New York: Man Killed 2 Women He Said Were Witches

Lina Castaneda, a victim.

Lina Castaneda, a victim.

There have been numerous witch hunts in Africa  in the name of Jesus and Christianity, in America not so much, at least since the Salem Witch trials but now a man has killed two women with a hammer because he believed they were witches–he was later found clutching a Bible. (/t: Greg)

What if he were Muslim? Rev. Deacon Spencer’s JihadWatch would be all over it.

Man Admits Killing 2 Women With Hammer, Officials Say

(NewYorkTimes)

A woman and her daughter were bludgeoned to death in their Queens home by the woman’s live-in boyfriend, who called 911 and confessed that he had “killed them because they are witches,” law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

The suspect, Carlos Amarillo, 44, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

The Queens district attorney’s office said that when police officers arrived at the house at 24-10 87th Street in East Elmhurst around 12:15 a.m., they found the victims, identified as Estrella Castaneda, 56, and her daughter, Lina Castaneda, 25, in their bedrooms. The younger woman’s 7-year-old daughter was found unharmed on the bed in her mother’s room.

The women had severe head trauma and were pronounced dead at the scene, the police said.

The district attorney, Richard A. Brown, said Mr. Amarillo told a 911 operator: “Two females are dead, they were assassinated, hurry they are dead. I killed them because they are witches. I want the police to kill me. I killed them with a hammer.”

A woman and her daughter were bludgeoned to death in their Queens home by the woman’s live-in boyfriend, who called 911 and confessed that he had “killed them because they are witches,” law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

The suspect, Carlos Amarillo, 44, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

The Queens district attorney’s office said that when police officers arrived at the house at 24-10 87th Street in East Elmhurst around 12:15 a.m., they found the victims, identified as Estrella Castaneda, 56, and her daughter, Lina Castaneda, 25, in their bedrooms. The younger woman’s 7-year-old daughter was found unharmed on the bed in her mother’s room.

The women had severe head trauma and were pronounced dead at the scene, the police said.

The district attorney, Richard A. Brown, said Mr. Amarillo told a 911 operator: “Two females are dead, they were assassinated, hurry they are dead. I killed them because they are witches. I want the police to kill me. I killed them with a hammer.”

Harry’s Place Contributor Says Rape Isn’t That Bad

Andy Hughes Facebook profile

The Neoconservative Zionist website Harry’s Place whose commenters we’ve engaged in the past is taken to task by Bob Pitt of Islamophobia-Watch for hypocrisy, double standards and Islamophobia.

Sarah Brown, a regular commenter on articles here is also criticized. (h/t: Frank P.)

Harry’s Place contributor says rape isn’t that bad

by Bob Pitt

Last year we ran a piece on former English Defence League activist Andy Hughes, proprietor of the Islamic Far-Right in Britain blog, whose articles denouncing the Islamist threat to western civilisation are regularly crossposted at the notorious Islamophobic blog Harry’s Place.

We pointed out that, in addition to declaring his admiration for convicted thug Joel Titus, the ex-leader of the EDL’s youth section, Hughes had made antisemitic comments on the Expose Facebook page under the pseudonym of Arry Bo. Expressing his dislike of “Yids” who “think they are superior beings and the rest of us are scum”, Hughes wrote that this explained “why Jews have been kicked out of so many countries” .

Given HP’s readiness to denounce opponents of the state of Israel as antisemites, you might have thought they would be quick to dissociate themselves from Hughes and his vile remarks. But no. Sarah Annes Brown, who presents herself as the voice of reason at Harry’s Place (competition isn’t exactly fierce), happily accepted Hughes’ laughable explanation that in posting these antisemitic comments he was simply trying to wind people up. She attributed this to the fact that Hughes is “a bit – skittish”!

Earlier today Hughes joined a discussion at Expose, posting comments under one of his other aliases, Arry Ajalami. Although he has in the past insisted that he has broken with the EDL and rejects its current methods and ideology (which is why HP say they have no problem with publishing his articles), this didn’t prevent Hughes from posting a number of comments that show he still identifies closely with this gang of racists and fascists.

Even more disgusting, however, was Hughes’ reaction to the posting of a screenshot from the EDL LGBT Division’s Facebook page, in which one EDL supporter advocated a sexual assault on Expose admin Darcy Jones. A denunciation of “these muslim dogs and the liberal garbage who protect them”, was followed by: “Let them rape Darcy. She likes these dogs so much.”

