Sorry to be so repetitive, and I’ll leave it after this for a while BUT I was outraged at the BBC’s reporting of Israeli reaction to Desmond Tutu’s UN sponsored visit to Gaza the other day. Having given that smirking South African clown the opportunity to demonise the Jews for their treatment of all those poor entirely innocent Palestinians, the Israeli government was allowed to respond and rightly (too kindly, I would add) suggested that Tutu had been “mislaid” by Hamas as to the nature of what is going on in Gaza. In many ways had it been left there, one could have said fair enough but the BBC was NOT prepared to leave it there and so this morning on the pro-Hamas Today programme around 6.55 we had an International Professor of Law interviewed who had accompanied Tutu on his grand tour of Hamasland and she was allowed to have another go at Israel, with the BBC interviewer helpfully bringing up the issue of “war crimes”. Naturally, this time round there was NO opportunity for an Israeli rebuttal. The BBC is determined to ensure that Tutu’s anti-Israeli spin prevails and this is what was driving this anti-Jewish agenda this morning. The complete lack of any discussion on the sheer savagery that drives Hamas – elected by the moral degenerates that live in Gaza – is blithely ignored at all times. Still the Jews deserve all they get – right? – and the BBC is here to make sure they get it. We talk about BBC bias here but in a way this is worse – it is the serial demonisation of a people by the British State broadcaster and it leaves me angry.

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57 Responses to TUTU IN A SPIN – PART TWO.

  1. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    Well, I have been saying for many years that the BBC is antisemitic to the core. I have written to several DGs over the years and said this quite explicitly. The usual reply, from some assistant deputy vice nobody, has been: “Nonsense, some of my best friends are Jews”. So this is hardly a surprise.
    Angry? Doesn’t begin to describe it.


  2. Lemar says:

    I admit I overstepped the mark in my comments the other day but I entirely agree with David that BBC demonise Israel. It is very dangerous territory and if there are repercussions then BBC have themselves to blame. The BBC must be aware of what they say, it is debatable if they say it because they love radical Muslims or they hate Israel and the Jews. I sincerely but doubtfully hope it is the former. It boils down to a handful of individuals doing untold evil almost on a par with how the Nazis started in 1933 and we all know where that led.


  3. Greencoat says:

    So Desmond Tutu – that chirruping idiot – has been ‘mislaid’ has he?

    If only, if only….


  4. Infection says:

    Will there be no end to al-beeb’s terrorist hugging? I’ve already lodged a complaint about the World Service story at 4.15 this morning about the Dunkin’ Donuts advert cancelled in the US because the woman in it was wearing a black and white scarf that looked like the type of Arab keffiya a terrorist (my word, al-beeb said extremist) might wear. The announcer stated that a keffiya is widely worn by many ordinary people in the Arab world. But he then said, given a choice between a donut and a keffiya, he knew which he would prefer!
    The dangers of state-funded media!


  5. Bob says:

    No doubt the blameless Tutu will be giving sage advice on how to deal with the problem of immigration, based on the ground-breaking new methods practiced in his native South Africa. Holier than thou – you couldn’t make it up


  6. zamboy says:

    I don’t remember Tutu and the UN travelling to Israel after terrorist attacks on pizza restaurants and buses left hundreds of Israelis dead and wounded, nor do I remember the BBC inviting professors of international law onto the Today programme and bringing up war-crimes…mmm…how odd…

    The Desmond Tutus of this world are really just “useful idiots” for the thugs that rule Gaza. Tutu, like Nelson Mandela, is treated as if he had a silver halo around his head by the BBC and his words are met with such awe and reverence that anyone who might dare to have a different opinion must be an evil right-wing racist and islamophobe.


  7. libertus says:

    Tutu showed moral courage in the 1980s in resisting both apartheid and the murderous violence of the townships, and a certain political savvy in post-apartheid days in the ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ tribunal, but he has since risen far beyond his intelligence and ability, thanks to modern travel, media and money. The old man must enjoy the attention his words get abroad, as he seems powerless in stopping his own nation of South Africa going down the toilet in violence, corruption and ethnic hatred.


