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Subject: The Challenge...A VINDICATION..from Israel Shahak--A MUST READ!


The Challenge
...from Stefan Bialoguski

Subject: Jewish Fundamentalism

Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001

There is a link on your website to information provided by a Berkley,
California-based group calling itself Jews for Justice in the Middle East.

Regardless of anyone's political views, I believe there is an obligation to
be truthful and accurate in information provided. The quotations from "Jewish
Fundamentalism in Israel" by Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky provided by
Jews for Justice in the Middle East are dishonest and misleading. Indeed, the
following excerpts from the book quoted by Jews for Justice in the Middle East
contain references puporting to represent Jewish religious law that are usually
found on avowedly antisemitic websites such as neo-Nazi sites and Holocaust
denial sites:

"Gush Emunim rabbis have continually reiterated that Jews who killed Arabs
should not be punished, [e.g.]...Relying on the Code of Maimonides and the
Halacha, Rabbi Ariel stated, 'A Jew who killed a non-Jew is exempt from human
judgement and has not violated the [religious] prohibition of murder.'"

Also: " ... Halacha permits Jews to rob non-Jews in those locales wherein
Jews are stronger than non-Jews."

Even a cursory glance at the Halachic (Jewish religious law) authorities
proves that the above references have been taken out of context.

The standard compendium of Jewish law, the Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 158:1,
rules that it is forbidden to kill non-Jews - even idol worshippers or members
of the seven nations that the Jewish People have a Biblical obligation to
destroy (not the Arabs who fulfill neither category). The Shulchan Aruch (the
author of the book, who is also known by the title of the book itself) repeats
himself, which is a rare occurence, in Choshen Mishpat 425:5. These Halachos
(laws) are not contested by other authorities and they are sourced in much
earlier works; see Babylonian Talmud Tractate Avodah Zarah 26a-b, Rambam
(Maimonedes) Mishna Torah Madah Avodah Zarah 10:1.

With regards to whether it is permissible to steal the Talmud, Tractate Bava
Kammah 113b, states that it is forbidden to steal from non-Jews. That opinion
is the only view mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 348:2. The
Shulchan Aruch makes no diferentiation between Jews and non-Jews. The Siftei
Kohen, ibid., states categorically that to steal from a non-Jew is a
transgression of a negative Torah commandment. He writes that the Rambam (Maimonedes) and
the Maharshal rule in accordance with this view. The Vilna Gaon rules, ibid.
8, that not only is it forbidden but that if someone did so the money cannot
be used for any dvar Mitzvah (the fulfilment of a religious obligation) ..

I hope your concern for truth and accuracy and a desire not to incite hatred
of Jews or any other ethno-religious group will induce you to check the
information I have passed on to you from Rabbi Lauffer of Jerusalem with a competent
Halachic authority (eg an Orthodox rabbi) of your choice and, once confirmed,
remove the defamatory material from your website.

Stefan Bialoguski

Please respond to:


The Response.
..from Israel Shahak

Date 2001


Answer to the slanders of Stefan Bialoguski against "Jewish Fundamentalism in
Israel" by Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky (Pluto Press, 1999 ISBN

Stefan Bialoguski thinks that intellectual and often public terror employed
in the USA and other countries against Jews who speak the truth about Judaism,
whether in form it took after the inception of Talmud or its continuation in
Orthodox Judaism will succeed against an Israeli Jew like me.

It is known to the readers of the Hebrew press that majority of Orthodox
rabbis have the greatest regard for Jewish thieves (and one can add drug smugglers
and money-launderers) who donate a part of their ill gotten money to Jewish
religious institutions, but eat kosher food. Prophet Micah says: "Hear this,
you heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor
justice and pervert all equity, who build Zion with blood and Jerusalem with
injustice. Its heads judge for a bribe, its priests teach for hire, its prophets
divine for money; yet they lean upon the Lord and say: 'Behold, the Lord is
among us! No evil shall come upon us'" (chapter 3, verses 9-11).

The beginning of any struggle for justice in the Middle East must be
recognition of the fact that for the last 52 years Zion, that is State of Israel, had
been built with blood, mainly of the Arabs, and founded on the most horrifying
forms of injustice which when applied to the Jews are rightly condemned as
anti-Semitism. Let me give here give only a single example, before entering
Halachic argument. During 18 years of Israeli occupation of Lebanon about 25,000
Lebanese and Palestinians lost their lives as compared with about 800 Israeli
soldiers. It is a significant fact of Israeli politics that numbers of non Jews
killed in Lebanon had little or no influence on Israeli decision to leave it,
even when they were members of South Lebanese Army, allied with Israel. On
the other hand, the relatively small numbers of killed Jewish soldiers were the
chief factor, even in the eyes of Israeli organizations calling for
withdrawal, to mobilize the Jewish public opinion and force the government to withdraw.

The great majority of the Orthodox and traditional Jews (in the USA even more
than in Israel) is quite indifferent to numbers of non Jews killed by the
Jews, while it is very sensitive to a single Jew killed by non Jews. The same
happens with discrimination: there is very little, if any protest from great
majority of the Orthodox and traditional Jews when Jews discriminate against non
Jews, in our case the Arabs, together with screams of fury against any hint of
discrimination (or abuse) against the Jews themselves.

