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Arts and Culture

Frederic Raphael on ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’

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Posted on Feb 19, 2010
book cover

By Frederic Raphael

(Page 3)

As a consequence of this a posteriori judgment, the Palestinians have a seemingly inexorable reason to regard themselves as Israel’s Jews. The comedy, in a very cruel sense, is that Sand argues, with conviction, that the Palestinians are at least as likely to be the descendants of the “original” Judeans as the Jews who have come from, for instance, the ex-Soviet Union, of whom more than a few are almost certainly without any ancestral link with the Holy Land, since they are descended from, in particular, the Khazars whose king converted voluntarily to Judaism in the seventh century C.E. The Khazars, however, are not an admitted topic in Israeli historiography. Facts are not the friends of ideologues. In logic, Wittgenstein observed, “there are no surprises”; in life, however, there always are. One of my favorite little-known books is Raymond Boudon’s “La place du desordre” (1984), in which he argues, with solemn brilliance, for the systematic lack of reliable system in all theories of social change, i.e. in all ideological prescriptions. 

A 1992 law, passed by the Knesset, decreed that any party which denied the existence (propriety?) of Israel as a Jewish state was barred from elections. Sand concludes that this, in effect, precludes the creation of an Israeli democracy in the full sense: There is no freedom of speech, no right to heterodoxy. Israel is, he says, no better than an “ethnic democracy,” since its non-Jewish inhabitants are denied full rights. Behind the Zionists’ judicial reasoning lies the willful assumption that “the Jews” are all descended from a single exiled people, for centuries dispersed and despised, whose return to their ancient land is an entitlement guaranteed by God and the only means by which they can recover their honor and their dignity. 

Sand begins with an account of his own tangled roots and how, by chance, he emerged as an Israeli. The role of contingency in his origins is meant to alert us to the inescapable element of chance that makes us, whoever we may be, who we are. The notion of some innate, unalterable and unalloyed belonging to the same race of which the majority left Palestine, if it did, 2,000 years ago runs counter to all human probability and is, literally, without precedent. There are no “pure” races, nor does the notion of “race” have much scientific utility.

Science, in the wide sense, was one of the ways in which Jews, by devotion to impersonal objectivity, sought to make their own subjectivity irrelevant to their professional lives. This did not, of course, prevent the Nazis from speaking of “Jewish science.” According to Sand, some Israeli scientists’ attempts to isolate a “Jewish gene” appear, alas, to be a sad—because ideologically driven and almost certainly fanciful—deviation from that passion for “disinterested speculation” on which D.H. Lawrence deigned to congratulate “the Jews.”

 

book cover

 

The Invention of the Jewish People

 

By Shlomo Sand

 

Verso, 332 pages

 

Buy the book

The obsession with “purity of blood” (and the presumption that it existed in nature) began, in Western Europe at least, in post-reconquista Spain. The expulsion of the Jews and the “Moors” was supposed to have purged Iberia of inferior inhabitants and to have left an untainted Iberian race. The Inquisition was the symptom of the uneasy vanity of Christian Spain. Iberia remained home not only to the converted Jews but also to countless hybrids of various kinds, legitimate or not, and its blood irredeemably enriched, or tainted, by alien transfusions. Who any longer dares to argue that for a Spaniard, or anyone else, to claim to possess “pura sangre” is anything but a fatuous delusion? Blood, one might say, is inherently tolerant: Mongrels are us. Sand argues for the Spanish Jews themselves to be, in some considerable percentage, descended from Berber proselytes who crossed from North Africa with the Moroccan Arabs who made El-Andalus the well-watered place it was until the Christians purged it.

Yet for doctrinaire Zionism to sustain its ideological myth, it remains necessary, if never plausible, for its advocates to argue that all the Jews of the world have a common claim on, and source in, the territory of ancient Palestine and even that their ultimate allegiance is therefore to the state which now occupies most of it. In an inverted syllogism, the consequence is the generator of its alleged cause.

The Right of Return implies, in some minds, the obligation to do so. For this logic to hold, it has to be argued that the whole of the Diaspora can trace its lineage, pretty well directly, back to the population which is said to have been expelled, and certainly dispersed, after the double disasters of 70 C.E., when Jerusalem fell to the besieging Romans, under Titus, and that of some 60 years later, when Bar-Kokhba’s rebellion was savagely repressed by Hadrian. One of Sand’s claims is that, despite many massacres and the ban on circumcised men entering the renamed Jerusalem (it became Aelia Capitolina), there was no mass deportation of Jews from Palestine. 

Among the unwanted truths of the past is that, at least by the time of Hadrian’s vindictive war against the rebellious Judeans, Palestine was by no means the home of most Jews. Since 10 percent of the population of the Roman Empire was said to be Jewish in the first century C.E., many of them were surely proselytes and most of them, including converted slaves, lived outside Judea. There is a strand of Jewish thought (seconded by the great Sephardic poet Yehuda Halevi) which argues for the superiority of “biological Jews,” but this is unworthy of intelligent endorsement. Moses Maimonides was the first to argue against such divine nonsense, but he was vilified for his humane philosophy. A great many Jews had, of course, been reluctant to return even from Babylon, where, as Jeremiah himself had recommended, they had prospered and multiplied. Baghdad remained a great center of Jewish life and scholarly wisdom for many centuries. Only in 1941 did the British garrison stand aside while insurgent Arabs massacred most of the Jews still living there.


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By Danny Freeman, February 20, 2010 at 9:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I admittedly have not yet read the full article—simmed the first part—so my reaction is striclty off the top of my head.  I am an international socialist, anti-zionist, advocate of a secular state of the people of this area on a socialist basis.  But in answer to the question, am I a jew, I say yes, an American Jew in the same way as is Phillip Roth.  Our “jewishness” is that of the Jewish-American diaspora, urban-based, in my case, NYC, in Roth’s case, Newark (a sub-section of the NYC metro area, illuminated in Roth’s novels).
Danny

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By PatrickHenry, February 20, 2010 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

By Inherit The Wind, February 20 at 9:44 am #

“If you can de-legitimize the group you are attacking right from the start you have won the game right from the beginning.”

Typical JDL tactic employed by the jewish supremacists here at Truthdig for years.

“I don’t want to make aliya.  The USA is my home, my native land, not Israel.  It has my loyalty and love, not Israel.  But I KNOW that if people like Prole and PatrickHenry and Ed Harges and Robert come to power, I may have to leave my home, my homeland, and the ONE place on Earth I am welcome is: Israel.  The ONLY place I know I am welcome to flee to if the US were to go that way.”

I wouldn’t worry ITW, if we were in power I assure you would be safe, however, Israel would cease recieving military and financial AID, The media and especially Hollywood would be subject to anti-trust legislation especially concerning areas of discrimmination in hiring and the banking sectors in America like Goldman Sachs and the Federal Reserve would vanish.

It is also good to know where your fleeting loyalties and patriotism lay.  Pollard, Nozette, Kadish no doubt thought the same way as alot of the perps of 9/11.  The thought of fleeing to Norway if the going got tough is not an option for me as I identify with being an American, not a jew, christian, muslim or Norweigian.

“We ALL know that sooner or later the non-Jew will turn on us, solely for our ancestry, and kill us.  It sounds paranoid to nice people, but every 50 years or so it arises and happens again.”

Yes it is paranoid, if every 50 years or so a band of jews commits an act like 9/11 and through other jews in media and banking cover it up with the collusion of governmental non jewish zionists and military opportunists just to blame another religion, country or race just to persue political objectives then I could see your paranoia as justified, but then something like that could never happen now could it.

If it did, I’m sure many jews would disinvent themselves and some would move to Israel, they would not permit themselves to be treated as the muslims are now.

