Arab Demonization of Jews Is a Historical Anomaly – Aomar Boum
In the Arab world, one of the most shared and lingering perceptions between liberals and Islamists, Shi’a and Sunni alike, remains their belief in a Jewish plot behind the social, economic, and political chaos of the Arab Spring. Jews have largely vanished from the Arab world, but those looking for a scapegoat imagine a hidden Jewish hand that conspires to throw their countries into turmoil. Tweets, Facebook postings, radio and TV commentators, graffiti, and banners circulate stressing how Jews are bringing down Arab governments and replacing them with new subservient allies.
But it’s a relatively recent idea. In fact, Jews were historically frequent, and eventually essential, mediators and intermediaries in traditional Middle Eastern and North African societies. In most villages and towns, local residents held Jews in good faith. Even sultans surrounded themselves with Jewish traders, advisers, and ambassadors and sought their advice to revive economies and establish relations with foreign powers. The writer is assistant professor in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona. (Tablet)
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