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Virtual Talmud


Cartoons and Oil

It was insensitive and inappropriate for the Danish and Norwegian press to print political cartoons that were disrespectful of Muhammad, in particular, and stereotypical of Muslims, in general.

We Jews know how painful, and dangerous, such images can be, especially since the Arab press has been filled with vicious anti-Jewish cartoons for years now. And not only the Arab press: To give just one example, in 2003, a British paper printed a cartoon depicting Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon eating the head of a Palestinian child as a city burned in the background. The cartoon won the newspaper’s annual political cartoon society competition. Israel is still waiting for an apology from the paper’s editor. No violence. No riots. Not even cartoon comebacks attacking Anglican belief or British history in the papers. And not because we couldn’t do so, but we wouldn’t do so.

(By the way, are we Jews the only ones who see the hypocrisy and villainy in Iran’s plan to run a Holocaust cartoon competition to get back at Denmark? Do you think it is because Denmark was one of the few countries to save almost all of their Jews in the Holocaust?)

But the real question is why are we shocked that the Arab world has broken out in riots, destroying an embassy, killing at least four (as of the time of this writing)? According to an NPR report, the rage was consciously fanned by Denmark’s Muslim clerics, who distributed throughout the Muslim world not only the cartoons in question but also much more graphic and offensive cartoons and coupled them with hate-inciting propaganda. If no one in any of our Western intelligence agencies knew what was going on, we are in more trouble than we think. Jack Bauer, where are you when we need you?

Another real question is why isn’t the world more shocked at this Muslim rioting, shocked enough to demand more from our Arab allies to quiet the tide (or has it become impossible for them to control the mob-inflamed monster they created)?

Maybe it is not only a question of intelligence but a question of Western ambivalence. We read in Ethics of the Fathers, Nittai the Arbelite said, “Consort not with the wicked.” But that is what we in the West have done by continuing to support the nations that support the schools and mosques that train the Muslim on the street to hate us (both as Jews and Westerners).

Ultimately, Western ambivalence will continue until we free ourselves from the temptation and stranglehold of Arab oil. For that we need a much more aggressive energy policy than the one President Bush unveiled in his State of the Union speech. We need a combination of tax incentives, stricter mileage standards on autos (the technology for which is now achievable), and a Manhattan Project on serious alternative energy sources like solar, rather than pork-barrel programs like ethanol that will use more energy than it creates. As we also read in Ethics of the Fathers, Hillel used to say, “If not now when?”



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Rev. Andre R Boulanger

posted February 10, 2006 at 2:32 am


What’s happening here is that a group — led by a country, Saudi Arabia, where Bibles are forbidden, Christians tortured, Jews routinely labeled “apes and pigs” in the state controlled media, and apostasy from Islam punished by death — is trying to compel a tiny democracy to live by its own theocratic rules. To succumb to pressure from this group would simply be to invite further pressure, and lead to further concessions — not just by Denmark but by all democratic Europe and America. After all, many things in the West offend the sensibilities of many Muslims. It’s a long list ranging from religious liberty, sexual equality, and the right of gay people not to have a wall dropped on them, to music, alcohol, dogs, and pork. After a few Danish cartoons, what? So we need now to be ‘sensitive’ toward Wahhabist Islam’s treatment of women? I feel ashamed that the West has not been more forthright in defending the Danes. The West has a right to say that all its citizens have an inviolate right to free speech. Period.



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HASH(0x213b3e40)

posted February 10, 2006 at 2:36 am


Once again there is mention of our Presidents failure to free us from the bondage of oil. When will the liberal mindset ever realize that our capitalist economy is based on supply and demand and not political manipulation? Let the consumer drive the markets. Let the consumer and entreprenural spirit of our great nation take these challenges and find resolution! President Bush cannot fix this on his watch. It is up to every American to conserve and find solutions to our growing energy needs.



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eastcoastlady

posted February 10, 2006 at 1:34 pm


Reverend Andre, You are right on. Anonymous, You are full of baloney. “Liberal mindset”? What garbage! This here liberal would LOVE for our “conservative”, lying president to get us the hell out of Middle Eastern Oil and into some real conservation and research into alternative fuels. But I guess you’d rather finger point than try to make a valid contribution to the discussion. The consumer will take what it can get, especially if it’s easy. Sometimes a person has to be forced to do the right thing. En masse, people won’t conserve unless they have to.



