Proposed USC-Dubai journalism school concerns faculty and community

Faculty members at the USC Annenberg School for Communications are deep into a controversy that should be of interest to the Jewish community.

It concerns a proposal from USC for a $3 million contract for Annenberg to work with the American University in Dubai to create a journalism and communications school in the Middle Eastern nation.

Some on the USC faculty are concerned that Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will discriminate against student applicants and faculty who are not Muslim, including Jews. Critics also cite past United Arab Emirate opposition to Israel.

What makes this of interest to local Jews — even those not connected to the home of the Trojans — is the close connection USC has forged with the Jewish community over the years. The Jewish presence among students, faculty and the board of trustees is strong, USC’s Hillel is bustling and the university also has the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life, which works with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, as well as the Shoah Visual History Foundation. In addition, Jews are among USC’s financial supporters.

The current university is far different than the old anti-Semitic USC. That era was recalled in a 1996 article by The Jewish Journal’s Tom Tugend, who described the school’s pre-World War II quota system that was “strikingly simple. One Jewish student was admitted to the medical school, one to the dental school and one to the law school.”

Today, Jewish faculty members are divided over the Dubai proposal. “So many of the people involved in this are Jewish,” said Ed Cray, a veteran journalism professor.

According to a proposed memorandum of understanding, Annenberg would receive $1 million a year for three years to provide the American University and its Mohammed bin Rashid School for Communication with curriculum advice and faculty assistance. Annenberg would also work with its Dubai partner to set up an international conference center and think tank there.

The memorandum states that neither USC nor the Rashid school would “discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, color, age, physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status, marital status or any other category protected by law in employment or in any of its programs and/or activities.” But it’s unclear how this clause would be enforced.

Annenberg dean Ernest J. Wilson III told me that USC will be “providing training to a significant part of the journalists who will be distributing information all through the Middle East and into India.”

Annenberg professor Philip Seib, principal director of the project, said in an article on the Annenberg Web site, “The news business is much less mature in Arab countries…. We’re eager to contribute to the enhancement of journalistic fundamentals … by fostering appreciation of American journalism values — everything from ethics to professional production skills….”

Faculty critics with long memories recall a proposal in the 1970s for a USC Middle East Studies Center financed entirely, Tugend reported, “by Arab oil money.” The Jewish community, fearing creation of a nest of pro-Arab, anti-Israel academics, protested, and the proposal was killed.

A vocal opponent of the Dubai plan is professor Jonathan Kotler, who was joined by a half-dozen colleagues. He told me he was concerned about UAE support for the PLO and its “civil rights record … in its treatment of foreigners, women, children and gays….” And he noted that Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, has been sued for forcing young boys into slavery to serve as jockeys in the popular sport of camel racing. The Dubai communications school was named for him.

“I don’t think we should get into bed with such a person,” he said, and he believes the proposal “besmirches the name of the university and the Annenberg school.” He was particularly concerned about past United Arab Emirate support for the Palestine Liberation Organization, which he considers a supporter of jihad and terrorism.

“As a Jewish American, I am offended,” he said.

Murray Fromson, an emeritus journalism professor and a longtime foreign correspondent for the Associated Press and CBS, sees it differently.

Fromson, who every year visits his daughter Aliza Ben-Tal, assistant to the president of Ben-Gurion University, in Israel, told me this is not a Jewish issue unless Dubai discriminates against Jews or academics who are involved in communications programs in Israel. “It’s a Jewish issue if we start a program in Israel and they [Dubai officials] say we can’t do it,” Fromson said.

He said his years as a reporter overseas taught him the value of such programs, a view that was reinforced when he headed a USC program in Mexico, in the days when the PRI political party clamped down on dissent in a brutal way, and the government bribed the press.

His students there learned about a free press. “Two of our students were among those who got the National Assembly to adopt a First Amendment [free press guarantee],” he said.

I’ve taught at Annenberg on and off for several years. As a part-time Trojan, here’s what I think:

Like Fromson, I believe a program such as this can do much good, even in a country with a poor human rights record. But USC should insist on ironclad anti-discrimination clauses in the contract to prevent the Arab rulers of Dubai from discriminating against Jews and other non-Muslims.

Cowboys & Indians

One of the bizarre effects of the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 is better holiday movies. I realize that sounds coarse and facile at the same time, but it’s demonstrably true.

The major Christmas releases in the 2000 holiday season — the year before Sept. 11 — were “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Red Planet,” “Unbreakable,” “Dracula 2000” and “Miss Congeniality.”

Not a serious, political picture in the bunch, though in “Miss Congeniality” Sandra Bullock did play an FBI agent.

Now look at what’s come out this season, amid the standard fluff: First there was “Jarhead,” about an American soldier in the first Persian Gulf War. Next was “Good Night and Good Luck,” about newsman Edward R. Murrow’s confrontation with red-baiting Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

And then came “Syriana,” and the soon-to-released “Munich.”

Last week I saw those last two, the latest movies to tackle the issues that Sept. 11 forced us to confront: terrorism, oil, Islam, the Middle East and religious fundamentalism.

One thing that stands out is this: Hollywood is making Westerns again, but this time, the Indians are Arab.

I’m not talking about the early Hollywood Indian — a cartoon bad guy or buffoon who spoke pigeon English and was played by a white guy.

I mean the latter-day Indians of film — the more politically correct, primitively honorable “Native Americans.” The ones who resist when the misguided “settlers” prove ignorant of native ways or, worse, when the newcomers become greedy or resort to violence.

With adjustments for nuance and modernity, these themes play out like clockwork in “Syriana.” In this film, the flawed Westerners are the film’s primary movers — whether government officials, CIA spooks or oil execs. They wrestle with the moral dilemmas that our suicidal energy policy raises. They worry about the political and human costs; they second-guess their actions; they call their Arab counterparts on the carpet for their own shortsightedness.

The Arabs, for their part, react: They fight back when the CIA encroaches on their turf; they turn to terror when oil company policies impoverish them; they preach against a West that interferes with their lives.

