Anti-Semitism Has Spread through the Islamic World Like a Cancer

(Washington Post) Fareed Zakaria - Anti-Semitism has spread through the Islamic world like a cancer. In 2014, the Anti-Defamation League did a survey in more than 100 countries and found that anti-Semitism was twice as common among Muslims as among Christians, and it's far more prevalent in the Middle East than the Americas. It wasn't always this way. Through much of history, the Muslim Middle East was hospitable to Jews when Christian Europe was killing or expelling them. The historian Bernard Lewis once said to me, "People often note that in the late 1940s and 1950s, hundreds of thousands of Jews fled Arab countries. They rarely ask why so many Jews were living in those lands in the first place." Jews were second-class citizens - but they were tolerated and encouraged to a far greater degree in Muslim societies than in Christian ones. Things changed in the Muslim world only in the late 19th century, when, according to Lewis, "as a direct result of European influence, movements appear among Muslims of which for the first time one can legitimately use the term anti-Semitic." After the founding of Israel in 1948, Arab states became vast propaganda machines for anti-Semitism, brainwashing generations of their people with the most hateful ideas about Jews. While some Arab governments have stepped back from the active promotion of hate, the damage has been done.

2019-02-18 00:00:00

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