Op-ed: Across the aisle on Bus 548

This op-ed is written in collaboration with a large group of students who participated in Tufts Birthright trips to Israel. We were deeply disturbed with the way that a recent op-ed, “Whose Birthright?” and the accompanying zine of the same title portrayed the nature of our trip and characterized us as participants.

Each of us had a unique experience, connecting with some parts more than others and finding different points of resonance, but overall we found this to be a multi-layered and dynamic experience, and one that was deeply important in each of our respective, Jewish journeys.

Perhaps the instance that best illustrates the nature of the Tufts Birthright Israel trip was, after a particularly long day spent traveling from Tzfat to Haifa to Tel Aviv, our conversation with Birthright Israel’s International Vice President of Education, Zohar Raviv. We were happy to get the chance to meet someone from the institutional side of Birthright Israel and address the organization’s larger agenda.

He started his talk by asserting that while many participants come on the trip hoping to return with their questions answered, this is not Birthright’s goal. He went on to say that the experience should cause us to ask more questions, complicate our positions, and bring us into a larger conversation. For me, this statement resonated. As Americans, I do not think it is our place to come up with the answers for Israelis and Palestinians. Growing up, however, many of us were taught that there is an inherent connection between Judaism and Israel. We came on Birthright because we felt that it was our responsibility to come to our own conclusions by experiencing Israel firsthand. This is exactly what I saw happening on my trip.

While our busy schedule prevented us from getting as deep into certain topics as some of us would have liked, many of us spoke with the Israelis on the bus and learned more about their diverse perspectives. In between sharing jokes and stories, some conversations inevitably moved into political discourse, but that is how we bonded. There were people on all ends of the political spectrum, but the time we spent getting to know each other and the friendships we formed ensured that we listened to one another and treated each other with respect. The trip continued this way. Our days were packed full with programming, some about the conflict and others not, and some that were not academic at all but served as a way to have fun and get to know each other and the land. We became a community and identified by our bus number, 548.

One of the last programs on the trip was a visit to Israel’s largest military cemetery: Mt. Herzl, in Jerusalem. We walked past the graves of fallen soldiers, most of whom were born in Israel, but some whom had come from all around the world to fight for a country they believed in. Some of our Israeli companions who felt comfortable shared stories of their own loved ones who died while serving in the army. Regardless of the political differences among us, in those moments ascending Mt. Herzl it felt like we were all there for one another to provide comfort and to show respect.

We moved on to the graves of the past Israeli prime ministers also buried at Mt. Herzl and saw Yitzhak Rabin’s grave, standing taller than the rest as a testament to the man who was assassinated for his faith in peace. We ascended to the top of the mountain to the grave of Theodor Herzl, a founder of modern Zionism. Here our tour guide explained that we will always have a home in Israel.

This sentiment felt like a strange one to share at a cemetery. Why would anyone want to ‘claim a birthright’ to a land with such a contentious history? I understood a deeper meaning to what our tour guide was saying. As Jews we will always be welcome in Israel, but it is not as easy as getting on the plane. To claim that one has a connection to Israel means accepting the inherent responsibilities and consequences that come with it. To each person that means something else. To the soldiers buried in the mountain we were standing on, it meant defending their country, their families and their people. To Rabin it meant working for peace at all costs. For many of us it started with a ten-day trip to Israel where we engaged in a deeper exploration of our Judaism and our connection to a global Jewish community.

Today, almost one year after my trip, I still feel the strong connection to Israel that I’ve always had. As for my fellow participants, some feel a connection they never had before while others left with more questions than answers. What is important is that all of these outcomes were formed through critical thought and discussion. I recognize that this trip was one step in a larger education. What I saw was a group of 48 Americans and Israelis excited to meet new people and learn from one another about both their shared peoplehood and their diverse backgrounds and experiences. Regardless of one’s politics, to paint us collectively as shallow and thoughtless is not only disrespectful but far from the truth. As American Jews we found our Birthright experience to be a valuable beginning on continuing our journey to discover our identity. We acknowledge the existence of Palestinian narratives and connection to the land. However, those narratives do not negate ours just as our narratives should not exclude the possibility for peace and co-existence.

Attached to this op-ed are collected statements from other Birthright participants on bus 548 and other Tufts trips.

Editor’s note: If you would like to send your response or make an Op-Ed contribution to the Opinion section, please email us at tuftsdailyoped@gmail.com. The Opinion section looks forward to hearing from you.