Surely, such an attitude by a public so devoted to the worship of the Jewish
past must be influenced by that past. As I have shown (especially in my book
"Jewish history, Jewish religion"; chapter 5 "The Laws Against Non Jews"), this
attitude derives from the many Halachic laws against non Jews.

After this necessary preface, let me answer in some detail the accusations
made by Stefan Bialoguski. I hope that when I have dealt with them, the
malicious ignorance on which they are based will became apparent. As to his quoting
rabbi Laufer of Jerusalem as his authority, this only reminds me of the faithful
communists during Stalin who used to quote a "an authority" from Moscow to
confirm the usual falsehoods of another totalitarian system. Such "authorities"
may have known all works of "Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin" as the phrase was
then, but they used them only in order to approve Stalin's crimes.

Similarly, Orthodox rabbis, whether in Israel or the USA were silent, for
example, when quite recently one of their colleagues, Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh
proposed in a major Hebrew paper that the State of Israel should slaughter
"women, children and old folks" in Palestinian towns and villages and, in generally
do to them what was done in Sodom and Gomorrah (the case will be discussed in
detail below).

Not rabbinical competence is needed here but a protest against Orthodox
rabbis proposing, supporting and defending atrocities when committed by Jews in
name of Halacha.

In any case, Bialoguski forgot, or perhaps never learned, the basic halachic
rule in case of a dispute: "let us bring the book and see". My answer is full
of references to books; let him check those references by himself and not be
enslaved to any rabbis.

Let me begin with the lesser issue of stealing and robbing which will
illustrate the systematic falsification of Halacha used by Bialoguski. What he quotes
is the halachic prohibition of stealing from anyone. But on this issue there
is a crucial difference in Halacha between Jews stealing from non Jews and
Jews robbing non Jews. The difference between theft (in Hebrew "gne'iva") and
robbery (in Hebrew "gezel") is the same as in most systems of laws. Theft is
defined as taking one's property by stealth while robbery is defined as taking
one's property openly, using violence.

It is clear that the stealing of Palestinian land in the Territories (and
before this inside Israel in the early 1950s) was done by employing state power,
indeed often by employing army units, and is to be defined - as what was done
to the land of the Indians by the USA - as robbery.

As I will show below, the Halacha makes a distinction (known to anyone who
has even a minimal knowledge of the subject) between theft committed by a Jew,
which is totally forbidden no matter from whom, and robbery committed by a Jew.
While it is forbidden to Jews to rob a fellow Jew under any circumstances,
the situation is quite different in Halacha in the case of a Jew robbing a non
Jew, where under well defined circumstances Jews are indeed permitted to rob
non Jews.

Accordingly, there is in Halacha a special issue known by the name of
"robbing the non Jew" (in Hebrew "gezel hagoy"), which appears under this name in the
authoritative Talmudic Encyclopedia, and the circumstances in which such
robbery is either permitted or forbidden are discussed in great detail, as I will
show below. Here I will only remark that Bialoguski omits this.

But before discussing robbery, let me return to the issue of stealing and
show that behind the prohibition of stealing from anyone, there is in Halacha the
most glaring discrimination between Jews and non Jews, omitted by Bialoguski
and most "authorities" who write about Judaism. This is the issue of
punishment to be inflicted according to Halacha on a Jew who steals. If he steals from
a Jew he has to pay twice the value of what he had stolen, or return what he
had stolen, if possible, and pay its value in addition. The first part is
regarded as the restitution and the other as the punishment. But in case of Jew
stealing from a non Jew he is only to pay the value of what he had stolen, only
because he had stolen from a non Jew.

The reason given by Maimonides, following the Talmud, is that in Biblical
verse specifying the punishment for theft it is written "he will pay twice to his
fellow" and according to Halacha the word "fellow" means only Jews, and
excludes the non Jews (Maimonides, Laws of Theft, chapter 2, rule 1).

The important commentary on Maimonides' Code, "Magid Mishneh", written by
rabbi Yoseph Karo, the author of Shulchan Aruch, and other commentators fully
agree with this shameful discrimination.

Let me add two observations you will not hear from "experts" on Judaism in
the USA. If, for example, somebody would have proposed that Jews in the USA
would be discriminated in exactly the same way as the Halacha discriminates
against non Jew; that is he would propose that any non Jew stealing from a Jew would
be exempt from punishment and will have only to pay the value of what he had
stolen, but not be punished in addition, he would be justly regarded as
anti-Semite. It would not help him if he would sanctimoniously exclaim, as
Bialoguski does, "but I am against stealing from anybody, including the Jews!"

Second, this example shows that most Americans, including the educated ones,
know nothing about the real Judaism because they were brainwashed by
apologists and propagandists and are in now in the same situation as were the faithful
communists before the famous Krushchev's speech of 1956, who also were sure
that they know about "the true situation inside the USSR", but in realty knew
nothing about the reality of Stalin's regime, because they were brainwashed by
authorities they had blindly followed.

