Israel's Institutionalized Racism
As a Cause for Concern to
the Context of the Nuclear Golem
Those who strive to be fair and open-minded toward other faiths, particularly in the discussion of the Middle East conflict, are often heard to proclaim "Zionism is Not Judaism;' referring to the fact that there are some Jewish sects that do indeed reject Zionism, and which (at least for now) question the need for the entity we know as Israel.
However, the fact remains that Israel, as now constituted, is a Jewish state, one that has notoriously imposed second-class status on its Arab citizens and carried out Hellish policies against Arabs — Christian and Muslim alike — in the occupied territories. There is a wealth of documentation on this and this point need not here be elaborated upon.
What many people do not realize — even many critics of Israel, if truth be told — is that the reasons for these policies against the Arabs have much more to do with religion and racism than they do with politics. As Dr. Israel Shahak, referenced in the introduction, made clear in his monumental study, Jewish History, Jewish Religion, Israel's deep-rooted racism — and religious fanaticism — has played a major part in its policies toward non-Jews inside Israel and in the occupied lands and its outlook toward the world as a whole.
And because of Israel's willingness to utilize its nuclear "Sampson Option" — effectively blowing up the world in the course of an act of national suicide — the existence of the nuclear Golem is good cause for concern, precisely because of Israel's underlying institutional racism.
Dr. Shahak's Jewish History; Jewish Religion is an eye-opening study of the teachings of Jewish Orthodoxy, examining how that little-understood persuasion — very powerful, in its original form, in Israel today (and not only among the Orthodox Jews) — impacts upon both Israeli domestic and foreign policy and upon the Israeli view of non-Jewish peoples worldwide.
Although the American mass media is rife with horror stories of purported Muslim hostility to Christians and Jews alike, the fact — as documented by Israel Shahak — of Jewish religious and racial hostility to all non-Jews is never discussed. Repeat: it is never discussed.
A most uncomfortable work for Christians — who would like to believe that Orthodox Judaism is some sort of friendly grand-uncle to the Christian faith and for Jews who would have Americans, in particular, believe that Israel is some exotic modern-day Biblical manifestation and a model for the civilized world to pattern itself upon — Dr. Shahak's Jewish History, Jewish Religion established the Israeli dissident in the
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minds of free-thinkers as a forthright expositor of the historical circumstances — and of the religious and philosophical mindset — that together guide Israel and its ruling elite today. In that volume, Shahak wrote:
A Jewish state, whether based on its present Jewish ideology or, if it becomes even more Jewish in character than it is now, on the principles of Jewish Orthodoxy, cannot ever contain an open society.
There are two choices which face Israeli-Jewish society. It can become a fully closed and warlike ghetto, a Jewish Sparta, supported by the labor of Arab helots, kept in existence by its influence on the U.S. political establishment and by threats to use its nuclear powers, or it can try to become an open society.
The second choice is dependent on an honest examination of its Jewish past, on the admission that Jewish chauvinism and exclusivism exist, and on an honest examination of the attitudes of Judaism toward the non-Jews.
Shahak candidly described the nature of the hostility toward non-Jews that is found in Jewish religious teachings:
It must be admitted at the outset that the Talmud and the Talmudic literature — quite apart from the general anti-Gentile streak that runs through them . . . contain very offensive statements and precepts directed specifically against Christianity.
For example, in addition to a series of scurrilous sexual allegations against Jesus, the Talmud states that his punishment in hell is to be immersed in boiling excrement — a statement not exactly calculated to endear the Talmud to devout Christians. Or one can quote the precept according to which Jews are instructed to burn, publicly if possible, any copy of the New Testament that comes into their hands.
(This is not only still in force but actually practiced today; thus on 23 March 1980 hundreds of copies of the New Testament were publicly and ceremonially burnt in Jerusalem under the auspices of Yad Le'akhim, a Jewish religious organization subsidized by the Israeli Ministry of Religions.)
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Commenting upon the fact that many Christian people in the West had discovered the virulent anti-Christian teachings in the Talmud, Shahak described how Jewish leaders sought to "revise" the Talmud in order that future Christians who sought to study the Talmud would effectively be fooled by such revisions:
Talmudic passages directed against Christianity or against non-Jews had to go or to be modified — the pressure was too strong.
This is what was done: a few of the most offensive passages were bodily removed from all editions printed in Europe after the mid-16th century.
In all other passages, the expressions "Gentile," "non-Jew," "stranger" (goy, eino yehudi, nokhri) which appear in all early manuscripts and printings as well as in all editions published in Islamic countries were replaced by terms such as "idolator,” “heathen" or even "Canaanite" or "Samaritan," terms which could be explained away but which a Jewish reader could recognize as euphemisms for the old expressions.
However, in Czarist Russia, Shahak noted, the newly-inserted euphemisms for non-Jews were recognized immediately for precisely what they were. As such, Talmudic scholars made further revisions:
Thereupon the rabbinical authorities substituted the terms "Arab" or "Muslim" (in Hebrew, Yishma'eli — which means both) or occasionally "Egyptian," correctly calculating that the Tsarist authorities would not object to this kind of abuse.
Yet, for the consumption of the Jews themselves, Shahak pointed out, the Talmudic scholars provided guidelines so that students of the Talmud (and Jews in general) could understand the new "code" words:
At the same time, lists of Talmudic Omissions were circulated in manuscript form, which explained all the new terms and pointed out all the omissions. At times, a general disclaimer was printed before the title page of each volume of Talmudic literature, solemnly declaring, sometimes on oath, that all hostile expressions in that volume are intended only against the idolators of
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antiquity, or even against the long-vanished Canaanites, rather than against "the peoples in whose land we live."
