|March 17th, 2008||#1|
Jews Hate Christians - Even Those Who Support Israel
Why Don't Jews Like the Christians Who Like Them?
City Journal (Winter 2008)
Publication Date: March 17, 2008
James Q. Wilson, Pepperdine University
In the United States, the two groups that most ardently support Israel are Jews and evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. Jewish support is easy to explain, but why should certain Christians, most of them politically quite conservative, be so devoted to Israel? There is a second puzzle: despite their support for a Jewish state, evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are disliked by many Jews. And a third: a large fraction of African-Americans are hostile to Israel and critical of Jews, yet Jewish voters regard blacks as their natural allies.
The evidence about evangelical attitudes is clear. In 2006, a Pew survey found that evangelical Christians were more favorable toward Israel than the average American was--and much more sympathetic than either mainline Protestants or secularists. In another survey, evangelical Christians proved much likelier than Catholics, Protestants, or secular types to back Israeli control of Jerusalem, endorse Israeli settlements on the West Bank, and take Israel's side in a Middle Eastern dispute. (Among every religious group, those who are most traditional are most supportive of Israel. The most orthodox Catholics and Protestants, for instance, support Israel more than their modernist colleagues do.)
Whatever the reason for Jewish distrust of evangelicals, it may be a high price to pay when Israel's future, its very existence, is in question.
Evangelical Christians have a high opinion not just of the Jewish state but of Jews as people. That Jewish voters are overwhelmingly liberal doesn't seem to bother evangelicals, despite their own conservative politics. Yet Jews don't return the favor: in one Pew survey, 42 percent of Jewish respondents expressed hostility to evangelicals and fundamentalists. As two scholars from Baruch College have shown, a much smaller fraction--about 16 percent--of the American public has similarly antagonistic feelings toward Christian fundamentalists.
The reason that conservative Christians--opposed to abortion and gay marriage and critical of political liberalism--can feel kindly toward Jewish liberals and support Israel so fervently is rooted in theology. One finds among fundamentalist Protestants a doctrine called dispensationalism. The dispensationalist outlook, which began in early-nineteenth-century England, sees human history as a series of seven periods, or dispensations, in each of which God deals with man in a distinctive way. The first, before Adam's fall, was the era of innocence; the second, from Adam to Noah, the era of conscience; the third, from Noah to Abraham, of government; the fourth, from Abraham to Moses, of patriarchy; the fifth, from Moses to Jesus, of Mosaic law; and the sixth, from Jesus until today, of grace. The seventh and final dispensation, yet to come, will be the Millennium, an earthly paradise.
For dispensationalists, the Jews are God's chosen people. For the Millennium to come, they must be living in Israel, whose capital is Jerusalem; there, the Temple will rise again at the time of Armageddon. On the eve of that final battle, the Antichrist will appear--probably in the form of a seeming peacemaker. Fundamentalists differ over who the Antichrist will be (at one time he was thought to be Nero, at another time the papacy, and today a few have suggested the secretary-general of the United Nations), but dispensationalists agree that he will deceive the people, occupy the Temple, rule in the name of God, and ultimately be defeated by the Messiah. Many dispensationalists believe that how a person treats Israel will profoundly influence his eternal destiny.
Christian dispensationalists were early Zionists and continue to support Israel today, for it is there that they believe Christ will return. In 1878, William Blackstone, a well-known dispensationalist and the author of Jesus Is Coming, wrote a document that argued for a Jewish state in Palestine. It appeared in 1891, five years before Theodor Herzl called for a Jewish state and six years before the first Zionist Congress. Blackstone got more than 400 dignitaries to sign his document, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the Speaker of the House, John D. Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, and several other prominent Americans, almost all of them Christians. After President Benjamin Harrison ignored the petition, Blackstone tried again in 1916 with President Woodrow Wilson, who was more sympathetic--and who supported the British foreign minister, Arthur Balfour, a devout Protestant, when in 1917 he issued his famous declaration calling for a Jewish home in Palestine.
Evangelical and fundamentalist Christian preachers enthusiastically promote this pro-Israel vision. In a study of preachers in 19 denominations, political scientist James Guth of Furman University found that evangelicals were much likelier to back Israel in their sermons than mainline Protestants or Catholics were, a difference that persisted after controlling for age, sex, party identification, and type of media used to reach congregations. Guth also showed that self-described evangelicals who attended church regularly, and thus heard their ministers' sermons, were much more inclined to support Israel than were believers who did not attend regularly.
Evangelical preachers are reinforced by popular Christian books. In 1970, Hal Lindsey published The Late Great Planet Earth; in 1995, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins followed with Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days, and went on to write 11 more volumes on the same theme. Lindsey can claim more than 35 million sales, and the Left Behind books have sold 60 million. These bestsellers tell the dispensationalist story, discuss Armageddon, and argue for the protection of Jews and of Israel. Lindsey argues that, based on the book of Revelations and related biblical sources, "some time in the future," there will be "a seven-year period climaxed by the visible return of Jesus Christ" but that this will not happen until the Jewish people have reestablished their nation in their ancient homeland.
Whatever one makes of his prediction, Lindsey is unambiguous about the importance of Israel to him--and, by extension, to his millions of readers. Reinforcing the preachers and writers are various pro-Israel evangelical organizations, including Bridges for Peace, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, and the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel.
Mainstream Protestant groups, such as the National Council of Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches, have a very different attitude toward Israel. The NCC, for example, refused to support Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967, and immediately afterward began to protest victorious Israel's expansion of its territory. From that point on, the NCC's positions ran closely with Arab opinion, urging American contact with the Palestine Liberation Organization, for instance, and denouncing the Camp David Accords because they supposedly ignored the Palestinians' national ambitions. In 2004, the Presbyterian Church decided to study a proposal to divert its investments from firms doing business with Israel. Within a year, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and parts of the Methodist Church followed suit. As Paul Charles Merkley sums up in his book about Christian Zionism, mainline Protestant churches' "respectable leadership had backed away from Israel; all of her constant friends were seated below the salt."
Why do mainline Protestant leaders oppose Israel? That question becomes harder to answer when one recalls that Israel is a democratic nation with vigorously independent courts that has not only survived brutal attacks by its Arab neighbors but provided a prosperous home for the children of many Holocaust survivors. As with any other nation, Israel has pursued policies that one can challenge. Some may criticize its management of the West Bank, for example, or its attacks on Hamas leaders. But these concerns are trivial compared with Iran's announced desire to wipe Israel off the map by using every weapon at its disposal, including (eventually) a nuclear one.
The answer, I think, is that many Christian liberals see Israel as blocking the aspirations of the oppressed--who, they have decided, include the Palestinians. Never mind that the Palestinians support suicide bombers and rocket attacks against Israel; never mind that the Palestinians cannot form a competent government; never mind that they wish to occupy Israel "from the sea to the river." It is enough that they seem oppressed, even though much of the oppression is self-inflicted.
After the Marxist claims about the proletariat proved false and capitalism was vindicated as the best way to achieve economic affluence, leftists had to stop pretending that they could accomplish much with state-owned factories and national economic plans. As a result, the oppressed replaced the proletariat as the Left's object of affection. The enemy became, not capitalists, but successful nations.
That shift in focus has received encouragement from certain American academics, such as Noam Chomsky, and from the European press, including the BBC, the Guardian, the Evening Standard, and Le Monde. All tend to denounce Israel in the most unrestrained terms. When Israeli ground forces sought to root out terrorists hiding in a Jenin refugee camp, they lost 23 soldiers and killed 52 Palestinians. Among other press critics, the British writer A. N. Wilson, uninterested in the facts, called the episode a "massacre" and a "genocide." The Left will always have its enemies; Israel has merely replaced John D. Rockefeller at the top of the list.
