Did the Jews Kill Jesus?





Mr. Goldenberg is Professor of History and Judaic Studies at the State University of New York in Stony Brook.

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At worst, the idea that"the Jews" killed Jesus is outrageous, the product of hate-filled minds eager to spread incredible lies about the targets of their hate.  At best, the notion is completely illogical, the equivalent of proposing that"the Republicans," or"the Texans," destroyed the Enron Corporation.  No one would even consider thinking along such lines; the fact that Enron was brought down by a handful of Republicans from Texas would never lead to such a broad, untenable charge.  Why, then, is it still necessary to write essays like this one?  Why is it still necessary to offer sober responses to a repulsive accusation?

The long-term answer is that the Christian Scriptures themselves go out of their way to make the question necessary.  According to one of the four Gospels (only one of the four makes this claim), it was a Jewish mob who insisted that Jesus die and who defiantly took responsibility for his death, not only upon themselves but upon their descendants as well.  The short-term answer is that a new film, Mel Gibson's depiction of Jesus' last hours, has been reported to take this self-condemnation of an entire nation as historical fact; this puts the ancient allegation back on the agenda, and thus demands that people ask themselves whether the idea makes any sense at all.

As is well known, opportunities to see this film have largely been restricted to those who could be expected to praise it.  In the absence of any reliable information, rumors concerning the actual content of the film and the reaction to that content by diverse religious leaders have been in wide circulation.  The present writer has not seen the film (has had no opportunity to see it) and knows nothing of the Pope's real opinion about it, and will therefore say nothing more about either of those topics.  Instead, let us return our attention to the basic questions.  What can it mean to blame an entire modern nation for an event that took place two thousand years ago?  What can it mean to assert that a mob has inflicted a curse on unborn generations?  Can any serious historical meaning be attached to either of those ideas?

Perhaps it will be useful to distinguish among several possible understandings of the original question:

  • Was it Jews who with their own hands nailed Jesus to the cross and thus caused his death?  No one claims this, not even the Gospel narrators.  Executions were carried out by detachments of the Roman army.  The conquerors were not about to grant power of life and death to the oppressed native population of an occupied territory.
  • Was there a vast conspiracy by the whole Jewish nation to induce the Romans to do away with him?  This is closer to the Gospel narrative, though it is hard to reconcile with earlier depictions of Jesus being ecstatically welcomed by Jewish crowds in town after town.  What would have brought about such a wild reversal in Jewish popular opinion?  In any event more Jews lived outside Judaea than within its borders; most Jews in the world never heard of Jesus until years later, when apostles bearing a new religious message started traveling around the world.
  • Did a few Jewish leaders, worried in general about the excitement that Jesus could arouse, and worried more concretely about Roman uneasiness when confronted with commotion in the streets of Jerusalem, quietly inform the Roman authorities that they would have no objection if this cause of disorder and turbulence were removed?  This is entirely plausible, both as history and as interpretation of the Gospel narratives, though a far cry from mobs cursing their own grandchildren.  This is more like those Texas Republicans indifferently bankrupting their own company without regard to the loss thereby inflicted on thousands of other people.  Some such quiet collusion is very possibly close to the truth.

Then why do the Gospels convey a different, more disturbing picture?  These books were written at a time when the Christian religion was making its first tentative efforts to attract followers among the peoples of the Roman Empire.  Initial attempts to convince the Jews themselves that their long-awaited redeemer had come were not going well.  As already noted many Jews had never heard of Jesus at all, and it appears that many others were unconvinced that this man, ignominiously put to death by an oppressive empire, could be the one they sought. If he were, why were idolaters still ruling the Holy Land?  Why were wolves still eating lambs?  

If Jesus' own people were not interested in the new gospel, perhaps the time had come to carry the message to others.  However, you could not very easily offer the Gospel to the people of Rome and at the same time blame them for the scandalous death which that Gospel proclaimed: people are not attracted by a story in which they are the chief villains.  The result was a natural tendency to tell the story in such a way that blame fell mostly on those who had already demonstrated their resistance to the Christian message, namely the Jews themselves.  We need not think of fabrication here, or of malice (though both may have been involved), simply the sincere efforts of religious missionaries to tell their story in such a way that the intended audience would be most attracted to it; we all tell stories all the time, and we all shape our stories for similar reasons.

And why has the accusation survived so tenaciously?  One reason, of course, is simply that the Christian Scriptures are its source; those who read the four Gospel narratives as simple truth, those who do not stop to compare them in detail or read them in historical context, will find the fateful passage right there on the sacred page.  Another reason, however, can be found in the equally tenacious survival of Judaism, that is, of the Jews themselves.  From the perspective of believing Christians, anyone who rejected Jesus was thereby rejecting God: rejection by those who should have been most accepting was the most bitter rejection of all.  Why, as more and more Gentiles came to Jesus, were his own people still holding back?  Was there not something eerie about the stubborn persistence of"Old Testament" Judaism when its own fulfillment and replacement was now available?  Perhaps it was true: perhaps those who had brought about the death of Jesus were now too blind, too proud, too guilt-ridden to hear the message of his continued life.  Perhaps an ancient, self-inflicted curse had blinded Israel to its own redemption.

To put the matter less poetically, if the story of the eternal self-damnation of Israel has any historical meaning at all it is this: such a story explains why the Jewish people remained outside the Church when all the rest of humanity (that is, the Roman Empire) had come within.  After the first generation it was no longer a matter of accepting Jesus as a teacher or a leader, the question now was whether to enter the religious community that spoke in his name.  Some Gentiles had joined willingly, some under compulsion, only"the Jews" had not joined at all (many individuals, of course, did become Christian in every generation, but the Jewish people and their religious heritage had not disappeared).  This was mysterious, and it was also galling; in Christians it induced a fascination with and a resentment of"the old Israel" that never went away.  Resentment is troublesome enough, but hatred can be its near cousin and is always ready to reawaken; that is why the appearance of a new movie can cause such deep anxiety.  That is why a question which should never be asked must nevertheless receive an answer.

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Steve Rapp - 11/14/2009

"One features eyewitness testimony about the crucifixion from the wood used to make the cross. Unless one considers talking lumber a reliable historical source, I think we can safely dismiss the validity of those documents. " Well of course we can dismiss that --loquacious lumber indeed-- such a thing is no more possible than a "virgin" birth, strolling on water, parting the red sea, converting water to wine, arising from the dead, etc., etc. But you find all of these so called "gospels" believable and accept them as historical fact? Once an author (or authors as is often suggested by non-theological historians) introduces such fables and fancies, his or her credibility AS A HISTORIAN is negated
not just suspect, it is


Steve Rapp - 11/14/2009

It is so interesting to read a debate grounded only slightly in history, with so little reference to archaeology, and spiced with pre-existing, unexamined, unsupportable superstitious beliefs. Physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics--these reveal truth and expound the miraculous. There is no giant invisible magician; no more than there is a wood sprite or a Zeus. Such fictions appeal to the uneducated, the superstitious and those who seek simple answers. The progress of humanity is held hostage to religion. I graduated from an academically prestigious school. I do not have an advanced degree in history. However, I well recall the requirements to cite original sources, sources as free as possible from bias, written by a contemporaneous author, who provides eye witness accounts, etc. A debate reliant to such a great extent upon documents intended for moral instruction and brand marketing to promote one (of many different) religion, does not belong on a website devoted to academically grounded historical discussion. Most recent scholars agree that while the old and new testaments provide helpful context, they provide slight historical accuracy.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/1/2004

Derek,
I had not realized this. Thank you for the correction.


Derek Charles Catsam - 3/1/2004

Adam --
Actually, one suicide bombing has come from the Gaza Strip, the Mike's Place bombers in April 2003 came across in the car of an unwitting journalist. This is not to refute your larger point about the effectiveness of the Gaza wall/fence, with which I agree, but simply to make a point of fact.
dc


David C Battle - 3/1/2004

The IDF, like the U.S., is going after the money that torrists use to finance their bloodthirsty operations. Go IDF.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/29/2004

"Moshe has used equally provoactive language and you have not touched him."

I am offended at the implication. The only accusation I have ever made to someone was calling them an anti-Semite, which I believe was justified and which I defended and stand by. You, as well as others, on the other hand, not only condemn an entire country, but also anyone who supports that country, using terminology that is so inflammatory as to render it void of any intelligent meaning. It is these insulting, anti-Semitic diatribes, and not intellectual debate, that HNN does its best to remove, as is its right.

As for the bank raid, I disagree with it and think it was not only counterproductive, but unnecessary and cruel. While I am more than happy to condemn the action, your ridiculous hyperbole ("Israeli Gestapo Robs Banks in Palestine"? Get real) make any legitimate discussion impossible, as has been the problem with anti-Israel posters on this site.

By the way:
An Israeli court, being the only court with authority over the security barrier, has ordered construction halted over a section over humanitarian concerns. This action, as well as literally millions of other facts, fly in the face of your Nazi Germany analogies.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3520115.stm


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/29/2004

"Efforts to censor and destroy Mr Gibson have not succeeded despite his artistic desire to render a version of the passion of Jesus that he sees as consistent with the gospels."

I can only assume your past post was in reference to some in the Jewish community that is concerned with the film. As with other issues, your information is as bias as it is inaccurate. I know of no one who has tried to "censor and destroy" Mr. Gibson or the film. However, as we live in a free country, people have as much right to voice their objections to the movie as Gibson does to make it.


Andrew D. Todd - 2/29/2004

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Carl Roesler - 2/29/2004

Ok censor this. Israeli IDF which I believe should not be labeled Defence forces because of its aggressive actions in Palestine has raided and stolen money from banks. This is outrageous censorship if you remove this. Moshe has used equally provoactive language and you have not touched him. What I said was accurate linked with two sources and should have remained.

Here is one of them that your readers are entitled to see .

http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2575143


Carl Roesler - 2/29/2004

I am pleased to share with you the appropriate reception Mel Gibson got on the Jay Leno show. Efforts to censor and destroy Mr Gibson have not succeeded despite his artistic desire to render a version of the passion of Jesus that he sees as consistent with the gospels.

Friday, Feb. 27, 2004 12:52 a.m. EST
Gibson Receives Standing Ovation on Leno

Mel Gibson appeared on Jay Leno’s "Tonight Show" – and was greeted by the live audience with a prolonged standing ovation.

Gibson’s appearance on the top-rated late-night program came on the heels of new box office results showing that his new film, "The Passion of the Christ," may be one of the biggest hits of all time.

But box office success hasn’t stopped controversy from swirling around the religious epic.

"Some people thought it was a bad idea," Gibson told Leno about his desire to do the movie on Jesus’ death. The actor said anytime one touches upon politics or religion, that person runs the risk of touching a nerve.

"I didn’t expect to hit a main artery," Gibson said to chuckles from the audience.

Gibson said his film first germinated over a dozen years ago. He said he was unfazed about Hollywood’s criticism of his work.

He said that he discovered in Tinseltown that "you can get a shiv between the shoulder blades and it’s done with a smile."

Still, Gibson said he was shocked by the "pre-judgment and condemnation" that began over a year ago – before anyone had even seen the film.

He told America’s favorite comedian that he was surprised by the attacks against him, including the charge that he was anti-Semitic.

"It’s wrong, it’s unconscionable," he said.

Leno questioned Gibson about the film’s violence.

Gibson readily admitted the film is violent and deserved the R rating it received. But he added that the violence was not "gratuitous" and, in his opinion, drew a different reaction from audiences than from those who, for example, watch horror films.

Gibson said the film’s message is one of tolerance. He told Leno he chose actor James Caviezel to play Jesus because he projected both a childish innocence and masculinity – consistent with the biblical Jesus.

Gibson’s decision to produce "The Passion" may have earned him at least one fan in Hollywood.

"Thanks for the courage of your convictions," Leno told Gibson as he concluded his interview.

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/2/27/05527.shtml
this is the link to what I copied above.


Carl Roesler - 2/29/2004

Comment Removed


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/29/2004

Wow, so not only are most Jews and Israelis racist, so are the vast majority of Americans, and almost ALL of the major candidates for President! Even that racist Sharpton calls for a balanced approach (how can anyone negotiate in any way with a genocide state?) What a racist!

I am sad to see Kucinich as factually ignorant as yourself by calling it a wall. In point of fact (not that fact has ever gott4en into the way of blind hatred) only a tiny fraction of the barrier (less than 3% or about 15 miles) is actually a concrete wall, and that is being built in specific locations where it will prevent Palestinian snipers from shooting at cars as they have done for the last three years along the Trans-Israel Highway, one of the country's main roads.

Another thing to dismiss as racism: A security fence already exists around the Gaza Strip and, to date, not one suicide bomber from that area has infiltrated Israel, while approximately 250 came from the West Bank in the last 33 months. Approximately 75 percent of the suicide bombers who attacked targets inside Israel came from across the border where the first phase of the fence was built.

Don't you just love this logic: "It is a wall because it is being built on another people's land." Ahhh, and what is the definition of a chair or a table, anything that is in someone else's house?


Carl Roesler - 2/29/2004

I watched the "debate" on CBS this Sunday morning. and both Senators Kerry and Edwards were asked by Dan Rather whether the concentration camp was a wall or a fence. Great question as if it is one or the other.

Both senators said it was only a "fence" and that it was justified until Israel had a "partner" in peace.i.e. the Palestinians surrendered, eschewed any military options as they are being annihilated by the Israel terrorists.

The Reverand Al Sharpton gave a somewhat more ethical answer when he said the US should pursue a more balanced policy in the region.

Only Congressman Dennis Kucinich had the courage to say. It is a wall because it is being built on another people's land. It would be a more bening "fence" were it constructed in Israel. I can see the great Kucinich had read Chomsky's piece in the NYT.

