Jacob Bender is the first Jew to lead a chapter of the Muslim Advocacy Group CAIR. The Philly activist gets well-deserved hostility from the Jewish community as he spouts the same kind of ‘Islamophobia’-centered Muslim propaganda spewed by all the terror-linked Muslim Brotherhood front groups like CAIR in America.
FORWARD Jacob Bender is set to be the voice of Philadelphia-area Muslims, to take on discrimination they encounter in workplace and in the public sphere, and to fight expressions of hate. And his Jewish faith, Bender believes, can only help him do the job effectively.
The Muslim community is under attack from Islamophobic forces, and it is the obligation and responsibility of people of good will to stand up and say this is a bigoted attack, Bender said. This is fully in keeping with my life goals.
The Council on American Islamic Relations Philadelphia branch announced the appointment of Bender as its executive director October 15. Bender is the first Jew, and the first non-Muslim, to serve as director of a CAIR branch. The needs of the Muslim community are really the needs of any minority community in the United States, said Iftekhar Hussein, chairman of CAIR-Philadelphias board of directors. Jacob, being Jewish, understands that from his own background.
An activist on Jewish-Muslim interfaith issues who has been involved in the past on the progressive end of Middle East peace advocacy, Bender will face two entirely different sets of expectations in his new position. He will meet a local Muslim community expecting a non-Muslim to represent its needs just as well as would a member of their own faith. He will also face a national Jewish leadership that has all but deemed CAIR off-limits for any dialogue.
In a lengthy document published in 2006, the Anti-Defamation League accused CAIR of holding extreme positions on Israel and of having links to individuals and groups that expressed support for terror organizations. Jewish groups have also pointed in the past to the fact that CAIR was initially named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case of the Holy Land Foundation, an American-based charity charged with raising funds for Hamas. But in 2012 a circuit court ordered that the reference to CAIR be expunged.
CAIR is far off the radar screen of the Jewish community, said Ethan Felson, vice president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The Jewish community looked at their record and said, We wont work with this group. While no official policy has been adopted, the Jewish community has excluded CAIR from all joint interfaith activities with the Muslim community and has focused on ties with the Islamic Society of North America and with local mosques and imams.
CAIR and Bender reject the Jewish organizations claims that the group is in any way extreme. There will always be those who will try to demonize other groups, Bender said. As someone who has long supported Palestinian rights and was critical of the policy of occupation, I find no contradiction between my long-stated opinions on the Middle East and those of CAIR.
Abraham Foxman, the ADLs national director, said in a statement to the Forward that time will tell. Benders Jewish faith, he said, does not necessarily matter. Unfortunately, there are Jews who are anti-Jewish and anti-Israel, Foxman added, but we will wait and see.
His job at CAIR-Philadelphia, one of a network of 20 independent chapters across the country, will focus primarily on countering anti-Muslim discrimination. In recent years the chapter has been among the key groups fighting against anti-Sharia laws proposed in Pennsylvania. It has spoken out publicly against anti-Muslim stereotypes following the Boston marathon bombing.
Ive never had any question or negative feeling about CAIR ever since I came in contact with them, Bender said. Ive never encountered any anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic sentiment. The opposite is true.
ABOUT JACOB ‘Judenrat’ BENDER:
Jacob Bender is a documentary filmmaker, video producer, photographer, graphic designer, and interfaith consultant
Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Jacob was one of the initiators of interfaith dialogue with the American Muslim community. He has spoken dozens of times at mosques and at large gatherings of Muslims in the United States, particularly at the conventions of the Islamic Society of North America, the largest Muslim organization in the US.
In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, Jacob was a featured speaker at the annual Doha Conferences on Religious Dialogue, organized by the Foreign Ministry of Qatar. In 2008, he was invited by the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC, to participate in the historic interfaith conference in Madrid initiated by HRH King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia. In January and June of 2009, Jacob spoke at interfaith conferences organized by Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. Jacob has also been a featured guest on the Aljazeera Channel show Min Washington.
Jacob has published articles in Islamic Horizons Magazine, The Daily Star of Beirut, Lebanon, and an article appeared about him in The Arab News of Saudi Arabia. His Letters to the Editor have been published in newspapers around the world, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Jordan Times, The Gulf News, and El Pais.
In 1984, Jacob was a speech writer on interfaith affairs for Rev. Jesse Jackson during his historic presidential campaign.
Jacob has been a leading voice in the American Jewish community for a just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. 1995, he led delegations of American peace activists that met with Chairman Yassir Arafat in Gaza and King Hussein in Amman.
Jacob has a degree in The History of Religions from the University of California at Los Angeles, and studied film and television at New York Universitys Graduate School of Film.
OUT OF CORDOBA
There is no Clash of Civilizations between the Muslim World and the West. There is only a clash of ignorance.
Out of Cordoba is a documentary film, directed by Jacob Bender and produced by Mr. Bender and MLK Producciones of Malaga, Spain, that explores some of the most vexing questions of our time: Is there a clash of civilizations between the West and the Islamic world? Are Jews and Muslims eternal enemies, incapable of peaceful coexistence? Does religious faith lead inevitably to xenophobia and violence?
Big Peace Out of Cordoba, (2008) was directed by Jacob Bender, self-described as one of the initiators of interfaith dialogue with the American Muslim community. He has spoken dozens of times at mosques and at large gatherings of Muslims in the United States, particularly at the conventions of the Islamic Society of North America, the largest Muslim organization in the US. He neglects to mention that ISNA was also named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial.
Restoring Al-Andalus an ageless Model of Tolerance has been the stated goal of Al-Qaeda. In September 2007 Ayman al-Zawahiri issued an audio tape calling for the reconquest of Al-Andalus and more recently called for the cleansing of North Africa of Spaniards and the French as preparation for the reoccupation of Al-Andalus. An al-Qaeda-linked cyber-jihadist group that targets US companies with hacks and computer worms styles themselves as The Brigades of Tariq ibn Ziyad, named after the invader and occupier of Spain.
The Out of Cordoba documentarys Advisory board includes the usual Shariah apologists Karen Armstrong and John L. Esposito, but also: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Ground Zero Mosque, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, Fiqh Council of North America, and Dr. Sayyid Muhammed Syeed, Islamic Society of North America.
The Funders for the film include the Alwaleed bin Talal Foundation (Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is an investor in News Corporation and gives in the tens of millions to Harvard, Georgetown and others to start Shariah academic programs), the Muslim Brotherhood-associated International Institute of Islamic Thought, the Islamic Society of North America (unindicted co-conspirator) and the Alavi Foundation (FBI began to seize their assets in 2009, and the former president was sentenced in 2010 to prison).