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Faysal’s Letter No. 100: Is It Anti-Semitism To Criticize Israeli Policies (Part 7)

The bitter fact is that the American public have come to accept acts, which I would label as anti-Semitics directed against Arabs but not my cousins, the Jews, as a norm. Fortunately, the American sector that holds anti-Muslim feelings is not widespread.

American scholar Kevin Phillips revealed, “American evangelical, fundamentalist, and Pentecostal churches, (who are the vanguard against anti-Semitism acts towards people of the Jewish faith,) in turn, have become the new flag bearers of crusades against Islam’s ‘evil ones.’ According to national public-opinion polls, evangelicals and their leaders far exceed other Americans in their disapproval of Islam. Two-thirds of these leaders consider Islam to be dedicated to ‘world domination’ and a ‘religious of violence.’

Fortunately well-informed American Jews are aware, despite the rhetoric between Shiite radicals such as Hezbollah and radical Jewish groups such as Gush Emunim and the like, there are common similarities between Judaism and Shiite religious rituals, for instance.

They noted that the Shiite Ashura and Jewish Yom Kippur have similar rituals.

The Jews pound their chests in regret for their sins of omission while the Shiites pound their chests for not having helped Ali’s two sons when they went to Kerbala to fight the Sunni Calipha. Jews have, more or less, a similar ritual performed on Yom Kippur, which stresses that our lives are in God’s hands and we are subjected to God’s mercy, when shops and markets close and international flights are stopped and many of the borders to Israel are closed. There are no news broadcast and all Israeli television stations go off the air. The Jews perform the Al Het ritual that is manifested in pounding ones chests in regret for their sins of omission.

The American Jewish author Stephen Schwartz wrote, “It is interesting to note that a Shi’a scholar has sought to correlate the 10th of Muharram with the Jewish Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement.”

At the same time the radical Iranian regime claims it is defending the Muslim/Palestinian cause and its irrational former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeated statements against Israel and at the same time dealt with Judaism in a respectful manner, meaning his rhetoric is anti-Israel but not anti-Semitism. The Iranian revolutionary leaders, unlike our politicians and conservative political pundits, differentiated between Israeli brutal politics against the underdog Palestinian People and their respect to one of the three monolithic religions, Judaism.

You might not be aware that the revolution never opposed Judaism. Shortly after his return from exile in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini met with leaders of the Jewish community and other minorities and issued a fatwa [religious edict] ordering that they be treated well. Christians and Jews, he stressed, were “people of the book” and shared a single monotheistic tradition. In the case of Jews, he also pronounced that they should be distinguished from Israeli Zionists.

American author and reporter Robin Wright wrote in her book, “The Last Great Revolution,” "The Islamic republic's new constitution in 1980 then stipulated that Jews---- and three other religious minorities--- should have their own representation in the new unicameral Parliament, or Majlis. The proportion is one seat for every 150,000, the same as for Muslims.....The Jewish parliamentarian took his oath of office on a Hebrew Bible, Jewish customs and laws--- on divorce, for example--- were also accepted by the new Islamic courts. And few Jews conscripted into the army. Several even became heroes during the Iran-Iraq war, a fact noted at the Martyr's Museum in a special display for minorities.”


The Christian Zionist always tends to blemish Islam as a way in supporting the brutal Israeli policies in the territories. I have to admit that these supporters of Israel had succeeded in painting every attempt to resist the occupation as anti-Semitism. In their successful efforts, they have taken out of context certain passages from the Koran to support their hatred of Islam.

