One of the most brilliant science fiction writers of all time was H. G. Wells (1866-1947). His insights into human nature might possibly qualify him as a modern-day prophet. In one of the most exciting stories he wrote, “The Time Machine,” a story that has been adapted for several movies.
The protagonist travels into the distant future to a post-apocalyptical era where the remnants of humanity have evolved into two distinctive groups: the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Eloi are docile people who comprise small, elegant, childlike adults. They live in small communities within deteriorating buildings; they subsist on a fruit-based diet. This people seem peaceful and have no ambition or desire to learn. Yet, there is something wrong about the Eloi. Members of the Eloi disappear at night. What he discovers is that the Morlocks have been hunting them at night, using them as a food source.
am referring to this story for a specific reason. It seems as though H.G. Wells’
vision of the Morlocks may not be a thing of fiction—it could become a reality
for today, and possibly the future.
A behavioral scientist from Sweden thinks cannibalism of corpses will become necessary because of the effects of climate change. The name of this person is Magnus Söderlund, and he is associated with the prestigious Stockholm School of Economics. In his dystopian vision of the future, he proposed that in order to truly take on the effects of climate change, we must “awake the idea” that eating human flesh should be discussed as an option in the future.
But wait, his justification gets increasingly gross. Söderlund realizes that present-day society would find the idea of consuming flesh “repugnant.” Historically, existing “conservative” taboos against eating human flesh date back to some of the most primal periods of human history. But Söderlund thinks that to combat climate change, people could eventually learn to get over their hang-up about eating human flesh–provided they do so incrementally. Moreover, he thinks human beings can be “tricked” into “making the right decisions.” 
begs the question: Who gets to determine whose life is carnally expendable? The
poor and under-trodden? Will it be the lower class? What about the members of
the upper echelons of society? What about the rich and powerful? Söderlund has no answer to these questions.
a society that places zero moral value on life in the womb, perhaps proposals
from men like Söderlund is something
that was bound to happen sooner or later.
reminds me of the story about the missionary who brought Christ to a community
of cannibals. When honored at a dinner, they asked him, “How did you succeed in
such an amazing feat?” The missionary sheepishly replied, “You see, before I
arrived, the cannibals used to eat with their hands. But after I told them
about the power of Christ, the cannibals learned to eat their prey with forks
Mahatma Gandhi was asked, “What do you think of Western civilization?” “I think
it would be a good idea,” he replied. …”
Western Civilization and its fanatical scientists have a lot to learn about the
true meaning of “civilization.”
I wondered about this insane idea deliberated by this Swedish scientist, I
found myself recalling the words of Haim Ginott, an Israeli educational
psychologist Haim Ginott writes about a letter that teachers would receive from
their principal each year:
I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no
person should witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children
poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and
babies shot by high school and college graduates. So, I am suspicious of
education. My request is this: Help your
children become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters,
skilled psychopaths or educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are
important only if they serve to make our children more human.
What bothers me the most is that the climate-change alarmists have developed a self-righteous morphed into a religious-like cult. Anyone who questions the veracity of its claims is considered heretical. It is not surprising that some people think we ought to promote zero population growth. The most populous areas of people are in Asia and Africa. I often wonder what some deluded people will propose next to depopulate the human race to a size that poses little threat to the environment.
CHULA VISTA, California — The subject of kosher slaughter is one of those topics that have been widely debated in Europe since the 1930s. Animal rights groups have often spoken out against Jewish and Islamic slaughter (Halal), which they believe is cruel and barbaric.
Among the newest regions to come out against kosher slaughtering, two states in Belgium now insist that any kind of ritual slaughtering must first stun the animal before it is killed. The European Union held that the animal ought to be unconscious by the time it is slaughtered, to minimize its pain.
From an ethical view, both Jews and Muslims stress the importance of minimizing animal suffering. Most Orthodox rabbinical certification organizations have long maintained the view that no form of stunning may take place before slaughtering the animal. Most Halal authorities agree, but some scholars allow nonpenetrative stunning before slaughter.
Both religious communities argue that stunning does not destroy the brain tissue, but it does stop its functioning. Jewish law does not specifically prohibit this, but the consensus of most Jewish scholars is that stunning kills the animals most times, which would render the animal “nevelah,” which is an animal that had died from natural causes, which cannot be consumed by Kosher observant people.
While there is no direct prohibition against this in Judaism, most Jewish authorities do not accept this method. This is most likely because the stunning is done in such a way that it actually kills the animals in many instances. There are various modes of stunning. Electric shock is commonly used in slaughtering pigs and poultry. Jewish authorities have disapproved of this method for several reasons.
* It is debatable how “painless” this method actually is.
* Logistically, this method would dramatically slow down the process of kosher slaughter, resulting in a much higher cost for kosher meat
* Electric -shock is a potential danger for workers at the plant
* The use of chemical agents or gas could toxify the meat, rendering it too expensive for consumption.
Perhaps one of the most important reasons why stunning is frowned upon is because the Nazis spearheaded this attempt during the 1930s under the guise of “protecting animals,” but in reality their motivation was to cripple the Jewish community.
Given the return of anti-Semitism in Europe today, it is difficult not to say this too is a veiled attack against both Jews and Muslims under the guise of humanitarian concerns for animals.
Despite these objections, it is important to note that one of the premier Orthodox scholars of his time, R. Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg, (Author Of Seridei Esh. 1884-1966); whose name still evokes only the highest admiration among Haredi and non-Haredi Jews, made the case that stunning is “theoretically” permitted. He was the Rosh Yeshiva (Dean) of the Hildesheimer Seminary of Berlin during the days of the Nazis.
The German and other European rabbis debated this topic. In one letter, Weinberg sought to form a consensus and thought the rabbis would permit it. However, Rabbi Chaim Ozer beat him to the punch and prohibited it. In short, R. Yechiel Weinberg did not wish to sow contention within the Jewish community and so he opted to remain silent on this matter.
Truthfully , if done properly, kosher slaughter is no worse than any other method of slaughter. But there was a time when the animals had to be shackled by chains, and this practice often resulted in making the animals trefeh (unkosher) because of broken bones. Dangling on these chains ten feet in the air can frighten animals into harming themselves.
