Understanding the World’s Greatest Source of Jew-Hatred: A Review of “The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism”

Allon Friedman’s review at Frontpage.

A sober examination of Islam’s historical treatment of Jews.

Thu Jan 30, 2020

Allon Friedman

[To order Andrew Bostom’s new paperback edition of The Legacy of Islamic AntisemitismCLICK HERE.]

During a public U.S. Congressional hearing held in April 2019, data was presented from a worldwide survey performed between 2014 and 2017 by the Anti-Defamation League that found the 16 nations with the highest prevalence of extreme antisemitism to all be Muslim countries in the Middle East. In response to the presentation of these data, the ADL’s Senior Vice President for Policy Eileen Hershenov had this to say: “vulnerable, marginalized communities have bigotry within them.”

If explaining away Muslim Jew-hatred as somehow a result of vulnerability and marginalization in societies that are overwhelmingly Muslim strikes one as troubling, well it should; especially if the person doing the explaining represents an organization that claims “its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people.” Any person with a healthy sense of self-preservation might ponder other questions that arise from this case. Like, for instance: Why is extreme antisemitism so ubiquitous in the Arab Muslim world? Or: Why is a prominent Jewish advocacy organization so intent on apologizing for Islamic Jew hatred?

Unfortunately, anyone searching for answers to these timely questions is not going to find them anywhere in the public arena. In fact, a conspiracy of sorts has prevailed on college campuses, in Hollywood, in the establishment media, in think tanks, and in other cultural institutions, both Left and Right, where honest and open discussion of Islamic anti-Semitism is taboo because of the fear of social ostracism and professional suicide.

Shamefully, many Jews too often aid and abet this ugly and dangerous conspiracy.

Enter Andrew Bostom, M.D., an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at Brown University, who has just released a second (paperback) edition of his magnum opus The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History. It is a desperately needed corrective to the amnesia, ignorance, and self-destructive denial of reality that currently plagues much of Western Civilization and its Jewish community when it comes to Islam’s historical treatment of Jews.

Full disclosure: I worked with Andrew as a research collaborator and have remained friends since. Bostom drew on his professional skills as a physician, medical researcher and epidemiologist to carefully construct an understanding of the underpinnings of Jew-hatred within Islamic theology and civilization. The empirical evidence Bostom provides is so comprehensive and powerful that it hits the reader like a tsunami.

Bostom is very careful to let Islam’s core texts and its most renowned and influential theologians, scholars, jurists, and leaders–from Islam’s inception to the 21st century–speak for themselves on this matter, which makes the overall argument even more persuasive. Perhaps inspired by his medical training, the author also offers the reader dozens of “case studies” culled from primary sources as well as third-party observers over disparate eras and lands (some translated for the first time) that encapsulate how Jews, identified in the Koran as the worst enemies of the Muslims, have suffered immeasurably as dhimmis, or subjugated people, under Islamic rule up to the present time.

The new edition also features an updated preface that elegantly demonstrates how ancient antisemitic doctrines within Islam have reverberated through the centuries to explain contemporary Muslim antagonism and violence directed towards Jews. If there is any downside to this book, it is that becoming so thoroughly informed about the predations suffered by Jews throughout the ages can weigh heavily on the soul.

The author does, however, provide the blueprint for a constructive way forward by highlighting the immediate post-World War II efforts of Jules Isaac, a French historian and Holocaust survivor. Isaac, working with willing Christian colleagues and directly appealing to two popes, helped catalyze a movement that culminated in the Second Vatican Council and the Nostra Aetate (1965) declaration, which was an unprecedented and brutally honest document detailing the failings of the Church when it came to the treatment of Jews. This movement ultimately reformed Christian teaching about the Jews and greatly advanced Christian-Jewish relations.

Who should buy this book? Anyone who wants to understand the world as it is today in an unvarnished presentation, free of the distortions of political correctness; anyone who wants to understand the fundamental underpinnings of the genocidal war against Israel; anyone who wants to understand why Jews in Europe today are under siege.  And anyone who wants to save American Jewry as it stands at a precipice while Islamic Jew-hatred in the world escalates frighteningly unchecked.

Allon Friedman, M.D., is a practicing physician and vice president of the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana. JAACI is a leading advocate for Jews and Israel in Indiana was instrumental in passing Indiana’s anti-BDS law, the second in the nation. Dr. Friedman’s essays and editorials have been published locally as well as in various media outlets across North America and Israel.

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