The Miracle of Jewish History





Rabbi Blech is Associate Professor of the Talmud at Yeshiva University and the author of Eyewitness to Jewish History (Wiley, 2007), from which the following article is excerpted..

Over three hundred years ago King Louis XIV of France asked Blaise Pascal, the great French philosopher of his day, to give him proof of the existence of miracles. Without a moment's hesitation, Pascal answered,"Why, the Jews, your Majesty-the Jews."

We don't have to speculate what Pascal meant when he gave this answer, because he took the trouble to spell it out. In his masterwork, Pensees, he explained that the fact that the Jewish people had survived until the seventeenth century-the time period in which he lived-was nothing short of a supernatural phenomenon.

Pascal is but one of many scholars and students of Jewish history who have been awed by a story that seems inexplicable by the ordinary rules of logic. When Arnold Toynbee completed his classic ten-volume analysis of the rise and fall of human civilizations, A Study of History, he was troubled by only one seeming refutation of his universal rules governing the inexorable decline of every people on earth. Only the Jews had survived, in defiance of Toynbee's carefully reasoned analysis. So Toynbee proclaimed the Jews nothing more than"a vestigial remnant," a people destined soon to perish.

But somehow, in spite of the most brutal attempts throughout history to destroy the children of Israel-from crusades, inquisitions, and pogroms to the"Final Solution" of the Holocaust-Jews have defied all predictions of their demise. Like Mark Twain, who read his own obituary in the newspaper, Jews can thankfully respond that the report of their death"is highly exaggerated." With a smile we can remind ourselves of the famous 1964 Look magazine cover story that confidently predicted"The Vanishing American Jew" and reflect on the irony that it is Look magazine itself that no longer survives.

Jewish history, simply put, defies explanation.

Mark Twain was an agnostic and a self-acknowledged skeptic, yet he could not help but be overwhelmed by this remarkable truth. This is what he wrote in 1899:

The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away. The Greek and Roman followed, made a vast noise and they are gone. Other peoples have sprung up, and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out and they sit in twilight now or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew. All other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?

The writer Leo Nikolaivitch Tolstoy, best known for War and Peace, was not an agnostic. He was a very religious Russian Orthodox Christian. In an 1891 article entitled"What Is a Jew?" he wrote:

The Jew is the emblem of eternity. He who neither slaughter nor torture of thousands of years could destroy, he who neither fire, nor sword, nor Inquisition was able to wipe off the face of the earth. He who was the first to produce the Oracles of God. He who has been for so long the Guardian of Prophecy and has transmitted it to the rest of the world. Such a nation cannot be destroyed. The Jew is as everlasting as Eternity itself.

Perhaps David Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of the State of Israel, summed it up best when he said,"A Jew who does not believe in miracles is not a realist."

And that's why this book, Eyewitness to Jewish History, had to be written. Miracles need to be told. Incredible events have to be publicized. The story of a people that begins with the Bible and continues to be the focus of world attention to this day requires study and understanding.

After all, among the many gifts of the Jews to the world is the very concept of history. Ancients had no appreciation for studying the past. Herodotus, a Greek who lived in the fifth century before the Common Era, is commonly considered the first historian; he is given the title"the father of history." But as Columbia University historian Joseph Yerushalmi has pointed out,"If Herodotus was the father of history, the father of meaning in history was the Jews."

It is the Jewish Bible that introduced the commandment to remember:"Remember the Lord who took you out of Egypt, the house of bondage.""Remember the days of old; understand the years of generation to generation." Remember Amalek and all those who sought to destroy you. Remember what your ancestors taught you. Remembering will make you a better people. Remembering will make you smarter. Remembering will enable you to survive. And remembering will transform you from a people of history to a nation of destiny.


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Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

I believe we're coming to the end of this one. I will only add that it may always be easier to discuss such matters as the "morality" of widespread land purchases, and decisions made via the UN, than it is to discuss the "morality" of God's role in murdering children and our spiritual guides, many with advanced degrees, encouraging us to celebrate this slaughter as an insprational act.

I confess that I think these priorities are in the wrong order. But then, that's just me.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Baker: in the interests of full disclosure: where you suggest above that unlike yourself I might be “well versed” in old books, scriptures and myths and so on, I should have responded immediately that I am not particularly well versed any of it. I feel confident that Mr. Green and Mr. Lieberman (now retired from the field), as well as Rabbi Blech, are all considerably more knowledgeable about all these matters (and more) than I am. I’m a simple writer (see: www.codoh.com).

This being so, I am increasingly interested in understanding why such folk are unwilling to examine in the light of day the moral worth of a God who is willing to intentionally kill (murder) the children of one people for the greater good of another. Last night as I was driving downtown for a little socializing, the phrase came to me. Green, Lieberman, and Blech belong to a class of folk who we might call Jewish cultural patriots. Green and Lieberman are not religious, but are unwilling to discuss God’s character because He is seen as a “Jewish” God. To question His actions would undermine the self-righteousness of those who are dedicated to defending the standing of Jewish culture in the West. And of course, surely a minor point, they would risk being charged with “anti-Semitism.”

Lieberman suggested up front that he is not “religious,” while Green gives no evidence that he is. If I am wrong on either count, that they are Jews, or that they are not true believers in the Exodus story, I will apologize for my error and start over.

So here we have it then. Maybe. Patriots. Jewish cultural patriots. That is why they cannot, will not, discuss the proposition that the (Jewish) God of the (Jewish) Exodus story is a child-murdering scoundrel (not to put too fine a point on it). It would be “unpatriotic” for them to do so. Logic, good sense, fairness, the provenance of the historical documents—none of it matters to patriots.

Sam Johnson had it about right: “Patriotism” is the last refuge of the scoundrel. In this instance a scoundrel is one who refuses to address the issue to hand. The question is: How can it be morally justified for God to have murdered the children of one people for the greater good of another?

It’s a simple question Mr. Green. Why not address it?

Or maybe Rabbi Blech can answer the question from the viewpoint of one who believes the story. I’m wrong about something all the time. I’m willing to be convinced that I am wrong about this. I am willing to be convinced that we can morally justify murdering (specifically) the children Egypt for the good of the Jewish people. And I’m willing to be convinced that if it could be morally justified then, it can be morally justified in our own time as well. If not, why not?


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008


Mr. Green:
You write “The mere fact that people are mortal makes God a "murderer": Not at all in the sense that we are talking about it here. That human lifespan has an end is one thing in that all of us face the same fate. That God would intentionally kill the children of one people to benefit the children of another, and that we should be encouraged to “remember” and celebrate that mass murder for thousands of years, is another.

You suggest that I should not use the term “true believers” because it does not reflect the values of Judaism. I’m not at all certain that that is true, but I will not use it again here.

You speak of “the ironies of religion” and suggest that I don’t know enough about them to talk about it. This implies to me that you find the mass-murder of Egyptian children for a “greater good” is a mere “irony” of Judaism and Christianity. I’m not certain what you mean here and am willing to listen to (read) your explanation of this irony.

Re “denying the Holocaust:” I think you have introduced this vulgar newspeak term in your avoidance of the “irony” in “remembering” and celebrating the mass murder of Egyptian children for the greater good of someone else. Again: explain to me what the irony is. I like irony.

So far as converting Omar: to what? He believes more or less what you believe about the Holocaust story. I can accept that. I am not here to disabuse either of you of your true (scratch that) belief in that story. We’re (I’m) talking about something else.

Why is it so difficult for you to respond to this simple question: “Is it possible to morally justify God’s slaughter of Egyptian children for the “greater good” of Jewish children? And if so, how?

And if we cannot, is it fair to say that God is a schumck?

One does not have to be an academic to either ask or answer the question.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

You note that Arabs in general are not innocent in their treatment of Jews "over the centuries." A reasonable observation. Do you think Rabbi Blech's celebration of God's slaughter of the Egnptian children a number of centuries ago is expressed "innocently" in the context of Arab/Jewish relations today? Or is it used to morally justify, and to encourage, the ongoing subjugation and humiliation of Palestinian Arabs?










Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

I think it unfortunate that we are using a thread title that is insulting to Mr. Green. We should have changed it some time ago. In any event, Mr. Green is probably about finished with us here. He is unwilling, I am going to guess that he is subjectively unable, to respond directly to the question I have put: “How can we morally justify God’s slaughter of the Egyptian children because of the actions of the Egyptian Pharaoh, and how do we morally justify our own Rabbi Blechs urging us to “remember” and celebrate God’s slaughter of the Egyptian children for the benefit of Jewish children, and Jews generally?

Green, and Lieberman before him, appear to be constitutionally unable to address this question. I am going to propose one reason why.

Jewish patriots, whether religious or not, understand that if it was morally justified for the God of the Torah to intentionally kill (murder) the children of Egypt for a “greater good,” it is implicit that holding Germans to the same moral standard as we hold God, Germans could morally justify their intentional killing (murdering) of Jewish children in the “Holocaust” for what Germans considered, from their own perspective, a “greater good.” Just as God judges that there is a time to murder, man decides when the time is ripe.

Non-religious Jewish patriots will argue that they do not believe that the Torah is the “word” of God, do not believe it is real history, and that it is to be taken largely as a collection of metaphors. But that undercuts the passion Jewish patriots feel for the State of Israel, the creation of which (as I understand it) morally justified with two primary arguments, one religious, and one secular.

Jewish patriots who are religious argue that Jews had the right to take the land upon which Arabs were living and keep it for themselves because it was promised them two or three thousand years ago by the murderer of the Egyptian children, the God of their Torah.

Jewish patriots who are not religious, that is, Jewish “cultural” patriots, base their desire for land where others are living on the “Holocaust.” That Germans used WMD (gas chambers) to intentionally kill (murder) the Jews of Europe as a people. The terrible “irony” here—and Mr. Green appears to be attracted to the idea of irony—if sober people argue publicly that the Jewish Torah is filled with nonsense and an irrational hatred against Egyptian children, it might create a cultural environment in which it can be argued publicly that the Jewish “Holocaust” story is filled with nonsense and an irrational hatred toward Germans and their children. (How often have we heard Jewish patriots protesting the intentional incineration of tens of thousands of German children by U.S. and British air armadas? Ever?

Jewish patriots fear a public understanding that while Jews had a moral claim against Pharaoh, they had none against the children of Egypt. And while Jews had a moral claim against Hitler in Europe, they had none against Arabs in Palestine. Jewish cultural patriots, and American culture is swarming with them, will not discuss the Jewish God for the same reason they will not discuss the Jewish “Holocaust.” Such discussions would complicate, and undermine, the influential role that Jewish patriots have created for themselves. Who can blame them for their fear, uncertainty, and evasive behavior? They really do have something to lose.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

You make one simple point here that I would like to see the participants here respond to:

One: " ....the palestinian Arab leadership, led by Haj Amin el-Husseini, took part in the Holocaust." I would like to know the extent of his participation.

Two: your observation of the simple fact that in German camps all over Europe it is written that Jews participated with the Germans (according to the orthodox story) in murdering innocent, unarmed Jews by the millions, burning their corpses, and then helping the Germans hide their crimes.

If we are going to be willing to note how the Arab leadership "took part" in the Holocaust and use that to help morally exploit on-the-ground policies by the Israeli State, how are we to judge those Jews who "took part" in the (alleged) extermination of their own people, according to their own (and most all other) historians?

I see a moral cunundrum here for those who condemn the actions of the "Arab leadership" during the Holocaust. How are we to juggle this little irony?


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Memory is oftentimes (ususlly?) exploited to evade the reality of the moment. Remembering the how the Lord took the Jews out of their house of bondage, for example, is a primary cause of Jews creating a house of bondage for Palestinians. It may be that we should let memory go down its own natural hole, and wake up to the present.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

(usually?)


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Simon writes: “What is the point in answering?”

I don’t know, but here you are. I asked myself the same question a few days ago and yet here I am as well.

Re asking “theological questions:” If the slaughter of the Egyptian children by God took place as an event in history, I don’t see my question being a theological one. If we’re just horsing around here and saying that God doesn’t exist, that he didn’t kill the all the first-born children of all the ladies in Egypt, and that the story of the Exodus is to be understood as merely a sadistic expression of the Hebrew imagination, we are still left with a moral issue. Which is, why would the Rabbi Blechs—of whatever school or tradition, want to celebrate the benefits Jews received from the slaughter of the Egyptian children, without expressing any remorse whatever for the murdered children themselves. It’s just plain tacky. Those who work under the aegis of religious sensibilities really need to take seriously the pain of the other.

This business resembles how Americans are beginning to call the folk who burned alive tens of thousands of German and Japanese children during WWII our “greatest generation,” without any sense of remorse or consideration for those children or the ladies who bore them. As a matter of fact, that being so, it suggests that the old Hebrew “myth” serves to morally justify in Western culture today what happened in Hebrew culture then—because God was a player and his murderous child-killing rampage was, and is, morally justified on the grounds of a “greater good.” Just like with the German children.

You write: “… from your perspective […] Jews should not be able to celebrate the Exodus because the slaying of the first-born does not comport with most contemporary moral understandings.”

Wrong. Jews can celebrate child murder so long as they don’t break any laws. I am only pointing out that celebrating an event which includes mass child murder is in pretty bad taste, and in the interests of doing what I can for American culture I am trying to bring this arguable insight into the light of day. I have to confess that I have participated in a good number of such celebrations by largely non-religious Jews (who I would see now as Jewish “cultural” patriots), all carried out in good cheer, camaraderie, and a warm sense of family. I never thought to question the murdered-Egyptian-children part of the story, the terrible anguish the Egyptian mothers must have suffered. They didn’t count. It was Jews, all the way down, with a guy like me here and there. Egyptians simply didn’t count. Who was there to mourn the Egyptian ladies? No one. I see this now, on my own part, as a display of incomprehensible shallowness (I’m giving you a straight line here—no charge) that shames me.

You write: “Neither does the binding of Isaac. Neither does any death that leaves pain or any pain in life in general. These are theological questions that I am now certain you are not even qualified to approach an interest in understanding, let alone seeking an answer to.”

Okay. Never said I was a scholar. But then what kind of scholar do you have to be to ask how the mass-murder of children can be morally justified? Or why it should be celebrated in the 21st century? Who benefits? Should we follow the money? What should we follow?

You write: “In any event, why should the ensuing Exodus not be celebrated? All of your malarkey indicates that such is your aim - to prevent its celebration.”

Wrong. Never occurred to me. I think there is a moral stupidity involved with the celebration, for reasons already given, but it’s never occurred to me to even think of “preventing” its celebration. Maybe you’re thinking of the people who want to prevent the celebration of Halloween. I do not support a prohibition against that either.

You write: “Should mourners not be allowed to feel relieved following the long, drawn-out, painful death of a loved one who has been battling a terminal illness? Can they not feel as relieved as the loved one himself or herself might? Can these questions not be simply answered without attending to the question of the morality of life and death itself, or at least of the life and death of the person in question?”

I don’t know how this relates to how we can morally justify God’s slaughter of the children of Egypt. Why not try to stay on topic? Why so much elaboration—if not to evade the question? The simplest way to go at this is to state up front your answer to the question, then explain it.

You write: “And why, oh why, do you import the obviously normative moral judgment of God acting morally if a life ends in a way in which you approve ("That human lifespan has an end is one thing in that all of us face the same fate...") as opposed to one in which you don't (I'm assuming any "untimely" death).”

This suggests a number of interesting discussions, which I do not believe will happen here. Life isn’t fair and it’s God’s fault, and so on. Some other time. I have posed a question and you can answer either yes or no, and then explain you answer. Just like you were in court on a traffic violation.

You write: “I wasn't aware that you were appointed to be in a position to so authoritatively answer such questions.”

You are right. I have no authority. Only a question, one which appears to bedevil you and the others posting here. What do you fear you will lose by answering the question straight-forwardly? Yes, or no, then explain the answer. Easy for some, difficult for those who do not want to reveal themselves.

You write: “After all, is the concept of morality one which you invented? Is God wrong for allowing children to be born with genetic disorders that kill them before the age of two? You don't even see the irony of your short-sighted and ill-considered attempts to so ham-handedly proclaim when God is acting in a morally acceptable fashion and when he isn't. But at least being God, I would have to assume that an ostensibly omniscient being doesn't make the kind of simple assumptions that you do here, assumptions that obscure 75% of the picture of any true debate on ethical values.”

These are all interesting observations with merit. Altogether they create a fine maze of questions and dead ends that leave unanswered the simple question I have asked again and again. How do you morally justify God killing the Egyptian children for the benefit of Jewish children, and why do the Rabbi Blechs express no remorse for the ladies of the murdered children? I used to be able to do it, but no more. Maybe it’s a question of age.

Re you final paragraph: it’s very badly written so I won’t bother with it. Clean it up and I’ll take a run at it.

But then, you are done caring, so I suppose this is the end of it. Let me say that I am pleased that you cared at all.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

I'm going to let this one go.

I will only note that you can not bring yourself to address the original question: How do we morally justify God murdering the children of Egypt to the benefit of the children of the Hebrews?


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

"The myth of transcendental privileges."

A phrase I have never heard before, and one that I find instantly intriguing. I have had hardly a moment to reflect on it, but it does seem that the "miracle" of Jewish history, as Rabbi Blech reads it, does depend on transcendental privleges, and on the "accident of birth."



Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Without reviewing it, I recall Lieberman's response as being the most intellectually sophisticated, and his use of the language the most graceful, of any of us who have posted in this thread. He is a man who I could easily accept as a "teacher."

He did not answer the question, however, which is: "How do you morally justify murdering the Egyptian children for the greater good of the Jewish kids," and why should we be encouraged to "remember" the event with celebratory rituals for thousands of years without remorse for the Egyptian ladies who lost their beloved children?

Teachers, like students, are only human.

One explanation for Lieberman evading a direct response to the question is that the question bores him, yet. . . he did respond, and essentially came to the defense of "tradition." I will suggest that "tradition" is at the heart of all the shit that is going down in the Middle East. And not just Jewish tradition, but "tradition" followed by all the folk involved there, including the Americans who, in our American way, and because of the role we are able to play in the world, may be the worst of the lot.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Rabbi Blech remembers to tell us that: "It is the Jewish Bible that introduced the commandment to remember: "Remember the Lord who took you out of Egypt, the house of bondage."

The good Rabbi does not urge us to "remember" that before his Lord took the Jews out of Egypt, He murdered all the first-born of every Egyptian lady in the land. One gets the sense that the memory of this homidical rampage energies our Rabbi Blech.

Memory used to glorify mass-murder in the past, and to morally justify war, greed, and murder in the present. I will suggest that we get rid of as much memory as we can, and make an effort to be in right relationship with our neighbors in the present.

Why would we still need memory specialists to exhult in genocidal crimes of the past.





Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Yes,"all we as a species are is the sum of our collective past." Can't argue with a truism. But we are speaking of memory.

We remember our collective crimes, and then we commit them again. Thousands of years of historical memory about what it means to make war on others, yet here we are, even after the monstrous bloodlettings of the 20th century, making war in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and dreaming of Iran.

It isn't that we don't remember, or that we can't remember. In a very deep way, we appear to not care about the other. Which has nothing to do with memory, and everything to do with what kind of people we are in the moment.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Elliott Aron Green (#112257) writes that “Maybe Smith & Baker can ponder the social superiority and ascendance granted to Muslims in Muslim society over the non-Muslims …” Green is right to point this out. I added it as an afterthought, and there wasn’t much thought there. I think we can agree that every group prefers its own to that of the other. It’s only natural then that Jews do—and that Muslims and Arabs do, as do all the rest of us—all associated with the “accident of birth.”

Green writes: “As to their comments about Kapos and the Judenrate, they are extremely offensive.” Green does not dispute the facts of the matter.” Survivor testimony is flooded with testimony about how survivors themselves cooperated in murdering their own folk. That’s one of the problems with “truth.” It always offends someone. Usually the one who feels he’s wrong. If we are not going to risk offending someone with the truth, we might as well talk to the wall.

Omar ibrahim baker (#112267) writes: “ … what is truly intriguing here is that Green seems to have seriously expected Hajj Amin to worry more about the fate of the British empire and of the Jewish /Zionist colonialist onslaught on his homeland than on the fate of his own homeland, Palestine.” It does appear that Green believes this. I believe it is an unreasonable expectation and that Green has only his “own.” preferred folk in mind here.

Baker writes: “Hajj Amin was a man of honour and integrity whereas the kapos and Judenrate were the vilest of the vile and the basest of the base, the scum of the scum!”
I don’t believe it. The kapos and Judenrate were ordinary folk, just like the German soldiers they served were ordinary folk. Ordinary folk following orders on the one hand, and protecting their own well-being on the other.

Revisionist arguments demonstrate that the Germans did not use WMD (gas chambers) to kill millions of Jews, and it follows that the tiny (tiny!) minority of Jewish survivors that talk about how they helped exterminate their own people in these chambers are not telling the truth. We’re talking about ordinary folk here, German soldiers, and Jewish prisoners. They were both fully human. Neither did what he is accused of, in the way he is accused of it. If we want to know what it means to be ordinary folk and to be fully human we have only to look at the American airmen who during WWII intentionally burned alive tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of children throughout all the major cities in German and Japan. Ordinary folk, these Americans. No monsters need apply.

This exchange began when I questioned the enthusiasm of Rabbi Blech urging us to “remember” how God murdered the children of Egypt. No one has really wanted to talk about it. I grew up in a Christian culture, a lot of my family now is Christian, and it’s the same with them. God’s moral failings are simply off the table. Yet the problem of God’s murderous actions in Egypt are at the core or in the background of everything that has been written in this thread.

