/Colette Avital:
    1. The Washington Times refused to hear Ms. Avital when she told them clearly that she is still associated with J Street — though in a different role. She is in fact speaking on our behalf in just a couple of weeks in four cities in the Midwest. Her role with us now is primarily as a surrogate speaker on our behalf in the United States.
    2. J Street issued a categorical denial that it had anything to do with organizing or facilitating Judge Goldstone’s visits to Capitol Hill. Ms. Avital confirmed that with the Washington Times as well.
    3. We did not “support” his report, and we specifically criticized the UN process that gave rise to it, and called for the US to do everything it could to keep it from advancing in the UN process, including, if necessary, vetoing a resolution at the Security Council.

    That said, nothing justifies the campaign of personal vilification that was launched against Judge Goldstone, and we do believe it was perfectly appropriate for him to meet with Members of Congress to give them insight into the investigation and report from his point of view.
    Resources – Here are links to key J Street statements that you should feel free to forward as necessary to respond to these charges:
    1. My statement about the funding issues.
    2. Isaac Luria’s statement attacking the Washington Times for publishing its fictional account of our assistance to Judge Goldstone.
    3. Statement by Colette Avital explicitly saying that (a) she has not left J Street, (b) she had no knowledge of J Street helping Goldstone with his visits, and (c) that she is speaking for us in the Midwest in October.
    4. Two statements issued by J Street on the Goldstone Report in October 2009: and .

    & 1 more thing – I challenge you to show me anyone w/ clean hands in all this sh*t.

  35. Daniel, you raise an important question, 1 that I’m not sure I can answer appropriately (but when has that stopped me?). I’d say that interfaith relations on both national & international levels leave much to be desired.Unfortunately, it has become too highly charged. Both the US & Israel are far from being immune to terrible misunderstandings, hatred & bigotry.

    There are, however, islands of hope. Often, w/in individual communities good work is being done.

    On Wednesdays, the URJ’s (Reform) 10 Minutes of Torah publishes a report from Marc Rosenstein who lives in Shorashim. He often focuses on his work w/ a Jewish/Arab group that is doing some very hard work on understanding & appreciating the other. Subscribe:; Archive:

    Also in Israel, IRAC; The Israel Religious Action Center, 13 King David Street, POB 31936, Jerusalem, 91319, Israel | Tel: 972-2-620-3323 Fax: 972-2-625-6260; defines itself thus: “IRAC occupies a unique place in the social and religious landscape of Israel, infusing social justice advocacy with the spiritual energy and humane worldview of Progressive Judaism. IRAC, the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel, was founded in 1987 with the goals of advancing pluralism in Israeli society and defending the freedoms of conscience, faith, and religion.

    IRAC uses litigation, legislation, public policy and advocacy to advance civic equality. These activities have established IRAC as a leading Jewish organization working to strengthen the democratic character of Israeli society.”

    The Shalom Center & my friend Rabbi Art Waskow try to follow in the steps of Martin Luther King & Rabbi Abraham Heschel z”l, waging peace & understanding wherever he/they can.

    Both Pope John Paul II & now Dominick have made efforts. Are they enough? Of course not.

    Of course, too few believe the proposed Islamic Cultural Center in NYC is intended to further understnanding, but I just saw a report on the news the other day showing some preliminary architechtural drawings. (I’m impressed & pleased w/ what I saw … & I’m sure you’re not surprised.) Included in that report was the statement that the building will include a space for a memorial to those who died @ Ground Zero.

    It’s a huge task. I’m hard pressed to rank their importance, but certainly the greatest problems facing our world are: fixing & protecting the environment, weaning ourselves off fossil fuels/creating alternative enregy solutions & doing the extremely hard work of bringing peace & understanding to every corner of our world. It often seems impossible, but as hard as it is, you know we’re taught that we cannot shirk from doing our part in helping to bring tikkun olam. If there’s any 1 term that would describe all of these things, tikkun olam is it. We have no choice; we have no alternative; we must do this work!

  36. All botties are smelly. It is the nature of the beast. If postulating that Islamofascist ones are brown, too, makes me a racist, I can live with that.

    As for “choos[ing] blindness,” Greg, no one on melchett mike has been more accomplished at that than you.

  37. I dunno, Mike, some of us try to keep our botties clean … sorry to hear about yours. 😉 & thanks for the … er … compliment … I’ll take ’em wherever I can get ’em, although I’m sorry you equate truth w/ blindness. 🙂

  38. Daniel Marks

    Thank you for your interesting reply Greg. Did I ever mention taht Heschel’s brother was my rabbi as a child in the UK.

    He came to visit once and the gabayim wouldn’t let him have a seat by the ark because he was a Conservative. In protest his brother sat next to him, in my row. I must have been about four because I remember him playing finger games with me. I also try to amuse kids who look bored in shul and I’m sure it was from then.

    As far as being called blind, don’t worry. There are times when the fog is really thick that it takes a blind man to lead.;wap2

  39. What a wonderful memory, Daniel! Fortunately I had the zechus to meet Rabbi Heschel. Unfortunately it was only once. He was a very special man! I have never experienced anything like it – he had coal black eyes, but a brilliant light shone from them! I regret our world will not see the likes of him any time soon. Zekher tsadik livrakhah!

    I do appreciate your kind insight. Living here on the edge of a great desert, we don’t get much fog. 😉 But that does not stop many of us from having fog lights installed on our cars. LOL Only time will tell. As John Lennon taught, we must give peace a chance. Perhaps the best thing we can do is not to get in the way.

  40. Oy … of course there are liberal airheads (that’s what we call ’em here in California), but as the recent non-stop, overflowing sewer of political comments across this formerly great nation have shown, airhead-ism isn’t limited to liberals … there’s plenty to go around. I’d like to think of myself as a sentient being, but if you want to characterize me as an airhead, that’s your prerogative.

  41. Laurence Green

    I have just come across the somewhat surreal picture of the Moslem woman who appears to be up to her shoulders in the sand, looking surprisingly stoical considering that she has been hit in the face by rocks, some of which lie bloodstained around her.
    She is wearing a hijab, which, I understand, is worn to guard the woman’s modesty and also to ensure that she, as a Moslem female, is not harassed when she goes out.
    Somehow, although I don’t know the circumstances of this stoning, I doubt whether the unfortunate woman pictured could have cared less about her modesty while rocks were hitting her in the face. As for protecting her from harassment – the picture speaks for itself.
    I wonder then, why she is wearing her hijab for this occasion: you might have thought that her executioners would have given her a “day off” – a last opportunity to be relieved of the sweaty cloth (and let’s face it: she isn’t exactly enjoying the comfort of an air conditioned room) before she shuffled off her mortal coil. Perhaps it’s merely worn habitually, and maybe she wanted to look smart for her execution but I suspect that it’s more likely to be worn for the benefit of her executioners. After all, it wouldn’t be right for them to stone an immodestly dressed woman to death, would it? I can just hear the gossip now: “Did you hear Ali, that woman who was stoned to death for being gang raped didn’t even have the decency to wear her hijab for her execution – how disgusting! I think the stoners should have forced her to wear it, peace be upon them.”

  42. Laurence, have you no heart? Does blood not course through your veins? How can you mock a poor defenceless woman, photographed during her final minutes and in such obvious suffering?

    Alright, alright . . . I hold my hands up . . . but it’s amazing what Arab women on Yaffo beach will do for just a couple of pieces of baklawa!

  43. A colleague sent this most compelling video, “Strangers.” Even though it’s from 2003, I wasn’t aware of it … chances are you might not have seen it. Please click on: Also, I found this interesting comment: … although I have no idea whether his facts are accurate.

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