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This Yom Kippur, I am haunted by the idea that the damage to Palestinians and Jewishness is permanent

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This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

I told myself I wouldn’t write about Yom Kippur this year as I have for more than three decades. How many times can I write the obvious predictive scenario: On Yom Kippur, the Jewish community in Israel, America and beyond will refuse to confess our sins against the Palestinian people. My call for repentance and turning toward justice is repetitious. It is driving me and everyone who reads what I write to the brink.

When I came across the video of a Rabbi’s Rosh Hashanah sermon where she castigates almost everyone for criticism against Israel as anti-Semitic, I was determined to stay the course. The Rabbi lays it out boldly, in her mind at least. Criticism of Israel can be made, of course, just nothing that names the policies of Israel for what they are – apartheid-like, colonial and, yes, racist.

The clincher for me was the simple kindness of a friend in the Philippines who sent me two photos of her seminary’s library collection. I was startled, since the photos showed several of my books side by side with the works of the great Jewish theologian, Abraham Joshua Heschel . Seeing my books so close to Heschel’s made me feel proud – and sad. Proud because I, with other Jews, honor Heschel’s memory for the life he lived, which include his wonderful writing and bold commitment to social justice.

Viewing those photos was a reminder that my work is dependent on another theologian, Richard Rubenstein, a student of Heschel’s, who broke with him over the Holocaust. The issues were profound. Heschel thought God and the covenant remained after the Holocaust. How else to be Jewish? Contra Heschel, Rubenstein thought God and the covenant were broken; there was no return to either after Auschwitz. Both Heschel and Rubenstein were fervent supporters of the state of Israel. They agreed that after Auschwitz, Jews needed power to survive.

I met Heschel in 1972, as a student, when he was invited to lecture at my university. I was a student of Rubenstein’s at that time. Years later I wrote a book, Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation, as a response to both men. I understood Heschel’s steadfastness with God and the covenant. I affirmed Rubenstein’s break with God and the covenant. Later I wrote explicitly about both themes so central to Judaism and Jewishness. My Jewish theology of liberation was about the new and central issue to Jewish life that Heschel and Rubenstein failed to address – Israel’s systematic displacement and occupation of Palestinians and Palestine. In subsequent years I wrote books building and expanding on my themes, The Heartbeat of the Prophetic  and Burning Children: A Jewish View of the War in Gaza. They are also found in bookshelf photos.

I mention my books because they illustrate an ever-changing context of Jewish life and how far history has brought us in a short time. As beautiful as the depiction of Jewish life was in his Hasidic and Polish background, and the future he foretold for Jews in the 1950s and 1960s, Heschel’s vision for Jewish life is so compromised now that it seems to be, almost literally, from another world. Rubenstein’s writing is much harsher about God and Israel. Whereas Heschel celebrated Israel’s victory in the 1967 war as a miracle but cautioned Jews about the needs of Palestinians who were suffering, Rubenstein took a harder and more conservative line. Only Israel’s strength guaranteed Jewish survival.

On Yom Kippur, the day of Jewish confession, both Heschel and Rubenstein are out of date, if not simply wrong. The Jewishness they championed is archaic. What Israel has done and is doing to the Palestinian people is wrong. Worse is the haunting sense that the historical damage done to Palestinians and the occupation of Palestine itself is permanent. Already it is difficult to read Heschel and Rubenstein. My early responses to Heschel, Rubenstein and Israel’s abuse of power are too simple and optimistic. it is becoming more and more difficult to read positive and hopeful interpretations of Jewish life and Israel. Will it soon become impossible?

A Rabbi friend wrote recently that the “Jewish project” was in danger. By that he meant the ethical core of Jewish life, the search for justice, equality and the dignity of Jews and others. On Yom Kippur and after, the world’s library shelves will continue to expand with books that go far beyond what has been written by and about Jews in the past. There is no other way, if we are truthful. As Jews, we have not confessed and turned toward justice. We won’t this Yom Kippur either.

Marc H. Ellis
About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is Professor of History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the Global Prophetic. His latest book is Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures.

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92 Responses

  1. JWalters
    JWalters
    September 17, 2018, 8:17 pm

    It seems to me that people need to transcend their ethnicity to live fully. People obsessed with defining themselves entirely within some ethnic boundaries are crippling themselves.

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      September 18, 2018, 4:45 am

      “A discovery I and my team published in Science is that the strength of a culture’s norms isn’t random. Though they were separated by miles, and in some cases centuries, tight cultures as diverse as Sparta and Singapore have something in common: each faced (or faces) a high degree of threat, whether from Mother Nature – disasters, diseases, and food scarcity – or human nature – the chaos caused by invasions and internal conflicts.

      Analysing hundreds of hunter-gatherer groups, as well as nation-states including the Aztecs and Incas, we found that cultures that experienced existential threats, such as famine and warfare, favoured strong norms and autocratic leaders. Our computer models show a similar effect: threat leads to the evolution of tightness.”

