Arab International Festival in Dearborn is Canceled in Wake of Aggressive Christian Missionary Activities

Spencer’s allies, extremist Evangelicals like David Wood have used the tactic of intimidation and aggression for years now at the Dearborn Arab Festival.:

Arab International Festival in Dearborn is canceled in wake of religious tensions

By Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

After growing religious tensions between some Christian missionaries and local Muslims, the annual Arab International Festival in Dearborn has been canceled for this year, organizers said Friday.

The announcement left many disappointed that a small number of aggressive extremists could ruin what had become a tradition in the eastern section of Dearborn, which has a significant number of Arab Americans.

The city and organizers were facing increased insurance and liability costs because of the tensions and lawsuits over the festival. Last month, the City of Dearborn had proposed moving the festival to a park instead of the traditional location on Warren Avenue in order to decrease conflict.

But Fay Baydoun, director of the American-Arab Chamber of Commerce, said Friday that it would have been impossible to organize a successful event in time at the new location. Baydoun said she hopes that next year’s festival will “come back better and stronger.”

The decision to cancel the festival comes after four years of tensions at the event between some Christian missionaries and local Muslims. Their encounters resulted in heated arguments, scuffles, some bottle-throwing and several lawsuits. A federal judge in Detroit last week threw out one of those lawsuits.

Last year, one group of Christian missionaries brought a pig’s head and signs insulting Islam’s prophet, which drew a strong reaction from some children. Earlier this month, the City of Dearborn apologized and paid an undisclosed amount of money to a group of Christian missionaries arrested in 2010 at the festival for disturbing the peace. They were later acquitted.

Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly Jr. did not return a call seeking comment Friday, but in a news release from the chamber, he is quoted as saying of the festival: “We look forward to its continued success promoting business that help drive the city’s economy and that make the community a cultural destination for visitors.”

Local Arab Americans were upset over the cancellation of the festival because the original intent of it was to highlight Arab-American businesses, which helped turn east Dearborn from a ghost town into a thriving commercial destination, said local leaders.

“It’s unfortunate there are groups who are seeking to create problems and incite people in a community where people are trying to build bridges of diversity,” said Suehaila Amen, 34, of Dearborn. “This festival was about creating a family atmosphere during Father’s Day weekend. And yet, there are those who do not wish to see people enjoy their life.”

Many Arab Americans from across the country attend the festival, Amen said.

Dearborn resident Majed Moughni also said he was disappointed in the cancellation, but added that he understands the decision, given the high insurance and logistical costs for what became an increasingly tense event.

“It’s not worth the cost,” he said.

In an attempt to create a more peaceful atmosphere, O’Reilly moved the location of the festival to Ford Woods Park. His plan would have allowed the festival to be in an enclosed area and would have required an admission fee.

But Baydoun said: “With the move to a new location, Ford Woods Park, we needed more time to ensure we provide a quality event that the community has come to expect from us.”

Over the years, the festival has attracted big donors, from Detroit automakers to the CIA.

There was concern that this year’s festival could become even more tense.

Quran-burning Pastor Terry Jones said he was planning to attend the first day along with the California man who brought the pig’s head last year. In 2011, Jones attempted to attend the festival, but was met by angry protesters who tried to block him as he walked. Police then asked him to not attend.

The decision to cancel the festival illustrates some tensions between its Arab-American organizers and Dearborn officials. O’Reilly has been pushing to move the festival for three years, but the Chamber of Commerce resisted because the purpose of the festival was to promote Arab-American businesses along Warren.

Earlier this year, the city indicated it would not be giving permits for the Warren Avenue location and asked the chamber to consider having the festival in the park.

Baydoun said her group respects free speech.

“We have no intention of preventing anyone from freedom of speech,” she said. “We just wanted a family-friendly environment.”

Since she was a teenager, Amen has looked forward to enjoying the festival. It was a time to reconnect with friends and family in a relaxed atmosphere of games and booths that celebrated diversity.

But now, “it’s gotten to the point where people don’t even want to take their children to the festival because they don’t want them to be exposed to these bigoted messages and hateful speech,” Amen said.

Some conservatives say the incidents at the festival happened because the city is under the influence of Shari’a, Islamic law, a claim O’Reilly has repeatedly dismissed as absurd.

Robert Muise, an Ann Arbor attorney who represents the California-based Bible Believers — the Christian group that brought a pig’s head and anti-Islam signs last year to the festival — said the cancellation of the festival was “disappointing.”

“However,” he added, “had the Christians’ rights been protected from the beginning, I doubt we would be at this point.”

