All extremists are “savages” and “civilized men” need to counter the hate
by Sheila Musaji
Pamela Geller wrote an article Islamic Supremacism: Don’t defame religion unless it’s Judaism She opens with her infamous line “Islamic Jew-hatred, it’s a religious mandate. As vile as this is, and it’s worse than that, it’s the sanction by the West and the “international community’ that is truly monstrous.”
Recent examples of this policy can be found in all areas of PA expression. The moderator at a Fatah ceremony demonized Jews as “the descendants of the apes and pigs.” A PA TV narrator said that Jews praying at the Western Wall are “sin and filth.” Senior PA official Jibril Rajoub referred to Jews as “Satans” and “Zionist sons of bitches” on PA TV. The PA Mufti and other religious leaders have defined Jews as the “enemy of Allah,” even preaching the following Hadith in PA TV sermons: “The Prophet says: ‘You shall fight the Jews and kill them.’” Indeed, what these and many other examples document is that in the PA, not only is demonization of Jews and Judaism common practice, it is also sometimes promoted as a religious Islamic imperative.
Significantly, the PA’s promotion of hatred of Jews is not limited to religious leaders and PA officials. PA TV featured young girls on children’s programs saying that Jews and Christians are “inferior and smaller, more cowardly and despised” and that “our enemy, Zion, is Satan with a tail.” Following classical European Antisemitism, a history program on PA TV taught that “Jews are hated in every society in which they have lived, because of their behavior relating to their great love of money.” The official PA daily on Israel’s independence day said Israel’s goal was to turn a “Jewish monarchy in Palestine into a basis for their [the Jews’] eternal rule over the world, that others, ‘goyim’ [non-Jews], must submit to their will.”
She is correct that defamation of Judaism is wrong. But, she is incorrect that defamation of any religion is appropriate. Defamation of Islam is wrong. Defamation of Christianity is wrong. Defamation of any religion, or for that matter of any race, ethnicity, or gender is wrong. THEY ARE ALL WRONG.
Calling Jews descendants of the “apes and pigs” or “enemies of Allah” or “inferior” or “impure” or “satan” or saying “you should fight and kill them” is wrong. Condoning violence and terrorism is wrong. Glorifying terrorists as “martyrs” is wrong. Promoting the idea of collective punishment is wrong. Blaming all Jews for the actions of some Jews is wrong. Teaching children in madrassas to hate is wrong. Attempting to force non-Muslims to abide by Sharia law is wrong. Promoting such actions as a “religious Islamic imperative” is wrong. Promoting the idea that Muslims are superior to Jews (or any other religious group) is supremacism and it is wrong. Such behavior is very similar to classical European Antisemitism.
Geller then provides a list of specific examples of individuals in Palestine who have made statements that defame Jews or Judaism, call for violence, or are anti-Semitic. Most of the quotes she gives as examples are genuinely anti-Semitic and a defamation of Jews. A few of them are simply a different viewpoint on the Israeli-Palestian situation. All of those expressing anti-Semitism or encouraging violence, I condemn, as do most Muslims.
I have dealt with her false claims about this religiously mandated hatred for Jews and Christians previously in the articles: Pamela Geller Is Wrong About “Islamic Jew Hatred Commanded by the Qur’an”, and Pamela Geller’s False Claim that Muslims Curse Christians and Jews in Their Daily Prayers.
The truth is that there are extremists of all religious persuasions who are promoting an exclusionary and bigoted worldview. These extremist and hateful voices seem to be those whose voices are heard more often than the voices of reason, compassion, and sanity. There is a serious extremism problem, and it is not confined to the Muslim community.
Pamela Geller, and the other Jewish individuals who are actively involved in the Islamophobia Industry, constantly shine a spotlight on every instance that can find anywhere in the world, of any Muslim extremist saying or doing something hateful as “proof” that that is how Muslims are, or is because of Islam. This is simply another form of extremist and Islamophobic thinking, the reverse of anti-Semitism among some Muslims. Anti-Semitism is wrong, and Islamophobia is wrong.
It is particularly shocking that there are so many members of the American Jewish community among those engaged in demonization of the entire religion of Islam and of Muslims. How is it possible that there is anyone in the Jewish community who is not more sensitive to this issue. It would seem that they have seen where such demonization of a minority community can lead, especially when that is a religious minority, and that should make them more likely than anyone else to say loudly “never again” for anyone. Eliana Benador, Phyllis Chesler, Steven Emerson, Pamela Geller, Caroline Glick, Daniel Greenfield, David Horowitz, Charles Jacobs, Joe Kaufman, Bill Maher, Daniel Pipes, Dennis Prager, Michael Savage, Debbie Schlussel, Bat Ye’or, David Yerushalmi and other Jews who have actively participated in the Islamophobia Industry, and a number of whom are leaders in that industry, should really be ashamed. Those like Pamela Geller who (with her partner Robert Spencer) head up the anti-Muslim hate groups AFDI/SIOA should be particularly ashamed. They are promoting a one-sided demonization of Islam and Muslims right here in the United States. This is also wrong.
