Saturday, October 22, 2016

On Myopia and Dismissiveness

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Elder of Ziyon and Jews Down Under.}


Some time ago one of our participants at Israel Thrives suggested that my focus on Israel, and the rise of Political Islam, is myopic in terms of the forthcoming US presidential election.

I take such criticisms seriously and even though I might not respond immediately - or at all - it does not mean that I am not chewing on the matter.

This writer proposed that there are plenty of other things to consider, beyond the never-ending Arab-Israel conflict, when determining who to vote for. He is right, of course. Americans are coping with a huge range of life-effecting issues that must be addressed through our politics.

So, why focus on an entirely sectarian issue like the Arab-Israel conflict?

There are a number of reasons.

This first is that the focus of Israel Thrives is what it is. If it were a blog devoted to fishing nobody would complain that it is not discussing duck hunting. This is not to say that murdering perfectly innocent ducks isn't a worthwhile endeavor, delicious as they are, but it simply has nothing to do with fishing other than the fact that both are outdoor sports.

What is more troubling are charges of semi-irrelevant sectarianism, because such charges promote indifference of, and dismissiveness toward, the fundamental issue of Political Islam.


When we dismiss concerns about Jihadism as racist, anti-Muslim, Islamophobic bigotry (as Pamela Geller might put it) we not only stifle the possibility of discussion through a slander that has ruined peoples lives, but call our own ideological credibility into question.

Jews or no Jews, al-Sharia persecutes millions of people throughout the Middle East and Europe and how we react to that persecution speaks volumes toward our credibility in speaking on other issues concerned with human rights.

1) The Abuse of Non-Jews Under Sharia

The Jews of the Middle East are victims of al-Sharia who refuse to be victims of al-Sharia. 

Israel may be The Dhimmi that Got Away, but that doesn't mean that the much larger, hostile, majority-population of the Middle East are not intent on retrieving it.

That is, even as Israel stands strong militarily, technologically, and economically, Israeli-Jewish society lives under a constant threat of Jihadi violence that kills innocent people thereby propelling hatred and fear throughout much of the culture.

Israel, however, has the IDF, but the Christian Copts in Egypt do not.

The Yazidis of Nineveh, Iraq, do not.

Neither do women anywhere in the Arab-Persian-Muslim World who are generally treated - at least, according to contemporary western standards of human decency - as something approaching chattel.

We are talking about hundreds of millions of people, almost all of whom are non-Jewish, who live under medieval systems of jurisprudence derived from Islamic primary sources. We know that in many parts of the Islamic world, such as Saudi Arabia, they are still hacking at body parts as a form of Holy Justice.

In the Quran, Surah 5:33, we read that one such punishment takes the form of chopping off one foot and one hand from opposite sides of the individual's body and then, presumably, leaving that person to simply writhe to death in the sand.

One can only wonder if that particularly evil form of "justice" is still practiced in Riyadh today.

2) The Maintenance of Ideological Credibility

How we respond to the issue of rising Political Islam is, or should be, an expression of our political ideologies.

If we claim to stand for social justice then we have an obligation to stand up for women in the Middle East, Gay people in the Middle East, and all non-Muslim peoples living under al-Sharia. And it must be said that the greatest victims, by far, of the Jihadi trend are Muslims, themselves.

If we fail to speak out definitively against Political Islam then we cannot claim the mantle of social justice or universal human rights and, therefore, any claims that we make along such lines can be airily dismissed, with the wave of a hand, as hypocrisy.

That is, if we claim to stand for women's rights, but cannot bring ourselves to vocally and consistently condemn practices like burying condemned women up to their shoulders in preparation for a proper stoning in Iran, then we have no right to claim to stand for women's rights.

If we claim to stand for GBLTQ rights, but cannot bring ourselves to vocally and consistently condemn the execution of Gay people under al-Sharia, then we have no business claiming to be pro-Gay.

If we claim to stand for secular democratic principles in western lands, but have no problem with dual and, thus, unequal legal systems in European countries, then our claims to stand for secular democratic principles are precarious, at best.

Finally, for those who think that standing for universal human rights is inconsistent with being pro-Israel, then I recommend that one read more deeply into the history of the Jewish people under thirteen centuries of Islamic dominance in the Middle East, prior to World War I.