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By Plastic_Door, February 20, 2010 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

Isn’t it ironic that irony is so ironic?  ” ‘Ideology and religion
provide the basic framework of human thought and also
supply the often antique racks on which we are all stretched.
As Genet observed, “Nous ne sortirons jamais de çe bordel” ‘, ”
Raphael opines. Florid, certainly. But, the racks are not
antique in the least, and *always* here; it is religion, and
specifically Judaeically-based religion, that provides basic
framework not of human thought but of human bondage to
the mind, since Judaeically-based religion is ideology writ
large. The Genet remark is superfluous and cheap.

*More* often, however, Judaeically-based religion is the
framework of non-thought and un-thought, and more often
yet than that, is the very framework of evil. There is no
solution to the discord sown by Judaeically-based religion
and its zionisms, since all three totalist ‘Abrahamic’ religions
of the post-Roman aeon are pure Judaeism, adulterated,
polluted, and awash in a sea of ill abode. If there is anything
that assures mutually total destruction, it is the continued
existence of Judaeism in its three forms. Were it NOT for the
Greco-Roman foundational counter-influences of Western
*thought,* not to mention culture, and the entirely fortuitous
encounter with Buddhism, the horrific, unremitting bloodshed
and penury of the last 2000 years would not have been thus.
We would live in harmony with Nature, want for nought, and
perhaps have travelled to the Moon centuries ago.

Speculation aside, the stark geopolitical realities of today are
due *entirely* to the Judaeic semes (Grk.) — its roots, its
seeds, its branches, and its fruits. There is a REASON why
Arianism and Gnosticism were so “popular,” as ‘twere; and
there is a REASON why they were erased with horrifying
vengeance, none of which has anything to do with “history.”  Judaeically-based religion is revengefully invested wholly; it is
a cup that overfloweth with the dream of revenge.

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By Mitchell Freedman, February 20, 2010 at 8:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a weird, rambling review.

Raphael’s attack on Chomsky is ridiculously wrong (Chomsky wanting to be a
Good Jew who does not bother people??).  It is also self-defeating as Raphael
then goes to display true hostility to Zionism and Israel, and thinks he is
somehow inoculating himself from Jewish culture and tradition by his position.

I was hoping with his background about the world of the ancient Greeks that he
was going to explain how Sand’s scholarship held up, but alas, he admits he
knows nothing on the topic one way or the other.  That many scholars have
disputed Sand appears to not be of interest to Raphael.  I have to believe there
is at least some truth to Sand’s point that some Jews stayed in Palestine after
the so-called expulsion, and that some Khazars did eventually travel to further
reaches of the globe.  Still, Sand’s argument that the Jews were not expelled
from Palestine by Roman authorities fed up with continued uprisings has struck
me as largely wrong.

I do believe thebeerdoctor has a point about the prevalence of discussion
about Jews when they are only 0.22% of the world population.  The difference is
that Sikhs do not seem to play a prominent role in societies they enter around
the world, and do not seem to be in most places at all outside of India and a
few other nations.  There is something rather interesting, if one were visiting
our planet and looking at it as a whole, about the role individual Jews play in
each nation, city and village.

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By Reverend Lauren Unruh, THC Ministry, February 20, 2010 at 8:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rock my Soul

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIe4u8nBfh0&feature=fvw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDeHy2YJ0Ts&feature=related

I hope readers won’t find the tunes off topic. I was thinking of the Jews who fled to
the Americas to escape the Spanish inquisition in the 1500s, I always wondered,
where is the “bosom of Abraham”?

I think it might be the earth. I hope it is not limited to the middle east.

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By ofersince72, February 20, 2010 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

That durn jew still won’t buy me a drink

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By Jacob, February 20, 2010 at 6:14 am Link to this comment

To PlasticDooor,

  The Zionist movement was founded by totally secular Jews. The Bible and its legends did not motivate them. Nationalism did.
  And just like the French people appeared in what is known as France or the Bulgarian people in what is known as Bulgaria so did the Jews trace their origin in what was later known as Palestine. That is where one can trace their history, their states, their kings and prophets. Even after losing their territorial base they managed to preserve their historical memory and strong emotional connection to the land of their origin. After some 1900 years, they were able to re-establish their nation-state in the land of their origin.
    And of course, the “self-ascribed
exceptionalism” and “self-imposed Otherness” are responsible for the anti-Jewish pogroms and the Nazi
Holocaust. How logical indeed…

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By Inherit The Wind, February 20, 2010 at 5:44 am Link to this comment

It occurs to me that the argument that Jews are not a people bares a striking similarity to the argument that homosexuals and lesbians are not born Gay but are somehow “corrupted” by the society around us, particularly the existing Gay society, ie, the Rick Santorum argument.

If you can de-legitimize the group you are attacking right from the start you have won the game right from the beginning.  And whether the goal is to “prove” that homosexuality is not a real condition so that new ideas like “gay marriage” and equal rights for Gays can be rejected, or to “prove” Jews are not a people and therefore justify the over-running of Israel by Palestinians (who are even LESS a real “people” as they are ethnically Arab Moslems like their neighbors), de-legitimizing is the chosen tactic.

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By Plastic_Door, February 20, 2010 at 4:33 am Link to this comment

This whole issue is such unmitigated BS and narcissism.

@By DaveZx3, February 20 at 4:12 am #  “To understand Judah or the Jews
you must understand the promises made to Abraham by his God.” —- 
Oh, I see.  Not only would these need to be understood, they MUST be true! 
They must have actually happened!  To understand the Greeks, we must understand the promises made to Odysseus by Athena and by the oracle of Delphi. To understand the Maya, we must understand the promises made to Ajb K’kchí
by Tzetcatlipotli. This then only naturally concludes that the Greeks and the
Maya are chosen people, and that they have a divine right to their
exclusiveness. ‘Understanding’ any of these things requires PEOPLE, who by definition are not only irrational but historically stupid. We may as well consult the entrails of a goat!

And btw, the monotheist Zoroastrians predate these ‘Abrahamic’ religions by a thousand years.

This notion of Judaism and Judah and all such ascriptions to a ‘people’ as
such, pro and/OR con, are ridiculous arrogances; institutionalized bigotry, and a most dishonorable institutionalized victimhood.  It is what in PC bowdlerizations is
referred to as exceptionalism. In 19th century terms, it was termed
clannishness. In the 18th century, tribalism. They all mean the
same thing: contained, self-segregated Otherness. In this particular case, it is self-interpreted, self-ascribed, and inexcusable any longer. There is no, and has been no, other group of people on the face of the earth who have been so narcissistic. It’s nauseating.

The very reason such people have been persecuted has been, since Day
One of the mid-Roman Empire, that a common, ordinary group of
goatherds and olive growers asserted their traditionally violent and
usurpatious traditions, exactly as their neighbors did, and so forth and so
on. The “persecution” is engendered from *within*—- by self-ascribed
exceptionalism, by self-imposed Otherness, by pride confused as honors
and purities, by legends interpreted by men with their own agendas, but
there is not one shred of intelligent thought much less evidence that there
is, or ever was, a Jewish people. The Jewish people are as much a fictional
creation as are the American people. Before, there was not; then, there was.
By fiat. Self-naming oneself Jewish or American makes neither of them real.

To make matters escalatingly, exponentially, explosively worse, to arrogate
upon oneself Divine Right and then plead orphanage upon the mercy of the
court is, as they say, chutzpah.

Germans and Armenians have languages, cultures, subcultures, histories;
that merely makes them Germans and Armenians. The utter arrogance of
Jews laying claim to any sort of exceptionalism is patently ridiculous, to a
persecution, patently self-inflicted. You reap what you sow.

And Christians! oh, Christ (for want of a better word). They are just as bad,
just as ridiculous, and just as arrogant.

Neither of these religions understand themselves, much less each other.
They’re both delusional, sociopathic, and paranoid—- the hallmarks of
psychopathy. If you want to be good people, then be good people. Don’t
put lipstick on a pig, though.

“To understand is to understand the promises made,”—-blech. To understand a retribution is to understand how one has asked for the beatings in the first place. The justice of the matter is secondary, incidental, and in itself a construct for further retribution. Psych 301: Pavlov.

