26 Muslim Scholars Denounce “Fascist” Israel, Claim Jerusalem Will Be Capital of a New Caliphate (Part 1)

A group of Muslim “scholars” in the U.K. has issued a joint letter condemning what they call “fascist” Israel. Breitbart has the story:

Twenty-six “Muslim scholars” based in Britain have called for “fascist” Israel to be returned to the Arabs, and expressed their hope that “Jerusalem will be the capital of the Islamic Caliphate when it returns, Allah willing.”

The word “fascist” is here thrown out like so much confetti; it demands to be defined. The essence of fascism includes an authoritarian or despotic central government, contempt for electoral democracy, militaristic nationalism, hatred of political and cultural liberalism, a belief in a natural social hierarchy and the rule of elites.There are  “fascist”or quasi-fascist states in the Middle East, run by and for members of a particular group or party, along with old-fashioned monarchies (as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates), and authoritarian regimes (as in Egypt and Turkey). Fascist rule is often accompanied a cult of personality, celebrating The Infallible Leader, as happened with Mussolini, Hitler, and Franco. Fascist states in the Middle East include Syria, under the rule of the Assad family and their instrument, the secular Ba’ath Party. The Ba’ath Party served to disguise the Alawites, who, though they constituted only 12% of the Syrian population, under the Assad family’s rule maintained an iron grip on the country. Another fascist state, in the true sense, was Iraq under Saddam Hussein; Saddam had his own version of the Ba’ath Party, which was officially open to all — Arabs and Kurds, Shi’a and Sunnis, even Christians. But Ba’athist rule in Iraq was meant to disguise the Sunni Arab despotism that Saddam had created; some joked sardonically that he imposed not just rule by Sunni Arabs, but confined that rule to Sunni Arabs from Tikrit, Saddam’s home town. Since Sunni Arabs were only 19% of the Iraqi population, it was useful for Saddam, in the same way as it was for Assad in Syria, to maintain the fiction that Ba’athists, of all ethnicity and sects, and not Sunni Arabs, ruled. Tariq Aziz, his Christian foreign minister, was particularly useful, as a way of suggesting the Ba’athist regime was truly open to all.

Another fascist state in the Middle East is Iran, which has been ruled since 1979 by theocratic fascists who brook no dissent, torture, jail, and murder political opponents, and hold farcical elections where the candidates for the Majlis, which is a merely consultative body, are pre-selected by the clerical Council of Guardians. There are no  competing political parties, the decisions of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, are final, and a cult of personality offers limitless reverence for the late Ayatollah Khomeini. Endless demonstrations whip up frenzied crowds, a Middle Eastern version of the Nuremberg rallies, with flag burnings and endless cries of “Death to America!,” “Death to England!” (an historic enemy), and of course, “Death to Israel!”

There are “fascist” states in the Middle East — Syria, Iran, Iraq under Saddam; there are monarchies/emirates/sheikdoms, as in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, the Emirates, and Jordan; there are authoritarian regimes, as Turkey and Egypt. But Israel is not among them. Israel turns out to be not just a full-bore democracy, but the only true democracy that exists between Europe and India.

Israel displays none of the characteristics of a fascist state. It is, in fact, the quintessential anti-fascist state. It’s a rip-roaring,  freewheeling, and wide open electoral democracy, with no holds barred between candidates and parties. To call it a “vibrant” democracy hardly does it justice. The press is not just free, but at times positively outrageous in its attacks on Israel’s leaders and policies. For examples, just read the news daily Ha’aretz, where no Israeli politician is safe. All citizens of Israel — Jews, Muslim and Christian Arabs, and those who are neither Arabs nor Jews  — have the same political rights. They all vote, they can all run for office. There is an all-Arab political party, and Arabs also belong to mainly Jewish parties, including those on the nationalist right. There are Arabs who sit in the Knesset  where as they can, if they wish, rant freely against the Jewish state. There are Arabs who sit on the Supreme Court, who serve in the diplomatic corps, representing Israel’s interests abroad, and who attain high positions in the Israeli bureaucracy.