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/17/science-behind-brexit-vote-trump

      Israelis are paranoid because of Ashkenazi history. Israel could never have been normal.

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        September 18, 2018, 7:53 pm

        Fascinating. Thanks!

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        September 19, 2018, 10:52 am

        That article explains why Alabama is GOP.
        I think there is a strong justification to split the US into 2 countries.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        September 20, 2018, 2:24 pm

        @ Maghlawatan

        David Duke advocates such a split, inter alia, too, e.g., Richard Spencer. You mean a split along the lines they advocate, or what?

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        September 20, 2018, 3:17 pm

        The red states are economically weaker and keep on electing pro Plutocrat Republicans campaigning on law and order who have trashed environmental protection. At some point it could fall apart.

    • jon s
      jon s
      September 18, 2018, 6:06 am

      JWalters,
      People tend to identify with collectives: clan, tribe, ethnicity, religion, nationality , etc. It’s human nature. (Probably giving people an evolutionary advantage) So telling people to “transcend their ethnicity” is futile , at best. (Do you also urge Palestinians to “transcend their ethnicity”?)

      As to Rabbi Heschel, he was , indeed one of the most important voices in the Jewish world in the 20th century, with a profound influence on many. Who can forget the his marching with MLK?

      https://www.google.co.il/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pbs.org%2Fwnet%2Freligionandethics%2Ffiles%2F2008%2F01%2Fheschel-post01.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pbs.org%2Fwnet%2Freligionandethics%2F2008%2F01%2F18%2Fjanuary-18-2008-abraham-joshua-heschel%2F1789%2F&docid=0EaqBEBy21jgaM&tbnid=6PdrAz2ntmgJOM%3A&vet=10ahUKEwioxqWfosTdAhUNa1AKHTipBvEQMwg2KAAwAA..i&w=280&h=210&bih=586&biw=1152&q=abraham%20heschel%20photos&ved=0ahUKEwioxqWfosTdAhUNa1AKHTipBvEQMwg2KAAwAA&iact=mrc&uact=8

      To all those observing Yom Kippur:
      Gmar Hatimah Tova, may you be inscribed in the Book of Life.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        September 18, 2018, 8:39 am

        Yom Kippur in Israel is meaningless. Israel needs to abuse people 24/7 . There is no accountability, no self awareness. Israel is evil. YK doesn’t support that sort of behavior.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 18, 2018, 12:29 pm

        “People tend to identify with collectives”

        Shorter “Jon s”: ‘The Jews made me do it!’

        “Probably giving people an evolutionary advantage)”

        ROTFLMSJAO! You bet! In-breeding brings perfection and purity

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        September 18, 2018, 7:56 pm

        jon s It is human nature, but there’s such a phenomenon as too much of a good thing.

      • eljay
        eljay
        September 19, 2018, 7:28 am

        || jon s: … People tend to identify with collectives: clan, tribe, ethnicity, religion, nationality , etc. It’s human nature. … ||

        But people can and do choose to transcend their ethnicity (or other identity). It happens all the time.

        || … So telling people to “transcend their ethnicity” is futile , at best. … ||

        This is incorrect, at best.

        || … (Probably giving people an evolutionary advantage) … ||

        Curious: What “evolutionary advantage” has the religion-based identity of Jewish provided to the people who have chosen to embrace it?

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        September 19, 2018, 8:34 am

        Isn’t it a very good thing that the populations of Western democracies like Britain or the USA – manage to ‘transcend their ethnicity’? In fact, you could say doing so is a cornerstone of modern liberal democracy. That’s why millions of Jews and other religious and ethnic minorities live prosperous, secure lives with the same rights as those of their fellow citizens who belong to the dominant ethnicity.

        Of course, many Zionist Jews will be happy to enjoy all of those rights as minorities in Western countries, while denying them to non-Jews in the ‘Jewish state’. Figure that one out.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      September 18, 2018, 9:03 am

      @JWalters

      “It seems to me that people need to transcend their ethnicity to live fully. People obsessed with defining themselves entirely within some ethnic boundaries are crippling themselves.”

      Agreed!!
      Well and truly stated!!!!

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        September 18, 2018, 8:00 pm

        Thanks for affirming that view so clearly and definitely.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        September 21, 2018, 6:02 am

        Individualism has never taken firm hold anywhere but in Western countries.

  2. CigarGod
    CigarGod
    September 17, 2018, 10:59 pm

    If the Galilean were to appear, they’d crucify him again.
    Why are Palestinians any different?

    After 2000 years the refrain is the same.
    Forgive them Lord for they know not what they do (and they don’t care).

    • jon s
      jon s
      September 18, 2018, 9:30 am

      Cigar God,
      Absolutely. We’ll crucify him again.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 18, 2018, 11:23 am

        “Absolutely. We’ll crucify him again.”

        Just couldn’t resist a chance to taunt us with the immensity of Jewish power, could you, “Jon s”?

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        September 18, 2018, 12:27 pm

        Probably the greatest case of anti-semitism in history, and jon s wants more.

