"An Islamic Anti-Jewishness"
By Yossef Bodansky (1)
Anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism, is intensifying throughout the Muslim World. Anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism constitute a major political instrument in the hands of both state governments and Islamist organizations to mobilize the entire region for the destruction of Israel. Both governments and islamic leaders are using anti-Jewishness incitement as a most effective instrument of popular mobilisatin in order to reach to the grassroots and get results. Therefore, with the spread and expansion of militant radical Islam, anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism will continue to intensify in the Muslim World. Anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism will thus continue to be a most potent instrument of governments throughout the Muslim World.
Among the Islamists, presently the most vibrant and rapidly expanding segment of the Muslim World, the very existence of a Jewish state called Israel constitutes a contradiction of major Qur'anic tenets. On the most basic level, the mere existence of a political entity run by the Jews, particularly on a land claimed by Islam, is a profound challenge and affront to Islam that is political and not only religious in essence. Thus, Israel is unacceptable under any circumstance. Indeed, modern Arab/Muslim ideology stresses the political aspects of the historical enmity and worsening conflict between Jews and Muslims sens the emergence Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel on a piece of Muslim land. (2) Israel, as a political affront to the Muslims, they argue, is the root cause for the flare-up of anti-Jewishness throughout the Muslim World.
As Islam rose in Arabia at the beginning of the 7th Century and spread throughout the region that would become the Hub of Islam, the Arab-led armies encountered well established, developed and relatively affluent Jewish communities wherever they reached.
The relations between Muslims and Jews were codified under Caliph Umar (634-644). Indeed, Jews were never accorded equal rights. In other words, the extent of freedom and prosperity accorded to the Jewish population is an act of charity of the Muslim ruler.
The islamic law -- Shari'a law -- only stipulated the inferiority of Jews. Moreover, because of the religious connotations of Islamic governance, the law gave the Muslim ruler free hand to implement the law as he wished. Moreover, the essence of the special taxation -- Jizya -- imposed on the Jews is expression of complete surrender to the supremacy of Islam -- loss of all freedoms. Essentially, the Jizya was considered a ransom Jews paid for permission to maintain hold over property (never a permanent right, can be abolished at will by ruler) and practice their religion.(6)
The Muslim World could not escape the impact of modernization and urbanization since the mid 19th Century. Exposure to European traditions led to the emergence of Muslim nationalism. The political dynamics in the early 20th Century were characterized by the rise of Arab nationalism and its confrontation with the penetration of West in alliance with the emergence of nationalist Zionism at the heart of the Hub of Islam. Moreover, the growing European influence introduced the Arab World to the European traditional anti-Jewishness literature and conceptualizations -- from the blood libel to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.(7)
The collapse of the Turkish Empire in the wake of the First World War and the establishment of European colonies (Mandate areas) in most of the Arab World shocked both traditionalist Islam and Arab nationalism. The reaction to all these trends had strong anti-Jewish sentiments as unifying factors -- the lowest common denominator -- that was not lost on aspirant populist politicians. The intensification of Muslim anti-Jewishness following the rise of Nazi Germany was only natural for the Arabs expected Nazi Germany to defeat the British and French, as well as annihilate the Jews. Most effective, therefore, was the reliance on anti-Semitism by Hajj Amin al-Hussayni and his followers in order to get support from the Arab World, and later from Hitler's Germany and the Bosnian Muslims, for a Jihad to annihilate the Jews of Palestine.(8) Yassir Arafat considers Hajj Amin an inspiration and claims to be a relative of his.
The Arab World considers the establishment of the State of Israel to be a Naqbah ( Catastrophe)-- a holocaust and calamity of historical proportions.
This rise of government sanctioned anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism was the response to, as well as the rationalization of, the enduring humiliation of the Naqbah despite the inherent despicable character of the Jews that should not enable them to defeat the mighty Arab Armies.
