Texas Synagogue Attack: Don’t Rush to Judgment
UPDATE II: Rabbi Cytron-Walker did a CBS interview this morning and made clear that the gunman who attacked the synagogue did express anti-Semitic views:
“This was somebody who literally thought that Jews control the world,” Cytron-Walker said. “He thought he could come into a synagogue, and we could get on the phone with the ‘Chief Rabbi of America’ and he would get what he needed.”
These are crude anti-Semitic views which clearly indicate someone who not only has not had any contact with Jews, but who was inculcated with these views in some Islamist circles. In order for him to believe that there is a US chief rabbi who carries enough sway with government leaders to command them to free a federal prisoner, he must know nothing about rabbis, Jews or the US political system.
While there may be neuro-typical Muslims who hold such views, both Akram and SIddiqui herself hold equally ignorant views, characteristic of delusional ideation (both were known to have suffered from mental illness). Thus, I still think any rush to judgment about “all Muslims believe…” or that Islam is inherently anti-Semitic are wrong-headed and Islamophobic. We should not make the mistake of doing precisely what Akram did.
Rabbi Cytron-Walker’s views mirror those above. He told JTA:
He cautioned against overreacting to the attack, saying that concerns for security must be balanced against the Jewish mandate to welcome the stranger. “It’s such a random occurrence, and the percentages are so low…I have literally led thousands and thousands of services at Congregation Beth Israel, and this was the first time we had such a traumatic incident.
“We have to be hospitable and we have to be secure,” he said. “And we have to find ways to strike that balance.”
Let’s also remember that terror attacks in the US are overwhelmingly by white Supremacists, who have also perpetrated the majority of attacks against American Jewish institutions. That is not to say there is not anti-Semitism among some Muslims, nor that Islamists have not attacked Jews. They have. But let’s keep matters in perspective.
UPDATE I: Further information released by authorities today reveals that the hostage-taker was Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen, probably of Pakistani origin. The Daily Beast notes that his brother confirmed that Akram had “mental health issues” (as Aifa Siddiqui does). The family released this statement:
“We would like to say that we as a family do not condone any of his actions and would like to sincerely apologize wholeheartedly to all the victims involved in the unfortunate incident.
…”We would also like to add that any attack on any human being be it a Jew, Christian or Muslim etc is wrong and should always be condemned.”
Akram had arrived in the US two weeks before the shooting and purchased a gun on the street. The night before the attack he stayed in a homeless shelter. He purportedly gained admittance to the synagogue by saying he was homeless.
While Pres. Biden has characterized Akram’s statements as “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic” the FBI on the scene viewed the matter differently:
The FBI says the man who held hostages for hours inside a Texas synagogue was specifically focused on an issue not directly connected to the Jewish community.
Media reports said that the assailant ranted about religion, but didn’t specify an anti-Semitic motive. On the prayer service live stream, “an angry man could be heard ranting and talking about religion.”
In coming days, I expect more of his motivations will be revealed. In the meantime, I continue to warn against just the sort of Islamophobic rush to judgment you will read in the comment threads. Aifa Siddiqui’s lawyer, speaking in the prisoner’s name, explicitly said that she does not condone violence as part of the campaign to free her from prison.
I have written in the past about the attack on the Seattle Jewish federation which killed two staff members and injured others. In that case as well, Naveed Haq was clearly delusional and schizophrenic, yet prosecutors tried and convicted him of first-degree murder despite his severe mental illness. American justice should, but does not, take this into account in trials and it should. I am not arguing that there should be no consequences for such violent acts. But there needs to be a way to factor debilitating illness, which effects a perpetrator’s mental faculties, into sentencing considerations.
Also, while I in no way excuse or condone the heinous act, in a broader context it’s important (and yes, even–or especially–after such a tragedy), to remember that Muslims have legitimate anger at the wholesale acts of terror committed by both the Israeli and US governments against Muslims throughout the world. That does not excuse anti-Semitism, but it does remind the world that there are consequences, unfortunately, to campaigns by the US and Israel which target civilians and murder them in large numbers.
In addition, Israeli attempts to conflate Israel with Judaism, and similar attempts to speak and act on behalf of world Jewry, as if the cause of Zionism is the same as the cause of Judaism, contribute to this confusion among many Muslims. In their mind, Jews and Israel are the same. So Jews become stand-ins for Israelis and attacking the former is the same as lashing out against the latter. This is of course a terrible error. But Israel has contributed in a some way to this misconception. Nor should Muslims be expected to lie down in the face of such attacks, no more than the Jewish partisans did against the Nazi extermination regime.
Finally, I will pre-empt charges by anti-Semite mongers who berate me for doing precisely what I declare above that I am not doing. Explaining the context or motivations of Muslims in general, is in no way justifying violence by a particular Muslim. And it is an egregious error, and act of bad faith, to assume I am.
Today, a lone armed Muslim attacked a Reform synagogue outside Ft. Worth during Shabbat services. We don’t know how he accessed the building (many synagogues these days have very stringent security procedures in place and this synagogue had received security training). The service was being conducted for worshippers via live video feed (on Facebook) and there were three members officiating on-site, along with the rabbi. The attacker, whose name has not yet been released, took all four hostages. Some news media have reported he was armed, though others say the police have not confirmed this. He himself had a backpack which he claimed held an explosive device. He told the hostages that he was prepared to die.
