Sheik Omar Abu Sara gave a rousing call to genocide on Nov. 28, during a sermon at Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. “I say to the Jews loud and clear: The time for your slaughter has come. The time to fight you has come. The time to kill you has come…. Please do not leave in our hearts a single grain of mercy towards you, oh Jews, because when the day of your slaughter arrives, we shall slaughter you without mercy.” His audience is heard responding with amens.
At the same spot a few days earlier, another speaker called for the elimination of “the Jews, the most vile of creatures.”
The Abu Sara video was translated and made available by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, an organization that works to bring to light many of the worst things being said about Jews and Israel in the region – including, in this case, in the heart of Jerusalem. The people at MEMRI must wonder sometimes what the point is, though, for all the work they do in shining a torch into these moral recesses, most of the world responds with a yawn. Reactions to this sort of rhetoric among many Jews in Israel and the Diaspora, however, are founded on the knowledge of where this sort of talk can lead, a cultural and historical reality that is dismissed as just more of the persecution complex for which we are stereotyped.
Still, the fact that this sort of exhortation even makes the news is news of a sort. Warnings of an impending mass murder of Jews are so common on the internet, in certain sectors of Arab societies, among extremist Islamists and even among “mainstream” leaders of Palestinian society that it has become just a sort of white noise.
But there are plenty of people who are very capable of following through. This sort of rhetoric undoubtedly motivates people like those who have used vehicles, screwdrivers and knives to attack and kill civilians in Israel recently and, earlier this month, at the Chabad headquarters in New York.
Leaders of the anti-Israel movement might be expected to tsk-tsk these words, if only to preserve some political legitimacy for their BDS campaign. But they can’t even be depended on to do that. While some in that movement might draw the line at calling Jews “the most vile of creatures,” that is precisely the message they direct toward Israelis.
Those who strive for any sort of mainstream political relevance are careful to distinguish between Israelis and Jews. In most of the world, such niceties are quaintly unnecessary. While rose-tinted observers like to imagine the undeniable growth of antisemitism simply as a temporary, possibly unfortunate mutation of anti-Zionism, the reality in most of the world – where the language is most violent and the violence is most real – is exactly the opposite.