You are now entering the Jewish Currents archive.

Kibitznik’s Choice: Jews Against Islamophobia

Alyssa Goldstein
December 19, 2012

Remember our friend (I use that word as sarcastically as possible) Pamela Geller? You know, the one who put up the ads in the transit systems of several cities that read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel, defeat Jihad.” Well, she’s at it again, this time with an ad that will feature a picture of the burning World Trade Center next to a quote from the Quran that reads, “Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers.” In addition to being blatantly offensive and possibly psychologically traumatic for some, Hussein Rashid points out that the passage from the Quran in question is actually a reference to the part of Exodus where Moses instructs the Israelites to kill those among them who worshipped the golden calf:
Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, ‘Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me!’ And all the sons of Levi gathered around him. He said to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Put your sword on your side, each of you! Go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill your brother, your friend, and your neighbour.”’ (Ex. 32:26-27, NRSV)
Yikes. Hope I never see that on a subway ad about how Jews are terrible savages.
In light of this, I think it’s especially important that I point you in the direction of the New York city-based Jews Against Islamophobia coalition this week. JAI is a comprised of three organizations: Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews Say No, and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. The coalition formed in response to the backlash against the Park 51 Islamic community center in lower Manhattan. JAI has been vocal in their opposition to the NYPD’s efforts to spy on and entrap Muslims. They are dedicated to fighting Islamophobia within the Jewish community and elsewhere. Here’s what they had to say in response to Geller’s latest affront to human decency:
Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 The Jews Against Islamophobia (JAI) Coalition condemns the latest hate-mongering ads, sponsored by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), that are scheduled to appear in New York City subway stations today. “New York residents have already demonstrated that we don’t want such ads in our city. In a month when many people gather with their loved ones for Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and other seasonal celebrations, Jews must recommit ourselves anew to standing up against these ads and all forms of Islamophobia,” pledged JAI Coalition member and director of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), Marjorie Dove Kent.
“But, of course, a bigot can play this game of selective quotation with any religion. Find a picture of horrifying violence committed by some Jews or Christians — there are a depressingly large number — and juxtapose it with one of the following quotes from scripture: “I come not to bring peace, but a sword” [Matthew 10:34] or “Only in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes” [Deuteronomy 20:16]),” notes JAI Coalition member Alan Levine.
Read the rest of it here, and be sure to follow JAI on facebook to keep updated on their latest news and events.