Israel and Jews: Just the Canary in the Coal Mine
Though the world now rightly focuses on Israel, the world’s sole Jewish state is largely irrelevant as regards the real threat to world peace: militant Islam. If you really want to address root causes, then look no further. Israel and the Jews are but a convenient distraction, a red herring, just the canary in the coal mine.
To put things in perspective, depending on how one scores things, there are now between 30 and 100 armed “conflicts” raging in varying degrees on our planet. Even the United Nations (UN) reports that we currently have “the highest number of violent conflicts since World War II.”
Answer: 1. Just Israel.
For all the others, there’s not a Jew anywhere in sight. So, Jews, frankly, are largely irrelevant as regards world peace and conflict. A red herring. But also, the proverbial canary in the coal mine.
Sadly, but tellingly, and putting Israel aside, the vast majority of armed conflicts on our globe involve militant Islam on at least one side of the conflict. So, if you’re looking for “root causes” to explain world instability, that’s it. Stop overthinking things.
Some of the places are old and familiar like Kashmir, where Muslims fight Hindus. In some places – like the Philippines – it’s militant Muslims versus Catholics. In the Philippines, an Islamic group even beheaded two Jehovah's Witnesses and left their heads in bags with the note, "Those who do not believe in Allah will suffer the same fate."
In much of Africa – Nigeria, Sudan, Congo, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Cameroon – it’s militant Muslims versus Christians. In Nigeria, it is common for militant Muslims belonging to Boko Haram to burn churches. This is not a new phenomenon.
Boko Haram logo
When Nigeria hosted the Miss World beauty pageant 20 years ago, militant Muslims killed more than 200 people. Apparently, beauty pageants are offensive to the Koran, but murdering innocents is ok. At least fifty churches were destroyed or damaged. The local newspaper was also burned because it had the audacity to publish a story questioning Muslim groups that condemned the pageant.
Though a beauty pageant makes for unique context, Islamists killing Christians is hardly unique. Rather, Nigeria is reflective of what's been going on around the globe for some time now. In Sudan, which we don't hear much about, more than two million Christians have been literally butchered this century by militant Islamists proclaiming, "convert or die."
In Myanmar, in southeast Asia, it’s Muslims versus Buddhists, a conflict that has been raging since 1948. In Armenia, it’s Christians versus militant Muslims. Likewise in Indonesia it’s militant Muslims versus Christians. In Chechnya, it’s been militant Muslims fighting the Russian army.
And in Muslim countries, the few remaining Christians are persecuted, like Coptic Christians in Egypt or Maronite Christians in Lebanon. Even in Bethlehem the Christian population has plummeted under Palestinian control.
To be sure, in a few places, like in China with the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, Muslims are more so the oppressed than the persecutor. But in almost all places, Islam is the common denominator on at least one side of the conflict.
As for Israel, to lend some perspective, there are about 50 Muslim majority countries about 1000 times Israel’s size. So, for Hamas and others, the scoreboard reading 50-1 is not lopsided enough. They want it to read 51-0. Look at a map: when they chant from the “river to the sea,” they mean no Israel, no Jews.
To be clear, the point here is not to debate whether Islam, or any religion, is peaceful or not. I’ll leave that to the religion professors.
Suffice to say, there is enough ambiguity in all the good books that scripture can be used (or abused) for good or evil. Religion provides great comfort to billions and motivates most to live better, more ethical lives.
But as we all know, every group – be it a religion or even the girl scouts on occasion – has its zealots. No religion has a monopoly on crazy.
Once in a blue moon, a crazy Catholic will blow up an abortion clinic. When that happens, however, mainstream Catholics do not throw a parade and shower the bomber’s family with gifts. Mainstream Catholics are abhorred and rebuke the terrorist.
Likewise, when a crazy, Orthodox Jew gunned down Muslims at a mosque in Hebron in 1994, Jews did not celebrate. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin immediately condemned the attack calling the perpetrator a “degenerate murderer” and “an embarrassment to Judaism.”
Even Buddhist monks can be deemed “The Face of Terror,” as Time magazine labeled Ashin Wirathu on its cover in 2017 for his actions in Myanmar. Again, no group is immune from extremism.
But, in most groups, the moderate masses self-police their zealots. If they can’t reform their zealots, they banish or ultimately punish and attempt to defang them. The moderate masses restore order to their group. The moderate masses do not let the group’s tail wag the dog.
But as judged by conduct, not soundbites or scripture, for decades now Islam has had trouble self-policing. Whether it’s ISIS in Iraq, Boko Haram in Nigeria, now Hamas in Israel, or any of the many other militant Islamic groups, the question must be asked:
Where are the moderate Muslim masses?
If the Muslim zealots are indeed such a tiny minority, then why can’t, or don’t, the moderate Muslim masses take control and self-police the cancer amidst them? The fact they haven’t raises the question whether, indeed, they are either moderate or massive?
Though the media now talks about the “innocent Palestinians” in Gaza, remember they elected Hamas. So now claiming Hamas does not speak for them and they are victims is a bit disingenuous and convenient. Again, they didn’t just tolerate Hamas, but elected them.
What ultimately matters is not whether the Koran, Old Testament, or New Testament is "peaceful," but rather the actions of those who follow the different good books. And as judged by actions, Islam has not proven peaceful, as almost all the hot spots on the globe now involve militant Muslims on at least one side.
As for human rights, suffice to say that there are no human rights abuses in much of the Islamic world because there are no human rights to abuse. In Saudi Arabia there are no churches, no Bibles, no Christian artifacts, no non-Muslim worship of any kind. If Christians are caught praying, even in their own homes, they are punished severely. In short, being a non-Muslim in many Muslim countries can be a death sentence.
We can address these realities or apologize for them.
To be clear, it is not suggested that Islam has a monopoly on genocide, as Bosnia revealed in the 1990’s. However, the fact that most conflicts on our globe today involve militant Islam is no coincidence either. The rub is that Islam, by self-definition, is an expansionist religion, which today often seeks to gain market share through mass murder in many places.
All said, Israel and the Jews are actually a symptom of a much larger problem. Eliminate Israel and instead of there being 50 conflicts on the globe involving Islam, congratulations, you’re down to “just 49.”
And you may be next.
Jean DuBois is a pen name.