The Jews Are Helping Muslims Take Over The West

Abd-al-Rahman_III

The Jews Are Helping Muslims Take Over The West

By Garibaldi

One often hears Islamophobes in the “counterjihad” movement claiming to be defenders of the “Judeo-Christian” West against the spread of Islam and the enfranchisement of Muslims in Western democracies. The term Judeo-Christian gained currency in the middle of the 20th century,

“promoted by groups which evolved into the National Conference of Christians and Jews, to fight antisemitism by expressing a more inclusive idea of American values rather than just Christian or Protestant.”

Ironically, in the past several decades and especially since 9/11, Judeo-Christian has most often been used by the rightwing to exclude differing religions and cultures from staking their own claim to Americanness, specifically, to amplify the so-called “Islamic threat.”

The rightwing considers America’s “uniqueness” to be rooted in its Judeo-Christian values. Take radio host Dennis Prager, who writes,

[o]nly America has called itself Judeo-Christian. America is also unique in that it has always combined secular government with a society based on religious values. Along with the belief in liberty—as opposed to, for example, the European belief in equality, the Muslim belief in theocracy, and the Eastern belief in social conformity—Judeo-Christian values are what distinguish America from all other countries.

The claims about “European,” “Muslim,” and “Eastern” societies are simplistic generalizations but there is some truth to Prager’s claim that “only America has called itself Judeo-Christian,” in so far as the USA is where Judeo-Christianism was born. If one can speak in such broad terms at all of an alliance/unity between Jews and Christians it is relatively recent; only 70 years out of the past 2,000 years.

A different kind of alliance

A recent article published on Loonwatch about the Spanish government’s commitment to give descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled over 500 years ago from Andalus automatic citizenship brought to mind the longer and deeper history of Jewish and Muslim collaboration.

The history of Jewish-Muslim alliance has led some scholars to the interesting thesis that the roots of medieval European Christian anti-Semitism was rooted not in charges of deicide (Jews killed Jesus) against Jews but in their alliance and collaboration with Muslims.

In Allan Harris Cutler and Helen Elmquist Cutler’s book, “The Jews as Ally of the Muslim,” the authors,

[R]evise the traditional explanations of the roots of anti-Semitism. They contend that the great outburst of anti-Semitism in Western Europe during the Middle Ages … derived from primarily anti-Muslimism and the association of Jew with Muslim.

Islamophobe Daniel Pipes, in one of his less bellicose and polemical articles wrote a review of the book in 1987 that is worth reading, concluding that “it offers an intriguing and ultimately convincing argument.” Though he takes exception to the authors’ advice to Pope John Paul II to“transform his office and mission from a more narrowly Christian into a broadly Abrahamic one . . . to create a new spiritual and institutional unity between Jews, Christians, and Muslims.”

Among certain nationalists and White Power currents in the “counterjihad” there is a continuation of the idea that Jews are allying with Muslims to help them take over the West, just as Jews aided Muslims in conquering Hispania from Visigoth tyranny.

In the view of these counterjihadists Jewish intellectuals have opened the gates of fortified Europe and America through modern day liberalism. Hence, their usage of “Leftist” in the familiar Islamophobic expression, “Leftist-Muslim alliance to destroy the West,” is a P.C. way to refer to Jews. “Leftist” masks an undercurrent of antiSemitism, since in their view Jew=Leftist.

The website Islam Versus Europe: Where Islam Spreads, Freedom Dies, did a three part series titled, “Jewish collaboration with Muslims during the invasion of Spain” by Cheradnine Zakalwe. The website has a global Alexa ranking of 703,552 and a US ranking of 262,275.

islamversuseuropeblogspot

IslamVersusEurope is considered by other “counterjihadists” to be a “respected CounterJihad blog” and is linked and blogrolled on numerous Islamophobic sites. The site has also been approvingly linked by Deacon Robert Spencer even after Zakalwe’s series of articles. (Not surprising considering Spencer’s alliance with antiSemites such as Eric Allen Bell and the anti-Jewish stances of his ally Pamela Geller).

IslamVersusEurope_JihadWatch

The main point of Zakalwe’s three part series is summed up in his first post,

So the Jews in Spain were enslaving European Christians. This provoked the irritation of other European Christians, who then took measures against the Jews. This caused the Jews to reach out to their fellow Jews abroad and to the Arabs, urging them to invade Spain and bring this Christian oppression to an end. When they did so, the Jews eagerly collaborated with the Muslims, acting as administrators for the conquered cities and realm.

The parallels with our own time are striking, with Jewish intellectuals having paved the way for the modern Muslim conquest by pushing the benefits of immigration, diversity, tolerance, special minority protection, etc., denigrating nationalism and wielding the Nazi stick forcefully against anyone bold enough to dissent. (Emphasis mine)

These views are not limited to Zakalwe but can also be found on unabashedly racist and Islamophobic sites like Occidental Dissent and Occidental Observer.

The truth is that yes, there was a long history of collaboration and affinity between Muslims and Jews which fueled animosity on the part of European Christendom. Pipes in his review of the Cutlers’ study even notes,

[T]he Hebrew language shares much with Arabic, and Judaism shares much with Islam; on the most abstract level, both are religions of law, while Christianity is a religion of faith. More specifically, they share many features such as circumcision, dietary regulations, and similar sexual codes. Further, because the Muslims were preeminent in the medieval centuries, “Jews themselves associated Jew with Muslim.” When this became known among the Christians, it much harmed the Jews’ position. Most damaging of all, Jews on occasion helped Muslim troops against Christians (as in the initial Arab conquest of Spain) and some Jews held prominent positions in Muslim governments at war with the Christians. Even when they did not actually take part in the fighting, “Jews usually rejoiced when Christian territory fell into Islamic hands.”

Mattai and Pope Alexander

Mattai and Pope Alexander

While there were great similarities and affinities, it must be pointed out that it is only logical that Jews would ally with those who would treat them better and with whom relations would be more advantageous. If medieval European Christians were offering less discrimination and interference in religious, family and financial life than Muslims then certainly Jews would have collaborated with Christians more than Muslims. In other words one cannot discount the importance of community interests, foremost survival as the motivation for such alliances.

This was driven home to me while watching the third season of Showtime’s historical drama,The Borigas. In one of the episodes, the leader of the Jewish community, Mattai meets with Pope Alexander,

Mattai meets with Alexander and tells him the whole Turkish navy could be burned to the waves with oil. He proposes stuffing some ships with oil for Ramadan and sending them over there just in time to berth for the holy month. Once they’re there, Mattai’s connections will set them alight. That’s if Alexander issues a papal bull that eases up on the taxes on the Jews in Rome. Alexander moans that he asks for a great deal, but Mattai refuses to back down, and even gives Alexander a bit of lip…He says he needs money to buy all this oil, and Alexander says that he’ll issue the bull if Mattai can ensure the success of this scheme.

Alexander meets with Mattai, Cardinal Sforza, and a few others. Mattai tells him the ships loaded with oil are already docked and the conflagration may have already happened.

In Constantinople, oil leaking out over the water is set alight, swiftly engulfing the anchored ships.

Back in Rome, Alexander sits and signs the papal bull, while in Constantinople, the ships explode and sailors flee for their lives. In a fantastic long shot, we see the entire fleet from a distance, burning away.

While the actual historicity of these events are dubious and likely never occurred, it highlights the reasons and motivations that guide communities. Jews who aided Muslims in Spain did so not primarily because both Muslims and Jews circumcise males or eschew pork but rather because they trusted that they would have a better and freer life.

The “counterjihadists” know that “perfidious” Jews aren’t opening up the gates to Muslim hordes. It is no longer the 14th century, there isn’t a “Christendom,” let alone a “Caliphate.” Many Christians are united alongside Muslims and Jews and others to make society and the world better, that is what the interfaith movement is all about.

Opening our doors to the stranger, seeing the image of G-d in our fellow human being and their inherent dignity should not be the opposite of our values but the very core of what we struggle to achieve and become.

This however is appeasement to the paranoid and conspiratorial “counterjihadists,” who in the place of our multi-faith and multi-cultural reality want to take us back to an unrealistic mono-faith, mono-cultural world.

Third Reich Christendom: Church Anti-Semitism and Dejudaizing Jesus

Original guest piece submitted by Benjamin Taghov

As has been highlighted on Loonwatch, the radical anti-muslim vanguard, and specifically Pamela Geller, has been mouthing the idea of an unmistakable joinder between the ideology of National Socialism, coined by Adolf Hitler, and Islam. She has campaigned the notion that Hitler himself was spiritized by Islam and that the Muslim faith was used as an inspirational take-off point for the Nazi extermination program. According to her, the genocidal insanity of Hitler was strategically interlaced with the genocide of the Armenians. And as that may be true, Hitler also said that he was genuinely inspired by and admired the extermination of the Native Americans.

Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies in English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for Native Americans in the wild west; to his inner circle he often praised the efficiency of America’s extermination – by starvation and uneven combat – of the “red savages” who could not be tamed by captivity.[1]

Genocide at the hands of early Christian Americans supposedly stained the mind of Hitler. He had found a palpable source of inspiration for his extirpational plans. As far as Christianity is concerned though, Hitler did not accredit himself any particular Christian denomination. On the contrary, he found himself outside the fold of Christianity.