Hughes’ response was: “Well my cousin’s mate was raped and she said it wasn’t THAT bad. She didn’t like it but said it wasn’t as bad as when she got beaten up by a gang of Muslims.” Quite rightly, the comment was almost immediately removed, but not before Expose had taken a screenshot which can be viewed here. You’ll notice, by the way, that Hughes had adopted the National Front logo as his profile picture.

During the past week Harry’s Place has been making hay over the Socialist Workers Party’s failure to deal properly with an accusation of rape against one of its leading figures. Before that, HP attacked George Galloway over his remarks trivialising the rape charges against Julian Assange. So you might think that, in all consistency, they would have to sever links with Hughes over his own reprehensible views on sexual violence and cease crossposting articles from his Islamic Far-Right in Britain blog.

But, again, this would almost certainly be a mistaken assumption. If you’re prepared to assist in the witch-hunting of Muslim organisations, then you can announce your admiration for a violent hooligan, express atrocious antisemitic views, declare your support for a street movement of anti-Muslim thugs, claim that being raped isn’t such a bad experience after all, and you’ll probably get a free pass from Harry’s Place. They’ll put it all down to your skittish personality.

Robert Spencer: Muslim Appointees Deserve Special Loyalty Test (Video)

Faith in Public Life (FPL) just interviewed Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer.  I’ve reproduced their excellent article below, which is where you can see the video yourself.  In it, Spencer endorses a special loyalty test for Muslims:

FPL: Do you think Muslim appointees to office deserve a special test or a special kind of investigation before they are appointed?

Spencer: Well, I think it’s entirely reasonable.

In light of the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is, in its own words, dedicated to eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house, then certainly any Muslim official that [sic] has ties to the Brotherhood organizations in the United States–of which there are very many–should be vetted very carefully.

FPL: So you think any Muslim that is appointed should be investigated for any of those ties before they are appointed?

Spencer: Yes, certainly.

FPL also points to Robert Spencer’s double standards and hypocrisy when it comes to Islam and his own religion, Christianity (specifically, Catholicism).  Those of you familiar with my writing know that whenever I point this out, Spencer starts crying “tu quoque, tu quoque fallacy!”  That’s because his own religion can’t withstand the same standard he applies to Islam.

FPL asked Spencer if he found it problematic when Muslims called themselves “Muslims first, Americans second.”  Spencer responded emphatically in the affirmative, saying: “It’s a big problem.”  Then, FPL asked Spencer if he himself was American first or a Christian first.  Spencer was caught off-guard and tried to evade answering the question.  When FPL pushed him further on the issue, he refused to answer the question, saying: “Neither one.” Then, he finally admitted that he in fact placed his faith first, even above American law.

Anybody see the glaring hypocrisy here?  It’s in fact the same double standard applied by pro-Israel Islamophobes who attack American Muslims for having “dual loyalty” to their ancestral homelands and “the Ummah”, when in fact they themselves have “dual loyalty” to America and Israel, often placing the latter’s interests above the former.

Spencer tries to justify his double standard by arguing that Christianity “isn’t incompatible with the constitutional freedoms” whereas Islam is “is manifestly incompatible” with them.  In other words, it simply hasn’t been an issue with his Christianity.

Yet, Spencer contradicts himself in the very next sentence:

FPL: So would you describe yourself as an American first and a Christian second, or Christian first and American second?

Spencer: Neither one.  I think it’s a distinction when it comes to Christianity that thus far, there has not been a problematic issue of allegiance. If it comes down to the new Obama directives with the Catholic Church, for example, forcing it to go back on its own policies and its own doctrine…then obviously those are unjust laws that ought not to be passed.

Spencer is here alluding to the issue of abortion.  It should be noted that “the Supreme Court ruled that women had a constitutional right to abortion”, yet Catholics like Robert Spencer want to deny this right to women.  Isn’t this exactly the sort of conflict that Spencer found to be “a big problem” when it comes to Muslims?  Isn’t this, using Spencer’s own standard, “a problematic issue of allegiance” between Catholic doctrine and the Constitution?

But remember: don’t dare apply the standard Spencer does to Islam to his own religion!  Only a leftist dhimmi would do that!

