“Spicer’s Mistake and the Democrat’s Over-Reaction”

OPINION

From the publisher of jewishinfoNews. The following article was originally published by Gatestone Institute  and republished with permission by jewishinfoNews on April 13, 2017.

“The fight against bigotry is a bi-partisan issue and must not be exploited for partisan gain… All sides must stop using references to Hitler and the Holocaust in political dialogue.”

Alan Dershowitz credit jewishbusinessnews JIN July 13 2016

by  Alan M. Dershowitz

Sean Spicer made a serious mistake when he compared Bashar Al-Assad to Hitler, and to make matters worse, he got his facts wrong. He quickly and fully apologized. There was no hint of anti-Semitism in his historical mistake and his apology should have ended the matter. But his political enemies decided to exploit his mistake by pandering to Jews. In doing so, it is they who are exploiting the memory of the six million during the Passover Holiday.

The Democratic National Committee issued a rebuke with the headline “We will not stand for anti-Semitism.” Its content included the following: “Denying the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime is a tried and true tactic used by Neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups that have become emboldened since Donald Trump first announced his campaign for president.” By placing Hitler and Trump in the same sentence, the DNC committed a mistake similar to that for which they justly criticized Spicer. Moreover, the DNC itself, is co-chaired by a man who for many years did “stand for anti-Semitism” — namely Keith Ellison who stood by the notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, while denying that he was aware of Farrakhan’s very public Jew-hatred. It is the epitome of Chutzpah for the DNC to falsely accuse Spicer of standing by anti-Semitism while it is they who are co-chaired by a man who committed that sin.

Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority leaders, falsely accused Spicer of “downplaying the horror of the Holocaust.” But by leveling that false accusation, Pelosi herself is exploiting the tragedy.

Steven Goldstein, a hard-left radical who heads a phony organization that calls itself “The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect,” accused Spicer of “engage[ing] in Holocaust denial.” He called Spicer’s mistake a “most evil slur” against the Jewish people. Goldstein claims to speak for the Jewish people, but he represents only himself and a few handfuls of radical followers who are not in any way representative of the mainstream Jewish community. He repeatedly exploits the Holocaust in order to gain publicity for him and his tiny group of followers. Shame on them!

These over the top reactions to a historical mistake made by Spicer that was not motivated by anti-Semitism represents political exploitation of the Holocaust. Spicer was wrong in seeking to bolster his argument against Assad by referring to Hitler, and his political opponents are wrong in exploiting the tragedy of the Holocaust to score partisan points against him.

The difference is that Spicer gaffe was not in any way pre-meditated, whereas the exploitation by his enemies was carefully calculated for political gain. All sides must stop using references to Hitler and the Holocaust in political dialogue. Historical analogies are by their nature generally flawed. Analogies to the Holocaust are always misguided, and often offensive, even if not so intended.

On CNN the other night, Don Lemon asked me if I was “offended as a Jew” by what Spicer had said. The truth is that I was offended as someone who cares about historical accuracy by Spicer’s apparent lack of knowledge regarding the Nazi’s use of chemicals such as Zyklon B to murder Jews during the Holocaust. But it never occurred to me that Spicer’s misstatements were motivated by anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial or an intent to “slur” the Jewish people. Nor do I believe that those who have accused him of such evil motivations actually believe it. They deliberately attributed an evil motive to him in order to pander to Jewish listeners. That offends me more than anything Spicer did.

Extreme right wing anti-Semitism continues to be a problem in many parts of Europe and among a relatively small group of “alt-right” Americans. But hard left and Muslim extremist anti-Semitism is a far greater problem in America today, especially on university campuses. So those of us who hate all forms of anti-Semitism and bigotry, regardless of its source, must fight this evil on a non-partisan basis. We must get our priorities straight, focusing on the greatest dangers regardless of whether they come from the right or the left, from Republicans or Democrats. The fight against bigotry is a bi-partisan issue and must not be exploited for partisan gain.

Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School has been described by Newsweek as “the nation’s most peripatetic civil liberties lawyer and one of its most distinguished defenders of individual rights.” Professor Dershowitz’s writings have been translated into French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Russian, and other languages.

