by Nonie Darwish
Many have speculated about the causes of anti-Semitism and why it has persisted throughout history in both ancient and modern societies. From the Early Roman times, to Muhammad’s obsession to kill them wherever they are, then through Germany’s Adolf Hitler and today’s comeback.
After years of repentance with “never again” of the sins of the Holocaust the world is now witnessing the ugly comeback of anti-Semitism. This comeback is not coming from the usual anti-Semitic suspects but has been building up in the West especially among Leftist groups that have traditionally been regarded as bearers of the torch of tolerance, inclusion and diversity. Today, openly Anti-Semitic politicians and groups are operating from the halls of European parliaments and recently even the US congress.
Having been born and raised in a brutally anti-Semitic culture where Islamic anti-Semitism had touched every aspect of life, I am now focused on asking ‘why’? Why is this now moving to the West? What is it exactly that is causing this deep-seated challenge to the human condition when it comes to the Jewish people? What is behind the creation of such irrational hatred, anger and blame? Why is it when things go wrong humanity resorts to blaming the Jews? Why would some world tyrants and dictators often give preferential treatment to Jews sometimes but in other times they flip and turn against them? What is it about the way of life of the Jews that shook the core of figures in history like the prophet of Islam, Muhammad?
Could this challenge be summarized in The Ten Commandments? From the beginning the Ten Commandments represented a challenge to humanity. Isn’t it true that every tyrant in history had to violate the Ten Commandments in order to achieve his wicked goals?
Ever since Moses came down with God’s incredible commandments, humanity was challenged and had to adapt. The human side of Moses himself was angered causing him to shatter the tablets when he saw his people, the Israelites, slipping into a style of life that was contrary to what God had entrusted him to bringing down to his people.
Even though the Jewish people had their struggles with adapting to the laws God has given them, they eventually and as a group, repented and chose not to yield to the temptation of the golden glitter of idol worship. From that time on, the laws of Moses became the criteria for right and wrong in Jewish life. They often struggled but always kept their focus and preserved their Commandments for thousands of years and to future generations.
But that is not where the story ends. From that point on, and since the Jews adopted their revolutionary criteria of right and wrong, the world took notice. The Jewish people have not only raised the bar on themselves but the rest of humanity felt the challenge of measuring up.
What was so unique about The Ten Commandments is that Jews had to apply them to all of humanity. ‘Thou shall not kill’ did not apply only to not killing members of one’s tribe or sect but it applied to all of humanity. The prevalent tribal laws in the Mideast area often prohibited not killing members of one’s group or sect but did not apply the same law when strangers from the outside were murdered. Islamic law for instance applies the death penalty on a Muslim only if he kills another Muslim but will not apply it if he kills a non-Muslim.
Amazing universal Jewish traditions immerged that blessed, but at the same time attracted violence against Jewish communities. The Israelites did not only raise the bar on themselves but also by their mere existence among the rest of humanity, they have shown by example certain prohibitions that the old world did not understand and thus have become a challenge to the rest of the world. Societies that came into contact with Jewish communities were mesmerized but also challenged.
Non-Jews had to face the same challenge the Israelites had faced long ago when Moses came down mount Sinai. The bar has been raised and every society that came into contact with Jewish culture and standards was challenged. Some were happy to emulate Jewish traditions and allowed themselves to be inspired and built upon the Jewish doctrine. For example Christians adopted Sunday as their day of rest and Muslims adopted Friday.
But some cultures could not cope with the challenge and felt the bar of the Ten Commandments was too high to live by resulting in horrific anger, envy and hatred. Such anger and envy eventually turned into rebellion against Jewish ethics, some even went as far as robbing Jewish heritage, bending, reshaping and twisting it to fit their own needs and agenda, then claim them as their own. Islam is perhaps the most prominent doctrine for that example.
