30 thoughts on “Palestinian Canon Naim Ateek: “Worse than Hamas” – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.

  1. Dear Richard,
    CAMERA and the rest of the “no” on peace crowd have been denouncing Naim Ateek for a long, long time.
    The weekend before his Seattle visit I participated in the dedication of a Peace Garden to honor Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It was a ceremony calling for the faiths to learn to live in Peace.
    I am sorry to hear that Rev. Ateek was attacked but I am not surprised.
    Haim Dov Beliak

  2. I really don’t like visiting CAMERA’s site, the amount of BS is just too overwhelming. And that’s just from the homepage.

    I followed your link to their site and noticed they’re now taking issue with Fox News’ report of the weekly Bil’in spearation wall protest. It’s definately worth a read, if only to be mesmerised by the desperation of it. A desperation to portray Israel as a victim. I’ve just sent them this email (article link is included in it):

    I am writing after visiting your website and reading of your corrections to the Fox News’ report of the weekly Bil’in separation wall protest:

    “Peaceful” Stone-Throwers in Bil’in Use Fox News to Accuse Israel of Excessive Force

    I agree that Fox News failed to accurately report the protest. Firstly, the report made no reference to the maiming of American ISM activist (‘extremist’ as you put it) Tristan Anderson who was shot in the head with a tear gas cannister by the IDF, on 13 March 2009, for taking pictures of the weekly Bil’in protest.

    Secondly, the report did not mention that during the 17 April 2009 separation wall protest, in Bil’in, Bassem Ibrahim Abu-Rahma was shot in the chest with a tear gas cannister, by the IDF. The shot killed him.

    I find, in this case, that one can tell how low one has sunk as a human being when one excuses the actions of the IDF in Bil’in, but takes issue, so publicly, with protestors throwing stones.

  3. Camera thinks differently than you portray. (Does an organization “think”?)

    They are enemies of weakness. They consider that if Jews think of Palestinians as human beings rather than as enemies (a dehumanizing process), that in this war, that Jews will be endangered.

    So, the question is ultimately, “is this a war” in which taking sides is the only decision that one can make.

    Or, is this a resolvable conflict in which understanding the other (by all parties) is the means to reconcile?

    The very same question applies to all that take partisan approaches or even partisan solidarity approaches.

    The phrase “tikkun olam” implies the adoption of the “resolvable conflict” approach. I wish Richard was careful to adhere to that, so that those of us that don’t know his commitment to universal humanity that he can deliver on confidently, aren’t confused or misled.

    I spent my Shabbat at the home of some Lubavitch friends. We spoke about politics. They rationalized that it was ok as we questioned events relative to Torah.

    They described that those that are learned in Torah, do NOT hold the view that the state of Israel is the messianic interpretation, that the ONLY significance of the state of Israel is that it protects Jews physically.

    They stated that the borders of the current state of Israel are different than the borders described in Numbers (last week’s parsha). That current Israeli borders EXCEED Torah descriptions in some cases, and are smaller in others. Further, that Torah and all reliable rabbis assert that the Torah described “in-gathering” would NOT happen by force, that that is a fantasy, a self-serving rationalization.

    I was surprised to hear this Lubavitch rabbi state this. It conflicted with what I hear described here, or elsewhere.

    There were MANY issues that we disagreed on. He felt that it was currently impossible to make peace, and that compromise rather than defense in the current setting endangered Israelis.

    I stated that there WERE critical unilateral, bi-lateral, and multi-lateral constructions that could accomplish good and confident relations between Israelis and Jews and Palestinians, that it was our obligation as ethical people, to try, and continue to try.

    I didn’t change his politics. I did convey that peace-seeking individuals were NOT dangerous, that as a result of their work, confident agreements could be constructed, that it was building a house. You don’t build a house well without a design, and you can’t imagine it into construction. It actually needs strong confident foundation, and eventually a roof that confidently keeps out water (protects its inhabitants).

    We should have as high standards for ourselves, as we do for the houses that we live in.

