View Full Version : Anti-anti-semitism, or frying a bigot in his own grease...

31st Mar 2004, 18:05
I rub up against all sorts of funny folks, operating as I do at one of the crossroads of the world, the Oil Patch. And most of the rubbing occurs at a Watering Hole. A boozer somewhat like a low-class pub only boozier....

One of my former colleagues had converted to Islam, so to speak. He was from Oop North, such that he was called after a candy bar. (Mars? No...) He had married a Muslim woman, when he had to convert. Unfortunately, being quite remarkably stupid, he missed all the fine points of Islam and took up simple anti-semitism alone.

He drank like a fish, smoked like a chimney, ate pork and kept a little black bit of stuff on the side, but he hated the Jews with a passion, which made him a good Muslim in his opinion. I took the trouble to ask him if he actually knew, personally, any Jews, when he fairly exploded with indignation at the idea he should want to know any of those filthy, Christ-killing, blah, blah, blah....

I came back about 10 minutes later, when he was still raving, to tell him that he might want to put a sock in it, since for reasons of my own I didn't like hearing that sort of stuff. He considered that for all of two seconds before laughing at me. What was I going to do about it? Given that I didn't want to hit him, that is. This was his bar (not really, but no one had ever bothered to argue with him before this) and if I didn't like his prejudice I should just leave. So I thought, 'We shall see about this!'

His little black girlfriend came in to visit a few nights later. I usually just ignore the girls, amateur prostitutes mostly, but this time I slithered over to 'greet' her in the local manner before she had got all the way to her sugar daddy.

So friendly I was that my Jew-hating buddy was desperately tuning in to figure out just what I was up to. Was I going to steal his girl? It would be easy enough to manage that, I suppose.

No, I just finished up our chat by telling her that it was so nice to see she wasn't like most young people these days. Most of them were so self-centred but she was always coming around to visit her grandfather. Foxy grandpa practically choked on his pint when that thought registered, especially since he really was old enough to be her grandfather!

I told my colleague that it was rude to eavesdrop but that if he stopped picking on the Jews I would stop chatting with his girlfriend, so that we got along just fine after that.

So what's that; one down and how many to go? Well, one at a time, until we run out of time, eh?

31st Mar 2004, 18:41
It is all very difficult, Mr chuks.

It crossed my mind a couple of years ago that I see many moslems around, but I knew nothing of the Koran; so I bought a copy (Penguin Classics) and read it.

I have never lived in a moslem country, but I understand that in the more doctrinaire examples the mere possession of a Bible is forbidden.

The curious thing, then, for me anyway, is to understand how one can become an Islamic scholar, because the Koran makes many references to the Old Testament and the New Testament. If the reader does not have recourse to these how is he to follow the message in the Koran?

I just picked up the Koran a couple of minutes ago and went through it at random. At page 114 it refers to Noah, at page 115 to Lot, and from 117 through several pages to Moses, Pharoah, and the passage through the Red Sea.

Also, interestingly to all I am quite sure, at page 112 it says "nor shall they enter paradise until the camel shall pass through the eye of a needle", which every PPRuNer will recognise as coming from Matthew 19:24.

For a long time this was interpreted in Christian circles to refer to a narrow gate in Jerusalem, a narrow gate the existence of which was doubted even in the 15th century. It seems that there was no record of any gate in Jerusalem such as contemplated by the story.

How then to explain the story? The clue, say the scholars, may lie in the ancient languages. The needle in Matthew is from one Greek word and in Luke from another. In Aramaic, however, so I read, the word they used means "rope", as in made from camel hair.

These were used to moor ships, as Mr Draper will immediately confirm from his experiences in Nineveh and Ophir. So the Aramaic theorists say that it would be pretty difficult to get a rope through the eye of a needle, and this metaphor seems to make some sense in context.

The odd thing is to find the same imagery in the Koran, which I should have though was written (Yes, I know not by the Prophet) in some form of Arabic, not Greek or Aramaic.

Perhaps, Mr chuks, you would like to consult Oop North on this engaging study?

31st Mar 2004, 19:34
The odd thing is to find the same imagery in the Koran Why so?

The imagery in the Koran is, like that in the Bible, drawn from the everyday contemporary experiences of the people that carried forward the oral tradition that became the "finished" books that are so familiar to us today.

I would hazard that there were many common and unifying factors among the various peoples around the Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea - more, in fact, than the factors that differentiated them.

If we combine this with the cultural intermingling brought about by trade and commerce then, to my mind at least, it would be astonishing if there were not a degree of commonality between the three great religions that arose in that area.

31st Mar 2004, 19:59
My favourite anti-semitic B/S stories, believed by so many, are:

The Saudi Arabian newspaper that ran an article claiming that Jews use the blood of Christians and Muslims in foods created to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim! This appeared in the Saudi Arabian daily newspaper Al-Riyadh on 10 March. The article, a column by Dr. Umayma Ahmad Al-Jalahma of King Faysal University in Al-Dammam.

