The Harvard Divinity School may return a $2.5 million donation from the United Arab Emirates ruler, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, earmarked to fund a Professorship in Islamic Studies. Why? As reported by Boston Globe reporter Jenna Russell, the benevolent Sheikh openly espouses a virulent Judenhass. Moreover, his Zayed Center funds lectureships for noble, learned figures like perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche, who opines on international Jewish conspiracies, Roger Garaudy, an "expert" Holocaust denier, Umayma Jalahma, a Saudi blood libel "scholar", esteemed for her authoritative claim that Purim pastries contain Gentile blood, and Thierry Massan, author of a runaway bestseller in France maintaining that the U.S. government orchestrated the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.
The Globe report, however, completely missed a less sensational, but equally insidious thread related to this story: the attempt by the Zayed Center to negate and re-write the millennial history of brutal oppression of Mizrachi (Oriental) Jews under Arab Muslim rule. A June 2002 report in the Gulf News, highlighted the "findings" from a symposium sponsored by the Zayed Center, entitled ' The Jews in The Arab World '. The Goebbel's- like summary communique included such frank howlers as:
"… [the Oriental Jews'] situation in the Arab countries throughout the history of the Arab Islamic civilization…rendered an exemplary model of tolerance, understanding, peaceful living, religious and sectarian freedom, in addition to preservation of the rights to privacy…"
"… [the present] peaceful co-existence of Muslims and Jews in Arab Muslim countries, where Jews are treated equally and enjoy their fundamental rights and freedom, which they cannot under Israeli regimes…Arab Jews have always been denied their fundamental rights and freedom under Israeli regimes…"
Even more disturbing was the openly proclaimed agenda, based upon this obscene historical negationism:
"The participants also called upon Arab research centers to conduct studies and research focusing on the fact that the Jews have never enjoyed freedom and good treatment such as that provided under the Arab Islamic rule."
Primary source documents compiled by a serious, objective Middle East Studies scholar, Dr. Tudor Parfitt (a Gentile), characterize the plight (which had persisted for over a millennium) of 300,000 Moroccan Jews, until Morocco became a French Protectorate in 1912. Only then, in the early 20th century, was the discriminatory treatment of Jews under the Shari'a (Islamic Holy Law) abrogated by direct French control. Jews throughout North Africa, as well as in Yemen and Palestine, shared a similarly bleak fate under the Shari'a.
Professor Parfitt's essay, "Dhimma Versus Protection in Nineteenth Century Morocco", [Pp. 142-166, In: "Israel and Ishmael: Studies in Muslim Jewish Relations", edited by Tudor Parfitt, New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000] contains a written appeal from the President and Vice President of the Anglo-Jewish Association in February, 1888 to Lord Salisbury, elucidating the horrific persecution of the Jews of Morocco. Their basic desire was abolition of the dhimma imposed on their Moroccan co-religionists. This pact (dhimma) by which Jews (and other non-Muslims) conquered by jihad wars were afforded their lives and some limited autonomy, in exchange for payment of the blood ransom poll tax (jizya), also entailed a host of discriminatory and humiliating regulations. These regulations created longstanding, serious disabilities for Moroccan Jews, twenty-seven examples of which were enumerated in this 1888 appeal:
- Jews are compelled to live in the ghetto.
- Jews are not allowed to ride outside the ghetto.
- On leaving the ghetto, they are compelled to remove their footwear and remove their headcovering. They are not allowed to use a walking stick although the old and sick are permitted to use a reed.
- Moors frequently amuse themselves by throwing live coals, broken glass, old tinware and such things in thoroughfares traversed by Jews and enjoy the fun of seeing the latter smart under the burn or wound inflicted on their bare feet.
- Jews are not permitted to build their houses above a certain height.
- Jews are debarred from having stores or shops in the Muslim quarter.
- The Jew is bound to pass the Moor on the left side and if he fails so to do he must retrace his steps.
- Jews are forced to buy damaged Government property such as grain, or over-stocked provisions or poor items, at the normal price of undamaged goods.
- Jews with their wives and daughters are compelled to undertake work for any Government official at all times (even on the Sabbath and on sacred festivals) and to receive payment far below the market rate of wages.
- They are compelled to undertake work such as a Moor would consider degrading, e.g., the cleaning of sewers, carrying away carcasses of dead animals from Government stables etc. When the head of rebels or of criminals are sent to a town to be exposed at the town gate the Jews are made to salt them before they are exhibited.
- Jews pay capitation tax to be exempt from military service but in paying this 'they submit to the humiliation of receiving a slap on the head.'
- Jewish purveyors (butchers, grocers, bakers etc.) are bound to supply gratis all the requirements of various functionaries, otherwise their trade is cut off.
- A Jew cannot appoint a Jewish attorney to plead before the Kadi against a Moor. Thus he must either conduct his case in person, or must appoint a Moorish Attorney, or suffer his case to pass undefended.
- Jews are barred from the liberal professions.
- Jews are disqualified from public office.
- Jews are required to wear a special costume consisting of a black skull cap and black shoes.
- Jews are not allowed to use public baths and 'are even denied the use of baths in the ghetto.'
- Jews 'are not allowed to drink from the public fountains in the Moorish quarter nor to take water therefrom' as the Jews are considered unclean.
- Jews are obligated to give gifts to public functionaries on special occasions - births, marriages and deaths - as well as on Jewish festivals.
- Jews are not allowed to carry arms.
- Jewish life is compensated for by the payment of £40: there is no other punishment of the murderer. Of this sum the authorities deduct a substantial proportion.
- Jewish evidence is not heard.
- A Muslim can always denounce a Jew, 'a thousand Jews' will fail to indict a Muslim.
- 'A Jew condemned to imprisonment or flogging has to pay the fees of al officials engaged in his punishment.' If he is without funds he stays in prison until such time as they are paid.
- Jews are denied access to common quarters in the prisons.
- If a Jew is suspected of immoral intercourse with a Moorish woman (though she be a prostitute) he is liable to imprisonment for an indefinite period. 'If he confesses, death is his punishment.'
- If a Moor choose to assert that a Jew has abjured his faith he is compelled to become a Muslim 'and should be afterwards attempt to conform to the Jewish ritual, he would be liable to be stoned or burned to death.'
Well-healed, oil-money supported, pseudo-academic "think tanks", such as the Zayed Foundation, should not be allowed to promote their warped historiography, which negates the suffering of Oriental Jews, in Islamic Studies and/or Middle East Studies programs. Under the Shari'a in Morocco, into the early 20th century, the murder of a Jew by a Muslim could be "compensated" for by the payment of £40 . At the beginning of the 21st century, in a free and decent society like the United States, we must make clear to our academic institutions that no donation, whatever its sum, will permit the suppression of this sad, brutal historical legacy.