After the British conquest of India, some rabbis hit on the subterfuge of claiming that any particularly outrageous derogatory expression used by them is only intended against the Indian. Occasionally the aborigines of Australia were also added as whipping boys.
Needless to say, all this was a calculated lie from beginning to end; and following the establishment of the State of Israel, once the rabbis felt secure, all the offensive passages and expressions were restored without hesitation in all new editions.
Shahak wrote of the great Jewish scholar Moses Maimonides whose Guide to the Perplexed is, as Shahak noted, "justly considered to be the greatest work of Jewish religious philosophy and is widely read and used even today."
In fact, as Shahak revealed, Maimonides was intensely racist, in the classic modern-day sense of the word: that is, the iconic Jewish figure, a major authority on the Talmud, was, as Shahak put it: "an anti-Black racist." Shahak wrote:
Noting this, Shahak asks: "Now, what does one do with such a passage in a most important and necessary work of Judaism? Face the truth and its consequences? God forbid! Admit (as so many Christian scholars, for example, have done in similar circumstances) that a very important Jewish authority held also rabid anti-Black views, and by this admission
Towards the end of the Guide, in a crucial chapter (book III, chapter 51) he discusses how various sections of humanity can attain the supreme religious value, the true worship of God. Among those who are incapable of even approaching this are: "Some of the Turks [i.e. the Mongol race] and the nomads in the north, and the Blacks and the nomads in the south, and those who resemble them in our climates. And their nature is like the nature of mute animals, and according to my opinion, they are not on the level of human beings, and their level among existing things is below that of a man and above that of a monkey, because they have the image and the resemblance of a man more than a monkey does."
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make an attempt at self-education in real humanity? Perish the thought." Commenting on the inflammatory nature of these writings from the pen of an esteemed Talmudic scholar, Shahak added:
I can almost imagine Jewish scholars in the USA consulting among themselves, 'What is to be done?' for the book had to be translated, due to the decline in the knowledge of Hebrew among American Jews. Whether by consultation or by individual inspiration, a happy "solution" was found: in the popular American translation of the Guide by one Friedlander, first published as far back as 1925 and since then reprinted in many editions, including several in paperback, the Hebrew word Kushim, which means Blacks, was simply transliterated and appears as "Kushites," a word which means nothing to those who have no knowledge of Hebrew, or to whom an obliging rabbi will not give an oral explanation.
Shahak also noted the irony, as he put it, that "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."
Nothing, he said, could be further from the truth, and this, he understood, would come as a great surprise to many Christians who have lent their support to Israel, believing Judaism (and Israel) to have risen from the same principles of the Christian faith predominant in America today.
Shahak underscored the nature of Talmudic teachings vis-à-vis non-Jews, pointing out that the Talmud declares: "A Jew who murders a Gentile is guilty only of a sin against the laws of Heaven, not punishable by a court. To cause indirectly the death of a Gentile is no sin at all."
Should anyone doubt this is the philosophy of Israel, as a state, Shahak pointed out that the chief chaplain of the Central Region Command of the Israeli Army wrote in a religious booklet for distribution to Israeli soldiers that:
When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming
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our forces, then according to the Halakhah they may and even should be killed . . . [*Pg 31] Under no circumstances should an Arab be trusted, even if he makes an impression of being civilized.
In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakhah to kill even good civilians, that is, civilians who are ostensibly good. [Emphasis added.]
(The Halakha — referenced above — is the legal system of classical Judaism, based primarily on the Babylonian Talmud, and is maintained to this day in the form of Orthodox Judaism which is a powerful force in Israel. The earliest code of Talmudic law is the Mishneh Torah, written by the aforementioned Moses Maimonides in the late 12th century.)
Shahak noted that classical Jewish teaching links Satan with non-Jews and that Jewish women were warned to beware meeting any of these Satanic creatures: "Gentile, pig, dog or monkey."
If meeting such a creature after taking her monthly ritual bath of purification, a Jewish woman is told she must bathe again. This warning appeared in Shevat Musar — a book on Jewish moral conduct — that, Shahak noted is "still widely read in some Orthodox Circles." In contrast, Jewish teachings regarding non-Jewish women is quite different:
Every Gentile woman is regarded as N.Sh.G.Z.acronym for the Hebrew words niddah, shifhah, goyah, zonah (unpurified from menses, slave, Gentile, prostitute). Upon conversion to Judaism, she ceases indeed to be niddah, shifhah, goyah but is still consider zonah (prostitute) for the rest of her life, simply by virtue of having been born of a Gentile mother.
In light of all of this — and much more — Shahak recognized that organized Jewish groups and Jewish leaders, particularly in the United States and the West, understand — as they should — that non-Jews might find offense in such teachings and that "Under present circumstances they cannot openly express these attitudes toward non-Jews in the USA where non-Jews constitute more than 97 percent of the population."
Shahak said Jews (and Israelis) must recognize the underlying racism of their ethnic and Israeli national psyche: "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
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importance ... Without fear or favor, we must speak out against what belongs to our own past…”
There have been many informative critiques of Israel's foreign policy gyrations and manipulations written from a variety of perspectives, including quite a few worthy dissections of the dangers posed to U.S. policy by the ongoing and imbalanced American support for "Israel Uber Alles,” but Shahak's work will stand as a decisive analysis of what Israel's real aims and motivations are really all about.
Dr. Shahak's candid discussion of Jewish religious teachings are frightening indeed, especially when one considers the power of Israel over United States policy making today. Then, when pondering how that religious ideology impacts upon Israel's geopolitical strategy — particularly as it is based upon that nation's pivotal arsenal of nuclear weapons of mass destruction — the entire picture is one that points toward a possible future for the world too horrible to imagine.