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22 percent of Nobel prizes: Children of a lesser God

By Waseem Altaf
December 21 2012





Jews constitute 0.2% of world population yet won 22 percent of Nobel prizes. Out of the four most influential figures affecting the course of events during the last century, three were Jews; namely Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein


Perhaps less than one percent people in Pakistan have actually seen a Jew. Perhaps a fraction of that one percent has ever interacted with a Jew. And perhaps a fragment of that fraction has ever had an exposure to Jewish history and culture other than heresy. And yet people in Pakistan hate Jews like anything. A few months back, the author of this article being part of a discussion group informed the other participants that Jews do engage in intermarriage with other religious groups. Remember the discussants were highly educated elite of our society. “How do you know?”They inquired. I told them that I had several Jewish friends on Face book and the spontaneous response was; “Oh Gosh, You have Jewish friends!” Almost all of them cried in unison. I then informed them that Jews are humans like us.

Things were not like that in the past. At the beginning of the twentieth century around 1000 Jews lived in Karachi while there was also a small population in Peshawar. And there were two synagogues in Peshawar. Abraham Reuben, a Jew was a councilor in the Karachi City Corporation in 1936.

Some of the prominent Jewish organizations were Young Man’s Jewish Association Karachi, Bene Israel Relief Fund and Karachi Jewish Syndicate. At the time of independence, some 1300 Jews remained in Karachi, most of them Bene Israel Jews observing Sephardic Jewish rites.

The first real exodus of Jewish refugees from Pakistan to Bombay and other cities in India came just prior to the creation of Israel in 1948 when many Muslims, including Muhajirs, committed violent acts against the Bene Israel Jews of Karachi and other Jews in Pakistan. By 1953, less than 500 Jews were reported to be in all of Pakistan. Magen Shalome, the Bene Israel’s only synagogue, was demolished in the 1980s to make way for a shopping plaza by order of General Zia-ul-Haq shortly after the Bene Israel community in Israel petitioned for its maintenance and use as a historical or other community center.

A Jewish graveyard still remains in Karachi, Pakistan which is a reminder of them. It is located in Mewa Shah Graveyard in Karachi. As of 2011 it is looked after by a man named Muhamamd Ibrahim who is 63 years old. He was born in a room in that graveyard. Mehrunissa is a lady that lives on the place of this graveyard. They both say that they are facing problems in looking after it and the land mafia is trying to take it from them.

Byram Dinshawji Avari says that the Jews were prominent members of the community at Karachi. One Jew used to be pilot at Karachi Port Trust. There was also a synagogue in Manora. Arif Hassan says there were Jewish cabaret artists and film actresses in the city, along with bureaucrats. Most bureaucrats left in the 1940s, the cabaret artists in the 70s. The Roma Shabana nightclub that once stood on Frere road also boasted two Jewish cabaret dancers, who later faded into obscurity. Ardeshir Cowasjee also agrees that some Jews still remain in Karachi. The remaining Jews hide their real identity and show Muslims as they are Christians or Parsis and wear shalwar kameez. A famous theatre artist from Karachi is a Jew but pretends otherwise.

Today, however, for majority of the people, the typical Jewish stereotype is a cunning individual, highly intelligent, perhaps like a fox, doing nothing but hatching conspiracies against Muslims in general and Pakistanis in particular. This abhorrence is like the fear of a snake which is learned through conditioning that we begin to hate all the followers of a faith simply because this is what we are socialized into.

Why is it so? One, our Islamic history and sacred text is full of hate material against the Jews. It appears while reading it that they were conspiring all the time against the Muslims. And the massacre of seven to nine hundred males and enslavement of several hundred female Jews of Banu Quraiza was justified as they were conspiring against the Muslims. Similarly the invasion of Khyber and mass slaughter of Jews was equally justified while banishment of the Jewish tribes namely Banu Qaynuqa and Banu al-Nadir, from Medina was also an act in the right direction.

Then what we are exposed to is a one-sided view on Palestine. We learn that Palestine belonged to the Palestinians and it was illegitimately occupied by the Jews while the original inhabitants were thrown out of their houses. Second, Israel has always been the aggressor against the Arabs and routinely pounds Gaza. We are also given to believe that Israel is anti-Islam, anti-Arab while all American policies are dictated by Jews and the “Jewish lobby” if there is any. This picture has been reinforced by our print and electronic media. Films like Zarqa and the villainous portrayal of Jews in historical film further painted an extremely negative picture of our fellow beings. Although more than half of the 56 Muslim countries in the world maintain full diplomatic relations with Israel and do not hesitate to strengthen these, we for no good reason have always been averse to developing any kind of relations with the Jewish state. It in fact is more a matter of perception than of ground realities.

We also foster contradictory views about the Jews. One, they are taken as an inferior nation but at the same time perceived to be dominating world economy and world affairs. Two, they maintain exclusiveness but when they try to assimilate through intermarriages or otherwise, they are regarded as a threat to racial purity. Three, they are considered cowards but are also a threat to Islam and a major threat to Iran and Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Let us look at some of the facts relevant to Jews:

The Jews are followers of Judaism. There are an estimated 14 million followers of the Jewish religion around the world. Most of the world’s Jews are concentrated in three countries: the United States (six million), Israel (3.7 million), and countries comprising the former Soviet Union (2.5 million). Judaism was the first religion based on monotheism, the belief in one God.

Jews constitute 0.2% of world population yet won 22 percent of Nobel prizes. Out of the four most influential figures affecting the course of events during the last century, three were Jews; namely Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein. The fourth one was Charles Darwin who was a Christian. From relativity to polio vaccine to color television to face book; all are Jewish inventions.

Although it is not possible to verify events which took place in the pre-historic era, yet in the recorded history we find that since the Jewish conquest of Jerusalem in 1272 BCE, the Jews have had dominion over the land for almost one thousand years; while they maintained a continuous presence in Israel, the “promised land” for the past 3300 years.

The sacred Jewish temples were desecrated twice while the capital of Israel namely Jerusalem was captured by the Babylonians and later Persian, Greek Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Empires, Islamic and Christian crusaders, Ottoman Empire, and the British Empire (587 BCE-1948).During these occupations of Israel the Jewish people were subjected to worst kind of persecution and mass slaughter.

With the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, 1100,000 Jews were butchered by the Romans while several escaped the carnage. And in the Diaspora (scattered outside of the Land of Israel), they established rich cultural and economic lives, and contributed greatly to the societies where they lived. Yet, they continued their national culture and prayed to return to Israel through centuries.

In Israeli high schools Arabic is taught as one of the required languages. Special educational programs greatly emphasize the need for peaceful coexistence with Israel’s Arab neighbors.

We in Pakistan are not allowing ourselves to interact with such a rich and diverse culture; with people heirs to the oldest Abrahamic religion, of great philosophical and moral traditions. While our passports are invalid for only one country in the world and that is Israel. We are losing a large export market for food, cotton and gems. On the other hand a huge technology sector mainly agriculture, computer sciences, electronics, genetics, medicine and solar energy remains unavailable for us. And we are doing it for nonsense reasons.

Winston Churchill once said “Some people like the Jews, and some do not.  But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.”

Originally published by ViewPoint 

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