It was interesting to read Michael Jacobs’ discussion of the reaction of some local Jews and Muslims to the documentary series “Jews and Muslims: Intimate Strangers.” Unfortunately, the series

March 20 Coverunderplays the history of Muslim hostility to Jews and largely shifts blame for that hostility onto European colonialism as well as the creation of Israel.

There were brief periods of enlightenment for Jews under some 1,400 years of Muslim rule, but the dominant experience was one of crushing oppression. The pattern for that was set when Mohammed, the founding prophet of Islam, massacred the Jews of Medina after they refused to convert, while subsequently all Jews were driven from what is now Saudi Arabia.

Periodic pogroms and restrictions that make apartheid look tame are well documented in books such as Sir Martin Gilbert’s “In Ishmael’s House.” No less a figure than Moses Maimonides had to flee Spain because of Muslim, not Christian, persecution. Undoubtedly blood libels imported from Europe did not help, but there were plenty of other pretexts that were used to marginalize Middle Eastern Jewry.

Nor is the record of Muslim colonialism better than that of Europe.

Interfaith dialogue is important, but it should not be at the expense of Israel. Rather than apologies for Israel’s existence, the fact that roughly half of all Israelis are descendants of Jewish refugees from Arab countries should be placed front and center, as should their history. Otherwise, there is the invariable slippage into the false trope that Jews and Muslims lived in harmony before Israel and the consequent delegitimization of Israel.

Doron Lubinsky, Sandy Springs