What is the reason for extreme antisemitism among Muslims?

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The current Iranian regime, and many other middle eastern Muslim regimes regularly call for the destruction of Israel and slaughter of all the Jews, from CNN:

A new document by Iran's supreme leader calling for the elimination of Israel shows that world powers must not rush into a deal on the country's nuclear program despite an upcoming deadline, Israel's Prime Minister said Monday.

These Middle Eastern Muslim nations have also tried to invade Israel on two separate occasions.

Why do some Muslims have so much hate for Jews? Is it geopolitical, cultural or purely religious? And in what way (if at all) does the Muslim faith require or promote hatred towards Jews?

YellowBadger

Posted 2019-07-07T04:20:41.237

Reputation: 1 881

Question was closed 2019-07-15T12:42:09.247

7Wikipedia has a very extensive article on it with many references. I've scrolled through it a bit but I can't really come up with a concise answer. It's probably a good start for anyone wanting to write an answer. – JJJ – 2019-07-07T04:29:55.237

8Four upvotes for this? It's a broad, generalizing, and negative statement about Muslims that lacks nuance and is clearly trying to promote a belief rather than get useful answers. If the question wants to know why specific Muslim governments are anti-Israel or anti-Jewish, it should ask that. If it wants to know why the rate of anti-Semitism in the Middle East is "X%", it should ask that. As it is it's not asking either of those things. – Obie 2.0 – 2019-07-07T05:04:10.430

6Rather more than two occasions, I'm afraid. But I think you have to start by looking at the Islamic view of ALL infidels - second-class citizens, at best. Then WRT Israel specifically, I would suspect envy. Israel has repeatedly defeated much larger Islamic armies, and has created a prosperous economy without benefit of oil wealth. – jamesqf – 2019-07-07T05:32:54.827

There is a difference between attitudes to need versus attitudes to the political state of Israel. A lot of the animosity to Israel comes from the way the state came in to existence – PhillS – 2019-07-07T05:54:01.010

6@Obie2.0 I've edited it to make it a bit less blunt, but the gist of the question remains the same. I think it's a good question, as there are clearly antisemitic views by many Muslim-related entities (e.g. Hamas, Iran). You could argue that they are isolated incidents in an answer, but I think it's more related to culture (see the Wikipedia article, there's a long history) and perhaps geopolitical interests. As such, it's on-topic and asking about Islam as a religion as that's the common denominator in the region and where much of the cultural friction arises from. – JJJ – 2019-07-07T08:28:44.023

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@Obie2.0 also, it can be objectively answered based on history, culture and geopolitics. And yes, the same goes for Islamophobia in Israel, you could ask that as a different question and I think it would be in scope as well. As for it being broad, the help centre explicitly states 'inspire answers that explain “why” and “how”' as good questions. Indeed, there are probably a handful of reasons to consider, but that goes for most why questions and they are very useful for learning about an issue.

– JJJ – 2019-07-07T08:32:17.963

3@JJJ - It's not about being blunt. The question "Why do Muslims hate Jews?" (or "Why do Jews hate Muslims?" for that matter) is fundamentally reductionist and stereotypical, and frankly usually itself motivated by negative sentiments toward Muslims. Implicitly universal, it ignores the existence of the (many) Muslims who don't hate Jews, and encourages similarly silly statements about other groups. "Why are levels of anti-Semitism (as measured by XYZ) in the Middle East higher than in (China/US/Britain/whatever)?" is not a bad or anti-Muslim question, but that's not what's being asked here. – Obie 2.0 – 2019-07-07T08:43:43.650

Especially with the leading questions at the end, the post effectively equates Muslims countries in the Middle East, Muslims in general, and Islam. It makes no distinction between the levels of anti-Semitism in the West Bank or Iran, which are wildly different, or between Muslims in those Muslim-majority countries or in the US, or Japan, or Nigeria. That's the difference between stereotypes and social science. – Obie 2.0 – 2019-07-07T08:48:30.967