Contact Niraj Warikoo: nwarikoo@freepress.com or 313-223-4792

via. Loonwatch

Geller-Spencer Allies “English Defence League” Riot in Britain

This is who Spencer and Geller refer to as “warriors of Western Civilization.”

Geller-Spencer Allies “English Defence League” Riot in Britain

The drunken racist British yahoos known as the English Defence League took to the streets and rioted yesterday following the attack on a soldier in London: Woolwich: Riot Police Contain EDL Supporters.

The EDL are allies of our home-grown Bigot Brigade, led by Anti-Muslim demagoguesPamela Geller and Robert Spencer, and these two hateful thugs are now doing their damnedest to incite similar violence against Muslims in America. Thankfully, we don’t have fascist groups like the EDL in this country, but it’s not for lack of trying by Geller, Spencer, and their nasty friends.

English Defence League supporters have thrown missiles at police in Woolwich after a machete attack that left one man dead.

A group of between 75 and 100 men gathered at The Queen’s Arms pub on Burrage Grove, where they sang nationalistic songs.

Sky News correspondent Alistair Bunkall, who is at the scene, said: “As soon as the EDL got into the town centre … it became not only a lot harder for the police to try and contain anything, but also the aggression (increased) quite considerably.

“A few missiles have been thrown, glass bottles and the like. The police are trying to surround them and they’ve been charging them as well with batons.”

ALSO SEE:
Woolwich Attack: More Than 100 English Defence League Supporters Gather Near Scene of Killing

UPDATE at 5/23/13 10:13:33 am

Right wing loon Pat Dollard, a writer for Breitbart.com, calls this a “feel-good story:”

Zionism and Islamophobia: Initial Encounters with Islam and Muslims

by Garibaldi

Introduction

This is the first in a series of articles that will discuss the relationship between Zionism and Islamophobia. The impetus for this series is what many have already observed:

1.) Islamophobic polemics within trends of Zionism, the preponderance of Zionists within the Islamophobia movement, the usage of Israeli state symbols and the symbiotic relationship between anti-Muslim groups in the USA and Israel are a present-day reality.

2.) There is a confused and malformed understanding amongst some individuals of Zionism on the one hand and its relationship to Islamophobia. Zionism is not understood in its proper historical context: Why did it form? How has it evolved? What is its effect on Jewish and world history? What is its relationship with the ‘other’?

Some who are confronted with the present day reality of Zionist Islamophobia are in denial of its very existence while others propose answers to the aforementioned questions not based on facts but rather emotional, even hysterical inaccuracies and conspiracies.

The Zionist relationship with Islamophobia enmeshes the discussion of racism, nationalism, human rights and the liberation struggle of Palestinians. It will be the task of this series to clarify these concepts and provide a much-needed dose of realism to any analysis of the subject, beyond the histrionics that can at once serve as a distraction and muddle our conscience.

Initial Encounters with Islam and Muslims

“[T]he Zionist view of Palestine has always considered all Palestinians without regard to class, creed, or locations, as bodies either to be removed or ignored (if possible); and on the other hand, that the Palestinian opposition to Zionist settler-colonialism was a national struggle, enlisting, as it did, segments of political life (in various complex ways of course).” (Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Victims by Edward W. Said, p.10)

The quote from Edward Said accentuates an obvious truth that is important for us to comprehend from the outset: Zionists could care less what creed Palestinians followed. Ever since the publication ofTheodor Herzl‘s (1860-1904) Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) and the First Zionist Congress (1897) Zionists have organized their collective energy on colonizing the land of Palestine, then a territory under Ottoman control.

The fact that a majority of Palestinians followed Islam was generally inconsequential to Zionist aims. Indeed, if the majority of Palestinians had been Hindu we may very well be discussing Zionism and Hinduphobia today.

While it is true that Zionists were not concerned with Islam as such it is vital to investigate what the early ideologues of modern Zionism had to say about Islam and Muslims; at the very least noting to what extent this has a bearing on how contemporary Zionists relate to Islam and how this relationship has developed over the years.

A necessary overview of the history of Zionism will be the subject of the next article in this series but suffice it to say that Zionism formed in the milieu of 19th century European nationalism, in the heyday of Imperialism, Colonialism–and renewed Antisemitism. Considering that Zionism was a product of 19th century Europe, it is reasonable to presume, and has served as the thesis of several historians that the Orientalist worldview with its inherent biases and prejudices pervaded the Zionist view as well.

Influence of the Jewish Golden Age

One important caveat is that there was amongst 19th century Jews Islamophile trends and a recognition of a Jewish Golden Age under Muslim rule, particularly in medieval Andalusia. Jewish historians such as the early Zionist Heinrich Graetz (1817-1891) were prominent advocates of an idealized version of the Jewish Golden Age, a history that Graetz and others used to serve as a rebuke to the Christian European treatment of Jews.

