As a person who was born and raised in a Muslim Arab country, people usually find it strange that I support Israel. Usually people from Arab Muslim lands such as Egypt –my home country- hate Israel, Jews and “Zionist pigs” -and any other kind of pigs really-, but I don’t. I have spent too much of my time specifically fighting anti-Semitism. But why do I do it? Let me try to answer this question.
My support for Israel is mainly based on moral commitments and ideological convictions. I believe that whenever people decide to live freely, independent and take their fate in their own hands I should support them. The establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine was supported by the UN, and although I know that one should not trust an entity driven by the Soviet Union and the US I believe that away from politics this was the right decision. But sometimes I think that my decision to support Israel has a lot more to do with the place I grew up in.
I was born and raised in Egypt, one of the leading countries of modern day anti-Semitism. Since I was little, I was taught to hate Jews (and anybody else who is not a Muslim anyways) and Zionists. When I was at a kid school many times the teacher of the Arabic language class would talk about them dirty Jews and how one day we will have to slay them all for Allah. In the mosques hating Jews will be introduced as a great Islamic duty. The views of family were not too much different.
Every single piece of history taught in the Arab countries about the history of the Arab Israeli conflict are pure conspiracy theory fabrications, in short term; lies. All the history curriculum in schools is just pure mythology. The amount of hate is tremendous; genocide for the Jews is an event that everyone is waiting for.
When I reached the age of reason, the great inventions so called internet was available. So, I was introduced to different aspects of the story that made me commit myself to support Israel. When I started to offer my new suggestion to my Egyptian countrymen I was met by a violent reaction which included imprisonment.
Most of the simple information like that there has never been a Palestinian state, or that the Jews historically originated from the Land of Israel are not known in the Middle East. Frankly I’m not sure if they are just unknown due to ignorance or due to straightforward criminal conduct of hiding the truth to loot some territorial gains. Believe it or not, an Egyptian is taught that Jerusalem has been in the hands of the Arabs since 3000 years. Both ancient and modern history have been corrupted to the benefit of the Arab narrative of history. Growing up and finding the truth made me with no doubt support the truthful against the lair.
Anti-Semitism is a real disease in the Middle East. People don’t realize it but they are the most racist people I have ever met in my entire life. They hate the Jews, they despise them and many Muslims actually believe that Jews are descendants of pigs and monkeys. I have met so many Jews, Israelis and Zionist in my life. I have never felt hated because I had an Arab or a Muslim name; I never felt that they held the same heated Arab feelings of hatred, not at all. Most of them were friendly and welcoming.
Where did all this hate come from?
Much of the reason that I support Israel is because of the origins of that Arab antisemitism itself. The accumulation of historical tragedies which eventually made the Middle East into a troubled violent region. Understanding the origins of Arab antisemitism may be the key to counter it.
This fevered hatred to the Jews and the west in general has its roots since the colonial age. Nationalism sentiments in the Middle East was able to develop strong and resilient emotions against the foreign occupation of their lands, the irony is that all of those romantic nationalist ideologies in the Middle East were introduced with modernity to the ME by those European occupiers with a significant contribution of the Islamic notion of Umma. In the first decades of the 20th century Egypt was going a furious battle for its independence from the English, secular political parties were to lead this struggle like the Wafd party but it was not too long before extremist groups to rise like the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultra nationalist right wing Misr Al Fatah (Young Egypt Movement). Those movements targeted non-Muslim minorities as it portrayed them as agents for the colonizers. A whole atmosphere of anti-western and antisemite propaganda was to develop quickly. But the serious part started with the rise of Pan-Arabism and the Nasserite Arab Nationalism project. The self justification of the 1952 military coup in Egypt was Israel and the 1948 war. The Free Officers headed by colonel Nasser declared that their coup was because of the humiliation The Arab people suffered from with their defeat on the hands of the Israelis.
The new militant socialist regime initially entered an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood and ended the country’s once flourished political life, dissolving all political parties and movements seizing all civil rights of the citizens. All the media was to be ran solely by the government, freedom of speech and freedom of thought were confiscated by the mighty arm of Egyptian authoritarianism. A quick and violent process of nationalization was to take place, once a cosmopolitan paradise full of different religions, sects and ethnic groups, Egypt was to become of a single abstract identity as an Arab Muslim nation. Egypt was evacuated from all Europeans, foreigners, Jews and everyone that the government saw as not Egyptian enough. The prisons of Nasser were filled with liberals, Jews, communists, Islamists and many times judges and legislative figures.
Through out his demagogue almost mythological performance, Nasser succeeded to spread his ideology throughout the Arab world, pledging Arab unity and an Arab super state. The voice of masses supporting Nasser was to echo from the Arab gulf to the Atlantic. Nasserites were to grow in number and in power in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. In the process Nasser publically aided and supported Nasserite revolutionaries in these countries against the reactionary regimes. Arab Nationalism was at the peek of its might. For these extreme violent measures of militarization, region domination and seizing of constitutional civil rights, the Arab superpower had to find a solid justification. The British were already out of the country by 1954, the Suez Canal was nationalized in 1956 followed by a US clear message to Britain and France that the age of colonization is over. The unifying power of hate had to be used to its full capacity. The Egyptian colonel was to turn to the new eternal mythological enemy; the Jews. The Nasserite regime mobilized the whole Arab world against the super villain enemy. Antisemitic propaganda was to imported from Czarist Russia and Nazi Germany, the fever of Arab antisemitism had already begun.
