Tuesday, May 19, 2009

David Klinghoffer Pushes Phony "Noahide Laws"

David Klinghoffer, whom Skull and Bones Bill Buckley employed as a writer for his National Review (the opinion-shaping rag for his "respectable conservative movement") is revealing what Buckley's "respectable conservative movement" formula, which The Remnant and others have apparently adopted, is really about.

A Gentile Torah-Believer's Testimony

David Klinghoffer

Friday May 15, 2009

Recently a particularly thoughtful commenter on this blog mentioned in passing that he identifies as a Noachide, that is, a Gentile believer in Torah. I was so interested to hear this that I wrote to him and asked for his story, which he graciously provided. I am copying it below. It's truly a privilege for me to have such a person among my readers.

But first a note of introduction. A few weeks back I startled some Jewish readers by saying that Judaism in its classical sources is a missionary religion. Not that Jews are enjoined to convert Gentiles to Judaism, but rather to draw them to the primordial Torah religion of Noachism. This is assumed to be the faith practiced by Noah and bequeathed to humanity.

In this model, which the Talmud details in tractate Sanhedrin, Jews follow the moral and ritual Mosaic code, while Gentiles follow the Noachide code. But the model of spiritual reality revealed in the Torah is a gift given to both Jews and Gentiles.

Maimonides makes it very clear in his Mishneh Torah that Jews are commanded to use whatever means are at our disposal to encourage (that's putting it mildly) non-Jews in this Noachide path (Laws of Kings 6:10). Yes, Judaism is an aggressively missionary religion, if not in current practice then in theory.

That having been said, I'll introduce you to my reader and friend, Brian Beckman:

I'm a physicist, and was brought up as a very conservative, traditional Catholic. The church changed dramatically in my youth. From my point of view, it wasn't wrenching, because I didn't change. That left me without an emotional connection to God, but also free to pursue a more durable, intellectual connection.

It can be tricky to look for God in a science-saturated life, but if one digs deep enough, one will find the need either for an Original Cause or for an Anthropic Principle. While I grant that anthropism is logically coherent, I find it empty, like a tautology. It's equally sound to suppose that the universe is here because God wants it. At that point, all one needs to compose a logically coherent notion of God is to study and sift good ideas from bad ones, which, as a physicist, I know how to do.

I am an unofficial Noahide. I follow the Seven Laws of Noah found in the Torah and detailed by Maimonides. I'm unofficial only because I have not yet had the chance to take a formal oath, but I would certainly do so. In ancient Israel, I might have been ger toshav -- a legal alien, and I might have aspired to be ger tzedek -- a righteous gentile, a very high calling indeed, likely beyond my ability to achieve.

These laws contain nothing surprising to any typical American with a passing acquaintance with the Bible and the Ten Commandments. According to my reading of Rabbi Elijah Benamozegh (see Jewish and Christian Ethics, and Israel and Humanity), a typical American Christian trying to follow basic Christian ethics would, in fact, be a de-facto Noahide even if not aware of it. 

That's kind of the point though. How did an nice, ordinary, American Catholic boy like me end up in such an unusual place? Visions? Dramatic conversions? No, much more boring. I found it by studying and listening to smart people.

There are three aspects to my Noahism: how I act, how I think, and what I believe. 

Practically, I study Torah almost daily and, when I have the privilege, I share Shabbat and other events with my Orthodox Jewish friends. These are new habits for me, but not conflicting with the life I've led since I went into religious "dry docks" in the early 1970s. Like many others, my traditionalist ship was unable to respond quickly enough to the tidal changes in the Catholic Church and I just put religion in-toto into safe storage and got on with other things. 

In my thinking, I've reached a synthesis that I can articulate and defend. Orthodox Jews and Catholics regard the Torah (the five books of Moses) as a direct revelation from God. But there is a fork in the road: Orthodox Jews regard it as permanent and immutable, like the laws of physics. Catholic doctrine studies the Bible in the light of St. Paul and the Church fathers. In that light, Jesus' resurrection changed everything and the Old Law doesn't apply any more, even though Jesus himself didn't repudiate it. So which is it? After four years exploring the "permanent and immutable" hypothesis (just beginning, really), I haven't found anything yet to refute it. I know of no place where the Torah states that it is changeable, and I know many places where it states that it is permanent. So if it is, in fact, true, then it seems it must be permanent and immutable.

