22 thoughts on “Rabbi Yoffie Denounces Jewish Anti-Muslim Extremism – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. “American Jews have a deep, profound, and unshakable commitment to the State of Israel. We see assuring the security of Israel as one of our community’s most important accomplishments, and we see maintaining her security as one of our most important priorities.”

    This absolutist statement by Yoffee would carry more weight if he offered any evidence for it.
    I, and the Jews I know, do *not* have a ‘deep profound unshakable commitment’ to Israel.

    So who is he speaking for? Is his statement true for mainstream Jewish organizations in the US? Yes. And for their members? Undoubtedly.
    For the majority of US Jews?
    That is open to debate.

    A very quick search turns up the following study results: (for example)
    “Although Israel’s fate is an overriding political consideration for a small number of Jews in this country, many others consider it a nonissue, said Wald, whose paper has been accepted for publication in the July issue of the journal Nationalism and Ethnic Politics. Most American Jews fall somewhere in between, he said.”


  2. Ellen, I am glad for your open honesty about your acknowledged “lack of profound committment” to your brother and sister Jews like me in Israel. Thus, I will give your opinions about what we should do regarding our security and future the proper weight they deserve…i.e. ZERO.

    Richard: You are pleased that Yoffe denounced Jews who claim that Islam is a “global threat”.
    Are you pleased about this because you don’t think Islam, or at least some major form of it is NOT a global threat? Who exactly flew airplanes full of people into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon six years ago,? Also how do AVERAGE Muslims around the world feel about that? Are they appalled or do they think it was kind of cool?
    In Time Magazine a few weeks ago they had an article about 60 years since since the partition of India. They quoted a “moderate” Islamic scholar in Pakistan who is enraged the the British “stole ALL of India from us Muslims and there won’t be peace until Muslims rule all of India (i.e. including Hindu India) in addition to Muslim Pakistan and Bangladesh” Now here is a MODERATE Muslim who believe the Muslims have the right to conquer a lot of other people who aren’t Muslims. Wouldn’t you define this as a “global threat”, especially considering they have nuclear weapons (I will be glad to give you the exact reference and quote from Time Magazine if you like)?

  3. Oh good grief – the commenter above – exactly what you’re talking about, Richard.

    Thank you for blogging this. I linked to it at Dove’s Eye View, and hope it gets spread around the Arab blogosphere just a little.

  4. Ellen: The survey you found is extremely interesting. But there are a few caution flags I’d raise. First, this seems to be an analysis of prior research done by Jim Zogby, an Arab-American pollster. While Zogby is an impeccable professional, one has to keep in mind that his political-ethnic orientation may have colored some of the data & its interpretation.

    That being said, I repeat the poll is interesting & deserves serious consideration. I need to also add that I find fr. my own deep personal experience in the Jewish community that Israel plays a central role for the majority of American Jews. I don’t mean to say it plays nearly the obsessive role it seems to play for our mainstream organization leaders or their rank & file. But it is still important.

  5. Who exactly flew airplanes full of people into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon six years ago,?

    Did “Islam” fly those planes into the WTC? Did a “major form of it” perpetrate this tragic act of hate? No on both counts. Is Al Qaeda a “major form” of Islam? I’d argue No. Is it a significant offshoot of Islam that deserves our unremitting opposition & that of the majority of Muslims? Of course, and it does. 19 people perpetrated those acts, not “Islam.” Even if you accept that there are others in the world besides those 19 who support what they did. That still doesn’t get you anywhere near the numbers necessary to say that “Islam” IS Al Qaeda.

    Are they appalled or do they think it was kind of cool?

    I guess since you’re such an expert you must have some secret wisdom telling you it’s the latter.

    Wouldn’t you define this as a “global threat”

    Would I define a single Muslim imam who has cockamamie views about Muslims supremacism as a “global threat??” NO. Would I say that this particular individual & anyone who agrees w. him was potentially a dangerous force in Pakistani politics? Yes.

  6. I feel there is a really major failure to communicate here.
    My view of 9/11, which you don’t accept, is that 15 of the 19 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia whose own leaders were forced to admit, purveys for years, an extreme form of Islam which preaches hatred for Jews and Christians and especially Americans. I say that those terrorists absorbed this hatred and then went all the way in deciding to do something about it. The Saudis have poured huge amounts of money into spreading their Wahabi form of Islam around the world, so it is not just localized there in the Arabian Peninsula. Numerous Muslim writers in the US and Europe have stated that this form of extreme, genocidal Islam is being preached in Europe (particularly Britain-the 7/7 bombers were known to be influenced by it and some of the preachers have been arrested and/or deported).
    If you don’t accept this view, what do you say? That 19 homocidal maniacs happened to get together and decide to fly airplanes into buildings, and it is an amazing coicidence that all were Muslims, and that their Islamic views played no role in their deciding to carry out this heinous deed?

