Archive for Judaism

David J. Wasserstein: “Islam Saved Jewry”

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on June 2, 2012 by loonwatch

David J. Wasserstein, professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University penned an interesting and refreshing article that likely caused the heads of Islamophobes to explode, titled, So, What did the Muslims do for the Jews?

He argues that before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Judaism under the Byzantines was near extinction, and under Persian rule was endanger of being relegated to a cult.

Had Islam not come along, Jewry in the west would have declined to disappearance and Jewry in the east would have become just another oriental cult.

Wasserstein doesn’t fall into the trap of painting a too utopian, rosy picture of Jewish life under Muslim rule, but does highlight the fact that in many places Jewish life and culture flourished, (for example in Andalusia).

by David Wasserstein (The JC)

Islam saved Jewry. This is an unpopular, discomforting claim in the modern world. But it is a historical truth. The argument for it is double. First, in 570 CE, when the Prophet Mohammad was born, the Jews and Judaism were on the way to oblivion. And second, the coming of Islam saved them, providing a new context in which they not only survived, but flourished, laying foundations for subsequent Jewish cultural prosperity – also in Christendom – through the medieval period into the modern world.

By the fourth century, Christianity had become the dominant religion in the Roman empire. One aspect of this success was opposition to rival faiths, including Judaism, along with massive conversion of members of such faiths, sometimes by force, to Christianity. Much of our testimony about Jewish existence in the Roman empire from this time on consists of accounts of conversions.

Great and permanent reductions in numbers through conversion, between the fourth and the seventh centuries, brought with them a gradual but relentless whittling away of the status, rights, social and economic existence, and religious and cultural life of Jews all over the Roman empire.

A long series of enactments deprived Jewish people of their rights as citizens, prevented them from fulfilling their religious obligations, and excluded them from the society of their fellows.

This went along with the centuries-long military and political struggle with Persia. As a tiny element in the Christian world, the Jews should not have been affected much by this broad, political issue. Yet it affected them critically, because the Persian empire at this time included Babylon – now Iraq – at the time home to the world’s greatest concentration of Jews.

Here also were the greatest centres of Jewish intellectual life. The most important single work of Jewish cultural creativity in over 3,000 years, apart from the Bible itself – the Talmud – came into being in Babylon. The struggle between Persia and Byzantium, in our period, led increasingly to a separation between Jews under Byzantine, Christian rule and Jews under Persian rule.

Beyond all this, the Jews who lived under Christian rule seemed to have lost the knowledge of their own culturally specific languages – Hebrew and Aramaic – and to have taken on the use of Latin or Greek or other non-Jewish, local, languages. This in turn must have meant that they also lost access to the central literary works of Jewish culture – the Torah, Mishnah, poetry, midrash, even liturgy.

The loss of the unifying force represented by language – and of the associated literature – was a major step towards assimilation and disappearance. In these circumstances, with contact with the one place where Jewish cultural life continued to prosper – Babylon – cut off by conflict with Persia, Jewish life in the Christian world of late antiquity was not simply a pale shadow of what it had been three or four centuries earlier. It was doomed.

Had Islam not come along, the conflict with Persia would have continued. The separation between western Judaism, that of Christendom, and Babylonian Judaism, that of Mesopotamia, would have intensified. Jewry in the west would have declined to disappearance in many areas. And Jewry in the east would have become just another oriental cult.

But this was all prevented by the rise of Islam. The Islamic conquests of the seventh century changed the world, and did so with dramatic, wide-ranging and permanent effect for the Jews.

Within a century of the death of Mohammad, in 632, Muslim armies had conquered almost the whole of the world where Jews lived, from Spain eastward across North Africa and the Middle East as far as the eastern frontier of Iran and beyond. Almost all the Jews in the world were now ruled by Islam. This new situation transformed Jewish existence. Their fortunes changed in legal, demographic, social, religious, political, geographical, economic, linguistic and cultural terms – all for the better.

First, things improved politically. Almost everywhere in Christendom where Jews had lived now formed part of the same political space as Babylon – Cordoba and Basra lay in the same political world. The old frontier between the vital centre in Babylonia and the Jews of the Mediterranean basin was swept away, forever.

Political change was partnered by change in the legal status of the Jewish population: although it is not always clear what happened during the Muslim conquests, one thing is certain. The result of the conquests was, by and large, to make the Jews second-class citizens.

This should not be misunderstood: to be a second-class citizen was a far better thing to be than not to be a citizen at all. For most of these Jews, second-class citizenship represented a major advance. In Visigothic Spain, for example, shortly before the Muslim conquest in 711, the Jews had seen their children removed from them and forcibly converted to Christianity and had themselves been enslaved.

In the developing Islamic societies of the classical and medieval periods, being a Jew meant belonging to a category defined under law, enjoying certain rights and protections, alongside various obligations. These rights and protections were not as extensive or as generous as those enjoyed by Muslims, and the obligations were greater but, for the first few centuries, the Muslims themselves were a minority, and the practical differences were not all that great.

Along with legal near-equality came social and economic equality. Jews were not confined to ghettos, either literally or in terms of economic activity. The societies of Islam were, in effect, open societies. In religious terms, too, Jews enjoyed virtually full freedom. They might not build many new synagogues – in theory – and they might not make too public their profession of their faith, but there was no really significant restriction on the practice of their religion. Along with internal legal autonomy, they also enjoyed formal representation, through leaders of their own, before the authorities of the state. Imperfect and often not quite as rosy as this might sound, it was at least the broad norm.

Read the rest…

Ultra Orthodox Vandalize 1600 Year Old Synagogue Mosaic

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2012 by loonwatch

Part of the Israeli Mosaic and Synagogue that was damaged

Recently we had Pat Robertson giving sanction to the destruction of Buddha statues. Now we have a slightly different and bizarre case of desecration. A suspected group of Ultra-Orthodox Jews have vandalized and caused “irreparable” damage to a rare 1600 year old mosaic in an ancient synagogue. They seem to be protesting archeological digs that they claim involve ancient grave sites.

If this group of vandals had been Muslim one surely would have heard of it all over the news. Discussions about the irreconcilable nature of Islam and modernity would infest the looniverse.

What if they were Muslim?:

Israel Zodiac Mosaic: Vandals Damage 1,600-Year-Old Art At Synagogue

Diaa Haddad (AP)

JERUSALEM — Vandals badly damaged a rare 1,600-year-old mosaic in the northern Israeli city of Tiberias that formed the floor of an ancient synagogue, smashing parts to rubble and scrawling graffiti, antiquity officials said Tuesday.

Experts suspect extremist Jews who object, sometimes violently, to excavations they claim involve ancient grave sites. There was no claim of responsibility. Police are investigating.

Guards found the damage on Tuesday morning, said archeologists involved in the site.

The mosaic, dating 400 years after the birth of Jesus, was one of the best preserved and beautiful of its period, according to archaeologists.