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29 Responses

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  1. mxm123
    May 04, 2016 - 08:20 AM

    This sounds similar to a guided tour of Korean culture by Kim Jong Un. The grand objective of Birthright/Brainwashing by Billionaires is to host this FREE trip to a supposed Israeli fairyland. A fairyland built on ongoing apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

    To cover for their knowledge of Palestinian oppression and how its conveniently sidestepped in this propaganda adventure, they use phrases like:

    ” organization’s larger agenda.” – Well its propaganda folks, pure and simple. You on your supposed fairy tale adventure know fully well this trip is funded by a bunch of billionaires, some of whom have publicly stated their intentions towards Palestinians. So why this grand sophistry ? Its plain dishonesty. And you know it.

    ” political discourse, ….we listened to one another and treated each other with respect.” – Suuuuuuure !!!!. Knowing fully well you were preselected by the Birthright/Brainwashing folks, everyone knows how that went. An entire trip that sidesteps the oppression of Palestinians while everyone plays pretend “inner discovery” or whatever.

    ” Our days were packed full with programming, ” – Not one of which i’m sure discusses or points to the ethnic cleansing. Cause any honest discussion would point to the collaboration between your corrupt billionaire sponsors and their funding of such ethnic cleansing.

    ” outcomes were formed through critical thought and discussion” – What baloney. In an age where the average Jewish Rabbi has to mask his thoughts about Israel in your local synagogue (Pew Poll ???), why this grand pretend.

    Your billionaire sponsors are the very funders of Israeli apartheid. And each one of you, despite how you wish to whitewash it willingly accepted their dirty money to go on this trip. And you know it. Quit pretending. You can’t take dirty money and then pretend otherwise.

    When history is written, each one of you will be counted as enablers of apartheid. Sad but true.

    • Arafat
      May 04, 2016 - 01:34 PM

      Demonization of Israel, holding it to double standards not used against any other country, including the worst dictatorships, falls under the definition of anti-Semitism by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia and the U.S. Department of State. Here is a simple example: the “left” repeatedly calls for boycotts of Israel because it is, they claim, “an apartheid state.” One might weep. Israel is so totally free of apartheid that anyone who has spent ten minutes there knows the accusation to be an outright lie. So why keep on saying something untrue? That is anti-Semitism.

    • Arafat
      May 04, 2016 - 01:58 PM

      While millions of people worldwide are suffering real and extreme persecution at the hands of Islamists, it is Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy — where no one is above the law, where citizens all have equal rights and no one is murdered for expressing his political views — that is targeted and bullied by these so-called “human rights activists” and academics. Deaf and blind to the real sufferers all around the world, these Jew-haters seem in reality just brainwashed, misinformed neo-anti-Semites.

    • Arafat
      May 04, 2016 - 01:59 PM

      mxm,

      You would have made an excellent collaborator with the Nazi “master race”.

      • tigger
        May 06, 2016 - 05:59 AM

        What! Like the Zionists who collaborated with Hitler? (See http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0008_0_08075.html )
        Or perhaps you’re confusing mxm with the group of Zionists who undertook their military training with Mussolini? ( Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, chapter 4 )

        • Arafat
          May 06, 2016 - 07:46 AM

          Islam is indeed a crime against humanity, and its first victims are Muslims.
          I think that is why Muslims are so quick and ready to assume victimhood. On a
          subconscious level, they feel victimized, but in their search for the cause of
          their discomfort they incorrectly identify colonialism, crusades, Jews, racism,
          and so forth as the cause.

          For a Muslim to face up to the reality of Islam and to admit to oneself that
          Islam is the problem means to lose one’s identity. Hence the cognitive
          dissonance Muslims experience when Islam is called into question. Hence the
          scrambling for excuses and explanations that can convince the Muslims
          themselves that Islam is not the problem. And the explanations tend to be
          colonialism, crusades, Jews, racism, and so forth.

          When cultural Muslims refer to spurious arguments by Islamic apologists as a
          counterargument to brush aside direct quotes from the Qur’an and the hadiths,
          it is not that they are deliberately trying to deceive the non-Muslims. They
          are desperately clinging to the hope that Islam is not the problem. When they
          repeat the talking points of Islamic apologists explaining how Islam is a
          religion of peace, their primary aim is to convince (delude) themselves and
          make the cognitive dissonance go away at least momentarily, which then removes
          the immediate threat to their identity and postpones the inevitable
          confrontation.

          • tigger
            May 06, 2016 - 06:33 PM

            My posting was about Zionists, not Muslims. I notice you haven’t answered my question.
            Would you like some on-line comprehension lessons? My rates are very reasonable.

