ISGAP Program with Charles Small & Bernard Lewis

Why is anti-Semitism happening?  Bernard Lewis, the preeminent historian of Islam and the Middle East, said one cause in the ancient world is the Jews’ refusal to recognize any god but their own faceless God. The situation worsened during the Spanish Inquisition when the Christians forced the Jews to convert or leave the country. Lewis pointed out that Muslims tolerated Jews and Christians as fellow believers in revelation—as long as they paid a required poll tax. Jews expelled from Christian Spain were welcomed by some Muslim countries.  “Antisemitism is fairly new in the Middle East,” Lewis said. “This was introduced from Christian Europe.” The event drew a standing room only audience in the Bernstein conference room.  One guest asked Bernard Lewis whether the West can live with a nuclear Iran much like the U.S. and the Soviet Union existed under an understanding of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). “When Ahmadinejad makes threats, we should take notice,” Lewis insisted. “To the Muslim world, Mutually Assured Destruction is not a deterrent. It is an inducement.” One guest asked what can be done when nation building and dialogue in the Middle East don’t seem to be working. “The entire Arab world,” Lewis explained, “has nothing but fossil fuels. Their exports amount to nothing more than oil and gas. Sooner or later that will be depleted. The Middle East will lapse into insignificance. That is beginning to happen. I would say that in the decades to come the Middle East will cease to matter.” “Let’s bring those decades sooner,” Lo Bianco interjected, “We have all the energy we need in this country. “Another guest was alarmed at the increasing presence of Muslims in Europe, where they are the majority in some areas. “The answer is simple,” Lewis said. “Marry young and have children.”  In other words, be fruitful and multiply.