The long Arab war against the Jews, in context

Just as you would never discuss African-American relations without reference to the Jim Crow laws and slavery, so should Arab-Jewish relations  never be discussed without reference to the Dhimmi rules, argues Mike Lumish at the Elder of Ziyon blog.

A Jew prostrates himself before the Caliph upon paying the Jizya tax

In order to understand the Long Arab War Against the Jews, we need to place it within the long history of Jewish people living under Arab and Muslim imperial rule from the seventh-century until the demise of the Ottoman Empire with the conclusion of World War I.

From the time of Muhammad, until Islam ran head-first into modernity and the twentieth-century, the Jews of the Middle East were second and third-class non-citizens under the boot of Arab and Muslim imperial rule. However bad African-Americans had it in the United States under the vile rules of Jim Crow, it was never worse than Jewish people had it as”dhimmis”and what we call “dhimmitude” lasted one heck of a lot longer.

As dhimmis in Arab and Muslim lands, Jews (and Christians) could ride donkeys but horses were forbidden.

As dhimmis in Arab and Muslim lands, Jews (and Christians) were forbidden from building housing for themselves taller than Muslim housing.

As dhimmis in Arab and Muslim lands, Jews (and Christians) had no rights of self-defense.

As dhimmis in Arab and Muslim lands, Jews (and Christians) had no recourse to courts of law.

As dhimmis in Arab and Muslim lands, Jews (and Christians) had to pay protection money to keep their families safe from violence.

And this is one of my favorites, in certain times and places under Arab-Muslim imperial rule Jews were not even allowed to go outside during rainstorms lest their Jewish filth run into the street and infect their pure Muslim neighbors.

The point, however, is that just as we would never discuss African-American history without reference to both Jim Crow and slavery, so we must not discuss the Long Arab War against the Jews without reference to thirteen-centuries of Arab and Muslim oppression against all non-Muslims in the Middle East, including Christians and Jews.

This is not merely a political tactic. It is a matter of framing the conversation within something that resembles an historical context. The historical context is vital because without it the conflict is incomprehensible outside of the prominent western notion of mindless Jewish malice toward Arabs, presumably as unjust payback for the Shoah.

Westerners think that this is a fight between big, strong, mean Israel against the innocent, thumb-sucking “indigenous Palestinians” over land.

It isn’t.

What the struggle actually is is an ongoing attempt by the Arab peoples to force Jews back into dhimmitude out of a Koranic religious imperative. 

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One Comment

  • the picture at the top of the post of a Jew paying jizya is actually of the court of Ahmad Jazzar Pasha, governor of the Akko [Acre] district. His Jewish advisor Hayim Farhi is standing at the side with his nose cut off and what appears to be a bandage over it. Farhi's nose was cut off at the order of Jazzar Pasha when he was displeased with him. So even a Jew who held a high position could still be humiliated by a Muslim overlord.

    Lumish makes a good point that we all should make over and over. Present day Arab-Jewish relations cannot be honestly understood without knowledge of the history of Jews as dhimmis. Moreover, it is right to elaborate on the religious grounds in Islam for oppressing Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims. Prof Moshe Sharon argues that the Muslims actually hate Jews more than Christians because of events in early Muslim history, according to Islamic tradition.


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