- Series: Pluto Middle Eastern Studies
- Paperback: 152 pages
- Publisher: Pluto Press; First Edition edition (December 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0745308198
- ISBN-13: 978-0745308197
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 76 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #688,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years (Pluto Middle Eastern Studies) First Edition Edition
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Shahak's style is easy to read with well documented footnotes. Shahak is Jewish but he does not seem to allow this to prejudice his views.
He takes an honest look at Judaism and it's teachings, how those teachings have and still do affect every aspect of Jewish life. He draws at times from his own experience.
He has drawn flak from orthodox Jews because of his forthrightness and the fact that Judaism is not portrayed in a good light. I have chosen to give it five stars because it was helpful for me.
I do recommend this book if you are wanting to understand judaism and it's teachings a little better.
Just as all poisonous snakes are poisonous, it seems the most radical and fanatical doctrines of Jewish religion and Ideology are just as dangerous to world peace than any radical Islamic fundamentalism belief. While Americans are bombarded by news media of how dangerous Arab suicide bombers are, how little we as Americans are made aware of the danger within Jewish religious ideology. Perhaps its time we should.
Shahuk notes he was once an admirer of Ben-Gurion and admits he initially embraced Ben-Guion’s supposed reasons for Israel initiating the Suez War. Shahuk notes he changed to an ardent opponent of Ben-Gurion after listening to Ben-Gurion’s speech before the Knesset on the third day of the Suez Canal war. Shahuk’s admiration ended when Ben-Gurion revealed the real reason for Israel initiating the war; it was “the restoration of the kingdom of David and Solomon to its Biblical borders.” Israel’s pretentious ambitions of engulfing neighboring countries has become a continuing theme with Israeli leaders. In May 1993 Ariel Sharon formally proposed at a Likud convention that Israel should adopt the “Biblical borders concept as its official policy.” Shahuk notes no one asked Sharon where exactly are the Biblical borders which he urged Israel should attain. What were these biblical borders of King David and Solomon from thousands of years ago that Ben-Gurion and Ariel Sharon speak of?
There are a number of discrepant versions of Biblical borders of the Land of Israel which are being circulated by rabbinical authorities. The most radical versions include the following areas which must be included to bring Israel’s borders to the size of the Biblical Land of King David: in the south, all of Sinai and part of northern Egypt up to the environs of Cairo; in the east, all of Jordan and a large part of Saudi Arabia, all of Kuwait and a part of Iraq south of the Euphrates; in the north, all of Lebanon, and all of Syria together with a huge part of Turkey, up to Lake Van; and in the west, all of Cyprus. Many influential leaders in Israel such as Gush Emunim and the late Kahane and his followers not only desire the conquest of those territories by Israel, but they regard it as a divinely commanded act, sure to be successful since it is aided by God. It seems a sacrilege that God’s name is mentioned in the same sentence with such pretentious ambitions that will inevitably result in the death of hundreds of millions, with nothing more than a scorched earth remaining.
Israeli-Jewish society and the diaspora Jews who lead Jewish lives are organized into purely Jewish organizations and are said to have a strong streak of totalitarianism within them. Leninists who followed the principles of Marx and Lennon and Hitler’s movement in Germany led to earth shattering ends. Seeds of destruction often begin with a totalitarianism of thought. The results of Israel’s totalitarian society will be no different.
The Talmud and Talmudic literature contains very offensive statements, directed specifically against Christianity. The Talmud for example, states Jesus should be punished in hell by being immersed in boiling excrement. Such language isn’t particularly endearing to devout Christians but American news media will never be a vehicle to diffuse such information as long as Zionists hold the key. The Talmud instructs Jews to burn, publicly if possible, any copy of the new Testament that comes into their hands. As described in Shahuk’s book, on March 23, 1980 in Jerusalem, the Yad Le’alchim, a Jewish religious organization subsidized by the Israeli Ministry of Religion publicly and ceremonially burnt hundreds of copies of the New Testament. Can anyone imagine U.S. news media coverage permitted by Zionists to cover such events? What are the roots of this Jewish fundamentalism that pose such a threat to peace in the Middle East.
