145. A Personal Response

Since you are listed, I am taking the liberty to write to you directly because (a) no matter what, letters-to-the-editor format provide a limited space to develop a subject and (b) the editor can still censor parts of it which was the fate of my letter.

Let me tell you from the outset that my letter [143] was not, as you put it, a "hate letter". If it were, then the April 15 article published on Holy Saturday that triggered my letter was also a hate article. You say that my letter "should not have been published" neither should the April 15 article. As an Arab proverb says: if you knock at the door be ready to hear the answer. From a Christian perspective, one cannot read a statement such as:

"New converts to Christianity as well as those who are rediscovering their faith after decades of suppression in eastern Europe are reading the New Testament as an anti-Jewish book."

and ignores that it underlies an anti-Christian attitude. Such an attitude can only be characterized as reverse anti-Semitism. You have to remember that the New Testament was written by Jews who were convinced that Jesus was the expected Messiah but their fellow Jews refused to recognize him as such.

Let me get now to the substance of your letter [144].

As far as the Talmud is concerned, it is not, as you put it, "a collection of documents..." and they do not "go back to the time of the destruction of the first temple in Jerusalem." You are either misinformed or you are misinforming the readers. The Talmud is the source of authority for all the practices of classical and present-day Orthodox Judaism. It consists of two parts: the Mishnah---a terse legal code; and the Gemarah---a voluminous record of discussions on and around the Mishnah. The Mishnah and the Gemarah were written between AD 200 and 500 and do not "go back to the time of the destruction of the first temple" which occurred around 600 BC. (I have relied for this information on Israel Shahak's book, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years. I mentioned this book in my letter but the Editor chose to delete it).

Since you don't know what the Talmud is and when it was written you certainly don't know what's in it. I said in my letter that the "Talmudic literature is replete with racist and discriminatory precepts and injunctions against non-Jews." I meant and I still mean every word of it. Chapter 5 of Shahak's book, "The Laws against Non-Jews", specifically deals with this subject.

Examples from the past are numerous. Let me, however, give you three recent examples. The first one is very recent and taken from our local paper, Gannett Newspapers, of April 19, 1995. "An ultra-Orthodox Rabbi ... ruled that Jews may donate their organs---but only to other Jews." The Rabbi said that "it was forbidden to transplant organs from Jews into 'heretics or gentiles'." Without any hesitation I tell you that this Rabbi is racist.

The second example was reported by Shahak and I used it in my letter but the editor deleted it. On March 23, 1980, "hundreds of copies of the New Testament were publicly and ceremonially burnt in Jerusalem under the auspices of Yad Le'akim, a religious organization subsidized by the Israeli Ministry of Religions." This is reverse anti-Semitism.

The third example has to do with the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger who converted to Catholicism when he was 14. Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel said that by converting to Catholicism, the Cardinal had contributed to the destruction of the Jewish people just as the Nazis had. This comparison shocked the Cardinal so much that he said: "It is the first time I have heard that being baptized is worse than what Hitler did." To use your own terminology, this is a "hate" statement made by the highest religious authority in Israel.

Christian religious authorities confronted their past and assumed their responsibilities. Jewish religious authorities have the same obligation but they have to confront not only their past but also their present, something they have not yet done and there is no indication that they will start doing it any time soon. In light of the above examples, if you want to know what it means for Christians to live in a country that calls itself a Jewish state read the publication I am enclosing: "In the Land of Christ, Christianity is Dying." You are lucky to live in a country where 80 percent of its population consider themselves Christians, hence a Christian nation, but do not consider themselves living in a Christian state.

* * *

The second part of your letter is out of place because it has nothing to do with the topic of my letter. I am honored, however, by your statement in which you said "Mr. Credi has become well-known for his letters defending the Palestinian cause." In any case, I am doing what I am doing because I feel that this is my duty in a country where the media is totally biased in favor of Israel.

You are accusing me without presenting any proof that I have aligned myself "with those, on both sides, who want to keep up the killing." I am for peace but not for a peace at any cost. I am for a peace based on justice. The Israeli leaders and those who support them say that they are for peace. In fact, they are for a fake peace. The following example will show you why.

As recently as last week, it was announced that more than 130 acres of mostly Arab-owned land will be confiscated. For your information, the ultimate beneficiaries will be Jews. Israeli Housing Ministry official, Rina Zamir, declared that Jewish neighborhoods will be built on the confiscated land. Mayor Ehud Olmert of Jerusalem said "it was reasonable to suppose that the new apartments will be occupied only by Jews." What kind of peace do the Israelis want to achieve when they keep stealing what does not belong to them? The answer is a fake peace.

You mention in your letter that you came to know two Japanese and you became friends in spite of the fact that in 1945 you were trying your best, as a soldier, to kill Japanese while they were trying to kill you. You added that by setting aside the stereotypes of hate you can learn to love your enemy. Once again you bring up the word hate. Once again, the problem is not a problem of hate but of justice.

In case you have forgotten, the American objective in Japan was not to drive out by force and terror the Japanese people from theirs homes and their homeland to establish an American state in Japan. The Zionist leaders' objective, however, was to drive as many Palestinians as possible out of Palestine, using every means at their disposal, including massacres, to establish a Zionist state. David Ben-Gurion, at a meeting on December 3, 1947, shortly after the partition plan was passed, said: "There can be no stable and strong state so long as it has a majority of only 60 percent." By practicing ethnic cleansing this majority was raised to 90 percent. Israeli historians, like Simha Flapan, Benny Morris, Tom Segev and Avi Shlaim were fair to a great extent when they wrote about this period.

I am sorry if my letter was that long but I felt that it was necessary for me to clarify a number of points.

May 4, 1995