Paul Berman and Islam A Bridge Too Far?

15 May 2010

By Dr. Andrew Bostom May 15, 2010

Note: This is Part 1 of a 2 part article. Part 2 can be read here. A complete, printer friendly version is here, also available in PDF format here.

Paul Berman’s Investigative Project on Terrorism interview published May 5, 2010, promotes his new book, The Flight of the Intellectuals. Berman is to be lauded for drawing attention to the current plight of freethinkers of Muslim descent, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq, while decrying their rejection, and even vilification, by many of his fellow contemporary liberal intellectuals. Unfortunately, his attempt to elaborate upon the very real contrast between these former Muslims, and the pious, mainstream Muslim cultural jihadist, Tariq Ramadan, devolves into profoundly uninformed muddle, fraught with the same cultural relativism Berman’s polemic excoriates in other liberals.

Pathognomonic extracts, below, from the interview — frank howlers — articulate the crux of Berman’s thesis:

…the Nazis needed to demonstrate “that European and Christian superstitions ought to be regarded as authentically Middle Eastern and Islamic”… What the Mufti [Hajj Amin el-Husseini] did was “the creating of something monstrous: an infernal blurring of Islam and Nazism,” Berman writes. “A victory of Himmler’s Islam…A victory for the Islam of fanaticism and hatred over its arch-rival, the Islam of generosity and civilization.”
As I will demonstrate, these statements are the “conclusions” of a doctrinally bowdlerized, ahistorical narrative. Berman entirely ignores Islam’s virulent, conspiratorial Antisemitic doctrine — present since the advent of the creed, melded permanently to jihad, and expressed continuously over nearly 14 centuries, through the present. He compounds this intellectually slothful “analysis” with a transparently selective, well-nigh dishonest 20th century historiography — omitting critically relevant events that transpired a decade before Hitler’s Mein Kampf first appeared in 1925/26, or the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928, while ignoring the inspiration prominent Nazis, including Hitler, derived from normative Islam before, during, and after World War Two. Even Berman’s righteous attack on the hypocritical liberal pseudo-academics Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash — exposing their intellectual and moral cretinism in praising Tariq Ramadan, while denouncing Ayaan Hirsi Ali — is undermined by his own hagiographic assessment of Islam. This final bitter irony becomes readily apparent when one compares Berman’s empty pontifications on Islam to the thoughtful, if brutally frank insights of the same Muslim “apostate” freethinkers Berman nobly supports.

Berman is Oblivious to the Islam in Islamic Antisemitism, and its Ugly, Living Historical Legacy

The late Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi was Sunni Islam’s “ moderate “ Papal equivalent, Grand Imam of the Muslim Vatican, Al-Azhar University, from 1996, until his recent death on March 10, 2010. Lengthy extracts translated into English from Tantawi’s 700 page magnum opus Banu Israil fi al-Quran wa-al-Sunnah (Jews in the Koran and the Traditions), his 1966 doctoral dissertation, first published in 1968-69, and re-published in 1986 are provided in my compendium, The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism. This brief excerpt summarizes, in Tantawi’s own words, the salient features of the Koran’s normative Muslim Jew hatred:
[The] Koran describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e., killing the prophets of Allah [Koran 2:61 / 3:112 ], corrupting His words by putting them in the wrong places, consuming the people’s wealth frivolously, refusal to distance themselves from the evil they do, and other ugly characteristics caused by their deep-rooted lasciviousness…only a minority of the Jews keep their word Koranic citations {text9|here ]…[A]ll Jews are not the same. The good ones become Muslims {Koran {text10|3:113} ], the bad ones do not.
These were the expressed, “carefully researched” views on Jews held by the Muslim Pope — the former head of the most prestigious center of Muslim learning in Sunni Islam, which represents some 90% of the world’s Muslims. And Sheikh Tantawi never mollified such hatemongering beliefs while serving as the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar as his statements on “ dialogue “ (January 1998) with Jews, the Jews as “ enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs “ (April 2002), and the legitimacy of homicide bombing of Jews (April 2002) made clear.

