Shabbatai Zvi : A False Jewish Messiah and the Founder of the Donmeh Sect*

March 01, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Dr Jaafar Hadi Hassan

 Shabbatai Zvi is the most famous false messiah in modern Jewish history.  He was born in 1626 in Smyrna (modern Izmir) in Turkey and was one of three brothers.  He was described as handsome and clever.  His father, who was a merchant, wanted him to become a rabbi and when he was old enough he began to study religion with some rabbis in his home town.  While he was studying the normal prescribed books, he was also attracted to the Kabbalah (Jewish esoteric knowledge).  He delved into this subject until he became well versed in it.  When he was about twenty years old he graduated as a rabbi, after which he began to teach some students who subsequently became his disciples and admirers.  Shabbatai would tell them sometimes about his sadness and anger over the Chmielniky massacre against the Jews in the Ukraine which had happened in 1648 and would also tell them about his determination to revenge it.

After a while Shabbatai began to hint to his disciples that he might be the saviour of the Jews and their redeemer (Shabbatai was born on 9th of Ab, in the Jewish calendar which was the same day on which the Jewish messiah was supposed to be born).  Later he began to tell them secretly that he would be the Jewish messiah and would save the Jews.  In the meantime he contracted a marriage but did not consummate it for months and when his wife’s family asked for a divorce he agreed to it.  Some time later he contracted another marriage but did not consummate this either and this marriage also ended in divorce.  Meanwhile his claim to be the future Jewish messiah had reached the rabbis of the town of Izmir and had enraged them.  They decided to summon him and interrogate him, but he refused to attend the meeting.  Because of the trouble he was facing with the rabbis, he decided to leave on tour and go to Greece where there were Jewish communities.  In these places he also gave hints that he was the Messiah.  After some time he returned to his home town Izmir.

Shabbatai was known to suffer from periods of depression followed by an extreme state of elation during which he danced and sang in front of his students and friends. He was also known to have a beautiful voice.  When his brothers became aware of his states of depression which used to last for weeks, they suggested he travel to Palestine and go to Jerusalem which might alleviate his problem.  Shabbatai agreed and he left his home town with some money provided by his brothers.  He did not go directly to Palestine but took the route to Egypt.  No one knows the reason for his decision but while he was there he was told about an official in charge of the finances of the country and leader of the Jewish community called Rafael Joseph Chalabi, who was interested in Jewish religion and especially in the Kabbalah and had gathered together a group of rabbis in his palace.  Shabbatai visited him and Rafael offered to let him stay in his palace with the rest of the group. There he stayed for some time and was treated with respect by both the group and Rafael.  He then decided to travel to Palestine with Jerusalem as his destination.  After his arrival there he began to study the Kabbalah with well known rabbis but he also used to go on his own to visit the graves of some famous rabbis at night.

It is not known how long Shabbatai stayed there before the Jewish community asked him to go to Egypt as a messenger for them to beg Rafael, whom Shabbatai knew and had stayed with, for financial help as the community was in dire need of money to pay for their heavy taxes.  Shabbatai agreed to go and to help the community of Jerusalem.

While Shabbatai was there he heard about a woman of Polish origin, living in Italy, whose name was Sarah who mixed with men and told fortunes and predicted the future.  More importantly she used to say she would get married to the Jewish messiah.  Shabbatai then sent a message to her offering to marry her.  She immediately accepted his offer and went to Egypt where the marriage took place with extravagant celebrations in the palace of Rafael Chalabi.  When Shabbatai was asked how he could marry such a loose woman, he replied by saying that he followed the example of the prophet Hosea who was ordered in the Scriptures to marry a whore.

While Shabbatai was in Egypt he also heard from the rabbis in the palace about a rabbi living in Gaza called Nathan of Gaza.  This rabbi, as the rumours said, treated the “sick souls” of people and minds.  As Shabbatai was struggling with the problem of depression, he thought it would be good for him to meet this rabbi.  So he travelled to see him and when Nathan first saw Shabbatai he immediately bowed to him and showed him great respect.  They talked together for many hours, and then Nathan informed him that he was the messiah and what he suffered was the suffering of the Messiah and was, in fact, a sign of his messiahship.  Then Nathan, while he was with his students, produced what looked like a leaf of an old book which supposed to be from 12th century in which it said Shabbatai Zvi who would be born in 1626 would be the redeemer of the Jews and the messiah.  On another occasion, while Nathan was celebrating a feast with his companions he began to sing and dance frantically and then lay on the floor for some time apparently without breathing.  The people around him thought that he was dead and put a piece of white cloth over his face.  Then he suddenly uttered a sentence saying that Shabbatai Zvi was his messiah and his beloved and he then told those around him that Shabbatai was the messiah.

