Sunday, June 04, 2006

Jews and Muslims Clash


My whole life, but particularly the last few years of my life, I have dedicated myself to unearthing the truth about the matters of the Earth, and it is here, my little corner in the Internet, where I share them.

I came upon this realization when I was driving one night a few days ago. Since America was established, and particularly in the last hundred years or so, Jews have grown quite comfortable in the States. America, being a Christian entity housing Jews the way that it does rightfully gives the Muslims of the Arab world the impression that the Jews and Christians have struck up an alliance. Therefore, Arab Muslims (and some Arab Christians) see themselves as fighting both Christendom and Jewry, rolled up nicely and tightly as Israel.

Christians aside, this is a war between Jewish and Muslim sovereignty of the holiest site of the Jewish religion and people. It is a declaration by Muslims that the only people whom have the right and obligation for sovereignty in the Middle East are the Muslims, which goes directly against the Jewish right and obligation for our sovereignty there. It is a clash of civilization, but not between the West and Islam, but between Judaism and Islam, and it's time that this clash be brought to the foreground and understood. This clash has been in effect for nearly 1,400 years, since Islam sprouted forth from the deserts of Saudi Arabia in the 7th Century and pushed its presence into the daily living of everything and everyone there.

Ultimately, and equally hard for many to swallow, it is a clash of respective value systems that each religion desires the world to embrace. The difference is how they go about this spread to occur. The truth is that Islam wants the world to embrace Islamic values and Islam. Judaism wants people to embrace G-dly concepts as well, but they are not necessarily Jewish concepts for Gentiles, for the Jewish understanding conceptualizes a world where Jews follow Torah and Gentiles follow a monotheistic ethical and Divinely communicated Law, which precedes the giving of the Torah. This is called the Law of Noach (Noah), or the Seven Noachide Laws. So there is a clash of values between Islam and Judaism; Islam wants all people to be Muslims and Judaism wants all people to be G-dly. This of course, means that Muslims can be Muslims in the Jewish view, but the Muslim view insists stubbornly that Jews must become Muslim, and it is the problem with Islam's supersessionist theology. In other words, there is no harmony in the world with Islam.

Ironically, Muslims regard Ishmael, Isaac's half-brother and the first born of Abraham and Hagar to be the progenitor of Muhammad and the Muslim religion. The Torah says that Ishmael will be made into a great nation as well, but that he will be a "wild ass of a man" and "his hand will be on everybody and everybody's hand will be on him." This is a strange thing for the Torah to say when today we see that Muslim groups are indeed acting out wildly and spreading hostility to many parts of the world, all the while attempting to dominate the functions of societies in which they live. Further, the extremism espoused by these Muslim groups has not been kept in check, neither from the outside nor the inside, and the extremist forms of Islam have slowly and surely leaked (as they have been for decades) to the average civilian population. What we see is an entire Muslim civilization being tainted by extremism; everybody becomes an extremist. We should nto doubt that such a thing can occur; we've seen both the mob rule of the South in America and the Nazi propaganda of Germany control entire populations.

Muslims are Noachides and pure monotheists, but they do not understand the concept of harmony between monotheists and therefore, there can only be peace when their paradigm is wiped out and replaced with something else. Does Islam really hold the key for G-dly harmony in the world? It seems that Muslim scholars have failed to advance such a proposition, something I feared was not possible for Islam years ago.

As an entity, Islam is quite predictable. A few years ago, and this is ingetrally related to 9/11, certain "rogue" Muslim scholars were attempting to moderate Islam without fudging its basics and without liberalizing it to fit the standards of other people. The truth is that, for a religion like Islam, with a vibrant and intellectual ability to meet the needs and challenges presented to its adherents given particular circumstances, through the work of its learned scholars it is able to direct and guide adherents in the proper direction. 9/11 served as an opportunity for Muslim leaders to present this crossroads to the Muslim people. I realized a few years ago that changes were beginning to occur in Islam and that only Muslims could affect the change and nobody from the outside. But the Muslim leaders never rose to the challenge, they never presented the crossroads, and it was the "outsider" Muslims, the liberal vagabonds who then took up the mantle to affect change in Islam. This left moderation and intellectual conceptualization of Islam's role in the world to Muslims other than the religious leadership. Since the religious leadership didn't take up this mantle, the calls for the necessary changes that had to occur within Islam were not recognized by mainstream Muslims and were immediately categorized as attempts to disparriage Islam from the inside. In other words, these Muslims were "self-hating Muslims," like Nonie Darwish, Walid Shoebat, Irshad Manji, and others.