Here is the article:

Robert Spencer’s Double-Standard on Religious Freedom

Anti-Muslim activists often complain that Muslims living in this country don’t effectively assimilate into American culture, that they consider themselves Muslims first and Americans second. Despite the fact that polling has found that Muslim Americans are actually the most loyal religious group in the nation – 93 percent of Muslim Americans say they are loyal to America, and Muslims have the highest confidence in the integrity of the US election process – far-right pundits continue to further the myth that Muslims lack commitment to this country because their faith puts them in conflict with constitutional law.

In fact, the concept of prioritizing faith principles before the law is not unique to Muslims. Prominent Christian figures such as Pat Robertson have publicly remarked that they consider themselves Christians first and Americans second. Perhaps even more telling is the extent to which the current contraception mandate controversy is dominating the political conversation, with some Catholic leaders suggesting they would shut down their hospitals and schools or perform civil disobedience instead of complying with a law they believe conflicts with their faith.

At the recent CPAC conference here in Washington, Nick interviewed prominent anti-Islam activist Robert Spencer and found this exact double standard. Spencer criticizes Muslims for prioritizing Islam over US law, while going on to say he would put his Christian faith first in a situation where Christianity came into conflict with the law:

FPL: A lot of people point to polls that Muslims in various countries suggest that they’re Muslims first and then loyal to that country second – American second, or Spanish second. Do you think that’s a problem and are you worried about that?

Spencer: It’s a big problem, and it’s something that has to be taken into account…when it comes to Islamic law and the constitution, there are many, many ways in which Islamic law contradicts the constitutional freedoms. Then if somebody has a loyalty to Sharia, to Islam first, then that’s very problematic.

FPL: And would you describe yourself as American first, or as a person of faith first?

Spencer: I’m an American and a person of faith. And I believe that my faith, as a Christian, isn’t incompatible with the constitutional freedoms. But Islamic law is manifestly incompatible with constitutional freedoms.

FPL: So would you describe yourself as an American first and a Christian second, or Christian first and American second?

Spencer: Neither one. I think it’s a distinction when it comes to Christianity that thus far, there has not been a problematic issue of allegiance. If it comes down to the new Obama directives with the Catholic Church, for example, forcing it to go back on its own policies and its own doctrine…then obviously those are unjust laws that ought not to be passed.

FPL: So if there was a conflict between your faith and the law, you would choose your faith?

Spencer: Yeah.

The hypocrisy is apparent. If conservatives are concerned with religious liberty, then that liberty ought to be applied to faith traditions across the board, including Islam. At the same conference, conservative paragon Grover Norquist made this same point (around the 2:42 mark):

FPL: So do you think it harms the conservative argument for religious liberty…when [Republican candidates] have previously expressed some similar concerns to extending this [liberty] to Muslim Americans?

Norquist: You can’t be for religious liberty for some people and not others, or the whole thing falls apart. No one in court is going to rule that way. The court will either go with, yes you can ban synagogues, mosques, missionaries and Catholic hospitals– or you can’t do any of that…I’ve noticed that all faith traditions recognize that an attack on one is an attack on all.

As Norquist points out, Spencer’s duplicitous arguments about Islam fall flat. When it comes to religious freedom, the far right cannot have its cake and eat it too.

Iran: Yet Another Case Study in Robert Spencer’s Hypocrisy and Double Standards

JihadWatch’s Robert Spencer just posted an article with the following title:

How to Eliminate Israel from the Planet: Iran promotes genocidal book by Muslim seminarians, published by Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance

He’s taking exception to an anti-Israeli book supposedly written by some religious students in Iran, called “How to Eliminate Israel from the Planet.”  Spencer calls this a “genocidal book.”

This is why LoonWatch exists.  We’ve been documenting what loons like Robert Spencer say so that we can pull Jon Stewart moves like the one I am going to pull now…

The reader is referred to Robert Spencer’s post in March 2010 wherein he promoted a “genocidal video” calling for “wiping Pakistan off the map” and nuclear annihilation of Pakistan:

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer: Wipe Pakistan Off the Map

And my article on the topic back then:

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller Promote Video by Militant and Genocidal Group

When Iranians/Muslims call to “wipe Israel off the map” or “eliminate Israel from the planet”, then it is a “genocidal book” and all freedom-loving people must be outraged by this.  When anti-Muslim extremists call for the same against Muslims, then that’s a “genocidal freedom-loving video” that all freedom-loving people must support.  As George Orwell put it: “Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them.”