Daniel Pipes is promoting the idea of a “Muhammad cartoon a day” to teach Muslims not to be so thin skinned. He is joining Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) who published an appeal on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?. And, both are following in the footsteps of Pamela Geller, who promoted just such a plan back in 2010 with her promotion of Draw Muhammad Day, even after the cartoonist who drew the first cartoon and suggested the idea, Molly Norris apologized to Muslims and asked for the day to be called off, and American Muslims had issued a defense of free speech. The solution to escalating violence and hate speech is not more hate speech. The solution to violence is not more violence.
The hateful “solution” Daniel Pipes is proposing and encouraging seems to be the solution many Islamophobes are proposing. In just the past two months we have seen a series of inflammatory provocations: First we had the Innocence of Muslims film Titanic, a German satire magazine plans an “Islam” cover article to be published later this month. Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine published an issue with inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. (It is curious that a few years ago, the same Charlie Hebdo magazine fired the cartoonist Maurice Sinet after he refused to apologize for cartoons considered anti-Semitic.) Newsweek published their ‘Muslim Rage’ cover. Terry Jones publicized that he would hold a “trial of Prophet Muhammad” on September 11th. Stop the Islamization of Nations SION (Geller & Spencer’s hate group) publicized that they would hold a “global” gathering in NYC on September 11th. AFDI/SION has also published a series of anti-Muslim ads on public transportation on the east and west coasts. A group in Toronto publicized a “walk your dog at the mosque” day.
We have seen members of this Islamophobia industry actively promote any anti-Muslim activities anywhere. For example, both Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller reprinted the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. This is curious and shows Geller’s double standards since her reprint of the cartoons does not include the cover cartoon that is definitely anti-Semitic as well as anti-Muslim.
What they are engaged in is destructive, and not only hurts Muslims, but I believe that in the end it will also hurt Jews and all other minorities. As I’ve said many times before, when you take a stick and poke it into a hornet’s nest of bigotry, there is no way to control who will be stung by those hornets once they are provoked.
Their Islamophobia is clouding their judgement about how closely anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and all other forms of bigotry are linked. Encouraging and condoning bigotry towards any minority ultimately can come to hurt all minorities. Their ravings against Islam and Muslims are appealing to a certain segment of the population who need to have someone to blame and to look down on. When they oppose halal slaughter of animals and call it “cruel”, it isn’t going to be long before their audience notices kosher slaughter. When they oppose not only particular interpretations of some specific aspects of Sharia, but all of Sharia, it isn’t going to be long before their audience sees the similarities between Halakha and Sharia. If it’s alright to take away Constitutional protections from Muslims, or any other particular minority, then it isn’t going to be long before their audience realizes they can take them away from others who they were never that fond of in the first place. There are unintended consequences that come with demonization of a minority.It really is time, for the sake of humanity for the rest of us to find some way within the law to work together to marginalize all of these voices of hate.
That this problem of extremism also exists in the Jewish community, and is in fact a mirror image of the extremism Geller (and other Islamophobes) like to publicize as “Islamic” is totally ignored by Jewish Islamophobes. Their daily assaults on all Muslims have become dangerous, and it has therefore become important to spell out examples of such Jewish extremism in order to provide a reality check. Here are a few statements by Jews that defame Islam or Muslims, or Christians, and many more can be found here.
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner of Gush Emunim said ’‘There is an absolute Torah prohibition against the transfer of any portion of our holy land to foreign rule,.’ and he said “while God requires other normal nations to abide by abstract codes of ‘justice and righteousness’, such laws do not apply to Jews“.
Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri, said, “The Arabs are donkeys and beasts. They are inferior. What do they want? To take our women. They say we are racist. In reality, they are the wicked and cruel ones. They are imbued with the filth of the snake. There are pure and impure, and they are impure.”
Rabbi David Batzri said, “One can’t mix impure and pure. Of course we must stay apart from all the nations. You must stand in the breach and prevent this. It is forbidden to mix darkness with light. The nation of Israel is pure. The Arabs are a nation of donkeys. They are an affliction, a demon, a pestilence. “Why, one may ask, did God not create them to walk on all fours, since they are donkeys? The reason is that they must build and clean, but must always understand that they are donkeys. There is no room for them in our schools.”
