Nonetheless, Weir having ignored our work is no reason for us to ignore her excellent research, or fail to offer our gratitude to her for courageously documenting the vile hate speech and anti-goyimite racism of Orthodox Judaism in general, and of the particular favorite of all Democrat and Republican US Presidents since Carter and Reagan — Grand Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson — the false (and quite dead) “messiah” of the powerful Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic faction, which is influential among “Republican family values Conservatives.”
Her report, reprinted here, “Why is the US Honoring a Racist Rabbi?,” originally appeared inCounterPunch magazine. It deserves the widest possible dissemination, study and discussion.
Weir misses two salient facts in her article, very likely for the innocent reason that she was not aware of them. These two points are worthy of mention and brief exposition:
2. Grand Rabbi Schneerson regarded Judaics who abandoned the Talmud to be grave sinners, and that against these sinners God sent an avenging angel by the name of Adolf Hitler. “…the Holocaust was divine punishment for Jewish assimilation, intermarriage and the emergence of liberal streams of Judaism, such as the Reform movement, that do not accept traditional Judaic religious strictures. ‘The minority of the righteous undergo the tribulations sent because of the sinful majority,’ wrote Avigdor Miller, a popular ultra-Orthodox rabbi…” (Paul Berger). In our book Judaism’s Strange Gods we document Grand Rabbi Schneerson’s secret teaching of Hitler as having been heaven-sent.
If things proceed normally, President Barak Obama will soon proclaim
April 11, 2014 “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.” Despite the innocuous name, this day honors the memory of a religious leader whose lesser-known teachings help fuel some of the most violent attacks against Palestinians by extremist Israeli settlers and soldiers.
The leader being honored on this day is Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, charismatic head of a mystical/fundamentalist version of Judaism. Every year since 1978, a Presidential Proclamation, often accompanied by a Congressional Resolution
(the 1990 one had 219 sponsors
), has declared Schneerson’s birthday an official national day of observance.
Congress first passed a Resolution honoring Schneerson in 1975
. Three years later a Joint Congressional Resolution
called on President Jimmy Carter to proclaim “Education Day, U.S.A.” on the anniversary of Schneerson’s birth. The idea was to set aside a day to honor both education and the alleged educational work of Schneerson and the religious sect he headed up.
Carter, like Congress, dutifully obeyed the Schneerson-initiated
resolution, as has every president since. And some individual states are now enacting their own observances of Schneerson’s birthday, withMinnesota
leading the way.
Schneerson and his movement are an extremely mixed bag.
Schneerson has been praised widely for a public persona
and organization that emphasized “deep compassion and insight
,” worked to bring many secular Jews “back” into the fold, created numerous schools around the world, and had offered
, in the words of the Jewish Virtual Library, “social-service programs and humanitarian aid to all people, regardless of religious affiliation or background.”
However, there is also a less attractive underside often at odds with such public perceptions. And some of the more extreme parts of Schneerson’s teachings – such as that Jews are a completely different species than non-Jews, and that non-Jews exist only to serve Jews – have been largely hidden, it appears, even from many who consider themselves his followers.
As we will see, such views profoundly impact the lives of Palestinians living – and dying – under Israeli occupation and military invasions.
Who was Rabbi Schneerson?
Schneerson lived from 1902 to 1994 and oversaw the growth of what is now the largest
Jewish organization in the world
. The religious movement he led is known as “Chabad-Lubavitch
,” (sometimes just called “Lubavitch” or “Chabad
,” the name of its organizational arm). Schneerson was the seventh and final Lubavitcher “Rebbe” (sacred leader). He is often simply called “the Rebbe.”
Founded in the late 1700s and originally based in the Polish-Russian town of Lubavitch
, it is the largest of about a dozen forms of “Hasidism,” a version of Orthodox Judaism connected to mysticism, characterized by devotion to a dynastic leader, and whose adherents often wear distinctive clothing. (Spellings of these terms can vary; Hasid is also written as Hassid, Chasid, etc.)