But why do so many Jewish groups and voters abhor their Christian evangelical allies? To answer that question carefully, we would need data that distinguish among Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and secular Jews. It is quite possible that Orthodox Jews welcome evangelical support while Reform and secular ones oppose it, but I could find no data on which to base a firm conclusion. Most Jews are political liberals, devoted to the Democratic Party and liberal causes generally. As Milton Himmelfarb once put it, "Jews earn like Episcopalians and vote like Puerto Ricans." Such voting habits are not hard to explain in a population that historically includes victims of discrimination, oppression, and mass murder. By contrast, evangelicals tend to be conservatives to whom politics seems less important than their dispensationalist beliefs.
That liberal politics trumps other considerations--including worries about anti-Semitism--for many American Jews becomes clearer in light of other data. The most anti-Semitic group in America is African-Americans. This wasn't always the case. Many early black leaders, including W. E. B. Du Bois and Ralph Bunche, were quite supportive of American Jews. Du Bois even criticized Bunche for being "insufficiently pro-Zionist." The NAACP endorsed the creation of Israel in 1948, and the Jewish state received continued support from Paul Robeson, Bayard Rustin, and Martin Luther King, Jr. But by the time of the 1967 war, much of that leadership had left the scene. Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, James Forman, Malcolm X, and Shirley Du Bois (widow of W. E. B. Du Bois) were critical of Israel. At a New Left convention in the late 1960s, black delegates insisted on passing a resolution condemning the "imperialist Zionist war." Nowadays, according to several polls, about one-third of U.S. blacks have very anti-Semitic attitudes, and this hasn't changed since at least 1964, when the first such poll was conducted. And it has been African-American leaders, not white evangelicals, who have made anti-Semitic remarks most conspicuously. Everyone recalls Jesse Jackson's reference to New York as "Hymietown," to say nothing of Louis Farrakhan, a great admirer of Hitler, who has called Jews "bloodsuckers."
Yet African-American voters are liberals, and so often get a pass from their Jewish allies. To Jews, blacks are friends and evangelicals enemies, whatever their respective dispositions toward Jews and Israel.
But another reason, deeper than Jewish and evangelical differences over abortion, school prayer, and gay marriage, may underlie Jewish dislike of Christian fundamentalists. Though evangelical Protestants are supportive of Israel and tolerant of Jews, in the eyes of their liberal critics they are hostile to the essential elements of a democratic regime. They believe that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and worry about the decay of morality; they must wish, therefore, to impose a conservative moral code, alter the direction of the country so that it conforms to God's will, require public schools to teach Christian beliefs, and crush the rights of minorities.
Christian Smith, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina, analyzed four surveys of self-identified evangelicals and found that, while they do think that America was founded as a Christian nation and fear that the country has lost its moral bearings, these views are almost exactly the same as those held by non-evangelical Americans. Evangelicals, like other Americans, oppose having public schools teach Christian values, oppose having public school teachers lead students in vocal prayers, and oppose a constitutional amendment declaring the country a Christian nation. Evangelicals deny that there is one correct Christian view on most political issues, deny that Jews must answer for allegedly killing Christ, deny that laws protecting free speech go too far, and reject the idea that whites should be able to keep blacks out of their neighborhoods. They overwhelmingly agree that Jews and Christians share the same values and can live together in harmony. Evangelicals strongly oppose abortion and gay marriage, but in almost every other respect are like other Americans.
Whatever the reason for Jewish distrust of evangelicals, it may be a high price to pay when Israel's future, its very existence, is in question. Half of all Protestants in the country describe themselves as evangelical, or born-again, Christians, making up about one-quarter of all Americans (though they constitute only 16 percent of white Christian voters in the Northeast). Jews, by contrast, make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, and that percentage will shrink: as many as half of all Jews marry non-Jews. When it comes to helping secure Israel's survival, the tiny Jewish minority in America should not reject the help offered by a group that is ten times larger and whose views on the central propositions of a democratic society are much like everybody else's. No good can come from repeating the 1926 assertion of H. L. Mencken that fundamentalist Christians are "yokels" and "morons."
James Q. Wilson is the chairman of AEI's Council of Academic Advisers.
|March 20th, 2008||#3|
The Jews and Their Lies, 1539
A redaction: 2008
AN APPRAISAL OF MANKIND
Even with no further evidence than the Old Testament, I would maintain — and no person on Earth could alter my opinion — that the Jews, as they are today, are veritably a mixture of all the depraved and malevolent knaves of the whole world over, who have then been dispersed in all countries, to afflict the different nations with their usury, to spy upon others, and to betray, to poison wells, to deceive and kidnap children — in short, to practice all kinds of dishonesty and injury. (Extract from the pamphlet “Von Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi.” 1543)
THE JEWISH DANGER
Those Jews professing to be surgeons or doctors deprive the Christians who make use of their medications, of health and prosperity, for such Jewish doctors believe they find special favor with their God if they torment and furtively kill Christians. And we, fools that we are, even turn for succor to our enemies and their evil ways in the times when our lives are in danger, which is indeed sorely trying God’s patience.
LUTHER’S LAST SERMON:
WARNING AGAINST THE JEWS
... Besides, you also have many Jews living in the country, who do much harm ... You should know that the Jews blaspheme and violate the name of our Saviour day for day ... for that reason you, my lords and men of authority, should not tolerate but expel them.
They are our public enemies and incessantly blaspheme our Lord Jesus Christ, they call our Blessed Virgin Mary a harlot and her Holy Son a bastard and to us they give the epithet of changelings and abortions. If they could kill us all, they would gladly do so; in face, many of them murder Christians, especially those professing to be surgeons and doctors.
Therefore deal with them harshly. As a good patriot, I wanted to give you this warning for the very last time to deter you from participating in alien sins. You must know I only desire the best for all of you, rulers and subjects.
Martin Luther died a few days after delivering this address, at Eisleben, Germany in February 1546. Although he was known to be ill from various afflictions, some say he was poisoned.
In “The Jews and Their Lies,” he wrote:
Our people should be on their guard against these hardened, condemned people, who accuse God of lying and proudly despise the whole world.
They are boastful, proud fools who to this day can do no more then to praise themselves and condemn the whole world.
They are real liars who have perverted and falsified the entire Bible and continue to do so to this day.
They are wicked and hardened people who refuse to be converted from their evil to good deeds.
They would like to deal with us as they dealt with Persia (Iran) in the time of Esther. Oh how they love their book of Esther, which so nicely agrees with their bloodthirsty, revengeful and murderous desire and hope!
The pray that their Messiah would slay and murder the whole world with their sword.
They falsely preach that their God has commanded them to practice usury (rip people off). They lie about God.
Therefore be on your guard against the Jews and know that where they have their schools there is nothing but the Devil's nest in which self-praise, vanity, lies, blasphemy, disgracing God and man, are practiced in the bitterest and most poisonous way as the Devils do themselves.
The king of Babylon, the king of Assyria and the Romans all led them away and destroyed them. Yet they remain stiff-necked, blinded, hardened and immoveable.
The Devil has possessed these people. They always boast of outward things, their gifts, their accomplishments and deeds, which is to offer up the empty shells without the kernels. As Moses said, "God does not regard them as his people."
Even now they cannot give up their insane raving boast that they are the chosen people of God, after they have been dispersed and rejected for 1500 years.
... The more you try to help them the hard and more wicked they become.
They await a messiah, but to them it means gold and silver.
No people under the Sun are more greedy than the Jews and their cursed usury.
Since childhood they have devoured poisonous hatred against the Goyim (Gentiles) from their parents and Rabbis, and still devour such without ceasing, that according to Psalm 109 it gone over into their flesh and blood, bone and marrow.
Therefore know, my dear Christian, that next to the Devil you have no more bitter, more poisonous, more vehement an enemy than a real Jew who earnestly desires to be a Jew.
(Editor’s note: Look at what our children have become today, through modern “style.”)
Should they at times do something good, however, know full well that it is not done out of love for you, nor for your good.
A person who does not know the Devil might wonder why they are so at enmity with the Christians above all others, for which they have no reason, since we only do good to them. They live among us in our homes, under our protection, use land and highways, market and streets. Princes and governments sit by and snore, and let the Jews take from their purse and chest, stealing and robbing whatever they will.