Eliana Benador said “Sure America’s First Amendment protects freedom of religion. But the Founding Fathers and signatories of the Constitution undoubtedly would not have included rights in it for members of a religion that demands the destruction, persecution and invasion of the United States of America -and at best, the establishment of a shadow Constitution parallel to the American one, namely Islamic sharia law. No, that most certainly was not in the minds of America’s Founding Fathers.” and It is also important, when looking at this situation, to remember that observant Muslims practice Taqiyya , an element of sharia that states there is a legal right and duty to distort the truth to promote the cause of Islam.”
Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu said “the life of one yeshiva boy is worth more than 1,000 Arabs” . He proposed “hanging the children of the terrorist who carried out the attack in the Mercaz Harav yeshiva from a tree.” He delivered the eulogy for the terrorist murderer Meir Kahane and said that “there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza” because “all citizens are collectively guilty,” based on readings of Genesis 34 and Kings 9,14.
Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu said that the members of the Jewish terror underground were “completely righteous.” “I don’t think they are lowly murderers. Heaven forbid! They have already paid their price to society. They sacrificed many years for the people of Israel. Among us, in Judaism, there is justifiable murder. Killing a murderer is justified.”
Rabbi Yousuf Falay called for the extermination of all Palestinian males over 13 years old. “We have to make sure that no Palestinian individual remains under our occupation. If they (Palestinians) escape then it is good; but if anyone of them remains, then he should be exterminated”.
The Fountains of Salvation, an Israeli Orthodox “family magazine,” suggests that Israel will create death camps for Palestinians in order to wipe them out like Amalek - “It will be interesting to see whether they leave the assembly of the Amalekites [Palestinians] in extermination camps to others, or whether they will declare that wiping out Amalek is no longer [historically] relevant. Only time will tell…” This is basically saying Palestinians to the ovens.
Rabbi Manis Friedman, of Chabad of Minnesota said he “doesn’t believe in Western morality” and “The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle).”
Pamela Gelller said: ”Devout Muslims should be prohibited from military service. Would Patton have recruited Nazis into his army?” and “Al-Qaeda is a manifestation of devout Islam ... It is Islam. and “I would like to feel all warm and fuzzy and embrace the moderate Muslim/ meme but they show no evidence of their existence - not in any real number anyway. The only voices of reason in the Muslim world are lapsed Muslims or apostates.” and ”Muslims have no right to invoke Moses and Abraham. This is a delegitimization of Judaism. It is offensive and vile. And while Jesus is not my guy, the same thing goes for him. It is a delegitimization of Christianity. These are not Muslim prophets.” and “Islam is a mental illness”. She called for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem saying “The dome has got to go. It is sitting atop the great Jewish temple. The dome has got to go. It’s time to push back and stop indulging evil. Evil is made possible by the sanction you give it. Withdraw your sanction.”
Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg wrote a book glorifying Hebron mass murderer Baruch Goldstein. He said that revenge “is stressing my positive essence, the truth in my being. . . . It is like a law of nature. He who takes revenge joins the ‘ecological currents of reality.’ . . . Revenge is the return of the individual and the nation to believe in themselves, in their power and in the fact that they have a place under the sun and are no longer stepped on by everybody.” He also said “If you saw two people drowning, a Jew and a non-Jew, the Torah says you save the Jewish life first,” - and “If every simple cell in a Jewish body entails divinity, is a part of God, then every strand of DNA is part of God. Therefore, something is special about Jewish DNA…If a Jew needs a liver, can you take the liver of an innocent non-Jew passing by to save him? The Torah would probably permit that. Jewish life has an infinite value.”
Baruch Goldstein’s tombstone in Israel reads Here lies the saint, Dr. Baruch Kappel Goldstein, blessed be the memory of the righteous and holy man, may the Lord avenge his blood, who devoted his soul to the Jews, Jewish religion and Jewish land. His hands are innocent and his heart is pure. He was killed as a martyr of God on the 14th of Adar, Purim, in the year 5754 (1994). After his death there are annual graveside parties to celebrate Goldstein’s terrorist act.
Rabbi Avraham Hecht (chief rabbi of Congregation Sh’are Zion in Brooklyn and president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, a national organization of 540 Orthodox rabbis) said that surrendering any of the Land of Israel violated halakah (Jewish law), and anyone who did so could be killed as a rodef, “one who pursues a Jew trying to kill him.” “All I said was that according to Jewish law, any one person—you can apply it to whoever you want—any one person who willfully, consciously, intentionally hands over human bodies or human property or the human wealth of the Jewish people to an alien people is guilty of the sin for which the penalty is death. And according to Maimonides—you can quote me—it says very clearly, if a man kills him, he has done a good deed.”