          • Arafat
            May 06, 2016 - 07:18 PM

            As long as the Muslim population remains around 1% of any given country they
            will be regarded as a peace-loving minority and not as a threat to anyone. In
            fact, they may be featured in articles and films, stereotyped for their
            colorful uniqueness:

            United States — Muslim 1.0%

            Australia — Muslim 1.5%

            Canada — Muslim 1.9%

            China — Muslim 1%-2%

            Italy — Muslim 1.5%

            Norway — Muslim 1.8%

            At 2% and 3% they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and
            disaffected groups with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs:

            Denmark — Muslim 2%

            Germany — Muslim 3.7%

            United Kingdom — Muslim 2.7%

            Spain — Muslim 4%

            Thailand — Muslim 4.6%

            From 5% on they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their
            percentage of the population. They will push for the introduction of halal
            (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for
            Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature it on
            their shelves — along with threats for failure to comply.

            France — Muslim 8%

            Philippines — Muslim 5%

            Sweden — Muslim 5%

            Switzerland — Muslim 4.3%

            The Netherlands — Muslim 5.5%

            Trinidad & Tobago — Muslim 5.8%

            At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to
            rule themselves under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islam is
            not to convert the world but to establish Sharia law over the entire world.

            When Muslims reach 10% of the population, they will increase lawlessness as
            a means of complaint about their conditions (Paris — car burnings, etc.). Any
            non-Muslim action that offends Islam will result in uprisings and threats
            (Amsterdam — Mohammed cartoons).

            Guyana — Muslim 10%

            India — Muslim 13.4%

            Israel — Muslim 16%

            Kenya — Muslim 10%

            Russia — Muslim 10-15%

            After reaching 20% expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations,
            sporadic killings and church and synagogue burning:

            Ethiopia — Muslim 32.8%

            At 40% you will find widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks and ongoing
            militia warfare:

            Bosnia — Muslim 40%

            Chad — Muslim 53.1%

            Lebanon — Muslim 59.7%

            From 60% you may expect unfettered persecution of non-believers and other
            religions, sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon
            and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels:

            Albania — Muslim 70%

            Malaysia — Muslim 60.4%

            Qatar — Muslim 77.5%

            Sudan — Muslim 70%

            After 80% expect State run ethnic cleansing and genocide:

            Bangladesh — Muslim 83%

            Egypt — Muslim 90%

            Gaza — Muslim 98.7%

            Indonesia — Muslim 86.1%

            Iran — Muslim 98%

            Iraq — Muslim 97%

            Jordan — Muslim 92%

            Morocco — Muslim 98.7%

            Pakistan — Muslim 97%

            Syria — Muslim 90%

            Tajikistan — Muslim 90%

            Turkey — Muslim 99.8%

            United Arab Emirates — Muslim 96%

            100% will usher in the peace of “Dar-es-Salaam” — the Islamic House of Peace
            — there’s supposed to be peace because everybody is a Muslim:

            Afghanistan — Muslim 100%

            Saudi Arabia — Muslim 100%

            Somalia — Muslim 100%

            Yemen — Muslim 99.9%

            Of course, that’s not the case. To satisfy their blood lust, Muslims then
            start killing each other for a variety of reasons.

          • tigger
            May 07, 2016 - 03:21 AM

            You STILL haven’t answered my question.
            Is it because you don’t know the answer, or because there is NO defence possible.

            So I’ll ask again … Would you like some on-line comprehension lessons? My rates are very reasonable.

          • Arafat
            May 07, 2016 - 12:14 PM

            As Nikolai Sennels said, a Muslim never sees himself as the
            cause of his own actions. It is all external reality and everything is the will
            of Allah or the fault of the Big Bad Infidel. Hence the eternal victimhood
            status, the rage, the search for external culprits, hence the jihad. You can’t
            expect anything else from people who are incapable of taking a long hard look
            at themselves and who have been told since the cradle that this look is only
            reserved for the infidels.

          • tigger
            May 07, 2016 - 05:01 PM

            Ok – I get it. You don’t have an answer..But your non-answer speaks volumes. To others, that is.
            Though I’m not sure hasbara will pay you for such ineptitude.
            You’ll have to undergo extra training, and that’s bound to take up your precious study time.
            Which you so very obviously need if you’re to get better than an E grade.

          • Arafat
            May 08, 2016 - 10:25 AM

            The only way we can change this insane Islamic dynamic is by
            educating all people about Islam.

            Sadly our academicians, political leaders,
            main-stream-media, and the leftists all feed us lies and half-truths about
            Islam because it is not PC to speak the truth.

            And the truth is (and this comes from Muslim holy books, not
            from me) is that Mohammed was a sexual predator. He pillaged his way to great
            wealth. He murdered, or had his followers murder for him, he enslaved, his
            thirst for power was never satiated.

