Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Racist Zionists and Liberal Charedim

Yesterday, somebody challenged me to write about a horrific video in the news yesterday. It showed a group of religious Zionist youth at yesterday's Flag Parade in Jerusalem, chanting "Death to the Arabs." Apparently, my interlocutor thought that I would not acknowledge problems in the community with which I identify. He was mistaken. Of course, we all have our biases, but I am perfectly ready to acknowledge the Religious Zionist community has a problem with anti-Arab racism and violent extremism.

At the same time, as far as I can tell, this is very much a minority part of the Religious Zionist community. Certainly the overwhelming majority of the religious Zionist community would never chant such things. Furthermore, they call out and condemn this behavior (although perhaps not in as many numbers one would wish). And so, while violent extremism is a particular religious Zionist problem, it is simultaneously not broadly representative of the religious Zionist sector. In other words, it would not be correct to issue a general statement that religious Zionists are violent would-be killers - although racism against Arabs, to a greater or lesser degree, does seem to be a more widespread problem.

Inaccurate generalizations are a reason why I intensely disliked the Netflix series Unorthodox. (Full confession: I didn't get even halfway through it, so if my comments are rendered inaccurate by the full series, let me know.) I don't know much about chassidic communities in New York, but I suspect that they are not as broadly unpleasant as the series indicated. And the depiction of secular, non-Jewish life in Germany was ridiculous. Of course, I'm sure that there are as many nice Germans as anywhere else. But the idea that all of them are the loveliest people, with no antisemitic tendencies whatsoever, and nobody takes advantage of a vulnerable girl? If you're making a series demonstrating dysfunctional and evil behavior in the chassidic community, it's hardly fair not to show any flaws in non-Jewish society.

And this brings me to a Facebook post by a certain chassidic rabbi which, in the 12 hours since it was posted, has received over three thousands likes and over a thousand shares. Rabbi Doniel Katz argues that "the consistent depiction of Hareidim and Torah Judaism by mainstream media, from Netflix to the daily news, is somewhere between delusion, slander and the literal equivalent of racism." He goes on to describe his family in detail, and reveals that they break all stereotypes. His wife works out with a gay female fitness coach. His children learn grammar, math and science, and after-school activities include Tae Kwan Do and robotics. None of them believe that the world is literally 6000 years old, and they freely read books about dinosaurs and science. They grow up to believe that when they are ready, they will "get a good job or learn a profession to support whatever lifestyle they choose." And they frequently host all kinds of religious and secular Jews as Shabbos guests.

Now, this sounds like a really, really wonderful family. But Rabbi Katz overreaches considerably. He then declares that "the truth is, while there might be many Hareidim who aren't like what I described above, it's still an accurate description of literally hundreds of thousands of Hareidim in Israel and the US."

No it is not!

Rabbi Katz's family as is about as representative of charedi society as the chassidim in Unorthodox. He and his wife are American baalei teshuva who are on Facebook. The vast majority of charedi society is absolutely not as he describes. And the simple proof is this: there is no way that any charedi publication would print his essay without heavy censorship!

How many charedi schools in Israel, or chassidic schools in the US, are teaching math and science to an serious level? Hardly any. How many charedi kids in Israel are learning Tae Kwan Do and robotics? Very few - aside from being ideologically against it, most charedim can't even afford such extracurricular activities. How many charedi schools in either Israel or the US are teaching that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago? Not a single one. (At the Biblical Museum of Natural History, we don't even dare mention the "D" word!) How many charedi kids are taught the ideology and the education such that when they are ready, they will "get a good job or learn a profession to support whatever lifestyle they choose"? Hardly any.

In the comments to Rabbi Katz's post, there are countless non-charedim declaring how beautiful his post is, and how it needs to be shared widely. But there are also numerous chassidim and charedim stating how inaccurate and hurtful and even dangerous it is. It would be wonderful if everyone or even most people in charedi society were like Rabbi Katz's family, but the fact is that they aren't. As a generalization (i.e. applicable to most though not all), charedim do not believe in prehistoric dinosaurs, raise their children with a solid secular education and the ability and desire to get a professional career, or host non-charedi Jews for Shabbos meals (unless it's to convert them).

Misrepresenting charedi society in order to counteract the distortions of Netflix is wrong. It is hurtful to those who have suffered from the shortcomings of charedi society. It creates false expectations with people who are thinking of joining this society, and who later suffer when they see that it's not what they were told it was. And it prevents charedi society from attempting to solve its shortcomings. If you don't even acknowledge the extent to which shortcomings exist, what chance is there of fixing them?

 

If you'd like to subscribe to this blog via email, use the form on the right of the page, or send me an email and I will add you. 

115 comments:

  1. Progress, but still a no true Scotsman fallacy.

    Most commentators on this blog seem to harbor collective racism to Arabs, and my experience has been that racism and calls for war crimes are considered polite topics of conversation over whisky and herring. More research needed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hat, remember the Arabs started it. If Jews are racist towards Arabs it is only because Arabs were racist first.

      Delete
  2. Unfortunately, racism within the Dati Leumi community is a bigger problem than we would like to admit.
    While it is true that "The overwhelming majority of the religious Zionist community would never chant such things", it is also true that a significant percentage of DL voters supported a party with openly racist members, and even within my moderate community, I often encounter people with frighteningly anti-Arab attitudes. If you go to many of the idealistic communities in Yehuda and Shomron, which are considered to be the most committed DL communities, these racist Attitudes are the norm, not the exception.

    Unfortunately we have to admit that racist thugs like Bin Gvir represent a significant percentage of the DL community. Not everyone dances in the street singing "Death to Arabs", but many have extremely hostile attitudes to our Arab neighbors.