  8. libertus says:

    What I mean is, he is little more than a series of leftist talking points, overlaid with the sentimental moralism of a liberal Anglicanism that seems to mean less to him as he gets older. I’m sure he was a decent schoolteacher and parish priest but he has really little grasp of economics, history or culture (not ot mention theology). In other words, very useful for Hamas and Ahmadinejad in the clash of civilizations.


  9. Bryan says:

    Here’s some more evidence of the BBC’s long love affair with Hamas.

    Couple of years back on the World Service, Katya Adler and Lyse Doucet expressed their yearning for Hamas after its election victory like love-struck groupies who could barely wait for a rock concert. Here’s Adler on chief Gaza terrorist, Ismael haniyeh:

    It was his passion for religion that led him to Hamas


    His defining moment came when he became assistant to Hamas spiritual leader, the late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.


    So, here in Gaza he is seen as a modest man of the people. Yet Israel, the United States and the European Union regard him as a terrorist, or at least the leader of a terrorist movement.

    Of course, Adler herself doesn’t think there are any Islamic terrorists, especially not her hero Haniyeh.

    If that wasn’t sickening enough, on the same day on the World Service we had Lyse Doucet representing Hamas to a US Republican Senator. I picture Doucet bouncing up to him all bright-eyed and wearing a big rosette in Hamas colours:

    What Hamas says is, work with us, judge us by our deeds.

    [If I hadn’t recorded this and done a transcript, I wouldn’t have believed that even Doucet could have stooped quite so low.]


    The Middle East is where George W. Bush wants to see the march of democracy. Both the Iranian President and Hamas were democratically elected.

    [The good senator had thus far dealt firmly and barely politely with Lyse, but his response here was the cherry on the top for me]:

    Senator: Well, that’s true, but Hitler came to power democratically.

    Doucet: I think people in those countries would object to that comparison.

    [No, Lyse, they’d be delighted with it.]

    I Fisked Adler and Doucet here at the time:


    I have to warn anyone who intends to read further that they shouldn’t too soon after breakfast. Here’s yet another BBC terrorist groupie, Jim Muir, also from after Hamas’ victory in the elections:

    A more desolate scene would be hard to imagine.

    It was deep in the harsh winter of 1992.

    On a remote and barren hillside in southern Lebanon, scores of Palestinian Islamists from the West Bank and Gaza huddled against the freezing wind.

    They had been taken from their homes by the Israelis during the night without warning, simply bundled across the border into Lebanon.

    It is something Israel had done before without consequence.

    But this time, the Lebanese army decided not to let them in.

    There they were trapped in no man’s land, in the middle of nowhere, though the bleak hillside had a name that swiftly became famous around the world and passed into Palestinian history: Marj az-Zuhour, the prairie of flowers.

    But in that cold December, there were no flowers. It was a strange sight, these men of undoubted and bearded piety, standing in rows, bowing and prostrating themselves, as they went through their Islamic devotions among those empty hills.

    Stirring, poetic stuff. It almost tugs at the heart strings – until one realises that Muir is getting all whimsical and romantic here about the most savage of terrorist murderers, i.e. Hamas. This is not reporting. It is total ideological identification with terrorists with the sole intention of evoking sympathy and support for them. And it is a fine example of why the BBC is rightly held in contempt.



  10. Sue says:

    I woke up at the tail end of the interview with the international professor of law wondering exactly what new war crimes they were accusing Israel of today.
    Tutu is renowned for his attitude to Israel.
    A while ago Melanie Phillips included this in her column:

    Simon Deng from Sudan, a former jihad slave and now a human rights activist, wrote to Desmond Tutu:
    “The State of Israel is not an apartheid state. I know because I write this from Jerusalem where I have seen Arab mothers peacefully strolling with their families • even though I also drove on Israeli roads protected by walls and fences from Arab bullets and stones. I know Arabs go to Israeli schools, and get the best medical care in the world. I know they vote and have elected representatives to the Israeli Parliament. I see street signs in Arabic, an official language here. None of this was true for blacks under Apartheid in Tutu’s South Africa.”………………
    “Yes, the Palestinians are inconvenienced at checkpoints. But why, Bishop Tutu, do you care more about that inconvenience than about Jewish lives? …Slaughter and genocide and slavery are lashing Africans right now. Where are you for Sudan, Bishop Tutu? You are busy attacking the Jewish state. Why ?”