Of course it’s true that corporations, in tandem with our government and corrupt Arab regimes, have often acted despicably to slake our petroleum thirst. But there is something simplistic and misleading about heaping scorn on oilmen, lawyers, politicians and operatives, but making a murderous Arab (the mullahs, the suicide bombers, the torturer) look perpetually like a victim. We have ideology, desire, goals and misgivings; they react. We are the cowboys out to settle their West; they are the Indians.

I don’t buy it.

Director-writer Stephen Gaghan flays open the ideology and greed that underlay much of our presence in the Mideast, but he never even mentions troubling aspects of Islamic ideology and tribal tradition that were developing long before petrol was king.

The plot of “Syriana” is being hyped as purposefully complex and opaque — but it ignores an ideological strain of Islam that seeks the destruction of opposing values and people as incompatible and threatening to one interpretation of Quranic truth. The Arabs who plan and perpetrate these acts are more often than not homicidal fascists, but in “Syriana” they are all just reacting to Western predation. The cowboys have ideology and depth and complexity; the Indians just suffer and try to defend themselves.

Was Gaghan trying to make, say, 1950’s Western “Broken Arrow,” where Apaches rise up against encroaching whites, using the tableau of oil instead of land? If that’s the case, it’s morally obtuse. The Indians truly were victimized. We invaded their lands, and destroyed them with our guns, germs and steel.

Those who perpetrate terrorism are not innocent — even if they have sometimes been victims. It’s true that Western policies often exacerbate or even incite Islamic fundamentalism. But there is also a strain of Islamic fundamentalist driven by a sick religious ideology, as demented as that of the Crusaders. They are one-starred Sneetches who kill no-star Sneetches in the name of the Great Sneetch. Nazis killed to establish their superiority over non-Nazis. Islamic extremists kill primarily for that reason.

By being hooked on oil we supply them with money. Through asinine policies and actions, we supply them with fertile persuasion for recruitment. But our wrongs and our stupidities don’t negate the responsibility of those who must endure them. Radical Islamists espouse and are prey to an ideology rooted in death and destruction of the Other. For this film not to dramatize — or even recognize — this in some way left me flabbergasted.

Interestingly, “Syriana” is based on the book, “See No Evil” (Three Rivers, 2002) by ex-CIA agent Robert Baer. Baer goes into great detail on how much Mideast terror is the work of Iranian mullahs whose ideological enmity to the West has deep theological roots — a fact that “Syriana,” for all its vaunted complexity, avoids.

To be fair, Gaghan has made a serious, perhaps even courageous, effort to wrestle with contemporary issues. But Arab intransigence and irredentism, Islamic fundamentalism, religious and national fascism, are as much a part of the Middle East muck as Western predations.

Can a single movie fairly dramatize all of this? Sure, and one day they’ll make the cowboys gay.


Calendars Remove Anti-Israel Day

A campaign by Berlin-based activists has resulted in the erasure of “Al Quds Day” from some interfaith calendars in the United States and United Kingdom.

As Iran’s president was calling for Israel to be wiped off the map, members of Together Against Political Islam and Anti-Semitism were busy calling for “Al Quds Day” to be wiped off calendars — and the campaign is paying off.

Institutions on both sides of the Atlantic, from Harvard University to Northumbria University in England, have announced that they are deleting Al Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day — a holiday that focuses on the destruction of Israel — from calendars where it had been listed as a religious holiday. Al Quds Day fell on Oct. 28 this year.

The point is not just to clean up calendars, said political scientist Arne Behrensen, a co-founder of the activist group, but “to engage the political left in confronting Islamism and Islamist anti-Semitism.”

Members of the pro-democracy group include people of Iranian, Kurdish and Turkish background. Many of the Iranian and Kurdish members are refugees from their homelands.

The annihilation of Israel is the raison d’etre of the “holiday” that the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini created after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. It is marked with anti-Israel demonstrations in some Islamic countries, as well as in cities with large Muslim populations outside the Islamic world.

Berlin police have taken increasing interest in defusing the event in recent years, since an incident in which an Al Quds Day demonstrator proudly displayed his small children wrapped in mock suicide bomb belts. All posters and banners at the event now must be submitted for approval, including those in Arabic, and statements calling for Israel’s destruction are banned.

That may be why Berlin’s Al Quds Day demonstrations have declined in numbers, Behrensen said. His group has held counter-demonstrations for three years running.

That trend held true this year as well. Only some 400 marchers attended this year’s event on Saturday, down from 1,500 in 2004 and 3,000 in 2003, said Anetta Kahane, a co-organizer of a counterdemonstration and a member of the Berlin Jewish community.

The group also succeeded in getting a German organization to remove Al Quds Day from its calendar in 2003. This year, Behrensen focused on British and American institutions that he found on the Internet.

One recipient of the campaign’s recent e-mail, Debra Dawson of Harvard United Ministries in Cambridge, Mass., said she had checked with her group’s Islamic chaplain “and he assured me that this day is not an Islamic holiday, so I am removing it from the site.”

Spike Ried, president of the Northumbria University Students’ Union in Newcastle, England, said his group had removed the event from its online calendar and issued a written apology. It reads in part, “We now understand that this day is considered offensive to Israeli and Jewish people worldwide.”

Students submit dates to the calendar, and Al Quds Day “was included on the understanding that it was a religious day,” Ried said. After discussions with both Islamic and Jewish student groups, he added, “we understand now that it is a political day, and have therefore removed it.”

The union also has “drawn up measures to ensure that this does not happen in future,” he said.

Del Krueger, creator of an online interfaith calendar ( that is a source for many others, said he also had removed Al Quds Day from future calendars.

However, the event remains on the calendar for 2006, where it is defined as a “somewhat controversial Islamic observance.”

George Fraser, a city council spokesman in Dundee, Scotland, said the “entire calendar is being removed” because of the issue. The University of North Carolina in Asheville said it had removed the Al Quds Day listing from its calendar of holy days.

Terry Allen, administrator at the Charnwood Arts Center in Leicestershire, England, said he added Al Quds Day after finding it on Krueger’s site, believing it “was a Muslim religious festival.” The activists’ letter pressed him to look deeper.

“I would like to apologize for any offense which has unintentionally been caused by this mistake,” he wrote to the group.