        But you already have more, jon s.
        You’ve been practicing on 7 million Palestinians…taking out every promising Messiah…even newborns.

        As long as you keep living your Greco-Roman ideology jon s., you won’t know freedom from the tyranny of delusion: from material desires and attachments, from the demands of an arrogant and self-affirming ego.

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        September 18, 2018, 8:10 pm

        The story that “the Jews” crucified Jesus is not correct. The bankers in the Temple arranged to have him executed, for trying to save his people from those worshipers of gold. The Jews in the crowd were mere dupes, being stirred up by those bankers.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 19, 2018, 12:36 pm

        “The story that “the Jews” crucified Jesus is not correct..”

        Oh, why not be generous? If “Jon s” wants to make sure Jews get the credit for crucifying Jesus and is eager to state we can and will do it again at the 2nd Coming, why deny him that little bit of satisfaction?
        You know “Jon s”, he’s a real ecumenical, why-can’t-we-get-along kinda guy.
        (Or maybe “Jon s” is just irritable as he sees the inroads of Evangelical Christian Zionism in the Jewish State?)

      • jon s
        jon s
        September 19, 2018, 4:25 pm

        The accusation that the Jews are to blame for the crucifixion – the Jews as “christ-killers” – is the oldest piece of crap floating in the Anti-Semitic sewer. And here it pops up on Mondoweiss, home of “we’re not Anti-Semitic, just anti-Zionist…”
        Hence, my sarcastic comment.

      • gamal
        gamal
        September 19, 2018, 5:04 pm

        “my sarcastic comment” Jon finds antisemitism…by enid blyton

        “is the oldest piece of crap floating in the Anti-Semitic sewer. And here it pops up on Mondoweiss”

        Jon finds antisemitism at Mondoweiss

        “Absolutely. We’ll crucify him again”

        Jon doesn’t know how to be sarcastic and mentions none of the fulsome praise of Jesus recorded in the Talmud or the blessings that Israel rains down on Christian Palestinians,

        See Jon in his “historic homeland”…where the Jahalin come from.

      • amigo
        amigo
        September 19, 2018, 5:27 pm

        Jon S ,speaking of antisemitism (the British kind), how did you survive all that AS in Londonistan.

        You never did tell us and I think it is a remarkable story of your heroism in the face of an evil that is so prolific that most British Jews are seriously considering emigrating to the only Jewish state on earth,where housing is easily available if you are willing to commit a few war crimes to get it.

        It must have been awful for you ,never knowing when antisemitism might rear it,s ugly head.I am told it can lurk in a bottle of cider or ale or inside a Yorkshire Pud or in the front seat of a London Taxi or exists deep underground in tunnels waiting to pounce on some unsuspecting innocent Jewish settler (illegal) from Beersheba.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 19, 2018, 8:03 pm

        Gamal, aside from you, me, and MHughes, how many MW readers know who Enid Blyton was? Ossinev, perhaps?

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        September 19, 2018, 11:35 pm

        RoHa,

        The few American zombies who survived WWI also (had to) read some British stuff as kids, you know.

        As if we didn’t have more than enough of that kind of stuff over here…

      • gamal
        gamal
        September 19, 2018, 11:43 pm

        Me, you, Hughes, Ossinev and at least one more..should it be a girl? oh no someone’s going to have to transgender lads, how shall we decide?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 20, 2018, 8:19 am

        Should be a dog.

      • gamal
        gamal
        September 20, 2018, 10:26 am

        “Should be a dog.”

        Damn I was trying to be British but the blood will out, Arab guttersnipe slinks away, never cite an author you have not read, no country club for me or cocktails on the yardarm.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 20, 2018, 4:38 pm

        “The accusation that the Jews are to blame for the crucifixion – the Jews as “christ-killers” – is the oldest piece of crap floating in the Anti-Semitic sewer.” “Jon s”

        And you couldn’t wait to validate it, and threaten to do it again. Useful stuff, that antisemitism.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 20, 2018, 8:42 pm

        Echinococcus, from the responses it looks as though the decrepit old fart contingent is well represented on MW.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 20, 2018, 8:46 pm

        “never cite an author you have not read”

        Dammit, Gamal, if I followed that principle, my – already flimsy – reputation for erudition would vanish completely.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 21, 2018, 11:24 am

        In the Internet age, erudition has been devalued quite a bit.

    • SwedishMarkus
      SwedishMarkus
      September 25, 2018, 8:03 pm

      Jews didn’t crucify Jesus, the Romans did. Stop spreading vicious antisemitic slander, Mel Gibson.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 26, 2018, 3:23 am

        The various novels (Gospels) make it clear that the Romans were conned into doing so by the Jewish authorities, who told the governor that Jesus was a rebel against Rome.

      • CigarGod
        CigarGod
        September 26, 2018, 10:36 am

        Thanks RoHa and JWalters.
        SwedishMarkus stopped his education too soon.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 26, 2018, 1:05 pm

        “SwedishMarkus stopped his education too soon.”

