92 thoughts on “Why “Reform” Islam? – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. You made a major logical mistake here, Richard.
    Nobody is talking about reforming the militants beliefs, who are beyond reform, or honest and peaceful Muslims.. We’re talking about the roughly 10% of the world’s Muslims who support ISIS, even if they’re not militants themselves.
    That’s 160 million supporters world-wide, Richard.
    They are the well from which the militants draw, and from whom they get financial and moral support.
    And some serious Muslim soul-searching is needed. Even Obama said so.

    In any case, with religion, you cannot separate the practice from the pure religion. The religion is made up of people and how they interpret it and practice it. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

    As for Baruch Goldstein, I challenge you to find more than a few dozen Jews on earth who support what he did.

    1. Love your logic!
      YOU decide what percent of Muslims have “militant beliefs” (what exactly, are those?), then YOU translate the percentage into numbers and then YOU create a huge collective persona for all the Muslims supposedly representing YOUR statistics and Voila! we have an incredibly dangerous “enemy” from whom there is no escape…unless we start thinking of another “Final Solution” of course!

      Using your own logic, would it presumptuous to extrapolate Israeli Jews’ behavior into ALL Jews and demand reform and “serious thinking” from ALL Jews too?

      “A few dozen Jews”??!! As far as I understand Goldstein is revered in a number of places in Israel and there is one area (can’t recall the name) where he is practically given the rank of a saint. Kahane of the Kach is another Goldstein who is lionized in Israel. So are Sharon, Begin and many other mass-murderers in Israel’s history. How is that different from people thinking Ben Laden was a hero?

    2. @ Yehuda:

      We’re talking about the roughly 10% of the world’s Muslims who support ISIS

      The headline of the article which supposedly proves ISIS’ huge popularity is “Nations with Siginificant Muslim Populations Disdain ISIS.” So much for that source. Care to try again?

      Regarding support for ISIS, it is a fringe of a fringe. Not even really Muslim by almost every standard of normative Islam. Those mythical 160-million Muslims aren’t going to engage in any of the disgusting acts which ISIS gangs engage in. They have opinions. Reprehensible opinions perhaps. But there are tens of millions of Americans with reprehensible opinions. They don’t topple the Republic. I’m not worried.

      BTW, I’d say at least 10% of all Jews in the world support the most radical settlers. So what? Does this mean that Judaism contains a cancer within?

      As for financial support, ISIS doesn’t need it. It has oil reserves from which it derives its revenue.

      As for Baruch Goldstein, you are again wrong. There are tens of thousands who consider him a hero. TENS OF THOUSANDS! Not to mention the hundreds of thousands who hold similar views, though perhaps not quite as homicidal.

      1. @Richard:

        1. Did you even bother opening the link ? The poll, from a respected organization, speaks for itself. BTW, that same organization conducted another poll in 2013, with equally disturbing findings. No Islamophobia here.

        2. Do you have evidence that 10% of Jews in the world support violent “radical settlers”? If so, we have a problem, Houston. There’s a huge difference between a fringe group, with virtually no support among the population, and a large minority willing to support or sanction violence. If you deny this distinction, you are burying your head in the sand.

        @Elizabeth: What is your point? What does those incidents prove? That people do bad things??

        1. @Yehuda: You are only just now discovering that we have a problem? I have no doubt that 10% of the Jews of the world support radical settlers including the use of violence against Palestinians. I’m shocked that you don’t believe this as well. Perhaps you’re not out and about in the Jewish community and abreast of what’s published in the Jewish and Israeli press on the subject. Posters who who organize polls on this general subject do not generally try to detect such extreme views among Jews. They are usually satisfied to poll on more moderate issues. But if they were to try to determine whether Jews held such extreme views, I have no doubt that they would find them. The fact that these pollsters do not ask these questions indicates they don’t want to learn the results. However, Israeli polls on the general subject of violence, democracy, human rights within Israel find that Israelis hold highly inflammatory, highly racist views on this general subject. I wish that they would ask questions about whether Israelis view the use of violence as acceptable, but they do not.

          As for telling Houston that you have a problem, I suggest that’s the wrong place to turn. To address this issue you ought to turn to Jerusalem, better yet, the Prime Minister’s residence.

          1. @Richard: I suggest you read about various cognitive biases, including publication and confirmation biases. What makes the news? What gets published? What do we hear about? Things that are notable, exceptional, outlandish, sensational. Things that or normal, peaceful, or positive don’t make the news. Steve Pinker and others write a lot about this. For example

            So you can’t calculate proportions or get a sense of the magnitude of a problem from news stories or from being “out and about” in the Jewish community.

          2. @ Yehuda: I have written about many normal, peaceful, positive things in this blog, including a few about Israel. But you wouldn’t know that because your own “confirmation bias” tells you that I adhere to a set of your pre-conceived notions about me.

            Believe me, if there were more things that were positive, constructive, important & compelling to write about Israel, I would. But that will have to wait till it gets its shit together.

            I certainly can “calculate proportions & get a good sense of the magnitude of the problems” there by doing what I do to keep abreast of developments in Israel every minute of every day. And you have idea of the half of how I do that.

          3. BTW, this applies to terrorism as well. It is a minuscule actual statistical threat to life. It gets disproportionate publicity and news coverage, which serves the terrorists interests. It also serves the interests of the security establishment who are always fighting for increasing their budgets.

            Because terrorism shakes citizens confidence in their government’s ability to protect them, it makes governments react in ways that serve the terrorists goals – increasing recruitment, changing citizen’s lifestyle because of an obsession about security, inflaming low intensity conflicts, etc) . (Look at what it is making Russia do in Syria. I am sure it will backfire)

            Your explanation about why the subject of Jewish extremism isn’t polled doesn’t cut it, it strikes me as conspiratorial to say that the polling organizations don’t want to find out or publicize such information.

          4. @ yehuda: So you mean the Jewish/Israeli pollsters, who’ve already documented how much racism there is among Israelis in their previous polls, don’t include questions about how many Israelis support violence against Palestinians because they think it’s just a boring uninteresting question?