Later, during the eleven-hour drama, he released one of the hostages. Three remaining hostages escaped the building, at which time a 70-person strong FBI team entered. The assailant died, either by suicide or via law enforcement shooting. All the hostages were unharmed.
The only demands he made related to his desire to free a “sister” who was in prison. Earlier reports indicated that he was referring to Aifa Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist, who later reputedly joined al-Qaeda. She was educated at MIT and did her PhD at Brandeis University on the subject of how children learn.
In 2008, she was detained by Afghan police. US soldiers were questioning her when she grabbed a gun and fired shots at them. She herself was subdued after being shot.. She was extradited to the US and convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Seven expert defense witnesses declared she was mentally ill and not competent to stand trial. They diagnosed her as suffering from delusions and schizophrenia. She is currently in a federal prison ward devoted to mentally ill prisoners.
Though her case is little-remembered by Americans, in Pakistan she is considered a hero, much like Jonathan Pollard in Israel, and both the Taliban and ISIS offered prisoner exchanges of American hostages in return for her freedom. The Pakistani government paid $2-million for her legal defense and she is a cause celebre in her homeland. If the account of today’s hostage-taking is true, then the attacker would have shared a similar motivation.
Though Siddiqui expressed hatred of both Jews and Americans at her trial, the synagogue assailant apparently did not. Though it’s not known why he chose to attack a Jewish house of worship.
It would be a mistake for Islamophobic groups like the Wiesenthal Center, which said that “It’s no accident that a synagogue was chosen for this attack” to jump to conclusions. Indeed, we do not yet know his reasons, and speculating on them in a manner that is so conspiratorial is presumptuous and shows the Center’s own prejudices. A Canadian Jewish leader made an even more offensive rush to judgment:
“Once again, Jews have come under attack simply because they are Jews. While Texas feels like it is far from Canada, incidents like this have a serious impact on Jews around the world who will have emerged from the Sabbath this week with two thoughts. One of horror and concern for their fellow Jews; and one of relief that this week, it wasn’t their synagogue that was targeted.
“Jew-hatred can and often does transcend hateful rhetoric and becomes violence towards Jews. This is why Jewish Canadians pay close attention to the rise of antisemitism around the world and why we invest in community security.
No, everything bad that happens to Jews is not due to anti-Semitism (though some is). And anti-Semites don’t lurk under every Jewish bed much as our communal leaders appear to want them to in order to perpetuate prejudices and maintain their relevance to the community. It is easy for those harboring a political agenda to presume guilt because it fits their own prejudices. But this case does not fit into such easy categorization.
The synagogue’s rabbi was known for promoting interfaith programs in the community including with Christian and Muslim leaders. A local Muslim imam said of him:
Jawaid Alam, president of the Islamic Center of Southlake, told the Star-Telegram that Congregation Beth Israel Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker is a personal friend and a friend of the Muslim community who has promoted peace and cooperation across faiths. “He is a peace-loving person, a Rabbi and Jewish leader, but a true friend of the Muslim community,” Alam said. “He and his family are considered part of the Muslim community, and he considers us part of the Jewish community.” Alam said it is “unthinkable that this would happen at the synagogue of a peace-loving rabbi who has promoted interfaith talks.”
Cytron-Walker has been a teacher to the Muslim community in the region, not just to his Jewish congregation, he said. “He has taught us how to live with people different from you and love each other,” Alam said. He added that the Islamic Center of Southlake wants them [the family] to know the community is there for them. “The Muslim community is with them and we will do anything we possibly can for them.”
Before studying for the rabbinate the rabbi:
…Worked at Focus: HOPE, a civil and human rights organization in Detroit, and was assistant director of the Amherst Survival Center in North Amherst, Mass….
In Colleyville, he has worked with interfaith families, the LGBTQ community and local school districts.
“Rabbi Charlie,” as his congregants know him, is a man dedicated to peace and tolerance. I am certain he would not want Jews or anyone else ascribing to Muslims the actions of this one individual. The attacker no more represents Islam than Baruch Goldstein represented all of Judaism.
54 thoughts on “Texas Synagogue Attack: Don’t Rush to Judgment – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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The question that needs to be asked about the Colleyville hostage crisis, is why was a synagogue targeted in order to demand the release of a Muslim fundamentalist terrorist, imprisoned in America, by an American Court, after a trial in America, for an act of terrorism committed against Americans?
[You are now moderated. Comment rules prohibit anti-Semitic or Islamophobic rhetoric. Calling Jews “cockroaches” even as satire, as you so inappropriately did, is unacceptable. Since you have violated the rules before you are now moderated. If you write comments that respect these rules, they will be published. If not, they will not be. In addition, it was foolish as there was content in that comment which I would have addressed. But anti-Semitic content overruled that. In addition, adopting a fake Arabic name as your handle (“Kareem”) when you are not Arab is totally inauthentic behavior and objectionable.]