Let me now deal with the views of the Halacha in the case when a Jew robs a
non Jew. As is told in great detail in both Babylonian (the usually used one)
Talmud and the Jerusalemite Talmud, the earlier talmudic Sages had disputed
whether it is permitted or forbidden for a Jew to rob a non Jew and in what
circumstances. Those disputes are studied by present day talmudic students as boys
(I too studied this subject at the age of fourteen), since an important part
of them is contained in a popular Talmudic Tractate, Baba Kama (p. 113b) in
addition to other places. Although the more offensive passages have been censored
out in most of printed texts, they are preserved in booklets, used on such
occasions, called "The omissions from the Talmud", so that the entire dispute,
of great length and many complications, is explained and its effect can be

Briefly, the Sages who permit Jews to rob the non Jews (recorded especially
in another popular Tractate of Babylonian Talmud, Baba Metzi'a, p. 111b) and in
the Jerusalemite Talmud, Tractate Baba Kama, chapter 4, halacha 3) opine, for
example, that since it is written (Leviticus, chapter 19, verse 13): "You
shall not oppress your friend or rob him", the words "your friend" mean that
those prohibitions apply only to the Jews.

Their opponents, especially Rabbi Shimon speaking in the name of Rabbi Akiva,
admit the force of this reasoning and have recourse to a specious kind of
argument. They argue as follows (I am slightly paraphrasing): "How do we know
that robbing a non Jew is forbidden? We learn in the case of a Jewish slave sold
to a non Jew that he must be redeemed and not taken by force, since it is
written: 'after he is sold he may be redeemed' (Leviticus, chapter 25, verse 48)
and this means that another Jew is forbidden to liberate such slave by force.
Therefore we learn from this case that other forms of robbery from a non Jew
are also forbidden". Other rabbis argued that if a Jew robs a non Jew he causes
a "desecration of the Lord's Name", since the robbed non Jew will curse the
God of the Jews when he knows who had robbed him. This in their view - and not
the fact that robbery took place - is the reason why Jews should not rob non

However, this reason for prohibiting Jews to rob non Jews will operate only
when the identity of the Jewish robber is discovered. It follows that according
to those Sages a Jew can rob non Jews on condition that he is sure that he,
or his identity will not be discovered. A very nice lesson in ethics, indeed!
Some Sages who prohibited Jews from robbing non Jews introduced an important
distinction, much favored now by Gush Emunim rabbis and others of their ilk.
They reasoned that robbing or not the non Jews is determined by the verse: "You
shall eat all the nations that the Lord your God will give you". This is
supposed by those holy

Sages to mean that the Jews can rob non Jews only when the latter "are given
to them," meaning when they rule them (Baba Kam, ibid.).

Other Sages have said (more honestly in my view) that when "the Jews are
powerful" (in Hebrew "yad Israel takifa") they are permitted to rob the non Jews
but they are not permitted to do so when they are not powerful. Some of the
Sages who permit Jews to rob non Jews under all circumstances have added an
argument worthy of our consideration. They argue that robbing non Jews is permitted
since it is written: "He stood and measured the earth; He looked and shook
the nations" (Book of Habakkuk, chapter 3, verse 6). This verse is alleged to
mean that the Lord had seen non Jews not keeping the Seven Noachide Commandments
and because of this allowed the Jews to take their property (in Hebrew "amad
ve'hitir mamonam le'Israel", Baba Kama, p. 38a).

Finally, let me note the fact about which most American (with the exception
of Orthodox or, possibly, Conservative Jews too) are ignorant: this halachic
dispute is possible because the prohibition "You shall not steal" in the
Decalogue is considered in Halacha to mean not what it says, but to prohibit "selling
(that is kidnapping) Jews into slavery". Halachic prohibitions of stealing
and robbery derive from other biblical verses; in case of stealing from the
verse "You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to your friends", and in
case of robbery from the verse "You shall not oppress your friend or rob him"
(Leviticus, chapter 19, verses 11 and 13).

Both verses contain a qualification of the prohibition: the acts are
forbidden only if done "to your friends" or "your friend" (Hebrew terms used in those
verses which mean without any ambiguity "friend", are mistakenly translated as
"neighbor" or by other neutral term in standard English translations).
Because of this qualification, Halacha needs special reasons for prohibiting Jews f
rom stealing or robbing non Jews, or, the case of robbery, halachic authorities
can permit it, either in general or on some occasions. This is also the
reason why the punishment for stealing is absent in the cases where a Jew steals
from a non Jew. It should be clear that this discussion still goes on and is all
the time modified by new circumstances, of which the most important is the
fact that the Jews in the State of Israel have power over non Jews, even more in
the Territories than in Israel itself, contrary to Jewish situation which
existed and still exists in diaspora. Halacha is a dynamic system both for good
and evil, and the Jewish power, coupled with almost total absence of any
criticism of Judaism by Jews themselves has caused - as usual - a great change for
worse in the area of Halacha in the last

50 years, especially on the issue of how Jews should behave to non Jews
according to their religion when they are the powerful group. It is a fact that the
views I have quoted above are regarded as sacred texts whose study is the
surest way to bring a Jew to Paradise, and that no rabbi (not only among the
Orthodox and the Conservative rabbis but even among the Reform ones) will say what
should be said, namely: those are wicked and immoral views who have a highly
corrupting influence both on those who regard them as sacred and on those who
do not condemn them as wicked.

