Nightcap

  1. Who gets the art? Dutch questions about plundered colonies Toby Sterling, Reuters
  2. Who was John Lothrop Motley? Wikipedia
  3. Children of the Holocaust Edward Packard, History Today
  4. Onchocerca volvulus and freedom of speech Natalie Solent, Samizdata

Nightcap

  1. Scandinavians and the boons of empire Miles Macallister, Aeon
  2. Europe’s populists are waltzing into the mainstream the Economist
  3. Toughing it out in Cairo Yasmine El Rashidi, NY Review of Books
  4. Knowledge of the Holocaust Bart van der Boom, OUPblog

Jews in the West and Jews in the Middle East

Has there ever been a Holocaust in the Middle East?

Pogroms were an annual affair in Russia, and we all know how much Christian Spain loved its Jews. The Holocaust was horrific.

I also realize that anti-Semitism is rampant in the Middle East. Some of this is because of Israel, and some may be because some imams interpret the Koran to be anti-Semitic, but there’s never been any kind of mass murder committed by Muslims against Jews in the Middle East on the scale that has occurred in the West.

Is this because the West was industrialized and therefore had better access to technology with which to kill large amounts of people? Is it because the structure of states in the West made it easier to run roughshod over the liberties of minorities? These are the only two explanations that I can think of that make any sense. The second of the two possibilities seems like an especially weak option, given the amount of carnage post-colonial states have managed to produce (though, in a paradox, it is often minorities that do the killing and oppressing in these post-colonial states, rather than majorities; maybe this helps to explain why there has never been a Holocaust in the Middle East…).

The first possibility is reasonable enough, but since most of the states in the Middle East that are rich enough to “test” this hypothesis have expelled the Jews from their territories, it’s virtually impossible to know.

I am simplifying things here, I realize. I want to give this much more thought (and I have been), but I think that, given the toxic climate in the public sphere concerning Islam, it’s important to point out the obvious.