When Germany officially came under Nazi rule, the church found itself in a desperate need to redefine itself. In 1939, Protestant theologians, clergymen and other influencial characters within the Christian movement, as well as regular old congregants, joined forces to auspicate the grand opening of the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Church Life. The advanced objectives were both political and theological in nature. Prof. Susannah Heschel, in her critically acclaimed work, The Aryan Jesus, says that:

Seeking to create a dejudaized church for Germany that was in the process of ridding Europe of all Jews, it developed new biblical interpretations and liturgical materials. In the six years of its existence, as the Nazi regime carried out its genocide of the Jews, the Institute redefined Christianity as a Germanic religion whose founder, Jesus, was no Jew but rather had fought valiantly to destroy Judaism, falling as victim to that struggle. Germans were now called upon to be the victors in Jesus’s own struggle against the Jews, who were said to be seeking Germany’s destruction.[2]

The institute gained a lot of success in winning support for its radical agenda from a broad spectrum of ecclesiastical representatives and scholars, who shared or came to share, a volition to weed out the very Judaic vertebra of Christian history and origins. The church under Nazi rule was however not homogeneous. Some adherents of Christian faith felt that the Tanakh should be pooh-poohed or completely expunged from the scripture since the Old Testament was regarded as a Jewish book. Others proposed that the opponents had failed at realizing that the Old Testament in all actuality was anti-Jewish in essence; that the prophets were at constant war with Israel’s sinful ways. By unreading the Bible’s Jewish core text, they suggested that it should be preserved as proof that the Jews were a violent enemy.

However serious the intrafaith quarrel seemed, none of them were in opposition to the Nazi regime. They were all outspokenly anti-Semitic and the rivalry was only preferably based on theological issues: on the one side for example, there were Christians who accepted baptism as a way to dejudaize the Jewish community, and the counterpart of the inter-religious fued – a majority assemblage – who did not regard the Jews as spiritually equal and therefore, always, unfit for Christian faith. As a rule, rather than as an exception, this was the status of Germanic Christendom. There were no real schismatic ”bail-outs”. Alternative views and large-scale opposition to the rabid racism of the church were almost unherad of. Gailus, in his Protestantimus und Nationalsozialismus, accentuates this and asseverates the low percentage of withdrawals from the church.

Without any doubt, one main reason for the Nazi regime’s success, was due to anti-Semitism. Other areas were left underachieved. Hitler and his minions did not reach their desiderated goals, neither militarily nor politically. The Nazi regime did nonetheless exploit the church’s prevailing anti-Semitic interpretations of the New Testament. The anti-Semitic resonance found its way through the church. Susannah Heschel explains why:

…its success can be credited in large measure to the unrelenting anti-Jewish Christian theological discourse that linked Nazi propaganda with the traditions and moral authority of the churches. That link was proclaimed with enthusiasm by Nazi Christians: ‘In the Nazi treatment of the Jews and its ideological stance, Luthers intentions, after centuries, are being fulfilled’[3]

As she also notes, Uriel Tal clearly demonstrates that anti-Semitism within Christianity was not a new phenomenon. He argues that it was utterly owing to Christian anti-Judaism for its success. He writes:

…it was not the economic crises that brought about this new political, racial anti-religious antisemitism, but completely the reverse, it was precisely the anti-Christian and antireligious ideology of racial antisemitism which hampered the first antisemitic parties in their efforts to utilize the economic crisis for their political development. . . [because] what still attracted the masses was the classical, traditional Christian anti-Judaism, however adapted it may have become to the new economic conditions.[4]

As a matter of fact, it can be stated that whatever the seriousness of the inter-religious dialogues, they ultimately came together, putting their frictions aside, due to their shared anti-Semitic attitudes. The church’s willingness to steward the neo-pagan Nazi rulers and conversely their adopted and appropriated Nazi rhetoric, combined with their volition to recognize Nazi symbolism, is what finally made Christendom a tolerable contestant from a Nazi standpoint. Hitler knew that he had to appeal to a Christian audience and thus his phraseology was painstakingly calculated. He delicately drew on Christian spirituality and was quoted saying that:

St. Paul transformed a local movement of Aryan opposition to Jewry into a super-temporal religion, which postulates the equality of all men…[causing] the death of the Roman empire. [5]

Christianity could not be rejected. The Nazi ideologists felt that a sudden forfeiture of Christianity would in fact offend the moral of Germans. Since the anti-Semitism of Germanic Christianity was utilized as a tool of propaganda, it became the basis for the Nazi party to lean on when appealing to the masses. Nazi ideologists exploited Christianity by colonizing and usurping its theology and its anti-Semitism, for self-fulfilling purposes. The Nazi party integrated key elements of Christian theology with its own ideology. In that way they figured they could boost the quantity of supporters, but they also argued that they needed to bolster their message with a cohesive resonance of Christian tradition, inasmuch as the teachings of the faith had been shaping European culture and thought for thousands of years.

As for liability, the church maintained their guiltlessness. In the aftermath, those people who participated in propagating an anti-Jewish message by disseminating the Christian outlook, justified it by waving the “non-complicity-card” in the actual mass murders. And here it gets really interesting. Firstly, the church propagated anti-Semitism during a time when Jews were being dissociated from the rest of the population. Secondly, they were being rounded up and killed. That is tantamount to giving the executors the go ahead. By suggesting genocide, or by agitating its exigency, they were compliant in murdering them off from a far. Heschel goes on fitting them with the term ‘desk murderers’, implying that they were culpable in promoting genocide from behind their pulpits.

Paralleling the German church to a contemporary context: this is exactly what Geller and Spencer are doing. The German Christians hid their Nazi anti-Semitism beneath the cloak of religion. Geller and Spencer are doing the same thing when they are hiding their true agendas behind a cloak of “civil rights activism.”

They can disassociate themselves from instigating hate all they want. But the fact of the matter is that they are propagating an ideology of hate. Consider for a moment if Geller went back in time with her desktop computer. She would sit there with a warm cup of tea and a cozy felt wrapped around her legs, indulging in and spreading hate and rationale for the dissociation of the Jewish people. Switch from “Islam and Muslims” to “Judaism and Jews” and she would be part of the the German hate-machinery of intellectuals who metaphrased the Nazi ideology into Christian theology: giving Nazism a religious significance by transforming the message into a seizable spiritual discourse. Like whitewashed tombs on the outside, but putrefactively dead inside. That is the true nature of charismatic hate demagogues.

The church and the Nazi movement envisaged their task as an act of self-defence. The Jews were regarded as violent enemies of the state: their agenda could not allow them to ever assimilate into society and they would never submit fully to German law.

…Institute statements regarding Jews and Judaism were mirrors, in Christianized language, of the official propaganda issued by the Reich during the course of the Holocaust: Jews were the aggressive enemies of Germans and Germany was fighting a defensive war against them. Even as the Nazis carried out the extermination of the European Jews, their propaganda argued that it was the Jews who were plotting to murder the Germans. [6]

The rationalization and the language of the Nazis are comparatively similar to that of the vanguard of Internet Islamophobia. With statements such as “the only good Muslim is a bad Muslim” (meaning that a muslim has to kill or maim, or by the use of creeping Jihad, overthrow the ruling apparatus and it’s majority population) they suggest that the West is in dire need to protect itself. It is, so they claim, an act of self-defence. A minority population in Europe and the United States, supposedly in a state of violent or passive aggressive opposition to the West: a Clash of Civilizations.

Furthermore, in terms of the machination of genocide, several high officials within the church actually furthered the notion of terminating Jewish life. A few months after the Nuremburg Laws were enacted, a group of representatives from German churches gathered in Dresden to discuss the merging of the church body. During this meeting, at that time the head of the Thuringian Ministry of Education, and later in 1939, approximately 3 years after the meeting in Dresden, the figurehead of the Institute, stated the following:

…In Christian life, the heart has to be disposed toward the Jew, and that’s how it has to be. As a Christian, I can, I must, and I ought always to have or to find a bridge to the Jew in my heart. But as a Christian, I also have to follow the laws of the nation [Volk], which are often presented in a very cruel way, so that again I am brought into the harshest of conflicts with ‘Thou shalt not kill the Jew’ because he too is a child of the eternal Father, I am able to know as well that I have to kill him, I have to shoot him, and I can only do that if I am permitted to say: Christ. [7]

Siegfried Leffler not only spoke of killing the Jews as early as in 1936, a few years prior to it actually being done, but the people attending the meeting did not at any time voice any discontent to what was being said. It was as if it had already become a customary discourse within German Christian congregations. The discussion continued as if the murder of Jews in the name of Christ was an acceptable iniquity. In other words, the murder of Jews was considered an option in dealing with the elimination of Jewish influence on German life and church.

Apologetics within the contemporary church downplay the role of the Christian movement, as it is an awkward moment in history, reminiscent of past atrocities committed in the name of Christ. But the documented history of the church’s influence on Nazi Germany and its crucial effect on public opinion, is so articulate that any attempt at brushing it off as an isolated event, or by claiming that the Protestant Christian movement were actually motivated by sectarian currents, in and by itself becomes inofficious. A stillborn attempt at trying to explain away history. The German Christian movement was a faction within the Protestant church, following in the footsteps of its founder, Martin Luther. They always connected their ideology and approach to the ‘Jewish question’ to him and expressly voiced that their agenda was an attempt to pick up where Luther had left off.

