Fjordman Back at Gates of Vienna whose Tipsters Include Caroline Glick

by Farha Khaled

Islamophobic blogs like Gates of Vienna, popular with white supremacists have Israeli American fans who have adopted a hard line pro Israel agenda. It also appears that Fjordman is back at Gates of Vienna. He was cited recently as a tipster alongside Caroline Glick, the senior editor at The Jerusalem Post.

A closer scrutiny of Gates of Vienna the white supremacist blog which published ‘Fjordman‘ until he went into hiding after the Norway massacre shows it is run by a couple living in Virginia, USA, one Baron Bodissey whose real name is Edward May popularly known as ‘Ned May‘ and his wife who edits the blog under the pseudonym ‘Dymphna.’ It claims to focus on the ‘Great Jihad’ in Europe, regularly publishing essays promoting white supremacism, calls for a Muslim Holocaust and is filled with vile anti Islam bigotry, lies and polemics dressed up as ‘counter jihadism’.  Anders Brievik has posted comments there. In the past too, discussions of exterminating the ‘Muslim’ problem caused waves as in ‘Thinking the Unthinkable‘ in which options to rid the world of Muslims were discussed.

Gates of Vienna has a pro Israel focus which Ned and Dymphna go to great pains to emphasise. A cynic may suspect there are ulterior motives at play here. The connection between Zionism and organized Islamophobia is clear and comes as no surprise now. Fear Inc. a six month study by the Centre for American Progress, details how an Islamophobia industry is being funded and peddled by a small minority of conservatives. What is popularly known as ‘Islamism’ has its Zionist counterpart, as explored in a recent LoonWatch series ‘Why Religious Zionism, Not Judaism, Is The Problem‘.

Indeed Dymphna regularly does the rounds at right wing Zionist websites posting comments moaning about their poverty. One such blog is the rabidly anti Palestinian and Islam hating blog ‘Sultan Knish‘ run by Daniel Greenfield an Israeli sabra living in New York, who is a fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Centre the same organisation that sponsors Jihad Watch.  Daniel is obsessed with a pathological hatred for Muslims and a delusion that the US military exists to carry out his fantasy of a war on Islam. Daniel’s postings regularly dehumanise Muslims, and are filled with anti Islam screeds which he fabricates on whim, not unlike Ned May.  He also has a Torah Parsha blog and this video shows him in a debate about New Media. In a common theme amongst neo cons, Daniel complains there is a plot to destroy the US military by Obama.  In one blog post ‘Winning the War on Terror‘ he suggests genocide:

‘We would have to be willing to kill millions, directly or indirectly, while maintaining an alliance that would defy Russia, China and the First World nations that would accuse us of genocide. The real name for this war might well turn out to be World War III. It would take a Churchill or a Roosevelt to launch something like that, and while the world would be radically different afterward, it might well turn out to be radioactively different too.’

Whilst Daniel’s crowd propagate that Muslims are out to destroy the USA, the truth is these very neo conservatives bankrupted the US economy by leading it into trillion dollar wars on fake premises and fabricated evidence. As Julian Borger reported in The Guardian, the evidence for the Iraq war was fabricated by the now defunct ‘The Office of Special Plans‘ affiliated with hard line Likudniks.

When the worlds media was questioning the role Robert Spencer and his crowd played in influencing the massacre, Daniel Greenfield, rushed to defend his buddies with  ‘Brievexploitation‘ a pathetic attempt to divert blame. A cursory glance at the comments underneath this post, dated 8/06/2011 shows Dymphna reminding Daniel how her ilk suffer for being philo-semitic:

‘The fledgling right wing of European politics, the only part of it that was NOT anti-Semitic, has been ripped from the body politic in Europe and thrown on the ash heap.’

After reminding him and his readers of the huge sacrifices made, she goes on to subtly beg:

‘Perhaps you could suggest to Mr. Horowitz that as part of discovering ABB’s networks, he could have that analysis done? Certainly if I had the money I’d get it asap.’

Far right Islamophobic activists have forged alliances of convenience with radical Zionists and regard Israel as an ally, not least because they see Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as a role model for how Muslims should be treated.  Hard line Zionists see it as an opportunity to lessen the growing Muslim presence and influence in the USA and Europe which they see as detrimental to a greater Israel. Stooges like Geert Wilders are funded in the hope they can halt Muslim immigration and influence. Marginalised as they are, some European nationalist groups are willing to shed their traditional Jew hatred in an attempt to find allies, but as often happens in marriages of convenience, it doesn’t take much for cracks to appear. Pamela Geller’s association with the EDL caused waves when Roberta Moore claimed they had Jew hating members and were not sufficiently pro Israel. In Europe, German newspaper Der Spiegel probed this alliance in ‘The Likud Connection‘ showing how some marginalized right wing populists are going the Geert Wilders way. This bizarre coupling has split the far right movement in Europe which has traditionally been anti-semitic.

Meanwhile, Ned May, an EDL activist, serves as director of International Free Press Society an American and Denmark based group whose members claim to fight threats to free speech from ‘forces within Islam’. IFPS’s board members include the familiar names Bat Ye’or, Robert Spencer, Andrew Bostom and affiliates like Aish Ha Torah. Incidentally, one of the listed advisers for IFPS is Rachel Ehrenfeld an “expert on terrorism” and author of ‘Funding Evil’ in which she made allegations of terror funding against the now deceased Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz for which he sued.

Ned often mixes in a pro Israel and pro Jewish stance liberally peppering his polemics with quotes from the Talmud and expresses a desire (like Dymphna) to be in the pay of Mossad. In this he has help from fellow bloggers like his friend, a Jerusalem based Israeli American lawyer, one Carl Mordechai Sherer, who runs Israel Matzav as ‘Carl in Jerusalem‘. Charles Johnson banned Carl from Little Green Footballs where he was a heavy commenter for posting a link to Gates of Vienna with a curt ‘I will have nothing to do with people who promote fascist creeps‘. Stung by LGF’s criticism, a blog war followed, in which Ned May tries to salvage some dignity for his cesspool.

A particularly revealing blog post is where Carl can be seen giving Ned advice on the legality of declaring Jewish rights to Israel as an indigenous people, stating he fully supported a ‘greater Israel’ though the world won’t allow it. Ned  in turn laments a common nazi theme which he modifies to this convoluted logic:

‘Regardless of the merits of the case, I agree with Carl that the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will never be applied to Jews — or to white Europeans, for that matter.

“Indigenous Peoples” are “brown” peoples, especially Muslims, American Indians, Australian Aboriginals, and black Africans. Anything using the term that is passed by the UN will only be allowed to apply to those peoples, and never to Jews or Caucasians.’

Ned May must be unaware of the millions of Caucasian Muslims including Russians, American Muslims, British and other European converts. Carl, who did not see fit to tell his friend that most Israeli’s are non Caucasian Sefardi Jews was however, quick to hypocritically cry ‘nazi’ at white supremacist Occupy Wall St protesters.

Incidentally, Carl, who has lauded Fjordman’s postings at Gates of Vienna gushes at Israel Matzav:

‘For those who have never been to Gates of Vienna, go check it out. It’s some of the highest level intellectual material you will ever read on the Internet.’

How high is that ‘intellectual level’ ? Let us quote Ned verbatim where he explains the purpose of Gates of Vienna is to spread lies at a grassroots level, in short; telling a lie often enough makes one believe it. Not just to lie but to oversell it. In a blog titled ‘Overselling the Meme‘ he states:

‘This must be accomplished at a level well below that of the celebrities and famous pundits, because action on that battlefield invites a massive and well-funded counterattack by CAIR, ISNA, the OIC, etc.’