Fortunately, because of the outcry of Jews wishing a more humane method, a special pen was made where the animal remained on the ground level. I have seen these pens, when I once studied to be a shochet after my ordination in New York, 1976. Fortunately, in July 2018, the largest U.S. kosher certifier announced that it would no longer accept meat slaughtered with the “shackle and hoist” method. The Orthodox Union (O.U.) told the Jewish Telegraph Agency that it expects that all slaughterhouses to be certified by the O.U.
The issues regarding stunning remains too complex to answer. We still don’t have a definition of death that everyone can agree to. Anti-Semitism is making a comeback in Europe and elsewhere across the world.
A personal note:
I recall taking part in an international animal rights conference and I was asked about ethics regarding kosher slaughter.
At the time, I pointed out that: “From an animal’s perspective, there is no such thing as a painless way to slaughter animals. Many non-kosher slaughter houses still club animals to death in this country. If you wish to be compassionate toward animals, do the animals a favor—refrain from eating meat.”
Now when laboratory-made meat is a reality, perhaps we will live to see the words of the prophet Isaiah become true, “There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea” (Isa. 11:9).
Nachmanides: An Unusual Thinker by Rabbi Dr. Israel Drazin, Geffen Publishing House (c) 2018, ISBN 9789652-298874.
By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel
CHULA VISTA, California — One of the most interesting books I have read in years is Rabbi Israel Drazin’s excellent primer on the Ramban, entitled, Nachmanides An Unusual Thinker about a brilliant rabbinic scholar of the 13th century. He was born in Gerona in Northern Spain in 1194 and he was a man who had many remarkable experiences. And while he is best known for his biblical commentaries on the Pentateuch and other biblical books, Ramban is no less famous for his debate with the apostate Jew Pablo Christiani, which took place in 1263 in Barcelona before King James 1.
As Rabbi Drazin pointed out, Christiani attempted to prove to the community that the Sages “foreshadowed the birth and mission of Jesus.” And surprisingly, Nachmanides downplayed the significance of the midrashic texts, pointing out that these writings were only legends and should not be taken seriously. In rabbinical school, we studied this debate.
Rabbi Drazin noted:
Maimonides was a rationalist and his philosophy was expressed systematically and explicitly, open to thinkers in every generation, whereas the majority of Ramban’s basic ideas are rooted in the metalogical realm of the Kabbalah. Their manner of expression is the allusion, which only a select few were able to fathom throughout the generations.
What I liked about his book is how the author delineated many of the key conceptual differences that best characterize Ramban’s approach and how it contrasted with Maimonides. Think of it as the mystic vs. the rationalist. Being that Ramban was a mystic, his viewpoint tends toward a greater belief in supernatural events that are recorded in the Tanakh.
The author noted:
As a mystic, Nachmanides was the first person to introduce the idea that the Torah contains mystical notions, and the first to offer a mystical interpretation of the Bible. He was also the first to state that the Aramaic translation of the Pentateuch, Targum Onkelos, contains imaginative aggadic material and mysticism. It was as if he were arguing that if the Torah is true, and mysticism is true, and Targum Onkelos is true, then it follows that the Torah and Targum Onkelos must contain mysticism.
It is ironic that both Nachmanides and Maimonides share a common attribute in their exegetical styles: each one reads their personal Judaic philosophy into the biblical text. Unlike Maimonides, whose ideas fused elements of Greek and Muslim philosophy into his theological worldview, Ramban drew much of his inspiration from the area of Jewish tradition known as the Kabbalah—and this sphere of Jewish learning was one that Maimonides examined with the utmost of his intellectual criticism. According to Ramban, the midrashic hermeneutic constitutes the simple and literal sense of Scriptures, the entire Tanakh makes up the Name of God. Supernaturalism is the peshat of the Torah according to him. Nachmanides promotes the Torah as a mystical text— and this view has left a lasting impression on all subsequent Judaic mystics down to the present era.
As one of Maimonides’ foremost critics, Nachmanides challenged many of Maimonides’ philosophical expositions of how he interpreted familiar biblical narratives and laws. Being that Ramban was a mystic, he interpreted supernatural events as they were recorded in the Tanakh. He had no interest in Maimonidean rationalism.
Let us consider the following examples:
Unlike Maimonides’s parabolic approach to the Book of Genesis, Ramban takes the opposite position in keeping with his understanding of the peshat. For him, when the Torah speaks about an actual Garden of Eden and that Adam’s disobedience was a historical event that occurs in real time; Eden occupies an actual place in the ancient Near East. According to Maimonides—the story possesses a distinctively allegorical meaning. But for Ramban, the Edenic serpent was more than just a mythical character or a psychological symbol—it walks, and it talks too!
As R. Drazin observed:
“Nachmanides used the commentaries of Rashi and Abraham ibn Ezra, and less frequently Maimonides as a springboard with which to contrast his own original mystical biblical interpretation. He disagrees with these sages, often with strong disparaging words. He also cites the Aramaic translation of the Pentateuch, Targum Onkelos, but always with admiration, deference, and respect. Yet, although he mentions Onkelos 230 times in his commentary to the Pentateuch, generally to support” his point of view.
There are many interesting selections the author mentions. For example, he raises the questions:
· Do Animals Sin? Similarly, Genesis 6:12 states, “all flesh corrupted their ways.” Rashi argues that “all flesh” means that animals and birds also sinned. Nachmanides recognizes that animals do not sin and states that “all flesh” denotes “all people.”
· Why State Both “Created” and “Made”? Genesis 2:3 seems to have a duplication, “which God created, had made.” Ibn Ezra states that “had made” means that God gave the items the power to reproduce. Rashi opines that it suggests that God did double work on the sixth day. Nachmanides understands “had made” as suggesting, “that which He had made out of nothing.”
Similarly, later on in the Pentateuch, when Balaam’s donkey speaks, the story means exactly what it says. Once again, for Maimonides, he argued that in psychological terms, Balaam’s donkey can only be understood as a prophetic event; the Torah narrated a biblical character’s visionary experience. The theme of prophecy continues to be a bone of contention with Ramban, who differed with Maimonides’ view that the story about the three strangers who visit Abraham also occurred in a vision. Ramban, argues to the contrary, citing the detail given in the narrative occurs in real time. Abraham entertains real guests, not figments of his imagination. Beyond that, Ramban regarded all the midrashic stories mentioned in rabbinic tradition as having occurred.