    Regarding the attitudes of Muslims worldwide, there are no doubt several different responses to what happened. They are
    (1) those who carried out these acts were brave warriors for Islam
    (2) those who carried out these acts “meant well” but they went too far
    (3) those who carried out these acts should be condemned because they make Islam and Muslims look bad, or
    (4) those who carried out these acts were criminals who are mass murderers.

    We have all seen polls questioning Muslims worldwide about these questions. I believe PEW has carried out at least some of them but I don’t have any at hand . IIRC a clear majority of Muslims in Muslim countries agreed with one of the three first options. After all, we all remember the street celebrations in places like Cairo and the Palestinian territories that were televised. I clearly remember that Palestinian policemen stopped newsmen from filming these celebrations. Thus, we see that these acts were certainly popular with a significant number of Muslims.

    I don’t live in the US. Tell me, do Muslim leaders there unequivocally denounce extremism of this type IN FRONT of their own people, and not just in front of non-Muslim reporters or groups? Do they unequivocally denounce these acts without adding things like “well, I codemn it but what they did was ‘understandable’?

    Here in Israel we take such threats very seriously. Ahmedinejad said quite clearly he intends to get rid of us. Just yesterday, the head of the Israeli Northern Islamic Movement called for the eradication of Israel. HAMAS says they will never make peace and intend to get rid of us. Nasrallah of HIZBULLAH in Lebanon says the same thing. These extreme forms of Islam and their open threats are quite widespread as you can see and not the “ravings of an isolated extremist who doesn’t represent anybody”.

    When people like Daniel Pipes warn against these things (don’t forget he speaks Arabic and knows what they are telling their own people) he is dismissed as an “Islamphobe”. Well, the word “Islamophobe” means someone who fears Islam, and if I am correct then there are a lot of Muslims around the world who want us in Israel dead, so our “phobia” is quite well-based and established, so if you want to call us “Islamophobes”, so be it.

  7. Richard, I’m disturbed by your answer, and in case I’ve mis-understood perhaps you would clarify.
    “Jim Zogby, an Arab-American pollster. While Zogby is an impeccable professional, one has to keep in mind that his political-ethnic orientation may have colored some of the data & its interpretation.”

    Are you suggesting that because of his nationality/ethnicity Zogby is slanting the data?

    Do you have reason for that? Have you read somewhere where Zogby has expressed himself that he doesn’t like Jews, or he wishes Israel would disappear or etc?

    Otherwise, it seems to me that by your criteria, any Arab person could dismiss what any Jewish person says -‘they’re slanting the data because they’re Jewish’?

    Such an assumption would be putting us all in very tight boxes.
    There is a big difference between ethnic and political orientation. If he (Zogby) has taken a position re the issue, then I would be cautious of his results.
    But it would be racist to be cautious of his results because of his nationality.

    Can an Arab not be objective?
    Can a Jew?
    Are you? I know you have strong positions on many issues discussed here, but I think you distinguish fact from opinion and thus I would say you can be objective.


  8. Are you suggesting that because of his nationality/ethnicity Zogby is slanting the data?

    It is incredibly easy to shape data both in one’s interpretation & in phrasing of questions one asks respondents. Pollsters who are Democrats often get results slightly more favorable to Democrats than Republicans & vice versa. That’s all I’m saying. As a pollster, your intent may be to produce a totally unbiased sample but sometimes that doesn’t happen. You try yr best, but sometimes you can introduce yr own biases unintentionally into the results. Sorry if that offends you. But it’s the truth as I see it. I didn’t say Zogby’s results were wrong. Just that one needs to keep in mind the possibility the results might skew one way w/o Zogby intending it.

  9. Imjudy: Indeed, there is a failure to communicate. You simply don’t listen because your prejudices are so deep it is simply impossible for you to do so.

    Numerous Muslim writers in the US and Europe have stated that this form of extreme, genocidal Islam is being preached in Europe

    “Numerous”–like who? No doubt there is a murderous form of Islam being preached in Europe & other places in the world. No doubt this form of Islam may have been or may even still be popular in Saudi Arabia. But how does this transform an entire religion into genocidal maniacs? Because 15 nutcases crashed planes into buildings you want to claim that an entire country is prepared to do so & we should treat that entire country & every follower of Islam as if they all embraced the nutso theology of the 15?? Whoa, that’s going a bit far.

    we see that these acts were certainly popular with a significant number of Muslims.

    Because you saw SOME Muslims celebrating 9/11 this means that all Muslims did? Really.

    do Muslim leaders there unequivocally denounce extremism of this type IN FRONT of their own people, and not just in front of non-Muslim reporters or groups?