There are those who reject revelation and treat the Torah not like the laws of physics but as ordinary human literature. I like to note that the claim of Sinai (two million eye witnesses to the theophany) is so outrageous that it must either be true or the most astounding hoax in human history. I have met people who can name their ancestors back to Sinai and claim unbroken verbal transmission of the eye-witness account. It is impressive that a claim like this can last more than 3,000 years with an entire nation believing it. I'll take it on faith.

I believe there is One God, the God of Israel. This much is in keeping with Catholic doctrine, which adds the Mystery of the Trinity. I personally come to grips with this as follows. If Jesus is divine, then he is completely identical with God the Father (according to the doctrinal Mystery). It would then seem inconceivable that Jesus could have any objection at all to devoting oneself to God and to the selfsame Torah that Jesus himself embraced. I realize that this is a personal syllogism and that Catholics will barbecue me over it, but it's the way I have always seen things even when I was a churchgoer.

I am very fortunate to have found this path, and it is only because of the wisdom and kindness of certain Orthodox Jewish acquaintances, now dear friends, that I was even aware of it, let alone enabled to pursue it.



Who Says Judaism Isn't a Proselytizing System?

The REAL Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Benedict's Hasbara Mission

While "hasbara" translates most directly as "explanation," what it has come to mean in practical terms is "any mechanism for making brutal, racist Israeli policy and practice seem palatable to the world."

Benedict XVI validates war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu, May 14, 2009 near the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth in another yin yang photo op. During Netanyahu's first term as Israeli Prime Minister he pitted Muslims against Christians by approving construction of a Mosque on the site of the Annunciation.

... as one [Israeli] government adviser told the Haaretz newspaper: “We have become pariahs in so many places around the globe. Promoting the Pope’s visit to the state is part of changing that.”

Pope’s 'Pilgrimage' Mired in Politics


By Jonathan Cook - Nazareth

... Before he arrived in the region, the Pope declared that he was coming as a “pilgrim of peace”, with his staff accentuating that his role would be spiritual rather than political.

In truth, however, Pope Benedict’s visit was mired in politics the moment he agreed, at the invitation of Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, to step into this conflict-torn region.

The two popes who preceded him to the Holy Land appear to have better appreciated that point.

The first, Paul VI, made a hurried 12-hour stop in 1964, before the Vatican and Israel had established diplomatic relations, to conduct a Mass in Nazareth. During that time he did not utter the word “Israel” or formally meet with an Israeli official.

The second, John Paul II, came to the Holy Land in radically different circumstances: for the millennium, when hopes were still bright for the peace process. The Vatican had recognized Israel a few years earlier and the pontiff worked hard to soothe long-standing Jewish grievances against the Catholic church.

But he is also remembered by Palestinians for his bold move in joining Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, on a visit to the Deheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem, where he cited UN resolutions against Israel and graphically described the “degrading conditions” under which Palestinians lived.

A decade on, the degrading conditions of occupation have worsened considerably and hopes of peace have vanished. In the circumstances, some Palestinians question what point a papal visit has served.

“The very act of coming here is a political act that works to the benefit of Israel,” observed Mazin Qumsiyeh, a prominent peace activist who teaches at the West Bank’s only Catholic university, in Bethlehem.

“This Pope’s visit, unlike his predecessor’s, offers no novelty -- apart from his decision to stand next to [the Israeli prime minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and legitimize an extreme right-wing government.”

Israeli officials too are unpersuaded by the Pope’s claim that he can avoid being dragged into local politics. Or as one government adviser told the Haaretz newspaper: “We have become pariahs in so many places around the globe. Promoting the Pope’s visit to the state is part of changing that.”

Israel has established the largest press centre in the country’s history for this visit, while police have broken up attempts by Palestinian organizations in Jerusalem to present a rival picture to journalists.

The attempts at careful stage management began from the moment the Pope’s plane touched down in Tel Aviv on Monday. At the reception, Pope Benedict stood between Mr Netanyahu and Mr Peres to listen not only to the Israeli national anthem but also to Jerusalem of Gold, a song popularised by soldiers during the capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war.

The lyrics -- offensive to Palestinians -- describe an empty and neglected city before the arrival of Jews.

Similarly, Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, made a point of welcoming him to the “capital of Israel and the Jewish people”, a description of Jerusalem not recognized in international law.

After the Pope failed to object, the Israeli media happily concluded that the country’s occupation of Jerusalem had papal blessing.

In addition, Palestinians, including the 100,000 with ties to Rome, have been angered by the Pope’s official meeting with the parents of the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, a humanitarian gesture made political for them by the fact that he has not extended the same courtesy to the parents of any of the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli captivity.

