ARABS AND JEWS - A Sad History

By Shlomoh Sherman
(September 1993 - On the peace accord between Rabin And Arafat)

People have asked me what I think of the current "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. So I will attempt an answer here.

First I wish to make a broad statement which is that I am not at all optimistic about this "peace". The leopard does not change his spots. Arabs do not like Jews, period. They especially do not like Jews when the Jews are in a position of power. They find it very hard to tollerate. They are used to beating and killing and raping Jews with impunity. That they can no longer do it is very disturbing to them.

Unlike most of my friends who are now enraged at Israel and cursing her leaders for what they call Israel's betrayal of the Jewish people, I am not angry at Israel. But I AM very saddened by these events because I realize that they have several implications, the greatest of which may be that the Temple Mount will not be under our control during my lifetime. And if I feel any sense of betrayal, it is not on the part of Israel but more so on the part of history. History has betrayed Jews as usual, that same history over which G-d Almighty CLAIMS to have sovereignty.

Most non-Jews are not aware of the interaction between Jews and Arabs throughout history so they do not understand the current situation in the Middle East. They tend to see it in the context of the past 25 years rather than in the context of 1100 years.

Before the appearence of Mohammed, the Arabs were an insignificant pagan people living inside their penninsula. Actually they were not "Arabs". There was no such thing as an Arab nation. There were clans and tribes of people who simply inhabited the Arabian penninsula. Very early (no one konws exactly when), a Jewish diaspora was formed in that penninsula. A century before the appearence of Mohammed, there were three centers of large Jewish population on the Arabian penninsula; in the kingdom of Yemen, and in the two large cities, Medina and Mecca. The non-Jews who inhabited the penninsula had a superstitious pagan religion but they had an oral tradition that they were descended from Abraham through Ishmael.

During this time, an overwhelming feeling of religious discontent swept over the penninsula. This may have been aided by the presence of Christian missionaries. At any rate, Christianity never made any great inroads among the native population. However Judaism did. The tribes of the penninsula felt a kinship with the Jews through their ALLEGED common "racial" origins. Many of the ideas inherent in Judaism were attractive to the tribes, especially the idea of the SABBATH and the belief in one G-d. During that time, many of the tribes of the penninsula experienced mass conversions to Judaism. But the mentality of these people remained tribal and their loyalty remained first and foremost to the clan and the tribe rather than to the idea of any greater unity as a people united by a common religion. So they remained apart from each other as tribes who professed Judaism.

When Mohammed appeared on the scene in the 7th century, he first conceived of the idea of the unity of the Arab People under the dominion of the Supreme Being he called Allah (G-d). He identified Allah with the G-d of Israel and saw himself as the Prophet of Allah. Mohammed spent a great deal of time in the company of Jews and from them he learned the stories of the TORAH, and he adopted some of the ideas of the TORAH such as avoiding eating animals that were considered defiled and also avoiding making any physical representation of Allah. Ultimately Mohammed approached the Jews of his city and said he wished to convert to Judaism. He also promised the Jewish leaders that he could persuade his fellow "Arabs" to become Jewish too if only the Jews would recognize him as a prophet.

At first, there was a minority of Jews who were willing to go along with him even though they considered him a madman. But Mohammed had a strong charismatic personality and people were attracted to him. The Jews clearly recognized him as a man who could lead the people of the penninsula to monotheism. But very shortly, Mohammed demanded more. It would not be enough for the Jews to proclaim him a prophet. They must proclaim him THE GREATEST PROPHET THAT EVER LIVED, EVEN GREATER THAN MOSES! The Jews realized that if they did this - if they acknowledged his superiority to Moses, then he would arrogate to himself the right to change the TORAH. This they could not allow. So they rejected him entirely as the meglomaniac that he appeared to be. This enraged Mohammed no end. Subsequently he claimed to have received a revelation from Allah that he was indeed the superior prophet of all time but that there was no need for him to become Jewish. Instead he would spread the true religion of Allah, Isalm. The word means "surrender", and his mission would be to cause all peoples to surrender to the will of Allah - Islam, and any who would not do so were to be compelled by the sword, for infidels were an affront to Allah.

