On the eve of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Hamas gunmen murdered four Israeli civilians, including a pregnant woman. Even for those who see nuance in terrorist attacks, this one didn’t leave a lot of room for argument. The PA condemned the attack and, reportedly, picked up some 150 Hamas affiliates in the West Bank for questioning. The Obama administration condemned the attack in no uncertain terms. And even J Street, the home of moral equivalence in the U.S., offered a quick condemnation of this atrocity. But the “moderate” Muslims of the Ground Zero Mosque? They’re taking a pass.
There’s already been a lot of analysis of Imam Rauf’s position on Hamas – he’s against it, kind of, but unwilling to condemn the group as a terrorist organization. When asked point blank, this “moderate US cleric,” as State Department PJ Crowley likes to call him, punted: “The issue of terrorism is a very complex question…I will not allow anybody to put me in a position where I am seen by any party in the world as an adversary or as an enemy.”
Even if that party murders pregnant women on the eve of peace talks with the aim of continuing this conflict between Arabs and Jews? Apparently, yes.
Yesterday I looked at the Twitter feed for Park51 – the Ground Zero Mosque’s primary point of contact with the media and everyone else over the last few weeks – curious to see if they’d offered some statement on the brutal attack near Hebron. There was plenty of activity – the usual fare of baiting Republican candidates like Ilario Pantano, who’s expressed his concern about their bridge-building project, accusing Newt Gingrich of “being to the right” of Il Duce, a smug invitation to Sarah Palin to come and “visit the locals” – the kind of thing you’d expect from a 12-year-old with a diary at Daily Kos. But nothing on the attack in Israel.
So I asked the folks at Park51 – “I know @park51 is loathe to call Hamas a terrorist group....but as a gesture, maybe now would be a good time to say something?”
The group’s response:
"@thegoldfarb We have condemned terrorism and will continue to do so. We are an apolitical community center. Please allow us that respect."
You’ll note that they have not, and apparently will not, condemn this attack. And no one should allow them the respect of hiding behind a claim to be “apolitical.” At this point, this mosque is entirely a political statement, and a political provocation. All its staff does is engage in political incitement – there is no swimming pool or basketball court or interfaith dialogue, just a snarky, inappropriate, hyper-partisan Twitter feed. And a blanket refusal to condemn acts of terrorism against Israeli Jews.
Update: The Ground Zero mosque supporters seem to have responded, and seem again to be unwilling or unable to condemn the murder of a pregnant Israeli woman and other innocent Jews. Via Twitter: "We have and repeatedly condemn acts of terrorism. We are a Community Center. Please do not ask us to get involved in international affairs."