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August 19, 2013 9:55 am

Why They Hate Israel and America

avatar by Shmuley Boteach

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The compound in Pakistan where Osama Bin Laden lived. Photo: Wiki Commons.

Boy, do they hate America.

I’m on a flight in Tanzania, having just left Rwanda, when I meet a very fine Pakistani family going on safari.

We exchange pleasantries. They have children studying in the UK, as do many upper-class Pakistani families. My wife and I lived in the UK. We find much to talk about. I relate to them all the Pakistani students I knew at Oxford who were regulars at our events. They tell me of their trip to see the mountain gorillas and how they are enjoying Africa.

Suddenly, the father says to me, “I was in Israel recently. I enjoyed it. But I was disgusted at the treatment of the Palestinians who cannot even go from Bethlehem into Jerusalem.”

I explain to him that the checkpoints are relatively new. “They did not exist when I was a student in Jerusalem. They were set up after a wave of terror bombings killed thousands of Israeli civilians. You can hardly blame Israel from trying to stop the slaughter.”

“The slaughter?” he says, “You mean the way Israel massacres Palestinians every day. And it’s all funded by America, who is the biggest murderer in the world. Just look at the 100 people every day being killed in Iraq.”

I raise my eyebrows, trying to remain calm and unprovoked. “But that’s being done by Islamic terrorists. What does it have to do with America? We Americans died to liberate the Iraqis. We spent more than a trillion dollars of our national treasure on complete strangers to stop them from being slaughtered by Saddam Hussein.”

He ignores the facts and continues his diatribe. “America is now slaughtering everyone in Afghanistan, just to destabilize the region, and blaming everything on Pakistan.”

“America is trying to save Afghanistan from the Taliban,” I counter, “monsters who brutalize women, fanatics that behead those who don’t conform to their religious extremes.”

“Nonsense,” he says, “the Taliban is infinitely more humane that the Americans and their agents in the Middle East, the Israelis.”

By now I’ve had enough and I go on the offensive.

“Why was Osama bin Laden living in Abbotabad, a mile from Pakistan’s West Point? Who was sheltering a man who killed 3,000 innocent Americans?”

And here he makes my draw drop. “Three thousand Americans dead is nothing, a drop in the ocean, compared to how many Muslims America has killed.”

You may wonder why I am relating this story. It’s an isolated incident, right? But it’s not. It’s a sentiment I encountered in so many parts of Africa where I traveled to Rwanda, to again see the genocide sites and meet with government officials, and then to Arusha in Tanzania, to see the criminal courts where the Rwandan genocidaires were tried.

Readers of my columns will know that I am one of Jewry’s foremost defenders of Islam. I remind Jewish audiences constantly that we dare not de-contexualize the current frictions between Jews and Muslims.

Saladin welcomed the Jews back to Jerusalem in 1187 when he captured the holy city from the crusaders who massacred every last Jew. The Ottomans took in large numbers of Jews when we were expelled from Catholic Spain and Portugal. Jews flourished in many Islamic lands where the Koran said they would have to be treated as second-class citizens but should otherwise not suffer persecution.

I took Dr. Oz, during our recent visit to Israel, to see the tomb of Maimonides in Tiberius, explaining that the greatest Muslim ruler that ever lived made the great sage his personal physician. Whenever some of my Jewish colleagues speak of Islam as an inherently violent religion, citing verses in the Koran to prove it, I remind them that there are plenty of verses of our own Torah which can be taken out of context and sound pretty violent. It all comes down to how these passages are interpreted.

But with that being said, there is no question in my mind that Islam is undergoing a modern crisis which perhaps only its clerics and lay leaders can rescue it from. Here in Tanzania there was a terrible story just a week ago when two British female Jewish teenagers were attacked with acid by Islamic assailants.

It’s not that imams are preaching violence, although many unfortunately do. It’s rather that they preach victimhood. America is to blame for their problems. Israel is to blame for their suffering.