            If we quit pretending he is a prophet like Buddha, the Hindu
            Gods, Moses or Jesus then we are moving in the right direction. If we inform
            instead of misinform then we are moving in the right direction. AND if we
            insist Muslims also hear the truth AND create an environment where they can
            feel safe, instead of threatened, by leaving their supremacist religion then we
            are making progress.

            It is long past time we quit pretending Islam is like
            atheism, Christianity or any other ism other than Stalinism, Nazism and the
            like. As awful as it sounds – in today’s PC world – to write this it is
            nevertheless true. Islam has spread through brute force and it is doing the
            same thing today. Sudan’s been
            devastated, Mali is being devastated, Somalia is a violent anarchist state,
            Nigeria is succumbing to Islamic terrorism.

            For all our good – Muslims too – it is long past time we
            started being honest about Islam, learn about its prophet, and then we can
            begin to have an intelligent discussion about what to do.

          • tigger
            May 09, 2016 - 08:34 AM

            My dear child, before you start making assumptions about any religion it’s wise to go to the source material, not what others have said about it.
            It would also be helpful if you studied your own religion and back history. Yes, even – or perhaps especially – if you’re an atheist.
            THEN we might be able to have an intelligent discussion. (Shall I come back here in about 10 years or so?)

          • Arafat
            May 09, 2016 - 08:40 AM

            Does the Quran really contain over a hundred verses promoting violence?

            The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

            Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by historical context contained in the surrounding text (although many Muslims choose to think of them that way). They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subject to interpretation as anything else in the Quran.

            The context of violent passages is more ambiguous than might be expected of a perfect book from a loving God. Most contemporary Muslims exercise a personal choice to interpret their holy book’s call to arms according to their own moral preconceptions about justifiable violence. Their apologists cater to these preferences with tenuous arguments that gloss over historical fact and generally do not stand up to scrutiny. Still, it is important to note that the problem is not bad people, but bad ideology.

            Unfortunately, there are very few verses of tolerance and peace to balance out the many that call for nonbelievers to be fought and subdued until they either accept humiliation, convert to Islam, or are killed. Muhammad’s own martial legacy, along with the remarkable stress on violence found in the Quran, have produced a trail of blood and tears across world history.
            QuranQuran (2:191-193) – “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing…
            but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun(the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)” (Translation is from the Noble Quran) The verse prior to this (190) refers to “fighting for the cause of Allah those who fight you” leading some to believe that the entire passage refers to a defensive war in which Muslims are defending their homes and families. The historical context of this passage is not defensive warfare, however, since Muhammad and his Muslims had just relocated to Medina and were not under attack by their Meccan adversaries. In fact, the verses urge offensive warfare, in that Muslims are to drive Meccans out of their own city (which they later did). Verse 190 thus means to fight those who offer resistance to Allah’s rule (ie. Muslim conquest). The use of the word “persecution” by some Muslim translators is disingenuous (the actual Arabic words for persecution – “idtihad” – and oppression – a variation of “z-l-m” – do not appear in the verse). The word used instead, “fitna”, can mean disbelief, or the disorder that results from unbelief or temptation. This is certainly what is meant in this context since the violence is explicitly commissioned “until religion is for Allah” – ie. unbelievers desist in their unbelief.

            Quran (2:244) – “Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things.”

            Quran (2:216) – “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.” Not only does this verse establish that violence can be virtuous, but it also contradicts the myth that fighting is intended only in self-defense, since the audience was obviously not under attack at the time. From the Hadith, we know that this verse was narrated at a time that Muhammad was actually trying to motivate his people into raiding merchant caravans for loot.

            Quran (3:56) – “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”

            Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”. This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (ie. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be ‘joining companions to Allah’).

            Quran (4:74) – “Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.” The martyrs of Islam are unlike the early Christians, who were led meekly to the slaughter. These Muslims are killed in battle as they attempt to inflict death and destruction for the cause of Allah. This is the theological basis for today’s suicide bombers.

            Quran (4:76) – “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…”

            Quran (4:89) – “They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.”

            Quran (4:95) – “Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame, etc.), and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home).Unto each, Allah has promised good (Paradise), but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home) by a huge reward ” This passage criticizes “peaceful” Muslims who do not join in the violence, letting them know that they are less worthy in Allah’s eyes. It also demolishes the modern myth that “Jihad” doesn’t mean holy war in the Quran, but rather a spiritual struggle. Not only is this Arabic word (mujahiduna) used in this passage, but it is clearly not referring to anything spiritual, since the physically disabled are given exemption. (The Hadith reveals the context of the passage to be in response to a blind man’s protest that he is unable to engage in Jihad, which would not make sense if it meant an internal struggle).

