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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/13/10

The Pavlov Response and the Cordoba House

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Reactions to the construction of Cordoba House reveal more than ingrained prejudice and hypocrisy; they reveal jealousy, incomprehensible attitudes of self-importance, condescension, and patronization, ignorance that emphasizes separation, and a possible conspiracy that can easily pass unnoticed.

It's natural that Americans show sensitivity to what has become hallowed ground - the area of destruction from the greatest terrorist attack on United States soil - given the name of "ground zero." It's acceptable that many Americans will question the construction of an Islamic Center that will stand close to the hallowed ground - acceptable but not correct.Those who view the attack on the World Trade center as being a symbol in a struggle of 'right vs. wrong' should recognize that there is no absolute right or wrong; "ground zero" is a symbol of how the world too often goes wrong.

A century of western interference in Middle East nations; dominating their resources, delineating their borders, deciding their rulers, destabilizing their political frameworks, waging dubious wars which have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, occupying their lands and generally creating havoc and misery don't seem to have bothered western leaders. A conditioned mind reacts automatically, senseless, irrational and often to its own detriment.

Two city blocks north of 'ground zero," and two blocks south of the Warren street mosque, the Cordoba House, which contains a mosque, is mainly a mixture of learning, art and culture with a 500-seat auditorium, swimming pool, art exhibition spaces, and bookstores. The well publicized antagonism to the Cordoba House follows the Pavlov reaction, salivating at the sound before the food is delivered, but contains other inglorious activities.

Odd that a mosque already exists two blocks from the proposed Cordoba House and has not aroused comment. Since mosques allow Muslim worshipers to find a place to genuflect rather having them lay a prayer rug on a NYC street and disturb the City's financial district's wall to curb pedestrian traffic, which is reported to sometimes occur outside an overflowed Warren Street mosque, another mosque would be welcome. However, this building is more than a mosque. It's a testimonial that Muslims swim, read, think and eat fast foods, just like all Americans. Since another mosque already exists close to 'ground zero,' evidently it is Cordoba House's added features that have aroused resentment. Perhaps it seems exaggerated, but there is a lingering feeling that the antagonism to the Cordoba House includes the ultimate of anti-Semitism; "We don't want you Semites to be part of us. You are Semites and you will remain Semites."

A bewildering aspect of the Mosque discussion is the involvement of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the pro-Israel J Street lobby, both of whom published highlighted opinions of the Cordoba House. These organizations represent a small minority of Americans, and behave as if their words have super importance. Is it significant what they have to say?

The ADL reacted negatively to the Muslim building, arguing that it is too close to 'ground zero.'

Statement On Islamic Community Center Near Ground Zero
New York, NY, July 28, 2010
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued the following statement regarding the proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero in Manhattan:

"Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain - unnecessarily - and that is not right."

"Cause some victims more pain?" Evidently,although poorly expressed, the ADL must mean surviving relatives rather than the already dead. How revealing! The ADL believes by supposition, or is it transference, without describing any polls, that the opinion of a few (or how many?) Americans (Muslims also died in the 9/11 tragedy) have precedence over many Muslim Americans in determining where Cordoba House should be constructed. Digest that and then answer the question: Isn't that the most extreme prejudice; the opinion of non-Muslim Americans is worth more than the want of millions of Muslim Americans?

This is the same ADL, which has been sued on several occasions for violating privacy rights and assisting in false charges of anti-Semitism.

Counter Punch, February 25, 2002
The ADL Spying Case Is Over, But The Struggle Continues
By Jeffrey Blankfort, Anne Poirier and Steve Zeltzer
Plaintiffs in the of ADL Spying Case

"In 1993, the District of Attorney of San Francisco released 700 pages of documents implicating the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that claims to be a defender of civil rights, in a vast spying operation directed against American citizens who were opposed to Israel's policies in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza and to the apartheid policies of the government of South Africa and passing on information to both governments."

Jewish Daily Forward, 2001

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Dan Lieberman is the editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter. His website articles have been read in more than 150 nations, while articles written for other websites have appeared in online journals throughout the world(B 92, (more...)
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