    No doubt many of you have seen it before. Fat chance of the Beeb picking up anything like that.


  11. rtypeleo says:

    to the arseholes at the BBC, impartiality means damning liberal democracies and baby-sitting for terrorists


  12. Bryan says:

    Sue, great comments from Simon Deng. But he’s wrong about one thing: Tutu was in fact wringing his hands in Sudan last year, along with such luminaries as Jimmy Carter and Graca Machel, Mandela’s wife.

    What did Tutu have to say about the situation? Not that it was an “abomination,” in which the international community’s “complicity and silence” was “shameful,” as he described Gaza, but only that he was appalled by the “unbelievable squalor” of living conditions for the refugees he visited in southern Darfur:


    Strange. I wonder what Tutu thinks about the slaughter of over 200000 of his fellow Africans in Darfur at the hands of the Jangaweed and directed and funded by the Arab government in Khartoum. No doubt he thinks of the killing of a handful of Palestinian terrorists by Israelis as far worse.

    Funny thing is, Tutu is a bit of a terrorist himself. He was one of the “leaders” of the “liberation” movement who whipped a huge mob of ANC supporters into a frenzy with speech after speech in a stadium near Soweto shortly before the end of apartheid. A section of the maddened mob spilled out into a nearby white area and dragged whites out of their homes and murdered them.

    I have no doubt that Tutu has not the slightest regret about that particular slaughter of innocents.


  13. gharqad tree says:

    Lemar “The BBC must be aware of what they say, it is debatable if they say it because they love radical Muslims or they hate Israel and the Jews.”

    I share your confuision. I can only provide the answer that friendship with a few BBC empoyees suggests to me:

    1) an absolute horror of allowing the mind to come near anything defined by the herd as “racism” – while failing to notice how utterly racist it is to accept and excuse murderousness and stupidity from non-white people.

    2) An absolute attachment to “progressive” causes – the belief that there is always virtue in violent struggle against a government and its armies, especially if that government is a friend of the USA. The underdog, in other words must always be morally right. The side with fewer weapons must have truth and justice on its side by definition.

    3) A hatred of British history. It’s-All-Our-Fault-ism. Except that in the case of the Middle East it seems to be only the one artificial country that we feel guilty over. Highly suspicious. I’m loath to fling accusations of anti-Semitism around normally, but the highly selective vehemence of the BBC portrayal of history and current events in the ME really does seem to leave us no other option. The BBC are fond of reminding us that our ploice forces can be “insitutionally racist”, so it’s no more improbable or extraordinary to suggest that a media organisation can be insitutionally anti-Semitic.

    And that’s not racist, because after all, the Jews are nearly white, like guilty old us, (except for the Jews who aren’t, but let’s ignore that for now – unless the white Jews are racist towards them and then we’ll mention them.)


  14. Jack Hughes says:


    George Orwell described your #1 as “crimestop”. This is when someone blocks off whole sections of their mind and refuses to trust the evidence of their own eyes.


  15. Rob says:

    I heard the interview with Tutu about the blackade of Gaza. I was wondering if he would be asked if it was a good idea for Hamas to keep firing rockets into Israel, but there must not have been time for that question.


  16. Phil says:

    I was wondering whether the Egyptian blockade of Gaza would be mentioned too.


  17. Sue says:

    Jack Hughes | 30.05.08 – 11:40 am
    George Orwell described your #1 as “crimestop”. This is when someone blocks off whole sections of their mind and refuses to trust the evidence of their own eyes.

    Is that what has afflicted the University and College Union? Or is their hatred of Israel and now Jews who support it just out and out antisemitism.?


  18. Lemar says:

    What is it that makes almost all intellectuals left wing? It has to be more than pure coincidence. Is it anything to do with “The more intellectual you are, the less you are able to rationalise between right and wrong” or to put it more simply. “You cant have everything in life. If you have a brilliant brain then the chances are you will not have any common sense”


  19. Anat (Israel) says:

    Lemar | 30.05.08 – 2:46 pm : ‘What is it that makes almost all intellectuals left wing? It has to be more than pure coincidence.’

