Sunday, November 19, 2023


Video of discussion:



One of the pioneering movies of the early film industry was called the Birth of a Nation by DW Griffith. In it ,the African Americans ,who had been subject to horrible slavery for centuries and had finally been freed, were now depicted as the evil ones, and the former slaveholders of the South who rose up against these now freed slaves are depicted as the heroes of the awakening American nation.

Talk about successfully turning heroes into villains and villains into heroes!

It gives me a sense of what is happening to us as Jews today. I read the image that is being broadcast to the world, by violent riots of pro-Palestinian groups and what is being spread on tic toc and the like, and I see that we Jews, who have been history’s victims , now are being portrayed as history’s villains.


Blaming Jews for one’s own failings is nothing new in history, but we are just watching a particularly malicious variant unfolding in our own times.

The Bible already hints at the problem of our being a minority in a foreign land. In the case of Jospeh, Potiphar’s wife harps on the tune of “Hebrew who plays with us” and Pharaoh claims: “They have become numerous and too powerful, they will join with the enemy against us (and leave us!).

Just like D W Griffith, ancient Egyptian writers also tried blame the Israelite slaves for trying to take over Egypt!

Much of the elements of anti-Semitism predate even the start of Christianity.

Thus, Blood libel was first propagated by Antiochus’ supporters against Jews, that Jews capture a Greek for sacrifice.

The theological and political foundation for the continued enslavement and denigration of Jews gets its start under the Romans and takes root with the rise of “Successor” to Judaism, Christianity.

What was an internal conflict among Jews, between the small Jesus community and the majority of Jews, evolves into a race to put as much distance between as possible. This is especially so when the Roman Empire turns full force against Jews in the wars of 70 and 135. The early Christians wanted to avoid, like the plague, any association with Jews in the Empire. Therefore, the early Christian texts were re-edited, to shift the blame, on Jesus’ crucifixion, from the Romans to the Jews. Thus, Matthew 27:25 All the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 

The Jew is then endowed with demonic attributes:

John 8:44: You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. “

 Deicide (God-killer) and the Jew condemned to eternal wandering become the regnant motif of western civilization.

The conflict is flamed by the early church thinkers. Church Fathers, such as John Chrysostom, went further in their condemnation: Against the Jews.  Homily 1

: (6) Although such beasts are unfit for work, they are fit for killing. And this is what happened to the Jews: while they were making themselves unfit for work, they grew fit for slaughter.

The split is grounded in Roman law-Theodosius code: In 404, Jews were excluded from certain governmental posts. In 418, they were barred from the civil service, and from all military positions. In 425, they were excluded from all remaining public offices, both civilian and military—a prohibition which Justinian I reinforced.

Continued in 1215 in the Lateran Council as Jews are forced to wear distinct clothes (yellow badge, borrowed from Islam)

This subjugation of the Jews, suffered only to be preserved in order to bear witness to Christianity, continued until the early modern times. So, no one less than the father of the Protestant Reformation, the man who single-handedly broke the power of the Catholic Church and ushered in the modern era with the idea of the centrality of individual conscience, Martin Luther, was himself the author of a miserable work, On the Jews and Their Lies, a work that was republished many times under the Third Reich.

Therefore, be on your guard against the Jews, knowing that wherever they have their synagogues, nothing is found but a den of devils in which sheer self-glory, conceit, lies, blasphemy, and defaming of God and men are practiced most maliciously and vehemently with his eyes on them.

Jews were tolerated in Europe because they were useful to the rulers. The Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, as legal successor to Titus claimed the rights of possession and protection over all the Jews in the former Roman empire.

Jews  had the status of Servi camerae regis (Latin) "servants of the royal chamber”, or slave. Similarly, in England, under the Norman conquerors, the Jews were brought in as Property of the King,” Chattels”.

As the King’s property, they could not be harmed by the mobs (although they were) but also, as property, they could be disposed of, as trash, when no longer useful. 

At best, the Jew could live as a bird in a gilded cage--gilded, but still a cage—and when the Jew became too useful for the Royalty, and the crowds were aroused, the Jew was dispatched.

The Jew, like Joseph Suess Oppenheimer, could only go so far, until he is hung in that gilded cage.

As we entered the modern era of the west, our status as free and equal citizens was given slowly, and grudgingly, and often taken back!

Modern antisemitism in Europe gave the world’s oldest hatred a new intellectual veneer. Thus, it was given a leftist-class basis, under Karl Marx, who wrote “On the Jewish Question, “Zur den Judenfrage”, before he wrote his “Das Kapital.”