In this regard there is a glimpse into the attitude of the most pivotal leader of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl, a mercurial figure whose tactics in the Ottoman Empire were well known. One would think his interaction with the Sublime Porte (the seat of Ottoman authority) would reveal much in the way of his view on Islam and Muslims, however it does not.

200px-Spanishhaggadah

It is in Herzl’s Utopian novel titled, Altneuland,(Old-New Land), that we see some semblance of his views on the subject. Herzl portrayed the Arab characters such as Rashid Bey in a patronizing manner, characterizing them as being grateful to the Jewish immigrants for the “immense benefit” they have brought to the land’s Arab residents. In an echo to Graetz’s work we see Herzl describing Bey as regaling visitors to the land on the “tolerance demonstrated by the Arabs toward Jewish immigration, in the best tradition of Muslim society, which was always more tolerant of the Jews than Christian Europe.”

Another anecdote highlights that the Golden Age views were also imparted on the likes of a youngYigal Allon Paicovitch (1918-1980). In a biography on Allon’s life we are told that Allon viewed Christianity with suspicion, as an age-old persecutor of the Jewish people whereas he did not have similar “misgivings” about Islam and Muslims,

“In Allon’s imagination the Crusades were so tied to the Inquisition that when he traveled to Nazareth with his father he was careful not to bend down near a church lest it be understood as kneeling before the cross. He had no such misgivings about Islam, having learned in school that Muslims were tolerant of Jews, with the emphasis on Spain’s Golden Age.” (Yigal Allon, Native Son: A Biography by Anita Shapira p.33)

Allon who would later become the commander of the Haganah’s Palmach (strike force) between 1945-1948. During the 1948 war, he commanded several military operations (i.e. Operation Yiftah, Dani, and Yoav), and he became famous for being one of the engines behind cleansing the most populated Palestinian areas (i.e. Lydda, Ramla, Safad, Hebron hills, Faluja pocket).

Palestinian Muslims: the descendants of ancient Hebrew farmers

David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973), one of the ‘founding fathers of Israel’ was a hawkish advocate of the dispossession and expulsion of Palestinian Arabs, who stated, “We must expel Arabs and take their places.” (Ben Gurion and the Palestine Arabs: From Peace to War by Shabti Zeveth, p.189)

Interestingly, in Ben-Gurion’s On the Origin of the Falahin he held the view, to be repeated later in his life (in a letter to Charles De Gaulle), that Palestinian Muslim farmers were descendants of ancient Hebrew farmers and that “much Jewish blood flows in their veins.” He describes Palestinian embrace of Islam as a “travesty of [the] times,”

The agricultural community that the Arabs found in Eretz Israel in the 7th century was none other than the Hebrew farmers that remained on their land despite all the persecution and oppression of the Roman and Byzantine emperors. Some of them accepted Christianity, at least on the surface, but many held on to their ancestral faith and occasionally revolted against their Christian oppressors. After the Arab conquest, the Arabic language and Muslim religion spread gradually among the countrymen. In his essay “Ancient Names in Palestine and Syria in Our Times,” Dr. George Kampmeyer proves, based on historico-linguistic analysis, that for a certain period of time, both Aramaic and Arabic were in use and only slowly did the former give way to the latter.
The greater majority and main structures of the Muslim falahin in western Eretz Israel present to us one racial strand and a whole ethnic unit, and there is no doubt that much Jewish blood flows in their veins—the blood of those Jewish farmers, “lay persons,” who chose in the travesty of times to abandon their faith in order to remain on their land.  (Leverur Motsa Ha’FalahimLuach Achiezer, pp. 118-27, reprinted in Anachnu U’Shcheneinu, pp. 13-25.)

There is an apparent contradiction in Ben-Gurion’s statement that Arabic and Islam spread gradually and that Jewish farmers embraced Islam “in order to remain on their land.” The former implies a conscious and free conversion over a period of time and the latter forced conversion. Ben-Gurion’s 1967 letter to De Gaulle would indicate that he advocated the idea of forced conversion.

In either case, Ben-Gurion’s statement is highly interesting in light of the work of Israeli historianShlomo Sand,

Countering official Zionist historiography, Sand questions whether the Jewish People ever existed as a national group with a common origin in the Land of Israel/Palestine. He concludes that the Jews should be seen as a religious community comprising a mishmash of individuals and groups that had converted to the ancient monotheistic religion but do not have any historical right to establish an independent Jewish state in the Holy Land. In short, the Jewish People, according to Sand, are not really a “people” in the sense of having a common ethnic origin and national heritage. They certainly do not have a political claim over the territory that today constitutes Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem.