    I assume it has something to do with 1968. That generation is now around 60, at the top of their profession, and bringing up a new generation after their own image. The same probably goes for journalists.

    But not all are like that. I can testify that many of that generation are no longer leftists, and many of the brightest students wouldn’t fall in for it. At least this is the case in Israel. I don’t know about Britain, but I guess that for every Ilan Pappe there is also an Efraim Karsh.


  20. Biodegradable says:

    I heard the interview with Tutu about the blackade of Gaza. I was wondering if he would be asked if it was a good idea for Hamas to keep firing rockets into Israel, but there must not have been time for that question.
    Rob | 30.05.08 – 12:17 pm

    Tutu did actually state his opinion on that, but the BBC didn’t think it worth asking about, much less quoting him faithfully.

    I commented on it here:

    He also urged militants to stop launching rockets at Israel.

    “We told Mr (Ismail) Haniyeh that firing rockets was a gross violation of human rights,” Tutu said, referring to the Gaza-based Hamas leader.

    But of course the BBC is more interested in accusing Israel of war crimes while sympathizing with those who violate Israel’s human rights.


  21. Albert the Cat says:

    Lemar, western intellectuals cleave leftwards due to the progressively more dominant Marxist and Marxism-derivative ideologies that have existed in our tertiary education systems for so long.
    Link that with the massive expansion of tertiary education, the growth of the mass media and state bureaucracies: Then you have a recipe for the situation in which we find ourselves.
    A situation where revolutionary ideology is now the ideology of the ruling political class – and where the BBC, which is after all an arm of the state controlled by this political class, spouts out its tax-supported drivel.
    Your point about common sense is an important and relevant one. Common sense from our point of view is the transmission of long-held cultural values, one function of which is to define us as a people. Or rather, DID ONCE define us.
    Lots of people who’ve done a British university social science course in the past twenty years or so would have heard of the denigration of common sense by using such minor witticisms as, “it’s not common and it doesn’t make much sense”, or variations on that theme.
    I believe that this is the basic attitude that inspires the ruling political class (of which the BBC is only a nasty symptom)in their hatred of the indigenous British people and their culture.
    We are really, really in trouble and I don’t think the problems can be solved by a future Conservative government. The problem is structural – like rust and dry-rot.


  22. ThinAndBritish says:

    Lemar: Most intellectuals are priviledged enough to be able to afford to be left-wing.


  23. Lemar says:

    Thanks for all replying to my query concerning ‘Why are academics left wing’

    Albert the Cat:
    western intellectuals cleave leftwards due to the progressively more dominant Marxist and Marxism-derivative ideologies that have existed in our tertiary education systems for so long.

    Are you implying that academics have been indoctrinated to become left wing?

    Anat (Israel):
    I can testify that many of that generation are no longer leftists, and many of the brightest students wouldn’t fall in for it.

    Are you saying that academics are not bright ie that indeed they have no common sense?

    Most intellectuals are privileged enough to be able to afford to be left-wing.

    Question: If this was the case then intellectuals that do not succeed should become right wing, is this so?


  24. Albert the Cat says:

    Lemar, to be honest I don’t quite know why leftist ideology was and is so attractive to intellectuals.
    Perhaps it’s because of an inability to come to terms with life as it really is – damn difficult most of the time for most people.
    They see inequalities plus the vagaries of good old human nature, and Marxism in its original form and the various off-shoot theories offer solutions – so they think.
    Interestingly Nazism, the kissing cousin of Marxism, was a major force in German universities during the 1920s. Nazis were well-represented among academic staff and students during this period, much more as a proportion than in the general German population as a whole. But of course, 50 million-odd dead largely discredited Nazism/Fascism among sane people.
    This left us with Marxism in its various forms and derivatives.
    I think the point is that people dream of a perfect world, and in their rather similar ways and methods Marxism and Nazism were internally coherent ideologies that seemed to offer a perfect world -“we only have to kill Jews/abolish capitalism and things will be nice.”
    Traditional moderate patriotism, true parliamentary government,our common law and our own cultural values haven’t been able to defend themselves against this 100 year old onslaught.
    And now we have Islamism – fundamentalist Islam influenced by both Marxism and Fascism/Nazism (see Bernard Lewis). Islamism is another ideology that offers relatively simple solutions to the world and for its adherents, is intellectually coherent.
    Now we can see largely inadvertant (but sometimes not so inadvertant)cooperation between our left-wing ruling class and another alien ideology that seeks our complete destruction.
    Sorry for taking so long here – I’ve just got a lot to get off my chest!


