Middle East Studies

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Muslim Attitudes to Jews and Israel

The Ambivalences of Rejection, Antagonism, Tolerance and Cooperation

Moshe Ma’oz is Professor Emeritus of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He has recently been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University. Professor Ma’oz has published many books and articles on the political and social history of the Middle East.

Manifestations of hatred of Jews and Israel have risen over the last few decades in the Arab and Muslim world. This hatred is demonstrated in many ways – from propaganda to terrorism. But is such hatred the result of Islamic anti-Semitism, as widely claimed? Or does it have other roots and reasons?

This book sets the record straight by explaining that while anti-Semitism is the credo of fanatic groups and regimes, such an attitude is not representative of traditional and contemporary Islam. For centuries Muslim attitudes to Jews were ambivalent: contempt and antagonism alongside tolerance and cooperation. In fact Jews under Islam were better off than their Christian neighbours, and much better off than their Jewish brethren under Christianity. A similar pattern of relations has developed over the last several decades between Muslim nations and the Jewish state of Israel: hostility and violence, mostly by Muslim Arabs, but also dialogue and cooperation by and with many other Muslims.

These complex relations are discussed here by Muslim and Jewish scholars – from Azerbaijan, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, Palestine, the USA and Turkey – who analyze the religious, cultural, political and economic factors that have shaped Muslim attitudes to Jews and Israel. Ideas and suggestions are put forward to improve Muslim–Jewish relations – the theme of which was first conceived at an international conference organized by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the Divinity School, Harvard University.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-322-5
Hardback Price: £49.95 / $65
Release Date: March 2010
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-527-4
Paperback Price: £24.95 / $34.95
Release Date: December 2011
Page Extent / Format: 352 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No



Introduction by Moshe Ma‘oz
Part I Anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim World: Myth and Reality
1 Modern Myths of Muslim Anti-Semitism
Mark R. Cohen

2 The Image of the Jew/Zionist/Israeli in the Arab World
Esther Webman

Part II Ambivalent Attitudes in Muslim-Arab Countries
3 The Breakdown of Arab–Israeli Peace: Research from Remote, Reciprocal Stereotypes and Anti-Normalization – The Case of Jordan
Wasfi Kailani

4 Islam and the Question of Peace with Israel: Jad al-Haqq’s Fatwa Permitting Egypt’s 1979 Peace Treaty with Israel
Yitzhak Reiter

5 Saudi Arabia and Israel: The Essence of Strategic Pragmatism
Joseph Kostiner and Michael Kahanov

6 Myth, History and Realpolitik: Morocco and its
Jewish Community
Samir Ben-Layashi and Bruce Maddy-Weitzman

7 Babylon versus Zion: Changing Iraqi Perceptions of Israel
Ofra Bengio

Part III Non-Arab Muslim Countries/Communities in Asia
8 Azerbaijani Public Perceptions of Jews and the 159
Israeli–Palestinian Conflict
Tural Ahmadov

9 Turkish Policy towards the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict
Saziya Burcu Giray

10 Dancing in the Dark: Pulling the Veil off Israeli–Pakistan Relations
Paul Rockower and Aneeq Cheema

11 Indian Muslims and the Three Js: Jews, Jerusalem and the Jewish State
P. R. Kumaraswamy

12 Indonesian Muslims’ Perceptions of Jews and Israel
Ibnu Burdah

Part IV Muslim Communities in Africa, Europe and the USA
13 African Islam: Its Attitudes towards Israel and Judaism
Arye Oded

14 “The Triangle”: Europeans, Muslims, Jews 264
Amikam Nachmani

15 An Examination of Current Attitudes of Muslim Americans toward Jews, Israel and Jerusalem
Paul L. Scham

The Contributors

Children of Abraham: Trialogue of Civilizations,” the research project sponsored in 2007 by the Weatherhead Center for International Relations at Harvard University, has produced several publications; this is the second. Following an introduction by the editor, it is divided into four parts and fifteen papers; notes and an index are included. The first part, “Anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim World: Myth and Reality” includes two papers examining modern myths regarding Muslim and anti-Semitism and the image of the Jew/Zionist/Israel in the Arab World. This is followed by “Ambivalent Attitudes in Muslim-Arab Countries” with five papers dealing with specific phenomena regarding Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Iraq. The five papers in the third part “Non-Arab Muslim Countries/Communities in Asia” deal with Azerbaijan, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Indonesia. The last part examines “Muslim Communities in Africa, Europe and the USA.” … All papers add to readers’ understanding and knowledge, but some serve more as source material.
AJL Reviews

The volume has a strong point in providing a very informative overview of Muslim–Jewish relations in various parts of the world. The most interesting articles are looking more in depth at Muslim attitudes toward Jews and Israel through societies, publications, and interviews; nevertheless, the majority of the articles look at the diplomatic relations between states under scrutiny and Israel, which makes the volume slightly inconsistent. Overall, this is a good source for historians and scholars of politics and religion, a work that has more questions than answers.
Digest of Middle East Studies

Reviewed in Turcica et de Central Eurasian Reader, Centre d'études turques, ottomanes, balkaniques et centrasiatiques, Collège de France.

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