Meanwhile, Over There

We could probably learn something from these guys:

In 1983, Isaac Arazi and his wife were caught in sectarian fighting during Lebanon’s 15-year civil war. A Shiite Muslim militiaman helped the couple escape.

Arazi, a leader of Lebanon’s tiny Jewish community, sees the incident as a lesson in the Arab country’s tradition of tolerance. Now he is trying to make use of that tradition, along with the global diaspora of Lebanese Jews, in a drive to rebuild Beirut’s only synagogue, damaged during the war.

“Those who don’t have a past don’t have a future,” Arazi said to explain his push to rebuild the synagogue.

***

Even the warring factions in Lebanon’s government have blessed the project. “This is a religious place of worship and its restoration is welcome,” Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, 65, said in an interview. Hussain Rahal, a spokesman for Hezbollah, said his group — which refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and which the West considers a terrorist organization — also supports the restoration of Maghen Abraham.

“We respect the Jewish religion just like we do Christianity,” he said. “The Jews have always lived among us. We have an issue with Israel’s occupation of land.”

Arazi said work on the restoration is to begin next month. Meanwhile, his council is already working on plans for its next project: restoring Beirut’s Jewish cemetery, where about 4,500 people are buried.

For good clean fun at home, every time you see someone on tv screaming about the community center calling it a “SUPER TERROR MOSQUE,” mentally exchange the word “mosque” with the word “synagogue” to recognize just how differently this debate would be were we not in the grips of demonizing Islam. The only way to get offended by the community center is to fully buy into the clash of civilizations rhetoric and believe that terrorists didn’t attack us on 9/11, but Islam did.

73 replies
  1. 1
    beltane says:

    What does it say about us when a group like Hezbollah is more tolerant than a majority of Americans?

  2. 2
    Revaunch says:

    But what’s the public polling say?? What about “insensitivity” and “feelings” ? Shouldn’t Mr. Arazi’s dealings be given the countertop treatment before he’s allowed his civil and human rights? Remember, having a right to do something doesn’t make it right to do!

    What are these people thinking!?

  3. 3
    aimai says:

    I think its really interesting, and important, that these guys are willing to say “we have an issue with Israel’s occupation of land–not with the jewish religion of our actual neighbors.” I wish our leadership–such as it is on the Republican side–and especially all our Democratic leadership would come out and say that in ringing tones. We have a problem with a *very specific and really quite small* subset of people who *among other things* are Muslim. We are not at war with Islam. We are allies with many Islamic countries and our citizens who are Muslim are entitled to the full protection of our laws and our respect.

    Sometimes I just want to scream at these assholes “If you really think you are at war with the entire of the world’s Muslim Population you must know we’ve already lost. Period. Its fucking huge. If they all hated us like you hate them the war’s done and we’re dead. You just don’t grasp it.”

    aimai

  4. 4
    RedKitten says:

    John, there are an awful lot of people out there who do NOT say that “terrorist” attacked you on 9/11. They say that “Muslims” attacked you on 9/11. From there, it’s very easy for them to make the leap to think that Islam’s sole purpose is to destroy other cultures. They see Islam as a present-day Borg, and think that the rest of us are just too stupid/politically correct to do anything about it.

  5. 5
    wobbly says:

    The original Beirut synagogue was bombarded by Israel in 1982.

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RedKitten: Part of the world’s problems stem from the fact that a lot of people just are not very bright. Another part of the world’s problems stem from the fact that a lot of people are assholes.

  7. 7

    to recognize just how [similar] this debate would be were we [still in] the grips of demonizing [Judaism].

    Fxd (without strikethrough to prevent BJ Page Error #28)

    And I think you meant “how different this debate would be…” or perhaps “how differently this debate would be proceeding …”

    You’re welcome.

  8. 8
    RedKitten says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I see a Venn diagram in the making, here.

  9. 9
    New Yorker says:

    For good clean fun at home, every time you see someone on tv screaming about the community center calling it a “SUPER TERROR MOSQUE,” mentally exchange the word “mosque” with the word “synagogue” to recognize just how differently this debate would be were we not in the grips of demonizing Islam.

    I’ve been thinking about that all along. The rhetoric is striking in how much it resembles classic European anti-semitism (and also the Know-Nothing anti-Catholic rhetoric of the 1850s).

    Which, of course, makes it all the more nauseating that the most prominent cheerleader for this anti-Muslim insanity is a Jewish woman. Pam Gellar doesn’t have to worry about newspapers publishing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the US, nor does she have to board up her door and windows during Easter week, so she’s free to try to incite a pogrom of her own!

  10. 10
    beltane says:

    @New Yorker: Pam Geller reminds me of something I read in the NYRB many years ago about Jewish fascists in Italy who thought their fascism would protect them from the Nazis during the later stages of the war when the Germans occupied northern Italy. It turned out that they were among the first group of Jews to be deported, as the leftist resistance groups who helped many Jews escape would not lift a finger to help a bunch of fascists. Pam Geller is a stupid person for playing this game. Hate is not a precision weapon, and the bullies will inevitably turn on her when they tire of picking on the other unpopular kid in the class.

