Posts Tagged “anti-semitism”

Storm clouds gather over the scene outside the Jewish Community Center, 5801 W. 115th Street in Leawood, Ks, following a shooting on Sunday, April 13, 2014. / John Sleezer, the Kansas City StarBy now most of my readers will have heard about the shootings in Overland Park, KS yesterday. Given this happened on the eve of Passover, that Jewish locations had been targeted, and even though KCTV in Kansas City reported the suspect had yelled “Heil Hitler!” while in a police cruiser, officials were at first reluctant to admit this was a hate crime. As of this morning, and as the Kansas City Star reports, they finally made that concession (WebCite cached article):

A 73-year-old southwest Missouri man with a long history of anti-Semitism is suspected of killing two people outside Overland Park’s Jewish Community Center and then a third at a nearby Jewish assisted living facility.

After officers arrested Frazier Glenn Cross — an Aurora, Mo., man better known as F. Glenn Miller — Sunday afternoon, authorities said he went on a rant inside the patrol car. Though Overland Park Police Chief John Douglass wouldn’t say what Cross hollered, a television crew captured him on video while he was handcuffed in the back of the car.

“Heil Hitler,” Miller yelled out, and then he bobbed his head up and down.

The hateful creature who’s accused of these shootings is fairly infamous for his ardent white supremacy. He even has his own Wikipedia page, which mentions, among other things, his brief war against the United States government in the late ’80s. He also goes by a number of names … F. Glenn Miller, Fraiser Glenn Cross, and just Glenn Miller. The Southern Poverty Law Center has been keeping tabs on him, too, and not just because he’s just the sort of nasty hateful prick they keep track of … he’d actually conspired to assassinate Morris Dees, head of the SPLC.

If you want to see what Miller really thinks, you can check out his World Wide Web page. He bares all his freakish, irrational, conspiratorial rage there. (Note, that link is to a WebCite cached version of his page; I will not dignify this monster by linking his site directly in my own.)

As I noted in another post a couple weeks ago, it’s impossible to separate white supremacy as it exists in the U.S. from Christianity. It’s a direct product of the Southern Baptist sect in the post-Civil War south. At its core are a lot of legends derived from Christian tradition. Anti-Semitism has its origins in the history of Christianity, the result of Christians being offended that Jews insolently refused to accept Jesus as their Messiah.

I note that Miller obviously wasn’t too smart about his anti-Semitic shooting spree; none of the people he killed were actually Jewish. So he’s not only a monstrous, hateful creature, he’s a pathetic, moronic loser too.

P.S. CNN’s Belief blog attempts to absolve Christianity of any blame for Miller’s supposed murders by announcing he’s not a Christian, but rather, an Odinist (cached). The article then suggests he’d become an atheist. Either or both of those may be true, but whether they are or not is beside the point. The cold fact is, there would be no anti-Semitism in the occidental world … among Odinists, atheists, or anyone else … if not for Christianity’s centuries-long history of persecution of Jews. Moreover, Miller’s Odinism (whether he still espouses it or not) is a direct product of Nazi party propaganda, with the Nazis themselves having been inspired largely by their Christianity, not by whatever neo-pagan trappings they attempted to wrap themselves in.

So, nice try, CNN, but no dice. I’m not stupid enough to fall for it.

Photo credit: John Sleezer / Kansas City Star.

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1543 On the Jews and Their Lies by Martin LutherThere’s a sinister stream of anti-Semitism lurking within Christianity. Through their history, Christians have inflicted their rage and fury on the Jewish people quite readily. In classical times, during the Middle Ages, and right into modern times, Christians have condemned, harassed, persecuted, and even killed Jews, because they hold that nation responsible for their Jesus’ crucifixion.

Even now, in light of the horror of the Holocaust, there remains within Christendom a simmering undertone of animosity toward Jews. The reason for this is both simple and obvious: Jesus himself was a Jew, whose original ministry was among Jews, and whom Christians believe was the Jews’ foretold Messiah; but Jews have refused to accept this premise, and dare continue being insolent enough to reject their Jesus. Quite simply, Christians can’t handle the idea that Jesus’ own people don’t view him the same way they do.

This sentiment has been present within Christianity since its opening decades. For instance, the evangelist Matthew wrote (emphasis mine):

When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified. (Mt 27:24-26)

Now, most Christians these days may not wish to admit this undercurrent lies deep within their faith. It’s true that not every Christian is an anti-Semite; I don’t think that at all. Many of them recognize this horrific history, and now reject it. But there remains a kind of reasoning, based on scriptural precedents such as the above, that occasionally rears its head within Christianity.

