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Curse of the Moderates

Curse of the Moderates

The mob has turned this into a test case for freedom of speech in the West.


As much of the Islamic world erupts in a studied frenzy over the Danish Muhammad cartoons, there are voices of reason being heard on both sides. Some Islamic leaders and organizations, while endorsing the demonstrators' sense of grievance and sharing their outrage, speak out against using violence as a vehicle of expression. Their Western counterparts -- intellectuals, including most of the major newspapers in the United States -- are similarly balanced: While, of course, endorsing the principle of free expression, they criticize the Danish newspaper for abusing that right by publishing offensive cartoons, and they declare themselves opposed, in the name of religious sensitivity, to doing the same.

God save us from the voices of reason.

What passes for moderation in the Islamic community -- "I share your rage but don't torch that embassy" -- is nothing of the sort. It is simply a cynical way to endorse the goals of the mob without endorsing its means. It is fraudulent because, while pretending to uphold the principle of religious sensitivity, it is interested only in this instance of religious insensitivity.

Have any of these "moderates" ever protested the grotesque caricatures of Christians and, most especially, Jews that are broadcast throughout the Middle East on a daily basis? The sermons on Palestinian TV that refer to Jews as the sons of pigs and monkeys? The Syrian prime-time TV series that shows rabbis slaughtering a gentile boy to ritually consume his blood? The 41-part (!) series on Egyptian TV based on that anti-Semitic czarist forgery (and inspiration of the Nazis), "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," showing the Jews to be engaged in a century-old conspiracy to control the world?

A true Muslim moderate is one who protests desecrations of all faiths. Those who don't are not moderates but hypocrites, opportunists and agents for the rioters, merely using different means to advance the same goal: to impose upon the West, with its traditions of freedom of speech, a set of taboos that is exclusive to the Islamic faith. These are not defenders of religion but Muslim supremacists trying to force their dictates upon the liberal West.

And these "moderates" are aided and abetted by Western "moderates" who publish pictures of the Virgin Mary covered with elephant dung and celebrate a crucifix sitting in a jar of urine as art deserving public subsidy, but who are seized with a sudden religious sensitivity when the subject is Muhammad.

Had they not been so hypocritical, one might defend their refusal to republish these cartoons on the grounds that news value can sometimes be trumped by good taste and sensitivity. After all, on grounds of basic decency, American newspapers generally -- and correctly -- do not publish pictures of dead bodies, whatever their news value.

The worldwide riots and burnings are instruments of intimidation, reminders of van Gogh's fate.

There is a "sensitivity" argument for not having published the cartoons in the first place, back in September when they first appeared in that Danish newspaper. But it is not September. It is February. The cartoons have been published, and the newspaper, the publishers and Denmark itself have come under savage attack. After multiple arsons, devastating boycotts, and threats to cut off hands and heads, the issue is no longer news value, i.e., whether a newspaper needs to publish them to inform the audience about what is going on. The issue now is solidarity.

The mob is trying to dictate to Western newspapers, indeed Western governments, what is a legitimate subject for discussion and caricature. The cartoons do not begin to approach the artistic level of Salman Rushdie's prose, but that's not the point. The point is who decides what can be said and what can be drawn within the precincts of what we quaintly think of as the free world.

The mob has turned this into a test case for freedom of speech in the West. The German, French and Italian newspapers that republished these cartoons did so not to inform but to defy -- to declare that they will not be intimidated by the mob.

What is at issue is fear. The unspoken reason many newspapers do not want to republish is not sensitivity but simple fear. They know what happened to Theo van Gogh, who made a film about the Islamic treatment of women and got a knife through the chest with an Islamist manifesto attached.

The worldwide riots and burnings are instruments of intimidation, reminders of van Gogh's fate. The Islamic "moderates" are the mob's agents and interpreters, warning us not to do this again. And the Western "moderates" are their terrified collaborators who say: Don't worry, we won't. It's those Danes. We're clean. Spare us. Please.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Post.


February 11, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 8

(8) Joe, February 14, 2006 12:00 AM

Thank you. Keep the truth coming.

A sad fact of liberal relativists is that one can dump anything they want on white folks. We Jews are in a special place in this paricular spectrum.

A Jew who is proud of who he is, is of nescessity to this framework, a racist, religious fanatic who believes in a mean and medival G-d. After all, we are blamed for everything. Should a black or a Muslim say mean things about Jews, it is accepted because they are percieved as bigger victims.

I've written a ton before about the nonesense of the Muslim world. I'd rather talk about the moral relativism in many American Jews.