This makes Geller and her co-agitators brutally incoherent. They take something, that may very well be true, out of its context: by picking and choosing events in history, that strengthen their pre-determined panorama of hate. In point of fact, by drawing her conclusions, she is trying desperately to downplay or fully hide, the Christian interspersion on Nazi thought.

Hitler may have observed the game-plan of the Young Turks. This does not mean that Hitler was anymore influenced by Islam than he was by Christianity. As was mentioned at the top, Hitler did draw from the Christian American holocaust of Native Americans, and he did reference Christian spirituality in his speeches. Does that mean that he was Christian or that he was motivated by Christian theology? No, it doesn’t. It means that Hitler was looking for a way to streamline his operational murder and slave camps.

He was not ideologically influenced by any of the examples he was drawing on, he was just trying to find a way to advance his efforts. But that is obviously something that eludes Geller’s ratiocination. It does however show that religion, when hijacked, can get ugly. The German Christian movement is surpassingly good at proving this point.

[1]Adolph Hitler: The Definitive Biography, John Toland. p.202

[2]The Aryan Jesus, p6

[3]Ibid p7

[4]Religious and Anti-Religious roots of Modern Antisemitism, p177

[5]The Aryan Jesus, p8

[6]The Aryan Jesus p14

[7] ThHStA A 1400, 239, February 24-25, 1936. Attedning the meeting: Paul Althaus, Martin Doerne, Erich Fascher, Wolf Meyer-Erlach, Dedo Müller, pastors and senior ministers; Leffler, Leutheuser, Hugo Hahn, The Aryan Jesus, p10.

*Disclaimer: We are by no means endorsing the idea that Christianity is an anti-Semitic religion. We are only exploring the Islamophobic claim that Hitler was inspired by Islam, as well as the relationship between the Third Reich and the German Christian Church.

Benjamin Taghiov is the nom de plum of a Swedish author, specializing in the fields of Political Science and Oriental studies.  A long time admirer of Loonwatch, he plans on contributing more articles in the future.

Robert Spencer is on the Ropes; Spencer’s Bumbling Reply to LoonWatch

For those of you just joining us, let’s recap: Robert Spencer wrote a book entitled The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades.  Chapter four of this book is entitled “Islam: Religion of Intolerance.”  On p.47, he summarizes the chapter into three points:

*Islamic law mandates second-class status for Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims in Islamic society.

*These laws have never been abrogated or revised by any authority.

*The idea that Jews fared better in Islamic lands than in Christian Europe is false. [1]

I then wrote a rebuttal of the third point, promising to write a follow up article dealing with the first two.  Spencer took a look at my rebuttal and replied, as follows:

As for the one you did link, I took a look. It is an extended (very extended) example of the familiar tu quoque fallacy in which Islamic apologists always indulge: other people have done evil, and therefore our evil is not so bad or not to be spoken of. There are two chief problems with this:

1. I have never said or implied that Muslims have a monopoly on evil. Every group has been guilty of some wrongdoing. Does this mean we should not discuss the threats to human rights constituted by Islamic supremacism? I don’t think so.

2. Even if what this person is saying were true, the whole premise is wrong: the church never had a “doctrine” regarding these matters. These were practices applied in various times and places, never universally, and not based on any church law. In fact, the Popes consistently opposed the persecution of the Jews. This is in sharp contrast to the laws of dhimmitude that are taught by all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence.

And most importantly, no church is behaving in such ways as are described in this article today, but Islamic jihadists in Gaza and elsewhere have declared their intention to reimpose the dhimma on Jews and Christians when they are able to do so.

Cordially
Robert Spencer

Here is my counter-reply, as follows:

Dear Robert Spencer,

You said:

It is an extended (very extended) example of the familiar tu quoque fallacy in which Islamic apologists always indulge: other people have done evil, and therefore our evil is not so bad or not to be spoken of.

I certainly never said that the “evil is not so bad.”  What I said was that the “evil” (your choice of words) done to infidels in the Islamic realm was historically less than that done to infidels in Christendom.  And I said that to negate chapter four of your book, in which you specifically wrote “the idea that Jews fared better in Islamic lands than in Christian Europe is false,” and “the Muslim laws were much harsher for Jews than those of Christendom.”  I am fact-checking your book, and you made a claim, and I refuted it.  Simple as that.  Now it is up to you to either defend your initial claim or concede that you were wrong to state it.

You have a problem with Islamic apologists who downplay or whitewash the abuses of the Islamic past.  But you yourself are a Catholic apologist who downplays and whitewashes the abuses of the Christian past. You replace myth with counter-myth.  I, on the other hand, look at the cold hard facts.  And the facts are quite clear: the Islamic apologists are wrong to claim that there was an interfaith utopia, but you were wrong to claim that it was worse for infidels in the Islamic world than in Christendom.

As for the claim that I think the “evil…is not to be spoken of,” I never said that either.   My article was rigidly fair, speaking of the discrimination prevalent in the Islamic world.  The issue here, however, is you, who speaks so much on the topic, yet downplays and completely ignores the even greater abuses in Christian history.

The reason that you are forced to downplay and ignore the abuses in Christian history is obvious: it would completely neutralize your argument which could then no longer be used as a stick to beat the Muslims over the head with.  I don’t have a problem with discussing history.  I do, however, have a problem with weaponizing history, which is what you do; you downplay and ignore one side’s abuses, exaggerate the other sides, and then top it off with sensationalist fear mongering.  In your own words on the cover of your book: “Muslim persecution of Christians has continued for 13 centuries.”  I guess replacing that with the more balanced “Muslims and Christians persecuted each other” would not sell as many books, eh?

You call it a tu quoque fallacy.  I call it common sense.  You cannot possibly single out and demonize the Muslim community–and Islam–when in fact the same criticisms apply equally if not more to all other religious communities and religions–and yours in specific! It’s a case of the pot calling the kettle black.  One can and should discuss shortcomings and even horrific abuses of the past, but this can be done without the singling out and demonizing which you specialize in and have made into a career.

But in any case, we need not discuss the implications of your statement yet.  Right now, the issue is about the veracity of your statement that the Jews were persecuted more in the Islamic world than in Christendom.  That is a false claim.  You can try to muddy the waters as much as you want, but the bottom line is that your book is based on a horrendous error at best–if not a boldfaced lie.

You said:

1. I have never said or implied that Muslims have a monopoly on evil. Every group has been guilty of some wrongdoing.

Did I ever say that you said the Muslims have a monopoly on evil?  Or that you deny that every group has “some” wrongdoing?  You implied in your book that historically the Muslims persecuted Jews much more than Christians ever did.  That was your statement which I refuted, so stop moving the goalposts.  Either defend the thesis in your book, or admit that you were wrong.

You then said:

Does this mean we should not discuss the threats to human rights constituted by Islamic supremacism?

Who said otherwise?  Once again, stop trying to squirm your way out of this.  It’s very simple: you made a claim in your book, and I refuted it.  Your claim was that the Muslims persecuted Jews more than the Christians did.  This was your explicit claim, and your implicit claim was that there was a monumental difference between the persecuting Islamic society on the one hand and the supposedly freedom-loving Christian society on the other.  (As you put it: “In Christian lands there was the idea, however imperfect, of the equality of dignity and rights for all people.” [2])  The reality of course is anything but.  Again: either defend your thesis, or concede; don’t change the topic to something else.

You said:

…the church never had a “doctrine” regarding these matters. These were practices applied in various times and places, never universally, and not based on any church law.

Spencer, this is now getting frustrating.  Yes, the Church had a doctrine; they are the ones who founded it!  The doctrine of Witness, and of Perpetual Servitude of the Jews,  was enunciated by the Church, and the state later adopted it into their concept of Serfs of the Royal Chamber. This was adopted virtually “universally” in the realm of Christendom.  Perhaps you ought to read my rebuttal again.  Clearly, it was the Church who originated the concept of Perpetual Servitude, propagated it, and championed it.  In fact, as I discussed in my rebuttal the Church competed with the state over which would own the Jews.

The anti-Jewish laws were based in Church doctrine.  Again, read my rebuttal again before saying something so absolutely false.  It leads me to believe that either (1) you don’t possess adequate reading comprehension abilities, or (2) you’ve been refuted so thoroughly that you can’t come up with any counter-point.

Then you said:

In fact, the Popes consistently opposed the persecution of the Jews.

It was through the infallible papal bulls that such ideas as Perpetual Servitude became preponderant in Christendom.  Just to give one such example: the Pope in 1452 issued a bull that called for the Christians to “reduce into perpetual servitude” the infidels.

It is true that the papacy forbade killing off the Jews, but the reason for that–as I discussed in my rebuttal–was due to the doctrine of the Witness: Jews were to endure in order to witness the triumph of Christianity and Christ.  According to this doctrine, the Jews were to live in a miserable state of “perpetual servitude” which would then serve as a living proof of their misguidance.  So yes, the popes did prevent the complete elimination of the Jews, but only that they may live in serfdom/slavery.  Similarly, the Church fathers ruled that all of a Jew’s property could be confiscated except the absolute bare minimum which was needed for his survival; again, the Jew must endure to serve as Witness.

