In 1862, the Lord Mayor of London hosted a dinner in honor of the visiting Grand Duke of Russia and among the invited guests was the famous Jewish philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore â€“ then Sheriff of London and President of the British Board of Deputies. The Grand Duke was a rabid anti-Semite and being true to his pathology, he could not let the moment pass without commenting to the Lord Mayor in a voice loud enough to be heard by the assembled guests that on his last visit to Japan, he noted that the country was unique in that it had neither Jews nor pigs! The assembled quests were clearly embarrassed, but Montefiore casually leaned forward and looking the Grand Duke directly in the eyes, replied, â€œWell sir, perhaps you and I should visit Japan â€“ that way, they would have a sample of each!â€
History tells us that the level of anti-Semitism in any society is a barometer of that societyâ€™s health. If so, I would say that the United States is in pretty good shape, that Europe is developing a serious case of Alzheimerâ€™s, and that the Muslim world is about as pathological as one could possibly imagine.
Four recent incidents have occurred that should be cause for concern. In early November, two suicide bombers attacked the two major synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey killing 24 persons who were attending a Bar Mitzvah. Last month, Joe Lieberman was hissed by an Arab-American audience in Dearborn, Michigan when he briefly explained Israel’s defensive wall in terms not unlike those used by Howard Dean and the other Democratic candidates. The problem was not so much what he said. He was hissed because he was a Jew. At about the same time, a Gallup poll was taken by the European Union to determine the countries that Europeans felt represented the greatest threat to international peace. Israel placed #1; America came in a close second.
Now understand, over the past decade, the North Korean regime has starved an estimated three million of its own people; established thousands of slave labor camps, developed nuclear weapons in violation of every agreement it has ever made, and is seeking to sell them to the highest bidder. North Korea has lobbed ballistic missiles over Japan, threatened a nuclear war of annihilation against its southern neighbor and supports itself primarily by dealing in drugs and counterfeit currency. And yet, 60% of Europeans regard Israel as more threatening than either North Korea or Iran â€“ the second largest funder of terrorism in the world next to Saudi Arabia. So, if ever there was proof that there was something sinister lying behind Europeâ€™s constant criticism of Israel and its support of Israel enemies other than pure anti-Semitism, this poll now answers it. Anti-Semitism has evolved from an irrational hatred or jealousy of Jews to an irrational hatred or jealousy of the Jewish State â€“ Israel.
Last month, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia summed up the world’s problems with his buddies in the Organization of Islamic Nations. According to the Prime Minister, Jews should be condemned for having invented (among other things) such concepts as human rights and democracy â€¦.. and then he added: “They and their ideas rule the world by proxy.â€
This is not a man who is especially interested in inter-faith dialogue. Yet, even his crudely anti-Semitic remarks aren’t the real problem. The real problem is that 57 other world leaders applauded him. A politician making such remarks about Jews at an international summit is a man with a problem. But when 57 Muslim world leaders applaud him, thatâ€™s a clash of civilizations because a mindset that dwells on the hatred of Jews and infidels leads directly to a rejection of Western values and Western civilization.
These four events should give us cause for concern because most of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world never even met a Jew. For example, there are 70 million Egyptians today, 95% of whom have never come within a mile of a Jew (unless they were in the Egyptian 3rd army that was surrounded by the Israelis in the 1973 Yom Kippur War in which case, they would have seen plenty of Jews under less than pleasant circumstances). But that aside, one of the highest-rated Egyptian television programs in recent memory was a 41-episode series aired last Ramadan on the Jewish conspiracy to take over the world and the methods used by â€œthat accursed, wicked race” to use Christian or Muslim blood to bake into their Passover matzos and hamantashin for the Purim holidays. It is amazing that the greatest hatred of Jews today exists in a country where only 28 Jews actually remain.
The 57 countries present at the Muslim Summit did not notice, however, that the Prime Minister was insulting them more than the Jews for he was addressing the leadership of a group of failed states whose total Gross Domestic Product constitutes less than the GDP of Spain. He was speaking to a collection of aging jihadists, dictators, kings and emirs who would probably be the only audience on earth to applaud the damning of Jews for establishing human rights and democracy. Ironically, these nations are hardly in a position to condemn human rights and democracy since they have never tried them! In fact, their only achievement has been that they have stolen their nations’ oil wealth and plundered the human capital of their own people. So, there’s something pathetic about a culture that is so ignorant and ill-prepared for the challenges of the 21st century that even its pathologies (like anti-Semitism) have to be imported from Europe.
