I have often wondered if today’s Arabs long for the glory days when Muslims described the world as being divided between Dar es Salaam (countries “at peace” after having been forced to accept Islam) and Dar al Harb (countries still under the sword). Certainly, most of today’s Arab nations and even Islamist groups are not actively trying to conquer the world (Iran and ISIS, if it’s still around, are notable exceptions). Yet, Islam certainly does have a supremacist bent. I can recall Muslim countries calling on the UN to condemn criticisms of Islam (but not of religious teachings in general). The Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque were built on Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) to show Muslim superiority over the Jews and, more recently, Turkiye converted the Hagia Sofia into a mosque.
Memories of Muslim conquests probably do fuel Arab shame at the ability of the Yishuv (Zionist community in Palestine) to withstand attacks by six Arab armies, resulting in the emergence of the modern State of Israel in the Jews’ ancestral homeland. And seeing Israel thrive while Palestinians suffer under the misgovernment of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority has definitely contributed to the numbers of Palestinian willing to seek “martyrdom” by killing and attacking Jews. We need to work to ensure that Palestinian leaders will not succeed in their efforts to defame and delegitimize the nation-state of the Jews. I applaud Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Maura Moynihan for standing up for the truth. (Column: Mobilizing Antisemitism Boulder Jewish News September 14, 2023)
Toby F. Block