Spencer’s statement was challenged by the anti-Islam bigot sheik yer’mami

With all due respect, Robert: “In fact, the Popes consistently opposed the persecution of the Jews” – really? I have a problem with that.

There were some pretty awful popes in the history of the church, and all the things that were done to Jews could hardly have been done without their consent. Throughout the history of the Catholic church we see consolidated efforts to reign in the bishops who were getting too powerful and who were also warlords, something which is probably very little known.

That aside, I don’t think you can find much evidence that popes were opposed to the persecution of Jews….

Spencer then replied with:

Sheik

The record is not monochromatic, but actually, yes, I can find plenty.

First, the bad news. Pope Zachary reaffirmed a prohibition on intermarriage. Leo VII directed the archbishop of Mainz to expel Jews who refused to convert to Christianity from cities within his diocese. Pope Gregory VII forbade Jews to hold authority over Christians.

The Fourth Lateran Council decreed in 1215 that Jews must wear distinctive garb—a directive initially emphasized, then suspended, then insisted upon again by Pope Honorius III. Gregory IX led a campaign against Jewish books that led to a massive book-burning in Paris. Nicholas III required Jews to assemble to hear proselytizing sermons and ordered that those who had been baptized but then returned to Judaism be “turned over to the secular power”—which meant almost certain execution. Honorius IV wrote a letter to the English bishops warning them about Jewish efforts to convert Christians—which ultimately led to the expulsion of the Jews from England. Pope John XXII resumed the campaign against Jewish books, ordering the Talmud suppressed. Centuries later, in 1858, police of the Papal States seized a six-year-old Jewish boy, Edgardo Mortara, from his family because a Catholic servant girl who worked for the family had baptized him. Pope Pius IX refused numerous entreaties to return the boy to his family. Mortara became a Catholic priest and died in 1940. Many consider the incident one of the chief obstacles to the canonization of Pius IX.

But as I said, the papal record is not monochromatic. Historian and Rabbi David Dalin says this: “The historical fact is that popes have often spoken out in defense of the Jews, have protected them during times of persecution and pogroms, and have protected their right to worship freely in their synagogues. Popes have traditionally defended Jews from wild anti-Semitic allegations. Popes regularly condemned anti-Semites who sought to incite violence against Jews.”

This is not, as some might think, a strictly modern phenomenon. For instance, Pope Gregory I, who wrote harshly of the Jews’ rejection of Christ, nevertheless issued an edict dictating that Jews “should have no infringement of their rights. … We forbid to vilify the Jews. We allow them to live as Romans and to have full authority over their possessions.” When a bishop in Palermo seized a synagogue and converted it into a church, the building could not be returned to its former owner because it had now been consecrated; however, Gregory ordered the bishop to pay the owners a fair price, so that the Jews “should in no way appear to be oppressed, or to suffer an injustice.” He also forbade forced conversion of Jews, a prohibition later repeated by Gregory IV.

Pope Gregory I’s directives formed the basis of the Jews’ status in Western Europe for a considerable time thereafter. Pope Alexander II commended bishops in Narbonne and Spain for protecting Jews from attacks by Christians. When would-be Crusaders massacred Jews in Speyer, Worms, Mainz, Cologne, and elsewhere before the First Crusade, it is noteworthy that local bishops often acted to end these slaughters. Pope Calixtus II thereafter reaffirmed Gregory’s prohibition of attacks on Jews, and also forbade forced conversion and attacks on synagogues.

The popes also held fast against forced conversions and attacks on the Jews. Pope Innocent III, although he condemned Jews as “the sons of the crucifiers, against whom to this day the blood cries to the Father’s ears,” stated: “For we make the law that no Christian compel them, unwilling or refusing, by violence to come to baptism.
Too, no Christian ought to presume…wickedly to injure their persons, or with violence to take away their property, or to change the good customs which they have had until now in whatever region they inhabit. Besides, in the celebration of their own festivals, no one ought to disturb them in any way, with clubs or stones, nor ought any one try to require from them or to extort from them services they do not owe, except for those they have been accustomed from times past to perform. In addition to these, We decree…that no one ought to dare to mutilate or diminish a Jewish cemetery, nor, in order to get money, to exhume bodies once they have been buried.”

Those who dared transgress these prohibitions were threatened with excommunication. Innocent also noted that Calixtus and four other popes had extended the same protections to the Jews. According to Dalin, “Calixtus’s defense of the Jews, with its promise of continuing papal protection, was reissued at least twenty-two times by successive popes between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries.”

Of course, this reissuing wouldn’t have been necessary if Jews were not continually being attacked in Europe. Many of these attacks centered around the “blood libel,” the contention that Jews killed Christian children and mixed their blood into their Passover matzoh. Pope Innocent IV issued a strong denial of the blood libel, as did Gregory X, Martin V, and Sixtus IV. Paul III denounced those who “pretend, in order to despoil them of their goods, that the Jews kill little children and drink their blood.” That this had to be repeated over several centuries testifies to the persistence of the libel in Christian Europe, but nevertheless, excommunication was consistently the penalty for those who spread such stories or victimized Jews on such a basis.

Gregory X also affirmed the validity of Jewish testimony, declaring, “An accusation against Jews based solely on the testimony of Christians was invalid; Jewish witnesses must also appear.” Clement VI defended Jews from charges that they were responsible for the Black Death; Boniface IX granted full Roman citizenship to Jews; Martin V directed that “every Christian treat the Jews with a humane kindness” and forbade preachers “to preach against the Jews, to attempt to interrupt their normal relations with their neighbors, to infringe upon their religious rights, or to exclude them from normal activities (including attendance at universities).” He also reaffirmed the repudiation of the blood libel.

Leo X ordered the entire Talmud to be printed by a Christian printer in Rome so as to discourage anti-Semitic rumors about its contents. Clement VII commissioned a new translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin, to be completed by six Christians and six Jews working together.

Innocent X and Benedict XIV both worked to end the blood libel and the persecution of Jews in Poland. Leo XIII spoke out in defense of Alfred Dreyfus, a French military officer wrongly accused of treason in a notorious case. Pius X and Benedict XV acted against anti-Semitism in Italian politics and media. It was thus not without justification that Pius XI was able to write in 1928: “Moved by this Christian charity, the Holy See has always protected this people [the Jews] against unjust vexations, and just as it reprobates all rancour and conflicts between peoples, it particularly condemns unreservedly hatred against the people once chosen by God: the hatred that commonly goes by the name of anti-Semitism.” Pius XI used his encyclical letter Mit Brennender Sorge — pointedly written in German instead of Latin, and directed to the German bishops — to condemn the anti-Semitism of the Nazi regime. The Nazis, in response, forbade its publication in Germany and denounced Pius XI as half-Jewish. That encyclical, drafted by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who two years later became Pope Pius XII, declared: “Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community—however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things—whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.”

When Vienna’s Cardinal Innitzer rang the city’s church bells to celebrate Hitler’s entry into the city after the Anchluss in 1938, Pius XI called Innitzer to Rome and rebuked him — and, according to historian Michael Phayer, had the rebuke “communicated through diplomatic channels to the United States so that world governments would know where the Vatican stood regarding Hitler’s Germany.” On September 6, 1938, he told a group of pilgrims from Belgium that “anti-Semitism is inadmissible; spiritually, we are all Semites.”

The record of Pope Pius XII is controversial, but there has been a good deal of misinformation publicized about it. In reality, he helped save many hundreds of thousands of Jews and was memorialized at Yad Veshem. The campaign to blacken his name began later.

Cordially
Robert Spencer

With regards to the papacy, it held a somewhat contradictory position throughout history; it was a source of great intolerance but at the same time it placed some limits to intolerance which benefited the Jews.  This is all because the Church adopted the doctrine of Witness, which–as I have explained in some detail in my rebuttal (and reiterated above)–argued that Jews ought not to be killed in order that they might endure as living witnesses of the triumph of Christianity and Christ.  But they were to live in a state of perpetual servitude, in order that their pitiful condition prove to the world their defeat for supposedly slaying Jesus.  To this effect, we read:

The Catholic Church, in its triumphant march toward the spiritual unification of the world, was mortified that among all the cults that had flourished in the Roman Empire, only the Synagogue had been able to withstand Christian propaganda.  The only obstacle in the path of the Christians toward religious supremacy was the handful of Jews “stubbornly entrenched in their satanic blindness.”  It is not surprising that the Church yielded to the temptation of using its secular power and influence with the princes to reduce these stubborn, unyielding unbelievers to a state of pariahdom on the fringes of society.

A distinction must be drawn, however, between the attitude of the Papacy and that of the lower clergy.  The Papacy was on the whole much less hostile, and maintained in principle the attitude of genuine ambivalence that had developed out of the original schism.