        “Markus”, should take a lesson from “Jon s”, an Israeli history teacher, who said when informed of the charge of Messiahcide:

        “Absolutely. We’ll crucify him again.”

        He’s proud of it, and intends to do it again. “Markus”, would you take that pride in Jewish achievement and power away from him?

      • SwedishMarkus
        SwedishMarkus
        September 29, 2018, 5:30 pm

        @RoHa — Ah, I see, my bad. Go right ahead and keep spewing antisemitism, then! :)

        @CigarGod — To my knowledge, no part of the Swedish education system teaches antisemitism.

        @Mooser — What jon s says is his business. Likewise, if you choose to be an antisemite, which it seems like you are choosing, that is *your* business. Don’t put it on him, or on any other Jew: it is entirely *your* decision to be racist against Jews if that’s what you decide.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 30, 2018, 1:10 am

        So you agree that it is true that the Gospels teach the allegedly anti-Semitic line that the Jewish authorities engineered the crucifixion of Jesus.
        In that case, take up your complaint with the authors of those bits of fantasy fiction. If you can find out who they are.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 30, 2018, 2:30 pm

        “@Mooser — What jon s says is his business.”

        What “jon s” says is his problem. “Markus” you should really read the “Comment Policy” concerning accusations of antisemitism.

        And for your information, “Swedish Markus”, I can’t be accused of antisemitism, I’m Jewish!

  3. Marnie
    Marnie
    September 18, 2018, 3:28 am

    ‘On Yom Kippur and after, the world’s library shelves will continue to expand with books that go far beyond what has been written by and about Jews in the past.’

    Best to be concerned about what’s being written about jews now. Heschel is despised in ‘israel’, which was shocking to me but no longer. Of course he is despised. There’s no place for justice, equity or peace on this patch of dirt. That’s for freiers, for the weak, for those to afraid to flex and keep flexed the mighty zionist muscle.

    ‘There is no other way, if we are truthful. As Jews, we have not confessed and turned toward justice. We won’t this Yom Kippur either.’ We can’t even get a minyan.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      September 18, 2018, 12:17 pm

      “We can’t even get a minyan.”

      There’s an app for that.

      If ten is too many, miniyans are also available.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        September 19, 2018, 12:49 am

        ‘we can’t even get a minyan’ wasn’t meant as a complaint or that i’m in search of one but I thought in keeping strictly with the theme of this article and particularly the passage I quoted. Sorry that it didn’t come off as I had intended.

    • amigo
      amigo
      September 20, 2018, 5:14 pm

      “Gamal, aside from you, me, and MHughes, how many MW readers know who Enid Blyton was? Ossinev, perhaps?”.RoHa

      Add me to the list and to add that some commenters at MW remind me of some of the Characters!!.

      Take Wobbly man for instance

      “Mr. Wobblyman, a funny little man who cannot lie down. He has a round base which he wobbles about on. He rocks back and forth to get around.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noddy_(character)

      Does Wandering Jew come to mind.

      Big Ears has to be Mooser !!

      “Big Ears ,a wise, bearded brownie who lives in a toadstool house outside of Toyland and is Sock puppet,s helper and father-figure. He finds Sock puppet ,aka Grover and brings him to Toyland at the start of the first book. Big Ears, while usually kind to Sock Puppet can be very fierce and is both feared by, and has the respect of goblins,(jackduh) wizards,(duhbakr) and even Mr. Plod , catalan), Whenever Sock Puppet is being mistreated, he invariably comes to his defense. Big Ears also has the power to cast magic spells, though he rarely uses it. His catchphrase is “You funny little Sock Puppet!”

      Bunkey,aka Sock Puppet , a thoroughly mischievous character, who purports to be half bunny and half monkey. He is later exposed as a fraudulent monkey who escaped from a traveling Hasbara circus.

      • gamal
        gamal
        September 20, 2018, 7:41 pm

        “Bunkey,aka Sock Puppet , a thoroughly mischievous character, who purports to be half bunny and half monkey. He is later exposed as a fraudulent monkey”

        if I am going to be any kind of monkey “a fraudulent monkey” would be my choice, i look like a broken nose Gorilla anyway, monkeys usually crossover as we pass, and I watch their little noses twitch, eyes flicker and their sticky little fingers strum. We have no more to give, ask the big dogs.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 20, 2018, 8:40 pm

        Let us not speculate on which commenters would be the Golliwogs.

      • gamal
        gamal
        September 20, 2018, 8:58 pm

        “on which commenters would be the Golliwogs”

        For my American friends that would be a …it’s untranslatable, you win again…what would Gollliwog be in American? Also I now shave my head, look like Pob.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 21, 2018, 12:12 pm

        “Big Ears…”

        That’s funny. When I was a kid, the size and perpendicularity of my audio extremities was often commented upon by those who comment on such things.

  4. Jackdaw
    Jackdaw
    September 18, 2018, 6:49 am

    @JWankers

    Maintaining a three thousand year old religious tradition is not an obsession, it a choice.
    The ‘living antique’ that is Judaism, is an anathema to you.

    Tough.

    You are the one with an obsession. Try not blogging here for a week, and prove me wrong.

    • Maghlawatan
      Maghlawatan
      September 18, 2018, 8:40 am

      You aren’t maintaining any traditions, Jack. Jews weren’t paranoid for 3 millennia.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      September 18, 2018, 10:23 am

      @Jackdaw

      You’re certainly free to follow a “three thousand year old religious tradition,” but you are not free to use it to define yourself as “chosen” with the “God-given” right to belligerently occupy, dispossess, expel, brutalize, imprison, slaughter and dehumanize the indigenous Palestinian Arab inhabitants of the lands between the River and the Sea who including their ancestors, have lived there continuously for about 15,000 years.

      To wit:
      Rabbi Perin, in an eulogy for mass murderer, Baruch Goldstein, in 1994: “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” (New York Times, Feb. 28, 1994)

      In April, 2001, during his Passover sermon, Rabbi Ovadia Yossef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party and former Israeli Chief Rabbi, described the Arabs as “serpents” and in his Passover sermon, he stated that “the Lord shall waste their seed, devastate them and vanish them from this world. It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”

      Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir declared during an interview with the foreign editor of the London Sunday Times that “it was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine…and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.” (Sunday Times, London, June 15, 1969)

      In the view of another prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Shamir, the Palestinians are of no more significance than insects when compared to Jews: “From this mountain top and from the vantage point of history I say that these people [the Palestinians] are like grasshoppers compared to us.” (The Independent, April 1988, from Reuter, Tel Aviv; cited by Michael Rice, False Inheritance, Kegan Paul International, London and New York, 1994, p. 127).

      While delivering a televised address to his Likud party in 1989, Shamir further maligned Palestinians by describing them as “alien invaders of the Holy Land…. They are brutal, wild alien invaders in the land of Israel that belongs to the people of Israel, and only to them.” (New York Post, February 6, 1989)

      During a speech to the Knesset, Menachem Begin, Israel’s sixth prime minister, referred to Palestinians as “beasts walking on two legs.” (New Statesman, 25 June 1982)

      Regarding Palestinians residing in the occupied West Bank, Raphael Eitan, then Israel’s Chief of Staff, declared: “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle…. We shall use the ultimate force until the Palestinians come crawling to us on all fours.” (New York Times, 14 April 1983)

      Prime Minister Ehud Barak: “The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more…” (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2002)

      Rafael Eitan, Israeli Chief of Staff, stated:” When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.” [N.Y. Times, 14 April 1988].

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=6sCW4IasWXc
      Short video, Oct. 25, 2013, discussion between rabid Zionists, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Sheldon Adelson, Trump’s number one financial contributor and billionaire casino mogul.
      Adelson – “Attack Iran with an atomic bomb”

      Furthermore:
      As Uri Avnery, the late renowned journalist and former member of the Knesset, observed:
      “… most Israeli archaeologists have always been the loyal foot-soldiers of the official propaganda. Since the emergence of modern Zionism, they have been engaged in a desperate endeavor to ‘find’ archaeological evidence for the historical truth of the stories of the Old Testament. Until now, they have gone empty-handed: there exists no archaeological proof for the exodus from Egypt, the conquest of Canaan and the kingdoms of Saul, David and Solomon. But in their eagerness to prove the improvable (because in the opinion of the vast majority of archaeologists and historians outside Israel – and also some in Israel – the Old Testament stories are but sacred myths), the archaeologists have destroyed many strata of other periods.” (Uri Avnery, “Three Provocations: The Method in the Madness,” CounterPunch, Febrary13/2007)

      To quote archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler, “More sins have probably been committed in the name of archaeology [in Palestine/Israel] than on any commensurate portion of the earth’s surface….”(Mortimer Wheeler, Archaeology from the Earth, Hammondsworth: Penguin, 1956, p. 228)

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        September 18, 2018, 11:39 am

        !!!

      • Nathan
        Nathan
        September 18, 2018, 4:49 pm

        Misterioso – You quote the late Uri Avnery who claims that there is no proof for “the kingdoms of Saul, David and Solomon”. You should note that even though you have a quote, it could be that the content thereof is untrue. Anyway, should one conclude that if King Solomon (for example) is fiction then there wasn’t a Kingdom of Israel or a Kingdom of Judah during the first millenium BC?

        Let’s say for argument’s sake, that there is no “archaeological evidence for the historical truth of the stories of the Old Testament”. The late Uri Avnery didn’t study archeology, but let’s just assume that he really knew what he was talking about. Was the Old Testament actually written sometime in the first millenium BC? If so, for whom was it written? Even if the entire book is a work of fiction, obviously the book was written for some public (and in this public’s language). and in some specific location.

        You bring this issue up quite often, so obviously it’s important for your anti-Israel argument (although I can’t imagine why). However, it really doesn’t matter if the Bible is accurate or not. The very fact that the book was written is proof that there was a Hebrew speaking community (apparently in ancient Israel and Judah) for whom the book was meant.

        I don’t think anyone knows who lived in the country 15,000 years ago. Today, however, there are two communities that see the country as their homeland. Working out the conflict between them is an issue of politics, not archeology.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 18, 2018, 6:26 pm

        “there are two communities”

        That’s right, just two little ol’ communities which just need to get to know each other. On a basis of equality and friendship.
        Why can’t they all just get along?

        What happened to the Nation-State of the Jewish people? It disappeared, leaving a just “Jewish community” behind?

      • Brewer
        Brewer
        September 18, 2018, 6:48 pm

        Nathan.
        If memory serves, apart from one tiny fragment, the earliest scraps of biblical text are written in Greek.
        Russell Gmirkin has an attractive theory:
        https://www.sott.net/article/336354-The-Truth-Perspective-Interview-with-Russell-Gmirkin-What-Does-Plato-Have-To-Do-With-the-Bible

        “Russell’s work radically challenges our understanding of the history of the Hebrew Bible. He demonstrates that there is simply no evidence that the Bible existed prior to the time of Alexander the Great (ca. 325 BC). All the evidence indicates that the collection of books we know of as the Hebrew Bible was written around the year 270 BC. And not only that: they relied heavily on Greek literature, particularly Plato’s final work: Laws.”

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 18, 2018, 7:03 pm

        “Working out the conflict between them is an issue of politics, not archeology.”

        So basically, “Nathan” you want everybody to take the same stance they took towards Germany’s Dolchstoßlegende dispute with the Jewish community in the 1930’s?

      • JWalters
        JWalters
        September 18, 2018, 8:13 pm

        Misterioso, great collection of quotes & other evidence!

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 18, 2018, 11:31 pm

        So we’re going to blame Plato for that, as well?

      • Nathan
        Nathan
        September 19, 2018, 1:20 am

        Brewer – Apparently, your memory doesn’t serve you well. One could argue that the New Testament was written in Greek, but the Old Testament was written in Hebrew (and six chapters of Daniel and four chapters of Ezra are in Aramaic).

        The Hebrew Bible is a collection of books that were written over the centuries. One might argue when the process of collecting and editing ended, but it is obvious that some of the books were written in the time of the Kingdom of Judah (7th century BC), some were written in the Babylonian Exile and during the time of the return (5th century BC) and some of the books were written during Hellenist times (3rd century BC). Some of the poetry in the Hebrew Bible (the Song of Deborah in the Books of Judges) is very old, as can be seen in the antiquated Hebrew of some earlier period. In short, the Hebrew Bible was written during the course of the first millenium BC.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 19, 2018, 9:40 am

        Nathan, yours is a common belief, but Gmirkin’s point is that it is a false belief. You will need to take up the matter with him. I have no idea whether or not he is right.

        (You have a point with the poetry. It seems possible to me that some old poetry was incorporated when the putative original Greek was translated into Hebrew, but it could equally well have been incorporated when the putative Hebrew original was being written.)

        Nor do I know anything about the earliest extant OT manuscripts. (I do know a fair bit about NT manuscripts, so I can say that dating is usually extremely uncertain.)

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        September 19, 2018, 11:55 am

        The Dead Sea Scrolls testify that there was both a Hebrew and a Greek manifestation of the scriptures – though each was ‘pluriform’ (Daniel Harlow, Eerdmans Commentary, 2003, p.942 ff) – by around the turn of the eras. The oldest complete text of the Hebrew Bible is the Leningrad Codex of 1008 CE. This is five or six centuries later than the oldest substantial physically existing copies of the Septuagint such as the Codex Sinaiticus but that is not very significant as to the language of original composition. Of course a religious interpretation of history originally written in an international language and only later translated into the language of the region where its main stories are set is not necessarily less to be followed – who sets rules for God? – than one of any other origin. If it speaks to your condition across the ages then you will be drawn to it. If it speaks to your self interest you should be very careful.

      • Brewer
        Brewer
        September 19, 2018, 1:51 pm

        Nathan.
        “some of the books were written in the time of the Kingdom of Judah (7th century BC), some were written in the Babylonian Exile and during the time of the return (5th century BC)”
        I think you will find that these are naive assumptions drawn from the subject matter, not based on any existing, dated text. Had they been written at the time they would more accurately depict Historical events. Archaeology has failed to reveal much evidence for the historicity of the O.T.
        “For “historicity” really is a non-issue. It has been accepted for decades that the Bible is not in principle either historically reliable or unreliable, but both: it contains both memories of real events and also fictions.”
        http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/moore1357926.shtml

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 20, 2018, 9:27 pm

        “If it speaks to your condition across the ages then you will be drawn to it.”

        That’s just the trauma talking.

        ” If it speaks to your self interest you should be very careful.”

        Huh? If it speaks to your self-interest, that’s Divine Providence (or the Jewish equivalent thereof) and shows that your interest and God’s are aligned!
        No trauma ‘long us!