This is why we are headed to ruination. No major party candidate can denounce Israeli terrorism. This is due to fear, racism and perception that Israeli interests and US interests are indivisable. They are not. We are loathed and hated throughout much of the Muslim world for what is perceived as a bigotted monstrous blind support of Israel.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/27/2004

You make some excellent points, Mr. Dresner.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/27/2004

The BBC, clearly no friend to Israel, had these things to report on the man:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3243071.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3469577.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3479937.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/middle_east/2001/israel_and_the_palestinians/issues/1627755.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3487781.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3252353.stm

You may hate Sharon and think him evil, but surely, if you really care about the Palestinians, you cannot honestly think Arafat is really better for them? The Palestinians can get a state with Sharon the PM of Israel... they simly will NEVER under Arafat.


Jonathan Dresner - 2/27/2004

"The secular mind, full of itself, refuses to consider that Scripture is valid."

Valid for what? You assume that a critical reader is "secular" when in fact he or she may well be a fully functional member of another faith. You assume that the purpose of "Scripture" is historical testimony, or at least that a source of great moral or theological validity (as you see it) must therefore have great historical validity.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

And Pascal's wager is only worth taking if it is a simple binary: faith/non-faith. If you have to pick the RIGHT faith to win the bet, then your odds are substantially worse.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/27/2004

"Sharon compares unfavorably to Arafat."

I disagree.

1) "A racist, a war criminal, a repulsively arrogant and despicable figure,"

Thus far, I do not agree with your characterization but assuming for the moment that I did, Arafat is all of these things as well.

2) "the devourer of children and women at Sabra and Chatila,"

It has been well documented that this is a myth and in fact, it was the Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia that was responsible for the massacres. Fortunately for them, bias against Israel has absolved them of all wrongdoing, since it fits with deeply held prejudices to simply blame Israel.

Israel had allowed the Phalange to enter the camps as part of a plan to transfer authority to the Lebanese, and accepted responsibility for that decision. The Kahan Commission of Inquiry, formed by the Israeli government in response to public outrage and grief, found that Israel was INDIRECTLY responsible for not anticipating the possibility of Phalangist violence. Israel instituted the panel's recommendations, including the dismissal of Defense Minister Ariel Sharon (of course, this is often forgotten as well).

Ironically, while 300,000 Israelis demonstrated in Israel to protest the killings, little or no reaction occurred in the Arab world at the time. Outside the Middle East, a major international outcry against Israel erupted over the massacres.

By contrast, few voices were raised in May 1985, when Muslim militiamen attacked the Shatila and Burj-el Barajneh Palestinian refugee camps. According to UN officials, 635 were killed and 2,500 wounded. During a two-year battle between the Syrian-backed Shiite Amal militia and the PLO, more than 2,000 people, including many civilians, were reportedly killed. No outcry was directed at the PLO or the Syrians and their allies over the slaughter. International reaction was also muted in October 1990 when Syrian forces overran Christian-controlled areas of Lebanon. In the eight-hour clash, 700 Christians were killed — the worst single battle of Lebanon's Civil War. These killings came on top of an estimated 95,000 deaths that had occurred during the civil war in Lebanon from 1975-1982.

3) "the cause of the Intifada when he "visited" the Temple Mount."

Again, a myth that has been widely debunked. In fact, the violence started before Sharon's September 28, 2000, visit.
Imad Faluji, the PA Communications Minister, admitted months after Sharon's visit that the violence had been planned in July, far in advance of Sharon's "provocation."
According to him: "It [the uprising] had been planned since Chairman Arafat’s return from Camp David, when he turned the tables on the former U.S. president and rejected the American conditions." This has been well documented by the Mitchel Report.

So what happened? The Internal Security Minister permitted Sharon to go to the Temple Mount only after calling Palestinian security chief Jabril Rajoub and receiving his assurance that if Sharon did not enter the mosques, no problems would arise. The need to protect Sharon arose when Rajoub later said that the Palestinian police would do nothing to prevent violence during the visit.

Sharon did not attempt to enter any mosques and his 34 minute visit to the Temple Mount was conducted during normal hours when the area is open to tourists.
There were limited disturbances during Sharon's visit, mostly involving stone throwing. During the remainder of the day, outbreaks of stone throwing continued on the Temple Mount and in the vicinity, leaving 28 Israeli policemen injured, three of whom were hospitalized. There are no accounts of Palestinian injuries on that day. Significant and orchestrated violence was initiated by Palestinians the following day following Friday prayers.

Although, as I said, this myth has been refuted by American officials and a sheer timeline of events, for the sake of argument, let us say that you are right. To suggest that a visit to the Temple Mount by an Israeli would "lead" to the mass slaughter of innocent men, women, and children is an absurdity wrapped in the worst form of racism. There was a time in America where a black man would do something wrong, and then whites would begin killing blacks indiscriminately. We tend to think of those things as wrong, and yet it is somehow okay for Palestinians to begin murdering Israelis because Sharon went to a Mosque (without even entering)? How perverse.

4) "The coward uses the hyperpower's weapons against a defenseless people."

Actually, you are right on this point. My disdain for Sharon is based primarily for this so you won’t get any argument from me. However, remember we are comparing men here, and to me, knowingly funding terrorists who will murder innocent men, women, and children, is far worse than using excess military strength against military targets (i.e. terrorists), in which many countries could similarly be accused.

5) "And you are a defender of this animal and his Likud cronies?"

Sometimes (although politically, I would align myself with Labor were I Israeli), but I would sooner defend Sharon with my life rather than let a murdering despot like Arafat off the hook. At least Sharon cares about the future of his own people. That is far more than you or anyone else could ever say about Arafat, who cares far more about Arafat.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/26/2004

Sharon compares unfavorably to Arafat. A racist, a war criminal, a repulsively arrogant and despicable figure, the devourer of children and women at Sabra and Chatila, the cause of the Intifada when he "visited" the Temple Mount. The coward uses the hyperpower's weapons against a defenseless people. And you are a defender of this animal and his Likud cronies?


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/26/2004

Brandt,
I must say that is the most thoughtful and intelligent post I have yet read from your position. Perhaps there is room for reconciliation and understanding of our respective positions yet!

That being said, I have just a few general comments about your post.

1) "Israel and the jews have generally construed themselves as exceptional; therefore they should be held, if not to a perfect standard, a higher standard than the Americans during Vietnam or the Germans in the late war."

I would dispute the claim that either Israel or Jews consider themselves to be exceptional in any way (other than the same ethnocentric belief structure that guides all nationalistic enterprises). In any event, my concern is not that Israel should immune from the laws of the world, but that Israel should be held to the same standards as other countries, be they Turkey, or Russia, or China, or Libya, etc.

It reminds me of a Supreme Court case (the name presently escapes me) in which the Court ruled that if a law applied to everyone equally on paper, but only blacks are repeatedly convicted for it while whites rarely if ever are, the law is racist and unconstitutional. That is how I perceive much of the rhetoric towards Israel. It is not that it is all wrong (although I believe some of it is, and we have already gone over what I think is simply wrong). It is that criticism directed only to Israel and no one else is suspect in my eyes. Make no mistake, Israel is guilty of some terrible things and those things need to be expose, debated and confronted, as it is the task of numerous groups within Israel (http://www.btselem.org/) as well as within the general Jewish community (http://www.tikkun.org/).

2) "I am not opposed to the existence of the Jews or their rights to their religion and ideological viewpoints. The issue is justice and freedom for the suffering Palestinian people."

I too want justice and freedom for the Palestinian people, and believe that can only happen with a viable Palestinian state, which can only happen with a new leader. Let us be honest, my friend, Arafat is a corrupt and defective leader that is stealing from his own people, and whose political existence depends on continuing the conflict. Forbes magazine estimates the man is worth over $300 million and I have read elsewhere it could be as high as $700 million. Now say what you will about Sharon, but in the end, he can be voted out as easily as Barak was, and I suspect will be as soon as Israelis believe they no longer need his hard line policies.

Arafat’s tight control of power led to legitimate peacemakers such as Abu Mazen to resign rather than be dictated to by Arafat. He is a problem and whenever peace is at hand, his people realize this. If nations really wanted to help the Palestinians, they would not continue to give Arfat credibility.

http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2003/0317/049.html
http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2003/0317/134.html


Brandt Driscoll - 2/26/2004

I agree with some of your points. I do not believe that the accuracy of criticizing Israeli is conditioned on Israel being no worse than egregious perpetrators. Israel and the jews have generally construed themselves as exceptional; therefore they should be held, if not to a perfect standard, a higher standard than the Americans during Vietnam or the Germans in the late war.

I am not opposed to the existence of the Jews or their rights to their religion and ideological viewpoints. The issue is justice and freedom for the suffering Palestinian people.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/26/2004

Pascal made the same wager, but both you and he make an assumption and that assumption is that the skeptic can choose to believe something or not to believe something rather than it being a product of reflective understanding.


William Livingston - 2/26/2004

Chis, my friend,

The reason I make a lot of typos is that I peck rapidly because the sum of my typing takes a long time, I pecking with but finger. Any number of times I've tiresomely pecked out commentary only to discover I'd been kicked offline by my ISP & it was wasted effort & I may bwe too pooped out to redo the work. One consequence is I fret less about spelling than some other folks. Mind, this is no complaint about having been clobbered in 'Nam, the cause of my being limited to one-finger typing. No, it is my strong belief that I survived being badly hit in that last-for-me firefight out in the Au Shau Valley, Republic of Viet-Nam primarily to a special grace granted by our Lord. Perhaps, of course only perhaps, one reason He chose to permit me to live was because not once during two tours in 'Nam frequently, very frequently, mixing it up with the V.C. &/or N.V.A. did I ever consider doing harm to a non-combatant. If you think my reluctance to consider harming a non-combatant was usual for the G.I. in "Nam , you are correct. But then, only five to nine percent of us, depending on who does the counting, were ever actually closely engaged with the enemy--and close combat sometimes gets one riled up ready to blow away anthing that moves.


William Livingston - 2/26/2004

It is a mite amusing that there are those who insistr on revisiting the authenticity & validity of Holy Scripture, the most throughly examined literature in history. The secular mind, full of itself, refuses to consider that Scripture is valid. Perhaps one of these days, when the secular type kicks the bucket he may discover he was in error. Or he may not. Either way, I like my odds better than his, I betting that He exists and is interested in us, each & every one, "The numbers of the hairs on your head are numbered."

At least I have a shot at life after death, if He is as fogiving as we are told that He is. If I'm mistaken, what does it cost me? Nada. If the secular mind is mistaken, what may it cost him? Perhaps an awful lot, no? And perhaps not, eh? Still, I'd druther take a gamble that offers me some opportunity to win, rather taking a bet in which I lose no matter what, especially taking my bet costs me nothing.


William Livingston - 2/26/2004

Mr. Vought,

Correct again.

I didn't intend to take you to task for referring to the Gopspels as historical records, which indeed they certainly are. All I was attempting to point out was contrary to what some Fundamentalist types apparently believe, the Gospels were not written as precise chronological records. Nor were they handed down from the writers in the King's English. By saying that I do not intend to belittle the faith of those insist upon the earth's beginning in 4004 B.C., nonetheless such folks would benefit in taking a history course or two in addition to reading the "Bible."

That said, I a Christian do believe the miracles said to have been performed by Christ Jesus were indeed that, miracles. By the samre token I do believe that the Holy Eucharist is what it is said to be, the Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity of Christ Jesus under the appearances of bread and wine.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/26/2004

I happen to respect HRW very much, as they are one of the only organizations that condemns both sides for each sides human rights violations. The argument here is a balancing act: Is the Israeli defense barrier the least restrictive means of protecting itself? Many people, countries, and organizations say no, while other say yes. I respect both arguments and, while I happen to disagree with HRW, I am sympathetic to their point and I am also sympathetic to the innocent Palestinians who suffer on a daily basis a result of this conflict.

The various posts that I have submitted do not, contrary to those who would like to put words in my mouth, imply total Israeli innocence, nor does it ignore the rights and concerns of innocent Palestinians. What I take issue with is the belief that Israel is the epitome of evil in the world (as is expressed with heated rhetoric and baseless accusations), with the implicit but unavoidable conclusion that it must be destroyed accompanied with the justification and excusal of terrorism. Note that no credible human rights organization has seriously accused Israel of genocide, Apartheid, ethnic cleaning, Nazi tactics, or whatever else you may choose to use. Brutality? Yes… violation of human rights? Sometimes… but never those words clearly designed to stripe Israel of any legitimacy as a nation.

http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/02/23/isrlpa7583.htm

PS. Bias is in the eye of the beholder. AJ is balanced only if you agree with its biases, just as FoxNews or the New York Times is balanced if you agree with its biases.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/26/2004

Mr. Eberhardt,
My apologies on the misunderstanding.


Mark Eberhardt - 2/26/2004

My reference was merely to B. Driscoll. I did not make that comment with regard to another person. However, I am not passing judgment in that area on another person.

That's all I was trying to do.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/26/2004

Mr. Eberhardt,
While I by no means hold myself to any pedestal, I must confess astonishment at the claim that you are "struck that you [Brandt and Chris] do not engage in personal attacks on those who disagree with you." Clearly, this demonstrates the phenomenal perceptional differences people have depending on whether they agree or disagree with the basic premise an argument.


Carl Roesler - 2/26/2004

I referred to you as "great" last week or so. I acknowledge the harm that was rendered to you by left-wing academics. I feel your pain. I am your supporter and vanguard against mental torture and mental oppression that your endured as an undergraduate.

You are living proof that the academic nihilism of US academia takes no prisoners--all-American students start college, and like yourself end up as anti-American, Marxists who are inundated with diversity etc. Yes, it shows with such clarity in your statements.


