Over-generalizing but: Why do Muslims hate Jews?

But first, a couple of clarifications:

First, yes, I know this is an indefensible over-generalization. That’s why I said so in the thread title. I know many moderate Muslims do not hate Jewish people. But the title is a reasonable approximation of what I am asking in good faith. Anyone reading anything racist or incendiary into the OP will be invited to step into the Pit.

Second, this is NOT a Great Debate. It is a GENERAL QUESTION, asking for factual, historical and/or religion-based responses. I put it in this forum on purpose. Kindly do NOT hijack my thread.

I’ve been doing some reading, in a pretty cursory fashion, on Islam in the Middle East and Africa. One of the things that strikes me is the antipathy for Jews and Judaism – an antipathy that seems remarkable in its prevalence and irrationality. I mean, I know fundamentalist Muslims don’t like Christians either, but AFAICT they really hate Jewish people, and many things they don’t like about the West they seem happy to chalk up to “Zionists” and/or the “Zionist conspiracy” – up to and including 9/11. I am aware, of course, of the modern political situation in the Middle East, dating back to at least the early 20th century, when Jewish settlers returned in a concerted fashion to the Middle East and fought for the little piece of land now known as Israel, but it seems like the antipathy pre-dates that. (Right?) Further, the degree of loathing not infrequently expressed appears to be cultural, or emotional, not just political.

So what is it? Is there something in the religion of Judaism that Muslims find inherently objectionable? If so, what? Is it really more of an Arab thing, a point of view not shared by, say, African Muslims? Does the Koran denigrate Jews? If so, what was the socio-cultural-political situation at that time that would have led to that denigration? How old is this problem, anyway, and what is it based on? Why don’t they hate Christians as much? Or do they?

Thanks to the Teeming Millions for FACTUAL responses that are respectful of all the faiths involved.

Hostorically, Muslims have treated Jews more fairly than Christians have treated Jews. There have been sporadic outbreaks of anti-Jewish persecution in a few places, but it was not a generalized Muslim-on-Jew climate for the last 1300 years.

In the early 20th century, several separate events began to emerge in the Middle East:
The Arabs began to entertain the notion of ruling their own destiny as the Ottoman Empire collapsed;
The Jews began to actively campaign for a homeland where they could establish borders for defense and engage in their own self-determination;
The Europeans (mostly Britain and France) got caught up in “managing” the defunct Ottoman Empire, resulting in their meddling in both of the two previous movements;
As part of the reaction of supporters of the first movement reacting against supporters of the second movement, a number of European-educated Arabs returned to the Middle East carrying European anti-semitism with them (notably, Mein Kampf).

When the state of Israel was established, a lot of Arabs saw that event as further evidence of European suppression of Arab self-determination and, having little ability to strike back at London, Paris, or Washington, they focused on Israel, itself.

In the ensuing decades, the sore spot of the “invasion” of Israel has often been conflated with the Mein Kampf propaganda, to the point that the region is now full of the sort of anti-Jewish hysteria that one more typically associates with ghettoes and pogroms in Europe.

The issue of the state of Israel is a complex one that can be argued from various perspectives, but humans are often drawn to simplistic explanations. People who resent European/American interference with their lives, angered by what they perceive as a land grab by Israelis–who are then characterized as “avaricious Jews”–lends itself to a lot of hatred.

First some history, and you, apparently, have not gone back far enough. In the late Roman era, a decimated Jewish community in the area managed a revival. For three centuries, the towns and farms extended as far as the coastal plain. During this period, the Palestinian Talmud was compiled. Moreover, the Jewish population sustained its growth well beyond the Arab conquest in the 7th century, and even under the Seljuk Turks, reached 300,000 inhabitants by the year 1000. The promising interlude ended abruptly and quite terribly with the arrival of the Crusaders. The butchery of Jews was so extensive under Christian rule, that in 1169, only a thousand families were still alive.

