Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Iran And The Badges: They Aren't Just For Jews

Atlas has a very important post up this morning on the subject of Iran and the dhimmi badges:

Andrew Bostom hits the nail right on the head in today's American Spectator. The badge is not a Jewish thing. It applies to all non muslims and Jewish lay leaders (with whom I find myself increasingly at odds with, since they are so leftarded.) They are wildly mistaken. This is not the Yellow Star of David of Nazi Germany -- it's not just Jews, it's all non Muslims;

“a political order from Islam and must be adhered to by the followers of Islam, and the goal [was] to promote general hatred toward those who are outside Muslim circles.”

This “hatred” was to assure that Muslims would not succumb to corrupt, i.e., non-Islamic, thoughts.

The dehumanizing practical impact of najis regulations were again observable at points of contact between Muslims and non-Muslims—wherever non-Muslims owned or operated businesses or manufacturing facilities whose personnel or products might “pollute” Muslims (see here, p. 137). For example (see this), shops that sold sandwiches or bakery goods (foodstuffs associated with minorities) were forced to display signs stating “especially for minorities.”
Invoking the Nazis?

Many people have reacted to these reports with a comparison to Nazi requirements of Jews to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing. Major Jewish organizations, including both The Simon Wiesenthal Center (in an almost apoplectic statement by Rabbi Marvin Hier,

“This is reminiscent of the Holocaust…Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis.”

and The American Jewish Committee,

“…the story, with its chilling echoes of the Shoah, is another heinous example of the Iranian regime’s contempt for human rights” have followed this rhetorical path.

I sent my original background essay on this sad state of affairs to ranking officials in the Wiesenthal Center, and the American Jewish Committee (AJC). Their responses were neither edifying nor reassuring. The Wiesenthal Center official acknowledged that my essay raised an “historical and Islamic context” which “factored in”, but was (apparently) trumped by this non-sequitur observation, i.e., the “…proliferation of Iranian websites and blogs that are appearing in the last two months that specifically embrace and promote Nazism”. The official from the AJC rebuked me for even discussing “…legislation that to the best of our knowledge at this time does not exist.”

In response I posed the following five questions to the AJC official (and they certainly apply to the Wiesenthal Center as well), which remain unanswered:

• Why doesn’t the American Jewish Committee (AJC) discuss…what najis is, how najis (practices) have been restored under Khomeini (and continued under his successors), and thus why the initial report of “badging” was plausible?

• Why didn’t the AJC include this clear statement from Prof. Laurence Loeb’s study of the Jews of Iran (Loeb lived there to do his anthropological field work) published in 1977, as appropriate background?

[the] badge of shame [as] an identifying symbol which marked someone as a najis Jew and thus to be avoided. From the reign of Abbas I [1587-1629] until the 1920s, all Jews were required to display the badge

• What does any of this have to do with “Nazism”?

• Why can’t AJC and the other major Jewish organizations speak honestly based upon the real (and sadly living) history of such sanctioned Islamic doctrines—najis, the dhimmi condition, discriminatory badging, etc.—and their implementation for centuries (in Iran)?

• What is to be gained by such denial and obfuscation other than further isolating us (i.e., Jews—I was writing as a Jew, albeit a “lapsed” Jew) as a tiny minority from the rest of the victims of jihad hatred (in this case the Christians and Zoroastrians also targeted by the putative dress regulations)?

While memories of the Holocaust are fresher and more widely held than memories of traditional Islamic oppression of Jews, such comparisons should be avoided. To invoke the Holocaust blinds us to the far longer and much more deeply-rooted traditions in the Islamic world which predate the rise of Nazism by well over a millennium.

In our struggle to defend our civilization and our freedoms, we must understand our enemy. Those who insist that anti-Semitism be seen exclusively through the lens of Nazism and the Holocaust divert our attention and hobble our understanding of the forces against which we defend ourselves.

It is my fervent hope that I receive serious, informed responses to the five queries posed to the AJC so as not to squander this “teachable moment.”

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