Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel :: Book Review ::

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When American industrialist Henry Ford risked his life and reputation to warn his country about what he believed was an evil taking root in the United States named Zionism, he was derided as an anti-Semite. Having perhaps heard stories, and read accounts about Jewish extremism in Europe, Ford seemed concerned that should Zionism become entrenched in the US, it would cause the same moral decline, political intrigue and wars, and also the economic and social strife it had been accused of causing in Europe. Non-Jews, and Jews greeted his publication of the "International Jew and the Protocols of Zion," a now discredited treatise on Jewish, or rather Zionist world domination, with suspicion, curiosity, and sometimes anger. Historically the Protocols of Zion have been a mostly silent bone of contention between Jews and non-Jews, since it seems that even though the document has been repeatedly condemned as counterfeit, no one has ever denounced the ideas, and tact! ics exposed in the document or its purported aims. This leaves many people to assume that it may be unpopular, and unwise to discuss the Protocols, not so much because of what they say about Zionism, but because they are not only controversial, they also stir unfair resentments, hatred and suspicion of an entire race of people, based upon a series of ideas and strategies whose origin no one can identify. No credible journalist, writer, author, researcher, or even historian is allowed to even approach the Protocols of Zion seriously, and most have no desire. Whereas Henry Ford may have been driven by desperation, and a lack of literature on the topic to make his case against Zionism based upon this controversial and perhaps discredited document, modern historians and writers have plenty of information that highlights these same, or similar themes, written and published by credible Jewish authors who have also identified Zionism as a serious and real threat, not only to Israel an! d the United States, but also to the Muslim world. These authors of Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, are both Jewish, and are part of a growing movement among Torah observant and other Jews and non-Jews, who are struggling against the odds to tell the world the truth about militant Zionism. Jewish extremism, which many believe is the ideological pasture in which militant Zionism is rooted and grows, is a modern rendition of ancient Jewish nationalism that originated in the cult of Caiaphus, the Jewish Pharisee that Jesus admonished, and who later sought Jesus’ death by crucifixion, since Jesus dared to challenge their version of Jewish law, and also its attendant sorcery, which has evolved into the modern Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism, not to be confused with Jewish Sufism.

In a book written by two Jewish authors, Israel Shahak, whose father lost his life in a Nazi death camp, and Norton Mazvinsky a professor of history, entitled Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, the authors explain that Jewish religious extremism is a very real threat to the world. To make their point, they provide examples of Jewish law, and how it impacts Jewish life in Israel, and more importantly, Jewish military and other public policies, which also impacts the United States and the world, especially the Muslim world. One of the most telling examples of this is found in a recent quote attributed to the Central Region Command of the Israeli army, which says:

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 our forces, then according to Halakah (Jewish law) they may be killed. 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 Halakah (Jewish law) to kill even good civilians. (P.168).

The significance of this quote is obvious. It demonstrates the stark contrast between what the average American is told about Israel, and how, and for what objectives our tax dollars are being used there. It allows us to understand for perhaps the first time since the illegal Israeli occupation of Arab lands in 1967, that US politicians are either not telling us the truth about Israel, or they are also being misinformed about the nature of Zionism in Israel, and the significant role that extremist religion is playing in its establishment. Over and over again we are told that our tax dollars are spent to secure a secular and democratic Israel from "terrorists" who are threatening this tiny Jewish sanctuary, when the reality may be the exact opposite. Whereas terrorism is criminal and morally wrong and cannot be justified, not even by the evil that Zionists carry out daily against the Palestinians, Jewish extremism, its racist and harsh view and approach to the Palestinian people, and all non-Jews, contributes significantly to the hatred and resentment that fuels Palestinian violence, and that causes cycles of violence that have made peace thus far unattainable. The political and financial assaults on Muslims internationally, which for the most part has little to do with fighting terrorism, and more to do with religious and ethnic cleansing, and containment in Europe and the United States at the behests of Zionists, confirms the suspicion of many people that the so-called war on terrorism against al-Qadea, has also become a war against Islam, Zionism’s only real ideological challenger in the Middle East.

Secular liberalism has lost much of its appeal and credibility in the Middle East and North Africa due to the failure of the nationalist, and secular regimes to achieve any real social or economic progress in nearly a century of secular liberal rule. Their claims that it was religion holding back needed progress and reforms has been disproved, and even the religion created by governments, that oppresses women, prevents free thinking and political participation, and that engenders poverty and illiteracy, and tagged "Islam," has been rejected by most Muslims as fraud. Many analysts have concluded that the next political trend in the region will be away from secular liberalism, and toward a more religious, or moral, and populist politic throughout the Muslim world. The types of religious dogmas deemed tolerable by the people will differ from nation to nation. In Saudi Arabia for example, in villages and remote areas, one can perhaps find renditions of Islam tha! t are archaic, yet we are also able to observe among a large and growing population of young and also among middle aged Saudis, acceptance of authentic, yet modern interpretations of Islam that are compatible with authentic and historic texts, as well as the Qur’an. Such renditions of hadith literature and Qur’anic exegesis are also able to encourage and guide reasonable responses to modern challenges, (Read: Islamic Political Development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by Prince Faisal bin Mishal al Saud Ph.D.). The suggestion that Saudi Arabia is lost in a mire of religious fanaticism and fundamentalism is untrue, and attempts to paint such a portrait of Saudi Arabia might be one dimension of a complex, and ongoing ideological battle between a very aggressive, and predominately Jewish Israel, and a very resistant and mostly Arab and Muslim, Saudi Arabia. Adherents of their respective faiths perceive both nations as Holy Lands and centers of religious thought and i! dealism.

