On Genocidal West Point Professor William C. Bradford And Retractions

william_bradford

West Point professor, William C. Bradford published a 200 page paper in the National Security Law Journal which’s main points The Guardian summed up,

William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”.

Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist.

The West Point faculty member urges the US to wage “total war” on “Islamism”, using “conventional and nuclear force and [psychological operations]”, in order to “leave them prepared to coexist with the West or be utterly eradicated”. He suggests in a footnote that “threatening Islamic holy sites might create deterrence, discredit Islamism, and falsify the assumption that decadence renders Western restraint inevitable”. (h/t: JD)

It is surprising that this paper was able to make it past the editor and was included in the journal in the first place. It makes an elaborate case for the killing of professors and others who are deemed enemies of the state for criticizing the “War On Terror.” It employs the methodology of Robert Spencer in describing critics of the military and US policy as “useful idiots” and sympathizers of the catch-all bogeyman known as “Islamists.”

Most of the news reports have focused on Bradford’s fascistic call to eliminate professors and attack academic institutions. The retraction by the journal focuses completely on this aspect of his paper, which granted is the central thesis,

This past spring the Journal made a mistake in publishing a highly controversial article, Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamist Fifth Column, 3 Nat’l Sec. L.J. 278 (2015), by William C. Bradford, who is currently an assistant professor at the United States Military Academy. As the incoming Editorial Board, we want to address concerns regarding Mr. Bradford’s contention that some scholars in legal academia could be considered as constituting a fifth column in the war against terror; his interpretation is that those scholars could be targeted as unlawful combatants. The substance of Mr. Bradford’s article cannot fairly be considered apart from the egregious breach of professional decorum that it exhibits.  We cannot “unpublish” it, of course, but we can and do acknowledge that the article was not presentable for publication when we published it, and that we therefore repudiate it with sincere apologies to our readers.

Moving forward, the current Editorial Board is committed to generating legitimate scholarly debate, representing all points of view, in the area of national security law. However, we have learned from this experience, and we recognize the responsibility that attends our publication decisions. The process of selecting articles is one our Editorial Board takes very seriously, and we are re-examining our selection process to ensure that we publish high quality scholarly articles.

A welcomed and necessary retraction by the Journal to save face after this embarrassing incident, though it doesn’t tell us why they published or made this “mistake” in the first place.

It is telling that the retraction doesn’t mention another factor why Bradford’s article can be considered as exhibiting an “egregious breach of professional decorum”: the fact that it considers threatening “total war” and use of nuclear strikes on “Islamists” and Muslim holy sites as a reasonable strategy! Shouldn’t that be included in the whole reason why this paper was so awful?

NewYorkTimes: Free Speech vs. Hate Speech

There is no question that images ridiculing religion, however offensive they may be to believers, qualify as protected free speech in the United States and most Western democracies. There is also no question that however offensive the images, they do not justify murder, and that it is incumbent on leaders of all religious faiths to make this clear to their followers.

But it is equally clear that the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland, Tex., was not really about free speech. It was an exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom.

That distinction is critical because the conflicts that have erupted over depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, most notably the massacre of staff members at the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in January by two Muslim brothers, have generated a furious and often confused debate about free speech versus hate speech. The current dispute at the American chapter of the PEN literary organization over its selection of Charlie Hebdo for a freedom of expression courage award is a case in point — hundreds of PEN’s members have opposed the selection for “valorizing selectively offensive material.”

 

Photo

Pamela Geller Credit Mike Stone/Reuters

 

Charlie Hebdo is a publication whose stock in trade has always been graphic satires of politicians and religions, whether Catholic, Jewish or Muslim. By contrast, Pamela Geller, the anti-Islam campaigner behind the Texas event, has a long history of declarations and actions motivated purely by hatred for Muslims.

Whether fighting against a planned mosque near ground zero, posting to her venomous blog Atlas Shrugs or organizing the event in Garland, Ms. Geller revels in assailing Islam in terms reminiscent of virulent racism or anti-Semitism. She achieved her provocative goal in Garland — the event was attacked by two Muslims who were shot to death by a traffic officer before they killed anyone.

Those two men were would-be murderers. But their thwarted attack, or the murderous rampage of the Charlie Hebdo killers, or even the greater threat posed by the barbaric killers of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, cannot justify blatantly Islamophobic provocations like the Garland event. These can serve only to exacerbate tensions and to give extremists more fuel.

