While PBS” recent supposed documentary on antisemitism was farcical from top to bottom, the appearance of Bernard Lewis was not the worst of it. One did not expect people of the level of Gavin Langmuir and Leon Poliakoff to appear, but to have man-in-black Tony Judt and PLO-propagandist Rashid Khalidi (for that was how he got started back in Beirut, before getting that “degree” in Middle Eastern studies from Hourani’s D. Phil. factory at St. Antony’s) put in appearances was hard to stomach.
As for Lewis, he is a man more outwardly cultivated than wise. In his mass-audience “The Middle East: A History of the Past 2000 Years,” he devotes exactly three paragraphs, on one out of a total of 400 pages, to the status of non-Muslims under Muslim rule. That is not distant from Le Pen’s justifying his remark that the death camps were a “detail” of World War II by noting that in some histories of that war that “detail” is discussed in a few pages. In the documentary, he keeps up this nonsense about how antisemitism was non-existent in the world of Islam, and is essentially a European import.
But this is nonsense. The Qur’an and Hadith are full of anti-Jewish remarks. The Jews were held to have been the most adamant (the adjective “stiff-necked” comes to mind) of Muhammad’s opponents. They were always the special victims of his aggression and violence: see the Khaybar Oasis, see the Banu Qurayza, see what happened to the family of his Jewish sex-slave girl, or to individual Jews who appeared to oppose him.
Had Lewis understood things better, had he understood how to frame them, had he been less intent on his self-appointed exculpatory task (perhaps influenced by his own mistreatment by English antisemites in the Foreign Office and his own memories of Europe during the War, compared with how much he was made of in Turkey and not only by fellow Ottomanists), he would have said the following:
“There is not one but many antisemitisms. That of Western Christendom, with which we are all familiar, is different in its origins from that within the world of Islam. In Islam there is a general inculcated hostility toward all non-Muslims, and a belief in Muslim or still more accurately, Arab supremacism. But it is true that within that general hostility special animus is reserved, in the canonical texts, for the Jews. And while Muslims in the 20th century found a natural affinity with Hitler — let’s not forget the role played by Hajj Amin el Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, in encouraging Hitler and in turn being encouraged by him, and his practical role in raising an all-Muslim S.S. force — they did not derive their own antisemitism, rooted in the texts, from Hitler or any other European source.”
That is what Lewis should have said. And he perhaps should have been, in the writing of his own book about “Semites and Anti-Semites,” a bit more careful about his use of other Western scholars, beginning with Georges Vajda.
And surely what helps to promote antisemitism is the steady campaign of vilification of Israel, the decades of misreporting about the relentless Jihad against Israel, and the promotion of every myth, from that of the “ancient Palestinian people” to that of Israeli brutality. But there was no mention of any of that in the PBS documentary.
Some related questions: Who made sure that Peroncel-Hugoz, after he wrote Le radeau de Mahomet (you can buy it used, Englished as The Raft of Mohammed — well worth whatever it costs), would no longer report on the Middle East for Le Monde, but would be prevented from doing so? Who has promoted Tariq Ramadan in the press? What keeps the likes of Jean Daniel at Le Nouvel Observateur, or the baby Daniel now adding her nonsensical mite? Who prevents mockery of the poseur Dominique de Villepin? Why do the French not know of Chirac’s Muslim grandchild? Why does the French public not know the real figures on immigration, or on the differential in Muslim and non-Muslim birthrates, so that the truth is being completely hidden? Why are crime figures broken down into Muslim and non-Muslim not published? Why, in short, is everything done to protect the Muslim image, and at the same time to blacken, throughout the press, the image of Israel and of Jews?
The PBS documentary manifests the reality that there has been a seizure of power by Muslims and by their non-Muslim allies and supporters (some supporters only out of antisemitism) both in the press, and on radio and television. All are involved are acting, without prompting, as freelance agents of the Islamintern. The celebrated Willi Munzenberg, he of the earlier Comintern, never managed to achieve anything like what the members of the Islamintern have achieved.
And how sensible they were to begin with the press, and television, and the universities. Quietly, relentlessly, here fabricating some facts, and there obscuring others, as in this PBS documentary. And always, always, working unseen, flying under the radar.