“Si les hommes prenaient la peine de se pencher sur l’histoire, ils se haïraient moins.”“If men took the trouble to learn History they would hate each other less.”
“An incredible publicity and ideological campaign is underway in France. Its target is world public opinion by way of the Jews, and more specifically Sephardi Jews – sorry, ‘Arab Jews’.”
The Encyclopaedia cloaks superficial criticism of Islam in apologetics. Antisemitic outbreaks are always the fault of fanatics. Jews are to blame for their own suffering; modern antisemitism is a backlash to colonialism and the ‘theft’ by European Zionists of Arab Palestine. Many of the contributing experts are anti-Zionists.
The elephant in the room is the subjugated ‘dhimmi’ status of the Jews under Islam. Abdelwahab Meddeb has compareddhimmitude to the status of Jews in medieval Europe, but claims that Arab rulers often turned a blind eye to its strictures. At the same time he posits medieval Baghdad or Cordoba as a suitable cultural model for Europe today.
Jews and Muslims have been doubly betrayed – by colonialism and by the values of the European Enlightenment, so the argument goes. There is nothing in the book to suggest that western values allowed the oppressed and wretched Jews of Algeria, for instance, an escape route. The Encyclopaedia maintains that colonialism drove a wedge between Jews and Arabs, while the Shoah showed the values of civil equality to be a cruel delusion. Modern antisemitism in the Arab world is an ‘understandable’ backlash to the ‘unjust’ creation of Israel.
Dr Roth, a mathematician and scientist, points out worrying inaccuracies and omissions which exaggerate Arab Muslim influence in culture and science while downplaying the Jewish contribution.
As far as Arab collaboration with the Nazis is concerned, Dr Roth accuses Henry Laurens, the author of the two pages on the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, of minimising his role. There is no mention, says Roth, of the pro-Nazi Palestinian leader Fawzi al Qawuqj, or the Mufti’s broadcast calls for genocide on Radio Berlin, nothing on the Mufti’s creation of the SS Handschar division staffed by Bosnian Muslims, nothing about the part he personally played in condemning 20,000 European Jewish children to the death camps, and nothing about the Mufti having contact with the Nazis as early as 1936.