Israel: the worst thing that ever happened to Islam

These countries are finally setting up national markets, with the attendant liberalising transformation. Arab states have an enormous task on their hands: restructure society away from Islam and towards freedom, i.e., modernise, and the key is Israel. It is a complete repudiation of Hassan al-Banna.

Israel: the worst thing that ever happened to Islam

(A Polish translation of an earlier version of this essay may be found here)

Today, 27 September, marks the 51st anniversary of the decisive turn in the 1970 Black September Palestinian insurrection in Jordan. It was an inauspicious start to a stillborn nation finding its feet. To say that the Palestinians have a difficult relationship with their Arab brethren would be to understate the case. They have an impossible relationship, and it all comes down to Israel's location, both in space and in time, and Islam's stranglehold over the Muslim's psyche.

The resilience of Islam against all efforts to reform it is built not only on its claims to perfection, its readiness to resort to extreme violence, its degradation of thought and corruption of humanity in Muslims, its institutionalisation of the “scholars” as a totalitarian thought police, and its inculcation of supremacism in Muslims. It is also built on fixing the perfect Muslim condition, the Islamic state of grace, at its founding generation, in other words, in the past. The Muslims’ best days are always behind them.

Words to the effect of, “The early Muslims, whom the Prophet …testified were the very best of mankind, and who lived to see many a reprehensible innovation (bid'a) and deviant belief,” (Reliance of the Traveller, Book S:2.4) sheikhs and scholars regularly urge upon lay Muslims. We must become like the sahaba, but we can never be like the sahaba. Every generation of Muslims since the founders is worse than the preceding generation. In other words, the longer the Last Hour is delayed, the fewer chances Muslims have of making it into Paradise.

The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.
—Sahih Muslim, 6985.
What do Muslims hear? What does everyone else hear?

The more religious Israel’s Muslims are, the stronger is their incentive to hasten the Last Hour. All madrassas teach hatred of Jews, but nowhere in the world, except perhaps amongst the Shi’a, is this indoctrination into a death-cult idealising “martyrdom” as thorough-going as amongst Arab Muslims in and around Israel, the "Palestinians". Palestinians in Gaza proudly send their children to indoctrination summer camps. Palestinian fathers pledge their sons’ lives for “Al-Quds”. Palestinian mothers rejoice when their own children blow themselves up killing Jews. Such mothers are lauded heroes of Palestine, praised and handsomely rewarded by the Palestinian President himself. It is a source of national pride to Palestinians that they have more suicide bombers than anyone else. Palestinian civilians taunt and provoke the IDF, and deliberately put themselves in harm's way, boasting that they love death more than the Jews love life. It would be a very incompetent politician who could not turn such a population against the accursed Jews at the expense of their own wellbeing and progress. It’s been done many times, all the way back to Hajj Amin al-Husseini.

In the centuries since the ulema codified the Shari’a, this “accursed” world has tempted Muslims with all manner of “reprehensible innovations and deviant beliefs”: from the abolition of slavery to living off the fruits of your own labour, from literacy to thinking for yourself, from not having sex with children to not beating your wife, from obeying kafir laws to treating non-Muslims as equal to Muslims, and so on and on and on, driving Muslims ever-further from the Islamic ideal as the civilising ways of the kufaar penetrate every facet of Muslim life. The culmination of all this reprehensible innovation and deviant belief is a modern human being called an autonomous individual, and a Muslim’s humanity, it turns out, is just as hungry for release from bondage as anyone else’s.

While caliphs, sultans, shahs, amirs, ayatollahs, sheikhs and “scholars”, the ruling elite, could insulate Muslims from this accursed world and its ways, they could keep them oppressed as subordinate dependents, thereby keeping themselves in power over lay Muslims, “simple Muslims”, as some sheikhs call them. Modernity presents a very serious problem to the Muslim hierarchy: ordinary Muslims who no longer hear and obey (Qur'an 24:51), thereby posing an existential threat not only to Islam, but to those who depend on Islam for their power over Muslims.