Sand’s work also concludes that the progenitors of the Palestinian Arabs were the ancient Jews.

This raises numerous questions: if Ben-Gurion held that many of the “Muslim falahin” were descendants of indigenous Jews why didn’t this factor into his ideology and how did he square this with advocating their expulsion? According to his own ideology aren’t Palestinians more entitled to live in their ancient homeland than European settlers? Do not the Palestinian refugees have a right to return to their homeland?

One can also see the kind of disdain which Ben Gurion held for the “spirit of the Levant” in popular views that he and many fellow Zionists expressed in regard to “Eastern/Sephardic Jews,”

Ben Gurion…described the Sephardi immigrants as lacking even “the most elementary knowledge” and “without a trace of Jewish or human education.” Ben Gurion repeatedly expressed contempt for the culture of the Oriental Jews: “We do not want Israelis to become Arabs. We are in duty bound to fight against the spirit of the Levant, which corrupts individuals and societies, and preserve the authentic Jewish values as they crystallized in the Diaspora.”…Ben Gurion who called the Moroccan Jews “savages” at a session of a Knesset Committee, and who compared Sephardim, pejoratively (and revealingly), to the Blacks brought to the United States as slaves, at times went so far as to question the spiritual capacity and even the Jewishness of the Sephardim. (Sephardim in Israel: Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Jewish Victimsby Ella Shohat, p.4-5)

Imagine, if these were Ben Gurion’s views about the “Oriental Jew,” how much more magnified was his animus towards native Arabs and Muslims?

Exorcising the Islamic Soul From Palestine

Ze’ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky (1880-1940) the founder of the Revisionist movement within Zionism was perhaps the most explicitly unabashed and hawkish modern Zionist proponent of colonialism, racism and expulsion; central subjects in many of his writings and speeches. Jabotinsky is most famous for his exposition of the “Iron Wall” ideology that no compromise with the Palestinians was possible. Revisionism would eventually spawn the Irgun and Stern Gang terrorists which made names for themselves by using terrorism against innocent civilians.

Lenni Brenner, writing in 1984 noted that Revisionism, once considered the lunatic fringe of Zionism“is now the dominant ideological tendency in present-day Zionism.” (The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism From Jabotinsky to Shamir by Lenni Brenner)

I would argue that this holds true today as well (and add Religious Zionism is on the rise), as we have seen with the administrations of Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Netanyahu, and high profile politicians such as Avigdor Lieberman and others.

Jabotinsky’s views were quite emphatic in their degradation of Arab society, especially Muslim society: here he responds in a vitriolic manner to Max Nordau’s (1849-1923) statement that Muslims and Jews share a kinship,

“When he [Jabotinsky] approached Nordau during the war about the establishment of a Jewish legion which was to fight against the Turks, he was told, ‘But you cannot do that, the Muslims are kin to the Jews, Ishmael was our uncle.’ ‘Ishmael is not our uncle’ Jabotinsky replied. ‘We belong thank God, to Europe and for two thousand years have helped to create the culture of the west.’” (A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel by Walter Laqueur, p. 228)

In his famous “Iron Wall,” Jabotinsky alludes to his belief in the deficient “spirituality” of Palestinian Arabs,

“Culturally they are 500 years behind us, spiritually they do not have our endurance or our strength of will” (Iron Wall by Jabotinsky)

A theme in Jabotinsky’s views is his emphasis that Jewishness is opposed to the East and a “part of the West,” (of course he is speaking only of European and American Jews and completely ignoring Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews), he also alludes to Islam as some sort of demonic spirit that must be exorcized from “Eretz-Yisrael,”

“We Jews, thank God, have nothing to do with the East. . . . The Islamic soul must be broomed out of Eretz-Yisrael. . . . [Muslims are] yelling rabble dressed up in gaudy, savage rags.” (Expulsion of the Palestinians by Nur Masalha, p.29)

Anti-Judaism as Anti-Islam

Arthur Ruppin (1876-1943), one the founders of Brit Shalom, was a proponent of warped racial theories and eugenics who despite his bi-national views still supported the expulsion or in the euphemism of his day “transfer” of Palestinians. Ruppin, like many of his peers and contemporaries was very severe in his criticism of traditional Judaism. In Ruppin’s view Judaism’s main fault is that it is “similar to Islam,” in that it is supposedly anti-intellectual, opposed to criticism and modern science.

Ruppin explained the success of Hassidut as a result of the hard material conditions of the Jews in Eastern Europe: “The spiritual energy of the Jewish people created an imaginary world when the real world was lost to him.” This was the reason the Jews took refuge in the mysticism and superstition offered them by the Hassidic Rabbis.