            Quran (4:104) – “And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…” Is pursuing an injured and retreating enemy really an act of self-defense?

          • Arafat
            May 09, 2016 - 08:41 AM

            Quran (5:33) – “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”

            Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.

            Quran (8:15) – “O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end.”

            Quran (8:39) – “And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion is all for Allah” Some translations interpret “fitna” as “persecution”, but the traditional understanding of this word is not supported by the historical context (See notes for 2:193). The Meccans were simply refusing Muhammad access to their city during Haj. Other Muslims were allowed to travel there – just not as an armed group, since Muhammad had declared war on Mecca prior to his eviction. The Meccans were also acting in defense of their religion, since it was Muhammad’s intention to destroy their idols and establish Islam by force (which he later did). Hence the critical part of this verse is to fight until “religion is only for Allah”, meaning that the true justification of violence was the unbelief of the opposition. According to the Sira (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 324) Muhammad further explains that “Allah must have no rivals.”

            Quran (8:57) – “If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember.”

            Quran (8:67) – “It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land…”

            Quran (8:59-60) – “And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah’s Purpose). Lo! they cannot escape. Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy.”

            Quran (8:65) – “O Prophet, exhort the believers to fight…”

            Quran (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.”According to this verse, the best way of staying safe from Muslim violence is to convert to Islam (prayer (salat) and the poor tax (zakat) are among the religion’s Five Pillars). This popular claim that the Quran only inspires violence within the context of self-defense is seriously challenged by this passage as well, since the Muslims to whom it was written were obviously not under attack. Had they been, then there would have been no waiting period (earlier verses make it a duty for Muslims to fight in self-defense, even during the sacred months). The historical context is Meccaafter the idolaters were subjugated by Muhammad and posed no threat. Once the Muslims had power, they violently evicted those unbelievers who would not convert.

            Quran (9:14) – “Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people.” Humiliating and hurting non-believers not only has the blessing of Allah, but it is ordered as a means of carrying out his punishment and even “healing” the hearts of Muslims.

            Quran (9:20) – “Those who believe, and have left their homes and striven with their wealth and their lives in Allah’s way are of much greater worth in Allah’s sight. These are they who are triumphant.” The Arabic word interpreted as “striving” in this verse is the same root as “Jihad”. The context is obviously holy war.

            Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” “People of the Book” refers to Christians and Jews. According to this verse, they are to be violently subjugated, with the sole justification being their religious status. Verse 9:33 tells Muslims that Allah has charted them to make Islam “superior over all religions.”This chapter was one of the final “revelations” from Allah and it set in motion the tenacious military expansion, in which Muhammad’s companions managed to conquer two-thirds of the Christian world in the next 100 years. Islam is intended to dominate all other people and faiths.

            Quran (9:30) – “And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!”

            Quran (9:38-39) – “O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place.” This is a warning to those who refuse to fight, that they will be punished with Hell.

          • Arafat
            May 09, 2016 - 08:41 AM

            Quran (9:41) – “Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew.” See also the verse that follows (9:42) – “If there had been immediate gain (in sight), and the journey easy, they would (all) without doubt have followed thee, but the distance was long, (and weighed) on them” This contradicts the myth that Muslims are to fight only in self-defense, since the wording implies that battle will be waged a long distance from home (in another country and on Christian soil, in this case, according to the historians).

            Quran (9:73) – “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.” Dehumanizing those who reject Islam, by reminding Muslims that unbelievers are merely firewood for Hell, makes it easier to justify slaughter. It also explains why today’s devout Muslims have little regard for those outside the faith.

            Quran (9:88) – “But the Messenger, and those who believe with him, strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper.”

            Quran (9:111) – “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” How does the Quran define a true believer?

            Quran (9:123) – “O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.”

            Quran (17:16) – “And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction.” Note that the crime is moral transgression, and the punishment is “utter destruction.” (Before ordering the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden first issued Americans an invitation to Islam).

            Quran (18:65-81) – This parable lays the theological groundwork for honor killings, in which a family member is murdered because they brought shame to the family, either through apostasy or perceived moral indiscretion. The story (which is not found in any Jewish or Christian source) tells of Moses encountering a man with “special knowledge” who does things which don’t seem to make sense on the surface, but are then justified according to later explanation. One such action is to murder a youth for no apparent reason (74). However, the wise man later explains that it was feared that the boy would “grieve” his parents by “disobedience and ingratitude.” He was killed so that Allah could provide them a ‘better’ son. [Note: This parable along with verse58:22 is a major reason that honor killing is sanctioned by Sharia. Reliance of the Traveler (Umdat al-Saliq) says that punishment for murder is not applicable when a parent or grandparent kills their offspring (o.1.12).]

