On Friday I wrote about the ADL’s spineless opposition to the Muslim community center planned for construction in downtown Manhattan. In that light, it is encouraging to see a national Jewish organization coming out in support of the project. AJC head David Harris has a new piece at the Huffington Post voicing his support. Kind of.
He pussyfoots around the issue for a while, it’s not as emphatic as I would have hoped it to be, but it is a prominent Jewish voice of support. Disappointingly, it has conditions:
Presently, there are two legitimate concerns about the proposed center.
First, with a $100 million price tag, what are the exact sources of funding? The public has a right to know that the donors all subscribe to an open, inclusive and pluralistic vision of the center.
Second, do the center’s leaders reject unconditionally terrorism inspired by Islamist ideology? They must say so unequivocally. This is critical for the institution’s credibility. There is no room here for verbal acrobatics. Otherwise, the pall of suspicion around the leaders’ true attitudes toward groups like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah will grow – spelling the center’s doom.
If these concerns can be addressed, we will join in welcoming the Cordoba Center to New York. In doing so, we would wish to reaffirm the noble values for which our country stands – the very values so detested by the perpetrators of the September 11th attacks.
The second concern is the most troubling because it asks the kind of needless question that the fear-mongering right-wingers who want to turn this project into a wedge issue for the midterm elections. We do not need to hear from Imam Rauf whether he opposes terrorism or not. He opposes it. Publicly. Regularly. It’s kind of his thing. He is a moderate Muslim religious leader. That’s why he’s a prominent guy. This is like claiming that we need to ask Avraham Avinu if he believes in one god or many!