The thinking behind this decision is there are simply more Jews in the U.S. than in Israel. The dramatic announcement is believed intended to force direct face-to-face talks, whose end game is the creation of a Palestinian state (in this universe).
Unnamed Palestinian sources (though JeWikiLeaks released the names of their spouses) confirmed that a Palestinian state would fully welcome the Jewish State, providing it remained within the continental United States.
The proposal comes with additional preconditions, however. The Palestinian Authority demand an immediate freeze on all Jewish settlements in Lakewood NJ, South East Florida and all of Hollywood. Mel Gibson will raise a glass or 2 (hundred) on this last one.
”It’s all about compromise” Erakt said with a straight face. “That’s what Arabs do”, although he couldn’t come up with a single historical example. “We also insist on racially profiling anyone who’s remotely funny and Jewish (i.e. infidels). And we ask that everyone kindly turn a blind eye to honor killings.”
Israel responded by offering to build entire villages on Arab land anywhere outside of Israel, including London.
Proposal’s Pros: The numbers make sense.
There are more Jews who live in the U.S. than Israel (6.5 vs. 5.77 million). If the majority of Jews live in the Diaspora, then that is where you put their country.
To bend a phrase, if the Jews won’t go to Israel, then Israel will go to the Jews. Or as Mike Brady said in The Brady Bunch Movie: “Wherever you go, there you are.”
If achieved, the demographic implications resulting from this land-transfer would be staggering and could come back to bite the United Arab Emirates in their barrels.
Iranian President and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stands the most to lose. Ahmadinejad would wake up to a new existential threat facing his country when seemingly over-night, the “Little Satan” had blossomed into a full “Uber Satan”, transforming “The Zionist Enemy” into the world’s #1 military super power.
Proposal’s Cons: The numbers don’t make sense.
While 45% of the world’s Jews live in America, the US Jewish population as a percent of the entire US is negligible. What’s the point of having a Zionist country where the Zionists make up less than 2% of the population? The odds are better to stay in Israel where support seldom drops bellow double digits.
Should we buy into this pledge?
By all means, yes we should. And why not? This is as ridiculous as every other Palestinian proposal sold as a “willingness to promote peace”. Let Israel take its’ usual wait-and-see approach i.e. wait and see how long it takes for the Palestinians to abrogate their commitments.
Previous guarantees to include maps of Israeli cities with their corresponding Hebrew names in school textbooks or removing Palestinian children’s programming that glorify martyrdom come to mind. These promises were dedicated with as much sincerity as this current, vacuous proposal.
Often drawing parallels between the suffering of Jews and Palestinians, Muslim leaders from around the world made emotional visits last week to Dachau, Auschwitz and other European sites as part of a Holocaust awareness program. Imams recited the Janazah, the Muslim prayer for the dead, inside the crematorium at Dachau, and held afternoon prayers in front of Auschwitz’ infamous, bullet-hole-riddled “Wall of Death,” where many thousands died.
“What can you say? You’re speechless. What you have seen is beyond human imagination…Whether in Europe today or in the Muslim world, my call to humanity: End racism, for G-d’s sake, end anti-Semitism, for G-d’s sake, end Islamophobia for G-d’s sake, end sexism for G-d’s sake… Enough is enough.” – Imam Mohamed Magid, President of the Islamic Society of North America.
It’s widely acknowledged that Jesus was a thoroughly practicing Jew throughout his life. Anglican Priest Bruce Chilton expressed that conclusion explicitly and concisely in his book “Rabbi Jesus”: “It became clear to me that everything Jesus did was as a Jew, for Jews, and about Jews.”
But what about Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles? It’s generally accepted that Paul was the true founder of a new religion called Christianity. Biblical scholar Gerd Ludemann, author of several books about Jesus and Paul including “Paul: Founder of Christianity,” affirms that “Without Paul there would be no church and no Christianity.” Ludemann adds, “He’s the most decisive person that shaped Christianity as it developed. Without Paul we would have had reformed Judaism … but no Christianity.”
Paul converted Jews and then Gentiles to Jewish Christianity, basing these conversions on his belief in the teachings, resurrection and divinity of Jesus. But powerful evidence within “Acts of the Apostles,” the book of the New Testament that chronicles Paul’s mission, reveals that Paul, like Jesus, remained a dedicated Jew until his execution. In fact, if Paul had simply stated that he was no longer a Jew but the leader of a new religion, he would not have been imprisoned or executed.
During Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem, his appearance and teachings in the Temple in Jerusalem set off a disturbance in which some Jews rioted against him (Acts 21:26-28). He was then charged with blasphemy by the Sanhedrin and would have to stand trial before the Jewish authorities — and face a possible death sentence. The Sanhedrin was able to indict Paul and put him on trial by the special privilege that the Romans gave the Jews. Judaism was a protected religion under the Roman Empire in the time of Jesus and Paul. Jews had their own King (Herod the Great, Herod Antipas and Herod Agrippa). But more important, the Jewish leadership was invested with the right to rule over Jewish affairs. They could bring charges against Jews who violated Jewish laws or who were deemed blasphemous or heretical. That power is why the Sanhedrin was able to indict Jesus. It also explains why the Sanhedrin was able to authorize Paul’s persecutory frenzy to chain and drag back to Jerusalem Jewish followers of Jesus in synagogues as distant as Damascus (Acts 8:3; Acts 9: 1, 2). Although the Sanhedrin could bring charges against Jews and even set the punishment, only the Romans could execute (although that’s not entirely clear since some violators of Jewish law were stoned to death by Jews).
The special status of Jews was first stated in an edict by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus in 1 B.C.E. and reaffirmed by Emperor Claudius Augustus in 41 C.E.:
Edict of Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus on Jewish Rights, 1 BCE
Caesar Augustus, pontifex maximus, holding the tribunician power, proclaims: Since the nation of the Jews and Hyrcanus, their high priest, have been found grateful to the people of the Romans, not only in the present but also in the past, and particularly in the time of my father, Caesar, imperator, it seems good to me and to my advisory council, according to the oaths, by the will of the people of the Romans, that the Jews shall use their own customs in accordance with their ancestral law, just as they used to use them in the time of Hyrcanus, the high priest of their highest god; and that their sacred offerings shall be inviolable and shall be sent to Jerusalem and shall be paid to the financial officials of Jerusalem; and that they shall not give sureties for appearance in court on the Sabbath or on the day of preparation before it after the ninth hour. But if anyone is detected stealing their sacred books or their sacred monies, either from a synagogue or from a mens’ apartment, he shall be considered sacrilegious and his property shall be brought into the public treasury of the Romans.
