Arabs are Semites and Arabic is a Semitic language and hence Islamophobia is antisemitism by definition!
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic (from the Biblical “Shem“, Hebrew: שם, translated as “name”, Arabic: ساميّ) was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages. This family includes the ancient and modern forms of Akkadian, Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Ge’ez, Hebrew, Maltese, Phoenician, Tigre and Tigrinya among others.
The term Semite means a member of any of various ancient and modern Semitic-speaking peoples originating in southwestern Asia, including Akkadians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews, Arabs, and Ethiopian Semites. It was proposed at first to refer to the languages related to Hebrew by Ludwig Schlözer, in Eichhorn’s “Repertorium”, vol. VIII (Leipzig, 1781), p. 161. Through Eichhorn the name then came into general usage (cf. his “Einleitung in das Alte Testament” (Leipzig, 1787), I, p. 45). In his “Gesch. der neuen Sprachenkunde”, pt. I (Göttingen, 1807) it had already become a fixed technical term.
The word “Semitic” is an adjective derived from Shem, one of the three sons of Noah in the Bible (Genesis 5.32, 6.10, 10.21), or more precisely from the Greek derivative of that name, namely Σημ (Sēm); the noun form referring to a person is Semite.
Hatred, prejudice, paranoia and intolerance are terrible negative emotions, that have no creative value and are mostly destructive to the human race. Phillip Cary (born June 10, 1958) is a philosophy professor at Eastern University with a focus on Saint Augustine. He received his Ph.D. from Yale Divinity School, he describes in detail, what the hatred of Jews did to the otherwise very sensible Martin Luther, and I suggest that hatred against any group based on religious, racial or ethnic divisions will be equally lethal and harmful. In this respect the Islamophobes become very similar to the traditionally defined anti-semites. Here is Prof. Cary without further addo:
I do want to contrast Luther’s attack against the Jews with other kinds of Christian hatred of the Jews; there has been too much of it, and there’s quite a diverse variety of it. For one thing, Luther is not a modern, racist anti-Semite. Racism is a later, modern development; it requires Darwinism typically, so Luther’s no Nazi. It’s not Nazi anti-Semitism, though, of course, he does bear some responsibility here. He had such an influence on German culture; he injected a virus of anti-Judaism in German culture, which did, in fact, aid Hitler in his work. That’s a terrible responsibility, but it is important to distinguish Luther’s kind of anti-Judaism from the modern 20thcentury kind. It is different; I want to talk about what makes Luther’s attack on the Jews distinctive. He’s not a Nazi; he’s responsible for some of the things that Nazis did indirectly, very indirectly, but nonetheless responsible-but he’s not a Nazi.He’s also unlike the interesting, genteel anti-Semitism of many 19thcentury Protestant liberals, especially in Germany. You’ll read these Protestant liberal theologians in the 19th century in Germany, and they will say: “The Old Testament is a Jewish book. It’s obsolete, tribal, primitive, and can’t possibly be relevant to Christians. It’s really part of the past.” This putdown of the Jews as this tribal, obsolete, not up-to-date people, that’s not part of Luther’s view. The Jews are very up-to-date, and the Jewish Bible is very much, for Luther, a Christian book-very relevant to Christianity-and that’s actually the point of conflict that we’ll get to.Another thing to distinguish Luther from is the medieval Christian superstitions and libels that are often pasted on Jews in attacks, this kind of slander against Jews. For instance, many medieval Christians thought the Jews would poison wells or kidnap Christian children for their blood. Luther will actually in 2-3 paragraphs out of a 200-page treatise, he will mention these awful slanders, and he will say maybe, but he knows in fact there’s no good evidence for them, and that’s not what is generating his attack on the Jews. It’s inexcusable he even mentions them, but that’s not the heart of his attack on Jews, and we need to get to the heart of it.Another feature in which Luther’s attack on the Jews is distinctive is that his recommendations for how Christians ought to deal with the Jews are more violent than those of any major Christian theologian. No great Christian theologian has been so violent in his attitude toward the Jews. He wants to burn their synagogues, confiscate their property, destroy their homes, and expel them from the country. He doesn’t actually recommend murdering them, but you cannot burn people’s synagogues and kick them out of the country without at least threatening violence. These are violent proposals, and again, they’re much worse than anything in Augustine, or Calvin, or any other great Christian theologian. Luther is worse than any other Christian theologian or great Christian theologian in his attitude toward the Jews.All this is distinctive, and we need to zero in on what’s at the heart of Luther’s distinctive attack on the Jews. His most elaborate attack comes in 1543, in a 200-page treatise entitled On the Jews and Their Lies. That tells you the focus of attack; Luther is attacking their Words. Once again, everything for Luther is about words. Words are the things of power, for Luther; words are what it’s all about. He attacks what the Jews say, not what they do. It’s not that they killed Christ, for instance. He blames the Jews for killing Christ, but everyone is really responsible for killing Christ; it’s not just distinctive of the Jews. He had that typical Christian habit of saying the Jews killed Christ, not the Romans, but that’s a minor detail, because, in fact, everyone is responsible for killing Christ by their Sins, and that’s not what’s driving Luther’s attack on the Jews.His attack on the Jews is an attack on their lies; he says that it is all these things that they say, which he thinks are false. For instance, he begins this treatise by attacking their “boasts,” he says. He says they’re proud of their fleshly descent from Abraham, of circumcision, of their mosaic law (that is, the law of Moses), the Land of Israel. They put their trust in these things that they’re proud of, these things of the flesh-that in effect they’re putting their trust in justification by works, not justification by faith alone. That’s their big lie. That’s a standard theological attack that Luther makes against lots of people-and so, once again, what’s generating the attack on the Jews here, for Luther, is Luther’s distinctive theology. The Jews want to put trust in things other than faith. We’ve heard that attack before, not just against Jews.He’ll also say the Jews speak for the devil, but, of course, we’ve heard this also in Luther’s attack on many other opponents. They speak for the devil, he thinks, because they consciously, against their own conscience, contradict the clear Christian meaning of the Old Testament, and now we’re getting close to the heart of the issue. Once again, for Luther, the enemy that he’s attacking is lying because they’re misinterpreting, they’re uncertain about, they’re twisting the meaning of the Bible. Their interpretation of the Bible is the real underlying issue.
- Prof. Phillip Cary. Luther: Gospel, Law, and Reformation. Teaching Company Course Transcript, 2004. Pages 186-188.