To my great dismay they overlooked the fact that every religion has its open “diabolical” aspects against other religions. A good example is Peter Schaefer's new book, “Jesus in the Talmud.” Schaefer, who heads up Princeton's Judaic studies program, has collected and analyzed all the passages in the Talmud that apparently refer to the founder of Christianity, texts that were previously censored from Talmud editions for centuries. In his book he argues—against other scholars—that the scandalous passages indeed refer not to some other figure of ancient times but to the famous Jesus of Nazareth.
The reviewer pointed out, “Schaefer, a distinguished German-born Christian scholar who describes classical rabbinic literature as ‘my first love,’ has now definitively let the cat out of the bag. This undermines a widespread assumption that, of Judaism's and Christianity's respective sacred texts, only the Christian Gospels go out of their way to assail the rival faith, whereas Judaism's classical texts refrain from similar attacks.
It seems fair to say now, however, that the Talmud is every bit as offensive to Christians as the Gospels are to Jews.”

Elliott Horowitz

, a native of New York City and Associate Professor of Jewish History at Bar-Ilan University in Israel wrote many scholarly books. A reviewer remarked that Horowitz, “Has written the most wide-ranging book on Jewish violence in any language, and the first to fully acknowledge and address the actual anti-Christian practices that became part of the playful, theatrical violence of the Jewish festival of Purim. He has also examined the different ways in which the book of Esther, upon which the festival is based, was used by Jews and Christians over the centuries--whether as an ancient mirror of modern tribulations or as the scriptural basis for anti-Semitic claims regarding the bloodthirstiness of the Jews.”


There are some informed American citizens about Islam and its secular/reform people that abhor terrorism, under any political justifications. Daniel Pipes, well known for his strong support of Israel and repeated attacks against Muslims had to admit to the Jerusalem Post, “Moderate Muslims do exist, I reply. Admittedly, they do not constitute a movement but represent mere wisps in the face of the Islamist onslaught. This means, I argue, that the US government and other powerful institutions should give priority to locating, meeting with, funding, forwarding, empowering and celebrating those brave Muslims who, at personal risk, stand up and confront the totalitarians.” [Emphasis added]

An American political pundit speaking about anti-Israel and anti-Semitism noted, “It is interesting that in an 11-program series [on PBS] focused largely on the Middle East, no mention is made of the core issue of the region: the enormous injustice perpetrated in 1948 when Israel ethnically cleansed most of the indigenous population, and its ongoing and ruthless efforts in this direction today. While the series focuses on the activities of people who are opposing past and present dispossession, it appears that no mention is made of the oppression they are resisting. It is a little like describing the actions of someone being attacked by wolves without mentioning the wolves.

The issues in the Middle East and 9/11 have far more to do with the usual causes of war, competition over territory and resources, than with religion. Nevertheless, there are religious dimensions to the conflict, and it would certainly be valuable to explicate these.”

He then asks, “If one of the religions is going to be examined, with much of the focus on its alleged warts, it seems to me that the other two should be exposed to equal scrutiny. Why was this not done?

Fundamentalist Jewish settlers are among the most fanatic and violent populations in the Middle East, and they proclaim that their violence is endorsed, even required, by their religion. Growing numbers of Christians endorse and fund this violent dispossession of the world's original Christians and others, and also claim to base their activities on their religion.

Similarly, violent Jewish and Christian extremists operate in the United States, some cells defined, even by the US government, as ‘terrorist.’ While at least six out of PBS's eleven programs [at a cost of $20 million] focus on Muslims and their connections to violence, not a single program focuses on Jewish extremists who torture farmers, attack children regularly, and whose core beliefs include the proposition that a non-Jew is ‘not worth the fingernail of a Jew.’ Similarly, there is not a single program examining American Christians who advocate violence at home and abroad, and who eagerly anticipate mass slaughter, in the name, they say, of their religion…..

Yet, PBS gave us a panel in which two Jews and one Christian informed us about Muslims. While I suspect that no one would accuse the panelists of undue humility, I sincerely doubt that even one would claim to be an Islamic scholar

. In addition, for the only program of the series in which a Muslim is the main ‘expert’ on Muslims, PBS has chosen to utilize a woman whose new-found media fame, and resultant fortune, have come from attacking Muslims.” [Emphasis added]

A recent report released in mid-2007 entitled “Western Perceptions About Islam and Muslims”, at a conference in Amsterdam, revealed that Arab Muslims are typically portrayed in a stereotypical and negative fashion by the media in Western Europe and the United States.

