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"Beating" up on Israel?

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Al Jassas View Drop Down
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  Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: "Beating" up on Israel?
    Posted: 22-Mar-2009 at 17:31
Hello to you all
 
Here is an interesting story buried as usual by international media about the last war on Gaza:
 
 
Now reading this story which wasn't reported at all by any of the major media outlets I wonder why do people still insist that the media is with the Palestinians?
 
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  Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2009 at 22:38
Originally posted by gcle2003

Which quite clearly and specifically states he is "rightly considered a Jewish philosopher."
 
Of course his beliefs were anything but Judaic. That's entirely the point.
If you're not dyslexic, you have no other excuse because that text says clearly: "While he may no longer have thought of himself as a Jew, and while he even had great contempt for Judaism and other organized sectarian religions, it cannot be denied that Jewish texts, history, and thought continued to play an important role in Spinoza’s thinking – so much so that Spinoza can rightly be called a Jewish philosopher, both because his ideas were deeply influenced by earlier Jewish philosophy and because in his major works he philosophized about Judaism." so he did not consider himself to be a Jew and the author calls him Jewish philosopher because the influence of Jewish philosophy in his work and his comments of Judaism, none requiring to have a Jewish ethnic identity. Moreover, the author puts it as clearly as it can be: "In July of 1656, however, Spinoza was expelled from the Portuguese community with the harshest writ of herem (ostracism) ever issued by its leaders. The only extant documentation of this event refers to his ‘abominable heresies’ and ‘monstrous deeds’, but it still remains something of a mystery why exactly Spinoza was punished with such extreme prejudice. The order was never rescinded, and Spinoza lived the rest of his life outside any Jewish context. In fact, he seems not to have had any residual sense of Jewish identity. In his writings, he seems to go out of his way to distance himself from Judaism, and always refers to the Jews in the third person – as ‘them’; nor does he exhibit any fundamental sympathy with Jewish history or culture."
 
which says nothing of the kind you indicate. This I can copy from (the other I coudln't):
Probably the same symptom as above, the text says:
"After his excommunication, Spinoza no longer considered himself a Jew." but even more important to this case "Spinoza cannot be viewed as the first  secular Jew. The essence of secular Judaism, in all its varieties, is that Jews are a people with a shared history and cultures that can sustain a viable Jewish identity independent of religion. For Spinoza, Judaism was purely a religion that he rejected." ( I copied all these texts in italics using ctrl+C, ctrl+V )
 
You'll have to do a bit better than that to substantiate your case.
I did enough, all what is required is the basic ability to read simple texts in English language. I cannot be accounted for your failures.
 
I don't think he says that anywhere.
Which means your assertion that he was a Jew rests on no evidence. Moreover both the materials I invoke stress that he didn't think of himself as a Jew (based on indirect evidence from his texts).
 
They did according to the authority you quoted.
None of them says that. They only say the Jewish community excommunicated him and he lost contacts with virtually all Jews (with few exceptions like Prado).
 
Obviously he wasn't part of the religion bound community, he had been excommunicated from it (like several others) and was happy to be free of it. He was still recognised as Jewish and still is, even officially by the State of Israel apparently.
That State of Israel recognizes him to be a Jew is like Hitler recognizing Siegfried or Theodoric the Great to be (ethnic) Germans. Whatever identity Spinoza had must be proved with evidence from his time. Anything else is just ethnocentric fantasy.
 
Then why quote someone who does just that?
Usually I assume good faith and a minimal level of intelligence.


Edited by Chilbudios - 09-Feb-2009 at 22:55
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  Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2009 at 21:47

Originally posted by gcle2003

That's a rare situation, and is somewhat like a Catholic becoming a priest. It requires in effect proof that the individual has been accepted by God as a sharer in the covenant. It has very little indeed to do with the normal use of the word 'Jew'. Not everyone pays attention to what Chief Rabbis assert.

The Israeli immigration officers do.

 and has refused it to the children of Jewish fathers.
On the grounds that the ethnic descent is questionable.
No! On the grounds that it doesn't fit the halakhic definition of a Jew. That's the law in Israel - a Jew is defined by the halakhic definition. 
Law of Return, section 4 B - "For the purposes of this Law, "Jew" means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion."
That's the law as written in Israel about who is a Jew. The children of mothers only or converts, and only if they do not belong to "another" religion!! This is in plain language, and crystal clear!
And it's not just Israeli law, either:
Who is a Jew?
A Jew is any person whose mother was a Jew or any person who has gone through the formal process of conversion to Judaism. 

It is important to note that being a Jew has nothing to do with what you believe or what you do. A person born to non-Jewish parents who has not undergone the formal process of conversion but who believes everything that Orthodox Jews believe and observes every law and custom of Judaism is still a non-Jew, even in the eyes of the most liberal movements of Judaism, and a person born to a Jewish mother who is an atheist and never practices the Jewish religion is still a Jew, even in the eyes of the ultra-Orthodox. In this sense, Judaism is more like a nationality than like other religions, and being Jewish is like a citizenship. See What Is Judaism? 

This has been established since the earliest days of Judaism. In the Torah, you will see many references to "the strangers who dwell among you" or "righteous proselytes" or "righteous strangers." These are various classifications of non-Jews who lived among Jews, adopting some or all of the beliefs and practices of Judaism without going through the formal process of conversion and becoming Jews. Once a person has converted to Judaism, he is not referred to by any special term; he is as much a Jew as anyone born Jewish.
And another:
Rabbi Gurkow: Welcome to the Rabbi's one on one chat room, how can I help you today?

curious and confused: Is there a difference between a religious Jew and an ethnic Jew?

Rabbi Gurkow: that depends on what you mean by those terms

Rabbi Gurkow: if by religous jew you men a jew who practices and an ethnic jew you mean a Jew who does not than there is a difference -- one pracitces and one does not

Rabbi Gurkow: but on the fundemental level they are both Jewish, and in that way they are similar

curious and confused: If I am am of Irish decent, can I still be Jewish?

Rabbi Gurkow: if your mother was Jewish you are Jewish too

Rabbi Gurkow: if not than it is possible for you to convert into Judaism and become a Jew but there is no need (to the Jewish way of thinking) for non Jewish people to become Jewish

Rabbi Gurkow: G-d loves people just the way he made them

curious and confused: Well my husband and I have this discussion all the time. A person can be Jewish by birth (by blood) but not in their beliefs. During WWII, Hitler was trying to eliminate Jews in order to create the 'perfect race'. But that has nothing to do with an individual's religious beliefs. Correct?

Rabbi Gurkow: correct

curious and confused: So then, a person can be Jewish by birth but not necessarily in his beliefs. Does that mean that being Jewish can merely be an ethnicity? Or what is the word I'm looking for?

Rabbi Gurkow: a Jew has a soul that is unique to Jews. this soul enters into the Jewish body either at birth or at conversion. observance of the Jewish laws or lack thereof do not impact the presence of the soul

Rabbi Gurkow: that is what we mean when we say that someone is Jewish even if he does not practice it

Rabbi Gurkow: it is not an issue of ethinicity or race, it is a spiritual question
The problem, the way I see it, isn't that people have a problem when they are defined as a religion, or defined as a race. The problem is that they don't fit neatly into the kinds of categories other groups do, and people have a really hard time accepting that. They want to pigeonhole them into categories they don't belong in and don't identify with, like ramming a square peg into a round hole ... they're not strictly an ethnic group nor strictly a religious group, as indicated by their own views on the matter (views which have been adopted as law in the Jewish state). Ethno-religious is a nice compromise and is in accord with how they describe their own identity.


