Archive for Judaism

Forward.com: Holiday Proposal Sparks French Outrage

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2012 by loonwatch

An interesting read on the backlash from French politicians when MP Eva Joy proposed allowing Jews and Muslims be allowed to take the day off from school and work on their holiest religious holidays.

Holiday Proposal Sparks French Outrage

by Robert Zaretsky (Forward.com)

The political tempest spawned in France by Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the country’s credit rating has transfixed outside observers. They have thus paid little attention to a different storm now roiling the waters of French society: the question of whether or not French Jews can take the day off on Yom Kippur.

In early January, the Green Party’s candidate for president, Eva Joly, a naturalized French citizen raised in Norway, proposed that French Jews and Muslims should be given the right to take off from work or school on their holiest religious holidays. Observing that official holidays were accorded with Christian celebrations like Easter, Joly affirmed, “Each religion must benefit from equal treatment in the public realm.”

Joly made this declaration at an evening event called the “Night of Equality.” For critics on both the political right and left, “night” suddenly took on a deeper and more disturbing meaning than the soirée’s organizers had intended. Laurent Wauquiez, minister of higher education, took the opportunity to recall what any student of Western civilization already knew: “Our history and roots are Christian.” One of the consequences, he continued, was that this “led to a certain number of national holidays on our calendar.” Wagging his finger at Joly, he concluded, “Toleration in France cannot be built on the negation of our past.”

Eva Joly

GETTY IMAGES
Eva Joly

No less eager to slap down the proposal were the Socialists. Michel Sapin, a spokesman for presidential candidate Francois Hollande, also cited the imprint of the past, but unlike Wauquiez, he dwelt on the imperative of a fully secular society. “Eva Joly would do well to always recall this principle,” Sapin harrumphed.

No surprises here: The left has long emphasized the principle of laicism, the right has long praised the force of history and the two sides have long met somewhere in the middle. What might seem surprising, though, was the reaction of the very groups that Joly sought to rally to her cause. France’s head rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, was eager to disassociate his community from the proposal. Refusing to offer his own opinion, Bernheim quickly added that no Jewish institution played a role in Joly’s declaration. At the same time, Richard Prasquier, president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, made a great show of indifference: “Our country has a Catholic calendar: So what?” As for French Muslims, the head of the Great Mosque in Paris was the only one to confess his admiration for the proposal, but in the same breath he added that the law could not be easily enacted or implemented.

When the proposal itself was not immediately attacked, it was instead dismissed as a transparent effort by Joly to resurrect a floundering campaign. But the speed with which her idea was mauled or mocked reflects a deep malaise among the French, one that suggests it is time to move beyond the revolutionary ideal of a society of free and equal individuals for whom religious practice and identification remains a private affair. This ideological variant of “the same size fits all” is both obsolete and an obstacle to better relations among France’s religious groups.

In the late 19th century, following a bitter and centuries-old struggle between republican governments and the Catholic Church, the French Third Republic embraced the notion of laicité. The English word laicism only begins to convey the emotional and ideological power of the original French term. Laicité was, quite simply, the religion of the republican state. In place of Christian saints, the Republic offered secular saints, ranging from Voltaire to Victor Hugo, whose mortal remains are entombed at the Panthéon.

Other efforts to blot out France’s Catholic past were less successful. For example, in 1793 the First Republic simply tossed out the Gregorian calendar, replacing it with a revolutionary calendar based on the decimal system, including 10-day weeks and 10-hour days. Moreover, the traditional names of the months were replaced with naturalistic ones — Pluviose for the rainy days of January, Germinal for the spring month of April — and the saints’ days were bagged and given instead to the names of plants, vegetables, farm animals and occasional revolutionary exhortation.

By 1805, when Napoleon tore the calendar off France’s walls, he made official what public opinion had long before made a fact: The calendar was a massive flop. Furthermore, the vast majority of the French were, if not believers, at least nominal Catholics. Whether or not they prayed to a particular saint, they all recognized a day by his or her name — a habit they did not want to give up.

Even the Third Republic, in its own battle with a hostile church, did not try to replace the calendar. Instead, the republicans, many of whom were agnostic or atheist, used the schools as their pulpits to broadcast the gospel of laicité. Tensions came to a head in 1905, when the national assembly passed the law establishing the full separation of church and state.

The law has not changed, but the country has. France has always been a nation of immigrants. A century ago they hailed from other European countries shaped by Christianity. As for the tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, they were eager to leave behind their traditions and language for a republican religion chanted in French. They embraced, as historian Philip Nord noted, “the republic as a secular incarnation of values embedded in Jewish tradition.”

But all this is history. The struggle between Catholics and secularists is over: The old ideological stakes have faded in France’s new demographic dispensation. The country has become home to Europe’s largest Muslim population, and even its Jewish community has tilted to Sephardic from Ashkenazi. These new generations of Frenchmen and women are proudly republican, but no less proudly members of vibrant religious communities.

The struggle is now over France’s future. The nation has become multicultural — a fact that even its religious representatives seem terrified to acknowledge, much less ask the French state to do so. Marine Le Pen, leader of the extreme right-wing Front National, has transformed her party from a den for Catholic extremists into the defender of republican laicité. The move has poleaxed the mainstream parties and propelled Le Pen’s popularity: Polls reveal that she is now more or less tied with President Nicolas Sarkozy for second place.

Joly might be pleased to know that she is echoing a call made several years ago by the son of Polish Jews who immigrated to France. Jean-Marie Lustiger, who converted to Catholicism and became archbishop of Paris, asked: “Is there a republican religion that prohibits one from being a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, a Muslim — even a skeptic? The republican ideal of citizenship does not claim to be a substitute for religion.”

By following the lead of such citizens as Lustiger and Joly, perhaps France can regain its triple-A rating as a republic for the 21st century.

Robert Zaretsky is a professor of history at the Honors College at the University of Houston. His most recent book is “Albert Camus: Elements of a Life” (Cornell University Press, 2010).

Read more: http://www.forward.com/articles/149830/#ixzz1kDbd9wUs

What If He Were Muslim?: Jewish American Newspaper Publisher Suggests Israel Assassinate Barack Obama

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2012 by loonwatch
To date Obama has been one of the most pro-Israel presidents ever.

Andrew Adler wrote that he thinks Benjamin Netanyahu should assassinate President Barack Obama because he is not pro-Israel enough. Obama has been one of the most pro-Israel presidents out there and still you got the nutbags on the Right who want him dead.

Imagine if an American Muslim publisher had wrote this? He would be getting water-boarded in Guantanamo as we speak. Also, you could bet that the condemnations from Muslim leaders would barely be recognized, unlike in this case, where the outrage at Adler’s statements from within the Jewish community is highlighted very well.

Uproar after Jewish American newspaper publisher suggests Israel assassinate Barack Obama

(Haaretz)

NEW YORK – The owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler, has suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu consider ordering a Mossad hit team to assassinate U.S. President Barack Obama so that his successor will defend Israel against Iran.

Adler, who has since apologized for his article, listed three options for Israel to counter Iran’s nuclear weapons in an article published in his newspaper last Friday. The first is to launch a pre-emptive strike against Hamas and Hezbollah, the second is to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and the third is to “give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.”

Adler goes on to write: “Yes, you read “three correctly.” Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel’s existence. Think about it. If have thought of this Tom-Clancy-type scenario, don’t you think that this almost unfathomable idea has been discussed in Israel’s most inner circles?”

Adler apologized yesterday for the article, saying “I very much regret it; I wish I hadn’t made reference to it at all,” Adler told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. And in an interview with Gawker.com, Adler denied that he was advocating an assassination of Obama.

Op-ed in Atlanta Jewish Times - January 21 2012 The op-ed in Atlanta Jewish Times.

The American Jewish Committee in Atlanta last night issued a harsh condemnation of Adler’s article, saying that his proposals are “shocking beyond belief.”

“While we acknowledge Mr. Adler’s apology, we are flabbergasted that he could ever say such a thing in the first place. How could he even conceive of such a twisted idea?” said Dov Wilker, director of AJC Atlanta. “Mr. Adler surely owes immediate apologies to President Obama, as well as to the State of Israel and his readership, the Atlanta Jewish community.”

Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, also blasted Adler on Friday, saying “There is absolutely no excuse, no justification, no rationalization for this kind of rhetoric. It doesn’t even belong in fiction. These are irresponsible and extremist words. It is outrageous and beyond the pale. An apology cannot possibly repair the damage. Irresponsible rhetoric metastasizes into more dangerous rhetoric. The ideas expressed in Mr. Adler’s column reflect some of the extremist rhetoric that unfortunately exists — even in some segments of our community — that maliciously labels President Obama as an ‘enemy of the Jewish people.’ Mr. Adler’s lack of judgment as a publisher, editor and columnist raises serious questions as to whether he’s fit to run a newspaper.”

Imam, Priest, Rabbi Work Together to Educate in Q-C

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2012 by loonwatch

Imam, priest, rabbi work together to educate in Q-C

Being in a place such as the Quad-Cities, where most residents tend to be tolerant and some are interested in the world’s major religions, makes it possible to host joint classes on Islam, Judaism and Christianity in a special three-week series, a local religious leader said.

