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Op-Ed: It is time for the world to stop ignoring Muslim anti-Semitism

Rachel Avraham explains why the anti-Semitism emanating from the Islamic world deserves just as much attention as the wave of anti-Semitic incidents that are presently occurring in the United States.
Photo Credit: Palestinian Media Watch

The series of anti-Semitic attacks and bomb threats targeting Jewish schools and institutions in the United States has dominated headlines recently.  Just today, it was reported that there was another bomb threat targeting the Anti-Defamation League, this time in their office in San Francisco. During January and February 2017, there were 89 anti-Semitic incidents within 30 US states and one Canadian province.  

The situation has gotten so bad that Israeli Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog warned that there will be a massive Aliyah from the US due to the rising anti-Semitism. However, while no one should undermine the horrendous anti-Semitism in the US, the anti-Semitism that presently exists in the Islamic world is even worse yet it is not receiving the same level of attention by international human rights organizations and global media outlets.

For example, international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are virtually silent about the anti-Semitism that is widespread in Iraq today. ISIS destroyed Daniel’s Tomb and Jonah’s Tomb, claiming that the sites represented “idolatry.” In addition, the Iraqi government that is dominated by Iran has de-Judaized several Jewish holy sites in the country including Ezekiel’s Tomb, Ezra’s Tomb and the Tomb of Joshua the High Priest.

Meanwhile, according to MEMRI, Iraqi cleric Ahmad Al Kubeisi proclaimed that the driving force behind all of the chaos in Iraq is “the Jews” and that there is a historical enmity between the Jewish and Iraqi peoples.  He claimed that Iraq will fight the Jews in the Battle of Armageddon: “The Iraqi Army will annihilate the Jews, not leaving a single Jew in the world.” However, these incidents don’t dominate headlines like the vandalism that occurred in the St. Louis Jewish Cemetery and the Philadelphia Cemetery did.

In a Friday sermon delivered in a mosque within Canada, MEMRI reported that Sheikh Wael Al Ghitawi taught his congregants that the “Jews were people that slayed prophets, shed their blood and cursed the Lord.” Even though he delivered this sermon in the middle of Montreal, Canada, nobody until now has written a single article about this in mainstream Canadian media. However, when posters were posted that questioned whether the Holocaust really happened in the University of Calgary, it was covered by more than one Canadian media outlet.

In a mosque in Toronto that is associated with the Muslim Association of Canada, which is a Muslim Brotherhood front group, they called for the slaughtering of infidels and stated that the Jewish people are filthy. Last night, a police report was filed against this particular mosque for these statements. Meir Weinstein, the national coordinator for the Jewish Defense League, told JerusalemOnline that there is video documentation of this sermon and that nobody inside the mosque objects nor says anything against them.  He added that the mainstream media coverage within Canada of this particular incident has been very slow: “The Muslim Brotherhood and groups associated with them have a stronghold in Canada. They are the cause of the increase in anti-Semitism.”

Despite this, he noted that Canada has as of yet to label the Muslim Brotherhood a terror group and for this reason, they are able to operate a network of mosques within the country that incite anti-Semitic hatred. However, the mainstream media is not outraged by this in the same way that they would be if Neo-Nazi groups had a network of centers that incited hate crimes.

And then of course, there is the Palestinian anti-Semitic vandalism that is never given the attention that it deserves. In the past, dozens of graves have been vandalized in the ancient Mount of the Olives cemetery. In 2016, Palestinian mobs desecrated a mezuzah that was in place at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. On numerous occasions, Joseph’s Tomb has been torched by Palestinian rioters. 

In 2000, the historic Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue in Jericho with its unique Byzantine era mosaics was torched. In 1996, Palestinian mobs assaulted Rachel’s Tomb and the Jewish holy site has been transformed into a fortress ever since. However, instead of speaking about these incidents for over a week, international media outlets mentioned these incidents in passing if it all. For the international media, the plight of an ancient synagogue, holy site or cemetery in the Holy Land is not as important as anti-Semitic vandalism and bomb threats against Jewish institutions in the US and Canada.

It is time for international human rights organization and media outlets across the globe to stop ignoring Muslim anti-Semitism.  Yes, the bomb threats against Jewish institutions in the US matter but so does the anti-Semitic incitement emanating from the Muslim world. Of course, we all are disturbed when fliers denying the Holocaust are distributed at a Canadian university but we also want people to care about the anti-Semitic sermons being delivered in Canada’s mosques.

And while we want people to respect the dead inside America’s Jewish cemeteries, we also want to note that at the same time, we want people to view the anti-Semitic destruction that Palestinians cause to ancient Jewish holy sites and cemeteries to also be important.  We are all Jews.  The Jews in the Middle East should not matter less than the Jews in America who fall victim to Neo-Nazi hate crimes.  We call on the world to respect and value all Jews, regardless where they live and who the perpetrators are.

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