Monday, January 07, 2008

Did Nazis help create Muslim world's anti-Semitism?

Jeffrey Goldberg has a fascinating review of Matthias Küntzel's book, Jihad and Jew-Hatred, which traces a connection between the anti-Semitism espoused throughout the Muslim world with the propaganda of Nazi Germany. As Goldberg notes in his review: "The notion of the Jew as malevolently omnipotent is not a traditional Muslim notion. Jews do not come off well in the Koran — they connive and scheme and reject the message of the Prophet Muhammad — but they are shown to be, above all else, defeated... the dissemination of European models of anti-Semitism among Muslims was not haphazard, but an actual project of the Nazi Party, meant to turn Muslims against Jews and Zionism. He says that in the years before World War II, two Muslim leaders in particular willingly and knowingly carried Nazi ideology directly to the Muslim masses."

He notes that Küntzel shows that the Nazis helped fund the Muslim Brotherhood's establishment of a printing plant, which they used to circulate Arabic versions of Mein Kampf and The Protocols of Zion, a disgusting fraud of a book that's generally regarded as authentic in the Arab world today.

Goldberg correctly points out that Nazism alone cannot be blamed for the Islamic world's hatred of Jews. The religion itself and the leaders in the region (who are eager to use Israel as a scapegoat for their own problems) are obvious factors -- the seeds of Nazi hatred were sewn into fertile ground. But nonetheless, Küntzel seems to have established an interesting connection, and he rightly points to Hitler's fear-mongering of Jews as similar in type to the vitriol spewed in madrassas and by state-owned media today.

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