“This was somebody who literally thought that Jews control the world,” Cytron-Walker said.. ”
I said that was what hostage taker had in mind, but you banned me. Shame on you, twice.
What I also said was that in the eyes of many, American Jews appear weak and vulnerable and are targeted by bullies.
The same thing is happening now to Asian-Americans who are being assaulted by criminals and bigots like never before.
Unlike Asian-Americans, these sorts of attacks have befallen Jews for hundreds and hundreds of years; a consequence of Jews not having a homeland or State.
Richard, in his ignorance, has given us proof positive that Jews need a safe haven, a State of their own, where they can choose their own fate.
Its better to die standing like a lion defending a Jewish homeland, than crawling on all fours licking your gentile master’s hand and begging for scraps like a dog.
Begging for scraps like a dog.
Woof, woof, Richard.
You were not “banned.” You were moderated. If you don’t understand the difference look it up. If I banned you you wouldn’t have been able to post this comment. I made clear why I moderated you. No one calls Jews “cockroaches” here. Not even in jest. So stop posturing and whining and lying about why you were moderated.
“In the eyes of many?” Who are many? Where are they? What are they? They’re an amorphous, unnamed, uncounted groups which could be anyone or everyone. The real truth is that American Jews are quite a strong, healthy ethnic and religious group. Highly successful, highly educated, well-paid, politically active, etc. No one in his right mind thinks about American Jews what you claim.
Such bullshit. A consequence of a Jewish state is that Israeli Jews are far more endangered and far more have died than in the Diaspora. So much for the security and protection of the Jewish state. And that includes this and all other similar attacks against American Jews since the State was founded.
You sound like a tired version of Trumpeldor, who himself managed to get himself killed making a last stand at Tel Hai like Custer at Little Big Horn. What nonsense! The IDF doesn’t “stand like a lion.” It stands armed to the teeth like a lumbering Goliath, certain in his own power, facing a young untested Palestinian David with a few stones and a slingshot. And Goliath can kill as many Davids as he has bullets in his gun, but there will still be more Davids left who will fight till he runs out of bullets.
That is a deeply offensive, insulting and inexcusable characterization of the Diaspora. It is a bald-faced lie. The Diaspora kept Jews alive and thriving for two millennia while there was no Jewish homeland. I find you repulsive you are now banned. Send regards to your pal, Lukashenko. You deserve each other.
While we’re at it, every comment you published here used a different IP addresses, 36 different ones in all. According to their location you’ve been traveling extensively to Belarus, Amsterdam, NYC, Los Angeles and Laguna Beach. Either that or you’re using a proxy server. I warned you that I view anyone other than a Uighur or someone truly endangered, using such a server, to be engaged in inauthentic suspicious behavior. If you have to hide your identity, then you’re engaged in fakery. So much for “standing like a lion.” You’re cowering in fear behind a proxy server. You are pathetic.
“The Diaspora kept Jews alive and thriving for two millennia while there was no Jewish homeland ”
Get real, Richard.
Eighty years ago, Diaspora Jewry was thinned by one-third.
Six million dead.
If the British 8th Army had not stopped Rommel, all of Sefardic Jewry and the Zionists in Palestine would all have perished too.
@ Sasha: Over the course of 2,000 years, hundreds of millions of Jews have lived safely and securely in the Diaspora. Yes, the Holocaust was a huge tragedy in the history of Jewish life. But you of course completely discount the fact that this was a single heinous act among 2,000 years, which stands out for its uniqueness.
Rommel had no interest in Jews. He was interested in winning battles, He was not a political ideologue or even a rabid Nazi. So your claim is not only hypothetical and based on speculation–it is historically inaccurate.
Do not post in this thread again.
Einsatzgruppe Egypt (German: Einsatzgruppe Ägypten) was an SS unit led by SS-Obersturmbannführer Walther Rauff, which was formed in occupied Greece during World War II. Einsatzgruppen (“deployment groups”) were paramilitary death squads that operated within German occupied territories.
The plans for Einsatzgruppe Egypt were set aside after the Allied victory at the Second Battle of El Alamein
@ Nate Depp: No more comments in this thread.
As far as I’m concerned this is irrelevant to the discussion. So what if the Nazis had plans which they never realized to implement some sort of operations which may, or may not have involved Jews. Nor do we know whether the plans would have been implemented even had the Nazis won in North Africa. Nor do we know Rommel’s view on their potential deployment.
‘The question that needs to be asked about the Colleyville hostage crisis, is why was a synagogue targeted in order to demand the release of a Muslim fundamentalist terrorist, imprisoned in America, by an American Court, after a trial in America, for an act of terrorism committed against Americans?’
You can ask the question. I can think of several different answers — which are not mutually exclusive, by the way.
@ Colin Wright: Number 3 could get you banned here. Do not offer this claptrap, even in jest.
Rush to judgment? Eyewitnesses from the synagogue said that the attacker made anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements. Only someone who buried their head in the sand would fail to see that this was an antisemitic attack. And nobody, including the Canadian Jewish leader that you quoted, claimed that this terrorist is representative of all Muslims, or anyone else other than himself.
