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Library General Arab & Muslim Anti-Semitism
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Arab & Muslim Anti-Semitism
I am posting something I wrote on another site, hoping that the fine critical and analytical minds here may help me refine my argument (or show where I may be wrong).  I would simply link to my original post, but I think I can expect a higher level of discussion here.  Moreover, men are expressly prohibited from joining this other site (even though I suspect there are a few cross-dressers there).  I have had a low level, marginally unpleasant dialogue with various muslimahs on this other site for a year, but finally seemed to have encountered someone who may offer a more substantive response than the generally vacuous responses I am used to.
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In particular, a woman (presumably) with the nic "HeatUSA-Tunisia" took exception to my claim that,  "Many Arabs, on the other hand, make no bones about their desire to kill any Jewish Israeli or, indeed, even any Jew."   

So far, I have received the following response from HeatUSA:

 Are you truly unaware that there are indigenous groups of Jewish people who still live in Arab countries and if MANYArabs thought it was ok to just kill people, these groups wouldn't still be in existence, nor would the Jewish population in Israel?  I will address the other issues later, after I have a chance to form a cited response.

I am not sure how to respond to her, as her response does have a certain logic, although I also suspect she is sweeping a lot under the rug.  Probably my response should include a reference to dhimmitude, but even if Jews today live in Arab countries in a state of dhimmitude, that would not totally vitiate her point- after all, Jews lived in Muslim lands for centuries in that state.  I am ill-equipped to discuss this issue with any sophistication (I am a Christian of Filipino ancestry who grew up as a "twinkie" in the USA, and I speak no Arabic and basically know little about Islam, so would particularly welcome comments from Arab Muslims who have lived in Arab countries.

With that introduction to my first post on Thinqon, I will simply paste my comments from the other site below. 

becca

P.S.  For anyone unfamiliar with the term, "twinkie" refers to someone of East Asian ancestry who "thinks white".  The name comes from a sweet bakery product that- drum roll- is yellow on the outside and white on the inside.  It can be used as a disparaging term, so think twice before referring to people that way!
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Dear HeatUSA,  

  A most cordial thanks you for your response. And I appreciate your calling attention to the specific part of my post that you considered an "accusation".  I find the widespread tendency on these threads to quote an entire post when you want to focus only on a specific sentence or two to lend itself to confusion.  I admit, when I wrote that I had made "no accusation whatsover", I was thinking in terms of accusing someone of the murders of the settler family.  I am grateful for the opportunity to address what you consider an accusation.

First, allow me to comment my claim that you were disreputable and dishonest.  I believe I have been the subject of many baseless claims on these threads, and I'm quite exasperated by it.  Moreover, not seeing an accusation in my post, but having you claim I made one, made me shrill, and I apologize for claiming you were dishonest- I had misunderstood you.    By the way, I still do not think my comments have been irrelevant to this thread, but I'll let that  criticism you made of me slide.

 I do not think my claim, or accusation, that you highlighted above is best approached through the use of statistics, particularly since the Arab world,  to the best of my knowledge, engages in limited polling of public attitudes (dictatorships in general seem a little suspicious of pollsters).  Certainly I do not have statistics.  But there are many other ways to substantiate my claim, and I shall be happy to explain why I have the view of Arab/Muslim culture that I do.  Frankly, I would be interested in your considered response, because I think these are important matters that strike at the heart of the divide between the Muslim and Christian worlds.  I hope we may have a meaningful exchange on this issue, and I hope to learn from your response.  

Admittedly, I considered my claim that many Arabs "make no bones their desire to kill Jews" unremarkable and well substantiated by facts and history, but I can certainly understand why you might find it a jarring comment. I'd like to justify my claim and will do so by referring to statements made by respected Arab/Muslim authorities.   

I will begin by citing a prominent Egyptian commentator Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a major figure in the Muslim Brotherhood who is well known to millions in the Muslim world through his TV show on Al Jazeera.  As I'm sure you know, the  Brotherhood is a long standing movement Egypt of considerable influence and may achieve a leading role in Egyptian politics as the nation adopts a new style of governance. Al-Qaradawi only returned to Egypt after decades in exile after Muburak vacated the presidency.  Last month, as huge crowds gathered on Cairo's Tahrir Square in part to celebrate Mubarak's ouster, Qaradawi was a keynote speaker. Among this prominent man's numerous public comments are the following, which I believe are considered entirely unremarkable in the Arab and Muslim world:   

Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them-even though they exaggerated this issue-he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers. 

(http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/59415/qaradawi-addresses-tahrir-square/)



I see, so Qaradawi sees the Holocaust, in which approximately six million men, women and children were murdered by Nazis  simply because they were Jewish, as Allah's punishment, and Hitler merely "put them in their place" (did he mean gas chambers were the appropriate place for Jews?).  Well I won't go into my opinion of a religion that teaches that the murder of innocent children is God's will, but I will note that, when Hurricane Katrina killed thousands in New Orleans, some Muslim commentators saw that as Allah's punishment against the United States.  I wonder if the recent earthquake in Japan, or earthquakes in Iran, also are divine punishment for something or other.  Moreover, according to Qaradawi,  the next time Jews are exterminated en masse, for the simple crime of being Jewish, Allah willing, it will be at the hands of adherents to Qaradawi's faith.  If that is not an exhortation, under the guise of religious devotion, to kill Jews, I don't know what is.  

