Wednesday, May 30, 2007
En la "Judaism's Culture of Death," indiqué que el frase clave de una broma judía bien conocida sobre los días de fiesta judíos sería rendido más exactamente como "Les matamos. Comamos." Mi punto era ése en el corazón de las narrativas de Purim, Pascua, y Januká es las muertes de muchos no judíos y eso esta cultura de la muerte se relaciona con la violencia del sionismo.
En mi "Response to M.," coticé Israel Shahak:
La existencia de un componente importante de la política israelí, que se basa en "ideología judía," hace su imperativo del análisis político. Esta ideología es, alternadamente basado en las actitudes del judaísmo histórico a los no judíos ... Esas actitudes influencian necesariamente a muchos judíos, conscientemente o conscientemente. Nuestra tarea aquí es discutir judaísmo histórico en términos verdaderos. ...Hoy, propongo discutir evidencia del "chauvinism y del exclusivism judíos" en el "judaísmo clásico" que es mucho más reciente que las narrativas de días de fiesta judíos pero que tiene sus raíces en esos textos antiguos e ideas relacionadas. Esta fuente viene a mí de la Historia Judía, Religión Judía: El Peso de Tres Mil Años por Israel Shahak. Porque encontré las discusiones de Shahak tan duras creer cuando primero las leí hace aproximadamente tres años, obtuve una copia del libro discutido abajo.
Aunque la lucha contra antisemitism (y de el resto de las formas de racismo) debe nunca cesar, la lucha contra el chauvinism y el exclusivism judíos, que deben incluir una crítica del judaísmo clásico, ahora es de importancia igual o mayor [énfasis agregado].
Según el rabino Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg, Ley Médica Judía (Jerusalén y Anaheim, CA: Gefen, 1980) representa "la esencia de las decisiones halakhic médicamente pertinentes que se dispersan entre los trece volúmenes de mis textos del responsa titulados Tzitz Eliezer y mis otros libros que el Todopoderoso graciosamente me ha asistido en la escritura y publicar" (p. vii). Ley Médica Judía (JML) fue corregida por Avraham Steinberg, M.D. y aprobada personalmente por Waldenberg.
Hasta su muerte el año pasado, el rabino Waldenberg era una autoridad ortodoxa principal en el halakhah, es decir ley religiosa judía, especializándose en preguntas médicas. Él era un juez en la Alta Corte Rabínico del gobierno israelí y rabbi del centro médico de Shaare Zedek en Jerusalén. En la sección de la "descripción" de JML aprendemos que "en la tema de la medicina y del halakhah, rabbi Waldenberg ha publicado más responsa y artículos que cualquier otra autoridad halakhic" y le concedieron muchos honores, incluyendo el Premio de Israel para la literatura de Torah (pp. 18-19).
Así pues, estableciendo que el rabino Waldenberg estaba en conformidad con la corriente principal del pensamiento judaic y la sociedad israelí nos dejó considerar lo que él tiene que decir sobre ley médica judía y cómo se aplica a los no judíos. Primero, volvemos a la "descripción" del Dr. Steinberg para aprender que "es un mitzvah, a saber la obligación bíblica del médico, de curar a pacientes judíos." La razón de la inclusión del modificante "judío" llegará a estar más clara como pasamos con JML.
Las cotizaciones siguientes vienen de la "Parte II. El Sábado" de JML:
[ 10 ] Se prohíbe a retrasa el profanación del sábado en casos del peligro a la vida ...¿Conseguido eso? Si usted es judío y tiene una condición peligrosa para la vida entonces se ordena a su doctor judío que viole el sábado para cuidar para usted pero si usted no es un judío entonces, según ley judía, prohíben a su doctor judío cuidar para usted en el sábado incluso si su vida está en peligro.