It featured illustrated zodiac signs and the traditional symbolism of a fourth-century synagogue: ritual candelabras and palm fronds. The synagogue’s ruins, including its ancient mosaic floor, were in a fenced-off area of a national park in Tiberias, next to the Sea of Galilee.

It listed the names of the synagogue’s chief patrons in ancient Hebrew, Latin and Greek.

Israel Antiquities Authority deputy director Uzi Dahari said a fringe group of ultra-Orthodox Jews were suspected of causing the damage, much of it irreversible. Dahari said the graffiti scrawled across parts of the archaeological site and previous threats against the Antiquities Authority suggested they were the perpetrators.

Photographs issued by the Antiquities Authority showed parts of the mosaic floor reduced to gray chunks of rubble. Other photographs showed blue spray paint scrawled over the mosaic, covering ancient Hebrew and Greek letters spelled out in blue, red and beige tiles. Graffiti was also scrawled along rock walls beside the mosaic. Perpetrators also punched a hole in the mosaic between two candelabras.

“On every grave, a site,” one neatly written Hebrew slogan said.

ferred to constant accusations by a tiny Jewish hard-line group that the Antiquities Authority was digging up Jewish graves. Disturbing Jewish graves is a deeply offensive act for devout Jews.

Archeologists said they have found similar graffiti on other sites. The Hebrew word for “site” is also shorthand for an archaeological site, as in English.

An archaeologist who frequently works in the Galilee area, Gilad Kinamon, said ultra-Orthodox Jews frequently turned up to his sites to demonstrate against his work.

“It was the best of Jewish art of its time, of the late Roman and early Byzantine period,” said Dahari. They … destroyed what was in front of them without thinking,” he said.

Settlers Shoot Palestinian, Attack Mosque Imam

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2012 by loonwatch

More anti-Palestinian violence from fanatical settlers who believe the land has been deeded to them by God, and therefore they have right to intimidate Palestinians into leaving:

Israeli settler shoots Palestinian in West Bank

NABLUS (Ma’an) — An Israeli settler shot and wounded a Palestinian man on Saturday in a clash that began when a group of settlers set fire to fields belonging to a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, officials said.

Najeh al-Safadi, 22, was handcuffed by a guard from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar who threw him to the ground and shot him while other settlers kicked him, a relative said.

Muntaser al-Safadi said people from his village, Orif, which is near Nablus in the northern West Bank, arrived and rescued the young man. He was transferred to Rafidia hospital with severe injuries.

Residents said about 25 settlers, some of them carrying guns, set fire to wheat fields and an olive grove near the Orif school. Settlers fired at people who were trying to put out the fire, they said.

Villagers came out to extinguish the fire and ended up clashing with the settlers, said Nablus official Ghassan Daghlas. Eight people were injured and four of them were hospitalized, he told Ma’an.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed that a settler shot and wounded one Palestinian, adding that security forces were sent to the scene to break up the violence.

“The Israel Defense Forces regards this incident as severe and will thoroughly investigate it,” the spokesman said.

The military is investigating a similar incident from last week in which a video distributed by an anti-settlement group appeared to show a settler shooting and wounding a Palestinian during a confrontation with rock-throwing Palestinians, as soldiers stood by.

Daghlas said Saturday’s attack was a direct assault on civilians, and part of a pattern of incidents sparked by gun-toting settlers.

The official expressed surprise at the “international silence” toward Israeli violations, particularly the silence of the United Nations.

It is also being reported that Settlers attacked an Imam in the Ain Silwan region:

Settlers attack mosque Imam, IOF arrest a boy

(Palestine-info.co.uk

AL-KHALIL– A number of Jewish settlers attacked on Saturday the imam of Ain Silwan mosque in Silwan town in Jerusalem after storming the neighboring area.

Jerusalemite sources stated that the settlers attacked the seventy-year-old imam of Ain Silwan mosque, Adam Samreen, under the pretext of enabling tourists to enter the place. Meanwhile, the Zionist settlers raided the neighboring area, and attacked the guard causing him injuries.

It is noted that the ongoing Zionist attacks against Jerusalemites aim at forcing them to leave their lands and properties.

Nachum Shifren: Racist Rabbi Still Trying to Run For Senate Seat

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2012 by loonwatch

Nachum Shifren is still trying to run for senate. He thinks “White Americans” like “him” are under assault by everyone else. In the past we exposed Shifren for being the racist and hate-monger he is in our article, Rabbi Nachum Shifren: Rides the Wave of Islamophobia and Rabbi Nachum Shifren: EDL is the Salvation of the West from the “Muslim Dogs”.

I am not even sure if Shifren is still a Jew, how can he say this and remain a Jew, perhaps he is a “self-hating” Jew?:

… I AM an Islamophobe, and everything we need to know about Islam, we learned on 9-11! I believe in peace and justice for everybody – but that’s not why they’re here…. We’re getting sucker-punched because we as white – yes I said it! – as white, Christian Americans are being taught that somehow WE are to blame for all the problems.

Clearly he didn’t mean to say that he is a “Christian,” maybe he forgot to add the “Judeo” part?

Also see Richard Silverstein’s take: California Tea Party “White Christian” Settler Rabbi for US Senate

California: EDL-supporting Senate candidate claims to defend ‘white Americans’ against threat of Islam

San Mateo, CA — In the US Senate primary in California on June 5th, where 23 candidates vie to challenge Senator Dianne Feinstein in November, conservative candidates were recorded on videoverbally attacking teachers, Muslims, and minority groups to excite their base at GOP and Tea Party venues.

The video was recorded at a “Get to Know Your Candidates” event hosted by the San Mateo GOP at the American Legion Hall here. Dr. David Levitt, the candidate who recorded the event, reports unmasked homophobia, Islamophobia, and racism in the Republicans’ speeches.

In the video Republican candidate Rabbi Shifren cries, “… I AM an Islamophobe, and everything we need to know about Islam, we learned on 9-11! I believe in peace and justice for everybody – but that’s not why they’re here…. We’re getting sucker-punched because we as white – yes I said it! – as white, Christian Americans are being taught that somehow WE are to blame for all the problems.”

PRWeb, 14 May 2012

In October 2010 Nachum Shifren visited the UK to express his solidarity with the English Defence League, joining them for ademonstration in support of Israel and against “Islamic fascism” at which he was the main speaker. Fired up by Shifren’s Islamophobic rhetoric – he described Muslims as “dogs” who were trying to “take over our countries” – three EDL members attacked an Islamic literature stall and were later convicted of public order offences, with one of them receiving a seven-day prison sentence and a five-year CRASBO.

Jewish Settlers Torch 250 Olive Trees in Nablus

Posted in Loon People, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2012 by loonwatch

Palestine_Olive_Trees_torched

Uprooted trees

This is a recurring thing, in which extremist settlers, who believe that God gave them the land attempt to intimidate and terrorize Palestinian landowners in the hope that they will leave and then the settlers can annex the land. (h/t: Musa)

NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers on Wednesday set fire to hundreds of trees in Nablus in the northern West Bank, a Fatah official said.

