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The New Anti-Semitism

Recent attacks on Islam in the United States echo old slurs against Jews

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A protester at a New York City Landmarks Commission vote on whether to grant protection to the buildings near Ground Zero that will house the Islamic community center. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images)
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Islamophobia or Reality?

A conservative activist and a liberal Tablet contributor debate whether the ‘Ground Zero mosque’ poses a threat to the United States

Lawless

‘Sharia’ is a much more abstract concept than ideologues—whether Mideast Islamists or Newt Gingrich—suggest

After Abraham Foxman waded into the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy, opposing plans to construct an Islamic community center a few blocks from the World Trade Center site, the Anti-Defamation League chief was assailed by critics who charged that the ADL was giving license to bigotry and betraying its historic mission “to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike.” A week after initially coming out against the mosque, Foxman announced that the ADL was bowing out of the controversy, but the damage to the group’s reputation had been done.

The problem for the ADL is that there simply isn’t much anti-Semitism of consequence in the United States these days. While anti-Semitism continues to thrive elsewhere in the world and to molder on the fringes of American society, Jews have by now been fully assimilated into the American ruling class and into the mainstream of American life. A mundane event like the recent wedding of Protestant Chelsea Clinton and Jewish Marc Mezvinsky drove this point home. What was notable was not the question “will she convert?” but how little importance anyone attached to the answer; the former first daughter’s choice between Judaism and Christianity seemed as inconsequential as the choice between Episcopalianism and Presbyterianism would have a few decades ago.

At the same time, many of the tropes of classic anti-Semitism have been revived and given new force on the American right. Once again jingoistic politicians and commentators posit a religious conspiracy breeding within Western society, pledging allegiance to an alien power, conspiring with allies at the highest levels of government to overturn the existing order. Because the propagators of these conspiracy theories are not anti-Semitic but militantly pro-Israel, and because their targets are not Jews but Muslims, the ADL and other Jewish groups have had little to say about them. But since the election of President Barack Obama, this Islamophobic discourse has rapidly intensified.

While the political operatives behind the anti-mosque campaign speak the language of nativism and American exceptionalism, their ideology is itself something of a European import. Most of the tropes of the American “anti-jihadists,” as they call themselves, are taken from European models: a “creeping” imposition of sharia, Muslim allegiance to the ummah rather than to the nation-state, the coming demographic crisis as Muslims outbreed their Judeo-Christian counterparts. In recent years the call-to-arms about the impending Islamicization of Europe has become a well-worn genre, ranging from more sophisticated treatments like Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe to cruder polemics like Mark Steyn’s America Alone and Bat Ye’or’s Eurabia.

It would be a mistake to seek too precise a correspondence between the new Islamophobia and the old anti-Semitism, which differ in some key respects. Jews have never threatened to become a numerical majority, or even a sizable minority, in any European country, so anxiety about Jewish power naturally gravitated toward the myth of the shadowy elite manipulating the majority from behind the scenes. By contrast, anti-Muslim anxiety has focused on the supposed demographic threat posed by Muslims, in which the dusky hordes overwhelm the West by sheer weight of numbers. (“The sons of Allah breed like rats,” as the late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci put it.) It may be that in many ways this Islamophobia shares more of the tropes of traditional anti-Catholicism than classic anti-Semitism.

But if the tropes do not always line up, there is some notable continuity in the players involved. One of the most striking stories of recent years has been the realignment of segments of the European far right behind a form of militant support for Israel. Much of the traditional neofascist right remains both anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic, but savvier far-right leaders have realized that by dropping the anti-Semitic elements of their platforms and doubling down on Islamophobia, they can tap into a new base of support from pro-Israel hawks across the Atlantic. Both the British National Party and the Vlaams Belang in Belgium have gone this route, although it remains questionable whether the move away from anti-Semitism is more than skin-deep. (The Vlaams Belang’s predecessor party, for instance, was disbanded after a controversy concerning Holocaust-denying statements made by one of its top officials.) Equally striking has been the rise of Geert Wilders, the controversial Dutch politician whose Islamophobia, virulent enough to draw the condemnation of even the ADL, has made him a darling of “anti-jihadists” in the United States.

Although there was a predictable upsurge in anti-Muslim sentiments in the United States following the Sept. 11 attacks, much of the most virulent Islamophobic discourse remained marginal on this side of the Atlantic in the early years of the war on terror. There are several possible reasons for this, but one of the most important is simply that George W. Bush, as president, was committed to a rhetoric about Islam as a “religion of peace” divided into a moderate majority and an extremist minority. The justification for the Iraq war came to depend heavily on this distinction, and right-wing hawks, with some grumbling, generally fell into line. The election of Obama, however, freed the hawks from any obligation to temper their rhetoric and simultaneously provided ample material for conspiracy theories about Muslims and fellow travelers in the White House. The result has been an intensification both in the amount of Islamophobia and in its political prominence, as ideas that were once marginal have moved to the center of political debate.

***

The two years since Obama’s election have seen a sudden flood of books describing an alleged Muslim conspiracy against the United States. Examples include Robert Spencer’s Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam Is Subverting America Without Guns Or Bombs, Spencer and Pamela Geller’s new The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War On America, Paul Sperry’s Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington, and Sperry and P. David Gaubatz’s Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America.

The works share a set of common themes. Radical Muslims who engage in violence are only the tip of the iceberg, goes the argument; the more insidious threat comes from the far larger group of religious Muslims (most, perhaps all) who aim to subjugate the United States under sharia law through ostensibly peaceful and legal means. In this they are aided and abetted by the leftist elites controlling the government, media, and academy—above all, the ambiguously Muslim Obama himself—and a cast of villains that includes some mix of the Muslim Brotherhood, Jeremiah Wright, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Obama adviser Dalia Mogahed, ACORN, and George Soros. Some of the authors of these works have ties to the European far right themselves; Geller and Spencer, for instance, have alienated former political allies by championing Geert Wilders and the Vlaams Belang.
Andrew C. McCarthy’s The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America is among the most recent, and likely the most comprehensive, contributions to the genre. McCarthy is, on the surface, a credible figure: A former federal prosecutor, he came to prominence by winning convictions against Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and others linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. During the Bush years, he was a vociferous defender of the administration’s detainee policies, while Obama’s election caused him to venture into nuttier territory. (He has speculated, for instance, that Bill Ayers may have been the real author of Obama’s Dreams From My Father.) His book helps illustrate both the potency of the Muslim-conspiracy myth and the extent to which it has taken hold of mainstream right-wing discourse.

McCarthy’s thesis is simple: Muslims aiming “to supplant American constitutional democracy with sharia law” have joined forces with leftists—including Obama himself—to impose a shared “totalitarian, collectivist” vision. Which Muslims? McCarthy hints that the real problem is Islam itself but that for reasons of political correctness it is wiser to stick to the term “Islamist”—a distinction that loses some of its force given his estimation that two-thirds of Muslims are Islamists. (Indeed, he applies the term to some, like Edward Said, who were not Muslims at all.)

The bulk of the Muslim population, then, aims to impose sharia over every aspect of American life. How will they do this? Through violence, if need be—but McCarthy is keen to note that Islamists are above all master dissimulators who will seek to impose sharia through legal means if they can (“grand-jihad-by-sabotage,” he calls it). This means that even peaceful attempts to follow Islam through strictly private means (for instance, through sharia-compliant finance) are simply precursors to a takeover of the overall system. Muslims who live within religious or ethnic enclaves are not merely trying to remain within a familiar community or preserve shared values; rather, they are presented as deviously following the “voluntary apartheid” strategy of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood—the group whose “global tentacles” extend into nearly every Muslim-American civil society organization. It is too obvious to be worth belaboring that no one would dream of applying a similar logic to Orthodox Jews or evangelical Christian homeschoolers.

At times, McCarthy speaks the language of religious tolerance, arguing simply that Islam should not have a “sacrosanct status” denied to other religions. Yet it becomes increasingly clear that he is in fact arguing for special targeting and discriminatory measures against Islam, and he eventually concedes that he believes it is wrong to place Judaism and Christianity “on a par with an inherently discriminatory, supremacist doctrine.” As a result, “foreign Muslims should not be permitted to reside in America unless they can demonstrate their acceptance of American constitutional principles.” (But how, given the Muslim propensity for dissimulation, can we be sure that their professions of loyalty are genuine?)

