More on the Bilin incident
Posted By Stephen M. Walt Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - 12:10 PM
This is a follow-up to my previous post on the death of Jawahar Abu Rahmah. I'm trying to get ready for a trip to Southeast Asia and hadn't intended to write about it again, but subsequent events deserve a brief commentary.
After the initial press reports cited in my original post, IDF officials mounted a wide-ranging challenge to the story that Ms. Abu Rahmah died as a result of inhaling tear gas. In particular, an IDF spokesman (who apparently met with a select group of sympathetic bloggers and questioned whether Rahmah had been at the rally), noted some alleged inconsistencies in the medical records, and suggested that Rahmah might have been suffering from other illnesses, including cancer. The clear implication was that the IDF's actions had nothing to do with her death.
This transparent attempt to evade responsibility was immediately countered by Israeli lawyer Michael Sfard, who represents the Abu Rahmah family, by Noam Sheizaf of the website +072mag, and by Jonathan Pollack of the Popular Struggle Coordinating Committee. You can read or listen to their responses here, here and here. By late yesterday, YnetNews had reported that other IDF spokesmen were criticizing the initial attempt to spin the story, saying that army officers "were quick to make assumptions before all facts had been checked."
I have three quick thoughts. First, although the details of this incident have not been fully resolved, there's little reason to doubt that Ms. Abu Rahmah died at least partly because she inhaled tear gas at the rally. In this regard, read the insightful commentary by Jerry Haber here and here. Second, we've seen this pattern of behavior before, most recently in the Israeli response to the Goldstone Report and its initial reaction to the Mavi Marmara incident. In each case, an embarrassing incident was met with a cloud of disinformation and denials, most of which do not stand up to scrutiny and which were gradually abandoned as more facts come to light.
Third, Israel's behavior is neither surprising nor unique in this regard; plenty of other states act the same way when they are engaged in an illegitimate enterprise and confronted by embarrassing revelations about it. When the Iran/Contra scandal began to unravel during the Reagan administration, for example, its protagonists didn't come clean voluntarily. Instead, they kicked up enormous clouds of dust to justify or conceal their actions. When the Bush administration was priming the country for the invasion of Iraq, it ended up telling various lies in order to make the case for war. When France was waging a brutal colonial war in Algeria, it told repeated untruths about it too. Authoritarian governments like the bad old Soviet Union made "disinformation" a household word, precisely because they knew that the truth would undermine their cause.
The Israelis have kept the Palestinians under military occupation for nearly 44 years, while steadily seizing more and more land, and using their superior military power to stifle any form of resistance. This policy requires concealing what is really going on, and forces the IDF to work overtime to spin unpleasant realities. The problem is that the more you conceal things, the more corrosive it is to the body politic as a whole, and the more discredited you are when the truth comes to light. As it will.
Israel Shahak: Blowing the lid off the Talmud and Jewish fundamentalism - Forums of Pravda.Ru
Posted 12 October 2011 - 12:31 PM
Israel Shahak: Blowing the lid off the Talmud and Jewish fundamentalism
Thursday, October 30 2008 @ 11:21 PM GMT
Must Reads If you read only one author on the subject of Talmudic Judaism, it ought to be Israel Shahak. In his trilogy of books on the subject, Shahak -- a highly-respected Jewish-Israeli historian/researcher and human-rights campaigner -- reveals the horrific truth behind “Talmudic ideology” and its fundamentalist, anti-gentile world-view.
Shahak’s most important academic contribution lies in the fact that he -- as a speaker of Hebrew -- is able to provide unparalleled insight into what is written in the Hebrew-language press itself about these contentious topics:
“All modern studies on Judaism, particularly by Jews, ...bear the unmistakable marks of their origin: deception, apologetics or hostile polemics, indifference or even active hostility to the pursuit of truth,” Shahak writes on Page 22 of his “Jewish History, Jewish Religion.”
Two pages later, he adds: “Modern scholars of Judaism have not only continued the deception, but have actually improved upon the old rabbinical methods, both in impudence and in mendacity.”
Israel Shahak has written hundreds of thoroughly-researched articles and essays about these topics. His seminal work, however, is his brilliant trilogy of books, which consists of “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years” (1994); “Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies” (1997); and “Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel,” with co-writer Norton Mezvinsky (1999).
Choosing selections from Shahak’s trilogy is difficult because it contains so much revealing and highly relevant material -- but here’s an attempt, nevertheless. The following quotations from “Jewish History, Jewish Religion” will hopefully encourage the reader to download and read all three books in their entirety (see below).
Again, the insight Shahak brings to these traditionally off-limit subjects -- as a reader of Hebrew -- cannot be overemphasized.
