Can the Arab World Leave Anti-Semitism Behind?

(Washington Post) Richard Cohen - During World War II, the leader of the Palestinians lived in a Berlin villa, a gift from a very grateful Adolf Hitler, who clearly got his money's worth. Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, broadcast Nazi propaganda to the Middle East, recruited European Muslims for the SS, and after the war represented his people in the Arab League. The Allies originally considered him a war criminal, but to many Arabs, he was just a patriot. Jew-hatred remains a remarkable feature of Arab nationalism. The other day, about 1 million Egyptians in Tahrir Square heard from Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an esteemed religious leader and Muslim Brotherhood figure who said, among other things, that Hitler was sent by Allah as "divine punishment" for the Jews. There are nearly no Jews in Arab lands - they were kicked out after Israel was established in 1948. But nowhere in the Middle East is anti-Semitism considered aberrant or weird. Since the days of Husseini, Arab nations have shamefully been granted an exception to the standards expected of the rest of the world.

2011-03-01 00:00:00

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