Where are the Islamic leaders and clerics who are prepared to say, “We are responsible for our own problems. We are taking a great world religion and turning it insular and away from secular knowledge rather than finding the balance between the holy and the mundane. We are not empowering women to be the equals of men in all spheres.”

“We Palestinians took the largest per capita foreign aid ever given to a people and we allowed corruption and hatred of Israel to squander the funds on bombs and bullets rather than building universities and schools. We elect leaders democratically who then, like Hamas, or Muhammad Morsi, precede to dismantle democratic institutions. We see the Jews as our enemies rather than using them as an example of what we ourselves should aspire to. They returned to their land after long ago being dispersed by foreign European powers and made the desert bloom. We can surely do the same.”

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, whom The Washington Post calls ‘the most famous Rabbi in America’ will be publishing “Kosher Lust” this October. Follow his twitter feed on his visit to the genocide commemorations of Rwanda @Rabbismuley.

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  • Wallace Edward Brand, JD Harvard, 1957

    Rabbi Boteach — Read both sides!

    Check out the following:

    In the Gatestone Archive, read: “Narrative of Perpetual Palestinian Victimhood
    Read further about why those Iraq children lacked medicine, because Saddam Hussein diverted the permitted oil revenues from the purchase of medicine that had been intended.
    On alleged genocide of Arabs, read Ben Dror Yemeni, A Homemade Genocide.
    On the oppression of Arabs, read Karsh, What Occupation, and Israeli Arabs, Deprived or Radicalized, Gilder, the Economics of Settlements.
    On the canard Jews are stealing Arab land, in the SSRN archive, read “Claims of the Jewish and Arab Peoples under International Law, to the Right of Self-Determination in Palestine. You will find that Arabs are using threats of violence, violence and fraud to attempt to take the political rights to Palestine away from the Jewish People who have owned them since 1920.

    On the source of demonization and delegitimization of Israel, read Pacepa, Russian Footprints.

    Boteach, you have allowed yourself to be brainwashed by Arab and Soviet, now Russian propaganda. One must read both sides.

  • con

    With regard to America spending a trillion dollars to save Iraqis from Sadaam , theyve inadvertently delivered them to the Iranaian shia clerics.
    And when you are liberating Iraq why arial bomb sewage works and electricity stations ? why destroy ther civilian infrastructure ? nothing liberating about being knee deep in your own excrement in the dark.
    oh and as if America’s killing spree in Iraq was motivated by neo con concern for the poor Iraqis as opposed to the fact that Iraq has the 2nd biggest oil reserves in the world.
    This humanitarian expidition doesnt ring true given the 500,000 Iraqi children who died as a result of the western sanctions against Iraq, just youtube Madeleine Albright on this topic, total indiffference to human suffering, so please spare us the whole Uncle Sam as Santa Claus routine.
    But yeah that Pakistani dude does have a rather skewed view of history and assumes victimhood, as if it were the exclsuive preserve of muslims when in fact lots of peoeple in the third world suffer from American foreign policy.
    The 1 million vietnamese civilians werent muslim, but hey Saudi Arabia were only to glad to supply the petrol to fuel the amrican b52s in order to wipe the godless communists from the face fo the earth.
    The 200,000 East timorese werent muslim, yet uncle sam was willing to supply muslim Indonesia with the arms and tacit approval to wipe them of the map.
    Uncle Sam acts in his business interests regardless of your race and creed.

  • Joy

    This article drew – and deservedly so – some of the largest number of comments; and did everyone note that there was only one comment supporting the Rabbi’s defensive position? I agree with and, in fact, was greatly enlightened by the many & varied comments – intelligent remarks that only reinforced my own conclusions!

  • Ethan Coane

    Unfortunately what Shmuley encountered with the Pakastani on his flight (notice he doesn’t mention whether Mrs. Pakastani had the chutzpah to open her mouth) is a widespread complaint all over the Moslem world. Frankly I agree with those who would withdraw our military from South Asia. If their own peoples don’t cherish democratic values, prefer their autocrats, theocrats, and corrupt govts., and long for the 8th century instead of embracing 21st century Western values and attitudes who are we to intervene? The Spanish and French came to our support in the American Revolution but didn’t attempt to impose their cultures in exchange. I say, as long as they don’t directly attack us, let them “stew in their own juices”.