Edited by edgewaters - 10-Feb-2009 at 00:00
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2009 at 21:12
Originally posted by Chilbudios

Originally posted by gcle2003

I quoted you Spinoza from the Netherlands as an example. He's one of the few people before the contemporary/modern world we can be certain (a) did not believe in Judaism and (b) was regarded as Jewish by the people around him, including the Jews, and indeed by everyone who has ever written about him since.
Oh really? First, 17th century is modern world by all accounts. Second, read
 
Which quite clearly and specifically states he is "rightly considered a Jewish philosopher."
 
Of course his beliefs were anything but Judaic. That's entirely the point.
 
which says nothing of the kind you indicate. This I can copy from (the other I coudln't):
Soon after the establishment of the State of Israel, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, a
secular Jew, urged the Chief Rabbi of the new Jewish state to lift the excommunication or herem on Spinoza. The answer was negative. Instead of being lifted, the ban imposed in 1654 was reaffirmed. Nothing has changed since then. Spinoza remains the ultimate Jewish heretic and many other similar materials
Note: Nothing has changed since then. He was viewed as a Jewsh heretic then and he is viewed as a Jewish heretic now. At least according to the author you quoted. More:
But can he be properly described as the founder of Jewish secularism?

If we relied only on the testimony of leaders of the secular Jewish movement, as it emerged in Eastern Europe in the second half of the 19th century, the answer would be a resounding "yes." They praised Spinoza for freeing Judaism from the shackles of religion and proving that the Bible was a human creation, full of contradictions and prejudices. They also honoured Spinoza as a victim of rabbinic persecution. Indeed, today's secular Jewish movement can also profit from his critique of the Jewish doctrine of the "Chosen People," his analysis of the origins of the Bible, and his conclusion as to its ultimate purpose.

You'll have to do a bit better than that to substantiate your case.
 
- in his writings he did not consider himself to be a Jew
I don't think he says that anywhere.
- after banning him, the contemporary Jewish community did not consider him a Jew
They did according to the authority you quoted.
- moreover Spinoza characterized the Jews as a religion-bound community, obviously one he was not (anymore) part of
Obviously he wasn't part of the religion bound community, he had been excommunicated from it (like several others) and was happy to be free of it. He was still recognised as Jewish and still is, even officially by the State of Israel apparently.
 
That some people call him a Jewish philosopher today is of absolutely no relevance of how he was perceived back then, in his own time.
Then why quote someone who does just that?
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2009 at 20:52
Originally posted by edgewaters

Originally posted by gcle2003

Of course it's mythical. However the point is that it is essentially a racial/ethnic/tribal myth. Israel wasn't actually the father of all the 'children of Israel' but they believed him to be. And that's an ethnic/tribal/racial - i.e. ancestry-based - belief.


Yes ... but it's also, at the same time, a religious belief.

One might even say ... an ethno-religious belief.
 
The belief in the covenant is the important thing, not the actuality of it.


A belief in a covenant with God ...
A belief that God singled out a special tribe and gave them and their descendants specific obligations in return for benefits that would accrue to those descendants. It was only their obligation and only their benefit. No-one else could get in on the benefits (seen as earthly ones at that time anyway) and no-one else could take on the obligations.

I quoted you Spinoza from the Netherlands as an example. He's one of the few people before the contemporary/modern world we can be certain (a) did not believe in Judaism and (b) was regarded as Jewish by the people around him, including the Jews, and indeed by everyone who has ever written about him since.


No, we can hardly be certain of that at all, considering Spinoza was a practicing member of the religion until he was excommunicated! He did not voluntarily abandon the religion, he had to be forced out.
Of course he voluntarily abandoned his religion. It was his works and their content that led to his being excommunicated. You don't excommunicate someone from a religion for practising it.
 
Marx is a different example, in that his parents converted to Christianity, but they and he continued to be viewed as Jews. I could go on for ages.

Like Disraeli, another example but a bit more modern.


Yes, he's 19th century and thus serves as a very poor example of a secular Jewish identity occuring prior to the 19th century.
I didn't even suggest he was an example of a secular Jewish identity prior to the 19th century. In fact he wasn't even secular, but a Christian. But still a Jew. As was, for instance, Georg Cantor.
 
I never denied, in fact IIRC I first pointed out, that the non-observant Jew became more and more common after the enlightenment, as happened with many other religions, which is how so most of the original Zionists came to be non-observant.
 
How come I can keep providing these examples if I'm wrong? No-one seems to be providing counter-examples.


It's kind of difficult to provide an instance of a thing that didn't exist.
It's kind of difficult to justify your case for blurring two different categorisations and trying to combine them into one.


He doesn't in Israel. He is respondible for determining the facts, but the fact that someone has a Jewish mother makes that person a Jew. It's not a religious test even if the person applying the test is a cleric.


That's not all there is to the test. You've just singled out the one element that is (partially) ethnic,
What on earth do you mean 'partially' ethnic. How can descent be anything else but ethnic? (In the common contemporary sense of the word anyway.)
 ignoring the fact that the Chief Rabbinate grants Jewish nationality to converts$
You have an example? Or is that something else that doesn't exist?
 
That's a rare situation, and is somewhat like a Catholic becoming a priest. It requires in effect proof that the individual has been accepted by God as a sharer in the covenant. It has very little indeed to do with the normal use of the word 'Jew'. Not everyone pays attention to what Chief Rabbis assert.
 and has refused it to the children of Jewish fathers.
On the grounds that the ethnic descent is questionable.
 Besides, what is a religious office doing making any decisions about the status of citizens in a purely secular state? Obviously this is a logical contradiction.
Personally I never claimed Israel was a purely secular state: IIRC I said it was essentially racist. It's not terribly material because Israel is not Jewry, and Jewry is not Israel. The question is the preferred meaning of the word 'Jew' not anything about the type of state Israel is.
 
Britain is certainly not a purely secular state: neither is Denmark or Sweden or Luxembourg, to take a quick few examples. Even the USA is not de facto secular, whatever the de jure situation.

No need to, yes, but that's what happens. People will probably always generalise from the particular to the general.


What people do with the facts is one thing, what the facts are is another matter entirely.
 
 So too are Jew and Judaist, even though there is one country (in which only a minority of the world's Jews live) that is both largely Jewish in population and has religious courts


I've never even heard the word "Judaist" before. Can you tell me its etymology and the earliest known occurence of such a distinction?
The etymology is obvious. Webster only gives it as a noun derved from Judaism, which is reasonable, with no date. That's a 1970 edition of Webster, so it's certainly been around for a while. I remember it being the word for a follower of Judaism when I was an undergraduate 50-odd years ago, and studying such stuff.

As far as I can tell, "Judaism" didn't even enter the English language until the 13th century,
There wasn't any English language until the 13th century. The term is older than that in the languages English derives from. Judaist is such an obvious extension, asking for its etymology is like having the etymology for 'look' and asking for the etymology for 'looker'.
 and in that case, it was part of a text defining a tax on all Jews ...
Who were almost certainly identified racially at that time. Even though secular Jews at that time would have been no more common than secular Englishmen.
and Judaist, I cannot find any sort of etymological information on at all, other than that it (obviously) comes from Judaism. Probably quite recently.
Why 'probably'? If you have an '-ism' can an '-ist' be far away? In fact yba you have an 'ism' without an 'ist' to believe in it?

