‘If You Want to Live a Happy Life, Then Be Like the Jews,’ Op-Ed in Arab Newspaper Declares
“I personally learned from the Jews that it is no exaggeration to say that ‘if you want to live a happy life, then be like the Jews.'” So says the Kurdish writer Mahdi Majid Abdullah in a remarkable oped published in the liberal Arab daily Elaph.
Based in London, Elaph bills itself as the Arab world’s only independent newspaper, with a particular accent on liberal and democratic causes. The paper has tussled with several Arab regimes in the past, including those in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
The paper is, therefore, no stranger to controversy. But Abdullah’s article is likely to cause a stir regardless, and not only because the author is a member of the one Middle Eastern nation, the Kurds, with whom Jews have always enjoyed warm relations. His views directly challenge the prevailing climate of hostility and prejudice towards Jews across the region.
“When I came to the European country where I live, I settled in the city inhabited by a large number of Jews and I got to know a Jewish family and which strengthened my relationship with other Jewish writers and journalists,” Abdullah wrote.
He then continued:
Jewish families teach children from a young age on the proper goals and values “‹”‹and principles, which instill confidence and facilitate the way for him and fueled by tenderness and kindness and to make him know how to walk in the path of his life, so the Jew does not see failure in his life. Where Jews entered a city or a country they dominated them culturally and intellectually, politically and economically for the greater good at this place. There is no need to list many examples; just to know that the United States and Europe are successful was because of the Jews who have lived there, and in the eastern countries if we go back to the history books, we find the Arab and Islamic countries were living in affluence in all respects when the Jews inhabited them.
In European countries do not see the young Jew interested in meaningless things, while the young Muslim and Christian is interested in pursuing football supporting his club or national team, or gasping behind drinks and pursuing girls in the bars and nightclubs or on the streets. You find a Jew interested in the study or the economy or in the goal of particular benefit to himself and others. Of course, there are also creative and responsible Muslims and Christians, but compared with the Jews their proportions are negligible.
Dear reader, do you ever asked yourself why Jews are ahead and in control of the economy and politics and media world, but in the field of singing and dance and football you hardly see them?
Those that say Jews are racist are wrong because the Jews’ main purpose in life has a focus and organization and no time for the side conversations or cafes or chasing girls and young women, or alcohol or recreational things that do little but to grant a false sense of temporary pleasure.
You do not see a Jew insult the validity of your religion and you do not hear from him a word of abuse towards any belief or religion or any nationality or any civilization; they have respect for themselves, respect for women and others. They do not ask you to give up your religion; in Israel you can find dozens if not hundreds of cultural centers and religious heritage centers that are government-backed and sponsored, with the knowledge that most of these centers do not coincide with thought, but no one objected to them and their religious freedom and cultural and expressions reserved for all patrons.
Some critics might say these words reflect more benevolent stereotypes of Jews, as well as pointing out that there are indeed professional Jewish soccer players and pop singers, and that Jews are occasionally spotted drinking in bars. Still, Abdullah’s article illustrates dramatically the limitations of the Arab campaign to demonize both the Jews and the Jewish state.