Occupation or Preoccupation?
Shevat 29, 5769, 23 February 09 10:53by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
Nissan Ratzlav-Katz is opinion editor at Israel National News.com, and frequently writes for leading American opinion journals and newspapers. His commentaries have been published internationally and translated into several languages.
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(IsraelNN.com) Our current Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, stated that he believes that the Israeli "occupation" causes anti-Semitism. I believe that he is - like Muslim spokesmen for over a hundred years - employing what Binyamin Netanyahu calls "reversal of causality". In fact, it is anti-Semitism that causes occupation, because the desire to wipe out Israel is quintessentially anti-Semitic and our "occupation", such as it is, prevents that eventuality.
Let's look at the texts and the personal example of Muhammad, founder of Islam, to see if "occupation" causes anti-Semitism, or if anti-Semitism is a preoccupation of the Islamic sources.
One of the last messages Muhammad sought to convey, while on his death bed, was a curse directed at Jews and Christians. According to Muhammad's wife Aisha, as recorded in the Hadith of Bukhari (Volume 1, Book 8; called "Prayers", hadith number 427):
When the last moment of the life of Allah's Apostle came he started putting his khamisa on his face and when he felt hot and short of breath he took it off his face and said, "May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of their prophets." The Prophet was warning (Muslims) of what those had done.
It's his last moments on Earth and all Muhammad can think to say is, "May Allah curse the Jews and Christians"?
That's Muhammad. What did his god, Allah, say in his book, the Koran (Chapter 5, al-Maeda, paragraph 64)?
The Jews say: "Allah's hand is tied up." Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for what they uttered. Nay, both his hands are widely outstretched. He spends (of his bounty) as he wills. Verily, the revelation that has come to you [Muhammad] from your Lord (Allah) increases in most of them obstinate rebellion and disbelief. We have put enmity and hatred amongst them till the Day of Resurrection. Every time they kindled the fire of war, Allah extinguished it; and they (ever) strive to make mischief on the Earth. And Allah does not like the mischief-makers.
Was Allah upset about the "occupation" of Gaza? Could be. After all, he can supposedly see the future too.
What else did Muhammad say in his lifetime about the Jews (as recorded in the authoritative Hadith of Bukhari)?
"May Allah curse the Jews, for they have taken the graves of their prophets as places of worship."
"May Allah curse the Jews: fat was forbidden for them, but they melted it down and sold it."
I didn't see anywhere in Koran or Hadith or Tafsir: May Allah curse the Jews because of their occupation. (In fact, the Koran explicitly enjoins Jews to take over the Land of Israel - but that's a text for another time.)
Just in case the Muslim believer did not get the message from the Koran or from the prophet of Islam independently, a Muslim scholar named Ibn al-Qayyim (1292-1350 CE) clarified the Muslim view of Jews (in Hidayat al-Hayara):
The nation upon whom is the Divine wrath are the Jews, the people of lies, slander, betrayal, conspiracy and trickery, the killers of prophets and consumers of usury and bribes. They have the most evil hearts of all nations, and the worst attitude. They are the farthest removed from (Divine) mercy and the closest to (Divine) wrath. Their way is enmity and stirring up hatred. They represent the house of witchcraft, lies and trickery. They do not see anything wrong in rejecting and disbelieving in prophets whom they did not like. With regard to a believer, they respect not the ties, either of kinship or of covenant. They do not respect the rights of those who agree with them, or show any compassion towards them, nor do they show any justice or fairness to those who work with them. There is no safety or security for those who mix with them, and there is no sincerity towards those who use their services.
The most evil of them is the one who is most intelligent, and the cleverest one among them is the one who cheats the most. The one who is good at heart - which it is unlikely to find among them - is not a Jew in any real sense. They are the most bad-tempered of people, with the gloomiest houses and the filthiest courtyards. They have very bad manners - their greeting is a curse, and meeting them is bad news. Their slogan is wrath and they are filled with hatred.
But, says Olmert, Livni, Meretz, et. al., we can have peace with the Muslims. After all, the Jews, as we are constantly told, lived at "peace" with Muslims for generations under Islam. Here is what that looked like:
* Muhammad massacred, exiled, extorted and enslaved many hundreds of Jews in various campaigns during his lifetime, including the Qurayza tribe, which surrendered and had its 900 males beheaded, its females and children taken as slaves for Muslims. After that, other Jewish tribes ransomed their lives or fled, leaving behind their property. To be fair, as an alternative to death, exile, submission or slavery, Muhammad offered the Jews conversion to Islam.
* In 8th-century Morocco, whole Jewish communities were wiped out by Muslims.
* Synagogues in Iraq were ordered destroyed by the Muslim regime in 854-859 (and again in 1344).
* Synagogues were ordered demolished in Egypt and Syria in 1014, 1293-4, and 1301-2.
* The Jewish vizier of Granada, Spain, Joseph HaNagid, was crucified on December 30, 1066, followed by a Muslim pogrom that killed 5,000 Jews of the city.
* Forced conversions of Jews to Islam - with the alternative being death - were carried out in Yemen in 1165, and again in 1678.
* In the 12th century in North Africa, the Almohads either forcibly converted or decimated several communities.
* Jews were forced to choose between Islam and death in Morocco in 1275, again in 1465, and again in 1790-92.
* In Baghdad in 1333 and 1344, Jews were offered Muhammad's Choice as well.
* In 1465, Muslims carried out a pogrom in Fez, Morocco, murdering thousands of Jews, leaving only 11 alive. Similar massacres were perpetrated throughout Morocco.
* Synagogues were ordered demolished in Yemen in 1676.
* In 1785, in Libya, Muslims murdered hundreds of Jews
* In the 1800s, Jews were massacred in Algeria in the pogroms of 1805, 1815 and 1830; and in Morocco between 1864 and 1880, with more than 300 Jews murdered.
Occupation breeds anti-Semitism? Sure. And the shaking of tree leaves makes the wind blow.