Rabbi Yehuda Henkin, author of four volumes of halachic responsa entitled Bnei Banim said regarding Lebanese civilian deaths: “Those who are overly compassionate with the cruel will end up being overly cruel with the compassionate,” ... “The Halacha (Jewish law) countenances the killing of non-combatants in times of war,” says Henkin. “There is no excuse for endangering our own citizens or soldiers to protect the lives of civilians on the other side.”
David Horowitz said “What has the Arab world contributed except terror?” “The theocratic, repressive Arabic states do no significant science, no significant arts and culture.” In one of many comparisons of Muslims to Nazis, he said, “there are good Muslims and bad Muslims just like there were good Germans and bad Germans.”
Rabbi Colonel Eyal Karim of the Israeli IDF implied that rape is allowed in war. When asked a question about this he said “The wars of Israel […] are mitzvah wars, in which they differ from the rest of the wars the nations wage among themselves. ... One of the important and critical values during war is maintaining the army’s fighting ability […] As in war the prohibition against risking your life is broken for the benefit of others, so are the prohibitions against immorality and of kashrut. Wine touched by gentiles, consumption of which is prohibited in peacetime, is allowed at war, to maintain the good spirit of the warriors. Consumption of prohibited foods is permitted at war (and some say, even when kosher food is available), to maintain the fitness of the warriors, even though they are prohibited during peacetime. Just so, war removes some of the prohibitions on sexual relations (gilui arayot in the original – YZG), and even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime (under the specific terms) out of understanding for the hardship endured by the warriors. And since the success of the whole at war is our goal, the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge (yetzer ha’ra in the original -YZG), under the conditions mentioned, for the purpose of the success of the whole.”
Rabbi Kook the Elder, the revered father of the messianic tendency of Jewish fundamentalism, said, “The difference between a Jewish soul and souls of non-Jews—all of them in all different levels—is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”
Nathan Lewin wrote an article in which he said “The nation whose civilians are killed or maimed should, by “targeted assassinations” or other means, be free promptly to execute the immediate relatives of the suicide bombers. ... Finally, can Jewish law and tradition accept this seeming punishment of innocents? The Torah commanded the total eradication - including women and children - of certain nations (Amalek being a singular illustration) because of the continuing threat its members presented to the survival of Israel. When there is no other deterrent, self-defense entitles one to take measures that are ordinarily unacceptable.”
Mercaz Harav extremist Yeshiva teaches that “non-Jews living under Jewish law in Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel) must either be enslaved as water carriers and wood hewers, or banished, or exterminated.”
Yaakov Neeman, Israeli Justice Minister, said Jewish Law (Halacha) Must become Binding in Israel. “Step by step we will bestow religious law upon the citizens of Israel and transform religious law into the binding law of the state,”
Rabbi Jaacov Perrin said during his eulogy of Baruch Goldstein “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail”
Bernie Planck of Planck’s Constant on J Blog Central said “Muslims, all Muslims, are a threat to Western Civilization: simply because they will not assimilate.” He also said “I do not hate Muslims, however I do fear Islam. I present anti-Muslim jokes to ridicule Islam, the Quran, and Mohammed. I do so in the hope of helping those who do not realize that being a Muslim is exactly the same as being a Nazi.”
Dennis Prager said that Rep. Keith Ellison should not be allowed to take his oath on the Qur’an, and “he should not be allowed to do so—not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.” and further “Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress.” He also said “Devotees of multiculturalism and political correctness who do not see how damaging to the fabric of American civilization it is to allow [newly-elected Congressman Keith] Ellison to choose his own book need only imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” the Nazis’ bible, for his oath?”
Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, director of the Tsomet Institute and an authority able to issue religious opinions for Jews said: “All of the Palestinians must be killed; men, women, infants, and even their beasts.”. He said that there is evidence in the Torah to justify this stand. He wrote that Palestinians are like the nation of Amalekites that attacked the Israelite tribes on their way to Jerusalem after they had fled from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. He wrote that the Lord sent down in the Torah a ruling that allowed the Jews to kill the Amalekites, and that this ruling is known in Jewish jurisprudence.
