Jews, and Muslims, Should Be Concerned about Anti-Semitic Preaching in American Mosques

July 28 2017

Quoting from two sermons given last Friday at Islamic centers in California, Liel Leibovitz argues that it’s time for those who claim to oppose bigotry to start protesting anti-Semitic incitement in U.S. mosques:

The Egyptian-born American imam Ammar Shahin took to the pulpit at the Islamic Center of Davis, California, to deliver some words to the faithful. . . . “The Prophet Muhammad says that . . . the last hour will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews. We don’t say if it is in Palestine or another place. Until they fight.”

Shahin went on like this for a while longer. Then, he closed his eyes and addressed the Creator directly.

“Oh Allah,” he prayed, . . . “liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews. . . . Oh Allah, show us the black day that you inflict upon them and the wonders of your ability. Oh Allah, count them one by one and annihilate them down to the very last one. Do not spare any one. . . . Oh Allah, make this happen by our hand. Let us play a part in this.”

At more or less the same time, another imam, Sheikh Mahmoud Harmoush, was preaching at another Islamic Center, in Riverside, 451 miles to the south. . . . “Wake up,” he thundered, “it is time to be a Muslim. Prayers are not the only things.” And then, after more talk of al-Aqsa and its Jewish occupiers, the grand finale: “Oh, Allah, destroy them. . . . Turn them into booty in the hands of Muslims.”

That these two sermons, oozing with anti-Semitism of the crudest kind, could take place, in 2017, in the state of California, should terrify not only Jews but also Muslims who abhor the idea of their faith abused by fanatics who turn scripture into screeds and who use the pulpit to preach for murder. It should also jolt good liberals into action, as they imagine how they would feel if the speakers were, say, right-wing Evangelicals calling on Christ to smite the gays. And it should rouse the ADL into action, if it wants to dispel the mounting evidence that it’s a Democratic-party affiliate primarily interested in ephemeral political scuffles rather than in protecting real Jews from real hate.

All this must happen immediately, before one of the men who sat at the feet of Imams Shahin and Harmoush gets up and decides that the day of reckoning is upon us and that it’s time to do as Allah commands and go slay the Jews.

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More about: ADL, Anti-Semitism, Islam, Religion & Holidays

No, Israel Hasn’t Used Disproportionate Force against Hamas

Aug. 15 2018

Last week, Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza launched nearly 200 rockets and mortars into Israel, in addition to the ongoing makeshift incendiary devices and sporadic sniper fire. Israel responded with an intensive round of airstrikes, which stopped the rockets. Typically, condemnations of the Jewish state’s use of “disproportionate force” followed; and typically, as Peter Lerner, a former IDF spokesman, explains, these were wholly inaccurate:

The IDF conducted, by its own admission, approximately 180 precision strikes. In the aftermath of those strikes the Hamas Ministry of Health announced that three people had been killed. One of the dead was [identified] as a Hamas terrorist. The two others were reported as civilians: Inas Abu Khmash, a twenty-three-year-old pregnant woman, and her eighteen-month daughter, Bayan. While their deaths are tragic, they are not an indication of a disproportionate response to Hamas’s bombardment of Israel’s southern communities. With . . . 28 Israelis who required medical assistance [and] 30 Iron Dome interceptions, I would argue the heart-rending Palestinian deaths indicate the exact opposite.

The precision strikes on Hamas’s assets with so few deaths show how deep and thorough is the planning process the IDF has put in place. . . . Proportionality in warfare, [however], is not a numbers game, as so many of the journalists I’ve worked with maintain. . . . Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against the anguish that the action might cause to civilians in the vicinity. . . . In the case of the last few days, it appears that even intended combatant deaths were [deemed] undesirable, due to their potential to increase the chances of war. . . .

The question that should be repeated is why indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilians from behind Gazan civilians is accepted, underreported, and not condemned.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict