raphael israeli 298.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
An Israeli academic is at the center of a political storm after saying Australia needs to keep its Muslim community "a marginal minority" lest life become "untenable" Down Under.
Raphael Israeli, a professor of Islamic history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, made the comments in an interview published in last Friday's Australian Jewish News, which prompted the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) to cancel a lecture series in which it was scheduled to co-host him.
Israeli lashed out at "the dhimmi-like Jewish leadership," who he said had capitulated in a "shameful submission to the Muslim thugs and under the false claims of a 'multicultural society in Australia,' which they know is not true."
Writing in the Dhimmi Watch section of the jihadwatch.org Web site, Israeli admitted to saying "many harsh words about Islam in Europe" in his interview with the Australian Jewish News, but that his comments were not about Australia.
But he blasted the Jewish leadership, who he said had "shamefully disowned me instead of standing up for me."
"They apologized to the thugs and brought upon themselves the disgrace of unconditional submission," he wrote.
"They do not want to rock the boat. They are scared to stir things up. The easiest way for them was to sacrifice the guest they invited, thus punishing not me, but the Jewish audiences who need the education for which I was brought here."
In a letter to the Australian newspaper on Monday, Israeli said he felt betrayed by the Jews: "I come from a country dipped in solidarity and that never abandons its fighters in the battlefield. Here I feel abandoned, forlorn, betrayed by people who lack courage and stamina to stand up for principles."
AIJAC's executive director, Dr. Colin Rubenstein, said he was "very concerned" by Israeli's implication that the Muslim community as a whole is a threat. "His comments are both unacceptable and unhelpful, and AIJAC cannot be associated with them," he said.
Dr. Hilton Immerman, the director of the Shalom Institute, a Jewish center at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said Israeli would continue to be a scholar-in-residence at the institute.
Israeli, who is teaching a six-week course on "Understanding Islam," told the Sydney Morning Herald: "When the Muslim population gets to a critical mass, you have problems. That is the general rule - so if it applies everywhere, it applies in Australia."
Israeli was quoted in the Australian Jewish News saying: "You have to infiltrate all those circles where the Muslim radicals operate, to arrest them, and to limit immigration into Western countries where these Muslims are bent on destroying Western civilization."
He warned the situation in Australia would become "untenable" if the Muslim population increased to almost 10 percent, as it has in France.
The chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Vic Alhadeff, said in a statement, "The Jewish community dissociates itself from the comments by Israeli academic Raphael Israeli that Australia should limit the number of Muslim immigrants."
Dr. Ameer Ali, who heads the federal government's Muslim Advisory Taskforce, said the comments were "totally inflammatory." He told the Melbourne-based Age newspaper that Israeli was promoting the views of Israel's government.
Israeli's latest book, The Third Islamic Invasion of Europe, warns that Europe is in danger of becoming "Eurabia" within 50 years.