“I feel we have a unique situation here, among the United States,” the Rev. Mike Schaab from St. Pius X Catholic Church in Rock Island said. “People of different faiths in other parts of the country and the world would be loath to walk down the street with one another.”

The Inter-religious Dialogue sessions begin Thursday and will be led by Schaab, Imam Saad Baig from the Islamic Center of the Quad-Cities in Moline and Rabbi Tamar Grimm of the Tri-City Jewish Center in Rock Island.

“Seeing what is beautiful about another faith tradition is a life skill,” said Grimm, who also appreciates the fact that the Quad-City community is a place where such lessons can be held openly and celebrated.

This area is a very good location for interfaith dialogue, Baig agreed.

“We are blessed to have people from every walk of life here in the Quad-Cities,” he said. “We try to inform those individuals who come and who see value and potential in this kind of program.”

A rarity at first

Such cooperation between faiths was a novelty when it began many years ago. But it has evolved over time, Schaab said, including special commemorations of 9/11, and the recent 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, an event that attracted an overflow crowd to Augustana College in Rock Island.

The interfaith sessions are designed with a tone free from politics.

“Our goal is to educate, to give people information,” Grimm said. For example, the first session will be on the separate calendars, holy days and celebrations of the three faiths. It will take place at the Islamic Center.

Grimm intends to talk about the cycle of the year in Judaism and how it begins in the autumn. She also will speak about symbolism in the Jewish holidays. Catholics are on the Gregorian calendar, Schaab said, while many Muslims follow a lunar calendar.

A tour that will wrap up the first event at the Islamic Center will include time to witness Muslims in prayer, Baig said. Visitors will see inside the building, its special setting, and then be invited to watch as evening prayers are conducted.

The classes should be appealing, Schaab said. During the Feb. 16 session, visitors will see an actual Torah scroll at the Tri-City Jewish Center, and they will be able to view a copy of the Koran, the Muslim holy book.

“Looking at sacred scriptures will be very interesting to many Christians,” Schaab predicted.

“Each one offers something unique,” Grimm said. “But at the same time, it amazes me how much we share, in every one of our traditions.”

Schaab, the Catholic priest, believes that knowledge gained from the Inter-religious Dialogues deepens faith. “We want to be supportive, appreciative and sensitive to one another,” he added.

Baig, a Muslim imam, said such education teaches respect for all faiths. There also is value in seeing leaders of these faiths together on one stage, he pointed out. Baig cited a phrase that he believes is central to the outreach effort: “The more you sweat in making peace, the less you will bleed in war.”

Grimm, who took over her part in the forum from her predecessor, Rabbi Michael Samuel, hopes to find continuing acceptance for the lessons.

“People are curious, people want to know and people want to understand,” she said.

What If They Were Muslim?: 300 Ultra-Orthodox Clash With Police Over “Gender Segregation Sign”

Posted in Loon Rabbis, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2011 by loonwatch
Ultra_Orthodox_Police300 Ultra Orthodox Clash with Police Over Sign

Ultra-Orthodox, Israel Police clash in Beit Shemesh; officer wounded

(Haaretz)

A police officer was wounded as clashes erupted between ultra-Orthodox Jews and Israel police on Monday in two separate neighborhoods in Beit Shemesh.
Two residents were also arrested in the clashes.

Approximately 300 ultra-Orthodox Jews began chasing police officers, hurled rocks at them, and burned trashcans after police were called to remove a sign on a main street that orders the separation of men and women in the neighborhood. The sign has been removed and re-instated several times over the past two days.

Confrontations also occurred in another of the city’s neighborhood after a Channel 10 news crew attempted to film a news piece in the neighborhood. The crew was surrounded by ultra-Orthodox residents who began harassing the crew, who immediately called for police reinforcement.

Officers arrived on the scene, and clashed with residents who laid on the ground in order to protect those which the police sought to apprehend for questioning.

On Sunday, a Channel 2 news team was attacked and beaten by 200 ultra-Orthodox men at the same location on the street where the sign that was removed had been hanging.

After the assault on the Channel 2 news team earlier Sunday, one resident living nearby said that the sign in question has existed for six years already. He added that it does not order women not pass in the street, but to abstain from gathering on the sidewalk.

ADL Urges Chief Rabbis to Denounce Spitting at Christians

Posted in Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2011 by loonwatch

If Muslims were committing this disgusting practice you can be sure that the hatemongers would be up in arms declaring Islam a “vile and intolerant” religion. They would also claim that this is the “pure Islam, etc.”

ADL urges chief rabbis to denounce spitting at Christians

The Anti-Defamation league (ADL) called on the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to publicly denounce “the repulsive decades-old practice by ultra-Orthodox Jews of spitting at Christian clergymen they encounter in the street.”

“This repulsive practice is a hateful act of persecution against another faith group and a desecration of God’s name according to Jewish law,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “This display of hate and bigotry has no place in Israel and is inimical to Jewish values of treating all people with respect and kindness.”

The ADL sent Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger a letter, urging them to meet with Haredi leaders to put a stop to this practice and to cooperate to educate their community about respect for other faiths and coexistence.

Spitting Jews Ultraorthodox

On The Expropriation of Jewish Law by Religious Zionism and What if they were Muslim?

Posted in Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2011 by loonwatch

We have received some backlash regarding Danios‘ series on “Jewish Law,” (Halakha)–not merely from the usual crowd of Islamophobes, but from some fans who think the articles are inflammatory.

The main criticisms regarding the articles have been that we #1: supposedly use the “same method as the Islamophobes” and thus are “stooping to their level;” #2: that we are “bashing” Judaism;  #3: this is not good for interfaith dialogue; and #4: the individuals we are citing as sources are “self-hating Jews” or “illegitimate.”

I disagree with this criticism for the following reasons:

The method of the Islamophobes is to: selectively quote/misquote, lie, essentialize, hate, foment bigotry, and push forward zany conspiracies in a process of dehumanization and otherization. We do none of the above.  We haven’t since the start of the site and we never will.

Danios’ disclaimer, Why Religious Zionism, Not Judaism, Is the Problem, more than sufficiently articulates the clear distinction we are making.  Judaism itself is not the problem.  Even the texts and scriptural sources are not necessarily the problem.  Rather, it is extremist minds reading and interpreting the texts that are the problem.

We are meeting the challenge put forth by Islamophobes, encapsulated by Robert Spencer, who claim Islam has a special and unique providence over religiously inspired and sanctioned violence against innocents; Spencer writes in his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades):

When modern-day Jews and Christians read their Bibles, they simply don’t interpret the passages cited as exhorting them to violent action against unbelievers. This is due to the influence of centuries of interpretive traditions that have moved away from literalism regarding these passages. But in Islam, there is no comparable interpretive tradition. The jihad passages in the Qur’an are anything but a dead letter.

These articles are a follow up to the previous series covering violence in the Bible.  That series received far less criticism than this present one, most likely because it was seen to take Christianity to task more than Judaism.  The added sensitivity to the Jewish community is understandable, considering the long history of violence, oppression, and hate Jews have had to face over the centuries.

We maintain such a sensitivity to Jewish history and struggle and do not intend this series to be employed as a blunt instrument that is used to bash one’s religious opponents over the head; in fact it can’t be!

Instead, the point is to instill a sense of religious humility in all of us.  Or, put in another more colloquial way, “don’t act like your s*** don’t stink.”

As Danios wrote:

I will be applying the same standards our opponents apply to the Islamic tradition to the Jewish one, to show that Judaism is equally vulnerable to such criticisms.  It is hoped that this exercise will encourage people of Judeo-Christian background to be more hesitant in vilifying and targeting Islam.  This is purely an exercise in thought, a what if scenario (what if we applied the same standards to your religion as you do onto others?) designed to be the antidote to religious and cultural arrogance.

By clarifying that this constitutes an “exercise in thought” one should know that I am not saying Judaism is XYZ because of ABC, but rather simply that if you insist on arguing that Islam is XYZ due to ABC then–based on your own logic–Judaism and Christianity are also XYZ because they too have ABC.  This is a what if? and an if-then argument.

These articles on Jewish law are just a more in-depth variation of the longstanding series, “What if they were Muslim?”. When one is confronted with the fact that one’s own belief system is equally prone and open to bellicose interpretations and that those interpretations do exist and have real world implications, it will give one pause. It will make one re-examine his or her own triumphalist attitude and should redirect his or her efforts positively.  At least, this is the goal.

Previously you may have put people of _____ religion down, but now upon reflection you realize, “I can’t because I stand condemned by the same logic.”

Our biggest regret here is that some really good-hearted folk might be offended, as Danios wrote:

Naturally, “bystanders” will be caught in the crossfire.  Good-hearted, fellow Jews may be offended by such an article series that takes such a critical look at Jewish law.  This is why I explained my absolute reluctance to go down this path in my opening disclaimer.  But, the constant barrage of Islamophobic polemics, encouraged by Israeli activists, convinces me that this is something unavoidable.  Thus it is so, that with a grudging heart, I proceed forth.

Some may be taken aback by the extensiveness of these pieces, but when tackling such an issue it is important to be both thorough and comprehensive. Would our readers expect anything less of LoonWatch and Danios,  known for their in-depth rebuttals?

