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Kabbalah.info released an infographic containing commons reasons why people have hated Jews throughout history, as well as a statistical analysis of anti-Semitism in the world today. The infographic gives as neatly packaged historical overview of reasons people have hated Jews throughout history. It also clearly shows how anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise, the vast extent of Jew hatred today, and the different reasons why people have hated Jews throughout history. The infographic also poses a deeper question in relation to the statistics and facts presented: Can there be a deeper, core reason as to why people hate Jews that you really need to dig deep to see? (Click Dr Michael laitman to read article)
NEW YORK — As Jews around the world prepare to celebrate the holiday of Shavuot commemorating the acceptance of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, we are profoundly disturbed by the resurgence of global anti-Semitism. What seems not sufficiently understood is the deep connection between these two, Sinai and anti-Semitism.
Seven decades after the Holocaust, the hatred of Jews and Judaism has reappeared with a vengeance in the major capitals of Europe. In the contemporary disguise of anti-Zionism, once again it made its way around the world. Jews as a people and Israel as their land are once more the scapegoats responsible for all the world’s ills and the cause of all of its wrongs.
For the longest time, scholars have attempted to understand what is it about Jews that made them the focus of this obsessive animosity. As fewer than one quarter of 1 percent of the world’s population, what could possibly have turned them into the supreme villains of mankind? And how did countries with not even a single Jew become rabid anti-Semites?
The question is so perplexing that many have simply given up trying to come up with an answer. Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor, concluded that the endurance of anti-Semitism remains a mystery; he described anti-Semitism as an “irrational disease.” The unsolvable puzzle, he said, is that “the world has changed in the last 2,000 years, and only anti-Semitism has remained. . The only disease that has not found its cure is anti-Semitism.”
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, expressed the fear that “we currently face as great a threat to the safety and security of the Jewish people as the one we faced in the 1930s — if not a greater one,” but he could find no better explanation for its persistent presence other than calling it “a spiritual and psychological illness.”
True, reasons for anti-Semitism have often been offered. Their obvious error invariably was the inherent contradiction of their explanations. Jews were despised because they were too liberal — and also because they were too conservative. They were too cheap and of course they were also too spendthrift; too passive and too pushy; too charitable and too selfish; too religious and too secular.
Pick any characteristic and Jews have been blamed either for possessing too much of it or not having it at all. Jews have been the scapegoats for the sins of every political system. Max Nordau, the great Zionist leader, had it right: “The Jews are not hated because they have evil qualities; evil qualities are sought for in them because they are hated.”
A little over a century ago, with the beginning of the Zionist movement, Jews thought they at last had found the answer. Theodore Herzl fervently believed that it was all because the Jews had no land of their own. Stateless, they were natural victims. Only their abnormal political reality caused them to become international pariahs. No longer homeless, with Israel Jews would find acceptance and universal respect.
Yet the state of Israel has disabused Jews of Hertzl’s response to anti-Semitism. If anything, Jews with a state of their own have become far more vulnerable to the world’s hostility. Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only member of the United Nations whose right to exist is regularly challenged and whose elimination from the world map is the aim of other U.N. member states.
The rabbis of the Talmud saw it in the very name of the mountain on which the Ten Commandments were given. “Sinai” in Hebrew is similar to the word “sinah” — hatred. It was the Jews’ acceptance of a higher law of morality and ethics that was responsible for the world’s enmity.
Jews were the first to preach the message of the Ten Commandments, that worship of God includes the second tablet of respect for fellow mankind. As the mother religion of both Christianity and Islam, Judaism pioneered the ideal of the holy and the human need for acting in accord with divine law. But anti-Semitism stands in opposition to the very idea of civilization. It detests Jews because it acknowledges that Jews are the conscience of humanity and the lawgivers of ethical and moral behavior.
Amazingly enough, Adolf Hitler dared to verbalize it as justification for his plan for genocide of the Jewish people: “Conscience is a Jewish invention like circumcision. My task is to free men from the dirty and degrading ideas of conscience and morality.”