    • eljay
      eljay
      September 18, 2018, 12:05 pm

      || Jackdaw: Maintaining a three thousand year old religious tradition is not an obsession, it a choice. … ||

      That’s right: People choose to maintain Judaism just as people choose to be Jewish. It’s a choice, not an inescapable destiny.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 18, 2018, 1:07 pm

        “people choose to be Jewish. It’s a choice, not an inescapable destiny.”

        Actually, it is non-Jews who decide whether being Jewish is a choice (or for all practical purposes) a destiny.
        And non-Jews seem to be unwilling to help make the Jewish identity a destiny these days. Or even, in many ways, an identity at all. (Thereby taking from us all the benefits which have been historically associated with the Jewish identity.)

        Of course, we do get lots of Zionists (even non-Israelis) here who think that Jewishness is regulated as an indentity in other places the same way it is in Israel.

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      September 18, 2018, 7:50 pm

      Jackdawf,

      I agree that a 3000 year old tradition need not be an obsession. Ideally it would be a healthy tradition.

      However, formal Judaism, and especially Zionism, have the standard signs of a cult. Its members are told –

      – they are the most special people, therefore

      – they must live in segregated communities,

      – they must not marry outside this community,

      – they must send a tenth of their income to headquarters,

      – they must not question these laws,

      – and if they make even tiny transgressions they will suffer devastating curses.

      Controlled by such fantasies and threats, they could be the world’s longest running, duped cult.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      September 23, 2018, 12:44 pm

      @JD

      5779

  5. hmp49
    hmp49
    September 18, 2018, 10:52 am

    Palestinian Authority will pay 1400 NIS/month to the family of Ari Fuld’s murderer.

    That’s where aid to the Palestinians goes

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      September 18, 2018, 11:34 am

      “That’s where aid to the Palestinians goes”

      Whereas every penny I put in a Blue Box planted a tree.

      • genesto
        genesto
        September 18, 2018, 6:35 pm

        — and we certainly know where every cent of the new $38 billion military aid package will go!!

    • JWalters
      JWalters
      September 18, 2018, 8:16 pm

      Aid to Israel is so much more effective.

  6. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    September 18, 2018, 11:14 am

    People are free to think of themselves in religious terms but not to call on others to accept claims on the basis of a faith that they for their part do not accept. That is pressure against reason. If pressed far it becomes a war of religion, which many would oppose on religious grounds.

    • hmp49
      hmp49
      September 18, 2018, 11:19 am

      Unlike Christians and Muslims, Jews don’t proselytize, nor do they feel the entire world must be Jewish.

      The crimes committed in the name of religion largely derive from not only feeling your religion is the best, but that its so good everyone else must follow it as well

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 18, 2018, 11:30 am

        “Jews don’t proselytize, nor do they feel the entire world must be Jewish.”

        Exactly. And many people don’t know that we Jews can take on the genetics and appearance of the peoples around us, as a sort of ‘protective coloration.
        But no more! Now we are free!
        We will doff the false masks of middle and western Europe, Asia and Russia. Zionism allows us to re-appear in all our essential Jewish purity!

      • eljay
        eljay
        September 18, 2018, 12:14 pm

        || hmp49: … The crimes committed in the name of religion largely derive from not only feeling your religion is the best, but that its so good everyone else must follow it as well ||

        The crimes committed in the name of a religion-based identity largely derive not only from feeling a sense of entitlement, but the righteousness that everyone else must respect it as well. The religion-based identity of Jewish provides Zionists with an overwhelming sense of entitlement and righteousness.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        September 18, 2018, 1:01 pm

        Many Israelis think 1967 was a miracle. A settler beating a woman is also a miracle by that count. Every human rights abuse is a miracle.
        The fly in the ointment is what the goys think.

      • Donald
        Donald
        September 18, 2018, 6:09 pm

        “The crimes committed in the name of religion largely derive from not only feeling your religion is the best, but that its so good everyone else must follow it as well”

        Oh come on. Even liberal Zionists usually admit the far right religious nutjobs among the settlers commit crimes because of their religion. And has Mooser said indirectly, Judaism is and was a proselytizing religion to some degree. But that aside, ideologies ( which include religions) can be used to justify crimes in many different ways. Well, superficially different ways. It usually boils down to “ We are Good and They are Evil.”

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 18, 2018, 6:46 pm

        “Judaism is and was a proselytizing religion to some degree.”

        Jewish people have sex, too. That sometimes makes a difference, too

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        September 18, 2018, 7:06 pm

        In ancient times Jews used to proselytise. Then they stopped. Now they have started again, trying to make the entire world Zionist.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 18, 2018, 7:18 pm

        “The crimes committed in the name of religion largely derive from not only feeling your religion is the best, but that its so good everyone else must follow it as well”

        And that just shows what a brilliant religion Judaism is! The idea that your religion is too good for the benighted people surrounding your exclusive minority never caused anybody any trouble.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        September 19, 2018, 11:26 am

        So good that everyone must obey it, cooperate with it and indulge the strictures of its followers, whether they believe it or not, is enough to set up a conflict between religion and reason. And to produce maddening cruelty.