Thirteen hundred years of second and third-class non-citizenship under the boot of imperial Islam was quite enough for the Jewish people, and all other non-Muslims, living in the Middle East.

One cannot understand the never-ending conflict if one refuses to place it into its larger historical and geographic context.

Martin Gilbert's, In Ishmael's House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands (2010, Yale University Press) is a good place to start.


  1. Islam, and its devotees, are cancerous to civilised humanity. Islam is already a multi-faceted cancer...each hydra facet being equally poisonous to human kind, and which currently there is no antivenin for.

    'Civilised' society has enough on its plate to keep from slaughtering each other for traditional/historical to ever allow itself to take its myopic eye off these barbarous sub-humans for one second.

    Presidential electioneering or not.....hindsight alone should have taught the Planet's people why there is a need to never take the myopic microscope off these savages.

    Let...and the wider view of managing society, will account for nought with such a blood crazed cult running riot with their allah akbars.

    250,000,000 souls I believe they have been responsible for slaughtering in the past 1400 years. Myopically, is the only way to view these sub-humans....every LAST ONE of that for Israel or the World at large!

    1. Mike, intellectually that makes sense. Most Muslims don't attack us directly. Us being the West or Israel or whomever. The key word though is "directly." Indirectly now, that's often and commonly a different story. One doesn't need to point to things like sending money to shady Muslim charities or keeping one's mouth shut about the fundie at your Mosque. One only has to look at their religious texts; the origins tell it all.

    2. Mike,

      There was a time when I subscribed to your general contention...for many years actually, of the 'good' Islamist/'bad' one time even defending them on the bases of their Abrahamic teachings.

      Hands on experience alone...from working, living and travelling among them for many years from Indonesia, Asia minor, the ME, through sub-Saharan Africa, the Mediterranean and onto to the Atlantic Coast identified one salient trait within each of them....their near universal hate for an they either passive or aggressive.

      Time and again, I witnessed the shrug of a shoulder of far too many passive Islamists at the most horrific sights of death and maiming imaginable by their aggressive 'cousins', to have long ago arrived at the conclusion that their passive kin, are the base building blocks that embolden and allow the aggressive Jihadi to thrive.

      Intended roles as accepting facilitator, and active doer!

      The link is the Book...for what has been set in near stone, and as it always will be, and the mad mullahs who sell that both aggressives and non-aggressives, where ever one wanders in the Islamist world.

      This 'good' Islamist/'bad' Islamist theory has even progressed so far now, that a general concensus is developing that Jihadi's are not even of the Islamic family/religion.

      The World could learn a lot from the 'Religion of Peace', and it's propagandaists - they are without peer!


    3. Michael it's like knocking on wood getting this Muslim thing through to you. Graham is right.
      The problem is Muslims. If they follow Islam, then they follow the Koran and they believe in all it says.The book is an abomination.

    4. Hey you guys,

      I am, of course, aware that the Islamic primary sources (Koran and hadith) are the root of the problem.

      Also you should know that I make no distinction between "good Islamists" and "bad Islamists." In fact, one of my primary criticisms of the Obama administration is that it does precisely that.

      However, I do make a distinction between Muslims and Jihadis.

      A Jihadi is anyone who wishes to promote a worldwide caliphate and who either engages in violence or justifies that violence as a means toward an end.

      The rest are just people of the Muslim community who want to put food on the table.

      Does that maked them improper Muslims?


      They're bad Muslims in the way that less devout Christians and Jews are "bad" Christians and Jews.

      But I just think of them as my neighbors.

  2. "The Islamic Reformation Is Here—and It’s ISIS"

  3. We Jews are world class at submissiveness. We excel at ignoring problems until it's too late. Then we throw up our hands, hunker down and beg forgiveness. In California recently, a Judge temporarily blocked the Jewish observance of kapporot and then opened the issue up for appeal on Yom Kippur. At the same time the LA Times ran a piece about the quaint cultural practice of Muslims slaughtering sheep in the street for Eid et Fitah. California is also home of people trying criminalize the Bris and shechita while FGM is practiced almost openly and there are websites popping up preparing Muslims for the day when polygamy and child marriage will be allowed.

    But I bet your rabbis will be all up in that next interfaith breakfast, won't they? I bet Hillel will still be soliciting money to pay for the next speaker of the PLO parliament to appear.