Later, during the ministry of Paul, the Emperor Claudius reconfirmed the special status of Jews:
Edict of Roman Emperor Claudius Augustus on Jewish Rights, 41 CE
Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, pontifex maximus, holding the tribunician power, proclaims: …Therefore it is right that also the Jews, who are in all the world under us, shall maintain their ancestral customs without hindrance and to them I now also command to use this my kindness rather reasonably and not to despise the religious rites of the other nations, but to observe their own laws.
The Romans were tolerant of all religions under their rule as long as adherents obeyed Roman law and paid taxes. While Jews could rule over Jewish matters, they had no jurisdiction over people of other religions. In principle, Roman paganism was an affront to Judaism. But they could do nothing about that other than negotiate with the Romans to mitigate pagan practices in the Temple area and in some public Roman ceremonies.
After his arrest, Paul faced charges of blasphemy: “And after five days Ananias, the high priest, descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the Governor against Paul” (Acts 24:1).
Paul could only be charged if he were a Jew. After being detained for two years he was brought before the new Roman governor Porcius Festus. The Sanhedrin repeated the charge of blasphemy: “Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him [Festus] against Paul, and besought him” (Acts 25:2). Fearing a trial before the Sanhedrin, Paul invoked his right as a Roman citizen to be tried in Rome. Festus granted Paul his choice: “Hast thou appealed unto CÃ¦sar? Unto CÃ¦sar shalt thou go” (Acts 25:12).
At no time during Paul’s lengthy ordeal did he repudiate Judaism or declare that he represented a new religion. Had he done so, he would have been immediately released — especially since he was a privileged Roman citizen. The Sanhedrin wouldn’t have had any authority over Paul.
After a long treacherous trip that included a shipwreck that almost killed him, Paul arrived in Rome and was put under house arrest. He promptly invited the Jewish leadership of Rome to his residence to explain why he was imprisoned:
“Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto CÃ¦sar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” (Acts 28: 17-20)
Still, Paul said nothing about a new religion. On the contrary, he presented himself to the Roman Jewish community as a loyal Jew who was being persecuted for his revisionist views. Since the Romans had no quarrel with him, as a Roman citizen, and with the Sanhedrin a continent away, there would be no viable case against Paul — if he had denounced his affiliation to Judaism and declared a new religion. At this point in his life, facing trial and execution for blasphemy against Judaism, didn’t Paul have every reason to sever his tie to Judaism? The Sanhedrin, representing traditional Judaism, sent a clear message by their action against Paul: “We will not accept your beliefs and teachings about Jesus.” Despite this definitive rejection, Paul didn’t choose the obvious way out of the clutches of the Sanhedrin: declaration of a new religion. This strategy never even showed up for discussion. Paul chose to go to his death as a Jew. Why?
Paul’s vision was to make his brand of Judaism — with the recognition of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah — a world religion easily accessible to everyone. He never surrendered that passion. But after his death the accelerating conversion of Gentiles to a movement that began as Jewish Christianity became increasingly distanced from Judaism — and a new religion was launched.
Nevertheless, an understanding of the deep connection to Judaism held by the founders of Christianity should highlight the common ground of Judaism and Christianity and pave the way to reconciliation between the two faiths.
From 1 January 2010, Irish blasphemy law came into being. Blasphemy is a crime punishable by a €25,000 fine. The law defines blasphemy as publishing or uttering matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion, with some defences permitted.
This law is both silly and dangerous. It is silly because medieval religious laws have no place in a modern secular republic, where the criminal law should protect people and not ideas. And it is dangerous because it incentivises religious outrage, and because Islamic States led by Pakistan are already using the wording of this Irish law to promote new blasphemy laws at UN level.
We believe in the golden rule: that we have a right to be treated justly, and that we have a responsibility to treat other people justly. Blasphemy laws are unjust: they silence people in order to protect ideas. In a civilised society, people have a right to to express and to hear ideas about religion even if other people find those ideas to be outrageous.
Publication of 25 blasphemous quotes
In this context we now publish a list of 25 blasphemous quotes, which have previously been published by or uttered by or attributed to Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Mark Twain, Tom Lehrer, Randy Newman, James Kirkup, Monty Python, Rev Ian Paisley, Conor Cruise O’Brien, Frank Zappa, Salman Rushdie, Bjork, Amanda Donohoe, George Carlin, Paul Woodfull, Jerry Springer the Opera, Tim Minchin, Richard Dawkins, Pope Benedict XVI, Christopher Hitchens, PZ Myers, Ian O’Doherty, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Dermot Ahern.
Despite these quotes being abusive and insulting in relation to matters held sacred by various religions, we unreservedly support the right of these people to have published or uttered them, and we unreservedly support the right of any Irish citizen to make comparable statements about matters held sacred by any religion without fear of being criminalised, and without having to prove to a court that a reasonable person would find any particular value in the statement.
Campaign begins to repeal the Irish blasphemy law
We ask Fianna Fail and the Green Party to repeal their anachronistic blasphemy law, as part of the revision of the Defamation Act that is included within the Act. We ask them to hold a referendum to remove the reference to blasphemy from the Irish Constitution.
We also ask all TDs and Senators to support a referendum to remove references to God from the Irish Constitution, including the clauses that prevent atheists from being appointed as President of Ireland or as a Judge without swearing a religious oath asking God to direct them in their work.
If you run a website, blog or other media publication, please feel free to republish this statement and the list of quotes yourself, in order to show your support for the campaign to repeal the Irish blasphemy law and to promote a rational, ethical, secular Ireland.
List of 25 Blasphemous Quotes Published by Atheist Ireland
1. Jesus Christ, when asked if he was the son of God, in Matthew 26:64: “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” According to the Christian Bible, the Jewish chief priests and elders and council deemed this statement by Jesus to be blasphemous, and they sentenced Jesus to death for saying it.
2. Jesus Christ, talking to Jews about their God, in John 8:44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” This is one of several chapters in the Christian Bible that can give a scriptural foundation to Christian anti-Semitism. The first part of John 8, the story of “whoever is without sin cast the first stone”, was not in the original version, but was added centuries later. The original John 8 is a debate between Jesus and some Jews. In brief, Jesus calls the Jews who disbelieve him sons of the Devil, the Jews try to stone him, and Jesus runs away and hides.
