The Anti-Defamation League decided on Friday to throw its kippah into the ring by opposing theÂ Cordoba Initiative near Ground Zero, which suggests that the ADL is now workingÂ toÂ cause anti-Semitism rather than prevent it.Â Â In a world where Oliver Stone is spewing that “Israel has f*cked up United States foreign policy,”Â 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.Â Â The problem is that the Cordoba Initiative canâ€™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. Iâ€™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,Â Imam Faisul Rauf, is not a radical. If anything, IÂ dislikeÂ 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 hisÂ 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.Â When did Imam Rauf ever say America had it coming?Â 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.