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August 15, 2016 6:39 am

Why Are Jews Not ‘Radicalized?’

avatar by Judith Bergman

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Israeli flags and Muslim minarets in Jerusalem's Old City. Photo: Dave Bender

The Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Photo: Dave Bender.

According to the most popular and largely dominant theory of why Muslims become radicalized, the more they feel discriminated against, the more likely they are to engage in terrorism and join terrorist groups such as Islamic State.

This theory claims to be research based. It is only fitting, therefore, to examine why it is not equally applicable to Jews, including Jews who live in Israel. After all, Muslims are not a small minority in the world, with around 1.5 billion adherents of Islam, compared to the roughly 14 million Jews in the world. Outside their home countries, especially in Europe, Muslims often constitute very large minorities, whereas Jews constitute far smaller and much more vulnerable minorities that are often subject to alienation and racism from all sides, Muslim and non-Muslim.

Israel is itself in a minority: the only Jewish state in the world, located in a region of largely Muslim states, most of them hostile. The Muslim states often work as a pack — the Organization of Islamic Cooperation consists of 57 members, 56 of which are also members of the UN — to bully the small Jewish nation.

If we go by the theory, after the Holocaust the Jews should have terrorized their respective European countries endlessly, yet there are no Jewish terrorists. After having been singled out and discriminated against, demonized, dehumanized, humiliated, tortured in unimaginable ways, forced into ghettos, and transported to their gruesome deaths, the surviving Jews did not respond with hatred and killing sprees. They responded with untold resilience, a willingness to pick themselves up and rise from the ashes, and forged ahead despite the crimes that had been committed against them.

Jews today in Europe, and increasingly in the United States, especially on university campuses, experience anti-Semitism on a scale unseen since World War II. They face increasingly violent antisemitism, especially in France, and very real terror threats that have already cost several Jewish lives. However, it has not occurred to a single researcher to as much as mention the risks of “Judeophobia” leading to an increase of radicalization among European Jews or among young American Jews on campuses.

Israel is a chapter of its own. Since the 1967 Six-Day war, Israel has been at the receiving end of an unimaginable amount of international abuse, especially at the hands of the UN, where it has been repeatedly singled out for opprobrium simply because the Arab nations and their many allies in the UN possess the majority necessary to bully the Jewish state.

Most recently, this international bullying surfaced at the Rio Olympics, where the head of the Lebanese Olympic delegation blocked Israeli athletes from boarding a bus that the teams were supposed to share, and where Joud Fahmy of Saudi Arabia forfeited a first-round judo match to avoid facing Israel.

Not that this kind of Arab behavior is anything new: In June, Syrian boxer Ala Ghasoun refused to participate in an Olympic qualifying match against an Israeli contender, saying that to do so “would mean that I, as an athlete, and Syria, as a state, recognize the State of Israel.” Israel cannot compete in world football tournaments in Asia, but has to instead compete in Europe, since so many Arab states refuse to play against Israel. Yet no one speaks of “Judeophobia” at the Olympics. Imagine the outrage if the situation had been reversed and an Israeli athlete had refused to compete against a Muslim. What then?

So much discrimination, unique among the nations, and yet Israel somehow does not turn into a terrorist state. On the contrary, Israel is almost always a first responder when natural disasters strike, often offering help to those very states who bully it at every given opportunity. In addition, Israel spends most of its energy on innovations that benefit not only Israel but the world.

Similarly, the theory of radicalization does not apply to those Christians and others who are oppressed and under constant attack — frequently from Muslims — around the world. Tibetans have not turned into ax-wielding murderers because China has occupied their country for over half a century, nor have the Biafrans and other non-Muslim Nigerians who are ruthlessly murdered in Nigeria by government troops and Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen terrorists begun to bomb or hack to death their opponents in response.

That is because the theory is utterly false. If it had an iota of merit, we would see others reacting in the same way, given the same — and at times much worse — circumstances. They do not. Nevertheless, the theory persists.

Islamophobia and discrimination are not the source of Muslim radicalization and never were. If the West wants to battle Islamic terrorism successfully, it should internalize this, and fast.

This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

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  • Judaism is distinguished from the other Abrahamic religions [viz. Christianty, Islam] as being non-proselytizing. Converts are accepted, but there is no active seeking out of unbelievers to become Jews. There is no sense that the mere existence of unbelievers as being a threat to Jews nor to the Almighty. [Whether they consider unbelievers to be damned is unknown to me; I practice a non-Abrahamic religion.]

    Christianity and Islam are proselytizing. They consider the souls of unbelievers — who are defined as not accepting of their respective Scriptures as Gospel — to at the very least to be at risk.

    Prior to the Protestant Reformation, Christians and Muslims alike considered it an obligation to spread their faith — by the sword if necessary — in order to save souls and to remove the existence of non-belief as threats to the Almighty.

