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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 15, 2010 / 7 Tishrei, 5771

Lessons of the Koran's non-burning

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Terry Jones' 15 minutes of fame have run out, the foreign media have left Gainesville, and we aren't likely to hear much more about the fringe Florida preacher and his abandoned plan to burn copies of the Koran on Sept. 11. But even as Jones and his non-bonfire recede in the rear-view mirror, there are some lessons worth taking away from the whole episode. Here are three:

1. While it's fashionable in some precincts to smear Americans as a nation of Islamophobes whose bigotry plays into the hands of extremists, the reverse is closer to the truth. A nation of Islamophobes would have rallied around Jones and his benighted band, but Americans of every stripe condemned them. Jones's proposed "stunt," President Obama said in a TV interview, is "completely contrary to our values." Attorney General Eric Holder called it "idiotic and dangerous." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed it as "outrageous and . . . disgraceful."

The administration's denunciations were echoed across the political and social spectrum -- by Sarah Palin and Franklin Graham, by Angelina Jolie and Glenn Beck, by the National Council of Churches, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and the National Association of Evangelicals. The mayor of Gainesville called Jones's group "an embarrassment to the community." There was criticism from Florida's Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates and from dozens of members of Congress. The conservative Manchester Union Leader labeled the Koran-burning idea "deadly stupid." The liberal Los Angeles Times implored: "Don't fan the flames."

Americans hear frequently that they are a people hopelessly and endlessly divided, arguing with each other across gaping political and cultural chasms. But they weren't divided on this. If Jones accomplished nothing else, he has reminded us that there are still some issues on which nearly all Americans agree.

2. You don't have to admire Islam or revere the Koran to have regarded Jones's talk of book-burning as barbaric. "Where they burn books," the German poet and playwright Heinrich Heine wrote in 1821, "they will ultimately burn people also." Heine's works were among the tens of thousands of books torched in public bonfires by the Nazis after their accession to power in 1933 -- and Hitler and his followers did indeed "ultimately burn people also."

This is not to say that everyone who burns a book eventually sheds blood. But the depravity of book-burning inescapably suggests more deadly evils. The brutal lust to suppress, the hatred of free thought and expression, the manic determination to physically annihilate disfavored ideas rather than challenge them intellectually -- from these to the destruction of human beings is no very great leap. Only the imbecilic preach, like Jones, that "Islam is of the devil" (he says the same, incidentally, about Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism). Setting books on fire, however, really is diabolical.

He must be resisted, not appeased.

3. In the effort to get Jones to back down, great stress was laid on the danger of a backlash by Muslim fanatics. General David Petraeus warned that "images of the burning of a Koran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan . . . to inflame public opinion and incite violence." Defense Secretary Robert Gates phoned Jones to express "grave concern" that a Koran-burning could put American personnel at risk. The president himself called it "a way of endangering our troops -- our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives who are sacrificing for us to keep us safe."

But since when do US officials tell Americans or anyone else not to do something because unhinged radicals won't like it? Jihadist violence was erupting long before Jones appeared on the scene. There is no end to the pretexts used by Islamist extremists "to inflame public opinion and incite violence." Danish cartoons, Iraqi elections, a papal lecture, a beauty pageant, even a teddy bear named "Muhammad" -- Muslim militants have raged, sometimes lethally, against them all. Osama bin Laden did not declare war on the United States because of a publicity-seeker's antics in Florida.

Jones's threat to burn the Koran was ugly and offensive. It deserved to be reviled as an affront to civility, to American values, and to the millions of good Muslims who stand with us in the war against the radicals. But it is never right for the president or his aides to pressure US citizens into silencing themselves or stifling their liberties in order to conciliate violent zealots. If the years since 9/11 have taught us anything, it is that jihadists must be resisted, not appeased.

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Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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