Monday, November 16, 2015

Guns Don’t Kill People—Ideas Kill People Thoughts on Kristallnacht , the Holocaust and Paris 2015

Guns Don’t Kill People—Ideas Kill People     Thoughts on Kristallnacht , the Holocaust and Paris 2015              Nov 14, 2015
The following are notes from my discussion on Kristallnacht and the conflict between the values of Judaism and those of the key ideologies of the 20th century. This was prepared before the massacres in  Paris on Nov 13. There are strong themes that carry over from 20th century conflicts into this new 21st century conflict between a liberal West and a militant political Islamism.
Whether Islamism-- in its various manifestations, as Al Qaeda, or Salafi Jihadism or Islamic Caliphate, or Moslem Brotherhood, or Iranian Islamic State-- reflects or speaks for Islam as a religion is irrelevant. Attempts to whitewash Islam as the “Religion of Peace” on the one hand or to label Islam as inherently evil on the other are also irrelevant. However, it must be understood that the root of these Islamic movements are deeply anchored in historic Islamic texts and traditions, whereas Nazism and Communism, the two scourges of the previous century, were full-bore rebellions against the foundation texts of Christianity.
It is time to recognize that these are strongly developed ideological systems devised by bright and educated thinkers. To rationalize this as solely a movement of the “disadvantaged” or “ oppressed” of the Shabab  of the banlieu  of France is a futile as dismissing Nazism as solely a movement of the lumpenproletariat of Germany. Dr. Zwahiri is a trained physician, Bin Laden was a trained engineer, the ideological father of their movement, Sayd Qutb, was trained in American universities. Hitler had his Heidegger’s and his Reifenstahl’s as admirers. Never underestimate the capabilities of a militant political movement.
In that light, I look at the central conflicts of the 20th century as they were being played out in the 1930’s, when Hitler had established the Third Reich and Stalin was firmly enthroned in the Worker’s Paradise.
Kristallnacht, Nov 9-10,1938.
This is a bitterly ironic name." Kristall", literally, the English Crystal glass, was given by one of the Nazi leaders immediately after the November pogroms, to make fun of the victims. There is a 2nd  bitter irony--the victims were blamed and fined 1 billion reichsmark! The 3rd bitter irony is that form this, the Nazi regime understood that its war on the Jews must now be taken form the amateurs and handed over to the professionals, from SA to SS.
This date is generally considered to mark the start of the Holocaust. That too is a bitter ironic name, as it means a "Burnt offering", as if our people were the sacrificial ox for the sins of the world. The  Hebrew word "Shoah" is  more appropriate, as it means a horrible destruction.
What was behind this consuming passion to destroy the Jews? From whence this utter inhumanity?
Was it resentment of the poor?  Germans were not poor! They did not suffer physically from the hardship of war as did the French, on whose soil the armies fought. My father lived through that period and  recalled that the Germans lived very well compared to the rest of the Europeans.
Was it historic anti-Semitism? Germans were not more anti-Semitic than other Europeans.
Was it mass psychosis? Madness of the crowds?
Or is the human being a creature of ideas, ideals, and ideologies which can override all other instincts, which can override human decency, which can leads to Nietzsche’s concept of “Beyond Good and Evil.”
I look back at writings of the period from my father, Rabbi William Weinberg, which I translated and printed in my book, Courage of the Spirit.  My father had gone through childhood in the shtetl to adulthood and the study of Political Science in cosmopolitan Vienna to Rabbinical studies in Berlin. He spent two years in Nazi prison from 1935 to 1937, and learned both Nazi and Communist intimately form his fellow prisoners ( Yes, Nazis  who were too uncontrollable even for Hitler were imprisoned).He escaped to the Soviet Union, and came back, after the Shoah, to Austria and Germany, where he served as the first State Rabbi of Hesse).
For one thing, he insisted that historic anti-Semitism, emanating from Christianity, was not the root cause.
This is an excerpt form an essay that appeared in the early 1960’s in the Bnai Brith Monthly at time of Vatican II:
“ Neither Hitler, nor the Dreyfusards, nor the anti-Semitic right-wingers who between the two World Wars grouped themselves around the daily, L'Action Francaise, fought under the faded banner of the church. We must not be deceived by smuggled-in pieties. Nazism's anti-Jewish ideology was not based on the theological antagonism between the Pharisees and Jesus. The Nazis did not adorn themselves with the symbol of the cross, but with the swastika, which stood for many things but not for Christian myths or beliefs.  . . .
To the best of my recollection. no Nazi ever threw the New Testament at me, nor did any Russian anti-Semite, during the four years I was a refugee in the Soviet Union. Anti-Semitism is essentially a-religious, thoroughly secularized, and materialistic.
Important new view now has been published, by Timothy Snyder, Black Earth. This is from an essay in New York review of Books, Sept 2015 summarizing his point. What Snyder writes is presaged in the essay that my father published in 1937, before anyone had thought of the idea of a Holocaust ( except for Hitler himself):
“ After murder, Hitler thought, the next human duty was sex and reproduction. In his scheme, the original sin that led to the fall of man was of the mind and soul, not of the body. For Hitler, our unhappy weakness was that we can think, realize that others belonging to other races can do the same, and thereby recognize them as fellow human beings. Humans left Hitler’s bloody paradise not because of carnal knowledge. Humans left paradise because of the knowledge of good and evil.
 . . . If humans were in fact nothing more than an element of nature, and nature was known by science to be a bloody struggle, something beyond nature must have corrupted the species. For Hitler the bringer of the knowledge of good and evil on the earth, the destroyer of Eden, was the Jew. It was the Jew who told humans that they were above other animals, and had the capacity to decide their future for themselves. It was the Jew who introduced the false distinction between politics and nature, between humanity and struggle. Hitler’s destiny, as he saw it, was to redeem the original sin of Jewish spirituality and restore the paradise of blood. Since Homo sapiens can survive only by unrestrained racial killing, a Jewish triumph of reason over impulse would mean the end of the species. What a race needed, thought Hitler, was a “worldview” that permitted it to triumph, which meant, in the final analysis, “faith” in its own mindless mission.”
I appreciate Snyder's explanation because it echoes language that my used 80 years ago.

