Thursday, July 30, 2015

Who is an extremist?

Sar Shalom

One of the common epithets hurled at those exercising Jewish rights to visit the Temple Mount is that of "extremist." For the Arabs to use that language is understandable, however, even the UN has taken to doing so. Without going too deep into the UN's designation of Jews visiting their own holy sites as "extremists," it is worth reflecting on the history of making such designations.

In this country there is a history of calling anyone promoting unpopular rights an "extremist." One notable example is Martin Luther King Jr., who wrote in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, "At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergyman would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist."

What the example of King shows is that branding someone an "extremist" does not necessarily mean anything about the target of the branding. Rather, it can simply mean that the person doing the branding, due to extreme bigotry, viscerally opposes the target's goals. In the meantime, we should start to compare those who, like the UN Special Coordinator, call Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount "extremists" to the bigots who labelled King an "extremist."


  1. It's a good point.

    The Temple Mount issue pisses me off on a regular basis.

    There is a craveness within the Israeli government around this issue that I find exceedingly distasteful. And maybe it is not just the government, but the polity, in general.

    How it is that Jewish Israelis have such low self-esteem that they actually allow Arabs to fly the black flag of the Islamic State on the holiest site to the Jewish people is beyond me.

    I still don't quite understand to this day just what Moshe Dayan was thinking.

    1. I can answer Dayan's thinking. He was sticking it to the religious community. The quote I once read (I forget exactly where) was "What do we need this Vatican for?"

    2. Just like 2005 Gaza disengagement was "sticking it to the settlers". Would be nice if we sometimes tried to stick it to our genocidal enemies instead.

    3. Mike,
      I think you know I'm not religious, but I don't need to be to agree with you 100% on this.

  2. I'm proud to be called a fanatic.