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For peace sake: Name and shame enemies of the Jewish people

For peace sake: Name and shame enemies of the Jewish people

In the age of ISIS, “Interfaith Dialogue” needs to move beyond platitudes.

One day before the terror attacks in Copenhagen, during a Friday, February 13 sermon, Hajj Saeed, the imam of the city’s Al-Faruq Mosque rejected inter-faith dialogue with Jews calling it a “malignant idea”.

There can be no reconciliation with the Jews, said Saeed; it would be like trying to “reconcile Truth with Falsehood”.

It’s easy to dismiss Saeed’s words as the rantings of a hater. In fact, that’s what people involved with interfaith organizations tend to do. Everyone pretends as if Muslim preachers the world over aren’t saying these things.

The only problem is that they’re getting harder to ignore.

These days it seems like a week doesn’t pass without hearing about some hostile imam or sheikh shouting “death to the Jews”, or some angry mob harassing Jews on the streets.

In Europe, the level of anti-Semitism today is shocking. In the Middle East and North Africa, Holocaust denial is ingrained.

The ADL reports that over a billion people on the planet today hold “persistent and pervasive” anti-Jewish attitudes, seeing Jews as power-grabbing and money-grubbing, disloyal citizens in the countries in which they live, and responsible for the terrible things that are done to them.

Paris Prostest signe Europe under foot of criminal zionist satanists

[Paris Protest sign: Europe under foot of criminal Zionist satanists]

Even in the U.S., nearly 60 percent of religiously-motivated hate crimes are anti-Jewish and they’re on the rise. On American campuses in particular, anti-Semitic incidents are becoming the new normal: swastikas painted on fraternity houses and students organizing fundraisers for convicted murderers of Jewish students.

And so now we Jews need more from interfaith dialogue groups than the typical “fellowship” meetings and conferences which offer up nothing beyond shallow and superficial feel-good commentaries like: “My religion is about peace” or (my personal favorite): “My religion says we should respond to evil with love”.

We need interfaith organizations to stand with us by naming and shaming the enemies of the Jewish people. We need, as Princeton University political theorist Michael Walzer recently notes, for people of goodwill to be more concerned with condemning Islamist zealotry than they are with avoiding accusations of Islamophobia.

Most of all, we need interfaith groups to begin a frank and honest discussion on the theological justifications for murderous Jew-hatred.

This was the gist of my remarks at a recent interfaith panel on “Violence in the Name of Religion: the Crisis of ISIS” held last week in downtown Syracuse, where I was invited to speak about the Jewish perspective on the crisis of ISIS.

My remarks dovetailed nicely with Amy Miller’s recent LI post and Senator Dan Coats’s depressing summary of last week’s testimony from several senior (retired) military commanders before the Senate Armed Services Committee (they made a convincing case that, despite its ability to keep on capturing ever larger swaths of territory, the U.S. still lacks an effective strategy for countering ISIS).

I discussed how President Obama is so adverse to the smart use of American military power that he can’t see how the U.S. armed forces could, if given a clear purpose and goal, “take out terrorists who kill innocent civilians”.

Unbelievably, as ISIS and other radical Islamist jihadist/takfiri organizations perpetrate monstrous crimes against humanity (blunt-knife beheadings, shootings, strapping suicide vests onto disabled kids, burning, crucifying, and enslaving the innocent), we have an American President who refuses to talk about Islamic terrorism.

This makes absolutely no sense because, as Graeme Wood shows in an important new article, ISIS is 100% Islamic. To defeat it we’ll need to understand its theology and strategize accordingly.

Here are some excerpts from my talk on February 10:

In preparing my remarks for tonight, I’ve thought a lot about the crisis of ISIS (also called ISIL, the Islamic State, or Daesh—as it’s known in the Arabic).

But I’ve also thought a great deal about the courageous men and women who refuse to be intimidated into silence and, often at great risk to themselves and to their families, are standing up for a different Islam—one that can co-exist with the fundamental human rights of liberty, freedom, pluralism and the rights of women, of the child, and of all religious minorities.

And so, I’m left asking myself: am I doing enough to help these brave men and women? Or am I just free-riding on their hard work? What is my responsibility—as a Jew, as an American, and as a human being? I’d like to make four general points.

First, what we are witnessing today is a global crisis of much larger proportions than just ISIS.
It would be a relief if we only had to worry about a handful of jihadists involved in terrorism. But it’s time that we stopped living in denial. The first step to defeating Islamic radicalism is acknowledging that there is a problem.

My second point is that we need to recognize that this crisis is not just about religion.
ISIS and other radical Islamist groups view jihad as a religious duty. But it’s important to realize that, even within the writings of the Salafists, the justification for deliberate attacks on civilians, especially those living in democracies, is quite recent.

So today’s radical Islamism represents an unprecedented re-interpretation of jihad. But the current crisis is also about money and power, and marketing a message.

My third point is that unless we empower moderate Muslims to address underlying grievances—the factors that gave rise to ISIS in the first place—we will soon face another permutation of ISIS.

