This week, on TalkTV, Piers Morgan interviewed Egyptian comic Bassem Youssef in regards to the Israel-Hamas battle. The Piers Morgan Uncensored interview, which has already acquired tens of millions of views on YouTube, supplies a helpful illustration of the deceptive view of historical past many on the Western left have adopted. This historical past additionally doubles up as an excuse for Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism.
Youssef began by offering a comparatively correct little bit of background. He defined that centuries of European anti-Semitism had pressured Jews into ghettos and restricted them to actions like money-lending, which was seen as sinful by the medieval church. But Jews not solely survived their persecution, they prospered, too. And that solely intensified European Christians’ want to punish them.
Youssef then jumped to the early twentieth century, when Europeans’ persecution of Jews reached its historic peak. Because the US and the UK restricted Jewish immigration within the Thirties and Forties, this pressured an increasing number of Jews emigrate from Europe to the Center East, culminating within the UN-sanctioned formation of the state of Israel in 1948. Thus, the results of Europe’s anti-Semitism, of its failure to reply the so-called Jewish query, had been foisted on to Arabs and Muslims. It was on this context that Youssef talked about the Deir Yassin bloodbath of Palestinian Arabs by Jewish militias on 9 April 1948. He in contrast this to Hamas’s bloodbath of Jews in southern Israel final month.
Youssef’s historic sketch conforms to the prevailing narrative of our time. Specifically, that the conflicts which have beset the Center East for the reason that finish of the Second World Conflict are the product of choices made by white Europeans, and imposed on a world crammed with passive, harmless ‘indigenous individuals’. Which means that the rampant anti-Semitism within the Center East is successfully forged as a Western, European creation.
As an Arab and a Muslim, I recognise this story solely too nicely. It’s one which I inherited and informed myself for a really very long time. That was till I might not ignore the dishonesty of this account of Arab and Muslim historical past.
In spite of everything, if this story is near the reality, why have pro-Hamas protesters all over the world been shouting ‘Khaybar Khaybar ya yahud’ – a reference to the seventh-century homicide and expulsion of Jewish tribes from the Khaybar oasis within the Arabian Peninsula – moderately than one thing that pertains to Deir Yassin? If a bloodbath and the formation of Israel in 1948 was the catalyst for Muslim anti-Semitism, why did Izz ad-Din al-Qassam – the cleric after whom Hamas names its rockets and murder-brigades – kind the anti-Semitic Islamist group, the Black Hand, as early because the Thirties? And why was the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, (thought of by each the British and Nazi Germany to be the chief of the Arab world on the time) so eager to convey the Nazi Holocaust to the Center East?
Should you had requested me these questions after I was youthful, I’d have reeled off a listing of grievances about Jewish refugees from Europe infringing on native Arab populations within the Twenties and Thirties. However lately, I modified my thoughts. I appeared round at my house metropolis of London, which has been completely remodeled by immigrants like me, and noticed the conceitedness and hypocrisy of my place.
I used to be casting Jewish refugees from Europe as villains, whereas concerning myself as a worthy sufferer. I used to be justifying the actions of those that violently rejected Jewish migration into Mandate Palestine throughout the Holocaust, whereas contemplating myself unquestionably entitled to refuge within the West.
This identical hypocrisy runs by way of the ‘pro-Palestine’ demonstrations which have erupted throughout Europe. These protests, shot by way of with pro-Hamas sentiments, have made Jewish communities concern for his or her security in international locations that promised they’d by no means must once more.
The latest protests within the UK consist largely of latest migrants, the descendants of latest migrants and identitarian leftists, all of whom little question insist that there ought to be no restriction on migration from wherever, for any motive, whatever the influence on British society. And but these are the identical individuals who settle for, with out query, Youseff’s story of how Jewish migration to the Center East brought about Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism. I’m wondering if the subsequent time Youseff faces prejudice in his adopted nation of the US, will he be as understanding as he seems to be in the direction of Arab and Muslim racism in opposition to Jews?
There’s one other obvious blindspot in Youseff’s story – specifically, the close to disappearance of Jewish life in all places within the Center East, besides in Israel. Certainly, greater than half the Jewish inhabitants of Israel has arrived there over the previous 75 years from the remainder of the Center East. In my very own nation of start, Libya, a Jewish presence courting again hundreds of years has been completely erased by anti-Semitism.
The Holocaust pressured Europeans to withstand their darkish historical past of anti-Semitism. However the Arab and Muslim world has by no means needed to do the identical, regardless of the uncomfortably shut connection between Nazi Germany and the leaders of what later grew to become fashionable Islamism.
The reality is that Arab and Muslim societies have their very own anti-Semitism drawback and it’s one which they’ve nurtured and generated themselves. It’s plain that the hatred of Jews by non-Jews within the Center East, rooted in a theology and a historical past that deems Jews inferior to Arabs, lengthy predates the institution of the Jewish State. And that hatred has solely develop into extra intense the extra that Jews have survived and thrived, regardless of their persecution.
Now greater than ever, it’s crucial that we don’t fall for contemporary, Westernised justifications for the oldest hatred.
Alaa al-Ameri is the pen title of a British-Libyan author.
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