In the battle for American public opinion, it was a tremendous favor by Muslim radicals to crash last year's pro-Israel rally in Fort Lauderdale to chant profane, vicious, ethnic slurs at Jewish demonstrators, who looked positively civil by comparison.
But as masked blogger Rollo Tomasi* points out on ToeTagDiary.com, we should remember that Israel also has extremists who can whip up a noxious cocktail of ethnic hatred, as evidenced by these hot-selling T-shirts. Check out the one that shows a picture of a pregnant Muslim inside a sniper's crosshairs. "One shot. Two kills," it says.
Neither group makes a particularly compelling argument for the merits of religious extremism -- or of religion, period. So the news of more rallies in the new year is a bit distressing. Because let's face it, these rallies aren't a way to encourage public debate so much as a way of flexing muscle to the extremists on the other side of an issue, who then feel compelled to stage a rally of their own. As those rallies annoy people, it leads moderates to adopt more extreme views. A course that will add power, increase membership, and generate revenue for the extreme groups. As well as more ethno-religious tension, if not violence.
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* Juice suspects that Tomasi is the pseudonym of former Sun-Sentinel writer John DeGroot, whose eponymous blog betrays a suspiciously similar acerbic tone. I reached DeGroot this morning, and he denied any associations with Tomasi, saying those similarities are either "pure coincidence or an act of God." But DeGroot allowed for the possibility that due to his advanced age, his computer could be seized by a "doppelganger personality" like Tomasi. Here at Juice, we will continue to investigate this matter.