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December 23, 2014 4:47 pm

‘If You Want to Live a Happy Life, Then Be Like the Jews,’ Op-Ed in Arab Newspaper Declares

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A memorial in Israel to Iraqi Jews executed by the Ba'ath Party in 1969. Photo: Wikicommons

“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.

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“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.

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  • Dr.Bjar

    As a kurd I love Jewish people,when I graduate Med School in Iraq Immediately I join peshmarga fighters,seen suffering and brutality ofArabs witnessed and treated 1000 of chemical weapon victims,Stayed in Kurdistan in mountain until end of 1988 then then immigrated To Canada.I was broke lost half of my family and became homeless in a country never thought I live .lost all my hope. Settle in London/ontario Canada without hope or job and no country .One day I was in Library I met a gentleman we talk and he ask me where I am from .I told him that I am kurdish and told him my storey ,I saw tears in his eyes then he gave me his business card and ask me to call him. I was reluctant but finally I called one evening he came with his wife pick me up to there home . They treated me like a King all his family they hug me and embarrassed with love and kindness.Then Mr Kaplan ask me not to give up try to a be doctor again may be one day my country be free and I go back to serve my people.He give me an apartment free of rent for 6 month and I used the money for books and fee of examination. Now I have been a professor of Emergency Medicine for 20 years in one of top institution in Canada,Thank u MR.Kaplan love u my Jewish brothers and sister.

  • An interesting article, but several comments. First he seems to be speaking of males only. Do Muslim women get drunk and support their football teams? For that matter do Muslim men get drunk ? Some of his kind comments, like Jews control the media, politics and economy are as dangerous as they are inaccurate.

    • American

      There are a number of Jewish people in charge of some Media companies. What is untruthful about that statement?

    • Dr.Bjar

      And Mr. Kaplan was a Jewish man.

  • American

    The Mossad has been in Kurdistan for years making contacts. Evil, evil Zionists.

  • Simone Miller

    Thank you Mr Abdullah for looking beyond the hate that we have had to suffer.

    • American

      Baby killers and land thieves attract hatred.

      • Bill P

        Dear Mr. American,
        You have pinpointed the reason many citizens of the world hate Americans. America is land stolen from the Indians. American companies sell bovine growth hormones, genetically modified food, BHP plastics and many more things that harm the children of the world.
        Maybe your opinion was directed at Israel. I find that improbable as well as impossible because Israel has been a Jewish land longer than France has been French. And if you are calling Israelis baby killers and not castigating those who have perpetrated suicide attacks against schools, bus stops, airplanes, airports, and cruise ships, you are using a logic which does not exist.

        • American

          Israeli land thieves will never know peace until they return all the land they have stolen. Happy New Year. 🙂

    • Salomon S M

      To the so-called “”american”: you are a muslim for sure! Your declarations here confirm that the thesis about muslims of M. Mahdi Majid Abdullah is absolutely correct. QED (quod erat demonstrandum).

  • Afonso

    Hire him and place him as Israeli representative at the UN.
    Hahaha !

  • Mr Abdullah might be viewing the Jewish community through slightly rose-coloured spectacles.

    We are not always the lovely sweet homogeneous community he makes out. After all, as they (we) say: “one Jew, two opinions”.

    But it is nice nevertheless to receive praise.

    As the Hebrew expression goes: “col ha-kavod” – “all power to your elbow” Mr. Abdullah.

    And: Thank You.

  • As I have stated many times, “The JEWS ARE NOT THE ENEMY” !!!
    Listen to FOX NEWS !!!
    They tell “The TRUTH” about what’s happening in Our World !!!

    Do you want ISIS, Hamas, or any of the other Terrorist Organizations knocking on your door ???
    It won’t be a Neighborly Visit, they will be coming to CUT YOUR HEAD OFF, regardless of your Religious Belief.

    WAKE UP AMERICA !!!
    WAKE UP WORLD !!!

    We need to Support ISRAEL !!!
    We need to Support & Build Our Military !!!
    We need to Support Our Police Officers !!!
    We Need Elected Officials that will PROTECT AMERICA !!! Our Country is Falling Apart !!!
    And Our LEADER is Supporting EVIL & that’s WRONG !!!
    Stop Giving to Countries that Hate Us !!!

    We need to Stand Together and STOP the VIOLENCE – STOP the KILLING that is Running Rampet all across The USA and
    Other Countries need to do the same !!!

    WE NEED TO STOP LIVING IN FEAR
    PRAY FOR WORLD PEACE
    IN 2015

    Thank you, Mr. Abdullah

    The Good Fights the Bad in Every Race all over the World, every day since the Beginning of
    Civilization … Innocent People are Suffering at the Hands of Evil and that needs to STOP !!!

    We Live in SCARY TIMES !!!