The official attitude of the Church had been defined by Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) in his Constitutio pro Judeis, wherein he established the principles protecting the religious practices of the Jews within the strict limits of the Law.  The thirteenth century Popes reaffirmed the principles of Gregory I but emphasized the more hostile aspects of his pronouncements.  Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) defined the theological position of the Jews in Christian world thus:

“The Jews’ guilt of the crucifixion of Jesus consigned them to perpetual servitude, and, like Cain, they are to be wanderers and fugitives…the Jews will not dare to raise their necks, bowed under the yoke of perpetual slavery, against the reverence of the Christian faith.”

And yet these same thirteenth century Popes appealed to Christian charity to protect the Jews from excessive persecution.  The theological reasons adduced from this protection were that the Jews were witnesses of the true Christian faith; their very existence was proof of the Gospels and their abasement proof of the triumph of Christianity…Therefore, though the Jews might be oppressed, they must not be exterminated–another example of the strange paradox of tolerance and hatred which has always characterized Christian ambivalence towards Judaism. [3]

This explains the ambivalence of the Church; on the one hand they were promoting a doctrine of intolerance, but at the same time they were placing limits to the manifestation of this intolerance, stopping short of wholesale slaughter.

Spencer, you said:

Historian and Rabbi David Dalin says this: “The historical fact is that popes have often spoken out in defense of the Jews, have protected them during times of persecution and pogroms, and have protected their right to worship freely in their synagogues. Popes have traditionally defended Jews from wild anti-Semitic allegations. Popes regularly condemned anti-Semites who sought to incite violence against Jews.”

This is consistent with what I have said earlier.  It is true that the papacy often stepped in to prevent wanton violence against Jews (such as massacres and forced conversions or baptisms), because–loyal to the doctrine of Witness–they wished the Jews to survive so that they might remain as perpetual serfs.

Professor Mark R. Cohen of Princeton University writes:

In his writings, Augustine articulated the doctrine of “witness,” which, over the centuries, served to justify the preservation of the Jews within Christendom…The Augustinian doctrine of witness, with its pragmatic rationale for accepting Judaism within Christendom, may have restrained Christian intolerance; but it could not efface a fundamental and potentially dangerous ambivalence in early Christianity regarding the other…

Inevitably, Jewry law appeared in pronouncements by the Catholic church…In keeping with both Augustinian doctrine and the protections guaranteed in the bull Sicut Judeis, throughout the Middle Ages the papacy maintained staunch and fairly consistent opposition to forced conversion of the Jews as well as to unwarranted physical brutality toward them.  Indeed, from time to time, a Pope might even add a clause to the “Constitutio pro Judeis” defending the Jews against some new, current threat.  For example, in 1247, Innocent IV reissued his own version of the bull within a year of the first promulgation, adding a section denouncing the newly risen blood libel.

I do not mean to imply that the papacy went out of its way to nurture Jewish life among Christians.  Quite the contrary, during the eleventh, twelfth, and especially the thirteenth centuries, as the papacy struggled to assert its supremacy over secular rulers, it also asserted its authority of the Jews.  This was done by inculcating the complementary ideas of Jewish subservience and inferiority.  Beginning with Pope Innocent III, in 1205, the idea of subservience was expressed in the revival of an old patristic doctrine about the “perpetual servitude” of the Jews, which gave ideological ballast to Innocent’s newly intensified campaign to segregate and subjugate the Jews. [4]

Spencer, you then said:

This is not, as some might think, a strictly modern phenomenon. For instance, Pope Gregory I, who wrote harshly of the Jews’ rejection of Christ, nevertheless issued an edict dictating that Jews “should have no infringement of their rights. … We forbid to vilify the Jews. We allow them to live as Romans and to have full authority over their possessions.” When a bishop in Palermo seized a synagogue and converted it into a church, the building could not be returned to its former owner because it had now been consecrated; however, Gregory ordered the bishop to pay the owners a fair price, so that the Jews “should in no way appear to be oppressed, or to suffer an injustice.” He also forbade forced conversion of Jews, a prohibition later repeated by Gregory IV.

Pope Gregory I’s directives formed the basis of the Jews’ status in Western Europe for a considerable time thereafter.

Indeed, it did.  I completely agree with you Spencer that Pope Gregory I’s directives “formed the basis of the Jews’ status in Western Europe for a considerable time thereafter.”  But again, you are only showing one side of the coin, not the other.  As I quoted above:

The official attitude of the Church had been defined by Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) in his Constitutio pro Judeis, wherein he established the principles protecting the religious practices of the Jews within the strict limits of the Law.  The thirteenth century Popes reaffirmed the principles of Gregory I but emphasized the more hostile aspects of his pronouncements…Though the Jews might be oppressed, they must not be exterminated–another example of the strange paradox of tolerance and hatred which has always characterized Christian ambivalence towards Judaism. [5]

Spencer, you then said:

Pope Alexander II commended bishops in Narbonne and Spain for protecting Jews from attacks by Christians. When would-be Crusaders massacred Jews in Speyer, Worms, Mainz, Cologne, and elsewhere before the First Crusade, it is noteworthy that local bishops often acted to end these slaughters.

Yes, Pope Alexander II stepped in to prevent the wholesale slaughter of Jews by Crusaders.  But you didn’t tell us why.  The reason was, in the words of Pope Alexander II himself, that the Jews–unlike the Muslims–were willing to be the perpetual serfs of the Christians, and thus ought to be tolerated:

[A] Papal pronouncement mentioning Jewish servitude was issued by Alexander II in the middle of the eleventh century…In a letter to the archbishop of Narbonne, the local viscount and the bishops of Spain, Alexander II praised them for protecting the Jews from persecution by knights setting out for war in Spain.  He [Alexander II] wrote:

“…the case of Jews and Moslems is certainly different.  For one may justly fight those who persecuted Christians and drive them from their towns and habituation.  They [the Jews], however, are willing to serve Christians everywhere.”

Alexander II used the service of the Jews as a reason to justify their protection–even though his wording was derived from the pejorative language commonly employed in relation to Jews and Judaism.  The entire phrase was incorporated by Gratian into canon law…

Theologians in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries undermined the civil status of the Jews in both theory and practice.  They made outright statements to this effect, and increased the restrictions on the Jews.  Councils of the Church naturally fell in step, and sometimes used even stronger language [against Jews].  Bernard of Clairvaux, in a letter warning crusaders not to kill Jews, also referred to the punishment the Jews were receiving [i.e. perpetual servitude] for their crime [of killing Jesus].  On another occasion, he stated: ‘There is no more dishonourable or serious serfdom than that of the Jews.  They carry it with them wherever they go, and everywhere they find their masters.’ This view was shared by Rupert of Deutz, Thomas Aquinas and other theologians.  Thomas, among others, drew practical conclusions from the theological argument: ’since by law[!], Jews were subject to perpetual servitude, thus the rulers of the land may receive their property as if it were theirs [the rulers’s]‘ and, since the Jews were the servi of the Church, the Church could dispose of their property. [6]

Spencer you go on to say:

Pope Calixtus II thereafter reaffirmed Gregory’s prohibition of attacks on Jews, and also forbade forced conversion and attacks on synagogues.

Pope Calixtus II had a similar view to Alexander II, in that he goaded Christians to fight the Muslim infidels instead of killing Jews.  (If I were Spencer and this was about Muslims, I would ask: why did Christians have this bloodthirsty desire to slaughter Jews instead of fighting on the front against the enemy?  As I mentioned in my rebuttal, some 100,000 European Jews were slaughtered by the Crusaders. [7]) Again, the entire issue revolved around the Islamic intransigence and the (supposed) Jewish willingness to accept subjugation.  Even though he did protect the Jews from wholesale slaughter, Calixtus II reinforced the Church’s possessory control over Jews:

It is not surprising, then, that Innocent III and his thirteenth-century successors began playing up the theme of Jewish serfdom in an unprecedented fashion.  The very Constitutio pro Judaeis, first hesitantly enacted by Calixtus II, became an instrument in the hands of his powerful successors for the reassertion of the Papacy’s ultimate control over Jews.  This is why Innocent III, anything but a friend of Jews, considered it his duty to renew that bull on September 15, 1199, within a year after his ascendancy to the see of Saint Peter…The phrasing, quos propria culpa submisit perpetue servituti and sub timore servili became a standard usage in the vocabulary of later popes and canon jurists. [8]

Spencer, you then said:

The popes also held fast against forced conversions and attacks on the Jews. Pope Innocent III, although he condemned Jews as “the sons of the crucifiers, against whom to this day the blood cries to the Father’s ears,” stated: “For we make the law that no Christian compel them, unwilling or refusing, by violence to come to baptism. Too, no Christian ought to presume…wickedly to injure their persons, or with violence to take away their property…”

I almost agree with you Spencer when you say that the papacy “held fast against forced conversions and attacks on the Jews.”  Generally (though not always), that part is true.  However, what you fail to mention is that the papacy argued that although the Jews ought not to be subjected to wanton physical violence (such as “forced conversions and attacks”), they also held that the Jews were to be perpetual serfs; in fact, the only reason the papacy forbade the former was so that the Jews may endure as the latter!  Spencer, you used the example of Pope Innocent III above as a proof that the popes forbade wanton physical violence against Jews.  But Pope Innocent III said all the above because he adhered to the doctrine of Witness (and the belief of Perpetual Servitude); here’s what you didn’t quote from the words of Innocent III:

