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Case dropped against authors, endorsers of gentile-killing manual

Israel’s attorney general decided to drop the case against racist book “Torat Ha’Melech” – since its racism was couched in religious terms.

The prosecution, backed by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, announced Monday that it is dropping the case against rabbis Yizhak Shapira, Yoseph Elizur, Dov Lior and Yizhak Ginzburg. The first two wrote a book called “Torat Ha’Melech” (The King’s Bible) two years ago. It is a religious treatise on the killing of gentiles – that is, when a Jew is permitted to kill a non-Jew. Lior and Ginzburg endorsed the book. It is worth noting that all four rabbis are state employees and belong to a state-funded yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar.

The main theme of the book was that pretty much everything goes; in a notorious paragraph, Shapira and Elizur – rabbis in the infamousleery yeshiva, which the ISA (Shin Bet) tried to close down – claimed that

there is reason to believe harming children, if there is reason to think they will grow up to harm us, is permitted; and in such a case, the harm should be directed specifically at them, and not just while harming grown-ups.

For “harm,” read “kill.” There’s much more there, including permission to kill any gentile which does not follow the “Laws of the Sons of Noah,” which conveniently enough encompasses the vast majority of mankind, if by killing that gentile you intended to punish him for not following a divine mandate he was not aware of. All Christians, pagans and atheists are ipso facto non-Noah-observant, and can be slain at will.

Naturally, even in the decayed state of the only Jewish theocracy in the Middle East, this raised some eyebrows. An investigation went on leisurely, as the rabbis resisted being interrogated and the police was always leery of them. There were several large congregations of rabbis expressing support for the investigated rabbis; some of them would say afterwards they did not support the book in any way, but that they just could not stand aside while a rabbi was interrogated for preaching the torah. It is worth noting no serious rabbinical figure took on debunking the book, and, while it does contain some errors, is basically sound – according to Jewish law, that is.

The investigation has now petered out miserably. The most alarming part of the decision is its reasoning: Attorney General Weinstein noted that while Torat Ha’Melech contained severe racist terms, he did not have grounds for conviction, since the rabbis couched their incitement to racism in religious terms. Weinstein wrote that the law allowed for punishing someone who implicitly incited to racism was, well, his intention to such incitement, the law specifically exempted “religious studies” from prosecution.

Weinstein is certainly correct. The Israeli criminal code – article 144c(b) – is explicit: “publishing a quotation out of religious tracts and prayer books, or maintaining a religion’s practice, would not be considered a felony according to article 144b, so long as it was not done purposefully to incitement to violence.” Since Shapira and Elizur went to the trouble of writing 230 pages of incitement to racism, replete with scholarly quotations, they are off the hook.

Basically what this decision means is that Israel’s hate speech laws are dead. Jewish racism is religious by nature. This is not an accident: the Knesset was moved to write the prohibition against racism after Meir Martin Kahane was elected in 1984, and used it as a platform for vile racism – though it seems mild compared to what we’re seeing these days from Danon, Regev, and the rest of the litter.

However, the legislators found themselves in a quandary: outlawing racism without granting religion an exemption would basically outlaw Orthodox Judaism, which is racist to the core. A male Orthodox Jew thanks Jehova every morning for not being made a gentile; for not being made a woman; and for not being made a slave. (Women praise Jehova for “creating me as he saw fit.”)

The daily prayer Shmone Esre, repeated three times a day contains a curse against Christians and other heretics; and other prayers basically call for the fall of the gentile nations.  The Havdala, the prayer separating the Sabbath from the work week, contains the phrase “He who separated light from darkness, between holiness and the secular, between Israel and the nations.” There are various nasty and racist Jewish laws (Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef recently reminded us the only reason Jewish doctors are allowed to treat gentiles on the Sabbath is for fear of being sacked if they won’t), which would be illegal to impart if the law was to have any teeth.

So they had to grant religion (read: Orthodox Judaism) an exemption. By doing so, they fatally weakened the law. It became so brittle, even Kahane voted for the law which was supposed to outlaw him.

