Friday, June 30, 2006


Is This Guy Really "Good for Israel"?

I know even as of the 2004 election people were arguing that about GW Bush, but I hope by now, people realize what kind of person GW Bush is.

Part of it is that most of the people arguing this either had other political agendas they were not publicizing or they were Northeasterners who never really had any experience with White Christian Fundamentalists and hence don't viscerally understand the code words involved. Because of this lack of understanding coupled with a generally paranoid attitude that, unless demonstrating otherwise, a typical Gentile is an anti-Semite, too many Northeastern Jews tend to believe that liberal criticism of Israel, which really isn't anything more severe than, e.g., what the Prophets said about Israel -- and were the Prophets even anti-Zionist?, is evidence of underlying anti-Semitism whereas not understanding the code, they think fundie Christian support of Israel is evidence that the political right likes us, even if really the political right wants to kick us to Israel and out of this country so that they can have their Christian nation as well as us in Israel as cannon-fodder in Armegeddon. Now come-on? Who's more anti-Semitic, someone echoing the words of the Prophets or someone asking us Jews to be cannon-fodder? But alas, being generally paranoid but not knowing the specific code, too many Jews miss this. Northeastern Jewish anti-anti-Semites, who like anti-Semites ignorant of real Jews base their prejudices on ignorance of real anti-Semitic thinking, thus remind me of an old quip about anti-Semites (a case of becoming a dragon in fighting dragons?): pace Jackie Mason, the problem with anti-anti-Semites is that the miss the opprotunity to find specific faults in individual anti-Semites.

Thinking towards a possible future of moving back to the tri-state area and raising Jewish children in the Northeast, how do I impress upon whatever kids I may have the importance of understanding code words without counterproductively making them paranoid?

"christian" fundamentalists have only three uses for Jews:

1. Converts to "christianity".

2. In the role of dead and dying extras in their favorite techicolor sci-fi fantasy. And once again let me thank the pudding headed, St. Augustine for talking them into putting that piece of psychotic fantasy into the canon.

3. As spawn of Satan, followers of the Elders of Zion, Christmas killers, ... what they really believe in their heartless hearts.

You will notice that short of either stopping being Jewish or dead they have no use for Jews, no good use, anyway. They certainly don't want to see Jews just live out their normal life span in a reasonably enjoyable way following their own consciences. This probably explains just about anything you need to know about their policy towards Israel, there being not oil but only antiquites to plunder.

And we all know that if 1. and 2. fail then 3. will also have consequences that lead to the same end. That's what history shows happens under "christian" theocracy and fascism.
the pudding headed, St. Augustine

I read The Confessions in undergrad. It was highly illuminating as to a certain kind of theology (with which, as you might guess, I disagree ... actually many, both Catholics and liberal Protestants, find Augustine closer to certain strains of Protestantism than to Catholicism) that has been highly influential in Western Culture. I think it should be required reading for every college (if not HS) student. OTOH, I came away from reading the book convinced that Augustine was quite Oedipal when it came down to it.

What's that song "we're standing on the shoulders of freaks"?
My confession is that I couldn't stand St. Aug. So much futile guilt over the tiniest infractions and missing so much of how life could have been made better. And then there is that book.

The "church fathers" generally give me a pain, they took the Jesus movement ever farther away from the Prophetic tradition it was a part of. I don't think it's possible to begin to understand Jesus apart from Hillel and the Prophets. I blame them for a lot of the problems that followed, though not too many people are all bad.
Actually I am not so sure if (cf. is it Harold Bloom?) Jesus was so much part of the Prophetic tradition which is as much Deuteronomistic as J/E as part of the J-tradition with a little bit of the Priestly tradition (but of a Priestly tradition dating to before the Priestly caste, which seems to have started out as an untoucable Priestly caste a la the Osu of the Ibos, became too big for its ceremonial britches ... one can think of Jesus in this light as being of the 1850s Republican party if the Sadduccees of his day are to be compared with the 2000s Republican party).

Also, you cannot forget Shammai. If the sayings of Jesus (as in Q) seem to resemble a bit suspiciously much the sayings of Hillel, when Jesus is actually pinned down to take a specific opinion on matters of Jewish law (rather than getting away with making general statements), he does not sound like the liberal pragmatist Hillel but the radical pietist, Shammai (whose followers went on to associate themselves with the sectarian over the Rabbinic Jews and were "zealots", which was somewhat of a betrayal of the proudly Rabbinic Shammai who, having studied under the converts who proceeded him and Hillel as the leaders of the nascient Rabbinic Judaism of the time, must have found the nationalism of sectarian Jews to be abhorrent ... interestingly, Judas, the Jew of Christian tradition is Judas Iscariot, nu? indicating the Roman term for the zealots? if I put more stock in the Jesus = Shammai theory, I might have some thoughts about the significance of this ...). Indeed, those who deny the existance of a historical Jesus speculate that the synoptics are merging the Jewish traditions of Shammai (Jesus of Mark) with that of Hillel (Jesus of Q) into a single person.

As far as the Church fathers are concerned -- many of them were, IMHO, loopy, but some quite inspiring.
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