In a culture that eschews responsibilty, status is obtained by feelings of oppression rather than actual success. After all, if everything is relative, and nothing really has intrinsic value, then it is a question of how far below the baseline you are rather than a question of how far above. In this thinking, the one who has least was denied the most - by others, and hence has the most right to say angry things.

The ones who Achieve are by definition taking from others and the ones who are average and "tolerant" of everyone else are the ones who have clarity. They all share the same empty fruits of whatever the world can give them (because again, there are no absolutes only averages and the concencses of the amoral). Someone above stole. Someone below deserves payback.

Then there is the so-called "enlightened" Jew. He has been enlightened to turn his back from the absolute morality of his people and feels guilt at the sacrifices that brought him his place. Sure as Hashem made little green apples he hates all things Jewish. These are frequently the most vociferous professors of this kind of filth.

Unfortunately, he is held up as a poster boy by our enemies. More unfortunately, he got to where he is because of his Jewish values.

He wants social justice. He really does, admit it or not, have a great big Jewish heart and the stubborness that goes with it when fighting for a cause.

He wasn't educated in Torah but, he was brought up with a keen sense of all that has happened to the Jews, and his momma taught him to be compassionate to all. He mistakenly sees us as aggressors. He feels this way because his ideology makes him think that anyone who has anything, got it dishonestly.

Worse, since he does not know Torah, or have any observant friends, he does not see all of the good in the community. He only sees the few in the community who do public chillul Hashem.

What do I mean? Do we hear about all the happy marriages or do we hear about aguna, prostitutes and wife beating in the news? Do we hear about religious Jews who proudly serve, or do we see (and I saw this with my own eyes) fat, wheezing, black and white wearing Jews pushing their way through the ranks at a graduation ceremony at the Kotel? I gaurantee that those three men got at least three votes for Shinui when they could not go around the soldiers' formation on their way to pray. The list goes on and on.

So back to our self hating professor. He sees himself as an educated man. He sees things like that and he starts assuming the worst. Because he is a Jew, deep self criticism is hardwired. He flirts with Marx and Postmodernism. He looks at the seas of blood caused by religious warfare in history. Since all is relative, he blames us for starting monotheism in the first place. He hears the one in one hundred rabbaim who say that the sun orbits the Earth, and he tragicaly assumes that anything the Torah says *must* be stupid. He never gets to hear the calls for social Justice in Isaiah. He never sees the restrictions placed on capital punishment by the Sages of the Talmud.
He assumes that a "woman of valor" is a servant to her man, because he can't see the value that Torah places on daughters of Israel.

He sees people in black and white throwing stones on Shabbos. He hears about the abused woman who was told to "shut up" by her rabbi.

He concludes that his people are insane. Tragically, some of us are.

He then is quite receptive to the carefully polished propaganda of the Islamists.

In truth, there is a similar mechanism amongst the liberal Christians. How many preachers caught with their "pants down" literally, does it take for the same process to take hold in that community?

Being a moderate is not a curse in an educated society nearly as much as being a hypocrite.

If we are to face the terrors that Islam will soon bring us, we must clean up our own house first. We must reach out to all Jews and make them see the truth. They must be brough compassionately to see that Torah is not insane and that values really are valuable.

Then we will get somewhere.

(7) Joel C., February 13, 2006 12:00 AM

Where is the famous Islamic tolerance?

Self-criticism it's one of the litmus tests for the degree of tolerance within every belief-system.

Sadly, the famous tolerance of Islam, if real --or is it a liberal myth?--, has almost fallen into the well of irrelevance.

(6) al, February 12, 2006 12:00 AM

sick up and fed

I am not a Jew, I am a liberal Christian. I am also an American who is finally fed up with Muslims and their so called "senstitivites." I do not see them being sensitive to anyone. In fact, their behavior since Sept of 2001 has been that of animals. I have tried to understand them, to sympathize with their grievances, to refrain from prejudice for the whole Muslim world. I have tried and tried and tried and can try no more. Sick and tired and fed up with them. And I do not see any really "moderate" Muslims out there. Does this not give anyone a clue that this is a people not ready for democracy. Why are we letting our boys die in the middle east for people who are willing to loot and kill because of some bad taste cartoons. Enough! I also went to the hyperlink about Hamas. Enough of these people. Let us leave them all alone and let them go back to their stone age existence.

(5) Anonymous, February 12, 2006 12:00 AM

Offesnive Caricatures have no place in newspapers.

While Mr. Kruathammer is correct about the existence of a double standsrd in regard to Moslem and Non Moslem sensitivites, it is encumbent upon all of us to be aware of the senstivities and to inform all that any negative portrayal will not be tolerated and this includes anti= Semitic and Anti-Christian as well.

(4) morgan-lynn lamberth, February 12, 2006 12:00 AM


Charles , you are so right!

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