Mohammed declared himself Allah's champion and filled his "revelations" with calumnys against the Jews, the people who had rejected him. He declared that the Arabian penninsula was "only big enough for one religion" and gathering a following by promises of glory and booty in the name of Islam, he declared war upon the pagans and the Jews. At this time, the Jewish tribes of Arabia could have stopped him if they only could have unified against him but their petty tribalism kept them apart and allowed Mohammed's small and growing army to overwhelm them. With each victory, larger and larger numbers of Arabs rallied to him. He was the first to give them a sense of unity as one people under Allah. He told them that the mission of the united Arab people was to subdue the entire world under the rule of Islam. Within a very short time, the Jews of Arabia were either killed or driven off the penninsula (except in the furthermost southern part - Yemen). Arabia was to remain virtually JUDENREIN for ever after that.

Within a few years, Mohammed felt his forces strong enough to sweep out of Arabia and subdue the world for Islam. First he attacked North Africa and very quickly he subdued and Arabized it, completely destroying the Roman Christian civilization that existed there. Then he turned his attention to the Land of Israel. IN the year 635, he attacked and subdued Israel and Syria, driving out the Roman Byzantines. The Romans had ruled Israel for more than 500 years. In all that time, no one could dislodge them. Yet they completely buckled under the attack of the Arabs against whom they were unprepared. Islamic zeal proved to be greater than Christian zeal and the Land of Israel become an Islamic possession.

When Mohammed came to Jerusalem, a Byzantine church stood atop the Temple Mount. The Arabs destroyed it. Eventually they built two mosques on the spot. Those mosques, on the site of the Temple of Solomon, are still there today. They are an affront to every authentic Jew in the world. There are radical groups in Israel who have vowed to blow them up. That is likely never to happen.

In less than 100 years, Mohammed and his Arabs conquered Egypt, Israel, Syria, Babylon, Persia, parts France, and parts of Spain. In all of these lands, a chief aim of the Islamic Arabs was to convert the Jews to their religion. In most cases, the Jews chose death over forced conversion. It became apparent to the Moslems that they were not going to be as successful with the Jews as they had been with the Roman Christians. This made the Moslems even angrier with the Jews than they had been before. Shortly therefore, the Moslems instituted a law known as the Pact of Omar. The idea of the pact was to show the Jews just how inferior they were to Moslems. Jews were forbidden to openly criticize Moslems and Islam; they were not to prevent one of their number from converting to Islam voluntarily; they were taxed heavily; no new synagogue could be built and the ones that already existed could not be higher than any mosque in the area; they could not ride on horses, only on mules; they could not carry weapons; they were to wear clothing that showed them to be Jewish and not Moslem; they were to wear a yellow patch on their sleeves and a yellow head-covering. Later, the Christians thought that these ideas were very worthwhile and imposed them on the Jews living under THEIR jurisdiction.

The center of world wide Jewish learning and culture had been Babylon. The Moslems forced heavy taxation on that Babylonian community and economic hardship followed. Jewish life became difficult in Babylon and Persia. The Jewish communities, which for many centuries had been viable and contributed to the non-Jewish communites around them, now declined thorugh emmigration and poverty. The great Talmudic academies of Babylon shut down. Intellectual life in Babylon suffered because of harsh Islamic rule. After Islamic rule had successfully destroyed Jewish life in the East, the center of religious and academic life for Jews shifted to Europe, notably to Spain, France and Italy. All this occured by the year 1000 when Christian Europe was preparing to begin its own war against the Jews.

In the 15th century, Turkey became the leading Islamic power in the world. The Turks soon become the masters of "Palestine", the old Roman name for the Land of Israel. By that time, the Crusades and complete Moslem mismanagement of the Land had caused it to lose its fertility and its economic viabilty. The Land became virtually depopulated. Christians and Jews went there on pilgrimages but the Turks refused to allow Jews to settle there. They did not wish the appearence of the Land to change from that of a thinly populated, sleepy land because they believed these conditions added to the PICTURESQUENESS of the Land for pilgrims. They continued to let the Land deteriorate. They cut down most of the forrests in the Land, giving it the barren look it had until 1948 when the Jews gained control of it and reforrested it.

