Author of Adam and Steve, a novel about reexamining your prejudices

Posts tagged ‘Jewish’

Haven’t the Jews been hated enough?

 

Martin Luther, who spent a lifetime reforming the Roman Catholic Church from what he perceived as its “false doctrines” and “ecclesiastic malpractice”, is the same man who said that “so thoroughly hopeless, mean, poisonous, and bedeviled a thing are the Jews that for 1400 years they have been, and continue to be, our plague, pestilence, and all that is our misfortune.” Luther’s words, though uttered in 16th century Germany, could have been expressed by Anti-Semites, both before and after him, around the world and throughout the millennia.

Jewish hatred and scapegoating, like blaming the Jews for the Black Death’s devastation of Europe in the mid-14th century, has led many societies to attempt to eradicate the Jewish people from their populations. There was the:

  • violence against the Jews of Ancient Greece and expulsion of the Jews from Ancient Rome;
  • 11th century Muslim pogroms against the Jews on the Iberian Peninsula;
  • Crusades starting in 1096 and continuing for centuries;
  • expulsion of Jews from England in 1290;
  • Spanish Inquisition;
  • massacres of Ukrainian Jews and the Russian pogroms;
  • Holocaust; and
  • exodus of the Jews from Muslim countries,

to name but a few examples.

See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism and http://www.amazon.com/Anti-Judaism-Western-Tradition-David-Nirenberg/dp/0393058247.

Some thought that the Nazi’s extinction of nearly entire Jewish populations was so repugnant that it would end Anti-Semitism once and for all. They were wrong. Twenty-first century Anti-Semitism is alive, well and occurring throughout the world, including in some of the least likeliest of places, such as: Malmo, Sweden; Toulouse, Paris and Marseilles France; Brussels, Belgium; Auckland, New Zealand; and Montreal, Canada. See, http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/23446/Default.aspx.

Notwithstanding their small numbers, the reality is that the Jews are and have been the likely targets to shoulder blame. The poor hate the Jews for being wealthy capitalists, and the rich hate the Jews for being communists. The Jews who maintain their own culture are hated for insulting the culture of the country in which they live, and the Jews who assimilate are hated for appropriating that culture. A Jew who is attacked and turns the other cheek is a coward, and a Jew who fights back is overreacting. See, Little Nemo, http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=404068.

The scapegoating of Jews has been particularly devastating to the Muslim population of the Middle East. Israel, accounting for one-sixth of one percent of the Middle East land with its 6 million Jews, is routinely blamed for the problems, both political and social, of the 300 million Muslims living there.   Http://www.masada2000.org/geography.html. Until recently, blaming the Jews was the easy answer that hid the root causes for many of the Muslim population’s significant problems, making it impossible to find meaningful solutions.

Today’s Anti-Semitism also includes the intellectually specious Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that attempt either to minimize the horrendous effects of the Holocaust on the Jewish population or to exclude Anti-Semitism as a causal factor in the Holocaust. Some, like Greta Berlin, the American director of the Free Gaza Movement, blame the genocide squarely on the Zionists who “operated the [Nazi] concentration camps” Others, like Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, charge that the Jews willingly murdered millions of their own to win world sympathy for the establishment of Israel. At the extreme, some will deny the very happening of the Holocaust itself. Http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/23446/Default.aspx.

Though satire, the Tom Lehrer song “National Brotherhood Week”, is disturbingly on point.

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Muslims,
And everybody hates the Jews.

The song would be laughable, if it wasn’t so true. See, http://www.amazon.com/Anti-Judaism-Western-Tradition-David-Nirenberg/dp/0393058247.

Yellow badge Star of David called "Judens...

Yellow badge Star of David called “Judenstern”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

More similar than different

The World English Dictionary defines intolerance as “the lack of respect for … beliefs other than one’s own.” If it can be shown that the beliefs of Muslims, Christians and Jews are similar, then, by definition, they would have no reason to be intolerant toward each other based on religious beliefs. I chose to compare the Ten Commandments, the fundamental law of Jews and Christians governing ethical and moral behavior, with the Qur’an, God’s book of guidance and the central religious text of Islam, to search for similarities.

Although the text of the Commandments is not included in the Qur’an, the Qur’an references the Commandments and admonishes Muslims to follow them. More importantly, words throughout the Qur’an parallel those found in the Commandments as they appear in Exodus 20: 2-17 and Deuteronomy 5: 6-21. For example:

                    Ten Commandments                  /            Qur’an

  • Thou shall have no other gods before me/Know there is no god but God (chapter 47: verse 19);
  • Thou shall not take the name of God in vain/Make not God’s name an excuse to your oaths (2:224);
  • Thou shall honor they mother and father/Be kind to your parents; address them in terms of honor (17:23);
  • Thou shall not kill/If anyone has killed one person it is as if he has killed the whole mankind (5:32); and
  • Thou shall not commit adultery/Adultery is an indecent deed and a way for other evils (17:32).

For more similarities, see http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=IC0705-3281 and http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr10cisl.htm.

The similarities are too easy to find and too striking to ignore.  Believers of each of the three faiths could logically conclude that both the Qur’an and the Commandments come from a common source – the one God. Maybe we know each other better than we think. There is no chasm to bridge, but merely a gap to step over to dispel the distrust and intolerance on both sides. So, let’s just take the step.

Photo by: atemporelspirit    Image courtesy of: http://plancksconstant.org/blog1/2009/11/is_the_quran_based_on_the_bible.html

Tag Cloud