by Tahir Mahmoud (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 47, No. 3, Sha'ban, 1439)
Careful study of the theology of Judaism and Wahhabism reveals that they share an anthropomorphic understanding of God, but this is not the only similarity between the two groups.
Religious Zionist groups which provide a religious mask for the occupation of Palestine are a crucial tool of the Zionist project. Even though, most leaders of the Zionist movement were and are staunch atheists, this has not constrained them in using religion to advance what is essentially a secular colonial enterprise.
Judaism is a convenient political tool, much like the regressive Wahhabi movement that uses Islam as a mask in its dominance over Makkah and Madinah. Also, both groups are big on takfir. In 2015, David Azoulay of the Shas Party and serving as minister in the Zionist regime, declared that Theodor Hertzl cannot be qualified as a Jew. Azoulay’s statement did not shock people following the political machinations of religious Zionist circles, as a serious rift between various religious Jewish groups in colonized Palestine is well known.
Overall, the Israeli religious political scene is a mishmash of confused trends and alliances. In fact, a staunch dogmatic atheist and Islamophobe, Sam Harris, is a subtle promoter of the Zionist colonization of Palestine. One of the reasons for Harris’s outwardly contradictory stance is that he sees atheism in Zionism.
The confusion shared by religious Zionists and their Wahhabi cousins appears to be a paradox. Both denounce the secular wings of the founders of the systems to which they belong as irreligious apostates yet they have a high degree of socio-political allegiance to them and provide them with a degree of legitimacy.
The purpose here is not to delve into the philosophical and theological common ground between Wahhabism and religious Zionism but to highlight the weakness of Muslim understanding of religious Zionists, especially with a view to divide the enemy.
One of the biggest leverages Israel enjoys in the Muslim world is that it has managed to align the interests of pseudo-Islamic groups with its strategic expansionist military and political goals. In February 2017, Salih al-Hamawi, founder of al-Nusrah Front in 2012, openly expressed support for Israel’s attack on Syria. Wahhabi terrorists operating in Syria openly receive assistance from Israel. In Gaza, in 2009, Abu Nur al-Maqdisi, a follower of the Jordanian Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi went so far as to launch an armed insurrection against the Islamic administration of Hamas in Gaza claiming to restore “true Islam” in Gaza and conveniently “forgot” that the main beneficiary of such action is Israel.
If one follows local Israeli politics carefully, it will immediately reveal staunch antipathy between religious and secular Zionists. Usually, the opposition and animosity between the two sides is of a mundane nature, but it is very passionate. The difference between this political standoff within religious Zionist groups on the one hand and the Wahhabis in the Muslim world on the other hand is that the Israeli security establishment and its PR institutions actively add fuel to the fire in Muslim societies, when Wahhabis go berserk over nonsensical issues like posting pictures of female parliamentary candidates.
Israel’s policy is to strategically exploit such differences in Muslim societies and use them to its advantage. Muslims do not have this capacity. One of the reasons is that Muslim power-centers know very little about the passionate divide between religious and secular Zionists.
Israel has many think tanks, academic and media institutions studying various Islamic schools of thought and socio-political trends. Muslim academic and media institutions should also allocate time and resources to learn about Zionist Wahhabis. This trend in Judaism will play a crucial role whenever the apartheid system in colonized Palestine collapses. Just like its cousin-movement creating havoc in the Muslim world, the Jewish Wahhabis will also create chaos worldwide. The history of the formation of the Zionist entity has a proven track record of the movement’s terrorist basis. During the early days of the occupation of Palestine, Zionist terrorist organizations like the Irgun and the Stern Gang perpetrated many atrocities. Once the Zionist system collapses, they will resort to their old tricks and Judaic Wahhabism will again play a more important role within the desperate defeated Zionist movement. Muslim and non-Muslim intellectuals, journalists and activists ought to be proactive regarding this phenomenon rather than react to its destructive methods at the last minute.