Monday, January 21, 2008

Bat Ye'or refused 'right of reply' by Jerusalem Post

Following the publication of Mark R Cohen's article, "The New Muslim Anti-Semitism, featured here, The Jerusalem Post has refused to publish a response by the noted historian of dhimmitude, Bat Ye'or. To be precise, the Jerusalem Post said it would publish a letter from Bat Ye'or or even an 'original' 1,000-word op-ed, but not what the editor called 'an attack on Cohen'. (With thanks: Jerusalem Posts, Eliyahu)

Professor Cohen's article repeated what Dhimmiwatch called 'many politically correct and comforting historical fictions', including:

The flip side of the discriminatory regulations imposed upon Jews is that they (as well as Christians) were a "protected people," 'ahl al-dhimma' or 'dhimmis' in Arabic, who enjoyed security of life and property, religious freedom, freedom from forced conversion, communal autonomy, and equality in the marketplace. For all its religious exclusivity and hostility towards the Jews, expressed in the Koran and in other Islamic literature, Islam contains a nucleus of pluralism that gave the Jews in Muslim lands greater security than Jews had in Christian Europe. For other important reasons, too, Jews in the Islamic orbit were spared the damaging stigma of "otherness" and anti-Semitism suffered by Jews in Europe. They were indigenous to the Near East - not immigrants, as in many parts of the Christian West - and largely indistinguishable physically from their Arab-Muslim neighbors.

Bat Ye'or, the pioneering historian of dhimmitude, wrote this unpublished response for the Post:

In his article “The New Muslim anti-Semitism” (Jerusalem Post, January 2, 2006), Mark R. Cohen unfortunately provides nothing new on a subject that now involves a global jihad war and a genocidal threat. It merely rehashes a short-sighted article he published over twenty years ago, “Islam and the Jews: Myth, counter-Myth, History” (The Jerusalem Quarterly, n° 38, spring 1986) to which I wrote a rejoinder, “Islam and the Dhimmis” (JQ n° 42, spring 1987)

Read Bat Yeor's response in full (scroll down)

The Jerusalem Post editor replied:

Frankly, I don't know what there is to "respond" to as Cohen's piece was a carefully nuanced balanced essay which could have been written by Bernard Lewis. You may disagree with his argument that Christian Jew-hatred influenced Muslim Jew-hatred but he did not downplay the nature of negative Muslim attitudes toward Jews.

I found Bat Ye'or's response something of an intemperate rant ( her Jerusalem Quarterly rejoinder was much more measured). But the Cohen article was controversial, simplistic and even insulting. It needs a response.


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