Archive for the ‘censorship’ Category

Anthony Julius’ "Trials of the Diaspora" Reviewed by Michael Hoffman

February 12, 2011

This review was censored by Amazon twice.

Gentiles forever on trial in Anthony Julius’s Beth Din

by Michael Hoffman | | published May 18, 2010 and Jan. 30, 2011

There are plenty of unintentionally funny bits in Harold Bloom’s fulsome review in the New York Times (May 7, 2010) of Anthony Julius’s tedious book, Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Antisemitism in England. The theme of Mr. Julius is that “the Jews are always on trial” and after whining thus, in the familiar full-blown paranoiac pattern, Julius and Bloom proceed to conduct their own Beth din (rabbinic court) inquisition: “Julius casts this huge book as a series of trials, not of the Jews but of the English.” (Bloom).

No one may judge the Judaic people, but Julius and Bloom presume to judge the English people. This makes perfect Talmudic sense! Israeli leader Shimon Peres said something similar after the Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Jenin in 2002, when there was a call for a U.N. war crimes investigaton. “No one judges Israel!” Peres shrieked. But counterfeit “Israel” will put western civilization on trial, or at least three of its most eminent writers, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, along with the English nation as a whole. According to Bloom:
“Trials of the Diaspora takes its title from its final epigraph, Philip Roth’s pungent observation in his still undervalued novel Operation Shylock: ‘In the modern world, the Jew has perpetually been on trial; still today the Jew is on trial, in the person of the Israeli — and this modern trial of the Jew, this trial which never ends, begins with the trial of Shylock.’…The best chapter in Trials of the Diaspora concerns the cavalcade of anti-Semitism in English literature, with its monuments in Chaucer’s Prioress’s Tale, Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice and Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist…
“As an old-fashioned bardolator, I am hurt when I contemplate the real harm Shakespeare has done to the Jews for some four centuries now. No representation of a Jew in literature ever will surpass Shylock in power, negative eloquence and persuasiveness….Shakespeare, still competing with the ghost of Christopher Marlowe, implicitly contrasts Shylock with Barabas, the Jew of Malta in Marlowe’s tragic farce…It is Shakespeare’s continuing triumph over Marlowe that such an exchange will not work. Shylock is darker and deeper forever. For Julius, The Merchant of Venice is both an anti-Semitic play and a representation of (attack on) anti-Semitism. I dispute the latter: the humanizing of Shylock only increases his monstrosity.”
If you attend Yale University and seek to plumb the depths of the literature of the West, Prof. Bloom will be your guide —the Prof. Bloom who loves Shakespeare but despises The Merchant of Venice. We can learn an instructive lesson from what Bloom hates about the play. He writes, “No representation of a Jew in literature ever will surpass Shylock in power, negative eloquence and persuasiveness….” Then he relates to us the secret of Shakespeare’s power: “… the humanizing of Shylock.”

Shakespeare does not make Shylock a stock character of utter revulsion. Shylock is not presented as wholly evil or completely unsympathetic. The Christians in The Merchant of Venice are not completely blameless. The Bard acknowledges Shylock’s humanity and presents him as a challenge to the flawed Christians.

Shylock’s final arguments are persuasive and almost carry the day, until Portia’s speech, wherein she contrasts the Judaic call for “justice” (i.e. vengeance, the “pound of flesh”), with Christ’s call for mercy, after which a chasm materializes that Harold Bloom, Anthony Julius and all the Zionist professors and lawyers in the world cannot traverse.

Shakespeare attacked Shylock’s ideals; lesser artists would have attacked Shylock himself. They hate the sinner. Shakespeare only hated the sin. Every drama, oration, book, movie or volume of history or theology that denies the humanity of Judaic persons and refuses to love them (Luke 6:27), cannot achieve what Shakespeare achieved: “…the humanizing of Shylock only increases his monstrosity.” Call it the Shakespeare Factor, this approach toward enemies, so radically different from the rabbinic mentality which paints enemies, as Bloom and Julius do, in hateful shades of pure evil, is what is missing from many writings that oppose Judaism.