  4. I was surprised to see Rev Ateek accept a two state solution, especially when progressives generally accept that the existence of Israel as a Jewish entity is a war crime. My organization is dedicated to the resettlement of as many Israelis as possible in the Western world and the restoration of Palestine to its true owners, the Palestinian people. As a true progressive, one cannot support the existence of Israel within any bordersm be it todays borders or 1949s borders

  5. Camera, Stand with Us, The David Project and the many rabbis and Jews in the Jewish community who allow themselves to get manipulated into supporting their efforts, are just promoting hatred and prolonging the conflict. As such their efforts are a danger to Israel and to Jews everywhere whose values and self interest lie in a negotiated settlement that will finally provide Israel with real security.

    I know that Israeli colleagues in Rabbis for Human Rights have worked with Naeem Ateek and I look forward to the opportunity to meet him. Thanks to Kadima for inviting him to a Shabbat service. May other American synagogues and temples follow in your example and help promote understanding, compassion and peace, rather than fomenting hatred.

  6. I see no problem in recognizing Israel as a state. But a Jewish state?
    What’s that all about?

    Obama has not choice but to oppose any attempts to promote a religious state.
    Blacks fought long and hard so they could sit at the front of the bus and eat in “whites only” lunch counters, It would be hypocritical to turn around and support the efforts to ethnically purify Israel

    Israels attempt to create a Jewish state sounds no different than the Chinese attempts to populate remote areas of their country with Han ethnic people to the exclusion of ethnic minorities. or the southern whites with their “whites only” policy

    In Arab countries like Saudi Arabia being a Muslim nation has led to a marginalization of people of other religions and bans on religious freedoms

    The United States should always stick up for religious and ethnic equality. It should not support an Israeli government whose goals are to seek advantages for particular race or religion .

  7. Interesting piece.

    I think you’ve made the point rather clearly.

    By your piece alone (I have not read anything else about him obviously), Naim is not an ‘enemy’, but perhaps someone who we should be aiming to highlight. Obviously, some will say ‘I’m only doing it for my own goals’, but surely if ‘my goals’ are attained, so are his and Shalom Al Yisrael (& Falestin)

  8. Richard,

    I agree with you 99% of the time and I really like your website. But you are too critical of Gershom Gorenberg. To dismiss his article on the need for more Palestinian nonviolent resistance as “meretricious nonsense” is wrong. One can argue that he overlooked some key points in his article, but his writings are never “meretricious nonsense.”

    Henry Munson

    1. I didn’t say his “writings” were meretricious nonsense. I said this particular Weekly Standard piece he wrote was that. If you’d read the article and my own critique you’d understand the pt I am trying to make. To complain that the main reason there is not Israeli-Palestinian peace is that there is no Palestinian Gandhi is not only factually wrong (there are a number of prominent Palestinian advocates of non-violence) but it is meretricious nonsense because it places the lion’s share of blame where it doesn’t belong–on the failures of the Palestinians. While Gorenberg acknowledges Israeli failures of leadership, clearly in this piece he blames the Palestinians far more than the Israelis. And this is an impermissible & simply wrong assertion.

  9. Continued US support for Israel in the end will depend upon recognition of inherent equal rights. A commentary in my local US newpaper, regarding the need for immigration reform, states something we learn in grammar school: “When rights are denied to some, the rule of law is undermined for all.”

    Equality for all regardless of race or religion does not mean “…the elimination of Israel” or ” “injustice to millions of innocent people who know no home except Israel.” It means what it says: recognition of equality under the law.

  10. I was hoping that Ateek’s visit to Seattle might help stimulate the creation of an ecumenical council in opposition to the Occupation. Such councils were created to support the civil rights movement and ending the Vietnam War. Why not for ending the Israeli Occupation and recognizing the right of Palestinians to self-determination? Isn’t it time for the Christian and Jewish communities in Seattle to start reaching out to the growing Muslim community here? That kind of unity would send a strong message that nonviolent change is possible.

  11. Richard:

    A few questions

    Who said this to Rev. Dr. Ateek? Does the “CAMERA represenative” have a name?

    When did this conversation take place?

    Where did this conversation take place?

    And whom did you speak with at CAMERA to confirm the accuracy of Rev. Dr. Ateek’s quote?

    In short, Richard, what’s your evidence?

        1. So you’ve just conceded as a representative of CAMERA that Ateek is, in your and CAMERA’s view, “more dangerous than Hamas.”