    While it is rare to find Haredim like Rabbi Katz, it is not rare to find DL who support violent racisms against Arabs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I updated my post. But I have many relatives in Yehuda and Shomron and none of them would dream of chanting "Death to Arabs."

      Delete
    2. Your update is not good enough. You are not recognizing how rampant these views are. You posted a link to a list of moderate rabbis. Go look for names of rabbis who endorsed Tziyonut Hadatit political party who would also sign something similar. And don't hold your breath for a letter coming out today condemning the chants from any of the rabbit who called for yesterday's march. It's not just a significant minority. It is at least half of DL. Ask you relatives how many of their neighbors have similar views.

      Delete
    3. So-and-so is connected to such and such political party and is ok voting for such and such fellow I deemed "racist thug" therefore so-and-so is racist.
      Really?
      This is absurd. That the media declares a political party or individual to be racist does not make it so. And certainly does not make everyone associated or tangentially connected into a racist.

      Delete
  3. I disagree here. This is not the opinion of a small minority of DL community. It is much more than that. 50% of the DL community voted for a party that included Kahanist racists. Excuses like technical blocks are are weak. They would not make a technical block with meretz.

    Outside of the "לייטים" crowd, these chants are the majority opinion of DL, and much of the DL spiritual leadership is in agreement with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is simply inaccurate.
      I live in a strongly DL - Hardal community who the vast majority voted for Tzionut HaDatit, yet would be horrified by Death to Arabs chants. If some crazy kid graffiti's such things on a bin as happens from time to time there is an uproar in the community groups.

      Delete
    2. From the comments on this blog, it is clear that I am not alone in noticing this. I don't have a scientific study, but this is clearly much more of a problem than being admitted here. Iasked around my mixed neighborhood and I have yet to get a Chardal to tell me that they were against those chants (I have yet to find Charedim against those chants either, but that is not the issue at hand here.)

      Delete
  4. I agree with you about Rabbi Katz's post. I'm not sure I agree with you that anti-Arab extremism is only a problem in a tiny minority of the religious zionist world. As a dati leumi Jew myself, I and my kids have been, and will be again, exposed to all sorts of derogatory speech against Arabs. Not everyone is calling LGBT people degenerate or leftists traitors, yet it's not something for which you would expect backlash if you expressed such opinions around the shabbat table. We aren't all extremists, but we do tolerate extremism when we see it around us, and we do accept it as a legitimate position in our schools and in our shuls.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry, too easy.
    While I agree with most of the problems you see in charedi society and worldview, and am very happy of the work you're doing presenting it straight fair and square to our face, none of them is remotely as worrying as are these stupid fascist youths. Charedis are harming themselves first, but these hooligans are a threat to civil peace, as well as to jews all around the world. Because why should arabs not chant ''death to the jews'' if we're doing the same?
    And you can't just get away by saying ''it's a minority, we condemn it.'' and then toss it under the table. These people are the product of a certain education and mindset which is very mainstream in Religious Zionist communities. Maybe they go a little bit further than what is expected, but it's only natural that such a society and moral values will produce them.
    Don't tell me low-key racism isn't rampant in the settlements, and that their yeshivot don't use every verse, every halakha they can, to demonstrate that arabs are no good, and that we should hate them. I have personnally heard Rabbi Zini from Haifa speak about how he is not a racist, but racism was dripping from almost every word. And he is far from being one of the most extreme rabbis!
    And they're allowed to demonstrate in the MUSLIM NEIGHBORHOOD, where the police ''cleans'' he streets from arabs (the very word they use) to ensure they won't kill anyone. Again, I'm sorry, and it's not me who asked you in the first place to peak about that, but ten lines in an article where you then go on talking about charedis, is not gonna make the trick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, but while Rav Zini may not be the most extreme rabbi, he isn't a moderate by any means and doesn't claim to be. His yeshiva does have a reputation of extremism and I personally heard him claim that he was a racist (albeit in the sense that he believes in the concept of races, or something similar). And my experience of DL yeshivot in the settlements differs from yours. I don't think we should minimize the racism in the zionist religious world, but in order to address the issue we shouldn't exaggerate it either.

      Delete
    2. Many years ago, when I was a graduate student in Technion, and he was the Rabbi there, he said (in Hebrew, of course), "Yes, of course Jews are racist. BUT NOT LIKE THE NAZIS, yemach shmam!" And what he meant is that a basic tenet of Jewish faith is that the Jews are the Chosen People. But that doesn't mean that we go around support violence against non-Jews. It does mean that our chosenness obligates us to higher standards than non-Jews and to be a "light to the nations".

      Delete
    3. Did I write he is one of the moderates?
      I just meant there are tolerated positions far, far more extreme than his.
      He definitely was saying he is not a racist, in his own complicated way, when I heard him.
      I have family in the settlements, including in Chevron. What I said is clearly reality, maybe not everywhere, but at least in some places. Hiding your head into the sand is not going to help much.

      Delete
  6. “ The overwhelming majority of the religious Zionist community would never chant such things.”. That is because the overwhelming majority realizes how bad that would look. Even David Duke doesn’t go around publicly calling Black people N******s. I don’t know the percentages, but a significant number of the RZ promote the idea that Arabs have no right to live anywhere in what they consider EY and that they are there at our sufferance without political rights of their own. It is the mirror image of the Hamas position. The post you criticize is bonkers, but it is definitely a much easier route to criticize other groups than your own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure the Hamas position is even more extreme than "Jews don't have political rights in Israel". It's closer to "The Jews in Israel should be forcibly expelled and/or killed". Which is also something present (applied to Arabs rather than Jews) on the extremes of right wing Zionism, especially, it appears, Religious Zionism.

      Delete
    2. the idea that Arabs have no right to live anywhere in what they consider EY and that they are there at our sufferance without political rights of their own

      David, it is dishonest to describe this position without disclosing it's source in traditional halachik literature. You may certainly argue for a different point of view (halachikally and hashkafically), but to paint this view as simple racism is a lie.

      Delete
    3. @Some guy: The Hamas position is the Islamist position AFAIK. Jews can live as Dhimmi while paying taxes to the Moslems in charge.

      Delete
  7. It's important to understand that the severity and pervasiveness of threats of racism and discrimination often depend on the position of the experiencer. To the person who's part of the group perpetrating it, the threat as well as its perpetrators typically feel anomalous, unpervasive and not part of the mainstream, while to the person experiencing the threat and discrimination it feels the opposite. That's why to Jews it feel like 'Arabs' hate them and are a threat to their wellbeing, but Jewish extremism, violence, and racism against Arabs is minute and completely unrepresentative, but to many Palestinian Arabs it feels like 'the Jews' and Israel generally are a threat to their life, livelihood and wellbeing, but most Arabs really just want to live in peace and simply get back what was taken from them. Much of it is in the perspective of the experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree completely. The other perspective worth noting is that of "third parties", who equate the behaviour we saw yesterday (and the tacit approval given to it by the Israeli government) with Zionism.

      Delete
    2. LOL, you told on yourself with this part:

      "get back what was taken from them"


      You also ignore the pervasiveness. It's even in the knesset, the ____ parties calling for Jewish genocide, and this is allowed because they are ____

      Delete
    3. Cute gotcha game, 'Racist? Nope'. You're obviously not focused on the substance and points of what I said, just on if I fit in your view-camp or you can show that I'm a secret Palestinian supporter. Silly and immature.

      My point is not about who is right or wrong or whether the Palestinians should or shouldn't get their land or homes back. My point is that how things legitimately look and feel to each person is in part based on which group they're part of. That's just how the world works, and it's something to be aware of and take into account in this discussion, no matter what your final, reasoned view is on an appropriate course of action.

      Delete
    4. I (unfortunately) waste a lot of time on Quora, but it does give me a picture of what Arabs actually say and think--and some of them are quite uninhibited. One person said that a common line of thought is "that which was taken by force, must be returned by force". What does that say about the chances of a negotiated solution that will achieve peace?

      And there definitely is indoctrination to think this way. I saw a YouTube video where a grade school child is reciting a poem with that line.

      Delete
    5. @Yehudah P.: Internet comments are not representative of public opinion. I think it's a big mistake to assume that Quora "gives you a picture of what Arabs actually say and think". There are way too many selection biases at play.

      Delete
  8. At KBY the song beseeching 'nekama achas mishtei einai miyad pelishtim' is sung with fervour, with joy, with the hanhallah, and with intent. Objectively murderous intent, given that many of the singers are young armed soldiers of the state who come into day to day professional contact with 'Pelishtim.'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the proper attitude of facing the enemy.

      Delete
    2. Wouldn't it be better if we didn't class people as enemies because of their racial origins?

      Delete
    3. The hat is wise enough to ascribe objective murderous intent to those who sing this song, but his incisive abilities stop just short of allowing the possibility that they refer to murderous terrorists and not Arabs as a race.

      Delete
    4. @Hat
      No, it's better to class the Arabs collectively as an enemy and to remove them from Israel. Had this been done 70 years ago, we wouldn't have this problem today. This is what Arabs had always intended for the Jews.

      Delete
  9. "Very few - aside from being ideologically against it, most charedim can't even afford such extracurricular activities."

    I sent my son to a typical Jerusalem Litvishe-style cheder up until 6th grade. In 5th grade, they had an electronics after-school class. They built some nice gadgets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "They built some nice gadgets."
      Good.

      But in 8th grade, do they learn about electrons and how electricity works? In 10th grade, do they learn about orbitals, sharing electrons and why metals are good conductors? In 12th grade or beyond, do they learn circuits? Are they able to get jobs as electricians or computer technologists?

      I'm happy for after school clubs to expose kids to Other Things. But if that is the ONLY exposure to an entire area of knowledge, then that exposure is just tourism.

      (Of course, I do not need every club to lead to a full curriculum - if so then every kid will grow up to be an artist, pro-basketball player, structural engineer, and master of all mishnayos. It's the idea of presenting an elementary school club as evidence that secular learning is not treif that I am arguing with.)

      Delete
    2. The cheder only goes to 7th grade. After that, it's usually yeshiva katanah, which has no secular subjects at all. But that's not the responsibility of the cheder, is it? That's the decision of the parents of where to send their kids after Bar Mitzvah.

      I was just making the point that there are charedi schools with some nice extracurricular activities as well. I'm not saying that it's enough to make them electrical engineers.

      Delete
    3. But @Yehuda P the pain you feel as a Jew reading Arab racism is precisely why you shouldn't want to inflict the same pain in Arabs. Presumably you think what the Arab wrote was wrong. That must must symmetrically imply that Jews who make the same arguments about Arabs in general are also wrong. The alternative is that the Kahanaists and Hamas are both right....!

      Delete
  10. I think what I object to most about this post is that it is a 'framing the discourse' type of post. Yes, there's an issue, yes I've paid perfunctory lip service to it, in the context of denigrating Charedim as worse, and now can we get back to that denigration please.

