Hatred, Lies, and Violence in the World of Islam
by Raphael Israeli
New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2014. 358 pp. $39.95.
Reviewed by Edward Alexander
University of Washington
Middle East Quarterly
Next time someone suggests that al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, ISIS, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad "have nothing to do with Islam," recommend to them Israeli's ambitious, scholarly, and shrewd (though clumsily written) book.
Israeli is professor of Islamic, Chinese, and Middle Eastern history at the Hebrew University and author of more than forty books, including a 2012 study of the blood libel and its continuing life in the Arab and Islamic worlds as well as in Europe where it originated. This current study analyzes the phantasmagoric world of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda in the Arab world, Iran, and Turkey. It is especially rich in examples of what the so-called educational institutions of the Palestinian areas and elsewhere pass off as learning. From kindergarten through the universities, these schools are permeated by indoctrination in anti-Semitism and an obsession with the satanic wickedness of Israel.
One of the author's main contentions, amply supported by evidence, is that the driving force behind the kidnapping/ murdering/ beheading jihadist organizations is not Arab nationalism, which these groups consider obsolete, but rather "the defeat of their own illegitimate governments at home … as a prelude to their restoration of the universal Caliphate of all Muslims." Indeed, had President Obama and his national security team read this work, it might have saved them the embarrassment of dismissing the ISIS juggernaut as a "JV" (junior varsity) operation unworthy of attention—until of course it had gained control over large chunks of Iraq and Syria.
This material should especially interest academics familiar with the frenzied activities in recent years on behalf of the rights of Palestinian scholars by such ostensibly academic groups as the American Studies Association or the Middle East Studies Association. Israeli shows how these institutions are in reality close in spirit and intention to the German universities of Freiburg and Gottingen of the 1930s as described in Max Weinreich's Hitler's Professors: The Part of Scholarship in Germany's Crimes against the Jewish People. Today, most Islamist academicians, like their Nazi predecessors, ably demonstrate the truth of Gandhi's saying that "the greatest deceivers are the self-deceivers."
 New Haven: Yale University Press, 2nd ed., 1999.
Related Topics: Antisemitism, Radical Islam | Edward Alexander | Spring 2015 MEQ
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