By Miri -
There is a common saying that Arab people by definition cannot be perpetrators of anti-Semitism for they are Semites themselves. If we look at the etymology of the word this is obviously true, as the term “Semitic” actually only refers to a language group, that includes among others also Arabic. If we look at the history of the term, however, we find that anti-Semitism is a pseudo-scientific concept that was/is used to suggest the existence of a Semitic “race”, referring exclusively to Jewish people. The term was coined by German anti-Semites in the 20th century, to provide a more scientific sounding expression for the term Judenhass, “hatred towards Jews” and this is what the term denotes until today: enmity towards Jews as Jews.
|Entrance to the Jewish Quarter in Cairo, ca. 1920|
|Blood drinking Jews in th Egyptian daily Al-Ahram, 2011|
|Hajj Amin al-Huseini meeting Adolf Hitler in Berlin, 1941|
The most notorious figure within the discussion of Palestinian anti-Semitic attitudes during the Mandate period is undoubtedly Hajj Amin al-Huseini, the British appointed mufti of Jerusalem. The mufti's sympathies with fascist Italy and Germany, as well as his active involvement in the German war effort during his stay in Berlin from 1941 to1945 are widely documented and the fact that his anti-Zionist stance took on a decidedly anti-Semitic colouring cannot be questioned. It should however be noted that al-Husseini's attitudes towards Jews were not shared by all Palestinians, and also his leadership role was not recognised by all.
|Book cover of The International Jew, Egypt 2001|
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