    It's too easy and doesn't amount to a cheshbon hanefesh.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It's really telling that the comments (at least thus far) have entirely ignored the main point of the post and have decided to jump on the "Oh, those 'settlers' are so racisty racisty racist, not at all like us fine moderate people" bandwagon. Shows you where priorities, or at least hobbyhorses, are.

    (I guess it's not as bad as inserting it into threads that had nothing to do with it, as some here have.)

    But you know what would be nice? If people bothered to formulate actual objections rather than scream "RACIST!" all the time. But such are the times we live in, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do agree with you that it is important to take the time on occasion to explain from first principles that racism is bad, but you must appreciate that doing this every time anyone is racist is just tedious.

      From a religious perspective, the notion of universal human dignity in the image of our universal Creator is the most relevant. Notions of reciprocity / fairness and right and wrong are also engaged.

      Delete
    2. You misread me. Explaining why racism is bad is sometimes necessary, but what I meant is a description of why the thing being criticized *is* racist- for starters.

      I have no problem saying that every human should be treated with dignity, and if the opposite of that is the definition of "racism," then the conversation can be pretty short.

      The problem is that far, far too many *other* things these days are condemned as "RACIST." So a defense of all that is needed, if it is even possible.

      Start, for example, with the two theses of Charles Murray's latest book. Is that "RACIST"? Because if it is, we have problems.

      Delete
    3. We've crossed swords before on the issue of the science of racial differences in IQ, but I don't think that discussion is engaged here. Let's take racism to mean treating people differently because of their race.

      This post was regarding "death to the Arabs" and "burn down your village" chants. I don't think you would contest that a scientific freedom consideration is not engaged, and that such chants are demeaning to human dignity.

      Delete
    4. I contest bringing these things up as if they were a big deal. Every mass event is going to have some kooks, and focusing on them is an old trick of people trying to discredit many, many more non-kooks. And by the looks of this comment thread, it works.

      Ever since we found out- Ya'alon did all but admit it- that a lot of these things are staged by Shabak, I also don't say anything absent a conviction.

      In any event, so long as no one's murdered or has their house burned down, I think people should be free to say whatever they want.

      Delete
  12. Well, I would say that you have failed the challenge that was presented to you. You focus only on what percentage of DL people would chant "death to the Arabs," while not having any actual numbers to support your assertion that it is "very much a minority part of the Religious Zionist community." Even more important, you do not seem to realize that this minority, however large or small it may be, is only the extreme vocal representation of a problem that is extremely widespread in that community. The fact that many are too cultured to say out loud what many of them think in their hearts is not such a great justification.
    How many in the DL world are enthusiastic supporters of Ben-Gvir? What does that say about deep problems within that community? The bottom line is that when it comes to your own adopted home you are all too willing to just say that the extremists are a tiny minority who do not represent any larger issue. Halevai that you were correct.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Even though they may be a minority, videos of Religious Zionists chanting "Death to the Arabs" is arguably more politically harmful to Israel than anything Chareidim do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, and this is the point that people are missing.

      It becomes hard to defend the concept of Zionism in North America when "frum" fascists march through an Arab neighbourhood and call for its residents' deaths, all with the approval and protection of Israeli authorities.

      Delete
  14. Have a look at the comments section below the article of oh so representing rabbis of DL who condemned the march, the one you linked.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sorry. It is the majority of the DL. No question about it.
    In fact, percentagewise, there are probably more Haredim like Doniel Katz (if you count Americans) than nonracist DL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "If you count Americans" is a big enough to drive a car through.

      The vast majority of charedim in the world are Israeli. And virtually every charedi in Israel is not American-born.

      Delete
    2. It's hilarious that you think charedim wouldn't also harbor these same "racist" views of Israeli settlers. A charedi who believes in the Palestinian Arab Nationalism movement, or wants the Arabs to win their war against Israel, is a very rare spectacle.

      Delete
    3. Racist,

      Of course chareidim agree. That wasn't my point.

      Delete
  16. I happened to be staying on Givat Shaul Street in Yerushalayim on the day of Mayer Kahane's funeral. At some point a large group of young men, most if not all were wearing kippot, marched down the street towards the cemetery shouting "Death to the Arabs".
    They pulled someone out of a car that was stuck in the traffic and started beating him. The man was shouting he was Jewish, and apparently at some point he proved it to their satisfaction and they left him.
    Someone shouted "Arab on the bus". The mob forced open the doors of a bus that was stuck in the traffic and pulled out an Arab and started beating him. I stopped watching, but I was told later that they killed him.
    I will never forget this scene. And I am reminded of it when Ben Gvir and his ilk are main-streamed by the religious zionist community.
    The meek condemnation in this post is nowhere near the blog's condemnation of charedim when they do not sufficiently distance themselves from their violent radicals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your forgetting, an Arab assassinated him.
      In fact, it was the first Al Queda mission.
      By admission of the murderer. When noone heard of al Queda.

      Delete
  17. I have been voluble and copious in my comments on this subject, and often critical of Rabbi Dr Slifkin's tangential approach.

    But I do thank him for providing the space to actually address this issue, which I am sure has been very difficult.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Years ago, someone I know in Jerusalem was having their kitchen renovated. The contractor, Jewish, lived in the West Bank. I was talking with my friend about the contractor and she said the workers were Arabs and she was glad I was visiing because she wasn't
    comfortable being in the house with them. I said "I didn't realize they were Arabs". She said, "Couldn't you see they were Arabs by their ugly Arab faces!" I was shocked. This was from a well-educated, US born "baal teshuva". As long as Arabs are regarded as "the Other" rather than fellow human beings with legitimate grievances and aspirations there will be no peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is incredibly disgusting. I hope we've come a lot further along since then. Kovod habrius for Pete's sake!

