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November 25, 2014 6:05 pm

When Synagogues Become Slaughterhouses

avatar by Shmuley Boteach

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The blood shed from Nov. 18's massacre of 4 rabbis and one Israeli Druze policeman at a synagogue in Jerusalem. Photo: Twitter

The blood shed from Nov. 18's massacre of 4 rabbis and one Israeli Druze policeman at a synagogue in Jerusalem. Photo: Twitter

He spoke slowly and hauntingly, just two feet from me, a conscience of mankind indicting humanity for the world’s oldest hate. “I don’t understand it. It has not subsided since I was a teenager in Auschwitz. I often raise my eyes to the heavens and I tell God, “If you don’t want us then dismiss us already. But why do you insist on demanding endless Jewish dead.”

It was Monday night at Cooper Union’s renowned Great Hall in New York City before an audience of hundreds of students. The speaker was Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Laureate and living face of the six million martyred in the Holocaust. The panel was one I moderated and that I convened to discuss the global resurgence of anti-Semitism. Other speakers included American Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, who had just returned from a powerful speech in Berlin last Thursday against rising European Jew-hatred.

Who would have thought that just two hours after the panel another terror attack would strike in Jerusalem leaving even more Jewish corpses, this time still wrapped in the leather straps of tefillin, their white prayer shawls now dyed a deep red.

Four Rabbis murdered at morning prayer. A non-Jewish Druze policeman shot in the head and killed. Twenty-six children orphaned. A synagogue sickeningly stained by blood flowing from cleaver-wielding savages.

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It’s open season on the Jews of Israel. Nearly every day brings another few murders on the streets of Jerusalem, the Palestinian terrorists finding ever more creative ways to take life. Sometimes it’s as simple as driving a truck into a bus stop. Other times a screwdriver will suffice.

An immoral world has the audacity to dismiss these Jewish lives as victims of political unrest, as if any grievance is justification for turning a Synagogue into a slaughterhouse. But Elie Wiesel knows better. This is Jew-hatred pure and simple with Israel used as a convenient excuse for murder. ISIS beheads not as a political protest but because, in their barbarity, they ululate at the site of blood. Let’s stop the lie that Palestinian terrorists are more enlightened.

Ironically, at the same panel discussion I said that when Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 innocent Muslims at prayer in 1994, nearly every Rabbi on earth dismissed his act as an abomination to Judaism and Goldstein himself as a cold-blooded killer. We could easily have found rationalizations to justify his act: as a doctor he had snapped after witnessing so many of his friends murdered by terrorists in Hebron, etc. But the Ten Commandments are clear: that shalt not murder, however pissed off one may feel. This explains why Jewish on Arab violence is rare to the point of non-existent.

The global crisis in Islam, however, and the reason so many murder in its name, is not because Islam is an inherently violent religion. Aside from that notion being nauseatingly bigoted, it would also conveniently absolve Imams from having to speak out and condemn murder in Allah’s name. For if Allah is bloodthirsty that who can blame the faithful for feeding his bloodlust.

But no, Islam is a great world religion that cannot brook murder in God’s name. And Allah is the same God of Abraham to which we Jews too pray. Islam took in us Jews under Ottoman Turk rule after their violent expulsions from Catholic Spain, Portugal, and other European nations. And Imams must therefore condemn the vile anti-Semitism that is being spouted in Islam’s name lest a glorious and global faith become a haven for monsters.

We Jews have grown tired of the double standards to which we are endlessly subject. We are the only people on earth that is asked – forced even – to negotiate and come to settlements with those sworn to our annihilation. Here, for instance, is the Hamas charter: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it… The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees [which] will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

What Jews love most, the Charter continues, is war, which just allows them to make more money. “With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries … They were behind World War I… and World War II through which they made huge financial gains.”

Yes, even as Jews were being turned into piles of ash in the Nazi ovens they were still generating cash.

And if you were a young Muslim youth and you read this tsunami of defamatory, Jew-hating drivel, would you too not be incited to kill?

But a world that is passive and indifferent to the murder of Jews should beware lest it too become victims of the world’s oldest hatred. As Samantha Power said of anti-Semitism in Berlin, “It is often the canary in the coal mine for the degradation of human rights more broadly. When the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Jews are repressed, the rights and freedoms of other minorities and other sectors are often not far behind.”

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” is founder of This World: The Values Network, the foremost organization in America defending Israel in the media. The international best-selling author of 30 books, he has just published “Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

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  • David Bronzefield

    I’m trying to think of another religion, other than the Muslim religion which gives, often in their Mosques, classes on beheading, to children.

  • Jay

    “The global crisis in Islam, however, and the reason so many murder in its name, is not because Islam is an inherently violent religion….For if Allah is bloodthirsty that who can blame the faithful for feeding his bloodlust.

    But no, Islam is a great world religion that cannot brook murder in God’s name.”

    There you are completely wrong. Islam is the only religion in the world that violent jihad is part of the core faith to bring all the world under Islamic supremacism under the Caliph, under Sharia rule. It is the only religion that states the end of days won’t come until Muslims kill all the Jews (see the hadith). Do you know that only Jews and Christians were allowed to be dhimmis, second class discriminated and persecuted, while all other religions Islam was not supposed to tolerate? People of all other faiths under Islam had only the choices of conversion or death. This is why the Yazidis are being either killed or enslaved, and not allowed to even existed as subservient dhimmis in Iraq. See Bernard Lewis, Multiple Identities of the Middle East, chapter on Aliens and Infidels.