The Islamist threat to the United States, McCarthy further argues, would not be so dire if it weren’t for their alliance with the leftists who “dominate policy circles, the academy, and the media.” The most important of these, of course, is Obama himself. Obama “publicly professes” to be a Christian, and McCarthy generously allows that there is no reason to doubt him—although he goes on to include two full chapters on Obama’s Muslim roots—before asserting that the “faith to which Obama actually clings is neocommunism.” This distinction ultimately matters little, however, for the Marxism of Obama and the rest of the American elite coalesces in key respects with the Islamism of the Muslim Brotherhood and its American minions.

The overall tone and content of McCarthy’s polemic will be familiar to students of 1850s Know-Nothing anti-Catholicism or 1950s anti-Communism—or, for that matter, late-19th-century European anti-Semitism. It is tempting to dismiss him as a crackpot, and on an obvious level he is one. But his speculations and those of his fellows are far from irrelevant to the political moment. They are not being published in anonymous blog comments sections, but in widely publicized and bestselling books. More to the point, they have already made a notable impact on American political discourse.

The mosque furor is only the most recent and revealing demonstration of the anti-jihadists’ political influence; from the beginning of the controversy, McCarthy and his allies have dictated the terms of debate on the right. In his July 28 statement attacking the Islamic center, Newt Gingrich cited The Grand Jihad and framed the controversy in McCarthy’s terms of Western civilization under siege from creeping sharia. More recently, the American Family Association—a leading fundamentalist Christian group—cited the book to argue that no more mosques should be built anywhere in the United States because “each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.” A campaign spearheaded by Pamela Geller, the right-wing blogger who was previously most notorious for publishing a lengthy piece alleging that Obama is the illegitimate child of Malcolm X, will place ads on New York City buses opposing the Islamic center. On September 11, she and Gingrich will lead a major rally against the center that will also feature Wilders, the Islamophobic Dutch politician. What was once a lunatic fringe now appears to be running the show, aided and abetted by mainstream figures like Gingrich.

It is quite possible that the next Republican president will also be a party to what can justly be called the new McCarthyism; for that reason alone, McCarthy and his allies deserve our attention. But even more important is the impact of this steady stream of anti-Muslim vitriol on the popular consciousness. Cynical politicians like Gingrich may know that all the talk of the Islamic center as a “9/11 victory monument” and of ordinary Muslims as stealth sharia operatives is mere agitprop designed to win votes in an election year, but ordinary citizens may take them at their word and act accordingly.

While activists like Pam Geller have led the anti-mosque campaign and the broader demonization of Muslims that has accompanied it, leaders like Abe Foxman have acquiesced in it. In doing so they risk providing an ugly and ironic illustration of the extent of Jewish assimilation in 21st-century America. We know that Jews can grow up to be senators and Supreme Court justices. Let’s not also discover that they can grow up to incite a pogrom.

Daniel Luban is a doctoral student in political science at the University of Chicago.

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rachel says:

You must have not read any of the jewish blogs, they all bemoaned the fact that they had lost another jew to a wasp and that chelsea didnt even try to convert.

rlgordonma says:

Mr. Luban, brilliant, brilliant essay. You summarized exactly why I am virulently anti-anti-mosque. The language of the anti-Jihadists that have taken over the movement is precisely the language used to threaten Jews in Europe and America. Abe Foxman has illustrated why Peter Beinart is correct in asserting that our mainstream Jewish leadership has completely failed us.

Yes, I understand that we are at war with a people whose doctrine is hatred of Jews, Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists…and Muslims who do not follow their line 100%. Meanwhile, we have Muslims in this country that are struggling, as our ancestors have done and as we continue to do, to find that line between assimilation and observance of traditions and ritual. We are not at war with these people, not even close. But if we let the ilk of McCarthy, Gingrich, Palin, Geller, etc. have their way, then we will be.

It is not even close to being the same thing. No one ever attacked the US in the name of Judaism and Judaism does not try to tell non-Jews how to live their lives. Obviously not all Moslems are Jihadis, but based on recent history many people (including me) view Islam as a threat to modern Western civilization.

Pamela says:

“The problem for the ADL is that there simply isn’t much anti-Semitism of consequence in the United States these days.” Wow, I miss living in NYC! The author clearly does not live in the south, where anti-Semitism toward Jews is alive and well in this century. The ADL here keeps plenty busy, protecting school children against intolerance of the other, which I would consider “consequential” work.

Michael says:

Luban presents a creative, but patently false analogy.

We can denounce anti-Muslim sentiment without making bogus comparisons between hatred/bias toward Jews and hatred/bias toward Muslims. You can’t hand-pick evidence to back a pre-determined conclusion, especially when the full body of evidence presents an entirely different picture.

Both certainly are terrible. But even if some groups are using hatred/bias for political expediency and/or scapegoating, the effects have been dramatically different. History and current events prove it. Don’t confuse cause for effect.

Luban’s conclusion: Jews inciting a pogrom in the United States. Really? The lack of credit you give American Jews and this country is pitiful.

“The problem for the ADL is that there simply isn’t much anti-Semitism of consequence in the United States these days.” For starters, try telling that to UC Irvine students.

David says:

So I started to read Danny Boy’s piece here and after the first paragraph I realized I recognized his name. I was like oh yeah he was allowed to rant previous on Tablet about how liberal Zionism is done and if you are a ‘good’ or ‘righteous’ Jew you will wash your hands of the Zionist project. So here we have some guy whaling about the ‘new’ anti-Semitism while the ‘old’ anti-Semitism is rising in the world and is rising in the Democratic base right here in America. Yet we need to be on the lookout on the new wave of anti-Islamic violence here in America. It’s been almost a decade hearing this narrative and like usual, nothing happens since its all in the mind of progressives that America is some hotbed of Islamophobia. A majority of Americans are against this Islamic Center being built in the shadow of Ground Zero, not the building itself. A majority of Americans, including myself have no problem with center; just build further away from Ground Zero.

It’s amazing that Tablet allows this guy to appear in their magazine. But maybe it’s not surprising either. Since most liberals (like the editors of Tablet) believe in this faux post nation-state, Universalist narrative. It’s not surprising then that the editors of Tablet allow this guy to rant on about how second coming of a Muslim style holocaust is upon us in America.

It’s funny though how Danny Boy tells us how America is reaching a near boiling point of out-right hostility towards Muslims, yet he writes for the anti-Semitic antiwar.com and lobelog.com Oh but we can wish-wash THAT anti-Semitism because its directed at Neo-Cons (JEWS) and Israel. Huh? NO! Hatred for Jews is hatred for Jews.

If you look at the FBI stats on religious motivated hate crimes, 65% of them are directed at Jews. Islam is third on the list at 7.7%. So keep on push that narrative that ‘Islamophobia’ is new anti-Semitism.

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2008/incidents.html

David says:

So when you go synagogue for the High Holiday next month and you see police cars parked outside, just remember, they are not there to protect you against Neo-Nazis. They are there to protect you against a potential attack from The Religion of Peace.

I don’ think it’s a coincidence that the title of Luban’s piece is the exact title that Columbia U’s Joseph Massad gives to a lecture he makes around the college campus circuit, aimed at demonizing and delegitimizing the State of Israel.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the U of Chicago was on one of Massad’s recent tours.

Through historical revisions and distortions, Massad’s thesis is that Zionism’s “victims” are the victims of “The New Anti-Semitism” and a new genocide.

Luban seems to be making a similar point, predicting that Jews are inciting a pogrom in the U.S. And, history tells us where pogroms can lead.

“The New Anti-Semitism” is complete rubbish that replaces facts with fantasy and political partisanship.

Anti-Muslim sentiment is reprehensible, but it has nothing to do with anti-Semitism of past or present.

You are wrong when you write: “While the political operatives behind the anti-mosque campaign speak the language of nativism and American exceptionalism, their ideology is itself something of a European import.”

Just ask the governor of Arizona, most of the Tea Party, and the descendants of the approximately 4 million KKK members in the United States before and after the Depression. Or perhaps the Japanese internees during WWII. Or maybe any American Indian, not to mention many black Americans.

American xenophobia and nativism are hardly European imports. There are still a lot of people out there who still think this is a white Protestant nation ordained by God.

Thank you for this article, Daniel. Hate crime in America against Muslims and Arabs (and those perceived as Muslims/Arabs) has seen a 1700% increase since 9/11. Anti-Semitic hate crime is also on the rise since 2002 at a much lower rate, but this has to be decoupled from legitimate criticisms of Israeli national policy.

Bottom line is that it makes no sense for Jews to take a stand against antisemitism without contextualizing a broader ethical position against intolerance and bigotry directed at other minority groups. The very fact that we’re debating whether to “allow” an Islamic community center is itself an engagement in racism.

This article is in serious denial. Take a look at the FBI statistics on hate crimes. There are about 13 times as many attacks on Jews in America as against Muslims. Moreover, Jew hatred is part of the gospel of Islam and the practice of all Muslim states in the world today with no hand wringing over that by the proposers of this mosque.