3. Muhammad, quoted in Hadith of Bukhari, Vol 1 Book 8 Hadith 427: “May Allah curse the Jews and Christians for they built the places of worship at the graves of their prophets.” This quote is attributed to Muhammad on his death-bed as a warning to Muslims not to copy this practice of the Jews and Christians. It is one of several passages in the Koran and in Hadith that can give a scriptural foundation to Islamic anti-Semitism, including the assertion in Sura 5:60 that Allah cursed Jews and turned some of them into apes and swine.
4. Mark Twain, describing the Christian Bible in Letters from the Earth, 1909: “Also it has another name – The Word of God. For the Christian thinks every word of it was dictated by God. It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies… But you notice that when the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, adored Father of Man, goes to war, there is no limit. He is totally without mercy – he, who is called the Fountain of Mercy. He slays, slays, slays! All the men, all the beasts, all the boys, all the babies; also all the women and all the girls, except those that have not been deflowered. He makes no distinction between innocent and guilty… What the insane Father required was blood and misery; he was indifferent as to who furnished it.” Twain’s book was published posthumously in 1939. His daughter, Clara Clemens, at first objected to it being published, but later changed her mind in 1960 when she believed that public opinion had grown more tolerant of the expression of such ideas. That was half a century before Fianna Fail and the Green Party imposed a new blasphemy law on the people of Ireland.
5. Tom Lehrer, The Vatican Rag, 1963: “Get in line in that processional, step into that small confessional. There, the guy who’s got religion’ll tell you if your sin’s original. If it is, try playing it safer, drink the wine and chew the wafer. Two, four, six, eight, time to transubstantiate!”
6. Randy Newman, God’s Song, 1972: “And the Lord said: I burn down your cities – how blind you must be. I take from you your children, and you say how blessed are we. You all must be crazy to put your faith in me. That’s why I love mankind.”
7. James Kirkup, The Love That Dares to Speak its Name, 1976: “While they prepared the tomb I kept guard over him. His mother and the Magdalen had gone to fetch clean linen to shroud his nakedness. I was alone with him… I laid my lips around the tip of that great cock, the instrument of our salvation, our eternal joy. The shaft, still throbbed, anointed with death’s final ejaculation.” This extract is from a poem that led to the last successful blasphemy prosecution in Britain, when Denis Lemon was given a suspended prison sentence after he published it in the now-defunct magazine Gay News. In 2002, a public reading of the poem, on the steps of St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square, failed to lead to any prosecution. In 2008, the British Parliament abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel.
8. Matthias, son of Deuteronomy of Gath, in Monty Python’s Life of Brian, 1979: “Look, I had a lovely supper, and all I said to my wife was that piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah.”
9. Rev Ian Paisley MEP to the Pope in the European Parliament, 1988: “I denounce you as the Antichrist.” Paisley’s website describes the Antichrist as being “a liar, the true son of the father of lies, the original liar from the beginning… he will imitate Christ, a diabolical imitation, Satan transformed into an angel of light, which will deceive the world.”
10. Conor Cruise O’Brien, 1989: “In the last century the Arab thinker Jamal al-Afghani wrote: ‘Every Muslim is sick and his only remedy is in the Koran.’ Unfortunately the sickness gets worse the more the remedy is taken.”
11. Frank Zappa, 1989: “If you want to get together in any exclusive situation and have people love you, fine – but to hang all this desperate sociology on the idea of The Cloud-Guy who has The Big Book, who knows if you’ve been bad or good – and cares about any of it – to hang it all on that, folks, is the chimpanzee part of the brain working.”
12. Salman Rushdie, 1990: “The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas – uncertainty, progress, change – into crimes.” In 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie because of blasphemous passages in Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.
13. Bjork, 1995: “I do not believe in religion, but if I had to choose one it would be Buddhism. It seems more livable, closer to men… I’ve been reading about reincarnation, and the Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings. Well, animals aren’t lesser beings, they’re just like us. So I say fuck the Buddhists.”
14. Amanda Donohoe on her role in the Ken Russell movie Lair of the White Worm, 1995: “Spitting on Christ was a great deal of fun. I can’t embrace a male god who has persecuted female sexuality throughout the ages, and that persecution still goes on today all over the world.”
15. George Carlin, 1999: “Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!”
16. Paul Woodfull as Ding Dong Denny O’Reilly, The Ballad of Jaysus Christ, 2000: “He said me ma’s a virgin and sure no one disagreed, Cause they knew a lad who walks on water’s handy with his feet… Jaysus oh Jaysus, as cool as bleedin’ ice, With all the scrubbers in Israel he could not be enticed, Jaysus oh Jaysus, it’s funny you never rode, Cause it’s you I do be shoutin’ for each time I shoot me load.”
17. Jesus Christ, in Jerry Springer The Opera, 2003: “Actually, I’m a bit gay.” In 2005, the Christian Institute tried to bring a prosecution against the BBC for screening Jerry Springer the Opera, but the UK courts refused to issue a summons.
18. Tim Minchin, Ten-foot Cock and a Few Hundred Virgins, 2005: “So you’re gonna live in paradise, With a ten-foot cock and a few hundred virgins, So you’re gonna sacrifice your life, For a shot at the greener grass, And when the Lord comes down with his shiny rod of judgment, He’s gonna kick my heathen ass.”
19. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, 2006: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” In 2007 Turkish publisher Erol Karaaslan was charged with the crime of insulting believers for publishing a Turkish translation of The God Delusion. He was acquitted in 2008, but another charge was brought in 2009. Karaaslan told the court that “it is a right to criticise religions and beliefs as part of the freedom of thought and expression.”
20. Pope Benedict XVI quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor, 2006: “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” This statement has already led to both outrage and condemnation of the outrage. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the world’s largest Muslim body, said it was a “character assassination of the prophet Muhammad”. The Malaysian Prime Minister said that “the Pope must not take lightly the spread of outrage that has been created.” Pakistan’s foreign Ministry spokesperson said that “anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages violence”. The European Commission said that “reactions which are disproportionate and which are tantamount to rejecting freedom of speech are unacceptable.”
21. Christopher Hitchens in God is not Great, 2007: “There is some question as to whether Islam is a separate religion at all… Islam when examined is not much more than a rather obvious and ill-arranged set of plagiarisms, helping itself from earlier books and traditions as occasion appeared to require… It makes immense claims for itself, invokes prostrate submission or ‘surrender’ as a maxim to its adherents, and demands deference and respect from nonbelievers into the bargain. There is nothing-absolutely nothing-in its teachings that can even begin to justify such arrogance and presumption.”
