‘I Am My Cousin’s Keeper’: New Muslim-Jewish Coalition Takes on Fight Against Hate Crimes


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‘We’ve always needed this council, but never more than now,’ says California Representative Brad Sherman.

Haaretz

Approximately 200 people gathered on Wednesday night in Washington, D.C., for a reception on Capitol Hill honoring a new group that brings together Jewish and Muslim leaders from around the country. Called The Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, this new group is the result of a partnership between the American Jewish Committee and the Islamic Society of North America, and while it was founded before the recent election, the date of its first action day in Washington couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. 

After spending a day on the Hill speaking to members of Congress from both parties, the members of the group gathered with supporters for a reception at the United States Senate’s Dirksen building, hosted by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). The message brought to Washington by the group’s members – which include imams, rabbis, business executives, politicians and activists from both communities – was simple: In light of a national spike in hate crimes against Muslims in America in 2015, and information showing that Jews remain a leading target of hate crimes all across the country, it was time to increase federal support for hate crime prosecution on the local level, and tackle the problem on a national level.

Just this week, Jewish Community Centers across the U.S. were evacuated, for the third time within weeks, over bomb threats. Meanwhile, the U.S. is in the midst of a political and legal crisis over President Donald Trump’s executive order banning the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States – an order that has been harshly criticized by both Democrats and Republicans in recent days. 

“We’ve always needed this council, but never more than now,” said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), one of the speakers at the evening reception. Sherman, who is Jewish, laughed that for him, the event was first of all “an opportunity to get some pork-free food.” On a more serious note, he said that the two communities should “stand together against this outrageous executive order that seeks to divide people in this country.” 

Speaking with Haaretz after the event, Sherman explained that the symbolism of Trump’s order – pitting the U.S. versus the Muslim world – “is consistent with the ISIS message, which is that there is a clash of civilizations.”

Sherman told Haaretz that in his view, “there isn’t a clash of Muslim civilization with Western civilization; there’s a clash between civilization on the one hand and the forces of darkness on the other, whether they reside in al-Raqqa or at the White House.” 

Sherman added that he believed the protests and legal challenges against the executive order were already succeeding in pushing it back. “The largest and greatest effect of this executive order was first and foremost on those who hold Green Cards – permanent residents of the U.S., people who are on track to be our fellow citizens,” he explained. “Within a day, we as a nation forced the Trump administration, over the objection of Steve Bannon, to roll that part of the executive order back.” He said he believed that over the next weeks, it was possible to make further progress in the same direction, until the executive order would eventually be expunged.   

A strong supporter of Israel who voted against the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, Sherman said that he was encouraged by the show of Jewish-Muslim cooperation, and that he hoped events like these would show supporters of Israel that “supporting Jews does not mean being antagonistic to Muslims.” He described the council’s activities as “part of the overall fight for this country to say no to Islamophobia and to other problems emanating from the White House.”  

Another speaker at the event was former Senator Norm Coleman, a Republican from Minnesota, who said that he was “convinced of the Council’s importance. We need to work together. We are stronger when we are together. We have a lot of important work ahead of us.” 

Azhar Aziz of the Islamic Society of North America told Haaretz that the largest stumbling block to Jewish and Muslim cooperation is “ignorance about each other and a lack of communication.” The developments of the last year, he added, have “created a strong desire to learn about each other’s faiths and lives. People are discovering a lot of similarities. The circumstances are forcing us to learn about each other.” Rabbi Batya Steinlauf of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington added that “there have been many initiatives to bring people together even before November, these things pre-date the elections, but it’s true that now there is a sense of urgency.”  
A former Democratic Congressman from New York, Gary Ackerman, summed up the entire event with one phrase, saying that the basis for the Jewish-Muslim relationship in these challenging times should be “I am my cousin’s keeper.”

  1. #1 by Sabba on 02/02/2017 - 8:31 am

    Seeing Muslims living in the West allying themselves with the jews at any opportunity they have, is something that has always filled me with wonder, disgust and also despair.

