Sunday, April 13, 2014

  • Sunday, April 13, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Michael Lumish, of the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular blogger at Times of Israel, will be writing a weekly column here at EoZ.

Most Americans, particularly those of us with liberal inclinations, think of Arab peoples as persecuted minorities who are struggling, to this day, to free themselves from the ongoing social and economic implications of western imperial and colonial aggression in the Middle East. For centuries white-Anglo westerners dominated that part of the world and, therefore, progressives who care about universal human rights are not surprised at the Arab push-back, including the Palestinian-Arab push-back against Israel.

Certainly those of us who marched against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan largely perceived the peoples of those countries as innocent victims of western and American hostility. We understood that those wars were racist wars that needlessly slaughtered innocent Arabs in number of lives going to at least the hundreds of thousands, if not considerably more.

What we tend not to appreciate in the United States is that the great Arab-Muslim nation was one of the foremost imperial endeavors within recorded human history. The Arab peoples are not merely pawns batted around by powerful, racist, white westerners, but peoples with long and proud histories that cannot be reduced to a demeaning history of victimhood.

In a recent piece for Arutz Sheva we are reminded of this by the San Francisco-based non-profit organization, JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East annd North Africa, which describes itself as "dedicated to educating and advocating on behalf of 850,000 Jewish refugees displaced in the 20th century, after the establishment of the State of Israel, from the Middle East and North Africa."

As people who follow the ongoing Arab aggression against the Jews in the Middle East know, the Presbyterian Church (USA) recently published a booklet entitled "Zionism Unsettled" in which the American branch of that denomination condemns Israel and Zionism for the deterioration of relations between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East.

As the JIMENA author of the piece writes:
"But instead of recognizing the reality of rampant, deep-seated anti-Semitism in the Middle East & North Africa, "Zionism Unsettled" places blame on the State of Israel and presents a revisionist history of the Mizrahi refugee experience. Among many unfounded claims, the blooklet states that Mizrahis "share a history of largely harmonious integration and acculturation in their host countries. Sadly, this model of coexistence was destabilized by the regional penetration of Zionism beginning in the late 19th century."
It staggers the imagination to realize the degree of hatred, ignorance and moral stupidity required of the Presbyterian Church for them to publish such toxic rubbish under their official seal. Whatever their reasonings or excuses or justifications or apologetics, this little "booklet" is nothing less than a true kick in the head to the Jewish people.

First, let it be understood that the Jews of the Middle East outside of Israel do not, and did not, live in "host countries." That land is land that Jews have been living upon for thousands of years before the birth of Muhammad and the rise of imperial Islam. That land was conquered and controlled by the armies of Islam following the death of the founder of the faith in the 7th century - long after the Jewish presence - and the non-Islamic population were pressed into submission under the terms of dhimmitude as laid out in the seventh-century Pact of Omar.

There was, furthermore, never "largely harmonious integration" among Jews under Arab-Muslim domination. In some times and places the conditions of dhimmitude and submission represented lighter and more benevolent systems of oppression and in some times and places those systems of oppression were much worse. However, to describe the circumstances of dhimmitude throughout the history of the Jews under Arab-Muslim rule as "harmonious integration" would be something akin to describing the plight of black people living under Jim Crow in the American South as "harmonious integration."

In other words, the very notion of it is total nonsense.

JIMENA writes:
In his "Open letter to the Presbyterian Church USA from an Iraqi Jew", Joseph Samuels describes the ongoing brutality which culminated in the Farhud, a Nazi-incited riot in 1941 that claimed the lives of 180 Jews, destroyed Baghdad's Jewish quarter, and forced the couuntry's Jewish population to live in absolute fear.

"The cause of the Farhud wasn't Zionism...[it was] purely an anti-Jewish act. At 14, I was chased by two Muslim youths with a knife for stopping them from molesting my neighbor's teenage daughter in broad daylight. At 18, after graduation from Al A'Adadiah High School, I was refused an exist visa to leave Iraq to study in American because I was Jewish. My story is not unique. I am one of 150,000 Iraqi Jews who was discriminated against, oppressed, and forced to escape religious persecution because of my faith." The fear of impending violence dictated and suppressed Iraqi Jewish life.
So much for "largely harmonious integration."

It's doubtful that most westerners are familiar with the Farhud and most are probably unfamiliar with the fact that the Arabs, including the Palestinian-Arabs, generally allied themselves with the Nazis during World War II. The genocidal riots in Baghdad in early June of 1941 were because of pure genocidal racism and had nothing, or next to nothing, to do with the movement for Jewish national liberation.

In The Farhud: Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust, by Edwin Black, we read this:

Baghdad was a burning madhouse. It burned not just with ethnic hatred but with cries to murder and destroy the Jewish community who had lived peacably in the country for 2,600 years, since a millenium before the advent of Islam. The rampage would be forever seared uponn the collective Iraqi Jewish consciousness as the Farhud. In Arabized Kurdish, farhud means something beyond mere chaos, something more than a riot. Perhaps farhud is best translated as "violent dispossession." Some translate it as "mass rape and killing."

But the events of June 1 and 2, 1941, were not just the sudden frenzied carnage of local Arab hooligans against their neighbors. This was a well-planned Holocaust-era pogrom, organized by Arab Nazis in sympathy with, and under the direction of the Third Reich's surrogates in Iraq, the Arab and Islamic world, as the ignition switch for an international Arab-Nazi alliance. This alliance, embraced by many ordinary Arabs, was led by Hajj Muhammmad Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem. The Mufti was acknowledged by Hitler himself as Berlin's most important leader in the Arab nation.

(Black, Edwin, The Farhud: Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust, Dialog Press, pg. 4, 2010.)
Finally, Zionism did not "penetrate" anything at the end of the nineteenth-century since it had been around in that part of the world since the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 AD. All "Zionism" means is the longing of the Jewish people to reestablish our home on the land that we come from and that longing has been part of the Jewish soul for thousands of years, now. This is so in part because, like all peoples, the Jewish people wish to have sovereignty on the primary land of their history, and because of the remarkable mistreatment of Jewish refugees by majority populations throughout the diaspora over the course of millennia, whether in the Middle East or in Europe.

Shortly we are going to again celebrate Passover which, along with Thanksgiving, is one of my favorite holidays. We will celebrate the freedom of the Jewish people from oppression and submission.

At the very end we will raise our glasses and cry out, "Next year in Jerusalem!"

For two thousand years the Jews have yearned to restore our country and now we finally have.

I may like to return to Jerusalem next year, but for something approaching half the world's Jews they do not have to wait until next year because they are home now.

They are home and they are going to continue to build their home and create lives for themselves and their children in their home.

Our home.

The restitution of the Jewish people upon traditional Jewish land is now an historical fact and if the Presbyterian Church (USA) does not like it, well, we all know what they can go do... pound sand.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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