This was in 1665.  Then Nathan spread the news and he began to try to convince people that Shabbatai was indeed the messiah.  People started to descend on Gaza to see the messiah and day after day the crowd multiplied and people had to sleep in the streets as there was not enough room in the houses.  When Shabbatai decided to go to Jerusalem a number of people, including some rabbis, accompanied him.  In Jerusalem he was well received by the people and one day he put on a green garment, mounted a horse and rode round Mount Zion seven times.  During this time, he was behaving like a messiah, according to Jewish tradition, for example, he uttered the name Yahweh and ate food which is prohibited in Jewish Law and he asked the people around him to eat it too.  Shabbatai’s behaviour and the support which he had from the people angered the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem as well as the rest of the rabbis in the city.  Consequently, they issued a decree of excommunication against him and had it publicised.

So Shabbatai decided to go to Turkey.  He first went to Syria and from there planned to travel on to Turkey.  When he arrived in Damascus he was received by many people who celebrated his arrival.  Even some rabbis received him cordially and some even believed in him.  In the meantime, Nathan was sending letters to the Jewish communities in the Middle East and Europe urging them to believe in Shabbatai Zvi and promising them redemption.  Shabbatai then went to Aleppo and in this city people celebrated his arrival and many came to him to be in his presence and to have his blessing.  People also began to prophesy and fall down unconscious and while in this state announced the mission of Shabbatai.  He stayed in Aleppo for more than a month before deciding to leave for Istanbul.  The Jews in Aleppo begged him to stay longer but he told them that he was in a hurry to fulfil his mission.  Many people accompanied him on the way to protect him and his entourage.  They told of thousands of beings coming from heaven at night and disappearing during the day.

When he arrived in Turkey, Shabbatai did not go directly to Istanbul but instead went to his home town Izmir.  The news had already reached the people there and on his arrival they received him with great celebrations.  The rabbis there kept silent because of Shabbatai’s popularity and because anyone who dared to criticise Shabbatai was attacked and so consequently some of these rabbis left the town as they were frightened of their own people. The Jewish population of the town was in a festive mood and Shabbatai was always surrounded by people.  He had a bodyguard and a scribe to write his letters to the Jewish communities and hundreds of people went with him whenever he went to the synagogue.  People would clear the way in front of him when he went to visit someone or to the synagogue and he had assistants who carried a few things of his such as a comb.  The Jewish community in Izmir began to call him “king” and they engraved the word “king” on the birmah of the temple (where the Bible is read).  He also began to sign his name as Shabbatai, the King, and Messiah in the letters he used to send.

Meanwhile, there were rumours that the lost tribes of Israel had appeared in Morocco and numbered hundreds of thousands and also in the Arabian Peninsula where they had occupied Mecca, demanding that the Sultan give them Palestine in return for handing over this city.  There were also rumours circulating of the appearance of the Prophet Elijah who, according to Jewish tradition, was still alive.   Both these two events are thought to be signs of the immanent appearance of the messiah and so many people believed these rumours.

During this time many people came to visit Shabbatai from abroad and meet with him.  There were some demonstrations, too, at this time by Jews in several places outside Turkey to celebrate the appearance of the messiah and in some of them, for example Poland, they carried Shabbatai’s picture.  The demonstrations caused friction between Christians and Jews.  Some governments like those of the Yemen and Morocco banned the demonstrations.  Furthermore, people began to torture themselves in different ways as a sign of repentance.  Some buried themselves up to the neck, others fasted for a long period of time while some injured themselves with thorns and so on.  Also, there were many people who prophesied after they had fallen unconscious and uttered words announcing that Shabbatai Zvi was the messiah.

After a few months in Izmir, Shabbatai decided to go to Istanbul presumably to take the power from the Sultan.  He travelled by sea and was accompanied by a group of his followers.  The ship was delayed by rough seas and his followers were worried asking each other “geldi mi?” (Has he arrived?).  But there was a surprise awaiting Shabbatai there.  As soon as he arrived at the port he found a group of soldiers waiting to arrest him.  This was a great shock to the group with him as he was then taken to a small prison which was assigned to criminals.  He stayed in this prison for a while until the Jewish community in the city intervened on his behalf with the authorities to have him moved to a better place.  Then the government moved him to the fortress of Gallipoli where there was a prison for political prisoners.  Here Shabbatai was comfortable and his wife Sarah had her own section.  People began to visit him in their hundreds and even some prominent people who believed him began to visit him too and offer him money.  In this prison Shabbatai had his scribe with him who wrote letters on his behalf and in one of his letters Shabbatai instituted the 9th of the month of Ab as a feast day rather than a solemn one of fasting as it is usually kept by the Jews and he prescribed some homilies and texts from the Bible to be read on this occasion.  Shabbatai also instituted his birthday celebrations.  In connection with this he wrote a circular letter to his followers detailing the manner in which his followers should behave on this occasion.  It was an elaborate way of celebrating his birthday.  Another change he brought about in the prison was that he began to sign his letters with the phrase “I am your Lord Shabbatai Zvi”.

People continued to come to pay homage to Shabbatai in increasing numbers and so, as a direct result, prices for passage by ship and the prices of commodities sold in the area around the prison also increased.  In the meantime, the Prophet Nathan continued to send letters to Shabbatai’s followers telling them that the redemption was near and that his imprisonment was part of the mission.

