Denying “Arab Anti-Semitism”
To the Editor:
In “The Arabs’ Peculiar ‘Anti-Semitism,’” in your February issue, “Anonymous” by a stroke of the pen attributes to all Arabs an inherent hatred of all Jews. This, I am afraid, is a gross misrepresentation; believing as I do that your magazine is one of the outstanding publications in the United States, I feel that I must offer a correction.
I too resided for many years in the Middle East and came to know well all classes of Arabs. The impression I gathered is just the opposite of that of “Anonymous.” The average Arab, whether in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, or Iraq, never bore any deep-rooted grudge against his Jewish neighbors. Naturally, as a Moslem—and 98 per cent of the Arabs are Moslems—he considers every non-Mohammedan as an infidel, be he Jew or Christian. However, anyone well versed in Arab and Moslem affairs would not hesitate to state that there has always been far greater tolerance of the non-Mohammedan in the Moslem countries than of the non-Christian in the countries of the so-called Western civilization. Discrimination against the Jews in social life, clubs, resort hotels, etc., of the kind familiar in the West is totally unknown in Arab countries.
With the advent of Zionism as a political factor, the leaders and politicians in the various Arab countries of the Middle East found the Palestine issue most advantageous to their domestic political maneuvers. Through the press and in public utterances they incessantly exerted themselves to depict the Jews as enemies. And these politicians were helped behind the scenes by the agents of the British Intelligence and the British Foreign Office. One of the greatest enemies the Jews ever had, the biggest Arab war criminal, and one of Hitler’s closest associates, Haj Amin El Husseini, former Mufti of Jerusalem, returned to the Middle East only with the connivance and aid of Sir Walter Smart, Brigadier General Clayton, and their assistants. If ever a war criminal deserved punishment such as was meted out by an international court of justice to Goering and Von Ribbentrop, it was Haj Amin El Husseini. Yet he was allowed to return to roam freely in the Middle East and continue to spread his insidious propaganda against all Jews, not only those of Israel. Here is an Arab who, out of a lust for power, came to regard the Jews with venomous hatred because they stand in the way of his ambitions. It is he, and his like, who are mostly responsible for the present hatred of Jews in the Middle East.
To reiterate: when not incited, the average Arab does not hate Jews. He is perhaps far more tolerant than many learned and educated Christians in Europe and in the United States.
X. Y. Z.
New York City