11 thoughts on “Munich’s Hallowed History of Religious Hatred: From 11th Century Jews to 21st Century Muslims – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. …richard…has it dawned on you that if the pals stopped their terror…then the idiot israelis would then give them peace…and then of course the arabs would then try to kill every last jew in israel….being a goy…married to a jewish girl..i can see the truth….why cant a guy named silverstein???………jb

  2. being a goy…married to a jewish girl..i can see the truth….why cant a guy named silverstein???

    What gives you, a self-described”goy” named Benson, the right to claim that he understands “the truth” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Have you studied any Jewish history? Have you studied Zionist history? Have you studied contemporary Israeli history or that of the I-P conflict? How much do you know about Palestinian nationalism? How much, if anything do you know about Palestinians or Arabs?

    I’m going to assume the answers are prob. all or mostly “No.” If so, then where do you get the chutzpa to interpose your alleged “truth,” saying it trumps my own carefully considered views of this conflict developed over 40 years and after taking courses & doing research on all the fields I list above?

    Has it dawned on you that your views may be as empty of truth & full of vapor as an empty tank of gas? After watching Israeli policy toward the Palestinians for decades, I can say definitively that “if the Palestinians stopped their terror” that the “idiot [your word, not mine] Israelis would” most assuredly NOT “give them peace.” The latter would merely continue blithely with the Occupation and all the other failed policies they’ve pursued over that period.

    The rest of yr drivel about Arabs killing Jews is so base & detestable it isn’t even worth addressing, let alone refuting.

    And if you’re a man of principle, you’ll take that nice Jewish girl you married & go join the Israeli Border Police so you can bash as many Palestinians as you like with total impunity. After all, you’d only be doing a service for your wife’s–& yr. adopted–people.

  3. So let me get this straight. One thousand years of Bavarian intolerance to religious minorities, affecting Jews, Muslaims, and even Protestants – (and let’s not forget that Protestantism mostly was created in a another region of Germany by a German, Martin Luther) – is really the fault of the “pals”.

    I guess the fact that the vast majority of Muslims in Germany are Turkish, the progeny of Turkish “Gastarbeiten” (Guest Workers) invited by the German Government in the post-World War II period (because of extreme labor shortages in West Germany) and not Palestinians has nothing to do with German Xenophobia. It’s entirely to the blame of Palestinians!

    And, I’m sure, that if there was a peaceful resolution of the conflict, with and end to Rocket launches, and suicide bombing by Hamas, Al Aksa etc, Germans like Schandl (and the skinheads and so on) will start to love Muslems, and Mosques will pop up all over Bavaria without any rancor!

    Seriously, it is really frightening and all but obvious if you look at the scapegoating of minorities that once was targetted at Jews is now clearly being done to Muslims. If you do look at the history of the tactics of anti-semites, as Richard suggests, while much is based on complete fantasy (Protocols of the Elders of Zion, etc) – a good deal of it is based on taking the actions of a very small few (Wealthy Jews, for example who were spared the sufferings of the Great Depression, or perhaps shady business dealings of individual Jews who were as harshly judged by their own communities) and projecting it on the entirety of the Jewish population.

    This is exactly what you just did, and the likes of the legions of fans of sites like LGF are doing to Muslims…

  4. I realize that I’m contributing a comment to a slightly older post, but nevertheless, here are my two cents:

    The fact that scapegoating of minorities takes place in Germany is beyond doubt, after all both Germany and European Christendom have a terrible track record when it comes to their treatment of minorities, especially Jews. However, is it really accurate to compare German Jews to German-Turkish Muslims? The pre-Holocaust German Jews were either integrated and secular, or religious and insular and therefore non-proselytizing. Judaism in essence is a non-proselytizing religion, especially when compared to Islam which is as expansionist as Christianity was in its own heyday. This isn’t to say that German Muslims or Muslims in the west aren’t well integrated, some indeed are, but judging from the Islamic revival that is taking place one worries about the strain or version of Islam that will be predominant in the future. Will it be the Islam that is compatible with the civil liberties we have here in the west (albeit sometimes only on paper) or a version less tolerant of our western values?