Ghassan Doughlas said residents of Tappuah settlement chopped down and torched around 250 olive trees in Jammain village. The settlement is built on land belonging to the village.

Settlers also chopped down 17 trees in nearby village Burin and forced shepherds off their pastures in Aqraba and Yanun, also in Nablus, Doughlas said.

I’am not sure if the following is a report of the same incident, but it was reported a week ago, and reports that the settlers came from Etamar rather than Tappuah (via. Occupied-Palestine):

NABLUS, (PIC)– Jewish settlers uprooted 200 olive trees near Aqraba village, Nablus, on Wednesday morning, local sources said.

Hamza Deiriya, a member of the committee for the defense of Aqraba land, said that the settlers came from Etamar settlement and chopped off the trees planted in an area of six dunums.

He noted that the settlers were attacking this same area for the sixth time, recalling that olive trees and water wells in it were destroyed at their hands.

He charged that the Jewish settlers want to terrorize the Palestinian landowners and to annex their land.

Survivor From the Holocaust Converted to Islam and Married a Palestinian

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Helen Brashatsky_Leila_Jabarin

Leila Jabarin (Helen Brashatsky)

A Holocaust survivor by the name of Helen Brashatsky (Leila Jabarin) who arrived in mandate Palestine in 1948, married a Palestinian and converted to Islam.(h/t:MasterQ)

Quite a fascinating story, AlJazeera Arabic has an interesting article in Arabic about her being denied the payments that Holocaust survivors received because she converted to Islam: Survivor From the Holocaust, Converted to Islam and Married a Palestinian.(h/t: ArabAtheist)

She likely would be an excellent individual to educate children on the consequences of hate and genocide. Her story would also help dispel Holocaust denial:

Holocaust survivor finds haven as Muslim in Israel

UMM EL-FAHM, Israel — For more than five decades, Leila Jabarin hid her secret from her Muslim children and grandchildren — that she was a Jewish Holocaust survivor born in Auschwitz concentration camp.

Although her family knew she was a Jewish convert, none of them knew of her brutal past.

It was only in the past week that Jabarin, who was born Helen Brashatsky, finally sat down and told them the story of how she was born inside Auschwitz, the most notorious symbol of Nazi Germany’s wartime campaign of genocide against Europe’s Jews.

In an interview with AFP to mark Holocaust Memorial Day which begins at sundown on Wednesday, Jabarin, now 70, chuckles as she talks about what to call her.

Her Muslim name is Leila, but in this Arab town in northern Israel where she has lived for the past 52 years, most people call her Umm Raja, Arabic for “Raja’s mother” after her first-born son.

Like most Jewish children, she also has a Hebrew name — Leah — but she just likes to be called Helen.

She was six when she came to live in Mandate Palestine with her parents, just months before the State of Israel was declared in May 1948.

They arrived in a ship carrying Jewish immigrants from the former Yugoslavia, which was forced to anchor off the coast of Haifa for a week due to a heavy British bombardment of the northern port city, she says.

Despite the war which broke out as soon as the British pulled out, it was a far cry from the savage reality the family had witnessed inside Auschwitz, says Jabarin who is dressed in a hijab and long robes, but whose pale skin and blue eyes belie her Eastern European parentage.

Her mother, who was from Hungary, and her father, who was of Russian descent, were living in Yugoslavia when they were sent to the Auschwitz with their two young sons in 1941.

“When they took them to Auschwitz, she was pregnant with me, and when she gave birth, the Christian doctor at Auschwitz hid me in bath towels,” she says, explaining how the doctor hid the family for three years under the floor of his house inside the camp.

Her mother worked as a maid at the doctor’s home, while her father was the gardener.

“They used to come back at night and sleep under the floor and my mother used to tell us how the Nazis were killing children, but that this doctor saved us,” she says, recalling how her mother used to feed them on dry bread soaked in hot water with salt.

“I still remember the black and white striped pyjamas and remember terrible beatings in the camp. If I was healthy enough, I would have gone back to see it but I have already had four heart attacks.

“It is scary and very, very difficult to remember that place where so many people suffered,” she admits, speaking in a mix of Hebrew and accented Arabic.

She also speaks Hungarian, a little Yiddish and some Russian.

The family were finally freed when the camp was liberated in 1945 and left for Mandate Palestine three years later.

At first, the new immigrants were put in camps at Atlit, some 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Haifa, but two years later, they moved further south to Holon and then to Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv.

Ten years later, when she was 17, Helen Brashatsky eloped with a young Arab man called Ahmed Jabarin, and they moved to live in Umm al-Fahm, which caused a huge split with her family.

“She ran away with me and she was 17 when we got married,” her husband says. “The Israeli authorities used to come to Umm al-Fahm and take her back to her family in Ramat Gan, then she would come straight back here.”

Initially, her family did not speak to her for two years, but later they were reconciled.

In the end, it was her mother who suggested she convert to Islam when her eldest son turned 18 and was asked to do his compulsory military service.

“My mother advised me not to send my son to do military service because if he did, my daughter would also have to do it.

“She said I should convert to Islam to save my daughter from serving in the army because Muslims would not let a girl live away from home on an army camp.”

So she converted.

But she never told her family the full extent of her history.

“I hid my pain for 52 years and the truth about my past from my eight children and my 31 grandchildren. I hid the fact that I was born in Auschwitz and what that painful past means.

“I was just waiting for the right moment to tell them.”

The moment came several days ago when a man turned up from the Israeli social services and got talking to her about her past, just days before the annual ceremonies remembering the Holocaust.

“Whenever it is Holocaust Memorial Day, I cry alone. There are no words to describe the pain that I feel. How can children eat dry bread soaked in water? If this happened to my children, I don’t know what would become of me.”

For her family, the revelation was a huge shock — but it answered a lot of questions, admits her 33-year-old son Nader Jabarin.

“Mum used to cry on Holocaust Memorial Day watching all the ceremonies on Israeli television. We never understood why. We all used to get out of the way and leave her alone in the house,” he told AFP.

But by telling her long-kept secret, it had brought release to both her and her family, he said.

“We understand her a bit more now.”

Shaul Spitzer: Teen Gets Prison in Religious Dispute Firebomb

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Shaul_Spitzer_Hasidic

Shaul Spitzer

What if he were Muslim? Spitzer firebombed his neighbor for disagreeing with a Rabbi’s religious opinion. Should Judaism be blamed for this now? Of course not.

Spitzer’s sentence was reduced because of concern about how he will fair in prison life. Hopefully some Muslim prisoners can protect Spitzer while he is in prison, he will certainly need help (h/t: JD):

NY teen gets prison in religious-dispute firebomb

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — A Hasidic teenager was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison for the firebomb attack that badly burned a neighbor during a religious dispute in an insular Jewish enclave.

A defense attorney said the sentence was fair but worried about prison life for an 18-year-old who has “never seen TV, never been on the Internet, doesn’t know who Babe Ruth and Derek Jeter are.”