I think this is an issue for Green, for Baker, and for the fellow who dropped out—Lieberman. I think it’s an issue in this sense: if we can morally justify God killing Egyptian children, Palestinians can morally justify killing blowing up Jewish girls at bat mitzvahs (why not?), Jews can morally justify sniping Palestinian kids using high powered rifles with scopes (great fun), and the Americans can morally justify starting a war where half a million civilians can by murdered. If it's good enough for God, and good enough for Rabbi Blech, it's good enough for the rest of us.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008


Simon writes: “As Mr. Bradley Smith is apparently incapable of comprehending the distinction between two separate events - (the death of Egyptian children and the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt actually being, two different things) -- let alone the fact that one is celebrated (The Exodus), and one is not (the slaying of the firstborn), it is of no use to continue the discussion.”

I think it highly unlikely that an academic would make such blunders as I see here, even in the name of a desperate patriotism, so I guess I am discussing this issue with another nobody with no “authority,” much like myself.

If we take Simon’s thesis that the slaughter of the Egyptian children is an event entirely separate from the Exodus of the Jews, it then appears that God murdered the children of Egypt for—no reason at all! If God murdered the children of Egypt, not to promote the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, but to no end at all because that story stops with the end to the murdering, how do we morally justify God’s action with that one, stand-alone act?

But the idea that the slaughter of the Egyptian children is an event unrelated to the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt makes no sense either in Judaism, or in story-telling. The two events are absolutely part of one story line, no matter that you are religious or not.

George W. would like to have the same out as Simon is giving to his God. George’s invasion of Iraq has nothing whatever to do with the catastrophe the Iraqi people have suffered once the invasion was completed. Two separate events entirely. No connection. With regard to the thousands of Iraqi ladies who are losing their first-born, and their second, and third—they are just going to have to eat it because no one is responsible. Why did it happen? It’s a theological “mystery.” No one is responsible for anything.

However, if we are going to say that this is a wrong construct, that someone has to be responsible for initiating a tremendous blood-letting, then George W. is going to have to bear responsibility. We suppose he did it, not because he wanted to murder Iraqis, but because of a mixture of political and moral stupidities.

With regard to the slaughter of the Egyptian children, either for the greater good of Jews, or for no reason at all as Simon now appears to be suggesting, we cannot accuse God of political stupidity since the plan actually worked. We are left then with God’s moral problem. The idea that God might have a moral problem because he intentionally killed the children of Egypt for no known reason at all, children who were innocent of all wrong-doing, is a problem that Jewish patriots do not want to face. Again, I don’t blame them. It might shake the foundation of the house of cards they have built for themselves through their exploitation of such narratives over the millennium.

And then there is the question of what the Rabbi Blechs think about Simon’s suggestion that the murder of the innocent Egyptian children and the exodus of the Jews from Egypt are unrelated and, if so, why He bothered killing the kids in the first place. If we discover that He killed them for amusement only, I would suggest that we look around for another God.

Of course, without that one specific God, Jewish patriots understand that one of the cornerstones of the Jewish State will crumble. No, they will stand with the God they got. Damm the kids, full steam ahead.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

You're really going on too long here. Rabbi Blech gets it, you don't. God chose to love the Jews above all others because, as we can all witness, Jews are more loveable than all others. The Bible says so, and Jews say so. Why go on about it? Especially with the Rabbi Blechs?


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

First: I love it when you call me "Sir," and when you judge me "clever" at debate.

Second, I find the the impersonal third-person generic a rather sophisticated use of the language, and one employed often by highly paid and highly educated academics.

Still, even if we (you and I) take it as a weakness, I suspect you know exactly what I mean when I reference this "homidical rampage" that is so lovingly remembered by Rabbi Blech.

Any thoughts?


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

I could document the intentional killing of all sorts of innocent, unarmed people by Israeli Jews if I wanted to have a go at it. Not my line of work.

These last couple posts by Green and Baker have made it clear to even me that there is, simply, no interest in the original core of this thread, which addressed Rabbi Blech's encouragement to celebrate the slaughter of Egyptian children by God. Lieberman took a run at it, but Green and Baker are not in the least interested.

What the hell? I'll let it go. I don't want to be any more of a bore than is absolutely necessary.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Let’s see if I have this right: It appears that the killing of the Egyptian children, while not unrelated to the Exodus, was nevertheless a “separate” event. Sort of like writing that previous sentence was an event separate from writing this sentence, while at the same time, however, not “unrelated” to it. Or how planning a murder is a separate event from carrying out the murder, tho not unrelated to it.

So, the God of the Jews either murdered the children of Egypt to help the Hebrews, or He just murdered them. Simon isn’t going to say which. Doesn’t want to talk about it. Anything goes, any story can be exploited, if it can be used to help morally justify the creation of a Jewish State. It isn’t what the Old Geezer did. I think Simon and I are in agreement here. The issue is how what He did or did not do is exploited to morally justify Jewish State policies, and to further the exploits of Jewish patriots here and abroad.

The concept of “Jewish patriots” is replacing “God” in this thread as no one here can bring himself to either commend or disagree with what God did in the old days. Anyone can answer “charges” of Jewish patriotism however. This one could go on forever. God is dead.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Green: Well, I must be a sucker for punishemt. Here I am again. I don't understand why we are so far apart here.

In any event re your: "Since your (my) moral judgements are not based on anything solid, one has to conclude that they are perforce worthless." (#112305)


First, we have to get two things straight.

One: you know more about Middle East history than I do. Can we agree on the possibility that this might be true?

Two: You have not given one word, but have consistently gone elsewhere, to the primary idea I introduced with this thread. Can we agree on that? The idea that when Rabbi Blech and those who believe as he believes, asks us to remember how God slaughtered the children of Egypt (for a "greater good") and to actually celebrate child murder, that that celebration helps to morally legitimate murdering children anywhere, anytime, if it is for a "greater good." And that it morally legitimates mass murder in general.

Am I putting this in a way that is completely unintelligible? If so, perhaps you could straighten out the languge for me in a way that we could both understand and agree on what we are talking about.







Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

This response is so real I feel grateful to have it.

Re being a bigot: I usually think of a bigot as being an obstinate believer who is intolerant of others. One of the weaknesses of my character, according to my wife who I rather think has a handle on it, is that I am willing to tolerate anyone and almost anything. Still, I do admit some intolerance toward those folk who encourage, or celebrate (as does Rabbi Blech), the intentional slaughter of children, be they obstinate believers or merely folk like me. We should all by judged by the same moral standards—I suppose.

Re the relevance of Rabbi Blech’s essay has for HNN: I share your uncertainty, but there it is. And it does address a question that interests me—the problem of memory. Or as Blech has it, “remembering.” I think the good rabbi remembers a lot of stuff that he would be very well off to forget and to stop exploiting.

Re the probability that there is no historical evidence to corroborate the Exodus story: you are, nevertheless, willing to embrace the spirit of the story as one in which freedom from oppression is celebrated and oppressive behavior is condemned. I understand this point of view, but (forgive me) do not admire it. Let’s take the story as it is, as Rabbi Blech encourages us to “remember” it. God kills the children because the Egyptian Government, run by adults, was treating Jews badly. After all, it was for a “greater good”—the deliverance of the Jews, but with their own children in tow of course.

Reminds me of how so many U.S. administrations morally justify the intentional killing of children for a greater good.

Re moral balance: how do you achieve moral balance when you save the children of the Jews, while murdering the children of the Egyptians? I am half afraid that you do not really remember what happens in this “moral” tale.

Re your thought that “there at least remains the possibility that an oppressor might recognize himself in Pharaoh’s reflection, and choose another path:” Pharaoh is not the lead player here. God is. God’s action here reflects the idea that the children can be murdered for “crimes” they did not commit. I don’t mean to be annoying about this, but this is exactly how the U.S. Government morally justified (to itself) intentionally burning alive the core civilian populations in all the major cities in Japan and German during WWII, including the children, for a greater good.

If God can do it, and what He did can be remembered and celebrated down through the centuries, and if men like Rabbi Blech can think it a good thing, then we have some guide to the problems of achieving “moral balance” in Western culture.

Re memory: I understand that we cannot get rid of it. But I am suggesting that memory itself has no moral balance. It is what we choose, if I can use that word, when memory assaults us—it is what we choose to do with it. Rabbi Blech doesn’t appear to have a clue.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

I am asking if the intentional killing of the innocent for a “greater good, from the POV of those who do the killing, or benefit from it, is morally acceptable? If it is, then don’t Muslims, for example, have every right to intentionally kill innocent, unarmed Israeli Jews and Americans for what, from their POV, is a “greater good.”

Are you willing to address this issue directly?


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Green: several interesting qquestions here, but first:

Mr Baker: I half understand that you believe in the orthodox Holocaust story, and half understand that you believe it was God's work in some way. But I'm not certain, and think maybe you are writing ironically. How should I take what you say on these two matters?

And then there is the question about what you believe about God having intentionally murdered Egyptian children for a "greater good."

In the back of my mind I have been aware that you, as much as Mr. Green, do not want to address the issue of God's slaughter of the Egyptian children, or how this deed has been "remembered" and celebrated for thousands of years by our Rabbi Blechs.

Maybe I have it all wrong.




Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

The gentleness of your tone encourages me to respond. I admit I was being something of a wise-guy with my response to the fury of Baker's post. Still, we are left with the gorgeously oblivious tone of Rabbi Blech's mindless celebration God's deliberate killing of Egyptian children.

If it is wrong for Palestinians to intentionally kill innocent Jewish civilians for a greter good (and it is), why can't the Rabbi understand that is is wrong for God to kill innocent Egyptian children for a greater good? It's no good to argue that the story is not true. It is exploited as if it were true--endlessly. It's not a "Jewish" thing in our world tday. Far more Christians buy into this murderous nonsense than do Jews.

Still, we are talking about Rabbi Blech here--or at least I think we are. He doesn't appear to have a clue about the costs of his "remembering."


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

And by the way: how many other calamities, murders, and “birth defects” are ritually celebrated for thousands of years and used today by patriots of any persuasion to help morally legitimate their own people taking the land of another? And to keep taking it?

You can answer directly if you wish.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Re "Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: 'Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River.'" That Pharaoh did it is no excuse for God having done it.

Re "It amuses me..." This whole paragraph is very interesting and I understand what you are saying. Let me say that I think you know more about this stuff than I do. But in a sense we are talking at cross purposes. I'm getting at something very simple here. You may find it boring.

Rabbi Blech writes: "If Herodotus was the father of history, the father of meaning in history was the Jews." Let's argue that the Rabbi is saying what he means. He is talking about history, not fantasy or myth. My question then is: What is the meaning to Rabbi Blech, in history, of God murdering the children of Egypt?

To Rabbi Blech, and by extension to the tens of millions of Christian true believers who take this stuff as real history, not to a sophisticated (you, not me) skeptic.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Baker:

OK. You do believe the orthodox Holocaust story. I don't, but that is not what this thread is about so we can let it go for the moment.

But what about the story that God slaughterd the Egyptian children for a "greater good." Do you believe that story, and if you do, do you believe it was an act that can be morally justified? Do you believe that the memory of it should be celebrated as a joyous event as the Rabbi Blechs urge us to do?


