Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) wrote an important piece for the Huffington Post this week pleading for the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, to make peace by uttering six little words: I will accept a Jewish state.
In many ways, Foxman puts his finger on the nub of the conflict between Muslims and the Jews of Israel. The root of Arab/Muslim rejectionism lies in Dhimmitude: the traditional lowly status of Jews under Islam. The master cannot stand the thought that his former underling now wants the freedom to run his own life.
Here's the money quote:
"It speaks to the long history of relations between Jews and Muslims through the centuries, a relationship that in many ways was better than that of Jews living under Christians in Europe, but was still characterized by a consistent Muslim belief in Jewish inferiority and second-class status.
"This kind of thinking suffused that part of the world, even when individuals or political parties were not Islamic in any way. It didn't matter if the ruler was pan-Arabist, Socialist, or otherwise secularist; even those of a non-Islamic bent shared pejorative notions about the Jews."
Israel, if it stands for anything in the Arab mind, is an assertion of Jewish equality. This is difficult for Arabs and Muslims to swallow under any circumstances, but particularly so because that assertion is being made in the heartland of the Arab world.Nowhere is the status of the Dhimmi better expressed than in this poem by Yvonne Green, whose ancestors lived in Muslim Boukhara, central Asia. After reading it, you might call into question Foxman's assertion that 'the relationship was in many ways better than that of Jews living under Christians in Europe':
Dhimmi under Sharia law says Jew or Christian gav neza, don't speak.
Dhimmi says mekhusham, be careful. Dhimmi says dar a bah, close the door.
Dhimmi says, even inside be on your guard. Dhimmi Boukharian grandchild can teach Europe how faster to bend the knee. I forgot in your schools, but now I am reminded.
Build your house lower than a Moslem's.
Wear yellow raiment.
Hang a cloth from your window to identify your home. If you get hit or insulted by a Moslem say thank you.
Don't ride a camel or a horse but an ass or a donkey and dismount if a Moslem approaches, for you are less than the khar, beast of burden. If a Moslem approaches step off the pavement, lower your eyes and bend your back before him.
Dhimmi says you may not bear witness against a Moslem, you must guard against any derogation from Isalm and be prepared for a beating as you pay your tax for protection.
Dhimmi says contain women, hide aspiration and wealth.
Reprise conversation with Hamdellela, if Allah wills it, and mashalla, thanks to Allah's will.
Dhimmi says move as one, pray as one, think as one.
Dhimmi says you must leave your face in the mirror of your protector's sect, you must think about inner or actual conversion, forced or pragmatic.
Dhimmi says you must infantilise your household and protect it with rubric.
From The Assay by Yvonne Green (Smith/Doorstop books - 2010)