While this was the law for some 25 years now, the prosecution did everything it could to avoid testing it. There is only one rabbi I can think of, Ido Alba, who was prosecuted for violating it; he wrote a book named “an investigation into the religious edicts regarding the killing of a gentile.” But that was in the 1990s, soon after the Goldstein massacre (Alba was a fan), and presumably Alba was not cautious enough. There is reason to think that, under the careful Weinstein, Alba would not have been prosecuted at all.

So, if you want to spout racism in Israel, wear your yarmulke, quote your Maimonides, and you’ll be fine and dandy. This was basically the case for 25 years; now the prosecution openly admits it.

One does wonder, though, whether an Imam expounding away the religious edicts of Jihad would fare just as well under the scrutiny of Weinstein.

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    1. Piotr Berman

      “All Christians, pagans and atheists are ipso facto non-Noah-observant, and can be slain at will.”

      Are you sure? While surfing the web, I have seen an on-line newspaper of some Brooklyn Hasidim (I think Hasidim from Crown Heights), and in community news, there is a soccer match of Jewish youth with Black kids, “our Noahide neighbors”.

      I think that there are groups of Hasidim with very different theological and political attitudes, but my impression that this was a community wide bulletin, for example, you could not figure out if they are Zionist or not.

      Anyway, I wonder what would Yossi do if he were the prosecutor, if I asked him to investigate this:
      an article from the neoconservative Israeli journal Azure/Tekhelet,entitled, “Plowshares into Swords: the Lost Biblical Idea of Peace.” The author, David Hazony, the former editor-in-chief of the journal…

      details here http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2009/01/state-of-israel-or-state-of-simeon-and.html

      Hazony’s “Biblical idea of peace” is of course not new, merely “lost”, but it can be summarized with two non-Jewish famous quotes: (a) Caedite eos (b) They make a desert and they call it peace.

      Reply to Comment
    2. aristeides

      Someone should republish it, substituting “Jews” for “gentiles” and see how it fares.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Danny

      “One does wonder, though, whether an Imam expounding away the religious edicts of Jihad would fare just as well under the scrutiny of Weinstein.”
      I know you’re being cynical here, but this is actually an important point. In Israel, nearly everything is permissible for Jews that is not permissible to Arabs. A few examples:
      – the Arabs may not espouse hate towards Jews; Jews may espouse hate to Arabs, so long as it’s shrouded in elaborate excuses, such as, for example, security.
      – Arabs may not build a nuclear reactor anywhere on their sovereign territories; Jews may stockpile as much WMD as they want, and enrich as much weapons-grade Uranium as they please without ever being inspected.
      – Neighboring Arabs may not even approach the Israeli border; Israel may invade a neighboring country at will, kill its citizens with impunity, build army bases on the occupied territory and eventually even bring Jews to build illegal settlements there.
      – Arabs may not tell the truth about how Palestinians are being treated by Israel; Israel may lie through her teeth about how she treats the Palestinians.

      Reply to Comment
    4. max

      “One does wonder, though, whether an Imam expounding away the religious edicts of Jihad would fare just as well under the scrutiny of Weinstein.” – interesting observation: aren’t there enough explicit calls to kill Jews in the Muslim religious texts to ensure that Weinstein would be very careful not to open up this can of worms?

      Reply to Comment
    5. Bronxman

      I was reminded of a phrase I once read long ago in some forgotten (for me) text describing the average citizen in Nazi Germany: “law abiding citizens in a lawless society”. I hope the day comes when the encouragement of racism and murder will only show up in the rear view mirror.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Piotr Berman

      I think it is not a proper role for the state to determine if religious text are correct or not. However, it is a proper role for the religious authorities. Thus in the case of state prosecutors I would be only surprised why they needed years to drop the case.

      But the role of Rabbinate is disturbing. Was Torah haMelech ever repudiated on its merits? I recall a critique by some rabbis that it is wrong to publish religious opinions that can inflame the gentiles — does it mean that these opinions are correct, but should stay as a part of oral lore?

      Rabbis are quite clear if lycra can be mixed with poliester or when you can buy milk from Goim and when you cannot, but on the subject of permissible cruelty and treachery toward gentiles it is hard to get straight answers like how Genesis 34 should be interpreted: behave like Simeon and Levi, or like Jacob, or the settlers and IDF should behave like Simeon and Levi, and the courts, like Jacob, issuing some opinions what it is too little too late.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Rehmat

      There is no Popacy or Rabbianism in Islam. Every Muslim who leads daily prayers is called “Imam”. Jihad can only be declared by the leader of a Muslim-majority state governed by Islamic Shari’ah. None such state exist currently with rhe except of Iran which I would called 80% Islamic.