The logic behind this evolution is simple -- it is not the few Zionists in Israel that the Arab/Muslim World is confronting in Israel, but the forward post of a global conspiracy that had already devoured Western countries. Moreover, in order to continuously enhance its power and posture, Zionism transforms Judaism into a nationalist chauvinist movement.
Ultimately, this logic led to the consideration of International Judaism and International Zionism as the arch-nemesis of Islam and the driving force behind, as well as facilitating the continued existence of Israel. Since the international anti-Jewishness conceptualization stresses the omnipotence and viciousness of the International Jewry/Judaism as the source of all evil, the Muslims began understand the relationship between "International Judaism" and "International Zionism". They were now portraying "International Zionism" as a choice instrument of "International Judaism". Zionism is not significantly different from Judaism. Actually they are one and the same, for Zionism is the implementing mechanism/machination of international Judaism that is, in turn, striving to destroy the world and control its fate," Abd-Allah al-Thal explained. "Zionism, in my opinion, is the rooted violent despotic Judaism from the days of Moses to our time."(10)
Nasser's Cairo was at the lead of official anti-Jewishness.(11) During this period, 1950s-1960s, Arab and English translations of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as well as diversified analytical literature based on them became prevalent throughout the entire Muslim World.(12) Abd-Allah al-Thal argued that the modern Zionism, as depicted in the anti-Jewishness literature, is a direct continuation and modernization/up-dating of the classic Judaism: "I enjoin Zionism as a political movement with the Jewish religion that is based on two firm foundations, which are the Torah and the Talmud. I consider The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to be the third firm foundation of the essence of the Jewish belief, the one Jews adhere to." Given these foundations, al-Thal points out, little wonder that Judaism is "the religion that planted in their [the Jews'] souls the seeds of crime, enmity, corruption, evil, savagery, lawlessness, zeal, arrogance, and haughtiness."(13)
The rise of islamic anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism was far more intense during the 1950s-1960s. Islamism was a major grassroots development given the socio-political dynamics in the Arab and Muslim World. It was a popular reaction to "modernization" and socialism.
The legacy of the Naqbah -- particularly in Egypt, then the epicenter of Islamist edeology -- made the intensification of anti-Jewish drives all the more palatable. Mohammed Hassanein Heikal stressed the unique importance of the legacy of the Naqbah to the Islamists, initially in Egypt and ultimately throughout the entire Middle East: "The [Egyptian] Muslim Brotherhood, many of whose members had died in the fighting, argued that the Arabs had lost not just because of betrayal and incompetent planning but also because of insufficient devotion to Islam. The merits of this argument, its effect was considerable. Defeat, humiliation, bereavement, betrayal and economic hardship swirled together in the Arab mind, and now the Muslim Brotherhood added a religious dimension. The psychological chemistry of the taboo was becoming ever more complex, a blend of faith and fury, pride and shame, truth and myth, nationalism and mysticism. From now onwards anyone who treated with the enemy would face the implacable anger of the masses."(14)
For the Islamist leaders, the enduring legacy of the Naqbah thus became the first shot in a fateful struggle between Islam and JewishWesternized modernity. The quintessence of the mere existence of the State of Israel was, and still is, a flagrant humiliation- and the imposition of Jewish roccupation over both Muslim land and Muslims -- Palestine´s Muslim and christian population. Taken together this is a major challenge and affront to Islam at a global-historical level because just as Muhammad's triumph over, and vanquishing of, the Jewish tribes of Arabia is considered the historical turning point in the ascent of Islam into becoming a global power, the opposite is also true: The defeat of the Muslims -- their inability to prevent the establishment of a Jewish State on a islamic land -- should be considered in comparable terms of historical significance. For the Islamists, therefore, the essence of the Naqbah was, and still is, that Jews defeated Muslims -- a profound theological crisis -- and not just a political-military event as ordinary wars are. Hence, the Islamist leaders perceive the mere existence of Israel as a signal for Islamic world's total collapse unless Israel is destroyed and Muslim control over the islamic territory is restored. No other solution will provide for the theological blemish/shame on Islam to be reversed resolutely.(15)
Most important in the formulation of this doctrines are the works of Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) and his disciples, mainly in Egypt. They set the tone for the Islamist vision of relations with Jews to this very day. The development of Islamism in Egypt has been quite unique because of the legacy of Egyptian militant islamism, and especially the coherent doctrines of Qutb.(16) A turning point in the Islamist attitude toward the Jews and the Jewish problem as a whole -- as far as intensity of struggle was the publication in the early 1950s of the pamphlet Ma'arakatuna Ma'a al-Yahud [Our Struggle with the Jews] by Sayyid Qutb.(17) In this essay, Qutb decreed that the struggle between Islam and the Jews is fateful and uncompromising. "The Jews will not be satisfied until this Religion [=Islam] has been destroyed."(18) Hence, Qutb's essay is of singular importance in the evolution and formulation of the Islamist political movement and its attitude toward Jews and Judaism. Despite the trauma of the Six Day War and the reverberations of Islamic Revolution in Iran, Qutb's Our Struggle with the Jews, although written in the early 1950s, is still considered by the Islamist leadership to be the most authoritative doctrinal work on the relationship between Islam and Judaism.
