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Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Mannie Sherberg
A brilliant satire, Yael. Whether it also proves provocative, I cannot say. If by "provocation" you mean "stimulating thought and discussion," it will surely do that. If by "provocation" you mean "stirring up a hornets' nest," I see no reason why it should -- but I plainly am not, say, Pam Geller, who may have a very differnt view. We all bring our own biases to whatever we read -- and my bias at this moment is definitely pro-Perry. I say "at this moment" because, if Paul Ryan or Rudy Giulani were to enter the race, I might switch my commitment. I haven't given the matter serious thought, and I won't unless one of the other two guys declares his candidacy. For the moment, Perry is my man. I say that with no trepidation whatsoever. It is possible, I admit, that I and the Israelis who gave Perry the Defender of Jerusalem award and the writer for the Jerusalem Post who wrote yesterday that Perry is a "friend of Israel" and the Orthodox Jews in Texas who are among his supporters are all dupes and shlemiels -- possible but not likely. Beyond that, I can only say that your if-the-shoe-were-on-the-other-foot experiment is a terrific idea -- and we all might be better off if we tried it ourselves occasionally. Many thanks.
yeshiva son
I don't understand this at all. You can't draw a distinction between "Islam per se" and "sharia law and jihad," because the latter is an integral part of the former. Also, the comparison of Judaism to Islam is awful. If Judaism in fact preached and practiced Jihad, then yes, such an article would be appropriate. But it doesn't; Islam does.
Mannie, I did mean "provocative" in terms of stimulating further thought and discussion. I had enough hornet's nest yesterday, and certainly did not post this to create more friction. // YS, I agree with you about the fundamental differences between Judaism and Islam, of course. My point, though, is that Government, Government in America, or Government officials (like governors or presidents) in this country may not, and don't have to, understand all those differences on the deep level that we do. I am opposed to the idea that presidents or presidential candidates (or even the local sheriff) should be in the business of making judgements about religions. Daniel wanted to know what Perry's position is "on Islam," but I don't think government officials - at least in this country - should TAKE positions on religions. It seems to me that if it's okay to ask of Perry his position "on Islam," then some other candidate or official could (and would) be asked their position "on Judaism." And when you put the shoe on that foot, it's scarey. Certainly our government has to take a position on jihad and sharia because they are THREATS to our safety and the rule of law. And while Islam is obviously the origin of those threats, I think Government would be WAY overstepping its bounds to address it in those terms. Don't you think that it would threaten all religions - as well as religious people and practices - if in their official governmental capacities, people started taking public positions "on {a religion}"?? Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't want government officials taking a position on MY religion, so how could it be alaright if they take a "position" on another? Sure, fine, take a strong position against the pursuit of jihad &/or sharia law, but I think it matters hugely HOW that's treated, and should be treated in terms of actions, not simply religious identity. Once you start treating Muslims differently than Jews or Christians UNDER THE LAW, or in official capacity, then I think we're all sunk. I do hope that makes sense?
Mannie Sherberg
Yeshiva Son -- You're correct: sharia and jihad are integral to Islam just as Torah and halacha are integral to Judaism. But as I read the post, it's trying to make a larger point: Just as one of us could take some of Governor Perry's statements about Islam as evidence that he is insidiously trying to advance and strengthen Islam in the United States, someone else could take his statements and behavior toward Jews and the State of Israel as evidence that he is insidiously trying to advance and strengthen Judaism in the United States. Thus, depending on one's point of view, one could ultimately depict Governor Perry as a fifth-columnist working on behalf of the global jihad or as a fifth-columnist working on behalf of the "Elders of Zion." In the end, of course, all of this is less about reality than it is about the uses and abuses of rhetoric. This post reminds us of something many of us too easily forget: Language -- as the doctrine of lashon hara teaches us -- is a two-edged sword that can -- if used carelessly or with wrongful intent -- easily prove lethal.
YS, I had another thought. The fact that you thought it was so AWFUL to see Judaism substituted for Islam, proves my point. It may not bother us when it's done to "them," but you turn that same approach around and direct it toward us instead, then you can see how awful it is. I did that because I felt strongly that Daniel's framing his discussion in terms of "Islam" opened the door, gave a kind of permission, for the same to be done to others - in this case, US. You can't start asking that government or its representatives discriminate among religions, and start taking "positions" on them. To me, that's really scarey stuff, which is what I meant to illustrate. Rick Perry, in his capacity as governor of TX, dealt with Christians, Jews and yes, Muslims equally openly. I don't see that he had much choice, and I certainly don't think he should be criticized for "celebrating Islam" any more than he should be criticized for "celebrating Judaism" simply because it's his job to deal with ALL Texans, and if elected, it would be his job to deal with ALL Americans, not just non-Muslim Americans. I think we Jews have good reason to identify and call out religious bigotry when we see it, because we know better than anyone the horrendous destruction it can lead to. No?
"...and I certainly don't think he should be criticized for 'celebrating Islam' any more than he should be criticized for 'celebrating Judaism' simply because..." Spoken like King Manesseh.

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