In regards to interfaith dialogue it must be pointed out that what passes as “interfaith” at times is a superficial cliched kumbaya-hand-holding that covers up or ignores serious challenges. At some point, if we are true to ourselves the hard questions about bigotry, hate, and violence that proliferate through the various religions of the world must come up.

This is the difficult part of “interfaith dialogue” that has yet to be seriously grappled with: how do we deal with belligerent interpretations, how do we manage them, reconcile them while remaining in fidelity and authenticity with tradition; how do such interpretations stack up to ethics; is a complete reconstruction of religious thought necessary, etc.

All of this said, I would like to add that most readers and commenters understand the import and logic behind our articles.  Best-selling author Lesley Hazleton, one of our favorite Anti-Loons and a prolific writer on theology, tweeted:

Congrats to Danios @Loonwatchers: great thinking on hot-button topics of #Zionism, #Islamism, #antisemitism bit.ly/mTeecA

Gefilte, another one of our Jewish writers proffered this view when we solicited him for a comment about the series:

I periodically contribute to loonwatch. Like many Jews, it bothers me that extremists in the name of my religion have declared war not on terrorism but on mainstream Muslims. Loonwatch asked me if I was disturbed by the series on how Jewish law has been expropriated by Zionists to justify killing, torture, and collective punishment. I have to say, it’s a complicated question. In general, I don’t like anybody taking potshots at anyone else’s religion. After all, that’s primarily what loonwatch does every day.

But, to answer your question, I have to issue my own disclaimer. I don’t claim to speak for most Jews on this. None of us do, and I think that’s the most distressing thing about Zionism and the state of Israel, which pretends to speak in our name. You know the old joke: ask two Jews a question, get three (or more) opinions. We do tend to have an independent streak.

Religiously I’ll freely admit to being a “cafeteria Jew.” I don’t believe that anybody’s scripture (mine, yours, or the other guy’s) came directly from G-d, but I do believe they were inspired by that piece of our humanity that constantly seeks G-d. For me, the supernatural aspects of ancient religions should be updated. And I also find that rational thought augments faith. Even though evolution can be understood as a scientific principle, how amazing it is! Spinoza and Einstein had similar views too.

It’s not necessary to believe that Moses literally received the Torah on Sinai, or that Jesus was miraculously conceived by G-d, or that Allah whispered the exact words in the Qu’ran to Mohammad. It seems to me that G-d speaks to everyone, and sometimes particularly sensitive men and women hear his resonances better than others. We’ve called such people prophets.

Since the 19th century scholars have demonstrated that the Torah was pieced together from two different versions of an orally-transmitted Jewish law, liberally laced with history, stories, and legal claims by both Southern and Northern Kingdoms to the land of Israel. In with all this were moral stories. The “cafeteria Jew” in me gravitates to the moral lessons and the rich literature in the book. But, to be honest, the genocide, murder, duplicity, and some of the kinky sex in there seems more an artifact of human hands and less of divine inspiration.

It seems to me that Danios has merely pointed out that the Torah, like the Qu’ran, contains some passages that (were it a movie) should have some advanced R if not X rating. The Torah, like the Qu’ran and the New Testament, was written long before Amnesty International, the UN, or the Red Cross were founded, or multiculturalism was ever conceived. What did anyone do with those *other* people back then? Genocide, mass expulsions and slavery is the answer. No wonder the Tea Party loves the Old Testament so much. Some of them even want to bring back stoning. As Danios points out, zealots can find anything they want in the Torah, just as zealots can find anything they want in the Qu’ran.

So, to *finally* answer your question, am I offended? No, not really. These are essentially the same observations I’ve made over the years, and they merely raise the same questions that Hebrew school teachers occasionally have to scramble to answer. So, if the purpose is didactic, as opposed to hateful, what’s there to object to? Islamophobes make similar deconstructions of Islam, usually with less fidelity to its texts, but there the intent is to show how evil Muslims are. Or that their religion is inherently evil too. In your case, I think you make a clear and repeated distinction between our religion and the ding-dongs who have expropriated it.

I appreciate the disclaimer you’ve attached to each installment: “Why Religious Zionism, not Judaism, is the Problem.”

Gefilte goes on to suggest we mention that we are doing this series to show “how easy it is for fundamentalists to hijack ANY religion.” A fair point I’d say!

I’m not going to discuss the criticism regarding sources cited such as Norman Finkelstein, something that has been covered well enough by Danios. While this series may seem polarizing to some, it was necessary and consistent with what we are doing. “Keeping an eye on the Islamophobes” also means dissecting their arguments and ideas to reveal them for the frauds they are.

I wish every story we did was one about mutual understanding between faiths, good deeds done in unison, selflessness across religious divides, togetherness and harmony, but alas even though those are our favorite stories they are not the only reality.

******************

Lastly, upon revisiting the articles we will add an asterisk to every title next to the words “Jewish Law*” so as to make clearer that we are not essentializing Jewish Law or saying that it is defined solely by those who have expropriated it to justify violence toward the innocent.

Rabbis Stand In Solidarity With Burned Mosque In Israel

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2011 by loonwatch

(cross-posted from HuffPo)

By Josef Kuhn
Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS) More than a thousand rabbis from around the world have signed a statement denouncing the burning of an Israeli mosque as police arrested a suspect who is alleged to be a Jewish extremist.

“We condemn those in Israel who exacerbate conflict and strife, and who insist that only one people or religion belongs to this land,” said the statement, which organizers say was overwhelmingly signed by U.S. rabbis.

The statement was presented on Thursday (Oct. 6) by a delegation of dozens of rabbis and peace activists to the imam of Tuba-Zangria, the Galilean village where the mosque was torched.

The statement was initiated by the New Israel Fund (NIF), an organization that promotes human rights and religious pluralism in Israel.

David Rosenn, the chief operating officer of NIF and a Conservative rabbi, called the mosque arson “a flagrant challenge to Jewish history and values.”

The envoys to Tuba-Zangria were led by a coalition established in 2009 in response to a book that argued that, in times of war, Jewish law permits the pre-emptive killing of noninvolved gentiles, including children.

The arson has been condemned by Israel’s chief rabbis and a host of Jewish groups in the United States, including the Anti-Defamation League, which said the attack represented “the violence and hatred among fringe groups of Israeli Jewish extremists.”

Israeli officials have arrested a suspect in the arson, described by The Associated Press as an “18-year-old seminary student with ties to one of the most hardline Jewish settlements in the West Bank.”

Rabbi Manis Friedman on Treatment of Arabs

Posted in Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2011 by loonwatch
Manis FriedmanManis Friedman

The article below is from 2009, but it goes well with Danios’ series on how “Jewish Law” can be interpreted by some in a bellicose and genocidal manner. Can one imagine if the below were said by a mainstream Muslim scholar? All hell would break loose. (hat tip: DE)

Popular Rabbi’s Comments on Treatment of Arabs Show a Different Side of Chabad

By Nathaniel Popper (Forward.com)

Like the best Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis, Manis Friedman has won the hearts of many unaffiliated Jews with his charismatic talks about love and God; it was Friedman who helped lead Bob Dylan into a relationship with Chabad.

But Friedman, who today travels the country as a Chabad speaker, showed a less warm and cuddly side when he was asked how he thinks Jews should treat their Arab neighbors.

“The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle),” Friedman wrote in response to the question posed by Moment Magazine for its “Ask the Rabbis” feature.

Friedman argued that if Israel followed this wisdom, there would be “no civilian casualties, no children in the line of fire, no false sense of righteousness, in fact, no war.”

“I don’t believe in Western morality,” he wrote. “Living by Torah values will make us a light unto the nations who suffer defeat because of a disastrous morality of human invention.”

Friedman’s use of phrasing that might seem more familiar coming from an Islamic extremist has generated a swift backlash. The editor of Moment, Nadine Epstein, said that since the piece was printed in the current issue they “have received many letters and e-mails in response to Rabbi Friedman’s comments — and almost none of them have been positive.”

Friedman quickly went into damage control. He released a statement to the Forward, through a Chabad spokesman, saying that his answer in Moment was “misleading” and that he does believe that “any neighbor of the Jewish people should be treated, as the Torah commands us, with respect and compassion.”

But Friedman’s words have generated a debate about whether there is a darker side to the cheery face that the Chabad-Lubavitch movement shows to the world in its friendly outreach to unaffiliated Jews. Mordecai Specktor, editor of the Jewish community newspaper in Friedman’s hometown, St. Paul. Minn., said: “The public face of Lubavitch is educational programs and promoting Yiddishkeit. But I do often hear this hard line that Friedman expresses here.”

“He sets things out in pretty stark terms, but I think this is what Lubavitchers believe, more or less,” said Specktor, who is also the publisher of the American Jewish World. “They are not about loving the Arabs or a two-state solution or any of that stuff. They are fundamentalists. They are our fundamentalists.” Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League and a regular critic of Arab extremists, said that in the Jewish community, “We are not immune to having these views. There are people in our community who have these bigoted, racist views.”

But, Foxman warned, Friedman’s views are not reflective of the Chabad rabbis he knows. “I am not shocked that there would be a rabbi who would have these views,” Foxman said, “but I am shocked that Moment would give up all editorial discretion and good sense to publish this as representative of Chabad.”