    Well, first no Muslim has to prove his commitment to peace to the likes of you. You wouldn’t accept their commitment even if they were standing on their head spitting wooden nickels. Second, if you read Rabbi Eric Yoffie’s statements about his participation in the ISNA national conference last wk. you will see that he says that the national leader of this group made a speech about the I-P conflict that any Jewish leader could’ve made. Meaning that it was fully commited to peace. But hey, I know you won’t believe it anyway so why waste my breath?

    Daniel Pipes warn against these things (don’t forget he speaks Arabic and knows what they are telling their own people)

    I don’t care if Pipes were Mohammed’s brother. He knows as much about Muslims or Arabs and what they believe as my 90 yr old Bubbe. If you use Daniel Pipes as yr chief informant on what Arabs believe it’s no wonder you run around like Chicken Little saying that Arabs are making the sky fall. Pipes is someone who hates Islam, not merely fears it. There’s a difference.

    I’m growing very weary of these interchanges. I truly hope you can bring something new to this discussion beyond the same old tired propaganda.

  10. I haven’t studies Islam but I know how to google. Here are some search results (with the quotation marks)
    “jewish peace movement” 3600 results
    “christian peace movement” 2960 results
    “muslim peace movement” 493 results
    “moslem peace movement” 3 results
    “islamic peace movement” 423 results
    “buddhist peace movement” 2690 results

    Just saying.

  11. I know how to google

    2 can play this game & I don’t know what yr “survey” is supposed to prove. Besides, yr results don’t jibe w. mine:

    “Islamic tolerance” 2 million results
    Islamic peace movement” 2.15 million
    Moslem peace movement” 670,000
    Muslim peace movement” 2.25 million
    Muslims denounce Islamic terror” 1 million results

    Even if you concede that many of these are duplicate results and some may not be relevant to the topic that’s still a pretty substantial indication of Muslim tolerance on the web.

  12. Richard, interesting post. In reference to Yoffie’s remarks, you say, “You’ll note there is no mention of a state, the issue of return or Jerusalem.

    Well, actually, I noted a mention of a state. Yoffie’s words, as you quoted them, include the statement:

    “Let us choose peace. Let us work toward the day when a democratic Palestinian state lives side by side, in peace and security, with the democratic State of Israel.”

    Granted, no mention of return or Jerusalem–both of which, clearly, have to be addressed before there is “peace and security.” But it is pretty clear that the official position of Reform is for Palestinians to have their own state.

  13. “yr results don’t jibe w. mine”

    Like I said, I did the google search with quotation marks to include only those post with the exact phrase “Jewish (or Christian or Islamic) peace movement”. Assuming there is some sort of correlation between how common it is for each religion to form a peace movement based on the tenets of the religion and the frequency of the phrase in google. Without the quotation marks results will include sites that have a phrase like “Muhammed (peace be upon him). ” + “Muslim youth movement” for example.

  14. I don’t know that I’d trust a Google search to plumb the depth of a religion’s theological attitudes. It can tell you what is on the web. But if a movement or idea or sermon is not on the web it won’t be reflected.

  15. Let me understand this….you say “Pipes doesn’t know anythinhg about Islam and Arabs”.
    Prove that assertion. Prove your asssertion that you know more about Islam then all of us, more than Ayan Hirsi Ali, more than Donie Darwish, more than Ed Husain in Britain. More than my friend who was born in Iraq and told me about the Farhud massacre of Jews in Baghdad in 1941 and the hate of Iraqi Muslims to Jews. Prove to me that you know more than the Saudi Prince gov’t minister I mentioned who admitted on the 60 Minutes show in the US that the Saudi education system does indeed teach hate of Jews and Christians.
    I know what you will say… Hirsi, Darwish, Pipes, Husain, the people at MEMRI who translate Muslim hate literature into English are all biased “Islamophobes”, but you aren’t, right?
    Show me surveys that show the true attitude of most Islamic believers around the world is love and appreciation for Jews and Christians. I have seen surveys showing the opposite, some done by PEW whom you have quoted in the past.
    Who says you are right and they are all wrong? I am willing to listen to you if you can provide evidence of your assertions that the large majority Muslims today opposed extremist
    rhetoric, love Jews and Christians. oppose Bin Laden, oppose violence. I am waiting.

  16. Prove that assertion.

    Sorry, not the way it works. I read much of his bilious anti-Muslim ravings & he’s a bulvan when it comes to Islam. If he’s such an expert why doesn’t he have a tenured faculty position at any university in his field?? The fact that he can’t get one indicates what his academic peers think of his level of knowledge in the field.

    And I don’t have to prove anything. Not to you, not to Pipes. I’ll just let my readers judge by continuing to quote his hate. You can believe whatever you like as far as I’m concerned.

