Foolish and Dangerous Jews by Eileen F. Toplansky

 

In Eastern European folklore, the city of Chelm functions as an imaginary city of fools, similar to that of the Greek Abdera, the English Gotham, and the German Schilda.  In fact, the Chelm tales describe outlandish naiveté and futility. Ruth von Bermuth argues that “Chelm…functioned for more than three centuries as an ironic model of Jewish society, both utopia and dystopia, an imaginary place onto which changing questions about Jewish identity, community, and history repeatedly have been projected.”

When reading these stories, one is amazed at the characters who seem so unaware of their folly. The tales showcase how common sense is often absent as so-called wise men cite unusual solutions that never work. They are stubbornly foolish and show contempt for logical problem-solving.

It is important to note that these stories reveal a backdrop of the centuries-old pariah status of Jews in a majority of countries. They could not endure if they lacked two essential survival mechanisms. The first is the necessity of always looking over one’s shoulder anticipating the Cossack, the inquisitor, the Nazi, or any of the diabolical characters whose aim was to demean or destroy the Jews. The second factor was black humor, which sustained Jews through the pogroms, the concentration camps, and the Gulag. These were necessary because one of the [d]efining characteristics of Jewish culture and identity is the awareness of historical and modern anti-Semitism. Jews could never become too comfortable.

Despite the fact that safety is a Jewish religious concern, there are currently far too many liberal rabbis in America who seem content to ignore the avowed enemies of the Jewish people. Consequently, on July 25, 2017, in what appeared to be an unprecedented event in American Jewish history, a group that came into existence as a front for a terrorist organization that murders Jews was invited to solicit donations at a synagogue.

Rabbi Howard Jaffe of Temple Isaiah in Lexington, Mass., hosted three Muslim leaders, whom he presented to his congregation as friends of the Jewish community. It was billed as an interfaith bridge-building affair.  In actuality, it was “a political rally where Islamist extremists pretending to be moderates sought to enlist Jews in their campaign to undermine U.S. government counter-terrorism efforts, while raising funds for a Hamas-connected group–all in the name of ‘social justice’ and interfaith harmony.

The Muslim guests were Nadeem Mazen, New England director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Stephanie Marzouk, founder of the Muslim Justice League (MJL) and Samer Naseredden, director of youth programming at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC), which is New England’s largest mosque.

This occurred despite the fact that CAIR promotes a radical Islamic vision, as … its co-founder Omar Ahmad asserted that “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran … should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.” In a similar spirit, co-founder Ibrahim Hooper told a reporter in 1993: “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.” In 2003 Hooper stated that ‘if Muslims ever become a majority in the United States, they will likely seek to replace the U.S. Constitution with Islamic law, which they deem superior to man-made law.’ In the late 1980s, Ihsan Bagby, who would later become a CAIR [b]oard member, stated that Muslims “can never be full citizens of this country,” referring to the United States, “because there is no way we can be fully committed to the institutions and ideologies of this country.”

In addition, a coalition led by the Muslim Justice League, the ACLU of Massachusetts, the Council on American-Islamic Relations Massachusetts, Digital Fourth, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, and Jewish Voice for Peace, demanded that the Boston Police Department “end [its] participation in countering violent extremism programs … and cease collaboration with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force[.]”

Likewise, [t]he Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) was established in 1981 in Cambridge, Massachusetts by Abdurahman Alamoudi, a supporter of Hamas and Hezb[‘a]llah who is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence on terrorism charges.  One of ISB’s original trustees … was Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. ISB’s Cambridge mosque is operated by the Muslim American Society, which federal prosecutors have identified as a U.S. front for the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2009, ISB members founded a sister mosque, known as the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) [emphasis added], in Boston’s Roxbury section. Saudi funding sources supplied more than half of the $15.5 million that was used to create the new facility.

Yet, Rabbi Jaffe presented his guests as people who are allied with the progressive values of his congregation. His congregants did not, however, learn that … the ISBCC and its sister mosque in Cambridge, [Mass.], where Nadeem Mazen is a prominent member, have been home to at least 13 convicted, killed[,] or fugitive terrorists, including the Boston Marathon bombers.