The statements on dialogue Tantawi issued shortly after he met with the Israel’s Chief Rabbi, Israel Meir Lau, in Cairo, on December 15, 1997, provided the late Grand Imam another opportunity to re-affirm his commitment to the views expressed about Jews in his Ph.D. thesis:
…anyone who avoids meeting with the enemies in order to counter their dubious claims and stick fingers into their eyes, is a coward. My stance stems from Allah’s book [the Koran], more than one-third of which deals with the Jews…[I] wrote a dissertation dealing with them [the Jews], all their false claims and their punishment by Allah. I still believe in everything written in that dissertation. [i.e., Jews in the Koran and the Traditions, cited above]
Contra Paul Berman’s ludicrous thesis, Tantawi’s antisemitic formulations merely reiterated (as meticulously documented in the latter’s 700 pp. treatise, Jews in the Koran and the Traditions) over a millennium of classical, mainstream Islamic theology. The Koranic depiction of the Jews — their traits as thus characterized being deemed both infallible and timeless — highlights, in verse 2:61 (repeated in verses 2:90 / 91, and 3:112 ), the centrality of the Jews “abasement and humiliation”, and being “laden with God’s anger,” as elaborated in the corpus of classical Muslim exegetic literature on Koran 2:61, including the hadith and Koranic commentaries. The terrifying rage decreed upon the Jews forever is connected in the hadith and exegeses to Koran 1:7, where Muslims ask Allah to guide them rightly, not in the path of those who provoke and must bear His wrath. This verse is in turn linked to Koranic verses 5:60, and 5:78, which describe the Jews transformation into apes and swine ( 5:60 ), or apes alone ( 2:65 / 7:166 ), having been “…cursed by the tongue of David, and Jesus, Mary’s son” ( 5:78 ). Muhammad himself repeats this Koranic curse in a canonical hadith (words and deeds of the Muslim prophet as recorded by his pious early Muslim companions; Sunan Abu Dawoud, Book 37, Number 4322), “He [Muhammad] then recited the verse [5:78]: ‘…curses were pronounced on those among the children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary’ “. The related verse, 5:64, accuses the Jews of being “spreaders of war and corruption,” — a sort of ancient Koranic antecedent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion — invoked, for example, by “moderate” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who cited Koran 5:64 during a January 2007 speech urging Palestinian Muslims to end their internecine strife, and “aim their rifles at Israel.” Classical and modern Koranic commentators, when discussing Koran 5:82, which includes the statement (“Thou wilt surely find the most hostile of men to the believers are the Jews..”, also concur on the unique animus of the Jews towards the Muslims, which is repeatedly linked to the curse of Koran 2:61/3:112. Moreover, forcing Jews, in particular, to pay the Koranic poll tax “tribute,” (as per verse 9:29 ) “readily,” while “being brought low,” is consistent with their overall humiliation and abasement in accord with Koran 2:61, and its directly related verses.

An additional much larger array of anti-Jewish Koranic motifs build to a denouement (as if part of a theological indictment, conviction, and sentencing process) concluding with an elaboration of the “ultimate sin” committed by the Jews (they are among the devil’s minions [Koran 4:60 ], accursed by God [Koran 4:47 ]), and their appropriate punishment: If they do not accept the true faith (i.e., Islam), on the day of judgment, they will burn in the hellfire (Koran 4:55 ). As per, Koran 98:6: “The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn forever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures”

The Koranic curse upon the Jews for (primarily) rejecting, even slaying Allah’s prophets (verses 2:61/3:112), including Isa/Jesus (or at least his “body double” 4:157-4:158), is updated with perfect archetypal logic in the canonical hadith: following the Muslims’ initial conquest of the Jewish farming oasis of Khaybar, one of the vanquished Jewesses reportedly served Muhammad poisoned mutton (or goat), which resulted, ultimately, in his protracted, agonizing death. And Ibn Saad’s sira account maintains that Muhammad’s poisoning resulted from a well-coordinated Jewish conspiracy.

It is worth recounting — as depicted in the Muslim sources — the events that antedated Muhammad’s reputed poisoning at Khaybar.

Muhammad’s failures or incomplete successes were consistently recompensed by murderous attacks on the Jews. The Muslim prophet-warrior developed a penchant for assassinating individual Jews, and destroying Jewish communities — by expropriation and expulsion (Banu Quaynuqa and B. Nadir), or massacring their men, and enslaving their women and children (Banu Qurayza). Just before subduing the Medinan Jewish tribe Banu Qurayza and orchestrating the mass execution of their adult males, Muhammad invoked perhaps the most striking Koranic motif for the Jews debasement — he addressed these Jews, with hateful disparagement, as “You brothers of apes.” Subsequently, in the case of the Khaybar Jews, Muhammad had the male leadership killed, and plundered their riches. The terrorized Khaybar survivors — industrious Jewish farmers — became prototype subjugated dhimmis whose productivity was extracted by the Muslims as a form of permanent booty. (And according to the Muslim sources, even this tenuous vassalage was arbitrarily terminated within a decade of Muhammad’s death when Caliph Umar expelled the Jews of Khaybar.)