Ramban also did not believe in the existence of “natural law” and that God is literally micromanaging all of His Creation, tweaking it from time to time. “God is constantly and directly involved in every human act and thought and frequently interferes and even controls them. He calls these divine manipulations ‘hidden miracles.’” This concept is fascinating, but Maimonides differed, arguing that God’s Providence over nature does not extend to a leaf falling from a tree, or whether every minor event operates with a special imperative from God.
Along the same line of thought, Ramban believed demons are the product of sorcery, and possess bodies composed of air and fire, which enable them to take flight. are familiar with future events because they communicate with the angels in charge of the stars. More seriously, Ramban takes indirect aim at Maimonides by asserting anyone who does not believe in demonic beings suffers from a heretical attitude toward the world. According to Ramban, if you believe in miracles, then you ought to believe demonic beings exist as well. Elsewhere, Ramban writes:
It is from this standpoint that you can come to realize the ruthlessness and stubbornness of the principal Greek Philosopher Aristotle—may his name be erased from memory—who denies the truth of many things which we have seen and has been publicized throughout the world. In Mosaic times, these truths were known to all for the wisdom of that generation pertained to spiritual matters, e.g., entities involving the demonic and sorcery. However, when the Greeks arose, Aristotle believed only in what the physical sciences could confirm. In his effort to establish the scientific disciplines, he denied the realm of the spiritual. Aristotle denied the existence of demons and all magical acts. For him, the world operated solely by natural law. But it is well-known and shown that this is not the case at all. 
Maimonides considered such a perspective to be superstitious nonsense, and never does he endorse such a belief in demonology throughout all his writings, which are considerable.
The reader will find the material presented in this book fascinating. Nachmanides may not be necessarily correct in all of his claims, but as an expounder of the peshat (plain meaning of the text), readers will feel challenged to debate his position with other great ideas expressed by Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and other famous Judaic luminaries.
I really enjoyed reading Nachmanides: An Unusual Thinker, and I know you will too.
This book merits a 5 star rating from this reviewer.
Ramban’s Commentary to Leviticus 17:7. Ramban’s description of demons is almost identical with the Muslim belief in Jinn (الجن, al-jinn) who are shape-shifting spirits composed of fire and air.
CHULA VISTA, California — It might surprise most people to know that ecological themes form an important part of the Torah and Tanakh.
Genesis begins with an important ecological truth: “The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it” (Gen. 2:15).
When the Holy Blessed One created the first man, He took him and led him around all the trees of the Garden of Eden, and said to him, ‘Behold My works, how beautiful and commendable they are! All that I have created, for your sake I created it. Pay heed that you do not corrupt and destroy My world. For if you spoil her, there will be nobody to repair her after you. -Eccles. Rabbah 7:20
This Midrashic interpretation highlights the importance of stewardship, not only for the Garden of Eden, but for our taking care of the earth, God’s garden. By taking care of the primordial garden, Adam learns to recognize that all of life is God’s unique design, endowed with spirit, consciousness, and intelligence. Adam’s respect for Creation makes him realize that the human species is a part of the great web of life, which he must nurture for the world to be self-sustaining and productive. Indeed, the degradation of the environment damages the original balance that Adam and his progeny must maintain. Through toil, Adam would realize how all of Creation depends on the Divine as the source of life for its sustenance and continued existence.
Understanding the implications of Adam’s stewardship is vital for our contemporary society. The science of ecology has shown how ecosystems of the world are delicately balanced; should human beings ruin them through abusive acts (ecocide), future generations will have to endure the consequences. Through work and stewardship, humankind comes to emulate God’s own work and creativity as Imitatio Dei (imitation of God). It was the divine intent from the beginning for humankind to elevate and ennoble itself by work, and elevate Creation to the realm of the spirit, leading all Creation in song and joyous exaltation of the Divine. Note that God intended to make Adam not a “master” over the Garden of Eden, but its caretaker and steward. Once Adam forgets that he is only a steward of the garden, the boundaries established by the Creator became unclear and ultimately violated.
The midrashic writers expressed a profound intuition—one that still resonates with wisdom—even today. Chief Seattle, in a meeting that took place in 1854 with the “The Great White Chief” in Washington, is purported to have replied:
“How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? Every part of the Earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clear and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap, which courses through the trees, carries the memory and experience of my people.
The white man’s dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful Earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the Earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle—these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and the man, all belong to the same family.
The rivers are our brothers for they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes and feed our children. … The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath ‑ the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath. Teach your children what we have taught our children that the Earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. This we know—the Earth does not belong to man—man belongs to the Earth. This we know. All things are interconnected like the blood, which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth—befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life—he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
Back to the present:
We have all seen or heard about the news in Brazil, as the Amazon Rain Forest has gone up in flames. The Amazon Rain Forest is purported to provide 20% of the world’s oxygen—a necessary ingredient for our planetary survival.
The Brazilian government has tried to exploit the Amazon forest for decades, but recently industrialists have promoted a policy of deforesting their country. On Friday, the governments of the international community exerted pressure on the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, who decided to mobilize his military to contain the blazes.
As a chorus of condemnation intensified, Brazil braced for the prospect of punitive measures that could severely damage an economy that is already sputtering after a brutal recession. The country’s populist besieged president faces a withering reckoning–especially at the polls, come next election.
Regardless what position people have concerning global warming, I for one believe that we ought to err on the side of caution. But I do not believe that we ought to spend trillions of dollars to prevent it by a degree or two.
Consider the Land of Israel.
What can we do about global warming? Mark Twain once wrote after touring the Holy Land in the 19th century that he was amazed at how desolate the land of Israel was. In a moment of inspiration, Twain said that the people who care for the land will someday make it bloom once more.
Israel to this day has planted over 200 million trees in forests and woodlands covering some 300,000 acres. Tese trees provide Israelis with a wide range of opportunities for outdoor recreation and appreciation of nature.
The Israeli people have made the desert bloom. In addition, Israel has developed the most effective water-management systems and a sustained prosperous economy even under relatively harsh climatic conditions. It has prevented the overexploitation of natural resources, which otherwise would have driven the land toward desolation, producing severe land degradation, erosion, and salination.
Since its establishment in 1948, the State of Israel has embraced issues of sustainable land management and has adopted public policies designed to restore, develop, and manage its natural resources. Outside of Israel, about 240 million trees have been planted, particularly in the Mediterranean and semi-arid regions. Regulations have been introduced to control grazing and ensure effective water management. Due to these activities, Israel is one of the few countries in the world that has more trees now than it had a century ago.
Now why is Israel’s example so important? Replanting the planet with billions of trees all over the globe will not only beautify our world, it will contribute dramatically toward the absorption of carbon emissions. According to some studies, we need not knock down cities or takie over farms or natural grasslands. Reforested pieces could add up to new tree cover totaling just about the area of the United States, researchers report in the July 5 Science.
Can we do better? Of course. Israel’s example has demonstrated just how effective such an approach can be. This approach can contain greenhouse gases. It is a method that will not destroy our society. Combined with other common-sense measures, we can ensure the world will be a beautiful place for future generations.
One day Honi was journeying on the road and he saw a man planting a carob tree. He asked, “How long does it take for this tree to bear fruit?” The man replied: “Seventy years.” Honi asked him: “Old man! Are you certain that you will live another seventy years?” The man replied: “I found already grown carob trees in the world; as my forefathers planted those for me so I too plant these for my children” (BT Ta’anit 23b).
This past week, the American flag became a focal point as we celebrated the Fourth of July. The Wall Street Journal reported how NIKE was forced to recall a show that featured the “Betsy Ross” flag on the back of the shoe. Collin Kaepernick who signed a multi-million-dollar sponsorship with NIKE was upset that NIKE featured the flag, which he regarded as “offensive” because of its connection to an era of slavery. The flag could be construed as a symbol of approval for slavery, white nationalism, and white supremacy.
NIKE withdrew the shoe.
a pity, I was looking forward to purchasing the shoe!
Democratic candidates Julian Castro and Beto Rourke defended Kaepernick’s
is a pity NIKE did not sort this potential problem out in the designing stage.
They probably will lose many customers over this late decision.
the morning of the Fourth of July, Kaepernick tweeted a quotation from one of
the greatest black leaders of the Civil Rights era, Frederick Douglass. Douglass
was in many respects like the Martin Luther King of his time. He was a
brilliant orator; he was a moral voice of our great nation’s conscience., Kaepernick’s
message read, “‘What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national
independence? This Fourth of July is yours, not mine…There is not a nation on
the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloodier than are the people of
these United States at this very hour.’”
speech is riveting, and in it, Douglass spoke about the growing pains of the
nation; he expressed optimism that our country would grow from its bitter
experiences with slavery. He mentioned how the institution of slavery
challenged the sacred Bill of Rights and the moral teachings of the
Kaepernick cherry-picked the parts of the speech that reflected his personal
animus toward our country’s history.
I later wrote about this in my blog and I was
surprised to see that Sen. Ted Cruz mentioned some of the same points I raised.
You quote a mighty and historic speech by the great
abolitionist Frederick Douglass, but, without context, many modern readers will
misunderstand. Two critical points: This speech was given in 1852, before the
Civil War, when the abomination of slavery still existed. Thanks to Douglass
and so many other heroes, we ended that grotesque evil and have made enormous
strides to protecting the civil rights of everybody.
Douglass was not anti-American; he was, rightly and
passionately, anti-slavery. Indeed, he concluded the speech as follows: “Allow
me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day
presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There
are forces in operation, which must inevitably, work the downfall of slavery.
‘The arm of the Lord is not shortened,’ and the doom of slavery is certain. I,
therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from
‘the Declaration of Independence,’ the great principles it contains, and the
genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious
tendencies of the age.”
The Civil War took
place between 1861-1865. Over 600,000 soldiers died so that slavery would
disappear from our country forever. It is a pity Kaepernick never acknowledged
this fact. Douglass knew that in time our country would learn valuable lessons
about the evils of this institution.
But there was also
something important that Cruz left out that could have made his point stronger.
The citation comes from Douglass’s writings that reflects mightily about his
magnanimous personality. I mentioned this letter in a Yom Kippur sermon I gave
In a letter from Frederick Douglass to his
former master, he wrote on September 3rd, 1849:
I shall no longer regard you as an enemy to freedom, nor to
myself — but shall hail you as a friend to both. — Before doing so, however, I
have one reasonable request to make of you, with which you will, I hope,
comply. It is thus: That you make your conversion to anti-slavery known to the
world, by precept as well as example.
It would be truly an interesting and a glorious spectacle to
see master and slave, hand in hand, laboring together for the overthrow of
American slavery. I am
sure that such an example would tell with thrilling effect upon the public mind
of this section. We have already had the example of slaves and slaveholders
side by side battling for freedom; but we yet lack a master working by the side
of his former slave on the anti-slavery platform.
You have it in your power to supply this deficiency; and if
you can bring yourself to do so, you will attain a larger degree of happiness
for yourself, and will confer a greater blessing on the cause of freedom, than
you have already done by the generous act of emancipating your own slaves.
With the example before me, I shall not despair of yet having
the pleasure of giving you the right hand of fellowship on the anti-slavery
In his age, Frederick
Douglass was the closest thing to a modern biblical prophet who chastised a
nation that had forgotten about its ethical obligations to promote, life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness for all of its citizens.
Our country has
come a long way in eradicating many—if not most—of the indecencies that led to slavery.
I will just
conclude with an excerpt from a speech Douglass gave at the end of the war. His
words remain today just as prophetic as they always have been.
Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it
early of the abolitionists, “What shall we do with the Negro?” I have
had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us
has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will
not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the
core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for
tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if
they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his
own legs, let him fall also.
All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let
him alone! If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, don’t disturb
him! If you see him going to the dinner table at a hotel, let him go! If you
see him going to the ballot- box, let him alone, don’t disturb him! [Applause.]
If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone,—your interference is
doing him a positive injury. Gen. Banks’ “preparation” is of a piece
with this attempt to prop up the Negro. Let him fall if he cannot stand alone!