The Courage of the Spirit  Dr. Wilhelm Weinberg (Vienna)
Judische Press Zentrale  Zurich, June 18, 1937    Printed in 3 essays- my translation from the German.(abridged excerpts)

Essay 1 Under the Sign of Fatalism

The Jewish Messiah idea implies a systematic plan and consciousness in the totality of the direction of humanity and in its cultural formation. Our contemporary stream of thought has no room for such a concept nor, indeed, for an idea of a conscious will nor for an idea guiding universal developments
It has been an accepted thesis for decades within all trends of our culture that all events occur independently of human will. Little and rarely does anything result from conscious thought.  . . . .
The first to dethrone human will as the critical factor of history is economic theory, which utilizes the most scientific of tools. Karl Marx proved that human life is not determined by will and resolution but by the blind law of the deterministic power of economics, which allows no resistance by any other force. Historic development, according to Marx, is determined by the economic condition, that is, that the path of a given society is set by the manner of production and the exchange of goods. People do not shape their historic societal life through reason and free choice. It is just the opposite. “The means of production of vital necessities absolutely controls the social, political, and intellectual life-process. It is not human consciousness that determines existence, but, on the contrary, it is the historical existence which determines the human consciousness.” . . .
Even ideals are mere reflections of the condition of production
Following the economic fatalism, there is the biological one, based on entirely different presumptions: the teaching of racism, the teaching of the inequality and immutability of the human races. Hereby fatalism is presented in its unadulterated form. Beforehand, it was God who arbitrarily distributed the destinies and who predestined one man to sainthood, the other to damnation. Today, it is hereditary blood. There are talented and untalented races. Only one race is called to take its place at the weaving loom of culture, the Aryan race, and in particular, the German. The others are condemned to unfruitfulness. “Had it not been for the Germans, mankind would have sunk into eternal night” (Chamberlain).
The worthlessness of the other races is as unchangeable as a mathematical proof and as eternal as the law that regulates the path of our planets. This is the will of destiny, and it cannot be changed by any human activity.
There can be no further development of the ungifted races since the hereditary characteristics have not changed over the centuries. “The environment cannot change [the] particular variations of the races” (Eugen Fischer). [Note: Fischer was Hitler’s primary scientist on eugenics and race.] The course of human history is independent of human will. The driving force of historical-social world events is to be found only in the struggle of the higher races against the lower races. Family, religion, and state are only manifestations of blood. There cannot be a concept of humanity as the encompassing unity of all races; so, too, there can be no universally binding human cultural value. The worth of any given value is tied to blood and skull measurements and is therefore altogether relative.
One must end this chapter on the race problem with a Jewish answer. “I call upon heaven and earth as witness, that whether one is Jew or heathen, man or woman, free or slave, the Holy Spirit rests upon each one in accord with his merits” (Tana d’bei Eliyahu, Ch. 8).
( part Three is a digression on Otto Spengler)
. . .
We need, however, to examine depth psychology [another term for psychoanalysis]. We are cast down by the fatalism of Marx’s modes of production, by hereditary blood racial teachings, by Spengler’s organic culture.  Likewise, we are cast down by depth psychology, which evolved out of medicine. This is the fatalism of the subconscious, be it of the individual according to Freud or the collective according to Jung. According to Freud, the function of conscious thought in human endeavor is limited. Past events are forcefully drowned into the subconscious, which functions despite a controlling censor and forms our lives. Freud’s individual subconscious is supplemented by Jung with a collective subconscious, which stems from prehistoric strata in the evolution of our souls. This determines our mental bearing. In contrast with this un- and sub- consciousness, our conscious knowledge is of little bearing. It is not the super-conscious, but the sub-conscious that has the power to shape the destiny of people and to give direction to the tendencies of one’s life-formation.
Indeed, the trap of fatalism is so varied and tightly wound that it leaves absolutely no room for action on the part of human will and consciousness.

