IsraPundit

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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

April 14, 2003

Who's right?

What follows is my reply to a letter I received from a well meaning supporter of Israel, which is set out below.

Please join the discussion.

Hello Ben Ami

I really am surprised that you think that "from an interfaith co-existence viewpoint it [IsraPundit] is blighted with blanket slander of Islam.". I am surprised because we do not slander Islam. You didn't cite any examples of what you consider to be "blanket slander"., so I can't refute your allegations in any specific way.

To call a terrorist a terrorist is not to slander him. To be slanderous, it must be a lie. The truth isn't slander.

"References to Islam on this site are defamatory and will only add fuel to fire - by providing defensive justifications for further hatred and violence, and creating loyalty dilemmas for more moderate Muslims. "

This smacks of "cycle of violence" crap. I totally reject that notion. The Arabs are attacking, Israel is defending. I am also against political correctness but I am for correctness.

While I am in favour of "interfaith co-existence" the Arabs are clearly not. If you want us to ignore the hatred and incitement emanating from the Arab media and mosques in the service of interfaith co-existence, forget it. What the Arabs do is totally unacceptable . They need to be held accountable. If you want me to be tolerant of intolerance, you've come to the wrong place.

I totally disagree with Leftist Jews who are more concerned with what Israelis are doing to the Arabs, which in my opinion is totally acceptable, and not concerned with what the Arabs are doing to Jews, which is outrageous.

Appeasement is "a dangerous and counter-productive strategy, and beneath our dignity." but standing up to the Arabs, as you suggest, is not.

It is not the job of the Jews to interpret Islam for the Muslims nor "to help steer Muslims to rediscovery of the best practices of classic Islamic teachings". How presumptuous of you.

I couldn't care less how many angels dance on a pin or whether there are clauses in the Koran that put forward tolerant principles. I only care for what they do. This is the reality of Islam. Useful idiots ignore what fascists do in favour of what their doctrine espouses. I am not one of them. The Left still hasn't rejected Communism no matter how great a calamity it caused.

If I sound angry I am. I wanted to show a little passion. This is visceral and not academic. I don't reject you, just these ideas. Do not take it personally.

I am going to post your letter and my reply and hope everyone weighs in with their own opinions.

Hello Ted,

Thanks again for the ZOA URL with its invaluable Road Map info. Much appreciated.
Thanks also for the Israpundit URL, for different reasons - perhaps to stimulate some strategic and tactical dialogue.

So here goes my take on this site:

With all due respect to the effort and dedication required to launch and sustain an advocacy effort of the scope of Israpundit, although this site provides much useful information, from an interfaith co-existence viewpoint it is is blighted with blanket slander of Islam.

Between 1/5th and 1/4 of the world's population are Muslims. Islam is not about to disappear. References to Islam on this site are defamatory and will only add fuel to fire - by providing defensive justifications for further hatred and violence, and creating loyalty dilemmas for more moderate Muslims. I have seen Muslim condemnations of both Judaism and Christianity, based on similar, ignorant, out-of-context quotes and reasoning - that spring from the need to find anything that will support a priori intolerant positions. In my opinion, this sort of material does not wholesomely represent Israel's record for religious tolerance and respect, nor Judaism's tenets for either human interaction or our intellectual standards. It strikes me as a dangerous and counter-productive strategy, and beneath our dignity. Tactically, I can't support it.

Does Islam currently suffer from rampant fanaticism and gross ignorance of that faith's teachings and theological jurisprudence? Unquestionably. I think that it is better to point to the modern origins of this, its perpetrators and their faulty rationales - and to those in the Islamic world who are theologically equipped to present the necessary irrefutable counter-arguments. A realistic advocacy aim may be to help steer Muslims to rediscovery of the best practices of classic Islamic teachings. I suggest that by using qualifiers such as fanaticised Islam, distorted form of Islam etc. and avoiding blanket condemnations, we can score far more points - and also act to promote the likelihood of Islamic reform.

I would be interested to know what everyone's thoughts are in this regard.

Bat-Ami