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Re: [muslim-jewish] Predjudices generally

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  • Marwan Marwan مروان مروان
    Hello Michael, I m very happy to hear what you had to say. I fully agree with you and truly believe that we all make the same mistakes and it s not limited to
    Message 1 of 17 , Sep 1, 2009
      Hello Michael,

      I'm very happy to hear what you had to say. I fully agree with you and truly believe that we all make the same mistakes and it's not limited to one group or another. As human beings we have created one catastrophe after another, from the poisoning of our environment to the destruction of other species and the multiple wars that still rage on. Our histories are full of these examples. None of us are innocent. But i do believe that we all have the power to make a positive change for the better.

      My only problem with the original email is the claim that antisemitism is a unique historical act. I believe that it is no different than any form of xenophobia. Fearing the 'other' is a terrible thing that can cause harm to all people involved. As you pointed out, and i agree with you, all sides involved used the fear of 'others' to justify their own political and financial gains.

      I'm proud to know that many people like yourself exist, people that are willing to help patch these holes between us and to move forward toward a just solution were we can all live together.

      Salaam and shalom,
      Marwan.

      Michael Barkusky wrote:
       

      Dear Marwan:

       

      To be honest, it hasn’t been altogether easy for many of us Jews to give up the nationalist fairy stories we were raised on (if not by our parents, by nationalist- minded communal “educators”), like the story that when Palestinian Arabs fled Palestine in 1948, they did so in almost every case despite the pleadings of the Jews that they should stay. I am sure there were a few historical instances a bit like the prototypical fairy story (in Haifa, I think and perhaps in the odd other places) , but in most cases, flight of Palestinian Arabs was likely encouraged by the Haganah and Palmach as  much as by the Irgun. It certainly wasn’t morally right that non-belligerent Palestinian civilians were driven out, and the kind of ethnic cleansing that occurred is not justified by authentic religious Judaism of the best sort, but many Palestinian Arabs were nonetheless co-ercively expelled or terrorized into fleeing, and that is a fact that must be faced. I’m not asking for a lot of credit for facing those facts, but I am asking you to be equally skeptical about other unlikely stories you may have been taught.

       

      The fact that the overwhelming majority of the Jewish communities of many cities in Arab countries came to feel  so insecure that they fled abandoning most of their property, is not something that can be wished away. I don’t think for a moment that the prejudice and violence these Jews experienced reflects authentic Islam of the best sort either, or that there were not significant numbers of Jews who felt safe enough to stay (because of good relations with Muslim neighbours, or whatever). Of course there were. Similarly, there were Palestinian Arabs who stayed on in the new State of Israel after 1948. Neither minority truly enjoys full citizenship in their states of nominal citizenship, but neither minority faces absolutely intolerable conditions (like those in contemporary Gaza, for example) although the Jews of Syria were for many years in quite sorry condition, and things in Egypt were always all that good for Egyptian Jews either (probably for predictable reasons).

       

      I know too, that there is evidence that many “true blue” Zionists in Israel were only too pleased to see Mizrachi Jews flee the lands in which they lived (and had in many cases lived in peace for decades if not longer) and come to Israel because, ideologically, those Zionists thought that this was the “tidy” result – no Jews in Arab countries and hopefully no Arabs in Israel either.   But they were hardly in a position to orchestrate anti-Jewish riots unaided. They were in fact likely aided by Arab nationalists and popular prejudices amongst poorly-educated people easily swayed by demagogues, just as today, in Israel, anti-Arab prejudices are easily stirred up by demagogues and thrive (perhaps not exclusively, but thrive relatively speaking) to the greatest extent amongst the least well-educated Jewish  Israelis, and are easily raised to fever pitch by a single suicide bombing.

       

      Anyway, my point is that despite the nobility at the authentic cores of both Judaism and Islam, many  people who nominally consider themselves loyal to either faith, can easily, out of nationalism or ignorant religious fundamentalism, become prone to racial and religious prejudice, and that prejudice and intolerance can do a lot of damage to inter-faith and inter-ethnic relations. As you say yourself, xenophobia is, sadly, almost an inherent part of the human condition.

       

      Although I have pointed out parallels and symmetries, and have called for more balance, please don’t assume I am saying everything about the Arab-Israeli conflict is symmetrical. Of course it isn’t. But it is equally ridiculous to assume that everything is 100% asymmetrical either.  And I don’t think introducing the phrase “European colonialism” decides the matter. The Europeans may well have been the most persistent, most militarily, economically and culturally successful (and perhaps even the nastiest) colonial powers, but subjugation of conquered people and colonization of the land they formerly occupied is a pattern of behaviour that has been  practiced by people from every continent at some point in history, on some scale or other.  That doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make recent instances unique, either.

       

      The only way out of the mess we (as two faiths or two “nations” ) are in today, in our relations with one another, is through as much intellectual honesty as we can possibly muster about the past, and as much trust, idealism and innovative constitutional design as we can muster, about the future. In fact, it is irrational to do anything less.

       

      Humankind today faces enormous challenges related to climate change, biodiversity loss, acidification of the oceans, depletion of soil fertility and scarce freshwater resources,  unsustainable accumulations of toxic substances and non-biodegradable wastes  etc. Biological wealth is in decline almost everywhere, and the  global human population is already quite likely beyond the steady-state biological carrying capacity of our planet.

       

      We have as a species, in short, huge ecological-economic problems to solve, and big moral issues like relations between different species and distant generations, to consider very deeply.

       

      Jews and Arabs (ethnically- speaking) and Jews and Muslims (religiously speaking) cannot claim to be n awe of G_d (as our traditions expect of us) and at the same time continue wasting our energies on zero-sum nationalist struggles, treating one another inhumanely, or blaming all our collective and individual challenges on the intransigence of the other side.  I am not asking for the cause of true justice to be sacrificed for a clean slate, but I am asking for a shared attempt to let go of myths that are as dangerous to our future as they may be comforting to our collective self image. I am asking for us to focus on moving forward and solving problems even when doing so may require some sacrifice and some risk-taking.

       

      Salaam / Shalom / Peace

       

      Michael   

       

       

      From: muslim-jewish@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:muslim- jewish@yahoogrou ps.com] On Behalf Of Marwan Marwan åÑèÇæ åÑèÇæ
      Sent: August 31, 2009 1:16 PM
      To: muslim-jewish@ yahoogroups. com
      Subject: Re: [muslim-jewish] Anti-semitism

       



      I'm glad to hear back from you David...No worries about the delay in reply, we all have busy lives (^_^)

      I find it interesting that you say that Arab Jews left for Israel because of antisemitism. The world is a very interesting place when the only thing that we acknowledge is the hatred that people have for us.

      If Arab Jews left their homes, businesses and lives to move to Israel out of fear of antisemitism, then why did some Arab Jews choose to stay behind? If antisemitism is so strong, don't you think that the smaller the Jewish community, the more in danger it would be? Some light could be shed on this issue by reading the charter of the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network: http://www.ijsn. net/about_ us/charter

      I believe it's very important to look at the politics and the atmosphere of colonization, especially the settlement of a European power in an area that was traditionally occupied by non-Europeans. European politics played a huge role in western Asia, an example of that is how in Iraq the British colonial powers exploited Arab Jewish communities to justify their actions.

      Israel, as a European power, asserted it's right to speak and act on behalf of ALL Jews. It then proceeded to drive the indigenous population in the name of world Jewry.

      Arab Jews did not start moving to Israel until well after the state of Israel was formed. It actually took a few wars between the newly founded European colonial power and the departure of a large number of Arab Jews (Mizrahi) to Israel.

      There are several books written about the involvement of Israeli agents in agitating the Arab Jewish communities to move to Israel. Some of them document the planting of bombs in Arab Jewish communities to activate a fear of persecution. One of the more famous books on this topic is Ben Gurion's Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews by Naeim Giladi, an Arab Jews, which details and documents the actions of Israeli agents in spreading hate in Iraqi Jewish communities which resulted in the migration of many Iraqi Jews to Israel.

      Why would the world's oldest Jewish community, which existed within the Islamic world, up and leave? Did Arab Jews suddenly discover that they were the target of antisemitism or was there something else at play? It's best to look at that area and the state of the world at that time. A good start would be a study of the political conditions that existed at that time and especially in western Asia.

      Naeim Giladi has also written another book, Discord In Zion, which details the struggles of Arab Jews against Zionism in Israel, this struggle continues to this day...Just look at what's happening to Ezra Nawi.

      There are clear and well documented examples of collaboration between the Zionist movement in Europe and the Nazis. People will sometimes go to great length to accomplish the requirements of their ideology, look up 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis by Lenni Brenner.

      It's also important to note that Arab Jews (Sephardi/Mizrahi) and European Jews (Ashkenazim) have very little in common when it comes to language, customs, traditions, dress and food. The two existed in completely different 'worlds' and developed in different directions.

      Antisemitism, as a form of xenophobia in Europe, has no basis within the Muslim world. As proof of that, it was the Muslim countries in Europe, North Africa and Western Asia that saw their Jewish populations grow, by accepting the immigrating and fleeing European Jews. This is very well documented, even the state of Israel acknowledges this, look up Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II by Norman Gershman.

      Antisemitism was never and will never be part of the Arab Muslim or Arab Christian world as it has NO basis.

      It was the establishment of Israel as a European colonial state, and the use of superior European firepower in dominating and uprooting indigenous populations in the name of all Jews, as Israel claims over and over again, what allowed some of that European xenophobia to penetrate into Arab and Muslim thought.

      I don't believe that antisemitism is any different than any other form of xenophobia. To specifically label that type of action and draw attention to it and only it, is extremely unhelpful, because we end up turning a blind eye to all the other forms of ignorance and fear.

      Xenophobia is well documented and exists in every single culture and religion, there are no exceptions. Persecutions have exists throughout history. Mass murders and the destruction of a whole people have been documented well before World War 2.

      Again, i would like to assert that antisemitism has no routes in Arabic and Muslim countries. This specific hate was imported with European colonialism and confirmed through the actions of the Israeli state, which continues to claim all it's (military) actions on behalf of world Jewry.

      I'm not denying that hatred of Jews doesn't exist in Arabic and Muslim countries, but it only exists within extremists elements, just as hatred of Muslims and Christians exists within extremist factions within the Jewish communities. Xenophobia exists everywhere, it is part of the human condition. There is no one group better than the other, we are all equal and succumb to the same pains and mistakes.

      In my opinion, all religious texts are soaked in blood and fear, but they also contain some very beautiful examples of communality and shared love. It is our responsibility to act on the positive aspects and diminish the negative ones. No religious person can ever claim that their way is the only way, as judgement rests with a higher power, be it with a god or mother earth.

      Be well and i hope to hear from you and other people on this list (^_^)

      Have a great day,
      Marwan.

      David Granirer wrote:

       

      Marwan - no, this doesn't come off as a personal attack, so no prob there. I've been really busy or would have answered sooner.

       

      I'm glad to hear that your studies of Islam taught you to respect Jews and hopefully other faiths as well as non-believers like myself. 

       

      And I agree with your comments about the extremist elements in Judaism who preach hatred and bigotry - not to mention the ridiculousness of claiming that a book written under questionable circumstances several thousand years ago - what we call the Old Testament - gives them the right to kill and ethnically cleanse people because a God that no one has seen has somehow given them this land forever. I'm working on a joke where God gives the Jews the Promised Land as long as they promise to kill the current inhabitants. Still needs a punch line, right now it's just a statement of fact.

       

      Where I disagree with you is when you say that the examples we both cite are moments of weakness in the human heart and spirit. I believe that many of these are actually systematic and calculated attempts to target and eliminate people with whom various factions have a disagreement with or whose land they want. I'm afraid I don't have your faith in the human spirit and I believe that people are far more manipulative and calculating than you suggest.

       

      And I also agree re the negative interpretations you find in Judaism and Islam. I'm familiar with the Old Testament and I know of few more bloodthirsty books that advocate killing people for almost no reason at all or because they have disobeyed some ridiculous rule like eating the wrong food or worshipping the wrong god or being of the wrong sexual orientation. I'm a counsellor, and to me the God described in the Old Testament fits the profile of an angry sociopath who demands unconditional obedience or else. Put it this way, if child protection came across an individual with these traits and history they would immediately and rightly apprehend his children and begin legal proceedings.

       

      I'm also glad to hear you say that most of the Muslim world is secular. It is the religious fanatics among all groups that cause the most damage.

       

      However, I disagree that anti-semitism is strictly a european issue. Certainly the Protocols of Zion are a Russian forgery, but it seems to me that certain people in arab countries have willingly embraced them. I'm not going to cite examples but they are plentiful. CBC's the Current recently had an interview with the author of the spiders of allah that was pretty frightening in this respect. I guess what I'm looking for on this list is for Muslims willing to acknowledge this as a problem and not pretend that arab countries are free of anti-semitism. 

       

      Indeed, I believe that from the Jewish point of view this is one of the main issues: How can we trust people (of course not all Muslims or arabs are included here) who demonize us and say we are the offspring of monkeys and pigs (not that I consider this to be a particularly bad thing) and that Jews should be killed, and that the people who do the killing are martyrs to be worshipped and emulated.

       

      I really believe that until we see enough Muslims acknowledge this as a problem, the trust will never be there. My generation of post-holocaust Jews, whether rightly or wrongly judges the world by the amount of anti-semitism we see out there. One of the 1st questions Jews from different countries will ask each other is, "How much anti-semitism is there in your country?" We remember all too well that countries like Germany (which has since the 1960's done an admirable job of coming to terms with the Holocaust) and Poland, Romania, etc that still don't acknowledge that there was a problem, all systematically ignored and minimized any information to the contrary, and we feel that most arab countries do that too. 

       

      The question we ask is, "Why did 900,000 Jews flee the arab world after the state of Israel came into being? Many of these Jews had wealth and relatively good lives in Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Morocco etc, so saying that they wanted to leave all this behind and go to Israel, a country that was a backwater with few of the comforts of home, not to mention a place where you have to serve in the army and potentially be killed, strikes us as ridiculous. Put it this way. I have absolutely no desire to move to Israel, and the only reason I'd even consider it would be if things got incredibly bad for me here in Canada.

       

      Our conclusion is that they had to flee for their lives, a conclusion based on testimony from many of those people who had to flee with nothing. And when 900,000 Jews flee a certain part of the world and never go back (the once large Jewish communities in Arab countries are now tiny) we think that people in that part of the world don't like Jews or the Jews would still be there.

       

      Like I said, until we see arabs and Muslims acknowledging these issues, I fear that there will never be the ground for trust to develop. And other than individuals like Ayan Hirsi Ali or Irshad Manji, I have not heard that acknowledgement.

       

      cheers! :-)

       

       

      David Granirer, Psychocomic. com Presentations Inc.

      Humor in the Workplace

      3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4

      (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243

      david@psychocomic. com

      http://www.psychoco mic.com

       

      Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and

      Success http://www.thehappy neurotic. com

       

       

       

       

      On 23-Aug-09, at 12:17 AM, Marwan Marwan مروان مروان wrote:





      Hi David,

      MEMRI's purpose is extremely important especially when it comes to this issue. MEMRI's propaganda has been exposed as mistranslation and outright lies on several occasions. By presenting their material here, you're doing yourself a disservice. I hope that you read through the link that i posted in my previous email...Here it is again:
      http://www.guardian .co.uk/world/ 2002/aug/ 12/worlddispatch .brianwhitaker

      Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are innocent. I have never claimed that. But there is a clear injustice that's perpetrated by one group over the other. I'm not sure if we're supposed to discuss the underlying issues of Israel and Palestine in this thread, so i'll leave this particular topic alone.

      Antisemitism is strictly a European issue. It was spread around the world through European missionary work and colonial occupations. You'll find that any references to antisemitic text or ideas can be traced back to European roots, ie: 
      Protocol Of The Elders Of Zion.

      Antisemitism is simply another form of bigotry, xenophobia and fear of the 'other'. To claim that Muslims have some antisemitic tendencies is unfair and unproductive. You give the illusion that some Muslims have a hidden dark side to them, a side that hates Jews for being Jews. The same could be said about Jews or Christians, Sikhs about their hidden hatred of Muslims, aka: antisemitism.

      I personally studied Islam in Saudi Arabia and i was always taught to respect and accept Judaism as a sister faith to Islam, and to treat the Jewish people as equals. I was told that if there is no mosque then you are to pray in a synagogue. Can't find halal food, then you eat kosher...etc.

      A better way of addressing the issue that you bring, is to acknowledge that all of humanity (regardless of religion, sex, economic status or political affiliation) tends, at some point in time, to react in a negative way to people outside it's self-defined group.

      As you pointed out (and i fully agree with you here), we can sit here and point the finger back and forth at every bigoted statement printed, broadcasted, televised or uploaded. There are several recent examples of rabbis preaching atrocities against Palestinian women and children during the last assault on Gaza. What about the scores of attacks in Israel against the homosexual community? Have you seen the women's shelters and the percentage of battered women in Israel? What about the racist acts that are committed day after day by European Jews against non-Europeans Jews? Do any of us claim that Jews are antisemitic? Homophobic? Love to beat their women and shoot Palestinian children? No! The examples that you mentioned and the examples i gave above are examples of moments of weakness in the human heart and spirit.

      If you want to discuss Islam then be ready to discuss Judaism. The same negative interpretations you'll find in Islam, you'll also find in Judaism, as Islam is based on Judaism. You'll be surprised at the amount of similarities in the belief system and religious customs between Judaism and Islam.

      You keep referring to the "Muslim world", what does that really mean? There's a Jewish world? A Sikh world? A Buddhist world? How do you draw the boundaries? Are there qualifying percentages? Based on nation state borders? :-)

      Anyways, the majority of people that you identify as "Muslim world" are mostly secular. Just like the majority of the people in Israel, India, Canada, Argentina are secular.

      The "Muslim world" is made up of human beings just like you and me. Human beings that make mistakes and that are under economic, family and social pressure and who knows what other types of pressures.

      How do we reach out to individual people and give them the chance to understand the 'other'. By 'other' i mean the people they ONLY see on TV carrying guns and preaching hatred.

      I think it's best to leave MEMRI out of this discussion and start talking about humanity and how easy it is for any of us to start 'othering' people. We can discuss the rampant xenophobia, bigotry and the fear of change that exists in every religion and country on this planet.

      Take care,
      Marwan.

      PS - I'm sorry if this comes off a bit harsh. It's late and i haven't had dinner. I didn't intend for any of this to come off as a personal attack...Sorry if it sounds that way :-)

      David Granirer wrote:

      Marwan - Whatever Memri's purpose, my understanding is that their info is usually correct. And the fact that the charming anti-semitic example I cited in my previous email made it onto TV suggests that it is more than the work of a few extremists. If Memri's purpose is indeed to portray the Muslim world in a bad light, and it may well be, I would say that many in the Muslim do Memri's work by providing them with so many examples of anti-semitism, homophobia, anti-secularism and anti-feminism.

       

      Rather than blame the messenger (Memri), perhaps the incidents themselves need to be looked at.

       

      I notice that on this list, criticism of Israel is fair game, and I agree agree with most of it. However, there is also a huge hypocrisy in that Muslims are seen as poor helpless victims with absolutely no responsibility for anything that has gone wrong in the middle east. My purpose is just to point out this fallacy, because I believe that peace can only happen when both sides are willing to acknowledge their own failings.

       

      If both sides were to sit down and compare, I'm sure they could match each other atrocity for atrocity and lie for lie, but neither side wants to acknowledge their own failings. 

       

      So on the one hand we have the fiction that the Palestinians aren't really a people, that the Palestinians who left Israel in 1948 did so on the advice of other arab countries not because of Israeli ethnic cleansing, and that the Israel army is the most ethical army in the world; while on the other hand we have the fiction that there's no anti-semitism in the Muslim world, that the 900,000 or so Jews who used to live in arab countries prior to the creation of Israel (roughly equal to the number of Palestinians expelled from Israel in 1948) weren't expelled or ethnically cleansed, they just mysteriously disappeared, and that Jews are welcomed and treated as equals in Muslim countries.

       

      The Israeli myths get confronted quite often on this list and rightly so, but I have yet to hear much said about the Muslim myths. So by all means hang on to them and blame the messenger when they are brought to light, but as I say, the road to peace lies in each side acknowledging their own misdeeds. 

       

      I fully acknowledge that Israel has committed atrocities against the Palestinians and that it certainly doesn't behave like a party interested in a just peace. Are you willing to meet me half way and acknowledge some of your people's issues?

       

      Every time I bring this up on the list, I get ignored, brushed off, or told that I'm somehow excusing what Israel does (which I'm not); but no one ever addresses the issues I bring up because they either "don't exist" or are justified by Israeli behavior.

       

      And this is exactly what I hear when I'm around certain Israelis (certainly not all Israelis) I know: "Look what the arabs have done to us, anything we do to fight back is perfectly justified. We never did anything wrong and if they would stop attacking us everything would be fine." Sound familiar?

       

      Let me leave you with this analogy. When two people are standing up to their knees in shit, the only way they can get out is by shovelling their own shit, not flinging more shit at each other.

       

      David Granirer, Psychocomic. com Presentations Inc.

      Humor in the Workplace

      3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4

      (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243

      david@psychocomic. com

      http://www.psychoco mic.com

       

      Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and

      Success http://www.thehappy neurotic. com

       

       

       

       

      On 18-Aug-09, at 10:58 AM, Marwan Marwan مروان مروان wrote:





      David, you're quoting and spreading propaganda released by MEMRI? MEMRI is run by people with connection to the Israeli army and admit that their sole purpose is to vilify and demonize Arabs and Muslims? That's not very 'progressive' of you, comrade.

      Here's an excellent article on MEMRI with some very interesting background information on that secret organization:
      http://www.guardian .co.uk/world/ 2002/aug/ 12/worlddispatch .brianwhitaker

      The co-founder and president of Memri, and the registered owner of its website, is an Israeli called Yigal Carmon.

      Mr - or rather, Colonel - Carmon spent 22 years in Israeli military intelligence and later served as counter-terrorism adviser to two Israeli prime ministers, Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin.


      Most Muslim people believe that the Jewish people are our brothers and sisters in faith, culture and language.

      Not sure how pointing the finger, as MEMRI has, at one or two extremists will actually help the overall situation of ending the occupation, colonization and apartheid perpetrated by the Israeli state onto the Palestinian people, and building more bridges between Muslim and Jewish people.

      Good luck with your little 'mission', comrade.

      David Granirer wrote:

      Comrades,
        
      Once again I do the politically incorrect thing by drawing attention  
      to Arab anti-semitism. Yes, this charming example of Jew hatred comes  
      from our Egyptian friends:
        
      Antisemitism On Egypt's Al-Rahma TV – Children Memorize, Recite  
      Antisemitic Slogans; Clerics Say Jews Are Offspring of Snakes and  
      Vipers, Call For Reading 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion', And State:  
      Our Hatred of The Jews is Purely on Religious Grounds – While Warning  
      Against the Jewish-Zionist Starbucks, Domino's, Burger King & Others
        
      For more go to: http://www.memri. org/bin/latestne ws.cgi?ID= SD246609
        
      As a refutation of these charges, I don't think I personally have any  
      snakes or vipers on my family tree, and even if the zionists (whoever  
      they are) control Starbucks, Domino's, Burger King & Others, I'm not  
      sure how this is a threat to the arab world, other than by creating a  
      bunch of jittery people with high cholesterol.
        
      Of course, by bringing our attention to this "atrocity" I will be  
      accused of minimizing Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians  
      (which I'm not). Just perhaps, could it be that both sides are  
      standing in shit of heir own creation? You be the judge! :-)
        
        
      David Granirer, Founder, Stand Up For Mental Health
      3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4
      (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243
      david@standupformen talhealth. com
      http://www.standupf ormentalhealth. com
        
      Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To  
      Happiness and
      Success http://www.thehappy neurotic. com
          
        
        
        
        
      David Granirer, Psychocomic. com Presentations Inc.
      Humor in the Workplace
      3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4
      (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243
      david@psychocomic. com
      http://www.psychoco mic.com
        
      Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To  
      Happiness and
      Success http://www.thehappy neurotic. com
          
        
        
        
        
        
        
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    • Marwan Marwan مروان مروان
      Hello David, I m sorry if i made it sound that people living in Arabic or Muslim countries are innocent of any wrong doing. I never meant to imply that and if
      Message 2 of 17 , Sep 1, 2009
        Hello David,

        I'm sorry if i made it sound that people living in Arabic or Muslim countries are innocent of any wrong doing. I never meant to imply that and if that is the picture that i put forward then i'm sorry.

        My only point is that antisemitism is not a positive way of looking at all of this. By singling out antisemitism we ignore all the other minorities that suffered under the same oppression in Europe, west Asia and the rest of the world.

        The entire world is very diverse and the fear of minority groups exists everywhere. That same fear is well and alive here in Canada. Just look at the past and present acts of our Canadian government. This is also reflect by the Canadian society as a whole, we have negative images of economically disenfranchised people that live on the streets. We call migrants trying to make a better life for themselves and their children "boat people", we round them up and keep them in cages outside our cities. We import 'slave' labour to do the dirty jobs that pay below minimum wage and then we deport these same workers because they speak out against the conditions that we subjugate them to. There are tons of examples of humans mistreating other humans.

        The fear of others justifies wars and occupations, be it the occupation of Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. When you belittle someone it's easy to murder them.

        We need to work on understanding minorities in our own communities, accepting them as equals and getting rid of the term minorities once and for all (^_^)

        All i'm saying is that looking at this issue with a bigger field of vision will help us solve the problem as it effects people from all ethnicities and religions.

        Salaam and shalom,
        Marwan.

        David Granirer wrote:
         

        Marwan - 1st of all, thanks for the reading list, the books you recommended sound fascinating and I'm looking forward to reading them. I agree with Michael that we all need to let go of the myths we were raised with, like the one about Jews begging Palestinians to stay in Israel etc.


        And I'm certainly willing to accept that Zionists were glad to see Jews leave arab countries. However, I also tend to agree with Michael that they were helped by factions in those countries. I think that you give the Zionists way too much credit for being able to influence events outside of Israel. I know it's become fashionable to blame Zionists for almost everything these days, but honestly, they're not that powerful, especially when it comes to influencing people who have it good and feel safe in a certain country to leave that country and come to israel, unless there are elements in that country that actually make the Jews feel unsafe. 

        Put it this way, if the Zionists (whoever they are) came to Jews in North America and told us there were going to be pogroms against us and that we needed to come to Israel to be safe, we would just laugh at them. 

        And even if they tried to instigate these events I can't imagine they'd have much success since most Canadians are way too apathetic to show up for anything. My point being that most Jews feel safe in North America because there aren't nearly enough people willing to take violent action against them.

        Once again: Jews who have it good and feel safe will not leave a country to go to Israel just because Zionists tell them to. And if there aren't enough people in that country willing to be violent towards them, the Zionists have no chance of inciting anti-Jewish pogroms. It takes a lot of people to organize, staff and carry out a pogrom, and the Zionists just don't have those kind of numbers or clout.

        And BTW - as far as most North American Jews are concerned, Israel is the last place they want to live. The last thing we want is to go somewhere where our kids have to serve 3 years in the army and beat up on Palestinians and possibly get killed themselves. For us (not all of us but many of us), Israel is an insurance policy in case the holocaust ever returned, but we're so far from cashing in that policy that it really doesn't occupy us that much.

        So it would really be nice to hear some sort of acknowledgement that yes, there are enough elements in the Muslim/Arab world that give Jews a reason to feel unsafe. Maybe this isn't the majority, but it's still significant enough. Quite frankly, we have a hard time believing that the anti-semitism we hear so much about is either a product of our imagination or something that the Zionists are responsible for. My feeling is that the natural human tendency to overlook or minimize the bad stuff that your guys do is at play here.

        Nonetheless, look forward to reading the books you suggest...
        cheers..

        David Granirer, Psychocomic. com Presentations Inc.
        Humor in the Workplace
        3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4
        (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243
        david@psychocomic. com
        http://www.psychoco mic.com

        Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and
        Success http://www.thehappy neurotic. com




        On 31-Aug-09, at 10:17 PM, Michael Barkusky wrote:



        Dear Marwan:
         
        To be honest, it hasn’t been altogether easy for many of us Jews to give up the nationalist fairy stories we were raised on (if not by our parents, by nationalist- minded communal “educators”), like the story that when Palestinian Arabs fled Palestine in 1948, they did so in almost every case despite the pleadings of the Jews that they should stay. I am sure there were a few historical instances a bit like the prototypical fairy story (in Haifa, I think and perhaps in the odd other places) , but in most cases, flight of Palestinian Arabs was likely encouraged by theHaganah and Palmach as  much as by the Irgun. It certainly wasn’t morally right that non-belligerent Palestinian civilians were driven out, and the kind of ethnic cleansing that occurred is not justified by authentic religious Judaism of the best sort, but many Palestinian Arabs were nonetheless co-ercively expelled or terrorized into fleeing, and that is a fact that must be faced. I’m not asking for a lot of credit for facing those facts, but I am asking you to be equally skeptical about other unlikely stories you may have been taught.
         
        The fact that the overwhelming majority of the Jewish communities of many cities in Arab countries came to feel  so insecure that they fled abandoning most of their property, is not something that can be wished away. I don’t think for a moment that the prejudice and violence these Jews experienced reflects authentic Islam of the best sort either, or that there were not significant numbers of Jews who felt safe enough to stay (because of good relations with Muslim neighbours, or whatever). Of course there were. Similarly, there were Palestinian Arabs who stayed on in the new State of Israel after 1948. Neither minority truly enjoys full citizenship in their states of nominal citizenship, but neither minority faces absolutely intolerable conditions (like those in contemporary Gaza, for example) although the Jews of Syria were for many years in quite sorry condition, and things in Egypt were always all that good for Egyptian Jews either (probably for predictable reasons).
         
        I know too, that there is evidence that many “true blue” Zionists in Israel were only too pleased to see Mizrachi Jews flee the lands in which they lived (and had in many cases lived in peace for decades if not longer) and come to Israel because, ideologically, those Zionists thought that this was the “tidy” result – no Jews in Arab countries and hopefully no Arabs in Israel either.   But they were hardly in a position to orchestrate anti-Jewish riots unaided. They were in fact likely aided by Arab nationalists and popular prejudices amongst poorly-educated people easily swayed by demagogues, just as today, in Israel, anti-Arab prejudices are easily stirred up by demagogues and thrive (perhaps not exclusively, but thrive relatively speaking) to the greatest extent amongst the least well-educated Jewish  Israelis, and are easily raised to fever pitch by a single suicide bombing.
         
        Anyway, my point is that despite the nobility at the authentic cores of both Judaism and Islam, many  people who nominally consider themselves loyal to either faith, can easily, out of nationalism or ignorant religious fundamentalism, become prone to racial and religious prejudice, and that prejudice and intolerance can do a lot of damage to inter-faith and inter-ethnic relations. As you say yourself, xenophobia is, sadly, almost an inherent part of the human condition.
         
        Although I have pointed out parallels and symmetries, and have called for more balance, please don’t assume I am saying everything about the Arab-Israeli conflict is symmetrical. Of course it isn’t. But it is equally ridiculous to assume that everything is 100% asymmetrical either.  And I don’t think introducing the phrase “European colonialism” decides the matter. The Europeans may well have been the most persistent, most militarily, economically and culturally successful (and perhaps even the nastiest) colonial powers, but subjugation of conquered people and colonization of the land they formerly occupied is a pattern of behaviour that has been  practiced by people from every continent at some point in history, on some scale or other.  That doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make recent instances unique, either.
         
        The only way out of the mess we (as two faiths or two “nations” ) are in today, in our relations with one another, is through as much intellectual honesty as we can possibly muster about the past, and as much trust, idealism and innovative constitutional design as we can muster, about the future. In fact, it is irrational to do anything less.
         
        Humankind today faces enormous challenges related to climate change, biodiversity loss, acidification of the oceans, depletion of soil fertility and scarce freshwater resources,  unsustainable accumulations of toxic substances and non-biodegradable wastes  etc. Biological wealth is in decline almost everywhere, and the  global human population is already quite likely beyond the steady-state biological carrying capacity of our planet.
         
        We have as a species, in short, huge ecological-economic problems to solve, and big moral issues like relations between different species and distant generations, to consider very deeply.
         
        Jews and Arabs (ethnically- speaking) and Jews and Muslims (religiously speaking) cannot claim to be n awe of G_d (as our traditions expect of us) and at the same time continue wasting our energies on zero-sum nationalist struggles, treating one another inhumanely, or blaming all our collective and individual challenges on the intransigence of the other side.  I am not asking for the cause of true justice to be sacrificed for a clean slate, but I am asking for a shared attempt to let go of myths that are as dangerous to our future as they may be comforting to our collective self image. I am asking for us to focus on moving forward and solving problems even when doing so may require some sacrifice and some risk-taking.
         
        Salaam / Shalom / Peace
         
        Michael   
         
         
        From: muslim-jewish@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:muslim- jewish@yahoogrou ps.com] On Behalf Of Marwan Marwan åÑèÇæ åÑèÇæ
        Sent: August 31, 2009 1:16 PM
        To: muslim-jewish@ yahoogroups. com
        Subject: Re: [muslim-jewish] Anti-semitism
         


        I'm glad to hear back from you David...No worries about the delay in reply, we all have busy lives (^_^)

        I find it interesting that you say that Arab Jews left for Israel because of antisemitism. The world is a very interesting place when the only thing that we acknowledge is the hatred that people have for us.

        If Arab Jews left their homes, businesses and lives to move to Israel out of fear of antisemitism, then why did some Arab Jews choose to stay behind? If antisemitism is so strong, don't you think that the smaller the Jewish community, the more in danger it would be? Some light could be shed on this issue by reading the charter of the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network:
        http://www.ijsn. net/about_ us/charter

        I believe it's very important to look at the politics and the atmosphere of colonization, especially the settlement of a European power in an area that was traditionally occupied by non-Europeans. European politics played a huge role in western Asia, an example of that is how in Iraq the British colonial powers exploited Arab Jewish communities to justify their actions.

        Israel, as a European power, asserted it's right to speak and act on behalf of ALL Jews. It then proceeded to drive the indigenous population in the name of world Jewry.

        Arab Jews did not start moving to Israel until well after the state of Israel was formed. It actually took a few wars between the newly founded European colonial power and the departure of a large number of Arab Jews (Mizrahi) to Israel.

        There are several books written about the involvement of Israeli agents in agitating the Arab Jewish communities to move to Israel. Some of them document the planting of bombs in Arab Jewish communities to activate a fear of persecution. One of the more famous books on this topic is
         Ben Gurion's Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews by Naeim Giladi, an Arab Jews, which details and documents the actions of Israeli agents in spreading hate in Iraqi Jewish communities which resulted in the migration of many Iraqi Jews to Israel.

        Why would the world's oldest Jewish community, which existed within the Islamic world, up and leave? Did Arab Jews suddenly discover that they were the target of antisemitism or was there something else at play? It's best to look at that area and the state of the world at that time. A good start would be a study of the political conditions that existed at that time and especially in western Asia.

        Naeim Giladi has also written another book, Discord In Zion, which details the struggles of Arab Jews against Zionism in Israel, this struggle continues to this day...Just look at what's happening to Ezra Nawi.

        There are clear and well documented examples of collaboration between the Zionist movement in Europe and the Nazis. People will sometimes go to great length to accomplish the requirements of their ideology, look up
         51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis by Lenni Brenner.

        It's also important to note that Arab Jews (Sephardi/Mizrahi) and European Jews (Ashkenazim) have very little in common when it comes to language, customs, traditions, dress and food. The two existed in completely different 'worlds' and developed in different directions.
         

        Antisemitism, as a form of xenophobia in Europe, has no basis within the Muslim world. As proof of that, it was the Muslim countries in Europe, North Africa and Western Asia that saw their Jewish populations grow, by accepting the immigrating and fleeing European Jews. This is very well documented, even the state of Israel acknowledges this, look up Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II by Norman Gershman.

        Antisemitism was never and will never be part of the Arab Muslim or Arab Christian world as it has NO basis.

        It was the establishment of Israel as a European colonial state, and the use of superior European firepower in dominating and uprooting indigenous populations in the name of all Jews, as Israel claims over and over again, what allowed some of that European xenophobia to penetrate into Arab and Muslim thought.

        I don't believe that antisemitism is any different than any other form of xenophobia. To specifically label that type of action and draw attention to it and only it, is extremely unhelpful, because we end up turning a blind eye to all the other forms of ignorance and fear.

        Xenophobia is well documented and exists in every single culture and religion, there are no exceptions. Persecutions have exists throughout history. Mass murders and the destruction of a whole people have been documented well before World War 2.

        Again, i would like to assert that antisemitism has no routes in Arabic and Muslim countries. This specific hate was imported with European colonialism and confirmed through the actions of the Israeli state, which continues to claim all it's (military) actions on behalf of world Jewry.

        I'm not denying that hatred of Jews doesn't exist in Arabic and Muslim countries, but it only exists within extremists elements, just as hatred of Muslims and Christians exists within extremist factions within the Jewish communities. Xenophobia exists everywhere, it is part of the human condition. There is no one group better than the other, we are all equal and succumb to the same pains and mistakes.

        In my opinion, all religious texts are soaked in blood and fear, but they also contain some very beautiful examples of communality and shared love. It is our responsibility to act on the positive aspects and diminish the negative ones. No religious person can ever claim that their way is the only way, as judgement rests with a higher power, be it with a god or mother earth.

        Be well and i hope to hear from you and other people on this list (^_^)

        Have a great day,
        Marwan.

        David Granirer wrote:
         

        Marwan - no, this doesn't come off as a personal attack, so no prob there. I've been really busy or would have answered sooner.

         
        I'm glad to hear that your studies of Islam taught you to respect Jews and hopefully other faiths as well as non-believers like myself. 
         
        And I agree with your comments about the extremist elements in Judaism who preach hatred and bigotry - not to mention the ridiculousness of claiming that a book written under questionable circumstances several thousand years ago - what we call the Old Testament - gives them the right to kill and ethnically cleanse people because a God that no one has seen has somehow given them this land forever. I'm working on a joke where God gives the Jews the Promised Land as long as they promise to kill the current inhabitants. Still needs a punch line, right now it's just a statement of fact.
         
        Where I disagree with you is when you say that the examples we both cite are moments of weakness in the human heart and spirit. I believe that many of these are actually systematic and calculated attempts to target and eliminate people with whom various factions have a disagreement with or whose land they want. I'm afraid I don't have your faith in the human spirit and I believe that people are far more manipulative and calculating than you suggest.
         
        And I also agree re the negative interpretations you find in Judaism and Islam. I'm familiar with the Old Testament and I know of few more bloodthirsty books that advocate killing people for almost no reason at all or because they have disobeyed some ridiculous rule like eating the wrong food or worshipping the wrong god or being of the wrong sexual orientation. I'm a counsellor, and to me the God described in the Old Testament fits the profile of an angry sociopath who demands unconditional obedience or else. Put it this way, if child protection came across an individual with these traits and history they would immediately and rightly apprehend his children and begin legal proceedings.
         
        I'm also glad to hear you say that most of the Muslim world is secular. It is the religious fanatics among all groups that cause the most damage.
         
        However, I disagree that anti-semitism is strictly a european issue. Certainly the Protocols of Zion are a Russian forgery, but it seems to me that certain people in arab countries have willingly embraced them. I'm not going to cite examples but they are plentiful. CBC's the Current recently had an interview with the author of the spiders of allah that was pretty frightening in this respect. I guess what I'm looking for on this list is for Muslims willing to acknowledge this as a problem and not pretend that arab countries are free of anti-semitism. 
         
        Indeed, I believe that from the Jewish point of view this is one of the main issues: How can we trust people (of course not all Muslims or arabs are included here) who demonize us and say we are the offspring of monkeys and pigs (not that I consider this to be a particularly bad thing) and that Jews should be killed, and that the people who do the killing are martyrs to be worshipped and emulated.
         
        I really believe that until we see enough Muslims acknowledge this as a problem, the trust will never be there. My generation of post-holocaust Jews, whether rightly or wrongly judges the world by the amount of anti-semitism we see out there. One of the 1st questions Jews from different countries will ask each other is, "How much anti-semitism is there in your country?" We remember all too well that countries like Germany (which has since the 1960's done an admirable job of coming to terms with the Holocaust) and Poland, Romania, etc that still don't acknowledge that there was a problem, all systematically ignored and minimized any information to the contrary, and we feel that most arab countries do that too. 
         
        The question we ask is, "Why did 900,000 Jews flee the arab world after the state of Israel came into being? Many of these Jews had wealth and relatively good lives in Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Morocco etc, so saying that they wanted to leave all this behind and go to Israel, a country that was a backwater with few of the comforts of home, not to mention a place where you have to serve in the army and potentially be killed, strikes us as ridiculous. Put it this way. I have absolutely no desire to move to Israel, and the only reason I'd even consider it would be if things got incredibly bad for me here in Canada.
         
        Our conclusion is that they had to flee for their lives, a conclusion based on testimony from many of those people who had to flee with nothing. And when 900,000 Jews flee a certain part of the world and never go back (the once large Jewish communities in Arab countries are now tiny) we think that people in that part of the world don't like Jews or the Jews would still be there.
         
        Like I said, until we see arabs and Muslims acknowledging these issues, I fear that there will never be the ground for trust to develop. And other than individuals like Ayan Hirsi Ali or Irshad Manji, I have not heard that acknowledgement.
         
        cheers! :-)
         
         
        David Granirer, Psychocomic. com Presentations Inc.
        Humor in the Workplace
        3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4
        (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243
         
        Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and
         
         
         
         
        On 23-Aug-09, at 12:17 AM, Marwan Marwan مروان مروان wrote:




        Hi David,

        MEMRI's purpose is extremely important especially when it comes to this issue. MEMRI's propaganda has been exposed as mistranslation and outright lies on several occasions. By presenting their material here, you're doing yourself a disservice. I hope that you read through the link that i posted in my previous email...Here it is again:
        http://www.guardian .co.uk/world/ 2002/aug/ 12/worlddispatch .brianwhitaker

        Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are innocent. I have never claimed that. But there is a clear injustice that's perpetrated by one group over the other. I'm not sure if we're supposed to discuss the underlying issues of Israel and Palestine in this thread, so

        (Message over 64 KB, truncated)
      • Marwan Marwan مروان مروان
        Hi again David...If i can recommend one more book, Orientalism by Edward Said . It s a very dry and long book but excellent in the way it explains the
        Message 3 of 17 , Sep 1, 2009
          Hi again David...If i can recommend one more book, Orientalism by Edward Said. It's a very dry and long book but excellent in the way it explains the 'othering' of people. I personally found it very helpful in seeing the way we (myself included) are quick to cut off people and define them as a group outside our own.

          David Granirer wrote:
           

          Marwan - 1st of all, thanks for the reading list, the books you recommended sound fascinating and I'm looking forward to reading them. I agree with Michael that we all need to let go of the myths we were raised with, like the one about Jews begging Palestinians to stay in Israel etc.


          And I'm certainly willing to accept that Zionists were glad to see Jews leave arab countries. However, I also tend to agree with Michael that they were helped by factions in those countries. I think that you give the Zionists way too much credit for being able to influence events outside of Israel. I know it's become fashionable to blame Zionists for almost everything these days, but honestly, they're not that powerful, especially when it comes to influencing people who have it good and feel safe in a certain country to leave that country and come to israel, unless there are elements in that country that actually make the Jews feel unsafe. 

          Put it this way, if the Zionists (whoever they are) came to Jews in North America and told us there were going to be pogroms against us and that we needed to come to Israel to be safe, we would just laugh at them. 

          And even if they tried to instigate these events I can't imagine they'd have much success since most Canadians are way too apathetic to show up for anything. My point being that most Jews feel safe in North America because there aren't nearly enough people willing to take violent action against them.

          Once again: Jews who have it good and feel safe will not leave a country to go to Israel just because Zionists tell them to. And if there aren't enough people in that country willing to be violent towards them, the Zionists have no chance of inciting anti-Jewish pogroms. It takes a lot of people to organize, staff and carry out a pogrom, and the Zionists just don't have those kind of numbers or clout.

          And BTW - as far as most North American Jews are concerned, Israel is the last place they want to live. The last thing we want is to go somewhere where our kids have to serve 3 years in the army and beat up on Palestinians and possibly get killed themselves. For us (not all of us but many of us), Israel is an insurance policy in case the holocaust ever returned, but we're so far from cashing in that policy that it really doesn't occupy us that much.

          So it would really be nice to hear some sort of acknowledgement that yes, there are enough elements in the Muslim/Arab world that give Jews a reason to feel unsafe. Maybe this isn't the majority, but it's still significant enough. Quite frankly, we have a hard time believing that the anti-semitism we hear so much about is either a product of our imagination or something that the Zionists are responsible for. My feeling is that the natural human tendency to overlook or minimize the bad stuff that your guys do is at play here.

          Nonetheless, look forward to reading the books you suggest...
          cheers..

          David Granirer, Psychocomic. com Presentations Inc.
          Humor in the Workplace
          3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4
          (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243
          david@psychocomic. com
          http://www.psychoco mic.com

          Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and
          Success http://www.thehappy neurotic. com




          On 31-Aug-09, at 10:17 PM, Michael Barkusky wrote:



          Dear Marwan:
           
          To be honest, it hasn’t been altogether easy for many of us Jews to give up the nationalist fairy stories we were raised on (if not by our parents, by nationalist- minded communal “educators”), like the story that when Palestinian Arabs fled Palestine in 1948, they did so in almost every case despite the pleadings of the Jews that they should stay. I am sure there were a few historical instances a bit like the prototypical fairy story (in Haifa, I think and perhaps in the odd other places) , but in most cases, flight of Palestinian Arabs was likely encouraged by theHaganah and Palmach as  much as by the Irgun. It certainly wasn’t morally right that non-belligerent Palestinian civilians were driven out, and the kind of ethnic cleansing that occurred is not justified by authentic religious Judaism of the best sort, but many Palestinian Arabs were nonetheless co-ercively expelled or terrorized into fleeing, and that is a fact that must be faced. I’m not asking for a lot of credit for facing those facts, but I am asking you to be equally skeptical about other unlikely stories you may have been taught.
           
          The fact that the overwhelming majority of the Jewish communities of many cities in Arab countries came to feel  so insecure that they fled abandoning most of their property, is not something that can be wished away. I don’t think for a moment that the prejudice and violence these Jews experienced reflects authentic Islam of the best sort either, or that there were not significant numbers of Jews who felt safe enough to stay (because of good relations with Muslim neighbours, or whatever). Of course there were. Similarly, there were Palestinian Arabs who stayed on in the new State of Israel after 1948. Neither minority truly enjoys full citizenship in their states of nominal citizenship, but neither minority faces absolutely intolerable conditions (like those in contemporary Gaza, for example) although the Jews of Syria were for many years in quite sorry condition, and things in Egypt were always all that good for Egyptian Jews either (probably for predictable reasons).
           
          I know too, that there is evidence that many “true blue” Zionists in Israel were only too pleased to see Mizrachi Jews flee the lands in which they lived (and had in many cases lived in peace for decades if not longer) and come to Israel because, ideologically, those Zionists thought that this was the “tidy” result – no Jews in Arab countries and hopefully no Arabs in Israel either.   But they were hardly in a position to orchestrate anti-Jewish riots unaided. They were in fact likely aided by Arab nationalists and popular prejudices amongst poorly-educated people easily swayed by demagogues, just as today, in Israel, anti-Arab prejudices are easily stirred up by demagogues and thrive (perhaps not exclusively, but thrive relatively speaking) to the greatest extent amongst the least well-educated Jewish  Israelis, and are easily raised to fever pitch by a single suicide bombing.
           
          Anyway, my point is that despite the nobility at the authentic cores of both Judaism and Islam, many  people who nominally consider themselves loyal to either faith, can easily, out of nationalism or ignorant religious fundamentalism, become prone to racial and religious prejudice, and that prejudice and intolerance can do a lot of damage to inter-faith and inter-ethnic relations. As you say yourself, xenophobia is, sadly, almost an inherent part of the human condition.
           
          Although I have pointed out parallels and symmetries, and have called for more balance, please don’t assume I am saying everything about the Arab-Israeli conflict is symmetrical. Of course it isn’t. But it is equally ridiculous to assume that everything is 100% asymmetrical either.  And I don’t think introducing the phrase “European colonialism” decides the matter. The Europeans may well have been the most persistent, most militarily, economically and culturally successful (and perhaps even the nastiest) colonial powers, but subjugation of conquered people and colonization of the land they formerly occupied is a pattern of behaviour that has been  practiced by people from every continent at some point in history, on some scale or other.  That doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make recent instances unique, either.
           
          The only way out of the mess we (as two faiths or two “nations” ) are in today, in our relations with one another, is through as much intellectual honesty as we can possibly muster about the past, and as much trust, idealism and innovative constitutional design as we can muster, about the future. In fact, it is irrational to do anything less.
           
          Humankind today faces enormous challenges related to climate change, biodiversity loss, acidification of the oceans, depletion of soil fertility and scarce freshwater resources,  unsustainable accumulations of toxic substances and non-biodegradable wastes  etc. Biological wealth is in decline almost everywhere, and the  global human population is already quite likely beyond the steady-state biological carrying capacity of our planet.
           
          We have as a species, in short, huge ecological-economic problems to solve, and big moral issues like relations between different species and distant generations, to consider very deeply.
           
          Jews and Arabs (ethnically- speaking) and Jews and Muslims (religiously speaking) cannot claim to be n awe of G_d (as our traditions expect of us) and at the same time continue wasting our energies on zero-sum nationalist struggles, treating one another inhumanely, or blaming all our collective and individual challenges on the intransigence of the other side.  I am not asking for the cause of true justice to be sacrificed for a clean slate, but I am asking for a shared attempt to let go of myths that are as dangerous to our future as they may be comforting to our collective self image. I am asking for us to focus on moving forward and solving problems even when doing so may require some sacrifice and some risk-taking.
           
          Salaam / Shalom / Peace
           
          Michael   
           
           
          From: muslim-jewish@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:muslim- jewish@yahoogrou ps.com] On Behalf Of Marwan Marwan åÑèÇæ åÑèÇæ
          Sent: August 31, 2009 1:16 PM
          To: muslim-jewish@ yahoogroups. com
          Subject: Re: [muslim-jewish] Anti-semitism
           


          I'm glad to hear back from you David...No worries about the delay in reply, we all have busy lives (^_^)

          I find it interesting that you say that Arab Jews left for Israel because of antisemitism. The world is a very interesting place when the only thing that we acknowledge is the hatred that people have for us.

          If Arab Jews left their homes, businesses and lives to move to Israel out of fear of antisemitism, then why did some Arab Jews choose to stay behind? If antisemitism is so strong, don't you think that the smaller the Jewish community, the more in danger it would be? Some light could be shed on this issue by reading the charter of the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network:
          http://www.ijsn. net/about_ us/charter

          I believe it's very important to look at the politics and the atmosphere of colonization, especially the settlement of a European power in an area that was traditionally occupied by non-Europeans. European politics played a huge role in western Asia, an example of that is how in Iraq the British colonial powers exploited Arab Jewish communities to justify their actions.

          Israel, as a European power, asserted it's right to speak and act on behalf of ALL Jews. It then proceeded to drive the indigenous population in the name of world Jewry.

          Arab Jews did not start moving to Israel until well after the state of Israel was formed. It actually took a few wars between the newly founded European colonial power and the departure of a large number of Arab Jews (Mizrahi) to Israel.

          There are several books written about the involvement of Israeli agents in agitating the Arab Jewish communities to move to Israel. Some of them document the planting of bombs in Arab Jewish communities to activate a fear of persecution. One of the more famous books on this topic is
           Ben Gurion's Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews by Naeim Giladi, an Arab Jews, which details and documents the actions of Israeli agents in spreading hate in Iraqi Jewish communities which resulted in the migration of many Iraqi Jews to Israel.

          Why would the world's oldest Jewish community, which existed within the Islamic world, up and leave? Did Arab Jews suddenly discover that they were the target of antisemitism or was there something else at play? It's best to look at that area and the state of the world at that time. A good start would be a study of the political conditions that existed at that time and especially in western Asia.

          Naeim Giladi has also written another book, Discord In Zion, which details the struggles of Arab Jews against Zionism in Israel, this struggle continues to this day...Just look at what's happening to Ezra Nawi.

          There are clear and well documented examples of collaboration between the Zionist movement in Europe and the Nazis. People will sometimes go to great length to accomplish the requirements of their ideology, look up
           51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis by Lenni Brenner.

          It's also important to note that Arab Jews (Sephardi/Mizrahi) and European Jews (Ashkenazim) have very little in common when it comes to language, customs, traditions, dress and food. The two existed in completely different 'worlds' and developed in different directions.
           

          Antisemitism, as a form of xenophobia in Europe, has no basis within the Muslim world. As proof of that, it was the Muslim countries in Europe, North Africa and Western Asia that saw their Jewish populations grow, by accepting the immigrating and fleeing European Jews. This is very well documented, even the state of Israel acknowledges this, look up Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II by Norman Gershman.

          Antisemitism was never and will never be part of the Arab Muslim or Arab Christian world as it has NO basis.

          It was the establishment of Israel as a European colonial state, and the use of superior European firepower in dominating and uprooting indigenous populations in the name of all Jews, as Israel claims over and over again, what allowed some of that European xenophobia to penetrate into Arab and Muslim thought.

          I don't believe that antisemitism is any different than any other form of xenophobia. To specifically label that type of action and draw attention to it and only it, is extremely unhelpful, because we end up turning a blind eye to all the other forms of ignorance and fear.

          Xenophobia is well documented and exists in every single culture and religion, there are no exceptions. Persecutions have exists throughout history. Mass murders and the destruction of a whole people have been documented well before World War 2.

          Again, i would like to assert that antisemitism has no routes in Arabic and Muslim countries. This specific hate was imported with European colonialism and confirmed through the actions of the Israeli state, which continues to claim all it's (military) actions on behalf of world Jewry.

          I'm not denying that hatred of Jews doesn't exist in Arabic and Muslim countries, but it only exists within extremists elements, just as hatred of Muslims and Christians exists within extremist factions within the Jewish communities. Xenophobia exists everywhere, it is part of the human condition. There is no one group better than the other, we are all equal and succumb to the same pains and mistakes.

          In my opinion, all religious texts are soaked in blood and fear, but they also contain some very beautiful examples of communality and shared love. It is our responsibility to act on the positive aspects and diminish the negative ones. No religious person can ever claim that their way is the only way, as judgement rests with a higher power, be it with a god or mother earth.

          Be well and i hope to hear from you and other people on this list (^_^)

          Have a great day,
          Marwan.

          David Granirer wrote:
           

          Marwan - no, this doesn't come off as a personal attack, so no prob there. I've been really busy or would have answered sooner.

           
          I'm glad to hear that your studies of Islam taught you to respect Jews and hopefully other faiths as well as non-believers like myself. 
           
          And I agree with your comments about the extremist elements in Judaism who preach hatred and bigotry - not to mention the ridiculousness of claiming that a book written under questionable circumstances several thousand years ago - what we call the Old Testament - gives them the right to kill and ethnically cleanse people because a God that no one has seen has somehow given them this land forever. I'm working on a joke where God gives the Jews the Promised Land as long as they promise to kill the current inhabitants. Still needs a punch line, right now it's just a statement of fact.
           
          Where I disagree with you is when you say that the examples we both cite are moments of weakness in the human heart and spirit. I believe that many of these are actually systematic and calculated attempts to target and eliminate people with whom various factions have a disagreement with or whose land they want. I'm afraid I don't have your faith in the human spirit and I believe that people are far more manipulative and calculating than you suggest.
           
          And I also agree re the negative interpretations you find in Judaism and Islam. I'm familiar with the Old Testament and I know of few more bloodthirsty books that advocate killing people for almost no reason at all or because they have disobeyed some ridiculous rule like eating the wrong food or worshipping the wrong god or being of the wrong sexual orientation. I'm a counsellor, and to me the God described in the Old Testament fits the profile of an angry sociopath who demands unconditional obedience or else. Put it this way, if child protection came across an individual with these traits and history they would immediately and rightly apprehend his children and begin legal proceedings.
           
          I'm also glad to hear you say that most of the Muslim world is secular. It is the religious fanatics among all groups that cause the most damage.
           
          However, I disagree that anti-semitism is strictly a european issue. Certainly the Protocols of Zion are a Russian forgery, but it seems to me that certain people in arab countries have willingly embraced them. I'm not going to cite examples but they are plentiful. CBC's the Current recently had an interview with the author of the spiders of allah that was pretty frightening in this respect. I guess what I'm looking for on this list is for Muslims willing to acknowledge this as a problem and not pretend that arab countries are free of anti-semitism. 
           
          Indeed, I believe that from the Jewish point of view this is one of the main issues: How can we trust people (of course not all Muslims or arabs are included here) who demonize us and say we are the offspring of monkeys and pigs (not that I consider this to be a particularly bad thing) and that Jews should be killed, and that the people who do the killing are martyrs to be worshipped and emulated.
           
          I really believe that until we see enough Muslims acknowledge this as a problem, the trust will never be there. My generation of post-holocaust Jews, whether rightly or wrongly judges the world by the amount of anti-semitism we see out there. One of the 1st questions Jews from different countries will ask each other is, "How much anti-semitism is there in your country?" We remember all too well that countries like Germany (which has since the 1960's done an admirable job of coming to terms with the Holocaust) and Poland, Romania, etc that still don't acknowledge that there was a problem, all systematically ignored and minimized any information to the contrary, and we feel that most arab countries do that too. 
           
          The question we ask is, "Why did 900,000 Jews flee the arab world after the state of Israel came into being? Many of these Jews had wealth and relatively good lives in Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Morocco etc, so saying that they wanted to leave all this behind and go to Israel, a country that was a backwater with few of the comforts of home, not to mention a place where you have to serve in the army and potentially be killed, strikes us as ridiculous. Put it this way. I have absolutely no desire to move to Israel, and the only reason I'd even consider it would be if things got incredibly bad for me here in Canada.
           
          Our conclusion is that they had to flee for their lives, a conclusion based on testimony from many of those people who had to flee with nothing. And when 900,000 Jews flee a certain part of the world and never go back (the once large Jewish communities in Arab countries are now tiny) we think that people in that part of the world don't like Jews or the Jews would still be there.
           
          Like I said, until we see arabs and Muslims acknowledging these issues, I fear that there will never be the ground for trust to develop. And other than individuals like Ayan Hirsi Ali or Irshad Manji, I have not heard that acknowledgement.
           
          cheers! :-)
           
           
          David Granirer, Psychocomic. com Presentations Inc.
          Humor in the Workplace
          3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4
          (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243
           
          Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and
           
           
           
           
          On 23-Aug-09, at 12:17 AM, Marwan Marwan مروان مروان wrote:




          Hi David,

          MEMRI's purpose is extremely important especially when it comes to this issue. MEMRI's propaganda has been exposed as mistranslation and outright lies on several occasions. By presenting their material here, you're doing yourself a disservice. I hope that you read through the link that i posted in my previous email...Here it is again:
          http://www.guardian .co.uk/world/ 2002/aug/ 12/worlddispatch .brianwhitaker

          Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are innocent. I have never claimed that. But there is a clear injustice that's perpetrated by one group over the other. I'm not sure if we're supposed to discuss the underlying issues of Israel and Palestine in this thread, so i'll leave this particular topic alone.

          Antisemitism is strictly a European issue. It was spread around the world through European missionary work and colonial occupations. You'll find that any references to antisemitic text or ideas can be traced back to European roots, ie: 
          Protocol Of The Elders Of Zion.



          (Message over 64 KB, truncated)
        • Michael Barkusky
          Hi Marwan: It’s great to see how little of substance really divides us. Although Jewish, and although I don’t doubt serious anti-Jewish prejudice exists
          Message 4 of 17 , Sep 1, 2009

            Hi Marwan:

             

            It’s great to see how little of substance really divides us.

             

            Although Jewish, and although I don’t doubt serious anti-Jewish prejudice exists all over the world, I emphatically don’t believe “anti-semitism” is a unique form of xenophobia. In fact some nasty nationalists (like the French National Front) seem to hate Jews and Arabs (if not all Muslims) quite equally !

             

            I think European anti-semitism had some peculiar features that at times were distinct from intra-European ethnic rivalries or even hatreds. For example, the British and the French fought many wars for centuries, and the French and the Germans more recently, got into repeated wars from the late 1700’s through to 1945, yet none of these antagonists perpetrated a holocaust quite like that which the Nazi’s carried out on European Jews. All the same, the availability modern technology, as much as depth of visceral hatred,  was a big factor in the ambitious scale of the Nazi holocaust, and there were enormous numbers of non-Jewish casualties of Nazism too (in total numbers, probably far more citizens of the former Soviet Union, than European Jews, died in the Nazi era, not to speak of the vast numbers of military casualties of WW II, including German ones).

             

            It did seem to Jews that, perhaps because theological issues were overlaid upon ethnic xenophobia in a peculiar way, particularly in medieval Europe , and because anti-Jewish feeling from the Dark Ages seemed to survive the enlightenment, and even re-surfaced in modern societies beyond Europe, settled by Europeans (e.g. US, Canada, Australia, South Africa) anti-semitism was “a beast unto itself”, but I think careful scholarship will probably reveal that to be a mistaken, subjective view.

             

            Certainly the viciousness of the recent wars between Iraq and Iran, in the Balkans, in Afghanistan, in Southeast Asia, and in Africa, would suggest that given advanced technology most forms of xenophobia can lead to truly appalling human rights abuses that seriously rival those of the Nazis for viciousness, if not for efficiency and comprehensiveness. And yes, on a much smaller and perhaps not quite as crazed a scale, the recent Israeli assault on Gaza with its crass indifference to non-Jewish civilian casualties, was also an instance of racist xenophobia run wild, much like the instances listed above.  But on a yet smaller scale, the massacres of the Jewish residents of Hebron in 1929, or of the Arab residents of Deir Yassin in 1948, followed the same pattern, so little is truly unique.

             

            Shalom / Salaam / Peace  

                

            Michael

             

             

            From: muslim-jewish@yahoogroups.com [mailto:muslim-jewish@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Marwan Marwan åÑèÇæ åÑèÇæ
            Sent: September 1, 2009 9:07 AM
            To: 'muslim jewish'
            Subject: Re: [muslim-jewish] Predjudices generally

             



            Hello Michael,

            I'm very happy to hear what you had to say. I fully agree with you and truly believe that we all make the same mistakes and it's not limited to one group or another. As human beings we have created one catastrophe after another, from the poisoning of our environment to the destruction of other species and the multiple wars that still rage on. Our histories are full of these examples. None of us are innocent. But i do believe that we all have the power to make a positive change for the better.

            My only problem with the original email is the claim that antisemitism is a unique historical act. I believe that it is no different than any form of xenophobia. Fearing the 'other' is a terrible thing that can cause harm to all people involved. As you pointed out, and i agree with you, all sides involved used the fear of 'others' to justify their own political and financial gains.

            I'm proud to know that many people like yourself exist, people that are willing to help patch these holes between us and to move forward toward a just solution were we can all live together.

            Salaam and shalom,
            Marwan.

            Michael Barkusky wrote:

             

            Dear Marwan:

             

            To be honest, it hasn’t been altogether easy for many of us Jews to give up the nationalist fairy stories we were raised on (if not by our parents, by nationalist-minded communal “educators”), like the story that when Palestinian Arabs fled Palestine in 1948, they did so in almost every case despite the pleadings of the Jews that they should stay. I am sure there were a few historical instances a bit like the prototypical fairy story (in Haifa, I think and perhaps in the odd other places) , but in most cases, flight of Palestinian Arabs was likely encouraged by the Haganah and Palmach as  much as by the Irgun. It certainly wasn’t morally right that non-belligerent Palestinian civilians were driven out, and the kind of ethnic cleansing that occurred is not justified by authentic religious Judaism of the best sort, but many Palestinian Arabs were nonetheless co-ercively expelled or terrorized into fleeing, and that is a fact that must be faced. I’m not asking for a lot of credit for facing those facts, but I am asking you to be equally skeptical about other unlikely stories you may have been taught.

             

            The fact that the overwhelming majority of the Jewish communities of many cities in Arab countries came to feel  so insecure that they fled abandoning most of their property, is not something that can be wished away. I don’t think for a moment that the prejudice and violence these Jews experienced reflects authentic Islam of the best sort either, or that there were not significant numbers of Jews who felt safe enough to stay (because of good relations with Muslim neighbours, or whatever). Of course there were. Similarly, there were Palestinian Arabs who stayed on in the new State of Israel after 1948. Neither minority truly enjoys full citizenship in their states of nominal citizenship, but neither minority faces absolutely intolerable conditions (like those in contemporary Gaza, for example) although the Jews of Syria were for many years in quite sorry condition, and things in Egypt were always all that good for Egyptian Jews either (probably for predictable reasons).

             

            I know too, that there is evidence that many “true blue” Zionists in Israel were only too pleased to see Mizrachi Jews flee the lands in which they lived (and had in many cases lived in peace for decades if not longer) and come to Israel because, ideologically, those Zionists thought that this was the “tidy” result – no Jews in Arab countries and hopefully no Arabs in Israel either.   But they were hardly in a position to orchestrate anti-Jewish riots unaided. They were in fact likely aided by Arab nationalists and popular prejudices amongst poorly-educated people easily swayed by demagogues, just as today, in Israel, anti-Arab prejudices are easily stirred up by demagogues and thrive (perhaps not exclusively, but thrive relatively speaking) to the greatest extent amongst the least well-educated Jewish  Israelis, and are easily raised to fever pitch by a single suicide bombing.

             

            Anyway, my point is that despite the nobility at the authentic cores of both Judaism and Islam, many  people who nominally consider themselves loyal to either faith, can easily, out of nationalism or ignorant religious fundamentalism, become prone to racial and religious prejudice, and that prejudice and intolerance can do a lot of damage to inter-faith and inter-ethnic relations. As you say yourself, xenophobia is, sadly, almost an inherent part of the human condition.

             

            Although I have pointed out parallels and symmetries, and have called for more balance, please don’t assume I am saying everything about the Arab-Israeli conflict is symmetrical. Of course it isn’t. But it is equally ridiculous to assume that everything is 100% asymmetrical either.  And I don’t think introducing the phrase “European colonialism” decides the matter. The Europeans may well have been the most persistent, most militarily, economically and culturally successful (and perhaps even the nastiest) colonial powers, but subjugation of conquered people and colonization of the land they formerly occupied is a pattern of behaviour that has been  practiced by people from every continent at some point in history, on some scale or other.  That doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make recent instances unique, either.

             

            The only way out of the mess we (as two faiths or two “nations” ) are in today, in our relations with one another, is through as much intellectual honesty as we can possibly muster about the past, and as much trust, idealism and innovative constitutional design as we can muster, about the future. In fact, it is irrational to do anything less.

             

            Humankind today faces enormous challenges related to climate change, biodiversity loss, acidification of the oceans, depletion of soil fertility and scarce freshwater resources,  unsustainable accumulations of toxic substances and non-biodegradable wastes  etc. Biological wealth is in decline almost everywhere, and the  global human population is already quite likely beyond the steady-state biological carrying capacity of our planet.

             

            We have as a species, in short, huge ecological-economic problems to solve, and big moral issues like relations between different species and distant generations, to consider very deeply.

             

            Jews and Arabs (ethnically-speaking) and Jews and Muslims (religiously speaking) cannot claim to be n awe of G_d (as our traditions expect of us) and at the same time continue wasting our energies on zero-sum nationalist struggles, treating one another inhumanely, or blaming all our collective and individual challenges on the intransigence of the other side.  I am not asking for the cause of true justice to be sacrificed for a clean slate, but I am asking for a shared attempt to let go of myths that are as dangerous to our future as they may be comforting to our collective self image. I am asking for us to focus on moving forward and solving problems even when doing so may require some sacrifice and some risk-taking.

             

            Salaam / Shalom / Peace

             

            Michael   

             

             

            From: muslim-jewish@yahoogroups.com [mailto:muslim-jewish@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Marwan Marwan åÑèÇæ åÑèÇæ
            Sent: August 31, 2009 1:16 PM
            To: muslim-jewish@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [muslim-jewish] Anti-semitism

             



            I'm glad to hear back from you David...No worries about the delay in reply, we all have busy lives (^_^)

            I find it interesting that you say that Arab Jews left for Israel because of antisemitism. The world is a very interesting place when the only thing that we acknowledge is the hatred that people have for us.

            If Arab Jews left their homes, businesses and lives to move to Israel out of fear of antisemitism, then why did some Arab Jews choose to stay behind? If antisemitism is so strong, don't you think that the smaller the Jewish community, the more in danger it would be? Some light could be shed on this issue by reading the charter of the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network: http://www.ijsn.net/about_us/charter

            I believe it's very important to look at the politics and the atmosphere of colonization, especially the settlement of a European power in an area that was traditionally occupied by non-Europeans. European politics played a huge role in western Asia, an example of that is how in Iraq the British colonial powers exploited Arab Jewish communities to justify their actions.

            Israel, as a European power, asserted it's right to speak and act on behalf of ALL Jews. It then proceeded to drive the indigenous population in the name of world Jewry.

            Arab Jews did not start moving to Israel until well after the state of Israel was formed. It actually took a few wars between the newly founded European colonial power and the departure of a large number of Arab Jews (Mizrahi) to Israel.

            There are several books written about the involvement of Israeli agents in agitating the Arab Jewish communities to move to Israel. Some of them document the planting of bombs in Arab Jewish communities to activate a fear of persecution. One of the more famous books on this topic is Ben Gurion's Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews by Naeim Giladi, an Arab Jews, which details and documents the actions of Israeli agents in spreading hate in Iraqi Jewish communities which resulted in the migration of many Iraqi Jews to Israel.

            Why would the world's oldest Jewish community, which existed within the Islamic world, up and leave? Did Arab Jews suddenly discover that they were the target of antisemitism or was there something else at play? It's best to look at that area and the state of the world at that time. A good start would be a study of the political conditions that existed at that time and especially in western Asia.

            Naeim Giladi has also written another book, Discord In Zion, which details the struggles of Arab Jews against Zionism in Israel, this struggle continues to this day...Just look at what's happening to Ezra Nawi.

            There are clear and well documented examples of collaboration between the Zionist movement in Europe and the Nazis. People will sometimes go to great length to accomplish the requirements of their ideology, look up 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis by Lenni Brenner.

            It's also important to note that Arab Jews (Sephardi/Mizrahi) and European Jews (Ashkenazim) have very little in common when it comes to language, customs, traditions, dress and food. The two existed in completely different 'worlds' and developed in different directions.

            Antisemitism, as a form of xenophobia in Europe, has no basis within the Muslim world. As proof of that, it was the Muslim countries in Europe, North Africa and Western Asia that saw their Jewish populations grow, by accepting the immigrating and fleeing European Jews. This is very well documented, even the state of Israel acknowledges this, look up Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II by Norman Gershman.

            Antisemitism was never and will never be part of the Arab Muslim or Arab Christian world as it has NO basis.

            It was the establishment of Israel as a European colonial state, and the use of superior European firepower in dominating and uprooting indigenous populations in the name of all Jews, as Israel claims over and over again, what allowed some of that European xenophobia to penetrate into Arab and Muslim thought.

            I don't believe that antisemitism is any different than any other form of xenophobia. To specifically label that type of action and draw attention to it and only it, is extremely unhelpful, because we end up turning a blind eye to all the other forms of ignorance and fear.

            Xenophobia is well documented and exists in every single culture and religion, there are no exceptions. Persecutions have exists throughout history. Mass murders and the destruction of a whole people have been documented well before World War 2.

            Again, i would like to assert that antisemitism has no routes in Arabic and Muslim countries. This specific hate was imported with European colonialism and confirmed through the actions of the Israeli state, which continues to claim all it's (military) actions on behalf of world Jewry.

            I'm not denying that hatred of Jews doesn't exist in Arabic and Muslim countries, but it only exists within extremists elements, just as hatred of Muslims and Christians exists within extremist factions within the Jewish communities. Xenophobia exists everywhere, it is part of the human condition. There is no one group better than the other, we are all equal and succumb to the same pains and mistakes.

            In my opinion, all religious texts are soaked in blood and fear, but they also contain some very beautiful examples of communality and shared love. It is our responsibility to act on the positive aspects and diminish the negative ones. No religious person can ever claim that their way is the only way, as judgement rests with a higher power, be it with a god or mother earth.

            Be well and i hope to hear from you and other people on this list (^_^)

            Have a great day,
            Marwan.

            David Granirer wrote:

             

            Marwan - no, this doesn't come off as a personal attack, so no prob there. I've been really busy or would have answered sooner.

             

            I'm glad to hear that your studies of Islam taught you to respect Jews and hopefully other faiths as well as non-believers like myself. 

             

            And I agree with your comments about the extremist elements in Judaism who preach hatred and bigotry - not to mention the ridiculousness of claiming that a book written under questionable circumstances several thousand years ago - what we call the Old Testament - gives them the right to kill and ethnically cleanse people because a God that no one has seen has somehow given them this land forever. I'm working on a joke where God gives the Jews the Promised Land as long as they promise to kill the current inhabitants. Still needs a punch line, right now it's just a statement of fact.

             

            Where I disagree with you is when you say that the examples we both cite are moments of weakness in the human heart and spirit. I believe that many of these are actually systematic and calculated attempts to target and eliminate people with whom various factions have a disagreement with or whose land they want. I'm afraid I don't have your faith in the human spirit and I believe that people are far more manipulative and calculating than you suggest.

             

            And I also agree re the negative interpretations you find in Judaism and Islam. I'm familiar with the Old Testament and I know of few more bloodthirsty books that advocate killing people for almost no reason at all or because they have disobeyed some ridiculous rule like eating the wrong food or worshipping the wrong god or being of the wrong sexual orientation. I'm a counsellor, and to me the God described in the Old Testament fits the profile of an angry sociopath who demands unconditional obedience or else. Put it this way, if child protection came across an individual with these traits and history they would immediately and rightly apprehend his children and begin legal proceedings.

             

            I'm also glad to hear you say that most of the Muslim world is secular. It is the religious fanatics among all groups that cause the most damage.

             

            However, I disagree that anti-semitism is strictly a european issue. Certainly the Protocols of Zion are a Russian forgery, but it seems to me that certain people in arab countries have willingly embraced them. I'm not going to cite examples but they are plentiful. CBC's the Current recently had an interview with the author of the spiders of allah that was pretty frightening in this respect. I guess what I'm looking for on this list is for Muslims willing to acknowledge this as a problem and not pretend that arab countries are free of anti-semitism. 

             

            Indeed, I believe that from the Jewish point of view this is one of the main issues: How can we trust people (of course not all Muslims or arabs are included here) who demonize us and say we are the offspring of monkeys and pigs (not that I consider this to be a particularly bad thing) and that Jews should be killed, and that the people who do the killing are martyrs to be worshipped and emulated.

             

            I really believe that until we see enough Muslims acknowledge this as a problem, the trust will never be there. My generation of post-holocaust Jews, whether rightly or wrongly judges the world by the amount of anti-semitism we see out there. One of the 1st questions Jews from different countries will ask each other is, "How much anti-semitism is there in your country?" We remember all too well that countries like Germany (which has since the 1960's done an admirable job of coming to terms with the Holocaust) and Poland, Romania, etc that still don't acknowledge that there was a problem, all systematically ignored and minimized any information to the contrary, and we feel that most arab countries do that too. 

             

            The question we ask is, "Why did 900,000 Jews flee the arab world after the state of Israel came into being? Many of these Jews had wealth and relatively good lives in Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Morocco etc, so saying that they wanted to leave all this behind and go to Israel, a country that was a backwater with few of the comforts of home, not to mention a place where you have to serve in the army and potentially be killed, strikes us as ridiculous. Put it this way. I have absolutely no desire to move to Israel, and the only reason I'd even consider it would be if things got incredibly bad for me here in Canada.

             

            Our conclusion is that they had to flee for their lives, a conclusion based on testimony from many of those people who had to flee with nothing. And when 900,000 Jews flee a certain part of the world and never go back (the once large Jewish communities in Arab countries are now tiny) we think that people in that part of the world don't like Jews or the Jews would still be there.

             

            Like I said, until we see arabs and Muslims acknowledging these issues, I fear that there will never be the ground for trust to develop. And other than individuals like Ayan Hirsi Ali or Irshad Manji, I have not heard that acknowledgement.

             

            cheers! :-)

             

             

            David Granirer, Psychocomic.com Presentations Inc.

            Humor in the Workplace

            3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4

            (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243

            david@...

            http://www.psychocomic.com

             

            Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and

            Success http://www.thehappyneurotic.com

             

             

             

             

            On 23-Aug-09, at 12:17 AM, Marwan Marwan مروان مروان wrote:






            Hi David,

            MEMRI's purpose is extremely important especially when it comes to this issue. MEMRI's propaganda has been exposed as mistranslation and outright lies on several occasions. By presenting their material here, you're doing yourself a disservice. I hope that you read through the link that i posted in my previous email...Here it is again:
            http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/aug/12/worlddispatch.brianwhitaker

            Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are innocent. I have never claimed that. But there is a clear injustice that's perpetrated by one group over the other. I'm not sure if we're supposed to discuss the underlying issues of Israel and Palestine in this thread, so i'll leave this particular topic alone.

            Antisemitism is strictly a European issue. It was spread around the world through European missionary work and colonial occupations. You'll find that any references to antisemitic text or ideas can be traced back to European roots, ie: 
            Protocol Of The Elders Of Zion.

            Antisemitism is simply another form of bigotry, xenophobia and fear of the 'other'. To claim that Muslims have some antisemitic tendencies is unfair and unproductive. You give the illusion that some Muslims have a hidden dark side to them, a side that hates Jews for being Jews. The same could be said about Jews or Christians, Sikhs about their hidden hatred of Muslims, aka: antisemitism.

            I personally studied Islam in Saudi Arabia and i was always taught to respect and accept Judaism as a sister faith to Islam, and to treat the Jewish people as equals. I was told that if there is no mosque then you are to pray in a synagogue. Can't find halal food, then you eat kosher...etc.

            A better way of addressing the issue that you bring, is to acknowledge that all of humanity (regardless of religion, sex, economic status or political affiliation) tends, at some point in time, to react in a negative way to people outside it's self-defined group.

            As you pointed out (and i fully agree with you here), we can sit here and point the finger back and forth at every bigoted statement printed, broadcasted, televised or uploaded. There are several recent examples of rabbis preaching atrocities against Palestinian women and children during the last assault on Gaza. What about the scores of attacks in Israel against the homosexual community? Have you seen the women's shelters and the percentage of battered women in Israel? What about the racist acts that are committed day after day by European Jews against non-Europeans Jews? Do any of us claim that Jews are antisemitic? Homophobic? Love to beat their women and shoot Palestinian children? No! The examples that you mentioned and the examples i gave above are examples of moments of weakness in the human heart and spirit.

            If you want to discuss Islam then be ready to discuss Judaism. The same negative interpretations you'll find in Islam, you'll also find in Judaism, as Islam is based on Judaism. You'll be surprised at the amount of similarities in the belief system and religious customs between Judaism and Islam.

            You keep referring to the "Muslim world", what does that really mean? There's a Jewish world? A Sikh world? A Buddhist world? How do you draw the boundaries? Are there qualifying percentages? Based on nation state borders? :-)

            Anyways, the majority of people that you identify as "Muslim world" are mostly secular. Just like the majority of the people in Israel, India, Canada, Argentina are secular.

            The "Muslim world" is made up of human beings just like you and me. Human beings that make mistakes and that are under economic, family and social pressure and who knows what other types of pressures.

            How do we reach out to individual people and give them the chance to understand the 'other'. By 'other' i mean the people they ONLY see on TV carrying guns and preaching hatred.

            I think it's best to leave MEMRI out of this discussion and start talking about humanity and how easy it is for any of us to start 'othering' people. We can discuss the rampant xenophobia, bigotry and the fear of change that exists in every religion and country on this planet.

            Take care,
            Marwan.

            PS - I'm sorry if this comes off a bit harsh. It's late and i haven't had dinner. I didn't intend for any of this to come off as a personal attack...Sorry if it sounds that way :-)

            David Granirer wrote:

            Marwan - Whatever Memri's purpose, my understanding is that their info is usually correct. And the fact that the charming anti-semitic example I cited in my previous email made it onto TV suggests that it is more than the work of a few extremists. If Memri's purpose is indeed to portray the Muslim world in a bad light, and it may well be, I would say that many in the Muslim do Memri's work by providing them with so many examples of anti-semitism, homophobia, anti-secularism and anti-feminism.

             

            Rather than blame the messenger (Memri), perhaps the incidents themselves need to be looked at.

             

            I notice that on this list, criticism of Israel is fair game, and I agree agree with most of it. However, there is also a huge hypocrisy in that Muslims are seen as poor helpless victims with absolutely no responsibility for anything that has gone wrong in the middle east. My purpose is just to point out this fallacy, because I believe that peace can only happen when both sides are willing to acknowledge their own failings.

             

            If both sides were to sit down and compare, I'm sure they could match each other atrocity for atrocity and lie for lie, but neither side wants to acknowledge their own failings. 

             

            So on the one hand we have the fiction that the Palestinians aren't really a people, that the Palestinians who left Israel in 1948 did so on the advice of other arab countries not because of Israeli ethnic cleansing, and that the Israel army is the most ethical army in the world; while on the other hand we have the fiction that there's no anti-semitism in the Muslim world, that the 900,000 or so Jews who used to live in arab countries prior to the creation of Israel (roughly equal to the number of Palestinians expelled from Israel in 1948) weren't expelled or ethnically cleansed, they just mysteriously disappeared, and that Jews are welcomed and treated as equals in Muslim countries.

             

            The Israeli myths get confronted quite often on this list and rightly so, but I have yet to hear much said about the Muslim myths. So by all means hang on to them and blame the messenger when they are brought to light, but as I say, the road to peace lies in each side acknowledging their own misdeeds. 

             

            I fully acknowledge that Israel has committed atrocities against the Palestinians and that it certainly doesn't behave like a party interested in a just peace. Are you willing to meet me half way and acknowledge some of your people's issues?

             

            Every time I bring this up on the list, I get ignored, brushed off, or told that I'm somehow excusing what Israel does (which I'm not); but no one ever addresses the issues I bring up because they either "don't exist" or are justified by Israeli behavior.

             

            And this is exactly what I hear when I'm around certain Israelis (certainly not all Israelis) I know: "Look what the arabs have done to us, anything we do to fight back is perfectly justified. We never did anything wrong and if they would stop attacking us everything would be fine." Sound familiar?

             

            Let me leave you with this analogy. When two people are standing up to their knees in shit, the only way they can get out is by shovelling their own shit, not flinging more shit at each other.

             

            David Granirer, Psychocomic.com Presentations Inc.

            Humor in the Workplace

            3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4

            (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243

            david@...

            http://www.psychocomic.com

             

            Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and

            Success http://www.thehappyneurotic.com

             

             

             

             

            On 18-Aug-09, at 10:58 AM, Marwan Marwan مروان مروان wrote:






            David, you're quoting and spreading propaganda released by MEMRI? MEMRI is run by people with connection to the Israeli army and admit that their sole purpose is to vilify and demonize Arabs and Muslims? That's not very 'progressive' of you, comrade.

            Here's an excellent article on MEMRI with some very interesting background information on that secret organization:
            http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/aug/12/worlddispatch.brianwhitaker

            The co-founder and president of Memri, and the registered owner of its website, is an Israeli called Yigal Carmon.

            Mr - or rather, Colonel - Carmon spent 22 years in Israeli military intelligence and later served as counter-terrorism adviser to two Israeli prime ministers, Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin.


            Most Muslim people believe that the Jewish people are our brothers and sisters in faith, culture and language.

            Not sure how pointing the finger, as MEMRI has, at one or two extremists will actually help the overall situation of ending the occupation, colonization and apartheid perpetrated by the Israeli state onto the Palestinian people, and building more bridges between Muslim and Jewish people.

            Good luck with your little 'mission', comrade.

            David Granirer wrote:

            Comrades,
             
            Once again I do the politically incorrect thing by drawing attention  
            to Arab anti-semitism. Yes, this charming example of Jew hatred comes  
            from our Egyptian friends:
             
            Antisemitism On Egypt's Al-Rahma TV – Children Memorize, Recite  
            Antisemitic Slogans; Clerics Say Jews Are Offspring of Snakes and  
            Vipers, Call For Reading 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion', And State:  
            Our Hatred of The Jews is Purely on Religious Grounds – While Warning  
            Against the Jewish-Zionist Starbucks, Domino's, Burger King & Others
             
            For more go to: http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD246609
             
            As a refutation of these charges, I don't think I personally have any  
            snakes or vipers on my family tree, and even if the zionists (whoever  
            they are) control Starbucks, Domino's, Burger King & Others, I'm not  
            sure how this is a threat to the arab world, other than by creating a  
            bunch of jittery people with high cholesterol.
             