Some of those who draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad may earnestly believe that they are striking a blow for freedom of expression, though it is hard to see how that goal is advanced by inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism. As for the Garland event, to pretend that it was motivated by anything other than hate is simply hogwash.

Deacon Robert Spencer And Pamela Geller To Host Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders is on his way to the US again, this time at the invitation of two US congressmen. He will also be awarding a prize at Pamela Geller and Deacon Robert Spencer’s “Draw Muhammad” contest in Texas. (h/t: WaltervanderCruijsen)

GeertWilders.nl

On Wednesday April 29th, he will speak at a reception offered to him by Congressman Louie Gohmert (R, TX).

That same day, he speaks at the invitation of Congressman Steve King (R, IA) at the breakfast meeting of members of the US Congress belonging to the renowned Conservative Opportunity Society, a group founded in 1984 by Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Wilders: “I feel deeply honored by the invitations. In my speeches I will warn my American colleagues of the dangers of Islamization.”

After his visit to Washington, Geert Wilders travels to Garland, Texas, where on May 3rd he will give a speech and award a prize of $10,000 for the best Muhammad cartoon.

via. loonwatch

 

Brigitte Gabriel: ‘No Chance’ Of Muslim Americans ‘Blending In’ To U.S.

Brigitte Gabriel: ‘No Chance’ Of Muslim Americans ‘Blending In’ To U.S.

Anti-Muslim activist Brigitte Gabriel told Newsmax host Dennis Michael Lynch last week that there is “no chance” of American Muslims ever “blending in” with U.S. society.

In an interview on Friday, Lynch told Gabriel that he had recently traveled to Dearborn, Michigan, and “did not see all but maybe one or two homes with an American flag waving outside” and at one point stopped to ask for directions and was ignored.

“Why is it that the Muslim community is not blending in with the rest of American society?” he asked.

“Because this is what they are being told in mosques across the United States,” Gabriel responded, claiming that American mosques are “instructing their people not to shake hands on Christmas or Easter or wish the Americans a happy holiday.”

“Is there any chance that the Muslim community will ever turn it around?” Lynch asked.

“No,” Gabriel responded, “there is no chance, we are seeing a reverse, actually, instead of a blending in, instead of assimilation.”

via. IslamophobiaToday

Pamela Geller’s Collateral Damage

Spencer’s and Geller, the leaders of “AFDI” are up to their tired advert Crusade again.

Collateral Damage

San Francisco Foghorn

If you are planning on riding the 14L bus this week, keep your eyes open for the newest ad taken out by Pamela Geller, founder of the American Freedom Defence Initiative. In response to the recent Islamophobia surrounding ISIS, Geller depicts Muslims as a radical group of extremists showing how one’s devotion can only be measured by their radical acts of aggression. Geller’s ad deserves the triple crown for not only being polarizing, but also for being uninformed and mistargeted as well.

Two years ago, Geller made headlines when she took out similar ads on New York buses equating Muslims to savages. When her ads were pulled by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Geller sued the MTA, and with the federal court ruling in her favor, was able to continue to promote her proudly anti-Islamic views. With the recent obsession with ISIS and Ebola, how could Geller not capitalize on the state of fear that the mainstream media is perpetuating?

Geller is painting an entire religion, culture, and region of the world as terrorists causing fear against Muslims in the United States. This xenophobic response to war is not new and it is a stark reminder of how little has changed since the Japanese Internment camps of the 1940s. Geller has the attention of many Americans peaked because of the recent military gains ISIS has made, as well as the footage they released of their executions of American and British citizens. The association then becomes jaded; if Muslims are only mentioned for their acute actions of violence then one would assume it is a culture inherently full of bloodshed. This could not be more wrong. Associating an entire religion, an entire culture, and entire region of the world with these small organized radical groups causes harm to the Muslim Identity and further alienates Islam from other religions.

These ads — not only harmful to Muslims, but lump Sikhs and Hindus into the same group because of slight similarities in their religious clothing — further perpetuate an intolerant stereotype. It is religious collectivism that is not grounded in any sort of number, statistic, or study. With every religion, there is a radical minority that defaces the tradition in order to gain political leverage and a larger following. But the association that has been made between Muslims and violence must end.