Thus Maimonides (d. 1203), the renowned Talmudist, philosopher, astronomer, and physician, as noted by historian Salo Baron [from Baron’s essay entitled, “The Historical Outlook of Maimonides,” in Proc of the Amer Acad for Jewish Res, vol. 6, 1934-35, p. 82], emphasizes the bellicose “madness” of Muhammad, and his quest for political control. Muhammad’s mindset, and the actions it engendered, had immediate, and long term tragic consequences for Jews — from his massacring up to 24,000 Jews, to their chronic oppression — as described in the Islamic sources, by Muslims themselves:
Following an apparently prevalent usage [Maimonides] calls the founder of Islam a “madman,” [meshugga] with both religious and political aspirations, who failed to formulate any new religious ideas, but merely re-stated well-known concepts. Nevertheless, he attracted a large following and inflicted many wrongs upon the Jews, being himself responsible for the massacre of 24,000. Following his example the Muslims of the subsequent generations oppressed the Jews and debased them even more harshly than any other nation.
Muhammad’s brutal conquest and subjugation of the Medinan and Khaybar Jews, and their subsequent expulsion by one of his companions, the (second) “Rightly Guided” Caliph Umar, epitomize permanent, archetypal behavior patterns Islamic Law deemed appropriate to Muslim interactions with Jews. George Vajda’s seminal analysis of the anti-Jewish motifs in the hadith remains the definitive work on this subject. Vajda concluded that according to the hadith stubborn malevolence is the Jews defining worldly characteristic: rejecting Muhammad and refusing to convert to Islam out of jealousy, envy and even selfish personal interest, lead them to acts of treachery, in keeping with their inveterate nature: “…sorcery, poisoning, assassination held no scruples for them.” These archetypes sanction Muslim hatred towards the Jews, and the admonition to at best, “subject [the Jews] to Muslim domination,” as dhimmis, treated “with contempt,” under certain “humiliating arrangements.”

Annihilationist sentiments regarding Jews are rooted in Islamic eschatology, as also characterized in the canonical hadith. These motifs highlight the Jews’ supreme hostility to Islam. Jews are described as adherents of the Dajjâl — the Muslim equivalent of the Anti-Christ — or according to another tradition, the Dajjâl is himself Jewish. At his appearance, other traditions maintain that the Dajjâl will be accompanied by 70,000 Jews from Isfahan wrapped in their robes, and armed with polished sabers, their heads covered with a sort of veil. When the Dajjâl is defeated, his Jewish companions will be slaughtered — everything will deliver them up except for the so-called gharkad tree, as per the canonical hadith included in both Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 177, and Sahih Muslim (Book 041, Number 6985):
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharkad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.
Another hadith variant, which takes place in Jerusalem, has Isa (the Muslim Jesus) leading the Arabs in a rout of the Dajjâl and his company of 70,000 armed Jews. And the notion of jihad “ransom” extends even into Islamic eschatology — on the day of resurrection the vanquished Jews will be consigned to Hellfire, and this will expiate Muslims who have sinned, sparing them from this fate.

Two particularly humiliating “vocations” that were imposed upon Jews by their Muslim overlords in Yemen, and Morocco — where Jews formed the only substantive non-Muslim dhimmi populations — merit elaboration, as they represent the apotheosis of Islam’s theological Jew hatred.

Moroccan Jews were confined to ghettos in the major cities, such as Fez (since the 13th century) called mellah(s) (salty earth) which derives from the fact it was here that they were forced to salt the decapitated heads of executed rebels for public exposition. This brutally imposed humiliating practice — which could be enforced even on the Jewish Sabbath — persisted through the late 19th century, as described by Eliezer Bashan:
In the 1870’s, Jews were forced to salt the decapitated heads of rebels on the Sabbath. For example, Berber tribes frequently revolted against Sultan Muhammad XVIII. In order to force them to accept his authority, he would engage in punitive military campaigns. Among the tribes were the Musa, located south of Marrakesh. In 1872, the Sultan succeeded in quelling their revolt and forty-eight of their captives were condemned to death. In October 1872, on the order of the Sultan, they were dispatched to Rabat for beheading. Their decapitated heads were to be exposed on the gates of the town for three days. Since the heads were to be sent to Fez, Jewish ritual slaughterers [of livestock] were forced to salt them and hang them for exposure on the Sabbath. Despite threats by the governor of Rabat, the Jews refused to do so. He then ordered soldiers to enter the homes of those who refused and drag them outside. After they were flogged, the Jews complied and performed the task and the heads of the rebels were exposed in public.
Yemenite Jews had to remove human feces and other waste matter (urine which failed to evaporate, etc.) from Muslim areas, initially in Sanaa, and later in other communities such as Shibam, Yarim, and Dhamar. Decrees requiring this obligation were issued in the late 18th or early 19th century, and re-introduced in 1913. Yehuda Nini reproduces an 1874 letter written by a Yemenite Jew to the Alliance Israelite in Paris, lamenting the practice:
…it is 86 years since our forefathers suffered the cruel decree and great shame to the nation of Israel from the east to sundown…for in the days of our fathers, 86 years ago, there arose a judge known as Qadi, and said unto the king and his ministers who lived in that time that the Lord, Blessed be He, had only created the Jews out of love of the other nations, to do their work and be enslaved by them at their will, and to do the most contemptible and lowly of tasks. And of them all…the greatest contamination of all, to clear their privies and streets and pathways of the filthy dung and the great filth in that place and to collect all that is left of the dung, may your Honor pardon the expression.
And when the Jews were perceived as having exceeded the rightful bounds of this subjected relationship, as in mythically “tolerant” Muslim Spain, the results were predictably tragic. The Granadan Jewish viziers Samuel Ibn Naghrela, and his son Joseph, who protected the Jewish community, were both assassinated between 1056 to 1066, and in the aftermath, the Jewish population was annihilated by the local Muslims. It is estimated that up to four thousand Jews perished in the pogrom by Muslims that accompanied the 1066 assassination. This figure equals or exceeds the number of Jews reportedly killed by the Crusaders during their pillage of the Rhineland, some thirty years later, at the outset of the First Crusade. The inciting “rationale” for this Granadan pogrom is made clear in the bitter anti-Jewish ode of Abu Ishaq, a well-known Muslim jurist and poet of the times, who wrote:
Bring them down to their place and return them to the most abject station. They used to roam around us in tatters covered with contempt, humiliation, and scorn. They used to rummage amongst the dung heaps for a bit of a filthy rag to serve as a shroud for a man to be buried in…Do not consider that killing them is treachery. Nay, it would be treachery to leave them scoffing.
Abu Ishaq’s rhetorical incitement to violence also included the line,
Many a pious Muslim is in awe of the vilest infidel ape
Moshe Perlmann, in his analysis of the Muslim anti-Jewish polemic of 11th century Granada, notes,
[Abu Ishaq] Elbiri used the epithet “ape” (qird) profusely when referring to Jews. Such indeed was the parlance.
The Moroccan cleric al-Maghili (d. 1505), referring to the Jews as “brothers of apes” (just as Muhammad, the sacralized prototype, had addressed the Banu Qurayza), who repeatedly blasphemed the Muslim prophet, and whose overall conduct reflected their hatred of Muslims, fomented, and then personally lead, a Muslim pogrom (in ~ 1490) against the Jews of the southern Moroccan oasis of Touat, plundering and killing them en masse, and destroying their synagogue in neighboring Tamantit. An important Muslim theologian whose writings influenced Moroccan religious attitudes towards Jews into the 20th century, al-Maghili also declared in verse, “Love of the Prophet, requires hatred of the Jews.”

