Jewish Fundamentalism?

 

An interesting post appeared on the Chabad  site this week; I thought some readers of this blog might enjoy it:

 

Jewish Fundamentalism?

By Rabbi Aron Moss

 

Question: I was wondering if there is such a person as a Jewish fundamentalist?  If so, what percent of Jews would or could be classified as Fundamentalist? And, what would their core beliefs be?

 

 

Answer: I’m not sure what your definition of fundamentalist is, but here’s mine: A fundamentalist is someone who believes that theirs is the only true path, and anyone who does not follow their ways is evil.

The fundamentalist sees only two options for the rest of humanity – join us or suffer the consequences. Other nations are there to either missionize or destroy, and any belief system that does not conform with theirs is to be eradicated.

A fundamentalist is not the same as an extremist. There are those who are passionate or even extreme about their own beliefs, whether a born-again Christian, devout Muslim, radical liberal or die-hard atheist. We can debate the pros and cons of each of these belief systems, but a strong conviction alone doesn’t make you a fundamentalist.

It is when you cannot accept that there may be another road to truth, that not everyone has to fit in to your own world view – that is when you have strayed into the realm of fundamentalism.

For this reason, Judaism can never tolerate fundamentalism. Quite simply, we don’t believe that Judaism is for everyone. Jewish thought is comfortable with the belief that there are many paths to G-d; Judaism is the path for Jews, and non-Jews can find Him in different ways.

They can live a moral and good life without keeping the laws or sharing the beliefs of Judaism. Anyone can join Judaism by converting, but this is not necessary – a non-Jew can be fulfilled, close to G-d, and earn a place in heaven without becoming Jewish.

I think it is this universalistic approach that has saved Judaism from the plague of fundamentalism. Don’t get me wrong – there are certainly Jewish extremists, ratbags, troublemakers and whackos. But I don’t know of any significant group of Jewish fundamentalists. Judaism poses a challenge to the fundamentalist: If you really love G-d so much, shouldn’t you also love all His children, who are created in His image?

 

Rabbi Aron Moss teaches Talmud, practical Judaism and Kabbalah in Sydney, Australia.

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Answering The Apologists For Islam

Those who seek to justify Islamic terrorism, often do so by stating that both Judaism and Christianity also have violent histories. Islam, they insist, is being ‘unfairly’ singled out, even though the other Abrahamic faiths are also inherently violent.

The two favourite and increasingly weary examples offered are the slaying by the Hebrews of the Canaanites (Judaism) and the bloody crimes of the Crusades (Christianity).

And this tactic by apologists for Islamic terrorism often works. It helps shore up the pervasive yet false premise that Islam is ‘just like other religions’.  Or, to put it another way: it is not Islam that causes Islamic terrorism, but rather human nature.

One of the best responses I’ve read to this apologist tactic, comes courtesy of writer and expert on radical Islam, Raymond Ibrahim. Here is what he says on the issue of whether Judaism and Christianity also promote violence in the same manner as Islam (emphasis is mine):

Such questions reveal a great deal of confusion between history and theology, between the temporal actions of men and the immutable words of G-d. The fundamental error being that Jewish andChristian history—which is violent—is being conflated with Islamic theologywhich commands violence.

Of course all religions have had their fair share of violence and intolerance towards the “other.” Whether this violence is ordained by G-d or whether warlike man merely wished it thus is the all-important question.

The Israelites’ violence is an interesting case in point. G-d clearly ordered the Hebrews to annihilate the Canaanites and surrounding peoples. Such violence is therefore an expression of G-d’s will, for good or ill. Regardless, all the historic violence committed by the Hebrews and recorded in the Tanakh is just that—history. It happened; G-d commanded it.

But it revolved around a specific time and place and was directed against a specific people. At no time did such violence go on to become standardized or codified into Jewish law (i.e. the Halakha).

This is where Islamic violence is unique. Though similar to the violence of the Tanakh —commanded by G-d and manifested in history—certain aspects of Islamic violence have become standardized in Islamic law (i.e. the Sharia) and apply at all times. Thus while the violence found in the Koran is in fact historical, its ultimate significance is theological. Consider the following Koranic verses:

Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the pagans wherever you find them—take them [captive], besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due [i.e. submit to Islam], then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (9:5).

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger [i.e. Islamic law], nor acknowledge the religion of Truth [i.e. Islam], from the people of the book [i.e. Jews and Christians], until they pay tribute with willing submission, and feel themselves utterly subdued (9:29).

As with Tanakh  verses where G-d  commanded the Hebrews to attack and slay their neighbors, these Koranic verses also have a historical context. Allah (through Muhammad) first issued these commandments after the Arab tribes had finally unified under the banner of Islam and were preparing to invade their Christian and pagan neighbors.

But unlike the bellicose verses and anecdotes of the Tanakh  these so-called “sword-verses” subsequently became fundamental to Islam’s relationship to both the “people of the book” (i.e. Christians and Jews) and the “pagans” (i.e. Hindus, Buddhists, animists, etc).

