Friday, March 23, 2007

Israeli racism, part 4: The early years

Deuteronomy 20:10-20

10. When you approach a city to wage war against it, you shall propose peace to it.

11. And it will be, if it responds to you with peace, and it opens up to you, then it will be, [that] all the people found therein shall become tributary to you, and they shall serve you.

12. But if it does not make peace with you, and it wages war against you, you shall besiege it,

13. and the Lord, your God, will deliver it into your hands, and you shall strike all its males with the edge of the sword.

14. However, the women, the children, and the livestock, and all that is in the city, all its spoils you shall take for yourself, and you shall eat the spoils of your enemies, which the Lord, your God, has given you.

15. Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations.

16. However, of these peoples' cities, which the Lord, your God, gives you as an inheritance, you shall not allow any soul to live.

17. Rather, you shall utterly destroy them: The Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivvites, and the Jebusites, as the Lord, your God, has commanded you.

Joshua 11: 10-14

10 And Joshua turned back at that time, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms.

11 And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them; there was none left that breathed; and he burnt Hazor with fire.

12 And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and he smote them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed them; as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded.

13 But as for the cities that stood on their mounds, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only--that did Joshua burn.

14 And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them, neither left they any that breathed.

* * *

As you read, keep in mind that this story is about land theft, pure and simple. The Lord is here the ultimate fall guy, the original Nuremburg excuse: "Hey, we didn't want to commit genocide; we were only following orders."

Yes, yes, this all happened a very long time ago. I understand that. I understand that no person alive today can be held responsible for things said and done then. I also understand that serious questions of historicity suround this text.

Even so, this narrative remains relevant to current debates over the Israeli/Palestinian question, because -- when the proverbial push comes to the proverbial shove -- Israel's apologists point to the Old Testament when they insist that a Jewish state must exist there and nowhere else. Few would contemplate any suggestion to purchase an equal-sized chunk of real estate in a fertile region of Africa, South America, Canada, or wherever. As several wags have noted, David Ben Gurion did not believe in God -- yet he believed that God gave Israel to the Jews.

One of my critics cast aspersions on the Koran as a "racist" book. In my youth, I tried to read (or at least sample) all the scriptures considered sacred -- the Analects of Confucius, the Upanishads, the Gita, various Mahayana texts, the Old and New Testaments. I must confess that I did not get very far into the Koran -- which is reportedly much more impressive in the original. Is that book racist? I don't know. All I can honestly say is that I found it dull.

(For some reason, I never even tried to read the Tao. My bad.)

In my explorations, I have never found any other "sacred" text dripping with the inexcusable bloodlust and hate one can find in the Old Testament. My sympathies now lie with the Gnostics, who considered much of that book evil. (Incidentally, Gnosticism originated within the Jewish community in Alexandria, a group no-one can call anti-Semitic.) Any Jews who want to insult the Islamic holy book should feel free to do so -- but they would make a more persuasive case if their own "sacred" work were not so indefensible.

No Jew ever had a right to the land now called Israel. Not Solomon, not David, not Jesus, not Ariel Sharon. None of them. Of course, as I always quickly admit, I have no particular right to park my capacious hindquarters on land that belongs to the Chumash.


Anonymous said...

You're courageous ! I'm sick and tired of the Zionist exploiting the suffering of the Jewish of German jews 60 years ago to push their current political agenda.

Enough of labelling as anti-semite (= racist) everybody that doesn't support the current policies of a country. We're we anti-German when we fought against the Nazi ?

Anonymous said...

Courageous yes to an extent. With one foot in the door and one foot out the door I hope he shares his wisdom and honesty about the travesty Zionist visit upon the Middle East day in and day out.

The Old Testament is a book/record made by old men (rabbis) who recorded the words of the elders (rich/movers and shakers), (think Mellon/Scaife) who were in authority and vocalized their version of how a community should conduct itself to reach utopia for their specific group.

Now what God ever told any man to take arms up against his neighbor and cut his flesh with a sword with little or no provocation, that God is a barbarian and not a God I ever have or want to know. Steal their cattle, kill the men and boys, enslave the women and girls, and drink their wine. No God in heaven ever condoned such vile conduct. This is more the actions of Bechtel, Fluor, and Halliburton.

Some parts of the bible get more bloody and gory than the mercenary mag Soldiers of Fortune.

Anonymous said...

Anon, you say 'policies of a country'.

Zionism tries its damnedest to obscure the difference between the apartheid, fascist regime, and the country. Hence the burying of the idea of a 'one state solution' in which the State would keep no record of who is in what 'ethno-religious' group. And sadly, if we go back 20 years, look what it took to get the PLO leadership to go for the 'two-state' crap! Some shares in a Jericho casino, mainly. Plus in later years a piece of the action importing cement for the separation wall from Egypt - which latter scandal is one of the main reasons why Hamas won the election. As we should not forget, Oslo was completely buried in the days immediately following 9/11. Zionist tanks rolled into Jericho and Jenin on 9/12, and into Ramallah on 9/15. Jericho was actually focal to Oslo, even if this doesn't get mentioned in the MSM today. Curious too how the butcher Shimon Peres is routinely mentioned as being a Nobel laureate, whereas Yasir Arafat hardly ever is.

Israeli law bans having 'Israeli' entered in someone's passport as their 'ethnicity'. It is simply not allowed. You are obliged to be recorded as Arab-Christian, Arab-Muslim, Jew, Druze, etc. (Interestingly, the Arab Jews have been written out of 'history').

Israeli law also bans standing in an election on a platform opposed to the Jewish (i.e. Jewish-supremacist) character of the State.

A recent poll found that 41% of Israeli Jews favour the segregation of entertainment facilities:,,1738508,00.html

Imagine the Confederacy with nukes, having become the second or third strongest military power in the world (see Martin van Creveld), and with its nukes targeted on cities around the world, in both Europe and North America (see Mordechai Vanunu). This is even disregarding the influence in the supposed strongest military power in the world.

Having said the above, I can't imagine why those who want an end to the racist regime would want the country still to be called 'Israel'... Imagine if the Confederacy won, and called their regime 'Whiteland'.

Snippet: the 'plus' sign is not used in many Jewish schools in Israel, because of its association with the Christian cross.

An upside-down 'T' is used instead. This symbol has the Unicode code "U+FB29", and you can see it at:

I should add that the Saudi dictatorship even has problems with 'X' for its similarity with the cross!

Lastly, I think 'settlement' when denoting some places on the West Bank is a propaganda word. Some of them are full-scale cities! Cities where no Arabs are allowed to live.


Anonymous said...

That URL should be:

41% of Israel's Jews favour segregation

Anonymous said...

Josef :
"Yes, yes, this all happened a very long time ago. I understand that."
- > Josef, You are wrong here.
It NEVER happened.
see : The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts: Books: Israel Finkelstein,Neil Asher ...

Anonymous said...

joe, a fabulous contribution! i applaud your courage.

and remind those who care that this analysis of old testament war-mongering is directly parallel to the dinah story i told in a comment within the first flare-up over this. genesis 34, for the curious. the upshot is, jacob was encouraged 'by god' to change his name to israel coincidentally when he was on the lam from something bad that he (and his sons, the 12 tribes) done.

there is much emerging along these lines now. it will be important to keep level heads...

Anonymous said...

With an argument like that I don't know why the French don't just all go back to Africa.

An important point in this is that in the Old Testament many admonitions from 'The Lord' didn't originate from a deity but from some actual guy who was getting his band of characters to go and assault some other band of characters.

The Old Testament is a patchwork from an infinity of sources, many of them with mutually contradictory origins, passages from groups that had been in conflict with one another their identifying names replaced with generic qualifiers, like 'The Lord', some not even Hebraic, and glued together long after the time the historical references to other peoples had any meaning.

It's more William S. Burroughs than history, and only nuts will take it seriously. But the political character and manner they describe was true of Middle Eastern culture and remains true, it evolves directly into Islam and continues in the Arab world as the primary political style. Jesus, Mohammed, Nasrullah and Sadr are exactly the same kind of people pursuing politics in exactly the same kind of way, with religion to give it a motive.

I have no use for Yahweh under any of his flags, but the primary distinction is that Christianity and Judaism, outside the Insane Circle of the Orthodox and Dominionists, have made these stories into broad abstractions, while Islam is still going strong with them as literal truth and it is the literal truth that drives the character of everything that takes place in relation to Israel, and everything you hear from an Arab source about Israel derives from it.

Do you hear anything new in this?

Women, 4.46. Of the Jews there are those who displace words from their (right) places, and say: "We hear and we disobey"; and "Hear what is not Heard"; and "Ra'ina"; with a twist of their tongues and a slander to Faith. If only they had said: "What hear and we obey"; and "Do hear"; and "Do look at us"; it would have been better for them, and more proper; but Allah hath cursed them for their Unbelief; and but few of them will believe.

