Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Other Cohen Gets Real About Anti-Semitism in the ME

While Roger Cohen writes one fatuous NY Times column after another about the Arab revolts, refusing to mention the elephant in the room, Richard Cohen, in the Washington Post yesterday, asked, Can the Arab world leave anti-Semitism behind?


"During World War II, the leader of the Palestinians lived in a Berlin villa, a gift from a very grateful Adolf Hitler, who clearly got his money's worth. Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem and as such the titular leader of Muslim Palestinians, broadcast Nazi propaganda to the Middle East, recruited European Muslims for the SS, exulted in the Holocaust and after the war went on to represent his people in the Arab League. He died somewhat ignored but never repudiated.



A reminder of what ME children are learning.

"Husseini might have been a Nazi to his very soul, but he was also a Palestinian nationalist with genuine support among his own people. The Allies originally considered him a war criminal, but to many Arabs, he was just a patriot. His exterminationist anti-Semitism was considered neither overly repugnant nor all that exceptional. The Arab world is saturated by Jew-hatred.


"Some of this hatred was planted by Husseini and some of it long existed, but whatever the case, it remains a remarkable, if unremarked, feature of Arab nationalism. The other day, for instance, about 1 million Egyptians in Tahrir Square heard from Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an esteemed religious leader and Muslim Brotherhood figure whose anti-Semitic credentials are unimpeachable. Among other things, he has said that Hitler was sent by Allah as "divine punishment" for the Jews. His al-Jazeera program is one of that TV network's most popular.


"I have read the assurances of scholars and journalists alike that the Muslim Brotherhood has mutated into the Common Cause of Egypt (Jordan, too) and that its anti-Semitism is merely an odd and archaic quirk, like the anti-fluoride positions of some American conservatives. I hope this is the case. But in truth, I put more faith in the staying power of anti-Semitism than I do in the forecasting gifts of my colleagues. If they are right, wonderful. If not, we all have something to worry about." 


Read the rest here. His conclusion, that now would be a "propitious time" to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian problem, though overly optimistic, if not delusional, at least he understands that, "... resolution of the Palestinian issue will not satisfy anti-Semites or extreme Arab nationalists - Israel is not going to give up all of Jerusalem nor, for that matter, disappear - and both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza have only been emboldened by recent events."

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