Israel Shahak: The Weight of History In 2 Minutes

Classical Jewish society was particularly dependent on kings or on nobles with royal powers. In the next chapter we discuss various Jewish laws directed against Gentiles, and in particular laws which command Jews to revile Gentiles and refrain from praising them or their customs. These laws allow one and only one exception: a Gentile king, or a locally powerful magnate (in Hebrew paritz, in Yiddish pooretz). A king is praised and prayed for, and he is obeyed not only in most civil matters but also in some religious ones. As we shall see Jewish doctors, who are in general forbidden to save the lives of ordinary Gentiles on the Sabbath, are commanded to do their utmost in healing magnates and rulers; this partly explains why kings and noblemen, popes and bishops often employed Jewish physicians. But not only physicians. Jewish tax and customs collectors, or (in eastern Europe) bailiffs of manors could be depended upon to do their utmost for the king or baron, in a way that a Christian could not always be.

The legal status of a Jewish community in the period of classical Judaism was normally based on a ‘privilege’ – a charter granted by a king or prince (or, in Poland after the 16th century, by a powerful nobleman) to the Jewish community and conferring on it the rights of autonomy – that is, investing the rabbis with the power to dictate to the other Jews. An important part of such privileges, going as far back as the late Roman Empire, is the creation of a Jewish clerical estate which, exactly like the Christian clergy in medieval times, is exempt from paying taxes to the sovereign and is allowed to impose taxes on the people under its control – the Jews – for its own benefit. It is interesting to note that this deal between the late Roman Empire and the rabbis antedates by at least one hundred years the very similar privileges granted by Constantine the Great and his successors to the Christian clergy.

From about AD 200 until the early 5th century, the legal position of Jewry in the Roman Empire was as follows. A hereditary Jewish Patriarch (residing in Tiberias in Palestine) was recognized both as a high dignitary in the official hierarchy of the Empire and as supreme chief of all the Jews in the Empire. As a Roman official, the Patriarch was vir illustris, of the same high official class which included the consuls, the top military commanders of the Empire and the chief ministers around the throne (the Sacred Consistory), and was out-ranked only by the imperial family. In fact, the Illustrious Patriarch (as he is invariably styled in imperial decrees) out-ranked the provincial governor of Palestine. Emperor Theodosius I, the Great, a pious and orthodox Christian, executed his governor of Palestine for insulting the Patriarch.

At the same time, all the rabbis – who had to be designated by the Patriarch – were freed from the most oppressive Roman taxes and received many official privileges.

In addition, the Patriarch was empowered to tax the Jews and to discipline them by imposing fines, flogging and other punishments. He used this power in order to suppress Jewish heresies and (as we know from the Talmud) to persecute Jewish preachers who accused him of taxing the Jewish poor for his personal benefit.

In pre-1795 Poland the Jewish community had power over its members, the incipient revolts of the poor, who had to bear the main brunt of taxation, were suppressed by the combined force of the naked coercion of Jewish ‘self-rule’ and religious sanction.

Jews were brought over to England by William the Conqueror, as part of the French-speaking Norman ruling class, with the primary duty of granting loans to those lords, spiritual and temporal, who were otherwise unable to pay their feudal dues (which were particularly heavy in England and more rigorously exacted in that period than in any other European monarchy). Their greatest royal patron was Henry II, and the Magna Carta marked the beginning of their decline, which continued during the conflict of the barons with Henry III. The temporary resolution of this conflict by Edward I, with the formation of Parliament and of ‘ordinary’ and fixed taxation, was accompanied by the expulsion of the Jews.

As is well known, the Ottoman regime was based initially on the almost complete exclusion of the Turks themselves (not to mention other Muslims by birth) from positions of political power and from the most important part of the army, the Janissary corps, both of which were manned by the sultan’s Christian-born slaves, abducted in childhood and educated in special schools. Until the end of the 16th century no free-born Turk could become a Janissary or hold any important government office. In such a regime, the role of the Jews in their sphere was quite analogous to that of the Janissaries in theirs. Thus the position of the Jews was best under a regime which was politically most dissociated from the peoples it ruled. With the admission of the Turks themselves (as well as some other Muslim peoples, such as the Albanians) to the ruling class of the Ottoman empire, the position of the Jews declines. However, this decline was not very sharp, because of the continuing arbitrariness and non- national character of the Ottoman regime.

