Saturday, December 03, 2011

US Ambassador to Belgium on anti-Semitism

This is getting attention currently. Here is the key paragraph:
A distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Gutman said. He also argued that an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty will significantly diminish Muslim anti-Semitism.
I don't know what is worse, the ignorance or the tendency to blame Israel. It is true that Arabs and Muslims are disseminating anti-Semitic propaganda as part of the conflict. This propaganda draws on "traditional" Western anti-Semitic patterns, themes, and texts, as well as the "traditional anti-Semitism" that the Muslim world pretty obviously harbors on its own, such as the "rocks and trees" hadith that appears in the Hamas charter and in Yusuf Qaradawi harangues.

A peace treaty might eventually eliminate some of the milder incitement and it might appease some of the more moderate leftists--and that's making the questionable assumption that the conflict would abate at all. More immediately, a peace treaty would also provide a grand occasion for Muslim and Arab anti-Semites to denounce the peace treaty itself as the latest and greatest Zionist plot. The backwardness that makes the Arab and Muslim world susceptible to demagogues and conspiracy theorists is not going away any time soon. In fact, the success of Islamist parties in recent elections suggests that the problem is going to get worse before it gets better.

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