I am saddened and disgusted by the comments here. Hear yourself speak! Reading these comments, I would think I was on a neo-Nazi forum. By denying Islamophobia, you are no better than the anti-Semitic bigots who deny the existence of Anti-Semitism!

I am a Muslim Anarchist and I will not apologize for my faith. I did not commit 9-11 and neither did 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide. We Muslims, are in fact, the BIGGEST VICTIMS of racism, xenophobia, suicide bombings, terrorism and Islamic fanaticism than you Americans are, because many of us refuse to conform to their fascist, racist, homophobic, right-wing version of Islam. Did you hear about how mosques in Pakistan and Iraq are getting blown up because they’re Sufi or Ahmadiyya?

I am not religious, but I fiercely call myself “Muslim” because “Muslim” has been turned into a RACIAL identity, just like “Jewish” is seen as a racial identity. I have met Jewish atheists. You can be an atheist and still call yourself Jewish. Well, news flash: there are Muslim atheists, too. “Muslim” is now seen as a race and anyone from the Middle East, South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, are seen as “Muslim” even if they’re not. It doesn’t matter to these bigots because to them, all brown and black people are the one and same!!!

I am proud to be Muslim, and I will fight off any bigots who attack me, my Muslim brothers and sisters for being Muslim. and I will also defend my Jewish brothers and sisters!!

Mr. Horowitz

Thank you for responding to this dribble. If you Google the author’s name you’ll see where his ideology lie. As you know, its becoming more and more commonplace in the Left to keep alive victimization of certain groups of people, no matter what their offenses are.

So keep up the good work you do on campuses across America.

IGNORANCE

The essential difference, and what those critical of the ASCENDANT forms of Islam today are careful to point out, but their critics ignore is that unlike the Five Books, unlike the New Testament the Quran MUST BE considered to be the immutable words of a perfect being, not created, but revealed in its perfection to the model human being.

Those who cannot acknowledge this are simply NOT MUSLIMS. The consequence of this, as for instance Dr. Andrew Bostom has pointed out many times, is that those whose consciences are outraged by acts taken by Islamist fanatics cannot refute with religious accuracy the acts these mass murderers take, and if they do then THEY are no longer Muslims since they have attacked the word of the perfect being. Thus these morons acting with religious authority (and they HAVE IT ..see Tantawi, Qaradawi, Khameini etc) gain strength.

Foxman CORRECTLY identified that the group authoring the building of this mosque have a problem denying this form of Islam, in which acts by HAMAS, who act with the ‘authority’ of god are pure terror. Thus the building of the mosque WHILE THEIR RIGHT, AND A PROTECTED RIGHT, a right seen to by the american people, btw, ought to be someplace else, else we end up with the location of the mosque being the message of the mosque.

There is nothing in this which smacks of BIGOTRY. These people have attacked us. They still want to do so. As Hagia Sofia and many other places give living evidence, this mosque WILL BE a message reinforcing the efforts of such people.

Whether these jihadis represent ‘true islam’ or not is not up to me to decide, this is about the practical and historic accuracy of what building the mosque there is about TO THOSE ACTORS.

If this mosque was the product of someone like Hisham Kabbani, it is possible none of this might ever have come up.

gerald schwartz says:

IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THE BUILDING OF A NEW MOSQUE SO CLOSE TO GROUND ZERO IS A VERY POOR DECISION, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE RIGHT OF MUSLIMS TO DO SO. BY LOBBYING FOR THIS “RUBBING OUR NOSES IN THE DIRT” THE ISLAMISTS DO GREAT DAMAGE TO THEIR RELIGION. JEWS DO NOT INSIST THAT ALL CROSSES BE TAKEN DOWN, NOR THAT STARS OF DAVID GO UP EVERYWHERE. CHRISTIANS DO NOT SEEK TO CONVERT EVERY JEW. BUT BY INSISTING ON THIS MOSQUE, MUSLIMS CREATE AN ANTI-ISLAM FEELING OF THE HIGHEST DEGREE.

GERALD SCHWARTZ

kctex says:

Actually, Christians do seek to convert every jew and every muslim and every other non-believer. Muslims are not “insisting on this mosque.” They purchased a building several blocks from ground zero (near a strip club, mind you). The only thing Muslims are insisting on is the right to practice their religion freely.

Roisin Gorman says:

Oh come on now! Just because people don’t want a mosque built that close to the 9/11 site it does not make them bigots or anti-muslim! 1) it is seen as an affront because of the history of islam to build monuments on the sites where they conquered–thus they want to use the name Cordoba — a direct reference to the conquering of Cordoba Spain. (Thankfully Christians reconquered Cordoba.) 2) there is already a mosque near the site that is in use 3) Just because it is a legal right to do so, it does not make it the right thing to do.

Tolerance goes both ways. If they want to foster tolerance, built it elsewhere rather than force New Yorkers to “tolerate” their building. It is just NOT good manners let alone good PR to ram this building down the throats of New Yorkers.

No. What is happening here is that Americans are FINALLY waking up and SPEAKING UP. And that is a good thing even if the leftist pundits don’t like it.

I second David Horowitz’s comment about the numbers of hate crimes against Jews and Muslims.

Under ‘religion’ it is clear to see that AMERICAN anti-semitism is alive and well as evidenced by aggressive acts against Jews.
http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2008/data/table_01.html

Islamaphobia is not an irrational, boogey man created by the bigoted. Aggression towards infidels is written to into their holy text, the Quran, as well as lived out in history and the modern age. Get on youtube to see rap, kids programs and street demonstrations that illustrate this fact.

Not every Muslim is hateful and violent, but the religion isn’t ‘peace loving’ as it claims. American denial of this fact is our problem, not Muslims and not mosques. We need to wake up and take note.

Although I for one, do not want one near ground zero.

Rivkah says:

Muslims have a lot to prove if they want to live in peace with ALL their neighbors. Unfortunately 9/11/01 happened in the name of Islam, not to mention the hundreds of suicide bombings , beheadings and general destruction throughout the globe. If there is anti-muslim feeling, just look around & not in our “fluff” media. Look at BBC news & other reputable news agencies…The only things Jews have given to this world are medical , scientific & technological discoveries to improve humankind…Anti-Semitism cannot be compared to anti-muslim feelings. It will take a long time & much work on their part to change those feelings.

J Carpenter says:

Gingrich, Palin, Beck, Fox News, the voice of America—God of all faiths, forgive us.

Allan Leicht says:

In 1938 most Germans did not enjoy killing Jews. And in 1941, most Japanese did not enjoy attacking Americans (and everyone else). But those Germans and Japanese were not in charge. Others were.

At the moment, I dare say most Muslims do not enjoy destroying progressive western democracy, but they are not in charge. Radical Islamists are in charge and non-radicals are intimidated — like, presumably, those who plan the mosque at Ground Zero. (If I were a Muslim, I suppose I, too, wouldn’t say anything to make the mullahs mad.)

A modern mosque on Park Place would be an architectural improvement and disgusting and offensive to the survivors of 9/11 (of whom I am one); but, you know, it might be okay so that we can keep a sharper eye on the fanatics who will inevitably attempt to take it over.

And I promised myself I wouldn’t get into this stupid, stupid debate!

Marcia Almey says:

This is an excellent article and both Mr. Luban and Tablet shoudl be commended for ti. Luban’s piece is a voice of sanity amid the shrill cries of intolerance and prejudice. Bravo!!

Jonathan Usher says:

There is no comparison between anti-semitism and Islamophobia. Jews didn’t practice jihad, did not have a political philosophy of conquest, and had a culture of assimilation. Compare putting up a mosque at ground zero to putting up a Shinto temple at Pearl Harbour or the Church of the Holy Crusades in Mecca, or a statue of Ben Gurion in Ramallah. Tikkun Olam means doing good for the world, not helping people to destroy you, so that you and they feel better. It includes protecting and doing good for yourself.

Shalom Freedman says:

This piece is wrongheaded in a number of ways.
There is still serious anti- Semitism in the United States.
One only need pay attention to the demonization of Israel which has been growing in strength on U.S. campuses. The alliance between the Islamists and the Radical Left also on campus is a major threat to the Jewish people.
There is also a strong populist hatred and resentment of Jews which interprets present economic and social problems in the U.S. through anti- Semitic mythology.
One more point. Comparing the Jews to the Muslims does not make much sense given the diametrically opposite demographic situations and systems of values of the two populations.

