Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years
By Israel Shahak. After decades of officially-sanctioned silence, many mainstream academics, both Jewish and non-Jewish, are talking more openly about Israel’s ideology, society and domestic policy.
To the author, a former professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a former inmate of Bergen-Belsen, the ideology of Israeli racial separatism and supremacy is unacceptable. Brief quotations from the Talmud are disturbing.
Drawing on the Talmud and rabbinical laws, Israel Shahak embarks on a provocative study of the extent to which the secular state of Israel has been shaped by religious orthodoxies of an invidious and potentially lethal nature.
Shahak, who came to Israel in 1945, posits that Israel as a Jewish state constitutes a danger not only to itself and its inhabitants, but to all Jews and to all other people and states in the Middle East.
Shahak, who was raised as an Orthodox Jew, condemns what he sees as discrimination against non-Jewish citizens of Israel. The real test facing both Israeli and diaspora Jews is the test of their self-criticism, which must include the critique of the Jewish past.
Most disturbing, Shahak insists that the religion, in its classical and talmudic form, is “poisoning minds and hearts.” This controversial attack of Israel by a Jew is bound to alarm Jewry worldwide.
‘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.’ Edward Said ‘Shahak subjects the whole history of Orthodoxy … to a hilarious and scrupulous critique.’—Christopher Hitchens
‘Dr Shahak’s courage in speaking out against the very foundations of the state of Israel, and his kindly, humane personality, have won him influential friends.’—Al Hayat
‘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.’ —Catholic New Times
‘His message gets to the heart of U.S.-Israeli relations. It is not only Jews who should read Jewish History, Jewish Religion, but Christians as well.’ —Middle East Policy
Softcover, 120 pages