      • Brewer
        Brewer
        September 19, 2018, 2:03 pm

        “Jews don’t proselytize”
        It has not always been so.
        “Here is what was written about the conversion of the Khazars, a nation of Turkish origin, in the Zionist Mikhlal Encyclopedia that the State of Israel’s Zionist Ministry of Education recommended so warmly during that “period of silencing”: “It is irrelevant whether the conversion to Judaism encompassed a large stratum of the Khazar nation; what is important is that this event was regarded as a highly significant phenomenon in Jewish history, a phenomenon that has since totally disappeared: Judaism as a missionary religion…. “
        – Prof. Israel Bartal, dean of the humanities faculty of the Hebrew University, chair of the Historical Society of Israel.
        https://ce399fascism.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/israel-bartals-response-to-shlomo-sands-invention-of-the-jewish-people-haaretz-72008/

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        September 21, 2018, 11:29 am

        “Jews don’t proselytize, nor do they feel the entire world must be Jewish.”

        Oh really? Is that so? Then why are there bagels?

  7. gamal
    gamal
    September 19, 2018, 8:57 am

    “your exclusive minority never caused anybody any trouble”

    have you not read the qesse ye sanjan(?), the story of Sanjan a mythic history of flight from Iran, for every, full blood only, Parsi that is born four die, even though I am sure they wish to break free they are the
    champions, champions of the world at being special and non-threatening, the times of Ardeshir are over. They don’t like Muslims or intermarriage, some have Aryan pride, they are dying out, who wants to live forever but the show must go on, it’s a dialectic.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      September 19, 2018, 8:09 pm

      If I remember rightly (it was a long time ago) , when they arrived in India, the local Rajah said, “Yeah, you can live here if you want, and practice your crackpot religion. But you have dress like us, talk like us, and act like us. We’ll have none of that multiculturalism crap here.”

      So they did.

  8. gamal
    gamal
    September 19, 2018, 11:59 pm

    ” We’ll have none of that multiculturalism crap here.”

    Parsis have been Indian since Achaemenid times, which is still no reason not to keep an eye on them.

    “So they did”

    Rajahs don’t stand any Bulsara

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      September 26, 2018, 1:12 pm

      “which is still no reason not to keep an eye on them”

      Yes, it’s a dreadful business when Parsis sink into the butter on a hot day.

  9. Citizen
    Citizen
    September 20, 2018, 4:17 pm

    How the West Invented Individualism | Roger McKinney https://mises.org/library/how-west-invented-individualism#.W6QARQFQ3sk.twitter

    Transcending Tribal Mentality https://shar.es/a1GTzV

  10. Citizen
    Citizen
    September 20, 2018, 4:42 pm

    Tearing the Veil From Israel’s Civility https://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/16/tearing-the-veil-from-israels-civility/ by @NatCounterPunch

  11. gamal
    gamal
    September 20, 2018, 8:35 pm

    Not that it needs to be pointed out, but let us review this, the moral damage is entirely with Jews and Zionists everyone else a bit banged up but we’ve been much worse and we did nothing wrong, made mistakes perhaps but we won’t be suiciding in those long dark hours when we consider what we have done.

    how many articles are going to be written here about how now you would like to share the blame with your victims, you know the old bedouin boast our are dishes are capacious our trays like ships…we feed all our guests…but our food is clean Rabbi.

  12. Danaa
    Danaa
    September 22, 2018, 6:18 am

    Rabbi Heschel, and others like him, who sought to contribute to a Jewish theology mired in the religious, are, have become, irrelevant. Their thoughts, their writings, their descriptions of jewish life are doomed to be read by ever fewer, relatively speaking. Even in Israel, of the majority of the great Jewish writers, who were concerned with the ‘Jewish’ part of the vauned ‘Jewish life’ (ie, not so much with ‘life’), only those who specialize in Jewish studies read them, and even then it is but a cursory reading for most who are not scholars. A few excerpts make their way into a High School text here and there, but those are quickly forgotten, submerged in a much larger pool where it is the tweets from the likes of Zuckerberg that are considered “essential readings”.

    Worse yet, Ellis’ visions of the prophetic, as opposed to the exilic, as values to live by, are also doomed to the book shelves of the few studious one who still have books.

    Unfortunately for the Jews of the world, their tradition of the Jewish, something many sought to equate with the universal and the humanistic, have fallen into disrepute. Indeed, with the spectre of the evil ultra-racist, bigotted and rudeness exporting israel looming above everything else, those few good books stand as sad witnesses to the decline and corruption of Judaism itself. Not just as a religion, but as a way of life – now equated mostly with oppression, authoritarianism, ethnic supremacy and nastiness towards one’s fellow humans.

    In one of the great ironies of history, Israel which sought to be seen as a “light unto the nations” has become equated with a “blight upon [western] civilization”. That is not only a tragedy but is a fabulous fable about arrogance and its spiritual demise.

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