During certain periods of Jewish Russian history rabbinical authority censorship became very strict. During these periods, rabbinical leadership substituted the terms “Arab” or “Muslim” at their discretion. A list of Talmudic Omissions circulated in a manuscript form followed next and explained all the new terms and omissions in the Talmud versions. During this period, it wasn’t uncommon for Jewish leaders to direct derogatory expressions in the Talmud toward a specific racial group. For example, following the British conquest of India some rabbis claimed derogatory expressions were only intended against the Indians. These deceptive practices seemed to end when the State of Israel came into being. All offensive passages and expressions were restored without hesitation in new text editions. However, as noted by Shahuk, because of the costs of the newer editions, Talmudic literature and the Talmud was often reprinted from the older editions. For this reason, Talmudic Omissions was also commonly published. Shahuk notes, there’s a cheap printed edition of Talmudic omissions, the Hesronot Shase, that is readily available in Israel and commonly taught to Jewish children. Passages in the Hesronot Shase include a command that every Jew, whenever passing a cemetery, utter a blessing if the cemetery is Jewish but to curse the mothers of the dead if the cemetery is non-Jewish. Writings such as this don’t breed an Israeli society with tolerance and mutual respect toward non-Jews such as Christians and Muslims.
In comparison to the harsh wishes that Jesus is boiled in excrement and school children are taught to curse the mothers of the dead in non-Jewish cemeteries, how does the Muslim’s Koran view Christians and Jews? Is there the same hateful contempt for those outside their religion as are found in the Jewish Talmud? Here are some passages from the Koran for your consideration:
Quran Chapter 2, Verse 62
“Surely those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians…whoever believes in God and the last day and does good, they shall have their reward from God”
Quran Chapter 57, Verse 27
“Then we followed up these messengers, with Jesus, son of Mary, to whom we gave the gospel, and we put in the hearts of his followers, kindness and mercy”
In 1962 a part of the Jewish Maimonidean Code referred to as the so-called Book of Knowledge was published in a bilingual edition, with the English translation facing the Hebrew text. Excerpts from this text include commands to exterminate Jewish infidels such as “It is the duty to exterminate then with one’s own hands.” The Hebrew version of the text specifies who are the infidels, “Such as Jesus of Nazareth and his pupils, and Tzadoq and Baitos and their pupils, may the name of the wicked rot.” Not one word of who, such Jesus and his followers, are clarified as the infidels on the facing page in English translation. Maimonides was an anti-Black racist. His published Guide to the Perplexed is considered to be the greatest work of Jewish religious philosophy. In Book III, chapter 51 Maimonides discussed how to attain supreme religious values and the true worship of God. Maimonides however indicated, there are those incapable of ever attaining such a level of Grace in praising God as is evident by the passage:
“Some of the Turks and the nomads in the North, and the blacks and the nomads of 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 the monkey, because they have the image and the resemblance of a man more than a monkey does.”
