[Make sure to read Robert Spencer’s contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
Israel’s President Isaac Herzog had some reassuring news for the world on Thursday: the appallingly ghastly and brutal Hamas attack on Israel doesn’t represent Islam. Herzog thus becomes the latest in a long, long line of non-Muslim leaders who are quick to assure us that the latest atrocity has nothing, nothing whatsoever, to do with what we all know and love as the warm and cuddly religion of peace.
Herzog gave us this marvelous news as he visited the southern Israeli town of Rahat and met with local officials as well as with what Israel National News called “heads of Arab local authorities in the Negev and public representatives of the ‘Arab-Jewish war room’ – which helps families affected by the war.” Herzog declared: “We sincerely sympathize with the grief of the entire Arab public and the Bedouin society in particular.“ That’s marvelous. Now: does the Arab public and Bedouin society in particular sympathize with the grief of Israeli Jews? No doubt some do, but some don’t, and Herzog didn’t say anything about that possibility.
Instead, the ceremonial leader was anxious to sound a conciliatory note, continuing: “I tell the world that this is not a war of Jews against Muslims. It is a war between the people of light and the people of darkness, between good and evil, between doing good and doing bad, this is the war.” Well, yes, and no, Herzog. It is indeed a war between good and evil, but in this case the evil side is a classic example of what Isaiah the prophet warned about: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” (Isaiah 5:20) The people who carried out the massacre in Israel on Oct. 7 believe that the creator of the universe has ordered them to “kill them wherever you find them,” (Qur’an 2:191, 4:89, cf. 9:5), even if you have toparaglide into a music festival to do it.
Those people certainly believe that they are fighting a war of Muslims against Jews. Does Herzog really do anyone any good by denying this? On Oct. 18, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Religious Affairs posted guidelines for preachers in mosques that quoted this hadith: “Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: ‘The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.’” (Sahih Muslim 2922)
That is, President Herzog, a war of Muslims against Jews. This tradition is often described as an end-times prophecy, but it actually a call to murder Jews so that the last hour will be hastened in coming. Certainly not all Muslims believe in it, or in its applicability to the current situation, but blithely to ignore its existence and pretend that no Muslims at all believe in it is dangerously naïve.
Dangerously naive is just how Herzog sounded when he said: “We will all continue to live together, and it is important for me to say to the entire Arab society in Israel, how much I appreciate the responsibility and the functioning of the Arab society in these difficult days.” That’s terrific, but once Israel is out of this phase of the jihad that is intent on destroying it, Israeli officials should not shy away from investigating and confronting the loyalty to that jihad within Arab Israeli communities, and emphasizing the necessity of loyalty to the state in which they hold citizenship.
Herzog also said: “But we must remember that the struggle is not really a struggle of a political nature, it is about our ability to live here in a Middle East of peace, as opposed to a Middle East of bloodshed and war.” He said that the slaughter of Oct. 7 “made no sense,” ignoring the sense it makes as fulfillment of what are perceived to be divine commands written in the Qur’an.
Herzog concluded: “I will make another comment that you will accept with love. What we saw on October 7th does not represent Islam. Islam is a religion with a lot of respect and sensitivity and love and brotherhood. This represents an unimaginable evil that must be eliminated.“ Yet why is it, if this were true, that we do not see Muslim leaders condemning Hamas’ attacks? Why is it always non-Muslim leaders who constantly assure us that Islam is peaceful?
The answer is that those leaders are speaking out of ignorance and political calculation. The problem with that is that insofar as that political calculation is based on ignorance, it is doomed to fail.