. . .
Judaism’s theory of history is activist; the Jewish ethos is a willful ethos; the Jewish religion is outspokenly a religion of will. The originality of Judaism rests primarily on the point that the Bible, for the first time, inquired into the question of the sense and inner unity of all human history and conceived of the individual events of history as steps up to a meaningful and powerful world goal. In contrast to nature, history, for us, is not a constant alternation, constantly in flux, up and down in a mindless fashion. The spirit drives history in its development to ever-higher forms to an ethical humane elevation of human society, despite recurring setbacks. We do not deny the law of reality, which researchers have made clear, but over and above this, there is a law of the ideal; over and above the factual, there is the truth.
. . . .
No! Humanity is not the disturbed dream of some sleeping deity, and [it is] no mad chaos wildly swirled about by a happenstance. God created the world according to plan. As a perceptive statement of the Midrash says, “He consulted the Torah before He began to create.” The duty of humanity in this world is prescribed in these brave words by an ancient Jewish philosophy of history: “Man is called upon to be God’s co-worker in the act of creation” (Mechilta, Exodus 18:13).

Essay 2
On the Cult of Naturalism   15th October 1937

Every person, insofar as he has attained a certain intellectual maturity, relives his own expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the land of innocent non-spirituality. The question is whether that Biblical narrator, who told us of the expulsion of the first human couple from Paradise, was correct in his interpretation that the plucking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge inevitably brought on Death and whether in truth the Tree of Knowledge is the origin of all ills. Judaism has answered this in the negative, and there can be no doubt that the story of the Garden of Eden has come to us from a non-Israelite source.  . . .. A wedge now is being driven between body and soul by the spirit, with the intent to split them apart, to remove the soul from the body and the body from the soul, so that ultimately all life is killed. Hence, there develops a struggle against science, against all that is the product of consciousness: against intellectualism, rationalism, and all movements that derive from these, the natural, all that is the historic and social life that underlies the spiritual.  . . .
The spirit is dethroned as a despot that has annihilated the best values of life. But what has been placed in its stead? The elemental, the natural instinct: blood and earth earn the highest devotion and are elevated to the level of a categorical imperative. Back to guiltless unspirituality, to the world of dumb, instinct-driven life, that is the calling that is to be the promise of the salvation of all culture.
“My great religion,” so writes the priest of basic instincts, the English author D. H. Lawrence, author of the renowned work The Dark God, “is a belief in the blood, as the flesh being wiser than the intellect. We can go wrong in our minds, but what our blood feels and believes and says is always true.” If the word idolatry means more than a simple formal term, more than merely the shaping of molten, hewn, or painted images of a religion and its worship, then the flesh-and-nature worship that goes hand in hand with enmity of the spiritual of our modern idol worship, Abodah Zarah in Hebrew, is the purest water. . . .
. Races, peoplehood, climate, and heredity are all facts that cannot be denied. But may one derive any authority in the ideal sense from mere facts? They come to serious implications. Does there not lie in the autonomy of the factual the danger of the demonic? Is the intellect with its a priori forms, as Nietzsche and Schopenhauer claimed, truly imposed over the surface of life? Are feeling and intuition, as per Bergson, the only guide to the truth? Can the “existence of the growth of life occur devoid of thought” as Spengler intended? Furthermore, is the flesh truly wiser than the spirit as Lawrence claimed?
We follow Maimonides and not Lawrence’s “dark god.” In his discussion of false prophets who seek to prove their calling by creating some miracle states, “The eyes of the spirit, which permeates the law, is keener than the deceptive eye of the flesh which sees the miracle.”
Jews have always disdained to howl with the wolves. They had the courage, even in danger, to be “a lamb among seventy wolves.” Did not people boast until recently that they are the sober man among drunkards? This has changed thoroughly. Jews are also eagerly involved in the iconoclasm against everything that is an expression of its critical spirit, and passionately take a stand against intellectualism and rationalism.  . . .