Rabbi Itzhak Shapira published a book entitled The King’s Torah in which he claimed that it was permissible under Jewish law for a Jew to kill a non-Jewish civilian (including a child). The book, called Torat ha-Melekh (“the Teaching of the King”) deals with the killing of Goyim. It says that in peacetime, Goyim should generally not be killed – not because of the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” which, according to the book, applies to Jews only, but because of God’s command after the Deluge (Genesis 9:6): “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made he man.” This applies to all Goyim who fulfill some basic commandments. However, the situation is totally different in wartime. And according to the rabbis, Israel has been at war since its foundation, and probably will be for ever more. In war, in every place where the presence of a Goy endangers a Jew, it is permitted to kill him, even though he be a righteous goy who bears no responsibility for the situation. It is permitted – indeed, recommended – to kill not only enemy fighters, but also those who “support” or “encourage” them. It is permitted to kill enemy civilians if this is helpful for the conduct of the war. He also advocated for the expulsion or genocide of all male Palestinians above the age of thirteen, and he encouraged the use of Palestinians as human shields, and preaches slaughter of gentile babies if it will help Israel.
Rabbi Nachum Shifren wrote that student protesters at U.C. Irvine weren’t just “rude, and disrespectful students” but they “are the front line of an army of Muslims that is waiting patiently to take over and subvert our country. ... This will be a hard bullet for America to bite, but we are at war with Islam! Those who deny this are quislings or fifth-columnists — and very often, university professors and chancellors. With strong leadership, there would be no notions of “academic freedom” for those who come here to subvert and destroy. ” The rest of his comments are lengthy and even more Islamophobic. He also said that the EDL is the salvation of the west from “Muslim dogs”
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the “Lubovitcher Rebbe” who headed the Chabad movement and wielded great influence in Israel as well as in the U.S., said that, “The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems from the common expression: ‘Let us differentiate.’ Thus, we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather, we have a case of ‘let us differentiate’ between totally different species. This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world…A non-Jew’s entire reality is only vanity. It is written, ‘And the strangers shall guard and feed your flocks’ (Isaiah 61:5). The entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews…”
Rabbi Yovadia Yosef (former Israeli Chief Rabbi) called for the annihilation of Arabs (who he referred to as evil, damnable, and vipers). He harshly criticized Islam as a religion and described it as an “ugly” faith. He said non Jews exist only to serve Jews and said explaining why God allowed non-Jews long lives, “Imagine that your donkey would die, you’d lose your income. [The donkey] is your servant. ... That’s why he [the gentile] gets a long life, to work well for the Jew.”. He has written that it is permissible for Jews to kill Gentiles including children and babies who threaten Israel or break the commandments.
Abraham Yoffe, a former Israeli Army general and a founder of the Movement for the Whole Land of Israel, ’‘the will of the people is expressed in war. That is the whole Torah.’‘
David Yerushalmi’s SANE Society of Americans for National Existence released a policy paper that in part stated: “Whereas, adherence to Islam as a Muslim is prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the US. Government through the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the US Constitution and the imposition of Shari’a on the American People . . . It shall be a felony punishable by 20 years in prison to knowingly act in furtherance of, or to support the, adherence to Islam.”. He called for a “war against Islam” saying: “On the so-called Global War on Terrorism, GWOT, we have been quite clear along with a few other resolute souls. This should be a WAR AGAINST ISLAM and all Muslim faithful…At a practical level, this means that Shari’a and Islamic law are immediately outlawed. Any Moslem in America who adopts historical and traditional Shari’a will be subject to deportation. Mosques which adhere to Islamic law will be shut down permanently. No self-described or practicing Muslim, irrespective of his or her declarations to the contrary, will be allowed to immigrate to this country…” He said “Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization…The Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies.” In another article, Yerushalmi wrote: “Instead of a promise of victory, Sura 24:52 must be made ashes in the mouths of Muslims. A seemingly unending air control campaign over enemy territory is the way to continually remind the Muslims of their subordinate status and the impotence of Allah without becoming mired in the quagmire of counterinsurgency.”
Calling Arabs or Muslims “donkeys and beasts” or or “cattle” or “dogs” or “inferior” or “not equally human” or “imbued with the filth of the snake” or “impure” or “Nazis” or a “demon, affliction, and pestilence”, or saying that their life “has less value” is wrong. Condoning violence or terrorism is wrong. Glorifying terrorists as “martyrs” is wrong. Threatening to “wipe them out” or “exterminate them” is wrong. Promoting the idea of collective punishment is wrong. Blaming all Muslims for the actions of some Muslims is wrong. Attempting to force non-Jews to abide by Halakha law is wrong. Teaching children in yeshivas to hate is wrong. Promoting such actions as a “religious Jewish imperative” is wrong. Promoting the idea that Jews are superior to Muslims (or any other religious group) is supremacism and it is wrong. Such behavior is very similar to classical European Antisemitism.
As a Muslim, I understand clearly that these extremists voices are not representative of Judaism. And, I am certain that most Jewish people cringe, and feel embarrassed when they hear such statements.
Geller says (paraphrasing Ayn Rand) that “in a war between the civilized man and savages, support the civilized man - support Israel defeat jihad”.