    To use an example that is relevant to my own personal context, Islamic activists tried to introduce Sharia law to Canada recently. The motion was unanimously voted out of parliament. Frankly, many non-Muslim Arabs like me sighed a collective sigh of relief. Sharia law considers the testimony of a woman to be worth half of that of a man’s. This is actual CURRENT Sharia law, as practiced in certain Arab countries. Is that compatible with Western values?

    There is a Coptic church in Egypt that needs presidential permission to repair a bathroom in the basement. They have been waiting since the 1970’s. Growing up in the Gulf, our church was located in the middle of the desert, we were not allowed to have a cross or a bell displayed on the outside of the church. In countries like Saudi Arabia, Christian worship is all but banned. And yet Saudi Arabia pours billions into the building of mosques all over the Western world. Isn’t that fundamentally hypocritical?

    Compare that with all the mosques being built in the West, including the most recent one planned for Ben Gurion’s Terminal 3!

    I do not condone discrimination against any one whether in the minority or majority, however, if some people simply express their discomfort with the increasingly ubiquitous manifestations of Islam in the West, can we not judge them clemently. Afterall, at least they live in a country where one’s opinion will not cost him his head…. Danish anyone?

  5. If we in the West truly believe that our political & religious values are competitive on the world stage then we have nothing to fear from Saudi Arabian mosques in our midst. Islam is not going to conquer or subsume us even if some of its adherents might wish to do so. The history of expansionist religions is that even when they become dominant in a region they are often changed themselves & sometimes even transformed through their contact w. foreign ideas & values.

    Personally, I believe it will benefit Islam to introduce it on the world stage. There it will have no special rights or protections as it does in Saudi Arabia. It will have to compete as a co-equal to others which have preceded it by many centuries. Through such competition it will change. If it does not change it will fail as you & I & millions of others will turn away fr. it as irrelevant to our reality.

    BTW, I find the idea of a mosque at Ben Gurion ludicrous & hypocritical. Israel can’t even treat its Arab citizens decently & yet wishes to show its “respect” by building a house of worship for foreign Muslims who will presumably bring lots of foreign currency to spend there.

    You talk about Copts who can’t fix their toilet. The situation is little better for non-Jewish minorities within Israel as I’m sure you know. I’m not sure whether they need gov’t permission to fix the toilets in the mosques or churches of Nazareth, but you can be damn sure no residents of any of these areas can build a home for themselves that is legal because the gov’t doesn’t issue building permits for Arabs, even citizens.

    While it is definitely true that Judaism is NOT generally a proselytizing religion (though you have to concede that Chabad is a glaring exception to this notion), I’m not sure why it makes German Jews much diff. in their day than German Muslims today. You say that Jews were part of the fabric of Germany & therefore diff. than Muslims today, many of whom may not wish to be.

    You should really read Gershom Sholem’s memoirs of his life in Germany. He says that while Jews APPEARED to be fully German, this was merely a superficial notion. He says that by & large, Jewish & Christian Germans led completely separate lives. Jews were not fully integrated into German life. Rather, they were tolerated. Until they weren’t. And then all Hell broke loose.

    if some people simply express their discomfort with the increasingly ubiquitous manifestations of Islam in the West, can we not judge them clemently.

    This woman was expressing far more than “discomfort.” She was expressing her deep fear and even detestation of Muslims. Remember, the words in the interview are those she provides for public consumption. Knowing anti-Semites as I do, the true feelings are much more virulent and only expressed while among “friends.” I think you & I both know what this woman feels in her heart for Muslims.

    And I am sure that in 1932-33, German Nazis would’ve told the world that too were merely expressing their “discomfort” with Jews and their annoying religion. At least, they could’ve said that until Kristallnacht. Perhaps not thereafter.

    That is not to say that I fear a Kristallnacht against German Muslims. Thankfully, that does not seem feasible. But the currents of fear & hatred now have clear similarities to ones that preceded Kristallnacht.

  6. My comment is regarding a Muslim presence in the west in general rather than just in Germany. The ideological framework or backbone of my last comment is the “reciprocity” concept and the fact that, with all of its prejudices and imperfections, the west still does more for Muslims than Muslim countries do for their own minorities.For example, try to see it from a Copt’s perspective, he or she flees religious persecution in Egypt and yet is expected to welcome the building of a mosque next to his house in his new host country. How many an average person will put his or her painful experience aside and be completely objective and idealistic about this?

