Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Jews, Their Languages, Their Diasporas, and Anti-Semitism For 3000 Years: Part 6
Be Sure to Read The First 5 Posts in the Series Before This One
AND SO WHERE ARE WE AFTER 5 LONG POSTS?
Prof bug's hope is that you will have finished this 6-part series better informed about Jews' lives, individually and in communities, during and in:
1) The Middle Ages (roughly 500 to 1500) and how Europeans interacted with them.
Remember ---with the total expulsion of Spain's Jewish population (the largest in Europe until 1492 by far, both in the Muslim and Christian realms) --- Jews were only a tiny minority everywhere in Europe from that year on. (Poland was an exception here, with about 10% of their population Jewish in 1900, at which time the Poles were part of Czarist Russia. ) Even in Nazi Germany, Jews were only 0.6% of the total population.
2) Prof bug also hopes that, in the first 5 posts, you learned a lot about Jewish life and the ongoing shifts in Jewish religion and languages from roughly 1500 B.C.E. to the use of Yiddish and Ladino in Medieval Europe, along with the native languages they had to learn to speak, read, and write --- and farther shifts down to the recreation of (a Modern) Hebrew in Israel today. That long time span of shifting language-uses adds up, of course, to roughly 35 centuries.
The roles and treatment of Jews in their captive Diasporas over 17 centuries ---from the middle of the 2nd Century C.E. on when the Roman Empire destroyed Jerusalem, killed off tens of thousands or more Jews, and sent the rest into Exile or slavery --- were also explained, hopefully with good results. There were, of course, several Diasporas of the Israeli Jews starting with the Egyptians, then the Assyrians, then the Babylonians, then the Greeks, and then the Romans.
From the 11th century C.E.in Europe until the 1900s, several more Diasporas were imposed on the Jews by forceful exiling them from one country after another . . . including, of course, the large emigration of Jews out of Czarist Russia from the 1880s to WWI, during which the Czarist regime purposely encouraged a series of bloody massacres of Jews in a variety of Pogroms, with elite Cossack horsemen leading the enraged Jew-hating masses who were sometimes led by Orthodox priests.
3) As for diverse Semitic peoples, remember, the terms Semite and Semitic originally refer to linguistic usage in the Middle East among different tribal and larger groups speaking a wide family of similar but disparate languages. (Like Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian for centuries, all part of a family of Romance Languages, Latin in origin along with the impact of outside Germanic tribes such as Vandals and Visigoths in Spain or Franks in France. ) Only the Jews still use the language and even certain religious customs of those ancient times, with the other Semitic-language users shaking off their ancient usage and adapting quickly to Islam and Arabic once they were conquered by the Arab militaries in the 7th century C.E.
4) Later, the term Semite --- created by European linguistic scholars and some historians in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as strictly a linguistic term---was applied to European Jew-baiting or Jew-haters and Jew mass-killer pogroms in the form of Anti-Semitism, and that is the meaning that prevails ever since that term was coined by a Jew-hating German (Wilhelm Marr) in 1879. in the last half of the 19th century.
No, he wasn't referring to the coined word as something bad, never mind evil. Judenhass(Jew-Hatred) was the term openly used in German-speaking countries for decades by 1879. From Marr's viewpoint, the spread of Jew-Hatred --- which he wanted, along with more and more German-speakers in Germany, Austria, parts of Switzerland, and in the Austrian empire (as a second language) --- required a "scientific" sounding replacement. Anti-Semitism was his replacement. The term caught on quickly.
In 2005, the US government produced a report in which it said that Anti-Semitism meant "hatred toward Jews-individually and as a group-that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity" No, not just dislike of Jews.
5) Like more and more Germans, Marr --- along with other journalists, agitators, professors, and members of political parties ---argued that "pure Aryan" Germans needed to join forces and reduce or destroy what he and other Anti-Semites regarded as out-of-control Jewish influence in all forms of German life: in universities, schools, the professions, trade unions, the media, retail stores and other businesses they created as entrepreneurs. Not to forget their support for Liberal and Socialist political parties . . . Jewish left-wing socialists divided after the Russian Revolution in 1918-1919 into Social Democrats and Communism, like a lot of native German-followers of each in the Weimar Republic of the 1920s).
All this viciously bigoted hysterics in Germany, recall, when Jews were 0.6% of the 60 million German population the year Hitler took power in 1933.
No less important in understanding just how hysterical and delusive this Ant-Semitism was in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, consider that in the early 1800s only a handful of the numerous German states legally recognized that their small Jewish populations were entitled to full civil rights. It wasn't until the 1850s that most German states followed suit, and a handful still held out to the 1870s to allow Jews into their universities. The 1870s, recall, was-the decade when the frenzied Jew-hating Marr and his numerous imitators were overwrought with fear that the emancipated Jews --- admitted freely to most Germany universities only recently for two or three generations ---were set to dominate and control traditional German cultural and intellectual life and "pervert" it for their clannish and conspiratorial ends.
Helping to prove something else:
Jews, going back thousands of years, were widely hated or feared almost everywhere they lived even when they were small minorities because of their high-achieving intellectual, financial, and professional accomplishments . . . unless, of course --- as was the case in Europe from 1095 to the end of the 18th century --- they were legally ghettoized and denied access to high-quality universities.
The one exception was in the Muslim Golden Age in southern Spain from the 8th century on. By 1095, though --- the year of the First Crusade --- the Golden Age was being destroyed by invasions of Moorish-ruled Spain of fanatical jihadi Berbers (the proto- ISIS fanatics of today) who quickly came to rule in all the Muslim kingdoms in that country and impose dark-age Sharia law in every aspect of life.
Speaking about university-admissions, remember: starting in the 1920s, all the Ivy-League universities --- Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and the others --- set quotas on Jewish admission. Until then, the more Jews who were admitted to these ellites universities, the more WASP students were outperformed . . . something regarded in the ultra-bigoted Interwar period (1919-1941 for the USA) as intolerable, beyond belief. Must be due to some sly trickery, no? The bigotry in the USA's elite universities went on for 3 to 4 decades, only for the Ivy-Leaguers to find that it was a disaster for admitting most of the most promising students and for hiring the best Ph.D. professors. In those 3 to 4 decades, apparently WASP students and professors in large numbers were happy that didn't want to have to compete against the "Hebes" Click herefor a fast-moving account of the quota-system. Here too.
6) By 19oo, most of Central and Eastern Europe was rampant with Jew-haters. Rampant throughout, to be more specific, in the entire Czarist Regime and its conquered western provinces like Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic states, Georgia, and so on --- and rampant too in Hungary, Austria, and Germany. In Western Europe, the most Anti-Semitism flourished in France and the Iberian Peninsula (where scarcely any Jews had lived since 1492's expulsions).
From 1900 on, if anything stands out in the 20th century, it's how rapidly anti-Semitism galloped forward, enticing bursting numbers of both the still poorly educated European masses and the educated elites . . . the latter, for the first time in their 1000 years history, increasingly faced with prominent high-performing Jews suddenly emerging in all areas of public life, with very few banks under their control, but with more and more Jews entering the professoriat, the prestigious professions, and so on.
Ghettos, Yes or No ---and Don't Outperform the Original Native Peoples, Huh!Huh!
As we just noted a second or two ago, Jews had been legally confined to ghettos for over 8 centuries --- with a few rich ones allowed to live outside the ghettos with enough bribe-money slipped to the ruling class --- until the Napoleonic conquests in France and the rest of West Europe, with Germany, Austria, and other Central and Eastern Europe not implementing full civil rights for Jews until the middle or late decades of the 19th century. (In Czarist Russia, never!) Living in ghettos, understand, Jews couldn't practice any of the professions legally or even enter European universities.
