Culture, Identity, Israel, Religion

It is a Religious Conflict

jerus.bmpThe Jewish Left tends to frame the Arab-Israeli conflict in terms of competing nationalisms and victimologies. The Right often frames the conflict as motivated by traditional antisemitism.
But this conflict is, at its core, over theological birthright, symbolized by the land of Israel generally, and by Jerusalem and the Temple Mount most acutely, and it is not limited to the Arab world generally versus Israel, but spills into and exacerbates the broader conflict between the West and Islam.
To grossly understate its centrality, the Torah is the single most important document to Jewish civilization. And yet, the Torah paradigm for our relationship with Yishmael and his status as outlined in Genesis was disregarded and dismissed by the Labor Zionist architects of the modern State of Israel, and is still frequently disregarded and dismissed both by Zionists and non-Zionists.
When living in the same house, a house where Yitzchak is the favored and primary of the two, the Torah promises jealous rage on the part of Yishmael. And while many Jews, particularly on the right enjoy noting that the Torah derides Yishmael as a “wild ass of a man,” they prefer to gloss over the promise that Yishmael will be a “great nation”.
A “great nation” is an influential nation. And it seems to me that the Torah means more than a military greatness. It is rare (if ever) for the Torah to employ the term “great” as denoting mere physical or military greatness. Rather, a “great nation” would suggest spiritual and intellectual greatness as well. A greatness that would spawn algebra. A greatness that would create the largest purely monotheistic religion on earth. A greatness that would incorporate different nations and empires into its fold and manipulate them to do Yishmael’s bidding.
The Labor Zionists were aware of the Torah’s warning. But they accepted the condescension of the European colonists as their primary lens for perceiving the Muslim world. This has proven a most foolish and disappointing self delusion.
We have always been the center of the competition between the West and Islam. Jerusalem was the focal point of contention during the Crusades. Both sides believed Jerusalem and the Temple Mount critical for symbolizing their supercessionist theological victory over Judaism as much as each other. In fact, the first would determine the second. That Muslims do not accept Jewish texts in their canon and are frequently revisionist towards Jewish history does not eliminate their supercessionist tendencies. That is a large part of why Jerusalem is the third holiest city in Islam and why the Al-Aqsa Mosque is standing (both physically and theologically) where the Temple once stood.
Even now, many secularists and Zionists cling to downplaying the theological root of Muslim outrage. Abba Eban famously quipped that “the Palestinians never miss the opportunity to miss an opportunity.” But that is only true if the true goal is a national aspiration of a Palestine. It is not, or they would have it already. Eban and his fans are merely shlugging up the press releases. The real point of contention is too embarrassing for Muslims to discuss with the international community. For the Islamic problem of the State of Israel are not the ones stated, such as the mistreatment of Palestinians (real and exaggerated) or their national aspirations. It is the awesome theological problem presented by the existence of the State of Israel.
Islam became the largest strictly monotheistic faith in the world. Of course, they were not the first. But they were the greatest, and that was enough.
Or was it?
Certainly, concern about what the Jews’ subsistence represented to the supremacy of Islam was evident at the beginning of Islam’s codification under Mohammad, when genocide was committed against the Jews of Medina.
But as long as the Jews were in a position of Dhimmi, at least in theory, they were frequently tolerated to some extent, provided they didn’t publicize their belief in their status as the favored son and the heir to a more direct and comprehensive theology of Avraham.
The State of Israel publicizes just that, as it challenges all aspects of Yishmael’s birthright. How aggravating this must be to the rank and file Muslim believer. True, Islam does not harbor deicide against the Jews, but the Muslims, especially the Muslim Arabs, have their own special wound inflicted by the Jews.
Muslims are well aware that their matriarch, Hagar, was considered a slave to Sarah by the Torah, and by the Jews. This and the claim of Yitzchak as Abraham’s favorite son could be dismissed as Jewish lies before the State of Israel, but its existence creates doubt. It demands doubt. The entire claim of Islam as the primary and supreme, (and not just largest), monotheistic religion is cast into doubt. The Jews created a Jewish state (too Jewish enough by their standards!) in the exact Arab land they never relinquished their claim to; a land they claim was given to them by God to Avraham and then to Yitzchak; not to Yishmael. They manipulated the world despite their paucity of numbers. They still claim to be the “chosen people,” and the world obviously considered it a possibility on some level. The Jews claim Yitzchak to be Chosen One instead of Yishmael, these descendants of the people adhering to the most ancient, codified, monotheistic faith. These descendants of Sarah, the slaveowner of Hagar, who claim Yishmael was banished from Ibrahim’s house.
Muslim fear and rage that this is a possibility is not explicitly evident in their litany of complaints, though it is often alluded to. But it is certainly visible in their actions.
The choice of the timing to begin the Yom Kippur War should have alerted the Jews that this was a theological conflict. Instead, it was dismissed as purely a strategic decision.
Meir Kahane, the radical Fundamentalist-Zionist leader who first espoused the impossibility of satiating those whose enmity was theological in nature was assassinated, risking the first World Trade Center terrorist operation in order to silence him. Was this because they feared he would eventually become more influential if they succeeded in their diabolical plans? If certainly would make sense for them to have feared his message considering both their own world view and their intentions.
After 9/11, Al-Qaeda moved against synagogues in Turkey, Tunis, and a Jewish Community Center in Morocco. Iran had already previously risked damaging their international reputation in orchestrating the bombing of a Jewish Community Center in Argentina. The list is massive; the focus is frequently the Jews, not the State of Israel, even when the strategic value of demolishing these places is dubious, because the symbolic value is not– not if the problem is the threat to Islam from Judaism generally because of the existence of the State of Israel, not just the specific misdeeds and history of the Zionist Entity itself.
The concern over the Jewish state’s theological slight to Islam can also be witnessed in the continued rage at the Jews over Danish cartoons.
Many have dismissed the theological nature as central to this conflict because of the supposed secularism of both Muslim and Jewish leaders. But this is a mistake.
True, none of Israel’s leaders have been religious in the strict sense, and many, particularly and consistently on the Left, have been ardently secular. But that does not mean that they truly perceived Judaism to be as equally obviated in the modern world as Islam. Even if religion is the opium of the masses, there are different strains of opium, and there are different classes of masses. No Israeli leader ever gave Islam the same gravitas and consideration they gave Judaism, even if they rejected religion generally. They may have denied the validity of the Torah, but they didn’t even bother to consider the question of a belief in the Koran. That wasn’t a question. It isn’t for most Jews, even secular ones. For instance, most Jews consider the punishment of amputating a thieves hand under sharia law as an example of how Judaism is superior to Islam. The fact that many Jews do not understand that the Torah’s insistence of an “eye under an eye” to be one of economic compensation instead of the frequent Christian misinterpretation of the Torah demanding physical retribution does not diminish their own belief that in practice, for as long as anyone can remember, Judaism did not and does not advocate a punishment of amputation of limbs, even if they are not aware that according to most interpretations the Torah explicitly outlaws executing such a punishment even to gentiles. But they suspect it is antithetical to Jewish morality, and most secular Jews, even those critical of Judaism, believe Judaism morally superior to Islam. Secular Zionist leaders were hardly the exception. The secular architects of the State of Israel were not particularly interested in the theological problems that a Jewish state would present to Islam, (though Ben-Gurion may have feared the global fallout of controlling Jerusalem in its entirety) because they found supercessionist beliefs of other faiths towards Judaism ridiculous. Yet except perhaps for Herzl, the Zionist leaders found Judaism’s claim of Zion as the Promised Land for the Jews less ridiculous, even if they attempted to subterfuge their belief in purely secular rationalizations. But a belief in Birthright was, at the very least, a vestige of Judaism’s influence on them.
The return to Israel from Europe did not begin with the Socialist Zionists. Jews constantly attempted to make pilgrimages to Israel throughout history. A call to settle in the land, though not to resettle the land, was given by both the Vilna Goan and some Chassidic leaders. As a civilization, Jews never accepted that the ancient Covenant was superseded by any other religion or any other people. Most Muslims would disagree. Many strongly. The means employed are certainly disparate, and the radicals, in terms of percentage, few. But sympathy to the plight of Islam afflicted by the existence of the Jewish state is ubiquitous for all believing Muslims.
The future is increasingly ominous, and I won’t pretend that I am hopeful. But we are certainly never going to effectively counter our embittered and numerous Islamic rival as long as we continue to deny the main point of contention, and disregard our Torah.
This is an ancient conflict over Birthright. Once it was visibly contained to manifesting itself predominantly within the frame of secular nationalism. Now it is increasingly being revealed as the theological struggle it has always been.
Let’s accept it for what it is.