Radical Islam in the Middle East and North Africa won’t be defeated unless the underlying drivers of conflict are confronted: non-representative governments, under-development, and the increasing negative impacts of climate change. But to do that, we’re going to have to give moderate Muslims the help that they desperately need. As Lee Smith of the Hudson Institute recently notes, rhetorical support by the White House and other Western policymakers is just cheap talk that leaves the field free to extremists.

My final point is that we have to stop blaming ourselves for radical Islam.

The notion that radical Islamist attacks are a reaction to provocations from the West is not only patently false, but also plays into the hands of extremists whose ideological underpinnings rest on the claim that Judeo-Christianity represses Islam.

Instead of violent extremism being the West’s fault, terrorism is triggered by a particular framing of contemporary Muslim life as a combination of humiliations at home and militaristic policies abroad: it’s the West that’s bombing Muslims, and the citizens of these democracies who must be punished for it. (But in reality it’s Islamist zealots who are massacring Muslims, and everyone else who doesn’t bend to their will).

To conclude, I’d like to…offer some remarks on violence in the name of religion from the Jewish perspective:

The Torah tells us that when Adam and Eve went against the Lord G-d’s command and ate from the Tree of Knowledge, Hashem called out to Adam and said: [“Where are you?”]

Of course, as Rashi, the great medieval Torah commentator, tells us: G-d knows everything and knew exactly where Adam was. But He was giving Adam the chance to explain, to take responsibility, to speak up.

The Rabbis of the Gemara teach a similar message: [“Silence is agreement”].
Yet the world, too often during attacks on Jews, is silent.

This is the Jewish perspective.

A full transcript is linked at InterFaith Works here, and in this blog post at INSCT—Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism.

Miriam F. Elman is an associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, where she is a research director in the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration.


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Modern-day terrorist has been triggered and perpetuated by and advertising campaign. The stated purpose of the campaign is to convince Muslims that they have a personal, religious duty to kill every last Jew, in order to bring about the end of the world. This is no isolated notion.

The contract to perform the advertising campaign can be found here:

Unless and until the Hamas Covenant is repudiated by the Ummah and stopped, there will continue to be violence by Muslims, against whoever is within their reach.

It is my theory that Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Hezbollah and the Daesh are Allah’s punishment for blasphemy against Him, Islam, and His Prophet. Certainly any area governed by anything like an Islamist government is a pathetic, gory mess, and most of the blood spilled is of Muslims.

The Quran says that the End Times will not occur until all the Jews are killed. It further says that Jews are the worst of peoples, liars and deceivers, and the greatest in enmity to the Muslims. Any good Muslim, believing that the Quran is the divine word of Allah, should want to kill all the Jews.

The Quran has a similar fate for the Christians, who will be killed by Isa (the Quranic term for Jesus) unless they convert to Islam.

A related aspect of this issue that has become more and more striking to me is how the Jewish community relates to the Palestinians. On campuses and in much of the sociol and political world the Palestinians and ther supporters deminize Israel in terms that are patently false but the Jewish community rarely calls a spade a spade with respect to the Palestinians. This is true even when talking to each with the result that many Jews do not understood the true genocidal hostility.

I have a good friend with whom I have long heated debates on just about ever political topic under the sun. We almost always end up agreeing on the core issues and principals even when coming from very different starting positions. The notable exception is Israel. He is Jewish but very ambivalent about Israel. The very idea of a state tied to a religion or people troubles him. The most he will usually reluctantly concede is that Israel gets unfairly treated when in contrast with other nations but he still expressed great discomfort due to the Palestinians. The history he treated as a tit for tat feud and expressed sympathy for the PA and Abbas in particular as being stuck in an untenable position by the Israeli’s. The fact the Abbas’s wrote his thesis (and derived book) on denying the scope of the Holocaust and claiming a Nazi-Zionist alliance floored him. It was amazing to me how that piece of trivia change the conversation. I wouldn’t call him a Zionist now but the conversation has shifted.

In the scheme of things Abbas’s thesis feels to me like a minor point of history but the larger point is that the Jewish community seems to feel uncomfortable pointing out just how bad the Palestinians are vis-a-via Jews and Israel. My sense is (and personally I sympathize) is we don’t like to bad mouth broad groups. We can talk about the extremism of Hamas but don’t like to brand the general population as the same even though the majority of the Palestinian people, in polls and votes, agree or support Hamas’s goals. We don’t like to broadcast the more bigoted words of the Mufti or Imams or ‘moderate’ leaders. We don’t like to bad mouth a people; even when the words are true. Sadly our enemies have no such qualms; true or not.

Islamic terrorism is Islamic doctrine, as found in the Koran and preached by Mohammed and it is triggered by nothing less than the koran, the Hadiths, and Mohammed. So, both Valerie and Miriam are wrong.

Miriam, if you cannot look the problem head on and recognize what it is, then your prescriptions for it would be, at best, inadequate, at worst, useless.