A few days after anger about the comment surfaced, Chabad headquarters released a statement saying that, “we vehemently disagree with any sentiment suggesting that Judaism allows for the wanton destruction of civilian life, even when at war.”

The statement added: “In keeping with Jewish law, it is the unequivocal position of Chabad-Lubavitch that all human life is G-d given, precious, and must be treated with respect, dignity and compassion.”

In Moment, Friedman’s comment is listed as the Chabad response to the question “How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?” after a number of answers from rabbis representing other Jewish streams, most of which state a conciliatory attitude toward Arabs.

Epstein said that Friedman was “brave” for stating his views so clearly.

“The American Jewish community doesn’t have the chance to hear opinions like this,” Epstein said, “not because they are rare, but because we don’t often ask Chabad and other similar groups what they think.”

The Chabad movement is generally known for its hawkish policies toward the Palestinians; the Chabad Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, rejected peace accords with the Palestinians. Rabbi Moshe Feller, the top Chabad rabbi in Minnesota, said that the rebbe taught that it is not a mitvah to kill, but that Jews do have an obligation to act in self-defense.

“Jews as a whole, they try to save the lives of others,” Feller told the Forward, “but if it’s to save our lives, then we have to do what we have to do. It’s a last resort.”

Friedman is not a fringe rabbi within the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. He was the English translator for the Chabad Rebbe, and at the rebbe’s urging, he founded Beis Chana, a network of camps and schools for Jewish women. Friedman is also a popular speaker and writer on issues of love and relationships. His first book, “Doesn’t Anyone Blush Anymore?” was promoted with a quote from Bob Dylan, who Friedman brought to meet the rebbe.

On his blog and Facebook page, Friedman’s emphasis is on his sympathetic, caring side. It was this reputation that made the comment in Moment so surprising to Steve Hunegs, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council: Minnesota and the Dakotas.

“Rabbi Friedman is a best-selling author who addresses some of the most sensitive issues of the time,” Hunegs said. “I intend to call him and talk to him about this.”

But Shmarya Rosenberg, a blogger and critic of Chabad who lives a few blocks from Friedman in Minnesota, says that the comment in Moment is not an aberration from his experiences with Friedman and many other Chabad rabbis.

“What he’s saying is the standard normal view of a Chabadnik,” Rosenberg said. “They just don’t say it in public.”

For his part, Friedman was quick to modify the statement that he wrote in Moment. He told the Forward that the line about killing women and children should have been in quotes; he said it is a line from the Torah, though he declined to specify from which part. Friedman also said that he was not advocating for Israel to actually kill women and children. Instead, he said, he believed that Israel should publicly say that it is willing to do these things in order to scare Palestinians and prevent war.

“If we took this policy, no one would be killed — because there would be no war,” Friedman said. “The same is true of the United States.”

Friedman did acknowledge, however, that in self-defense, the behavior he talked about would be permissible.

“If your children are threatened, you do whatever it takes — and you don’t have to apologize,” he said.

Friedman argued that he is different from Arab terrorists who have used similar language about killing Jewish civilians.

“When they say it, it’s genocide, not self-defense,” Friedman said. “With them, it’s a religious belief — they need to rid the area of us. We’re not saying that.”

Feller, the Chabad leader in Minnesota, said that the way Friedman had chosen to express himself was “radical.”

“I love him,” Feller said. “I brought him out here — he’s magnificent. He’s brought thousands back to Torah mitzvah. But he shoots from the hip sometimes.”

Contact Nathaniel Popper at popper@forward.com.

Read more: http://www.forward.com/articles/107112/#ixzz1aFepl5Ma

Rabbi Steve Gross: Jews and Muslims Have a Tremendous Amount in Common

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2011 by loonwatch

(image by Carlos Latuff)

Here’s a nice video from Rabbi Steve Gross, which he provided for the My Fellow American project:

Jews and Muslims often talk about the “good things” they have in common (which is easy to speak about), but rarely is it discussed that the Jewish and Islamic traditions also share many of the same challenges (which may be a bit uncomfortable to admit).  This is probably more important to remember.  Sometimes it is easy to think that it is only The Other that needs to work on this or that, whereas one’s own religion is not immune from such problems.  My article series, Does Judaism Justify Killing Civilians?, will hopefully serve as a reminder of this very important fact.

Israeli Settlers Vandalize and Set Mosque on Fire

Posted in Loon Rabbis, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2011 by loonwatch
Settler crying after his illegal outpost was demolished. Later they went and set a mosque on fire.

Can anyone imagine if Muslims had done this to a so-called “disused” Synagogue, Church, etc.? You can be sure there would be a big brouhaha over how Islam is evil and is trying to destroy the “infidel.”

Earlier in the day, Israeli settlers in the West Bank tried to set a fire inside a disused mosque to protest the Israeli military’s destruction of three settler houses at an illegal outpost.

The police and witnesses said the settlers threw burning tires into the mosque and spray-painted the names of two settlement outposts on the walls, including that of Migron, where the army destroyed three buildings constructed on private Palestinian land. The Israeli Supreme Court determined that the entire outpost was built on such private land, but the three chosen for destruction had been built after that decision was handed down. (Via the NewYorkTimes)

Don’t Fear Islamic Law in America

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2011 by loonwatch

By ELIYAHU STERN

MORE than a dozen American states are considering outlawing aspects of Shariah law. Some of these efforts would curtail Muslims from settling disputes over dietary laws and marriage through religious arbitration, while others would go even further in stigmatizing Islamic life: a bill recently passed by the Tennessee General Assembly equates Shariah with a set of rules that promote “the destruction of the national existence of the United States.”

Supporters of these bills contend that such measures are needed to protect the country against homegrown terrorism and safeguard its Judeo-Christian values. The Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has said that “Shariah is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it.”

This is exactly wrong. The crusade against Shariah undermines American democracy, ignores our country’s successful history of religious tolerance and assimilation, and creates a dangerous divide between America and its fastest-growing religious minority.

The suggestion that Shariah threatens American security is disturbingly reminiscent of the accusation, in 19th-century Europe, that Jewish religious law was seditious. In 1807, Napoleon convened an assembly of rabbinic authorities to address the question of whether Jewish law prevented Jews from being loyal citizens of the republic. (They said that it did not.)

Fear that Jewish law bred disloyalty was not limited to political elites; leading European philosophers also entertained the idea. Kant argued that the particularistic nature of “Jewish legislation” made Jews “hostile to all other peoples.” And Hegel contended that Jewish dietary rules and other Mosaic laws barred Jews from identifying with their fellow Prussians and called into question their ability to be civil servants.

The German philosopher Bruno Bauer offered Jews a bargain: renounce Jewish law and be granted full legal rights. He insisted that, otherwise, laws prohibiting work on the Sabbath made it impossible for Jews to be true citizens. (Bauer conveniently ignored the fact that many fully observant Jews violated the Sabbath to fight in the Prussian wars against Napoleon.)

During that era, Christianity was seen as either a universally valid basis of the state or a faith that harmoniously coexisted with the secular law of the land. Conversely, Judaism was seen as a competing legal system — making Jews at best an unassimilable minority, at worst a fifth column. It was not until the late 19th century that all Jews were granted full citizenship in Western Europe (and even then it was short lived).

Most Americans today would be appalled if Muslims suffered from legally sanctioned discrimination as Jews once did in Europe. Still, there are signs that many Americans view Muslims in this country as disloyal. A recent Gallup poll found that only 56 percent of Protestants think that Muslims are loyal Americans.

This suspicion and mistrust is no doubt fueled by the notion that American Muslims are akin to certain extreme Muslim groups in the Middle East and in Europe. But American Muslims are a different story. They are natural candidates for assimilation. They are demographically the youngest religious group in America, and most of their parents don’t even come from the Middle East (the majority have roots in Southeast Asia). A recent Pew Research Center poll found that Muslim Americans exhibit the highest level of integration among major American religious groups, expressing greater degrees of tolerance toward people of other faiths than do Protestants, Catholics or Jews.

Given time, American Muslims, like all other religious minorities before them, will adjust their legal and theological traditions, if necessary, to accord with American values.

America’s exceptionalism has always been its ability to transform itself — economically, culturally and religiously. In the 20th century, we thrived by promoting a Judeo-Christian ethic, respecting differences and accentuating commonalities among Jews, Catholics and Protestants. Today, we need an Abrahamic ethic that welcomes Islam into the religious tapestry of American life.

Anti-Shariah legislation fosters a hostile environment that will stymie the growth of America’s tolerant strand of Islam. The continuation of America’s pluralistic religious tradition depends on the ability to distinguish between punishing groups that support terror and blaming terrorist activities on a faith that represents roughly a quarter of the world’s population.

Eliyahu Stern, an assistant professor of religious studies and history at Yale, is the author of the forthcoming “The Genius: Elijah of Vilna and the Making of Modern Judaism.”

(source: The New York Times)

Jews and Muslims in America: More in Common Than We Think

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2011 by loonwatch

(cross-posted from AltMuslim)

A new Gallup poll shows that American Muslims and Jews – in addition to having a shared religious minority experience – share a great deal of political and social views, as well as a deeper than expected affinity.

