Do Italian-Americans Have A Dual Loyalty?

Ed Koch comments on CNN’s ex-host Rick Sanchez and Jews:

…some time ago Mr. Sanchez invited me to appear on his program. The major question he asked me was whether Jews have a dual loyalty, to Israel and the U.S.? The question was not intended as friendly. I answered it the same way that I had answered the same question by a group of Christian Congressmen at a prayer breakfast when I was a member of Congress. I told them, you never ask that question of Italian, German or Polish-Americans (I should have also included Cuban-Americans) who treasure their ancestry, traditions and the countries from which their ancestors came; you only ask it of Jews. Let me tell you why the security of Israel means so much to many Jews. We know that when Hitler offered in the 30s to allow the Jews to leave Germany, if any country would take them, few countries agreed to accept the Jews and then only in small numbers. Indeed, in 1939 the U.S. under F.D.R. turned away the 900 or so Jews on the SS St. Louis who had earlier been turned away by Cuba (from which country Mr. Sanchez hails; he was not born at the time). F.D.R. refused to allow them to land in the U.S., and even sent a Coast Guard cutter to make sure no one jumped overboard and tried to swim ashore. So the Jews were sent back to Europe, where the majority perished in concentration camps. If Israel had existed then, it would have taken in every single Jewish refugee, no matter how sick or old or incapacitated or poor. Then I said to my fellow Congress members, raising my right hand, and this is literal, “I swear to you, if Israel ever invades the U.S., I shall stand with the U.S.” My fellow members of Congress applauded.

Now with regard to special treatment for minorities, I oppose and have always opposed programs that provided for race, ethnicity or religion-based solutions, e.g., quotas or set-asides. I have and continue to oppose such solutions to end discrimination. Jews have never been eligible for such set-asides or quota programs. Indeed, when quotas were used, e.g., at colleges and universities, it was to limit their presence. Ridiculously, Sephardic Jews who have Spanish names were eligible for federal set-asides, not as Jews, but as Hispanics, like Mr. Sanchez, who is Cuban. That violates the equal protection clause of our Constitution, and I did not permit racial, ethnic or religious quota programs to be established in my administration. I did provide set-asides for the construction industry and for vendors who had limited capital that qualified them as small businesses, irrespective of who owned them. There were many who disagreed with my philosophy and brickbats were often thrown my way; the nicest being that I was insensitive; the worst that I was racist.

I was delighted in 2007 when Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a decision: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” I thought to myself, the Supreme Court has finally come my way…

flag of jihad flying over the White House

And Andy McCarthy on the Times Square bomber’s statements at his sentencing and the moderate Muslim myth:

…would-be Times Square bomber Feisal Shahzad was sentenced to life-imprisonment earlier today. Defiant and remorseless to the end, Shahzad made a number of chilling statements, but the most interesting moment came when Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum asked him — in a “you can’t possibly be serious” sort of way — whether he really believed the Koran wanted him to kill innocent people. “The Koran gives you the right to defend,” he replied, adding, ”That’s all I’m doing.”

It would be nice if Western apologists for Islam and its sharia law would listen to that — even if the Saudis do pay them handsomely to turn a deaf ear. We constantly hear that the “true” jihad is really an internal personal struggle to become a better person (although the more honest apologists concede that this is a modern, revisionist construction that would have been rejected by Islam’s most renowned and respected scholars). To maintain some semblance of credibility, these Islamophiles concede, through clenched teeth, that while there exists a violent interpretation of Islam, it is a relic whose only conceivable legitimate invocation is in “defense” — i.e., when Islam is under attack. Thus, the argument goes, we needn’t concern ourselves with it…

Wholly apart from any jihad against the West, Muslims have been killing each other for 14 centuries, and most of the internecine warfare is over competing scriptural interpretations and claims of apostasy (a capital offense in Islam, according to the most authoritative sharia authorities). Obviously, there is plenty of internal Islamic controversy over what Islam and its law truly stand for. Americans should be very wary of people who claim to know, however well-meaning they may seem.

The point is that, whether they are right or wrong, there are millions upon millions of Muslims who believe exactly what Shahzad believes about the nature of jihad and the demands of sharia. It is of no moment to them that we do not see ourselves as at war with Islam, or that we see the victims of terrorism as “innocent.” They see things as Shahzad sees them, even if they are not willing to go the next step of commiting acts of terrorism, as Shahzad is.

From the perspective of American national security, it does not matter if those Muslims are wrong about Islam. What matters is that there are a lot of them and they constitute a mainstream current of Islamic thought. They have the support of influential Islamic scholars who tell them Islam is under siege, and they don’t care in the slightest whether Western intellectuals (at whom they scoff) or Muslim reformers (whom they regard as apostates) think they have interpreted Islam incorrectly.

Eventually there will be another Shahzad, a competent one. When he strikes, it won’t do much for our security to hear a President, a federal judge, a Homeland Security Secretary, an Attorney General, and a bunch of academics from Harvard and Georgetown tell us that a bad “extremist” has “perverted” or “hijacked” the “true Islam.” High-minded wishful thinking about how tiny the threat to us is won’t actually make it tiny.

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