Roberta says:

I am an American who was born into the Jewish faith. ADL and their partcipation in the issue surrounding the NYC Mosque being built several blocks from ground zero should not concern them. ADL should concentrate their efforts on stamping out bias crimes not supporting fear of the “other”. My value system says we are strong and can afford to display tolerance.

Linda says:

First of all, there’s no plan to put a mosque at ground zero. Second, there will never be a satisfying substitute for good old-fashioned anti-Semitism. After all, who could bigots accuse of controlling banks, media, Hollywood, and everything that goes wrong in the world? There’s enough ignorance out there for anti-Semites and anti-Islamists to co-exist. With almost a third of Republican party believing our president is a Muslim, ignorance is second to obesity for fastest growing epidemic.

PerspicuiT says:

David Horowitz said: “This article is in serious denial. Take a look at the FBI statistics on hate crimes. There are about 13 times as many attacks on Jews in America as against Muslims.

David Horowitz is twisting facts, but that’s nothing new. First off, if you look at the Hate Crimes statistics, yes, there are more attacks against Jews than Muslims, but it’s more like 8 times, not 13. (see 2006 and 2008 reports)

Secondly, I know personally many Sikhs and even Hindus who have been attacked because they LOOK like what some bozo expects to be a Muslim. If you fold those attacks into those against Muslims, I think it’s a more accurate description of what is really going on.

“Moreover, Jew hatred is part of the gospel of Islam and the practice of all Muslim states in the world today with no hand wringing over that by the proposers of this mosque.”"

Really? the “practice of all Muslim states in the world today”? Precisely how many Jews were attacked by the states of Indonesia and Malaysia? Morocco? Turkey? I know for a fact that when the synagogue in Şişli, Istanbul was attacked, Muslim leaders marched together with Rabbis and forcibly condemned the attack, but Horowitz is never going to admit that, as it undermines his reason for existence, not to mention his salary.

Because of Horowitz’s routine egregious exaggerations, few credible experts on Islam take him seriously. Kind of like how he continually implies that wearing an Arab scarf symbolizes supporting terror. I wonder when he’ll admit that King Hussein wore one all of the time, and he was not given over to the extremism that Horovitz implies.

PerspicuiT..are you kidding?

ANd also

Several years ago I wrote a blog about the gross exaggeration of the incidence of hate crimes against Muslims and general media blindness to the far greater incidence of hate crimes against Jews. This was not an innocent misrepresentation since the charge of Islamophobia is the chief strategy of apologists for the Islamic jihad against the Jews and the West by organizations like CAIR, a spinoff of Hamas, whose top executives have been convicted of terrorist activities themselves. In response to Daniel Luban’s misguided piece I cited a statistic from memory, which turned out to be erroneous in the particular but accurate in the general. As one critic of mine in this thread has pointed out the number of hate crimes against Jews is only 8 times that against Muslims not 13 as I had remembered. Great. So a critic of mine has shown that Jews suffer hate crime attacks (perhaps inspired by the explosion of anti-Israel attacks emanating from “progressives”?) in far greater numbers than do Muslims. Yet for some anti-Semitism is virtually non-existent while “Islamophobia” is a big problem.

Several years ago I wrote a blog about the gross exaggeration of the incidence of crimes against Muslims and general media blindness to the far greater incidence of hate crimes against Jews. This was not an innocent misrepresentation since the charge of Islamophobia is the chief strategy of apologists for the Islamic jihad against the Jews and the West by organizations like CAIR, a spinoff of Hamas, whose top executives have been convicted of terrorist activities themselves. In response to Daniel Luban’s misguided piece I cited a statistic from memory, which turned out to be erroneous in the particular but accurate in the general. As one critic of mine in this thread has pointed out the number of hate crimes against Jews is only 8 times that against Muslims not 13 as I had remembered. Great. So a critic of mine has shown that Jews suffer hate crime attacks (perhaps inspired by the explosion of anti-Israel attacks emanating from “progressives”?) in far greater numbers than do Muslims. Yet for some anti-Semitism is virtually non-existent while “Islamophobia” is a big problem.

Publius says:

Regardless of what the developers of a mosque in Lower Manhattan do or don’t do and where they do or don’t do that, the more disturbing issue is the insecurity and paranoia that this proposal seems to evoke. Coupled with a rising minority of Americans thinking that President Obama is a closet Moslem, one wonders when this fog of fear will ever lift.

If many Americans fear that a Christian President is really be a Moslem, are we really that far away from the Spain of the expulsion of Jews and Moslems and hunts for purity of blood? Have we freed ourselves from a Fifties’ fear of Reds under our beds to instead cower with a Naught decade’s fear of jihad in the ‘hood?

It may still be too soon after IX/XI to understand or feel comfortable confronting the Other, who ever they may be; but we are long overdue to understand and confront ourselves, heal our wounds and restore a healthy sense of confidence.

LazerBeam says:

Old anti-Semitism, hatred for Jews, is widespread and on the rise, not on the wane. As to Islam’s tolerance of other religions, perhaps Turkey, Malaysia, and Singapore are exceptions to the rule, but as long as Turkey is in denial about the Armenian and Assyrian genocide, its protestations will ring hollow. In any case, Saudi Arabia is using the Wahhabi schools to spread a virulently intolerant, anti-Western version of Islam. This spreads jihadist rhetoric among the poorest, least sophisticated, most susceptible, and most rapidly growing Muslim populations. This eventually squeezes out the tolerant versions of Islam, so what may be true now may not be true for long, even in Turkey, Malaysia, and Singapore. I have written previously in a Tablet comment that the Wahhabi Lobby is using the blogosphere to drive a wedge between the Jewish Left and the Christian Right on the one issue on which they used to agree – Israel’s right and need to exist.

None of the preceding is relevant to whether the Ground Zero anti-mosque sentiment is predominantly anti-Islam or anti-insensitivity. If the concern is with not offending the sensibilities of any of the families and friends of the victims of 9/11, then the right way to accomplish this is to rezone Ground Zero to preclude all activities and architectures inconsistent with its status as hallowed ground. While it is obvious that this will exclude theatres, nightclubs, strip clubs, pornography stores, basketball courts and circuses, it is unlikely that it will also exclude shrines or churches or temples or cultural centers for any of the major religions, unless the associated traffic and parking required are inherently disrespectful. So how can this new zoning ordinance exclude an Islamic cultural center, unless it is only offensive if one equates Islam with Islamic extremism? If that is the case, then an Islamic center is needed near Ground Zero to educate and desensitize those who harbor such feelings. QED.

Y. Ben-David says:

Comparing anti-Muslim feeling with antisemitism is truly bizarre. Jews lived as an insecure minority everywhere in the world for 2000 years. In the same period the Muslims controlled a vast empire that coerced (yes, COERCED) non-believers to convert to Islam or to accept an inferior, dhimmi status, forced to pay an annual “jizya” tax (many converts to Islam did so in order to avoid paying this tax rather than out of true religious devotion). Today there is one Jewish state which is threated with annihilation (by Musims, incidentally) while at the same time there are dozens of Muslim states who happen to control much of the world’s energy supply, giving them plenty of finanicial resources to influence things in other countries, particularly the United States.

One hundred years ago, 20% of the population of the Middle East was Christian. Today it is 2%. Jews lived throughout the area. Today, there are practically none in these countries. If Islam was as “tolerant” as Obama and other apologists for Islam claim why has the non-Muslim population of the Muslim countries declined so precipitously? Ironically, it is in the supposed “bigoted, Islamophobic) US, Israel and Europe where Muslim populations are flourishing and growing rapidly.

Tolerance works both ways. They Muslims can not repress their own non-Muslim populations or use violence against non-believers and not expect this to affect perceptions of their religion in the more tolerant West. Opposition to the Cordoba mosque is based on this unease on the part of Americans. A clear majority of Americans oppose the mosque, and this means many Democrats and Obama supporters also have a problem with it. No one is saying Muslims can’t build mosques in the US, but a little sensitivity to the feelings of people who oppose the Cordoba mosque would be wise if moderate Muslims want to convince Americans that their’s is the true face of Islam. They must get to work NOW to dissociate themselves from the extremists.

Like Daniel’s last piece, this is a very important effort.

David Horowitz uses hate crimes as a measure of the rise of anti-Semitism vs. Islamophobia. That is remarkably self-serving, given that the number of Jewish institutions vastly outnumbers that of Muslims in this country, and given that many hate crimes against Jews are misdirected against Israel’s policies, because of the (wrong) identification of Jews with Israelis.

David Horowitz himself does not address the explosion of books criticizing and demonizing Islam as a religion and the public discourse against Islam. So I ask him, how many books directed against Judaism has he read lately?