They permit themselves and their subjects to be abused and sucked dry and reduced to beggars with their own money, through the usury of the Jews.
As their distinguishing mark, they strengthen their faith and bitter hatred against us by saying among themselves: "Keep on, see how God is with us and does not forsake his people in exile. We do not work, we enjoy good, lazy days; the cursed Goyim must work for us, we get their money; thereby we are their masters, and they our servants.”
All this we accept from them while we are protecting them; yet they curse us.
Do not their Talmud and rabbis write that it is no sin if a Jew kills a heathen, but it is a sin if he kills a brother in Israel! It is no sin if he does not keep his oath to a heathen. Therefore, to steal and rob (as they do with their usury) from a heathen, is a divine service. For they hold that they cannot be too hard on us nor sin against us, because they are the noble blood and circumcised saints; we however, cursed Goyim. And they are masters of the world and we are their servants, yea, their cattle.
The heathen philosophers and poets write much more honorably, not only about God's government and future life, but also about temporal virtues. They write than man is by nature obligated to serve others, also to keep his word to enemies, and be true and helpful to them especially in need, as taught by Cicero and his like.
Should someone think I am saying too much — I am not saying too much, but much too little! I see how Jews curse us goyim and wish us all evil in their schools and prayers. They rob us of our money through usury, and wherever they are able, they play us all manner of mean tricks...
... into the temple they had placed money changers, merchants and all manner of avaricious trade, that our Lord Christ said they had made of God’s house a den of thieves. Now figure it out for yourself what a fine honor that was, how the house was full of glory that God had to call his own house a den of thieves!
Since we do not understand Hebrew, they secretly practice their hatred against us, that we think they are friendly to us while they curse us . . .
They are a heavy burden to us in our country, like a plague, pestilence, and nothing but misfortune.
... they hold us Christians in captivity in our own country: they let us work in the sweat of our noses, while they appropriate money and goods, sitting behind the stove, are lazy, gluttlers and guzzlers, live well and easy on goods for which we have worked, keep us and our goods in captivity through their usury.
We do not call our wives whores as they call Maria, the Mother of Jesus; we do not call them bastards, as they call our Lord Christ. We do not curse them, but wish them all manner of bodily and spiritual good ... We don’t steal and mutilate their children; do not poison their water; do not thirst after their blood. With what do we deserve such terrible wrath and envy and hatred of such holy children of God?
It is not otherwise than we have quoted from Moses, that God has struck them with insane blindness and a raving heart ....
Now what are we going to do with these rejected, condemned Jewish people?
We should not suffer it after they are among us and we know about such lying, blaspheming and cursing among them, lest we become partakers of their lies, cursing, and blaspheming. We cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of God’s wrath, nor convert the Jews. We must practice great mercy with prayer and godliness that we might rescue a few from the flame and violent heat.
We are not permitted to take revenge. Revenge is around their neck a thousand times greater than we could wish them. I will give you my true counsel: First, that we avoid their synagogues and schools and warn people against them.
Moses writes in Deuteronomy that any city which practiced idolatry should be entirely destroyed with fire and leave nothing. If he were living today he would be the first to put fire to the Jew schools and houses.
Secondly, that you also refused to let them own houses among us. For they practice the same thing in their houses as they do in their schools.
Thirdly, that you take away from them all of their prayer books and Talmuds wherein such lying, cursing, and blaspheming is taught.
Fourthly, that you prohibit their Rabbis to teach. For they have forfeited the right to such an office, because they keep the poor Jews captive with the massage of Moses 7:11, 12, who there commands them to obey their teachers under threat of losing body and soul. Moses clearly adds, “What they teach you according to the law of the Lord.” This the profligates pass over, and use the obedience of the poor people for their own willfulness against the law of the Lord, and pour out for them such poison and blasphemy.
Fifthly, that protection for Jews on highways be revoked. For they have no right to be in the land, because they are not lords, nor officials. They should stay at home. (Because they ...) practice usury on princes and lords, land and people. High officials close an eye to it.
I would like to assemble a cavalry against them, because you will learn from this book what the Jews are ... their activities should not be protected, unless you want to be a partner to their abominations.
Sixthly, that their usury be prohibited, which was prohibited by Moses. Everything the Jews have they have stolen from us and robbed through their usury, since they have no other income.
THEY EVEN BETRAYED MOSES
There are two kinds of Jews. The first are those whom Moses led out of Egypt into the land of Canaan, as God had commanded him; to them he gave His Law, which they were to keep in that land, not beyond; and that only until Messiah should .... The other are the Kaiser’s (Caesar’s) Jews, not Moses’ Jews. They had their origin at the time of the governor Pilate in the land of Juda. For when he asked them before his tribunal, “What shall I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?” They cried, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” He said: “Shall I crucify your king?” They cried out: “We have no king but Caesar.” Such obedience to Caesar, God had not commanded them, they did this on their own accord.”
Of such are the present remaining dregs of the Jews, of whom Moses knows nothing; they also know nothing of him, for they do not keep one passage in Moses.
Finally: That young strong Jews be given flail, ax, spade, spindle, and let them earn their bread in the sweat of their noses as imposed upon Adam’s children, Genesis 3:19 — “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” For it will not do that they should let us cursed goyim work in the sweat of our brow, while they, the holy people, devour our bread in laziness behind the stove and then boast they are masters over the Christians ...
... let us apply the ordinary wisdom of other nations like France, Spain, Bohemia et al; who made them give an account of what they had taken from them by usury and divided it evenly, but expelled them from their country. For, as heard before, God’s wrath is so great over them that through soft mercy they only become more wicked, through hard treatment, only a little better. Therefore, away with them.
CHARITABLE WITH OUR WEALTH
I hear it said that the Jews give large sums of money and thereby are helpful to the government. Yes, from what do they give it? Not of their own, but from the property of the rulers and subjects, whom they deprive of their possessions through usury! And thus the rulers take from the subjects what the Jews have taken, that is: subjects must give money and suffer themselves to be fleeced for the Jews so they can remain in the land freely to lie, slander, curse, and steal. Should not the despairing Jews have a good laugh over the way we suffer ourselves to be fooled ...
ADVICE TO RULERS
... do not let them have protection or safe conduct, nor fellowship. Neither permit your money and goods, and the money and goods of your subjects, to serve the Jews through their usury.
... to pastors and preachers: warn your parishioners against their eternal ruin, that they be on their guard against the Jews and avoid them.
THEIR MESSIAH IS FALSE
The Jews desire no more from their messiah than that he would slay the Christians, divide the world among the Jews and make them rich lords.
BEWARE THEIR BLASPHEMY AND USURY
In my opinion it will have to come to this: if we are to stay clean of the Jew’s blaspheming and not become partakers of it, we must separate, and they must leave our country. Thus they could no more cry and lie to God that we are holding them captive; and we could no more complain that they plague us with their blaspheming and usury. This is the nearest and best advice that makes it safe for both parties.
I hope in this booklet a Christian who does not desire to become Jewish will find sufficient arguments to guard against the blind, poisonous Jews, and will also become an enemy of the wickedness, lies, and cursing of the Jews, and come to the knowledge that their belief is not only false, but that they are also possessed of all the Devils.
[selection and arrangement by John Kaminski]
|April 9th, 2008||#4|
[Jews burn the New Testament, indicating their true feelings about Christians and Christianity. As if murdering Jesus wasn't enough.]
What Our Taxes to Israel are Funding
More on the Greenwich Incident
Israel Shahak’s Jewish History, Jewish Religion
April 4, 2008
Over a month after my talks at the Greenwich Library, I find that Israel loyalists are still publishing astonishingly inaccurate tirades about me in local newspapers. While the name-calling is unfortunate, it is excellent that discussion of the profoundly important topic of Israel-Palestine is continuing.
Given that American taxpayers, even during recessions in which thousands of Americans are thrown out of work, have long given Israel far more of our tax money than to any other nation on earth – currently about $7 million per day – it is highly appropriate that we examine the target of our truly inordinate generosity.
