Can 75 Rabbis be Wrong?

by D.L. ADAMS, DR. BILL WARNER June 14, 2010
Our current crisis of meaning, morals and ethics has been developing for decades. The cause of this crisis is open to debate; but now, because of a resurgent Islam and its doctrinally mandated Jihad expansionism/violence/supremacism/intolerance, the crisis is existential.
 
Without Islam in the equation this cultural crisis in America would be the subject of debate and often hot discussions but because of Islam, we are in an existential crisis that few apparently can comprehend even after 9/11, Madrid, Bali, hundreds of attacks in Israel, Kenyan embassies, Mumbai (including the horrific murder of the Chabad Rabbi and his wife), London, Fort Hood, the aborted Detroit Christmas attack, hundreds of interdicted Islamic jihad attacks across the country and thousands of completed attacks across the world.  
 
Joseph Heller, a great American writer, published his novel, Something Happened in 1966. The book is a serious and disturbing examination of how someone copes when something impossible has occurred in their life; something entirely unacceptable and painful so that everything has to shift to make life functional and bearable. Something has happened across our culture and the west that creates a debilitating cognitive dissonance and prevents acceptance of the unpleasant truth that the world does not function in the way that we would prefer.
 
An article by Mr. Charles Jacobs in the June 7th edition of Family Security Matters (also published in The Jewish Advocate of Boston) informing readers of events in Boston around the Roxbury Islamic Center in late May, the cooperation of the governor of that state (Deval Patrick) and one particular local rabbi's support of the mosque and seven requests/demands made upon the governor (which he acceded to) has come under intense criticism by 75 rabbis of Massachusetts and the New England Region. In fact, the rabbis were so miffed by Mr. Jacobs’ criticism of their colleague that they published an open letter censuring Mr. Jacobs in The Jewish Advocate (Boston-regional) newspaper. The letter is printed in full as a postscript, for your review.
 
Mr. Jacobs criticized the governor for acceding to the demands of the mosque leadership even though evidence was provided by Mr. Jacobs that showed a number of that mosque's board of directors are linked with jihad terrorism, and that the mosque’s sponsoring body the MSA (Muslim Society of America) has been identified by federal authorities as “the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” Mr. Jacobs also criticized a Boston area rabbi who was in attendance at this event on May 22nd. Mr. Jacobs even provided photographic evidence in the form of a YouTube video that shows the mosque's leading Imam recommending violent action to his congregants. This should not surprising as the doctrine of Islam is anti-Jewish and anti-non-believer.
 
The greatest sin in Islam is non-belief. There is a special kind of hatred in Islam for Jews, this is incontrovertible, but what is so surprising is the response of the Jewish leadership to these facts about the mosque in Roxbury and to Islam in America in general.
 
The Jewish leaders, all 75 signatories, should be ashamed of themselves. The rabbis state in their letter that Mr. Jacobs launched a "vicious personal attack", but no such attack occurred. They state that Mr. Jacobs is involved in a "destructive campaign against Boston’s Muslim community, which is based on innuendo, half-truths, and unproven conspiracy theories." This is a bizarre statement because Mr. Jacobs provided video evidence that showed the leader of the mosque espousing Islamic violence. The rabbis, all apparently completely unfamiliar with Islamic doctrine and history, condemn Mr. Jacobs as a fear monger and inciter—none of which is true. Mr. Jacobs calls out the rabbi in attendance at the May event for having ignored evidence. Mr. Jacobs wrote:
 
Finally, why does Rabbi Gurvis refuse to acknowledge what he has been shown in official documents: that the MAS is a Muslim Brotherhood organization; that the mosque was funded by Wahabbi Saudis, not known to fund moderate mosques; and that the MAS/ISB leaders have invited defamers of Jews and Christians to “educate” the historically moderate Boston Muslim community?
 
