Michael Totten

A Minority Report from Egypt

Egyptian journalist Sharif ‘Abd Al-Ghani doesn’t understand what Zionism is, but he does know what raw hatred of Jews is, and he doesn’t like it. So he pushes back in a daily Qatari newspaper.

Why does our sheikh – and we behind him – shower all these curses on the Jews, but then add the expression ‘peace be upon him’ when speaking of their prophet Moussa [Moses]? Are the Jews not people of the Book and among those whom the Koran orders us to treat kindly so long as they do not fight us? And how could Allah have created them so impure and damned if they are the disciples of a prophet?

People who think this way aren’t as rare in the Arab world as you might think. I meet them fairly often. They are, however, a minority, sadly. He knows it, too. “As years went by,” he wrote, “I discovered that cursing the Jews is a fixed feature in [the prayers of] all the preachers in the various mosques I have visited, in Egypt and elsewhere.”

It is sometimes different on the periphery of the Muslim world where Arab Nationalism doesn’t exist. I’d like to think the so-called Arab Spring would shake this up a bit, but I am not seeing it, not yet, anyway.

Jews are hardly the only people who should be concerned about this. I’m concerned about it and I am not Jewish. Arabs suffer the consequences from this the most. Walter Russell Mead is entirely right here:

It seems to be a general law of modern life that those who hate and fear Jews are condemned to backwardness and irrelevance: not, as anti-Semitic loons pathetically imagine, because Jewish cabals manipulate capitalism to frustrate their enemies, but because without intellectual clarity and a sincerely tolerant worldview, it is very difficult to prosper in a world like ours.