On February 25, 1994 Dr. Baruch Goldstein, a physician in the Israel Defense Forces living in the historically contested ancient city of Hebron, walked into the Ibrahimi Mosque, located in the Cave of the Patriarchs, and with his machine gun murdered 29 Muslim men at prayer. The tremor that ran through Israelis and Jews around the world was two-fold. The first tremor was that here was a massacre of innocents attributable to a madman. But this attribution could not stand by itself for long. And the fact is—the second tremor—that here was "one of us," a Jew, a pious Jew, moreover, and a Zionist, a Zionist, moreover, who had gone up to Zion and raised his family there.
We all recognized that here was lunacy in action, derangement, an unhinged mind. But we could not disavow either his Jewishness or his Zionism. We went into what is called a "cheshban hanefesh," an accounting of the collective soul.
Here is what I wrote in The New Republic by way of banishing and proscribing Goldstein and his comrades from the civilization of other Jews. Jewish physicians condemned him for failing to obey his oath to "revere life."
And here is what Leon Wieseltier wrote in TNR about the same catastrophe, a Jewish catastrophe also, to be sure. "Bloodlust Memories" is what he called this Purim massacre.
Please read these epistles carefully. They take the guilt of one rotten soul and of those who revere it on ourselves.
Not that many American Muslims have rushed to embrace Nidal Malik Hasan's memory. Not by a long shot. And, remembering the restraint of Elizabeth I, I'm not about to inquire into their souls.
But one reality that is being ignored is that the establishment press, the anti-establishment blogosphere and the American government (particularly from the military axiomatically enmeshed with Hasan's diabolical deeds) is not treading where the truth lies. Hasan's Muslim murders in the military are not the only ones of the genre. In fact, Islam has been a factor in an increasing number of crimes, against targeted groups and specific "loose" women. Ignoring all this will not make it go away.
I would guess that many American Muslims are now afraid, and I would give them the citizen's solidarity they need and deserve.
On the other side there is Joe Klein who calls me a "Jewish extremist." I don't remember where. I can't even find it in google. Poor man.
P.S. As I head to bed at about 10:30, I read in the New York Times fresh reports of Hasan's contacts with Anwar al-Awlaki, an Islamic extremist sheik, native American born to Yemeni parents, who served in two U.S. mosques, including the one in Virginia where three of the 18 9/11 terrorists came under his sway. It is not clear whether Hasan did or did not have contact with any of the three. Why army intelligence or the F.B.I. decided not to stay with the case of an army major--a shrink, no less--who had written from 10 to 20 missives to Awlaki is far from clear. What is clear is that the Times, which reports that the sheik has called Hasan a "hero," tags the sheik a "spiritual leader."