      Delete
  19. "I don't know much about chassidic communities in New York, but I suspect that they are not as broadly unpleasant as the series indicated."

    I've known a lot of Chassidic Jews in Brooklyn. They are wonderful people and I often regret that my own MO/DL community doesn't have the same commmitment to Torah learning. And all of them work for a living except a few of the young men; many have advanced degrees.

    I could never accept the conformity demanded. One chassidic man once took me aside after a minyan to confess that he eats Chalav Stam out. He was worried that if anyone in his community found out that his kids would not get shidduchim. Crazy. And black suits on hot NYC summer days just don't work for me.

    And the Satmars are so brainwashed -- and I don't use that term lightly -- regarding the State of Israel that I can't talk with them.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I dont know the percentage of racists/non-racists in the DL world. Neither do you. But just know that youre making the same argument that the people you call out make and you would never accept it from them.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Racist shmasist. Classic horrified left wing drivel.

    The idea is that Arabs continually terrorize Jews. Now granted that not all do, but for the most part they hate Jews.

    So if Jews suffering from Arab terrorism step over the line a bit and chant Death to Arabs or whatever, so don't go blow a fuse.

    ANY society other than Jews would do MUCH more.

    But for left wing self-hating Jews like yourself it's enough to start your whole racism garbage. Stop living in some fake scholarly university wannabe world.

    If there wasn't terrorism from Arabs they wouldn't say it. The Jews of America don't chant Death to America because Americans haven't been killing Jews.

    Oh and just by the way, the world is a little under 6000 years old.

    Oh and by the way Racism means someone believing he is superior to other cultures. Check your dictionary.

    The Torah says - if you follow my laws (not if you don't keep them) then you will be the holy nation, superior to all else.

    No, this is not because of being a light-unto-the-nations. Thats a separate idea.

    It's what the Torah says. Like it or not.

    Ofcourse it doesn't mean harming or degrading or attacking others. That's not included.

    All humanity is extremely valuable. But don't start pulling down Judaism in the name of racism. Racism in concept is not the same as Racism in action.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'The Torah says - if you follow my laws (not if you don't keep them) then you will be the holy nation, ''superior to all else'''. This last bit doesn't show up in my copy. Are you sure you weren't reading the german anthem 'Deutschland, Deutschland über Alles, über Alles in der Welt'?
      The midrash says all men descend from one so that no one can say 'my blood is redder than yours'.

      'So if Jews suffering from Arab terrorism step over the line a bit and chant Death to Arabs or whatever, so don't go blow a fuse'.
      Exactly what most arabs stupidly say about their own fascists. Looks like you have a lot in common.

      'Oh and by the way Racism means someone believing he is superior to other cultures. Check your dictionary'.
      First of all, 'Racism' isn't someone, it's a concept. A 'racist' is someone.
      Secondly, there are two definitions.
      1:prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership, real or imagined, in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.
      2:the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.
      The second one is more accurately described as 'theory of race'. None of them matches yours, but singing 'death to the arabs' clearly fits in the first definition, which is the most useful in day-to-day conversations, and the only one to be a crime.

      Delete
    2. Jew well:

      You misquoted the midrash..it does not say that all men come from one so that people won't say my blood is redder than yours. It says so that people won't say my father is greater than yours.

      Meaning, if there were multiple people created at once, it can lead to rivalry. Nothing to do with various races.

      Get over it. You were elected by Hashem. Embrace it. Cherish it and others will too. Hate it and others will despise you too.

      Oh, and don't try to twist it by explaining it as a light-unto-the-nations concept.

      Because that often means that we really dont want to be extra special, we want to be just like all the nations of the world... (Exact opposite of what we say in Aleinu everyday.)

      There are two concepts. The first is the open verses in Torah that Hashem elects us above the others, despite all humanity being cherished by G-d.

      Hashem loves His creations. But He chose us as extra special.

      Then there is a mandate from Yeshaya to be a light-unto-the-nations. And the Jewish nation has been that way many times.

      A light unto the nations doesn't mean Sandy Koufax or bagels and lox or the state of Israel.

      A light is shined by keeping steadfast to the Torah way. People know about and admire it without the bagels and lox.

      You can't argue with an open verse. It states that we will be a chosen people from all the nations because the whole land is mind (i.e. G-d owns the world and can do as He pleases). This is stipulated on keeping all the Torah laws.

      Ofcourse leftist Jews cringe from this kind of thing. They are so used to enhaling all the liberal slogans they listen to and watch all day that they don't want to imagine that a religious Jew can be superior.

      No! He must be the worst because that is what so many anti semites, both Jewish and non Jewish, have been saying for so long.

      Delete
    3. I approach this from a different angle.

      Bring the Am haNivchar means we should *not* be rioting through the streets singing about burning villages like drunk sports fans. It's a busha and a cherpa to see such vulgar behaviour amongst Jews.

      Delete
    4. Ezra, Jews had the right to shout death to Arabs when Arabs say it.

      Regarding Midrash, it says: Man was created alone “for the sake of peace among men, that one may not say to his fellows, ‘My father was greater than yours’” (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a). Ruth was a gentile who converted and Kings David and Solomon, as well as the Messiah descend from her. Every human descends from Adam and
      Eve. We are all identical.

      PS the world is billions of years old btw.

      Delete
    5. Shmuel,

      Yes that is the Midrash I said was misquoted.

      The world was created in 6 days. And we have an exact record of years from Adam and now.

      Assuming you are Orthodox, if you were living in the times of the second temple you would have been a hellinist.

      In more recent time you would have joined haskalah...