The Dinner Table 5.41 O Apostle! let not those grieve you who strive together in hastening to unbelief from among those who say with their mouths: We believe, and their hearts do not believe, and from among those who are Jews; they are listeners for the sake of a lie, listeners for another people who have not come to you; they alter the words from their places, saying: If you are given this, take it, and if you are not given this, be cautious; and as for him whose temptation Allah desires, you cannot control anything for him with Allah. Those are they for whom Allah does not desire that He should purify their hearts; they shall have disgrace in this world, and they shall have a grievous chastisement in the hereafter.

5.51 O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

Sahih Muslim, Book 40, Number 6985, 'The Last Hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: `Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him'; but the tree Gharkad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.'

The Arab objection to the existence of Israel is only based in religion and nothing else. If you had to worry every time you went to the movies that somebody might come in wearing a suicide vest you'd think segregation might not be such a bad thing, either.

Anonymous said...

binbin, bubi, whatever is as usual in the dark(of his choosing) and I for one would feel perfectly OK to leave him there.
My comment is directed toward Joseph.
Scott Ritter has an excellant article in truthdig called "Calling Out Idiot America" (binbin that's you baby) and in it he goes into a little bit of Muslim history. It does not serve as "shortcut to reading the Qoran" but it does clarify a few things, such as what is a Shia and a Sunni, where and how the countries of Iraq and Saudi Arabia came from and what kind of Idealogy and conflicts dominate them and why Iran figures as the ultimate underdog who is trying to fulfill her ceturies long ambition.
Would like to hear your take on it.

Joseph Cannon said...

I'll engage you this time because you actually raise a lot of good points.

I quoted the OT for two reasons:

1. One of my critics had tried to make the Koran out to be some uniquely racist scripture. The OT is plenty bad enough in its own right. One day, I'll have read both books and will be able to make a better-informed judgment as to which work has fewer problems.

2. Like it or not, the OT is the reason why Israel is where it is. I honestly think that, if that book did not hold such sway, we could all agree to set up a much nicer, more livable, greener and lusher Jewish state in some less contentious part of the world.

I mean, hell, there are forested parts of Oregon that have not been properly explored yet. Or maybe the Shasta-Trinity National Forest area of California. (I dearly love that area, which is one of the most gorgeous places on earth -- but, speaking as a proud Californian, I'd give it up for increased world peace.) Canada. Africa. South America. Places where water is no problem. Places with greater natural resources. Places that are more easily defended. Places where people would WANT to move -- as opposed to some ghastly desert that is not even blessed with oil.

Just buy the land outright, the way Seward bought Alaska or Moon bought a big chunk of Paraguay. Original inhabitants could be paid handsomely to move to neighboring territory if they don't like the new landlords. There would still be grousing, perhaps even a few minor stabs at insurrection, but most of those problems could be resolved with enough cash.

All of this would probably cost less, in the long run, than the American taxpayers pay at present for the maintenance of Israel.

There is only one reason why this plan could not go forward: Zionists have an irrational attachment to an ancient book beginning with the word Beresith.

So let's not pretend that this book plays no role in current affairs.

Strange, isn't it -- how the world may come to its end over a fight over some crummy real estate that no rational person, Jew or Palestinian, should want?

Anonymous said...

As I am reading Joseph's comment, I am watching Bill Maher.
David Frum is trying very hard to defend the defunct Neocon positions in and out of Iraq(he is looking pretty frustrated and well down right wrong) and I think of binbin, and his heroic effort to save his dignity(or someone's digity).
Bill was on the money tonight, but I still wonder why he went on that rampage last summer defending the right of Israel to attack Lebanon.
He even defended Bush.
Was he threatened?
Is he a flake?
And if so, what is he trying to say now with all these attacks on Bush and the Congress?
Has he gotten some other sort of protection?

Anonymous said...

Joseph, I sympathize with your difficulty in reading the Koran. But give this book a try. Approaching the Qur'an, The Early Revelations, by Michael Sells, a poet and professor at Haverford. Much of the Koran is like the Hebrew scriptures, the codification of laws of tribal desert people. The early revelations are the beautiful core, however, and Sells explains them and translates them as poetry. Makes it easier for the likes of us to see what is there. See what you think. Not long...

Anonymous said...

Joseph - it's all very well to say that now, but America and Australia and all the rest didn't want to accept refugees from Europe due to a racism that was far more ubiquitous in the early twentieth century! And Germany didn't want Jews to remain in Europe for the same reasons (some even called Jews 'Palestinians', lest they dare think they were Europeans!)

Since the rest of the world had such a bit part to play in creating this mess, don't you think it's about time the rest of the world took initiative in solving the problem instead of just blaming either side?

