More Cultural Relativism From The Times

Noah Feldman, an orthodox Jew, educated at Maimonides Academy in Brookline, Massachusetts many years back, is very upset that his school paper is not including updates on his life events (marriage to a Korean American, two children). He clearly thinks the exclusion of his data is due to his straying from his modern Orthodox upbringing.

In a New York Times Magazine article yesterday. Feldman starts with his personal peeve and then goes on to a more general trashing of modern Orthodoxy. I am not modern Orthodox, and will leave it to others to comment on his issues with the tenets and teachings of the faith. But Feldman also drops a few major whoppers in his article that undoubtedly made this an appealing piece to run in the Times.

The "newspaper of record" has been determined to deliver a message that Islam is no different than other faiths, in that all religions have a few bad apples (In the case of jihadist Islam of course, those bad apples seem to be appearing with great frequency in pretty much every major conflict in the world at the moment) . Feldman is happy to oblige in this Times' deceit that Islam is like all other religions, in part by slandering his faith, and in part by sticking in a few absurd comments or comparisons to suggest the Islam is a collection of liberal, moderate believers.

Feldman's most outrageous arguments include the following:

1. The Muslims have found their Joe Lieberman in Minneapolis Congressman Keith Ellison. Not quite. Ellison, a former member of the racist , anti-Semitic Nation of Islam sect, recently compared President Bush to Adolf Hitler in a talk to secularists and atheists. Is this the liberal strand of Islam and political moderation of a Joe Lieberman?

2. Feldman makes a statement that all the imams he has met in America seemed to him to be like modern Orthodox rabbis, grappling with the conflict of modernity and faith. He must have found the few such Imams in the country (and certainly none of the wahhabist imams now taking over most of the mosques in America, trained in madrassas in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan ( current estimate- 80% or more under their control already), and he must never have read MEMRI to see what these "moderate" imams are saying to their flocks here and abroad. .

3. Finally, there is the none too subtle suggestion that Dr. Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 Arabs in Hebron, should be viewed as not a wild card, but a man whose actions derived from his faith (say, like the Muslim doctors in the recent London terror plot?). I hardly think a lunatic fringe of a few orthodox Jews who commit such crimes (Feldman includes Yitzhak Rabin's assassin in this count) compares in absolute numbers or percentage of the faithful to the number and percentage of Muslims who are killers in Hamas, or Al Qaeda or Hezbollah, just to get both Sunni and Shiite branches of fundamentalist Islam considered.

Perhaps Feldman can point out all the rabbis encouraging murder and genocide, and wiping out nation states. Feldman has become a purveyor of moral and cultural relativism. He has indeed strayed far from his faith in this regard.