PBS and Bernard Lewis blame Muslim anti-Semitism on Christianity
What I saw of the PBS program on anti-Semitism last night—perhaps a third of it before I got so disgusted I turned it off—was even worse than what I had anticipated the other day.
Here was the set-up. Narrator Judy Woodruff’s very first mention of Christian and Jewish status under Islam was that “in Islam, Christians and Jews, as the People of the Book, were protected.” I kid you not. They were “protected.” Isn’t that a lovely way to describe the systematically humiliated and debased status of the dhimmi peoples under Islamic law? Then the “world’s most distinguished Islam scholar” Bernard Lewis, who was the first talking head to appear and who dominated the first part of the program, said that, yes, under Islam there was “inequality”—that’s it, dhimmitude is mere “inequality”!—but this inequality was not anti-Semitism. Why? Because it was not Christian anti-Semitism. The program then went superficially through the history of Muslim anti-Semitism, but at every step of the way they would compare it to the “real,” Christian anti-Semitism, and say, well, it’s not like that, it’s not officially organized, it’s not a core part of the religion, it doesn’t officially demonize the Jews, it doesn’t call them killers of God, so it’s not really anti-Semitism. Only Christian anti-Semitism (which is presented in the most lurid aspect, as a monolithic horror, unchanged over the centuries) and then Nazi anti-Semitism are real anti-Semitism. Further, it was this European anti-Semitism that was exported to the Arab world via colonialism, the same European colonialism that planted Israel in the Mideast, and set off modern Arab resentment of Jews.
So, in this program that is ostensibly about the resurgence of anti-Semitism among Muslims, the real villains are: Christianity; Nazism; colonialism; and the state of Israel. The total Arab rejection of Israel, meaning the active or passive intent to wipe Israel off the map, along with the totality of vile and murderous Jew-hatred throughout the Muslim countries, is treated as a reasonable response to colonialism.
Sound familiar? It’s the standard leftist view of the world. And Bernard Lewis (or “Canard” Lewis as a reader suggests he be called from now on) was the predominant talking head from the start, followed by such enemies of Israel as Tony Judt and Rashid Khalid. This was Lewis’s thesis they were advancing, at least the part about there being no anti-Semitism in Islam, that it’s completely a European export.
Can you imagine how Lewis’s ideas affect the prospects for Israel’s survival? He prevents people from seeing what’s in front of their eyes, namely the Muslim exterminationist Jew hatred that is in direct continuity from the Jew demonization that was central to Islam from the start, and that is explicitly stated by Muslims today, even in their official documents, such as the Hamas charter.
This program is up there with “Guns, Germs, and Steel” as a sickening work of anti-Western propaganda.
I have come to the conclusion that Bernard Lewis is not just a vain, deluded man. He is a bad man. Yet he continues as the intellectual god of the conservatives.
While the program describes Muslim treatment of Jews as mere “discrimination” and “inequality,” i.e., as garden variety prejudice which is nothing compared to the “real,” Christian anti-Semitism, the reality, completely untouched by the program, is that the Koran places an eternal curse on the Jews because of their rejection of Muhammad:
And humiliation and wretchedness were stamped upon [the Jews] and they were visited with wrath from Allah. That was because they disbelieved in Allah’s revelations and slew the prophets wrongfully. That was for their disobedience and transgression.The program also interviewed a young Saudi girl who said the Jews are “apes and pigs.” In the original interview, according to MEMRI, she was then asked where she had learned that, and she said, “The Koran.” That question and that answer were edited out of the broadcast program.
Also, to get a proper perspective the question of Christian anti-Semitism versus Islamic anti-Semitism, please read “Dissecting the lie that Christianity was more oppressive than Islam.”
Also read this recent reply to the idea that the Old Testament is just as violent as the Koran. As I show, the belief that that is true is sufficient by itself to cripple the West’s ability to defend itself from Islam, and so ensure our destruction. Lewis’s idea is of the same type: the belief that Islamic anti-Semitism really comes from Europe whitewashes Islam, makes Europeans feel guilty, and ensures continued European surrender to Islam.
Here is a letter sent by Jerome Gordon to the program’s producers, which has been forwarded to me:
Derek C. writes:
While I disagree with the sort of law that makes it possible, it is worth noting that Bernard Lewis was deemed a “holocaust denier” by the French court for saying that the Armenian massacres of World War I were not genocide, but merely the brutal byproduct of war—a patent falsehood if ever there was one. The same dishonesty exhibited by Lewis is, of course, present in other Western Islamophiles, like Karen Armstrong, John Esposito, and Juan Cole. They all tend to pooh-pooh the idea of Islamic oppression by following the same predictable formula: first, cite the Islamic “Golden Age,” second, point to Christian atrocities, and, third, say anything bad in Islam is really the fault of the West. Of course, they never cite the troubling Koranic verses you quote, for there’s simply no means of rationalizing these words away. Worse, they are contained in a book that is held to be divine and unchanging, in a book viewed by Muslims in about the same way Christians view Jesus Christ, another fact these “scholars” elide whenever possible.Paul Cella writes:
As I wrote last week, the proper comparison, for the sake of our liberals, is between the dhimma and Jim Crow: both were systematic designs of subjugation and humiliation. To say that under Islam, Christians and Jews were protected, is like saying that under Jim Crow, blacks were protected. The dhimma is Islam’s “peculiar institution.” I think the argument might carry some weight with our liberals.Andrew E. writes:
Paul Cella writes:LA replies:
To make an analogy between two things is not is to equate them. I think Mr. Cella would probably agree that dhimmitude is worse than Jim Crow. Rather, he was making an analogy between them based on the fact that Jim Crow was a legal, systematized system of subordination, organized for the benefit of the ruling group, something that is horrifying to liberals, and so is dhimmitude, and therefore comparing dhimmitude to Jim Crow would dispel the propaganda that dhimmitude was a form of “protection.” Mr. E’s main disagreement with Mr. Cella is that he thinks Jim Crow was moral and beneficial, to blacks as well as to whites, and Mr. Cella apparently doesn’t.Andrew E. replies:
I see how I may have overstated the case. I guess the key distinction that I needed to make is the difference between Jim Crow specifically, and the relationship between white and black in the South generally. Jim Crow was not the totality of this relationship whereas dhimmitude always means to be a complete formulation of the relationship between Muslim and non-Muslim. Should it have been legal to deny blacks the right to vote (among other things)? No. Was it moral, no. And the system was ultimately unsustainable. But it doesn’t hold that integration was a necessary part of removing Jim Crow. Again, I must refer everyone to Putnam’s book Race and Reason.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 09, 2007 08:50 AM | Send