Those few Jews who DID move to Israel were harrassed by the local Arabs for no other reasn than that they were non-Moslems. But in the areas of Israel where Jews were successful in establishing small colonies, the economics of the area improved. By the 16th century, colonies of religiously mystical Jews from various parts of Europe had established footholds in several areas of Palestine, notably in Galilee, even in the face of Turkish Islamic opposition.

By the 19th century, the Jews of Europe (except Russia) had become largely emancipated politically. This was an age of growing secularism. The Jews of Europe had every reason to believe that in the new age of enlightenment, old religious animosities would die. They might have. But the animosity of Christian Europe to Jews did not die, even with secualrism. The hatred just changed forms from a religious hatred to a secular one. After several "incidents" and outbreaks of violence against Jews in several parts of Europe, it became apparent that Europe would never be a hospitible place for Jews to live. At this time, several prominent Jews conceived of the idea of a new Jewish home in Palestine.

Palestine was largely uninhabited; it was a health nightmare, barren in the south, a malarial swampland in the north. The Moslems, by their neglect and mistreatment of the Land, had allowed it to become one big ruin in which few people lived. Thus in the late 19th century, various Jewish groups from Europe appealed to the Turks for permission to emigrate to Palestine. The Turks allowed several small Jewish colonies to be established in the worst, the unhealthiest parts of the Land. The Jews who settled in Palestine worked hard and cleared the Land and once again made it a viable place to live. Their success was resented by the local Arabs who harrassed them, and attacked them. The Turkish rulers did little to protect their Jewish residents even though it was the Jews who were increasing the economic viability of the Land while the few Arabs living in Palestine were contributing nothing to its improvement.

As the Jews of Palestine began to make it an economically viable place to live, that growing economy attracted more Arabs from the surrounding countries to immigrate into Palestine. The Turks never put limits on Arab immigration. The Turks even brought large numbers of Moslem Bosnians to live in Palestine, giving them free land while they made the Jews pay dearly for every acre. These transplanted Arabs and especially the transplanted Bosnians became the so-called Palestinians of today. They claim that they have lived in Palestine uninterrupted as descendants of the Canaanites. That is nonsense. They have a presence in Palestine of less than a century.

The First World War began. Turkey entered the war on the side of Germany. That proved to be a mistake for them. The British decided to take Palestine away from the Turks, and to stoke up Arab nationalism to get the Arab tribes to help drive out the Turks. In December, 1917, the British marched into Jerusalem and hoisted the Union Jack. Palestine was now officially an English possession; part of the British Empire. The British had succeeded in taking divided Arab tribes and welding them into a fighting force, promising them land for their loyalty. Indeed the British allowed them to set up "kingdoms" in Arabia, Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq (Babylon).

The British also promised the Jews that Palestine would be set apart as the Jewish homeland. Arab nationalistic demogogues spoke out against that plan. They claimed that Palestine had always been part of the Moslem world and as such, there could not be a non-Arab, non-Islamic entity controlling it. The Arabs began to cry out against the establishment of a large Jewish community in the Holy Land. They claimed that the Jews were going to defile their holy places and destroy the Moslem religion there. This was projection, pure and simple. What the Arabs had done to others, they now feared the Jews would do to them.

The Arabs also had an ally in their antipathy to the return to Jews in a position of power in Palestine, - none other than the European Christian missionaries who felt that it was "theologically incorrect" to have the Jews return to Israel in power without having accepted the Christian messiah. It cut across religious lines. Neither Protestant nor Catholic clergy cared to support the Jews in the Zionist movement. Not only were they antipathetic; they were outrightly hostile. Added to this was the openly growing hostility of the British colonial and military officialdom in Palestine. The English began to want to hold on to Palestine as a colony from which they could defend the Suez Canal. They began to show outright resentment towards the Jewish population of Palestine. What galled them most of all was that here they were not dealing with some brown or black skinned backward natives, but a people culturally their equal.