    How can they not see that they are being played again and again is beyond me.
    How do they not see that those who are coming forward to protect them against the eeeeeeevil Christians are the exact same who have put a contract on the head?!?

    Da joos bring them to the West, then demonize them and make them hated by everyone and so that the same jews can come forward as ‘their cousin’s keepers’.

    Muslims living in Muslim countries, they all naturally, instinctively recognize the Jew as his enemy and the enemy of mankind. While they live in their countries, they are not fooled by the Jew simply he too gets circumcised and he does not eat pork either.

    So what kind of black magic or spell has been put on them so that as soon as they come to the West, they see the Jew as their closest ally and the Christians as their enemies? This is unreal.

    I really believe that one of the reason so many Muslims are being brought to West by da joos is to ‘neutralize’ them, castrate them so to speak, remove from them their shield against the synagogue of satan, that is their religion.
    The only thing that da joos and the judaized West have against the Muslims is basically that they still believe in God and respect their parents. They want them loose that and the easiest way to achieve their goal is to bring them to the secular, godless, decadent , consumerist West so that they, too, fall under the Judaic spell. And it works.

    Bringing them to Europe is meant to de-islamize them, make their religion only a cultural thing, like the ‘Christians’ in the West. They want their faith to loose all vitality, all strength, that strength which is allowing the Palestinians of Gaza, the freedom fighters of Hezbollah and the Iranians of Iran to resist and fight back heroically, despite the odds being against them.

    As I said in my note about the Muslims living in the West, it is time they wake up to their reality, realize how they have been the useful idiots of those who wish them dead, how they have been pawns in the hands of the jews since the end of the de-colonization. Until they do that, they will always remain at the bottom of society as individuals, and at the bottom of the world as countries.

  2. #2 by nooralhaqiqa on 02/02/2017 - 9:14 am

    Sabba, you word it so perfectly. The moment I see a Muslim advocating for Judaic principles or falling for the lies AGAIN… I wonder what went wrong? Why do so few make real connections? I actually had to change garages after 18 years at the same place because the Muslim owner, a lovely Syrian man, retired and his son took umbrage at my comment in support of Assad. He is highly educated and a good Muslim and… he doesn’t get it but who am I to question his experiences? (He came here at age 4 or so and his family has done VERY well.)

  3. #3 by 5 dancing shlomos on 02/02/2017 - 10:24 am

    those chertoff machines turn the muslim brain to mush
    tv does same to christians

  4. #4 by derek on 02/02/2017 - 1:06 pm

    “So what kind of black magic or spell has been put on them so that as soon as they come to the West, they see the Jew as their closest ally and the Christians as their enemies? This is unreal”

    Sabba ever heard of MONEY? they are human beings first and have weaknesses like all human beings, how did Jews get to where they are today…..MONEY!

    Thats all it takes, you asked why they did not go to the Gulf states?
    Answer, why would ANY good Muslim go to one of these so called filthy Gulf states especially Yehudi Arabia as you put it?

    Also they did not take in any refugees!
    look for yourself.
    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=refugees+to+gulf+states&t=lm&ia=web
    Perhaps that was the plan all along, they made a bee line to Europe because of all those benefits and free stuff.

  5. #5 by Leila Abdelmeguid on 02/02/2017 - 4:43 pm

    AAAAAH!!!!! THIS MAKES ME SO MAD!!!!! In fact, almost nothing makes me more angry than to see these people on their knees with NO dignity and interact with people who have been savagely butchering and tourturing their “brothers and sisters”. SHAME ON THEM for turning their backs on the victims of these satanic monsters and normalizing relations with barbaric soul less creatures who wish us nothing but misery and death.

    I was going to rant AGAIN about how my mosque throws itself at the feet of its Judaic overlords but I just don’t have the patience to type it all out. AGAIN.

