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Relationship Status for American Jews and Muslims: It’s Complicated

This week, Reform Grand Rebbe Eric Yoffie spoke at the convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). In his speech, Yoffie deplored the "profound ignorance" of Islam in the US, and its demonization by "opportunists." Yet at the … Read More

By / September 6, 2007

This week, Reform Grand Rebbe Eric Yoffie spoke at the convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). In his speech, Yoffie deplored the "profound ignorance" of Islam in the US, and its demonization by "opportunists." Yet at the same time, Yoffie challenged American Muslims to combat the anti-Semitism that is rampant in the Muslim world. The Reform movement determined that ISNA was a genuine partner for interfaith dialogue after it shifted its position from terrorism is bad (except when it is against Israel) to terrorism is bad (even when it kills Jews.) ISNA's efforts to allay Jewish concerns were met with skepticism elsewhere in Jewish Alphabet soup.

Yoffie's overture drew criticism from David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee.

"Here is another discredited group eager for mainstream recognition," Harris wrote in a blog on the Web site of The Jerusalem Post. "Inadvertently, in the name of inter-religious dialogue, [Yoffie] gave it."

Fortunately for ISNA, while the URJ represents 1.5 million congregants, a plurality of affiliated American Jews, while the AJC represents…the AJC (although to be fair, it performs its role as the Jewish Brookings Institution quite ably).

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