Australia/Israel Review

The Last Word: Learning and Unlearning Hate

Jun 1, 2006 | Jeremy Jones

Jeremy Jones

Learning and Unlearning Hate

Hirsi Ali: “If you’re Jewish, I used to hate you.”

“I have a confession to make. If you are Jewish…I used to hate you. I hated you because I thought you were responsible for the war which took my father from me for so long… I saw poor people from a place called Palestine…I was told you drove them out of their homes. I hated you for that. When we had no water, I thought you closed the tap…

“If my mother was unkind to me, I knew you were definitely behind it. If and when I failed an exam, I knew it was your fault. You are by nature evil, you had evil power and you used them to evil ends.

“Learning to hate you was easy. Unlearning it was difficult.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali opened her speech at the recent Annual Meeting of the American Jewish Committee with these words. She stressed that it was difficult to confront the Jew-hatred she was taught as it was accompanied by supporting verses from the Koran, and she was afraid of “arguing with Allah”.

The harsh truth is that hate is being promoted, today, in Australia, and that the “unlearning”, if possible, will be very difficult.

At the bookstore which promotes itself as “Australia’s Largest Islamic Bookseller”, the most prominent children’s title, on a recent visit, was Emergence of Dajjal, The Jewish King, by Mohamad Yasin Owadally.

This Malaysian publication argues that every Jewish person is party to an apocalyptic plot to “control the whole universe from east to west” under the leadership of “Dajjal” (the “deceiver”).

Any “peace process”, the text claims, is the result of superpowers preparing “the path for the Jews”.

The logic of the text is simple: Every Jew, is the existential opponent of Islam and Muslims and should be opposed at every turn.

The idea of every world problem being the result of a Jewish conspiracy is at the heart of probably the most infamous and injurious text of all time: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The version available at a give-away price in the same bookstore contains the following in its introduction: “The Christian world… has already been snared and lies prostrate at the mercy of this ruthless inhuman cabal. And now Jews have to march towards the Islamic world . . . it is a great honour, a privilege, a sa’adat to contribute what one can in the Jehad [sic] against this menace”.

A nearby Islamic bookstore sold new stock of Henry Ford’s The International Jew, which includes the text of The Protocols, preceded by 150 pages of anti-Jewish invective, printed by Global Publishers in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Add to these texts the ‘books of hate’, with titles such as Defence of Muslim Lands, The Ideological Attack, World Arrogance and The Absent Obligation, which received press coverage recently, and it is evident that teaching and promotion of anti-Jewish antagonism is alive and ill in Australia today.

Whether full of invective, such as Ahmad Zidon’s World Arrogance or promoting violence, such as Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammad Humaid’s injunction “When you meet those who disbelieve, smite at their necks ‘til when you have killed and wounded many of them take them as captives”, together they contribute the framework for a culture of hatred and violence.

On 29 November last year, in parliament, Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock responded to a question by Michael Danby MP on what could be done about the distribution of The Protocols in Australia, by referring to a range of possible remedies including the newly-expanded sedition laws, criminal legislation covering incitement to violence, racial hatred laws and the use of the Classification Act 1975.

Even if one or more of these remedies were applied, the problem of hate, and the need for it to be “unlearnt”, remains as a serious, major challenge for all concerned with the survival of Australia’s multiculturalism.



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