[ 11 ] ... el médico judío no debe refrenarse de profanar el sábado en tales circunstancias [cuando la vida de un judío está en el peligro] (p. 30)
... [ 18 ] según la decisión indicó en el Talmud y los códigos de la ley judía, se prohíbe profanar el sábado--si viola ley bíblica o rabínico--para salvar la vida de un paciente gentilicio peligroso enfermo. También se prohíbe asistir en el parto de un bebé de una mujer gentilicia en el sábado. (p. 41)
Pero, espera. "[ 19 ] Sin embargo, se permite hoy para profanar el sábado a nombre de un gentil ..." ¿Y, por qué es eso? No es porque las vidas no judíos están de valor igual con vidas judías. ¡Ay no! La razón indicada en el resto del párrafo 19 es "... para tan haciendo uno evita hostilidad se presenten entre el judío y el gentil." Tordo, cuidado para ese gentil enfermo en el sábado porque, bien, es bueno para los judíos. Para amplificar este punto, cotizo del párrafo 21:
Para evitar cualquier transgresión de la ley, hay un método legalmente aceptable de rendir el tratamiento a nombre de un paciente gentil incluso al ocuparse de la violación de la ley bíblica. Se sugiere que ése el médico está proporcionando en ese entonces el cuidado necesario, sus intenciones no debe sobre todo deber curar al paciente, pero protegerse y a la gente judía contra las acusaciones de la discriminación religiosa y de la venganza severa que pueden poner en peligro a lo en detalle y a la gente judía en general. Con esta intención, cualquier acto por la pieza del médico se convierte en "un acto que resultado real no es su propósito primario" (melakhah sheeinah tzerikhah legufa) ... (los pp. 41-42)¿Allí, esto marca que ustedes gentiles la sensación mejor sobre su médico judío observador? Si cualquier persona sabe de paralelo a esto en la ley religiosa contemporánea de otras religiones entonces satisfaga déjeme saber sobre él.
Algunos sionistas tienen gusto de jactarse sobre la calidad multicultural/pluriracial del judaísmo y de Israel. Qué ellos no saben ni hablan alrededor es el hecho de que muchos judíos no europeos son religioso sospechados y conforme a la discriminación en Israel. Referente a judíos de la India, de Etiopía, y de Portugal, JML dice:
[ 14 ] Se permite para profanar el sábado para salvar la vida de un miembro del B'net Yisrael [o Yehudim Chavashim o Shomrei Shabbath], porque puede ser que sean posiblemente judíos. Esto se aplica a condición de que son Torah y sábado observadores. Si, sin embargo, se comportan como Karaites y deride la creencia judía, él se prohíben para profanar el sábado en su favor. (p. 40)Es decir déjelos sufrir o morir si no satisfacen las pruebas religiosas. Éstos, por supuesto, no se aplican a los judíos no-observadores de Ashkenazi y de Sephardic.
La derecha móvil a lo largo, en la parte II, capítulo 7 de JML aprendemos que "comer el alimento kosher cocinado por un gentil fue prohibida por el decreto rabínico para evitar que los judíos socialicen con sus vecinos gentile, así la disuasión de matrimonio entre los judíos y los no judío" (p. 61). En la misma sección, es que si un gentil cocina para un paciente judío en el sábado entonces los utensilios que cocinan son tref, es decir ritualmente sucio explicado, por 24 horas a menos que se sumerjan en el agua hirvienda (pp. 61-62). Si un judío hizo la preparación de alimento entonces no se requiere ninguna inmersión ni el período de espera (p. 62).
Ahora, hablemos el dinero. Un "médico observador puede no desear aceptar el pago para los servicios rendidos en el sábado" y lo permiten para declinar el pago (p. 73). A menos que, "se prohíba para que a un médico beneficie del honorario de sábado de un paciente gentil. Él debe destruir el dinero ... o darlo a la caridad. Bajo ningunas circunstancias él trate a pacientes gentiles para libre en el sábado "(p. 73).
El foco de este mensaje está en el racismo o el chauvinism en judaísmo pero en la parte IV, el capítulo 1 de JML aprendemos un pedacito sobre sexism en "judaísmo clásico:"
[ 1 ] Prohíben a una mujer utilizar medidas anticonceptivas sin el consentimiento de su marido.La parte IV, el capítulo 2 de JML dice que el aborto es permitido cuando el embarazo es peligroso para la vida o apenas perjudicial a la salud del judío madre-a-sea, o si judío madre-a-sea está en período de lactancia por otro niño. Con tal que, el aborto se realice en los primeros tres meses del embarazo (pp. 102-104). Ciertos abortos eugenésicos, sin embargo, se permiten para las mujeres judías "hasta el séptimo mes del embarazo" (p. 103).
[ 2 ] Si el marido todavía no ha satisfecho el mitzvah de la procreación y su esposa puede no hacer embarazada debido a peligro a su salud, él debe divorciar a su esposa más bien que permite que ella utilice la contracepción. (p. 94)
La única razón permitida de una "mujer gentil" de tener un aborto es si "hay un peligro amenazador de la vida a la madre" (los pp. 104-105). En todos los casos, el "consentimiento del marido" debe ser procurado y un "médico judío es preferible a un médico gentil." Mordechai Halperin, M.D., del centro médico antedicho de Shaare Zedek, sugiere que la pena, bajo ley de Noah, para gentiles que realicen abortos sea muerte.