Using hyperbole and flowery nonsense, he spells out his mission in life:

As a propagandist, my task is to spread the meme and not to sweat the nuances. Nuances can be argued about and nailed down by scholars in the centuries after Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion — is totally destroyed. We don’t have the luxury for such finicky scholasticism right now.’

Perhaps the best known Israeli tipster for Gates of Vienna is The Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick an Israeli American known for her right wing views, and who serves as editor for the Israeli political satire website Latma TV. Caroline was cited approvingly in Breivik’s manifesto.  It appears that Fjordman is once more back at Gates of Vienna, for on 13th October 2011, the credits included :

‘Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Fjordman, heroyalwhyness, JP, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.’

When Israel was forced to offer an apology for Latma TV releasing ‘We Con the World,’ a satire mocking the dead Gaza flotilla activists, the Huffingon Post’s Eileen Read wrote ‘The Jerusalem Post Should Fire Caroline Glick for Making a Racist Video in which she opined:

‘But this is lower than I’ve ever seen someone go who carries a management title at a journalism organization. I’m ashamed to say that Glick and I are both Columbia alums. Even if she hates people of another race or religion and is allowed by her editors to poke fun at them in a tasteless and blatantly racist way, she should be fired for making fun of the dead.’

This incident was not the first time Caroline Glick had received flak for her radical opinions. In the aftermath of the Norway massacre, the Jerusalem Post published editorials that had tried to link the tragedy to Europe’s immigration policies. Norwegians took offence at sentiments expressed by Glick amongst others and voiced their objections to Israeli diplomats as to how the tragedy was being exploited. Some weeks later, the Jerusalem Post’s Editor in Chief published ‘Apology to Norway‘ an editorial in which he expressed remorse:

‘As Senior Contributing Editor Caroline B. Glick suggested in her column last Friday, the fact that Breivik’s warped mind cited a group of conservative thinkers including herself as having influenced his thinking in no way reflects on them.

“As a rule, liberal democracies reject the resort to violence as a means of winning an argument. This is why, for liberal democracies, terrorism in all forms is absolutely unacceptable,” she wrote. “Whether or not one agrees with the ideological self-justifications of a terrorist, as a member of a liberal democratic society, one is expected to abhor his act of terrorism. Because by resorting to violence to achieve his aims, the terrorist is acting in a manner that fundamentally undermines the liberal democratic order.”

It later emerged that Breivik, a Christian radical, had posted on the Internet an extremely anti-Muslim manifesto that supported far-right nationalism and Zionism.’

He then moves on to vocalise the Jerusalem Post’s stance:

‘This is certainly not the kind of support Israel needs. It is the type of Islamophobia that is all too reminiscent of the Nazis’ attitude toward the Jews. Jews, Muslims and Christians in Israel and around the world should be standing together against such hate crimes.’

Caroline has also given explicit permission for Gates of Vienna to publish a Norwegian version of Norway’s Problem which Ned did after writing:

‘Under normal circumstances, Gates of Vienna does not publish in any languages other than English (in its American, British, Canadian, and Australian variants). However, we are making an exception for the following opinion piece by Caroline Glick.’

Setting the tone for this unique honour, Ned continues:

‘The result was the column below. Several Scandinavians requested that we publish a Norwegian translation, and with Ms. Glick’s permission it was kindly translated by Cecilie.’

Indeed! We have here one of Israel’s most ‘most important’ women and the Senior Contributing Editor of the Jerusalem Post giving permission to publish a translated version of her article at a hate site (that credits and links back to her) espousing views deemed repugnant by her editor-in-chief. One can recall the hue and cry when Octavia Nasr tweeted about a Hezbollah sheikh’s death that led to CNN firing her!

Gates of Vienna may be bottom feeders in the world of Islamophobia, but clearly their unsettling involvement with prominent hatemongers is more than just a cause for concern.

Farha Khaled is a columnist for the Arab News.  She can be followed on Twitter http://twitter.com/farhakhaled

AlJazeera English: Footage Shows a Dead Muammar Gaddafi

AlJazeera English: Footage Shows a Dead Muammar Gaddafi

When NATO backed rebels entered Tripoli in late August, it spelled the end of the Gadaffi regime. His reported death today marks the symbolic end of the Gadaffi era. There is no shadow of a doubt that Gadaffi was a dictator, that much is clear from numerous human rights and amnesty reports.

Now marks a new beginning for Libya.

Unlike the Egyptian revolution, the Libyan uprising was tainted by Nato’s involvement; it was not a victory purely by the people, of the people and for the people. It is hoped that the forces of self-determination and true democracy will prevail over those trends that are either open to, or already have been co-opted by foreign interests.

Needless to say, the Islamophobes are already instigating the doomsday scenario. Robert Spencer says in a blog post titled, “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Gaddafi has been captured”:

It is likely that the new America-backed regime will compete with the Gaddafi regime in its hatred for America and the West, and become noted for being even more anti-American than he was.

It goes without saying that one should take Spencer’s words with a heavy grain of salt, after all such pessimism on his part is born not out of a true analysis of Libya as it is today but out of a deep seated hatred for Islam and Muslims. For Spencer Muslims can only ever live under dictatorship and oppression.

Footage shows Gaddafi’s bloodied body

Footage obtained by Al Jazeera shows the body of the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi following his death in Sirte.

Al Jazeera has acquired exclusive footage of the body of Muammar Gaddafi after he was killed in his hometown, Sirte.

Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, vice chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council, confirmed that the ousted leader had been killed on October 20, 2011 near Sirte.

“We announce to the world that Muammar Gaddafi has been killed at the hands of the revolutionaries,” Ghoga told a news conference in Benghazi.

The news came shortly after the NTC captured Sirte after weeks of fighting.

THE 99 Superheroes Vs. The Loons

THE 99 is an animated series featuring superheroes inspired by Islamic culture and society. The series was scheduled to launch in the US last week on the The Hub children’s television network, but producers have since announced the broadcast will be postponed indefinitely. Vicious anti-Muslim bigots everywhere are gleeful, boasting that their small but boisterous outcry may have prompted the delay.

The New York Post published a scathing article by outrage peddler Andrea Peyser criticizing the series and calling on anti-Muslim bigots to protest loudly so they can “cancel THE 99 before it starts.”  Peyser says the series will indoctrinate impressionable young children with Sharia-compliant Muslim superheroes “masquerading as the good guys.”

For Peyser the Hateful, Muslims are always super villains, so characters who represent the 99 virtues of God in the Qur’an will naturally use their powers to wage the ultimate jihad. She conjures up fearsome images of Jabbar the Powerful dishing out a mean stoning, and Darr the Afflicter venting his rage on hapless dhimmis.

The looniest blogger ever, Pamela Geller, told CNN that THE 99 is unacceptable because Islam must be portrayed as misogynistic, violent, and oppressive to non-Muslims, and that there must be an emphasis placed on Islam’s bloody, violent history.  She said anything else is just “dawah proselytizing.”

Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, the Kuwaiti-born, U.S.-educated psychologist who created THE 99, said he never expected to face his fiercest opposition to the series in the US, a country that prides itself on diversity and tolerance.  The whole point of  THE 99 was to bridge the gap between Islam and the West by promoting universal values and encouraging tolerance, cooperation, and mutual understanding. Al-Mutawa said he wants to provide positive role models to all children:

“I told the writers of the animation that only when Jewish kids think that THE 99 characters are Jewish, and Christian kids think they’re Christian, and Muslim kids think they are Muslim, and Hindu kids think they’re Hindu, that I will consider my vision as having been fully executed.”

