Jewish Newspaper Article Calls for Murder of Innocent Muslims
by Sheila Musaji
On December 12th we published a press release from CAIR about Lawrence Kulak’s article in the 5 Towns Jewish Times titled, “The Appropriate Response to Islamic Terror.” In that press release CAIR called on New Jersey Jewish leaders to repudiate this journalist’s call to ‘kill’ Muslims, and stated that “Such inflammatory comments have no place in reasoned public discourse.”
Mr. Kulak’s article is available online (pages 59-61) as a PDF file The article was also available on the 5 Towns Jewish Times web-site but seems to have been taken down. A cached version is still available online.
A few quotes from Mr. Kulak’s article:
“Moreover, the only way to deal with Islamic terrorists is the same way in which they deal with their victims. Muslims believe in the literal interpretation of the Biblical doctrine of an eye for an eye, and they do not have respect for anything perceived as a lesser standard of justice. They killed our innocents, and unless we kill theirs, they will go on killing ours. The Torah, however, preaches a doctrine which, if implemented by the West, could finally put an end to all Islamic terror: If somebody is coming to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”
“Any and all collateral damage in the form of casualties to friends, relatives, or anyone connected to the lives of these terrorists should be swiftly ignored.”
It is surprising that a religious publication would carry an article calling for the deliberate killing of civilians as a form of collective punishment, especially since such actions are considered a war crime by International law. It is even more surprising when the author claims as a matter of fact that pre-emptive warfare is taught in the Jewish Torah, and that collective punishment is a “common sense” solution “etched in the Mosaic law.”.
If such an article was published by Muslim extremists it is certain that there would be an uproar and demands that every Muslim organization (and even Muslim individuals) condemn such a terrorist mentality.
The response so far to CAIR’s call for repudiation is silence for the most part. In the blogsphere there are some rumblings, but mostly of the expected sort calling CAIR anti-Semitic for making such a call.
Larry Gordon, the editor of the 5 Towns Jewish Times published a response to CAIR’s request which is more of an attack on CAIR than any sort of apology. The closest the response comes to an apology is the statement: “The editorial staff of the Five Towns Jewish Times decries the notion of any support of terrorism, and we fully support the United States government’s War on Terrorism. As an Orthodox Jewish weekly, the 5TJT also rejects the demonization of Muslims, both in this country and abroad. If any such implication of supporting the terrorization or murder of innocent Muslims who do not support terrorists or terrorist activities was made by an article in the 5TJT, it was due simply to a poor choice of words—a slip of the author’s pen, if you will. Read in its entirety, the article is clearly conveying the message that members of a community that supports terrorists and allows them to remain in its midst should not expect to escape retaliation. At the same time, the 5TJT calls upon CAIR to unequivocally denounce all of its past and current support of and for Islamist terrorism, whether that support be direct or remote. We call upon CAIR to denounce Muslim killers who act in the name of Islam, and we call upon CAIR to denounce and call for a halt of the hatred of Jews and non-Muslims that many Muslims proclaim.”
They also published a defense of his original article by Lawrence Kulak:
Dear Editor, after seeing the disingenuous way that CAIR attacked me for writing my article “The Appropriate Response to Islamic Terror” published in last week’s paper, I am even more convinced of the validity of everything I wrote. In addition, I am also proud to have exposed the way that CAIR chooses to demonstrate its jihadist philosophy by taking the sentence to which it objected deliberately out of context in a typical attempt to fan the flames of hatred.
I never advocated the wanton killing of innocent Muslims, only that Muslim terror be treated the same as warfare, with similar regard for collateral damage. Because it seems as if this common-sense approach has been cowardly sidestepped by the West and Israel—to their severe detriment—there was the need to explain it in seemingly blunt language. If Muslims or CAIR are offended by the methods of Realpolitik which I advocate, let them complain to Muslim governments, such as Pakistan’s, who routinely violate international law by continuing to harbor terrorists and permitting terrorists to use civilians as human shields.
As far as my use of the concept of “an eye for an eye,” the utility of this device was proven in World War II against the Japanese, a civilization that also utilized suicide missions as a means of warfare. The Japanese government had been using poison gas against the Chinese, but when Roosevelt threatened to do the same to them, they abruptly terminated that practice. Unfortunately, it seems that Muslims today do not yield to pure threats as readily as the Japanese did.
Moreover, the Jewish religion does not advocate the killing of innocent civilians, but apparently Islam does. What about the verse in the Koran which states that when the Muslim messiah comes, the trees will tell Muslims to kill the Jews that are hiding behind them? So much for CAIR’s allegations.