Sensing these potential sources of sympathy, the British government AND the hierarchy of the various Christian religions, the Arabs began to act. Their actions took two forms, protests and pogroms. Arab leaders encouraged violence against the peaceful and productive Jews in Palestine. In 1920 and 1921, a series of riots broke out in Jerusalem and Jaffa. These culminated in the killing of innocent Jews. The Arabs had always referred to the Jews as WALIDIN AL MUT - "children of death". The meaning was that, unlike other peoples, the Jews did not possess an army with which to defend themsleves. Therefore they were easy prey, to be attacked and killed whenever Islamic blood lust arose. However, these riots of 1920 and 1921 were the last time that Palestinian Jews allowed themselves to be attacked ithout retaliating. The British did not protect them so they decided to form self-defense units and protect themselves.

The English government grew frightened at the rise and increase of violence between Arab and Jew in Palestine, and they sought to appease the Arabs by giving them areas of land equal to what the Jews had bought and owned, thereby showing the Arabs "even-handedness" which they hoped would quiet them. The plan had the opposite affect. It hardened the Arabs in their antipathy towards the Jews by making them feel that the British were "on their side". The more the Arabs acted out, the more the British tended to appease them by becoming openly hostile to the Jewish community and renegging on promises to create a self governing Jewish community in Palestine. Nevertheless the Jewish community there continued to grow in strength during the 1920s dispite all odds and dispite Arab terrorism and British antipathy.

In 1929, the Arabs called for and effected a country wide riot against the Jews. The city of Hebron was made JUDENREIN. Every Jew living there was either killed or driven out by the Arab population. Amazingly, the British placed the blame for the riot on the Jews, saying that the increase in the Jewish population in Palestine had frightened the Arabs because the Jews were "buying up too much land!" The British then recommended that Jewish immigration and Jewish acquisition of land be curtailed if not stopped altogether.

There were some far sighted British officials who pointed out that the growing Jewish population was accompanied by a rise in the economic growth of the country and that the Arabs were benefitting thereby, but this was ignored. The colonial administrators wrote to the home office in England and the British Prime Minister, Ramsay McDonald, declared that there would be no Jewish homeland in Palestine.

During the 1930s, as the Nazis came to power, they began to court the malcontents among the Arab leadership, and they succeeded in gaining the Mufti of Jerusalem as their staunch ally because they promised him that when Germany went to war with Britain and won, the Germans would rid the Arabs of every Jew in Palestine. The Mufti now openly encouraged acts of Arab terrorism against both Jew and British in Palestine. In 1936, there was an open Arab insurrection against the British. The British put it down but instead of rewarding the Jews for their loyalty, the British CONTINUED A POLICY OF ARAB APEASEMENT at the expense of the Jews of Palestine, their only trustworthy subjects in the Land.

In 1939, the British government announced that it would not permit any further immigration of Jews into Palestine without Arab consent. In that very same year, the Nazis launched World War Two against the allies and against the defenseless Jews of Europe. The European Jews needed Palestine as a haven where they might escape the Nazis - but the Arabs protested against the immigration of any Jew into Palestine no matter what the reason, and the British acquiesed, in the full knowledge that they were signing the death warrant for hundreds of thousands of Jews, including children.

From the time that the war broke out to the time of its conclusion, there existed in Palestine an entity known as the Jewish Regimental Infantry which fought on the side of England against Germany. The Arabs remained neutral, on the sidelines, hoping that Germany would win the war and help them get rid of the Jews. Yet in spite of this, the British continued to disallow any Jew to enter Palestine. So six million people, who might otherwise have escaped, were trapped and killed by Arab-British collusion. When the war was over, the United Nations mandated that the British leave Palestine and that two independent states, one Arab and one Jewish, be set up in Palestine. The Jews immediately agreed, even though they had been initially promised the ENTIRE LAND OF ISRAEL ENCOMPASSING BOTH SIDES OF THE JORDAN. They were willing to give up land for peace, even a Land which they believed had been granted them by Divine will.

The Arabs felt differently. They wanted the entire land for themselves and the Jews driven into the sea. This was their stated goal. They announced that when the British departed, they would attack and kill the Jews or drive them out. The Arabs of Palestine also recieved the promises of miliatary aid from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt.