“In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism. . What, in itself, was the basis of the Jewish religion? Practical need, egoism…. The monotheism of the Jew, therefore, is in reality the polytheism of the many needs, a polytheism which makes even the lavatory an object of divine law. …The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism.”

There was the modern, rightist, race and nation based variant on the theme, and, appropriately, it was termed, in answer  to Marx,” Endloesung zur Judenfrage”—The Final solution for the Jewish Question.

It is vital to note--Modern Christians have changed greatly in their preaching, especially the Catholic Church, as well as the major Protestant denominations, many openly Zionist .It is rare, indeed, to find an antisemite of religious conviction in the Christian world. But Christianity, as it is in Europe, for example, is a fading force.


But, just as Christianity has shifted away from the Judeophobic roots, relinquished its secessionist outlook and lost its power as well, the Moslem world , in part in reaction to modernism, has doubled down on Jews. This status of the Jew as the Devil reared its ugly head even before the context of Israel and Zionism in the Middle East.

It has long been claimed that Jews fared better under Islam than under Christianity. While the claim has merit, it, of course, is only relative, not absolute.

Mohammed rose to power with Jewish allies, and then, when they fail to back him, he turned on them. What starts because of a political power struggle became magnified into a fight between Islam and Judaism.

Say: “People of the Book, …” Whomsoever God has cursed, and with whom He is wroth, and made some of them apes and swine, and worshippers of idols — they are worse situated, and have gone further astray from the right way. (5:64-65)

And He brought down those of the People of the Book who supported them from their fortresses and cast terror in their hearts; some you slew, some you made captive. And He bequeathed upon you their lands, their habitations, and their possessions, and a land you never trod. God is powerful over everything. (33:26)

What may have been said by Mohammed in his fight for supremacy over the Arabian tribes lent itself only too easily to actual demonization of the Jews.

It also became a basis to justify lying about the intentions of the Oslo accords by Arafat:

This was from the  secret speech by Yasser Arafat, Johannesburg: "This agreement, I am not considering it more than the agreement which had been signed between our Prophet Muhammad and Quraish, and you remember the Caliph Omar had refused this agreement and considered it "Sulha Dania" [a despicable truce]. But Muhammad had accepted it, and we are accepting now this [Oslo] peace accord." Private recording  | May 10, 1994,


 As explained by those who know Islam, that treaty, the Hudaybiyyah peace treaty, which called for a 10-year truce was broken by Muhammad in two years. Arafat hinted to his followers that these accords, too, were destined to be broken.

The original restrictions which Mohammed placed on the Jewish tribes he conquered were reinforced and increased in the Hadith(Oral traditions)-Especially of Al Bukhari, who is considered the authority behind most Islamic militants today. This statement is part of the charter of Hamas, for example.

The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (the Boxthorn tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews. (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).Sahih Muslim41:6985,

Even with Islamic so-called tolerance there were limits.

From Robert Wistrich, Muslim Anti-Semitism: p 6ff


… their existence from Morocco to Iran was punctuated by misery, humiliation, and popular violence… the greatest of medieval Jewish philosophers, Maimonides, to refer bitterly to the “nation of Ishmael, who persecute us severely, and who devise ways to harm us and debase us.”


The legal status of Jews and Christians …that of dhimmis (“protected peoples”), whose religions were officially recognized by the authorities. On payment of a poll tax (jîzya), they could freely practice their faiths, enjoy a certain degree of personal security, and have their own communal organizations. But the protection afforded to the “peoples of the Book” (ahl al-kitab) was combined with subjugation; the “tolerance” they benefited from existed within a social framework of discrimination and disabilities that constantly emphasized the superiority of Muslims to both Jews and Christians.


Jews could not, for example, bear arms; they could not ride horses; they were required to wear distinctive clothing (the yellow badge had its origins in Baghdad, not in medieval Europe); and they were forbidden to build new places of worship. Their dhimmi status, as elaborated by Muslim jurists from the inception of Islam until the early twentieth century, has been succinctly summarized as follows:


Dhimmis were often considered impure(najes) and had to be segregated from the Muslim community. Entry into holy Muslim towns, mosques, public baths, as well as certain streets was forbidden them. Their turbans—when they were permitted to wear them —their costumes, belts, shoes, the appearance of their wives and their servants had to be different from those of Muslims in order to distinguish and humiliate them; for the dhimmis could never be allowed to forget that they were inferior beings.


