Muslim Antisemitism BI–Before Israel

JOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF ANTISEMITISM [April 16, 2013edition]
Muslim Antisemitism BI—Before Israel
Alex Rose*

In Israel in Medialand, Eliyahu Tal observes:

While repetition is an innocuous educational term, brainwashing has to do with propaganda. Messages repeated day upon day, month after month, are bound to register in people’s minds and subconscious. The globalization of news transmissions simply lends that process more impetus. Once predominantly only reporters of news, the media have assumed the role of shapers of news, to a degree that arouses concern. One of the elder statesmen of American journalism, Eric Sevareid, even went so far as to write: “Our rigid formulae of so-called objectivity—our flat, one-dimensional handling of news, have given the lie the same prominence and impact that truth is given; they have elevated the influence of fools to that of wise men; the ignorant to the level of the learned; the evil to the level of the good.” [1]

Ever since the Israeli Declaration of Statehood, there has been a constant assertion that it was this singular act that resulted in Arab/Muslim hatred and antisemitism. It is frequently alluded to by Muslim leaders and, indeed, the media. Critics of Islam argue that the presence of Israel, a Jewish state and democracy, in the heart of the Islamic world is very difficult for Muslims to accept. It is very hard for Muslims to reconcile Israel’s existence and its regional military supremacy with the prevalent Muslim views that, as recipients of Allah’s final revelation, no Muslims should be subject to the political supremacy of a Jewish state. Further, regardless of the small size of Israel and the vastly larger land mass of the surrounding Arab lands, from the Muslim perspective, Israel’s presence is a cancer in the heart of the Islamic world.

What we learn from this is that the establishment of the State of Israel is a political bone of contention. In other words, the Arab-Israeli Wars, which are primarily a political confrontation, pitted Jews (who consider the State of Israel to be part of their ethnic identity) and Arab nationalism (considered by most Muslims to be a political extension of Arab ethnic identity) against each other [author emphasis]. The message that is projected on a regular basis is that the State of Israel is responsible for Islamic antisemitism, i.e., the root of the conflict. English stand up comedian Pat Condell has recognized this, stating that “Arabs don’t hate Jews because of Israel; they hate Israel because of the Jews.” [2]

To understand what this means for peace efforts with the Arabs, one need read no further than the Shmuel Katz’s 1982 pamphlet, No Solution to the Arab-Palestinian Problem. Katz understood full well the religious nature of the Arab-Israel conflict when he wrote:

Of all the statements about Israel made under Islamic religious inspiration, perhaps the most significant is the one uttered by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in a sermon he delivered in Cairo’s Al-Hussein mosque on April 25, 1972 on the occasion of the birthday anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad”: “The Jews were the neighbors of the Prophet in Medina . . . and he negotiated with them. But in the end they proved that they were men of deceit. The most splendid thing that the Prophet Muhammad did was to drive them out of the whole of the Arabian Peninsula . . . They are a nation of liars and traitors, contrivers of plots, a people born for deeds of treachery. . . . promise you . . . the defeat of Israeli arrogance and rampaging so that they shall return and be as the Quran said of them ‘condemned to humiliation and misery’ . . . We shall send them back to their former status.” [3]

Katz concludes: “The eradication of the State of Israel means the restoration of Islam to its potency, to its rightful dimensions: in Israel’s end lies the confirmation.”

Katz never shied away from the truth. He noted in The Existential Fact:
Indeed, one of the most critical tasks of the Jewish people is to ensure that at least its friends should absorb the fact—bleak, uncomfortable but existential—that the Islamic world, if it were prepared to accept Israel’s collective existence at all, would only tolerate it as a subject community under Muslim sovereignty. [4]

Hebrew University’s Robert Wistrich has more recently focused on Islamic antisemitism. His 2002 booklet Muslim Antisemitism: A Clear and Present Danger, while exhaustive, has a common theme. In his introduction, he makes the point that the warning signs of a terrorist attack on the centers and symbols of American security were evident long before 9/11, both in the rhetoric of the Al-Qaeda movement and in smaller scale attacks. He states further that “a virulent strain of antisemitism has taken root in the body politic of Islam to an unprecedented degree.

”Wistrich recognizes the centrality of the Koran in the dissemination of “some notably harsh passages” that are “far from harmless” in their description of Jews as “corrupter s of Scripture,” “falsehood,” and “distortion,” stubbornly and willfully rejecting Allah’s truth and their rejection of Muhammad, who branded them as enemies of Islam, depicting them as possessing a malevolent, rebellious spirit. According to Wistrich, the jihad against Israel is seen by the Islamists in particular as not only a military-political battle for the inalienable “sacred Muslim soil” [Waaf] of Palestine, but also as a struggle against a much larger force—“whether it be America or the occult power of the Jews.

Professor Wistrich:
Shortly after the disaster of June 1967, the more conservative fundamentalists exacerbated and sharpened the traditional image of Zionism and the Jews into something so utterly vile and perverse that it could only merit total eradication. In point, of fact, Muslim Arab antisemitism of the late 1960s was already genocidal in its implications. Virtually all the Arab theologians assembled in Cairo in 1968 denoted Jews as “enemies of God” and “enemies of humanity” and as a criminal riffraff rather than as a people; their state was seen as the illegitimate culmination of allegedly immutable and permanently depraved characteristics. President Sadat of Egypt on April 25, 1972, referred to the Jews as “a nation of liars and traitors, contrivers of plots, a people born for deeds of treachery,” who would soon be “condemned to humiliation and misery,” as prophesied in the Koran. [5]

Perhaps the most revealing observation provided by Wistrich in his excellent opinion piece is expressed in the following statement: “The Western media, as is its custom, has been extremely reluctant to relate the current terrorist war against Israel and the West to its ideological roots in Islam or to the sources and meaning of Jihad.”

Brown University’s Andrew Boston published “Misunderstanding Islamic Antisemitism” in the American Thinker (2008). He framed his work around two questions based upon his research and distributed to a cadre of academics, independent scholars, theologians, journalists, and activists who have addressed antisemitism within the Muslim world. His questions were whether this quote exemplifies racial or at least ethnic antisemitism, and where or when it was written. Here is a response:

Our people [the Muslims] observing thus occupations of the Jews and the Christians concluded that the religion of the Jews must compare unfavorably as do their professions, and that their unbelief must be foulest of all, since they are the filthiest of all nations. Why the Christians, ugly as they are, are physically less repulsive than the Jews may be explained by the fact that the Jews, by not intermarrying, have intensified the offensiveness of their features. Exotic elements have not mingled with them, neither have males of alien races had intercourse with their women, nor have their men cohabited with females of foreign stock. The Jewish race therefore has been denied high mental qualities, sound physique, and superior lactation. The same results obtain when horses, camels, donkeys, and pigeons are inbred. [6]

The responses to Boston were unsurprising, representing conventional academic and journalistic generally accepted beliefs—in other words, the assertion that Muslim Jew hatred is of recent origin, commencing in the late 19th or early 20th centuries, a byproduct of the advent of Zionism and the consequent Arab-Israel conflict over the land area defined in the mandate for historical Palestine. Yet the quote, which dates back to an essay by an Arab writer named al-Jahiz (d. 869), clearly illustrates the anti-Jewish attitudes prevalent within an important early Islamic society. At this point, Boston provides numerous examples of antisemitic statements from Muslim authors throughout the ages, using demeaning quotes from the Koran and other religious texts. He brings to mind a specific quote from Bat Ye’or’s 1974 foresighted analysis of the Islamic antisemitism and resurgent jihadism in her native Egypt:

The pejorative characteristics of Jews as they are described in Muslim religious texts are applied to modern Jews. Anti-Judaism and anti-Zionism are equivalent—due to the inferior status of Jews in Islam, and because divine will dooms Jews to wondering and misery, the Jewish state appears to Muslims as an unbearable affront and a sin against Allah. Therefore it must be destroyed by Jihad.

In his classic La Trahison de Clercs (1928), Julien Benda decried with prophetic accuracy how the abandonment of objective truth abetted totalitarian ideologies, which led to the cataclysmic destruction of World War II. This classic remains the nearly complete failure of Western intellectuals to study, understand, and acknowledge the heinous consequences of the living institution of jihad war and Jew hatred. The intimately related doctrine of Islamic antisemitism, Professor Boston concludes this article with this observation: “And the jihad against the Jews is but one aspect, albeit primal, of the jihad to establish global Islamic hegemony.”

From the days of Mohammad, non -Muslims under Muslim rule were subject to taxation , humiliation, oppression, exile and murder. Boston proves this through historical analysis. The Koran is believed to bet he perfect, unchanging, eternal word of God. This leaves Islam no room for reform, especially when it comes to hostility to non-Muslims, especially Jews.

This essay is a shortened version of an article, “Antisemitism and Islam,” originally published in Think Israel, http://think-israel.org

References:
[1] Eliyahu Tal ed. Israel in Medialand : A Study of the International Media’s Coverage of the Uprising [ intifada ] in Judea, Samara and the Gaza Strip, 1988. Tal Communications, distributed by The Jerusalem Post.
[2] “The Great Palestine Lie”, October 6, 2011, accessed January 1, 2013 http:// gatesofvienna, blog
spot.com/2011/10/Arabs-don’t- hate- Jews-because=of=israel.htm.
[3] Shmuel Katz, “No solution to the Arab Palestinian Problem.” Jerusalem : Van Leer Foundation, 1982 , accessed January 1, 2013, www.shmuelkatz.com/Articles/NoSolutionToArabPal.pdf
[4] Shmuel Katz, “The Existential Fact. “The Jerusalem Post, January 21, 1981.
[5] Quoted in Robert S. Wistrich, “Muslim Anti-Antisemitism: A Clear and Present Danger.” New York: American Jewish Committee, 2002, accessed January 1, 2013, http://www.ajc.org/atf/cf/%7B42d75369—d582-4380-8395-d25925b8eaf%7D/antisemitism.
[6] Quoted in Andrew G. Bostom, “Misunderstanding Islamic Anti-Antisemitism.”American Thinker, May11, 2008.
[7] Quoted in Bostom , “Misunderstanding.”

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.
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