If the Negro cannot live by the line of eternal justice, so beautifully
pictured to you in the illustration used by Mr. Phillips, the fault will not be
yours, it will be his who made the Negro, and established that line for his
[Applause.] Let him
live or die by that. If you will only untie his hands, and give him a chance, I
think he will live. He will work as readily for himself as the white man. A
great many delusions have been swept away by this war. One was, that the Negro
would not work; he has proved his ability to work. Another was, that the Negro
would not fight; that he possessed only the most sheepish attributes of
humanity; was a perfect lamb, or an “Uncle Tom;” disposed to take off
his coat whenever required, fold his hands, and be whipped by anybody who
wanted to whip him. But the war has proved that there is a great deal of human
nature in the Negro, and that “he will fight,” as Mr. Quincy, our
President, said, in earlier days than these, “when there is reasonable
probability of his whipping anybody.” [Laughter and applause.]
To Collin Kaepernick,
I would say that you of all people have benefited from the sacrifices many
great people of our society have made during the Civil War and after the Civil
War. Instead of invoking the sins of the past as though our whole country is mired
in the Original Sin of slavery, remember what Douglass said that every person must
stand or fall on his own merits or failings.
toward our country only serves to keep the wounds of the past forever fresh.
The men who died
in the Civil War deserve to be remembered why they died and why their ultimate
sacrifice created a new era of possibility for everyone in our great nation.
CHULA VISTA, California — One of the Democratic candidates running for President is Cory Booker, the former Newark mayor who later was elected to the U.S. Senate. Booker has had a long relationship with the Jewish community. He once headed Jewish student societies while a student at the University at Oxford and at Yale. He has close ties with pro-Israel groups.
This is a man who has given a sermon on the weekly parsha.
Once Jeffrey Goldberg retold a conversation between Booker and his daughter, who was then preparing for her bat mitzvah. He asked her, “What’s your parasha?” The young girl replied that it was “Parshat Vayera” from Genesis. Without missing a beat, Booker gave a drasha on the lessons we can learn from Abraham trying to save the two sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
When I first heard this story, I began paying attention to Booker.
I wanted to know more about him.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was once a good friend of his. How did he describe Booker? He said that the man is “Possessed of an insatiable spiritual curiosity utterly unexpected from a star who has risen through the rough-and-tumble of Jersey politics, Cory is a man permanently in search of inspiration, to both discover and dispense it.”
Booker appealed to many Jews, then something bad happened. In his quest to be a popular politician, he made the mistake of trying to be all things to all people. In fact, he reminds me of Paul the Apostle, who in a rare moment of honesty, admitted his aim in winning souls for Christ:
Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law—to win over those under the Law. To those outside the Law I became like one outside the Law—though I am not outside God’s law but within the law of Christ—to win over those outside the Law. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it. Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win.
Paul and Al Davis both believed in winning—regardless of what it took; the former owner of the Oakland Raiders became famous when he said, “Just win Baby.” I suspect that Cory Booker probably has a similar philosophy.
And in politics, the rule of political expediency is the only enduring life philosophy that matters
This means a good politician must sometimes make a deal with the devil himself.
But a man of principle and moral courage must never succumb to that temptation. Booker forgot that even Satan tempted Jesus, but he failed. That’s how a moral person deals with evil people. Just say, “NO!”
Boteach’s incisive words are worth quoting:
But then came the Iran nuclear agreement and Cory’s support of it and the beginning of a downward spiral in his support for Israel that undermined much of our friendship and the Jewish community’s admiration for him. Nearly every time I attend a public event, people walk over to me and ask, “Why did Cory oppose the Taylor Force Act – which stops the funding of Palestinian terrorists – in Senate committee?” “Why did Cory condemn the moving of the American Embassy to Jerusalem?” And, “Why did Cory take a picture with BDS leaders who demand the removal of Israel’s wall that prevents suicide bombings?”
Booker’s loyalty to the liberal wing of the Democratic Party does not consider Israel an important ally; the power elite of the DNC expects Booker to tow the party line—even if it means going against the Jewish community; even if means going against the State of Israel.
Booker supported the Obama deal with Iran, despite Iran’s promise to wipe Israel off the map. And while I want to condemn Booker for a lack of courage, the Jewish Democrats who supported Obama’s dangerous gambit are even more guilty than Booker.
And as if these political compromises were not bad enough, Booker announced he was willing to meet with the infamous anti-Semite, Louis Farrakhan—the leader of the Nation of Islam.
Perhaps Booker has forgotten about Farrakhan’s admiration of Hitler.
Perhaps Booker has forgotten about Farrakhan’s Jewish “Termite Problem.”
Farrakhan has called Jews “satanic” on several occasions; he praised Hitler as a “great man.” He believes that the Jews are out to “control” the world. He believes the Jews are responsible for the transatlantic slave trade.
Farrakhan is a fountain of anti-Semitism.
William J. H. Boetcker once wrote, “A man is judged by the company he keeps, and a company is judged by the men it keeps, and the people of Democratic nations are judged by the type and caliber of officers they elect.”
Cory Booker, I wish to offer these personal words of admonition: Your behavior has proven that you are a politically expedient man—a real politician.
Meeting with the enemies of the Jewish people, and state-sponsored terrorist governments against Israel has shown why you should never be elected to any office, much less the Presidency.
Some of the most embarrassing mistakes that occur in human communication, happen when people experience an unfortunate “slip of the tongue.” The words come out differently than what we consciously intend for them to mean.
Sigmund Freud was a remarkable man whose
interests spanned across the psychological spectrum—often touching upon the
areas of communication and humor. Freud stressed that the “slip of the tongue”
may seem inadvertent, and yet, it can reveal much about the speaker’s
unconscious thought or attitude. To the attentive listener, “a slip of the
tongue” may reveal more what is in the actual heart of the speaker, which the
speaker might under normal circumstances, consciously try to avoid disclosing.
While Freud believed most “slips of the
tongue” are usually sexual in nature because they reveal deeply repressed
desires from a person’s subconscious. Jung concurred and added that slips of
slips of the tongue, as well as slips of
the pen reveal the presence of hidden psychic material just beneath the surface
of everyday language.
