Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Egypt: world's most antisemitic country?

 Arab and Muslim states are world leaders in antisemitism, but last week's Egyptian court ban on the annual pilgrimage to the tomb of rabbi Abuhatzeira differed from the usual conspiracy theories enumerated by Yochanan Visser in Western Journalism: this was pure anti-Judaism. (With thanks: Eliyahu)
 The modern town of Damanhour

Last week, Israeli media reported that an Egyptian court had banned an annual Jewish festival in honor of Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeirah, a kabbalist who lived in the 19th century and who died in 1879 in Egypt on his way from Morocco to Jerusalem.

Each year, a ceremony is held at his tomb in the village of Damanhour, which has always been attended by hundreds of Jewish pilgrims. The annual pilgrimage came to a halt in 2012 after Islamists of Gamal Heshmat – a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot –  threatened to kill Jewish pilgrims.

The ceremony was previously banned by Egyptian courts in 2001 and 2004 after opponents filed legal challenges. The reason behind the complaints has always been the same: Jews would consume alcohol, and the sexes would intermingle at the site. This is a very popular stereotype of Jews in Egypt, which led to the cancellation of High Holiday services at the last remaining synagogue of Alexandria in 2012. Another charge is that the Jews will use these ceremonies as a foothold to retake Egypt.

Both charges are based on anti-Semitic (conspiracy) theories that are rampant in Egypt.
Anti-Semitism is a huge problem in Egypt. Journalist Michael Totten, who visited Egypt frequently, called it the most anti-Semitic country in the world.

Samuel Tadros, an Egyptian research fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom who did extensive research on the topic, concluded that one of the rare ideas that bind Egyptians is anti-Semitism.

Read article in full

No comments: