Is modern Islamic antisemitism different than historical Islamic anti-semitism?

I don’t mean to pick on Citizen Pained because he is not the only one guilty of taking this position but part of the discussion in Israel threads always touches on Islamic anti-semitism. As if the only reason these Arab countries hate Israel is because it has Jews in it. In other words it is an irrational hatred.

And while there might be some truth to that, I propose that the virulence of modern Islamic anti-semitism is much greater than what have seen in past centuries. I propose that if Mormon Zionists had created the state of Israel in the same way that Jewish Zionists created it, there would be a lot of Islamic anti-Mormonism.

I don’t disagree. Current Arab anti-semitism is a side-effect of the Arab-Israeli conflict, not its cause, and while I wouldn’t call it justified, it’s certainly understandable. That’s almost completely unlike old-style anti-semitism, which to my mind at least is utterly inexplicable.

Besides, old-style anti-semitism is something that happened to old-style Jews. Opression needs both a victimizer and a victim, and we don’t dance that dance any more - or at least, that’s the plan.

I assume you mean that since the Jews have Israel (and have demonstrated in the process of taking and keeping Israel that they are ‘tough’ and a ‘force to be reckoned with’ or whatever), they are no longer the “old style” ghetto-Jew victims.

Given that such a large contingent of the Arab world seems to want to take away the Jews’ land completely and restore them to the status of a people without a home, it seems to me that although the Jews might no longer be victims, many people want them to go back to the days of being victims.

ETA: I also don’t see any outrage in the Arab world about all of the Arab countries who have maltreated the Palestinians, suggesting to me that the outrage is saved up for the Jews. That, to me, is anti-Semitism.

I think there’s a lot more calculation to it. Unpopular regimes in Islamic countries fan anti-semitism to distract their people from the flaws of the regime.

No, that’s provincialism. Most of the time, your average Southerner couldn’t give a shit about New Yorkers, and probably actively dislikes them despite not knowing any - but that doesn’t mean they were celebrating after 9/11.

This is certainly the case, for one reference see Bernard Lewis’ The Jews of Islam ( and no one has ever accused old Bernie of pro-Islamist sympathies ). Pre-modern Islamic anti-Semitism was usually ( there were exceptions ) rather lesser in virulence and somewhat different in kind than its Christian equivalent. This has been discussed on this board before.


It is important to note that the change in anti-Semitic attitudes in the ME/NA pre-dates the founding of Israel. It was more an early expression of rising ethnic nationalism and the consequence of the increasing weakening of Muslim states in the face of European pressure, particularly in the multi-confessional Ottoman state where Jews were the easiest scapegoats for the struggling lowest rungs of first Christian, and then Muslim society. For example the infamous ‘blood libel’ seems to be a very recent import to the ME/NA ( via Christian sources ), but recent in this case is the first half of the 19th century, decades before Theodore Herzl was even born.

While I have absolutely no doubt that the founding of Israel helped exacerbate anti-Jewish sentiment, anti-Semitism in Middle East was on the rise and morphing into something a little more similar to the traditional Christian European version well before the modern state of Israel had even begun gestation as a concept.

DA, I dont even see a debate here. When people start saying the Arabs got what they deserved for being anti-semitic in the first place, it’s just a way of muddying the waters and in fact just total refusal of any serious debate (like the old “ANC are commies, you cant talk with them”, or the more common "You cant understand, it is too complicated, well too complicated for Pro-Palestinians. It seems if is far less complicated the moment you support Israel). In the case of the poster you mentioned, that describes her entire schtick since she first registered on the Dope.
That said, Arab anti-zionism has been tapping into old school Western anti-semitism. But it is far more recent in my opinion that what is usually claimed.

I’d be interested in some cites here. Especially since I dont really see any reason why Arab nationalism would latch onto anti-semitism to assert itself (I could understand the process in French Algeria with the emancipation of Jews there, but not in the other Arab countries). I’m not refuting your claims, but I’d be interested in some serious cites for this.

