Mr. Dershowitz, Jews as “Apes and Pigs” is a Koranic Epithet, Not “Nazi Dehumanization

“Oh brothers of apes and pigs! Fear me, fear me!”

—Islam’s prophet Muhammad addressing the besieged Jews of the Banu Qurayza, using a Koranic epithet, before he subdued them and personally beheaded their surrendered adult males

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Tuesday evening (4/30/19), to open his discussion about the New York Times’ publication of two virulently antisemitic cartoons, and surrounding protests, Fox News’ Sean Hannity, made this introductory remark to one of his guests, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz:

You [Dershowitz] actually said, “one of the weapons of hate against Jews deployed by Nazi Germany were cartoons and caricatures that depicted Jews as subhuman animals, often as dogs and spiders.” Sort of like the head of the [Egyptian] Muslim Brotherhood [Muhammad] Morsi who said Jews “were the descendants of apes and pigs”…

Professor Dershowitz failed to identify the direct Koranic source (Koran 5:60) of Morsi’s epithet cementing Hannity’s conflation of 20th century Nazi imagery, with an ancient, canonical Islamic theme of Jew-hatred. Surely the Professor is not oblivious to yeoman work performed by the Middle East Media Research Institute which has captured ad nauseum usage of Koran 5:60 for incitement of Muslim Jew-hatred across two decades—by three year-old Muslim children, to Sunni Islam’s Papal equivalent Al-Azhar Grand Imam—and analyzed this Koranic epithet’s theological origins within Islam.

Dershowitz’s refusal to make this distinction is entirely consistent with a rigidly enforced overall messaging campaign at Fox News. All Fox media talking heads, and their “invited experts” negate accurate, intellectually honest discussion of Islam’s core theology of Jew-hatred, deliberately depriving their audiences of such understanding. When a Jewish savant and “free thought champion” like Professor Dershowitz abides these morally bereft “ground rules,” promoting the continued obfuscation of the Islamic motifs animating the global pandemic of Muslim-Jew hatred, it is especially reprehensible.

Dershowitz is hardly alone in conforming with this negationist Fox News behavior. Morsi’s 2010 interviews which characterized “Zionists”—unmistakably Jews in the Muslim Brotherhood leader’s parlance—as being “the descendants of apes and pigs” came to light, broadly, by early 2013. Yet not once since Hannity began mentioning Morsi’s Koranic epithet reference in January 2013, over the intervening 6+ years, till now, has he  or any of his interlocutors  informed the Fox News viewing audience of its Koranic origins.

The theological basis for Morsi’s dehumanizing allegations against the Jews is a central (and conspiratorial) antisemitic motif in the Koran which decrees an eternal curse upon them for purportedly slaying the prophets, and transgressing against the will of Allah (Koran 2:61, and 2:9091, reiterated at 3:112). This central motif is coupled to Koranic verses 5:60, and 5:78, which describe the Jews transformation into apes and swine (5:60), or simply apes, (i.e. verses 2:65 and 7:166), having been “…cursed by the tongue of David, and Jesus, Mary’s son” (5:78).  According to the earliest sacralized, pious Muslim biographies of Muhammad (by Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Saad),  just before subduing the Medinan Jewish tribe Banu Qurayza, Islam’s prophet invoked  this striking Koranic motif for the Jews debasement, addressing these Jews, with hateful disparagement, as “You brothers of apes (per Ibn Ishaq),” or “Brothers of apes and pigs. Fear me, fear me.” (per Ibn Saad). Ibn Ishaq’s account further maintains that, upon their surrender, Muhammad himself beheaded between 600 to 900 of the adult Jewish males of the Banu Qurayza, and enslaved their wives and children.

Muhammad Morsi’s understanding of Koran 5:60 comports, moreover, with the verse’s classical exegesis in the seminal Tafsir al-Jalalayn, which remains one of the most popular, as well as the most authoritative Koranic commentaries in Egypt. Here is the gloss on 5:60 from Tafsir al-Jalalayn:

[5:60] ..those whom Allah has cursed and put far away from His mercy and with whom he is angry—turning some of them into monkeys and into pigs by transmogrification—and who worshipped false gods. These are the Jews…“False gods” refers to Shayṭān [Satan]. They [the Jews] worship him by obeying him. Such people are in a worse situation—because they will be in the Fire—and further from the right way (the Path of the Truth) [i.e., Islam]

The historical treatment of Jews in Muslim societies, including Egypt, since the advent of Islam—chronic oppression, punctuated by outbursts of mass anti-Jewish violence, forced conversion to Islam, or expulsion—has resulted from this sacralized religious bigotry. Thus the dehumanizing Koranic references to Jews as apes (or apes and pigs) were used explicitly for polemical incitement to large scale, annihilationist pogroms against dhimmi Jewish communities in Granada (within mythically “tolerant” Muslim Spain) during 1066, Baghdad and its environs, proliferating into Iran, at the end of the 13thcentury, and southern Morocco at the close of the 15th century.

Despite the Sadat era peace agreement—and in direct violation of its principles—Egypt’s mainstream Islamic institutions, most notably Al-Azhar University itself—have continued to expound unmitigated jihadism against the non-Muslim infidel, and “sacralized” Jew-hatred.

Prominent Jewish public intellectuals such as Alan Dershowitz are failing their moral obligation to identify and condemn Islam’s canonical Jew-hating bigotry as promulgated by the creed’s most authoritative religious teaching institutions. This failure abets the ethically cretinous policy of “conservative leaning” Fox News to negate all discussion of the Islam animating the ugly, pervasive phenomenon of Muslim Jew-hatred.

Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism " (Prometheus, November, 2008) You can contact Dr. Bostom at @andrewbostom.org

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