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Hitler quotes will not help the Palestinians

Publication Date : 22-07-2014


As a Muslim and a supporter of the Palestinian cause, I find the collective indictment of the entire Jewish race for the war crimes of Israel deeply disturbing.

Skim through the comments section of any major online paper and you will invariably find hundreds of sickening anti-Semitic insults targeting Jews.

These slurs are occasionally peppered with cherry-picked verses from the Quran, misinterpreted and taken out of context to claim that Jews are the eternal enemies of Islam.

Most disturbing of all is the citation of alleged quotes by Adolf Hitler and veiled praise for the Holocaust.

Most of such crass anti-Semitism is rooted in the conflation of Judaism with Zionism.

Zionism is a political ideology, which, although a product of a particular Jewish tradition should not be equated with Judaism.

This fact has been stressed repeatedly by anti-occupation Jewish activists across the world who are struggling to reclaim their religious identity and faith from the deafening Zionist propaganda.

In the global Jewish community, there is great diversity with regard to stances on Israel, where some doggedly advocating an end to Israeli occupation and apartheid against Palestinians and still others insisting on dismantling the Jewish state altogether.

We, as Muslims, should understand better than anyone else the injustice of attributing a singular nature to a global religion and demonising a community based on the actions of a sub-set.

Is it too much to expect that we extend the same courtesy and understanding to those of another faith?

By indicting all Jews for the Zionist occupation of Palestinian lands, we do a gross injustice and risk alienating the many religious and secular Jews across the world who have joined hands with Palestinians in opposing Israeli policies.

Jewish Voice for Peace is a prominent voice of dissent in the US and is composed of activists who are inspired by Jewish tradition to work against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

Its advisory board includes rabbis, writers, actors, teachers as well as public intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and Judith Butler who have risked the ire of their community to speak out against Israeli atrocities.

Independent Jewish Voices in Britain, Canada and Australia are examples of other Jewish groups seeking to wrest control of the Jewish narrative away from the Zionist lobby.

Many of the most scathing pieces on the Israeli apartheid that manage to find their way into mainstream western media are authored by Jewish writers like Max Blumenthal and Norman Finkelstein .

Within Israel, there is a small but significant group of activists protesting the occupation of Palestinian lands. Let’s not damage the Palestinian cause by pushing away some of its most outspoken allies.

Equating Judaism with Zionism, painting all Jews in the same light and invoking misplaced religious references to condemn the entire Jewish community distorts the reality of the Middle East and reduces the conflict to a simplistic Jews vs Muslims binary.

Those invoking the spectre of the Muslim ummah up against the much vilified Jew would do well to remember that the daily plight of those living in Gaza is compounded by the Egyptian blockade of the strip.

Palestinian refugees in countries like Lebanon and Egypt face major discrimination when it comes to employment and accessing basic government facilities like free education.

A recent open letter calling for a military embargo on Israel signed by six Nobel peace laureates as well as many notable figures from across the world was not endorsed by a single Muslim recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

And let’s not forget the role played by our very own Mard-e-Momin Zia ul Haq in butchering thousands of Palestinians in Jordan during the Black September offensive in 1970-71.

The Palestinian crisis is a complex ethno-religious political conflict over land and resources.

Reducing it to merely a religious clash deflects attention from the violation of the human rights of Palestinians and plays into the hands of Israeli propaganda which claims that the sole reason for Arab opposition to Israel is the Arab hatred for Jews.

Moreover, resorting to anti-semitism delegitimises the Palestinian cause and actually strengthens the very popular Zionist strategy of branding any criticism of Israel as anti-semitism.

Making vile references to Hitler only makes it easy for the pro-Israel lobby to deploy the Holocaust to amass sympathy and support for its theft of Palestinian land.

The people of Palestine have been struggling for dignity and sovereignty for 66 years. Let us help our brothers and sisters through prayer, aid, advocacy and education on the Palestinian perspective.

The Palestinian people have truth on their side. The last thing they need is Hitler quotes screeching ‘Death to all Jews’ on the internet!

As pointed out by a popular meme doing the rounds of Facebook these days, you don’t have to be Muslim to support Gaza. You just have to be human.


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