Shaul Spitzer of New Square had been charged with attempted murder but pleaded guilty to assault as potential jurors gathered for his trial in February. A trial would have brought unwanted attention to New Square, a New York village where nearly every one of the 7,000 residents is a member of the Skver Hasidic sect.

Spitzer admitted that he attacked Aron Rottenberg, a plumber, outside Rottenberg’s home in May. He said he did it because Rottenberg defied New Square’s grand rabbi by worshiping with nursing home residents rather than at New Square’s main synagogue.

Rottenberg, a plumber, claimed in a lawsuit that Spitzer was acting at the direction of the rabbi, David Twersky. The rabbi denied involvement and was not charged. The lawsuit was settled for $2.3 million.

Rottenberg had asked Rockland County Court Judge William Kelly to be lenient with Spitzer, who was also burned, and the judge came down from the 10-year cap he had promised after the plea deal.

Defense attorney Kenneth Gribetz said the sentence was “fair and compassionate.” But he said he fears for Spitzer, who he said will be the rare inmate who has had “no exposure to the outside world.”

“His whole life has been the rabbi and the synagogue and now he’s going to state prison,” Gribetz said. “This is a very severe sentence for a boy from New Square. I hope he can be safeguarded.”

New Square is about 30 miles north of Manhattan. The sect and the village are named for the Ukrainian village of Skver, where sect members were killed during the Holocaust.

Happy Passover and Easter Weekend

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on April 7, 2012 by loonwatch

To all those celebrating and reflecting on Passover and Easter, may this be a blessed time for you all.

May it be a time free of hate and filled with peace, security and spiritual renewal.

Happy Passover:

Happy Easter:

Forward.com: Christians Called to Serve Jewish Settlers

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Christians helping Jewish settlers cultivate stolen land

Evangelical Christians are heeding the call to help Jewish settlers occupying Palestinian land harvest  crops. They are doing so because the “Bible” says so.

So the Bible legitimates the confiscation of other people’s land, driving them out and then aiding the occupiers and initiators of violence in reaping the harvest from land that they stole?:

Christians Called To Serve Jewish Settlers

(Forward.com)

PSAGOT, WEST BANK — It is a typical, even stereotypical, West Bank settlement scene: bearded young men pruning vines while enthusing about the Chosen People’s God-given right to this region. But in this case it is Jesus, and not Jewish identity, that animates these tillers.

For years, Westerners have flocked to the Israeli-occupied West Bank to help Palestinians with their olive harvest, as part of left-wing activist groups like the International Solidarity Movement. Among other things, the activists seek to resist efforts by settlers to disrupt the Palestinians’ reaping.

Now, the settlers have international harvest help of their own. The young Christians working in the Psagot Winery’s vineyards near Ramallah in mid-March were members of HaYovel. Last year, this Tennessee-based evangelical ministry started a large-scale operation to bring volunteers to tend and harvest settler grapes. They attach epic importance to their work.

God’s Work: Volunteers come to the West Bank to further a Biblical mission.

NATHAN JEFFAY
God’s Work: Volunteers come to the West Bank to further a Biblical mission.

“When you see prophecy taking place, you have the option to do nothing or become a vessel to it,” said volunteer pruner Blake Smith, a 20-year-old farmer from Virginia.

HaYovel preaches the old-school ideology of Religious Zionist settlers with one innovation: a sacred role for Christians.

The group’s members believe that the establishment of the State of Israel, its subsequent conquering of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and specifically the flourishing of agriculture in the occupied areas are fulfillments of biblical prophecies. Like many settlers, HaYovel cites a prophecy by Jeremiah that refers to the Samaria region of the West Bank: “Again you shall plant vines on the mountains of Samaria.” And like them, HaYovel believes that the settlement movement will help to bring the Messiah to Jerusalem — the only difference being that the volunteers anticipate a second coming.

But these Christians also focus on a prophecy rarely cited by settlers, who tend to place ideological value on using only avoda ivrit, or “Hebrew labor,” whenever possible. “And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vine-dressers,” Isaiah prophesized to the Israelites.

Basing itself on this verse, HaYovel — which takes its name from the Bible’s twice-a-century agricultural jubilee — has made reverence of settlers into a central religious virtue.

“Being here, we just want to serve — and to bless the Jewish people in building up the land,” said Joshua Waller, a HaYovel ministry leader and one of the 11 children of Tommy Waller, the group’s founder and spiritual head. During a lunch break, a settler with yarmulke and sidelocks came to address volunteers. They keenly asked him to explain why the international community is wrong and the West Bank is not really occupied, and seemed prepared to accept what they were told. “We are not here to teach anything, just to learn,” Joshua Waller said shortly before the talk began.

To some of the volunteers, becoming settler laborers is a way of righting a historical Christian wrong. “This is a crazy time,” said Joe Trad Jr., a 23-year-old college dropout from Missouri. Over 2,000 years of contention, he said, “we saw Constantine and the Holocaust. Yet today, in this spot of the world, you have Christians and Jews for the first time with the same goal.”

The volunteers are a mix of people who, like Smith, had a mainstream Christian upbringing and were drawn to HaYovel out of curiosity; people from families that gave up the organized church to develop their own brand of religion, one they see as closer to Judaism, and some people who are emerging from personal crises.

Trad, a former alcoholic and cocaine addict, went through rehab and became a Christian two years ago. He described his volunteering as a way of giving thanks “for what the Lord has done for me in my life by freeing me from these addictions.”

Aaron Hood, a 21-year-old HaYovel staff employee, comes from a Tennessee family of 14 children that gave up on any organized church and started observing the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible according to its own understanding. The family observes Saturday, not Sunday, as a rest day.

Forward: Israel Fails To Rein In Jewish Extremists

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by loonwatch

Israeli settlers attack Palestinians daily

Israeli settlers attack Palestinians daily

Something tells me the below numbers are very conservative:

Israel Fails To Rein In Jewish Extremists: Report

by JTA (Forward)

Israel is not doing enough to stop the large increase in attacks on Palestinians by Jewish extremists, according to an internal European Union report.

The report by the 22 heads of mission of EU countries’ ambassadors in Ramallah said there were 411 assaults in 2011, compared to 266 in 2010 and 132 in 2009, according to Euobserver.com, which saw the report. The Netherlands was the lone country that refused to endorse the report.

The attacks ranged from throwing stones to gunfire, and uprooting olive trees to burning mosques. Three Palestinians were reported dead and 183 injured by the attacks.

Eight Jewish settlers, including five members of the Fogel family, were killed and 37 injured.

The report said that a small “hard-core” group of Jewish settlers carried out the attacks, according to Euobserver. But the diplomats also called the settler attacks part of a broader Israeli campaign to get rid of the Palestinians, saying they “effectively force a withdrawal of the Palestinian population away from the vicinity of settlements, thereby increasing the scope for settlement expansion.”

The EU report said that more than 90 percent of complaints filed by Palestinians ended with no indictment.