As Jews prepare to celebrate the reception of the Ten Commandments, anti-Semitism ought to be viewed as a badge of honor. Jews are hated not because they are bad but because they persist in reminding the world of what it means to be good. Anti-Semitism is nothing less than a visceral reaction to the cry of a guilty conscience.
Before answering this, it is important to remember that not EVERYBODY hates the Jews. Sometimes when we hear the news, or we learn about the unhappy parts of our history, it is easy to become very sad and frightened and feel everyone hates us. This is not true at all.
One is that Jews have always been different. Because we have laws about so many aspects of our lives: how we eat, where we pray, our festivals etc., it makes us stand out. Many people did not, and still do not, understand us. This has led to fear or even hatred. This has happened to Jews over thousands of years.
Also, the Jews have often been blamed for things that were not their fault. In ancient times they were blamed for killing Jesus, which they did not do. Christians believe that Jesus was God on Earth so his death made them hate us. But this has change now. Modern Christian leaders no longer blame the Jews.
Jews have had to move around a lot and have often been the “new arrivals” in countries where people did not always welcome them. Because Jews were forbidden to work in many jobs in Europe hundreds of years ago, they were forced to work as moneylenders which made them very unpopular too.
Anti-semitism is a terrible thing. Any hatred of a whole nation, colour, or religion is wrong. The Torah tells us to, “love you neighbour as yourself,” (Leviticus 18:19), and the Jews have suffered badly from people who have ignored that.
It has been said that the history of almost all Jewish holidays can be summed up as: "They wanted to kill us; we won. Let's eat." Why has antisemitism been so pervasive in so many countries, in so many time periods and for so many reasons? (One begins to wonder. Perhaps there is something wrong with the Jews and Judaism? After all, there is an old Yiddish saying -- "If one person calls you a donkey, ignore him; if two people call you a donkey, buy a saddle.")
Between 250 CE and 1948 CE - a period of 1,700 years - Jews experienced more than eighty expulsions from different European countries - an average of nearly one expulsion every twenty-one years. Jews were expelled from England, France, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Bohemia, Moravia and seventy-one other countries.
Historians have classified six explanations as to why people hate the Jews:
Economic -- "We hate Jews because they possess too much wealth and power."
Chosen People -- "We hate Jews because they arrogantly claim that they are the chosen people."
Scapegoat -- "Jews are a convenient group to single out and blame for our troubles."
Deicide -- "We hate Jews because they killed Jesus."
Outsiders, -- "We hate Jews because they are different to us." (The dislike of the unlike.)
Racial Theory -- "We hate Jews because they are an inferior race."
As we examine the explanations, we must ask -- are they the causes of antisemitism or excuses for antisemitism? The difference? If one takes away the cause, then antisemitism should no longer exist. If one can show a contradiction to the explanation, it demonstrates that the "cause" is not a reason, it is just an excuse. Let's look at some contradictions:
Economic -- The Jews of 17th - 20th century Poland and Russia were very poor, had no influence and yet they were hated.
Chosen People -- a) In the late 19th century, the Jews of Germany denied "Choseness." and then they worked on assimilation. Yet, the holocaust started there.
b) Christians and Moslems profess to being the "Chosen people," yet, the world and the anti-Semites tolerate them.
Scapegoat -- Any group must already be hated to be an effective scapegoat. The Scapegoat Theory does not then cause antisemitism. Rather, antisemitism is what makes the Jews a convenient scapegoat target. Hitler's ranting and ravings would not have been taken seriously if he had said, "It's the bicycle riders and the midgets who are destroying our society."
Yahoo Answers Under the laws of Moses, the ancient ritual once observed on the Hebrew Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) actually involved two goats. One, known as "the Lord's goat," was sacrificed during the rites. The other goat, over whose head the high priest had confessed the sins of his people, was then taken into the wilderness and allowed to escape, symbolically taking all the sins with him and giving everyone a fresh start, sin-wise. This lucky goat was known as the "escape goat," or "scapegoat."