By Joshua Stanton, August 14, 2011

Contrary to common assumptions, many Jewish and Muslim Americans enjoy warm relations. Yet we are only beginning to understand how and why this is so. A Gallup report released last week goes a long way to explaining this unexpected trend, which shows that the two diverse communities have more in common than is often thought.

The report, “Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future”, reveals that overwhelming numbers of Jewish Americans believe Muslim Americans are loyal to their country – 80 per cent to be exact. Aside from Muslims themselves, no other religious community demonstrates such confidence in the loyalty of America’s Muslim citizens.

Further, it seems that Jewish and Muslim Americans share a number of common political views – even about issues as contentious as the Middle East conflict. The same study indicates that 81 per cent of Muslim Americans and 78 per cent of Jewish Americans support a two-state solution, which would enable Israel and a future independent Palestinian state to live side by side. While dialogue about the Middle East conflict remains contentious, the vision for a long-term solution appears surprisingly similar.

How could this be? Why would two communities, so often portrayed as being at each other’s throats, not only have confidence in each other but have similar perspectives on even the most contentious issues?

One possibility is a shared immigrant experience. Jewish immigrants, who arrived in multiple waves of immigration but most visibly in large numbers at the end of the 19th century, often used education as a means of gaining a foothold in America and of finding a way to contribute to their new country. It now appears that Muslims are taking a similar approach. In fact, 40 per cent of Muslims surveyed in a 2009 Gallup report, “Muslim Americans: A National Portrait”, note that they have attained a college degree or higher. This makes Muslim Americans the second most likely of any religious group, behind Jewish Americans, to attain at least a college education. It seems that Muslim Americans may be carving out a niche and contributing to American society today much as their Jewish counterparts did a century ago.

While Jews and Muslims in America may have highly educated communities, both groups also exhibit fear about perceptions that others hold of their traditions. According to last week’s report, Jewish and Muslim Americans are more likely than adherents of any other tradition to conceal their religious identity.

It may be an understanding of what this means that has caused what may best be described as significant empathy on the part of many Jewish and Muslim Americans. While 60 per cent of Muslim Americans polled by Gallup say that they experience prejudice from most Americans, a remarkable 66 per cent of Jewish Americans say that most Americans exhibit prejudice against Muslims. This means that Jewish Americans are aware of anti-Muslim prejudice more than any other religious community.

Fear and other negative responses to prejudice may compound the overall drive for Jews and Muslims to obtain a higher education and find a niche in the United States. This process may also create stress for members of both communities. According to the 2009 Gallup report, 39 per cent of Muslim Americans and 36 per cent of Jewish Americans report experiencing a lot of “worry”. This worry may correspond to fear of prejudicial treatment and a desire to conceal one’s religious identity. Overt displays of religious identity and the push to succeed in a new society may come into tension for both communities, though this is a hypothesis that warrants further research.

In short, Jews and Muslims share profoundly in their experience in the United States. As small religious minorities, each under two per cent of the American population – with Muslim Americans perhaps a fraction of that figure – they maintain a sense of marginalisation. Yet their response to this adversity is one of contribution to society through significant investment in personal education, which in turn creates new opportunities.

Jewish immigration to America may have peaked over a century ago, while Muslim immigration is still relatively new. But both communities share in their drive not only to make America their home but to attain a prominent role in that newfound homeland. Both communities would do well to recognise the remarkable parallels in their experiences as immigrants to America – as would Americans in other religious communities. The potential for collaboration is clear, while the narrative of conflict has been significantly debunked.

Joshua M. Z. Stanton is co-founder of the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue and Religious Freedom USA, as well as a Schusterman Rabbinical Fellow at Hebrew Union College. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).

Inside Torat Hamelech, the Jewish Extremist Terror Tract Endorsed by State-employed Rabbis

Posted in Loon Rabbis, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2011 by loonwatch


We have been covering the story about “The King’s Torah” for quite some time now, it is quite popular amongst the religious right in Israel. Can you imagine if texts such as this were found in an Islamic book called the “The Caliph’s Sharia’”?,

I. A gentile must not kill his friend, and if he has killed, he must die.

II. The prohibition “thou shalt not commit murder” refers to a Jew who kills another Jew.

III. A Jew who kills a gentile is not required to die.

Replace “gentile” with “kafir” and Jew with “Muslim,” and imagine the reaction from the Islamophobesphere.

Inside Torat Hamelech, the Jewish extremist terror tract endorsed by state-employed rabbis

by Max Blumenthal

Last year, I reported on a convention of top Israeli rabbis who gathered to defend the publication of Torat Hamelech, a book that relied on rabbinical sources to justify the killing of gentiles, including infants “if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us.” The most prominent rabbinical endorsers, Kiryat Arba’s chief rabbi Dov Lior and Yaakov Yosef, had dismissed police summons at the time, insisting that man’s law could not touch the halakha. A year later, in late June, the Israeli police finally arrested Lior for his role in endorsing and promoting the book.

Riots broke out almost immediately in the wake of the arrest, with mobs of religious Zionists burning tires and attempting to storm the Israeli Supreme Court compound. Fearing more riots and with sales of Torat Hamelech surging, the police handled Rabbi Yosef with kid gloves, requesting he come in for questioning but not arresting him. In the end, the state neglected to remove Lior, Yosef, or any other state-employed rabbi from his position for endorsing Torat Hamelech.

Why is Torat Hamelech so explosive? Yuval Dror, an Israeli journalist and academic, excerpted some of the book’s most incendiary passages. What appeared was Jewish exclusivism in its most extreme form, with non-Jews deemed permissible to kill, or Rodef, for the most inconsequential of wartime acts, including providing moral support to gentile armies. The book is a virtual manual for Jewish extremist terror designed to justify the mass slaughter of civilians. And in that respect, it is not entirely different from the Israeli military’s Dahiya Doctrine, or Asa Kasher and Amos Yadlin’sconcept of “asymmetrical warfare.” The key difference seems to be the crude, almost childlike logic the book’s author, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, marshals to justify the killing of non-Jewish civilians.

Here are passages from Torat Hamelech, as excerpted by Dror and translated by Dena Bugel-Shunra:

II. Thou Shalt Not Commit Murder

Maimonides wrote in the Halachas of Murder, Chapter A, Halacha A:

He who kills one soul of Israel violates a prohibition, as it is said “thou shalt not commit murder, and if he committed murder maliciously, in front of witnesses, his death shall be by the sword…

It is therefore made explicit that the “thou shalt not commit murder” prohibition refers only to a Jew who kills a Jew, and not to a Jew who kills a gentile, even if that gentile is one of the righteous among the nations… we have derived that from the verse “thou shalt not commit murder”, one cannot learn that there is a prohibition on killing a gentile.

(Page 17-18)

VIII. Conclusion

I. A gentile must not kill his friend, and if he has killed, he must die.

II. The prohibition “thou shalt not commit murder” refers to a Jew who kills another Jew.

III. A Jew who kills a gentile is not required to die.

IV. The prohibition on a Jew killing a gentile derives from the fact that a gentile is not allowed to kill a gentile.

(Page 27)

I. A gentile is killed for one death, and with one judge

A gentile who violates one of the seven rules [of Noah] must be killed, and he is killed based on the word of one witness and with one judge and with no warning.

II. A witness becomes a judge

For the Sons of Noah [gentiles] the witness can himself be a judge. This mean: if one person saw the other committing a crime – he can judge him and kill him for this, as he is the witness and he is the judge… Moses [moshe rabbenu] saw the Egyptian hitting a man of Israel, and killed him for that. So there Moses is the witness and is the judge, and this does not delay the carrying out of the law upon the Egyptian.

(Pp. 49-50)

What transpires from these matters is that when you judge a gentile for crimes that he has committed – you must also consider the question of whether he has repented, and if he has – he must not be killed… moreover: it is better that the gentile repent than that we kill him. If we come upon a gentile who does not abide by the Seven Laws [of Noah], and the importance of abiding by them can be explain to him, so he will repent – we would prefer to choose that path, and not judge an kill him.

(page 70)

It is explained in Yerushalmi [codex] that when a [child of] Israel [a Jew] is in danger of his life, as people tell him ‘kill this particular gentile or you will be killed’ – is permitted to kill the gentile to save himself… and the [interpreters of the law] Rashi and Maimonides say that the law of requiring to die rather than commit the crime is only valid in case of a Jew against another Jew, not in the case of a Jew against a stranger living among them… It is clear from these statements that when the choice is between losing the life of a stranger living among them and losing the life of a child of Israel [a Jew] – the simple decision is to permit [the killing].

(Pp. 157-158)

When the question is of a life of a gentile weighed against the life of a child of Israel [Jew], the initial proposal returns, which is that a Jew can violate  law in order to save himself, as what is at stake is the soul [life] of a Jew – which supersedes the entire Torah – in contrast with the life of a stranger living among us, which does not permit any Torah prohibition to be superseded.

(page 162)

To save the life of a gentile, one does not violate the Sabbath rules, and it is clear from this that his life is not like the value of the life of a child of Israel, so it may be used for the purpose of saving the life of a child of Israel.