      Jihad is only commanded by Holy Qur’an when such Islamic state is under attack. Furthermore, Jihad doesn’t allow carpet-bombing or shooting non-combatants, elderly people, women and children.

      Holy Qur’an doesn’t preach hatred towards non-Muslims as Bible and Talmud does. These racist Rabbis should read Jewish poet and historian Tamam Kahn’s book ‘UNTOLD: A History of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad’ in which she proves how tolerant the Prophet was toward Jews and Christians. He married two Jewish and one Christian lady.


      Reply to Comment
    8. max

      Rehmat, isn’t it great when everyone can provide her/his own interpretation, because there’s no Popacy or Rabbianism?

      Reply to Comment
    9. Will the world ever be rid of Abrahamic religions?

      I find them absolutely blood-curdling…as an atheist I believe superstition has no place in modern society but I have to say that the Abrahamic ones of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are especially dangerous for their narrow-minded focus on one right way of doing things, one right way of thinking about things, and of course one right people — Jew, Christian, or Muslim — that are favored by one God….

      This is really scary stuff.

      Reply to Comment
    10. caden

      Let me see if I got this right. Judaism, unlike every other religion on the planet is racist to the core. From that theorem it certainly follows that the Jewish state should be eradicated from the face of the earth. It is after all a racist state, full of Jews. It is evidently the only answer to restore peace on the planet. Got it Yossi

      Reply to Comment
    11. Piotr Berman

      Quran, Bible and Talmud (all Holy) do not preach hatred, people do. For each Abrahamic faith you can collect authoritative statements like “the way of Torah is the way of pleasantness and peace”. And for each you can find also stuff like “you shall not suffer a witch to live” (and contrary to Black Legend mythology, witch burning was more practiced in Germanic countries like England than in the domains of arch-Catholic Kings of Spain).

      And it is not just religion. Progressive ideologies and secular nationalism have their Jekyll and Hyde versions too.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Rehmat

      Max – Yes, there is no Popacy or Rabbianism – but I never expected everyone to believe that especially when their knowledge of Islam come from Daniel Pipes or David Horowitz or Robert Spencer, Pat Robertson, etc.

      But then there are Jews like Norman Gershman, who interpret Islam: “To me Islam is poetry. is science, is to be with the Divine. Islam is beauty”.


      Reply to Comment
    13. Mayer

      Wow. Jews creating their own blood libel. Your parents must be so proud. Unless, of course, you didn’t pick up your irrational hatred of observant Judaism from them. But that’s how the non-Jewish anti-Semites do it.

      Reply to Comment
    14. XYZ

      Rehmat is giving us that famous “tolerant Islam” that “holds Judaism in the HIGHEST regard” that we hear so much about.

      And yes JIHAD IS ONLY DEFENSIVE. That is why the Muslims burst out of Arabia in the 7th and 8th century and conquered a huge empire from the Atlantic to India. IT WAS ALL A GIGANTIC ‘DEFENSIVE’ WAR. Yeah.

      Reply to Comment
    15. XYZ

      Having Muslims marrying dhimmi wives isn’t an example of tolerance. These were often viewed more as kidnapping women out of the religion they were born into against their will. It still occurs.
      And let’s ask Rehmat about how “TOLERANT” Islam is to women who are born into Islam and want to marry someone of another religion…..oops, now we are talking about “family honor killings”. Forget that!

      Reply to Comment
    16. XYZ

      Jack The Foreigner-
      Yes, we certainly need more open-minded, tolerant athiest leaders in the world in the mold of those famous atheists Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong. How many millions did these tolerant atheists eradicate?

      Reply to Comment
    17. XYZ

      Rehmat’s comment that there is no “papacy and Rabbanate” in (Sunni) Islam is nonsense. Not every Muslim in the street is qualified to be an Islamic judge. To be a Islamic scholar and judge requires years of study. There are several Islamic schools of jurisprudence (e.g. Hanbali). No Muslim off the street, including Rehmat, can go and set up his own Islamic court and make judgements the way they want, nor can he go and define religous obligations such as zakat (charity) or the Ramadan fast the way he wants to on a whim.