      There is no proof to saying billions, and evolution is garbage. It isnt a math class. It's ideas. So for the fad of today you throw away our careful record of time.

      Shame on you. May you do teshuva soon.

      Delete
    6. Ezra - If the world is only 6000 years old, how do you understand dinosaurs? Did G-d plant bones into the earth? Does G-d lie? Regarding the 6 days, how do you know that "day" 1 in Genesis was a 24-hour period? The sun was not created until the 4th day. Plus, a day on Pluto is 130 hours. Se we see that the definition of a length of a day depends largely on what planet you are in. Besides, Rambam felt that the creation story was a parable. 

      Regarding the big bang, I think there is proof, for one thing, it takes light a certain time to travel at 186 thousand miles a second. You can tell by the way light travels that the universe is 13.7 billions years old. The famous British astronomer and astrophysics, Fred Hoyle didn’t like the big bang theory because he said the universe always existed. There was no beginning, the Bible was wrong, and the universe always existed. He mocked it by saying the big bang but it turned out to be true. The Jewish Bible says there was a beginning to the universe. If anything, it supports the Bible. He was wrong.

      Also, Hanukah was not against the Greeks nor Hellenism but the Syrian Greek, King Antiochus IV. And I am a fan of the haskalah movement. I am a fan of Rambam the big rationalist.

      Delete
    7. @Ezra
      Sorry I've been sick and didn't see your answer, but you're right I misquoted this MISHNA (shame on me). The meaning is the same, though, and your explanation is a joke.
      Being special doesn't mean being superior. It means we have a special mission. That's what you write yourself! So where is this mission implying chanting 'death to the arabs'? When I see that I don't feel special at all, I feel that I'm just part of another hate-driven tribe.
      Sandy Koufax, bagels and lox? I don't even know what on earth these are, and I won't bother googling it just to answer you, but I guess it means you're one of those self-centered american jews who assume we all grew up with the same references they had.
      Judging which sects your interlocutors would have belonged to in times gone by is pretty immature but fun, so let me indulge as well: Around the year 70 you would have been against Vespasian's offering, knowing it would bring destruction, and against the Gemara's opinion; then you would have ended as one of these hoodlums 'sicaires' who opposed the sages who wanted peace, maybe ending your life by suicide in Masada; and in the time of Napoleon you would have been one of those polish rabbis opposed to jews obtaining civil rights, less they had to relinquish some control over them.
      Evolution is not garbage, it's an observable reality. So you can't blame scientists for believing it has aways been like that.

      Delete
  22. Agree racism is rampant in DL. Not sure what people here are acting all high and mighty about - it's pretty embedded in Haredi society as well, talk to any Haredi teenager for 10 minutes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. It's very sad that it's the only thing our youth learn from DL people, not their many wonderful qualities.

      Delete
  23. If to expel and destroy a hostile population that wants to exterminated your people is racism, any same person is a racist. Racism is good it saves and secures nations and individuals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a visibly Orthodox Jew living in London. Should I be expelled and destroyed?

      Delete
    2. If you subvert the British nation and work for its destruction- absolutely yes

      Delete
    3. But many racists will assume that is exactly what I am doing due to my refusal origins (to be abundantly clear my only act of subversion to date has been voting for Count Binface in the London mayoral election).

      Delete
    4. Hat, מעשיך יקרבוך ומעשיך ירחיקוך. You have to deal with your own problems

      Delete
    5. I deserve anti-Semitism for voting for self described intergalactic space warriors?

      Delete
  24. The comments continue, and still we see what motivates the readership. This is a bit sad.

    ReplyDelete
  25. "It would be wonderful if everyone or even most people in charedi society were like Rabbi Katz's family, but the fact is that they aren't."

    WHAT?? There's still freedom of religion! Each can serve G-d how he believes is best.

    ReplyDelete
  26. You write " the Religious Zionist community has a problem with anti-Arab racism".
    Can I ask you to please use the word "racism" more sparingly and if possible more appropriately.
    The use of the word "racist" must have spiked over the last 4 1/2 years hundredfold.
    In the US, the Black community calls every single white man "racist", whether he harbors bad feelings against them or not, just by the very nature of being white. This has very beneficial side effects.
    That epithet thrown against a majority of the US population allows blacks to loot, shoplift and behave violently without being held accountable.
    If the Arabs had not murdered Jews in 1929, and declared a vicious Djihad against Israel from the day it declared its independence in 1948, there would not be any enmity against the Arabs, and for sure not what you call "racism".
    You therefor fall into the Black Community misnomer trap, by calling a well deserved enmity "racism".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Calling for the death of a given ethnic group or race is racist. It isn't complicated. What you seem to be trying to say is really "racism can be justified". In which case, I'm sure anti-Semitism can be justified as well.

      Now if people were shouting "Death to Hamas" or something *maybe* you would actually had a point. But they were chanting "Death to Arabs". You know, as in "including that little baby Arab"

      Delete
    2. Semantics, just old fashioned semantics.
      Please name one single Palestinian leader who holds a balanced view of the Israel Palestinian conflict.
      Do you remember the surveys in which a very high percentage of Israeli Arabs support Hamas and their genocidal agenda?
      Don't bring me the "little Arab baby" red herring.
      These "little Arab kids" train for Jihad in their summer camps.
      If given the power, the 10 year old arab kids will shoot any Jew in sight, and the Arab women will drown any Jew in the sea.
      You know exactly what would happen if Israel looses just one single war.
      Racism cannot be justified, but recognizing who is your enemy is paramount for your survival.

      Delete
  27. I think Rav Katz is Australian, not American. I would be interested to know which school his kids go to and whether they are accepted there by other families given the Facebook post.

