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Ground Zero Imam to Jews: “Don’t come and invade us.” (And the arrogance of the mosque’s defenders)

Ground Zero Imam to Jews: “Don’t come and invade us.” (And the arrogance of the mosque’s defenders)

Associate Editor

Dorothy Rabinowitz has a great piece in The Wall Street Journal on why "the enlightened class can’t understand why the public is uneasy about the Ground Zero mosque."

The public’s mistrust — and disgust — with Mayor Bloomberg’s arrogance and dismissive attitude regarding dissent is reflected in the most recent Marist poll that shows Bloomberg’s approval ratings down to 49 percent (a 7 percent dive since April), with the majority of New Yorkers (53 percent) saying they disagree with his handling of the mosque issue. According to a CNN poll, 68 percent of Americans oppose the mosque.

Of course, there are no polls taken about rabbis, but why can’t we assume that the approval ratings for the liberal rabbis echoing Bloomberg’s dismissive arrogance is also meeting with the public’s rejection? I’d love to see a poll of shul-going Jews — the real Jews, not the Chelsea Clinton Jews — regarding the mosque, its imam, and these rabbis.

The imam, of course, appeared on Aaron Klein’s show on WABC radio, where the imam consistently dodged Klein’s request that Rauf simply label Hamas a "terrorist" organization. "Look, I’m not a politician," said Rauf. "The issue of terrorism is a very complex question." Too complex for Rauf to answer.

Then Klein asked, what about the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist group outlawed in Egypt? "I have nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood. My father was never a member of the Muslim Brotherhood," said Rauf.

Rauf’s bio is is prominently displayed on the web site of the Perdana Global Peace Organization, one of the primary funders and supporters of the anti-Israel flotilla, a few months ago. The flotilla — designed to violently confront Israel on the high seas and draw Israel into an international incident that ended up leading to numerous injuries and nine dead — that was pretty moderate, wouldn’t you say?

Oh, and then there was the time when a Christian publication, "Zion’s Herald" (Sept. 19, 2002) interviewed Rauf, who said, "Jews have always been welcome in the Middle East. But don’t come and invade us. Don’t invade our culture and our heritage." Oh, some Jews are OK. But Raud doesn’t like the way "a Western, European Ashkenazi Jewish population created a state of Israel at the expense of the native (non-European) Christian, Muslim and even Jewish (Sephardic) populations."

And here I thought Jews — even those of us whose earlier Jewish generations were exiled into the west — were as indigenous to the Land of Israel (yes, to the West Bank, to Judea, Samaria, Hebron and Jerusalem) every bit as much as the Native Americans are indigenous to the Great Plains. No, according to Rauf, who seems to have a touch of Helen Thomas in him, Zionists from Europe are "invaders."

Imagine an Arizona rabbi telling Mexicans, "You are welcome here. But don’t come and invade us. Don’t invade our culture or our heritage." Would liberal rabbis call such a rabbi a "moderate" or a racist?

Of course, J Street is circulating a petition on behalf of this moderate’s mosque. What’s there for Jews to debate?

Let it be known that Imam Feisal Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, are very grateful to the Jewish leaders on their side, these Jewish leaders in particular.

Lee Miringoff, director of Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion, said of Mayor Bloomberg, "The mosque is not doing him any good…. He’s certainly on the wrong side of public opinion on that…"

If Bloomberg is on the wrong side of the city’s opinion, what about the Jewish leaders who lined up with the mayor and stand by Rauf?

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