@ Chaim: According to media reports this is not true. Those reports said he “ranted” about “religion,” but not that he said anything anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. I note that earlier today Joe Biden made this claim. But the police chief who is presumably as well, or better informed than Biden only said that the attack “did not target the Jewish community.” It may be that he said this in order to calm the community that there was no further danger to the Jewish community. But this is speculation.
Presumably more of the content of the hostage-taker’s statements will be forthcoming and we will be able to judge what he said and whether it was anti-Semitic.
The Canadian statement was Islamophobic. Of course he believes that all Muslims are anti-Semitic. That’s what many, if not most Israelis believe. It’s what all of Israel’s right-wing leadership believes. Whether they say it explicitly or not. Note that the statement made no reference to your claim that all Muslims are not to blame for the attack. He could have easily done so, but pointedly did not. Contrast this with the statements by the Haredi community leaders after the attack in Monsey by a crazed Black Hebrew which killed one of the community’s members. They affirmed their good relations with the Muslim community despite the attack. That’s what a responsible Jewish leader would do. But the Canadian did not. He offered an anti-Semitism-infused template response.
The attacker was a British Muslim from Blackburn, probably Pakistani. The Pakistani community, particularly the British one which is one of the biggest expat communities is notoriously antisemitic.
As Mehdi Hassan writes:
@ Lenna: Your claim that “the Pakistani community, particularly the British one” is “notoriously anti-Semitic” is the equivalent of a blood libel and Islamophobic. There are certainly anti-Semites in this community as there are Muslims who have excellent relations with Jews (though certainly not Israelis, and for good reason). And just because Mehdi Hassan confirmed your prejudices nearly a decade ago doesn’t make your claims any more valid.
We will have to wait, as I wrote in another comment here, to see precisely what the views of the attacker were, which presumably will come out over the coming days or weeks. You have done precisely what I warned against: a rush to judgment to confirm your worst preconceived ideas about Muslims. That is offensive.
Yes I suppose we could use Lenna’s logic to pronounce that by the actions of Irv Rubin, Meir Kahane, Noam Federman, Baruch Goldstein, Yigal Amir etc etc, that all Zionist extremists are terrorists too? Hmmm.
One should also question Silverstein’s dismissal of the conflation made of the Zionist State and the Jewish People as a simple propagandistic trick of Zionism. It is not – it is the Christian stereotype of what a Jewish person is permitted to be; either Jewish in Israel or whatever in whatever, but not Jewish, assimilated. And that is Antisemitic.
@ Abraham Weizfeld: First, I never “dismissed” the conflation of Zionism and the Jewish people as a “simple propagandist trick.” It is neither simple nor a trick. It is part of a strategy and a fairly successful one at that. And the second part of your statement is wrong. But there is a on-Jewish group especially guilty of using the same strategem: neo-Nazis and white supremacists who conflate Jews with Israelis. David Duke is a perfect example of this. And yes, that is anti-Semitic.
<i>’One should also question Silverstein’s dismissal of the conflation made of the Zionist State and the Jewish People as a simple propagandistic trick of Zionism. It is not – it is the Christian stereotype of what a Jewish person is permitted to be; either Jewish in Israel or whatever in whatever, but not Jewish, assimilated. And that is Antisemitic.'</i>
Quite right. For example, if one objects to Nazism, it would be the non-German’s stereotype of what a German is permitted to be. Either a Nazi, or not a German at all.
So if we are to assume that the hostage taker, is mentally ill, why did he enter a synagogue? Al Qaeda’s beef is with the USA not with Israel. It has nothing to do with Jews, certainly not liberal Jews, as the synagogue was a reform one.
When Palestinians were engaged in warfare with Israel with their Arab allies, Al Qaeda cared not a hoot. Osama bin Laden was living it up in Western countries.
It was only when American bases were based in the Hejaz that he invoked the hadeeth which calls for non Muslims to be banned from the Hijaz peninsula.
The mistake the US made in dealing with the 9/11 attacks was to attack Afghanistan, rather than the ideology, and the biggest mistake was to ignore the Saudi attackers and their motivations, even worse reward them by moving the bases out of Saudi Arabia.
If this Pakistani hostage taker was mentallly ill how come he had the capacity to enter the USA, and then choose a synagogue and a Rabbi to take hostage? That sounds like a carefully constructed plan, something a mentally unbalanced person could not do.
The comparison to Baruch Goldstein is an empty one and a silly one. Baruch killed Palestinians whom he believed would kill Jews. Al Qaeda attacked because American bases (kuffar) were on supposedly holy land. There is no comparison on motive. Al Qaeda do not respect life. Baruch Goldstein didn’t represent Judaism you say, and who said he did? I know of nobody who has blamed Judaism for Baruch Goldstein’s behaviour, and that is because so few Jews act like he did. He was killed by the mob anyway.
@ Anupam: First, neither you nor I know why a mentally ill person decides to do what he does. To assume, as you do, that delusional people make rational decisions based on a clear-cut ideology is foolish and ignorant. Try knowing someone in your family or a close friend who suffers from such an illness & then tell me everything they do and say makes perfect sense.