            Quran (21:44) – “We gave the good things of this life to these men and their fathers until the period grew long for them; See they not that We gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders? Is it then they who will win?”

            Quran (25:52) – “Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness…” “Strive against” is Jihad – obviously not in the personal context. It’s also significant to point out that this is a Meccan verse.

            Quran (33:60-62) – “If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and the alarmists in the city do not cease, We verily shall urge thee on against them, then they will be your neighbors in it but a little while. Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.” This passage sanctions the slaughter (rendered “merciless” and “horrible murder” in other translations) against three groups: Hypocrites (Muslims who refuse to “fight in the way of Allah” (3:167) and hence don’t act as Muslims should), those with “diseased hearts” (which include Jews and Christians 5:51-52), and “alarmists” or “agitators who include those who merely speak out against Islam, according to Muhammad’s biographers. It is worth noting that the victims are to be sought out by Muslims, which is what today’s terrorists do. If this passage is meant merely to apply to the city of Medina, then it is unclear why it is included in Allah’s eternal word to Muslim generations.

            Quran (47:3-4) – “Those who disbelieve follow falsehood, while those who believe follow the truth from their Lord… So, when you meet (in fight Jihad in Allah’s Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives)… If it had been Allah’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost.” Those who reject Allah are to be killed in Jihad. The wounded are to be held captive for ransom. The only reason Allah doesn’t do the dirty work himself is to to test the faithfulness of Muslims. Those who kill pass the test.

            Quran (47:35) – “Be not weary and faint-hearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost(Shakir: “have the upper hand”) for Allah is with you,”

            Quran (48:17) – “There is no blame for the blind, nor is there blame for the lame, nor is there blame for the sick (that they go not forth to war). And whoso obeyeth Allah and His messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow; and whoso turneth back, him will He punish with a painful doom.” Contemporary apologists sometimes claim that Jihad means ‘spiritual struggle.’ Is so, then why are the blind, lame and sick exempted? This verse also says that those who do not fight will suffer torment in hell.

            Quran (48:29) – “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves” Islam is not about treating everyone equally. This verse tells Muslims that there are two very distinct standards that are applied based on religious status. Also the word used for ‘hard’ or ‘ruthless’ in this verse shares the same root as the word translated as ‘painful’ or severe’ to describe Hell in over 25 other verses including65:10, 40:46 and 50:26..

            Quran (61:4) – “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His cause” Religion of Peace, indeed! The verse explicitly refers to “rows” or “battle array,” meaning that it is speaking of physical conflict. This is followed by (61:9), which defines the “cause”: “He it is who has sent His Messenger (Mohammed) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam) to make it victorious over all religions even though the infidels may resist.” (See next verse, below). Infidels who resist Islamic rule are to be fought.

            Quran (61:10-12) – “O You who believe! Shall I guide you to a commerce that will save you from a painful torment. That you believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), and that you strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives, that will be better for you, if you but know! (If you do so) He will forgive you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow, and pleasant dwelling in Gardens of’Adn- Eternity [‘Adn(Edn) Paradise], that is indeed the great success.” This verse refers to physical battle in order to make Islam victorious over other religions (see verse 9). It uses the Arabic root for the word Jihad.

            Quran (66:9) – “O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey’s end.” The root word of “Jihad” is used again here. The context is clearly holy war, and the scope of violence is broadened to include “hypocrites” – those who call themselves Muslims but do not act as such. Other verses calling Muslims to Jihad can be found here at AnsweringIslam.org

          • Arafat
            May 09, 2016 - 08:41 AM

            Hadith and Sira
            Sahih Bukhari (52:177) – Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”

            Sahih Bukhari (52:256) – The Prophet… was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, “They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans).” In this command, Muhammad establishes that it is permissible to kill non-combatants in the process of killing a perceived enemy. This provides justification for the many Islamic terror bombings.

            Sahih Bukhari (52:65) – The Prophet said, ‘He who fights that Allah’s Word (Islam) should be superior, fights in Allah’s Cause. Muhammad’s words are the basis for offensive Jihad – spreading Islam by force. This is how it was understood by his companions, and by the terrorists of today. (See also Sahih Bukhari 3:125)

            Sahih Bukhari (52:220) – Allah’s Apostle said… ‘I have been made victorious with terror’

            Abu Dawud (14:2526) – The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Three things are the roots of faith: to refrain from (killing) a person who utters, “There is no god but Allah” and not to declare him unbeliever whatever sin he commits, and not to excommunicate him from Islam for his any action; and jihad will be performed continuously since the day Allah sent me as a prophet until the day the last member of my community will fight with the Dajjal (Antichrist)

            Abu Dawud (14:2527) – The Prophet said: Striving in the path of Allah (jihad) is incumbent on you along with every ruler, whether he is pious or impious

            Muslim (1:33) – the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah

            Bukhari (8:387) – Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’. And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally.”