    Furthermore, consider that some of the most extremist Muslims today live in the UK, because they’re so extremist Saudi Arabia doesn’t want them. If a European non-muslim citizen were to criticize this reality, would you brand them as islamo-phobic?

    As for:

    “The history of expansionist religions is that even when they become dominant in a region they are often changed themselves & sometimes even transformed through their contact w. foreign ideas & values.”

    You’re right, at least in theory. Afterall, Islam did enjoy a Golden age with all the interactions and cross-pollination possible within that era.. but how come Sharia law is still intact, with it all the rules that disenfranchise women? Does that not indicate a certain ideological rigidity?

  7. I may be missing something here but I just don’t “get” the whole “reciprocity” meme advanced by those who critique Islam. Yes, I agree that Muslim nations should be as open toward other religions and we in the west are toward Islam. But expecting those nations to be something other than what they are seems fraught w. unrealistic expectations.

    Christian nations have had a history of such exclusivist attitudes toward minority religions in their midst going back centuries. As late as the 1880s, Italian Catholics kidnapped an Italian Jewish baby and forcibly raised it as Catholic despite the lifelong protestations of the Jewish parents who essentially had no recourse against the Vatican’s supremacy.

    But such attitudes changed & relaxed in the past 100 yrs or so. I predict that the same thing will happen w. Muslim lands over time. But the key is “over time.” To expect Saudi Arabia to become a bastion of religious tolerance right here & right now doesn’t seem realistic.

    try to see it from a Copt’s perspective, he or she flees religious persecution in Egypt and yet is expected to welcome the building of a mosque next to his house in his new host country.

    The case in question involved a Roman Catholic woman fr. Munich who has suffered none of the discrimination faced by an Egyptian Copt. But even were we talking about such a Copt who emigrated to Europe, for that person to expect that in Europe s/he could be protected in some way from Muslim worship would again be unreasonable. If such a Copt wanted to wall themselves off fr. Islam, they’d have to find some sort of Copt enclave and live there. Europe rightfully would like to project a diff., more tolerant way of approaching the co-existence of multiple religious traditions.

    If a European non-muslim citizen were to criticize this reality, would you brand them as islamo-phobic?

    It depends on what was said. I’ve condemned Jack Straw’s blatant, stupid comments about the niqab. So yes, that was Islamophobic and entirely politically motivated. There are ways to be critical w/o being seen as grandstanding. Usually this involves some attempt at constructive engagement. If you don’t like British radical Islam, either encourage or try to create an alternative that is more tolerant. The current butting-bull-goat approach by so many Islamophobes is merely meant to score political points at home & not at all meant to actually influence Muslims. That approach I reject.

    how come Sharia law is still intact,

    I’m not expert enough on Islam to speak to this subject well. But in general I’d say that there are countries & Muslim sects which adopt Sharia and there are countries & sects which do not. It is a mistake for non-Muslims to assume that Islam is a monolith. While I agree w. your objections to Sharia, it is prob. wrong to assume that even Sharia is a monolith incapable of change. Jewish halacha changed over time & adapted itself to modern ideas & customs. Over time, Sharia may, & prob. will do the same. At least I hope so.

    And let’s not forget the odious aspects of halacha as they apply to women. Many of these attitudes are unfortunately inscribed in Israeli social practice, custom and law in governing issues like marriage, divorce, etc. I think it wrong to place the locus of blame on Islam for such problems when many religions & nations oppress women. Perhaps not as blatantly or grievously. But women get a raw deal around the world I’m sorry to say.

  8. Richard, I particularly agree with the point about Islam not being monolithic.

    Nevertheless, I am struggling to find an Islamic group that is doing any of the following in a significant capacity:

    1-attempting to reform the Sharia to fit modern day values where women are equal to men. Early sharia was more flexible than today, what is needed is a new “fiqh” – jurisprudence that fits the modern world. Regardless of how often women are wronged in other cultures and religions, this does not alleviate from the very valid criticism of elements on Sharia.
    And don’t even get me started about the treatment of homosexuals. How relevant are stories of Islam’s glorious past where decadent bisexual poets like Abu Nawas were tolerated, while today gays are stoned, hanged and imprisoned in Muslim countries?

