chapter
Introduction: Critical reflections on the study of Muslim-Jewish relations
ByJosef (Yousef) Meri
Pages 14

The mere idea of “Muslim-Jewish relations” stands in stark contrast with the violent images of Israelis and Palestinians killing one another, of Jews killing Arabs and Arabs killing Jews. We are also reminded of the positive interfaith and intercommunal engagement that takes place daily across the globe. These images exist in tension. It seems that, as often as efforts are undertaken to bring together people from different faith communities, whether in the West or the Middle East, humanity is reminded of its inhumanity. The most recent episodes of violence include Israeli settlers’ murder of Palestinians and Palestinian knife attacks against Israeli civilians; the 2014 attack at the Belgian Jewish Museum; and the 2015 terrorist attacks in France, including the killing of 130 people of diverse backgrounds and faiths on 13 November 2015. A grim record to be sure. Such senseless killings have no place in the civilized world and have strengthened the resolve of people who subscribe to humanist values in the West and Middle East to tackle all forms of extremism and racism. Leaders and governments need to strengthen their resolve to end all wars and conflicts that have engulfed the Middle East and have resulted in the spread of fear, paranoia, and desperate acts of reprisal in the Middle East and the West.