The most recent example of this, as reported by the Boston Globe, came in an article posted on the Web site of a Harvard student journal (WebCite cached article):

A Christian journal run by Harvard College undergraduates published an essay on its blog by an anonymous Jewish convert to Christianity who said that Jews killed Jesus and therefore deserve God’s wrath.

Noting the suffering Jews have experienced throughout history, including the Holocaust, the author wrote, “We, the Jews, collectively rejected God and hung Him up on a cross to die, and thus we deserved the punishments that were heaped on our heads over the last 2000 years.”

The essay, titled “Why Us?”, was published online Wednesday by the Harvard Ichthus — a student group recognized by the university — and promoted on the journal’s Twitter account. It was removed Friday afternoon with a note indicating it was “under editorial review.”

After some half-hearted partial explanations for how such an article could have been posted on Ichthus’s site, its editor-in-chief finally offered a non-apology apology for it (cached):

“The piece is not online because we believe that the piece is not conducive to the goals of the Ichthus,” Gyde wrote in the apology. “This particular piece has led to increasing misunderstanding and disinformation about the author’s views, the Ichthus, and Christianity. We do acknowledge that many of the claims of Christianity are offensive to those who do not believe it, but we think that much of the offense that has resulted from this article is not the offense of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And for that we apologize.”

This sounds convoluted … and it is. My best paraphrase: “We know non-Christians are offended by Christianity. We’re sorry our message is offensive in spite of the fact that we don’t intend it to be offensive even if we know it is offensive.”

So long as Christians continue revering scripture, and so long as that scripture contains passages like Mt 27:24-26 (not to mention others such as 1 Th 2:13-16 and Heb 10:28-3), this same kind of hateful thinking is going to keep coming up. What can Christians do about this? I’m not sure. Beyond rethinking their veneration of scripture, there wouldn’t seem to be much they can do to prevent it from ever being a problem again.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Signorelli-Antichrist and the devilAt times I’ve mentioned the phenomenon of Christian Zionism, a philosophy held by a lot of evangelical Christians. These people militantly support the state of Israel, but not out of any love for that country, its people, or Jews generally. Rather, they’re agitating for the Battle of Armageddon, which they believe will usher in Jesus’ return and the End of the World. Evangelicals encourage Israel’s belligerence; the idea is to instigate an attack by “the kings from the east” as described in Revelation:

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east. And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”) And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon. (Revelation 16:12-16)

My position has always been that, while Christian Zionists profess respect for Jews and their place in God’s cosmic plan, the truth is that they’re actually anti-Semitic. But evidence for this can be hard to come by, and disappointingly so.

Recently, however, a prominent Christian Zionist exposed the anti-Semitism that lurks deep inside that philosophy. As Right Wing Watch reports, Pastor John Hagee let the cat out of the bag (WebCite cached article):

Trinity Broadcasting Network hosted a Praise The Lord prophecy special this month, featuring a number of speakers including televangelist John Hagee. The right-wing pastor explained that during the End Times, the Jewish people will not accept Jesus as the Messiah until he returns “because they have just — three-and-a-half years or seven-years before — made a deal with the Antichrist, who is the false messiah, and they are extremely skeptical of that.”

Here’s video of Hagee saying this, courtesy of RWW, via Youtube:

Hagee’s claim that Jews will collaborate with the Antichrist is offensive, revealing the villainy to which he thinks Jews will be willing to stoop. He’s saying Jews are going to betray humanity to the Antichrist. If that’s not distasteful, I don’t know what is!

Hagee goes on to say that Jews will only be convinced that Jesus is the Messiah once he returns and they’ve seen “the riven side.” I find his stated reasoning for this interesting; he claims the original Greek of Romans 11 states that Jews have been “judicially blinded” to the identity of the Messiah. He doesn’t say it, but the specific verse he’s referring to is Rom 11:7:

What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened …

In Greek, this is:

τι ουν επιζητει ισραηλ τουτο ουκ επετυχεν η δε εκλογη επετυχεν οι δε λοιποι επωρωθησαν

The verb in question is the final word in that verse, a form of the Greek verb πωροω (póroó), which doesn’t mean “judicially blinded” at all: Hagee just made that up. It actually means “to be made stubborn” or “to be made unfeeling.” Semantically, this isn’t too far off from what Hagee is saying, however, his claim is rather specific, and as such, clearly false; as someone who presents himself as an expert in Biblical languages, he has no excuse for this. He thus betrays his ignorance of Greek and his lack of expertise.