While he was in the prison, a Polish rabbi came to visit him whose name was Nehemiah Cohen.  This rabbi, it is said, used to prophesy and Shabbatai heard about that and sent for him but it seems that the rabbi came to Shabbatai to argue with him about some aspects and signs of the messiah  according to Jewish beliefs.  As soon as he arrived he began to discuss these aspects with him.  He argued with Shabbatai that he could not be the messiah because there should have been another messiah (minor one) before him called the Messiah ben Joseph who would have to have been killed in battle before the appearance of the last messiah.  In reply to him Shabbatai stated that the Messiah ben Joseph had appeared and had been killed in 1648 during the massacre of Jews in the Ukraine and Poland during the rebellion of Baghdan Chmielinsky.

But Nehemiah Cohen was not convinced and continued to argue with him for three days.  Shabbatai’s followers became angry about this when they learned of it and Nehemiah, scared of them, told the guards at the prison that he had converted to Islam.  He did this to protect himself from attack by Shabbatai’s followers.  Nehemiah decided to tell the authorities that Shabbatai was a false messiah, an impostor and a deceiver who was encouraging people to rebel against the government and should therefore be punished.  When he told this to the authorities, Shabbatai was taken by the army from the prison together with some rabbis to accompany him as Shabbatai requested.  When they were on their way to the Sultan’s palace he told them he was scared and did not know what to do.  In the palace a council, consisting of the governor of the city, the vizier, the Imam of the Palace Prayers,  the Mufti, The Sultan’s physician and the Sultan who was sitting on the upper floor to see but not to be seen, were awaiting Shabbatai.

When Shabbatai arrived, the council began to interrogate him and accused him of pretending to be the messiah in order to seize part of the empire (by which they meant Palestine).  It is said that the Sultan suggested that Shabbatai should stand against a wall and be hit by arrows to test his claim and that if he was the true messiah then the arrows would not harm him.  Shabbatai was confused as to what to do, so the physician of the Sultan who was a Jewish convert to Islam whispered to him that it would be better for him to convert to Islam to save himself from death.  Shabbatai immediately agreed and told the council that he had for a long time been thinking of converting to Islam and would like to do so and they accepted this and performed the procedure and the rites necessary for his conversion. So he was taken to have a bath, was given new clothes and made to wear a turban, given the name Muhammad Aziz Effendi and was also given the honorary title “Keeper of the Gates of the Palace”.

Shabbatai’s followers were shocked when they heard of what had happened and had different reactions to it.  Some of them left Judaism altogether and some rejected Shabbatai and abandoned their belief in his messiahship but others continued to believe in him despite what had happened and the prophet Nathan announced to his followers that converting to Islam was part of the process of the Messiahship and that they needed to convert to Islam as Shabbatai had.  Shabbatai then began another phase of his activity which was to convince his followers to convert to Islam and even asked people who came to visit him to do so likewise. In the synagogue itself he used to preach Islam and convinced people to convert.  But he forbad them to marry Muslims.  This is one of the 18 beliefs which he laid down for his followers.  The Turks began to call those of his followers who proclaimed Islam “Donmeh” which literally means “turning” ie because they turned from Judaism to Islam.

The Donmeh followers who converted to Islam began to pray like Muslims in the mosques and secretly like Jews in hidden synagogues.  They also began to use two names, one Jewish which they used with Jews and another Muslim one used in public.  Shabbatai continued his activities in Turkey and after a few years the Turkish authorities accused him of trying to convert Muslims to Judaism and decided to deport him to Albania to a town called Uslinj.  Here too some of his followers began to visit him and pay homage to him.  In the meantime, his wife Sarah died and a short while after her death he married another woman, a daughter of a well known rabbi from Salonika who was one of his followers.  Shabbatai lived here for a few rather quiet years and died in 1676 and was buried there on the seashore as he requested.

 

A few years after his death, hundreds of his followers who had not converted to Islam announced their conversion and some years after that his followers became divided into two groups and finally, not many years later, the movement divided itself into three separate sub-sects as they remain to this day.

 

The members of the Donmeh Sect are estimated to be about one hundred thousand and most of them  live in Turkey today. Since the beginning of the twentieth century they have begun to play an important economic and political role in the country.  Many of them also became high ranking officers in the army.  Some of them became ministers like Muhammad Jawid Bek who was Minister of Finance on three occasions at the beginning of the last century and Ismail Jem who became foreign minister in the nineties of the last century and Tansu Chelar who became Prime Minister in the same period.

 

The Donmeh are active nowadays in business and in education and they have a big university which has many faculties for different subjects.  They are also very active in the economy and in the media too.  The Donmeh nowadays would prefer to be called Saloniki rather than Donmeh as they think that the latter name now has pejorative connotations but in fact they still continue to be known as Donmeh.