Carl Roesler - 2/26/2004

I referred to you as "great" last week or so. I acknowledge the harm that was rendered to you by left-wing academics. I feel your pain. I am your supporter and vanguard against mental torture and mental oppression that your endured as an undergraduate.

You are living proof that the academic nihilism of US academia takes no prisoners--all-American students start college, and like yourself end up as anti-American, Marxists who are inundated with diversity etc. Yes, it shows with such clarity in your statements.


David C Battle - 2/26/2004

and your demented hyperbole.


Carl Roesler - 2/26/2004

I think the fact that more persons are responding to this issue and braving the charges of racialism is testimony to the virtuous position of resisting the Israeli victimisation of the Palestinians.

In world history, rarely has an oppressed people become so oppressive themselves. This battle will not be ceded to those with influence, money, access to the media, and ownership of the means of production. This battle my friends is about basic justice, the liberation of the oppressed and wretched of the Earth. It cannot terminate or end with silence and suppression. The resistance against Israeli brutality and genocide is a battle that calls out for basic justice and humanity.

The past was not learned by Israel. The lesson is not strength, brutality, never again muscular triumphalism but an understanding that no one has a claim to the world's conscience. Certainly not the Jews, not now, not with this. No, they can't expect the world to continuous mourn over their treatment during WW II as justification for this.

I beg Israel: Stop your holocaust.


Mark Eberhardt - 2/26/2004

The same expression of support to you as well and your sharing both personal and outside source material as well. I also am struck that you do not engage in personal attacks on those who disagree with you.


Mark Eberhardt - 2/26/2004

Mr Petit, I appreciate your thorough and informational approach to these issues.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/26/2004

Human Rights Watch is one of the preeminent global organizations dedicated to rights of conscinece and the furtherance of human rights.

I am reprinting this piece from Reuters carried on AlJazeera, one of the few sources where one can get balanced reporting, at least if one lives in the US.
Their website for free thinkers is. http://english.aljazeera.net/HomePage
Again, this report was carried by Reuters.

As Ronald Reagan said to the Soviets, "Take down that wall." As the world says to Israel, "Take down that wall."


International pressure group Human Rights Watch has condemned Israel's West Bank barrier as a "serious violation" of the country's obligations under the Geneva Conventions.

Acting head of the group's Middle East and North Africa division, Joe Stork, said on Monday that that wall was also a blatant attempt to consolidate illegal Jewish settlement in the occupied territories.

By confining more than 100,000 civilians inside enclaves which are regulated by a highly-complex regime of permits, Stork said the barrier "institutionalises a system in which all movement for large numbers of people is sharply curtailed," thereby endangering access to basic services.

"Israel's separation barrier seriously impedes Palestinian access to essentials of civilian life, such as work, education and medical care."

Defensive?

Israel claims its "counter-terror fence" is purely to prevent the infiltration of Palestinian fighters - justifying it by Sunday's bus bombing which killed eight people in Jerusalem.

But various other countries see it as little more than a land-grab and a bid to pre-empt the borders of a future Palestinian state.

Although Stork acknowledged Israel's "right and duty" to protect its citizens from harm, he insisted such a right should not be used in a harmful way.

"Israel has a right and duty to protect its civilians from attack but it must not use means that entail indiscrimate punishment of entire communities."

Land grab

HRW also said the barrier's tortuous route, which often juts deep into Palestinian territory, was a clear attempt to include Jewish settlements "within" Israel.

"The existing and planned route of the barrier appears to be designed chiefly to incorporate, and make contiguous with Israel, illegal civilian settlements."

HRW said the route encroached on some of the West Bank's most fertile, well-fed areas, affecting local access to water, with the aim of "consolidating this illegal enterprise."

Without an "urgent modification" of current plans, the barrier would dramatically increase Palestinian impoverishment by further reducing employment, access to irrigation water, agricultural production, literacy rates, access to education and to maternal and infant health care.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/26/2004

Human Rights Watch is one of the preeminent global organizations dedicated to rights of conscinece and the furtherance of human rights.

I am reprinting this piece from Reuters carried on AlJazeera, one of the few sources where one can get balanced reporting, at least if one lives in the US.
Their website for free thinkers is. http://english.aljazeera.net/HomePage
Again, this report was carried by Reuters.

As Ronald Reagan said to the Soviets, "Take down that wall." As the world says to Israel, "Take down that wall."


International pressure group Human Rights Watch has condemned Israel's West Bank barrier as a "serious violation" of the country's obligations under the Geneva Conventions.

Acting head of the group's Middle East and North Africa division, Joe Stork, said on Monday that that wall was also a blatant attempt to consolidate illegal Jewish settlement in the occupied territories.

By confining more than 100,000 civilians inside enclaves which are regulated by a highly-complex regime of permits, Stork said the barrier "institutionalises a system in which all movement for large numbers of people is sharply curtailed," thereby endangering access to basic services.

"Israel's separation barrier seriously impedes Palestinian access to essentials of civilian life, such as work, education and medical care."

Defensive?

Israel claims its "counter-terror fence" is purely to prevent the infiltration of Palestinian fighters - justifying it by Sunday's bus bombing which killed eight people in Jerusalem.

But various other countries see it as little more than a land-grab and a bid to pre-empt the borders of a future Palestinian state.

Although Stork acknowledged Israel's "right and duty" to protect its citizens from harm, he insisted such a right should not be used in a harmful way.

"Israel has a right and duty to protect its civilians from attack but it must not use means that entail indiscrimate punishment of entire communities."

Land grab

HRW also said the barrier's tortuous route, which often juts deep into Palestinian territory, was a clear attempt to include Jewish settlements "within" Israel.

"The existing and planned route of the barrier appears to be designed chiefly to incorporate, and make contiguous with Israel, illegal civilian settlements."

HRW said the route encroached on some of the West Bank's most fertile, well-fed areas, affecting local access to water, with the aim of "consolidating this illegal enterprise."

Without an "urgent modification" of current plans, the barrier would dramatically increase Palestinian impoverishment by further reducing employment, access to irrigation water, agricultural production, literacy rates, access to education and to maternal and infant health care.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/26/2004

“As you keep asking...where is your proof of that?”

If you are asking for proof of UN anti-Semitism, I believe I will use the one already provided: The General Assembly in 1975 saying that Zionism is racism. Enjoy.

“We are not talking about a few nations here...we are talking the ENTIRE GLOBE!”

Wow, the entire globe! That is bad for me… except that you are wrong. Most country abstain from such votes or vote with Israel and the United States.

“Please get over this anti-Semitism crap regarding the UN”

Certainly… change the makeup of the UN! Problem solved.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/26/2004

1) “The war in Iraq was illegal and I have written several articles on the topic. Our interventionist style since Vietnam is disgraceful, and we support and have supported so many dictators and others who are guilty of war crimes including genocide that it is sickening.”

Yes but clearly you can go on. Why not just call America a Nazi/Apartheid/Genocide state? No where do you say that. If you were to make those critics of Israel, I might respectfully disagree, but you and other are not content to judge this country by any reasonable standards, instead choosing to paint it as the worst regime on the planet which is an absurdity.

2) “I will say again...an ethnic group does not have to be INTENTIONALLY targeted for it to be genocide according to international law. how hard is that to understand?”

It must be nice to make up your own international laws and then apply it to Israel. I admire your simplicity. For me to embrace your warped logic however, would require me to believe that any time a person is killed under any circumstances is the victim of genocide, which means the word means nothing. Thanks but I will stick with my version that says that genocide is the attempted systematic killing of a racial or cultural group (by the way, why do you not use the term to describe Palestinian groups? Their entire goal is to systematically murder a specific ethnic group.)

3) “I do not care if Israel is "not intentionally" targeting civilians or Palestinians...through its actions, which are ILLEGAL under international law”

You love using those nice big words, don’t you? What international law does it violate, please tell me? You show me how Israeli actions actually violate international law, and I will show you legal scholars who believe it does NOT violate international law. Again, it must be nice to make up any international law you want and then apply it only to Israel.

4) “it DOES NOT matter that terror cells are in civilian areas...you must respect civilians...read the Fourth Geneva Convention) they target civilians that are members of an ethnic group...this fits the definition of genocide under the Nuremberg Charter and international law...how hard is that?”

Wow, it is actually very simply and you have just described the actions of the Palestinians. I don’t mean to put words in your mouth but come on? Read the above statement one more time… done? Good. Now you can see that the Palestinians repeatedly and admittedly commit genocide by your definition. I have argued how Israeli actions in civilian areas does not, by itself, violate the law. I am waiting to hear from you why the deliberate slaughter of innocent men, women, and children is NOT genocide. Good luck with that.

5) “Your ignorance on this matter is astounding...the purpose of the Israeli action is irrelevant in the dtermination of the genocide...get it? The 18% are also irrelevant...you dont have to target all of a population...just part of one.”
I see. So by that basic understanding, every country who is at war, or has ever been at war, with another country is engaging in genocide. I think I get it now. Well, I guess that leaves us with a pretty short list of non-genocidal countries than, doesn’t it? After all, what is a war if not the targeting a particular segment of a population.

6) “Your misunderstanding of the word apartheid is astounding as well...it does not mean that one has to have separate bathrooms and such...one just has to treat another ethnicity or group of ethnicities as lesser citizens, which, whether it is intentional or not (again does not matter) is what the Palestinians are treated as...and how the suicide bombers treat the Israelis.”

Wow, did you just make that up, or were you saving it for now? Actually, that is not the definition of Apartheid at all and again, you have just condemned every country where a particular group is less well-off (blacks in the United States are poorer, less education, and more likely to be in jail than whites… you know what that means? That’s right, Apartheid!) I am happy at least you choose to apply that to some Palestinians. BTW: Did you know that Israeli Arabs have full voting rights, are represented in the Knesset, and suffer from no legal discrimination other than the fact that they are not drafted? There you go, you learned something new.

7) “More examples can be provided if your eminence requires them.”

I do. Thank you (if you could also alphabetize them, that would sure help).

8) “a few examples...”

FINALLY, for the first time, someone is actually trying to defend their point with actual evidence! Let’s see what we got.

a) “the refugee hamlets are the same general principle, designed to keep Palestinians from freedom of movement (this is ILLEGAL under the Geneva Conventions)...cause economic degradation...the Israelis utilise the Palestinians for cheap labor… Razor wires or no razor wires...they are similar to the townships.”

Just one problem: The refugees are not only NOT under the jurisdiction of Israel, but in fact hundreds of thousands live in other countries altogether! I assume you are more than willing to call Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria Apartheid/genocide states, right? Their limitations on movement are based on those countries not willing to absurd them, not Israel, who has no control over what refugees do. Let’s hope your next examples at least get the facts right…

b) “the Palestinian leaders asked the refugees to stay in their homes in 1948 and live peaceably with the Israelis...it was the Israeli government that perpetuated the forced moves and "whispered terrorism" to borrow a quote...there are plenty of radio brodcasts of palestinian and israeli leaders from the period to back it up.”

Then by all means, show some examples, I am sure there were some who said exactly that. Here is what the magazine “The Economist,” a frequent critic of the Zionists, reported on October 2, 1948: “Of the 62,000 Arabs who formerly lived in Haifa not more than 5,000 or 6,000 remained. Various factors influenced their decision to seek safety in flight. There is but little doubt that the most potent of the factors were the announcements made over the air by the Higher Arab Executive, urging the Arabs to quit....It was clearly intimated that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades.”

Time's report of the battle for Haifa (May 3, 1948) was similar: "The mass evacuation, prompted partly by fear, partly by orders of Arab leaders, left the Arab quarter of Haifa a ghost city....By withdrawing Arab workers their leaders hoped to paralyze Haifa."

“Since 1948 we have been demanding the return of the refugees to their homes. But we ourselves are the ones who encouraged them to leave. Only a few months separated our call to them to leave and our appeal to the United Nations to resolve on their return.”
-- Haled al Azm, the Syrian Prime Minister in 1948-49, The Memoirs of Haled al Azm, (Beirut, 1973), Part 1, pp. 386-387

Want more examples? Just ask.

9) “it is a disgrace to the historical profession I might add with such bias as you show...i hope you do not actually instruct class in such a manner.”

Certainly not and a careful reading of every post I have ever given demonstrates that I begin every response with respect and consideration, no matter how ludicrous they may be. Once I am insulted with pettiness and derided however, I feel I can drop the respectful part and simply say point blank that you are as wrong as you are ignorant. Read over your posts again and you will clearly see the utter hypocrisy you have demonstrated.

10) “I came to the conclusion I came to because your argument if full of propaganda, manipulation of the historical record, omission of any Israeli atrocities, apologist rhetoric for blatant violations of international law, and religious jargon...as is the Palestinian position. How hard is it to realise that both sides are in the wrong?”

Not hard at all. That the one side practices genocide/Apartheid/ maybe slavery? You might as well convince me that Jews are from outer space. By the way, “full of propaganda, manipulation of the historical record, omission of any Israeli atrocities, apologist rhetoric for blatant violations of international law, and religious jargon” is certainly not a response I would accept from any student without some evidence to back up those charges. Thus far, you have provided none.

11) “Maybe the US should address its oppressive policies and work towards global unity instead of invading countries it does not like and allowing others to commit crimes against humanity. Please kindly remove your foot from you mouth and head from your rear end (hard to do!!) and give me something more than this crap to work with.”

I have absolutely no idea what the heck you are talking about. Was there a point to this rant? You are aware that the attack on Afghanistan was legal, right? You remember that word you like to manipulate, international law? Call what we did in Afghanistan genocide/Apartheid/maybe slavery, and then you will at least be consistent.

