Little Green Footballs

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"The Muslims made us do it!"

Jim Henley's Unqualified Offerings has been covering the fake 'Iranian Nazis' story and makes a lot of great points over many posts. One that stuck out is this one.

So spare me all talk of what Muslim countries did in the Middle Ages. Shut up about the history of “dhimmitude.” We, my ancestors and countrymen, my forebears and confreres in “Western Civilization,” could show those Caliphs a thing or two about Jew-hatred. Indeed we have. Some of the “dress code legends” defenders have gone so far as to claim that the Nazis got the idea of special identifiers for Jews from the Muslim world. But European countries - the ones that permitted Jews at all - have a contemporaneous history of dressing Jews funny. The Nazis needed to look no further than the history of their own cities.

This is not to say that religious minorities don’t suffer persecution in contemporary Muslim societies. It’s not to say that the contemporary Arab and Muslim obsession with Israel is benign or reasonable. It’s not even to say that that obsession has not led to a generalized antisemitism among many Muslims. They do. It’s not. It has. But the reference to “dhimmitude” is an attempt to inflate real, concrete contemporary problems into something deeper and less tractable. A fake story about Iranian clothing laws gets played up as the New Nazism; then, going one better, Muslim history is alleged to have inspired the Nazis in the first place. This is simple demonization. It has one purpose, which is to make the demonized easier to kill. It probably has a secondary purpose too: to excuse ourselves for our own appalling history of Jew-hatred and Jew-Murder. The Muslims made us do it.

1 comment:

dawud al-gharib said...

remembering discussing the same issue with one 'pablo'; remembering the conversation shutting down as soon as I asserted that things went way, way, worse in the European and Western world for Jews than they ever did in the Muslim world - not only didn't get a (coherent) argument, I remember DaveRay mentioning something about how evidently I was mistaking LGF's interest in 'FauX-history' with an interest in what happened in history...

ah well, if we're going to go the 'crispy critters' route, demonization all around - muslims may be able to 'live down' to the negative stereotypes expected of them. On the other hand, if humanity and civilizational interaction didn't shut down somewhere in the 14th century, humane dialogue ought to be starting - say, with or the like...