Third Essay
22nd October 1937
We are witnessing how the repressed dark waters of the instinctual life, in spite of the regulatory commission which Enlightenment imposed, have suddenly broken through the dams of the subconscious mind and flooded the whole of our consciousness. Nietzsche was its first victim and ended in mental derangement, and the German people as a whole were her second victim, which has ended in National Socialism. The one-sidedness of the Enlightenment has been avenged bitterly, and we are careful not to fall back into it
Within the Jewish spiritual world, there exists alongside the one direction of spiritualistic prophecy another direction that is known under the name Chochmah, wisdom . . .. This Chochmah knows the bond that exists in all of life is of two distinct halves, the animal-biological and the higher spiritual world, which lie in a constant struggle against each other; she [Chochmah] knows that we must also reckon with the reality of the animalistic. She affirms life. The body is to be preserved and maintained, and not be tormented by asceticism. But she never forgets that this reality is only an infinitely malleable matter, a formless mass out of which she will shape her work.  . . The Chochmah shows us the possibility of steering and shaping the instinctual drives and its transformation into a dedicated significant, higher entity. Whoever has impartially studied the history of humanity will admit that this steering of the drives remains the basic requirement of every cultural achievement. The first and last resort for us remains the spirit and not the “dark gods.”

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bibi, the Mufti , and My Own Strange Conspiracy Tale

Bibi, the Mufti , and My Own Strange Conspiracy Tale  Oct 31, 2015
This Torah portion is always associated with the birth of Isaac and then the Binding, the Akedah, of Isaac. This is what we read for the Rosh Hashanah liturgy.
What we usually pay less attention to is that this portion also deals with Ishmael, the first born of Abraham, who is sent out to the wilderness. Two portions from now, we will read the account of the first born, to Isaac, Esau, who is also disinherited.
In Biblical accounts, Ishmael is used to indicate the tribes, such as the Midianites, of the Sinai and northern Arabia. Esau, or Edom, is used to refer to the people of what is now southern Jordan, a people later on absorbed in to the Jewish people by the Hasmonean kings.
Later, in Jewish tradition, these three cousins become the metaphor for the relationship of Jews to Edom, meaning Christianity, and Ishmael, meaning Islam. As we know, cousins can sometimes be very close, and sometimes, too close, at each other’s throats. Inevitably, we, as the smallest of the cousins,   have felt the hand on our throat by one or the other. For the most of our history, we have felt the hand of Esau on us, but the hand of Ishmael has only been lighter in comparison.
In the last decades, since the Shoah especially, Christians have become much more welcoming cousins. At the rise of Nazism, it was Pope Pius XIth who said, in denunciation of Nazism,” We are all spiritual Semites.” The same can be said of the Evangelical Protestants, who very much look to common Jewish roots.
Our problem today has shifted to our cousin, Ishmael. There are many great Moslem thinkers and preachers who do emphasize respect and tolerance of their Jewish cousins, but they have been increasingly drowned out for over a century. Thus is the Ahmadiya sect in Pakistan, that recognize the Jewish right to the Land of Israel based on the Quran itself and it is echoed by Sheikh Pallazi, a leading figure in among Italian Moslems. But they are drowned out in the loud chorus of Moslem rejection of all things west, including Jews.

