This was written by Greg Sheridan, the foreign editor of The Australian
A YEAR or two ago, I took a taxi from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. It was a brilliant sunny day and all around me the hills were green, as we passed a prosperous Arab village, a beautiful kibbutz, a bit of jangled traffic.
The taxi driver was English, an English Jew who had found a better life in Israel – better pay, less anti-Semitism, safer streets, an easy air commute to his daughter in England, but close to other relatives in Israel, and lots and lots of sunshine.
That day, a Roger Whittaker song was playing on the taxi radio. This Israel, I thought, there’s something beautiful here.
Let me offer you a couple of other images.
On the BBC website, a British journalist, neither Jewish nor Israeli, recounts this experience in Cairo:
“While walking in the street, someone pushed me from behind with such force that I nearly fell over. Turning around,
I found myself surrounded by five men, one of whom tried to punch me in the face. I stopped the attack by pointing out how shameful it was for a Muslim to assault a guest in his country, especially during Ramadan.
“Relieved that the assault was over, I was appalled by the apology offered by one of my assailants: ‘Sorry,’ he said contritely, ‘we thought you were a Jew’.”
Here’s a third image, this time from outside the Middle East. An acquaintance of mine, an American woman, neither Israeli nor Jewish, nor in any way connected with the Middle East, was helping to run an outreach program in southern Thailand involving Muslim and Buddhist students.
At the end, one of the Muslim students said to her words along the lines of: thank you, that was very nice. Much better than I expected. And the final sentence: “I’d never met a Zionist before.”
The key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and in the wider Israeli-Arab dispute, is the issue that dare not speak its name, the pervasive and profound anti-Semitism that permeates the contemporary Islamic world, especially the Middle East.
This is the real barrier to peace, and people who are concerned with peace will try to ameliorate it.
It is analytically false, historically untrue and conceptually impossible that all this anti-Semitism has arisen from Israel’s sins, real and imagined.
As Richard Cohen pointed out in The Washington Post last week, when Anwar Sadat was a young army officer in 1953, he was interviewed by Al-Musawwar magazine and asked what he would say to Adolf Hitler. His reply? “My dear Hitler, I admire you from the bottom of my heart”.
Read the rest of the essay, here.
- The Guardian’s “Palestinian Economics for Dummies”: Blame Israel (cifwatch.com)
- Lush: “We aren’t anti-Semitic”. (cifwatch.com)
- Guardian issues ‘progressive in good standing’ card to Carlos Latuff: racist and anti-Semite (cifwatch.com)
- Obama condemns Arab antisemitism in UN speech. The Guardian’s first reaction? Outrage. (cifwatch.com)
- Guardian live blog on Abbas’s UN statehood efforts quotes Palestinian waiting to “launch third intifada” (cifwatch.com)
Categories: General Antisemitism