And so . . . as Jew-hatred spread throughout Central and East Europe, along with especially France and Spain (back to 1492) in West Europe, the hate-mongering Anti-Semitic whiners would drone on with bellyacher chants of something like this: Why oh Why! couldn't the Jews slither back into their ghettos. Or, as in the past, be booted out of their countries. Or --- for some agitators and charismatic big-shot demagogues like Hitler --- just be killed outright. All of them! For Hitler of course, total extermination was the only way to save the so-called Master-Race Aryans.
Which, of course, was what the Holocaust was supposed to do.
The Holocaust and Its Consequences
In 1941, Hitlerian Germany, with lots of help from its butcher-boy imitators and admirers elsewhere in Europe, set out to exterminate the Jews once and for all. Not able to kill off all the Jews with guns, besides wasting precious ammunition, the grisly scheme was improved in 1942 with death-camp usage of poison gas and huge ovens to dispose of the bodies . . . but not before all the gold teeth and other goodies for money were extracted. Much of that money ended up in Swiss banks. By the end of WWII in Europe (May 1945), the Holocaust was more or less completed by the Nazis and their fervent followers in Eastern and Central Europe at the war's end.
All the countries in East Europe --- whether independent or Soviet Union satellites --- participated in the genocide's ghastly killings. There was one exception: Bulgaria, a German ally, that stopped cooperating with the Nazi efforts to deport all Jews to the Death-Camps in Poland when its government learned about the Jews' fate. The country was able to save almost all of its 50,000 Jewish community.
And, recall from an earlier buggy post, that Hitler was overwhelmingly right when he publicly proclaimed at the start of WWII that --- whether Nazi Germany and its allies won or lost the war (caused, he emphasized, entirely by the Jews who ruled Britain, the USA, and the Soviet Union) --- Germany and all of Europe would be Juden-Frei (free of Jews).
In 1939, to clarify, the year WWII started, there were 9.3 million Jews in Europe (which had a total of about 500 million inhabitants everywhere). In 2015, as Anti-Semitism begins to spread openly again in Europe, there are 1.2 million Jews left in a total European population of around 750 million. Or about 1/5th of 1.0% of the total. For an informative if grisly article on how the Death-Camps operated, click here.
And West European Help for Nazi Genocide?
It thrived in many countries too.
Start with the Nazi-collaborating French Vichy-government --- which even tried to become Hitler's partner as a great power (he said no!). And then consider the puppet collaborating government in Belgium, Luxembourg, and Netherlands all actively rounded up Jews and sent them to the Nazi death-camps in Poland . . . though, to their great credit, tens of thousands of decent risk-taking French, Dutch, and Belgian citizens sought to hide as many Jews as they could.
By contrast, Franco's semi-Fascist Spain and the dictatorial government in Portugal --- both countries neutral --- refused Nazi requests to hand over their small Jewish populations. And, to repeat, neutral Sweden protected its small Jewish population and took in about 15,000 Danish Jews fleeing the occupying Nazis. Note that two Nazi-allies, Finland and Bulgaria, also protected their small Jewish citizenry. And Italy?
Under Mussolini, the pioneer originator of totalitarian Fascist regimes, Italian Jews were generally safe until Mussolini caved in under German pressure and let his Fascist forces gather and send Jews to the death-camps.
And the USA
Obviously, our country (along with Britain and the Soviet Union) became and remained a powerful anti-Nazi enemy. In effect, though, --- with American Anti-Semitism as its height in WWII and for years afterwards --- our government refused to take in Jewish refugees on the run, both before and during it.
One reason: FDR, our President, was worried that widespread Anti-Semitism would hurt his chances of re-election in 1940 if (a year before our entry in WWII) if he lifted tight restrictions on all immigration.
Another reason: the WASP-led State Department, full of Anti-Semites (with, it's true, a handful of members who wanted to help Jewish refugees) opposed taking more than a small number of refugees until 1944. The head of the State Department's immigration policies even watered down or concealed information sent to it from our Ambassadors abroad about the genocide that, in turn, in its form, would reach FDR's and his small circle of his closest advisors . . . some of them Jews.
In January 1944, finally, President Roosevelt --- pushed by Eleanor, his very hard-working charitable wife and by Jewish groups with hard evidence of the genocide --- agreed to lift the quota -limits on Jewish immigration and seek ways to help rescue Jewish refugees and get them passage to the USA. Almost all Jews, of course, if still alive, were in death-camps by then. FDR also ordered that the Jew-loathing members in the State Department be replaced or left with petty positions. (An easy-to-read source on all this is found here )
Posted by gordongordomr @ 06:47 PM PST
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Jews, Their Languages, Their Diasporas, and Anti-Semitism For 3000 Years: Part 5
Be Sure To Read the First Four Parts of This Series Before This Part
JEWS, THE MIDDLE AGES, AND ANTI-SEMITISM (1095-2015)
Jewish Expulsions As a Game of Musical Chairs
When things went wrong for the Medieval European masses --- not to forget all the Emperors, Kings, Princes, and Knights who had run up large debts to Jewish lenders --- slaughterhouse death-to-the-Jews riots (AKA, Pogroms) were not the only way to pander to the enraged masses, while of course saving the rich and powerful debtors from having to pay back their debts. Another way was just plain expulsions. And as bad luck had it, expulsions of Jewish communities soared by the 14th century -- almost everywhere.
Consider the record. Jews were forced out of England in 1290, in France in 1392, and out of large parts of Germany, Italy, and the Balkan peninsula between 1350 and 1450 --- not to forget from fully Christianized Spain in 1492 and Portugal a few years later. So where to go for the kicked-out Jews? In the Reformation period, from the 1520s and half way into the 17th century, Calvinist-Protestant Holland was a refuge for some Jews. Calvinists, unlike Lutherans, identified with the Jewish Bible and saw their new religion as Jewish in origin.
Luther, by contrast, went entirely kooky-ape about Jews when they wouldn't convert to his new religion and urged the rulers everywhere in Protestant lands to burn all the synagogues and kill off all the Jews in their regions.
Click here for authoritative excerpts from his book entitled The Jews and Their Lies.
Sidebar Clarification: Here's one of Luther's outrageous, Nazi-like pleas to his Lutheran followers:
"My advice, as I said earlier, is: First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss sulphur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire...Second, that all their books-- their prayer books, their Talmudic writings, also the entire Bible-- be taken from them, not leaving them one leaf, and that these be preserved for those who may be converted...Third, that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country...Fourth, that they be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. For we cannot with a good conscience listen to this or tolerate it...The rulers must act like a good physician who, when gangrene has set in proceeds without mercy to cut, saw, and burn flesh, veins, bone, and marrow. Such a procedure must also be followed in this instance. Burn down their synagogues, forbid all that I enumerated earlier, force them to work, and deal harshly with them. If this does not help we must drive them out like mad dogs."
Unfortunately,·4 centuries later, ·"the mad-dog Jews" metaphor of Luther's was taken seriously by most of the inhabitants of ·Germany and lots and lots of other countries in Europe during WWII.
Second Sidebar Stuff: Jews Alone Could Legally Lend Money With Interests On Loans
Roman Catholicism, by two official councils in 345 C.E. and later in 789 C.E. along with several later councils in the Middle Ages, declared it was strictly sinful to lend money with interest --- the practice dubbed as evil usury. Efforts by Catholics to maneuver around these Church declaration could lead the lenders to be punished as heretics and subject even to death. The stupidity of these stone-age restrictions held back economic innovations and growth for centuries. Only in the late 18th and 19th centuries were some of these restrictions officially eased, but not all of them.
