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And who’s this imam? As Chesler reports, he’s the successor to Sheik Muhammad Gemeaha, who blamed 9/11 on Jews and said that if Americans had known the truth about that atrocity, “they would have done to Jews what Hitler did.”
Chesler sets the scene:
I arrived at the Jewish Community Center and found that a protest organized by Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, and Christian activists was in progress. Banners held aloft read: “What Are Muslims Doing for Peace? Burning Churches, Honor Murdering Women. Where is the Muslim Protest?” “Since 9/11, Radical Islamists Committed 11,961 Attacks, Killed 75,038, Injured 115,255.”
Inside, the panelists tip-toed through the tulips and landmines, with a well-meaning, well-practiced display of earnestness, “goodness,” love, mutual admiration, and perhaps some self-admiration as well. There was no mention of terrorism, Islamism, or Islamic gender and religious apartheid.
Ms. Clinton, poised and very blonde, noted that “We are being protested against” which she considers a “positive sign. That means we are talking about something important.”
While “Rabbi Schneier was stiff, pompous, and self-important,” Chesler reports, the imam was “very likeable and charming,” although “his stances on key issues are less so.”
Chesler quotes the self-important rabbi as saying that “seven years ago, my friend, Russell Simmons, challenged me to close the divide, narrow the chasm between Muslims and Jews. And now, we are now the international address for Muslim-Jewish relations.” So what have the name-dropping rabbi and the deceptively charming imam accomplished together? Well, one thing they’ve done is to jointly protest Rep. Peter King’s extremely important hearings about radicalism among American Muslims. They’ve also sponsored so-called “twinning” programs, each of which brings together members of one synagogue and one mosque on an annual basis, presumably to talk about peaceful co-existence and such. As Chesler notes, these programs take place in North America and Europe but not, ahem, “in the Arab Middle East or in Muslim Asia.” Chesler also mentions “the colossal failure of their Buffalo ‘twinning’ program,” which apparently led to an unpleasant confrontation between some “well-intentioned Rabbis” and a “Jew-hating radical Sheikh.” Gee, who’d have expected that?
Ultimately, Chesler found the evening at the Jewish Community Center “disappointing” and “boring” because “too much was avoided. Too much ‘feel good’ Kool-aid was passed around. Everyone seemed to be drinking it. What was not said was far more important than what was said.” Chesler is far less rough on the imam than she is on the rabbi, whom she describes, not (it appears) without ample justification, as “a dangerous Court Jew who is profiting from the gravy train of the ‘interfaith’ business. He is profiting from his fiddling while Israel and the world burns. He is part of a grand taqiyya effort to present Muslims in a time of Islamism as peaceful partners. He is on a mission to persuade Jews to become agreeable dhimmis ‘for their own good’; otherwise, things will go badly for them and for other infidels. He thinks of himself as a great man. We have seen his sort before.”
Indeed. At the Bernstein party, the beverage of choice was also feel-good Kool Aid. What was not said on that evening in 1970, too, was much more important than what was said. While the Black Panthers were committing all kinds of violent mischief, Bernstein (though not “fiddling,” strictly speaking, but rather tickling the ivories and waving a conductor’s baton) was eager to present supporters of Maoist revolution as peaceful partners in a quest for a better world, just as Rabbi Schneier is out to whitewash the religion of jihad. Bernstein and friends bowed and scraped to the Black Power movement in hopes of escaping the firing squad should the Panthers’ hoped-for revolution ever materialize; in the same way, Schneier is on a campaign to dhimmify his flock for, as Chesler rightly puts it, “their own good.” And just like the Bernstein party, the event that Chesler has now immortalized was clearly, in its own way, a sociological study that shines a bright light on (among other things) upper-class New York narcissism and self-congratulation, shameless social climbing, nostalgie de la boue, and a truly repellant condescension toward the purported prejudices (read: legitimate concerns) of the lower orders.
But there’s one major difference between then and now, between the Bernstein party in 1970 and the Islamophobia event in 2012. “Radical Chic” appeared in New York magazine, which was then the Sunday supplement of the Herald-Tribune, New York’s “other” serious newspaper. After the Bernstein party, moreover, the New York Times – believe it or not – actually ran a stern editorial criticizing the Park Avenue elite for romanticizing thugs like the Panthers. Today, which New York establishment media organ would publish a piece like Chesler’s? And need I add that none of us are holding our breaths waiting for a Times editorial denouncing “Combating Islamophobia”?
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