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Baker: you write

**Re "God" slaughtering children etc; to be honest I neither know nor care disproportionately about old biblical/Talmudic/ Koranic tales of morals and immortality.”

OK. Not necessary.

You write: However I do believe that NO "GOD" worthy of the name and its attributes will murder children, or innocent, uninvolved adults for that matter, for a "greater good".

This is exactly what I have been trying to talk about. “Remembering” (celebrating) God’s slaughter of the Egyptian children because for Jews it was a “greater good” appears to me to be a spiritual vulgarity, one in which no one on HNN appears to want to address.

Rabbi Blech writes: "If Herodotus was the father of history, the father of meaning in history was the Jews." I am asking: “What is the “meaning in history” in God’s slaughter of the Egyptian children?” This is not a question that I put to Jews alone, but to Christians as well.

Rabbi Blech writes: “Remember what your ancestors taught you.” That is: remember that God killed the Egyptian children for your benefit. He could have killed Pharaoh and some underlings, but he preferred to murder the children. Of course, God’s ways are “mysterious.”

Rabbi Blech writes: “Remembering will make you a better people.” How does it make you “better” to remember and to ritualize the mass murder of children meant to benefit you and your own “people?”

Rabbi Blech writes that remembering God’s slaughter of the children, and creating a yearly ritual around it, “will make you smarter.” If “remembering” that God murdered the Egyptian children, and you still think it was a good idea, you have to look seriously at the question: “Have I grown ‘smarter’ over the last few thousand years, or do I have to accept the fact that I’m a slow learner?”

Rabbi Blech writes: “Remembering will enable you to survive.” Is “survival” everything? Is survival so important that you are willing to “remember,” to celebrate, the mass murder of a nation’s children for thousands of years? Most people on earth do not celebrate God’s insane murder of the Egyptian children, yet they do survive. Hindus. Buddhists. Taoists. Muslims? Those who have no “faith.”

Rabbi Blech writes: “remembering will transform you from a people of history to a nation of destiny.” I wonder what the nature of Israeli’s “destiny” might be. Its people are smart enough to build nuclear bombs by the hundreds, but not smart enough to find a way to get along with their neighbors. I have no way to know. But we might find that God’s murder of the children of Egypt will come to pale into a mere glimmer of light compared to the blinding grandeur of the vision of those True Believers who are dedicated to “remembering.”

And who, of course, will have God on their side.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Agreed. Context is an issue. Rabbi Blech writes as if the ancient texts are historical, and that they are precisely relevant to today. That's why he urges us to remember them--in the context of our own age. Or does he not?

With regard to murdering children, I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that it was generally thought poorly of in ancient times, and that it is generally thought poorly of in modern times (the context of today).

When Rabbi Blech and those who follow his enthusiasms "celebrate" ancient child murder it provides moral justification for child murder in our present historical context.

As human beings we are not so very differnt today with regard to murder than we were in the days of old. I think you would have a difficult time demonstrating that we are. Today, as in yesteryear, we are pretty much willing to kill anyone who gets in the way.

The Rabii Blechs do not help us see the folly of our murderous ways by gushing over an ancient, homicidal godly rage because he finds that it benefited those with whom he most identifies. He should see it for the cheap thrill it is.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Re my ignorance: I confess to it. I take it as a given that you know more than I do. It is apparent in the quality of the language you use. I confess, too, to not understanding why this is such a difficult subject for you to handle.

Re the Pharaoh of the Exodus myth as a monster: I have raised the issue of God being the “monster,” but you find it difficult to stay focused here. It’s not because you are ignorant. I don’t know why it is.

Re Jews being brutally victimized: I am trying to address the issue of Egyptian children being victimized by God. You find it difficult to keep your attention there, as if the children of Egyptian are nothing to you.

Re God heaping upon the oppressors the full brunt of the justice: Your language implies that the children of Egypt were “oppressors” and that is why God slaughtered them. I do not think you mean to imply this, but there it is.

Re one of the key points that is emphasized each year in the annual rite of remembering which Rabbi Blech celebrates and which you excoriate -- that the worst possible penalties are visited upon even these child-murdering oppressors only after less horrific measures have proven ineffective: Once again I will point out that I am talking about God murdering Egyptian children who have (I am willing to bet) done nothing wrong. My own sense of things, and this is not based upon any training in law or religion as I have none, is that we should not kill the innocent (children) for the deeds of the guilty. Maybe that thought is too “simple” to hold water in this discussion.

Re Pharaoh's stubborn tenacity: Again, I am talking about God’s behavior, not that of Pharaoh. I think if you read the text, and I did read it about twenty-five years ago, we find that God’s tenacity proved greater than that of Pharaoh. But tenacity is not the issue here, and neither is Pharaoh. The issue here is God’s behavior and mass murder, and Rabbi Blech’s cheerful celebration of this bloody insanity.

Re how the text states that God himself inspires Pharaoh's stubbornness: I had forgotten this, and I do find it puzzling. It does create several questions in my mind about God’s attitude toward the issue of “good faith,” but that is off point for us here.

Re taking note of Rabbi Blech's professional credentials: I have taken note of his text. I find it wanting. I can take note of President Bush’s credentials, or I can observe (in my simple way) how much murder, mayhem, destruction, and tragedy he has helped bring into the world.

Re how the Talmud and the Torah play a weighty a role in the spiritual life of those who study them: What kind of “spiritual life” encourages the celebration of the slaughter of the children of Egypt—or anywhere else? For myself, I’m presently reading Cadillac Jack by Larry McMurtry. Cadillac Jack now—he likes children. Would never butcher them. Of course, that doesn’t leave academics with credentials very much to talk about.

Re acknowledging the complexity of the text: With regard to what I am saying, there is no complexity. God murdered the children of Egypt. They were innocent of all wrongdoing. The act itself was not complex. It was simple. And it was a bad thing. Now, once you get past that point—once you acknowledge that God murdered children and that murdering children is a bad thing—then you can go on and talk about it forever. From what you say, the Talmud proves that you can talk about it forever. It’s like watching television. Where does it end? Busy, busy. Tonight I’m going to watch “Shark.”

Re using a simplistic arithmetic: Who’s counting? You murder one child for the act of another, you’re a simple murderer. You murder ten thousand children for the acts of another, you’re a simple murderer. Why so much effort to finesse the problem of murder? Tradition? Ahh, that’s where the Rabbi Blechs come into it. And the Jimmy Swaggarts, and the Popes, and most of all we ordinary folk, which is where the real danger lies. In the end it’s always the ordinary folk—except of course when it’s God.

Re what you see as my expression of violent disgust: Arguing that the cheerfulness over and acceptance of mass-murder by Rabbi Blech is rather out of place for anyone not living in a cargo cult, is not an expression of violent disgust. Murdering children is an expression of violence that is truly disgusting. No math. No degrees. Just the idea that we should hold God to the same high moral standards to which we try to hold ourselves. Even the rabbis among us.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Green,
Repeating a LIE , no matter how many times, Does NOT make it a truth.
That you had to take refuge in a LIE gives me great comfort.
I stand by every word I ever said re the Holocaust with a clear conscience .
You and I know exactly where I stand re the Holocaust, Israel and Zionism and those who followed our "dialogue" here would know where I stand if sufficiently interested.
.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"....that widespread land purchases by Jews within the Ottoman Empire is morally preferable to DENYING, and seeking the DISPOSSESSION and DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF the entire nation that was RECOGNIZED by the U.N. under law as THE NATION of ISRAEL. "
(Re: Reflections on Jewish Uniqueness/The Bradley approach and Simon's capitulation (#112133)
by E. Simon on August 10, 2007 at 7:58 PM)

It must be a resilient, malleable and quite a docile sense of morality, a state of an ubber elatic ethical code that would legitimize the usurpation of a whole land because of a "…. widespread land purchases by Jews within the Ottoman Empire ..."

"Widespread" here is, consciously, left undefined in the hope that some will construe it as the "greater part” or, at least, as “a major part" of Palestinian lands.
The unelastic facts of the matter are that at no time whatsoever, ever since records were established, did Jewish land ownership in Palestine; urban, suburban , cultivated ,uncultivated etc etc ever exceed 3-4% of Arab land ownership.
(The KING-CRANE commission report,on the web, citing British figures, has the definitive word on the subject.)

However with E.Simon it is NOT only an elastic, malleable and docile , shamelessly servile?, morality that one has to contend with!
His is an outstanding case of PERVERTED morallity that would go as flagrant IMMORALITY in any other human context except, of course, his and with his, when RETURNING STOLEN PROPERTY becomes the moral equal of :"...the DISPOSSESSION and DISENFRANCHISEMENT .... " as E. Simon, need I say shamelessly, often contends.



omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Next Mr Greene will be detecting Arab/Moslem blood in Himmler, Heydrich and the rest of the heinous , lunatic and racist crazed gang.
(Should Mr Greene look carefully arounf him he will spot some of their present day contemporaries in his milieu)

*BUT nothing so far foretells that much?
*Correct ;

but the herd are running out of excuses/justifications and clinging to the merest suspicion of evidence to atone for the crimes they have committed that nothing , practically nothing, is beyond their fecund imagination!

The latest being :
1-a categorical:" ....the palestinian Arab leadership, led by Haj Amin el-Husseini, took part in the Holocaust.".

with a less specific , but all encompassing,sequel:

2-"And of course the Arabs in Israel and elsewhere had oppressed Jews in Arab/Muslim-ruled lands for centuries. "

It would be as facile and as intellectually demeaning to retort in kind; such as:

((
1-All mankind , one way or another, took part in the Holocaust.(A tragic enough reflection on humankind.)
However among the more prominent but less advertised roles is the part played by organised and unorganized Jews.
Their active participation ranged from vetting lists of the condemned, discussing and proposing human , and material, barters and setting prices for human exchanges etc all with their typically studious business like acumen and sagacity.
In the mean time the more hardy among them, organized and unorganized Jews, undertook the tasks of preservation of order and the enforcement of the laws, in Nazi concentration camps, enacted by their NAZI masters for the final solution, ie the physical liquidation, envisaged for their brethern and coreligionists.

(That, Mr Greene, is an aspect of the drama I would like to see what you have to say about.)

2-And ,of course, all humanity one way or another, one time or another ,had oppressed Jews all over the world, BAR NONE, for centuries.))

That, from which I, of course, disassociate myself, would be responding in kind to the inanities from a Professor? Greene in a historical journal by a luminary of Zionist scholarship.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


"The mere fact that people are mortal makes God a "murderer
(#112412)by E. Simon on
August 19, 2007 at 3:03 PM)


Since GOD is a "murderer" HE, or he, might as well be a "thief", a "liar", a "traitor", "a usurper ","a pimp", "a slaver", " a drugs trafficker" and what not!!

To pretend, or contend as Simon does, that the quotation marks "...." do imbue the obscene term "murderer" with a meaning and/or a significance that sanitizes , legitimizes, its innate profanity and undo its intrinsic evil is NOT a clever play on words with fancy ideas.

