Malcolm Hoenlein, pro-Israel ideologue behind the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations has released an alternately soothing and mendacious public statement about the mosque burning at Tuba-Zangariyye, near Safed. It begins with a suitable statement of regret at the act of religious violence. But then tacks on this wholly unnecessary, insulting and ultimately mendacious concluding paragraph:
“Unlike other societies in the region, where such acts are often celebrated, Israelis of all religious backgrounds have stood in solidarity with the community affected by the mosque arson. Israel’s record in protecting the rights of religious freedom for all its citizens is outstanding and we are confident that those responsible will be brought to justice,” said Stone and Hoenlein.
Malcolm Hoenlein is all about the holy-war between Islam and the west (by which he means “Israel”). So he can’t help getting a dig in against the Muslim nations of the Middle East, who supposedly “celebrate” torching of houses of worship. Frankly, I’ve never heard of anyone “celebrating” such violence, though of course there are acts of terror committed in churches and mosques in the region. These acts have nothing to do with Israel or Judaism or even Palestine. So I’m not sure why he introduces the red herring except to get his requisite anti-Muslim insult into the release.
As for “Israelis or all religious background standing in solidarity,” that’s an overstatement. Local Jewish residents have acted in solidarity. Shimon Peres and Bibi Netanyahu have made pro forma statements of regret. But if they truly wanted to “act in solidarity” and ease the rioting in the Israeli Palestinian community, they would’ve contacted the imam of that mosque and made it a point to appear there the first chance they got to actually physically express their solidarity. And they could’ve done so with MK Ahmed Tibi at their sides to really show ALL of Israel, Jews and Muslims, that Israel’s leadership rejected this form of extremist violence. They could’ve exerted pressure on the security forces to find and arrest the culprits, which they didn’t do.
Finally, Israel’s record of protecting the rights of religious freedom for its Muslim citizens is NOT outstanding. Remember that little incident by which Ariel Sharon provoked the Intifada by insisting on visiting the Temple Mount? How did that respect Muslim religious rights? How about the six mosque arson attacks in the recent past, none of which have resulted in any charges against anyone? Protecting religious freedom? How about the fact that Israeli Muslims must get approval in appointing their religious leaders from an Israeli national body including no Muslims? A body which has rejected previous Muslim candidates, but which never rejects Jewish ones? “Religious freedom?” Not so much.
Next time the Conference wants to release a statement about such Israeli violence they might want to stop at expressing regret and resist the urge to stick a not so subtle shiv in the backs of the Muslim world. It’s not a great idea for a Jewish Islamophobe to be writing such statements. It doesn’t make the American Jewish community look good.
Gila Svirsky says
As always, Richard, right on the money.
Christopher Hitchens, before he turned to the dark side, referred to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as “perhaps the most pompously named organization in all of American life” which struck me as accurate.
Richard Silverstein says
Yes pompous for sure, but incredibly awkward & unwieldy as well.
RE: “Unlike other societies in the region…Israel’s record in protecting the rights of religious freedom for all its citizens is outstanding and we are confident that those responsible will be brought to justice,” said Stone and [Malcolm] Hoenlein.
MORE THAN TWO YEARS AND COUNTING; FROM WIKIPEDIA:
SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Tel_Aviv_gay_centre_shooting
And what do gay rights have to do with religious freedom, Dickerson?
The two are separate issues, and the unsolving of a murderous attack in TA has nothing whatsover to do with burning mosques in Tuba or destroying kever yosef in Nablus.
As to this campus nonsense, 1t’s déjà vu all over again, and also once again does Israel through its extrapolations interfere with some of our most fundamental principles. But then perhaps as our de facto patron, Israel and those addicted to its demands have a right to do so.
The Hasbara Buster says
Richard, I think it’s important to note that Israel’s lack of respect for religious freedom doesn’t affect just Muslims, but also all Jews not Orthodox and Christians.
Neither Reform nor Conservative Judaism are recognized as valid streams of the Jewish religion, in spite of their large number of followers elsewhere in the world. Their synagogues and congregations have been physically attacked several times and only last April a Reform synagogue had its windows shattered in Ra’anana (the third such attack in as many years) and Conservative Jews were stoned in Netanya. The Women of the Wall have been repeatedly cursed, punched and detained for questioning for donning a tallit at the Kotel. No one has been charged with these abuses.
With regard to Christians, they are regularly spat upon by Haredim in Jerusalem. Blood libels are frequent — rabbi David Batzri is on record stating “Only in Christianity and in pagan religions is there a concept like that – to pass a child over a fiery oven so he will burn.”
Internecine intolerance among Jews, and hate of Christians, are part of one and the same package, of which the mosque burnings are only the most salient feature.