On Hating the Jews

(Commentary) - Natan Sharansky The world, we are told by friend and foe alike, increasingly hates Jews because it increasingly hates Israel. But the Jewish state is no more the cause of anti-Semitism today than the absence of a Jewish state was its cause a century ago. Israel challenges the political/moral order of the Arab and Muslim Middle East. The values ascendant in today's Middle East are shaped by Islamic fundamentalism and state authoritarianism. In the eyes of the former, any non-Muslim sovereign power in the region is anathema. Particularly galling is Jewish sovereignty in an area delineated as dar al-Islam, the realm where Islam is destined to enjoy exclusive dominance. Such a violation cannot be compromised with; nothing will suffice but its extirpation. In the eyes of the secular Arab regimes, the Jews of Israel are an affront not so much on theological grounds as on account of the society they have built: free, productive, democratic, a living rebuke to the corrupt, autocratic regimes surrounding it. In short, the Jewish state is the ultimate freedom fighter - an embodiment of the subversive liberties that threaten Islamic civilization and autocratic Arab rule alike. For this reason, in the state-controlled Arab media as in the mosques, Jews have been turned into a symbol of all that is menacing in the democratic, materialist West as a whole, and are confidently reputed to be the insidious force manipulating the U.S. into a confrontation with Islam.

2003-11-03 00:00:00

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