The Perception of the Jew in Muslim Arab Society

This essay appears in the Fall 2005 issue of the Jewish Political Studies Review, the first and only journal dedicated to the study of Jewish political institutions and behavior, Jewish political thought, and Jewish public affairs. An excerpt:

The Palestinian religious, academic, and political elites teach an ideology of virulent hatred of Jews. The killing of Jews is presented both as a religious obligation and as necessary self-defense for all humankind.

Palestinian Authority elites have built a three-stage case against Jewish existence, much as a prosecutor might build a case demanding a death sentence. As their expert witness, they bring Allah Himself, Who is said to have sent a message through the Prophet Muhammad that killing Jews is a necessary step to bring Resurrection. Stage 1 is characterized by collective labeling of Jews as the enemies of Allah, possessing an inherently evil nature. Stage 2 teaches that because of their immutable traits, Jews represent an existential danger to all humanity. Stage 3 presents the necessary solution predetermined by Allah: the annihilation of Jews as legitimate self-defense and a service to God and man.

“It was always my wish to turn my body into deadly shrapnel against the Zionists, and to knock on heaven’s doors with the skulls of Zionists.” — Reem Riyashi, 13 January 2004

The day after twenty-one-year-old Palestinian terrorist Reem Riyashi read these words for her farewell video, she murdered four Israelis in a suicide terror attack. She, or those who wrote the statement for her, believed that her act would guarantee her entry into heaven.

It will be demonstrated here that Palestinian religious, academic, and political elites are teaching an ideology of virulent hatred of Jews. The killing of Jews solely because they are Jews is presented as a religious obligation, necessary not only for Muslims and Arabs but as self-defense for all humankind. Palestinian Authority (PA) elites have systematically built a three-stage case against Jewish existence, much as a prosecutor might build a case in court to demand a death sentence. As their expert witness they bring Allah2 Himself, Who is said to have sent a message through the Prophet Muhammad that killing Jews is a necessary step to achieve world redemption through Resurrection. Stage 1 is characterized by collective labeling of Jews as the inherently evil enemies of Allah. Jewish traits are portrayed not as negative behavior that can be improved, but as the unchangeable Jewish nature. Stage 2 teaches that because of these immutable attributes, Jews represent an existential danger to all humanity. Stage 3 presents the necessary solution predetermined by Allah: the annihilation of Jews as legitimate self-defense and a service to humankind. This inculcation began well before the outbreak of violence in September 2000, and continues in 2005 under the new Palestinian leadership. These findings are based on eight years of analysis of teachings and statements by PA elites through television, radio, and newspapers and are representative of a much greater body of similar material conveyed in the PA-operated or strictly controlled media. This constitutes the Palestinian leadership’s message to its populace. Numerous arrests and disciplinary beatings of Palestinian journalists by the PA’s security forces have been documented. It is too early to judge whether the Mahmoud Abbas regime will permit press freedom. So far, on no issue has there been an exchange of a broad range of opinions that is indicative of change.

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