The USA: “Now is a time when none of us can afford to remain seated or silent.”

What Others Are Saying

“Now is a time when none of us can afford to remain seated or silent. We must all stand up to be counted.” – Dan Rather, Journalist

History will demand to know which side were you on. This is not a question of politics or party or even policy. This is a question about the very fundamentals of our beautiful dan-rather-2experiment in a pluralistic democracy ruled by law.

When I see neo-Nazis raise their hands in terrifying solute, in public, in our nation’s capital, I shudder in horror. When I see that action mildly rebuked by a boilerplate statement from the President-elect whom these bigots have praised, the anger in me grows. And when I see some in a pliant press turn that mild statement into what they call a denunciation I cannot hold back any longer.

Our Declaration of Independence bequeaths us our cherished foundational principle: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These truths may be self-evident but they are not self-replicating. Each generation has to renew these vows. This nation was founded as an opposite pole to the capriciousness of an authoritarian monarch. We set up institutions like a free press and an independent court system to protect our fragile rights. We have survived through bloody spasms of a Civil War and a Civil Rights Movement to extend more of these rights to more of our citizens. But the direction of our ship of state has not always been one of progress. We interned Japanese Americans, Red Baited during the McCarthy era, and more. I feel the rip tide of regression once again swelling under my feet. But I intend to remain standing.

In normal times of a transition in our presidency between an incoming and outgoing administration of differing political parties, there is a certain amount of fretting on one side and gloating on the other. And the press usually takes a stance that the new administration at least deserves to have a chance to get started – a honeymoon period. But these are not normal times. This is not about tax policy, health care, or education – even though all those and more are so important. This is about racism, bigotry, intimidation and the specter of corruption.

But as I stand I do not despair, because I believe the vast majority of Americans stand with me. To all those in Congress of both political parties, to all those in the press, to religious and civic leaders around the country. your voices must be heard. I hope that the President-elect can learn to rise above this and see the dangers that are brewing. If he does and speaks forcibly, and with action, we should be ready to welcome his voice. But of course I am deeply worried that his selections of advisors and cabinet posts suggests otherwise.

To all of you I say, stay vigilant. The great Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that even as a minority, there was strength in numbers in fighting tyranny. Holding hands and marching forward, raising your voice above the din of complacency, can move mountains. And in this case, I believe there is a vast majority who wants to see this nation continue in tolerance and freedom. But it will require speaking. Engage in your civic government. Flood newsrooms or TV networks with your calls if you feel they are slipping into the normalization of extremism. Donate your time and money to causes that will fight to protect our liberties.

We are a great nation. We have survived deep challenges in our past. We can and will do so again. But we cannot be afraid to speak and act to ensure the future we want for our children and grandchildren.”

The above comment was originally published today on Facebook by Dan Rather. the thedanrather@gmail.com

(Photo credit: You Tube)

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”

 

“When Hate is Promoted by Religious Leaders, Why Blame the Followers?”

Special Report

From the publisher of jewishinfoNews. The following article was originally published by Gatestone Institute and republished with permission by jewishinfoNews on June 27, 2016.

“Abdullah Hakim Quick, a Toronto imam, makes a speech where he gives his answer to the position of Islam on homosexuality: ‘The position is death.'” 

           by Raheel Raza

– Imam Abdullah Hakim Quick then goes on to connect being gay with Zionism — his anti-Semitic sentiments at their best. All this while standing at a pulpit. If this is not a crime of hate, then what is? Does this imam have nothing positive to speak about in his sermon, besides spreading the Islamist agenda of hate and bigotry?
– For years we have warned of the messages of hate emanating from the pulpit. We have spoken of the two different messages being given — one to the public and one in private.
– Why then do we act surprised when the Omar Mateens of the world take up arms and ruthlessly gun down an entire group of gays? This is what they are being taught by the likes of Imam Quick. They are acting out the hate that has been instilled in their minds and hearts.

In the aftermath of the bloodbath created by Omar Mateen at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, a plethora of opinions, ideas and causes have been spoken about. At the same time, a very disturbing picture about a specific aspect of this hateful ideology of Islamists has emerged. In my opinion, there is no doubt that Mateen was an Islamist influenced by the jihadist agenda of fanatic hate for the gay communities.