It strikes me that if there has historically been a distinction between 'Jew' and 'Judaist', then there would be distinct terms dating back alot further than the last few years ... it's no coincedence that Jew refers both to an ethnic and religious identity, because Jew is an ethno-religious identity!
IIRC the Byzantines referred to Western (Roman) Christians as Franks. Similarly the West referred to the Byzantine religion as 'Greek'. In a period of history when religious and racial identities tended to run in parallel, confusion of ethnic and religious designations was likely to be common. cf also Albigensian for a territorial designation used as a religious one, or Moravian.
 
There is no question that some people use 'Jewish' both as a religious designation and as an ethnic one. The question is whether this is justifiable and desirable. Using 'Judaism' and 'Judaist' (and 'Judaic', which goes back to the Latin) helps clarify the position.


Edited by gcle2003 - 09-Feb-2009 at 20:58
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  Quote Chilbudios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2009 at 16:04
Originally posted by gcle2003

I quoted you Spinoza from the Netherlands as an example. He's one of the few people before the contemporary/modern world we can be certain (a) did not believe in Judaism and (b) was regarded as Jewish by the people around him, including the Jews, and indeed by everyone who has ever written about him since.
Oh really? First, 17th century is modern world by all accounts. Second, read
and many other similar materials
 
- in his writings he did not consider himself to be a Jew
- after banning him, the contemporary Jewish community did not consider him a Jew
- moreover Spinoza characterized the Jews as a religion-bound community, obviously one he was not (anymore) part of
 
That some people call him a Jewish philosopher today is of absolutely no relevance of how he was perceived back then, in his own time.
 
 


Edited by Chilbudios - 09-Feb-2009 at 16:05
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  Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2009 at 15:39
Originally posted by gcle2003

Of course it's mythical. However the point is that it is essentially a racial/ethnic/tribal myth. Israel wasn't actually the father of all the 'children of Israel' but they believed him to be. And that's an ethnic/tribal/racial - i.e. ancestry-based - belief.


Yes ... but it's also, at the same time, a religious belief.

One might even say ... an ethno-religious belief.
 
The belief in the covenant is the important thing, not the actuality of it.


A belief in a covenant with God ...

I quoted you Spinoza from the Netherlands as an example. He's one of the few people before the contemporary/modern world we can be certain (a) did not believe in Judaism and (b) was regarded as Jewish by the people around him, including the Jews, and indeed by everyone who has ever written about him since.


No, we can hardly be certain of that at all, considering Spinoza was a practicing member of the religion until he was excommunicated! He did not voluntarily abandon the religion, he had to be forced out.

Like Disraeli, another example but a bit more modern.


Yes, he's 19th century and thus serves as a very poor example of a secular Jewish identity occuring prior to the 19th century.
 

How come I can keep providing these examples if I'm wrong? No-one seems to be providing counter-examples.


It's kind of difficult to provide an instance of a thing that didn't exist.

He doesn't in Israel. He is respondible for determining the facts, but the fact that someone has a Jewish mother makes that person a Jew. It's not a religious test even if the person applying the test is a cleric.


That's not all there is to the test. You've just singled out the one element that is (partially) ethnic, ignoring the fact that the Chief Rabbinate grants Jewish nationality to converts and has refused it to the children of Jewish fathers. Besides, what is a religious office doing making any decisions about the status of citizens in a purely secular state? Obviously this is a logical contradiction.

No need to, yes, but that's what happens. People will probably always generalise from the particular to the general.


What people do with the facts is one thing, what the facts are is another matter entirely.
 
 So too are Jew and Judaist, even though there is one country (in which only a minority of the world's Jews live) that is both largely Jewish in population and has religious courts


I've never even heard the word "Judaist" before. Can you tell me its etymology and the earliest known occurence of such a distinction?

As far as I can tell, "Judaism" didn't even enter the English language until the 13th century, and in that case, it was part of a text defining a tax on all Jews ... and Judaist, I cannot find any sort of etymological information on at all, other than that it (obviously) comes from Judaism. Probably quite recently.

It strikes me that if there has historically been a distinction between 'Jew' and 'Judaist', then there would be distinct terms dating back alot further than the last few years ... it's no coincedence that Jew refers both to an ethnic and religious identity, because Jew is an ethno-religious identity!


Edited by edgewaters - 09-Feb-2009 at 15:50
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2009 at 14:18
Take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noachide_law especially for the distinction Jews apply to the responsibilities of Jews, as opposed to non-Jews who accept Judaism. While it emphasises that there is a 'Jewish religion' it also emphasises the fact that non-Jews who observe it are not Jews. (Which is one half of what I've been saying, and that Spartkus thought was unfair.)
 
The other half of course is that Jews who do not observe the religion are still Jews.
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2009 at 14:11
Originally posted by edgewaters

Originally posted by gcle2003

The Old Testament asserts a purely ethnic identity. Israel is the descendant of Abraham and the children of Israel come from him. That's a purely ethnic identity, and secular too because it had nothing to do with believing in God.

It's purely mythical, and an invention of the Yahweh cult. The archetypal founder. The archaeological evidence points to the ancient Israelites as a religious ... revolt? ... by some Canaanite groups. Abraham is a mythical father-figure associated with the religion, perhaps based on some chieftain but nonetheless, definately not the father of all Semites!

Of course it's mythical. However the point is that it is essentially a racial/ethnic/tribal myth. Israel wasn't actually the father of all the 'children of Israel' but they believed him to be. And that's an ethnic/tribal/racial - i.e. ancestry-based - belief.
 
The children of Israel (according to the story) came out of Egypt and were the descendants of a single family that migrated there - Israel's direct children and their families. It's the history of a tribe (which split later into 12) that sometimes practised Judaism and sometimes didn't, but it always remained a tribe.
 
The myth matters. It shows there was an sense of ethnic community before there were any commandments. It's the belief in racial descent we're talking about, not the actuality of it.
 
Jews nowadays identify as fellow-Jews people whose ancestry is believed to be Jewish, not people whose ancestry is actually Jewish, because no-one can say that for sure. What they do NOT do is identify them as Jewish because they believe in Judaism. It's the myth that matters.
That Covenant was between God and  and an ethnic group, and that ethnic group and that ethnic group only

The 'ethnic group' simply consists of those tribes in the region that were influenced by a particular religion. The covenant is nothing more than a superstition intended to help the religion hang on to these groups, by threatening curses and calamities should they revert to their previous culture and religion.

I'm not claiming the Bible is true. We don't know what happened in fact. But the Jews believe that the story is one of their tribe first and foremost. And it's on that basis that other Jews are identified. The belief in the covenant is the important thing, not the actuality of it.
Not true. You might try to but you would always be identified by both the French and the other Jews as Jewish.

Non-practicing Jews were sometimes suspected of being secret practitioners ... beyond that, no.

Beyond that, yes. Though I accept I know more about England than France in this respect. I quoted you Spinoza from the Netherlands as an example. He's one of the few people before the contemporary/modern world we can be certain (a) did not believe in Judaism and (b) was regarded as Jewish by the people around him, including the Jews, and indeed by everyone who has ever written about him since. Like Disraeli, another example but a bit more modern. Felix Mendelssohn is another example, as indeed are his entire family apart from his grandfather and a couple of uncles.
 
How come I can keep providing these examples if I'm wrong? No-one seems to be providing counter-examples.
 
