The violent reactions abroad to the intended Koran burnings in Florida and Tennessee, albeit appalling, are nevertheless not surprising. Regrettably, the official responses to this heinous, provocative, and now apparently contagious idea have been focused primarily on an array of national security considerations, such as the concern for the lives of our soldiers in Afghanistan. These responses were sorely disappointing, as they were not only fundamentally deficient but also predictably counterproductive. Essentially, due to the fact that they ignored, at our peril, the serious violation of a number of fundamental principles and core values is at stake. Had Koran burning occurred in Israel, the perpetrators would have had to face the full measure of punishments sanctioned by an explicit law that prohibits “the destruction or desecration of any religious icon or item that a group holds sacred.”
Additionally, even more disconcerting in this context, is the inexplicable deafening silence of the Jewish establishment, its vast array of public affairs organizations, its rabbinate, and its press – for as Jews we have experienced on our own flesh the scourge of periodic acts of auto da fÃ© and book-burnings. From the fires set by the Romans, who burned at the stake the saintly Rabbi Hanina ben Teradion enwrapped in a Torah scroll, through subsequent burnings of sacred texts such as the Talmud burning of 1242, to the Nazi burning of Jewish books of recent memory. Consequently, this atrocious abomination demands a significantly more effective and compelling response. So where are the public protests and demonstrations?
Where are the condemnations?
Where is the outrage?
Shame on us.