 

*I have published a book (in Arabic) on the Donmeh Sect which has been reprinted three times.

http://www.dirasaatyahudiya.com

 

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Purim Special: From Esther to AIPAC*

March 02, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

Book of Esther

The Book of Esther is a biblical story that is the basis for the celebration of Purim, probably the most joyous Jewish festival. The book tells the story of an attempted Judeocide but it also tells a story in which Jews manage to change their fate. In the book the Jews do manage to rescue themselves and even to mete revenge.

It is set in the third year of Ahasuerus, and the ruler is a king of Persia usually identified with Xerxes I. It is a story of a palace, conspiracy, an attempted Judeocide and a brave and beautiful Jewish queen (Esther) who manages to save the Jewish people at the very last minute.

In the story, King Ahasuerus is married to Vashti, whom he repudiates after she rejects his offer to ‘visit’ him during a feast. Esther was selected from the candidates to be Ahasuerus’s new wife. As the story progresses, Ahasuerus’s prime minister Haman plots to have the king kill all the Jews without knowing that Esther is actually Jewish. In the story, Esther together with her cousin Mordechai saves the day for their people. At the risk of endangering her own safety, Esther warns Ahasuerus of Haman’s murderous anti-Jewish plot. Haman and his sons are hanged on the fifty cubit gallows he had originally built for cousin Mordecai. As it happens, Mordecai takes Haman’s place, he becomes the prime minister. Ahasuerus’s edict decreeing the murder of the Jews cannot be rescinded, so he issues another edict allowing the Jews to take up arms and kill their enemies, which they do.

The moral of the story is rather clear. If Jews want to survive, they better find infiltrates into the corridors of power. With Esther, Mordechai and Purim in mind, AIPAC and the notion of ‘Jewish power’ looks like an embodiment of a deep Biblical and cultural ideology.

However, here is the interesting twist. Though the story is presented as an historic tale, the historical accuracy of the Book of Esther is largely disputed by most modern Bible Scholars. It is largely the lack of clear corroboration of any of the details of the story of the Book of Esther with what is known of Persian History from classical sources that led scholars to come to a conclusion that the story is mostly or even totally fictional.

In other words, though the moral is clear, the attempted genocide is fictional. Seemingly, the Book of Esther set its followers into a collective Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It makes a fantasy of destruction into an ideology of survival. And indeed, some read the story as an allegory of quintessentially assimilated Jews who discover that they are targets of anti-Semitism, but are also in a position to save themselves and their fellow Jews.

The Book of Esther is there to form the exilic identity. It is there to invoke PRE traumatic stress,  It sets the conditions that turn ‘Judeocide’ into a valid constant threat. But it also offers a survival  strategy to encounter such an imaginary threat.

Interestingly enough, the Book of Esther (in the Hebrew version) is one of only two books of the Bible that do not directly mention God (the other is Song of Songs). In the Book of Esther it is the Jews who believe in themselves, in their own power, in their uniqueness, in their sophistication, in their ability to conspire, in their ability to take over kingdoms, in their ability to save themselves. The Book of Esther is all about empowerment and the Jews who believe in their powers.

From Purim to Birkenau

In an article named “A Purim Lesson: Lobbying Against Genocide, Then and Now“, Dr. Rafael Medoff shares with his readers what he regards as the lesson inherited to the Jews by the Book of Esther. If to be more precise, it is the art of lobbying which Esther and Mordechai are there to teach us. “The holiday of Purim” says Medoff, “celebrates the successful effort by prominent Jews in the capitol of ancient Persia to prevent genocide against the Jewish people.” But Medoff doesn’t stop just there. This specific exercise of what some call ‘Jewish power’ has been carried forward and performed by modern emancipated Jews: “What is not well known is that a comparable lobbying effort took place in modern times — in Washington, D.C., at the peak of the Holocaust.”

In the article Medoff explores the similarities between Esther’s lobbying in Persia and her modern brothers lobbying within the FDR’s administration at the pick of WW2. “The Esther in 1940s Washington was Henry Morgenthau Jr.” says Medoff, “a wealthy, assimilated Jew of German descent who (as his son later put it) was anxious to be regarded as ‘one hundred percent American.’ Downplaying his Jewishness, Morgenthau gradually rose from being FDR’s friend and adviser to his Treasury Secretary.”

Clearly, Medoff spotted a modern Mordechai as well, “a young Zionist emissary from Jerusalem, Peter Bergson (real name: Hillel Kook) who led a series of protest campaigns to bring about U.S. rescue of Jews from Hitler. The Bergson group’s newspaper ads and public rallies roused public awareness of the Holocaust — particularly when it organized over 400 rabbis to march to the front gate of the White House just before Yom Kippur in 1943.”

Medoff’s reading of the Book of Esther provides us with a glaring insight into the internal code of Jewish collective survival dynamics in which the assimilated (Esther) and the observant (Mordechai) are joining forces with clear Judeo centric interests in their minds.

According to Medoff the similarities are indeed shocking. “Mordechai’s pressure finally convinced Esther to go to the king; the pressure of Morgenthau’s aides finally convinced him to go to the president, armed with a stinging 18-page report that they titled ‘Report to the Secretary on the Acquiescence of This Government in the Murder of the Jews.'”

