Israel Shahak


Israel Shahak

Israel Shahak ( _he. ישראל שחק, April 28, 1933July 2, 2001) was a Polish-born Israeli Professor of Chemistry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the former president of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, and an outspoken critic of the Israeli government. Shahak's writings on Judaism have been the source of considerable controversy.

Biography

Born in Warsaw, Poland, ["I was born in Warsaw (the subject of a large part of the essay) and was in the Warsaw Ghetto almost till the end;" [http://www.nybooks.com/articles/4892 'The Life of Death': An Exchange By Israel Shahak, Reply by Timothy Garton Ash] , "The New York Review of Books] ", Volume 34, Number 1, January 29, 1987.] Shahak was the youngest child of a cultured Jewish family. ["Born in 1933 into a cultured Jewish family in Warsaw," Adams, Michael. [http://news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/article35445.ece "Israel Shahak"] , "The Independent", July 26, 2001.] After Germany occupied Poland, his family was forced into the Warsaw Ghetto. His brother escaped and joined the Royal Air Force and his father disappeared. His mother paid a poor Catholic family to hide him, but when her money ran out he was returned, and in 1943 they were both sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Israel Shahak was liberated in 1945, and shortly thereafter emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine, where he volunteered for a kibbutz, but was turned down as "too weedy". ["After setbacks - he was rejected as 'too weedy' when he volunteered for a kibbutz - he became a model citizen." Pallis, Elfi. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4216853,00.html "Israel Shahak"] , "The Guardian", July 6, 2001.]

After graduating from high school, Shahak served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in an elite regiment.Pallis, Elfi. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4216853,00.html "Israel Shahak"] , "The Guardian", July 6, 2001.] After completing service with the IDF, he attended Hebrew University where he received his doctorate in chemistry. He became an assistant to the head of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission [ [http://news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/article35445.ece "Israel Shahak"] , "The Independent", July 26, 2001.] . In 1961, he left Israel for the United States to study as a postdoctoral student at Stanford University. He returned two years later to become a teacher and researcher in chemistry at Hebrew University, where he remained until his retirement in 1990.

After the 1967 Six-Day War Shahak became critical of Israel's treatment of Palestinians, and a supporter of a Palestinian state, and wrote many articles and several books outlining his views of Israeli society and Judaism.

Shahak died in Israel at the age of 68 due to complications from diabetes. In an obituary, writing of Shahak's work for human rights, Christopher Hitchens wrote:-

'His home on Bartenura Street in Jerusalem was a library of information about the human rights of the oppressed. The families of prisoners, the staff of closed and censored publications, the victims of eviction and confiscation--none were ever turned away. I have met influential "civil society" Palestinians alive today who were protected as students when Israel was a professor of chemistry at the Hebrew University; from him they learned never to generalize about Jews. And they respected him not just for his consistent stand against discrimination but also because--he never condescended to them. He detested nationalism and religion and made no secret of his contempt for the grasping Arafat entourage. But, as he once put it to me, "I will now only meet with Palestinian spokesmen when we are out of the country. I have some severe criticisms to present to them. But I cannot do this while they are living under occupation and I can 'visit' them as a privileged citizen." This apparently small point of ethical etiquette contains almost the whole dimension of what is missing from our present discourse: the element of elementary dignity and genuine mutual recognition.' [ [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20010723/hitchensChristopher Hitchens, "Israel Shahak, 1933-2001", The Nation July 23, 2001] ]

Politics and works

Shahak reports having been radicalized first by the Suez War and his feeling of betrayal by David Ben-Gurion's push to occupy the Sinai Peninsula, and then through his experiences in the United States. In the 1960s he became involved in the Israeli League Against Religious Coercion. Following the Six-Day War of 1967, he disavowed his former affiliation with the Israeli League against Religious Coercion, believing them to be "fake liberals" who used liberal principles to fight religious influence in Israeli society, but failed to use those same principles to fight Israeli treatment of Palestinians. Shahak instead joined the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, was elected president of the League in 1970. That same year he established the Committee Against Administrative detentions.

He began publishing translations of the Hebrew press into English, alongside his own commentaries, arguing that Western activists needed better knowledge about conditions in Israel, and that the English-language editions of Hebrew newspapers were being intentionally distorted for Western audiences. This practice, along with writing letters to the editor, remained staples of his work for decades.

He became a well-known activist in international circles, co-authoring papers and giving joint speaking engagements with American activist Noam Chomsky, and winning plaudits from Christopher Hitchens and Edward Said.