(page 167)

An enemy soldier in the corps of intelligence, logistics, and so forth aids the army that fights against us. A soldier in the enemy’s medical corps is also considered a “rodef” [villain who is actively chasing a Jew], as without the medical corps the army will be weaker., and the medical corps also encourages and strengthens the fighters, and helps them kill us.

A civilian who supports fighters is also consider Rodef, and may be killed… anyone who helps the army of the evil people in any way, strengthens the murderers and is considered to be Rodef.

(page 184)

III. Support and encouragement

A civilian who encourages the war – gives the king and the soldiers the strength to continue with it. Therefore, every citizen in the kingdom that is against us, who encourages the warriors or expresses satisfaction about their actions, is considered Rodef and his killing is permissible. Also considered Rodef is any person who weakens our kingdom by speech and so forth.

(p. 185)

We are permitted to save ourselves from the Rodef people. It is not important who we start with, as long as we kill the Rodef people, and save ourselves from the danger they pose. And see for yourself: if you say that the fact that there are many of them brings up the question of whom to start with, and that that question is supposed to delay us from saving for ourselves – why it stands to reason: the existence of any one of them postpones the salivation, and this is the reason to treat each and every one as a complete Rodef, and to kill him, so he will not cause this ‘life-threatening’ question…

Whoever is in a situation where it is clear that he will chase and danger us in the future – it is not necessary to give it fine consideration as to whether at this moment, exactly, he is actively helping the chasing [harassment?] of us.

(Pp. 186-187)

X. People who were forced to partner with the enemy

We have dealt, so far, with gentiles whose evil means that there is a reason to kill them. We will now turn to discuss those who are not interested in war and object to it with all force…

We will start with a soldier, who is party to fighting against us, but is doing so only because he has been forced by threats to take part in the war.

If he was threatened with loss of money and such things – he is completely evil. There is no permission to take part in chasing and killing due to fear of loss of money, and if he does so -he is a Rodef in every definition thereof.

And if he was threatened that if he would not participate in the war, he would be killed – according to the MAHARAL [rabbi]… just as he is permitted to kill others – so, too, can others (even gentiles)kill him, so we will not die. And for this reason, according to the MAHARAL, it is simply evident that such a soldier may be killed.

And according to the Parashat Drachim [rabbi? Or possibly book of law?] – he must not participate in the murdering even if he must give his life due to this. And if he does so [participates] – he is evil and may be killed, like any other Rodef.

We will remind, again, that this discusses all types of participation in the war: a fighter, a support soldier, civilian assistance, or various types of encouragement and support.

(P. 196)

XVI. Infants

When discussing the killing of babies and children – why on the one hand, we see them as complete innocents, as they have no knowledge, and therefore are not to be sentenced for having violated the Seven Laws, and they are not to be ascribed evil intent. But on the other side, there is great fear of their actions when they grow up… in any event, we learn that there is an opinion that it is right to hurt infants if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation the damage will be directed specifically at them.

(Pp. 205-200)

IV. Killing the enemy like killing our own men

Inside Torat Hamelech, the Jewish extremist terror tract endorsed by state-employed rabbis

by Max Blumenthal

If the king is permitted to kill his own men for the purpose of war – that same opinion also holds with regard to people who belong to the evil kingdom. In a war of righteous people against evil people, we assume that the evil will eventually hurt us all, if we let it raise its head, and the people of the evil kingdom will also suffer from it.

We are, in fact, arguing to any person from the evil kingdom: if you belong to the evil king – you are liable to be killed for helping murderers; and if you do not help him – you should help us, and it is permissible to kill you as we kill our own people (as we are all in trouble together, and in such a situation it is permissible to kill the few in order to save the many.)

This theory also permits intentional hurting of babies and of innocent people, if this is necessary for the war against the evil people. For example: If hurting the children of an evil king will put great pressure on him that would prevent him from acting in an evil manner – they can be hurt (even without the theory that it is evident that they will be evil when they grow up.)

(P. 215)

VII. Revenge

One of the needs which exists, in the hurting of [Evil people?] is the revenge. In order to beat [win the war against] the evil people, we must act with them in a manner of revenge, as tit versus tat…

In other words, revenge is a necessary need in order to turn the evil-doing into something that does not pay off, and make righteousness grow stronger; and as great as the evil is – so is the greatness of the action needed against it.

(Pp. 216-217)

Sometimes, one does evil deeds that are meant to create a correct balance of fear, and a situation in which evil actions do not pay off… and in accordance with this calculus, the infants are not killed for their evil, but due to the fact that there is a general need of everyone to take revenge on the evil people, and the infants are the ones whose killing will satisfy this need; and they can also be viewed as the ones who are set aside from among a faction, as reality has chosen them to be the ones whose killing will save all of them [the others from that faction?] and prevent evildoing later on. (And it does indeed turn out that to this consideration, the consideration that we brought forth at the end of the prior chapter also definitely is added – which is, that they are in any event suspected of being evil when they grow up.)

The Road to “All Muslims are Terrorists”

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2011 by loonwatch

It’s been travelled before.

Aside from the fact that real democracies don’t persecute their minorities, Jews are reminded in many pieces of scripture to never forget when we were “strangers in a strange land” (see the book of Exodus). Maybe this is one reason why Muslim-bashing ticks me off so much. As a group, we should know what it’s like — if not us personally, then our parents.

Nowadays, though, we have discovered that, after centuries of being despised by zealots and Christian-tinged nationalists, we have suddenly been mailed gold membership cards to a newly-constituted “Judeo-Christian” country club [others need not apply]. We’ve arrived, we tell ourselves. They love us. Things have changed.

Well, I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but the folks who hated Jews last year have simply moved on to new enemies. They haven’t stopped their hating, and I don’t trust their unctuous expressions of new-found love. The religious right responsible for so much of the bigotry toward Muslims (and previously Jews and African Americans) still can’t decide whether they want to kiss us, convert us, wear tallit and sing in Hebrew, or keep blaming us for Golgotha. By the time they realize we really aren’t converting any time soon, I suspect they won’t love us quite so much. And then it will be time for us to die in their End Times scenario. All this is to say – we’re really still the enemy. But ever since the Holocaust it’s just been, well, a bit awkward to say things like that in polite company. But give it time. They haven’t really changed.

Yet Jews are not their only enemies. Blacks, gays, tree-huggers, socialists, progressives, unionists, Hispanics, immigrants, flag-burners, pacifists, anti-globalists, anti-imperialists, secularists, atheists – the list is pretty long – everyone’s a target. And it has always seemed so obvious to me that much of their hostility to Muslims is that Islam is simply their number one religious competitor.

But none of this is new.

A few years ago, while doing some genealogical research, I came across a 1909 immigration document which recorded a family member’s recent arrival in America on a ship from Antwerp. I always found it odd that the shipping company had recorded all this information (but more on this in a second):

19y; male; single; can read/write;
Citizen of: Russia, Race: Hebrew;
Last Residence: Russia, [town] Destination: NY, NY; Has ticket;
Passage paid by brother;
In possession of: $25; Has been in US before in NY;
Never in prison or supported by charity;
Not a polygamist or an anarchist;
Place of Birth: Russia, [town]

In that year, 1909, many Jews were sympathetic to movements advocating anti-authoritarian forms of government based on justice, not nationalistic slogans. After all, nationalism had never been kind to Jews in Europe. For reasons of both fact and perception, most Jews were presumed to be anarchists in 1909.

And a cautious nation couldn’t be too careful about letting such troublemakers into a society whose ideal was British and German Protestantism. Organizations such as the Boston-based Immigration Restriction League were alarmed that so many of these new Jewish immigrants were “undesirable” that they helped legislate large fines on steamship companies which failed to screen them out (thus the detailed steamship records above). The League’s Numerical Limitation Bill was hardly subtle: restrictions were harshest on eastern and southern Europeans (Jews and Italians). The Dillingham Commission further restricted such immigration and totally eliminated Asians. The American nativists of the time believed these foreigners were inherently “lesser breeds” and incompatible with a superior Christian, European society – something echoed frequently by Tea Party types in the U.S. today and by Islamophobes like Geert Wilders. The League’s charter:

We should see to it that the breeding of the human race in this country receives the attention which it so surely deserves. We should see to it that we are protected, not merely from the burden of supporting alien dependants, delinquents, and defectives, but from what George William Curtis called “that watering of the nation’s lifeblood,” which results from their breeding after admission.

Sound familiar?

First they came for the Jews, then the Muslims. Who’s next?

Muslim-Jewish Parley Seeks ‘Platform for Dialogue’

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , on July 5, 2011 by loonwatch

Muslims and Jews don’t know much about one another due to distrust, fear, and anger stemming from the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Muslim-Jewish parley seeks ‘platform for dialogue’

By JEREMY SHARON (Jerusalem Post)

The second annual Muslim- Jewish Conference kicked off in Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, with 70 students and young professionals coming from around the world to promote mutual understanding between global Jewish and Muslim communities.

The event is sponsored by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding based in New York and the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, among others, with participants coming from Austria, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Israel, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

“Most young Jews and Muslims never really meet because of the situation, and only learn about each other from their respective communities and through the media,” Muslim- Jewish Conference Secretary- General Ilja Sichrovsky told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

“The conference is designed to be a platform for dialogue between Muslims and Jews to talk to each other instead of about each other,” Sichrovsky said.

