Chelm on the Charles River
by Jerry Gordon (August 2009)
When the new Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) was dedicated on June 26th, a number of local clergy, including members of the progressive rabbinate showed up for the event. They were complemented by members of the Boston Jewish community who had unwavering long term commitments to Jewish Muslim dialogue. Massachusetts Governor Derval Patrick, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and the Jewish head of the City Council either sent greetings via videos or showed up for the occasion. “Others who attended included the Dean of Harvard Divinity School, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, and local Christian and Jewish clergy.”
The Foolish Jews comments about the ISBCC
Later, at the ribbon cutting, Globe writer Michael Paulsen, ran into Rabbi Moshe Waldockss of Temple Beth Zion in Brookline, who told me he counted six local rabbis at the celebration. “For those in the Jewish community who have been involved in dialogue with the Muslim community, we celebrate what our cousins are doing by establishing this symbol in the community for many years to come.’’
We noted in an Iconoclast post what Rabbi Seltzer said in a New England Cable News interview:
Among the contingent of interfaith representatives at the ISBCC was Rabbi Sanford Seltzer, Associate Dean for Rabbinic Community Relations of the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College. Seltzer remarked in the NECN news story, that until he sees “chapter and verse about these allegations, he remains unconvinced.” Seltzer may be another victim of what Jacobs of APT called “Islamophobiaphobia.”
Our understanding is that Jacobs has challenged Seltzer to sit down and review the evidence about the radical Mosque and its hate mongering Imams and trustees. We await word should that occur.
Another foolish Jew is Michael Felsen, head of the Workmen’s Circle in Boston who attended the event. He wrote a July 5th op ed in the Boston Globe opposite one by the APT leaders, Jacobs and Hale, entitled, “Trustworthy community.” Martin Solomon of the blog Solomonia called Felsen’s opinion piece “superficial pap.” Felsen wrote:
So, are the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center and the Muslim American Society-Boston truly dominated by Islamist extremists, and hence properly boycotted by Jewish - and other - groups?
My personal experience suggests they are not. As an officer and representative of a Jewish communal organization, I have encountered only graciousness, sincerity, and warmth in my dealings with leaders of both organizations. I have also observed these leaders demonstrate the same attitudes toward rabbis and lay leaders of an array of Jewish organizations.
Consider two public statements crafted collaboratively with ISBCC and MAS-Boston leaders. The first, “Building a Community of Trust,’’ was rolled out in 2007 at every mosque in Greater Boston on the first day of Ramadan, and at synagogues on Rosh Hashana. Announcing the stated goal of replacing distrust and misunderstanding with respectful communication, the Muslim and Jewish signers decried all forms of terrorism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Muslim prejudice. The signers - imams, rabbis, and Jewish and Muslim community leaders and members - embraced a Greater Boston in which diversity is respected, and pledged to foster efforts to decrease divisions between our communities.
Here’s another Solomonia bon mot about Felsen, the alleged Cambridge anti-Zionist peacenik in a post about the Palestinian Dance troupe Al Rowward:
One of the performances this time is being sponsored by the Workmen's Circle, an ostensibly "secular Jewish" organization that is also nominally pro-Israel, but whose President, Michael Felsen, has been one of the biggest supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood's Boston Mosque, appearing at press conferences with the MAS and basically as a volunteer to give the group "Jewish" cover. Confronted on the day of the Mosque opening, Felsen was asked what actual pro-Israel activism his group had done. Fumbling for a response, he finally blubbered something about signing a petition against "the settlements!"
The Boston Globe op ed by Drs. Jacobs and Hale, “Leaders are Extremists” poked holes in Felsen’s remarks with the facts.
Some milestone! The city has helped the Wahhabi clerical establishment - purveyors of the most intolerant religious teachings on the planet - and the Muslim Brotherhood - genesis of all Sunni terrorist organizations - set up shop in the Cradle of Liberty, flying a false flag of moderation. And to make matters worse, this sad milestone is praised as a great victory for diversity and a boon to local Muslims.
The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center offers courses from the Islamic American University, whose vice chairman is Jamal Badawi, a trustee of the center, and headed by Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a hate-mongering preacher from the Gulf who has been banned from Egypt and the United States.
ISB records show that the organization has both received money from and donated money to organizations that were later investigated or shut down for terrorist activities. Among the recipients of ISB largesse are the Benevolence International Foundation - an Al Qaeda charity - and the recently convicted Holy Land Foundation - a Hamas charity.
Case in point: The ISB invited Yasir Qadhi to speak at its Cambridge mosque in March. Qadhi is a Holocaust denier who preaches that Jews want to destroy Muslims and that Christians are theologically “filthy.’’
I want your readers to know that while one vocal but unrepresentative faction of the local Jewish community has dampened official Jewish engagement with this project, there are many across the Jewish community who are actively engaged in a variety of activities in concert with the local Muslim community, including the Islamic Society of Boston.
I was embarrassed and disheartened by the presence of mosque opponent Charles Jacobs and a few of his compatriots outside the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, but I also knew that Jacobs does not speak for me, nor, I believe, for the majority of Jews in the Boston area.
Nexus for the Jewish Fools-The Jewish Muslim Relations Center
The center of activities for these foolish Jews is the Jewish Muslim Relations Center (JMRC) in Boston. Here are its objectives:
The JMRC hopes to strengthen relations between Jews and Muslims in the Greater Boston area through:
Among the board of the JMRC are the usual assortment of foolish Jews, the trustees of the ISBCC and the Boston chapter of the Muslim American Society.