Reviewer Sheldon Richman explains that for Shahak, Zionism was both a reflection of, and capitulation to, European anti-Semitism, 'since it, like the anti-Semites, holds that Jews are everywhere aliens who would best be isolated from the rest of the world.'cite journal|title=Book Review of "Anti-Zionism: Analytical Reflections" (eds. Roselle Tekiner et al. 1989, 358 pages) |author= Sheldon Richman|journal=Washington Report on Middle East Affairs|date=|June 1989|pages=38 url=http://www.middleeastbooks.com/html/books/tekiner.html]

In 1994 he published "Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years", in 1997 he published "Open Secrets: Israel's Nuclear and Foreign Policies", and in 1999 he published "Jewish Fundamentalism In Israel", co-authored with Norton Mezvinsky. In the introduction to the last book, Mezvinsky and Shahak explained that, 'We realize that by criticizing Jewish fundamentalism we are criticizing a part of the past that we love. We wish that members of every human grouping would criticize their own past, even before criticizing others'.

Alleged telephone incident

In 1965 "Ha'aretz" printed a letter from Shahak in which he claimed to have witnessed a Haredi Jewish man refusing to allow his telephone to be used to call an ambulance for a non-Jew as it was the Jewish Sabbath. In the letter, Shahak also claimed that members of the rabbinical court of Jerusalem confirmed that the man was correct in his understanding of Jewish law, and that they backed this assertion by quoting from a passage from a recent compilation of law. The issue was subsequently taken up in "The Jewish Chronicle", leading to significant publicity.

In 1966, Immanuel Jakobovits, who was later appointed Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, disputed the veracity of Shahak's story, and asserted that Shahak had subsequently been forced to admit that he had fabricated the incident (according to Jackobovits, "in true "Protocols" style") in order to support his thesis. Jakobovits also cites a lengthy "responsum" by Isser Yehuda Unterman, the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel at the time, who stated that, "the Sabbath must be violated to save non-Jewish life no less than Jewish lives."Jakobovits, Immanuel. [http://www.edah.org/backend/document/jakobovits1.html A Modern Blood Libel--L'Affaire Shahak] , "Tradition", Volume 8, Number 2, Summer 1966, p. 59.]

Jakobovits gives two possible rationales for this ruling; first, that "Even biblical violations of the Sabbath are warranted for non-Jews 'on account of enmity', i.e., if the refusal to render such aid may imperil Jews," and second, that the Rabbis may have "deliberately introduced...a purely ethical counter-indication to laws which might otherwise be conducive to immoral results."Jakobovits, "op. cit.", p. 62.] He also notes that, as long ago as the 13th Century, "R. Menachem Meiri had stated that the prohibition to desecrate the Sabbath for the sake of Gentiles applied only to 'the ancient heathens ... because they professed no religion at all, nor did they acknowledge their duty to human society.'"Jakobovits, "op. cit.", p. 63.]

Shahak repeated his account in the opening chapter of his 1994 book, "Jewish History, Jewish Religion", stating that "Neither the Israeli, nor the diaspora, rabbinical authorities ever reversed their ruling that a Jew should not violate the Sabbath in order to save the life of a Gentile. They added much sanctimonious twaddle to the effect that if the consequence of such an act puts Jews in danger, the violation of the Sabbath is permitted, for their sake." Reviewing the book, this claim, and the clamor surrounding it in the Jewish press, Werner Cohn stated that "Dr. Shahak does not seem to notice that this clamor, which he duly notes, is in itself a refutation of his charge that current Jewish life is dominated by orthodox inhumanity. Dr. Shahak, whose nose is longer than Pinocchio's in any case, does not tell us the whole story of the incident.""In Shahak's version, with which he begins this book, the Jew here followed the ruling the of orthodox rabbinate. The story was taken up by Ha-Arets in Israel, then by the Jewish Chronicle in London and other publications, all joining in a clamor against the barbaric orthodox. (Dr. Shahak does not seem to notice that this clamor, which he duly notes, is in itself a refutation of his charge that current Jewish life is dominated by orthodox inhumanity).
Dr. Shahak, whose nose is longer than Pinocchio's in any case, does not tell us the whole story of the incident." Cohn, Werner. [http://www.wernercohn.com/Shahak.html "The Jews are Bad! (review of 'Jewish History, Jewish Religion,' by Israel Shahak)"] , "Israel Horizons", vo. 42, no. 3 of 4, Autumn 1994, pp. 28-9.]

Reviewing Shahak's account after Shahak's death, Rabbi Gil Student questions whether there was any actual rationale for the alleged actions in the first place, stating: "it is certainly difficult to understand exactly what prohibition is involved in allowing someone else to use one's telephone on Shabbat." Student criticized Shahak's claim that Judaism was racist for denying medical treatment to gentiles on the Shabbath on three separate grounds:
*First, that Talmudic injunctions against providing medical aid on the Sabbath are not practiced today, as Orthodox Jewish medical professionals routinely treat both Jews and non-Jews on the Sabbath.
*Second, that even though purely theoretical, in any event the determination of who should not be treated on the Sabbath is not determined by race, but rather by belief and behavior; thus there are non-Jews who "may" be treated on the Sabbath, and Jews who "may not" be treated.
*Third, that the prohibitions against violating the Sabbath are not a measure of relative worth of an individual's life.Student, Gil. [http://www.aishdas.org/student/shabbat.htm "Shabbat and Gentile Lives"] , AishDas Society website, 2001. Retrieved July 26, 2006.]

"Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight Of Three Thousand Years"

In 1994 Shahak published "Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight Of Three Thousand Years". In it he proposes that most nations' histories are initially ethnocentric. However they then evolve through a period of critical self-analysis to incorporate other perspectives. Jewish emancipation by the Enlightenment was a dual liberation, from both Christian anti-Semitism and a 'ghetto priesthood' with its 'imposed scriptural control'. [Christopher Hitchens, Forward to Israel Shahak, "Open Secrets:Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies", Pluto Press, London, Sterling, Virginia, 1997 p.xi] But, he argued, the history of Judaism itself had not yet been the full beneficiary of modern critical perspectives.

Shahak alleges that Talmudic Judaism is a totalitarian religion where rabbinical law governs every aspect of Jewish behaviour. [ 'The legal system of the Talmud can be described as totally comprehensive, rigidly authoritarian, and yet capable of infinite development, without however any change in its dogmatic base. Every aspect of Jewish life, both individual and social, is covered, usually in considerable detail, with sanctions and punishments for every conceivable sin or infringement of the rules' p 40 ] Shahak's approach to the subject draws on both Karl Popper's concept of a closed society, his analysis of totalitarian thought-patterns in Plato's thought, and also on Moses Hadas's suggestion of a Platonic influence on rabbinical thought. [Israel Shahak, "Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years", Pluto Press, London, Sterling, Virginia (1994 , 1997) 2002 pp.12-13] He views Jewish chauvinism and religious fanaticism as grounded in this theological tradition. For Shahak, the religious roots of this 'Jewish ideology' had two important consequences:
* Attempts by Western analysts to explain contemporary Israeli politics in purely secular terms such as imperialism are fundamentally flawed.
* More controversially, that 'Jewish chauvinism' can be a causal factor in antisemitism, and that both must be fought simultaneously.

Shahak also analyses the period from the beginning of the last millennium (CE) to the advent of the modern state when most Jews lived under rabbinical law in segregated communities. These communities, writes Shahak, were under the patronage of non-Jewish nobles who typically used them to enforce their authority on a non-Jewish peasant class. Rebellions by such peasants in which all feudal agents were attacked, Shahak argues, have wrongly been perceived as anti-Jewish persecutions. Consequently, he calls for significant parts of Jewish history to be re-evaluated from a universal perspective.

Shahak also claims that Zionism is an attempt to re-establish a closed Jewish community and that this has resulted in discrimination against non-Jews. He concludes the book by stating, 'Although the struggle against antisemitism (and of all other forms of racism) should never cease, the struggle against Jewish chauvinism and exclusivism, which must include a critique of classical Judaism, is now of equal or greater importance'. [. Cf. 'The influence of ‘Jewish ideology’ on many Jews will be stronger the more it is hidden from public discussion. Such discussion will, it is hoped, lead people to take the same attitude towards Jewish chauvinism . . as that commonly taken towards anti-Semitism and all other forms of xenophobia, chauvinism and racism . .I am assuming that only the full exposition of Jewish chauvinism and religious fanaticism can be the basis against those phenomena . .(T)he political influence of Jewish chauvinism and religious fanaticism is much greater than that of anti-Semitism. But there is also another important consideration. I strongly believe that anti-Semitism and Jewish chauvinism can only be fought simultaneously’ Israel Shahak, "Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years", Pluto Press, London, Sterling, Virginia (1994 , 1997) 2002 pp.11-12]

The work was praised by Gore Vidal and Edward Said, both of whom wrote introductions to the book at various times. Robert Fisk wrote that his 'examination of Jewish religious fundamentalism' was "invaluable":

[Shahak] concludes that "there can no longer be any doubt that the most horrifying acts of oppression in the West Bank are motivated by Jewish religious fanaticism." He quotes from an official exhortation to religious Jewish soldiers about Gentiles, published by the Israeli army's Central Region Command in which the chief chaplain writes: "When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to the Halakhah (the legal system of classical Judaism) they may and even should be killed ... In no circumstances should an Arab be trusted, even if he makes an impression of being civilised ... In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakhah to kill even good civilians, that is, civilians who are ostensibly good." [ [http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article288006.ece Comment: Religion in the Middle East: the fundamental problem] 03 December 1997, The Independent]

