Monday, 16 February 2009

Bar Arabs from the Knesset - More Nazi Rabbis Speak Out

Here is the received wisdom of another of those who Yeshayahu Leibowitz termed ‘Judeo Nazis. This time the Halacha, the body of Jewish law – written and oral – is cited in support of his argument by Rabbi Avner as is Maimonides. Maimonides, denounced to the French Inquisition by fellow rabbis and who sought refuge from the Almohodes invasion of Spain in Morroco in the 12th Century and who later settled in Egypt is famous for his ‘Guide to the Perplexed’ and the Mishneh Torah, a codification of the Talmud. Of course Rabbi Avner is right. You can certainly find racist and chauvinist interpretations of Jewish law in the Talmud and Maimonides writings, just as you can in all religions.

However most religious chauvinism tends to fall away, as per Christianity in the West, when religion is separated from the state and the former loses its secular powers. Where, as in Israel, religion legitimises and is part of the State, then the worst elements of the religion come to the fore as a means of justifying state repression and racism.

Of course the otherwise forgettable Rabbi Aviner is quite correct. Even if Arabs are not banned from Israel’s Knesset they have no influence. It is an unwritten rule, and has been ever since the inception of the State, that no government majority in a Jewish state should rest on the Arab parties. That is why no Arab parties have ever been part of the governing coalition (I exclude the Arab parties that the Zionist parties used to set up to trap the Arab vote behind themselves. These were not real or living parties and were based on clans and patronage. As the Arab vote in Israel has moved away from the Zionist parties towards secular or nationalist Arab parties like Balad and Hadash (Communist) so Arabs have been excluded by consensus from the governing coalitions, which means you will never have an Arab member of the cabinet and none of the discussions about forming a coalition even mention the inclusion of Arabs.

So even a clerical racist like Rabbi Aviner is satisfied by the present arrangements!

Tony Greenstein

Prominent Zionist rabbi says Jewish state should be led by Jews, but claims that since Arabs lack any real influence on Israeli reality, 'things are not so bad'
Kobi Nahshoni 13.2.09.

A prominent Zionist rabbi ruled this week that according to the Halacha, a non-Jew cannot serve as a Knesset member in the State of Israel, even if the public agrees to it. "This is irrelevant," said Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, "This is a Jewish state and Jews are the ones leading the Jewish state."

Aviner was asked on his weblog whether the election of non-Jews to parliament does not undermine the government's authority, and "is it even allowed for non-Jews to be part of the Jewish state's leadership?"

The rabbi replied that this was indeed against a halachic ruling issued by Maimonides, and that although later there were those who sought to allow it "if the nation agrees to it," Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook ruled this out as an "irrelevant" consideration.

According to Aviner, the present situation in Israel was undesirable, but added that since the Arab minority had no real influence on Israel's affairs, things were not so bad. However, "If they become the deciding factor and create the majority – this is blasphemy."

The rabbi concluded: "Still, we are very happy to have our own state, even if some of the Knesset members are not Jewish. This is a million times better than being ruled by the Brits or the Turks."

By Ben Lynfield in JerusalemTuesday, 27 January 2009

The Israeli army has been urged to sack Rabbi Avi Ronzki over the booklet the Israeli army's chief rabbinate gave soldiers preparing to enter the Gaza Strip a booklet implying that all Palestinians are their mortal enemies and advising them that cruelty is sometimes a "good attribute".

The booklet, entitled Go Fight My Fight: A Daily Study Table for the Soldier and Commander in a Time of War, was published especially for Operation Cast Lead, the devastating three-week campaign launched with the stated aim of ending rocket fire against southern Israel. The publication draws on the teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, head of the Jewish fundamentalist Ateret Cohanim seminary in Jerusalem.

In one section, Rabbi Aviner compares Palestinians to the Philistines, a people depicted in the Bible as a war-like menace and existential threat to Israel.
In another, the army rabbinate appears to be encouraging soldiers to disregard the international laws of war aimed at protecting civilians, according to Breaking the Silence, the group of Israeli ex-soldiers who disclosed its existence. The booklet cites the renowned medieval Jewish sage Maimonides as saying that "one must not be enticed by the folly of the Gentiles who have mercy for the cruel".
Breaking the Silence is calling for the firing of the chief military rabbi, Brigadier-General Avi Ronzki, over the booklet. The army had no comment on the matter yesterday.

Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the executive director of the Rabbis for Human Rights group, called the booklet "very worrisome", adding "[this is] a minority position in Judaism that doesn't understand the ... necessity of distinguishing between combatants and civilians."

1 comment:

Margaret said...

...advising them that cruelty is sometimes a "good attribute"

Morality is, contrary to some who expound on it's nature, wholly relative.