Enduring Enmity: Iran, Israel, and Islamic Anti-Semitism
“Love of the prophet requires hatred of the Jews,” the Moroccan Muslim cleric al-Maghili (d. 1505) declared, as quoted by Dr. Andrew G. Bostom’s latest book Iran’s Final Solution for Israel: The Legacy of Jihad and Shi’ite Islamic Jew-Hatred in Iran. Bostom’s masterful compendium shows that al-Maghili’s sentiments are hardly rare in Islam, making a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic of Iran a nightmarish threat for Israel and beyond.
The “civilizational war waged by Shiite and Sunni jihadists” today is “consistent with Islam’s classical jihad theory,” Bostom demonstrates with copious quotation of Islamic theological sources and historical primary sources. Of 40 Koranic references to jahada or “struggle,” the Arabic root of jihad, for example, 36 address violence, according to one study. “Muhammad himself,” normative canonical Islamic accounts indicate, “was the ultimate prototype sanctioning jihad terror.” Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna therefore had a “seamless connection” to “traditional Islam itself,” as his translated writings show.
Additionally, “orthodox Islamic jurisprudence” holds that “non-Muslims peacefully going about their lives—from the Khaybar farmers whom Muhammad ordered attacked in 628, to those sitting in the World Trade Center on 9/11/01— are “muba’a”, licit, in the Dar al Harb.” In particular, Muhammad the “Muslim prophet-warrior developed a penchant for assassinating individual Jews and destroying Jewish communities by expropriation and expulsion… or massacring their men and enslaving their women and children.” Only humiliating submission to Islam and its “blood ransom jizya poll tax” per Koran 9:29 can spare Jews and Christians as dhimmis this fate.
A “central antisemitic motif in the Koran… decrees an eternal curse upon the Jews… for slaying the prophets and transgressing against the will of Allah.” The “Koran’s overall discussion of the Jews is… a litany of their sins and punishments.” A “sort of ancient Koranic antecedent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” even appears in Koran 5:64. “Sunni dogma” in particular holds the black-Jewish Abdullah ibn Saba “responsible… for promoting the Shiite heresy and fomenting the rebellion and internal strife associated with this primary breach in Islam’s political innocence.”
Jews under Muslim rule had to observe the “rightful bounds” of a “subjected relationship,” even “in mythically ‘tolerant’ Muslim Spain.” When Granada’s Muslim rulers appointed Jewish grand viziers, the “results were predictably tragic” in 1066. Pogroms claimed 4,000 Jewish lives, more than those lost 30 years later during the First Crusade’s Rhineland passage. Today, “Zionism… has posed a predictable if completely unacceptable challenge to the Islamic order, jihad-imposed chronic dhimmitude for Jews, of unprecedented, even apocalyptic magnitude.”
Iran’s 1979 “Islamic putsch” and “retrograde revolution,” meanwhile, were “in reality a mere return to oppressive Shiite theocratic rule, the predominant form of Persian/Iranian governance since 1501.” This back-to-the-future movement included revival of Shiite Islam’s insidious najis system of religious purity regulations governing contact with Jews and others deemed impure. Najis has in the past gone so far as to prohibit Jews from being outside during rainfall, lest water washing off the Jews pollute Muslims. Popular Iranian Farsi Koran translations also “make explicit the well-established gloss on Koran 1:7,” recited during daily Muslim prayers, in which “those who have evoked [Your] anger” are the Jews, and “those who are astray” are the Christians.
In 2006, Iranian proposals also appeared that Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians wear distinguishing clothing (zonners) common throughout Islamic history and worn by Iranian Jews from 1501 to the 1920s. These proposals provoked international outcry condemning Iran’s emulation of the Third Reich’s system of distinguishing marks. “These uninformed comments confirmed the profound historical ignorance of sanctioned Islamic doctrines and practices,” criticizes Bostom.
In the face of Iranian anti-Semitism Iran’s Jewish population has gone from 120,000 in 1948, to 70,000 in 1978 before the Iranian revolution, to 8,800 today. The few Jews remaining in Iran often exhibit the “dhimmi’s execution of their own humanity” sought by Islamic subjugation. Parviz Yeshaya, for example, called for Israel’s destruction while heading the Jewish Committee in Teheran.
