All the attention is focused on Iran’s ambition for building a nuclear bomb while Israel’s secret nuclear program that is backed by the Americans does not seem to deserve suppressing by the world’s powers. Before America is going to be manipulated into yet another war, this time sending Iran back into systemic poverty, it should ask itself some fundamental questions:
1. Why do many Muslims hate Jewish people and the state of Israel?
2. Why have the Jews been despised through a series of historical holocausts?
3. Where does the strong American pro-Jewish and anti-Iranian bias find its rational?
A quick survey with my Muslim friends revealed that they do not know any reasons. They guess that the hatred might be connected to Palestine but Shi’ites did not have a vested interest in that conflict. Hence, the answers to these questions require a long journey through a complex religious history. In this process, one soon faces a series of seemingly inexplicable paradoxes. For example, while the Koran undoubtedly calls for Jihad against the Western flavor of Christianity, it embraces the Jews as one of its core partners that are to be respected. This seems to have worked in the Muslim territories until the end of the Abbasid era, which lasted from the 750s to the 1200s. For example, the Medieval Jewish traveler Benjamin of Tudela reported at the end of the twelfth century how hundreds of thousands of Jews were held in high regard throughout the Abbasid Caliphate while living at the fringe in the Christian territories. The Jews even held the Iron Scepter in Baghdad, almost as if in joint rule. Without going into details,* something went wrong at the onset or during the Abbasid Caliphate that triggered said hatred and brought forth anti-Jewish traditions. The Muslim story finds its parallel earlier in the fourth century, when Judaism lost control over Christianity. Is it possible that a similar process had been in place for Islam?
The Jews went through a series of Holocausts and expulsions on Christian soils since before the advent of Islam. From the thirteenth century onwards, the Jews were despised by both, Muslims and Christians. The anti-Semitism found its culmination in the diatribes and atrocities against the Jews and the Muslims triggered by the founder of the Protestant Church, Martin Luther, and then again in the Holocaust of WWII. Yet, the hatred against the Jews goes even beyond, deep into the first and second century, when the Roman Empire saw itself forced to flatten the Temple in Jerusalem and expel all Jews from the city for over a thousand years to come. In the Bible, the Jews pride themselves for being hated by everyone.
The Holocaust is prominently disputed by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, leading to the infamous walkouts during his speeches. He essentially says that the high death toll of Jews during the Holocaust is grossly amplified by the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish establishment. They do so, his thinking goes, because the accompanying guilt and compassion by the West leads them to be manipulated into providing the Jews with extraordinary and undeserved privileges.
This all makes no sense. The Jews are industrious and highly intelligent people from whom the rest of the world could learn a lot, even today. The resilient and adaptable Jew deserves admiration. This of course might be based on the bias of my last name that indicates a Jewish heritage even though I consider myself religiously cured.
In order to answer the question in as brief and profound possible way, basic human behavior serves to illustrate what is going on. Humans have a strong propensity to trust and enforce their inner group’s world views. Obviously, these views differ so strongly between groups that a rational mind should be inclined to ask questions. Instead, humans tend to selectively acquire everything that enforces their views and indiscriminately dismiss everything else. This fundamental behavioral shortcoming is prone to manipulation and is also at the heart of religious systems. After all, being hated fuses a people in stubborn defiance. In other words, when reading history, in particular the one of religion, humans typically read what vested groups want them to read. It means that the forefathers of the Jews, the Christians, and the Muslims have gone through great efforts to bend, destroy, and falsify history to their own liking. This is why each of the three religious narratives appear almost as if they evolved over long stretches in isolation from one another and unimpressed by external socio-economic influences. In the case of Islam, the destruction and reinterpretation was particularly strong at the advent of the Abbasid Caliphate and also after its fall. Most of what is believed today was then created in fraudulent traditions that did not exist before.
Unfortunately, here is where the Ultra-Orthodox Jew is coming back in. Throughout history, the complaints against the Ultra-Orthodox have been along the line of treachery, political manipulation, and financial enslavement of non-Jews by Jews. These are the same complaints that Muslims bring forth against the Ultra-Orthodox Jews today.
It seems wise to untangle the foundation of said past before letting America be manipulated into yet another war.
One could easily dismiss all this and launch an attack on Iran’s suspected nuclear facilities (as in Iraq, the claims remain unproven, yet surely true). As Israel builds its secret nuclear program, the West’s pounding against a similar program in Iran is hypocritical and ethnically biased. While it is certain that Ahmadinejad wants to be armed with nuclear weapons, he can do so by walking into Russian shopping malls, for example. It seems though that both sides must be aware that a nuclear exchange would have terminal consequences for the participants, except for the Ultra-Orthodox Jews who ensure their survival with a strategy of global dispersion. They will perpetually return to Jerusalem and restart the cycle of hatred. Yet, as with the Soviet-U.S. arsenals, it seems that such armament has rendered the world not only safer but also technologically more advanced and more prosperous. Sitting on a barrel of explosives makes one think twice before lighting a fire. An accident is thus more likely than an intentional and mutual mass suicide.
While only the ignorant can dismiss the Muslims’ duty to Jihad (or the Christians’ to Holy War, or the Jews’ to the re-conquest of Canaan) and proclaim the religion as one of peace and human rights, the Koran expressively prohibits first strike aggression. This is the only insurance policy that has prevented a billion Muslims to overrun Israel. As long as Israel does not strike Iran, Ahmadinejad is bound by his fundamentalist religious beliefs not to launch an aggressive attack.
President Obama seems to tread carefully and hopefully recognizes that an attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences, beyond the potential economic impact through supply disruptions of oil. However, America must send a clear message to Jerusalem that Israel is on its own in the event of a unilateral attack against Iran. It seems that the time is opportune for a strike because of the continued turmoil that destabilizes much of the Muslim Middle East. However, having been religiously prepared for decades for such an event, it will instantly fuse the global Shi’ite Muslim populations on an unprecedented scale and prove the Doomsday prophets right. All three religions have been waiting for this day for millennia and are welcoming it in the name of a new world where only the “good” survive.
The current sanctions against Ahmadinejad’s seem to have their intended effect and will soften the aggressive verbal exchanges over time. In particular, the financial threat to expel Iran from the SWIFT banking network is potentially catastrophic for Ahmadinejad (but it also highlights the network’s concentrated point of global power). The main reason why Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu is currently bullying Iran is his confidence of being backed by the U.S. It is unfortunate that Jewish financial contributions can possibly manipulate candidates in the ongoing presidential election into concessions that might be against the interest of the American people.
Before taking any action against another Muslim country upon the advice of the Ultra-Orthodox establishment in Israel, America needs to put together its brightest minds and untangle the forged histories of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim people. People of modern civilizations would finally understand how religious zealots manipulate them into violence when instead cooperation would help solving the pressing problems of the only world that we have to live in.
February 7, 2012
A.J. Deus*Author of the Great Leap-Fraud – Social Economics of Religious Terrorism
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