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Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years by Israel Shahak
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“Page 25:

…Maimonides was also an anti-Black racist. Towards the end of the [Guide to the Perplexed], in a crucial chapter (book III, chapter 51) he discusses how various sections of humanity can attain the supreme religious value, the true worship of God. Among those who are incapable of even approaching this are:

Some of the Turks [i.e., the Mongol race] and the nomads in the North, and the Blacks and the nomads in the South, and those who resemble them in our climates. And their nature is like the nature of mute animals, and according to my opinion they are not on the level of human beings, and their level among existing things is below that of a man and above that of a monkey, because they have the image and the resemblance of a man more than a monkey does.

Now, what does one do with such a passage in a most important and necessary work of Judaism? Face the truth and its consequences? God forbid! Admit (as so many Christian scholars, for example, have done in similar circumstances) that a very important Jewish authority held also rabid anti-Black views, and by this admission make an attempt at self-education in real humanity? Perish the thought. I can almost imagine Jewish scholars in the USA consulting among themselves, ‘What is to be done?’ – for the book had to be translated, due to the decline in the knowledge of Hebrew among American Jews. Whether by consultation or by individual inspiration, a happy ‘solution’ was found: in the popular American translation of the Guide by one Friedlander, first published as far back as 1925 and since then reprinted in many editions, including several in paperback, the Hebrew word Kushim, which means Blacks, was simply transliterated and appears as ‘Kushites’, a word which means nothing to those who have no knowledge of Hebrew, or to whom an obliging rabbi will not give an oral explanation. During all these years, not a word has been said to point out the initial deception or the social facts underlying its continuation – and this throughout the excitement of Martin Luther King’s campaigns, which were supported by so many rabbis, not to mention other Jewish figures, some of whom must have been aware of the anti-Black racist attitude which forms part of their Jewish heritage.

Surely one is driven to the hypothesis that quite a few of Martin Luther King’s rabbinical supporters were either anti-Black racists who supported him for tactical reasons of ‘Jewish interest’ (wishing to win Black support for American Jewry and for Israel’s policies) or were accomplished hypocrites, to the point of schizophrenia, capable of passing very rapidly from a hidden enjoyment of rabid racism to a proclaimed attachment to an anti-racist struggle – and back – and back again.”
Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years
“Page 25:

…Maimonides was also an anti-Black racist. Towards the end of the [Guide to the Perplexed], in a crucial chapter (book III, chapter 51) he discusses how various sections of humanity can attain the supreme religious value, the true worship of God. Among those who are incapable of even approaching this are:

"Some of the Turks [i.e., the Mongol race] and the nomads in the North, and the Blacks and the nomads in the South, and those who resemble them in our climates. And their nature is like the nature of mute animals, and according to my opinion they are not on the level of human beings, and their level among existing things is below that of a man and above that of a monkey, because they have the image and the resemblance of a man more than a monkey does."

Now, what does one do with such a passage in a most important and necessary work of Judaism? Face the truth and its consequences? God forbid! Admit (as so many Christian scholars, for example, have done in similar circumstances) that a very important Jewish authority held also rabid anti-Black views, and by this admission make an attempt at self-education in real humanity? Perish the thought. I can almost imagine Jewish scholars in the USA consulting among themselves, ‘What is to be done?’ – for the book had to be translated, due to the decline in the knowledge of Hebrew among American Jews. Whether by consultation or by individual inspiration, a happy ‘solution’ was found: in the popular American translation of the Guide by one Friedlander, first published as far back as 1925 and since then reprinted in many editions, including several in paperback, the Hebrew word Kushim, which means Blacks, was simply transliterated and appears as ‘Kushites’, a word which means nothing to those who have no knowledge of Hebrew, or to whom an obliging rabbi will not give an oral explanation. During all these years, not a word has been said to point out the initial deception or the social facts underlying its continuation – and this throughout the excitement of Martin Luther King’s campaigns, which were supported by so many rabbis, not to mention other Jewish figures, some of whom must have been aware of the anti-Black racist attitude which forms part of their Jewish heritage.

Surely one is driven to the hypothesis that quite a few of Martin Luther King’s rabbinical supporters were either anti-Black racists who supported him for tactical reasons of ‘Jewish interest’ (wishing to win Black support for American Jewry and for Israel’s policies) or were accomplished hypocrites, to the point of schizophrenia, capable of passing very rapidly from a hidden enjoyment of rabid racism to a proclaimed attachment to an anti-racist struggle – and back – and back again.”
Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years
“Page 36-38:

Many, perhaps most, biblical verses prescribing religious acts and obligations are ‘understood’ by classical Judaism, and by present-day Orthodoxy, in a sense which is quite distinct from, or even contrary to, their literal meaning as understood by Christian or other readers of the Old Testament, who only see the plain text. …

Apologetics of Judaism claim that the interpretation of the Bible, originated by the Pharisees and fixed in the Talmud, is always more liberal than the literal sense. But some of the examples below show that this is far from being the case. …