        2. Yehuda. This exchange is fascinating for what it reveals about you!
          When it comes to judging Islam and Muslims, you freely quote news and media, yet when it comes to taking a closer look at Jews, especially Israeli Jews, you dismiss the very same news by saying: “…So you can’t calculate proportions or get a sense of the magnitude of a problem from news stories…”.
          A case of “Pale face speak with forked tongue”?

  2. “How many Muslims are there in the world? 1.6-billion. That works out to .000625%”

    Than why hasn’t that massive silent majority of Muslims squished ISIS like a bug?


    1. @ Ms. Phlegm: When you and the 80% of Jews who supposedly detest Kahanism squish it like a bug then you can complain to me about what Muslims should be doing. Till then, you’d best worry about keeping your own house in order.

      1. @Richard

        I didn’t complain to you about what should be done. I asked WHY the 1.5 billion Muslims haven’t stopped ISIS. Why is France, Russia and the United States attacking ISIS while the rest of the Muslim world, save the Kurds, sits idle? We know that Muslim foreign fighters from all over the world have joined ISIS, but how many Muslim foreign fighters have taken up arms against ISIS? Not so many. Why?

        Why do you make fun of my name and why do you allow Oui to call me dumb and pathetic? I feel like I’m back in grade school. Why?

      2. Meir Kahane’s ‘Kach’ Party has been outlawed in Israel for close to thirty years.
        Meir Kahane’s grandson, along with suspected arsonists, is locked up in jail under administrative detention.

        1. @ Mrs. Phlegmstein: Oh Ida, Ida. Spouting hasbara nonsense again. It doesn’t matter whether Kach is outlawed. Kahane’s views are the heart of virtually every right wing party in the country. Israel’s current & future leaders fall all over themselves to spout slogans that would make Kahane proud. Kahane’s ghost runs the country.

          As for Kahane’s grandson, you & I both know that not only will he be released, he won’t even be charged for his crimes. The new mantra Shabak uses to explain why it refuses to bring charges against Jewish terrorists is that it would blow the cover off their undercover agents.

          Please don’t bother blowin’ smoke up our…

    2. Ida: ” Than why hasn’t that massive silent majority of Muslims squished ISIS like a bug?”

      I guess that’d be for much the same reason why 1.6billion Muslims haven’t squished Zionism like a bug.

      For one reason: the very vast majority of them are nowhere near Zionism-Squishing-Reach(tm).
      For another reason: the very vast majority of those who do happen to find themselves within Z-S-R(tm) are not the least bit interested in doing anything other than living their lives as they wish to live it.

      Funny that: you’d almost think they were human beings/

      You know, guys and gals and kiddies with human feelings and human wants and needs, rather than being simply “Those Others” who obsess about “squishing” people.

          1. @Arie

            I just got accused of ‘fomenting genocide’ on account of having said, ‘squish like a bug’.
            So yeah, I must be clueless.

          2. So let my try the shorter version for you, Ida.

            Here are 1.6 billion people who want nothing more than to be left alone. In amongst them you will see a small – a verrrrry small – cadre of violent extremisms.

            Queue the question:
            Q: Why haven’t those billions squished that Very Small Cadre?
            A: Because those billions aren’t interested is “squishing” anybody, anywhere, at any time.

            They just want to…. be left alone to live their lives.

            And if you think about it (you, obviously, haven’t) that will have this corollary: they will leave everyone else alone too.

            That’s an incomprehensible concept to you, is it?

          3. Yeah, Right

            “They just want to…. be left alone to live their lives.”

            No doubt, that’s what the Weimer era Germans were feeling. But the Nazis had other plans.

            And in short order, the apathetic Austrians, and the complacent Czechs and Slovaks and the unsuspecting Poles, all learned what plans the Nazis had in store for them too.

          4. @ Ms. Phlegmstein:

            No doubt, that’s what the Weimer era Germans were feeling. But the Nazis had other plans.

            Are you equating 1.6 billion Muslims with Nazi era Germans & saying that ISIS is going to take over Islam as Nazism took over Germany????! You’re not really going to make such an absolutely idiotic, offensive, Islamophobic comment as that, are you?? Really.

            You, maam, are on a very short leash after that utter stupidity.

          5. Do you like moving the goalposts much, Ida?

            You started by asking this question:
            Ida: “Than why hasn’t that massive silent majority of Muslims squished ISIS like a bug?”

            The correct answer to THAT question is this: A silent-majority doesn’t go around “squishing” anyone.

            After all, if they did then they’d wouldn’t be “silent”, would they.

            To which you replied with….
            Ida: “No doubt, that’s what the Weimer era Germans were feeling. But the Nazis had other plans.”

            And THAT is an example of moving the goalposts.

            You didn’t ask anyone what the Nasty-Few-Extremists have planned.
            You asked a completely different questions: why doesn’t the Silent-Majority squish the Nasty-Few-Extremists like bugs.

            And the answer to THAT question is still the same: a silent-majority doesn’t go around “squishing” anyone.

            Care to try again?

          6. @Richard

            “Are you equating 1.6 billion Muslims with Nazi era Germans & saying that ISIS is going to take over Islam as Nazism took over Germany????!”

            ISIS seeks to dissolve the Muslim’s secular governments and States and replace them all with a single Caliphate, The Islamic State.

            The Nazis burned down the Reichstag, dissolving Germany’s parliamentary democracy and forming in it’s stead, The Third Reich.

          7. @Ida: History not yr strong suit I see. The Nazis probably didn’t burn down the Reichstag. But they certainly took advantage of the fire to make political gains. The Nazis, unlike ISIS, came to power in a democratic election in which they won a plurality of the vote. Afterward, they renounced democracy. But until then they participated in a democratic system. So yr analogy is totally baseless.

            Stop while you’rebehond dear. Yr next offensive analogy between Muslims & Nazis will cause you to be moderated.

        1. Ida: “And in short order, the apathetic Austrians, and the complacent Czechs and Slovaks and the unsuspecting Poles, all learned what plans the Nazis had in store for them too.”

          I’m going to try to explain a few simple concepts, Ida, though I hold very little hope that they will sink in.

          You appear to be under the misapprehension that when The-Nasty-Few-Extremists start acting up then it is the responsibility of the Silent-Majority to squish ’em like bugs.