2@Obie2.0 well that's what's being asked. If you can ask why political movement X thinks Y, why can't you ask why one religion expresses hatred toward another, based on an observation that the religion is a common denominator here? If there's no religious reason, that can be an answer. But I think it's naive to assume that there isn't given the aforementioned Wikipedia article and general knowledge about the Israeli-Palestine conflict and how some tensions in the Middle East are centered around that. – JJJ – 2019-07-07T08:52:47.660

3@JJJ - Because it's not the religion that expresses hatred toward another religion, it's people within that religion. And questions like this are meant to paint all Muslims as holding a particular noxious view. The same certainly can occur with political parties, too. "Why do Republicans hate Muslims?" comes to mind, or more likely "Why are Republicans racist?" I guess you don't see it, but questions like these are fundamentally different in their foundations and the likely motivations of their askers from something like "Why is there more racism in the Republican party than the Democratic?" – Obie 2.0 – 2019-07-07T08:53:40.297

Let us continue this discussion in chat.

– Obie 2.0 – 2019-07-07T08:56:14.630

2@Obie2.0 The question should have been sugarcoated a bit, but when Muslim leaders blame Christ Church shooting on... Jews, one may start to think that there indeed may be some deep dislike. – Shadow1024 – 2019-07-07T09:43:40.047

2@Obie 2.0: But in the case of Islam, the seeds for the hatred of all non-Muslims (not just Jews) are built into the religion. Read the Quran. – jamesqf – 2019-07-07T17:53:54.450

2Voting to close as the question seems to be worded to cause maximum controversy. It could be a good question (although arguanly more suited to history) but not in its current form. – None – 2019-07-07T19:04:34.517

From your link: It says the "proper way of eliminating Israel" is for "all the original people of Palestine including Muslims, Christians and Jews wherever they are, whether inside Palestine, in refugee camps in other countries or just anywhere else, take part in a public and organized referendum – SJuan76 – 2019-07-07T19:09:27.133

@JJJ et all I have revised the title to be less provocative. My intention was not to provoke, but I didn't think that the title revision by JJJ accurately reflected the substance of my question. I am not asking about antisemitism in Muslim nations exclusively, but among all Muslims – YellowBadger – 2019-07-07T23:23:09.997

Answers

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It's a bit of everything.

The state of Israel came into existence during a period of intense violence in Palestine between Jews, Arabs, and British authorities. This coincided with an era of Arab Nationalism, in which many Arabs identified strongly with other Arabs and weakly with their nationality. many of these nations were only a few years old at this point; Jordan was born in 1946 and Israel 1948. Consequently the creation of the state of Israel was loathed by Arabs who regarded its existence as aggressive imperialism. The 1948 exodus of Palestinians from the new Israeli state is called the Nakba (disaster).

There's a linguistic aspect to this which should be noted. In the Arab world Israel is often regarded as illegitimate, in which case the occupier is often referred to as being 'Jewish' instead of 'Israeli'. This originates in the fact violence before the creation of the Israeli state was rightly summarised as being between Jews and Arabs. In refusing to accept the existence of an Israeli state, Israelis are simply regarded as Jews. This undoubtedly does not reduce anti-Semitic thinking.

However, the popularity of secular Arab Nationalism was not to last. Support for Arab Nationalism declined as the prospect of achieving Pan-Arabism collapsed. This ideology would be replaced by the rising tide of political Islam.

The Quran, like the Bible, is a big complex book with lots of seemingly conflicting ideas. There are anti-semitic elements in the Quran which relate to a period of early persecution against Muslims by pagan and Jewish tribes. This is often used as a legal basis for prejudice against non-Muslims by Islamist hardliners.

Saudi Arabia has been called out repeatedly for using textbooks which teach anti-Semitism. The US government criticised their textbooks in 2001 following the September 11th Attacks, arguing that these books may have contributed towards the hijackers beliefs. One tenth grade textbook on monotheism included statements like:

"The Hour will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews, and Muslims will kill all the Jews."