22. PZ Myers, on the Roman Catholic communion host, 2008: “You would not believe how many people are writing to me, insisting that these horrible little crackers (they look like flattened bits of styrofoam) are literally pieces of their god, and that this omnipotent being who created the universe can actually be seriously harmed by some third-rate liberal intellectual at a third-rate university… However, inspired by an old woodcut of Jews stabbing the host, I thought of a simple, quick thing to do: I pierced it with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus’s tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash, followed by the classic, decorative items of trash cans everywhere, old coffeegrounds and a banana peel.”
23. Ian O’Doherty, 2009: “(If defamation of religion was illegal) it would be a crime for me to say that the notion of transubstantiation is so ridiculous that even a small child should be able to see the insanity and utter physical impossibility of a piece of bread and some wine somehow taking on corporeal form. It would be a crime for me to say that Islam is a backward desert superstition that has no place in modern, enlightened Europe and it would be a crime to point out that Jewish settlers in Israel who believe they have a God given right to take the land are, frankly, mad. All the above assertions will, no doubt, offend someone or other.”
24. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, 2009: “Whether a person is atheist or any other, there is in fact in my view something not totally human if they leave out the transcendent… we call it God… I think that if you leave that out you are not fully human.” Because atheism is not a religion, the Irish blasphemy law does not protect atheists from abusive and insulting statements about their fundamental beliefs. While atheists are not seeking such protection, we include the statement here to point out that it is discriminatory that this law does not hold all citizens equal.
25. Dermot Ahern, Irish Minister for Justice, introducing his blasphemy law at an Oireachtas Justice Committee meeting, 2009, and referring to comments made about him personally: “They are blasphemous.” Deputy Pat Rabbitte replied: “Given the Minister’s self-image, it could very well be that we are blaspheming,” and Minister Ahern replied: “Deputy Rabbitte says that I am close to the baby Jesus, I am so pure.” So here we have an Irish Justice Minister joking about himself being blasphemed, at a parliamentary Justice Committee discussing his own blasphemy law, that could make his own jokes illegal.
Finally, as a bonus, Micheal Martin, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, opposing attempts by Islamic States to make defamation of religion a crime at UN level, 2009: “We believe that the concept of defamation of religion is not consistent with the promotion and protection of human rights. It can be used to justify arbitrary limitations on, or the denial of, freedom of expression. Indeed, Ireland considers that freedom of expression is a key and inherent element in the manifestation of freedom of thought and conscience and as such is complementary to freedom of religion or belief.” Just months after Minister Martin made this comment, his colleague Dermot Ahern introduced Ireland’s new blasphemy law.
GE 1:28 Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over all living things. (Note: God appears to be totally unconcerned with population control or ecology.)
GE 3:16, CO 11:3-9, EP 5:22-24, CN 3:18, TS 2:5, 1PE 3:1-6 The husband is to rule over his wife. Wives are to be subject to their husbands even when the husband is disobedient to God. Man is the image and glory of God, while woman is the glory of man. Man was not created for woman but woman for man.
GE 3:16 Women should suffer pain during childbirth. (Note: This verse was used by the Church to oppose the use of anesthesia during childbirth.)
GE 4:13-15 Cain–who murdered his brother Abel–is promised protection by God.
GE 17:10 “This is my covenant, …every male among you shall be circumcised.” (Note: God seems to have an obsession with this–the words circumcise, circumcised, circumcising, circumcision, uncircumcised, uncircumcision, foreskin, and foreskins appear 157 times in the KJV. Although the KJV correctly translates the oldest Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, versions since the KJV attempt to soften this apparent obsession by creatively translating these words in a different fashion wherever possible.)
GE 17:14 A child is to be punished when his parents neglect to have him circumcised.
GE 31:17, GE 36:6, DT 21:15, JG 8:30, SA 5:13, KI 11:3, CH 14:3, CH 11:21, 13:21 Polygamy is condoned. (Note: David is one of the polygamists. He is an angel of God, SA 19:27, and always fulfills God’s will,AC 13:22.)
GE 38:8-10 A man who refuses to impregnate his widowed sister-in-law is put to death.
EX 20:4 We are not to make likenesses of anything. (Note: This seems to preclude all photographs, paintings, statues, etc.)
EX 20:5 We are not to worship a likeness. The children to the third and fourth generation will be punished for infractions.
EX 20:8-11, 31:15-17, 34:21, 35:1-3 No work of any kind is to be done on the Sabbath, not even lighting of a fire. This commandment is permanent. Death is required for infractions. (Note: This would require even that essential services, such as hospitals, police departments, etc., shut down on the Sabbath.)
EX 20:26 You should not go up steps to a high altar; you might expose yourself. (Note: Men wore skirts at this time.)
EX 21:7-11 A father can sell a daughter into slavery to pay a debt. A daughter sold into slavery is not released at the end of six years as is an ordinary male slave.
EX 21:12 Whoever strikes a man so that he dies is to be put to death–except that, in some cases, God will appoint a place to which the offender may flee instead.
EX 21:15 Whoever strikes his father or mother is to be put to death.
EX 21:20-21 A slave owner is to be punished if he strikes his slave and the slave dies shortly thereafter. If the slave lives a day or to and then dies, the slave owner is not to be punished. A slave is the same as money to his owner.
EX 21:28-32 When an ox gores a man to death, the ox must be stoned. If the ox has gored a man previously, the animal’s owner must also be put to death; in the case of the goring of a slave, the only requirement is that the owner of the ox must pay thirty shekels to the owner of the slave.
EX 22:16-17 An unbetrothed virgin is required to marry her seducer.
EX 22:20 Anyone who sacrifices to other gods must be destroyed.
EX 22:29 Firstborn children should be sacrificed to the Lord.
LE 3:17 The eating of blood and fat are prohibited forever.
LE 10:9 Drinking strong drink in the tabernacle of the congregation will result in death.
LE 11:10 Eating shellfish is prohibited.
LE 12:2 A woman who has a child, especially a female child, is unclean and purification rites are required.
LE 15:2 When a man has any bodily discharge, it is unclean.
LE 15:4 Any bed that a man with a discharge lies on is unclean.
LE 15:5 Anyone who touches an unclean bed must bathe and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:6 Anyone who sits on anything that a person with a discharge sat on must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:7 Anyone who touches the skin of a person who has a discharge must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:8 Anyone who is spit upon by a person who has a discharge must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:9-10 Whatever [saddle] a person with a discharge sits on is unclean. Anyone who touches it must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:11 Anyone who is touched by a person with a discharge who has not washed his hands must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:12 Any clay or wood utensils that are touched by a person with a discharge are unclean and must be broken or washed.
