Israel provided a textbook example of a “hate crime” when Orthodox Jews gathered and publicly burned hundreds of New Testament Bibles last week. The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, architect of hate crimes laws worldwide, says a hate crime occurrs whenever violation of the law is motivated by bias against an identifiable protected group of people (like Jews, Muslims, or homosexuals). It also says it is a hate crime to desecrate or destroy the sacred books of another religion.
The deputy mayor of Or Jehuda [Deputy Mayor Uzi Aharon }, in southern Israel, was obviously motivated by bias against Christianity and its sacred book, the New Testament. Because of his bias, he incited dozens of Jewish religious students to burn the Christian scriptures. According to ADL criteria, this was a hate crime.
ADL—Israel’s public relations rep to the world—holds up the Jewish state as a model of judicial fairness and perspective. If ADL were consistent, it would require from Israel the same responsibility to pursue hate crime indictments as elsewhere. It would pressure the government of Israel to indict the deputy mayor and all who participated. Yet ADL, in its recent press statement, doesn't hint that Bible burning in Israel is a hate crime.
ADL hate laws demand that Christians in Canada, Australia, Europe and America be punished with triple penalties if their “homophobia” motivates an infraction of the law. If ADL were true to its own principles, it would demand similar harsh penalties for the "Israeli Bible-burners."
After all, that’s what ADL’s national executive board member (Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham) wanted to give 11 Christians for the “hate crime” of peaceful witnessing to homosexuals in 2004. (See, "Eleven Christians Jailed For Criticizing Homosexuality") She wanted 47 years in prison and a $90,000 fine each in punishment! Shouldn’t ADL demand that the Israeli Bible-burners be similarly punished?
The least ADL should require from Israeli authorities is the same harsh penalties its Canadian hate laws impose on Christians. One victim of ADL wrath was Toronto printer Scott Brockie who refused to print homosexual literature. Legal entanglements cost him at least $171,000; he was bankrupted.
I’m only talking about what would make ADL consistent with its own perverse definitions and punishments.
Of course, it is highly unlikely ADL would ever actively pursue hate criminal charges against fellow Jews. Prosecution of Jews (and blacks) has occurred only very rarely in the dozens of countries where hate laws have ruled for decades.
Justice in Israel?
I don’t think the Israeli Bible-burners should be punished at all – except in the court of public opinion. In that forum, their hateful attitudes and actions deserve the contempt of humanity. But they merit no physical punishment. People shouldn't be punished for motivation or beliefs but only for illegal actions. There was no crime in Or Jehuda. The townspeople freely received the New Testaments from Messianic missionaries; ostensibly, they freely relinquished them to the Orthodox Jews. These Jews had the right to burn their own property. No one was defrauded or physically harmed. The case should end there.
It probably will. Yes, the Israeli government will offer a pretense of disapproval, just as ADL’s recent press release condemns the burning. But after the brouhaha dies down, as usually happens in Israel, almost nothing will be done to punish these Jews; they violated the norms of free western society but not the ethics of Talmudic Judaism. The Talmud commands the New Testament be burned! Deputy Mayor Uzzi Aharon, a devout Talmudic Jew, was, as he said, only fulfilling a "commandment" of Judaism. 1
Protecting Israel from Criticism
Why does no one describe the book burning as a hate crime? Why is the popular media ignoring this story? Except for Associated Press, it was blacked out from all big Jewish print and TV media in America. (See, "Jews Confirm Big Media is Jewish") If Christians publicly burned the Talmud, the Jewish media would have a heyday, screaming, "Hate crime!" It could become the pretext for a renewed thrust to pass the ADL federal hate bill in Congress. The Jewish media is silent because it and ADL want to avoid any hint that in Israel hate crimes against Christians or Palestinians abound.(See, "Christians in Israel: An Endangered Species" and "Israel: Founded On Terror")
Also, the world has not been taught to apply to Israel the same standards of responsibility that apply to the rest of us. Israel drove 800,000 Arabs from their land and properties in 1948, bans effective evangelism and free speech for Christians, deprives 10,000 Arab prisoners of legal rights of due process, tortures a high percentage of those prisoners (See, "Torture in Israeli Prisons"), militarily violates the sovereignty of neighboring states through land and airspace invasion, seizes political fugitives in foreign nations at will, builds thousands of homes on properties that belong to others, etc.
That’s all right for Israel, the Christian west asserts, because Israel is special: specially blessed by God with special exemption from criticism, victims of a special magnitude of persecution and suffering above all others, our special Mid-East ally, recipients of special billions in foreign aid, existing in special jeopardy, etc.
How long will it be before Israel accepts the fact that, to be a responsible nation among such nations, she must live by the same civilized rules and values as the rest? Israel will never condescend to such limitations on her own. Only international outrage and intolerance of her misbehavior will compel her to accept such responsibility.
Yes, Arabs have committed many violent hate crimes against Israelis. Yet the whole history of Israel's injustice, discrimination, and violence against Palestinians abundantly fulfills ADL’s definition of a hate crime. Motivated by Talmudic racism, Israel has created a grotesque tangle of hate crimes over at least six decades. Virtually none of these hate crimes has ever been brought to justice.2
Israel Can't Judge Others
For the last several years, Knesset has considered legislation empowering Israel to demand that other nations deport those accused of questioning the number of Jewish Holocaust dead. Jewish legislators say such "defamation" of the dead is a hate crime against Jews that should be tried and punished in Israel.
Yet something must happen long before ADL and Jerusalem presume to become hate crime lawgivers to the nations: They should punish hate crimes in their own house. They should question the sacred authority of the medieval Babylonian Talmud, which is true "hate literature." The Talmud has incited increased persecution of Messianic Jews in southern Israel over the past several years; it has proven its power to violently radicalize already extremist Jewish groups; it stimulates acts of desecration and even homegrown terrorism. Messianics are harassed daily while police look on. Their meeting places have been torched; recently, a package bomb was opened by a Messianic child, exploding in his face and severely injuring him.
Israel must also distance herself from her hate crime record by condemning some of the most violent, bias-motivated hate criminals of the 20th century: Prime Ministers David Ben-Gurion, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, and Ariel Sharon. (See, "Israel: Founded On Terror")
The hate crimes legacy of such leaders continues. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter recently said that Israel's embargos of food, water, electricity, medical and humanitarian aid to the men, women, children, elderly, and infirm of Gaza is "one of the greatest human rights crimes on earth." 3 What is this but Israel's bias motivation causing violation of international law - one huge national hate crime?
Rev. Ted Pike
1. In Shabbethai 116, Rabbi Tarbon says: "The writings of the minim [Christians] deserve to be burned, even though the holy name of God occurs therein, for paganism is less dangerous that minuth [Christianity]: the former fails to recognize the truth of Judaism from want of knowledge, but the latter denies what it fully knows."
The footnote to Abodah Zarah 116b (pg. 84 of the Soncino edition) says that "minuth" refers to "heresy with special reference to Christianity."
2. The Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, by Palestinian Christian lawyer and diplomat Dr. Issa Nakhleh documents more than a thousand bias-motivated, ethnic hate crimes of Israelis against the British and Arabs. Nakleh obtained these from British archives of 1939-48 and United Nations records up to 1998. This two-volume reference work is available in most university libraries or from Intercontinental Books, PO Box 756, Grand Central Station, NY, NY 10163-0756.
3. Interview in The Guardian, cited in The Jerusalem Post, 5/26/2008: "Ex-U.S. President: Israel Has 150 Nukes."
Rev. Ted Pike is director of the National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog organization.
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