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Walter Fix

posted February 10, 2006 at 2:21 pm


I hope the USA will wake up and smell the roses. May we as Americans speak out against the terrorist for someday they will be breaking down our doors. May Our Lord bless Israel,USA, and all believers in the true God, the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Amen I want the whole world to know which side I am on, and it is not the terrorist.



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Walter Fix

posted February 10, 2006 at 2:21 pm


I hope the USA will wake up and smell the roses. May we as Americans speak out against the terrorist for someday they will be breaking down our doors. May Our Lord bless Israel,USA, and all believers in the true God, the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Amen I want the whole world to know which side I am on, and it is not the terrorist.



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Maria

posted February 10, 2006 at 5:39 pm


The situation in islamic countries, so called “protests” against the cartoons published in the Danish newspaper,are obviously artificially fanned out and blown out of proportion by muslim fanatics and West haters – People who see Muslim and Christian , Muslim and Jews as enemies. Do we imagine that a common Muslim man reads over the danish news? Likewise, we in the West do not even know what arabic newspapers write about us and our beliefs. As most of Westerners can not read arabic likewise most of Arabs donot read Danish! Those who are trying to make the West,Jews and Islam to fight should be really found and revealed for what they are. They are surely looking for their own selfish ends. Why peace should not reign between these religions which have so much in common? – above of all the love of peace!



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Patty

posted February 10, 2006 at 11:23 pm


Rabbi Susan Grossman said, “…rather than pork-barrel programs like ethanol that will use more energy than it creates.” According to a program I saw the other night, the above statement is not true. I wonder if we’re being fed a story by the oil industry to discourage the development of ethanol? This is a renewable resource and American farmers would greatly benefit from it. It is my understanding that over ten years ago, a man had developed an engine that could get much greater gas mileage. This man and his work mysteriously disappeared. This was told me by a GM worker. I have nothing other than what he said to back this up. We’re being run by big oil. Look at the profits they’re getting. Why is there not a huge outrage over that? We retired folks on a very limited income are starting to suffer from their exploitation of us. I also believe that people had better start speaking up against the radical Muslims or we’re going to see much more trouble in our world because of it. This condemnation needs to start with their clerics in the Islamic nations. Why are they so afraid to speak out against these terrorrists? Patty



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A shad.

posted February 11, 2006 at 10:29 pm


It is funny to read some of the comments written on this board. I suppose you’re gonna tie everything that happens to our dependance on foreign oil,or Arabs can’t read Danish papers because they are not in Arabic.You don’t need to be an extremist to get angry at the Danish newspapers. Just ask yourself would I get angry if they published the same cartoons about Jesus or Moses?



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April B

posted February 12, 2006 at 2:55 am


The whole thing is Biblical. Read Genesis. God indicated how Ishmael and his progeny would be and they are. It’s not about the cartoons…although not nice but then again they usually aren’t and Jews and Christians both have frequently suffered at the pens of these opinions. But why rant and rave, it does no good…free speech and all that. But I do get very irritated at the ‘I’m OK you’re OK’ attitude we have been promoting when it comes to the Islamic mindset. Remember the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Lots of regular folk died because the “radicals” were trying to “make a point”. And I do not remember an outcry from the average Muslim against the radicals when it happened. Did I miss something? As for the oil issue…get real…we are spoiled in America and until get hardcore and radical on this issue, we are going to continue to do as we have done. Removing a tumor requires surgery and pain but saves us in the end. It’s time for surgery…



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Erik

posted February 12, 2006 at 4:16 am


Rabbi Grossman’s opinion is dead on, from calling out tyrannical Islamic states for creating a dangerous mob mentality by demonizing Israel and the West, to the West’s culpability due to dependency on oil from the Middle East. And while I’m about as conservative as they come, I can’t agree with the Anonymous Conservative who wants the free market to sort this all out. Capitalisim is great, but when it comes to matters of the public good and national defense, the government must help the market’s invisible hand to its job a bit better. With no controls on capitalism, we’d have a drug dealer on every corner, our own defense contractors would be selling missles to terrorists and private citizens, our food supply would be unsafe, our rivers and lakes would all be polluted, etc.