(Image at the top of the page comes from an earlier article exposing Robert Spencer: LoonWatch Exclusive: Robert Spencer’s “f**kallah.com” & “f**kislam.com”)

Terrorists Not Muslim?…Then “Police Blotter Bob” Doesn’t Care

I am sure that “Police Blotter Scholar” Robert Spencer was salivating at the news: Parcel blasts occurred at two embassies in Rome. I’m sure he was quick to type up a long screed on his hate site about how Muslims are a threat, that Islam is all about “jihad” and violence, that all Muslims are radicals and if they are not, they are lying to you…etc, etc. I mean, what a perfect, mouthwatering scenario for Spencer: Muslim terrorists attack the capital of Catholic Christianity! Why, I bet his keyboard was soaked with his saliva!

But, it must have all come to a screeching halt when it was learned that the terrorists behind the attacks were “Anarchists-insurrectionists”:

An Italian anarchist group said it was behind the attacks in a note found on the clothing of the injured Chilean.

The message, written on behalf of the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI), said: “We have decided to make our voice heard with words and with facts, we will destroy the system of dominance, long live the FAI, long-live Anarchy.”

The Italian intelligence services said in a report to parliament last year that the FAI was “the main national terrorist threat of an anarchist-insurrectionalist type”.

In fact, according to the BBC article:

Responding to Thursday’s blasts, the Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, said: “It’s a wave of terrorism against embassies, something much more worrisome than a single attack.”

The terrorists in this case are not Muslim, and thus it explains why Robert Spencer has no mention of the attacks on his hate site. You see, news such as this does not fit into Spencer’s narrative about Islam’s evil, its violence, its threat to the West, and so on. Thus, he simply omits the evidence that refutes his hypothesis. Why, how scholarly of him!

Robert Spencer Downplays Right Wing Extremist Threat

Loonwatchers, please welcome Inconnu to the team of authors on Loonwatch.

As his arguments become exposed, so does he.

As his arguments become exposed, so does he.

It is baffling how Robert Spencer downplays the fact that members of a Christian militia group, the Hutaree, were arrested and charged with planning to wage ware against the United States. In his post, he writes:

For years now we have heard, in the indelible formulation of Rosie O’Donnell, that “radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam,” and yet proponents of this exercise in wishful thinking and ignorance have had precious little evidence to adduce in support of it. But now it is certain that for years to come this Hutaree group will be thrown in the face of anyone who takes note of jihad activity in the United States and around the world, as if this group in itself balances and equals the innumerable Islamic groups that are waging armed jihad all around the world today.

This is in direct contrast to the report issued by the Department of Homeland Security that documented the rise of right-wing extremism, one which many right-wing commentators attacked vigorously. The much maligned DHS report was recently corroborated by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups in the United States. Clearly, the intelligence and data has led authorities to believe that there is real reason to be concerned about these groups, but Spencer pays it no mind because they are not Muslims.

But, he bemoans the fact that there are no quotations in media reports from Christian leaders denouncing this Christian militia:

Meanwhile, in the Detroit News story on the raids, which as tendentious, superficial, and slanted as all the mainstream media coverage of the Hutaree’s downfall, the Hutaree is matter-of-factly identified as Christian. Yet there are no quotations in the story from Christian leaders explaining how they condemn this “Christian militia,” and saying that Christianity doesn’t condone such violence, and that these militiamen have twisted and hijacked their peaceful faith. Why didn’t the News take care to gather such quotes? After all, they always include such quotes from Muslim leaders in every story about Islamic jihad terror activity. Why is the practice different in this case?

The reason for this is that most everyone knows, including us here at LW, that the actions of a radical few do not reflect upon the nature of the majority. These alleged “Christian soldiers” do not represent the mainstream. We here at LW know that. Most resonable people understand this basic fact.

We here at LW know that the actions of a few pedophile priests do not reflect upon the overwhelming majority of the good people who are Catholic priests, men who have sacrificed a great deal to minister to their flock. Would it be right and proper to smear all of Catholic Christianity with the stain of pedophilia and sexual abuse because of the actions of a relatively small number of priests? Of course not. We here at LW know this.

Spencer, however, does not share such logic. He continually cherry picks bad news stories from among the 1.2 billion Muslims in the world to somehow smear the entire group. Notice how he calls the Hutaree a “self-proclaimed Christian group,” which they are, to dismiss them. But, when a self-proclaimed Muslim group does something bad, according to Spencer, Geller, and Co., it is because of Islam itself. What fallacy.