The RWW article adds Hagee’s claim September 11, 2001 attacks were an act of divine judgement against the U.S. because it had fallen away from him. This is pretty much the same sentiment as had been expressed by the late Jerry Falwell and his friend Marion “Pat” Robertson, just a few days after the attacks. Yeah, folks, this is the Religion of Love in action.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Crying… you end up facing a situation that very well might cost millions of lives, and for no discernible, rational reason. The trifecta of Israel, Iran and the Right within the United States is rapidly reaching this point. It would have been hilariously funny, if not for the fact that it might lead to a latter-day holocaust.

First, we have Iran, which is led by a furiously religionistic cast-eyed freak known as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who can’t seem to get over the fact that a Jewish state exists, several hundred miles from his own borders. As the New York Times reports, he’s come to the Big Apple this week to spew yet more of his juvenile anti-Semitic rants (WebCite cached article):

Defying a warning by the United Nations secretary general against inflammatory remarks, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said Monday that Israelis had no historical roots in the Middle East and that the existence of Israel was just a passing phase in the region’s long history. …

At the breakfast meeting, he said that the Israelis had been around the region for only 60 or 70 years, in contrast to the Iranians, whose civilization has existed for thousands of years.

“They have no roots there in history,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said of the Israelis, according to Reuters.

This is, of course, a lie. DNA studies have shown that modern Jews do, in fact, have Middle Eastern roots. I’m sure Iran’s cast-eyed freak — and pretty much every other anti-Semite on the planet — would dismiss these DNA studies as products of the pervasive and evil “Jewish cabal” that controls the planet … but paranoiac thinking like that is par for the course, for this childish crew, so one can hardly expect otherwise.

So this is hardly the first time he’s unleashed this kind of tantrum and it certainly won’t he the last. However, this little childish antic has been compounded by another episode of juvenile religionism, and that is, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s desire to nuke Iran because it appears they may have a slim chance of someday creating a workable nuclear weapon, as NPR reports (cached):

During a joint press conference in Jerusalem with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Netanyahu expressed his frustration with how world powers are handling Iran and its nuclear program.

“The world tells Israel ‘wait, there’s still time’. And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” Netanyahu said.

It doesn’t matter to Bibi, I guess, that Iran’s nuclear program is, in a word, delicate … so delicate that cyberattacks like Stuxnet and Flame have been able to derail it. Oh no. The fact that Iran’s cast-eyed freak has been rattling his saber for the last few years, is all Bibi needs to tell him that his country is only 10 seconds away from nuclear extinction at Iran’s hands. That Bibi is motivated to nuke Iran, by militant religionists within his own country, is something he’d never admit to … even though it’s true.

Now, added to all of this tension — which all by itself is sufficient to ignite a war that no rational person should wish be fought — we have a third party intruding on it, scrapping for a fight at all costs. That would be America’s Right, which is absolutely enraged that President Barack Obama insolently chose not to meet with Bibi, presumably in order to get his blessing for Israel’s nuking of Iran (cached). (Memo to the Religious Right: No, Obama does not have to meet with Bibi just ’cause Bibi asked to meet with him. The leader of the free world gets to choose who he meets with, and when. He is at no one’s beck and call … not even the Israeli Prime Minister’s.)

Because of the R.R.’s sanctimonious outrage over this, Mitt Romney, GOP presidential candidate and current commander-in-chief of the Religious Right’s political arm, is also aching to start a war in the Middle East, as CNN reports (cached):

“Tonight on 60 Minutes, President Obama called Israel’s legitimate concern about the impact of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons ‘noise’ and referred to Israel as merely ‘one of our closest allies in the region,’” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

Saul continued in the statement: “This is just the latest evidence of his chronic disregard for the security of our closest ally in the Middle East. Governor Romney’s views stand in sharp contrast to the President’s. Governor Romney strongly believes that Israel is our most important ally in the Middle East and that support for Israel is essential to extending freedom, peace and democracy throughout the region. As president, Governor Romney will restore and protect the close alliance between our nation and the state of Israel.”

It’s not true that a war between Israel and Iran could ever be in the best interest of the U.S., and there’s no valid reason Americans should ever want one, so long as there are alternatives available (cached). But in order to appeal to the evangelical Christians here … who’ve been itching to ignite Armageddon and usher in the return of their precious Jesus … Romney is forced to agitate for a war he knows would be bad for the U.S.

What a fucking joke this all is. And it’s all useless and pointless. It’s only come about because of the militant religionism that comes from the Abrahamic faiths. There’s no rational reason for any of this tension.

