Manifestations of hatred of Jews and Israel have risen over the last few decades in the Arab and Muslim world. This hatred is demonstrated in many ways -- from propaganda to terrorism. But is such hatred the result of Islamic anti-Semitism, as widely claimed? Or does it have other roots and reasons? This book sets the record straight by explaining that while anti-Semitism is the credo of fanatic groups and regimes, such an attitude is not representative of traditional and contemporary Islam. For centuries Muslim attitudes to Jews were ambivalent: contempt and antagonism alongside tolerance and co-operation. In fact Jews under Islam were better off than their Christian neighbours, and much better off than their Jewish brethren under Christianity. A similar pattern of relations has developed over the last several decades between Muslim nations and the Jewish state of Israel: hostility and violence, mostly by Muslim Arabs, but also dialogue and co-operation by and with many other Muslims.
These complex relations are discussed here by Muslim and Jewish scholars -- from Azerbaijan, Egypt, India, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the USA, Palestine and Turkey -- who analyse the religious, cultural, political and economic factors that have shaped Muslim attitudes to Jews and Israel. Ideas and suggestions are put forward to improve Muslim-Jewish relations -- the theme of which was first conceived at an international conference organised by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the Divinity School, Harvard University.
Moshe Ma'oz is professor emeritus in the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at Hebrew University. He is the author of several books, including Middle Eastern Minorities and Syria and Israel: From War to Peacemaking.