On Hating the Jews.


    Despite liberalization and modernization around the World, anti-Semitism endures and, in some places, seems to be getting more toxic. Herzl’s solution to the problem of anti-Semitism, Zionism, has not been a salve either; now some argue that Israel is the cause of rather than the solution to today’s anti-Semitism. But the truth is that anti-Semitism’s permanence is due to far deeper factors, factors neither Zionism, nor liberalism, nor anti-Zionism can cure. In this 2003 essay, Natan Sharansky investigates the trans-historical reasons for the trans-historical problem of Jew hatred.

     The (by and large correct) perception of the Jews as rejecting the prevailing value system of the ancient world hardly justifies the anti-Semitism directed against them; but it does take anti-Semitism out of the realm of fantasy, turning it into a genuine clash of ideals and of values. With the arrival of Christianity on the world stage, that same clash, based once again on the charge of Jewish rejectionism, would intensify a thousandfold. The refusal of the people of the “old covenant” to accept the new came to be defined as a threat to the very legitimacy of Christianity, and one that required a mobilized response.

     In the pre-modern world, Jews and Gentiles were largely in agreement as to what defined Jewish rejectionism, and therefore what would constitute a reprieve from it: it was mostly a matter of beliefs and moral concepts, and of the social behavior that flowed from them. In the modern world, although the question of whether a Jew ate the food or worshiped the God of his neighbors remained relevant, it was less relevant than before. Instead, the modern Jew was seen as being born into a Jewish nation or race whose collective values were deeply embedded in the very fabric of his being. Assimilation, with or without conversion to the majority faith, might succeed in masking this bedrock taint; it could not expunge it.

     While such views were not entirely absent in earlier periods, the burden of proof faced by the modern Jew to convince others that he could transcend his “Jewishness” was much greater than the one faced by his forebears. Despite the increasing secularism and openness of European society, which should have smoothed the prospects of assimilation, many modern Jews would find it more difficult to become real Frenchmen or true Germans than their ancestors would have found it to become Greeks or Romans, Christians or Muslims.

     The novelty of modern anti-Semitism is thus not that the Jews were seen as the enemies of mankind. Indeed, Hitler’s observation in Mein Kampf that “wherever I went, I began to see Jews, and the more I saw, the more sharply they became distinguished in my eyes from the rest of humanity” sounds no different from the one penned by Philostratus 1,700 years earlier. No, the novelty of modern anti-Semitism is only that it was far more difficult—and sometimes impossible—for the Jew to stop being an enemy of mankind.

     On closer inspection, then, modern anti-Semitism begins to look quite continuous with pre-modern anti-Semitism, only worse. Modern Jews may not have believed they were rejecting the prevailing order around them, but that did not necessarily mean their enemies agreed with them. When it came to the Jews, indeed, European nationalism of the blood-and-soil variety only added another and even more murderous layer of hatred to the foundation built by age-old religious prejudice. Just as in the ancient world, the Jews in the modern world remainedthe other—inveterate rejectionists, no matter how separate, no matter how assimilated… (By Natan Sharansky).



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    Jesus Died So We Can Eat Pork.


    Doesn’t that title just strike you as incredibly petty? The idea that Yeshua went through all that pain and agony just so a bunch of people who already ate pork could continue to eat pork and attain salvation is pretty offensive.

     Since the Muslims don’t eat pork and get offended at the sight of it, many Christians have taken to being incredibly bold about their diet of pork as a means of trying to stick a finger in the eye of those of the Muslim faith. Well folks, Muslims don’t eat dogs either but we don’t see anyone grilling Fido, do we? And how Christian is it to do something purposely to offend? How many converts is this behavior going to win?

     From an early age we are taught to be Christians and we are taught this means to be Christ-like. Many of us have matured to understand that “Christian” is a transliteration of the word Messiah and now we know that we are to be like Messiah if He is in us. And the Messiah, Yeshua (or Jesus Christ) ate according to the rules He gave to Moses. Yeshua lived a perfect, sinless life and we are supposed to emulate Him if we have accepted Him as our Savior. Part of this emulation is to eat the way He ate.

     He did not eat “kosher”, however. This is a common and easy line to blur. The Rabbis have the authority to declare a food “kosher” which is an addition to the requirements in Leviticus 11. For instance, to observe the Feast of Unleavened bread, we eat bread made without leavening. The Rabbis have a specific recipe for unleavened bread replete with specific temperatures for the oven and timing for how long the unleavened dough can remain outside of an oven. These rules are not found in Torah and are very likely impossible to achieve using ancient cooking methods. Simply baking our own unleavened bread suffices to fulfill the commandment to eat unleavened bread for seven days and is actually more fulfilling spiritually to eat bread made in one’s own house.

