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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jordanian Talmud translators admit their purpose is anti-semitism

A couple of months ago I reported about a huge Jordanian project to translate the Talmud into Arabic, musing that this was meant more for anti-Israel propaganda than serious scholarly research.

Now it's been proven.

From the ADL blog:
A newly released Arabic translation of the Talmud – the first of its kind – contains an introduction that seeks to revive age-old anti-Semitic conspiracies about the Talmud, including the accusation that the ancient text reveals the racist character of the Jewish people. The introduction also attempts to paint Israel as the modern-day embodiment of the alleged racist ideologies found in the Talmud.

The translation, which was published by the Middle East Studies Center (MESC), a Jordan-based think tank, specifically couples anti-Semitic narratives with anti-Israel propaganda: “The discrimination which Arabs in Israel face is an extension of the racist spirit included in many Talmud texts and explanations.”

In an effort to claim that the Talmud is an inherently racist text, the introduction repeatedly seeks to exploit and take out of context certain passages in the Talmud, including deceptively referring to injunctions that seem to “prove” that Jews regard non-Jews as inferior. The introduction, for example, notes,

“These texts confirm the racist and hostile perception toward the non-Jews, especially those who threaten the ‘chosen nation’ and stand in the way of its ambitions and hopes. There is no doubt that Israel is the best example of this racist position, both in the level of its daily crimes against the Palestinians and the level of its rejection and contempt for international resolutions and laws. For what applies to other countries in the world does not apply to contemporary Israel, as it is unique...Jews, according to this racist position [of the Talmud], are permitted to do what is not permitted for non-Jews.”

Elsewhere in the introduction, the reader is informed that the Talmud claims that non-Jews are inhuman, may be tricked or cheated, that it is permissible to kill them, and so on.

The conclusion of the introduction neatly merges the publishers’ anti-Semitic and anti-Israel proclivities: “The Talmudic heritage has a significant impact on the formulation of Jewish identity based on holy [principles of] racial isolation…It [the Talmud] also established the extreme positions that advocate hatred toward non-Jews, the violation of their rights and looting of their lands and property.” The publisher then refers to the Zionist movement’s alleged “crimes” against the Palestinian people as an example of the Talmud’s validation of racist policies.
On the webpage of the Middle East Studies Center in Jordan that translated the Talmud there is a description of the work that is almost certainly the introduction that the ADL is referring to. It starts off as a fairly dispassionate description of the origins of the Talmud, how it is viewed in Jewish tradition, the difference between the Talmud Bavli and Yerushalmi, the Tannaim and Amoraim, the six major orders of the Mishna, and so forth. There are none of the usual egregious mistakes usually seen when Arabs talk about the Talmud. They even admit that the idea that the Talmud excised all mentions of Islam, which some Arabic "scholars" claim, is false, as it predates Islam (and indeed some early Muslims were familiar with the Mishna.)

Then, towards the end, the authors start concentrating on the "racism" of the Talmud. It purports to talk about how Jews consider themselves superior, how the Talmud disparages Christians and all the usual anti-semitic propaganda that we've seen since the Nazis. Whathad been a fairly objective history of the Talmud turns into a pure hatefest. From there it is only a short step to "proving" that the Talmud prescribes wiping out all non-Jews from Israel.

This section is heavily footnoted, but the footnoted sources are most interesting. Instead of pointing to the sections of the Talmud that supposedly say these racist laws, they are referencing modern anti-semitic and anti-Zionist literature, from books by people like Israel Shahak!

These "scholars" didn't even check their own work to verify the quotes!

Some 90 people worked for many years to put out this work - but when it comes down to it, the only reason they did it was to find evidence for their bigotry.

This is what is considered "scholarship" in Jordan.

(h/t Yoel)