Gerald A. Honigman
Gerald A. Honigman is a Florida
educator who has done extensive doctoral studies in Middle
Eastern Affairs, created and conducted counter-Arab propaganda
programs for college youth, lectured on numerous campuses and
other platforms, and has publicly debated many Arab spokesmen.
He is the author of
The Quest for Justice in the Middle East. His articles and op-eds have been published in dozens of
newspapers, magazines, academic journals and websites all around
Dhimmitude, Part II
Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Dhimmitude's Yes & No Man
Do Buenos Aires and Dubai Have in Common?
Resolution to Kill the Resolution
Prime Minister, Make Your Decision
Apology Not Accepted...
Lesson for My Gentile Friends
How Not To
Treat a Friend
Samoa & Samaria
Gov.: From One Fisherperson to Another
Response to the White House Rebuke
You Have a
Treaty of Peace with Whom?
Hillary...You're the Secretary of State
vs. Phillips: You Can't Have It Both Ways
Ahmadinejad & Israel
Et Tu, Czechs?
Hey Kristof...You're Late!
Tall Ships, Netanyahu & America
Why Is This So Hard To Understand?
Parades: When Will Israel Learn to Appreciate Them?
Hamas, Gaza & The UN
Between Ankara & Jerusalem
No, Mr. Jihadi...Gaza Isn’t Warsaw
Gaza School Daze
Israel: Do It Right Or Don't Do It At All
Kurds, Jews & Shi’a Shoes
Olmert, Arab Terror & The Missing News Conference
Of Mumbai and Beyond...
The Saudi Peace Plan: An Offer Israel Should Refuse
Israel Owes Gaza Nothing...Except An Ultimatum
A Lesson from Kosovars & Palestinians for Atlasians
Buraq's Mount & President Obama
The Real Problem with Obama's Khalidi
Gerald A. Honigman
Double Dhimmitude, Part II
January 11, 2011
Wake up, my dear Coptic friends. It's long past due that a new dawn should arise
in relations between our two peoples.
First the Saturday People, then the Sunday People…
The above expression seems to have first been referred to by Professor Bernard
Lewis, in a January 1976 article in Commentary, titled "The Return of Islam.” He
was describing the foreboding atmosphere pervading Arab countries in the days
leading up to the '67 Middle East war. Among other probable places, it also
appeared in an article, "In the Muslim City of Bethlehem," in The New York Times
Magazine on December 24, 1995 describing graffiti written on Bethlehem walls to
frighten the Christian population.
Late in 2010, scores of Christians in Iraq and Egypt were murdered in their
churches and elsewhere, reminiscent of a far wider slaughter of Lebanon's
Christians (especially Maronites) in the 1970s.
The above are but a few of many murderous examples of how Christians have fared
in the Dar ul-Islam. The history and fate of the regions' Jews have been as
bloody or worse, as described in the first Double Dhimmitude essay (1)
Please recall that dhimmitude describes the status of peoples conquered by both
Arabs and other successive Islamic armies since the former burst out of the
Arabian Peninsula waging Jihad in the name of the Dar ul-Islam against the rest
of the world from the 7th century C.E. onwards. It refers primarily to those who
are known as Ahl al-kitab--People of the Book--Jews and Christians.
Like the Jews, many if not most Christian populations in the region consist of
ethnically different, pre-Arab conquest peoples.
In North Africa, for example, Jews pre-date the Arab conquest by millennia.
Ibn Khaldun, one of the greatest Muslim scholars of all time, wrote of the
forced Arabization of the native Imazighen ("Berbers") and their brave
resistance to the Arab onslaught six centuries ago. He recorded their alliance
with the Jews, who fled the Roman conquest of Judaea over five centuries earlier
to North Africa. Under the leadership of the Jewish queen, Dahiyah al-Kahina
(the priestess), both Jews and Imazighen fought the Arab invaders, settlers, and
colonizers of their lands.