For those of us reform-minded Muslims who have been battling the rise in radical Islamist agendas for the past decade, this development is no surprise. In our declaration, we say right at the top:

“We reject bigotry, oppression and violence against all people based on any prejudice, including ethnicity, gender, language, belief, religion, sexual orientation and gender expression.”

Why did we include this line in our message? Because we know of the hate that is directed towards the LGBTQ communities in Muslim lands. In Iran, thousands of gays have been executed; in Afghanistan, the Taliban bury them alive; in Saudi Arabia they are liable for death, and in other Muslim countries they are persecuted and abused if they admit to the preference.

One can always say that this is happening out there someplace else. We in North American pride ourselves on freedom of expression and tolerance towards those following a different lifestyle. We would never expect hate against others to be promoted in a liberal democracy.

However, not everyone in Canada thinks as we do. In our own hometown of pluralistic Toronto, hate against the LQBTQ community is alive and well.

Abdullah Hakim Quick is a Toronto imam who writes on his website:

“I have always stood against racism and ethnocentrism. I have been a lifelong advocate of women’s rights and for decades have encouraged the empowerment of young people. I pioneered the first social service agency for Muslims in Toronto, Canada (I.S.S.R.A.) whose doors were open to all — rich and poor, Muslim and non-Muslim, gay or straight. As a counselor I learned first-hand of the terrible violence inflicted upon gay people by bullies and I publicly spoke out against it….”

Yet in a YouTube video, the same Imam Quick says:

“… they said ‘What is the position of Islam on homosexuality?’ — they asked me this. This is a newspaper, right. So I said ‘Put my name in the paper. The position is death.’ And we cannot change Islam.”

Furthermore, Quick goes on openly to ridicule the Toronto gay community known as Salaam Canada. Many of them are my friends and I respect them. They have suffered at the hands of Islamists and felt they were safe in a city like Toronto. Not so anymore, and my heart goes out to them.

Abdullah Hakim Quick, a Toronto imam, makes a speech where he gives his answer to the position of Islam on homosexuality: “The position is death.” (Image source: TIFRIB video screenshot)

Mr. Quick then goes on to connect being gay with Zionism — his anti-Semitic sentiments at their best. All this while standing at a pulpit. If this is not a crime of hate, then what is? Does this imam have nothing positive to speak about in his sermon?

The point is that not only is he lying on his website, but he is spreading the Islamist agenda of hate and bigotry. He is also spouting an opinion that is not in the Quran. While the Quran (like other Abrahamic scriptures) does not condone homosexuality, there is no injunction to kill gays. However, because he is an imam and an imam is supposed to be knowledgeable, no one challenges him. Therefore, his opinion on gays (derived from sharia and concocted hadeethperhaps) is that death is the solution for gays.

He’s not the only one. Not long ago, Florida religious scholar Shaykh Farrokh said gently but with conviction in a speech “death is the sentence. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Death is the sentence.” He goes on to explain that killing gays is an act of compassion.

Why then do we act surprised when the Omar Mateens of the world take up arms and ruthlessly gun down an entire group of gays? This is what they are being taught by the likes of Imam Abdullah Hakim Quick. They are acting out the hate that has been instilled in their minds and hearts.

For years, we have warned of the messages of hate emanating from the pulpit. We have spoken of the two different messages being given — one to the public and one in private. Well, we live in a world where the two are meshed and the culprits need to be exposed. It is time Muslims knew what their religious leaders are saying and promoting from the pulpit.

Is this what we want our youth to hear? If not, what are we doing about it?

Raheel Raza is President of The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, and co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement. She is recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for service to Canada and is  a Distinguished Senior Fellow with The Gatestone Institute. She also sits on the Advisory Board of The Mosaic Institute and The ACTV Foundation (The Alliance of Canadian Terror Victims).

(Feature Image Credit: bghelsinki)

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SEVENTY YEARS LATER -

OVER SEVENTY YEARS LATER – “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” | “The more things change, the more they stay the same”