The Islamophobia Myth

Is there another people on earth against whom their murder, rape, and torture arouse enmity rather than empathy?

There has been an undeniable surge in antisemitism over the last few decades that has far outstripped prejudice against any other minority group. And since Hamas’ horrific terror attack on October 7th and the war that followed, there has been a nearly four-hundred percent increase in antisemitic incidents across the United States, including demonstrations by woke progressives and Islamists on university campuses and in major cities, where protestors chant antisemitic slogans and call for extermination of the Jews.

Is there another people on earth against whom their murder, rape, and torture arouse enmity rather than empathy?

When addressing the uptick in antisemitism within a few weeks of the attack, the White House press secretary injected the subject of Islamophobia into the discussion, though there have been no protest mobs demanding the extermination of Muslims or destruction of any Islamic state.

Neither Muslims nor Arabs are being threatened, harassed, or abused on university campuses or in the public square. They are not being attacked in coffee shops or their places of businesses by leftist Brownshirts and Islamist proxies. And there is no Republican Party “Squad” spewing hateful rhetoric against them the way radical Democrats do against Jews in the halls of Congress with alarming regularity (and without condemnation by Joe Biden).

Campuses across the country are seething cauldrons of antisemitism – not Islamophobia; and indeed, those claiming to be victims of a purported anti-Muslim backlash are often most vocal in advocating violence against Jews and death to Israel. The orgy of campus hate prompted Congress to launch an investigation into antisemitism in academia, during which the presidents of three prestigious universities, Harvard, MIT, and UPenn, would not say that calling for Jewish genocide violates their campus rules of conduct. Whether advocating genocide constitutes harassment, they said, depends on “context” but might be violative if it leads to conduct.

Really? Does that mean only actual genocide constitutes bullying in the Ivy League?

Though leaders of elite institutions claim the First Amendment bars them from curtailing antisemitic demonstrations, they seem to have no problem stifling speech that contravenes the woke agenda, e.g., stating that gender identity is binary and biological, endorsing the sanctity of traditional marriage, favoring border security, or defending family values. Hatred of Israel and Jews is defended by professors as anticolonialism (though Israel is not a colonial state), while pro-Israel advocacy and Jewish self-defense invite ridicule and abuse.

The reality is that nobody is demonstrating on college campuses or anywhere else for the genocide of Arabs or Muslims. In contrast, there is plenty of footage showing morally twisted students calling for Israel’s destruction and the Jews’ extinction. Progressive apologists would do well to compare the noxious protests they excuse or endorse to the peaceful pro-Israel rally that took place in November in Washington, DC, where there was neither violence nor demands for anybody’s death or destruction.

Some universities that were criticized for moral equivocation following October 7th have attempted to salvage their integrity with sanctimonious proclamations condemning both antisemitism and Islamophobia – as if to suggest that Arabs and Muslims are being attacked on campuses the same as Jewish students. They are not. The implication, however, illustrates how progressive academics simply cannot bring themselves to admit that antisemitism is the oldest and most pernicious of all hatreds, because to do so would contradict the anti-Israel propaganda and revisionist history taught in the classroom.

By using moral equivalence to present antisemitism and Islamophobia as equal scourges, university administrators demean the uniqueness of Jew-hatred, obfuscate Jewish history, and abdicate responsibility for protecting Jewish students. And given the toxic environments they facilitate and bigotry they nurture, these administrators probably know they will be attacked by woke students and faculty if they unequivocally condemn Jew-hatred.

An examination of US law enforcement statistics shows the incidence of antisemitism is strikingly disproportionate to prejudice against other minority groups, and the increase is glaringly apparent among progressives, university populations, and minority communities. Indeed, it skyrocketed during the Obama years, when the usual response to anti-Jewish violence was to deflect by condemning Islamophobia or chastising Israel. The frequency of incidents against Arabs and Muslims pales in comparison to attacks against Jews, Jewish institutions, and Israel, whether analyzed as ethnic or religious-based hatred.