It’s not that Arab nationalism consciously latched on to anti-Semitism in an attempt to assert itself. Indeed some of the early secular Arab intellectuals dreamed of a more just and egalitarian multi-confessional society. One notable figure in the early unofficial movement was actually an Egyptian Jew, James Sanua, who published the first popular paper in Egyptian rather literary Arabic. While many Jews remained distinct from the Turkish and Arab masses in language and internal culture, at least some, the large assimilated concentration in Bagdad being the most notable example, spoke Arabic as their first ( often only ) language and were heavily involved in revivals of Arabic culture.

The issue was more the changing climate as ethnic and confessional differences became sharpened and politicized. Starting in the late 18th century, accelerating in the wake of the Greek revolt/war of independence and gaining even more importance after 1878 ( when with the loss of territory Islam had become much more the predominant relgion of the state ), the Ottoman government began increasingly to emphasize the Sultan’s heretofore little exploited ceremonial title of Caliph as a new source of legitimacy and diplomacy and began leaning towards a less cosmopolitan character. Meanwhile European powers were gaining official legal status as protectors and intercessors for religious minorities in the weakened Ottoman state - France for Catholics, Russia for the Orthodox, Britain for Protestants ( few and far between, hence in cynical part perhaps the eventual British interest in Jewish affairs as well ). As Muslim citizens became increasingly aware of their reduced power in the outside world ( decay of Ottoman, Moroccan and Iranian power ), as Europeans began interfering internally in Muslim states on behalf of minorities, as Muslim states declined economically and poverty became more and more widespread, tensions ratcheted up. Particularly ( as is most often the case ) with the impoverished who sought outlets for their misery by trying to rage against other, weaker minorities. Intercommunal violence in the Ottoman state at least was rare in the 15th-18th centuries, but became increasingly epidemic in the 19th. This didn’t just effect Jews or even primarily effect Jews, as the Armenians can rightly attest.

In point of fact the initial and greatest source of anti-Semitism in the 19th century Ottoman state was not the government, which was usually cast in the status of protecting the Jewish communities. Nor was it even the Muslim lower classes, though that often came later. Rather it was Christian minorities who were most often at the forefront of spreading imported anti-Semitic tracts and inciting violence.

And the Jews in the 19th century were the easiest targets in an increasingly stressed society. Contrary to the modern perception of Jews, those in the early 19th century Ottoman state tended to be poorly educated and economically marginal as a group ( many exceptions can be found of course ). Lewis notes that in one community in 1907 only 12 of 400 Jewish families were listed as being fairly well-to-do, while well over half fell into the categories of hawkers, water carriers, bootblacks and the unsteadily employed ( and 2 worked for the government ). That’s an incomplete picture as the econmomic lot of Jews varied widely from locale to locale, but the work of the Alliance Israélite Universelle in the Ottoman territories shows a broadly similar pattern ( they compiled the statistics above that Lewis cites ). And as noted the Christian minorities increasingly had resort to European intercessors - during the Damascus affair in 1840, which kicked off the spread of the blood libel craze*, the French consul was a willing participant in villifying the Jews.

So while Jews didn’t get the worst end of 19th and early 20th century inter-communal tension, the climate in general did engender the spread of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic tracts which influenced increasingly negative views. The establishment of Israel eventually just fed into an already developing pattern ( and the fall of the Ottoman state was actually a heavy blow, as the government frequently had tried to shield them as a “safe” minority, being regarded as less prone to fifth columnism than Christian subjects ).

Some useful references would be The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922 by Donald Quatert ( 2000, Cambridge University Press ), the aformentioned The Jews of Islam by Bernard Lewis ( 1984, Princeton University Press ) and ( in relation to the effects of the Ottoman move towards a less inter-communal character on the military and the influence on society ) Virginia Aksan’s excellent Ottoman Wars, 1700-1870:* An Empire Besieged* ( 2007, Pearson-Longman ).

  • As a correction to my earlier comment, Lewis notes that mention of the blood libel first appears in Muslim lands in the 15th century, during the reign of Mehmed II, probably with the Greek Orthodox population ( it was apparently a common trope in the Byzantine state ). It thereafter pops up very infrequently in later centuries and is usually squashed by Ottoman authorities until the 19th century when it suddenly explodes in popularity.

For the upteenth time, I am a she.

And I don’t understand why this is in GD. I said that the definition of antisemitism doesn’t change. It doesn’t mean the policies are the same. The examples aren’t the same.