          If you’ve got evidence indicating otherwise, I’d sure like to see it.

          I bet you’d just love to get into a little altercation here wouldn’t you? Sorry to disappoint, but I make it a point never to interact with those who are willing to lie, distort, scheme and smear in furtherance of their goals. And why would I want to present evidence to you? Like you’d pay close attention to it or engage in good faith with it? All you would do is use it in some scummy way to further yr attacks on Ateek. So I’m afraid you’ll have to go elsewhere if you’re looking for a fight.

          And perhaps you’d like to tell our audience what role if any you played in the attacks on Ateek here in Seattle? What type of relationship do you have with the Stand With Us folks here?

  12. Richard, you asked if I deny that CAMERA thinks that Ateek is “more dangerous than Hamas.” And I wrote, Yes, I do, meaning I do deny that CAMERA thinks that Ateek is more dangerous than Hamas. Rev. Dr. Ateek hasn’t killed anyone, while Hamas has killed hundreds of Israelis and a fair number of Palestinians.

    As far as any role CAMERA played in the attacks on Sabeel here in Seattle, I had no idea he was appearing in Seattle until this morning. Whatever Stand With Us did, they did on their own.

    If you weren’t going to answer my question, then why did you suggest you were going to when you asked me the question you did?

    I’ve answered your questions.

    1. OK, now I understand. During the talk Ateek gave I asked him why CAMERA hated him as much as it does. He replied by way of example saying that one of his major opponents told him he was “worse than CAMERA.” I assumed he meant someone fr. your group. As I had to leave the event before its conclusion in order to attend a child’s birthday party, I didn’t get a chance to pin down who specifically made the charge. I didn’t realize there were other right wing Jewish who hate him as much as you.

      I’m going to try to pin down by contacting him, precisely which person & group he was referring to. If I was wrong & it’s not CAMERA then I’ll correct my statement & let you know.

  13. You asked another question about my relationship with SWU in Seattle.

    I have not been in contact with SWU in Seattle, or anyone from SWU for a few months. This is not the result of a schism, but merely because there hasn’t been any need to work with SWU. I have worked with SWU in the past (not in Seattle, however) and probably will again.

    I work with a lot of people on an ad hoc basis.

  14. Richard,

    Let’s try it without typos.

    So you were wrong to state that CAMERA had anything to do with the Federation letter to Kadima expressing surprise and disappointment that Kadima would invite Ateek to speak there when he had many other locations at which he was already speaking. And you were wrong when you state that StandWithUs, David Brumer or I wrote any part of the Federation letter. And you were wrong when you claimed that StandWithUs forced Federation to write the letter.

    Will you openly and without qualification state that you made these numerous claims both on your blog and on KUOW without any factual basis for making the claim and without first trying to verify these assertions before making them?

    And if you are so ready to make unjustified and incorrect assertions about something like this, why shouldn’t your readers believe you make similar unjustified and incorrect assertions throughout your website?

    In the past, you’ve stated that Israel has one of the highest incidence of rape in the world. When someone challenged you on this, you stated that it was common knowledge that Israel treated women terribly. When your challenger contested that statement, asking for facts, you argued that the issue was too important to quibble about. When your challenger told that you were right, the issue was important, and that, therefore, you owed your readers some demonstrable facts to to back up your personal beliefs, you stopped posting the challenger’s postings and told him he was violating the rules of your blog.

    You are too quick to make unfounded assertions, both about small issues like the Federation letter and large issues like Israel’s treatment of women, rape in Israel, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    You might have more credibility if you relied on facts rather than hearsay, personal beliefs, second-hand sources, and repetitions of other like-minded critics of Israel.

    1. The problem is that the federation is being opaque about the ltr. So I’ll make you a deal. If you or the federation come clean and make the ltr public & clarify publicly (or even privately to me) how the ltr. originated & I turn out to be wrong, then I’ll acknowledge that. But considering that neither the fed. nor Kadima is willing to relese the ltr. publicly nor speak about its origins, I’m afraid you’re out of luck.

      But you have mischaracterized as well the contents of the ltr. As quoted in the JTNews story this week, it does not express mere “surprise and disappointment” about Ateek’s speaking here in Seattle. It lies and smears his public record. And again, if you want to debate about this, release the ltr. so Seattle’s Jewish community can know what it said.