51 thoughts on “It is a Religious Conflict

  1. much food for thought… munch munch …. I do believe that this conflict can be viewed by whatever analysis and discourse the beholder seeks to filter reality through – and that can be Labour zionist, Marxist, religious Zionist, Islamic fundamentalist or other. However, I do feel that the filter system used by a majority of Arab Muslims, and the genreral vibe of their culture, is rooted in traditional Islam. And basic to this view is the idea that the Jews were once in Allah’s good books, but after having deviated they were cast aside in favour of the truely beloved son – the Muslims / Arabs. Proof of this was that the Jews lived under the mercy and protection (read: subordination) of Muslims.
    The fact that Israel suddnely emerges 1300 years after their defat by Muhammad and the early Islamic empire is a kick in the balls to this succesionst claim to superiority. Yes, most Arab muslims proably feel this way. Its a current throughout the islamic world that the west doesn’t get, and that is never articulated to the west.

  2. Finally somebody gets it. From my own experience I can assure you that this is exactly how muslims view this conflict.

  3. I would add a couple of things though. Being secularized in such great numbers the Jewsh people give false hope to muslims that you will one day be defeated. Meir Kahane was murdered because muslims were genuinely afraid of a G-d fearing, kippah wearing ass kicking rabbi. Every secular Jew gives assurance to muslims that they are indeed chosen instead of the Jews.
    As long as you conform to the stereotype of the atheist who rejects his own traditions muslims will view you not with fear but with contempt. Meir Kahane would have changed this image and that’s what muslims feared the most. Talk about lost opportunities.

