Prager; CAIR; Gibson; The Boot!


CAIR

It is getting somewhat boring to read yet another letter in The Jewish Journal from such a disingenuous character as Hussam Ayloush (Letters, Dec. 1). Typical of Ayloush and other CAIR officials, he engages only in ad hominem smears and refuses to deal with the substantive claims. One only needs to do a little research to uncover his obvious fabrications.

First, it is ironic that he says that I “resort to deception” by stating that CAIR has engaged in anti-Semitism in the past. It is notable here that Ayloush conveniently fails to address the fact that neo-Nazi William Baker has been invited to speak at several CAIR events — whose presence at those events Ayloush himself has defended.

Also, Ayloush categorically lies when he states that “CAIR has no connection, direct or indirect, to the event he referred to in New York” in which radical Islamist cleric Wagdy Ghoneim made anti-Semitic statements and led the crowd in an anti-Semitic song. In fact, CAIR’s name is listed on the event announcement, along with several other groups including the Holy Land Foundation, as a co-sponsor. The event itself was sponsored by the Islamic Association for Palestine, which was hit with a $156 million civil judgment — along with the Holy Land Foundation and several other entities — by a federal court in Illinois in a case in which the family of a murdered victim of Hamas terrorism successfully sued U.S.-based Hamas front organizations.

Maybe the problem here is one of language and definition. Perhaps, to Ayloush, neo-Nazis and songs lyrics such as, “No to the Jews, descendants of the Apes” are not anti-Semitic.

Steven Emerson
Executive Director
Investigative Project on Terrorism

Ed. Note: The Journal has invited Steven Emerson and Hussam Ayloush to continue their exchange in an e-mail forum at jewishjournal.com. This letter will be posted there awaiting Mr. Ayloush's response.

Hussan Ayloush has managed to manipulate and use The Jewish Journal as his mouthpiece to discredit Steve Emerson. I wonder if any of the Islamic papers would allow such use of their papers for us to discredit Ayloush.

Steven Emerson has been warning the government about radical Islam long before anyone knew about CAIR and Ayloush. Had our government listened to the warnings that Emerson made them aware of instead of trying to appear politically correct, or just naive, more than 3,000 people would be alive today. We would have been prepared for the promotion of Sharia law, and accommodations made for Islam that are not made for either Judaism or Christianity in the United States.

Your paper has allowed an apologist for terror in the United States as well as in Israel to use your pages to promote his agenda, propaganda and lies. This is just shameful.

Allyson Rowen Taylor
Valley Glen

Prager and the Quran

I don’t know which is worse; Dennis Prager’s virulent intolerance and Islamaphobia or his pathetic ignorance of what our “American values” really are (“Prager Opposition to Quran Congress Rite Draws Fire,” Dec. 8). Surely even he would agree that the U.S. Constitution reflects cherished “American values” to which we can all adhere.

Article VI, on the very topic of the oath of office, says, and I quote in full to give the context: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

How dare Prager set himself above the Constitution, and claim that anyone who does not take an oath on the Bible can’t serve in Congress?It’s Prager that shouldn’t serve on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council if he does not share the American value of religious free exercise protected by the First Amendment.

Stephen F. Rohde
Los Angeles
The writer is a constitutional lawyer

I wish the journal would do their homework on Keith Ellison. If you simply Google “Ellison Jews” you would find that he defended a colleague’s right to say “the most racist white people are Jews”; that he sat silently while Khalid Muhammand spewed a racist rant; that he defended in writing Farakhan’s not being anti-Semitic; that he his funded by CAIR, a known front group for Hamas. It’s most disturbing that Jewish organizations would defend this guy without knowing the truth.

Joshua Spiegelman
Los Angeles

Apocalypto

Dear Jon Drucker, your suggestion that we sneak into seeing Mel Gibson’s movie “Apocalypto” although we paid to see a different movie is bad advice (“Skip Into Mel Gibson’s ‘Apocalypto’ Now,” Dec 8). It reminded me of last year when I read that Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, had snuck into a free preview of “The Passion” without being invited.

As a Jew, I was totally embarrassed by Foxman’s actions. If you want to see the movie, act like a responsible adult and pay the price. You will be providing a better example for everyone, Jews and non-Jews. Leave “skipping” for the kids.

Jeff Shulman
Granada Hills

Booted!