Israel has set up a police task force to stop settler attacks and Israeli leaders have roundly condemned such attacks, an Israeli official told Euobserver. The EU report also acknowledged that Israeli soldiers helped prevent attacks during the Palestinian olive harvest last year.

Read more: http://www.forward.com/articles/153021/israel-fails-to-rein-in-jewish-extremists-report/#ixzz1pDnjTTRV

‘The Jews have stopped the billboard’ – American Atheists’ Leader Complains that ‘God is a myth’ ad near Hasidic Neighbourhood has Been Blocked

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2012 by loonwatch

Bob Pitt of Islamophobia-Watch rightly questions whether Islamophobes who allied themselves with American Atheists over the Zombie Muhammad issue will now cry that Jews are attacking freedom of speech and expression, as they surely would if Muslims had stopped the billboard:

(via. Islamophobia-Watch)

‘The Jews have stopped the billboard’ – American Atheists’ Leader Complains that ‘God is a myth’ ad near Hasidic Neighbourhood has Been Blocked

by Bob Pitt

This time atheists found themselves answering to a higher power – a picky landlord. A Southside loft owner refused to allow a billboard questioning Judaism to be installed atop his S. Fifth Street building on Tuesday amid outrage in Williamsburg’s Hasidic community.

National atheist leaders tried to take out a month-long ad adjacent to Williamsburg’s Orthodox Jewish stronghold with text in English and Hebrew reading: “You know it’s a myth … and you have a choice.” But at the last minute, landlord Kenny Stier refused to allow workers from the advertising company Clear Channel into his building, according to American Atheists president David Silverman.

Silverman claims powerful neighborhood rabbis convinced Stier to block the non-believing billboard and called the religious leaders and the landlord “anti-atheist bigots”. “The Jews have stopped the billboard,” said Silverman. “It’s really ugly bigotry. As a former Jew, it’s repugnant to see Jews act like this.”

Several Hasidic leaders said they had nothing to do with the landlord’s decision to block the billboard, and Stier declined to comment. “I don’t want to get involved in this,” he said.

Councilman Steve Levin (D–Williamsburg) said the billboard showed a “severe lack of sensitivity” at a time when Brooklyn should be striving to have open conversations about religion.

“Even if we were to ignore the antagonistic placement of this billboard near the Williamsburg Bridge, the content of the message is conveyed in a disrespectful manner,” said Levin. “This does not appear to be a genuine attempt to engage in a dialogue, but is here merely to insult the beliefs of this community.”

The Brooklyn Paper, 6 March 2012

We look forward to Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who have been enthusiastically supporting American Atheists over the “Zombie Muhammad” controversy, joining Silverman in condemning this development as an outrageous attack on freedom of expression – as they undoubtedly would if it had occurred in a Muslim neighbourhood. But don’t hold your breath.

Texas Schools Association Discriminates against Muslims as Well as Jews

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2012 by loonwatch

A really egregious story out of Texas:

Texas schools association discriminates against Muslims as well as Jews

A Houston Islamic academy was denied membership to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools after being grilled about the Koran and the mosque located at Ground Zero.

Iman Academy applied for membership to TAPPS in 2010, but the association denied the school’s request. After being rejected two years ago, Principal Cindy Steffens did not go public with the story, but The New York Times uncovered the Houston academy’s name last week and ran an article about the controversy.

TAPPS represents more than 220 private schools in the state. The association drew national attention last week after refusing to reschedule a basketball game for a Jewish Orthodox day school Robert M. Beren Academy in Houston, which could not play at the time because the players observed the Sabbath. After the parents threatened legal action, Beren was allowed to play its semi-final game.

The Iman Academy received a questionnaire as part of their application to apply for the TAPPS. Steffens said the questionnaire had provocative and loaded questions, including how the school addresses Christmas. Among the questions sent to Iman Academy and the other Islamic schools that applied were:

  • Historically, there is nothing in the Koran that fully embraces Christianity or Judaism in the way a Christian and/or a Jew understands his religion. Why, then, are you interested in joining an association whose basic beliefs your religion condemns?
  • It is our understanding that the Koran tells you not to mix with (and even eliminate) the infidels. Christians and Jews fall into that category. Why do you wish to join an organization whose membership is in disagreement with your beliefs?
  • How does your school address certain Christian concepts? (i.e. celebrating Christmas)
  • Does your school teach that the Bible is corrupt? When was the  Bible allegedly polluted? Does the Koran actually  state that the Bible is polluted?
  • What is your attitude about the spread of Islam in America? What are the goals of your school in this regard?

In 2004, two other Islamic schools applied for membership and received a response letter that they perceived as hostile to their faith. They chose not to answer the questions, but Iman Academy did.

School officials were invited to an interview before the TAPPS board in November 2010, and Steffens said one board member said he wanted to discuss the “elephant in the room.” She said the board asked questions that seemed irrelevant to joining an association to play sports, such as asking her opinion about the mosque located near Ground Zero in New York City.

Steffens said another board member told her, “I know all Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”

Houston Chronicle, 6 March 2012

Robert P. Jones: The State of Anti-Sharia Bills

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2012 by loonwatch

Bad news for the hate brigades? It looks like  the ever shifting poll numbers are indicating that the anti-Sharia’ drive is no longer as popular with Americans now that it impedes upon the free exercise of religion by Jewish and Christian groups and also makes life difficult for business leaders:

The state of anti-sharia bills

by Robert P. Jones (WaPoBlog)

Earlier this month, before the furor over several proposed abortion bills threw Virginia into the national spotlight, another controversial bill began moving in the House of Delegates.

House Bill 825 proposes to ban the use of any legal code established outside the United States in U.S. courtrooms. While it is largely understood that the primary target of the legislation was sharia, or Islamic law, the expansive bill has drawn unexpected criticism from other groups that are concerned that, as written, it could easily be interpreted to ban the use of halacha, Jewish law, and other Catholic canon laws. Muslim advocates had already condemned the bill, as they’ve done with the dozens of state-level bills that have explicitly or implicitly targeted Islamic law. But Jewish groups were also speaking out, saying that the law could limit their ability to settle family matters like wills and divorces according to their religious guidelines. Catholic officials also voiced concerns that bills like these could prevent the Roman Catholic Church (based in Italy) from owning parish buildings and schools. Business leaders also added their voices to the clamor against the bill, citing concerns that it could hurt international business relations. Deciding to reevaluate their approach, the bill’s proponents sent the bill back to committee.

Virginia is just one of two dozen states with bans on foreign laws moving in their legislature. Last week, a similar bill made its way out of Florida’s House Judiciary Committee, amid protests from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Florida Bar’s Family Association, and the ACLU. A third measure preventing the use of foreign law in U.S. courtrooms headed toward a vote in the Georgia House of Representatives.

