In “Muhammad Morsi’s Islamic Jew-Hatred, Bernard Lewis” Islamic Negationism” at PJ Media today, Andrew Bostom eviscerates the scholarly denial of Bernard Lewis regarding Islamic Jew-hatred and the system of dhimmitude, and asks why the media’s favored Middle East pundits ignore the Jew-hatred intrinsic to Islamic doctrine:
A month has passed since the Middle East Media Research Institute posted a 2010 video interview of Muslim Brotherhood leader, and now Egyptian president, Muhammad Morsi spewing Antisemitic vitriol. Morsi’s comments
included a characterization of today”s Zionists “” plainly Jews in his
parlance “” as “descendants of apes and pigs” “” a specific invocation of Koran 5:60, which he had repeated, elsewhere, in print interviews, and commentaries.
That this dehumanizing Koranic depiction was in reference to Jews has been validated by the most authoritative classical and modern exegeses* (“tafsir,” or commentaries) on the Koran, the words
of Muhammad himself (as recorded in the sira, or pious Muslim
biographies of Islam’s prophet), as well as a large corpus of Islamic
theological writings which demonstrate the motif’s application by Muslims over a nearly 1400-year continuum.
Yet to this day, thousands of reports and opinion pieces later
(search “Morsi” + “apes and pigs” using Google.com to estimate the vast output), only a handful have noted this irrefragable link to a Koranic verse (i.e., 5:60)
declaring the Jews to be apes and pigs. The apotheosis of this
negationist trend was captured in a January 27, 2013 Times of Israel interview
of Charles Small, head of the itinerant Institute for the Study of
Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP). Small piously proclaimed that
ISGAP was uniquely committed to addressing what was framed as “Islamic”
There’s a reluctance among scholars to open up this subject
[i.e., “Islamic” Antisemitism]. This subject is dangerous, embarrassing.
It touches on various political interests in international relations
that people don’t really want to engage with.
What explains the almost uniform, egregious omission of Morsi’s Koranic reference, and Small’s broader see-no-Islam in “Islamic” Antisemitism mindset, displayed even by politically centrist or conservative Western media outlets, and the centrist or conservative “Middle East experts”
opining for them? I argue that such willful blindness is rooted in the
misrepresentation of Islamic Jew-hatred “” indeed its frank denial as a
coherent doctrine “” by one of the leading contemporary scholars of
Islam, turned late-blooming, ubiquitous public intellectual, whose
limited, dogmatic investigation of the subject has smothered all such
desperately required discussion. That scholar is Bernard Lewis.
Accrued over a distinguished career of more than six decades of serious scholarship, Bernard Lewis
clearly possesses an enormous fund of knowledge regarding certain
aspects of classical Islamic civilization, as well as valuable insights
on the early evolution of modern Turkey from the dismantled Ottoman Empire. A gifted
linguist, non-fiction prose writer, and teacher, Lewis shares his
understanding of Muslim societies in both written and oral
presentations, with singular economy, eloquence, and wit. These are
extraordinary attributes for which Lewis richly deserves the accolades lavished upon him.
But as I will demonstrate, Lewis” remarkable contributions are diminished by yawning gaps in his expressed understanding of Islamic Jew-hatred, and the overall condition of non-Muslims vanquished by jihad, and living as so-called “dhimmis,” under the restrictive and humiliating mandates of the Sharia. Ultimately, Lewis takes the rather dogmatic (and apologetic) positions
that Islam is devoid of theological Antisemitism, and dhimmitude has
never existed as a Sharia-based Islamic institution. Lewis”s views on
Islamic Jew-hatred and (for Jews, the conjoined institution of)
dhimmitude are doctrinally and historically untenable, as the evidence I
adduce will make clear. Moreover, Lewis”s apologetic tendencies must
have been attractive to the Muslim Brotherhood/Saudi Wahhabi front Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, and its pseudo-academic Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs(JMMA),
which has been an Abedin family enterprise since 1979. Regardless of
whether Lewis was a willing dupe, or not, he served on the editorial
board of the JMMA for some 14-years, from 1996 to 2010, despite the fact this “academic” journal was, and remains, a thinly veiled mouthpiece for
Sharia supremacism. These critical limitations of his scholarship and
judgment have implications which must also be recognized by all those
for whom Lewis remains an iconic source of information, and advice,
especially policy advice.
The late Orientalist Maxime Rodinson (d. 2004), a contemporary of Bernard Lewis, warned forty years ago of misguided modern scholarship effectively “sanctifying” Islam:
Understanding has given away to apologetics pure and simple.
Ain’t that the truth. There is much more. Read it all.