Crucifiers of Christ [the Jews] ought to be held in continual subjection. [9]

Pope Innocent III relegated the Jews to a status of perpetual servitude, saying:

Christian piety accepts and sustains living with Jews who, by their own guilt, are consigned to perpetual servitude because they crucified the Lord. [10]

And Innocent III said further:

…The Jews, as servants rejected by that Savior Whose death they wickedly contrived, should recognize themselves in fact and in creed the servants of those whom the death of Christ has set free, even as it has rendered them bondmen. [11]

In complete consistency with the doctrine of Witness–and of Perpetual Servitude–Pope Innocent III likened the Jews to Cain, who would not be killed but rather live an existence worse than death, one of shame and misery; Innocent III opined:

The Lord made Cain a wanderer and a fugitive over the earth, but set a mark upon him, making his head to shake, lest anyone finding him should slay him.  Thus the Jews, against whom the blood of Christ calls out, although they ought not to be wiped out, nevertheless, as wanderers they must remain upon the earth until their faces are filled with shame and they seek the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. [12]

So yes, the papacy protected the Jews from annihilation.  (Spencer, if this had been about Muslims, you would have said something nasty like “Muslim mobs had a propensity to annihilate the Jews.” )  The reason for the papal protection was so that the Jews may live in perpetual servitude as a proof of the victory of Christianity over the Jewish serfs.

Spencer, you go on to say:

According to Dalin, “Calixtus’s defense of the Jews, with its promise of continuing papal protection, was reissued at least twenty-two times by successive popes between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries.”

Yes, it was–invariably along with the doctrine of Witness and of Perpetual Servitude.  In fact, “papal protection” was in the form of papal possession.

Spencer, you say:

Pope Innocent IV issued a strong denial of the blood libel

Yes, and he also ordered the King to burn the Talmud, leading to the burning of twelve thousand Jewish religious books, which the Jews would call a religious “catastrophe”. [13] Pope Innocent IV decreed:

[I order] that you [the King] order both the aforesaid abusive books [Talmud]…to be burned by fire wherever they can be found throughout your entire kingdom. [14]

And again, he was a strong proponent of the doctrine of Witness and of Perpetual Servitude; Pope Innocent IV decreed:

The Jews…[have] been punished by the Lord to be slaves as it were, for whose death they sinfully plotted, they shall recognize themselves, as a result of this act, as slaves of those whom the death of Christ set free, and made them slaves. [15]

Spencer, the rest of your post is along the same vein.  You simply cherry picked the good things the popes did, and highlighted those, ignoring all the “evil” they did.  So for instance, if a pope opposed the ritual murder libel (which many did), then you would make sure to mention that, without also discussing how the same pope burned tens of thousands of copies of the Talmud.  If a pope overturned a ban on the Talmud, you would make mention of this, but not mention that the same pope only permitted heavily censored versions of the Talmud to be read.  And so on and so forth.

It is of course a game that you easily play because most of your receptive right-wing audience is ignorant, and unable to see the other side of the coin.  The reality, however, is that the papacy had both a protectionist and intolerant role to play in the treatment of the Jews.  The Jews were protected from wanton physical violence and loss of life, but at the same time severely restricted and forced into perpetual servitude.  The Augustinian doctrine of Witness–and its corollary of Perpetual Servitude–was the papacy’s general attitude towards Jews. To give just a few more examples…

Pope Pius V declared:

We order that, within 90 days, all Jews in our entire earthly realm of justice–in all towns, districts, and places–must depart these regions…their property [to be] confiscated and handed over to the Siscus, and they shall become slaves of the Roman Church, live in perpetual servitude and the Roman Church will have the same rights over them as the remaining [worldly] lords [have] over slaves and property. [16]

Pope Alexander III opined:

Jews ought to be slaves to Christians. [17]

Pope Gregory IX decreed:

We order all our brother bishops absolutely to suppress the blasphemy of Jews in your dioceses, churches, and communities, so that they do not dare raise their necks, bent under eternal slavery, to revile the Redeemer. [18]

And he said further:

They ought to know the yoke of perpetual enslavement because of their guilt.  See to it that the perfidious Jews never in the future become insolent, but that they always suffer publicly the shame of their sin in servile fear. [19]

Pope Innocent III declared:

It is absurd and improper that Jews–whose own guilt has consigned them to perpetual servitude–under the pretext that Christian piety receives them and tolerates their presence should be ingrates [adeo sint ingrati] to Christians, so that they attempt to exchange the servitude they owe to Christians for dominion over them. [20]

Pope Benedict XIV observed:

It is fitting for Jews to serve Christians…The Jews, as slaves rejected by that Saviour Whose death they wickedly contrived, should recognize themselves in fact and in creed the slaves of those whom the death of Christ has set free, even as it has rendered them bondmen. [21]

Keep in mind that Benedict XIV was one of the many popes who condemned the blood libel; yet, at the same time, he was an adherent of the doctrine of Perpetual Servitude.  It is in fact his very loyalty to this doctrine which caused him to prevent the blood libel massacres.  Again, there was a protectionist aspect coupled with great intolerance–all of which typified the Church’s ambivalent attitude towards Jews.

The Church’s doctrine was a seemingly intolerant policy, but in Christian Europe–where Jews lived in a “veritable hell” [22]–it did afford Jews protection from the antagonistic Christian masses.  It should be noted that the papacy often did seek to prevent physical assault on the Jews, but even this was marked by recurrent lapses, and Jews were often expelled at the behest of none other than the pope.  Yet, we ought to be fair and speak in generalities–unlike our opponents who take exceptional cases and posit them as the norm–so we must say that the papacy generally operated to preserve the lives of Jews in order that they serve as perpetual serfs:

The repeated mention of Jewish servitude in papal pronouncements lost none of its pungency; when applied to practical affairs, it lost none of its efficacy…[and] pointedly underscored the…perfidy of the Jews, who were condemned to perpetual slavery (perpetua servitute) because they called upon themselves and upon their children the blood of Christ…the Jews’ own sin subjected them to perpetual servitude, and they should suffer the shame of their sin in servile fear (sub timore servili)…In 1263 Urban IV…consigned both Jews and Moslems to ‘perpetual servitude.’…The servitus of the Jews was repeated by popes and other churchmen. [23]

Spencer, going back to your original reply, let me now deal with what you said here:

In fact, the Popes consistently opposed the persecution of the Jews. This is in sharp contrast to the laws of dhimmitude that are taught by all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence.

It is important here to understand what you mean by the word “persecution.”  If by it you mean discrimination, humiliation, and the like, then in that case the papacy did not at all oppose that.  In fact, they consistently supported the reduction of Jews to a status of perpetual servitude.  But if by “persecution” you mean physical violence (massacres, forced conversions, expulsions, etc.), then in that case it cannot at all be said that the four schools of Islamic jurisprudence condone that.  In fact, the dhimma pact granted the dhimmis protection from such persecution.  So quite the contrary, all four schools of Islamic jurisprudence forbid such persecution, to such an extent that Muslims were obligated to fight to defend the dhimmis should they come under attack.

Therefore, no matter which way we interpret your argument, it is weak.  If you use the former definition of the word “persecution” then in that case the papacy reduced the infidels to a far worse state of degradation than the Islamic clerics ever did–for it was the difference between perpetual servitude/slavery on the one hand and free (albeit second-class) citizenship on the other.  But if you rely on the second definition of “persecution,” in that case it is simply an inaccurate statement, for even the discriminatory Pact of Umar strictly forbade any persecution (i.e. physical violence) against infidels.

Furthermore, it is altogether curious how you first say that “the Popes consistently opposed the persecution of the Jews,” but when sheik yer’mami questioned your statement, you responded by saying “the papal record is not monochromatic” and even listed some of the “bad news.”  Well, which is it?  Do you see how you have contradicted yourself here?

In any case, it is debatable whether or not the papacy was consistent in its prevention of persecution–by either definition.  Yes, the papacy generally reigned in on wanton physical violence, but not always.  Indeed, there were numerous instances in which the Church took part in the expulsion of the Jews. But if we expand our definition of persecution to discrimination (as you seem to do when talking about the realm of Islam), then there is no question at all about the matter: the papacy surpassed the Muslim discrimination by far.

Lastly, it is important to note here that it would be inappropriate to exclusively focus on the papacy, as you have done.  Rather, we must look at the Church overall and the realm of Christianity in general.  The clergy underneath the papacy were generally far more intolerant.  Indeed, when the papacy did step in to prevent wholesale slaughter of Jews, it was often the clergy who were involved in the persecution.  Why should you exclude this from our analysis, Spencer?  The reality is that the actions of the clergy in general–not just the popes–had significant impact on the Jews.  When we take into consideration the fact that the intolerant papacy was the better of the two, one can begin to imagine the plight of the Jews under the even more intolerant clergy.

Moving on, you conclude:

And most importantly, no church is behaving in such ways as are described in this article today, but Islamic jihadists in Gaza and elsewhere have declared their intention to reimpose the dhimma on Jews and Christians when they are able to do so.