Shahuk sites many examples in writings of Jewish philosophy and religion that establishes a subservient role of all other humans below that of a Jew. An example that best captures Shahuk’s effort to reveal Jewish philosophy’s contempt toward other religion and cultures is the attitude of the Hassidic Movement. One of the most important branches of Hassidism was the Habbad movement and the book the Hatanya reflects their religious ideological principles. According to the book, all non-Jews are totally satanic creatures “in whom there is absolutely nothing good.” Even a Jewish embryo is qualitatively different than a non-Jew’s embryo. The book claims the very existence of a non-Jew is “inessential,” whereas all of creation was created solely for the sake of the Jew. This book is circulated in countless editions and its ideas are further propagated in the numerous “discourses” by the Fuehrer of Habbad, the so-called Lubavitcher rabbi, M. M. Scheeurssohn, who leads his world-wide organization from New York headquarters. Habbad propaganda and dissemination among the public was stepped up in schools and military before Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in March 1978. Former Israeli President Shazar was an avid follower of the Habbad movement. Prime Minister Begin has publically supported it as well. Shahuk comments the Habbad movement and its followers constantly publish the most rabid bloodthirsty statements against all Arabs. Shahuk sites another example of the Hassidic movement, work first published by Martin Buber in Germany during the accession of Nazism to power. Buber’s work opposed Nazi doctrines about Jews, teaching a doctrine about non-Jews in much the same light. Buber had a disdain toward non-Jews no different than Nazism’s poor view of Jews. Whereas Hitler’s Nazism fell out of favoritism with the fall of Germany, Buber’s work was translated into Hebrew and has become a powerful element of the Hebrew education in Israel. Buber’s work absorbed by the Hassidic movement further empowers Hassidic leaders in Israel to propagate the rise of Israeli chauvinism and contempt for all non-Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.
Shahuk addresses the meaning of the word “Jewish.” According to Israeli law there are three methods to recognize someone as “Jewish.” The first method incorporates the Talmudic definition of who is a “Jew” and who isn’t, a method followed by Jewish Orthodoxy. By this means, a person is considered Jewish if his/her mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great, great grandmother were all Jewesses by religion. The Talmudic and post-Talmudic rabbinic law also recognizes the conversion of a non-Jew to Judaism as a method of becoming Jewish, provided the conversion is performed by authorized rabbis in a proper manner. The “proper manner” entails, for females, their inspection by three rabbis while the person is naked in a “bath of purification.” The term “Jewish” also requires the person never converted from Judaism to another religion, in which Israel no longer considers the person “Jewish.” It does seem rather odd three rabbis must see a woman naked in a bath before allowing her passage of becoming a Jew.
The state of Israel officially discriminates in favor of Jews and against non-Jews in many domains of life. Such discrimination includes the right to work, the right to equality before the laws and residency rights. The discrimination in residency is based on the fact that approximately 92% of Israel’s land is the property of the state of Israel and is administered by the Israel land authority according to regulations issued by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an affiliate of the World Zionist Organization. While a Jew is not prohibited from taking residence or opening a business anywhere in Israel, according to JNF regulations, the non-Jew is not permitted to reside or open a business and often cannot work in Israeli lands. This last condition, the right to work, is not strictly adhered to, though it’s not uncommon for the Agriculture Ministry to take measures against “the pestilence of letting fruit orchards belonging to Jews and situated on National land be harvested by Arab laborers,” even if the laborers, though not Jewish, are citizens of Israel. Israel also strictly prohibits Jews who settled on “National Land” to sub-rent a part of their land to Arabs, even for a short time. Those Jews who do so take the risk of being punished and facing heavy fines. Alternatively, and not surprising, there is no prohibition on non-Jews from renting their lands to a Jew. Shahuk explains the “Law of Return” and how only persons recognized as “Jewish” have an automatic right of entry to Israel and of settling on it. Jews who emigrate from the former USSR for example receive an absorption grant of more than $20,000 per family.
Perhaps we as Americans could take the billions we normally give away to Israel every year and instead, provide it as a means for displaced Palestinians to return to the Palestinian lands. What’s the chance such a policy would occur with so many Congressmen bought by AIPAC, such as John McCain, Lieberman or Richard Durbin?
Land once considered the “State of Israel,” according to the 1947 UN mandate, is now referred to as the “Land of Israel” as the greedy self-serving Likud party and Netanyahu believe the lands they seized since 1967 belong to them. These additional lands are viewed by Jews as “redeemed,” since the land is seized from non-Jews. As noted by Shahuk, it is this ideological principle of lands being redeemed by Israeli Jews, with God’s blessing, that guides their action.