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Red Kitten #7:

    Our friend Arguing with Signposts has done all the heavy lifting on this (Evil vs. Stupid):

    http://arguewithsigns.net/?p=111

    All that’s left is to change the labels, and wallah, as matoko_chan would say.

  12. 12
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RedKitten: Pretty much.

  13. 13
    wilfred says:

    When I started posting on this blog it was part of an experiment with three colleagues to see how a moderate Muslim voice would be received across a spectrum of political blogs. We started with the reasonable hypothesis that we would be hounded on the right and tolerated on the left. That turned out to be mainly true. although this blog was hardly a haven for Muslim tolerance.

    The one good thing that has come out all this is to make clear that anti-Muslim (and Arab) bigotry is not only tolerated but encouraged, at least by those determiners of the public sphere who would most certainly be screaming if it really were a synagogue, or Black Baptist Church, for that matter.

    The Muslims say that the veil of light is much more insidious than the veil of darkness. That is, the person who thinks he’s a saint is a hell of a lot worse, and dangerous, than the person who doesn’t give a damn if he is or isn’t.

  14. 14
    Tom says:

    The only way to get offended by the community center is to fully buy into the clash of civilizations rhetoric and believe that terrorists didn’t attack us on 9/11, but Islam did.

    Yep. That’s why I love this debate. It exposes everyone who pretended to respect Islam and gave lip service to “working moderate Muslims” as the true xenophobes that they are. Kind of like how a black light that exposes the come stains on your bed sheet.

  15. 15
    New Yorker says:

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlan.....s-ctd.html

    The above is very sobering, as it makes it crystal clear that the anti-Muslim backlash is NOT something that we on the coasts can glibly ignore because it’s only a problem in West Bucktooth, Alabama. It’s hard to come to any conclusion other than that this hysteria is mainstream American thought.

    Harry Reid’s pathetic cave-in on this issue is only reflecting his (correct) assessment of the political temperature in this country.

  16. 16
    Ed Marshall says:

    @wobbly:

    If I remember right one of the victims of the IDF bombardment was an Auschwitz survivor who had fled to Palestine and married an Arab Christian and was forced out in 1948 by the Israelis.

  17. 17
    TomG says:

    Ron Paul has now spoken up and apparently takes the same side that Grover Norquist and Ted Olson take – disagreeing with his son, Rand, by the way.
    He not only argues the property rights and 1st Amendment viewpoint in favor of the community center getting built, he specifically disagrees with the notion that the center should be moved out of respect for “Ground Zero”.

    Article in Examiner.com

  18. 18

    Just in case you missed it the other day when I rhapsodized about Frank Sinatra and the song The House I Live In, here’s all the rhapsody, in one handy spot:

    http://emilylhauserinmyhead.wo.....ica-to-me/

    My favorite line: “Look fellas, religion makes no difference, except maybe to a Nazi or somebody as stupid.”

    PS This goes to the parallels drawn between demonizing Judaism and demonizing Islam. Sorry. Should have made that clear. Carry on!

  19. 19
    Svensker says:

    @beltane:

    What does it say about us when a group like Hezbollah is more tolerant than a majority of Americans?

    Do you think that Hezbollah is particularly intolerant?

  20. 20
    beltane says:

    @Svensker: In the popular imagination, HezbollahHamasTheACLU is one of those scary groups that wants to impose Sharia law on Sarah Palin’s family. It is about bogeymen and not a specific Lebanese political party.

  21. 21

    @beltane: I would caution that one not get too carried away. Hezbollah is not what one might call tolerant. Hezbollah is savvy, and politically astute, and knows how to build coalitions through both carrot and stick. But it is not particularly tolerant.

    I recently reviewed a terrific and very readable book about them, one which neither demonized nor whitewashed: A Privilege to Die, by Boston Globe reporter Thanassis Cambanis.

  22. 22
    beltane says:

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther: Thanks for the link to the Cambanis book. I’m not a big fan of religious political parties who use violence to achieve their goals. It is just terribly disheartening to see how many Americans would be perfectly OK with a Christian version of Hezbollah.

  23. 23
    YankeeApologist says:

    @Wilfred

    Isn’t this just the liberal way? Let’s spend all of our time slipping daggers through the ribcages of our allies, and forget all about the incoming, slavering horde here to pillage and rape our country. Well done.

    Look, Wilfred. I am not intimately aware of your plight. I’m an Irish-American male. I have it pretty easy, in the grand scheme of things. However, the guitar player in my band is a Pakistani-born Muslim, and I’ve seen how that dude gets treated in liberal havens like New York City and Connecticut. I know it’s hard out there, especially since 9/11.

    But how can you seriously say that this blog and the posters located here don’t have your back? Isn’t the entire thrust of this thread how stupid it is that people seem to hate Islam, and not terrorists? Where is the hidden negative agenda, here?

