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Sunday, April 14, 2013
"Caving Not Allowed"
When Jews cave in the
face of threats by radical Muslims or their supporters, it leads to
increased Jewish weakness and more threats. And yet sometimes, Jews
do cave. (In some places in the world Jews have become timid
because they are thoroughly beleaguered -- a small vulnerable minority in a
growing sea of Islamists.) Increasingly, however, does it seem
to be the case in the US, where this must not be permitted to
What I will describe here
is an incident that many of you may already be aware of. But I cannot
let this day pass without writing about it, and sharing further details of which
you may not be aware.
Pamela Geller, proprietor of the
blog "Atlas Shrugs," and President of both the American Freedom Defense
Initiative (AFDI) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). Author of
several books, she works against radical Islam -- which is decidedly anti-Israel
and anti-Jewish, as well as being antithetical to the spirit of democratic
freedoms -- and what she refers to as "creeping Sharia'a."
Geller had been invited to speak
today, Sunday, April 14, at a Men's Club breakfast at the Great Neck Synagogue
in New York. Once words of her talk was out, the intimidation
It came, in particular, from
one Habeeb Ahmed, who threatened a march on the synagogue. What is
particularly shocking here is that Habeeb Ahmed is a member of the Nassau County
Commission on Human Rights and used his position in pressuring the
Please see more about this
here. It provides a very alarming window on how far matters have already
gone in the US:
There will be a free speech
demonstration, protesting Ahmed's behavior, in front of the human rights
office at 240 Old Country Road, Mineola, at 1 PM today.
Protest against Geller's talk also
came from Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) which ADL once identified as "one of the
ten most anti-Israel organizations in America." JVP put out a message to
its members asking that they contact the synagogue and ask that the
event be cancelled.
This is perhaps most distressing
of all. Far left Jews are both deluded and dangerous for the rest of
At any rate, and sadly, the
two-pronged campaign worked. The Executive Board of the Great Neck
Synagogue, citing "...notoriety and media exposure...legal liability and
potential security exposure..." cancelled.
The notoriety and media
exposure is less than no excuse. A courageous board would have turned
it around and used the media exposure to make important points about American
freedom of speech and the genuine problems that Geller was about to
As to legal liability and
"potential" security exposure, it was the responsibility of the synagogue to
properly confront these problems. Hire security guards for the day, if
that seems appropriate, consult lawyers within the congregation, etc. But
no, they caved.
I will make a personal
comment here: I made aliyah in 2001 in the midst of the intifada
that incorporated suicide bombings here in Jerusalem where I live.
Twice I was within hearing distance of/ mere blocks away
from explosions that indicated major suicide bombing attacks. And I
said, they want me to be so afraid that I leave, but I will not leave.
And, I assure you, my attitude was not unique.
I have little patience for
the attitude of the Great Neck Synagogue Executive Board.
Geller, on her site, referred to
the decision of this synagogue as "unconscionable self-imposed
dhimmitude": "particularly craven and cowardly, as it sends the
message that if leftists and Muslims defame those they hate loudly enough and
for a long enough time, they will succeed in getting them silenced."
All was not lost however, as two
rabbis came forward and invited Geller to speak:
At 10 AM today, following a
of Great Neck 400 East Shore Rd, Great Neck, NY
Rabbi Yoseph Geisinsky
At 7 PM today:
Congregation Beth-El Edison 91
Jefferson Boulevard Edison, N.J. 08817 Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg
Bravo to both rabbis. I particularly note
the situation of Rabbi Geisinsky, however: Not long ago, he had a massive heart
attack and was pronounced dead when he had no pulse. It was anticipated
that if he were revived he would have severe damage. The community
prayed fervently for their rabbi without stop, and he recovered fully --
physically and mentally. Now, unafraid, he is prepared to take a
Tonight begins Yom HaZikaron here in Israel: Memorial Day for all of those
who have died in defense of Israel. A time most somber.
I am eager to post this now, and I
will follow with more shortly.
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