Anti-Jewish riots and massacres by Muslims accompanied the 1291 death of Jewish physician-vizier Sa’d ad-Daula in Baghdad, the plundering and killing of Jews extending throughout Iraq (and possibly into Persia). These events marked the collapse of a transient Jewish ascendancy (afforded by the ruling pagan Mongols abrogation of the Muslim system of dhimmitude), and were fomented by classical Islamic motifs of conspiratorial Jew hatred — nearly 650 years before the advent of Nazism.

Despite being a successful and responsible administrator (which even the Muslim sources confirm), the appointment of a Jew as the Vizier of a heathen ruler over a predominantly Muslim region, aroused the wrath, predictably, of the Muslim masses. This reaction was expressed through and exacerbated by “…all kinds of [Muslim] diatribes, satirical poems, and libels.” Ibn al-Fuwati (d. 1323), a contemporary Muslim historian from Baghdad, recorded this particularly revealing example which emphasized traditional anti-Jewish motifs from the Qur’an:
In the year 689/1291 a document was prepared which contained libels against Sa’d ad-Daula, together with verses from the Qur’an and the history of the prophets, that stated the Jews to be a people whom Allah hath debased…
Another contemporary Muslim source, the chronicler and poet Wassaf, according to historian Walter Fischel, “…empties the vials of hatred on the Jew Sa’d ad-Daula and brings the most implausible accusations against him.” These accusations included the claims that Sa’d had advised Arghun to cut down trees in Baghdad (dating from the days of the conquered Muslim Abbasid dynasty), and build a fleet to attack Mecca and convert the cuboidal Ka’ba (i.e., the holiest place and structure in Islam) to a heathen temple. Wassaf’s account also quotes satirical verses to demonstrate the extent of public dissatisfaction with what he terms “Jewish Domination”, adding to the existing line, “Turn Jews, for heaven itself hath turned a Jew”, his own, “Yet wait and ye shall hear their torments cry/And see them fall and perish presently.”

When Arghun took ill, influential Mongol dukes inimical to Sa’d ad-Daula for purely political reasons, shifted the “blame” for Arghun’s terminal illness to the Jewish physician-Vizier. Sa’d and his supporters were arrested and a large number of them executed