    Hirsi, Darwish, Pipes, Husain, the people at MEMRI who translate Muslim hate literature into English are all biased “Islamophobes”, but you aren’t, right?

    No, I’m not a “biased Islamophobe.” And in fact, they all pick & choose what to highlight from Islam to present it in the worst possible light. I could do the same about any particular subject I knew something about including Israel, Judaism. It doesn’t take that much intelligence to be a propagandist. It just takes a certain willingness to divorce oneself fr. inconvenient facts.

    I think our dialogue of the deaf is over for now. After scores of comments you repeat the same hate mantra over & over. I”ve read yr bilge. I’ve responded to you. Time for both of us to move on. Why don’t you try out a lfietime membership at LGF? You’re no longer welcome here for one month. And when you return, if you come back w. the same attitude you’ll receive the same treatment once more.

  17. What a crock of crap… starting with calling Yoffie a “leading rabbi,” and going downhill from there. Calling Yoffie and his ilk a “rabbi” is an insult to every person who has ever merited that title of respect. Calling the Reform movement a branch of Judaism is an insult to evry Jew whio has ever lived. RTeform stopped being Jewish 30 years ago. It is now nothing more than a group of leftists pretending to a theology. As a Jew, Yoffie and his comrades don’t speak for me, they are unspeakable and disgusting!

  18. Yoffie is a “leading rabbi” for millions of Jews throughout the world. The fact that you find him disgusting speaks volumes about the slimy version of pseudo-Judaism you profess & says nothing at all about Reform Judaism or Rabbi Yoffie. No doubt for you the only legitimate rabbi is Meir Kahane and his ilk who minister to the extremist settlers.

  19. Wrong again, fool. Kahane was self destructive, and damaging. The rabbis for whom I reserve respect are the ones who actually revere Judaism and G-d, not the ersatz Michael Lerner trash that you appear to profess. As to Yoffie, no matter how many times you praise him, it won’t change the fact that he is a danger to the very existence of Judaism. As to you: Lenin’s term “useful idiot” is a perfect description.

  20. I’ve decided that Stuart can’t possibly really be Jewish despite the fact that he seems to be from Great Neck (alas, I thought well of the place till I found out Stuart hails from there–my wife grew up there). A real Jew doesn’t hate his fellow Jews even if he disagrees with them. He upholds the principle of clal Yisrael. But of course Stuart satisfies his “conscience” by declaring every Jew he disagrees with as not being Jewish. Then he’s allowed to hate them & wish them evil. Not sure where he gets the rabbinic authority to do that–pretty chutzpadik & arrogant beyond measure if you ask me.

    As for useful idiot–the term has been flung at me so many times as to be meaningless. The only idiot around her is you my friend.

  21. These comments are vituperative in the extreme. Rather than weigh in on the question of how many Muslims want war or want to wipe out Israel, I have a question and a suggestion.

    What do the Muslims have to say about this question? Why are they not posting on this website to tell us what THEY think?

    Tell your Muslim friends about this website. Of course many of the comments will be offensive to them, but maybe one of them would like to say that they and their congregations do NOT hate Israel and do NOT hate Jews. It’s worth a shot. Even if only one chooses to post a comment, at least it would be something. And if none do, well, I guess we can argue about what THAT means.

  22. What is wrong with today’s Jews?
    A perspective of a moderate Muslim.

    When Muslims criticize Jews chances are it’s Islamists. You rarely see moderate (an I do mean real moderate, not Islamists like CAIR who claim to be moderate) Muslims saying unflattering things about the Jews. So, normally, when I see the Jews do dumb things i.e., supporting an Islamist congressional candidate because of partisanship (American Jewish World’s support for Keith Ellison) or providing utilities to a terrorist enclave (Gaza), I try to keep my mouth shut. For obvious reasons. But not this time.

    I thought I’ve seen everything: Cuban missile crisis, fall of Berlin wall, 9/11. Until recently, I thought that the father of modern terrorism getting awarded a Nobel Peace Prize was the most peculiar event in my lifetime. But a recent, largely unnoticed event, could take the cake in peculiarity contest.

    On December 15, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, the president of the Union of Reform Judaism (one of the largest Jewish organizations in America), gave a sermon in San Diego in front 5,000 Jews in which he announced URJ’s alliance with Islamic Society of North America (ISNA – one of the largest Muslim organizations in America).

    As a part of the sermon, Rabbi Yoffie stated that “[ISNA] has issued a strong and unequivocal condemnation of terror, including a specific condemnation of Hizbollah and Hamas terror against Jews and Israelis. It has also recognized Israel as a Jewish state and supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” But has it really?

    Read more: [ed., URL removed per comment rules]

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