Geller is subject to fear, just as we all are. This fear has caused her to demonize and destroy what she believes is a threat — Islam. Is she wrong? Definitely. But this is no different than it has ever been. This fear comes from an unrealistic view of what Muslims are and what their culture consists of. As for every group that we are fighting, there is propaganda created by fear that leads to a radical view from those who would otherwise be neutral. However, these ads do not condemn ISIS. They attack every man in a turban and every woman in a burka. They fuel the growing Islamophobia in the United States instead of substantiating Islamic culture and beliefs. They are ignorant of any cultural identity as well as ethnic background. They perpetuate violence and hatred where understanding is necessary.

Ads like this and organizations like the American Freedom Defence Initiative will never disappear. It is within their constitutional rights to exist and espouse their views in whatever nonviolent way they choose. But, these ads are misleading and wrong in scope. These ads do nothing to stop ISIS. They do nothing to further defend the United States from their aggressive advances, and do nothing to stop the terrorist organization’s rapid recruitment. These ads instead perpetuate hatred and ignorance — hatred for those who do not deserve it and ignorance in regards to why they do not.

Geller And Spencer Remove Picture of James Foley From Ads But Continue to Use Image Of Aqsa Parvez

It seems they had no compassion for the family of Aqsa Parvez who asked Geller to end their use of their dead daughters image for their Islamophobic agenda.

James Foley Photo Removes From NYC Anti-Islam Ads Following Complaint From Family

Reuters

A photo of American journalist James Foley shortly before his beheading by the Islamic state militant group is being removed from anti-Islam advertisements appearing on Monday on 100 New York City buses and two subway stations.

In response to a complaint from the Foley family, the advertisement is being altered to include an unidentifiable severed head held by the masked militant seen wielding a knife in the video of Foley’s beheading, said David Yerushalmi, lawyer for Pamela Geller, whose group is sponsoring the ads.

“The use of Mr. Foley’s photo in your advertisement will cause profound distress to the Foley family,” family lawyer J. Patrick Rowan said in a letter to Geller.

Geller writes a blog criticizing Islam. Her group, American Freedom Defense Initiative, paid for a six-ad series scheduled to run for a month on the city’s mass transit system.

The ads, including one showing Foley in the video of his beheading released in August, suggest that Islam is inherently violent and extremist, and call for the end of American aid to Islamic countries.

“Having lived in and reported from communities in which nearly everyone was of Muslim faith, he had great respect for the religion and those who practiced it,” the Foley family lawyer wrote, referring to the journalist.

“The advertisement you are preparing to run seems to convey the message that ordinary practitioners of Islam are a dangerous threat. This message is entirely inconsistent with Mr. Foley’s reporting and his beliefs.”

Foley, 40, was kidnapped by armed men in Syria in 2012. Islamic State has seized parts of Syria and Iraq.

Geller’s lawyer said the image will be replaced out of “compassion for the family’s pain and anguish.”

New York City politicians and religious leaders last week criticized the ad campaign, saying no faith should be subject to attack ads and calling it an attempt to divide the city.

Geller was behind a similar ad campaign in 2012 on the city’s transport system, which was initially rejected by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a state agency. A federal judge later decided that the MTA’s rule against ads that demeaned race, gender, religion or several other categories was unconstitutional.

The MTA has since revised its standard, and so-called viewpoint ads like Geller’s now run with a large disclaimer saying the MTA does not endorse the views expressed.

Vicious Hate Preacher, Deacon Robert Spencer Attacks Cardinal Theodore McCarrick


Deacon Robert Spencer is clearly outside of mainstream Catholicism, it’s a shame he is ordained at all. Recently, he unleashed his medieval hate on respected Catholic leader and theologian, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

What was Cardinal McCarrick’s offense according to Spencer? Simply speaking at an Anti-ISIS press conference organized by the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) where he supported Muslim Americans against hate and reiterated his belief that Islam and it’s social message cherishes peace and compassion.

For this offense, the right-wing rag “The Daily Caller” headlined their article with the absurd title, “Catholic Cardinal McCarrick Embraces Islam.” Hyperbole much?

During his speech Cardinal McCarrick used the phrase “In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate.” He also said “Peace Be Upon Him,” after quoting Prophet Muhammad.

Spencer responded by scornfully asking,

“Has Cardinal McCarrick converted to Islam?”

“‘Peace be upon him’ is a phrase Muslims utter after they say the name of [their reputed] prophet… [so] probably he is unaware of the unintended Islamic confession of faith he has just made,”said Spencer.

