PMW op-ed: When Hatemongering is Common Currency
April 27, 2009 (print edition)
The world reacted with outrage at the speech by Iranian President Ahmadinejad at the Durban Review Conference on Racism in Geneva. European countries stormed out of his talk and released an array of statements condemning his words.
But the real problem is not that an Ahmadinejad exists, or that he proudly and vociferously spews hatred against Jews and blames Zionism for the world's evils. The problem is that his views are anything but unique in the Muslim world.
Tragically, it seems that Western leaders are using Ahmadinejad as their radical Islamic whipping boy in order to content themselves that they are doing all they can to fight growing radical Islamic racism, its calls for a world without Israel and genocide of Jews, and its espousal of Holocaust denial.
In reality, the strong media and government reactions to Ahmadinejad's hate promotion serve only to highlight their hypocrisy in ignoring the same ideology when it's expressed by Arab leaders who have succeeded in making the Western world's list of "good guys."
Saudi King Abdullah - whom President George W. Bush kissed and to whom President Barack Obama bowed earlier this month -- has blamed Israel for terror attacks in Saudi Arabia: "We can be certain that Zionism is behind everything ... I don't say 100 percent, but 95 percent." [Saudi 1 Television, May 2, 2004]
Grade 9 children in Saudi Arabia are taught that "the hour [of judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them, until the Jew hides behind rocks and trees, until the rocks or the trees say, 'O Muslim! O servant of God! There is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him!"
Earlier this year, the head of the Department of Islamic Studies at Saud University pronounced that "Jews are the enemies of Allah." Dr. Walid Al-Rashudi also prayed for the extermination of all Jews: "Kill them one by one and don't leave even one." [Al-Aqsa (Hamas) TV, Jan. 12, 2009]
It is the very existence of the Jews, not their actions or even their Zionism, that fuels the rhetoric of many Islamic political and religious leaders.
"If the Jews left Palestine to us, would we start loving them? Of course not. . . . They are enemies not because they occupied Palestine. They would have been enemies even if they did not occupy a thing," said Egyptian cleric Muhammad Hussein Ya'qoub.
". . . You must believe that we will fight, defeat, and annihilate them, until not a single Jew remains on the face of the Earth." [Al-Rahma TV (Egypt), Jan. 17, 2009]
Is this any different from Ahmadinejad's calls for a world without Israel?
And look at Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, depicted by the West as a moderate to whom Israel is supposed to offer statehood. But the TV channel directly controlled by Abbas's office regularly runs educational programs to teach Palestinian adults and children alike that there is no state called Israel, and that all Israel's land is actually "occupied Palestine."
Palestinian children are taught that Israeli cities throughout the entire country - from Haifa in the North, to Jaffa (part of Tel Aviv), to Eilat in the south, are all actually Palestinian cities. Videos feature songs about a "Palestine" that erases Israel and a future when the Israeli cities Jaffa and Haifa will be "liberated."
Hamas, which has convinced many Western leaders and journalists that it spends more time building schools than bombing civilians, broadcast a sermon earlier this month depicting the Jews as enemies of humanity, inherently evil, seeking to rule the world and a dangerous threat to Muslims.
"The time will come, by Allah's will, when their property will be destroyed and their children will be exterminated, and no Jew or Zionist will be left on the face of this earth." [Hamas (Al-Aqsa) TV, April 3, 2009]
Why is Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial so passionately denounced when Palestinian Holocaust denial is so utterly ignored? Hamas TV broadcast a special documentary last year, explaining that the Holocaust was a Zionist scheme to rid the world of elderly and handicapped, and to gain world sympathy. Fatah's PA TV broadcast a children's program that said explicitly that Israel burned Palestinians in ovens.
So why is Abbas presented as a peace partner, Egypt as a peace broker and Abdullah as a friend of the West? Why does the world not react with outrage to calls for "extermination" of Jews from anyone other than Ahmadinejad?
If the West is serious about peace, then all hatred must be condemned. And we must recognize that the real enemies of peace are not only the Ahmadinejads of the world, but the "friends" who have mastered the doublespeak of calling for peace in English while inciting hatred in Arabic.