          No, it doesn’t work that way, and if it did then the result would be…. mob-rule, pogroms, anarchy, or much, much worse.

          Instead there is a concept that has been around for a while now called “The Social Contract”, and one of the things that it posits is that We The People hand over a monopoly on the use of violence to The State, and in return The State protects us from The-Nasty-Few-Extremists.

          So, if you ask why the “German people” didn’t squish the Nazis then the correct answer is this: that wasn’t their job.

          That job rested with the Weimar Republic, whose institutions failed the German people so catastrophically that the Nazis managed to seize control of those same institutions and begat The Third Reich.

          Which is all a long-winded way of getting back to the topic: is it the job of the Silent-Majority of Muslims to squish ISIS like a bug?

          Answer: No, it isn’t.

          That is a job for the institutions of state in places like Syria. And in Iraq. And in Libya.

          Which rather suggests that another good question to ask is this: What The F**k Did The USA Think Would Happen When It Went Around Smashing Up Places Like Iraq And Libya And Syria?

          All that stompin’ ’round resulted in a heap o’ failed states, and once a state fails then The Social Contract fails with it.

          And when that happens then there goes any hope that The-Nasty-Few-Extremists can be “squished”.

          If “the West” wants to see Radical Extremist Jihadist Islam “squished” then it should stop all this nonsense about wanting to “reform Islam” and instead work out what it was that enabled those radicals to gain their current footholds.

          And the answer isn’t a pretty one: it was The West that empowered those radical jihadists, and it did so when it decided that it was A Really Smart Idea to smash down to bedrock states like…. Iraq, and Libya, and now Syria.

          Good one, Dubya.
          Brilliant plan, Obama.
          Smart idea, Hillary.
          Works for you, does it, Hollande?

          1. “Instead there is a concept that has been around for a while now called “The Social Contract””

            In the run up to the 2nd Gulf War, many ordinary citizens descended on Washington, or called their Congressmen, with the message, “No war in Iraq!” Similar protest were made all over the world.
            I don’t see a similar message of protest against ISIS being delivered to the government’s of Muslim States.
            Do you?

          2. Ida: “In the run up to the 2nd Gulf War, many ordinary citizens descended on Washington, or called their Congressmen, with the message, “No war in Iraq!” Similar protest were made all over the world.”

            Yes, Ida, and that was because it was AMERICA that was planning to attack Iraq, not vice versa. So those protests made since, precisely because they were being addressed to the belligerent party.

            Ida: “I don’t see a similar message of protest against ISIS being delivered to the government’s of Muslim States.”

            That would be because there is not much point “sending a protest message” regarding the belligerent plans of ISIS to the very governments that ISIS insists on attacking.

            Dare I suggest that you appear to be hopelessly confused between:
            a) Who is the attacker, versus
            b) Who is under attack.

            Indeed, it would be akin in your original analogy to the citizens of the USA sending a message of protest to Saddam Hussein in 2003 that read “No War in Iraq!”.

            That would have been pointless, since he wasn’t looking to start that war.

            Ida: “Do you?”

            Not really, because I really have no idea why you think that the citizens of states would petition their governments demanding that ISIS drop all aggressive plans and start acting like a bunch of Quaker Hippies.

            The correct response to such a protest: Why on Earth are you addressing this to me?

          3. Yes, Cameron, you keep on drinking that KoolAid.

            Supposed to taste good, or so I’m told, but it does terrible things to your powers of critical thinking.

  3. So extreme dumb it’s pathetic .. don’t insult the intelligence of the average reader here @TikunOlam. Terror has been part of mankind, it’s been part of most states founded on democracy. It’s policy of so-called leaders who support Islamophobia to incite hatred and build on the phony NGOs propagating hatred in the US, Western Europe and Israel. Clash of civilizations my a$$.

    1. @Oui

      “So extreme dumb it’s pathetic”

      Well, you’ll have to dumb it down a little further because I didn’t understand a word you said.

        1. @Oui

          “I’m a bit sensitive to such posts.”

          Because you’re sensitive, you have to publicly ridicule me?

          Wow. Interesting.

          On top of being extremely dumb, I guess I can’t be as sensitive as you either.

          1. Ida. I have come to the conclusion (long time ago) that people who are determined to bash Islam and Muslims, will continue to do so in spite of any evidence presented to the contrary.
            People like you and Yehuda are so determined to spread the belief that Muslims are synonymous with ISIS in their lines of thinking, that nothing will change your minds. It would be better if you simply state that you hate Islam and Muslims, don’t try to justify it and leave it at that. instead, you wish to show how rational your beliefs are so you try to justify them, hoping your audience is gullible.
            Look around, read the aggressions of ISIS, see where they have committed acts of violence.
            Count the dead bodies and the destruction.
            Now tell me that their biggest victims BY FAR, are not Muslims.
            Now try to convince me why Mulsims should be supporting the very armies of evil that kill them and their loved ones.

            Oui may have a point…

          2. @Jaffar

            ” It would be better if you simply state that you hate Islam and Muslims”
            I hate neither Islam nor Muslims. In fact, one of the finest people I’ve ever met was a Muslim, from Pakistan, of all places.

            “Now tell me that their biggest victims BY FAR, are not Muslims.”
            That’s true. Which begs the question why aren’t more Muslims defending their brothers from ISIS.

            “Now try to convince me why Mulsims should be supporting the very armies of evil that kill them and their loved ones.”

            I never said anything about ‘supporting’ ISIS. I merely asked a simple question; and I’ll ask another question. Why has Turkey turned a blind eye to ISIS traffic and commerce on Turkey’s border with Syria. Why has Saudi Arabia bugged (can I say bugged?) out of Syria and gone and attacked Houtis in Yemen?

          3. One of the finest according to granny Phlegmstein, and from Pakistan ‘of all places’…
            Was it Zia ul Haq by any chance?

      1. Maybe you Ms Flemstein should really go back to the grade school. Demanding Muslims to fight against extreme Muslims and not Jews against extreme Jews is pathetic and idiotic. The Kurds (most of them), Shias, Syrian Sunnis etc fighting ISIS are MUSLIMS so claiming that Muslims do fight against extreme Muslims of ISIS is absurd. Bombing from 10,000 meters height is not real fighting, when the opponent has no means to defend. Those aiding and arming extreme Sunnis have been in many cases Israeli Jews and Americans, besides Gulf Sunnis. You really should educate yourself. By the way we do not see any Jews in arms defending the women and children of Gaza against bloodthirsty Jewish armies. Where are they?