      Reply to Comment
    18. XYZ

      To those who run “972”…you are playing with fire having Gurvitz write these things. If you want this place to become the location of a religous war, you will destroy the function you set it up for.

      Reply to Comment
    19. XYZ

      Gurvitz’s claim :
      The daily prayer Shmone Esre, repeated three times a day contains a curse against Christians and other heretics
      This is an out and out falsehood. A lie. It refers to “slanderers” and “enemies of G-d”. There is NO mention of non-Jews, Christians or anything of the sort. It is referring to enemies of Judaism and those who wish to subvert it. If Gurvitz is going to extrapolate and claim the reference to slanderers means non-Jews, there is NO basis for such an assumption. It is true that in the early days of Christianity, there were those who tried to infiltrate the Jewish community and change its religious beliefs. Judaism strongly opposes this, but any non-Jew who believes in G-d and doesn’t persecute the Jews or try to subvert Judaism is NOT included in this, and this can be confirmed by anyone who reads the Bible and sees that G-d fearing non-Jews also receive salvation and life in the next world. Gurvitz’s claim that all non-Jews are considered “ipso facto” to be “non-observant of the Noachide Laws” is also a falsehood.
      Gurvitz’s belief that presenting a false view of Judaism for propaganda purposes is justified on political grounds is not only dishonest but doomed to failure. Twice, in the 20th century, major attempts were made to rid the world of Judaism, once and for all. They failed. Gurvitz and Sand are small potatoes.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Come on, XYZ, if that is your real name. No point in repeating the lies of the Middle Ages. The original name of the “birchat ha’malshinim” is “birchat ha’minim”, heretics and not informers (certainly not “slanderers”, as you say). It was changed under the pressure of medieval censorship, but I am yet to meet an Orthodox Jew who did not know the original meaning of the curse, and did not know it referred to Christians. Quit lying. It does your religion no credit, particularly when you and your co-religionists are so pathetic about it.

      Reply to Comment
    21. XYZ

      It was directed, as I said, against Christians who were infiltrating the Jewish community. Not Christians as such. Yes, Judaism strongly opposes those who try to subvert Judaism or lure away Jews from their faith, just as other religions do. Since Christianity, like Islam, broke away from Judaism both have a problem of legitimacy in that they claim that the Prophets of Israel were “really” referring to Christianity and/or Islam and that Judaism was now obsolete. For Christians and Muslims who believe that, there indeed is a counter-polemic from the Jewish side. But Judaism does NOT “curse” or fight against ANY believers in any other religion who live by the laws of civilized culture, which the Noachide laws encapsule. Maimonides himself, in spite of his spirited defense of Judaism against the Christians and Muslim who tried to delegitimize Judaism said that Christianity and Islam had a positive role in the world in spreading G-d’s word.
      I will not beat around the bush. The centuries of antisemitic persecution by Christians and Muslims have left a bitter taste in the mouth of many Jews. But, I repeat it is a LIE to say that Judaism teaches hatred of non-Jews or curses non-Jews, and any claiming otherwise is misleading everyone.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Alex

      Yossi, you must lead a very tortured existence. I know, I know. You think you’re happy but are you? It must be very hard to wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and loathe what you see: a Jew. No matter what you do or how you how to rationalize it with comments like “your religion”, you will always be a Jew. You know this to be true and you can’t stand it. Come back to your heritage, Yossi. Please find someone to spend this Shabbat with and really look at Judaism with fresh eyes. It’s sad reading your posts.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Well, no comments column would be complete without some amateur psychoanalysis, thank you Alex.

      Reply to Comment
    24. sh

      Long live Piotr Berman!

