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February 04, 2006

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DHinMI, this is an important and valuable post in my opinion. I think you were trying to make your argument more accessible with this sentence, "But to equate Arab (which is a cultural, social, ethnic and linguist identification) with Muslim (which is a religious identification) is like using calling Christians Jews, because Jesus and most of his earliest followers were Jews." Accessibility is absolutely critical, but sometimes it conflicts with accuracy and context. Your thesis if I understand it correctly is that ethnicity is not a predictor of religion within Islam (or Christianity). IMO you might have made your point more easily talking about all the different ethnic groups who describe themselves as Roman Catholic or Baptist. As a Christian, I have a lot of concerns about the anti-semitism within Christianity. I like it when writers mention the historical nexus between Judaism and Christianity, but it is such a complex and layered subject, I thought I would mention it.

Jesus and his immediate followers were all semitic Jews. None of them were trying to start a new religion. Almost immediately after the "primitive Church," Greek speaking Jews, such as Paul began converting Greeks to Jesus’ brand of Judaism in Galatia, Phillipi, Ephesus and other places where Greek was spoken. In 49 at the Council of Jerusalem, Jesus' older brother, James the Just, relieved Paul of the need to circumcize his converts, because Paul promised to pay him (presumably so James could pay off the Sanhedrin). Since all Paul's converts were adults, avoiding circumcision was very important. By 66 or 70 this agreement had dissolved along with Jerusalem courtesy of Roman legions. This is when a lot of Rabbis begin to expel followers of the “Nazarean,” and Jesus’ followers had to choose between Jesus and their Jewishness. In the 1st century, this choice was also a cultural and a job choice. You weren't going to have a job in a Jewish community if you weren't a Jew. The four canonical gospels are a record of four, geographically (and theologically) separate communities trying to build a religious identity on Jesus' message outside of Judaism. While not Pauline, per se, Paul, (probably martyred about 60) was the only one up to that time who had thought through Jesus’ message outside of Judaism. It was natural for Greek speaking followers of Jesus to be influenced by him. Until the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars understand how “hellanized” our understanding of Jesus was, because the only sources we had were Greek. Jesus’ followers in Israel simply did not survive in the archeological record until the 20th century. While Jesus clearly had serious problems with the religious leaders of his day, the gospel accounts of conflict with the Pharisees almost certainly came at least a generation after Jesus’ death. If the Jews had wanted to kill Jesus, they would have stoned him (throw him off a cliff and then finish him off with stones). That’s how they murdered James the Just. Crucifixtion was a Roman form of execution reserved for the worst of the worst. No fact scared Jesus’ followers more than this one and we really don’t know why Pilate crucified Jesus, because there is no record of him being a zealot.

Thanks for this useful post, DH,

When Muslim "media" doesn't keep replaying "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" as if it was true, when their so-called "religion" isn't a one-way door to a thousand years of ignorance (their "culture" has created nothing past arabic numerals and algebra, ever since fundamentalism first closed the door on their minds in 900 AD), when their idea of "tolerance" isn't Christians and Jews living as third-class citizens in their "enlightened" societies, when they don't go around destroying the art of those civilizations that existed before their religious barbarism came along (remember the Taliban using artillery on the Buddhist statues, and the Taliban destroying art in the national museum because it was "sacreligious"??), when their governments don't control all media, when women are treated like they are members of the human race, maybe these so-called "Muslims" will have some reason to complain about their so-called "prophet" being maligned. Does anyone think a religion that promises 70 virgins in paradise to some moron with a dynamite belt is something to treat as it it is part of civilization????

These scum make the worst Christian fundamentalist look like the very model of toleration. And for Western governments to kowtow to these semi-civilized jihadis is the worst sort of soft liberal bigotry.

Go here...

http://www.palestinecenter.org/cpap/documents/charter.html

...and see what kind of organization Hamas really is. Read their belief in the Protocols, read their anti-Semitic fantasies of how the Jews control the world and all need to die for it.

What's really "karmic" is the Israelis created these monsters as an alternative to the PLO.

"...and see what kind of organization Hamas really is." TCinLa, Hamas is the democratically elected leader of the Palistinians. Your comments suggest you're having some difficulty getting to that fact. Hamas evidently got a huge boost from the fact that Palistinians saw our "occupation" of Iraq as a threat. They haven't ever been the majority party before in Palestine.

Unlike a lot of people on the web, I support U.N. resolutions that guard Israel's very existence. Your comment does not mention Zionism and the serious injustices that Israel (backed by the U.S.) has inflicted on the Palistinians. Your comment also fails to mention the virulent hatred among Moslems for what they consider heterodox interpretations of their religion. TCinLA, no religion, culture or ethnicity has a lock on genocide, but Moslems so far, don't have any where near the 20th century record of Europeans or Asians. IMO anti-Semitism is a position that Moslem leaders are going to have to take in the Middle East simply to get on the ballot. I don't condone it or want to lessen its very real seriousness, but it's here and if you don't deal with it, you're not lessening the danger of it. Islam is at a specific place wrt its development as a religion and a culture. One tactic they use to keep from killing each other is their rhetoric about Israel. It's the identical tactic in reverse that Karl Rove used to get people to vote for George Bush. Also, legalized white supremacy in the U.S. had many different shades. A lot of KKK members, Strom Thurmond comes to mind, didn't support lynching and worked actively and publicly to end it. Your comments paint all Moslems unfairly and inaccurately as all guilty of the worst strains of anti-Semitism.
Your comment also fails to mention that Europe, without an invitation, dumped the survivors of the Holocaust and their relatives in Israel. Your comments also fail to mention that Iran is kicking the U.N.'s ass wrt declaring the Middle East a nuclear-free zone, because Israel has nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Or our media in the U.S. has been unwilling to publicize this. Can you understand the outrage that all people in the Middle East feel they have suffered at the hands of our "Western," "secular," "free press?" If you know of any reason why Israel ought to continue to be the exception to a nuclear free Middle East, I am looking forward to reading it. Check out a map sometime, Iran has U.S. military forces on ALL of its borders.
TCinLa, your comment and others of its ilk are not going to drive me into an anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli position. As a supporter of Israel, however, I have to say that your comment does an awful lot of harm to others who repeatedly mention code words such as "dual citizenship" when talking about the neocons in the Bush WH. If you want to fan Pat Buchannon's brand of insidious and subtle anti-semitism, keep posting comments that blame EVERYTHING on Islam. The concerns you raised about a lot of Middle Eastern political leaders are justified. They are simply incomplete, however, when they leave out so many other facts. Comments such as you made also seriously injure moderate Middle Eastern political leaders who refrain, however slightly, from the most virulent anti-Semitism.

"Your comment also fails to mention that Europe, without an invitation, dumped the survivors of the Holocaust and their relatives in Israel."
Should read:
Your comment also fails to mention that THE ALLIES, without an invitation, dumped the survivors of the Holocaust and their relatives in Israel.

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