The funny/sad/enraging irony here is that right wing Muslims had long been growing comfortable making alliances with left wing Jews; they were able to "see the good" in liberal Jews but only saw the demonic in left wing Muslims. In an act enough to drive a self-esteemed Jew to hysteric anger; they expected Jews, out of the kindness of their Jewish hearts, to espouse liberal opinions towards Arabs. They championed them as "good Jews" but were fickle and violent when it came to expecting or even accepting liberal opinions from their own brethren and sistren. The "bad Jews" were those Jews that stood up for Jewish rights, for example, to the State of Israel and to not give in to every Arab whim. It was always the bad Jews that were worthy of expulsion and murder, such as those Middle Eastern Jews living in Arab countries as the State of Israel was being established. All Arab Jews showing any support for the State of Israel's establishment were promptly, violently, and thorougly expelled from their (supposedly egalitarian) societies in 1948; even those not in support were expelled -- to belong to the people who did support Israel was enough. In the end, the good Jews suffered with the bad Jews, because of their identity and because one cannot gain respect from another after defending his enemy's rights time after time and neglecting his own.

More and more do we see how the Arabs take on the form of the Nazi's, but refuse to grant them this role because Muslim societies traditionally "aren't as bad" as the European Jew-hatred from which the seeds of the Nazi war machine grew into solid trees. Perhaps the dulled moral sensitivity many societies suffered as a result of the Holocaust only makes sense that another holocaust-type mentality of large proportions would be allowed to flourish later. It is not ironic nor an accident that it is occuring to the same people (the Jews, and to others, such as in Darfur), and BY the same people, "Arabized" Muslim Africans. Truly, Ishmael is bucking up, refusing any yoke. This type of martyrdom, the defense of the enemy, is not noble; it is self-righteous, self-hating suicide. Good Jew or bad Jew, in the end they all are not worthy of dignity, life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. Alright, so we're not exactly compromising to be seen as "three fifths" of a human being, but we'll at least try to haggle you up to four.

4 comments:

Down_with_the_dictatorship_of_illusion said...

An interesting post where a great deal of logical statements are made, and where a number of others are either base-less or weak in foundation. First, I'd like to agree with you to an extent on the status of the Muslim world and the integration of liberal Muslims. I like to consider myself a Liberal Muslim. I was born and raised in the United States and I have been back in the "Muslim/Arab" world for three years now. Liberalism is marginalized and the clerics seem to run everything, especially mass opinion. There is alot that needs to be done from within the Muslim body. To say the least, however, each people to their own problems, I can assure you that there are internal Jewish differences in opinion, conflict, etc. as there are in any socio/religious/ethnic/other group in the world. There is a mis-conception however to what you believe is the premise for Islamic global ambitions. You speak of the Jewish acceptance of "Noahic" belief in the one God of the universe and of those who follow Godly ways. This by far is not contradictory to Muslim thought. Islam came down as a universal religion, but was not sent down to dominate the universe-and here is where the misconception lies. In the Quran there is numerous mention of people of the book, (those who follow monotheistic religions that pre-date Islam, i.e. Christianity and Judaism-and more than one case the Quran mentions how we are supposed to treate the people of the book with consideration and kindness. These mentions not only illustrate the existence of the same concept of the monotheistic "Noahic" people, but of the acceptance of their existence. Judaism, in essence, to my understanding and correct me if I am wrong, did not come down as a universal religion, but is one that upholds the status of the "Chosen sons of Israel," or in other words the chosen sons of Jacob, peace and blessings be upon him. Islam on the other hand came down with a universal message, therefore it is on the Agenda of the Muslim body to spread the message, but it is not on the Agenda to dominate the World. It is very often argued around here, however, that the Jewish Agenda is exactly the opposite: No universal spreading of message, but universal domination- to argue this and actually believe it would be an over simplification and substantial grounds for great mis-understandings. How to explain Islamic extremism. The same way you would explain extremism in any factional group of the human race. There is a right wing on every spectrum. There is a phenomenon of Islamic extremism, no doubt, however, but I believe it is more a whim of military extremism in a politically unstable region of the world that is the basis of the phenomenon. It is not Islam that is the basis for the military actions initiated and stemming from the "Muslim/Arab" world, but it is the economic-political-and social chaos that people have to face in this region of the world that leads them beyond the point of no return, motivated by the utter helplessness of the masses to change any of the conditions they live in. Dogmatic religious stagnation-caused by the manifestation of clerics who either have a status to preserve or are head-locked in a religious establishment stagnated by political conditions- sets the basis for the religious justification of military estremism. This, however, does not necessarily mean that it is Islamic extremism that the world is witnessing-but it is a political vehicle of the un-empowered masses that is justified by religious dogma hence enabling the machine to proceed in action. This of course in its self does not give the phenomenon any form of sufficient analysis..but sets the grounds for the general concept. As for a clash of Judaism vs. Islam. I don't agree. It is a clash of interests between two-three groups that again stem from a religious base. it's almost six in the morning and I'm tired, I'd love to finish this another time however, :) shalom, salamz, and peace out.