The rabbis, writing “in defense of our colleague, Rabbi Eric Gurvis”, apparently know nothing of the beliefs of their friends at the mosque as they state that "we stand together in our commitment to a community in which neighbors seek to know one another and join together for the common good." They add in closing their letter that they “refuse to allow Mr. Jacobs to spread his calumnies and paralyze our community in fear." They do not say however in what way Mr. Jacobs has done these things and fail to acknowledge the evidence he presents (much of which was widely known prior to the May event at the mosque). Jacobs wrote the following:
 
Also in our film is a sermon Faarooq delivered in a Brighton mosque in March. Faarooq teaches Boston Muslims that they are obliged by their religion to stand up for their co-religionists and urges them to support Siddiqui and Mehana. “If there’s anyone that should be brave, it must be us,” Faarooq said in the sermon. “You must grab onto this rope, grab onto the shovel, grab onto the gun and the sword. Don’t be afraid to step out into this world and do your job.”
 
The fact that some donors or members were directly involved in terror or planned terror attacks is of no matter to the politically correct signatory rabbis of New England. The rabbis kindly point out that when a local synagogue was defaced with a swastika one of the first supporters to offer a comforting shoulder was a Muslim. "In fact...when Temple Shalom was defaced by a swastika, one of the first calls he (Rabbi Gurvis) received was from Bilal Kaleem from the Muslim American Society."
 
The rabbis close their letter of rebuke with a Torah story about "Israelite scouts who were overcome by fear. As a result, they 'spread calumnies' among the entire Israelite camp who in turn broke out into loud cries and weeping. Because they succumbed to their fears, God condemned this generation to die in the wilderness." Mr. Jacobs apparently is a cause of "calumnies" because he provided evidence that the mosque to which Jewish leadership and the governor of the state of Massachusetts offered their support embraces Islamic doctrine (which includes hatred of Jews and all non-believers).
 
"O ye who believe! Take not for intimates others than your own folk, who would spare no pains to ruin you; they love to hamper you. Hatred is revealed by (the utterance of) their mouths, but that which their breasts hide is greater. We have made plain for you the revelations if ye will understand." (Koran, 3:118)
 
O ye who believe! Choose not disbelievers for (your) friends in place of believers. Would ye give Allah a clear warrant against you?” (Koran, 4:144)
 
"Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolators wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (Koran, 9:5)
 
Nowhere in the rabbi’s letter of condemnation is there any counter-argument presented to oppose the assertions and evidence presented by Mr. Jacobs. The letter does not in fact present a contrary position at all to Mr. Jacobs’ evidence of Muslims who embrace their Islamic doctrine, what the letter does instead is criticize Mr. Jacobs for sharing this information at all. The spreading of knowledge has always been foundationally important to Jews, except apparently to the signatories of the letter, all nominal leaders of the New England Jewish community.
 
This is a critical moment where the messenger is criticized for the content of his message. The 75 rabbis of New England who signed this bizarre and shameful letter do not attempt to refute Mr. Jacobs’ statements whatever; their complaint is entirely with the fact that he has provided this information at all.
 
The brave with warnings have been denied before in Jewish history; this is a theme that must end.
 
“In July 1942, he, his first wife and their 12 year old daughter lived in the Warsaw Ghetto.
 
‘I knew what was happening,’ he said. ‘Many people knew, but most of them wanted to pretend they didn’t.  I knew for certain because, only ten days before I was finally taken (August 27, 1942), a young man called Friedmann came back from Treblinka hidden under rags. His escape had been carefully arranged so as to have somebody come back to bring us the truth; to warn us. But nobody believed him. It was perfectly extraordinary. But I did.’
 
(Another source tells how this young man besought the ghetto elders to believe him and how finally they said he was overwrought and needed a rest which they would arrange for him in the ghetto clinic…)”

Gita Sereny, Into That Darkness, p.257, Vintage Books/Random House
(1974, 1st Random House edition, 1983)
 
Mr. Jacobs’ information shatters the worldview of the rabbis. Their response is to condemn the messenger rather than process the information that Mr. Jacobs provides and act or at least make a serious attempt to understand.
 