  • Jon MC

    The author writes: “The global crisis in Islam, however, and the reason so many murder in its name, is not because Islam is an inherently violent religion. Aside from that notion being nauseatingly bigoted … Islam is a great world religion that cannot brook murder in God’s name.”

    I beg to differ.
    The ideology of IS, HAMAS, BOKO HARAM, AL-SHABAAB etc. is entirely consistent with ONE interpretation of the Koran. (That may be a mild over-statement, IS’s killing of fellow Sunni Muslims who don’t support them is probably OTT.)
    Amongst others, theologian Mark Durie clearly sets out the consistent nature of IS’s ideology in his blog.
    This is not to say that IS etc.’s view is the only one – it demonstrably isn’t, but it is also simply false to state as the author does that murderous violence has no place in Islam.
    If it doesn’t, then we the only valid conclusion is that the Prophet of Islam and the Sahada (his followers) weren’t “real Muslims” either.
    Such a view borders on the irrational.
    As to bigotry: I would argue that to ignore large parts of Islamic history (e.g. the devastation wrought in the name of Allah in the Eastern Christian world and India) and traditional Islamic exegesis of the Koran in understanding the root of Islamic violence is truly bigotry.

  • David, Thailand

    I’m sure the America-hating, white-hating, Jew-hating Muslim Socialist in the White House would agree that these Jihadi attacks have nothing to do with Islam.

  • Hans

    Shmuely, I was there that evening, and I will never forget it.
    You and Professor Wiesel represent the very best in the Jewish people! May you go from strength to strength! I pray that all freedom-loving people stand up now and defend our civilization against extremism and murderous hatred, of course hatred that is couched in grievance and justified by demonic interpretations of religion. Professor Wiesel has often said: “What happens to the Jews will happen to all humanity.” He is the greatest prophet of our time.

  • Sue Rees

    Let me remind you of Baruch Kopel Goldstein, the American-born Israeli, mass murderer who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshippers and wounding another, I do not recall his members of his family having their homes demolished as punishment for his heinous crime!!

    An eye for an eye you say????

  • the problem i have with another wise excellent article is that if Shmueli has truly read the Koran then he will know that it denigrates, humiliates and ridicules anyone who is not “one of them”. It is difficult to read the Koran more than once without appreciating that nuance is largely lacking – the doctrine of abrogation is used to describe contradictory passages within the Muslim holy book. It means that the conditional tolerance of the earlier Sura (chapters)- when Muhammad was weak are replaced by stringent and unambiguous statements that ridicule and incite the faithful to rise up against the non-believer. I was educated to believe in the absolute equality of everyone – and all of its consequent understandings have lived within me through my life. But it means that reading the Koran is never an easy option because whatever it may represent, it is not a book of peace, equality and unconditional co-existence.

  • Warren Raymond

    Shmuley Boteach should stick to “kosher sex” and other trivial pursuits. We don’t need to learn about “Islam is a great world religion” and all that other regurgitated BS from him.

    Islam is Islam and that’s it. (Taiyyp Erdogan, Turkish PM)

  • Lauren Goldman

    When terrorists are caught in acts of terror, they need to be dealt with lethally; no questions, no mercy. And yes, their families expelled from Israel.

  • Howie Subnick

    What, not enough police to watch over our temples? HIGHER PRIVATE POLICE WHO ARE NOT AFRAID TO SHOOT TO KILL! Do not let the blood of Jews flow through the streets! AN EYE FOR AN EYE or you are not fit to be a JEW! Talk is cheap, but bullets are cheaper! SHALOM

  • Efram

    I despair. There is a saying that all that is necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing. Where ARE the good men and women? Where are the good people? Have they become totally extinct? People who claim to be for civil rights and humanity are blatant Jew hating bigots. When will Hashem, finally, do as promised and smite our savage enemies?

    • Yes, Efraim, I have asked the same question often: where are the good men and women to stand up against hatred in any form? And then, I asked myself: what does it take to stand up against the Jew haters and murderers? It takes an enormous amount of guts – because if you want to do the right thing and try to explain to them that they are mistaken, they’ll kill you; and what would you have accomplished?
      I believe that there are a lot of angry people out there . . frustrated by one thing or another . . and one way of venting their anger is to beat up on somebody. And that somebody has been the Jews for centuries . .

  • rachel robinson

    As Samantha said they come for the Sabbath people first and then for the Sunday People.

  • When a Jew was killed, satan smiled in the hell.
    But we must know that God hear our crying for salvation.
    God bless Israel.

  • NCS

    Sorry to disagree…Allah is not the G-d of Abraham.

  • Frances Simons

    The author of this article is wrong. Allah is not the same God as the God of Abraham, who is Yehovah meaning I AM. He is the source of life and truth and very different in character from Allah, a moon god – his ways lead to death as we see at present. Everything Yehovah made is very good,and brings life. But man fell, and destroyed His perfect world. So God chose Israel through whom came Jesus Christ to reveal Yehovah’s plan of salvation through His death and resurrection This is for whoever will repent (turn) and receive Him, whether Jew or Muslim or Christian or people of any other religion.”Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved”.