Thursday, January 27, 2011

Antisemite blog trolls

"A Dialogue with a Troll" (Fringe Watch, January 26, 2011) recounts a combox incident attendant to our post, "Our brilliant dismal education results" (January 2, 2011), and begins by observing:
There's nothing like a blog-post about Israel to bring the loons out of the woodwork. So when Dr. Philip Blosser (aka. Pertinacious Papist) circulated a video demonstrating UCLA college students' appalling ignorance about Israel, it came as no suprise that his comments box would be infested by a troll.
All-too-often certain anti-semitic rad-trads, animated by the discovery that bad things are said about Jesus in the Talmud (a loose conglomeration of commentary on everything under the sun), assume that this gives them warrant for tarring all Jews as Christ-killers and sworn enemies of the Church -- which makes about as much sense as holding all white Americans responsible for the slave trade or holding all Germans responsible for Naziism, or holding all Italians responsible for Nero's execution of the Apostles Peter and Paul in ancient Rome. What they don't seem to know is that even these passages of the Talmud are strongly contested within the Jewish community.

Perhaps most appalling is the whole attitude that says 'let's dredge up the worst possible thing this or that Jew might have said about Christianity' and toss it into an internet conversation to stir the pot, as though it were a real argument. The poster's intent speaks for itself.

Another claim of the combox interloper calling for clarification is the 'Christians had it better under Saddam' statement. While we have called attention to the present plight of Chaldean Catholics in Iraq (see our post, "In Memoriam: Massacre of Chaldean Catholics in Iraq," Musings, November 21, 2010), we are also well-aware that those Catholics Iraqis who have lived or still live in Iraq are well-aware of the sufferings -- the torture, the rapes, the murders, the assassinations, the secret police under the previous administration -- on which the relative safety and security they enjoyed were sadly predicated. For an observer to smugly suggest that 'Christians had it better under Saddam' is akin to suggesting that the Germans might have "had it good" during the early days of the Third Reich. Such "observations" ultimately get us nowhere, but perhaps distract us from the real question: who are the oppressors and persecutors now?

The aforementioned Fringe Watch post does a thorough job of analyzing and debunking these common sorts of misconceptions. Topical headings of the post include: 1) Jesus in the Talmud; 2) Muslims or Jews - which are more hospitable to Christians? 3) What does it mean that Christians "had it better under Saddam Hussein?" Well worth the read.


24 comments:








paula

said...

Ignorance sometimes is very dangerous. We must know we have a lot to learn and be humble.
Before someone has the temptation of being antisemite he must remeber that Jesus was a Jew too.





Anon

said...

I watched the video a few weeks back. (For whatever reason youtube has removed it.) Certainly comments contained anti-Semitism. I do wonder however... if anti-Israel comments are also understood to be anti-Semitism?





Anon

said...

@paula

Jesus was certainly Jewish. Are today's Jews the same as the Jews of Jesus' time? On the topic of Judaism (religion... not ethnic/nationality)... can one say that there are still practicing Jews today?

My intention is to point out that the Judaism that Our Blessed Mother, and the Holy Family worshiped in... is now known as Catholicism.





George

said...

The claim that the Church is the new Israel is a long standing Christian claim. This religious or spiritual claim, though, doesn't serve to excuse anyone from giving the Jewish/secular state of Israel its just due as a political entity. What I am saying is that no matter what a person thinks of Israel or its religion, it deserves the same consideration of just and fair treatment as do the surrounding Arab states. No special treatment, good or bad. Just the justice that is its due.





Anon

said...

@George said: "...No special treatment, good or bad..."

I agree with this, and the rest of what George said.





Sheldon

said...

At the same time, I think it's only proper to recognize where there has been long-standing cooperation and good relations between countries, as there has been between the U.S. and Israel, as well as where the opposite has been the case, as has been the case between the U.S. and N. Korea.





scotju

said...