In every generation there are the bigots, and then there are the intellectuals supporting the bigots. (One need not go as far as Heidegger, but surely he is relevant when discussing the betrayal of the intellectuals.) Attacking Israel is almost never motivated primarily by anti-Semitism today; it certainly can be anti-Semitic if the attack is placed within a broader scheme of anti-Semitism (and there is a good deal of that.) But most of the “new anti-Semitism” that Horowitz speaks about is merely anti-Zionism in bad taste, or misplaced. Brian Krug is essential reading here.

And anti-Zionism per se is certainly not anti-Semitic; you would have to be an anti-Semite — in other words to deny that Jews have the right to disagree with Zionism — to believe that.

I remember when anti-Semites in this country attacked liberal Christians for being in denial about the dangers of the International Jewish Conspiracy. Who’s in denial about being a bigot, Mr. Horowitz?

For more on Islamophobia and the New Antisemitism, read my post here

http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2010/08/islamophobia-as-new-antisemitism.html

Sorry, I mistyped Brian KLUG’s name

Brian Klug, of course

I agree with my friend Y. Ben David that Muslims have to dissociate themselves from their rightwing crazies, just as Jews have to dissociate themselves from their rightwing crazies (Since there are close to a billion Muslims, the percentage of the crazies are probably the same.)

So I am glad to reportthat Imam Rauf at the Cordoba Center has been hailed by Rabbi David Rosen, the former Chief Rabbi of Ireland, and the most important Jewish voice in ecumenical matters (head of the international interfaith division of the American Jewish Committee) as a moderate. He has also been praised by Abe Foxman, not exactly Tablet readers’ idea of a self-hating Jew (but maybe I underestimate them).

Those Jews who want to encourage Muslim moderates should stand united behind Imam Rauf, disagreeing with him, if they like, about his stand on Zionism and Israel — not to mention religious disagreement, for those Jews who aren’t ignoramuses on the subject — but supporting the him and the moderates of all religions — as they dissociate themselves from the bigots of all religions

Jason Bauer says:

Israel is our ally! Calling anti-mosque demonstrators anti-semetic is a complete falsehood. This is America, everyone has the right to voice their opinions as long as they do so respectfully. The Nazis were anti-semetic, some of their early activities included breaking the windows of shops owned by Jewish people and burning their homes as acts of anti-semitism, and comparing these innocent people to “so-called criminals”.

No one who is rallying against this mosque is doing anything destructivte or hateful. No one has vandalized a single property belonging to our friends, targetting Muslims as a group. The subject of the protest is the Cordoba Initiative which is funded by Saudi money, they are building a victory momnument on sacred ground where they killed 3,000 Americans. “The building was purchased in July 2009 for $4.85 million in cash by Soho Properties, a real-estate investment firm tied to developer Sharif El-Gamal. One of the investors was the Cordoba Initiative, an organization chaired by Ms. Khan’s husband, Faisal Abdul Rauf. They listed less than $20,000 in assets in 2008 and has received less than $100,000 in contributions since it was founded in 2004. The principals will not explain how their cash-poor organizations can hope to undertake such a major project.”

The name Cordoba refers to a Jihadist pogrom against Jews that occurred in Cordoba, Spain in 1011. The Jihadis also built a Mosque on top of a church there.

“Imam Rauf, the face behind the initiative of this project is affiliated with Malaysia’s Matathir’s Perdana4Peace, financial sponsor of Free Gaza and we know what that flotilla tried to do recently by damaging Israel’s public image.”

“Imam Rauf wife is the niece of Dr. Farooq Khan, formerly a leader of the Westbury Mosque on Long Island, which is a center for Islamic radicals and links on its Web site to the paramilitary Islamic Circle of North America (I.C.N.A.), the front on American soil for the Pakistani jihadist Jamaat e-Islami.”

Chaim lr says:

Your very word “attacks on Islam echo old slurs against Jews” are full of anti-semitism, and disclose your prejudices and inability to discern. Jews were accused of bombing, but they didn’t do it. They were accused of agitation and incitement in their synagogues. Never happened. 9/11 grew out of incitement in the mosques, and – oh boy! – did it destroy lives. But your writer – I erased his name – seems to be suffering of Alzheimer’s, or worse remembers only his prejudices. What a stupid thing to waste dear time (and paper?), read his thought or let him advertise his rubbish built on his misled hazy misconceptions. I pity you at tabletmag. Shabat Shalom!

Ah, yes, Cordoba…the birthplace of Maimonides. Funny that when he refers to his birthplace, he always mentions Cordoba, where there is a statue of him today. Funny, also that he present himself proudly as an Andalusian, a Spaniard, and having been born in Cordoba. Funny, also that he has little negative to say about the Almohade who chased him out, even after he was in Egypt, out of their orbit. And now it is claimed by the provost of Hebrew University that he was deeply influenced by Almohad theology….

Cordoba, indeed….

I should point out that it is not at all clear that Maimonides was chased out of Cordoba. His family left and ended up in Fez, the center of the Almohads; according to Muslim historiographers, he and his family converted to Islam — though not a genuine conversion.

And while Maimonides thought that Islam was a false religion and the Muhammad was a madman, he recognized the superiority of Greco-Arabic culture, and praised highly Muslim philosophers like Alfarabi. Like many Jews of Islamic land, he thought that Christianity was idolatrous and Europeans barbarian.

LazerBeam says:

Here is a win-win compromise for those for and against the Islamic Center at Ground Zero. If this is unacceptable to the sponsors of the Cordoba Project, then it will be clear that they have a sociopolitical agenda that is inconsistent with the inter-faith, multi-cultural outreach they claim justifies the Islamic Center there.

Rezone Ground Zero as hallowed ground, deed it to the Federal Government for a national monument, and preclude all inappropriate activities, architectures, and signs there and along its perimeter, including all religious symbols, shrines, churches, temples, and mosques, because, on public lands, there can be no government sponsorship of any religion. However, because religion plays an important part in many people’s lives, and many will be compelled to pray for those who lost their lives to the Islamic extremists on 9/11, build an inter-faith, multi- cultural Center just beyond the perimeter of the national monument that is paid for with private donations (that are traceable to appropriate sources). The inter-faith, multi-cultural Center will be divided into six sections that represent the major religions of the world (Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Spiritualism, as well as one at the intersection of the six wedges in the center of the Center for inter-faith meditation.

This compromise will address the insensitivity issue for those who equate Islam with Islamist extremism. However, it is clear that those who do so are in need of inter-faith dialog and inter-cultural contact with practicing moderate Muslims to help them to change their beliefs and learn tolerance. The inter-faith, multi-cultural Center just beyond the perimeter of the hallowed ground of Ground Zero will serve that larger purpose.

If the proponents of the Islamic Center disagree, use eminent domain to do it anyway, because it is in the greater public interest to show proper respect for those lost on 9/11 and the right way to defuse this conflict.

Anthony says:

One of the best expose’s I’ve read on this subject. This should be required reading for everyone.

Steve Bronfman says:

Jerry Haber says (amongst other rubbish);

“David Horowitz uses hate crimes as a measure of the rise of anti-Semitism vs. Islamophobia. That is remarkably self-serving, given that the number of Jewish institutions vastly outnumbers that of Muslims in this country”

What exactly do the number of Jewish institutions have to do with this, most attacks are against inividual Jews.

“and given that many hate crimes against Jews are misdirected against Israel’s policies, because of the (wrong) identification of Jews with Israelis”

How is that argument any different than me dismissing most anti-Islam hate crime as being because Americans associate Muslims with terrorism?

Steve Bronfman says:

Haber also says;

“And anti-Zionism per se is certainly not anti-Semitic; you would have to be an anti-Semite — in other words to deny that Jews have the right to disagree with Zionism — to believe that.”

Actually to deny Jews alone amongst the peoples of the world the right to self-determination is anti-semitism. Israel is the religious and historical home of the Jewish people who were only driven away by European (Roman) imperialism. Do you also deny the Palestinians the right to their own homeland? Do you even care about the Kurds or Western Saharans?

Dani Levi says:

Daniel,
if this is the level of discussion at US universities you and the pro-US Muslim lobby have serious problems. it reminds me of how the European left managed to defend the USSR during the 70s…….we all know how that ended. the umma has a huge amount of homework to do, and before you start pointing fingers at anybody, I suggest you get your house in order. please also note the BBCs Panorama program coming this week regarding the Gaza flotilla. the pants are about to drop. you tried to start a discussion here and frankly failed badly. for a start please try and reconcile the separation of Islam and state, that is such a large bone…..the Muslims themselves have not chewed that one, never mind their place in an enlightened West. honestly, you are a joke.

“Israel is the religious and historical home of the Jewish people who were only driven away by European (Roman) imperialism.”