Some authors have described specific claims in "Jewish History, Jewish Religion" as fabrications, and have accused Shahak of making "grotesque charges".
*Dr. Shahak is full of startling revelations, if that is the word, about Jewish history and the Jewish religion. None of those I was able to check had any foundation. Some are just funny. He says (pp. 23-4) that "Jewish children are actually taught" to utter a ritual curse when passing a non-Jewish cemetery. He also tells us (p. 34) that "both before and after a meal, a pious Jew ritually washes his hands....On one of these two occasions he is worshiping God... but on the other he is worshiping Satan..." I did take the trouble to question my orthodox rabbi nephew to find what might be behind such tall tales. He had no clue. If orthodox Jews were actually taught such hateful things, surely someone would have heard. Whom is Dr. Shahak kidding?" Cohn, Werner. [http://www.wernercohn.com/Shahak.html "The Jews are Bad! (review of 'Jewish History, Jewish Religion,' by Israel Shahak)"] , "Israel Horizons", vo. 42, no. 3 of 4, Autumn 1994, pp. 28-9.
*"Shahak is one of the world's leading anti-Semites. Indeed, notwithstanding Shahak's claims that he opposes anti-Semitism, hatred for the Jewish religion is the defining characteristic of his writings. For example, in his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion, Shahak levels numerous grotesque charges, such as that Jewish children are taught 'whenever passing near a cemetery, to utter a blessing if the cemetery is Jewish, but to curse the mothers of the dead if it is non-Jewish.' (pages 23-24) Later Shahak accuses Jews of worshiping Satan: 'both before and after a meal, a pious Jew ritually washes his hands, uttering a special blessing. On one of these two occasions he is worshiping God ... but on the other he is worshiping Satan ...' (page34)". [http://world.std.com/~camera/docs/alert/saidalert.html Edward Said's Documented Deceptions] , Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, August 1999. Retrieved March 28, 2006.
*"...a book by the late Hebrew University professor Israel Shahak (yet another Jewish anti-Semite) which attacks the Jewish religion as such as inherently racist. Shahak is especially harsh in his attacks on the Talmud - a traditional target of anti-Semites for centuries... Shahak even justifies the notorious Chmeilnitsky pogroms in the 17th century Ukraine, which may have killed up to 100,000 Jews, on the grounds that the Jews had exploited the Ukrainian peasantry and deserved what they got. Amongst so many accusations against the Jews and Judaism, one, perhaps, especially stands out: Shahak's claim that the Jews worship Satan." Neuwirth, Rachel. [http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/1815.html The Chomsky File] , "The Conservative Voice", January 6, 2005. Retrieved July 9, 2005.]

Reception

In his memoirs, "To Be an Arab in Israel", Palestinian poet Fouzi El-Asmar described Shahak as a "remarkable and outstanding individual",cite book |last= El-Asmar|first= Fouzi|title= To Be an Arab in Israel|year= 1975|publisher= Frances Pinter|location= London|isbn= 0903804085|pages= 138] and Gore Vidal, who wrote the introduction to Shahak's "Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years", described him there as 'the latest, if not the last, of the great prophets.'" According to Haim Genizi, "Shahak's extreme anti-Israeli statements were welcomed by the PLO and widely circulated in pro-Arab circles". [Genizi, Haim. "The Holocaust, Israel, and Canadian Protestant Churches", McGill-Queen's Press, 2002, p. 94.]

After his death, Shahak received tributes from a number of sources. His co-author Norton Mezvinsky stated he was "a rare intellectual giant and a superior humanist", and Edward Said described him as "a very brave man who should be honored for his services to humanity." [Mezvinsky, Morton. [http://www.wrmea.com/archives/august-september01/0108011.html "In Memoriam: Israel Shahak (1933-2001)"] , "Washington Report on Middle East Affairs", August/September 2001, page 11.] Christopher Hitchens, who considered Shahak a "dear friend and comrade", said he was a "a brilliant and devoted student of the archaeology of Jerusalem and Palestine", and that "during his chairmanship of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, [he] set a personal example that would be very difficult to emulate." [Hitchens, Christopher. [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20010723/hitchens Israel Shahak, 1933-2001] , "The Nation", "Minority Report", July 23, 2001.] On Antiwar.com Alexander Cockburn described him as a "tireless translator and erudite footnoter" and "a singular man, an original", [Cockburn, Alexander. [http://www.antiwar.com/cockburn/c071301.html "Remembering Israel Shahak"] , "Left Coast", Antiwar.com, July 13, 2001. Retrieved July 21, 2006.] while Allen C. Brownfield writing in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, said he had a "genuinely prophetic Jewish voice, one which ardently advocated democracy and human rights." [Brownfield, Allen C. [http://www.wrmea.com/archives/october01/0110071.html "With Israel Shahak’s Death, A Prophetic Voice Is Stilled"] , "Washington Report on Middle East Affairs", October 2001, p. 71. Retrieved July 21, 2006.] In his obituary in "The Guardian" Elfi Pallis described him as "an old-fashioned liberal", and Michel Warschawski stated that he was "above all one of the last philosophers of the 18th century school of enlightenment, rationalism, and liberalism, in the American meaning of the concept." [Warschawski, Michel. [http://www.jerusalemquarterly.org/details.php?cat=16&id=131 "Israel Shahak"] , "Jerusalem Quarterly", Issue 13, Summer 2001.]