    ReplyDelete
  28. It is not racism when one speaks of a collective enemy in collective terms. Moreover, opposition to the Arabs has zero to do with race, and you know that perfectly well, so I have no idea why you would use such a slanderous word to describe the behavior of people who want their enemy dead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you defend Hamas the same way?

      Delete
    2. Ofcourse, there is no objective difference between Arabs and Jews in this struggle. Each nation is fighting for itself and its beliefs. The stronger will prevail and all means in the struggle for your nation are kosher. I'm on my people's side, obviously, but Hamas are no monsters to me. They are the enemy that should be destroyed, but their cause is just from their perspective and I understand and respect that.

      Delete
    3. I'm sorry to disagree, but Hamas are monsters to me.

      When the Oslo Accords were first being implemented, they were committing suicide bombings, because they're against any peace agreement with the "Zionist entity". They haven't changed since then. And their changes to their charter in 2017 are merely spin and smokescreen. They still mean every word of their 1987 charter to kill every Jew in the end of days.

      The Palestinian Authority education of their children isn't much better regarding whether Jews have a right to the land of Israel. But at least, in practice, they know that it's in their best interests that there is no bloodshed.

      Delete
    4. Hamas doesn't have a chance with conventional warfare. They use the means at their disposal. Jews should be doing the same or better. Victory is the only thing that counts. Both nations beleive that the land belongs to them. Hamas believes that playing soccer on Ha Habsit is fine, but the Jews ascending to pray is a desecration. There is no middle ground possible. They should have been whipped out a long time ago. Israel is a weak and confused state disconnected from Judaism and without a healthy national identity and this is the source of all its problems.

      Delete
    5. I see extreme postmodernism has claimed another victim

      Delete
  29. Rabbi Katz tried to speak once in England. Some sort of mindfulness seminar or similar claptrap. Tickets were priced expensively, and eventually weak demand meant that he ended up offering 3 for the price of 2 or something.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is excerpted from his LinkedIn profile:

      "in 2012, after 10 years of devoted study, and development, in consultation with leading Torah scholars and mental-health professionals, he developed a unique curriculum to address the emotional and spiritual challenges of Klal Yisrael"


      Draw your own conclusions....

      Delete
  30. It is not racist to hate a national enemy. We need to wean ourselves off of the politically correct nonsense which guides too much of our thinking. We can debate how productive it is to shout certain slogans but let us derive our values from the Torah, and not from American leftism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is racist to conflate your national enemy (Hamas, perhaps the political leadership of the PLO) with 200 million Arabs.
      It is nothing to do with 'political correctness'. It is racism, bigotry and bordering on fascism.
      To see Frum Jews chanting anything like this just 70 years after the Holocaust makes my blood freeze.

      Delete
    2. Absolutely Abulchilkiyah said his wife's prayers were answered because she prayed for the teshuva of the reshaim, while he had prayed for their death.

      Delete
  31. Nothing wrong with wishing the death of one's enemies. Should we condemn the Torah for it calling for the death of Amalek or the Canannites?
    Funny and sad how chanting death to an enemy population is MORE of a problem then that population committing death upon our people.

    Ssvi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen this before, including from the Rabbi Dr.

      It doesn't advance the to argument to say that you are discriminating against a group not because of their race but because they are enemies if the only reason you defined those people as enemies is because of their race.

      People deserve to be treated as individuals.

      Delete
    2. I don't case about your soo-called "Western" values. When we are dealing with an enemy population then they are all enemies unless proven otherwise. This was with Amalek, with The Mitzram ( Egyptians) and all our enemies. For example when the Mitrim drowned at the Sea ALL of them drowned. The Wicked, Mediocare and the "Rightious". All of them together.
      --- If you feel better of not saying "Arabs" then we should say Muslims because that's where their enmity towards us is coming from. And its an ideology of Islam that's promoting terrorism and aggression everywhere around the world.
      Ssvi

      Delete
    3. I genuinely cannot believe what I am reading.
      I would love to know what your kavana is when you come across one of the dozens of times the Torah says "Do not ill-treat a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in Egypt." during kiras haTorah?
      Or perhaps you only focus on the very limited, specific command to not-forget Amalek, which according to almost all poskim does not apply nowadays, and certainly doesn't refer to Yishmael?

      Delete
    4. Boruch- when it says "Ger" it means either a Ger Tzeddek (Convert to Torah Judaism) or perhaps (at most) a Ger Toshav. A Ger Toshav has to accept the 7 Noahide laws, accept Am Yisrael's rule over Eretz Yisrael, accept to pay taxes and be loyal to Am Yisrael. The Arab enemies accept neither of them. They aren't Ger Toshavim. They claim the Torah is distorted and follow a false "Prophet". Many of them support stealing Eretz Yisrael from Am Yisrael and support Terrorism (Murder) against Jews. Don't put their perpetrators to court. They are not righteous Bnai Noah by any stretch and are all technically Hayav Mitta.
      Ssvi.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous - Ibn Ezra: "When the stranger accepts not to worship idols, do not wrong him in your land, because you have greater power than he does. And remember that you were strangers like him."
      I'm not sure you could get a better description of where the Jewish people finds itself in relation to the Palestinians at this point in history. I'll take the Ibn Ezra's interpretation on this, rather than your genocidal comments that 200 million people (men, women and children) are "technically Hayav Mitta"

      Delete
    6. If you want to take it that far, just about everyone in the world is chayiv misa... Like, juuuust about everyone.
      Stole a candy bar? Bam

      Delete
  32. For accuracy, Rabbi Katz is an Australian Baal Teshuva from Melbourne who became Frum in his twenties. He was previously a film producer.