Eighteen years later, however, Saladin, sultan of Egypt, won a crushing victory over the Latin Kingdoms and began the process that ultimately evicted the last of the Crusaders a century later. Subsequently, under a tolerant Moslem regime, pilgrimages of Jews from overseas augmented the tiny Palestinian remnant. The Spanish expulsion decree in 1492, propelled tens of thousands of Shephardim Jews into all corners of the Mediterranen world, and not less than 8,000 into Palestine, and their arrival corresponded with the Ottoman conquest of the Levant (1517), and in its first century the rule of the Turks proved benign. After this first century, however, the Turks made life difficult for Jews and Christians alike. By 1837, no more than 6,000 Jews lived in the four holy cities.

It was around then, that the concept of Zionism took hold. Due to oppression in Russia and elsewhere in Europe, 25,000 Jews entered Palestine from 1882-1903. Several large tracts were purchased by the Chovevei Zion (formerly known as the Odessa Committee), which were then resold to settlers or land companies. However, the sheer hardships of farming in Palestine, a series of lethal malaria and typhoid epidemics, and the endless legal obstacles interposed by the Ottoman authorities, proved too heavy a burden, and many of the settlers emigrated for Europe.

Born in 1860, the son of an affluent banking family, Theodore Herzl became an internationally known author and reporter by 1895. He was also preoccupied with the Jewish question. He was driven to build a Jewish nation, and to that end mass propaganda was needed. He also learned much of parliamentary techniques during his years covering the French Chamber of Deputies. The First Zionist Organization was formed. By 1923, Haifa had become a glittering international city and a model of technological advancement. A race of Jewish fugitives had been transformed by orderly Zionist direction into a nation of successful farmers, industrialists, and businessmen.

Up to this point in history, there was no hatred of the Jews by the Arabs in the area. However, the Jews pushed for a state of their own, which was initially agreed to by England, who had the Mandate controlling the area after WWI, in the so-called “White Paper.” There, actually, have been several White Papers and England tried to back away from their commitment, but due to the Jewish freedom fighters, right after WWII, England gave up and allowed the partition of the land for two states: Israel and Palestine. The Arabs did not want a Jewish state in the region, and that was the start of the problems. After the UN allowed the partition, Israel declared the land set aside to it by the UN as a state, but the adjacent Arab countries thought they could push the Jews to the Sea (which, of course, never happened). The adjoining countries fought several wars against Israel, culminating in the 1972 Yom Kippur war, but the war in 1967 is the war in which Israel took possession of the “occupied” area. The PA, which was formed right after that war, believe all the land of Israel is occupied territory.

So, the short answer is that the hatred of the Jews by the Arabs was caused by the fact that the Jews wanted to live in a Jewish state. After the initial attack against Israel, in 1948, almost a million Arabs fled, in what is known as “refugee camps,” but are actually quite developed areas now. Not to get into GD area, some claim that Jews forced many Arabs to leave the state prior to the first war against it by terrorist activities against them. In any event, the majority of the refugees abandoned their homes in Israel during the first war’s brief intermission, afraid of being caught in the middle of the fireworks. Many of the Palestine leaders had left long before that. About 15% of Israel is still occupied by Arabs (the Israeli Arabs). Many of those are in Haifa, which is a city wherein many Jews and Arabs live together. Many Arabs now wish for peace and a state of their own (which they could’ve had in 1948), but the terrorism against Israel by Arafat’s henchmen (various factions of the PA) has caused Israel to use forceful tactics in self-defense. So, you have this chain reaction: Arafat’s henchmen attack innocent Israelis and the Israeli military reacts, as any state would. As long as Israel has to suffer terrorism, there never will be peace, and many Arabs realize this now, but Arafat is in control.

I heard that Billy Bob Musli shot Spencer D. Jew’s cousin in a bar fight, and the two family’s been a-feudin’ ever since. Things got worse when Sara Mae Jew married Thurgood Musli and went over there, and the Jew boys swore revenge…

TOMNDEBB and BARBITU8, your posts lead to the next question, which is why the Arab states object(ed) so vociferously to the establishment of a Jewish state in the Middle East?

And are you saying that there is little or no justification of anti-semitism in the religion of Islam, such as in the Koran and the hadith?

There is no justification of anti-Jewish sentiment in the Koran. In fact, People of the Book, which is any religion that is Bible based (i.e. Jews and Christians) are supposed to be respected. The issue is entirely political, not religious.