Geller is not appeased, and continues to describe the series as an onslaught of cultural jihad aimed at radicalizing American children. She says the true superheroes are “counter-jihadists” like  Ibn WarraqNonie Darwish, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, all of whom are in fact rabid anti-Muslim loons. She has also launched a crude online parody called THE 19, which features Spencerman and Gellerwoman as superheroes presumably fighting Muslim evildoers.

Last month, Geller and her fellow hate mongers must have been thrilled with the release of a comic series that suits their agenda perfectly.   Frank Miller is a legend in the comic world for writing and drawing  film noir-style comic book stories, including Batman:  The  Dark Night Returns.  Influential in Hollywood, he directed the film version of The Spirit and co-directed  Sin City. Miller also produced  the 2006 American fantasy action film 300, which some critics described as psychological warfare against Iran.

Miller released a post-9/11 propaganda comic series to correspond with the ten year anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City, and said he hoped it would “really piss people off.”  He was braced for a fatwa and seemed to look forward to a backlash that never came.  Despite the underwhelming response from Muslims, Wired Magazine said:

“Holy Terror is a screed against Islam, completely uninterested in any nuance or empathy.”  Miller has produced, “one of the  most appalling, offensive and vindictive comics of all time. “

Outrage over the 9/11 attacks inspired Miller’s dark comic series steeped in insatiable rage and vengeance, but the same events also inspired Al-Mutawa, who said he wanted to take Islam back from the extremists who had hijacked it.  He conceived of the idea for his series during a London cab ride with his sister in 2003.

Al-Mutawa envisioned THE 99 as a world-class comic book on a par with American classics, so he assembled a team of veteran writers and artists with experience creating comic icons like Spider-man, Power Rangers, and X-Men. In 2006, he launched his new series to audiences in the Middle East.

THE 99 quickly became the most popular comic book in the region, selling over a million copies per year, and prompting Forbes Magazine to declare the series as one of the 20 trends sweeping the globe. An English language version launched in the US in 2007 without opposition.  Industry giant DC Comics gave the series  a promotional boost in 2010 by producing a six-part limited edition crossover that paired THE 99 with classic American superheroes including Batman, Superman, and the Justice League of America.

In 2009, Al-Mutawa decided to turn his successful comic book into an animated series.  His company, Teshkeel Media Group, partnered with a Dutch company to co-produce and distribute the new series.  The cartoon version of  THE 99 has also been a smashing success, and it is expected to reach viewers in over 50 countries by the end of next year.

THE 99 was initially banned in Saudi Arabia when critics expressed concern that Al-Mutawa was violating Islamic Law with characters that personified God. Al-Mutawa eventually won approval for the series after he convinced religious authorities that the characters are not manifestations of God, but merely extol the 99 virtues mentioned in the Qur’an.

Saudi Arabia has since signed on for merchandise deals and even plans to build its own Disney-style theme park based on the series.  The 99 Village opened in 2009 in Kuwait, and several more theme parks are planned throughout the region.  Today no Arab country bans THE 99, which is also broadcast in a growing number of Muslim countries outside the Arab world, including Turkey and Indonesia.

Not everyone is happy about the widespread acceptance THE 99 has received in the Muslim world.  Phyllis Chesler, another rabid anti-Muslim bigot and friend of Pamela Geller, has criticized Muslims for what she describes as “disturbing double standards.”  She says they are turning a blind eye to Al-Mutawa while he creates 99 images of  God, but they terrorize Westerners with fatwas and violence for lesser offenses.

Chesler is apparently a fan of far right Dutch politician Geert Wilders, and she is outraged that the Moooslims want to stop him from “telling the truth about Islam.” Wilders is infamous for spreading vicious lies against Islam and Muslims, and he is still vigorously exercising his right to free speech.

She said Muslims (apparently all of them) have also terrorized American cartoonist Molly Norris for her Everybody Draw Muhammad Day hate fest, and Dutch cartoonist Kurt Westergaard for his infamous drawing of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb-studded turban.

It is difficult to see the connection between these provocative events and the introduction of THE 99, but Chesler seems to think they should all inspire a backlash of equal proportions if the Muslims are to apply consistent standards. This is tortured logic, but in any case, shouldn’t it be a good thing that THE 99 didn’t cause a violent backlash?

Chesler and her loony friends certainly didn’t write any articles praising Muslims for their subdued reaction to Frank Miller’s provocative, hateful comic series.  For them, Muslims always deserve only criticism, no matter what they do.

Batina the Hidden

Batina the Hidden

Chesler also expressed concern over what sinister “Muslim values” the series might foist on non-Muslim children.  She asks, “Will children learn about democracy, modernity, tolerance, Enlightenment, women’s and gay rights from these ‘Islamic’ figures?”

Spider-man doesn’t typically lecture children on democracy, modernity, and Enlightenment.  Those seem like heavy topics for a cartoon series written for children.

As for gay rights, how many gay and lesbian characters can you name from the Justice League or any other mainstream comic series?  If Chesler is really an advocate for gay rights, she needs to expand her focus to the entire industry.

THE 99 does promote gender equality, which Al-Mutawa has elaborated on during numerous interviews.   Islamphobes like Chesler and Geller will simply not let facts stand in the way of their propaganda efforts, and continue to spread the lie that the female characters in the series are oppressed and forced to wear Islamic clothing.

On her website Atlas Shrugs, Geller quotes herself telling CNN:

“Because [THE 99] is mainstreaming the institutionalized oppression of women under Sharia, as exemplified by the burqa-wearing superhero. One would think that the male superheroes would have superpowers strong enough to be able to control themselves without the women having to don cloth coffins.”

Batina the Hidden seems to be the loons’ favorite obsession.  The character is from Yemen, and her clothing accurately reflects what some women wear in that country. Al-Mutawa said the burqa is not Islamic, but it is a cultural tradition that is important to some people, adding:

“I believe that forcing someone to wear the burqa is despicable. But I believe that if somebody wants to choose to do it, that’s their right…And so, out of respect for people who choose to wear the burka, I have one character out of 99—one percent—that wears a burqa. “

Although nearly every one of their articles tries to generate hysteria about Batina, the Hidden, Islamophobes have yet to explain how merely seeing a cartoon character wearing a burqa will traumatize American children. Marvel already has two characters who are Muslim women. The character Dust is from Afghanistan, and she wears a black ensemble that covers her from head-to-toe, showing only her eyes.

Dust has been around since 2002, though it seems few of our hyper-vigilant hate bloggers have detected her “stealth jihad.” Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Aonso said,

“I don’t view a Muslim superhero as avant garde. Muslims comprise 23 percent of the world’s population, and we like our comics to reflect the world and its diversity.”

Despite all the controversy, Dr. Al-Mutawa remains optimistic.  He has faced many hurdles in the last eight years, and his frustrations have been chronicled in the PBS documentary Wham! Bam! Islam! “One way or the other,” he says, “‘The 99’ will get on air in the U.S.”

Horowitz and Spencer’s Islamophobia

David Horowitz

Horowitz and Spencer’s Islamophobia

by Matt Duss

In a recent article for National Review Online, David Horowitz and Robert Spencer criticized the Center for American Progress’s report “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.” Following a familiar formula, the authors play the victim, accusing CAP of peddling “conspiracy theories” about anti-Muslim activists like themselves.

Even a cursory glance at our report, however, shows we have done no such thing. Quite the contrary, the dissemination of hateful anti-Muslim ideas by Horowitz, Spencer, and others is done right out in the open. CAP’s contribution was to document these efforts, to draw together the various strands in order to properly view them as part of a coherent whole — an organized campaign to spread misinformation about the religious faith of millions of Americans.