jjew said...

First of all, thank you for sending this response, it’s awesome, not entirely agreeable in all places, but thought out.
I’ll only respond to what I don’t agree with.

You said, “You speak of the Jewish acceptance of "Noahic" belief in the one God of the universe and of those who follow Godly ways. This by far is not contradictory to Muslim thought. Islam came down as a universal religion, but was not sent down to dominate the universe-and here is where the misconception lies. In the Quran there is numerous mention of people of the book, (those who follow monotheistic religions that pre-date Islam, i.e. Christianity and Judaism-and more than one case the Quran mentions how we are supposed to treate the people of the book with consideration and kindness. These mentions not only illustrate the existence of the same concept of the monotheistic "Noahic" people, but of the acceptance of their existence.”

The difference between the Noachide/Mosaic paradigm and the pre-Islam/Islam paradigm is like this: there is no need for Noachides to “catch up” with the “new monotheism” of Judaism by converting to Jews. Jews, theoretically, according to the called-for religious dictates, believe that the Noachide Laws are the natural religious state of the world before Abraham lived and before the Torah was given as well. All Jews want from Gentiles is for them to follow the Noachide Laws. This is the reason why Judaism does not advocate conversion to Judaism, because it is unneccessary for a Gentile to be a Jew; all he has to do is be a Noachide. We don’t really advocate (loudly) conversion to Noachide Laws, because we are small, but I hope, G-d willing, that the day when we can will come soon. Until then, advocacy of Noachide Laws takes form when a Gentile wants to convert to Judaism; the Rabbi tells him or her first about the Noachide Laws.

If the paradigms were the same, the ideal of Gentiles converting to Judaism would be a fundamental of Judaism in the same way that Muslims feel that Islam is the final and universal fulfillment of G-d’s desires for humankind. If I’m not wrong, Islam originally accepted the validity of the pre-Islam religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Sabians), but soon found fault with them and proposed the remedy of Islam. If the paradigms were the same, Muslims would want Jews and Christians to be Jews and Christians, but part and parcel of the fundamentals of Islam is that the “original” texts were lost and replaced by “corrupted” texts. This would leave Jews and Christians to wander lost and with condemned status in religious confusion until accepting Islam. There is no such desire in Judaism for Gentiles to become Jews.
The reason Islam, as a religion and not a political force, rejects Jewish sovereignty in Israel, and the holy sites there, is directly related to the “condemned” status in which Jews flounder until they accept Islam. Their covenant has ended, and with that end also came the end to their rights to the Land promised to them by G-d. As a result, G-d revoked His covenant with them and handed over all the land to the Muslims, as the Umma, who have been appointed to safegaurd it. Indeed, there is no room for Jews as Jews where there is Islam. This is not intended to ignore the political difficulties Muslims face, but the Muslim resistance towards Jewish sovereignty dates back from after the lifetime of Muhammad to the subsequent years and until now. I recall that the Al-Aqsa Mosque was built by the Turkish Sultan Suleiman in the 15th century to establish a powerful Muslim presence there in response to Christian invasions. The Mosque was worked into the theological narrative of Muhammad’s ascent to Heaven, but many people know that the it has nothing to do with Muhammad’s lifetime. This makes me melancholy because I feel that I can never have proper access to our holiest site, the Jewish equivalent of Mecca.