On “Jewish ideology” (i.e., Talmudic ideology) and its influence on Israeli military policies:
“Indeed, close analysis of Israeli grand strategies and actual principles of foreign policy, as they are expressed in Hebrew, makes it clear that it is ‘Jewish ideology,’ more than any other factor, which determines actual Israeli policies.” (Page 9)
“The dangers of the policies of [first Prime Minister of Israel David] Ben-Gurion or [former Israeli PM Ariel] Sharon, motivated by ‘Jewish ideology,’ are much worse than merely imperial policies, however criminal.” (Page 11)
“The influence of ‘Jewish ideology’ on many Jews will be stronger the more it is hidden from public discussion.” (Page 11)
On the longstanding campaign of disinformation perpetrated by mainstream Jewish writers on subjects such as Judaism, Jewish history, Talmud and Kabala, which has been pursued with the intention of deceiving non-Jews:
“Nor can one find in the numerous English-language ‘Jewish histories’ the elementary facts about the attitude of Jewish mysticism (so fashionable at present in certain quarters) to non-Jews: that they are considered to be, literally, limbs of satan... The great authorities, such as [prominent Kabala scholar] Gershom Scholem, have lent their authority to a system of deceptions in all the ‘sensitive’ areas, the more popular ones being the most deceptive and misleading.” (Page 16)
On the seeming contradiction between the racism inherent in Talmudic Judaism and the vaunted Jewish sympathy for the African-American cause:
“Surely one is driven to the hypothesis that quite a few of Martin Luther King’s rabbinical supporters were either anti-Black racists who supported him for tactical reasons of ‘Jewish interest’ (wishing to win Black support for American Jewry and for Israel’s policies) or were accomplished hypocrites, to the point of schizophrenia, capable of passing very rapidly from a hidden enjoyment of rabid racism to a proclaimed attachment to an anti-racist struggle -- and back -- and back again.” (Page 26)
On the apparently Satanic nature of Jewish mysticism, or Kabala:
“Other prayers or religious acts, as interpreted by the Cabalists, are designed to deceive various angels (imagined as minor deities with a measure of independence) or to propitiate Satan... Indeed, the Cabalists believe that some of the sacrifices burnt in the temple were intended for Satan.” (Page 34)
On the centrality of the Talmud -- as opposed to the Torah, or Old Testament -- in modern Judaism:
“There is yet another misconception about Judaism which is particularly common among Christians, or people heavily influenced by Christian tradition and culture. This is the misleading idea that Judaism is a ‘Biblical religion’; that the Old Testament has in Judaism the same central place and legal authority which the bible has for Protestant or even Catholic Christianity. Again, this is connected with the question of interpretation. We have seen that in matters of belief there is great latitude. Exactly the opposite holds with respect to the legal interpretation of sacred texts. Here the interpretation is rigidly fixed -- but by the Talmud rather than the bible itself.” (Page 36)
“It should therefore be clearly understood that the source of authority for all the practices of classical (and present day Orthodox) Judaism, the determining base of its legal structure, is the Talmud, or, to be precise, the so-called Babylonian Talmud...” (Page 39)
(For more on this topic -- the replacement of the written tradition, i.e., the Torah, with an oral tradition, i.e., the Talmud -- see the work of Michael A. Hoffman on “Judaism’s strange gods.” Download the book and accompanying audio files HERE or HERE or download just the PDF HERE)
On the true reasons -- downplayed in mainstream history -- for anti-Jewish feeling in medieval Europe, particularly in places like Poland, which saw the frequent oppression of the peasantry by both Jews and nobles:
“The legal status of a Jewish community in the period of classical Judaism was normally based on a ‘privilege’ -- a charter granted by a king or a prince to the Jewish community and conferring on it the rights of autonomy -- that is, investing the rabbis with the power to dictate to the other Jews. An important part of such privileges, going as far back as the late Roman Empire, is the creation of a Jewish clerical estate which, exactly like the Christian clergy in medieval times, is exempt from paying taxes to the sovereign and is allowed to impose taxes on the people under its control -- the Jews -- for its own benefit... Similar arrangements existed, within each country, during the whole period of classical Judaism... Because of all this, throughout the classical period (as well as in modern times) the rabbis were the most loyal, not to say zealous, supporters of the powers that be; and the more reactionary the regime, the more rabbinical support it had.” (Pages 54, 55)
“Outside the towns very many Jews throughout Poland... were employed as the direct supervisors and oppressors of the enserfed peasantry -- as bailiffs of whole manors (invested with the landlord’s full coercive powers) or as lessees of particular feudal monopolies... in short, in eastern Poland, under the rule of the nobles (and of the feudalized church, formed exclusively from the nobility) the Jews were both the immediate exploiters of the peasantry and virtually the only town dwellers.” (Page 62)