The Mossad and Israel have committed many acts over the years that have remained unknown to Americans and British citizens, mostly due to public propaganda. Take for example the Mossad’s Operation Trojan, the basis of which, led to the American bombing of Libya. For years the Zionists and AIPAC have had the reigns of America’s news media. Even such atrocities as Israel purposely attacking and injuring or killing 70% of the US sailors aboard the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967, the most sophisticated communications ship in the world in 1967 and Jonathan Pollard stealing an estimated one million pages of intelligence with Israel’s complicity has remained unknown to most Americans. George Ball notes, Jonathan Pollard is how Israel stole our cluster bomb technology and sold it to other countries. Undersecretary of State George Ball’s “The Passionate Attachment” and Jeff Gates’ “Guilt by Association” are worthy additions for your personal library and include the truth about the USS Liberty and Pollard. Read these two books and let there be one less fool in the world.
Israelis must oust the right wing Likud Party and seek peace with the Palestinians, with equal rights for all, dismissing any and all Jewish Ideology that foregoes equal rights between the Jews and the Palestinians. Without doing so, there’s really no hope for Israel to live in peace. Norman Finkelstein, Miko and Matti Peled, Israel Shihuk and many other authors love Israel and fear its inevitable downfall if the right-wing Likud party continues to hold a death grip on its political policy, advocating they are doing God’s work as they seize lands of neighboring countries. Such thinking will lead to war, not peace. This death grip involves Israeli soldiers shoving their boots onto the necks of Palestinians. There will eventually be a pushback from Muslims of the world who will come together and provide a much more concerted political front in opposing Israel’s ambitions. Their measures that follow will be far more influential than radical, Islamic fundamentalists strapping themselves in with bombs. Muslims in the US can potentially influence and shape US foreign policy as much as Jews and Zionists. Once the US is no longer opposing UN sanctions against Israel, there will be a retribution Israel must finally payback. There’s a shame Israelis will one day have to acknowledge, much like the Germans who learned of the atrocities committed by Hitler. Israel’s sixty years of ethnic cleansing will finally come to an end. Solutions to a world crisis are found in the hearts of men and women who seek peace, not by men with evil, self-serving and distorted principles that can guide our leaders instead. LBJ escalating the war in Vietnam once JFK was assassinated, VP Bush Sr, under the Reagan Administration, complicit in Contra cocaine smuggling into the US by the tons and Bush Jr, McCain and Cheney prompting Americans to attack Iraq soon after 9/11 are leaders misguided by a mutated geopolitical philosophy that always leads to death, suffering and destruction. For a final note, heed the words written by one of the most decorated soldiers in American military history and highly honored during his military career. Brigadier General Smedley Butler was awarded two Congressional Medals of Honor in his earlier years as a tough Marine soldier. When he retired he wrote a book, “War is a Racket.” Another soldier once held the second highest rank in the Israeli military, Major General Matti Peled and was also well respected and honored. Read the story of Matti Peled’s journey from a man of war to a man of peace, in his son’s book, “The General’s son” by Miko Peled for another look at what’s indeed fundamentally wrong in present day Israel that’s also wrong for hundreds of millions of non-Zionist Americans.
His research and understanding of the subject is clear from the first pages. This work is by no means a comprehensive study of the subject matter, but it does give a generally good understanding of some of the teachings of rabbinic Judaism.
Israel Shahak has not sugar coated the racist teachings of the Talmud, but neither has he exaggerated them.
it is easy to read and understand. If you are looking for a book to give you a beginners understanding of what the rabbis believe and teach, then this book is a good place to start.
It is NOT a balanced account -- nor does it pretend to be. That understood, it's an excellent and credible read that makes many valid criticisms of the Jewish establishment.
Perhaps somewhat secondarily, note that at least the edition I bought consisted of a very cheaply printed text in pamphlet form (no spine). This doesn't actually interfere with the content -- but don't expect something that will look good in the bookcase.