The authors first take issue with our use of the term “Islamophobia,” claiming “the purpose of the suffix — phobia — is to identify any concern about troubling Islamic institutions and actions as irrational, or worse as a dangerous bigotry that should itself be feared.” This is false. As my co-authors and I note in our report, we don’t use the term “Islamophobia” lightly. We define it as an exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims from America’s social, political, and civic life.

We think that any fair-minded reader of Horowitz and Spencer’s work, which our report extensively documents, would conclude that it qualifies.

Engaging in exactly the sort of careless slander that our report examines, the authors then deride similar reports from what they refer to as “[Muslim] Brotherhood fronts like CAIR [the Council on American-Islamic Relations], and jihadist apologists like the Southern Poverty Law Center.” Interestingly, they spare the Anti-Defamation League, which released a backgrounder earlier this year declaring that Spencer’s group, Stop Islamization of America, “promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the guise of fighting radical Islam.”

Spencer’s group, the Anti-Defamation League wrote, “seeks to rouse public fears by consistently vilifying the Islamic faith and asserting the existence of an Islamic conspiracy to destroy ‘American’ values.” Should the Anti-Defamation League also be lumped with the “jihadist apologists”?

Rather than addressing such charges, however, the authors spend the majority of their response listing reasons why Islamic extremist terrorism represents a genuine threat to American security. But they are rebutting an argument we have not made. As evidenced by the considerable amount of workCAP has produced on the subject, we take the issue of national security extremely seriously — far more seriously than Horowitz and Spencer’s selective, inflammatory, and unscholarly rendering of the Islamic peril suggests that they themselves do.

It is enormously revealing that Horowitz and Spencer do not address the actual argument made in “Fear, Inc.,” which is that they, along with a small cadre of self-appointed experts and activists, promote the idea that religiously inspired terrorism represents true Islam. (“Traditional Islam itself is not moderate or peaceful,” wrote Spencer in 2006. “It is the only major world religion with a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers.”) They also promote the idea that Sharia law is incompatible with a modern society (“There is no form of Sharia that does not contain . . . [the] death penalty for apostasy,” wrote Spencer, obviously ignorant of the manner in which Islam is practiced by millions of Sharia-adherent Muslims in the United States).

The unmistakable implication of these claims is that all observant Muslims should be viewed with suspicion simply by virtue of being observant Muslims. That’s obviously Islamophobic. (It also flies in the face of the evidence. Earlier this year, the largest study of Muslim Americans ever done, the Muslim American Public Opinion Survey, found that “involvement with the mosque, and increased religiosity increases civic engagement and support for American democratic values.”)

It is worth noting here the irony of Horowitz and Spencer’s accusing CAP of promulgating a conspiracy theory, because, as the Anti-Defamation League’s backgrounder also notes, a conspiracy is precisely what those authors themselves allege in regard to American Muslims’ supposed efforts to infiltrate the American legal system with Islamic Sharia law. (For an examination and rebuttal of those claims, see CAP’s previous issue brief, “Understanding Sharia Law.”)

And finally, a word about the venue in which Horowitz and Spencer’s piece was published, National Review. While we don’t share many of this magazine’s positions, we recognize it as an institution of American conservatism and a key player in the American political debate. Its imprimatur matters, which is why we’re concerned that that imprimatur should be granted to characters like Horowitz and Spencer.

Back in the 1950’s, the stridently anti-Communist John Birch Society made very similar claims about the threat of Communism that Islamophobes now make about the threat of Islam. At one point, Robert Welch, the founder of the John Birch Society, wrote that Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower was “a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.”

National Review’s founder and editor, William F. Buckley Jr., responded to Welch’s allegation with condemnation. “How can the John Birch Society be an effective political instrument while it is led by a man whose views on current affairs are, at so many critical points . . . so far removed from common sense?” Buckley asked. “That dilemma weighs on conservatives across America.” Buckley’s condemnation helped marginalize the John Birch Society from the mainstream conservative movement for decades.

In Horowitz’s FrontPage magazine on Feb. 3, 2011, Spencer wrote, “[Muslim] Brotherhood operatives are in the American government and working closely with it, thanks to Barack Obama.” On Sept. 12, 2011, Spencer criticized President Obama’s choice of a Bibleverse read at the 9/11 commemorations as evidence of the president’s “remarkable, unqualified and obvious affinity for Islam.” The list of similar allegations from Spencer is not short.

This new dilemma should weigh on conservatives across America. David Horowitz, Robert Spencer, and the rest of the Islamophobes we name in our report are the modern version of the John Birch Society. Judging Robert Welch’s allegations of President Eisenhower’s supposed Communist sympathies to be beyond the pale, William F. Buckley denounced them in the pages of National Review. It’s unfortunate that, rather than do the same in response to Welch’s heirs, today’s National Review gives them a platform.

— Matt Duss is a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress and the director of the Center’s Middle East Progress project. He is a co-author of “Fear Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America.”

Pamela Geller and Friends Forced to Move Their Tea Party Event

The Sugar Land Tea Party is going to have to move its hate fest from the Hyatt Place Houston to a community center. It looks like the word spread about how loony and bigoted Pamela Geller is and the Hyatt administration took notice.

Kate Shellnutt, the author of the article below alerted us to this fact with her tweet:

a visit by one of the biggest names in islamophobia has caused drama for the tea party in sugar land http://t.co/CZLjGdM4

Shellnutt’s article gives Pamela Geller too much credit by calling Geller a critic of “radical Islam.” Geller is not a critic of “radical Islam.” She is a far right-wing nut job who hates Islam and Muslims, thinks the USA is under imminent threat of Islamic takeover, thinks Obama is a “Mooslim” anti-Semite and radical Jihadist who is working in league with the Iranians to bring about Islamic rule. And those are some of her more tame ideas!

Anyway here is Shellnutt’s article:

The Sugar Land Tea Party was forced to move an event featuring a prominent critic of radical Islam after Hyatt Place learned of opponents’ plans to protest it.

The hotel, where activist Pamela Geller was going to address the crowd and sign copies of her new book Stop the Islamization of America, cancelled their meeting space, forcing the Tea Party to reserve a nearby community center.

“In light of the business disruptions affiliated with this event, it has been moved to an alternate location,” said a Hyatt Place manager, who declined to give further details on the decision.

Geller is known for her views on Islam, including strong opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque (which she is said to have nicknamed), dismissal of liberal politicians for “giving in” to American Muslims and continued belief that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S.

On her right-wing blog Atlas Shrugs, Geller urged readers to boycott the hotel for cancelling the event, calling it a setback to free speech and “a stunning surrender to Islamic supremacism.”

The Sugar Land Democrats Club announced their protest on Sunday and still plans to hold a peaceful demonstration at the event’s new location, the Sugar Land Community Center.

“Let’s send a message to the fear mongers and haters in Sugar Land and Fort Bend County that the likes of Ms. Pamela Geller and her bigoted ideology are not welcome here in the 4th most racially diverse county in the USA,” residents Deron Patterson and Q Imam said in a press release.

The community center can be rented out for public or private events, like tonight’s book signing, said Doug Adolph, Sugar Land city spokesman.

All attendees and protestors must follow the law, but the community center does not place any further restrictions on First Amendment rights, he said.

Like Geller, two-thirds of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement say that Islam is at odds with the American way of life, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. The survey also showed Tea Party members are nearly twice as likely as the general public to believe that American Muslims want to establish sharia law. They are less comfortable with  mosques in their communities, Muslims praying in airports and Muslim women wearing niqab.

The Sugar Land Tea Party event isn’t the first time Geller has come to the Houston area. The local chapter of Act! For America hosted Geller and fellow anti-Jihadist Robert Spencer in June, when they showed their film, The Ground Zero Mosque: Second Wave of the 911 Attacks.

