Tuesday, January 01, 2019

On Alice Walker's blog, the author and poet publishes a letter from anti-Zionist Israeli Nurit Peled-Elhanan that pretends to defend the Talmud from Walker's antisemitic essay:

Dear Alice
I read your poem and the criticism of it and I must react.
The people who torture and kill Palestinian have never studied the Talmud. It is not studied in Israeli state schools. And no one can read it on their own. The ones who study it are the ultra-orthodox Jews such as the pro-Palestinian Neturei Karta in NY.
Really? Professor Peled-Elhanan, who has previously published lies about Israeli textbooks supposedly being "racist," is another academic fraud if she thinks that Talmud is only taught among the haredim.

In order to buttress her arguments she says that the disgusting Neturei Karta, rejected by every Orthodox Jewish group, study Talmud!

The quotes (whether true or false) are surely partial and do not characterize this 12 volume work (thousand pages in every volume) whose writing ended thousands of years ago.
Peled-Elhanan, as an academic, should have researched the Talmud a bit herself before giving Walker an out by saying her quotes might be true. She could have done a great service by informing Walker that she was repeating lies in her poem.

She chose not to, and allowed Walker to believe the lies she was hearing.

(And there are far more than 12 volumes of Talmud, none of which have a thousand pages.)

The rest of Nurit's letter is not too inaccurate, although there are errors.
The Talmud is not a prescriptive book. It is an endless interpretation of the Torah, always adapting the Torah to present times so that people can live by it. Ethiopian Jews never studied it and lived by the Torah as is.

In these volumes you read discussion and polemics between different sages about every tiny aspect of human life. And the discussions are brought as they happened, more or less because it was all discussed orally.

But the main thing is that each such discussion ends with: “and so they disagreed” and people would choose the interpretation they wanted. Every argument that is brought is immediately countered by an opposite argument and the discussion that ensued. It is always open ended.

In my time we learned a bit of it and I loved it, because it is Logic, like reading Plato. Today schools don’t teach it anymore.
So in order to know what is in the Talmud – which none of the non-orthodox Israelis or Jews know – you have to read at least a whole chapter, pros and cons etc.

One of the most discussed subjects in the Talmud as in the Torah is the treatment of foreigners, workers, slaves etc. Extremely human and enlightening.

I don’t want you to be trapped in superficial propaganda of ignorant people. And again: the reason for the ruthlessness and violence towards Palestinians is not to be found in ancient writings but in Modern ones. It is Modernity and European Enlightenment that brought slavery, colonialism, Fascism and Totalitarianism, national movements such as Zionism and the way to treat people as superfluous. Auschwitz was not prescribed in any ancient scripture, neither is Israeli colonialism.

Much love

Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan

Walker responds with a newer poem where she repeatedly refers to "Zionist Nazis" as not representing all Jews, but those "Zionist Nazis" are pretty evil. An excerpt:
Zionist Nazis are not the Jews I know; terrorists who would and do kill anyone and anything to get what they want: Control over everyone.      
(When you take out the random line breaks that make this drivel "poetry" the hate is much clearer.)

Walker is saying that "Zionists" want to control the world and everyone in it, and are willing to do any immoral act to achieve their aims.

Which is exactly what the Protocols of the Elders of Zion says! 

Since over 90% of Jews support the existence of a Jewish state, Walker is saying that nearly all Jewish people are terrorist killers hellbent on world domination. But, no, she's not antisemitic, because she loves the other Jews.

Even after this explicit antisemitism, Walker pretends to be righteous:
I will never be divided from my friends, no matter how bad Zionist Nazis are making Jews look.
She can distinguish between good and evil Nazi Jews, but sadly, many others (on her side!) cannot. Which means that when Jews are shot dead for being Jews, from Pittsburgh to Paris to "Palestine," you can give the murderers the benefit of the doubt because they really hate Zionism and Zionists are to blame for making all Jews look bad.

A rough analogy would be for a white person to say "I will never abandon my black friends, no matter how bad the welfare queens and gangbangers and muggers make all black people look."

Then Walker addresses the Talmud specifically to Nurit:
As someone ignorant (yes, this is true) of what is in the ancient texts in their totality, I am, millions of us are, still wounded by the parts that have been inherited by word of mouth, over generations, and millennia, and are recognized as active in human behavior today.  I don’t see how we will ever have peace without examining the deep past, and letting go of those parts that mean endless contention and war and suffering.
Walker's response is that the evil Talmud is in the DNA of all Jews and her extensive exposure of it using neo-Nazi YouTube videos helps excise the poison from the Jewish DNA.


Her letter talks about love but one doesn't have to scratch very much beneath the surface to see the hate and ignorance that fuels Walker.

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