      2. Ida your line of questions seem to imply that Muslims are responsible for the growth of ISIS and it is their predisposition that is reflected in ISIS otherwise, why would ISIS exist?

        Using your own logic, one is tempted to ask why the good Israelis don’t “squish the nasty Israelis like bugs” so Israel can at last, be a democracy that cares for ALL of its people, the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims. So that Israel can stop siezing Palestinian properties under various invented pretexts in order to get an ethnically-cleansed state for Jews, by Jews and of Jews.

        It is very convenient to lay blame on an entire people and thus ,justify your own prejudices (from Pakistan, of all places”), it is much harder to seek an understanding of the problems. Nice of you to put Turkey on the spot, now how about putting Israel on the spot for assisting and working with Al-Nusra?

        1. @Jaffar

          “Ida your line of questions seem to imply that Muslims are responsible for the growth of ISIS”

          My ‘line of questions’ arose from Richard’s numerically overwhelming statistics, which showed how tiny ISIS was in comparison with the entire Islamic community. My second line of questions mentions, narrows my focus from all Muslims, to the Kurds, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, both two States.

          “Using your own logic, one is tempted to ask why the good Israelis don’t “squish the nasty Israelis”

          This is a distraction. Neither my alleged prejudices, nor Israel’s deficiencies have the slightest thing to do with answering my original question.

          “So that Israel can stop siezing Palestinian properties under various invented pretexts in order to get an ethnically-cleansed state for Jews, by Jews and of Jews.”

          Compound distraction.

          “Nice of you to put Turkey on the spot, now how about putting Israel on the spot for assisting and working with Al-Nusra?”

          Jews. Israel. Israel. Israel. Jews.

          Now. How about trying to tackle my original question, which was, ” Than why hasn’t that massive silent majority of Muslims s@#$%^ed ISIS like a bug?”

          1. @ Mrs. Phleghm: You have a lot of friggin’ nerve to tell Muslims what they should or shouldn’t do. As Jaffar said, when you get Israel to squish settlements & terrorists like a bug & remove the malignancy of hate & racism, then you can ask that question.

            I consider your repetition of this insulting question to be trolling. Ask a question once. If no one answers, do NOT ask it again.

  4. Richard, since we’re playing percent games, may I ask: What percent of the world’s Jews are radical-settlers or their supporters? What percent of Israeli Jews? What is it that draws some Jews from USA to go to the West Bank and carry (and use) guns against defenseless Palestinians to (in my view) steal their lands? Do these folks misinterpret Torah (or other historical Jewish religious documents), or do they follow “normative” (what’s that?) Judaism? And does it matter? Are the settlers behaving “as Jews” or meremy “as criminals” or “as terrorists”?

    Are ISIS et al. “Islamic”? I think not. No more than American anti-abortionists are “Christian”.

    I watch the USA (and UK and France at times) rolling militarily like a steam-roller all over Muslims (in Phillipines, mostly in Middle-East) and a hopelessness settling over vast numbers of Muslim people and I see a few of them (and a lot of impressionable youth, including some from and citizens within poverty-stricken parts within EU) reacting (acting out) in anger and to counteract hopelessness and powerlessness, and that anger being led and chanelled by people telling them that such acting out benefits Islam. And they are trying, by and large, as they see it, to establish Muslim control over “Muslim territory”. Most of their activity is not anti-western per se but merely anti-western-control-in-their-homelands. Slaves yearning to breathe free as it were.

    Because the people (and government and media) of the USA refuse to consider whether (and certainly refuse to conclude that) all this American and other western terrorism and colonialism (which we call warfare or benevolent policing of the world) is a cause of the Muslim unrest, or at least makes a handsome target for it, we take all this ISIS and Boko Haram and etc. rather more personally than makes any sense. And then when we fight ISIS, the fight spills over into France and might spill over in USA. Makes sense to me. Do we expect our victims (whom we call enemies) to roll over and play dead?

    Islam plays a role: it plays roughly the role that nationalism plays in other conflicts, particularly because the national boundaries in Middle East were drawn recently and arbitrarily by Europeans and are of little importance to many resident men-in-the-street. The Islamists want to throw off the foreign conquerors and their local stooges (dictators supported by USA for the most part. As in Egypt, where it worked for a moment and then succumbed to military power).

    I don’t see this as religious at all. I don’t see “normative” (whatever that means) playing a role any more than I see christianist playing a role in the Crusades of an earlier era, a time when Europeans as a whole identified as Christians in a sort of supra-nationalism (indeed at a time before nationalism had been invented),

    Nowadays, most of the USA’s interventions in the Middle East are in (mistaken?) efforts to guarantee a steady supply of oil to the West. I’d expect all this American warfare (and amerian support for Israel) to taper off if the West gets its oil safely from elsewhere, or the supply appears guaranteed in any case, or we take global warming seriously and seriously get “off” oil. (Of course, this analysis may be flawed — the power of the insane American-oligarchy’s mental disease — the military-industrial-complex which loves selling arms throughout the Middle East — cannot be discounted and may persist until global warming is no longer merely knocking at our doors but knocking them down.)

    1. @ pabelmont: Very hard questions to answer. I would say that 30% of Israeli voters are Orthodox. Of those, probably all support settlements and settlers. More than half of them probably support the most extreme settler activists. Then there are secular Israelis who are far right who also support the radical settlers. As there are many thousands who support them in the Diaspora.

      But hard numbers don’t tell the full story here. The settlers don’t need large numbers. They control the levers of power without having huge numbers of supporters.

      That is why ISIS and al Qaeda are much different than Israeli settlers. The latter actually control a state. Islamist extremists once controlled Afghanistan, but don’t any longer. They don’t control Iraq or Syria (yet).

