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Time’s Joe Klein’s Jewish Grandmother Settles the Ground Zero Mosque Debate

Posted on August 18 2010 7:00 pm
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Like most of you I have been on pins and needles waiting to find out where Time’s Joe Klein would come down on the Ground Zero mosque issue. Thankfully, in a situation already replete with raw emotion and intemperate language, Joe takes the high ground with a magnum opus that showcases his signature sense of nuance and balance.  If, at the end, you aren’t raising your Bic in the air and singing “We Are the World,” you have no soul.

From The Soft Bigotry of Soft Bigotry (note the repeated use of the comfort word “soft”):

Shame on all those Republicans salivating over President Obama’s support for the Cordoba Islamic Center, which is to be built several blocks away from Ground Zero in New York. Despite all the high-minded words about “sensitivity” for the families of the victims, this is slimeball politics, pure and simple, except for when it descends into outright religious bigotry–which seems to be what happens every time Newt Gingrich opens his mouth. Does that demented, anger-infused doofus actually believe that putting the mosque near Ground Zero is the equivalent of putting a swastika next to the Holocaust Museum? Does he really want to slander the tens of thousands of hard-working, freedom-loving, fiercely entrepreneurial Muslims living in this country? I mean, what a jerk.

Okay, let me just wipe off my glasses, blow my nose, and address this argument with a few quibbling points.

Now then  Joe … President Obama has been perfectly clear that he supports the right to build the mosque there—thus settling a constitutional debate no one was having—but will not comment on the wisdom of doing so. If a sophisticate like you doesn’t see the distinction what hope is there for the right-wing mouth-breathers you so deride?

Apart from that I appreciate your vigorous defense of the First Amendment—again notwithstanding the fact it was never the point of the argument—and the varied and colorful ways you found to say, in essence, that Newt Gingrich’s mother wears army boots.

But all of this is merely a prelude to the coup de grace, the closer argument that will silence critics instantly.  Somehow ignored in the debate thus far has been the shocking revelation that Klein’s Jewish grandmother’s fifteenth century ancestors fared better under the Muslims in Spain than under the Roman Catholics.

They lived there peaceably, sometimes prosperously, sometimes creatively for the entire Cordoba period, the era of Islamic rule. They were kicked out of Spain, with all the other Jews, in 1492–by the Catholic  King and Queen, Ferdinand and Isabella, who were quite the religious fanatics when they weren’t busy funding Christopher Columbus.

So, the next time you hear some malcontent complain about a mosque on hallowed ground, first wave your pocket Constitution under his nose, then say “Count your blessings, it could have been those Papists who treated Klein’s people so abysmally five hundred years ago!”

I have already contacted Robert Spencer with pointed queries about this, since it necessarily invalidates the entirety of his work. Since he hasn’t seen fit to respond I will shortly be mounting a “What About Joe’s Bubbie, Bob?” letter-writing campaign.

It is with such measured, lucid arguments that Klein is leading the movement that will heal this nation and maybe even make the waters recede.

I think he should call it the “New Relativism”.

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