Indeed, in the early years of the past century, it seemed that the Islamic world was making a transition towards a modern secular orientation, as had happened in Europe.  Ataturk in Turkey,  the Pahlavi Shahs of Iran, Jinnah, the father of Pakistan, all sought a secular route for their new societies. The secular republic of Turkey is now an increasingly Islamic state, Pakistan is torn in bitter internal fighting with Taliban and similar elements, Iran is now fully an Islamic Republic of the Ayatollahs.
 Much of the blame has been placed on the Saudis, who have pushed their very conservative form of Islam ( Salafi, or Wahabism) with very heavy funding in the last decades. Much of this funding was intended to appease their more conservative elements in the Kingdom so that the princes could be free to play as they wished. Ironically, the House of Saud is accused in some quarters of being of Jewish descent! ( Historically, both in the West and the East, the best accusation  to destroy an enemy was to throw the accusation of “ Jewish descent” or Judaizing tendencies).
But we can look elsewhere for the depth of the current poison as well; it greatly predates Israel’s policies vis a vis the Palestinians today/
The great ideologist of Islamic fundamentalism was Hassan al Banna who founded the Moslem Brotherhood almost a century ago. He looked at the developments of modern society and disapproved of the impact of British liberal culture on Egypt. He was himself an admirer of Hitler and Hitler’s ideology. For him, Jew and Christian could never move beyond a second-class status in a world dominated by Islam. There is a direct line from Hassan Al-Banna to the 9/11 Twin Towers and it goes through Dr. Al Zawahiri, formerly number two to Osama Bin Ladin and now the Number one honcho of Al Qaeda. ( Today they look “moderate” in comparison to the horrible Da’esh, ISIS)
Recently, Prime Minister Netanyahu shed light on another figure, who perhaps did more to sour the Middle East on any kind of Jewish –Moslem cooperation, than any one other individual: the Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem.
Netanyahu pulled  Donald Trump, by throwing out an exaggerate charge, of giving the Mufti credit for the ideas of genocide of Jews; he achieved his end. All of a sudden, people are speaking about al-Husseini.   Very simply, all public figures are jumping to clarify that Husseini did not inspire Hitler to murder all Jews. After all, Hitler was quite capable of that. No,  Husseini, the great- father figure, admired by the entire Palestinian national movement, was Hitler’s very dear friend and advisor, who conspired with Hitler to bring the entire Middle East under Hitler’s control.
Al –Husseini was a member of the prominent Husseini family in the new protectorate of Palestine. There was another leading family, the Nashashibi clan, that advocated compromise and a working arrangement with the Jews. Had that clan prevailed, the whole story of Israel and the Palestinians would have been much different . The Husseinis prevailed however, by physically eliminating their rival clan, and established for the Arabs of Palestine the long-lasting principal of no cooperation, no negotiation and no Jewish presence- not in Tel Aviv, not in Haifa, nor anywhere else. ( He granted a minor concession to Jews who came before 1917, the same official  position retained by the PLO until the Oslo accords).
Yasser Arafat was his protégé and always claimed to have been a part of the clan, as his family name originally was “Husseini”.
The Mufti began his career by inciting the first major pogrom against Jews in 1920; he first invented the accusation that Jews were scheming to take over the Al Aksa Mosque and build a Temple in its place.This is the very same accusation levelled by the current Mufti and implied by Abbas in recent weeks. The Al-Aksa mosque itself was a crumbing ruins at this time, to which no Moslems paid great attention. It was the Mufti who had it repaired and made it a center of Moslem attention.
By the 1930’s he had consolidated his control over the Arab Higher Committee that represented the Arab parties in Palestine. He printed his own manifesto, an anti-Semitic declaration published widely in the Moslem world, with financial support from Nazi Germany.  Both his writing and Nazi writings of the time emphasized that Nazi Germany and the Moslem world together were under threat from the likes of America and the British and the Bolsheviks, all controlled by the Jews.
Pursued by the British, he ended up in Berlin, where he became a close advisor to Hitler , whose goal was create a general Moslem uprising against the Jews and the Bolsheviks. This would create a path, through the Moslem world, into the soft underbelly of the Soviet Union from the south. This Moslem alliance would see to it that no Jews would be left alive in the middle east and the Mufti had plans for a crematoria in Palestine to dispose of all the dead Jews efficiently.
This was his declaration, in 1943:
“It is the duty of Muhammadans [Muslims] in general and Arabs in particular to ... drive all Jews from Arab and Muhammadan countries... . Germany is also struggling against the common foe who oppressed Arabs and Muhammadans in their different countries. It has very clearly recognized the Jews for what they are and resolved to find a definitive solution [endgültige Lösung] for the Jewish danger that will eliminate the scourge that Jews represent in the world.( according to Lebanese historian, Gilbert Achchar).
Here is where the story takes an interesting personal twist that I must share with you.
