Andrew Bostom emails the Tundra Tabloids about a post at Dhimmi Watch, which reports on the J’lem Post’s refusal to publish an article submitted by Bat Ye’or, “the pioneering historian of dhimmitude“, concerning a badly written article by Mark R. Cohen, “The New Muslim Anti-Semitism“.
Recently the Jerusalem Post ran an article by Mark R. Cohen, “The New Muslim Anti-Semitism,” which repeated many politically correct and comforting historical fictions, including:
THE FLIP SIDE of the discriminatory regulations imposed upon Jews is that they (as well as Christians) were a “protected people,” ahl al-dhimma or dhimmis in Arabic, who enjoyed security of life and property, religious freedom, freedom from forced conversion, communal autonomy, and equality in the marketplace. For all its religious exclusivity and hostility towards the Jews, expressed in the Koran and in other Islamic literature, Islam contains a nucleus of pluralism that gave the Jews in Muslim lands greater security than Jews had in Christian Europe. For other important reasons, too, Jews in the Islamic orbit were spared the damaging stigma of “otherness” and anti-Semitism suffered by Jews in Europe. They were indigenous to the Near East – not immigrants, as in many parts of the Christian West – and largely indistinguishable physically from their Arab-Muslim neighbors.
Bat Ye’or, the pioneering historian of dhimmitude, wrote this in response and sent it to the Post:
Response to Mark Cohen’s article in the Jerusalem Post of January, 2008Bat Ye’or* In his article “The New Muslim anti-Semitism” (Jerusalem Post, January 2, 2006), Mark R. Cohen unfortunately provides nothing new on a subject that now involves a global jihad war and a genocidal threat. It merely rehashes a short-sighted article he published over twenty years ago, “Islam and the Jews: Myth, counter-Myth, History” (The Jerusalem Quarterly, n° 38, spring 1986) to which I wrote a rejoinder, “Islam and the Dhimmis” (JQ n° 42, spring 1987).
Still no changes! Then, like today, Cohen stated that Muslim “anti-Semitism” (an inappropriate word borrowed from European context) is a new phenomenon as if this Princeton professor of Near Eastern Studies has never read the Koran, the hadiths and the biographies of the Prophet Muhammad. As in his 1986 article, he encompasses in one sweeping global judgment the civilizations expanding over territories covering Africa, Asia and Europe during thirteen centuries. History looses its events, transformations and evolutions as if it is reduced to the stillness of an empty shell.
This reductionist mental attitude upholds the dogma of Islamic goodness and tolerance versus Christian timeless evilness in all places. Cohen is not troubled by the complexities involved in comparing utterly different civilizations, religions, jurisdictions, political ideologies and transformations over a millennium. Faithful to himself over the years, he remains deaf to the Islamists’ Judeophobic references in their religious texts, praising the system of dhimmitude as one would admire slavery, since the slave might escape death if he obeys his master’s orders.
As in his precedent article, Cohen pretends that the persecutions Jews suffered under Islamic jurisdiction are an invented myth, a mimicry of Ashkenazi sufferings in order to grab more than Oriental Jewry deserves of the “Zionist pie”. Thus Oriental Jewry not only should be grateful to its Muslim rulers for not having been wiped out entirely, but it is not even entitled to have its own history without being accused of posturing as Ashkenazim, thereby obtaining undeserved advantages by out-stepping its position in Israel.
Maybe Mark Cohen has never heard of the Human Rights Declarations promulgated in Europe and America with its subsequent developments in matters of equality and democratic rights. Or does he imagine that a caliphate ruled these continents? Has he even forgotten the letter sent by George Washington to Moses Seixas, president of the Newport Hebrew Congregation on August 17, 1790, and inscribed on a stone at the Torros Synagogue (Newport R.I.), stating the inalienable human rights for Jews as opposed to tolerance? Does he unconsciously assume that George Washington was a caliph and that the regions from Afghanistan to Yemen and Algeria were Christian countries, since there – at the time of Washington and the Enlightenment – Jews were still obliged to walk barefoot, with distinctive clothing, live in social segregation, pay countless security ransoms, suffering the rape of their women, the abduction of their children while the Muslim courts refused their testimony? They were exposed to murders (Maghreb, the Levant, Yemen), deportations, forced conversions (Persia, Afghanistan) and in many regions enslavement to tribal chiefs (Maghreb). Such situations, of course, could not happen in Islam according to Professor Cohen — unless the Jews became arrogant by overstepping their place and imagined they were human beings.
The current fanaticism and mass killings perpetrated in Lebanon, Algeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Darfur, Indonesia and the Philippines evoke the continual tribal wars that have permanently ravaged the dar al-Islam with their religious-cleansing, the exodus or the deportation of population, mainly non-Muslim, and the correlated pillage, destruction, abduction and enslavement. Jihadist terrorism that has, over the centuries, eliminated the indigenous Jewish and Christian populations from their Islamized homelands continues unabated today, giving us a glimpse of this past, rosy time of dhimmitude. It is strange that Cohen remains at Princeton instead of emigrating to Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, even Sudan, to enjoy, under a shari’a–taliban type rule, that dhimmi condition he admires so much for Oriental Jewry.
* * * * * *
The latest book by Bat Ye’or, Eurabia: the Euro-Arab Axis, (English, French, Italian, Dutch) will be published in a Hebrew edition by Schocken in spring 2008.
The problem here has nothing to do with difference of opinions, but a major newspaper’s total acceptance of a politically correct line of thinking that submits itself to the mythical lie that “Isamic anti-Semitism is solely an import from Christian Europe”. What rubbish. That the esteemed Bernard Lewis has propagated that nonsense is very regrettable, that a conservative Jewish news daily, like the Jerusalem Post helps to silence debate, by refusing an equally esteemed scholar and author like Bat Ye’or, is a slap in the face of common sense and intellectual honesty.
Hat tip: Andy Bostom