LE 15:13-15 When his discharge has stopped, the person who had the discharge will count off seven days, wash his clothes and bathe. On the eight day, he must present two birds to the priest for an atonement for having had a discharge.
LE 15:16 When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body, and he is unclean until evening.
LE 15:17 Any clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed, and it is unclean until evening.
LE 15:18 When a man lies with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both must bathe, and they are unclean until evening.
LE 15:19 A woman who is menstruating is unclean. Anyone who touches her is unclean.
LE 15:20 Anything which a woman who is menstruating sits on or lies on is unclean.
LE 15:21 Anyone who touches the bed of a woman who is menstruating must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:22 Anyone who touches anything which was sat upon by a woman who is menstruating must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until evening.
LE 15:24 If a man lies with a woman who is menstruating and any of her discharge touches him, he is unclean for seven days. Any bed he lies on is also unclean.
LE 15:28 After her flow stops, a woman who was menstruating must count off seven days before she is considered clean again. On the eighth day, she must present two birds to the priest for an atonement for having had a menstrual discharge.
LE 19:13 Hired help must be paid every day.
LE 19:19 Cattle must not be allowed to breed with a different kind.
LE 19:19 A field must not be sown with more than one kind of seed.
LE 19:19 A cloth garment made of two kinds of material must not be worn.
LE 19:26 Flesh with blood in it must not be eaten.
LE 19:27 The hair on the temples should not be rounded off.
LE 19:27 The edges of a beard should not be clipped.
LE 19:28 Tattoos and the like are prohibited.
LE 19:29 Do not make your daughter a prostitute.
LE 19:31 Do not consult mediums or wizards.
LE 20:14 If a man has sexual relations with both his wife and his mother-in-law, all three of them must be put to death.
LE 20:15-16 If a person engages in sex with an animal, both the animal and the person must be put to death.
LE 20:18 If a man has sex relations with a woman who is menstruating, both shall be excommunicated from their people.
LE 20:27 A medium or wizard is to be put to death.
LE 21:9 If a priest’s daughter becomes a prostitute, she is to be burnt with fire.
LE 21:14 A priest (or descendant of Aaron) must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, a woman who has been defiled, or a harlot, but only a virgin.
LE 21:17-23 A priest (or descendant of Aaron) with crushed testicles (or almost any other physical deformity) is not to be allowed near the sanctuary.
LE 24:16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death.
LE 27:3-7 Males are more valuable than females.
LE 27:29 Human sacrifice is condoned.
LE 27:30-32 A tithe, a tenth of everything, is to be given to the Lord.
NU 3:10 An unauthorized person who acts as a priest must be put to death.
NU 5:2-3 Anyone who has a discharge or who has touched a corpse is unclean.
NU 5:12-31 A woman suspected or accused of adultery is to be tested by making her drink the “water of bitterness,” or holy water mixed with dust from the floor. (Note: There is no such test for men.)
NU 19:16 Whoever touches one who is slain in the field with a sword, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, is unclean for seven days. (Note: Isn’t one who is slain in the open field with a sword also a dead body? Why the distinction between the two?)
NU 19:22 Whatever an unclean person touches is also unclean. Anyone who touches an unclean thing also becomes unclean.
DT 4:19 Be careful when you look at the stars and planets not to be enticed into worshipping them.
DT 13:2-5 Anyone who causes someone to turn to another god must be put to death.
DT 13:6-10 A man is required to slay his friends and members of his own family who are guilty of worshipping another god.
DT 15:1-3 Every seven years, a brother (meaning a fellow Israelite) should be released from his debt. Only a foreigner should be required, again, to honor his debt.
DT 17:12 A man who shows contempt for a judge or priest must be put to death.
DT 22:5 One must not wear the clothing of the opposite sex.
DT 22:6-7 If you want to live a long time, you must not take a mother bird from her young, but you may take the young from the mother.
DT 22:10 You must not plow with an ox and an ass together.
DT 22:13-21 A bride in whom “the tokens of virginity” are not found is to be put to death. (Note: The bridegroom who falsely accuses his bride gets off with a fine.)
DT 22:23-24 A betrothed virgin who is seduced in the city is to be put to death unless she cries for help.
DT 22:28-29 A virgin who is raped must marry her rapist (if they are “found”).
DT 23:1 A man whose testicles are crushed or whose “male member” is cut off may not enter the sanctuary.
DT 23:2 A bastard–and his offspring to the tenth generation–are to be punished for his illegitimacy and cannot enter a congregation of the Lord.
DT 23:10 A man who has a seminal emission during the night is unclean and must go through a purification process.
DT 23:12-14 The Lord must not be allowed to see human excrement (it is indecent).
DT 23:19-20 Money must not be lent at interest to a brother (meaning a fellow Israelite). Interest can only be collected from foreigners.
DT 24:1-4 A man may divorce his wife simply because she displeases him.
DT 25:5-10 A man has an obligation to produce a child for his widowed sister-in-law.
DT 25:11 A wife who grabs her husband’s opponent by his “private parts” must have her hand cut off and is to be shown no pity.
JG 21:21 The Benjamites are commanded to take wives by hiding in the vineyards and then seizing the “daughters of Shiloh” as they come out to dance.
PR 13:24, 22:15, 23:13 Children are to be disciplined with the rod–if beaten with a rod, they will not die. (Note: Many Christian parents have inadvertently beaten a child to death following this precept.)
PR 26:4 Do not answer a fool. To do so makes you foolish too.
PR 26:5 Answer a fool. If you don’t, he will think himself wise.
PR 31:10-31 The able wife is to bring only profit and no loss, rise before dawn, buy land prudently, plant a vineyard with her earnings, keep her lamp burning all night, gird herself to work, be generous to the poor, lend a hand to the forlorn, talk shrewd sense, offer kindly counsel, and never be idle.
IS 56:4 A eunuch who keeps the Lord’s Sabbath will receive special rewards.
HO 4:14 The sins of female prostitutes and adulterers can be excused when the men themselves set a bad example.
MT 5:22 Do not get angry. Anger is a sin.
MT 23:9 Do not call any man on earth “father.”
MT 5:18-19 The OT law is to remain in effect until heaven and earth pass away.
MT 5:28 Whoever looks upon a woman lustfully commits adultery in his heart. (Note: This precept could cause some to think that they might as well commit adultery as to do so only in the heart.)
MT 5:29-30, 18:8-9, MK 9:43-47 If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. (Note: Many believers insist that this admonition, and others like it, are to be taken figuratively, although others take even this admonition literally. The problem is that there is no clear and decisive method to determine whether a passage is meant to be taken literally or figuratively. God could have foreseen this problem and should have provided an unambiguous solution.)