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By johannes, February 20, 2010 at 4:09 am Link to this comment

To Purple Girl,

Our discusion here is about humans wo say they are the chosen ones, by who are they chosen, for wath reasen have they wrote this down.

They give always the impression that they and only they have suffered as humans, as they say a gotspe.

O yes I can feel the sentiment in your saying, who the hell you think you are.

Salutation.

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By ofersince72, February 20, 2010 at 3:40 am Link to this comment

I can’t answer that question but I have always
wanted to meet a PURPLE girl,,its my favorite

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By Steven Podvoll, February 20, 2010 at 3:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

DNA analysis has made it fairly clear that modern Ashkenazi are still fundamentally semitic.  In fact, the DNA of most Jews all over the world clearly indicate *substantial* isolation from non-Jewish communities.  Overstating the Khazar genetic influence has been an anti-semitic ploy for generations and the advent of DNA analysis now proves it beyond any doubt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khazars#Alleged_Khazar_ancestry_of_Ashkenazim

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By Purple Girl, February 20, 2010 at 3:20 am Link to this comment

It’s disgusting that after millenia of fighting each other over Religious differences, we’re still at it.
But worse is the fact that there remains schisms amongst those who claim the same faith.
Understandable in an acedemic sense, but not fundemental philosophical sense.
Catholics liking Catholics for the ‘blessing’ of the Vatican?
Protestants killing Lutherans?
Shia vs Sunni.

This “Am I a Good…” has been slaughtering people and communities for far too long to continue the ridiculously archic notion.
Can you not Practice Catholicism if you are ex communicated now? We’d Know? Who’d refuse your financial donation either?
Do none of these so called Religious folks comprehend the concept of “practice”?
If you are ‘Practicing’ You are acting out the rituals to achieve a goal. A means to an end.
In sports it’s improving your physical skills, winning the game, the trophy, the title.
In religion it is a method to achieve ‘At one Ment’,Blessedness, Salavation.
One athelete runs the parks, the other a tread mill- do you know which one will win the Race? Or If it is even a competition they are training for to begin with?
No Mere Mortal has the Right to ask another ‘Are you a good…”, esp those of the Monotheist variety- Only One gets the Privildege to ask such a question- because it is One and Only One’s to Judgement such matters.
Don’t demean yourself or your Faith by kowtowing down to such arrogance and heresy. They are Working Way about their payscale.
So having been Indoctrinated into religion through Catholicism, my retort such Blatant Insubordination is “And who in Hell do you think you are?”

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By Jacob, February 20, 2010 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

To RdV,

  Go visit the History section of your nearest University Library and you will find that in 1940 the Mufti requested the Axis powers to acknowledge the Arab right: “... to settle the question of Jewish elements in Palestine and other Arab countries in accordance with the national and racial interests of the Arabs and along the lines similar to those used to solve the Jewish question in Germany and Italy.” Later the Mufti aided the pro-Nazi revolt in Iraq in 1941. He then spent the rest of World War II as Hitler’s special guest in Berlin, advocating the extermination of Jews in radio broadcasts. You can find pictures showing him with Hitler. He also helped in the recruiting of Bosnian Muslims for the infamous SS “mountain divisions”.
  You can easily find the books best seller list in Egypt, Syria and other Arab counties and see for yourself where the “Protocols” stand.
  And you can read the paper by Ritte et al. They examined six Jewish populations, Yemenite, Ashkenazic, Near Eastern, North African, Asia Minor and the Balkans, and Ethiopian. The first five showed a strong affinity, with the Ashkenazic and Yemenite populations coming out the closest. The Ethiopian community was a distant outlier,
suggesting that that community is primarily descended from local converts (Journal of Molecular Evolution,37,435,1993).
  Of course Sand ignored all that. But it clearly demonstrates that modern day Jews are not descendants
of local converts and thus demolishes Sand’s main premise.

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By P. T., February 20, 2010 at 1:29 am Link to this comment

For an article by Lenni Brenner looking at Zionist collaboration with the Nazis, click on http://www.counterpunch.org/brenner1223.html

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By DaveZx3, February 20, 2010 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

To understand Judah or the Jews you must understand the promises made to Abraham by his God.  Abraham was promised that his offspring would number like the sands of the sea, that they would obtain vast wealth all over the world, and that they would generate the messiah, the King of the Jews, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, who would be the salvation of all Abrahams offspring, naturally and spiritually. 

These promises were passed down through Isaac to Jacob, (later renamed Israel), who passed them on to his 12 sons while on his deathbed.

Population and riches were passed on to Joseph, through his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh.  Joseph was the brother who was sold into slavery by his 11 brothers and found himself in Egypt, eventually rising to great power, managing all the wealth of Egypt for the Pharaoh.  His 11 brothers had to suck up to him when famine was in their own land, and they went to Egypt, where they did not know Joseph was in charge or that he was even still alive.  They found favor in Egypt for a time, but eventually fell into slavery themselves, pre Exodus.

Interestingly, Judah was given the promise of the “Sceptre”, symbolic of government, to be the source of the Messiah, the King.  A Kingdom was set up under Saul, David, Solomon and others, but eventually was overrun by the Assyrians or Babylonians, I can’t remember which. 

The children of the King were killed, with a couple of daughters being saved by the prophet Jeremiah, who took them to a far off place (isles).  In addition to the daughters of the King, a rock called the “Jacob Pillow Stone”, which was a part of the throne of David, a throne which was prophesied to never depart from the Earth until the Messiah came to usher in the Kingdom of God in the city of Jerusalem. 

This Jacob’s Pillow Stone is reputed to exist as the part of a present day throne, and the city of Jerusalem is under control of the tribe of Judah, which has had to retain its identity and its land in order to fulfill these prophesies.  There is a sub-tribe which existed along with the kingdom of the Jews, which I believe was Levi. 

Thus the so-called lost ten tribes are scattered about, but with great wealth and population, and maintaining a certain level of cohesiveness, but a virtual total lack of original identity. 

But according to prophesy, the Messiah will return with a staff consisting of 12,000 of each of the 12 tribes, 144,000 in all, ruling out of Jerusalem after that great battle to take place in the Jezreel valley, just before we attempt to nuke the world into oblivion. 

Whether these prophesies are true or not, they do add some meaning to the journey of the tribe of Judah, and how they have almost miraculously maintained their identify through thousands of years in spite of the attempts to wipe them out consistently.  How can such a small people maintain against such odds?  Maybe there is more to the prophesies than most would care to admit. 

If one were to research the journeys of Jeremiah and his sidekick Baruch, the daughters of the King of Judah and Jacob’s Pillow (or Pillar) stone, one might find some evidence of where some of the lost tribes migrated off to.  It is all recorded in secular histories.

Could it be that the world hates the Jews because their story represents a threat to the current powers of this world?  Once Iran gets the bomb, I think things might speed up quite a bit.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 19, 2010 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

Some strange posts here.  Like the “Christian” Prole who talks about “Hitler and his Jewish admirers”.  I am a Jew and have never met nor read about one, not ONE Jew who admired Hitler in any way, shape or form. To EVERY Jew I’ve every come across, Hitler is The Devil in human form, in one way or another.

But Prole hates Jews pathologically. It shows in all his/her posts, even to quoting the CHRISTIAN myth of Jews shouting for Christ’s death at Golgotha.

Meanwhile the reviewer of Sands’ book makes absurd assumptions, like ANY Jew who opposes the continuing “settlement” of the West Bank (like me) is somehow expelled from the world of Jews.  Sorry, not true.

Then there’s the false assumption that Jews are not a People.  Well, we have the simplest definition of all, one that EVERY Jew from Ultra-Orthodox to Atheist or (like me) Agnostic understands: When the world kills Jews again, they won’t give a SHIT that I don’t practice the religion at all—they will kill me just for coming from Jews, as Stalin, who hated Jews as much as Hitler,  killed Trotsky by having an ice-axe buried in his head in Mexico City in 1940.