Now all cultures have their embarrassments.  But my immediate point is that Qaradawi is not some fringe figure: he is a leader of major movement in Egyptian society, indeed a movement that has deep roots in much of the Arab world.  I think Qaradawi's words were not and are not considered exceptional in the Muslim world: almost certainly Qaradawi's reputation was not damaged by uttering such hateful words that are an exhortation to murder.  Certainly Al Jazeera saw his statement as no reason to stop his weekly broadcasts. 

I'll offer another example of Arab Muslims in a position of authority who urged the murder of Jews- and it is simply one of many.  In 1929, the Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini called upon his followers in Hebron to "Kill the Jews everywhere. This pleases Allah."  (http://my.telegraph.co.uk/actuality/tag/safed-pogrom/)  In what was possibly an exaggeration, the Telegraph calls al-Husseini's statement, "the foundation of the Arab-Israeli conflict." 

 So again, we see a Muslim/Arab religious leader calling for the religiously sanctioned murder of Jews.  I'm sorry, Heat, but this is contrary of every civilized norm and religious precept that I hold dear.   

But in one sense, I think Husseini may be right: the killing of Jews does please Allah in that there is indeed a theological justification for the religiously sanctioned murder of Jews, and it goes back to the very inception of Islam.  You probably are familiar with verse from the Koran that is translated as follows:  

The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him. 


    This is the Religion of Peace, Heat?  Do you not agree there is indeed a religious sanction to the murder of Jews in the sacred tests of Islam?  I really would be interested in your answer to that question.   By the way, this exhortation to murder is referenced in the Charter of Hamas (http://www.almoltaqa.ps/english/archive/index.php/t-2125.html).  


  My final historical example will be a (mercifully :>) brief one.  When Adolf Eichmann, architect of Hitler's Final Solution, was captured by Israeli agents in 1961 and taken to Israel for trial (the only person to be executed by the Jewish state), the government newspaper in Saudi Arabia reported the event as follows (http://old.nationalreview.com/derbyshire/derbyshire032202.shtml)

 ARREST OF EICHMANN, WHO HAD THE HONOR OF KILLING 6 MILLION JEWS



  To the Saudis of the day (and I suspect today), the mass murder of Jews, which essentially wiped out Jews from a significant part of Europe, was an honor.   Truly amazing, Heat: the murder of  millions, including children, convicted of no crime other than their religious identity, was an honor.  I doubt there was any condemnation in the Arab or Muslim world for this headline: again, that was simply business as usual for Arab Muslims. 

  I could go on and on, Heat, but I am weary of repeating the obvious. Suffice it is to say, I think, based in part on what I've shared with you today, that hatred of Jews is common in the Arab/Muslim world and that murder of Jews is in some way sanction by the guardians of Islam.  Are you truly unaware of the history and the attitude I've documented here?  Sometimes I think Muslims simply expect that gullible Westerners will be ignorant of it, and to a considerable extent that expectation is met.

  There is a better way, HeatUSA.  Religious observance does not have to call for the extermination of other people.  As severely challenged as Jews are, I think you cannot point to a single Jewish leader of any stature in Israel or elsewhere who has called for the extermination of Muslims.  But such calls are utterly unexceptional on the part of Muslims toward Jews.  

  So this is, in part, why I said "Many Arabs, on the other hand, make no bones about their desire to kill any Jewish Israeli or, indeed, even any Jew."   It was a statement I regarded as something anyone familiar in passing with the Middle East today would be aware of and find unexceptional, but you, apparently, took exception to it.  

  I mentioned there is a better way.    I could point you in that way.  Would you be willing to consider such a direction?  I truly hope so.    
I have to say it's not clear to me that what you are doing is any better than antisemitism. You cherry pick a few quotes and use them to condemn a very large group of people -either Arabs, or Muslims, or is it Arab Muslims? You don't seem to have quite decided. In any case how is attacking people for their ethnic or religious identity different from antisemitism?

I don't think such a broad attack against an entire people could (or should) be sustained under any circumstances, but you're particularly injudicious in your use of sources. Do you know, for example, where that quote from Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi came from? The Tablet article to which you link doesn't provide a source (already a bad sign). I googled it and found that quote has been widely cited on right wing sites like Atlas Shrugged, Free Republic, Pajamas Media and Fox News....but no one seems to know where it came from. It begins to take on the character of one of those urban legends that gets repeated to so many times people just assume it is true, especially when it happens to dovetail nicely with their own prejudices. Finally thanks to the Simon Wiesenthal Center I nailed down the source as a transcript prepared by MEMRI, a partisan group headed by a former colonel in Israeli intelligence which is pretty openly engaged in trying to shape the media narrative on the Middle East in a way favourable to Israeli interests  (see for example this article from the Guardian ---> http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/aug/12/worlddispatch.brianwhitaker). Absent some independent confirmation of the transcript, which I have not been able to find, I think some caution is warranted in according it credibility.