He could campaign for a law forbidding the eating of fish on Sundays - and that law, too, would be a religious product, even though it was an atheist who brought it about. The subject and the object are distinct and do not necessarily share the same qualities.
I think that's over stretching the argument. You're implying that simply because I sometimes say "God knows" I'm partly religious. That's nonsense. Learned behaviour continues of course. Habits are hard to break. Doing things that people around you think are appropriate is also always attractive.
You're just giving the reasons an individual might choose to do something of the sort. It doesn't change the fact that the practice is a religious act, and even if some of those who perform it are not members of the religion, it enhances the prestige of the religion. 
But that has nothing to do with the issue. The point is that even a Jew who observes some of the outward Judaic practises may not believe them. And the underlying important point is that whether he believes in them or not, whatever his religion or lack of it, he is still a Jew.

The law in Ireland is affected by religion. Does that make 'Irish' a religious designation.

Well, that depends. Does a Chief Rabbinate or Bishopric or something get the final say as to whether you're Irish or not, for nationality purposes?

He doesn't in Israel. He is respondible for determining the facts, but the fact that someone has a Jewish mother makes that person a Jew. It's not a religious test even if the person applying the test is a cleric. (And for that matter rabbis in Judaism aren't clerics in the Christian sense anyway. They are scholars.) The Ben Gurion doctrine - "anyone the Nazis would have persecuted as Jewish" - wasn't a religious test either (though I agree it's not the current test). 
 
How can your mother's bloodline be a religious test?
In Northern Ireland, I'd venture that identity is ethno-religious.
It's an oddity of Israeli law that decisions about personal status are considered the subject of the religious courts
I'll say.
Most Muslim countries have the same oddity. So to some extent has Britain, since if a couple marry in a Church of England church it counts as married: in any other church, or synagogue or mosque it doesn't.
 
What I'm arguing here is not that the Judaic religion doesn't exist, or that it has no influence on Israeli law at all (though its influence is certainly exaggerated greatly by both pro- and anti- fundamentalists), but that it needs to be separated out from the identity of Jews as Jews.
It can't be. The history of the Jews is the history of a religous community ... that, by the mid-19th century or so, began to assume a secular identity (in keeping with the nationalist current that was in vogue in Europe at the time). It remains ethno-religious in many aspects. It may be in the process of becoming a purely secular identity, but for the moment - at least on the question of Israel - it is not yet exclusively an ethnic designation. Thus, ethno-religious.
 
Otherwise there is more than just a serioous risk of the fallacious arguments that run along the lines 'Jews refuse to kill cattle humanely', 'X is a Jew', 'X wants animals not killed humanely'.
Ethno-religious implies an ethnic element to the identity, therefore no need to assume every single member is a follower of every (or any) religious practice.
No need to, yes, but that's what happens. People will probably always generalise from the particular to the general. But there's a big extra risk when you open the door to generalising from the religious to the ethnic.
 
Which is what people do when they attribute religious motives to the Israeli leadership. Which is what makes all this relevant to this thread. It's a way of, and a reason for, beating up on Israel.
 
On a slightly different sidetrack with regard to religious courts: much the same is true in many Arab countries, and Muslims are pressing for the same kins of system to be established in, at least, Canada and the UK. But you don't seem to be using that for an argument for calling 'Arab' 'ethno-religious'.
 
Well, the Sharia courts business in Canada wasn't just about Arabs, it concerned the Muslim community as a whole. The community concerned did not share ethnicity, only religion. Are you trying to draw parallels between this religious practice and Israeli courts? I'd say the identity group involved here is a purely religious one. There's no such thing as a Muslim ethnicity, or even ethno-religious identity, any more than there is a Catholic ethnicity.
I was referring to the Arab countries as representing 'Arabs'. The fact that a country has a certain ethnicity and also has religious courts doesn't mean that that ethnicity applies to that religion or vice versa.
 
In fact you're making the same point yourself when you say that Arab and Muslim are different categories (in different categorical systems). So too are Jew and Judaist, even though there is one country (in which only a minority of the world's Jews live) that is both largely Jewish in population and has religious courts - just as Jordan having Islamic courts and a majority Arab population doesn't make 'Arab' = 'Muslim'.
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  Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2009 at 02:22

Originally posted by gcle2003

The Old Testament asserts a purely ethnic identity. Israel is the descendant of Abraham and the children of Israel come from him. That's a purely ethnic identity, and secular too because it had nothing to do with believing in God.

It's purely mythical, and an invention of the Yahweh cult. The archetypal founder. The archaeological evidence points to the ancient Israelites as a religious ... revolt? ... by some Canaanite groups. Abraham is a mythical father-figure associated with the religion, perhaps based on some chieftain but nonetheless, definately not the father of all Semites!

That Covenant was between God and  and an ethnic group, and that ethnic group and that ethnic group only

The 'ethnic group' simply consists of those tribes in the region that were influenced by a particular religion. The covenant is nothing more than a superstition intended to help the religion hang on to these groups, by threatening curses and calamities should they revert to their previous culture and religion.

Not true. You might try to but you would always be identified by both the French and the other Jews as Jewish.

Non-practicing Jews were sometimes suspected of being secret practitioners ... beyond that, no.

 
He could campaign for a law forbidding the eating of fish on Sundays - and that law, too, would be a religious product, even though it was an atheist who brought it about. The subject and the object are distinct and do not necessarily share the same qualities.
I think that's over stretching the argument. You're implying that simply because I sometimes say "God knows" I'm partly religious. That's nonsense. Learned behaviour continues of course. Habits are hard to break. Doing things that people around you think are appropriate is also always attractive.
You're just giving the reasons an individual might choose to do something of the sort. It doesn't change the fact that the practice is a religious act, and even if some of those who perform it are not members of the religion, it enhances the prestige of the religion. 

The law in Ireland is affected by religion. Does that make 'Irish' a religious designation.

Well, that depends. Does a Chief Rabbinate or Bishopric or something get the final say as to whether you're Irish or not, for nationality purposes?

In Northern Ireland, I'd venture that identity is ethno-religious.

It's an oddity of Israeli law that decisions about personal status are considered the subject of the religious courts
I'll say.
 
What I'm arguing here is not that the Judaic religion doesn't exist, or that it has no influence on Israeli law at all (though its influence is certainly exaggerated greatly by both pro- and anti- fundamentalists), but that it needs to be separated out from the identity of Jews as Jews.
It can't be. The history of the Jews is the history of a religous community ... that, by the mid-19th century or so, began to assume a secular identity (in keeping with the nationalist current that was in vogue in Europe at the time). It remains ethno-religious in many aspects. It may be in the process of becoming a purely secular identity, but for the moment - at least on the question of Israel - it is not yet exclusively an ethnic designation. Thus, ethno-religious.
 
Otherwise there is more than just a serioous risk of the fallacious arguments that run along the lines 'Jews refuse to kill cattle humanely', 'X is a Jew', 'X wants animals not killed humanely'.
Ethno-religious implies an ethnic element to the identity, therefore no need to assume every single member is a follower of every (or any) religious practice.
 
On a slightly different sidetrack with regard to religious courts: much the same is true in many Arab countries, and Muslims are pressing for the same kins of system to be established in, at least, Canada and the UK. But you don't seem to be using that for an argument for calling 'Arab' 'ethno-religious'.
 
Well, the Sharia courts business in Canada wasn't just about Arabs, it concerned the Muslim community as a whole. The community concerned did not share ethnicity, only religion. Are you trying to draw parallels between this religious practice and Israeli courts? I'd say the identity group involved here is a purely religious one. There's no such thing as a Muslim ethnicity, or even ethno-religious identity, any more than there is a Catholic ethnicity.