Oddly, the same view of charging interest on loans as sinful usury was repeated in three of the four most prominent and influence of Protestant leaders in the Reformation period. Luther, Melanchthon, and Zwingli. The fourth, John Calvin, understood economics better, and he allowed certain kinds of interest as legitimate and his successors --- as capitalism broke through all sorts of barriers in the 17th and 18th centuries --- did the same, along with Lutherans and other Protestant sects.
Jews, however, were allowed by the Catholic and later Protestant religions to lend with interest to anyone. And that's how and why many Jews throughout Christian (and Islamic) history turned to financial lending and helped economic development. At the same time, powerful Kings, Princes, and Aristocrats would borrow excessively to finance their spending surges and then --- unable to pay back the loans --- would join average borrowers in denouncing Jews as money-grubbing usurers who should either be imprisoned, killed, or expelled from the kingdoms and principalities they lived in.
And hence the stereotype of Jews, rampant in Christianity (and Islam later on), as greedy money-mad peoples and excessively powerful in the business world.
Third Sidebar Stuff: Jump Ahead To The 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries in Europe
In the early democratizing countries in the 18th and 19th centuries --- a little earlier after the English Civil Wars of the first half of the 17th century --- the treatment of the small Jewish communities became increasingly liberal: meaning, Britain, Scandinavia, and Netherlands. In France, despite its acceptance of Jews as citizens starting in the 19th century, anti-Semitism bounded ahead and became rife in much of the country from the Dreyfus affair in the 1890s right down and through the Vichy Nazi-collaborating French government in WWII. Italy was far more generous to the small prominent Jewish population right down to WWII. As for Iberia, Central and East Europe, the hatred of Jews was more and more frightening by and after WWI. (More about this later.}
WHICH COUNTRIES INVITED THE EXPELLED JEWS TO SETTLE THERE?
Jews in the Muslim World
The largest expulsions, remember from previous posts, where imposed on the biggest Jewish presence in Europe: Spain (and tiny Portugal). That was in 1492, when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella --- the Queen as fanatic a Catholic of Dark-Age beliefs as ISIS death-cult types are in Islam ---offered two choices for Jews: convert to Catholicism (and come under the scrutinizing control of the Spanish Inquisition) or skedaddle as fast as you can out of our Kingdom. With, of course, little or none of their possessions, almost all of which were stolen by Spaniards at all levels of life and status.
Enter the Ottoman Empire (Ruling from the Ruins of the 1000-year Byzantine Empire in Istanbul, Turkey)
The countries that invited the Iberian Jews or at least let them enter and settle were those controlled by the vast Ottoman Empire's ruling Caliphate. Caliphs, people who were regarded as the successor to Mohammed, were both the religious and political leaders of all Islam. Their leaders urged openly as many Sephardic Spanish- and other South-European Ladino-speaking Jews as they could entice to settle in their domains . . . with a double-urge that the Jews specifically settle in the Empire's most backward countries in those days. Those countries in the huge Ottoman Empire? Not Egypt and the Mediterranean coastal Arabs. No, the backward countries were the the conquered Slavic countries in much of Southern and Eastern Europe
In large numbers, the Sephardic Jewish refugees jumped at the offer.
Why This Impressive Ottoman generosity?
Generally, in much of Islam everywhere, Jews were treated better than in Middle and Late Medieval Europe and for that matter in much of Early-Modern Europe from the 16th century on until way into the late 18th and early 20th centuries. (The exceptions here, remember, were Britain, Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries, plus Italy until the Mussolini dictator caved in to Nazi pressures in WWII and began sending the small, highly regard Jewish community to the Death-Camps)
Though the Ottoman Caliphs weren't democratic at any time in their vast Empire, they were generally enlightened in not seeking to force Islam on the conquered Slavic and other Christian kingdoms they ruled over in Europe. It was, of course, not just out of generosity, but self-survival of the Empire. To force Islam on Christian countries would spark large-scale rebellions.
The same sort of self-interest informed the Caliphs to invite the Jews to settle in their Empire, and especially, to repeat, in the poor backward countries in East and Southern Europe (the Balkans).
To Put This Plain and Simple:
Jews ---from the Ottoman Caliphs viewpoints --- were seen as people with a Midas-touch who would markedly help develop their entire European colonies become richer and happier, with the Christian subjects increasingly grateful for Ottoman rule over them. In turn, the Caliphates would gain more tax money and more warriors from among the Slavic, Greek, and Magyar (Hungarians) peoples . . . the result of which would enrich the Empire's elites and make it more powerful than ever.
Another reason rears itself here. The Ottoman Muslims --- Turkish-Mongol people (mixed together) --- were themselves largely uninterested in entering business enterprises or professional occupations like banking or medicine or scientific work. They saw themselves as great warriors. Business and the professions were for others. The Arabs in the 15th and 16th centuries had lost some of their once impressive skills in those activities, but they were still better at it in the Mediterranean Levant and in Egypt than were the European Christian peoples that the Ottomans dominated.
And so, thanks to the alleged Jewish settlers' Golden-Touch --- which was supposed to occur like magic --- developing swiftly the economies and efficiency of work in the Balkans, Greece, and much of East Europe as far north as Hungary would make the Ottoman's European colonies more and more grateful to Ottoman rule.
Ottoman Decline All the Same
Over the next few centuries --- even when the Ottoman Empire fell far behind the West European countries and began repeated military attacks and slaughter on rebel Greeks and Bulgarians and other European-ruled Ottoman countries in the 19th century --- the Turks never blamed he Jews or tormented them. This benign treatment all the more striking, considering that the more Christian countries rebelled against Ottoman rule --- starting with the Greeks in the 1820s ---all the way through the late 19th century, the more alarmed and vicious the Turks treated the rebels.
As for the Arab countries in the Middle East, they were all ruled by the Ottomans until their rebellious-war in WWI, by which time the British in the last two years heavily supported and encouraged the defeat of their Turkish enemy that sided with Germany and the Austrian Empire.
Source: a very good survey of Jewish life in the Ottoman Empire can be found here (click)
JEWS IN MODERN EUROPE
Query: Did life get better for Jews In the Late Enlightenment 1939 and WWII?
Click to continue:
Posted by gordongordomr @ 04:57 PM PST
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Jews, Their Languages, Their Diasporas, and Anti-Semitism For 3000 Years: Part 4
Part 4 of a 5-Part Series.
Be Sure to Read the First Three Parts Before This One
WHY SO MUCH ANTI-SEMITISM IN EUROPE FOR 900 YEARS SINCE 1095 C.E.
1) CRUSADERS AS HAPPY KILLERS:
Keeping in mind what we've said in the earlier 3rd post about Jews and Jew-baiters and Jew-haters --- the Jews expulsions from Iberia in the 1490s, the Jewish-Conversos, the steamrolling take-to-the-stake Spanish Inquisition, and the fanatical dark-age Islam of the Berbers who conquered the Arab Kingdoms of Southern Spain (1086-1284 (and, you'll see, killed off the glittering Golden Age of Moorish Spain) --- yes, keeping all this in mind, shift your attention now and ponder the much wider and longer history of European Jew-baiting, Jew-expulsions, and gory mass-massacres of Jewish communities, AKA Pogroms.
Our start is the year 1095 and the next 8 centuries or so . . . right to and through the Holocaust in WWII Europe.
Why 1095 C.E. As the Starting Point of Today's Cogitations?
