Judaism and Islam in America –


Dialogue with Radical Muslims is Dangerous for American Jews

by Jerry Gordon (January 2012)

Jewish interfaith dialogue with Muslims has moved beyond mere episodes to one of joint services and soon, joint sanctuaries. It is an insidious form of Da’wah (call to Islam) that some Jewish communal groups are dangerously courting, an act of self destruction undermining the future of the Jewish community in America.

This dramatic shift is a reflection of a miscast liberal Jewish interpretation of Tikkun Olam – repairing the world. Miscast, because traditional Judaism views Tikkun Olam as the perfection of an exemplary life in the fulfillment the 613 mitzvoth, or good deeds. Interfaith dialogue began in earnest following World War Two in the aftermath of the Holocaust. It was reflected in joint Thanksgiving services with mainstream liberal Protestant churches. The liberal Jewish view of dialogue was institutionalized with the creation of Jewish Community Relations Councils (JCRCs) by Jewish Federations that were mandated to engage in outreach to the non-Jewish community. The JCRCs were also a reflection of Jewish activism in the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and the anti-War movement during the Vietnam era.

The major Jewish denominations through the leadership at the respective seminaries for the Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist movements, and less so the traditional Orthodox seminaries, have institutionalized interfaith dialogue in training of new members of the rabbinate.

Thus we find JCRCs, Jewish denominational seminary leaders showing up to break hallal bread with Muslim community leaders who are for the most part representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood. These Jewish community and religious leaders think nothing of attending annual meetings of MB groups like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), CAIR, and urging their children to make common cause with Muslim Student Association (MSA) chapters in opposing counter-Jihad advocates on college and university campuses. We have found Hillel chapters supporting MSA college chapters, the later endeavoring to deny free speech to those critical of doctrinal Islam and its treatment of women, gays, apostates and unbelievers. There is ready acceptance of anti-Zionist and anti-Israel Jewish advocacy groups on local JCRC’s and even Jewish Federation Israel Action committees. Groups like Brit Tzedek v Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, which is now integrated with J Street’s local chapters. As a result, Jewish communal organizations harbor Jewish advocates of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in the self destructive attempt to force recognition of a Palestinian state. A Palestinian state seeking to occupy “the space between the river and the sea” – Israel.

In this article we will demonstrate how aberrant and dangerous is the contemporary Jewish predilection to dialogue with its ancient Muslim enemies.

One Big Tent for Christians, Jews and Muslims in Brentwood

A late December 2011 edition of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal (Jewish Journal) cover showed a picture of three women clergy; one an Israeli-born rabbi, a Sufi Muslim leader and the Lutheran minister whose Brentwood, California church has become the apotheosis of the Abrahamic religions’ big tent. The Jewish Journal article was entitled: “One Big Tent: Jews, Muslims, Christians celebrate spirituality in a shared sacred space.”

2 replies

  1. I totally disagree with Mr Gordon’s assessment of ‘intentions’ of the so called liberal Jewish organizations – who are making a genuine effort to remove baseless misconceptions about other faiths, bring peace and harmony which is fitting for the 21st century that we live in.

    I have personally met various Jewish congregations and their Rabbis who have shown a genuine common interest in the future of our next generation. Not just Jewish generation, but the next generation of Muslim kids, Christian kids, Jewish kids, all living in peace in the West. They all recognize that the hatred that was carried forth for years since WW II, cannot bring peace or security for the next generation.

    Unfortunate radical factions are not a product of Islam only. It is not copyrighted by Muslims. There are radical factions in all faiths. In my visits to interfaith meetings, respectable Jewish constituents raised concerns that some of their own Rabbis and leadership was too hard lined and promoting hatred. They keep banking on events and pieces of history that has no relevance in today’s time, and definitely not for the next generation.

    What happens or happened half way across the world, eons ago, cannot form the basis of our present day rules for co-existence. Living in the past has never served any good for any generation.

    It is unfortunate, that the media only focuses on the less than 1% of so called Muslims who has brought disgrace to the name of Islam. However, a sensible person needs to realize that there are the other 99% who stand for good.

    The West has granted us a great opportunity – to be included in a common peaceful and harmonized society. It does not mean, we have to let go of our values or traditions. However, if we want others to respect those values or traditions, it has to be reciprocated.

    These interfaith dialogues are a positive force that unites us. Being part of this noble effort does not make us a lesser of a Jew, a Christian or a Muslim. In times of need, a Muslim will stand next to a Jew or a Christian – to help his fellow brother. It is also a Mitzvoh, a common commandment from God that we all share and value.

    It is high time, we act as adults. Set positive examples for our next generation and promote peace and tolerance.

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