Israel’s politicians, far from exhibiting any authoritarian impulses, are constantly having to justify their policies and themselves; in the kaleidoscope of Israeli politics, there is constant realignment of political forces; today’s political enemy may be tomorrow’s political ally, and vice-versa. One-party rule is an impossibility. Netanyahu has held the post of Prime Minister longer than anyone, but he is hardly capable of authoritarian rule; he has to fight anew for his political life every day; his power is challenged not just by those in rival parties, but by those in his own party. He, and his family (his wife Sara, his son Yair) are subject to  personal attacks in the media that in a “fascist’”state would be impossible.

Israel has a strong military, but there is no militarism. There are none of those bemedalled generals one finds in other militaries; Israel’s military insignia are modest; there is no threat of military coups; there is respect for, but no hero-worship of, military men, no parades of goose-stepping soldiers or displays of missiles on the North Korean or Russian or Iranian model. Israelis have a quiet confidence in their armed forces, a mainly citizen’s army that consists both of draftees and a smaller cadre of professionals. In the Israeli military, the soldiers are encouraged to challenge, should they find the performance of their officers wanting. A more egalitarian force can scarcely be imagined. And, of course, there is no Supreme Leader in Israel held up as infallible, as befits a “fascist” state. No Hitler, no Mussolini, no Ayatollah Khomeini or Saddam Hussein..

For those “26 Islamic scholars” in the U.K., Israel is “fascist” not because it meets the defining criteria, but because that word had become an all-purpose term of political opprobrium. It is one of the two words — the other is “racist” — that signifies irredeemable political evil. Naturally these Muslim scholars think it should be applied to that mighty empire that threatens all of its neighbors, the Jewish state of Israel. The Qur’an depicts the Jews (Robert Spencer has compiled the list) as “inveterately evil and bent on destroying the wellbeing of the Muslims. They are the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); as fabricating things and falsely ascribing them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); claiming that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); loving to listen to lies (5:41); disobeying Allah and never observing his commands (5:13); disputing and quarreling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more.”

Naturally the state of such wicked people as the Jews could not possibly be a thriving democracy (though Muslims, it must be recalled, are unimpressed with democracy). Israel can only be a “fascist state.”

5Pillars  describes itself as “the largest regulated Muslim news site in Europe & the Americas” — but has been described by Lead Commissioner for the Commission for Countering Extremism Sara Khan as “Islamist” — published the open letter on its website, and invited “Any Muslim scholar who would like to sign this open statement” to get in touch.

The statement, which 5Pillars say was “spearheaded by Shaykh Asrar Rashid from Birmingham”, asserts that the signatories “do not recognize ‘Israel’ as a legitimate state.”

So what else is new? Since 1948, the Arab and Muslim states have refused to recognize Israel “as a legitimate state.” Only two Arab states, Egypt  in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, signed peace agreements recognizing Israel, in order to receive certain benefits (for Egypt, that meant the return of the entire Sinai; for Jordan, it included agreements to help the economy through trade and tourism, and included debt forgiveness from the U.S.).

“‘Israel’ must return the entirety of Palestinian land,” they demand.

The Jews  in the Land of Israel were making their own colossal history on their own tiny land, for several thousand years before islamized Arabs came out of the Arabian desert, beginning in the mid-7th century, to conquer most of the Middle East, including the territory of the Jews. For those Muslim Arabs, the real history of Palestine began only upon their arrival. Everything before then belonged to the pre-Islamic world of the Jahiliyya, or Time of Ignorance, a period of little worth and no interest to its conquerors,  who possessed the only truth worth having, the truth of Islam.

The “Palestinian land” they now demand back was never possessed by the “Palestinian people.” Before the Jewish state was declared, Palestine was controlled by Great Britain as holder of the Mandate for Palestine, and before Great Britain, for four centuries Palestine was ruled by the Ottoman Turks, and before the Turks, the rulers were the Mamluks from Egypt. Before the Mamluks, the area formed part of, successively, the Rashidun, Umayyad, and Abbasid Caliphates.There never was a separate “Palestinian [Arab] land” nor, as many now realize, was there even a separate “Palestinian people” until they were invented, for propagandistic reasons, after the Six-Day War.

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