That date, you see, was the year of the First Crusade aimed ostensibly at freeing the Holy Land under Muslim control (courtesy of Muslim conquests of the Byzantine Empire's rule in the Levant 450 years earlier) and --- more telling for our purposes --- leaving overworked prof bug with the need to explain the Crusaders' various aims and motives and how they affected the small Jewish communities in both Europe and the Holy Land itself. A trio of those aims and motives rear up instantly here
The latter motive --- or gore-galore --- needs to be carefully explained.
Over the four centuries by 1095, a continuously growing number of carefully trained, tournament-honed aristocratic Knights --- all well-armored and excellent horsemen and sword-wielders [with weapons practices requiring the use of two-handed sword, mace, battle axe, dagger, and lances] --- lived as did all Europeans in the Middle Ages: to wit, in especially violent surroundings. Yes, very violent. Meaning, mainly, constant wars with one another's kingdoms and principalities or with foreign countries (think of the 100 years war between France and Britain) or with Viking raiders or Muslim conquerors or between different family clans or among brothers and other kin over who should take control of dead daddies' castle and money. Or maybe, just for the hell of it, attacks on neighboring villages or the neighbors next-door, or hobgoblin witches and lots of physical and sexual assaults on one another.
Even the monasteries were full of weapons-carrying priests who had to fight off murderous groups of invading thugs and rivals. And, as a capper, travel by anyone without armed guards was almost always dangerous.
An excellent analysis of the rampant violence, fear, and superstition in Medieval Europe can be found here.
Enter the Pope's Special Motive
For the Knights, tournaments were nifty ways to test their skills in mock-battle, but --- to put it bluntly --- only blood-soaked battles were what the Knights really lived for. Otherwise, why train and train all your life and sharpen your skills in order to joust around in some silly Tournament and maybe a moment or two's fun hacking off your opponents' arm or leg? I mean, where was glory in that?
Glory for the fun-to -kill Knights and their ragtag followers could only be held in one way: join the endemic violence that existed almost everywhere. And in the process, of course, add to it.
So when Pope Urban II ordered in 1095 that all good Catholics should sign up for a Crusade to free the Holy Land from its ghastly pagan-infidels, he had in mind, you need to grasp, more than just religious aims. Along with much of the Catholic hierarchy by then, he was growing increasingly alarmed at the slaughterhouse butchery at work in European life. It wasn't getting better, it was getting worse. And so . . . well, with you get down to it, what could be the best way to limit the soaring blood-spilling in Catholic Europe than direct it unto others?
You guessed it --- order a Crusade! With glory galore and salvation on earth and in heaven for the followers of Christ, whether alive to return home or dead in combat against the infidels and so soar upward to eternal bliss . . . with a guaranteed entry into heaven, so the priesthood said, no matter what their sins had been on earth.
Note that there's an excellent film, despite taking some dramatic liberties of the historical record, of the fall of Christian-held Jerusalem in 1187. It's called Kingdom of Jerusalem --- directed by one of the greatest directors of all time, Ridley Scott, and with a remarkable cast, script, and actors, not to forget strikingly absorbing battle scenes and the conflicts for rule among the Christian leaders. The film came out in 2005. The DVD is particularly useful in the second disk because of Scott's and others efforts to explain what was historically going on and their struggles to capture it all.
Posted by gordongordomr @ 09:49 PM PST
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Jews, Their Languages, Their Diasporas, and Anti-Semitism For 3000 Years: Part 3
Be Sure to Read the First Two Parts Before Tackling This One
WHAT LANGUAGES DID THE JEWS SPEAK IN THE DISASPORA
TWO LANGUAGES BESIDES THE ONES THEIR NON-JEWISH NEIGHBORS USED
Start With Yiddish Once More (Repeated from Part 2 of This Series)
Yiddish was strictly spoken By Ashkenazi Jews in Central and Eastern Europe, and not by Sephardic Jews (Jews from Spain and Portugal who expelled them in the 1490s.
Until the 1490s, Spain had by far the largest Jewish community in all of Europe. The Portuguese, nice compassionate Catholics who confessed weekly and hoped for salvation, came up with a more ingenious scheme than the manic Catholic zealots in Spain for Jewish-expulsion. To wit: if their small Jewish community wouldn't convert, the parents and other elders could leave peacefully, only pronto ---but, an added hitch, their children would have to remain in Portugal and be raised as good kindhearted Catholics under rigid Church-control. Naturally, the parents could remain in Portugal by choice, but they would be instantly killed if they didn't convert.
Ever wonder why there were never any Protestants alive in Spain or Portugal during or after the Reformation in the 16th and early 17th centuries. Guess! (More will follow later about the ways Jews were treated in both Catholic and Muslim Iberia for 700 years until the start of the 16th century --- and later in Spanish-controlled Mexico and New Mexico, with the Spanish Inquisition happy to follow Converso-Catholics and, if found to be Crypto-Jews, even more happy to literally put-the- nail deep into them.)
Yiddish, recall from the previous buggy post, was developed and spread quickly among the Jews in the Balkans, the rest of Central and Eastern Europe, and Czarist Russia. Its origins seem to go back to the 10th or 11th centuries, by which time the small communities of Jews who engaged in long-land exports and imports needed to have a common language. At base a German derivation, the language drew about 3/4 of its vocabulary from various German dialects. The rest of Yiddish words were taken from the Hebrew bible and local European areas where Ashkenazi lived.
Note finally that Yiddish, like any language --- say, Chinese or Arabic --- can be converted in writing into any other language with a large vocabulary. Hence Yiddish could be written in Europe in Hebrew or in the Roman Alphabet or Slavic native languages where Jews lived. The Holocaust brought an end to the use of Yiddish in Central and Eastern Europe, and for those still living in fairly large numbers in Russia ---but nowhere else in the former Soviet regime, where they were all essentially murdered --- it had already disappeared in the Communist era and nailed dead with the large emigration out of post-Soviet Russia to Israel, the USA, and in much smaller numbers elsewhere.
What, then, did Sephardic Jews who lived originally in Iberia or other South Europe countries speak as a common language? It's called Ladino, a hybrid of medieval Spanish combined with Hebrew words.
The language probably arose earlier than Yiddish . . . what with most Jews in Europe living in Spain until 1492 in either the Christian or Muslim areas.
By that year, if you included the small population of Portugal --- only 10 million inhabitants now (with Spain about 40 million now) --- there were about 350,000 Jews living in the whole Iberian Peninsula until their expulsion or forced conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1492. So why did Ladino arise? It originated in Iberia and spread elsewhere because of the long-distance exports and imports by Jewish merchants of goods and money throughout Southern Europe as well as in North Africa and the Middle East. Ladino was also used in daily business by Jews across the Muslim-Christian divide and among different regional Arab and Spanish dialects.
Generally speaking, until 1492 --- when the Christian conquistadors destroyed the last Muslim stronghold in Iberia and the fanatical Catholic team of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella became the rulers of Spain --- Jews were treated more or less decently in both the Christian and Muslim areas. It wasn't always peachy-nice, you understand, even in the more tolerant Muslim areas. Thus in 1066, a huge Muslim mob stormed the Royal Palace where they killed the Jewish vizier --- an Arab term for any high-level adviser to the rulers --- and moved on to the Jewish quarters and killed about 4000 Jews.
It was a sign of the change in Mooorish Spain as the Berbers ---fierce tribal nomads who clung to a hard-core puritanical Islam --- prepared in Morocco and Tunisia to invade Arab Spain and take control of it. (More on this later.)
JEWISH ACHIEVEMENTS IN CHRISTIAN AND MUSLIM IBERIA
In both Christian and Muslim kingdoms, Jews played a large role as doctors, merchants, farmers, financiers, craftsmen, tax-collectors, scholars,and high-level advisers to the ruling Kings and other big-shots. Yes, from time to time, there were street riots and ghastly pogroms --- more so and more destruction in the Christian kingdoms starting in the 14th century --- but for the most part the Arch-Bishops and both Muslim and Christian rulers tried to protect them (out of their own self-interest.) Yes, self-interest.
