I’m struck by the fact that India’s Muslim community immediately responded to the Mumbai terror attacks by not only denouncing them, but by refusing the dead terrorists burial in Muslim cemeteries. A Muslim readers informs me that this is far from a pro forma matter. Being refused burial is the equivalent of damning a Muslim’s soul to hell. It is a practice not even done for murderers:
…The city’s Muslims have echoed the wider world’s abhorrence of last week’s brutality. Mumbai’s Muslim Council has ordered that the nine gunmen killed should not be buried in the city. Even before the edict, the Jama Masjid Trust, which runs the Badakabrastan graveyard in the heart of the city had broken with Islamic tradition and refused to receive the bodies. Hanif Nalkhande, a spokesman for the trust, said: “People who committed this heinous crime cannot be called Muslim. Islam does not permit this sort of barbarism.”
Muslims and Jews apparently have a long history of peaceful, even fruitful co-existence in the city.
…Even after the terrible events of last week, Mumbai’s Jews insist that their relationship with India – and with its Muslims – has not changed.
They note how their ties with their city’s Muslim community have historically been strong, the two groups have been drawn together as minorities in a Hindu-dominated land – even by the similarities of their non-vegetarian diets.
“For these reasons, most Bene synagogues in Mumbai are in Muslim areas,” Jonathan Solomon, chairman of the Indian Jewish Federation, said.
Last week, the Israeli government forcibly evicted settlers from a Palestinian building in Hebron, after which the latter perpetrated a pogrom in which a Palestinian family of 20 was almost immolated in their home. B’Tselem also captured video of another settler shooting two unarmed Palestinians in cold blood. Such violence is not a new thing. It has been going on for at least the past few weeks at varying levels of intensity. Not to mention that the settlers have brutally attacked Israeli Jewish police officers and soldiers, even throwing acid in the face of one during the forced eviction of the House of Contention.
Dov Wolpe, most popular Chabad rabbi in Israel is calling for Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni to be hung from the gallows and calls the state of Israel an enemy to the Jewish people. Now, he has the effrontery to announce he will run for Knesset.
What have we heard from the Jewish leadership either here or in Israel? Especially the Orthodox community which spawned these twisted Jews?
Ehud Olmert has denounced the violence, as Alex Stein notes in a comment below. Here at home, the ADL, American Jewish Committee and Jewish pro-peace groups, to their credit, joined in criticizing the vandalism in Hebron.
But there was a marked silence from Aipac, the Zionist Organization of America and Orthodox groups. No apologies. No calls for calm. No reaching out to the Palestinian victims. In fact, Young Israel released this statement:
“Watching Jews forcibly remove their Jewish brothers and sisters from their home and their community was a painful reminder of the Israeli government’s lack of understanding and compassion towards their own. Dragging their fellow Jews through the dirt in an attempt to evict them from their home is a deplorable and despicable act of cowardice.”
I can’t think of a more tone-deaf response. To come down on the side of hooligans and pogromists like these is beyond reprehensible. In fact, if we want to see a religious holy war on the West Bank, statements like this will only encourage it.
One ironic fact to note is Jews who mouth the sad refrain that they’d love to make peace, but where are the moderate Arabs? Why don’t Muslims denounce 9/11? Why haven’t Muslims denounced Mumbai?
Now we know the answer: Muslims DO denounce terror when it comes from within their ranks (though the perpetrators may be sick Muslim souls). Some Jews do not. Why don’t they? Because their leadership is not hearing from their followers that they should. Because unlike India’s Muslims, these Jews don’t see Palestinian victims as worthy of empathy. Because many of Israel’s strongest supporters see Jews as victims, but cannot acknowledge Palestinians as such. Because they are more attuned to a thirst for vengeance than mercy. Woe betide them.