“We believe presentations such as this also provide an opportunity for citizens to learn more about how Islamic Law (Sharia) contradicts the U.S. Constitution– an excellent example of which we are seeing played out right before us at this event, in that Shariah Law prohibits Freedom of Speech if the speech can be considered to be ‘offensive’ to Muslims,” said Susan Watts, of Act! For America Houston, by email.

Fear, Inc. – a recent report by the Center for American Progress—labels Geller one of the main players in the country’s Islamophobia network and says her blog incites Muslim fear-mongering among the right-wing blogosphere, including some politically conservative Christians.

“She writes about Muslims in the most reductive and offensive way imaginable,” said Matt Duss, an analyst on national security policy at the center. Geller, he said, has been able to strike an emotional chord with her readers and followers by orchestrating controversy and fear over Islam, as she did with the Ground Zero mosque incident.

Geller and Spencer’s organization – Stop Islamization of America—was founded in 2010 to fight radical Islam and terrorism, but their opponents insist the organization’s scope extends far beyond that.

The Anti-Defamation League wrote Sugar Land city officials and religious leaders ahead of the upcoming event, warning them of Geller’s vilification of Islam. The ADL said her group “promotes a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda,” and the Southern Poverty Law Association has labeled it a hate group.

Geller’s supporters, who continue to see radical Islam as a dangerous, real and urgent threat, disagree with these characterizations.

“We see value in presentations like (hers) as one of the tools available in learning more about the creep of Sharia Law and it’s customs, as well as an opportunity to understand the impact of Cultural (or Stealth) Jihad which is usually aided by a complicit media paralyzed by Political Correctness,” Watts said.

MEK-Terror Linked/Terrorist inspirer Robert Spencer is already calling Hyatt officials “dhimmis” and blaming CAIR and the “world wide Muslim conspiracy” for this cancellation. He is also asking his shock troops of Spencerites to flood the Hyatt with calls and emails about how they don’t appreciate the hate event being canceled:

Wherever they succeed in intimidating a group or venue into dropping a talk by a freedom fighter, we have to bring just as much pressure to bear for the cause of justice, and let that group or venue know that we do not appreciate their failure to stand up for Constitutional principles when challenged. So please contact the Hyatt Place in Houston and tell them that since they canceled the Geller event, you will be staying elsewhere:

Hyatt Place Houston/Sugar Land
16730 Creek Bend Drive
Sugar Land, TX 77478, USA
Phone: +1 281 491 0300 Fax: +1 281 491 0325
Farley Kern
Vice President, Corporate Communications
Tel: +1 312 780 5506
farley.kern@hyatt.com

The stakes are very high. If we don’t resist this Islamic supremacist thuggery, the Islamic supremacists will succeed in stamping out all discussion of the truth about Islam and jihad, thereby rendering us mute and defenseless before its advance. That’s why we have to resist now, at every step, before it’s too late. Contact the Hyatt. But don’t just complain: host a counter-jihadist in your area. Stand for freedom.

Spencer believes in Freedom just as much as Kim Jong Il does, that much is clear when you visit Robert Spencer Watch. I think loonwatchers should contact Hyatt Place Houston and let them know how much you appreciate the fact that they won’t allow their venue to be used as a place of hate.

Again, Robert Spencer Proves he Hates the Constitution

For Robert Spencer to allow his writer Marisol to make a big issue out of an infringement upon constitutionally granted liberties, one must wonder if his loyalties lie to this country and its laws or to his own agenda.

As a matter of fact, Spencer is no stranger to the support of anti-American, anti-constitutional sentiments as we have noted before. Despite the rhetoric on his site, make no mistake that Spencer and his ilk are vehemently anti-Democracy.

On Spencer’s hate blog, Marisol insinuates that the Muslim Hertz workers want to get paid for praying, as if that was their intention:

Reasonable accommodations don’t always mean you get everything you want. But this is about getting paid to pray, and making the break a hands-off affair for supervisors.

Marisol is inciting that Muslims want to shove Islam down peoples throat.  It is the tired conspiracy of “Islamization” and “Creeping Sharia.”

It appears that the employees had no prior warning to the stipulations of their breaks for prayer until they were ambiguously informed of the rule through a supervisor who simply told them that they couldn’t pray during company time.

At no point was it referenced that contractually they were obligated to clock out for prayer breaks, but that they simply couldn’t pray. The way that the rule was enforced is in direct opposition to the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the good old US of A, which guarantees free exercise of religion.

Original news article can be found here

Gear Up for Some Good Ole Nashville Islamophobiapalooza: “Yeehaw!”

Tennessee is increasingly making a strong case as the capital of Islamophobia in the USA. From anti-Sharia’ legislation to the Murfreesboro Mosque controversy to organizations such as the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, Islamophobia is alive and well in the “volunteer state.”

So it may not be a big surprise that next month Nashville will be the locus for anti-Muslim hate and bigotry in the form of a conference titled: The Constitution or Sharia: A Freedom Conference.

The King and Queen of the Islamophobesphere, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller will be headlining the event, but they aren’t the only hatemongers that are expected to speak:

Nashville, Tennessee – November 11, 2011

The Constitution or Sharia: Preserving Freedom Conference, the first true national conference on Sharia and the Islamization of America sponsored by major freedom oriented organizations! Not just another educational conference. Speakers, such as Pamela Geller, Wafa Sultan and Mathew Staver are action oriented and you will finish the day with an understanding of how to fight the advance of Sharia Law in the United States.

Speaker and panel topics will include

Sharia and Jihad
The European Experience with Sharia
The Dehumanization and Diminishment of Women in the West Under Sharia
Religious Persecution Under Sharia
The Muslim Brotherhood In America
Sharia and Legal Action
Grassroots Organizing Against Sharia and Rabat (including Mega-Mosques)
Defending Liberty In Legislatures
Fighting Islamist Propaganda in the Media

Plus an action packed evening banquet!

See Tentative Schedule

SIGN UP NOW – Please go to event registration page

Confirmed Speakers include
  • Pamela Geller of Stop Islamization of America ** and Atlas Shrugs
  • Robert Spencer of Stop Islamization of America and Jihad Watch
  • J. Thomas Smith of U.S. Justice Foundation **
  • William J. Murray of Religious Freedom Coalition **
  • Andrew Miller and Lou Ann Zelenik of  Tennessee Freedom Coalition **
  • Frank Gaffney of Center for Security Policy **
  • Fred Grandy, former congressman and actor
  • David Frenchof  American Center for Law and Justice *
  • Andrea Lafferty of Traditional Values Coalition  *
  • Christopher Holton of Center for Security Policy
  • Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel
  • Dr. Mark Durie, Australia and Barrister Paul Diamond, United Kingdom
  • Wafa Sultan, Champion of women’s rights
  • Father Keith Roderick of The Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights
  • James Lafferty of Virginia Anti-Sharia Task force
  • Honorable Rick Womick
  • Kenneth Timmerman, author and journalist
  • Linda Brickman of Arizona Freedom Alliance
  • Rabbi Jonathan Hausman
  • Steve Gill, Syndicated talk show host and Michael DelGiorno, WTN talk show host

SIGN UP NOW – Please go to event registration page

Confirmed Speakers include
FREEDOM BANQUET: Separate evening event at the Hutton Hotel featuring special guest speakers including Hollywood actor and former congressman Fred Grandy and bestselling author Pamela Geller along with internationally known champion for women’s rights Wafa Sultan.