Everything in that sentence depends on your definitions of who fits in each category and why. It also depends on your definitions of the meaning of the term jihad. Geller’s definition would not match that of most Muslims (see A spiritual jihad against terrorism), and any Muslims engaged in terrorism, or attacks on civilians are not engaged in jihad but in hirabah, no matter what their self definition. The use of the term jihad to describe acts that are reprehensible is an attempt to justify unjustifiable actions. (As is Pamela Geller’s self-description as a “freedom fighter”. Most Muslims don’t accept criminals or terrorists defining themselves as “jihadis”, and don’t accept the definition of “jihad” given by either those criminals or the Islamophobes.
Today she also published another article again defending her use of the term “savages” by reciting a whole litany of Palestinian attacks on Israelis. The truth is that there are just as many Israeli attacks on Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and Christians that were equally “savage”. Neither side has a monopoly on either “civilization” or “savagery”. And, this sort of one-sided presentation of the facts does no one any good.
The civilized human beings are those from every religious group who promote peace, justice, compassion, coexistence, mercy, tolerance, the rule of law, charity, and all the ideals of their individual faiths. The savages are those extremists in every religious group that are determined to promote hatred, discord, animosity, fear, intolerance, injustice, violence, war, double standards and all of the activities that are the real blasphemy against their respective religions.
I believe that the extremists on all sides are the “savages”, and that not only Jews, Christians, and Muslims, but all of humanity is in a war against the savagery of extremists of all stripes. The extremists are feeding off of each others hatred.
I propose that in a war between the “civilized man” and “savages”, we need to support peace and justice and defeat extremist hate. Otherwise we all lose.
At the very least Muslims, Christians, and Jews need to speak out loudly and clearly in condemnation of these extremists, and let the extremists in their own religious group know that what they are doing is totally outside the bounds of any religious or ethical teaching, and that they do not speak for all members of their faith. Even hateful speech is protected by the first amendment, so individuals have the right to express any bigoted point of view they want. However, Freedom of speech does not include freedom from condemnation of that speech and the rest of us have the right (and an obligation) to condemn that speech. Update: Abraham Foxman of the ADL has written an oped Islamic leaders must call out hatemongers in which he says: “Therefore, although important, it is simply not enough to react against and expose these manifestations of hatred. Rather there has to be a sustained long-term process of standing up and speaking out against this kind of thinking, so the point can be reached where these conspiratorial viewpoints are isolated and truly marginal.” He is speaking of Muslims speaking out against anti-Semitism, I believe that that call should also be for Jewish leaders to stand up and speak out against Islamophobia.
The time for silence in the face of the extremists is past. If we allow the extremists to continue to expound their hatred without condemnation, then the 21st century may become another dark age. Extremist Muslims do not represent Islam. Extremist Jews do not represent Judaism. Extremist Christians do not represent Christianity. They represent “savagery”.
These words from the Statement by American Muslim Imams and Community Leaders Against Holocaust Denial and anti-Semitism are important in this context:
In Islam, the destruction of one innocent life is like the destruction of the whole of humanity and the saving of one life is like the saving of the whole of humanity (Holy Qu’ran, al-Ma’idah"the Tablespread” 5:32). While entire communities perished by the many millions, we know that righteous Muslims from Bosnia, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, and Albania saved many Jews from brutal repression, torture and senseless destruction. We bear witness to the absolute horror and tragedy of the Holocaust where over twelve million human souls perished, including six million Jews. We condemn any attempts to deny this historical reality and declare such denials or any justification of this tragedy as against the Islamic code of ethics. We condemn anti-Semitism in any form. No creation of Almighty God should face discrimination based on his or her faith or religious conviction. We stand united as Muslim American faith and community leaders and recognize that we have a shared responsibility to continue to work together with leaders of all faiths and their communities to fight the dehumanization of all peoples based on their religion, race or ethnicity. With the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hatred, rhetoric and bigotry, now more than ever, people of faith must stand together for truth. Together, we pledge to make real the commitment of “never again” and to stand united against injustice wherever it may be found in the world today.
These are the voices we should be listening to, and not those of individuals calling for mutual hatred and distrust. Anti-Semitism is wrong, racism is wrong, homophobia is wrong, and Islamophobia is wrong. Decent people need to make it clear that expressions of hatred towards anyone are simply not socially acceptable.