Ayse Cindilkaya, vice secretary- general of the organization, said the political conflict can “overshadow” relations between the two communities but that they are not focusing on conflicts.

“We are trying to start from new but we are sensitive to the conflicts,” Cindilkaya said.

“Instead we are focusing on breaking down stereotypes, sharing our religious traditions and culture, and filling in the gaps on our mutual knowledge of each others faith.

One of the major issues that the conference is addressing is the increasing xenophobia and the rise of far-right groups in Europe.

“We are careful not to equate Islamophobia and anti-Semitism,” Sichrovsky said, “although there are commonalities.

The impact often feels subjectively the same and we are trying to find a strategy where young Jews and Muslims come together and stand up for each other.”

“The conference offers the opportunity to bring together some of the most outstanding Muslim and Jewish leaders in their 20s and 30s,” said president and chairman of the FFEU, Rabbi Marc Schneier.

The conference steps beyond non-communication and estrangement and helps participants connect with each other.

The five-day conference will include working committees on the question of religious practice, fundamentalism and citizen loyalty; countering Islamophobia and anti-Semitism; and methods for conducting sustainable dialogue.

Dutch MPs Vote to Ban Religious Slaughter

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2011 by loonwatch

Is it more “humane” to slaughter animals by shocking them first? That is what most Dutch politicians seem to think.

Dutch MPs Vote to Ban Religious Slaughter

(AlJazeera English)

A bill which would ban halal and kosher slaughter methods has passed through the Dutch parliament, despite opposition from Muslim and Jewish groups who say a ban would impinge on their religious freedoms.

The bill, which was passed overwhelmingly by parliamentarians on Wednesday, still has to pass through the Dutch senate, which is unlikely before the summer recess.

The Dutch cabinet said on Monday that the law may be unenforceable in its current form due to the ambiguity of a last-minute amendment that says religious slaughter licenses can be granted if they can “prove” that it does not cause animals more pain than stunning.

If the Netherlands outlaws procedures that make meat kosher for Jews or halal for Muslims, it would be the second country after New Zealand to do so in recent years. Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland also ban religious slaughter.

Henk Blekers, the Dutch deputy secretary of economic affairs and agriculture, said that the cabinet would “look at how it fits with freedom of religion”, citing the European Convention on Human Rights.

Both halal and kosher slaughter rules prescribe that animals’ throats must be cut swiftly with a razor-sharp knife while they are still conscious, so that they bleed to death quickly.

‘Animal rights over religious rights’

But the Party for Animals, the main proponents of the proposed law, argue that sparing animals needless pain and distress outweighs religious groups’ rights to follow their respective slaughter practices.

“They (livestock) stay conscious for up to 5 minutes. They lose a lot of blood and they can choke on their own blood and the cut should be one time, but research shows that with kosher slaughter (they are cut) on average 3.5 times, and with halal 5.5 times,” Karen Soeters of the Party for Animals told Al Jazeera.

But defenders of the practices said that religious slaughter methods could be humane.

“With halal, the animal can’t be stressed. It can’t see other animals being killed,” Abdulhakim Chouaati of the Dutch Halal Feed and Food Authority told Al Jazeera.

“It’s our religion we’re practicing, and expressing religion in our modern industrial society is not a thing which is appealing to the public,” Ronnie Eisenmann, a Jewish community leader in the Netherlands told Al Jazeera.

In an open letter pleading with parliament not to pass the law, a a committee of rabbis said the impact on the Jewish community would be “deep and large”.

“Older Jews are frightened and wonder what the next law will be that limits their religious life. The youth are openly asking whether they still have a future that they can or want to build in the Netherlands,” the letter continued.

Only Christian political parties opposed the ban, arguing that it undermined the country’s tradition of religious tolerance.

A solid majority of Dutch voters say they support the ban, and parliament voted for it by a margin of 116 for to 30 against.

The support for the ban comes from an odd pairing of the political left, which sees religious slaughter as inhumane, and from the anti-immigration right, which says it is foreign and barbaric.

Promoting Religious Tolerance: Interfaith Service at Washington National Cathedral

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2011 by loonwatch

A great initiative which critics may regard as cliched but is vital for increasing understanding and harmony between religions.

Interfaith service at Washington National Cathedral promotes religious tolerance

By Isaac Arnsdorf (WashingtonPost)

As worshipers entered Washington National Cathedral for Sunday morning’s service, some crossed themselves and some took photographs, some wore ties while others wore shorts and a few even wore yarmulkes.

In the center aisle, in place of the baptismal fountain, candle-lit stands bore three books: a Bible, a Torah and a Koran. When a visitor asked a nearby usher what to do, the usher replied: “This is a totally different service than what we usually do. There’s no wrong answer.”

Instead of Communion, the service featured readings from each of the three Abrahamic faiths, part of a project to promote religious tolerance through similar interfaith services at about 70 churches nationwide. The effort aimed to counteract negative stereotypes and hostile rhetoric targeting American Muslims in the past year, notably the controversy about plans for an Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York and the burning of a Koran by the Rev. Terry Jones in March in Florida.

“What we have done together in this great cathedral this morning, along with others in similar services in houses of worship across our nation, can alter the image and substance of our nation, as well as our religion,” said the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, one of the organizations that sponsored the project. “Today’s beautifully written liturgy, informed by Islam, Judaism and Christianity, declares unambiguously . . . we are not scripture burners, rather, scripture readers.”

A local rabbi and imam joined Gaddy and the cathedral’s Episcopal clergy on the dais to share their messages of mutual understanding and respect.

“For nearly a decade now, since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we Americans have known without a doubt that any hope for a peaceful world will require profound engagement among the world’s religions,” cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III said.

The service began with a traditional call to prayer in the three religions’ terminology — a Hebrew “Bar’chu,” an Arabic “Azan” and a Latin “Spiritus Domini” — all sung in ethereal tones that swirled through the cathedral’s soaring nave.

Then Rabbi Amy M. Schwartzman of Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church read a passage from Deuteronomy about showing kindness to strangers. Imam Mohamed Magid, the president of the Islamic Society of North America, chanted a passage from the Koran about the value of diversity.

“God could have made all of us look the same and go to the same temple or same church,” Magid explained. “But God willed that humans are diverse.”

Gaddy said he hoped the readings would underscore the commonalities among the three traditions, especially their shared message of tolerance and compassion.

“No one verse or one passage in any book of scripture should be allowed to hijack or hold hostage the central truth, the overarching as well as pervasive moral mandate, which emerges from the full sweep of truth in those books of scripture,” he said. “Cherry picking isolated texts . . . allows mean-spirited people to turn the scripture of our religions into weapons.”

Almost 1,000 people attended the service, an average turnout for a summer Sunday. Among them were people actively involved in interfaith dialogue groups, as well as those who were surprised to find the Jewish and Muslim elements of the service.

Ken Bagley, who with his family was visiting the District from Connecticut, just happened upon Sunday’s service.

“It was a neat opportunity to hear all three perspectives in one service and to see how alike they are. You too often hear about how different,” Bagley said.

Alex Huddell, a 21-year-old student at American University, said she had never heard the Koran chanted, except “maybe in movies.”

“It was interesting and beautiful to listen, even if you didn’t understand, to the different rhythms and styles,” Huddell said. “I’m Christian, but I feel a lot of embarrassment about the way Christians sometimes marginalize other religions. So it’s nice to hear there are some leaders in the faith community who are trying to promote the same message of acceptance.”

Pete Carlson, a member of the cathedral’s congregation, said he was inspired by the service and hopes to attend more interfaith events.

“It was even more moving than the normal service here on Sunday,” Carlson said. “It felt like we were a part of something much bigger and much older.”

Lloyd, the cathedral’s dean, said a Muslim reading also will be part of the cathedral’s memorial service for the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

My God is Better Than Yours (I): Christians Calling Muslims “Mohammedans” a Case of Pot Calling Kettle Black

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2011 by loonwatch

This article is part 9 of LoonWatch’s Understanding Jihad Series. Please read my “disclaimer”, which explains my intentions behind writing this article: The Understanding Jihad Series: Is Islam More Likely Than Other Religions to Encourage Violence?

The anti-Muslim ideologues argue that the prophet of Islam was uniquely violent as compared to prophets of other religions, especially Judaism and Christianity; this is an argument furthered in chapter one of Robert Spencer’s book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).  Further, they argue that the holy book of Islam is uniquely warlike as compared to scriptures of other faiths, especially the Bible; Spencer argues this in chapter two of his book.

These claims are not well-founded, and we’ve thoroughly refuted them (see parts 1234567, and 8 of the Understanding Jihad Series).  Clearly, the Biblical prophets (MosesJoshuaSamson,SaulDavid, etc.) were more violent than the Prophet Muhammad; even Jesus, who promised to kill all his enemies, was no exception.  Similarly, the Bible is more violent than the Quran.