THAT, more than anything, defines Judaism: We ALL know that sooner or later the non-Jew will turn on us, solely for our ancestry, and kill us.  It sounds paranoid to nice people, but every 50 years or so it arises and happens again.  Since WWII ended in 1945, 65 years ago, we are over-due for the next anti-Jewish phase, but it’s mushrooming, now that the Palestinians (who are NOT progressive) have convinced the idiot-progessive Left to join with the neo-Nazis in their Jew-hatred, under the guise of “saving” the Palestinians.

Combine that with the neo-fascist actions of Netanyahu and cohort (like Avigdor Lieberman) and you have the new Cossacks ready to ride and “wipe out” the Jews.  “Whata-Yahoo” and his Gang aren’t helping.

Oh, we are a people, all right. Jews know that Sephardic and Ashkanazic Jews, Orthodox and Agnostic, Black, White, and Brown, are ALL one people.  And our paranoia, poo-pooed by non-understanding gentiles, is based on reality and real fear.

I don’t want to make aliya.  The USA is my home, my native land, not Israel.  It has my loyalty and love, not Israel.  But I KNOW that if people like Prole and PatrickHenry and Ed Harges and Robert come to power, I may have to leave my home, my homeland, and the ONE place on Earth I am welcome is: Israel.  The ONLY place I know I am welcome to flee to if the US were to go that way.

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By HHH, February 19, 2010 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

“Sand’s text has excited virulent denunciation in some quarters. My lack of
expertise in its original Hebrew and in the detailed context of many of Sand’s
quotations inhibits me from making any reliable judgment. I can say only that
common sense supports much of his narrative and that its content, where I am
qualified to assess it, is admirably and candidly presented. It may be that this
book comes too late to help men arrive at a sane and rational compromise in the
Middle East.”

I find the above comment extremely ironic: “It comes too late” in this rambling
“review”, so-called. It would have been an immense help had this reviewer stated
this observation up front. I still have no idea what the point of this piece is.

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By Plastic_Door, February 19, 2010 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

I submitted a comment well-fit under guidelines and policy, in
re @ davka, February 19 at 3:02 pm #  (Unregistered
commenter).

That post was deleted. I surmise that it has been flagged
enough times to have triggered deletion. I maintain that I said
nothing that libeled, slandered, nor deviates substantially any
from other comments herein thus far, in content, voice, nor
form.

While Truthdig per se does not engage in censorship, as per
policy, policy states that is sufficient for “flags” to accumulate
enough to trigger a censorship: deletion of comment.

Lesson learned: Engage here not in heresy, for a Scarlet Letter
is a tighter noose than is the gallows. Mob rule rules, clearly.

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By jbmjr, February 19, 2010 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

The logical flaw in monotheism is that the universal state of the absolute is basis, not apex, so a spiritual absolute, or “source” would be the essence from which we rise, not an ideal from which we fell. We may all be branches of the same tree, but that necessarily means we are all pointing in opposite directions.

Top down theology assumes a moral theory of good and bad as a metaphysical duel between the forces of light and darkness. Actually they are the basic biological binary code, the attraction of the beneficial and repulsion of the detrimental. This elemental relationship is a polarity out of which exponentially complex relationships develop, creating endless confusion for our religious models. What is good for the fox, is bad for the chicken, yet there is no clear line where the chicken ends and the fox begins. Between black and white are not just shades of grey, but all the colors of the spectrum.

The problem is that the objective western intellect registers distinctions and leaves it to the subconscious, instinct and the emotions to make the connections. We see the nodes as primary and the network as secondary, but it is the other way
around. Form follows function.

It should also be noted that it was polytheists who invented democracy. Possibly because a pantheon requires a process of negotiation and resolution seeking. Monotheism has been responsible for validating monarchy and other forms of top down rule. Monotheistic societies which have successfully
converted to democracy tend to have some degree of separation of church and state.

Polytheistic deities were what we would call memes today. Basic concepts to which the larger group accepted, such as the singularity and status of one’s tribe. Geographic and astronomical features. Seasons of the year. Group and cultural activities, such as celebrations, war, death, sex, sleep, illness, etc. All the myriad connections between these concepts naturally lead to a pantheistic network with a mythology of allegorical relationships. This pantheistic unity was difficult to describe conceptually, so it was natural to have this state defined as a unit and then to give it some form, the adult human male being
the default option.

The Christian Trinity would be a good example. It seems to be a mystery when viewed as three distinct entities, but it is in fact the relationship, the connections which make it logical. These could be viewed from a number of perspectives: Two sides defining the whole, as in Complexity theory, with chaos and order as the polarities. Or possibly as three points defining a circle. My assumption is that it is an analogy for the past, present and future, since Jesus sought to resuscitate a stagnant religious order and when he apparently failed, the Holy Ghost was emphasized as a symbol for hope in the future. Of course, the story of Jesus has also crossed the political spectrum, from being a tale of social insurrection, to being a tool of civil indoctrination, so if he were to return today, it would likely be his own church he would go through with a big stick.

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By ofersince72, February 19, 2010 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

I am not at all anti-semetic, even been to a couple
13 yr old birthdays.

but i have been guilty of calling someone a
durn jew for not buying me a drink ...
Is that anti-semetic…??  It might be…
I won’t do that anymore.

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By Bildo, February 19, 2010 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From what I understand, the Jews in Israel are Ashkenazis who were actually Kazars that converted to Judaism waaay back. Maybe 700 A.D. They are not the Biblical Hebrew [Jews]. Odd as it may sound, I’ve heard that “Israelites”[Jacob=Israel]are the Palestinians.

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By johannes, February 19, 2010 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

To NJcartist,

Your story makes me sad, you speek as if you where not an human, but an Jew, are Jews no humans in your eyes, you give the feeling you come from an other planet as me, do you think I only can speek and live with other people as Jews, in my feeling you are discriminating me, for wath reasen, waths the differend between one old folk, and an other, you think we have not suffered in this world, do you think that suffering is only for the Jews.

I hope you can and will understand my feeling as an men of 73 growen op in Amsterdam and Paris.

Salutation.

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By Peacequilt, February 19, 2010 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here’s what I don’t get.

Most religions are based on the beliefs/discoveries/enlightenment of some holy man.  Jesus teaching his philosophy of love thy brother.  Buddha teaching his discovery of a path to enlightenment.  Something like that.

Near as I can tell from the old testament, Judaism started with a bunch of people committing terrorist acts in Egypt because they didn’t like the government, and who then fled up the coast until they found their ‘homeland’ which happened to be occupied by the Canaanites whom they promptly slaughtered and stole their land.

Is that really a wise basis for a religion?

And, while I maybe can understand this particular tribe of people keeping alive their particular heritage, what I really don’t get is that the people who worship Jesus Christ, who tried to teach simply that the world is a better place if we aren’t all trying to kill, rob and rape each other, treat this much more violent religion as a part of their own.  The old testament and the new testament of the Christian bible always seem badly mismatched.

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By David Ehrenstein, February 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbcyiFt5VEs

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By ardee, February 19, 2010 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

NYCartist, February 19 at 5:45 pm #

On the comments: ardee makes a good point that Jews and Israel are not interchangeable (if I have accurately read ardee).

You have indeed.

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By Oscar, February 19, 2010 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I would like to know where are you a jew where is it written that you are a jew is it in the blood skin mind…idiots.

