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Tilting at Windmills

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August 7, 2010

LEAVING TOLERANCE IN A MUSEUM.... My understanding of the meaning of the word "tolerance" may be off, but it's more likely I'm not the one who's confused.

The Museum of Tolerance opened in Manhattan this week, on a mission to help the world transcend discrimination and prejudice. Great timing, because there's been a lot of that lately, with angry opponents to the proposed Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero deriding the project as a "house of evil" where terrorists will "worship their monkey-god." Thankfully, the Museum of Tolerance is here to advocate for acceptance join the opposition. Looks like tolerance really does belong in a museum, eh eh?

The museum is funded by The Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization. Rabbi Meyer May, the Wiesenthal Center's executive director, tells Crain's the proposed location is "insensitive" to the families of 9/11 victims, adding that "religious freedom does not mean being insensitive...or an idiot. Religion is supposed to be beautiful.... Why create pain in the name of religion?"

This is, by the way, the same Wiesenthal Center that, in 2006, built a museum on top of an old Muslim burial ground in Jerusalem. It "created pain," but that apparently didn't matter at the time.

In related news, reader J.C. alerted me to an item from Fareed Zakaria, who was honored five years ago by the Anti-Defamation League's Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize. In light of the ADL's inexplicable, incoherent opposition to the Cordoba House, Zakaria has decided to return the award and the $10,000 honorarium that came with it.

That was an honorable move on Zakaria's part, which says a lot about his character. It's good to know that while controversies like these can sometimes bring out the worst among the small-minded among us, we can still find examples of courage and honor.

Update: The ADL has responded to Zakaria, and in a bizarre twist, has begun to question the motives of those who wish to build the Muslim community center. Dear ADL, quit while you're behind.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (14)

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Their motto is "Civil rights for me, but not for thee."

Posted by: MattF on August 7, 2010 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

Organized religion continues to be the bane of humanity.

Posted by: DAY on August 7, 2010 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. I'd have returned the award but sent the ten grand to Park51.

Posted by: Ends with Space on August 7, 2010 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

Good for Zakaria, but he lacks a sense of irony. He should have donated the honorarium to the Islamic center.

Posted by: martin on August 7, 2010 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

You may have seen this already, but ThinkProgress has a story up about the mosque at the Pentagon. I'm pretty sure that's what "tolerance" means.


Posted by: puravida on August 7, 2010 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Also noted: Rabbi Marvin Hier, another opponent of the Cordoba House project, is building his Museum of Tolerance right smack dab on a Muslim cemetery in the greater Jerusalem area! (Thanks TP)

May and Hier are moral perverts!

For anyone who's been chosen, intolerance in the name of tolerance or any other noble human measure will not be looked upon kindly! Remember, one has the ability to do good, and the equal ability to do evil, and many use the former to obfuscate their doings of the latter! The key is not to be part of the many!

I don't think the two above Rabbis have been successful on this measure!-Kevo

Posted by: kevo on August 7, 2010 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

A piece on the Museum of Tolerance and no South Park reference? I'm disappointed.

Posted by: Thorin-1 on August 7, 2010 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

This is great, Next lets get rid of those terrorist the Baptists they have Bombed medical facilities the Olympics and continue to protest the funerals of our war heroes. We should not have to tolerate these American terrorist anymore and if we are finally able to start moving these churches out of our God fearing neighborhoods I say it is about time.

Posted by: Fed Up and Tired on August 7, 2010 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Museums are for holding relics from the past. Sad to hear tolerance has become a museum piece. One would hope that it tolerance would be a real live human achievement, not some historical artifact, but I guess in the world of Michelle Bachman, Sharron Angle, Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck there is no place for tolerance and acceptance of the differences between men and women outside of a museum.

Posted by: Ron Byers on August 7, 2010 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Zakaria's column in Newsweek about the mosque is quite good and includes this bit for the ADL to chew on:

Bloomberg’s speech stands in stark contrast to the bizarre decision of the Anti-Defamation League to publicly side with those urging that the center be moved. The ADL’s mission statement says it seeks “to put an end forever to unjust and unfair discrimination against and ridicule of any sect or body of citizens.” But Abraham Foxman, the head of the ADL, explained that we must all respect the feelings of the 9/11 families, even if they are prejudiced feelings. “Their anguish entitles them to positions that others would categorize as irrational or bigoted,” he said. First, the 9/11 families have mixed views on this mosque. There were, after all, dozens of Muslims killed at the World Trade Center. Do their feelings count? But more important, does Foxman believe that bigotry is OK if people think they’re victims? Does the anguish of Palestinians, then, entitle them to be anti-Semitic?
Posted by: meander on August 7, 2010 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

According to the Tea Party's Mark Williams, Muslims "worship their monkey-god."

Somebody needs a little bit more information on Islam.

"Allah" is Arabic for "God", and not just any god, but The God. The same God of Abraham, and the same God that Christians and Jews follow.

Therefore, Mark Williams, by calling God a "monkey-god", is a blasphemer.

Posted by: 2Manchu on August 7, 2010 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

The Wiesenthal Center, is a highly bigoted group. they have actively opposed recognition of the Aremnian Genocide.

Posted by: Dave on August 7, 2010 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK


Zakaria also has a piece on Newsweek where he expands on his decision to return the award to ADL. Its here:

Posted by: Dilip on August 7, 2010 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

The Musteum of "Tolerance" is a far right Jewish organization that - from its activities here in Los Angeles where it was founded - is dedicated to the usual Israel and the Jews Uber Alles. They wave the bloody shirt of the Holocaust and accuse anyone who opposes anything the Jewish community in Los Angeles wants to do (even those in neighborhoods who want to slow down or prevent the "mansionization" of neighborhoods - and subsequent destruction of the neighborhood - have been labeled "anti-Semites" by the Conservative Jews who see mansionization as necessary for their huge families). God help anyone who mentions that the policies promoted by Israel are not in the best interests of the United States. If you're anyone prominent, you'll be forced to go go to the re-education camp at the museum to have your brain at least dry-cleaned.

The "Museum" of "Tolerance" is right there with the ADL under Foxman as a neoconservative organ for Jewish extremism and racism against anyone not a member of the tribe.

Posted by: TCinLA on August 7, 2010 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK



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