  4. I think that the real question here is how theological claims are linked to ideas of property rights and territorial control. If Mecca is the model for what the walled city of Jerusalem should be – i.e. military control and restricted access – only Muslims are allowed – than there is a intractable problem. But I think that only a fraction of Muslims worldwide imagine such a scenario for Jerusalem. Most Muslims I have spoken to respect the fact that Christian holy sites are integral to Jerusalem, and that Christians should be given access. While they might speak of the Jewish presence in the old city as a provocation, the notion of Christian access tells me that this is not a case of theological inflexibility. I for one do not think that the theological claims to the land are mutually exclusive – I sense that the current situation, one in which Muslims, Christians, and Jews have access to holy sites (with complaints coming from each quarter) is a compromise that can hold out for many years. Conflict may continue – but conflict that can be managed without obliteration of people or holy sites.

  5. Martin Luther King’s speech at Harvard in 1968 was clear, when he said that, “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism.”
    For some reason, non-Jews seem to see this more clearly sometimes than Jews.
    But the conflict is not just one of birthright.
    The Talmud in Shabbos (page 89a) asks, “Why was [the mountain] called Sinai? Because from there hatred [in Hebrew, the word for hatred is “sinah”] spread to the nations of the world.”
    In other words, our existence itself is despised by other nations at the deepest level.
    We have to do our thing, and do our best, but we cannot expect that we will ever be liked or accepted.

  6. Yeah, everyone’s all cool with us until we stop playing the role of the submissive, kissass Jew. Like around here where I live, missionaries are always wanting to debate, and that would be alright, if I was allowed to win, but I’m not. If I win, they get pissed and start getting for violent for casting doubt in their Jesusland utopia.
    Israel has its problems, and I certainly don’t agree with some of the actions taken towards both non-Jews and Jews by its government, but I think what a lot of anti-Zionists have a problem with is Jewish messianism. The idea that someday, we won’t have to take their shit anymore or pay lip service to how great their corrupt societies are in order to live.
    May all persons living under oppression have freedom, soon and in our day!

  7. Yes and that’s why the secular Jews both in the U.S. & Israel just don’t get it. The formerly silent Muslims started wearing Koran like a heart on their sleeve only after the West stopped bearing the yoke of Bible with their hearts.

  8. this feels like a really important piece, and brings up the problem with the problem: it might not be about anything that can be changed without changing religious people’s hearts and minds.
    I’m really kinda freaked out about the international uproar over the mohamed cartoon, and really, God has to heal the hearts of all us religious people trapped in delusion about what God has said and is really about. Lord, please heal the Muslims from the terrible wound of learning that the world is bigger than they could have realized, and the Jews too.

  9. I’m not convinced by this argument. It is certainly true that the conflict now appears to be primarily theological/religious, and heading in that direction – but that’s only after the deadlock of more mundane solutions as well as the apparent failure of nationist ideolgies took place. When one approach consistently fails (or is frustrated, in this case by a combination of Israeli intransigence/expansionism as well as Palestinain and Arab all or nothing rheoric as well as proclaimed aims of genocide, one can expect a turn towards relgious solutions – and the most extreme ones at that. None of this “proves” that the conflict is “essentially” religious. (Keep in mind, also, that Hamas was intially aided by Israel, in hopes of derailing the “nationalist” PLO soution.)
    Also, keep in mind that we’ve heard the claim before that the acceptance of Israel “destroys” the theological claims of another religion. Orthodox rabbis told us for years that the Catholic Church “couldn’t” accept Israel, because the entire theolgical basis of their relgion would collapse. The Church recognized Israel, and it didn’t collapse.
    Also, in any prolonged conflict, the most extreme solutions come to the fore when frustration reaches a peak. This does “prove” that it’s really religious.

  10. I don’t deny that exists in the muslim community. I do deny that the rest of the word is in any way obligated to pick a side in who gets the covenant. I also believe that the real slights against Arabs are fueling the persuit of imagined ones. So far as I know the bible says all the children of Abraham get it so it is actually a problem of mutually exclusive theologies.

  11. and no I don’t believe David’s premise that if they wanted a state or they would have it already. The truth is the zionists vision simply doesn’t include them, no matter how nice or bad they acted. So there is a real slight there of being moved off land, not a theological complaint relating supersessionism.

  12. shmuel: I was raised a liberation theologist so I have no problem what so ever with messianism that tries to caste off corrupt oppressors, but any movement that thinks Dick Cheny(a great friend of South African apartheid) is a helpful friend in this cause has seriously lost the plot in my view.

  13. Dameocrat,
    They may want a state, but it isn’t the main point of contention, and lack of their own state is not the primary reason for the anger towards the Jews for having theirs where it is.
    You said,
    “I also believe that the real slights against Arabs are fueling the persuit of imagined ones.”
    So who says differently? Even Danish slights are feuling the pursuit of “imagined ones” against the Jews — all the more so for real Israeli slights.