The Jews, you see, were considered by the rulers in both Moorish and Christian kingdoms as too valuable to let them be slaughtered by jealous mobs and some fanatical clerics in both religions. After all, who would replace the dead Jewish-achievers?
Good replacements, to be blunt, would have been frequently hard. Unlike the vast majority of Christian males in Iberia and the rest of Europe, most of them illiterate way into the modern age, all Jewish boys were formally educated in Spain and elsewhere . . . just as they had been in their homeland country (ancient Israel) for a dozen centuries and in the rest of the Middle East until the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and killed off most of the Jews in Judea. That was, recall, in the mid-2nd Century C.E. Forced into the Diaspora, the surviving Jews scattered themselves around the Middle East and North Africa as well as in Iberia and elsewhere in Europe. But they also had their Torah, the Jewish Bible, and Jewish males were obligated to learn how to read it. Hence the formal education for Jewish boys that started when they were 6 years old.
The majority of Jewish males remained better educated compared to both Christians and Muslims until the late 19th century in Northern Europe and way into the 20th century in Southern Europe. Despite the great intellectual work of Muslim scholars and scientists in the Early and High Middle Ages (roughly down to 1300-1400 C.E.), there weren't that many well-educated Muslims and so the same comparisons between Jews and Christians applied to the Muslims. Note here that Jewish boys everywhere in Europe during the Roman Empire rule and through the Middle Ages into the Modern Era were also supposed to learn not just Hebrew for reading, but also two other languages: in Spain, of course, Spanish and also Ladino. (And education for Jewish girls and women in the Middle Ages? Click here for a very readable account (search, once on that web-site, for Education.)
JIHADI BERBERS END SPAIN'S GOLDEN AGE
THE DECLINE OF ISLAM'S GLITTERING CIVILIZATION IN IBERA
All the admirable scientific, philosophical, and mathematical achievements in Muslim Iberia and parts of the Middle East (especially around Baghdad) began to erode in Iberia starting in the 11th century. The reason? Two waves of Berber militaries out of North Africa invaded Arab-ruled Southern Iberia. The second wave was in the 13th century. Berbers, like Bedouins in the Arabian Peninsula, are tribal nomads in origin who lived in the desert areas of their countries. Once converted to Islam, they practiced a zealous hyper-controlling form of Sharia Law. They were scattered all over North Africa, from Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean, and they were fierce deadly warriors. (As for Baghdad, its glittering city and intellectual life were destroyed in 1258 by fiendish Mongol nomads out of Mongolia and elsewhere. (More later)
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Posted by gordongordomr @ 11:01 AM PST
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Jews, Their Languages, Their Diasporas, and Anti-Semitism For 3000 Years: Part 2
THE MULTI-LINGUISTIC USES OF THE JEWS SINCE 1500 B.C.E.
Be Sure To Read the First Installment Before This One
From roughly 1500 to 600 B.C.E. --- that initial date more or less accepted by most (not all) scholars as the start of the Jewish religion and people --- the dominant language for those 900 years --- was Hebrew, one of the original Semitic languages, only for it to decline in daily usage except among the aristocratic elite Priesthood after about 500 B.C.E. It was Aramaic that became the dominant vernacular language spoken by most Jews in that ancient land. Aramaic itself was the closest to Hebrew in the Semitic-family of languages. What caused the change in language-usage?
Most likely the Babylonian Exile in 597, when the Chaldeans (Babylonians) conquered Jerusalem and deported the elite Jews to their own homeland (roughly Syria and Iraq these days): elite, here, meaning at that date not just the Priesthood, but the Jewish professionals, top bureaucrats, skilled craftsmen, military leaders, and the wealthy. Soon afterward, the poorer, less educated Jews who remained in Judah (as it was called) were overwhelmed by famine and eventually limitless despair . . . or so most historians of ancient Judaism argue, but not all of them. In the upshot, most of them disappeared leaving only a few thousands in the Jewish homeland.
AND THE JEWS WHO STAYED IN BABYLONIAN EXILE?
For the most part, they were treated decently by the Babylonians (Chaldeans) while they tried to explain to themselves what had happened to cause their downfall and exile. Their joint understanding that emerged fairly soon: the Jewish people --- who had been exiled two centuries or so earlier by Assyrians as well --- had drifted away from their covenant with Yahweh and their moral obligations to him. So they set out to reinvigorate Judaism, insisting that the Jewish people must carefully follow Mosaic laws and cultural practices.
Similarly, the intellectuals and priest should finish the writings in the age-old Torah (Bible) and, according to hand-me-down information, did finish it in exile.Eventually, rescue from the Babylonian exile did emerge. In 539 B.C.E., Cyrus the Great, the Persian Emperor, sent his powerful military to conquer all of Mesopotamia in 539, after which he freed the Jews in captivity to return to their homeland
IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF ALL THIS:
START WITH THE CONQUESTS OF ANCIENT ISRAEL AND ITS EXILES
Cyrus the Great, who freed the Jews in Babylonian captivity, was followed by other Emperors of the mighty Persian Empire, with its conquests of most of the Saudi Peninsula and Egypt. It was in Greece that the Persians they failed to expand their empire. For nearly a half-century, the Greeks and Persians fought off-and-on warfare (492-449 B.C.E.), and not once did the Persians prevail. Eventually, most of the Persian Empire was conquered by Alexander and his Greek military. That was in the late 4th century B.C.E.
The Greek empire extended from Greece and Egypt into India in Alexander's reign. After he died (356 born-322 B.C.E. dead), the empire splintered into three parts, each ruled by Greek generals. Essentially, it became a large geographical area of diverse city-states, based on the Greek model, with one exception: the Seleucid Empire, established in Syria and the rest of the Levant by one of Alexander's commanders. Based in what is now Syria, the new Greek empire extended its powers and Hellenizing influences northward and southward into Egypt and eventually across Persia and into India. It also controlled Judea.
It was there that the Maccabean family began the Jewish rebellion against the Seleucid's empire's efforts to force the Jews to follow Greek law and worship Greek gods. That was in the 160's B.C.E. Eventually the Jews regained control of their area and began to conquer surrounding pagan areas.
GREEKS, JEWS, AND MUTUAL INCOMPREHENSION
What did remain of Greek influence all over the Mediterranean region and the Middle East was the Greek language and culture: architecture, art, science, philosophy, and athletics.
The educated elites all over the Near and Far Middle East, including Egypt, were amazed at Greek achievements and tried to imitate them in their own city-states. Greek itself as a language spread among all the educated peoples in those huge regions. Even educated Romans were also enamored of Greek culture.
There was one exception to all this: the Jews in ancient Israel.
Their vision of the universe and their religious Monolithic God and his Mosaic laws brought them into growing conflict with their Greek rulers and for that matter Greek-speaking masses all over the Meditteranean world. The Greeks, you see, had never confronted such a people.
In particular, Jews rejected polytheism, rejected homosexual relations, criticized Greek emphasis on the body and athletics, and found Greek education and philosophy largely at odds with the Jews' own intellectual, spiritual, moral, and legal beliefs and laws. The Greek conquerors were astounded. Not only had they never before met a people who were monotheistic, but who emphasized that all existence in the world and its continuation was created and underpinned by an infinite, invisible, all-powerful, all-caring God.