** Conference Sponsors / * Conference co-sponsors

SIGN UP NOW – Please go to event registration page

If there are any loonwatchers in and or around Tennessee they should consider going to this conference and perhaps speak with participants and speakers, much in the same manner Max Blumenthal does.

For more info on some of the characters and organizations that will be there, see:

Robert Spencer: Spencer Watch

Pamela Geller: The Looniest Blogger Ever

SIOA: Stop the Islamization of America is an anti-Muslim Hate Group

Andrew Miller and Lou Ann Zelenik of  Tennessee Freedom Coalition

Frank Gaffney of Center for Security Policy

Wafa Sultan: Calls For Nuclear Destruction of Muslims

James Lafferty of Virginia Anti-Sharia Task force

Rabbi Jonathan Hausman

Jewish Law*: One Israeli Soldier Worth More Than 1,000 Palestinians

Please make sure to read my disclaimer Why Religious Zionism, Not Judaism, Is The Problem wherein I clarify that “Jewish law” here is not meant to be understood in a blanket way.  Certainly, there exist alternative, more compassionate understandings of Halakha.  I understand that many readers are deeply uncomfortable with characterizing “Jewish law” in such a sweeping manner as we have done in this “thought exercise”–but that’s the point of the article series: if you refuse to generalize Halakha, then why do you do it to Sharia?

Read the Introduction: Does Jewish Law Justify Killing Civilians?

Previous: #4 TERRORISM!

Israel recently agreed to release over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 1 captive Israeli soldier.  The soldier’s name is Gilad Shalit: he is neither a high-ranking military official or anyone of national importance.  Then, why did Israel agree to ransom him with over a thousand men?  Why is he worth so much?

CNN ran with the headline “Shalit swap based on ‘ultimate value of human life,’ rabbis say”:

“Judaism places ultimate value on human life. Therefore in the Jewish tradition, in Jewish law, redeeming captives trumps just about everything else,” said Ascherman, of Rabbis for Human Rights. “It takes priority over anything else you can possibly do.”

So, it is just that Israelis value life so much?  Are they just that superbly moral?  I have seen such discussion on the internet and in the media, with pro-Israeli apologists comparing this “ultimate value of human life” with the “culture of death” that Palestinians (and Arabs/Muslims) supposedly have.

Yet, the CNN article is misleading, as it implies that Judaism* values human life, when in fact Jewish law* places the ultimate value on Jewish life only.   The mitzvah (religious obligation) to redeem prisoners is limited to fellow Jews. It does not apply to Gentiles. Had the prisoner been Christian or Muslim (ha!), Israel would never have made such a trade.

There is a deeply racial underpinning here: according to Jewish law*, Jews and Jewish life are always considered superior to Gentiles and Gentile life.  Prof. Israel Shahak, an Israeli human rights activist, documented the background for this racist religious dogma in his book Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel. For example, he quotes Rabbi Abraham Kook, largely considered “the ultimate father figure” of Religious Zionism, who stated that “the difference between a Jewish soul and the souls of non-Jews…is greater and deeper than the difference between a human soul and the souls of cattle.”

Admittedly, such beliefs are not unfamiliar to Radical and Ultra-Conservative Muslims, who argue that “the worst Muslim is better than the best non-Muslim.”  Similar statements can be heard from fundamentalist Christians.  Yet, Religious Zionists take this bigoted idea much further, using it to justify the killing of civilians: to save one Jewish life, killing any number of Gentiles is acceptable.  Not only can one exchange 1,000 Gentile prisoners for 1 Jewish prisoner, but one can also kill 1,000 Gentiles to save 1 Jewish prisoner (or as revenge and deterrence in the case of a Jewish soldier who was killed).

Rabbi Michael J. Broyde asks rhetorically on p.4 of War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition (a book written under the auspices of the world’s leading Orthodox Jewish minds):

If the government can rescue a soldier only by killing a dozen innocent infants in the enemy camp, may it do that?

Broyde argues in the affirmative, noting that “enemy civilians” are “less sacred than one’s own soldiers.”  Even if it were otherwise, Broyde argues, Jewish law* allows for a “presumptive hora’at sha’ah (temporary edict/suspension of law) that would permit such[.]”  He goes on to say:

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, for example, permits the sacrifice of oneself as a form of hora’at sha’ah [temporary edict/suspension of law] that is allowed by Jewish law to save the community.  While the voluntary act of heroic self-sacrifice and the killing of an unwilling victim are not parallel, I think that one who would permit a Jewish soldier to kill himself to save the community, would permit the killing of “less innocent” enemy soldiers or even civilians in such situations as well.  In grave times of national war, every battle and every encounter raises to such a level, I suspect.

In “every battle and every encounter,” it is permitted to kill “even civilians.”

Broyde raises a very odd argument, rhetorically asking:

If a government can choose as a matter of policy to engage in retaliatory military action that risks the lives of its own soldiers and civilians in a time of war, does it not follow that it may do so with enemy soldiers and civilians as well?

Rabbi Norman Lamm asks on p.238:

To use the Talmudic phraseology, is the blood of Israeli soldiers any less red than that of enemy Arab civilians?

The bottom line is that the Jewish military can kill enemy civilians to “save its soldiers.”  Prof. David Shatz writes on p.xix of the introduction to War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition:

It would be morally acceptable, and perhaps even required, to cause civilian deaths in order to save your own combatants.

How many civilian deaths?  Certainly, “killing a dozen innocent infants in the enemy camp” to save 1 Jewish soldier is not unreasonable.  The 1-to-1,000 ratio is also acceptable.  Mordechai Eliyahu, the late Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, bellowed:

Even when we seek revenge, it is important to make one thing clear – the life of one yeshiva boy is worth more than the lives of 1,000 Arabs.

He went on to say:

The Talmud states that if gentiles rob Israel of silver they will pay it back in gold, and all that is taken will be paid back in folds, but in cases like these there is nothing to pay back, since as I said – the life of one yeshiva boy is worth more than the lives of 1,000 Arabs.

The Sephardi Chief Rabbi called for carpet bombing the Palestinians instead of “risk[ing] the lives of Jews.”  The Jerusalem Post reported in an article entitled “Eliyahu advocates carpet bombing Gaza: Says there is no moral prohibition against killing civilians to save Jews“:

The former chief rabbi also said it was forbidden to risk the lives of Jews in Sderot or the lives of IDF soldiers for fear of injuring or killing Palestinian noncombatants living in Gaza.

Similarly did Rabbi Yaakov Perin famously state that “one million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.”

One of Israel’s justifications for the 2006 Lebanon War, which killed over a thousand Lebanese (mostly civilians), was to recover two IDF soldiers.  Does it seem reasonable to kill over a thousand people to recapture two soldiers?

During the conflict in Gaza, Rabbi Yehuda Henkin, former Rabbi of the Beit She’an Valley in Northern Israel, opined that “the Halacha (Jewish law) countenances the killing of non-combatants in times of war,” and that “there is no excuse for endangering our own citizens or soldiers to protect the lives of civilians on the other side.”  This is an argument for Israel relying on carpet bombing against a civilian population instead of sending in ground troops to fight in “hand-to-hand combat.”

Far from being the views of some radical, fringe element in Israel, these are the mainstream beliefs of Religious Zionism.  These attitudes are reflected in Israeli society as a whole, with “more than 70 per cent support for bombing Gaza–but just 20 per cent support for a ground invasion.” It is no surprise then that indiscriminate killing–accepted by international law as “equally” criminal compared to targeting civilians–is thus the norm of Israeli war policy.

Surely, a dozen or a thousand Palestinian infants (who will grow up to be terrorists anyways) are not worth the life of one brave Israeli soldier.

