Why Many American Muslims Are Afraid to Stand Up to the Anti-Semites in Their Midst

Aug. 14 2017

A few weeks ago, near-simultaneous sermons by two California imams included anti-Semitic rhetoric of the most murderous kind, some of which constituted direct calls to violence. Shireen Qudosi examines the response of Muslim Americans:

The war-mongering rhetoric of [these] imams was not a matter of slips of the tongue or offhand comments. Their rhetoric is the same packaged radical ideology churned out in madrassas, terror camps, and online extremist publications. These are calculated and crafted messages that appear to convey the assumption that [these imams’] religious authority will not be challenged. Their words were not indicative of American Islam or [Muslim Americans as a whole]. Within days of the sermons, [a group of liberal Muslim organizations] launched a petition against Imams Ammar Shahin and Mahmoud Harmoush, calling for their immediate termination. . . .

This silent refusal of many [other] Muslims to condemn [physical or rhetorical] attacks that are openly inspired by Islam does not come from [actual sympathy with these attacks], but from a fear of challenging religious authority or . . . of holding our own community accountable. [The truth is, most] Muslims are not worried about what Jews, Americans, or a new presidential administration will do. Many [instead] fear first and foremost . . . the ostracism and harassment they risk from within their own community if they express dissent. . . .

Within days, the petition received literally thousands of signatures. All it demanded was that those imams be fired. The truth is that the entire mosque board that defended and allowed these imams to speak at length, without interruption, should step down. Members of the so-called “interfaith community” also need to take a hard look at their own complicity. Partnering with Jew-haters is of no service to anyone—not Jews, not Christians, and not the Muslim community. There is also the larger issue of the ineffectiveness of many interfaith groups and their tendency to be used as props during public-relations disasters such as this one.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Anti-Semitism, Interfaith dialogue, Islam, Moderate Islam, Muslim-Jewish relations, Radical Islam, Religion & Holidays

The Impossibility of Unilateral Withdrawal from the West Bank

Feb. 19 2019

Since throwing his hat into the ring for the Israeli premiership, the former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz has been reticent about his policy plans. Nonetheless, he has made clear his openness to unilateral disengagement from the West Bank along the lines of the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, stating the necessity of finding “a way in which we’re not controlling other people.” Gershon Hacohen argues that any such plan would be ill-advised:

The political and strategic precepts underlying the Oslo “peace” process, which Gantz echoes, vanished long ago. The PLO has unequivocally revealed its true colors: its total lack of interest in peace, unyielding rejection of the idea of Jewish statehood, and incessant propensity for violence and terrorism. . . . Tehran is rapidly emerging as regional hegemon, with its tentacles spreading from Yemen and Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea and its dogged quest for nuclear weapons continuing apace under the international radar. Even the terror groups Hizballah and Hamas pose a far greater threat to Israel’s national security than they did a decade ago. Under these circumstances, Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank’s Area C, [the only part still under direct Israeli control], would constitute nothing short of an existential threat.

Nor does Israel need to find a way to stop “controlling other people,” as Gantz put it, for the simple reason that its control of the Palestinians ended some two decades ago. In May 1994 the IDF withdrew from all Palestinian population centers in the Gaza Strip. In January 1996 it vacated the West Bank’s populated areas (the Oslo Accords’ Areas A and B), comprising over 90 percent of the West Bank’s Palestinian residents, and handed control of that population to the Palestinian Authority (PA). . . .

This in turn means that the real dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as within Israel itself, no longer revolves around the end of “occupation” but around the future of eastern Jerusalem and Area C. And since Area C (which is home to only 100,000 Palestinians) includes all the Jewish West Bank localities, IDF bases, transportation arteries, vital topographic sites, and habitable empty spaces between the Jordan Valley and the Jerusalem metropolis, its continued retention by Israel is a vital national interest. Why? Because its surrender to a potentially hostile Palestinian state would make the defense of the Israeli hinterland virtually impossible—and because these highly strategic and sparsely populated lands are of immense economic, infrastructural, communal, ecological, and cultural importance, not to mention their historical significance as the bedrock of the Jewish ancestral homeland

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More about: Benny Gantz, Israel & Zionism, Two-State Solution, West Bank