Dr. Medoff is rather ready to draw his historical conclusions. “Esther’s lobbying succeeded. Ahasuerus cancelled the genocide decree and executed Haman and his henchmen. Morgenthau’s lobbying also succeeded. A Bergson-initiated Congressional resolution calling for U.S. rescue action quickly passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — enabling Morgenthau to tell FDR that ‘you have either got to move very fast, or the Congress of the United States will do it for you.’ Ten months before election day, the last thing FDR wanted was an embarrassing public scandal over the refugee issue. Within days, Roosevelt did what the Congressional resolution sought — he issued an executive order creating the War Refugee Board, a U.S. government agency to rescue refugees from Hitler.”

It is clear beyond doubt that Medoff sees the Book of Esther as a general guideline for a healthy Jewish future. Medoff ends his paper saying: “the claim that nothing could be done to help Europe’s Jews had been demolished by Jews who shook off their fears and spoke up for their people — in ancient Persia and in modern Washington.” In other words, Jews can do and should do for themselves. This is indeed the moral of the Book of Esther as well as the Holocaust religion.

What Jews should do for themselves is indeed an open question. Different Jews have different ideas. The Neocon believes in dragging America and the West into an endless war against Islam. Emmanuel Levinas, on the contrary, believes that Jews should actually position themselves at the forefront of the struggle against oppression and injustice. Indeed, Jewish empowerment is just one answer among many. Yet, it is a very powerful not to say a dangerous one. It is especially dangerous when the American Jewish Committee (AJC) acts as a modern-day Mordechai and publicly engages in an extensive lobbying effort for a war against Iran and beyond.

When analysing the work and influence of AIPAC within American politics it is the Book of Esther that we should bear in mind. AIPAC is more than a mere political lobby. AIPAC is a modern-day Mordechai, the AJC and even JVP  are modern-day Mordechais. Both AIPAC,  AJC and JVP are inherently in line with the Hebrew Biblical school of thought. However, while the Mordechais are relatively easy to spot, the Esthers, those who act for Israel behind the scenes, are slightly more difficult to trace.

I believe that once we learn to look at Israeli lobbying in the parameters that are drawn by the Book of Esther/Holocaust-religion, we are then entitled to regard the enemies of Israel  as the current Haman/Hitler figure. AIPAC and Kushner are Mordechais, Trump is obviously Ahasuerus, yet Esther can be almost anyone, from the last Neocon to Max Blumenthal  and beyond.

If they want to burn it , you want to read it..

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Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto

Amazon.co.uk  ,  Amazon.com  and   here  (gilad.co.uk)

* This is a segment from an  2007 Counterpunch’s article. I gave it a minor facelift updating some of the names and organisations.

Polish Restitution Law – Holocaust vs. Nakba

February 14, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Reported by Gilad Atzmon

We learned today that the Polish Justice Ministry is reviewing draft legislation regarding the restitution of Jewish property confiscated during and after the Holocaust.

On Wednesday, the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) expressed concern over the delay of the law. “Elderly Jewish and non-Jewish claimants who have waited over 70 years for justice for their lost property cannot wait any longer,” said Gideon Taylor, the WJRO chair of operations and I wonder how long the ethnically cleansed Palestinian should wait before the Jewish State and the WJRO acknowledge their right to reclaim their land, villages, houses, fields and orchards or shall we just say Palestine?  

One may wonder how is it possible that Jewish institutions are so dedicated to the restitution of Jewish property while being completely dismissive of the exact same right when it comes to the Palestinians. I guess that choseness is a possible answer. Jewish victimhood is to often blind to other victims, especially those who were victimised by the Jewish State.

The Banality of Good pt. 6: Jewish Power and Identity Politics

February 03, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

By now, we are all Palestinians. Like the Palestinians we aren’t really allowed to dig into the true meaning of our oppression. Our opposition is shaped by the sensitivities of our oppressors.

By now, we are all Palestinians. Like the Palestinians we aren’t really allowed to dig into the true meaning of our oppression. Our opposition is shaped by the sensitivities of our oppressors.

 

By Clara S and Gilad Atzmon

Jewish Power and Identity Politics

Clara:   You show how Jewish institutions influence US policies, that it all happens in the open and that the Zionist lobbyists boast about their power. So, are Jews, in fact, controlling the world, just as the Nazis claimed they were?

Gilad: This is another multi layered question for which we must first clarify the terminology. Do the ‘Jews’ (the people) control the world? Absolutely not. But a few segments within the Jewish elite are certainly dominant and vastly over-represented within media, finance, culture, academia, politics, political lobbying, Hollywood and so on.  I elaborate on this volatile topic in my new book ‘Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto. The book was partially inspired by ‘The Jewish Century’, the monumental text by Yuri Slezkine that attempted to explain what it was within the Jews that made the 20th into their century: What is it about Jews and their culture that made them dominant in the West?  In Being in Time I offer a few of my original ideas. I also attempt to examine some other theories that have been largely rejected, but that I find  helpful.