According to the authors of the book Jewish fundamentalism in Israel, " a Jewish fundamentalists regime, should one come to power in Israel, would treat Israeli Jews who did not accept its tenets, worse than it would treat Palestinians." The authors said that drawing upon the lessons of the past, there are two lessons for contemporary Jews who do not want to submit to what they call the "tyranny" of Jewish orthodoxy, 1). An intellectual compromise with Jewish orthodoxy is no more possible than it is with any other totalitarian system, and 2). An apologetic approach to the Jewish past, which is in fact false beautification and falsification of one part of Jewish history, is intended to remove the horrors and persecution that Jews suffered at the hands of their own authorities and rabbis, and increases the dangers of a developing Jewish "Khomeinism"(p.132). In a book review of the same book written by Ahmed Rashad for Middle East Affairs Journal,! he wrote, "the authors methodology is a key determinant of their ability to help shed light on the subject. The most important factor is their use of Hebrew source material, contemporary books and articles as well as ancient texts."

By contrast, most political reformers in Saudi Arabia have not complained that the royal family is too orthodox religiously, or even too religious. The reformers complaints have traditionally been that the royal family has not been orthodox, or religious enough, which also contrasts starkly the popular myth that claims there is a fanatical "wahabism" that is supposedly rampant in Saudi Arabia, and threatening the West, bankrolled by the royal family. The Saudis greatest challenge now is to bankroll technological modernization, political democratization, and economic freedom, all needed to accommodate a growing, and restless, population of religious yet also progressive and politically astute young people. Ironically, while Saudi Arabia appears to be moving gradually towards democracy, many Jews fear that Israel is moving backwards towards an orthodox and repressive form of religious totalitarianism, and theocracy, supported by Christian fundamentalist! s here in the US and Zionists.

It is also important to point out here, that many of the more extreme aspects of what has been presented as Islam in the past, mimics the extremism of Jewish fundamentalism. This might be the result of the close contact that both religions have enjoyed as a result of the historic and peaceful cohabitation between Muslims and Jews in that region, prior to the British Mandate. A paper presented at a conference sponsored by the South Asian Women’s Society, in Corning New York in 1998, by Dr. Asma Barliss of Ithaca College, traces many of the most controversial hadiths adopted by Islam, with weak and suspicious isnads, or chains of transmission back to the Talmud, rather than the Qur’an. One such tradition, that is familiar especially to Muslim women, is the hadith suggesting that a woman’s voice is evil and forbidden, and that men sin if they listen to women singing, or talking. The authors wrote: " According to the Halacha, (Jewish relig! ious law), a Jewish male who willingly listens to a woman’s voice, or singing commits a sin equivalent to adultery or fornication." The Qur’an says merely that Muslim women should not talk seductively, seeking to raise male passions, and should be careful not to give wrong impressions, saying "be not too complaisant in speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire," Qur’an 33:32. Other so called Muslim traditions that are traced back to the Talmud, rather than the Qur’an are traditions that make death, or stoning mandatory in cases of adultery. Whereas the Qur’an clearly states that the hudood, or punishment for zina, which includes both adultery and fornication, or any other lewd and prohibited sexual act between a man and woman, is 100 lashes, and not stoning or death, saying, " The woman and man guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each with 100 stripes," Qur’an, 24:2. There is even a verse in Qur’an that is related to an incident w! here Jewish rabbis, curious about the prophets perspectives on Jewish law asked Muhammad (saws) about a ruling to stone to death a Jew who had committed adultery. According to the hadith the prophet, told the men that they have their own law, which differs from the Muslim law in that respect. The Qur’anic verse supporting this incident reads, " Why do they come to you (Muhammad) for decision when they have their own law before them?" Qur’an, 5:46. Recognizing that Jewish fundamentalism has in many instances cross contaminated Islam, explains the similarities in these fundamentalisms, and why we cannot approach one for reform without also approaching the other, and the same is increasingly true about Christian fundamentalism as well.

The most disturbing aspect of Jewish fundamentalism for most people of conscience has to do with the attitudes and religious positions it provokes towards non-Jews, and also women. Again we note that there are similar attitudes expressed by extremist Muslims, and also Christians. The authors describe this attitude saying: " For religious Jews the blood of non-Jews has no intrinsic value, whereas for the Likud Party of Israel, it has limited value (P.11). This is a similar sentiment expressed by Christians who feel that it is OK to kill Jews and Muslims, or non-believers, and also Muslims who claim that they are obliged to kill people who refuse to convert, or to practice their brand of Islam. The authors go on to explain the negative impact that the Haredim, or Talmudist authorities have over education in Israel. They cite an incident where the Haredim had a ruling overturned that would have prevented public funds from being used to educate only males in Tal! mud. Their desire to limit Talmudic teaching to men is supposedly based on a Talmudic teaching that women are too weak-minded to study Talmud, and that a woman is like a "sack of excrement"(p.38).

