Jewish & Muslim Groups Repudiate Minnesota Rabbi’s Call to Kill Arab “men, women and children”
MINN. RABBI SAYS KILL ARAB ‘MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN’
(ST. PAUL, MN, 6/3/09) - The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today joined with two Jewish groups in asking political and religious leaders in that state to repudiate a rabbi’s call to kill Arab men, women and children and to destroy their religious sites.
In an article in the latest issue of “Moment” magazine, headlined “How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?” Rabbi Manis Friedman of the Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies in St. Paul, Minn., wrote in part:
“I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral. The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle)…with their holy sites destroyed, they will stop believing that G-d is on their side.”
The magazine today published a statement from Rabbi Friedman that the views he expressed were his own and “do not represent the official policy of any Jewish movement or organization.” He apologized for “any misunderstanding the words printed in my name created.”
“This disturbing call to genocide and religious desecration must be repudiated by all Minnesotans who value peaceful coexistence and interfaith harmony,” said CAIR-MN Communications Director Jessica Zikri. “Silence in the face of such extremist views will only serve to give the author a false sense of legitimacy and approval.”
Zikri said she appreciated the more moderate responses from some of the other rabbis consulted by the magazine.
In a statement, Cecilie Surasky of Jewish Voice for Peace said: “Rabbi Manis Friedman’s outrageous suggestion that killing Arab men, women and children, and destroying their religious sites is ‘the Jewish way’ is an affront to all people, but especially Jews who value all life equally. While his statement in no way represents the views of the vast majority of Jews, we are alarmed by the increasing numbers of extremist settlers in Israel, and their American supporters, who share his refusal to acknowledge the value of Palestinian and Arab life. Far from bringing peace and security to Jews, this abhorrent disregard for the lives of non-Jews only leads to more bloodshed and war.”
Rabbi Haim Beliak, executive director of the national educational foundation HaMifgash, said: “The original quote and the apology by Manis Friedman suggest a debased morality and an atrophied ethical sensibility. Friedman does not speak for Judaism. There is no Judaism where neighbors - Jewish and non-Jewish - are treated without regard to their status as fellow human beings. Jewish ethics reminds us that we owe ‘the other’ infinite obligations of care and concern, not only in theory but in practice. In war and peace, the status of civilians and innocent bystanders must be respected.”
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.