12) “The Green line is the established 1967 border...where Israel is entitled to have its wall. this border is also well established in GA Resolutions and international law.”

Ah, what are we going to do with you? In fact, my ignorant friend, the Green Line has never been established, certainly not by the GA, which has no LEGAL binding authority (read the Charter). The SC has issues a few often repeated resolution that mention territories, but like any other piece of legislation, the words and precise meaning is under heavy disagreement among legal scholars.

13) “ILLEGAL under international law...as the ICJ will soon rule...good god man, do you have any legal knowledge whatsoever?”

lol, do you use the words “international law” to make yourself sound smart? In fact, ICJ decisions are also not legally binding under international law (did you get that last part, or do you not know what the world “binding” means?) By the way, the fact that you already know how the ICJ will rule is a pretty good reason to ignore it… imagine if we conducted trials that way in the US?

14) “the fact that the Israeli government knows that it will kill civilians in its indiscriminate strikes into the refugee hamlets and its house demolitions makes its leaders just as culpable as those who "intentionally" target civilians, as you say. Legally, the Israelis do the same thing becasue they have the knowledge that civilians will most likely be killed...which is enough to establish legal culpability. basic law mr. moshe and Mr. Battle...I encourage you to pick up a law text at some point.”

Actually, what Israel does is neither illegal nor immoral. I don’t know what law books you use in your posts, but I would suggest you demand a refund! What you have (AGAIN) done is to say that the murderer and the police officer who kill him are both on the same moral level.

15) Unfortunately for you...I have refuted most of your statements...with legal and historical support...whether you actually listen and learn anything is another story.”

Was that intended as a joke? I don’t get it?

16) “I never have, nor ever will state that israel is an "empire" Mr Battle...that is silly and I would not give you the pleasure.”

You are pretty hard on your fellow Israel-basher, don’t you think?

17) “nor do i really understand your "legal" argument about the resolutions...so? who cares? Maybe the reason why there is no binding resolutions is because once they get to the Security Council they are prompptly vetoed by the US...which you must well know and is probably why you tried to catch me in the point.”

WHOA! Saving this for the end, weren’t you?!? Who cares? Mr. international law means this and that and the law says this and I am a great legal scholar blah blah… and now… who cares??? Amazing!

18) “GA resolutions are the "persuasive" authority and international sentiment that exists. Legally, when there is no black and white...which is impossible because of the US veto...legal scholars use the available material...so the GA Resolutions, though advisory, carry added weight due to the political context of the UN.”

Hahaha, so the law means whatever you like it to mean… I mean, hey why not? GA resolutions are not binding but they could be if I want them to be… legal scholars don’t need the law! All they need is available material! Wow, I wish I just read this section first, I could have saved us both a lot of time.

19) “There have been plenty of resolutions condemning terrorist activities committed by the Palestinian terrorists..gee I'm so sorry that suicide bombings aren't specifically mentioned, are they not covered under terrorism?”

Name one… just ONE and I will admit defeat on the issue… go ahead, they are all on line. Just find me one that specifically condemns Palestinian terrorists.

20) “it is not just a few countries allied against you (ooooooh paranoia) it is the entire UN besides the US...this is called universality.”

Uh… doesn’t universal mean… all?

21) “This is all the time I will waste attempting to show you that you simply do not have a legal leg to stand on when attempting to defend Israeli actions.”

Well, hay, maybe I will just borrow your principle and make on up, why not?

22) “I do not see any Palestinian supporters who are foolishly trying to argue that they are in the right”

Clearly, this is your first time on this web-site. Stick around, you are going to be very surprised.

23) “You should realise that both sides are in the wrong and both should own up to their wrongs.”
Ahhh, something we can agree on! I have never said that Israel is not innocent. I have never said that Israel does not have moral obligations and that Israel has never killed innocent civilians. I never even said that individual Israeli soldiers have never committed war-crimes and atrocities. The difference between you and I (aside from the fact that you make up your arguments) is that I believe there is a moral (and legal) difference between killing civilians as the result of a military target and murdering them AS the target. Law, morality, and all of human history have recognized such a difference. Using words like genocide, Apartheid, etc. is not just inappropriate, it demonstrates total and absolute ignorance and an inability to discuss the matter intelligently. I might as well start the conversation saying that the Palestinians are really animals and can never be helped… then where are we?

PS You have mentioned religion in an accusation to me over 3 times and I have mentioned it zero times… just thought I would point that out.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/26/2004

Isn't is amazing that the United States, the definer of morality in the world, is developing new nuclear weapons and even a crazed Star Wars-lite system in Alaska. Oh, but Iraq, Iran and North Korea can't have them. We threaten and carry out preemption to denuke nations but we can have 6,000 of them. We can ditch the ABM treaty, build new low yield nukes and then pressure Libya to abandon their program too.

Israel, in an act of aggression and imperialism, in 1981 destroyed the Osirak nuclear facility built near Baghdad with French assistance. Both Israel and its patron believe that white Judeo-Christian nations are entitled to have and USE these nuclear systems. Yet deny the right of Muslim and other "axis" nations to possess them.

Nuclear weapons should be abandoned globally and removed before we face a cataclysm. Yet the parallels between the two in terms of nuclear hypocrisy are not only racist but frankly an incentive for nations to get them. We attack Iraq that had none, not North Korea that may have some.


chris l pettit - 2/26/2004

As you keep asking...where is your proof of that? Surely not the number of UN Resolutions that are UNIVERSALLY (except for the US and Israel...the state that is the only one to be judged by the ICJ as having committed crimes against humanity (the Nicaragua case) and to have vetoed the UN resolution condemning it for such crimes (you want to talk aout a failed institution)...and a state that has committed countless war crimes) passed? We are not talking about a few nations here...we are talking the ENTIRE GLOBE! last i knew that included Christians, Jews outside Israel and the US (who are in large numbers in many nations), Buddhists (largest religion), Hindus, Muslims, Secular States. I truly wonder if you are paranoid...are aliens coming to take over?? Please tell me you have other evidence of this?? When the entire globe is stating that Israel should be condemned for war crimes...you are put in the same position as David Koresh arguing that he was being persecuted.

Please get over this anti-Semitism crap regarding the UN...there is no substance to the position and, while agree with you that the UN is fatally flawed and has little credibility, it is because of the veto power of the US and its ability to protect strategic interests, not because Israel is universally condemned for crimes against humanity.


chris l pettit - 2/26/2004

How many innocent Iraqis have been killed by the US? Over 10,000? i am extremely critical of our foreign policies and corrupt politicians, as well as our archac, ineffective,and worthless government. The Constitution is the only good thing we have and our government is rendering that useless as well. The war in Iraq was illegal and I have written several articles on the topic. Our interventionist style since Vietnam is disgraceful, and we support and have supported so many dictators and others who are guilty of war crimes including genocide that it is sickening

I will say again...an ethnic group does not have to be INTENTIONALLY targeted for it to be genocide according to international law. how hard is that to understand? I do not care if Israel is "not intentionally" targeting civilians or Palestinians...through its actions, which are ILLEGAL under international law (house demolitions - illegal ANYTIME- even under the laws of war / indiscriminate attacks - not the purpose or action, but the fact that they kill civilians...it DOES NOT matter that terror cells are in civilian areas...you must respect civilians...read the Fourth Geneva Convention) they target civilians that are members of an ethnic group...this fits the definition of genocide under the Nuremberg Charter and international law...how hard is that? Your ignorance on this matter is astounding...the purpose of the Israeli action is irrelevant in the dtermination of the genocide...get it? The 18% are also irrelevant...you dont have to target all of a population...just part of one. The reason behind these rules is not to stop large scale atrocities...it is to stop atrocities from happening at all.

Your misunderstanding of the word apartheid is astounding as well...it does not mean that one has to have separate bathrooms and such...one just has to treat another ethnicity or group of ethnicities as lesser citizens, which, whether it is intentional or not (again does not matter) is what the Palestinians are treated as...and how the suicide bombers treat the Israelis.

Nelson Mandela has traveled extensively to the Middle East and is intimately knowledgable of the situation there and many of the actors involved. you want Middle Easterners? How about Judge Bola Ajibola of Algeria...former justice on the International Court of Justice? Judge CG Weeramantry? Former Vice President of the ICJ...written extensively on the Middle Eastern history and apartheid. More examples can be provided if your eminence requires them.

I related in our last debate exactly how the South African situation is similar to the Israeli situation. You guys did not get it then and I can't expect you to get it now...but a few examples...

The "townships" - I will use your word since you seem to like being right - the refugee hamlets are the same general principle, designed to keep Palestinians from freedom of movement (this is ILLEGAL under the Geneva Conventions)...cause economic degradation...the Israelis utilise the Palestinians for cheap labor...could be termed slavery with smemantical manuvering...i won't term it that, but just saying. Razor wires or no razor wires...they are similar to the townships. I offered you historical comparisons...go back and look at the post from a couple of weeks ago...the Palestinian leaders asked the refugees to stay in their homes in 1948 and live peaceably with the Israelis...it was the Israeli government that perpetuated the forced moves and "whispered terrorism" to borrow a quote...there are plenty of radio brodcasts of palestinian and israeli leaders from the period to back it up.

It is not just that I disagree with you...i disagree with the pro-Palestinian point of view as well. both are absurd and vile positions, even according to the Jewish faith...and it is a disgrace to the historical profession I might add with such bias as you show...i hope you do not actually instruct class in such a manner. I came to the conclusion I came to because your argument if full of propaganda, manipulation of the historical record, omission of any Israeli atrocities, apologist rhetoric for blatant violations of international law, and religious jargon...as is the Palestinian position. How hard is it to realise that both sides are in the wrong?

The US invaded Saudi Arabia? Really? When did this happen? Since most of the 9/11 bombers were Saudi Arabian. Speaking of terrorists...how are those warlords and the drug trade going? How much control does the PRez have outside of Kabul? Truly...you are not serious on this issue? Again...lets look at the economic and military oppression that the US has employed over the years and how many governments in the Middle East it has a) overthrown, b) inflamed violence against, c) influenced to fight amongst one another, d) funded and allowed to have nukes and oppress another people. Maybe the US should address its oppressive policies and work towards global unity instead of invading countries it does not like and allowing others to commit crimes against humanity. Please kindly remove your foot from you mouth and head from your rear end (hard to do!!) and give me something more than this crap to work with.

To assume Rudy knows anything worthwhile about the Middle East is pretty silly...and I cited a head of state renowned the world over and prominent international jurists...you cite career politicians and bureaucrats? Come on...

The Green line is the established 1967 border...where Israel is entitled to have its wall. this border is also well established in GA Resolutions and international law. If the Israeli government wants to build its big wall there...fine...but building it in territory that is not its sovereign territory... is ILLEGAL under international law...as the ICJ will soon rule...good god man, do you have any legal knowledge whatsoever?

There is something called culpability in any sort of criminal law...your morals may be different than everyone else's so courts and jurists create legal standards to set the uneducated and religiously biased straight. Recklessness, or even gross negligence is enough to establish criminal culpability, which is what we speak of when we talk of the atrocities. the fact that the Israeli government knows that it will kill civilians in its indiscriminate strikes into the refugee hamlets and its house demolitions makes its leaders just as culpable as those who "intentionally" target civilians, as you say. Legally, the Israelis do the same thing becasue they have the knowledge that civilians will most likely be killed...which is enough to establish legal culpability. basic law mr. moshe and Mr. Battle...I encourage you to pick up a law text at some point.

In 1848, when Einstein was offered the Presidency, the Israeli government had not begun its oppressive tactics on such a large scale. And there are many groups that oppose Israeli government actions within Isreal today...good for them...as you say "history and truth" are on many of their sides. Einstein would have abhorred the actions taken by both sides of this conflict...which is a true statement. Einstein...as a true man of brilliance, could appreciate the similarities in situations, something you seem to have no concept of. As you say, he was familiar with Nazis (I have never accused Israel of this...though facism would be appropriate, although a bit ambiguous) apartheid (if you know your history...got started at the same time...also in its infancy so the comaparison was not there to make quite yet) and genocide (takes a few bodies and history to build that up...40 years is certainly enough).

Unfortunately for you...I have refuted most of your statements...with legal and historical support...whether you actually listen and learn anything is another story.

I never have, nor ever will state that israel is an "empire" Mr Battle...that is silly and I would not give you the pleasure.

I do not see every atrocity Israel has committed on the list...nor do i really understand your "legal" argument about the resolutions...so? who cares? Maybe the reason why there is no binding resolutions is because once they get to the Security Council they are prompptly vetoed by the US...which you must well know and is probably why you tried to catch me in the point. This means that the judicial decisions that are available (and binding), INCLUDING DECISIONS FROM ISRAELS OWN COURTS! (gee it was only recently that torture was outlawed by Israeli Courts...it has only been illegal in international law for decades) and the GA resolutions are the "persuasive" authority and international sentiment that exists. Legally, when there is no black and white...which is impossible because of the US veto...legal scholars use the available material...so the GA Resolutions, though advisory, carry added weight due to the political context of the UN. There have been plenty of resolutions condemning terrorist activities committed by the Palestinian terrorists..gee I'm so sorry that suicide bombings aren't specifically mentioned, are they not covered under terrorism?...the killing of peace activists is not specifically mentioned either.

Do I have to return you to the point that you are not allowed to target civilians under international law? It does not matter whether it is intentional or not...therefore, my statement that both sides are guilty of committing the worst crimes against humanity thinkable is correct...whether or not they are "intentional" or not...and whether they are or not is debatable...notice I am giving you the benefit of the doubt.