Los donantes y el médico del semen que utilizan el semen donado "están violando la prohibición severa contra el masturbación" (p. 106) pero la "inseminación artificial realizada con semen de un donante gentile es un mayor profanación de la moralidad judía que la inseminación artificial realizada con el semen donado por un judío" (p. 107). En hecho, "existe la posibilidad que [el uso del semen donado por un gentil] permanentemente proscribiría relaciones sexuales entre el marido y la esposa" (p. 107). Un niño que resulta de la inseminación artificial usando el semen de un gentil "es un pagum (literalmente, manchado)" (p. 108).
Así pues, allí usted lo tiene: Ley médica judía en toda su gloria. Ahora, no creo que la mayoría de los médicos judíos americanos saben alrededor o, mucho menos, adhieren a estas reglas. El punto, aunque, es que éstos no son textos antiguos de la franja. Estas reglas fueron derivadas de Torah, en su sentido más amplio, por un Rabino de corriente principal en el estado judío donde está ortodoxia el único movimiento que se reconoce formalmente y legalmente. La preocupación es que, para cotizar Israel Shahak, estas reglas reflejan "las actitudes del judaísmo histórico a los no judíos ... Esas actitudes influencian necesariamente a muchos judíos, conscientemente o inconscientemente" y de tal racismo soltó el sionismo.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
... They [JWPF] believe the state of Israel has been an illegitimate state since it was born in 1948. This is not a group that opposes the post-1967 occupation of the West Bank and Gaza – this group opposes the very idea of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East.In fact, JWPF has never taken a group position on the legitimacy of Israel. Suffice it to say, a majority of its members might well agree that the state created by Zionists in 1947-48 by the violent ethnic cleansing is illegitimate. At the outset of the Zionist war of dispossession or al-Nakba as Palestinians call it, Jews--mostly recent European immigrants--comprised only about 30% of the population in Palestine and owned only about 7% of the land. Through terrorism, such as occurred at Deir Yassin, and the exploitation of their military advantages, Zionists drove about 750,000 Arabs from their homes.
In any case, JWPF does not oppose the "idea of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East." What is opposed is the violent maintenance of such a "homeland" at the expense of justice and of the human victims of the Zionist nightmare.
... The protest is taking place here because of the central location of Beth Israel, our long history and the vitality of our gathering on Shabbat morning. The leadership of this group has requested to address the congregation and claims they will stay there until they are permitted to do so – we certainly will not grant access to a group that shows such blatant disregard for our congregation and its members.JWPF is protesting at BIC, as opposed to another synagogue, because JWPF's founder, Henry Herskovitz, regarded BIC as his spiritual home and regularly attended High Holy Day services there. After Henry's transformative visit to Palestine in 2002, he asked to address the congregation, not at Sabbath services, but on a week night evening. There is nothing unusual about Henry's request as BIC routinely opens its doors for such presentations. For example, on May 19, 2007, BIC hosted a yoga class by Rachel Portnoy--on the Sabbath morning, no less.
Henry was denied similar access to the synagogue because he had the audacity to utter fundamental criticisms of and questions about Israel. The leaders of BIC are committed Zionists, who do not willingly allow such public discourse and only the most tepid criticism of the "loyal opposition" sort passes muster at BIC. Rabbi Rob Dobrusin has made no secret of his and BIC's support for Jewish supremacy in Palestine. On January 2007, he wrote in the Ann Arbor News:
While our congregants' political opinions and philosophical perspectives are all over the map, there is one general statement which I can make on behalf of the congregation - Beth Israel Congregation affirms without any hesitation or equivocation the legitimacy of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state, and affirms the right of Israel to defend itself from enemies who seek its destruction.Last summer, Israel turned the entire country of Lebanon--into a "free-fire zone," as Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch put it before the group succumbed to intense Zionist pressure. Israeli forces killed over a thousand Lebanese people--mostly civilians and about 30% children under the age of 13, according to UNICEF-- injured thousands more and drove nearly a million people from their homes. In the last three days of its onslaught, Israeli troops indiscriminately "flooded" Lebanon with more than a million cluster bombs. BIC leaders responded to all of this by publishing on their web site a photo of four Israeli flags flying along with a statement of support for the "people of the State of Israel at this time of crisis" and stating that "We pray for the safety of those who defend Israel …"
In sum, JWPF protests outside BIC because it turned away one of its own and because it has seen fit to make itself a bastion of support for Israel.