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Mary-lynn

posted February 12, 2006 at 4:34 pm


I hold to what the Scriptures say about Ishmael. It is true to this very day. I do agree with what Rabbi Grossman has said about ethanol and pork barrel projects. As for me, I certainly hope that the ethanol idea flops because I am one of many people who suffer from corn related allergies. I cannot imagine the horror of coming home from work in rush hour traffic surrounded by cars all emitting exhaust from corn. I am so sensitive to it that I would probably have to live in isolation would it ever come to that. As far as our dependence on foreign oil, we could use our own oil, in Alaska, off the California coast, off the coast of Maine, and many other places inland, I’m sure. And what about the vehicles that can run on natural gas? Or hydrogen? Natural gas is something we have loads of down here in Louisiana and Mississippi. I know, I’ve strayed away from topic … but thanks for this forum. :)



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Susan

posted February 12, 2006 at 4:49 pm


I find it ironic that the good rabbi would take the positions that she does. Only a few decades ago, a woman couldn’t become a rabbi. She should take a look at her own religion rather than piss on another. And as for Arabs depicting Jews negatively, can Susan Grossman name one Muslim newspaper depicting Moses as a terrorist?



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Aaron

posted February 12, 2006 at 5:40 pm


Rabbi Grossman, thank you for not “rolling over”. I appreciate your strong opinion and obvious jewish pride. Let us no longer give in passive, polite political correctness. Unlike the majority of the muslim mindset of DEMANDING respect, a jew like you commands it.



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Marian Neudel

posted February 12, 2006 at 6:16 pm


The holiest thing on earth is the human soul created in the divine image. Murder is the ultimate sacrilege. The Islamic rioters are responding to a lesser blasphemy with a greater one. But newspapers in the same cities where those riots are happening teem with Sturmer-like caricature cartoons of Jews. So far, anyway, we have managed not to respond to them by burning Persian rugs or stoning (heaven forbid)Persian cats, much less destroying buildings and killing people. Are we nicer people, or have we just gotten used to being insulted and better at picking our battles?



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Jacko2

posted February 12, 2006 at 6:58 pm


I have visited both Syria and Saudi Arabia, and seen not just cartoons depicting the Jews in a very negative light, but front covers of books showing the Star of David, the Magen Dovid, as a snake. Also, I have heard people say that the reason they left New York was that the Jews ran it!! So this Jew, while agreeing that 2 wrongs don’t make a right, and that the cartoons in the Danish paper maybe should not have been there, has no sympathy for the rioters or Islam in general. Where were the righteous Muslims when 9/11 and the Cole disasters happenned?



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Snow

posted February 12, 2006 at 7:24 pm


Quoting Walter Fix: ” May we as Americans speak out against the terrorist for someday they will be breaking down our doors”…Amd we as a free nation has allowed these Muslims into our country(terrorists??)building their mosques, teaching children the ways of Islam whenever possible, according to news reports..With ‘friends'(??) like those, who needs enemies (sic) What have we done?? Will there come a day when we in the good ole’ USA live to regret our niceities?? God help us..God bless the USA, and Israel(God’s chosen ones) and pray that President Bush gain wisdom from the Lord God, and not from advisors, to NEVER turn our backs from the land of Israel and the beautiful Jewish people…….Shalom



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deborah mellicker

posted February 13, 2006 at 2:41 pm


G-d bless you Rabbi–just the double standard is appalling to me.



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eastcoastlady

posted February 13, 2006 at 4:36 pm


Thank G-d above for liberals!!



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joseph

posted February 13, 2006 at 5:25 pm


holier than thou scandinavians are geting a taste of what Israsel’sd ben up against the last 50 and more years. Thank you to all the suporters of Isreal and the Jewish Nation. I am tempted to say good ridance to bad rubbish (the norwegian boycot callers) but will abstain. Likewise the Archbishop of Cantebury who has called for diinvestment iso honest discussion.



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omair

posted February 13, 2006 at 10:19 pm


The display of violence and flag burning is not the way of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the teachings of Islam. Islamic traditions include a number of instances of the Prophet having the opportunity to strike back at those who attacked him, but he refrained from doing so. Please listen to our radio program on MeccaOne Radio, “Prophet Muhammad, Mercy To Humanity” to get a better understanding of how Muslims display their love for the Prophet Muhammad. http://real.meccaone.org:8080/ramgen/%7Emeccaone/audio/meccaonemercy.rm ALSO – Depicting a Prophet of God in a cartoon has no comparison between a depiction of a political leader (Sharon). Show me an Arab/Muslim produced cartoon demonizing a religious prophet. You will find ZERO.