Edited by edgewaters - 09-Feb-2009 at 02:24
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Feb-2009 at 23:26
Originally posted by edgewaters

Originally posted by gcle2003

Originally posted by edgewaters

On a side note, the English really aren't all that "mongrel".

The diverse historical background is mostly a linguistic concept, not a genetic one. 

So how would you define 'English'?
 

Mostly as a mix of Jutlanders (Danes, Jutes, Angles, etc) and native inhabitants.

Romans, Normans, Flemings, Huguenots, Jews, Poles, Cypriots, Pakistanis, Indians, West Indians....
 
It's a mix, but it's not nearly as mixed as Spain, France, Italy, etc. There were many waves of invaders, but its considerably reduced when you consider the fact that most of them were either the same population, just different cultures in time (Jutlanders) or didn't really populate the island in any signifigant way (eg Normans).
All of Western Europe is pretty mongrelised, agreed.

Or, if you meant "Who is English" I guess it's a matter of self-identification and cultural affiliation. The idea of being "English" is a cultural/political innovation. Yes, its an insular population on an island and the inhabitants probably always had an identity of sorts, but England doesn't cover the whole island. The population of the region probably first came to see itself as distinct from the rest of the archipelago during the era of Roman Britain (another invasion which contributed very little genetically, but very much culturally) so, the origin of "Englishness" can be said to be cultural more than anything else.

I'd say the Anglo-Saxon conquest started the distinction between the two parts of the island (not quite the same borders as now though). The distinction was then mainly seen as between the Saxons and the original Britons (let's call them Celts), and then between Saxon, Dane and Celtic, and the idea of 'Englishness' proper didn't arise until after the Norman conquest and the general disappearance of the Norman-Saxon separation - i.e. about the time the English language began to be used officially (and to be reasonably recognisable by modern English speakers.
People talk about the many invasions of England and how it produced a diversity. The nature of that diversity is misunderstood. It's not a terribly great genetic diversity, relative to the rest of Europe (though it's hardly a "pure race" either, as if such a thing has ever existed). It's that England is the result of profound cultural changes brought by invasion, and most especially, that the language is a remarkable hybrid. There are few other languages so profoundly hybrid as English.
Agreed. I now see what you meant by the diversity being greater linguistically than genetically.

On the other hand, you do have alot of diversity entering the picture in relatively recent times, from the 1700s on. So I guess we're really talking here about the English as they were a few centuries ago. There are blacks in London who would self-identify as English first and foremost - again, it's an assumed identity based on cultural affiliation.



Edited by gcle2003 - 08-Feb-2009 at 23:30
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Feb-2009 at 23:15
Originally posted by edgewaters

Originally posted by gcle2003

So you think the Old Testament was written sometime in the late 19th century, possibly the 20th, do you?

Errr ... wha???! Where are you pulling that from?

Originally posted by edgewaters earlier

So is pretending that a purely secular, ethnic identity existed before the Zionist movement. It just didn't. 

The Old Testament asserts a purely ethnic identity. Israel is the descendant of Abraham and the children of Israel come from him. That's a purely ethnic identity, and secular too because it had nothing to do with believing in God. The Israelites didn't stop being Israelites when they were going around worshipping the golden calf for instance.
 
The message of the Old Testament is that an essentially ethinc group was chosen by God to do various things in return for various privileges. That Covenant was between God and  and an ethnic group, and that ethnic group and that ethnic group only, whatever they may believe, or how they may behave, is responsible for carrying out the covenant.
 
That's why I said you were implying the OT was written after the start of Zionism.
No, its an old religious document. What I'm saying is that prior to Zionism, there was no such thing as a secular Jewish identity. If you weren't a practicing Jew, and you were in, say, France - you'd identify yourself as French.
Not true. You might try to but you would always be identified by both the French and the other Jews as Jewish. Even if, like Spinoza, you were excommunicated. You can't voluntarily give up being Jewish.

What the age of the Old Testament has to do with that is beyond me.

See above
That's daft. You can't be an atheist and an observant Jew (observant means believing in the precepts of Judaism, not just following outward forms) at the same time.

That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that you don't need to be a believer to take part in religious practices,

Of course not. I've even occasionally faked it myself when I was involved in church services.
 
and even have some of your worldview informed by religious influences. Your atheist who doesn't eat fish on Sundays because of some inheirited religio-social custom IS a product of that religion.
Did I say Sunday? Should have said Friday.
 
He could campaign for a law forbidding the eating of fish on Sundays - and that law, too, would be a religious product, even though it was an atheist who brought it about. The subject and the object are distinct and do not necessarily share the same qualities.
I think that's over stretching the argument. You're implying that simply because I sometimes say "God knows" I'm partly religious. That's nonsense. Learned behaviour continues of course. Habits are hard to break. Doing things that people around you think are appropriate is also always attractive. You can't say an ex-Anglican is still Anglican because when he meets a priest he calls him 'Father'.

My proposition here is not that Israel is a'good' state, but that, right or wrong, it is essentially a racist one.

And my position is that, while it has ethnic features, it is not exclusively ethnic in nature. You can convert to a religion and it will change your nationality; a religious office (the Chief Rabbinate) is involved in immigration decisions; etc etc. It's not exclusively religious either, but trying to deny the religious element in the nature of the identity is absurd, and it's simply a fact that the religion does impact (in legal terms) the status of a citizen in Israel.

The law in Ireland is affected by religion. Does that make 'Irish' a religious designation. Through most of the Arab Middle East the law is affected by religion. Does that make 'Arab' a religious designation?
 
It's an oddity of Israeli law that decisions about personal status are considered the subject of the religious courts (not just the Judaic ones, but also the Muslim courts and the various Christian ones). Hence, for instance, no civil marriage or divorce, so that many many Israelis go abroad to get merried or divorced.
 
What I'm arguing here is not that the Judaic religion doesn't exist, or that it has no influence on Israeli law at all (though its influence is certainly exaggerated greatly by both pro- and anti- fundamentalists), but that it needs to be separated out from the identity of Jews as Jews.
 
Otherwise there is more than just a serioous risk of the fallacious arguments that run along the lines 'Jews refuse to kill cattle humanely', 'X is a Jew', 'X wants animals not killed humanely'. And we've seen too many arguments like that in the past, and we are still seeing them now.
 
On a slightly different sidetrack with regard to religious courts: much the same is true in many Arab countries, and Muslims are pressing for the same kins of system to be established in, at least, Canada and the UK. But you don't seem to be using that for an argument for calling 'Arab' 'ethno-religious'.
[/QUOTE] 
If you want to talk races, we're getting even further removed from things because the Palestinians and the Israelis are basically the same race, from the same original population, confirmed by a remarkable genetic similarity. The only major difference is that the Israelis show alot more European influence.
[/QUOTE] I accept that about 'races'. Wherever I've said 'racist' you can substitute 'ethnic'. Personally I don't think it matters very much, but some people take it seriously.

Which brings me to a point about the pictures. "Race" is an archaic concept. But we can talk about clines, which are the distribution of a trait associated with a geographic region. Clearly, pictures can give us a good indication of visible traits and demonstrate that the Israelis are phenotypically diverse and the population itself bears obvious influence from many different clines - Northern Europe, Africa, etc.
 
'Visible' 'phenotypical' yes. That's exactly my point. Using photographs just focusses attention on a few unimportant features. And those few variations are then built up into the attitudes that you and I apparently share.
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Feb-2009 at 22:41
Originally posted by Spartakus

Originally posted by gcle2003


It's not just novels, but history books. You won't find one that refers to Disraeli, for instance, without referring to him as Jewish, and he was known as Jewish during his lifetime, but he was a practising member of the Church of England (he pretty well had to be in the politics of the period).