*  *  *  *  *

This racist line of thinking reaches its logical conclusion by encouraging the slaughter of civilians to “protect” Jewish soldiers.  A Jewish soldier’s life is so much more precious than the lives of enemy civilians that this trade-off is acceptable.  On pp.65-67 of Jewish History, Jewish Religion, Prof. Israeli Shahak documents a Q&A between an Israeli soldier and Rabbi Shim’on Weiser (a conversation originally published in the yearbook of one of Israel’s prestigious religious institutions, Midrashiyyat No’am).  In it, the soldier asks the rabbi:

[Am I] permitted to put myself in danger by allowing a woman to stay alive? For there have been cases when women threw hand grenades.

Rabbi Weiser responds by saying:

The rule “Whoever comes to kill you, kill him first” applies to a Jew…[but] it only applies to him if there is [actual] ground to fear that he is coming to kill you.  But a Gentile [non-Jew] during wartime is usually presumed so, except when it is quite clear that he has no evil intent.

In other words, Jews are considered innocent by default, whereas Arabs are guilty until proven innocent.  If there is any doubt as to the innocence of the Arab civilian, such a person should be killed just to be on the safe side.  The Israeli soldier responds by restating the Rabbi’s position:

As for [your] letter [to me], I have understood it as follows:

In wartime I am not merely permitted, but enjoined to kill every Arab man and woman I chance upon, if there is a reason to fear that they help in the war against us, directly or indirectly.

In the current climate, there is such a high level of paranoia in Israeli society that almost every Palestinian is seen as a threat, constituting “a reason to fear.”

*  *  *  *  *

Similar arguments are raised by many of Israel’s ardent defenders to justify killing civilians.  Former IDF soldier and full-time Israeli propagandist Cori Chascione of Jewcy opines:

Individual [Israeli] soldiers are not permitted to risk their own lives in order to avoid collateral damage or to save civilians…a soldier’s life comes before a civilian in enemy territory

Ted Belman of Israpundit.com writes:

As a numbers game, is it moral to cause one of your own to be killed to avoid killing ten of them? What about one hundred of them. In the last few days we killed 100 of them and lost 2 of ours. To my mind that is moral.

How similar is this rhetorical questioning; we saw it in the sober, serious, and scholarly book written by the leading Orthodox Jewish luminaries of the world (see above).

With views such as these emanating from mainstream Orthodox Judaism, it is only natural that others would take this paranoid worldview even further, such as Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira who declared that it would be licit to kill [Palestinian] children if there was a fear that they would “grow up to become enemies of the Jewish people.”

*  *  *  *  *

As I have repeated over and over again, I am not trying to categorize all of Judaism, all interpretations of Jewish law, or all Jews as one way or another.  I am simply establishing that extremist views such as these exist in no short supply.  So why this overwhelming focus on Islam, Islamic law, and Muslims?

The Top Five Ways Jewish Law Justifies Killing Civilians; #4: TERRORISM!

Please make sure to read my disclaimer: Why Religious Zionism, Not Judaism, Is The Problem.

Read the Introduction: Does Jewish Law Justify Killing Civilians?

Previous: #3 Promoting Ethnic Cleansing (II)

Israeli professor and human rights activist Israel Shahak wrote in the preface of his book Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (co-authored with Norton Mezvinsky):

Virtually identified with Arab terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism is anathema throughout the non-Muslim world.  Virtually identified with ignorance, superstition, intolerance and racism, Christian fundamentalism is anathema to the cultural and intellectual elite in the United States.  The recent significant increase in its number of adherents, combined with its widening political influence, nevertheless, make Christian fundamentalism a real threat to democracy in the United States.  Although possessing all the important social scientific properties of Islamic and Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism is practically unknown outside of Israel and certain sections of a few other places.  When its existence is acknowledged, its significance is minimized or limited to arcane religious practices and quaint middle European dress, most often by those same non-Israeli elite commentators who see so uncompromisingly the evils inherent in Jewish fundamentalism’s Islamic and/or Christian cousins.

As students of contemporary society and as Jews, one Israeli, one American, with personal commitments and attachments to the Middle East, we cannot help seeing Jewish fundamentalism in Israel as a major obstacle to peace in the region.  Nor can we help being dismayed by the dismissal of the perniciousness of Jewish fundamentalism to peace and its victims by those who are otherwise knowledgeable and astute and so quick to point out the violence inherent in other fundamentalist approaches to existence.

Pro-Israeli apologists are certainly “quick to point out the violence inherent in” Radical Islam while simultaneously dismissing “the perniciousness of Jewish fundamentalism to peace.”  MEMRI is one such group: this Israeli propaganda machine churns out cherry-picked translations from Arabic texts, in an attempt to magnify the threat of Radical Islam.  Meanwhile, these same sorts of pro-Israeli elements levy the charge of “Self-Hating Jew” and “Anti-Semitism” against all who would point out similar radicalism in the Israeli/Jewish community.  Prof. Shahak was himself the victim of such slurs (and now I have been accused of this as well).

We are constantly barraged by screeds warning us how inherently violent Sharia is–and how Islam supposedly compels its adherents to commit acts of terrorism–yet few would be comfortable with holding Judaism to the same standard we do Islam.  Certainly, Halakha (Jewish law)–as understood by Orthodox Judaism in Israel (the only form of Judaism recognized by the Jewish state)–permits targeting and killing civilians, collective punishment, and ethnic cleansing. It also permits terrorism against civilian populations. Rabbi Michael J. Broyde writes on pp.23-24 of War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition:

Air warfare greatly expands the “kill zone” of combat and (at least in our current state of technology) tends to inevitably result in the death of civilians.  The tactical aims of air warfare appear to be fourfold: [1] to destroy specific enemy military targets, [2] to destroy the economic base of the enemy’s war-making capacity, [3] to randomly terrorize civilian populations, and [4] to retaliate for other atrocities by the enemy to one’s own home base and thus deter such conduct in the future by the enemy.

The first of these goals…is permissible…The same would appear would be true about the second…It would appear that the third goal is not legitimate absent the designation of “Compulsory” or “Obligatory” war. The final goal…could perhaps provide some sort of justification for certain types of conduct in combat that would otherwise be prohibited.

In a future article, I will explain the different types of wars as understood in the Jewish tradition: for now, however, the reader ought to know that on p.14 Broyde quotes Maimonides that “a war to deliver Israel from an enemy who has attacked them” would constitute a Compulsory/Obligatory war.  This is nearly a unanimous opinion.  Prof. Arye Edrei writes in Divine Spirit and Physical Power:

[The Chief Rabbi of Israel, Shlomo] Goren[,] stated frequently in his writings that the contemporary wars of Israel meet the criterion of obligatory wars because their goal is to save Israel from the hands of an oppressor, and he categorized the Peace for Galilee War [1982 Lebanon War] as such a war.

Therefore, it is permitted under Halakha for Israel to “randomly terrorize [Arab] civilian populations.”  Notice also that the fourth “tactical aim,” permitted under Jewish law, also fits under terrorism: “to retaliate for other atrocities by the enemy to one’s own home base and thus deter such conduct in the future by the enemy.”  This is manifested in Israel’s policy of “massive retaliation,” which is a euphemism for state terrorism: the goal is to inflict so many Palestinian civilian casualties that it would serve as a deterrent to future terrorist attacks.

Professor Herbert Leventer of Yeshiva University legitimizes “terror bombing,” writing on p.75 of War and Peace in the Jewish Tradition:

If, in an emergency, you engage in the occasional assassination, terror (rather than mere strategic) bombing, killing of civilian shields–you do no wrong, and have no reason even to feel regret.