To the far more scientific, philosophical Greeks, proud of their intellectual and artistic heritage, the existence of such a perfect Being who created humans in his own image --- and who would eventually provide peace in the world and salvation for all good people at some unclear future point --- was not just strange, but totally incomprehensible. For the Greeks, their numerous gods were created by humans in their image and they comingled all the time, even sexually.
Posted by gordongordomr @ 02:35 PM PST
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Jews, Their Languages, Their Diasporas, and Anti-Semitism For 3000 Years: Part 1
A longtime friend of prof bug named Matt ... --- a prominent Lutheran Pastor who knew Martin Luther King and marched with him in demonstrations against prejudice --- asked in a recent email sent to bug whether the word "Semite" refers to Jews only or to others as well.
THE ANSWER: YES AND NO
THE TERM SEMITE MEANS WHAT?
In their origins, "Semitic" and "Semite" are strictly linguistic term developed by European and American linguists and anthropologists in the 19th and early 20th century that referred to a family of somewhat similar languages originating about 3000 to 3500 years ago in the Middle East.
That linguistic family and its varieties --- like, say, Latin, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French all considered a family of Romance languages --- were used by disparate ancient peoples in the Saudi Peninsula and nearby regions, though there were other peoples in the Middle East who didn't speak or write in those Semitic languages.
The most historically prominent of those diverse peoples sharing family-like languages were the Jews, Akkadians, Phoenicians, and possibly Arabs who lived in disparate tribal groups for centuries in the Saudi region. And so, if Semites is a term referring to a loosely shared set of languages, the answer to Matt's query is --- YES, there were different peoples other than the ancient Jews who spoke different variations of the shared Semitic language-family.
BUT "NO" OTHERWISE
Overwhelmingly, the original cultures and languages of those non-Jewish peoples sharing Semitic languages thousands of years ago disappeared over time. Yep disappeared, not just changed.
This was especially the case after 632 with the death of Mohammed . . . followed immediately by the rapid spread out of Saudi Arabia of conquering Islamic militaries and, no less important, the subsequent adoption by the conquered peoples of the Arabic language and Arabic culture all over the Middle East and North Africa. At most, over time, there have been some minor differences of shared Arab or Persian cultures . . . plus, of course, the two major competitive hate-filled religious sects of Islam: mainly Sunni (about 86% of all Muslims) vs. Shiites (about 12%) --- both sects persecuting, torturing, or killing off one another with glaring glee. With both major sects persecuting, torturing, or killing off some minor sub-branches such as Sufis (mystical Muslims), Druze, Baha'is, Alevis, and Alawis. All these latter are regarded by mainstream Sunnis and Shiites as horendous heretical-sects, usually in need of blazing punishment for their religious sins.
Something to stress here: just how quickly Arab conquests were achieved once they were on the jihadi warpath. The initial vanquished "non-believers" (Kafir in Arabic) were the legendary Byzantine and Persian armies ---the first Orthodox Catholic in religion and the latter mainly Zoroastrian (dualist believers in a bad-guy God and a higher-level good-guy God at battle with one another, the dualism shared by Gnostic Manichaeism). Persia was entirely conquered in the 630's C.E., with Islam imposed more or less on them if they knew what was "good" for them.
As for the Byzantine Orthodox Christian Empire, in the 630's C.E., Arab militaries drove it swiftly out of the Levant --- roughly, in today's terms, the areas of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel --- but it remained a very powerful Greek-speaking Empire elsewhere for hundreds of more years, during which it was at war repeatedly with Muslim Arabs, or the vast Muslim Persian Empire, or eventually the Muslim Ottoman Turks from the middle 14th century on. In 1453, the Ottomans destroyed once and for all the remnants that remained of the 10-century old Byzantine Empire. By then, the Ottoman Empire was already vast in scope and then went on to conquer much of Southern and Eastern Europe in the centuries to follow 1453.
Back to conquered Persia.
In the 16th century, the new Persian Emperor (the 1st in the Safavid dynasty) shifted Islam in his country and the larger empire away from Sunny to Shia Muslim worship and laws. His motive? Mainly to ensure that the age-old Persian language and age-old impressive culture distinguished Persia and its vast empire from the hated Sunni Arabs and Ottomans (and for a while the Turkish-Uzbek Muslims). Large massacres and wholesale torture and slaughter then followed in Persia for the Sunni clerics, scholars, and average people who wouldn't convert to Shia Islam or exile themselves.
As you can easily grasp, lots of crackling hatreds and violence have marked historically the interactions of various branches and subbranches of Islam. Is it different today in the religion of peace?
Ha!Ha! - If You Guessed Wrong. No Different at All. Gory Internecine Wars Galore.
In the various wars between different kinds of Islam, Muslims have been persecuting or outrightly massacring one another for 1400 years, and almost non-stop with glee. Why should it be different in 2015? [Might as well ask the Spaniards to stop tormenting and killing bulls; or the British to stop drinking coffee and switch back to mainly tea again; or the French to bring back their great culinary traditions, now tattered beyond recognition (70% of all French restaurants were found by the French government in 2013 to mainly heating up processed food in microwave ovens and only 20% have received a formal endorsement from the government for using slightly more than 60% fresh food.]
The latest wars in the Middle East these days are found everywhere among Sunni countries, often led or attacked by frothing half-crazed Sunni jihadists --- their on-the-warpath-minds full of murderous fantasies on behalf of Allah's wish for Islam to conquer the world, Sunni dark-age version of course. With, needless to add, there'll be all those mind-frenzied mainstream Shias --- joined by heretical and non-heretical Shias all over the Saudi Peninsula and some from Persia: their eyes hard and deranged-looking, --- on-the-hunt to kill Sunnis for the sake of Shiite martyrdom and the 72 gorgeous virgins all panting and waiting for the brave martyrs to go skyhooting directly to paradise. Be assured though. Sooner or later, like all exhausted massacre-mongering killers, both Sunni and Shia liquidators will need to take some R&R away from their slaughter-house warring with one another and resort to some effortless fun by torturing and butchering as many Muslim Kurds, Christians, Yazidis, Druze, Jews, Bahai, Buddhists, Gnostic Zoroastrians and Gnostic Mandaeians as they can find in their path.
Not to worry, all ye armchair aficianodos of atrocious wars!
After a couple of days of torturing, raping, and gruesome luiquidating the defenseless minorities, the brave Shia and Sunni- warriors --- nicely rested and their heavenly visions flaring with renewed hatred --- will continue their irresistible bloodbath carnage of one another.
A Key Question Prompts Itself Here: Is Islam, Then, More HISTORICALLY Bloodthirsty than Christianity?
The answer: Another Yes and No. It depends on the motivations for the wars we're talking about.
If the answer focuses strictly on religion motives for warfare among Muslims and also against non-believing "infidels" for a good 1400 years now, then clearly the judgment has to be NO . . . Islamic-warfare has been no more murderous than Christian warfare for 1600 years. Historically, going back to the early 4th century when Constantine the Great, the Emperor of the Roman Empire, converted the Empire to Christian religion, religious motives have animated all forms of brutal wars against Christian "heretics" over and again, and against Jews, Muslims, "pagans", and of course between Protestants and Catholics in the 16th and early 17th centuries.
But YES, Islam has been more bloodthirsty than Christianity if we focus strictly on religious motivations again --- and, more to the point, blood-thirstier since the middle of the 17th century. How so? In 1648, after more than a century of raging wars between Protestants and Catholics, the various leaders of European countries and principalities met and agreed to abide by what has been known as the Treaty of Westphalia. By signing it, the Kings and Princes would leave it up to one another to decide which version of Christianity would dominate over their peoples.