This is the sort of idiocy that we are facing from the Islamophobia Movement’s experts! Merely reciting a well known Islamic phrase positively makes a Catholic Cardinal a Muslim! I know Cardinal McCarrick is unphased by such idiotic mendacity but the fact that Spencer would resort to these gutter antics to feed his unhinged Far-Right, White Supremacist base is doubly egregious when one considers that the 84 year old Cardinal was recently rushed to the hospital with a heart problem.

Spencer sees the “threat” of Muslims and Islam everywhere, from Barack Obama to Cardinal McCarrick, the tent of Muslims-According-to-Spencer keeps on growing.

Clearly Spencer is anti-Catholic. Maybe a stealth Protestant?

David Horowitz: Obama Said Nothing About US Boy Kidnapped In Israel ‘Because He Was A Jew’

The disgraced David Horowitz’s dementia is acting up again. The US is Israel’s ally and supported its massacre in Gaza at great cost to its image across the world.

David Horowitz: Obama Said Nothing About US Boy Kidnapped In Israel ‘Because He Was A Jew’

In an interview with Janet Mefferd yesterday, FrontPage magazine editor David Horowitz falsely claimed that President Obama “said nothing” about the kidnapping and murder of an American boy, along with two Israeli friends, in Israel, saying that the president’s supposed silence was “because he was a Jew, I guess.”

“This is the most disgraceful period in the entire history of the United States, and the most disgraceful administration,” he said.

In fact, the president issued a statement in response to the boys’ murders, calling it a “senseless act of terror” and promising Israel “the full support and friendship of the United States.” Secretary of State John Kerry also condemned “this despicable terrorist act in the strongest possible terms.”

“That’s a sick religion, Islam,” Horowitz also told Mefferd. “People have to recognize that and stop comparing it to Christianity.”

Horowitz also claimed that “tens of thousands of Americans are going to die because of Obama” because “terrorists are going to come across our borders, our porous borders.”

“Look what they’ve done. They’re operating as though this isn’t America. They’re destroying our borders. You can’t have a country without borders,” he said.

Robert Spencer’s Ideological Allies in Denmark: Muslims should be treated the same as Hitler, DFer says

Muslims should be treated the same as Hitler, DFer says

Mogens Camre, a Dansk Folkeparti politician who is a member of the Gladsaxe city council, tweeted recently that when it comes to persecuting Jews, Muslims in Europe have “picked up where Hitler left off, and only the same treatment that Hitler received will change the situation.”

Camre said that it is “obvious” that Muslims are persecuting Jews in Europe. “You also have an imam in Aarhus, calling for the killing of Jews and an extraordinary situation in Norway where the Norwegian police are armed to the teeth and patrolling the streets in front of parliament and at the borders,” Camre told DR Nyheder.

Camre said that he did not mean that every Muslim is persecuting Jews and that he didn’t have room to explain himself fully in his Tweet. “It is not every Muslim,” he said. “There is limited space in a tweet, but there are Muslims persecuting Jews in the major cities.”

Camre believes that Muslims pose a real threat. “People who attack democracy, must of course be defeated,” he said. “Those who repeatedly threaten holy war against the West must be defeated.”

Camre has been in hot water before because of anti-Muslim rhetoric. He was charged with racism in 2002 for saying that Muslims are just “waiting to kill us”.

Copenhagen Post, 25 July 2014

Camre has been backed by DF foreign affairs spokesman Søren Espersen, who stated that Camre “hasn’t said anything that isn’t right”.

Mogens Camre Hitler tweet

From Moses to Moses: Traversing two Maimonides Quotes on Muslims

From Moses to Moses: Traversing two Maimonides Quotes on Muslims

March 30 marks the birthday of Moses Maimonides. As such, it seemed to be a good time to discuss two of his quotes that have been used in discussions of Islam and Islamophobia in part due to the range of views that seem to be expressed in them by the same author.

Original Guest Post

By JustStoppingBy

Recently, Robert Spencer tried to make a distinction between Allah and God, arguing that “even though they may share a name, any examination of the particulars of Christian and Islamic theology reveals that the deities in question are quite different in character.”

Note that Spencer does not say that Christians and Muslims have “different views of the same deity” but discusses “the deities in question.” In doing this, he invites the reader to reach the conclusion that the “Muslim Allah” is not the same as the “Christian God.” Danios has already provided a thorough explanation on the use of the term Allah by Jews and Christians in pre-Islamic times. As Danios points out, a common Islamophobic response is to claim that Muslims appropriated the term Allah while referring to a different entity, perhaps a moon god, but not to the god that Jews and Christians worship.