... They say they will stay until the congregation passes a resolution opposing the existence of the state of Israel – this is not going to happen!The simple truth is that JWPF has never asked BIC to oppose the existence of the state of Israel. Last March, JWPF approved the following statement:
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends have been asked what it would take for us to end our vigils at the Beth Israel Congregation (BIC).In any case, even this is negotiable and JWPF has repeatedly expressed a willingness to discuss its protest with BIC's, thus far, intransigent leadership.
Our answer is simple and well within the power of BIC. We would end our vigils at BIC if the Board of Directors of BIC publicly states its full support for the following principles that basic human rights require:
Although we are not all Jewish, we hold that inequality, the forced exile of millions of Palestinians, and military occupation are inconsistent with the highest ideals of Judaism.
- The full civil and political equality of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel within Israel;
- The prompt implementation of the rights of Palestinian refugees of 1947-8 and 1967 to return to their homes and properties in Israel and Palestine as stipulated in UN resolution 194; and,
- The prompt end of Israeli occupation and colonization of all lands seized by Israel in 1967.
... Why has it been going on so long?It is clear that the leaders of BIC acknowledge the free speech rights of JWPF only grudgingly and they "continue to investigate" every legal option to silence JWPF. They have actually had some success in restricting JWPF.
This protest is legal – it is free speech, protected by the First Amendment. We cannot force them to leave. The action will continue until they decide to stop.
What is Beth Israel doing about them?
From the beginning of this protest, we have followed a policy of non-engagement with this group. Since what they are doing is legal, we cannot force them to leave, and we do not want to hand them the publicity a legal fight would entail. Our instincts in this area have been affirmed by the current and former Ann Arbor police chiefs, and by numerous other attorneys and community leaders we gave consulted. We continue to investigate legal options, albeit without much optimism.
In August, BIC member Eli Avny swerved his car dangerously close to several protesters--including a one-year-old child in her mother's arms--on the public sidewalk and lawn extension. After a thorough and professional investigation (I have a copy of the report), the Ann Arbor Police Department (AAPD) recommended that Avny be charged with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon but Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Susan Junck of the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's office refused to authorize the charge.
Less than a month after the Avny incident, another assault was committed against a member of JWPF by Abraham Seligman, who was then arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery. BIC and Ann Arbor's "peace and justice" have been silent about these and less serious abuses such as a BIC member frequently spitting at JWPF members. The upshot for BIC is that as a result of the assaults the AAPD decided to restrict JWPF's access to public property--for their own safety, of course.
... I am not sure I want to bring my children to shul and have them see these awful signs. What can I do?The vigils are indeed a "teachable moment", you could teach your children to "question authority," including religious authorities, and to honestly inquire about why a group of people would give up their Saturday mornings to participate in a small, unpopular protest for years on end. You could teach them that almost every important movement for social progress, e.g. abolitionism, has been the fruit of oft-marginalized people who persevered until the rest of society caught up with them.
We sympathize. But this can be a teachable moment. We can use this as an opportunity to teach our children to stand up for Israel, and for whatever they believe, even in the face of irrational opposition.
You could teach your children that Israel has long had problems with violence and injustice. Thus spoke the prophet Isaiah (ch. 1) to "Judah and Jerusalem:"
Ah, sinful nation!
People laden with iniquity!
Brood of evildoers!
Depraved children! ...
Your hands are full of blood
And the prophet Amos (ch. 5) said to "the House of Israel:"
Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood,
and bring righteousness to the ground! ...
They hate the one who reproves in the gate,
and they abhor the one who speaks the truth. ...
Hate evil and love good,
and establish justice in the gate ...
let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
You could teach your children that, according to the Talmud, the rabbis believed that the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. : "Because therein prevailed hatred without cause" and "That teaches you that groundless hatred is considered as of even gravity with the three sins of idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed together" (Yoma 9b). Hatred of Arabs because they are not Jews or because they want to live in freedom and equality in their homeland is truly a blind, unreasonable "hatred without cause."
... While I find the protests offensive, I sympathize with the goal of Mideast peace. What can I do?Unfortunately, "legitimate, respectful" is code for groups whose members have been brainwashed or browbeaten into believing the lie that to be anti-Zionist is to be "anti-Semitic" and groups whose leaders are committed Zionists or who have been convinced that the price of bucking the Zionists tide in our community is too high for them to truly take a stand for justice and peace.