When this subject arises, I often refer to a quote from one of Egypt's best
known, pre-Arab, native Copts--the late President Sadat's Foreign Minister, Dr.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali-- to exemplify the plight of non-Arab and/or non-Muslim
peoples in the region conquered via Jihad by Arab and successor Islamic armies.
In Amos Elon’s Flight Into Egypt (New York, 1980, pp. 84-91), the Israeli author
reviewed his encounters with Boutros-Ghali. Here's Elon…
In his office, there is a map of the Middle East on which Israel is still
blacked out…Israel must integrate by accepting the nature of the area…that
nature that is Arab.
In a tape of a long discourse delivered in 1975 to Professor Brecher he
proclaimed that…in the vast area between the Persian Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean
everyone had to be Arab or risk continuing strife.
Still, Boutros-Ghali felt that there might be a solution. How? Well, Israel
could become an Arab country. Most Israelis were (Jewish) immigrants from Arab
The only way for non-Arabs to be "accepted" is for them all to turn themselves
into Uncle Tom Uncle Boutroses. And note that the problem is really two-fold
here--a religious and a racist one--and committed by the same folks who love to
speak about allegedly racist Zionism.
Let's leave this aspect of the problem for now, however, as I attempt to tackle
another even more delicate one…
Too often, dhimmi Christians have needed no help from their Arab Muslim
conquerors to oppress dhimmi Jews.
Long before the massive Arab invasions of the 7th century C.E., the 4th century
Archbishop of Constantinople, Church Father Saint John Chrysostom, for example,
had an enormous influence on the teachings of the eastern churches.
While in Antioch, John denounced Jews and Judaizing Christians in a series of
eight sermons (homilies). Among other things, it appears that he wanted Jewish
Christians, who for centuries had kept connections to their Jewish roots, to
choose between Judaism and Christianity. Those sermons later played a
considerable part in the further development of Christian anti-Semitism. Later,
they were extensively used by the Nazis in their war of extermination against
Here's some of Chrysostom's "saintly" teaching in Homily 1…
The Jewish people were driven by their drunkenness and plumpness to the
ultimate evil; they kicked about, they failed to accept the yoke of Christ, nor
did they pull the plow of his teaching. Another prophet hinted at this when he
said: "Israel is as obstinate as a stubborn heifer."
Although such beasts are unfit for work, they are fit for killing. And this
is what happened to the Jews: while they were making themselves unfit for work,
they grew fit for slaughter. This is why Christ said: "But as for these my
enemies, who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and slay
You [Jews] did slay Christ, you did lift violent hands against the Master,
you did spill his precious blood. This is why you have no chance for atonement,
excuse, or defense.
When the Church of Egypt's native Copts broke with Byzantium, it retained at
least as virulent a strain of anti-Semitism as its own Byzantine tormentors
possessed, and it actively promotes this hatred to this very day. There had been
a large Jewish community in Egypt by the time of Jesus' birth, especially in
Alexandria, and early Christianity's competition with that community probably
contributed to this animosity.
As just one example of this problem in modern times, Pope Shenouda III, the
Coptic Church's current leader, has made numerous anti-Semitic statements. In an
interview on Egyptian television on April 8, 2007 he proclaimed that "Western
Churches were wrong to exonerate the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ."
He then citicized others for apologizing for Christian anti-Semitism.
Just a side thought for my Christian friends...
As someone who has studied your theology very closely, how can you claim that it
was G_d's eternal plan for man's salvation to have Jesus die (the blood of the
Lamb) and then, as you have done, blame any man, let alone an entire people, for
Jesus's death? Prior to the Holocaust, millions of Jews were slaughtered as a
result of such teaching in the name of Christendom's Prince of Peace.
Okay. Back on track...
In 1840, the Middle East witnessed what had already become commonplace in Europe
for centuries...a blood libel against Jews. An Italian Catholic friar in
Damascus vanished, and Jews were accused of murdering him to use his blood for
ritual purposes. Torture and death of Jews soon followed.
