Monday, October 11, 2010

'In Ishmael's House' No Great Place to be a Jew

Jonathan Kay can be a tad inconsistent on occasion: notable lapses have included an endorsement of a work by Rashid Khalidi and a bashing of the B'nai Brith over a 'toon by a purported "friend o' the Jews" "peace-loving" 'toonist. However, his review of Martin Gilbert's new book about the mostly wretched history of Jews in Muslim lands is right on the money. Mincing no words, Kay situates the origin of patholgical Muslim Juden/Zionhass right where it belongs--i.e. in Islam's foundational texts, teachings, and traditions--and explains what this sacrilized hatred bodes for "peace" hopes in the Middle East.
...To this day, in fact, bloody episodes from early Muslim history involving the killings of Jews are often cited casually in Arab propaganda against Israel. No effort is made to interpret these stories in any sort of allegorical sense; instead, they are celebrated at face value as victories that validate the foundational Muslim narrative of conquest and submission.

The historical pattern Gilbert describes should inform the current debate over Muslim enmity toward Israel, and the exterminationist rhetoric and deeds that flow out of it. In the dream world of foreign-policy pop-punditry, it often is taken for granted that Jews and Muslims will get along like North and South Dakotans once Israel agrees to become an even smaller country than it already is. Yet this argument — reflecting Western leaders’ Asperger’s-like fixation on international law and lines drawn on maps — finds absolutely no support in the region’s history. In the unending account of violence Gilbert has compiled, it is hard to find a single episode that centres mainly on real estate: The issue was always the fact of Judaism itself rubbing up against Muslims‚ pride and conceits...
Way back when, Islam's founder made his name by forcing stiff-necked Jews to submit, dammit. And when they didn't, he gave the order to detach their heads from those selfsame necks. Is it any wonder that, all these centuries later, his followers are so p.o.'d to find themselves having to go through the whole rigmarole of compelling Jews to submit all over again?

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