Because the truth is, by not introducing human rights and democracy into their nations, the Arab/Persian world has doomed itself to live forever in the shadow of the greatness that was once the Moorish Empire of Spain. Bin Laden says he wants it back. The problem is, he canâ€™t deliver, and only the West can show him how. A thousand years ago, the Islamic Empire in southern Spain produced leaders, philosophers, mathematicians, chemists and astrologers who encouraged their followers to experiment and to challenge established norms; scholars who coined the terms â€“ Al-gebr-wa (or Algebra) and al-Kamiya (or Alchemy – the forerunner of chemistry); who created the first celestial map (check the names of the stars and note that many are in Arabic); who adapted Hindu numerals (now known as “Arabic numerals”) to mathematics, and who laid the foundations for the European Renaissance. Moorish Spain was the greatest economic and military power on earth, a symbol of the greatness of the Islamic world at a time when Europe was lost in medieval feudalism. In fact, the great Jewish doctor and philosopher Maimonides was a student who studied at the feet of Islamic scholars.
Today, that same Islamic world has descended into a stagnant cultural abyss whose social and economic development is about where Europe was in the 11th century. They are a sorry group of failed states that have not produced one single manufactured product of sufficient quality to sell competitively on world markets; whose national productivity is the lowest in the world with the possible exception of sub-Saharan Africa; whose capitals do not contain a single world-class university; and whose countries do not host a single true democracy that respects human rights, or permits a responsible media, or encourages the rights of women or minorities. So, for the leader of a Muslim nation to condemn Jews because they are the founders of human rights and democracy, and to attack them â€œas a People who thinkâ€ can only be perceived as a compliment by any sentient human being.
The Prime Minister is wrong when he says that Jews rule the world, but he is right when he implies that we have made a difference in it. The Arab Muslim world may weave conspiracy theories about Jews, and cover its newspapers with excerpts from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and stories of Jewish blood libels, but the truth remains that, as a People, the ideas and concepts that Jews formulated have changed the face of virtually every civilization known to Man â€“ and from a People who represent less than one quarter of one percent of the worldâ€™s population â€“ Iâ€™d say that was pretty damn good.
Ideas are the engines of history, so if the Arab Muslim world wishes to foster this cult of Jew-hatred, it is shortsighted if it believes that human rights and democracy are the only things that can be â€œblamedâ€ (so to speak) on the Jews. Truth be told, the Jews have contributed much more than that to mankind. In the pagan era, it was religion, in the Greco-Roman era, it was humanism; in the Islamic era, it was philosophy; and, in the modern era, the Jews gave the world the principles of theoretical science.
While Romans worked man and beast seven days a week until they died, it was the Jews who introduced the concept of the Sabbath and for this, they were condemned as heretics. From the Jewish prophets arose the concepts of the right to trial, the right to confront oneâ€™s own accusers and the right to present evidence on oneâ€™s own behalf. These principles were part of our culture from the time of Deborah and the Judges, a thousand years before the Common Era. These concepts were carried throughout the millennia by the Jews while what is now the Western world floated on a sea of superstition. From the Jewish people sprang a Jewish Essene who became the Messiah for Christianity. From the Jewish people came Saul of Tarsus, the organizer of the Christian church. Even the Mormons today claim they are the descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel. So, if the Arab-Muslim world chooses to wallow in self-pity and Jew-hatred, they should understand the whole picture.
Ask historians like Arnold Toynbee and they will tell you that, by all historical standards, the Jewish people should be footnotes to history. They should not exist today. Technically, they should have died out thousands of years ago with the Hittites, the Ammonites, the Canaanites and the Philistines â€“ their historical contemporaries. These great nations of antiquity left behind a record of their history in material things like tablets, monuments and ruins. But the Jewish people survived the eons of time because of the ideas they taught and continue to teach, and the impact these ideas have had upon other peoples and other civilizations. Unlike the ancient tribes, we have survived because Judaism contained the seeds of its own rebirth and evolved as the world changed. Alternatively, Islam has never had a Renaissance.
The Malaysian Prime Minister condemns Jews because (as he says) â€œthey think.â€ And because â€œthey think,â€ the Jews survived and prospered in Babylon, in the Hellenic world, during the Roman Empire, flourished in the Islamic era, emerged from a 1,200 year darkness known as the Middle Ages, and have risen to new intellectual heights in the 21st century.