Analysis of overall hate-crime statistics published by the FBI in 2019 showed a victimization rate of 13.8 for Jews, as compared to 6.3 for Muslims and 5.4 for African-Americans per population sample of 100,000 (according to the American Enterprise Institute in 2021). That is, Jews, who are the smallest minority of the three, were more than twice as likely to be victimized by hate-crimes. And when delineated as a function of religious identity by the FBI in 2022, hate-crimes against Jews represented 55% of all incidents reported, compared to only 8% for Muslims. Jews suffered religious hate-crimes substantially more than Muslims and significantly more than all other religious groups combined.

These trends are continuing unabated, with the current explosion of anti-Jewish hatred occurring after Israel was attacked by Hamas but before she retaliated. Thus, it cannot be blamed on false claims of disproportionate Israeli retaliation (as no responses had yet occurred), but rather on innate hatred of Jews. Those students who began their antisemitic, Nazi-like demonstrations at the first sight of Jewish blood behaved like sharks circling wounded prey in the water. And university administrators did little to stop their reign of intimidation and terror or protect their victims.

In contrast, the supposed proliferation of Islamophobia is a political tale concocted by Islamists and their progressive allies to portray Islam as a downtrodden religion and Muslims as an oppressed minority of color. The reality, however, is that Muslims are not identified by racial or ethnic heritage as are Jews; and with a world population of approximately 1.8 billion, they do not constitute a global religious minority.

Nor are they ultimately indigenous throughout the Mideast and large portions of Europe and Asia where they live today. Whereas Arab-Muslim culture was historically native to the Arabian Peninsula, it expanded well beyond its borders through holy war and conquest commencing during the first Islamic century. Therefore, in portraying themselves as a persecuted minority and labeling Israel “colonial,” they are projecting their own expansionist past onto the Jews, the only people who are truly indigenous to their homeland.

And these truths are clearly reflected by the historical record.

Jihad came to the Iberian Peninsula in the eighth century before overtaking other parts of Europe, including the Balkans. As brutal as the Crusaders were to powerless Jews, the Arab-Muslims they fought were armed opponents whose forebears had unleashed holy war in Europe centuries earlier (which continued until the Battle of Vienna in 1683). The earliest Christian response to jihad in Spain and Portugal was the Reconquista, which preceded the First Crusade by two centuries. Though the later Crusaders would torture and slaughter myriads of Jews in their midst, their aggression against an Arab-Muslim world that had its own expansionist history (and military tradition) was a vastly different dynamic.

Consequently, there is no similarity between the treatment of Muslims by Christians and that of Jews in either Christendom or the Islamic world. Neither is there any truth to the claim that Islam treated the Jews benevolently. Though there were islands of tolerance at various times in assorted locations, Jews were always subjugated and often abused by the ruling and religious authorities in both worlds. So, the effort to portray a history of anti-Muslim discrimination analogous to Jewish oppression is inaccurate and dishonest, particularly considering how Jews were persecuted under Islam.

In the same way that Israel’s enemies imbue the revisionist Palestinian myth with false provenance by denying Jewish history, they create out of whole cloth an image of Arab-Muslim victimhood that has dubious historical foundation. The illusion of raging Islamophobia constitutes an attempt to usurp Jewish suffering and obscure the history of jihadist subjugation and conquest.

The intent is to discount the Jews’ suffering, humanity, and nationhood; for example, by substituting the word “Judeophobia” for antisemitism. However, “Judeophobia” is a dissimulative term implying that Jews are hated solely for their faith, when in fact they have been persecuted throughout history because of heritage, ethnicity, and ancestry as well. The Holocaust was not about eradicating religious belief, but physically annihilating the Jews as a people. The Nazis exterminated Jews whether they were observant, secular, atheist, communist, or baptized – faith had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Frighteningly, we are seeing the same genocidal impulse playing out on today’s campuses, where the medieval caricature of Jews as the embodiment of evil is stridently promoted by indoctrinated students and recklessly enabled by administrators. But then again, how different is this from the 1930s, when antisemitism in academia reigned supreme?

©2023. Matthew Hausman, J.D. All rights reserved.

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