In his recent column about me, Rabbi Mitchell Hurvitz strays into three unusual areas of terrain. While, I was extremely surprised to see him venture there, I will be happy to follow him.
First, he starts out by quoting the First Amendment of the US Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."
It is strange that an Israel advocate should draw attention to this bedrock principle of democracy, since Israel violates it so systematically. Israel is a self-defined "Jewish state" in which non-Jews (i.e. the Christians and Muslims who made up a majority of the population in this land until recently, and still make up almost twenty percent of the population) are second-class citizens, at best.
While US media almost never report this, the fact is that their religions are routinely disparaged, their economic situation is far inferior, their children are taught in school that Jewish culture is superior to all others, and periodically there are outright attacks on their institutions and texts -- in 1980 hundreds of copies of the New Testament were publicly and ceremonially burnt in Jerusalem under the auspices of a Jewish organization subsidized by the Israeli Ministry of Religions. Today, thousands of Muslims and Christians under Israeli occupation are prevented from worshiping in their holiest churches and mosques.
I am continually astounded at the stance of people such as Rabbi Hurvitz, who support Israeli discriminatory practices. It seems to me that either one is against discrimination based on race, religion, and ethnicity, or one is not. It seems a bit hypocritical – or at least to reveal that one's behavior is governed by interest rather than principle – to be for such practices when one benefits, and against them when one does not.
It seems that when Rabbi Hurvitz is a member of a minority (Jewish Americans constitute approximately two percent of the American population) he applauds a secular state in which the majority religion relinquishes its traditional symbols and culture in the name of freedom of religion. When he is a member of the majority, on the other hand, he advocates a state where a religious symbol is on the very flag itself, and where individuals must carry ID cards denoting their religious background.
Second, it is odd that Rabbi Hurvitz brings up the Constitution, given that Israel itself has deliberately chosen not to adopt one – a far cry from the US system, in which fundamental principles and rights were codified at the very beginning of our national existence and can only be modified through a long and tedious process of public involvement.
Third, Rabbi Hurvitz provides a mini-sermon drawn from Halacha (Jewish law) and the Talmud. Again, this is a bit odd. Truthfully, the Talmud and Jewish law are such mixed bags that I'm surprised he handed them to us to peer into.
While I rarely speak or write on this subject matter, there is no doubt that it is significant and should be explored. There are two extremely valuable books on the topic by authors less timid than I, both Jewish, one Israeli: "Jewish History, Jewish Religion" (posted on ifamericansknew.org in full) by Dr. Israel Shahak, a holocaust survivor and, until his death in 2001, a highly regarded Israeli professor of chemistry; and "Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel," co-authored by Dr. Shahak and Dr. Norton Mezvinsky, a professor of history who in 2002 was named by the Connecticut State University Board of Trustees an official "Connecticut State University Professor...a signal honor, reserved for faculty members who fulfill the highest ideals of outstanding teaching, scholarly achievement and public service."
In his first book, Shahak explains that he took on this topic when he realized that "...neither Zionism, including its seemingly secular part, nor Israeli politics..., nor particularly the policies of the Jewish supporters of Israel in the diaspora, could be understood unless the deeper influence of [Talmudic laws], and the worldview which they both create and express is taken into account... Without a discussion of the prevalent Jewish attitudes to non-Jews," Shahak emphasizes," even the concept of Israel as 'a Jewish state', as Israel formally defines itself, cannot be understood."
Shahak and Mezvinsky provide a number of translations from the Talmud and other writings that they note are omitted from books on Judaism published in English; for example, from a fundamental book of Hassidism: "All non-Jews are totally satanic creatures 'in whom there is absolutely nothing good.' Even a non-Jewish embryo is qualitatively different from a Jewish one. The very existence of a non-Jew is 'non-essential', whereas all creation was created solely for the sake of the Jews." There are many such passages.
What makes such texts particularly significant, Shahak explains, is that "[i]n Israel these ideas are widely disseminated among the public at large, in the schools and in the army." In a booklet published by the Israeli Army for its soldiers, Shahak reports, the Chief Chaplain wrote:
"When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to the Halakhah they may and even should be killed ... In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakhah to kill even good civilians, that is, civilians who are ostensibly good."
One can only imagine what this kind of teaching means for Palestinians in Israel itself, and, still worse, for those in the West Bank who live next to settlements populated by heavily armed adherents of such a ruthless and supremacist faith – and who regularly attack them with impunity, periodically beating, torturing, and killing them. A sentence several years ago, on the rare occasion when a perpetrator was even charged with a crime, was six months community service.
While the above citations do not in anyway represent the whole of Judaism, the reality is that certain religious texts taught in Israel contain a distressing number of profoundly offensive teachings. I have no doubt that the vast majority of Jewish Americans have long since repudiated these, including Rabbi Hurvitz. Still, just as Christian and Muslim leaders have publicly condemned and disowned spurious dogmas and practices, I suspect it would be valuable for Rabbi Hurvitz and other Jewish leaders to do the same. Such shared honesty and humility by all our religious leaders, I believe, helps us move forward as a stronger, more moral, and more unified society.
Most important, while most Israelis also do not hold the beliefs touched upon above, many do – and this group holds disproportionate power in the Israeli regime. If Americans are going to continue showering Israel with millions of dollars per day, I think we are obligated to investigate to what degree our money is being used to further the kind of supremacist, racist violence that most of us oppose.
A first step is to read what Shahak and Mezvinsky have to tell us. The next step, I suspect, is to turn off the tap.
|June 3rd, 2008||#5|
Join Date: Apr 2008
Jew hatred at Christians!
Maybe those Satan Spawn should tell us how they REALLY feel towards us? Just todays reason to NOT feel guilty when you're stomping their skulls in! Notice how the filthy little kike piece of sh*t is backing away in the most cowardly manner! All talk, no face-to-face fighting!
|August 5th, 2008||#6|
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: North America
20 million Christians killed by the judaic bolsceviks.
The rats are the first ones to leave when
the ship is sinking.
At the change of the regime ,the zionists
put pressure to USA to help these rats leave
|August 5th, 2008||#7|
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Jewnited States -Usrael
Hundreds of Millions of Catholic-Christians have died because The International Judaism.
The World must to know the Truth about the Worldwide Christian-Catholic Genocide that has been taking place for over 2000 years!
|August 5th, 2008||#8|
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: North America
their land for generations.
The genocide was conducted rather with hatred because they were Christians.
|August 6th, 2008||#10|
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: North America
Go often to Europe since I went to art school
Met young American students in Rome . with
T-Shirts with the Canadian flag ,speaking with
south Carolina accent...Why ?
They were told Americans weren"t liked much
in Europe. Therefore they were hiding their
Read on BBC in a poll ,Americans were despised
as much as the Jews.
Several yeas ago ,I was in northen Italy ,where
the population is half Italian half German
Invited for supper by a local family living in
a small town..
They had a boy ,,,5 years old..who didn"t
want to go to bed..
So strange the mother threatened the boy,
she was going to call the jew if he didn"t obey..
I didn"t why ask questions .....
Here is a link that explains you why....
You can read the whole historical book..
|October 18th, 2008||#11|
Join Date: Mar 2008
Jewish institution warns against honors for wartime Pope
Jewish institution warns against honors for wartime Pope
French umbrella organization created to help Jews during German occupation in WWII, adamantly opposes beatification of Pius XII saying road to sainthood will harm interfaith relations
France's main Jewish organization warned on Friday that a Vatican plan to put wartime Pope Pius XII on the road to sainthood would deal a severe blow to Catholic-Jewish relations if completed.
Holocaust survivors felt, "profound hurt" because Pius never openly denounced the Nazi slaughter of Jews and his failure to do so after the war was, "profoundly shocking," the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), said.
Its statement came a week after Pope Benedict defended the diplomatic approach Pius took as the best way to save the greatest number of Jews and said he hoped his beatification, the first step to sainthood, could proceed without a problem.
"The plan to beatify Pius XII, who was pope from 1939 to 1958, would deal a severe blow to relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish world if it is carried out," said a CRIF representative.