The belief that certain symbols displayed on the packaging of a variety of grocery items signify that their manufacturers have paid a secret tax to the Jews!

Orthodox Jews have marital relations through a hole in a sheet!

You'd laugh but of course you know so many crackpots actually believe this c**p.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most racist countries on this earth.

31st Mar 2004, 20:20
No fair One world, you took 3 of my favorites.

Lets not forget the secret conspiracy whereby Jews rule the....(hmmm, there's a rabbi knocking at my door, Ill just ignore him) ... World

The entire Elder's of Zion book is fearfull in that is has been believed and survived so long.

Jews run the congress.

Jews have pig tails and cloven hoofs. (Saw a little girl in a nursery school ask to see another (Jewish) girl's tail.... I assume that was a joke heard by a child and taken as gospil, but one never knows.

(there's more rabbi's out there now)

What about the one wh.....

31st Mar 2004, 20:25
Orthodox Jews have marital relations through a hole in a sheet!

Does the paper bag method not suffice then?:E

31st Mar 2004, 20:44
To begin with, Caslance, let me disclaim all knowledge of the classical Biblical languages, so I speak with no knowledge other than what a layman may pick up here and there.

I find ithe camel metaphor odd because the confusion, if it is a confusion, appears to be linguistic, a matter between Greek and Aramaic, and only in a particular incidental context that presupposes the existence, for one interpretation, of a gate that many say never existed. In Matthew one Greek word is used, and in Luke another. One word means "camel", the other one, similar to the first, means "rope".

The substantive point is that it is very difficult for the wrong sort of chap to enter the Kingdom of Heaven/ Paradise. That is the Biblical statement and that is the Koranic statement. That is where the common tradition would lie. I am not addressing the tradition, but the particular expression of the tradition.

The expression itself is, I suggest, an incidental part of both religions, in comparison with the central themes of sacrifice in expiation of sin, and human sacrifice at that, and a virgin birth, and the death of a God-king to be wondrously restored. Some of these certainly recur from Old Testament to New and also in what we might call pagan religions.

The confusion of camel and rope is not of such centrality. It is, as it appears to me, inessential and linguistic.

I do not follow your question. The theme of my earlier post is exactly that the text of the Koran is so closely tied to that of the Bible, Old Testament and New, that it is at least very helpful to have the Bible in hand while reading the Koran; certainly to me, although I shall defer to those who are more expert in Koranic studies.

You write:

..... it would be astonishing if there were not a degree of commonality between the three great religions that arose in that area.

Since, as I understand it, the Koran was conceived in whole or in part as a kind of reform of what the Prophet saw as decadent in the other faiths of "the Book", it would not merely be astonishing, it would be unbelievable that they not have a degree of commonality. Do you think I suggested it should be otherwise? What is astonishing, assuming that to be so, is that it appears that the Bible is banned in some Islamic countries. As I say, I have never lived in one, and I may be misinformed. If I am, tell me. It will be a mistake I shall not repeat.

Ali Barber
31st Mar 2004, 20:54
Actually, threading the eye of the needle refers to passing through the small door set in the main fort or castle doors that make you stoop when you go through. The aim was to give the defenders time to chop of your head if you were improperly dressed or some such thing. And it's very difficult to get a camel to go through one! Most Arabic forts appear to have these doors.

It's not surprising that there is some commonality between Islam and Christianity. Muslims do not deny the existence of Jesus or Moses or others. Jesus is a prophet in Islam as is Moses (I think). Hence many of the Jesus stories from the Bible also appear in the Koran.

Read an interesting/weird article recently about parallel universes. The author stated catergorically that they must exist as, come the resurrection, there won't be room on this earth for everybody since the dawn of creation who gets to sit with the big cheese (of whichever persuasion). Case proven for parallel universe!!

edited to remove weird typing effects after PPRuNe automatically merged my last 2 posts

31st Mar 2004, 21:03
Yes, Ali, but that is the very point in dispute; not that such gates may exist, but that there was or maybe was not one in Jerusalem from which was derived the expression "threading the eye of the needle". Was this expression a mistaken (possibly; some say. I have neither Greek nor Aramaic) Biblical usage?

There are many points in the construction of castles intended to favour the defender. Oubliettes, and then spiral staircases, frequently curved clockwise as you go up, because this allowed freedom to the right arm of a defender, and handicapped the attacker from below.

Ali Barber
31st Mar 2004, 21:09
I can't say one way or the other about Jerulalem, but I'd be surprised if there wasn't one. They seem to be everywhere in the Arabic part of the world I'm working in at the moment, and there is a lot in common (I would guess) with the ancient defensive constructions in what is modern day Israel.

31st Mar 2004, 21:12
I'd be surprised too. The question is: Was it known as the eye of the needle?

31st Mar 2004, 21:24
My understanding is that such gates were called exactly that in that area at that time, Davaar.

31st Mar 2004, 21:29
And I have read from several sources that they were not. So I shall leave it at that.

