"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Friday, December 08, 2006

The logic of hate

I was listening today to an NPR interview with Robert Satloff, author of a book on Arabs who helped Jews during the Holocaust. The transcript, they say, will be on their Web site shortly. What struck me was not that some Arabs, mostly North Africans due to the ebb and flow of World War II, showed such courage and selflessness in hiding Jews from the Nazis. There is good in everyone, and heroes from every race involved in the struggle have been found and documented. What hit me in the gut was that the heroism of those Arabs seems to actually be an embarassment to their descendants.

In the case of one family, the story has been retold so that it was not Jews but German soldiers escaping capture who were helped. In some others, the story is simply dismissed as untrue or, if true, not to be discussed in polite company. No stratagem is left untried to minimize or deny that Arabs, who are Muslims, helped Jews. This phenomenon is clearly part and parcel of the general effort in the Muslim world to deny or minimize the Shoah. Satloff offered the inescapable and chilling explanation for that.

It goes like this: if the Shoah really happened as Western historians say, then there is a clear need for a Jewish homeland. There is indeed such a homeland: the state of Israel, which exists on land that the Jews possessed long ago. But that entity is illegitimate, and there can be no need for what is illegitimate. Therefore, the Shoah didn't really happen as Western historians say. If the Jews did suffer during that war, they suffered no more than anybody else and less than some. It doesn't matter that the very word 'genocide' was coined to describe what the Nazis sought to do, and nearly succeeded in doing, to the Jews. That genocide is a myth.

The logic is impeccable. Like that of the textbook paranoid schizophrenic who believes he's Napoleon, it is utterly unconfused by the facts, which are systematically interpreted to support the basic premise. But in a way, it's worse than schizophrenia. For the premise doesn't need such support. It is supported by the Muslim presumption that any and every inch of land once gained for the House of Islam—even the sliver known as the Sha'aba Farms, disputed between Israel, Syria, and Lebanon—forever belongs to the House of Islam, so that any non-Muslims who come to rule it are usurpers. Sweeping the whole Shoah business under the rug is a logical epicycle that doesn't so much establish the premise as defend it, half-consciously, from reality. The result is a hate that is stronger than love of family, never mind love of virtue.

This is a case where religion breeds hate. We in the West are not unfamiliar with that, to be sure. But the Shoah taught us that the anti-Judaism which had plagued Christianity from its very beginning was morally unacceptable. There is no excuse either for anti-Semitism, which would include Arabs and others as well as Jews. The Muslim disease about Israel is a sign that that religion needs a similar wake-up call. One wonders whether they will ever hear it.
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