  24. 24
    El Cid says:

    It is disgusting that anyone would seek to pour salt in the wound of all those Lebanese killed by Israeli invasions to now push to build a synagogue on hallowed ground.

    What?

  25. 25
    Suffern Ace says:

    @beltane: I watched Pat Robertson last night for the first time and that was pretty much the point he was making. Although instead of the ACLU he just blanketed the left. Why is it, he asked, that leftists want to bring in these laws where men are allowed to beat their wives? Why does the left hate women so…

  26. 26
    YankeeApologist says:

    Blockquote fail. I seem to not have permission to edit my own comment. Apologies.

  27. 27
    wilfred says:

    Hezbollah is a religous nationalist movement. Applying the notion of tolerance, i.e. a secular modernist political concept, to a decidedly non-secular movement is not especially sensible.

    Tolerance has become a word of power, like fascist, anti-semite, terrorist, etc., words that serve as shorthand for determining the level of Otherness that justifies a positive or negative position.

    Hence Israelis are forever labeling Hezbollah terrorist, or when they are not engaged in anything particulary terrorizing, the catch-all ‘intolerant’, i.e. they don’t value things the way that we, and you, do.

    We of course are immensely tolerant. We also cause wars that end up killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

    But we’re really, really tolerant.

  28. 28
    wilfred says:

    @YankeeApologist:

    I meant that that was the case a few years ago, not now. If you care to look you’ll see what I mean.

    This place has become a breath of fresh air, actually.

  29. 29
    Waynski says:

    @aimai: This. With the election of Obama I thought racism would recede in this country. I guess that was naive. The site is not “at” ground zero, it’s not a “mosque” per se and the majority of the people who “live” in the neighborhood like me and my wife don’t have a problem with it. There are greed head dirtbags who “work” in the neighborhood but then go home to Jersey or Long Island or wherever, but think they should have a say in this, which I’d be happy to give them if we brought back the commuter tax. Dirty fucking fuck bags.

    Not my most eloquent piece of writing but this whole thing is so frustrating.

  30. 30
    YankeeApologist says:

    @Waynski

    So true! The most infuriating thing is that they don’t own up to the racism at ALL. I had a grandfather who was terribly racist, but at least he stood by it and wasn’t afraid to take some abuse for it, it was just the way he felt. I somehow think that’s LESS awful than someone who truly hates someone else for their religion or skin color, and obfuscates it with a bunch of bullshit.

    I have a good friend with whom I’ve argued about this “Mosque” several times, and he keeps saying, “I’m not racist at all. I just think it’s disrespectful for THEM (emphasis mine) to be anywhere near where THEY hurt our country so badly. Even though they aren’t terrorists at this proposed mosque, they have to know that’s how people see them”.

    Whisky tango foxtrot, mate.

  31. 31
    chopper says:

    @wilfred:

    lol, like when you lowered yourself to seething ‘jew’ at me, that’s ‘a moderate muslim voice’? that’s a good one.

  32. 32
    wilfred says:

    @chopper:

    That was in response to you, asshole. QED.

  33. 33

    […] concluding paragraph from a link that is worth reading. August 24th, 2010 | Category: […]

  34. 34
    Chad N Freude says:

    Not quite OT: eWeek.com has a report this morning entitled Trojan May Have Played Part in Spanish Plane Crash. (It’s short and non-technical if you care to read it.) One of the comments attached to the article is

    More dirty deeds from… your local Spanish Islamic extremists. Now they don’t even need to high-jack them and blow them up or fly them into things.
    Posted At: 08-23-10
    By: Schmitty

    There is, needless to say, no mention of Islamist extremism in the report.

  35. 35
    chopper says:

    @wilfred:

    whatever you say. everyone else, here’s the thread.

    ‘moderate muslim voice’ my lily-white ass.

    apparently being a ‘moderate muslim voice’ means stating emphatically that the jews are behind the ‘obama is a muslim’ rumor, seething ‘jew’ at people when they call that idea retarded, then demanding they use ‘muslim’ in the same manner because deep down inside you think jews just have to be as much of a stereotyping asshole as you are, or the whole belief structure you’ve created around yourself falls apart.

  36. 36
    El Cid says:

    @Waynski:

    With the election of Obama I thought racism would recede in this country.

    I live in the South. I didn’t expect that for a second.

  37. 37
    Suffern Ace says:

    @YankeeApologist: Yankee, when one of the common arguments made by the left or people posing as the left is that “If we don’t build it the terrorists win”. Or wants to run this center constantly with reference strategies for “global war on terror”, are we actually being tolerant or are we using this center to ease our own discomfort about the Islam of the Taliban that we see on TV and overly concerned with what “message” this center will send on our behalf?

  38. 38
    Alwhite says:

    What those assholes protesting the Burlington Coat Factory Community Center do not care to know is that the Muslim Middle East has a long history of religious tolerance. There were very active, productive, safe and accepted Jewish and Christian communities in almost every nation.

    As Israel continues to abuse Palestine the Jewish communities sufferer but not as badly as you might expect. The Christan communities did well until the US went ape-shit on Iraq & now it is very unsafe to be publicly Christian in some of these countries.

    This same pattern appeared during the last Christan Crusade during the last Dark Age.

  39. 39
    wilfred says:

    @chopper:

    Nope, not in the least. It’s all about representation – who gets to call who what. My point then is the same as it is now. How many times was the word Pali bandied about? How many times was the use of the word jew treated as if it was de facto anti-semitism? All the time. I insisited that if I could be called Muslim, Jews should be called Jews. But this you objected to. And this was all in the context of the Israeli destruction of first Southern Lebanon and then Gaza.

    That’s the implied power of representation. Israelis could not be referred to as Jews, because to do so would be to raise into question the Muslim identity of the Palestinians, who were being killed without reprobation on the part of the American Administrations because they were…what? Palestinians? Similarly, the actions taken against Muslims worldwide are always described in terms of Nationality, Ethnicity, Politics and NEVER in terms of the single unifying factor they all share – their Muslimness.

    That’s the point.

    Oh, and Right wing Jewish political groups were not against Obama? Spare me. The links I gave then were from those same organizations.

  40. 40
    chopper says:

    @wilfred:

    lol, you’re rewriting history. read the thread. nobody with more than two brain cells to rub together would read the dreck you posted and call you a ‘moderate voice’. they’d call you a nutbag with a huge persecution complex and a thing for jewish conspiracy theories.

    funny thing is, the vitriol with which you spat the word ‘jew’ at me is one which you made up on my side. i’ve never used the word ‘muslim’ as an epithet. yet in your zeal to lump all jews together and create conspiracies, you spit it at me in some odd twisted argument against people stereotyping muslims. because deep down your own need to stereotype people has to be rationalized to tamp down the dissonance you feel when you do it.

    all because i called out your bullshit ‘jewish conspiracy’ for what it was – bullshit, based primarily on a massive lack of understanding of christian politics in america.

  41. 41
    Turbulence says:

    @wilfred: wilfred, speaking as a Christian whose family came to the US from the middle east, I’ve really appreciated your comments here.

    But I am really curious: what were the other site you and your friends were commenting at?

  42. 42

    @beltane: Now that I will absolutely grant you! When you’ve got a former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives saying we should be no better than the Saudi government, we have a real problem.

  43. 43

    Don’t know where else to put this, but I think people will enjoy reading it:

    American Muslim author, interfaith activist, NPR & WaPo contributor Eboo Patel on the anti-Muslim hate speech: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.....grace.html

    …one day, I promise you, we will be as ashamed of the way American Muslims are viewed and treated in 2010 as we are of Japanese internment and Jim Crow. America’s promise is meant for everyone or we are not America.

    I also really liked this:

    Will Muslims forgive? I begin my spiritual preparation for that possibility now.

  44. 44
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    While we’re on the subject, here’s an article on Jews in Iran, and here is the Wikipedia entry on the subject. Are we approaching the day when Jews in Iran are better off than Muslims in America?

  45. 45
    wilfred says:

    @chopper:

    You really are dense. A word can only be an epithet if taken as one or intended as one. Is that so difficult for you to understand? I insisted on being called what I want to be called, and reserve the right to call others by what they are, as long as the word is not in itself an insult. The whole point is get to the naming of things, and people. It’s actually a critical idea in Islamic theology, where the ability to names things differentiates ontologies.

    Now see if you can follow this. It’s not for you, or any other non-Muslim, to decide what is moderate or extreme when it comes to Islam or being a Muslim. The Muslims speak for themselves, according to their own terms of reference; not those established by anyone whose purpose is to establish good and bad Muslims. Like you just did. This is the critical concept of the Muslim sub-altern.

    Anywat since you have decided that I am not one, you can now say what defines a moderate Muslim, i.e. you can represent yourself and differentiate yourself from the critics of the Cordoba Center. Feel free.

    @Turbulence:

    One, famously, was RedState.

  46. 46
    chopper says:

    @wilfred:

    sorry, your posts are quite clear. passive-aggressively rationalizing it after the fact (i.e. “Come on, jew. Don’t get so pissed off. Too funny, props to you, jew. what, that wasn’t intended as a smear, you’re a jew, aren’t you?”) is lame post-hoc garbage. trying to write it off as ‘i’m just talking about labels and naming things from a theological sense etc etc’ is even more of the same garbage.

    all it does is try to make the other person’s ethnic or religious identity a focal point of the discussion. which is apparently what you want – everyone wear a label so you can see what side they’re on by their ethnic or religious title. oh, you’re a jew, so you’re X, Y and Z. oh, i see the Jews have coalesced into their usual ‘accuse of everyone of being an anti-semite’. oh, the jews are this, the jews are that.

    that doesn’t even get started on the ‘the jews are behind the obama-is-a-muslim smear’ bullshit you were spewing.

