For One Democratic State
in the whole of Palestine (Israel)


FOR One Man, One Vote



Maidens and Warriors

By Israel Shamir


It is not much fun to be a Muslim in the West today. Not even to be taken for one. I felt it on my own skin while flying into the US. A Mediterranean man with mustachio complete, I was asked by the US customs officer whether I read the Koran a lot. A chewing gum wrapping paper with a comic strip suggested to the officer an instruction to pray on board the plane, probably to call Allahu Akbar and attack the crew. “You are up to no good,” he concluded. I was taken aback. Our Palestinian brothers and we Israelis are facially quite similar; I was often taken for a Palestinian by both sides, but I did not expect the US immigration to copycat Israeli Border Police.

Should I say plainly, “I am not a Muslim”, occurred to me. It did not seem fair. In occupied Denmark of 1940, Germans ordered the Jews to wear the yellow Star of David. The king of Danes wore such a star as a sign of his solidarity with his Jewish subjects. Would I fail this test of common humanity and proclaim my non-Muslim kosher origin? It would feel like sacrificing a Muslim in my stead. I tried to compromise: “I do not read the Koran a lot,” said I. The officer, one Gomez, a big dark man, did not relent. “But you read Koran?” “Occasionally,” I tried again. This pusillanimous response was a beginning of my undoing. I was searched, verbally abused; every piece of my luggage was checked and double-checked.

The personal affront did not matter. In 1812, a French soldier on the streets of occupied Moscow turned back Pierre Bezuchov, a Russian nobleman in Tolstoy’s War and Peace. “The soldier had stopped my immortal soul,” thought Bezuchov, and laughed. St Francis of Assisi found even more joy at being refused entry to a monastery one cold and rainy night. A go of humiliation is good for the soul, he explained to his sidekick St Bernard.

It was more upsetting to see Islam as the accused in Judeo-American culture. In the US newspapers and on the Internet, theological debates are back in vogue with a vengeance after an eight hundred years lull, as subtle as ever. Even good friends of Muslims began to hesitate, as the powerful brainwashing machine began to produce its hateful output. Islam is accused of being the faith of Jihad, the permanent war with infidels, of intolerance and cruelty, of providing theological basis for terrorism. The allegations do not stop at politics.
The semi-literate Crusaders of 12th century accused the Muslims of having orgies in front of their divinity, Baphomet (probably corrupted from the name of the Prophet). The latest frontal attack on Islam in the American public opinion also has amusing sexual overtones. An appeal to bomb the hell out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Palestine usually contains a weighty disapproval of the Prophet’s sexual mores and of alleged Muslim ill treatment of their womenfolk.



The Prophet’s love of his youngest wife, Aisha, causes much consternation in America; almost fifty years after the US Supreme Court removed the ban on that ode to underage love, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. For the prudish accusers, it does not matter that Muhammad, peace upon him, was in love with the girl, as she with him. They know better what is good for everybody. If the Prophet had chosen a boy of Aisha’s age, one feels that fear of homophobia would soften the blows. But the Prophet was a man of orthodox tastes.

A modest Talmudic scholar from Jaffa, I would rise to his defence in the name of our Jewish tradition. Far from being a sinner, Muhammad (peace be upon him) acted according to the letter and the spirit of our holy faith. Biblical Jacob fell in love with Rachel when she was only seven, and brought forth from her a line of saints including Mary, mother of Christ.

The Talmud stipulates the permitted age of marriage for girls at three years and one day. It brings us a dialogue worthy of Boccaccio that took place in Sepphoris of Galilee. A Roman princess Justine, daughter of Emperor Septimius Severus son of Anthony asked Rabbi Judah the Prince, the greatest spiritual and legal authority of Jews in the post-Biblical period, what is the permitted age of marriage and cohabitation.

- Three years and one day, - replied the Rabbi.

- What is the age for childbearing, - persisted the Princess.

- Nine years [i], - he replied.

- I was married at six, and gave birth at seven, - she reflected with great regret, - so I wasted in vain three excellent years of my young life.

