August 2010

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Thanks to Rabbi Gershon Steinberg for alerting me to the amazing gesture of Jews led by rabbis (Velveteen Rabbi) to an abused mosque in Queens, New York. It is wonderful to feel proud of my fellow Jews.

Last week, a drunk man barged into the Al-Iman masjid in Astoria, Queens, and urinated on the prayer rugs. I tweeted about it, horrified at this display of Islamophobia (and also just plain atrocious behavior.) On Thursday, @stumark suggested that we raise money to replace the prayer rugs at the Al-Iman mosque in Queens. On Friday, I posted to this blog and to twitter asking for donations toward reimbursing the mosque for the costs of steam-cleaning their prayer rugs. My hope was to raise a few hundred bucks as a gesture of interfaith good will, a way of showing this one Muslim community that the actions of that drunk man do not represent

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Lest anyone doubt the direction and agenda of the Christian right, here is a clear statement of approval of John Jay that only Christians should rule the United States. So how could Jews with any sense of their own safety and security promote this extremism, welcome Christian extremists to Israel and take their funds for the settlements? Because the Israelis who take the money and support put their interests above those of American Jews, they don’t think American Jews should be living in America anyway they should be in Israel, they calculate that the threat against them from Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims is more immediate than the the chance that radical Christians could one day take over the American government.

Of course, this entire way of thinking is very misguided. It never pays to think this selfishly, it always comes back on your head. Better to think in terms of justice …

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To anyone who knows Jewish life, or Israeli life well, this is laughable in its ‘fringiness’. This is not a serious trend. That having been said, it raises many red flags for me. There is a consistent multi-decade trend for Orthodox Jewry, as well as Israeli Jewish life in general, to descend deeper and deeper into its own peculiar expression, in other words, to spurn universal values and to re-surface peculiar and unique, often extremely reactionary trends and customs.

This joins a global pattern of indigenous re-discovery of uniqueness in a post-colonial and post-Cold War Age. But not all that is indigenous is good, and in fact much is awful. In fact the entire reason that otherwise patriotic Europeans of all nationalities came up with transnational, or universal values, is because they were disgusted by just how low and racist societies can become if all they ever think about, if …

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The money trail is always critical to know coming trends in ‘popular’ American movements. This is an excellent article tracing what is happening now, and also its old American pedigree.

I would also add that the tens of thousands on the Mall were all white, the smears of President Obama are all about him being black. The anti-mosque rallies, also financed by the same people, are also against people of color.

We have entered yet another cycle of American white racism. This time, post-1960’s, it is necessarily less direct. After all, at least for now, the ugliest expressions of white racism are all officially illegal. And so we march on with American cycles of libertarian hatreds that occasionally well up.

We have entered the age of Ku Klux Klan-lite.

Op-Ed Columnist – The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party – NYTimes.com.…

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I will consider this helpful someday when the article indicates that the Chief Rabbis coordinated their visit with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian mayors of Jericho and Nablus. Then such a visit will be a helpful indicator of respect, mutual recognition, and cooperation. Otherwise it is just improved security for a better occupation, and is not contributing to a safe and just solution. Rabbi Froman, by contrast, always when he enters an Arab city, even with historic Jewish roots, always comes with respect for the occupants, especially the Muslim occupants. That is why his way is a way of courage.

Chief rabbis in rare visit to holy sites in Nablus, Jericho

By JONAH MANDEL

08/20/2010 03:00

First visits by high-ranking Israeli delegation in 10 years.

Talkbacks (4)

Israel’s Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar conducted an unprecedented visit to Jewish holy sites in Nablus and Jericho on Thursday,

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Jeffrey Goldberg writes a simple and devastating piece on Imam Rauf. Here is the man vilified by the neoconservative and right wing mob in the United States.

You can read the full text of his remarks on the B’nai Jeshurun website, but here is an especially relevant portion:

We are here to assert the Islamic conviction of the moral equivalency of our Abrahamic faiths. If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ahad; hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one, Mr. Pearl.

If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a

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Excellent article, speaks for itself

Growing up in the West Bank, Mujahid Sarsur knew next to nothing about the Holocaust and saw little ground to sympathize with a people he saw as his occupier. 2010. But thanks to an Israeli roommate overseas, the 21-year-old Palestinian student learned about the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews during World War II and discovered a new understanding of his Israeli neighbors.Now he wants other Arabs to do the same. Sarsur heads one of a handful of Palestinian grass-roots groups seeking knowledge about the Holocaust.On Wednesday, he led a delegation of 22 students to Israel’s official Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. The students, fasting for Ramadan, listened closely to their Arabic-speaking guide’s explanations, and were left wide-eyed by the gruesome images of the death camps.

via Palestinians learn about the Holocaust at Yad Vashem – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.…

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Why is everyone so angry and appalled at this 21 year old Israeli woman? I think she is a perfect creation of a system. The fact that she sees nothing wrong with the photographs of her  smiling and proud with blindfolded humiliated Palestinian prisoners is absolute proof that it is not her but the system that has prepared her as a teenager to become an occupier, not a member of an elite army, but an occupier of civilians who must be humiliated because that is the essence of occupation. she merely said on Facebook what so many say to each other in the field now. How can we blame her for being simply an expression of a system that must corrupt her mind, not to mention punish whole populations? She is the reason that most of the world has come to hate Israel, not her personally but the system, the …

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U.S. support for Israel is decreasing, new poll shows – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

I am shocked, just shocked by these numbers! And think of it, these were pro-Israel pollsters. I know the response, more propaganda campaigns and greater efforts to intimidate opposition into silence both in the U.S. and in Israel. Essentially we are all being treated like we are at checkpoints, because it is the only thing Lieberman is trained to do.

Benjy, you want to save Israel’s last remaining supportive population, Americans? You want to go down in history as something less than a disaster?  Make a new government.…

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In Jerusalem’s Mamilla cemetery, Rawan Dajani stands before a mausoleum where her ancestor Sheikh Ahmed Dajani was buried nearly 450 years ago.

By Omar Kasrawi

Standing outside a mausoleum in Jerusalem’s Mamilla cemetery, Rawan Dajani bows her head and cups her hands upward in prayer for her ancestor Sheikh Ahmed Dajani. He was buried in Mamilla, the oldest Muslim burial ground in Jerusalem, nearly half a millennium ago.

About 200 meters away, a fenced-off construction zone marks the future site of the Center for Human Dignity – Museum of Tolerance, a project overseen by the California-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.

In Israel, starting a new project inevitably means bumping into history. In this case, the construction that started in 2004 has stirred Muslim anger as it displaces hundreds of Muslim graves dating as far back as the 7th century, including the remains of soldiers and officials of the Muslim ruler Saladin.…

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