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Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Expert: Islamists Hate Zionism, but Admire It
Islamic movements' hatred and opposition to the Jewish presence in Israel goes back for many years, longer than most realize, Shavit said. “However, what is even less widely known is that for all those years, Islamists tried to copy Zionism, and almost admired it,” he declared.
Zionism began as a grassroots Jewish movement to return to the Jewish homeland in the land of Israel. While there were many Jews living in the region already, the Zionists were unique in that they wanted to create a Jewish state, and they were willing to give up comfortable lives in Europe, in the Arab world, and elsewhere in order to do so.
Within decades, they had succeeded in establishing a state, and managed to keep the it alive despite being attacked simultaneously by multiple Arab armies.
Islamists secretly admired Zionism, in part due to their own misinterpretation of the movement, said Shavit. Many believed Zionism to be a religious movement, he explained. While there was “a significant religious element” within Zionism, the movement was actually more secular then than it is today, he said.