The ADL did not issue a formal statement or press release, but did send a letter to the editor of the 5 Towns Jewish Times which stated:
To the Editor:
We were shocked by Lawrence Kulak’s suggestion that Jews should kill innocent Muslim civilians to counter Islamic terrorism (“The Appropriate Response to Islamic Terror,” Dec. 12).
Regardless of one’s views on terrorism, to even entertain the notion of responding in kind is morally reprehensible and appalling. It is unfair to hold innocent Muslims responsible for the radical views of an extreme minority.
In the Jewish tradition, words have consequences. In this case, Kulak’s words crossed the line.
This is something, but not much for the only response to this article made by any Jewish organization. The letter is not even signed by any individual at the ADL.
The problem is that CAIR was only the organization that is distressed by this article - they are not the only Muslims that are distressed - and not only Muslims find this article reprehensible. Those objecting to CAIR’s concerns are attacking the messenger, but that has nothing to do with the message, and no reasonable person could find fault with CAIR’s message that ‘Such inflammatory comments have no place in reasoned public discourse’.
The theologian, Martin Marty wrote about this in Sightings:
“The mimetic principle,” most developed by René Girard, today captures the attention of psychologists, literary critics, war-and-peace makers, and experts in many disciplines. It builds on the desires and behavior of humans who see something they and their rivals both want. As they follow up, the price exacted by both keeps going up. “Keeping up with the Joneses” is matched by build-ups of negative emotions, strategies and arms. We see this in much of the conflict, including that related to religion, in the world today.
This is most visible among those who react to terrorists who are rooted in and related to Islamic groups. “They” take innocent lives, so “we” should do the same.” We have seen that practice in Palestinian/Israeli acts of escalation and vengeance. The question for some is: Should we make a principle out of the “mimetic principle” when dealing with civilians, innocents, mothers and children who are in the path of conflict?
One of the more explicit counsels for “us” to be indiscriminate in killing those who occupy the soil or live within the states in which Islamist terrorists are active, appeared in Five Towns Jewish Times (December 11). Reproduction of and reports on it quickly spread, and within a day the Times had taken it off their web-site and blocked it on others. Google “The Appropriate Response to Islamic Terror” and you will quickly find traces of it in its brief prime. We can be glad they took it down, but also can learn from what its author, Lawrence Kulak, wrote in this 20,000-circulation paper issuing from five towns in Nassau County, but aimed at all New York and reaching beyond it.
What is “The Appropriate Response to Islamic Terror?” Kulak uses the definite article as he offers “the solution to international terror”. (The underlining is mine; the stress is his.) “The only way to deal with Islamic terrorists is the same way in which they deal with their victims. Muslims believe in the literal interpretation of the Biblical doctrine of an eye for an eye…They killed our innocents, and unless we kill theirs, they will go on killing ours. The Torah, however, preaches a doctrine which…would finally put an end to all Islamic terror: if somebody is coming to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”
Kulak criticizes the U. S. presidential response to 9/11 which “labeled Islam a peaceful religion that had been hijacked by radical elements.” The president thus “all but rejected the possibility of taking drastic action…” Kulak is unsentimental in his “kill them all” approach: “Any and all collateral damage in the form of casualties to friends, relatives, or anyone connected to the lives of these terrorists should be swiftly ignored. Public opinion and what is written in the newspapers should also be ignored by nations seeking to avenge the death of its innocent civilians.”
The problem of making a principle of this principle is that the rivals, enemies, counterparts, or counter-belligerents who read this kind of editorial–and read them they do–find occasion to raise the price, engage in more indiscriminate violence, and that, in turn inspires and impels us to raise it still higher and engage in ever more violence, “women and children” be damned–or at least thoughtlessly and painlessly annihilated. We all know that in all wars, including those we call “just” or “good,” there are “collateral damages” and deaths of innocents. However, making a principle out of doing so, and especially doing so on religious grounds, only invites more violence. Then there are no eyes to trade for eyes, teeth to exact for teeth, while hatred and violence triumph.
(This article is not yet available online on Sightings, but can be found at http://subrationedei.com/?p=859 )
As a participant in the recent Mosque Synagogue “Twinning” I remain hopeful that Muslim and Jewish Americans can come together and act as a bridge to help heal the wounds caused by anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. To do this both communities will need to speak out against those who are determined to continue to spew hatred and bigotry.