The Arab defeat in the 1967 Six-Day War stunned the entire Muslim World and turned into a catalyst of revolutionary politics. The Muslims discussed the defeat in apocalyptic terms, calling it 'The Second Naqbah.' Many of the highly educated Arab intellectuals returned to traditionalist Islam in their search for the roots of the disaster. The Arabs were defeated because "in their apostasy, they rejected the spiritual and moral values, and adopted firstly the ignorant nationalism, and then, the infidel Marxist socialism." The Arab World "was injured by a dangerous ideological disease called 'revolutionary socialism' that is more lethal than the most dangerous of plagues," and which origins are in the Judaism. The defeats resulting from modern ideologies are contrasted with the victories over the Crusaders. Unlike the Jihad against Israel, the Jihad against the Crusaders was so triumphant solely because "the unifying factors of the Arabs at that time, which delivered them victory, was Islam and not Arab nationalism." Therefore, for the Arabs to be able to successfully confront Israel, "there is no escape from spreading the religious culture among the Arab and Muslim soldiers and the military men, so that the spiritual values would constitute impulse to Faith and victory, and for distancing from destructive dogmas."(19) Thus, in the late-1960's, Arab intellectuals began advocating that the socialist regimes in the Muslim World had failed, and that the emergence of Islamist militant revivalism constituted the altenate for the future.
Thus, there emerged a need for the formulation of a coherent Islamist doctrine both explaining the Second Naqbah and seeking solutions for the Jewish problem. A turning point in this process was the conduct of the Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research in the al-Azhar Islamic University in Cairo, in September 1968, in which close to a hundred experts from around the Muslim the World defined and legislated an Islamic policy of resistance toward the Jews. The conference reaffirmed and stressed the Qu'ranic virulent hostility toward the Jews, and studied the history of continuous Jewish crimes against Islam from the days of the Prophet to the Six Days War. Deliberating on the future of Islam, experts noted that the arrival of "the resurrection i.e. the final salvation" of the Muslim World "is made conditional upon the battle against the Jews that has to precede it." The conference urged Arab and Muslim governments to prepare for the fateful struggle for the destruction of Israel, and, until that day, provide weapons and other support for Islamist "volunteers" so that they can continue the Jihad against Israel in the meantime. The Conference Conclusion leaves no doubt: "The sacred duty of every Muslim in this Islamic mobilization is two fold: to thwart the destructive falsehoods spread by Zionism and to work for the triumph of Islam and the liberation of Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa [in Jerusalem]."(20)
The early 1980s were dominated by the realization of Khomeyni's vision of an Islamic State and the Islamist trend in the form of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the intensifying Jihad in Afghanistan. The ramifications of these event reverberated throughout the Muslim World. By now, the Muslim World was already preoccupied with the specter of Islamic uprising and defiance against the established political order based on nation-states. Meanwhile, there was an already growing hatred to Israel and Jews in the islamic world of military reversals in the Yom Kippur War (1973) and Anwar Sadat's embarking on a US-dominated political process that would bring him to Jerusalem in 1977. Thus, the early 1980s found the Arab States in a state of crisis vis-a-vis the emerging trends throughout the Muslim World.
