14 thoughts on “Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism: Different Religions, Same Hate – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Well, Richard, you’re opening quite a can of worms here. It speaks well of you that you’re prepared to open it, but…

    We tend to simplify the past and make it into a moral fable. When it comes to the history of Jews, that fable becomes that Jews have always been innocent victims, and are unique in this victimhood. On the whole, that’s no more false than most national narratives — but that doesn’t make it fact! Even at best, the Jewish narrative tends towards a certain egocentricity — as you discovered when you learned that the Muslims, as well as the Jews, had been expelled from Spain.

    Dunno where to go from here — in under fifty pages. However, if you want to continue to challenge your own preconceptions, you might want to try reading Solzhenitsyn’s ‘Two Hundred Years Together.’ Its publication in English has been blocked to date, but there are translations (from the German edition) of varying quality out there on the internet. Some are of very dubious authenticity, but others are somewhat more professional. Samizdat, you could say…

    Anyway, it’s worth reading. I’d say some sections do tend to veer at least towards anti-semitism, but Solzhenitsyn makes some excellent points.

  2. ‘…But we Jews have made tradition of this. And while such a notion of being set aside for a sacred or divine purpose can be a blessing; more often it has proven a curse.’

    On reflection, I’m not sure the notion of being a ‘chosen people’ is particularly unique to the Jews. I can think of such attitudes being expressed in one form or another by the US, of course — but also by (draws breath) the Russians, the Japanese, the Germans, the English, the French, the Greeks, and the Spanish — and no doubt by many others, with greater or lesser persistence and earnestness. There are all kinds of nuances, of course — but the trait is common, if not necessarily universal. Even smaller states will quietly take pride in their own superiority — and indeed, everyone is better at being like themselves than anyone else is. I can indeed beat the pants off of just about anyone at being Colin — and no doubt Danes make the best Danes out there.

    Jews, being normally scattered through a gentile sea, have perhaps spent more time dwelling on this sense of exceptionalism than, say, Russian peasants around Tver. After all, your national superiority is a moot point if the nearest community of foreigners is five hundred miles away. Ultimately, if Jews AREN’T better, why keep being a Jew? A closely held and constantly reiterated sense of exceptionalism — and arguably, superiority — may be essential to the continued survival of the Jewish community. If the trait isn’t especially attractive, it’s no worse than listening to a Frenchman take for granted the essential superiority of all things French.

    However, I think the important distinction is that Israel has perverted this fairly common ethnic egocentricity into an unstated justification for not just the state of Israel itself, but for just about any abomination she chooses to commit. ‘Jews are better’ becomes ‘Jews can do whatever they please.’

    I’d say Jews can go right ahead and feel exceptional. Have at it. Everyone else does. The difficulty is when the form chosen to express that sense of exceptionalism becomes an aggressive and murderously racist nation-state. Right now, we’re being led by the nose into a truly evil war with Iran — and ultimately, guess why?

  3. @ Richard
    As I asked in the comment section under the article years ago on Spain offering the Spanish nationality to Jews: why doesn’t that include expelled Muslims (their number excede the Jews expelled), many (most ?) were indigenous Iberians who converted to Islam, all across North Africa, there are populations who still trace their ancestry back to al-Andalus.

      1. @Yaron:

        For the simple reason nobody really wants Muslims

        For the simple reason nobody wants Islamophobic Israeli assholes like you. Banned.

        I notice you’re using a Ukrainian IP address. Which likely means your using a proxy IP to hide your location. If so, another no-no.

        1. It is ironic that yaron perfectly demonstrated one of my points below.

          Other forms of bigotry may no longer be permissible in polite society, but now the Islamophobes feel comfortable taking their dog out for a walk.

          Sometimes I think we just have to have someone to hate — and it’s perhaps not irrelevant that the Communist threat disappeared around 1990. We flailed for a bit — then came up with the Islamic menace.

          We do unconsciously work to bring these things about. One can see this sort of dynamic in any group. There are roles, and someone has to fill them. Precisely how and why it occurs can be a mystery, but it does occur. That can be seen.

          And after all, we all tend to compose an enemy we can hate. If it’s not Muslims or blacks it’s someone else. See Hillary Clinton’s politically disastrous reference to ‘deplorables.’ Such a tendency is perhaps understandable, but if she’d just chosen a smaller group to define as the ‘other’, she might have won the election.

    1. ‘…why doesn’t that include expelled Muslims (their number excede the Jews expelled), many (most ?) were indigenous Iberians who converted to Islam, all across North Africa, there are populations who still trace their ancestry back to al-Andalus.’

      Well, for one thing, there would be a distinct likelihood that the Muslims would take the Spanish up on their offer — and as you yourself point out, there are a lot more descendants of expelled Muslims than there are descendants of expelled Jews. Offering to let Jews come back is a nice gesture; offering to grant ten (twenty, thirty?) million Muslims Spanish citizenship would be…something not to be done lightly.

      For another thing, tacit, if not explicit, Islamophobia is entirely acceptable — indeed, fashionable. Even explicit Islamophobia is acceptable in many circles — and indeed, various intellectuals like to more or less ‘come out’ these days — and then congratulate themselves on their ‘courage.’ ‘Oh look. He dared to rag on Islam. He’s so brave.’

      …at least post 9/11, I’m less than impressed.

      On the other hand, anti-semitism is still right out. So yes, Spain will nobly (and painlessly) offer a ‘right of return’ to any Jew who would prefer Spain…to the US, or Germany, or Great Britain, or Israel. Come here too! You probably won’t, so no harm in offering…and aren’t we anti-anti-semitic?

      But Muslims? I don’t think so — and it’s quite alright to at least imply it. Everyone understands. One wouldn’t want them next to your daughter, would you? Yes, people do think this way — and say so.

    2. @Deir Yassin: interesting question. I think the Catholic monarchs were much like Donald trump In wanting to rid Spain of “undesirables”. Today’s Spain isn’t terribly willing to take in the former undesirables either.

  4. “In truth, we “love” our suffering. We cherish it. And sometimes we even abuse it for our own political ends”

    Rather than pathologizing Jewish “exceptionalism”, maybe you should acknowledge that it has just a teeny little bit to do with the fact the just 70 years ago half of the world’s Jews were wiped out. I don’t think that the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims have anything to worry about, but the Jews do.

    1. @DrS: in 1943 Hitler needed 2 yrs and lots of Zyklon B gas to murder 6 million. In today’s world, 100-million can be wiped out in seconds. Regardless of Jewish history, every religion has the right to be concerned about murderous hatred leveled against it. That includes Muslims.

  5. As a note, ‘…Muslims who remained in Spain and converted to Islam)’ should be corrected to ‘…Muslims who had converted to Christianity and remained in Spain)’.

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