(1291). Sa’d ad-Daula’s murder precipitated a broad attack on Jewry throughout the Il-Khan Empire, beginning in the Baghdad Jewish ghetto, where according to the Bar Hebraeus and Wassaf, despite Jewish resistance,
…when the report of the murder of the Jew was heard, the Arabs armed themselves and went to the quarter of the Jews, because the Jews were all living together in quarter…in Baghdad more than a hundred of the noble and wealthy Jews were slain, and their property plundered
Wassaf and Ibn al-Fuwati further reveal that such attacks spread well beyond Baghdad:
Throughout the lands of Islam, the Jewish people were oppressed and their goods plundered…there was no town left in Iraq in which the Jews were not served with that which had happened to them in Baghdad, until a part of them embraced Islam, although they later turned back again
Bar Hebraeus (a contemporary 13th century Christian chronicler) was moved to depict the calamity for the Jews in these poignant words:
The trials and wrath which were stirred up against the Jews at this time neither tongue can utter nor the pen write down
Walter Fischel concludes that “a tremendous wave of suffering and persecution must have overwhelmed the entire Jewry of Iraq and Persia”, while noting “The Muslims, however, gave expression to their joy at the end of Jewish domination in many verses filled with enmity against the Jews”. One such celebratory verse by the poet Zaynu’d-Din Ali b. Sa’id reiterated a range of antisemitic Qur’anic motifs, including a debasing reference to the Jews as apes (“apish Jews”), “wretched dupes of error and despair”, “foulest race”, “hatefulest”, dispatched to “hell” in “molten torments”, doomed “without reprieve”, and leaving behind “How many did they leave!” — gardens and fountains. (Qur’an 44:25)

Walter Fischel has also described the severe hardships imposed upon the Jews of 17th century Shi’ite Muslim Iran because of their image as sorcerers and practitioners of black magic, which was “as deeply embedded in the minds of the [Muslim] masses as it had been in medieval Europe.” The consequences of these bigoted superstitions were predictable:
It was therefore easy to arouse their [the Muslim masses] fears and suspicions at the slightest provocation, and to accuse them [the Jews] of possessing cabalistic Hebrew writings, amulets, talismans, segulot, goralot, and refu’ot, which they [the Jews] were using against the Islamic authorities. Encouraged by another Jewish renegade, Siman Tob Mumin from Isfahan, who denounced his co-religionists to the authorities, the Grand Vizier was quick in ordering the confiscation of all Hebrew cabalistic writings and having them thrown into the river.
Paul Berman is oblivious to this entire doctrinal and historical context. Instead, Berman ascribes “Islamic” Antisemitism, en bloc, to a collaborative “perversion of Islam” by Hajj Amin el-Husseini, the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, and Nazi ideologues. Worse still, Berman completely ignores el-Husseini’s direct connection to the Antisemitic legacy of mainstream Islam, including Islamic eschatology, as espoused in the Mufti’s own writings and speeches.

Hajj Amin el-Husseini, was a Muslim jihadist, who became, additionally, a full-fledged Nazi collaborator in his genocidal endeavors to abort the aspirations of Zionist — a Jewish State liberated from the Shari’a, and welcoming Jews to return to a portion of their ancestral homeland. He composed a 1943 recruitment pamphlet (see the full translation in Jennie Lebel’s 2007 biography of the Mufti, pp. 311-319) for Balkan Muslims entitled, “ Islam and the Jews.” This incendiary document hinged upon antisemitic motifs from the Koran (for example, 5:82), and the hadith (including Muhammad’s alleged poisoning by a Khaybar Jewess), and concluded with the apocalyptic canonical hadith describing the Jews’ annihilation. And during a speech before the Imams of the Bosnian SS division, on October 4, 1944 (translated from “Mufti Papers: Amin al-Husaini’s Letters, Memoranda, Speeches, and Appeals from the Exile Period, 1940-45” No. 104), el-Husseini declared:
Nearly one-third of the Koran concerns the Jews. The Koran calls upon all Muslims to protect themselves against the Jews and to fight them wherever they may meet them. The Jews in Khaybar attempted to poison Muhammad, the messenger of God; they also carried out themselves or supported various attacks on the person of the Prophet, all of which failed. Muhammad’s many attempts to bring the Jews to their senses were unsuccessful, with the result that he saw himself as simply forced to dispose of the Jews and to run them out of Arabia.
Berman Ignores Relevant History From the World War One Era, and Its Aftermath

Modern genocide historians who have been wont to re-examine the disintegrating Ottoman Empire’s World War I jihad genocide against its Armenian minority through the prism of The Holocaust, often cite a comment by Hitler that the mass killings of the Armenians served the Nazi leaders as an “inspirational” precedent for predictable impunity. During August of 1939, Hitler gave speeches in preparation for the looming invasion of Poland which admonished his military commanders to wage a brutal, merciless campaign, and assure rapid victory. Hitler portrayed the impending invasion as the initial step of a vision to “secure the living space we need,” and ultimately, “redistribute the world.” In an explicit reference to the Armenians, “Who after all is today speaking of the destruction of the Armenians?,” Hitler justified their annihilation (and the world’s consignment of this genocide to oblivion) as an accepted new world order because, “The world believes only in success.”