Others accused Shahak of fabricating incidents, "blaming the victim", distorting the normative meaning of Jewish texts, and misrepresenting Jewish belief and law. [Mathis, Andrew. [http://andrew.mathis.net/shahak.html "The Interpretational Errors of Israel Shahak"] , June 8, 2000. Retrieved May 12, 2006.] Jakobovits, Immanuel. [http://www.edah.org/backend/document/jakobovits1.html A Modern Blood Libel--L'Affaire Shahak] , "Tradition", Volume 8, Number 2, Summer 1966.] [http://world.std.com/~camera/docs/alert/saidalert.html Edward Said's Documented Deceptions] , Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, August 1999. Retrieved July 7, 2006.] [Cohn, Werner. [http://www.wernercohn.com/Shahak.html "The Jews are Bad! (review of 'Jewish History, Jewish Religion,' by Israel Shahak)"] , "Israel Horizons", vol. 42, no. 3 of 4, Autumn 1994.] According to Paul Bogdanor, Shahak "regaled his audience with a stream of outrageous libels, ludicrous fabrications, and transparent hoaxes. As each successive allegation was exposed and discredited, he would simply proceed to a new invention." [Bogdanor, "op. cit.", p. 119. ]

Shahak's works also found a receptive audience among neo-Nazis, antisemites and Holocaust deniers, and his articles and the full texts of his works can be found on websites such as Radio Islam, Bible Believers, Jew Watch, CODOH, and "Historical Review Press". [
*"...his writings appear on neo-Nazi and Holocaust denial websites around the world." "Solomon Socrates", [http://www.meforum.org/article/87/ "Israel’s Academic Extremists"] , "Middle East Quarterly", Fall 2001.
*"It's a truism that you can tell a man by the company he keeps, and if you go to just about any neo-Nazi or fundamentalist Islamic website you'll see the company that keeps Shahak: His articles and commentaries are lovingly preserved under such titles as 'The Jewish Hatred Towards Christianity'; 'The Jewish Laundry of Drug Money'; and Israel's Discriminatory Practices Are Rooted in Jewish Law." Jason Maoz, [http://www.jewishpress.com/page.do/13041/Media_Monitor.html "Media Monitor"] , "The Jewish Press", September 19, 2001.
*"Jewish History, Jewish Religion (1994) is... more likely to be cited on a neo-Nazi website, than your local synagogue's... (Radio Islam contains the full text of Shahak's work) as well as groups that are often openly anti-Semitic (David Duke and Bradley Smith include Shahak's book on their websites)." Ari Alexander. [http://www.myjewishlearning.com/ideas_belief/Jews_NonJews/NJ_Attitudes_TO/NJ_Attitudes_BibRab/NJ_Shahak.htm "Israel and Anti-Gentile Traditions"] , "MyJewishLearning.com". Accessed January 1, 2007.
*"The site [Radio Islam] , it turns out, does not present Islam as the only victim of Judaism, but speaks of other religions whose followers allegedly have been persecuted by Jews. One column by Professor Israel Shahak, for example, discusses a supposed Jewish tradition of spitting on the Christian cross, a practice he contends has gone on since 200 A.D. and continues to grow in popularity." Ron Strom. [http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=27731 "The mother of all anti-Jew sites"] , "WorldNetDaily", May 27, 2002. Accessed January 1, 2007.
*"it should be noted that the French edition of Shahak’s book is published by La Vielle Taupe, described by Cohn as a “neo-Nazi sect in Paris that publishes books denying the holocaust.”" Alex Safian. [http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=4&x_outlet=28&x_article=280 "NPR's Special Bias"] , Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, September 30, 2002. Accessed January 1, 2007.
*"...the present-day disciples of Hitler were equally enthusiastic: 'Dr. Israel Shahak risked all...' mourned the American Nazi leader David Duke..." Bogdanor, Paul. "Chomsky's Ayatollahs", in Edward Alexander and Paul Bogdanor (editors), [http://www.paulbogdanor.com/dividecontents.html "The Jewish Divide Over Israel: Accusers and Defenders"] , Transaction Publishers, 2006, p. 124.
*"In most of these anti-Semitic websites, homage is paid to one Professor Israel Shahak who is described as a courageous and knowledgeable Jew presumably for his resurrection of the old distortions and canards about the Talmud in his book, Jewish History, Jewish Religion. Laudable reviews, quotations and even whole chapters from the book appear on many anti-Semitic websites." Posner, Laurence. [http://www.jewishjournal.org/archives/archiveSept17_99.htm "Anti-Semitic Groups Maintain Talmud Websites"] , "The Jewish Journal", September 17 - September 30, 1999.
*"Shahak's book and the articles may also be found on Radio Islam's Internet site, and Radio Islam acts as a retailer for the book." [http://www.axt.org.uk/antisem/archive/archive1/sweden/index.htm Sweden] , "Antisemitism and Xenophobia Today", Institute for Jewish Policy Research, December 1996.
*"... Radio Islam's voluminous online library [contains] such anti-Semitic "classics" as The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, Hitler's Mein Kampf, Henry Ford's The International Jews, and the works of [...] Israel Shahak." Neuwirth, Rachel. [http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/1815.html The Chomsky File] , "The Conservative Voice", January 6, 2005. Retrieved March 15, 2007.
] David Duke mourned Shahak, stating he had exposed "numerous examples of hateful Judaic laws... that permit Jews to cheat, to steal, to rob, to kill, to rape, to lie, even to enslave Christians," [Bogdanor, Paul. "Chomsky's Ayatollahs," in Edward Alexander and Paul Bogdanor (editors), [http://www.paulbogdanor.com/dividecontents.html "The Jewish Divide Over Israel"] , p. 124.] and dedicated his book "Jewish Supremacism" to him. ["In 2000, David Duke published in Russia his latest controversial book: Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening on the Jewish Question. The book eschews the layout of his first autobiographical work, and instead purports to "examine and document elements of ethnic supremacism that have existed in the Jewish community from historical to modern times". The book is dedicated to Israel Shahak, a critical author of what Shahak saw as supremacist religious teachings in modern Jewish culture. Duke denies the book is motivated by anti-Semitism." [http://www.antisemitism.org.il/eng/David%20Duke David Duke] , The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism, 2006. Retrieved March 15, 2007.] ["My book is dedicated to Israel Shahak". [http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP103505 "David Duke Visits Syria In Support of Bashar al-Assad"] . Middle East Media Research Institute, "Special Dispatch Series - No. 1035", November 29, 2005.]

