*Derailing

*Does the rock

*An audible sound that replicates your voice

*Cookin' the books

*Your Turn

*She lumped tomatoes (completed with ending)

*Let me stand back up

*Enough, already

*I strive

*Very possible


1. I ask you to do one effing thing
2. Did you?
3. The socks betray him
4. There will be none of that
5. Leave notes in his shirt pocket
6. Trained in the gentle art
7. Put me in coach
8. Our species may, in fact, survive
9.Swarm Swarm
10.During the wooing
11.BUT not private enough
12.The bottomless appetite
13.The first time we forget
14.This is a nice litmus test
15.To get the ball rolling
16.She invited you back to her place for coffee
17.Mary Magdalene or Eva Braun
18.It will only smell and make you queasy


   Tuesday, November 29, 2005

More ethnic than religious

I've always been a conspiracy theory buff. I don't buy into them but love to research 'em.

Lately I've been looking around at the 9/11 conspiracies. They are just the latest in a tradition of people not accepting the common wisdom (which is a good thing) and taking leaps of faith and constructing facts to build more questions than answers.

There has always been something that has made my scratch my head. Why are so many of these tales threaded with ethnic Jews as the center of the web?

I've scoured the net looking for a credible origin to this anti-Semitic theme. Most forms of racism and classism make sense to me. I get the xenophobic instincts that drive people to rebuke others that look different. I cannot seem to get to the bottom of the Evil Jew myth.

From 9/11 back to the Knight's Templars, there seems to always be a Jewish conspiracy at work. My first guess was Christian propaganda, yet it seems more ethnic than religious.

Chime in and help me with this one.

Why do the anti-Semites and kooky theorists often appear to be the same people?

there are 11 doodles

At 10:34 PM, Blogger WordWhiz said...

I can't speak to the conspiracy theories, but I know that for Jews, being Jewish is more an ethnic than religious affiliation. I attend a Christian church and we have some Jewish members. There is actually an organization called "Jews for Jesus", started by Jews who have come to believe in Jesus and the Christian view that salvation is based in that belief. These Jews still celebrate the Jewish holidays (think about it, they are from the same Bible) and they think of themselves as Jewish - Jewish Christians. I find it all very interesting.

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger Mel said...

I've always wondered about this myself Hof. I'm interested to see what kinds of comments you get on this one.

 
At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Bathroom Reading said...

I'm an observant (i.e. Orthodox) Jew, as you know. So my comments will be tinged with that.

My bias disclosed, here's what I think.

It boils down to this, in my opinion (and in Jewish theology): in the Bible, Esau sells Jacob his birthright, and Jacob gets Isaac's blessing before his death. (A "blessing" in those terms doesn't mean well-wishing, it means a dynastic choice, and was a big deal). Because of that, the Bible relates, "Esau hated Jacob."

That's it. It didn't apply just to then, it applies today as well. The children of Esau (the Arab world) hate the children of Jacob (Jews). You need look no further.

The Arabs can talk about Israel, about the little Satan and the big Satan, about occupiers, about poverty all they want. It comes down to, they hate us. And they've hated us throughout history. They created the blood libel (the canard that Jews kill little gentile children to use their blood to make matzah for Passover...I'm not kidding. That's still around today). They created the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (a Russian state secret police forgery about the global Jewish conspiracy to take over the world).

That's the Arabs. Why the Christians hate us...well, I don't really know. There was the whole, "they killed Jesus" thing. Which, even if you read the New Testament, just isn't true: one of his own people betrayed him. The Jewish Court extradicted him to the Roman authorities, who crucified him (by the by, crucifiction is NOT a sanctioned execution method in Jewish law.)

I've heard tell that the psychological reason Christians hate us is that we brought ethical monotheism to the world. We were the world's first buzz-kills. We told all the partiers, "hey, you have to take responsibility for your actions." That's as unpopular message today as it was then. We still haven't been forgiven.

As for Jews for Jesus, well, I think that's a contradiction in terms. Under Jewish law, you can't believe that the Messiah has come, and still claim to practice Judaism (note, I did NOT say "be a Jew." If your mother is Jewish, you're Jewish, forever. There's no way to un-Jewify yourself under Jewish law). A Jew for Jesus is kind of equivalent to a "fallen Catholic" who is practicing Hinduism. That person doesn't say he's a "Catholic for Buddha," does he?

Anyway, sorry for the long comment. As I said, when in doubt, it simply comes to Esau hating Jacob. It's the way it is, has been, and most likely will be. Not all problems have solutions.

 
At 10:09 AM, Blogger AnonymousCoworker said...

I want to piggy-back on what BR said, because he covered just about everything.

1) Jews for Jesus was started by evangelical Christians as a means to "save" Jews from Hell. It's just different mask on the face of Christian protelytizing. Nothing more.

2) Blood libel is exactly what I was going to mention with regard to the hatred of the Jews because blood libel also has it's roots in Christianity. It's a little bit different, and has more to do with the Catholic eucharist than matza for Passover. In this case blood libel is the SAME mask on different faces (Christianity and Islam).