Okay, I’m from Malaysia, which is a mainly Muslim country (but I’m not a Muslim). And I’m not quite sure where you get the idea that Muslims hate Jews.

I know that most Muslims don’t accept the idea of Christianity, even though various similarities have been pointed out between the Quran and the Bible. But I’ve never seen anything that shows even remote animosity towards Jews.

Most Muslims guys are pretty laid back and decent really. The portrayal as fanatics by the media, with all that hatred, is quite misleading. They are no more fanatics than the Christians I see chanting about “burning in Hell for your sins” and “Save yourself by accepting God”. I studied in Australia for 3 years, and you can hardly walk the street without seeing some guy on the microphone or Christian groups handing out flyers.

I’m not sure if this is helpful, since most of this thread talks about the history of things, but I thought I’d point out that most of the Muslim community harbor no ill sentiments towards any group.

The Noble Koran and Islamic history is full of examples of close relations between Muslims and Jews. It is also used to fuel hatred of Jews.

In Islam’s most (large F) Fundamentalist (Wahhabist) manifestation, Koranic passages depicting what Christians nowadays call ‘end-time truths’ about the end of the world and the establishment of perfection here on earth calls for a climatic battle between Jews and Muslims.

A literal battle, a fight, not some sort of figurative thing.

So when Muslims fight Jews they are doing as God wants them to do. On the other hand, other verses specifically preach tolerance and understanding.

You know it comes down to this. Wise men are unsure what is true. Idiots are convinced they have a perfect understanding.

Now, now, while I would agree that, by far, most Muslims are swell folks, there are a good number of nutcases that seem to take great sexual delight in blowing themselves up.

Like you said, there’re just as many Christian nuts as there are Muslim nuts, for all intents and purposes.

However, I think Jodi understands that we’re dealing with a minority, here.

I understand where you’re coming from - but did you see that little blurb on the news a few years back about some planes and some buildings?

Some trains in Spain?

Some heads cut off with knives?

If one might be wary of some folks like that, they might make a wide berth around ANY folks like that.

Do you think the media made up this current jihad against the US?

SPOOFE: Please try to sober up before you post again.

JTTM80 –

Well, from things links like this and stories like this and rhetoric like this. Your point that this is a position held by fundamentalists is well-taken, but overlooks the fact that some stripe of fundamentalism is currently in ascendancy throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa. That’s why I’m asking “why” this exists, not “whether” it exists. But again, I have never said – and do not believe – that all Muslims hate Jews.

Well, part of the objection to a Jewish state was, as I noted, a result of European-sty;e anti-semitism imported from Europe in the 1920s.

There are no specific anti-Jewish traditions in the Koran or the Hadith. (People looking for such passages can find passages to support their claims, just as the bible has been used to support slavery and white supremacy, but it is not part of the general tradition.)

As jttm80 has noted (inferentially) the hatreds tend to be Middle Eastern/cultural rather than religious.

As I noted earlier, the issue of Jews moving into the Levant and establishing their own state has a lot of issues. Among them: the perception that “wealthy European Jews” were buying up Arab lands, depriving the Arabs of their own land. This is based (if exaggerated) on a tragically true point. Most of the Jews who bought land were hardly wealthy from a European perspective, but they had more money than the people living on the land. (They often pooled their resources to buy land, which was the start of many of the kibbutzim.) At the time, the people who held title to the land were often Turks or Egyptians who had acquired the titles during the Ottoman period, renting the land to the locals as absentee landlords in a manner similar to sharecropping. The local people who actually worked the land were unable to raise the kind of money needed to purchase their own land, so they saw the “wealthy” Europeans as thieving invaders. (Picture a Navajo discovering that his land had been “bought” by a Yankee rancher from a Spanish/Mexican landholder.)

From the perspective of the buyers, the Jews were dealing through “legal” channels, but that did not soften the blow for people who had worked the land discovering that they could not own it.

When the rising Jewish population began to agitate for their own country, the fact that they were supported by Europeans (who had chopped up the Middle East for their own profit after WWI) did not make the issue easier to take. When the anti-semitic propaganda began to be spread through the region, that simply exacerbated the problem. In addition, Britain messed up on several occasions, promising help amd then reneging. (This is a constant source of trouble for elected governments–promises made one year (to either side) could be disavowed when a new party came to power. Since each potential solution required many years to complete, no solution was followed long enough to let any solution take hold.)

