A former convicted terrorist who now is a leading Israeli Muslim cleric and peace advocate has called on rabbis to lead a joint Muslim-Jewish “peace march.”
“We will proclaim to every religious leader that they preach peace between two religions and two peoples,” Sheikh Abdullah Nimar Darwish told Israel Radio in an interview.
“We want to call on politicians to speed up the peace process. Let’s come and make peace together and stage a march in Tel Aviv or Kfar Kassem that will send a message there is enough spilling of blood and enough destruction, enough killing and enough hate.”
Israel radio, which has a long tradition of being an advocate for the center-left, immediately turned to Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau, for comment.
Israel Radio reported on its website,” Rabbi Lau answered that he supports a meeting of this kind” and he added, “There is no permission in the name of God, and no justification to attack people and not attack the lives of people. I would be happy to have another meeting with the leaders of other religions and deliver the message that this is not the way of God.”
I am not going to second-guess Rabbi Lau but certainly can second guess Israeli Radio, euphemistically known as the “Voice of Israel.”
If Rabbi Lau had declined to respond, the radio station would have reported, “The Chief Rabbi of Israel, whose father is former Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and perhaps the most popular and respected Jewish leader in the country, refused to comment if he favors a peace march with Muslim leaders.”
So Israel Radio got away with another attempt for a campaign to jeopardize Israel as a Jewish state.
Why am I so doubtful of Sheikh Darwish?
Just because he was a terrorist does not mean he has not reformed, but peaceful means do not always have peaceful objectives.
Darwish is a native of Kfar Kassem and studied Islam in Shechem, a hotbed of Palestinian Authority terrorism in central Samaria.
He founded the Islamic Movement in Israel in 1971 and a few years later started a jihadist organization promoting “an Arab Islamic state in Palestine.”
He was arrested for terrorist activities, and he was convicted and jailed until Israel freed him as part of the infamous Jibril Agreement in 1985, when the Peres administration freed 1,150 terrorists and security prisoners in exchange for three Israeli prisoners captured during the First Lebanon War.
Darwish’s reform has included his public opposition to violence, but only in pre-1967 Israel.
However, he remains the spiritual leader of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement, whose northern branch leader is Raad Salah, the radical Islamic preacher who has been in and out of jail several times for violence and incitement, including calls for violence on the Temple Mount.
Salah has disassociated himself from Darwish because the radical leader opposes Darwish’s pragmatic approach to achieve “one-state” solution to the “problem” of Israel’s being a Jewish state.
“Whoever establishes a movement that is based on violation of the law, does not represent us,” Darwish has said. “However, in the West Bank and Gaza there is no rule of law; there is an occupation which must be eliminated, and not a state which must be respected.
“Therefore, I understand the Palestinians or the Lebanese, which are rising up in any way they can… If I were being occupied, I too would rise up, but the moment I decided that I am a part of the state as long as I am within the borders of the Green Line, I obey the law, together with my representatives in the Knesset, and this is proof that I do recognize the State of Israel.”
Darwish “understands” the need for violence in Judea, Gaza and Samaria while calling for peace, justifying violence because of the “occupation” and publicly opposing violence in Israel, despite his organization’s incitement. The southern branch of the Islamic Movement includes tens of thousands of Bedouin, who have become a major demographic threat.
Except for Be’er Sheva, the Bedouin population is the overwhelming majority in the Negev, thanks primarily to the government’s blind eye to bigamy. They have squatted on thousands of square miles of state land, including areas adjacent to IDF bases.
Darwish’s “peace march” proposal is like the American-backed “peace process,” which the Palestinian Authority pursues until it no longer can achieve its objective of a non-Jewish Israel.
They called that “peace.”