ON THE DIALOGUE WITH ISLAM
by Boris Shusteff
On December 21 the Israeli daily "Haaretz" published an article by the Israeli attorney general Elyakim Rubinstein entitled "In Search of a Dialogue with Islam." Leaving aside the absolutely slavish approach taken by the author, who attempts to whitewash the Arabs and praises "Islam, a religion that contains many humane elements and has given rise to a rich culture," one must agree with Rubinstein that "one of the most urgent challenges facing Israel is a dialogue with the world of Islam." However, Israel can succeed in this dialogue only if she completely changes the way she deals with the Arab world.
What it is that Israel must do became clear after listening to the sermon delivered on December 14 at Tehran University by Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, Chairman of the Expediency Council. In his speech the Iranian ex-president clearly explained why the Arab world hates Israel. They hate Israel because for them it is a bridgehead of the colonialist and imperialist West. Rafsanjani described the creation of Israel in the following terms: "First, this is the most misfortunate, tragic and bitter colonial event. Secondly colonialism, lead by Britain and then America, and supported by the United Nations and other sections of the World Arrogance are responsible for these crimes" (1). He explained,
"The root of the problem is colonial. As traditional forms of colonialism came to an end the colonialists sought new instruments [of influence]. One of these was to impose lackey governments in the previous colonies... The most important objective was to create governments which were totally dependent on colonialism and the best case was that of the Jews - the Zionist government in the Palestinianland" (1).
Rafsanjani has not said anything new. His declaration that, "The Israeli government was established to act as a guardian, protector and gendarme that defends the interests of imperialism" (1), is barely different from the words in the Egyptian national Charter. One may read in its Chapter 10:
"The insistence of our people on liquidating the Israeli aggression... is a determination to liquidate one of the most dangerous pockets of imperialist resistance against the struggle of peoples... Our pursuit [sic] of the Israeli policy of infiltration in Africa is only an attempt to limit the spread of a destructive imperialist cancer" (2).
Since in the eyes of the world of Islam Israel is the product of western colonialism and imperialism, it is not surprising that all Israeli attempts at dialogue with the Moslems from a "western" approach are doomed. All of Israel's arguments about her legitimacy based on the League of Nations Mandate and the Resolutions of the United Nations are to the Moslems like red cloth to a bull. It only proves Rafsanjani's point that "World Arrogance" is trying to impose its will on the Arab world.
When Rubinstein writes that an attempt at dialogue with Islam "is also consistent with the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state," he simply shows a complete ignorance of the Arab mind. Democracy is anathema for the Arab world. By emphasizing her democratic aspect, Israel once again declares that she is the representative of western society, a society profoundly hated by the Arabs.
At the same time, by offering to deliver to Arafat huge parts of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, Israel promotes another western concept - the concept of compromise. This concept simply does not exist in the Arab mentality. If Israel is ready to part with the land there is only one explanation in the collective Arab mind - it must not be Israel's land. Proving once again that Israel is a "colonialist" entity.
The only way for Israel to change the Arab perception is by manifesting the Jewish character of the state and by invoking the help of... the Koran (!). Israel must drum into Arab heads that the Jews returned to Eretz Yisrael because they cannot disobey the Almighty's order to conquer and settle the Land. And they should quote from Koran where it is unequivocally stated that the holy land was uniquely given to the Jews and to no other nation:
" 'Remember, my people, the favour which God has bestowed upon you. He has raised up prophets among you, made you kings, and given you that which He has given to no other nation. Enter, my people, the holy land which God has assigned for you. Do not turn back, and thus lose all'" (Koran, Sura 5:22).
It should be emphasized to the Moslems that the Jews cannot "turn back" because otherwise they would be violating God's will. At the same time the Moslems cannot violate God's commandment either. It is said in Koran that "We [the Almighty] settled the Israelites in a secure land and provided them with good things" (Koran, Sura 10:93). By attacking the Jews the Arabs violate the will of Allah, who promised a secure land for the Jews.
Moreover, the Koran demands from the Moslems to believe in what is written in the Torah, since it is stated: "Be courteous when you argue with the People of the Book... Say: 'We believe in that which has been revealed to you. Our God and your God is one. To Him we submit.'"(Koran, Sura 29:46). And since in the Torah, God clearly promises the Land to the Jews, by trying to expel the Jews from Judea, Samaria and Gaza the Moslems place themselves in grave danger. Firstly, because "God will never break His promise. Yet most men do not know it" (Koran, Sura 30: 4). And secondly, because one must "Proclaim what has been revealed to you from the Book of your Lord. None can change His words" (Koran, Sura 18:27).
Moslems must be reminded that they cannot follow some parts of the Koran and disregard others (ones that clearly promise the Land to the Jews). Since it is written, "We will surely punish the schismatics, who have broken up the scriptures into separate parts, believing in some and denying others. By the Lord, We will question them all about their doings" (Koran, Sura 15: 91). The Moslems should be asked, "Are they not aware that the man who defies God and His apostle shall abide for ever in the fire of Hell? That surely is the supreme humiliation" (Koran, Sura 9:63).
While one can easily find in the Koran plenty of anti-Jewish statements and sentiments, nowhere in the Koran is it stated that the Land promised by God to the Jews will be given to somebody else. At the same time the Torah is replete with God's promises that the Land will belong to the Jews, and the Jews are told to conquer it. This means that by saying that the Jews have stolen Arab land, the Moslem leaders are falsifying the Koran, obfuscating the truth according to which the Land of Eretz Yisrael was given to the Jews.
Yes, Israel must talk to Islam. Only it should be a dialogue between Judaism and Islam. Israel is not a western state. She is a JEWISH state. The Jews and the Moslems have One God. He promised the Land to the Jews. That means that the Jews in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are fulfilling God's will by settling the Land. As it is said, "Moses said to His people: 'Seek help in God and be patient. The earth is God's; He gives it to those of His servants whom He chooses'" (Koran, Sura7:128). The Almighty has chosen the Jews. "We saved the Israelites from the degrading scourge, from Pharaoh,... and chose them knowingly among the nations" (Koran, Sura 44:30). The Moslems must submit to God's will. 12/26/01
Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.