As already mentioned, Ruppin’s views concerning the Jewish religion were identical to those of Haeckal and Bismark regarding Catholic clericalism. Ruppin, indeed, saw a similarity between Judaism and Catholicism since both of them he believed, were based on prayer, and from that concluded that, like Catholicism, Judaism was still anthropomorphic. However, the most important fault he saw in Judaism was its similarity to Islam. Jewish Orthodoxy and Islam had the same type of faith, a “blind faith,” which did not permit any critical doubts and rejected all the discoveries of modern science. These characteristics differentiated them from “the protestant skeptic type of faith of our times.” What defined the Jewish worldview, according to Ruppin, was its lack of skepticism, its fear of any doubt and its inability to cope with conflicting thoughts: “As soon as he begins to doubt, his fate is sealed, his secession from orthodoxy is a necessary result. The skeptic will never more be a pious Jew.” (Arthur Ruppin and the Production of Pre-Israeli Culture by Etan Bloom p. 79)

These views are, to say the least, overly simplistic and presumptuous, disregarding the variegated and complex nature of both Judaism and Islam.

Judah Leon Magnes

Judah Leon Magnes (1877-1948), a prominent American born Reform Rabbi, was a life-long pacifist, proponent of a bi-national state and vocal critic of attempts to create an exclusive “Jewish state.” Towards the end of his life, in 1948, he withdrew from the AJJDC for ignoring his plea to help Palestinian refugees.

Rabbi Magnes no doubt wrote the following with good intentions,

“It is in derogation of the actual importance of the living Jewish people and of Judaism to place them on one side of the scale and have it balanced by the relatively unimportant Arab community of Palestine. The true parallels and balancing forces are Jews and Judaism on the one side, and the Arab peoples and even all of Islam on the other. In this way you get a truer perspective of the whole and you increase the significance of Palestine as being that point where in this new day Judaism meets Islam again throughout all its confines, as once they met centuries back to the ultimate enrichment of human culture.” (Like other Nations? retrieved from The Zionist Ideaed. by Arthur Hertzberg p.447)

Magnes attempts to relay a hopeful and positive vision of the future in which Judaism and Islam meet together “to the ultimate enrichment of human culture,” but one cannot help but also note the glaring condescension towards Palestinians, crassly described as the “relatively unimportant Arab community of Palestine.”

Religious Zionism

Religious elements, both Orthodox and Reform were generally late to join the political Zionist caravan which was led mostly by secular and non-religious Jews. In time however the religious sects would, with notable exceptions, reconcile themselves to Zionism through compromise and accommodation with the state of Israel.

Instrumental in this process was the main ideologue of modern Religious Zionism, Rabbi Abraham Itzhak Kook (1865-1935).

“Kook saw Zionism as a part of a divine scheme which would result in the resettlement of the Jewish people in its homeland. This would bring salvation (“Geula”) to Jews, and then to the entire world. After world harmony is achieved by the refoundation of the Jewish homeland, the Messiah will come.”

Historically Judaism’s relationship with Islam and attitude towards Muslims has been unique. Maimonides formulated the decisive majority opinion that Islam like Judaism was definitely a monotheistic faith, this had all sorts of repercussions for Halacha (Jewish law). For instance Jews could worship in a mosque whereas they could not worship in a church, Jews could take benefit from wine handled by a Muslim whereas they could not by a Christian.

While Islam was viewed as special this should not mislead us into the relativist belief that Judaism advanced some sort of Perennialist theology. Indeed, like all religions Judaism in its Orthodox form is exclusivist, especially when it comes to the ‘Promised Land.’

In fact there are sources within Orthodox Judaism that can be used to dehumanize the non-Jew, to view and treat the non-Jew as inferior and unequal. We have witnessed many such cases in the past few decades with the rise and expansion of extremist Jewish fundamentalism in Israel.

Early modern Religious Zionists were not immune from expressing such racist views. Rabbi Kook has been quoted as saying that the souls of non-Jews are inferior “in all different levels” to that of Jews. (Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel by Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, p. xix)*

In the wrong hands such attitudes can reinforce the mentality and culture that produces and celebrates terrorists such as Baruch Goldstein and Yigal Amir, that offers no compromise when it comes to dismantling and evicting settlements and reaching a just solution to apartheid occupation.

Reconciliation?

I believe it is appropriate lastly to cite Yitzhak Epstein (1862-1943), one of the few Zionists who was a Palestinian. Epstein lived with Bedouins for eight months, an experience that led him to publish two books in Hebrew on Bedouins. At the same time he worked in intelligence gathering for the Jewish Agency Political Department and became a leading “Arab specialist.”