      Reply to Comment
    25. Being an American actually using his own name here, I am quite biased in favor of free expression; the bar on incitment to kill should be very high. I felt, upon hearing of this case earlier, that a mistake was being made in prosecuting. All you do is create solidarity among others of like mind (um, lesson for the State vis a vis Palestinians here). From descriptions and the quote, the book is barbaric. As Pitor, above, notes, all ideologies seem to have their monsters. I am fond of Gandhi because, at push, he has to let himself die if he fails.
      There can be little doubt that a religion which holds the single supreme creator of the universe really cares only about one race can have, well, a racist side. Christianity managed to have a most unpleasant side without being the chosen race; but they had a wild card for race which worked quite well for them. Yet many, many families live by their faith, in all the Abrahamic religions and beyond. I can neither condemn nor laugh at them employing the tools of life; for which, assuredly, I might latter be trampled. There’s that Gandhi complex again. Need therapy.
      Persecution doesn’t work. The fight is much harder than that. One must employ, live, an alternative. And for that you are indeed being trampled.
      May YHWH keep your typing fingers strong.

      Reply to Comment
    26. caden

      You know Greg, it continually astounds me how the concept of the “chosen people” is twisted by the anti-semitic left wing. Does Rowan send out a manual about this?

      Reply to Comment
    27. max

      “Christianity managed to have a most unpleasant side without being the chosen race” can only mean the Judaism – in contrast – assumes to be the chosen race (the mix-up of religion and race isn’t mine) and therefore has a much worse side…
      But what can you do, Greg, and Judaism never had the proven chance of justifying your theory?

      Reply to Comment
    28. XYZ

      Christianity and Islam believe they that their followers are the “chosen people” in that theirs is the only true religion and those who are not part of it are lost or have their souls perish or receive punishment in the next world or whatever. Judaism does not teach any such thing…non-Jews are not required to convert to Judaism in order to receive “salvation” but anyone can convert to Judaism if they are serious. So how did this distorted view of the Jews supposedly being “racist” because they view themselves as the “chosen people” for having been the people who received the Torah get started. The Arabs view themselves as “the chosen people” because Muhammed was one of them. Same thing. Either all are racists or none are.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Piotr Berman

      Max: “But what can you do, Greg, and Judaism never had the proven chance of justifying your theory?”

      Do you mean that Judaism never had a chance of “showing its monsters”?

      Like, mass slaugher of the goim?

      Like, the Kitos War? “Major revolts by diasporic Jews in Cyrene (Cyrenaica), Cyprus, Mesopotamia and Aegyptus spiraled out of control resulting in a widespread slaughter of Roman citizens and others (200,000 in Cyrene, 240,000 in Cyprus according to Dio Cassius).”

      In that period, early II century AD, there were powerful messianic cults among Jews, that were possibly supported by Persians and clearly cooperated with Persians during Roman wars with Persia. About 20 years later there was Bar-Kochba rebellion, spurred by the same cults, and additionally by Roman reprisals motivated by rebellions of Kitos war. And some crazy fanatics from those wars are now revered as national heros.

      XYZ: so Jews had their Arthemios under whose command they committed genocide in Cyprus. You cannot seriously claim that atheists lack positive characters, scientists, artists or perfectly reasonable political leaders (or so-so reasonable leaders of Israel for that matter).

      Reply to Comment
    30. XYZ

      Where did I ever say there weren’t good atheists? In fact, Piotr, you are absolutely right. Ideologies do not make people good. Look at Communism…beautiful ideas about people being equal and sharing. This is what Stalin and Pol Pot preached. Religion can be just another ideology that can cause people to do terrible things. However, religion is SUPPOSED to bring people to reflect on their personal behavior and to hold them accountable for them in some sense.
      Dennis Prager asks this question: suppose you are walking down a dark alley and you see three big men coming towards you. Would you feel more comfortable approaching them if you knew they came out of a bar or out of a Bible study circle?

      Reply to Comment
    31. max

      @Piotr, thanks for the info!
      Indeed, Jews could (and possibly can) be violent and cruel.
      How’s that related to Chosen Race?

      Reply to Comment
    32. “You know Greg, it continually astounds me how the concept of the “chosen people” is twisted by the anti-semitic left wing. Does Rowan send out a manual about this?”
      I do indeed: it’s a photostatic copy (white on black) of Rabbi Jonathan Eibeschutz’ “Ve-Yavo ha-Yom el-ha-Ayin.”

      Reply to Comment
    33. Rehmat

      The “$million Question”, Can Jews kill fellow Jews?

