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Mark LeVine: Wrong and Irresponsible

UC Irvine historian Mark LeVine, writing on Beliefnet, has once again crafted a beautiful apology for Islamic leadership.

Contrary to everything stated by Hamas and Hezbollah, LeVine somehow has managed to argue that “However harsh the rhetoric against Israel or even Jews, it would be inaccurate to assume that Islam is the main motivator of their conflicts with Israel.” Rather, Levine claims the real reason why Hamas decided to kidnap Israeli soldiers and Hezbollah decided to bomb innocent civilians in Haifa is due to “territorial and national [issues].” Hello, earth to Mr. LeVine, ISRAEL PULLED OUT OF THE GAZA AND LEBONON!! What territorial issues are you talking about?

Most disturbing is LeVine’s bizarre nineteenth-century western definition of “religion.” According to LeVine, the problem is not the “religion” of Islam but politics–as if religion and politics are two distinct spheres that have nothing to do with one another. I am not sure what kind of religion Levine is talking about, but most religious people and especially most Muslims do not distinguish between these two spheres. Religion is a lifeworld that is comprised of culture, politics, beliefs, and practices. (Levine must have gotten his definition of religion confused with certain elements of nineteenth-century Christianity.)

The truth of the matter is that Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, has different theological and political strands, some more militant some more peaceful. At this point, the militant message dominates Islam and unfortunately represents its public face.

Islam, like all religions, is not some idealized a-social a-political eternal idea. It is constantly evolving.

Right now it has been hijacked by its extreme militant voices, and until Islamic leadership or its adherents stand up to these terrorists groups, Islam will continue to be perceived as violent.

But the most dishonest and distrubing part of LeVine’s piece of yellow journalism is his ability to disregard every public statement made by Hamas and Hezbollah claiming the exact opposite.

I am sorry, Mr. LeVine: All your article does is promote more irresponsibility on the part of an Islamic leadership that has done nothing to stop the demeaning and killing of Israelis and Jews in the Middle East and across the world.



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eastcoastlady

posted July 18, 2006 at 2:54 pm


I hope more people read this because on another b-net board, some people are praising Mark Levine for his “open-mindedness” and willingness to discuss Israel’s many faults as the “real” reason she is being attacked.



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Richard B. Cook

posted July 19, 2006 at 2:53 am


Mr LeVines’ notion of seperating religion and politics is a Jeffersonian, american notion. If peace is not an option in the middle east, how is the lethal violence stopable? Does the killing of necessity continue untill the last moslem is dead. As an american jew, I don’t like that outcome. Perhaps I have no choice but to get used to it. Abraham refused to enialate all things Amalikite, we have suffered ever since.



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Rabbi Eliyahu Stern

posted July 19, 2006 at 4:48 am


Wow Richard!! slow down tanto. I agree with you that we are in a terrible situation and that Islam must share in the blame, but every Moslem dead? That sounds like the most UnJewish of ideas. Actaully, it sounds like…. First of all Amalek cannot be Islam. The Rabbis tell us that Amalek is Edom (Rome). The Arabs and Islam come from Ishmael not Edom. Secondly, we as Jews stand against all forms of absolutisms and only hope and pray that Muslims stand up and speak out against their sick brothers and sisters. We need to help and encourage Muslims to realize that all human beings are children of Allah and must be treated a such.



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Richard B. Cook

posted July 19, 2006 at 7:06 pm


Thank you Rabbi Stern for your considered responce. I really don’t harbor muderous thoughts against Muslums. The Muslems I know personally are of the secular sort who live in the United States. My merderous thoughts are born of a frustration similar to the frustration that fuled the uprising in the Warsaw gehto in WWII.



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Heather

posted September 21, 2006 at 5:11 pm


The main motivator of Israel’s conflict with its neighbors is the vast refugee problem created during the 1948 war when Jewish paramilitary forces pushed Arabs (both Muslim and Christian) with violence or threat of violence out of their homes in Palestine. Today Arabs Israelis (legal Israeli citizens), in the practical, cannot buy property in Israel, nor does the Israeli government allocate bomb shelters, sirens and other services to its Arab neighborhoods. Palestinians in the Occupied Territories cannot trade without disruption, so their economy has been in shambles, nor can they visit their family and friends in the opposite Palestinian territories. The Jewish community must pause to consider whether always identifying itself as a victim of others oppression is in its best interest, when it blinds them from seeing how its own actions oppress others.



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