I feel reassured to learn that measures are taken to keep sexual predators, evil opportunists and other dark characters away from shul (“Getting Kicked Out of Shul,” Dec. 8). The safe environment this creates makes for a more spiritual experience without, as a single woman, having to fear for my safety.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the rabbis for taking on the responsibility of doing what it takes to create the safe and loving environment we enjoy at shul, in addition to their already demanding work.

Talar Toprakjian
Member
Beth Jacob Congregation

Your front-page article of Dec 8 shows that we Jews continue to be our own worst enemy — and sadly, The Jewish Journal is leading the way in making us look nasty or foolish to our own community and certainly to the general L.A. community (“Getting Kicked Out of Shul).

Skip into Mel Gibson’s ‘Apocalypto’ now!


Face it, the previews for Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” look pretty darn cool.

And there was nary a Jew in sight in Mexico before Cortez & Co. arrived., so I don’t think we have to worry about
anti-Semitism.

Of course, that could change if the movie sentimentalizes human sacrifice — and Jews take the politically incorrect tack of criticizing the right of indigenous peoples to rip-out still-beating hearts from the chests of virgins.

But there’s a bigger issue: Do we want to give our money to Mel? Remember how his “Passion” stirred our passions? How this past summer, he ranted about us “f—- — Jews,” that we “started all the wars in the world”? Sure, he apologized – belatedly, but the reaction of Barbara Walters, that icon of Jewish morality and daytime talk show host, was typical: “I don’t think I want to see any more Mel Gibson movies.”

Mel then begged, “There will be many in that [Jewish] community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed.”

Relax, Mel and Babs. The door is never closed — except maybe on a hit movie’s opening weekend. This revelation came to me a couple of years ago, when I watched “The Passion” — after buying a ticket to a different movie.

At the time, I wished I could say my strategy was heaven-sent to me in a dream — just like the dreams of those 17th- and 18th-century nuns Mel relied on for his “facts” about Jesus’ life, e.g., dark demons always hover around Jewish children. But my “skipping-in” (teen slang for the practice) to see “The Passion” was just the result of a last minute impulse to avoid funding anti-Semitism. The moral issues gnawed at me, though. I had paid to see “Miracle,” an inspiring movie about the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, but I watched “The Passion,” a religious splatter film. It seemed wrong. And I couldn’t look to history for answers, because this issue was possible only with the invention of the Cineplex.

But this past summer, I saw Mel’s drunken tirade as a definite sign that my skipping impulse was indeed a godsend — although Mel would probably think the devil made me do it.

In addition to the cosmic justice evaluation, being a lawyer I also felt compelled to analyze it from a legal perspective. Although I haven’t read any fine print on the back of the movie ticket, I think I might have breached my theater ticket contract. But whom did I damage? Mel got stiffed, but my ticket contract was only with the theater, so he has no claim against me.

The film crew and actors still received payment, and that’s good. Further, because the theater received the full ticket price, it has no damages, so it can’t sue me either.

Conclusion: If Mel has a complaint, he needs to take it up with the theater chain.
So God and the law are on my side. Is that cool — or what?

Of course I realize this type of astute legal analysis is what gives lawyers and Jews a bad name. And that’s the last thing I want to do. So, if Mel sues me, I will waive these defenses, confess judgment and pay him his cut of my $11 ticket. I may even tip the process server.

But with “Apocalypto” opening Friday, only a few months after his anti-Semitic tirade, what’s a Jew to do? Should Mel’s apologies get him a free pass? Maybe I’m just stiff-necked, but I don’t think he’s really sorry; I think he just wanted us to see “Apocalypto.” So we can see the movie, but we should send him the message that we’re still feeling hurt by using my proven Mel Movie Strategy.

If the Mel Movie Strategy succeeds for me, he will be out another $5 or so. If 1,000 people do it, he’ll be out a few grand. If hundreds of thousands succeed with it, he’ll be out about half-a-mil. But if 6 million Jews skip-in to see “Apocalypto,” Mel’s father will deny it ever happened, and Mel probably won’t believe it either.

On the other hand, if cineplex personnel catch you in the act, just explode in a fit of profanity. Slur and drool and scream at the usher, “You a Goy? F—in’ Goyim, they launched the Crusades and Inquisition, and hey, Santa Claus never brings me presents, that fat anti-Semitic slob….”

A few days later, apologize — in a press release.

Of course, if Mel wants to avoid this entire skipping problem, he should send Babs, me and every Member of the Tribe he can find complimentary tickets to see “Apocalypto.” ‘Tis the season, and it would be a real sign of goodwill. But if he wants nothing to do with us, that would be understandable.

We will find consolation in the fact that that door is almost never closed.

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