Why are rabbis amongst us supporting the Ground Zero Mosque?
“Multiculturalism has utterly failed. . . .For years we've been deceiving ourselves.” Recent pronouncement of German Chancellor Merkel.
"Radical Islam is a clear and present danger to America."
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on July 29, 2010 at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC.
These statements by German Chancellor Merkel and Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich serve as dire warnings to Westerners about the threat that we face in the terror war, yet many of our national and community leaders and clergy refuse to absorb the message, thereby representing the troubling and pathological phenomenon of denial in our society.
Our leadership fails to understand that our gestures of kindness and accommodation are interpreted as signs of weakness by the Islamic world. Peace cannot be created with forces who do not share our common values. And it is vital to stress: we are not fighting with Muslims; we are fighting with Islamic ideology. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stated it accurately when he said, "there is no such thing as moderate Islam vs. radical Islam, there is only Islam." If there are moderates, they remain largely irrelevant because they either remain silent or they do not have influential positions in leadership.
When the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston Mosque preached picking up the sword and fighting the infidel to rule our nation, Charles Jacobs, a prominent Jewish community leader, exposed the problems associated with the backers of the Mosque. Several of them have been convicted of fraud. Yet, in support of the Mosque, Rabbi Eric Gurvis and 70 other rabbis from Massachusetts blamed Jacobs for his comments rather than allow the truth to be known.
New York Rabbi Joy Levitt of Manhattan JCC and Rabbi Michael Friedland of South Bend, Indiana are major supporters of the mosque in New York. They ignore the fact that the planned mosque is actually part of Ground Zero. The building was condemned due to major damage caused by the fuselage of one of the terrorist planes. They also ignore that during Islamic domination, mosques were purposely built over the ruins of destroyed churches and Synagogues as a symbol of victory -- like the mosque in Cordoba, Spain, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
In the Los Angeles area, home to the second largest Jewish community in the United States, many rabbis including Jonathan Klein, Steven Jacobs and Reuven Firestone support the Ground Zero Mosque. Rabbis Neil Comess-Daniels and Steven Carr Reuben, on the two holiest days in Judaism, chose overtly political sermons in support of the Ground Zero Mosque and the virtues of Islam.
Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple, the spiritual leader of one of the largest Conservative congregations in the United States, has been made aware, most recently by Morton Klein, President of ZOA, the Zionist Organization of America, about problems with Dr. Maher Hathout, a leading spokesperson for the American Muslim community. Hathout is co-founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and one of the founders of -- and senior advisor to -- the Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC). He supports attacks on Israel by the terrorist group Hezbollah and has called Israel a land of “butchers” and a system of “racist apartheid.” In January 2008, Hathout gave his Friday sermon on the “Tragedy in Gaza,” and defended Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel’s civilian communities.
Despite these matters being brought to the attention of Rabbi Wolpe, he has not taken a position of protecting the Jewish Community from such hateful commentary. He even had the Sinai Akiba 7th graders visit the Islamic Center in Los Angeles for a first-hand experience and the youngsters were lectured by no less than Dr. Hathout himself.
This is troublesome, particularly since at this moment in history, fanatics rule Islam. Fanatics wage wars worldwide and systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa. Fanatics bomb, behead, murder and honor-kill. Fanatics zealously insist on stoning and hanging adulterers, rape victims and homosexuals. It is these fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.
The aim of Muslim Brotherhood front organizations in the United States, like CAIR, MAS, ICNA and ISNA is to "eliminate and destroy Western civilization from within, and sabotage its miserable house...so that Allah's religion is made victorious over other religions." The popular slogan, “Islam is a Religion of Peace” is contradicted by the more than 17,000 worldwide attacks -- done in the name of Islam. Koranic verses 8:38-40, 9:28-29, 9:5, 24:55 and many other verses confirm why these attacks are carried out.
Devout Muslims follow the Qur'an, Hadith and Sira, and live by Sharia (Islamic Law), which is fundamentally incompatible with our constitution despite comments to the contrary by Imam Rauf of the Ground Zero Mosque. The public is being seriously misled by Islamists who obscure the true nature of Shariah and engage in deliberate deception (taqiyya) to facilitate the penetration of their doctrine into Western societies. During his trial, the Times Square bomber told the judge that he did swear allegiance to the US for his naturalization, but that he lied. Fort Hood's Colonel Hassan didn't hide his strong feelings in support of Jihad yet his superiors chose to ignore all warning signs. He ended up killing 14 people.
In addition to leaders and rabbis, organizations like the Progressive Jewish Alliance and J Street, with the help of George Soros, are also actively trying to undermine Israel's survival, safety and security.
In June 2010, J Street penned a letter signed by 400 clergy from around the country and placed it as a full page ad in The Forward, declaring that Israel should end "its counter-productive blockade." Several rabbis from Los Angeles signed it, including Rabbis Elliott Dorf, Aryeh Cohen of the American Jewish University, John Rosove of Temple Israel of Hollywood, Richard N Levy, director of Rabbinic Studies at Hebrew Union College, and Cantors from Temple Isaiah and Temple Israel. They opposed accepted legal, international, UN and maritime standards for a naval blockade, preventing Hamas delivering weapons to be used against Israel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu recently stated: "The International community must condemn attacks on Israel. ... All those ... committed to peace should support Israel's right to defend itself against those who attack the innocent and seek to destroy peace."
Yet, tragically, many American Jews and community leaders from the comfort of their privileged lives, where they do not face daily threats and rockets from surrounding areas, have the audacity to tell Israelis how to run their country.
In a public address, Hamas leader Khaled Mash'al, on Al-Jazeera TV on August 2, 2010, stated: "We will adhere to Jihad, to the resistance, and to the gun. Independent decision-making is defended by the gun. It is formed in the battlefield, and it reflects the will of the people."
Where is the outcry of our leaders, when we hear the above or Abbas pronounce, "I am willing to agree to a third party that would supervise the agreement, such as NATO forces, but I would not agree to having Jews among the NATO forces, or ...among us even a single Israeli on Palestinian land." What part of this statement do they not understand?
While we do rely on our leaders to guide us appropriately, it is also the responsibility of the public to become informed. Sinai Temple in Los Angeles has a large number of Iranian born members who were expelled or forced out of their country and experienced persecution and atrocities first-hand. Yet the majority chooses to remain silent even when false or incorrect news creep into sermons, lectures or presentations. Silence is our enemy.
Prophet Isaiah 49:17 warned, "Thy destroyers and thy demolishers shall go forth from thee." We must not let our destruction emerge from within. We must learn from history so we do not repeat it.
Susanne M. Reyto is a speaker and award winning author of Pursuit of Freedom: A True Story of the Enduring Power of Hope and Dreams. Her horrific personal experiences of surviving Nazism and Communism in Hungary energize her mission. Her website is www.pursuitoffreedom.com and she can be reached at Susanne@pursuitoffredom.com.