In numerous cases general terms such as ‘thy fellow’, ‘stranger’, or even ‘man’ are taken to have an exclusivist chauvinistic meaning. The famous verse ‘thou shalt love thy fellow as thyself’ (Leviticus, 19:18) is understood by classical (and present-day Orthodox) Judaism as an injunction to love one’s fellow Jew, not any fellow human. Similarly, the verse ‘neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy fellow’ (ibid., 16) is supposed to mean that one must not stand idly by when the life (‘blood’) of a fellow Jew is in danger; but, as will be seen in Chapter 5, a Jew is in general forbidden to save the life of a Gentile, because ‘he is not thy fellow’. The generous injunction to leave the gleanings of one’s field and vineyard ‘for the poor and the stranger’ (ibid., 9-10) is interpreted as referring exclusively to the Jewish poor and to converts to Judaism. …

It is quite clear even from these examples that when Orthodox Jews today (or all Jews before about 1780) read the Bible, they are reading a very different book, with a totally different meaning, from the Bible as read by non-Jews or non-Orthodox Jews. …

If such a communication gap exists in Israel, where people read Hebrew and can readily obtain correct information if they wish, one can imagine how deep is the misconception abroad, say among people educated in the Christian tradition. In fact, the more such a person reads the Bible, the less he or she knows about Orthodox Judaism.”
Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years
“Page 52-53:

Classical Jewish society has no peasants, and in this it differs profoundly from earlier Jewish societies in the two centers, Palestine and Mesopotamia. It is difficult for us, in modern times, to understand what this means. We have to make an effort to imagine what serfdom was like; the enormous difference in literacy, let alone education, between village and town throughout this period; the incomparably greater freedom enjoyed by all the small minority who were not peasants – in order to realize that during the whole of the classical period [800-1790 AD.] the Jews, in spite of all the persecutions to which they were subjected, formed an integral part of the privileged classes. Jewish historiography, especially in English, is misleading on this point inasmuch as it tends to focus on Jewish poverty and anti-Jewish discrimination. Both were real enough at times; but the poorest Jewish craftsman, peddler, landlord’s steward or petty cleric was immeasurably better off than a serf. … [It is significant that] prior to the beginning of the great Jewish migration of modern times (around 1880), a large majority of all Jews were living in [areas [where serfdom persisted] and that their most important social function there was to mediate the oppression of the peasants on behalf of the nobility and the Crown.

Everywhere, classical Judaism developed hatred and contempt for agriculture as an occupation and for peasants as a class, even more than for other Gentiles – a hatred of which I know no parallel in other societies.”
Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years
“Page 56:

In fact, classical Judaism flourishes best under strong regimes which are dissociated from most classes in society, and in such regimes the Jews fulfil one of the functions of a middle class – but in a permanently dependent form. For this reason, they are opposed not only by the peasantry (whose opposition is then unimportant, except for the occasional and rare popular revolt) but more importantly by the non-Jewish middle class (which was on the rise in Europe), and by the plebeian part of the clergy; and they are protected by the upper clergy and the nobility.”
Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years
“Page 72-73

All Jews who really want to extricate themselves from the tyranny of the totalitarian Jewish past must face the question of their attitude towards the popular anti-Jewish manifestations of the past, particularly those connected with the rebellions of enserfed peasants. …

Do decent English historians, even when noting the massacres of Englishmen by rebellious Irish peasants rising against their enslavement, condemn the latter as ‘anti-English racists’? What is the attitude of progressive French historians towards the great slave revolution in Santo Domingo, where many French women and children were butchered? To ask the question is to answer it. But to ask a similar question of many ‘progressive’ or even ‘socialist’ Jewish circles is to receive a very different answer; here an enslaved peasant is transformed into a racist monster, if Jews profited from his state of slavery and exploitation.”
Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years
“Page 80:

As for Gentiles, the basic Talmudic principle is that their lives must not be saved, although it is also forbidden to murder them outright. The Talmud itself expresses this in the maxim ’Gentiles are neither to be lifted [out of a well] nor hauled down [into it]‘. Maimonides explains:

“As for Gentiles with whom we are not at war … their death must not be caused, but it is forbidden to save them if they are at the point of death; if, for example, one of them is seen falling into the sea, he should not be rescued, for it is written: ‘neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy fellow’ – but [a Gentile] is not thy fellow.”

In particular, a Jewish doctor must not treat a Gentile patient. Maimonides – himself an illustrious physician – is quite explicit on this; in another passage he repeats the distinction between ‘thy fellow’ and a Gentile, and concludes: ‘and from this learn ye, that it is forbidden to heal a Gentile even for payment …’

However, the refusal of a Jew – particularly a Jewish doctor – to save the life of a Gentile may, if it becomes known, antagonize powerful Gentiles and so put Jews in danger. Where such danger exists, the obligation to avert it supersedes the ban on helping the Gentile.”
Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years
“Page 103:

Any support of human rights in general by a Jew which does not include the support of human rights of non-Jews whose rights are being violated by the ‘Jewish state’ is as deceitful as the support of human rights by a Stalinist. The apparent enthusiasm displayed by American rabbis or by the Jewish organizations in the USA during the 1950s and the 1960s in support of the Blacks in the South, was motivated only by considerations of Jewish self-interest, just as was the communist support for the same blacks. Its purpose in both cases was to try to capture the Black community politically, in the Jewish case to an unthinking support of Israeli policies in the Middle East.”
Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years