I am presenting here in 2 minutes the essential elements of chapter 1 of Israel Shahak’s most famous work.
I had personally witnessed an ultra-religious Jew refuse to allow his phone to be used on the Sabbath in order to call an ambulance for a non-Jew who happened to have collapsed in his Jerusalem neighbourhood. Instead of simply publishing the incident in the press, I asked for a meeting which is composed of rabbis nominated by the State of Israel. I asked them whether such behavior was consistent with their interpretation of the Jewish religion. They answered that the Jew in question had behaved correctly, indeed piously, and backed their statement by referring me to a passage in an authoritative compendium of Talmudic laws.
A Constitutional Law (that is, a law overriding provisions of other laws, which cannot be revoked except by a special procedure) was passed in 1985 by an enormous majority of the Knesset. By this law no party whose programme openly opposes the principle of ‘a Jewish state’ or proposes to change it by democratic means, is allowed to participate in the elections to the Knesset.
The conversion of a non-Jew to Judaism provided that the conversion is performed by authorised rabbis in a proper manner entails for females, their inspection by three rabbis while naked in a ‘bath of purification’, a ritual which, although notorious to all readers of the Hebrew press, is not often mentioned by the English media.
Discrimination in residency is based on the fact that about 92 per cent of Israel’s land is the property of the state and is administered by the Israel Land Authority according to regulations issued by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), and affiliate of the World Zionist Organization. In its regulations the JNF denies the right to reside, to open a business, and often to work, to anyone who is not Jewish, only because he is not Jewish.
The denial of the right to work means that non-Jews are prohibited officially from working on land administered by the Israel Land Authority according to the JNF regulations.
The main danger which Israel, as ‘a Jewish state’, poses to its own people, to other Jews and to its neighbors, is its ideologically motivated pursuit of territorial expansion and the inevitable series of wars resulting from this aim.
In 1956 I eagerly swallowed all of Ben-Gurion’s political and military reasons for Israel initiating the Suez War, until he (in spite of being an atheist, proud of his disregard of the commandments of Jewish religion) pronounced in the Knesset on the third day of that war, that the real reason for it is ‘the restoration of the kingdom of David and Solomon’ to its Biblical borders. At this point in his speech, almost every Knesset member spontaneously rose and sang the Israeli national anthem.
The Land of Israel, which rabbinical authorities interpret as ideally belonging to the Jewish state, are in circulation. The most far-reaching among them include the following areas within these borders: in the south, all of Sinai and a part of northern Egypt up to the environs of Cairo; in the east, all of Jordan and a large chunk of Saudi Arabia, all of Kuwait and a part of Iraq south of the Euphrates; in the north, all of Lebanon and all of Syria together with a huge part of Turkey (up to lake Van); and in the west, Cyprus.
Using the concepts of Platonism to analyse Israeli policies based on ‘Jewish ideology’ should not seem strange. It was noticed by several scholars, of whom the most important was Moses Hadas, who claimed that the foundations of ‘classical Judaism’, that is, of Judaism as it was established by talmudic sages, are based on Platonic influences and especially on the image of Sparta as it appears in Plato. According to Hadas, a crucial feature of the Platonic political system, adopted by Judaism as early as the Maccabean period (142-63 BC), was ‘that every phase of human conduct be subject to religious sanctions which are in fact to be manipulated by the ruler’. There can be no better definition of ‘classical Judaism’ and of the ways in which the rabbis manipulated it than this Platonic definition. In particular, Hadas claims that Judaism adopted what ‘Plato himself summarized [as] the objectives of his program’, in the following well-known passage:
“The principle thing is that no one, man or woman, should ever be without an officer set over him, and that none should get the mental habit of taking any step, whether in earnest or in jest, on his individual responsibility. In peace as in war he must live always with his eyes on his superior officer… In a word, we must train the mind not to even consider acting as an individual or know how to do it.” (Laws, 942ab)
If the word ‘rabbi’ is substituted for ‘an officer’, we will have a perfect image of classical Judaism. The latter is still deeply influencing Israeli-Jewish society and determining to a large extent the Israeli policies.
It was the above quoted passage which was chosen by Karl Popper in The Open Society and Its Enemies as describing the essence of ‘a closed society’. Historical Judaism and its two successors, Jewish Orthodoxy and Zionism, are both sworn enemies of the concept of the open society as applied to Israel.
Note: I will be issuing condensed versions of the other 5 chapters of Israel Shahak’s Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years from time to time.
The above was taken from chapter 1 A Closed Utopia which you can find here:
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