The report was commissioned by the Kuwaiti government and was undertaken by Communiqué Partners of San Francisco, which involved a survey and a series of interviews with media experts.

The report stated: "In print stereotypes are not so obvious, except in cartoon caricatures, but they still occur and anti-Muslim bias is more insidious. The terms Islamic or Muslim are linked to extremism, militant, Jihadis, as if they belonged together inextricably and naturally (Muslim extremist, Islamic terror, Islamic war, Muslim time bomb)."

The report pointed out that newspaper coverage has a strong impact, second only to television coverage, on the perceptions of Arab Muslims, with 36 percent of Western Europeans and Americans admitting their opinions of Arab Muslims are strongly influenced by newspaper reporting.

One of the authors of the Kuwaiti sponsored report, told the conference that "The image of Islam has been hijacked by extremists and it is time to take it back."


Religion has been defined as: “All religion relates to life, and the life of religion is to do good.” The Lebanese poet and philosopher, Khalil Gibran, author of “The Prophet,” has explained the meaning of religion, “You and I are children of one religion, for the varied paths of religion are but the fingers of the loving hand of the Supreme Being, extended to all, offering completeness of spirits to all, anxious to receive all.” He also defined faith as, “God has made many doors opening into truth which He opens to all who knock upon them with hands of faith.”

David Ben Gurion

spoke to a visiting group about religion, “Before we were Christians, Muslims or Jews… Before we were Egyptians, Israelis or Americans… Before we were any of the nametags that divide us….. We were human beings created by God, and that is the message of the great religions.”

Many scholars such as the Zionist Bernard Lewis did what he does best. He warned the West was involved in a war against radical Muslims. He conveniently ignored the fact that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the best recruiters of fundamentalists in the Arab and Jewish camps, was the main cause for modern terrorism. Lewis, like most supporters of Israel, also ignored all signs of modernity in the Islamic world, and provide the average reader with the false pretense that Osama bin Laden is but representative of Muslim attitudes toward the West and that along with Palestinian and Lebanese resistance forces aim at destroying Western societies rather than liberating their occupied lands from a brutal occupation that had lasted for decades.

Israeli activist Uri Avnery pointed out in June 2007 that there are radical Israelis too, which like radical Muslims call for killing of innocent people. He wrote, “Concerned friends recently e-mailed me some hair-raising quotes from a statement by Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel and the spiritual leader of the settlers and the entire religious Zionist camp. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the rabbi decreed that it is impermissible to have compassion with the civilian population of Gaza if that imperils Israeli soldiers. His son, Shmuel, interpreted this decree on behalf of his father: if the killing of 100 Arabs is not sufficient to stop the launching of Qassam rockets at Israel, then 1000 must be killed. And if that is not sufficient, then 10,000, and 100,000 and even a million. All this to stop the Qassams, which in all the years have not succeeded in killing a dozen Jews…… The rabbi's decree did not arouse any reaction. There was no outcry, neither from his flock nor from the general public. The number of rabbis who publicly support such methods has risen to the hundreds. Most of them come from the settlements. This is a ‘religious’ outlook that grew up in the poisoned atmosphere of the occupation, a religion of occupation. It shames the Jewish religion, present and past.” [Emphasis added]

The radical Jewish groups perpetrated in the West that Arabs always-persecuted Jews in order to justify their brutal acts especially those of the armed colonialists in the Occupied Territories, against innocent Palestinian inhabitants. These right-wing groups hid the historical facts from the international community that Judaism never played a part in Arab/Muslim dislike of Zionist colonialism.

It is worth for me to pause for a moment and ask was it true that Arabs persecuted Arab Jews simply because they belonged to a different religion?