A spokesperson for the Boy Scouts of America said the issue was under discussion there as well.

Behrensen chose to focus on the calendars after reading a lecture by Mansoor Limba, an Iranian, in Malaysia in December 2004. Limba spoke with pride of how Al Quds Day was becoming accepted as an Islamic holiday around the world, recognized by a long list of organizations, including some Jewish ones.

“This is their strategy, to spread their propaganda worldwide,” Behrensen said. “We thought, if we want to counter them, let’s see what they’re doing, and we’ll try to prevent their success.”


Sowing Islamic Seeds in Students

Chairs are lined up in neat rows. Coffee is brewing, muffins arrayed. The table is thick with handouts.

One of them is Saudi Aramco World, a magazine published by Aramco, the Saudi government-owned outfit that is the largest oil company in the world.

“The Arab World in the Classroom,” published by Georgetown University, thanks Saudi Aramco on its back cover. Alongside it is the brochure of The Mosaic Foundation, an organization of spouses of Arab ambassadors in America, whose chairwoman and president of the board of trustees is Her Royal Highness Princess Haifa Al-Faisal of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.

If you think this is a meeting of Saudi oil executives or Middle Eastern exporters or Saudi government officials, you are wrong: It’s a social studies training seminar for American elementary and secondary teachers, held last year at Georgetown University.

It’s paid for by U.S. tax dollars, as the organizer points out in her introduction.

“We are grateful to the grant we have under Title VI of the Department of Education that underwrites these programs,” Zeina Azzam Seikaly, outreach coordinator of Georgetown’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, tells the more than three dozen current and former teachers at the seminar.

Georgetown’s Middle East outreach program is one of 18 affiliated with federally designated national resource centers, each of which receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funds under Title VI of the Higher Education Act.

Much has been written about the biased nature of Middle East studies programs at universities around the country.

Less known is that with public money and the designation as a national resource center, universities such as Georgetown, Harvard and Columbia are dramatically influencing the study of Islam, Israel and the Middle East far beyond the college campus.

As a condition of their funding, these centers are also required to engage in public outreach, which includes schoolchildren in Grades K-12. Through professional development workshops for teachers and resource libraries, they spread teaching materials that analysts say promote Islam and are critical of Israel and the West.

Georgetown’s outreach and the materials it disseminates are singled out for special praise by Dar al Islam.

Its Web site lists four other outreach centers it admires: the University of California at Berkeley, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan.

Professional development workshops like the one at Georgetown provide the most frequent paths for the dissemination of supplementary materials to history and social studies teachers, according to education expert Sandra Stotsky’s “The Stealth Curriculum: Manipulating America’s History Teachers.”

The problems with many of the supplemental materials, Stotsky said in her report, stem from “the ideological mission of the organizations that create them.

“Their ostensible goal is to combat intolerance, expand students’ knowledge of other cultures, give them other ‘points of view’ on commonly studied historical phenomena and/or promote ‘critical thinking,'” she wrote.

But an analysis of the materials convinced her that their real goal “is to influence how children come to understand and think about current social and political issues by bending historical content to those ends.

“They embed their political agendas in the instructional materials they create so subtly that apolitical teachers are unlikely to spot them.”

Among the materials Stotsky cites is “The Arab World Studies Notebook,” which has been widely criticized for bias, inaccuracies and proselytizing.

Two school districts have banned the book, and the AJC has urged others to follow suit.

“Notebook” editor Audrey Shabbas rejects the criticism.

“We’re providing the Arab point of view,” she said.

Responding to criticism that the material paints an overly rosy picture of Islam, she said, “My task is not to defend what Muslims do in the world” but to focus on the “difference between what people call themselves and what they do.”

Experts say the materials are popular because they’re recommended by the national resource centers of prestigious universities.

In an interview with JTA, Stotsky recounted that in the summer of 2002, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Massachusetts Department of Education decided to offer a seminar on Islam and the Middle East for area teachers. They accepted a proposal from Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies that “looked very promising.” One of the organizers of the seminar was Barbara Petzen, the center’s outreach coordinator.

But when Stotsky and other officials saw the syllabus, which included the “Arab World Studies Notebook,” they requested that the course present a more balanced view of Islam. Officials wanted at least to include a book by Bernard Lewis, a Princeton University professor emeritus who is considered one of the pre-eminent authorities on Islam.

But Petzen and her colleague “ducked recent history” by agreeing only to include one of Lewis’ older books from the 1970s, rather than one of his more recent critical perspectives on Islam, Stotsky said.

Petzen could not be reached for comment.

Stotsky was further shocked when she saw the lesson plans created by some of the seminar participants. One, which required the students to learn an Islamic prayer and design a prayer rug to simulate a mosque in the classroom, crossed the line. “It’s really indoctrination to have students do such religious things,” she said.

While there is no way to know the extent to which the teachers from 20 Massachusetts schools ultimately incorporated their proposed lessons into the classroom, the assumption of the Education Department, which paid for the seminar, “is that the teachers use the material they learned,” Stotsky said.

In New York City, meanwhile, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has barred the head of Columbia University’s Middle East Institute from lecturing to city teachers enrolled in professional development courses on the Middle East.

Klein’s move in February against Rashid Khalidi, who holds the Edward Said Chair at Columbia, was in response to “a number of things he’s said in the past,” said Michael Best, the department’s general counsel, according to The New York Times.

Khalidi declined to comment on the issue.

A spokesman for Klein said last week that “nothing has changed” in Khalidi’s status, meaning that he still is barred from lecturing at teacher-training seminars.

For Stotsky, a major problem with the teacher-training seminars is the lack of oversight.

“What teacher or principal is going to challenge [material that comes] “with the sterling credentials of Harvard?” she said.

While she doesn’t claim to have all the answers, Stotsky recommends halting public funding for professional development until there is “strong evidence that most history teachers learn something useful from a majority of workshops they attend.”



Tainted Teachings

Jordan King Courts U.S. Jews on Future

Jordan’s king believes Jews can play a key role in his campaign to win back the Muslim street.