The rise of the Jihad in Afghanistan constituted a threshold of resolve. Muslims took on a great modern power -- the USSR. Irrespective of the Mujahedin's failures and losses, they set a precedent to be emulated for their intentions were noble. And the Afghan Jihad was an Islamist challenge to the entire conventional world order, not just the Soviet occupation. "The Afghan resistance movement has not confined itself to a minimum programme of securing the nation's independence and territorial integrity, but openly advocates the creation of an Islamic society. It is in the name of Allah, and not of nationalism in the Western meaning of the term, that Soviet troops are gunned down in the mountains of Afghanistan."(21) Similarly, the Arab World considered the Iranian Revolution an epoch making event because it set a precedent whereupon a Muslim people was able to overthrow and destroy a Israel-US-supported government in the name of Islam (rather another political or nationalist ideology). Thus, in Iran, like in Afghanistan, the masses took charge of their own history and this reverberated throughout the entire Arab World. "For the Arab world, the drama of Iran was a spectacle of men and women in the street making and remaking their own history. Win or lose, they were there, demanding to be counted or heard. All the Arab elite's attempts to say that Iran's troubles were peculiar to that society and to point out the detailed (and legitimate) differences between their own countries and Iran were beside the point."(22)
Throughout the Arab World, leaders took note of the grassroots reaction to these events and the overall sentiments of the population. Therefore, the Arab State once again adopted anti-Jewishness as a rallying instrument of popular mobilization.
Indeed, since the early 1980s there has been a distinct and marked intensification of anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism and incitement -- from articles to caricatures -- in the media throughout the Arab and islamic World. The distinction between Zionists and Jews blurred and virtually disappeared in the contemporary Arab media. Moreover, in their quest to galvanize resistance to Israel, Islamic and Arab leaders and intellectuals now openly resort to the anti-Jewishness themes. Thus, Mustafa Tlass, the Syrian Minister of Defense, authored a book on Damascus blood libel of 1840 entitled, The Matzoth of Zion. Tlass' instigated a revival of studies of, and popular references to, the blood libel issue throughout the region. Classic works, including Arab translation of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, were published in new editions. The overall intensification of most flagrant hatred to Jews in the islamic media.(23)
Of unique importance in this trend are the books published by leading intellectuals -- both religious and academic -- propagating anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism. These works provided confirmation for the anti-Jewishness resistance. For example, at the height of the Camp David process, such luminaries as Shaykh Abd-al-Halim Mahmud, the rector of Al-Azhar University, identified the Jews as Islam's worst enemies. "As for those who struggle against the Faithful, they struggle against the elimination of oppression and enmity. They struggle in the way of Satan. Allah commands the Muslims to fight the friends of Satan wherever they may be found. And among Satan's friends--indeed, his best friends in our age--are the Jews...."(24) Similarly, a Syrian expert, Dr. Salah Khalidi, stressed the enduring characteristics of Jews since the early days of Islam. "Jews are liars, corrupt, jealous, crafty, treacherous, stupid, despicable, coward, and low-life. They violate agreements and contracts and cause all evil in the world." Khalidi points out that the Jews thus constitute a global threat. "The Jews are a mortal danger threatening the world, a lethal plague that dismantles and destroys it. They are a hateful Satan. The Jewish message is hatred and jealousy, lies and deception, vilification, duplicity and ruinous."(25)
Meanwhile, Islamism continues to be the most vibrant, growing, dynamic trend in the Muslim World. Inspiring the Muslim youth -- both the downtrodden and the highly educated -- militant Islam is thus the wave of the future. For the Islamists, the growing jewish Westernization of the Muslim World constitutes a new height of affront to Islam, and thus a threat to its ascent -- a crisis made all the worse because the Jews are the perceived winners of the judaisation of the West.