The religious right wing Israelis, especially those on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, has always portrayed the Arab Jew [i.e. Oriental, Sephardim] as one of misery and anti-Semitism. Historians ascertain that Jews of the Arab world had never been exposed to anti-Semitism that European Jews experienced. This "race-hatred" attitude just did not exist in the Arab or the Muslim states, where Jews lived in rather close harmony with their compatriots belonging to other faiths, according to Clifford Wright, author of the book, "Facts and Fables."

He indicated that it is not a secret that Jews, like those belonging to other religions, did experience persecution during their 1,300 years under Arab or Muslim rule. However, this persecution was not directed against Jews because of their religion only since many of their Muslim and Christian compatriots suffered the same kind of brutal treatment when despotic rulers governed them.

Furthermore, historians record incidents of massacres of Jews, Christians and fellow Muslims too, under Muslim Arab rule. A person reading world history will frequently come across sordid events that indicate the cruelty of one people against another. Hence Zionist zealots’ propaganda portraying Arab Jews were always persecuted demonstrated their anti-Semitism attitude is very exaggerated indeed. For the Zionists tend, on purpose, to identify Muslims with Arabs and frequently quote anti-Semitic statements of non-Arab Muslims as a proof that Arab hatred against Israel is based on religious hatred. The reality is that the animosity between Arabs and Jews evolved in recent times when European Zionist leadership embarked on its successful mission of colonizing Palestine. These European Zionists, who were exposed to anti-Semitism and pogroms in their countries of origin, brought the racial hatred feeling to the Middle East.

The resistance of Palestinian Arabs, Muslims and Christians, to Zionist attempts to colonize the Holy Land, is the root for the present conflict. For the Zionist leaders announced that their goal was to establish an exclusive Jewish State [i.e. theocratic state] in the territory that was inhabited and belonged to the Palestinian natives [Muslims, Christians and Jews]. Arabs were also cognizant that they had no place in this Jewish State.

The Zionist machinery projected Arab resistance to colonization of their land as either being Jew-hating or anti-Semitic because it’s Zionist European leaders had experienced racial-hatred because of them being Jews. The Zionists went a step further and portrayed any historical conflict that arose in the past between Arabs and Jews as anti-Semitism. Pre-Zionist Jewish historians do not support this Zionist “logic”. On the contrary there are numerous evidences that relations between Arabs and Jews were, on the whole, relatively good prior to the arrival of European Zionist settlers to the shores of Palestine.

The Jewish writer Norman Stillman wrote in his book, "The Jews of Arab Lands," about the medieval times, "It is not mere coincidence that the flowering of Jewish culture in the Arab world should occur at the very time that Islamic civilization was at its apogee. Day to day contacts between Muslims and non-Muslims were on the whole amicable." Professor Salo Wittmayer, the renowned Jewish historian, supports this historical view. He pointed out that the Jew was aware that he would not suffer, because he was a Jew in the Arab world. However, he indicated that this does not negate that there was no persecution of Christians and Jews during certain periods when an Arab or Muslim ruler was a despot. The reality is that Arab enmity would not have been less had Israel been a Protestant state not because the Arabs are against Protestants but because such a state was usurping their land.


You might not be aware about the historical relations between those that belong to Judaism and those that belong to Islam. The historical relations between Arab Jews and Arabs/Muslims are totally different than what the Zionist propaganda portrays.

Following the expansion of the Muslim Empire from the 7th to10th centuries, Jews as well as Christians and other minorities living in the Middle East were fully Arabized. They adopted the Arab/Muslim approach in their writings and became an influential group, especially in the ruling circles. The Jewish community played an active role in the Arab Caliphate in Spain. For example, Hasdai ibn Shabrut was the principle advisor and confidant of the Arab Calipha Abd al-Rahman III. Another Arabized Jew, Samuel Hanagid, was the first Spanish Jew to be granted the title “prince” and then commanded a sizable army in the mid-11th century.