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Zaid

posted February 13, 2006 at 10:27 pm


This is a must read: Clash of the Uncivilized, By Imam Zaid Shakir http://www.zaytuna.org/articleDetails.asp?articleID=92



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Michelle Brinkmann

posted February 13, 2006 at 11:57 pm


Dear …Snow..[02.12.06-2:29 p.m.] Amen …and Amen…. Shalom



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S. vonWahrenberger

posted February 14, 2006 at 11:06 am


Funny how President Bush gets ripped on for everything. This war in the mid-east has zero to do about oil. Yes we need to use ethonal because it is a homke grown source of energy ( and use other things). As far as cartoons go, Christians get ripped on all the time.



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Wayne H Wilcoxson

posted February 14, 2006 at 1:28 pm


I believe in the freedom of the press as long as you don’t use it to violate anothers rights or that of their faith or culture. When you start making excuses to violate anothers rights through the privaliges granted you, than you are committing the ultimate sin against your neighbor. Publishing cartoons of that nature is Horrible and disrespectfull of another human’s rights and culture.



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Michael Quastel

posted February 15, 2006 at 10:00 am


I agree with most of Rabbi Susan Grossman’s remarks on February 8 about Cartoons and Oil, except for her inappropriate side comment on “pork barrel programs on ethanol”. In fact, one of the most important and efficient ways of utilizing solar energy is that developed over a billion years by the plant kingdom, in which photosynthesis utilizes atmospheric carbon dioxide and energy from sunlight to synthesize organic compounds. Ethanol produced by the breakdown of plant sugars can be used to obtain ethanol which is already being used in Brazil on a large scale as a substitute for gasoline.



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Marian Neudel

posted February 16, 2006 at 5:08 pm


While the idea of a Holocaust Cartoon contest makes my skin crawl, it is nonetheless a proper response to the Danish cartoons. It fights tasteless tacky speech with more tasteless tacky speech, rather than with edicts, fatwas, and bombs. On the other hand, it also gives us one more example of a recent deplorable trend–maldirected retaliation. Saddam started it, by responding to the US bombing of Baghdad during the Gulf War by bombing Israel. Bush Jr., ten years later, responded to the murder of 3000 Americans (by a band of Saudis, Afghans, and Egyptians) by declaring war on Iraq. So now, all over the Middle East, Muslims respond to a Danish Protestant cartoonist’s bad taste by directing riots against the US and Norway, among others, and tasteless cartoons against the Jews. As someone said at the outset of the Iraq war, it’s like responding to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor by bombing Mexico City.



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JimT2803

posted February 17, 2006 at 2:07 pm


You don’t see christians rioting and murdering when they are insulted with cartoons and so called art depicting deplorable things. If the jews can get past the historical animosity between christians and themselves perhaps they can begin to see that they are our friends and not the muslims who would love to wipe us all off the face of this planet. Rabbi Susan your liberalism sickens me.



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Azar Kahn

posted February 19, 2006 at 8:06 pm


Its a confusing state of affaires.The whole world is aheading towards disasterous situation.I pray To lord GOd to bless all of us harmoney of equations and peace of mind , admonish us to act good for the mankind to lead a right path for loveable livings.



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Azar Kahn

posted February 20, 2006 at 7:41 pm


The time would reveal the facts of life.The truth has always the commanding success.These mischivious balonies and triggring the senstive issues are always for a temporary phase and ultimately the leaders of nobality having huge community of followers are the successors.



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Azar Kahn

posted February 25, 2006 at 8:17 pm


I have no comments,but can only say that with the lapse of time one learns many lessons and those in particular for the future generations.The past history has given tragic events of communal conflicts to all the communities of this world,yet we lack the knowledge of definition of democracy and civilized nations.



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Azar Kahn

posted February 26, 2006 at 7:58 pm


was Hitler a Muslim? Is Osama bin laden a Christian or Hindu? Your reply to above two questians would be the analysis in depth and conclusive gist to all confusionss bieng a parnoi



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Azar Kahn

posted March 6, 2006 at 9:00 pm


Is the issue still in discussions?



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