There's a bit more to this story of the origin of "scapegoat," however. The Hebrew word for the goat set free in the original Biblical text was "Azazel." Translators of the Bible into English interpreted "Azazel" as a variant on the Hebrew phrase for "goat that departs," and thus came up with "escape goat." But it's possible that they were mistaken. "Azazel" was, some authorities believe, the name of a powerful demon who was believed to rule the wilderness. The "escape goat," goes this theory, was designated "Azazel's goat" in the ritual, and the priest was actually loading all the sins onto the demon's goat and then booting it out the door.
In any case, "scapegoat" entered the English language with Tyndale's translation of the Bible in 1530, and by the early 19th century was being used in a secular sense to describe anyone who is blamed for the sins or faults of another. The irony here is that in the original ceremony the "scapegoat" was set free without punishment, while modern "scapegoats" endure all the punishment deserved by others.
Deicide -- a) the Christian Bible says the Romans killed Jesus, though Jews are mentioned as accomplices (claims that Jews killed Jesus came several hundred years later). Why have the (claimed) accomplices been persecuted while there has never been an anti-Roman movement throughout history? b) Jesus himself said, "Forgive them (i.e., the Jews), for they know not what they do." The Second Vatican Council in 1963 officially exonerated the Jews as the killers of Jesus. Neither statement of Christian belief lessened antisemitism.
Outsiders -- With the Enlightenment in the late 18th century, many Jews rushed to assimilate and antisemitism should have stopped. Instead, for example, with the Nazis came the cry, in essence: "We hate you, not because you're different, but because you're trying to become like us! We cannot allow you to infect the Aryan race with your inferior genes."
Racial Theory -- The problem with this theory is that it is self-contradictory: Jews are not a race. Anyone can become a Jew - and members of every race, creed and color in the world have become Jews at one time or another.
Every other hated group is hated for a relatively defined reason. We Jews, however, are hated in paradoxes: Jews are hated for being a lazy and inferior race - but also for dominating the economy and taking over the world. We are hated for stubbornly maintaining our separateness - and, when we do assimilate - for posing a threat to racial purity through intermarriages. We are seen as pacifists and as warmongers; as capitalist exploiters and as revolutionary communists; possessed of a Chosen-People mentality, as well as of an inferiority complex. It seems that we just can't win.
“Of all the extreme fanaticism which plays havoc in man’s nature, there is not one as irrational as antisemitism. … If the Jews are rich [these fanatics] are victims of theft. If they are poor, they are victims of ridicule. If they take sides in a war, it is because they wish to take advantage from the spilling of non-Jewish blood. If they espouse peace, it is because they are scared by their natures or traitors. If the Jew dwells in a foreign land he is persecuted and expelled. If he wishes to return to his own land, he is prevented from doing so.”
- Lloyd George, 1923
"The uniqueness of antisemitism lies in the fact that no other people in the world have ever been charged simultaneously with alienation from society and with cosmopolitanism, with being capitalistic exploiters and also revolutionary communist advocators. The Jews were accused of having an imperious mentality, at the same time they're a people of the book. They're accused of being militant aggressors, at the same time as being cowardly pacifists. With being a Chosen people, and also having an inferior human nature. With both arrogance and timidity. With both extreme individualism and community adherence. With being guilty of the crucifixion of Jesus and at the same time held to account for the invention of christianity."
On the Irrationality of Antisemitism
Professor Michael Curtis, Rutgers University, 1987
WHY DID HITLER HATE JEWS?
HISTORY ON THE NET
WHY DID HITLER HATE JEWS? FACTORS THAT MAY HAVE CONTRIBUTED
Religious Conflict – Conflicts between Christianity and Judaism have existed for years, which partly helped create an atmosphere of anti-semitism in Europe.
Anti-semitism in Vienna – Hitler spent a part of his youth in Vienna, Austria, where anti-semitism was very prevalent and highly advocated. He may have been influenced by some of the ideological ideas of that environment.
Jewish Economic Power – At the time when World War 1 broke out, a majority of financial institutions, banks and large companies were controlled by Jewish people. Hitler blamed the loss of the war, the economic downfall of Germany and the bad decisions of the Weimar Republic on Jewish capitalism.