Next, al Qaeda has nothing to do with this attack. The hostage-taker was a lone wolf with, as of this moment, no known ties to any Islamist group. So tarring him with the brush of belonging to al Qaeda is unwarranted, and shows your own Hindutva Islamophobia. Nor has al Qaeda ever attacked an Israeli OR Jewish target. So if he was al Qaeda he would be even less likely to attack a synagogue.
What the hell are you talking about. Bin Laden never “lived it up” in western countries. I don’t even know if he ever stepped foot in one.
It’s so impressive when Muslim-haters like you use the few teaspoons they know about Islam–usually from a Hindutva or pro-Israel source dedicated to “exposing” the enemy’s religion–in order to pretend that they really know something about the religion.
Your comment was off-topic. Do not publish another off topic comment again. If you do you will be moderated. And you will henceforth publish only a single comment in any thread in which you choose to participate. You are one of the more prolific propagandists here lately. I don’t permit you to monopolize the comment threads.
So you think no mentally ill individuals ever go through customs in the US, UK or any other country?
Did you read that he spent his first night in the US in a homeless shelter. Does this sound like a man who could plan anything more complicated than his next breath.
Oh and we here make it so easy to buy guns that you can buy them anywhere, including on the street, where he allegedly purchased his.
I am also so impressed that you know so much about Goldstein’s motives. Did you know he was a follower of Meir Kahane, who believed Arabs and Palestinians must be eliminated from the Jewish state? Did you know he took an M-16 into a mosque and murdered 44 Muslim worshippers? So don’t you dare offer the simplistic nonsense that he killed people who would kill Jews. That’s ignorant and offensive. And when I use those words take them very seriously. Comments like yours make me sick and disgust me.
Oh there absolutely IS. Goldstein attacked Muslims because they too were on “supposedly holy land.” That is the land promised to the Jewish people by God in the Bible. There is literally no difference between Goldstein & bin Laden: they were both stone-cold killers on behalf of religious fanaticism. Just as your Hindutva beliefs treat Muslims. You are birds of a feather.
Do you not have the faintest idea of how Goldstein is worshipped by the most dominant religious movement in Israel–the settlers? They dance near his grave on Purim. They tend it religiously and with awe. He is a hero to them.
A stupid lie. “Jews” (that is, Israeli Jews) kill or wound Palestinians virtually every day. Most of them civilians. These Jews have killed 40,000 Arabs since 1948. So don’t talk to me about how few “Jews” murder Arabs.
Only after murdering 44 Muslims in cold blood. 44 to 1 is pretty good odds for a suicidal religious fanatic psychopath.
Do not publish another comment in this thread.
Goldstein is admired by a very small extreme minority.
You go the distance to whitewash the muslim community while blackwashing another community.
You can go even further and say that most Jews in Israel don’t know or care anything about Goldstein.
Richard can’t speak to this because he’s not been ‘in country’ in forty years and cannot speak to the ordinary Israeli ‘man on the street’.
@ Sasha: By your standard a historian cannot study ancient history because he didn’t live in the ancient era. A professor of ancient Chinese history unless he lives in ancient China. In the digital age, when knowledge is transmitted instantaneously to billions of people and you can find out what’s happened on the other side of the globe literally in seconds, your views are positively antediluvian. Why don’t you come into the 21st century, instead of lingering somewhere in the middle of the 20th. Not to mention I know more about Israeli national security than you ever will, and I’ve published literally scores, if not hundreds of stories here that have never been published by an Israeli journalist nor are known to the average Israeli. So I’ll put my knowledge of those areas of Israeli life up against yours any day.
Speaking of which, your IP address is registered in Belarus. So by your logic we can question how well you know what’s going on in Israel. Unless of course you’re an Israeli official stationed there and working here in these threads on official business. If you are not in Belarus and are using an IP proxy, don’t. It’s yet another sign of inauthentic behavior, which would be a factor in any future decision to moderate or ban you.
Most Israeli Jews don’t know anything about Baruch Goldstein? Like most Americans in the 1970s didn’t know who Lt. Calley was? Or Americans didn’t know who Blackjack Pershing was at the turn of the last century after he slaughtered a million Filipinos? Or Jews in the 1940s & 50s didn’t know who Mengele was? What a fraud you are.
You also don’t seem to know as much about my personal history as you believe you do. My last visit to Israel was NOT 40 years ago. You read my About page and assumed nothing ever happened in my life other than what’s there. How naive of you. BTW, if you can secure a written statement from the Israeli police and Shin Bet that I won’t be arrested or interrogated on entering Israel, I could have visited numerous times. But I can’t.
Richard, you don’t know what your neighbors in Washington State think, much less the average Israeli. If you spent more time getting to know your neighbors, instead of focusing all your energies on far away Israel, you might learn something and even become a happier person for it.
Earth to Richard. Most Americans don’t know who Lt. William Calley was, much less that there was a Huk Rebellion in the Phillipines. Along with Goldstein, it’s boring History.
And in case you didn’t know, Israelis are as uninformed, apathetic and vapid as Americans (and Filipinos for that matter).