There is an extreme cult of personality focused on Schneerson himself. Some followers consider him the Messiah
, and Schneerson himself reportedly
sometimes implied this was true. Some Lubavitch educators consider him divine, making such claims
as, “the Rebbe is actually ‘the essence and being [of God] … he is without limits, capable of effecting anything, all-knowing and a proper object of worshipful prostration.”
While many secular Jews and Jews from other denominations
disagree with its actions and theology, Chabad-Lubavitch is generally acknowledged to be a powerful force
in Jewish life today. According to a 1994 New York Times
report, it is “one of the most influential and controversial forces in world Jewry.”
There are approximately 3,600 Chabad institutions
in over 1,000 cities in 70 countries, and 200,000 adherents. Up to a million people attend Chabad services at least once a year. Numerous campuses
have such centers and the Chabad website states
that hundreds of thousands of children attend Chabad summer camps.
According to the Times,
Schneerson “presided over a religious empire that reached from the back streets of Brooklyn to the main streets of Israel and by 1990 was taking in an estimated $100 million a year in contributions
In the U.S., the Times reports, Schneerson’s “‘mitzvah tanks’ – converted campers that are rolling recruiting stations whose purpose is to draw Jews to the Lubavitch way – roamed streets from midtown Manhattan to Crown Heights. And the Lubavitchers’ Brooklyn-based publishing house claimed to be the world’s largest distributor of Jewish books.”
Non-Jewish souls ‘satanic’
While Chabad sometimes openly teaches
that “the soul of the Jew is different than the soul of the non-Jew,” Schneerson’s specific teachings on this subject are largely unknown.
Quite likely very few Americans, both Jews and non-Jews, are aware of Schneerson’s teachings about the alleged deep differences between them – and about how these teachings are applied in the West Bank and Gaza.
Let us look at Schneerson’s words, as quoted by two respected Jewish professors, Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, in their book Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel
(text available online here
. This book, praised by Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, and many others is essential reading for anyone who truly wishes to understand modern day Israel-Palestine. (Brackets in the quotes below are in the translations by Shahak and Mezvinsky.)
Some of Schneerson’s rarely reported teachings:
“The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems from the common expression: “Let us differentiate.” Thus, we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather, we have a case of “let us differentiate” between totally different species.”
“This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world … The difference in the inner quality between Jews and non-Jews is “so great that the bodies should be considered as completely different species.”
“An even greater difference exists in regard to the soul. Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness.”
“As has been explained, an embryo is called a human being, because it has both body and soul. Thus, the difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish embryo can be understood.”
“…the general difference between Jews and non-Jews: A Jew was not created as a means for some [other] purpose; he himself is the purpose, since the substance of all [divine] emanations was created only to serve the Jews.”
“The important things are the Jews, because they do not exist for any [other] aim; they themselves are [the divine] aim.”
“The entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews.”
Most people don’t know about this aspect of Schneerson’s teaching because, according to Shahak and Mezvinsky, such teachings are intentionally minimized, mistranslated, or
For example, the quotes above were translated by the authors from a book
of Schneerson’s recorded messages to followers that was published in Israel in 1965. Despite Schneerson’s global importance and the fact that his world headquarters is in the U.S., there has never been an English translation of this volume.
Shahak, an Israeli professor who was a survivor of the Nazi holocaust, writes that this lack of translation of an important work is not unusual, explaining that much critical information about Israel and some forms of Judaism is available only in Hebrew.
He and co-author Mezvinsky, who was a Connecticut Distinguished University Professor who taught at Central Connecticut State University, write, “The great majority of the books on Judaism and Israel, published in English especially, falsify their subject matter.”
According to Shahak and Mezvinsky, “Almost every moderately sophisticated Israeli Jew knows the facts about Israeli Jewish society that are described in this book. These facts, however, are unknown to most interested Jews and non-Jews outside Israel who do not know Hebrew and thus cannot read most of what Israeli Jews write about themselves in Hebrew.”