With the end of the Ottoman Empire, this threat to Islam emerged in no more serious a form than one of the five great enemies of Islam, the Jews, the others being doubt, women, the kufaar in general, and Shaitan. The establishment of Israel presents Islam with its greatest crisis ever, because it concentrates within a very small space right in the heart of the Muslim world the greatest pressure on the Muslim to recognise the negation of his humanity. To the Muslims who oppress Muslims, the reality of not only Israel, but of Jews in their midst, must be undone at all costs. Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, put it this way:

We aim to smash modernism in government and society. In Palestine our first duty as Moslems is to crush Zionism, which is Jewish modernism. It is our patriotic duty. The Qur’an commands it. [1]

Hence the jihad against Israel, spearheaded by the Arab Nazis of Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Palestine. Let me not be misunderstood. I am not suggesting that Muslims learned their anti-Semitism from the Nazis; Jew-hatred is inherent to Islam. Hitler admired Muslims long before the compliment was returned. Arab nationalist admiration was for the German nation and predates Nazism. Later, Arab nationalist parties inspired by the Nazis modelled themselves and their ideologies directly on Nazism. They were as totalitarian as Islam is totalitarian, ensuring that the distinction between political and religious movements remained blurred. Many influential Muslims religious leaders and activists saw in Nazism a way to restore Islam to pre-eminence. The reorganisation of the German nation along the lines of modern barbarism suggested itself as an imminently suitable model to both Arab nationalists and Islamic revivalists. The Jews feature as villains in both. This double anti-Semitism is dynamically embodied in the Palestinians, in which nationalism and Islamic revivalism vie for dominance. Either way, the Jews get it. Anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are two sides of the same coin.

Werner Otto von Hentig, head of Office VII, concerned with the Near and Middle East in the Political Department of the Foreign Ministry, was adamant that the text of the Arabic Mein Kampf be read by, “a scholar of the Koran who will give it the sacred tone which will be understood and valued in the whole Islamic world, a world that reads the Koran.”

Islam might be saturated with Jew-hatred, but Jews, ordained by Allah to be dhimmis of the Muslims, having their own state, and what is more, a state on “Muslim land” and, of all infamy, manifestly more advanced than Muslims, is insufferable; it makes a mockery of Allah’s universe — assemble the armies! And assemble them they did.

But what of the lay Muslims exposed to the unheard-of prosperity brought by these “sons of apes and pigs,” their unquestionable military superiority, especially after 1948, and the humanity of the society in which those Muslims now live compared to what had hitherto been their fate under overlordship? With Muslim leaders doing everything to hold back lay Muslims from adopting the ways of Jews, such as by splitting the nascent trade union movement of Mandatory Palestine railway workers along religious lines, at some point, awareness must break through the tenacious Islamic childhood indoctrination. Contrary to popular myth, the Arabs did not want to leave Palestine in 1948, and the Jews did not expel them. In the absence of the British, apart from launching an all-out jihad war against the Jews, the Arab armies also wanted to denude Palestine so they might annex it for themselves. They drove out the Palestinian Arabs.

“There is something wrong with Jews” must sooner or later give way to “there is something wrong with Muslims.” That point arrives when subordinate dependence breaks down and the autonomous individual rises. Ashkenazi Jews, the driving force behind Zionism, were autonomous individuals, many were secular. This is why "Jewish modernism" was perceived, correctly, as so dangerous to Islam.

The Arabs in Mandatory Palestine found themselves on a fast track to modernity, that is, away from Islam, albeit a long track. For Muslim leaders in Palestine, massacres of Jews reminded Muslim Arabs of what they are: Muslims. For Muslim leaders both in Palestine and the surrounding Arab lands, Nazism boosted Islam’s inherent Jew-hatred, and helped to keep Muslim Arabs from getting seduced by the better life that beckoned under the Jews. Having failed in their efforts to derail the founding of modern Israel, the conjuring of an Arab people called the “Palestinians,” in which all sorts of iniquitous interests had a hand, served, amongst other things, as a pre-emptive counter to Arabs in Palestine seeing their interests to lie with the fledgling State of Israel.

Beaming Palestinian mass murderer brings busloads of happiness to her nation.

The Palestinians had to be the antithesis of Zionism: nihilistic, destructive and anti-human. Zionism being "Jewish modernism," the Palestinians had to be the embodiment of all Muslim primitivism. The survival of Islam depended on it. The only way the pernicious influence of Jewish humanity towards Muslims could be countered, was for Palestinians to be created inhuman. Moreover, their inhumanity had to be a source of positive affirmation for them. Where else in the modern world is there a people who conceive children specifically for death? Where else in the modern world is there a people who find affirmation in their murder of other people? Where else in the modern world does a people break out in busloads of happiness when one of their own kills himself in the act of mass murder? Such a people is the monstrous contrivance we today call the “Palestinians,” the Caliban of nations, jihad made flesh.

