My talk at Adas Israel in Hamilton, sponsored by Never Again Hamilton was not recorded. I was asked to share my talk.
I am going to talk about the relationship Muslims and Jews have toward Progressives. Many Christians behave like the Jews.
The idea for this discussion came to me after I read a piece about liberalism from American Muslim scholar Daniel Haqiqatjou from Houston, Texas, a Harvard graduate with a major in physics and a minor in Philosophy.
In Islam, there is something called shirk (Arabic: شرك širk) It is the sin of practicing idolatry or polytheism, i.e. the deification or worship of anyone or anything besides the singular God, i.e. Allah. Literally, it means ascribing or the establishment of “partners” placed beside God. Shirk is one of the greatest possible offenses in the eyes of Allah. It means, roughly, “polytheism”, and is the opposite of tawhid, which is “monotheism”, the assertion of the absolute oneness of Allah.
Those who practice shirk are termed mushrikun: a polytheist, one who falsely associates (something) with God.
According to several Muslim scholars, liberalism (democracy), is a religion and is in conflict with the teachings of Islam. It is shirk
This is what Haqiqathou wrote about liberalism.
Liberalism is a dangerous religion, ‘distinct from Islam’ Daniel has been sharing his thoughts on liberalism trying to educate the Muslim community on liberalism, and really the dangers of liberalism and how we can critique it.
“ …I justify this in terms of the Quran – as Allah says that he hasn’t made any man with two hearts within him, meaning that you can’t be faithful to two separate faiths, two religions [دين] at the same time.
I do consider liberalism as a ‘deen‘ [دين], as a complete religion and faith even though it’s not considered to be such but we can understand it in that way.
…what’s the God of liberalism? If liberalism is a religion, what would be considered the God of that? I think that really the God of liberalism is the human self…. you’re the one who decides what is acceptable or not as opposed to God or something else.
So the Golden Rule is something that’s found in different forms throughout liberal philosophy classically and even in the present day. What is the golden rule is treat others as you wish to be treated. So if you think about it this treat others as you wish to be treated, so your own moral orientation, your own interests, and what you view as right and wrong and beneficial, you yourself, then that is the criterion for what is in fact proper or correct action. So again it’s very self centered. it’s very self-oriented [نفسي].
Now, think about this idea of “deen.” A complete religion and faith.
I suggest, today that Progressivism, like the Muslims interpretation of liberalism, is a deen. A complete religion and faith that is self-centred.
First, a definition of Progressivism.
“Given the predilection to progress, the past is viewed as an inferior state of existence with various afflictions that wither away over time.”
To put it simply-The past is not something to which one refers in order to go forward. We throw out the past, because it will only hold us back. What does the past have to offer, anyway?
Progressivism-suspending our attachment to the Judeo/Christian ethic that underpins our way of life.-Out with the old and in with the new. Moral and cultural relativism. All about me! Self-centred.
My friend Salim Mansur said it best…
”Liberals (Progressives) are a tribe, and tribalism demands of its members to suspend their critical thinking, their capacity to be skeptical of those in authority, and any remaining instinct to be ethical and value principle over expediency.”
Our Jewish people are not just turning away from Torah, our past, that has over the millennia kept generations of Jews, Jews. The past that is our present and our future. These Jews are leaving Judaism and taking on the new religion “deen” of Progressivism, despite the fact that we, too, are admonished not to have other gods. And once you join Progressivism you have left Judaism. Islam has it right. You cannot honour two gods at the same time. It is shirk.
I have spent years trying to understand why Jews join left wing parties like the Labour Party in Britain and the now the Democrat Party in America, the Liberal and NDP parties in Canada, and BDS, march with Linda Sarsour and stand with Ilhan Omar and Tlaib-defending their anti-Semitic comments, and find common ground with organizations that try to delegitimize Israel.
Following the Holocaust, the Jews were blessed with peace. We have been more tolerated, for want of a better word. And it was good, even very, very good for several generations.
But something has happened. We have collectively chosen to forget the evil of antisemitism. And now it is back. With a hammer. World-wide statistics show Jew hatred is back with a vengeance. And who wants to be hated? Progressives are beloved.