At first, Nasser tried to distinguish in his speeches between the Zionists and the Jews, pretending that the Egyptian Jewish minority is safe and not involved in this conflict. At the time of the 1956 Suez crisis Nasser sent a clear message to the Jews of Egypt that they were no longer welcomed with a series of mass arrests, some Jews remained. In the years of 1959 till 1962 Nasser sent the second message during the economy nationalization process by officially not recognizing most of them as Egyptian nationals thus confiscating their property, yet some Jews remained. By the time when the shadows of war started to appear in the region, Nasser stopped to distinguish between Israelis and Jews, he would make a remarkable speech in May 27 1967 calling “The Jews threaten to make war. I reply: welcome, we are ready for war.” After the Egyptian defeat in 1967 there was no more room for misunderstanding, Jews were arrested, imprisoned, deprived of any legal rights, forced to sign disclaimers relinquishing their Egyptian citizenship and any claims to any properties in Egypt, then to be provided by a single use stateless refugee travel document and a ticket to anywhere out of the country. Government ran newspapers were filled with antisemitism articles and cartoons, Egyptian government radio was to broadcast hatred to the whole Middle East. Antisemitic propaganda was to be a celebrated culture of the Middle East. The eternal Arab-Jewish conflict has already started.
“Israel is attempting to achieve balance of power with the Arabs. The Arab reply: This will be the only balance.” Egyptian review, Roz-el-Yussef, February 14, 1966.
In 1971 colonel Nasser died, masses cried and mourned not only Nasser but also the naive chauvinist Arab Nationalism which was buried with him. The man died along with his idea, but not the hate he created. The antisemitic hate which his regime deeply rooted into Arab conscious remained alive still. In the 70s, Islamic fundamentalism was to enter the scene to fill the vacuum which the death of Pan-Arabism created. Religious fanaticism was to add a new fuel to the fires of hate; the holy duty of hating the Jews. In 1981 president Sadat was assassinated because he signed a peace treaty with those “Jews”, even thought they returned all the Egyptian land occupied in 1967. Land, political conflicts and occupation are no more the reason Arabs should annihilate the Jews but the very existence of Jewish people.
Islam is also responsible for this hatred the Israelis are suffering from. Many of the modern anti-Jewish propaganda in Arabic are in religious themes. The claims that Jews are naturally pigs and monkeys and one day they will be all killed are mainly Islamic claims that can found in the Quran and the Hadith. Most of Muslims do the regular common claim cliché statement that “Islam is a religion of peace”. As a former Muslim I oppose this strongly, Islam has a serious problem of violence. It is not a coincidence that most of the wide scale violence that we suffer from today originates from Muslim lands. Muslims from Egypt, Syria, Israel, Saudia, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Israel, UK, US, Russia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sudan and many other countries have committed acts of terrorism all around the globe. All those people are from different cultures, languages, races and ethnic group while the only thing that brings them together is Islam. As a former Muslim I have witnessed the cult of death and destruction promoted in most of the mosques I have entered in my entire life.
Some people don’t like to be very direct and honest; they prefer to be “politically correct” with a very strange obsession of not upsetting the good hearted Muslims by criticizing their religion. I find this to be hypocrisy and intimidation, I found it to be straightforward cowardliness to pretend that a violent religion is actually peaceful. I have no reason and no intention to respect a religion that violates basic human rights. Islam teaches hate, Islam is responsible for a culture that oppresses women, children and non-Muslims. Islam violates every single value that I believe in.
Islam today is running a global hatred antisemitic campaign against Israel, the Jewish people and all of humanity. Muslims growing up Muslim country believe its their moral and religious duty to hate the Jews for they are the enemy of Allah.
It is true that Jews used to live in Arab and Islamic land once, but can this happen again? The torture and oppression Egyptian Jews suffered from prior to their expulsion from Egypt. The Egyptian government organized for Jews mass arrests, citizenship withholding, property confiscations and physical torture in the prisons of Abou Zabal and El Tour just because they were Jews. In 1967 the Egyptian government arrested every adult Jewish male, sometime parading them as “Israeli prisoners” to delude the people to believe that Egypt was victorious. The memories of the victims are still a witness to the tragedy.
The Arab resistance to Israel took various form ranging from rockets and suicide bombings to cultural boycott. The Arabs made it clear that they don’t want to talk with the Israelis, they don’t want a dialogue of any kind, they don’t want to hear anyone but themselves. The citizens of the Arab countries are forbidden from visiting Israel, any one suspicious of dealing with Israelis or Jews is immediately accused with treason and espionage. Do you still wonder why I support Israel?
Over 70% of the total Jewish Israeli population were born in Israel, 70% of those were born to parents who themselves were born in Israel. This pretty much settles it for me; the Israelis have the right to live there in their own state. The Israeli founding fathers did pay high price for their country; blood and labor. It is because of those people whom they were loyal to their ideals, that the only free democratic state in the Middle East exists. I was born an Arab; I know how violent, hateful, intolerant and aggressive Arabs are. So, I support the right of the free people of Israel to have their own independent country. I support the civilized man against the savage, I support honesty over dishonesty, I support life over death, I support freedom against slavery, I support intelligence over stupidity, I support rationalism over terrorism thus my dear reader I support Israel.
Source: Hussein Aboubakr Mansour