Thursday, March 17, 2011
A Jewish-Muslim alliance?
March 17, 2011
The proposed public hearings by House Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King on the extent of radicalization in the American Muslim community and that community's response have created a heated media debate on the role of Muslims in Western countries.
Besides the fact that a society discriminating against minorities almost invariably turns against Jews, the persecution and discrimination we suffered throughout history instinctively compels us to oppose all manifestations of discrimination and persecution.
However, that surely does not require us to defend groups who harbor hostility against us or seek to undermine open society. This is very relevant in relation to the new global industry of Jewish alliances with Muslim groups purportedly opposing Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. It is exemplified by the highly publicized US launch of a joint Jewish Muslim campaign to combat Islamophobia and anti-Semitism initiated by Rabbi Marc Schneier, head of the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.
His principal ally and sponsor in this venture is Russell Simmons, the Afro-American hip-hop mogul, who publicly expresses adoration for Louis Farrakhan, the viciously racist anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader.
In Brussels last December, in combination with the World Jewish Congress and the World Council for Muslim Interfaith Relations, Schneier expanded this body to include European representatives forming a Global Coordinating Committee to combat "Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism."
This organization has already issued problematic statements, condemning as "totally unacceptable" the absorption of "extremist" right-wing political parties into the mainstream without defining explicitly whom it was targeting. It also made no reference to the greater threats to Jews emanating from far Left and radical Islamist groups.
It also expressed disquiet concerning recent pronouncements of major European leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, conceding that the policy of multiculturalism has proven to be disastrous and failed to integrate some major migrant groups into an open democratic society.
It is surely bizarre for a body including Jews to condemn a long overdue criticism of radical Islam's abuse of multiculturalism, especially since European Jews bore the brunt of the violence generated by the anti-Semitic hostility of these groups.
IT ALSO ill behooves Jews confronted with the current tsunami of violent anti-Semitism to indiscriminately endorse campaigns condemning frequently exaggerated allegations of Islamophobia without referring to the fact that radical Muslims represent the prime dissemination of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic incitement and violence.
We should call a spade a spade. The majority of vocal Muslims in Europe and to a lesser extent the US, regrettably do not display goodwill toward Jews. Many, who ritually condemn anti-Semitism, simultaneously demonize Israel and distinguish between "Jews" and "Zionists."
And alas, few are inclined or sufficiently courageous to publicly condemn the brutal behavior of Islamic states toward other minorities.
A critical prerequisite of an alliance with a Muslim group is surely that the organization expresses a clear-cut repudiation of the global anti- Semitic filth which pours out of Islamic countries.
And decency also demands that those demanding equal rights for Muslims in Western countries also condemn the persecution, murder, religious cleansing and denial of human rights that non-Muslim minorities endure in Islamic states.
For the World Jewish Congress (which did dissociate itself from Schneier's attacks on King's inquiry into the radicalization of the American Muslim community) to be party to such initiatives without demanding such commitments from its Muslim partner is a lamentable example of Jews being more concerned about their political correctness than acting to protect Jewish interests.
The majority of Muslims in Western countries, especially in America, are law-abiding. But that does not invalidate the reality that cries of Allah akbar accompany most terrorist attacks, many of which are directed against Jews.
IT IS thus deplorable to see Jews engaged in campaigns seeking to deny profiling of people undergoing security checks. The reality is that while Muslims only represent 1 percent of the American population, 80% of all terrorist convictions since 9/11 were motivated by Islamic extremism, and homegrown Muslim terrorists are emerging in greater numbers. The facts demonstrate beyond doubt that there are certain profiles that are more inclined to be associated with terrorist attacks. Refusing to implement profiling thus not only represents an appalling form of political correctness, but endangers innocent life and lacks any moral justification.
If even a handful of rabbis had encouraged second-generation Jewish immigrants in Western countries to initiate bombings and suicide attacks against non-Jews, the most vociferous demands for action against such deviants would be emanating from the Jewish community itself.
Yet, the perception is that while most Muslims distance themselves from the radicals, they are often reluctant or fearful of exposing them. Some purportedly "respectable" American Muslim organizations have actually urged their members not to collaborate with the FBI.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is the largest US Islamic umbrella organization and has access to high-level government officials. Yet the FBI had cause to expose its founders for having ties to a Muslim Brotherhood created Hamas network.
Last year a Justice Department official reaffirmed that no new evidence had emerged "that exonerates CAIR from the allegations that it provides financial support to designated terrorist groups".
And when Schneier provocatively proclaims, "Today, I am a Muslim, too," he should ask himself whether he and Jews in general should really be expressing solidarity with all Muslims, including the majority who reside in states which deny freedom of worship and persecute and murder infidels.
We are obliged to fervently oppose discrimination or persecution of lawabiding Muslims and collaborate with genuinely moderate Muslim leaders. But there is no justification for us to champion the rights and display love to those who seek to harm us or are indifferent to our destruction or refuse to expose and condemn extremism within their ranks. Failure to insist that such groups take a stand on "sensitive" issues will not only alienate our genuine friends, it will also strengthen extremist Muslims who despise, but happily exploit, bleeding heart Jews to gain a cloak of respectability while they promote their evil objectives.
We should seek out and encourage alliances with courageous Muslim moderates who share our commitment to an open and democratic society and avoid patronizing or providing respectability to groups who either endorse or refuse to condemn the local and international excesses of Islamic extremism.
This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post