Many Palestinians appreciate that the Pope -- with his unfortunate, if apparently involuntary, connections to Nazi Germany -- has been especially careful not to offend Israeli sensitivities, even if his speech at Yad Vashem failed to live up to the country’s high expectations.

But some also conclude that he has done too little to let the world know of their own plight.

Under pressure from Israel he has refused to visit Gaza, even at the beseeching of the tiny and besieged community of Catholics there.

Yesterday, to minimize Israel’s embarrassment, Vatican officials tried as best they could to keep him out of view of the oppressive wall that encircles Bethlehem. But he did speak to the press outside a UN school at a refugee camp within metres of the wall.

And today, as he headed to Nazareth to celebrate mass, he will not meet Mazin Ghanaim, mayor of the Galilee town of Sakhnin, after Israel labelled Mr Ghanaim a “supporter of terror” for criticizing its offensive in Gaza ...

But Israel has not been able to control the message completely. On his one-day trip to Bethlehem and the Aida refugee camp yesterday, the Pope did acknowledge Palestinian suffering and the destruction of Gaza, even if he blamed it vaguely on “the turmoil that has afflicted this land for decades”.

He lamented the difficulties Palestinians face in reaching their holy places in Jerusalem, though he appeared to justify the restrictions on Israel’s “serious security concerns”.

And he criticized the building of a wall around Bethlehem, while attributing its construction to the “stalemate” in relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

full article:


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Benedict Praises "Noahide Law" Commission

Benedict XVI with Pharisee David Rosen and Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar, and Yona Metzger at "Heichal Shlomo"

In a meeting with the Chief Rabbis of "Israel" at "Heichal Shlomo" (meaning "Solomon's Temple") on May 12, 2009 Benedict XVI, inter alia, sang high praises for the joint Vatican - Chief Rabbinate commission which on March 20, 2007 issued a document which fraudulently claimed a biblical basis for the talmudic "Noahide Laws."


Papal Commission Promotes Noahide Laws

A great source of satisfaction for me since the beginning of my pontificate has been the fruit yielded by the ongoing dialogue between the Delegation of the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s Delegation for Relations with the Catholic Church. I wish to thank the members of both delegations for their dedication and hard work in implementing this initiative, so earnestly desired by my esteemed predecessor Pope John Paul II, as he said during the Great Jubilee Year of 2000.

Our encounter today is a most fitting occasion to give thanks to the Almighty for the many blessings which have accompanied the dialogue conducted by the Bilateral Commission, and to look forward with expectation to its future sessions ...

As the Declaration Nostra Aetate makes clear, the Church continues to value the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews and desires an ever deeper mutual understanding and respect through biblical and theological studies as well as fraternal dialogues. May the seven Bilateral Commission meetings which have already taken place between the Holy See and the Chief Rabbinate stand as evidence! I am thus grateful for your reciprocal assurance that the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Chief Rabbinate will continue to grow in respect and understanding in the future ... (Benedict XVI address to Chief Rabbinate of "Israel" at Heichal Shlomo, Jerusalem, May 12, 2009)


also see:

Benedict's Elder Brother, Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger Calls For Religious/Ethnic Cleansing

Papal Rabbi-Knight David Rosen Wants to Change What Christians Believe About the Pharisees

Monday, May 11, 2009

Will Benedict's "Pilgrimage" Boost "Israel's" Image or Destroy His Own?

On May 11, 2009 at Yad Vashem "Holocaust" Memorial Temple, Pope Benedict said "May the names of these victims never perish! May their suffering never be denied, belittled, or forgotten!" What a boon for the Israelis who need so desperately for the suffering they've caused so many Palestinians outside the gates of Yad Vashem to be minimized, denied and forgotten.

Or, will this shameful act result, rather, in Benedict sharing in counterfeit Israel's infamy as it should?

Benedict XVI participating in "Holocaust" liturgy, May 11, 2009

Benedict XVI in a yin yang embrace of Israeli President, terrorist, Shimon Peres, May 11, 2009

Let history record that while Gaza was still smoldering, Benedict XVI warmly embraced the Israelis, comforting and aiding them in their hasbara campaign calculated to make the world forget their horrible crimes.

Video: Pope's Interreligious "Dialogue," Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi Speech in Jerusalem


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Reality Check: Alan Keyes

"Pro-life" Alan Keyes pictured with "Israel" "Defense" Force abortionists at a Gaza checkpoint during his 2002 trip to counterfeit Israel where he received an "Award of Appreciation" from the Israeli government for his arrant support for Zionist policy in every detail. From his days at Harvard where he was a roommate of Zioloon Bill Kristol, through the Israeli massacres in Lebanon, Jenin, Gaza, et al, to the present, "pro-life" Alan Keyes has never uttered a single word against Zionist brutality. Indeed, he's been an unflinching apologist for pro-death "Israel" through it all.