Even in Golden Age of Spain, there were periods pogroms in Cordoba and Granada, of forced conversion and expulsion, as under the Almohades. Jews were exiled from capital of Yemen, Sana-Galut Mauza 1600’s. those in walled towns had to live outside the wall, exposed to enemy attack. In Iran, there were harsh laws restricting Jews, with forced conversion in Isfahan 1600’s, and Mashad in the 1800’s.

It is true that these laws applied also to Christians—however, as Europe became increasingly powerful, especially after the Reconquista- the local Christians could count on protection from their European protectors. Jews had no protectors!



Even into the beginnings of the modern era, one can find the enforcement of the orphan’s law, as in Yemen- every baby is born a Muslim, and it is only his parents who misguide the baby. Therefore, when a child becomes and orphan, he or she now belongs to the local ruler and is taken form the family and raised as a Muslim. The only exception was for those already married, and therefore, in Yemen, it was common to arrange for child-marriages in order to prevent the child from being kidnapped.


Even till today, Islam allows for a negotiated settlement between families of the murderer and the murdered, in lieu of death penalty. However, the settlement price for a Jew is far less than the price for either a Christian or a Muslim, and that was the law in Iran till this century.


Now, as we enter the modern period, the Islamic world is influenced by trends, for good, and for bad, from Europe—and, regarding Jews, the worst of both left and right. The idea of

Nationalist anti-Semitism, for example. The term anti-Semite is invented by William Barr to describe his new movement, an attack on Jews as an alien race, but never meant as an attack on Arabs, who were seen as a nobler race.

The Jew as a distinct and permanently alien nation has no place inside the host nation. Theodore Herzl understood this very well.

It is no wonder that the Mufti of Jerusalem could feel comfortable at a tete a tete with Adolph Hitler and lead the Bosnian SS during WWII.

What was a distinctly European form found fertile soil in the rising Arab nationalism, which begins to see the Jew as alien. Riots break out against Jews, not just in pre-State Palestine, but around the Arab world, such as the Farhood in Baghdad.

Thus, there is the denial of rights to Jews in the newly freed colonies of North Africa.

Albert Memmi-great ideologist of Tunisian independence, colleague of Franz Fanon:

 “We would have liked to be Arab Jews. If we abandoned the idea, it is because over the centuries the Moslem Arabs systematically prevented its realization by their contempt and cruelty. It is now too late for us to become Arab Jews. Not only were the homes of Jews in Germany and Poland torn down, scattered to the four winds, demolished, but our homes as well. . .. Never, I repeat, never - with the possible exception of two or three very specific intervals such as the Andalusian, and not even then - did the Jews in Arab lands live in other than a humiliated state, vulnerable and periodically mistreated and murdered, so that they should clearly remember their place. [].”

So, like Jud Suess in Germany, Jews in Arab lands, at best, were in a gilded cage, and at a whim, could be eliminated.

Public hanging of Jews in Baghdad, 1969. The same happened to the leader of the Jewish community in Iran when Khomeini took charge.


I look at the historic response to the Jewish desire to return to the land of Israel. Set aside the claim that to do so meant the displacement of the existing Arabs of the land that was designated as Palestine. That land was itself underpopulated and neglected after centuries of Ottoman rule. When Jews came in, prosperity came with it, and the Arab population increased in tandem.

Why then was there so much vehemence to an autonomous Jewish territory in the midst of what would be the Great Arab Awakening, which would have benefitted so much from the influx of a skilled and educated population.

The only comparison that I can think of is the vehement reaction of the Southern whites to the newly freed slaves. I go back to the DW Griffith movie, Birth of a Nation, Suddenly, the very people upon whom the white masters stepped on so easily in the ante-bellum South, could be free, and independent, and raised the hackles of the former slave-holders, who had indulged themselves in their sense of superiority. The rise of the Ku Klux Klan in its day was seen as defense of white supremacy, and the newly freed black was soon put back in his place, by force of law of “Jim Crow”.

I can only see the response of the Arab world, in the early years of the Zionist movement, acting in the same way as the early white supremacists—here were the Jews, the former dhimmi, the former lowly, inferior Jews, acting like equals.  It is no wonder that the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al Banna, was vehemently a Jew-hater, or that the Mufti of Jerusalem could be at home with Adolf Hitler.

The horrors unleashed on the Israelis on October 7 can only be understood in the light of a visceral reaction of the once superior Arabs now having to deal with their upstart and uppity former slaves. I can understand the depth of anger the former master holds against his newly liberated slave. What I can’t understand, is why intelligent, enlightened people, the product of western liberalism, would side with the masters of the Middle East and not with the newly freed and emancipated Jew. It’s like siding with the KKK in the Birth of a Nation movie.



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