  • Robert Davis

    Not only Jews were treated as second class citizens under Saladin but I wonder what would happen to them if they behaved as arabs do in Israel in particular if they claimed sovereignty!!! One never reminds too often that the Treaty of Sevres(1923) attributed 21 States to arabs and only one to Jews ie Palestine.By accepting those 21 States arabs recognized Palestine as the Jewish Home so now they violate international law sqatting Western Palestine and claiming it and calling jews settlers while they are the settlers with imperialist aims. As to Irak the US is not responsible for the shite vs sunnis war.

    • Firas-kanim

      I’m Talking To Everybody Who Says America has no Relation In Shite Vs Sunni War. I’m Telling Him that if Your silence Is Bettter than Your Speach, You Have Now Idea What the American brought to us ,When The Build A Database in Recruitment Center The Mentioned In One Field is the Volunteer Sunni or Shite and I asked them why You Put that Infromation in database he said Becuase we want to Build 80% Shite Army and 20% For Sunni and the Scenario Was running out for in all sphere

  • boteach,
    in case you do, return that also.

    you tarnish Judaism.

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    Why does anyone still care what they think about anything? Whatever it is, it’s someone else’s fault. From the weather to long lines at the bank to the price of oranges. It’s all part of some crazy Zionist plot in their mind. I’ve adopted another tack entirely and that’s to smile wanly and agree, to that and more. The more they can do to drive their cultures and societies back into the Dark Ages the better for all the rest of us. I tell people that the wheel and fire were Zionist inventions.

  • Michael Bloomberg

    How many more conversations with musims does R’Boteach need to have in order to realize that not only is islam not worth defending but its actually the worlds current biggest threat.

    Yes perhaps there was a time in jewish history when living is second class citizens (dhimmis) was the better alternative to persecution and progroms but that insignificant fact doesnt change anything about islam in our world today.

    What is this obsession with defending islam anyway? Is it really necessary to pat on the back every muslim that doesn’t want kill you? Is it really necessary to reiterate time and time again our appreciation to the o so great muslims that gave us algebra and alchemy? Do we really need to keep reminding ourselves that only a small minority of muslims are terrorists?

    As if this will make the ‘by now obvious’ islamic problem simply go away?…

    When I see a man like R’Boteach write like this it bothers me. It bothers me because he is a clever man with a large circle of influence yet he has not so much as even bothered to properly try understand a subject that is so important in regards to the security of the free world, especially israel – islam. For some inexplicable reason he has fallen for the whitewashed version of islam that feed the media, politicians and educational systems.

    My only request to R’Boteach if by some chance you happen to be reading this is, study islam properly. Study it better than you studied christianity. Your a clever man so I’m sure you’ll be able to figure it out the propaganda from the truth.

    Its the least you can do to prepare yourself for the ideological battlefield

    • Amen!

      Botech, you are assimuulated to NWO, not Israel/Jewish/Covenental of Abraham, Issac Jacob and Moses Rabbi. Drop your let’s all be friends mentality; it’s not covenant behavior. Islam has had it’s brief moments of invention, and ok to live with Jews as long as it was convenient for them. They are doing a good job of desplaying they want/gaining world dominion – that’s not nice.

  • gord

    21st century Islam appears to be a violent movement; one which preaches intolerance of others. no human rights either.

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    Rabbi Boteach should wake up and smell the coffee. I and I dare say almost all other Jews do not care what Saladin did in the 12th century or how Jews prospered in Moslem Spain before the Christian conquest. That was then; this is now. Learn truth from facts. Islam IS nowadays a violent, evil, intolerant religion…not all Moslems are that way of course; not all strains of Islam is that way–but Boteach’s experience with this Pakistani ought to wake him up to the fact that Moslems for the most part are the nazis of this era.