3) Yeah, the "Jews killed Jesus" thing still drives a lot of it.

4) A theory I've heard is about how Christians weren't allowed to lend money to one another, so Jews became the money lenders/dealers because Judaism didn't have a problem with money transfer like Christianity did. This is part of where the myth of Jews as pinch-pennies and misers comes from. Also, as we all know, there's always a little bit of envy, or enmity, or what have you between the people who have money, and the people that do not. In this case, Jews literally controlled all the money because Christians had hamstrung themselves in that regard. Even though it doesn't apply anymore, you can still see how the stereotype has lived on.

 
At 3:18 PM, Blogger Two Drink Girl said...

Here it is from a barely-practicing Jew: They don't like us. They suck.

 
At 6:55 PM, Blogger Cyrus said...

I think the ideas presented here by you trusty readers are well thought out and quite credible. But I think that much of the link between conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites is a little less Biblical and a little more simple and plain irrationality. I think much of it has to do with the “invisibility” of Jews as an ethnic minority. It’s not always easy to know who belongs to which group, because of the blurry boundary between ethnicity and religion. Jews have been able to “infiltrate” the dominant society, because for the most part, they look like the dominant society. I think that this uncertainty, in terms of who is Jewish and who isn’t, feeds into the conspiracy mentality.

 
At 4:50 AM, Blogger Kira said...

AnonymousCoworker has started on the one point I would have made as a Medieval Lit person. In the middle ages (and all that followed), Jews were loathed by the Christians. There were hundreds of tales of nasty, evil Jews trying to murder and take a Christian for a ride. Examples abound in literature, from the medieval "The Prioress' Tale" to the renaissance "The Merchant of Venice."

In the New Testament, it is stated that no Christian is to committ usury. Usury is the act of money breeding money. Therefore, if you want to be technical, all Christians who are bankers, involved in credit cards, mortgages, etc. are committing a crime. The idea of earning interest off of money is clearly forbidden: money cannot make more money by itself. No usury.

Well, but as the world developed and changed, moneylenders became even more and more of a necessity. No Christian could be a moneylender per the Bible, but the Jews had no such restriction. Hence, the Jews were allowed to be moneylenders.

What did this mean? For starters, all of those jokes about Jews controlling the finances of the world start from this practice. Once upon a time, they basically were the only ones ALLOWED to handle important aspects of banking. This level of control over the money disturbed Christians, and many of the negative situations with the Jews were oriented towards this relationship of Jews having the money to lend...Christians doing the borrowing. In fact, the term "ghetto" that people use today just to mean the poor part of town was actually a term meant for "where the Jews live" hundreds of years ago. Nobody wanted to live around a damn moneylender, so all Jews were forced to live in their own communities in the medieval and renaissance periods (at least in England...not sure about the rest of Europe).

That's all I have to contribute.

 
At 4:51 AM, Blogger Kira said...

*committing a sin, not a crime. Sorry! Oh, and the works listed were Chaucer (Prioress' Tale) and Shakespeare (Merchant of Venice).

 
At 1:59 PM, Blogger AnonymousCoworker said...

One point of contention with Kira:

I don't believe that Merchant of Venice was slanted against Jews.

Yes, Shylock was a despicable character, and full of stereotypes, but Shakespeare gives him the greatest monologue of the play with the "Hath not a Jew eyes" speech. The monologue serves to undermine every stereotype that was written into the play.

That Shakespeare was a smart fella.

But, everything else Kira said was spot-on, and said much better than mine was.

 
At 6:43 PM, Blogger Kira said...

Oh, I'm sorry, Anonymous! I was unclear with my vague reference. The Merchant of Venice PLAYS ON the stereotypes of the time of Jews. He DOES TOO have a few unpleasant characteristics, too, like wanting an actual POUND of FLESH for his money (which would kill another person, of course). But yes, he does indeed have the famous speech of, "Do we not bleed?" etc., which implies that Shakespeare was not entirely following the ideas on Jews of the time. I'm sorry I wasn't clear...it's sorta embarrassing for a woman with an actual degree in Medieval and Renaissance Literature to not be clear when speaking of the literature itself ;)

Also, one more factor: due to the ghetto situation (IE, Jews were isolated) and that the Jews on the whole were more concerned with cleanliness than your average Christian European, when the plague hit, the diseases (I say plural because there were two types of plague, pneumonic and bubonic) tended to not kill off as many Jews. Hence, more rumors. Jews then were "responsible for poisoning water, killing the Christians!" and all sorts of other crap.

(hey, you asked, Hof, so it's ok that I can't shut up, right?)

 
At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Bathroom Reading said...

By the way, it is *extremely* unlikely that Shakespeare ever actually met a Jew. The Jews had been expelled from England in 1290, and didn't return until 1655. Shakespeare's life spanned 1564 to 1616.

So Shylock was, almost by definition, based on stereotypes rather than 1st hand experience with what a Jew was.

 

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