      There is much in the Torah that is offensive & objectionable. Much bloodshed and violence. But overall, Judaism is not a religion of violence or racism. And those who offer up a Judaism that makes Jews to be heroes and non-Jews to be scum–that is not Judaism. Not my Judaism. Not the Judaism of most Jews. Nor do I feel Judaism is at fault for their distortions.

      These people have a political agenda which they’ve gussied up in religious finery.

    1. Religions often adapt to modernity only AFTER they have lost power in society. Losing power and prestige can have a very beneficial effect. The bullies and egocentics leave.

    2. Islam is not a monolith, there are dozens of sects with the major sects and within lesser-sized sects, which “Islam” would you like to see modernized and exactly how?
      Would that be in the same way as Judaism is “modernized” in Israel or did you have something else in mind?

    3. @ Bad Boy: I’ve clearly rejected your thesis in my post. But if you can get Israel’s Orthodox rabbinate to “modernize” and “lose power in society,” then we can talk about what Islam should do.

  5. Extended drought in eastern Syria made agriculture impossible. As a result people left their land and went to the cities. The government was unable to address the needs of these internal refugees and tensions grew. They exploded in the form of Islamic State/Daesh/ISIL/ISIS. They used their version of Islam used to recruit victims of drought and inadequate government to do terrible things.

  6. I think you are quite right about the media attacking Islam, Richard. And you are right when you equate radical extremist Islam with radical extremist Judaism. The hasbara trolls are out in force, trying to distract and detract from the main point! They hate to see simple logic undermine their intention to demonize Islam and all Muslims. Keep up the good work.

  7. There is a story by Tolstoy about a Russian landowner who is being carried on the back of a peasant. The landowner commiserates with his fate and suggests all kinds of reforms to improve it. The peasant finally suggests politely that reform could start with the landowner getting off his back.

  8. Do we disqualified one if s/he breaks some rules of the religion? Of course not! (Will you accept the same notion for Baruch Goldstein or Yigal Amir).

    While those people do not represent Islam, there is no question their ideology is based on Islam. It isn’t one mosque or community where ISIS volunteers came from but 100’s and 1000’s of them. Whether the Imams are trying to radicalize the young generation, or the youngsters simply mistaken their message, is a question that must be asked but the fact remains, many ISIS fighter grew up in good-Muslim-home but ended up in Syria.

    Counting only the people who hold the gun and fight is also a big smoke screen. On each one of those, how many are there that support the cause but are too afraid to join? How many support their actions openly on the internet?

    Reminding Muslim leaders they have a problem isn’t Islamophobic but rather a reminder to get out one bad apple before it will ruin the barrel.

    1. Arik: ISIS & Jewish settlerism has as much to do with Islam and Judaism as a schizophrenic has to do with reality. Which is not terribly much.

      ISIS comes from ‘100s & 1000s of mosques??’ And you know this how? Did you take a survey? Find this “fact” in a credible source?? Of course you didn’t. You made it up.

      Whether the Imams are trying to radicalize the young generation, or the youngsters simply mistaken their message, is a question that must be asked

      Really, the question ‘must be asked?’ By whom? You? Tim Arango? A thousand other Islamophobes? Which gives you all precisely 0% right to ask it. Because you’re all essentially ignorant about Islam (you more than the others even).

      many ISIS fighter grew up in good-Muslim-home

      Once again, you know this how? In fact, many ISIS fighters grew up as juvenile delinquents, disaffected from society AND Islam. Many had nothing at all to do with Islam. Many violate Islam’s precepts even after they join ISIS.

      On each one of those, how many are there that support the cause but are too afraid to join?

      Jeez, I don’t know. You’re the expert. Why don’t you pull a number out of your ass like you did above and tell us?

      Reminding Muslim leaders they have a problem isn’t Islamophobic

      It most certainly is.

      Since you appear to be a new commenter here, you should’ve noticed a message when you published your comment directing you to read the comment rules BEFORE commenting. YOu clearly did not. I direct you to do so now. Islamophobia and false claims about any religion are prohibited here. If you publish another comment here and it contains as many unsupported claims as this one, you may be moderated.

          1. Do you mean all the European volunteers have seen death and got traumatized? All the Saudis who hate their government?

            Fighters have joins from many dozens of countries which easily sums to 100s of communities. It doesn’t make Islam into a monsterous religion but it does demand leaders to ask themselves “How can we reduce these numbers or eradicate this phenomena alltogether.

          2. @Arik: Muslims owe neither you nor anyone else an explanation as they’re no more responsible than you are personally for Israeli Jewish terrorists who murder Palestinians. Now if you wish to argue that every Israeli Jew is responsible for such acts then i’d be willing to assign Muslims collective responsibility for ISIS. Whadaya say?

          3. Who said anything about responsibility???

            Israelis and settlers alike are wondering and worrying about No’ar Ha’Gvaout and their actions or Tag Mechir actions. Most of those are acts of vandalism. When is comes to terrorism, the condemnation is wall to wall.

            The Muslims community must look to the future and debate how to make sure no more/less people like that ISIS emerge again. For their benefit and the world’s benefit.

          4. @ Arik: I’m so touched that Israelis AND settlers are worried about Jewish terrorists. It would, frankly, be a much more comforting if there were more than “worried.” If they resolved to act, to crush them like a bug to use Mrs. Phleghm’s infamous term.

            I’m not interested in “condemnation.” I’m interested in action. Crush the haters. Crush the terrorists. If you don’t, don’t come running to us & tell us about condemnaton, as if that’s supposed to make things right.

            The Muslims community must look to the future and debate

            Muslims don’t owe you anything, so shut up about what they “must” do. As if you are concerned about what’s in their “benefit.” Hypocrite. Worry about the sins of your own kind before you start worrying about the sins of other religions.

          5. Nonsense. Somehow tens or maybe 100s who acting violently is representation of half million settlers but tens of thousands of Muslims terrorists doesn’t even require a maintenance check.

            A person who isn’t even willing to say ‘I’ll look into it’ is a blind extremist on a mission. A billion Muslims don’t need you to tell them what not to do.

          6. @ Arik: Settlers are thieves by the mere fact of the ground upon which they live. It is stolen. There are of course settlers who are murderers & pogromists. They are worse. But all settlers are thieves outright.

