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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 22, 2009 /28 Nisan 5769

Rush to judgment in Tel Aviv gay club killings

By Jonathan Mark




International media and secular rabbis are sewing hatred against the "ultra-Orthodox" despite lack of evidence

Standard different for other religions


JewishWorldReview.com | On August 1, a masked man burst into a gay club in Tel Aviv, spraying bullets, killing two. The killer escaped, his identity unknown. According to the Associated Press (Aug. 1), Tel Aviv police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said it was "most likely a criminal attack and not a terror attack." The AP even pointed out that "Tel Aviv has been a target for Palestinian militants in the past." The Tel Aviv police commissioner, David Cohen, cautioned against speculation.

Everyone's speculating anyway. But let's go back a few years. We live in an era in which it is considered inappropriate to characterize religious or racial groups because of the criminal acts of one, or even many. After the planes hit the World Trade Center, but before the buildings even fell, news anchors said we shouldn't blame Islam. The next day, Secretary of State Colin Powell went on NBC's "Dateline" to say that what happened "should not be seen as something done by Arabs or Islamics; it is something that was done by terrorists…"

More recently, when four Islamic men were arrested for attempting to blow up two Riverdale synagogues, the Daily News headlined (May 23), "Riverdale Rabbi: Don't Blame Islam…"

But in Tel Aviv, let's blame the Orthodox. After the murders, an editorial in Haaretz (Aug. 3) admitted, "it is still to early to draw conclusions," but so what. After all, the ultra-Orthodox and even the regular "religious," said Haaretz, "openly incite against gays and lesbians and their rights."

Time magazine online (Aug. 3) headlined, "Gay vs. Orthodox," reporting that Tel Aviv's gay community "was not hesitant about assigning blame… [pointing] to Orthodox Jewish gay-bashers."

As far away as Australia, Orthodox Jews were blamed. The Sydney Morning Herald (Aug. 7) headlined, "Hate from the right stoked gay murders," an opinion piece that compared the killings to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Commentator Yossi Sarid echoed in Ha'aretz (Aug. 3), "Here they don't just shoot the prime minister. They also shoot homosexuals."

REMEMBER SIRHAN SIRHAN?
Rabin's murder, of course, was blamed on Orthodox incitement in ways that the assassination of Robert Kennedy is never blamed on Palestinian incitement. Kennedy's assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian, said he timed Kennedy's killing (June 6, 1968) to coincide with the first anniversary of the Six-Day War, but who in the media ever brings that up?

Maybe the police didn't know the Tel Aviv killer's motive, but Haaretz reported (Aug. 2) that opposition leader Tzipi Livni knew. It was a "hate crime" born of "homophobia," she said. MK Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) told a rally: "The pistol did not act on its own, the gunman did not act on his own … what stood behind him was incitement and hatred," hatred by guess who?

In the United States, news agencies quoted a statement from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the (Conservative) Rabbinical Assembly who charged that "some voices in [Israeli] society seek to incite violence against the gay and lesbian community; they should be held to account." Which voices? Take a guess.

Maybe you're guessing wrong. In 2006, Time reported that Israel's Islamic clerics were quite vocal against Israeli gays parading in Jerusalem: "Not only should these homosexuals be banned from holding their parade," says Jerusalem's Sheikh Ibrahim Hassan, "but they should be punished and sent to an isolated place." And "Christian groups were also upset," reported Time, "by what they saw as the deliberate flaunting of sexuality in Christendom's most sacred place."

Some Christians say the current charges of incitement unfairly smear Christianity. In the Christian Post (Aug. 6), Linda Harvey, president of Mission America, said people "have the right to oppose homosexuality for religious or other reasons without being called accessories to murder. The motive is still unknown; why engage in slanderous speculation?" The speculation is itself "bigotry … wildly irresponsible, unjust and inaccurate."

IGNORED STATS
Why blame the Orthodox? A recent Haaretz-Dialog poll has found that 46 percent of Israelis consider homosexuality a perversion while only 42 percent do not. In fact, less Orthodox Jews (44 percent) think it a perversion than do local Arabs (64 percent) or Russian-speaking immigrants (57 percent). Maybe the killer is a secular Israeli; one of four (24 percent) secular Israelis believe homosexuality a perversion, too.

In Yediot Ahronot (Aug. 3), Michel Dor, who is neither gay nor religious, wonders if the killer was a jilted lover, "maybe someone who wasn't loved back? Or maybe a mentally unstable individual who decided to take action?"

If someone were to shoot up a shul or yeshiva, "and there was uncertainty in respect to the perpetrator," asks Dor, "who would the religious community have to blame? Members of Meretz? The radical left?"

Yediot Ahronot (Aug. 4) headlined an Orthodox complaint: "Haredi [ultra-Orthodox] Public Used As Punching Bag." Moshe Glasner, editor of the Kikar HaShabbat website, said Israel is experiencing "an unprecedented incitement campaign against the Haredim."

The Jerusalem Post (Aug. 2) also sensed something was wrong. Their editorial said, "Some in the media and in the political establishment have jumped to the conclusion that the rampage was motivated by homophobia…. We reserve judgment…"

Imagine that. That's what old-fashioned journalists — and rabbis, for that matter — used to do before they had the facts. They reserved judgment.

Said the Jerusalem Post, "it is important to maintain perspective. Whoever did it … gay or straight, observant or secular … was a wild weed and not indicative of their community."

In any case, Israeli gays "are not oppressed," said the Jerusalem Post. "Same-sex couples can today legally adopt children. Gay marriages abroad can be registered as legal in Israel … Contrast the situation in Israel to gay life in neighboring Arab and Moslem countries."

If anyone is persecuted in Tel Aviv it is the ultra-Orthodox, which may explain the rush to judgment. The Los Angeles Times (Aug. 6) noticed that secular Jews in one Tel Aviv neighborhood "organized a campaign to drive the Haredim out".

Back in the spring, Haaretz headlined (May 14), "Anti-Semitism is Rearing Its Head in Tel Aviv;" anti-Orthodoxy, to be more exact.

Gideon Levy, writing in Haaretz, noted that "the entry of a handful of ultra-Orthodox Jews to [one] lovely, modest and tranquil neighborhood has provoked an unlovely wave of racism, tearing the thin veil of openness and liberality from this seemingly left-wing community. If anyone were to behave this way toward Israeli Arabs, the residents might raise a hue and cry, but when it comes to Haredim the gloves are off because attacking the 'blacks' is the fashion."

Haredim, he writes, are "the punching bag of the left. What nationalist Israelis do to the Arabs, the left does to the ultra-Orthodox. There's no difference. Demonization, dehumanization, scare tactics and the sowing of hatred. Hatred of the Other is the same, whether the Other's name is Mohammed or Leibele, whether he wears a kaffiyeh or a shtreimel. It makes no difference whether the racist is an Arab-hating Kahanist or a Haredim-hating leftist: He is still a racist."

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JWR contributor Jonathan Mark is Associate Editor of the New York Jewish Week, where this appeared.

© 2009, NY Jewish Week.