[Introduction to an "analysis and discussion" at the United Nations (Geneva), 31 July 2001,
organized by the NGO, Association for World Education.  (Spoken in French)]

A Culture of Hate

Bat Ye’or

    These past years there has never been so much talk of the dialogue of civilizations and the culture of peace, while one is confronted with an absolute culture of hate, of an outburst of terrorism against civilians, of discrimination, and of religious intolerance.  This culture of hate has justified international terrorism, the terrorism of the media, and air and sea piracy, which have caused countless innocent victims.  The culture of hate has multiple heads from Algeria to Afghanistan, via Gaza, Damascus, Cairo, Khartoum, Teheran and other countries.  It scatters the seeds of terrorism from one end of the world to the other.
 It is a hate which turns its back on all humanity, suppresses freedom of thought, condemns difference.  This hate calls itself 'Islamic jihad'.  It draws on religious texts that other Muslims dispute.  And because they challenge this interpretation and suggest different ones because they wish to live in peace with the nations of the world, their lives are threatened.  There is constant bloodshed in Algeria.  Jihad is disseminating death and terror in Israel.  In Southern Sudan it has caused the death of some two million people, as well as creating an incalculable number of refugees and slaves and giving rise to deadly famines. In Indonesia, some 200,000 deaths resulted from violence in East Timor;  the Christian populations of the Moluccas and other islands have been pursued, and massacred, and their churches burned down by jihad.  And the same occurred in  some Nigerian states.  Hundred of innocent people died when jihad struck at the Jewish community of Buenos Aires in Argentina, and the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.  Copts were massacred in their churches and villages in Egypt and tourists have been killed. Christians in Pakistan and in Iran live in terror of accusations of blasphemy.  None of these victims was guilty of any crime.  They were assassinated out of hate.

It is this hate that the State of Israel is fighting.  The preliminary documents for the conference against racism in Durban did not condemn this culture of hate;  they rehabilitated it.  When some of their propositions condemn Zionism, this conference is encouraging jihad, the culture of the war against infidels, it is scourging the principles of freedom and human rights.  It is demonstrating negationist racism.  The word 'Zion', which designates the land of Israel and its capital Jerusalem, exists in texts dating back almost three millennia.  It was the Emperor Hadrian who called this country Palestine in 135 C.E.   In this Palestine, Arabic was not the spoken language, the Bible and not the Koran was taught, and the population was mainly Jewish.

Palestine was colonized five centuries later by the Arab armies of the Islamic jihad.  Many Jews were massacred at that time, others deported to Arabia as slaves, the whole population expropriated and reduced to the condition of dhimmis, as were all indigenous Jews and Christians in the south Mediterranean countries conquered by jihad, as well as those in many European countries.  Are these countries conquered by Islam - Portugal, Spain, Sardinia, Sicily, Crete, and the southern regions of France and Italy, for example - Arab lands?  The shari'a was imposed as far to the north as Hungary and Poland, not to mention all central Europe, including regions of Greece, ex-Yugoslavia, Rumania and Bulgaria up to the end of the nineteenth century.  Are those countries Arab countries, in which non-Muslim inhabitants must return to the condition of dhimmis, whose testimony is rejected by Islamic courts?  Are they once again going to don discriminatory garments such as the Talibans today demand; and be subject to the prohibition on building and renovating their churches, like the Copts in Egypt?

If the liberation movement of the Jews in their ancestral homeland is interpreted as racism, then all the movements of liberation from expropriation and servitude imposed by jihad are racist.  Such a stance reinstates the imperialism of the Islamic jihad, which has claimed millions of victims in three continents over more than a millennium, deported an incalculable number of slaves, annihilated entire peoples, destroying their history, their monuments and their culture.  Have the Copts a right to their history and their language?  Do the Kabili  have a right to theirs?  Not to mention all the victims of the racism it creates, a historic racism which denies their history, their sufferings and their memory.

Arab racism consists of calling the country of Israel, Arab land, whereas no Palestinian province, village or town, including Jerusalem are mentioned either in the Koran or in any Arabic text before the end of the ninth century C.E.  They are, on the contrary, mentioned in the Hebrew Bible which represents the religious and historical heritage of the Jewish people.  The Bible, which tells the history of this country, tells it in Hebrew, the language of the country, and not in Arabic.

Palestinian racism consists of asserting that the whole history of Israel, biblical history, is Arabic, Islamic and Palestinian history.  The kings and prophets of Israel were Arabic, Palestinian and Muslim kings and prophets, as were Jesus, his family and the apostles.  This Islamization of the Bible thus robs not only the Jews but also the whole of Christianity of their history.  New theologies of substitution are developed, transferring Israel's heritage to Arabic and Muslim Palestine.

The imperialism of jihad consists of appropriating the whole history and identity of the peoples who were conquered and thrown into the non-existence of dhimmitude.  This is a total negation of the other, a refusal to acknowledge him as an equal.  Israel's battle is not a battle of colonists, as some European political circles like to claim, because Europe has itself had a colonial history on all continents and it projects this history on to Israel in the same way as it projects its own history of Nazism on to the Israelis,. thereby revenging itself on the revelations of historians.  Israel's battle is not a battle against the Muslim world, it is a battle to cleanse its conscience of the hate of jihad.  It is the liberation of a people from the slavery of dhimmitude, which was imposed in order to exterminate it in its own land.  That is why Christians who reject the new theologies of substitution are joining Israel in its fight, as are Muslims who refuse to allow the values of Islam to be perverted by the theology of jihad.  It is through this common effort that we will be able to replace the culture of hate by that of friendship and by reconciliation between peoples.

© Bat Ye'or 2001


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