Newspaper Archive of
Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
October 11, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
PAGE 4     (4 of 72 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 4     (4 of 72 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
October 11, 2013

Newspaper Archive of Heritage Florida Jewish News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

PAGE 4A i ADL at 100 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER 11, 2013 'Words of hate can easily turn into acts of hate,' says Foxman in new book on perils of lnternet. By Gary Rosenblatt Last Thursday, a 5-year-old British girl, April Jones, who had been raped and murdered, was buried in London after her funeral was televised nationally. She and another young girl were victims of men apparently addicted to online pornography. And although England, like the U.S., bans child pornography, Prime Minister David Cameron plans to take measures to further restrict pornography on the Internet, making Britain "the most family-friendly de- mocracy in the world," according to a member of his Conservative Party. Not surprisingly such moves are opposed by free speech advocates, renewing the debate between those who worry about the dangers of censorship and those who put societal safety at a premium--an often heated discussion that goes on in America as well, and in countries throughout the Western world. Now, in a timely, clear and pragmatic new book, "Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread On The Internet," Anti-Defamation League Na- tional Director Abraham Foxman and Chris- topher Wolf, a leader in the fields of privacy and Internet law, offer up a number of serious problems posed by the dark side of the Internet, and ways to counter them. Those problems include the proliferation of anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic websites, messages and sometimes direct threats, as well as the widespread use of child pornography, almost always under the cover of anonymity. "Words of hate can easily turn into acts of hate," Foxman and Wolf assert, citing the 2009 murder of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., at the hands of 88-year-old James von Brunn, who had an anti-Semitic website that praised Hitler and denied the Holocaust. On an international scale, one need only think back a year ago to the spread on the Internet of "The Innocence of Muslims," a crudely made 14-minute trailer highly critical of Islam and Muhammad that set off violent anti-Western riots in Egypt, Libya, Iran and Yemen. (It was rumored to have been made by an American Jew but was, in fact, the work of a California man of Egyptian Coptic origin.) Foxman and Wolf, who is national chair of the ADL's Civil Rights Committee and founder and co-chair of its Future of Privacy Forum think tank, explore the complexities of the case. They note that Google, the parent company of YouTube, where the anti-Muslim video was seen, resisted initial calls to remove it, citing its anti-censorship policy. But after the killings in Benghazi, Libya, of U.S. Am- bassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans at the time, Google pulled the video from its servers in several Muslim countries, Jihad without borders By Boaz Bismuth Terror has been rearing its ugly head throughout the world lately. In Kenya, a Somalia-based, al-Qaida-linked rebel group, al-Shabab, burst into Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall and murdered dozens of victims in cold blood. In Nigeria, at least 160 people were massacred in two attacks by the radical Islamist organization Boko Haram. In Pakistan, a terrorist blew himself up outside a church in the city of Peshawar, killing more than 80 members of Pakistan's Christian minority. In Israel, terror struck as well. Over the holiday of Sukkot, two soldiers paid with their lives. IDF Sgt. Gal (Gavriel) Kobi took a single lethal bullet to his neck in Hebron. Forty-eight hours earlier, Sgt. Tomer Hazan was murdered by his Palestinian host, NidalAmar. During the same week, Iran, a country that supports and finances terrorism, sent its president to the U.N. General Assembly as if he were a beacon of peace. The attack in Kenya should ring alarm bells for the world. Osama bin Laden may be dead, but al-Qaida and its satellite organizations are alive and kicking. There is something very symbolic about the fact that Kenya is once again the target of a terror attack. This captivating country, so beloved of tourists, was the target of an attack in 1998 that served as a harbinger of the global terrorism we have experienced since the twin towers attack on Sept. 11, 2001. The 1998 attack in Kenya was the first salvo in a global terror war that has been raging for more than a decade, a war that affects many countries, and creates strange alliances, even between countries that don't have diplomatic relations. On Aug. 7, 1998 at 10:40 a.m., a loud explo- sion was heard in central Nairobi coming from the direction of the U.S. Embassy. At almost the same time, a near identical explosion oc- curred near the U.S. Embassy in Dares Salaam, Tanzania. A total of 213 people were killed and 4,000 were injured in Nairobi on that day. The two truck-bomb explosions were the starting signal of al-Qaida's war on the West as a whole, and the U.S. in particular. Still, no