Between Anti-Violence and Anti-Semitism

Şinasi Gündüz

Friday, March 19, 2010

Between Anti-Violence and Anti-Semitism


Those who have a conscience still feel the pangs when they consider the human drama being played out in Gaza. Young, old, babies, children, women, men, hundreds of people without discrimination are being murdered; those left behind are still imprisoned, as they have been for the last few years, by hunger, illness and desolation. They want those who are in the region, which is no better than a concentration camp, to die quietly; those who make noise are silenced with the most advanced weapons in the world. And the entire world - almost - is watching this quietly; many in fact are doing more than watching, but supporting this action. Those who raise their voices against this cruelty are immediately isolated, intimidated. Moreover, they are accused and imputed of a variety of crimes. The most common accusation is that of being anti-Semitic or encouraging anti-Semitism. That is, to criticize Israel's cruelty and barbarism, to raise one's voice against  such action, to express one's emotions is to be anti-Semitic or is to side with those who are anti-Semitic. So, what is this crime of anti-Semitism, which acts as the legitimization for the cruelty and aggression shown by Israel, an accusation that hangs like the Sword of Damocles over those who oppose the violence?

Anti-Semitism first appeared as a concept to describe the oppression and cruelty shown to the Jews and Judaism by the Christians in Europe and their prejudiced attitude towards the Jews from the Middle Ages on. The Jews who lived in the European Diaspora were transformed into "outsiders" or "others" by Christian Europe due to their Semitic ethnic structure and geographic roots, and thus the Jews were oppressed and abused. Europe in general, England in the 13th century, Spain in the 15th century and Europe in the 20th century ...the oppression and cruelty demonstrated towards a people, different in belief and ethnicity, came to be known as "Anti-Semitism". Here, I should state that the term Semite, particularly in Christian Europe from the 15th century on, referred to Jews who were descendents of the Semite people and those who held their beliefs; that is, descendents of the Israelites,. Otherwise, in a more general sense, the term Semite does not refer only to those who descended from the Israelites, but also includes the Aramaic tribes and their descendents, the Arabs, the Nebatis, and the Assyrians.

There are two important aspects of the concept of anti-Semitism. One of these is that which describes the reality on which the ostracism, oppression, violence and cruelty of Jews in Christian Europe was based - in which they were seen as deserving to be treated as outsiders; this reality is helpful in explaining the social situation and the mental makeup that prepared the ground for this reality in Christian Europe. According to this, the reason for this ostracism, the opening of holding and concentration camps, poverty and imprisonment to death, the confiscation of goods, property, and fortune was due to their belief and ethnic identity, that is all of this was based anti-Semitism. The second aspect of this concept, particularly after the second half of the 20th century, is the legitimization of the image of the Jews, both in Israel and throughout the world, as "wronged", "innocent" and "a people to be protected at all costs". In this context, anti-Semitism is a support base for Israel, a Jewish state established under the protection of England which has been given unlimited support by the Christian west, and it endows the aggressive Israeli policies with a form of legality. The concept of anti-Semitism, produced within the historical, theological and social tradition of the Christian West, legitimizes unlimited support to Jewish political and military institutions without the observation of any moral norms. The historical and social perception that is based on anti-Semitism is the fundamental basis for the thesis of the innocence and suffering of the Jews and the political and military existence of Israel. No matter how much this term implies opposition or enmity to Jews, the supporters of Israel interpret it to mean "opposed to Israel". Thus, every stance that is opposed to the political and military existence of Israel and her policies, every statement and every criticism will be labeled as anti-Semitic. Israel and her supporters will keep the concept of anti-Semitism alive, as Israel's existence and the unlimited support given to her by the Christian West are dependent on and in need of anti-Semitism.

عن أبي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه قَالَ:
قَبَّلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الْحَسَنَ بْنَ عَلِيٍّ وَعِنْدَهُ الأَقْرَعُ بْنُ حَابِسٍ التَّمِيمِيُّ جَالِسًا‏.‏ فَقَالَ الأَقْرَعُ إِنَّ لِي عَشَرَةً مِنَ الْوَلَدِ مَا قَبَّلْتُ مِنْهُمْ أَحَدًا‏.‏ فَنَظَرَ إِلَيْهِ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏"‏ مَنْ لاَ يَرْحَمُ لاَ يُرْحَمُ ‏"‏‏
God's Messenger kissed Al-Hasan bin Ali (his grandchild) while Al-Aqra' bin Habis At-Tamim was sitting beside him. Al-Aqra said, "I have ten children and I have never kissed anyone of them", God's Messenger cast a look at him and said, "Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully." (Bukhari, Good Manners and Form (Al-Adab), 18)

Title: Tracks from Neyzen Sadreddin Özçimi's album, Sufi Rhythms - Sultan-i Ask Artist: Sadreddin Özçimi