And while our language is full of such
expressions, and the awkwardness of these expressions. I recall reading a
biblical commentary where the author accidentally wrote “martial strife”
instead of “marital strife,” the slip up produced a measure of amusement among
the readers—who thought “martial strife” was a call to arms!
The reason I mentioned this is because in
the news today when Representative Rashida Tlaib made a comment about the
Holocaust and its impact upon her: “There’s always kind of a calming feeling I
tell folks when I think of the Holocaust . . .”
Let us read the rest of the citation in its
“There’s always kind of a calming feeling I tell folks when I
think of the Holocaust and the fact that it was my ancestors — Palestinians —
who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human
dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people’s
passports. And just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven
for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of
Jews across the world at that time. And I love the fact that it was my
ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways. But they did it in a way
that took their human dignity away and it was forced on them.
How could Rashid mention “Holocaust” and, “calming
feeling” in the same sentence? Had Trump made that statement, the entire
Congress would crucify him in the press.
Let us briefly put the “slip of the tongue” statement aside and for argument’s sake—let us give her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she did not mean for her words to come out the way they did. After all, English is not her native language. For now, let us forget about that unfortunate remark.
Anyone listening to her
might be inclined to think the Palestinians acted in a perfectly loving manner
toward the Jewish settlers of Palestine. Historically, virtually never the case.
The Palestinian leadership was under the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin
al-Husseini, the influential leader of the Arabs in Palestine. During the war,
he moved to Germany and met Adolf Hitler, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Heinrich
Himmler. He met with other Nazi leaders in an attempt to coordinate Nazi and
Arab policies in the Middle East. The following is a record of a conversation
between the Fuhrer and al-Husseini in the Presence of Reich Foreign Minister
and Minister Grobba in Berlin. The Mufti
used his charisma to popular appeal to Arab countries to enlist in German
effort to defeat the West. Sharing a mutual antipathy for the Jewish people,
the English, and the Communists—the Mufti worked to create an Arab Legion to
help the Nazis in the Balkans.
The Nazis and the
Islamo-Jihadists shared a common vision of the world—a world without Jews. Nazi
war criminals often found refuge in the Arab countries where they became
celebrities and had the status of rock stars.
The real problem with Talib’s statement is that the Arabs in Palestine (later to be referred to after the 1967 war as “Palestinians” completely supported Hitler’s attempt to rid the world of Jews. Not only did the Arabs in Palestine support the German extermination of Jews, but they also violently resisted the creation of a Jewish state.
Even before the Holocaust, the
Arabs of Palestine did not get along well with the Jewish settlers;
There was a massacre that occurred in Jerusalem, 1920.
Jews were massacred in Hebron in 1929
Another massacre took place in Safed in 1929.
In Jaffa, 1921,
Since the birth of Israel,
there has been a relentless campaign of terror aimed at the most vulnerable
members of the Jewish community. Many of the people Rashid admires are people
who have killed the elderly, women, and children. One of those persons is the
Palestinian activist Abbas Hamidah, a Palestinian who is one of Hezbollah’s staunchest
defenders. He posed with Talaib at her swearing-in ceremony after
she won the election in Detroit.
In December 2015, Hamideh called convicted
terrorist Samir Kuntar a “legendary Hezbollah martyr,” days after he was killed
in an explosion in Damascus. Among the victims Kuntar killed was a young four-year
old girl named Elinat, whose skull he smashed on beach rocks.
Rashid’s admiration for Louis Farrakhan, as
seen in an op-ed she had written in a paper, and her defense of her fellow freshman
representative Ilhan Omar’s (D., Minn.) anti-Semitic remarks — after last
Yes, Rashida’s friends are
the kind of people Hitler would be proud to have on his team. In addition, we
must forget how Tlaib tweeted to her colleague. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), about
Jews “buying Congress,” and promoted the notion that “supporters of Israel were
guilty of dual loyalty”. These are classical anti-Semitic tropes.
And it is for this reason I
do not believe Tlaib’s claim that her family helped save Jews during the
Holocaust, I am inclined to doubt her authenticity. The reason is simple. When
she first ran in Michigan for office, she had numerous interactions with the
Jewish community. Why did she not mention this biographical information about
herself when she was soliciting their support for her candidacy?
Now it is true that there were Muslims in the Balkans and in Morocco who helped saved the Jews of their communities—but this was not the case in Palestine. No amount of wishful thinking can alter the fact that the Arab population remained determined to keep the Jews out of Palestine.
For all the reasons mentioned above, Talib’s statements ought to be viewed with skepticism. This is not the first time anti-Semites like her have tried to deceive the Jewish community.
Sometimes, wisdom tales of the past have a way of speaking to us in the present. And although we often think of ourselves a product of the present, in reality, our personal narrative is inextricably connected to those who have preceded us from the past. This especially true when observing Jewish history. By the same token, future generations of Jews will be profoundly affected by the choices we make as Jews today.
Toward the end of the second century C.E., the great Talmudic sage, Rabbi Akiba, lived under the harsh yoke of Roman oppression. Notwithstanding the dangers Jews faced, he boldly defied the Roman ban on studying and publicly teaching Torah. He once used the following parable about a fox to explain why he did so:
A hungry fox once trotted alongside a river teeming with fish. As the fish darted back and forth, the fox came up with a subterfuge to win the fishes’ attention. The fox exclaimed, “What’s going on?” he called to the fish. “The fisherman is coming with his nets!” came a garbled reply. “I’ve got an idea!” the crafty fox hollered. “Leap out of the water and join me on the riverbank. There are no nets here.” “You’re not so bright, are you?” came the scornful reply. “If we remain here, we may or may not get caught. But if we leave the water, we will die!” Rabbi Akiba said, “The Romans may or may not take my life, but I cannot abandon the Torah, much like a fish cannot give up living in the water.”
But doing nothing is no longer an option.
Verily, every battle against the reality of evil is not limited to just the physical plane we occupy. There is also a spiritual battle that we must engage in. Specifically, if we allow our enemies to frighten us from attending the synagogue, then we have given them a victory they do not deserve. Judaism cannot survive, much less thrive, in such a fearful environment. The first-century Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria offers us this tidbit of advice, “Cowardice a disease. It poses a far graver threat since it affects not only the body but also destroys the faculties of the soul, unless God heals the person of this condition, for with God all things are possible to Him.”