Anti-Semitism is sky-rocketing from the right, and more importantly, from the left. Jew-hatred is rising in Europe. The Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University concludes that:
“Europe’s largest Jewish communities are experiencing a normalization and mainstreaming of antisemitism not seen since the Second World War.” The study blames the surge on “the constant rise of the extreme right, a heated anti- Zionist discourse in the left, accompanied by harsh antisemitic expressions, and radical Islamism.”
In 2017, the Anti-Defamation League found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States rose 57 percent compared to 2016—the largest single-year increase on record and the second-highest number reported since ADL started tracking such data in 1979.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies commissioned a study that found that one in six Canadians express views that could be considered anti-Semitic. Avi Benlolo, the center’s president and CEO, says the Jewish community is the most targeted ethnic community in Canada. The Jewish human-rights advocate B’nai Brith Canada tracks cases of anti-Semitism and says it’s definitely on the rise, with 2016 and 2017 being record-breaking years. Most of the cases involve harassment and most of it occurs online.
Not too long ago journalist Jonathan Kay suggested that B’nai Brith makes up these statistics because he hasn’t faced anti-Semitism, lately.
We are reliving 1939. Too many of our people are ducking and hiding; again; even though we have our Jewish state, again. The ducking and hiding is playing out as it did in the past. Jews standing with the other.
I recently read an article by Izabella Tabarovsky who wrote about the KGB supervised Anti-Zionist Committee of the Soviet Public, which issued a brochure, Criminal Alliance of Zionism and Nazism in 1985. Most of the people involved in this endeavour were prominent Soviet Jews (an intentional choice on the part of the KGB, meant to deflect accusations of antisemitism) who claimed that they had irrefutable proof of Zionist co-operation with the Nazis. They described Zionists as facilitators of Nazi expansionism, accused them of falsely inflating the significance of antisemitism and Jewish victimhood in World War II, and claimed that the 1930s agreement that permitted the transfer of 60,000 German Jews to Palestine had made it ‘easier for the Nazis to unleash World War II.’ They claimed that Zionists had colluded ‘in the genocide against the “Slavs, Jews and some other peoples of Europe”.’ Speakers concluded by rejecting, in advance, any attempts by ‘pro-Zionist press’ to represent the committee’s assertions as antisemitic; they disassociated Zionists from Jews; and promised that Zionism would never succeed in repudiating the ‘historical reality’ of cooperation between the Zionists and the Nazis.
Seems we have a history of forgetting our sense of peoplehood. Of standing together. Am Yisrael.
Mazin AbdulAdhim, a prominent Canadian Muslim scholar affiliated with Hizb ut-Tahrir Canada (based in London, ON), spoke about the Ummah peoplehood. These are his words.
“The Muslims are one nation to the exclusion of all others. This does not mean that the others don’t get rights, but it has to do with the concept of one ‘Ummah‘ (Muslim nation), that everywhere in the world. That’s why when we see what happens in New Zealand [Christchurch mosque shootings on March 15, 2019], you’ve hundreds of thousands of Muslims all around the world praying ‘janaza’ (funeral service) for them. You have all the Muslims of the world connecting, what’s happening there… But wherever we are in the world our loyalty is back to the central concept of one one ‘Ummah‘ (Muslim nation). Our loyalty is to the ‘Khilafah‘ (Caliphate or Islamic State) if it exists and to the ‘Khilafah‘ (Caliphate or Islamic State) if it doesn’t exist. Our vision of what the ‘Khilafah‘ (Caliphate or Islamic State) is and what we are working towards remains and it’s going to be re-established ‘inshallah’ [Allah Willing] ,and our loyalty must remain with it whether it’s present or absent, because this is only thing we are allowed to have loyalty towards, the full implementation of Islam.”
Then I read this just a few days into the Hamas attack on Israel, from Junaid DeenCanada
**Share if you care** Thank you [prime minister] Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer [leader of the Conservative party] for the Ramadan wishes. And thank you for supporting the Israeli airstrikes on the innocent people of Gaza (special thanks to Chrystia Freeland [Minister of Foreign Affairs] and the Canadian corporate media). And thank you Muslims for sharing Ramadan wishes from Zionist politicians. Until our Ummah [Muslim nation] upholds courage, principles, loyalty, dignity, and intelligence as defined in the Qur’an and Seerah [the Prophetic Biography], we will continue to see humiliation.
After hearing these comments, can you imagine any Muslim saying Kaddish for a Jews killed in Israel?