Bloom: “Dickens created the second most memorable Jew in his superb Fagin. There is no third figure to compete with Shylock and Fagin….How does one estimate the lasting harm done by Shakespeare’s and Dickens’s egregious Jews?…nothing mitigates the destructiveness of the portraits of Shylock and Fagin. The greatness of Shakespeare and of Dickens renders their anti-Semitic masterpieces more troublesome than the litany of lesser but frequently estimable traducers…”

Charles Dickens based Fagin on a real-life receiver of stolen goods, the notorious Ikey Solomons. In a statement after the book’s publication, Dickens wrote, “Fagin in Oliver Twist is a Jew because it unfortunately was true of the time to which that story refers that that class of criminal almost invariably was a Jew.” Shylock and Fagin are truth-types, not stereotypes, something the Juliuses and Blooms of the world can’t accept. The efficacy of Dickens’ portrayal of Fagin rests on the Shakespeare Factor: Dickens portrayed Fagin as fully human, animated and lively. The scene of Fagin in prison awaiting execution is suffused with pathos. He is evil, but Dickens puts forth gentiles who are at least as evil (Bill Sikes) or more so (Monks).

Lawyer Julius and Prof. Bloom have a bone to pick with Chaucer (for his testimony about ritual murder in “The Prioress Tale,”), and with Shakespeare and Dickens, and they are not reluctant to demean them out of deference for the offense their attacks may give to western civilization by sullying the memory of its literary giants. This is the one-way prerogative of the Talmudic mentality: they feel entitled to bash in the faces of our heroes, but when we topple their cherished icons, we are guilty of filthy, stinking bigotry. There is no reciprocity or quid pro quo with imperious personalities like these. They assess our humanity and burnish or damn our reputation predicated upon the degree to which we are willing to succumb to their sense of entitlement.

Bloom engages in some stereotyping of his own: “Julius links anti-Semitism to sadism. He might have done even more with this, since sado-masochism is something of an English vice, and is so much a school-experience of the upper social class.”

An English vice. To say that usury or fencing stolen goods are Judaic vices is rabid Shakespearean and Dickensian antisemitism, yet Bloom feels entitled to stigmatize the English as sadomasochist, as people who derive pleasure from extreme cruelty. As one of the Holy People, Bloom can libel the English nation with impunity, while the profound insights of Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens constitute an “immemorial stench” (Bloom), out of a “sewer” (Julius).

In his chapter on “The Mentality of Modern English Anti-Semitism,” Mr. Julius presents what Prof. Bloom terms, “the puzzle of what appears to be an incessant prejudice, never to be dispelled.”

The concept of gentiles harboring never-to-be-dispelled prejudice toward Judaics is a troglodyte dogma taught to bochurim (yeshiva boys). They are indoctrinated from an early age to believe that any opposition to the religion of Judaism is irrational (based on no legitimate grievance) and ineradicable, the assumption being that all opposition to Judaism reflects a hereditary gentile predisposition toward hatred of the Holy People. This traditional rabbinic brainwash is expressed as follows: “Halacha hi beyoduah she’Eisav soneh l’Yaakov” (“It is a given law: it is known that Esau hates Jacob;” cf. Judaism Discovered, pp. 463-466).

It will come as a shock to the acolytes of Julius and Bloom that despite their morally superior liberal pretensions, they are steeped in 2,000 years of Talmudic anti-gentile darkness.

also see:

Pharisee Tzvee (and the comments, in particular).

Rabbis Want to Preserve the Ignorance that their Tyranny Depends on by Censoring Websites

January 27, 2010

“The Internet broke down the walls of the ghetto that the haredi world built up.”

Ultra-Orthodox seek boycott of their own Web sites

AMY TEIBEL – Associated Press

Monday, Jan. 25, 2010

JERUSALEM — Prominent ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbis are targeting a new foe in the decidedly impious world of the Internet: They’ve demanded a boycott of their community’s own Web sites, accusing them of disseminating “gossip, slander … filth and abominations.”

It’s the latest flashpoint in a long-simmering battle by rabbis in the profoundly insular ultra-Orthodox, or haredi, community to preserve their influence over hundreds of thousands of followers in an era when the forces of technology are growing ever more powerful.