Indeed, the verses from Psalm 50 I quoted above, "But to the wicked God says:
'what right have you to recite my statutes, or to take my covenant on your
lips? For you hate morality and you cast my words behind you.", apply, first of
all, to all rabbis who do not condemn such opinions. Thus, quoting isolated
halachic pronouncements made some hundreds years ago, without the reasoning that
stands behind them, as Jewish apologists are usually doing, is highly

I will not attempt to multiply quotations on the subject of stealing and
robbing, although because of conditions of intellectual terror and threats of
worse employed habitually by such Jewish organizations as ADL, and the
falsification of Jewish history and halacha carried out by most of Jewish scholars, all
what I have quoted or paraphrased must be unknown in the USA. Let me add that
until not many years ago, and for similar reasons, most of what had been done
to Indians in the USA was likewise unknown. I have quoted enough to show that
the assertions of Bialoguski about halachic attitude to Jews taking the
property of non Jews is a false generalization, either based on gullible ignorance or
on a wish to hide injustice when committed in the name of Jewish religion.

It is known in Israel that most of religious, that is Orthodox Jews, whether
in Israel or the USA did not protest against massive take over (in my view
robbery) of Palestinian property solely for the benefit of Jews, taking place now
for 52 years. (The few exceptions merely confirm the rule.) The Jewish
opposition to this robbery mostly comes from Jews who are opposed - often violently
opposed - to the Orthodox form of Jewish religion. One of the reasons for this
politically very important difference is the halachic attitude to non Jews
and their property.

Let me now pass to the more important issue of prohibition of killing in the
cases where a Jew kills a non Jew. (There is no dispute that Halacha prohibits
both Jews and non Jews to kill a Jew, except under special circumstances, and
also prohibits non Jews to kill each other.) As in the case of stealing,
Bialoguski quotes at me the general prohibition out of Shulchan Aruch that Jews
are prohibited to kill non Jews, even idol worshippers. Jews should be the first
to beware of using such general prohibitions as their only defense, since
during all the times when they were killed or exterminated the general
prohibition against killing was present in the codes of law of the states or religions
responsible for their killing. Let me add that when the Indians were massacred
in all parts of American continent, often by forces of the state, a law
prohibiting killing of anybody was always in the code of the state guilty of
murdering or condoning the murder. Legally, and in practice condoning a killing of a
person because he belongs to a certain group is done by keeping a general
prohibition against killing followed by laws permitting or even enjoining the
prohibited act in certain circumstances, or making the killing of human beings of
a certain category or under certain circumstances into an act which is not
punished or even enjoined.

Let me give some examples of such attitudes out of Halacha itself in case of
killing of non Jews by Jews. Since Bialoguski is quoting Shulchan Aruch,
composed by rabbi Yoseph Karo, I will quote Karo's opinion about what should be
done to non Jews with whom Jews are at war. When Karo comments on Maimonides'
rule about Jews "with whom we are not at war" which states that they should
neither killed nor saved when in danger - contrary to the treatment meted to Jewish
heretics who should be killed by any possible way (Maimonides, of Murderer
and Preservation of Life, chapter 4, rule 11; quoted in full in "Jewish
Fundamentalism in Israel", p. 120), in his commentary "Kesef Mishneh", he adds what
should the Jews do with the non Jews with whom they are at war. Writes Karo:
"Our rabbi (i.e. Maimonides) used a precise language when he wrote 'non Jews with
whom we are not at war', since it is written at the end of Tractate Kidushin,
and also in Tractate Sofrim 'You should kill the best of the non Jews'; that
means [you should do so] during a war". This horrible law did not remain
buried in abstract rabbinic discussion but has been frequently quoted by important
rabbis as a guidance to what the State of Israel, and also individual pious
Jewish soldiers should actually do.

Out of many such instances which sometimes - but not always, I am sorry to
say - caused a scandal among secular Israeli Jews and the media, but never among
the rabbis in the USA, let me quote just three cases. Quite recently, rabbi
Ginsburgh (about whom more below) was interviewed by the Hebrew paper "Maariv",
one of the three major Israeli papers. When asked how Israel should behave in
the current war, Ginsburgh first proposed destroying of Arab property and
then: "Secondly, I propose to liquidate all saboteurs. Any who has blood on his
hands should be liquidated at once, and let us not to wait for him to sit in
prison and be freed afterwards. Nests of saboteurs can be liquidated within one
hour. Yamit (a settlement in Sinai, evacuated by orders of Begin in 1982. I.
Shahak) which was a worthy Jewish town, was evacuated in one hour. It is
possible to do the same to Beit Jallah. Places where are shootings or confrontations
should be blown up immediately" Question: "Even if innocent people live in
such places?" Answer: "According to Halacha, during the war one makes no
distinction. One gives an opportunity to those who want to escape to do so;
afterwards one fights against everyone, including children, women and old folks. The
entire village should be destroyed. We are speaking about what was done to Sodom
and Gomorrah. But under Arafat we speak about murderous leadership hating us,
and doing everything until it gets the entire State of Israel. Thus, just as
it happened in Sodom and Gomorrah, had there been there a few innocents we,
perhaps, could consider further. . But under Arafat most people are totally
wicked. Therefore we should say to the few righteous ones: 'go out' and then blow
up the entire city" Maariv Friday Supplement, 12 January, 2001).

