The colossal historian Martin Gilbert has provided the best one volume compendium of the history of the Jewish people, who have had to live, suffer and sometimes flower, in Islamic lands. Gilbert's genius as a historian is to compile exhausting, on the ground, first sourced material; sift through it and present a narrative and history which is the fairest and most reliable that one can construct. His books are the best references on chosen topics that one can have. He is one of the top historians today in the Western world. This book is just more proof of that truism.
A volume of this type is long overdue. The chattering elite tell us that Islam is peace and tolerance and that all Muslims are moderates – except for the very small 'fringe' which has been engaged in endless jihad, war and terrorism for 1400 years, killing 300 millions over that long period and fomenting 17.000 attacks since 9-11. Apparently this extraordinarily small cadre of 'radicals' are very busy little bees. In any event, and in reality, the Muslim theology is decidedly racist and supremacist. The Koran is. The Hadiths are. So too was Mohammed. In this first review, we can see clearly that Islam at its origins, and in the sad character of its founder, was a racist-anti semitic movement dedicated to war, jihad and imperialism. No other explanation suffices or is premised on historical reality. Islam was not 'preached' to the masses and accepted. It was not spread by hope and change rhetoric, and soft, earnest speeches about ethics and love which tantalized the Arab masses. It was expanded by war, blood, forcible conversion and hate. Period. Such is the black and white reality of the real word.
Sir Martin quotes one of my favorite philosophers the 11th century Jewish teacher, doctor and philosopher Maimonides. It was this clever man, who was persecuted by Muslims and forced to flee across North Africa from Morocco to Egypt who stated so rightly about the Muslim 'nation';
'No nation has ever done more harm to Israel. None has matched it in debasing and humiliating us. None has been able to reduce us as they have.”
Indeed that is true. Islam has been a greater reducer of Jewish lives and potential, than even Nazism was with its butchery of 6 millions. In our modern era, Israel and Jews everywhere are targets of Arab and Muslim racism and violence. This is not due to the 'Palestinian' problem, any more than modern Islamic intolerance is due to the Crusades or the Iraq war. Jew hate is an endemic DNA carried disease within Muslim Arab states and Islamic states in general. Not all Muslims hate Jews of course [such an obvious and trite and entirely nescient statement constantly needs to be refrained doesn't it?]. But the cult certainly hates the Joo.
“...1948...850,000 of these Jews were forced to leave their homes and countries, driven out by persecution and hatred. The United Nations' offer of statehood to Jews and Arabs in Palestine caused a violent reaction in the Arab world..”
Today the UN provides for 1.4 million Arabs in refugee camps. The Jews were never given refugee camps. The temporary shelters in Israel were disbanded in the 1950s. See a cultural difference between the Jews and Muslims and Arabs? I do.
Back to the book. Sir Martin relates the long pre-Muslim history of Judaism. Of course the Jews had a rich and extensive empire under King David circa 1000 BC. Jewish gravestones have been found in Tunisia dating from 813 BC. Jews were in Yemen in 629 BC. The most famous Yemeni Jewish King – Yusuf or Joseph Asar – ruled in 515 AD a mere 55 years before Mohammed was born. By the time of Mohammed's birth in 570 AD, Jews had built large and flourishing academies in Falluja Iraq, and at Sura. 500.000 Jews were already resident in Libya in 115 AD and many were killed and exiled after a failed rebellion against Rome. St. Mark of the Gospels, was a Libyan Jew who converted to Christ; and it was he who founded the Egyptian Coptic church at Alexandria, a church today with some 13 million Egyptian Christian members. More Jews emigrated to North Africa following the failed and bloody 136 AD Jewish revolt in Israel against Rome. Over a million Jews were exiled after that rebellion from the newly named Palestinia – the name of Israel being forbidden by the Romans. This great diaspora became the basis for the modern Jewish communities which were found scattered across the Roman and Mediterranean world.