Muhammad’s wife, Aisha, wasted six years of her young life, as she was wed at nine. Thus, the Prophet demonstrated great prudence, also in full accordance with our Jewish teachings. Our holy Rabbis permitted very early marriage, but they were not absolutely sure that three-year old girls are sufficiently ripe. They taught: proselytes and paedophiles delay the Coming of the Messiah and of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Who are the paedophiles in this context, asked the Talmud. They have to be persons of legitimate but objectionable behaviour, and therefore, not the sodomites (as they deserve death by stoning) nor masturbators (they merit watery grave). It is those who marry girls before the nubile age of nine. Thus, the Prophet is above suspicion according to our Jewish law.

He had a few wives, continue the accusers. Well, the Jewish law permits us to have as many wives as we can get. Nowadays, a Muslim has to limit himself to four wives in this world, but we Jews have no such constrictions.

The presumed barbarous Muslim custom of veiling women and keeping them away from a stranger’s lusty eye annoys today’s accusers. An avid reader of Washington Post would assume that the US attacked Afghans just to bomb the veil away. As the first fruit of American victory in Afghanistan, CNN presented the sale of smut in smitten Kabul.

Here again, our Jewish law firmly stands on the side of the Talibs. A Talmudic sage, Rabbi Isaac taught: if one gazes at the little finger of a woman, it is as if he gazed at her you-know-what! (Do not confuse it with the You-Know-Who of Harry Potter.) Rabbi Hisda wistfully said: a woman's leg is also quite an incitement. Rabbi Sheshet improved on him, reminding that a woman's hair is a sexual incitement. That is why pious Jewish women don the wig. And that master of oneupmanship, Samuel, upstaged him saying, a woman's voice is a sexual incitement, as the Holy Writ quoth, ‘sweet is thy voice’. The conclusion of the debate was the rule kvod bat ha-melech pnima, meaning a good Jewish woman should stay indoors, which is the Taliban’s idea, or close enough.



Enemies of Islam would not dare to attack our Jewish faith though all the features of Islam they profess to dislike can be found in Judaism. This goes beyond sexual matters. Jihad is but an Arab translation of the Jewish concept of Milhemet Mitzva, the Commanded (or Preordained) War. These concepts differ in this: in jihad, one is not allowed to kill civilians, but in milhemet mitzvah, one is commanded to do so. Look up your Pentateuch and you will find it there, without an effort. The Messenger, peace be upon him, softened this Message.

If you think Islam is intolerant, let me quote you the story written by ‘the perfect sage and excellent doctor of medicine R. Samuel Sholem in Constantinople, capital of the great King, our ruler, mighty Sultan Suleiman’ about Rabbi Gaon Isaac Campanton (d. 1463), the chief rabbi of the Castilian community, the most enlightened Jewish community of all times. He writes, ‘the great Rabbi, the honorable R. Isaac Campanton burned Rabbi Samuel Sarsa at the stake. Once, Rabbis gathered to announce a marriage contract. They read “such and such year since the Creation of the world”, and this Sarsa fellow placed his hand on his beard and alluded to the world’s existence since time immemorial. The Rabbi Campanton rose to his feet and exclaimed, ‘Why isn’t the bush consumed? [1] Let the bush burn!’ They sentenced him to death by burning because he denied Creation of the World 5000 years ago, and burned him at the stake.”

If you believe Islam is the reason for Muslim terrorism, probably Judaism is the reason for Jewish terrorism. Until now, Muslims succeeded in assassinating only one Israeli minister. When Jews dealt with private (as opposed to state) terror, my saintly ancestors assassinated two Russian tsars and a whole row of government ministers, officials, ambassadors and statesmen of Britain, Germany, Sweden, Russia and Arab countries. Until nowadays, the records of terror established by Jews were not beaten, and as a proud Jew, I reject the futile efforts to pass this crowning achievement to Muslims or anybody else.