I’ll make a deal, Steve. If you can bring one modern historian, Jewish or non-Jewish, Zionist or non-Zionist, who said that there is evidence that the Romans exiled the Jews out of the Land of Israel or drove them out of the Land of Israel (in fact, more Jews lived in the land of Israel in the centuries after the Bar Kokhbah revolt then before), I will a) recant here and publicly and b) give $1000 to the Zionist Organization of America.

Why not save your time and read my post here

http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2007/07/no-rivkele-there-wasnt-roman-exile-of.html

And, by the way, when the Jews had full political sovereignty in the Land of Israel, most Jews lived in the diaspora.

The Jews were exiled by the Romans from the Land of Israel. Sure, just like George Washington chopped down the cherry tree.

Again, find an Jewish, Zionist, Israeli, contemporary historian who says otherwise and I’ll eat my tallis.

Ittai says:

And the relevance beyond self-promotion, Jerry Haber, is what?

Ittai says:

Going back to the topic at hand, I was struck by this comment while reading several articles about how Muslims around the world are reacting to this controversy:

“Many Muslims fear that the mosque will become a shrine for Islamists, which would remind Americans of what Muslims did on 9/11,” Gamal Abd Al-Gawad, director of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, told Arab News.

Which reminded me of the discussions in the UK about radical Islam, most notably articulated by the Channel 4 Dispatches programme called “Undercover Mosque”.

Net net: there are some real issues here that could yield a meaningful and helpful discussion amongst those who can get past their ideological and/or gut reactions.

Such discussion would be far more helpful to both Jews and Muslims than articles such as this one by Mr. Luban (and other such polemical articles on both sides of this issue).

No question the Cordoba center should be built and no question that the ADL was wrong to say anything against them.

Let me add however, the author is very wrong about there being no anti semitism of consequence in the US. Where do you live?

gurbach says:

Jerry Haber on Aug 21 at 1:25 PM says
“I’ll make a deal, Steve. If you can bring one modern historian, Jewish or non-Jewish, Zionist or non-Zionist, who said that there is evidence that the Romans exiled the Jews out of the Land of Israel or drove them out of the Land of Israel (in fact, more Jews lived in the land of Israel in the centuries after the Bar Kokhbah revolt then before), I will a) recant here and publicly and b) give $1000 to the Zionist Organization of America.”

Shmuel Katz – Battleground, (1974), page 96

Please provide proof of your donation. Best

It is always fascinates me how people who call themselves “progressives” defend the religion which advocates discrimination of women, cruel punishments, intolerance to the freedom of speech and other religions and call any disapproval of these values – “Islamophobia”.

Dorothy Wachsstock says:

I always knew that Foxman had no guts as he kept quiet about Farrakhan for 20 years. He knew that Farrakhan was going into prisons and converting the Blacks to Muslim and to hate the Jews..but he was silent until Farrakhan came to New York with his side kick, Calib Mohammed and his hateful speeches.

Remember Leonard Jeffreys who had been made President in the Jewish Fraternity? How did he pay back the Jews when he was made a professor?

Have you all forgot the Crown Heights riots so soon? The Australian Jewish young man, (Yankel Rosenbaum, I think was his name), killed because he wore a yalmaka? The days of violence against the Jews so that Curtis Sliua and others had to shop for food as Jewish children hid under their beds and rocks were thrown through the windows and Mayor David Dinkins said, “Let them vent” till he got hit by a bottle.

Remember the fat Al Sharpton with his long hair, sweat suit leading the marches on Eastern Parkway and pointing to the late Rabbi Schneerson’s house? Or the fact that at the funeral of a young child that was caused by an accident, Sharpton called all those Jews that think there is no anti-semitism, “Diamond Merchants.”?

Go travel to other states and you will find anti-semitism where no Jews live. Just like in Poland this country hates the Jews because they work hard and rise to the top.

If they did nothing but go on welfare, perhaps they would be not be hated so much but New York City is known to have many successful Jews and thus anti-semitism spreads as most of their values do not relate to poor people anymore. The kind of liberalism of today that Jews continue to discuss no longer exists in this country. It is now socialism and the more the Jews go on television and go against values of yesterday, the more anti-semitism is growing.

Schumer, Weiner, Waxman,etc on television go on television and make laws against ordinary people as they live high and mighty.

Too many Jews voted for Obamacare that the entire country hates

If we do not defend the right of everyone to worship as he/she pleases, in the letter and the spirit of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, then we, as Jews, may find that there is no one to defend our right to worship as we wish someday. Remember the words of Pastor Niemuller of Germany, whom I will paraphrase because I do not have them verbatim (and i may be misspelling his name):” They came for the Socialists. I was not a Socialist, so I did nothing. Then they came for the homosexuals and as I was not a homosexual, I did nothing. Then they came for the Jews, and as I was not Jewish, I did nothing. Then they came for me.” Make no mistake: the First Amendment is not only about protecting OTHER people, although it does that. It is about PROTECTING OURSELVES!

Ittai says:

But, as Anthony Lewis admits in “Freedom for the Thought We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment”:

“In an age in which words have inspired acts of mass murder and terrorism, it is not as easy for me as it once was to believe that the only remedy for evil counsels, in Brandeis’s phrase, should be good ones.”

Mark Spark says:

It’s not Islamophobia … if they want to kill you. Freedom? How much freedom. Who among you leftists, crying out about the constitutional rights and religious freedom of Muslims to worship would like to see me plant a confederate flag in front of The Lorraine Motel? Maybe Pete Seeger can write a song about it.

American says:

Freedom to worship in the west,but if a muslim converts to other religion will be beheaded.Lets first make sure other religions are free to worship in the muslim countries like pakistan,afganistan,saudi arabia et.c. and then talk about freedom of religion.Islam is not religion it’s a cult.There is no freedom in islam.

Shane says:

Hey Mark,

You do realize that the state of Mississippi has a Confederate flag… right?

It IS Islamophobia if they don’t want to kill you. Get a grip, and stop watching so much tv and right wing blogs.

Freedom of religion, just like freedom of speech, is not limitless. Today no civilized nation would allow people to practice Catholicism if it still continued to use such institutions like Inquisition or burn heretics at stakes. No civilized society would defend Judaism if it still continued practicing stoning for such misdemeanors like adultery. Religion, like everything else, has its limits. It is deplorable that so called “progressives” defend barbarism under the pretext of defending freedom of religion.

gurbach says:

So Shane – 9/11 was just a dream…

I do not buy into the argument that if Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow other religions. The US IS NOT Saudi Arabia. We will be like Saudi Arabia if we remain silent as the right wingers shut down mosque after mosque. Should we change all of our laws to reflect Saudi Arabia.

Let set the bar high and say that we ACTUALLY believe in freedom of religion, not just freedom of our own religion.

Also isn’t the Bush family and other high power Republicans personal friends of the Saudi royal family? It has not bother them before now.

Mark Spark says:

Shane. We’re not the ones who’ve lost our grip. Truth it seems … is the new hate speech.

The ugly and very real face of Islamophobia in America
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwaNRWMN-F4&feature=player_embedded

There is no anti-semitism now, unless you count people breaking gravestones and drawing swastikas on them and on synogogues which happens every few years where I live, or unless you count Kick a Jew day, which happened recently at a public school where my parents live, or the many venomous comments about Israel directed at me, the Congressman I was so thrilled to meet in Washington DC until he repeated my last name slowly and asked me “what kind of name” that was, or the guy who called me a Kike, or the man who called me a JAP, or my aunt’s boyfriend who told me the Holocaust never happened, or the conspicuous ad for a church in my local newspaper with a sermon entitled Should we hate the Jews, or the… I think it’s good to have a thick skin, but it is not good to be blind.

I laughed at the guy who called me a Kike, ignored the JAP comment, believed the newspaper that it was an oversite and the Reverand that he held no hatred in his heart, and haven’t bothered to repond to those who hold me personally responsible for every decision made by Israel. The one time police caught those who desecrated the graveyard near me, the courts sentenced the perpetrators to brief Community Service and required an apology. The kids who started Kick a Jew day apparently received one-day in-school suspensions. I wasn’t there, but I believe if it had been Kick a Muslim day, there would have been greater consequences. I would also love to hear from all the Russian Americans, Irish Americans, Hungarian Americans, Italian Americans, etc. who come from families that have been US citizens for over 100 years. How often are they blamed with anger and hatred for every bone-headed decision made in the countries they came from? I would guess … not often. As for your comments on the “ruling class,” this is the USA, not Saudi Arabia. I know two very wealthy and influential CEOs, one black, one Italian, both born dirt poor. Support the Mosque, but don’t say there is no anti-semitism.