            In proportion to their overall number of adherents, there are likely more Jewish terrorists than Muslim. Possibly even far more.

          7. So – All settlers are theives. Are all thieves terrorists? If not, what is your point?
            How come an attacker with a knife is a fredeom fighter but a thief driving his car in occupied territory is a terrorist worth killing?

            Also, is a baby born to settler parents a thief as well? Or terrorist? Was Hadas Fogel a dangerous terrorist who deserved to die?

  9. Waited for a new day, did not want to exceed my “3 hasbara comment” limit…

    @Jafar–if you actually opened the link I posted you would see that it refers to poll data, which is never perfect, but is about as unbiased and objective you can get when trying to evaluate people opinions. This is distinctly different than basing an impression on how many news stories, personal anecdotes or internet links report on this or that event,
    @Richard–Perhaps you can share your unique methods of determining levels of Jewish radicalism and support for it among the world’s Jewish population and Israel’s in particular. (for purposes of this discussion I would define radicalism as advocating or supporting political violence for a cause)

    1. Yehuda. I seldom challenge someone without first checking out what they are saying and why. I ACTUALLY did open the link but since I was not looking for bloodthirsty Muslims under the bed (being one myself…Muslim…maybe bloodthirsty by your measure), I did not see the “10% supporters of ISIS”, nor did I see the “160 million well of supporters” that you would like to believe, are standing by to feed more volunteers and money into ISIS.

      What I did see is that 10% of the population polled (quite different from 10% of all Muslim population) said they supported ISIS perhaps, as a reaction to the miltaries facing ISIS right now. The common Pakistani who has seen more than his share of drone killings in Pakistan, who has heard of the thousands of people slaughtered by drones and special forces ALL BY THE US, would rather support some entity that will hit the US back than support the US. The common person in Muslim-majority countries is largely illiterate so if he hears someone is fighting for Islam, he will tend to support them…until ISIS takes over his town and he sees what they are really like!

      You seem to be so invested in finding Muslims on the side of ISIS that you fail to examine statistics. Even much-respected pollsters like PEW Research, have their shortcomings and their data may be somewhat interesting but the data are only informative if examined with some intelligence.

      Take this link that you keep insisting, we have not looked at. If the pollster should ask the same questions of a Shia, Sufi or some other sect in Pakistan (which together total well over 60-70% of the population) s-he will find overwhelming rejection of Al-Q and ISIS. Ask a Sunni and it all depends on where the person is from. If he is from an outlying village, it is likely he is responding in reaction to the slaughters the US is already committing in Pakistan. There are so many nuances and aspects to the questioner, the questioned and the results as presented, that it takes an extremely fertile and fanciful imagination to figure out that “10% of Muslims …WORLDWIDE…form a well of support for ISIS”.

      You don’t have to go far to see the general support andaccpetance of Jewish militancy, on the pert of diaspora Jews. Hundreds of millions of dollars pour into Israel every year because of the general support for Israel and since Israel is a very militarized nation and very hostile to Arabs and Muslims, all support for Israel equals support for the exclusionary polcies of Israel.
      Take Israel’s invasion of Gaza as an example. There were crowds of people standing on hills, watching and clapping every time bombs fell on Gaza. I found those displays nauseating. Israelis and their blind supporters have always marched in locked goose-step with Israeli leadership in the killing, dispossession and oppression of Arabs, Christian and Mslsim alike.

    2. Yehuda. In my previous response I misstated something that deserves a correction.
      I said: ” If the pollster should ask the same questions of a Shia, Sufi or some other sect in Pakistan (which together total well over 60-70% of the population) s-he will find overwhelming rejection of Al-Q and ISIS.”.
      The fact is that you will not find a SINGLE member of those sects, who will have any tolerance for entities such as Al-Q and ISIS, not one.

  10. Wow, the No True Scotsman fallacy writ large as the No True Muslim fallacy, with Richard Silverstein making the “knowledgeable” call. Was Anwar al Awalaki, who dispatched terrorists to kill us here in the US, a “true” Muslim in Richard’s eyes?

    1. @ cameron: I know that al Awlaki’s (not you spelled the victim’s name wrong, but who cares about spelling Arab names correctly…) 16 yr old son was killed 2 weeks after we droned the father. That murder, for which no one has been blamed, has recruited at least 1,000 new soldiers for radical Islamism. And it has disgusted much of the world. Murdering boys, that what our counter-terror strategy comes down to.

      As for the remainder of your comment, I have no idea what you’re talking about. It helps if you don’t ramble or engage in pedantry.

      1. Yes, Richard, you got me, I spelled Awlaki’s name with an extra “a” in there. Is that like you doing “ebonics” to attack African-Americans who would express support for Israel. But how about the murderous imam Anwar, mentor to the “underpants” bomber and other terrorists, the guy whose death like Osama’s was celebrated by so many decent Americans, but decried by you? In your eyes, was he a “true” observant Muslim or not, and if not in your considered (informed?) opinion.

        Sorry to have gone over your head and struck you as a “pedant,” but like Casey Stengel I’ll tell you that you can look up the No True Scotsman fallacy, that is if,you will just take just a minute out from the anti-Israel ranting. (You’ve jeard of Google and Wikipedia, haven’t.) I challenge you and all of your claque of Israel-haters to come up with a better example of the NTS fallacy in action than the all too frequent No True Muslim one you regularly rely on.

        @Jafar Siddiqui, is it “Group-Think” to note that Awlaki’s “business” there in the badlands of Yemen to terrorists to murder as many Americans as they could? If he had wanted his day in court, why didn’t he turn himself in?

        1. @Cameron: decent human beings, let alone Americans don’t celebrate the extra judicial murder of their fellow citizens, no matter what the crime. I know of no American who so celebrated Awlaki’s death. Perhaps you, like Trump, saw such celebrations in your mind’s eye.

          Decent Americans believe in the Constitution & rule of law, which precludes extra judicial state sponsored murder. That’s why no Americans celebrated his death in the way they did the assassination of Bin Ladin.

          Use that disgusting slur “Israel haters” here one more time & you’ll be banned do fast your head will spin. Read the comment rules & read the well.

