CAIR Has No Place in Synagogues

June 19 2018

Two weeks ago, Manhattan’s Temple Emanu-El had scheduled Albert Fox Cahn, a congregant who works as a lawyer for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), to speak at its Friday-night services, but rescinded the invitation abruptly after considering his links to this dangerous organization, which has longstanding ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Cahn has predictably labeled the disinvitation a failure of tolerance. The Muslim activist Shireen Qudosi, however, applauds the synagogue’s decision:

Synagogues should never be bullied into hosting organizations that promote divisiveness and demonization—especially groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which slurs [Muslim] reformists as “Uncle Toms” and seeks to impose its intolerant views on the American Muslim community. That intolerance often takes the form of harassing reformers who advocate for liberalism within Islam, while only recognizing as legitimate representatives of Islam those Muslims who represent Islamic orthodoxy. . . .

[Furthermore], CAIR has contributed dangerously to the politicization of Islam. . . . It doesn’t hide its behavior, either, often [working] as a self-appointed heresy hunter against Muslims who want to have an open conversation on Islamic extremism.

The Islamic faith has no organized leadership, and the caliphate of Islamic empires died long ago. Muslim organizations . . . such as CAIR, [trying to fill this vacuum], have positioned themselves as representatives of Muslims in America. . . .

Cahn [wrote in response the Emanu-El’s decision to disinvite him] that it “is up to this generation . . . to show that we have learned the lessons of history and the teachings of the Torah [and] to show that we are not doomed to wander the desert of intolerance.”. . . I don’t believe the Jewish tradition teaches its followers to submit [to bigots] and call it “tolerance.” In fact, I have heard of a Jewish saying that “if you are kind to the cruel, you will end by being cruel to the kind.” And we see that playing out here. Champions of indiscriminate interfaith dialogue such as Cahn are harming moderate Muslim communities by empowering CAIR’s bigotry.

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More about: American Muslims, CAIR, Muslim-Jewish relations, Religion & Holidays, Synagogues

The Reasons for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Staying Power

Nov. 20 2018

This week, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have narrowly avoided the collapse of his governing coalition despite the fact that one party, Yisrael Beiteinu, withdrew and another, the Jewish Home, threatened to follow suit. Moreover, he kept the latter from defecting without conceding its leader’s demand to be appointed minister of defense. Even if the government were to collapse, resulting in early elections, Netanyahu would almost certainly win, writes Elliot Jager:

[Netanyahu’s] detractors think him Machiavellian, duplicitous, and smug—willing to do anything to stay in power. His supporters would not automatically disagree. Over 60 percent of Israelis tell pollsters that they will be voting for a party other than Likud—some supposing their favored party will join a Netanyahu-led coalition while others hoping against the odds that Likud can be ousted.

Opponents would [also] like to think the prime minister’s core voters are by definition illiberal, hawkish, and religiously inclined. However, the 30 percent of voters who plan to vote Likud reflect a broad segment of the population. . . .

Journalists who have observed Netanyahu over the years admire his fitness for office even if they disagree with his actions. A strategic thinker, Netanyahu’s scope of knowledge is both broad and deep. He is a voracious reader and a quick study. . . . Foreign leaders may not like what he says but cannot deny that he speaks with panache and authority. . . .

The prime minister or those around him are under multiple police investigations for possible fraud and moral turpitude. Under Israel’s system, the police investigate and can recommend that the attorney general issue an indictment. . . . Separately, Mrs. Netanyahu is in court for allegedly using public monies to pay for restaurant meals. . . . The veteran Jerusalem Post political reporter Gil Hoffman maintains that Israelis do not mind if Netanyahu appears a tad corrupt because they admire a politician who is nobody’s fool. Better to have a political figure who cannot be taken advantage of than one who is incorruptible but naïve.

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More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics