Tag Archives | Jews

Short of a conspiracy theory? You can always blame the Jews

British comedian David Baddiel believes that Jews are the biggest victims of conspiracy theories, writing at the Guardian:

Conspiracy theory, I said in my last standup show, is how idiots get to feel like intellectuals. I still believe this: conspiracy theory is primarily a way for people, mainly men, to appear in the know, to use their collection of assumptions, generalisations, straw men and false inferences to say, effectively: ah, the wool may have been pulled over your eyes, my friend, but not mine.

National Park Service 9-11 Statue of Liberty and WTC fire.jpg

Beliefs such as the idea that 4,000 notified-by-Israel Jews didn’t turn up for work in the World Trade Center on 9/11 are, for many people, facts. Photo: National Park Service.

But there are other reasons why it’s so popular these days. It provides lonely men with an online community of like-minded lonely men. It’s comforting; it’s reassuring. It provides order in a disordered universe to imagine that shadowy forces organise horrific events, rather than to have to confront the terrible truth that death and destruction happen, all the time, apparently at random.

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Jewish global population approaches pre-Holocaust levels

It’s now estimated that there are 16.5 million wholly or partially Jewish people in the world, the same number as before the second world war and, of course, the Holocaust. From the Guardian:

The world’s Jewish population has grown to be nearly as large as it was before the Holocaust, an Israeli thinktank said in its annual report.

Credit: Akalati (CC)

Credit: Akalati (CC)

The Jewish People Policy Institute said there are currently 14.2 million Jews in the world. When factoring in individuals with one Jewish parent and others who identify as partially Jewish, the figure approaches 16.5 million — the Jewish population on the eve of the second world war. The Nazis and their collaborators killed about 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.

The report said the rise has been due in part to natural growth, mainly in Israel, which has about 6.1 million Jews and one of the western world’s highest fertility rates.

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Climate Change Denying Physicist Compares Carbon Dioxide to Jews

ball-and-stick model of CO2: carbon dioxide

ball-and-stick model of CO2: carbon dioxide (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (PD)

What? I don’t even… Where do they find these people?

via io9

During an appearance on CNBC, Physicist William Happer was asked about his view that human beings are not causing climate change. His response: “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler. Carbon dioxide is actually a benefit to the world, and so were the Jews.”

Happer, a professor at Princeton University who specializes in atomic physics and optics (but not climate), has been a longtime crusader against the oppression of carbon dioxide. In 2009, he testified before the U.S. Senate:

I keep hearing about the “pollutant CO2,” or about “poisoning the atmosphere” with CO2, or about minimizing our “carbon footprint.” This brings to mind another Orwellian pronouncement that is worth pondering: “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” CO2 is not a pollutant and it is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving “pollutant” and “poison” of their original meaning….CO2 is absolutely essential for life on earth.

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School District Backpedals On Asking Students If They Thought Jews Made Up Holocaust For Money

PIC: NARA (PD)

PIC: NARA (PD)

If it’s not the Bible Beaters it’s the holocaust deniers. I’m glad I’m out of school.

via CA schools back off assignment asking whether Jews made up Holocaust for money.

A southern California school district has agreed to revise an assignment that asked eighth-graders to debate in writing whether the Holocaust actually happened.

Middle-school students in the Rialto Unified School District were asked to research arguments made about the Holocaust and write an argumentative essay explaining whether they believe the Nazis, in fact, systematically killed 6 million European Jews between 1933 and 1945.

School officials initially defended the assignment, saying it was intended to teach teens to evaluate the quality of evidence made by opponents or advocates of a topic.

“When tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence,” the assignment says. “For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain.”

Students are required to cite textual evidence in the assignment and address rebuttals to the claims they make themselves.

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The Blind Alley of J Street and Liberal American Zionism

J Street logoSince its founding six years ago, J Street has emerged as a major Jewish organization under the banner “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace.” By now J Street is able to be a partial counterweight to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The contrast between the two U.S. groups is sometimes stark. J Street applauds diplomacy with Iran, while AIPAC works to undermine it. J Street encourages U.S. support for “the peace process” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, while AIPAC opposes any meaningful Israeli concessions. In the pressure cooker of Washington politics, J Street’s emergence has been mostly positive. But what does its motto “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” really mean?

That question calls for grasping the context of Zionism among Jews in the United States — aspects of history, largely obscured and left to archives, that can shed light on J Street’s current political role. Extolling President Obama’s policies while urging him to intensify efforts to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, the organization has staked out positions apt to sound humanistic and fresh.… Read the rest

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Laozi, Nietzsche and Kropotkin: Are The Common People Good?

Pic: Hugh Rankin (PD)

Pic: Hugh Rankin (PD)

What say you, Disinfonaughts? Are the common people, and the uncivilized, good? Are they better off than those on high?

via Bao Pu 抱朴

I picked up Nietzsche’s The Genealogy of Morals (1887) yesterday and found a passage which immediately made me think of Laozi. Here’s Nietzsche, writing about the origins of the concept of “good” :

… the judgment good does not originate with those to whom the good has been done. Rather it was the “good” themselves, that is to say the noble, mighty, highly placed, and high-minded who decreed themselves and their actions to be good, i.e., belonging to the highest rank, in contradistinction to all that wasbase, low-minded and plebian. It was only this pathos of distance that authorized them to create values and name them … Such an origin would suggest that there is no a priori necessity for associating the word good with altruistic deeds, as those [English] moral psychologists are fond of claiming.

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George W. Bush to Raise Money for Group That Converts Jews to Bring About Second Coming of Christ

ShapeUp

George W. Bush attempting to immanentize the eschaton?

via Mother Jones

The former president follows in the footsteps of Glenn Beck, who addressed the group last year.

Update (11/8/13):After this story published, the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute removed references to George W. Bush’s scheduled appearance from its website. But Freddy Ford, a spokesman for the former president, told Mother Jones on Friday afternoon that Bush’s plans “haven’t changed,” and he will appear at the event.

Next week, former President George W. Bush is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser in Irving, Texas, for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that trains people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The organization’s goal: to “restore” Israel and the Jews and bring about about the second coming of Christ.

Messianic Jews have long been controversial for Jews of all major denominations, who object to their proselytizing efforts and their message that salvation by Jesus is consistent with Jewish theology.

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‘This Chicken is Gonna Die': Kaparos Ritual Filmed in NYC

Leghorn_SaundersOur more sensitive readers may want to sit this one out.

Here’s footage of Kaparos, a controversial ritual performed by some Hasidic Jews on the eve of Yom Kippur. Kaparos is performed by swinging a chicken over the head of a participant three times and then ritually slaughtering the bird. The meat is then supposed to be donated to the poor to eat in a pre-fast meal. By doing so, the sins of the person under the chicken is supposedly transferred to the unfortunate hen.

What do you think, Disinfo readers? Can you really call this any more barbaric or cruel than industrial farming? If not, then is the rite any “weirder” than any other religious practice?

Via Animal New York.

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Sex Manual for Ultra-Orthodox Jews

Jewish Marriage“If you have never seen a movie or read a book, how are you supposed to know what you do?” asks David Ribner, an Orthodox sex therapist explaining the need for his new sex manual to BBC News:

Sex is a touchy subject – not least among Israel’s highly conservative ultra-Orthodox Jews. But a therapist in Jerusalem has written a sex guide aimed specifically at this community.

There used to be a sex shop on the way to Dr David Ribner’s office in central Jerusalem.

The sign is still there – with big red letters spelling out “Sex Shop, Sex, Love” – but you can barely read it because it’s been scratched out.

The shop went out of business. Now there’s just one sex shop left in Jerusalem. No surprise for a city brimming with the pious.

Things are quite different in Ribner’s discreet office. Here, there is a row of boxes packed with lubricants, vibrators and massage oils, and an unusual collection of books on the wall – The Joy of Sex and The Guide to Getting It On sit side by side with volumes of Jewish religious texts.

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Christians Who Are More Jewish Than Jews

Cast of "The Sisterhood" (TLC)

In a New York Times article entitled “Oy Vey, Christian Soldiers,” Maud Newton describes the seemingly bizarre trend among certain Christians to give their kids Bar Mitzvahs and otherwise adopt Jewish religious practices:

Of all the surprises promised by the recent TLC reality show “The Sisterhood,” which followed the lives of five Atlanta preachers’ wives, the only one that truly amazed me was the Christian bar mitzvah, an event organized by Pastor Tara Lewis and her husband, Pastor Brian, for their son, Trevor. Brian was born to Jewish parents; Tara was not. Both are born-again Christians, and they’re of one mind about their son’s bar mitzvah as a Christ-centered take on the traditional Jewish coming-of-age ceremony.

In one episode of “The Sisterhood,” Brian and Tara plan the theme of the bar mitzvah cake. “How about Christ in the Torah?” Brian asks. “Amen,” Tara answers.

Their Jesus-fied version of the Jewish ritual is intended to celebrate both Trevor’s ethnic heritage through his father and, even more important, his spiritual identity through salvation.

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