In fact, based on the sword-verses (as well as countless other Koranic verses and oral traditions attributed to Muhammad), Islam’s scholars, sheikhs, muftis, imams, and qadis throughout the ages have all reached the consensus—binding on the entire Muslim community—that Islam is to be at perpetual war with the non-Muslim world, until the former subsumes the latter. (It is widely held that the sword-verses alone have abrogated some 200 of the Koran’s more tolerant verses.)

Famous Muslim scholar and “father of modern history” Ibn Khaldun articulates the dichotomy between jihad and defensive warfare thus:

In the Muslim community, the holy war [i.e. jihad] is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force...
The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense... They are merely required to establish their religion among their own people.

That is why the Israeilites after Moses and Joshua remained unconcerned with royal authority [e.g. a “caliphate”]. Their only concern was to establish their religion [not spread it to the nations]…

But Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations (The Muqudimmah, vol. 1 pg. 473, emphasis added).

Even when juxtaposed to their Jewish and Christian counterparts, the Islamic sword-verses are distinctive for using language that transcends time and space, inciting believers to attack and slay non-believers today no less than yesterday.

G-d commanded the Hebrews to kill Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—all specific peoples rooted to a specific time and place. At no time did G-d  give an open-ended command for the Hebrews, and by extension their descendants the Jews, to fight and kill gentiles.

On the other hand, though Islam’s original enemies were, like Judaism’s, historical (e.g. Christian Byzantines and pagan Persians), the Koran rarely singles them out by their proper names. Instead, Muslims were (and are) commanded to fight the people of the book—“until they pay tribute with willing submission and feel themselves utterly subdued” (9:29) and to “slay the pagans wherever you find them” (9:5).
The two conjunctions “until” and “wherever” demonstrate the perpetual nature of these commandments: there are still “people of the book” who have yet to be “utterly subdued” (especially in the Americas, Europe, and Israel) and “pagans” to be slain “wherever” one looks (especially Asia and sub-Saharan Africa).

Aside from the divine words of the Koran, Muhammad’s pattern of behavior—his “Sunna” or “example”—is an extremely important source of legislation in Islam. Muslims are exhorted to emulate Muhammad in all walks of life: “You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern [of conduct]” (33:21).

And Muhammad’s pattern of conduct vis-à-vis non-Muslims is quite explicit. Sarcastically arguing against the concept of “moderate” Islam, terrorist Osama bin Laden, who enjoys half the Arab-Islamic world’s support per a recent al-Jazeera poll, portrays the prophet’s Sunna thus:

“Moderation” is demonstrated by our prophet who did not remain more than three months in Medina without raiding or sending a raiding party into the lands of the infidels to beat down their strongholds and seize their possessions, their lives, and their women” (from The Al-Qaeda Reader).

In fact, based on both the Koran and Muhammad’s Sunna, pillaging and plundering infidels, enslaving their children, and placing their women in concubinage is well founded (e.g. 4:24, 4:92, 8:69, 24:33, 33:50, etc.).

While law-centric and legalistic, Judaism has no such equivalent to the Sunna; the words and deeds of the patriarchs, though recorded in the Tanakh  never went on to be part of Jewish law. Neither Abraham’s “white-lies,” nor Jacob’s perfidy, nor Moses’ short-fuse, nor David’s adultery, nor Solomon’s philandering ever went on to instruct Jews. They were merely understood to be historical actions perpetrated by fallible men who were often punished by G-d for their less than ideal behavior.

And regarding the Crusades, Raymond Ibrahim points out:
In fact, far from suggesting anything intrinsic to Christianity, the Crusades ironically help better explain Islam. For what the Crusades demonstrated once and for all is that irrespective of religious teachings—indeed, in the case of these so-called “Christian” Crusades, despite them—man is truly predisposed to violence and intolerance. But this begs the question: If this is how Christians behaved—who are commanded to love, bless, and do good to their enemies who hate, curse, and persecute them—how much more can be expected of Muslims who, while sharing the same violent tendencies, are further commanded by the Deity to attack, kill, and plunder non-believers?

Read more of Raymond Ibrahim’s excellent articles here

Obama: Can We Help Fund Hamas? Yes We Can!


A question for Americans: would you want a single dollar to get into the hands of Hamas? No?

Then brace yourselves.

Because if changes in American law are pushed through, financial aid will be sent to a unified Palestinian government – even if Hamas officials are part of that government.

Let’s recap. Despite attempts by the liberal media to rebrand Hamas as doe-eyed ‘resistance fighters’, Hamas is a terrorist organisation. Here’s a whopping big clue to the truth of that statement: Hamas was spawned by the radical Muslim Brotherhood. And so was Al Queda.

Check out the Hamas Charter.  It openly rejects any form of peace negotiations and blames Jews every war ever fought. Indeed, the Charter is one long rant about Jews. Oh, and Rotary Clubs. Both of which, according to Hamas, are responsible for all the world’s ills.

Oh, and we’re all familiar with the numerous videos of Hamas leaders and followers declaring their desire to ‘drink jewish blood’, right?