  • John Reagan

    If you think the US went into Iraq or Afghanistan for humanitarian reasons, you’re sadly mistaken. Most of the articles and blogs I read from Muslim countries echo what I feel to be true. We consider ourselves saviors only because that’s the spin we get from our media. Most other countries in this world have more direct histories with American meddling. In fact, one of the first foreign military actions our seedling country took was to cram tIt’s time we stop. he Shah of Persia back on the throne, whether the people liked it or not..and here it is, decades later and we’re still screwing with the Iranians. Our CIA backed efforts in Afghanistan when the Russians were there is not only well known, but produced a movie (Charlie Wilson’s War) and Al Qaeda. South America knows our intervention very well, support for Pinochet, the CIA inspired drug wars, Reagan’s Iran Contra affairs…The list is endless. This is just a list of foreign wars we’ve been involved in:

    There are similar lists of CIA dirty tricks in foreign countries as well.

    They’re right. We’re wrong.

    BYW, I lived in Oxfordshire for several years as well and knew several Pakistani kids.

    • A Real American

      John Reagan–

      You comments are rambling and make little if any sense.

      No one in the US government said our primary reason for our military conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan was humanitarian. Our primary goal was to rid these countries of the dictators and terrorists that were a threat to the United States and it’s interests. Ultimately we wanted to restore these governments back to the people and promote freedom and democracy, but those ideals were never our primary objective and anyone who claims otherwise is a complete and total moron.

      You wrote “one of the first foreign military actions our seedling country took was to cram tIt’s time we stop. he Shah of Persia back on the throne”.

      WTF??? Typos aside this makes no sense—one of our first military engagements was against the Barbary Coast pirates back in the early 1800’s, not a CIA operation in the 1950’s.

      You can certainly question the wisdom of propping up the Shah, but this action needs to be balanced against the viable alternatives at the time as well as the legitimate threats from the Soviet Union (Iran was one of our closest and most strategic intelligence outposts monitoring the USSR) which at times was a threat to our entire nation not to mention world peace (the goal of the USSR was to cause perpetual revolutions worldwide).

      You also wrote… “Our CIA backed efforts in Afghanistan when the Russians were there is not only well known, but produced a movie (Charlie Wilson’s War) and Al Qaeda.”

      This makes just a bit more sense than your first statement. Our CIA backed efforts in Afghanistan were aimed to free the people from Soviet oppression and barbarism (and to give the USSR a black eye for their intervention). The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was illegal, immoral and wrought with crimes against humanity. Charlie Wilson’s war was a movie and only a retard takes his history from movies. Arming the Mujaheddin against the USSR was one of the best operations the US intelligence service has ever accomplished at least publicly. The problem was that once the USSR was defeated, the Mujaheddin were not disarmed and nation building was not on the agenda. These two elements proved to be costly mistakes.

      The American involvement in Afghanistan didn’t produce Al Qaeda—the Soviet invasion produced the Mujaheddin and the weapons and training and hardened warriors left behind were used by Al Qaeda as a means to achieve their political/religious objective of creating a global caliphate. The US is not to blame for this philosophy or its goals—you can blame radical Muslim interpretations of the Koran for these.

      • Firas-kanim

        haha Rid Those Countries From Dictatorship (Saddm was Bring to Be Leader of Iraq by CIA Support Read the History and Reports Of CIA

  • David

    Despite Shmuley Boteach’s comments, Islam is indefensible. As other writers have pointed out, Islamic dogma has produced a culture that’s been intellectually stagnant for at least 500 years.

    Nothing is invented in Islamic nations. Nothing is patented in Islamic nations. There are no world-class industries in Islamic nations. There is no art created in Islamic nations. There is no literature written in Islamic nations.

    Moreover, there’s no freedom in Islamic nations. There isn’t one Islamic nation that would adopt our Bill of Rights or our Constitution. Moreover, in Islamic nations, women are virtual, if not outright slaves.