one saw the (bloody) writing on the wall. In Europe, anyone speaking of global terrorism was considered paranoid. University students turned out theses on the theme of tolerance, merely repressing the danger. They explained that terrorism is the weapon of the weak, because what other choice do weak people have? No one believed that within a few years, those same jihadists would operate in Madrid, London and Toulouse. Six months earlier, in February 1998, bin Laden, from his lair inMghanistan, had declared the establishment of a World Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders. This was bin Laden's declaration of war against the infidels. Even before the 9/11 attack, al-Qaida began seducing jihadist organizations from Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh to join him. But nobody understood what was about to happen. The roots of terror Before the 9/11 attacks, al-Qaida had sent a clear signal in October 2000. Two terrorists in a small boat blew themselves up next to the USS Cole destroyer, anchored in Yemen. Analysts in the U.S. said at the time that the attack was in response to unrest in the Palestinian territories. The attack coincidedwith the start of the Second Intifada, and there were many Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists in Yemen at the time. U.S. President Bill Clinton even said on the morning of the attack, "If [the terrorists'] intention was to deter us from our mission of promoting peace and security in the Middle East, they will fail utterly." That statement proved inaccurate, to say the least. In 2008, Barack Obama entered the White House, with the promise of ending America's wars abroad. With a Nobel Prize in his pocket, he brought the troops home from Iraq and established a target date (2014) for ending the war in Afghanistan. In a speech to the nation last February, Obama even explained how America had overcome aI-Qaida, following Bismuth on page 15A THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT.   CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE   ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 43 Press Awards Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Kim Fischer Chris DeSouza HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- Society Editor Bookkeeping dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Gloria Yousha Paulette Alfonso Central Florida Jewish News, lnc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage Account Executives paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Contributing Columnists Fern Park, FL 32730. Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky David Bomstein Ed Ziegler MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Production Department Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 David Lehman Joyce Gore email: Elaine Schooping Gil Dombrosky explaining that "what's OK in one country can be offensive elsewhere." Foxman and Wolf describe various laws that apply when specific threats are made on the Internet but conclude that legal restrictions are not the answer. Not only because the authors are strong proponents of freedom of speech but because, as they note, "laws addressed at Internet hate are perhaps the least effec- tive way to deal with the problem." In part, they say, because such laws "create a sense of false security" and because of unintended consequences, like "the creation of 'martyrs' around whom hatemongers can rally when their ideas are legally stifled." Instead, the authors call on citizens like you and me to speak up and be proactive in the face of the lies, distortions and threats we come across on the Internet. They call such action "counter-speech" and say it should come in the form of truth in the face of untruths, with an emphasis on education and challenging and refuting false messages ofhate--"a far stronger tool than censorship or suppression." Now marking its centennial year, the ADL (formerly the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith) has come a long way since two Jewish lawyers in Chicago created an organization in 1913"tostop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all." But in an interview this week Foxman said the group's mission has always been "fight- ing prejudice," and that dealing with hate on the Internet is simply "a new dimension and platform" for the age-old battle. He said that "from the beginning," in the spirit of the Talmudic sage Hillel, the ADL has had two missions: to protect the rights of Jews and to protect the rights of others, and it still holds true today. (Itwas Hillelwho said, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But ifI am only for myself, who am I? And if not now, when?") "Everyone talks today of tikkun olam [the Jewish mission to repair the world], but a century ago," Foxman noted, ADL's founders Rosenblatt on page 15A I Letter from Israel I America, Obama and Islam I By Ira Sharkansky It's been almost 40 years since I moved from the U.S. to Israel. I still write about the country where I was born, had my formal education, and spent about one-third of my professional career. Internet friends, some of them not so friendly, attack me from both left and right, claiming that I do not understand their country. Although I am not current about many details, I look at a number of prominent US media each day, and