  25. jt says:

    i was unfortunate enough to catch a snippet on Today this morning talking about israeli tank shells hitting a pallywood village, and that it was against the “geneva conventions”. err.. it was a mistake – their tank shells were aimed at terrorists but fell short.

    funny how Hamas are never blamed for breaking the geneva conventions every friggin day with their rockets aimed squarely and deliberately AT israeli civillians.


  26. jt says:

    “Lemar | 30.05.08 – 8:19 am”

    bang on. and i’m not even jewish. if i can see it, and you can see it, who else can?

    isnt it staggering that the ONLY democracy in the middle east is constantly and daily attacked and lambasted by the BBC… whilst chop-chop square in Riyadh goes unnoticed.


  27. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    “Or is their hatred of Israel and now Jews who support it just out and out antisemitism?”

    It is, I have no doubt about it. It’s where Tutu comes from, it’s where the BBC comes from, it’s where UCU come from. Simple, old-fashioned antisemitism.
    I say this because I refuse to be bamboozled by weasel words. I refuse to buy the excuses. I apply Occam’s razor, and to me it’s crystal clear. As obvious as Kristallnacht.


  28. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    “Are you saying that academics are not bright ie that indeed they have no common sense?”

    From my many years in academia, I can assure you that many of them are not as intelligent as my cat, and have less common sense. An ability to play the system in academia and progress through the rank is, in and of itself, evidence of one thing only: low cunning and sharp elbows, to the degree exhibited by one’s individual position. Many are really bright, many more are simply thick.


  29. libertus says:

    The interesting question is why Tutu should have become antisemitic, since so many African Christians are actually judeophile and there is a kind of ‘Zionism’ in South African Christianity. I think he must have learnt it from the circles he moved in.


  30. jason says:

    The trouble with the left and hence the BBC is that they are part of a cult of thought in which a carelessly-perceived “underdog” must always be sympathized with and pitied. Situations like Israel/Palestine are treated as morality plays and viewed through a prism in which one side is always the overbearing aggressor and the other a weak, cowering pathetic baby with no means of defense against their evil oppressor. Empirical facts, rational morality or objective thought in general don’t come into it at all.

    Leftists are driven by their addiction to the feeling they get when they perceive themselves to be “sticking up for” the disadvantaged and downtrodden. If they can manhandle the facts of a situation into an “oppressed/oppressor” dynamic they will, because it gives them the raw material they need to indulge their addiction. They’re obsessed with the idea that they’re more caring than everyone else and exclusively privy to a higher plane of morality which the rest of us “just don’t get”.

    These feelings generally start in adolescence and I have a vague theory why this is so. At around the time when youngsters begin to court each other, certain evolved sexually-related behavior patterns begin to emerge. In my opinion, one of these patterns is an almost biological need to show prospective mates, among other things, their “caring side” – in order to present themselves as good parent material. It’s also a way of showing each other that they’re done with the childish “bravado” of youth and mature enough to show their emotions to each other.

    The trouble is that in some people, the trait tends to completely override their ability to make objective value judgments and they become obsessed with parading their empathy in every situation no matter what the facts. Most of us grow out of this phase – die hard leftists never grow up. They’re still trying to out-do each other in the “caring stakes” well into their 30’s, 40’s and beyond. Many will see the light at some point during their lives – which is why virtually all political conversions happen from left to right whereas the reverse is barely heard of.

    In the case of Beeboid and other liberal-elite types, this process of maturing often never happens because they immerse themselves in insular worlds and social circles in which the opposing views are almost never heard.