Epstein uttered what I believe are prophetic words regarding his belief that Zionists must reconcile themselves to the “peoples of Islam.”

“We must reconcile ourselves to all the peoples of Islam; if we don’t we are lost.”(Palestine Jewry and the Arab Question by Neil Caplan)

If one were to ask if such a reconciliation has been reached today the question would be treated as rhetorical, as present day circumstances reveal the answer to be a resounding “no.” The question is why is this the case? Why are so many Zionists today violently opposed to Islam and Muslims, in fact holding onto the belief and strategy of a war with Islam? (This will be answered in a future article in this series).

Conclusion

This article has not exhausted the topic of the initial encounters between modern Zionism, Islam and Muslims, for instance I have not discussed the work of Zionist authors such as Moshe Smilansky(1874-1953) who wrote a number of novels involving Arabs and Muslims. It does however uncover what I feel are fairly representative views from a wide spectrum of currents; Socialist, Revisionist and Religious–including very influential leaders of Zionism.

It is helpful in the context of the period discussed in this article to speak about Zionism in relationship to the paradigm of Orientalism, in fact there is a wealth of historical literature on this topic over the past few decades. The imagination of Zionist literature, film, ideology and political policy has been infused with Orientalisms of one variety or another from the very beginning,

“Several writers on Israel and its neighbors have suggested in recent years ways to apply Edward Said’s fascinating thesis on the connection between Orientalism as a profession and deep-seated anti-Islamic attitudes in the West in general. Aziza Khazum has shown how the history of the Jewish people in modern times can fruitfully be described as a continuous series of “Orientalizations,” that is, an elite trying to block the advance of an upcoming minority group by dubbing it “Oriental,” meaning devoid of “real” culture and hence not worthy of equal treatment. Ella Shohat has applied the same idea to the history of early Zionist films, where the Arab is depicted as a brutal and cultureless creature whose objection to Zionism lacks rational grounding. Said himself first analyzed Orientalism as a cultural outgrowth of the West and then started to apply that idea to the Zionist venture itself.” (Zionism, Orientalism and the Palestinians by Haim Gerber, p.1)

I have not in any depth covered the deep racism against the indigenous Palestinian Arabs, seeking to separate that out from views regarding Islam and Muslims; at times it is not possible, as the two are interwoven. What we have then are attitudes that comport to well known bigoted Orientalist racism, stereotypes, prejudices, and a few romanticized notions of the ‘other.’

The view of many of the early leading Zionists is a reaffirmation of the presumed ontological distinction between West and East, i.e. that the very being of Western Jews is essentially different than that of the Palestinian Arabs and Muslims.

*I want to point out clearly that I in no way support Shahak’s bigotry against Judaism. I am only leaving up the citation since the quote by R. Abraham Kook is authentic.

Islamophobes discover ludicrous “hospital jihad” plot

A proposed Muslim surgical facility in a Chicago suburb elicited the usual fear and conspiracy theory mongering that is the m.o. of Islamophobes. The center’s proposal was rejected today by state boardfor reasons unrelated to the Islamophobes but this stands as another instance of the Islamophobia crowd fabricating headlines.

Sheila Musaji has the story:

Islamophobes discover ludicrous “hospital jihad” plot

Chicago Business reported that “Dr. Naser Rustom plans to open the first outpatient surgery center in Illinois that he says will follow Islamic law.  …  He proposes to establish a $5.5 million medical facility in southwest suburban Orland Park that would cater to Muslims, including space for prayer and ritual washing and partitions for enhanced patient privacy. … Patients of all religious and cultural backgrounds will be treated at the center, which will not be different from other surgery centers except “to the trained eye.”

Summary of the facts:  a Muslim doctor has applied for permits to open a hospital in an area of Chicago with a large Muslim population.  The hospital would be for the entire community, no matter what their religion, but would accommodate Muslim religious and cultural customs to make Muslim patients more comfortable.

The Islamophobes were on this right way.  Debbie Schlussel, for example, posted New SHARIAH/ISLAM-ONLY Medical Center to Open in Chicago.  Schlussel introduces an article about this planned hospital with this comment:  “More and more, America becomes Islamerica. And here’s yet another example. But this is only the symptom, not the problem: a growing Muslim population that has metastasized and is a ticking population timebomb–through immigration (legal and illegal) and birth rate. A Muslim doctor, who also owns a Chicago Middle East restaurant (where you should NOT eat, or you are financing shariah), is opening a shariah-compliant medical center. You can bet, by the way, that the government will not force the constructs of Obamacare down the throats of these Muslims, just Catholic-operated hospitals and the like. (On the other hand, I’ve repeatedly told you about the medical jihadists–how Islamic doctors treat non-Muslim patients, so maybe it’s better if Muslim doctors treat only other Muslims. Sadly, that ain’t how it works.)”