Moishe Hirsch

, an Orthodox rabbi, remarked about Zionism and the Arab Jew and defined Zionism as, "Zionism is nothing but lust and expansionism," and stressed, "Jews have lived in Moslem countries for centuries. Then the Zionists deliberately caused friction in those countries as a way of getting the Jews to come to Israel."

The two monolithic religions, Judaism and Islam have commonalties in the diaspora.

Daniel Benjamin

and Simon Daniel, Co-authors of the book, “The Next Attack,” pointed out the similarities between the two religions, “The belief among Muslims that they are part of a global community and share an identity, a history, and a way of life provides comfort for the millions who now live as scattered minorities in non-Muslim lands, an almost unprecedented condition in history. In one of the ironies of history, the notion of the umma functions in the same way for Muslims in the twenty-first century as the concept of ‘Am Yisrael (the people of Israel) has for Jews, who have considered themselves to be part of a transitional qahal qadosh, a holy congregation. These beliefs have helped preserve the cohesion of peoples who have left their homeland for an arduous exile. “

The Jewish extremists, especially those that belong to religious organizations, propagated that Arab dislike of Israel is merely because it is a Jewish State, that is based on Judaism teachings, was a nice masquerade for their ethnic cleansing of the inhabitants of Palestine. The Western world tolerated the Israeli ethnic cleansing because of their “Holocaust-ridden Guilt.”

An Israeli political pundit wrote, “Ethnic cleansing happens when Israel builds a security fence on Palestinian fields, cutting them from their owners; the farmers cannot access their land and are forced to find their living elsewhere.

Ethnic cleansing happens when settlers terrorize the Palestinian village of Khirbet Yanun, break into houses destroying whatever they find; last October (2000), only two old men were left of the whole village, the rest of its population had taken refuge in the neighbouring town of Akrabeh.

Ethnic cleansing is the motivation behind every new acre taken by Jewish settlements, behind ‘security zones’ and ‘by-pass roads’, behind fences and military outposts. It is behind every siege and closure, aimed at reducing Palestinian movement to their immediate surroundings, confining them to their enclave, to their town or village, to their house”

He warned, “All these things are taking place here and now, some reported, some not. The struggle against ‘transfer’ should therefore involve a concerted effort on all fronts: against plots to drive out Palestinians in the future, against their strangulation in the present, and for making the ethnic cleansing of 1948 (and since) part of our collective consciousness.”

The Arab support of the Palestinian cause is not based on religious motive or for being against Israeli simply because they practice Judaism. Arabs do differentiate between Judaism as a religion and Zionism as a colonialist enterprise where they demonstrated to the world that even Islamist respect Judaism. This not a statement but a fact.

One such good demonstration took place in September 2007 in Morocco. A Jewish woman was chosen to head national women's list in Moroccan parliamentary elections.
Maguy Kakon, a real-estate consultant from Casablanca, remarked, "I do admit that it is not easy for me to run for elections. Not because I am Jewish but because I am a woman. Moroccan women, however, are present in all walks of life and I think I should give it a try."
Kakon is not the first Jewish Moroccan to enter politics. When Morocco achieved independence in 1956, there were three Jewish members of parliament. Others have followed, and today Andre Azoulay, who is Jewish, is among King Mohammed's senior advisers.

No fewer than five Moroccan Jews, three of them women, ran in the elections. None of them ended up winning a seat in Parliament, but they represented a record number of Jewish candidates and they made their presence felt during the campaign.

A European election observer wrote, “Over the past month, they took to the streets of Morocco’s largest city and to the airwaves of Al Jazeera to win support, often making their case to veiled women and bearded men. And to hear the candidates tell it, the citizens of this conservative Muslim Arab country gave them a fair hearing.

I campaigned in the slums where the Islamists are present, and I was very well received and it touched me deeply,’ Susan Abittan, a fiery 53-year-old social worker, said two days after the election in an interview at her modest apartment in Casablanca. ‘They know that I am involved in social issues, and this is what they want’…..