Sorry Richard, but for most of us earthlings, we only want to get by and have a little fun, not ‘repair the world’.
Stop telling people what my logic is or what my standards are.
You don’t know me.
Sasha on genocide: “Along with Goldstein, it’s boring History”. How ironic! Does the writer even know? I’m sure for Sasha the holocaust is not so boring…?
By the way, the holocaust is now popularly defined as relating to Jews only. However, a very significant number of non-Jews were exterminated by the SS in the camps, including communists, Romany gypsies, trade union leaders, dissidents, and those who did not cooperate with the NSDAP regime.
@ Sasha: Nonsense, in my neighborhood everybody knows everybody else’s business. It’s a tight knit place and everyone helps everyone when they need it. Seattle too is fairly small for a major city and its easy to keep close touch with the goings-on here. So you struck out on that claim. You also apparently think that Washington State has the same level of alienation of fellow citizens from each other as Belarus, where you appear to be (unless you’re afraid to let anyone know where you are by using a proxy server). But Washington doesn’t have the same level of repression & paranoia as Belarus. Perhaps it’s just the right place for someone like you.
Nor do I need your advice on how I should spend my time and what’s necessary to make me happy. Save your dime store psychology for someone else.
Almost all Americans knew who Calley was through the 70s and 80s because he was the only American accused of war crimes during the Vietnam War. I know this because I lived in that time and appear to know American history better than you.
As for Goldstein, it’s “boring history” only for a right wing fascist apologist like you who wants to forget it and wishes everyone else would too. I can assure you that there are hundreds of thousands of Jews around the world who have not forgotten.
If you want to “have fun” and not engage with social justice issues, this isnt’ the place for you. I suggest going to a club, getting high, or reading a Hollywood scandal sheet. Or go see one of the Marvel franchise movies. That’s about your speed. The rest of us here care about values and ethics deeply.
I certainly know what your logic is, to the extent there is any. And I know you by the pro-Israeli drivel you publish here. So no, no one tells me what to do in my own blog. If you don’t like it, you know what to do. And don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
I warned you about publishing two comments at a time in a thread. One comment at a time. Don’t do this again. If you it will be grounds for moderating you. I prefer addressing one comment at a time. Publishing two comments forces me to address two separate ones instead of one, which is annoying and inconvenient.
@ Arik: The word “Muslim” is capitalized just as the word “Jew” is. Try that shit here again & you’ll be banned. Goldstein is admired by tens, if not hundreds of thousands of settlers. They dance at his grave on Purim. They lay stones on it to show respect. There is a grave marker lauding his heroism. And settler politics dominates Israeli life. Goldstein’s views now infuse Israel. Just minus the mass murder. But everything else, they’ve adopted.
That is simply not true.
It is more like handreds or maybe thousands. His grave
You make a claim. Please support it with a source that isn’t a decade old. Your knowledge is based on what happened right after his death 25 years ago, if that.
To say thr hundreds of thousands of settlers support his murderous actions is a blood label.
@ Arik: It is simply quite true: Baruch Goldstein as hero: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/685792.stm
Boy Anupam, you really know how to select “facts” to fit your theories!
Goldstein remains a hero among MANY Israeli Jews, he was not “killed by the mob”, he was charged by the people he was trying to slaughter.
Mentally unbalanced people do a HELL of a lot of “careful” construction of plans, May I draw your attention to Hitler, to Trump or to Modi?? I could list a lot more, but I don’t think it would serve to convince you.
Rest of my comments, some relevant to yours, are separately posted.
Duke University Professor Abdullah T. Antepli says the exact opposite to the author here who said we should not blame Islamism for the attack on the synagogue. He also blames Zahra Billo (whom Richard wrote about earlier) and Ilhan Omar as the type of instigators of antisemitism that the author denies exists
So, by your own above “logic’, We should blame all Hindus and Hinduism for the persecution oppression and slaughters of Muslims being promoted by BJP and Hindutva supporters in India?
@ Anupam: Has the Daily Fail become the media outlet of choice for the Hindutva movement? You do understand what a total shmatteh it is, don’t you? Boasting of covering royal scandal, sex crimes, and other lurid forms of human behavior. SO this is the source you use to support your claim that Islam is a bad religion?
Not to mention that Antepli is a Gulenist, follower of a movement which happily murdered and spied on enemies of the Erdogan regime…until they had a falling out & Erdogan realized that Gulen wanted his job, and exiled him. Antepli is also a Muslim normalizer who created a group that teaches Muslims to love Zionism and everything about Israel. Does this sound like a Muslim any other Muslim would respect? I know of none who do. And I know plenty of Muslims. Not to say there aren’t a few who admire someone betraying your co-religionists for a few Israeli shekels.
Why didn’t you quote CAIR, which released a truly kind, generous, balanced and thoughtful statement which offered condolence and sympathy to the Jewish community? And solidarity as well. What it didn’t offer was breast-beating about the evils lurking in Islam as Antepli did.
As I wrote, no more comments in this thread. And only one comment per thread from now on.
