Rabbi Jack freaks out: Amalek is at our door!
As reported extensively in Canonist, the good rabbi (who has providing rabbinic advice to President Clinton as part of his resume), created quite a stir recently with a sermon that claimed that Islamic fundamentalists were Amalek. Yup, the same Amalek who we are supposed to "always remember" to "blot out their memory."
Now, you have to admit that always remembering makes it hard to blot out the memory, but, hey, that's what God allegedly commanded us to do.
Well, Rabbi Jack took some heat and tried to clarify what he meant (always a bad sign when you have to do that). Here's my rather emotional (perhaps overly so) commentary, "fair and balanced," as they say over at Fox:
What a disingenuous sleazeball! Makes me ashamed to be affiliated with the Conservative movement.
He's a wuss, a nervous nellie, who gets the vapors because a bunch of naughty Muslims have a few riots. He sees those riots and immediately attributes this sort of behavior to all "fundemantalist" Muslims. He should have spent a little more time to research the matter and find that there were significant numbers of fundamentalist Muslim leaders, including the Egyptian Islamic Brotherhood, who condemned violence and counseled restraint. Sure, I'm not exactly on these guys' side, after all they want to pass an international treaty to criminalize blasphemy, which I oppose (the idea of a treaty, not blashphemy, which I believe is a fundamental right of every intelligent being, including God, God actually does exist). But it shows that Muslims, including the fundamentalist ones aren't violent crazies.
Then, after tagging all fundamentalist Muslims as violent crazies, he goes on to compare them with the Nazis and the Soviets as the greatest threat to the world of this century. And that their motiviations are pure evil. Which is what makes them "Amalek." Then he slanders "liberals" as saying that they have a "fantasy that people are basically good." Talk about strawman arguments! Is Rabbi Jack a mind-reader that he knows what goes on inside peoples' minds? Liberals aren’t foolish. They know that not everyone is basically good. Listen to them talk about George W. Bush and the neocons.
As for terrorism, sorry, I am not particularly scared by it. Cautious, yes. I don't mind the occasional parcel inspection. After all, I live and work around prime terrorist targets. But the ides that the only way we can survive is by accepting a police state and going after all the Dangerous Brown Men is bogus. I suspect that if I happen to die a violent death before my time, it's more likely the instrument will be some DUI rednecks driving on the wrong side of the road than an Islamic terrorist. Maybe Henry Ford was Amalek?!! :) Also, one should note that Tim McVeigh wasn't an Arab or even a Muslim. So even the danger of terrorism isn’t exclusively a Muslim thing.
Pandering to obsessive fear about Islamic terrorism is a right-wing political tactic that's used to divert the public's attention from other, more serious problems. They do the same thing at a local level, using urban blacks instead of crazy Muslims as the bogeyman. Some suburban white sheep have bought into this to the point that they think going downtown provides a 100% risk of a mugging.
Not that Islamic terrorism isn't a problem that needs attention, but it's not the greatest danger we face. With this sermon, Rabbi Jack has essentially allied himself with the right-wing fear-mongers, whose incompetence in their management of this problem has been amply documented.
He also plays fast and loose with his factual assertions, particularly involving the number of fanatical Muslim fundamentalists and their proportion in the general population of Islam. He admits it:
"“I think it’s a gigantic number…I played with the number three percent as a guess…who are the terrorists, who are these extremists?
"As a guess?!?! In other words, Rabbi Jack, you have absolutely no friggin' idea how many Islamic fundies there are out there. You just pulled a number out of your butt and ran with it like it was factual. Irresponsible? Maybe. Loss of credibility? Definitely.
The terrorists, however dangerous they are, are not the kind of threat to us as were the Nazis or the Soviets. These people do not represent a major world Power with the military might to conquer us or turn us into a pile of radioactive slag. Sure, they can kill people, and it's a little scary (but then so are those redneck DUIs, and they are our neighbors and even look and talk like us). But destroy us? They don't have the capability. If such people are absolute evil, than evil is a pretty pathetic thing, not worthy of God's "eternal war."
And Rabbi Jack is a pretty pathetic excuse for a "spiritual leader."