There is one specific manner in which the Biblical prophets and the Bible are to be considered more violent than Muhammad and the Quran: they sanction(ed) the killing of innocent civilians: women and children.  Worse yet, they sanction(ed) what can only be described as genocide.  Nowhere in the Quran is targeting the life of a non-combatant, especially a woman or child, permitted; in fact, the Prophet Muhammad strictly forbade such a thing.

For all the obfuscation that the anti-Muslim polemicists will provide in response to this Series, keep this point in mind which cannot be reiterated enough: the most significant difference, and why the Biblical prophets and the Bible are to be considered more warlike than the Islamic prophet and holy book, is that they permit(ted) the killing of non-combatants, including women and children–even to the point of allowing genocide. The Islamophobes can copy-and-paste Quranic verses until they go blue in the face (even with the help of those ever so helpful ellipses), but they can never find a single verse in the Quran like that.

Do Muslims Worship the Same God as Jews and Christians?

In addition to Islam’s prophet and holy book, anti-Muslim ideologues (most of whom come from Judeo-Christian backgrounds) absolutely despise the God of Islam: Allah.  Too ignorant to realize that the word Allah just means “God” in Arabic (or technically, The God) and that the Arabic version of the Bible uses the word “Allah” in it for the Judeo-Christian God–and too ignorant to realize that Jewish and Christian Arabs call their god “Allah”–the anti-Muslim ideologues unload all sorts of invective against Allah.

The anti-Muslim argument has two parts to it: (1) the God that Muslims worship is different than the God of the Jews and Christians; (2) this other, different pagan god is warlike, blood-thirsty, and brutal.  In order to debunk this argument, therefore, it is important to refute each individual part.  First, is the God of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims the same?  Second, what are the characteristics of the Muslim God as compared to the Jewish and Christian God?

Do Muslims Worship Muhammad?

The idea that Muslims don’t worship the same god as Jews and Christians dates back to at least the time of the Crusades: Crusader lore had it that the Muslims were “pagans” and that they worshiped the Prophet Muhammad instead of God.  In time, Muslims came to be known as Mahometans, and eventually Mohammedans. This misnomer was used by Orientalists, and continues to be employed by certain anti-Muslim elements today, including some Christians.

This is of course a fascinatingly ironic case of projection: by using this term, these anti-Muslim Christians are mocking Muslims for worshiping a man named Muhammad instead of God.  After all,who but a primitive pagan would worship a man-god? Yet, in actuality it is the Christian community that worships a “man-god”: Jesus Christ.

If Muslims are to be considered pagans for worshiping a man named Muhammad, should Christians be considered pagans for worshiping Jesus?  Even if Muhammad had claimed divinity, how would this have been any different from what Christians claim Jesus did?  Ironically, the pejorative term “Mohammedan” is to Muhammad what “Christian” is to Christ.

In any case, Muhammad never claimed divinity nor have Muslims ever believed such a thing.  In fact, the Quran instructed the Prophet Muhammad:

Say to them (O Muhammad): “I am only a human being like you.  It is revealed to me that your God is One God. So let him who hopes to meet his Lord do good deeds and let him associate no one else in the worship of his Lord.” (Quran, 18:110)

The Quran categorically declared that “Muhammad is no more than an apostle” who can die or even be killed (Quran, 3:144).  Indeed, when the Prophet Muhammad died, his successor Abu Bakr famously proclaimed:

Whoever worshiped Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead.  But whoever worshiped God (Allah), let him know that God (Allah) lives and does not die. (Sahih al-Bukhari, 2:333)

It has even been part of the Islamic tradition to prohibit all imagery of the Prophet in order to prevent Muhammad from being “idolized” as Jesus was by Christians.  This precaution was based on the Prophet Muhammad’s fear of suffering a similar “fate” as Jesus.  Not only does the Quran repeatedly criticize the Christians for deifying Jesus, but Muhammad explicitly warned his followers:

Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary (Jesus), for I am only a slave.  So, call me the slave of God (Allah) and His Messenger. (Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:654)

It seems that Christians ought to be the absolute last people on earth to mock Muslims for worshiping Muhammad or calling them “Mohammedans.”  But alas, we will see a recurring pattern here: Christians criticizing Muslims for something that is present even more so in their own religion.

In any case, the Quran repeatedly warns against worshiping anyone or anything besides God (Allah):

Say: “Truly my prayer and my worship, my life and my death are all for God (Allah) alone, the Lord of the worlds.” (Quran, 6:162)

It would be very difficult to construct a case that Muslims actively worship Muhammad.  Unbelievably, however, this Crusader-era canard remains alive and well among some segments of anti-Muslim Christians.  Sam Shamoun, an anti-Muslim Christian polemicist, insists that Muslims do in fact worship Muhammad.  Shamoun uses several very weak arguments to “prove” this claim.  Fortunately, his arguments have been refuted here by Muslim apologist Bassam Zawadi.

For our intents and purposes, whether Muslims worship Muhammad or not is largely a theological debate between Muslims and Christians, one which is hardly relevant to our website.  However, it isrelevant to us insofar as this claim is related to the “slur” of “Mohammedan”–an epithet which is used by many Islamophobes today.  It is a vestige of age-old Western confusion about and propaganda against Islam, whereby Muslims are “Other-ized”: Muslims are understood as followers of some alien and strange faith, one which worships a man named Muhammad instead of God.

Lastly, the “Muslims worship Muhammad” canard, which has been used by Christians against Muslims for hundreds of years, gives us the proper backdrop to understand the “Muslims worship the moon-god” conspiracy theory, which has become very popular among Islamophobes today.  The former Crusader-era canard has been repackaged in the form of the moon-god theory and is now being fed to the masses, once again serving to provide the propaganda needed to sustain our wars, our modern-day crusades against the Islamic world.

The Islamophobes “Other-ize” the god Muslims worship, comparing the “God of Love” supposedly found in the Judeo-Christian tradition with the “war and moon god” supposedly found in the religion of Islam.  The stealthy tacking on of the word “war” to “moon god” makes the moon-god theory directly relevant to the topic of jihad.  It is this “theory” that we turn our attention to next.

Religious feud leads to attempted murder charges

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2011 by loonwatch

Imagine if a young Muslim teenager got into a religious feud and attempted to murder someone. Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer would not stop talking about it and would follow the story down to the very last bit.

Religious feud leads to attempted murder charges

http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/static/flash/embeddedPlayer/swf/otvEmLoader.swf?version=&station=wabc&section=&mediaId=8147216&cdnRoot=http://cdn.abclocal.go.com&webRoot=http://abclocal.go.com&configPath=/util/&site=

Eyewitness News

NEW CITY, New York (WABC) – A teenager is under arrest in an ongoing religious feud in a small, Hasidic village.

It’s become so bad, police say attempted murder charges are now involved.

This latest incident happening in New Square.

Yesterday police arrested 18-year-old Shaul Spitzer on charges of attempted murderarson and first degree assault. Cops say he tried to set the Rottenberg family home on fire and it’s a location police are very familiar with.

There is a few instances of broken windows, broken windows in the vehicles owned by Rottenberg,” said Chief Peter Brower, Ramapo Police Department.

Investigator say early Sunday morning Aron Rottenberg saw Spitzer on his surveillance cameras as the teen threw a rag soaked with flammable liquid onto the rear porch at his Truman Avenue home. The 43-year-old confronted the teenager and somehow both men caught fire.

Rottenberg suffered third degree burns to 50-percent of his body. Spitzer is also hospitalized with burns to his hands and arm.

No one answered the door at Spitzer’s new square home today.

Police and some residents say the attack centers on a simmering feud between the community’s grand rabbi and a group of men, including Rottenberg who worship at a nearby senior center and not at the main synagogue.

(Copyright ©2011 WABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Rightists in Jerusalem: Muhammad is dead, butcher Arabs

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2011 by loonwatch

These Right-wing activists are increasing in numbers across Israel. Will they be a majority in 20 years?

Can you imagine if this happened in a Muslim country?

Rightists in Jerusalem: Muhammad is dead, butcher Arabs

(YNet)

Dozens of right-wing activists marching through Jerusalem Wednesday were filmed chanting inflammatory messages and singing provocative songs in the capital, including “Muhammad is dead,” “May your village burn,” “Death to leftists,” and “Butcher the Arabs.”

The disturbing utterances were made during the traditional “Flag Dance” on the occasion of Jerusalem Day, which drew tens of thousands of Israelis to the capital to celebrate its unification following the 1967 Six-Day War.

http://mediadownload.ynet.co.il/flowplayerlive/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.5.swf

The offensive chants and songs can be clearly heard in the video, filmed by members of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement. Elsewhere, Arab residents hurled stones at Jewish protestors during the tense day. The Jerusalem Police deployed in the city in force ahead of time in a bid to prevent friction between Jews and Arabs.

During Wednesday’s violent clashes, police detained at least 15 rioters, both Jewish and Arab. A focal point of tension was the Old City’s Damascus Gate, where Jewish marchers and Arab business owners hurled stones and fruit at each other. Some Jews entered the Muslim market in the area and chanted “Death to the Arabs” and “Muhammad is dead.”

More Jewish protestors were arrested nearby after yelling nationalistic chants and attempting to hurt Arabs.

Overall, two Jews and one Arab sustained light wounds as result of stone throwing during the day and received medical treatment.