  31. jason says:

    With regards to the question “why are academics and intellectuals almost always left wing”, here is an interesting essay I found a link to on Mark Humphrys’ excellent website:


    And for those of you who haven’t yet come across Humphrys’ site, it’s a treasure trove of good political sense and truly golden material with which to beat leftists in arguments:



  32. Bryan says:

    libertus | 30.05.08 – 10:13 pm,

    Yes, there certainly are many black South African Christians who are pro-Israel. I don’t know if Tutu is anti-Semitic. I think he is rather a blind ideologue of the “struggle” with his ideas cemented in lefty, pro-underdog philosophy, as outlined by Jason above. I doubt that he had any difficulty with Jews like the ANC’s Joe Slovo, who was a committed communist, and I don’t suppose he objects to Ronald Kasrils, “Intelligence” Minister in the SA Cabinet and a rabid enemy of Israel.

    Er, well I guess there we have it. One would almost certainly have to be an anti-Israel Jew to be in Tutu’s good books.


  33. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    Yep, some of his best friends are Jews.


  34. Bryan says:

    Yes, the kind of Jews who deny the culture, history, religion and future of the Jews. The very same Jews that the BBC is so fond of unearthing to ‘balance’ its reporting on Israel.


  35. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    It is perfectly possible to deny the religion – I am an atheist myself 😉


  36. Biodegradable says:

    I thought you were going to say, “I am an atheist, thank God.”


  37. Bryan says:

    How can you be an atheist, NO. The fact that we have scroll bars to scroll past the trolls here is definitive proof that God exists.


  38. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    No, Bio. No chance of that.

    Bryan: it is proof of human ingenuity overcoming religious nuts.



  39. libertus says:

    Speaking as a religious nut (a Christian), I do not understand the point or rationale in claiming identity as a Jew while being an atheist, but I know there are countless counter-examples of this happening (Spinoza – probably, Marx, Freud, the faculty of MIT etc). I suppose there must be some deep subterranean pull going on.

    jason, you make an interesting suggestion about the genesis and development of political faith, and I relate a little bit to it myself from my own switch from soft-left (but always anti-communist) to moderate, sceptical conservative (an outlook more informed by religious faith than anything else). But I wonder how the BBC’s perennial hero ‘Che’ Guevara would feature in that process: an arrogant killer who professed love for the peons and for women, but abused peons and women alike.


  40. Biodegradable says:


    The Nazis drew no distinctions between practicing Jews, secular Jews, or even atheist Jews when deciding who to send to the death camps so why should we?

    Apostasy does not exist in Judaism, it’s not recognised. A Jew can renounce his faith, convert to another faith or none, but in Jewish law he (or she) is still considered to be a Jew, in pretty much the same way as a British subject may not renounce his or her status as a subject of Her Majesty The Queen.

    Finally, the Jewish mother tells her child, “don’t ever forget that you’re Jewish, but if you do don’t worry, the others will always remind you.”


  41. libertus says:

    “Apostasy does not exist in Judaism, it’s not recognised. A Jew can renounce his faith, convert to another faith or none, but in Jewish law he (or she) is still considered to be a Jew, in pretty much the same way as a British subject may not renounce his or her status as a subject of Her Majesty The Queen.”

    Not sure about that. I’ve heard Messianic Jews faced problems emigrating to Israel. Would a Falasha Jew who became a Christian still be a Jew? (I realise this conversation is getting outside the purpose of this site …)


  42. jason says:

    Libertus: leftists simply deny that Che Guevara, a man who shot a pregnant woman in the stomach at point blank range, was an arrogant killer who lived in the most plush (stolen) mansion in Cuba. Any such suggestion is just “right wing anti-Che propaganda”.


  43. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    Speaking as a religious nut (a Christian), I do not understand the point or rationale in claiming identity as a Jew while being an atheist

    It stems from the fact that the Jews are a nation with a history and culture that one can be a part of without choosing to believe in a religion.


  44. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    I’ve heard Messianic Jews faced problems emigrating to Israel.

    Well, one can’t simply declare oneself a Jew if one is (say) an American of Irish extraction who believes in Jesus. Why should this be possible?