The Palestinians expect their priorities to be every Muslim's priorities. When their Jordanian hosts failed to show sufficient enthusiasm for attacking Israel, they attempted to assassinate King Hussein, twice. When they perpetrated gross acts of highjacking and hostage-taking on Jordanian soil, they left the King with no option but to expel them by force. The Palestinians decanted to Lebanon, where the same behaviour continued, triggering civil war, wars with Israel, and the disintegration of the "Jewel of the Middle East". This time it took the IDF to expel them, to Tunis. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, he threw a few scuds at Israel and the Palestinians hailed a new Salah ad-Din. Needless to say, the Palestinians were expelled from Kuwait. In an essay entitled Why Iraqis hate Palestine, Hussein Abdul-Hussein reports that:

As the world watched the US Marines pull down Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad, on April 9, 2003, and as Iraqis defaced every Saddam poster or mural around the country, other Iraqis did one more thing that went uncovered. Hundreds stormed the Palestinian neighborhood in Baghdad and threw rocks on its residents, forcing them to flee. All the Palestinians in Iraq, numbering five thousand, relocated to Treybeel, on the Iraqi border with Jordan, where the UN constructed a makeshift refugee camp. The UN eventually resettled those Palestinians around the world. Today, there is barely any Palestinian who lives anywhere in Iraq. Palestinians are simply not welcome among Iraqis.

Wherever they find themselves in the Arab world, Palestinians are confined to refugee camps, denied citizenship and generally kept under tight control, and for very good reason. This toxic population poisons wells wherever they go, for they have only one raison d'être: crush Zionism, and all else must submit before it. They are, quite literally, the embodiment of Hassan al-Banna's dream, instruments for "smash[ing] modernism in government and society". But the rot did not end there. According to Professor Efraim Karsh:

In February 1978, scores of Palestinian intellectuals signed a public statement urging the establishment of a Palestinian state. A year later, Israeli Arab students openly endorsed the PLO as ‘the sole representative of the Palestinian people, including the Israeli Arabs,’ voicing support for the organization’s pursuit of the ‘armed struggle’ (the standard euphemism for terrorist attacks), indeed for its commitment to Israel’s destruction.

Those Muslim Arabs fortunate enough to find themselves citizens of Israel, through their intellectuals, laid a guilt trip upon themselves, rendering them forever conflicted, and ambivalent towards their own modernising. It would all have worked out just fine for those seeking the destruction of Israel, but for two irritating little facts: the contrast between the deepening misery of the self-administered Palestinians and the increasingly prosperous Arabs in Israel became too obvious to ignore. The same reason that originally drew Arabs into Palestine during the Mandate, prosperity and better social conditions, more and more tied Israeli Arabs to Israel, whatever noises they might make to the contrary. It also continued to draw day labourers from Gaza and Judea and Samaria to work both in Israel, and in the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Yet the nihilistic Palestinian national identity predetermines that any Palestinian state can never be more that a basket case at best, a failed state at worst. While life in the Arab areas of Israel is incomparably better than life in the “Palestinian territories,” there is increasing frustration with the persistence of primitive conditions in the “Arab Sector”, e.g., runaway crime, corruption and extreme anti-social behaviour, such as late-night gunshot volleys and counter-volleys to assert rank in the social pecking order, conditions not suffered in Jewish areas. It was only a matter of time before primeval loyalties began to give way before the cold hard realities of life.

Israeli Arab career politicians understand those primeval loyalties – they have them themselves – both to “Palestine,” that is, the destruction of Israel, and to Islam, that is, the extermination of the Jews. They play the pro-Palestine card above the table, and the anti-Semitic card below. Such politicians are finding that being Arab and being Muslim are no longer enough to guarantee automatic allegiance to “Palestine” and Islam. The dreaded modernisation has seeped into the crevices of Israel’s Muslim society.

According to Dr Mordechai Kedar, those Arabs fed up with living amongst Muslim Arabs and able to seek out opportunities to move to Jewish areas, do so. Some Muslims openly call themselves “Arab Israelis”, as opposed to “Israeli Arabs.” For now, egress from Arab areas is still more discreet than open. There is not yet sufficient critical mass to publicly show that you belong in the country in which you live and have no desire to see it destroyed, or that you do not hate your fellow countrymen and women, let alone want to drive them into the sea or to kill them. You cannot be too open about your antipathy towards the crude people who take your loyalty and affinity for granted. Muslims in Israel already know that Israel is the best thing that could ever have happened to them. To the extent that they can get away with it, those tired of the strictures of Islam and Palestine drop the trappings. For now, it is the only way they can show to themselves that they are not Palestinian, possibly not even Muslim, without raising too many hackles.