We, members of the Jewish and Muslim communities, seek to build trust and mutual understanding and strive to forge positive relationships between our respective communities. We are determined to work together in order to replace fear, distrust, and misunderstanding of each for the other, where it exists, with hope, and respectful communication.
* We decry all forms of terrorism, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim prejudice, or any other form of discrimination or stigmatization against any racial, religious or ethnic group.
* We support the rights, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, of faith communities to gather for worship.
The Film “In Good Faith” showcases useful Jewish fools
The useful fools in the Boston Jewish community figured prominently in the film, “In Good Faith” produced as a project by graduating Boston College Senior, Michael Porter that premiered in 2008. You may view a trailer of the film on YouTube, here. The film made by Porter for Boston College TV endeavors to tell the story of the ISBCC Mosque from differing vantage points:
In Good Faith is a student-documentary chronicling the building of New England's largest mosque in Boston. The film looks at the make-up of the community, and their relationship to the rest of the city's community of faith.
Highlighted in the project are the Muslim community's responses to questions and concerns about Islam and their society, the evolution of two major lawsuits that delayed the construction of the mosque, and the work done behind the scenes with the supporting religious communities to foster partnerships and dialogue.
The film draws from exclusive one on one interviews with leaders of the Islamic Society of Boston, American Jewish Committee, Hebrew College, and the Archdiocese of Boston.
The Muslim American Society (MAS) Boston chapter screened the completed documentary in March 2008 at the ISBCC with a discussion panel that included some familiar names:
Funded through a grant from The Jacques Salmanowitz Program for Moral Courage in Documentary Film, BC junior Matt Porter took a year and half to complete the effort. If you take a moment to imagine every politically correct trope about dialog, tolerance, diversity, and respect for the other no matter who "the other" is and what they believe floating around college campuses today then you'll have a shot at understanding just what it was I sat through the other night.
In Good Faith starts with a word of the day, "Dialog," and remains unwaveringly faithful to pushing its agenda regardless of what facts stand in its way. In fact, the degree to which facts are twisted -- or more often, ignored -- and claims are simply accepted in wide-eyed innocence unintentionally demonstrate just how empty and unhelpful such PC points of faith are in serving us in our attempts to understand and deal with the real world outside campus kumbaya sessions. This is not journalism. It does not inform, it simply builds illusions, pushing its agenda, creating heroes and villains without ever giving the viewer the information necessary to judge whether the filmmaker is leading them astray.
We watched a video clip from the film that gave us further evidence of the delusional foolish Jews. Here are our observations.
We found Lowenthal's statements indicative of gross ignorance about Islam. And this from a Jewish community professional who engaged in Jewish Muslim dialogue for 25 years. He describes his discovery of the Islamic term taqiyyah. He says he learned of the term at a talk before 400 people in Newton at Temple Emmanuel at which the speaker, Dr. Richard L. Rubenstein tells the audience that the term taqiyyah means religiously sanctioned dissimilitude in Islam. Further, Rubenstein states that you cannot trust Muslims to speak candidly with kafirs, unbelievers. We were present at the Rubenstein lecture and had the opportunity to ask Lowenthal about his opinion of Rubenstein's talk. He thought Rubenstein's talk in 2006 was an eye opening. Too bad his mind wasn't opened up to investigate further and learn what Dr. Rubenstein was talking about to this Newton audience. Lowenthal in the film “ In Good faith” effectively says that if what Rubenstein conveyed in the Temple Emmanuel talk was the case, then there are no moderate Muslims. Lowenthal then talks of seeking the counsel of his Sunni Muslim interlocutors in his Boston Muslim Jewish dialogue sessions. They misinform him that taqiyyah is a term alien to Sunnis, but adopted by Shia. This is patently disingenuous. Taqiyyah is an Arabic term and it explicitly condones under Sunni/Salafist Sharia doctrine religiously sanctioned dissimilitude. It is what Bill Warner calls:"lying for Allah." Jacobs in an email exchange suggested that Lowenthal lifted the definition from a Wikipedia entry. In any case, Lowenthal demonstrated his dhimmi-like subservience to his Muslim dialogue partners. A subservience in pursuit of a delusion, that you could dialogue with Muslims whose ideology promotes a supremacist view that lords Islam over Judaism and Christianity to say nothing the rest of the world’s major faiths.
Then there were comments from Rabbi Waldocks, whose moral compass is wobbly to say the least. Waldocks says on the film’s audio track that he hadn't found any evidence of Saudi contributions to the construction of the ISBCC , but rather says that it came from 'contributors' in the community. He is truly blind to documented evidence to the contrary in the ISB trial record.
Hebrew College President David Gordis promotes mindless diversity in his remarks in the film a reflection of the agenda that both he and Rabbi Seltzer have developed for the interreligious program at the Hebrew College.
The folly of Chelm on the Charles River spreads across America
The delusions and follies of Chelm on the Charles River are spreading across America up to and including the White House. This time it is the Muslim Brotherhood front group, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) along with liberal Rabbi Marc Schneier founder of the New York –based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) that figured prominently in promoting Black-Jewish relations. Now Schneier and the FFEU have a new effort conflating anti-Semitism with Islamophobia. The FFEU brought a contingent of European Rabbis and Imams to a fast paced tour of how ‘successful’ interfaith dialogue is in America, exemplary of what could be done to combat fundamentalist Islamic hatred of Jews in Europe.
Rabbi Jon Hausman of Cong. Ahavath Torah, the only rabbi in America who invited Dutch politician Geert Wilders to speak at his synagogue had this observation: “these foolish Jews are twisting reality to fit a particular political-philosophical weltanschauung (world view).” Our comment is that the world view of these foolish Jewish leaders in Chelm on the Charles River could become our undoing.
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