Stockton, all your examples were committed by a small group of people, not by Muslims as a whole. Anyone could cite a group of terrible crimes committed by Americans, or Turks, or the Welsh. Doesn’t mean any of those groups, taken as a whole, are bad. Except those danged Welshmen.

The heck is your point? And what exactly are you disputing in SPOOFE’s post?

Assuming this post is on the level and not sardonic…the rest of us laid back regular folk are perceiving that certain Muslims have stated their aim as the destruction of Israel and its supporter, the US, and have backed it up by blowing up themselves and as many Americans and Jews as possible in the process. While this may not be as obnoxious as being on a microphone or handing out flyers, it’s fairly close.

We just don’t see Christians out slaughtering members of other religions for not joining up, as we are led to believe “good” Muslims are supposed to do by the tenets of their “faith”. The reason this is still so believable is that the voices of the peaceful Muslims are not being raised in deafening protest against the atrocities being committed in theirs and in God’s name. They remain largely silent about this, when they should be calling the jihaddist groups murderous infidels and blasphemers. Your thoughts?

Were the Ottomans non-Arab?

I don’t know about this. Can you think of any Christian theocracies? (No John Ashcroft jokes please.)

The Muslim fundamentalist movement, Wahabbism, is much more widespread in the Muslim world as violent, hostile, Christian fundamentalism with aspirations of world conquest and terrorist acts is in the Christian world. Notice how there’s no word for in the first place, because no large unified movement of that order exists.

Actually, those of us who are laid-back or even up-tight who have paid attention to such things have noticed that there is a fairly small group of people who are very clearly associated with the Arabian Peninsula and the surrounding region who have as their stated aim, the destruction of Israel. In a general sense, a number of fairly disparate groups have in very recent years banded together under a common connection of Islam to oppose “Western” hegemony, but one does not find Anti-Israel (or, particularly, anti-Jewish) rhetoric among the Muslim independence fighters in the Philipines or among the Muslim militias in Sudan.

So, among the billion or so Muslims in the world, we have a few tens of thousands in the Middle East who object to Israel’s existence and some smaller number who object to Western influence in the region, we find a few thousands in Africa who are not even particularly religious, but who are in various power struggles with Christians and animists and who are willing to share resources with the militants of the Middle East (since no one else will support them), and a number of Filipinos who have been fighting for independence for something like 110 years who (having been labeled as crazy Mohammedans, then Communists, and now Islamists) continue the same fight that they have always waged, but who see the Islamists as a new source of support, and we find Chechyens (who have been struggling against Russian conquest for 150 years or so) accepting help from Islamist radicals (since no one else will help) and on it goes throughout the world. And the people who are not really paying attention resort to lazy characterizations that it is “the Muslims” and that “they hate our freedoms.”

I have never understood why Palestine didn’t actually become an independent state at that time. What the Palestinians are demanding now was in their hands in 1948. What went wrong? Did they think that they would push Israel into the sea and take all the land for themselves? When they realized that wasn’t likely to happen, wouldn’t it have been better to take half a loaf than nothing? Why couldn’t Israel and Palestine have been independent, peaceful neighbors for the last half-century?

[Moderator hat on]

Jodi. While I think that you’re asking for trouble with this kind of a thread in GQ, I understand why you posted it here. We’ll just have to take it post by post to see if it can stay here.

SPOOFE. Your Post#4 about Billy Bob, etc. was ill-advised, IMHO. Some GQ threads can stand levity. This one is precarious, and doesn’t need extra problems. Don’t do that again.

stockton and jttm80. I know you each want to help by posting what seems like corrections to generalizations. But that’s gonna move Jodi’s thread over to GD or worse.

stockton–this is GQ. Try real hard not to insult posters(SPOOFE), whether they deserve it or not.

If I left anyone out, take my warnings to heart.

Oh, yeah!. As usual, kudos to tomndebb and all others in this thread who continually post what the thread originator was looking for(aren’t we all?)–information.

[Moderator hat off]

Yes, the Ottoman Turks were (are) non-Arab.