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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jordan admits its citizens hate Jews

YNet reports that Jordanian authorities have been confiscating Jewish prayer books and tefillin from tourists. The reason given is that this "Jewish paraphernalia" could risk the lives of the tourists.

Jordan insists that this is not anti-semitism, just that it is a prudent move because these objects identify the people as being Jewish and therefore it puts them in danger. Even though Jews would generally pray in private when in Jordan, the Jordanian authorities still believe that this is the best way to ensure the tourists' security.

Of course, this means that religious Jews are effectively banned from travel to Jordan. And Jordan has a number of interesting Biblical and historic sites that appeal to religious Jewish tourists.

What is more interesting, though, is the underlying thinking. Jordan is admitting that the "terrorists" and their sympathizers aren't anti-Israel (after all, plenty of non-religious Israeli tourists visit Jordan) nearly as much as they are, in fact, anti-semitic. The targets aren't Jews, they are religious Jews. (I guess it goes without saying that wearing a kippah in Jordan is putting your life into your own hands, just as it is in most of the West Bank.)

For people who follow the conflict, this unadulterated anti-semitism that Jordan exhibits should not be a surprise. In 2006, a Pew Global Attitudes Survey put Jordan dead last in its question whether its citizens had a favorable attitude towards Jews (only 1% said "yes," 98% said "no.")

It is also notable that Jordan isn't offering to protect the tourists, but rather telling the tourists to either throw away their religion or not bother coming. This is one of the "moderate" Arab countries we hear so much about. The Jew-hatred in Jordan is so accepted as fact that it is not even worth trying to solve the problem.

A humorous example can be seen in this story from 1998, where a Jordanian newspaper claimed that Jews were trying to turn Jordan into a Jewish land; attempting to buy sites near Biblical landmarks and secretly burying Jewish coins and artifacts to be "rediscovered". Of course, patriotic Jordanians were seeing right through those evil Jewish schemes.

Compare to my previous story about how Bahrain is actively seeking Jews to move back into that country, and one can see that Jordan is not simply "anti-Zionist" but actively anti-semitic.