Grigoris Balakian’s eyewitness account of events from 1915-1918 — recorded in his diaries during World War I, and already published by 1922 — provide a unique, independent confirmation of this ideological, and genocidal nexus, and antedate The Holocaust by two decades. Specifically, Balakian’s striking observations (on pp. 280-281) from a chapter entitled, “The Treatment of the Armenians by the German Soldiers” captures attitudes of German military officers towards the Armenians that foreshadow, chillingly, the genocidal depredations they would inflict upon European Jewry during World War II.
The German officers on their way to Palestine and the Mesopotamian front had no choice but to pass before the Bagche [Asia Minor] station [train]. All of them used offensive language with regard to the Armenians. They considered us to be engaging in intrigue, ready to strike the Turkish army from the rear, and thus traitors to the fatherland…deserving of all manner of punishment.

Although most of the Armenians living in Turkey had been deported, scattered, and martyred in the spring of 1915, a few hundred thousand survivors still perishing in the deserts to the south — wasting away to nothing. Nevertheless the German officers’ Armenophobic fury continued, and not a word of compassion was heard from their lips. On the contrary, they justified the Ittihad government, saying, “You Armenians deserve your punishment. Any state would have punished rebellious subjects who took up arms to realize national hopes by the destruction of the country.”

When we objected, asking if other states would dare to massacre women and children, along with men, and annihilate an entire race on account of a few guilty people, they replied: “Yes, it’s true that the punishment was a bit severe, but you must realize that during such chaotic and frightful days of war as these, it was difficult to find the time and means to separate the guilty from the innocent.” This was also the merciless answer of the chief executioners — Talaat, Enver, Behaeddin Shakir, Nazim — and their Ittihad camarilla.

The German officers pretended ignorance of the widespread slaughter of more than a million innocent Armenians, irrespective of sex and age, and referred only to deaths by starvation and the adversities of travel during the deportations. Thus they exonerated the Turkish government, saying that its inability to provide for hundreds of thousands of deportees in a disorganized land like Asia Minor was not surprising. Meanwhile Turkish government officials prevented the starving refugees from receiving bread distributed by the Austrians and Swiss, stating, “Orders have come from Constantinople not to give any assistance. We cannot allow either bread or medicine to be given. The supreme order is to annihilate this evil race. How dare you rescue them from death?” The German officers would often speak of us as Christian Jews and as blood sucking usurers of the Turkish people.

What a falsification of the wretched realities prevailing in Asia Minor, and what a reversal of roles! Yes indeed, there was an oppressor. Either the Germans were consciously distorting the facts and roles, or the Turks had really convinced them that the Turks were the victims and the Armenians were criminals. How appropriate it is to recall here this pair of Turkish sayings: “The clever thief has the master of the house hanged” and “The one who steals the minaret prepares its sheath in advance, of course.”

Many German officers had no qualms about turning over to the Turkish authorities Armenian youths who had sought refuge with them; they knew full well that they were delivering them to their executioners. If an Armenian merely spoke negatively about a German — be he the emperor or [Baron] von der Goltz Pasha [a German military aide to the Ottoman Empire], or the average German — or dared to criticize German indifference toward the Armenian massacres, he was immediately arrested and turned over to the nearest Turkish military or police authority. And if the Germans found a certain Armenian particularly irritating, they pinned the label of spy on him.

Mistaking me for an Austrian, a few German officers boasted of having turned over several Armenians to the Turkish police, adding with a laugh, “Only the Turks know how to talk to the Armenians.”
Historian Bat Ye’or places the continuum of Armenian massacres from the 1890s through the end of World War I, in the appropriate context of more than a millennium of jihad:
The genocide of the Armenians was the natural outcome of a policy inherent in the politico — religious structure of dhimmitude. This process of physically eliminating a rebel nation had already been used against the rebel Slav and Greek Christians, rescued from collective extermination by European intervention, although sometimes reluctantly.

The genocide of the Armenians was a jihad. No rayas took part in it. Despite the disapproval of many Muslim Turks and Arabs, and their refusal to collaborate in the crime, these massacres were perpetrated solely by Muslims and they alone profited from the booty: the victims’ property, houses, and lands granted to the muhajirun, and the allocation to them of women and child slaves. The elimination of male children over the age of twelve was in accordance with the commandments of the jihad and conformed to the age fixed for the payment of the jizya. The four stages of the liquidation — deportation, enslavement, forced conversion, and massacre — reproduced the historic conditions of the jihad carried out in the dar-al-harb from the seventh century on. Chronicles from a variety of sources, by Muslim authors in particular, give detailed descriptions of the organized massacres or deportation of captives, whose sufferings in forced marches behind the armies paralleled the Armenian experience in the twentieth century.
Balakian’s eyewitness narrative in Armenian Golgotha confirms her assessment in theory and genocidal practice (Armenian Golgotha, pp. 79-80: 144-146) Sukri Bey, captain of the Yozgat [a province in central Turkey, whose town of the same name is 100 miles east of Ankara] police soldiers, candidly admitted to Grigoris Balakian about participating in massacres, while confirming the jihad imperative which sanctioned and motivated these mass killings by local Muslims.
[Balakian]…the jihad [the Ottoman Sheikh-ul-Islam had] declared against the Entente powers was carried out only against the unarmed and defenseless Armenian population by the most savage of means…Thus Talaat [of the ruling Ittihad (Young Turk) ruling triumvirate], after having Behaeddin Shakir’s Armenian extermination plan approved by the Ottoman Parliament, had the Sheikh-ul-Islam issue a fatwa declaring the Armenians to be enemies of Islam and of the fatherland. Then the Sultan as well [officially] ordered the execution of the plan to exterminate the Armenians.