What are you contesting, exactly?

Of course Islamic antisemitism will come up. It’s always existed (though not as prevalent) and does play a role in the perceptions of and dealings with Israel.

ffs, Damuri, I know you have a hard time understanding things, but if you’re going to talk about something I “think”, at least cite me.

I see it as this: there were politicians and antisemites. Some people were both. Over a short period of time, antisemitism became a plank of a pretty universal platform in the Arab nations: the Jews aren’t welcome. The new ‘sharia style’ law in Gaza is filled with anti-Jew hatred. It’s not just about Zionism anymore. Clerics all over the world echo the sentiment. imo, Israel just gave antisemtisim a new platform and it spread. But that’s not to say that some parts - like Jerusalem - weren’t riddled with antisemitism and violence before 48.

No, he’s not saying, “Oh, they don’t give a damn…” as if they are merely disinterested.

He’s saying, "They lambast Israel and Jews and actively engage in foreign policy (UN, treaties, summits, trade) against Israel.

But they treat the Palestinians just as badly.

That’s exactly what I’m saying. I always hear statements from all these Arab countries’ leaders saying how much they support the Palestinian cause and everything, but what have any of these people actually done to help the Palestinians? I really do have a lot of sympathy for the Palestinians. They’ve gotten shit on by a lot of people. It’s just that the way it gets spun is that the only one who has ever done them wrong is Israel. This is just not true. On Gadhaffi’s Wikipedia page it says: “In 1995, Gaddafi expelled some 30,000 Palestinians living in Libya, in response to the peace negotiations that had commenced between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.” This is literally a one-sentence section on his page; it doesn’t even warrant a paragraph. And he is far from the only Arab leader who has expelled Palestinians from his country.

Could you imagine if Netanyahu tomorrow kicked 30,000 Palestinians out of Israel, said “get the fuck out of here, guys,” just like that? Can you imagine the outrage all over the world?

This isn’t a hijacking of the thread, as much as it may seem - this is an example of how the Arab world shits all over Israel for everything but has never owned up to its own foul treatment of the Palestinians it claims to support. That is one standard for the Jews and another standard for the Muslims. That’s a facet of the anti-semitism being discussed in the OP.

What do you mean by ‘recent’?

Do you deny that antisemitism existed in Arab countries pre-48?

Do you think that this is just a ‘recent’ thing, like since 1948? 1960?

Because this has been an issue since the mid 19th century, at least. Bump it up to 1900 and onward if you like…it definitely exploded around the 40s.

Some Jews fled to Arab countries during WWII, but that welcome mat didn’t even last a generation.

Damuri Ajashi, your opening statement was unnecessarily provocative, laying the"blame" for an attitude on another poster without a single citation that that poster actually holds the opinion you ascribed.

This thread could have easily been launched with a more neutral opening post that did not refer to any other posters. If you don’t like drama, then stop posting dramatically.

CitizenPained, you could have ignored the nonsense, (beyond the correction for your sex), and simply posted without the snide remarks. If you simply had to object to the OP, you could have reported the post rather than wading in with more personal remarks.

Both of you, knock it off.

[ /Moderating ]


Would care to comment on the role of the “Grand Mufti of Jerusalem” in stoking antisemitism in the service of power politics with other Arab leaders?

And your take on the difference between the older Jews-as-a-second-class (somewhat inferior) citizen (with some protections), and the importation of European style Jew hating in the mid to late 20th century, would also be appreciated.

Here is another red herring. People in Israel debates frequently claim that we are holding Israel up to a special standard. Perhaps the UN does, perhaps other people do but I do not. I say FUCK those arab states for kicking out their Jews and stealing their land, I say FUCK those arab states that have mistreated Palestinians while using Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians as a bludgeon.

The thing is noone stands up for them when I condemn these states so the debate never goes anywhere.

When I say FUCK Israel for what it is doing, there are a lot of people who think that Israel shouldn’t be criticized for what it does. Why don’t these people defend the arab states when I say fuck them?

WTF!!! Since when did Great Debates OPs have to be neutral? Half the time OPs get criticized for being too neutral. But you’re right I should have provided a cite (as if its a fucking secret that this topic doesn’t come up multiple times in every single Israel thread and has to be addressed over and over again) so here:

The claim is that islamic anti-semitism has always existed and that what we see today is not really distinguishable from what we might have seen in the past.