No Orthodox or Conservative rabbi said a word against this view about what
Halacha says Jews should do to Arabs, presumably because they all know that it
is the correct view. I also presume that whatever Bialoguski, the ADL and
similar Jewish organizations say against me for having translated the learned
ruling of rabbi Ginsburgh, none of them will dare to say in public that he
misrepresents the Halacha and enter into learned discussion with him about the
question whether the Jewish religion in its Orthodox form really enjoins the killing
of "children, women and old folks" during war, or whether Palestinians should
be compared to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Israeli army to
angels of the Lord who had destroyed them.

The second example was already quoted in my "Jewish History, Jewish Religion
(pp. 77-79). It concerns a case of pious Jewish soldoer in the Israeli army
who studied in the prestigious religious college "Midrashiyat Noam", who asked
his teacher, rabbi Shimon Weiser, "whether it is permitted to kill unarmed men
- or women and children? Or perhaps we should take revenge on the Arabs?"
noting that standing regulations of the Israeli army prohibit such acts. His
questions, the learned answer of rabbi Weiser, who condemns the regulations of the
Israeli army for being derived from non Jewish sources, and the answer of the
soldier in which he specifies what he has learned, were published in the 1974
yearbook of that college. Rabbi Weiser quotes in full the dictum shortened by
rabbi Karo. "Rabbi Shimon used to say: 'kill the best of the non Jews, dash
the brain of the best of the snakes" as being applicable to what the Jewish
soldiers should do during a war. After learned halachic discussion his
instructions to pious soldiers are to kill all non Jews except if "it is quite clear that
he has no evil intent". The soldier responds: "As for the letter itself, I
have understood it as follows: In wartime I am not merely permitted, but
enjoined to kill every Arab man and woman whom I chance upon, if there is reason to
fear that they help in the war against us, directly or indirectly. And as far
as I am concerned I have to kill them even if that might result in an
involvement with the military law". I heard about no rabbi who questioned that ruling.
My last example is chosen in honor of our newly elected Prime Minister, Ariel
Sharon. His first major exploit was the massacre of Kibyeh, in which many
Palestinian civilians, including women and children were killed. Since some
Israeli Jews (not too many) protested against this, many rabbis rushed to Sharon's
defense, proving that the massacre was conducted according to the strictest
standards of the Halacha. The most eminent of those rabbis was Rabbi Shaul
Israeli, for many years one of the highest rabbinic authorities of the National
Religious Party and of the religious Zionism in general, who published an article
entitld "Kibyeh Incident According to the Halacha" in the yearly rabbinic
journal "The Religion and the State" (in Hebrew "Hadat Ve'Hamdinah") for the year
5713 (1953). The article, a dazzling display of halachic scholarship quoting
and discussing every possible source from Talmud till the modern times, comes
to following conclusion: "We have established that there exists a special term
of 'war of revenge' and this is a war against those who hate the Jews and
[there are] special laws applying to such war Accordingly, if the enemies of the
Jews had attacked them once but retreated, and they intend to attack them again
they are to be defined as the haters of the Jews and a war of revenge should
be waged against them. In such a war there is absolutely no obligation to take
precautions during warlike acts in order that non-combatants wouldnot be
hurt, because during a war both the righteous and wicked are killed. But the war
of revenge is based on the example of the war against the Midianites (see
Numbers, chapter 31) in which small children were also executed (verse 17, ibid.
"Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones") and we might wonder
about this, for how they had sinned? But we have already found in the sayings of
our Sages, of blessed memory, that little children have to die because of the
sin of their parents And our final conclusion is that we should continue with
acts of retaliation and revenge against the haters of the Jews and such acts
are considered to be a war of religious obligation (in Hebrew "milhemet
mitzvah"). Every calamity and hurt that happens to the enemies, their allies and
their children from such actions is caused by them and is [merely] the reward of
their sins. There is absolutely no obligation to refrain from acts of
retaliation out of an apprehension that innocents would be hit by them, because it is
not we who are causing all this but them, and we are innocent".

Indeed, the learned opinion of Rabbi Israeli has been followed, so far as I
know, by all Orthodox rabbis of any standing in the case of wars waged by the
Jewish State. It is only in wars waged by non Jewish state such as the USA,
which does not enjoy the benefit of Biblical and Talmudic precedents, that some
of such rabbis have permitted themselves (hypocritically, in my view) to raise
humanitarian objections and castigate non Jewish authorities.

Our next consideration will be the issue of punishment prescribed by the
Halacha for a Jew who killed a non Jew, compared with punishment for killing a
Jew. After all, spitting on the street and murder are both forbidden by law but
are, nevertheless, very different acts. The punishment legally inflicted for a
given offence shows us the view of the authors of the code about its gravity,
and to a great extent also the opinion of the society about it. In case of a
religious code, such differences also show us the view about the gravity of the
sin committed when a believer does something prohibited by the code of his
religion. Just as in Christianity there is a great difference between a mortal
and venial sin, so in Orthodox Judaism there is a graduation of sins according
to punishment to be inflicted, if possible, for committing them.