  14. That is your view. My view is that romoving them from their homes would create conflict reguardless of where it was.
    There pissed off at the EU because it hypocrtically tolerates bigotry against muslims but not against other groups, jews being an obvious example. The subtext is that the EU won’t intervene with the Palestinian conflict either. That is why you’re getting the protocols stuff, and they have a point. Depicting Mohoammed as a suicide bomber is bigoted against muslims, and it is tolerated in the EU.

  15. But this conflict is, at its core, over theological birthright, symbolized by the land of Israel generally, and by Jerusalem and the Temple Mount most acutely. No, that’s certainly not what this conflict is “at its core”. It is how certain people choose to characterise and participate in this conflict, at their “core”. Those people certainly influence “this conflict”. But “this conflict” is not reducible to those people. For many others, this conflict is not some ancient religious clash. It is a relatively straightforward one of national ideologies and nationhood. That is why the State of Israel is not the same thing as the Land of Israel, and why the Israeli government is not nor should be construed as a religous authority.
    Some Jews may want Israel to exist as a religous creation. Israeli politics are certainly free to turn around the relationship that the State of Israel wants to have with Jewish law. But Israel is no more obliged to view Jewish law as its authority than Greece is obliged to view Greek Orthodox teachings as its authority. Those questions are policy ones, not constitutional (foundational) ones.
    The return to Israel from Europe did not begin with the Socialist Zionists. Jews constantly attempted to make pilgrimages to Israel throughout history. The Eurocentric view is unfounded, and perplexing. The return to Israel has taken place from points far beyond Europe. Jews have constantly attempted — succeeded, too, natch — pilgrimages to Israel and from everywhere they have lived.
    I don’t believe David’s premise that if they wanted a state or they would have it already. The truth is the zionists vision simply doesn’t include them, no matter how nice or bad they acted. Rumours to the contrary aside, though, Zionists do not control the world, so “the zionists vision” isn’t the limiting framework for what Palestinians are capable of. Despite a Zionist vision which apparently does not include Palestinians — this is at least debatable and in many cases certainly wrong, but no matter — Palestinians certainly have the right to constitute a state, and have certainly failed to take up that right in any enthusiastic manner. Thus far. Hopefully, that will change.
    But sympathy to the plight of Islam afflicted by the existence of the Jewish state is ubiquitous for all believing Muslims. It is very hard to tell what you are trying to say. But it sounds like you’re trying to say that religious Jews believe they need to govern themselves in the Land of Israel, and that Msulims believe they need to run the territory in which sits the Land of Israel, and that that’s an intractable problem.
    Is that it? If so, then obviously you’re into a theological debate, as distinguished from actually-existing politics. In which case the answers are clearly to be found in halakhic interpretations such that it is not necessary for Jews to erect a religious kingdom in Israel right now. And in readings of sharia such that it is not necessary of Muslims to reintegrate Israeli territory into a sultanate right now.
    Which sort of goes well beyond this scope, and is sort of interesting. God help us all if people of influence actually believe this are the critical questions which need to be answered and agreed upon in order for some peace settlement to take place, though. They’re very much beside the point.

  16. Radical Muslims have tried successfully to carrot & stick their 72 virgins as enticement to their terroists to murder innocents. Then they protest to a world full of victims: “don’t mess with our religious beliefs.” That has been the problem, the West has tolerated the illogic of their mixed metaphors for too long and now the kettle has come to a boil… More moderate leaders, Imans, and rank & file Muslims won’t condemn the violence and by doing so encourage it. How is it encouraged? With the 72 Vergin reward obviously a “religious” premise (+ of course, cash, an insane overdose of propaganda, and most likely a little hookah). Basically the Muslims want to use their virgins and at the same time, preach virginity. If the cartoon means anything to reasonable people clear of mind, it means they can’t have it both ways. As long as the violence continues, Islam is saying “try to stop us!” But as with the nazi “brown shirts,”sooner or later the axe will have to fall, the sooner we realize this, the more likely it will be their necks rather than ours.

  17. Sometimes I have this fantasy about an alternative early Zionism. In this Zionsim, instaed of the Jews coming to Palestine and saying “‘We don’t care what anyone says – we’re doing what we need to. History’s in our hands and we’ll kick whoever’s ass tries to fuck with us!”..
    The Zionist leaders use Rabbis as their spokespeople, and say to Arab leaders, and Islamic religious leaders, ‘O bearers of Allah’s word, we seek your protection against oppression in Europe and unelightened Arab despots. May we dwell with our Ishamelite brothers in Palestine, in the shadown of the Dome of the Rock, under the mercy and kindness of Allah, the Muslims and Your command?”
    I wonder what would have happened…. (Probably just a few sniggers)

  18. Ezra — I’ve had many similar thoughts. The problem is pretty much that at the time of early Zionism, no one was really around to have that thought. The closest we can get is Brit Shalom (1925-33), which had a lot of religious Jews (but not many rabbis) who were inclined to treat Zionism as a matter of working with the Arabs and negotiating with them for the right to immigrate. The problem is that although their positions on the issues tended to match the Arab demands point for point, they were poor organizers and were continually marginalized by the Labor movement. They also failed to institute broad learning of Arabic and co-organization with Arabs, even though figures like Buber recommended this course of action. Contrary to those who will respond to your query with indignation or derision, I think your fantasy is beautiful, powerful, and just on the edge of possible — but it was not to be.