As I thought about the misery, we have seen this past year, where many Jews have suffered for the crime of being Jewish, it is important to keep in mind this recent shooting occurred in the week of Yom HaShoah—Holocaust Memorial Day. And although the face of anti-Semites has changed, their dark character reveals that much of the “civilized” world has not learned any wisdom from one of the darkest periods of human and Jewish history. Even here in the United States, according to the Pew Reports, a third of the American population is not sure whether the Holocaust ever occurred. We have also witnessed a resurgence of hatred in Poland, Germany, the Ukraine, in Russia.
From a theological perspective, the legion of attacks against the Jews raises a question that I am certain many of us have wondered about: What does it mean to be God’s “Chosen People”? My grandfather, Moshe Samuel, on the way to the crematoria said to my father, “God, if we are Your “Chosen People, then why don’t you choose somebody else for a change?” In moments of great evil, even the most pious can sometimes experience doubt about their faith. Sholem Aleichem also had Tevye express this same question in Fiddler on the Roof.
I believe that as Jews we have a moral purpose to teach the nations of the world about ethical monotheism—i.e., the belief that we must treat each person with the dignity that each person deserves. But Judaism is also more than just a religion of ethics—even if its ethical monotheism. It is a spiritual way of life that summons us to live with dignity, inspires us to sanctify the most ordinary of relationships—toward each other, toward our environment, toward the world; our faith summons us to be hopeful, and courageous when it comes to sticking together during rough times.
This time of the year, let us honor Lori Gilbert-Kaye’s courageous sacrifice by keeping strong the synagogue institution she so deeply loved. Our condolences go out to and her family, to Rabbi Goldstein, and to all those who were directly affected by the attack.
As Jews we have walked this way before in our history. As of this moment, remember each of us is making Jewish history.
What will our legacy be as the future generations of Jews read about our experiences and how we reacted? Will we be remembered for the strength we exuded in standing together as previous generations have done?
The answer is up to each and every one of you.
I encourage each Jewish person to make this Shabbat a Shabbat where we celebrate our Judaism—even as we travel through the Valley of Darkness, knowing full well, that God is with us.
One of my congregants posed an interesting question that we ought to consider asking: What would Rev Martin Luther King Jr. have said about the Poway synagogue shooting? It is an important question—not just for members of the Jewish community, but also for the African-American community as well.
life, King proved to be a close friend of the Jewish community. He often noted
the similarities existing between Jews and African-Americans. Both groups
experienced hatred, prejudice, attacks from those wishing to harm them; both
peoples worked together to overcome that hatred.
In this short
article, I will briefly touch on some of my favorite quotes Martin Luther King
Jr concerning what it is the Jewish and non-Jewish community is up against. Simply
put, we are fighting for the soul of our nation. Many of King’s quotes
highlight the warm feelings he felt for the Jewish people and the State of
King proved to be
a relentless foe against anti-Semitism and racism. He observed that the Hitler
archetype is alive and well—even in the United States.
There are Hitlers loose in America today, both in high and low
places… As the tensions and bewilderment of economic problems become more
severe, history(‘s) scapegoats, the Jews, will be joined by new scapegoats, the
Negroes. The Hitlers will seek to divert people’s minds and turn their
frustration and anger to the helpless, to the outnumbered. Then whether the
Negro and Jew shall live in peace will depend upon how firmly they resist, how
effectively they reach the minds of the decent Americans to halt this deadly
“Some have bombed the homes and churches of
Negroes; and in recent acts of inhuman barbarity, some have bombed your
synagogues — indeed, right here in Florida.”
Three months later, on Oct. 12, 1958, The Temple in Midtown Atlanta was bombed.
When I came across this news, I was surprised to see that targeting synagogues
is by no means a new phenomenon; it has happened before—many times, in fact.
Because of the Jewish
advocacy for civil rights, between November 1957, and October 1958, there were
bombings and attempted bombings in seven Jewish communities in the South. North
Carolina had two such incidents; there were two more in Florida, and one in Tennessee
and Georgia (where Atlanta’s Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple sustained
almost $200,000 in damages in the last of the 11-month rash of attacks).
Alabama synagogues were also targeted—particularly, Temple Beth-El of Birmingham’s
was a bombing target on April 28, 1958. Fortunately, weather conditions fizzled
the fuse—one minute before it would have detonated. Experts said the explosion
would have killed scores of people. The bomb itself was said to be three times
more powerful than the one that would kill four young black girls at 16th
Street Baptist Church in 1963. It could have demolished not only the synagogue,
by also several nearby structures.
King respected the
danger the Jewish community put itself in for championing civil rights. At the
Rabbinical Assembly Convention of 1968, King observed, “Probably more than any
other ethnic group, the Jewish community has been sympathetic and has stood as
an ally to the Negro in his struggle for justice.”
On October 27,
1967, at a Civil Rights rally in Boston, King boldly said, “When people
criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!”
criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism!”
In 1958, King
spoke to the American Jewish Committee, and pointed out, “My people were
brought to America in chains. Your people were driven here to escape the chains
fashioned for them in Europe. Our unity is born of our common struggle for
centuries, not only to rid ourselves of bondage, but to make oppression of any
people by others an impossibility.”
King loved to
write about the Israelites experience in Egypt and its moral message for the
African-American individual. For me, one of King’s most memorable sermons he
presented a sermon on the subject, “The Death of Evil upon the Seashore.”
King’s comments vividly portray the flight of Hebrew slaves from Egypt: He
Egypt symbolized evil in the form of humiliating oppression,
ungodly exploitation, and crushing domination.” But then, the wonderful event
occurred, and ‘when the Israelites looked back, all they could see was here and
there a poor drowned body beaten upon the seashore.’ For the Israelites, this
was a great moment… It was a joyous daybreak that had come to end the long
night of their captivity . . . The meaning of this story is not found in the
drowning of Egyptian soldiers, for no one should rejoice at the death or defeat
of a human being. Rather, this story symbolizes the death of evil and of
inhuman oppression and unjust exploitation.
