Being a son of a Holocaust survivor I am often drawn to matters that have to do with Antisemitism, and on occasion I surf the net looking for new answers to why the hate towards Jews has endured for so long. Several weeks ago, I chanced upon the web site of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. At the bottom of the page under ‘Learn About, Remember, and Confront,’ in bold red letters, there was the heading “Antisemitism.” A click of the mouse redirected me to a section entitled “The Longest Hatred,” which explores the history of Antisemitism from the early church days to the Nazi era. The section covers a period of almost 2000 years, and I was surprised to learn that there was not even a single mention of Jew hatred and Antisemitism in Islam.
In another section, devoted to Holocaust denial, there is a timeline of Holocaust denial that begins in 1942 and ends in 2010. Of 32 pivotal items, only two are concerned with Arab Holocaust denials. One has to do with a Moroccan-Swedish author Ahmed Rami, and the other with Iran’s ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The fact that the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, wrote his 1982 doctoral thesis “The Secret Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement,” in which he denies the Holocaust, and claims that only one million Jews were killed, is not even mentioned.
When it comes to the origins of Antisemitism, the conventional finger often points in the direction of Christian Europeans and away from Islam. The overly exaggerated relative prosperity that some Jews enjoyed during the the so called “Golden Age” of Spain tends to divert attention from a long history of Islam’s Jew hatred. Muslim Antisemitism is well documented in the Geniza documents, in the Hadith and the Quran, all of which are painstakingly detailed in Andrew Bostom’s book “The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism.” A University of Haifa survey of 2009 revealed that 40.5 percent of Israeli Arabs claim the Holocaust never happened. According to the Washington Post, “Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia all promote Holocaust denial and protect Holocaust deniers.” Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, a co-founder of Hamas, insisted that the Holocaust never occurred, and that Zionists funded Nazism.
Denying the Holocaust is one thing, but inventing a whole new form of Antisemitism, and a race based hatred, the kind the Nazis practiced, is a whole lot different. After all, by the time the Nazis came on the scene, Antisemitism has been around for for almost 2000 years. Yet the prevailing wisdom is, and most scholars of Antisemitism agree, that racial Antisemitism was a Nazi original, a new twist in the old practice of Jew hatred. More recently, much has been written about Islamic Antisemitism and its Nazi roots, and the connection between the Arab world and Nazi Germany, but maybe the reverse is closer to the truth, and Nazi Antisemitism had it’s roots Islamic beliefs and practices.
The Quran is replete with comments about Jews. Many are positive and many are offensive, denigrating, and full of Jew hatred. When one considers the Islamic concept of abrogation (Naskh wa Mansukh), whereby the more recent of Muhammad’s revelations cancel out and replace the older ones, matters become much clearer and the seeming contradictions regarding attitudes towards Jews can be easily explained. It becomes evident that when he was militarily weak Muhammad’s pronouncement about Infidels were kindly and respectful, but as Muhammad became more powerful and confident his animosity and hatred of the Jews became more vitriolic. The genocidal beheading of all the men (some 600-900) of the Jewish tribe of Medina Banu Qurayza by Muhammad and his followers, serves as a model of treatment of infidels for Muslims to this very day.