    ReplyDelete
  33. RNS, it's so clear you have an ayin tovah towards your community and an ayin ra'ah towards the chareidi community.
    You focus on the good of DL and brush aside the bad, and act exactly the opposite towards chareidim.
    Thank you for demonstrating this so clearly in this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huh? You're claiming that it's normative in charedi society to believe in dinosaurs and to raise kids to get a good job or learn a profession to support whatever lifestyle they choose?

      Delete
    2. RDNS, no, you are missing the point. I don't know if you are being obtuse deliberately, or if your biases are so strong that you cannot comprehend a simple sentence. He wrote that you focus on the bad in the chareidi community and on the good in the DL community. Meaning, you have countless posts criticizing the chareidi community. Even if one will grant that they are all accurate criticisms, that is your focus. How many posts have you written extolling the virtues of that community, or maybe you think there are none. If the latter is true, I would be glad to enlighten you. By contrast, you extoll the virtues of the DL community. Even granting that those praises are all accurate, that is your focus. How many posts have you written about the deficiencies in that community, or maybe you think there are none. If the latter is true, I would be able (though not glad) to enlighten you.

      Delete
    3. No he is not. He is just calling a spade a spade and spelling out what every single unbiased reader is immediately struck by when reading your post.

      The intellectual dishonesty displayed in this and similar posts is also a common feature running throughout your new book.

      Delete
    4. That's not my point. My point is simply that there is this Rav who is successfully making a nice impression on the general public in displaying that there are a significant amount of "normal" chareidim, and counteracting the terrible negative impression that the media provides (and what most people are exposed to), and you have to come along and thwart that effort.
      It's sad that you feel the need to turn something that is so positive into something negative.

      Delete
    5. As I made clear in my post, I have absolutely no problem with Rabbi Katz showing how wonderful his family is, and breaking stereotypes. But he goes much further and makes the false claim that his family represents the norm. This is wrong and dangerous, for the reasons that I describe.

      Delete
  34. "wrong and dangerous"
    That is your opinion. If you looked at it with a clear head (without your admitted biases), you would realize it's not nearly as wrong and dangerous as you perceive it to be, and it's really unnecessary to swoop in with all your negativity.
    You should think twice before you type under the influence...

    ReplyDelete
  35. What's the big deal if they say "Death to Arabs?" Don't the Arabs already say death to Jews and death to America? It's not like the Arabs are exactly a peace-loving people. When you fight a war you call your opponent the "enemy" and you wish total destruction for them. Israel was at war with Hamas. It's only natural for religious Zionists to shout "Death to Arabs." Besides, why don't you criticize the people who started it? When Hamas fired its rockets from Gaza Gazans cheered them on, saying "death to Israel." Why don't you criticize that first?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To me that sounds like Shi'a-inspired eschatology -- basically, Hezbollah-level logic.

      Delete
    2. Switch "death to Arabs" with "death to Jews." Now picture yourself saying "what's the big deal?"

      Delete
    3. Shmuel, I was going to draft a complete and complex response and then it hit me that I have better things to do than persuade a Frum Jew that calling for a genocide is not a moral or halachik thing to be doing.
      I recommend 'Not in God's Name' by Rabbi Sacks

      Delete
    4. Isaac, you've missed my point entirely. Of course it's wrong to shout death to Arabs, but when Arabs say death to Jews, what are we to do? It's a hunt-or-be-hunted mentality (unfortunately).

      Delete
  36. Rabbi Slifkin wrote:
    "If you don't even acknowledge the extent to which shortcomings exist, what chance is there of fixing them?"

    Actually as anshel pfeffer wrote in an article recently. Cheredim are ready to "change" as long as nobody mentions or notices that change has taken place.

    the way change takes place in Heredism is by denying they ever did it differently at all

    they will go from prohibiting secular education to "we were never against it" from "whoever says the world is older than 5,781 old is a Koffer" to " we never said that, its totally compatible with the Torah" and so on and so on

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. So change happens like in _1984_, “We have always been at war with Eastasia.”

      Delete
    2. Interesting. So change happens like in _1984_, “We have always been at war with Eastasia.”

      Delete
  37. I'm curious if that's why you put a giant "d" on your roof, bdavka

    ReplyDelete
  38. We won't know whether, or to what extent, charedim believe in dinosaurs until we actually poll them using reliable polling methodology. Someone should do this. I believe it would show that at least some charedim do believe in an ancient earth and dinosaurs, even if that is not mainstream theology in their communities.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Rabbi Slifkin, I have tremendous respect for you, but when you talk about the majority of Religious Zionists who would "never chant such things" as "death to the Arabs," you show a blind spot.

    In the same way that most chareidim aren't sikrikim, and many would even criticize sikrikim, the question is whether or not the society they bolster and support and embrace creates an atmosphere for violent extremism and bigotry.

    I strongly recommend Charles Dew's book "The Making of a Racist" Dew recounts growing up in a segregationist home in the Jim Crow South and how he overcame that to become a prominent historian of the Confederacy. There are a lot of elements in it which I think relate to Jews' blind spots regarding their own biases, and one of the points he makes is that while his father was a vulgar racist (yet one who could show tremendous generousity to black domestics in his employ), his mother, a lovely, kind person who would never use the language his father did.

    but she was just as committed to preserving segregation as he was.
    something to consider when you talk about how the religious zionists you know would never use that language--they might not, but that doesn't mean that they are interested in making the kinds of political or social changes that would make that language anathematic.

    charles dew, making of a racist, well worth reading.

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.