In Shahak’s earlier book, Jewish Religion, Jewish History
, he provides a number of examples. In one, he describes a 1962 book published in Israel in a bilingual edition. The Hebrew text was on one page, with the English translation on the facing page.
one set of facing pages in which the Hebrew text of a major Jewish code of laws contained a command to exterminate Jewish infidels: “It is a duty to exterminate them with one’s own hands.” The English version on the facing page softened it to “It is a duty to take active measures to destroy them.’”
The Hebrew page then went on to name which “infidels” must be exterminated, adding “may the name of the wicked rot.” Among them was Jesus of Nazareth. The facing page with the English translation failed to tell any of this.
“Even more significant,” Shahak reports, “in spite of the wide circulation of this book among scholars in the English-speaking countries, not one of them has, as far as I know, protested against this glaring deception.”
Praised by Said, Chomsky, etc., Shahak is almost unknown today
This pattern of selective omission, it seems, applies to Shahak himself, whose work is largely unknown to Palestine activists today, even though he was considered a major figure in the struggle against Israeli oppression of Palestinians, and his work was praised by diverse writers
While Shahak was alive, Noam Chomsky called him “an outstanding scholar,” and said he had “remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.”
Edward Said wrote, “Shahak is a very brave man who should be honored for his services to humanity … One of the most remarkable individuals in the contemporary Middle East.” Said wrote a forward for Shahak’s Jewish History, Jewish Religion.
Catholic New Times said: ‘This is a remarkable book …[It] deserves a wide readership, not only among Jews, but among Christians who seek a fuller understanding both of historical Judaism and of modern-day Israel.”
Jewish Socialist stated: “Anyone who wants to change the Jewish community so that it stops siding with the forces of reaction should read this book.”
The London Review of Books called Shahak’s book “remarkable, powerful, and provocative.” Yet, very few Americans today know of Shahak’s work and the information it contains.
American tax money & Jewish Extremism in Palestine
If they did, it’s hard to believe that Americans would allow $8.5 million per day
of their tax money to be given to Israel, where such teachings underlie a powerful minority that is disproportionately influential in governmental actions.
Nor is it likely that a fully informed American public would allow donations to religious institutions in Israel that teach supremacist, sometimes violent doctrines to be tax-deductible in the U.S.
One organization raised over $10 million tax-deductible dollars
in the U.S. in 2011 alone – removing money from the U.S. economy and enabling illegal, aggressive Israeli settlements in Palestine. And some of this money went to benefit individuals convicted of murder – including the murderer of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
The New York Times obituary on Schneersonreported
that Schneerson was “a major political force in Israel, both in the Knesset and among the electorate
,” but failed to describe the nature of his impact.
One of a sprinkling of writers willing to publicly discuss Shahak and Mezvinsky’s findings is Allan Brownfeld, who is less reticent. Brownfeld is editor of the American Council for Judaism’s periodical Issues and contributor to the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
“Rabbi Schneerson always supported Israeli wars and opposed any retreat. In 1974 he strongly opposed the Israeli withdrawal from the Suez area. He promised Israel divine favors if it persisted in occupying the land.”
Brownfeld reports that after Schneerson’s death, “[T]housands of his Israeli followers played an important role in the election victory of Binyamin Netanyahu. Among the religious settlers in the occupied territories, the Chabad Hassids constitute one of the most extreme groups. Baruch Goldstein, the mass murderer of Palestinians, was one of them.”
Another such Chabad Hassid is Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg (also sometimes written as “Ginzburg” and “Ginsburgh”), who studied under Schneerson in Crown Heights and who heads up a major Chabad institution in the West Bank. Ginsburg praised Goldstein, the murderer of 29 Palestinians while they were praying, and considers all non-Jews subhuman.