No good comes from interfaith dialogue, only harm

By Ted Belman

Commenting on a lecture at JCPA that I recently attended, I said:

… the lecturer said something that caught my attention. He said that the Board of Deputies of Br Jews put out a joint statement with their Muslim equivalent. He said he agreed with the statement but not its timing. Since I reject interfaith dialogue, I asked him what he agreed with. He and the British macher he had in tow defended the dialogue and argued that good things come out of it. I pressed them on the matter and they gave no satisfactory reply. I argued that no good can come from it but that it is harmful as it co-opts us to dialogue rather than to fight or challenge. I certainly opened up a can of worms. This mentality is part of the problem.

I have now received the Joint Statement. A cursory reading might suggest that it is innocuous. Melanie Phillips thought otherwise and wrote a scathing attack:

The Board of Deputies last week crossed a line. It stopped being a community embarrassment and became instead a positive menace.

It proudly announced an “unprecedented” joint statement with the Muslim Council of Britain. This said the Middle East conflict should not poison community relations. But it also condemned the “targeting of civilians”. The omission of who had supposedly done this targeting implied the Board blamed Israel along with Hamas.

No, protested the Board, this obviously could only relate to Hamas since Israel never targeted civilians. The crucial point, it said, was that the MCB had condemned Hamas.

Oh dear; where to start? The MCB, closely associated with Jamaat-e-Islami extremists and whose affiliated groups often support the Muslim Brotherhood, would never single out Hamas for blame.
UK’s Jewish leadership has strengthened its enemies

The Board had enabled it to crow – falsely but plausibly – that the Jews had condemned Israel for war crimes. And the MCB could tell its own people it had not blamed Hamas, since the Palestinians were only civilians while all Israelis were military targets.

Worse still, the Board was boasting of its deal with a body which is a front for Islamic extremism and hatred of Israel and the Jews. Its past leaders have described Israel as “the Zionist terrorist state” and claimed that Hamas “stands for freedom”.

It reveres Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who has supported suicide bombings outside Britain and claimed the Torah permits Jews to spill others’ blood and seize their money and land.

In 2009, its then deputy secretary general, Daud Abdullah, signed the Istanbul Declaration, which threatened violence against Israel supporters and British troops.

Because the government views it with suspicion, the MCB is now careful to sanitise its language. Even so, its current secretary-general, Shuja Shafi, found it impossible to say on the Today programme that scrawling “Free Gaza” on a synagogue was antisemitic.

Notwithstanding, the Board claims “it gets you nowhere if you only make peace with your friends”. Really? Can we expect a historic Board rapprochement with Hamas? Or al Qaeda? Or Iran?

A clue to the Board’s idiocy lies elsewhere in the joint statement, which condemns both antisemitism and “Islamophobia” as if these were equal forms of bigotry.

This is a terrible error. While antisemitism is a true prejudice for which there can never be a shred of rational justification, “Islamophobia” is a catch-all phrase used to demonise anyone who makes a legitimate criticism of Islam or Muslims.

So while there may be some who unreasonably hate all Muslims, those who warn about the Islamic jihad or condemn Muslim attacks on women and girls or freedom of speech are condemned as “Islamophobic” to silence such criticism.’

Those who point out the virulent antisemitism in Muslim societies are similarly branded. And because the Jewish leadership is desperate to appease Muslims, it is – astoundingly – silent about Muslim antisemitism. Instead, it, too, demonises those who warn against Islamic extremism as “right-wingers” or “Islamophobes”.

The Board’s spokesman has ludicrously insisted it is right to oppose “Islamophobia” because “racism is racism”. It would appear that the Board doesn’t even understand that Islam is not a race but a religion.

The Jewish leadership has now invested legitimate criticism of Islam with a status equivalent to the most hateful prejudice in the world. It has thus helped silence criticism of threatening Islamic behaviour and made all in Britain more vulnerable to attack.

Similarly, by awarding a kitemark of respectability to the MCB, it has undermined all who struggle to defend Britain against Islamic extremism. A Muslim academic, Mohammed al Husseini, has expressed his sense of betrayal at the Board’s “collaboration” with the MCB.

All decent people, Jews and non-Jews – including truly anti-jihadi Muslims – need to stand shoulder to shoulder against Islamic extremism. Instead, the UK’s Jewish leadership has breached the defences and strengthened the foe.

Other reviews may be found here:

I replied to the lecturer who made the remark and who supplied me with the links:
Thanks for the Joint Statement and the links. I read them all.

I am saddened how such an advocate for Jews such as your self can maintain that it is the “right statement” save for its timing.

I am also disappointed that Stephen Pollard is Editor of the Jewish Chronicle wrote in his Telegraph piece ” And it has meant that instead of a focus on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the UK – two scourges of our time –”.  I know of no evidence that Islamophobia even exists let alone connected with antisemitism as a scourge of our times.  Antisemitism is definitely a scourge of our times. And so is Islam.

Of course I agree with Melanie Phillips and can’t improve or her critique.

But I ask of what value was putting out a joint statement with a defender of one’s enemies. What good can possibly come from it?

Meanwhile the BoD gave respectability to the MCB which is unwarranted.  It would have been better if the BoD named names and put the blame or condemnation where it belonged. Instead the Joint Statement silenced them and whitewashed the BMC. You can’t paper over the differences. Why pretend our values are shared. They aren’t.

It may be true to say that both Jews and Muslims want “peace” but the Muslim definition of “peace” says that peace will only come after Islam rules the world. For them, there will be no peace til then.

Leslie Wagner said that much good has come from the dialogue but was unwilling to defend his thesis. Too bad.

October 27, 2014 | 115 Comments »

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15 Comments / 115 Comments

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