The controversy over my appearance last month in Canada, after the police pressured a dhimmi rabbi into canceling the initial venue planned for my talk, just keeps roiling. Monday in the Toronto Star, another dhimmi rabbi piled on. Right on the heels of three anti-Semitic attacks in Montreal, another Canadian rabbi saw fit to condemn … a fellow Jew.
Rabbi Dow Marmur wrote that “people engaged in interfaith work should always compare the best in their own religion with the best in that of others. This has helped me not to judge Christianity by the anti-Semitism in some of its teachings and not to condemn Islam because Islamist extremists cause havoc in different parts of the world.”
Rabbi Marmur is stating the problem in false terms. I have never compared Judaism, let alone the best of Judaism, with the worst of other religions. My work is not about condemning Islam; it’s about defending human rights. It may be wrong to judge Christianity by the anti-Semitism in some of its teachings, but it would be equally wrong, or worse, to avoid confronting and challenging Christian anti-Semitism wherever it appears just because some Christians are not anti-Semitic. And genuinely non-anti-Semitic Christians should not object to a challenge to Christian anti-Semites; indeed, they should join in such a challenge. At Vatican II, the Catholic Church repudiated Christian anti-Semitism – why can’t we get Muslims to repudiate jihad, Islamic supremacism, Islamic Jew-hatred, etc.?
If “Islamist extremists” are causing havoc, it is not wrong to challenge them and ask Muslims who supposedly reject “extremism” to address the Islamic teachings that give rise to that “extremism,” and to reject and reform those teachings. And genuinely peaceful Muslims should be calling for the same thing and standing with us.
But Marmur, in contrast, said that he avoided Jews “who compare the best in Judaism with the worst in other religions. In view of recent incidents in Boston, London and Paris, and riots in Stockholm and elsewhere, a lot of people are prone to such distortions of Islam.”
Yeah, and they’re the jihadists in Boston, London and Paris. Each one explained his actions by referring to Islamic teaching. The rabbi is falling into the Islamic supremacist trap of thinking that it’s “Islamophobic” for non-Muslims to point out that jihadists use Islamic texts and teachings to justify their actions, and to call on Muslims who claim to reject this understanding of Islam to do something effective to counter it.
And of course one of the Jews to which Marmur objected was me. He wrote: “Echoing statements by responsible Jewish leaders in the United States, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the immediate past president of the Union for Reform Judaism, has described her in a recent Jerusalem Post column as ‘a bigot and a purveyor of hate.’”
Where was Rabbi Eric Yoffie countering “hate” when the Fogel family was murdered in Israel? Or when the Chabad house was targeted for a bloody jihad attack in Mumbai? Or when Christians are persecuted on an increasingly frequent and violent basis in Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia and elsewhere? Instead, he opposes me for standing up against this real hatred. Here is my full response to Yoffie’s smears.
“On the eve of her appearance here,” Marmur pointed out, “the Toronto Board of Rabbis issued a statement expressing ‘profound disappointment’ with the Jewish organization that had invited her.”
In condemning me, just like Marmur, they didn’t cite one quote from me: not one. I have written three books, hundreds of articles, 26,000-plus blog posts, and they can’t find one quote. But they will give chum to the sharks by pitting Jew against Jew. It is the mission of the Jews to speak the truth. Shame on Marmur and the other rabbis. They’re guilty of lashon hara, the evil gossip that is a lie. And a large number of people were enraged with these traitorous quislings for attacking a fellow Jew who is working in defense of the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience and individual rights.
But Marmur spoke instead about “the fear that Geller’s customary rants against Islam would create tensions between the two communities.”
“Rants against Islam,” i.e. condemnations of Islamically justified Jew-hatred, kuffar-hatred, wife beating, honor killing, clitoridectomies, murder of apostates, denial of the freedom of speech and so much more. Those people can just suffer – we don’t want to rant against Islam.
Rabbi Marmur quoted Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, the president of the Toronto Board of Rabbis: “The leadership of the Board of Rabbis felt that Geller’s words and presence would negatively impact on our efforts to work with the Islamic community to control and limit their more radical elements. We want to strengthen the moderates, not alienate them. We recognize the anxiety, fear and concern that many fellow Jews feel, but do not want to be over-reactive and turn into a negative force that could be injurious to ourselves and others. We must be vigilant, but to be victorious against extremism, we must be able to distinguish between true and imaginary dangers.”
Why would it alienate true moderates to discuss the elements of Islam that need reform and the violent and supremacist actions that make that reform necessary? They’re supposed to be against the violence and in favor of the reform, right?
Marmur went on to talk about an event “co-sponsored by the Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims and Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto” at which he spoke: “Eschewing inflammatory politics and divisive theology, the evening was devoted to helping Jews and Muslims work together for the good of all and to explain to each other how religious commitment should lead to social action. It was interfaith at its finest: comparing best with best.”
Did it prevent the recent Canadian jihad plot to blow up a train heading to New York? No. Why not? Did participants even address the elements of Islam that give rise to such plots and discuss ways to keep such plots from arising in the future? No. So what good was this meeting?
But undaunted, Marmur concluded that people should foster a “climate of mutual trust by counteracting toxic recriminations and unwarranted self-righteousness.”
Unwarranted self-righteousness is Dow Marmur’s middle name. He doesn’t realize that he is enabling the worst enemies of the Jewish people.