So you object to Mehdi Hassan and this professor (Antepli), for calling out antisemitism and making the reasonable request to their communities to fight antisemitism. What is wrong with that?
You call out Jewish extremism, what is wrong with Muslims calling out their own extremists?
Also, I find your attacks on Anupam, a friend of Israel and Jews offensive. Stop tarring him with the ‘hinduvta’ label, when he has made clear he is not. Polls consistently show that Indians are more pro Israel than Americans are. In fact India is the only country which is more pro Israel than America.
Your bigotry against Hindus is evident which I suspect is rooted in their being pro Israel and philo-semitic.
Tiff…. could it be due to the graft and corruption the two countries ie India and Israel may have in common? Rhetorical question. They are also both apartheid states.
@ Tiff: THere is nothing wrong with a Muslim telling fellow Muslims to avoid anti-Semitism. But there is something very wrong with a Muslim allied with a Zionist cause (which is antagonistic to Islam) telling Muslims they should acknowledge they are anti-Semitic. In this, he is doing the work of the Shalom Hartman Institute where he is the resident token Zionist Muslim. I would prefer a Imam not compromised by such an affiliation. And there are such leaders, but they would never rush to judgment as Antepli did.
I don’t give a shit what you think about my responses to Anupam. Thousands of hasbarists of many varieties think it’s their duty to maintain a pro-Israel watch and put there 2 cents here. Neither you nor Anupam are anything special. But I certainly will not treat you with kid gloves, regardless of how butt hurt you may be.
Anupam certainly has never denied that he is a Hinduvta. And he certainly is. I know a great deal about the subject and have published articles about it.
India is pro-Israel because it gets a huge amount of its weapons from Israel, because it maintains an illegal occupation of Muslim lands as Israel does, and oppressed its Muslim citizens as Israel does. Birds of a feather.
You are done in this thread. And do NOT publish more than one comment at a time in a single comment thread. You may respond to a comment unless I say you are done in the thread. But do not post 2 at a time.
“Hindutva movement” …! ah that resolves many questions for me. I’ve wondered a long time about the similarity and sympathies between Indian nationalist extremists and Zionist extremists.
There are so MANY distractions and mis-directions being voiced by people who are pretty comfortable remaining ignorant of details and simply laying the blame on a monolithic “enemy”, that we could write a book on the discussion…except, people with closed minds, won’t read it!
Bottom line: Of course, this attack was Anti-Semitic, the man targeted a synagogue, not a shopping mall. I am not sure if he was crazy or, how crazy he was but that is neither here nor there.
“Anti-Semitism”. unfortunately, this label continues to be used in the most catch-all terms and has therefore, lost its impact; I am repulsed by Israel and the activities of Israeli Jews, but that does not mean I hate Jews or even that I hate Israel! I hate fanaticism, extremism and discrimination and I don’t care whether these traits belong to Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus or someone else.
Jews and Muslims are basically two sides of the same coin but even more basically, they are HUMANS with all the weaknesses and strengths of Humans. We find both groups exploited by propaganda generated by “leaders”: who are really self-promoters…money or power. Each side is presented with an existential threat and that then justifies all inhuman and brutal actions.
Jews are told they are about to be exterminated and so they commit a genocide on their most immediate “enemies”, the Arabs. Muslims are told Jews are the main cause of all that ails Muslims and so, hate is generated against Jews. Hindus are told Muslims must be exterminated or “the Hindu state” will cease to exist and so we find the horrors happening in India. Buddhists are told Muslims are going to wipe them out, so they go out to kill Muslims. What do you think the US said to justify its genocidal “WAR!” from Afghanistan (including Pakistan) to Libya? “Thet are against our way of life and will stop at nothing to destroy us!”.
Propaganda, whipping up populist emotions, brings money and power, anyone can tell you that.
So, before any reader decides to once again, blame Islam and Muslims, consider this; would YOUR sacred cow get gored if the tables were switched? I’ll bet it will.
What sorts of things would an ordinary Pakistani madrassa teach about Jews?
@ Sasha: Just another racist comment from one of our master Islamophobes. Why would you think Jeff knows what is taught in a Pakistani madrassa? Because every Muslim would know? They all look alike? How offensive! Why don’t you tell us about the lies taught about Muslims in Israelis settlements? We already know because there are such videos of classes in Orthodox yeshivas. And it ain’t pretty.
According to Jeff’s most excellent blog, PenJihad, “He grew up in the Khyber Pukhtunkwa (North-West Frontier) Province and has maintained close contacts in Pakistan.
Who better should I ask, Richard? You?
@Sasha: Who better to ask? Someone who is directly familar with the madrassas. Why would you make an assumption that he is, without even asking first? Your level of racism and presumption is amazing and offensive.
American Injustice …
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui received her PhD in neuroscience from Brandeis University in 2001
At the court hearings under Judge Berman, the appointed psychiatrist was Dr. Gregory B. Saathoff.
Insanity all around – Bagram – interrogation – torture – humiliation.
The murderers of American journalist Daniel Pearl were released by Pakistan courts.
Why does the USA give visas to the likes of Afia Sidiqi to study when she hates America? Israel would not give a visa to this nutter, so why does the USA?