But we have Jews who say Kaddish for terrorists. This is Hilhul Hashem.
Remember in cities around the world “Jews” defended and said Kaddish for Hamas terrorists killed by the IDF as these terrorists tried to break the border between Israel and Gaza, in May 2018, leading up to the May 14 when the United States moved their embassy to Jerusalem. “Rabbi” Leah Jordan was proud to be the rabbi that led the British group in Kaddish prayer.
Here are their names. Remember to forget.
Jake Cohen, Sam Alston, Amos Schonfield, Charlotte Nichols, Charlotte Fischer, Joseph Finlay, Maya Ilany, Ella Janner-Klausner and Rabbi Leah Jordan. Daniel Mackintosh, Jon Roiser Rob Abrams, Rachel Diamond-Hunter: Simon Lovick, Nina Morris, Evans Abigail Morris. Josh Martin.
Jake Cohen, responded to criticism of saying Kaddish with the following statement:
Our tradition instructs us that on Pesach we should reduce our cup of wine to mourn the suffering inflicted on the Egyptians. A Midrash is told in my family at this point, that when G-d heard the angels celebrating the drowning of the Egyptian army in the sea, G-d declared “How can you celebrate? Don’t you see they are my creations too?” When did we abandon this concept of Btselem Elohim, that we are all made in G-d’s image? When did we as a community decide to stop mourning the pain of the other, even our enemies?
He left out part of the Midrash. Oh look…#FakeNews-the omission of facts.
God, worried about the Egyptians coming after the newly freed Jewish slaves, drowned them in the sea as they tried to reach the Jewish people and kill them. GOD KILLED THE EGYPTIANS. He said do not rejoice at their death for we are all God’s children. DO NOT REJOICE. He did not say to save them or mourn over them.
Here in Hamilton you have “Rabbi” and I use the term loosely Lucia Pizarro, from the Jewish Liberation Theology Institute and IJV Spiritual and Cultural Network who promoted:
BRING THE PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM TO YOUR PASSOVER SEDER!
The Seders we have developed commemorate the struggle for freedom of the Palestinian people. Instead of focusing solely on telling our freedom story of the exodus from Egypt, we also tell the story of the struggle for liberation of Palestine. We offer the space to Palestinian voices from all walks of life to tell their own stories in their own words. We go through all the rituals of the Haggadah and savour the organic Jewish, Palestinian, North American, Muslim, Christian, dinner party that follows.
And Rabbi David Mivasair, again I use the term loosely promote this retelling of Jewish history. He also supports Ilhan Omar and Linda Sarsour.
These Progressives have taken up the talking points of the left. Not only taken them up- they have formed organizations like the Jewish Liberation Theology Institute, Independent Jewish Voices, Bend the Arc, IfNotNow, Jewish Voice for Peace, B’Tselem, that choose to attack Israel as a pariah country filled with people who prey on innocent children at the border, and keep Muslims in open air concentration camps. Think about that. They have chosen to believe the worst about our people. They have projected the real evil against the Jews…on the Jews.
Where is Freud when you need him?
These Progressive Jews have culturally appropriated, and then abused our sacred teachings about social justice introduced 3500 years ago by the Jewish people; revealed in the desert, no man’s land, to symbolize that these teachings belong to all.
Let’s talk a bit about IfNotNow. Like those who abused the story of the Exodus, this organization has taken the words of Rabbi Hillel and twisted them into a meaning that could lead to the destruction, not only of Israel, but western culture.
“If I am not for myself, who will be (individual responsibility)? But if I am only for myself, what am I (collective responsibility)?” If not now when?
These are the same people who claimed Birthright was working against Jewish morality.” and that it was time “to stop American-Jewish support for the occupation.”
IfNotNow Toronto also organized a ceremony “in commemoration of Palestinians who were killed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) during the Great Return March, a weekly violent riot along the northern and eastern borders of the Gaza Strip with Israel.” They got one fact right. They were violent riots that included burning Jewish farmland. It appears that in the eyes of IfNotNow, Jewish lives do not matter.
Ifnotnow has decided that we are supposed to care for those in need even when they call for our destruction. Others over ourselves. This was never the teachings of Hillel. This is suicide by Torah abuse. It is suicide by democracy where we abuse our values of tolerance and inclusion to the point that we tolerate and include intolerance.
So we come once again to the question why?