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By mekdahl, February 19, 2010 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment

What’s really sad is that people are still stuck in the Hegelian dialectic—the thesis/antithesis largely inherent in Western religion and in historical ethnic and land squabbles, without arriving at a tenable solution. But you know what is probably the best source of inspiration? Not inflammatory books competing for publication (I’m not attacking Sand’s book here at all), but in studying objectively as possible the world history of the last three centuries, and forming conclusions. For example, the French Revolution was so bloody and horrified the elites so much, that two centuries of politics on a global, corporate level, where set on trajectories that are still basically maintained. Large standing armies were maintained basically to serve corporate interests and suppress rebellion, humiliate dissent, etc. The French Revolution INSPIRED Clausewitz to form his theory of “total war” which is now so hyperbolically pseudo-sophisticated that even scholars on BookTV discuss Afghanistan like it is a football game. Americans in particular are still enthralled by the industrial revolution, even though corporate interests hi-jacked innovation and the American spirit as understood by the founding fathers, canonizing captains of industry and consolidating their patents, while oppressing intellectually and ethically back-boned honest engineers everywhere. The American experiment can largely be seen as an industrial venture which sought utopian freedom from corporate consolidation. That attempt didn’t last long. Total war is still in practice, on an insidious monetary level, IE the creation of the Fed, the Versailles Treaty, etc. We need to return to a global egalitarian innovation/engineering ethic, as envisioned by the great engineers of recent centuries. The Internet was created to a surprising exent by selfless idealists uninterested in profit. But again its not a question of either/or, or profit/loss, its a question of coming up with something new. A new approach. A new approach might be something as simple talking with an “enemy” about getting adequate plumbing for innocent children. Or remembering when soldiers only fought soldiers. Or realizing there are limitations to a given religious text regardless of its history or popularity or the intentions, (impossible to really know) of its original authors or translators. Heck, the printing press is still relatively in its infancy. There is still so much to be done. Illiterate peoples are still jumping into flaming pits for a few people, or one person “in the know.” Instead of decadently falling in love with one’s own rhetoric or “take” on the big picture, we need to try harder to see the big picture. Its pretty ugly unless you are, say, all alone in the middle of a pristine forest.

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By Ralph Kramden, February 19, 2010 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And the Palestinians keep bleeding for an European crime.

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By TAO Walker, February 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

It’d've been one thing if “The Chosen People” could’ve just followed their script(ture), whatever its ‘source,’ without having to involve their neighbors in the ‘production’....if it all’d been confined, as this article’s author suggests, to some “island” somewhere.  Life, though, ain’t like that.  This Living Earth, even, is really no island.

So “all the world (became instead) a stage,” perforce, with Her Peoples assigned (by theirownselfs and ‘others’) to this that or another ‘role’ in the grand pageant.  Naturally not everybody was happy with their part in the thing, and the rewrites have been as bloody as they’ve been interminable….and all to no genuinely Earthly purpose whatsoever.

“O what a tangled web we weave,” once we’re LOST in make-believe.  Today that net is severely CONstricting the “individual” half-lifes of its ‘catch,’ as those who set it haul ‘em in for the inevitable ‘feeding frenzy.’  The ‘gods’ just want “....tuna that tastes good.”  Our free wild Ancestors warned the captive forebears of our tame Sisters and Brothers that the ‘bait’ WAS the trap.  The Hebrews were hardly alone in going for it, however….“hook,” as they say, “line, and sinker.” 

Their ‘Israeli’ descendants, along with those of numerous other “national”-ized peoples, are proof enough the trick still works.

HokaHey!

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By Mark Ekdahl, February 19, 2010 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What’s really sad is that people are still stuck in the Hegelian dialectic—the thesis/antithesis largely inherent in Western religion and in historical ethnic and land squabbles, without arriving at a tenable solution. But you know what is probably the best source of inspiration? Not inflammatory books competing for publication (I’m not attacking Sand’s book here at all), but in studying objectively as possible the world history of the last three centuries, and forming conclusions. For example, the French Revolution was so bloody and horrified the elites so much, that two centuries of politics on a global, corporate level, where set on trajectories that are still basically maintained. Large standing armies were maintained basically to serve corporate interests and suppress rebellion, humiliate dissent, etc. The French Revolution INSPIRED Clausewitz to form his theory of “total war” which is now so hyperbolically pseudo-sophisticated that even scholars on BookTV discuss Afghanistan like it is a football game. Americans in particular are still enthralled by the industrial revolution, even though corporate interests hi-jacked innovation and the American spirit as understood by the founding fathers, canonizing captains of industry and consolidating their patents, while oppressing intellectually and ethically back-boned honest engineers everywhere. The American experiment can largely be seen as an industrial venture which sought utopian freedom from corporate consolidation. That attempt didn’t last long. Total war is still in practice, on an insidious monetary level, IE the creation of the Fed, the Versailles Treaty, etc. We need to return to a global egalitarian innovation/engineering ethic, as envisioned by the great engineers of recent centuries. The Internet was created to a surprising exent by selfless idealists uninterested in profit. But again its not a question of either/or, or profit/loss, its a question of coming up with something new. A new approach. A new approach might be something as simple talking with an “enemy” about getting adequate plumbing for innocent children. Or remembering when soldiers only fought soldiers. Or realizing there are limitations to a given religious text regardless of its history or popularity or the intentions, (impossible to really know) of its original authors or translators. Heck, the printing press is still relatively in its infancy. There is still so much to be done. Illiterate peoples are still jumping into flaming pits for a few people, or one person “in the know.” We can’t get so in love with our own rhetoric or “take” on the big picture or else we miss the big picture.

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By prole, February 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

“Impartiality too can have its hidden bias”...as witness this learned review which “unpacks” so much lofty intellectual name-dropping in it’s few densely compressed pages of quasi-philosophical musings that it never gets out of the starting blocks. Everything from Spinoza to Wittgenstein with a few disparate goyim like Satre and Plato tossed in along the way to further fog the issue. This is a sterling example of talking a problem to death, albeit with the most polished eloquence. As an afternoon essay for the salon literati it would be hard to beat. But for political purposes it probably doesn’t get us very far. Unfortunately, its intellectuality may serve to promote a false type of impartiality with a hidden bias of its own. So we are haughtily led to dismiss Jacqueline Rose and Noam Chomsky as delusional Good Jews full of “arrogance” and “ostentatiously anti-Israel” views. For the superior Raphael, Rose and Chomsky, “and their like”, are simply “dupes” and “Communist fellow traveler” types, to be spoken of in the same breath with Hitler and his Jewish admirers. So it’s only a short step from there, after a few more idealized digressions about his “pious” father and his wistful childhood exile, for Raphael to suggest that “without Adolf there would have been no Jewish state”; and no doubt, by extension Rose and Chomsky, et.al. and other fellow-traveler dupes are partly to blame, as well. So you see, it’s not any fault of the zionists who concocted the Jewish state project and executed its designs, it’s Hitler and his Jewish admirers that are to blame for Israel’s crimes. Further,“payment of reparations to Israel” too, had a “not implausible” sinister hidden motive i.e. “so that Europe’s evicted Jews should have somewhere to go which was not either the United States or Britain. The victors did not want the despoiled.” Well, whether they wanted them or not, they certainly got them. There are more Jews in the U.S. now than there are in Israel! It’s not “entirely implausible” to say that Amerika is the real Jewish State. Jews, in fact, are better off as a class (if not a people) than any other ethnic group in the society. So if that was the original intent of the reparations – it certainly didn’t work! But still those sneaky goyim weren’t done: “The British, unsurprisingly, used the Jews to enable them to divide and rule Palestine.” So blame all that on the Gentiles, too. But the ultimate perfidy: the goy left the Jews “to face the angry Arabs in a war which, if the British had rightly calculated (and fixed) the odds, would lead to their elimination. Pontius Pilate has never lacked emulation in London.” Uh, huh - and the Jewish mob shouting ‘Crucify, crucify!’ at Golgotha has never lacked emulation in Gaza. After further excusing the Jewish State (people’s) latest sins as the result of the threadbare “martyrology” complex, Raphael can call attention to their Namieresque new found pride in alleged “triumph against overwhelming odds, military victories, an energetic culture and economic expansion.”  Even if Raphael doesn’t fully embrace this vision, in the end he comes to an unsatisfying ‘impartiality which can have a hidden bias’ himself by retreating into his ivory tower and like Pontius Pilate, washing his hands of the whole business, woefully sighing: “…it may be that this book comes too late to help men arrive at a sane and rational compromise in the Middle East. Some situations are beyond repair, …i.e.  there is, to put it chastely, no way out of this mess.” Which, of course, all the while allows Israel time to go on making facts on the ground. But even if Raphael is above the battle, the heroic Resistance isn’t.