It is the main "moral" springboard, the spiritual and intellectual fountainhead of the pernicious and evil racist doctrine Zionism that attempted to sanitize "colony" into "homeland",
"occupy " into "liberate" and "colon " into "sabra" etc.

With Zionism it was NOT, it is NOT, a question of sanitizing the immoral into a modicum of morality it is to attempt the complete perversion of morality through the legitimization of the immoral for benefit of the select few, of course.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"I see a moral cunundrum here for those who condemn ..."


Morality never, ever had any impact on the vicious, racist Zionist colonialist design for Palestine nor on its adherents and practitioners.

With typical coldblooded acumen, commercial calculation and utter disregard for MORALITY, Zionist Jews energetically, physically and logistically, actively assisted the butcher of their own brethern on the one hand then , latter on, made him pay for it in hard cash ; the Deutch Mark



They made considerable political gain out of the heinous crime they were active participants in and accessories to then turned around and made huge financial gain from the very same crime in DM in he near past and Swiss Frank more recently.

It is difficult to conceive of a crime that served better its victim? than the Holocaust served Zionist Jews.

Zionist Jews will go on milking it, the Holocaust, until humankind is fed up with the double hypocrisy of actively participating in a crime then committing a no less heinous crime to atone for it against an innocent , uninvolved bystander.

If anything at all; that is Zionist MORALITY



omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"So Bakr's celebration of Rabbi Blech's supposed acknowledgement of Arab innocence in regard to the Jews is premature"

We have no past, present nor future worries about our "innocence" or guilt; unless,of course, the wrath of Zionist "Israel" is the wrath of "God"!

The feeling is one of sadness and dismay at the ultimate human stupidity which chose the Arab/Moslem worlds as it ultimate enemy.

Ultimate at that none will be left to fight another time the hopeless , senile battle for transcendental rights and privileges.

Ultimate in that it would be the end of ,put an end to, the myth that anybody is divinely anointed as special or anybody enjoys a favourite place with GOD because of an accident of birth.
Blech and ilk can add us to the list for all that we care now that the just battle was imposed on us and will be fought for what it is ;the eradication of racism and of the myth of tenscendental privileges!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


"Doesn't Bakr have some lost property that he'll never regain to pine about while his compatriots intentionally target and suicide-bomb children in an attempt to achieve that goal? .... Now that's rich!"
("Re: Reflections on Jewish Uniqueness/Cheap , cheap Green! (#112478)by E. Simon on August 20, 2007 at 9:37 PM)

Neither Simon's feigned concern over Bakr's morality nor his crocodile tears over "bombed children" will efface the true nature of Israel as an aggressive, racist and colonialist alien implant populated by aggressive "colons".

Which is the real issue here.

However the indisputable fact of the matter is that the very, the physical, existence of "colons", as "colons", in another people's homeland is an act of aggression and violence that can, unfortunately, be remedied only through violence as past and modern history tells us.

However had these "colons" ever had the slightest genuine concern over the well fare of their children they would have NEVER exposed them, their children , to the inevitable violent reprisal that their fathers' aggression was, is, bound to trigger.

But it is the same old story:trade your people's lives and blood for political support and hard cash.
The underlying morality, the essence of their morality, being BUSINESS is Business and profit is profit.
Recently it was the Holocaust now it is the blood of their children!
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007




-Is this self congratulatory proclamation an in-house family celebration into which the goy are allowed to peep in or is it a warning to them?

-What are the personal and communal implications of this unabashed assertion of Jewish uniqueness except to instill, further and proclaim an implicit sense of superiority among Jews?

-What is the real point of its triumphalist proclamation to the rest of the world?
Is it a preamble to new demands, new prerogatives or for universal reparations?

- Do Jews consider themselves in any way superior to the rest of humanity, the goyim that is, because of this, their, exceptional and unique
"survivability"?
Does it entitle them to any special treatment and/or transcendental privileges?

-Is that uniqueness an expression of an intrinsic “unintegrability” in the main stream of humanity or a conscious decision to stay apart and be different?
-If an expression of an intrinsic “unintegrability” is that a sign of health or ill health?
-If “a conscious decision to stay apart and be different” the questions would be: WHY? WHAT FOR?
Is it the desire to retain, entrench and claim new prerogatives and privileges?

-When coupled with the indisputable historical and traditional Jewish aversion to proselytization an inescapable conclusion would be that the Jews want to keep the good thing to themselves, or is there another explanation?
How does that square with the presumed universality of Judaism?

-If, as per Twain” The Jew saw them all (The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian, The Greek and Roman), beat them all, and is now what he always was,” that is a source of pride, as fondly embraced by Rabbi B.Blech, for the Jews and if so Why is it THAT?
What was, historically, achieved by “beating them all”?
If any thing at all; what was patently achieved was “destruction” without replacement by something superior !
Glorification of the destruction of others to maintain one’s uniqueness?

-Despite the flagrant and unabashed triumphalist narcisim , it is heartening to note the reluctant acknowledgement of the fact that the Arabs/Moslems were never among the nations and cultures intent on the destruction of Judaism nor were they ever accessories to the : “most brutal attempts throughout history to destroy the children of Israel-from crusades, inquisitions, and pogroms to the "Final Solution" of the Holocaust-Jews have defied all predictions of their demise.”.

-However,it is equally disheartening to note that Zionist Judaism, embodied in Zionist ie colonialist,
expansionist and racist Israel, chose the nation/culture that was most tolerant and accepting of Jewish uniqueness as its ultimate enemy and nemesis in a confrontation that it can not ever possibly win

-To carry Rabbi Blech’s chronicle one step forward into the 20th and 21st century it must be noted that this exceptional record of Jewish notable achievements was gravely blemished, hopefully NOT beyond redemption, when Judaism become the motive force, or did not substantially object to being used as the major motive force, behind the most recent,and ongoing ,colonialist cum racist project of modern times that adopted the principle and practice of DISLOCATE,DISPOSSES, DISFRANCHISE , SUBJUGATE an indigenous people in his homeland and SUPPLANT them with colons selected and screened according to racist/confessional criteria to establish one's nation/state:the racist Zionist state of Israel.

-Endurance is only a begnin miracle if a concurrent noble, and universal, mission has equally endured and unfailingly prevailed in word and deed..

-With the overwhelming Jewish support of the Zionist colonialist project in Palestine only non and anti Zionist Jews can celebrate, and be proud of, THEIR substantially unblemished miraclous record


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"Furthermore, there is no analogy between kapos & Judenrate with Haj Amin el-Husseini's eager and voluntary and uncoerced pro-Holocaust activities."
(Re: Reflections on Jewish Uniqueness (#112257)by Elliott Aron Green on August 14, 2007 at 5:16 PM)


Absolutely Correct ; whereas the kapos and Judenrate were the servile tools of their own people's worst enemies; the basest level that a " collaborationist" can possibly sink to, the basest of the base that betray one's own mother , father and brothers to escape with his own worthless life; Hajj Amin al Husseini was a responsible leader on the look out for allies, as any responsible leader would do and does, against his people's arch enemies: Great Britain and the Zionist colonialist movement..
Hajj Amin was a man of honour and integrity whereas the kapos and Judenrate were the vilest of the vile and the basest of the base, the scum of the scum!.
Hence it is absolutely correct that:
” there is no analogy between kapos & Judenrate with Haj Amin el-Husseini'”!


However what is truly intriguing here is that Green seems to have seriously expected Hajj Amin to worry more about the fate of the British empire and of the Jewish /Zionist colonialist onslaught on his homeland than on the fate of his own homeland, Palestine .

To seriously entertain such a notion is indicative of a total absence of reason OR of a severe case of self imposed blindness as to the true nature of the Zionist project in and for Palestine.

With a Green it is difficult to entertain any of these two notions.
What we are left with here is the perenial Zionist approach of total exploitation of the ignorance of others; exactly as with ” a land with no peole for a people with no land” which paid off handsomely in the past in the court of the , then ignorant, western public opinion!

Things have changed though; for one think they are no longer as ignorant as they used to be and, much more imortantly, things do NOT depend on them as much as they used to!
The big lie and the coloniaist/imperialist designs and ambitions of Western powers did in the near past lull that public opinion into a pro Israel or ,at least, a non chalant attitude to the whole question ; things are very different now and increasingly so with the passge of time.

Green and ilk can not , for one thing now , go on insulting the intelligence of others indefinetly with their blatant lies and asinine premises!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"Bakr's sense of morality is fundamentally corrupt. Husseini [Husayni], the British-appointed mufti of Jerusalem, worked hard within the Nazi-fascist domain [where he spent most of the war, living in a Berlin suburb] to get more Jews killed"
(Re: Reflections on Jewish Uniqueness (#112271)by Elliott Aron Green on August 15, 2007 at 2:52 AM)

Once more Green would have Hajj Amin al Husseini rather working, and militating, for the victory of the British Empire, the Balfour Declaration donor, and for the triumph of Jewish, particularly Zionist, organizations for both to better realize their common design of establishing a Jewish state in his homeland ;Palestine.

Once again Green would have Hajj Amin militating against Germany , irrespective of the nature of the regime in power,notwithstanding the fact that Germany was then the arch enemy of his, and his Palestinian people's, arch enemies namely GB and the Zionist/Jewish colonialist movement!

These Utopian expectations of Green are fully justified when we recall the idealstic practices of his own alma matter , Zionism, who diligently refused to have any dealings with the USSR, the prison keeper of millions of his fellow Jews, and with South Africa because of its racist regime !

However Israeli /Zionist policies were at their most utopian and idealistic, most moral!!, when Israel refused to accept a single cent of BLOOD MONEY from GERMANY in the latter's attempt to atone for, via hard cash, the millions it murdered with a modicum of Jewish , but partial and half hearted , help!

Green's expectations must, necessarily, have been, and are, reflected in his own personal behavior when he condemned Deir Yassin and the demolition of hundreds of Arab villages and when he militated , and is ceaselessly militating,for the right of the Palestinian people to return to their homeland and repossess their legetimate property !
(Did he ever look at who actually built, who legally owns, the very house he and/or many of his friends and relatives are dwelling in?)

Green overriding humanistic expectations are, however, best demonstrated by his ceaseless militancy against the overtly racist israeli Law of Return.

With this as his national and personal record Green can pass judgement on Haljj Amin's and on Bakr's morality.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

If that was your "point" I guess it was very poorly made and totally out of place when the subject of the apparent uniqueness, durability and invincibility of Jews and /or Judaism touches on a long departed Palestinian freedom, anti Zionist, fighter: Hajj Amin Al Husseini (may God have peace on his soul).


RE your "point"; it makes precious little difference as far as the final, which is, I promise you, definitely NOT final, outcome of that phase of the conflict is concerned.

The Holocaust , in a sense, was timely GOD sent to the rescue of the "Jewish Homeland" GB/Zionist colonialist plan at a stage at which GB seems to have had second thoughts.

Objectively , it was the best thing that could possibly happen, to decriminalize (, to humanize?, ) the ugly racist and aggressive Zionist colonialist doctrine.

In that sense few things ever served that pernicious , racist doctrine as well as the Holocaust served Zionism!

