Britain’s Israel-Hating “Anti-Radicals”

The United Kingdom has created or sponsored programs to bring young Muslims deemed at risk of radicalization into contact with Muslim “anti-extremists” who will help them toward a more peaceable vision of their religion. While these anti-extremists are genuinely opposed to Islamic State and al-Qaeda, writes John Ware, their views about Israel are far from moderate. One of them, the government-approved mentor Hanif Qadir, refers to Palestinians who stab Jewish civilians as “resistance fighters”:

A first stage in the development of extremist ideas can be, as Prime Minister David Cameron has said, a belief in conspiracy theories about Jews exercising malevolent power. So what about this tweet from Qadir when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, its 50-day military assault on Gaza to stop rocket fire into Israel in the summer of 2014? “A whole nation is being radicalized to exterminate the Palestinians. Where are the interventionists? Who is going to prevent this terrorism?” “Exterminate”? There could be no more serious, nor tendentious, charge against Jews. . . .

At the height of operation Protective Edge, Qadir also tweeted a picture showing Israelis supposedly playing badminton inside the al-Aqsa mosque. . . . The picture was captioned: “One of the most disturbing images of today. This is inside al-Aqsa mosque!! Palestinians were not allowed to pray inside but these people are allowed to play!” Attached to it were pictures of what look like smoldering Qurans and a woman defiling a Quran by standing on it with her bare feet and painted toenails.

The picture . . . appears to have come from Turkish media reports in July 2013 showing badminton (and karate and soccer) being played—not in Jerusalem but in the Milas mosque in the Mugla province of Turkey. A simple Google search would have alerted Qadir to his error.

Read more at Standpoint

More about: Anti-Semitism, Islamic State, Israel & Zionism, Radical Islam, United Kingdom

On Thanksgiving, Remember the Exodus from Egypt

Nov. 27 2020

When asked to design a Great Seal of the United States, Benjamin Franklin proposed a depiction of Moses at the splitting of the Sea of Reeds, while Thomas Jefferson suggested the children of Israel in the wilderness after departing Egypt. These proposals, writes Ed Simon, tapped into a venerable American tradition:

The Puritans from whom Franklin descended had been comparing their own arrival in the New World with the story of Exodus for more than a century. They were inheritors of a profoundly Judaic vision, melding the stories of the Hebrew scripture with their own narratives and experiences. . . .

For the Puritans, Exodus was arguably a model for understanding their own lives and history in a manner more all-encompassing and totalizing than for any other historical religious group, with the obvious exception of the Jews. . . . American Puritans and pilgrims like John Mather, John Winthrop, John Cotton, . . . and many others placed the Exodus at the center of their vision, seeing their own fleeing from an oppressive England and a Europe wracked by the Thirty Years’ War to an American “Errand Into the Wilderness” as a modern version of the Israelites’ escape into Canaan. . . . [Thus the] Exodus . . . has become indispensable in comprehending the wider American experience. Through the Puritans, the story of Exodus became a motivating script for all manner of American stories. . . .

We read its significance and prophetic power in accounts of slaves who escaped the cruelty of antebellum plantation servitude, and who crossed the Ohio River as if it were the Sea of Reeds. . . . We see it in photographs of the oppressed escaping pogroms and persecution in the Old World, and in the stories of later generations of refugees. Exodus is an indispensably Jewish story, but what more appropriate day than Thanksgiving, this most American and Puritan (and “Jewish”?) of holidays, to consider the role that that particular biblical narrative has had in defining America’s civil religion?

Read more at Tablet

More about: American founding, American Religion, Exodus, History & Ideas, Thanksgiving, Thomas Jefferson