[Sukri Bey] During the time we were searching the women, the government officials of Yozgat sent police soldiers to all the surrounding Turkish villages and in the name of holy jihad invited the Muslim population to participate in this sacred religious obligation…Thus, when we arrived at the designated site, this mass of people was waiting. The government order was clear: all were to be massacred, and nobody was to be spared. Therefore, in order to prevent any escape attempt, and to thwart any secret attempts of sympathizers intent on freeing them, I had the eighty police soldiers encircle the hill, and I stationed guards at every probable site of escape or hiding. Then I had the police soldiers announce to the people that whoever wished to select a virgin girl or young bride could do so immediately, on the condition of taking them as wives and not with attention of rescuing them. Making a selection during the massacre was forbidden. Thus about two hundred-fifty girls and young brides were selected by the people and the police officers.
Balakian then completes the grisly narrative, interspersed with queries and responses from Sukri Bey:
“Did you shoot them dead or bayonet them to death?” I [Balakian] asked. [Sukri Bey responded] “It’s wartime, and bullets are expensive. So people grabbed whatever they could from their villages — axes, hatchets, scythes, sickles, clubs, hoes, pickaxes, shovels — and they did the killing accordingly.” It is impossible for me [Balakian] to convey what happened to those 6,400 defenseless women, virgins, and brides, as well as children and suckling infants. Their heartrending cries and doleful pleas brought down the deaf canopies of heaven. The police soldiers in Yozgat and Boghazliyan who accompanied us would even boast to some of us about how they had committed tortures and decapitations, cut off and chopped up body parts with axes, and how they dismembered suckling infants and children by pulling apart their legs, or dashing them on rocks.

As we rode our horses side by side, our conversation about the deportations and massacres finally reached a point where I was no longer able to restrain myself. Stiffened by this unfathomable and crushing story, I turned to Shukri, who was relating all this as if it were a children’s fairy tale, and said, “But bey, you are an elderly Muslim. How did you have this many thousands of innocent women, girls, and children massacred without feeling any remorse or guilt, when they were neither conspirators nor rebels? Wont you remain accountable for this innocent blood spilled, before God, the Prophet [Muhammad], and your conscience?”

“Not al all,” he replied. “On the contrary, I carried out my sacred and holy obligation before God, my Prophet, and my caliph…A jihad was proclaimed…The Sheikh-ul-Islam had issued a fatwa to annihilate the Armenians as traitors to our state, and the caliph, in turn, ratifying this fatwa, had ordered its execution…”
The career trajectory and personal attitudes of Wilhelm Hintersatz ( born 1886; died 1963 ) epitomize these genocidal connections. Hintersatz achieved the rank of colonel serving the Kaiser’s Austrian armed forces in Turkey, during World War I, where he became an assistant to Enver Pasha — one of the ruling Ittihad (Young Turk) triumvirate architects of the Armenian Genocide — and converted to Islam, assuming the name Harun-el-Raschid Bey. During World War II, he joined the Waffen SS as Standartenfuhrer (Colonel) of a unit that merged Waffen groups operating in the Ural Mountains, and Central Asia, from 1944-1945. As described by Professor Kurt Tauber in his meticulously documented two volume tome (published in 1967) on the post World War II era phenomenon of residual anti-democratic German nationalism, Beyond Eagle and Swastika, Wilhelm Harun-el-Raschid Bey wrote Aus Orient und Occident; ein Mosaik aus buntem Erleben [From the Orient and the Occident: A Mosaic of Varicolored Experiences], ostensibly “…about his personal experiences and travels, interlarded with his reflections,” which was published in 1954. However, as Tauber observes, cleverly avoiding strict German laws against the publication of overtly Antisemitic writings which were stringently applied during the early post World War II period, Harun-el-Raschid Bey concealed his Jew-hatred behind a “folkish” façade.
Yet, in doing so he presented a clear and penetrant racist orientation, masquerading as lighthearted story telling and simple good fun. Some of the descriptions of people and events have an almost Stürmer-like quality, including even the attempted seduction by a Russian Jewess!
Wilhelm Harun-el-Raschid Bey represents the apotheosis of two conjoined genocidal 20th century ideologies — jihadism, and ethno-nationalism. And as a true believer in both, he remained seemingly unrepentant even in the aftermath of the genocidal killings these hatemongering ideologies provoked.