Indeed, the political backing given to the Jewish candidates in last week’s election was notable in a country where hard-line policies are anathema to the government. When Abittan was asked if the Interior Ministry, which organized the elections, had encouraged her to run, she answered: ‘Of course they did. The Interior Ministry and the local authorities told me I should because I am a militant.’

Nonetheless, all five Jewish candidates stressed that their religion had nothing to do with their decision to run. The main impetuses behind their candidacies, they said, were patriotism and a sense of belonging to Morocco…..

The candidates expressed bewilderment when questioned about campaigning as a Jew in an Arab Muslim country, pointing out that Morocco has had a Jewish minister, a Jewish ambassador and a Jewish adviser to the king. A number of observers, however, told the Jewish Daily Forward that the candidacies serve the government’s aim of promoting an image abroad, and particularly in the West, of Morocco as a moderate Muslim country at a time when political Islam is on the rise…..

Abittan stated that her 25 years of social work had earned the respect of local Jews and Muslims alike. She noted that an Islamist baker in her neighborhood had offered his support, and that one of the other Jewish candidates, banker Solange Cohen, ran in a well-known Islamist stronghold in Casablanca’s suburbs.

‘We didn’t get the votes, because we started too late,’ she said, ‘People, when they heard ‘Cohen,’ did not run away; they were curious’.”


Rabbis Aharon Cohen and Moishe Arye Friedman are not in the minority of Jews when it comes to pointing to the Zionists playing the religious card against all their enemies, be it fellow Jews, Arabs or gentiles. The Orthodox Jews, for instance, play with the religious aspects of Judaism, to maintain their monopoly in Israel’s society.

Orly Halpern

pointed out in 2007 to the ongoing clash within the Israeli Jewish community about identifying who is a Jew? He wrote, “Under the rabbinical courts’ current composition, the obstacles facing would-be converts prevent more than half of all candidates from becoming Jews, said Benjamin Ish-Shalom, director of the Joint Institute for Jewish Studies (informally known as the Joint Conversion Institute……

The Joint Institute was established in 1998 as part of a plan by a government-appointed commission to break the decades-long deadlock between the Orthodox and non-Orthodox movements over control of the conversion process. The commission, headed by then-finance minister Yaakov Ne’eman, called for conversion candidates to undergo preparation at a special institute whose board and faculty would include Orthodox, Reform and Conservative rabbis. The plan reaffirmed the monopoly of the Orthodox chief rabbinate over the conversion ritual itself, but it called on the rabbinate to create special conversion tribunals that were expected to act more leniently than before….

The conversion dispute has festered for years, but it became a crisis during the 1990s, when some 1 million people of Jewish ancestry emigrated from the former Soviet Union, including an estimated 300,000 who are not Jewish by traditional standards because their mothers are not Jewish”

Mickey Greenfeld

, a Doctor of Middle Ages history and teaches at Tel Aviv University's Humanities Department, decried the Orthodox posturing and exploiting Judaism simply to enrich their own personal and organizations pockets, “The historical story is completely different. In the real story, there is no Orthodoxy and no modern deviation, but rather, two parallel deviations – one is modern, by the Reform Movement, and the other conservative and ultra-Orthodox one is responsible for the shaping of the current religious-Orthodox world…..

Every religion has two important characteristics: Its rules, and the manner in which they are applied. The Reform Movement's deviation has to do with abandoning the rules. The new Orthodoxy's deviation has to do with abandoning the manner of applying the rules, as was the custom with the sages of Israel. Both are far-reaching deviations and both should be judged as such – either positively or negatively…….

We can certainly say that this pluralism, in addition to the combination of formalism and flexibility, were the factors that enabled Judaism to survive under the tough conditions forced upon it in the Diaspora. This was the case, but it is no longer the case.