Your other two examples of Arab "antisemitism" are so dated (1929 and 1961) that they are hardly worth engaging on their own merits. Surely if Arab / Muslim "antisemtism" is as pervasive as you claim you don't need to reach for examples that are half a century or more old to demonstrate it.  I will point out that your use of sources remains dubious however. The Telegraph link is to an anonymous user blog which once again uses an unsourced quote (and is obviously written by someone with an agenda), and which you mistakenly attribute to The Telegraph itself. Then you turn to the National Review, which is hardly a publication known for its fair and balanced coverage of the Middle East. As Glenn Greenwald has documented (http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2007/01/meaning-of-marty-peretz.html) National Review editor Marty Peretz has a long history of spewing racist invective against Muslims and Arabs. Funny you don't seem to find anything objectionable there.

As an aside, have you noticed that you seem to have allowed your views on Arabs and Muslims be entirely determined by people who hate them? 

It's curious how people can be quick to accuse others of hate while remaining completely oblivious to their own.

In response to Emma Brock
Hmmm, Emma,


You cherry pick a few quotes and use them to condemn a very large group of people -either Arabs, or Muslims, or is it Arab Muslims?

I'd say it's a little more than cherry picking, Emma- I'd say it's more representive, disturbingly representative. Now, if you can find a body of quotes from prominent Arab Muslims to contradict the sentiment of those I have quoted, that might help place matters into a different perspective for me. My impression, however, is things like the blood libel, the Hamas Charter, with its reference to the Koran exhorting good Muslims to kill the Jew behind the tree, go unchallenged among religious Muslims. If you can produce examples in which proponents of anti-Semitism are challenged by, say, prominent Muslim clerics, particularly when speaking primarily to Muslims, I will certainly appreciate it: I'd be less interested in quotes intended for Western audiences. The quotes I picked where from Muslim leaders, directed toward other Muslims, and I do not believe their sentiment is seriously challenged by a a significant opposing viewpoint.



As an aside, have you noticed that you seem to have allowed your views on Arabs and Muslims be entirely determined by people who hate them?

Wow! You seem to have keen insight into how I have formed my impressions of Arabs and Muslims. Where you come upon such insight is a bit of a mystery. For the record, I would say your insight is seriously flawed.



Do you know, for example, where that quote from Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi came from? … I nailed down the source as a transcript prepared by MEMRI,



FWIW, I generally consider MEMRI to be a reliable source, but I’m sure errors creep into the site. I doubt, however, the quote was original with MEMRI. While I cannot vouch for the veracity of the quote in question, it does ring true to me. Perhaps you can point to a source which reliably denies the quote? Almost certainly such an inflammatory, hateful quote, once widely circulated, would be refuted if it were false. If you cannot find such refutation, perhaps you should be a little cautious about casting aspersions on others.



Your other two examples of Arab "antisemitism" are so dated (1929 and 1961) that they are hardly worth engaging on their own merits.

Sorry sister, but that strikes me as an utterly banal comment (ok I minored in history in college). Attitudes do evolve, but widespread attitudes of decades ago are hardly irrelevant to the present- or the future.



It's curious how people can be quick to accuse others of hate while remaining completely oblivious to their own.



I find that to be an exceptionally snotty personal attack- I quite resent your insinuation. For the record, while I am suspicious of Islam as a religion and of some of the the directions it appears to be taking today (and, gasp, has taken in recent history, which for some reason seems irrelevant to you), I deny hating Muslims. One of the quotes I harken to, from a Christian who worked in the the Middle East for decades at considerable personal risk, is, "Islam is the enemy: Muslims are the victim".



From another of your posts:

Considering that American Christians have been responsible for many more deaths of Arab and south Asian Muslims than the reverse since 9/11 your understanding of hate seems curiously one sided.



Technically true, I suppose, but quite irrelevant, and highly misleading. You are, I can only assume, referring to American soldiers acting in response to secular demands, with no significant religious overtones to the wars from which non-combatants' deaths are the accidents of war. If American leaders wanted to kill Muslims in Arab nations and Southwest Asia simply because they were Muslims, well, let's just say they have the technical means to be much more effective about it. I have pointed to religiously inspired anti-Semitism and murder on the part of Arab Muslims.  You respond that Americans not acting as Christians per se, but as American soldiers in a secular war, have killed  more Muslims. You mix apples and oranges.   



I find your comments utterly unpersuasive.



becca

In response to Rebecca Browne
Re:  MEMRI.


I'd be careful of MEMRI as a source of reliable/impartial information: Why?   Look who co-founded MEMRI:  

1.   Yigal Carmon (former colonel in the Israeli Military Intelligence,  former Counterterrorism adviser to prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin. )  

2.   Meyrav Wurmser, who is a neo-conservative and against the "land for peace" negotiations.  Etc.  
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