The greatest sins are those meriting the punishment of death and the smallest
those where no human punishment is to be inflicted, but are left to God's
judgment. Killing a Jew is regarded as one of the three worst sins of the first
category. However, Maimonides, who like Shulhan Aruch begins his "Laws of
Murderer and Preservation of Life" with a general prohibition of killing anybody
(chapter 1, rule 1), states a few rules afterwards: "One who kills a resident
alien is not to be put to death by a rabbinic court because it is written 'If a
man willfully attacks his friend to kill him' (Exodus, chapter 21, verse 14),
and it is unnecessary to add he is not put to death for killing a non Jew"
(ibid. chapter 2, rule 11). "Mechiltah", an important and ancient collection pf
laws from the Talmudic period, states explicitly that the punishment of a Jew
who kills a non Jew is "reserved to Heaven" (chapter "mishpatim", section 4).

In the next rule Maimonides states that a Jew who kills a non Jewish slave of
any Jew is put to death because "the slave had accepted the commandments of
the Jewish religion (in Hebrew "mitzvoth") and became a part of God's
inheritance". The same distinction is repeated in the case of accidental killing. In
case of Jew who had accidentally killed another Jew the penalty is exile to a
special refuge town. A Jew who killed incidentally a non Jew is not punished. In
case of a non Jew, even a residential alien, who had accidentally killed a
Jew, death penalty is inflicted. (See Maimonides, ibid. chapter 5, rule 3). The
Halacha has no system of alternative penalties. One who, for whatever reason,
is absolved from a punishment due to him, is free from any further human
punishment, except in the case of killing a Jew which will be described below
(Maimonides, Laws of Murderer and Preservation of Life, chapter 4, rule 9).

Therefore when Halacha states that a Jew who killed a non Jew is not put to
death, this means that he will not receive any human punishment, exactly as
stated in "Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel". Bialoguski who object to this
statement, cleverly refrains to state that according to Halacha a Jew who killed a
non Jew should not be punished; instead he prates about the prohibition of such
killing. Yes, killing of non Jews by Jews is prohibited by Halacha in the
same way that spitting on street is prohibited in a city; such killings are
treated by Orthodox Jews as being venial sins. This is the real reason why Gush
Emunim rabbis and let me add, other rabbis as well, who anyhow object to the
Israeli code of laws as being "un-Jewish" because it is based on English and
latterly also on American law which, contrary to the very Jewish Halacha punishes
killers without a distinction of the religion of their victims, try to obtain
amnesties or reductions of punishments for every Jew who killed an Arab, but
make no such effort in the case of a Jew who killed a Jew. The Hebrew press
discusses such cases, which occur frequently, in great detail. I forbear to
discuss the purely hypothetical case of an extreme anti-Semite daring to propose in
the USA that there should be difference in legal punishment inflicted on one
who killed a Christian and one who killed a Jew and try to excuse his offence
by claiming that he is, nevertheless, against killing of Jews, just as
Bialoguski does.

Even though it is very difficult to inflict a death penalty on a Jew
according to the Halacha (it is much easier to inflict it on a non Jew, but this is
another issue), murderer of a Jew is put to death in a most barbarous way,
described by Maimonides. "One who kills a Jew (literally "who kills souls", in
Hebrew "horeg nefashot"), without presence of two witnesses who saw him at the
same time but was seen by one after the other; or if he killed before witnesses
who did not warn him; or if witnesses were found invalid during a check but not
in interrogation (those are necessary conditions to inflict death penalty on
a Jew according to the Halacha); then those murderers are imprisoned in a
small cell and fed with small amount of bread and a little water until their guts
become narrow, and afterwards they are fed with barley until their belly
bursts and they die from seriousness of their illness" (Maimonides, Laws of
Murderer and Preservation of Life, chapter 4, rule 8). The difference between this
treatment, amounting to torturing a person to death, in case of one who killed a
Jew and the absence of any human punishment in the case of a Jew who killed a
non Jew, shows us the difference between the value of life of a Jew and non
Jew in the Halacha, and also explains many things in Israeli politics. It also
affords us a glimpse about the kind of state Israel will become, if it becomes
a state according to the Halacha, fully attuned to ancestral Jewish morality
and tradition, as so many Orthodox Jews desire. It can be presumed that
Bialoguski is a part of this tendency.

Let me add that the wish to establish Halacha as law of Israel is
particularly strong among those whom "Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel" calls
"Messianists" because they believe that they prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah
- who will, of course, rule according to the Halacha. Gush Emunim movement
can be regarded as the most active part of the Messianists.
One of most important aims of "Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel" was to warn
people outside Israel, but especially the American Jews (who because of their
ignorance of Judaism tend to be especially gullible about the aims and the
principles of Orthodox Jews in general and those in Israel in particular) about
what Israel influenced by Jewish Orthodoxy might do when Halacha will fully
determine its policies. In my view, proved by the examples I quoted above,
influence of Halacha will bring about atrocities worse than any committed by Israel
so far, but also dangers. Many American Jews may not be very concerned by
dangers to Arabs or to world peace, but it is obvious that policies based on
Halachic ruling of what the Jews can do to non Jews when they are powerful enough
will turn to be also dangerous to the Jews themselves. In the first place, they
will corrupt them.