My study suggests that the Jewish elite is extremely sophisticated as well as gifted.

Clara:   If they are so gifted, why do you see ‘their dominance in western culture’ as a problem? Can’t we all profit from their extraordinary talents?

Gilad:  To start with, we did and we do. That which we criticize is also that which makes our life special.  The obsession with the global free market which we hate is entangled with the imaginary sense of freedom we purport to celebrate.  The widespread  consumerism we hate is part of the illusion that we can posses whatever we want.

But this is a  problem as well.  The world we live in is not a nice place. It is  dystopic and we the people are becoming more nostalgic by the minute. At an earlier  point we saw ourselves as free subjects. Now not much is left of that decaying freedom.  We are reduced to consumers. The politicians who should  represent our needs and desires mostly just facilitate consumption by means of credit. Manufacturing has died on us and the prospect of a better future is remote. I addressed these troublesome issues in ‘Being in Time’. I believe that the identitarian revolution, or rather, the New Left ideology has a lot to do with the above. The Western subject has been indoctrinated to think and speak ‘as a’: as a gay, as a woman, as a black, etc. We learn to identify with our biology (gender, skin colour, sexual orientation, etc.)  We learn to see ourselves as an aggregation of biologically oriented tribes. Our people are a construct of multiple Israelite tribes, but the Israelites are better than anyone else at being Israelites, they have been doing it for 3000 years.

Clara: So identity politics are a Jewish construct?

Gilad: Exactly. And here is the most problematic twist. In ‘Being in Time’ I argue that the New Left has fallen into the Nazi trap. Dividing humanity by biology (race, skin colour, gender etc.) requires that we define ourselves and others in biological terms.  Instead of uniting under a dynamic universal ethos we are subject to new categories that make human universal harmony impossible.

We live in a totally fragmented society. Instead of fighting together for our common and universal needs, we are divided into identitarian groups and fight each other.

 Clara:   Biology? Doing what the Nazis did and even defining a ‘race’ when there is none? I see your point: a nice twist indeed.

Although defining oneself in terms of identity seems to be natural: we (nearly) all have experiences of loss and discrimination because of our ‘biological’ identity: as a woman, as a member of an ethnic minority, as somebody with a handicap, because of our sexual orientation, and on.

 Gilad: True. It is natural for people to identify with their biology.

This is why half of the Americans voted for Hillary Clinton. This is why ID politics is the only so called Left ideology that has gained in popularity. It also explains some of what what attracted the masses to Nazism.  And then, it also explains the logos at the core of Jewish tribalism.

 Clara: Gilad, I have a lot of sympathy for anti-discrimination and emancipatory movements. Without them I still would not have the right to vote and my independent career would not have been possible. The homosexual couple in my neighbourhood would have had to pose as cousins and a lot of barrier-free railway stations would be non-existent. And I, personally, love the mix of different ethnic cultures we experience in Germany, in spite of the problems that come with it.

For me as a teacher it has always been important to make sure I support those students who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths. The motto of our school is ‘Diversity is our strength’ and I stand by that.

 When I first encountered criticism of identity politics I didn’t take it seriously because I found the criticism regressive: it came from the kind of people who want to send women back to, as the German saying goes, Kinder, Kueche, Kirche (kids, kitchen and church), forbid abortion, kick out foreigners and view homosexuality as something sick. Though there were increasingly aspects to the ‘multi-culti’ and open-border ideas that made me wonder. I must admit that it was not until the last American presidential race that I realized that within the Democratic Party, identitarian politics had replaced policies that were, in my opinion, ‘genuine Left’ such as improving people’s social and economic situation and anti-imperialism. And I realized that the same had happened to the left in Germany.

 So has the Left been captured by identitarians?

 Gilad: Yep, I fully understand. Like many others, I used to agree with Left ideology  but as I grew older I found the Left to be increasingly  delusional, dogmatic and frequently  duplicitous. I couldn’t detect any suggestion of dialectical thinking. Even the aspiration towards equality had somehow evaporated. In ‘The Wandering Who’ I shifted. Instead of asking what the ‘J-word’ represents, I asked what do people mean when they identify themselves as Jews? In ‘Being in Time’ I employed an identical strategy. I asked what is it that people who identify as Leftists adhere to?

The answer was pretty troubling. The New Left shares little or nothing  with old Left values. The New Left is tribal, biologically oriented, and it is authoritarian and often proto fascist. The Left was not simply captured by the identitarians, it was hijacked. The New Left is occupied territory and this is another reason why we are all Palestinians.

This is why I argue that by now the Left / Right dichotomy is meaningless and on the verge of futile. Welcome to the post-political condition.

Clara: We are all Palestinians?

Gilad: I believe that it was me who coined the popular adage, ‘by now, we are all Palestinians.’ The meaning of this saying is devastating.

Like the Palestinians we aren’t really allowed to dig into the true meaning of our oppression.  The boundaries of pro Palestinian discourse are shaped by Jewish sensitivities. Tragically, this is an adequate description of our Western dissent.  Our opposition is shaped by the sensitivities of our oppressors.