    I’m an Old Lady and my days are limited. But I will always Pray for a Peaceful World
    for “ALL” Children to Grow Up In.
    A World of Respect For Others.
    A World of Love & Not Hate.
    GODS LAW – The TEN COMMANDMENTS, People !!!
    This World is Possible !!! We just have to “ALL” Work Together to Make It Happen !!!
    Love & Hugs

  • Arnold Handelman

    Both the newspaper Elaph, and the writer, Mr. Abdullah, are to be commended on their courage for disseminating this message, and for the truth it contains.
    It is reminiscent of Tarek Fatah’s book “The Jew is Not My Enemy”, subtitle: “unveiling the myths that fuel Muslim anti-Semitism.”
    I believe that the most likely source of co-existence and co-operation between Jews and Muslim Arabs, is and will continue to be economic in nature. When Israel supplies natural gas to some Arab countries, and helps them with agriculture, water, and economic development, there could be peace. However, that prospect is clouded by the experiment in Gaza, when Jewish business men donated personal funds to buy and donate the huge state of the art greenhouses to the Gazans. The greenhouses were a big source of jobs, foodstuffs, exports and prosperity. Within a week of Israel withdrawing from Gaza, these Palestinians destroyed the facility. They’d rather forego the prosperity than accept a gift from Jews. How do you make economic deals with people with such hatred of Jews. So op eds like this can be positive, but I pessimistically abandon hope for their possible effect on reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis.

  • victoria brandeis

    nice ……wish this would be part of the secular jewish world……although the natural aspect of who we are is will most jews……thank you.

  • Pierre Elie Mamou

    nice text but tis sentence is wrong:
    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?

    this would be more real:
    Dear reader, do you ever asked yourself why Jews are ahead in singing, dancing and playing, but in the field of aeconomy and politics you hardly see them?

    • Rina

      I;m sorry M.Mamou, but YOU are mistaken. If you look at the Jewish people as a whole, not the secular elite that you see and hear of constantly in the media, you will see that the author is correct in that Jewish people,in proportion to our number are far LESS involved in frivolous pursuits than you think. Yes, there are Jews involved in singing, dancing, playing sports, but these are actually a very small minority.

  • Avigail Spencer

    I congratulate Mr. Abdullah on having the courage, insight, and cultural experience to write truth.

    • American

      He is probably a Mossad tool. Ha ha ha ha ha ha

  • Jonah

    One of the greatest singer songwriters in the world to this date, in his style, greater than the Beatles….Bob Dylan.

  • Rabelad

    As the expression goes: “Man Bites Dog” It gets the attention because it’s so contrary to their normal behavior and thought processes.

  • Yeshayahu Goldfeld

    Thank you Mr Abdullah for you kind words about the Jewish people in a time when unfounded criticism of them is in vogue .

  • Markus E Brajtman

    I wish that this article would appear in the world press and TV> But then, the world would gang up more against the Jews and Israel.
    Anti Semitism is jealousy of the success of the Jew. To the mind of the Jew, education plays one of the most important characters of the Jewish mind.
    The writer is correct.
    No Jew has ever tried to convert others to his religion.
    Try to convert to Judaism, and you will find it not that easy.
    It takes 3 years of study, and carrying out all the laws of Judaism.

    Once converted, you are accepeted in the fold.

  • steven L

    When you see one you see many and many more will appear! He is not the first!

  • Irving D. Cohen

    It’s good to see,at last, a Muslim publication that is sending

    an article loaded with the truth about Jews, although the writer

    really seems to believe that Jews control everything all over the

    world. Maybe there is still a spark of hope for civilization.

    • American

      Israel will never know peace until it returns all the land it has stolen.

  • charlie johnson

    The Jews are the most interesting group of people on the planet. I see there is a wide variety of people who are not so much alike.Some I do not admire but most of them I do.They seem to think the world is their enemy but probably have more friends than they are aware of.I guess the world expects more of them as they have a lot of influence around various nations of the world and seem to announce that they heed to a higher calling.Much of the world would like to see peace among the Jews and their neighbors. I don’t see that a bunch of politicians and diplomats are going to use money or force to make peace between the people who are in conflict. I think the solution can only be found in the hearts and minds of the adversaries.(Or divine intervention.) Then I guess that is what both sides are looking for.Except those who have a science degree and expect a technological answer in the form of a Big Brother world government controlled by a few elites whacking little white balls with a crooked stick and shaking a hammer and sickle around for applause..

    • American

      It is very difficult to find peace when the thieve refuses to return the land he has stolen from you.

  • What a rare breath of fresh air!

  • Golum

    …My goodness ….just when I feel like all muslims/arabs are …”Pick a word”… along comes an enlightened human being like Abdullah to prove me wrong!!!

    • Viking

      He is Kurd not arab 🙂

  • Mireille Mechoullam

    MR MAHDI MAGID ABDULLAH SAID IT RIGHT. WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL ANYTIME I DID GOOD I GOT A BOOK FOR REWARD. BY THE WAY I GREW UP IN EGYPT TILL WE WERE EXPELLED BY NASSER IN 1956 WITH ANOTHER 80000.00 JEWISH PERSON. MY FATHER WAS IN PRISON, SO WAS MY SISTER AND THOUSAND OTHERS. ANYWAY I WENT WITH MY DAUGHTER AS TOURISTS 1989 AND SAW THE DETERIORATION OF THE COUNTRY. WELL WHAT CAN I SAY; MR ABDULLAH IS RIGHT.

  • pxfragonard

    They are the same things anti-Semites say but approvingly, which is kind of amusing. It gives credence to the notion that the difference between a philo-Semite and anti-Semite is a very fine line. But this line is fine in more ways that one!

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