Back in 1983, I was Rabbi in Newport News, Virginia. That same year, the local paper had printed an article about the 40th year commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The PLO , Fatah, had sent a representative to lay a wreath to show their sympathy for the Jewish victims of Nazism. There was no Holocaust , as we know according to PM Abbas, but his same PLO  took pains to lay a wreath to commemorate it.
I wrote a strong letter to the editor, protesting the arrogance of this gesture, because of the close association of the leader of the Palestinian Arab movement, Al-Husseini, with Hitler and Nazism.
This led to an interesting chain of responses.
First, there was a letter to the editor by someone with a decidedly German name, who signed with his affiliation at NASA Langley Research Center, which was located only a few miles from my synagogue. There was no Holocaust, he wrote, it was all an exaggeration, and so forth. I expressed my surprise to one of the local residents in the know, who assured me that NASA had not a few former Nazi missile experts, co-workers of the famous Werner Von Braun.
I then received a phone call, a woman on the other line, who informed me that her husband was the representative of the Palestinian organization to the United Nations,  that the Haj was a well-known and respected member of the family, and a gentleman who would have never carried out acts of hatred or support for Hitler. As I mentioned, the major leaders of the Palestinians, especially those involved in the Palestine Liberation Organization, have been members of this family.
The next phone call was truly intriguing. It was from a man who introduced himself to me as a historian originally from the Island of Malta. He filled me in on what happened to Husseini after World War II. Husseini had been caught and was to be tried at Nuremberg with the rest of the Nazis, especially because he had organized a Bosnian Moslem SS that had murdered large numbers of Yugoslavians. Yugoslavia wanted his head as did the British. He vanished from Nuremberg and surfaced in Cairo, then to return to lead the Palestinian Arab’s war against the Zionist Jews.
It has generally been reported that the French spirited him out to Paris, hoping to leverage his influence in the Middle East, and from there, he escaped to Cairo by flying out under disguise.
This writer gave a new twist to the story.
It was the British. Officially , the British too wanted the Haj’s head,because he was fomenting trouble for them in the Middle east. There were, however, figures in the British government who were beginning to size up the mood of the Arabs and their anger at Britain, especially in Palestine. They needed to cultivate the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel elements for their own colonial interests. Husseini, they thought, could cool things down for them. (It was the British, after all, who blocked the Holocaust survivors from getting to the Yishuv, and it was the British who handed over key forts in Palestine to the Arabs, not the Jews.) According to my source, It was the British who had him flown out on a plane piloted by the man who had been Hitler’s personal pilot.
He continued to tell me that shortly thereafter, the pilot made his way, with so many other ex-Nazis, to South America. There he began to write his memoir, and word got out that he would write about his part in getting Husseini back to Palestine. Shortly thereafter, before the memoir could be written, he died while flying solo—unusual for it took place during perfect weather and he was an expert pilot. It led to speculation that someone in the British higher-up wanted him kept quiet.
A very strange twist. Is this true? I don’t know. Hitler did have a pilot, Hans Bauer, who did write a memoir, but he died many years later, in the 1990’s. Is it possible that the British had a hand in spiriting Husseini out and getting him back into Palestine. Did they think that it would make colonial rule easier? Or speed up the end to a Jewish Yishuv  that had threatened their control of the Middle East? I leave that to historians.
But there is no mistaking that a figure like Husseini was not only the central figure of the Arab Revolt and the Palestinian and general Arab rejection of any form or semblance of a Jewish state, but it is also well documented that preachers like him, and like Hassan al Banna, served to poison the well from which the modern Moslem world has been drinking.
Can we one day find a Moslem world that is cleared of this poison of anti-Semtism? I don’t know. Historically, like Ishmael and Isaac, our shared roots go far back. Northern Arabia had a very significant number of Jewish Bedouin tribes at the time of Mohammed. His first allies were the Jews of  Yathrib. He gathered much of his first practices form Jews, such as praying towards Jerusalem.
My father-in-law was from Yemen, and these are Jews who trace their origins long before the time of Mohammed. Many may be descendants of those Jews from northern Arabia who fled to the south. They have a tradition, which I have heard from a Pakistani Christian minister as well, that Mohammed had a Jewish teacher, and they even claim to know the name, who taught him all that he knew.
From the moment that his former Jewish allies refused to accept him as the Ras al Nabi, chief of all Prophets, he rejected Jerusalem and directed his prayers to the historic shrine at Mecca. He turned on his erstwhile Jewish allies, and from the moment of his rise, that part of the Arabia, with its large Jewish population, was ethnically cleansed of all Jews, and is so till today, Judenrein.
Can we get Ishmael and Isaac reconciled? The Torah tells us that they returned together to bury their father Abraham and that Ishmael, in the end, became a righteous person. We must pray that we can see that reconciliation soon, that Jews, Moslem, and Christians can pray openly and freely at the sacred sites we share, without fear of the knife in the back. Amen