I will NOT be overly surprised if some researcher comes out , sometime in the future, with evidence of tacit Zionist support( collusion ? ), of the whole criminal and genocidal enterprise that was the Holocaust.

Many things were said, tacitly and explicitly, on the subject of Zionist triumph in that phase of the conflict (1920-1948).
These included several attempts at portraying GB, not Zionist Judaism/Jews, as the main foe of the Arab Palestinian people.
However whether that is true or not, I believe it is NOT, is immaterial.

What is material , is now, and will always be material is the identity of the mass that is now occupying our homeland, bringing in aliens from all over the world while denying the Palestinian people his right to return to his homeland and regain possession of his legitimate properties.

About that there is precious little doubt; that human mass is generally Jewish and particularly Zionist; that is the main enemy.

(Kindly spare me the hypocrisy of "habibna" which will never be reciprocated neither as a word nor as a feelings?)


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Smith
Re

"And what about Omar's sympathy for the divinely sent Holocaust? "!

( (#112335)by Elliott Aron Green on August 17, 2007 at 10:55 AM)


That I, Omar, in any way sympathize with the Holocaust is a LIE.
It is NOT though an innocent LIE ; it is a conscious , deliberate and well thought out lie and fabrication.

In its own very small way it is the very same old LIE ; namely: "A land with no people for a people with no land"!Which paid off handsomely in the near past.

Green's insinuation is A pure ,unmitigated conscious LIE , deliberately designed , formulated, to pervert the truth and create sympathy for a criminal act; the criminal act being, in this case, the establishment of the Zionist racist colony of Israel in Palestine.

I deem any defense ,or even any attempt at an explanation or justification, of the horrendous holocaust to be a major moral crime ; irrespective of who committed it and who were its victims.

That they were predominantly Jews does NOT reduce the criminality of the act nor the viciousness of the deed.
Nor does the fact that others than Jews also suffered, as so often conveniently "forgotten" by the Jews , in the same criminal campaign make it less or more of a crime.

However the fact that its victims were predominantly Jews does NOT make it a bigger crime than it is .


That is being said out of basic respect for human life and out of abhorrence of racial/racist acts of discrimination; and out of a firm belief that there is NO "chosen people" with transcendental, God given, priviliges that justify and glorify crime, usurpation and stealth.

A crime is a crime is a crime irrespective!


I will NOT go into the question of who ultimately paid for, and who ultimately benefited from this heinous crime , in spite of the huge capital the Zionists made out of it and their endless ploys to milk it.

That would put us at par with those who trade in the blood and lives of their brethren .


Unfortunately Green turned out to be as cheap as an Art Eckstein who resorts to fabrications and putting words in other people's mouth to serve his purposes ; sad but NOT unexpected considering that both are disciples, and beneficiaries, from the same school of the BIG LIE!

(Mr Smith
Hope to read more from you here in the future and wherever you publish)


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Smith
*I do believe that a horrendous act of mass killing took place during WW II.
Many of its victims were Jews.Whether the number was 6 millions( 6, 000,000/00)or six hundred thousands (600,000/00) is immaterial and does not change its nature as an abject act of genocide.
The Zionist /Jewish movement milked it financially and exploited it politically to a great profit by furthering the colonialist plan of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

**Re "God" slaughtering children etc; to be honest I neither know nor care disproportionately about old biblical/Talmudic/ Koranic tales of morals and immortality .

However I do believe that NO "GOD" worthy of the name and its attributes will murder children, or innocent ,
uninvolved adults for that matter , for a "greater good".

Being a GOD surely enables him, should he wish it ,to achieve that "greater good" through less bloody means!

AS such "the murder of children" is surely neither "divine", in any acceptable Godly sense as far as I am concerned, nor justifiable nor even tolerable and acceptable.
(If any thing it is a very valid grounds for rebellion!!!)

IF it is to be "celebrated" , at all in any way what so ever,it should be "celebrated" as part of the, hoped for effort by and for Jews, to redefine GOD away from the old crippling, images and rhetoric of a blood thirsty , sanguine and vengeful divinity.

To detect or imbue this incident with any modicum of JOY is not only sickly macabre but is indicative of a truly vengeful deep rooted RACIST physiological mental/spiritual mind/psyche formation that the Rabbii Blechs seems to , happily,( celebratingly ?) harbour.

It is a paradox of Israel to claim and pretend belief and application of modern , progressive humanitarian values ( Democracy, civil rights, rule of law etc, etc) on the one hand while, on the other hand, its basic policies and practices are a true and faithful reflection of its archaic , obsolete and subhuman (anti divine?) racist and blood thirsty roots!

Is that a paradox or the inescapable outcome from such divinely anointed ,blighted?,origins?


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"Even if I thought you were responding and commenting in good faith it would be difficult to avoid noticing the confusion.

Quoting ancient texts and even believing that there could be something to be learned from them today

,
does not establish a moral equivalence between two eras, between what was acceptable behavior in one era as opposed to another. It's called context Bradley. "

(Re: Reflections on Jewish Uniqueness (#112104)
by E. Simon on August 9, 2007 at 1:02 PM)



So, at long last E.Simon came to realize, RELUCTANTLY ADMIT, the utter inanity, irrationality and immorality of his and his ilk's often repeated argument.

They have unfailingly maintained and claimed, here and elsewhere, a moral equivalence between events in the 6th century AD, the Arab/Islamic conquest of Palestine and the Zionist colonialist conquest that led to the establishment of the state of Israel in Palestine in the 20th
century AD .

For Simon's belated recognition of this major historical ”morality”, we have to recognize the gentle, enlighted ,superior but firm Bradley intelectual approach ..

Will E.Simon now revert to the myth of "God's chosen people" to justify his repudiation of a basic principle of Zionism??




omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Smith
You have deservedly dwelt on that Talmudic? Toradic? injunction that sheds a new light, as far as I am concerned the mental/psychological build up of Zionism's springboard Judaism .

I find your effort to be extremely worthwhile for a better understanding of this historical anomaly: Colonialist cum racist Zionism in the 20th century AD.

I, being less well versed, actually being practically unversed at all, in old books , scriptures and myths chose to dwell on the political implications of this pernicious Jewish off shoot/creed, Zionism, that devastates my homeland and ruined our lives as presented, defended and glorified by the rabbi Blechs of this world.

I believe your pinpointing, highlighting, of Blech's dictum:
XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
"Rabbi Blech writes: “remembering will transform you from a people of history to a nation of destiny.”
XXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Wraps it all well together in that the ultimate goal of the Blechs, Sharons, Nitanyahus , Wolfowitz , Abrams and Perles of this world is a "nation of destiny" in which the "chosen people" rule over the "goyim" .

My confidence in that the majority of Jews will never enroll in this mad project/effort nor support it is severely tested and shaken, daily, by observing the way this majority reacts to the unabashed racist policies and practices of their beloved Zionist colony in Palestine; Israel.


E. Simon - 8/23/2007

I fully look forward to Mr. Smith's condemnation of God's creation (the one He hypocritically claims is "dead") of every misfortune, calamity, untimely death (or "murder", as he seems to be the only one who ascribes such a term to acts of God) birth defect, etc., etc., ad infinitum ad nauseum, as well as links to his dissertation on how the Exodus story was exploited by mainstream secular (hmmm... what does that word mean, again?) Zionism to "help morally justify the creation of the Jewish state" whereas the very secular right to self-determination granted every other nation somehow was not - or at least, to Mr. Smith, shouldn't have been.

But I believe the Old Geezer might need some refresher courses on reading comprehension first.


E. Simon - 8/22/2007

As Mr. Smith was able to write as copiously as he did in response to my short point about two events being separate, one wonders how many words he devote to writing in response to my pointing out that "separate" and "unrelated" are, also, two different concepts.

Whatever his invented concept of "Jewish patriotism" amounts to in, ahem, his own mind, the proxy concept of Zionism that he likely used as a tool in his attempt to goad Omar into bashing Judaism was and is, actually, largely a secular phenomenon. Not that I should be surprised at his not knowing such things - even such things as the concepts upon which his entire lines of argumentation, like houses of cards, rest.


E. Simon - 8/22/2007

As Mr. Bradley Smith is apparently incapable of comprehending the distinction between two separate events - (the death of Egyptian children and the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt actually being, two different things) - let alone the fact that one is celebrated (The Exodus), and one is not (the slaying of the firstborn), it is of no use to continue the discussion. Either he is willfully slandering Jews (which means he lacks a mind open enough to care to learn about what this religion of theirs that he is so critical of really IS) or he is sincerely incapable of distinguishing between two SEPARATE historical events, (which would mean that he lacks the intellectual prerequisites for participating in a discussion on a history web site).

"Jews can celebrate child murder..."

Bradley Smith, August 21, 2007.


E. Simon - 8/21/2007

"How do we morally justify God murdering the children of Egypt to the benefit of the children of the Hebrews?"

We don't.

I can't understand why you don't see the similarities between this question and asking how we are to justify Hurricane Katrina. They're called "acts of God" for a reason. And further, the extension of your question ("for the benefit of...") is not much different from saying that a funeral director, undertaker, etc., can't take pride in what they do or be entitled to enjoy their livelihood because of the tragedies involved in it. It's a ridiculous notion and not much different from the attitude that prevented Christians from collecting interest for centuries across midieval Europe for fear that it would harm the "purity" of their means of enjoying a living. Only the Jews, the church decreed, could be so morally impure as to engage in what is now recognized as an essential pillar of modern economics. Until someone named Adam Smith came along and changed our understanding of all that.


dave levy - 8/21/2007

Actually Smith, Lieberman intellectually wiped the floor with you in post #112078, after which you pleaded ignorance. One would think you would have let the thing drop then instead of carrying on as you have.


E. Simon - 8/21/2007

Doesn't Bakr have some lost property that he'll never regain to pine about while his compatriots intentionally target and suicide-bomb children in an attempt to achieve that goal? And he has the nerve to feign engagement in a discussion on the moral implications of the events leading to the Exodus of the Jews from bondage? Now that's rich!

Jews do not have anything against Egyptian children and do not use the Exodus story or any other story to justify any mass killings intentionally targeting their first-born that incidentally aren't taking place, so Bradley Smith is barking up the wrong tree. If he wants to have philosophical debates on the sequences of events, some of which will be inevitably morally uncomfortable, that lead to a present that we justify, then first he needs to learn how to come to terms with the fact that morally uncomfortable events take place period. This might be something he could be ready for once he confronts his own Holocaust denial, which unlike the Jewish Exodus occurred within living memory and IS used by Germans to ironically justify the lingering hatreds, resentments and unethical prescriptions that remain popular with elements among them. His crackpot "theories" on "cultural patriotism" are the most transparent form of one-sided projecting of which one could conceive. And his inability to see of this indicates that a comfortable chair in a nice office with a caring professional could be much more useful to him in addressing these issues than I or any other participant in a history discussion blog could ever be.


E. Simon - 8/21/2007

What is the point in answering?