You said, “Judaism, in essence, to my understanding and correct me if I am wrong, did not come down as a universal religion, but is one that upholds the status of the "Chosen sons of Israel," or in other words the chosen sons of Jacob, peace and blessings be upon him.”

That is true, but it is not about self-aggrandizment of the Jewish people, it is about our role in the world as the first monotheists, the descendants of Abraham, to bring about knowledge of G-d to the world. There were no pure monotheists then; humanity (again) descended to sin (the major one being idolatry) after the Flood, and G-d again needed to send messangers, which were the progeny of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. A one-pronged universal religion, like Islam, would have been insufficient then because the polytheists would not have accepted it. The world had to be broken out of the polytheism in which it had become entrenched before anything like a unified universal religion could flourish. Therefore, the role of the Jews was not to introduce and spread Judaism as the sole religion, but to enlighten people as to the true nature of G-d, and to spread the Noachide Laws (which they did with limited success, for many reasons). The Noachide Laws would fulfill the obligations of the Gentiles and the Torah would fulfill the obligations of the Jews. The pre-Islam/Islam pattern is not the equivalent of the Noachide/Torah pattern; the latter is eternal monotheistic co-existence of G-d-based religious laws, but which allow for the unique characteristics of the various nations of the world. This could not happen if all the nations, including Islam (which is not really a nation), were to be Jews.

You said, “It is very often argued around here, however, that the Jewish Agenda is exactly the opposite: No universal spreading of message, but universal domination- to argue this and actually believe it would be an over simplification and substantial grounds for great mis-understandings.”

I think that a lot of that is exaggerated fear and paranoia, the same kind of which many Jews are “guilty.” We attract a lot of attention, that is true, and it is improportionate to our numbers. This has made people afraid of us for a long time. Did you know that most people in the US think that American Jews make up about 20% of the population when we really make up about 2-4%? We are magnified.

You said, “Dogmatic religious stagnation-caused by the manifestation of clerics who either have a status to preserve or are head-locked in a religious establishment stagnated by political conditions- sets the basis for the religious justification of military estremism. This, however, does not necessarily mean that it is Islamic extremism that the world is witnessing-but it is a political vehicle of the un-empowered masses that is justified by religious dogma hence enabling the machine to proceed in action.”

Yes, yes, I agree! I can’t wait to see the changes begin to occur from the inside, which is the only place from which they can, and have thoroughly enjoyed certain “rogue” Muslims, like the ones I mentioned at the end of the post, speak out. I yearn to see Islam’s true potential rise to the surface as another religion of G-d and have for a few years now. I don’t believe in a liberalized version of Islam, I believe in a genuine version of Islam. As an “outsider” to Islam, I have no idea how the Muslim scholars will reconcile the internalized political hostilities of the Q’uran and the true essence of the faith. It is an identity crisis that the religious Muslim leadership will have to chizzle out on its own. There will be war until Islam realizes our, the Jews, (lasting) place in the Divine Scheme of things. This means sovereignty in Israel and access to Jewish holy sites without any intereference or violence from Palestinians, who, unfortunately, are an Arab/Muslim tool of domination; it has been forgotten by their own that they are human beings.

What is your name?

DEMAM_Waklu said...