In 2002 Al Fawzan, author of the book in question, rejected US demands:

"The Jews and Christians and the polytheists have shown their heartfelt hatred and try to prevent us from the true path of God. They want to change our religion and our teaching to disconnect us from Islam so they can come and occupy us with their armies. It is bad enough when it comes from the infidels, but worse when they are of our skin. They say we create parrots, but they are the real parrots repeating what our enemies say of Islam."

In 2006 Saudi authorities told their US counterparts that the reforms had been completed, but this was quickly brought into question when an investigation by Freedom House found textbooks with dubious content still in circulation.

The problem is that Saudi textbooks are not limited to use in Saudi Arabia, they have been distributed far and wide to mosques and schools with ties to Saudi Arabia. In 2010 a BBC investigation found books which included anti-Semitism were being used by some faith groups in the UK.

In 2012 Human Rights Watch founder Robert Bernstein criticised Saudi Arabia for continuing to print new textbooks which contained anti-Semitic content. Citing one eighth grade book:

"The Apes are the people of the Sabbath, the Jews; and the Swine are the infidels of the communion of Jesus, the Christians."

A November 2018 report by the Anti Defamation League found that textbooks printed for the 2018-2019 academic year still contained questionable content.

“The hour will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, so that the Muslims kill them, until the Jew hides behind rock and tree, so the rock or the tree says: ‘Oh Muslim, oh servant of God, this Jew is behind me, so kill him.’”

In 2014 Emile Nakhleh, former Director of the CIA's Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, warned that the Islamic State's education system was very similar to Saudi Arabia's. He concludes that the consequence of Saudi education has been to encourage violence against non-Muslims, and notes the paradox of Saudi willing to consider peace on the basis of 1967 borders with a state which does not exist in Saudi textbooks.

Even the geography curriculum discusses the region from an Islamic perspective. For example, kids are taught that the “Zionists” have occupied Palestine illegally, and the Islamic umma one day must re-establish Muslim control over Jerusalem, the “Third Qibla” of Islam, to which Muslims turn to pray after Mecca and Medina. “Israel,” for example, does not appear on maps of the Arab world in Saudi geography textbooks.

The Saudi youth are socialized in public schools on the importance of Islam in the personal, familial, social, and national levels. Whenever Islam, as a faith and a territory, is threatened or invaded, Muslims have a duty to do jihad against the perceived “enemies” of Islam.

Saudi education espouses this ideology, so do al-Qaeda and IS. In the past three decades, Muslim youth have participated in large numbers in jihad across the Muslim world, from Afghanistan to Chechnya, and from the Balkans to Iraq and Syria.

The Saudi government participates in the anti-IS coalition, yet IS’s jihadist ideology resonates with Saudi educated youth. Their government talks about a possible peace with Israel should it withdraw to the 1967 borders, yet Saudi youth do not see Israel on the maps in their textbooks.

If the Saudi youth are taught about the duty of jihad in the face of a “war on Islam,” as Bin Ladin had preached for years, and view IS rightly or wrongly as the “defender” of Islam, they can’t understand why their government is fighting on the side of Islam’s “enemies.”

In conclusion, there are a variety of reasons why many Muslims exhibit prejudice against Jews. These relate most strongly to political reasons; Israeli and American behaviour in the Middle East. Conspiracy theorist Muslims believe, as do conspiracy theorist non-Muslims in America and Europe, that America is the puppet of a Jewish conspiracy. Religious reasons are rooted in parts of the Quran emphasised by Saudi religious authorities, who have used their wealth to spread this particularly intolerant version of Islam.

It seems unlikely that this prejudice would be as pronounced without numerous issues which plague the Middle East: widespread poverty, the corruption of secular institutions, Saudi patronage of Salafi Islam, the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and American aggression in the region.

inappropriateCode

Posted 2019-07-07T04:20:41.237

Reputation: 11 315

5

Antisemitism does not equal anti-Israeli sentiments.