“The Amman message,” initiated by Abdullah II, brought together scholars from the eight main streams of Islam in July to issue edicts that marginalize terrorists who purport to act in the name of Islam — particularly Al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden.

The next step is to bring the message to Jews and Christians, according to Joseph Lumbard, the young American Muslim hired by the king to coordinate outreach.

“We want to get beyond the idea of a clash of civilizations to a dialogue of civilizations,” Lumbard said. “We would like to expand the term ‘Judeo-Christian tradition’ to ‘Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition.'”

Abdullah and his Palestinian-born queen, Rania, met recently with Pope Benedict XVI and followed it up with a policy speech at Catholic University in Washington.

Last week, he spoke on “Judaism and Islam: Beyond Tolerance” to more than 80 rabbis from around the United States gathered in Washington.

“Our communities must see each other as sharing a common heritage and a common future,” the king said.

The speech, drawing on Quranic verses and Jewish readings that counsel accommodation and respect for other monotheistic faiths, was well received.

“It was very impressive, eloquent and pointed,” said Rabbi Avi Shafran, director of public affairs for Agudath Israel. “One hopes the message will take root in Islam and serve to further the goal he set forth of mutual respect between Muslims and Jews.

More than any other Arab leader — and even more than his father, the late King Hussein — Abdullah has attached his fate to the West. He has opened Jordanian markets and plans to introduce Western democratic reforms. Like his father, Abdullah also has fostered the only truly warm Arab-Israeli peace, and he met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the United Nations earlier this month.

Coupled with a biography firmly rooted in the West — his mother is British and his schooling is American and British — these goals deny Abdullah the appeal among ordinary Arabs that many of his contemporaries have, despite his lineage: Hashemite kings are believed to be direct descendants of Mohammed.

Abdullah’s solution is to use the Arab street’s hardiest vehicle — Islam — to move it toward his vision of moderation. The July assembly in Amman of 180 Islamic scholars from 45 countries concluded with 17 of the most senior scholars issuing religious edicts outlining two principles: Fatwas issued by Muslims not formally trained in Islamic law are not legitimate; Muslims must refrain from calling other Muslims apostates. The two statements were clearly aimed at Al Qaeda and its leaders.

Lumbard, a Cairo-based scholar who helped organize the summit, said the pedigree of the scholars at the Amman meeting lent heft to their fatwas in a way that multiple other efforts to moderate Islam — many of them stemming from Western capitals — could not.

Whether the effort resonates remains to be seen. Lumbard acknowledged that even those scholars, respected as they are, have become remote from an Arab street succored by the Internet and satellite television. The next step, he said, was to compete in those fields with the radicals who advocate terrorism.

Abdullah, 43, places much stock in youth, because half of Jordan’s population is 18 or younger. His first stop in the United States was a meeting with a group of high school students from two Washington public schools, the Hebrew Academy in Rockville, Md., and the Islamic Academy in Fairfax, Va.

Significantly, the most skeptical students at the gathering appeared to be Muslims from the Saudi-backed academy. When one young woman in a scarf expressed doubts that Abdullah’s moderation reflected the Arab world’s “general consensus,” Queen Rania struggled for a response, and could cite only an outpouring of Arab sympathy for Americans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

By contrast, the Jewish students were clearly impressed.

“He’s very courageous for taking such a message,” said Moshe Broder, a senior at the Hebrew Academy. “He’s a pioneer.”

Abdullah will have to start at home, and that could be a problem. Creating change in Jordan’s highly conservative and tribalized political culture has never been easy. A recent campaign against “honor killings” of women has had mixed results at best, and the royal court’s embrace of peace with Israel is not shared by other Jordanian elites, never mind ordinary Jordanians.

The king will have to flex the kind of muscle his father occasionally did to overcome skeptics who see him as ensconced in the West, said Hiam Nawas, a Jordanian expert on political Islam.

“Abdullah will have to spend a fair amount of his own political capital if he wants his message to become authoritative in Jordan,” she said.

One way to sell the moderation is to show that it brings results — hence Abdullah’s appeal in the West, simultaneous with his religious outreach, for expanded trade and political ties.

“Even as we work for peace, development must go forward,” he said at the United Nations last week. “When developed nations commit to active, increased development support, they advance global progress for all. The world knows what is needed — fair trade, increased direct assistance and debt relief.”

That means persuading the West that Islam has a place alongside Judaism and Christianity as an equal. That’s where Abdullah’s current tour of the major faiths comes in.

He has some persuading to do. As welcome as the Amman summit was, it falls short of specifically addressing terrorist acts or of addressing the virulent strain of Islamic anti-Zionism that undermines some fundamentals of Jewish and Israeli co-existence.

Marc Gopin, an Orthodox rabbi and a religion professor at George Mason University in Virginia who helped organize Abdullah’s address to rabbis, said Jews should see the July fatwas as a crucial first step in marginalizing extremism.

“This helps cut off terrorism’s legs, because terrorism is based on fatwas,” he said. “That may be dissatisfying from the Israeli-Palestinian perspective, but it’s an admirable goal and one we should support.”

Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, added, “We’re encouraged by what he has been saying and doing. He’s a model of what we would like to see elsewhere in the Middle East.”

By reaching out to religious leaders, Abdullah also addresses a facet of the conflict that diplomats often neglect, said Robert Eisen, who heads the religion department at George Washington University — that the men and women of the Middle East viscerally see the conflict as not just about borders but about beliefs. The king could demonstrate that the language of religion is as much a basis for reconciliation as for conflict, he said.

“Jews and Muslims share common moral values that should allow us to find common ground to fight the extremists in our religions,” he said.


A Historic Event

It was a remarkable sight: the president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan sitting on a New York dais alongside leaders of the American Jewish community and Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations — while eating a kosher dinner beneath a blue-and-white banner reading: “Council for World Jewry.”

It was all the more notable, considering the significant personal risk the appearance must have entailed for Pervez Musharraf, who has been the subject of several recent assassination attempts at the hands of Muslim extremists who are violently anti-Israel and anti-America.

There was near-unanimous agreement among Jews and Pakistanis at Saturday night’s event that Musharraf’s mere presence before an audience of Jewish officials represented a potentially historic step in Muslim-Jewish relations. For his landmark gesture, the Pakistani general received a series of standing ovations.