To further create a distinction between Allah and the Christian God, Spencer has asked whether the hajj is an act of apostasy based on his claims that the rites involved in the hajj are of Hindu origin. Of course, it is widely accepted that polytheists made pilgrimages to Mecca and that the Ka’bah was a pagan shrine that contained idols before the advent of Islam, including a belief that pre-Islamic pilgrims to Mecca, “[w]ith all their polytheism and idolatry, they too used to circle the Ka’bah and kiss the Black Stone.” So, even if Spencer were right, that would not seem to be a particularly Earth-shattering revelation.

Since many who propound this “deities” theory won’t listen to Danios perhaps they will listen to some other views. We can start by moving a little away from the Christian-Muslim deity distinction that Spencer wants to draw and referring to a statement by perhaps the most renowned post-Biblical Jewish scholar, Rabbi Moses Maimonides (Rambam). In Responsa #448, Maimonides writes as follows (ellipses in Wikipedia, bolding added; alternate translation also available):

The Ishmaelites are not at all idolaters; [idolatry] has long been severed from their mouths and hearts; and they attribute to God a proper unity, a unity concerning which there is no doubt. And because they lie about us, and falsely attribute to us the statement that God has a son, is no reason for us to lie about them and say that they are idolaters … And should anyone say that the house that they honor [the Kaaba] is a house of idolatry and an idol is hidden within it, which their ancestors used to worship,then what of it? The hearts of those who bow down toward it today are [directed] only toward Heaven … [Regarding] the Ishmaelites today – idolatry has been severed from the mouths of all of them [including] women and children. Their error and foolishness is in other things which cannot be put into writing because of the renegades and wicked among Israel [i.e., apostates]. But as regards the unity of God they have no error at all.

Maimonides’ life covered various phases of Muslim-Jewish relations. Maimonides was born in Córdoba in 1135, at the tail end of the longest potential extent of the “Golden Age” of Spanish Jewry, which saw the blossoming of Jewish culture and the attainment by individual Jews of high positions in commercial and public life. As a result of the Arab political dominance, Maimonides knew Arabic, read many texts in Arabic, and composed many of his most famous works in Arabic and referred to God as Allah in his Arabic writing.

In 1148, Córdoba was conquered by the Almohads, an Berber-Muslim dynasty that revoked the dhimmi status of Jews. There is, no doubt, much debate about the quality of the life of a dhimmi, but scholars have noted that “in any historical case, these relatively abstract and general provisions of the dhimma could and did materialize as either a tolerant and even liberating arrangement, or at the other extreme, a culturally repressive policy within which religious freedom is a hollow formality.” (María Rosa Monocal, The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain,” p. 73. Garibaldi reviews the book here.) Life for Jews under the Almohads went from the previous tolerant and liberating arrangement to the other extreme, with the result that “[m]any Jews were forced to convert, but due to suspicion by the authorities of fake conversions, the new converts had to wear identifying clothing that set them apart and made them available to public scrutiny with many forced to convert or go into exile.” The point of this is not to dwell on history, but to put Maimonides’ responsa into context. It was written not by someone who had experienced only positive relations between Muslims and Jews, but who had also witnessed among the harshest of relations. And one should note that after fleeing Córdoba, Maimonides eventually again found himself in a place where he could establish good relations with Muslim authorities, becoming court physician to Saladin.

So, what does Maimonides have to say about how Muslims view God? Returning to the quote, we see that Maimonides says that “[idolatry] has long been severed from their mouths and hearts.” This, is in fact the same story told in Islam’s view of its own history: before Muhammad, the Ishmaelites (as Maimonides refers to them) in and around Mecca were idolaters. But, since the advent of Islam, “they attribute to God a proper unity.” The Islamic term for a “proper unity” istawhid, which, in essence, is not just a superficial form of “unity” but a “proper unity” that has an influence on Islamic philosophy and jurisprudence. It is also possible that Maimonides was even distinguishing between the “proper” Jewish and Muslim view of God’s unity and what he would consider the “improper” Christian view of a trinitarian unity. Nowhere does Maimonides even suggest that Muslims are worshiping some different deity or that they do not share the Jewish view of God’s character.