Antisemitism is about Jews and the religion of Judaism. You will find that amongst Muslim communities, Judaism is a highly respected religion. Judaism is, along with versions of Christianity, considered Ahl-al-Khitab, meaning "people of the book", and are recognized as legitimate religions deserving of their place even within an Islamic community. For example, Persian Jews exist, which are an acknowledged community in Iran, live peacefully with their peers, can be part of the Iranian military and are allocated a minimum of one seat in the Iranian parliament.

Anti-Israeli sentiments, as those spouted by Iran, are purely targeted towards the nation of Israel. It is a political matter, a byproduct of long-standing conflicts between Israel and other middle-eastern nations.

Maeo

Posted 2019-07-07T04:20:41.237

Reputation: 109

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There's an entire Wikipedia page for it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_antisemitism#Definitions_and_arguments_for_and_against_the_concept

– Maeo – 2019-07-07T15:53:42.407

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The point here is that some other religions - "people of the book" - can be tolerated within Islam IF THEY ARE SUBSERVIENT to Islam. Dhimmi, IOW: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhimmi Israel is manifestly not subservient to Islam, and even in the proposed pre-1948 shared state Jews wouldn't have been.

– jamesqf – 2019-07-07T17:59:14.310

8This answer is nearly as bad a generalization as the question. Implicitly blames Israel for anti-Semitism, check. It also insists there can't be any anti-Semitism in Iran's government because Iranian Jews have a reserved seat (can there be no sexism in governments where women have reserved seats?) It generalizes by saying that Jews are highly respected in Muslim communities, even though this depends on the community and the person, and basically doesn't acknowledge that any anti-Semitism exists among some Muslims. – Obie 2.0 – 2019-07-07T19:02:19.273

1I edited the answer to remove some parts which were rude towards the author of the question and some other parts which focused more on bashing Israel than on answering the question. Please note that we try to answer questions from a politically neutral point of view. I know that it's difficult to stay neutral with a topic which is as emotionally charged as anything that has to do with Israel, but that's no excuse to not even try. – Philipp – 2019-07-15T15:00:02.343

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NB: The following attempts to answer the JJJ edit, titled "What is the reason for extreme antisemitism in some Muslim countries?", which seemed like a good faith revision. Unfortunately the OP keeps rolling it back to the initial negligent phrasing which fails to distinguish between the large set of Muslims in general, and the smaller subset of some extremist Muslims in particular. Because of how Stack Exchange works, the rollback might make it look as if I'd approved of the OP's overly broad wording enough to answer it, but that is not the case.


Extreme Muslim antisemitism exists for the same reasons people who go to extremes everywhere go to extremes. What's more remarkable is that virtually every party that believes anything at all, (however kind or reasonable), has ugly extremists of one form or another -- they are never that rare. The combining of bigotry and violent fanaticism are not specifically Muslim, they didn't invent it, they don't own it, and they won't be the last ones.

Presumably we begin with some big popular party or creed. It has many people, its doors are open, and all sorts of people join it. Then one too many catastrophes harm the party -- it might be a natural disaster, or it might be accidental, or unavoidable, or the awful handiwork of some prior unrelated party's extremists. And the party asks itself "Why"? Then the extremists within that party do what they do best: obsess, leap to conclusions, find a target, emit yoctobytes of apocalyptic trash-talk, retcon history, and make war on their new devils.

What catastrophe was the tipping point for antisemitic Muslim extremists? Might have been Nazism... without the personified catastrophe of Hitler, and WWII's ensuing dispossessed Jewish population, there might never have been an enduring and viable modern state of Israel.

