ISLAMIC ANTI-SEMITISM AS A POLITICAL INSTRUMENT
By Yossef Bodansky
Anti-Semitism, that is, anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism, is intensifying throughout the Muslim World. The significance of this virulent anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism is in that this type of anti-Semitism goes beyond the hatred it espouses. In the contemporary Muslim World, anti-Jewishness and anti-Judaism constitute a major political instrument in the hands of both state governments and Islamist terrorist organizations to mobilize the entire region for the destruction of Israel - irrespective of diplomatic treaties, including the current peace process.
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Yossef Bodansky is the Director of Research of the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), and is also the Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the U.S. House of Representatives. As well he is a Special Consultant on International Terrorism for the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies. He is also a Senior Editor for the Defense & Foreign Affairs group of publications. He is the author of six previous books and numerous articles in several periodicals, including Global Affairs, Jane's Defense Weekly, Defense & Foreign Affairs: Strategic Policy, and Business Week.Review:
This report on one of the great taboo subjects of our time belongs on every foreign policy-maker's desk immediately.
Dr. Yossef Bodansky, Director of Research for the International Strategic Studies Association and Director of the United States Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare has put together a compendium of virtually medieval Jew-hatred spoken and written not by occidental cranks and skinheads but leading oriental politicians and respected clergymen prominent in the Arab world.
In a clear, methodical process he surveys the historical hatred of Jews in Islam which existed for about 1,250 years before the birth of what is today called anti-semitism, and for about 1,230 years before the birth of Herzlian Zionism. He does not shy from quoting the Qu'ran when it preaches that of all Islam's enemies, none are greater than Jews. Bodansky also mercifully feels no need to conjure up any imagined Golden Age of Arab-Jewish harmony; even if there had been one, by logical definition, it was the exception, not the rule, which is why it was called "golden." As a rule, Jews were as mistreated in Islam as in Christendom, if not in identical ways. To his credit, Bodansky is utterly clear-eyed as to the meaning for Jews of having been a dhimma people within Dar al-Islam, ruled over by its tyrants--the only kind of government Arabs have ever known--as an inferior, subject, oppressed people dispossessed of its Land and Covenant, both of which Ishmael proudly inherited. He understands that the Zionist movement from Day One was anathema to Islam, and that it despises Ramat Aviv Gimmel in North Tel-Aviv no less than Bet El in the hill country of Benjamin.
This book needs to be read by people who believe that the settlements are an obstacle to peace, like policy-makers in Washington, London, Paris, or in the newsrooms of Israel's clone of the New York Times, Haaretz, or the country's television stations, for while the book's low-key author stands on no soapbox, he might agree that the classical, secular Zionist goal of "normalizing the Jewish people," as Shimon Peres or Ezer Weizman might put it, has failed. It is well and good for some Israelis to tout their Israeli-ness as their normalness (i.e. non-Jewishness), but the world, in general, ain't buying, and neither, in particular, are the Arabs. Shimon Peres may have said in 1996 after losing to his fellow secularist Mr. Netanyahu that, "The Jews won and the Israelis lost," but this too falls on deaf Arab ears. The Children of Ishmael recognize only the Children of Israel, and given their fervent religion--practiced with a medieval enthusiasm assimilated Jews and Western Christians no longer understand, in a culture which never underwent an Enlightenment which had made light of religion - the Arabs remain warm Believers in the Jews as Islam's Public Enemy No. 1.
Bodansky's writing is simple to the point of dryness; after a while, the litany becomes mind-numbing, even repetitive, but that only happens toward the end of this short book and should not distract anyone who cares about Israel, and fears for the poor prospects of true (vs. Oslo-style) peace, from the necessity of reading it. The author is refreshingly candid in clearly stating that the Palestinian Authority "is at the forefront of the anti-semitic propaganda and incitement"--yet again, don't expect official Israel to acknowledge this. Let this work be a first step toward that goal. -- Sha'i ben-Tekoa, political analysist on Arutz Sheva, Israel National Radio
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Book Description Freeman Center For Strategic Studies, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0967139104