It depends on the  policy behind the publication of history books. You should know that.
No it doesn't. That's simply ridiculous conspiracy theory. That all history books would pretend Disraeli was Jewish if he wasn't is rubbish.
 
Disraeli was a Jew. He was a practising member of the Church of England. That's as factual as that the battle of Hastings was in 1066 - or is that just due to the policy behind the history books too?

Originally posted by gcle2003


Note he says 'our sacred nation' and 'father Abraham'. The last quote says nothing about the present 'Hebrew's' religion. One might also have said, in that period, 'the African will turn Christian' or 'the Indian will turn Christian'. Or indeed, 'the Turk will turn Christian'. That doesn't mean 'African' or 'Indian' or 'Turk' is a religious designation, just that at the time 'Christian' (and Shakespeare I'm dead sure is being sarcastic here) implied 'gentleness.Personal hatred of Christians doesn't mean much either. Richard Dawkins isn't Jewish, but he's pretty down on Christians, and there are a lot worse than him.


 "our sacred nation" : it clearly shows a metaphysical dimension, which, in the given circumstance, can be explained  inside a religious context. God made Jews a sacred nation.
The Jews were a tribe before God made any pact with Abraham. It was a tribe first, and sanctified later. Doesn't alter the fact that lots of Jews don't believe in God, let alone the Torah, let alone stuff about only drinking kosher wine: and that lots of people who believe in God, believe in the Torah, and will only drink kosher wine are not Jews.

Also, Shylock sees it's difference with others in religious grounds, that is Jew vs Christian. If he saw it otherwise, he could have used the term Venetian, for example.He refuses to eat pork, he refuses to pray.
If je refuses to pray, he can hardly be a religious Jew. He sees the people around him as Christians because they would have been Christians.  He probably would have been at least a part-observant Jew too. What difference does that make to the argument? I don't deny there are Judaist Jews. It's just that 'Judaist' and 'Jew' don't mean the same thing.
That behavior can  be explained in the context of upholding religious tradition.
Or in the context of having nothing to do with religion at all - i.e. that he is just using the term 'Christian' as one of generalised abuse, without any regard for whether or not they are actually Christian or not. In effect making the same mistake you do when you lump all Jews into one religious basket.

Concerning the last part of my quote, the author uses the dipole Jew/Hebrew- Christian. If we take the term Jew ( which is a synonym for Hebrew here) only in racial terms, then the dipole does not make sense.
It does if you don't take 'Christian' in a religious sense either - which a Jew in Renaissance Italy might well have done. Renaissance Italians aren't particularly noted for religious purity. Even the Popes.
It would make sense if, instead of Christian, used , again, Venetian. Plus, we are in the 16th century , aren't we? Terrestrial reference ( African turning Christian) is a little out of date. And also the term Ottoman Turks did not only have a racial reference, but (by the end of the 16th century when they had conquered, practically, all the Middle East) also a religious reference. They were the chief representatives of aggressive Islam.
Claiming 'Turk' (I didn't say 'Ottoman' incidentally) is a religious designation is stretching things a bit far even for you.
Originally posted by gcle2003


And there are people (fewer) that practise the religion without being Jews.


A ridiculous statement and double standards. You recognize the right to non-practicing people to call themselves Jews and you deny it to those actually practicing the religion. I, for once, have not met not a single man who practices Judaism and does not consider itself a Jew.
It's not me doing the denying, it's the Jewish people. Take a look at what I linked to and quoted about the Israeli laws on nationality. Doesn't matter how much you don't like it, but Jews themselves consider themselves still Jews when they don't practise (King John here is a case in point - do you think he is lying?) and they also don't consider someone Jewish just because he does practise Judaism. THAT is one reason why you need to distinguish between 'Jew' and 'Judaist'.
Originally posted by gcle2003


During certain periods in their history most Jews practised the same religion (not all, not all the time, unless you think the Bible is lying - in which case we've no information about the early period at all).


The Bible itself is a religious narration.
Not all of it. Have you read it? If you had you'd know that much of it is concerned with the conduct of the children of Israel (itself a totally racial designation) when they did not follow the prophets and the laws of the Torah.
The history of Ancient Israelites is, mainly, based (Biblical Archeology) in a book who talks about God, Prophets, Covenants etc.
Most ancient history (other than archaeology) is based upon books that talk about God(s) and religions. That's because atheism and secularism were pretty rare in the ancient world.
 
Is 'Greek' a religious designation because Homer is full of references to gods?
 
Originally posted by gcle2003


until the group that started Zionism were practically all non-observant.


Another absolute statement.
No it wasn't. 'Practically all' is not absolute. More importantly, it is a true statement as any history of Zionism will tell you.

Originally posted by gcle2003


 Why should Judaism be any different?


Because Judaism is part of  Jewish identity.
And the Church of England is part of the English identity. Doesn't mean 'English' is a religious designation. Historically Judaism arose among the Jews, that is correct. However Islam arose among the Arabs, B'ahai arose among the Persians and Mormonism arose among the Americans and Buddhism arose among the Indians and the Tao developed among the Chinese and Shinto developed among the Japanese.
 
But Japanese, Chinese, Indian, American, Persian and Arab are not religious designations (though you cold arguably say Shinto is  Japanese religion, the Tao is a Chinese religion, Buddhism is an Indian religion, Mormonism is an American religion and Islam is an Arab religion, since that is where they originated. And I'd accept on those grounds that Judaism is a Jewish religion. However Jewish does not imply Judaist, and Judaist does not imply Jewish.

Originally posted by gcle2003


Not really. I'm not calling you a child. I'm saying believing that what people look like is important (other than to actors and models and such) is a childish belief. It is.


You did not call me a child, yet you did call my behavior  childish. Unless i have forgotten my English.
Not your behaviour, your statements.

Originally posted by gcle2003


I realise that. The effect of mongrelisation is to spread out genetic characteristics into a average kind of pool. However, the laws of large numbers do make it clear there will always be 'sports' and 'throwbacks', so the range will stay wide even though the cluster around the mean will increase.


 Correct me if i am wrong.If the offsprings of an inter-married couple, originating from different groups, marry people from the same group (large numbers from the same pool), that is genetic variety gets limited, then surely special characteristics in one's aspect will either get limited or most probably disappear. That is not an absolute outcome , though. Jewish communities of the past were quite close (superstition, discrimination, need for survival etc) so genetic variety should not have been that great. Yet, i am talking about Modern Israelis, in the State of Israel. You can see that in the following picture:

You can see that the first one from the left can pass as a Northren European and the second as a Mediterranean, yet they are both IDF soldiers, and most probably Jews. This is an indication of the genetic variety of Jewish populations.
Not really. Two people with very similar outward appearance can have wildly different genetic characteristics. Going by visual appearance is, as I said already, a childish thing to do - that is, it's the kind of thing children do.

Originally posted by gcle2003


The American example isn't very valid because until very recently intermarriage in the US was frowned upon and even illegal. It still is by and large frowned upon even though it is becoming more common. Even now you will have to accept that the number of people with intermediate characteristics visually is greater than those exhibiting the original features.


