Islamist Anti-Semitism Isn’t Based in Islam or Anti-Zionism, but in Hating Jews

According to one interpretation, anti-Semitism in the Muslim world is something intrinsic to Islam itself, rooted in Mohammad’s interactions with Arabian Jewry and a constant feature of Middle Eastern history. Others would argue that it is merely a reaction to Israel’s existence or behavior (perhaps even a justified one). In The Anti-Semitic Origins of Islamist Violence, Evin Ismail presents a sophisticated alternative to these painfully simplistic explanations. Daniel Ben-Ami writes in his review:

Ismail argues that anti-Semitism has played a central part in the Islamist outlook since its inception with the foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928. That is, it should be noted, twenty years before the founding of the state of Israel. So, seeing Islamist anti-Semitism as simply a reaction to Israel’s actions is not tenable.

Several factors contributed to the rise of Islamism and its anti-Semitism in particular. In the 1930s and early 1940s the Nazis promoted the Muslim Brotherhood as a counterweight to Britain—which then dominated Egypt—and France. Naturally the Nazis brought their poisonous anti-Semitic baggage with them. But even before the rise of the Nazis other pernicious European influences, most notably the The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, were having an influence on sections of Egyptian society.

Later these ideas would blend with other extremist Islamic tendencies, including a hostility toward Shiite Muslims, giving rise to the ideologies of al-Qaeda and then Islamic State (IS):

Islamic State took this anti-Shiism a step further by linking it to their anti-Semitism. It developed the idea that Shiites were not really Muslims at all but—astonishingly—undercover Jews, as they reject the true teaching of Islam. This in turn, in the view of IS, justified its systematic killing of Shiites in Iraq.

This is perhaps the most surprising example of the paranoid conspiratorial anti-Semitism that is central to the Islamist worldview. For example, IS—like most other Islamists—believes that America is controlled by Jews and Israel. It has also referred to Kurdish troops as representing “Peshmergan Zionism.” In addition, IS has claimed that Sunni leaders, especially monarchs, are “apostate rulers” who act as “the slaves of the Jews and the Christians.” . . . Jews are, from this warped perspective, engaged in an evil conspiracy against the entire global Muslim community.

Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, Islamic State, Islamism, Muslim Brotherhood, Shiites

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security