Between Jews and Moslems

Tens of thousands of Moslem rioters around the globe successfully proved the point of the caricature in a Danish paper of Mohammed with a bomb-shaped turban. The “religion of peace” has been seized by those bent on death and destruction. Moslem demonstrators in London carried placards reading: “Behead those who insult Islam;” “Prepare for the REAL Holocaust;” “Europe you will pay, your 9/11 is on the way.”

Easily enraged Moslems resemble a surly teenager – insults waiting to happen – with the difference that there are millions of them. For them life itself is an insult, as they are forced to confront daily the failure of Islamic societies wherever they look.

In response to an Iranian offer of a prize for the most offensive Holocaust cartoons, Islamic wits in Holland published a cartoon of Hitler in bed with Anne Frank over the caption, “Write this in your diary, Anne.”

By responding to the perceived insult to their religion by giving even greater offense to others, these Moslems showed themselves incapable of grasping the basic principle of democratic society: mutuality, i.e., the acceptance of one set of rules for all members of society. They did not attempt to formulate arguments based on reciprocal tolerance and respect. Nor could they, given the stream of vicious caricatures of Jews from the Islamic press.

Why do so many Moslems naturally respond to insult with threats of murder and why is democratic tolerance so foreign to them?

From the moment Islam swept out of the Arabian peninsula, it was a religion of conquest. Military success became associated with divine favor, and the expansion of Islamic rule a religious imperative. The reversal of those early triumphs over the last five hundred years is thus a continual affront not only to Moslems but to their god.

Traditionally, most Moslems have had little experience living with people of other creeds, except as rulers, and thus little interest in rules that allow people of different views and faiths to dwell together in relative harmony.

Jews, by contrast, have lived everywhere as a small minority for 2,000 years. Unlike both Christianity and Islam, Judaism never sought the conversion of mankind under its banner. Nor did it teach that eternal life is limited to its adherents.

Jews have never equated worldly success with Divine favor. Over two thousand years ago, the Men of the Great Assembly declared G-d’s gvura to be that He withholds His wrath, even as the evildoers celebrate in His Temple (Yoma 69b).

Our attitude to our persecutors was one of disdain rather than murderous rage. We trusted that G-d would not forget innocent blood shed in His service, and left vengeance to Him rather than being consumed by hatred.

These historic attitudes explain why Jews do not react to caricatures of their beliefs, even by their co-religionists – think of Shulamit Aloni’s characterization of Yehoshua as a book of genocide – with the rage, and why they have adapted so well to democracy.

Originally published in Maariv, February 15, 2006

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4 Responses

  1. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Well said. I know Muslims who view things differently, but unfortunately they are silent. It is the loud ones that everybody hears.

    think of Shulamit Aloni’s characterization of Yehoshua as a book of genocide

    Is it wrong to say that? Yehoshua 6:21 ” כא ויחרימו, את-כל-אשר בעיר, מאיש ועד-אשה, מנער ועד-זקן; ועד שור ושה וחמור, לפי-חרב.” – isn’t this genocide?

  2. HILLEL says:

    Mr. Rosenblum:

    I don’t agree with your analysis.

    The reason we don’t react more vigorously with direct action when we are affronted is that we are a small vulnerable minority and we, ourselves often lack sufficient zeal and commitment to our religion.

    Witness the weak and failed response of our Orthodox community in Israel to the planned desecration of Jerusalem by Homo/Lesbians from all over the world this past summer.

    Mayor Lupolianski went through the motions of objecting to the parade, but there was no vigorous protest as there was to the Gaza “Disengagement.” It was all perfunctory and routine.

    The Muslim “cartoon” worldwide protests have succeeded in stopping many editors from publishing any further derogatory cartoons. Many publications have put into place self-censorship rules in this area.

    So, we failed to defend the Kedusha, holiness, of our holiest city, while the Muslims succeeded in defending the honor of their founder.

  3. Harry Maryles says:

    I’m glad they are showing the true face of Islam this way. Islam is a primitive religion that values life about as much as their idol worshipping, child sacrificing ancestors did. It is time to stop tiptoeing around it. Saying that Islam is a religion of peace that was hi-jacked by radical terrorists is just not true. Islamism is just the military arm of Islam. Zarqowi, Bin Ladin, Hamas, Hezbolah, Islamic Jihad, the cutthroat insurgents in Iraq, the murderers of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, The Islamist regime in Iran, and all those Muslim fanatics violently protesting all over the world, the Mullas preaching and teaching children how to blow themselves up for “the cause”… It’s endless and it all adds up to one thing. Islam has declared Jihad…war on the world and nothing will stop them… short of victory. They need to have a crushing military defeat at the hands of the US. Iran needs to go down in flames. Once they see that they are in danger of annihilation, they might crawl back into their complacent holes where they belong.

  4. Charles B. Hall, PhD says:

    There ARE Muslim leaders who value democratic tolerance. See for example But we’ve been financing his
    ideological opponents by buying so much oil from the middle east.

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