  47. 47
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @New Yorker: I’m glad he wasn’t a senator during the civil rights era. With enough temperature gauging and cave-ins, politicians like Reid would have left official Southern segregation intact because it was “the will of the majority.”

    I just got a phone call from the DSCC and gave, reluctantly, to them. I almost blurted out “don’t give any of my money to Reid” but the fact is he’s still better than Angle. I absolutely despise him now though.

  48. 48
    Turbulence says:

    @chopper: all it does is try to make the other person’s ethnic or religious identity a focal point of the discussion.

    Um, no. It looks like Wilfred concluded that you were incapable of empathizing with Muslims and that there was no way you’d understand his point unless it was translated onto people that you did empathize with. His fundamental problem is that you are incapable of empathy.

    I didn’t read the whole thread and I don’t agree with everything he said, but you’re going batshit insane when you see his name and dredging up 2 year old threads which you then misrepresent is kind of irritating.

  49. 49
    wilfred says:

    @chopper:

    So I have to ask again: What is so offensive? You can address me as Muslim all you want and it doesn’t offend me in the least, no matter how it’s said. To me, it’s not an epithet. That was the context of that remark. That and the ongoing defense of the destruction of Muslims, which was defended to the hilt, as I recall.

    all it does is try to make the other person’s ethnic or religious identity a focal point of the discussion

    Oh, absolutely!!! I’ve argued here for years that there is a war against Muslims, even though I just spent two years in a Muslim country arguing on behalf of this country that there isn’t. It is in the interest of right wing Christians and Jews to promote a religous war against Muslims.

    It’s all about identity.

  50. 50
    wilfred says:

    @Turbulence:

    He knows that. He’s just trying to bait me.

  51. 51
    LanceThruster says:

    What if it could be established Israel’s role in 9/11? Would this same crowd feel synagogues did not belong near hallowed ground (very serious question but feel free to treat it as a hypothetical)?

  52. 52
    chopper says:

    @Turbulence:

    His fundamental problem is that you are incapable of empathy.

    why, because i don’t dig stupid conspiracy theories about the jews? in that case, both his and your fundamental problem is that you’re incapable of thinking.

    wilfred saw anti-muslim sentiment and a smear against the president in that manner. instead of looking at the huge population of pro-israel christians in this country, the voters who actually influence policy, he tosses them aside and focuses like a laser beam on the jews. why is that? because there are some jews who see ‘muslim’ as an epithet. yeah, that’s true. somehow that fact translates into some bullshit that the jews are the ones smearing obama, “maybe enough to cost him the election.”

    i called bullshit on that. anyone with a brain would. the motivation is kinda crazy, ignore the 150 million-some-odd evangelical christians who see a major war in the middle east with israel as a step towards bringing their end-times fiasco about, and focus on the jewish 2% of the country.

    i brought the thread up because, well, if you’re a nut and try to pass yourself off as a ‘moderate’ and i have personal experience with you being a nut, i’m going to bring it up. sorry.

  53. 53
    chopper says:

    @wilfred:

    see, i don’t think that a person’s ethnicity or religion should be the focus of a political discussion. when we discuss politics we shouldn’t have to wear labels like ‘jew’ or ‘muslim’ so everyone can prejudge what we believe based on their own stupid stereotypes and conspiracy theories.

    in fact, i’d say that sort of labeling is part of the problem in this country. if it is ‘all about identity’, being just like the right wing christians and jews you mention waging a war against islam doesn’t do much to help. it just feeds into the same bullshit.

  54. 54
    wilfred says:

    First:

    why, because i don’t dig stupid conspiracy theories about the jews?

    Then:

    all because i called out your bullshit ‘jewish conspiracy’ for what it was – bullshit, based primarily on a massive lack of understanding of christian politics in america

    Christian conspiracy, then? Spoof, retard, or simply incoherent? I give up.

  55. 55
    chopper says:

    @wilfred:

    it isn’t a ‘christian conspiracy’. it’s simple. there’s a lot of anti-muslim sentiment in this country. obviously. and it isn’t the jews doing, dumbass, jews make up a paltry percent of america’s population. it’s primarily among the masses of christians here. cause at the very least, christians make up a vast majority of americans. pointing to the fact that some jews hate on muslims doesn’t change that, or make it somehow magically the jews’ doing.

    blaming it on the jews instead and ignoring the 800-lb gorilla in the room is both retarded and an insidious attempt to create a bullshit jewish conspiracy theory.

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @Alwhite:

    There were very active, productive, safe and accepted Jewish and Christian communities in almost every nation.