Spencer calls the Hutaree, a group that allegedly planned on killing a cop and then bombing the funeral to kill more cops, a “dream come true” for the mainstream media. Actually, this group (and the others like them) is a nightmare come true. They must be fought against with as much vigor as is needed in the fight against radical Muslims who wish to do Americans harm.

Is Robert Spencer Captain Oblivious? A Case Study in His Epic Double Standards

Hat tip: HGG

Hat tip: HGG

I’m absolutely no fan of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Unlike the neocon nutter Daniel Pipes who said that he was “rooting for Ahmadinejad,” I was praying for the opposition to win.  But I must always speak the truth, and therefore object to (the fraudulent liar) Robert Spencer’s absolutely deliberate misquoting of the Iranian president.  Spencer just published an article which he entitled as follows:

Ahmadinejad: “With God’s grace,” Israel “will be annihilated.”

In fact, Ahmadinejad did not say that.  The proof is in the news article Spencer himself linked to, which claims that the Iranian president said: “With God’s grace, this [Israeli] regime will be annihilated.”   A world of a difference.  Isn’t it the neocons themselves who call for the toppling of regimes in the Arab and Muslim majority world?  Isn’t it Spencer himself who calls for this, in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and even Iran?  So it’s ok to call for it against Muslim regimes, but not “Judeo-Christian” Western ones?

This deliberate misquoting of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cannot be a mistake, because Robert Spencer–being the global expert of the Islamic world that he is–must be well aware of the now famous misquoting of Ahmadinejad in 2005; the Huffington Post reported:

As the Bush Administration beats the drums for another war of choice with another country that had nothing to do with 9/11, they are using another series of fabricated facts to indoctrinate the American people into thinking that Iran poses a serious threat to our security. At the core of these fabrications is the claim that on October 25, 2005, during a speech at the Ministry of Interior conference hall, the then newly-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remarked that “Israel must be wiped off the map.” As someone who was born in Tehran, lived there for seventeen years and is a native Farsi speaker, I have read the original transcripts of the speech in Farsi and want to inform you that Ahmadinejad never said “Israel must be wiped off the map,” but rather, his statement was grossly mistranslated and taken out of context, perhaps to help make a case for military action against Iran.

Let’s analyze what Ahmadinejad said. His exact words in Farsi were as follows: “Emam goft een rezhim-e eshghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzegar mahv shavad.”

The correct translation of the statement is as follows: “Imam said this occupying regime in Jerusalem must vanish from the page of times.”

And the word-to-word translation of the statement is as follows: Emam: Imam (Khomeini, leader of the 1979 revolution); Goft: said; Een: this; Rezhim-e eshghalgar: occupying regime; Qods: Jorusalem; Bayad: must; Az: from; Safheye: page of; Ruzegar: times; Mahv shaved: vanish.

Coming back to the recent quote reproduced by Spencer, Ahmadinejad obviously didn’t say for Israel to be annihilated.  The fact that he specifically used the term regime indicates that he absolutely was not calling for that.  This much you can tell just from reading the article that Spencer himself cited.  As for the news article itself, I wonder how accurate their translation is; did he really call for the regime’s annihilation or its elimination (a much less loaded term)?

Anyways, moving beyond Robert Spencer’s deliberate misquoting (which shows how truly fraudulent this man is), there is an even more glaring issue here.  Even if we pretend that Mahmoud Ahmedinejad called for the annihilation of Israel (which he didn’t), then what about the hate video that Robert Spencer just promoted on his website, where a Hindu extremist calls for the annihilation of Pakistan–to wipe it off the map?  It’s almost the exact same words as Spencer attributes to Ahmedinejad!  And this is in the translation that Spencer himself put up.  It is truly unbelievable how oblivious Spencer is to his profound double standards.  Or perhaps he is not oblivious at all (which is actually more likely), and just hopes that nobody important (aside from his loyal Islamophobic fan base) sees through his thin veneer of hate, bias, and double standards?

The brainwashed extremist girl declares:

…Soon our whole nation [of Hindustan] will rise.  When our people rise up, it will be very difficult for you [Pakistanis].  It will be disastrous for every inch of your land…Kashmir will continue to exist, but not Pakistan.  Who [amongst you] will voice such concerns?  Who will show the braveness to use the atom bombs we have [against Pakistan]?  Ask them [the Indian government] who is going to use the [atomic] weapons we have?  Whom are they waiting for?  Don’t worry what is happening now.  History is where it is. We have the capacity to change the geography of the world [by wiping out Pakistan]…everything between [the Pakistani cities of] Karachi to Rawalpindi will become worthless…There won’t be any Pakistan!  If you continue to believe this, I assure you that Pakistan won’t be present in the world for long.