Maimonides further argues that “should anyone say … [the Kaba’a] is a house of idolatry and an idol is hidden within it, which their ancestors used to worship, then what of it? The hearts of those who bow down toward it today are [directed] only toward Heaven.” This can be read as a pre-rebuttal to arguments made by Robert Spencer about the Kaba’a and the hajj based on views, true or not, about their pre-Islamic origins. As Maimonides points out, if Muslims view Allah as the same god Jews view in Heaven and direct their prayers accordingly, pre-Islamic history does not affect their monotheism. Say what you want about any possible idol remnant in the Ka’bah or the etymology of the term Allah, it is clear that the “hearts of [Muslims] today are only toward Heaven.”

Now, why is Maimonides such an interesting person to quote from when countering Spencer’s Islamophobic rhetoric? For one thing, Spencer’s polemical partner Pamela Geller has also quoted from Maimonides, believing that it helps the position that she and Spencer take in general and in her fights about her ads about a choice “between the civilized man and the savage” in particular. Here is a quote she uses, from Maimonides’ Epistle to Yemen:

Let Ye understand, my brothers, the Holy One Blessed HE through the trap created by our iniquities cast us amongst this nation, the people of Ishmael [Muslims] whose oppressiveness is firmly upon us and they connive to do us wrong and despicably downgrade us as the Almighty decreed against us (Deuteronomy 32:31, “Your enemies shall judge you”).

There never came against Israel a more antagonistic nation. They oppress us with the most oppressive measures to lessen our number, reduce us, and make us as despicable as they themselves are [Psalms 120:5].

Geller, misleadingly introduces this quote by saying that Maimonides “said this of Islam.” She further introduces the purely religious term Muslims in brackets where Maimonides referred to the “people of Ishmael,” a term that could have ethnic, political, and/or religious connotations.

On the religious aspect, while Maimonides did not accept Islam, it is clear from the earlier quote that he fully accepted that Muslims, or Ishmaelites, were monotheists whose hearts are directed only toward heaven in prayer. Instead, the conflict he describes is a political one, in particular with the Yemeni Shi’a of the time. Ultimately, “Maimonides interceded with Saladin in Egypt, and shortly thereafter the persecution came to an end.”

There are a few additional points worth noting in this quote from Maimonides. First, the reference to “the people of Ishmael” may sound like a form of generalization today, but no more so than the positive references to Ishmaelites in the first Maimonides quote or his reference to Jews as Israel in the second.

Second, unlike Geller, Maimonides does not attempt to create a picture in which one side is civilized and the other savage. Indeed, Maimonides describes Israel’s exile as a “trap created by our iniquities.” Traditionally, this referred to the “baseless hatred,” or the religious and political disputes, mistakes, violence, and venom that existed at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple and the onset of the Exile. Thus, Maimonides’ approach was not to turn a political dispute or suffering persecution into a basis for misrepresenting the religious views of others. Nor did he argue that those of his religion were pure and those of another religion were not; rather, he pointed out sinful behavior in both. In Maimonides’ view, monotheism was a good quality, and, from the first quote, we see that he was able to acknowledge what he saw as the good in his political opponents rather than feeling the need to suppress any of those qualities or actions as if his entire position would fall apart if his political adversaries had any good side. In addition, when Maimonides corresponded with a community of Jews who were being persecuted by a Muslim majority, he made a point of noting that even the Jews who then felt persecuted should not ignore their group’s own history of hatred and violence, including political mistakes that were part of the reason for their exile.

While there are aspects to the two quotes from Maimonides that one can agree or disagree with, they do reflect an overall attitude that contrasts sharply with those of Spencer and Geller.

While Maimonides had political differences with various Muslim groups, he did not seek to mischaracterize their religion or their religious beliefs. For there can be no true peace with the Other without recognition of the truth of their beliefs and behavior and honest dialogue based on those truths, a sharp contrast to the insidious Spencer/Geller policy of no peace, no truthful recognition, and no honest dialogue. Compare Maimonides’ recognition of Islam’s positive monotheistic quality, even when he disagreed politically with Muslims, with Spencer, who has argued that “the only good Muslim is a bad Muslim,” meaning that in his view, the only morally good Muslim is one who is not an Islamically good Muslim.

In terms of lessons for today, it may be helpful to see how Maimonides separated the political battles he faced from the opportunities to engage in religious prejudice against the beliefs of the Other. This did not mean that he refrained from political activity, as seen by his appeal to Saladin. But, neither did he refrain from standing up for the truth about another group’s religious beliefs. In viewing how Maimonides conducted these two fights, perhaps it can be said that the lesson is that we should fight our political battles as if there were no religious prejudice, and we should fight religious prejudice as if there were no political battles.