There is much at stake for the rabbis and those whom they lead. The information that Mr. Jacobs provides suggests that the rabbis’ Islamic friends have an ideology that is fundamentally in opposition to the safety and existence of the Jewish people; this is not the message that post-modern, multicultural, moral relativist religious leaders want to hear. The message they prefer is their own—the message of "bridge building" and "interfaith gatherings"—as this is the paradigm that they accept and foster.
 
The fact that Islamic doctrine involves Jew hatred, jihad, intolerance, misogyny, supremacism, terror, and war is utterly rejected by the signatory rabbis not because it isn't true, but because it is a message that they find unpalatable.
 
Such a message that illuminates the doctrine of Islam would mean that 9/11 did not happen in a vacuum and that ongoing jihad attacks against Israel, Jews across our country and the world, Christians and unbelievers everywhere, homosexuals, apostates, and Muslims who aren’t quite Muslim enough are motivated by a universal Islamic understanding of what adherents know Islam to mean because it is specifically mandated in the foundation doctrinal texts of Islam, Koran, Sira, and Hadith. The signers of the letter are in denial.
 
The rabbis’ letter is a denial of the verifiable truth of Islamic doctrine and focuses only on themselves and their desire for neighborliness. Stop and take a statistical look at the ignorance upon which this unfortunate letter is based. Islam is based on Koran and Sunna. Sunna is found in the Sira (Mohammed’s biography) and the Hadith (his traditions). Islam has a significant doctrine relating to the Jews.
 
Overall, the Trilogy devotes 9.3% of its text to Jew hatred. If we use Mein Kampf as the standard of Jew hatred, we find that it devotes 7% of its text to Jew hatred, less than the Islamic doctrine. (The Trilogy is Koran, Sira and Hadith. The Meccan Koran is the early Koran, the Medinan Koran is the later Koran.)
 
 
The rabbis show no awareness of Islam’s doctrine of the Jew. They have all heard of Mein Kampf and condemn all Nazis and Nazism. But in reference to Islam it is just a “handful” of people who cause problems; the rabbis assert that there are no problems with Islam and condemn those who, with facts and substance, say otherwise.
 
The rabbis believe that Bilal Kaleem is their friend because he made a phone call about an anti-Semitic event. It is likely that this sympathetic friend did not mention in his phone call that there are 12 verses in the Koran that state that a Muslim is not the friend of a Kafir (non-Muslim) and that a Jew is a Kafir. Here is one verse out of the 12:
 
O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. (Koran 5:51)
 
The rabbis need to send out their own Israelite scouts into the land of Islamic doctrine and have them bring back some actual facts and data and, when they come back to present their evidence, the rabbis must listen intently.
 
The long tradition of Jewish debate, critical thinking, and learning and knowledge built on the Socratic-style method of question and answer is over (at least across New England); 75 New England rabbis have declared that it is dead, at least within their limited purviews.
 
Their choice to condemn Mr. Jacobs as an inciter and rabble rouser rather than respond to the evidence he presents shows that the signatories of the letter do not want to participate; they do not want to engage in any debate or discussion; this is authoritarian thinking on their parts and contrary to Jewish tradition of learning, debate, and the embrace of knowledge.
 
The foundations of Jewish culture have always been about learning. Torah, and Jewish culture built upon it, have always shown great respect to learning, scholarship, debate, proofs, and convincing exposition. The letter of the rabbis is not convincing; it is a failure of the intellect and a victory of wishful thinking fantasy over evidence and debate. What course in rabbinical school did these rabbis take that taught them that effective, legitimate debate involves ignoring the arguments entirely of the opposing side? There are no such courses.
 
We live in a difficult world in which our culture is in crisis. This crisis began long before the present resurgence of Islam, but Islam now brings our domestic crisis of meaning to a new level.
 
If our leaders choose to ignore evidence that is presented by bell-ringers such as Mr. Jacobs, then we learn nothing. The condemnation of Mr. Jacobs by the signatories of this unimpressive and unfortunate letter denotes a failure of leadership and paves the way for a very unpleasant future.
 
Humans are not good at learning from their history; history is clear on this point. The Jewish community in particular of late appears particularly adept at this non-learning.
 