Other than for the fact that you're essentially asking theological questions, the only logical conclusion from your perspective is that Jews should not be able to celebrate the Exodus because the slaying of the first-born does not comport with most contemporary moral understandings. So what? Neither does the binding of Isaac. Neither does any death that leaves pain or any pain in life in general. These are theological questions that I am now certain you are not even qualified to approach an interest in understanding, let alone seeking an answer to.

In any event, why should the ensuing Exodus not be celebrated? All of your melarchy indicates that such is your aim - to prevent its celebration. But the theological considerations aside, ready analogies show how dim-witted the premise is. Should mourners not be allowed to feel relieved following the long, drawn-out, painful death of a loved one who has been battling a terminal illness? Can they not feel as relieved as the loved one himself or herself might? Can these questions not be simply answered without attending to the question of the morality of life and death itself, or at least of the life and death of the person in question? And why, oh why, do you import the obviously normative moral judgment of God acting morally if a life ends in a way in which you approve ("That human lifespan has an end is one thing in that all of us face the same fate...") as opposed to one in which you don't (I'm assuming any "untimely" death). Who made you the judge of when life should end? God? Or that it should ever end at all? I wasn't aware that you were appointed to be in a position to so authoritatively answer such questions. After all, is the concept of morality one which you invented? Is God wrong for allowing children to be born with genetic disorders that kill them before the age of two? You don't even see the irony of your short-sighted and ill-considered attempts to so ham-handedly proclaim when God is acting in a morally acceptable fashion and when he isn't. But at least being God, I would have to assume that an ostensibly omniscient being doesn't make the kind of simple assumptions that you do here, assumptions that obscure 75% of the picture of any true debate on ethical values.

Smith's question, that Jews not be able to celebrate their release from slavery, from bondage because of events that preceded it is like saying the Allies should not have celebrated winning WWII because of the ethically problematic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What retarded scenarios your pseudo-logic leads to! Although, being the Holocaust denier that you are, perhaps you don't think the free world inherited from the Allies should be happy at their having won WWII. Who knows? I'm done caring, that's for sure.


E. Simon - 8/19/2007

The mere fact that people are mortal makes God a "murderer" regardless, to - as Holocaust denier Smith calls them, "true believers" - to appropriate this Christian form of emphasis on belief that he keeps grafting onto Judaism - as if his bastardization of differing religious perspectives can be worked to the benefit he seeks in debasing either one or both of those religions. He should stop his retarded line of thoughtless inquiry and learn to accept that the ironies of religion don't make his ignorance of it and of them any more amenable to his anti-Jewish and perhaps anti-Christian epistemology, nor does his attitude ameliorate the displaced sense of obvious, if subtle, shame he displays in denying the Holocaust. Nor can he even manage to convert Israel-hating Omar in his attempts at encouraging him to find common cause with it.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/19/2007

It's cute how Bakr realized he may have too frank about his true feelings in favor of the Holocaust and his admiration for the Holocaust collaborator and promoter, Haj Amin el-Husseini. Now Bakr is trying to weasel out of his perhaps inadvertent confession of his real feelings.


E. Simon - 8/17/2007

What is your point? That the Zionists didn't do enough to fight the Nazis? You make it sound like a very easy thing to do, especially considering the position of the two parties in question at the time.

Seeing the extent to which you champion the fighting of lost causes, what would have been your suggestion?


Elliott Aron Green - 8/17/2007

Dear Smith, I understand your point about the killing of the first born in Egypt 3,500 years ago. Now, when are you going to remonstrate with Omar who considers the Holocaust --which occurred within living memory-- a divinely ordained event, providential even. He also considers Haj Amin el-Husseini [al-Husayni], the British-appointed mufti of Jerusalem, to have been a freedom fighter ["freedom, anti-Zionist fighter"]. Maybe instead of worrying about events preceding the Exodus, you might take up Omar's horrendous pro-Holocaust sympathies. By the way, Rabbi Blech does not mention the slaying of the first born of Egypt. Rabbi Blech merely quotes the Bible:

It is the Jewish Bible that introduced the commandment to remember: "Remember the Lord who took you out of Egypt, the house of bondage."

Rabbi Blech's purpose is to emphasize the need to remember, that is, in the context of his article, the need to study, learn, and know history. You read something into Rabbi's Blech's words that may not have been there. Blech does not praise or sanction murdering children. As I asked above, since you oppose child-murder, are you going to remonstrate with Omar for viewing the Holocaust as divinely ordained and providential, and for seeing the Holocaust participant, Amin el-Husseini, as a "freedom fighter" no less.


E. Simon - 8/17/2007

Bradley, you _really_ see no difference between exported Jews who were put, by the Nazis, in a position of running aspects of the camps and the Arab leadership who decided willingly to collaborate with the Nazis in order to strengthen their choice political goals? You really see an equivalence between the degree of power of the Arab leadership and that granted to the kapos? Something suggests either that your grasp of history or of the contribution of the elements of free-will and coercion in determining history is a bit shoddy. It's interesting that you draw equivalencies between doing what it takes to survive in a camp, specifically devoted to one's extermination, and choosing not to have a smaller or less ethnically Arab country so as to not offend one's nationalistic sensibilities. Your approach is simply absurd.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/16/2007

Dear Smith, before making your accusations, you should have some solid documentation behind you. I don't think you have. Maybe you just have extremely partisan and deceitful Arab and pro-Arab Western sources. Since your moral judgements are not based on anything solid, one has to conclude that they are perforce worthless.

`Umar, habibna, Ana b'hubbik. You went off on a long sarcastic harangue. However, it was wasted because you did not understand my arguments. I did say that the Mufti haj amin el-Husseini seems to have served a purpose or purposes for certain Western powers, including Britain. I argue that Britain was a silent partner in the Holocaust. I did not say that Husseini was against Nazi Germany. He was very consciously and deliberately in favor of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. What I am saying that is seldom said is that the UK was pro-Holocaust, judging by British policy before, during, and after WW2, not judging Britain by the words of its leaders. If we were to judge politicians merely by their words, then we would have to conclude that they are all in favor of peace, love, prosperity and harmony --and whatever else is considered good by one or more target audiences.

`Umar, if you're going to spend so much time on your sarcasm, please try to understand what I mean. Try to think in terms of paradox. That is, it is paradoxical --n'est-ce pas?-- that the British govt during WW2 sent its army, navy and airforce to fight the Germans, Italians, and Japanese on various fronts, whereas the UK also supported the German Nazi Holocaust policy. Yes, there are paradoxes in this world, `Umar. Let's try to acknowledge them, if we ought not always try to live with them.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/15/2007

Can Smith document his claim that Israeli snipers were ever lying in wait with "high powered rifles" to kill Arab children? Where did this claim come from? What is its source?

But I can tell Smith that Shalhevet Pas, a little Jewish girl, was shot to death in her father's arms by an Arab sniper. The CIA trained some of Arafat's "security forces" in marksmanship techniques. So the shooter may have received CIA training.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/15/2007

Bakr's sense of morality is fundamentally corrupt. Husseini [Husayni], the British-appointed mufti of Jerusalem, worked hard within the Nazi-fascist domain [where he spent most of the war, living in a Berlin suburb] to get more Jews killed. He urged the Germans to send Jewish children to Poland, where, he said, "they will be under active supervision." He knew very well about the death camps and was an enthusiastic participant in the mass murders. When is Bakr going to admit the truth about the Arab propensity for murder, mass and individual? How about the massacre of the Assyrians in Iraq in 1933? How about the Arab role in the Armenian genocide of WW One? How about what Arabs do to each other in Iraq every day?

Bradley Smith really needs to study a lot more about Arab-Jewish, Muslim-Jewish relations in history, about the dhimma, the jizya, etc. etc. His moral judgements could also stand some refining, but the task is beyond me.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/15/2007

The Arabs got hold of the Land of Israel by conquest. They were building an empire in the Middle Ages. So Bakr should admit that truth. As to Husseini, he was encouraged by the British in the fake "Arab revolt" [described by Horace Samuel as a "Revolt by Leave"] of the 1930s. How come he was allowed to escape to Lebanon in 1938 [or 39]?? Why was he not prosecuted as a war criminal after WW2, although he had taken part in the Holocaust? Why did the French, British and USA let Husseini come back to the Middle East in 1946 from his protected residence in France? Far from his being an anti-imperialist, the empires used Husseini, even if he did speak against the British. So the empires must have viewed his activities favorably. He must have served their purposes.
As to Husseini's [Husayni's] pro-Holocaust activities, see books and articles by Lukasz Hirszowicz, Joseph Schechtman [The Mufti and the Fuehrer], Daniel Carpi, and others. Also note his broadcasts over Nazi Radio Berlin. He called out, inter alia: "Kill the Jews wherever you find them." The website Bibliotheque Proche-Orientale has photographs of documentation of Husseini's Nazi, and pro-Holocaust activities. This material is in both English and French. Here is the link:
http://aval31.free.fr/

The Muslim hadith tradition contains a medieval fable regarding Jews of genocidal implications. It goes like this: On Judgement Day the Muslims will fight the Jews who will hide behind rocks and trees. The rocks and trees will cry out: O Muslim, a Jew is hiding behind me. Come kill him.
This fable, found in several versions in the medieval hadith literature, demonstrates Islamic genocidal Judeophobia going way back. It is quoted fairly often nowadays in Arab-Muslim political life. For instance, this fable is presented in Article Seven [7] of the Hamas Charter.

It is interesting that Tony Blair had his agent, Alistair Crooke, negotiating with Hamas as long ago as 2002, if not before. The Norwegian govt --carrying on the Quisling tradition-- collaborates with Hamas. Washington's own Miss Condi has spoken favorably of the Hamas. The Time Magazine issue of 8-13-2007 has a puff job praising Hamas for bringing law and order back to Gaza [which is false, of course]. So it seems that the official Western attitude today towards Hamas is not so different from the attitude towards Haj Amin el-Husseini before, during and after WW2. They praised him with faint condemnations.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/14/2007

Maybe Smith & Bakr can ponder the social superiority and ascendance granted to Muslims in Muslim society over the non-Muslims [called dhimmis in regard to Christians and Jews], as well as the Quran and the Shari`ah's command to humiliate non-Muslims in Muslim society and to conquer those outside of Muslim society. On this see Quran 9:29 [verse numbers in some editions]. To be sure, this superiority of Muslims and their Islamic right and duty to oppress, exploit [through special taxes], and humiliate the dhimmis is not exactly based on the "accident of birth." Yes, once a dhimmi has converted, he too can join in oppressing, exploiting, humiliating the non-Muslims whom he has deserted. However, the Arabs as a nationality are held in especially high esteem in Islam. Now that sounds like the accident of birth. Anyhow, Smith & Bakr ought to do some thorough studying of the history and various forms of Islamic oppression of non-Muslims.