    2. Cameron. Don’t get sucked into Group-Think. Al-Awlaki may have supported anti US actions and may have preacehd violence, but the REAL crime committed was the extra-judicial execution of the man by Presidential fiat. There was not even the old Soviet-style kangaroo courts that condemned the man to death, he was simply executed.
      Much as the Obama regime would like to say this was a battlefield condition, it was not. Al-Awlaki was conducting his business in yemen, he ws NOT engaged in active battle so there could have been some measure of justice being seen to be carried out. Instead, constitution-be-damned, the American citizen was executed.
      Shortly after that, his chief editor (also an American) was also blown to bits along with amnyone who was in the vicinity…guilt by association, you understand. Not satisfied with these murders, the Obama regime decided to do the same for Al-Awlaki’s (US citizen) son, who had committed no crime except to have been born. He was also executed by a drone missile that also “took out” about 26 people.

      As for “True” Muslim, that is the business that ISIS and Al-Q are in; deciding who is or is not, a “true” Muslim. Islam does not permit the judgement of one’s faith, that job is God’s domain.

  11. Margot Wallström, the Swedish Foreign Minister, recently put the cat among the pigeons by stating that there is a link between moslem radicalisation and situations like that of the Palestinians. She was asked on Swedish television:

    “How worried are you about the radicalization of young people in Sweden who are fighting for Daesh?” and answered:

    “Yes, it is clear that we have reasons to worry… to see that there are so many people who have become radicalised. And once again we return to situations like that in the Middle East, especially (concerning) Palestinians who think: there is no future for us, we must accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”


    Israel made of this that she had directly linked the attacks in Paris to the situation of the Palestinians (which the Swedish Foreign Ministry has denied) and a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry called her remarks “appallingly impudent” and a “chutzpah”.

    Yes, Israel is accustomed to foreign governments pussyfooting around this subject and when then a foreign policy dignitary makes a commonsensical remark about what is going on in the occupied territories it is disturbed in its own state of denial and gets up in arms.

    The Israeli sociologist, Professor Eva ILLouz, said some trenchant things about this state of denial in Haaretz of today. Under the heading “Israel Is in National Denial Regarding Its Oppression of Palestinians” she wrote inter alia:

    “A large proportion of the Israeli population is increasingly numb and indifferent to the humanitarian disaster that plagues Palestinians. These Israelis are in the same position as the woman who sees her husband sexually abusing his daughter and yet fails to register it. We witness an astounding numbers of house demolitions, killings of children, expropriations of land, administrative detentions, torture, violations of international rights, daily crimes of theft, vandalism, attacks by settlers against Palestinians, with the deliberate denial of the army which often stands near, and stands idly by. “

    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/peace/1.685389”

    Many people outside Israel are ill informed rather than in a state of denial. People often don’t know about this latter day form of colonialism and “crappy colonialism” (as Amos Elon remarked) at that. But one professional group that has always made it its business to study, among other things, the situation of indigenous populations under colonialism cannot be deluded here. Today’s Haaretz also had the following encouraging news item:

    “The American Anthropological Association overwhelmingly passed a resolution Friday to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The association’s 12,000 members worldwide will now be asked to approve or reject the decision, which delegates at the association’s annual conference in Denver, Colorado passed by a vote of 1,040 to 136.
    The American Anthropological Association is the largest professional organization of anthropologists in the world. Both supporters and opponents of the decision called it “historical,” noting that it could lead other organizations to support an academic boycott of Israel.
    Israel’s policy in the territories and discrimination against Arabs in Israeli universities, and proposing a number of possible actions, including boycott.

    A statement by the faction of anthropologists that pushed for the boycott said, “As heirs to a long tradition of scholarship on colonialism, anthropologists affirm, through this resolution, that the core problem is Israel’s maintenance of a settler colonial regime based on Jewish supremacy and Palestinian dispossession. By supporting the boycott, anthropologists are taking a stand for justice through action in solidarity with Palestinians.”

  12. The discussion is side tracking into general Israel bashing. Perhaps we can save that for another post.
    The subject is whether there is a necessity for religious reform in Islam.

    That there are different sects within religions, including in Islam, some more peaceful than others, is well known. It is very hard to surpress the non peaceful or extreme sects. The question is, do the militants attract followers in the general population? Is there fertile ground for militancy? In Islam, the unfortunate answer is yes.

    I would tend to agree with Richard (!) that much of the problem lies in the “politics of religion”- not necessarily the religious philosophy itself, but rather the intermingling of power politics with religion. It took bitter experience and time for the western powers to understand that religion needs to be separated from the state. Even in the US this is not implemented perfectly…

  13. @Yahuda

    I am not surprised that you cannot see the relevance of this approach to the topic. It is another symptom of denial.

    The topic is: does Islam need reform. This question was triggered off by recent signs of radicalisation. One can approach it from two sides (or both): does the religion itself need reform – or does the underlying social/political situation that leads to radicalisation need to be changed? The latter approach (chosen by Margot Wallstrom) leads inevitably to a discussion of the Palestinian situation (though not only to that), Israel’s shameless occupation and America’s equally shameless complicity in it. You call that “Israel bashing”. What an easy way to dismiss unwelcome statements of fact.

  14. Nice try, @arie. Only the twisted logic of a deluded leftist can turn terrorist scum like Isis into the victims. My heart bleeds for them. Perhaps the US can fly over to Iraq and Syria a platoon of social workers to calm their nerves and find out what’s really bothering them, and what horrible things were done to them in their childhood to make them enjoy beheading people and raping women. If we had only thought of that for the Nazis!
    I can only thank The Lord that people who think like you are not in power to actually make decisions.

    1. @yehuda: If you think this is a site where you can dump on “leftists” you”re in the wrong place. There are literally 100s of such sites in Israel where you can seek comfort in your prejuduces. This isn’t one of them. If you use such insulting phrases again, you will be warned and perhaps moderated.

  15. @Yahuda

    Do you by any chance believe that Israel’s ruthless oppression of the Palestinians is justified by the atrocities of Isis? Aren’t you a bit confused about the causal sequence here? There is no doubt that Israel’s dealings with the Palestinians feed Arab anger (they feed MY anger for chrissake) and that extremist groups like Al Queda and Isis have been able to exploit this in their recruitment drive. This didn’t even escape the notice of such a “deluded leftie” as General Petraeus who testified in March 2010 to the American Senate Armed Services Committee:

    “The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR [Area of Operations]. Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support.”