Spencer, did I not explicitly say in my rebuttal that I will address the first two points in a follow-up article?  My rebuttal was simply of your third point.  We can debate about the first two points after I churn out my follow up article (which I guarantee will not disappoint).  But until then, let’s focus on the third point instead of trying desperately to move the goalposts.

You made the explicit claim in your book that Jews fared better in Christendom than in the Islamic world, and your implicit argument was that it was a monumental difference between the two, in that one was freedom and dignity loving and the other discriminatory and persecuting.  The reality is that your entire claim is false.

Is it any wonder that your reply did not deal with the actual point I refuted at all?  The reason you were forced to move the goalposts is obvious: you have no leg to stand on.  The entire premise of your line of attack was this made up idea that history was characterized by an evil Islamic menace that terrorized the Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims. My rebuttal deflated your entire cartoonish paradigm, because it rightly pointed out that the Judeo-Christian tradition that you so champion has been–to use your words and your standards–more “evil”.  When this fact becomes known, that mighty stick you use to beat Muslims over the head with–that dishonest weaponization of history–becomes as useless a blunt object as the daintiest of feathers.

All you ever do is cherry pick the absolute worst examples from Islam and compare them with the cherry picked best examples from Christianity, and then draw erroneous conclusions from this unequal comparison.  This sort of selective and shoddy scholarship typifies your entire ideological camp, and epitomizes your modus operandi.  And it is for this very reason that refuting your book will be ever so easy for me, because I will continue to expose your hypocrisy and absurd double standards.  With regard to this particular issue, if you repeatedly harp on dhimmitude, we will remind you of perpetual servitude, in order that your xenophobia be thwarted.

Perhaps it be that when your own religion and religious community is held to the same absurd standard that you set for Islam and Muslims [24] you might realize the error in your ways.  It is my sincere hope that you reflect on your behavior, and correct yourself.  Robert, I call on you to eschew xenophobia and fear-mongering, opting instead for tolerance and cautious optimism. Do you really want hate to be the sum total of your life’s work?  It is not too late to set your course aright.

Sincerely,
Danios.

Summary:

1. Robert Spencer’s hypothesis is that the Jews were historically (far) better off in the Christian world than the Islamic one. He is wrong about this. Nothing in his counter-reply to my rebuttal addresses this point, making his entire reply extraneous.

2. He claims that the Church never had a doctrine regarding these matters.  He is wrong.  The Church had the doctrine of Witness, and of Perpetual Servitude, as enunciated by the papacy repeatedly.

3. Spencer claims that such discriminatory policies were never applied universally, nor based in Church law.  He is wrong on both counts.  The discriminatory laws were applied almost universally throughout Christendom and were widespread, often originating from the Church’s direct and indirect influence.

4. He claims that the papacy consistently acted to prevent the persecution of Jews.  He is wrong.  Spencer’s own follow up comment directed to sheik yer’mami refutes his claim!  (It’s tough to stay consistent when you have no fidelity to facts.)  Second, the papacy was involved in the expulsion of Jews on numerous occasions, something which by all definitions would be considered persecution, and therefore negates the idea that the papacy was very consistent.

5.  Yes, the papacy did frequently step in to prevent the wholesale slaughter of Jews (from none other than Christians–which Spencer seems to think doesn’t count in our analysis of the Christian and Islamic realms), but it was in order to preserve the Jews as perpetual serfs.

6. Spencer claims that all four schools of Islamic jurisprudence advocate persecution of dhimmis.  He is wrong.  None of them do.  Physical violence, forced conversions, and expulsions against dhimmis were not permitted–which is what the papacy would often reign in on, so we must assume that this is what Robert Spencer is referring to, due to his usage of the words “this is in sharp contrast to…”

7. His last point about Gaza is a red herring designed to move the goalposts.  Spencer’s hypothesis–which I refuted–had nothing to do with the situation nowadays.  I simply refuted his argument that Jews were historically treated worse in the Islamic world than in Christendom.  The situation in Gaza today does not prove or disprove the hypothesis.  I have promised to debate this ancillary topic in a future article, but it has no relevance to Spencer’s hypothesis above.  Even if I concede that Muslims today want to reimpose the dhimmitude (which I do not), this would not prove Spencer’s hypothesis that Jews were historically treated better in Christendom than in the Islamic world.

Update: Click here to read my refutation of Cassidy, a frequent visitor to our site.

Footnotes

refer back to article 1. Robert Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades, 47. ISBN 0-89526-013-1

refer back to article 2. Ibid., 59

refer back to article 3. Rudolph M. Lowenstein, Christians and Jews: A Psychoanalytic Study, 97-98. ISBN 140675868X, 9781406758689

refer back to article 4. Mark R. Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross: Jews in the Middle Ages, 20-38. ISBN 069101082X, 9780691010823

refer back to article 5. Rudolph M. Lowenstein, Christians and Jews: A Psychoanalytic Study, 97-98. ISBN 140675868X, 9781406758689

refer back to article 6. Shlomo Simonsohn, The Apostolic See and the Jews, 98. ISBN 0888441096, 9780888441096

refer back to article 7. David H. Solomon, A History of My Family, 8

refer back to article 8. Salo Wittmayer Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, 137-138. ISBN 0231088469, 9780231088466

refer back to article 9. Innocent III, Epistle to the Hierarchy of France, 7/15/1205, PL 215

refer back to article 10. Norman Roth, Medieval Jewish Civilization: An Encyclopedia, 131. ISBN 0415937124, 9780415937122

refer back to article 11. Nathan Zuckerman, The Wine of Violence: An Anthology on Anti-Semitism. Association Press, 1947. 138

refer back to article 12. Innocent III, Epistle to the Count of Nevers

refer back to article 13. Isaac Unterman, The Talmud: An Analytical Guide to its History and Teachings, 260

refer back to article 14. Lynn Thorndike, University Records and Life in the Middle Ages. Columbia University Press, 1949. 50

refer back to article 15. Shlomo Simonsohn, The Apostolic See and the Jews, 100

refer back to article 16. Pius V, Hebraeorum Gens

refer back to article 17. Third Lateran Ecumenical Council, Canon 26

refer back to article 18. Maurice Pinay, The Plot against the Church. St. Anthony Press, 1967. 651

refer back to article 19. Gregory IX, Epistle to the Hierarchy of Germany

refer back to article 20. Magda Teter, Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland, 16. ISBN 0521856736, 9780521856737

refer back to article 21. Quoting Pope Innocent III, Etsi Judaeos

refer back to article 22. Nissim Rejwan, Israel’s Place in the Middle East: A Pluralistic Perspective, 47. ISBN 0813016010, 9780813016016

refer back to article 23. Shlomo Simonsohn, The Apostolic See and the Jews, 100-101

refer back to article 24. It is important here to note that I am not at all trying to bash Christianity, Catholicism, or even the papacy. I understand that times were different back then and that the papacy was not “monochromatic”. Furthermore, I certainly do not wish to weaponize history; it would be despicable to use Christian history as a stick to beat Christians over the head with. But detailing Christian history in order to counter the bigotry of some Christian Islamophobes–to bring them to their senses–is a powerful means of exposing the horrific double standards that are at play.

Update

A frequent visitor to our site, Cassidy, tried desperately to respond to my rebuttal, as follows:

Actually Jews in Ireland, Scotland and Wales were treated better than Jews in the Islamic world; Ireland only had one violent incident of anti-semitism in it’s history, the limerick pogrom which took place in the 20th century and was widely criticized outside of limerick. Scotland also provided a sanctuary for Jews fleeing England, here’s a quote from the Scottish declaration of  Arbroath:

“there is neither bias nor difference between Jew or Greek, Scot or English”

My response is as follows:

Not only is everything Cassidy said incorrect, but it is not even in the same ballpark as reality.  Cassidy wrote:

Actually Jews in Ireland, Scotland and Wales were treated better than Jews in the Islamic worlds

1. Ireland:

No record of or reference to Jewish life in Ireland exists up until the eleventh century.  The first mention we have of Jews in the region is in 1079, when five Jews migrated to Ireland, only to be turned back.  Five Jews in Ireland were considered five too many, and a ban on Jewish residency was established:

‘Five Jews’ we read ‘came from over sea with gifts to Toirdelbach, and they were sent back again over the sea’. [25]

Historians lose any reference to Irish Jews for about another century.  In 1174, Jews are afforded the right to exist in Ireland, but only as the property of the King–the familiar theme of Serfs of the Royal Chamber (refer to my rebuttal), the Christian state’s corollary to the Church’s Perpetual Servitude.  In 1290, Jews are expelled from Ireland, and do not return for hundreds of years…until about 1665.  (You’re really making this argument right, Cassidy?)

Upon their return to Ireland, Jews faced severe discrimination, and legislation proposing citizenship for Jews was roundly defeated in 1743.  Irish Jews, like their coreligionists in the rest of Christian Europe, were forbidden from entering guilds–a crushing occupational and financial burden that explains why Jews of Europe had it so much worse than their counterparts in Islamdom (refer here).

