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Loyalty to Britain or Israel?

British Muslims do not support suicide bombing. However, recent uproar over a visit by Shaikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has confirmed fears that the Pro-Israel lobby e.g. Louise Ellman (Labour), Michael Howard (Conservative) et al and the Board of Deputies of British Jews are prepared to put the interests of Israel above those of Britain.

As it would appear, the British establishment has long recognised the fact that Shaikh Qaradawi has advocated and continues to argue that Muslims should integrate and participate in British society, and that this is good for Britain and her interests. Despite his position on Israeli politics, the Shaikh has always been welcomed in Britain because it is good for community relations here. However, this logic remains beyond the grasp of the Pro-Israel activists, who simply cannot bring themselves to recognise the interests of Britain above those of Israel. They fail to see the hypocrisy of ignoring the fact that many Rabbis, who believe strongly in traditional (halakhah) Jewish Law, also visit Britain regularly. Many of these Rabbis believe that the Jewish people have a God given right to plunder land in Palestine and that the chyuv missa (death penalty) should be applied to practising homosexuals. These Rabbis and their followers idealise Maimonides
[1] , who says in the Mishneh Torah, that beating a bad wife is an acceptable form of discipline. [2] Should we now call for a visa ban on all Rabbis and their followers who accept Orthodox Jewish Law? Why restrict the focus to Shaikh Qaradawi on these matters?

If the BBC wishes to re-establish its credibility as an independent broadcaster that does not succumb to pressure from the Pro-Israel lobby, I am sure you will agree with me that it should conduct an inquiry into the widespread problem of wife beating in Israel and the influence of Jewish Law on this practice. The producers of BBC 2's Newsnight need to stop targeting Muslims for the benefit of the State of Israel and investigate why

"[t]he evidence that Jewish wife beating exists is strong… 'One out of six' or 'one out of seven' Israeli women is regularly beaten at home. The estimated minimum figure is 100,000 battered women in Israel (of whom 40,000 end up hospitalised); the maximum number is 200,000…" [3]

In order to balance its coverage of Shaikh Qaradawi's visit, the BBC should now send a team of reporters to interview Rabbis and their followers in Israel who thank God for not making them Gentiles every morning by praying, in the 'eighteen blessings', with a special curse for Christians: "And may the apostates have no hope, and all the Christians perish instantly" [4] . They believe that 'indirect deception' in business is allowed 'unless it is likely to cause hostility towards Jews or insult to the Jewish religion' [5] and that, according to the Talmud, when a Jew passes near an inhabited non-Jewish dwelling he must ask God to destroy it, whereas if the building is in ruins he must thank the Lord of Vengeance (Tractate Bearkhot p.58b). Why should we not seek the opinion of each Rabbi on the demolition of Palestinian homes if this is the level of scrutiny that has become acceptable to the British press?

The fact of the matter is that the Pro-Israel lobby in Britain appears to care about one thing only - and that is Israel. The events of the past week are just another example in the on-going campaign to blackmail all nations into the service of Israel's unjust policies. I believe the media and politicians of this country need to take heed before it is too late.

Shaikh Riyad Nadwi M.A., Ph.D.
Oxford, UK
10th July 2004

[1] Maimonides was the first person to write a systematic code of all Jewish law and is considered to be one of the most, if not the most, authoritative sources on Jewish law.

[2] Hilkhot Ishut, 15: halakhah 19.Mishneh Torah, halakhah hovel u-mazik 4, 16. Ishut 21.10, In Halakhah 3 there is a list of required duties (rohetzet...mozeget). See Halakhah 5 and 7 as well.

[3] Naomi Gratez (1998) of Ben Gurion University of the Negev. Judaism confronts wife-beating Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary Journal. Volume 1 Number 2.

[4] Israel Shahak (1994) Jewish History, Jewish Religion. Pluto Press. London. p.92.

[5] Shahak (1994) p.89.