WE ARE ALL CRUSADERS. WE ARE ALL JEWS.
By Paul Merkley.
The key to the mystery of the Muslims’ unappeasable contempt for the Jews is in Muhammad’s teaching that it was the Jews who initially were responsible for the failure of his whole neighborhood to give up everything they had previously believed and to adopt his teaching, holus bolus, then and there.
This circumstance, according to the Qur’an, proves that the Jews are irretrievable liars, deceivers, incapable of belief. In Sura 5: 41-43 we read: “The Jews [are] men who will listen to any lie. . . . [I]t is not God’s will to purify their hearts. For them there is disgrace in this world, and in the hereafter a heavy punishment. . . . For they are not (really) people of Faith.” This indictment stands today at the heart of the Muslim-Jewish relationship.
A corollary to this teaching is that, to the extent that the world still abstains from embracing Muhammad’s teaching this is ultimately attributable to the perverse resistance of the Jews.
The Failure of the Christians to Accept the Final Messenger From God.
Muhammad, of course, would have preferred that the non-Muslims surrender and submit. Then peace on earth would ensue, the lion would lie down with the lamb, and we should all be governed as Muhammad governed his flock. But the non-Muslim world inexplicably and perversely resisted the Prophet – who then gleefully put himself at the head of armies dedicated to liquidation of the enemies of Allah. Allah gave the best possible assistance to Muhammad’s campaign by mandating the looting of all the worldly wealth of all enemies of Islam, as reward for attachment to his cause.
Muhammad expected that the fundamental frailty of the pagan societies that flourished in this time would be quickly exposed, as pagans met against armies that were motivated by the message that he carried direct from Allah. Likewise, he anticipated that opposition from the Jews and from the Christians of the Arab lands would be more difficult to overcome.
While the Jews who lived in Arabia in Muhammad’s time were liquidated within a few decades of Muhammad’s lifetime, the Christians were a more formidable force. In Muhammad’s time, the dominant political authorities throughout the Middle East were several Kingdoms that all professed a form of Christianity but had no love for each other. Sadly, the matters that had made them into enemies of each other were grounded in ancient theological issues – various explications of the relations between and among the three Persons of the Trinity – matters that few of Muhammad’s contemporaries could understand and that few church-going Christians today can even give names to.
The major objects of Muslim conquest during the Seventh to Eleventh Centuries were the provinces of the Byzantine (Greek Orthodox) empire. The Byzantine masters had administered a system based upon segregation of the various religious communities, with steep divisions of privilege and opportunities. In this empire, Jews had been a severely persecuted minority, while the people belonging to the Eastern Orthodox churches had lived under great restrictions. As each of these kingdoms succumbed to the armies of Allah, the Muslims now stood where Orthodox Christianity and the Greeks had stood, while those Christians whom the Greeks considered unorthodox and therefore deserving of subjection now shared a common lot with the Jews. It took several centuries before the last remnants of these Christian kingdoms succumbed — with the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
The Renewal of the Crusader Empire in Our Time.
Then, after another four hundred years, the political contest between Muslim potentates and Christian Empires took on new life in the 18th and 19th centuries – when Britain and France, collaborating in on-and-off fashion with the Americans, began whittling away at the edges of the Ottoman Empire, the last Muslim Empire.
A great irony of modern history is that while the political influence of the Europeans and the Americans was growing steadily in the Middle East, the prestige of Christian religion and of the Church was rapidly evaporating in the ranks of European politicians and cultural elites. Still, Muslim preachers and Muslim politicians ranted that Muslim people had become mere hewers and drawers of water in the world that had originally belonged to Islam but was now in danger of being lost forever once again to the Crusaders.
Because Muslims think fundamentally in theological terms, this reality got reduced to a powerful slogan – that it is Christianity that is oppressing the Muslims, and therefore it has become the task of Muslims everywhere to suppress any and all presence of the churches anywhere. This is the basis for the profound hostility towards Christianity that is at the heart of all efforts of all Muslims to return their world to the rule of Allah.
Crusaders and Jews.
Related to this thinking, is the thought that Christians are such hateful opponents of Islam because and to the degree that they are infected by the Jewish spirit. And so we have another irony: that just as the churches’ theologians were seeking to deny their origins in Judaism and as Christian political activists were enrolling in the cause of anti-Zionism, Muslims everywhere were insisting that it was their captivity to Jewish thinking that made them irreconcilable enemies of Allah.
There is powerful link between Muslim condemnation of the Jews today and the general Muslim indictment against European Imperialism — one that escapes secular critics among us – those who avert their eyes from theology and the history of theology. The enemies of Israel do not make any distinction between those Christians whose attitudes towards Israel are founded in theology and those whose attitudes are (as they imagine) “strictly secular” — any more than the Nazis distinguished between secular Jews (Jews who were in revolt against the religious foundation of Judaism) and observant Jews (Jews who included religious fidelity in their definition of Jewry.)
A major lesson from the history of the Holocaust is that the enemies of Jewry, when they look at the friends of Jewry, see absolutely nothing that distinguishes those friends who imagine that their thinking is secular from those who imagine that their thinking is embedded in religious faith. In the Universities, in circles where public opinion is shaped by elites, when the enemies of Israel hear a positive word spoken on behalf of Israel they hear one monolithic voice: It is the voice of the Zionist enemy, the oppressor of the Palestinians, the Jew.
For many decades before Israel came into existence in 1948, a noisy donnybrook went on within the camp of those Christians who favored the Restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land; it was about whether we should base our support for Zionism on “religious” or “secular” premises. It seems to me that today we no longer have any choice about this matter. Christians who imagine that they can distance themselves from the wrath that the anti-Zionists have in store for the Jews, the sons of pigs and monkeys, are exactly repeating the error of those Jews of the 1930s who believed that they could avoid the wrath of the Nazis by distancing themselves loudly from traditional Judaism.
Since anti-Zionism came into the world as the updated version of ancient anti-Semitism, the option has been taken away from Christians of separating themselves from Islam’s judgment against Zionism, which has quietly morphed into the judgment against “tools of imperialism, enemies of humanity” and which figures in documents emanating from the United Nations.
Those Christians who imagine that they have endeared themselves to Muslim and to secular enemies of Israel — voluntarily entering into the Manichean worldview of Islam, marching under the banner of anti-Zionism, promoting BDS and other programmes intended to wound Israel and lay her prostate before her enemies – are deceiving themselves. Christian Zionists, Christian anti-Zionists, Secularists and Believers – we are all Crusaders, we are all Jews, to them.