      Every Israeli Hasbara idiot will tell you that while Muslims kills other Muslims (true no doubt), Jews will never kill their fellow Jews. However, historic events prove that after the Christians, most of the Jews killed were murdered by their fellow Jews. In fact, the former US President Richard Nixon is recorded on the White House tape in 1971 as saying: “The only two non-Jews in the Communist conspiracy were Chambers and Hiss – Every other one was a Jew and it raised hell with us”.


      Reply to Comment
    34. Alan

      I don’t think Rowan Berkowitz has a manual– it’s obvious he uses Rehmat’s.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Piotr Berman

      Rehmat, please, think a bit before typing.

      “Hasbara idiots” would be first to point out the deadly danger from traitor leftist Jews. This is from an irate article by Israeli-born professor of U Penn about BDS conference at U Penn where Jews were among organizers:

      The macabre sight of the likes of Stella Kübler, (arguably Hannah Arendt) and the Capos in the extermination camps is about to be replayed here at Penn.

      Even so, your claim is dubious, and Nixon quote has nothing to do with the claim. Plus, are you sure that Assyrians did not kill more Jews than Jews? Plus, who cares?

      Max: Indeed, Jews could (and possibly can) be violent and cruel.
      How’s that related to Chosen Race?

      The importance is that political ideologies often have the form of recreating Golden Age from the past. To Salafists, the Golden Age was when Muslim dwelled in deserts with pure hearts and no fun. To Persian Shia, Golden Age was when Persia was one of the most advanced countries in Middle Ages with sciences, music, poetry, paintings etc. (So they regard veiling faces as Salafi barbarism, and so prohibitions of music, male and female students in same classes etc. But the issue of female singers, especially uncovering more than just a face, really tests the limits of tolerance, like 700 years ago). What is Jewish Golden Age?

      Unfortunately, to many religious Jews the Golden Age was when they were Chosen Race in freshly Promised Land and they were smiting enemies left and right. Just go to comments sections of JPost and ynet and see for yourself.

      Reply to Comment
    36. max

      Piotr, you & I don’t know how many are the “many religious Jews” you refer to, and you definitely use the term “Chosen Race” in a way very few – if any – religious Jews would use it. To get the Jewish view of it, you may look at http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/4355-chosen-people.
      But my comment was to Greg’s text, who insinuated that Jews would be worse than Christians (presumably – within our context – at massacring non-Jews) due to their “Chosen Race claim”, an ugly fabrication, with a base not in ignorance but Antisemitism (the claim, not Greg).

      Reply to Comment
    37. Piotr Berman: Religion is bad in itself. Saying that religions don’t preach hate is like saying poison doesn’t kill, not being able to digest poison is what kills….

      XYZ: The difference between atheist despots and religious ones is that people can criticize the atheist despots after their time in power, whereas religion never stops breeding despots. And Abrahamism is the only religious tradition where non-believers are condemned for all eternity, in this world and the alleged next one.

      Alex: Your comment is what is so striking to me about Abrahamic religions, the sheer totalitarianism of it all, where there is no escape, no other way: you’re Jewish and that’s that (or the Islamic version: you’re Muslim or you’re dead!)….

      Reply to Comment
    38. XYZ

      J the F-
      If you are including Judaism in your “Abrahamic” category, what you are saying is completely untrue.

      Reply to Comment
    39. max

      @JF, what you’re writing exposes you not as atheist but proud to be ignorant

      Reply to Comment
    40. Mag

      “aren’t there enough explicit calls to kill Jews in the Muslim religious texts to ensure that Weinstein would be very careful not to open up this can of worms?”

      Actually, Jews and Christians (Muslims later included Zoroastrians, Hindus and Buddhists as their empires expanded) are held as ahl-ad-din, or people of the book, and are their lives are protected under Islamic tradition. In fact, the Prophet Moses’ name appears at least twice as often in the Qur’an as that of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The only time the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) killed Jewish people was after the tribe in Medina thrice betrayed him to the Qur’aysh at Mecca. Moreover, while the Moors colonized Spain, the Jews of that region experienced a golden age of culture and literature. This is not to say that all interactions between the groups have been altogether friendly, but it is not in the texts that this hostility is mandated. I would say such things are a result of politics and warmongering.

      Reply to Comment
    41. YHWH chose his people. YHWH is the sole, universal creator. Chosen people. You are right that coversion is possible; in that I was wrong; one enters the people upon conversion, so not race–but beware where that takes you (S. Sand, “The Invention of the Jewish People”).
      Christianity asserts, in Revelations although that book is often ignored and in some churches I think almost non-canonical, that those that do not accpet God will endure eternal punishment. Islam actually is more liberal, in some verses, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere on this site. As appled, all the Abrahamic faiths are exclusionary, although in the US there are strains which seem to not go there.
      None of this is antisemetic. Deal with your texts. The point of all this was that there are places in Torah which can activate the logic of these Rabbis. It is, in application, racist in the extreme. Non of these texts are immune from such possibility (although Christianity pushes the destruction to the End of Days)–and that is what we have to deal with. Although I believe free speech completly protects these authors, deal with the texts they employ.
      Or is it antisemetic to claim that Torah is historically based, a product of social/cultural forces? Was Spinoza antisemetic? The only Jew to be banned in perpetuity. Ben Gurion wanted to have an early Knesset remove that ban; he failed. In your talk of leftists, condemning without notice of content, you are heading towards bans again.

      Reply to Comment
    42. max

      @Greg, the issue isn’t what Christianity asserts but what Judaism does, and Judaism sets the ‘Just’ non-Jew at the same level as a ‘Just’ Jew. As simple as that. Which also explains why Judaism doesn’t follow a missionary practice (though it happened over the past few thousands of years).
      Some of the proselytizing major religions are: Buddhism, Christianity, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Islam, and Jehovah’s Witnesses
      Those with no missionary efforts are: Hinduism and Judaism.
      Non missionary religions may simply be more open to pluralism.
      Yes, texts in the Torah can activate the logic you describe, but it hasn’t happened yet – unlike Christianity where the text is supposedly the opposite, and yet it ‘activated’ such logic; it’s also less explicit than that found in Islam, which also ‘activated’ this logic, and still does for some Muslims.
      So what’s left of your reasoning? A very ‘conceptual’ remote possibility, where history shows that the text isn’t needed for, and its existence doesn’t force, the activation of this logic.

      Reply to Comment
    43. max

      Latest news: case dropped against a lecturer who called “I urge the world to help break those bastards’ necks [right wingers]”, because “It was not possible to prove that the act will bring violence or terrorism”

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    44. XYZ: Yes, of course; Judaism is the original Abrahamic religion. A guy who shags the family maid and then tosses her and his son with her out into the desert — all the while claiming it was his wife’s idea — is the great examplar of “faith” for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (particularly Judaism and even Islam). The same guy who we’d lock up in a New York Minute for trying to kill his other son because a voice in his head told him to. To quote one of Ingmar Bergman’s characters, how do they expect modern people to believe this stuff??

      Max: I don’t know where you got the sense that I’m “proud” to be an atheist — it’s no great achievement to me, simply exercising common sense — but you’re in denial if you don’t think that the worship of evil lies at the very heart of the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are religions of blood at their core, and the fundamentalists are actually being very correct in insisting on taking their holy texts at face value.

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    45. AMIR.BK

      Claiming that “Judaism” is the “original abrahamic religion” is an extremely anachronistic statement that basically ignores the very existence of the concepts of “time” and “change”. Ancient Judaism might as well be one of the earliest abrahamic religions, but similar to all other ideologies of men it has changed and adapted in such significant ways that it is ridiculous to even assume that a jew from antiquity would even recognize modern rabbinical judaism as the same religion. it was only during the first century of Christianity that the rabbinate solidified its authority over scriptural interpretation and gave birth to the exclusionary political theology held by jews in the diaspora.
      Christianity and Judaism are both descendant of a long dead religion and both can make claims of primacy and ‘closeness’. I never did understand why christian zionists are so eager to proclaim the jews “true israel” (but then again, they do mark the jews up for extermination prior to armageddon)

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    46. Max: Non-proselytizing religions like Hinduism and Judaism are in fact less open to pluralism. First of all, the major non-proselytizing religions are ethnocentric at best and more often than not downright racist, so ethnicity diversity or pluralism is unlikely. Second of all, let’s not forget that they became non-proselytizing because their tribal wargods were defeated militarily by equally crazy people of another religion, who then went forth holding the superiority of their martial muse(s).

