Sunday, April 13, 2008

What Jordan's Prince Hassan bin Talal thinks of Jews

There is a group of Arab intellectuals who work on the prestigious-sounding Arab Thought Forum. Their stated goals are on their website:
The Arab Thought Forum (ATF), known as Al Multaqa in Arabic, was established in Jerusalem in 1977 as an independent Palestinian organization. Based on democratic principles such as openness, transparency and freedom of expression it provides a forum for Palestinian decision makers, public opinion leaders and citizens to express their views and has no affiliation to any government, political party or other organization. The strength of ATF lies in its political impartiality allowing it to freely engage in a broad range of subjects related to the Palestinian cause of democracy building and ultimately independence.
The leader of the Forum is former Crown Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan.

In the context of the Forum, the Prince just wrote a description of Jews through history. According to the Palestine Today website, he describes Jews as "a mobile intelligence between human civilizations, without allegiance to any of them."

If the autotranslation is accurate, it appears that he considers Jews to be some sort of parasites, leeching off of their host countries while conributing nothing but using what they learn to conspire against the world. In short, a one-sentence synopsis of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

This is an interesting viewpoint, and one may want to mention to the esteemed prince that Judaism has had the concept of praying for the welfare of the government that Jews happen to be citizens of since the time of Jeremiah and more formally since the 14th century. Do Muslims have a similar prayer for their dhimmi- or infidel-led host countries?

One may also want to point out that Jews who have been a minority in every nation for millennia and who suffered discrimination in each of those nations still managed to work hard to gain respected positions in government and commerce, even in Arab countries. Is this the behavior of a traitor or a loyal citizen?

Then again, by perusing the pseudo-scholarly papers at the Arab Thought Forum site, it is not so shocking to contemplate that this is perhaps the pinnacle of Arab intellectual discourse. And others are less charitable in their evaluation of this organization.