On the day that the British left Palestine in May, 1948, these four countries attacked the Jews of Israel. However, before they attacked, they disallowed their Palestininan Arab brothers from declaring the Arab state that the UN had mandated. Instead they told the Palestiniam Arabs to "get out of their way" so that fighting and killing the Jews might be all the more easier. Getting out of the way meant that the ARAB COUNTRIES ENCOURAGED THE PALESTININAN ARABS TO LEAVE PALESTINE AND BECOME REFUGEES FOR THE DURATION OF THE WAR WHILE THEY TOOK CARE OF THE JEWS! Many Palestinians, believing that their Arab brothers would destroy Israel quickly, did leave the Land for refugee camps in the surrounding areas. Israel fought off all their Arab "neighbors" and the Arabs kept the refugees in their camps for decades as propaganda pieces in their psychological war against the Jews.

When Israel declared itself a sovereign state and won the war, the American State Department urged President Truman not to recognize the Jewish State for fear that doing so would cause the Arabs to give America a hard time regarding the sale of oil. However Truman ignored their advice and recognized Israel, and luckily so. Within days, the entire Communist block recognized Israel as a hostile political gesture against England and the Christian West. It is ironic. The Churches that talk about being "spiritual Jews" ignored Israel. The godless atheistic communists gave aid to the new Jewish nation! Stalin must have been laughing very loud that day!

Meanwhile Jordan moved in and occupied the area of Palestine which was to have been the Arab state. That area included the cities of Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus (Shechem), and Old Jerusalem. No one protested. Jordan annexed that area. No one protested. The Arabs of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) were treated as second class citizens by the Jordanians. They were forbidden three basic rights - they could not build or attend universities in the West Bank, they were not allowed to possess drivers licenses because none were issued in the west bank, they were not allowed to build factories or learn a trade. No one protested. There was no anti-Jordan movement. There was no intifada. There was no negative press. These things awaited a more benevolent Jewish occupation.

From 1948 to 1956, the Arabs kept up an incessant war against Israel and refused to sign a peace treaty. There were constant attacks against Israel from Syrian and Jordanian territory, and from the Sinai dessert. Israel never raised it as an issue at the UN. The Arabs imposed an economic boycott against Israel which many European countries and American companies caved in to.

In 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal. The British reacted with anger and fear. They instigated the Israelis to join them in a war against Egypt, promising them English aid if Israel would join them. Israel saw this as an opportunity to get the Egyptians off their back. They would capture the Sinai so that Egypt could no longer use it as a base of attack against them. Indeed they succeeded in capturing the Sinai and neutralizing the Egyptians while the British seized the Suez Canal. It was to no avail. America, fearing the loss of oil (there we go again) decided to punish Israel by forcing them to give back the Sinai under threat of UN retaliation if they didnt. America did not even allow Israel to try to negotiate a peace treaty with Egypt before withdrawing. The Arabs saw this as further confirmation that they could boldly do whatever they wanted to do regarding Israel so long as they had and sold oil. So the countries of the Christian west continued to act as oil whores at Israel's expense.

The Arabs continued to speak of ultimately destroying Israel and killing and raping the Jews. The UN had stationed troops in the Sinai after 1956 to keep Egypt and Israel from attacking each other. In 1967, Naser, the then president of Egypt ordered the UN troops out and he blockaded the the Gulf of Aqaba, preventing Israeli shipping from leaving or entering the Red Sea. One of the things that the Egyptians had to promise in order to have the Israelis withdraw from Sinai was that it would allow Israel to use the Suez Canal. It went back on its word and refused Israel the right of its use. No one protested. Not one Christian nation. The Vatican said nothing. The Protestant churches said nothing as Egypt and Syria declared was on Israel in May, 1967, and vowed to kill all the Jews. Israel got Jordan to promise not to come into the war that they knew was coming. Yet on the eve of the war, when the Gulf was blockaded and the UN troops were gone, King Hussein got on the radio and told his Palestinian people to kill the Jews whereever they could be found. No one protested. Not one government; not one church of "spiritual Jews".

Again, Syria, Jordan, Egypt stood ready to attack Israel. Only now, in 1967, their Soviet supplied weapons were far superior to what they had in 1948, and now they also had the backing of the Iraqis and the Saudis with money and manpower. It looked really bad for Israel because NO ONE WAS PROTESTING, NOT EVEN THE GREAT UNITED NATIONS.

