In the weekend Daily News, Dana DiFilippo does a nice job interviewing Jacob Bender, recently hired to be the first Jew to lead a chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, here in the City of Brotherly Love.
Yes, a Jew. A brilliant PR stroke by CAIR, which was created in Philadelphia.
Here's Dana's story: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20131208_Is_this_kosher_.html
I've mentioned CAIR in some of my columns and sought comment as a matter of fairness. I don't refer to it as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case of an Islamic "charity" (Holy Land Foundation) found guilty of funneling funds to the Hamas terrorist group, but it is. I don't mention that after a period of cooperation, the FBI broke off with CAIR.
CAIR positions itself as a civil-rights group for Muslims, and it is. It sends out a daily alert of real or imagined bias against Muslims, but I am as suspicious of CAIR as it is of me. (I have yet to be labeled an "Islamophobe," but I suspect that is in my future.)
CAIR bristles at any negative mention of Islam, as if criticism is Islamophobia. It is not, any more than criticizing the cross-displaying Ku Klux Klan would be anti-Christian. Islam doesn't like criticism of any kind. Remember the Danish cartoons? Remember Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh?
It's a long way around, but this illustrates why I am suspicious.
Dana asked him if Israel has a right to exist and does he believe the two-state formula is a path to peace.
"Such questions are 'complicated' and not worthy of 'superficial answers,' he said."
The "path to peace" question is thorny, but the "right to exist"?
The Palestinians, in other words, are entitled to a homeland. Even Israel agrees on that principle. But CAIR finds it "complicated" that Jews are entitled to a homeland (in a land they have lived in for 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus, who was a Jew, born in a Jewish town)?
There are almost 50 majority-Islamic countries in the world.
There are more than 50 majority-Christian countries in the world.
There are more than 20 countries in the Arab world.
There is 1 Jewish-majority country.
And Bender finds it "complicated" to say Israel has the right to exist?
Dana's story notes that Bender was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and marched for civil rights. (So did I.)
Perhaps Bender is familiar with this Martin Luther King quote: "Israel's right to exist as a state in security is uncontestable." Or this one: "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking Anti-Semitism."
I'm not saying Bender is an anti-Semite.
I'm not saying if you criticize Israeli policies you're an anti-Semite.