Islamic Jew-hatred: It's in the quran.
Freedom to hate? Radio Netherlands 22 July 2012 (hat tip David)
"God is great, death to America, death to Israel, damned are the Jews, victory to Islam," the poster says. "This is good, this is good," a guy shouts enthusiastically, pointing to the poster. What on earth is good about it, I want to ask. But I don’t, because I know any questions or discussion will lead us nowhere.
In the newspaper Akhbar Aljom, a sportsman was openly praised for refusing to play against an Israeli opponent. On Facebook, a friend of mine published a photo of Palestinian refugees with the text "Only Hitler can help us". This can be published; nobody cares.
Us and them
The problem starts when you question the wisdom – to put it mildly – of such statements. I did it with the Facebook acquaintance. I told him I had unfriended him for his remark. He wrote back that he understood because "you always stand behind them". “You” are the West; “them” are the Jews. End of discussion.
I find it very frustrating. Not because I stand behind "them" – that is not the case nor the point. It is because it confronts me with a side of the Yemenis I very much dislike, although I like the Yemenis very much. I understand their anger about the Palestinian issue, but I do not understand the pig-headedness of their reactions.
The Yemenis are not historically anti-Semitic. Yemen has a 2000-year Jewish history and had a thriving Jewish community. They were living as dhimmis, non-Muslim protected subjects. True, this meant they were second-class subjects, but they were nonetheless accepted and appreciated for their craftsmanship.
If you visit the silver market of Old Sana’a the salesmen will tell you that it is such a pity the Jews all left, for they made such beautiful things. Indeed, the old Jewish earrings are the best. It is also what the tourists want to hear. They don’t like to encounter anti-Semitism on their holidays. Which is why it is better keep the schoolbooks away from them.Learning to hate
I wanted to know how this anti-Jew thing developed. People seem to be brainwashed. Source number one is the Arab media. Source number two is school. I bought Islamic Education for the ninth grade (that is, 15-year-old students). Chapter four was about the history of the Jews in the Arabian Peninsula.
I asked the man at the bookstall what the chapter was about. "It says that you can have every religion you like," he said. I didn’t think so. I went to my Arabic teacher, an intelligent woman whom I have known for almost three years now. She browsed through the chapter. "This is just about the history of the Jews, like how they lived in Medina." I didn’t think so.
I took the book to an old friend. He smiled and started translating. The chapter talked about conspirators, false beliefs, arrogance, corruption, killers and so on. It ended by saying you didn’t have to be afraid of those who fight against God. It also hinted that Muslims keep their promises, but Jews don’t because this is in their character.
Going nowhere again
Apart from being amused by the latter assumption, I was slightly shocked and even more irritated that my teacher had tried to hide this from me. She knows I would want to discuss it or write about it, so let’s cover it up, she must have thought.
A few days later I ask her: "What is this? This is not about the happy lives of the Jews in the peninsula, this says that they are evil, that they lie and cheat and kill, this is what your children learn at school." She doesn’t see the problem. "What’s wrong with that?" she asks. "It is all true."
Again, a question, a discussion that leads nowhere.