The general rule can be observed in all the major massacres of Jews in Christian Europe. During the first crusade, it was not the proper armies of the knights, commanded by famous dukes and counts, which molested the Jews, but the spontaneous popular hosts composed almost exclusively of peasants and paupers in the wake of Peter the Hermit. In each city the bishop or the emperor’s representative opposed them and tried, often in vain, to protect the Jews. The anti-Jewish riots in England which accompanied the third crusade were part of a popular movement directed also against royal officials, and some rioters were punished by Richard I. The massacres of Jews during the outbreaks of the Black Death occurred against the strict orders of the pope, the emperor, the bishops and the German princes. In the free towns, for example in Strasbourg, they were usually preceded by a local revolution in which the oligarchic town council, which protected the Jews, was overthrown and replaced by a more popular one. The great 1391 massacres of Jews in Spain took place under a feeble regency government and at a time when the papacy, weakened by the Great Schism between competing popes, was unable to control the mendicant friars.

Perhaps the most outstanding example is the great massacre of Jews during the Chmielnicki revolt in the Ukraine (1648), which started as a mutiny of Cossack officers but soon turned into a widespread popular movement of the oppressed serfs: ‘The unprivileged, the subjects, the Ukrainians, the Orthodox [persecuted by the Polish Catholic church] were rising against their Catholic Polish masters, particularly against their masters’ bailiffs, clergy and Jews. This typical peasant uprising against extreme oppression, an uprising accompanied not only by massacres committed by the rebels but also by even more horrible atrocities and ‘counter-terror’ of the Polish magnates’ private armies,21 has remained emblazoned in the consciousness of east-European Jews to this very day – not, however, as a peasant uprising, a revolt of the oppressed, of the real wretched of the earth, nor even as a vengeance visited upon all the servants of the Polish nobility, but as an act of gratuitous antisemitism directed against Jews as such. In fact, the voting of the Ukrainian delegation at the UN and, more generally, Soviet policies on the Middle East, are often ‘explained’ in the Israeli press as ‘a heritage of Chmielnicki’ or of his ‘descendants’.

In fact, close relations have always existed between Zionists and antisemites … Many examples of such alliances are well known. Herzl allied himself with the notorious Count von Plehve, the antisemitic minister of Tsar Nicholas II; Jabotinsky made a pact with Petlyura, the reactionary Ukrainian leader whose forces massacred some 100,000 Jews in 1918-21; Ben-Gurion’s allies among the French extreme right during the Algerian war included some notorious antisemites who were, however, careful to explain that they were only against the Jews in France, not in Israel.

Dr Joachim Prinz, a Zionist rabbi who subsequently emigrated to the USA, where he rose to be vice-chairman of the World Jewish Congress and a leading light in the World Zionist Organization (as well as a great friend of Golda Meir), published in 1934 a special book, Wir Juden (We, Jews), to celebrate Hitler’s so- called German Revolution and the defeat of liberalism:

The meaning of the German Revolution for the German nation will eventually be clear to those who have created it and formed its image. Its meaning for us must be set forth here: the fortunes of liberalism are lost. The only form of political life which has helped Jewish assimilation is sunk.

The road to a genuine revolution in Judaism – to making it humane, allowing Jews to understand their own past, thereby re-educating themselves out of its tyranny – lies through an unrelenting critique of the Jewish religion. Without fear or favor, we must speak out against what belongs to our own past as Voltaire did against his:

Écrasez l’infâme! (Crash the infamous.)

Note: I will be issuing condensed versions of the remaining 2 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 4 Orthodoxy and Interpretation which you can find here:

http://radioislam.org/historia/shahak/english.htm#4

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About horse237

I have decided to share two of the visions I had as a child. When I was eight, I had a vision of a future war that killed 99.5% of the world's population. When I was 16 and living in the projects, I had a vision of my future. I was to live in complete obscurity until it came time to stop WW III. When I was about ten, I had read a bio of Nikita Khrushchev which said he survived Stalin by playing the bumbling fool an old Russian peasant trick. I decided to do the same as I had already learned that we did not live in a democracy. The other vision I had when I was in third grade was of the Mind of God and how it interacted in the creation of the world we see. I believe you and I were born at this time precisely so we would have an opportunity to stop this war. As for my personal info, I grew up on military bases and in housing projects. My legs atrophied from starvation as a child. My second step-father died in prison. I used to have to rub my skin to simulate human contact. They did not feed me when I was a child. I do not fight in their wars as an adult.
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2 Responses to Israel Shahak: The Weight of History In 2 Minutes

  1. Sharkey says:

    You are the only feed that I get that tells the truth. All others have been infiltrated and gobbled up by Disinfo. Everyone said that the internet was their mistake. All of that info and truth, the message would echo around the World. Well, I am saddened to say that they have Won and I give up. The only thing that will solve this is their agenda. The true criminals will be exposed. We still can do little about it but, at least everyone will know the enemy.

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