The Conspiracy

Bad move, ADL

The Anti-Defamation League decided on Friday to throw its kippah into the ring by opposing the Cordoba Initiative near Ground Zero, which suggests that the ADL is now working to cause anti-Semitism rather than prevent it.  In a world where Oliver Stone is spewing that “Israel has f*cked up United States foreign policy,” Dutch police are forced to go undercover as Jews and Iran is talking about wiping Israel off the map, don’t we have bigger problems than this–which doesn’t really have anything to do with Judaism?

I understand that this is a contentious issue. Because the 9/11 bombers acted in the name of Islam, people are still associating that religion–and by extension this community center–with terror, even though the Cordoba Initiative has no links to any terrorist organizations.  The problem is that the Cordoba Initiative can’t back down now, despite its inconvenient location; any capitulation to the initiative’s critics will look like surrender to bigotry and to Islamaphobes like bloggers Pamela Geller and Desiree Bernstein.

This is a personal issue for me, as the mosque will be four blocks from my home. I, for one, welcome my new neighbors and respect them deeply. I’ve met with many of the project’s supporters and have found them to be Americans who happen to be Muslims. The initiative’s cleric, Imam Faisul Rauf, is not a radical. If anything, I dislike some of his ideas because I find them to be too liberal, such as his criticism of America’s use of the atomic bomb. I’m also bothered by his refusal to call Hamas a terrorist organization, but I can see where he’s coming from: I have trouble referring to Menachem Begin’s Irgun as a terrorist organization. When did Imam Rauf ever say America had it coming?  To the contrary, I think the Cordoba Initiative is a sign that the terrorists have it coming, a statement that the project’s participants can be American and Muslim at the same time.

So, ADL, thanks but no thanks. The Cordoba Initiative is our friend, not our foe.

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5 Older Responses to “Bad move, ADL”

  1. Judah Ari Gross
    August 1, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    But the Irgun was totally a terrorist organization. Don’t get me wrong, I love Menachem Begin (his face adorns several of my T-shirts, as does Jabotinsky), but there is no way around the fact that he was totally a terrorist for a little while.

  2. Elke Weiss
    August 1, 2010 at 10:52 pm #

    He was, but it’s hard for me to condemn him because I understand his desperation.

  3. David A.M. Wilensky
    August 3, 2010 at 8:35 am #

    I’m astounded by the relativism going on here. It’s okay for terrorists to do what they do when they’re on your side?

  4. Elke Weiss
    August 3, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    I’m saying it’s a lot easier to condemn people who aren’t on your side. Condemning Hamas for Rauf might be complicated because sadly, Hamas also funds a lot of charity organizations. I’m sure he’d be fine condemning the terrorist acts themselves. I’d condemn the actions themselves, but as a Zionist, it’s hard for me not to be sympathetic. Sadly, we can’t all be “moral paragons” and rise above petty politics, I’m the first to admit my love of Israel can blind me to its faults.


  1. No Israel, no harmony « New Voices - September 15, 2010

    […] I truly believe that all people are good. I have spent a lot of my ink here begging people not to hate on the Cordoba Project, a lot of my free time pleading with my fellow Jews to remember many happy years of Muslim/Jewish […]

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