Clara:   So could we say that emancipation has been replaced by victimization? Are identity politics a  powerful movement of people who see the world through the restricted perspective of victims of racist, sexist or some other prejudice or discrimination?  Is its philosophy that ‘The world would be a better place, if everybody saw it the way I do’; ‘If xy changed his attitude, I could fulfill my  potential, I cannot do that because xy doesn’t let me do it’? Then it is always somebody else who is made responsible. No wonder that white males, who until now were symbols of oppression, also want to be recognized as victims. The steps from this thinking to hate and destructive violent behaviour are not that big:

“We shall have our manhood. We shall have it or the earth will be leveled by our attempts to gain it.” That is how Eldrige Cleaver  described the needs of blacks.  The way the MeToomovement brings down male ‘perpetrators’ also seems to be more driven by spite and the wish to humiliate than by the wish to bring wrong-doing to light and peace to women who have been scarred. True ‘souls on ice’!

And because we have to be ‘politically correct’ we are not allowed to criticize  victims so as not to hurt their feelings. But this doesn’t heal the harm. You go on feeding this particular ‘child,’  it will never be satisfied and will grow into a big fat monster crying ‘feed me!’ till the end of time.

But how does Jewish victimization and their huge success in the 20th century connect?

Gilad  It is amazing for me to read your comment  because I examined  ID politics and victimhood using a similar approach in ‘Being in Time’.  On the one hand we are all broken into biologically oriented tribes. We are defined by our skin, gender, mother’s gene, sexual orientation, yet it is only the biologically identified Jews who have a state, hundreds of atomic bombs, squadrons of F-35s and the question is why? Let me shock you. Because Jewish identity involves self- hatred. Early Zionism was the promise to change the Jews, to relieve them of their victimhood. To make them people like all other people. When identitarians learn how to hate themselves, they may start to move forward, they may even find their path back to the universal.

Clara:   Do you mean that self-hatred was the key to Zionism and if Jewishness hadn’t hijacked Zionism, the Jews could have found the path to the universal?
Gilad: Exactly, Zionism was driven by hard core self-loathing. A core principle of  Early Zionists was ‘negation of the Galut (Diaspora)’. This form of self-hatred  fuelled the fantasy of a new Jewish beginning. Zionism was a form of Jewish empowerment, that tried to replace victimhood.

Clara:   ‘… but I laugh, and eat well, and grow strong …’

Gilad: Yes. Instead of blaming the Goyim for anti-Semitic crimes, early Zionists looked into Jewish history and culture and tried to identify what is it in Jewish culture and politics that brings about anti-Semitism. This may explain why Jewish identitarianism has achieved far more than other  identitarian groups. Early Zionism, as far as I am concerned, was an astonishing transition in Jewish history.  Yet, the fact that it failed is even more significant. It might mean that there is no collective remedy to the Jewish question. If Jews want to rescue themselves, they must break out alone into the night, in the dark, with the hope that they may meet the universal at daybreak.  

If they want to burn it, you want to read it …

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Rabbi Warns that Jews May Be Headed for a ‘Cataclysmic Disaster’

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Is Patagonia to Become the New ‘Promised Land’?

By Richard Edmondson

Bible scholars have pointed out that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke appear to have been written with two different audiences in mind. The Gospel of Matthew seems to have been directed at a Jewish audience, while the Gospel of Luke would appear to have been written with a primarily Gentile audience in mind.

One passage in Matthew where we can see the intended audience was Jewish is in the story of Jesus’ birth. Here we encounter a reference to the Old Testament book of Micah–a citation which not only  prophesies the birth of Christ but which clearly  presents the Israelites as divinely chosen. The passage in question is Matthew 2:1-6. The setting is Herod’s court in Jerusalem, where the three wise men from the east have just stopped off in their quest to find the newborn Christ child:

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd[d] my people Israel.’”

The quote in verse 6 containing the words “my people Israel” is a cross reference to Micah 5:2. It’s rather amazing that the gospel writer supplies us with these words in the story of Jesus’ birth…but then later goes on to give us the following passage in the account of his death:

24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” 25 Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

It is almost as if the Jews have gone from being divinely blessed in the early part of the gospel…to divinely cursed in the gospel’s closing chapters.

The reason I make mention of the birth story from Matthew is not solely because we’re in the Christmas season, but for a couple of other reasons as well. One has to do with a commentary published recently by a rabbi by the name of Brant Rosen; the other in regard to some interesting information presented recently by Thierry Meyssan of Voltairenet.org. Let’s take Rosen’s commentary first.

Rabbi Brant Rosen is an advocate of justice for Palestinians as well as the founder of Tzedek Chicago, a “non-Zionist” synagogue in Chicago. He also maintains a blog, Shalom Rav, where he recently published an article entitled “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.” In the article he discusses the intersection of Zionism with Jewish messianism, this in the context of Trump’s recent decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem–and he comments that “Zionism has always been, in its way, a kind of false messiah.”