The problem is about religion and nothing else. There is no such animal as a “moderate Muslim”, just as there is no such thing as a Christian without baptism. The “moderates” stood silent in the face of Charlie Hebdo and the deli slaughters. They turned out to lay flowers at the place where one of their own died in Denmark, and became enraged when ISIS burned one of their own in a cage. When the Christians and Yazidis were being slaughtered, the “moderates” stayed silent. The legal maxim on silence is thus in force.

The justification for the slaughter of civilians is as old as Islam–ask the Jews of Medina. Ask the Copts of Egypt at the dawn of Islam. They, as we are today, were presented with this choice: convert, pay jizya, die. Refuse the first two and Muslims will kill you. What ISIS is doing is as Islamic as birds flying with one wing in Kandahar.

Engaging in “interfaith” dialogue with people whose book tells them to kill you if you will not submit to their ideology just gives them encouragement to lie to you, as their book tells them it’s fine to do. There is nothing to talk about with Muslims. What “interfaith”? Are you willing to say that the God of the TNK is a liar? I am not. The TNK’s God says Israel is my chosen people who will be brought back to the land from the ends of the earth, and the land will bloom. The devil of Islam says Israel must be slaughtered wherever he is found. What’s to talk about? The same people who made common cause with Hitler and Himmler in the 1930’s, who have Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kamp as source books (watch the goose-steppers of Iran and Hamas), now stand ready to complete the work begun by Hitler and Himmler. What is there to dialogue with them about, Miriam?

Personally, I advocate a short lecture to all Islamic peoples, and it goes like this: my bullets and bombs are greased with lard and stuffed with bits of pork. Eff with me, and you will certainly die but you will never see paradise.

Thanks for reading my post and these important comments. While I have researched the nexus between religion and politics in the Middle East, I am not a theologian. I have however interacted for many years with Muslim colleagues who repudiate everything ISIS stands for, and its interpretation of the faith. I encourage you to consider the actions of those who risk their lives for a different Islam. They would be branded takfir and slaughtered too. There is a hard core of anti-semitism in radical Islam and of course also an entrenched anti-democratic stance. That millions of Muslims would have been OK with the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists being killed by a shariah court, rather than by vigilantes, is what my fellow interfaith interlocutors don’t want to see or acknowledge. It’s painful to them, to realize the scope and magnitude of the problem. They want to stay in their protective cocoon of our organization. I’m asking for them to acknowledge the theological justifications for the Jew-hatred. On a large scale it would be a Reformation.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Miriam Elman. | February 24, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Miriam, there is no such thing as “radical Islam”; there is just Islam. Your Muslim colleague may tell you they repudiate what ISIS stands for, but they cannot without rejecting the Koran and Hadiths, and the price for that is death. If they truly did reject those teachings, they would convert from Islam to either Judaism or Christianity. That they remain within the fold tells the story of where they stand.

    Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the blind sheik, also not a theologian, did his research to determine if the blink sheik’s violent pronouncements was consistent with Islam’s doctrines. He discovered they were, and he rightly concluded that Islam is a violent ideology masquerading as a religion. The same conclusions were drawn here:

    The Charlie Hebdo killers, just like the deli killer, were doing their Islamic duty, and that is what your colleagues will not tell you. I were you, Miriam, I would not be alone with them anytime ever because not only will they not renounce Islam’s violent ideologies but they themselves are quite capable of acting upon it, as is their duty. A young Jewish boy in Texas died to discover that even Muslims you have grown up with can kill as their Islamic duty.

    Your problem, Miriam, is that you are expecting Muslims to think and act like Christians. Sure, there are “Christians” who hate Jews (and vice versa)–look at those in the divestment crowd–but there is no basis in Judaeo-Christian theology for that sentiment or for any violent action against then other. Therefore, any Christian, without prompting, would reject anti-Semitism and slaughter of Jews. That’s like eating yourself, for goodness sake!

    Your Muslim colleagues in your ‘interfaith’ organization are wolf in sheep’s clothing. They know they cannot do what you want and still remain Muslim. They are not about to do what you ask, and they have no problem lying to you about it. Islamic ‘interfaith’ dialogue was established by Mohammed, and it is this: convert, pay jizya, or die.

    Islam cannot be reformed, Miriam, because the core of the problem is the Koran and Hadiths, the teachings of Mohammed, and therefore the problem is Islam itself. Christianity could be reformed because it had strayed from the Scripture. With Islam, the Koran says ‘kill the Jews and the Christians’. The intended sense of the books is one. To reform Islam, then, you must destroy the books. What Muslim would be willing to do that? Destroy the books and you destroy Islam, and then there are no more Muslims. They would not countenance that.

    All we can do is destroy Islam. We cannot reform it, and we cannot countenance its adherents practicing taqqiyah against us to serve the cause of Islam. Therefore, what remains is to give them the choice to have life, or to suffer death without paradise. We know their weakness. We just have to have the will to exploit it to put an end to terrorism.