In America, Jews can’t do wrong, and whoever thinks otherwise, is branded an anti-Semite or self-hating Jew. By proving the Jewish origin of the alleged faults of Islam, we therefore proved that the Islam-bashers are anti-Semites and probably hidden Holocaust deniers. Whoever doubts it, may look up the Washington Post of November 27. The editorial by the ex-CIA chief James Woolsey is accompanied by a much-retouched hysterical close-up picture of the bestial and demonic Semite, dark-skinned, full-lipped, cruel, and savage. Der Sturmer, the Nazi newspaper, would have loved it [ii]. The contents of the article are also eminently suitable for Der Sturmer. Woolsey, in an Orwellian-named article, Objective: Democracy, calls to ‘take out Iraqi air defences and hit Iraqi ground forces’ as ‘we did to Afghanistan’.

The great Russian playwright, Anton (‘The Seagull’) Chekhov, established the law of scene: if there is a gun hanging on the wall in the first act, it will fire in the third act. Life imitates theatre, or, as Shakespeare put it, this world is but a stage. The gun of anti-Semitism fired as expected, but it shot at real Semites, the Arabs. Paradoxically, among new anti-Semites, there are many persons with Jewish names, or known by their sympathy to Jews. How can this be?

It brings us back to the adage of our sages, regarding paedophiles and proselytes. Jewish faith is extremely suspicious of proselytes. They are like scabs on the head of Israel, taught Rabbi Helbo, and modern practice supports his learned opinion. Judaism is too complicated to receive in mature age. People born and raised as religious Jews got used to being the Chosen folk, and take it easy, but neophytes go dizzy at the thought.

It is not strange. The true English aristocrat Tony Benn supports the rights of ordinary folk, while freshly created parvenu Conrad Black promotes the oppression of Europeans and Muslims alike in his numerous newspapers. Some of the worst racists in Hebron, a frontline of Israeli apartheid are actually proselytes who took literally some risky Biblical ideas. Witness the converted American Gentile Nazi who took the name of Eli Hazeev (the Wolf) and was slain by Palestinian guerrillas, or this scourge of cyberspace, Dr Andrew Mathis who converted and began to defend his version of Judaism on various Internet localities. Some new-Jews are un-aware that Judaism is a thoroughly interpreted/commented religion in which NO WORD of the Bible may (safely) be supposed to mean what it seems to say.
A reader sent me a disturbing letter: “my sister who converted to Judaism years ago (although we're WASPs) has gone over the edge. Last night when I asked her to interrupt her niggerization of Arabs long enough to cite just one example...anytime in history...when Israel did something...anything...wrong (pointing out that peace cannot possibly be attained when one party thinks itself totally OK, and thinks the other party is completely at fault), the best she could come up with was "collateral" damage – i.e. the unintentional bombing of civilians when a "legitimate" target was the intent. My sister is quite active in the Jewish community in St. Louis, and perhaps in a position to do a fair amount of damage to whatever chances remain for world peace’.

Yes, Rabbi Helbo had a good reason for his suspicion. Real Jews knew they lived in the real world, and left their fantasies for Sabbath. They remained humble, studied Talmud and did not try to find a modern equivalent of Amalek or the Red Heifer, to retake the Holy Land by force or by stealth, or to preach hatred of Gentiles. They knew: these concepts should be left untouched like hidden files in the Windows file system. They are there for historical reasons and one should not meddle with them. Neophytes lack the ability to make suitable distinctions.

It is not a question of race: neophytes, whether of Jewish or Gentile extraction, are equally blind to reason. That is why the ferocious Neo-Cons of America, Gentile Israel-firsters like Jeanne Kirkpatrick and secular Jews like the infamous Norm Podhoretz, her mentor from Commentary, relentlessly call for the destruction of the Islamic world and poison the minds of Americans.

Islam is a form of Christianity particularly close to the Jews. While Eastern Orthodox Church was influenced by Greek culture, and Catholics partook of Roman world, Islam returned the ideas of Christianity to the Semitic milieu. The Prophet, peace be upon him, upheld the Jewish concepts of strict monotheism, of fear of graven images, of protectiveness towards women and integrated them with the universal message of Christ and his apostles. The cowardly enemies of Islam besmirch it, as they fear and envy its unbroken spirit, the valour of its warriors and the chastity of its maidens.