But as the debate in Virginia shows, the tide could be changing. Lawmakers have had to revamp their approach since an Appeals court struck down Oklahoma’s earlier version as discriminatory for specifically mentioning sharia law. In order to pass constitutional muster, the new bills are written with broad-strokes prohibitions, which have had the unintended effect of drawing other religious groups and business interests into the fray.

Public opinion is also shifting. While these legal challenges evolved, Americans’ concerns about the threat that sharia law’s threat to the American legal system have fluctuated considerably, largely in response to public events that captured national attention. A year ago, when Rep. Peter King’s congressional hearings on alleged radicalization among American Muslims, 23 percent of Americans agreed that American Muslims want to establish sharia as the law of the land in the U.S. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) disagreed, while 13 percent said they did not know. In September 2011, near the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and amidst debates around the Park 51 Community Center and Mosque in Manhattan, which opponents dubbed the “ground-zero mosque,” this number rose to nearly one-third (30 percent) of the general population. Over six-in-10 (61 percent) disagreed, while 8 percent said they did not know.

Over the few months, though, these issues have had a much lower media profile. And in the absence of prominent national stimuli, concerns about the threat of sharia have dropped by more than half since September. PRRI’s February 2012 Religion and Politics Tracking Survey showed only 14 percent of Americans agree that American Muslims want to establish sharia or Islamic law as law of the land. More than two-thirds (68 percent) disagree, and nearly 1-in-5 (17 percent) say they do not know.

These two trends suggest that, despite early momentum, the sponsors of anti-sharia legislation may have an uphill battle ahead of them. By widening the bills’ scope to include all laws that originate outside the U.S., sponsors of anti-sharia legislation are wading more deeply into the waters of religious liberty. Given that 88 percent of Americans agree that the U.S. was founded on the idea of religious freedom for everyone, including religious groups that are unpopular, fighting these legislative battles openly on religious liberty terrain may be difficult. It certainly won’t help that the current bills are being considered at a time when Americans’ concerns about the threat of sharia law have ebbed.

By   |  03:55 PM ET, 02/29/2012

Haaretz: Jerusalem Christians are Latest Targets in Recent Spate of ‘Price Tag’ Attacks

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2012 by loonwatch

Some more analysis of the ongoing “price tag” attacks against Muslims and Christians in Israel:

Jerusalem Christians are latest targets in recent spate of ‘price tag’ attacks

“Price tag” graffiti was spray-painted in Jerusalem again Sunday night, with vandals this time targeting a downtown church.

The attack on the Narkis Street Baptist Congregation marks the latest in a series of price tag attacks that have targeted Muslim, Christian and leftist institutions in the capital over the last two months. But police believe most of the vandalism is not the work of an organized group; rather, they say, the spray-painted slogans are largely copycat actions carried out by lone individuals.

The original price tag attacks, in contrast, were thought to be the work of a group of settlers seeking to set a “price tag” on house demolitions in the settlements via retaliatory attacks on Palestinians and/or Israeli soldiers.

The attacks during the past two months have included the torching of cars belonging to Arab residents of Jerusalem’s Kiryat Moshe neighborhood; spray-painting slogans on a Christian cemetery on Mount Zion; spray-painting slogans on Peace Now’s office in the capital, as well as the house of Peace Now activist Hagit Ofran; threats against Peace Now secretary general Yariv Oppenheimer; and an arson attack on an ancient mosque in the city’s Geula neighborhood. Over the last week alone, a bilingual school and two churches have been vandalized, including the Baptist church vandalized Sunday.

In both church attacks, the vandals spray-painted slogans denouncing Christianity, Jesus and Mary, such as “Jesus is dead,” “Death to Christianity” and “Mary was a prostitute.” They also included the by-now customary “price tag” slogan.

The Jerusalem police said they have arrested several suspects in this spate of attacks, including one for the attacks on Peace Now and one for the vandalism of the bilingual school. The latter suspect, arrested last week, said he vandalized the school to avenge the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team’s loss to two Arab teams two weeks ago, according to police. Police believe that many of the other attacks are similarly motivated by ordinary hooliganism, rather than ideology.

“It’s intolerably easy,” one senior Jerusalem police officer said. “Any child can take a spray can and spray it, and people know it will be broadcast. Not every case is really nationalistic.”

But to victims, the motive is irrelevant. Jerusalem’s Christian community increasingly feels under assault, and that is especially true for Christians living in Jewish neighborhoods. Priests in the Old City, especially Armenian priests who must often transit the Jewish Quarter, say they are spat on almost daily.

“It’s almost impossible to pass through Jaffa Gate without this happening,” said a senior priest at one Jerusalem church.

The spitting has become so prevalent that some priests have simply stopped going to certain parts of the Old City.

The Baptist church has been attacked twice before: It was torched in 1982 and again in 2007. “We mainly feel sad” about the attacks, said the church’s pastor, Charles Kopp. “It hurts us that anyone could even think we deserve such treatment. They don’t know us, but they apparently oppose anyone who doesn’t identity with them. I wish them well; I have no desire for revenge.”

Baptist priests don’t normally walk around in priestly garb, but Kopp said he would be afraid to walk through the Old City if he did.

Jacob Avrahami, the mayor’s advisor on the Christian community, visited the Baptist church on Monday to condemn the attacks. “They feel besieged; you can see it on them,” he said.

Dr. Gadi Gevaryahu, whose Banish the Darkness organization works to combat racism, said his big fear is that “one day, they’ll attack a mosque or a church with people inside and there will be a terrible conflagration here.”

“Over the last two years, 10 mosques have been torched here, and today it’s clear that it’s not just aimed at Palestinians or Muslims, but at foreigners in general,” he said.

Gevaryahu also offered a practical suggestion: Security cameras, he said, should be installed on every sensitive building in the city.

Jewish Extremists Target Palestinian Church, Spray Paint “Death to Christians”

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by loonwatch

What if they were Muslim?

Jerusalem Church Vandalised with Graffiti Inciting Hatred Against Christians

(IMEMC)

Racist graffiti has been sprayed on a church in Jerusalem on Monday in the third such incident in the past month in the city.

The graffiti included “Death to Christians” and the phrase “price tag” was found on the walls of the Baptist Narkis Street Congregation according to reports from Ma’an News Agency.

Furthermore residents of the area found their car tyres slashed.

This attack follows a similar such incidents, occurring on the same day in early February, where the bilingual school Hand In Hand and the Monastery of the Cross where vandalised, also promoting violence against Christians.

Attacks under this monicker of price tag refer to actions by Israel’s settler population who respond to moves by the State of Israel against illegal outposts in the occupied West Bank.

Despite the dismantling of outposts that Israel deems illegal being carried out by the state, price tag attacks are almost universally against Palestinians, including numerous acts of arson against mosques in the West Bank.

Under the 4th Geneva Conventions, which Israel is a signatory, all construction of civilian property and the transfer of a civilian population by an occupying power is illegal, as is the displacement of the local population. Despite this, Israel distinguishes between it’s settlement activity, with the majority of settlements gaining construction approval by the state, who also provide funding for construction and subsidised loans for Israelis moving to settlements.