  19. Oh well. Anyways, on instaed of the Jews coming to Palestine and saying “‘We don’t care what anyone says – we’re doing what we need to. History’s in our hands and we’ll kick whoever’s ass tries to fuck with us!”: that’s not quite what happened, is it?
    I think the root assumption here — that Zionism was religiously motivated — is surely quite incorrect. The feeling was not that “history’s in our hands” but that the actions taken were consistent with how the world was organised (aka “international law”): for each people, the right to a state.
    The Zionist leaders use Rabbis as their spokespeople, and say to Arab leaders, and Islamic religious leaders, ‘O bearers of Allah’s word, we seek your protection against oppression in Europe and unelightened Arab despots. Yeah. The Zionist leaders didn’t see Rabbis as their spokespeople — the model was a national state, not a religious one. I question the assumption that what Zionists really wanted was protection against oppression in Europe. I think they were quite clear: they wanted to be a normal people in a normal country, where “normal” was defined by the norms of international law.
    I agree, it would have been interesting had the Jews who sought to normalize the Jewish people’s insertion into the world order, isntead sought to challenge the world order by rejecting this international legal framework rather than embracing it. In fact, it’s a critique that holds true almost everywhere in the world. Throughout the so-called postcolonial world, elites embraced the Westphalian international order and set up nation-states, rather than inventing a new order which left the nation-state behind.
    And, clearly, that’s been a problem everywhere. But I am dubious about going back and bemoaning the lack of Jewish exceptionalism at that time. To be frank, Jews were in no better and almost certainly in a worse position to undertake that kind of political innovation — here’s the one place where I feel the refugee/oppression argument actually does work.
    Today it’s a different story. Innovation is quite possible. But I suspect it works incrementally, rather than in a great leap forward.

  20. Part of the problem is how to sell the idea that Natalie Portman is entitled to land in the Middle East. You have to use some fairly dense smoke to explain why it’s okay to kick out the Natives so Bob Coastas can build a Mansion on the greenline (that guy is a Jew, right?)

  21. trinationalism or a super Lavant state is the positon of Jeff Halper’s crowd, but I have yet to see it gain any credibility outside that group. Jeff’s a neat guy and very creative but there would be lots of selling to do. At this point something like that would actually require more paternalism in my view, since most people don’t presently view that as an option.

  22. t this point something like that would actually require more paternalism in my view, since most people don’t presently view that as an option.
    Of course. A binational state is a paternalistic solution. Telling people what country they have to live in is always paternalistic. If the Jewish people wants its own country, well, it has that right. Ditto the Palestinians. Should Israel and some future Palestinian country choose to ally themselves into a new country, they of course have that right as well.
    Part of the problem is how to sell the idea that Natalie Portman is entitled to land in the Middle East. You have to use some fairly dense smoke to explain why it’s okay to kick out the Natives so Bob Coastas can build a Mansion on the greenline
    It is almost impossible to understand what the heck you are trying to say.
    If what you are trying to say is that Palestinians are native to the Middle East and Jews are interlopers come from away who have no role to play in the Middle East except as white Johnny-come-lately colonists, of course, then you are both racist and, well, wrong. We have a history. Look it up. It’s all very exciting.
    Bob Costas … (that guy is a Jew, right?) No.

  23. I agree with Kelsey’s basic thesis and have held this view for quite some time now. The question is: if this is so, what are Kelsey’s prescriptions for ameliorating this problem?
    Xian and Muslim theology have always been based on supercessionism. These religions cannot be understood without this idea. G-d loved the Jews once, we screwed it up, G-d transferred His love to somebody else who supposedly got everything right. They bring us their new and improved religion, we say “You’re joking, right?”, they can’t forgive us for it, and forever after, our “rebellion” against their obviously better religion means that they must keep us under their heel to prove that they are right. The idea that we, the original bearers of montheism, might actually be right, gnaws at their guts and makes them hate us. We all would have been better off if these people had continued worshipping the sun, the moon, Zeus or Odin or whatever. I’ve never heard of Buddhism or Hinduism being breeding grounds of anti-Semitism. It’s only the Xians and the Muslims whose religions are based on the belief that the Jews are wrong.
    The difference between Xianity and Islam is that Xianity has emerged from its adolescence, and, shocked and ashamed of what they did to us, think “Hey, maybe this hating the Jews thing is not so cool”, and found a theological justification for it. Islam has yet to go through this phase.
    For all of those who are basically saying that everything would have been fine if we had simply recognized Muslim overlordship and our own dhimmi status and gone begging to the Muslims with hat in hand, OK, fine, if you think that hoping that Ol’ Massa will be nice to you if you don’t complain hardly seems like the way to live. Like it or not, Zionism was esentially a big Bronx cheer to that whole idea, be Massa Xian or Muslim. This is the essential problem: traditional Xian and Muslim societies never recognized that any “unbeliever” had any rights they needed to respect. The Jews finally got fed up with that. When those who are oppressed rise up against their oppressors, there will always be trouble.
    Daemocrat, if you want anyone to take you seriously, you have to stop saying things like That is why you’re getting the protocols stuff, and they have a point. What point have they got, exactly?
    And, yeah, I think the Europeans have a problem with the Muslims. Wouldn’t you have a problem with somebody who says “If you print that, I’ll kill you”?
    The Muslims have thrown down the gauntlet to the West and are daring us to stand up for our way of life. If we agree to allow people in Saudi Arabia to dictate what the Western press can and cannot say, we are doomed.

