by Phyllis Chesler
Did you know that Jews and Muslims have a shared history in Europe? That Muslims have “deep roots” on the European continent and that Muslims are as imperiled by “Islamophobia” as Jews are by anti-Semitism?
Nothing could be further from the truth, and yet the first Gathering of European Muslim and Jewish Leaders issued a statement on May 9th and just held a meeting in Brussels on May 30, 2011. Oddly enough, the meeting was organized by two American Jewish groups, Rabbi Marc Schneier’s Foundation For Ethnic Understanding and philanthropist Ronald Lauder’s World Jewish Congress, as well as by the European Jewish Congress.
No Muslim organization seems to have shared in organizing the meeting, although two organizations and more than a dozen Muslim leaders attended and signed the joint declaration.
Can you believe this? It this some kind of exercise in dhimmitude and self-delusion? Why are the Jews doing the heavy lifting for the far wealthier Muslim world? More important: Why support such dangerously misguided concepts?
At this moment in world history, why are Jews confusing “Islamophobia” with anti-Semitism? One understands that Muslims might want to assume whatever is left of Jewish victimhood and make it their own—but why are Jews enabling them to do so? If the Muslims are coming in great good faith, they would state some obviously truths, beginning with the Koranic roots of Jew- and infidel-hatred and the contemporary Islamist/genocidal intentions towards the Jewish State. Indeed, a new kind of statement from Muslims would include their understanding of–and desire to break from–the historical Muslim persecution of Jews and infidels in Muslim-majority countries.
This is not that kind of statement or declaration.
Anti-Semitism cannot, must not, be equated with Islamophobia. European Muslims have nothing to fear from European Jews. European Jews have everything to fear from European Muslims.
As Clemens Heni, a scholar of German anti-Semitism, has pointed out: “There is no other prejudice or form of racism which you can compare to anti-Semitism. If you look at Islam today, there is a (reason for) Islamophobia because Jihadists say, ‘We want to kill the unbelievers.’ Jews never said that.” Those who equate legitimate fears of Islamist extremism with anti-Semitism, he argues, clearly “didn’t learn the lesson [of] the Holocaust. They are even downplaying the Holocaust itself.”
According to the declaration, “Jews and Muslims live side-by-side in every European country and our two communities are important components of Europe’s religious, cultural and social tapestry.” The document fails to mention that those Jews who live “side-by-side” with Muslims are in danger of being harassed, beaten, or even tortured to death, as was Ilan Halimi of France.
The declaration commits an outrage against history by equating the Jewish experience in Europe with the Muslim experience in Europe, even though Jews have been living as a persecuted minority on the continent for more than a thousand years while most Muslims only arrived in large numbers after World War II. The declaration lumps together the Shoah (Holocaust), the slaughter of six million Jews, with the mass killings of some thousands of Muslims in Bosnia during the 1990s. It ignores the history of Muslim Spain in the Middle Ages, when both Christian and Muslim rulers persecuted Jews and Muslim mobs slaughtered them in pogroms. Needless to say, no Jewish outrages against Christian or Muslim communities have ever taken place on European soil.
With mock solemnity, the document proclaims, “We must never allow anti-Semitism…to become respectable in today’s Europe”—as if anti-Semitism, in its modern guise of anti-Zionism, weren’t already perfectly respectable in every corner of Europe.
Rabbis all over Europe have been telling their people to flee before it is too late. Many Jews have done so.
Why is a group of Jews trying to help Muslims, however fine, by appealing to European governments not to “pander to right wing forces” which are, belatedly, beginning to gather in response to a Muslim population which is hostile to Western and European values, does not wish to assimilate, and is both separatist and violent?
Had Muslims come in total peace these “right wing forces” may have, indeed, been a reflection of European racism towards Arabs and dark-skinned “Easterners.” But the alleged “Islamophobia” is not based on bigoted considerations of color, faith, or ethnicity; it is, rather, based on the increasing danger that Muslims pose to the stability and character of Europe.
Will these Muslim signatories agree to a declaration that critiques Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and in Gaza, and Palestinians in general, for their hatred of Israel, the Jewish state? If not, what is to be gained by standing in solidarity with such Muslims?
According to Clemens Heni, the views of this declaration:
“Definitely [do] not represent the Jewish community in Germany – neither the Central Council of Jews in Germany nor any important Jewish Community Center supports this (nonsense). Muslims did not at all live as long in Europe as Jews did. Muslims and Germans declared Jihad in November 1914, during the First World War. THIS is what the German – Muslim alliance in the 20th century is all about.”
In Heni’s view, the Muslim “history” in Europe is about Muslim anti-Semitic alliances with German and Nazi anti-Semites.
Who are the Jewish “leaders” who organized and attended this meeting? Who appointed them? Are they this desperate for headlines or so eager to be seen as “players”? Are they so genuinely frightened for their endangered European communities that they are willing to say and do anything, or are they simply dangerously misguided?
It is the midnight hour. What kinds of private deals and illusions are these leaders conjuring up for themselves?
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