After studying more and more about the Jews and their tradition i am getting the sense that actually observants yet non-fanatical jews can live with arabs particularly the muslim arabs in the middle east..there's no problem dealing with that because we share a quite similar traditions rather than our Christians fellow who claimed themselves as the protigy of the Jewish faith..(although i guess they are truely wrong)..

The only problem we have in this ongoing conflict is the emergence of Zionism movement which had been an obstacles in persuing peace control in the middle east yet at the same time the dawn of Islamic terrorism and extremism which i rather not to call them Fundemental Islamist because to become a true muslim you must learn the fundemental thing about islam in order not to be labeled by God as a Muslim by name..

These two groups of people should have reshape their ideas of individualism into collectivism and try to cooperate with one another because through the pious Ulamas-Rabbis-Sheikhs-Scholars who have the influence in their society can really mould the mentality of the people..

One more step toward reunification of this Abrahamic nations is the reenterpretation of the sciprtures into a more suitable and flexible context...the only problem that we're facing nowadays is the misenterpretation of the Holy Scriptures...We still use the old context and not to try to establish a more liberal context that can suits the present day situation...

Last but not least, we should be more tolerable and understanding between one another...that is the most common thing as a person living in a large society...

What would Abraham says if he sees us as his sons fighting with each other with no steps of reconcealiation...

jjew said...

I see three major points here:

1) Zionism
2) Reshaping our viewpoints
3) Reconciliation between Abrahamic nations

1) Zionism is not perfect, and I, who love Israel with all my heart and am a religious Zionist, understand the problems with it. You and I might not agree totally on what those problems are. The "bad side" of Zionism is that it is a secular ideology and does not want to be religious. Even if I don't like it, I still have to understand that I cannot change people who I want them to change, and that Zionism was a very important development for the Jews of Europe, who were being killed and needed a place to go. Since they were Jews, they went to Israel. Zionism, even though it was not perfect, was a step in bringing them back to their land. Now that they are there (and I was born in Israel), they have to start coming back to the Torah.

I have a question for you---- if the Jews in Israel start coming back to the Torah and believing in G-d, will you, as a Muslim, accept that it is OK for Jews to be in Israel with their own government?

2) I think that you are right that we need to use a more "liberal" context to understand the situation and allow for peace. We all have our own ways of doing this. For example, in the Torah, when King David was alive, sometimes there was peace between the Israelites and the other nations, and the other nations would come and sacrifice their animals in the Temple. Also, King David had control of a lot of land back then, and he controlled other peoples. As long as they agreed to the rules of the Israelite Empire, there was peace, and there was peace for a long time. This is the same as Jews living in Muslim countries; they had to follow certain rules. That's how I think it should be. Muslims should be allowed to live in (the State of) Israel and they should have religious, civil, and social rights, but they also have the obligation to accept that Israel is a state and that it is not going away. If and when they do that, I would be the first person to say that they should stay in Israel. Now, the Arabs (and Muslims in other parts of the world) also have to find a way to find the "right" liberal interpretation of the Q'uran so that they can make THEIR peace. What will it take for Muslims to say that it is OK to live in Israel and that Israel is a valid state?

3) You're right, Abraham would not be happy with how his children are acting. The Talmud, which is the Jewish Oral Law and is like the Hadith, says that Abraham's primary characteristic was "chessed," kindness. When Sarah told him to make Ishmael leave, he did not want to because he loved him, but G-d told her to. When Abraham died, and this is right in the Torah, it says that Ishmael and Isaac buried him together. The Talmud says that Ishmael also did t'shuva, that he repented and became righteous. However, the Torah also says that his descendants would make a great nation and that they would be wild and have tension with people (his hand will be on everyone, and everyone's hand will be on him). We already realize that we are family, and we already know that we have similar traditions, but that is not enough for peace, because families can fight. What we need for peace is for Muslims to accept that Israel is a land for Jews just like the entire Umma is a land for Muslims. If they have a hard time with this, then they can realize that Israel is .001% of the land in the Middle Eastl; why can't we have it? Islam stresses compassion, so they should have compassion and let us have it.

By the way, how did you find this blog? You can tell others about it too, so that there can be many conversations. Peace, Yaniv...