I can't stand the UN either...I think the fact that is is built on state sovereignty is inane and counterproductive...individuals, NGOs and IGOs should hold greater sway. however, it is the closest thing to an objective body we have, and as I said before...it is not just a few countries allied against you (ooooooh paranoia) it is the entire UN besides the US...this is called universality. if you are insane enough to view a global conspiracy and that we are all out to get Israel...well then you are more foolish than I thought. I urge you to get a grip. if you want to trove through the hundres of refugee law, criminal law, and international law cases to find other condemnations of both parties actions, you are welcome to do so...check the European Court of Human Rights, the ICJ, the refugee law in about 50 different nations

This is all the time I will waste attempting to show you that you simply do not have a legal leg to stand on when attempting to defend Israeli actions. I am not and never will support the actions of the palestinian terrorists and "government" bodies who are led by a war criminal...as is the Israeli government. All of the atrocities are in violation of international law. I do not see any Palestinian supporters who are foolishly trying to argue that they are in the right...hence the fact that I am concentrating on Israeli wrongs...it is the Zionists who seem to be unable to understand that they are part of a global community that has legal rules and standards that must be respected and followed...by both sides. Both sides of the conflict have consistently ignored legal rulings and resolutions, and have committed atrocities. the leaders of both sides must stand trial for their heinous crimes. There must be peace and not through violent means. Israel must remove illegal settlements and must help rebuild the Palestinian economy that they have destroyed...as is their obligation under international law...again the Geneva Conventions...which the US is violating in Iraq currently.

Please realise that I do not fault you for your ignorance regarding international law and understand how morally and religiously you could feel the way you do. however...neither of those positions are objective or rational...which is why international law exists. You should realise that both sides are in the wrong and both should own up to their wrongs. I beg you to stop defending the indefensible and begin to work for peace and understanding, not intolerance and hatred.


chris l pettit - 2/26/2004

How many innocent Iraqis have been killed by the US? Over 10,000? i am extremely critical of our foreign policies and corrupt politicians, as well as our archac, ineffective,and worthless government. The Constitution is the only good thing we have and our government is rendering that useless as well. The war in Iraq was illegal and I have written several articles on the topic. Our interventionist style since Vietnam is disgraceful, and we support and have supported so many dictators and others who are guilty of war crimes including genocide that it is sickening

I will say again...an ethnic group does not have to be INTENTIONALLY targeted for it to be genocide according to international law. how hard is that to understand? I do not care if Israel is "not intentionally" targeting civilians or Palestinians...through its actions, which are ILLEGAL under international law (house demolitions - illegal ANYTIME- even under the laws of war / indiscriminate attacks - not the purpose or action, but the fact that they kill civilians...it DOES NOT matter that terror cells are in civilian areas...you must respect civilians...read the Fourth Geneva Convention) they target civilians that are members of an ethnic group...this fits the definition of genocide under the Nuremberg Charter and international law...how hard is that? Your ignorance on this matter is astounding...the purpose of the Israeli action is irrelevant in the dtermination of the genocide...get it? The 18% are also irrelevant...you dont have to target all of a population...just part of one. The reason behind these rules is not to stop large scale atrocities...it is to stop atrocities from happening at all.

Your misunderstanding of the word apartheid is astounding as well...it does not mean that one has to have separate bathrooms and such...one just has to treat another ethnicity or group of ethnicities as lesser citizens, which, whether it is intentional or not (again does not matter) is what the Palestinians are treated as...and how the suicide bombers treat the Israelis.

Nelson Mandela has traveled extensively to the Middle East and is intimately knowledgable of the situation there and many of the actors involved. you want Middle Easterners? How about Judge Bola Ajibola of Algeria...former justice on the International Court of Justice? Judge CG Weeramantry? Former Vice President of the ICJ...written extensively on the Middle Eastern history and apartheid. More examples can be provided if your eminence requires them.

I related in our last debate exactly how the South African situation is similar to the Israeli situation. You guys did not get it then and I can't expect you to get it now...but a few examples...

The "townships" - I will use your word since you seem to like being right - the refugee hamlets are the same general principle, designed to keep Palestinians from freedom of movement (this is ILLEGAL under the Geneva Conventions)...cause economic degradation...the Israelis utilise the Palestinians for cheap labor...could be termed slavery with smemantical manuvering...i won't term it that, but just saying. Razor wires or no razor wires...they are similar to the townships. I offered you historical comparisons...go back and look at the post from a couple of weeks ago...the Palestinian leaders asked the refugees to stay in their homes in 1948 and live peaceably with the Israelis...it was the Israeli government that perpetuated the forced moves and "whispered terrorism" to borrow a quote...there are plenty of radio brodcasts of palestinian and israeli leaders from the period to back it up.

It is not just that I disagree with you...i disagree with the pro-Palestinian point of view as well. both are absurd and vile positions, even according to the Jewish faith...and it is a disgrace to the historical profession I might add with such bias as you show...i hope you do not actually instruct class in such a manner. I came to the conclusion I came to because your argument if full of propaganda, manipulation of the historical record, omission of any Israeli atrocities, apologist rhetoric for blatant violations of international law, and religious jargon...as is the Palestinian position. How hard is it to realise that both sides are in the wrong?

The US invaded Saudi Arabia? Really? When did this happen? Since most of the 9/11 bombers were Saudi Arabian. Speaking of terrorists...how are those warlords and the drug trade going? How much control does the PRez have outside of Kabul? Truly...you are not serious on this issue? Again...lets look at the economic and military oppression that the US has employed over the years and how many governments in the Middle East it has a) overthrown, b) inflamed violence against, c) influenced to fight amongst one another, d) funded and allowed to have nukes and oppress another people. Maybe the US should address its oppressive policies and work towards global unity instead of invading countries it does not like and allowing others to commit crimes against humanity. Please kindly remove your foot from you mouth and head from your rear end (hard to do!!) and give me something more than this crap to work with.

To assume Rudy knows anything worthwhile about the Middle East is pretty silly...and I cited a head of state renowned the world over and prominent international jurists...you cite career politicians and bureaucrats? Come on...

The Green line is the established 1967 border...where Israel is entitled to have its wall. this border is also well established in GA Resolutions and international law. If the Israeli government wants to build its big wall there...fine...but building it in territory that is not its sovereign territory... is ILLEGAL under international law...as the ICJ will soon rule...good god man, do you have any legal knowledge whatsoever?

There is something called culpability in any sort of criminal law...your morals may be different than everyone else's so courts and jurists create legal standards to set the uneducated and religiously biased straight. Recklessness, or even gross negligence is enough to establish criminal culpability, which is what we speak of when we talk of the atrocities. the fact that the Israeli government knows that it will kill civilians in its indiscriminate strikes into the refugee hamlets and its house demolitions makes its leaders just as culpable as those who "intentionally" target civilians, as you say. Legally, the Israelis do the same thing becasue they have the knowledge that civilians will most likely be killed...which is enough to establish legal culpability. basic law mr. moshe and Mr. Battle...I encourage you to pick up a law text at some point.

In 1848, when Einstein was offered the Presidency, the Israeli government had not begun its oppressive tactics on such a large scale. And there are many groups that oppose Israeli government actions within Isreal today...good for them...as you say "history and truth" are on many of their sides. Einstein would have abhorred the actions taken by both sides of this conflict...which is a true statement. Einstein...as a true man of brilliance, could appreciate the similarities in situations, something you seem to have no concept of. As you say, he was familiar with Nazis (I have never accused Israel of this...though facism would be appropriate, although a bit ambiguous) apartheid (if you know your history...got started at the same time...also in its infancy so the comaparison was not there to make quite yet) and genocide (takes a few bodies and history to build that up...40 years is certainly enough).

Unfortunately for you...I have refuted most of your statements...with legal and historical support...whether you actually listen and learn anything is another story.

I never have, nor ever will state that israel is an "empire" Mr Battle...that is silly and I would not give you the pleasure.

I do not see every atrocity Israel has committed on the list...nor do i really understand your "legal" argument about the resolutions...so? who cares? Maybe the reason why there is no binding resolutions is because once they get to the Security Council they are prompptly vetoed by the US...which you must well know and is probably why you tried to catch me in the point. This means that the judicial decisions that are available (and binding), INCLUDING DECISIONS FROM ISRAELS OWN COURTS! (gee it was only recently that torture was outlawed by Israeli Courts...it has only been illegal in international law for decades) and the GA resolutions are the "persuasive" authority and international sentiment that exists. Legally, when there is no black and white...which is impossible because of the US veto...legal scholars use the available material...so the GA Resolutions, though advisory, carry added weight due to the political context of the UN. There have been plenty of resolutions condemning terrorist activities committed by the Palestinian terrorists..gee I'm so sorry that suicide bombings aren't specifically mentioned, are they not covered under terrorism?...the killing of peace activists is not specifically mentioned either.

Do I have to return you to the point that you are not allowed to target civilians under international law? It does not matter whether it is intentional or not...therefore, my statement that both sides are guilty of committing the worst crimes against humanity thinkable is correct...whether or not they are "intentional" or not...and whether they are or not is debatable...notice I am giving you the benefit of the doubt.

I can't stand the UN either...I think the fact that is is built on state sovereignty is inane and counterproductive...individuals, NGOs and IGOs should hold greater sway. however, it is the closest thing to an objective body we have, and as I said before...it is not just a few countries allied against you (ooooooh paranoia) it is the entire UN besides the US...this is called universality. if you are insane enough to view a global conspiracy and that we are all out to get Israel...well then you are more foolish than I thought. I urge you to get a grip. if you want to trove through the hundres of refugee law, criminal law, and international law cases to find other condemnations of both parties actions, you are welcome to do so...check the European Court of Human Rights, the ICJ, the refugee law in about 50 different nations

This is all the time I will waste attempting to show you that you simply do not have a legal leg to stand on when attempting to defend Israeli actions. I am not and never will support the actions of the palestinian terrorists and "government" bodies who are led by a war criminal...as is the Israeli government. All of the atrocities are in violation of international law. I do not see any Palestinian supporters who are foolishly trying to argue that they are in the right...hence the fact that I am concentrating on Israeli wrongs...it is the Zionists who seem to be unable to understand that they are part of a global community that has legal rules and standards that must be respected and followed...by both sides. Both sides of the conflict have consistently ignored legal rulings and resolutions, and have committed atrocities. the leaders of both sides must stand trial for their heinous crimes. There must be peace and not through violent means. Israel must remove illegal settlements and must help rebuild the Palestinian economy that they have destroyed...as is their obligation under international law...again the Geneva Conventions...which the US is violating in Iraq currently.

Please realise that I do not fault you for your ignorance regarding international law and understand how morally and religiously you could feel the way you do. however...neither of those positions are objective or rational...which is why international law exists. You should realise that both sides are in the wrong and both should own up to their wrongs. I beg you to stop defending the indefensible and begin to work for peace and understanding, not intolerance and hatred.


David C Battle - 2/25/2004

>>>"By the way, the word empire has many different meanings and connotations as does the word slavery...pick your semantical device and proceed with a silly and useless argument."

Funny how Israel has the mightiest army in the region and yet is the smallest of the countries. And yet according to you an "empire."

Do you see how silly you are?

We are well accostomed to the Left's "semantic devices"--take a word with true and time-tested meaning, and twist it to support your "silly and useless arguments."


David C Battle - 2/25/2004

By the way, the word empire has many different meanings and connotations as does the word slavery...pick your semantical device and proceed with a silly and useless argument.

Funny how Israel has the mightiest army in the region and yet is the smallest of the countries. And yet according to you an "empire."

Do you see how silly you are?

We are well accostomed to the Left's "semantic devices"--take a word with true and time-tested meaning, and twist it to support your "silly and useless arguments."


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/25/2004

If ever there was absolute proof in the anti-Semitism and bias nature of the United Nations, surely it is the organizations prostitution to anti-Israel votes.

Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, which holds that Jews, like any other nation, are entitled to a homeland. Zionism does not discriminate against anyone. Israel's open and democratic character, and its scrupulous protection of the religious and political rights of Christians and Muslims, rebut the charge of exclusivity. Moreover, anyone — Jew or non-Jew, Israeli, American, or Saudi, black, white, yellow or purple — can be a Zionist.

Just as the international community once condoned slavery, so to did it once condone anti-Semitism written into the law. It is this reason above all else, that this sadly inefficient and corrupt organization will never have credibility in this world.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/25/2004

The General Assembly in one of the greatest manifestations of international justice in 1975 labeled Zionism as racist. Unfortunately, due to intimidation and frankly egregious pressure, in 1991 the General Assembly reversed itself.

However, I am proud to reproduce this glorious and courageous sentiment of the international community in 1975. I believe it constitutes international sentiment today as seen in the precipitous decline in international support for Israel and its vicious pogroms with wall and conertina wire against the Arab peoples of Palestine. It was right then and it is right now for ethical individuals to assert: Zionism is a threat "to world peace and security and call upon all countries to oppose this racist and imperalist ideology."


THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
RECALLING its resolution 1904 (XVIII) of 20 November 1963, proclaiming the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and in particular its affirmation that "any doctrine of racial differentiation or superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous" and its expression of alarm at "the manifestations of racial discrimination still in evidence in some areas in the world, some of which are imposed by certain Governments by means of legislative, administrative or other measures",

RECALLING ALSO that, in its resolution 3151 G (XXVIII) of 14 December 1953, the General Assembly condemned, inter alia, the unholy alliance between South African racism and Zionism,

TAKING NOTE of the Declaration of Mexico on the Equality of Women and Their Contribution to Development and Peace 1975, proclaimed by the World Conference of the Intenrational Women's Year, held at Mexico City from 19 June to 2 July 1975, which promulgated the principle that "international co-operation and peace require the achievement of national liberation and independence, the elimination of colonialism and neo-colonialism, foreign occupation, Zionism, apartheid and racial discrimination in all its forms, as well as the recognition of the dignity of peoples and their right to self-determination",

TAKING NOTE ALSO of resolution 77 (XII) adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity at its twelfth ordinary session, held at Kampala from 28 July to 1 August 1975, which considered "that the racist regime in occupied Palestine and the racist regime in Zimbabwe and South Africa have a comon imperialist origin, forming a whole and having the same racist structure and being organically linked in their policy aimed at repression of the dignity and integrity of the human being",

TAKING NOTE ALSO of the Political Declaration and Strategy to Strengthen International Peace and Security and to Intensify Solidarity and Mutual Assistance among Non-Aligned Countries, adopted at the Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Non-Aligned Countries held at Lima from 25 to 30 August 1975, which most severely condemned Zionism as a threat to world peace and security and called upon all countries to oppose this racist and imperalist ideology,

DETERMINES that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/25/2004

1) “Zionism emerged in the 19th Century long before the excesses in the Second World War and long before efforts to remove or eliminate European Jewry to the east.”

It is true, Zionism emerged before the Holocaust, but the degree of persecution and discrimination, of pogroms and murders was massive. Within 10 years, from 1890 to 1900, the Jewish population in the United States more than tripled due to expulsion from Russia and violent attacks throughout Eastern Europe. This has been well documented in numerous books, journals, and history web-sites.
http://www.flholocaustmuseum.org/history_wing/antisemitism/19c_antisemitism.cfm
http://www.remember.org/guide/History.root.modern.html

2) “It [Zionism] was predicated on the racist and frankly perverted Biblical notion that the Holy Land, or at least Judaea and Sumaria rightfully belonged to the Jewish people.”

Question: If Jewish nationalism is racist and perverse, what of Arab nationalism, Islamic nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and any other type of nationalism? Was Marcus Garvey or Malcolm X racist and perverted for promoting black nationalism? If not, why not? If so, why not condemn ALL nationalistic movements?

3) “It [Zionism] was ignored or at worst covered up that Zionism could not transpire without egregious transgressions and sufferings to be enacted on the Palestinian peoples.”

You have some evidence of this, of course?
In fact, it was not the intention of early Zionists to inflict ANY suffering on the local population, but to live with them in peace. Arab leaders at that time recognized this. Emir Faisal of Iraq said at the time “The Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement....We will wish the Jews a hearty welcome home....We are working together for a reformed and revised Near East and our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is nationalist and not imperialist. And there is room in Syria for us both. Indeed, I think that neither can be a real success without the other (emphasis added).”
In 1939, Jewish philosopher Martin wrote a letter to Mahatma Gandhi, saying of the Arabs: “We have no desire to dispossess them: we want to live with them. We do not want to dominate them: we want to serve with them.”
In any event, had the Arabs accepted the UN partition plan in 1948, or at least attempted to change the plan through direct petition, there would be a Palestinian state today, and it would have been much larger than anything the Palestinians hope to get.
May 14, 1948, also invited the Palestinians to remain in their homes and become equal citizens in the new state:
“In the midst of wanton aggression, we yet call upon the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve the ways of peace and play their part in the development of the State, on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its bodies and institutions....We extend our hand in peace and neighborliness to all the neighboring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all.”
The Israeli declaration of independence, 1948
I await your proof that early Zionist leaders intended “egregious transgressions and sufferings” to the local population.

4) “The belief of entitlement of a superior technological entity to an area that is populated by a more communal oriented, less technologically advanced culture has severe consequences.”

I agree 100%. The relevance it has to this discussion, I have no idea.

5) “Israel was created at the expense of native peoples. Between 440 and 700,000 perhaps Palestinains were forced off the land so a Jewish nation could be created in its stead. How utterly unfair this was and cruel and remorseless.”

And what of the over a million Jews forced out of their homes in Arab countries? Or the Hindus and Muslims displaced during the formation of Pakistan, or the numerous other examples of refugees created as the result of conflict? In any event, it is moot: there is great disagreement as to how many Arabs left, but there is an almost universal consensus that many of those people left of their own accord, and many even urged out by their own leaders in anticipation of a war. Indeed, this is not disputable, as contemporary newspaper accounts, and documented eye witnesses acknowledge this.

As for those Arabs who were forced out by the Israeli military, I neither defend nor justify it. It was brutal, and wrong, and I am ashamed that Israeli soldiers would stoop to such levels given what their brethren had experienced for centuries in Europe. Where we go from there is where we part ways.

6) “The two histories have similar parallels. Both historians are rife with shame, tragedy and religious and cultural racism.”

Actually, the 2 histories have absolutely nothing substantive in common, certainly not the claims you make.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/25/2004

When the west was won by American settlers,it was ignored by many historians that the west was peopled by aboriginal natives who had lived their for millenia. Consensus historians marginalized the native peoples in their triumphal litany of western caucasian expansionism. Presidents such as Andrew Jackson, who practiced genocide and mass repatriations, were labeled as progenitors of democracy and as great presidents.

Only recently have historians noted that the west was not won but lost in one of the great crusades of all time. Manifest Destiny: a concept of chosenness mixed with a belief in religious and cultural superiority.

Zionism emerged in the 19th Century long before the excesses in the Second World War and long before efforts to remove or eliminate European Jewry to the east. It was predicated on the racist and frankly perverted Biblical notion that the Holy Land, or at least Judaea and Sumaria rightfully belonged to the Jewish people. It was ignored or at worst covered up that Zionism could not transpire without egregious transgressions and sufferings to be enacted on the Palestinian peoples. The belief of entitlement of a superior technological entity to an area that is populated by a more communal oriented, less technologically advanced culture has severe consequences.

Israel was created at the expense of native peoples. Between 400,000 and 700,000 perhaps Palestinains were forced off the land so a Jewish nation could be created in its stead. How utterly unfair this was and cruel and remorseless.

The two histories have similar parallels. Both histories are rife with shame, tragedy and religious and cultural racism.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/25/2004

Only recently have historians noted that the west was not won but last. I meant LOST of course.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/25/2004

When the west was won by American settlers,it was ignored by many historians that the west was peopled by aboriginal natives who had lived their for millenia. Consensus historians marginalized the native peoples in their triumphal litany of western causcasian expansionism. Presidents such as Andrew Jackson, who practiced genocide and mass repatriations, were labelled as progenitors of democracy and as great presidents.

Only recently have historians noted that the west was not won but last in one of the great crusades of all time. Manifest Destiny: a concept of chosenness mixed with a belief in religious and cultural superiority.

Zionism emerged in the 19th Century long before the excesses in the Second World War and long before efforts to remove or eliminate European Jewry to the east. It was predicated on the racist and frankly perverted Biblical notion that the Holy Land, or at least Judaea and Sumaria rightfully belonged to the Jewish people. It was ignored or at worst covered up that Zionism could not transpire without egregious transgressions and sufferings to be enacted on the Palestinian peoples. The belief of entitlement of a superior technological entity to an area that is populated by a more communal oriented, less technologically advanced culture has severe consequences.

Israel was created at the expense of native peoples. Between 440 and 700,000 perhaps Palestinains were forced off the land so a Jewish nation could be created in its stead. How utterly unfair this was and cruel and remorseless.

The two histories have similar parallels. Both historians are rife with shame, tragedy and religious and cultural racism.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/25/2004

Here is an excellent article I thought I would reprint from the HNN about what I think about the UN:

http://hnn.us/articles/684.html


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/25/2004

1) “You provided the rather sophomoric Adams's assessment of the entire populace during the pre-revolutionary tension. Obviously those who did not construe themselves as revolutionaries would not have been critical of the empire.”

If you would like to take this discussion into debate over the Revolutionary war, I would be happy to do so, and then we could go into specific people who supported the war and opposed it, highlighting the various economic differences between the colonies, and the status of costal states to British shipping, or the political interests of agrarian farmers versus mercantile laborers.

Of course, there is no point to any of this. You are simply grasping at straws in a failed attempt to actually challenge my claims on their merit.

2) “Free the Palestinians from the holocaust.”

And free the Israelis from the Spanish Inquisition! Oh wait, they have nothing to do with one another, it seems I just stuck a historic term behind people I support in order to generate sympathy based on a myth. Of course, it should make sense to you, since you did the very same thing.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/25/2004

Hans,
I think you are correct. I find no evidence to suggest that the Gospels were written by different authors than is ascribed to them.

It is far more likely that Homer did not write the Odyssey and that Shakespeare did not write Hamlet (both of which are claimed by some historians) than Mark did not write Mark.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/25/2004

Legal:
1) “The fact is that the Gaza Strip and West Bank are not part of Israel, never have been, and never will be.”

You are absolutely correct and I have never claimed otherwise. I merely took Brandt’s comment about empire to its logical conclusion. In fact, the territories belong to no one in any legal sense. They were a part of Jordan and Egypt, and then both countries surrendered all claims on them after the 1967 war. The Palestinians were given political autonomy by the Israelis (for the first time in world history, I might add) in 1993. Israel even armed their police forces! Israel then offered full independence on 100% of Gaza, 97% of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and reparations for refugees in the form of a $30 billion international fund that would be collected to compensate them. Arafat walked out on the negotiations and continued funding terrorist groups.

2) Israel “have been condemned many times over by the UN and international legal community, and will continue to be. need I remind you how many times the General Assembly has passed resolutions condemning a) all the terrorism in the Middle East and b) the Israeli government's actions.”

Actually, Israel has been condemned for a lot more than that, even its very existence. This is because the UN is inherently an anti-Israel body as is evidenced by the fact that in the United Nation's General Assembly, 429 anti-Israel resolutions were passed from 1967 to 1988. Israel was "condemned" 321 times. Arab nations? Not once. If you would like to argue that the UN is a fair and balanced player in the conflict, I would be more than happy to educate you on the subject.

In any event, I thought you were going to enlighten me with you “objective legal” analysis? You should know that general assembly resolutions do NOT have any force of law, by the UN charter. They are merely advisory in nature and not legally binding on any nation.

http://www.anti-antiwar.com/un.html
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/186drluv.asp

3) “Israeli supporters and the Israeli government hide behind empty semantical rhetoric that no specific Palestinian terrorist activites are mentioned...well we could list every Israeli atrocity and every palestinian one, broken down by sect and terrorist group, or we could condemn all terrorism from the Israeli and Palestinian sides and cover it all.”

Is this a joke? In point of fact, virtually every action Israel takes is condemned by name. To date, there has never been a UN resolution condemning Palestinian suicide murderers. Not one.
Read the list friend, and dare to tell me that this is somehow generic in nature or fair by any definition of the word:
http://www.uscrusade.com/forum/config.pl/noframes/read/1372
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3241884.stm

4) “This discussion serves to illustrate that one man's terrorist is anothers freedom fighter, or protector.”
Actually, it serves to illustrate the Palestinian terrorists are freedom fighters to those who oppose Israel, and everything Israel does is terrorism. How provocative.

5) “Guys...there is no difference under international law...they are all terrorists and all guilty of crimes against humanity, both individually and as state bodies.”

Actually, there are huge differences under international law. Article 51 of the 1977 amendment to the 1949 Geneva Conventions reads as follows:
“The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular attempts to shield military objects from attacks or to shield, favor or impede military operations.” In other words, there mere fact that civilians die does not automatically constitute genocide or war crimes. TARGETING innocent civilians, as Palestinian groups sadistically do, is terrorism by any definition.

Nevertheless, you condemn Israel for everything under the sun with only a single reference to the fact that Palestinian groups gleefully slaughter innocent people.

6) “By the way, the word empire has many different meanings and connotations as does the word slavery...pick your semantical device and proceed with a silly and useless argument. It is the way a state acts, not what it is...and whether or not it respects internationally recognised human rights, not what you call it.”

Actually, the words slavery and empire have meaning, as does Apartheid and genocide. How can you claim that “It is the way a state acts, not what it is...and whether or not it respects internationally recognised human rights, not what you call it” with the full knowledge that the Palestinian goal if the slaughter of innocent people, not by accident or by chance, but by design?!? Amazing.

Final Thoughts:

"If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave any thing in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world…
"Jews shall expect to be once again scattered and wandering around the globe the day when this appendix is extracted from the region and the Muslim world"
-- Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, 12/14/2003, One of Iran’s most influential ruling cleric, Chairman of the Assembly to Discern the Interests of the State, and Iran’s #2 man after Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’I, calling on Muslim states to use nuclear weapons against Israel, assuring them that while such an attack would annihilate Israel, it would cost them “damages only.”
http://www.iran-press-service.com/

“Surat Al-Imran (III), verses 109-111 Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors…

[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement…

They stood behind the French and the Communist Revolutions and behind most of the revolutions we hear about here and there. They also used the money to establish clandestine organizations which are spreading around the world, in order to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests… They also used the money to take over control of the Imperialist states and made them colonize many countries in order to exploit the wealth of those countries and spread their corruption therein. As regards local and world wars, it has come to pass and no one objects, that they stood behind World War I, so as to wipe out the Islamic Caliphate. They collected material gains and took control of many sources of wealth.”

“They obtained the Balfour Declaration and established the League of Nations in order to rule the world by means of that organization. They also stood behind World War II, where they collected immense benefits from trading with war materials and prepared for the establishment of their state. They inspired the establishment of the United Nations and the Security Council to replace the League of Nations, in order to rule the world by their intermediary. There was no war that broke out anywhere without their fingerprints on it.”
-- Charter of Hamas

“Attacks on civilians are not permitted under any internationally recognized standard of law, whether they are committed in the context of a struggle against military occupation or any other context. Not only are they considered murder under general principles of law in every national legal system, they are contrary to fundamental principles of humanity which are reflected in international humanitarian law. In the manner in which they are being committed in Israel and the Occupied Territories, they also amount to crimes against humanity.”
-- Amnesty International, “Without distinction - attacks on civilians by Palestinian armed groups,” July 11, 2002.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/25/2004

Given the length of your post and the lack of substance, I will attempt to answer your statements in 2 posts, to tackle the moral issue and the legal issue, just to give all of them the justice they deserve. Moral first…

1) “Since it seems fairly obvious that you gentlemen are incapable of having an objective dicussion from either side of this debate, let me clear this up through an objective legal manner.”