We join you in supporting, and praying for, Mideast peace. Come in and join us in the Prayer for Peace after the Torah service. Then, join a local, legitimate, respectful community group and work toward these goals.
The main problem between blacks and whites in the old South Africa was apartheid and the main problem between Arabs and Jews in Palestine is apartheid, too--it's called Zionism. Whatever its faults may be, JWPF is one group that can't be intimidated or controlled by Zionists and sincere advocates of justice and peace are always welcome to join.
"The Attack on Human Rights Watch" by Aryeh Neier in The New York Review of Books, November 2, 2006.
"Apartheid Israel." Uri Davis interviewed by Jon Elmer on ZNet, September 19, 2004.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
... Having had to go to what was called "Hebrew School" in preparation for my bar-mitzvah, I became exposed early on to the Old Testament, which I consider my introduction to the nature and history of fascism.
It's all there in black and white, the raping and pillaging, kidnapping of women and children, murder of innocents, disregard for the humanity of others, and, of course, the misappropriation of their land. And all in God's name. After all, the Hebrews were "the Chosen People," as every fascist group believes they are. But we jews, so enamored of writing things down, managed to document the whole thing, setting a precedent for those who came after us. And therein lies a tale, perpetuated in the mythic tradition collectively known as "Abrahamic," more commonly referred to as Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the "People of the Book." And it should be noted at this point that fundamentalism is a subset of fascism - it usually manifests as religious fundamentalism, but if you know any old time Stalinists, Maoists, any Zionists, or any doctrinaire Islamists for that matter, you've experienced ideological fundamentalism.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
In my "Response to M.," I quoted the late Israel Shahak:
The existence of an important component of Israeli policy, which is based on "Jewish ideology," makes its analysis politically imperative. This ideology is, in turn based on the attitudes of historic Judaism to non-Jews ... Those attitudes necessarily influence many Jews, consciously or unconsciously. Our task here is to discuss historic Judaism in real terms.Today, I propose to discuss evidence of "Jewish chauvinism and exclusivism" in "classical Judaism" that is much more recent than the narratives of Jewish holidays but which has its roots in those ancient texts and related ideas. This source comes to me from Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years by Israel Shahak. Because I found Shahak's arguments so hard to believe when I first read them about three years ago, I obtained a copy of the actual book discussed below....Although the struggle against antisemitism (and of all other forms of racism) should never cease, the struggle against Jewish chauvinism and exclusivism, which must include a critique of classical Judaism, is now of equal or greater importance [emphasis added].
According to Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg, Jewish Medical Law (Jerusalem and Anaheim, CA: Gefen, 1980) represents "the essence of the medically pertinent halakhic decisions that are dispersed among the thirteen volumes of my responsa texts entitled Tzitz Eliezer and my other books which the Almighty has graciously assisted me in writing and publishing" (p. vii). Jewish Medical Law (JML) was edited by Avraham Steinberg, M.D. and personally approved by Waldenberg.
Until his death last year, Rabbi Waldenberg was a leading Orthodox authority on halakhah, i.e. Jewish religious law, specializing in medical questions. He was a judge on the Israeli government-sponsored High Rabbinical Court and Rabbi of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. In the "Overview" section of JML we learn that "In the field of medicine and halakhah, Rabbi Waldenberg has published more responsa and articles than any other halakhic authority" and he was awarded many honors, including the Israel Prize for Torah literature (pp. 18-19).
So, having established that Rabbi Waldenberg was well within the mainstream of Judaic thought and Israeli society let's see what he has to say about Jewish medical law and how it applies to non-Jews. First, we return to Dr. Steinberg's "Overview" to learn that "It is a mitzvah, namely the physician's Biblical obligation, to heal Jewish patients." The reason for the inclusion of the modifier "Jewish" will become clearer as we go through JML.
The following quotes come from "Part II. The Sabbath" of JML:
 It is forbidden to delay the desecration of the Sabbath in instances of danger to life ...Got that? If you're Jewish and have a life-threatening condition then your Jewish doctor is commanded to violate the Sabbath to care for you but if you're not a Jew then, according to Jewish law, your Jewish doctor is forbidden to care for you on the Sabbath even if your life is in danger.