"Concerned about burning his bridges with Germany, Pope Pius XII never delivered a clear speech denouncing the singular monstrosity of the extermination of millions of Jews," said the source.
"Furthermore, he did not do it after the war either, which is profoundly shocking."
The long-simmering dispute between Catholics and Jews, whose relations have otherwise improved greatly in recent decades, flared last week when an Israeli rabbi told bishops meeting in Rome that Jews could not forgive and forget Pius's silence.
Founded as an underground aid network for Jews during the German occupation, CRIF serves as a spokesman for the 600,000-strong French Jewish community, the largest in Europe.
Its statement was much stronger than a recent appeal by the United States-based Anti-Defamation League, whose National Director Abraham Foxman urged the Vatican to open its wartime archives fully before making any decision on Pius.
Not model behavior
A CRIF commentary stated that Pius did help to hide, "a certain number of Jews" in Rome during the German occupation and that, "the magnificent role played individually by some clergy, notably in France, to save Jews" should not be underestimated.
But it argued that Pius should have played the role of a prophet denouncing Nazi crimes rather than a prudent diplomat.
CRIF criticized the Vatican for not publishing all its Holocaust-era archives and said most independent historians did not agree with the official Catholic position that Pius worked ceaselessly to save Jews.
"As long as no new documents indisputably change the historical view of this era, and none have yet been provided, Jewish survivors of the Shoah (Holocaust) will suffer a profound hurt if the silence of the magisterium in the face of the genocide of the Jews is presented as model behavior," it said.
Pius's defenders, including some Jews, say the oppression of Jews would have been worse if he had openly condemned it. They cite the rise in deportations of Dutch Jews to death camps after Catholic bishops there denounced Nazi policy in 1942.
"He often acted in a secret and silent way precisely because, given the real situations of that complex moment in history, he realized that only in this manner could the worst be avoided and greatest number of Jews be saved," Benedict said at an October 9 Mass marking the 50th anniversary of Pius's death.
The Vatican also says it has published most of the significant documents about Pius and keeps some closed to researchers only for organizational reasons.
|November 15th, 2008||#12|
Miss, I'm usually pretty polite, but all I can say is that you're truly ignorant if you believe what you say. There's not really any "nice" term to describe such a mindset--only seeing and believing what you want, while negating many inconvenient truths.
I mean, you've got all this information at the click of your hands with the Internet. And you repudiate well-know facts that anyone can plainly see--not even bothering to look for yourself--to see if there was any truth to what I said. How long would have this taken you with Google?
Now, you say that you've been to Israel (undoubtedly, as a tourist), and never saw such things. Obviously, Israel does pretty good financially with tourism (from folks like yourself who believe Jews are God's Chosen People/Master Race), and they certainly wouldn't want the darker side exposed. So, they make sure that you're kept in areas away from the religious zealots there, and that you don't hear what you shouldn't hear (which is probably pretty easy, as you probably don't speak Hebrew/Yiddish, unless you're a Jew).
I have now wasted a few minutes of my life to demonstrate your ignorance, and to show how truly wrong you are. Now, as to what I said about Christians being persecuted in Israel, see below:
Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them - Haaretz (Jewish website)
Jew Spits On Greek Priest Again!
Christians Discriminated Against by Israel:
Israeli settlers stoning Palestinian citizens (video):
Video Israel Doesn't Want You to See:
Jewish hate caught on tape (video):
Jews harass Christians in Israel (video):
Jewish-Christian complains about Jewish harassment in Israel (video):
The Jews' Talmud is more anti-Christian than most Satanists' books:
Don't ever write me again unless you've read all the links above and watched all the videos, as I get weary dealing with ignorant people. End of discussion.
|November 15th, 2008||#13|
Join Date: Oct 2008
VERY eye-opening. I like Honest Media Today (as much as one can "like" reading about its Satanic subject matter). It, like VNN, provides a great service to those who want to understand why things are the way they are today.
|December 2nd, 2008||#15|
What Christians Don’t Know About Israel
By Grace Halsell
American Jews sympathetic to Israel dominate key positions in all areas of our government where decisions are made regarding the Middle East. This being the case, is there any hope of ever changing U.S. policy? American Presidents as well as most members of Congress support Israel -- and they know why. U.S. Jews sympathetic to Israel donate lavishly to their campaign coffers.
The answer to achieving an even-handed Middle East policy might lie elsewhere -- among those who support Israel but don't really know why. This group is the vast majority of Americans. They are well-meaning, fair-minded Christians who feel bonded to Israel -- and Zionism -- often from atavistic feelings, in some cases dating from childhood.
I am one of those. I grew up listening to stories of a mystical, allegorical, spiritual Israel. This was before a modern political entity with the same name appeared on our maps. I attended Sunday School and watched an instructor draw down window- type shades to show maps of the Holy Land. I imbibed stories of a Good and Chosen people who fought against their Bad "unChosen” enemies.
In my early 20s, I began traveling the world, earning my living as a writer. I came to the subject of the Middle East rather late in my career. I was sadly lacking in knowledge regarding the area. About all I knew was what I had learned in Sunday School.
And typical of many U.S. Christians, I somehow considered a modern state created in 1948 as a homeland for Jews persecuted under the Nazis as a replica of the spiritual, mystical Israel I heard about as a child. When in 1979 I initially went to Jerusalem, I planned to write about the three great monotheistic religions and leave out politics. “Not write about politics?” scoffed one Palestinian, smoking a waterpipe in the Old Walled City. “We eat politics, morning, noon and night!”
As I would learn, the politics is about land, and the co-claimants to that land: the indigenous Palestinians who have lived there for 2,000 years and the Jews who started arriving in large numbers after the Second World War. By living among Israeli Jews as well as Palestinian Christians and Muslims, I saw, heard, smelled, experienced the police state tactics Israelis use against Palestinians.
My research led to a book entitled Journey to Jerusalem. My journey not only was enlightening to me as regards Israel, but also I came to a deeper, and sadder, understanding of my own country. I say sadder understanding because I began to see that, in Middle East politics, we the people are not making the decisions, but rather that supporters of Israel are doing so. And typical of most Americans, I tended to think the U.S. media was “free” to print news impartially.
`It shouldn't be published. It's anti-Israel.’
In the late 1970s, when I first went to Jerusalem, I was unaware that editors could and would classify "news" depending on who was doing what to whom. On my initial visit to Israel-Palestine, I had interviewed dozens of young Palestinian men. About one in four related stories of torture.
Israeli police had come in the night, dragged them from their beds and placed hoods over their heads. Then in jails the Israelis had kept them in isolation, besieged them with loud, incessant noises, hung them upside down and had sadistically mutilated their genitals. I had not read such stories in the U.S. media. Wasn't it news? Obviously, I naively thought, U.S. editors simply didn't know it was happening.
On a trip to Washington, DC, I hand-delivered a letter to Frank Mankiewicz, then head of the public radio station WETA. I explained I had taped interviews with Palestinians who had been brutally tortured. And I'd make them available to him. I got no reply. I made several phone calls. Eventually I was put through to a public relations person, a Ms. Cohen, who said my letter had been lost. I wrote again. In time I began to realize what I hadn't known: had it been Jews who were strung up and tortured, it would be news. But interviews with tortured Arabs were “lost" at WETA.
The process of getting my book Journey to Jerusalem published also was a learning experience. Bill Griffin, who signed a contract with me on behalf of MacMillan Publishing Company, was a former Roman Catholic priest. He assured me that no one other than himself would edit the book. As I researched the book, making several trips to Israel and Palestine, I met frequently with Griffin, showing him sample chapters. “Terrific,” he said of my material.
The day the book was scheduled to be published, I went to visit MacMillan's. Checking in at a reception desk, I spotted Griffin across a room, cleaning out his desk. His secretary Margie came to greet me. In tears, she whispered for me to meet her in the ladies room. When we were alone, she confided, "He's been fired.” She indicated it was because he had signed a contract for a book that was sympathetic to Palestinians. Griffin, she said, had no time to see me.