31st Mar 2004, 22:22
I was told as a sprog that the camel reference was indeed about a type of rope used to moor ships. If I remember correctly the bible's version was intended to show the difficulty a rich man would have in entering the gates of heaven.

Captain Sand Dune
31st Mar 2004, 23:56
Having spent 6+ years in Saudi Arabia I can confirm that no religious texts other that the Koran are permitted. Nor are any any places of worship other than mosques allowed to be built, and neither are any gathering for the purpose of religious worship (other than head banigng of course!) permitted.
How's that for tolerance?
I did purchase an English language version of the Koran in Riyadh. Makes rivetting reading - my favourite bit is the part about how to keep one's wife under control - don't talk to her, don't sleep with her, anf finally "beat her lightly if it helps".

1st Apr 2004, 00:26
Those low doors that Ali Barber mentions appear all over the world... and for the same reason - defence. I have seen them in the residences of the local people in Telefomin, Papua New Guinea.

1st Apr 2004, 00:40
You'll find them at Maes Howe in Orkney.

1st Apr 2004, 13:23
Carl Jung came up with the idea of 'archetypes': symbology that is shared by many different cultures, having some sort of universal appeal to humans (if I remember this rightly). Try to fit something big through a gap that is somewhat small, whether it be a camel through a narrow passage or a rope through a needle's eye and you create an archetype.

So you find the flood in the Old Testament and in Gilgamesh, for instance. It might not have literally occurred but it's a correct archetype. You can even find it used in the movie 'Taxi Driver', when Travis Bickle is musing about a real rain coming to wash all the filth off the New York streets, a sort of apocalyptic flood image if there ever was one.

Problems occur when you want to claim exclusivity for whatever truths you believe, as literal truth. Then the beliefs of others show their otherness, rather than their shared humanity with you. You don't want them in your club. My friend from Mars was like that. He didn't just hate Jews, he thought Lancastrians were scum too!

As children in Catholic school we were taught that the Protestant version of the Lord's Prayer, with the additional verses, 'For thine is the power and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen' showed them up for a load of hopeless imitators. Too, only the correct and original Roman Catholic version (in English?) would be recognised by Senior Management. So there!

And, of course, we learned that the Jews killed Christ. This was later revised, but not everyone fully accepts this revision. Mr Gibson is some sort of Old Believer, evidently. He probably wants his Mass done in Latin, the way it was when we were children and the world was simple.

There is a bumper sticker you will often see in the USA: 'God said it, I believe it and that settles it!' That would be someone who believes in biblical inerrancy, usually from the King James version with all of its curious punctuation and language such as 'Believe on the Lord that ye may be saved,' and, 'The wages of sin is death.'

You can see little metal plaques nailed to the pine trees with quotes such as these as you traverse stretches of the Carolinas. They should warn you to watch what you say when you sojourn among these True Believers.

I once got half a haircut from an amateur Virginia evangelist who then turned to preaching as I tried to catch his attention to finish my haircut. I finally had to promise to attend his church, the only community of True Believers anywhere to be found. He's still waiting, I guess.

While in that region (Appalachia) I would often be asked 'Whar yew frum? Yew tawk funnah! Yew frum Noo Yawk?' (In other words, 'Are you perhaps of the Hebrew persuasion?' Grounds for an ass-kicking, on account of what they did to Jesus or just because I was obviously different and had no kin in the immediate vicinity. I would usually smile and change the subject, 'Hey, look at that flock of ducks!')

2nd Apr 2004, 16:36
Yes isn't it heartwarming to see that wherever one roams on the is big blue ball of ours you will always find some who are genuinely welcoming and regular folks, interspersed unfortunately, with the local bigots and opinionated charmers.
I generaly have found that due to the fact that most major religions, strangely? seem to have the same major rules and regs, a reasonable moslem is as equable and friendly a fellow as a similarly inclined jew, christian, rosencrucian,bhuddist, taoist or any of the other types we can think up.
If you come across a bigoted small minded person it really doesn't matter wherever whoever or what label he has or claims to be, because he is what he is, an ar*#@le.

2nd Apr 2004, 18:51
This thread was started on antisemitism and drifted on religions.............
May be Dr Freud could say why.
I have just a short story about stupidity of antisemitism (and racism too).

A friend of me, chief purser in my airlines was speaking with a stewardess, during a long night flight.
This was after some election, and the young lady, very close from far right party (FN of Jean marie Le Pen), began to explain how powerfull and dangerous Jews were in France, controlling everything.....etc...etc...
So my friend asked her: "How can you tell who is jew and who is not?"
Then she came to funny descriptions of the ways she had to be sure about it (in fact not so funny because all that stuff could have been an extract from nazi propaganda poured over France during WWII.)
When she finished, my friend answered: "I'm sorry for you. What you just said is irrelevant and stupid. I'M A JEW!"

The fact that simple minds are easily abused by that dirty propaganda should impose us to react fast and hard against any act of antisemitism/racism.