“Not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are radical Islamists, not all radical Islamist are ISIS, and not all Jews are Israelis. So, the first thing you might want to consider is to stop stereotyping groups.” (Greg Davis)
Completely true but irrelevant. No responsible person would assert anything else. But what’s important is to note the truth of running this little enterprise in reductive logic the other way: all ISIS members are radical Islamists and all radical Islamists are Muslims. Of course, some Muslims are Arabs and some are not, but the Indonesians and Sudanese are not blowing up buildings in New York or sending suicide bombers to French soccer stadiums…at least, not yet.
The determinative issue is what response to terror attacks do the rest of the Muslim, or Arab, population make? When Rabbi Meir Kahane created the Kach Party, advocating the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel proper and the West Bank, every responsible Jewish organization, both in Israel and the Diaspora, on the political right and the left, condemned Kahane and his organization and disavowed Kahane personally. Ultimately, Israel expelled him.
What has been the Palestinian reaction to the current “intifada,” for example? The stabbing and vehicular homicide of Israelis has drawn little or no opposition or condemnation from major Palestinian leaders or organizations. Not much different from the reaction of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, to Hitler’s plan to implement the “final solution.” In fact this supreme leader of the Palestinians, lived in Germany as Hitler’s guest and volunteered to institute the “final solution” in Palestine (and the Middle East generally). Palestinians who deny this historical element within Palestinian nationalism appear untrustworthy people who suffer from cognitive dissonance. Things haven’t changed that much since the 1930s.
Americans who supported civil rights had a responsibility to oppose George Wallace, George Lincoln Rockwell and the Ku Klux Klan in the most active way. It would be ridiculous for white Americans to claim that such villains are not “really” white, and that therefore they are absolved of responsibility for racism. It means nothing for Muslims to claim that ISIS, etc. are not really Muslims. Of course they’re Muslims, just as David Duke is American, a product of our society and culture, even if he’s dispicable. We Jews have to own the Haredi element in Israel and recognize they represent an element in Judaism, even if it is an element we wish didn’t exist. Every religion, culture and nation has a seamy underside, and problems among groups are only compounded when we deny this truth and take no responsibility for it. —Rabbi Kerry Baker