Later, I met with another MacMillan official, William Curry. “I was told to take your manuscript to the Israeli Embassy, to let them read it for mistakes,” he told me. “They were not pleased. They asked me, “You are not going to publish this book, are you?” I asked, "Were there mistakes?” “Not mistakes as such. But it shouldn't be published. It's anti-Israel.”
Somehow, despite obstacles to prevent it, the presses had started rolling. After its publication in 1980, I was invited to speak in a number of churches. Christians generally reacted with disbelief. Back then, there was little or no coverage of Israeli land confiscation, demolition of Palestinian homes, wan ton arrests and torture of Palestinian civilians.
The Same Question
Speaking of these injustices, I invariably heard the same question, “How come I didn't know this?" Or someone might ask, "But I haven't read about that in my newspaper.” To these church audiences, I related my own learning experience, that of seeing hordes of U.S. correspondents covering a relatively tiny state. I pointed out that I had not seen so many reporters in world capitals such as Beijing, Moscow, London, Tokyo, Paris. Why, I asked, did a small state with a 1980 population of only four million warrant more reporters than China, with a billion people?
I also linked this query with my findings that The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post -- and most of our nation's print media - are owned and/or controlled by Jews supportive of Israel. It was for this reason, I deduced, that they sent so many reporters to cover Israel -- and to do so largely from the Israeli point of view.
My learning experiences also included coming to realize how easily I could lose a Jewish friend if I criticized the Jewish state. I could with impunity criticize France, England, Russia, even the United States. And any aspect of life in America. But not the Jewish state. I lost more Jewish friends than one after the publication of Journey to Jerusalem -- all sad losses for me and one, perhaps, saddest of all.
In the 1960s and 1970s, before going to the Middle East, I had written about the plight of blacks in a book entitled Soul Sister, and the plight of American Indians in a book entitled Bessie Yellowhair, and the problems endured by undocumented workers crossing from Mexico in The Illegals. These books had come to the attention of the “mother” of The New York Times, Mrs. Arthur Hays Sulzberger.
Her father had started the newspaper, then her husband ran it, and in the years that I knew her, her son was the publisher. She invited me to her fashionable apartment on Fifth Avenue for lunches and dinner parties. And, on many occasions, I was a weekend guest at her Greenwich, Conn., home.
She was liberal-minded and praised my efforts to speak for the underdog, even going so far in one letter to say, “You are the most remarkable woman I ever knew.” I had little concept that from being buoyed so high I could be dropped so suddenly when I discovered -- from her point of view -- the “wrong” underdog.
As it happened, I was a weekend guest in her spacious Connecticut home when she read bound galleys of Journey to Jerusalem. As I was leaving, she handed the galleys back with a saddened look: “My dear, have you forgotten the Holocaust?” She felt that what happened in Nazi Germany to Jews several decades earlier should silence any criticism of the Jewish state. She could focus on a holocaust of Jews while negating a modern day holocaust of Palestinians.
I realized, quite painfully, that our friendship was ending. Iphigene Sulzberger had not only invited me to her home to meet her famous friends but, also at her suggestion, The Times had requested articles. I wrote op-ed articles on various subjects including American blacks, American Indians as well as undocumented workers. Since Mrs. Sulzberger and other Jewish officials at the Times highly praised my efforts to help these groups of oppressed peoples, the dichotomy became apparent: most “liberal” U.S. Jews stand on the side of all poor and oppressed peoples save one -- the Palestinians.
How handily these liberal Jewish opinion-molders tend to diminish the Palestinians, to make them invisible, or to categorize them all as “terrorists.”
Interestingly, Iphigene Sulzberger had talked to me a great deal about her father, Adolph S. Ochs. She told me that he was not one of the early Zionists. He had not favored the creation of a Jewish state.
Yet, increasingly, American Jews have fallen victim to Zionism, a nationalistic movement that passes for many as a religion. While the ethical instructions of all great religions -- including the teachings of Moses, Muhammad and Christ -- stress that all human beings are equal, militant Zionists take the position that the killing of a non-Jew does not count.
Over five decades now, Zionists have killed Palestinians with impunity. And in the 1996 shelling of a U.N. base in Qana, Lebanon, the Israelis killed more than 100 civilians sheltered there. As an Israeli journalist, Arieh Shavit, explains of the massacre, “We believe with absolute certitude that right now, with the White House in our hands, the Senate in our hands and The New York Times in our hands, the lives of others do not count the same way as our own.”
Israelis today, explains the anti-Zionist Jew Israel Shahak, “are not basing their religion on the ethics of justice. They do not accept the Old Testament as it is written. Rather, religious Jews turn to the Talmud. For them, the Talmudic Jewish laws become “the Bible.” And the Talmud teaches that a Jew can kill a non-Jew with impunity.
In the teachings of Christ, there was a break from such Talmudic teachings. He sought to heal the wounded, to comfort the downtrodden.
The danger, of course, for U.S. Christians is that having made an icon of Israel, we fall into a trap of condoning whatever Israel does -- even wanton murder -- as orchestrated by God.
Yet, I am not alone in suggesting that the churches in the United States represent the last major organized support for Palestinian rights. This imperative is due in part to our historic links to the Land of Christ and in part to the moral issues involved with having our tax dollars fund Israeli-government-approved violations of human rights.
While Israel and its dedicated U.S. Jewish supporters know they have the president and most of Congress in their hands, they worry about grassroots America -- the well-meaning Christians who care for justice. Thus far, most Christians were unaware of what it was they didn't know about Israel. They were indoctrinated by U.S. supporters of Israel in their own country and when they traveled to the Land of Christ most all did so under Israeli sponsorship. That being the case, it was unlikely a Christian ever met a Palestinian or learned what caused the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This is gradually changing, however. And this change disturbs the Israelis. As an example, delegates attending a Christian Sabeel conference in Bethlehem earlier this year said they were harassed by Israeli security at the Tel Aviv airport.
“They asked us,” said one delegate, “Why did you use a Palestinian travel agency? Why didn't you use an Israeli agency?” The interrogation was so extensive and hostile that Sabeel leaders called a special session to brief the delegates on how to handle the harassment. Obviously, said one delegate, “The Israelis have a policy to discourage us from visiting the Holy Land except under their sponsorship. They don't want Christians to start learning all they have never known about Israel.”
About the Author
Grace Halsell (1923-2000) was a distinguished American journalist, war correspondent, author and columnist. She was the author of 13 books, including Journey to Jerusalem and Prophecy and Politics.
|December 2nd, 2008||#16|
Join Date: Jun 2006
While they continually produce documentaries on "hate", detailing the history of the KKK, showing how despicable and murderous racist whites are, we see and hear nothing of black crimes against whites, Jews against Palestinians. The hypocrisy is overwhelming. Jews know perfectly well that controlling people's perception and access to information are crucial to winning the war against their enemies, all of mankind.
|May 11th, 2009||#17|
Join Date: Jul 2007
Do Jews Have a Jesus Problem?
By Jay Michaelson
Published April 29, 2009, issue of May 08, 2009.
The joke, if that’s what it is, goes like this: “You’ll have to forgive us Jews for being a little nervous. Two thousand years of Christian love have worn down our nerves.”
That says it all, doesn’t it? The scars of antisemitism and missionary activity, the pathos-drenched sense of humor, the contempt for Christianity — this is certainly how I regarded our local majority religion as I was growing up. When I was a child, Christianity was like the big, stupid bully: at once idiotic, and overwhelmingly powerful. Couldn’t they see how ridiculous their religion was? A virgin birth? Santa Claus? An Easter Bunny? A messiah who got killed, but actually died for our sins? And yet, these were the people running our country, telling us which days we get off from school and which we don’t, and playing their insidious music every winter.
If the books the Forward receives for review are any indication, I am not alone in my neurosis about Yeshu ben Yoseph. Though nothing, it seems, will match the never-ending torrent of books about the Holocaust, these past few years have seen a small mountain of Jesus books arrive on my desk, most of them not worthy of review. Screeds about how Jesus got Judaism wrong, or how Christians got Jesus wrong, or how much better we are than they are — these are books my younger self would have written.