Already in the early 1980s, Imam Khomeyni set the tone for the Islamist theological-ideological attitude toward Israel. He argued that in its existing political order, the Islamic and Arab World had failed to destroy Israel -- an Islamic sacred objective -- an unacceptable state of affair for Khomeyni. "Arab countries have tried every single nationalistic way in attempts to annihilate Israel, but they have never succeeded. Such nationalistic attempts will never succeed. Now the time has come to try Islam as an alternative and follow the Islamic Republic of Iran," Khomeyni argued. His advise to Arafat and the Palestinian leaders in the early 1980s is still valid. "I advise the Palestinian leaders to stop trying to negotiate and instead fight Israel to death by relying upon God, Most Great, the Palestinian people and their arms; as these negotiations cause the struggling nations to lose faith."(26)
A crucial component of the islamic doctrine is the blurring of the distinction between Zionists and the Jews of the world. The massive anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism -- incitefull material prevalent throughout the Muslim World serves as a convenient bridge connecting the anti-Israel Jihad with a world-wide Jihad against the Jews and their home-governments --. Consequently, there has been a distinct blurring of the difference between "Zionists" and "Jews" in the theological literature and of the various Islamist resistance organizations. While the Hizbullah was the first and most eloquent source of this transformation, other organizations, including Sunni Islamist groups like the HAMAS, quickly adopted these tenets.(27) And these were not empty words.
In articulating the Islamists's resistance against world Jewry, the spiritual leader of the HizbAllah, Ayatollah Muhammed Hussayn Fadlallah is the most eloquent. Since the late 1980s, he has developed the logic of the continuation of the anti-Jewish Jihad the original confrontation between the Prophet and his foes, through the struggle against the Israel -- now labeled "the Jewish state" -- and on to confronting the Jewish global conspiracy. Fadlallah warns about the magnitude of the Jewish threat: "The Jews want to be a world superpower. This racist circle of Jews wants to take vengeance on the whole world. In this light, the Jews will work on the basis that Jewish interests are above all world interests. No one should imagine that the Jews act on behalf of any super or minor power; it is their personality to make for themselves a future world presence."(28) The intensity and ferocity of the Islamist Jihad must accord with the immensity of the anti-Islamic plot.
Anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism are integrasted in the Islamist struggle against Israel. This can be best learned from the ideology of the Islamic Resistance Movement -- the HAMAS. By its own definition, the HAMAS is a Palestinian Islamist movement fighting for the liberation of the entire Palestine, the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Palestine State in its stead. However, starting with its most basic ideological literature, most notably the HAMAS' Covenant of August 1988, the organization stresses that its actual struggle is global and as much against the Jews as against Israel or its Zionist inhabitants. The HAMAS ideology has adopted some of the basic claims of international Jewish conspiracy as depicted in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The HAMAS´ slogans and graffiti portrays the organizations struggle as a direct continuation of Prophet Muhammad's fight against the Jews in the 7th century A.D. Among these slogans are "O Jews, leave our land," and "Khaibar, Khaibar, O Jews, Muhammad's Army will return." HAMAS leaders insist that their blurring of distinction between Jews and Zionists even when their Jihad is ostensibly confined to Palestine is the outcome of the character of the threat they are facing. "They [the Jews] made their religion their nation and state," argues HAMAS leader Mahmud Zahar. "They have declared war on Islam, closed mosques and massacred defenseless worshipers at al-Aqsa and in Hebron. They are Muslim-killers and under these circumstances we are obliged by our religion to defend ourselves." The spate of martyrdom-resistance against civilians throughout the heart of Israel is the HAMAS concept of defense against an enemy they define as "Jews or Zionists".(29)
Thus, by the late 1990s, the leading Islamist resistance organizations -- most notably the Hizbullah and the HAMAS -- have unified the objectives of their Jihad (resiatance) to include both Zionism/Israel and the world Jewry. The ideological justification and elucidation of this move is derived from the classic islamic anti-Jewishness literature prevailing in the modern Arab and Muslim World.
