Anti-Semitism in Islam: Israel Didn't Start the Fire

[History News Network-George Mason University] Timothy R. Furnish - Conventional wisdom has it that anti-Semitism in the Islamic world constitutes a not unreasonable reaction to the late 19th century Zionist movement which led to the creation of the State of Israel right after World War II. In this view, were Israel to totally withdraw from the West Bank as well as enact the "right of return" and/or compensate displaced Palestinians, anti-Semitism in the Islamic world would dissipate like a mirage. Unfortunately, hatred of Jews runs much deeper than a century or so into the past. In fact, it originates in the actions of the founder of Islam himself. In the process of the Islamization of Arabia, a paradigm of Muslim-Jewish conflict was established. Several of the tribes of Madinah were Jewish and refused to accept the prophethood of Muhammad. There is no getting around the fact that the man whom Muslims believe to have been God's last spokesman on Earth not only denigrated, but ordered the slaughter of, his fellow monotheists - long before Theodor Herzl ever existed. The writer is assistant professor of history at Georgia Perimeter College.

2007-02-06 01:00:00

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