Posts Tagged ‘Jews’

The French and Israeli parliaments should govern their own countries, and leave it to people without sin to conclude whether Turks are guilty of genocide

December 26, 2011

 

It’s much more satisfying to point out somebody else’s sins than own up to our own. Thus a year ago the US House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a non-binding resolution calling on US policy and President Barack Obama to refer formally to the World War I mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as a “genocide.” No need to bother about American treatment of native Americans or of enslaved black Africans. The bill never went further, as sensible heads prevailed.

But Russia, France, and a dozen other nations have labeled the mass killing of Armenians a genocide. It’s more comfortable to fling the label at Turkey than to consider, for example France’s war on Algerians or Russia’s slaughter of Jews, Ukrainians, Chechnians, and even Russian serfs. And it plays well with ethnic Armenian voters in the Armenian diaspora, who outnumber actual Armenians by three to one.

Now the lower house of the French parliament has voted to make it a crime, punishable by one-year imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros ($60,000), to deny the so-called “Armenian genocide.” The French Senate is likely to take up the bill next year.

Israel too is getting into the act, now that its relations with Turkey have chilled. The Israeli Parliament just today held its first public debate on whether to declare Turkey guilty of genocide. (Actually the killings were perpetrated under the Ottoman Empire in 1915, prior to the formation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.) The Israeli National Security Council is trying to stop the Parliament from debating the issue in hopes that ties with Turkey can still be salvaged.

An ethicist who is also a Turkophile is conflicted. Was it genocide? (more…)

Alabama Gov. Bentley apologizes–more or less

January 20, 2011

 

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley apologized—sort of—for his Martin Luther King, Jr day speech, in which he appeared to embrace fellow evangelicals as “my brothers and my sisters,” but to exclude everybody else.

The Associated Press reports that Bentley met for an hour with members of Alabama’s Jewish community and afterward told reporters he meant no insult with his words.

“What I would like to do is apologize. Should anyone who heard those words and felt disenfranchised, I want to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ If you’re not a person who can say you are sorry, you’re not a very good leader,” Bentley said.

Bentley’s apology seems to have been agreeably received by local Jewish and Muslim leaders, but it would have been better had he regretted what he said rather than that some people “felt disenfranchised” upon hearing it.

 

Alabama’s governor of all the people, as long as “you’re a Christian and if you’re saved”— no insult intended to Jews, Muslims, atheists, Hindus, and others

January 18, 2011

 

Alabama’s Governor Robert Bentley gave a rousing Martin Luther King, Jr day speech at the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, where the late civil rights leader once was pastor. He told Alabamians that it was important ”that we love and care for each other.” He went on to proclaim, ”I think that Dr. Martin Luther King was one of the greatest men that has ever lived.”

Bentley said that even though he was a Republican he was governor of all the people. Except…maybe…

“There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit. But if you have been adopted in God’s family like I have, and like you have if you’re a Christian and if you’re saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister.”

 

”Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”

Bentley later explained, ”We’re not trying to insult anybody.” Not trying, but succeeding.

 

NPR fires Juan Williams for anti-Muslim comments: intolerance, political correctness, or a stand against bigotry?

October 21, 2010

 

“Juan Williams, Martyr to Tolerance.” That’s the title of a provocative Ethics Alarms piece by Jack Marshall. Juan Williams was fired by NPR for saying this on to Bill O’Reilly on Fox News:

“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

Marshall excoriates NPR’s action as the intolerable “intolerance of the self-righteous heralds of toleration.”

I’m conflicted over this one. I don’t think Juan Williams should have been fired, but I find his statement very unfair, and somewhere between ignorant and bigoted.

Ignorant, because Muslims wear all kinds of garb, including the sporty American look that the 9/11 hijackers apparently tried to present. Bigoted, because it’s bigotry to assign stereotypical characteristics to individuals, whether to assume that Jews are money-grubbing, that Irish are drunks, that black men are sex-crazed, or that evangelical Christians are gay-bashers.

For Americans in 2010 it’s particularly hurtful to stereotype Muslims as terrorists, as many on the political right are now doing. A scary portion of the population is buying into the idea of Muslims as “other.” It’s horribly unfair to people who are (more…)

Open Season on Muslims? Here in America? Read on.

August 23, 2010

Racial and religious prejudice and defamation will always be with us, although they are growing less acceptable socially. Call someone a nigger or dago or spic or kike and you’re out of the game. Write about how Jews control the banks and the media, or how the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has destroyed our schools and nice people will come down hard on you. But these same nice people have no such compunctions about spreading hateful misinformation about Muslims.

I got such an email just this morning, from a very nice person. It’s subject line was “Life is a Journey, Not a guided tour,” and it forwarded something called “Jihad watch, Islam Explained in Layman’s terms.”

I’m uncomfortable repeating the vile race-hatred but people need to see what’s circulating virally on the internet and through our society. So here are some of the “explanations,” quotes truncated but—I promise—all in context:

  • “Islam is not a religion, nor is it a cult. In its fullest form, it is a complete, total, 100% system of life. Islam has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. The religious component is a beard for all of the other components…
  • “Islamization begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges…
  • “As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will be for the most part be regarded as a peace-loving minority…
  • “At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and (more…)

Jews, Muslims, history, and the mosque “at” ground Zero

August 9, 2010

I came home from my tenth grade history class and announced, “Today we learned about the fall of Christian Constantinople to the Muslim Ottomans, and what a tragedy it was.” My father corrected me; “Not for the Jews, it wasn’t.” He went on to explain that the Ottoman Sultan, Beyazit I, in 1492 invited all the Jews of Spain, just expelled by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, to come live in peace in the Ottoman Empire, then the world’s most powerful. Thousands did, and lived peacefully and prosperously there for centuries, to this day.

Jews and Muslims have gotten on well for most of the time since the days of Mohammed, who honored Jews as “people of the book.” It’s easy today, looking at the enmity between Israel and some of her neighbors, to forget that Jewish culture thrived as never before or since in the “golden age of Jewish culture” in Muslim-ruled Spain, or that the Muslim Beyazit rescued the Jews of Spain and Portugal. Even the Jewish-Muslim conflict in the Middle East is over land, not religion.

So it’s nice to see so many Jews standing up for the rights of American Muslims to build Cordoba House, a community center with prayer area, 2-1/2 blocks from New York’s Ground Zero. NBC News reported, “Jewish Leaders Gather to Support Ground Zero Mosque.”

And Washington’s Jewish Week criticized the position of the Anti-Defamation League (more…)


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