“We’ve got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh
wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite
formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among
themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in
Pharaoh’s court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get
together, that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain
This last remark
is what we need to remember when combatting anti-Semitism. Today, anti-Semitic
attacks seem to becoming fashionable once more in our society. We need to root
out the intolerance that is affecting our society. This approach offers the
best medicine for the hatred we are witnessing in the world today, as Jews in
the 21st century experience a resurging anti-Semitism.
Evil people will
always exist, but we must do our part to thwart them.
On a personal
note, Martin Luther King’s heroism inspired me to decide becoming a rabbi when
I was barely fourteen years old.
 Cited from Marc Schneier, Shared
Dreams: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Jewish Community (Woodstock VT:
Jewish Lights Publishing, 1999), p. 35.
 Martin Luther, Clayborne Carson (ed.), The
Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Volume IV: Symbol of the Movement, January
1957-December 1958 (Berkeley: University of California Press; First edition,
2000), p. 408.
Congresswoman Ilan Omar never ceases to surprise us with the countless inane claims she makes on a daily basis. In one of her more interesting canards, she claimed that “Jesus was a Palestinian.”
One might imagine that she will soon claim that the Israelites were also really Palestinians, and that the God gave Moses the Quran on Mount Sinai.
Her ignorance of the ancient history of Judea is mind-numbing.
We ought to ask the more obvious question. What inspired Omar to make this unusual claim about Jesus being a Palestinian? Just one day before Omar’s tweet appeared, a writer named Eric V. Copage wrote an article, “As a Black Child in Los Angeles, I Couldn’t Understand Why Jesus Had Blue Eyes,” he wondered: Why did Christian artists typically portray Jesus as though he had blue eyes? After all, he reasoned, “Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was most likely a Palestinian man with dark skin.”
And while I might agree that the European depictions of Jesus as having blue eyes is doubtful, it is surprising that Copage assumed that Jesus was a “Palestinian.” The writer obviously is unfamiliar with ancient history. The myth that “Jesus was a Palestinian” can be traced back to the days of Yasser Arafat, when his trusted Christian-Palestinian adviser Hanan Ashrawi made the outlandish claim.
The Christian scholar Michael Brown said something that I must agree with, “Let’s set the record straight. Jesus was a Galilean Jew, not a Palestinian Muslim. He celebrated Passover, not Ramadan, and he was called “Rabbi” not “Imam.” His followers were named Yaakov and Yochanan and Yehudah, not Muhammad and Abdullah and Khalid.”
Surprisingly, it took one week for the NYT to correct the record,
Frankly, I am surprised Copage and Omar did not also claim that “Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Palestinians.’”
It seems at first blush that Omar read Copage’s article and assumed the New York Times must be correct, and without a second thought, she published her tweet on the following day. Omar must have been perplexed by the reaction she received; might be probably more astonished by how the NYT would later print a retraction one week later after the original article appeared on April 26th, 2019. It read, “Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to Jesus’s background. While he lived in an area that later came to be known as Palestine, Jesus was a Jew who was born in Bethlehem.”
There are many ways of viewing this story. So, in the spirit of Socratic dialogue and Freudian analysis, let us ask the obvious question: Why should the Times care? For one thing, it is commonly asserted among Palestinian “historians” that the Jews are not really indigenous to the Middle East, but are descendants of a European people are known as the “Khazars,” who lived in the 8th century in present-day Russia.
Admitting that the Jews have a legitimate history or claim on the Land of Israel that antedates the rise of Islam is something Palestinians do their best to avoid. In East Jerusalem, Muslims have done their best to destroy any archaeological remnants indicating the presence of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem dating back to the First Temple period.
Most readers of the NYT, and most Jewish readers, in general, are unfamiliar with the real objective that Omar shares with her brethren from the Palestinian, Taliban, and ISIS movements—promotes the systematic destruction of ancient, non-Islamic civilizations.
In 2001, the Taliban in Afghanistan shocked the world when their armies blew up the gigantic, statues of Buddha, nearly 50 meters tall. Their justification? They regarded the statues as a violation of the prohibition in against the worship of idols. Protests by both the West and Afghans fell on deaf ears.
In the interest of brevity, let us examine several examples we have seen in the last two decades. In 2015, ISIS singlehandedly destroyed the ancient Roman city of Palmyra in Syria.
In August 2015, ISIS destroyed a fifth-century Christian monastery in the Syrian town of Qaryatain, claiming that the monastery was “worshipped without God.”
In 2013, more than, Palestinians orchestrated over 200 terror attacks at Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, where the Jewish matriarch Rachel is said to be buried—119 of those attacks included the use of explosives at the sacred site.
In September 2015, Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus was also singled out by Palestinians for destruction—despite the fact, this area is governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which is bound by the 1993 Oslo accords to apprehend terrorists and prevent attacks.
The ISIS is very proud of their achievements. In their films documenting the destruction of the Mosul Museum and Nineveh, their film begins with the following statement:
Oh Muslims, the remains that you see behind me are the idols of peoples of previous centuries, which were worshipped instead of Allah. The Assyrians, Akkadians, and others took for themselves gods of rain, of agriculture, and of war, and worshipped them along with Allah, and tried to appease them with all kinds of sacrifices… Since Allah commanded us to shatter and destroy these statues, idols, and remains, it is easy for us to obey, and we do not care [what people think], even if they are worth billions of dollars.
More recently in France, the French Catholic community has been in a state of shock over the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral. However, we must not lose sight of the fact there have over 1,063 incidents of vandalism against 875 of France’s 42,258 churches since 2018.
he fire to the iconic church, however, may have raised awareness to a rash of vandalism to French churches. A total of 875 of France’s 42,258 churches were vandalized in 2018, with a small fire set to the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris in March, according to French police. Statues of Mother Mary have been discovered decapitated, another 129 churches had thefts on their property with still another 59 cemeteries vandalized.
In summary, Jihadi Islam has a goal to eradicate the religious symbols and sacred places of all the peoples it considers “pagan” or “heretical.” It is an assault on history is no less evident in how Ilan Omar and her NYT cohorts misrepresent history. As a civilized people, we cannot stand by and say nothing while this attempt to destroy civilization—ancient and modern—continues on.