In the introduction to his 2002 edition of "Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel", Shahak's co-author Norton Mezvinsky wrote that antisemites and antisemitic groups "utilize unduly Shahak's criticisms in trying to justify their hatred of Jews. They have continued to do this either by citing and/or using out-of-context some of Shahak's points."

Accusations of antisemitism

In reaction to his writings about Judaism and the Talmud, Shahak has been accused of antisemitism. The Anti-Defamation League listed Shahak as one of four authors of polemics in its paper "The Talmud in Anti-Semitic Polemics", while Paul Bogdanor accused Shahak of "recycling Soviet antisemitic propaganda". [Bogdanor, "op. cit.", p. 122.]

In 1995 Werner Cohn wrote of Shahak:

Without question, he is the world's most conspicuous Jewish antisemite... Like the Nazis before him, Shahak specialized in defaming the Talmud. In fact, he has made it his life's work to popularize the anti-Talmud ruminations of the 18th century German antisemite, Johann Eisenmenger." [Cohn, Werner. "Partners in Hate: Noam Chomsky and the Holocaust Deniers", Avukah Press, 1995, p. 18.]

Emanuele Ottolenghi argues that Jews like Shahak act as enablers for antisemites, stating that their rhetoric plays a "crucial role... in excusing, condoning, and — in effect — abetting anti-Semitism." In his view:

Anti-Semites rely on Jews to confirm their prejudice: If Jews recur to such language and advocate such policies, how can anyone be accused of anti-Semitism for making the same arguments? [...] The mechanism through which an anti-Semitic accusation becomes respectable once a Jew endorses it is not limited to Israel’s new historians... Israel Shahak made the comparison between Israel and Nazism respectable — all the while describing Judaism according to the medieval canons of the blood libel. [Ottolenghi, Emanuele. [http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MDk4NTUxMDlmNTUxZDVjMDgxM2M4OGJiZTBjNWU5ZDE= "The War of the Jews"] , "National Review", September 20, 2006.]