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By skulz fontaine, February 19, 2010 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

To quote Jarma the Great- “you can tune a piano but you can’t tuna fish!”
Jewness? Self-loathing Jewness? Dershowitz the Demagogue is gonna be
screaming ‘anti-Semite’ from the top of the Empire.

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By ofersince72, February 19, 2010 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

there were already many Jews in the Ottomen Emp
were they supposed to take every jew in the world
because of OTHER discriminations ELSEWHERE
in the world.

Jews were getting discriminated much worse
against in many places of the world

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By Eso, February 19, 2010 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, let us imagine that there were two (2) Christianities: arch-Christianity (re the Cathars, Bogomils, Children of Johns, etc.) and neo-Christianity (Catholics, Protestants, etc.). We know that arch-Christians were killed by neo-Christians, the best known example being the elimination of the Cathars in Languedoc, France, in the first half of the 13th century.

Let us also imagine that the arch-Christians believed that John was an itinerant preacher the world over (John=Jean, Ivan, Jean, Huan, Johann, etc.). Then some secular princes decided to get rid of John on Earth and replace him with Jesus in Heaven. John on Earth could make trouble for the secular princes, while Jesus sits in Heaven and on his hands. There is a hint of this in the New Testament, which speaks of John the Baptist (or Water carrier) as being the forerunner of Jesus.

Imagine also that the Jews were a sect of arch-Christians who became tax collectors for the king and were therefore protected. Would not the Children of Johns, the Bogomils, and the Cathars have then converted to Judaism in order to escape auto da fe?

Incidentally, I have read Shlomo Sand’s book and believe that it is a great step forward in demythologizing the origins of the Jews.

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By Blackspeare, February 19, 2010 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor…“How strange. All this huffing and puffing about a religion that represents 0.22% of the world religions.”

That’s why they have the “bomb.”

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By NYCartist, February 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

On the comments: ardee makes a good point that Jews and Israel are not interchangeable (if I have accurately read ardee).

I use the term “Jew-hating” because it’s clear, when
discussing that.

There’s still plenty of Jew-hatred. I again suggest folks read James Carroll’s “Constantine’s Sword” - history of the Church towards Jews.

For the record:I am opposed to Israel gov’t policies toward Palestinians and I am opposed to the U.S. gov’t's policies in relation to Israel, in the Middle East, etc… 

There’s an interesting explanation of who is a Jew in (Rabbi) Harold Kushner’s “To Life” - that Jews were a people before a religion and that a Jew need not believe in God to be a Jew.  I also heard a professor from the Hebrew Theological Seminary say that one can be an atheist and Jew, without any naysaying in the religious books of “rules”.

I come from an family of Polish (Warsaw)Orthodox grandparents who came here around 1908, and one French Jew grandfather (who I never met)who had been married to my father’s mother, who was half
WASP.  I my upbringing was Orthodox Jewish and
realized I am an atheist at age 16.  I remain strongly Jewish, having been aware of my Bubbie’s suffering during WWII (bubbie is E.Europeanized adding “ie” sound to bubba, grandma in Yiddish), as a child.  I identify with all minority groups.  Soon to be 7 0 (but no leap year this, sigh). P.S. I once went with my half WASP grandmother to visit rich WASP friends of hers in a small town in N.J.  As we were about to enter their house, she said, “Sanda, don’t tell them
you are Jewish.”.

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By RdV, February 19, 2010 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

Ah yes, the Mufti. Can’t forget about the Mufti or the “Elders” in attempting to frame Arab Muslims as complicit in the Holocaust.
  Can’t tell you how often I’ve heard those smears echoed. Funny how you never hear about the Muslim Ottoman Empire welcoming Jews expelled by Christian Europe.

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By ofersince72, February 19, 2010 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

Was it not Western colonialization of the Middle
East that created the great divide between Jews
and Arabs and Muslims. I believe Jews were spread
all over the Middle East until then…
Millions living in what we now call Iran.

Once again,  it was Westerners lust for oil
        that created the present hatred

Jews, Arabs, Persians all assimilated together
if not in complete harmony before western colonializatin,  their disputes were like brothers
disputes,,——we may fight,—but outsider, don’t
interfere, or you will see us as one…
This was centuries old,,,until,,,OIL

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By NYCartist, February 19, 2010 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

My comment is before reading other comments (and I claim the right of return to make replies…OK, a bad pun,but I’m 10 days away from 7 0).

My first reaction to F. Raphael, was after reading
his ramble, “You’re Jewish, you left out women.”.  As a Jewish woman, I can say that.  Yes, I’m married and both times to Jewish men.  I’m an atheist and a Jew.

The title doesn’t fit the essay.

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By Jacob, February 19, 2010 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

To FlamingLib:

  The term “anti-Semitism” was coined by the German writer Wilhelm Marr in 1879. Its meaning was identical to Jew-hatred or Judenhass. It had nothing to do with peoples who speak Semitic languages and everything to do with prejudice against Jews alone. In fact, the German Nazis had close relations with the Jerusalem Mufti, Amin al-Husseini. The Mufti and Hitler met in Berlin in November 28, 1941. The Mufti
helped the Nazis to mobilize Bosnian Muslims to the S.S. and spent the rest of the war in Berlin. 
  In the last decade several classic European anti-Semitic books like, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, have became best sellers in several Arab countries. This is because the publishers and the public knew that the books are anti-Jewish and not anti Arab.
  As you see, the term anti-Semitism means nothing else but opposition to, and hatred of, Jews.

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By RdV, February 19, 2010 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

Israel “became a world leader in the ‘investigation of the origins of populations’” even as “Israeli researchers…regularly blended historical mythologies and sociological assumptions with dubious and scanty genetic findings.” These included mitochondrial DNA purportedly showing that “40 per cent of all Ashkenazis in the world descend from four matriarchs (as in the Bible),” and a haplotype carried by 50 per cent of men named Cohen, which “proved” that “the Jewish priesthood was was indeed founded by a common ancestor thirty-three centuries ago.” This dreck appeared in publications such as Nature and the American Journal of Human Genetics, and was respectfully reported in Haaretz and elsewhere, but rarely skepticism or contrary findings. “Yet so far, no research had found unique and unifying characteristics of Jewish heredity based on a random sampling of genetic material whose ethnic origin is not known in advance…after all the costly ‘scientific’ endeavors, a Jewish individual cannot be defined by any biological criteria whatsoever.”

http://www.counterpunch.org/clark02042010.html

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By Maani, February 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

“Non-monotheistic religions don’t obviate their belief in the power of THINGS THAT AREN’T THERE! Religion is legalized self-delusion, predicated on the worship of death.”

Your ignorance and “fundamentalist” hatred of religion are no less ill-informed and sad than the attitudes of many faith-based persons.  I would address them - particularly your utterly inane comment about “worshipping death” - but I know I would be “casting pearls before swine”...LOL.

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By Blackspeare, February 19, 2010 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

FlamingLib…You Said “Jews and Muslims are all Semites.”  I think you mean Jews and Arabs.

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By David Ehrenstein, February 19, 2010 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

Non-monotheistic religions don’t obviate their belief in the power of THINGS THAT AREN’T THERE!

Religion is legalized self-delusion, predicated on the worship of death.

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By Maani, February 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

“As to the world’s religions, all believe, in one form or another, in the existence of a Big Invisible Bi-Polar Daddy Who Lives in The Sky.”