Surely, some of the Jesus fad is due to the success of David Klinghoffer’s 2005 book, “Why the Jews Rejected Jesus.” (Answer: We’re the chosen people — a nation, not universalists.) But I think a lot of it is also due to our increased confidence as an assimilated minority in the United States. Where once we could have been tortured or burned for not accepting Christ, now we can publish books criticizing him.
It was not always thus. Indeed, the texts discussed in the best book of the recent crop, Peter Schafer’s “Jesus in the Talmud,” were once considered so outrageous that they were self-censored from European editions of the Talmud. Not that the attempt succeeded: Christian authorities burned the Talmud anyway, and antisemitism continued unabated. But the censorship did succeed somewhat; these texts are practically unknown even today.
And they are still somewhat scandalous. What Schafer shows is that the rabbis of the Talmud knew the New Testament well enough to parody it and were concerned enough about the growth of the Jewish-Christian sect to condemn the testament. And they did so in unsparing terms.
The image of Jesus that one gets from the Talmud is that of an illicit, sex-crazed black magician who uses trickery to lead Israel astray. In BT Sanhedrin 103a, Jesus is depicted as a poor disciple who “spoiled his food,” which Schafer speculates may be a euphemism for sexual misconduct: “to eat the dish” being a recognized Talmudic euphemism known for the sex act itself. A later emendation adds that he “practiced magic and led Israel astray.” And the virgin birth is ridiculed as a cover-up of Jesus’ true parentage: His mother was an “illicit woman” (another Talmudic locution), perhaps even a prostitute.
Strong stuff — no wonder they don’t teach it in Sunday school. But fascinating, as well, as long as, of course, we don’t take it too seriously (which, doubtless, some Jews do). The texts Schafer adduces — all of them relatively late, dating to the third- or fourth-century C.E., suggesting a conscious effort to fight the upstart sect — show that the Talmudic rabbis did not reject Jesus for the noble reasons that Klinghoffer and his ilk suggest. At least according to these texts, they rejected him because they thought he was evil, or saw him as a threat.
The most notorious of all the “Jesus texts,” however, is BT Sanhedrin 43a, which describes the halachic procedure of Jesus’ trial and execution. This is notorious, of course, because for nearly 2,000 years, Christian authorities have been blaming the Jews for killing Jesus, even though the New Testament itself makes clear that it’s the Romans who actually did the deed.
Shockingly, however, the Talmud does not shirk responsibility for Jesus’ death. On the contrary, it says that he deserved it and that the Jews did it themselves. Jesus was, the text relates, a sorcerer, an idolater and a heretic who led Israel to idolatry. His conviction was entirely just, and his execution — stoning and then hanging — was carried out in strict accordance with rabbinic law.
Why would the Talmud make such a claim? Schafer speculates it is to undermine the Gospels’ account and empower the rabbis. In the Gospels’ account, the rabbis are tools, almost, of Rome. In the Talmud’s account, they are powerful — so powerful that they condemned the hero of the Christian sect to his brutal death. (Believe it or not, there are actually even more graphic texts, which Schafer includes in his book. Suffice to say, their gruesome account of hell puts even Dante to shame. But I’ll leave that out of this family newspaper.)
What’s fascinating about reading these texts together with Schafer’s careful and thorough commentary is that the ambivalence about Jesus, which I experienced as a young man, seems to be already in place back in the fourth century. On the one hand, Jesus is beneath contempt. On the other, he is dangerously powerful. These texts were written before the church became the most powerful force on Earth, but they wouldn’t be out of place among the books I chose not to include here.
Indeed, I’m sure that there are some readers who may have preferred these comments not be published at all. The texts in Schafer’s book are still dangerous. They still might incite violence against Jews. And they threaten decades of progress in Jewish-Christian relations.
One wonders when, if ever, we Jews will be able to heal from the trauma of Christian oppression and actually learn from, while still differentiating ourselves from, Christian teaching and tradition. Along my own spiritual path, I’ve been amazed at how much I learn from the teachings of other traditions — Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism, Sufism — yet how jittery I get when it comes to Christianity. Yes, like many Jews, I have an appreciation for the teachings of Jesus, and I even wrote my master’s thesis on Paul and the Talmud. But this isn’t enough. I want to understand Christ the way Christians do — not to become one of them, but in order to enrich my own religious life. I want to learn from them how to have a personal relationship with a personal, humanized, embodied God who cares, and who saves. I want to experience Jesus as a human being enlightened enough to see everyone as holy, even the impure, the leprous and the marginalized. And I want to follow his example, seeing all my fellow human beings and myself as sons and daughters of God.
Four years ago, I developed some of these thoughts in an essay in Zeek magazine. I playfully titled the piece “How I Finally Came To Accept Christ in My Heart,” explaining the irony in the first paragraph. At a conference where the magazines were for sale, someone saw that title, took the entire stack of magazines and threw it on the floor, proceeding to scream at the bookseller for selling missionary trash.
Well, I guess you’ll have to forgive us Jews for still being a little nervous…
|January 28th, 2012||#18|
Join Date: Jul 2007
Bloom’s Day (Or Year)
Bloom’s latest book is a defense of his career-making “The Anxiety of Influence.
At 80, and with three new books, the literary critic-as-provocateur is still picking fights over the Bible, Kabbalah and Shakespeare.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Harold Bloom, the eminent literary critic at Yale, will turn 81 this summer, and he does not plan to exit the stage quietly.
“Christianity? Christianity?” he said in a recent phone interview, when asked about his views on the Christian interpretation of Judaism. “The New Testament is a violently anti-Semitic reading of the Hebrew Bible.”
Interfaith groups that try to patch over the differences today, he went on, do so in vain: “Christianity is our enemy. It’s an uncomfortable truth that nobody wants to deal with. It’s a ghastly religion founded on the cross, a symbol of torture.”
It is comments like that that have made Bloom both revered and reviled. Perhaps America’s most influential literary critic, Bloom is an impassioned defender of the Western — mostly Christian — canon, as well as a proudly, loudly self-affirming Jew.
“I’ve never reacted against my religion,” he said, when asked if his lifelong love of English poetry, markedly Christian in nature, was in part a reaction against his Orthodox Jewish upbringing, which he has long-since abandoned.
“I actually started reading poetry in Yiddish before [I started reading] Hart Crane — Glaytshteyn, Halpern.” His fondness for Blake and Shelley, Milton and Shakespeare, he added, “was an extension of my love of Yiddish.”
The famously prodigious scholar is churning out three new books this year, which mostly refine and re-emphasize the arguments he’s been making since he began teaching at Yale more than a half-century ago.
“The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life,” which comes out on May 3, defends his original, career-making theory — that poetic genius results from a love of one’s literary heroes, followed by Oedipal rebellion against them. Earlier this year, he edited a collection of poems dealing with mortality, “Till I End My Song: A Gathering of Last Poems.”
And in September, he’ll release “The Shadow of A Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of the King James Bible,” which in part advances his contentious notion that the Bible’s most arresting stories — Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve, among others — must have been written by a profoundly literary scribe, perhaps even a woman in King Solomon’s court.
But he’s playing down that last part — that the Tanach’s author was a Solomon circle countess — he said, noting that too much attention has been given to what was merely meant to be speculative (and gleefully wanton, befitting Bloom’s temperament).
“It’s immaterial whether the writer was male or female,” Bloom said. “The important point I was making about ‘J’” — the name Bloom gave to one of the Hebrew Bible’s author — “is that it gives a vision of Yahweh that’s entirely different from normative, or Orthodox Judaism.”
Bloom’s main point, which he originally made in “The Book of J” (1991) — his first best-seller, in no small part because of the controversy it sparked — was that the God of the Bible’s best stories is too wild, exuberant, capricious, and ultimately human in nature to have any relation to the solemn, all-knowing God described by rabbis, and later, by Christian priests.
