Comment by Khalid Amayreh in occupied East Jerusal
On 29 August, 2007, Israeli soccer fans were heard cursing the Prophet Muhammed (PUH) while accompanying an Israeli soccer team to Turkey.
According to the Ynet, the Yedeot Ahronot news website, a Turkish reporter working for the Channel 24, Elif Ural, who accompanied the Israeli soccer team, Maccabi Tel Aviv on its flight from Israel to the Turkish city of Kayseri, videotaped a group of fans while signing songs cursing the Prophet of Islam and Muslims in general.
Ural, who has been living in Israel for the past three years, reportedly was deeply offended by what she witnessed and heard. Ural was especially upset because the club’s officials failed to intervene to put an end to the offensive behavior.
I realize there are many decent Jews who condemn such a blaspheme which offends and provokes over a billion and a half human beings around the world.
After all, offending people’s sensibilities is a repulsive and anti-social behavior by every shred of imagination.
However, it is also true that the obnoxious incident expressed and reflected to a large extent an increasingly hateful and xenophobic culture bordering on fascism, which explains why the bulk of the Israeli Jewish society is so numb and callous toward the nearly daily killing by Israeli soldiers of Palestinian children and civilians. (five Palestinian children were murdered last week.)
This is by no means an isolated incident. The Israeli Jewish culture is already rife with anti-Muslim, anti-Christian and anti-gentile expressions. One could easily cite numerous examples in this regard.
A few months ago, a Jewish immigrant from France brutally murdered a Muslim taxi driver from East Jerusalem after.
And when the murderer, who reportedly had turned “religious,” was questioned by the police, he nonchalantly told interrogators that “I felt I was killing an animal, not a human being.”
Interestingly, the Israeli press has reported that an Israeli court had acquitted the murderer, named Jullian Sufir, ruling that he was unfit to stand trial because of “insanity.”
Insulting, defiling and desecrating Islamic symbols in Palestine happened nearly on a daily basis and the Israeli authorities usually refuse to take a decisive action to stop the rising Islamophobia, constantly fed by a venomous media that is very much indolent of the Nazi propaganda machine in the mid and late 1930s.
The Turkish TV channel did the right thing when it refused to broadcast the offensive video, fearing unpredictable reactions.
However, Jews around the world should have issued stronger condemnations of the offensive behavior.
Jews for centuries had been the target of religious discrimination and vilification, and offending the religious symbols of other peoples is not exactly the right way to encourage inter-religious tolerance in an increasingly globalized world.
Moreover, Muslims and Jews are neighbors in many parts of the world, especially in the Middle East. And cursing the prophet Muhammed and offending his followers is really like playing with fire.
I honestly believe that vast bulk of Jewish religious leaders don’t accept such behavior because of its potentially disastrous consequences and also because it is intrinsically wrong.
This is why the two chief rabbis of Israel as well as Israeli President and Prime Minister are urged to publicly condemn the incident.
Muslims around the world would accept and appreciate such an apology, which would enhance mutual respect between the followers of the two monotheistic religions.
Moreover, the next time Jewish religious symbols are assaulted Muslim religious leaders would be morally bound to show solidarity with Jews. Religious tolerance is a two-way street.
I know Muslim-Jewish relations these days are not at their best, to put it very mildly.
After all, Israel, the Zionist entity which calls itself “the Jewish state” has been indulging in every conceivable act of murder, persecution, and oppression against the predominantly Muslim people of Palestine.
Zionism, a project of dispossession and a pretext for a creeping genocide, shows very little respect for religion in general, including Judaism itself.
This is certainly an additional reason why true Jews who value the Torah of Moses should speak up against the blasphemous culture being fostered by Zionism, a culture that has succeeded in eviscerating life of justice and human decency.
Zionism is not only Islam’s virulent foe. It is also Judaism’s grave-digger.