 ... the Jewish physician should not refrain from desecrating the Sabbath in such circumstances [when a Jew's life is in danger] (p. 30)
...  According to the ruling stated in the Talmud and Codes of Jewish Law, it is forbidden to desecrate the Sabbath--whether violating Biblical or rabbinic law--in order to save the life of a dangerously ill gentile patient. It is also forbidden to deliver the baby of a gentile woman on the Sabbath. (p. 41)
But wait. " However, today it is permitted to desecrate the Sabbath on behalf of a gentile ..." And, why is that? It's not because non-Jewish lives are of equal value with Jewish lives. Oh, no. The reason stated in the rest of paragraph 19 is "... for by so doing one prevents ill feelings from arising between Jew and gentile." Doc, take care of that sick Gentile on the Sabbath because, well, it's good for the Jews. To amplify this point, I quote from paragraph 21:
In order to avoid any transgression of the law, there is a legally acceptable method of rendering treatment on behalf of a gentile patient even when dealing with violation of Biblical law. It is suggested that at the time that the physician is providing the necessary care, his intentions should not primarily be to cure the patient, but to protect himself and the Jewish people from accusations of religious discrimination and severe retaliation that may endanger him in particular and the Jewish people in general. With this intention, any act on the physician's part becomes "an act whose actual outcome is not its primary purpose" (melakhah sheeinah tzerikhah legufa) ... (pp. 41-42)There, does that make you Gentiles feel better about your observant Jewish physician? If anyone knows of any parallel to this in the contemporary religious law of other religions then please feel free to apprise me of it.
Some Zionists like to brag about how multicultural/multiethnic Judaism and Israel are. What they don't know or don't speak about is the fact that many non-European Jews are religiously suspect and subject to discrimination in Israel. Concerning Jews from India, Ethiopia, and Portugal, JML says:
 It is permitted to desecrate the Sabbath in order to save the life of a member of the sect called B'net Yisrael [or Yehudim Chavashim or Shomrei Shabbath], for they may be Jewish. This applies on the condition that they are Torah and Sabbath observant. If, however, they behave like Karaites and deride Jewish belief, it is forbidden to desecrate the Sabbath on their behalf. (p. 40)In other words, let 'em suffer or die if they don't meet the religious tests. These, of course, do not apply to non-observant Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews.
Moving right along, in Part II, Chapter 7 of JML we learn that "Eating kosher food cooked by a gentile was prohibited by rabbinic decree in order to prevent Jews from socializing with their gentile neighbors, thus deterring intermarriage" (p. 61). In the same section, it is explained that if a Gentile cooks for a Jewish patient on the Sabbath then the cooking utensils are tref, i.e. ritually unclean, for 24 hours unless they are immersed in boiling water (pp. 61-62). If a Jew did the food preparation then no immersion or waiting period is required (p. 62).
Now, let's talk money. An "observant physician may not want to accept payment for services rendered on the Sabbath" and he is permitted to decline payment (p. 73). Except, "It is forbidden for a physician to benefit from the Sabbath fee of a gentile patient. He should either destroy the money ... or give it to charity. Under no circumstances should he treat gentile patients for free on the Sabbath" (p. 73).
The focus of this post is on the racism or chauvinism in Judaism but in Part IV, Chapter 1 of JML we learn a bit about sexism in "classical Judaism:"
 A woman is forbidden to use contraceptive measures without the consent of her husband.Part IV, chapter 2 of JML says that abortion is permissible when the pregnancy is life-threatening or just detrimental to the health of the Jewish mother-to-be, or if the Jewish mother-to-be is still nursing another child. Provided, the abortion is carried out within the first three months of pregnancy (pp. 102-104). Certain eugenic abortions, however, are permitted for Jewish women "up to the seventh month of pregnancy" (p. 103).
 If the husband has not yet fulfilled the mitzvah of procreation and his wife may not become pregnant because of danger to her health, he should divorce his wife rather than permit her to use contraception. (p. 94)
The only permissible reason for a "gentile woman" to have an abortion is if "there is a life-threatening danger to the mother" (pp. 104-105). In all instances, the "consent of the husband" should be "procure[d]" and a "Jewish physician is preferable to a gentile physician." In 2004, Rabbi Mordechai Halperin, MD, had an article entitled "Termination of Pregnancy: Legal, Moral and Jewish Aspects" published in Jewish Medical Ethics and Halacha, a journal of the Schlesinger Institute for Medical-Halachic Research of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center. Halperin, an editor of the journal and Chief Officer of Medical Ethics at the Israeli Ministry of Health, writes that "the Noahide laws ... apply to gentiles" and "under Noahide law the killing of a fetus is punishable by death ..."