For those of us who read Geoffrey Chaucer's medieval Canterbury Tales while in
school, we came to know poor little Hugh of Lincoln in "The Prioress's Tale."
His murder was blamed on the Jews in England in 1255, and he was soon canonized.
Jewish communities were periodically bled both financially and physically as
results of such lies.
So, after the Arab conquests, just as the Nazis found eager collaborators among
numerous peoples whom they conquered in their persecution and slaughter of the
Jews, too many native, Middle Eastern Christians were also kindred spirits with
their own Muslim oppressors when it came to the subject of the Jews. The
latter's rejection of the Prophet of Islam's overtures and claims had lead to
their mass slaughter in the Arabian Peninsula right at the dawn of Islam, and
their rejection of Christianity's claims for Jesus (especially those dealing
with divinity) would yield even more subjugating and murderous consequences for
them in Christendom.
While some Middle Eastern Christians had simply inherited and modified their own
anti-Semitism from traditional Christian teaching, others--feeling exposed and
now vulnerable themselves living among real or potentially hostile dominant
Muslim populations--sought common ground with their own off again/on again new
tormentors by turning the focus on everyone's favorite common demon, the Jew.
Here's an example of what a mix of that above deadly combination looks like.
Early in 2003, the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan, Irineos, sought appointment as
the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Letters with his signature to Yasir Arafat
contained, among other things, the following gems…
You are aware of the...disgust...all the Holy Sepulchre fathers feel for the
descendants of the crucifiers of our Lord Jesus...crucifiers of your
people...Jewish conquerors of the Holy Land of Palestine.
Christians played an important role in the nascent Arab nationalist movement in
the late 19th and 20th centuries, and the above explanation was certainly one of
the main motivating factors for this. This was not unlike some Jews seeking to
be absorbed under the potentially protective, inclusive unifying umbrella of
various socialist movements in Christian Europe around the same time.
So, given this unfortunate history, where do we go from here?
Given the fact that an especially militant form of Islam is in the ascendancy
(even previously moderate Muslim states like Turkey are now falling under the
Islamists' sway), continuous oppression of non-Arab and/or non-Muslim peoples in
the region is likely to remain a fact of life for quite some time to come.
Is not the moment ripe for members of all of these victimized folks who have
fled abroad to begin a dialogue among themselves--Egyptian Copts, Lebanese
Maronites, Iraqi Assyro-Chaldeans, Jews, Muslim Kurds and Imazighen, black
Africans from the Sudan, and other victims of Arab subjugation, racism, and
Islamist intolerance? All of these peoples represent native populations who fell
victim to Arab conquest and Jihad in the name of the Dar ul-Islam from the 7th
century C.E. onwards.
As just one example, many Copts now live outside of Egypt. While, in some cases,
their situation is still very tenuous--especially because many have family back
in Egypt--there is a golden opportunity for two much oppressed dhimmi
populations, in particular, to finally start to take steps to undo their
poisoned relationship of the past.
The age-old anti-Semitism of the Church must finally be rejected.
The demonization and dehumanization of the Jew throughout Christendom (i.e.,
"Why do you not hear the words I tell you? It is because you are of the devil,
and you do your father's desires," John 8:44, New Testament) must finally be put
to rest, and the Copts have been among the slowest to come around to making
peace with their Jewish older brethren in G_d.
Both peoples and faith communities must learn to approach each other with much
more respect and understanding. And since it has not been Jews who have been
demonizing Copts, the ball, as is said, is thus in the latter's court if
progress is to be made along these lines.
While there are currently some courageous Muslim spokespersons out there,
hopefully, there will come a time when far more moderate voices within
mainstream Islam will also join in this endeavor.
For now, however, despite the potential dangers, it is time for an old piece of
Middle Eastern wisdom to finally sink in... the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Copts, Jews, and other victims of Islamist oppression must waste no more time in
finding ways to work together for all of their mutual benefits.