“The peasants suffered worse oppression at the hands of both landlords and Jews; and one may assume that, except in times of peasant uprisings, the full weight of the Jewish religious laws against gentiles fell upon the peasants... These laws are suspended or mitigated in cases where it is feared that they might arouse dangerous hostility towards Jews; but the hostility of the peasants could be disregarded as ineffectual so long as the Jewish bailiff could shelter under the ‘peace’ of a great lord.” (Page 63)
“It must be pointed out that in all the worst anti-Jewish persecutions, that is, where Jews were killed, the ruling elite -- the emperor and the pope, the kings, the higher aristocracy and the upper clergy as well as the rich bourgeoisie in the autonomous cities -- were always on the side of the Jews. The latter’s enemies belonged to the more oppressed and exploited classes...” (Page 64)
On the unholy alliance, seen throughout modern history, between Zionists and so-called “anti-Semites”:
“Close relations have always existed between Zionists and anti-Semites: exactly like some of the European conservatives, the Zionists thought they could ignore the ‘demonic’ character of anti-Semitism and use the anti-Semites for their own purposes. Many examples of such alliances are well known. Herzl allied himself with the notorious Count von Plehve, the anti-Semitic minister of Tsar Nicholas II; Jabotinsky made a pact with Petlyura, the reactionary Ukrainian leader whose forces massacred some 100,000 Jews in 1918-1921; Ben-Gurion’s allies among the French extreme right during the Algerian war included some notorious anti-Semites who were, however, careful to explain that they were only against the Jews in France, not in Israel.” (Page 71)
“Perhaps the most shocking example of this type is the delight with which some Zionist leaders in Germany welcomed Hitler’s rise to power, because they shared his belief in the primacy of ‘race’ and his hostility to the assimilation of Jews among ‘Aryans.’ They congratulated Hitler on his triumph over the common enemy -- the forces of liberalism. Dr. Joachim Prinz, a Zionist rabbi who subsequently emigrated to the USA, where he rose to be vice-chairman of the World Jewish Congress and a leading light in the World Zionist Organization (as well as a great friend of Golda Meir), published in 1934 a special book, Wir Juden (’We, Jews’), to celebrate Hitler’s so-called German Revolution and the defeat of liberalism.” (Page 71)
Download PDF “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years” Read Full Book Now!
The above represents only a tiny smattering of the many important lines of research pursued by Shahak in “Jewish History, Jewish Religion.” His other two books -- “Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies” and “Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel” (with co-writer Norton Mezvinsky) -- are no less essential for the serious student of Talmudic Judaism.
In “Open Secrets,” Shahak exposes Israel’s strategic foreign policy “as it really is.” To quote the back of the book: “Drawing solely on the Hebrew press, and working very much as an insider in the country, Shahak reveals that what Israeli Jews are told about their county’s foreign policy through the national media is entirely inconsistent with what the Israeli government is telling the rest of the world. Shahak demonstrates that, with the support of the US Jewish lobby, Israel is conducting a covert policy of expansionism and aims to gain political control, not just of Palestine, but of virtually the entire Middle East.”
Preview “Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies” chapters 2, and 3 plus a review by Norton Mezvinsky chapters 4, and 6
“Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel,” meanwhile, provides the reader with “a thorough assessment of [Jewish] fundamentalism in modern Israel.” Again, to quote the back of the book: “The authors trace the history and development of Jewish fundamentalism, examining the various different strains, and identify the messianic tendency as the most dangerous... The authors argue that Jewish fundamentalism is essentially hostile to democracy because it opposes equality for all citizens and therefore it poses a considerable threat to democracy in Israel.”
Download PDF “Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel” Read Full Book Now!
Shahak’s work is so good, in fact, that some have suggested that the similarly-named Israel Shamir -- who offers his own trilogy of books devoted to similar topics -- is a disinformation agent meant to draw readers away from Shahak. For more on this hypothesis, Israel Shamir on 9/11: “The Afro-Americans did it” and Israel Shamir exposed! A fake or a plant?
Shahak died suddenly at age 68, only two months before the Mossad/CIA-perpetrated 9/11 attacks of 2001. Read his obituary from UK daily The Guardian Obituary: Israel Shahak
Israel Shamir, like Gilad Atzmon, is a brilliant pro-Palestinian ex-Israeli-Jew whose thoughts on Jewish identity politics and Zionism have elicited the ire of the gatekeepers.
His lack of appreciation for Gilad Atzmon’s The Wandering Who? is curious; maybe it’s because Shamir has worked the same territory himself and grown tired of it. Aside from that, his latest politically-incorrect tirade is right on the mark.