    But then again, there is this (Yemen’s dwindling Jews):

    The last hundred or so Yemeni Jews are set to leave after more than two millennia in the country. A century ago some 50,000 of them lived more or less peacefully alongside the Muslim majority, now numbering 23m. Life became harder for them after the creation of Israel in 1948, with outbreaks of violence against Jews. Most were spirited out over the next few years in Operation Magic Carpet on American aircraft. A second, much smaller wave of around 1,200 of them were resettled in the early 1990s. A few hundred stayed on, largely in the northern province of Saada. After Houthi rebels eroded the government’s grip there in recent fighting, they were evacuated to a compound in Sana’a. As the perceived threat to them grows, Jewish-American and Israeli groups and American diplomats are trying to establish refugee status for them and then pay for their resettlement in the United States or Israel.
    __
    Their departure will be a milestone. Yemen’s Jews, who speak Arabic, hark back to a time when it was possible to have a shared Jewish and Arab identity. Elsewhere in the Arab world most Jewish communities have shrivelled. In Beirut, Damascus and Baghdad (where Jews were once the largest single community) numbers have shrunk to a handful of old folk keeping a nervously low profile.

    A friend is a Copt, and although a proud Egyptian American, he still bristles at the discrimination that his family faced before they emigrated to the United States. And the situation there is still often unpleasant:

    Copts have faced increasing marginalization after the 1952 coup d’état led by Gamal Abdel Nasser….The Coptic community has been targeted by hate crimes and physical assaults. The most significant was the 2000–2001 El Kosheh attacks, in which Muslims and Christians were involved in bloody inter-religious clashes following a dispute between a Muslim and a Christian. “Twenty Christians and one Muslim were killed after violence broke out in the town of el-Kosheh, 440 kilometres (275 miles) south of Cairo…
    __
    Although Boutros Boutros-Ghali later became the United Nations Secretary-General, his appointment as an only acting foreign minister depicted Egypt’s systematic elimination of Copts from all governmental influential positions. Today, only two Copts are on Egypt’s governmental cabinet: Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali and Environment Minister Magued George. There is also currently one Coptic governor out of 25, that of the Upper Egyptian governorate of Qena, and the first Coptic governor in a few decades….
    __
    [M]any Copts continue to complain of being minimally represented in law enforcement, state security and public office, and of being discriminated against in the workforce on the basis of their religion.

    Similarly, non-Muslims in Pakistan are accepted, but as second-class citizens, and who fear outbreaks of persecution.

    From 1947 to the mid-1970s, the governments of Pakistan were largely secular in policy and judgment.However, with the Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamization and forced implementation of Islamic Sharia law in Pakistan marginalized the Christian minorities and caused intense persecutions.
    __
    In the 1990s, some Christians were arrested on charges of blasphemy, and for protesting that appeared to insult Islam. John Joseph, a bishop in Faisalabad committed suicide to protest the execution of a Christian man on blasphemy charges.
    __
    Christians, along with other non-Muslim minorities, are discriminated against in the Constitution of Pakistan. Non-Muslims are barred from becoming the President[8] or Prime Minister [9]. Furthermore, they are barred from being judges in the Federal Shariat Court, which has the power to strike down any law deemed un-Islamic.

  57. 57
    Waynski says:

    @chopper: and @wilfred. Both of you fucking STOP IT. This is what they want. Can’t you see you’re playing into their hands? And by “they” I mean the Buddhists of course. Or the Mexicans. Take your pick.

  58. 58
    chopper says:

    @Waynski:

    don’t get me started on the buddhists. they’re the ones who really control the purse-strings in this country. who robs cave fish of their sight? you don’t want to know the truth.

  59. 59
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Waynski: Ditto this. You were both being assholes in the earlier thread, and you are both being assholes now. Seriously. Come join the Pastafarian movement so we can all have a kumbayah moment.

  60. 60
    wilfred says:

    @chopper:

    I’m going to address this at length, beginning with your earlier comment on that ethnicity or religion should not be a concern.

    On the contrary, it has to be; in fact, it always has been. The process to integration, as it were, is evolutionary and has to be lived as a process by each group that is attempting to normalize its presence. And the only way to do that is by emphasizing difference, proclaiming it, living it. Sartre, In Anti-Semite and Jew, wrote that the best strategy for the Other, who will always remain the Other, is to assert his Otherness to the fullest. I think that is the only strategy; thus the importance of the Muslims emphasizing at all turns the very Muslimness that makes them the outsider, the current recipient of bigotry.

    Acquiescing to non-Muslim notions of what constitutes ‘moderate’ Islam – let’s face it “Good Muslims” – is tantamount to ‘passing’, whether as gentile, straight or white. That’s why it has to be emphasized, exaggerated and foregrounded. But this is solely the business of Muslims.

    As for the rest. It is disingenuous to suggest that some Jews are without fault in the current anti-Muslim sentiment, unless you want to say that the Muslim identity of Palestinians, Lebanese and Iranians has nothing to do with anything – which would be disingenuous. See: Marty Peretz, Joe Lieberman, Daniel Pipes, Foxman, et al.

  61. 61
    Waynski says:

    @chopper: I believe the Buddhists are responsible for the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the BP disaster in the Gulf. I got an email from the RNC about it. I heard Barney Frank encouraged them.. and of course the gays. They did it too. They always do it. Pervs.