            Of course, by bringing our attention to this "atrocity" I will be  
            accused of minimizing Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians  
            (which I'm not). Just perhaps, could it be that both sides are  
            standing in shit of heir own creation? You be the judge! :-)
             
              
            David Granirer, Founder, Stand Up For Mental Health
            3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4
            (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243
            david@...
            http://www.standupformentalhealth.com
             
            Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To  
            Happiness and
            Success http://www.thehappyneurotic.com
                
             
             
             
              
            David Granirer, Psychocomic.com Presentations Inc.
            Humor in the Workplace
            3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4
            (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243
            david@...
            http://www.psychocomic.com
             
            Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To  
            Happiness and
            Success http://www.thehappyneurotic.com
                
             
             
             
             
             
             
            ------------------------------------

            (Message over 64 KB, truncated)
          • Marwan Marwan مروان مروان
            Hello Michael, You put a smile on my face...You wrote what i wanted to say and you did it so eloquently. I agree 100% with everything you said. The only
            Message 5 of 17 , Sep 2, 2009
              Hello Michael,

              You put a smile on my face...You wrote what i wanted to say and you did it so eloquently.

              I agree 100% with everything you said.

              The only difference between one war or massacre and the next is the sophistication and technological advances in the weapons and means of destruction. As we advance in time, our technology is enabling us to cause more harm to each other.

              I believe by communicating, living and spending more time with each other we can reinforce our similarities, and at the same time, appreciate our deferences.

              Thank you for taking the time to write back (^_^)

              Shalom and salaam to you and everyone else on this list,
              Marwan.

              Michael Barkusky wrote:
               

              Hi Marwan:

               

              It’s great to see how little of substance really divides us.

               

              Although Jewish, and although I don’t doubt serious anti-Jewish prejudice exists all over the world, I emphatically don’t believe “anti-semitism” is a unique form of xenophobia. In fact some nasty nationalists (like the French National Front) seem to hate Jews and Arabs (if not all Muslims) quite equally !

               

              I think European anti-semitism had some peculiar features that at times were distinct from intra-European ethnic rivalries or even hatreds. For example, the British and the French fought many wars for centuries, and the French and the Germans more recently, got into repeated wars from the late 1700’s through to 1945, yet none of these antagonists perpetrated a holocaust quite like that which the Nazi’s carried out on European Jews. All the same, the availability modern technology, as much as depth of visceral hatred,  was a big factor in the ambitious scale of the Nazi holocaust, and there were enormous numbers of non-Jewish casualties of Nazism too (in total numbers, probably far more citizens of the former Soviet Union, than European Jews, died in the Nazi era, not to speak of the vast numbers of military casualties of WW II, including German ones).

               

              It did seem to Jews that, perhaps because theological issues were overlaid upon ethnic xenophobia in a peculiar way, particularly in medieval Europe , and because anti-Jewish feeling from the Dark Ages seemed to survive the enlightenment, and even re-surfaced in modern societies beyond Europe, settled by Europeans (e.g. US, Canada, Australia, South Africa) anti-semitism was “a beast unto itself”, but I think careful scholarship will probably reveal that to be a mistaken, subjective view.

               

              Certainly the viciousness of the recent wars between Iraq and Iran, in the Balkans, in Afghanistan, in Southeast Asia, and in Africa, would suggest that given advanced technology most forms of xenophobia can lead to truly appalling human rights abuses that seriously rival those of the Nazis for viciousness, if not for efficiency and comprehensiveness. And yes, on a much smaller and perhaps not quite as crazed a scale, the recent Israeli assault on Gaza with its crass indifference to non-Jewish civilian casualties, was also an instance of racist xenophobia run wild, much like the instances listed above.  But on a yet smaller scale, the massacres of the Jewish residents of Hebron in 1929, or of the Arab residents of Deir Yassin in 1948, followed the same pattern, so little is truly unique.

               

              Shalom / Salaam / Peace  

                  

              Michael

               

               

              From: muslim-jewish@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:muslim- jewish@yahoogrou ps.com] On Behalf Of Marwan Marwan åÑèÇæ åÑèÇæ
              Sent: September 1, 2009 9:07 AM
              To: 'muslim jewish'
              Subject: Re: [muslim-jewish] Predjudices generally

               



              Hello Michael,

              I'm very happy to hear what you had to say. I fully agree with you and truly believe that we all make the same mistakes and it's not limited to one group or another. As human beings we have created one catastrophe after another, from the poisoning of our environment to the destruction of other species and the multiple wars that still rage on. Our histories are full of these examples. None of us are innocent. But i do believe that we all have the power to make a positive change for the better.

              My only problem with the original email is the claim that antisemitism is a unique historical act. I believe that it is no different than any form of xenophobia. Fearing the 'other' is a terrible thing that can cause harm to all people involved. As you pointed out, and i agree with you, all sides involved used the fear of 'others' to justify their own political and financial gains.

              I'm proud to know that many people like yourself exist, people that are willing to help patch these holes between us and to move forward toward a just solution were we can all live together.

              Salaam and shalom,
              Marwan.

              Michael Barkusky wrote:

               

              Dear Marwan:

               

              To be honest, it hasn’t been altogether easy for many of us Jews to give up the nationalist fairy stories we were raised on (if not by our parents, by nationalist- minded communal “educators”), like the story that when Palestinian Arabs fled Palestine in 1948, they did so in almost every case despite the pleadings of the Jews that they should stay. I am sure there were a few historical instances a bit like the prototypical fairy story (in Haifa, I think and perhaps in the odd other places) , but in most cases, flight of Palestinian Arabs was likely encouraged by the Haganah and Palmach as  much as by the Irgun. It certainly wasn’t morally right that non-belligerent Palestinian civilians were driven out, and the kind of ethnic cleansing that occurred is not justified by authentic religious Judaism of the best sort, but many Palestinian Arabs were nonetheless co-ercively expelled or terrorized into fleeing, and that is a fact that must be faced. I’m not asking for a lot of credit for facing those facts, but I am asking you to be equally skeptical about other unlikely stories you may have been taught.

               

              The fact that the overwhelming majority of the Jewish communities of many cities in Arab countries came to feel  so insecure that they fled abandoning most of their property, is not something that can be wished away. I don’t think for a moment that the prejudice and violence these Jews experienced reflects authentic Islam of the best sort either, or that there were not significant numbers of Jews who felt safe enough to stay (because of good relations with Muslim neighbours, or whatever). Of course there were. Similarly, there were Palestinian Arabs who stayed on in the new State of Israel after 1948. Neither minority truly enjoys full citizenship in their states of nominal citizenship, but neither minority faces absolutely intolerable conditions (like those in contemporary Gaza, for example) although the Jews of Syria were for many years in quite sorry condition, and things in Egypt were always all that good for Egyptian Jews either (probably for predictable reasons).

               

              I know too, that there is evidence that many “true blue” Zionists in Israel were only too pleased to see Mizrachi Jews flee the lands in which they lived (and had in many cases lived in peace for decades if not longer) and come to Israel because, ideologically, those Zionists thought that this was the “tidy” result – no Jews in Arab countries and hopefully no Arabs in Israel either.   But they were hardly in a position to orchestrate anti-Jewish riots unaided. They were in fact likely aided by Arab nationalists and popular prejudices amongst poorly-educated people easily swayed by demagogues, just as today, in Israel, anti-Arab prejudices are easily stirred up by demagogues and thrive (perhaps not exclusively, but thrive relatively speaking) to the greatest extent amongst the least well-educated Jewish  Israelis, and are easily raised to fever pitch by a single suicide bombing.

               

              Anyway, my point is that despite the nobility at the authentic cores of both Judaism and Islam, many  people who nominally consider themselves loyal to either faith, can easily, out of nationalism or ignorant religious fundamentalism, become prone to racial and religious prejudice, and that prejudice and intolerance can do a lot of damage to inter-faith and inter-ethnic relations. As you say yourself, xenophobia is, sadly, almost an inherent part of the human condition.

               

              Although I have pointed out parallels and symmetries, and have called for more balance, please don’t assume I am saying everything about the Arab-Israeli conflict is symmetrical. Of course it isn’t. But it is equally ridiculous to assume that everything is 100% asymmetrical either.  And I don’t think introducing the phrase “European colonialism” decides the matter. The Europeans may well have been the most persistent, most militarily, economically and culturally successful (and perhaps even the nastiest) colonial powers, but subjugation of conquered people and colonization of the land they formerly occupied is a pattern of behaviour that has been  practiced by people from every continent at some point in history, on some scale or other.  That doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make recent instances unique, either.

               

              The only way out of the mess we (as two faiths or two “nations” ) are in today, in our relations with one another, is through as much intellectual honesty as we can possibly muster about the past, and as much trust, idealism and innovative constitutional design as we can muster, about the future. In fact, it is irrational to do anything less.

               

              Humankind today faces enormous challenges related to climate change, biodiversity loss, acidification of the oceans, depletion of soil fertility and scarce freshwater resources,  unsustainable accumulations of toxic substances and non-biodegradable wastes  etc. Biological wealth is in decline almost everywhere, and the  global human population is already quite likely beyond the steady-state biological carrying capacity of our planet.

               

              We have as a species, in short, huge ecological-economic problems to solve, and big moral issues like relations between different species and distant generations, to consider very deeply.

               

              Jews and Arabs (ethnically- speaking) and Jews and Muslims (religiously speaking) cannot claim to be n awe of G_d (as our traditions expect of us) and at the same time continue wasting our energies on zero-sum nationalist struggles, treating one another inhumanely, or blaming all our collective and individual challenges on the intransigence of the other side.  I am not asking for the cause of true justice to be sacrificed for a clean slate, but I am asking for a shared attempt to let go of myths that are as dangerous to our future as they may be comforting to our collective self image. I am asking for us to focus on moving forward and solving problems even when doing so may require some sacrifice and some risk-taking.

               

              Salaam / Shalom / Peace

               

              Michael   

               

               

              From: muslim-jewish@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:muslim-jewish@yahoogroups .com] On Behalf Of Marwan Marwan åÑèÇæ åÑèÇæ
              Sent: August 31, 2009 1:16 PM
              To: muslim-jewish@ yahoogroups. com
              Subject: Re: [muslim-jewish] Anti-semitism

               



              I'm glad to hear back from you David...No worries about the delay in reply, we all have busy lives (^_^)

              I find it interesting that you say that Arab Jews left for Israel because of antisemitism. The world is a very interesting place when the only thing that we acknowledge is the hatred that people have for us.

              If Arab Jews left their homes, businesses and lives to move to Israel out of fear of antisemitism, then why did some Arab Jews choose to stay behind? If antisemitism is so strong, don't you think that the smaller the Jewish community, the more in danger it would be? Some light could be shed on this issue by reading the charter of the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network: http://www.ijsn. net/about_ us/charter

              I believe it's very important to look at the politics and the atmosphere of colonization, especially the settlement of a European power in an area that was traditionally occupied by non-Europeans. European politics played a huge role in western Asia, an example of that is how in Iraq the British colonial powers exploited Arab Jewish communities to justify their actions.

              Israel, as a European power, asserted it's right to speak and act on behalf of ALL Jews. It then proceeded to drive the indigenous population in the name of world Jewry.

              Arab Jews did not start moving to Israel until well after the state of Israel was formed. It actually took a few wars between the newly founded European colonial power and the departure of a large number of Arab Jews (Mizrahi) to Israel.

              There are several books written about the involvement of Israeli agents in agitating the Arab Jewish communities to move to Israel. Some of them document the planting of bombs in Arab Jewish communities to activate a fear of persecution. One of the more famous books on this topic is Ben Gurion's Scandals: How the Haganah and the Mossad Eliminated Jews by Naeim Giladi, an Arab Jews, which details and documents the actions of Israeli agents in spreading hate in Iraqi Jewish communities which resulted in the migration of many Iraqi Jews to Israel.

              Why would the world's oldest Jewish community, which existed within the Islamic world, up and leave? Did Arab Jews suddenly discover that they were the target of antisemitism or was there something else at play? It's best to look at that area and the state of the world at that time. A good start would be a study of the political conditions that existed at that time and especially in western Asia.

              Naeim Giladi has also written another book, Discord In Zion, which details the struggles of Arab Jews against Zionism in Israel, this struggle continues to this day...Just look at what's happening to Ezra Nawi.

              There are clear and well documented examples of collaboration between the Zionist movement in Europe and the Nazis. People will sometimes go to great length to accomplish the requirements of their ideology, look up 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis by Lenni Brenner.

              It's also important to note that Arab Jews (Sephardi/Mizrahi) and European Jews (Ashkenazim) have very little in common when it comes to language, customs, traditions, dress and food. The two existed in completely different 'worlds' and developed in different directions.

              Antisemitism, as a form of xenophobia in Europe, has no basis within the Muslim world. As proof of that, it was the Muslim countries in Europe, North Africa and Western Asia that saw their Jewish populations grow, by accepting the immigrating and fleeing European Jews. This is very well documented, even the state of Israel acknowledges this, look up Besa: Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II by Norman Gershman.

              Antisemitism was never and will never be part of the Arab Muslim or Arab Christian world as it has NO basis.

              It was the establishment of Israel as a European colonial state, and the use of superior European firepower in dominating and uprooting indigenous populations in the name of all Jews, as Israel claims over and over again, what allowed some of that European xenophobia to penetrate into Arab and Muslim thought.

              I don't believe that antisemitism is any different than any other form of xenophobia. To specifically label that type of action and draw attention to it and only it, is extremely unhelpful, because we end up turning a blind eye to all the other forms of ignorance and fear.

              Xenophobia is well documented and exists in every single culture and religion, there are no exceptions. Persecutions have exists throughout history. Mass murders and the destruction of a whole people have been documented well before World War 2.

              Again, i would like to assert that antisemitism has no routes in Arabic and Muslim countries. This specific hate was imported with European colonialism and confirmed through the actions of the Israeli state, which continues to claim all it's (military) actions on behalf of world Jewry.