  24. Ephraim: The modern West is grew up because it abandoned Christianity as a form of governance. I am a secular moderate christian and I simply have no interest in the temple mount. I never did.
    I already said what the point was, you just ignored and started debating with someone who is not me, like most Israeli apologists.

  25. Sorry, anybody who says that there is any justification whatosever for people using the Protocols as a stick with which to beat the Jews simply cannot expect to be taken seriously.

  26. Look you have already stated your belief that Muslims are just bad guys and Israelis and Jews are just good guys. There isn’t much of a conversation we can have after this, since reasoning skills aren’t you talent. The fact that you can’t fathom that depicting Mohammed and thus all muslims as suicide bombers is in any way offensive like the protocols is proof.

  27. I have plenty of reasoning skills; I just don’t see why I need to waste them on someone like you.
    Every day, all over the Arab world, in government-sponsored media, Jews are depicted as vampires, ghouls, monkeys and pigs. Nobody burns down anyone’s embassies or threatens to kill anyone. Yet all a kuffar needs to do is print a cartoon that shows Mohammed in an unflattering light and Muslims all over the world go apeshit and start breaking things and threatening with death anyone who “dares” to “insult” Islam.
    If the Muslims had any respect for anyone other than Muslims and Islam I would feel differently. But it is obvious from their “demands” that the government of Denmark “punish” an independent newspaper, that yes, they do not understand the concept of free speech. Would you take up the cause of the Catholic Church that is villified every day everywhere for being a nest of pedophiles? Would you excuse Catholic rage and violence as being understandable because their sacred things had been “insulted”? Somehow, I doubt it.
    The Muslims are saying “How dare you say we are violent! I’ll kill you for that!” You don’t feel any cognitive dissonance here?
    I am sure that the Muslims found those cartoons very insulting. So what? People are insulted every day and they don’t threaten the insulter with decapitation. Getting offended is the price you pay for living in a free and open society. If the Muslims want to oppress their own people and refuse to allow them to express themselves freely, fine. But they have no right to try to tell a newspaper in Denmark what it can or cannot publish.
    And if you don’t want people to start to suspect that your religion might have a violent strain, you should not fly planes into buildings in the name of Islam.

  28. Ephraim, you wrote,
    “The question is: if this is so, what are Kelsey’s prescriptions for ameliorating this problem?”
    That would mean telling Israel what to do, something I generally don’t do, since I’m not there, and haven’t been in a long time. Additionally, I find the Jewish world much too solution oriented instead of honestly identifying the problem first. That goes for Left and Right.

  29. Honest response, Kelsey.
    Like I said, I am in general agreement with your analysis. Normally, people offer some solution to the problems they present, so I was wondering what your preferred approach might be.
    If you don’t have one, that’s cool too. Not too sure I do either.

  30. Ephraim. Look at the death list at Masada2000. It includes the address of Rabbi Michael Lerner among other things. He never even said anything insulting about Jews, he just criticized Israel for lack of progress on two states. To say there are no extremists among the Jews, or that they never threaten people is just willful blindness. I have little doubt that any editor, that published the protocols in the EU would get fired.

  31. I never said that there were no extremists among the Jews. That is not my point. Anyway, people insult the Jews and Israel all the time in the European media and people don’t get fired, they get promoted. What is your point?
    You are confusing two very different things entirely and neatly falling into the Islamist trap.
    A cartoon of Mohammed may be insulting, but that is in the eye of the beholder. It expresses an opinion, it does not make a statement of objective fact. Free speech means that you have the right to your opinion and I cannot legally silence you.
    You may also spread malicious lies about me if you wish, but I have legal recourse in such a situation under libel laws. The Protocols have been proven time and time again to be a forgery. This is an incontestable historical fact and it can be proven. They are false from top to bottom. Anyone who is not predisposed to see proof of the falsity of the Protocols as further proof of a Jewish plot will recognize that they are false.
    However, if I publish a book that says “Dameocrat Has Sex With Goats”, you can sue me for libel, that is, for spreading demonstrable lies about you. If you can prove that I deliberately lied about you, you will win your case, and I have to shut up and pay whatever damages the court stipulates. However, if I just say “I think Dameocrat is a mouth-breathing knuckle-dragger”, then while I am sure your feelings will be hurt, you cannot make me stop saying it just because you don’t like it.
    Cartoons of Mohammed may be insulting, but they are not libelous. That is the key difference between making fun of Mohammed and trying to make Holocaust denial, or the Protocols, a legitimate subject of discussion, as the Iranians are trying to do. They are simply not in the same category at all.
    This is a slick sleight-of-hand by the Muslims: by attempting to equate making fun of their prophet with denying the historical veracity of the Holocaust, they conflate religious feelings with historical fact and thereby try to raise religious opinions to the level of something that can be objectively proven to be true or false. If this happens, nobody will be able to say anything that they dislike.
    Anyway, as I said, Judaism and Jews are villified everywhere with impunity and the people who do so are not hiding in fear of some Jewish fatwa. But just let somebody look cross-eyed at the Muslims and people have to live in safe-houses and go around with bodyguards 24/7.