Jared Kushner in Bahrain releasing the Peace to Prosperity plan. Just for a change, let's try something that works.

Arabs in Israel are not the only Arabs for whom Israel offers a way out of the historical trap of Islam. When President Donald Trump’s Senior Advisor Jared Kushner announced the Peace to Prosperity plan, the economic component of the “Deal of the Century”, in Manama, Bahrain in June 2019, the crossroads facing Muslim Arabs could not have been more starkly on display than by the diametrically opposite Arab reactions. The glitzy venue was packed with entrepreneurs and investors from different Arab countries, all with money burning holes in their pockets. The Palestinian ruling elite rejected the plan with contempt, refusing even to read it.

As might be expected, technocratic Jared Kushner has his shortcomings, not least in understanding where Islam fits into all this, as shown by his conclusion that Muslims around the world are really upset about not being able to pray at Al-Aqsa mosque, an edifice relevant only to Palestinians, and not the “third holiest site in Islam,” as it has lately been so energetically bigged up.

Kushner’s shortcomings notwithstanding, he is a brilliant technocrat who has earned the respect of all who despise the perverse global industry of permanent Palestinian poverty. In an interview with CNN, he explained:

Our plan economically empowers the Palestinians, while helping fully integrate Israel into the region. It includes a historic $50 billion economic package for the Palestinians and other measures designed to ensure Palestinian businesses can compete freely and fairly in the global economy.

During the Palestine Mandate, the British administration created the conditions for the foundations of a modern economy to be laid in Palestine. Jewish economic prowess attracted Arab labour from around the Middle East in search of employment opportunities. Donald Trump and Jared Kushner have achieved a recreation of the Mandatory Palestine phenomenon. Today, Jewish economic prowess is attracting Arab capital from around the Middle East in search of investment opportunities. In between, Arab labour flocking to employment in Israel, or the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, has simply continued.

Now that they [Israel] have agreed to this [plan], you’re going to see them become less and less isolated internationally and you’re going to see more and more pressure put on Palestinian leadership to do it. …You [the interviewer] are talking about the Palestinian leadership like they’re great diplomats. What are they calling for? They’re calling for a day of rage. Who do you know that runs a state that if they don’t get what they want, they call for a day of rage? That’s not how people who are capable of running a state work.

The only part of the “Deal of the Century” that the Palestinians managed to sabotage is the part that would have benefitted them. The rest of the plan went right ahead, chalking up the Abraham Accords as its first major milestone. Even if no further Arab states join, the links between the parties continue to deepen. Clearly, the plan has a life of its own independent of Donald Trump or Benjamin Netanyahu or, indeed, the Palestinians, rendering all alternatives irrelevant.

It [the Peace to Prosperity Plan] will also serve as a platform for the United States to continue working to advance normalization between Israel and Arab states, unlocking massive economic benefits and helping ensure stability across the region.

We now know that even with the United States working against it, the soundness of the Peace to Prosperity plan continues to ring loudly from all its Arab partners pursuing the vision, whether as the Abraham Accords, other overt and covert normalisation of relations with Israel, or open marginalisation of the Palestinians and their cause. In the latter, Saudi Arabia has been particularly active.

Like characters in a zombie horror film, Palestinians can see nothing and hear nothing, except their single-minded purpose: destroy Israel. It never even crossed their minds that they might suffer consequences from spitting at Saudis and burning Emirati flags, two countries that have been especially generous towards the Palestinians, and were ready to do what they could to lift the Palestinians out of poverty. By their appalling behaviour, they've now blown that too. And they are not getting the message. They are hard-wired for martyrdom, whether individual or communal. Kushner continues:

You cannot invest in a place that doesn’t have property rights, that doesn’t have governance. You need a place that’s free of terror. What all the business people were saying at that conference is, ‘We’re dying to help the Palestinian people. We have a lot of money we’re willing to invest, but we can’t invest in a place where we’re scared of terrorism’. You can’t invest where you don’t have a judiciary, you don’t have freedom of the press, you don’t have human rights.
Open for business

The United Arab Emirates has been at the forefront of both seeking and establishing the security and freedom that capital needs in order to invest, within the UAE, in Israel, and in between. Relatively little needs to be done, for example, to complete the rail link between the UAE and Israel, providing a viable and safe alternative to the vulnerable and expensive Suez Canal, the potentially explosive Strait of Bab al-Mandeb, and the inherently unstable Persian Gulf. Freedom of the individual inched closer with the liberalisation of UAE liquor laws, while for the first time ever, Saudis are experiencing entertainment. Contrast this with the Palestinian rejection of $50 billion of investments in favour of continued corruption, oppression, squalor and jihad terrorism.