As to their comments about Kapos and the Judenrate, they are extremely offensive. Furthermore, there is no analogy between kapos & Judenrate with Haj Amin el-Husseini's eager and voluntary and uncoerced pro-Holocaust activities.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/13/2007

Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority going back as far as 1853, according to French historian and diplomat, Cesar Famin, in his 1853 book, L'Histoire de la Rivalite' et du Protectorat des Eglises chretiennes en Orient. Karl Marx depended on Famin's book when he too cited a Jewish majority in Jerusalem in his 1854 article in the New York Daily Tribune of 4-15-1854.


E. Simon - 8/13/2007

Actually I stand corrected on the information on the demographics of the major cities of Mandatory Palestine. The Arab population of Jerusalem was larger (although at a ratio of 6 to 4, not by much), and this was due to the 18% contribution of Christian Palestinians, who have seemed historically less inclined to use violent acts (such as a war against Resolution 181 or suicide bombing) to achieve political goals. Perhaps they could have sought a kind of accomodation that Omar seems reluctant to consider. Also, the major city where peaceful Arab-Jewish coexistence is the strongest, Haifa, had a Jewish population of 47%. And Jaffa, 72%.


E. Simon - 8/13/2007

Language theorists believe that how we speak can shape how we think.

I see Omar is still trying to supplant United Nations resolutions with the recognition that he be able to apply his hurt feelings to whatever ends he finds fashionable.

The land ownership issues are complex; the point was that they facilitated growth of the Jewish population that was at least one-third of the entire mandate by partition and pretty much on par with the Arab population in the major cities of Haifa, Jerusalem and Jaffa (later Tel-Aviv-Jaffa).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine_%28mandate%29#Land_ownership_of_the_British_Mandate_of_Palestine

No need for further argument or to reciprocate his ad hominems against me, as the latter are just a testament the degradation of his own points. I'm just saying that total population usually matters more in determining the geographical application of nationhood than does the extent of total land ownership. Omar did not contest my point that purchasing the land wouldn't be seen as morally problematic in the early twentieth-century, and hence he did not offer a rebuttal to anything; he just changed the subject to another point that he could not take to any place constructive to his own argument.


Elliott Aron Green - 8/12/2007

Rabbi Blech does not mention directly Arab persecution and massacre of Jews throughout the ages. `Umar Ibrahim Bakr is right on that point. He writes:
-Despite the flagrant and unabashed triumphalist narcisim , it is heartening to note the reluctant acknowledgement of the fact that the Arabs/Moslems were never among the nations and cultures intent on the destruction of Judaism nor were they ever accessories to the : “most brutal attempts throughout history to destroy the children of Israel-from crusades, inquisitions, and pogroms to the "Final Solution" of the Holocaust-Jews have defied all predictions of their demise.”

However, even if Blech did not directly mention Arabs by name, he did mention Amaleq: "Amalek and all those who sought to destroy you"

Now `Amaleq was an Arab tribe.
Richard Burton pointed this out in his book Travels in Arabia [or some such title]. It is found in other sources as well, including al-Masoudi's Prairies of Gold, I believe.
So Bakr's celebration of Rabbi Blech's supposed acknowledgement of Arab innocence in regard to the Jews is premature. Moreover, the palestinian Arab leadership, led by Haj Amin el-Husseini, took part in the Holocaust. And of course the Arabs in Israel and elsewhere had oppressed Jews in Arab/Muslim-ruled lands for centuries. Bakr should acknowledge that the Arabs in general and the palestinian Arabs in particular are not innocent in their treatment of Jews over the centuries.


E. Simon - 8/10/2007

The utter inanity and vacuity of the ramblings emanating from the furious space between Omar's ears manifests in his inability to recognize that widespread land purchases by Jews within the Ottoman Empire is morally preferable to DENYING, and seeking the DISPOSSESSION and DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF the entire nation that was RECOGNIZED by the U.N. under law as THE NATION of ISRAEL.

The one who pines to re-establish the goals of the 6th century Arab/Islamic conquest is Omar, and I suppose, for good measure, I should say, his "ilk." Even though the context changed, their goals haven't, as there is no feasible way to dis-establish Israel except through violence, and Omar knows it. Despite the fogginess of his cognitive dissonance, at least that much is clear.


David I Lieberman - 8/9/2007

This, frankly, is more the tone I expect from you. You're quite right -- the text itself makes perfectly clear that the murder of children is "thought poorly of" even among these ancient peoples. Indeed, it is precisely this crime that makes out the Pharaoh of the Exodus myth as a monster. In addition to repeating my point that one of the key aspects of the Exodus myth is that the Jews so brutally victimized do not return violence for violence, there is another feature of the story worth emphasizing for which your simplified account leaves no room. This homicidal God, whom you insist is accurately taken as an inspiration by so many of the violent brutes of our own era, does not immediately heap upon the oppressors the full brunt of the justice which their crimes warrant. Instead, the myth goes to great lengths to depict a slowly intensifying regimen of retribution, and only in the face of the absolute horror of the final plague do the oppressors (temporarily) find it in themselves to release their hold over the oppressed. This is, in fact, one of the key points that is emphasized each year in the annual rite of remembering which Rabbi Blech celebrates and which you excoriate -- that the worst possible penalties are visited upon even these child-murdering oppressors only after less horrific measures have proven ineffective. Given the history of the very real oppressive societies which have existed and do exist in our own times, Pharaoh's stubborn tenacity has rather the ring of truth about it, wouldn't you say?

Now it is also true that the text states that God himself inspires Pharaoh's stubbornness. This is a difficult point, one that puzzles any thinking person who comes to this text. That in mind, I'll remind you to take note of Rabbi Blech's professional credentials: he is Associate Professor of the Talmud at Yeshiva University. It is precisely such conundra as God's deliberate hardening of Pharaoh's heart that drives the centuries-old exchanges that make up the Talmud, which in observant Judaism plays as weighty a role in spiritual life as does the Torah itself. My point, in other words, is that what Rabbi Blech celebrates and remembers is not the blinkered, literal approach to the text characteristic of fundamentalism, but one that begins by acknowledging its complexity and takes as given the need to think hard about the issues it raises and their implications for the way we live now. Because it is what you do, you will inevitably choose to apply a simplistic arithmetic to the joy Rabbi Blech finds in his engagement with this text, and will project onto him a mean-spirited self-interest that is nowhere in evidence in his essay, for all its expression of deeply felt cultural pride. But you should at least be confronted with the possibility that your expression of violent disgust is predicated in no small measure upon your own not inconsiderable ignorance.


E. Simon - 8/9/2007

Even if I thought you were responding and commenting in good faith it would be difficult to avoid noticing the confusion.

Quoting ancient texts and even believing that there could be something to be learned from them today does not establish a moral equivalence between two eras, between what was acceptable behavior in one era as opposed to another. It's called context, Bradley.


David I Lieberman - 8/8/2007

Bradley Smith writes: "God kills the children because the Egyptian Government, run by adults, was treating Jews badly. After all, it was for a 'greater good'—the deliverance of the Jews, but with their own children in tow of course."

Sigh.

"Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: 'Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live.'" Exodus 1:22.

It amuses me that you accuse me of misremembering here. Omit an inconvenient detail, and, of course, you entitle yourself to paint Jews who find value in the Exodus story as bloodthirsty villains, lusting after the extermination of innocents. The slaughter of the Egyptians' first born is precisely meant to assert moral balance. The Exodus myth expresses the most basic wish fulfillment fantasy: the sins oppressors visit upon the oppressed will be turned against them. I see it as an attempt to impose the notion of justice upon a universe in which it has always been in dreadfully short supply. The administration of justice, as crude and appalling as the crime to which it responds, is, interestingly, left entirely to God. Unlike the infamous wars of conquest that make up the subsequent books of the Tanakh, the Exodus story does not require the Jews to act as the instruments of God's justice. Far from being called upon to repay violence with violence, the Jews of Egypt simply turn their backs on the oppressor and leave -- they turn the other cheek, as it were, leaving justice to the workings of the universe. This story, at least, is not an exhortation to tribal warfare. It is, instead, mythological compensation for the harsh truth that, in reality, oppressors almost always win. In very large measure, as I think you would agree, the only venue where most oppressors are likely to face justice is in the stories we tell ourselves about them.

You are certainly free to imply that the iniquities of twentieth-century governments (American and British but not German or Japanese?) have their source in this myth -- that violence on Earth in our time is owed solely or predominantly to the perfidious influence of the Jews and their horror stories. I have my doubts on this score, but some people simply must have their villains, I suppose.


E. Simon - 8/8/2007

There, there now Bradley. Your false praise really isn't that opaque when we see that the Jews merely need to refrain from suicide bombing attacks in order to be more loveable than their enemies. But it was a nice try.


David I Lieberman - 8/8/2007

A few. First: I detect in Rabbi Blech's comments no intention to revel in the bloody aspects of the Exodus myth; I accuse you of bigotry for reading such bloodthirstiness into his text.

Second: I'm not entirely sure what relevance Rabbi Blech's essay has for HNN. He seems to be arguing for an overtly miraculous interpretation of the historical experience of Jews; I think it is the business of historians to work out rational explanations of even the most extraordinary phenomena.

Third: Leave aside for the moment the fact that there is no historical evidence to corroborate the Exodus myth. It is useful as an allegory for the political experiences of many oppressed and misused peoples. Indeed, since I do not believe that God slew the first born of Egypt, I feel no particular guilt in embracing the spirit of the story as one in which freedom from oppression is celebrated and oppressive behavior is condemned. God does not regularly punish oppressors, however much we may wish he would. The myth, in effect, stands in for God -- even as oppressors largely get away unpunished in life, in myth, at least, something like moral balance is at least asserted, if hardly restored. And there at least remains the possibility that an oppressor might recognize himself in Pharoah's reflection, and choose another path.

On the other hand, confronted with a story in which oppressed slaves are improbably freed and their oppressors even more improbably punished, one might choose to identify instead with the oppressor, and shed a crocodile tear or two for first born sons whom nobody, in fact, ever slaughtered. Personally, I think an all-too-eager identification with mythological oppressors and the grief they suffer as a result of their oppression is, in itself, somewhat revealing.


David I Lieberman - 8/7/2007

"One gets the sense that the memory of this homidical rampage energies our Rabbi Blech."

Oh, Mr. Smith, surely there can be no act of rhetorical cowardice more venal than resorting to the impersonal third-person generic ("One gets the sense...") as a means of evading responsibility for
"one's" first-person bigotry. You are usually a slightly cleverer debater than this. You disappoint, sir.


Vernon Clayson - 8/7/2007

A house of bondage for Palestinians?
Hardly, Mr. Smith. Israel is a democracy in the midst of madness, an island of prosperity which must maintain a large standing military to protect itself from depradations of it's neighbors, the Palestinians. The Palestinians fight among themselves and have no discernable form of government, they are a murderous rabble. The Israelis deal with them more civilly than their other neighbors, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, none of them want Palestinians in their country.


Randll Reese Besch - 8/6/2007

Without either we are not only doomed the repeat whatever mistakes were made,and triaumphs as well. The Jew as a whole should be congradulated for their perserverance and intelligence over the tumult of history to today.
Mr. Smith needs to remember that all that we as a species are is the sum of our collective past.

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