Conspiracy theory – Hitler believed that the Jewish had some conspiracy to control the world and that they would stab Germans in the back whenever it would suit them.
Biological differences – Hitler and many Nazis believed in the superiority of the Aryan (German) race and that Jews were inferior to such an extent that they were almost non-human in his eyes. He felt that he would be doing the world a favor by wiping out the Jewish race.
But fundamentally, why did Hitler hate Jews? These factors are only explain part of the answer to the question. For more information on this topic, we recommend listening to an interview with European History Richard Weikart, who discusses the religious beliefs of Adolph Hitler. A cursory look at Hitler’s value system goes a long way toward explaining why he thought it was in the best interest of the German people to murder millions of its own fellow citizens.
THE NAZI HATRED OF THE JEWS
LAURENCE REES: Why did the Nazis hate the Jews so much?
DAVID CESARANI: The Nazis weren’t the only people who hated Jews during the 20th Century, but they hated Jews in a different way to most other people. There’s a long history of conflict between Judaism and Christianity, a millennia of conflict. There’s also a long history of conflict between Jews and non-Jews because of the social and economic relations between Jews wherever there have been substantial communities of the Jewish population and non-Jews around them. But those historic conflicts were contained within religious understandings - a conflict between Christianity and Judaism, and they were social, economic and sometimes political conflicts. What made the Nazis’ hatred of the Jews so unusual is that it was racial and it was biological. They believed that the Jews were not just the followers of an abhorrent religious doctrine, or that the Jews had grabbed too much economic influence, or even that they were too intrusive in politics or culture: what made the Nazis hatred of the Jews so different is that they believed that the Jews were biologically and racially distinct and that there was a kind of biological struggle for dominance over the entire human race between the Jews and everybody else.
This wasn’t something that could be solved through religious debate and argument, the conversion of the Jews, for example, wouldn’t do. The Nazis hated assimilated and converted Jews as much as they hated orthodox Jews. This was a struggle that was almost zoological, from the animal world. This was a struggle for survival between the human race and this Jewish species that the core group of the Nazis invested with almost a kind of supernatural demonic power, which was absolutely unprecedented.
LAURENCE REES: How and why did people take that seriously?
DAVID CESARANI: One of the peculiar developments in the middle of the 20th Century which makes Nazi anti-Semitism so powerful and ultimately so lethal is not that the Nazis were able to spread their poisonous fantasies through everybody else’s minds, it’s that there was a sufficient overlap between a traditional dislike of Jews and the Nazis own very radical, cosmological, biological hatred of the Jews. It wasn’t until too late in the day that people who disliked Jews for religious, social or political reasons, that were very traditional and actually rather conservative, realised that what the Nazis had in mind in their dealing with the Jews was something very different indeed. Let’s take the Catholic Church, for example. The Catholic Church was very happy to convert Jews. Catholics believed that Christ would return when all the Jews were converted and this was a fundamental element of Christian doctrine, more exaggerated in certain Protestant sects but nevertheless present amongst the Catholics.
Catholics, therefore, saw the Jews as a bit of a problem. Certainly if they were radical Jews, Bolsheviks Jews, but if these Jews would see the truth, see the light, would convert to Christianity and become good Catholics, then the problem of the Jews would disappear. They didn’t want to kill Jews.
And when they realised that the Nazis' solution to the so-called Jewish question was murder, the vast majority of Catholics were appalled by this and many of them, as we know, risked their lives to save Jews; they believed that Catholicism required them to save the lives of Jews because all human life was sacred. Now, what separated Nazi anti-Semitism from other anti-Semitism is the Nazis did not believe that all human life was sacred. They certainly didn’t believe that the lives of Jews were sacred, on the contrary they believed that every Jewish life, even a child, was a threat to the fatherland, the German Volk, and the human race, and had to be exterminated. That kind of biological, racial hatred was something quite unprecedented in human history. The Nazis were able to wrap it up in traditional hatred of Judaism, they used traditional stereotypes, and it wasn’t until too late in the day that people realised that what the Nazis had in mind was very different to what most anti-Semites had believed and had practised for centuries beforehand.