TABLET, I understand freedom of speech and of the press but i have never heard of the FREEDOM TO BE STUPID. daniel luban exercises that freedom prodigiously and without shame. For this type of nitwit/moron, soft headed, hair brained and weak minded individual there truly is no hope. For this type of jew to write of the failings of ANDREW MCCARTHY is a lot like a child of 8 trying to contradictin EINSTEIN. lubin writes that “McCARTHY speaks the language of tolerance arguing simply that islam should not have a sacrosanct stature”. He goes on to say that McCarthy says that it is wrong when when you put Christianity and Judaism on a par with islam. To this lubin takes exception. Allow yourself to be enlightened, lubin. THERE IS ONLY ONE ISLAM, NO MODERATE ISLAM, NO PEACEFUL ISLAM AND NO VIOLENT ISLAM. ONLY ONE. AND THIS ONE ISLAM, WERE WE TO ALLOW IT, WOULD BUILD A CALIPHATE AROUND THE WORLD’S CIRCUMFERENCE OF 25,000 MILES, 10 TIMES, NORTH, SOUTH, EAST AND WEST.
Lubin would like that. And because he is a compassionate person and considers everyone equal, especially muslims, this for him would be like paradise. JEWS like him we do not need. He is the garbage that must be thrown away into the dump.
This type is, always has been and will continue to be why JEWS have been the most oppressed people in the world going back to the time of antiquity right up to the present.

Shmuel Katz was not an historian. He was a writer publicist and a translator. He had no professional advanced degrees in history; he was not a professor of Hebrew.

Puleeze….

I meant professor of History, of course.

Lubin provides us with a series of chilling question: do we misunderstand the ugly and ignorant expressions of animosity toward Jews in America as a systematic form of murderous anti-semiticism? As painful and scary as these remarks are, they are not murderous anti-semiticism! Lets not confuse ourselves and reduce all things ugly.

When statements and attitudes of Jewish organizations and their leaders reflect the bigotry, suspicion, and social solidarity that was once the hallmark of European anti-semites do we recognize this as a form of assimilation — loss of Jewish values — that should give us real pause?

Does the use of anti-semitic tropes applied to a growing series of public controversies about Muslims raise questions in people’s minds about the “lessons” of history we Jews supposedly know?

A major trope of the growing anti-Muslim campaign the early Fall of 2008 was the distribution of the millions of copies of “Obsession” during the last Presidential election campaign. This was blatant attempt to paint Obama as a Muslim during the campaign and disqualify him as a candidate. That campaign is still going on. Islamophobia, as Lubin correctly points out now has a “coded” language. It is forming a cultural foundation in America and it may rival the New Testament’s charges of Jews killing Jesus. See our work: http://www.jewsonfirst.org/Obsession/Index.html

Haim

Debbie says:

There have been several times non-Jews have walked up to me and out of the blue started screaming at me for some real or imagined transgression they believe Israel or a single Jewish person committed. Maybe it happens more to me because I’m a Jew in the Midwest; if it hasn’t happened to you, you better believe it’s just because they haven’t done it in your face. Didn’t you read all the horrible things said about Jews after the Madoff scandal? We are the last people who should be calling for all Muslims to take the fall for the terrorists. Anyone who publicly opposes the building just reinforces non-Jews’ beliefs that all Jews are responsible for whatever a few have done.

gurbach says:

Jerry Huber says: “Shmuel Katz was not an historian.”

Wikipedia says:
“Shmuel “Mooki” Katz, born Samuel Katz (Hebrew: שמואל “מוקי” כץ‎ 9 December 1914 – 9 May 2008[1]) was an Israeli writer, historian and journalist.

I say Jerry Huber is a fraud.

Let the readers judge.

Naima says:

This argument is gone beyond Ground Zero and just turned into hateful. This really has nothing to do with ground zero, but of fear, ignorance, and the same ol same ol that repeat itself every couple decades. We, MUSLIMS, are just next in line for the beating stick. I am proudly a Muslim convert, raised by a Christian mother born of a Jewish Father from Germany who escaped Germany just before the holocaust and African American Mother who was lived through segregation. My paternal family, decendants of slaves who escaped the south in the underground railroad for FREEDOM. America is suffering from Amnesia!
So what happens if they move the center? What about the day that the buildings are reconstructed? Is the next phase to not allow Muslims to work there? I mean if they can’t pray 2 blocks away then surely they could never be allowed to pray inside a future world trade center? What if someone decided to pray outside in the grass near ground zero? Would that also be restricted?

Walter Sobchak says:

When Communism collapsed, western leftist intellectuals were bereft. They needed heroes to hold their banner. Further, their anger at the US waxed hot because of its impudence in collapsing the Soviet regime.

The Chinese, who might have picked up the flag, made the terrible mistake of abandoning communism for prosperity.

The Jihadists won the leftist hearts by daring to strike the US in the face. The Jihadists had at least two things going for them. First, they learned early 20th century anti-liberalism from the Nazis and had propagated it through the Muslim Brotherhood and the writings of Qtub. Second, the Soviets had anointed the PLO as a “national liberation movement”, just like Ho Chi Minh.

When the Jihadists successfully attacked the US on 9/11, and followed up with attacks on Madrid and London, the left could wait no longer, they had found the new heroes who would destroy the United States, their hated enemy, and avenge the Soviets. The Jihadists were declared to be the vanguard of the proletariat and opposition to them became a thought crime called Islamophobia (following the example of western homosexuals, who had declared that any opposition to their agenda was homophobia). Once so medicalized, thought crimes could be tagged and dismissed without further inspection.

The new equation Islamophobia = Anti-Semitism is just an inversion of the traditional Zionism = Nazism. Under either version, Jihadists, who are rightly loathed and feared by any rational human being, are now the ***VICTIMS*** that Jews used to be. The real Jews are now the enemy, the little Satan. It is a bold propaganda move that utilizes the unfamiliarity of most people with the details of twentieth century intellectual history, to confuse and mislead.

Ittai says:

Haim: as Roy Hanania in his 11 August column stated:

“When was the last time leading Arabs or Muslims came to the defense of Jews? I say that because a phenomenal thing happened in America last week. American Jews were divided, but still led the national debate on whether or not a mosque should be allowed within blocks of “Ground Zero,” the spot where the Twin Towers collapsed under a terrorist assault on September 11, 2001.”

The polemicists on both sides of this debate do a disservice to those they claim to help. The Cordoba House / Park51 issue is not black & white. And to their credit, many in the Muslim world recognize this as well. E.g. Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid in Asharq Al-Awsat, Gamal Abd Al-Gawad in Arab News; and, Hussein Rashid in Religion Dispatches.

One suspects your motives (as well as Jerry Haber and Mr. Lubin) are less about helping than about trying to score cheap points to promote yourselves and please your choir.

Y. Ben-David says:

Jerry Haber says he is a professor. In his own blog he referred to Syria, known by most people in the world as a totalitarian police state as “an imperfect democracy”. Draw your own conclusions.

Mark Spark says:

@Walter

Brilliant. I have spent the past 40 years trying to shake off the left-wing inculcation of my youth. You did it in about 2 minutes.

That Katz wrote polemics about history doesn’t make him an historian, no matter what his publisher said. He wrote propaganda because he was a rightwing ideologue with footnotes.

And in any event, he never published a single article or book, to my knowledge on Second Temple Judaism. His area of amateur specialization was revisionist Zionism.

Here’s a review of “Battleground” that the commenter called “history”. The review is by James R. Adams in that noted radical leftwing magazine, “Commentary”

H/t to JC Bosma

“Just wanted to add the opinion of James R. Adams, contemporary member of the Wall Street Journal staff, who wrote in ‘Commentary’ (June 1974, p. 91):

`[Katz] deals with this battle [over the founding of the Jewish state in Palestine], not as a scholar, but as a vigorous, if unofficial, participant. He writes from the perspective of an old Irgun hand (…), who has latterly been a leader of the expansionist Land of Israel Movement. Mr. Katz has a crisp, lucid style, erupting occasionally into tirades of panegyrics, and he covers a lot of ground. But his book, basically, is an essay in propaganda.’

Find an academic historian of ancient Judaism who accepts the myth of the exile, and I will double my pledge to the ZOA. Don’t bring me rightwing ideologues.

YBD is right; I called Syria an “imperfect democracy” on the grounds that the president has to be approved by popular referendum once every seven years. But that was a poor choice of terms, because a) no democracy is a perfect democracy, and b) in practice, the approval is routine, there are no elections, and there is only one party. The last point is key. Where there is only one party, either by law or in practice, you have a lousy democracy. (In Israel one party was the senior member of coalitions from 1948-1977, and hence its democracy then, even for the Jews, was imperfect). Syria has no elections; Egypt does, as do Lebanon and Jordan.

