Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Religiously discriminatory doctrines

"Jewish Power Rolls Over Washington" (Giraldi):
". . . it is completely reasonable to observe that the meeting constituted the most powerful gathering of people dedicated to promoting the interests of a foreign nation ever witnessed in any country in the history of the world."
Meme.

Tweet (Embassy of Israel):
". and Justin Trudeau shared a moment of reflection after laying a wreath at the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa, in memory of the 6 million Jewish people who were murdered by the Nazis."
Tweet (Mr. Sinister, Independent Socialist):
"Trudeau is on the wrong side of virtually every issue."
"Serious question: What is Zionism?" (Carville) (my emphasis in red):
"Clearly, considerable effort goes on, particularly within movements like BDS and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, to imprint the mantra into people’s minds that it is “Zionism not Judaism” that is responsible for the ongoing plight of the Palestinian people; and that, more importantly, we should not ask any questions about the role of Judaic teaching or ideology in attempting to understand what motivated and continues to motivate the supporters of what is now a genocidal apartheid state that openly defines itself as a “Jewish state” in the Middle East. If it is Zionism and not Judaism that is the problem, then clearly we need to understand what Zionism is (and, relatedly, whether it is rooted in Jewish religious teaching). And if Zionism turns out to be an empty concept, then we should be asking ask what are the ideological underpinnings of Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinians (and the lack of action on the part of the international community in that context) for more than 70 years.

Personally, I reject the “Zionism is not Judaism” approach and see that we are being fobbed off with nonsense. It seems clear that this wonderfully popular term “Zionism” is now devoid of content. Either no one is now a Zionist (because the goal of Zionism was achieved via the Catastrophe of 1948) or almost everyone is a Zionist (because there are very few people who would declare that the Jewish state should be dismantled and returned to its dispossessed owners). And,as Israel Shahak argued eloquently in his important and insightful work Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, I would suggest that we cannot begin to understand Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians without examining the roots of Judaic thinking and Jewish identity in the ethnically and religiously discriminatory doctrines of Judaic religion, which has shaped the Jewish mindset for most of its history. It seems, however, that Shahak’s writing continues to reap far less attention than it merits.

. . .

Clearly, the topic continues to be both policed and silenced within many circles. It is thus no surprise that the activities of the many nice people within the BDS movement and various PSC collectives have failed to gain any real traction over the last decades, when discussion of issues highly relevant for understanding the problem continue to be policed and rendered taboo out of fear of offending Jewish feelings. And while I agree that there is always a need to respect the feelings of others in all forms of discourse, this needs to be balanced against many other needs, including the right to free speech – especially when the matter involves attempts to resolve ongoing crimes against humanity being committed against a specific collectivity, in this case the Palestinian people. To say that we cannot understand the roots of Israel’s ongoing genocide without examining the doctrines of Judaic teaching over the centuries is not to call for violence or discrimination against people who identify as Jews (and there are various different mechanisms of identification involved here, which merit considerable academic analysis in themselves). Nor is it an attempt to say that all people who identify as Jewish are involved in or support the illegal, oppressive and discriminatory actions of the Jewish state. Attempts to suggest otherwise violate our right to and need for free and open discourse on matters of great importance. Furthermore, discourse about justifications of violence in religious texts have taken place without problem in the context of other religions such as Buddhism, Christianity and Islam (and also, “Hinduism”, though this term is something of a misnomer for the various traditions that are usually grouped together under this name).

. . .


I have lost count of the amount of times I have had to explain that to talk about discriminatory and supremacist teachings at the core of Judaic teaching does not mean that all individuals who identify as Jewish are as equally influenced by such doctrines. Jewish thought runs the gamut from the belief that all human beings (including non-Jews) should have the same rights and be valued and treated equally to the view that non-Jews have Satanic souls, that only Jews have a Higher Soul that comes from God, and that the non-Jew exists only to serve the Jew like a clever beast of burden, with a vast range of shades in between representing various attempts to reconcile (or not) the notion of being a “chosen people” with a private covenant with their own god (hence the commandment that ‘thou shalt not have other gods before me’) and own set of laws, on the one hand, with the Enlightenment ideals of universalizable morals and the equality of all human beings, on the other. Certainly, there are many people who identify as Jews today who would seek to distance themselves from views espoused by groups such as that of the powerful ultra-Orthodox sect Chabad that it is only Jews that have a Higher Soul, or that expressed by the chief rabbi of the Sephardic community that Gentiles exist only to serve Jews. On the other hand, in noting that, we must also recognize that such an egalitarian strand within Jewish thinking is a relatively recent phenomenon, stretching back only to the post-Enlightenment period, when many Jews sought to break free of the strict mental and social control of the rabbis that had sought to keep them segregated from the rest of humanity in ghettos for so long. And the deep traces of the ancient religious teachings can still be found, and thus merit serious examination, even within today’s secular Jews. As the joke has it, and not without some merit, many secular Jews say they don’t believe in God that but still seem to think He granted them their “promised land”.

Leaving all that aside for now, though, the fact that there exist individuals who identify as Jewish but who reject (consciously or otherwise) the discriminatory ideology of Judaic teaching does not mean that we cannot or should not be allowed to talk meaningfully about the role of supremacist and genocidal teachings within Jewish thought as a Jewish phenomenon as a whole, just as the fact that there are many Americans who have opposed US exceptionalism throughout history does not mean that we cannot or should not be allowed to talk meaningfully about American exceptionalism. This should be fairly obvious. Even in the recent farcical allegations of Russian collusion made against the Trump campaign, no one suggested that all Russians were colluding with Trump, or that Trump’s team was colluding with all Russians. It’s quite simple really. The fact that there are people who see themselves as Jewish who reject (to greater or lesser degree) Jewish supremacist ideology and activity does not mean that we cannot and should not be allowed to talk about supremacist and genocidal thinking within Jewish ideology and religious teaching, nor to examine how far such thought influences events in the social and political sphere. And the fact that so much effort goes into attempting to prevent us from doing so should set off red warning lamps in the minds of any true defender of freedom of speech and academic enquiry.

I thus repeat my claim from a day or two ago, that we need (but of course will not get for what should be by now obvious reasons) full academic recognition of a critical discourse on questions related to Jewish identity, Jewish thinking and Jewish power. We might perhaps call such discourse Critical Jewish Studies. And it should be understood by any legitimate scholar of integrity that Critical Jewish Studies is not anti-Semitism, and that any attempt to silence such studies or discourse on such grounds would represent a violation of principles of free enquiry that any true academic should seek to defend, as well as of the natural law right to freedom of speech."
The Khazars have managed to get us completely boxed in with the concept that if one Jew in the universe doesn't accept Zionism, then it is hate speech to say anything about Zionism.  Carville makes the philosophically powerful point that the issue doesn't turn on some kind of tallying of support amongst individuals, but depends on the fact that Zionism is rooted in violent racist Khazar group supremascism (just as American exceptionalism and Assholian imperialism are rooted in similar ideas about the supremacy of the 'American race', the kind of thinking which makes obvious outrages like Trump's current attack on Venezuela invisible to most Assholians, including those who self-identify as 'leftist').  If only one Khazar, a Rothschild, say, was able to bribe and blackmail all western politicians to support the land theft project, it would still be acceptable - even necessary - to be able to talk about the ideology that is the basis of the Jewish activities.  The fact that the most important issue is the one we can't even mention is very telling.
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