Hamas has always refused to recognise the right of Israel to exist. It won’t acknowledge any Jewish presence in the Middle East, period.

And no matter how hard Israel has tried to broker a peace, Hamas has remained resolute. Indeed, the group has been extremely busy for the past six years, bombarding southern Israel with missiles.

And let’s not overlook the countless suicide bombings – you know, the ones steadfastly ignored mentioned in the mainstream media.

Thus the notion of financial aid ending up in Hamas hands is pretty terrifying, frankly.

Bush would never have entertained it. But apparently Obama’s response to the question of whether America can, ethically, give funds to Hamas is ‘Yes We Can!’.

“The administration’s proposal is akin to agreeing to support a government that “only has a few Nazis in it,” Rep. Mark Steven Kirk told Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a House hearing last week.

The Democrats have discussed the changes to the law governing funding to Gaza this month, as part of an $83.4-billion emergency spending bill that also contains funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill also would provide $840 million for the Palestinian Authority and for rebuilding in Gaza, following Israel’s Operation Cast Lead earlier this year.

American officials stress that the new proposal doesn’t amount to recognizing or helping Hamas. Under law, any U.S. aid would require that the Palestinian government meet three criteria: recognizing Israel, renouncing violence and agreeing to follow past Israeli-Palestinian agreements. Hamas does not meet those criteria.


But if rival groups Fatah and Hamas achieve a power-sharing deal, Obama wants to provide aid as long as the Hamas-backed members of the government — if not Hamas itself — meet the three criteria.

Clinton defended the administration’s position last week before Congress. She said that the United States supports and funds the Lebanese government, even though it includes members of Hezbollah, another terrorist group.

She also proposed that the United States should try to gradually change the attitudes of Hamas members, as it did with militants in Northern Ireland.

Yeah, good luck with that, Hilary. Anyone who has paid attention to what Hamas itself states is painfully aware that trying to ‘adjust’ Hamas attitudes would be like Chamberlain beseeching the Nazis to ‘just give Jews a chance’.

And the IRA analogy, so beloved by politicians and pundits alike, is invalid. The IRA did not seek the slaughter of an entire religion. Hamas openly does.

Besides which, both Hilary and Obama fail to grasp the vital point: Islamic law states that Muslims possess by right any land that once formed part of the House of Islam. Once Muslim, always Muslim.

Hence the claim on Israel by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It’s about religion – not land.

The war between Hamas and Israel is not just a localised issue. Nor does it have anything to do with the ‘palestinian problem’.

Rather, it is merely part of a global conflict between the free world – and Islam. The Jihad against Israel is the exact same Jihad being waged against America and Europe.

What will it take for Obama, and indeed the world, to get this?

One shudders to imagine.

Islam: Not Like Other Faiths

All faiths have their share of fruitcakes.

Christianity had the Crusaders. Judaism has produced a few raving Rabbis. And Scientology has…….well, Tom Cruise…

Then there’s Islam. A faith that actually orders its followers to set up Sharia law and Islamic rule in non Islamic states. A faith that tells its members that hey, it’s fine to lie to non Muslims; it doesn’t count! A faith that exhorts its acolytes to kill ‘infidels’ and that to die in service to Allah is a good thing, a noble thing.

No. Islam is inherently different to other faiths.

And if more of us don’t wake up to this reality pretty soon, we may learn more about life as a dhimmi than we bargained for.

For across the globe, the voice of the infidel – the non Muslim – is growing weaker.

Take Britain. Ten years ago, the Brits laughed when Iran issued a fatwah on author Salman Rushdie.

Then in 2006, the row exploded over the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed. At first, the Brits chuckled. Oh, those mad Muslims! Getting all upset over a drawing! The Brits rolled their eyes and cracked jokes about it.

fatwa

They soon stopped smiling when 10,000 Muslims took to the streets, going beserk at the mere idea of the cartoons being published:

muslim-london-protest-danish

The Brits hadn’t anticipated such rage:

islam-answer-for-europe

freedom-go-to-hell

So the British media gave in to this mass temper tantrum on the part of the Muslim community – and didn’t run the Mohammed cartoons.

And it’s been a case of placating British Muslims ever since. Now, in 2009, there are parts of the country labelled as ‘ no go’ for non Muslims. And in other towns, the Islamic calls to prayer can be heard echoing through the streets, five times daily from local Mosques.

Even police dogs must now wear little booties if entering a Mosque or home of a devout Muslim, as bare footed dogs have ‘offended’ some in the Islamic community.

Across Europe, it’s the same story. And woe betide any non Muslims who dare to speak out – they are instantly branded as ‘islamophobic’. In several countries, Islamists have issued death threats against infidels who have dared to challenge the religion. Some of those threats were carried out.

Of course, there are also many moderate Muslims who are unhappy about what radical Islamic groups are getting up to. But they need to shout so much more loudly for us to hear them above the racket coming from the extremists.

Meanwhile, we, the infidels, must speak up.

Let’s face it, if we don’t, nobody else is going to!