The jihad has a problem with the Jews.
Not just a problem with Israel. Not just the occupation. Not just the policies of the Israeli government, the actions of the Israel Defense Forces, the support by Washington and the West for Israel's embargo against Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Islamists don't care who knows it anymore. They hate the Jews. And, not to put too fine a point on it, they want the Jews dead.
Some of it one has grown to expect. "Today there is no room for he who says that we should only fight the Jews in Palestine," Osama Bin Laden's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri said after Israel's incursion into Gaza last month. "Let us strike their interests everywhere, just like they gathered against us from everywhere."
Some of it is becoming better known. In a groundbreaking article in The New York Times this week, Steven Erlanger details, among other elements of Gaza life, the tides of Jew-hate washing over the Strip with the Hamas seal of approval.
There is imam and legislator Sheik Yunus al-Astal, who, citing a Koranic verse indicating that "suffering by fire is the Jews' destiny in this world and the next," concludes that "we are sure that the holocaust is still to come upon the Jews."
There is imam and legislator Marwan M. Abu Ras, chairman of the Palestinian Scholars League and a religious authority who anchors Hamas policies in Koranic sanction, branding Jews "the brothers of apes and pigs."
This dovetails nicely with programming decisions taken by Hezbollah's Al Manar Television, which broadcast a Syrian-produced mini-series that showed a Jew killing a Christian child to obtain blood for baking Passover matza.
And then there is the case of the much anticipated, widely feared new film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, "Fitna." Officials across Europe and throughout the Muslim world have braced for the possibility of violent protests, demonstrations on the model of those sparked by Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, which protesters saw as a grave insult to Islam.
But the initial reaction has been muted, despite, or because of, an emphasis on footage such as Islamic clerics voicing virulent attacks against Jews, urging that Jews be killed and even beheaded, clips of a little girl quoting Allah in the Koran terming Jews "apes and swines," and of demonstrators promising "another Holocaust" and praising Adolf Hitler.
It is worth noting that, in an initial response to the release of the film on the Internet at the end of last week, the attorney representing the umbrella group for Dutch Muslims said that at first glance, "Fitna" does not constitute an insult to their religion.
One has to wonder, why not? Are calls to kill Jews as Jews not considered an insult?
And while we're asking questions, it would be worth inquiring of Hamas officials that if, as they often declare, their conflict is with Zionists and not Jews, their charter cannot be amended to remove references to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, statements that Jews have "control of the world media [and use their] wealth to stir revolutions."
There will be those who will counter that critics of Israel are often mistakenly and/or derisively termed anti-Semitic. That is too often true. But it is no justification for letting true Jew hate slide.
Quite clearly, there are those for whom the existence of the Jews is intolerable. That they feel free to spread the message - and teach it to children - must be condemned as intolerable by the rest of us, Jew or not.
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