The new Orthodox not only fail to respect views that are opposed to Jewish law – at times they make sure, through their various representatives, to silence those who dare propose an alternative position”


The religious card even escalated in Israel in March 2007 to the point where an Orthodox Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, a leading Zionist rabbi, claimed in Halachic ruling that non-Orthodox synagogues “have the fragrance of hell'. It resulted in Conservative Movement demanding apology as well as threatening legal action against Eliyahu for saying that "the reek of hell wafts" from Reform and Conservative synagogues, and it is therefore forbidden to walk by them.
Attorney Yizhar Hess, secretary general of the Masorti Movement, responded that "Rabbi Eliyahu crossed the border of good taste, and his hateful, malicious words scorned an entire community. It is inconceivable that a religious leader should use expressions that constitute a call for civil war. The rabbi would do well to retract his statements and apologize to the millions of Jews whose honor he impugned."
Michael Warschawski lamented, “The assumption that in a Jewish state, full and real citizenship is possible only for a Jew. And not just for any Jew, but a Jew according to the definition of the religious establishment. It is difficult to perceive in such a definition, any sign of progress or enlightenment. This definition is based on the legitimization of an ethnic state, in contrast to a civil one, as the defining criteria for residency and connection to the land.
Indeed, the religious perception does not always suit national interests, including the need, in a Zionist state, to increase as much as possible the number of non-Arabs in the population registry. This contradiction, between the reliance on religion for the definition of citizenship, and the national need to increase the number of residents defined as Jews, compels the liberals to become analysts and reformers of religion. Members of the Knesset, who desecrate Shabbat in public, and non-religious newspapers, rely on structures of the religious canon to bolster their ideology and national interests! This is unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of religion, generally characteristic of totalitarian regimes that bend religion to their needs. This has absolutely nothing to do with progress and liberalism……..
In order for Israel to be transformed into a democratic state, it must, amongst other things, become a secular state. That is to say, religion needs to be made the private affair of each citizen, with no attempt to determine what is a ‘reasonable religion,’ a ‘progressive religion’ or a ‘modern religion.’ This is the democratic right of each citizen, to live according to her/his religion. In a secular state, religion does not determine who a citizen is and what the rights of each citizen are, and the state does not determine who has the right to belong to one religious group or another. In a democratic state, the religious community is a private and exclusive club, only the members of which have the right to determine who belongs and who does not.
The attempt to ‘convince’ rabbis to convert hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the former Soviet Union is not only a racist act against Palestinians, but also gross injury to religious autonomy and a transformation of religion into a tool in the service of foreign political goals.”


In the meantime the religious card among secular American Jewry was leading to a decline in their connection to Israel with each subsequent generation, according to Anthony Weiss. He pointed out that the authors of the study, sociologists Steven M. Cohen and Ari Kelman, “found a consistent increase in alienation in each younger generation, with middle-aged Jews less attached to Israel than older Jews, and younger Jews less attached than middle-aged Jews. They found that young adult Jews were less attached to Israel than any other living generation of Jewish adults. This low level of attachment was consistent across the political spectrum, independent of party affiliation or ideological attachment. The authors concluded that the changes are likely generational and permanent.”

Jonathan Sarna

, professor American Jewish History at Brandeis University, echoed the same sentiments, “Jews are not now and never have been a monolithic community in the United States. There have long been many types of Jews and many ways of being Jewish.

Since the 1960s, the Holocaust and the State of Israel have been dominant themes in American Jewish life. The destruction of 6 million Jews followed by the ‘miraculous’ creation of the State of Israel constituted a modern-day reenactment for Jews of an ancient tale of death and rebirth….. The generation that witnessed the Holocaust, the birth of the State of Israel, and the Six Day War of 1967 is passing from the scene, and among younger Jews both support for Israel and interest in the Holocaust are waning.

The generation coming of age in American Jewish life is searching for a fresh understanding of what it means to be an American Jew. ….

The unexpected rebirth of Jewish secularism reflects, in part, a generational turn: a reminder of the adage that what one generation seeks to forget another seeks to remember….