I am not really sure how you would come to that conclusion other than the fact that you disagree with me. Let us now see if you practice the same kind of objective legal analysis that you preach. Between your petty insults, let us look at some of your actual points, shall we?

2) “The situation in Palestine is similar to that of South Africa.”

In what way? The term Aparthied is applied to Israel with ease and with no explanation. I have, in the past, actually posted the definition of the term and what went in in S. Africa, and no one could reply. Perhaps you could explain why Israel fite that model. While you are at it, I hope you extend the term to everyone else who fits your profile, be they Sudan or the United States.

3) “First, genocide does not have to be intentional...there are rulings on that by the international tribunals in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The Nuremberg Charter states that genocide is the targeting of an ethnic group...whether intentional or not (see Article VI).”

Ok… and…? Once again, you have made a sweeping indictment against Israel with no explanation. Do you have any evidence that Israel is targeting an ethnic group? What about the 18% of Israelis who fit that ethnicity and yet have full voting rights (FYI: Blacks didn’t have that under Apartheid)? You assume that because the Israeli enemy happens to be dark-skinned, all Israeli action must be racially or ethnically motivated, ignoring the fact that numerous Israeli Jews are from African and Arab decent (of course, if Israel is an Apartheid state, once should expect them to all have different public accommodations- they don’t).

4) “Second...it seems as many individuals have made the same comparisons I did, including some very prominent international jurists who are former jusitces on the ICJ and other international tribunals, as well as former South Africans such as Nelson Mandela. I know you are a much more distinguished scholar than I, but assuming that you are more knowledgable than they are is pretty arrogant.”

As much as I respect and admire Mr. Mendela, there is nothing in his background that would indicate he has intimate knowledge of the Middle Eastern conflict or the military decisions that have to be made. He also condemned the United States several times on similar grounds. His opinion is to be recognized and respected, but not automatically taken as fact. I could also provide a list of respected and intelligent scholars who have studied the situation and come to the opposite conclusion, such as Elie Wiesel, Rudolph Giuliani, and numerous former and current officials in the State department. I must say, assuming you are more knowledgeable than they is pretty arrogant. So there we are.
5) “If Israel wants to build a huge fence at the Green Line to "protect" its citizens, that is its right. But it is funny how oppressors never concentrate on correcting their own oppressive behavior to defeat terror, they simply oppress on a greater scale.”

Once again, no explanation, no “objective legal” analysis, only a blanket statement with no evidence. What should Israel do? When the United States was attacked by terrorists, we went to the government harboring them and invaded it, resulting the in death of civilians. Today, we will not leave until the terrorist threat has been eradicated from that country (at least, to the point where it threatens us). Are we practicing Apartheid/Genocide/Nazi practices or whatever other grossly overused term you care to apply? If not, why not? If so, why is only Israel targeted for condemnation?

6) “Both sides in this conflict are guilty of the worst kind of war crimes imaginable and should be held responsible for them.”

As has the United States, so I await your condemnation of this country on equal terms. The difference between the United States/Israel and the Palestinians, of course, is that it is not official policy to target innocent men, women, and children and when civilians do die, it is the result of a legitimate military target. When Israeli civilians die, they WERE the target. You may see no moral difference, making every country that kills civilians all the same (which is everyone that has ever engaged in serious warfare), but I do.

7) “i wonder if the Zionists among us would call Albert Einstein an anti-Semitic if he were still alive today, as from his writings in "The World as I See It" he would clearly abhor the steps taken by the Israeli government today.”

Your straw man tactics are unsuccessful and I would urge you to actually look up all of the organizations within Israel that oppose Israeli policy. The difference, of course, is that Einstein would not have compared Israel to Nazis, Apartheid, genocide, or whatever else, as he was actually familiar with what those terms meant. Similarly, when he was offered the Presidency of Israel in 1948, he did not advocate its immediate destruction. I can also see with some accuracy that he would not justify terrorism murder.

8) “It is people such as yourselves that allow this violence to simply perpetuate itself by making one sided arguments filled with misconception and hate.”

How utterly hypocritical. Thus far, you have failed to refute anything I have said. You merely engage in heated rhetoric, blame me for arrogance and incompetence, accuse Israel of some of the worst practices in human history, and then accuse me of “misconception and hate.”

9) “The Israeli government is oppressive and subjects the palestinian people to atrocities of the worst kind, and has since the inception of the state of Israel.”

Yes? Is that all? Go on…
10) “You are correct in stating that the Palestinians have subjected the Israeli people to atricities as well.”

I commend you for such a big step, even if it only one sentence. It is nice to see that you consider the targeted slaughter of innocent men, women, and children, be they elderly at pray, or infants in the cradle “atricities as well.”


Hans Vought - 2/25/2004

The apocryphal "gospels" such as the "Gospel of Thomas" (definitely NOT written by the apostle) and the Oxyrhynchus papyri are generally considered to be far less reliable, at best, than the canonical Gospels. They are mostly collections of sayings, many of which are close to the ones recorded in the canonical Gospels (others are quite different), and lack a narrative thread. One features eyewitness testimony about the crucifixion from the wood used to make the cross. Unless one considers talking lumber a reliable historical source, I think we can safely dismiss the validity of those documents.

There is no valid reason, other than the a priori assumption that the Bible is false, to dispute the authorship of the Gospels. The testimony of the early church leaders is quite clear - indeed, that's why the four Gospels were included in the canon of the New Testament. If we doubt that Matthew wrote the gospel attributed to him, we might as well doubt the authorship of every other classical era document. There is less evidence behind many of them than there is behind the New Testament books.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/25/2004

You are heroic and your open letter to Mr Battle brought tears to my eyes. I was also extremely impressed that Mr Battle in his communication with me urged you not to do so. It is not hypocrisy, it is merely a cri de coeur.

Please note I referred to American Revolutionaries that did not construe themselves as property. You provided the rather sophomoric Adams's assessment of the entire populace during the pre-revolutionary tension. Obviously those who did not construe themselves as revolutionaries would not have been critical of the empire.

Free the Palestinians from the holocaust.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/25/2004

You are heroic and your open letter to Mr Battle brought tears to my eyes. I was also extremely impressed that Mr Battle in his communication with me urged you not to do so. It is not hypocrisy, it is merely a cri de coeur.

Please note I referred to American Revolutionaries that did not construe themselves as property. You provided the rather sophomoric Adams's assessment of the entire populace during the pre-revolutionary tension. Obviously those who did not construe themselves as revolutionaries would not have been critical of the empire.

Free the Palestinians from the holocaust.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/25/2004

You are heroic and your open letter to Mr Battle brought tears to my eyes. I was also extremely impressed that Mr Battle in his communication with me urged you not to do so. It is not hypocrisy, it is merely a cri de coeur.

Please note I referred to American Revolutionaries that did not construe themselves as property. You provided the rather sophomoric Adams's assessment of the entire populace during the pre-revolutionary tension. Obviously those who did not construe themselves as revolutionaries would not have been critical of the empire.

Free the Palestinians from the holocaust.


chris l pettit - 2/25/2004

yes...I misspelled atrocities...pardon me for typing too quickly...as if it prevented you from knowing what I meant or took away from the general meaning of the remarks

and I (gasp) posted it wrong the first time...oh no!


chris l pettit - 2/25/2004

yes...I misspelled atrocities...pardon me for typing too quickly...as if it prevented you from knowing what I meant or took away from the general meaning of the remarks


chris l pettit - 2/25/2004

Since it seems fairly obvious that you gentlemen are incapable of having an objective dicussion from either side of this debate, let me clear this up through an objective legal manner.

This seems to date back to the other week, let me refresh your memory. The situation in Palestine is similar to that of South Africa. Mr Battle...you and the other Zionists got several points incorrect in that discussion that relate your lack of knowledge of a)international affairs relating to the UN and the rest of the world outside the US and Israeli governments and b) international legal precedent and documents. First, genocide does not have to be intentional...there are rulings on that by the international tribunals in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The Nuremberg Charter states that genocide is the targeting of an ethnic group...whether intentional or not (see Article VI). I point to the Nuremberg Charter because it plays a role in this discussion of how the oppressed become the oppressors. If anything, you should respect a legal document that came out of a period that holds significant importance for the Jewish culture.

Second...it seems as many individuals have made the same comparisons I did, including some very prominent international jurists who are former jusitces on the ICJ and other international tribunals, as well as former South Africans such as Nelson Mandela. I know you are a much more distinguished scholar than I, but assuming that you are more knowledgable than they are is pretty arrogant. Noam Chomsky also posted a great editorial in the NY Times this weekend that makes the point about the apartheid wall (fence) whatever, rather eloquently.

Sirs, i urge you to actually do some historical analysis and get a bit of knowledge of international law before you go all nuts over a subject that, although you seem to have strong opinions about, you obviously have very little practical knowledge of.

If Israel wants to build a huge fence at the Green Line to "protect" its citizens, that is its right. But it is funny how oppressors never concentrate on correcting their own oppressive behavior to defeat terror, they simply oppress on a greater scale.

Both sides in this conflict are guilty of the worst kind of war crimes imaginable and should be held responsible for them. i wonder if the Zionists among us would call Albert Einstein an anti-Semitic if he were still alive today, as from his writings in "The World as I See It" he would clearly abhor the steps taken by the Israeli government today. It is people such as yourselves that allow this violence to simply perpetuate itself by making one sided arguments filled with misconception and hate. Both sides are absolutely wrong...many dedicated peace activists on both sides of the conflict have bravely come forth to oppose the criminal actions of both the Israeli and Palestinian governing parties. It is by spewing hate and propaganda that you cause individuals to continue killing one another instead of working towards a peaceful resolution. I know this is not in interests of the military contractors or those who dream of a US or Isreali empire.

Mr. Moshe, neither history nor truth are on your side, as you arrogantly claim. The Israeli government is oppressive and subjects the palestinian people to atrocities of the worst kind, and has since the inception of the state of Israel. You are correct in stating that the Palestinians have subjected the Israeli people to atricities as well. The fact is that the Gaza Strip and West Bank are not part of Israel, never have been, and never will be. it is legally and politically impossible under international law and the treaties and General Assembly Resolutions that have been passed. The Israeli government is an illegal occupying power, and its settlements are illegal under international law. They have been condemned many times over by the UN and international legal community, and will continue to be. need I remind you how many times the General Assembly has passed resolutions condemning a) all the terrorism in the Middle East and b) the Israeli government's actions. The US, Israel and small US satellites dependent on US economic support are the only ones who vote against such resolutions. it is not only moronic to claim that this is anti-semitism when the entire world, say 185 out of 191 states, agrees that what the Israeli government does is oppressive, it smacks of paranoia and other psychological and sociological problems. Israeli supporters and the Israeli government hide behind empty semantical rhetoric that no specific Palestinian terrorist activites are mentioned...well we could list every Israeli atrocity and every palestinian one, broken down by sect and terrorist group, or we could condemn all terrorism from the Israeli and Palestinian sides and cover it all.

This discussion serves to illustrate that one man's terrorist is anothers freedom fighter, or protector. Guys...there is no difference under international law...they are all terrorists and all guilty of crimes against humanity, both individually and as state bodies.

By the way, the word empire has many different meanings and connotations as does the word slavery...pick your semantical device and proceed with a silly and useless argument. It is the way a state acts, not what it is...and whether or not it respects internationally recognised human rights, not what you call it.

Get over it...

CP


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/25/2004

At this point, we are WAY off subject of the article (as well as from reality). Just to respond however,

1) "Oh I think many historians might aver that an empire does not connote legitimacy."

It did for the Soviet Union for 50 years over Eastern Europe, as well as the British empire for centuries. Furthermore, few governments have any concerns about China and Tibet, North and South Sudan, or the numerous other "empires" of the world.

2) "Certainly the American revolutionaries did not construe themselves as property of the British."

Actually, 1/3 of them did, an additional 1/3 had no opinion, leaving only 1/3 favoring independence. After a lengthy petition campaign to Parliament, the revolutionaries began attacking British troops who were sent to America. It was as much a Civil War as a Revolutionary one and I don't recall any revolutionary traveling to England to slaughter some innocent men, women, and children.

3) "I imagine that the house arrest of the president of Palestine might be interpreted by some as an act at variance with you assertion that Israel "supports independence for its subject lands."

Then those people simply have no knowledge of the conflict. Arafat has had many opportunities to bring his people to independence but has chosen terrorism instead every time. You finance the slaughter of innocent men, women, and children, you pay the price, and for now, house arrest has to be THE most lenient punishment for a terrorist any nation (including the US) has ever given.

David,
You ask why I "lower" myself "to talking with a guy who's basically from another planet." An excellent question and let me say, I am totally sympathetic with your frustration over Brandt’s level of ignorance and hate. Nevertheless, I respond for everyone else reading these exchanges to let them know that the truth will trump malicious lies every time. In fact, I almost enjoy seeing Brandt’s posts so that it may be a constant reminder to all people that this sort of misperception and vitriolic ignorance is around, even on sites dedicated to intelligent analysis of current events. Whenever I am able, I will never let a lie go unchallenged. History, as well as the truth, is on our side my friend.


David C Battle - 2/25/2004

How neat, the first ever "empire" that elects it's Prime Ministers and congressmen. Pretty tiny for an empire though, I must say.

