Islamist extremists have a problem. Traditional Islam explicitly acknowledges that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. The Koran itself is extraordinarily clear about the status of the Land of Israel in Islam. While criticizing Jews for their supposed sinfulness, the Koran relates in Sura 5:21, that Moses (a revered teacher in Islam) tells the Jews to “enter into the Holy Land that Allah has assigned to you.”
Moses adds, according to the Koran: “O my people! Remember the bounty of God upon you when He bestowed prophets upon you, and made you kings and gave you that which had not been given to anyone before you among the nations. O my people! Enter the Holy Land which God has written for you, and do not turn tail, otherwise you will be losers.”
Elsewhere (Sura 17, 104) the Koran proclaims: “And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd.‘“
The legitimacy of Jewish claims to the Land of Israel
is repeated in Sura 10:93-94: “We settled the Children of Israel in a beautiful dwelling-place [Israel]. If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee.”
Sura 17:7 records the destruction of the First Jewish Temple by Babylon and the Second Temple by Rome, and Muhammad never contests the Bible’s claim that both temples were located in Jerusalem.
Indeed, the return of the Jews to their homeland after centuries of exile can be seen as the fulfillment of Islamic prophecy. Sura 17:104 says: “And We said to the Children of Israel afterward, ‘Go live into this land (Israel). When the final prophecy comes to pass, We will summon you all in one group.‘“
As noted by Prof. Khaleel Mohammed
of the Department of Religious Studies at San Diego State University, the medieval exegetes of the Koran recognized Israel as belonging to the Jews, as their birthright given to them by God.
One would therefore think Islamofascists face a theological quandary in their attempts to conscript Islam for a genocidal jihad against Israel and the Jews. But they’ve have invented a solution. They claim the Jews are not really the Jews.
If modern Jews are really not Jews, then Israel is not a country of Jews, and so Israelis have no right to sovereignty in their own homeland as promised in the Koran.
The Islamofascists are recycling the old mythology about European Jews being nothing more than converted Khazars. And the new guru of the Jews-Not-Being-Jews hoax is a Tel Aviv University history professor named Shlomo Sand.
Yes, there was indeed a Kingdom
of Turkic peoples called the Khazars living north of the Black Sea in the Dark Ages, and its ruling family and part of its population did convert to Judaism. The Khazar kingdom was largely destroyed by the expanding Russian kingdom in the 10th
century, and anything remaining was destroyed in the Mongol invasions.
What actually became of the Jewish Khazars is unknown. Some may have integrated themselves into other Jewish communities in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe.
Later, a myth was created about the Khazars being an important component of European Jewry. This myth was to a large extent the invention of the 1976 book The Thirteenth Tribe by Arthur Koestler, a writer better known for his lifelong battles against totalitarianism in all its forms. Koestler wrote his book largely in order to create sympathy for Jews and Israel, believing the Khazar story would serve as a basis for a fascination with Jewish history. In reality, there is little evidence of any significant Khazar blood among Western or Ashkenazi Jews.
Koestler’s public relations ploy backfired. In recent years, the Khazar myth has been hijacked
by neo-Nazis and Islamofascists to invent a racialist argument against Jewish claims to the land of Israel. Lest the world dismiss this Khazar conspiracy nonsense as a form of mental illness, along comes Professor Sand
, a hard-core leftist, to lead the charge against the Israeli “Khazars” and Jewish self-determination.
Sand recycles the mythology about Israeli Jews being converted Khazar interlopers in his book The Invention of the Jewish People
, hailed as groundbreaking scholarship by neo-Nazis, jihadists, and anti-Semites of all stripes. Serious historians have dismissed it
as pseudo-academic poppycock.
We have grown accustomed to the bizarre collaboration between Islamist fundamentalists and leftists. Even so, one cannot help but marvel at the spectacle of an Israeli left-wing professor devoting himself so passionately to propagating the myths favored by Islamic extremists – and by so doing granting them the means for ignoring the Koran itself.
Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.