In the last days of May, Israel launched an air attack against Egypt and a ground attack against Jordan and Syria. In 6 days, Israel pushed their enemies back across the Jordan River, the Sinai Dessert, and the Golan Heights. Old Jerusalem fell into Israeli hands. Israel was now in a posiiton to expell all Arab trouble makers, including the murderers wo instigated the Hebron masacre of 1936. They were still alive and the Israelis knew who they were. Israel was in a posiiton to take back the Temple Mount. It was in a position to annex Judea and Samaria. It didnt do any of those things. It asked for peace from its defeated enemies. Thats all. The Arabs refused. They still, after 1200 years, were unable to accept a non-Islamic, a Jewish entity, in their midst. Even in defeat they continued to talk about "carrying on the war against the Jews until every Jew is pushed into the sea."

In 1968, an Islamic conference of world-wide Islamic religious leaders was held in Cairo to discuss the Arab-Israel conflict, especially its theological significance. Several philosophical points emerged from that conference, namely, "that the Jews are the enemy of the human race", that they are condemned to wander forever over the face of the earth with no land of their own, that the Jews are determined to exterminate the inhabitants of Palestine as part of their religious duty, that the Jews are money-hungry and immoral, that the Jews are and have always been anti-Muslim by nature, and that ultimately, by Jihad, the Muslims shall prevail and destroy the Jews. These are just some of the issues that were discussed at the conference. That in the modern era, that in the 20th century, leaders of a recognized religion with millions of followers could hold such a conference and give serious credence to such things is incredible. The contrast. The Catholics held Vatican II to try to bring about some sort of harmony. The Moslems held the Cairo conference to bring about dissention. The nature of the beast.

For the past 27 years, the Arabs have done everything in their power to destroy Israel despite the realities that they cannot do so by war, either psychological, economic, or military.

The 1990s are only 4 years old and they have brought about new realities that even the Arabs cannot ignore:

Their feelings, and the the feelings of Moslems in general remains the same - the Jews are devils, but they are strong devils - obviously stronger than Arab devils ...

Arafat shook hands with the Jews. The world is so happy now. Thousands of Arabs world over would love to see Arafat dead because of selling out to the Jews; there is now a contract on his head. From today's New York Daily News: "Jericho today - Haifa tomorrow... In the West Bank town of Shilo, farmer Shmuel Ashknazi put down his hoe and watched the historic signing on TV from his neighbor's trailer. 'I can't look at this', he said. 'It's like seeing Rabin make peace with Hitler.' ... In Damascus, Palestinian refugees shook their fists. 'Revolution will continue until victory is achieved', said Ahmed Jabril, a leader of a rival PLO faction, promising 'armed struggle' against Israel - and Arafat."

I am older than many of you reading this, old enough to remember when modern Israel came into existence, in 1948, after the Jews of Palestine fought for their lives, just 3 years after the Holocaust, old enough to remember a time when there was no Jewish country, and the Jews were at the mercy of Nazi Germany who killed them, and at the mercy of Christian America who shut her doors to Jewish children fleeing the ovens.

For 19 years, Jordan ruled East Jerusalem and turned Jewish tombstones into lutrines. No Jew was allowed entry to worship at the Wailing Wall. The world, including that world of "spiritual Jews" was content not to speak out against that situation. Christians did not care that Jews did not control Jerusalem. In fact, they were happy about that. After all, Jesus said that Jerusalem would be under the domination of the gentiles until the time of the gentiles was finished. Who wants the time of the gentiles to be finished? Not gentiles! Jews don't accept the Christian messiah. They don't deserve Jerusalem. And all those Jewish young people who died defending Jews' right to live in Judea and Samaria, what of their sacrifice? And when the Arabs gain control of the West Bank, what then? Do they ask the Jews to get out? Jews can live in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania but not in Bethlehem, Israel. Jews can live in Jericho, Long Island but not in Jericho, Israel. Its so sad.

So in the end, everybody is tired and beaten down; even the victors. In the end, the Prime Minister of the Jewish state shakes hands with an Arab murderer with the blood of Jewish women and children on his hands. And the oil will flow.

And the gentiles are happy, at last, until the next Arab demand.

But I am sad.

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