Joseph Cannon said...

Israel is a government. It deserves blame for the wrongs it has committed, s with any other government.

"Since the rest of the world had such a bit part to play in creating this mess..."

You need not go back to WWII to make the point. We fund Israel. Turn off the money spigot, demand fairness, and America will ultimately have done ALL parties a favor.

Anonymous said...

'Crummy real estate'. A lot of it, yes; not the olive groves!

OT and Zionism. Shahak talks of the role of the Talmud too in shaping Zionist beliefs. One thing that sticks in the mind is:

the Talmud lays down that a Jew who passes near an inhabited non-Jewish dwelling must ask God to destroy it, whereas if the building is in ruins he must thank the Lord of Vengeance

Why is this relevant? Well, in what other conflict has there been such a sustained use of 'punitive' demolition of homes belonging to opponents (and their families), than in the West Bank? It's long been a big-time feature.

(For those who don't know already, the Israeli armed forces buy many of their bulldozers from Caterpillar. This Illinois-based company got Bush to do some promotion for them last month, in return for letting him muck about with one of their machines in a sandpit).

The source Shahak gives is "Tractate Berakhot, p. 58b." Unlike J, I spent zero time in my youth studying religious texts, so I don't have a copy to hand to check this.

Note that while the ADL pour faeces on Shahak in one of their publications, using the familiar amalgam method to associate him with such scumbags as David Duke, they don't dispute any of his references. Elsewhere in the same text, they say that the term 'goy' has "no derogatory connotation". Sic! Even journalists working for the pro-Israeli newspaper the Guardian were once told otherwise in their newspaper's style guide. This used to say:

goy, goyim

do not use these derogatory terms for non-Jews, which are the equivalent of such expressions as "yids" or "Pakis"

...but this entry was removed and does not appear in the current version.

The relevant chapter of Shahak's book is here

(Warning: I didn't bother checking out what kind of site this is, other than realising it is Christian. They do, however, appear to have copied Shahak's work accurately).


Anonymous said...

Joseph..says..As you read, keep in mind that this story is about land theft, pure and simple.

Pure and simple eh? Who really owns any land. We stole the land from the inhabitants before us?
Why Christopher Catholic Church "Columbus..resulting in our
predominately Gentile
occupation..on the backs of our forerunners and previous inhabitants and occupiers..the red man. Americans and our "pride of ownership psychosis", have squandered this land right?
Our entire "ownership" impulse is devilish in the sense that we attach ourselves to stuff and guard it with our lives. what a crock!
Israel was taken out of Egypt by Moses and started that now infamous forty year trek across the desert (a journey that should have taken them a few weeks but becaause of their "stiff necked" behavior that infamouse forty years,), into the land that was promised them by a very strange God..but nevertheless God or YHVH for the purists .
This whole enchilada revolves around the notion that there is a creator (who ultimately owns everything) and we are his creations. The debate is whether this is the One true God as defined in the OT, which Judaism, Islam, and the other late comer Christianity all claim as the bedrock of our investigations into the nature and plans of this God.
We (first Sapin), displaced the red man up here and Spain displaced the other reedmen down there. The Jews displaced the Canaanites and then fought off all the others (adter splitting into two nations Judah and israel for a spell.
After several Diaspora's the jews where scattered all over the world including northern Europe, and this hemisphere according to archeological evidences (see "America BC"), also the jews were taken into captivity en masse. (Nebechnezzer from Babylon or Iraq for example)
THE DIASPORA – considered by Jew and Gentile alike a veritable “hissing” (Jeremiah 25:9, 18; 29:18) among the nations – outcasts – wandering throughout the world - apparently accursed by Roman and religionist – vanquished, disbursed, alienated, despised, forsaken, bearing in their souls and bodies the appearance of generational suffering through persecution, blood-guilt, ghettoes, pogroms, inquisitions, holocaust and interminable war with the nations now gathered about her – THE JEWS defy common reason for their persistence, rational justification for their creation, and despite for their literal defiance – they are before the Gentile nations an affront, a contradiction, an anachronism and embarrassment - Jerusalem has become a “cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem . . . I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though ALL NATIONS OF THE EARTH are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:2-3).