“I would never have imagined that a Muslim, a president of Pakistan and, more than that, a man in uniform would ever get such a warm reception from the Jewish community,” Musharraf said as he ascended the platform to excited applause.

Beyond the novelty of the appearance, however, Musharraf’s half-hour speech met with disappointment from some Jewish leaders who found his remarks rich in hyperbole but poor in specific proposals.

“If we waited 100 years [to hold this meeting] it would have been even more historic, but what is it we have achieved?” asked Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “In his world, in his culture, in his environment, this is a major step. From our perspective, it isn’t.”

Some lamented that Musharraf said little beyond his previous comments about establishing relations with Israel, which he again conditioned on future actions by Israel, culminating in the establishment of a Palestinian state. Musharraf’s address followed closely his brief encounter last week with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on the sidelines of the United Nations World Summit and a recent meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries, which do not have full diplomatic ties.

Still, said Jack Rosen, chairman of the American Jewish Congress — whose Council for World Jewry sponsored the event — given Musharraf’s domestic political constraints, Jews should not underestimate what he was able to offer.

“It is not helpful for us to be critical of a Muslim leader who, given his political pressures, comes to speak to us and doesn’t give us everything we want at that moment in time,” Rosen said. “We couldn’t have expected that he would have announced last night that he would immediately begin normalizing relations with Israel. It wasn’t a real expectation.”

Challenged by Foxman to show more leadership by moving to formalize Israeli-Pakistani relations right away, Musharraf responded that “57 years of hatred, bitterness, animosity cannot be undone so fast.”

“It is my sincere judgment that this is not the time to do it,” he said. “We need to be very patient. I need some more reasons and rationale. I need some more support” to be able to convince the Pakistani people to go along with the move.

Israel’s foreign minister, for his part, said he looked favorably on the meeting as a step in what he acknowledged could be a “long process” toward full ties.

“The time has come, I believe, to have full diplomatic relations with all of these” moderate Muslim countries, Silvan Shalom told Jewish journalists this week. “I believe that many of them are close. They’re always looking for the appropriate time.”

Shalom did not attend the Musharraf event.

Musharraf spoke about religious similarities between Muslims and Jews and characterized recent hostility between the two groups as an aberration against a background of historical coexistence. He further earned plaudits for insisting that terrorism “cannot be condoned for any cause.”

While he referred to “Schindler’s List” and praised Sharon for the recent Gaza Strip withdrawal, Musharraf upset many in the audience by insisting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a root cause of world terrorism, and that Pakistan won’t forge diplomatic ties with Israel until the Palestinians have a state — essentially giving the Palestinians a veto over the entire process, several Jewish leaders noted afterward.

“Palestine has been at the heart of troubles in the Middle East,” Musharraf said. “I have no doubt whatsoever that any attempt to shy away or ignore the root causes of terrorism is shutting one’s eyes to reality and is a sure recipe for failure.”

That sentiment struck a raw nerve among many Jews in the audience, who lamented that Muslim nations for too long have tried to lay the blame for many of the world’s ills on Israel.

“The root cause of terrorism is the same as the root cause of Nazism: simply, the hatred of Jews through teaching hatred of Jews,” said Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America.

Musharraf also called on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and respect other faiths’ attachment to Jerusalem. He did not express any corresponding demands on the Palestinian side.

“Israel must come to terms with geopolitical reality and let justice prevail for the Palestinians,” Musharraf said. “They want their own independent state, and they must get it.”

Since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Pakistan has had something of an image problem in the West. Daniel Pearl, a Jewish reporter for The Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped and decapitated by terrorists in Pakistan; Osama bin Laden is thought to be in hiding somewhere along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border; a Pakistani nuclear scientist was discovered to have supplied nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea, and Pakistan’s extensive network of religious schools has been accused of spreading a radically violent and anti-Western version of Islam.

Many in the audience saw Musharraf’s decision to address a Jewish audience as a public relations move, rather than the reflection of a serious desire for detente. Like many in the Muslim world, Musharraf views the American Jewish community as key to securing political influence along the Beltway, some said.

Musharraf didn’t do much to dispel this impression.

“I feel privileged to be speaking to so many members of what is probably the most distinguished and influential community in the United States,” he said.

But Mossadaq Chughtai, director of the Pakistani American Liaison Center, which runs the Congressional Pakistan Caucus, dismissed this line of thinking.

“We have good standing with Congress” and the White House, he said, noting that President Bush has hosted Musharraf at Camp David. “Not as good as AIPAC, but we’re making strides,” Chughtai said, referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Still, many considered the symbolism of the event key. Unlike Palestinian leaders, who often have made conciliatory statements to foreign leaders in English, while urging their constituents to war in Arabic, Musharraf spoke before a full contingent of Pakistani media beaming his words back home, where they are likely to be controversial.

For Dr. Abdul Rehman, an officer of the MMSI mosque in Staten Island, N.Y., Musharraf’s appearance gives the “green light” to Muslims to work toward cooperation and dialogue with Jews.

Berel Lazar, one of Russia’s chief rabbis, thought Musharraf was “very sincere” and praised him for not making grand promises that he would not be able to fulfill.

“There’s no question he will have a hard time explaining to his people what he’s doing and trying to bring them along,” Lazar said. “On the other hand, he didn’t give any kind of time frame” for normalizing ties with Israel.

At the least, the event led to immediate interreligious dialogue in the hallways: Lazar was seen chatting and posing for photos with Imam Ghulam Rasul of the MMSI mosque and invited mosque leaders to visit him if they’re in Moscow.

Pakistani television reporters pulled Israelis and American Jews aside for interviews to be broadcast in Pakistan.

“I think the event was very significant,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “Something that hopefully can be built upon.”

Michael Arnold contributed to this report.

Arab Groups Assail Bush Appointment

Jewish and Arab leaders say President Bush’s appointment of Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes to a federal think tank — despite the objections of Arab groups and some congressional Democrats — offers a window into White House thinking on Middle East issues.