  • Sorry rabbi you are wrong…old testament verses are descriptive…koranic verses are prescriptive…that is the difference…

  • Otto Waldmann in Sydney

    Islam is in a “crisis”. What CRISIS !! A crisis of the highest resurgence in fundamental activism, a “crisis” which transforms every poor destitute, lost soul into a reliable soldier of destruction and terror , a crisis which had mobilized millions into blind hatred !!??
    Islam is doing a lot better than Islam ever dreamt.
    The rest of the world is in a crisis, trying to find a way of dealing with this, seemingly unstoppable enthusiasm of cataclysmic proportions. That Pakistani pathetic sod was the result of the most effective mind-set mobilization into a fold of madness, one manipulated with a kind of efficiency worthy of much better causes, but instead reeking havoc within a world barely recovering from “traditions” of seemingly incessant conflicts, World Wars etc. Our own civilized world is in a crisis, crisis of traditional civilisations being invaded and in many cases already manipulated by terror passionate muslim minorities, passionate in changing our democratic, tolerant ways of life. Of all nations , Scandinavian communities are now boycotting Jewish manufactured goods and Jewish academics and Israeli Universities. What happened centuries back is done and gone, what happens today matters. Islamic terrorists are not historians, they are simply just that: bloody animals after destroying our way of life, one HISTORICALLY worth preserving.

  • rashid Zaidi

    I have read the Rabbi Shmuley articles and seen him on TV defend what he says, I like his rational based on historical facts, however that matters little, as there is so much disinformation being circulated by the mainstream media that people across the globe cannot discern what is the truth any longer. Global news is fed into our brains to keep us in a certain mind set so as to control us.

    Like Rush Limbaugh says it has made us into “mind numb robots,” there is some truth to this besides it being a joke.

  • Ivan Gur-Arie

    It is no excuse that a “once” nice man should be forgiven his present sins. He may have been medal worthy ( sllthough I don’t believe that Islam is worthy of such rewards) but having killed someone is now ready for punishment. I am afraid to disagree with the Rabbi, but in my opinion Islam should be treated as the pariah it is.

  • Sadie

    The Pakistani doctor: “He ignores the facts and continues his diatribe.”

    And you Rabbi – Haven’t you ignored history as well? It’s almost a 1,000 years since Saladin.

    What you overlooked in the article is that Talmudic study insists that the student question the context of Torah. The Hadith, which cannot be separated from the Quran allows no discussion and reinforces Islam literally. There has been no renaissance in Islam. In fact, it has morphed into the Wahhabi sect – the most virulent form.

  • roz lieber

    That’s what I’ve been saying for 30 years. They are perpetually “victims” never taking responsibility for themselves. They need handouts, they need help, they need…period. Since 1948 they’ve existed in those squalid camps while Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing nations did nothing to help them. Why couldn’t they build housing for them? Even pre-fab houses would have been better than those tents and shanties. The secret is the Arabs need these “victims” so the world can feel sorry for Arabs in general. They will never stand up for themselves. They will always hate Israel and Jews and that will never change.

  • Israel is yearning to become part of the Arab world and to be integrated in it with acceptance not as dhimmis as in ottoman times. Israel has already integrated over a million Arabs in its land. Be Arabs and let the Jews be Jews.It will be a blessing for all.

    • as for the person who wrote and said they hate american and isreal do you think you know it all well you dont..when israel was in war with the palistines this past sumer of was not them it was the terrists..who were hidding behind children and in the schools and see you dont know everything..and america has been sending food for the people who are being ran out of their towns by isis..isis dont care about anyone or anything..they think they will get all these ladies when they die get real…they are so stupid they said it is their god who tells them to kill people and it is is all in their head..and that is all..all the muslums..hate isreal and america cause the jews are gods chosen people and us americans stand up for israel..ready the holy bible it saids god with give israel back all their land and that is what he is stop being jelious and just acept the fact that the jews are gods chosen people and grow up