Thursday, July 11, 2013

As I was reading yet another Arabic article that says that Jews must be behind all the problems in the Arab world because they are the ones who benefit most from Arab chaos, I realized that this type of thinking is not  a manifestation of classic Arab anti-semitism quite as much as it is a necessary result of two modes of Arab thought.

The first, as we've discussed before, is projection. This isn't particular to Arabs - almost all of us do this - but  it means that people tend to think that others use the same logic that they do. (In the Arab and Muslim case, they accuse Jews of doing something that invariably is something that they themselves are invariably guilty of.)

The second is the Arab insistence that the conflict is a zero-sum game. If Arabs win, the Jews lose, and vice versa. This mentality in itself makes peace impossible.

Now, from the Arab perspective, the worst thing happening now is all the intra-Arab conflicts in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere. Since this is undeniably bad for Arabs, the zero-sum mentality makes it appear that this must be good for Israel.

If they believe that this is good for Israel, then Arab projection insists that Israel also embraces the zero-sum mentality. If Israel believes - against all evidence and common sense - that Arab chaos and uncertainty is a good thing, then it makes perfect sense to say that Israel and the Jews are orchestrating this.

This means that it  Sunnis will say Jews are colluding with Shiites, that Assad will blame Jews for the mujahadeen, and the Egyptian army's supporters  will blame the Jews for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Thus antisemitism isn't what causes these crazed accusations, but antisemitism is a requirement for the accusations to be taken seriously.

This translates into the huge increase of purely antisemitic articles in the Arab media over the past year.

Just today, there is an article that insists that the Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna was Jewish! It claims that el-Banna's grandfather was a secret Jew who took on that name, which means "builder," because he was a Freemason. Therefore, the entire Muslim Brotherhood is a Jewish front organization!

And in an interview with Bassam Abu Sharif, former senior advisor for Yasir Arafat and press officer for the PLO, we are told that Israel and the CIA are colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood as well as with the mujahadeen in Syria. (However, he stops short of saying that Hamas is part of the conspiracy, averring that Hamas is too Palestinian to be consciously a part of the plan. )

All these anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist conspiracy theories are certifiably nutty. But they are inevitable, as the Arab worldview cannot make sense without them. Self-blame is not acceptable. Jew-hatred is a needed component for the conspiracy theories to work, but the theories are not created for that purpose. Yet the Arab mentality requires a pseudo-intellectual  foundation of  Jew-hatred for the flawed logic to make sense, which leads to more antisemitic writings and speeches, ready to poison the next generation.


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