Radical militant Islam is on the march, getting ready for what its leaders consider to be a fateful war for the future of Islam. The accumulating frustration and rage throughout the Hub of Islam is about to burst out in a wave of rage and revenge against the the Judaised Western civilization that is perceived to be the source of all evil.
Presently, the intensifying anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism incitement plays a crucial role in political Islam on two distinct levels:
1. THE GLOBAL JEWISH CONSPIRACY.
The Jewish conspiracy is the most effective and justification of Islamist leaders about the backwardness of the Muslim World -- the loss of power and economic failures vis-a-vis Israel. All of these calamities are because of a Jewish-dominated global conspiracy aimed to eradicate Islam. Being a divine way of life, Islam is expected to have an answer to everything. Therefore, the troubles from which the contemporary Muslim society is suffering from are due premary to Jews´plots. Addressing these issues, attacks against Jews now appear in the neo-islamist media throughout the world.(31). Muslims attribute their calamities and failures to the International Zionism. A factor unifying all Islamists is that there is a huge global conspiracy by the Jews in order to erase or eradicate Islam from the face of the earth. (32) Indeed, throughout the Muslim World, both governments' and popular opposition is expressed in religious terms. (33) Furthermore, the Islamists single out the Jews as their main enemies because of the religious and political aspects of the confrontation between Jews and Muslims. Indeed, Jameelah states, "the Jews are the most implacable enemies of an Islamic revival."(34)
2. IN ARAB-ISRAELI CONNOTATIONS.
Anti-Judaism serves as a major political arguments to mobilize the entire region for the destruction of Israel. The noted Egyptian journalist and confidant of numerous Arab leaders, Mohammed Hassanein Heikal, stresses that the attitude toward Israel cannot be described but by an "inchoate a blend of fury and revulsion." For the vast majority of Arabs, Israel is "taboo"(35) . The current "peace process" is no different. In principle, the current state of affairs is no different from the fledgling Islamist conceptualization in the wake of the Naqbah. Abd-Allah al-Thal, a former Jordanian General during the War of Independence, stresses that the Arab-Israeli conflict is an extension, or aspect, of the profound struggle between Judaism and Islam. "It is only natural for Jews and Muslims to clash in the wake of the clarification that Islam aspires for higher values that contradict what the Jews call for."(36)
Taken together, governments and leaders of organizations are using anti-Judaism as a most effective argument of populist resistance in order to reach out to the grassroots -- the Arab street -- and get quick results. The use of anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism is not tempting particularly when these leaders need to ignore and/or reverse declared policies (imposed by international conditions). Therefore, with the spread and expansion of militant radical Islam, anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism will continue to grow in the Muslim World, and will continue to be a most potent argument of governments.
The intensifying Islamist attacks on Judaism should not come as a surprise. They constitute the first overt adoption by the senior political leaders of the Islamist world of principles long studied and advocated by Islamist scholars, especially those preaching to the emigre communities in the West. Maulana Abdul Aziz, "an expert on Jewish affairs" stresses that the history of unrelenting and irreconcilable enmity between Jews and Muslims should dominate polity in the Muslim World.