Uh…not quite. Only the three Abrahamic monotheistic religions believe this. Buddhism and Hunduism have multiple “gods,” none of whom is ultimately the equivalent of “Yahweh” or “Allah.” And no other established “religion” has such a singular “Daddy.”  The spiritual belief that comes closest (perhaps) is Native American, though the “Great Spirit” is not really the same as a monotheistic “God,” since their belief came out of animism.

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By radson, February 19, 2010 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

Religion is just another form of governance ,whether one truly believes in the scriptures or not .The Israelites have been around for as long as recorded history ,they are a people that are gifted in many ways ,but
unfortunately not very skilled in statesmanship and diplomacy.Historically they are to be found to flourish in other successful civilizations -since they didn’t have a homeland - of their own ,but their meddling in the concerns of other nationalities has oftentimes led to their oppression .At the moment America is the safe haven and the provider of support ,but how long will this marriage last especially with the emergence of the
Asian Tigers .Is Israel ready to integrate with the East or is that possibility too demeaning for the chosen one’s.

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By James M. Martin, February 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

This is a long-needed book.  I have argued for years that the words, “anti-semitic” are meaningless as applied to Jewry.  Why?  Because Muslims and Mideastern non-Jews, descended from Abraham and the ancient desert tribes, are ALSO Semitic.  Jews and Muslims are all Semites.  Before the establishment of the State of Israel, Jews were sharply divided on whether such a nation should see the light of day.  I am afraid that the wrong people won the argument.  Look at the mess it got us in!  Unfortunately, whenever someone—say, Vanessa Redgrave or, more recently, composer John Adams—dares to point out that the displacement of the Palestinians was just plain wrong, they get shouted down immediately, more often than not by pols beholden to the Jewish Lobby.  We are never—I repeat, NEVER—going to have peace in the Mideast until something is done to restore at least some of the Palestinian state.  A two state solution is the only way.  Unfortunately, some Israelis and many Palestinians are against even that.  (Sigh!)

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By David Ehrenstein, February 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

Yes I know it’s by Thomas Hardy, but Raphael write the screenplay.

As to the world’s religions, all believe, in one form or another, in the existence of a Big Invisible Bi-Polar Daddy Who Lives in The Sky.

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By Kevin Brook, February 19, 2010 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

Most Jewish populations are reliably linked together by genetic evidence. Sand misunderstands and denies this evidence. There is no way to explain the fact that Samaritans, Egyptian Karaites, Crimean Karaites, Ashkenazic Jews, Spanish Jews, Mizrahi Jews, Indian Jews, Yemenite Jews, Caucasian Mountain Jews, and Moroccan Jews all share the same Middle Eastern haplogroups in large percentages unless we acknowledge that they all stem from the same people: the ancient Israelites. I summarize this evidence in my book “The Jews of Khazaria”, the leading alternative book to Sand’s.

I also discuss the same evidence for historical conversions to Judaism as Sand does. Yes, some of the people in Khazaria and Himyarite Yemen and Adiabene and other places converted to Judaism. No, there is no such thing as a “pure” Jewish population that never intermarried with its neighbors. But I show how we know those conversions and intermarriages did not overwhelm the aboriginal Israelite element in Jewish populations. The evidence is not only genetic but also documentary, linguistic, archaeological, onomastical, and even architectural.

Palestinian Arabs do descend in part from ancient Israelites, but so do the Jewish populations I mentioned. Palestinians and Jews sometimes share the same haplogroups. That means they are the same people. Sand picks and chooses his favorite descendants, Palestinians, to the exclusion of the Jewish ones, for blatant political purposes. But you can’t have one without the other.

Contrary to Sand’s assertion, the Khazars are discussed often in literature written in Israel, both nonfiction and fiction. In the realm of nonfiction articles about the Khazars have appeared in the Jerusalem Post and the Jerusalem Report, Ehud Yaari’s Hebrew-language documentary aired on Israeli television in 1997, and there are several Israeli professors who have written and published academic papers on the Khazars, including Dan Shapira, Paul Wexler, and Shlomo Simonsohn. Publishing houses with a presence in Israel such as Feldheim Publishers and Jason Aronson Publishers released books about the Khazars, including new translations of “The Kuzari” accompanied by articles about the Khazars and translations of Khazar documents. Meir Ouziel, Hary Bar-Shalom, and Hillel Halkin are among the Israeli fiction writers who have mentioned the Khazars in their works. The examples I mention here are from the past two decades, proving there is no barrier to the publication of research and opinions in this subject matter. It did not end in the 1960s as Sand thinks.

These are just a few of the problems with Sand’s book. It’s misleading in multiple ways.

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By omop, February 19, 2010 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

Whenever one “vocalizes or visualizes” the word jew one is ipso facto of one or
the other kind [whatever that kind is De Rigueure at the ttime].

The following is an excerpt from an article written by William Safire for the NYT
in 2003 and references President Harry Truman’s comment in one of his diaries.

“The Jews, I find are very, very selfish. They care not how many Estonians,
Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated as DP as
long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power, physical,
financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or
mistreatment to the under dog.”

  Based on reading the above was HST an antisemite because of his comparing
the Jews to Estonians, et, al ? What basically dinstinguishes a homo sapiens who
happens to follow a certain religion from another homo sapiens who happens to
follow another certain religion?

  I remember while in the army a fellow soldier mentioning that he was jewish to
which the drill sergeant responded, “that don’t make you special”.

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By johannes, February 19, 2010 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

TO David,

This book ” far from the madding growd ” is by Thomas Hardy, from England, thats the autthor.

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By Voodooeconomix, February 19, 2010 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

There is an essential unity to all the world’s Religions. On the esoteric level they are in reality the same. On the more exoteric level of practice by the mass of people, there come the differences. On this level of formal practice differences arise between religions, and within them. These differences can and always have led to conflict. When the conflicts become intolerance, extremism is born. No Religion is immune to this extremism. Because the United States and Israel have conflicts with countries that have populations that practice the Religion of Islam we get terms like Islamic Extremists, Islamo-Facists, Radical Clerics, Radical Muslims ect. Of course these terms apply not to the Religion Islam but to the practitioners behaving in extreme ways. I believe the same kind of extremism the US and Israel identify in the Islamic world exists in the other world religions.  We must come to understand that on the esoteric level we are One and our Religions are expressions of the unity of all people in the relation to the great mystery of existence.

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By ofersince72, February 19, 2010 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

But why are Jews sanctioned a Holy Land then,
If it is culture and ethniticity?
is there any other ethnic group OR religion
that the rest of the world sanctions this, I know of
none, we give native Americans a couple buriel sites,
at that, it has only been recent.

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By Jacob Amir, February 19, 2010 at 11:10 am Link to this comment
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In his review of Shlomo Sand’s book, “The Invention of the Jewish People ,” Frederic Raphael ignores the genetic research which clearly shows that, even though there is no “Jewish DNA”, there is definite biological-genetic evidence that the Jews are ONE people. The research was published in reputable peer review journals.
  The researchers found that despite their long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level. Palestinian, Syrian and other non-Jewish Middle Eastern populations were also very close to the Jewish populations.(“Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes,” Hammer, et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, June,2000).Another research showed that the Jews in different countries are much closer to Jews in other countries than to their non-Jewish neighbors.
  The Ashkenazi Jews were not found to be similar to present-day Turkish speakers. This opposes the suggestion that Ashkenazi Jews descended from the Khazars, a Turkish-Asian empire, that converted to Judaism in or about the 8th century CE.
  The results support the notion that modern Jews are descendants of the Jews who lived in the Middle East 1900 years ago.
  Contrary to Sand’s assertion, not only history supports the existence of the Jewish people, so does science.
  It is important to notice that Sand grew up in an extremely anti-Zionist family. His father was a member of the Bund and after coming to Israel refused to speak Hebrew, as this would mean that Zionism won.
  All that means that the Zionists were correct when they claimed that the Jews are indeed a people like all others and not just a group of believers in the same religion.