When presented with the doctrine of Islam that is overtly loaded with hatred of Jews, when we see jihad against Israel and the United States and unbelievers across the world, and understand that Islamic hatred of Jews and all unbelievers is a foundational component of Islamic doctrine the world is no longer a friendly place. 9/11 and subsequent events are understandable only within the context of Islamic doctrine.
 
The signatory rabbis of New England living their fantasies of "Interfaith dialogues" and "friendly neighbors" know nothing apparently of what motivates the adherents of Islam. This failing on their part is disastrous.
 
In the not-so-distant past when Jews were under siege the leadership failed. They failed not because they did not understand but because they preferred not to believe what was happening. Wishful thinking and fantasies are the foundations of modern liberal politics. Realities are all old hat and now overturned with the new modern approaches of multiculturalism, post-modernism, radical equivalence, moral relativism, and über-tolerance. But we have learned nothing from history. This is a tragedy.
 
The philosopher Karl Popper wrote in The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945):
 
“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them… We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.”
 
We look to our leadership for guidance, direction and wisdom in times of difficulty and unpleasantness, conflict and war. We want and require leadership based on courage and knowledge. When the leaders fail and when the bell-ringers of warning are turned away as inconvenient and tiresome, then we all will suffer. We must learn the lessons of history or fall.
 
Something happened. It’s not clear when this “something” happened, but it seems clear that our leadership and our leading citizens will not directly respond to issues that they find unappealing, unpleasant, or difficult to accept.
 
The signatory Jewish leadership in New England has failed in their mean-spirited criticism of Mr. Jacobs, a patriot. They have learned nothing from history and from the warnings all around them. This failure is indefensible.
 
This is a failure of intellectualism and a triumph of anti-knowledge and authoritarian thinking. In this situation, the rabbis are angry because 1., Mr. Jacobs presents information that does not fit into favored, pre-conceived but unsupportable beliefs, and 2., The evidence presented by Mr. Jacobs suggests an Islam of Jew hatred and violence that, while entirely provable by current evidence and the doctrine of Islam itself, is unpleasant in the extreme and must therefore be denied and the messenger condemned.
The “something” that has happened is the rise of Islam. Some have studied its doctrine and the bitter, hateful, violence that its adherents do on account of this doctrine while others choose to ignore it. Ignoring facts is an indefensible position for any leader to take; it is intellectually dishonest and in these times of war and terrorism it is existentially dangerous.
 
Something has happened, something that prevents many of our leaders and our people from accepting an impossible to accept but true assertion nevertheless—Islam is not a religion of peace.
In our country, populated almost completely by welcoming, tolerant, decent, law-abiding people, the truth of Islam is almost entirely unpalatable. The difficulty of Islam is not that it is anti-Jewish, anti-women, anti-non-Muslim, violent, hateful, supremacist, expansionist, and cruel; the difficulty is that our people refuse to believe that this can be so. Denial is not an effective civilizational response to existential challenges.
 
Our focus is on the state of Massachusetts, the state that gave us Senator Scott Brown and once gave us John Adams, and John Hancock. The American Revolution has its roots in Massachusetts; the Suffolk Resolves written by John Adams were the foundations of the later essential documents of the new United States. We look to Massachusetts for its inspiring history of democracy and bravery, and for leadership. In the former it never disappoints but in the latter it has been wanting.
 
The signatories of the rabbis’ letter of Massachusetts and New England should apologize to Mr. Jacobs and accept his heartfelt warnings based upon facts that he presents to them and to us all. If the rabbis have fact-based arguments with which they can refute his assertions, they should provide these to the public.
 
We live in a world not of our making, a world in which Islam and its adherents are motivated to violence and brutal hatred by their unchanging perfect doctrine. The denial of the rabbis of the doctrine of Islam, of Islamic jihad, history, and current events and their rejection of the truth rings as hollow as Neville Chamberlain's promise of "peace in our time".
 