The tragic mass killings for “breaching” the dhimma which afflicted the Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire (Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians, and Armenians) throughout the 19th century, culminating in the jihad genocide of the Armenians during World War I (and documented, by historian Vahakn Dadrian [pp. 403ff] to have inspired Hitler to express the notion of predictable impunity with regard to future genocides), were nearly replicated in historical Palestine, but for the advance of the British army.

During World War I in Palestine, between 1915 and 1917, the New York Times published a series of reports on Ottoman-inspired and local Arab Muslim assisted antisemitic persecution which affected Jerusalem, and the other major Jewish population centers. For example, by the end of January, 1915, 7000 Palestinian Jewish refugees — men, women, and children — had fled to British-controlled Alexandria, Egypt. Three New York Times accounts from January/ February, 1915 provide details of the earlier period. By April of 1917, conditions deteriorated further for Palestinian Jewry, which faced threats of annihilation from the Ottoman government. Many Jews were in fact deported, expropriated, and starved, in an ominous parallel to the genocidal deportations of the Armenian dhimmi communities throughout Anatolia. Indeed, as related by historian Yair Auron,
Fear of the Turkish actions was bound up with alarm that the Turks might do to the Jewish community in Palestine, or at least to the Zionist elements within it, what they had done to the Armenians. This concern was expressed in additional evidence from the early days of the war, from which we can conclude that the Armenian tragedy was known in the Yishuv [Jewish community in Palestine]
A mass expulsion of the Jews of Jerusalem, although ordered twice by Djemal Pasha, was averted only through the efforts of [the Ottoman Turks World War I allies] the German government which sought to avoid international condemnation. The 8000 Jews of Jaffa, however, were expelled quite brutally, a cruel fate the Arab Muslims and the Christians of the city did not share. Moreover, these deportations took place months before the small pro-British Nili spy ring of Zionist Jews was discovered by the Turks in October, 1917, and its leading figures killed. A report by United States Consul Garrels (in Alexandria, Egypt) describing the Jaffa deportation of early April 1917 (published in the June 3, 1917 New York Times ), included details of the Jews plight, and noted:
The same fate awaits all Jews in Palestine. Djemal Pasha is too cunning to order cold-blooded massacres. His method is to drive the population to starvation and to death by thirst, epidemics, etc, which according to himself, are merely calamities sent by God.
Auron cites a very tenable hypothesis put forth at that time in a journal of the British Zionist movement as to why the looming slaughter of the Jews of Palestine did not occur — the advance of the British army (from immediately adjacent Egypt) and its potential willingness “ hold the military and Turkish authorities directly responsible for a policy of slaughter and destruction of the Jews” — may have averted this disaster.

On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the “Mandate for Palestine,” confirming the irrevocable right of Jews to settle in the area of Palestine — anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The Congressional Record contains a statement of support from New York Rep. Walter Chandler which includes an observation, about “Turkish and Arab agitators… preaching a kind of holy war [jihad] against…the Jews” of Palestine. Earlier, in 1921, leaders of the Indian Khilafat (Caliphate) movement made clear at conferences held in India that Islamic suzerainty must prevail over all of historical Palestine. And in 1920, at the local level, within British controlled Palestine, Musa Kazem el-Husseini, former governor of Jaffa during the final years of Ottoman rule, and president of the Arab (primarily Muslim) Palestinian Congress, in a letter to the British High Commissioner, Herbert Samuels, demanded restoration of the Shari’a — which had only been fully abrogated two years earlier when Britain ended four centuries of Ottoman Muslim rule of Palestine — stating that this Religious Law, was “… engraved in the very hearts of the Arabs and has been assimilated in their customs and that has been applied …in the modern [Arab] states…” During this same era within Palestine, a strong Arab Muslim irredentist current —epitomized by Hajj Amin el-Husseini — promulgated the forcible restoration of Shari’a-mandated dhimmitude via jihad. Indeed, two years before he orchestrated the murderous anti-Jewish riots of 1920, i.e., in 1918, el-Husseini stated plainly to a Jewish co-worker (at the Jerusalem Governorate), I.A. Abbady, “This was and will remain an Arab land…the Zionists will be massacred to the last man…Nothing but the sword will decide the future of this country.”

Thus Berman and his ilk must be compelled to answer the following simple query: “What would have happened, say in late 1922 — the Muslim Brothers were not formed until 1928; the Nazis do not come to power until 1933 — with regard to Islamic jihad and Islamic Jew hatred, specifically, if the British had created some rump state Jewish homeland, actually governed by Jews, and rapidly departed, bearing in mind both the fate of other dhimmi nationalisms in the 19th and early 20th centuries (Serb, Greek, Bulgarian, Armenian), and the special place occupied by dhimmi Jews in Islamic eschatology?”). Indeed, even an historian sympathetic to their Nazi-centric views provided this honest answer: “[Yes.] They would have been slaughtered, possibly to the last man, woman and child.”