May 23, 2024
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Muslims and Jews: It’s Not That Simple

It is refreshing to see a well-written letter so well articulated by a youngster like Brooke (“We Say They’re Anti-Semitic. They Say We’re Islamophobic. We’re Both Right.” April 26, 2018). She seems to be trying to solve a complicated and difficult problem by trying to establish an equivalence between Muslim anti-Semitism and Jewish anti-Islamophobia, and then pleading for a Quixotic quest like “Why can’t we all just get along with each other, and live in peace?” However, while her sentiments are certainly to be admired, her youthful innocence and compassion may be leading to an erroneous assessment of the situation, and to potentially dangerous conclusions. I feel the reality of the situation is much deeper and more complicated. There are four areas where I would like to take issue with Brooke.

1. Generalizations: It is true that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally true that not all Jews are Islamophobes.

2. Scope: Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims.

3. Actions: In Muslim attacks, terrorists have barbarically slaughtered thousands of Jews, Israelis and Westerners by beheadings, burnings, suicide bombings, supermarket massacres, car-rammings, airplane crashing, airplane highjacking and stabbings. On the other hand, Jews mostly criticize and complain, but don’t commit wholesale barbaric murders.

4. Sheer weight of numbers. Since there is never “all of them” or “all of us” that do anything, it means that only “some of them” and “some of us” do things. And therein is the crux of the problem. The “some of them” vastly outnumber the “some of us” by a wide margin. The fact that Muslims are such a large population worldwide, with about one and one half billion people, means that “only some” of their potential terrorists and supporters, is still a huge number, compared to the comparative handful of Jews. I’m not sure what figure Brooke would consider “some Muslims” to be anti-Semitic, but even if it is as low as 10 %, that would still amount to about 150 million anti-Semitic Muslims against only about 15 million Jews. And I think this figure for Muslims is probably much too low. The Pew report of January 27, 2016, that Brooke cites, stated that in Muslim or Arab dominated countries including Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey, the number of Muslims with “unfavorable views of Jews” ranged from about 60-100%. (Iran, Gaza and the West Bank were not listed but I’m sure they would also be in the same range.) The number in non-Muslim countries was lower, but still 6-27%. Using these percentages, would give an even more overwhelming number, in the hundreds of millions, of unsympathetic and potentially hostile adversaries. Thus, to say that “not all Muslims” are terrorists, so presumably we don’t have that much to worry about, is not a useful premise.

If one uses the same analogy, one could argue that Germany should not be held accountable for the Holocaust because “not all Germans were Nazis.” This is small comfort to the six million Jews, including over one million Jewish children, who were mercilessly slaughtered at the hands of the “but not all were Nazis” Germans.

Consider the past history of Jews: Inquisition, massacres, pogroms, Holocaust and in the present, rampant anti-Semitism in Europe, the almost complete expulsion of Jews from all Muslim lands in the Mideast and repeated and ongoing attempts by Muslims/Arabs to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, which is still their openly stated goal. It would therefore be in our best interest and self-preservation, to be more vigilant rather than sanguine, in the face of potential danger. It does not take an entire population to make a dangerous foe, only enough haters to perpetrate horrible events. I think we should prudently heed ominous warning signs, and better prepare now, lest we find ourselves in the midst of another blood-bath.

Max Wisotsky

Highland Park

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