On another note, Adam, why are you even lowering yourself to talking with a guy who's basically from another planet? Seriously, he's cartoonish in his hyperbole. Don't you feel just slightly silly Adam?


Jonathan Dresner - 2/25/2004

A minor cavail. The Sadducees -- temple priests and biblical literalists -- were the "conservatives" and the Pharisees -- scholars and scribes and biblical interpreters inspired by the necessity of living a Jewish life in Diaspora -- were the "liberals."

And there are many "grounds for constructing a "historical" Jesus in opposition to the Gospel accounts." While the Gospels are the most complete sources that speak extensively to the life and teachings of Jesus, they are not the only ones: there are non-canonical gospels, some of which are quite different from the "official" texts. Moreover, there are sources, both Jewish and Roman, which speak to the religious, political and social environment of Jesus in ways that clearly contradict Gospel accounts.

None of the Gospel writers were apostles.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/24/2004

Oh I think many historians might aver that an empire does not connote legitimacy. Certainly the American revolutionaries did not construe themselves as property of the British. So perhaps your benign interpretation of the word "empire" might be subject to some varied intepretation.

I imagine that the house arrest of the president of Palestine might be interpreted by some as an act at variance with you assertion that Israel "supports independence for its subject lands."


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/24/2004

You are quite correct. Spelling was never my strongest feature.

The Israeli empire? Wow, sounds impressive, even if grossly inaccurate. By putting the West Bank and Gaza in the "Israeli Empire," you seem to be tacitly agreeing that the territories are the current property of Israel to operate and administer as they see fit. If that is the case, you must take note of the incredible benevolence Israel has. What other empire can you think of allows total political and legal autonomy to its subject lands (the PA)? What other empire has a population that overwhelmingly supports independence for its subject lands with its only condition being the cessation (spelled correctly) of terrorism? I must say, part of me wishes that you were right, as an empire, Israel sure does look good.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/24/2004

Allow me again, without the slightest degree of condescension, to make another correction:

"through a secession of terrorism and a resumption of negotiation."

I believe Mr Moshe you meant cessation. Secession refers to breaking away such as Gaza and the West Bank seek a secession from the Israeli empire.

Cessation of course means to stop or desist.


Hans Vought - 2/24/2004

I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I agree that the Gospels were not written to be "historical documents," but then again, historians use lots of documents that were never intended to be objectively historical. Indeed, it's the documents that were intended to be "historical" that we often have to be the most wary of! I am not suggesting that we use the Gospels uncritically - by all means, we should compare them to other contemporary records and accounts. I am simply suggesting that we not reject them a priori.

The Gospels were not intended to be biographies, in our modern understanding of that term, but they were intended to give basic information about the life and teachings of Jesus. Mark was a disciple of Peter as well as Paul who based his account on Peter's reminiscences, according to Papias, Irenaus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Jerome. Luke collected eyewitness accounts from many disciples, and Matthew and John were, of course, apostles. My point is that they are the only extensive sources for this information, so there is no grounds for constructing a "historical" Jesus in opposition to the Gospel accounts.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/24/2004

I was close indeed!


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/24/2004

1) "I believe dear sir that the great Gandhi's name was misspelled in your last peroration."

Well than I guess my whole point was wrong, wasn't it?

2) "Yet we know how to spell the name of Israel. It is RACISM and ARROGANCE and CRUELTY."

Actually, it is spelled I-s-r-a-e-l. You were close though.


David C Battle - 2/24/2004

How do you spell terror: p-a-l-e-s-t-i-n-i-a-n


Brandt Driscoll - 2/24/2004

I believe dear sir that the great Gandhi's name was misspelled in your last peroration. Yet we know how to spell the name of Israel. It is RACISM and ARROGANCE and CRUELTY.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/24/2004

1) “Not to alter the subject manner in an unnecessarily discursive manner, but in my humble opinion the treatment of the Palestinians by the Jews is a form of slavery and oppression.”

Only if you define slavery so broad as to encompass almost every warring people that ever lived. In other words, if you are right, than I would be hard pressed to find a country or a people who are not being enslaved. America, Britain, Saudi-Arabia, etc… all slaves, why not?

2) “Yet it is striking that in the area of his life and times, two millenia later, a subject people, a colonized people, a persecuted people, struggle to be free and independent.”

You could just as easily be talking about the Jews 50 years ago. Perhaps you are referring to the Kurds in the region, since they also fit that profile. Of course, the difference between the Jews and Kurds, and the Palestinians, is that neither the Jews 50 years ago or the Kurds today offers the impression that their potential state would be a military threat to their neighbors (Remember the 1948 war and the 1967 war were defensive in nature). The Palestinians however, make it clear that THEIR independence, once attained, will be a continuing threat to its neighbors.

3) “ Hopefully, a redeemer whether it be the international community or perhaps a messianic revelation, can intervene and prevent this horror from being perpetrated against these people.”

I hope you are right. So far, however, there doesn’t seem to be any Palestinian leader who Arafat will allow to lead his people to peace and independence through a secession of terrorism and a resumption of negotiation.

Remember, Jesus did NOT say to the Jews “we are being occupied by Rome, let us travel to the heart of the Roman Empire, and begin indiscriminately slaughtering men, women, and children.” He did say however, that peace and love will ultimately prevail. I admire his strategy, adopted by Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr., over Arafat’s strategy of murdering as many Jews as possible.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/24/2004

Mr. Vought,
I am reluctant to even post this opinion because I really do not mean to offend anyone in any way, especially in such a sensitive topic. Nevertheless, this is what a healthy debate is for.

1) “So if we reject the authenticity of the Gospels as historical documents, we really have no other historical evidence to go by.”

This may be true with regards to what Jesus said or did. However, we can compare what was written in the Gospels with what we know about other things of the time from other sources. For examples, we do know, outside of the Gospels, what the Roman empire was like, and how it was administered, as well as how Rome treated its subject peoples. There is nothing wrong, it seems to me, with comparing what the Gospels say about Rome, or contemporary Judaism with what we know from Roman records and Jewish contemporaries.

2) “Furthermore, there is little valid ground for rejecting the historical accuracy of the Gospels.”

If you are a non-Christian, there is no more reason to accept the Gospels than to accept the Torah or the Koran. We know that the Gospels were not written at the time of Jesus, and scholars seem to agree that Mark, which was the first gospel written, was not himself an apostle and had never actually met Jesus. This is NOT to suggest that the Gospels, indeed the wrote Bible, is not the inspired work of God. However, I do not believe that the Gospels should be utilized in any way that would claim a historical point. They simply were not meant for that purpose.

3) “Pilate, despite having a record of harsh cruelty, seems to have been genuinely reluctant to execute Jesus, but he did so nevertheless, showing his complete moral bankruptcy.”

Although this is what the Bible says, I personally reject this. I find it inconsistent with what contemporaries said of Pilate, which was that he was a bullying prefect who repeatedly executed Jews without trial or cause, usually as a message to other Jews to fear him and the power of Rome. I do not believe that he was the type of person to be “pushed” into killing someone simply because a Jewish subordinate (Caiaphas) asked him to.


William Livingston - 2/24/2004

Hans Vought's accurate common-sense commentary is in refreshing contrast to the whimpers of those with off-beat agendas. As much as it may upset some historians, evry document written by anyone is not necessarilly to be considered a historical record. The Gospels are a fair example of this point. They were not written with the intention of providing a precise chronological record of Jesus' life, instead they were written with the
intention(s) to spread the "Good News," the faith. As it is more or less said in the Gospels, "He performed many more miracles than those recorded here, but these few are recorded, written down, so you may believe in Him."

Clearly, if read without an agenda in mind, in the Gospels "The Jews" are not to blame for Jesus' death. For starters, Jesus appeared on earth as a practicing Jew. His mother, the B.V.M., was Jewish. So were most of his earliest followers, save a Roman or two. The writers of "Matthew," "Mark" & "John" were Jews themselves. They hated Jews? Ah, give me a break!

Those guilty of Jesus' death were and are us who sin, whether Jew or gentile and whether alive in 30 A.D. or at any later date, including those alive today.

Ceratin religious leaders were guilty of particular direct involvement in His death, but in seeking His death they were betraying their own faith and certainly pass on any of their guilt to anyone else because of their mere positions in society. As one reviwer of "The Passion of the Christ," which I intend to go see on Saturday, said about the flick, "It shows we all are sinners, Caipas judged, Judas betrayed, Mark ran away, Peter denied, the crowd mocked, the Romaan soldiers beat and laughed at Him and one stabbed Him with his pilus."


David C Battle - 2/24/2004

Not that referring to Israeli treatment of palestinians as "slavery" is fair or even sane, but I would say that anybody (not just Israel) would treat an enemy intent on killing them at every turn in pretty much the same way.

In other words, however the palestinians are being treated, they've brought it upon themselves.


Brandt Driscoll - 2/24/2004

Not to alter the subject manner in an unnecessarily discursive manner, but in my humble opinion the treatment of the Palestinians by the Jews is a form of slavery and oppression.

One can't help but be affected by the present even though we are trained historians. The crucifixion of Jesus and his passion is being collectively appled to a people. Whether Jesus is savior or not or holy or not is a theological issue that one may or may not embrace.

Yet it is striking that in the area of his life and times, two millenia later, a subject people, a colonized people, a persecuted people, struggle to be free and independent. Hopefully, a redeemer whether it be the international community or perhaps a messianic revelation, can intervene and prevent this horror from being perpetrated against these people.


Hans Vought - 2/24/2004

Like Professor Goldenberg, I have not seen Mel Gibson’s new movie. Therefore, I am not in a position to comment on the merits of the film. However, I am concerned about the assertions of critics that it is possible, and indeed necessary, to distinguish between the “Jesus of faith” and the “Jesus of history.” In fact, the four Gospels are the only eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life and teachings. Very brief mentions in the Babylonian Talmud and the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus and the Roman writers Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius, and Lucian serve only to confirm the fact that Jesus lived and was crucified by the authorities around 30 AD. So if we reject the authenticity of the Gospels as historical documents, we really have no other historical evidence to go by. If one is unhappy with the “Jesus of faith,” the remedy is not to construct a false “Jesus of history.”

Furthermore, there is little valid ground for rejecting the historical accuracy of the Gospels. Liberal scholars committed to the approaches of form criticism and redaction criticism start from the premise that the Gospels cannot be true, thus rejecting from the outset the possibility that they accurately reflect the life and teachings of Jesus. However, skepticism abounded in the Roman world, and both friendly and hostile eyewitnesses to Jesus’ ministry would surely have challenged any gross inaccuracies. Furthermore, if the Gospel writers were attempting to distort the historical record, they surely would have edited out some of the embarrassingly difficult sayings of Jesus and portrayed the apostles in a much more favorable light than, in fact, the Gospels do.

The Gospels clearly indicate that Jesus’ teaching upset the Sanhedrin, the ruling Jewish council. This is not surprising, since Jesus repeatedly challenged the teaching and authority of both the conservatives (Pharisees) and liberals (Sadducees) of his day. On the other hand, Jesus did not directly challenge Roman authority, thus disappointing some of his followers who expected him to lead a revolt. Jesus went so far as to direct his disciples to pay their taxes to Caesar and to carry a centurion’s burden two miles instead of the necessary one. So the Gospels record that the Sanhedrin first tried Jesus, then turned him over to Pontius Pilate, the Roman proconsul who alone had the authority to execute criminals. Pilate, despite having a record of harsh cruelty, seems to have been genuinely reluctant to execute Jesus, but he did so nevertheless, showing his complete moral bankruptcy.

To state that the available historical documents indicate that some Jewish leaders in the first century conspired with the Roman government to execute Jesus is NOT to label all Jews, then or now, as “Christ-killers.” That would be the same as arguing that all Germans who ever lived are responsible for the Holocaust. Unfortunately, some Christians in the past have misinterpreted the Gospel accounts and committed atrocities inspired by passion plays. Nevertheless, Mel Gibson has explicitly disavowed any anti-Semitic intent, instead declaring that the message of his movie is that Jesus died for the redemption of all people. We should have open, honest discussions about the movie’s content and message, rather than prejudging it and condemning its director for following the available historical evidence.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/24/2004

Interesting. I was not aware of such a belief. Thank you.


Jonathan Dresner - 2/24/2004

Actually, there are Jews who believe that Egypt is forbidden territory. I don't remember now if it's a matter of God sending us out so it must be a bad thing to go back or if there was some other explanation. (this isn't exactly a mainstream thing, even as superstitions go) But there are Jews who, while not exactly blaming modern Egyptians, nonetheless feel their tradition restricts them from travel to Egypt.

There are also Jews who take the entire story metaphorically, and so the injunction against returning to Egypt is seen as a warning against falling back into slavery.


David C Battle - 2/23/2004

A good point David, however it should be noted that no Jew (to my knowledge) still holds modern Egyptians accountable for such slavery.

Of course you don't. And no sane christian holds jews responsible for killing Jesus. Those people that do, are anti-semites despite the New Testament, not because of it.

All that these people have to do is read the book of Romans to know that not only are Jews NOT forsaken, but that they are the vine, and we christians the grafted into that vine. And how can the grafted be arrogant against the vine, asks Paul. But anti-semites don't read Romans, they read a selected passage to prove "Jews killed christ". It's ridiculous.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 2/23/2004

A good point David, however it should be noted that no Jew (to my knowledge) still holds modern Egyptians accountable for such slavery. Furthermore, the primary villain in the Bible is the Pharaoh, not all Egyptians, especially given the fact that it was a prior pharaoh that gave the Jews safe haven in Egypt to avoid starvation through famine.


David C Battle - 2/23/2004

And the Egyptians still accuse the Jews of stealing all their gold when they fled their captivity.

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