MT 5:33-37 Make no vows or oaths. They arise from evil (or the Devil).
MT 5:38-44 Turn the other cheek. Love your enemies. Do good to those that hate you.
MT 5:40 If any man would sue you and take your coat, give him your cloak also.
MT 5:48 Be perfect.
MT 6:6 Pray in private.
MT 19:12, RO 8:13 A man should consider castration, thereby making himself a eunuch, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. If you live after the flesh, you shall die, but if you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. (Note: During the dark and middle ages, saints castrated themselves by the thousands in order to become more godly. Even now, the practice continues in some sects.)
MT 23:3 Practice and observe everything the Pharisees and scribes teach.
LK 12:33, TI 6:8 Sell your possessions and give to charity. Be content with having only food and clothing. (Note: Many believers claim that the first injunction applies only to those who are wealthy or have a problem with wealth. That this is not the case is clear from the context. It is also clear that the Disciples practiced this principle; see AC 2:44-45 and 4:32-35. This is in sharp contrast to the concept of abundance that many evangelists preach and to the personal wealth they often amass.)
LK 14:26 One cannot be a disciple of Jesus unless he hates his mother, father, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and even his own life.
LK 14:33 “… any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
RO 13:1-4, PE 2:13-14 Be subject to every human institution. All authorities (laws and governments) are from God. (Note: This would include those of a Nazi Germany, yet believers seldom follow this injunction. Even Jesus and his Disciples violated this principle.)
1CO 3:18 Become a “fool” (for Christ) in order to become wise. (Note: A fool is still a fool.)
1CO 6:1-8 Christians should never go to court against each other, but should, instead, let the church settle their differences.
1CO 7:1-38 Men and widows should not marry. Although it is well for a man to remain chaste, the temptation to immorality is a valid reason to marry; a man should marry if he cannot control himself. Yet, a man who is already married should live as if he were not. He that is unmarried is concerned about how he can please the Lord while he that is married is concerned about pleasing his spouse. It is better to remain single so as to attend to the Lord without distraction.
1CO 10:24 Put your neighbor’s good ahead of your own.
1CO 11:3-10 A woman is to keep her head covered while praying or prophesying.
1CO 11:14 It is a shame for a man to have long hair. (Note: Why is it, then, that most portrayals of Jesus show him with long hair?)
1CO 14:34-35 Women are to be silent in church. If they have any questions, they are to ask their husbands at home. It is a shame for women to speak in church.
2CO 13:12 Greet each other with a holy kiss.
CN 2:8 Philosophy is to be shunned.
1TH 5:16 Rejoice always.
1TH 5:18 Give thanks no matter what the circumstances.
2TH 3:10 Anyone who doesn’t work should not be allowed to eat.
1TI 2:11-12 Women are to learn in silence (from men) in all submissiveness.
1TI 2:12 Women are not permitted to teach or have authority over men.
TS 1:10-11 There are many who must be silenced.
JA 4:7-10 Humble yourselves before God: be miserable, grieve and cry, let laughter be turned to sorrow. The Lord will then exalt you.
JA 5:14-15 Use prayer and anointing to cure illness.
2 JN 1:9-11 Do not allow anyone into your house who is not a fellow believer.
Tomorrow part 7 Bible Vulgarities & Obscenities –
All great satirical cartoons are provocative, but not all provocative satirical cartoons are great.
Take Gerald Scarfe‘s latest scribble for the Sunday Times as an example. It has certainly provoked anger, with his depiction of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall with stricken Palestinians amongst the bricks, their blood used as cement.
Underneath the wall sits a caption: “Israeli elections: Will cementing peace continue?”
The takeaway message is that the re-election of Netanyahu in Israel will mean a continuation of his government’s policies towards Palestinian territories, one of which involves building an enormous wall at the West Bank‘s border.
Clearly Scarfe’s view is that Israeli government policy towards Palestinians is one of murderous violence, of death and bloodshed, and he has represented this in a cartoon which grossly oversimplifies a painfully complex situation in that troubled part of the Middle East.
As a consequence, Scarfe has had serious accusations dropped on him like bombs in an airstrike.
He has faced a torrent of rage for allegedly committing ‘blood libel’, making an image akin to that seen in Nazi propaganda, and insensitivity for having it published on Holocaust Memorial Day.
All this, yet the cartoon is so clearly not aimed at Jews. It is – and I repeat this for the avoidance of any doubt – directed at Israel’s government, or more specifically its political leader Netanyahu.
Even the Sunday Times, when responding to criticism, pointed out that this was was not targeting Jewish people.
“The Sunday Times firmly believes that it is not anti-semitic,” said a spokesman for the Jewish Chronicle.
“It is aimed squarely at Mr Netanyahu and his policies, not at Israel, let alone at Jewish people. It appeared on Sunday because Mr Netanyahu won the Israeli election last week.”
A bloody disgrace?
Accepting that the cartoon’s target is politics, not race, leads to the inevitable conclusion that Scarfe was not anywhere near committing the offence known as blood libel.
Blood libels are representations of the vile anti-semitic myth that Jews use the blood of children in religious ceremonies and rituals, even cooking it into food.
It is a medieval belief, which perhaps explains why it is so common across sections of the Middle East, but is clearly not one being expressed in the yawnworthy cartoon.
There is no young child being slain by a revoltingly-caricatured Jew, with the blood being used in a warped religious ceremony.
While blood is used as the mortar in Netanyahu’s wall, this is obviously portraying a not uncommon view that Palestinian blood is being spilt by the policies of Israel’s government.
It is not a difficult distinction to understand.
Equally, Nazi propaganda attacked the Jews as a race – something Scarfe’s cartoon evidently does not do at all.
Again, when you comprehend that this cartoon was not an attack on Jewish people, you can dismiss the claim that it is an insensitive thing to publish on Holocaust Memorial Day.
A parallel can be drawn with the Danish cartoons that depicted the Prophet Mohammed, published in 2006 in a competition held by Jyllands-Posten, which sparked riots, fatwas, and assassination attempts in a characteristically measured reaction from Islamists.
Of the 12 cartoons, the image which caused the most froth to foam in the mad mullahs’ beards was one depicting Mohammed as having a bomb for a turban.
Much like Scarfe’s cartoon, this is a juvenile portrayal of a political situation, not especially clever or witty, which would suit the wall of a sixth form common room more than a page in a supposedly serious publication.
