The Jews are also an Arab-Islamic question

At last, an Arab voice in the Beirut Daily Star questions the standard propaganda line that the ‘Jewish question’ is a European matter. Palestinian Walid Salem asks more questions than he answers but, in my view, they are the right ones.

“. . How do we deal with the “Jewish question” in the Israeli-Palestinian and also in the Israeli-Arab and Islamic contexts?

“The first point is the Jewish question itself: Do we in the Middle East ask ourselves about this question? With the exception of a book written a few years ago by the Lebanese journalist Joseph Samaha, I have not seen other Arabic writings that recognize the Jewish question as not only a European question, but also as an Arabic-Islamic one.

“The second point … : if the Jewish question is recognized, then its phenomena should be discussed. …frank questions need to be asked: Were the rights of the Jews throughout the ages guaranteed in Arabic and Islamic countries? If the answer to this question is yes, then why did the Jews of these countries emigrate to Israel? … If it was only Zionist propaganda that led to their emigration, then why does a large portion of those who came to Israel from the Arabic and Islamic countries adopt right-wing positions toward the Palestinians and Arabs? Moreover, what have Arabs and Islamic countries done in order to maintain good relations with those Jews once they migrated to Israel? … .

“My third point centers on the strategy toward Israel. Do Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and others of his ilk think that their propaganda helps Palestinians? Do they … , help Israel integrate into the Middle East? Or does their attitude just help to increase those trends that call for Israel to be part of the West and to disconnect itself from Eastern culture and ties – except those ties of hegemony and dominance?”

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One Comment

  • At last a sensible voice. It is staggering to see how few of the liberal-minded intellectuals of arab-muslim culture ask such questions. Maybe not one. They would condemn suicide attacks but talking about the oppressed status of Jews and the ethnic cleansing is out of bounds. They would however claim that “Arabs” (all of them, up to Morocco!) have been “humiliated” by the Israeli treatment of Palestinians.


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