Under Roman occupation the jew Jesus was crucified after he prophesied that the entire city and state of Israel would be destroyed and the "Wall" of Solomon's Temple" tipped over forever. "Not one stone would remaim unturned" (except for the token wailing wall today).
Let's not forget, the arabs were the offspring of Ishmael the illegitimate child of Abraham birthed from his concubine unstead of the wife Sarah that God predicted to Abraham would father many nations theough..hence Isaac was born by Sarah legitimately (prophetically) who then begot Jacob the father of the twelve sons the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Yes God is kinda peculiar but don't think he has favorites because his treatment of the jews has been extremely disciplinarian over thousands of years. But as I've said in an earlier note the jews are simply actors that represent the rest of us on the worlds stage. A company of skilled and stiff necked actors with the same strengths and weaknesses of character as "everynman"
They trudged around in the desert under Moses for forty years because of their stiff-necked, stubborn, renegade, rebellious natures..likie "everyman" even you Joseph as well as the rest of the bloggers commenting herein.
"He who is without sin is entitled to cast the first stone"
End of Story (but not yet the end of His story)

“Thus says the Lord God: ‘Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations (i.e., “the stick of Joseph” – the ten tribes of the north or Israel; and “the stick of Judah” – the two tribes of the “south” – Judah and Benjamin – Ezekiel 37:19), nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again . . . then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever” (Ezekiel 37:21-22, 23b, 24-25)

Shalom, Pray for the peace of jerusalem

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your reply. I wasn't trying to say the Old Testament has no part in this flypaper, I was saying The Koran has more, that it has, actually, the defining influence. For many reasons, but, I think most importantly, because the anti-semitic stereotype originates in The Koran and the Koran is the whole basis of conversation throughout the Islamic world. It defines the reality in a way that no book or anything else outside the Islamic world does, and anti-semtism is street-cred, it's part of your manhood.

A huge part of the intractability is that they can't work toward or respect a rapprochement because it would be to fail Islam.

Another large element of intractibility is that the people we know today as Palestinians were never before a self-coherent group. They had no nationalistic tradition or history of self-government. They became a self-coherent group in conflict with Israel. Attacking Israel is all they have to define themselves. Peace would threaten to destroy them as an ethnicity.

Which is not to say I think no one can move forward and that the situation is really all or nothing, as many stuck in the middle of it feel.

There was an article last week about how tension in Northern Ireland has calmed down so much people aren't paying a lot of attention anymore about who's a Catholic and who's a Protestant. That's about eighty years, one lifetime, after the birth of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

After Palestine manages to establish, one way or another, I think that's about the length of time it will take, as well.

Anonymous said...

The anti-Semitic stereotype originates in European Christianity, not in the Koran. Google on 'dhimmi' for starters.

As for the idea that Arab Palestinians cannot work towards a rapprochement, why not take a look at the history of the past several decades. Mass racist segregationist settlement has continued. This has zero to do with Islam or anyone's response to Islam. Meanwhile until the 1980s the PLO backed a one-state solution - again, nothing to do with Islam. This 'solution' means everyone living in Palestine, whether Arab, Jewish, Druze, Armenian, or whatever, would be considered to be a Palestinian citizen, equal under the law. Like it or not, it's a fact that this was PLO policy until 20 years ago. The Zionists, of course, often associate such an aim with genocide. So a non-racist regime gets equated with genocide of the 'rights' of the privileged ethnic group. What does this remind you of? (And this is no exaggeration. The rabid racist hack Melanie Phillips revels in this sort of mendacious equation. She sees no hypocrisy in opposing 'multiculturalism' where British Muslims are concerned, but not where British Jews are concerned. Her use of the term 'Londonistan' makes me think of the way Hitler wrote about Weimar Germany in 'Mein Kampf').

In Northern Ireland both the loyalist and republican paramilitaries agreed to disarm (more or less, anyway). No parallel here with Israel/Palestine, unfortunately. If the Israeli Defence Forces and the Palestinian Authority's forces both agreed to disarm, it would be a very good thing, but obviously it isn't going to happen any time soon. Moreover, if you seek a parallel to the British State's role in Northern Ireland, you won't find one.

As for your point about Arab-Palestinian nationalism, well I hold no brief for any nationalism, but would stress that Zionism was founded on the idea of building an ethnic-supremacist state in a land inhabited mainly by non-Jews - and the implementation thereof could hardly be expected not to lead to antagonism.

For an analogy, imagine a Nazi German colony in South America, backed by enough wealth to impose mass racist settlement, widescale segregation, huge expulsions of 'native' civilian populations, and nuked-up to the eyeballs.

Oh, and did I mention - strong enough to ensure that the majority of uses of the veto on the UN Security Council serve to protect them against international condemnation. Because this is the position with Israel. Vetos have been used 26 times since 1989. 16 of these have been by the US to protect Israel. The term 'poodle' comes to mind. What parallels that aren't imaginary? There aren't any!