When Will the Word Become Flesh? The New Antisemitism, Ctd

Sigmund Freud, in the early 1930s, quipped that he was pleased to see that the German and Austrian antisemites appeared content to burn his books and not him. And, of course, within a few years, as things escalated, it wasn’t long before Freud, and Jews generally, arrived at the conclusion that they were in mortal danger from what popular politics had unleashed in the culture. What began as rhetoric and symbol transformed. The word became flesh.

Fast forward to 21st century America. George Bush, immediately after 9-11 and throughout his tenure as president, was insistent on separating Islam from the War on Terror. But a Rubicon has been crossed with the so-called ground zero mosque rhetoric, and it is the beginning of an evil inclination in the Republican Party. Attributing to Muslim Americans collective guilt for 9-11 is the new antisemitism, and you can’t unleash the dark energies of scapegoating without generating real mischief.

What, for example, would Freud say about the news of a Florida church planning to burn Qurans on the anniversary of 9-11?

Isn’t Muslim collective guilt the raison d’etre  for this gesture? And wouldn’t the Herderite book burners of the 1930s have understood this impulse perfectly? 

Here’s the India Times:

A Florida church said it plans to publicly burn copies of the Quran on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, prompting threats from Islamic groups and warnings the move will trigger a rise in hate crimes.

The Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville, Florida said on its Facebook page it will hold an “International Burn a Koran Day” on September 11, asking other religious groups to join in standing “against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!”

“Islam and Sharia law was responsible for 9/11,” pastor Terry Jones said.

And here’s an image of book burning in Berlin, May 10, 1933:

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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5 Responses to When Will the Word Become Flesh? The New Antisemitism, Ctd

  1. andrewclunn says:

    Perhaps the best aspect of the American Christian majority is that they are so inwardly divided that they don’t live up to the threat (which is often leveled at them) of using a plurality to promote theocratic rule. Though it does seem that now, in the death throws of their majority, they are giving it one last go, with a religious war no less. Though I don’t think the Muslim extremists who want a religious and cultural conflict are thinking this thing through either, as if such a line is crossed it will not end well for them either.

  2. mary says:

    A view of Islamic anti-Semitism can be found in excerpts from the 2003 report to the United Nations on the 1988 Charter of HAMAS:

    … 31 March 2002 the UK Islamist website of Al-Muhajiroun, Islamic-State.Org, posted an article by its affiliate, Hizb ut-Tahrir, entitled: “And kill them wherever you find them (…)” [Koran 2:191]. It affirmed: “The Jews are a people of slander. They are a treacherous people who violate oaths and covenants.”

    “This global, genocidal call is justified by an oft-quoted hadith (‘saying’ attributed to Muhammad), that concludes article 7: “HAMAS aspires to implement Allah’s promise, whatever time it may take. The Prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said:‘The Hour [Day of Judgment] will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: Oh Muslim! Oh Abdallah [Slave of Allah!], there is a Jew behind me, come on and kill him. This will not apply to the Gharqad tree, which is a Jewish tree.’” (13)

    This controversial hadith — yet related by the authoritative 9th century compilers, al-Bukhari and Muslim — has since become a commonplace belief among Islamists. On 12 April 2002, the PA-nominated Sheikh Ibrahim Madhi delivered a Friday sermon at Gaza City’s main Sheikh Ijlin Mosque, broadcast live on PA television. He quoted extensively from this hadith — including the odd reference to the “Jewish” Gharqad tree — in preaching genocide and a jihad- war: “We believe in this hadith. We are convinced also that this hadith heralds the spread of Islam and its rule over all the lands (…)‘from the ocean to the ocean ’.” Sheikh Madhi concluded: “Oh Allah, accept our martyrs in the highest heaven (…) Oh Allah, show the Jews a black day (…) Oh Allah, annihilate the Jews and their supporters (…) Oh Allah, raise the flag of Jihad across the land (…) Oh Allah, forgive our sins.”

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