  32. Ephraim. It is objective fact that Mohammed isn’t a suicide bomber. It is also an objective fact that most muslims aren’t suicide bombers, which is what the cartoons implied. You are just trying to have it both ways and say that some bigotry is acceptable and some is not. I say both are objectionable, though they are both covered under freedom of speech. Jews are not villified with impunity. Many people have been fired or boycotted for spreading protocols rhetoric or holocaust denial. John Irving sits in jail in Australia for hate speech because he made a speech denying the holicaust.

  33. from a zionist-eurocratic moderate christian perspective i can say that; muslims like the early christian extremists has an inferiority complex against the jews and the reason why muslims and some christian sects continue to try to subverse the jew is the fact that: their theoligcal supremacy is present even in their most sacred of scriptures.
    although the religion of islam like every other religion in the planet professes that they are a religion of peace, they like the early christians use their religion as justification for mass murders, the only solution to this theoligcal conflict is the accepetance of seculariztion across the globe. when it comes to free speech, i agree with Dameocrat Danes should not surrender to the disease of islamic hysteria. Though moderate muslims do condemn these “Cartoon insurections”. the fact still remains that they (the danes) “insulted” (hello freedom of speech) “the prophet” with those caricatures but let us consider the possibily that muslim extremists hijacked the muhammad controvercies, information is circulating that: most of the information used to fuel the outrage against those comics were fabricated. i.e according to some muslims there are 7 cartoons insulting islam but in reality there were only three. Over all this global incident is a product of mass islamic hysteria, disrespect to the western ideals of free spheech, Bad taste on the part of the editor, the portrayal of the western media, and a huge hajicking and corrupting of information caused by yours truly: those stupid, deluded, self-serving, hypocritic arab extremists.
    For all the christians out there, did you know? muslims are also burning crosses. (just a tidbit) tommorow ill burn iranian flags.
    muslim nations across the world: Did you know that denmark is the largest donor of the EU (when measured with it’s GDP) to you muslim nations, if you muslim-extremists continue with your hypocricy say goodbye to your aid money. Bye burning danish flags you are destroying investments from the west and scaring away tourists, what a fine way to do business.

  34. are muslıms actually allowed to speak for themselves here, or are we just supposed to have ephraım speak on our behalf? “If the Muslims had any respect for anyone other than Muslims” get off your pedestal.
    there are many muslıms who have condemned antı-semıtıc cartoons ın the mıddle east, racıst attacks and vırulence ın the West; and there are plenty of Jews who are focused solely on Jewısh and Israelı ıssues. Why dıd the Cambodıans or East Tımorese dıe, or why ıs the slaughter ın the Congo, West Afrıca, or Darfur contınuıng?
    please don’t absolutıze muslım opınıon. ı tend to hold that whıle relıgıous feelıngs are beıng exploıted ın thıs conflıct, the core of the relıgıous truths are also desperately requıred ın order to end ıt – and I don’t mean by genocıde… though ı know there are those ın both Hamas and the Lıkud (LGF-fanatıcs) who dream of that.

  35. No, Dameocrat, you’re missing the point. Nobody gets put in jail for insulting Jewish religious sensitivities. This happens all the time, everywhere, and nobody blinks an eye. Insulting the Prophet and attempting to call into question a verifiable historical fact are not the same thing at all.
    However, I am dubious about the efficay or even the advisability of laws criminalizing “hate speech”. It is too easy for them to be corrupted so that “hate speech” becomes not something that foments and encourages actual violence against the target group, but just whatever offends the prevailing politically correct ideology.
    That is what this whole thing is about, really. The Muslim anti-Semites are not stupid; this “cartoon crisis” has been manufactured not to actually enact laws to get the dhimmis to shut up and kowtow (although that would be a desirable outcome for those who wish to criminalize opposition to the imposition of Islamic blashphemy laws in the West) it has been for the specific purpose of making the free dissemination of genocidal anti-Semitic ideology fashionable again. My guess is that they will succeed, since there are a lot of people who are dying to be able to do what they have always wanted to do: express their anti-Semtism openly. While it could still blow up in their faces, so far this is a complete win-win situation for Islamic hegemonists, no matter how you look at it.
    Still, my original point still stands: do Jews or Christians riot, kidnap, loot and burn when their religion is “insulted”? No, they do not. Only the Muslims seem to feel that they have the right to kill people who “insult” them. This begs the obvious question: what is it in their religion that they feel gives them permission to act this way? Until this issue is addressed, I think that we have to conclude that Islam at least as it is presented by its noisiest adherents is incompatible with what we call, for want of a better term “Western civilization”.
    Dawud, I would like to think that there are large numbers of the Muslims you describe. I am sure there are some. However, as an institution, I do not see Islam making any real attempt to rein in its jihadist tendencies. The loudest Muslims, the ones we hear about most often, are the jihadi head-hackers. I certainly hope that the existence of the modrate Muslim masses is real and not the hopeful figment of the imagination of Western journalists who simply hope that there are masses of such people, since the alternative is too horrible to contemplate. Personally, I will believe it what the Washington Mall is filled with hundreds of thousands of Muslims wacing placards saying “No to Jihad”. But that is something the Muslims must do for themselves.