LAURENCE REES: How important was the feeling a number of non-Jewish Germans had about the Jewish role in the First World War?
DAVID CESARANI: Another thing that separates the Nazis apart from other people who dislike Jews is that the Nazis believed that the Jews had acquired vast power, and that they had used this power in a malign way. It was the power of the Jews that had led to the Bolshevik revolution, it was the power of the Jews that had led to revolution in Germany, had stabbed the German Army in the back and had brought down Imperial Germany. In the Nazis’ world vision not only were the Jews a force for evil, a Manichean, demonic force for evil, but they had vast power, they had their hands on the levers of power. They had to be eliminated, they had to be deprived of that power, they had to be broken and then destroyed. To the Nazis the entire course of world history vindicated that interpretation of Jewish power.
What happened in 1918 was simply one more example of the power of the Jews, and the level and power of the Jews. One reason that Hitler was keen to see the Jews segregated in Nazi Germany and subjected to increasingly harsh measures once the Second World War began, and why he wanted Jews segregated and eventually destroyed throughout the Nazi sphere of influence while the Nazis were fighting the war, was that he believed that if Jews were allowed to exist freely, to hold what he believed was economic and political power while Germany was at war, if they were within the German sphere of influence, they would do what they did in November 1918; they would stab Germany in the back.
So in Hitler’s eyes you had to destroy Jewish community after Jewish community wherever the Germans conquered, the countries they occupied, even the Jewish communities that were their allies - those Jewish communities had to be destroyed otherwise they would subvert the war effort and stab Germany in the back. That was a lesson that he had learned from 1918 but it was something that he believed could be seen throughout the workings of history: the malign power of the Jew.
LAURENCE REES: But there is no real evidence that anyone can point to of any reality behind any of this?
DAVID CESARANI: Hitler’s not unique in believing that there are mysterious and malign forces at work behind the scenes of history. Wherever life is complicated, and life is usually complicated, wherever political developments or the relations between states begin to unfold in a way that is difficult to comprehend, certainly difficult for ordinary people to comprehend, there is a temptation to see the hidden hand at work; hidden forces that cannot be identified. The only way that many people can explain what is happening to them is as the result of a conspiracy of hidden forces, and that fantasy has enormous appeal, and there are ruthless, cynical people who are willing to exploit that. Now, Hitler actually believed in this paranoid view of world history. There were others who went along with that because they knew it was a way of mobilising public opinion, getting voters into the polls to vote for them.
LAURENCE REES: And there’s this profound sense of illogicality, because they’re believing that the Jews are behind Capitalism in America and they’re also behind Bolshevism, the opposite ideology, in the Soviet Union. So how are they holding those two things together?
DAVID CESARANI: It’s nonsensical in one way but it’s also very sensible in another way. In this country, in Britain in the 20th Century, you find many donors to political parties who will donate money to the Conservatives and to the Labour Party just in case one wins and the other loses. People always try and back both sides against the middle. It is not inconceivable to believe that there are certain political forces in the modern world in the 21st Century. It’s very common for corporations to embody this, who are behind all political parties of the left or the right, and you make sure that whoever is on top’s interests come through. So what appears to be a nonsensical belief that the Jews could be behind Capitalism and Communism at the same time is not that unusual, and in fact the great corporations during the 20th Century did have economic relations with the Capitalist countries and with the Communist countries. Fiat in Italy had jolly good relations with the Communist parties as well as being a backer of fascism.
LAURENCE REES: But surely there's more to it than that. What this view of the Jews relies upon, is the belief that the Jews are operating without any core beliefs at all - other than crude self-interest. And the people who believe the Jews are like this, are thus, themselves, operating with a massive level of cynicism about how the world is structured?