UPDATE 9/26/2012 - AMERICAN JEWS ARE SPEAKING OUT
Today, Russell Simmons wrote an article A Yom Kippur Reflection: The Conflict Between Coexistence and the Destruction of Human Life in which he calls on fellow Jews to speak out on this issue. A few passages:
On the eve of Yom Kippur, a day of prayer, fasting and self-examination, each of us needs to shatter our complacency and narrow the gap between our conscience and our conduct as it relates to American Muslims. Let us acknowledge that ever since the Ground Zero Mosque controversy of 2010 and continuing until today, it has been open season on Muslims in this country. There is no conflict between Islam and the West. There is only conflict between those who embrace coexistence and those who seek to destroy human life. As we write, ads will be going up in New York City subway cars—which, sadly enough, have been placed there by a Jewish woman named Pamela Geller with a fanatical hatred of Muslims, featuring the slogan; “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
... When anti-Semitism rears its ugly head, we expect non-Jews of good-will to speak out against it. On this day of reflection and introspection, are we really OK to turn our heads and look the other way when our Muslim brothers and sisters are held up for contempt in such a public way? We believe it is incumbent on each of us to speak out loudly and say it is morally unacceptable to falsely libel all American Muslims or any Muslim as savages and to hold a great religion in contempt.
In that light, we are proud that The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding is taking an active role in Shoulder to Shoulder, a coalition of 28 national Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups, who are standing up for American Muslims and upholding basic American values of tolerance, openness, fair play and celebration of diversity. Let us make it clear that the vast majority of Jews do not share Ms. Geller’s bigotry, nor accept her equation that support for Israel means hatred of Muslims. The time to raise our voices is now.
Dave Bry wrote Dear Pamela Geller, If Someone Rips Down Or Otherwise Defaces The Disgusting Racist Advertisements You Have Won The Legal Right To Display In New York Subway Stations, I Will Not Know Anything About How That Might Have Happened
Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and a longtime champion of interreligious dialogue, told the Forward that he was “troubled” by the linking of Islam and Judaism in such a contentious way. “People must understand that there is not a conflict between Muslims and Jews. The only conflict there is is between those who believe in coexistence and those who seek to destroy human rights.”
The ADL released a new version of its’ backgrounder on SION “Consistently vilifying the Islamic faith under the guise of fighting radical Islam, the group has introduced a growing number of Americans to its conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda. ADL Backgrounder on Pamela Geller. The ADL had previously issued a statement on the ads calling Geller “a bigot”, and saying “The Anti-Defamation League strongly objects to this message of intolerance. ADL believes these ads are highly offensive and inflammatory. Pro-Israel doesn’t mean anti-Muslim. And support for Israel is not built on bigoted anti-Muslim and anti-Arab stereotypes. At the same time, ADL consistently maintains that censorship is not the answer to hate speech. The League supports the free speech guarantees embodied in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, understanding that the best way to combat hateful speech is with more speech.”
3 NY Jewish groups condemned the ‘savages’ ad in subways “Jews Against Islamophobia (JAI), a coalition of three Jewish organizations, condemns the hate-mongering ads, sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), that will begin appearing in New York City subway stations the last week of September. “During this period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which, for many Jews, is a time of reflection and introspection, we must recommit ourselves to standing up against these ads and all forms of Islamophobia,” - Jews Against Islamophobia (JAI) is a coalition of three groups: Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and Jews Say No! (JSN!).
On TAM, we have published a number of articles on the current controversy over the series of ads (including the “savages” ads) being published in public spaces across the country by the hate groups AFDI/SIOA. These articles include many sources and references regarding discussion of different aspects of this controversy: They also incude articles about campaigns by interfaith groups and by Muslims countering those ads.
- Pamela Geller: A Tale of Two Bus Ads
- A Tale of Three Bigoted Ads
- AFDI/SIOA Bus Ads Inspired by Ayn Rand’s Racist Views of Arabs and Muslims?
- Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer announce new “Islamorealism” anti-Islam ad
- 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks exist only in fevered Islamophobic brains
- The origins of the term “Islamophobia”
- Bus Ads: Of Savages and Idiots
- 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks exist only in fevered Islamophobic brains
- Freedom of speech does not include freedom from condemnation of that speech
- Pamela Geller Does Not Understand Freedom of Speech
- American Muslims and Arabs respond to the ads.
- All extremists are “savages” and “civilized men” need to counter the hate
- How Muslims understand the term “jihad”
- Is vandalism an appropriate free speech response to hate speech? .
- The legal battle over AFDI/SIOA Anti-Muslim Ads
- American Jews Are Speaking Out Against Anti-Muslim Ads
- AFDI/SIOA Roll Out 9 More Anti-Muslim Ads
- Americans support tolerance and reject hate about the ads being placed by Rabbis for Human Rights, Sojourners, and United Methodist Women.
- Could a boycott of public transport carrying AFDI/SIOA ads be effective?