     For proof that Yeshua did not eat according to rabbinic tradition we look to the scriptures, specifically Matthew 15 . In this exchange, the Pharisees, who are the theological ancestors of today’s Rabbis, accuse Yeshua of breaking the tradition they created of washing hands in a specific way prior to eating. Granted, they accused Yeshua’s disciples and not Him specifically, but His disciples would not have broken that tradition without consent of their Teacher, especially in their presence. Yesua’s rebuke of the Pharisees leaves no doubt about how He felt of their traditions.

     Some Christians will say that Peter’s vision in Acts 10 now allows for believers to eat unclean food. What this passage proves is the opposite, however, because if Peter was told by Yeshua years prior that following Leviticus 11 did not matter, why wouldn’t Peter have cooked up some snake and had a snack when the sheet of unclean animals was spread before him? Since Peter had never eaten anything unclean, the vision made no sense to him until he met the Gentiles whom Yahweh had called out.

     Act 10:28  And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean.

     The purpose of that vision was to show Peter that salvation was not limited just to those of the royal blood line. Peter was no longer allowed to call men unclean or unholy. The unclean animals were used to shake Peter, who was known to be obstinate, and get his attention. For the vision to have been about eating dogs, cats, and snakes would be a pretty petty use of a vision, wouldn’t it?

     The further theological significance of Yeshua being perfectly clean to make atonement for those who will accept Him is a direct parallel to how the High Priest made atonement for the people on Yom Kippur. That priest had to achieve a very high level of chodesh, or holiness/cleanness, in order to make atonement for the people. His being clean that one day a year made atonement for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. Yeshua’s being perfectly chodesh and dying an innocent death on behalf of our uncleanness must not be taken in vain. If anything, it should make us want to be more clean and more holy as each day goes by… (By Chris DeWeese).



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    Profile: General James 'Mad Dog' Mattis, Donald Trump's pick for secretary of defence.


    James Mattis, then commander of the US Central Command, appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2011 Credit: AFP.

     James "Mad Dog" Mattis is a retired Marine Corps general who earned his nickname by garnering a reputation as a charismatic and tough-fighting military commander.

     Enlisting in the Marines Corp at age 19, he went on to fight in the Persian Gulf War, and in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

     By the time of the 2003 invasion of Baghdad he had been promoted to the rank of major general, and a year later he played key roles in heated battle of  Fallujah.

     In May 2004 he gave the order to strike a "suspected foreign fighter safe house" in Mukareeb, a small Iraqi village. But the target transpired to be the venue of a wedding, with the bombs killing some 42 men, women and children attending the ceremony.

     The US maintained that the attack had been legitimate and General Mattis asserted it had taken him 30 seconds to deliberate on whether to attack the target.

    Iraqi pro-government forces advance towards the city of Fallujah on May 23, 2016, as part of a major assault to retake the city from Isil Credit: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/ AFP.

     He later warned his troops against harming civilians, telling them that "whenever you show anger or disgust toward civilians, it's a victory for al-Qaeda and other insurgents".  General Mattis co-authored a counterinsurgency manual aimed at limiting sectarian violence in Iraq before the US military withdrawal in December 2011.

     He was a popular leader, known for "getting into the trenches" with his troops, and was labelled by the Marine Corps Times as the "most revered Marine in a generation".

     Eccentric but revered in military circles, he is known for his rhetoric, which includes the slogans "Marines don't know how to spell the word 'defeat'", and "be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet."

    Donald Trump announces James 'Mad Dog' Mattis, former Marines general, as his secretary of defence.

     A voracious reader with a personal library of more than 6000 books, he became a student of war and is reportedly able to quote Sun Tzu, Ulysses S Grant, George Patton, Shakespeare, and the Bible on the subject. 

     He is infamous in military circles for carrying into battle a book containing quotes from Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor and philosopher.

     Never married and without children, his long military career earned him the nickname the "Warrior Monk".

     In 2005 he attracted controversy telling the audience of a panel discussion that "it's fun to shoot some people". 

     "Actually it's quite fun to fight them, you know. It's a hell of a hoot," General Mattis said, prompting laughter from some military members in the California audience. "It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right up there with you. I like brawling."

     In 2007 General Mattis was appointed as the head US Joint Forces Command and Nato Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. Three years later he was promoted to the head of Central Command, overseeing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

     His region also included Iran and he became an outspoken critic of Tehran. The Obama administration retired General Mattis from his post in 2013 amid concerns that he was too eager for military confrontation with the country. 

     Speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington earlier this year, General Mattis was critical of the Iran nuclear deal but said that it may be the only option given the lack of public appetite for going to war with the country.

     He said he believed Iran to be the single biggest threat to peace in the Middle East.



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