@ Tiff: Siddiqui came to the US in 1999, over 20 years ago. She was not mentally ill when she lived here. In fact, she was quite brilliant: why she was a admitted to MIT and completed a Brandeis PhD. Her delusions began when she returned to Pakistan. There was absolutely no reason to deny her a student visa when she first came here.
I resent your ill-informed assumptions about Muslims, even ones that are mentally ill or may have committed a violent act. She is still a human being regardless. You are on notice. Continue with this and you will lose your right to comment.
Following the developments of the breaking news across the globe, one sees the division of bias. Bias is more often based on lack of knowledge. Civil rights and human rights are trampled on. The gross injustice by the Bush-Obama-Trump-Biden administrations and impunity for breaking International law will have repercussions in American society. Fear Inc., the Islamophobes are out in force, very unfortunately in great numbers in the Israeli media. I don’t do social media, but it can only be worse. Thanking Richard for a bit of sanity in troubled times. Why do persons of high authority do jail time after service to their nation? The Siddique family of brother, sister and parents are a <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDF3il5d1CM”>great asset</a> to their community, highly intelligent. One can wonder where it all did go wrong for Aaifa. She came out of fondness to America and got her higher education on a full scholarship at MIT and Brandeis. She got her doctors title in 2001. America changed, not for the better. A clear-eyed vision on 20 years passing by. I will do my bit to fight intolerance and do all to bring people together. England is a racist society … many challenges all over.
Emigrating from Britain to the US is quite rigorous, as I know by personal experience. US immigration rules are quite strict. I find it surprising that a mentally ill person of Pakistani origin — even if from the land of the Perfidious Albion — could enter the country. So, it would be interesting to learn (but perhaps highly classified!) by what circumstances Malik was allowed to enter the US? Of course ‘purchasing a gun on the street’ in America seems logical, where just 4% of the world’s population own approx 40% of all civilian-owned guns in the world.
If the guy was not being anti-semetic in his “philosophy” then why didn’t he pick a government building , like a court house , or someplace related to the DA or Judge or Jury that put away his “sister”? Jewish people in this little shul in texas, who are, btw, into inter-religious peace activism and the like, and not go and bother the actual people who put her in jail? No. He is a jew-hater. Its obvious. I am sure that when the transcripts of his rants come out that will become clearer.
@ Gershon: An interview today with the Texas rabbi reveals that the gunman was anti-Semitic, though he knew almost nothing substantive about Judaism.
He is only a Jew hater because he believes that Israel and Jews are the same thing. He is far angrier at Israel. Jews are a stand-in for Israel only because he thinks they’re the same thing. And they aren’t. Though Israeli leaders themselves advocate this pernicious view.
Christchurch shooting …
British Jews pledge support to East Lancashire Muslims on visit to Blackburn and Accrington | March 2019 |
Whether it is his true name or a nom de plume, ‘Colin Wright” can be found regularly and not unfavourably adding his two cents’ worth of comment to the antisemitic contributions regularly featured on the Unz Review. With the deranged Jew-detesting filth that site specialises in peddling he is to all appearances entirely untroubled. This despite efforts, not entirely unsuccessful, to strike a note of sweet reasonableness.
Quite what this garden-variety antisemite thinks he’s doing by cropping up (not for the first time) onTikkun Olam is a mystery, unless mischief-making is the man’s object.
@ dmr: Generally, I don’t ban commenters for comments they make on other sites or platforms. I only judge them by what they publish here. That seems fair. When his comments here go off the rails, I warn him of this as I did with his last comment. If you wish to send me examples of what offends you from other sites, I will review them and take action if I think it’s warranted.
I read through, almost to the end all the many comments and I must say I was disappointed. I saw nothing of the spirit of the old New Jewish Agenda or old friends from that time, except Richard.
My view is different. I did not see this as anti-semetic at all. The man had a message to convey As I understood from first reports he wanted to talk to the prisoner on the phone. He made an astute judgement, if you want to get attention, do a dramatic act in a synagogue. He injured no one. He said no nasty stuff about Jews …not that has been reported.
He was “negotiated” with by the FBI for 11 hours, wanting his phone call. They could have at any time called the prison and put the prisoner on the phone, and asked her to speak with the man, “we have a situation here”. No, his demand was not even on the negotiating table. When the hostages were gone and he no longer posed a threat, he was murdered by the police.
No one of the 52 comments I read and comments on comments showed any interest in the man himself, what might have been his message to say to the women in prison, or how best to treat a man with obvious mental illness and distress. Call him a terrorist —all is then permitted– and then kill him.
Very sad failure for “tikun olam”
@ Alan Haber: Welcome, my old NJA comrade! Good to hear from you.
I agree with you that they should have permitted the gunman to speak with Siddiqui. I’m guessing they thought that if they did, that it would muddy the waters and make him come up with other demands. It was a judgment call. And the FBI negotiating team presumably has expertise in this type of situation. You & I would’ve handled it differently. I also think they valued the lives of the hostages, as they should have. But didn’t value the life of the gunman at all as you said in your comment.