Anti-Semitism and other aggressive aspects of Islam come not just from Iran’s rulers, but also from its “overwhelmingly traditionalist Shiite Muslim masses.” The “Iranian populace’s abiding beliefs and mores” include sharia, the Islamic law system supported by 83% of Iranian respondents in a June 11, 2003 Pew poll. Maintaining a nuclear program even despite sanctions, meanwhile, found favor with 63% of surveyed Iranians in a February 2013 Gallup poll.
Thus the 2009 Green Revolution was “merely a power struggle between rival Sharia supremacist factions,” not an Iranian democratic movement. “Decidedly hagiographic post-mortems written by American conservatives” after Green Revolution leader Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri’s December 20, 2009 death could not conceal his Shiite orthodoxy. Montazeri equated non-Muslims with dogs under najis and supported Iran’s Vilayat al Faqih Shiite dictatorship, including its death penalty for Islamic apostasy. “Jihad, like prayer, is for all times,” declared Montazeri, an advocate of Israel’s destruction.
Iranian Muslims are not alone in their aggressive and authoritarian outlooks. An April 30, 2013 Pew poll surveying Muslims over the years 2008-2012 revealed that a population-weighted average of 77% in Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan supported sharia. In Afghanistan and Iraq after American-led regime changes, meanwhile, 99% and 91% of respondents respectively supported sharia. Among Muslims supporting sharia, advocacy of death for apostasy from Islam ranged from 18% in Indonesia to 86% in Egypt, while the corresponding figures were 79% and 42% in Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively.
Another April 24, 2007 World Public Opinion poll found that 65% of 4,384 surveyed Muslims in Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco, and Pakistan wanted a caliphate. Polls (here and here) have also shown that some 60% of Sunni-majority Arabs in both Israel and the Palestinian territories ecumenically support Iranian Shiite nuclear proliferation. Disturbingly, in a July 2011 Stanley Greenberg poll, meanwhile, 73% of 1,010 Palestinian Muslims agreed with Islamic “apocalyptic hadith… calling for the annihilation of the Jews to bring on the messianic age.”
Such Islamic threats often go unnoticed in modern Western societies. Deceit sanctioned by Islam (taqiyya) as practiced by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s founder, the Ayatollah Khomeini, plays a role. To “save Muslim lives and for the sake of Islam’s survival it is obligatory to lie, it is obligatory to drink wine,” Khomeini stated to Iranian Republican Guard commanders on July 31, 1981.
Gullibility aids deceit where objective study of Islam “has given way to apologetics pure and simple” in Dr. Bostom’s “Trusting Khomeini Syndrome,” derived from Professor Richard Falk’s 1979 New York Times article. Therein Falk’s “sheer, triumphal idiocy” and “moral cretinism” reached the article title’s conclusion of “Trusting Khomeini,” now reprised in “Trusting Khamenei.” Although “pathognomonic of two devastating Western maladies—cultural self-loathing and jihad denial,” Falk’s outlook “now compromises U.S. analysis of Iran across the politico-ideological spectrum.”
Accordingly, a Center for Strategic and International Studies report on Iran contains no mention of “jihad,” “Jews,” or “anti-Semitism” across 228 pages. Even a February 17, 2014 essay in the conservative Weekly Standard somehow writes of Iran’s ayatollahs having “perverted” Shiite Islam. “Hagiographic assessments of” Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani also “abound, transcending the ideological ‘right-left’ chattering classes, and policymaking divide.”
Yet Ambassador L. Paul Bremer’s deputy, John Agresto, discerned during America’s Iraq campaign that the anti-Semitic and anti-Christian Sistani sought to emulate Iran’s Shiite theocracy in Iraq. After all, Agresto noted that the often overlooked facts of Sistani’s Iranian birth, citizenship, and religious training. While Bremer thought that Sistani avoided personal meetings in order not to lose political credibility, Bostom suggests Sistani’s publicly expressed najis beliefs were the real reason. His “views on najis were—and remain—quite visible, if not to the willfully blind.” To counter this and other blindness, Bostom’s enlightening research is well worth the read.