DAVID CESARANI: We think of Hitler alone and we think of the great leaders as alone, but usually they are surrounded by a core or a clique, and there can be different world views or different ways of seeing politics amongst these groups. With Hitler you have absolute certainty and a measure of cynicism, but in a character like Goering you have absolute cynicism and not much absolutism. Hitler was quite unusual in that he did have a very rigid world view and a set of policies that he pursued. He was willing to trim at certain times, but he was fairly relentless. Other Nazis were much more flexible in their beliefs and extremely cynical in appearing to be absolutist. Himmler is one of the most notorious examples of this. You would have thought that Himmler was actually rigid in his beliefs, but at crucial moments Himmler was willing and able to be very, very flexible. And I think what makes the Nazi political machine and certainly its political leadership so dangerous is that it combined elements of absolute certainty with other elements of incredible cynicism and flexibility. That’s a very unusual combination. It enabled them to take power, to hold power and it almost led to them winning the Second World War.
It is difficult to pinpoint one single trigger for Adolf Hitler’s (1889-1945) antisemitism, but three key reasons can be identified: the anti-Jewish climate in pre-war Vienna, Germany’s defeat in the First World War and Hitler’s belief that some races were superior and others inferior.
Establishment of the Nazi dictatorship
Hitler turns Germany into a dictatorship within months. The Nazi regime persecutes political opponents. Jews suffer under discriminatory rules and violence.
It is difficult to pinpoint one single trigger for Adolf Hitler’s (1889-1945) antisemitism, but three key reasons can be identified: the anti-Jewish climate in pre-war Vienna, Germany’s defeat in the First World War and Hitler’s belief that some races were superior and others inferior.
ANTISEMITISM IN VIENNA
Many historians point to Hitler’s years in Vienna as having shaped him. Between 1908 and 1913 the young Hitler unsuccessfully tried to set himself up as an artist there. The city had a large Jewish community just before the First World War (1914-1918) – nearly 9% of the two million residents were Jewish – but the social climate was openly antisemitic. With an outspoken anti-Jewish mayor (Karl Lueger) and many anti-Jewish newspapers and magazines there was no restriction on antisemitism, and Hitler was strongly influenced by this.
The defeat of Germany in the First World War also had a great impact on Hitler’s world view and political beliefs. Hitler was a soldier and – like many other German soldiers – found it hard to accept the defeat of the German Empire. Many nationalists and conservatives believed that Germany had not lost the war on the battlefield but due to betrayal from within, by a ‘stab in the back’. Socialists, communists and particularly Jews were blamed, even though more than 100,000 German and Austrian Jews had served in the war and 12,000 had been killed.
NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS PARTY (NSDAP)
After the war, Hitler joined a new extreme rightwing party, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), quickly becoming its strongman because he could inspire people with his speeches. He noticed that propaganda against Jews and Bolsheviks (often mentioned together) struck a chord with audiences and voters. He claimed Jews were not only responsible for the unfair German defeat but were also blocking Germany’s recovery.
OPPOSITION TO THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC
Germany was made to pay heavily for the war: the Treaty of Versailles (1919) set out that Germany had to give up large areas of land and pay painfully high reparations to the allied victors. Politically and economically the country had been in deep crisis for years. Hitler and his party were so fiercely opposed to the new Weimar Republic, as it was called, that in 1923 they tried to seize power. The coup failed and Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison.
Hitler and other defendants after their trial, April 1924
Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-00344 / Heinrich Hoffmann / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Hitler only served 10 months of his jail sentence, during which time he wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle). The book is full of anti-Jewish passages and theories about the superiority of the German (Germanic) race. Hitler expresses his support for race theories and more “Lebensraum” (living space) for the German people. The German race had to strive for mastery in Europe or face annihilation. Therefore, people with disabilities, or with divergent sexual orientation or of a different race had to be removed from the population. According to this racial doctrine, Jews were an inferior race that was poisoning Germany and so did not belong in the community.
There were more outspoken and even fiercer antisemites than Adolf Hitler during the 1920s and 1930s, but his clever speeches, peppered with anti-Jewish remarks, his ability to organise and his nationalistic fervour made him an attractive alternative for many German voters after the economic crash of 1929. He acquired loyal followers who did not shrink from violence. After Hitler and the NSDAP came to power in 1933, they successfully put their ideas into practice.
I can remember that as early as 1932, groups of Storm Troopers came marching by singing: ‘When Jewish blood splatters from the knife.