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributor Dr. Bill Warner is founder and director of the Center for the Study of Political Islam, and noted scholar. Dr. Warner’s website is PoliticalIslam.com.
DL Adams is an analyst and historian. His writing has appeared in Family Security Matters, American Thinker, New English Review, and elsewhere. Mr. Adams is a Contributing Editor at Family Security Matters, and New English Review. Mr. Adams’ blog is ahollowreveille.com.
 
Postscript
 
Letter of the New England Rabbis - The Jewish Advocate, June 10, 2010
 
An Open Letter to the Jewish Community
 
We write in defense of our colleague, Rabbi Eric Gurvis. Rabbi Gurvis leads Temple Shalom of Newton, is the past president of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis (MBR), Boston Area Reform Rabbis (BARR), and currently serves as the president of the Newton Clergy Association. He is a distinguished teacher and respected community leader.
 
We were shocked and appalled by the vicious, personal attack written by Mr. Charles Jacobs and printed in the Jewish Advocate. We denounce this attack, and call upon Mr. Jacobs to discontinue his destructive campaign against Boston's Muslim community, which is based on innuendo, half-truths, and unproven conspiracy theories. We call upon members of our community to reject the dangerous politics of division that Mr. Jacobs fosters.
 
Rabbi Gurvis stood with a number of us at a recent interfaith press conference, denouncing the inappropriate words of a gubernatorial candidate who implied that addressing a large group of Muslims was "pandering to terrorists." Just as we rabbis would expect Christians and Muslims to stand with us Jews if we were unjustly held accountable for the actions of a handful of our people, Rabbi Gurvis stood with our Muslim neighbors. In fact, he pointed out that when Temple Shalom was defaced by a swastika, one of the first calls he received was from Bilal Kaleem from the Muslim American Society.
 
During these difficult times, Rabbi Gurvis, along with other courageous religious leaders are attempting to foster a different kind of politics. We support his commitment to interfaith dialogue and cooperation. We stand together in our commitment to a community in which neighbors seek to know one another and join together for the common good.
 
We write these words following the week in which the Torah portion was Shelach Lecha. It tells the stories of the Israelite scouts who were overcome by fear. As a result, they "spread calumnies" among the entire Israelite camp who in turn broke out into loud cries and weeping. Because they succumbed to their fears, God condemned this generation to die in the wilderness. We refuse to allow Mr. Jacobs to spread his calumnies and paralyze our community in fear.
We the undersigned rabbis support Rabbi Eric Gurvis and walk together in faith.
(institutional affiliation for identification purposes only)
 