  45. libertus says:

    NOx: I understand that this has happened, but the idea that one could be an ‘atheist Jew’ is historically quite recent (and shocking – recall how Spinoza was treated) because for most of their history most Jews have lived as a minority outside Eretz Yisrael and belief in Yahweh and the covenant with Moses was constitutive of Jewish identity and culture. The very defining cultural practices (food, law, marriage, circumcision, synagogue, sabbath etc) were supposed to be conditioned by the covenant (Torah). An agnostic or atheist Jew (like the communist father of a Christian acquaintance of mine) could only find these things odd, even irrational – which is why he never circumcised his son or kept kosher laws.
    Why can’t an Irish American believer in Jesus declare himself a leprecohen?
    You tell me. I’ve known a (very) few Judaizing Christians who believed that being faithful to the Messiah means adopting Jewish ways and festivals. Is a Messianic Jew a Jew? Is a ‘Jubu’ a Jew? Life is indeed messy.
    But I think this is way beyond the brif of this website.


  46. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    Why can’t an Irish American believer in Jesus declare himself a leprecohen?

    He can declare all he likes, but it don’t make it so. I can’t become an Irish Catholic simply by declaring myself one, can I? It doesn’t work like that.

    As to atheist Jews – relatively recent maybe, small numbers maybe, but we are still talking at least 80 years in Israel, so it does exist.


  47. Biodegradable says:

    Why can’t an Irish American believer in Jesus declare himself a leprecohen?

    Is that a deliberate typo?

    Actually one of my cousins, a Cohen, is married to an Irishman, a Murphy. Their children are Jewish, Cohen-Murphys.

    A Jew is any person whose mother was a Jew or any person who has gone through the formal process of conversion to Judaism.

    It is important to note that being a Jew has nothing to do with what you believe or what you do. A person born to non-Jewish parents who has not undergone the formal process of conversion but who believes everything that Orthodox Jews believe and observes every law and custom of Judaism is still a non-Jew, even in the eyes of the most liberal movements of Judaism, and a person born to a Jewish mother who is an atheist and never practices the Jewish religion is still a Jew, even in the eyes of the ultra-Orthodox. In this sense, Judaism is more like a nationality than like other religions, and being Jewish is like a citizenship. See What Is Judaism?

    This has been established since the earliest days of Judaism. In the Torah, you will see many references to “the strangers who dwell among you” or “righteous proselytes” or “righteous strangers.” These are various classifications of non-Jews who lived among Jews, adopting some or all of the beliefs and practices of Judaism without going through the formal process of conversion and becoming Jews. Once a person has converted to Judaism, he is not referred to by any special term; he is as much a Jew as anyone born Jewish.


  48. libertus says:

    NOx: ah, therein lies the enigma of Jewish identity: is it religious, biological, or defined by a liking for lox and bagel?
    You could become an Irish Catholic by emigrating to the ROI, taking out citizenship and joining the Church of Rome.
    However, if you were blessed with children there, they would be Irish (as Chaim Herzog was, IIRC), but unless they were baptised and brought up thus, they wouldn’t be Catholic.
    But if you were a Jewish woman (arrogantly I’ve assumed you’re a man; forgive me if I’m mistaken), would not your children be automatically Jewish? And would they cease to be Jewish if they declared themselves atheists? or Mormons? or Muslims? or Messianic Jews?
    OTOH, a Gentile can become a Jew if converted by an Orthodox rabbi.
    That’s why I find this business of identity so puzzling in a world of nation-states where religion is not supposed to be part of the definition of a citizen. I know this is problematic where the State of Israel is concerned, but I support Israel because it treats non-Jews infinitely better than anywhere in the Muslim world treats non-Muslims.
    I know many of the early Zionists were atheists (communists, even) and they were struggling against oppression in Europe by seeking a Jewish national homeland, and they have thrown their energies into that project, with great success. But for atheist Jews in the USA or the UK isn’t the temptation just to assimilate (as declining numbers suggest)? To which this religious nut replies: The Chosen People remain the Chosen People and always will.


  49. Jack Bauer says:

    Hey, did you ahout about the self-loathing Jew who went around telling everyone some of his best friends were Jewish!


  50. Biodegradable says:

    Jack, I bet you know the joke about the Jewish family who move to Belfast during “the troubles”?