  62. 62
    Turbulence says:

    @Brachiator: Speaking as a Copt, you’re dead on right. Discrimination doesn’t really do it justice. One of my older relatives was a high ranking judge in Egypt. He once explained to me that there was a strict religious quota for how many Copt lawyers would be accepted as judges; something like 1% IIRC. He yelled at his judge buddies about this and they hastened to remind him that of course the quota wouldn’t apply to his son because, you know, nepotism.

    Looking at the recent history, it is astonishing how much worse the treatment of Copts in Egypt has become over the last few decades. Copts and Muslims have been sharing the country for over a millenia, but when my parents left Egypt in the 60s and 70s, Muslim-Copt relations were much better. I think a big part of the problem is that thanks to the kleptocrat dictator, the economy has done very poorly so everyone is fighting for what tiny scrap they can get. Which naturally exacerbates sectarian tensions. Plus, conservative Islam has become a government unto itself: it provides food for the hungary, schools for young, clinics for the sick. You know, all the functions of government that the Egyptian government is to fracking corrupt to perform. And the Mosques are the only place in Egypt where you can talk politics without getting shot in the head by the regime.

    The last 30 years of Egyptian history are such a wasted opportunity, it just breaks my heart. And yeah, I blame Americans for some of that. I’m not sure the corrupt dictatorial regime could have stayed in power for as long as it has absent American and Israeli support. But I guess the suffering of ordinary Egyptians pales in significance compared to the need to do whatever Israel wants no matter what.

  63. 63
    Waynski says:

    @asiangrrlMN: I’d like to be a Pastafarian too. Does that mean we can smoke linguine or do we only get to bake it into brownies?

  64. 64

    OK, I’m putting on my tinfoil for this one, but hear me out before you start pummeling me back into reality.

    I’m just flabbergasted by Fox News attacking their own part-owner. I watched the Daily Show piece on this from last night and I cannot believe that Fox News doesn’t understand who it is they are attacking. Prince al-Waleed bin Talal is the guy that tried to give New York $10 million and Giuliani sent it back. He’s part-owner of News Corp, and is the founder of the Kingdom Foundation, which is helping to fund the Cordoba House.

    Now what this could be is Murdoch trying to buy bin Talal out and having his network attack to provide bonus incentive. I’ve heard nothing about any such effort, though. In fact, Think Progress shows that bin Talal has been growing closer and closer to News Corp.

    So here’s my tinfoil suggestion: News Corp is providing the war. They’re working to help elect Republicans. They openly gave the Republican Governor’s Association $1 million of free airtime on local Fox affliates, sorry, to spend on the upcoming election. What does Fox News do best? Lead their idiotic audience around by the nose. So by having their part-owner, the madrassa funder, the Wahabbist supporter, fund a controversial mosque, and then really ratcheting up the controversy just in time for the elections, Fox News and News Corp creates a favorable environment to help elect Republicans.

    It is well known, isn’t it, that the Saudi royals fund the Wahabbi madrassas to help mollify and channel the fanatics to keep them in power. What if News Corp’s American agenda was to bring the Saudi agenda against its own people here?

    OK, scared myself enough. Hit me with your best shot.

  65. 65
    chopper says:

    @wilfred:

    last post on the subject.

    On the contrary, it has to be

    well, if you want to be part of the problem, then sure. there is a great difference between wanting to wear your own label proudly and wanting everyone else to wear a label as well, dividing everybody up into labeled bins saying ‘jewish’, ‘muslim’, etc. i personally don’t feel that i have to broadcast to everyone that i’m jewish. i certainly don’t think that it has any bearing on my discussions of politics, as my political beliefs are the same now as they were before i was a jew. my political beliefs and opinions do not start and end with being jewish.

    It is disingenuous to suggest that some Jews are without fault in the current anti-Muslim sentiment

    every jew is somehow at fault? how about my 19-month-old daughter, she’s also to blame? help me come up with a nice way to explain to her that merely by being born she’s part of the reason why americans have such a hard-on for hating muslims these days.

    i don’t understand your incessant need to assign the blame for a hateful sentiment among a large chunk of a population of 350 million americans to the tiny jewish population, and every jew at that.

    unless you want to say that the Muslim identity of Palestinians, Lebanese and Iranians has nothing to do with anything

    nobody is saying that the muslim identity of those folks has ‘nothing to do with anything’. however, i certainly don’t feel that the blame for anti-semitism in america should be laid at the feet of every single muslim american. that would be stupid, in the same manner as seeing anti-muslim sentiment and zeroing in on the jews.

  66. 66
    Catsy says:

    Okay, so: I’ve gone back and read the two-year-old thread that chopper dug up as evidence of wilfred’s anti-Semitism. I’d like to have those two minutes of my life back, but I’ll settle for laying out what I see there, as a nominally neutral observer who can’t recall ever interacting with either party.