"Israel is today, as Israel has always been, a sign of hope that God's children can seek to be pleasing in His sight. Israel is today, as Israel has always been, hateful in the eyes of those whose neck is stiff, and whose heart is filled with hate and falsehood. Until it shall please God to make the land of His special favor a pleasing sight to all the nations, may it please Him to continue to give all Americans the eyes to see in Israel, as is truly the case, a beacon of justice, courage, and truth. My prayers, my heart, are with the brave people of Israel." (Alan Keyes' letter to Mesora)


Maronite Christians in Counterfeit Israel Hope Pope Will Ask His Elder Brother Zionists to Return Stolen Land

Language of Jesus keeps memories alive in Israel

May 9, 2009

JISH, Israel (AFP) — Israel razed their ancestral village 56 years ago, but some Christians are determined to preserve its heritage by keeping alive the language that Jesus spoke.

"Shlomo malfonito" -- "Hello teacher" -- intone some 20 pupils in the Arab-Israeli village of Jish, where half the population is Maronite, a people who for centuries have lived in the mountains of Lebanon and nearby.

The children get free lessons in Aramaic, an ancient tongue spoken during the time of Jesus Christ and kept alive down the centuries by fellow Maronites.

Shadi Khalul, 33, organised the lessons and teaches the language of his ancestors along with his brother, sister-in-law and three others so the young people in the northern village remember their roots in Biram some four kilometres (2.5 miles) away.

That village was razed by Israel in 1953, nearly five years after the authorities of the then six-month-old Jewish state evacuated its 1,050 residents in November 1948. They said it would be a temporary measure.

Biram was destroyed despite an Israeli Supreme Court ruling that ordered a return of the residents, who were Israeli citizens when they were expelled from their homes.

"We want to preserve the heritage of our ancestors in Biram, who learned Aramaic," says Khalul. "It's a way of keeping alive the memory of what was the only Maronite village in Israel."

Most of Biram's former residents settled in Jish, with the remainder spread out over other parts of Galilee and some going back to Lebanon.

But the decades that have passed have not eased the longing to return home.

"In our fight to return to Biram we have never resorted to violence," says Amir Khalul, Shadi's brother and fellow teacher of Aramaic. "We have appealed to the justice system as citizens of this country."

They are also hoping that the Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the Holy Land will improve their chances, and have asked Roman Catholic Church officials if the pontiff can raise the issue when he meets Israeli leaders.

"We hope the pope will bring up our case with Bibi (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), but it remains to be seen if he will apply any pressure," says Shadi Khalul.

"For us the best scenario would be for the pope himself to visit Biram, and we proposed as much to the Apostolic Nuncio," the Vatican's envoy to Israel.

In the classroom, the students are repeating words and phrases in Aramaic.

The classes always end in prayer, with pupils and teachers forming a circle and reciting the Lord's Prayer.

"Abu id bashmayo, nitkadash ishmokh, titi malakotokh... Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come..."

Some 60 children in all participate in the weekly one-hour class, where they also learn basic conversation in Aramaic.

"I already know to say "Shlomo aykano itayk? Aino tabto," 12-year-old Melodie Zaknoon says proudly. "It means 'How are you? I'm doing fine'."

Today all that remains of Biram is Our Lady of Biram church and an ancient synagogue. The Israeli government has turned part of the village just a few kilometres from the Lebanese border into a public park.

The church has become a symbol of the attachment many former Biram residents and their offspring have for the place their families called home for centuries.

Families originally from Biram regularly celebrate mass in the stone church, whose cross has grown rusty over time. Marriages, christenings and funerals are also held there.

"That was my house," says 92-year-old Habib Issa, pointing to a pile of rocks among weeds and fig trees.

His face is lined with wrinkles and his mouth is toothless, but Issa's grip is as strong as that of a man in his prime. The white-haired old man was one of the last people to leave the village, ordered out by the Israeli military.

He still recalls the encounter with the Israeli commander who told him to leave. "He was surly and arrogant and spoke in a menacing way," Issa says.

Before their forced exile, the Maronites of Biram used to study Aramaic in two rooms attached to the church.

"We had two teachers who had come from Lebanon. One taught French and the other Aramaic," Issa says.

"Biram has been a gaping wound for more than 50 years and we will return no matter how long our exile lasts," proclaims a plaque on a wall of the church.