Semen donors and physician who use donated semen "are violating the severe prohibition against masturbation" (p. 106) but "Artificial insemination performed with semen from a gentile donor is a greater desecration of Jewish morality than artificial insemination performed with semen donated by a Jew" (p. 107). In fact, "There exists the possibility that [the use of semen donated by a Gentile] would permanently proscribe sexual relations between husband and wife" (p. 107). A child which results from artificial insemination using semen from a Gentile "is a pagum (literally, blemished)" (p. 108).
So, there you have it: Jewish medical law in all its glory. Now, I don't believe that most American Jewish physicians know about, let alone adhere, to these rules. The point, though, is that these are not ancient, fringe texts. These rules were derived from Torah, in its broadest sense, by a leading, mainstream rabbi in the Jewish state where "Orthodoxy is the only movement that is formally and legally recognized ..." The concern is that, to quote Israel Shahak, these rules reflect "the attitudes of historic Judaism to non-Jews ... Those attitudes necessarily influence many Jews, consciously or unconsciously" and from such racism sprang Zionism.
Last revised: 30 July 2010; repaired dead link and expanded text referring to article by Mordechai Halperin.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
It is not the case that a belief is worthy of respect, or is even interesting merely because it is widely held, though that it is widely held may give on food for thought. Of the religions I studied, the one I found least worthy of intellectual respect was Judaism. ... while reading the foundational Jewish texts I often found my self thinking: "How can anyone possibly believe this?" When I put that question to Jewish friends they often said no intelligent Jew did. ... What they do believe, they tell me, is that it is desirable that traditional observances should be kept by at least some Jews because it is these observances more than anything else that give the Jewish people its identity, and therefore its cohesion ... [emphasis in bold added]Buddhism is the religion Magee finds most admirable.--Bryan Magee in Confessions of a Philosopher
(New York: Modern Library, 1999) p. 347.
Why look to religion to illuminate links between Judaism and Zionism when so much of Zionism has traditionally been secular? Although certainly rooted in Jewish mythology, modern Zionism is a significantly different beast than its religious antecedent.Zionism is grounded in Judaic theology and tradition. Even before mainstream Judaism and Zionism coalesced, Zionism had a religious base. The idea that "Zionism has traditionally been secular" is a real example of "Jewish mythology." Zionism was always "overtly or specifically religious" in its goal of a Jewish state for the Jewish people.
As I indicated in my first response to you, in The Jewish State, Theodor Herzl--the key figure in the creation of the modern Zionist movement--wrote: "... we [Jews] feel our historic affinity only through the faith of our fathers ..." and the Jewish "Faith unites us." Moses Hess, in his influential "Rome and Jerusalem," wrote of the Zionist movement: We will "draw our inspiration from the deep well of Judaism." David Ben-Gurion, first prime minister of Israel, wrote in his Recollections (London: McDonald Unit 75, 1970): "Everything we are as Jews ... comes directly from the Bible. In size we are nothing as a people and never have been. Had we not been children of the Book, who would have heard of us?" (p. 16) and:
As to the Jews, I can only point to our Bible and to its sequence in the many Jewish initiatives to regain Israel stretching across the centuries since Masada and say: This is our Mandate. Come see for yourselves.In 1936, when asked about the basis for the Jewish claim to Palestine, Ben-Gurion told the British Peel Commission: "The Bible is our mandate.''
Since I invoke Torah so often, let me state that I don't personally believe in the God it postulates. I mean that I cannot 'turn to God', or pray to a super-human Almighty Being living up in the sky. ...
Yet, though my philosophy is secular, I believe profoundly in the God of Jeremiah and Elijah. Indeed, I consider it part of the Jewish heritage and the Jewish obligation to hold to this concept of God. ...
Certainly in Israel today we are Messianic. The Jews feel themselves to have a mission here; they have a sense of mission. Restoration of sovereignty is tied to a concept of redemption. This had determined Jewish survival and it is the core of Jewish religious, moral and national consciousness. It explains the immigration to Israel of hundreds of thousands of Jews who never heard of Zionist doctrine but who, nevertheless, were moved to leave the lands wherein they dwelt to contribute with their own effort to the revival of the Hebrew nation in its historic home. (pp. 120-122)
So, if Judaism was not the unifying element of Jewish Zionist identity then will you please tell me what was? Who gets to live and rule in the Jewish state if not those recognized as Jewish?
As Mazin Qumsiyeh notes, "Israel is the only country that nationalizes any person regardless of where they live only by virtue of a religious identification (being Jewish)." Today, every major branch of Judaism is explicitly Zionist, even the Reconstructionist and Secular Humanist sects are Zionist. This is no accident.