I used to compare Progressive Jews, Jew-hating Jews, like the members of If not now/Bend the Arc /J street Jews/ Jewish Voice for Peace to Kapos, the Jews in the concentration camps who put Jewish bodies in the crematoria.
No, these modern day Jews are far worse. The kapos had no real choice. They lived in the moral grey zone. They wanted to live. Choose life says our Torah. You cannot honour God from the grave.
I should never have made that comparison and I want to apologize to the descendants of the Kapos. These Progressive Jews are in a crowd of their own. They are weak.
They have internalized the cultural meme of fear. Richard Dawkins explained that cultural memes can be transmitted in our DNA the same way as the colour of eyes. The Jewish people have been attacked for millennia for the crime of being Jewish. Ducking, hiding, acculturating assimilating. These traits have been passed down. There will be in every generation Jews who fear.
Like so many people today, Progressives have the need to be part of GroupThink. Perhaps it is a numbers game. Feelings have become ever so important, today. Our children want to be liked or loved or included. Not tormented on social media. There are 7 billion people on the planet. 2 billion are Christian and Catholic, 1.8 billion are Muslim, 14 million are Jews. We are so small because we have been persecuted, prosecuted, pogromed, ghettoized, expelled, forced to convert, inquisitioned and then the ultimate act of depravity; put into ovens while the rest of the world stood by watching in silence. It’s hard to be included today if you stand with Israel. Especially on campus. You require a strong moral compass to fight identity politics. You require self-respect.
Truth be told, we should be identified as victims! We are one of the smallest minorities in the world; I often think that if we were under the protection of the World Wildlife Fund we would be declared an endangered species and be provided with a safe habitat.
And then there is Jewish guilt-used against our own Jewish people.
I think people like Bernie Sanders, Noam Chomsky, Natalie Portman, Sarah Silverman and her sister, a Reform Rabbi, Bernie Farber, and orgqanizations like J Street Jews, Jewish Voice for Peace, The New Israel Fund, B’Tselem, use Jewish guilt against our own people so great is their need to be loved in this world of intersectionality. I think they have internalized the guilt others have thrown on them for being “privileged” and “white” which we are not, and not being “caring enough” about everyone else, is that not what we teach-care for the other– when almost everyone else does not show the same care for the Jews!
It is an abuse of Jewish guilt. Using guilt to make Jews feel bad about the fact that we have a state. How dare we? As they accuse of us being occupiers and colonizers.
And then there are the two generations of Jews who have been raised on the lies and deceits spread about the Two-State solution that would lead to peace-for land.
Remember this: On Sept. 13, 1993, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin met on the White House lawn with US President Bill Clinton and signed the Declaration of Principles (Oslo I Accord). Rabin said at that time:
“We have no desire for revenge. We harbor no hatred towards you. We, like you, are people who want to build a home, to plant a tree, to love, live side by side with you – in dignity, in empathy, as human beings, as free men. We are today giving peace a chance and again saying to you: Let us pray that a day will come when we will say, enough, farewell to arms.”
Despite terror attacks, Rabin continued to push forward in the name of peaceful co-existence by signing the Interim Agreement (Oslo II) in September, 1995. Today there are still those who call for a two-state solution when one side has said they only want one- Another Muslim country.
And we are at fault. We have not instilled love of Israel, of Zionism, of Judaism in our young people because we have lived in a world of relative peace for Jews since the Holocaust. Haven’t been too many pogroms lately. How quickly we forget. This is the reason we need to retell the story, every year at Passover, of the deliverance of the Jews from slavery by the hand of God. To remind us that freedom is fragile. That there is no guarantee that we will remain free. It is Torah, the Jewish ethic that keeps us safe. All of us in the west.
We are failing our youth. We are not teaching our children our Jewish history. We are not teaching them to be Lions of Judah-proud Jews who have not only survived millennia of attacks, but thrived. While Progressives embrace victimology, a race to the bottom, Jews do not. We are not victims because we are told to choose life!
I wish I had the solution to the hemorrhaging of Jews to Progressivism. I don’t.
I do think we should consider taking a page from Islam about shirk and deen.
I have other suggestions: first and I cannot say this enough.
We need to educate our children with facts and teach how to advocate-Hasbara!
