Muhammad shared the view of Cicero and other, earlier authorities; his Koran, in addition to the allusion previously cited, says,
Thou shalt surely find the most violent of all men in enmity against the truebelievers to be the Jews and the idolaters …”
Nevertheless, Islam (like Christianity) showed no enmity against the Jews and Dr. Kastein has a relatively good word for it:
“Islam allowed the infidel absolute economic freedom and autonomous administration…
“Islam certainly practised toleration towards those of other faith …
“Judaism was never offered such fine chances, such fine opportunities to flourish, from Christianity”.
These “opportunities to flourish” were provided by Islam for the Jews on the soil of Europe, in Spain, as previously told; this was the entrance into the West, made possible by Islam to “the most violent of all men”. In the wake of the Islamic conqueror the Talmudic government (after the Caliph Omar had taken Jerusalem in 637 and swept on westward with his armies) moved into Spain!
The Visigoth kings there had already developed similar feelings, about the Jews in their midst, to those expressed by Cicero, Muhammad and others. One of their last, Euric, at the Twelfth Council of Toledo, begged the bishops” to make one last effort to pull this Jewish pest out by the roots” (about 680). After that the Visigoth era quickly came to an end, the Islamic invader establishing himself in southern and central Spain in 712.
Dr. Kastein says, “The Jews supplied pickets and garrison troops for Andalusia”. Professor Graetz more fully describes this first encounter between the Jews and peoples of Northern European stock:
“The Jews of Africa … and their unlucky co-religionists of the Peninsula made common cause with the Mohammedan conqueror, Tarik … After the battle of Xeres, July 711, and the death of Roderic, the last Visigoth king, the victorious Arabs pushed onward and were everywhere supported by the Jews.
“In every city that they conquered, the Moslem generals were able to leave but a small garrison of their own troops, as they had need of every man for the subjection of their country; they therefore confided them to the safekeeping of the Jews.
“In this manner the Jews, who but lately had been serfs, now became the masters of the towns of Cordova, Granada, Malaga and many others. When Tarik appeared before the capital, Toledo, he found it occupied by a small garrison only …
“While the Christians were in church, praying for the safety of their country and religion, the Jews flung open the gates to the victorious Arabs, receiving them with acclamations and thus avenged themselves for the many miseries which had befallen them…
“The capital also was entrusted by Tarik to the custody of the Jews … Finally when Musa Ibn Nossair, the Governor of Africa, brought a second army into Spain and conquered other cities, he also delivered them into the custody of the Jews…”
A conflict between two “stranger” peoples – a Judaic triumph and a Judaic vengeance
The picture is identical with that of all earlier historical, or legendary, events in which the Jews were concerned: a conflict between two “stranger” peoples was transformed into a Judaic triumph and a Judaic vengeance.
The Jews (as in Babylon and Egypt) turned against the people with whom they lived and once more “flung open the gates” to the foreign invader. The foreign invader, in his turn, “delivered” the cities taken by him to the Jews.
In war the capital city and the other great cities, the power and control over them, are the fruits of victory; they went to the Jews, not to the victor. The Caliph’s generals evidently paid as little heed to the Koran’s warnings as Western politicians of today pay to the teaching of the New Testament.
As to “the miseries” for which the Jews thus took vengeance, Professor Graetz specifically states that the cruellest of these was the denial of the right to keep slaves:
the most oppressive of them was the restraint touching the possession of slaves; henceforward the Jews were neither to purchase Christian slaves nor to accept them as presents”!
If the Arab conquerors counted on thankfulness from those to whom they had “entrusted the capital” and the great cities, they misreckoned. After the conquest Judah Halevi of Cordova sang:
… how fulfil my sacred vows, deserve my consecration, While Zion still remains Rome’s thrall, and I an Arab minion? As trash to me all Spanish treasure, wealth or Spanish good, When dust as purest gold I treasure, where once our temple stood!”
This spirit disquietened the Caliph’s advisers, as it had disquietened the Visigoth kings, Muhammad and the statesmen of Rome. Abu Ishak of Elvira spoke to the Caliph at Cordova in words which again recall those of Cicero:
“The Jews … have become great lords, and their pride and arrogance know no bounds …
“Take not such men for thy ministers …
“for the whole earth crieth out against them; ere long it will quake and we shall all perish …
“I came to Granada and I beheld the Jews reigning. They had parcelled out the provinces and the capital between them;
“everywhere one of these accursed ruled.
“They collected the taxes, they made good cheer, they were sumptuously clad, while your garments, O Muslims, were old and worn-out.
“All the secrets of state were known to them; yet is it folly to put trust in traitors!”
Betrayal is of paramount importance
The Caliph, nevertheless, continued to select his ministers from among the nominees of the Talmudic government of Cordova. The Spanish period shows, perhaps more clearly than any other, that the Jewish portrayal of history may be nearer to historical truth than the narrative according to the Gentiles; for the conquest of Spain certainly proved to be Judaic rather than Moorish. The formal Moorish domination continued for 800 years and at the end, in keeping with precedent, the Jews helped the Spaniards expel the Moors.
Nevertheless, the general feeling towards them was too deeply distrustful to be assuaged. This popular suspicion particularly directed itself against the conversos, or Marranos. The genuineness of their conversion was not believed, and in this the Spaniards were right, for Dr. Kastein says that between the Jews and Marranos “a secret atmosphere of conspiracy” prevailed; evidently use was being made of the Talmudic dispensation about feigned conversion.
In spite of this public feeling the Spanish kings, during the gradual reconquest, habitually made Jews or Marranos their finance ministers, and eventually appointed one Isaac Arrabanel administrator of the state finances with instructions to raise funds for the reconquest of Granada. The elders, at this period, were dutifully applying the important tenet of The Law about “lending to all nations and borrowing from none”, for Dr. Kastein records that they gave “financial help” to the Christian north in its final assault on the Mohammedan south.
After the reconquest the stored-up feeling of resentment against the Jews, born of the 800 years of Moorish occupation and of their share in it, broke through; in 1492 the Jews were expelled from Spain and in 1496 from Portugal.