The key religious factor is the construction of Jewish identity and, that, as an identity of innocent victimhood. The outcome Idith Zertal identifies is "the nationalist fanaticism, the messianic belief in a borderless Greater Israel, the practices of power and violence, and the rituals of blood, victimhood, and the Holocaust ... " that dominate Jewish society. Zertal is speaking specifically of Israeli Jewish society but I see no evidence that her observation is not applicable to mainstream American Jews, too. Of course, the Prophets have a somewhat contrary message but those prophetic teachings against the violent propensities of Judah aren't too popular any more with Jews nor is the orthodox position that exile was the result of sin.
In any case, to return to your question: "Why look to religion to illuminate links between Judaism and Zionism." Would you make a similar query about the religious roots of the 1979 Iranian revolution or the fighting in northern Ireland?
I fail to see the causal relationship between religious violence in the Bible and the modern state of Israel. You certainly didn't make the case in your post, except to say that they're both violent.I'm glad you don't see that "causal relationship" because I never posited one. In the first post in this thread, I wrote: "Last year's Israeli slaughter in Lebanon and the ongoing war against Palestinians are natural expressions of a Judaic culture of death." In my last post in this thread, I wrote: "The culture of death in mainstream Judaism ... as it is practiced today is the same culture of death that energizes Zionism and its violence." See? No causality. Traditional Judaism provides the basis of Jewish identity and lends moral license to Jewish violence but it does not necessarily cause them.
Furthermore, if the bloodthirstyness of the Jewish religion was all that Zionism had, it would never have succeeded. It needed the support from the colonialist regimes of the time, and it still needs the support of the US and Christian Zionists.Agreed, and Zionists work(ed) very diligently to create and maintain that support because it was contrary to the national interests of those imperial regimes.
I think your claim that your earlier post's purpose was to illuminate links between Judaism and Zionism is too little too late."Too late" for what? In any case, I made the claim in the very first post in this thread.
What if someone had posted on the violent religious heritage of Islam. Then when somebody suggested that that might be a problem in the current political climate, the original poster replied that they were trying to illustrate links between Islam and so-called Islamic Fundamentalism. I don't think that would work exactly.Like I said, I made my claim about the relationship between Judaism and violence in the very first post in this thread. That said, the situations of Islam and Judaism "in the current political climate" are hardly comparable.
So, M., after all is said and done, do you have anything of substance to say on these matters? It's clear that you don't want to accept that there is a culture of death in Judaism and that it is related to Zionism but where I have quoted scripture, Zertal, Mezvinsky, Shahak, Horowitz, Ben-Gurion, Herzl, Hess, and others you really have very little to offer in the way of facts or reason. Can you offer a solid, reasoned refutation of anything I have written in this thread? Are you comfortable with the celebration of Purim and Passover knowing there are massacres at their cores? Do you deny what I wrote about Tikkun Olam? If you can't refute what I've written then do you at least have the integrity to admit that I may be right and you may need to rethink some of your beliefs?
See also "Zionism As Judaism" by Robert Wolfe
Last revised: 05/14/2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
The largest percentage endorsing torture was found in Israel. Forty-three percent say some degree of torture should be allowed, though slightly more (48%) think the practice should be prohibited. Israeli responses vary significantly by religion. A majority of Jewish respondents (53%) favor allowing governments to use torture to obtain information while 39 percent want clear rules against it. In contrast, Muslims in Israel (who represented 16 percent of total responses in that country) are overwhelmingly (87%) against any use of torture.This is, no doubt, good news to the thugs in the Shin Bet--the Israeli domestic secret police--who routinely torture Arabs with the complicity of Israeli courts, prosecutors, and the public, not to mention the 'international community.'
According to the December, 2006, report of the United Against Torture Coalition to Combat Torture in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: "Under Israeli criminal law, there is no specific offence of torture." The Supreme Court of Israel functionally legalized torture in its 1999 ruling in The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel vs. The Government of Israel et al. Only India and Russia did worse in terms of opposition to torture with only 48% of Israelis agreeing that "Clear rules against torture should be maintained because any use of torture is immoral and will weaken international human rights standards against torture."
Israel is, indeed, a "light unto the nations"--a flashing red light--or as Norman Finkelstein and others put it, a "blight unto the nations."
- Jews and Torture
- Jews and Torture Update
- Rabbi Dobrusin Tortures the Truth
- Chuck Don't Need No Stinkin' Facts
- Jews and Torture Update II