In almost all the pitfalls in the long course of our historical past Jews have been active responsible directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly have always helped other nationalities and in their fight against Muslims. They have always collaborated with any other power, even with idol worshipers, to inflict injury on the Muslims and their cause. ... Whenever Muslims have suffered any defeat at the hands of their enemies, Jewish conspiracy has been at the back of it."(37)
"Even today when Muslims have sunk into the most abysmal depth of degradation and decay, Islam still remains the most formidable potential rival to the modern West, boldly challenging all its hedonistic culture stands for."(38)
While "Peace" being instrument of statehood that is alien to Islam, the irreconcilable enmity with the Jews as stipulated in the Quran is unrefutable. Ayatollah Fadlallah is most explicit in defining the role of Islamist anti-Jewishness in countering the "peace process": "The battle which will commence after reconciliation with Israel will be the battle against the subjugation of the Arab and Muslim person to Israel, in politics, culture, economics, and security. In the vocabulary of the Quran, Islamists have much of what they need to awaken the consciousness of Muslims, relying on the literal text of the Quran, because the Quran speaks about the Jews in a negative way, concerning both their historical conduct and future schemes. The Islamists must deploy their Quranic and Islamic legal culture to combat "normalization"."(40)
Indeed, even Yassir Arafat is making use of this contradiction between sacred Islamic obligation to enmity toward Jews and the "peace process" with Israel. On August 6, 1997, an emboldened Arafat called on the Palestinians to prepare for "the great battle" that is coming soon. In a speech delivered to a major conference of Fatah senior officials, mostly senior security, intelligence and military/police officers, Arafat vowed that the struggle will continue until the Palestinian flag is hoisted over Jerusalem. The coming confrontation is a most difficult challenge, Arafat stressed. "The campaigns behind us were relatively easy compared to the campaigns facing us. We are all living martyrs, ready at a moment notice to express our loyalty to the message of the armed struggle we have started many years ago."
Through the speech, Arafat repeated several time a crucial slogan -- "a contract is a contract, and a vow is a vow" -- which the audience chanted with him. The use of this Islamist saying, usually associated with the HAMAS, is most important to understanding Arafat's state of mind. "Particularly in this hour and under these conditions, we are all obliged to this slogan, and we should comprehend that the campaigns facing us will be far more difficult and thus demand both Palestinian and Arab depth," Arafat concluded his speech.(41)
Should there has been a doubt about Arafat's position and intentions, Hassan al-Turabi clarifies them. Discussing Islam as the key to the future of the world, Turabi touched on the Jewish question. Islam cannot accept the State of Israel as a Jewish State "because this country is based on violence, genocide and aggression." Turabi does not believe the Jews will rule Israel for long because "God didn't give Israel to the Hebrews for eternity. The Quran explains it clearly." Throughout history, Jews have been evicted and exiled from Palestine several times by armies empowered by God to punish them for their sins. "This lesson is important for the Muslims too," Turabi suggests. Moreover, Jewish transgression against Prophet Muhammad led to their eviction from Arabia, a precedent frequently cited by both Arafat and the Islamists as the justification for the irreconcilable enmity between Muslims and Jews.
Turabi has no doubt about Arafat's position on these issues. Arafat is striving to reach "reconciliation between the PLO which he leads and the Islamist movement HAMAS," and Turabi is assisting him in this regard. The seeming differences between Arafat and the Islamists are not as big as they seem.
Only the strategies of Arafat and the Islamists diverge, their ultimate objective is identical, Turabi insists. As for this ultimate objective -- Turabi has clearly stated his, and thus Arafat's as well.(42)
And these are not empty threats. Recently, in late October 1997, anti-Jewishness themes identifying the Jews as controlling both the US and Israel constituted the underlining logic of the Communique of the Vanguard of Conquest and the Jihad Group -- both under the command of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, a close protégé of Hassan al-Turabi. "The Islamic Jihad against Jews´s world dominance will continue...the Islamic Jihad which stands against Jewish expansion." (43)
"The Islamic Ummah rejects Israel's existence in the first place, let alone its continuing aggression and repeated massacres against us."(44)
Meanwhile, Arafat's own PLO/PA is not far behind the Islamists' Jihad in both repeating the classic antiJewishness themes, and in anticipating the resumption of struggle against both Israel and the Jews. PA-controlled media is intensifying its virulent anti-Jewish and anti-Judaism incitement. Thus, for example, in late July, Arafat's own organ -- al-Hayah al-Jadidah -- reported and endorsed the research of one Ahmad al-Awadeh on "The History of the Conflict Between Muslims and Jews". The study ascertains that the Jews still live by the principles of the Talmud and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Hence, Awadeh concludes and al-Hayah al-Jadidah endorses, the conflict between Muslim and Jews is an eternal conflict. For their part, the Palestinians have to serve as the vanguard of the entire Muslim World in this eternal battle of both Muslims and all other nations against the "nation of Jews."(45) And these sentiments are manifested in call for action by senior PA leaders. On December 2, 1997, for example, Saadi al-Karnaz, a member of the PA's Legislative Council, openly called on PA TV for a struggle against the Jews in order to destroy Israel and establish a Palestinian state in its stead. "Our struggle is still necessary, we are still at the beginning of the road. Our war with Israel and the Jews has not ended and will not end until the establishment of a Palestinian state on the entire land of Palestine."(46)
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1. This paper is derived from the author's book Islamic Anti-Jewishness sponsored by The Freeman Center For Strategic Studies. The opinions expressed in this paper are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the members of the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, or any other branch of the U.S. Government.