Bush’s Aug. 22 appointment of Pipes, director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, to the board of directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) comes after Arab American and Muslim groups waged a strong battle against his Senate confirmation. They called Pipes an "Islamaphobe" who made bigoted comments against Arabs and Muslims.

The USIP was founded by Congress in 1984 to create programs and fellowships that foster peace and nonviolent conflict resolution. The organization frequently sponsors lectures in Washington on international conflicts. Its board is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

Jewish groups were gearing up to back Pipes in the Senate, saying they rely on his insight and scholarship on militant Islam. In the end, however, no heavy lifting was required. Instead, Bush placed Pipes on the board through a recess appointment, allowing him to serve without confirmation until the end of the congressional term in January 2005.

Jewish leaders say the move shows the White House’s commitment to combating the threat radical Islam poses to the United States and its allies. Pipes had warned of the danger of militant Islam long before Sept. 11 and criticized many scholars in his field who he said had become apologists for Islamic militancy.

Arab leaders, however, say the appointment shows that some White House officials hold the same "right-wing" views on Middle East issues as Pipes. Specifically, they point to Elliott Abrams, a senior official on Middle East affairs at the National Security Council, who they say has a track record of public comments that put his positions in line with those of Pipes.

Pipes was nominated for the post in April, but his confirmation was postponed last month by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee after several lawmakers, including Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), voiced opposition to it.

"It certainly reached a level of attention and publicity that surprised me," Pipes said. Major newspaper editorials came out for and against the nominee. Pipes said he was told the White House decided to use a recess appointment, because of its eagerness to fill the institute’s board, not because of concerns over his ultimate confirmation.

Pipes said Kennedy and others misunderstood the writing and work he has done for more than 25 years, at times taking his comments out of context and at other times distorting them.

Arab groups claimed Pipes had said that Muslims do not follow proper hygiene, but Pipes said he was simply describing the way Europeans look at Muslims. Also, he said many of the comments he has made about radical Islam often are mistaken as accusations against the Muslim religion in general.

"I’m making a fairly complex and novel argument about the differences between religious Islam and radical Islam," he said. "It’s an important argument that needs to be made."

Pipes said he will expand on his rationale for the objections to his nomination in a column for the New York Post.

Hussein Ibish, communications director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said Pipes is prevaricating when he says that he is trying to distinguish between Islam per se and terrorist actions linked to militant Islam.

"He defaults to putting everyone in an Islamist militant category," Ibish said. "You have to basically agree with his pro-Likud stance to not be considered a militant Muslim."

Several Jewish groups quickly praised Pipes’ nomination, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The Anti-Defamation League said Pipes had an "important approach and perspective to the challenges facing the U.S. in the post-9/11 world."

The nomination of Pipes, a frequent lecturer to Jewish audiences, was being watched in the American Jewish community. Jewish officials said they would have backed Pipes vocally if a fight over his nomination had erupted on the Senate floor.

Instead, the community decided to stay silent in order not to derail a process that was moving in Pipes’ favor. Meanwhile, many Arab leaders voiced their opposition.

When word of Pipes’ impending recess appointment became public, nearly a dozen Muslim and interfaith groups spoke out against him and led a phone campaign to the White House against the appointment.

Ibish said Arab and Muslim groups consider the fact that Pipes’ nomination required a "backdoor" appointment a victory for their cause. "It’s an important political statement that the White House had to do it this way," he said.

Pipes said his writings have been more closely scrutinized in the past five months and that he has learned to be more cautious.

"I’ve learned to be careful to make sure things I say cannot be taken out of context," he said. "It is the lesson of increased attention that I hope I have profited from."

Islam Hijacked

The queries have come in steadily since the great increase in suicide bombings by Muslim Palestinians during the past year, but since Sept. 11, they have come virtually non-stop. "Does Islam condone suicide? Does Islam condone killing noncombatants? Does Islam teach that a martyr who enters heaven gets the pleasure of 70 virgins? Does Islam really teach the universal doctrine of ‘Islam or the sword?’ Does Islam hate Jews and Judaism?" or, "Does Islam fundamentally hate anyone and anything not Muslim or Islamic?"

Americans know almost nothing about Islam beyond what they pick up from films and novels and news reports (much of it erroneous). Israelis probably know even less, though many have the bad habit of claiming (with some swagger) that they know Muslims because they live with them. The truth of the matter is that Israelis don’t live with Muslims, hardly see them beyond what they see on their own televisions, and tend to have an extremely distorted view of Islam. We few who know something about Islam are bombarded with questions and asked for interviews, but given the hurry and the nature of media discourse, the short answers often confuse more than clarify.

Simplistic clarifications by so-called "Muslim scholars" often confuse the situation even more, because virtually any Muslim can claim to be a scholar and speak on behalf of Islam. From my own experience, many of them seem not to know what they are talking about.

So how do we arrive at the truth about Islam? Is it a fundamentally violent and hateful religion, as its detractors have claimed? Or is it a religion of compassion and reason, as its Muslim adherents insist? To answer this question, we must first look inward. How have its champions and its enemies characterized Judaism? We have suffered the abuse of religious character assassination by those who not only have hated us, but also by those who have feared us. Anyone who can read is able to find excerpts in translation from the Bible and from our Talmud and midrash that would curdle the blood of any innocent reader who doesn’t know the context of the citations. Our great King David arranged the murder of an innocent man because he lusted over the poor man’s wife (2 Samuel 11). Rabbis incinerate their opponents (Shabbat 34a, Sanhedrin 100a). The Torah even calls for mass extermination, for genocide of the native Canaanite inhabitants of the land (Deuteronomy 7). It is just as easy to find violent material in the Quran and in the second most important source of Islamic religious teaching: the Hadith literature (parallel to Oral Law in Judaism). It almost need not be said that one can just as well find material urging compassion for the needy, the poor, the homeless, the orphan and widow.

One of my criticisms of self-proclaimed pundits of Islam is that they do not cite their sources. Take a look at some of the key issues that lie at the core of the questions listed above.

About a week before the suicide massacres and destruction of the World Trade Center towers in New York, "60 Minutes" claimed to have interviewed a Palestinian working for and with suicide bombers intending to kill Israelis. Interviewed in Arabic, the English voice-over translation had the man claiming that a martyr who enters Paradise will enjoy the sexual pleasures of 70 or 72 virgin women.

