Richard Witty, who has a sneaker for Chabad (so do I; I had fun in the Chabad House in suburban Philly), sends me this Haaretz column by the usually reliable Bradley Burston in which he is shocked by the Mumbai events, to discover that Jihadi Muslims are like Nazis.
After all this time, I am embarrassed to admit that only when the monsters entered Chabad House in Mumbai, did I understand.
Monsters, not solely for what they did there, but, if the reports
are to be believed, for the fact that they were able to do what they
did after having actually gotten to know the young couple who founded
the center, after asking them for shelter in Chabad House, after
telling them that they were Malaysian students eager to learn about
The first response to Burston is that he is undoubtedly right, that these monsters who invaded Mumbai were antisemitic. They singled out Jews among scores of other people they also killed. Let's be clear: Daniel Pearl was killed because he was a Jew–and a western reporter, too, I imagine. But killed because he was a Jew.
The other lesson is not to let sensational events unhorse your powers of reason. Vicious antisemitism exists. Murderous monstrous antisemitism exists. The problem with Burston's revelation is that as he states, he was naive before in not thinking Jihadis had antisemitism. He's naive now too. As Mark Cohen stated at JTS last week, antisemitism is a real virus in the Islamic world. The issues are, How large a factor is it in Muslim life? How much does it have to do with Israel's militancy and racist occupation? How do we counter it? The Jewish neocons who were mugged by this same reality pushed us to invade Iraq and inflamed the antisemitism. Avraham Burg, who tells us the Holocaust is over, is a big strapping unafraid Jew who reminds us that genocide has been visited on many people in the world, we are not alone. Any more than Jewish victims were alone in Mumbai.
Jack Ross adds: "Its not because they're like Nazis,
they do it out of sheer calculation because they know that's what most
pushes the buttons of westerners. In the case of Mumbai it was just
one more add-on to al-Qaeda's to get the U.S. to invade Pakistan,
which, contrary to your more excited messageboard posters, has never
been advocated by any except the most pathetic neocons like Ken Pollack