            Muslim (1:30) – “The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah.”

            Bukhari (52:73) – “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords’.”

            Bukhari (11:626) – [Muhammad said:] “I decided to order a man to lead the prayer and then take a flame to burn all those, who had not left their houses for the prayer, burning them alive inside their homes.”

            Muslim (1:149) – “Abu Dharr reported: I said: Messenger of Allah, which of the deeds is the best? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Belief in Allah and Jihad in His cause…”

            Muslim (20:4645) – “…He (the Messenger of Allah) did that and said: There is another act which elevates the position of a man in Paradise to a grade one hundred (higher), and the elevation between one grade and the other is equal to the height of the heaven from the earth. He (Abu Sa’id) said: What is that act? He replied: Jihad in the way of Allah! Jihad in the way of Allah!”

            Muslim (20:4696) – “the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: ‘One who died but did not fight in the way of Allah nor did he express any desire (or determination) for Jihad died the death of a hypocrite.'”

            Muslim (19:4321-4323) – Three separate hadith in which Muhammad shrugs over the news that innocent children were killed in a raid by his men against unbelievers. His response: “They are of them (meaning the enemy).”

            Muslim (19:4294) – “When the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) appointed anyone as leader of an army or detachment he would especially exhort him… He would say: Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war… When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them… If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”

            Muslim (31:5917) – “Ali went a bit and then halted and did not look about and then said in a loud voice: ‘Allah’s Messenger, on what issue should I fight with the people?’ Thereupon he (the Prophet) said: ‘Fight with them until they bear testimony to the fact that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger’.” The pretext for attacking the peaceful farming community of Khaibar was not obvious to the Muslims. Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali asked the prophet of Islam to clarify the reason for their mission to kill, loot and enslave. Muhammad’s reply was straightforward. The people should be fought because they are not Muslim.

            Muslim (31:5918) – “I will fight them until they are like us.” Ali’s reply to Muhammad, after receiving clarification that the pretext for attack Khaibar was to convert the people (see above verse).

            Bukhari 1:35 “The person who participates in (Holy Battles) in Allah’s cause and nothing compels him do so except belief in Allah and His Apostle, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty ( if he survives) or will be admitted to Paradise ( if he is killed).”

            Tabari 7:97 The morning after the murder of Ashraf, the Prophet declared, “Kill any Jew who falls under your power.” Ashraf was a poet, killed by Muhammad’s men because he insulted Islam. Here, Muhammad widens the scope of his orders to kill. An innocent Jewish businessman was then slain by his Muslim partner, merely for being non-Muslim.

            Tabari 9:69 “Killing Unbelievers is a small matter to us” The words of Muhammad, prophet of Islam.

            Tabari 17:187 “‘By God, our religion (din) from which we have departed is better and more correct than that which these people follow. Their religion does not stop them from shedding blood, terrifying the roads, and seizing properties.’ And they returned to their former religion.” The words of a group of Christians who had converted to Islam, but realized their error after being shocked by the violence and looting committed in the name of Allah. The price of their decision to return to a religion of peace was that the men were beheaded and the woman and children enslaved by the caliph Ali.

            Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 484: – “Allah said, ‘A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. Muhammad, you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But Allah desires killing them to manifest the religion.’”

            Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 990:- Lest anyone think that cutting off someone’s head while screaming ‘Allah Akbar!’ is a modern creation, here is an account of that very practice under Muhammad, who seems to approve.

            Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 992: – “Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah.” Muhammad’s instructions to his men prior to a military raid.

            Saifur Rahman, The Sealed Nectar p.227-228 – “Embrace Islam… If you two accept Islam, you will remain in command of your country; but if your refuse my Call, you’ve got to remember that all of your possessions are perishable. My horsemen will appropriate your land, and my Prophethood will assume preponderance over your kingship.” One of several letters from Muhammad to rulers of other countries. The significance is that the recipients were not making war or threatening Muslims. Their subsequent defeat and subjugation by Muhammad’s armies was justified merely on the basis of their unbelief.

          • tigger
            May 11, 2016 - 03:14 AM

            Sweetheart, anyone can cherry-pick. I’m not going to waste my time on internet cut-and-pastes from ignorant sites.
            Isn’t it said that a single instance proven untrue invalidates the argument? That being so, I refer you to your first quotation. Quaran 2.191. To give it context, let us look at the verse immediately before that:
            2.190. Fight against those who fight against you in the way of Allah, but do not transgress, for Allah does not love transgressors.
            I hope that clears things up for you. If you want the context of all your other cut-and-paste verses I recommend you buy – and read – a copy of the Quran. You might be surprised.