But mah inyan shmitah etzel har sinai. YBD has yet to find me a professional historian of Ancient Judaism who claims that there was a Roman Exile. He isn’t one; I am not one, but there are plenty. And they are all on my side. The trouble is the readers of this post clearly don’t know a professional historian of Ancient Judaism when they see one.

The most disturbing aspect of the debate regarding Mr. Luban’s thoughtful piece is the acrimonious and venomous character of some respondents’ comments. Let us remember that we are all priveleged to have the very right to debate such matters. But let’s not degrade the value of that right by resorting to insulting comments. Please debate the pros and cons of the cultural center in high-minded fashion.

Jeff

Paul Freedman says:

There have been no more constant and assiduous and venomous anti-Semites than Islamic theologians, starting from the Prophet and down to the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder Bana to the Mufit of Jerusalem and on to Fatah and Hamas today. This apologetic drivel is contemptible.

gurbach says:

Huber says: “That Katz wrote polemics about history doesn’t make him an historian, no matter what his publisher said. He wrote propaganda because he was a rightwing ideologue with footnotes.”

I say: Huber – everything you write is propaganda, including your footnotes.

Huber says: “The trouble is the readers of this post clearly don’t know a professional historian of Ancient Judaism when they see one.”

I say: To wit – an arrogant fraud.

Huber, could you further elaborate on the required qualifications of the “professional” historian? – Left wing, Progressive, Marxist, phd, bla bla bla – I would like to understand your approved historian criteria>

Obama is a Muslim according to Sharia. He does not practice Christianity but Black Liberation Theology. If you believe that he sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20yrs without hearing an anti-American or anti-Semetic statement then you my friend are truly ignorant.

It is not about freedom of religion or the Constitution so do not be intellectualy dishonest. It is about THIS PARTICULAR IMAM at THIS PARTICULAR LOCATION.

George Michael appears as though he may go down (lol!) because of driving about stoned. Hey, is this a threat or a promise? It’d be like putting most men with a harem! Lol!

A professional historian is somebody with an advanced degree in history, generally an academic affiliation, and publishes in peer-reviewed journals.

Salo Baron, for instance. Ever heard of him? Or Hayim Hillel Ben Sasson? Ever heard of him? Read his article on Galut in the Encyclopedia Judaica (ever heard of it?). You will see that consciousness of Galut had nothing to do with an imaginary Roman exile — it was a feeling of scribes and rabbis living INSIDE the Land of Israel, a feeling of the loss of political sovereignty, the temple, the Jewish community as a center of the Jewish world. It had nothing to do with a nonexistent transfer of population.

And after you read Ben-Sasson’s article, look at the articles on the various exiles in the EJ. There is one about the Assyrian Exile; another about the Babylonian Exile. And what of the Roman Exile?

There isn’t one.

gurbach says:

Huber – How about Michael Avi-Yonah.
Here is a passage from the Greek-speaking Christian Church Father, Eusebios (in Latin, Eusebius), describing the Bar Kokhba uprising [approx. 132-135]. As a consequence of this war, Rome forbid the Jews to live in the Jerusalem region, which was renamed and reconstituted as the polis or colonia of Aelia Capitolina, named after Emperor Hadrian’s clan (Aelius).
Eusebios, The History of the Church (Historia Ecclesiae), IV:6
When the Jewish revolt again grew to formidable dimensions, Rufus governor of Judaea, on receiving military reinforcements from the emperor, took merciless advantage of their crazy folly and marched against them, destroying at one stroke unlimited numbers of men, women, and children alike, and — as the laws of war permitted– confiscating all their lands. The Jews at that time were under the command of a man called Bar Cochba, …
The climax of the war came in Hadrian’s eighteenth year, in Betthera [Beitar],… The blockade from without lasted so long that hunger and thirst brought the revolutionaries to complete destruction, and the instigator … paid the penalty he deserved. From that time on, the entire race has been forbidden to set foot anywhere in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, under the terms and ordinances of a law of Hadrian which ensured that not even from a distance might Jews have a view of their ancestral soil. … When in this way the city was closed to the Jewish race and suffered the total destruction of its former inhabitants, it was colonized by an alien race, and the Roman city which subsequently arose changed its name, so that now, in honour of the emperor then reigning, Aelius Hadrianus, it is known as Aelia…
[translation-G.A.Williamson, revised & edited by Andrew Louth-London: Penguin Books, 1989]
This passage, which can be dated to about 315 CE, is one of the most authoritative primary sources on the subject.

Since when does American policy and treatment of freedom of religion within its own borders, depend upon what other nations, other forms of government are doing?

addie says:

Any position, whether on the right or left, that lumps all 1.6 billion Muslims together as one giant borg that has the same motivations and goals, has a false foundation.

Muslims come from 50+ different countries with even more cultures, languages and experiences. To say that all are anti-Semitic is simplistic at best, reverse bigotry at worst.

Even the Quran and the Hadith, the two mainstays of Islamic jurisprudence and thought, have thousands of scholars and even more interpretations. One verse says “kill all jews” and the other says “non-Muslim religious leaders cannot be persecuted, even in times of war.” One verse says “kill all transgressors” and the other says “do not engage in aggression unless you are provoked.”

Islamic scholars devote entire lives to the study of the Quran and Hadith. Anyone who purports to understand the “true Islam” or even the “true Christianity” or the “true Judaism” without studying said religion for at least a decade is disingenuous, to put it mildly.

Luban refers to the election of Obama as part of the reason that anti-Muslim sentiment has intensified. Actually, the more relevant fact is the demagoguery of Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rick Lazio and Rudy Guliani, who throw anti-Semitic-like accusations against American Muslims around without any thought to its affect on nutjobs looking for a fight. See the recent stabbing of a Muslim cab driver in New York, and the desecration of a mosque in New York. I believe this is just the beginning.

If Jews think this kind of hate against a religious minority is just a Muslim problem, and won’t spill over to them, they are wrong.

Until now, Americans have been amazingly tolerant towards Muslims in the face of all the attacks and thwarted attacks. The mosque controversy came on the heels of the Times Square bombing and the hot dog vendor from Denver who tried to attack New York. Let’s not forget about the army doctor in Texas either. We are only human. Not all Muslims are terrorists but just about all terrorists are Muslims. AFter every incident, we just get a chorus of Muslims worrying that they’ll be profiled, targeted, etc. Where’s the shame? Why are they not erecting a memorial to the victims of 9/11 like the Germans have erected a holocaust museum in Berlin.

Thought experiment – if a group of let’s say Costa Ricans bombed any Muslim country several times, what would happen to the other Costa Ricans living in that country?

Far too many Americans have become bigots and racists against Muslims.

Why do we say everyone else is “innocent until proven guilty” and yet with Muslims it’s all “Oooh Osama Osama Jihad Jihad!!!”

We are students, taxi cab drivers, doctors, waitresses…

If all Muslims were really violent terrorists we would have all been dead by now. Get a grip people.

And stop cherry-picking wackos and painting a whole people with the same hue. It’s tired, stupid, shallow logic.

dante says:

“islamophobia” is a label in search of a reality. the term is the product of a campaign waged against Americans, to put them on the defensive, to preempt a defence of American values and traditions. there are, perhaps, a miniscule number, but not more, of non-Muslim Americans who care about Muslim religious doctrine and “hate” it. most Americans are indifferent to or tolerant of the religious beliefs of their fellow Americans. those others, who are not indifferent, understand that a person has a right to believe what s/he wants. and, more to the point (for the stupid label “islamophobia” is not about Islam), most Americans don’t hate Muslims BUT THEY DON’T WANT TO BE ATTACKED BY THEM, REVILED BY THEM, EXPLOITED BY THEM, DECEIVED BY THEM AND THEY DO NOT WANT AMERICA SUBJUGATED TO SHARIA. some moron might call that “islamophobia,” but in most places it still is seen as rational and decent self-interest.

Here’s a funny quote to make you smile :)

Don’t be sexist. Broads hate that. :)

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jaket kulit says:

There have been no more constant and assiduous and venomous anti-Semites
than Islamic theologians, starting from the Prophet and down to the
Muslim Brotherhood’s founder Bana to the Mufit of Jerusalem and on to
Fatah and Hamas today. This apologetic drivel is contemptible.

jaket kulit & jaket kulit

Wow, marvelous blog structure! How lengthy have you ever been running a blog for?
you made running a blog look easy. The overall glance of your web site is fantastic, as well as the
content material!

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