I am a proud board member of Hasbara Fellowships Canada. This organization, of three full time staff, trains university students to advocate for Israel. We send about 30 students per year to Israel for a 17 day intensive training programme all paid for by donations. These students go on to lead others at 25 universities across Canada and when they graduate many of them continue to advocate –some are professors, others are lawyers-who work pro-bono. Hasbara is constantly working behind the scenes-taking people and universities to court for antisemitism. Hasbara has just started a new programme for high school students as hate has reached there, too.
I also follow Honest Reporting Canada; Michael Fegelman-a one man offensive against anti-Semitic Fake News. Without this work too many anti-Semitic journalists and publications would run free with hate.
I am telling this to you because there are many organizations that ask for financial support. These two are small but mighty. Think about it when you make your donations.
Most importantly, we need to teach Israel’s legal rights from the Levy report. We must acquaint our people with the facts about our legal and historical rights to the land. READ The Jewish People’s Rights to the Land of Israel by Salomon Benzimra, a brilliant man who died on the plane on his way home from Israel. I had the pleasure of knowing Salomon. He had spent the last seven years of this life immersing himself in the legal intricacies of Israel’s borders and rights. He followed in the footsteps of the late Howard Grief, and Edmund Levy, former Supreme Court justice, who prepared his report on Israel’s legal rights under International law at the behest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2013. These men had hoped to stop the accusations of “occupier” and “apartheid” that are based on a spurious, fictitious narrative of a people that does not exist, and of a state that was never legally declared.
I was in Israel with Salomon and Goldi Steiner to push the need for better education in Israel of her legal rights. After our meeting with the deputy minister of foreign affairs,Tzipi Hotovely, Salomon and I began work on a piece for The Jerusalem Post. I wanted to title the piece to be “J’accuse the Israeli government of crimes against humanity,” crimes against its own people. Salomon, following in the footsteps of his biblical namesake, Israel’s most humble and brilliant leader, said, “No, that would be cruel.”
Instead he said I should accuse the Israeli government of “protracted negligence and dereliction of duty,” because it had had an opportunity to proclaim its rights in 2013 and perhaps stop the murder of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora which are constantly justified by the UN and the EU as being the result of the “occupation.”
In the words of Salomon Benzimra
“Tell the world there will be no negotiating until the territorial sovereignty of Israel and Judea Samaria is no longer questioned.”
When armed with facts we are unbeatable because facts are the backbone of our history and give us the strength to fight back against the feeling based diatribes.
But I think if we are going to bring Progressives back we need to remind them of the extraordinary history of our people.
We must remind our Jewish people of the honour in which we have been and are held by others.
According to historical documents the Puritans who first came to America brought the Hebrew Bible with them sharing the concepts of the prophets, lawgivers, and sages of Israel providing the framework for the newly established democracy.
Universities including Harvard, Yale, Columbia (formerly King’s College) University of Chicago, and William and Mary taught Hebrew Scripture; the morals and values it contained that would underpin all documents. The colonists believed in the need for
“the imposition of an outside code of laws… In them, the colonists felt, was to be found democracy as they understood it. The “Mosaic rulings…were used as a supreme authority when any occasion arose that required the citation of a precedent.”
Leaders like George Washington and John Adams influential in the writing of the documents of freedom for the new America were steeped in the teaching of the Jewish people.
John Adams , a member of the Declaration of Independence committee and second president of the United States (1797–1801), understood the deep connection between ethical monotheism and freedom:
“I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. If I were an atheist of the other sect, who believe or pretend to believe that all is ordered by chance, I should believe that chance had ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty, sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be a great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization.”
“The Jew is that sacred being that was brought down from Heaven, the everlasting fire and illuminates with it the entire world.”
The English historian A.L. Rowes, a fellow at Oxford University wrote:
“if there is any honor in all the world I should like it would be to be an honorary Jewish citizen.”
And Thomas Cahill wrote an entire book The Gift of the Jews.
Charles Krauthammer, “Z”L” Of blessed memory.
“Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity. It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago. You dig the soil and you find pottery from Davidic times, coins from Bar Kokhba, and 2,000-year-old scrolls written in a script remarkably like the one that today advertises ice cream at the corner candy store.”
I end with the words of Rabbi Sacks:
“…non-Jews respect Jews who respect Judaism. They are embarrassed by Jews who are embarrassed by Judaism. Never be ambivalent about who and what you are.”
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”