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Posted by gordongordomr @ 10:23 AM PST
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
ANTI-SEMITISM IN EUROPE, COMPARATIVELY VIEWED
JEFFREY GOLDBERG INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
Here is an outstanding, if pretty long online article by Jeffrey Goldberg --- a journalist who has written impressive investigative reports on a variety of topics (mainly foreign and US affairs) that have appeared in several distinguished weeklies, the Atlantic online blogs, and for the New York Times magazine. He has won awards both his journalism and a book that appeared in 2006. A former Israeli soldier, he returned to the USA and is now a national correspondent for The Atlantic, the oldest ongoing magazine in the USA. His reputation enables him to interview not just high government officials and politicians in the USA, but elsewhere in the world too. Source of his article: Click here
The Subject of the Article?
Growing anti-Semitism in Europe, something prof bug has written about several times on his blog. Except that Goldberg, to his great credit, has done a lot of investigative interviews in Europe, especially in France. What was especially surprising to me was the number of hate-crimes against Jews in Britain --- where only 300,000 Jews live (about 6-7 million in the USA, and about 500,000 in France). In concrete terms, there were almost the double number of hate-crimes in Britain last year (about 1100 reported to the police) than in the USA with a population of 310 million people vs. about 62 million in both France and Britain. The high number in Britain exceeded those in France, even though France has a much larger number of serious attacks than in Britain.
What is even more surprising is that the most recent survey of anti-Semitism in several dozen countries by the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) found that France had the 2nd number of higher reported anti-Semites in Western Europe --- 37% vs 8% in Britain vs. 27% in Germany (the anti-Semitic findings were very low in Netherlands and Scandinavia), but much higher in East Europe such as : Lithuania (65%), Poland (62%), Hungary (61%) and Austria (52%). The source of these findings is the most recent ADL survey of anti-Semitism, reported in the spring of 2014 for 2013. All over Eastern Europe, every country subject to the ADL survey has a very high rate of anti-Semitism with one exception: Czech Republic. It's only 13%, about 1/4th to1/5th of the high percentages elsewhere.
The survey dealt with 102 countries around the world, surveying about 53,000 people. One quarter of the world's population shared a clear percentage of strong dislike to hate of Jews. No need to explain why it was far far higher in Muslim countries, though less so, now and then markedly, in Asian Muslim countries compared to Iran, Turkey, and Middle East Arab countries.
USA and Jews
In the USA, anti-Semitism is at an all-time low. Jews are roughly 2% of the US total population at 310 million. The ADL 2013 survey found about 9% of the US population was anti-Semitic. Then, too --- a big surprise --- Judaism was found to be in another survey the most admired religion in the USA. The contrast with Europe, never mind the rest of the world, couldn't be more striking than that. Click here for the ADL interactive data. And here for the Pew Research Center's findings on how Americans rate other religions in our country:
Three Further Points to Keep in Mind:
1) Reports to the police of all kinds of crimes may differ across countries, just as the definitions of the serious nature of a crime --- say, assault as an example --- can differ too. That's why victims of crime-surveys are also carried out nationally and reported to Interpol and other police agencies globally. Generally, victims surveyed report more crimes than those who call the police. Even so, the two sorts of crime-stats will usually rise or fall jointly.
A further way to discover unreported crime is to interview prisoners, with promises of keeping the interviews secret. Usually academics carry out those reports, prisoners not confident about the police. One unusual study in 1995 found in two different prisons visited by the interviewers --- one in New England, the other in Wisconsin (maybe Michigan) --- that the inmates in both prisons reported the same number of crimes they committed that weren't ever reported to the police: 11 for each criminal. That same number was undoubtedly a coincidence.)
2) Despite the rise of radical right-wing groups in Europe, most of their animosity is directed toward the much larger (than Jewish) Muslim populations. In France, there seem to be 5 - to - 6 million Muslims (about 9-10% of the total population), and in Britain there are 2.8 million Muslims. Remember, the population of the two countries is about the same (true also of Italy) at roughly 62 million.: Germany, since unification, has 30% more at about 80 million. In Britain --- something that clarifies the relatively high anti-Semitic attacks yearly --- about 95% of all those attacks are done by Muslim hoods and jihadis.
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Posted by gordongordomr @ 03:39 PM PST
Friday, March 13, 2015
Christians Persecuted All Over the Middle East. More and More Flee
On the very good Foreign Affairs online-site today (03/13/2015), there appeared a commendable article by two specialists on the Middle East who set out the growing fears and persecutions underway of Christian Arabs --- along with their efforts to flee those dangers by emigrating the US or Europe, to which article Prof Bug replied. Click here for the article, plus several other comments left on the article-site. Foreign Affairs is always worth looking at, its articles put out by both scholars and journalists. Lots of them are noticeably informative and fair-minded --- which means they take into account likely criticisms of their work. Agreed: some of the articles aren't fair-minded. All the same, they are generally intellectually stimulating.
Apropo of the fair-mindedness and balance that good scholarly work and journalism should live up to, each of you on the buggy site should always try to recognize propaganda and lopsided writings or lectures that simply set out automaton-driven indoctrination. That's true of much of the stuff set out by those professors --- at all levels of higher education --- who repeatedly engage in one-sided brainwashing and ignore, purposefully, hard evidence that might be found in counter-arguments. The new leftwing post-modernists are an insult to good scholarship and teaching.
A Couple of Examples
The only powerful intellect who associated himself with the New Left for a couple of decades --- the philosopher Richard Rorty --- said in a book put together by scholars of his work that he was "properly chastened and reprimanded" for his previous New Left associations. He even went so far as to call its academic members "creeps". That book --- Rorty and his critics by Robert Brandom, 2000 --- is well worth reading if you're interested in philosophy. Brandom, a prominent philosopher himself, was a Ph.D. student of Rorty's. Rorty died in 2007. By then, he was robably the most famous philosopher in the world since the early 1980s.
Something else. The political right-wing in the USA also engages in lop-sided Orwellian New-Speak too. That's especially true of the more frenzied of them. The big difference with the New Left? The right-wing is not strongly represented in universities, at least not in the Social Sciences and Humanities --- though lots of good scientists describe themselves as Republicans. Then, too, the work coming out of Business-sponsored institutes like the generally sound American Enterprise Institute is usually worth looking at. It employs mainly retired or former scholars, and it grounds its articles in clear data. You may disagree with their articles, but that requires your spotting insufficent or mishandled data --- something not easily done except by specialists.
A confession: Buggy sees himself as a moderate Democrat.
THE BUGGY POST AT FP TODAY
This is an informative article, backed up in other ways . . . such as the rapidly growing influx into Israel of Arab Christians. They make generally good citizens of Israel, and many have joined the IDF (Israeli military). Recently, a couple of years ago, an Arab Christian female officer was put in charge of a IDF company. Click here:
The fast growing influx into Israel of Arab Christians --- who practice different kinds of Christianity (Orthodox, Copt etc) --- is due to a combination of causal influences: the never-ending wars in Syria and Iraq; ISIS massacres of both Christians and Christian churches; increasing efforts in Gaza and to an extent in the West Bank to force the populations to submit to rigid medieval sharia-law, including total submission of women to male-favored laws; persecution of gays and so on.
Israel's population is 8.3 million. 75% of them are Jews. Arabs, at 1.7 million, are 21% of the population. Of those 1.7 million, there are about 167,000 Christian citizens total in Israel, with 80% of them Arabs. The Arab Christian community has the fastest growing rate of child births in the country. They do well in Israeli schools and universities, and increasingly they have voluntarily joined the IDF.
Here's a Breakdown of Israeli Demographics
|Group||Population||Proportion of total||Growth rate|
Source: click here
Farther afield in the Middle East, note that in Egypt --- which has by far the largest population of Christians --- the numbers of Coptic and other much smaller Christian minorities have been fleeing the country for three decades now, with the numbers of emigrants soaring after the radical Muslim Brotherhood took control of the government in 2013. Most of those emigrating seek to go to Europe or the USA.
Copts, please note, are about 12% of Egypt's 90 million population. The Coptic leaders have continually accused the Egyptian government since the 1970s of not sufficiently protecting their members and churches from jihadis and rampaging crowds. The same leaders dismiss the official government figures of only 6 million Copts in Egypt as a shameful fabrication. The currently ruling military has promised the Coptic community that it will intensify its protection of their persons and churches. Click here for a good article about all this.
More recently, jihadi attacks in Libya sent well over 10,000 Christian Arabs fleeing with Egyptian aid into Egypt itself. The rescues were aided by the Egyptian government . . . a signal, it seems, that the military leaders in Cairo are living up to their promise of providing better protection for their Christian citizens and refugees.
Retired Prof, AKA Michael Gordon
Posted by gordongordomr @ 02:49 PM PST
Sunday, March 1, 2015
ISRAEL, THE MIDDLE EAST, AND OBAMA AND IRAN
In Israel's hour of need by Caroline Glick Click Here for Source
Ron, thank you for the Glick article.
To tell the truth, I don't know what to say with much insight about the article. It clearly has some strong points --- though, on this score, it could have stressed some references to Obama's feckless dead-end "red lines" for the Syrian and Iranian governments, one for chemical weapons and the other for nuclear bomb-developments. These on-and-off threats do little except alienate certain allies in the Middle East and harm American efforts to counter and contain potential enemies. This doesn't mean diplomacy isn't useful, even with potential adversaries; but not when it includes tongue-loose lines-in-the-sand that turn out to be vacuous rhetoric, nothing more.
One of the better points in Glick's article is her references to Netanyahu's compromise-offers regarding an independent state in the West Bank and prisoner-exchanges (and a handful of other moderate positions). Another good point is her criticism of Obama's excessive and semi-delusive faith in the Arab spring, even though she focused mainly on Egypt. That said, she could have strengthened her argument by underscoring how Obama's policy twist-and-turns have impacted the member-states in the sotto-voce alliance between Israel and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the small Gulf States. Briefly put, those sleigh-of-hand changes in policy have turned the leaders of all these countries into skepticism about US reliability toward them and their worries about Iran.
All That Said, What Follows?
Follows? Well .. . we have to await a few developments to see what's really going to happen soon. No soothsayers should be trusted until then. Those developments?
- There's Netanyahu's speech and how the Senate reacts.
There're Obama's negotiations with Iran and what they might amount to. Right now, despite some leaks to the press recently, nobody knows for sure. To put too much trust in anything Muslim dictators say, whether foes or allies, would be naive, but that doesn't mean negotiations couldn't be useful to a certain degree in our relations with Iran . . . especially if they allowed full freedom for UN inspectors to visit their sites as quickly and often they demand. (Whether the Iranians could still hide weapons developments in large underground facilities beneath, say, Tehran buildings, is always a possibility that the inspectors might never even chance upon.)
There are good reasons, all in all, to be skeptical about any treaty that permits Iran to maintain certain high-potent centrifuges, but not all of them. In this respect, some say that for 10 years or so the Iranians could promise in a treaty not to move directly to a breakout-development of few nuclear warheads on ever longer-distance missiles. That seems naive. At a minimum, in the most explosive area of the world, what would keep the Saudis, say --- loaded with oil money --- to not move to nuclear weapons too.
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Posted by gordongordomr @ 01:41 PM PST
Thursday, February 19, 2015
PART FOUR ISLAM AND ITS MASSIVE PROBLEMS WITHIN AND BETWEEN EACH MUSLIM COUNTRY AS WELL AS WITH RADICAL JIHADI TERRORIST GROUPS
Please Read the First Three Parts in This Series Before Reading This
Start by Recalling the Findings Set Out at the End of Part Three
Far More Likely Causes of Islamic Downfall and Backwardness For Three Centuries Now:
All over the world, vast numbers of Muslims readily shift the blame onto outsiders for Islam's massive failures and steady descent into humiliating economic and military weakness for three centuries now --- with the vicious hobgoblin Jewish World Conspiracy the crack-whip commanders in charge of their monstrous anti-Muslim proxy-miscreants (the USA and the bigger EU countries). Note though. A few Muslims, a small and relatively quiet group of scholars and journalists, disagree. They've explained Islam's endless decline and backwardness for centuries now as due to more plausible causes. Namely: massive corruption, incompetent dictatorial regimes, secret-police states, crony-patron groups at the top that suppress or kill off rival crony-patron groups, and promotion of cronies to higher position without qualifications (just nice obedience to the head-honchos).
Not to overlook a poor work ethos, incompetent business managers, and retard-economies, all of which plague their societies. Plus, it needs to be stressed, backward science and backward technologies and horrid educational systems. And not least, just the contrary, the marked suppression of half of all Muslims world-wide who don't have penises.
Nor Is That All.
The religion of peace doesn't look at all peaceful these days --- very much the blood-splattered opposite. Well, when was it ever at peace with either non-Muslim countries or between different Muslim Empires and Kingdoms?
Nothing surprising, then, that everywhere in Islam these days, there are endless internecine hatreds and bloodthirsty conflicts galore at work in every Muslim country. These bitter antagonisms pit diverse Muslim ethnic and tribal groups against one another, all of them, it seems, full of rancor and enmity toward others . . . just as the same antagonisms --- no less crazed and cutthroat ---still cause massive wars a good 1500 years old between Sunnis and Shia, the two major branches of Islam. Not to forget, within these two branches, the use of extensive terrorism by breakaway jihadi and other hate-filled minority Muslim groups only too eager to kill off alleged heretics and apostates or one another in grudge-laden struggles for power.
Then, too, a new target these days of the more vicious terrorists enters the domestic Islamic House-of-Horrors. In particular, there are all the alleged Muslim softy sellouts, not least the Kings and Presidents-for-Life and their followers in charge of their countries, who have adopted certain western values and behavior recently, with their numbers soaring in recent decades thanks to American and Europe movies, TV, and the Internet. No surprise again, is it? that 6 of the top 8 countries worldwide that watch the most pornography online are Muslim. Click here for the list.
Oh, and don't forget on this score of westernized imports a steady inflow of Western (or Russian) arms that require US and European instructors to train the locals in their usage.
For ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other death-cult jihadis, these halfway-modernized Muslim-traitors will either have to repent and kneel without complaint to dogmatic Dark-Age Sharia laws or face you-know-what . . . a bomb here, a few swords slashes there: What the heck, can't rebuild Islam to its glory past without lots of gore, right? And in case there aren't enough apostates or softy-sellouts around to massacre, there are always Christians and pagans to take their place, what say guys?
Who knows in extremist jihadi circles what to do here, these poor confused male killers? Well, maybe Boko Haram has pioneered the way to deal with Christians, males or females, anywhere. Just kidnap some school girls and sell them off to Saudis and others with enough lute. Or, if the children are Muslim, train them in Boko's ranks to "slaughter people like animals." Click here for the evidence.
Recently, in Israel, there has been a noticeable increase of Christian Arabs fleeing from Syria and Iraq and other Muslim countries, with the Israelis welcoming them warmly. More and more Christian Arabs already settled in Israel have been joining the IDF (Israeli army) . . . including a female Christian put in charge of a front-line unit composed of Jews and Christians. Click here for the info.
And The Future of the Arch-Bogeymen Who Rule the World?
Posted by gordongordomr @ 09:08 AM PST