The notion is that the arabs don’t hate jews because of zionism or the creation of the state of Israel, its because arabs have always been anti-semites.

Like I said, CP isn’t the only Israel apologist guilty of this but I felt that it would be useful to get this one sorted out so we wouldn’t have to keep rehashing this one over and over again.

I don’t follow you around so I only know a small part of what you post. And I’ve not seen those condemnations anywhere near as much as I’ve seen you reference your doing it as you do here.

Help me out please and point me to some of these many threads in which you condemn Arab states for having for having kicked Jews out of Arab lands and Arab leaders for their mistreatment of their own while “using Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians as a bludgeon” … other than as an afterthought. I’ve missed them.

They don’t, but calling out another poster with a claim that that poster has made a statement that you then decline to cite is a lot more like picking a feud than starting a debate.

Your better options were to simply quote the statements that you felt needed to be challenged or to leave any reference to another poster out of the OP and merely explain what you wanted to debate. (The second option simply would have worked better in this case, because now we will get to see several pages of rancorous exchanges regarding whether the posts you have now cited do or do not actually express the meaning that you have assigned them.)

It is a bit late to change that, now, so I will simply encourage EVERYONE to stick to the topic and leave personal observations out of this thread.

[ /Modding ]

First, being an ‘apologist’ means that you defend every position, often rewriting history and putting forth incredible double standards. I don’t do this.

Second, the first post you linked does not give credence to your original OP.

What is Zionism? Originally - the idea that Jews have a right to their own statehood - and it stems from a need for Jews to have their own protection. It derives from socialist and natural rights philosophies. Most modern-day Diaspora Zionists believe that Israel has a right to exist, either as a Jewish nation or one that protects Jews from persecution.

The early settlers of Eretz Yisrael were not right-wing Orthodox parties. The Haredi Jews did not build Israel and they will not fight for it, but they wish to rule it. :rolleyes:

If you agree that Zionism is a belief that Israel has a right (if not a duty to the 9 million other Jews) to exist, then sure, I’m a Zionist. I’m O.K. with that.

What you said, The claim is that islamic anti-semitism has always existed and that what we see today is not really distinguishable from what we might have seen in the past, is false. Of course Islamic anti-Semitism has changed and expanded. But antisemitism doesn’t change, and Islamic anti-Semitism still holds that Jews are inferior to Muslims.

Jews have rejected the two (newer) major religions of the world. Makes sense there would be some resentment. Why do you think that Arab nations and leaders were largely sympathetic, if not outright supportive, of Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews?

Islamic anti-semitism has been in existence since the creation of Islam. Not surprisingly, anti-Islamic and anti-Christian sentiment and distrust has been in existence within Jewry since their creations as well. The question is not a matter of which group is ‘better’ or ‘more moral’ than the other two: the question is what happens when another group has power. While Israel aimed to be a pluralistic and wholly democratic liberal society that could be a beacon of the Jewish people and protect other persecuted groups, it has fallen a little short of said goal.

The major difference I see is that the PA is OK with honor killings, murders of suspected ‘Israeli spies’, and teachings of sheer anti-Jew hatred in their schools while putting on a pretty face for the rest of the world. Other Arab countries aren’t shy about it. Iran, while not Arab but Muslim, is perfectly happy with its reputation.

In Israel, if there some anti-Muslim sentiment, everyone is in uproar - including most Israelis. But what concerns me is when Arab or Muslim countries do the same thing and you write it off as, "Well, if the Jews hadn’t settled there…" as an excuse.

THAT smacks of anti-semtisim to me.

add: All democratic societies that I can think of fail their citizens in terms of liberties when in engaging in warfare. The U.S. is no exception: WWI, II, Vietnam…Iraq II…Israel has always had a problem of security.

So now Israel has many wars to fight: A PR war in which it can not be seen as hating Muslims, Hamas, negotiations with double-dealing lying PA leadership, conversations with its citizens (because no one person rules Israel), the fight to be a global economic force, and this absurd war against Israel in which it is held to standards above the law, standards that are above the norm - standards that we don’t hold the rest of the Western world to.