While not all Jews are sworn enemies of the Church, the Jewish culture created by the traditions of the (Pharisee) elders who opposed Jesus is anti-Christian. Books such as "Jesus In The Talmd", "Reckless Rites" and "Jewish Influence On Christian Reform Movements" show that culture is passively and actively against the Christian faith. As Christians, we should not hate those that hate us, but we should not go out of our way to avoid being labeled 'anti-semetic'. After all, if we are willing to acknowledge unpleasent truths about Islam, without being afraid of being called anti-Arab, we should be able to do the same with Jewish culture.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

Well-said, Scotju. Like George says, the principle should be one of fairness all around, and, I would add, charity. A good model would be the Holy Father himself in Vol. 1 of his Jesus of Nazareth, where he interacts uncompromisingly (but in charity) with the Jewish author, Jacob Neusner. in his book, A Rabbi Talks With Jesus. Neusner does not accept Christ's divinity, but unlike many other Jews, he reads the New Testament and struggles to understand it.

As to the party of the Pharisees, what Jesus opposed in it (and what we should oppose), is its hypocrisy and denial of Jesus Messianic ministry -- but NOT its theology as such. In the controversy between the Pharisees and Sadducees, Jesus endorsed the theology of the Pharisees, who taught the resurrection of the dead, real transcendence of God, etc., unlike the Sadducees.

In fact, in Matthew 23:2-3, Jesus tells his followers, remarkably: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do." Accordingly, He endorsed their official teaching (as he would doubtless endorse the teaching of our Magisterium), but not their practice, since they didn't practice what they preach (and we can draw the inference as to the state of the Church today).

But there should be no shadow of hatred of the Jewish people just because they are Jews and some of their ancestors cheered the crucifixion of Jesus, any more than African-Americans should despise whites just because they are white and some of their ancestors treated black slaves like property to be bought and sold, or worse.

There is an antisemitic vein in Catholic history that needs to be rooted out. As William N. Ewer penned, long ago:

How odd of God
To choose the Jews
But not so odd
As those who choose
The Jewish God
Yet spurn the Jews.

God bless, PB





Anon

said...

Pertinacious Papist,

Most of us can agree and antisemitism exist, and that it is wrong. I think it is important to also point out the more prevalent problem of Indifferntism towards the Jews that is rampant with many Catholics today.

Often times a good Catholic cannot do anything contrary to the indifferentism toward the Jews without being unjustly labeled as antisemitic.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

Anon.,

This is an interesting question. If you were a Jew agnostic about Jesus, wouldn't you prefer Catholic indifferentism to the progroms and hate speech in earlier European (and sometimes Lutheran and sometimes Catholic) history?

It seems that anything different from indifferentism could be either better or worse. I don't consider the traditional prayers for the conversion of Jews or evangelization of Jews worse. Good Jewish rabbis have acknowledged as much when they admitted that these are simply expressions of what Catholics understand to be a charitable desire to share the gift and joy of salvation. So if I don't consider these "worse," and pogroms and hate speech are "worse," then the question that I would have is this: What, in your opinion, would be "better" than indifferentism?





Anon

said...

PP,

Active prayer and sacrifice for the conversion of the Jews, and all mankind. That is the answer.

While you and I both (along with some good rabbis) do not see this as antisemitic action... unfortunately there are many Catholics, though indifferentism, who claim otherwise.

My experience is that there are far more indifferent Catholics (and Evangelical-end-timers), than there are antisemitic. This is no way suggests antisemitism as an answer to indifferentism.

While sins against Charity are without doubt despicable.... so also is encouraging others in their sins or false faith.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

Amen to that, my friend.





Ralph Roister-Doister

said...

Humiliation by means of concocted shame is a very potent weapon today. Groups who are -- or who find it advantageous to view themselves as -- victims have exploited this unjustly, as a political weapon. Jews have been quite adept at this type of exploitation. This is not to say that they have not been persecuted in the course of history, or that the Holocaust never occurred, or some other such flummery. It is merely to recognize that people who discover that they can gain traction by means of artifical humiliation, will do so -- frequently.

I am not a Nazi. I was not alive at the time of the Holocaust. Although I am of German ancestry, my family was Americanized in the 19th century, and my father fought against the Nazis at Anzio and Monte Cassino, and received a Purple Heart for stopping a piece of Nazi shrapnel with his body. Am I wrong to consider myself NOT responsible for the Holocaust? I think so, but that will not stop certain Jews from implying that, as a gentile, I must be ashamed of all wrongs visited upon Jews by gentiles from the dawn of time, and therefore have no right to oppose or question the judgment of Jews in any matter whatsoever.