              I'm not denying that hatred of Jews doesn't exist in Arabic and Muslim countries, but it only exists within extremists elements, just as hatred of Muslims and Christians exists within extremist factions within the Jewish communities. Xenophobia exists everywhere, it is part of the human condition. There is no one group better than the other, we are all equal and succumb to the same pains and mistakes.

              In my opinion, all religious texts are soaked in blood and fear, but they also contain some very beautiful examples of communality and shared love. It is our responsibility to act on the positive aspects and diminish the negative ones. No religious person can ever claim that their way is the only way, as judgement rests with a higher power, be it with a god or mother earth.

              Be well and i hope to hear from you and other people on this list (^_^)

              Have a great day,
              Marwan.

              David Granirer wrote:

               

              Marwan - no, this doesn't come off as a personal attack, so no prob there. I've been really busy or would have answered sooner.

               

              I'm glad to hear that your studies of Islam taught you to respect Jews and hopefully other faiths as well as non-believers like myself. 

               

              And I agree with your comments about the extremist elements in Judaism who preach hatred and bigotry - not to mention the ridiculousness of claiming that a book written under questionable circumstances several thousand years ago - what we call the Old Testament - gives them the right to kill and ethnically cleanse people because a God that no one has seen has somehow given them this land forever. I'm working on a joke where God gives the Jews the Promised Land as long as they promise to kill the current inhabitants. Still needs a punch line, right now it's just a statement of fact.

               

              Where I disagree with you is when you say that the examples we both cite are moments of weakness in the human heart and spirit. I believe that many of these are actually systematic and calculated attempts to target and eliminate people with whom various factions have a disagreement with or whose land they want. I'm afraid I don't have your faith in the human spirit and I believe that people are far more manipulative and calculating than you suggest.

               

              And I also agree re the negative interpretations you find in Judaism and Islam. I'm familiar with the Old Testament and I know of few more bloodthirsty books that advocate killing people for almost no reason at all or because they have disobeyed some ridiculous rule like eating the wrong food or worshipping the wrong god or being of the wrong sexual orientation. I'm a counsellor, and to me the God described in the Old Testament fits the profile of an angry sociopath who demands unconditional obedience or else. Put it this way, if child protection came across an individual with these traits and history they would immediately and rightly apprehend his children and begin legal proceedings.

               

              I'm also glad to hear you say that most of the Muslim world is secular. It is the religious fanatics among all groups that cause the most damage.

               

              However, I disagree that anti-semitism is strictly a european issue. Certainly the Protocols of Zion are a Russian forgery, but it seems to me that certain people in arab countries have willingly embraced them. I'm not going to cite examples but they are plentiful. CBC's the Current recently had an interview with the author of the spiders of allah that was pretty frightening in this respect. I guess what I'm looking for on this list is for Muslims willing to acknowledge this as a problem and not pretend that arab countries are free of anti-semitism. 

               

              Indeed, I believe that from the Jewish point of view this is one of the main issues: How can we trust people (of course not all Muslims or arabs are included here) who demonize us and say we are the offspring of monkeys and pigs (not that I consider this to be a particularly bad thing) and that Jews should be killed, and that the people who do the killing are martyrs to be worshipped and emulated.

               

              I really believe that until we see enough Muslims acknowledge this as a problem, the trust will never be there. My generation of post-holocaust Jews, whether rightly or wrongly judges the world by the amount of anti-semitism we see out there. One of the 1st questions Jews from different countries will ask each other is, "How much anti-semitism is there in your country?" We remember all too well that countries like Germany (which has since the 1960's done an admirable job of coming to terms with the Holocaust) and Poland, Romania, etc that still don't acknowledge that there was a problem, all systematically ignored and minimized any information to the contrary, and we feel that most arab countries do that too. 

               

              The question we ask is, "Why did 900,000 Jews flee the arab world after the state of Israel came into being? Many of these Jews had wealth and relatively good lives in Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Morocco etc, so saying that they wanted to leave all this behind and go to Israel, a country that was a backwater with few of the comforts of home, not to mention a place where you have to serve in the army and potentially be killed, strikes us as ridiculous. Put it this way. I have absolutely no desire to move to Israel, and the only reason I'd even consider it would be if things got incredibly bad for me here in Canada.

               

              Our conclusion is that they had to flee for their lives, a conclusion based on testimony from many of those people who had to flee with nothing. And when 900,000 Jews flee a certain part of the world and never go back (the once large Jewish communities in Arab countries are now tiny) we think that people in that part of the world don't like Jews or the Jews would still be there.

               

              Like I said, until we see arabs and Muslims acknowledging these issues, I fear that there will never be the ground for trust to develop. And other than individuals like Ayan Hirsi Ali or Irshad Manji, I have not heard that acknowledgement.

               

              cheers! :-)

               

               

              David Granirer, Psychocomic. com Presentations Inc.

              Humor in the Workplace

              3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4

              (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243

              david@psychocomic. com

              http://www.psychoco mic.com

               

              Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and

              Success http://www.thehappy neurotic. com

               

               

               

               

              On 23-Aug-09, at 12:17 AM, Marwan Marwan مروان مروان wrote:






              Hi David,

              MEMRI's purpose is extremely important especially when it comes to this issue. MEMRI's propaganda has been exposed as mistranslation and outright lies on several occasions. By presenting their material here, you're doing yourself a disservice. I hope that you read through the link that i posted in my previous email...Here it is again:
              http://www.guardian .co.uk/world/ 2002/aug/ 12/worlddispatch .brianwhitaker

              Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are innocent. I have never claimed that. But there is a clear injustice that's perpetrated by one group over the other. I'm not sure if we're supposed to discuss the underlying issues of Israel and Palestine in this thread, so i'll leave this particular topic alone.

              Antisemitism is strictly a European issue. It was spread around the world through European missionary work and colonial occupations. You'll find that any references to antisemitic text or ideas can be traced back to European roots, ie: 
              Protocol Of The Elders Of Zion.

              Antisemitism is simply another form of bigotry, xenophobia and fear of the 'other'. To claim that Muslims have some antisemitic tendencies is unfair and unproductive. You give the illusion that some Muslims have a hidden dark side to them, a side that hates Jews for being Jews. The same could be said about Jews or Christians, Sikhs about their hidden hatred of Muslims, aka: antisemitism.

              I personally studied Islam in Saudi Arabia and i was always taught to respect and accept Judaism as a sister faith to Islam, and to treat the Jewish people as equals. I was told that if there is no mosque then you are to pray in a synagogue. Can't find halal food, then you eat kosher...etc.

              A better way of addressing the issue that you bring, is to acknowledge that all of humanity (regardless of religion, sex, economic status or political affiliation) tends, at some point in time, to react in a negative way to people outside it's self-defined group.

              As you pointed out (and i fully agree with you here), we can sit here and point the finger back and forth at every bigoted statement printed, broadcasted, televised or uploaded. There are several recent examples of rabbis preaching atrocities against Palestinian women and children during the last assault on Gaza. What about the scores of attacks in Israel against the homosexual community? Have you seen the women's shelters and the percentage of battered women in Israel? What about the racist acts that are committed day after day by European Jews against non-Europeans Jews? Do any of us claim that Jews are antisemitic? Homophobic? Love to beat their women and shoot Palestinian children? No! The examples that you mentioned and the examples i gave above are examples of moments of weakness in the human heart and spirit.

              If you want to discuss Islam then be ready to discuss Judaism. The same negative interpretations you'll find in Islam, you'll also find in Judaism, as Islam is based on Judaism. You'll be surprised at the amount of similarities in the belief system and religious customs between Judaism and Islam.

              You keep referring to the "Muslim world", what does that really mean? There's a Jewish world? A Sikh world? A Buddhist world? How do you draw the boundaries? Are there qualifying percentages? Based on nation state borders? :-)

              Anyways, the majority of people that you identify as "Muslim world" are mostly secular. Just like the majority of the people in Israel, India, Canada, Argentina are secular.

              The "Muslim world" is made up of human beings just like you and me. Human beings that make mistakes and that are under economic, family and social pressure and who knows what other types of pressures.

              How do we reach out to individual people and give them the chance to understand the 'other'. By 'other' i mean the people they ONLY see on TV carrying guns and preaching hatred.

              I think it's best to leave MEMRI out of this discussion and start talking about humanity and how easy it is for any of us to start 'othering' people. We can discuss the rampant xenophobia, bigotry and the fear of change that exists in every religion and country on this planet.

              Take care,
              Marwan.

              PS - I'm sorry if this comes off a bit harsh. It's late and i haven't had dinner. I didn't intend for any of this to come off as a personal attack...Sorry if it sounds that way :-)

              David Granirer wrote:

              Marwan - Whatever Memri's purpose, my understanding is that their info is usually correct. And the fact that the charming anti-semitic example I cited in my previous email made it onto TV suggests that it is more than the work of a few extremists. If Memri's purpose is indeed to portray the Muslim world in a bad light, and it may well be, I would say that many in the Muslim do Memri's work by providing them with so many examples of anti-semitism, homophobia, anti-secularism and anti-feminism.

               

              Rather than blame the messenger (Memri), perhaps the incidents themselves need to be looked at.

               

              I notice that on this list, criticism of Israel is fair game, and I agree agree with most of it. However, there is also a huge hypocrisy in that Muslims are seen as poor helpless victims with absolutely no responsibility for anything that has gone wrong in the middle east. My purpose is just to point out this fallacy, because I believe that peace can only happen when both sides are willing to acknowledge their own failings.

               

              If both sides were to sit down and compare, I'm sure they could match each other atrocity for atrocity and lie for lie, but neither side wants to acknowledge their own failings. 

               

              So on the one hand we have the fiction that the Palestinians aren't really a people, that the Palestinians who left Israel in 1948 did so on the advice of other arab countries not because of Israeli ethnic cleansing, and that the Israel army is the most ethical army in the world; while on the other hand we have the fiction that there's no anti-semitism in the Muslim world, that the 900,000 or so Jews who used to live in arab countries prior to the creation of Israel (roughly equal to the number of Palestinians expelled from Israel in 1948) weren't expelled or ethnically cleansed, they just mysteriously disappeared, and that Jews are welcomed and treated as equals in Muslim countries.

               

              The Israeli myths get confronted quite often on this list and rightly so, but I have yet to hear much said about the Muslim myths. So by all means hang on to them and blame the messenger when they are brought to light, but as I say, the road to peace lies in each side acknowledging their own misdeeds. 

               

              I fully acknowledge that Israel has committed atrocities against the Palestinians and that it certainly doesn't behave like a party interested in a just peace. Are you willing to meet me half way and acknowledge some of your people's issues?

               

              Every time I bring this up on the list, I get ignored, brushed off, or told that I'm somehow excusing what Israel does (which I'm not); but no one ever addresses the issues I bring up because they either "don't exist" or are justified by Israeli behavior.

               

              And this is exactly what I hear when I'm around certain Israelis (certainly not all Israelis) I know: "Look what the arabs have done to us, anything we do to fight back is perfectly justified. We never did anything wrong and if they would stop attacking us everything would be fine." Sound familiar?

               

              Let me leave you with this analogy. When two people are standing up to their knees in shit, the only way they can get out is by shovelling their own shit, not flinging more shit at each other.

               

              David Granirer, Psychocomic. com Presentations Inc.

              Humor in the Workplace

              3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4

              (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243

              david@psychocomic. com

              http://www.psychoco mic.com

               

              Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and

              Success http://www.thehappy neurotic. com

               

               

               

               

              On 18-Aug-09, at 10:58 AM, Marwan Marwan مروان مروان wrote:






              David, you're quoting and spreading propaganda released by MEMRI? MEMRI is run by people with connection to the Israeli army and admit that their sole purpose is to vilify and demonize Arabs and Muslims? That's not very 'progressive' of you, comrade.

              Here's an excellent article on MEMRI with some very interesting background information on that secret organization:
              http://www.guardian .co.uk/world/ 2002/aug/ 12/worlddispatch .brianwhitaker

              The co-founder and president of Memri, and the registered owner of its website, is an Israeli called Yigal Carmon.

              Mr - or rather, Colonel - Carmon spent 22 years in Israeli military intelligence and later served as counter-terrorism adviser to two Israeli prime ministers, Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin.


              Most Muslim people believe that the Jewish people are our brothers and sisters in faith, culture and language.

              Not sure how pointing the finger, as MEMRI has, at one or two extremists will actually help the overall situation of ending the occupation, colonization and apartheid perpetrated by the Israeli state onto the Palestinian people, and building more bridges between Muslim and Jewish people.

              Good luck with your little 'mission', comrade.

              David Granirer wrote:

              Comrades,
               
              Once again I do the politically incorrect thing by drawing attention  
              to Arab anti-semitism. Yes, this charming example of Jew hatred comes  
              from our Egyptian friends:
               
              Antisemitism On Egypt's Al-Rahma TV – Children Memorize, Recite  
              Antisemitic Slogans; Clerics Say Jews Are Offspring of Snakes and  
              Vipers, Call For Reading 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion', And State:  
              Our Hatred of The Jews is Purely on Religious Grounds – While Warning  
              Against the Jewish-Zionist Starbucks, Domino's, Burger King & Others
               
              For more go to: http://www.memri. org/bin/latestne ws.cgi?ID= SD246609
               
              As a refutation of these charges, I don't think I personally have any  
              snakes or vipers on my family tree, and even if the zionists (whoever  
              they are) control Starbucks, Domino's, Burger King & Others, I'm not  
              sure how this is a threat to the arab world, other than by creating a  
              bunch of jittery people with high cholesterol.
               
              Of course, by bringing our attention to this "atrocity" I will be  
              accused of minimizing Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians  
              (which I'm not). Just perhaps, could it be that both sides are  
              standing in shit of heir own creation? You be the judge! :-)
               
                
              David Granirer, Founder, Stand Up For Mental Health
              3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4
              (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243
              david@standupformen talhealth. com
              http://www.standupf ormentalhealth. com
               
              Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To  
              Happiness and
              Success http://www.thehappy neurotic. com
                  
               
               
               
                
              David Granirer, Psychocomic. com Presentations Inc.
              Humor in the Workplace
              3633 Triumph Street, Vancouver, B.C. V5K 1V4
              (604) 205-9242  fax: (604) 205-9243
              david@psychocomic. com
              http://www.psychoco mic.com
               
              Author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To  
              Happiness and
              Success http://www.thehappy neurotic. com
                  
               
               
               
               
               
               
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