The trivial value of life of non Jew in Halacha is shown also by its manner
of reasoning why Jews are prohibited to kill non Jews and by Halachic laws
about life of non Jews both ancient and modern. According to great majority of
Halachic authorities the prohibition to kill non Jews is not derived by the
Halacha from the commandment "You shall not kill" (in Hebrew it is "You shall not
murder") in the Decalogue, just as we have seen above that the prohibition not
to steal from not Jews is not derived from the commandment "You shall not
steal" in it (see the detailed survey in Talmudic Encyclopedia, the original
Hebrew, volume 5, article "goy", pp. 355-356.

The survey adds that the prohibition of killing non Jews is valid only in the
absence of war, since "during war the saying 'kill the best of non Jews'
applies.) In fact, Halacha is based on complete separation between Jews and non
Jews. I will illustrate this attitude by one law not affecting the lives of non
Jews, showing both the extent of the separation and the extent of tolerance
granted by Halacha to non Jews when Jews have the power. Writes Maimonides: "A
non Jew who studies Torah (Old Testament and Talmud are included in this term)
is guilty of offense meriting death. He should study nothing except their
Seven Commandments (the sa called Noahide Commandments given to Noah). In the same
manner a non Jew who did not work on Sabbath, even [if he did not work] on
another day of the week, if he made it into a Sabbath, is guilty of offense meri
ting death. Needless to say he is guilty [of offence meriting death] if he had
established a holiday.

The general rule is that one should not allow them to innovate about religion
from their own reasoning. A non Jew should either convert to Judaism and
accept all commandments, or stay in his religion without either adding or
subtracting anything from it. [However], if he (a non Jew) did study the Torah or
refrained from working on the Sabbath, or innovated anything, he should be beaten
up and punished and be told that he is guilty of offence meriting death for
what he had done, but he is not executed" (Laws of Kings, chapter 10, rule 9).

Let me add a few other laws or modern rabbinic pronouncements where disregard
for a life of a non Jew or even putting him to death is especially glaring.
Let us begin with the case of sexual intercourse between Jewish male and non
Jewish female, regarded as much worse by the Halacha than the equally forbidden
sexual intercourse between Jewish female and non Jewish male, one presumes
because of the attitude to the female as a temptress prevalent in Judaism no less
than in other religions. Maimonides pronounces: "If a Jew has coitus with a
non Jewish woman, whether she is be a child of three or an adult, whether
married or unmarried, and even if he is a minor aged only nine years and one day -
because he had a willful coitus with her, she must be killed as is the case
with a beast, because through her a Jew got into trouble (Laws of Prohibited
Intercourse, chapter 12, rule 10; the law is also enunciated in the article "goy"
of the Talmudic Encyclopedia). The words "as is the case with a beast" refer
to the halachic law stating that a beast with which a Jew had sexual relations
is to be killed, for a similar reason to the killing of non Jewish female.
Even more important is the prohibition on the Jews to save the life of a non Jew
in normal times, and especially the prohibition to violate Sabbath for the
sake of saving a non Jewish life as the Jews are enjoined to do for sake of s
aving a Jewish life. The subject is treated in "Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel"
(p. 120), and I have treated it more extensively in my "Jewish History, Jewish
Religion" (pp. 80-87), so I will quote here only one law. If Jews see on the
Sabbath a ship in danger of sinking they are forbidden to violate the Sabbath
in order to save it "if nothing at all is known about the identity of those on
board", because the probability is that passengers are non Jews. This
pronouncement occurs in one of the major commentaries on Shulchan Aruch written by
renowned Rabbi Akiva Eiger who died only in 1837, and the commentary is printed
regularly with the text (ibid. Orach Hayim, paragraph 329). I assume that
Bialoguski can ask rabbi Lauffer of Jerusalem about his behavior when hesees on
the Sabbath a ship in danger in the case he was not previously informed whether
there are Jews among the passengers. Rabbi Lauffer must be thoroughly familiar
with this law. I have not yet heard about one Orthodox rabbi opposing rabbi
Eiger or any Reform rabbi referring to this law, although I should add that
opposing him is not enough: he should be condemned as an immoral person, in the
same way as the worst anti-Semites are.

After many quotations from Hebrew let me finish my vindication with an
English language quotation, taken from an important Jewish publication appearing in
New York, and so easily available to all, about the real attitude of Orthodox
Jews to non Jews. On April 26, 1996 "Jewish Weekly" important American Jewish
magazine published a long and very respectful interview of its staff writer,
Lawrence Cohler, with rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh, under the title: "Hero Or
Racist? Are Jewish lives really more valuable than non-Jewish ones? Radical rabbi
just freed from an Israeli prison thinks so".