This sort of crap artistry goes on every minute of every day. Kids make adults feel guilty for not buying them the toy du jour. Blacks make whites feel guilty for the slavery that many American whites shed copious amounts of blood to end. The third world makes the first world feel guilty for colonialism (even though the third world has proven itself far more vicious and efficient at reducing themselves in number than doltish European colonists ever were).

The ability to induce guilt in others gives you a political advantage. It is a power game.
Its also a sucker game, and in this diversity-embracing, tolerant-to-the-point-of-masochism day and age, suckers are as numerious as the leaves on the trees.





Anonymous

said...

In support of my previous point, readers are invited to peruse that shunned-as-if-leprous classic of Joseph Conrad, "The Nigger of the Narcissus."





Anonymous

said...

The loon is back. I posted with some trepidation last week, fully aware any suggestion Jewish and Israeli interests do not equate with those of Christians or Americans is the ultimate heresy. This is the thought crime that dare not speak its name! But "tarring all Jews as Christ-killers"? I mean, really.

Ears reddening, I stand by my statement. Yes, Iraqi Christians had it better under (former U.S. ally) Saddam Hussein. For a neocon observer (and one who obviously disdains Catholic notions of subsidiarity) to smugly suggest Christians--or, for that matter, Muslims--have it better under the perpetual U.S. regime of bombing, blockading and occupation is akin to suggesting that Russian and Ukrainian peasants had it good under the iron fist of FDR's beloved Uncle Joe Stalin, without whom Europe would have never been spared Hitler's unprecedented devastation (though it might have been spared Stalin's).

Of course, "such observations get us nowhere, but perhaps distract us from the real question": who are the occupiers and collateral damage now? *Pace* St. Paul, so long as the Benevolent Hegemon and "its special ally" are at the helm, it's perfectly reasonable to expect good (democracy and nation-building) to come from evil (shock-and-awe and brutal occupation).





Sheldon

said...

Ralph,

Even granting the point of your lengthy discourse in your last comment, which I happily grant, I would argue that some guilt feelings are well deserved, as in the case of unprovoked racial vituperation. It's one thing to assert that the German descendants of Nazis are innocent of the crimes of their ancestors, and another to argue that a contemporary bigot spouting venomous screed is innocent.

Anonymous Loon,

Antisemitic and anti-Israeli slurs may not be, as you rhetorically claim, the ultimate heresy, let alone the "thought crime that dare not speak its name." It seems to hold much more in common with the gay-lesbian lobby, whose "love that dare not speak its name" has become the love that will not shut up.

Look, I have no brief against any just criticisms of Israel. George is right about this, in my opinion. But give me one good reason why a Catholic should despise Israel and the Jews the way you seem to. Do we despise Egypt or Jordan or Lebanon or Syria or their inhabitants in that way? I surely do not. So why the Jews and Israel? Because, like us, they are a prosperous democracy?

And what's all this tripe suggesting that PP is a "neocon" who "disdains Catholic notions of subsidiarity," who "smugly" implies that the inhabitants of Iraq had it worse under Saddam, and leaping to outlandish comparisons from WWII and putting him in bed with Bush? All I saw him suggest is that those who enjoyed the relative "peace" under Saddam should be willing to look at the cost in police-state terrorism at which it was bought. I can't speak for whoever wrote "A Dialogue with a Troll," but since when is the definition of "neocon" "every person who disagrees with you"?





Pertinacious Papist

said...

Paula,

The issue may not be ignorance pure and simple, so much as ideology, which yields a certain kind of selective amnesia very akin to ignorance. What can one do? I suppose turning down the heat may help. Perhaps I should not have quoted the incendiary language about "anti-semites" and "trolls" from the Fringe Watch post. My fault there.





Ralph Roister-Doister

said...

Sheldon,

"a contemporary bigot spouting venomous screed"

To whom are you referring here? Someone in particular, or merely the caricature?

If you refer to the loon, I would have to disagree, to this extent: it does not seem unreasonable to me to claim that Iraqi Christians had it better under Saddam than under the current potemkin democracy, set in place almost entirely by America, and doomed almost certainly once American forces leave (if they ever do). Saddam clearly was no Muslim zealot, and it is not difficult for me to believe that he traded protection for compliance. In the present "democracy", in which rival imams and their thug followers scramble for power, no such protection can be guaranteed. I doubt that modern Iraq has ever been an earthly paradise for Christians, but it certainly is not so now.