      Considering both your (I-97), SWU’s & CAMERA’s endorsement of lies in your attempts to smear anti-Occupation forces, I can’t take your or CAMERA’s word for anything you say or do regarding the ltr. or anything else.

      I told you privately that a source indicated to me that the federation was not the motivating force in generating this ltr. & that this came from another party. Now, if you’re attempting to set up a case of libel or defamation, get in line & I’ll let you know where to file papers.

      I think it’s pathetic that Adam Grossman, the spouse of my synagogue rabbi, is now in cahoots with you.

      But again you’re lied about what I said. The United Nations (not me) says that Israel has the fourth highest rate of reported rapes in the world. Adam attempted rather feebly to argue that this statistic was meaningless, which in effect demeaned the suffering of all Israeli rape victims. And if you want to join in be my guest. But I would think this is a lose-lose proposition.

      I also didn’t say that “Israel” treated women terribly.” I said that the conditions women face in Israeli society are oppressive. I stated that when I last lived in Israel a law prohibited them fr. working at night. I stated that the Israeli president is on trial for rape. I didn’t state, but should have, that a former senior minister in two governments was convicted and jailed for indecent assault. I know you can’t be bothered to understand nuance. But there is a difference.

      When Adam asked for facts, I pointed him to an Israeli Rape Crisis NGO which stated 1 in 3 Israeli women will be sexually asssaulted in their lifetimes. I stated that this was a terrible statistic that Israel should not be proud. It’s not my problem if this doesn’t satisfy Adam & that he wants further proof. Nor is it my job to do research for him. If he disagrees let him find credible evidence that the rate of rape is different than what this website claims.

      I told Adam that he was saying the same thing over and over again & if he continued his comments would be moderated. When he continued posting the same verbiage I told him he would be banned and he was.

      And I warn you that if you make any more claims about what I have written that are sloppy calumnies, lies, or smears your own comments will be moderated. You are allowed to criticize & attack my views, but only with the truth, what I have actually written.

      You might have more credibility

      I’m not looking for a “credibility” heksher from you, God help me if I was. My credibility is something that others whose opinion I respect far more recognize. Speaking of credibility, you’d have a lot more if you made that ltr. public as I’ve requested of you privately.

    1. Don’t you know what you’re dealing with here? You’re dealing with someone who will fight your hate & smears tooth and nail.

      By the way, does this bother you? I didn’t write it:

      …Ateek said he couldn’t fathom why groups such as the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America would pressure organizations to refrain from hosting him and call him “worse than Hamas.”

  15. Richard, let me see if I get this right. You can misrepresent what I do publicly. You can misrepresent what David Brumer does publicly. You can misrepresent what role CAMERA played in the development of the Federation letter. That’s okay to do.

    But if I want to clear my name when you make unfounded allegations, it’s up to me to clear my name and do your research for you?

    You tell me to do my own research, but I also have to do yours? Have you no obligation to do anything to verify what you write on your site? You can just make up what you think happened and then the people you misrepresent have to clear their names.

    Good thing the American justice system is set up exactly the opposite way. But it is good to know you support totalitarian justice processes – guilty until proven innocent.

    Wrong on CAMERA’s role. Wrong on my role. Wrong on David Brumer’s role. Wrong on the Federation letter. Wrong on the intent of the letter. Just plain wrong. And you show no concern that your facts are not facts.

    It’s no surprise you are wrong on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  16. You mean that the fact that you enthusiastically endorsed a ltr full of lies but may not have actually written or spearheaded the effort is a “misrepresentation?” Such a crime committed against yr good name.

    I’d still like to hear you or federation release the ltr. & tell us more about its genesis. If you want me to confess guilt in this major conspiracy against you you should be able to arrange this.

    You tell me to do my own research, but I also have to do yours? You can just make up what you think happened

    Unlike you, I made concerted efforts to find out what I could about the ltr. I spoke to an anonymous source and wrote to Rabbi Weiner, Kadima and you. But oddly enough, no one was willing to reveal anything about the affair.