Adam Aptowitzer of B’nai Brith opined:

Terror is a tool, terror is a means to an end … When Israel uses terror to … destroy a home and convince people to be terrified of what the possible consequences are, I’d say that’s acceptable use to terrify someone.

The truth is that terror is an option to be used by states in order to prevent deaths of their own citizens and others. Acts that take place in Gaza and [the] West Bank, you might want to classify them as terrorists sponsored by the state. But when that is being done to prevent deaths, are we going to say that is wrong

(Note: To give credit where credit is due, I first came across this quote in Norman Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah.)

Throughout its short history, Israel has terrorized the Palestinian population.  From 1948 when “the Hagana and other Jewish paramilitaries were terrorizing Palestinian civilians” (quote taken from p.56 of Prof. Sean F. McMahon’s The Discourse of Palestinian-Israeli Relations) to the recent 2008-2009 Israeli war on Gaza–described by the United Nations as an operation “designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population”–state terrorism has been used by the Israelis very consistently.  (In the future, I will write a more detailed article documenting the systematic terrorism conducted by the state of Israel.)

Today, nearly half of Israeli Jews (46%) support “price tag” terrorism against Palestinians.  Price tag terrorism refers to “acts carried out against Palestinians in revenge of government actions harming the settler enterprise.” These are characterized as “pogroms meted out by fanatical settlers against defenseless Palestinians,” and involves violence against civilians.  Price tag terror is conducted by “Israeli soldiers and settlers” who”rampag[e] through” Palestinian villages, meting out “retributive violence.”

These terror attacks include blowing up cars, vandalizing homes, beatings, and stabbings.  Just a few hours prior to writing this article, an article was published by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Palestinian cars were set aflame.  [Editor’s Note: This article was written a few weeks before it was published.  A few days before the article was published, however, a mosque in Northern Israel was burned down by Jewish extremists.] Mosques are a favorite target for “price tag terror,” which have been burned down.  All of this goes on “under the watch of the army and with the encouragement of state-funded religious nationalist rabbis.” Not only do nearly half of Israeli Jews support price tag terrorism but “most traditional, national-religious and ultra-Orthodox Jews believe these actions are justified (55%, 70% and 71%, respectively).”

Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, a terrorist himself, declared that “neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat.” (hat tip: NassirH)

*  *  *  *  *

In addition to specifically allowing “terror bombings” that target civilians, Jewish law permits “indiscriminate violence” against civilians during milhemet mitzvah (Obligatory war), which all of Israel’s current wars are considered.  As Mordechai Eliyahu, the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, stated, “[there is] absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians.”

According to international law, there is no difference between intentionally targeting civilians and indiscriminately killing them.  Dr. Norman Finkelstein writes in the preface to Beyond Chutzpah:

One often hears that Hamas’s deliberate targeting of civilians cannot be compared to Israel’s “unintended” killing of them.  However human rights organizations report that Israel’s use of live ammunition is “indiscriminate” (HRW) and “on many occasions… deliberately targeted” civilians (Amnesty International), and accordingly conclude that the purported distinction between Hamas and Israeli violence “makes no difference” (B’Tselem). If Hamas were to declare after blowing up a crowded civilian bus that it had only meant to kill a military officer in the vehicle and not the other passengers, it would rightly be ridiculed. Yet how different is it when Israel drops a one-ton bomb on a densely populated Gaza neighborhood in order to liquidate a Hamas military commander and then declares that the fourteen civilian deaths were unintentional? In his authoritative study on the laws of war, Israeli legal scholar Yoram Dinstein observes:

…From the standpoint of LOIAC [Law of International Armed Conflict], there is no genuine difference between a premeditated attack against civilians (or civilian objects) and a reckless disregard of the principle of distinction: they are equally forbidden.

Even if, for argument’s sake, we assume that Israel’s attacks on civilians are unintentional and accordingly that the worst it can be accused of is “reckless disregard of the principle of distinction,” it is still the rankest hypocrisy to require of Hamas that it cease violent attacks yet not put a comparable requirement on Israel to cease what is “equally forbidden.”

I would argue, however, that a case could be made that Israel’s indiscriminate use of violence against civilian populations is actually worse, because far more civilians die in such attacks than from Hamas’s terrorist bombings.  To put it simply: a terrorist attack against a civilian bus limits the death and destruction to one bus, whereas “drop[ping] a one ton bomb on a densely populated neighborhood” results in the death and destruction of many buses in that neighborhood.

Yet, Israel’s defenders seek to justify and normalize indiscriminate violence against civilian populations.  Ted Belman, editor of Israpundit.com, argues:

Israel is free to employ ALL munitions, tactics, equipment and personnel in her arsenal to defend herself against the outlaw Hamas terrorist organization. Short of the intentional targeting and murder of truly uninvolved and innocent civilians, Israel can (and should) operate as freely as she desires to protect her territorial sovereignty and the lives of her citizens.

What could be clearer.

What could be clearer, indeed.  Belman argues that there is a “non-existent duty to avoid killing enemy civilians.”  So long as Israel does not “intentionally kill civilians,” it can use indiscriminate violence to kill as many civilians as it needs, “even in disproportionate numbers” on the order of “100 of them…[to] 2 of ours.”  Belman says: “To my mind that is moral.”  This is Israeli and Zionist morality.

The actual ratio is very similar: during the Gaza conflict, conservative estimates from the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem have it that 1,387 Palestinians were killed (of which at least 773 did not take part in the hostilities at all), whereas only 9 Israelis were killed (of which only 3 were civilians).  This is a ratio of more than 250 to 1.  Three civilians were killed by deadly Qassam and Grad rockets, and in response 773 civilians–who took no part in hostilities at all–were slaughtered.  This, according to the mind of Ted Belman, is “moral.”

To conclude, Jewish law permits–and Israel routinely commits–acts of violence specifically targeting civilians, which is in addition to the licence granted to wreak indiscriminate violence against civilian populations. Why is it then that all we ever talk about all day long is how Islamic law is this and that?  Why do we constantly hear serious pundits pontificating about “what’s wrong with Islam” and how Islam needs to go through a reformation, and yet we never hear a peep out of anyone about Jewish law?  Why the skewed discourse?  What gives?

Jihad Watch University (JWU) Graduates Another Pseudo-Scholar: Sheik YerMami Declares Himself “Scholar of Islam”

Sheik Yer Mami?  This racist image appears on Sheik Yer Mami’s site.

Islamophobes rely on pseudo-scholars to validate their anti-Muslim beliefs.  One of the pioneers in this was Bat Ye’or, who with absolutely no academic qualifications to speak of, was self-anointed a “scholar of Islam.”  Robert Spencer dubbed her a “pioneering scholar” of Islamic studies.  Not long after starting his blogging career, Spencer himself donned the title of “the acclaimed scholar of Islam,” an epithet which is found on his website.  This, even though his master’s degree is in Christian studies.  He has no educational degree related to Islam, at all.

When confronted with this uncomfortable fact, Spencer’s minions point out that he has written many “best-selling books.”  So, does anyone who writes “best-selling books” become a scholar?  Is the author of the Harry Potter series a scholar?

It seems that if you devote enough hours to blogging against Islam and cyber-attend Jihad Watch University (JWU), you can eventually claim “scholar of Islam” status.  The latest claimant to this title is Sheik YerMami, a raving anti-Muslim blogger/lunatic.  He’s been blogging for long enough that the gods of the anti-Muslim blogosphere have granted him the right to call himself a “scholar of Islam.”  Here is what Sheik YerMami said (emphasis added):

I am a scholar of Islam and I rely on Koran, sira & hadith, not on loon watch.

What academic qualifications does he have to claim “scholar” status?  Anyone?