Schlussel is Jewish, and for an American Jew to find this proposed hospital to be some sinister Muslim plot is unbelievable.  But since she seems unable to even read the article to note that the hospital would be open to all, and not “Islam Only” as her title falsely claims, I suppose she might just be that ignorant.

Schussel was not the only Jewish Islamophobe to show this level of ignorance.  Bonni Benstock-Intall of Bare Naked Islam titled her “expose” COMING SOON TO CHICAGO: Islamic Female Genital Mutilation.  And, Daniel Pipes wrote Islamists in the Hospital Ward in which he says “A Muslim surgery center in Chicago: It was inevitable: not fitting in to normal medical facilities, Islamists would have their own. But who would imagine the trend starting in a Chicago suburb, Orland Park, where Dr. Naser Rustom, an internist, plans to build a $5.5 million surgical center?”  This issue of hospitals that cater to Muslim patients truly bothers the Islamophobes.  Pamela Geller & Creeping Sharia previously called Muslim hospitals “hospital jihad”.

This is an obvious attempt to create a story out of nothing.  The concept behind this hospital catering to Muslim patients is well-established in the Jewish community.

The Visiting Nurse Service of New York has an article online that states:

“We understand the importance of delivering culturally sensitive care and serving the unique needs of all of our patients. We know you and your loved ones live in New York but may be most comfortable with nurses and other professionals who are sensitive to each patient’s cultural needs, customs and religious background.  At VNSNY, we’ve tailored our comprehensive home health care and community-based services to New York City’s Jewish population—the largest Jewish community outside of Israel.

Our health professionals include nurses, therapists, home health aides, social workers, and translators who provide every type of care from mental health services to managing medications. They attend our La Bre Oot program, where they receive specialized training to recognize and understand the unique cultural needs and customs of their Jewish patients, particularly the laws and practices of Orthodox Jewish clients. Our staff members take those traditions into account when they care for you and your family. They are especially sensitive to:

Kosher dietary and nutritional practices and their relationship to medical conditions and continuing health
Laws of the Sabbath and holidays
Family dynamics in the care of the elderly and those with disabilities
Educating patients and families on medical conditions and treatments
In addition, VNSNY works closely with leading Jewish physicians, and we have nurses on-site at the major hospitals and medical centers that cater to the Jewish community, including Mt. Sinai, Beth Israel, NYU, Maimonides, and Lenox Hill. In addition, our relationships with the many community-based organizations that cater to New York’s Jewish population allow us to help our patients access the appropriate resources available in their neighborhoods.

An article To cater to the Orthodox community, back to basics reports that:

 

“Monmouth Medical Center, where more and more Orthodox Jewish patients from Lakewood are coming to give birth, is sensitive to cultural and religious needs. … To accommodate the growing Orthodox community in Long Branch, Deal and Lakewood, many physicians are opening offices nearby. “It’s a big part of what we do here,” said Dr. Dominick Lobraico where 35 percent of the practice’s births are to Orthodox parents.  The hospital operates a program to treat Orthodox patients and their families with sensitivity and educates its staff to do the same. … Because of a prohibition against the operation of mechanical devices on the Sabbath, Monmouth Medical Center has established a Sabbath entrance, which is a manual door, and a Sabbath stairwell to patient rooms so observant Jews do not have to use the elevator. … The Eisenberg Family Center offers a unit of private rooms for new mothers, with sofas in case a new father wants to stay the night. That unit also includes kosher kitchenettes and areas for prayer. Prayer shawls are located in a nearby bookcase.”

These Jewish Islamophobes continue to stir up the bigots, and as I wrote previously May Regret Stirring Up a Hornet’s Nest of Bigotry.  Their anti-Muslim prejudice is clouding their judgement about how closely anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and all other forms of bigotry are linked.  Encouraging and condoning bigotry towards any minority ultimately can come to hurt all minorities.  Their ravings against Islam and Muslims are appealing to a certain segment of the population who need to have someone to blame and to look down on.  It is if she is taking a stick and sticking it into a hive of hornets and shaking it around and hoping they can control who those hornets sting.

Toronto Board of Rabbis Denounce Pamela Geller

A very welcome condemnation of Pamela Geller by prominent Toronto area Rabbis.

