Islam and Antisemitism

28-jan-2015

The january 2015 attacks in Paris by violent Islamic extremists on French cartoonists and soft Jewish targets have highlighted the issue of rising antisemitism* in the Islamic world. Jewish communities worldwide now feel vulnerable to recurrence of such violence, which can happen anywhere and is almost impossible to prevent.

A minor and very sad symptom of rising antisemitism is a propensity of otherwise intelligent people to give credence to wild speculations of Zionist involvment in virtually any atrocity happening in the world today, including 9/11 and even the Paris attacks. I have heard such nonsense with my own ears and on electronic noticeboards.

What accounts for this apparent surge in Islamic antisemitism?

In my opinion the phenomenon is all too easy to understand.

In the early years of the 20th century the Zionist pioneers convinced Western powers that Jewish colonization of Palestine could provide a spearhead by which the West could control the Arab world after the disintegration of the Ottoman empire. This ostensibly crazy idea, which was discounted as absurd by the vast majority of European Jews, went down very well with the colonial powers, especially Britain. It fitted the colonialist narrative of the day, provided a strategy to retain control of the Middle East, and potentially solved the issue of what to do with all the Jews should the racists and fascists come to power in central Europe - as indeed came to pass. After all, the Western powers wanted desperately to avoid a huge influx of poor and Yiddish-speaking Jewish refugees, in much the same way as immigrants from Africa are regarded now. So Weizmann and company were kicking at an open door as far as the British were concerned. The ancient historical links of the Jews to Palestine and the fashionable interest in high British circles with Old-Testament protestantism and other mumbo-jumbo provided good cover.

As we all know, the Zionist project was widly successful. Furthermore, the worst fears about fascism and racism in central Europe came to pass. After the Holocaust it might have happened that the Jewish refugees would have been settled in their places of origin or first preference destination (mainly America) but once again it was convenient for Western powers to use the Jewish bridgehead in Palestine for the purpose instead. So Israel came to be. The spearhead by which the West would control the Middle East became ratified as a state, and was explicitly Jewish.

Furthermore the Zionists made clear, from the first moment, and to this day, that the spearhead state of Israel is a state of the Jews, and that all Jews (but no-one else, including the long-term inhabitants of Palestine) have an automatic right to live there. Even now Israel is not a state of its citizens, but of the Jews. Israel uses every opportunity to erase any distinction between the interests of Israel, and those of Jews outside Israel - even when these policies sharply endanger the safety of Jews worldwide, as we have seen many times.

So Israel sold itself to the Western powers as a Jewish spearhead to control the Middle East in general, and Arab nationalism in particular.

The Zionists not only put themselves forward as the frontline troops to control the Arabs, but also declared that they represented all Jews.

Under such circumstances a sharp rise in antiJewish sentiments was inevitable and indeed happened, with large numbers of Jews being immediately expelled from Arab countries. The following years have seen little fundamental change except that the Zionist encroachment into Arab lands and humiliation of Zionist-controlled Arab populations has only increased. Naturally the resentment and hatred of Zionists by Arabs, and by extension all Jews, has increased as well.

Recently there has been a step change in the level of Islamic violence. In my opinion this is a direct response to the even more extreme violence inflicted by Western powers on mainly Islamic populations in the form of air strikes and most recently drone strikes.

The Islamic world has a very young demographic. Historically countries with a large excess of young males are likely to be indulge in expansionary conflicts as well as reckless and violent adventures. The crusades come to mind.

The West, with its old population and highly-controlled media, has goaded the young Islamic world with a self-appointed spearhead in the form of Israel, and poured petrol on the flames with the extremely violent wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya. Since military targets are well-defended, Islamists and their sympathizers respond by small-scale but violent attacks on soft targets, namely symbolic landmarks, journalists, and Jews.

Sadly, none of it should be surprising.