Notice how she goes way past anything that Robert Spencer just criticized in Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s speech.

And one can’t help but notice the absurdity of Spencer saying:

There just isn’t much that’s peaceful about the Iranian regime, but they expect us to believe the nuclear program is.

Earth to Captain Oblivious: you just promoted a video of a Hindu extremist advocating the use of nuclear weapons to absolutely destroy Pakistan and wipe it off the map.  You posted this only within the last few days, and we just published our article calling you out for this.   Maybe you should at least have waited a few weeks, with the hope that people would begin to forget the hate speech posted on your very own site.

What an absolutely unbelievable hypocritical fraudster Robert Spencer is.

(It should be noted that we here at LoonWatch are in no way, shape, or form insinuating that the extremist girl represents Hindus.  Clearly, she is part of a fringe minority of extremists.  Furthermore, I advise the readers not to be harsh with her; I’ve read some people calling her some pretty nasty things.  Calm down.  She’s only sixteen years old and brainwashed.  She’s probably never even seen a Pakistani in her life.  She wasn’t even alive when those events she mentioned in her speech happened.  It’s not her fault as much as those who indoctrinated her with this burning hatred.  I hope that one day, with age and maturity, she recants.  So go easy on her.  The true villains are those like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller who are grown adults and yet promote her immature words.)

Update:

A loyal reader of our site (hat tip: Zam) pointed out to me that the JihadWatch.org article against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was written by Marisol, not Spencer.  Nonetheless, it was posted on Spencer’s own site.  And we must assume that he approves of the message, since he has neither repudiated nor recalled the article.

More importantly, he has condemned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s supposed statement multiple times in the past, such as here where Spencer laments: “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared at a conference in Tehran entitled ‘The World without Zionism’ that Israel should be destroyed.”   Spencer entitles this article “Iran Calls for a New Holocaust.”  In fact, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad simply reproduced the words of Ayatollah Khomeini, just as Spencer reproduced the words of the Hindu extremist.

Of course, neither Ahmadinejad or the Ayatollah he quoted actually called for the annihilation of Israel or a New Holocaust (see Huffington Post article I referred to earlier); on the other hand, both the Hindu extremist and Spencer endorsed a call for a nuclear holocaust in Pakistan.  I’m sure Spencer condemns himself for that.

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer: Wipe Pakistan Off the Map

Robert Spencer with loon Pamela Geller

Robert Spencer with loon Pamela Geller

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer hosted a video of a young Hindu girl obviously inspired by extremists such as the fanatics who destroyed the Babri Mosque on their respective websites. (hat tip: Jack) In the video she calls for “wiping Pakistan off the map.” Does that sound familiar? Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer now have no right to complain about Ahamdinejad’s statements to “wipe Israel off the map” as it rings hollow and hypocritical as they are more than happy to entertain the destruction of a whole country when it is predominantly “Mooslim.”

This is the video that both Pamela and Robert hosted on their site:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Pamela Geller commented that: “Perhaps with an online Colb. (collaboration) we can run her for president in ‘16. She gets it.”

Robert Spencer remarks: “The girl is right: do not fear. Fight back against the jihad. Fear hands the jihadis a weapon.”

One thing that Pamela and Robert don’t seem to understand or care about is that this girl’s hatred is not limited to Muslims but it extends to Christians and Americans. At 24 seconds the video translates what she says as, “Tell those clerics, Pakistanis and Jihadis that you do not fear bomb blasts and acts of terrorism,” in fact what she says is, “Tell those clerics, Pakistanis and Christians that you do not fear bomb blasts and acts of terrorism.” A mistranslation that seems to have ironically gone right over the head of the “scholar” Robert Spencer and his lunatic buddy Pamela Geller.

Commenters on Geller’s site were enthusiastic, calling the girl a “natural-born leader,” “incredible,” “amazing,” “fantastic,” while a few of the more “restrained” commenters argued that while they were all for nuking Pakistan it wouldn’t solve the problem. The video drew little heated debate and exchanges on JihadWatch with the usual commenters fawning over her calls for the destruction of Muslims, while a few critical voices accused of “taqiyyah” pointed out the fact that Spencer was a hypocrite for hosting this video.

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