But we have paid dearly for these contributions. In fact, if pain and suffering could ennoble, the Jews could challenge the aristocracy of any nation on earth. In their eagerness to eradicate all vestiges of Judaism from the world, the Nazis of yesterday and the anti-Semites of today forget that from the Jewish Talmud came the principles of tort law, trade regulations, civil damages, real estate, commerce, the principles of credit and negotiable securities, the sanctity of oaths, and the enforceability of civil contracts.
The Chinese have a saying â€“ â€œbe careful what you wish; it may come true.â€ So if the anti-Semites of the world are to condemn the Jews, let them imagine a world that is Judenrein â€“ a world without Jews. In the 1850â€™s, Jewish medical researchers argued that microorganisms caused contagious diseases; laid the foundations of modern heart therapy, bacteriology, clinical pathology, and endocrinology. It was the Jews who suggested serum immunity for contagious diseases, who pioneered the chemistry of muscles, and who made blood transfusions possible through the discovery of different blood types. It was Jewish scientists who measured the distances to the stars in the heavens, who contributed to the study of the internal combustion of stars, and who discovered the planet Uranus. It was Jewish chemists who created the modern chemical and dye industries; who worked out the theory of atomic valences; developed molecular theories; classified organic compounds based upon their molecular structure; determined the composition of chlorophyll and the role of enzymes in the chemical processes of life.
The anti-Semites want a world that is Judenrein, but it will cost them. Let them remember that it was Jewish physicists who delineated the theory of relativity; discovered the photoelectric effect; and discovered gamma rays that now scan for weapons of mass destruction in the millions of foreign cargo containers that arrive each day into America from foreign ports. It was Jewish physicists who isolated isotopes; worked in electron kinetics and pried open the secrets of the atom.
If Jews are to be hated for these contributions, than they must be hated for all their contributions. In the 20th century, Sigmund Freud lifted the lid off manâ€™s mind, and with psycho-analysis revolutionized manâ€™s concept of himself, and the relationship of mind to matter. Three hundred years earlier, Baruch Spinoza was outcast and excommunicated because he pried philosophy loose from superstition and mysticism, and opened the path to rationalism and modern science. Albert Michelson discovered the speed of light and won Americaâ€™s first Nobel Prize in 1907. Selman Waksman isolated streptomycin. Casimir Funk discovered vitamins. And Jonas Salk introduced polio vaccine that saved my life when I was a child and billions of other since then.
So to the anti-Semites of the world, I say beware what you wish, for this world would be a lesser place but for the contributions of the Jews. In truth, these contributions pale in the face of the contributions made by scientists of other faiths, but these contributions are no less significant when one takes into account that they come from a religious/cultural group of negligible size.
Jews are hated by the bin Ladenâ€™s, the Khaddafis, the Khomeinis, the Assads, the Ahmedinejads, and the petty dictators of the Arab Muslim/Persian world not because of who they are, but because of what they have achieved. Jewish heritage has always respected learning and education, has always imparted justice, and has always taught its doctrines in abstractions, and never absolutes like the jihadists whose greatest “contribution” to mankind has been to restore the pagan ritual of human sacrifice (suicide bombers) to the modern era. So if the bin Ladens of the world believe that by murdering Jews in synagogues, buses, restaurants and Passover Seders, they are killing their ideas, they are wrong.
In the early 1980s, a letter appeared in the Colorado Gazette Telegraph which is not a Jewish newspaper nor was the author of this piece Jewish. It was written by a World War II veteran in response to some anti-Semitic graffiti that was scrawled on the walls of a Denver synagogue. The graffiti consisted of a swastika and under it was written the words â€“ â€œJews Go Homeâ€, and it went like this……
â€œJews Go Homeâ€
Well thereâ€™s nothing really new in this. Youâ€™ve heard it all before. But suppose, just this once, you took the advice of these people, and actually packed your bags and left for parts unknown. Before you go, would you do me a favor?
Would you leave your formula for Salk vaccine behind? After all, you wouldnâ€™t want my child to die from polio would you? And would you leave your genius for science and physics and mathematics behind because if it wasnâ€™t for your Einsteins, your Fermis and Steinmetzs, we would be looking up from our chains to see a happy, aging Hitler drive by in one of our Cadillacs.
And would you leave your talent for humor and music and entertainment behind because Iâ€™m not too sure that I would want to live in a country where you werenâ€™t here to share your genius with us.
You see if you go, if these foolish people force you to leave, then freedom goes with you, democracy goes with you, and everything my buddies and I fought for in World War II goes with you.
So when you go, would you do me a favor? Would you slow down in front of my house and honkâ€¦â€¦because so help me God, Iâ€™m going with you too.â€