Surely, intermarriage in the US was highly disapproved during the previous decades (before 1980), but my point is not historical, but purely genetic. People from intermarried groups present special aspect characteristics which indicate their multi-backgrounds. This happens with Israelis , making them as mongrel as English.
They may well be. What difference does that make? Id you trace descent only through the female line for generations then you're going to get a lot of variation aren't you? Same as when you trace it only through the male line. The male line only shows the paternal ancestry as one individual in each generation. My Y chromosome comes from just one of my 32 six generations back. The other 23 could be from anyone. It's similar with the mitochondrial genetic material in the female line: the vast majority of genetic material comes from other lines.
 
What your really saying here is that paying a lot of attention to ancestral descent is silly. I'd agree with that. I'm not supporting racism, just saying Israel is in effect a racist state.

Originally posted by gcle2003

But my objection to using what people look like (and what makes it childish) is that visual appearance only represents a tiny part of genetic inheritance anyway.


It does demonstrate a significant genetic variety, thus ancestry from different "genetic pools".
No it doesn't. It's not connected with the vast majority of genetic factors. But see what I said above.
 


Edited by gcle2003 - 08-Feb-2009 at 22:44
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  Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Feb-2009 at 11:02
Originally posted by gcle2003

Originally posted by edgewaters

On a side note, the English really aren't all that "mongrel".

The diverse historical background is mostly a linguistic concept, not a genetic one. 

So how would you define 'English'?
 

Mostly as a mix of Jutlanders (Danes, Jutes, Angles, etc) and native inhabitants. It's a mix, but it's not nearly as mixed as Spain, France, Italy, etc. There were many waves of invaders, but its considerably reduced when you consider the fact that most of them were either the same population, just different cultures in time (Jutlanders) or didn't really populate the island in any signifigant way (eg Normans).

Or, if you meant "Who is English" I guess it's a matter of self-identification and cultural affiliation. The idea of being "English" is a cultural/political innovation. Yes, its an insular population on an island and the inhabitants probably always had an identity of sorts, but England doesn't cover the whole island. The population of the region probably first came to see itself as distinct from the rest of the archipelago during the era of Roman Britain (another invasion which contributed very little genetically, but very much culturally) so, the origin of "Englishness" can be said to be cultural more than anything else.

People talk about the many invasions of England and how it produced a diversity. The nature of that diversity is misunderstood. It's not a terribly great genetic diversity, relative to the rest of Europe (though it's hardly a "pure race" either, as if such a thing has ever existed). It's that England is the result of profound cultural changes brought by invasion, and most especially, that the language is a remarkable hybrid. There are few other languages so profoundly hybrid as English.

On the other hand, you do have alot of diversity entering the picture in relatively recent times, from the 1700s on. So I guess we're really talking here about the English as they were a few centuries ago. There are blacks in London who would self-identify as English first and foremost - again, it's an assumed identity based on cultural affiliation.



Edited by edgewaters - 08-Feb-2009 at 11:48
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  Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Feb-2009 at 10:55

Originally posted by gcle2003

So you think the Old Testament was written sometime in the late 19th century, possibly the 20th, do you?

Errr ... wha???! Where are you pulling that from?

No, its an old religious document. What I'm saying is that prior to Zionism, there was no such thing as a secular Jewish identity. If you weren't a practicing Jew, and you were in, say, France - you'd identify yourself as French.

What the age of the Old Testament has to do with that is beyond me.

That's daft. You can't be an atheist and an observant Jew (observant means believing in the precepts of Judaism, not just following outward forms) at the same time.

That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that you don't need to be a believer to take part in religious practices, and even have some of your worldview informed by religious influences. Your atheist who doesn't eat fish on Sundays because of some inheirited religio-social custom IS a product of that religion. He could campaign for a law forbidding the eating of fish on Sundays - and that law, too, would be a religious product, even though it was an atheist who brought it about. The subject and the object are distinct and do not necessarily share the same qualities.

My proposition here is not that Israel is a'good' state, but that, right or wrong, it is essentially a racist one.

And my position is that, while it has ethnic features, it is not exclusively ethnic in nature. You can convert to a religion and it will change your nationality; a religious office (the Chief Rabbinate) is involved in immigration decisions; etc etc. It's not exclusively religious either, but trying to deny the religious element in the nature of the identity is absurd, and it's simply a fact that the religion does impact (in legal terms) the status of a citizen in Israel.

If you want to talk races, we're getting even further removed from things because the Palestinians and the Israelis are basically the same race, from the same original population, confirmed by a remarkable genetic similarity. The only major difference is that the Israelis show alot more European influence.

Which brings me to a point about the pictures. "Race" is an archaic concept. But we can talk about clines, which are the distribution of a trait associated with a geographic region. Clearly, pictures can give us a good indication of visible traits and demonstrate that the Israelis are phenotypically diverse and the population itself bears obvious influence from many different clines - Northern Europe, Africa, etc.



Edited by edgewaters - 08-Feb-2009 at 11:58
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Feb-2009 at 14:30
Originally posted by edgewaters

On a side note, the English really aren't all that "mongrel".

The diverse historical background is mostly a linguistic concept, not a genetic one. 

So how would you define 'English'?
 
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Feb-2009 at 14:27
Originally posted by edgewaters

Originally posted by gcle2003

What's wrong with leaving the field blank if you do not know what to put in it? Anyway, the argument here is whether 'Jew' is an ethnic/racial designation or a religious one, and what you say here strengthens the case that it is racial, because the situation does not depend in the least on the religion of the person, but only on descent. Your very first sentence is "The Jewish status of a person in Israel is considered a matter of "nationality"."
 
Notably not of religion.
Wow. I've seen some selective reading before, but that really takes the cake.
Nationality is not necessarily a racial concept. There is an American nationality, but no American race. I don't know why you would make the strange assumption that it refers to a racial designation here,
Read it again. I did not do that and I was careful not to.
 
I said if it is a matter of nationality it was NOT a matter of religion. Which is true. You should read more carefully.
 
 when clearly it does not:
" ... a person had to meet the traditional halakhic definition to be registered as a "Jew" ..."
Note also that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel has the final say! 
The halakhic definition is racial, not religious.
 
The religious courts in Israel have jurisdiction over all matters of personal status. Therefore they apply the racial definition. The way the laws are worded it would seem that the religious courts therefore should decide if the term 'Arab' applies to someone.
Can you name any country where the Catholic church or any other religious organization is used as an arbiter to decide what nationality a person is? If you can't, I'd have to say the matter is pretty much concluded and "ethno-religious" is a perfectly apt designation.
Moreover, on this sidetrack, what you quoted does not indicate that it matters whether the descent was through the mother or the father.
Yes, it does. I refer you to the above portion which you conveniently seem to have missed. What do you think the halakhic definition is?
Descent through the female line. Which is a genetic and racial principle as the extract from wikipedia below explains.
 
However, I agree I was wrong there in that 'halakhic' is indeed an indirect reference to the female line, which I missed. The more germane point is that descent through the female line is just as racial as descent through the male - or through both.
 

[edit] Traditional Rabbinic Halakhic perspective

According to the traditional Rabbinic view, which is maintained by all branches of Orthodox Judaism and Conservative Judaism today, only Halakha ("Jewish law") can define who is or is not a Jew when a question of Jewish identity, lineage, or parentage arises about any person seeking to define themselves or claim that they are Jewish.

As a result, mere belief in the principles of Judaism does not make one a Jew. Similarly, non-adherence by a Jew to the Jewish principles of faith, or even formal conversion to another faith, does not make one lose one's Jewish status. Thus the immediate descendants of all female Jews (even apostates) are still considered to be Jews, as are those of all her female descendants. Even those descendants who are not aware they are Jews, or practice a faith other than Judaism, are technically still Jews, as long as they come from an unbroken female line of descent. As a corollary, the children of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother are not considered to be Jews by Orthodoxy or Conservatism unless they formally convert, even if raised practicing Judaism.

 


Edited by gcle2003 - 07-Feb-2009 at 14:32
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Feb-2009 at 13:48
Originally posted by edgewaters

Originally posted by gcle2003

Pretending 'Jewish' is a religious designation is useful propaganda

So is pretending that a purely secular, ethnic identity existed before the Zionist movement. It just didn't. 

I'd agree that racial propagands is also propaganda. My point is that religious propaganda is religious propaganda whereas racial propaganda is racial propaganda.
 
My proposition here is not that Israel is a'good' state, but that, right or wrong, it is essentially a racist one.
 
So you think the Old Testament was written sometime in the late 19th century, possibly the 20th, do you? I don't think you have much evidence for that, any more than you have for Israel having a written constitution.
Actually the whole idea of 'non-practicing Jew' ... well, I'm sure there are a few who really are, but the vast majority of people designated as such are not really. Do they eat only kosher food, and avoid pork and so on?
Nope. They eat shellfish, pork, cheeseburgers, curries made with yoghurt and drink any kind of wine the same way other people do. Like me, except I don't eat cheese.
 That is a religious practice. So whether or not they go to the synagogue and so on, they are - to some degree - members of the religion.
I agree. However if they don't, and most don't, then they aren't. And if someone does all those things, that doesn't make them a Jew.
 
Moreover someone who eats fish on Fridays isn't necessarily a member of the Roman Catholic Church in Britain up to 1970 or so.
 Even if they consider themselves atheist!
That's daft. You can't be an atheist and an observant Jew (observant means believing in the precepts of Judaism, not just following outward forms) at the same time.


Edited by gcle2003 - 07-Feb-2009 at 13:53
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  Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Feb-2009 at 22:26

On a side note, the English really aren't all that "mongrel".

The diverse historical background is mostly a linguistic concept, not a genetic one. 



Edited by edgewaters - 06-Feb-2009 at 22:26
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  Quote Spartakus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Feb-2009 at 21:56
Originally posted by gcle2003



True. Pretending 'Jewish' is a religious designation is useful propaganda for both fundamentalist Jews, and for fundamentlist of other religions. A very good reason for rejecting it.


edgewaters replied to that.




Originally posted by gcle2003



Not true in the least, though it's the kind of thing people say when they're short of arguments.


It's the kind of thing people say when they are discussing with people having the "God syndrom".

Originally posted by gcle2003


I probably should have added 'modern novels about the modern world' though,


You should......

Originally posted by gcle2003


 since historical novels about the medieval and old worlds frequently, like The Last Kabbalist Of Lisbon are concerned with the religious aspect, religion being rather more important then.


Thank you.....
 
Originally posted by gcle2003


It's not just novels, but history books. You won't find one that refers to Disraeli, for instance, without referring to him as Jewish, and he was known as Jewish during his lifetime, but he was a practising member of the Church of England (he pretty well had to be in the politics of the period).


It depends on the  policy behind the publication of history books. You should know that.

Originally posted by gcle2003



Note he says 'our sacred nation' and 'father Abraham'. The last quote says nothing about the present 'Hebrew's' religion. One might also have said, in that period, 'the African will turn Christian' or 'the Indian will turn Christian'. Or indeed, 'the Turk will turn Christian'. That doesn't mean 'African' or 'Indian' or 'Turk' is a religious designation, just that at the time 'Christian' (and Shakespeare I'm dead sure is being sarcastic here) implied 'gentleness.Personal hatred of Christians doesn't mean much either. Richard Dawkins isn't Jewish, but he's pretty down on Christians, and there are a lot worse than him.


 "our sacred nation" : it clearly shows a metaphysical dimension, which, in the given circumstance, can be explained  inside a religious context. God made Jews a sacred nation.

Also, Shylock sees it's difference with others in religious grounds, that is Jew vs Christian. If he saw it otherwise, he could have used the term Venetian, for example.He refuses to eat pork, he refuses to pray. That behavior can  be explained in the context of upholding religious tradition.

Concerning the last part of my quote, the author uses the dipole Jew/Hebrew- Christian. If we take the term Jew ( which is a synonym for Hebrew here) only in racial terms, then the dipole does not make sense. It would make sense if, instead of Christian, used , again, Venetian. Plus, we are in the 16th century , aren't we? Terrestrial reference ( African turning Christian) is a little out of date. And also the term Ottoman Turks did not only have a racial reference, but (by the end of the 16th century when they had conquered, practically, all the Middle East) also a religious reference. They were the chief representatives of aggressive Islam.
 


Originally posted by gcle2003


And there are people (fewer) that practise the religion without being Jews.


A ridiculous statement and double standards. You recognize the right to non-practicing people to call themselves Jews and you deny it to those actually practicing the religion. I, for once, have not met not a single man who practices Judaism and does not consider itself a Jew.
 


Originally posted by gcle2003



During certain periods in their history most Jews practised the same religion (not all, not all the time, unless you think the Bible is lying - in which case we've no information about the early period at all).


The Bible itself is a religious narration. The history of Ancient Israelites is, mainly, based (Biblical Archeology) in a book who talks about God, Prophets, Covenants etc.
 
Originally posted by gcle2003


until the group that started Zionism were practically all non-observant.


Another absolute statement.

Originally posted by gcle2003


 Why should Judaism be any different?


Because Judaism is part of  Jewish identity.




Originally posted by gcle2003



Not really. I'm not calling you a child. I'm saying believing that what people look like is important (other than to actors and models and such) is a childish belief. It is.


You did not call me a child, yet you did call my behavior  childish. Unless i have forgotten my English.

 
Originally posted by gcle2003


I realise that. The effect of mongrelisation is to spread out genetic characteristics into a average kind of pool. However, the laws of large numbers do make it clear there will always be 'sports' and 'throwbacks', so the range will stay wide even though the cluster around the mean will increase.


 Correct me if i am wrong.If the offsprings of an inter-married couple, originating from different groups, marry people from the same group (large numbers from the same pool), that is genetic variety gets limited, then surely special characteristics in one's aspect will either get limited or most probably disappear. That is not an absolute outcome , though. Jewish communities of the past were quite close (superstition, discrimination, need for survival etc) so genetic variety should not have been that great. Yet, i am talking about Modern Israelis, in the State of Israel. You can see that in the following picture:



You can see that the first one from the left can pass as a Northren European and the second as a Mediterranean, yet they are both IDF soldiers, and most probably Jews. This is an indication of the genetic variety of Jewish populations.

 
Originally posted by gcle2003


The American example isn't very valid because until very recently intermarriage in the US was frowned upon and even illegal. It still is by and large frowned upon even though it is becoming more common. Even now you will have to accept that the number of people with intermediate characteristics visually is greater than those exhibiting the original features.


Surely, intermarriage in the US was highly disapproved during the previous decades (before 1980), but my point is not historical, but purely genetic. People from intermarried groups present special aspect characteristics which indicate their multi-backgrounds. This happens with Israelis , making them as mongrel as English.


Originally posted by gcle2003

But my objection to using what people look like (and what makes it childish) is that visual appearance only represents a tiny part of genetic inheritance anyway.


It does demonstrate a significant genetic variety, thus ancestry from different "genetic pools".


"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them. "
--- Joseph Alexandrovitch Brodsky, 1991, Russian-American poet, b. St. Petersburg and exiled 1972 (1940-1996)
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