Reform Jewish leader to unindicted co-conspirators: Together we will fight the opportunists who demonize you
How ironic that Yoffie pledged his help against the demonic Islamophobes at the convention of the Islamic Society of North America, an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case. In his address, he sounded as if he were reading straight from the American Muslim advocacy groups’ playbook: complaining about “ignorance” of Islam, claiming that the terrorists represent a Tiny Minority of Extremistsâ„¢ who are twisting the faith, alleging that Judaism and Islam are equally likely to inspire violence in believers, and pretending that those who find justification for that violence in Islamic scripture are not the Muslims who are perpetrating that violence, but the non-Muslims who are reporting on that use of Islamic texts by jihadists.
Yoffie may live long enough to discover that his friends with whom he is so eager to cooperate may have something quite different in mind.
“Reform leader to Muslim Americans: Together we will fight the opportunists who demonize you,” by Shmuel Rosner in Haaretz:
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, leader of the Reform movement, spoke this afternoon to the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America. The leadership of ISNA and the Union for Reform Judaism are planning a joint dialogue and education program for synagogues and mosques, Yoffie said. He asked the ISNA to help solve the Middle East crisis.
“There exists in this country a huge and profound ignorance about Islam,” Yoffie said. Hard to argue with that. Yoffie added that it is “not that stories about Islam are missing from our media; there is no shortage of voices prepared to tell us that fanaticism and intolerance are fundamental to Islamic religion, and that violence and even suicide bombing have deep Koranic roots”. Thus, “it has been far too easy to spread the image of Islam as enemy”.
See — he gives no hint of the fact that it is Muslims who are telling us that “fanaticism and intolerance are fundamental to Islamic religion, and that violence and even suicide bombing have deep Koranic roots.” Like CAIR and other Muslim spokesmen in America, he is trying to create the impression that it is only anti-Muslim analysts who make the connection between violence and suicide bombing and the Qur’an and Sunnah — when actually it is the jihad terrorists who rely heavily on Islamic texts and teachings to justify their actions.
But the shift of focus is deft and effective. It inhibits most of the mainstream media from discussing what needs to be discussed: the ways in which Islamic teachings are being used by the jihadists to incite to violence, and what can be done about that. Most of the mainstream media is afraid to discuss that, for fear of being labeled “anti-Muslim.”
How did this ignorance happen? Yoffie asks and does not hesitate to name names.
“How did it happen that Christian fundamentalists, such as Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham, make vicious and public attacks against your religious tradition?”
“How did it happen that when a Muslim congressman takes his oath of office while holding the Koran, Dennis Prager suggests that the congressman is more dangerous to America than the terrorists of 9/11?”
“How did it happen that a member of Congress, Tom Tancredo, now running for President, calls for the bombing of Mecca and Medina?”
His explanation could be a matter of some debate: He mentions the “profound ignorance” towards Islam in the U.S., but finds fault both with “the terrorists who too often dominate the media, subverting Islam’s image” and with the “opportunists in our midst –? the media figures, religious leaders, and politicians who demonize Muslims and bash Islam”.
Yoffie calls for an end to “racial profiling” and “legal discrimination.” While these concepts both deal with race, they are not necessarily the same: Profiling is a tool, problematic but sometimes almost unavoidable. Discrimination is always bad.
He says that “the dialogue” the organizations will be conducting “will not be one way, of course. You will teach us about Islam and we will teach you about Judaism. We will help you to overcome stereotyping of Muslims, and you will help us to overcome stereotyping of Jews”.
“As a Jew I know that our sacred texts, including the Hebrew Bible, are filled with contradictory propositions, and these include passages that appear to promote violence and thus offend our ethical sensibilities. Such texts are to be found in all religions, including Christianity and Islam”, Yoffie admits. However, he says, “the overwhelming majority of Jews reject violence by interpreting these texts in a constructive way”.
He believes that similar dynamics work in all religions, but falls short of a full-fledged comparison. In the Jewish faith, he says, there is “a tiny, extremist minority”. For Islam he chooses somewhat broader definition: “as we know from the headlines, you have what I know must be for you as well as for us an alarming number of extremists of your own.”
Yes, Yoffie. An alarming number indeed. Funny how that happened.