The Muslim equation with anti-semitism
'He knew the Jews - what they do. They had destroyed Germany. They controlled all the money.'
Whether it was the real Jews of Medina or Islamic Spain, or the fictional Jews of Shakespeare and Marlowe, where the Jew went, wealth followed.
It is an old grudge: the Jews and our money. They "control" the media, the money, the politics and the world with their cabal of billionaires. They steal our entitlement, and sell it back to us for a profit. The original capitalist. Where I was born, you churned children's emotions with toxic stories of Jewish mischief. How can the Jewish spine still stand straight after the burden of 2,000 years of retribution? This is our Jewish Question.
Muslims all think about Jews - out of embarrassment of living so close to anti-Semitism, or because we are still anti-Semitic. Curious, I once asked my father if he remembered anything about the Holocaust, earnestly hoping he wouldn't deny it. 'I was too young, but I remember people were sad,' he said. 'As I grew older, most people thought they deserved it.'
In my family, even watching a Hollywood movie was once a painstaking exercise. When the credits would roll, men would start to decode names. Streisand, Spielberg, Meyers, Kahn, Levitt, Bloomfield. 'See... Jews.' Dada, my uncle, had taught us how to spot a Jewish name. 'The -bergs, -sands, -steins, -fields, -felds and -manns. All Jews,' he'd say. 'Before they would change their names. Now they're bold.' In the lift he would always tap on the label, and look at me: 'Schindler. Jew.'
The obsession was comical to me, so I had once asked my sister, 'Why is Dada obsessed with Jews?' 'Well, Jews are smart - and your uncle is dumb.' Even to this day I look at the label on every lift, and quietly smile to myself.
At school, friends would send us mails - don't drink Coca Cola. It is a Jewish conspiracy. Jewish villagers nourish stolen fields with Palestinian foetuses ripped from Palestinian wombs. Stories of the unrelenting cruelty of Jews were narrated to us all through childhood, each like a page out of a Grimm fable. The bigger the conspiracy, the more exciting it was for everyone to believe it. Muezzins called them 'pigs'. So did school textbooks.
Everyone has had experience defending Jews and Judaism, only to have three generations of family erupt into a war over the Holocaust. Still, there was, and continues to exist, a reluctant admiration for Jews even while wallowing in odium. For their Nobel Prizes; for Mossad; for their excellence in art; for Krav Maga; for their synagogues; for Hebrew; for their power.
Some of it is mythical: 'Do you know which army has never raped a single woman? The Israeli army .' 'There is no poor Jew. They don't let it happen to each other.' 'There is no Jewish sectarianism. That's why they're ahead. And us -- we can't even stand in a straight line for namāz!'
We pray everyday for the power to fashion a stick that will break the Jewish spirit once and for all, but every time we open our eyes, we only find a miswak twig in our outstretched hands. This is why it is easier to believe Paradise is ours. To kill the vessel for a greater tomorrowland, or, if nothing, then at least 72 anti-Semitic virgins.
After twenty-five years surrounded by people obsessed with Jews, I have come to ask myself: Is this how pathetic envy feels? In every Jew, does a Muslim simply see a promise to which he feels more entitled?
(This article was originally posted on https://medium.com/@bibiperopero. Bibi Peropero is a Muslim blogger who posts on Muslim issues, women's issues, feminism, dakhini culture and most of the topics that fall in the spectrum between these, while still finding time to dabble in satire. She hopes to one day be known as the founder of the Dravidian Tigers Liberation Front - Marxist, but for now she's content just combating stupidity on the internet. Do check out her blog for more such posts.)