In addition to pre-approved settlement construction, many outposts that are constructed in violation of Israeli national law are given retroactive planning permission.

Brigitte Gabriel’s ACT! for America Meets with British “Freedom” Party

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2012 by loonwatch

Looks like Brigitte Gabriel‘s loony ACT! for America is seeking to cement ties with Islamophobes from across the pond, the trans-Atlantic Islamophobic Axis continues:

British Freedom Party links up with Brigitte Gabriel

On Thursday night, the Chairman of the newly formed British Freedom Party, Paul Weston, spoke to a group of New Yorkers at a meeting sponsored by Brigitte Gabriel’s Act For America organization. Weston also said he came to warn America that what is happening in Britain today could happen in America in the not too distant future.

This meeting is going to be preceded by a joint event between BFP chairman Paul Weston and the Jewish Defense League (JDL).

British Freedom Party leader to speak at Jewish Defense League meeting in Toronto

Security will be tight on Monday as a controversial leader of a far-right British Freedom Party (BFP) talks to supporters in Toronto about his tough stand against immigration and spread of radical Islam. Toronto Police officers will be on hand as Paul Weston is expected to draw a large crowd at the Toronto Zionist Centre, on Marlee Ave.

The BFP was formed in Oct. 2010 and features a 20-point platform with a priority to “stop immigration to Britain from countries that promote the Muslim brotherhood.” Other points of the platform include abolition of the human rights of foreign criminals and terrorists; deport dual nationality Islamists and illegal immigrants and stop or turn back all aspects of the Islamisation of Britain.

“We have witnessed the spread of fundamentalist Islam across Europe and are witnessing the same trend in North America,” Weston stated in party literature.

Meir Weinstein, of the Jewish Defense League, an organizer of the event, said security will be high when Weston takes to the stage to bash immigration and Muslims. “We are very excited to have him (Weston) here,” Weinstein said on Thursday. “His party wants more stringent rules for people coming from countries that promote the Muslim brotherhood.”

He said police have been notified of the event and private security will be on hand to prevent possible disruptions by protestors. “There has been some chatter on the Internet about protests,” Weinstein said. “We are not taking any chances.”

He said Weston is following in the footsteps of powerful anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders, of the Freedom Party of the Netherlands, who holds similar views. “There has to be a change to our immigration policy,” Weinstein said on Thursday. “One of our goals is to stop the spread of Muslim fundamentalism.”

Officials of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said Weston has no criminal convictions to bar him from entering the country.

Toronto Sun, 17 February 2012

Last year the JDL organised a meeting in solidarity with the English Defence League which was addressed by Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (“Tommy Robinson”) by video link.

Israelis Celebrate Death of Palestinian Children Killed in Accident

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2012 by loonwatch

If these revelers of the death of children were Palestinian or Muslim you can rest assured that Islam would be blamed!

If one were to employ the cynical and faulty methodology of Islamophobes one could easily find verses in the Bible justifying their happiness with the tragic deaths of the Palestinian Children, “happy is he who dashes children on the stones.”

Israelis celebrate death of Palestinian children killed in accident

(Al-Akhbar English)

Ten Palestinian children were killed and at least 20 were wounded on Thursday morning after an Israeli truck carrying a fuel tank crashed into the school bus transporting the kindergarten children near the Qalandia checkpoint in Ramallah.

Israelis on Facebook were celebrating the deaths of the Palestinian children, writing derogatory statements on a wall of a news post regarding the accident.

The bus carrying the children collided with the truck at an intersection in Jaba’a, overturned, and caught on fire.

The children immediately died, while a further eight remain in a critical condition, according to medical officials with the Palestinian Red Cross.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has declared three days of mourning.

Ramallah-based journalist Diana Alzeer said the collision was likely an accident due to wet weather, and not politically motivated.

In Bethlehem, a 15-year-old boy died this morning after a truck skidded on a slippery road and ran the boy over.

A statement released by the police said they have opened an investigation and confirmed that the boy died on the spot. Emergency crews arrived to the scene and transferred the boy’s body to a hospital in Beit Jala.

The Israeli comments have gone viral on Twitter, shocking users into disbelief at the level of racism and hatred directed towards the deceased Palestinian children.

Israel maintains a military occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem, imposing harsh restrictions on indigenous Palestinians while providing privileges to illegal Jewish settlers.

Palestinians are frequently attacked and harassed by settlers as well as the Israeli military, often with impunity.

(Al-Akhbar, Wafa)

Moment Magazine: Why Jews Can’t Criticize Sharia Law

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2012 by loonwatch

Interesting article by Marshall Breger:

Why Jews Can’t Criticize Sharia Law

by Marshall Breger (Momentmag)

Similarities between Judaism and Islam are easy to see. Both are monotheistic religions for whom the Lord is One. Both are religions based on revelation. In both, law is central, and personal and social existence is governed by a divinely ordained legal system.

There are also many obvious parallels between Judaism’s legal system, known as halacha, and the Islamic legal order of sharia. Both purport to instruct us in how to attend to every aspect of one’s life: one’s getting up and one’s going out, one’s sexual practice and one’s business practices. For some adherents of each, religious law also dictates political life, such as for whom to vote.
Despite this kinship, there are those in the Jewish community who would condemn Islam and sharia, arguing that, unlike Judaism, Islam is not worthy of the protections of American law.

David Yerushalmi, author of a model law banning sharia, argues that sharia differs from halacha because of its different “threat matrix.” Sharia, he tells us, requires faithful Muslims to impose Islamic law on the world “violently,” and its adherents should be charged with sedition against the United States. Rabbi Jon Hausman, a self-styled “warrior rabbi” from Massachusetts, tells us that in Judaism, unlike Islam, the law of the state is the law (in Aramaic, dina d’malchuta dina) so you don’t have to worry about such religious “imperialism.”

These commentators’ understanding of both sharia and halacha is markedly defective.

1. As Hausman surely knows, the reach of dina d’malchuta dina is debated among rabbinic commentators. Some limit the application of the Jewish legal system to property issues, others extend it to apply to all secular law that does not violate Jewish law. In any case, Hausman’s suggestion that halacha is a personal legal system—not relevant to civic life and politics—neglects both Jewish history and halacha itself. In Baghdad during the Middle Ages and in Poland during the time of the Council of the Four Lands, from the 16th to the 18th centuries, for instance, Jewish communities had their own courts, and Jewish law was enforced by secular authorities. And even today, thousands of Jews in both the United States and Israel look to rabbinic courts and halacha to resolve all manner of civil disputes.

While clearly some Muslims do view sharia as a hegemonic political force, the vast majority of Muslims, especially those living in the West, view sharia no differently from the way Jews view the halachic system: as an overarching guide to ordering one’s life. Muslim jurists have always drawn on sharia to mandate that fellow Muslims obey the laws of the land in matters that sharia does not prohibit. In numerous instances (see Koran 5:11), Muslims are told to “honor their contracts” and so to honor the “social contract” represented by the law of the land. The Fiqh Council of North America, the leading interpreter of Islamic law in the United States, ruled as recently as September 2011 that “there is no inherent conflict between the normative values of Islam and the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.”

