Sunday, December 30, 2007

Antisemitism, and Alternative History - Part II

2nd of 3 parts

Weapons in the War against the Jews

Anti-Semitism targets the Jews as a group for physical extermination

By Moshe Sharon

Muslims adopt blood libel

The first blood libel case under Islamic rule in modern times was the "Damascus Affair". In 1840, the Jews of Damascus were accused of the ritual murder of a Capuchin friar. Far from immediately opposing the false accusation, Ratti Menton, the French consul in Damascus gave it credibility. Supported by the French government, he himself conducted the "investigation" of the case together with the Moslem Governor. The entire Jewish community was held to ransom, and its leaders were arrested, and some tortured to death, before a general outcry in the world put an end to the affair. Ratti Menton, however, was never convinced of the innocence of the Jews.

The attribution of ritual murder to the Jews became a very popular subject among Moslem intellectuals, and the main topic of anti-Semitic Moslem propaganda. The Damascus Affair has never died. To this very day it is presented as proof of ritual murder in the Jewish religion. Mustafa Tlas, the Syrian minister of war, wrote his PhD on the subject and published it in a book called: The Unleavened Bread of Zion. In this popular book, which by 2002 had sold 8 editions, he described the Damascus Affair in great detail with a single aim, to prove its evidence of the Jewish practice of ritual murder. Ratti Menton is his proof for the truth of the information.

Arab readers now comprise an enthusiatic market for anti-Semitic literature whether written originally in Arabic or translated from other languages. Among the latter, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a crude, primitive anti-Semitic Russian forgery and Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf are best sellers, and compulsory reading for the military. The infamous book of Canon August Rohling Der Talmudjude is the modern Moslem historian's bible. In the early 1880s Rohling, a professor at the Imperial University of Prague, published a worthless anti-Semitic book, which he claimed was based on the Talmud, adapted from earlier publications of the same kind. In 1885, European scholars exposed Rohling as a fake, a liar, and an ignoramus. As a result he was obliged to resign his university post. Moslem writers do not let such minor facts confuse them. For them Rohling, the Protocols, Hitler, Tlas, Abu Mazen and similar writings constitute the authentic library on the Jews and Judaism. Other sources fall under the headline of the "Jewish (Zionist) conspiracy."

Having enthusiastically adopted the accusation of the Jews of ritual murder as an absolute truth, the imagination of the Muslim writers became particularly creative. They widened the scope of the victims from Christian to Palestinian and other children, and added the cakes of Purim to Passover unleavened bread.

The establishment of the State of Israel and the repeated defeats of the Arab armies while intensifying the Moslem's mythological fear of the Jews, needed an immediate, plausible, and face-saving explanation. This was readily provided by the Protocols and Mein kampf which exposed the Jewish conspiracy to control the world. The information in these books confirms their fears and explains their shortcomings. They do not feel alone any more, they belong to the large body of global victims, exposed to the danger posed to humanity by international Jewry, the enemies of God..

Like European anti-Semitic literature, there is very little variety in its Moslem counterpart. Hundreds of books repeat the same slogans, and cartoonists, directly influenced by the Nazi cartoons (only more primitive), repeat the same drawings of the ugly, inhuman, vicious Jew. Out of the vast literature the following examples chosen at random will suffice.

Anis Mansur, an Egyptian author and close adviser of Egyptian presidents, describing the treacherous "Jewish character" shamelessly supplied details about their use of human blood for the Passover matza, giving the impression that he was relying on Jewish sources:

"The famous Jewish historian Josephus was the first to have revealed to the whole world that the Jews need the blood of other people to make matzot for their holidays. The Jews usually do not butcher the person. They only pierce the skull and then the heart, and drink the blood of the head and the heart together; then they discard the corpse anywhere."

Josephus said exactly the opposite, defending Judaism against the Greek anti-Semites. But Mansur knows that his audience is thirsty for his words, the authority of which nobody questions.

During the Second World War, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, supported by other Muslim leaders, cooperated with the Nazis, and went to Berlin to serve their propaganda machine and prepare a military force to participate in the Nazi "Final Solution" for the Jews. Muslim anti-Semites turn these facts upside down. The comparison of the Jews to the Nazis has become a main trend in the Islamic alternative history, a major topic in talkshows, a key item of anti-Israel propaganda and a frequent subject of the crude Arab cartoon. In the book Oh Moslems, the Jews are Coming Muhammad 'Abd al-'Aziz Mansur claims that the Jews are no different from the Nazis, ascribing horrendous atrocities to them: the slaughter of babies, the stabbing of pregnant women, the torture and rape of non-Jewish women and so on.

In 1985 King Fahd of Saudi Arabia published the following observations and memoirs about Israel and the Jews, in the popular weekly aI-Musawwar:

"Israel has had malicious intentions since ancient times. Its objective is the destruction of all other religions. It is proven from history that they are the ones who ignited the Crusades at the time of Saladin so that war would lead to the weakening of both Moslems and Christians. They regard other religions as lower than their own, and other peoples as inferior to their level. And on the subject of vengeance – they have a certain day on which they mix the blood of non-Jews into their bread and eat it. It happened two years ago, while I was in Paris on a visit, that the police discovered five murdered children. Their blood had been drained and it turned out that some Jews had murdered them in order to take their blood and mix it with the bread that they ate on this day. This shows you the extent of their hatred and malice towards non-Jewish peoples."

In another, there is a discussion about the "Jewish custom of slaughtering children that goes back to the use of children's blood by the Jewish magicians in the past, and the "extraction of the blood of non-Jewish children for the unleavened bread (fatir) of the Passover." He also asserts that the Jews "poison the water wells and counterfeit the currency", two common accusations against the Jews in Europe throughout the ages.

Dr. 'Abd al-Halim Mahmud, the rector of the famous al-Azhar University, wrote in his book Holy War and Victory:

"The Jews have laid down a programme for the destruction of humanity, through subverting religion and ethics. They have already begun to implement the programme with their money, their control of the mass media and their propaganda. They have falsified knowledge, violated standards of literary truth and unscrupulously sought to break down and destroy humanity."

Dr. Salah 'Abd al-Fattah al-Khalidi, in his book The Jewish Personality on the basis of the Koran, concludes that "the Jews are liars, corrupt, envious, cunning, fraudulent, treacherous, stupid, despicable, cowards, and misers; they break agreements and treaties, and cause injustice in the world…" Who can negate such scholarship?

Even medieval Christian, anti-Semitic literature, as severe as it was, does not match the viciousness of Arab-Islamic, anti-Semitic literature and the alternative history of the Jews that is based on it . The voluminous, Arab anti-Semitic literature, fills a demand and answers a necessity. It depicts the Jews as a demonic entity and therefore makes their extermination legitimate. As such, modern Islamic anti-Semitism is even worst than that of the Nazis.

Moshe Sharon

Professor (Emeritus) of Islamic History and Civilization

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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