In another chapter, the authors explain the Gush Emunim (block of faithful) who they describe as a " ideological and messianic settler movement established in 1974 for the purpose of controlling greater Israel." According to the authors, this group influences significantly both Likud and Labor parties. They wrote: " Shimon Peres initiated a new policy which he called "functional compromise" and for which he acquired Gush Emunim support. According to this policy, all of the land inside the West Bank and Gaza Strip that was not being used by anyone could be confiscated for the exclusive use of Jews (p.57). They also explain that Gush Emunim rabbis establish policy based upon Jewish Kabblah or sorcery, and believe that non-Jews have satanic souls, and they quote their Talmudic literature saying, " Souls of non-Jews come entirely from the female part of the satanic sphere. For this reason the souls of non-Jews are called evil, not good, and are created without d! ivine knowledge (p.58). They explain to us that the Jewish messianic trend and Nazism are very similar, writing, "The hatred of Western culture with its rational and democratic elements is common to both movements" (P.65), and "confiscation of Arab lands is not considered stealing by the settlers, but rather it is considered sanctification." From this perspective the land is "redeemed by being transferred from the satanic to the divine sphere" (P.67). On page 71, the authors wrote,

"Relying upon the code of Maimonides, (1138-1204) and the Halacha, a rabbi named Ariel stated, "A Jew who kills a non-Jew is exempt from human judgment and has not violated the religious prohibition against murder" (P.71). They wrote: " Shimon Peres initiated a new policy which he called "functional compromise" and for which he acq in prayer and was later honored with a memorial that heralded him as a hero. Under international pressure to condemn the murders, the Israeli government later ordered the monument removed, and was met by considerable settler opposition to its removal. The book also explains to us how fundamentalism cross contaminate entire societies, nations and groups of people and faiths, and how Jewish fundamentalism has contaminated to some extent, all of the branches of monotheism. Christians, Muslims and Jews, who are concerned about the legacy of prophet Abraham, and the purity, and status of his community, and the true aim and teachings of! the Holy texts, will be remiss to ignore the truths and implications of what is written in the pages of this book.

Whereas volumes have been written about the ugly fraudulent and polluted idealism that is often presented in the place of Islam, not much has been written about Jewish fundamentalism and extremism, and even less has been written about Christian fundamentalism and extremism, which in some respects is even more tragic than the desecration of Islam. Christian fundamentalism rejects the teachings of Jesus, one of monotheisms most significant figures almost completely. It returns Christianity to the days of Jewish empire and nationalism, and interrupts the movement of monotheist thought from ancient Judaism to Islam. Jesus plays a major, and pivotal role in the expansion of monotheist law and thinking to its present universalism. Jewish fundamentalism, and also Christian fundamentalism in some respect, ignores Jesus, and ignores almost completely his refutation of Jewish nationalism and racial triumph. It also ignores the prophet Peter’s ministry to the Gentiles,! the meeting at Antioch, the descending of the Holy Spirit in the upper room upon men and women from throughout the world, announcing the universal God, and expanding his love and grace through the Holy Spirit first introduced to a tiny tribe of Jews, and later to embrace an entire world. It mocks the martyrdom of our beloved disciple Peter, and exonerates the wicked people that killed him, and their errant religious fanaticism. Understanding these things gives the idea of "Judeo-Christian" values a troubling tenor that reeks of Jewish domination through an insistence upon the superiority of its values, celebrating the impact of Jewish upon Christianity, rather than the redeeming quality of Jesus’ message to Jews and the entire world. This is what Henry Ford was perhaps attempting to say. This is what perhaps motivated his cautionary remarks regarding the true intent of Zionism in America, and also the world. Unfortunately at that time, he had only a very controversial and suspi! cious tract that suggested an evil for us to anyone to believe.

In closing, I submit that we cannot eliminate wrong thinking with violence, and wars to eradicate carriers of ideas, masked as wars on terrorism. This was the failed strategy behind Clinton’s Wye River initiative, and also parts of President Bush’s Roadmap peace initiative. Those who believe it is appropriate or possible to wipe out ideas by killing people are wrong. Those who have adopted the idea that we are fighting Islamic fundamentalism in a war on terror perhaps hope that it will advance their goal to perhaps eliminate or cripple Islam, since they wrongly believe that it is Islamic fundamentalism alone that is breeding resentment and hatred of Israel in the Muslim world. You cannot kill hatred with bullets, and bombs. After reading this book, it becomes apparent that the truth is more complex, as is the answer to this challenge of mutual hatreds of a people, Jews and Arabs, locked by oblivious third players, the United States and Britain, in a dance of! death that is threatening the peace of the entire world. Those who adopt and advocate such tactics as military wars against ideas should recognize that the same tactics will perhaps later be employed to eradicate their fundamentalisms as well, including the secular fundamentalisms, and such a conflict would adversely affect billions of us who are not evil, but who are perhaps simply misled.

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