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.