Or as he puts it this time in “The Shadow of a Great Rock”: “Truly what is most powerful in the unread Scriptures is blasphemous at its core: the god who is an astonishing, outrageous personality upon whom theologies have been imposed.”
For scholars, Bloom remains a force to be reckoned with, though mainly for his insights on literary influence. “He’s the biggest name in literary criticism still,” said Jonathon Shears, a scholar in England who recently edited a collection of essays on Bloom. “Whether or not people want to embrace him because he’s still controversial” is another question, Shears said.
Yet Bloom’s interpretation of the Bible and, notably, the Kabbalah, have been challenged since the beginning. And not by religious figures either, but by equally astute and learned Jewish critics — Leon Wieseltier, Robert Alter and Cynthia Ozick among them.
Alter, for instance, a leading literary scholar of the Bible, attacked the idea that the Hebrew Bible can be “excavated” at all, unpacked into separate strands of authorship. And Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic, wrote a devastating, if in part praiseworthy, critique of Bloom’s book “Kabbalah and Criticism” (1976) in The New York Review of Books.
In “Kabbalah and Criticism,” Bloom argued that Kabbalah was a model for his ideas about literary influence, and went on to suggest that the Jewish mystic tradition was formed out of a rebellion against “normative,” or traditional rabbinic Judaism.
Wieseltier said that this ignored the historical reality of how the Kabbalah came into being. The strand of Kabbalah Bloom championed — Lurianic Kabbalah — was formed in direct response to the Jews’ expulsion from Catholic Spain, not in reaction to other rabbis. Besides, Wieseltier added, rabbis who practiced Kabbalah adhered to rabbinic Judaism.
Perhaps more significantly, Wieseltier used his review to make a larger critique of Bloom’s central idea — the one repeated in “The Anatomy of Influence” — which is still cited by Bloom’s critics.
Bloom’s theory about influence rests on the idea that any poet, in order to escape mere imitation, must deliberately “misread” his idols in order to generate new ideas. The most original poets — the ones worthy of canonization — Bloom argued, were often so original that their influences were hardly perceptible at all. Therefore only the most assiduous critics could tease them out.
The problem, Wieseltier and others have argued, is that this makes any argument about influence possible, so long as the reader is clever enough. “Misreading makes mistakes legitimate,” Wieseltier wrote, “and so Bloom appears to advocate a literary criticism devoid of scholarly conscience, a method of reading which is finally an interpretive anarchism.” In other words, anything goes.
Bloom has prominent defenders, too, of course. For one, there’s Moshe Idel, a scholar of Jewish thought at Hebrew University, and long-time friend of Bloom (“The Book of J” was dedicated to him). Idel said in an interview that there is ultimately no “correct” way to read kabbalistic literature. “There is nothing like Kabbalah itself,” Idel said. “It is only represented, reinterpreted and reflected by other scholars.”
In that case, Idel said, Bloom’s interpretation of Kabbalah is just as valid as any. “I’ve learned a lot from him,” Idel said. “I at least was inspired by his understanding of Kabbalah.”
Bloom, of course, relishes a good fight, and is equally famous for inviting them. As he puts it in “The Anatomy of Influence”: “More than a half century as a teacher has shown me that I am best as a provocation for my students, a realization that has carried over into my writing.”
But Bloom emphasized in an interview with The Jewish Week that he stands by his reading of Kabbalah. Again, he’s just been misunderstood: “I basically used my own reading of Kabbalah as a model for literary criticism,” he said — and not to make an argument about how the Kabbalist tradition itself was created. Kabbalah, he continued, “interests me primarily because it gives me a metaphor for how to read poems.”
Bloom learned most about Kabbalah through Gershom Scholem, the towering 20th-century Kabbalah scholar, whom Bloom says was once a close friend. But Bloom’s interests in Judaism — and language itself — began at birth.
Both his parents were immigrants from Eastern Europe who settled in the East Bronx, and Bloom’s first language was Yiddish. His father worked in the garment industry, and his mother was a homemaker, but they kept an Orthodox home. “I taught English to myself,” he said, mostly through reading on his own.
He has said before that his older sister gave him his first collection of English poems — by Hart Crane — when he was 10, and since then he has devoted his life to the Western canon. But some of his earliest and most searing memories of Western literature — specifically, his beloved Shakespeare — came from the Yiddish theater.
In 1938, his sisters took him to see Maurice Schwartz play Shylock in a Yiddish version of “Merchant of Venice,” written by Jacob Gordin. “I was a little boy of 8, sitting there with my wonderful group of older sisters,” Bloom said.
His reaction to Shylock was visceral, and viscerally negative. Schwartz “was carrying an enormous scalpel,” Bloom said, which he was to use to take his proverbial pound of flesh. “Then he said ‘Ich ban doch ben yid’—“For after all, I’m Jewish!”
Those words, first written by Shakespeare, then translated into Yiddish by Gordin, convinced Bloom that Shylock was unquestionably an anti-Semitic caricature. “It’s a viciously anti-Semitic comedy,” Bloom still says. “Since it is written by Shakespeare, Shylock may be the most richly portrayed comic villain, but there is no question it is anti-Semitic.” Still, he added that Shakespeare himself was probably not.
What may have rescued Bloom from shunning Shakespeare early on was how Schwartz interpreted the part. Shortly after his Shylock says those damning words, Schwartz acts against them, dropping his weapon and refusing to accept the fate Shakespeare ascribes to him. “He dropped the scalpel and everyone clapped,” Bloom recalled.
Bloom has since become one of Shakespeare’s greatest champions. His book “Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human” (1998) argued that no other author has ever displayed a fuller understanding of human experience than Shakespeare. And because he did it through language, which is the only thing we humans have to comprehend the world, he virtually created life as we know it.
“You always felt that in some way you were in a religious class as well as a literature class,” said Jonathan Rosen, a former student of Bloom’s at Yale, now an accomplished author and founder of Nextbook. Rosen and others say that Bloom views literature as others might view religion.
“He sees Christ as a literary figure, like a part of a novel,” Shears said. Bloom’s overriding view, Shears added, is “this idea that it’s literature that contains religion, rather than the other way around.” By cutting out clerical authority, moreover, truly magnificent literature, parts of the Bible included, recovers the true ecstasy in faith.
Adding to that point, Rosen noted that Bloom never made his reverence for the Jewish God — or at least his Jewish God, Yahweh — a secret. Rosen remembers a class Bloom taught on Kabbalah, criticism and Western literature, in which Bloom scrawled a quote from Rabbi ben Bag Bag on the blackboard: “Turn it and turn it, for everything is in it.”
The quotation, which Rosen used as an epigraph for his book “The Talmud and the Internet,” was Bag Bag’s way of saying that all knowledge, all truths, were in the Bible. But it was up to the reader to cite the relevance of its meanings.
Bloom used the quote as a model for understanding Freud’s conception of the unconscious — the basis for Bloom’s ideas about poetic influence — but Rosen interpreted it like this: “To understand Freud, [Bloom] was saying, in a sense, that you had to understand the rabbis.”
In his own writing, Bloom has made his devotion to literature clear. He has not quite called it his religion, but that is probably because he holds literature in higher esteem.
As he writes in “The Anatomy of Influence”: “Confusing Shakespeare with God is ultimately legitimate”; noting elsewhere: “Literature for me is not merely the best part of life; it is itself the form of life, which has no other form.”
Harold Bloom will discuss his latest book, “The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life,” at the New York Public Library on Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m. $25.
|February 14th, 2012||#19|
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Israeli Lawmaker Destroys New Testament
"He’s not exactly known for his sensitivity, but Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari has rarely made a statement that has the potential to offend quite so many people.
"Many lawmakers were peeved to receive a complimentary New Testament in their Knesset mailbox, courtesy of a Christian publisher.
Anything perceived as missionary activity touches a very raw nerve in the Jewish state. But while most lawmakers quietly decided what to do with the book, Ben-Ari decided to tear it in to pieces with his parliamentary aide photographing him, and then release a picture to Ma’ariv’s news site.
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