    Part of the Reformation was a rejection of clergy having a monopoly on the Almighty and for anyone to claim to speak and act as finite beings for the Infinite. Conversion-by-the-sword also gradually ended after the
    Reformation. Christian attitudes toward non-believers evolved toward being that the status of their immortal souls was between them and the Almighty. But it is still tolerable — and for some, obligatory — to witness their faith.

    Islam has not undergone such a Reformation, and as such, good Muslims at the very minimum regard those who to not accept that Allah is the only God and Muhammad is His messenger as damned. As such, for a significant and influential minority, the Infidel is fair game for any sort of savagery, because what awaits them in the afterlife is far worse than what mortals can do on this Earth. The Infidel has no rights in the security of their persons, nor in their property.

    To conquer, rape, pillage and slaughter are considered not only tolerable, but obligatory to this cadre of fundamentalist Muslims. The majority of Muslims do not participate in this barbarism, but are at the very least cowed into silence about it.

    Some “moderate” Muslims will make excuses and/or qualify any criticism with justifications: “This violence is contrary to my understanding Islam, but the terrorists were provoked [with the implication that terrorism can only be stopped by appeasing the perpetrators].”

    • I am not going to critique your comments at least not now, but I will say this. The difference between the Judeo/Christian philosophy is this, The God of the Holy Bible draws us to Himself with truth and Love, Hosea 11:4 & Jeremiah 31:3 & Ephesians 4:15 & Romans 10:17 Freewill & the sovereignty of God most definitely comes into this interaction.

  • They are not radicalized because they have brains.

  • Lars Bohman

    Muslim average intelligence is 70-80, while jewish average at 100-110.

    This explains the difference in cultures. Islam practice a lot of primitive traditions and the psychology is void of the virtues constituting modern western society.

    Personal responsibility, accountability, impartiality, objectivity, willingness to compromise etc are unusual traits in islamic culture.

    Nicholai Sennels has studied this

    • Erik

      There are also so called “studies” about Atheists, who appear to have a higher IQ than religious people.

      But those studies don’t say anything, because of the reason of the low IQ is not related to religion on itself, but the circumstances of the lands that have certain religious cultures.

      Islamic countries are mostly poor, don’t have education as good as Jewish, nor as atheists, have less hygiene so more infectious deseases which also causes lower IQ, have no electronic media which increases IQ, have worse child nutrition.

      If we only leant to share more. Education is the key.

  • Robert Weintraub

    Not only did Jews not attack Germans after WW2 but Israel in 1953
    declared the post war German government representative of a new Germany. This only seven years after the war.Jews have always been accommodating to our enemies when we should punishing them.

  • Richard Mann

    Jews are not taught from birth to hate Arabs and Muslims. That is the key. The descendants of Ismael and Esau have a hate towards the Jews that goes all the way back to Abraham and Isaac. I don’t see them changing any time soon.

  • Stuart Kaufman

    Simple answer: Jews are civilized.

    • Attica Cheron

      That with a postscript. They follow God’s Law and while He loves us He doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

  • Stephanie Brent

    This is a brilliant question that should have been asked more sooner and more often.

  • MAF

    You didn’t mention the radical movements of the British Mandate era, such as the Lechi, who robbed banks to fund guerilla warfare against the British government in Palestine. Later radical Zionist movements inspired by the teachings of Rabbi Kahane did occasionally spawn violent outbursts, such as the bombings by the Jewish Underground.

    However, the militant Zionists remained a small minority, and are not generally celebrated in modern Israeli society.

    • Douglas Molina

      Because it was a WAR of independence and survival!!!! Feel better now? You are “fair”!!! Militants Zionist are not celebrated in “MODERN” Israeli Society? So we became modern in just 60 years? We must have been living in caves in 1948!

  • As a non Jew I appreciate the gift of TORAH and the struggle by its receivers to protect their scriptures. This article is profoundly accurate and the author is brave and should be encouraged to keep it up.

  • nat cheiman

    Reason is quite simply that Jews do not come from an asinine genre . It may be that Islam has spawned radicals because of inter breeding

  • Ton Cremers

    Islamophobia and discrimination are the result of Muslim radicalization, and by no means the source.

  • Henrik True

    Always a pleasure to read Judith Bergman. Thank you.

    • Douglas Molina

      A phobia is an irrational fear. There’s nothing irrational about fearing, Submission=Islam. Wise up.

  • Markus Goeldi

    Thank you Judith for this great and insightful article,if only the world leaders would take notice.It is truly amazing how blind and deceived many leaders, scientists,politicians and the general public have become.

  • Pieter van Wyk

    Dear Judith/Israel,

    The answer cannot be simple, but I think we should look to History for the answer. Is it not true that the Jewish people many years ago (probably after the year 132CE when the Romans crushed the Bar Kochba revolt)finally recognised that radicalization only brings more suffering? I also believe that since then most Jewish Rabbis, Sages and other learned men and women of righteous memory spent endless hours trying to explain this to their congregation by the “other” interpretation of the Torah and the rest of the Tenach. The Christians also had their fair share of radicalization for many years. Unfortunately, the leaders of the Muslim Faith and therefore the rest of the followers of the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)have not reached that stage of “enlightenment” yet.