    Wilfred: you spend far too much time making sweeping generalizations about American Jews. This comment by chopper pretty much sums up my reactions to the same post he’s responding to. If I picked two or three posts out of that thread I’d think you were an anti-Semite–and if I picked two or three others, you’d sound just like my Jewish spouse who gets really pissed off at the crap Israel pulls but recognizes things over there are pretty complicated and can’t be easily reduced to good guys and bad guys. You obviously recognize this complexity because it forms the basis of a number of your arguments, but the more pissed you get the more you generalize and stereotype. Pro tip: when you start talking about how “Muslims” do this or “Jews” do this or “blacks” do this, people are going to think you’re a bigot and they are not going to process whatever point you’re trying to make through irony or absurdity. The issue isn’t that you’re using “Jew” as an epithet, the issue is that you’re making unsupported generalizations, and frequently using “Jew” where it would be more accurate to say “Israeli”.

    Chopper: you have an astonishing ability to completely ignore any comment of wilfred’s that contradicts the notion you have that he/she is an anti-Semite who hates all Jews. For every pants-on-head retarded generalization she made about “Jews”–including the one that was pretty clearly using the term only to illustrate a parallel with the way many Americans talk about what “Muslims” do or think–I spotted at least one or two other comments very explicitly laying out the argument she was making in a way that does not lump all Jews into a single bucket. And by the way: digging up a two-year-old thread in order to call out another commenter who hadn’t even engaged you on the subject is a pretty dick move. Congratulations on bombing the thread with your two-year-old grudge.

    Now where’s that image macro of Obama telling everyone to chill the fuck out when I need it.

  67. 67
    chopper says:

    @Catsy:

    Chopper: you have an astonishing ability to completely ignore any comment of wilfred’s that contradicts the notion you have that he/she is an anti-Semite who hates all Jews.

    never said that. i did say wilfred was making a bunch of crappy shit up and was a moron, but i’ve never accused someone i was arguing with with anti-semitism and even wilfred aint gonna make me start now. i even made that clear in the thread.

    For every pants-on-head retarded generalization she made about “Jews”—including the one that was pretty clearly using the term only to illustrate a parallel with the way many Americans talk about what “Muslims” do or think—I spotted at least one or two other comments very explicitly laying out the argument she was making in a way that does not lump all Jews into a single bucket.

    whoopdy shit, that doesn’t make the jewish conspiracy theory shit magically disappear. my beef with wilfred wasn’t over the fact that americans have a thing for hating on muslims. i agree with that completely. my beef was making it a jewish thing, even a not-all-of-the-jews thing – like “a cadre of jews are directing anti-muslim sentiment” is that much better? it’s bullshit either way, whichever way he/she wanted to phrase it in any given post.

    And by the way: digging up a two-year-old thread in order to call out another commenter who hadn’t even engaged you on the subject is a pretty dick move. Congratulations on bombing the thread with your two-year-old grudge.

    good for you. now you know if you create some stupid jew-blaming conspiracy theory and call yourself a ‘moderate’, i’ll call you out on it too.

  68. 68
    chopper says:

    It is disingenuous to suggest that some Jews are without fault in the current anti-Muslim sentiment

    looking back, i can’t tell if you mean all are to blame, or that ‘there are some jews at fault’ here. i thought the former, due to your thing about lumping everyone together as well as the syntax.

    if the latter (later citing lieberman, foxman etc), then 1) my apologies, and 2) again, whoopdy-shit. i never said there weren’t any jews with anti-muslim sentiment, or that any of those choads you listed aren’t part of the problem. those guys certainly are not the driving force behind anti-muslim sentiment in this country.

  69. 69
    Brachiator says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    OK, scared myself enough. Hit me with your best shot.

    Rupert Murdoch is a stealth Muslim.

    I did find it interesting how Stewart pointed out how the Fox News pundits went out of their way to talk about the “jihadist” funding the Terror Mosque of Horrors without ever identifying him, and suggesting with reason that the former Bush employees had to know who Prince al-Waleed bin Talal was. And since television is a visual medium, it strains credulity that he was never named or pictured on the segment. Unless the reporters were specifically told not to name names.

    So, Murdoch demonizes Muslims even as he is chummy with Muslim investors. The Saudis don’t object to Muslims being demonized as long as their names are kept out of it. I’m not sure who’s playing who, but it sure is fascinating.

  70. 70
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @Joseph Nobles: It ends up being a win-win for the Saudi royal family really – the Wahhabists in Saudi Arabia focus on America’s increasingly anti-Islamic rhetoric and channel their anger towards America and away from the royal family they despise. The royal family gets to breathe easy another couple of years.

  71. 71
    Joseph Nobles says:

    OK, folks, you are NOT comforting me. ;-)

  72. 72
    Waynski says:

    This has been such a pleasant thread. We should all be proud.

  73. 73
    Emma says:

    @New Yorker: Sheepshead Bay is not exactly what people think about when they think about NYC. We’re talking about old white people, think Archie Bunker. They exist on the coasts as well, and I wouldn’t have expected anything better from them.

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