Certainly, the need to confront Iran is a real geopolitical and ideological headache for those Middle Eastern Arab states forging closer ties with Israel, but what is generally overlooked, or misread, is that these countries are finally setting up real national and regional markets, with all the attendant liberalising socio-political transformation that such an endeavour entails. It is no accident that the Saudis’ Vision 2030 Shari’a-free zone is located in the northwest corner of the Kingdom; it’s closest point to Israel. Arab states have an enormous task on their hands: restructure society away from Islam and towards freedom, that is, modernisation, the key to which is Israel. It is a complete repudiation of Hassan al-Banna.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not the only one out to destroy the best chance Muslims in the Middle East have of freeing themselves from Islam. The Israeli Left in general, and the Israel Supreme Court in particular, on account of a combination of delusions, are determined to put the Muslim Brotherhood in a position to accomplish its goal, “to crush Zionism, which is Jewish modernism,” and along with it the threatened emancipation of the slaves of Allah.

But the ideological stranglehold of never-peace-with-Israel is showing signs of slipping. Christian Lebanese author, Jean-Marie Kassab, is not intimidated either by Hizbollah or by general hostility towards Israel. Consider this exchange between an ideologically straight-jacketed journalist and a man in sufficient control of his own mind to allow his humanity full sway:

Jean-Marie Kassab:  I demand peace with Israel. There is a difference between peace and reconciliation. There is a great contention between Israel and us. Many people died, many people’s homes were ruined, and there is a mental impact. I want to make peace! I want to put an end to the wars. Since June 1967, we Lebanese people...  have been paying the price.

Interviewer: First of all, Israel is still occupying your land.

Kassab: What land is Israel occupying? Where is it?

Interviewer: The Shebaa Farms...

Kassab: I don’t want them.

Interviewer: This is treason.

Kassab: Treason? Fine. Then I am a traitor. I don’t want those Shebaa Farms.

Interviewer: Why not?

Kassab: They can take it as a gift.

Interviewer: You may give Keserwan, where you live, as a gift, but this is the land and property of the people of south Lebanon.

Kassab: Not true. Nobody lives in Shebaa Farms. There are no people there. Nobody lives in Shebaa Farms. It’s in Israel. Occupied by Israel...

Interviewer: Great, but there is Lebanese property there...

Kassab: They are welcome to it. If those 20 kilometres...

Interviewer: But these are the Shebaa Farms...

Kassab: Fine. I want to sacrifice the Shebaa Farms for the sake of my comfort. Let the Israelis take them. Or I can give it as a gift to Syria, or I can give them to UNRWA so that they can settle Syrian refugees there. Whatever.

...I demand peace with Israel.

There is hope:

We publicly declare that we refuse to let Iraq fall victim to the mentality of warlords that destroyed Libya and Yemen, to the mentality of the tyrants of Syria, or to the scandals and tragedies of Lebanon, which was taken over by militias that spread corruption. On the other hand, we see promising signs of change in the region, especially with regard to the Abraham Accords. ...We demand to establish a federal system in Iraq, and on the global front, we demand to join the Abraham Accords, and, in the words of those accords, to establish full diplomatic relations between the signatories and Israel.

These are remarks by Iraqi tribal leader Sheikh Wissam Al-Hardan, made at the Conference for Peace and Reconciliation held in Erbil in Iraq's Kurdistan region on 24 September, 2021. He might as well have said:

Our hope is not yet lost,
To be a free nation in our land. [2]


  1. Quoted in John Roy Carlson, Cairo to Damascus, 1951, Alfred A. Knopf, p92. Al-Banna meant "modernity", rather than the art movement. According to Fewzi Benhabib, "For the Islamists, it is a question of Islamising modernity, not modernising Islam."
  2. Excerpt from Hatikvah, The Hope, the national anthem of Israel.

Much of my perspective is built on information and insights gleaned from the work of Prof. Efraim Karsh and Dr Mordechai Kedar, to whom I am indebted, as I am to Alexandra Troush for translating Hebrew material into English for me. In no way am I suggesting that any of them shares my views expressed in this essay.