  6. #6 by zarookcassim on 02/03/2017 - 6:15 am

    There is big difference between being Jews and Zionist. As a Muslim I do not hate Jews, nor Christians. Very few people see the thin line between being a Jew and a Zionist. I do believe that among the Jews and Christians there are good people. I know to many Christians and Jews paid a very heavy price for supporting the Palestinian cause. Names of many. Here are few:
    Norman Finkelstein
    Avigail Abarbanel, Psychotherapist; editor, Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists (2012, Cambridge Scholars), Inverness, Scotland

    Noa Abend, Boycott From Within

    Stephen Aberle, Independent Jewish Voices; Vancouver, BC

    Lisa Albrecht, Ph.D. Social Justice Program, University of Minnesota

    Anya Achtenberg, novelist and poet; teacher; activist; International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

    Mike Alewitz, Associate Professor, Central CT State Unversity; Artistic Director, Labor Art & Mural Project

    Zalman Amit, Distinguished Professor Emeritus; Author, Israeli Rejectionism

    Anthony Arnove, International Socialist Organization

    Gabriel Ash, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Switzerland

    Ted Auerbach, Brooklyn for Peace

    Anna Baltzer, author and organizer

    Ronnie Barkan, Co-founder, Boycott from Within, Tel-Aviv

    Judith Bello, Administrative Committee, United National Antiwar Coalition

    Lawrence Boxall, Independent Jewish Voices, Canada; Vancouver Ecosocialist Group

    Linda Benedikt, writer Munich, Germany

    Nora Barrows-Friedman, journalist; Oakland

    Jonathan Beller, Humanities and Media Studies Graduate Program in Media Studies, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn

    Medea Benjamin, co-founder, CODEPINK

    Rica Bird, Joint Founder, Merseyside Jews for Peace and Justice

    Audrey Bomse, Co-chair, National Lawyers Guild Palestine Subcommittee

    Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, UC Berkeley

    Lenni Brenner, Author, Zionism In The Age Of The Dictators

    Elizabeth Block, Independent Jewish Voices, Toronto ON

    Max Blumenthal, Author, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel; and Senior Writer for Alternet.org

    ed note–the difference between the two is like the that between the ‘Mafia’ and ‘La Cosa Nostra’–different words, same meanings.

    So there are some ‘Jews’ who speak out against what has been done in the middle east. WHat does this mean? Nothing. They wage war on Christian/Islamic society in other ways, even if they don’t support outright ‘war’. They–in the words of one Jewish author–are a ‘corrosive’ force on Gentile society. They support abortion, pornography, the sodomoite lifestyle, they work towards the destruction of the family, etc. Besides, even the ‘anti-war’Jews–including many you listed here–aren’t as much ‘anti-war’ as they want people to believe, the obvious proof of which was/is their support for pro-war ‘progressives’ like Hillary Clinton.

    Whenever I run into one of these inane statements concerning how there is a’big difference’ between Jews and Zionists, I always go back to the root of the tee itself, Judaism, and consider just a few of the many, many passages contained within the Jewish Torah–referred to by Judaic apologists as a ‘holy’ book–that pretty much ends the debate over whether or not there is any substantive difference between ‘Jews’ and ‘Zionists’, to wit–

    ‘When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are to possess and casts out the many peoples living there, you shall then slaughter them all and utterly destroy them…You shall save nothing alive that breathes…You shall make no agreements with them nor show them any mercy. You shall destroy their altars, break down their images, cut down their groves and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people unto the LORD thy God and He has chosen you to be a special people above all others upon the face of the earth…’–Book of Deuteronomy

    ‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly…’–Leviticus 25:44-46

    “Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you…Your gates will always stand open, day and night, so that the Gentiles may bring you the wealth of their nations and their kings led in triumphal procession, for the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly destroyed.”–Isaiah 60:10-12

    ‘On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abraham, saying “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates”…–Genesis, 15:18

    On a final note, if indeed you are a Muslim and sincerely believe that the aforementioned people are ‘on your side’ and working to defend your humanity as a person, you’re being taken for a long, long ride into the nether reaches of non-reality. They are every bit as much your enemy as any of their ‘right wing’ counterparts, they just do a better job of hiding their fangs.

  7. #7 by Kolo on 02/03/2017 - 12:41 pm

    As always mark, well said
    I share your exasperation

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