Notes

References


* [http://www.axt.org.uk/antisem/archive/archive1/sweden/index.htm Sweden] , "Antisemitism and Xenophobia Today", Institute for Jewish Policy Research, December 1996.
* [http://www.antisemitism.org.il/eng/David%20Duke David Duke] , The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism, 2006. Retrieved March 15, 2007.
* [http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP103505 "David Duke Visits Syria In Support of Bashar al-Assad"] . Middle East Media Research Institute, "Special Dispatch Series - No. 1035", November 29, 2005.
*PDFlink| [http://www.adl.org/presrele/asus_12/the_talmud.pdf The Talmud in Anti-Semitic Polemics] |199 KiB , Anti-Defamation League, February 2003.
* [http://world.std.com/~camera/docs/alert/saidalert.html "Edward Said's Documented Deceptions"] , Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, August 1999.
* [http://www.nybooks.com/articles/4892 'The Life of Death': An Exchange By Israel Shahak, Reply by Timothy Garton Ash] , "The New York Review of Books] ", Volume 34, Number 1, January 29, 1987.
*Adams, Michael. [http://news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/article35445.ece "Israel Shahak"] , "The Independent", July 26, 2001.
*Alexander, Ari. [http://www.myjewishlearning.com/ideas_belief/Jews_NonJews/NJ_Attitudes_TO/NJ_Attitudes_BibRab/NJ_Shahak.htm "Israel and Anti-Gentile Traditions"] , "MyJewishLearning.com".
*Bogdanor, Paul. "Chomsky's Ayatollahs", in Edward Alexander and Paul Bogdanor (editors), [http://www.paulbogdanor.com/dividecontents.html "The Jewish Divide Over Israel: Accusers and Defenders"] , Transaction Publishers, 2006. ISBN 0765803275
*Brownfield, Allen C. [http://www.wrmea.com/archives/october01/0110071.html "With Israel Shahak’s Death, A Prophetic Voice Is Stilled"] , "Washington Report on Middle East Affairs", October 2001.
*Cockburn, Alexander. [http://www.antiwar.com/cockburn/c071301.html "Remembering Israel Shahak"] , "Left Coast", Antiwar.com, July 13, 2001.
*Cohn, Werner. [http://www.wernercohn.com/Shahak.html "The Jews are Bad! (review of 'Jewish History, Jewish Religion,' by Israel Shahak)"] , "Israel Horizons", vo. 42, no. 3 of 4, Autumn 1994.
*Cohn, Werner. "Partners in Hate: Noam Chomsky and the Holocaust Deniers", Avukah Press, 1995. ISBN 0964589702
*Genizi, Haim. "The Holocaust, Israel, and Canadian Protestant Churches", McGill-Queen's Press, 2002. ISBN 0773524010
*Hitchens, Christopher. [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20010723/hitchens Israel Shahak, 1933-2001] , "The Nation", "Minority Report", July 23, 2001.
*El-Asmar, Fouzi (1975). "To Be an Arab in Israel", London: Frances Pinter. ISBN 0903804085.
*Jakobovits, Immanuel. [http://www.edah.org/backend/document/jakobovits1.html A Modern Blood Libel--L'Affaire Shahak] , "Tradition", Volume 8, Number 2, Summer 1966.
*Maoz, Jason. [http://www.jewishpress.com/page.do/13041/Media_Monitor.html "Media Monitor"] , "The Jewish Press", September 19, 2001.
*Mathis, Andrew. [http://andrew.mathis.net/shahak.html "The Interpretational Errors of Israel Shahak"] , June 8, 2000.
*Mezvinsky, Morton. [http://www.wrmea.com/archives/august-september01/0108011.html "In Memoriam: Israel Shahak (1933-2001)"] , "Washington Report on Middle East Affairs", August/September 2001.
*Neuwirth, Rachel. [http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/1815.html The Chomsky File] , "The Conservative Voice", January 6, 2005.
*Ottolenghi, Emanuele. [http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MDk4NTUxMDlmNTUxZDVjMDgxM2M4OGJiZTBjNWU5ZDE= "The War of the Jews"] , "National Review", September 20, 2006.
*Pallis, Elfi. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4216853,00.html "Israel Shahak"] , "The Guardian", July 6, 2001.
*Posner, Laurence . [http://www.jewishjournal.org/archives/archiveSept17_99.htm "Anti-Semitic Groups Maintain Talmud Websites"] , "The Jewish Journal", September 17 - September 30, 1999.
*Safian, Alex. [http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=4&x_outlet=28&x_article=280 "NPR's Special Bias"] , Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, September 30, 2002.
*"Solomon Socrates". [http://www.meforum.org/article/87/ "Israel’s Academic Extremists"] , "Middle East Quarterly", Fall 2001.
*Strom, Ron. [http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=27731 "The mother of all anti-Jew sites"] , "WorldNetDaily", May 27, 2002.
*Student, Gil. [http://www.aishdas.org/student/shabbat.htm Shabbat and Gentile Lives] , AishDas Society website, 2001. Retrieved July 26, 2006.
*Warschawski, Michel. [http://www.jerusalemquarterly.org/details.php?cat=16&id=131 "Israel Shahak"] , "Jerusalem Quarterly", Issue 13, Summer 2001.

Bibliography

Books (partial)

* Israel Shahak, (ed.), "The Non-Jew in the Jewish State; a collection of Documents", Jerusalem, 1975
* Israel Shahak (ed), "Begin & Co as they really are", Glasgow 1977
* Israel Shahak and Noam Chomsky, "Israel's Global Role: Weapons for Repression (Studies in Geophysical Optics and Remote Sensing)", Association of Arab-American University Graduates, Inc., April 1982, paperback, ISBN 0-937694-51-7
* Israel Shahak, "Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years", Pluto Press, London, 1994
* Israel Shahak, "Open Secrets: Israeli Foreign and Nuclear Policies", Pluto Press, London, 1997
* Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, "Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (Pluto Middle Eastern Series)", Pluto Press (UK), October, 1999, hardcover, 176 pages, ISBN 0-7453-1281-0; trade paperback, Pluto Press, (UK), October, 1999, ISBN 0-7453-1276-4; 2nd edition with new introduction by Norton Mezvinsky, trade paperback July, 2004, 224 pages
* Israel Shahak, "Israel's Global Role : Weapons for Repression (Special Reports, No. 4)", Association of Arab-American University Graduates, 1982, paperback