The ultra-Orthodox portals do not contain the seamy material that traditionally has been the main target of rabbinical ire. But the sites, which publish articles on politics, economics, health and religion, do offer freewheeling discussions with irreverent and unmonitored reader responses – including direct criticism of rabbis’ authority.

A reader responding to a recent report on alleged bribery in an ultra-Orthodox school in the Tel Aviv area posted a photograph of the “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” monkeys, likening them to municipal, school board and rabbinical officials.

Another reader, commenting on a legal dispute that made its way from a religious court to a secular court, predicted that the “harediban” – a play on the word “Taliban” – would lose their grip on the community.

The anonymous comments are an injection of openness in the intensely cloistered world of Israel’s estimated 650,000 haredim, Hebrew for “God fearing.” The haredim live in isolated enclaves across Israel and study in closed school systems. These communities, easily recognized by their bearded men in long black coats and brimmed hats, have minimal contact with the rest of the world.

Ultra-Orthodox rabbis have labored hard to throw up walls between their community and the outside world, and technology has long been a battleground.

Television was an early target and remains off-limits in many ultra-Orthodox homes. Cellular phones were another point of contention, with rabbis ordering the use of “kosher” filters out of fear the phones would be used to access sex sites or other objectionable material.

Haredi rabbis have been railing against the dangers of the Internet for a decade. In one infamous incident, the family of Israel’s Sephardic chief rabbi, Shlomo Amar, had a 17-year-old boy kidnapped and beaten at knifepoint after he became acquainted with the rabbi’s daughter through an Internet chat room and later met her unchaperoned – an ultra-Orthodox taboo. Amar was not charged in the case.

The very existence of haredi Web sites gives the Internet a cloak of legitimacy in the ultra-Orthodox world, said Menachem Friedman, an expert on Jewish religious society in Israel.

“If there are haredi Web sites, then it means the Internet is kosher,” with all the openness to the outside world that legitimacy would imply, he said.

The sites, largely run by members of the haredi community, provide a rare outlet for public discourse, further upsetting the rabbis, says Avishay Ben Haim, religious affairs reporter for Israel’s Maariv daily.

The Web sites “set the agenda,” he said. “They are threatening the old elite.”

The rabbis haven’t been able to keep out the Web entirely. They have offered a dispensation to businesspeople and others who use it to make a living. And filters devised over the years have permitted the ultra-Orthodox to strictly screen content, allowing the Internet to flourish in their midst.

Now, the rabbis are trying to plaster the cracks in the haredi world’s self-imposed walls.

In a letter published recently in ultra-Orthodox newspapers, 21 top rabbis called for an Internet boycott, specifically of the haredi sites, which they said were “defaming the haredi community” and spreading slander and filth.

“We must vilify these sites and purge them from our midst,” said the letter.

Even if the sites themselves aren’t guilty of objectionable conduct, “they are making people use the despicable Internet, which has harmed so many Jewish souls,” added the letter, which has been posted on the same haredi Web sites they wanted boycotted.

Web site operators did not return calls or e-mails seeking comment.

In the U.S., home to the world’s second-largest Jewish community after Israel, there’s been no similar boycott call, said Rabbi Avi Shafran, spokesman for the haredi Agudath Israel of America group. But he said he could identify with the rabbis’ concerns.

The blogosphere “may have worthy offerings but it is saturated, too, with hatred, lies, half-truths and slander,” Shafran said in an e-mail. He said when sites allow anonymous comments, “the potential for what is Jewishly wrong is magnified exponentially.”

Agudath Israel of America has never maintained a Web site, Shafran said, for fear that would “send a subliminal message to people that the Web is a place they should regard as benign.”

So far, the boycott calls in Israel have already claimed significant victories. At least two sites have shut down and key figures have resigned from another.

But insiders don’t expect the ban to squelch Internet use.

“The Internet broke down the walls of the ghetto that the haredi world built up,” said Ben Haim, the Maariv reporter.

Editor faces prison term for criticizing the Talmud

August 15, 2008

Editor faces prison term for criticizing the Talmud

Editor faces prison term for criticizing the Talmud

August 15, 2008

Editor faces prison term for criticizing the Talmud