In fairness it was not just Muslims who persecuted the Jews during the 7th century. Medieval and early-modern Christian animus against the Jews was fueled in part by their cooperation with non-Christians including Persians and later, the Mohammedans. For example Jews aided the Persians in taking Jerusalem in 614 AD and when emperor Heraclius retook the city for Christianity, the Jews were banned and a general campaign of vengeance against Judaism ensued. In parts of the Levant and North Africa Heraclius began to forcibly convert the Jews to Orthodox Christianity. It was precisely at this time that the warriors of the Mohammed cult issued forth from the barren wastes of their peninsula to attack the civilisations of Byzantium and Sassanid Persia. The Jews ironically welcomed the Muslims as liberators. The greatest ideology of Jew-hate in history – more virulent and devastating than Nazism – was at first seen by Jews as one of salvation and hope. History is more than ironic. It is recorded that in the Levant, Israel and Egypt, the Jews openly aided the Muslims in their conquests. Indeed a good question to ask is, if the Jews did not side with the Muslims, would the Arabs have conquered so vast a territory over such a short period of time? My answer is no. It seems obvious that Jewish aid was instrumental for the spread of early Islam.
During the 7th century, there were over 20 Jewish tribes who lived in the Arab peninsula, three of them in Medina. They were rich, educated and prosperous – the opposite of the poor, illiterate and feuding Arab Bedouins. Mohammed was born in a time of social tumult, including the migration of Yemeni Arabs into the greater peninsula. These social dislocations offered both difficulties and political opportunity. Mohammed offered himself as a prophet in the line of Moses and Jesus with a plan to help and aid the 'poor' and restore order, stop the endless intra-tribal warring and plunder; and generate prosperity. Few bought the program. The Jews would have none of it. Why did the Jews reject Mohammed? As Sir Martin says,
'For the Jews of Medina, however, as for most Jews, the era of prophets, with their warnings, exhortations and visions, was long over. The last Hebrew prophet, Malachi, had died a thousand years earlier. According to Jewish tradition, the seal of prophecy was only to be renewed with the return of the Jews to Zion.'
And of course many Arabs and Jews simply viewed Mohammed's rantings about the Allah idol and its 'revelations', as gibberish and a mark of insanity. This is why the Koran in over 30 verses restates that Allah's messenger is not crazy or demented. Allah justifying himself in the form of Mohammed [and vice versa]. Mohammed turned against the Jews and desired not only their wealth, property and beautiful women, but ultimately their complete destruction.
In the first quarter of the book, Sir Martin outlines the destruction of the Jewish settlements in Arabia by Mohammed including the murders of Jewish poets and those who refused to join the Allah-cult. An interesting piece of Koranic information is supplied by Sir Martin, in describing the evisceration of the Jewish Banu [sons of] Nadir tribe by Mohammed. Jewish ethics forbade the eradication of vegetation and fruit trees during war. Not so with the Koran and the ever-handy revelations of the moon deity Al-ilah. Mohammed was able to starve and reduce the Nadir by cutting down their date and fig trees, which they depended upon for food and commerce. Sura 59 conveniently comes to Mohammed during this period of war,
'Whatever palm-trees you cut down or left them standing in their roots was by Allah's command, that He might disgrace the transgressors. Whatever Allah has given to His Messenger as spoils from them, is of His grace. You urged neither horse nor camel for it; but Allah grants power to His Messengers over whomsoever he pleases.'
Ah isn't that convenient? Whenever Mohammed needs to do something – rape, kill, plunder, cut, disfigure, threaten, murder, slave-trade, have sex – the Allah object is right there on time, and on message, with yet another handy-dandy 'revelation'. I doubt that any 'divine' source would be so interested in any single human being and in justifying the killing of innocent Jews of the Nadir tribe. But then again, I am an infidel slime.
The Nadir were exiled and their property and most of their good-looking women taken. They fared better than the second Jewish tribe that Mohammed and his bandits attacked. The Banu Qurayzh tribe was simply extinguished.
'The Jewish men were to be put to death, the women and children sold into slavery, and the possessions of the Jews divided as spoils among the Muslims.'
Over 700 Jewish men and boys dug a trench outside of Median, and had their heads cut off and their bodies kicked into the same trench. It was a tactic that the Nazis would use in their extermination of the Jew, though of course bullets were used instead of swords. Mohammed himself joined in on the carnage. Koran 3:10 provides the justification for this act of racism;
'As for those who blaspheme, neither their wealth nor their progeny shall avail them one jot with God. These shall be fuel for the fire.'
Nice. The fires of hell are fueled by those who blaspheme or in other words, by those who refuse to follow the cult of Mohammed. Ergo kill them at will.
