By Charles Jacobs and Avi Goldwasser
(JNS) The July 1 stabbing attack on Rabbi Shlomo Noginski in front of a Jewish day school in Boston was not a total surprise for those who have studied Jewish history and have seen the recent consequences of the demonization of Jews in Europe.
A growing and powerful leftist/Islamist (Red/Green) alliance in Europe has led to numerous attacks on Jews there. This alliance is fueled by a lethal brew of progressive ideology which dehumanizes the West and Israel, and a large influx of Muslims from antisemitic cultures. This poison has come to America. After establishing beachheads in the universities and the mainstream media, it has now captured key American institutions: the high schools, the liberal churches and the activists of the Democratic Party.
Sadly, despite being warned for years, American Jewish leaders willfully ignored Europe’s lesson. Enchanted by left-wing utopian ideologies that deny fundamental cultural differences—fearful of risking their liberal bona fides and the cloak of “virtue” it confers—Jewish leaders have ignored the threat of Islamic Jew-hatred. They hoped to charm hostile immigrants who came from the most antisemitic cultures in the Middle East with kindness and generosity. They adopted false analogies—“we were also immigrants” and “welcome the stranger”—which confused the community. They embraced the progressive taboo against mentioning bad behavior by “vulnerable minorities,” which included keeping quiet about the threat of Muslim antisemitism.
The ADL, for example, has simply ignored the implications of its own polling data, which clearly indicate that Muslim societies are far more antisemitic than any other societies on earth.
Days before the stabbing incident, a fatal shooting of two black Americans in another suburb of Boston was immediately labeled a hate crime, yet an Arab stabbing a rabbi in front of a Jewish day school was thought to require a thorough investigation of the motives. Why? Only because Jewish leaders in Boston neglected to educate local authorities that when an Arab attacks a rabbi in front of a Jewish day school, they should not be baffled about his motive.
In a typically weak manner, Boston’s Jewish organizations responded to the attack by hosting a “gathering” across from the school. There were fine speeches from prominent public officials. Yet not one speaker referred to the probable cause; not one named the hatred that they all understand must not be named.
Full of good intentions, Jewish leaders here decided more than a decade ago to embrace the radical Islamic Society of Boston and its Roxbury mega-mosque. Founded in 1981 by ranking Muslim Brotherhood operatives, original mosque board members included antisemitic celebrity cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradhawi, who has said that Hitler was among those Allah visited upon the Jews to “punish them for their corruption.” Another founder, Abdurahman al-Amoudi, was sentenced to 23 years in prison in 2004 for financing Hamas (for which he publicly pledged his support at a rally near the White House in 2000). No fewer than 14 people associated with the ISB are dead, in jail or on the run from authorities, having been tied to terrorist activities; the most infamous are the Tsarnayev brothers, who bombed the Boston marathon in 2013. Preachers associated with the ISB have accused Israelis of trying to take over and harm the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem; railed against homosexuality; expressed support for convicted terrorists; and proclaimed that America “will, by God, be brought to its knees,” among much else.
Boston’s Jewish leaders, forever hopeful, ignored the facts and adopted the comfortable and more “virtuous” path of “interfaith dialogue.” This included allowing the mosque’s rabidly anti-Israel former sheikh to speak at Boston’s vigil for the victims of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue massacre and encouraging Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to visit the mosque in 2019, thereby making it “kosher.” One prominent rabbi even invited a member of the mosque—a representative from the Muslim Justice League, an organization that campaigns against FBI counter-terrorism measures—and a local leader of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) to his synagogue to speak and raise money from his congregation in 2017. CAIR has been an active supporter of Hamas.
Moreover, when their actions were criticized, some of Boston’s Jewish “leaders” condemned the criticism as “defamation of Boston-area Muslims” or “Islamophobic.” They also censored and ostracized those who dared speak the most obvious truths they had chosen to ignore.
Our leaders are supposed to be the “watchmen” over our community, and its safety and well-being.
As the Torah notes in Ezekiel 33:6: “But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life … I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.”
The Jewish community needs strong and brave leadership. We can only hope that the stabbing of a rabbi becomes a teaching moment for our leaders.
Charles Jacobs is president of Americans for Peace and Tolerance. Avi Goldwasser is a filmmaker and co-founder of the David Project.