  16. Richard, why should any respect your comment rules when you don’t? Your gratuitous rudeness toward a polite commenter like Ida is consistent with those rules? Or like the Red Queen and ill-tempered children you will be as arbitrary as you please?

    You make unsupport (and unsupportable) assertions. The ACLU intervened on behalf of Awalaki and were told to pound sound. So on what credible authority other than your own incredible authority do you rely for your claim that his targeted assassination ordered by CinC Obama violated the Constitution?

    No Americans celebrated Awlaki’s death the way they did Osama’s?! What a bizarre claim, or do just mean the exuberance wasn’t was great? You are surely among a very, very small minority not happy to learn the a drone had finished the terrorist off. (You think otherwise, or that there are few “decent” Americans who think the way you do about these monsters?)

    (What do you think of Siddiqui’s laughable assertion that Awlaki was just peacably minding his own “business” of planning terrorist attacks against the US when a drone-fired missile found him? Do you think he is with his fellow shahids now?)

    Did you educate as to the No True Scotsman fallacy, which the apologists like you regularly rely on when it comes to the heinous conduct of all the variuous Islamofascists? (Will you allow them to,be called Israel- and Jew-haters, or is that too against your rules?)

    1. @ Cameron: Rule #1: I make the rules & interpret them.
      Rule #2: you want to comment here, you follow the rules. Don’t like the rules, don’t comment.
      Rule #3: you break the rules, you’re outa here. Since you repeated the offensive terms I warned you about, you’ve been moderated. Violate them again & you’ll be banned.

      As for “Ida Flemstein,” the name reeks of fakery and possibly insult. I don’t demand that people use real names here. But names which are obviously fake generate a certain level of suspicion & skepticism.

      The ACLU took a case to court on behalf of Al Awlaki’s (I note once again you’ve deliberately misspelled & misstated his actual name, another mark of Islamophobic disrespect which isn’t permitted here) FATHER, not al Awlaki himself. And the court refused to hear the case because al Awlaki had not yet been harmed and it didn’t feel it had jurisdiction without any harm having befallen him. This was before his assassination. Sorry to correct your errors, but I have this thing about precision & facts that I know doesn’t trouble you.

      We have a constitutional system in this country that forbids punishing citizens without a judicial process. THis assassination violated numerous provisions of the constitution. Since you appear to know almost nothing about American history, I remind you that slavery was accepted in this country between 1789 & 1863, until Lincoln freed slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation, thus undoing 70 years of injustice. Also, I remind you that FDR interned tens of thousands of Japanese American citizens during WWII. This grievous injustice wasn’t redeemed until 1954, when the Supreme Court partially undid the evil of internment with its ruling. American Blacks were separate but unequal from 1895 until 1954 when the Supreme Court ruled that Blacks must be treated equally to whites in education & other public spheres. In other words, there are grave injustices, violations of constitutional rights, which are ratified or accepted for a time. Eventually, they are rectified in a judicial process that doesn’t happen overnight. The assassination of al Awlaki is one such injustice. I have no doubt that in time, in a matter of years, the judiciary will catch up to truth and reality and find that extrajudicial murder of U.S. citizens is a violation of the Constitution.

      Since you haven’t offered a single piece of evidence supporting your claim of widespread “celebration” in the aftermath of al Awlaki’s murder, it’s because you can’t. There wasn’t any. Most American haven’t heard of him even after his murder, which is part of the reason there hasn’t been an outcry against his murder. They certainly didn’t know who he was after his murder–not enough to celebrate it.

      Jafar never claimed al Awlaki was “peaceably minding his own business.” But the U.S. has offered no evidence to support its murder of him. SO we don’t know exactly what he was doing except the unsupported claims the government has given.

      1. [comment deleted: Hint. Cameron, if you are banned using one identity, you are banned using all identities. You will not publish here under another identity. Nice try though.]

  17. @Cameron

    “israel- and Jew-haters” huh?

    When General Petraeus pointed out an obvious link between Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and Arab extremism the great Abe Foxman rushed to declare that such statements “(smack) of blaming the Jews for everything”. When the Swedish Foreign Minister recently hinted at a similar link one of the nitwits Netanyahu has adorned the fringes of his cabinet with (Tzipi Hotovely in fact) said that her remarks “bordered on anti-semitism”. When the Chairman of the Dutch Labor Party, Jan Marynissen;, said a similar thing she went overboard altogether and called it “blatant and vile anti-Semitism” and “blood libel”. Apart from these comments being ridiculous they contain a logical fallacy and there is a precise name for it: the genetic fallacy ( “A Genetic Fallacy is a line of “reasoning” in which a perceived defect in the origin of a claim or thing is taken to be evidence that discredits the claim or thing itself”).

    1. The Chairman of the Dutch Labour Party and the Swedish Foreign Minister are casting about trying to lay blame on Israel for something that Israel is in no way, in partially, responsible for.
      They are both too frightened to face the real problem head on, so they distract and scapegoat.

      This tactic won’t work.

        1. @Richard

          ” Israel’s rejectionism is one of the primary fuels that ignites the Israeli-Arab conflict ”

          Which has got what to do with ISIS attacks on Western Europe? These two diplomats are saying that ISIS attacks on Europe are driven by ‘desperation’.

          And as far as ‘rejectionism’ goes, Israel has signed peace treaties with two of her four neighbors. Israel has unilaterally quit south Lebanon and Gaza, and has more than once sat down with the PA in the White House in order to reach a lasting peace.

  18. @Ida

    Let me quote General Petraeus again (from his testimony to the American Senate’s Armed Services Committee):

    “ARAB ANGER OVER THE PALESTINIAN QUESTION limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda AND OTHER MILITANT GROUPS EXPLOIT THAT ANGER to mobilize support.”
    (emphasis added AB)
    But what does he know – he was only the commanding American General in the region and Head of the CIA.

    Incidentally I called Jan Marijnissen the head of the Dutch Labor Party but that translation might create confusion. He is the departing head of the Socialist Party.


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