Rabbi Thomas Alpert
Rabbi Stephen Arnold
Rabbi Lev Baesh (B'nai Or, Newton, MA)
Rabbi Alfred Benjamin (Rabbi, Temple Shalom, Milton, MA)
Rabbi Joseph Berman
Rabbi Allison Berry (Temple Beth David, Canton, MA)
Rabbi Herman Blumberg (Emeritus, Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland, MA)
Rabbi Carey Brown (Temple Isaiah, Lexington, MA)
Rabbi Sharon Clevenger (The Rashi School, Newton, MA)
Rabbi Joe Eiduson (Congregation B'nai Shalom, Westborough, MA)
Rabbi Lisa Eiduson (Temple Beth Avodah, Newton Centre, MA)
Rabbi John Franken (Temple Ohabei Shalom, Brookline)
Rabbi David Freelund (Cape Cod Synagogue, Hyannis, MA)
Rabbi Ronne Friedman (Temple Israel Boston)
Rabbi Neal Gold (Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland, MA)
Rabbi Robert Goldstein (Temple Emanuel Andover, MA)
Rabbi David Gordis
Rabbi Art Green (Hebrew College, Newton, MA)|
Rabbi Neil Hirsch (Temple Shalom, Newton, MA)
Rabbi Sandi Intraub (Chaplain Resident, Hebrew SeniorLife )
Rabbi Howard Jaffe (Temple Isaiah, Lexington, MA)
Rabbi Shira Joseph (Congregation Sha'aray Shalom, Hingham, MA)
Rabbi Dan Judson (Hebrew College, Newton, MA)
Rabbi Randy Kafka (Temple Israel South Shore, North Easton MA)
Rabbi Daniel Klein
Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein
Rabbi David Kline
Rabbi Stephanie Kolin (Temple Israel, Boston, MA)
Rabbi Neil Kominsky (Emeritus, Temple Emanuel, Lowell, MA)
Rabbi Jonathan Kraus (Beth El Temple Center, Belmont, MA)
Rabbi Claudia Kreiman (Temple Beth Zion, Brookline, MA)
Rabbi Judith Kummer
Rabbi Stephen Landau (Congregation Tikvoh Chadoshoh, West Hartford CT)
Rabbi Karen Landy (Hebrew Senior Life, Dedham, MA; Havurat Shalom, Andover, MA)
Rabbi Michele Lenke (Temple Beth Shalom, Needham, MA)
Rabbi Allan Lehmann (Vice President Massachusetts Board of Rabbis)
Rabbi Greg Litcofsky (Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland, MA)
Rabbi Natan Margalit ( Hebrew College, Newton, MA)
Rabbi Todd Markley (Temple Beth Shalom, Needham, MA)
Rabbi Daniel Medwin
Rabbi Bernard Mehlman (Emeritus, Temple Israel, Boston, MA)
Rabbi Rim Meirowitz (Temple Shir Tikvah, Winchester, MA)
Rabbi Joseph Meszler (Temple Sinai, Sharon, MA)
Rabbi Laurence Milder (Congregation B'nai Shalom, Westborough, MA)
Rabbi James Morgan
Rabbi Jeremy Morrison (Temple Israel, Boston, MA)
Rabbi Beth Naditch
Rabbi Michelle Pearlman (Temple Shalom, Newton, MA)
Rabbi Barbara Penzner (Temple Hillel B'nai Torah, West Roxbury, MA)
Rabbi Jay Perlman (Temple Beth Shalom, Needham, MA)
Rabbi Jonah Pesner (Director, URJ Just Congregations, Newton, MA)
Rabbi Ellen Pildis (Jewish Studies Director, The Rashi School, Newton, MA)
Rabbi Elaine Pollack (Newton Lower Falls, MA)
Rabbi Victor Reinstein (Nehar Shalom Community Synagogue, Jamaica Plain, MA)
Rabbi Rachel Saphire (Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley, MA)
Rabbi Talya Weisbard Shalem
Rabbi Lawrence Silverman (Congregation Beth Jacob, Plymouth, MA)
Rabbi Jodi Seewald Smith(Temple Chayai Shalom, Easton MA)
Joel Sisenwine (Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley, MA)
RabbI Toba Spitzer (Congregation Dorshei Tzedek, West Newton, MA)
Rabbi Keith Stern, (Temple Beth Avodah, Newton Centre, MA)
Rabbi David Thomas (Congregation Beth El of the Sudbury River Valley, Sudbury, MA
Rabbi Van Lanckton, (Temple B'nai Shalom, Braintree, MA)
Rabbi Andrew Vogel (Temple Sinai, Brookline, MA)
Rabbi Moshe Waldoks (Temple Beth Zion, Brookline, MA)
Rabbi Jeffrey Wildstein (Temple Beth David, Westwood, MA)
Rabbi Julie Wolkoff
Rabbi Sara Zacharia (Hebrew College, Newton, MA)
Rabbi Elaine Zecher (Temple Israel, Boston, MA)
Rabbi Henry Zoob (Emeritus, Temple Beth David, Westwood, MA)
 
Rabbinic Students
Joel Baron (Rabbinical Student, Hebrew College, Newton, MA)
Rogerio Zingerevitz Cukierman (Rabbinical Student, Hebrew College, Newton, MA)
Margie Klein (Rabbinical Student, Hebrew College, Newton, MA)
Lev Meirowitz Nelson (Rabbinical Student, Hebrew College, Newton, MA)
Suzie Schwartz, (Rabbinical Student, Hebrew College, Newton, MA)
Lila Veissid (Rabbinical Student, Hebrew College, Newton, MA)
Professor Judith Kates (Hebrew College, Newton, MA)

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