Mishegas, Religion

Radical Torah's "Racism is Assur" Challenge

Last week, one of Israel’s leading rabbis, David Batzri, came under investigation for inciting racial hatred against Arabs, making statements which should shake any conscious Jew to the core of their being:

You cannot mix pure with impure. Of course we have to keep apart from all the other nations. You must stand in the breach and prevent this. One cannot mix light with darkness. The people of Israel are pure. The Arabs are a nation of donkeys. They are an evil plague, an evil Satan, an evil pestilence.

What heinous act could have possibly led a man of Rav Batzri’s stature to make such irresponsible remarks? No more than the opening of a joint Arab-Jewish day school in Jerusalem.
In other disturbing news, on Purim, here in Jerusalem, several Hareidim attempted to beat two Arab taxi drivers without provocation.
And then the most shocking news — a survey released late last week shows that a majority of Israeli Jews support racial segregation, the number in favor rising sharply in the most religious communities.
As tensions heat up here in Israel, and abroad in North American and European Jewish communities which identify strongly with Israel, direct action becomes necessary to stem the tide of such hatred.
Today I am writing to ask the Jewish educators and scholars who frequent this site to send to me as much information as you have available on rabbinic and halakhic positions concerning racism to be compiled and presented on Radical Torah and later published as a pamphlet in both Hebrew and English.
We have begun assembling information from Radical Torah’s regular contributors, but I wanted to open the floor to everyone who may have knowledge to share on this subject.
If you have any information relevant to this issue, please contact us.

11 thoughts on “Radical Torah's "Racism is Assur" Challenge

  1. Sheeit. There ya go again. You know Dan, I asked a mutual friend of ours who was there, whether or not there was indeed an attempted lynching or the Arab cab drivers by the drunken Haredi crowd. He said that while the scene was ugly, there was in fact NO ATTEMPTED LYNCHING. Will you please stop repeating that piece of bullshit or at least moderate your incendiary language?

    A policeman lightly injured from stones was treated at Shabbat Square in the city, where dozens of haredim tried to attack two Arab taxi drivers.
    Policemen who evacuated the Arab drivers came under a barrage of stones and firecrackers.

    I read on the newswire ON PURIM that they tried to drag the two guys out of their cars. YOU WERE NOT HERE. YOU DID NOT READ THE NEWSWIRES.
    So please do not friggin tell me what happened!
    If this story was “dozens of Arabs tried to attack two Jewish taxi drivers” you wouldn’t event blink. So please, Dave, enough of the Abe Foxman routine.

  3. Dan, Dan, Dan… you know as well as I do that if a crowd of Arabs tried to drag Jews from out of their cars, historically, that would not be a very good thing for the Jews as inumerable well documented instances demonstrate. And while this incident was definitely ugly, it seems that nothing I have read in any of your quoted sources says anything about murderous intent or any kind of attempted lynching. The only person using the term lynching is you and credible eyewitness accounts dispute that a lynching was in the works. The lynching thing is an invention of yours and while I understannd your desire to dramatize the event and call attention to ugliness in Israeli society, you do yourself and your otherwise admirable cause (which I support btw) a disservice by distorting the truth. Just think about that for a minute before responding.

  4. well…having now researched the definition of lynching, i definitely agree it’s a bad choice of words. i did not mean to infer that their was an attempted killing.

  5. Light to the nations? Not if there is a buck to be made!
    One of the leading Rabbis of Kiryat Arba was recently asked: If a man decides to observe Torah law, and wishes to divest himself of any pornagraphic movies he may own, may he sell them?
    Replied the Rabbi: Sure! But to non-Jews only!
    Oh, I just know YitzhakEyezik is going to have something to say about this….
    by DovBear at 1:23 PM #

  6. I think this project is a lovely idea. Doing this well is a serious task that needs to come to grip with some of the harsher parts of our religion. Look at ma’asechet avoda zara – we need to wrestle with a ton of ‘us/them’ baggage.

  7. Trying to make an argument that racism is assur is going to be quite the Herculean task. Consider that jews believe that they are the chosen nation, and that they are obligated to kill people based on nationality alone (amalek). If you can somehow find support for the idea that racism is assur, are we then not allowed to believe we are the chosen nation?
    Also, its not fair to compare israeli jew-arab racism to black-white racism. The former is heavily caused by the fact that the two peoples have been at war for decades.

  8. If you can somehow find support for the idea that racism is assur, are we then not allowed to believe we are the chosen nation?
    Oh, for fuck’s sake. Joe, it’s only that we’re not “allowed” to believe your own personal racist interpretation of “chosen nation”. Luckily, that’s the antisemitic Christian spin on it you’re spouting, not the Jewish version.
    To learn more about the latter you could try, I don’t know, Google. Spending eight seconds with it yielded this and this; perhaps you will find something similar. Should you bother to look.
    (Sorry for the strong language. I’m just so sick of this myth being recycled.)

  9. Just to clarify Joe’s point – even my local Chabad rabbi agrees that since Sancherib (may his name be blotted out) mixed up all the nations, we don’t know who Amalek is, so we can’t carry out this mitzvah. The relevance today is to struggle with our internal Amalek.

  10. “Joe, it’s only that we’re not “allowed” to believe your own personal racist interpretation of “chosen nation”.”
    Give me an example of an interpretation of “chosen” nation that isnt racist. Even in the most diplomatic progressive interpretation we were still chosen by god and other nations were not.
    Perhaps if you used a super narrow definition of racism (i.e. hating and discriminating against other races) then just believing we are spiritually superior and chosen wouldnt make us racist. But most people would consider even simply someone who felt that races were different from one another (i.e. whites are smarter than blacks) to be a racist.
    Like it or not, there is no way to believe that your people were chosen by god, and not be a racist.

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