Love thy neighbor?

Christianity is supposedly based on the principle of “love they neighbor.”  We Jews were always perplexed by the contradiction inherent within Christianity that in time this principle became “love they neighbor, except for Jews, Muslims, Blacks and anyone who is different.”   But, then later in time, in secular democracies, this became in effect “tolerate your fellow citizen, even if he is different.”   And eventually, after the founding of the US, and WWII and the Holocaust and the United Nations, this became “everyone is entitled to the right to life, liberty” and in the US even “the pursuit of happiness.”  The UN Declaration of Human Rights influenced the Western world so that even the Roman Catholics after Vatican II stopped blaming living Jews for the death of Christ, that was in fact a Roman affair.  It was safe to pass the guilt onto them because they were pagan and are now defunct, having been overtaken by Christianity.

But, Islam does not have this tenet, “love they neighbor.”  Instead it has the tenet of jihad, which means waging war against all infidels, or non-Muslims.  But, Jews and Christians can be tolerated under the Code of Omar from the 9th century, but not others.  And Jews and Christians, although Abrahamic, cannot be accepted in principle in the long run by Islamic belief.  This takes proselytizing to its logical extreme, “convert or die.” This is not only the code of the Islamic State, but also of all truly believing Muslims.  It is incumbent upon them as an article of faith, that all people must submit (the meaning of “Islam”) to the code laid down by Mohammed.   This is in fact contradictory to modern secular society, which accepts the right for all citizens to be safe and protected by civil and criminal law, not Islamic Sharia law.  This is why there are few Muslim democracies, except for Turkey, Malaysia and a few others, and they are becoming less tolerant rather than more so.

So you have the strange situation of Arab countries, like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt, none of which are democracies, calling not only for the overthrow of both Pres. Assad of Syria and the IS in Syria and Iraq, but for “free and fair elections” in Syria.  They don’t have free and fair elections themselves, but they insist that the Syrians must have them.  Why?  Because this is the best way to get Western support to get rid of IS, which is an imminent and direct threat to their rule.  Although they are definitely Muslim, they have adapted to existing within a framework where the US is the only superpower, and they accept the UN and the right of most nations to co-exist, except Israel.  The IS see this as an unacceptable compromise, they fight against any degree of acceptance of modern Western concepts, i.e. of “Westernization.”  If you are “Western” you must have your head chopped off, no compromise.

That is why they are attacking Paris, and why they have made enemies of everyone, all Western countries and the Russians and the Saudis and their only ally is in fact the Palestinians, who usually make the mistake of shooting themselves in the foot (according to Abba Eban).   This may be fortuitous for Israel, for even if you support the principle of a two-state solution, something which is becoming increasingly difficult to foresee, you surely cannot accept the formation of a terrorist mini-state which will be allied or sympathetic to IS, as another part of the Caliphate.  It’s about time for Western liberals to face the reality of the Middle East, surely after 9/11/01 in the US, 7/7/05 in the UK and 13/11/15 in France you can see the writing on the wall.


4 thoughts on “Love thy neighbor?

  1. I would just point out that several Arab countries have made significant progress in moving towards democratic governance in recent years, including Tunisia (which actually is fully democratic), Morocco, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. Most of these have some way to go but the idea that Syria should be directed towards that form of government seems natural given the slow but definite progress being made elsewhere in the Arab world.


    • Wishful thinking. Tunisia is a new democracy, the results are not yet in. To call Morocco, Egypt and Jordan democracies is to stretch the term, in each country the King and/or the Government control the system. Lebanon is not a democracy, it is a “sectocracy,” with each sect controlling its part of the system. That’s why they had no government for a nearly a year after the last election. IF Lebanon survives it will be a miracle.


  2. England has a king (Queen). So does Denmark. Morocco has a Parliament…

    I’m really not in disagreement with you, though. Clearly democracy is more than elections. Nevertheless, I think the genie is out of the bottle in all of the countries I mentioned before. That said, there will undoubtedly be ups and downs in all, as we’ve seen in Egypt with Morsi.


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