'The brutal removal of those whom Mohammed defeated became a model for future Muslim rulers. A leading Muslim jurist, Abu Yusuf...wrote in his commentaries on jihad – holy war – that whenever Muslims 'besiege an enemy stronghold, establish a treaty with the besieged who agree to surrender on certain conditions that will be decided by a delegate, and this man decides that the soldiers are to be executed and their women and children taken prisoner, this decision is lawful. This was the decision of Sa'd ibn Mu'adh in connection with the Banu Qurayzh.'
How tolerant and forgiving.
After annihilating the Qurayzh Mohammed made a false peace with his former tribe the Quraysh who governed his birthplace, Mecca. He now had full reign to eradicate the largest and most hostile of Jewish tribes the Khaibar. In a secret campaign the Muslims in the dead of night approached the oasis and waited for the Jews to come forth from their main city into the fields to work.
'The Jews were carrying the spades and baskets of their trade; the Muslims were armed with swords. After burning down the Jews' date palm groves – their main source of livelihood in Khaibar – Mohammed laid siege to the oasis. Then one by one over the course of a month, each of the Jews' seven separate compounds was forced to surrender.'
The Jews were allowed to stay if they gave 50% of their produce to the Muslims. This is the Kharaj or production tax on infidels and Dhimmis. The land now belonged to the Muslims, not the Jews. After he killed the King, Mohammed married his daughter the supposedly beautiful Safiyya. He of course had her husband killed. In Koranic law Muslim women cannot have sex or marry with non-Muslim men. But of course a Muslim men can hoist himself onto any women he pleases including lovely infidels. Mohammed's victory at Khaibar imposed Dhimmitude on the Jews, and it established parts of Sharia Law. This is why Muslims today taunt Jews with 'Remember Khaibar', or 'Remember your defeat and humiliation'.
'The terms imposed on Khaibar's Jews set the precedent in Islamic case law (Sharia Law) for the subsequent treatment of all non-Muslims under Muslim rule....dhimmis in a state of subjugation and fealty similar to the Khaibar Jews....the Battle of Khaibar symbolised the defeat of their Jewish infidel enemies and the beginning of the sanctioned humiliation of Jews under the dhimma practice...the jiyza poll tax, was clearly understood by Muslim tradition to have begun with the Jews of Khaibar.'
The Muslims hated the Jews. They still do in the main. It really is that simple. The Koran as Sir Martin relates has three specific curses against the Jews – 2:61, 5:82 and 4:44-46. The Muslim daily prayer also ends with a curse of Jews and Christians – a fact that Sir Martin does not mention. Mohammed's dying wish was that 'two religions shall not remain together in the peninsula of the Arabs.'
The early history of Islam is thus racist and anti-semitic. The genetic hatred of the Jews as a competitor, and a member of an ideology which is to be destroyed is clearly displayed in the early development of the Mohammed cult. Divine 'revelations' which conveniently target the richer Jews in Arabia for destruction match the virulent hatred and dhimma-imposed sanctions in reality, which either eradicate or imprison the Jew. It is a lie to say that Islam is tolerant. The early expansion of Islamic imperialism, all to the detriment of the Jews, Christians and pagan Arabs, makes that belief an utter absurdity and demented lie.
The only small complaint I would have in reviewing the first part of Sir Martin's history is his conflation of the Islamic and Christian ideals of 'God'. Sir Martin states:
“The word Islam is Arabic for 'submission' – denoting the submission of the believer to God. The Jews had already submitted to one God. Muslim, the active participle of the world Islam, is a person who has submitted, as the Jews had already done.”
This is factually wrong. Submission or Islam simply means prostration to Allah. It does not mean 'God'. It is a very specific submission to the idol of Mohammed [which is in fact Mohammed himself of course]. It does not reference prostration to just any 'God'. Such a mistaken definition is incorrect for a number of historical and theological reasons. Al-ilah is 'the one' in Arabic and it references the moon deity. El-Lah or Al-ilah was one idol of 365 in the Kabaah shrine in Mecca. The antecedents and intent of the Allah-worship are not even remotely similar to that of Yahweh or 'the Father' in Christian theology. The key is 'submission to Allah' and of course submission to his chosen leader, the Mohammed. The Muslim daily prayer, and the Koran in an untold numbers of verses, mandate that a Muslim prostrate himself to Al-ilah, and follow his 'prophet' Mohammed. Indeed it is obvious that if you read the Koran, both Mohammed and Allah are the same.
In any event you can't deny that Islam from its founding, has targeted the Jews for annihilation.
More to come from Sir Martin's excellent book.