The Islamic ideology is the embodiment of what a counter-ideological movement against the Bible, and specifically The Ten Commandments, would look like. The mere existence of Jewish tribes in the Arabian Peninsula was probably the single most challenging threat to Mohammad’s world. Muhammad had a love hate relationship to those strange but disciplined people called the Jews who worshipped one God. Muhammad started with deep admiration and wish to emulate the People Of The Book, Jews and Christians, but he was soon confronted with the reality of the commitment to following in the footsteps of an Abrahamic monotheistic religion. Muhammad wanted the glory but not the self-discipline.
In the middle of his Islamization mission, Muhammad realized that the Abrahamic faith he claimed to be a part of was all about self-control, a commitment and devotion to values of the Torah. When Muhammad realized that the Bible and the Ten Commandments advocated values and rules often contrary to what his own life and culture was all about, he flipped. Muhammad came to the realization that if he was to remain loyal to the Abrahamic faith he claimed to be part of, then his proud Arabian culture and Muhammad’s own lifestyle had to undergo a total change, even more than what Moses required from his own people many centuries ago.
By then Muhammad was already deep in his advocacy of Islamic ‘Abrahamic’ monotheism to his people. After ten years of a more or less peaceful existence Muhammad’s admiration of the Jews evolved into deep envy and rejection. Islam thus started to quickly change from appreciating of the People Of The Book to deep resentment.
The obvious holiness of the Ten Commandments turned into a burden for Muhammad and stood in the way to his ambitions to forcefully spread Islam and making it the supreme religion of the region. Mohammad declared that the Jews and Christians intentionally falsified the Bible, and that his Koran was the true message of God.
Muhammad could not succeed in his forceful mission without violating all of the Ten Commandments. Every Jew he saw was a reminder of his unholy acts. He used deception, lying, murder, stealing and rape against his perceived enemies, both Jews and Arabs who resisted his mission, and who were called in the Koran, not only the enemies of Muhammad, but the enemies of Allah himself.
Even the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Himself had to pass the test of Islamization and Arabization. Allah, the God of Islam, now has human enemies mentioned in many pages of the Quran. Every Muslim follower of Muhammad was to convert Allah’s enemies to Islam or kill them.
Many cultures, such as Arabia under Muhammad that did not or could not adapt to Biblical values of the Ten Commandments found the solution to their problems not in self-awareness and analysis but in blaming the Jews. At varying degrees, Muhammad’s solution of blaming the Jews became the extreme classic response to not measuring up to God’s Ten Commandments. Thus, to the anti-Semite, Jews represent Moses when he descended from Mount Sinai to his people who were caught red handed worshipping idols of gold.
Now, why is it that Jew hatred is making a come back today in Western nations, Europe and even America? Why are Ten Commandments displays being removed by secular Leftist from courthouses around the US? Why would a universally accepted set of laws that harm no one and that have brought order and harmony to society, be a threat to anyone secular or not? The answer again lies in the same human instinctive rebellion against self-discipline, obedience to God and taking responsibility to make the world a better place.
Western modern societies and institutions that claimed to be the bearers of the torch of tolerance and human rights are now regressing back to a different kind of tolerance; that is tolerance of anti-Semites. Today the West has forgotten their commitment to ‘never again’ and is embracing cultures, ideologies, religions and people who wear anti-Semitism as a badge of honor.
The evils of anti-Semitism have plagued the world ever since the Jews brought to the world a truly divine culture of self-awareness, self-control and treating others the way you want to be treated. Until today when ever the golden glitter of the “Me” generation takes a hold of a culture, instead of looking within, some humans choose to blame the Jews.
Before waving the banner of human rights, compassion, brotherhood of man and freedom, the world needs to understand the complex dynamics of the stranglehold of anti-Semitism and how humanity keeps falling into its trap over and over again.
Moses’s descent from Mount Sinai with his tablets is still having a huge ripple effect on the world today.
First published in the Geller Report.
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The essential principles expressed by Judaism form a mirror in which the distorted behavior of others may be clearly seen. That ‘seeing’ rips at one’s conscience demanding remorse or resentment — if resentment, anti-semitism results and a coward is created, untrue to one’s self, self-shamed, projecting venom.