I feel that enough remains from what I wrote and taught when I was in the middle of things American to be comfortable in writing about issues that I have followed closely. That means, among other items, policies likely to affect where I have spent two-thirds of my professional life. Barack Obama is now at the peak of things American. He isnot only the president, but also sym- bolizes much that has happened to the United States in its present era, which we can date from its serious turning toward civil rights in the mid-1960s. Obama benefited personally from civil rights and affirmative action, and was sent to the presidency with, arguably, less preparation and testing in politics and government than any of his predecessors. Also becoming popular in the 1960s was the term "imperial presidency." It referred to the pomp and ceremony that Richard Nixon sought to introduce, the considerable staff associated with the White House that has spilled over into other buildings, and the continued develop- ment of the country's global reach that came with World War II and what happened after. Barack Obama expresses in his own state- ments and actions themes ofpost-1960s politi- cal correctness and a reluctance about military power. In his efforts to pull out of Iraq, downsize in Afghanistan, stay out of Syria, timidity with respect to North Korea and Iran--even with an earlier escalation in Afghanistan, activity in Libya, and the continued targeted killings in several countries--he expresses what has been building in the U.S. since Vietnam with an acceleration after the second Bush's inva- sion and messy occupation of Iraq. Obama's unchallenged skill is as a com- municator, at least when standing in front of teleprompters. He also shows signs of consider- able intelligence. One does not have to agree with everything or anything, but he seems to be learning about the world. Pity that he did not know more before he reached the presidency. Critics wonder if has he learned enough since being there. No matter what he knows, he is at the head of institutions that pay great heed to presiden- tial decisions, as well as whatever hints can be perceived in what he says, the comments and actions of his aides, and interpretations from a large number of commentators. I may have missed something, but I credit him with avoiding recent expressions deny- ing the problem of Islam. If so, he has come a long way from that Cairo speech that some see as one of the triggers for Arab spring and its multiple disasters. To paraphrase Bill Clinton in his campaign against the first Bush, It is Islam, stupid. To be sure, one must be careful. Islam is a faith with competing doctrines and perspectives. In this--as well as in their range from those that are humane to those that are hateful of others--Islam resembles the doctrines of Judaism and Christianity. Moreover, the doctrines, per se, associated with its founders, are not solely responsible for the problems that Muslims present to the rest of us. Yet Islam is somewhere at the core of cultures that differ significantly from those now shared by the overwhelming majority of Jews and Christians. Islam and its cultures prevail throughout the Middle East, and are brought from there by migrants to Europe and America. Both Jews and Christians had their wars among competing clusters of believers. Yet the last wars among the Jews were those smashed by the Romans. Christians finished with their religious wars about 300 years ago. Muslims are still at it, most prominently in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Ye- men, Somalia, Sudan, and Egypt, along with various jihads directed against Jews, Chris- tians, and other Muslims that we lump under the label of terror by Islamic extremists. It is not only the renewed warfare in recent years between Shi'ites and Sunnis, but a confusing multitude of other conflicts coming from competing ethnic groups, extended families, clans or tribes, and rival movements that pursue their own political or religious goals. Recognizing all that should not lead us to overlook the realitY that most Muslims may be peace loving, and have no desire to join the fighters who are threatening them as well as others. Whatever Barack Obama has learned and however he has shifted during his presidency with respect to Islam, one issue that is es- pecially worrying is the prominence that he gives to Palestine. "America's diplomatic efforts will focus on two particular issues: Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Arab-Israeli conflict. While these issues are not the cause of all the region's problems, they have been a major source of instability for far too long, and resolving them can help serve as a foundation for a broader peace." Elevating his need to provide the Palestin- ians with a state to the equivalent of keeping Iran's mullah's from having nuclear weapons suggests that he may not have learned what is essential. One can hope for the best with respect to the talks between Israelis and Palestinians, but comments from the Palesfinian leadership-- including Mahmoud Abbas' recent speech at the UN General Assembly--suggest that they are no closer to accepting decent offers as the best achievable than in 2000 or 2008. Israeli settlements, the wall, and the prisoners that appear so prominently in the statements of Sharkansky on page 15A