The loon apparently has a larger bone to pick with the US, and I am not going to follow him there. I will say, however, that the confluence of US interests and those of international banks and corporations has become ever more transparent in my life time. As with the invincibly ignorant urge of the Church to embrace and "dialogue" with modern (largely Americanized) culture, the results have been disastrous.





Sheldon

said...

Ralph,

I went back to the original post just to be sure, since I realize I could have misread the "Loon" (in which case I would hasten to apologize).

I must say it's a bit confusing, since it appears that several individuals are posting under the name "Anonymous," making me wish people would stick with using their real name or consistently use the same moniker.

One "Anonymous" (which I originally took to be the self-styled "Loon") seems particularly hell-bent on painting Israel in a bad light. Unless I am mistaken about this identity, this individual compares Judaism unfavorably with Islam, which, he suggests, "reveres Jesus as a prophet and honors His Virgin Mother." This is true in theory, but is belied by the popularity of Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ in Muslim countries, where they reportedly cheered and mocked his scourging and crucifixion. Even making exception for the fact that Muslims don't believe Jesus was crucified or resurrected, this is hardly behavior respectful of the religion established by Jesus.

Yet contrasting Judaism unfavorably to Islam, this same "Anonymous" refers to Judaism as a "religion [which] condemns Jesus as a conman, now spending eternity boiling in excrement, while claiming his mother got preg[n]ant by a Roman soldier."

This is the sort of muck-raking from obscure passages in the Talmud which the Fringe Watch post noted. I don't know about you, but I find this sort of mud-slinging skullduggery all too often among my fellow traditionalists. I find it embarrassing and repulsive. It's cheap and unfair, since most modern Jews are simply agnostic about Jesus and ignorant about details of the Talmud. It's like running into an angry African-American who flings the accusation against contemporary Whites that they enslaved Blacks and valued them as less than human beings.

What appears to be the same "Anonymous" also suggests that any Christians appalled by the ignorance about Israel exposed by Comedian Mark Schiff among UCLA students may be fairly described as "purported followers of Christ" who "betray ... slavish devotion to that sh*tty little country [Israel] half way around the world."

I don't remember commenting on the "Loon's" contention that Christians had it better under Hussein. They may have. As far as I'm concerned, it's a moot point.

Whatever the legitimacy of his other contentions, I am sorry to say that my earlier insinuation about the Loon as a "a contemporary bigot spouting venomous screed" does not seem far from the mark. Very sorry.





Anonymous

said...

"There is an antisemitic vein in Catholic history that needs to be rooted out"

Correct. As the anti-arab (regardless of religion) and anti-muslim vein that is astonishingly dominant in this blog (as well as a blind pro-Jewish and pro-Israel vein), quoting racists like David Horowitz and others.

I don't think there is an anti-semitic vein in Catholic history. Catholic never blamed the jews ethnically (that is the true meaning of antisemitism)- they critized the jewish religion, which - as even rabbi Neusner pointed out very clearly in a book published in the 90s about the issue - is not compatible to the Christian teachings. Besides, Catholics always welcomed jewish converts.

About the poem: the "poet" should read the Catholic tradition on the differences between the jewish and christian concept of God and then come back :-)





Anonymous

said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.




Anonymous

said...

"As to the party of the Pharisees, what Jesus opposed in it (and what we should oppose), is its hypocrisy and denial of Jesus Messianic ministry -- but NOT its theology as such"

It is completely wrong. Pharisaic theology is historically condemned by the church.Pharisaic teachings and Christian teachings are impossible to conciliate.

Not to mention that the Talmud is historically condemned by the Church as well.

It is very funny to see "catholics" distorting their own tradition to please the others.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

Anonymous,

It's Jesus alone who says this in the Gospel of Matthew. That is, Jesus Himself accepted the basic tradition of Mosaic Torah taught by the Pharisees, as by St. Paul's mentor, Gamaliel, up until the time of His Passion.

Nowhere was He (or I) suggesting that this theology would be sufficient or even appropriate in its details for the follower of Christ in the historic dispensation of the Church after Pentecost. But even the Church today recognizes that it's theology builds on the teachings of the OT.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

"I don't think there is an anti-semitic vein in Catholic history."

You fail to make the needed distinction between clear official Church teaching and the actual behavior of groups of Catholics. Anyone who denies that there is an anti-semitic vein in Catholic history is unversed in Catholic history. Start reading, my friend.