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By David Ehrenstein, February 19, 2010 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

A most formidable review from the author of the screenplays of “Darling,” “Far From the Madding Crowd,” “Richard’s Things” and Eyes Wide Shut”—as well as the telepay of his “The Glittering Prizes.”

I should like to ask Mr. Rapahel what his take is on the gay Jewish protagonist of Schlesinger’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”

My name, as you might expect, is indicative of Jewishness. My father was a non-observant Jew. My mother was a Roman Catholic and raised me as such. Great sets, great costumes, the music is beautiful—but the “book” needs work. I adandoned this charade (perpetrated by thew world’s largest, wealthiest and most thoroughly lawyered pedophile cult) when I reached puberty and flung myself enthusiastically into heart of gayness.

The Jews I grew up with in Flushing Queens in the 1950s were exceptionally nice people. Not at all like the caricatures cocktailed by by the Brothers Coen in thei egregious “A Serious Man.” Talk about Jewish self-loathing!

As for Israel, fealty to that imaginary nation (which came into being just after I did) is a weapon wielded by the right to keep Jews who might be inclined to read what Jean Genet had to say about the Chatilla massacre, “in line.”

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By Liquor Store Larry, February 19, 2010 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

How ideal. I’m sure it will be the favorite at cocktail parties held by neo Nazis and Ku Klux Klansman everywhere. We all know of course that there are a “Muslim people” and like Jimmy Carter and every murdering terrorist who wears a Kaffiya says “the entire Middle East is Muslim land”. You people are just fuc*ing pathetic in the name of intellect.

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By davka, February 19, 2010 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
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What a meandering and confused piece from Raphael. Can’t he understand that Jews are a nation, entitled to nationhood? Never has a nation had to prove common biological origins. 
A Palestinian Sand would be hard pressed to prove what constitutes the Palestinian Arab nation. Is it language? Is it culture? Is it religion? A unique history?
Please enlighten me.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, February 19, 2010 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

“The one world nuts hate Israel for its nationalism. They also fear any nation where the population has not been dumbed down to American levels.”— fwdpost


Ah yes, Israel:  Where the Jews go to become Nazis.

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By bozh, February 19, 2010 at 9:31 am Link to this comment
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To me, a religion to earn that label, wld have to not only accept but also gladhand all other religions.
Of course, provided we have them. But we don’t. We have cults.
Having proclaimed a priori different eternal verities, they will hate and spurn one another as long as they endure.

These cults have always sided with the ‘nobility’ or our oppressors.

‘Jews’ comprise many ethnicities. Their connection to israelites and judeans may be very slight. It is possible that after assyria had defeated israelites of n. kingdom, slaying many and taking th rest as prisoners, that eventually some escaped to the north and in the process converting some asians to their cult.

Even some judeans may have escaped north ca 700yrs later. But many have settled among arabs since yehudim spoke aramaic just like some arabs.

Arameans and nabateans were arabs who settled in canaan ca 4.5k ago even before arrival of hebrews to canaan.

Of course, hebrews were as much shemitic as canaanites, nabateans, amorites, amonites,jebusites, arabs,phoenicians,et al; all speaking the shemitic language.

Of course, ‘jews’ avoid the the label ‘shemite’ because they dispise it; in add’n it wld reveal to us that they were by far more antishemitic than we were or are now.
They prefer the label ``semite`` for selves because it doesn`t link them to shem, noah`s eldest son,and who was, according to genesis, ancestor of all shemites. tnx

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By Plastic_Door, February 19, 2010 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

jews and jewishness is a fraud;  a fraud, because it is an illusion.
it is a medieval construct, and proves that we have not advanced
one iota past AD 800.

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By fwdpost, February 19, 2010 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

The one world nuts hate Israel for its nationalism. They also fear any nation where the population has not been dumbed down to American levels.

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By Peetawonkus, February 19, 2010 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

History, which so often defines us, can also be a burden. Interesting, also how identity, how “us” and “them”, can become so tangled. For instance, if a non-Jew criticizes the actions of Israel one can be (and often is) labeled as “anti-Semitic”. Many of my Jewish friends and acquaintances are active in various groups protesting the political actions of Israel. Yet input from non-Jews is usually not welcomed. Clearly no real change in Israel will happen without the active involvement of many people, groups and nations, most of whom are not Jewish. Yet I’ve seen the wagons circled during criticism of Israel from non-Jews. Indeed, Israel seems to be at the core of many modern Jews’ sense of who they are, whether they reject it or accept it. This love/hate relationship of Jews with Israel makes it difficult to objectively discuss the political nature of Israel which is, sadly, a deeply oppressive State.

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By Ed Harges, February 19, 2010 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

This book is long overdue. The library fines must be stratospheric.

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By RdV, February 19, 2010 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

Hey, all those Italian Jews… My last name is a common, but ancient Italian name for the early Jews who emigrated to Italy. Maybe I qualify for claiming one of those “hostile” Palestinian neighbor’s houses as my divine birthright given to me by God! Go ahead, check my DNA—betcha I have a greater claim than one of those Settlement kids from Philadelphia who turns out to be a Khaser Turk! wink

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By johannes, February 19, 2010 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

I want to congratulate all Jews, even the pseudo Jews the Askénazi.

When one of my ancestral forefather was walking on the site of an other human, this was the big walk out of Afric, 60 000 years ago, this human told my forefather that he was to start his own humankind, not bether but differend.

And I think this became the Jews, not bether but differend.

Well I am an other human not bether but also not differend.

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By Jaded Prole, February 19, 2010 at 7:03 am Link to this comment

Patrick, what confounds and confuses you is what you don’t understand. Judaism is more than just a religion. It is a culture with much depth. It has it own languages, foods, musical traditions and cultural concepts. One can, like myself, have been born and raised within that tradition but be an atheist and and anti-nationalist yet I am still culturally a Jew. It is my cultural heritage as much as being an Italian would be. We should remember that the “Nation” is a relatively recent concept and most of the countries we take for granted didn’t even exist more than a century or three ago and are made up of older regional states combined.

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By PatrickHenry, February 19, 2010 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

I have always believed that jews were a religious faith and Hebrews were the ethnicity from which the religion was derived.

Those who view themselves as non-religious, agnostic or atheist jews make no sense to me, except to confound, confuse and create bias as a ruse to further their arguement.

http://www.bing.com/reference/semhtml/Hebrews?fwd=1&src=abop&qpvt=hebrews&q=hebrews

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By ofersince72, February 19, 2010 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

Is it a religion or what

If it is a reigion how can you be half Jew?

I still haven’t figured out what it means to be
Jewish,

You can be born a Jew, is that the same as being
born a Christian?

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By ardee, February 19, 2010 at 5:33 am Link to this comment

One can only wish that people could view the actions of the State of Israel as such rather than as some extension of a particuar religion. Further, one might also request that his fellow Jews view said actions without the lens of religious affiliation. One might condemn the acts of violence Israel commits in such overwhelming number without condemning the religion itself.

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By Jaded Prole, February 19, 2010 at 5:08 am Link to this comment

Nationhood is an odd concept rife with mythology wherever it exists. Certainly, there is a historic record of Jewish existence going back at least 2,800 years and they were seen as much as a people as the Hittites. History gets fuzzy post-diaspora as Jews scattered to different regions, intermarried, assimilated and developed different traditions. They remained a distinct people in Europe and elsewhere. Ironically, many of those that stayed in and around Jerusalem are the ancestors of today’s Palestinians. All peoples should have their culture and traditions honored but none should use them to oppress others. Nationhood as a concept always contains the seed of the disease “nationalism” of which Zionism is a virulent example. Nationalism thrives on fear but it also perpetuates hatred and inhumanity that, in Israel’s case, undermine it’s legitimacy. Jews as a people will outlive this shameful era and be better off without the burden of “nationhood.”

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By thebeerdoctor, February 19, 2010 at 1:10 am Link to this comment

How strange. All this huffing and puffing about a religion that represents 0.22% of the world religions. Even the Sikhs do better than that.

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