Provocateurs and their Supporters

by Rabbi Avi Shafran

Liberal-minded American Jews rightly regard Pamela Geller, who organized the Garland, Texas, cartoon-of Islam’s-founder contest earlier this month, as an irresponsible provocateur. What’s odd is that many of those very same liberal-minded American Jews enthusiastically champion (and generously support) another irresponsible provocateur.

That would be the “Women of the Wall” — the attention-addicted feminist group bent on holding vocal women’s services at the Kosel Maaravi that offend the sensibilities of the traditional Orthodox women and men who most frequent the site and have regularly prayed there in traditional fashion for decades.

It might seem at first thought that Ms. Geller’s stunts are in a category of their own… But Ms. Geller isn’t misguided only because of the violent reactions she invites. She is misguided because, put simply and starkly, it’s wrong to provoke people. There is nothing wrong with condemning Islamist terrorism or holding the banner of free speech as high as one chooses. But to try to make one’s points by insulting the sensibilities of all Muslims is boorish.

Which brings us to the “Women of the Wall.” They are free to make the case that their feminist vision should trump Jewish tradition. But seeking to flaunt their conviction in the faces of others for whom it is anathema is crass.

Read the full article at HaModia.