    2-condemning in a loud and clear voice all fanatic acts such as suicide bombings, and not just because they harm the Arab\Palestinian\Muslim cause(s), but because they are morally wrong. This must be done in Arabic. My father is a journalist and I grew up with abundant exposure to various Arabic media. I rarely heard condemnations suicide bombings on a moral basis.

    3-attempting to reform the educational systems in Arab countries to make for the tolerance of alternative ideologies and to temper more belligerent elements of the Quran

    Out of 1.3 billion Muslims, isn’t it lamentable that not one group does the above on a significant scale?

    And what does all of the above have to do with a mosque in Munich you might ask. Perhaps the woman’s reaction is xenophobia, but can it not also be a visceral reaction to what “Islam” appears to representss. Even if all critics of Islam are xenophobic and misinformed, it doesn’t excuse the fact that Muslims must be doing much more to educate others and to reform their religion.

  9. I am struggling to find an Islamic group that is…condemning in a loud and clear voice all fanatic acts such as suicide bombings…

    You should do a Google search before you surrender to such generalizations. I know for a fact that Tariq Ramadan condemns suicide bombing. I also found this article: Landmark Islamic Ruling Unequivocally Condemns Suicide Bombings. And this one: Scholars condemn suicide bombings.

    I wouldn’t disagree w. you that Muslims need to do more on all the issues you raise. But let’s at least give them credit for what they HAVE done.

  10. Evidently Mr. Silverstein’s views have their roots after the 1967 war when Israel conquered and occupied Gaza and the West Bank including East Jerusalem. Many Israelis disagreed with the occupation then and now. However, it is a mistake to think that the killing of Jews by Palestinians started as a result of the occupation. Arafat started his movement well before 1967, and massacres of Jews in Palestine go back to the 1930’s. It needs to be understood that hatred of Jews by Arabs is endemic having little or nothing to do with reality. Like most groups mired in fantasies of their primitive pasts the Arabs remain doomed, controlled by hate filled imams teaching new generations how to hate with martyrdom as the reward. And if it’s proof you are looking for just ask the question, “Where is one voice, one Muslim voice, protesting the killings in Iraq and elsewhere. Where is the Muslim community anywhere in the world protesting the self-destruction of their people?” Good luck.

  11. I don’t know quite where to begin there are so many distortions & falsehoods in this comment:

    Arafat started his movement well before 1967

    Not “well before 1967,” but 1964 to be precise. And the purpose of the PLO was not to kill “Jews” as you claim, but to gain national self-determination for his people. DId the PLO kill Israelis (note: NOT Jews). Yes. And I don’t in any way condone this killing. But terror is not an end, but a means to an end. Came a time when Arafat realized such killing was counter-productive & he signed the 1988 agreement recognizing Israel and the 1993 Oslo Accord. There were times when he backslid, notably in instigating the first Intifada. But he did so because a political solution seemed remote and the only option seemed to be a return to violence.

    massacres of Jews in Palestine go back to the 1930’s

    Wrong again. The earliest Palestinian attacks on Jews I know of go back to 1921 when the great writer Yosef Haim Brenner was among those killed. But for every attack on Palestinian Jews there were as many attacks by them against Palestinian Arabs.

    It needs to be understood that hatred of Jews by Arabs is endemic having little or nothing to do with reality.

    An out and out lie.

    Arabs remain doomed, controlled by hate filled imams teaching new generations how to hate with martyrdom as the reward. And if it’s proof you are looking for just ask the question, “Where is one voice, one Muslim voice, protesting the killings in Iraq and elsewhere

    Try out this reverse statement for size: “Israelis remain doomed, controlled by hate-filled right-wing leaders teaching new generations how to hate…” How does it feel to be hoisted on yr own ideologically-slanted petard?

    It is the mark of a virulent demagogue to spin fantasies out of his mind without even bothering to check sources to confirm that they support his fantasies. This fellow hasn’t even bothered to do an elementary search of Google. Said search would’ve turned up the following headlines/sources which refute his claim:
    Sunni Cleric Condemns Iraqi Violence
    Saudi Scholars Condemn Violence
    Muslim Scholars Must Condemn Iraqi Sectarian Violence
    INSA Condemns Iraqi Intra-Muslim Violence in Iraq
    There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of similar links in this search: “Muslim condemns Iraqi violence.” Try it. You might be enlightened (though I doubt it).

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