Finally, the growth of Jewish secularism may well represent a cultural response to the explosion of fundamentalism among Jews, among Christians, and especially among Muslims. Having witnessed the violence, the intolerance, and the self-righteousness to which far too much of contemporary religion worldwide has fallen prey, is it any wonder that some in the younger generation are steering clear of religion altogether?

It remains to be seen whether Jewish secularism, with its universalistic ethic, can succeed in keeping Jews Jewish. Culture, historically, has been a far weaker bond among Jews than religion. Many secular Jews in the past watched their children intermarry and their descendants disappear into the American mainstream. Will contemporary Jewish secularists fare any better?

Whatever the future portends, it seems clear that two of the grand themes that defined American Jewish identity in the late twentieth century -- the Holocaust and the State of Israel – will play a smaller role in shaping that identity in the twenty-first century. As American Jews cast about for new themes and new missions, an older era of American Jewish identity is passing.”


You might ask yourself why the three monolithic religions had conflicts? There are numerous explanations to this complex question. Generally speaking, the main causes for the conflicts between the three monolithic religions have been mainly a struggle for power and for souls. These elements over the centuries led to numerous confrontations between Christians and Muslims such as the defeat of the early Byzantine [eastern Roman] Empire by Islam in the 7th century. The religious-claimed battles led by successive waves of Crusaders during the 11th and 12th centuries. The defeat of the Moors in Spain at the hands of the Christians and their persecution during the Inquisition; the rapid expansion of the Muslim Ottoman Empire that posed a threat to Europe; the European [Christian] colonial expansion and domination of the Muslim world during the 18th and 19th centuries; the recent fierce political and cultural competition between the two superpowers [United States and Soviet Union] in the latter part of the 20th century; the imposition of a Jewish State in Palestine; and the recent resurgence of Islam as a very dynamic political force on the world scenery. For these reasons, despite many common theological roots and beliefs, Muslims and Christians were overwhelmed with conflicts throughout their historical relations.

The famous French Jewish writer Maxime Rodinson observed, “The Muslims were a threat to Western Christendom long before they became a problem.”

It is worth recalling that Muslims showed considerable compassion toward Christians and Jews when the Arab army defeated (20 August 636) the Byzantine troops in the famous battle of Yarmuk. In 633, Calipha Abu Bakr dispatched a military expedition to both Syria and Palestine. It was under the leadership of Khalid ibn-al-Walid, who laid down the terms of surrender. He granted the local inhabitants security for their lives, property, as well as worship places in return for paying their poll tax. The Jewish population was most appreciative because Arab forces expelled the Byzantines back to their capital Constantinople [present-day Istanbul] and allowed Jews in Palestine to regain their freedom to live and worship freely in Jerusalem as long as they paid their taxes.

Moreover, the Jews helped the Arab troops in conquering other parts of Palestine and enabled the Arab army to reach the walls of Jerusalem in July 637. The Greek Patriarch Sophronios insisted that he would surrender the city to no one but to the Calipha Omar himself.

The Calipha showed great compassion towards his fellow monotheistic people much more than any other conqueror of the Holy City. His attitude assured the most peaceful and bloodless occupation of Jerusalem that had experienced constant and long tragic events from other conquerors in the past. Omar’s presiding over the surrender of Christians assured; no destruction of property nor burning of religious symbols; no expulsion of people or expropriations of land; and not even any attempt to oblige the Christian or Jews to embrace Islam.

American scholar Joyce Davis wrote about this Muslim ethics, “Muslims believe that Muhammad expressly forbade killing children and say he set down rules of warfare.”

God Bless America and its people.

P.S. Ever since I started this effort on my own in August 2006. I have always sent a letter in December. However, having reached 80, I decided to have a one month break to reenergize myself and prepare my letters for 2016. The effort is very demanding but I am encouraged by some of the positive responses I have received over the years. Yet, getting “younger” is taxing me since I spend hours and hours researching. My next effort maybe the last.