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Virtual Talmud

On Crusaders and Zionists

“This Zionist-Crusader war” is probably the most oft-repeated line invoked by the terrorist-madman Osama bin Laden in his latest rant against the West.

As Bin Laden sees it,

“A war is under way to offend the messenger of Allah, his religion and his Umma (nation). The Muslim preparedness and their jihad should be on a par with these events. The duty of our Muslim nation over this Crusaders’ campaign with its different aspects is to focus on supporting the prophet, his religion and the Umma to the best of our ability in all fields.”

But Bin Laden is not the only one linking together the “Crusaders” with the .00000000000000001 percent of the world population called “Zionists.” In their “report,” “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt ever so casually make the same kind of connection between the Zionist lobby and American Christian leaders. While Jews should own up and take responsibility for their influence, affluence, and power, the cabal-like overtones in the latter’s report is frightening.


Unlike Bin Laden’s rant, what makes the report so disturbing is the fact that these two professors are far from mad. Luckily, the report has been met with a number of responses.

But the great irony as I see it in Mearsheimer’s and Walt’s argument is that far from being right-wing, war-mongering extremists, Jews have been and continue to be at the forefront of every major American liberal peace initiative on Israel and the Middle East. Contrary to popular opinion, Jews (or the Israel lobby) are if anything monolithically liberal.

While there are a few loud and influential right-wing Jews, the vast majority of Jews remain staunch liberals through and through. The fact that there are right-wing Jews ready to wage war against Islam is only proof that Judaism is not monolithic in its politics. I know it comes as a shock to some, but there are Jewish Republicans, and they are entitled to promote their causes, just like the gun lobby, the senior citizens’ lobby etc… and what’s undemocratic about that?

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Chuck Stern

posted April 30, 2006 at 5:47 pm

R’ Stern: If you’ve been following the Haredim here in the states, you’ll find that a large number of Jews are not left wing at all, but in fact find that they believe that their interests are best represented by the Christian relgious extremists in the Republican party. Lakewood and Monsey and even Crown Heights are now pretty much easy Republican votes now.

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Devonna H

posted May 21, 2006 at 3:45 am

Dear Rabbi Stern, I don’t follow this virtual Talmud as often as I would like, so I don’t know where you are located. In California, many people have made up their minds to side with the Christian Nationalist movement for as long as it will last. I include Jewish people. My sister converted to Judaism and she and her husband are both staunch followers of this administration and deny that Israel has ever done anything wrong (and if it DID, it had the right to – then they go on to quote the holocaust etc) Israel is a plucky little country and deserves a lot of praise for the reclaimation of the land that it has done and the spirit with which it has not only perservered but prospered. I have one muslim friend who believes that the entire mideast problem would be solved if people made Israel their model. Between the two of them – my sister and my friend….one of them has a view that can lead us to more peaceful times. The other ignores the pain of anyone who disagrees with them and that is not conducive to peace. Unfortunately, it seems that people are inclined to ignore the cries for help of others until the situation touches their own lives, by which time it is already too late to do anything about it. We truly reap what we sow.

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