    However, there is another case in point here: The Afrikaner (of which I am one). It took a great Afrikaner politician (FW de Klerk)to realise (and convince his fellow-Afrikaners) that the struggle to support separate development (also referred to as Apartheid) will simply lead to endless suffering and untold bloodshed! …and we capitulated in the 1994 elections – a miracle! Since then we have accepted our “fate”! In spite of continuing to be blamed for everything that is wrong in South Africa (after 22 years of Black rule); in spite of our own people being murdered on their farms we simply refuse to be radicalized!

    Keep up the good work! Don’t be quiet, but don’t become radicalized! …And may Moshiach come soon.

    With kind regards.

    • Stuart Kaufman

      Yes, it IS simple. Jews are civilized!

    • Robert Colman

      As a follower of a Jew (Jesus the Moshiach) I am taught to love those who hate me. Love is patient & kind, not puffed up nor proud, doesn’t seek its own but rejoices in the truth…… It’s more than a mushy feeling!

    • Douglas Molina

      Well…Pedro. Did you ever studied Algebra? Do you know what is oranges to apples?

  • Seagal Tembwe

    Great article indeed and so true no one can debate it. Israel isn’t a terrorist state like many like to say. Am not affiliated to any religion by I fully stand by the only Jewish state and it should do everything possible to stay alive. Jews are resilient people right from the biblical times to now they have fought for survival and won. God bless Israel.

  • Roland Keys

    Thank you Judith Bergman for a clear and thought-provoking stand and opinion; well put and well said. It deserve wider circulation.

  • Al Talena

    Maybe b/c Jews are afraid to offend their non-Jewish neighbor or that they will lose the title as House Jew.

  • Pinchas Baram in Boston

    Triumphalist, warlike sadistic Islam is a natural fit for people who are full of anger, resentment, jealousy, feelings of both inferiority and superiority. Islam does not suppress or sublimate these emotions; indeed, hatred to Moslems is a virtue, the more the better. In a western society, individuals like this are considered psychopaths. In moslem countries,au contraire, they are either the norm or are heroic models to be imitated.

  • Ber Lazarus

    The only reason such an article would need to be written is due to the willful blindness of the left to the idea that there is no ‘radical’ Islam. There is only Islam and those that become ‘radicalized’ are those that adhere to a closer reading of the Koran, the sunna and the hadith. They are practicing historical Islam. The aggressive, xenophobic, misogynistic and supremacist geo-political movement clothed in the verbiage of a religion. Once you see it for what is and what it has been for 14 centuries any idea of ‘radicalization’ becomes completely absurd.

  • fred

    A mganificient article. Kudos to the writer..

  • Dear Judith. This is a great eye opening article for many who are unaware of this simple yet profound case to nullify, that discrimination breeds terrorism. That is simply a myth. Thanks again for saying something that was well said.

  • Nathaniel James Warshay

    When the Danish newspaper published cartoons of Mohammad, the Muslim world went crazy and many people died, including Christians in the Muslims nations. The Western world expresses its racism against Muslims by accepting that behavior. What they are saying is that Muslim lives are less important than European (re: Christian) lives. What should surprise the world is that the Muslims don’t complain about this denigration.

    • Douglas Molina

      you are not too bright.

    • It’s moral relativism. We accept this behaviour from Muslims because we hold them to a lower standard of behaviour than other groups.

      As regards Judith’s points, i think another factor is the need to proselytise. Never has a Jew tried to convert me. Many Christians have (i was once one), but always with the message “if you don’t sign up, you’ll end up in hellfire”. An unpleasant threat, maybe, but the clear message is “its your choice”….but any punishment lies in the next life.
      Islam is different. It commands its followers to wage war against the individual until he dies, converts or submits and pays a tax.

  • Joseph Kurtz

    Why don’t we hear protest from their nations against the unspeakable terror violence perpetrated against civilian Jews in Israel and France? Silence = consent.

  • Erdogan

    Sir, Jews as chosen people can start war with impunity and white and black people of USA and Europe will fight and die for them. SO there is no need for radicalization

    • tmbenton62

      Erdogan, what wars have they started? The only war you could conceivably blame on them is the war of 1967, and that is arguable at best considering that Egypt committed a act of war by blockading access to open water through the Red Sea, this is simple international law.
      The problem we have is the ignorance of you fools that have no clue of reality, you make accusations, but when pressed for facts you come up lacking every time.
      This is the problem with Islam today, we are fed nothing but lies, they make excuses for their actions, then typical blame the Jews for all their woes, when the reality is it has nothing to do with them.
      And do not even get me started on the great lie that magically Jerusalem became holy to Islam after 1900, let alone the great lie known as Palestinians.

    • Douglas Molina

      Well…with a last name like yours. What other kind of barking could we expect?