WHY MIDDLE EAST MUSLIMS ARE TAUGHT TO HATE JEWS
For far too long the pervasive Middle Eastern qualification of Jews as murderers and bloodsuckers was dismissed in the West as an extreme view of radical fringe groups. But it is not. It is time for the region's secular movements to start a counter-education in tolerance.
The Christian Science Monitor, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, January 24, 2013
CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — Egypt’s newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was caught on tape about three years ago urging his followers to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists. Not long after, the then-leader of the Muslim Brotherhood described Zionists as “bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians,” “warmongers,” and “descendants of apes and pigs.”
These remarks are disgusting, but they are neither shocking nor new. As a child growing up in a Muslim family, I constantly heard my mother, other relatives, and neighbors wish for the death of Jews, who were considered our darkest enemy. Our religious tutors and the preachers in our mosques set aside extra time to pray for the destruction of Jews.
For far too long the pervasive Middle Eastern qualification of Jews as murderers and bloodsuckers was dismissed in the West as an extreme view expressed by radical fringe groups. But it is not.
All over the Middle East, hatred for Jews and Zionists can be found in textbooks for children as young as 3, complete with illustrations of Jews with monster-like qualities. Mainstream educational television programs are consistently anti-Semitic. In songs, books, newspaper articles, and blogs, Jews are variously compared to pigs, donkeys, rats, and cockroaches, and also to vampires and a host of other imaginary creatures.
Consider this infamous dialogue between a 3-year-old and a television presenter, eight years before Mr. Morsi’s remarks.
Presenter: “Do you like Jews?”
“Why don’t you like them?”
“Jews are apes and pigs.”
“Who said this?”
“Where did he say this?”
“In the Koran.”
The presenter responds approvingly: “No [parents] could wish for Allah to give them a more believing girl than she ... May Allah bless her, her father, and mother.”
This conversation was not caught on hidden camera or taped by propagandists. It was featured on a prominent program called “Muslim Woman Magazine” and broadcast by Iqraa, the popular Saudi-owned satellite channel.
It is a major step forward for a sitting US administration and leading American newspapers to unequivocally condemn Morsi’s words. But condemnation is just the first move.
Here is an opportunity to acknowledge the breadth and depth of the attitude toward Jews in the Middle East, and how that affects the much desired but elusive peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
So many explanations have been offered for the failure of successive US administrations to achieve that peace, but the answer is in Morsi’s words. Why would one make peace with bloodsuckers and descendants of apes and monkeys?
Millions of Muslims have been conditioned to regard Jews not only as the enemies of Palestine but as the enemies of all Muslims, of God, and of all humanity. Arab leaders far more prominent and influential than Morsi have been tireless in “educating” or “nursing” generations to believe that Jews are “the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs.” (These are the words of the Saudi sheik Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, imam at the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca.)
In 2011, a Pew survey found that in Turkey, just 4 percent of those surveyed held a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” view of Jews; in Indonesia, 10 percent; in Pakistan, 2 percent. In addition, 95 percent of Jordanians, 94 percent of Egyptians, and 95 percent of Lebanese hold a “very unfavorable” view of Jews.
In recent decades Israeli and American administrations negotiated with unelected Arab despots, who played a double game. They honored the formal peace treaties by not conducting military attacks against Israel. But they condoned the Islamists’ dissemination of hatred against Israel, Zionism, and Jews.
As the Islamists spread their influence through civil institutions, young people were nursed on hatred.
In the wake of the Arab Spring, as the people take a chance on democracy, they and their new leadership want to see their ideals turned into policy.
For too many of those who fought for their own liberation, one of those ideals is the end of peace with Israel. The United States must make clear to Morsi that this is not an option.
This is also a crucial opportunity for the region’s secular movements, which must speak out against the clergy’s incitement of young minds to hatred. It is time for these secular movements to start a counter-education in tolerance.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a fellow at the Belfer Center’s Future of Diplomacy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School, and author of the books “Infidel” and “Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations.”
© 2013 Global Viewpoint Network/Tribune Media Services. Hosted online by The Christian Science Monitor.
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