In the 1890’s and early 1900’s, antisemitism made a resurgence, resulting in a boycott of Jews and culminating in the Lemirick pogrom which you mention.  In the 1920’s and 30’s, antisemitism reached a fever pitch due to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion conspiracy.  In the 1940’s, thousands of Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany were denied refuge in Ireland.  In the 1960’s, a Jewish synagogue–one of only four in Ireland–was burned down to the ground…It burned to the ground just like Cassidy’s argument that Irish Jews fared better than the Jews of Islam.

We read:

The earliest evidence of Jewish settlement in Ireland is a grant made in 1232 to a certain Peter de Rivall, giving him “custody of the King’s Jews in Ireland.”  In 1290, Irish Jews, like their English brethren, were expelled from Ireland and did not return until around 1655. [26]

And:

Although officially refused residency in 1079, a number of Jews immigrated to Ireland after the Anglo-Norman invasion…The Irish Jews were expelled along with the English Jews in 1290, and with the exception of a few Spanish conversos [Jewish converts to Christianity], there were no Jews in Ireland until the Cromwellian Settlement [during the mid-seventeenth century]…Jews, along with Catholics, were excluded from the guilds in the eighteenth century: Legislation offering Jews citizenship was defeated in 1743…

In the 1890s, there were anti-Jewish demonstrations in Dublin and Cork and a major anti-Jewish boycott and attack in Limerick in 1904.  This mirrored an increase in anti-Semitism…Throughout the 1920s and 1930s…[there was] virulent anti-Semitism premised on the Protocols…During the Holocaust, thousands of entry requests were denied on economic and anti-Semitic grounds.  After the war, a few Jews were admitted. In the 1960s, a Dublin synagogue was set on fire.  To describe modern alienation and exile, James Joyce made the protagonist of his masterpiece Ulysses (1922) a Jew. [27]

And:

Jews are first mentioned as resident in Ireland in eleventh-century documents; Henry II acknowledged their presence (and legitimated it) by assigning custody of the King’s Judaism in Ireland to one of his lords in 1174.  From the time of the Norman Conquest the King’s Judaism meant that the Jews were literally the king’s chattel…Jews were expelled from Ireland, as from England, in 1290 and were resettled in both countries under Cromwell in the mid-seventeenth century. [28]

2. Wales:

Perhaps one of the reasons Cassidy mentions Wales is because there were no Jewish communities in the region up until the eighteenth century, a fact which of course reveals her ignorance on the subject.  Yes, the Jews were treated wonderfully because they did not exist!  (Actually Jews were denied residence.)  Nonetheless, there may have been a few Jews here and there, who were then expelled in 1290:

Jews were expelled from Wales in 1290 with the rest of the Jews in Britain, but in the eighteenth century they began to return. Prior to the Expulsion, there were individual Jews living in places like Caerleon and Chepstow, but Wales was not a hospitable place for Jews, and regions of the country were legally permitted to deny Jews residence. [29]

Subsequently, there is no historical record of any Jewish existence in Wales up until 1665.  The first Jewish community in Wales came into existence as late as the eighteenth century!

3. Scotland

Similarly, “the first reference to a Jewish settler in Scotland is on 1st September, 1665.” [30] The Jewish immigrants faced anti-Jewry laws, as Scotland was under the jurisdiction of the British.  Admittedly, the Scottish Jews faced far less discrimination than their counterparts in the rest of Europe.  For example, they were not barred from universities as in other Christian nations: in 1787, the first Jewish graduate from Glasgow University matriculated, and the first Scottish Jew entered the field of medicine.  [31] (Jews in the Islamic world had always been able to attend university, and had long since excelled in the field of medicine.)

Scottish historian David Daiches argued that Scotland was the only European country in which there was no state persecution of the Jews. [32] At first, this statement would seem to support Cassidy’s stance–yet in reality it is a damning statement of Christendom’s treatment of Jews.  In other words, there was only one small sliver of land–no more than 32,000 square miles–in which Jews were not persecuted by the Christian state…And that too only after the 1700’s when Jewish communities emerged in the area.  To further illustrate the complete absurdity of such a comparison, it is interesting to note that–according to a 2001 census–there are only 6,400 Jews in Scotland…as if the treatment of a handful of Jews can offset the way the great majority of them were treated in Christendom!

Cassidy’s approach typifies the Islamophobic mindset, as I already discussed in my reply to Robert Spencer above:

All you ever do is cherry pick the absolute worst examples from Islam and compare them with the cherry picked best examples from Christianity, and then draw erroneous conclusions from this unequal comparison.  This sort of selective and shoddy scholarship typifies your entire ideological camp, and epitomizes your modus operandi.

Robert Spencer’s argument was that the Jews of Europe were treated better than the Jews of the Islamic world.  Clearly then, we should compare the overall treatment of Jews in all of Christendom, with that of the general treatment of Jews in all of Islamdom.  Instead, Cassidy is trying to foist upon us this unfair comparison, taking the absolute best of Christian Europe and comparing it with that of the absolute worst–or even the average–situation in the realm of Islam.

Even if I were to concede that Irish Jews were treated better than their counterparts in the Islamic world (which I do not!), this would not at all prove Spencer’s claim that the Jews were treated better in Christendom than in the Islamic East, because an exception to the rule (which Scotland clearly was!) can hardly be used in a just comparison.  If Cassidy wants to use the absolute best case scenario under Christendom, then she ought to compare it to the best case scenario in the realm of Islam.  Certainly there were times during Islamic history in which the dhimmis flourished, with little discrimination.

Instead, it is as if the Islamophobes seek to compare the Almohad tyranny with that of the best situation in the realm of Christianity!  This is of course quite typical of their entire approach.  Furthermore, even if I concede that the Jews of Scotland were treated better than the Jews of Islam (which I do not!), then I could argue back that the Jews of Islam were treated better than all of the rest of Europe other than a few thousand Jews on a small sliver of land in a remote corner of the continent!  If perpetual servitude was the miserable lot of Jews throughout all of Europe but a tiny area, what then would be the efficacy of the anti-Muslim battle cry of “dhimmitude”?

In any case, Cassidy would have to prove that the Jews of Scotland were treated better than the Jews of Islam by providing a citation from a reliable academic/historian/expert, as I have done.  I will not simply take her word for it, considering how unbelievably off the mark she was about Ireland and Wales!

Cassidy wrote:

Scotland also provided a sanctuary for Jews fleeing England, here’s a quote from the Scottish declaration of  Arbroath:

“there is neither bias nor difference between Jew or Greek, Scot or English”

This is a deceptive argument, which relies on the reader’s ignorance of said document.  Historians consider the Document of Arboath to have been “royal propaganda.”  It was simply a letter written to the pope to convince him of Scottish independence.  As such, it cannot be used as a reliable indication of what the actual situation was in Scotland:

The unanimity implied by the Declaration of Arbroath was much more apparent than real…The Declaration was primarily a piece of propaganda, directed at an audience both within and outside Scotland. [33]

And:

Such language is dramatic and inspiring but should be read in its context…The letter of the barons was, like these documents, a piece of royal propaganda, presenting a case to the curia. [34]

In any case, I am not denying that the Jews of Scotland fared relatively well as compared to their coreligionists in the rest of Europe.  I have already addressed this point above.

To conclude: Cassidy attempted (futilely)  to find a way to overcome my rebuttal, but was unable to.  Her claims–that Jews were treated better in Ireland and Wales as compared to the Islamic world–are comically incorrect.  As for Scotland, she has no proof to verify her claim; furthermore, the condition of a few thousand Jews in Scotland–who only lived there since the eighteenth century–is hardly relevant to a discussion of the historical treatment of Jews in the Middle Ages. As for the treatment of minorities in the modern day, that is an issue I have promised to tackle in a follow-up article.

SECOND UPDATE: First things first, Cassidy is a male, so I apologize for mixing that up in my response above. Secondly, he has conceded the debate, saying: “I admit I was wrong about Ireland, Scotland and Wales.” Well, thank you for your honesty and courage to admit fault.  Cheers.

Footnotes

refer back to article 25. Aubrey Gwynn, The Irish Church in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries. 383. ISBN 1851820957, 9781851820955

refer back to article 26. Mordecai Schreiber, The Shengold Jewish Encyclopedia, 126. ISBN 0520253973, 9780520253971

refer back to article 27. Lelia Ruckenstein, Everything Irish: The History, Literature, Art, Music, People, and Places of Ireland, From A-Z, 211. ISBN 034544129X, 9780345441294

refer back to article 28. Don Gifford, Ulyesses Annotated: Notes from James Joyce’s Ulysses, 40. ISBN 0520253973, 9780520253971

refer back to article 29. Toni Kamins, The Complete Jewish Guide to Britain and Ireland, 107-108. ISBN 0312244487, 9780312244484

refer back to article 30. The Jewish Quarterly, V. 3-5. Jewish Literary Trust, 1972. 30

refer back to article 31. Jewish Virtual Library, http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/Scotland.html

refer back to article 32. David Daiches, Two worlds: An Edinburgh Jewish Childhood. Canongate, 1987. ISBN 0862411483, 9780862411480

refer back to article 33. Andrew D.M. Barrell, Medieval Scotland, 122. ISBN 052158602X, 9780521586023

refer back to article 34. Michael Brown, The Wars of Scotland, 218. ISBN 0748612386, 9780748612383