    • Zev_disqus
      May 05, 2016 - 03:32 PM

      Nothing but talking points here.
      Yawn…

    • M2000
      May 06, 2016 - 07:24 PM

      Like Hamas and Fatah teaching kids to stab Israeli Jews?

  2. Arafat
    May 04, 2016 - 01:34 PM

    While Israelis laud their scientists, their artists, their doctors and multiple Nobel Prize nominees and recipients, Palestinians have a long and ignominious tradition of extolling the virtues of those who commit mass murder, slaughter innocents on buses and hijack commercial airliners. Public squares and streets are named after them and their children are taught to emulate them. The contrast between Israeli and Palestinian society could not be starker. One society celebrates and encourages progress and life while the other has morphed itself into a death cult, steeped in perverted traits that are an anathema to Western civilization.

    • John
      May 26, 2016 - 05:25 AM

      What could possibly compel you to make such an uneducated generalization? For you to call an entire society a “death cult” is grossly misinformed and, quite frankly, a very bigoted thing of you to say.

      There is clear evidence that Palestinians have been forcibly and violently displaced from their homes. Palestinian society has been reduced and its progress has been hindered BECAUSE of Israel.

      I hope that you can one day recognize your own ignorance and come to realize that Israel has been preventing any sort of peace from occurring. I wouldn’t even call Israel a society that “celebrates and encourages progress” when it clearly does not support peace and instead promotes violence and inequality.

      Yes, inequality. Jews and Muslims in Israel are subject to different laws and are treated differently by the government. This is literally apartheid.

      Palestinian society has been demolished at the hands of Israel. If anyone is committing mass murder, it’s the Israelis.

      You can brag about the Nobel Prize nominees all you want – but that does not excuse the gross humanitarian injustices that Israel has committed.

      • Arafat
        May 26, 2016 - 08:02 AM

        You know, John, Goebbels said that if you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it’s true. He was speaking of you when he said that.

        • Arafat
          May 26, 2016 - 08:13 AM

          Oh, and John, could you tell me about one single Israeli law that discriminates against Palestinians? Please use source material (you know, like Israel’s Constitution or Israel’s version of congressional laws) to prove your Goebbels’ like claims.

          • John
            May 26, 2016 - 03:00 PM

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_Israel

            http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/28/opinion/rula-jebreal-minority-life-in-israel.html

            http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.550152

            Are you familiar with the Deir Yassin massacre? This was one of many systematic killings of Arabs by Israeli forces. Zionist paramilitary groups effectively destroyed an entire Palestinian village. You should read about it.

            To accuse me of lying but not provide substantial refutation is rather immature on your part. I feel incredibly sorry for you and your inability to engage in actual debate. Rather, you seem to enjoy simply reveling in your bigotry and ignorance. I don’t have the patience for this, so I will not be continuing this discussion.

            Oh, and, by the way, comparing me to a Nazi propagandist is incredibly rude. You could take a lesson in maturity. Otherwise, you will never be able to engage in civil discourse.

          • Arafat
            May 27, 2016 - 11:36 AM

            You’re pathetic. The Deir Yassin massacre occurred in 1948. News reports differ on what happened but putting it in context it occurred during Israel’s war of independence. Even if what happened at Deir Yassin is true how does what happened there compare with what is happening today in Syria? Or how does it compare to what Muslims are doing to little girls in Nigeria today, or to the one million killed in the Iran/Iraq War? Why do you ignore these far greater horrors and only focus on an unsubstantiated claims against Israel from 1948?

          • mxm123
            Jun 05, 2016 - 05:41 PM

            Or what Israeli settlers do to Innocent Palestinians today.

          • Arafat
            May 27, 2016 - 11:39 AM

            Your linked articles do not point to one single law within Israel that treats non-Jews differently than Jews. Your linked articles are nothing more than opinion pieces written by people who have historically shown prejudice against the state of Israel and her people. The fact that one of your linked articles is from the far-left Israeli newspaper (Haaretz) tells us that freedom of speech and of the press is legally protected in Israel as opposed to every Muslim country in the world where it is illegal for the press or for the individual to openly criticize Islam, Mohammed or their corrupt leaders.

          • mxm123
            Jun 05, 2016 - 05:43 PM

            More baloney from cut and paste bigot Ari. Israeli immigration laws are both racist and discriminatory, but don’t tell that to this bigot.

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