Isn’t it time for the world’s leaders to just fucking grow the hell up already and get over their militant religionism? I’ve had enough of your goddamn infantile tantrums, fercryinoutloud.

Photo credit: Clover_1, via Flickr.

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Gov. Sarah PalinAngry that she was accused of having somehow contributed to the recent Tucson shooting, former Alaska governor and Republican (and Religious Right) starlet Sarah “Reload” Palin has gone on the attack. Rather than merely disavow any participation in the incident, she childishly and impetuously made a rather startling claim. As reported by Mediate, she released a video accusing her critics of having forged a “blood libel” against her and the rest of the vehement Right (WebCite cached article):

Every word Palin says in this video will most likely be analyzed for days. Palin treats this address with the seriousness of an actual leader and appears to do her best to unite all Americans together, no matter their political beliefs, in a recognition of “America’s Enduring Strength.” The one group left out of the celebration is Palin’s persistent nemesis, the mainstream media, as she says:

But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.

What is perhaps more reprehensible than what any of her critics have said, is that she fired the “blood libel” bomb at them. You see, this term has a very singular meaning. It refers clearly and specifically to an anti-Semitic legend-motif in which Jews ritually murder Christian children as part of their profane rites. “Blood libel” stories historically were used as cudgels against Jews at various times. In other words, she’s setting herself and the rest of the Right as victims of a propaganda tool that Christians used to justify their hatred of Jews.

Real nice, there, Sarah. How marvelous of you, in the midst of your persecution complex, to appropriate the term “blood libel” to serve your own purposes.

Her gross misuse of this term hasn’t gone unnoticed, e.g. by Howard Kurtz of the Daily Beast [cached], The Caucus at the New York Times [cached], CNN’s Political Ticker [cached], & The Note by ABC News [cached], and I expect it will haunt her for the next several days. Then, she will likely make quips about “the lamestream media” criticizing her for having used this phrase and claim righteous indignation that they now dare now vilifying poor little her, for her response to having already been vilified by them. In other words, even in the face of her own immaturity, she will continue to refuse to accept that she may have done anything wrong.

(No rigid ideologue ever admits fault — for anything — at any time. Each childish tantrum is fully justified; any criticism of any childish tantrum is never accepted as having any validity; and merely results in yet another childish tantrum. Immaturity is the engine of all ideology.)

As an aside, the question of Loughner’s motivations likely will never be satisfactorily answered, although the media and pundits on every side will likely continue acting as though they know what it is, definitively, and will pontificate on it forever. But I don’t see anyone asking the most salient question, which is, why such a disruptive and disturbed individual as Jared Lee Loughner — who had several run-ins with law enforcement over the last few years, and was thrown out of classes and a school — was never assessed for mental illness and put into treatment. Everyone around him (including his family) simply veered around him, avoiding him, pawning him off on the next person, and hoped never to run into him again. Once they were free of him, they were all happy. And that was it. Well, this collective decision resulted in several deaths, a lot more wounded people, and Loughner will never see the light of day again. How did this benefit anyone, including Loughner himself? He’d have been much better served if someone, along the way, had gotten him some psychiatric treatment.

Update: True to form, ideological Rightists are reflexively declaring Palin faultless. Many are pointing to Alan Dershowitz’s declaration that there is nothing wrong with her having used the phrase “blood libel” against her critics. Big Government offers his remarks [cached]. The problem here is, even if others have misused the phrase “blood libel” in the past, this does not constitute logical permission for Palin to misuse it, now. Not only that, Dershowitz has no authority — even in spite of him being a famous Jewish lawyer — to grant Palin a dispensation on this score. In fact, no one has such authority; her misuse of “blood libel” is semantically and contextually incorrect, and no one in the universe can change that. Unfortunately the Right can’t help itself … they’re pathologically incapable of admitting Palin was wrong.

Photo credit: PBS NewsHour.

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His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim (Mentzelopoulos) of PiraeusI blogged several times on the Catholic bishop Richard Williamson, who was readmitted to the Roman Catholic world some time ago without anyone in the Vatican realizing that he was an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. Or perhaps they knew, but just didn’t care, because they were eager to get all of the formerly-schismatic Society of St Pius X back. At any rate, anti-Semitism among Christians is hardly just a Catholic problem. Recently a Greek Orthodox bishop made his anti-Semitism public, during a television interview. The New York Times Lede blog reports on his remarks (WebCite cached article):

Leaders of Greece’s small Jewish community objected on Wednesday to televised remarks by a Greek Orthodox bishop who blamed the country’s financial problems on a conspiracy of Jewish bankers and claimed that the Holocaust was orchestrated by Zionists.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece complained to church authorities about the anti-Semitic remarks made by the Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus during an interview on Greek television on Monday, according to a statement (in Greek) on the group’s Web site.*

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported [cached] that the bishop “said that there is a conspiracy to enslave Greece and Christian Orthodoxy. He also accused international Zionism of trying to destroy the family unit by promoting one-parent families and same-sex marriages.”