  36. Ephraim said:

    No, Dameocrat, you’re missing the point. Nobody gets put in jail for insulting Jewish religious sensitivities. This happens all the time, everywhere, and nobody blinks an eye. Insulting the Prophet and attempting to call into question a verifiable historical fact are not the same thing at all.

    Saying Mohammed is a suicide bomber isn’t just an offense on their religious sensitivities, it is claiming that all muslims are suicide bombers. Since you believe muslims are guilty until prove innocent and want a world wide western jihad against them, this propaganda is harmful. We had a war with Iraq, because we can’t tell the difference between Saudis and Iraqis. Americans wrongly blamed the Iraqis for 9/11.
    Also the media focus on extremist and ignore moderates of every faith. How do you explain the fact that that idiot Robertson gets to represent christianity in media?

  37. Zionist Eurocrat, I think there is more hysteria in the media hyping both the cartoons and the protests. Read my latest blog entry.
    Also, danes will surely get upset about their embassy, but they probably don’t give a damn whether someone burns their flag. They aren’t Americans, and a couple of protesters burning flags is a pretty stupid reason to deny foriegn aid.
    The clash of civlizations is too costly for modern society. We are cutting aid to abused children, and medical care to the mentally ill to pay for our stupid war with Iraq. It is costing trillians to maintain Iraq. Iraq was started because of precisely the sort of bigotry depicted in the cartoons. Most who supported the war though Saddam did 9/11. Secular socieity won’t stay secular if we cut education. I doubt the EU countries will go along with it. We should say no to the clash of civlizations on both sides. That is for fundamentalist christian crusaders like Robertson, and medieval Wahhabi’s like Osama.

  38. Have you seen anybody go to jail for depicting Orthodox Jews as vampires and ghouls? For depicting Sharon as a canniabl who eats Arab children? Any laws against it? No, people get prizes for that shit.
    If its OK to do that, it’s OK to depict Mohammed as a homicide bomber.
    It is the Muslims who have embarked on a worldwide jihad against the West. The atempt to criminalize “insults” to their religion is one of the weapons of their jihad. We must resist it with everything we have or we will become dhimmis in our own countries.
    And you just wait: if it becomes illegal for Mohammed to be lampooned, “Piss Christ” and the “Elephant Dung Madonna” will become criminal too. If you give Muslim fanatics the right to tell us what we can and cannot publish, is there any justificatron for not allowing the Pat Robertsons to crminialize “insults” to their religion?
    And if you say it is OK to lampoon Christianity but not Islam, then you are a dhimmi already, a member of the 5th column that is smoothing the way for Islam to impose itself on the West.
    As for Saddam, I would have been more than happy if we had attacked Saudi Arabia rather than Iraq. Saudi Arabia is the source of most of the money and ideology for the Muslim jihad against us. They are the real ringleaders, but it is too difficult and costly to attack them directly, unfortunately.

  39. Ephraim:
    1)You are in extreme straw man territory now, since I don’t see anyone call for jailing, least of all the muslim countries. I only see boycotts and such.
    2)no muslim country has declared war over this nor will any muslim country declare war over this. It is just small protests here and there, that got out of hand.
    3)I have already demonstrated the illegality of slandering Jews is Australia. So your doing nothing but denying reality, when you say this situation is different.

  40. It;s illegal to “slander” Islam in (I believe it was) New Zealnd now, also. So we’re even. A Muslim infiltrated a private Christian educational program, thought that the preachers were “slandering” Islam, took them to court and got them convicted. The Christians were not even allowed to read the Koran in open court in their own defense since the judge said this might “defame” Islam. They are now in jail, I believe.
    I did not say that Muslim countries were officially at war with the West. I said that Islam is on a mission in the West to make it illegal to criticize their religion. This is a form of jihad. This has already happened in various places, and if it as allowed to go any further, the freedoms which we believe characterize our societies are in grave danger. For that reason alone, I think it is important to publish such cartoons to make a point. People put up with Judaism and Christianity being insulted on a daily basis in all,kinds of media. Being offended is the price you pay for living in a free society. The Muslims need to grow thicker skins.

  41. I don’t see how you can say this is a goal of Islam! There are many muslims in the world, and only a few actually were involved these protests. Most of those protests were peaceful, a few were violent, and threatening. Most called for boycotts and not jailing, and boycotts are a perfectly legitimate form of protests to this sort of cartoon. I have no doubt that a newspaper that dipicting Moses’s as a child molester would be boycotted, and piss christ obviously created boycotts among Christians.

  42. Fine, boycott. Fine, protest. Be my guest, more power to you. But keep it peaceful.
    Do not demand laws that make it illegal to say what we want to say just because your religion finds it offensive.
    And no fatwas or death threats.
    I can live with that.

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