And, much like with Scarfe’s scrawl, it was incorrectly taken as a sweeping attack on a people, in this case every single follower of Islam. Sadly not just by the idiot clerics, but by Western leaders who masquerade as liberals, too.
Except it was not an attack on Islam. Anybody who can grasp nuance, which is apparently a dwindling number in the modern world of instant internet outrage, can comprehend that this was an attack on Islamism, a violent and tyrannical political interpretation of Islam which intelligently makes its argument by blowing people up and flying planes into buildings.
While the reaction to Scarfe has been much less extreme – there have been no fatalities yet – the censorial instinct is the same. Many, on the basis of a wrongful interpretation, would like to have seen Scarfe’s cartoon censored.
In fairness to those acutely sensitive to anti-semitism, Holocaust Memorial Day sets an understandable emotional context, as the indescribable horror suffered by those who lived under the Nazis – many of whom are still alive and bearing the scars of genocide – is brought to the fore of everybody’s mind.
More broadly, Israelis live in the centre of a region where neighbour states want to see them “wiped off the map” and where anti-semitism is the hallmark of populist politics.
For those of us in the West, the notion of a “Jewish conspiracy” is laughable, and confined to a world of paranoid keyboard warriors muttering on internet forums about the “truth” behind 9/11.
Here, this childlike view is held up to ridicule. In the Middle East, a Jewish conspiracy is the official line.
Still, even with that context in mind, it is clear as the Mediterranean Sea that this is not the starting point, or end destination, of Scarfe’s cartoon. Those attacking it, and him, for anti-semitism are missing the point.
They should be debating the risible politics of the cartoon, rather than foisting an unconnected meaning onto it.
For some of us, the holidays generate a nostalgia for Jewxploitation, and we’ve despaired that we’d never see The Hebrew Hammer again. Fortunately, there is some holiday cheer in the news: The Hammer may be back. But it is not yet time to fully rejoice. The Jewish superhero will return, provided that filmmaker Jonathan Kesselman manages to raise enough money through crowdsourcing to fund production of a sequel to his 2003 cult hit.
Kesselman has launched a Jewcer campaign in hopes of bringing the “certified circumcised dick” back to battle an enemy far more evil than Andy Dick’s depraved son of Santa Claus. This time it will be “The Hebrew Hammer vs. Hitler,” a movie that the filmmaker likens to “History of the World Part 1” crossed with “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”
The narrative is a Jewish history lesson… of sorts. The Hebrew Hammer, now 10 years older, consulting to the Jewish Justice League and selling trees in Israel, has been sidelined. Another Jewish superhero, a hipster named The Jewish Semiticman, has stolen the spotlight, but when he is sent back in a time sukkah to kill Hitler and things go awry, the Hebrew Hammer comes to the rescue. Hitler has hijacked the time sukkah, travelling though time rewriting Jewish history, and the Hebrew Hammer and his buddy Mohammed Ali Paula Abdul Rahim have to chase him down, stop him, and save the Jewish people.
It is not clear from the material on Kesselman’s Jewcer page whether he has any commitments from the original cast members that they will return for the sequel. It’s hard to imagine a Hebrew Hammer movie without Adam Goldberg, Judy Greer, and Mario Van Peebles.
Kesselman tells his potential financial backers that, despite the success of the first film, he needs to go outside of Hollywood to make this new project happen. The Tinseltown studios weren’t into Jewxpoloitation the first time, and they don’t seem to be this time around, either. “If like me, you love smart yet silly satire that is an equal opportunity offender, please help me make this a reality,” he requests.
Perhaps all the Hebrew Hammer fans out there will make Kesselman’s holiday wishes come true.
I’d like to spend a day or two inside the head of Iran’s Vice President, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi. I’m sure it’s a cavernous place with lots of room for exploring and stuff. But there’s so much weird stuff going on in there, it could become a tourist destination. Extreme tourism.
Two things here: if a Zionist is willing to go into a business partnership with me, take some drugs for a few days and get PAID by the Iranian government, then I’ll go 50/50 with you. I’ll do the research, you do the drugs, we’ll both get RICH beyond our wildest dreams.
Second thing: I personally don’t know anyone who is addicted to drugs. Yeah, I know, I live a sheltered life. Not a single person. Therefore, they’re all drug dealers. It makes sense, doesn’t it. Every person I’ve ever known is a drugs dealer.
I feel like I’m in one of those God-awful M. Night Shyalamamamaman films (or whatever his stupid name is) where there’s a painfully obvious “reveal” at the end, but I’m the only one who didn’t see it.
Every single one of my friends is a drug dealer. Because the logic of Mr Rahimi says so.
And so are all Jews. Woody Allen, you drug-dealing bastard. Scarlett Johansson sells dope, Ben Stiller flogs bath salts and Justin Bieber (go on, you know he’s Jewish) sells skag to addicts in Leith on a regular basis. It’s all true, because Iran said so.
No, hang on, I’m getting hung up on terminology here. It’s Zionists, not Jews. Whatevs. Both of them read this book, you see – it’s called The Talmud. I’ve never read it, but apparently all Jews have read it over and over. Mr Rahimi reckons it makes them drug dealers. Apparently, it says “you shall deal drugs” 20,000 times. Not exactly a page-turner, but then it’s better than Fifty Shades of Grey, which says “dildo” and “buttplug” 20,000 times. Over and over.
As Archbishop Cranmer points out, nobody bothered to report this. What’s more, Mr Rahimi was allowed to accuse Jews of dealing drugs by the UN, who gave him a platform to tell the world that Woody Allen is a crack dealer.
E1 Silence: Israel’s decision to allow settlements in the E1 area of the occupied West Bank is a slap in the face of the two-state solution. So why aren’t American Jews speaking out about it?
Overwhelming silence. That’s been the public stance of the leaders of most major American Jewish institutions since the Israeli government announced that they were reactivating plans to construct a new settlement in the area of East Jerusalem known as E1. This absence of public response represents a missed opportunity for leadership on an issue that threatens both the vital relationship between Israel and the United States and the very future of the Jewish state.
Constructing settlements in E1 almost definitely destroys hopes of ending the occupation, which violates the human rights of Palestinians and threatens the long-term viability and security of Israel. Since E1 links East Jerusalem with the West Bank, Israeli settlements there would literally present an obstacle to a two-state solution. While final plans have not been released, previously-proposed plans suggest that such settlement will probably also limit Palestinians’ freedom of movement, restrict access to private agricultural land, and displace the Jahalin Bedouin living in the area.
Today, virtually every major Jewish organization publicly voices support for the creation of a Palestinian state. However, our leadership cannot profess commitment to this solution while closing our eyes to actions that undermine this very possibility.