Many of these terrorists are still considered heroes by a significant fraction of the ISBCC’s membership. A few years ago, the ISBCC held a pep rally in support of almost two[] dozen convicted terrorists from around the country. During the rally, an ISBCC imam called America “the land of the coward, the home of the slave” and threatened that “this nation, by God, will be brought to its knees.”

It is reasonable to ask if Rabbi Jaffe was cognizant of the above. Indubitably, he was. Dr. Charles Jacobs, research director of Americans for Peace and Tolerance as well as the president of the American Anti-Slavery Group, and Ilya Feoktistov assert that Jaffe cannot claim ignorance about the nefarious nature of these groups.

Rabbi Jaffe cannot claim he didn’t know about it because we had previously shared the information with him.

Finally, as the program came to a close, the Islamists asked the Lexington Jews for money. “My project this year is … to raise a million dollars,” Mazen announced.  “Don’t send clothes.  Send money. I’m not afraid to say it anymore.”

“Go out and donate to any Muslim organization, ISBCC, CAIR, Jetpac, Muslim Justice League, come on, donate to us,” urged Marzouk.

Is this blindness an anomaly within the Jewish community? Consider the following:

  • In November 2016, the American Jewish Committee chose the Islamic Society of North American (ISNA) to launch a Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council. ISNA has longstanding ties to Islamic terrorists and has never disavowed calls for jihad.
  • Rabbi Eric Yoffie, a Reform clergyman, spoke at an ISNA convention and claimed the Torah causes terrorism. Yoffie denounced Dennis Prager for criticizing the Koran.
  • Isi Liebler writes that “[l]iberal-inclined Diaspora Jews–especially those lacking an authentic Jewish education–… consider that the well-being of the world and politically correct standards of social values must be their priority–with disregard to the harm this inflicts on them as a community.”
  • Many national Jewish advocacy groups like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Jewish Federation, and many campus Hillel chapters remain mute in the face of pro-Palestinian groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Student Association. These Jewish groups would rather stand with their Muslim ‘allies’ … than acknowledge that Jew[-]hatred is deeply ingrained in the teachings and the texts of Islam.
  • The once mainstream Jewish group the National Council of Jewish Women has no qualms about backing Linda Sarsour, a staunch supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement.
  • In the past, the ADL pointed out that the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) was the largest and most influential Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States and a supporter of the BDS movement. But under the direction of its new head, Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL comes to the defense of Linda Sarsour.

As James Kirchick explains, “the twisted, anti-Semitic logic of the new left is that to be a good progressive, one must stand against Jewish self-assertion and national aspirations.”

It appears that, having broken through the literal ghetto, far too many Jews have embraced the liberal ghetto.

In 1993, Don Feder wrote a paper for the Heritage Foundation attempting to make sense of Jewish liberalism. Twenty-five years later, his assessments are still potent. Despite the fact that the “politics of Jewish liberalism undermine the manifest self-interest of American Jewry, there seems to be no diminution of the Jewish community marching in liberal lockstep.” Feder wrote that “[i]ndeed, American Jews are fervent proselytizers for every ‘ism’–feminism, environmentalism, pacifism, redistributionism–save Judaism.”

Ironically, unlike the Jews of Chelm, American Jews have found a relative paradise on American shores–a land where they were not pariahs, where opportunity was limitless. But liberalism has become the ersatz religion of secular, assimilated Jews. Thus, it would appear that the elimination of religious freedom, clearly an aim of the Muslim groups cited above, does not raise a scintilla of concern for these liberal Jews.

As Charles Jacobs asserts, “solidarity with terror and its enablers isn’t social justice.” Is Jewish identity so weak that Jews can no longer stand up for themselves and, instead, foolishly support those who despise Jewish aspirations and the Jewish people?

To rationalize terror or ignore it completely rather than highlight and confront it is beyond foolishness. It is suicidal, and it is time to call these myopic people out. Clearly, they have forgotten the true meaning of Hillel’s dictum. “If I am not for me, who will be for me? And when I am for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, then when?” (Ethics of the Fathers 1:14).

 

Eileen Toplansky is currently an adjunct college instructor of English composition and literature.  This article appeared in AmericanThinker.com on January 19.

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