According to the news agency, when the bishop was then asked, “Why do you disagree with Hitler’s policies? If they are doing all this, wasn’t he right in burning them?” he replied: “Adolf Hitler was an instrument of world Zionism and was financed from the renowned Rothschild family with the sole purpose of convincing the Jews to leave the shores of Europe and go to Israel to establish the new Empire.” He added that Jewish bankers like “Rockefeller, Rothschild and Soros control the international banking system that controls globalization.”

Video of the Metropolitan’s interview is available (in Greek) from the Mega TV Web site.

The idea that Hitler was himself a Jew, is not really unique to the Metropolitan Seraphim. Others have said something close to it, before … and I assume they will again. I’m not sure how much sense it makes, though; if one is contriving to grant a boon to a group of people, massacring them by the million is hardly the way to accomplish that.

Of course, the Metropolitan Seraphim has since “apologized” for his comments, and tried to “clarify” them, as the Lede blog subsequently reported (cached):

A Greek Orthodox bishop who was criticized by Jewish groups, the Greek government and some coreligionists for blaming Greece’s financial problems on a conspiracy of Jewish bankers and claiming that the Holocaust was orchestrated by Zionists issued a statement on Thursday in which he denied that he was anti-Semitic but also equated Zionism to “Satanism.”

His non-apology apology is basically a protest that he loves the Jewish people, it’s just Zionism specifically that he objects to. This too is a variant on an old dodge that anti-Semites frequently use. In the Metropolitan’s case, though, it fails … because many of his initial complaints were about “Jews,” and “Jewish bankers,” not about “Zionists.” His claim that Zionism is Satanism is, likewise, his own variation on a common theme among Christian anti-Semites; they consider it a profane and anti-Christian movement, an attempt to control or subvert Christianity. (It was the aforementioned Bishop Williamson who revealed the reason why so many Christians are anti-Semitic, as I blogged some time ago.)

The only thing missing from Seraphim’s otherwise-typical non-apology apology is the claim that some of his best friends are Jewish. (If that had been included, I would not for one moment believe it to be true.)

At any rate, the idea that Jews are somehow the tools of Satan, working with him against Christians and God’s righteous Church, is a complaint that goes back almost to the very beginning of Christianity. That it persists even now, in light of the horrors of World War II and the Third Reich — not to mention their willing accomplices in territories they occupied — shows how very hard it will be for Christianity to purge itself of the poison of anti-Semitism that runs in its metaphorical veins. Some Christians have disavowed the Metropolitan and his anti-Semitic comments, to be sure, but I’ll be interested in what his defenders may say, and how they say it. My guess is that they will adopt the same sort of tactic he did … i.e. to say that he was misunderstood, or “taken out of context,” or that it’s just Zionism he dislikes and not Jews as a whole, etc.

Photo credit: Orthodoxwiki.

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Nazis, I hate these guysThe fiercely Christian-theocratic, extreme-right-wing Texas GOP is revealing its anti-Semitism, over the matter of who is to be the Speaker of that state’s House of Representatives. Fox News — of all outfits — reports on this not-very-surprising revelation (WebCite cached article):

The race to lead the Texas House of Representatives has taken a religious turn, with some conservatives in the state suggesting that the speaker of the House, who is a Jewish Republican, should be replaced by a “Christian conservative.”

The state’s GOP insists this is not due to Straus’s religion, but his supposed ideological impurity:

Over the past month, in a spate of e-mails and political pitches, conservative opponents of incumbent Speaker Joe Straus have said they want him replaced not because of his Jewish religion, but because of his betrayal of Republican principles.

This, however, is a lie … because the emails in question reveal that it IS, in fact, Straus’s religion which is the sticking point, and which the Texas GOP finds offensive:

“We elected a house with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it,” [State Republican Executive Committee official John] Cook said in the Nov. 30 e-mail, first published by the Texas Observer.

These people can sugar-coat this all they want, but the truth is they’re anti-Semitic. That’s just the way it is.

Hat tip: Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums.

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