NEWS UPDATE: The Union for Reform Judaism said it opposes the Israeli decision to build new settlements, “especially in the critical ‘E1’ area” of the West Bank. The declaration came in a policy document that addresses fallout from the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations.
The announcement of plans to build in E1 is a slap in the face to the United States, Israel’s closest and most important ally. The U.S. just recently stood with Israel in being one of the only major countries to oppose the Palestinian Authority’s bid to elevate its status to “non-member observer state,” and even used political capital to persuade other nations to vote no or abstain.
President Barack Obama strongly and publicly supported Israel’s right to defend itself in the face of rocket attacks by Hamas, while financing the Iron Dome system that saved Israeli lives. Construction in E1 would violate repeated commitments to the United States, dating back to 1994, not to build settlements in the area.
American Jewish communal leaders — including heads of major institutions, rabbis, and local leaders — have a historic opportunity to respond to these new developments by taking leadership on three fronts: vis-à-vis the Israeli government, the American government, and our own communities.
The Israeli government has a history of responding to concerted pressure by the American Jewish community. Usually, such pressure has focused on questions of religious pluralism within Israel. But if the most visible leaders of the American Jewish community made clear that we want settlement to stop, and real peace talks to begin, perhaps the Israel government would be moved to listen. As a community, we invest millions of dollars a year in Israeli society, and work hard to ensure bilateral support for a safe and secure Israel.
U.S. elected officials have demonstrated time and again their willingness to heed American Jewish leaders on matters relating to Israel. Today, Jewish leaders have the opportunity to tell our elected officials that we believe that the long-term safety and security of Israel as a Jewish state depends on maintaining a path to peace.
Within our own communities, Jewish leaders must do a better job of helping our constituents to understand the hard choices that will no doubt be required for a lasting peace.
This standoff takes place in the week that Jewish communities read the Torah portion that tells the story of the painful split between Joseph and his brothers. This is a story in which every character abdicates responsibility for his own contribution to the family rift. Jacob openly shows favoritism to his son Joseph. Joseph flaunts his role as favorite son. The brothers seize an opportunity to sell Joseph into slavery in Egypt.
But the story doesn’t end here. After Joseph achieves his position as second-in-command to Pharaoh, his brothers journey to Egypt in search of food to sustain them during a famine. Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, and they shudder with fear. They assume that their now-powerful brother will take revenge on them for their betrayal of years before. Instead, Joseph seizes the opportunity for leadership. He reconciles with his brothers, provides them with food, and finds them a safe place to live. By moving beyond blame, Joseph succeeds in achieving a lasting peace with his former adversaries.
Within the American Jewish community, we are good at pointing fingers to explain why we have not yet achieved peace between Israelis and Palestinians. We blame the Palestinian leadership for their internal fractures, for their failure to accept previous peace deals, for the unjustifiable terrorism that marked the Second Intifada, and for the approach to the U.N. There’s certainly reason to say that the Palestinians and their leadership have made mistakes. But pointing fingers gets us no closer to any resolution of conflict.
I am proud to call myself a Zionist. For me, Zionism means the right for Jews to live in a safe and secure state in the Land of Israel. It means that we have a refuge from oppression and a promise that the Holocaust cannot happen again. But Zionism also means taking hold of history. For thousands of years, history was something that happened to the Jewish people. Other nations invaded our land, expelled us, and massacred us. Zionism offers a new possibility, in which Jews make our own history. This new power demands that we refuse to stand back and simply blame others — even when others make mistakes. Instead, we should always be asking ourselves what we can do to create a better future for our own people and others.
Today, it is time for those of us who consider ourselves Jewish leaders to take leadership by demanding that Israel protect human rights and preserve the possibility of long-term peace.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights-North America. Her most recent book is “Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-on Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community” (Jewish Lights, 2011).
Could Jews be members of the most sexually promiscuous religion on earth? A new study, “Religion and Sexual Behaviors: Understanding the Influence of Islamic Cultures and Religious Affiliation for Explaining Sex Outside of Marriage,” written up in the journal “American Sociological Review,” seems to say so. It also found that Muslims are the most conservative when it comes to matters of sex.
While the focus of the study was on Muslims, it compared the pre-marital and extra-marital sexual behavior of Muslims in a wide range of countries to that of Christians, Hindus and Jews in those countries. The authors, Amy Adamcyzk, associate professor of sociology at the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Brittany Hayes, a doctoral candidate there, looked at studies of people in some 30 countries ranging from Azerbaijan to Haiti to Zimbabwe, most of them not places with very large Jewish populations. They assessed data collected between 2000 and 2008 by the Demographic and Health Survey, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The study’s authors found that Muslim women were least likely to report having had sex before marriage, while Buddhists and Jews reported being most likely, followed by Christians, who were trailed by Hindus.
Jews were “significantly more likely than Muslims and most other groups to report premarital sex,” according to Adamczyk. “This is consistent with some U.S.-based studies that have compared the sex-related attitudes and behaviors of Jews and Christians, finding that Jews tend to be less conservative.”
Asked if that might make Jews the most promiscuous people on earth, she said, “I like the term ‘promiscuous,’ but academics would use the term ‘report’ premarital sex since we want to make clear that the only way we can know people’s sex-behaviors is by what they ‘report’ and they may lie or forget.”
The study looked specifically at sexual behavior reported by people who are or have been married, but not in relation to the strength of their religious commitment which, the paper says, is not available in the DHS data. So there are no comparisons within religious groups, for instance Catholics compared to Protestant Christians, or Orthodox compared to Reform Jews.
When it comes to extramarital sex, the study “found that married Muslims are less likely than all other major religious groups, except Buddhists, to report extramarital sex. This finding shows that Muslims are distinct from almost all other religious groups in being less likely to report sex outside of marriage.”
“This is one of the first studies to show that there are clear differences between religious groups in terms of their sexual behaviors,” Adamczyk said. There are also “likely to be other behavioral differences, which adds insight into the chasm between Muslims and adherents of Judeo-Christian faiths that we seem to be observing. Religion clearly has a powerful influence on behavior, and its effect is not the same across religious groups.”
Religions differ, overall, in their focus on pre- and extra-marital sex, she said. “Islam has been the most successful religion in putting forth religious precepts about premarital sex and getting its adherents to abide by these precepts.
“Even if you are not religious, if you are living in a Muslim majority country, you are likely to adjust your behavior and act in ways that are more consistent with Islamic religious precepts. Across the world, the Islamic faith is clearly very powerful in shaping behavior,” she said.