Let me explain that Ginsburgh was imprisoned without trial some time after
the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, because as one who had publicly approved
from the halachic point of view the massacre of Baruch Goldstein, and lauded that
murderer to the skies, was suspected of some involvement in encouraging the
murder of Rabin. Let me quote from that interview (worthy of being studied by
everyone who wants to know what Orthodox Judaism is. Ginsburgh is correctly
described in that interview as an important leader of the Lubavitch Hassidic
sect. Let me quote some of Ginsburgh views from that interview. "Citing explicit
instructions he says he received from the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi
Ginsburgh has also strongly defended Jewish revenge attacks on Arabs, at least

Whether he would tell a Jew to engage in in such a random attacks beforehand
'is a different story', Rabbi Ginsburgh said. But after such an attack took
place in response to an Arab provocation, 'You can't even hint it was a bad
thing'. Among other things, he explained, the jurisdiction of an Israeli court in
such a case is illegitimate because 'Legally, if a Jew does kill a non-Jew,
he's not called a murderer. He didn't transgress the Sixth Commandment: Thou
Shall not murder. This applies only to Jews killing Jews. Therefore [in a Jewish
state] his punishment is given over to heaven' rather than to a secular
court". Let me emphasize the key word in this morally repulsive passage is "random",
and that Halacha as correctly enunciated by Ginsburgh permits Jews to kill
not only Arabs but non Jews in general at random, if other non Jews "made a
provocation". In other words, Halacha allows Jews to lynch non Jews.

In terms of the Halacha Ginsburgh is simply accurate and no rabbi had tried
to prove him wrong. What I had stated above and what was written in "Jewish
Fundamentalism in Israel" is only a milder version of what Ginsburgh said, but
the real offence was to say it to everybody and not to a Jewish audience. The
interview says that "in 1989, Rabbi Ginsburgh was personally involved in the
events that led to such a killing when he led a large group of his yeshiva
students on an armed West Bank 'walking tour' that slipped around Israeli Army
restrictions and assertively through a Palestinian village. The tour ended in a
melee that saw the rabbi stoned by angry villagers, the yeshiva boys rampaging
through the village setting fires and vandalizing, and a 13-year-old Palestinian
girl who was sitting in her house shot by one of the yeshiva tourists". In
other words, the event described by The Jewish Week as "tour" was just a pogrom,
one of the many organized in the West Bank by Halacha-keeping Jews in the
last decades. The most interesting thing about those Jewish pogroms was that no
rabbi of importance condemned any of them. In this case, no Orthodox rabbi
found a word to say about that "13-year-old Palestinian girl", who was murdered by
Halacha-keeping Jews. "At the trial of the yeshiva boy charged with the
killing, Rabbi Ginsburgh said bluntly, "The people of Israel must rise and declare
in public that a Jew and a goy are not, God forbid, the same. Any trial that
assumes that Jews and goyim are equivalent is a travesty of justice".

In accord with this principle of total difference between Jews and non Jews
and absolute inferiority of the latter, Rabbi Ginsburgh asserted that "If every
single cell in a Jewish body entails divinity, is a part of God, then every
strand of DNA is a part of God. Therefore, something is special about Jewish
DNA. Later, Rabbi Ginsburgh asked rhetorically, 'If a Jew needs a liver, can you
take the liver of innocent non-Jew passing by to save him? The Torah would
probably permit that. 'Jewish life has infinite value' he explained. 'There is
something infinitely more holy and unique about Jewish life than non-Jewish

On the day of the publication of this article, the item about halachic
permission to stop "innocent non-Jewish passing by" to take his liver, this part of
interview was translated into Hebrew and published in Haaretz, the most
prestigious Israeli paper, by its correspondent Yair Shaleg. (The story did not
appear in the New York Times.) A few days afterwrds, Sheleg called on Orthodox
rabbis to oppose this view and declare that it contradicts the Halacha. No one
did so till the present day.

Let me add that the few New York rabbis asked by The Jewish Week to comment
on Ginsburgh did not say that his views are wrong or that they should be
condemned. One said they are based on "statements out of context". Another admitted
that "The sad thing is, these statements are in our books," but they are
"purely theoretical." (Apparently, the murder of that 13-old-girl was "purely
theoretical" because she was not Jewish.)

No one said even a fraction of what I presume he would say had similar
statement been made with the word "Jew" and "non-Jew" reversed. In addition to what
I had quoted in this Vindication, I conclude from the refusal of any Orthodox
rabbi (including "Rabbi Lauffer of Jerusalem" so trusted by Bialoguski) that
Ginsburgh's views represent correctly the views of Halacha and of Jewish
Orthodoxy about non Jews, and about how Jews should treat them if only they have the
power to behave according to Halacha.

Let me add to those who kept silent because, presumably, they agree with
Ginsburgh about the non Jews, not only in the Middle East, the Anti Defamation
League and similar Jewish organization who follow the media to protest against
what they consider a defamation of Judaism. It can be presumed that Ginsburgh's
views are for the ADL not a defamation but a part of Judaism. It is against
this situation that I wrote this Vindication.

Israel Shahak

# # # # # #

Peace is patriotic!
Michael Santomauro
Editorial Director
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