- Rep. Mike Honda Has Been There for American Muslims, We Need to Stand With Him
- 127-Member Coalition Asks DC Transit to Support Anti-Hate Efforts in Wake of ‘Savage’ Ad
- Interfaith Alliance and the Religious Freedom Education Project of the First Amendment Center Issue What is the truth about American Muslims?: Questions and Answers
- Public transportation ads: to hate or not to hate? about yet another series of planned ads.
- MPAC to Launch NYC & DC Metro Ads Opposing Racism & Bigotry
- Christian Religious leaders ask Congress to condition Israel military aid on human rights compliance
- Why is Robert Spencer Distancing Himself From AFDI ads?
- “My Jihad” Campaign Angers Hizb-ut Tahrir and AFDI Extremists - Did AFDI’s “Savage/Jihad” hate ads inspire bus threats?
- AFDI hate group leaders Robert Spencer & Pamela Geller can’t take a hint
Over the past year these ads have been challenged in many cities, and some agencies have refused to run them. There is a whole series of court cases in which AFDI/SION are challenging those decisions. In Boston, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority rejected the “savage” ad last year. AFDI took their case to court, and according to The Boston Globe:
... On Friday, US District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton sided with the state’s transportation authority, saying in the ruling that “it was plausible for the defendants to conclude that the . . . pro-Israel advertisement demeans or disparages Muslims or Palestinians.”
There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic. There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”. There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that these individuals are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured prominently in: — the Center for American Progress reports “Fear Inc.” on the Islamophobia network in America and Understanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism. — the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack: The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State. — the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security. — The ACLU report Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical “Sharia Threat” to Our Judicial System — in The American Muslim TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry. There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.
The reason is that these individuals and organizations consistently promote the false what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims (including distorting Islamic terms such as taqqiya, jihad, sharia, etc.). They generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam. They consistently push the memes that: We are in danger from creeping Sharia. the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate. Muslims in government are Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be marginalized or excluded. Every Muslim organization is connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or the unindicted co-conspirator label. Individual Muslims and Arabs, and their organizations are accused of not condemning Hamas. When Islamophobes are caught in the act of making up or distorting claims they engage in devious methods to attempt to conceal the evidence.
The claim that they are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and have never engaged in “broadbrush demonization” or “advocated violence” are nonsense. The claim that they are falsely being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia, or their claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews or that some Muslims have fabricated such crimes “proves” that Islamophobia doesn’t exist, or that the term Islamophobia was made up by Muslims in order to stifle their freedom of speech, or that anti-Muslim bigotry is “not Islamophobia but Islamorealism” are all nonsense.
The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes. The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade. They have a manifesto for spreading their propaganda. They produce anti-Muslim films. They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally. They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.” The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences.
You would never know from listening to any of the members of the Islamophobia Industry that Muslims have defended freedom of speech, participated in interfaith dialogue, defended freedom of faith against apostasy laws, condemned blasphemy laws, condemned holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, promoted non-violent solutions to the many problems we face, called for protecting all houses of worship and condemned any attacks on churches or synagogues anywhere, condemned violent responses to numerous incidents including the response to the Innocence of Muslims film, spoken out against child marriage, are working to stop domestic violence in our community, etc. You would never know that ordinary Libyan Muslims drove the al Qaeda extremists out of Libya. Type condemn into the TAM search engine and 145 statements of condemnation come up in addition to the collections in our lengthy section Muslim voices against extremism terrorism and violence Muslims speak out loudly and clearly condemning our own extremists, and their extremist statements and actions. Type “lunatic fringe” into the TAM search engine for many such articles condemning particular extremists and extremist groups and activities.
You would never know that Muslims are decent, hardworking, productive citizens, making a positive contribution to this society. Muslims haven’t just spoken out against abuses carried out anywhere in the world that dishonor Islam, but also worked doing positive things. our TAM collection of good news stories about Muslims for this year of 2012 notes that Many people are not aware for example:
that a Sacramento Christian congregation was invited to hold their Easter services at a mosque: that an East Bronx Jewish community was invited to hold their services in a mosque when they lost their building; that a Northern Virginia Jewish community invited local Muslims to pray Jumah in the synagogue; that a Virginia mosque held an interfaith Jewish Seder. All of those things have happened already this year. Or that there are many active programs and efforts in the community to counter radicalization and extremism and to work to protect minority rights in Muslim majority countries, or that Muslims are involved in community service, interfaith work, peacemaking work, free clinics, volunteer efforts, civil rights efforts, disaster relief efforts, environmental efforts, etc. Read the article for specific information and links to sources
Originally published 9/26/2012