2. Sharon, Moshe. Preface to Bat Ye'or [pseud.], The Dhimmis -- Proteges: Jews and Christians under the Shadow of Islam, [Hebrew translation], Jerusalem, Kana, 1986, p. 29
3. Jameelah, Maryam. Islam versus Ahl al-Kitab, Delhi, Taj, 1989 (a reprint of a Pakistani edition), p. 11
4. For an overall discussion of the history of Jews under Islam see: Lewis, Bernard. The Jews of Islam, Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press, 1984; Bat Ye'or [pseud.], The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam, Rutherford NJ, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996 (orig. 1980 & 1985)
5. Lewis, Bernard. Semites and Anti-Semites: An Inquiry into Conflict and Prejudice, New York NY, W.W.Norton, 1986, p. 121
6. Bat Ye'or [pseud]. The Dhimmi, Rutherford NJ, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996 (1985); Bat Ye'or [pseud]. The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam, Rutherford NJ, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996; Bat Ye'or [pseud]. Juifs et Chrestiens sous l'Islam [Jews and Christians under Islam], Paris, Berg International, 1994.
7. Lewis, Semites and Anti-Semites, op.cit., pp. 124-139
8. Elpeleg, Zvi. HaMufti haGadol [Grand Mufti], Tel-Aviv, Misrad Habitakhon -- Hotsaa Laor, 1989; Elpeleg, Zvi (ed.). MiNekudat Reuto shel haMufti [In the Eyes of the Mufti], Tel-Aviv, Hakibutz haMeuhad, 1995; Lebel, Jennie. Hajj Amin veBerlin [Hajj Amin and Berlin], Tel-Aviv, 1996
9. Harkabi, Yehoshafat. Emdat haAravim beSikhsukh Yisrael-Arav [The Arabs' Position in the Arab-Israeli Conflict], Tel Aviv, Dvir, 1968, pp. 173-177
10. al-Thal, Abd-Allah. The Danger of International Judaism to Islam and Christianity. Cairo, Dar al-Qalam, 1964, p. 171; cited in Harkabi, Yehoshafat. Emdat haAravim beSikhsukh Yisrael-Arav [The Arabs' Position in the Arab-Israeli Conflict], Tel Aviv, Dvir, 1968, p. 190
11. Harkabi, Emdat HaAravim, op.cit., pp. 210-212
12. Farooqi, Misbahul Islam. The Jewish Conspiracy and the Muslim World, Kuala Lumpur, Thinker's Library SDN BHD, 1991 (a reprint of a Pakistani edition of 1967). This collection of essays as well as the entire text of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is still being reprinted and distributed throughout the Muslim World.
13. al-Thal, op.cit., pp. 170-171; cited in Harkabi, Emdat HaAravim, op.cit., p. 224
14. Heikal, Mohammed. Secret Channels: The Inside Story of Arab-Israeli Peace Negotiations, London, HarperCollins, 1996, p. 87
15. Nettler, Ronald L. Past Trials and Present Tribulation, Oxford, Pergamon Press, 1987, pp. 19-20
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