He also warns that Jews today may be headed for a “cataclysmic disaster,” and he quotes Gershom Scholem, a Jewish scholar of the 20th century who authored a biography of Sabbatai Zevi, a Jewish false messiah who gained a huge following in the 1600s. Scholem’s perspective on the subject, written in 1928, reads in part:

The messianic phraseology of Zionism, especially in its decisive moments, is not the least of those Sabbatian temptations which could bring disaster to the renewal of Judaism.

Rosen then goes on to comment:

I genuinely believe that the disaster Scholem wrote of has already come to pass. This zealous drive for political sovereignty and control over Jerusalem as the “eternal undivided capitol of the Jewish people” is a form of idolatry that has all but highjacked a venerable spiritual tradition. Now I fear a much more cataclysmic disaster is waiting in the wings.

Perhaps Rosen isn’t the only Jew worried about a cataclysmic disaster at this point–and this brings me to Meyssen’s article.

Entitled “What is Israel’s Project in Argentina?“, the piece was posted December 12 at Meyssen’s Voltaire blog. In it the author discusses Jewish billionaire Joe Lewis of Britain, who has purchased vast amounts of land in the region of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in southern Argentina. Meyssen notes that the properties Lewis has acquired “cover areas several times larger than the State of Israel”; that hundreds of thousands of houses have been built upon them, as well as a private airport capable of handling military aircraft; and that 8,000-10,000 Israeli soldiers journey there every year for “holiday camps.”

A  few other interesting points Meyssen makes are:

  • Google Earth has neutralized satellite photographs of the region just as it does with NATO military installations
  • Israel has now secured a submarine base in the area courtesy of neighboring Chile, while “tunnels have been dug in order to survive the polar winter”
  • George Soros is now believed by some inhabitants of the region to be financing a secessionist movement, presumably to “liberate” Patagonia from Argentina

Meyssen comments that it is “impossible for the moment to determine if Israel is engaged in a programme for the exploitation of Antarctica, or if it is building a rear base in case of defeat in Palestine.” Of course if nuclear war breaks out between the US and Russia, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego would probably be among the less severely impacted parts of the planet–so that might be a factor in the thinking as well. I don’t know.

In any event, I suggest people read Meyssen’s article in its entirety, because there’s a lot of interesting information in it that I haven’t covered here. As for Rosen’s article, while I look somewhat askance at a comment he supplies about “Christian supremacy,” I do note that the remark is made in regard to Christian Zionist pastor John Hagee, and while I confess I find Rosen’s characterization of Judaism as a “venerable spiritual tradition” a tad puzzling, I’ll go out on a limb and guess that he has passages like Exodus 23:9 (“you shall not oppress a stranger…” etc.) more so in mind than the exhortations to blood and genocide. I’m guessing he does not include Talmudic supremacy as part of that “venerable spiritual tradition.” And I’m also guessing he would take strong exception to comments of such as Rabbi Saadya Grama:

Jewish success in the world is completely contingent upon the failure of other peoples. Jews experience good fortune only when gentiles experience catastrophe…The difference between Jews and gentiles is not historical or cultural, but rather genetic and unalterable.

But the fact is that numerous other rabbis, despite this ‘venerable’ spiritual tradition, hold views similar to Grama’s. Whether theirs is a theological ideology or a political ideology, it is an ideology nonetheless that has brought “catastrophe” upon Syrians for the past seven years–and upon Palestinians for the past seventy years.

It may at some point bring catastrophe upon others as well, including Americans. Given the unemployment rate and the totally unprecedented degree of wealth disparity we’re seeing, some might say it already has.

If Jews who subscribe to Talmudic precepts should continue in their endeavors at foisting these catastrophes, the result is going to be a “cataclysmic disaster” upon Jews themselves–if that is the point Rosen is trying to make, then I agree with him and I think his prediction is correct.

What I would say to Jews in general is that moving to Patagonia is not going to save you. Unless you change your ways, you’re going to be hated and resented there just as you are presently hated and resented in Palestine, and just as you have been hated and resented most everywhere else you have settled and lived for the past two millennia, going all the way back to the riots of Alexandria in 38 A.D.–or even earlier.

The only way to break this cycle is by learning to act with kindness, to treat others with love and compassion–which of course were the precise teachings of your messiah–that is to say your true messiah–Jesus.

Doing this would not only save you, it potentially would save humanity as a whole, for the entire planet is teetering on the edge of the abyss right now.

Watch This: The Holocaust in the eyes of Israeli TV’s Satire, The Jews are Coming

 

This is a segment taken from the genius Israeli TV’s satire The Jews are Coming. As you can see, the Israelis are having a lot of fun with the holocaust. They are pretty creative and often humorous when it comes to Jewish history and suffering. But what about the rest of humanity, can others also apply some sarcasm to Jewish past?

If they call you an ‘Antisemite’…

Must watch: Theodor Herzl and the anti-semitic side of Zionism:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vlJscu9LRM

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