One small issue I have is with describing Geller’s activities as “criticism.” Criticism is not the right word but understandably the more accurate “batsh** crazy rants” to describe Geller’s activities wouldn’t fit the professional language required of an official press release.:

Toronto Board of Rabbis Denounce Pamela Geller

Toronto Board of Rabbis

President Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl Vice-President Rabbi Debra Landsberg Secretary Rabbi Martin Lockshin Treasurer Rabbi David Seed Executive Director Rabbi Michal Shekel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 13, 2012

The Toronto Board of Rabbis (TBR) expresses its profound disappointment that a local Jewish organization has extended an invitation to Pamela Geller, a blogger who is known for her extreme criticism of Muslims in language that is intended to shock and ridicule.

The TBR is a strong supporter of freedom of speech for all, including Ms. Geller. Ms. Geller’s voice and message are already well known here in Canada and beyond. There was no sense in inviting her here to Toronto to speak before a Jewish audience. Sadly the only sure result of this event will be increasing tensions within the Jewish community and between Jews and Muslims in Toronto.

The TBR, which represents rabbis from all denominations of Judaism, wishes to make clear to all that it finds the invitation distasteful, just as it finds Ms. Geller’s views distasteful. We dissociate ourselves from the actions of the radical fringe Jewish group that extended the invitation. We call for more events here in Toronto that will build up friendship and understanding between local Jews and Muslims.

Media Contact: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, TBR president 416.781.3511
4600 Bathurst Street Toronto, Ontario M2R 3V3

Please note that our members will be unavailable from sundown Tuesday through sundown Thursday due to the observance of Shavuot (Festival of Weeks).

Tel: 416.849.1004 Fax: 416.631.6373 e-mail: informaton@torontoboardofrabbis.org

Via. Loonwatch

Toronto: Pamela Geller Lies About York Regional Police

Toronto: Pamela Geller Lies About York Regional Police

The National Post covers the story about York Regional Police taking a firm stand against one of their chaplains hosting a hate-preacher.

Jewish activists say a Toronto-area rabbi has been pressured by an area police force to change plans to host a controversial anti-Islamist speaker, prompting accusations the force is squelching free speech.

By “Jewish activists” what they mean to say is a small cadre of unrepresentative extremists, i.e. Geller-followers who hit the internet and contact media claiming their “free speech” rights have been violated by Islamic extremists.

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan, of the Chabad @ Flamingo Synagogue, cancelled plans to host a talk by Pamela Geller, an American blogger known for her criticism of Islam. She is co-founder of Stop Islamification of America, a group that opposes the proposed building of a mosque at Ground Zero and sponsors anti-Islamic ads in U.S. cities.

Police dispute allegations that there were any threats of intimidation, saying instead that “a discussion” took place Tuesday between Insp. Ricky Veerappan, leader of the York Regional Police force’s diversity, equity and inclusion bureau, and Rabbi Kaplan, who is also a volunteer chaplain with the force. Insp. Veerappan said that during their discussion, the rabbi was presented with more information and a decision.

“If he had not cancelled the event – and again, that was his decision – then we would have had to re-evaluate his relationship with York Regional Police because it would be clearly be in contravention of the values of our organization,” said Insp. Veerappan.

“Our concern is that Rabbi Kaplan is also a representative of the police, he wears a police uniform, and some of the comments that have been attributed to Ms. Geller really posed a conflict situation for us at York Regional Police.”

Here is the full statement of York Police:

York Regional Police wishes to clarify information that has appeared in the media regarding the appearance of Ms. Pamela Geller at a York Region synagogue led by one of the York Regional Police chaplains.

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan is one of eight volunteer chaplains at York Regional Police who serves the needs of our members and their families through religious and spiritual support. He is also the founder and spiritual leader of the Chabad@Flamingo synagogue in Thornhill.

Free speech is the right of every citizen and York Regional Police recognizes that. However, some of Ms. Geller’s previous comments clearly conflict with the values of our organization and our continuous work to enhance relationships in all our diverse communities.

Rabbi Kaplan’s connection to Ms. Geller’s event posed a concern for York Regional Police as it would put our organization in conflict with our long-held position of inclusivity.

As a result, Rabbi Kaplan, a volunteer member of our service, was provided with additional information regarding the proposed guest speaker by Inspector Ricky Veerappan, the officer in charge of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bureau.

Subsequently, Rabbi Kaplan decided to cancel Ms. Geller’s appearance as it would place him in conflict with the values of our organization which support a safe, welcoming and inclusive community for all.

Reports that Rabbi Kaplan was ‘threatened’ by York Regional Police are a flagrant misrepresentation of the facts.

While York Regional Police supports Ms. Geller’s right to free speech, there is an expectation of all members of our organization to act in accordance with our values and the expectations of our community.

For more information contact Inspector Ricky Veerappan at 1-866-876-5423 ext. 6089.
May 2, 2013