      Now regarding you and Greg’s “holy texts activating the logic of murderous impulses:” true, religion is not alone in providing easy justification for evil that some would have likely perpetrated anyway, eventually — but religion is profoundly problematic in this regard because it allows other people, otherwise reasonably reasonable such as yourself, to make allowances, to give the benefit of the doubt…and religion, particularly the Abrahamic ones, are absolutely more problematic in this regard because they can never be proven or disproven, unlikely secular ideologies which can demonstrate success or failure. Thus, there are always new generations of zealots to take up the cause once more — true hellspawn that make you sympathize with the ancient Gnostics’ belief that the god of this world is The Devil himself….

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    47. Amir: I’m talking about taking the holy texts literally, which is the very spirit in which they were meant to be read. Of course, one can point to Reform Judaism and even some of its more esoteric branches that are almost atheistic…but that’s really not my point about Abrahamism. You might as well argue that today’s white racist isn’t the same ilk as Hitler, since Hitler was also against Slavs whereas white racists today are not.

      I know it’s difficult to think of religions as being evil in themselves but if you consider why religions exist at all then it might make sense how seemingly noble aspirations can have the basest origins.

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    48. Amir understates the case when he says: “It was only during the first century of Christianity that the rabbinate solidified its authority over scriptural interpretation and gave birth to the exclusionary political theology held by jews in the diaspora.” Seth Schwartz in “Imperialism and Jewish Society, 200 bce to 640 ce” (Princeton, hb 2001, pb 2004) argues that it was only after the Christianisation of the Roman Empire and the promulgation of Christian imperial law codes for the provinces that ‘the Jews’ became defined as a formally distinct people, because Christianity as an ideology required them to become this, as a counterfoil to its supposed new dispensation. Only at this time (post 380 ce) did the empire accord authority over ‘the Jews’ to the rabbis, whose influence until then had been informal and rather limited. The Christian empire required ‘the Jews’ to become what the so-called New Testament said they were, viz ‘stiff-necked’, law-dominated, devoted to the minutiae of Torah, etc., and charged the rabbis with the task of making them so.

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    49. max

      @JF –
      “simply exercising common sense” – congratulations! Though demographics of atheism are difficult to define, your common sense sets you possibly at the top 2% of the world’s population, but not less than 20%. Of course, if you’re from a Scandinavian country you’re just the norm – their common sense is far superior.
      Obviously, being there makes it easy to identify your belief as a result of your superior common sense, which also makes it so easy to detect the blood at the core of Religion.
      “First of all, the major non-proselytizing religions are ethnocentric at best and more often than not downright racist”
      “they became non-proselytizing because their tribal wargods were defeated militarily” –
      I understand that ignorance and prejudice can lead to such an impression of Judaism, but Hinduism as well? You must have spent decades studying all this religious shit 🙂
      But maybe you just didn’t read what I wrote
      “taking the holy texts literally, which is the very spirit in which they were meant to be read” –
      says rabbi Monsignor JF, completely missing Amir’s point about the evolution of religions
      So maybe common sense is not always good enough, when one gets beyond common, populism platitudes

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    50. It occurs to me that the Christianised Roman empire had another reason for wanting ‘the Jews’ to become a sort of stereotypical monolith, besides the fact that the ‘New Testament’ said that was what they ought to be; this is the fact that during the third century ce a lot of very dangerous gnostic sects had appeared in Egypt and Syria, some with apocalyptic theories which hybridised Christian and Jewish teaching in dangerous, revolutionary ways. The Manichaeans were also going strong, further east, and any large-scale support for them could have been politically lethal to the empire. In the end, the combined efforts of the Christian Roman governors on the one hand, and the rabbis on the other, made sure that any heretical and dangerous hybrids were either stamped out or driven further east, into trans-Jordan and Iraq, where hopefully they could be kept at bay indefinitely. One of the few such sects that survived was the Mandaeans. Another was the Ebionites, one of whom was the paternal cousin of Muhammad’s wife Khadija.

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