A number of self-proclaimed Muslim scholars accused "60 Minutes" of distorting the transcript and demanded an apology. They claimed to have heard the original Arabic in spite of the loud English voice-over and emphatically stated that he said nothing of the sort. They even went further, to claim that Islam would never teach such a thing. This was clearly an attempt to avoid public embarrassment, but the truth is that according to Islamic lore and tradition, a male who enters heaven enters what we in the West would consider a hedonistic paradise full of physical and sensual pleasures. This is simply a fact. The origin of this view most certainly lies in the context of the extremely stark and difficult life of ancient Bedouin Arabia. Something as simple as the constant flow of water in a stream was considered miraculous, so it would be natural to imagine heaven as flowing with streams of water under the shade of huge trees.

But there are other delights as well, according to a Hadith in an authoritative collection called Sunan al-Tirmidhi, which would be on the shelves of any Muslim scholar. In my edition, published in Beirut, it can be found in a section called "The Book of Description of the Garden," chapter 23, titled "The least reward for the people of Heaven," Hadith number 2562. The Hadith reads literally as follows: "Sawda (Tirmidhi’s grandfather) reported that he heard from Abdullah, who received from Rishdin b. Sa’d, who in turn learned from Amr b. al-Harith, from Darraj, from Abul-Haytham, from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, who received it from the Apostle of God [Muhammad]: The least [reward] for the people of Heaven is 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome of pearls, aquamarine and ruby, as [wide as the distance] between al-Jaabiyya and San’a." That these 72 wives are virgin is confirmed by Quran (55:74) and commentaries on that verse. Al-Jaabiyya was a suburb of Damascus, according to the famous 14th century commentator, Isma’il Ibn Kathir, so one personal jeweled dome would stretch the distance from Syria to Yemen, some 1,600 miles.

Was this tradition intended to be believed literally? Do Muslims believe it literally? Are they required to? This particular Hadith has technical weaknesses in its chain of transmitters and is therefore not considered impeccable, though it is listed in an authoritative collection. As a result, Muslims are not required to believe in it, though many inevitably do (but an even more respectable Hadith with virtually the same message can be found in Tirmidhi K. Fada’il al-Jihad 25:1663). I am sure that many believe that they will experience incredible physical pleasures when they enter heaven. I personally have no problem with that. Religions inevitably expect their adherents to believe things that would seem absurd to believers of other religions.

The more important question is, who is privileged to enter heaven according to Islam? Does a suicide bomber who kills innocent people merit entrance into heaven? The answer to this question would appear to be quite clear. Because Islam is a religious civilization that has been associated with political power for many centuries, its religious scholars have had the responsibility to deal with issues of state and with issues of war. Islam, therefore, has a lot to say on such issues. On the issue of suicide and harming innocents, Islam is unambiguous.

The four schools of Islamic law expressly forbid the harming of noncombatants. These include women, children, monks and hermits, the aged, blind and insane. In the most authoritative collection of Hadith, the Sahih al-Bukhari (The Book of Jihad, chapters 147-147, Hadiths 257-258), Muhammad expressly disapproves and then forbids the slaying of women and children. "A woman was found killed during one of the Apostle of God’s battles, so the Apostle of God forbade the killing of women and children." This message is found in a number of authoritative collections and has been formalized in the legal literature. Islam also expressly forbids suicide, the punishment for which is eternal reenactment of the act and revisitation of the pain. Sahih al-Bukhari (K. Jana’iz 82:445-446) has the following on the authority of the Prophet: "Whoever commits suicide with a piece of iron will be punished with the same piece of iron in Hell. Whoever commits suicide by throttling shall keep on throttling himself in Hell [forever], and whoever commits suicide by stabbing shall keep on stabbing himself in Hell [forever]."

On the other hand, martyrdom in war for Islamic cause is praised extensively throughout the literature. The Quran teaches (3:169): "Do not consider those killed [while engaging] in God’s cause dead. Rather, they live with their Lord, who sustains them!" The Quranic idiom, "killed while engaging in God’s cause" is a reference to martyrdom for acting on being a Muslim, whether as a persecuted and powerless individual or as a warrior fighting for the expansion of the world of Islam. Perhaps the most compelling expression is composed of the idioms found in the most authoritative sources and attributed to the Prophet, "Paradise is [found] under the shade of swords," or "Paradise is under the gleam of swords" (Sahih Bukhari, Jihad, 22:73). Muhammad’s companion, Abu Hurayra, said that he heard the Prophet say: "By the One in Whose hands is my soul [i.e., by God], I would love to be martyred [while engaged] in God’s cause, then be resurrected, then martyred, then resurrected, then martyred, then resurrected, and then martyred" (Sahih Bukhari, Jihad 7:54). A Hadith in Sunan al-Tirmidhi states that in contrast to the suicide, the martyr does not even feel the pain of his death (Fada’il al-Jihad, 26:1663). He is also forgiven all his sins and has the right to intercede on behalf of his own family to enter Heaven.

So suicide is forbidden, killing of noncombatants is forbidden, but martyrdom is rewarded with entrance into heaven and, therefore, with great material rewards in the world to come. We are beginning to uncover the complexity of the problem. It rests to a great extent on interpretation and the authority of those who make the interpretations. One stable person’s definition of suicide may be interpreted as martyrdom by a fanatic. All these categories may be easily manipulated by fanatical, desperate, or evil people. A reasonable person’s obvious identification of innocent noncombatants may be categorized as Satan’s hordes by someone who is desperate and confused. Add to this the fact that most, though not all, suicide bombers are in desperate economic straits.

We need to add one more ingredient to an already complex soup, and this is the perception of the West (and the West includes Israel) among many Muslims who live in the Middle East. The West prides itself with having brought many gifts to the civilized world: tolerance, democracy, pluralism, freedom. To the natives of many parts of the world that were exploited by colonialism, imperialism and today’s "globalism," these noble contributions are meaningless. Many Muslims in the Middle East see them as no more than slogans that attempt to hide the true intent of the West: political and religious domination and economic exploitation.