Or the invention of oil engines, causing the worlds' empires to crowd the Muslim gates. Or the combination of the Nazism and oil engines. Or since the Nazis were imperialists too, really it's empires all the way down. It might at times be useful for any empire to have its victims invent erroneous conspiracies, then simmer with resentment about peripheral third parties, rather than blame the empire itself.

agc

Posted 2019-07-07T04:20:41.237

Reputation: 11 325

The state of Israel was promised during the first World War, so has nothing to do with Hitler. The allies tried to get all parts of the Ottoman Empire to revolt, and during the years after the war they tried to follow up on that promise by creating various countries in the area. – Sjoerd – 2019-07-07T17:36:44.850

3Islam was pretty darned good at imperialism during its heyday, you know :-) – jamesqf – 2019-07-07T17:55:46.327

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@Sjoerd, Re "was promised...": surely we haven't agreed that British diplomats are always of one mind and never lie. Around that time Arthur Balfour told Lord Rothschild that Britain would do what it could, Mark Sykes told François Georges-Picot something else entirely.

– agc – 2019-07-07T18:22:58.830

I knew that an anti-Muslim question would attract anti-Jewish answers, and I was not disappointed. – Obie 2.0 – 2019-07-07T18:53:43.237

2@Obie2.0, Sorry, it's unclear what you mean. Please specify what in this answer seems "anti-Jewish". I'd be more than happy to correct any factual errors. – agc – 2019-07-07T19:21:50.997

2and during the years after the war they [the allies] tried to follow up on that promise by creating various countries in the area. @Sjoerd No, that is a lie. They just colonized the whole zone, the only exception being those countries that fought their way to some degree of independence (Irak, Turkey). And of course, this leads to the thorny issue of which legitimacy those countries had in the first place to make those promises (if you find no problem with that, I am willing to sell you a chunk of the USA to create your own country for a rather reasonable amount). – SJuan76 – 2019-07-07T21:38:18.587

I guess I might have been wrong. A lot of people try to associate Nazi Germany with IsraeI for dubious purposes, saying that Hitler approved of it, or Zionism was Nazism for Jews, etc. Maybe expanding on that bit so as not to inadvertently make people think that Hitler helped found Israel would be good. I still think the more pertinent connection is that Nazi Germany encouraged anti-Semitism through propaganda, including in the Middle East. And I misread your last sentence as talking about Israel (the "empire") trying to get people to blame Jews (a third party) by promoting anti-Semitism. – Obie 2.0 – 2019-07-10T12:32:40.817

@Obie2.0, Thanks, but my vague wording was to blame. Please vet revised answer for further faulty phrasing... – agc – 2019-07-10T15:15:25.547

In this answer, the section arguing that the Israel was created in response to the Nazi Holocaust is unnecessary to answer the question. There is an Israel; why it was created is another topic, unasked here. Compare to this answer.

– Brythan – 2019-07-24T21:32:57.003

@Brythan, Thanks, it's always good to cut out cruft... but in this instance it's on point, and illustrates what to Muslim extremists is surely the most likely catastrophe fitting the general origins model given in the previous paragraph -- plus if you click the link to which it points, there's a pretty good undergrad paper outlining the history supporting its general likelihood. (Perhaps I should rephrase the text to "...there might never have been an enduring and viable modern state of Israel.") – agc – 2019-07-25T21:03:38.470

1But I disagree. In my opinion, that is pure cruft and irrelevant. The Nazi Holocaust is not necessary to discuss the existence of Israel. In particular, are you claiming that if Israel had been formed without the Nazi Holocaust, that it would have been acceptable? It might never have happened that way, but you're going to find a lot more Holocaust denial in Muslim sources than anti-Nazism. Whereas my point in my answer is important and vital in my opinion. – Brythan – 2019-07-25T23:13:38.310

@Brythan, Re "if Israel had been formed...?" It depends on whether the verb formed implies a weaker Israel sans holocaust emigrants and post-war West German trade and payments, or an Israel that somehow achieved adequate fortitude by means of various other unspecified resources available in such an alternate history. Presumably antisemites must necessarily prefer the former case to both the latter and the actual, (i.e. our world), case. – agc – 2019-07-26T03:00:47.280