There’s always an interesting story to tell about Intensive Arabic Semester participants both during and after the Semester, but what about their teachers?
Yisrael Ne’eman is a historian specialising in Middle East conflict, Jewish history, and Israel. A lecturer at the University of Haifa International School since 1991 and licensed national tour guide, Yisrael has also been teaching courses on the history and politics of the Middle East as well as Jewish history to IAS groups since the programme’s inception.
Yisrael has recently completed his first book, entitled Hamas Jihad: Antisemiticsm, Islamic World Conquest and Manipulation of Palestinian Nationalism. IAS 2016 participant, Natasha Pein, spoke with Yisrael to find out more about the book.
What is the main point that the book makes?
The rise of Islamic Jihadism is posing an ever greater threat to Israel and the West. Through an analysis of the Hamas Covenant, Palestinian National Charter, and the Koran, the book shows that there is “a non-violent solution to...stop the acts of terrorism carried out across the planet.”
What is the proposed solution?
The answer to a peaceful solution “lies in the Koran itself”. The Koran states: “If we abrogate (nullify) any verse or cause it is to be forgotten, we will replace it by a better one or one similar” (2:106). From this comes the idea of “reverse abrogation”. The Koran contains verses which express negative attitudes towards Jews as well as those which express positive attitudes. With textual support, Islamic leaders and jurists are able to make religious judgements. The idea is that these leaders and jurists can interpret Koranic clause 2:106 to promote a path for Islam that is based on peace and coexistence. In the past, “Islamic jurists nullified positive, peaceful comments about and towards others, demanding a universal Jihad for world conquest.” The solution put forward by the book is that this “same Islamic tool can be used today to nullify Jihad and the negative and discriminatory verses, while reinforcing positive statements and peaceful commentaries.”
How does this approach differ from others?
This approach recognises that the West “will not defeat Jihadi Islam by trying to impose secular liberal democratic understandings on Arab Muslims”. The book proposes a solution based on the Koran itself by showing that certain elements within the Koran are compatible with coexistence between Muslims and other groups. By using clause 2:106, clauses in support of such coexistence which were once abrogated, can now be brought to the forefront and emphasised.