To a poor peasant or middle-class urban dweller who suffers the loss of children to disease, lacks opportunities for improvement, and has a grim and downtrodden daily existence while watching TV-movie portrayals of Western wealth and decadence, it is not a stretch to conceive of the United States and Israel as the greater and lesser Satans.

Of course, local corrupt leadership often takes advantage of such sentiment in order to prop up its own crooked regimes. In fact, the secular leaders of Muslim countries have always tried to manipulate Islamic symbols and images in order to manipulate their populations. Add this also to our soup. Islam is a noble and compassionate religion, but like all good things, Islam may be cynically used and manipulated. Misguided people may also manipulate it in good faith.

The outrageously unstable political situation in the Middle East, the terrible economic situation, the lack of freedoms and lack of a tradition of open inquiry for the past six centuries all contribute to an environment of suspicion and bitterness.

Whom can you trust, if not God? But God has also been manipulated, and this is the saddest aspect of the complex we call the Middle East. God has been hijacked by terrorists. Islam is not the problem. Terrorism is the problem, and terrorists have hijacked both Islam and God.

Prof. Reuven Firestone will speak on “Jihad: Muslim and Jewish Roots” at a brunch, Sun. Oct. 14 from 10:00 am -12 at Temple Beth Am, sponsored by the synagogue Brotherhood. Advance paid reservations are mandatory. Call (310) 652-7353 ext. 200 for payment and reservations.

The Muslim Zionist

Does Islam deserve its title as "one of the world’s great religions"? There are reasons these days to view it, especially here in Israel, as a source of terrorist bombings, murderous incitement against Jews, denials of Jewish connection to Jerusalem, and repression — especially of women — cruelty and crudity, fundamentalism and fanaticism. Nor do the American Muslim communities seem to demur very much.

So let me introduce you to Shaykh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi, representative of an Islam that speaks in a loving voice and acknowledges its debt to Judaism — and who is, I suspect, on the verge of becoming a celebrity in the Jewish world.

Palazzi’s impeccable credentials as a Muslim cleric include a Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences by decree of the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia and years of study with Islamic teachers in Cairo and Europe. A leader of the Muslim community in Italy, he currently serves as secretary-general of the Italian Muslim Association in Rome.

And he’s a Zionist.

Palazzi accepts Jewish sovereignty over the Holy Land (he says the Koran supports it as the will of God and, theologically, a necessary prerequisite for the Final Judgment). He accepts — even prefers — Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem, if the rights of other religions are protected. He quotes the Koran to support Judaism’s special connection to the Temple Mount. "The most authoritative Islamic sources affirm the Temples," he says, contradicting the current mufti of Jerusalem (the "pseudo-mufti," he calls him, dismissing him as a political appointee). He adds that Jerusalem is sacred to Muslims because of its prior holiness to Jews and its standing as home to the biblical prophets and kings David and Solomon, all of whom are sacred figures in Islam, too.

Moreover, the Koran "expressly recognizes that Jerusalem plays the same role for Jews that Mecca has for Muslims" — the center toward which prayer is directed. Just as no one wishes to deny Muslims sovereignty over Mecca, he goes on, there is no sound Islamic theological reason to deny the Jews the same right over Jerusalem. "In the present situation," he has said, directly contradicting Palestinian demands, "the only way to preserve religious freedoms for all three major religions is for Israel to be the single sovereign over the Old City." Nor, according to Palazzi, is there any basis in Islam for prohibiting Jews from praying on the Temple Mount, as is currently the case.

So if that’s true Islam, what are we reading in the daily papers? In Palazzi’s view, Islam has been hijacked by the Wahabi movement in Saudi Arabia, a radical reformist movement which denies the traditional — that is, moderate — understanding of the Koran and has taken control of Mecca and Medina.

That in itself might have had only minor ramifications, but oil made the followers of the movement almost unbelievably rich. Usually, Palazzi muses, regions blessed with higher civilizations become wealthy and then assume wider cultural dominance. But in this case, the contrary occurred: money made a primitive and violent culture powerful over a wide area. And now, "they are reshaping Islam in accordance with their political issues."

Palazzi says that Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan and other moderate Arab countries restrict the Wahabi sect. But in European countries, where the commitment to religious freedom allows it to thrive, it has successfully claimed to represent Islam. (In the U.S., Palazzi claims, the movement trains Muslim chaplains for the U.S. Army, and its members are invited to the White House.)

No network of Muslim scholars exists to oppose fundamentalism, and Saudi funding of ministries of religion in many countries keeps local imams from speaking out. Nonetheless, Palazzi believes that a new attitude is emerging among some Islamic thinkers. "Many of us are now ready to admit that hostility for Israel has been a great mistake, perhaps the worst mistake Muslims have made in the second half of this century."

The shaykh has no hesitation about promoting this stance. He serves in Israel as co-chair of the Root and Branch Association’s Islam-Israel Fellowship and Muslim chairman of the Association’s Jerusalem Embassy Initiative, which calls for "the nations of the world to move their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem, thereby recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal, exclusive and undivided capital of the Jewish People and the State of Israel, and as the spiritual center of mankind."

The son of an Italian mother and a Syrian father, Palazzi in person is a bearish, good-humored man with a trimmed beard and close-cropped hair and wearing, the night I met with him, a crew-neck sweater, cargo pants and no head covering. No robe, no turban. He is an extremely unassuming man.

Almost everyone to whom I mention Palazzi says something like, "Isn’t he afraid he’ll get killed?" That is itself a sign of how low Islam has allowed itself to sink in Western eyes. But Palazzi says he’s not afraid, because he is saying nothing that is not based in the Koran. Not living in the Arab world makes it easier for him to speak out, of course, but he names shaykhs even in the Palestinian Authority who he insists are largely in agreement with him.

His impact — aside from becoming the Muslim cleric best loved by Jews — remains to be seen. But at least he is helping to rescue the honor of Islam by representing it, not as a fanatical and murderous sect irrevocably bent on harm, but as a subtle and loving spiritual path, open to the world and glad to acknowledge its bonds of brotherhood with Judaism and Jews.