Articles by Shahak (partial list):

* [http://www.ameu.org/printer.asp?iid=194&aid=534 What Are My Opinions?] March - April 1975 The Link - Volume 8, Issue 2
* [http://www.ameu.org/uploads/vol8_issue5_1975.pdf The Racist nature of Zionism and of the Zionistic State of Israel] The Link, volume 8, issue 5 Winter 1975
* "The `Historical Right' and the Other Holocaust", in "Journal of Palestine Studies," 10, no. 3 (Spr. 1981): 27-34.
* "Israeli Apartheid and the Intifada", in "Race and Class, [http://www.irr.org.uk/publication/raceandclass/index.html] " 1988: Volume 30, no. 1: 1-13.
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/1288/8812017.htm AFL-CIO Pension Funds Invested In Faltering Israeli Institutions] December 1988, Page 17 WRMEA.
* "A History of the Concept of `Transfer' in Zionism", in "Journal of Palestine Studies," 18, no. 3 (Spr. 1989): 22-37.
* [http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/article0031903.html Human Rights in the Occupied Territories: Comparing the Hebrew and US Press] Extra! Summer 1989
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0191/9101006.htm Shamir's Manipulation of American Jewish Groups: A Disaster For All] January 1991, Page 6 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0191/9101027.htm Soviet Immigration Deprives Israelis of Housing and Arabs of Jobs] January 1991, Page 27 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0191/9101067.htm Journalists Link Israeli Financial Woes to Shamir-Bush Confrontation] January 1991, Page 67 WRMEA
* [http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/article0004332.html Letter from Jerusalem] Lies of Our Times, February 1991, p. 8.
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0391/9103027.htm The Israeli Occupation Three Years After the Intifada] March 1991, Page 27 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0791/9107020.htm Israel Will Withdraw Only Under Pressure] July 1991, Page 20 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0891/9108023.htm Internal Criticism of Racism Would Be Called "Anti-Semitic" Outside Israel] August/September 1991, Page 23 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/1091/9110019.htm Israel Uses Increased US Aid to Prepare 1992 Attack on Syria] October 1991, Page 19 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/1191/9111017.htm Why Israel Can Never Repay the Loans to be Guaranteed by the US] November 1991, Page 17 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/1291/9112011.htm America "No Longer Under Our Rule": Israelis Discuss Collapse of US Lobby] December/January 1991/92, Page 11, WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0293/9302028.htm The Occupied Territories' True Ruler: Israel's Corrupt and Inefficient Shabak] February 1993, Page 28, WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0493/9304015.htm With Iraq Neutralized, Israelis Seek Catalyst for War With Iran] April/May 1993, Page 15 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0793/9307011.htm Can Religious Settlers Scuttle an Israeli-Palestinian Peace?] By July/August 1993, Page 11
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/1193/9311007g.htm Oslo Agreement Makes PLO Israel's Enforcer] November/December 1993, Page 7-16 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0194/9401018.htm Israeli Cultivation of Cuba Reflects Contempt for U.S. Policies] January 1994, Page 18 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0294/9402016.htm Israel's State-Assisted Terrorism: "Settlers" as Armed Combatants] February/March 1994, Page 16 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0794/9407019.htm Poverty, Religious Instruction Breed Xenophobia in Israel] July/August 1994, Page 19 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0495/9504015.htm Settling the West Bank and Israeli Domestic Politics] April/May 1995, Pages 15, 108-110 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0395/9503011.htm Downturn in Rabin's Popularity Has Several Causes] March 1995, pgs. 11, 97-98 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0795/9507018.htm Israel's Discriminatory Practices Are Rooted in Jewish Religious Law] July/August 1995, pgs. 18, 119 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/1295/9512018.html What Will Likud Do When It Comes to Power in Israel?] December 1995, Pages 18, 82 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0196/9601008.html Rabin's Murder Spotlights Religious Influence in Israeli Police and Army] January 1996, pgs. 8, 97-98 WRMEA
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20010121131000/http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0796/9607019.htm The Real Israeli Interests in Lebanon] , in WRMEA, July 1996, pgs. 19, 11
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/1196/9611019.htm Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu] November/December 1996, pages 19, 106 WRMEA
* [http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0398/9803008.html A Practical Look at Settlements From the Israeli Point of View] March 1998, Pages 8, 86 WRMEACollections of articles:
* [http://www.mepc.org/journal_shahak/shahakmain.asp Israel Shahak Articles] , list of articles and interviews with Shahak in Middle East Policy Journal
* [http://www.nybooks.com/authors/2823 Israel Shahak] comments & articles in The New York Review of Books

Interviews with Shahak (partial list)

*"An Interview with Israel Shahak", interview in "Journal of Palestine Studies", 4, no. 3 (Spr. 1975): 3-20.
*"No Change in Zion", interview in "Journal of Palestine Studies," 7, no. 3 (Spr. 1978): 3-16.


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