    As opposed to you who lied about what I wrote about rape in Israel because he couldn’t be bothered to do a 15 second Google search of my site to discover the post & quote my views properly.

    Once again, I didn’t “make up” what happened but used an inference based on information passed on to me by my source.

    good to know you support totalitarian justice processes

    More lies, keep it up Rob. My readers love to see leaders of the hasbara community engaging in histrionics.

    Wrong on CAMERA’s role

    You’re only trying to distract attention fr. the heinousness of the ltr. The fact that the Jewish Council for Public Affairs was largely responsible for it (according to JTNews) and not CAMERA isn’t terribly material. Dexter Van Zile would’ve been delighted to author that ltr. if he could have. If he’d known of Ateek’s tour he probably would have. But once again, we only have yr & CAMERA’s denials and neither of you have good track records for crediblity, which is yet another reason for you to ask Federation to release the ltr.& the story of its origins.

    Wrong on the Federation letter.

    Not at all. I nailed the federation ltr. (at least what little bits of it you cowards have been willing to share with JTNews) in my most recent post. Read it & you’ll prob. start squirming again.

    As for being wrong on the intent of the Federation ltr., you’re dreaming yet again. The intent was to smear Ateek and inform Kadima that it had violated the norms of discourse in the Seattle Jewish community. Both of which were lame, inappropriate goals.

    It’s no surprise you are wrong on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Wrong? Rob, you & SWU are wrong on so many things I couldn’t begin to count them. But when there’s finally a peace agreement that reflects the broad parameters of my views (& is diametrically opposed to your own & SWU’s) then we’ll know who was right & who was wrong. And that wont’ be me.

    you show no concern that your facts are not facts.

    After trashing Ateek and me and getting our positions wrong in myriad ways, you have the unmitigated chutzpah to talk about “concern for facts.” That’s rich!

  17. Don’t want to enter the tit for tat foray, but less concerned about the overly-generous parsing of Atik’s supposed (but not actual) support for a 2 State solution, and more concerned about his perverting of Christian theology to demonize Israelis, and by extension, the Jewish people. If you cannot see this for what it is beyond your uncritical support for all Israel critics, than you are not looking hard enough.

    1. Rabbi Weiner: The problem with your comment is that it merely makes claims but doesn’t support them with any sources or quotations. I’d be interested to see real evidence as opposed to claims. If you have any pls. bring them forward. Yr. claim also that Ateek (notice the correct spelling of his name) “demonizes the Jewish people” is flat out false and again I’d like to see what, if any evidence you have to support this claim.

      I have spent over 40 years of my life looking quite hard at every aspect of the Israeli Arab conflict I assure you. Perhaps it is you who isn’t examining the “evidence” hard enough on which your claims are based.

      I’d also like to see any explanation you might have for why you were one of only 12 local Jewish leaders who agreed to sign the federation ltr telling Kadima it was being an irresponsible Jewish organization for hosting Naim Ateek.

      For someone who is interested in Arab Jewish dialogue, it seems yr position at least in this instance is quite hostile to this laudable goal.

  18. I happened across this after hearing Marc Braverman (“Fatal Embrace”) speak to St Paul and St Andrew’s United Methodist Church, NYC, on the moral responsibility of the rest of us to defend the West Bank from being obliterated by the Israeli settlement/wall/restricted road movement.

    Braverman’s description fits exactly with what I saw in Israel and in Beit Sahour in May, 2010: the network of Jewish-only settlements connected by special roads and compounded by The Wall strangles normal life in the occupied West Bank territory. I saw the Har Homa settlement on its hill above Beit Sahour, built on Beit Sahour land. I saw the Wall that splits Beit Sahour olive groves so that farmworkers cannot work half their land.

    I saw the signs for a new settlement, called something like “Shdema” that, if built, will isolate Set Sahour from the rest of the world.

    I remembered talking with Palestinian Christians who own a deli in my town in New Jersey: “We could not make a living in Jaffa, so we left”.

    Every scrap of evidence indicates that Israel intends to drive out the remaining Palestinians.

    Yes, it was delightful in Israel…except that something reminded me of the segregated South where I grew up. It’s easy to spot the disadain, and to sense the discrimination underneath. Apartheid? If you don’t see its outlines, then you probably have your eyes closed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link