Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mosque Rallying From the Leeward Side

Many of the dwindling number of Americans who support the location of the GZM come from the extreme left side of the political spectrum. Much was made after the dueling Sunday protests about the "intolerance" of the opposition-while the media was totally silent, even in the face of the bold signage being displayed, about how the supporters were mainly from some obscure socialist sect.

Yahoo News gives you a flavor of the airbrushing: "The proposed mosque near ground zero drew hundreds of fever-pitch demonstrators Sunday, with opponents carrying signs associating Islam with blood, supporters shouting, "Say no to racist fear!" and American flags waving on both sides." No mention of the provocative, and dare we say, anti-American signage at  all: "At the pro-mosque rally, staged a block away from opponents' demonstration, several hundred people chanted, "Muslims are welcome here! We say no to racist fear!"

And in a casual perusal of all of the media coverage of the dueling demos, we couldn't find any of the socialist worker party signs-only the anodyne, "Support Freedom of Religion." But there was one exception-and leave it to our friends at WNYC to speak the emmis that others dare not: "The other rally, supporting Park51, was organized by a coalition of anti-war and socialist groups, but drew unaffiliated individuals and some Muslims as well. The organizers weren't able to secure a permit for a soundsystem, so speakers ended up standing on a small step ladder and shouting their remarks to the assembled demonstrators. Many of them felt the opposition to the mosque was borne of Islamophobia."In the last 10 years we've seen all this demonization of Arabs and Muslims to help justify two unjust wars, Iraq and Afghanistan," said Hannah Fleury, a member of the International Socialist Organization. "And so to me this is the logical conclusion of that climate since September 11. So I'm absolutely opposed to it."

Mike Bloomberg is in good company indeed-and the rally in support of the GZM today was more of the same, with the knee jerk left wing crank Arthur Waskow right in the forefront of the action: "A group of Jewish activists and community leaders voiced their support for a planned mosque near ground zero and said opponents, including the nation's leading Jewish civil rights group, are perpetuating misunderstandings about Islam. Rabbi Arthur Waskow, of the Philadelphia-based Shalom Center, joined about 30 other religious leaders and Jewish activists Thursday at the spot where the Cordoba Initiative hopes to build an Islamic center that will include a mosque, an athletic center, a culinary school and art studios. Waskow says the mosque will help people learn more about Islam."

But will they learn more about Waskow? The rabbi is someone who is not only a strident critic of American foreign policy, but of Israel's as well: "Pointing to the implications of the Jubilee year for the peaceful and meditative redistribution of land, Waskow has argued that prophetic Judaism contains elements of social vision that have reappeared in some aspects of Marxism and some aspects of Buddhism. Waskow has been a strong critic of Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza. He is opposed to the Second Iraq War, citing what he describes as Jewish religious grounds. He has supported the positions of Cindy Sheehan. Waskow has said he has found no evidence of Sheehan making anti-Israel statements attributed to her."

But there's more on wacky Waskow: "Though a critic of the environmental policies of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, Waskow has disagreed with claims that Chávez is anti-Semitic, pointing out that his critical comments on ". . .some minorities, descendants of those who crucified Christ, descendants of those who threw Bolívar out of here . . .took the world's riches for themselves. . ." were referring not to the Jews but to the heirs of the Roman Empire that crucified Jesus and of the Spanish empire that attacked Bolivar -- that is, to the US empire of today."

This my friend is the real grass roots face of the support of the mosque on sacred ground-from folks who flat out don't believe in the sacredness of that space at all! Aided and abetted by the useful idiocy of our coreligionists usual suspects. But just who exactly was the group that led Sunday's pro rally? None other than our friends from the Leon Trotsky Memorial Project-calling themselves, the "Internationalist Group."

From their website "Welcome! The Internationalist Group, section of the League for the Fourth International, fights for international socialist revolution, the conquest of power by the working class, led by its Leninist party, championing the cause of all the oppressed. After a decade and a half in which the ruling class trumpeted the supposed “death of communism,” the imperialists are bogged down in losing wars of colonial occupation in the Near East while a global economic crisis shakes the foundations of the capitalist order. With mass unemployment, poverty and hunger ravaging the planet, once again there is talk of socialism and revolution. But as in the past, the key question is that of forging a vanguard to lead the struggle of the workers and the oppressed."

So, as Paul Berman has warned us, the left is aligning itself with the fascists in order to promote what it sees as anti-imperialism-and anything that is against America, Israel and the West is okay by these subversives-and Rabbi Waskow belongs with them, his real mishbukah. But it speaks of an even more pernicious tendency, this alignment with Islam by the left. More pernicious because in the rush to appear tolerant, the liberal intellectuals rush to a defense of indefensible behavior and abhorrent practices.

The real question is why so many on the Left sympathize with Islamism of any sort. Why the toleration of the growth of Islamic intolerance, especially in the West? We suspect it has to do with the Left's instinctive sympathy for "the downtrodden" and hostility to Western civilization. This instinct translates into accommodating Islamic intolerance in the name of "diversity". Of course, that tolerance ends up being a one-way street. It is, in essence, cultural appeasement of the basest kind."

Which is why we  are unsurprised to find the mayor styling in these precincts. The dhimminutive chief executive has no real intellectual depth-and his wisdom could fit comfortably on a Hallmark card. But the mayor's bromides conceal the real dangerous movement afoot here-and in his desire to seek out moderate Islam, he is likely to be hoisted on his own petard. We can only hope that we all don't get hoisted along with him.