Another Rabbi Disagrees With Pamela Geller, Pamela Goes Apeshit
By: Dow Marmur Columnist, Published on Mon Jun 10 2013
The late Krister Stendahl, bishop of Stockholm and dean of Harvard Divinity School, taught that people engaged in interfaith work should always compare the best in their own religion with the best in that of others. This has helped me not to judge Christianity by the anti-Semitism in some of its teachings and not to condemn Islam because Islamist extremists cause havoc in different parts of the world.
Stendahl’s stricture has also made me stay away from Jews who compare the best in Judaism with the worst in other religions. In view of recent incidents in Boston, London and Paris, and riots in Stockholm and elsewhere, a lot of people are prone to such distortions of Islam.
One of them is the American-Jewish blogger Pamela Geller. Echoing statements by responsible Jewish leaders in the United States, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the immediate past president of the Union for Reform Judaism, has described her in a recent Jerusalem Post column as “a bigot and a purveyor of hate.”
On the eve of her appearance here, the Toronto Board of Rabbis issued a statement expressing “profound disappointment” with the Jewish organization that had invited her.
The primary purpose of the statement seems to have been to mend fences and build bridges between local Muslims and Jews. Its authors expressed the fear that Geller’s customary rants against Islam would create tensions between the two communities.
Addressing worshippers at the Beth Tzedec Congregation of which he’s the spiritual leader, Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, currently also the president of the Toronto Board of Rabbis, provided further background: “The leadership of the Board of Rabbis felt that Geller’s words and presence would negatively impact on our efforts to work with the Islamic community to control and limit their more radical elements.”
Pamela responded, as usual, with her typical projectile vomiting of hysterical hate and rage.