Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fundamentalism for everyone!

Related to yesterday's post about the harassment and arrest of gentile hikers in the Satmar enclave of Kiryas Joel, this excellent article in Zeek makes a strong argument that Jewish fundamentalists (i.e. Haredim) are not all that different from their Christian and Islamic counterparts and their limited impact is not the result of some mythic "live and let live attitude." Rather it's because of limited numbers.

Like Christian and Islamic fundamentalists, Jewish fundamentalists are not content to lead their faux-19th-century lives without disturbing the rest of us. It’s a myth that Jews are somehow more “live and let live” than Christians or Jews. A few months ago in New York, the Agudath Israel of America – part of the world’s largest haredi political organization – organized massive phone and email campaigns against same-sex marriage. Never mind that what happens in secular state law is of no halachic significance, and that the law exempted religious organizations from having to obey it. And this was just the latest attempt of fundamentalists to coerce a wider society to adopt their reactionary values. Just like Christian “Intelligent Design” advocates, anti-reproductive-choice activists, and, yes, sharia-obeying Islamic radicals, Jewish fundamentalists are compelled by their fundamentalism not only to live backward lives themselves – but to attempt to get the rest of us to do the same.

The rest of this great article can be read here.

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