2. Daniel Pipes recounts in a 2009 article an incident in England when the Indian Muslim owner of an old age home near Manchester proposed to switch to serving only halal food in the facility. After residents complained, the owner retracted the policy. To Pipes, the owner’s desire to remove pork from the menu, even though apparently not implemented, is proof that Islam wishes to impose itself on all around it. But is this drive for “imperium” the only explanation?

Indeed, Jewish law would have great sympathy for the position taken by the Indian entrepreneur. Though there are gray areas, Jewish law generally holds that one cannot benefit (or profit) from the sale of mixed milk and meat products. The legal compendium the Shulhan Aruch forbids Jews from selling non-kosher products on a regular basis (Yoreh De’ah 117.1). And anyone who has read Daphne Barak-Erez’s 2007 monograph Outlawed Pigs: Law, Religion, and Culture in Israel will appreciate the difficulties of commerce in pork products (or “white meat” as it is politely called) in Israel.

3. Critics of Islam make much of the Shiite legal doctrine of taqquia and the related concept of kitman, which allow one to dissemble or evade by misdirection in order to save a life or community from imminent destruction (see Koran 16:106). For these critics, the takeaway is that Muslims lie when it is in their interest, so we cannot trust their promises or make treaties with them.
But numerous Koranic references tell the believer to “mix not the truth with falsehood nor conceal the truth when you know what it is” (2:42). And further, “Conceal not [the truth]; for whomever conceals it is burdened with sin” (2:283).

Again, we must look to Jewish law analogues. Even the Chofetz Chaim, the rabbinic scholar most associated with truth-telling, allows “white lies” when they will produce social and interpersonal peace. (No threat of imminent destruction is required.) Maimonides allows one to lie about one’s religion to save one’s own life. And does anyone remember the Marranos?

My point is not to analyze the nuances of halacha, let alone sharia, but rather to underscore the inconsistency of attacking Islam for activities that Jewish law and practice would also permit, or even require.

These broadside attacks on sharia are reminiscent of Jewish polemical literature after the rise of Islam in the seventh and eighth centuries designed to show Judaism as superior. Later scholars such as the Meiri, though, moved on from polemics to classify Islam as a monotheistic religion close to Judaism. While there are certainly fundamentalist interpretations of Islam that we rightfully find dangerous and deplorable, it is time that Jews in America go beyond “gotcha” polemics and stop treating sharia and Islam as illegitimate expressions of man’s search for the divine.

Marshall Breger is a professor of law at Catholic University.

Shaul Spitzer, Hasidic Man Admits Burning Neighbor In New York Religious Dispute

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , on February 12, 2012 by loonwatch
Shaul_Spitzer_Hasidic
Shaul Spitzer

What if he were Muslim?

Shaul Spitzer, Hasidic Man Admits Burning Neighbor In New York Religious Dispute

NEW CITY, NY, Feb 7 (Reuters) – A Hasidic Jewish man from New York state pleaded guilty to assault on Tuesday for setting a neighbor on fire because he wasn’t praying with the rest of the community, leaving the man badly burned.

Shaul Spitzer, 18, of New Square, New York, admitted to lighting Aron Rottenberg ablaze after learning that he had disobeyed a prayer order by the Grand Rebbe of the Hasidic enclave about 35 miles north of New York City.

He pleaded guilty to assault in a New York court and faces up to 10 years in prison, although Judge William Kelly said he would likely receive a 5-year sentence.

Spitzer, who worked for Grand Rebbe David Twersky, admitted in court that he used a heavy duty propane lighter to set Rottenberg on fire in May 2011.

He lit him on fire when Rottenberg confronted him after Spitzer had stuffed gasoline-soaked shirts into a bag, lit it on fire and threw it onto the porch of Rottenberg’s home, he admitted. The family was sleeping inside, court documents said.

Prosecutor Stephen Moore said Rottenberg spent more than a month in the hospital for severe burns.

Under the plea deal, charges of attempted murder and arson were dismissed. Spitzer could have faced a 25-year prison sentence for those charges. Outside court, Spitzer’s attorney Kenneth Gribetz said his client had been trying to cause mischief, not to kill anyone.

“This is a young boy who has no criminal intent,” he said. “He’s not a criminal … He should be given a chance to get back on the right track.”

Spitzer, who will be sentenced in April, entered his plea on the day jury selection was set to begin in the case. Rottenberg was in court and told the judge he consented to the plea deal.

Court documents said Rottenberg’s family had received several threats and had their property vandalized for not praying in the community’s main synagogue.

Rottenburg has a pending civil lawsuit against Spitzer and Twersky stemming from the incident. Gribetz said in court a settlement in the $2 million range was under discussion. (Editing By Ellen Wulfhorst and Cynthia Johnston

90% of Anti-Semitic Crimes in Germany Committed by Right-Wing Extremists

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on January 25, 2012 by loonwatch
Berlin_GermanyBerlin, Germany

Horowitz tool Robert Spencer and his right-wing buddies, Bat Yeor, Geert Wilders, Pamela Geller, etc. have attempted to create a narrative that Muslim immigrants and their children are responsible for most, if not all “anti-Semitic crimes” in Europe. We have shown in the past that this is false, and the below article asserts that it is actually “right-wing extremists” who commit most anti-Semitic crimes–upwards to 90%.

The article also reveals that about 20% of Germans harbor some form of anti-Semitism:

(via. YNetNews)

Study: 20% of Germans harbor anti-Semitism

Sarah Bauder and AP

A new study by a Parliament-appointed commission shows 20% of Germans harbor “latent” anti-Semitism, but anti-Jewish crimes are almost exclusively committed by the far right.

The 188-page report – which draws on several different surveys and other research – puts Germans in the middle of the pack in Europe, with a German university survey showing more latent anti-Semitism in countries such as Poland, Hungary and Portugal, and less in Italy, Britain, the Netherlands and France.

The study released Monday said the surveys show that about one-fifth of Germans agree with anti-Semitic statements, such as “Jews have too much power in business.”

The study also showed that 90% of anti-Semitic crimes are committed by right-wing extremists, who number about 26,000 according to official estimates.

It recommends better coordination of local, state and federal strategies to combat anti-Semitism.

The report makes reference to “a wider acceptance in mainstream society of day-to-day anti-Jewish tirades and actions”.

“Anti-Semitism in our society is based on widespread prejudices, deeply rooted clichés and on sheer ignorance about Jews and Judaism,” stated one of the report’s authors, Dr. Peter Longerich of the University of London, Holocaust Research Center.

The report cites the Internet as a contributing factor to the spread of anti-Semitic thought.

“With regard to modern forms of communication – we point to the Internet in particular – it is virtually impossible to prevent the spread of such thinking,” Longerich continued.

Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life