CHARGES OF ANTI-SEMITISM -
ARE THEY TRUE?
February 28, 2004
The Passion of the Christ has created an amazing storm of accusations of "anti-Semitism" since last year. The only special interest group in America to hurl this hot button label has been Abraham Foxman and his associates from the ADL (Anti Defamation League); the pile on from Rabbi's didn't take long after that. This defender of the Jewish religion disguised himself and snuck into a showing of The Passion of the Christ before its official opening! This is true and would be laughable if not for such a serious subject matter as accusing someone of hating people of the Jewish faith.
As a matter of fact, Mr. Foxman has applied his arsenal of hot button labels to anyone who even questions the legality of the income tax! Yes, this is a fact and one wonders what on earth being "anti-Semitic" has to do with questioning the income tax? I would like to ask Mr. Foxman this question to his face and actually extended an olive branch to him regarding the recent WTP 2004 Convention outside Washington, DC, just so I could ask him. Unfortunately, Mr. Foxman didn't even have the common business courtesy to respond to my letter.
What is a Semite and what constitutes being "anti-Semitic"?
This is a very important question that needs to be answered - especially if pundits, journalists and religious leaders are going to throw it around like confetti. Mr. Foxman and other Rabbi's who have viciously attacked Mel Gibson’s movie make the accusation that Gibson is "anti-Semitic" and his movie will promote "anti-Semitism." For some reason, this label was never flung at Gibson until he made a "passion" movie that is very serious about the subject matter.
What then is a Semite? After checking various dictionaries and sources, this is the common definition:
1. A member of a group of Semitic speaking peoples of the Near East and northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians.
2. A Jew.
3. Bible. A descendant of Shem. According to freedictionary.com:
Sem`it´ic Noun1. Semitic - a major branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family
Afrasian, Afrasian language, Afro-Asiatic, Afroasiatic, Afroasiatic language, Hamito-Semitic - a large family of related languages spoken both in Asia and Africa
Akkadian - an ancient branch of the Semitic languages
Amharic, Ethiopian language - the dominant and official language of Ethiopia; a semitic language much influenced by the Cushitic language with which Amhara people have been in close contact
Arabic, Arabic language - the Semitic language of the Arabs; spoken in a variety of dialects
Aramaic - a Semitic language originally of the ancient Arameans but still spoken by other people in southwestern Asia
Canaanitic, Canaanitic language - a group of Semitic languages
Adj.1.Semitic - of or relating to the group of Semitic languages; "Semitic tongues have a complicated morphology"
2.Semitic - of or relating to or characteristic of Semites; "Semite peoples"
According to the web site:
http://mb-soft.com/believe/txo/semites.htm, Semite means:
"Semites are peoples who speak Semitic languages; the group includes Arabs, Aramaeans, Jews, and many Ethiopians. In a Biblical sense, Semites are peoples whose ancestry can be traced back to Shem, Noah's eldest son. The ancient Semitic populations were pastoral Nomads who several centuries before the Christian Era were migrating in large numbers from Arabia to Mesopotamia, the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, and the Nile River delta. Jews and other Semites settled in villages in Judea, southern Palestine.
"Present day speakers of Semitic languages are as diverse in physical, psychological, cultural, and sociological characteristics as are speakers of Indo European languages. The most prominent Semites today are Arabs and Jews. They are different in many ways, and they have absorbed a variety of European traits through centuries of migration and trade. The origin of Semitic languages, however, and many similarities in the stories of Islam and Judaism reflect a common ancient history."
Further research shows that about 12 percent of Muslims worldwide are Arabs. As an example, there are more Muslims in Indonesia than in all Arab countries combined. India, Iran, other parts of East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have large populations of Muslims. Islam has a strong Arab flavor, though, as the religion's holiest places are in the Middle East, and the Quran was originally written in Arabic. Islam is the religion, a Muslim is a follower of the religion.
According to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia’s web site:
"On September 23, 1932, the country was named the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as an Islamic state, with Arabic designated as the national language and the Holy Qur'an as its constitution."
How about Ethiopia? They are part of the Semitic speaking peoples, yet that country is quite diverse:
"The majority of Ethiopian believers are Christian, with a large Muslim minority. There are still a few small Felasha Jewish communities in Ethiopia, as well. Animists are rare in Ethiopia today." www.imperialethiopia.org/religions.htm
Studying all these definitions, it appears that there are many races who are 'Semitic speaking' peoples of different religions. Even though Semites can be Arabs, the official designation of Saudi Arabia is an Islamic State, not a Jewish state. Can one then conclude that if you're "anti-Semitic" you're anti-Muslim?
Anti-Semitic means being against the 'Semitic speaking peoples' of the Near East and northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians. One thing about doing research on any subject, at least to this writer, is that you learn and one web site that presents easy to understand facts about the subject of Semitic speaking peoples is: www.abyssiniagateway.net/in fo/bender.html. Everyone is encouraged to visit that site to get a better grasp of this subject matter.
According to these credible reference sources, Semites are peoples who speak Semitic languages; the group includes Arabs, Aramaeans, Jews, and many Ethiopians who may be of any religion they choose, they don't have to be of the Jewish faith. So, can we conclude that being "anti-Semitic" applies to anyone regardless of their religion who is of the family of Semitic speaking peoples? If that is the case, where are the representatives of other "Semitic speaking peoples" and why aren't they all over the stupid tube with the “anti-Semitic” chant against Gibson and his movie?
We have established that Semites are people who speak Semitic languages. How then does that make someone a hater of one specific religion, i.e. the Jewish faith an "anti-Semite" if the definition refers to people who speak Semitic languages? Yet, to listen to people like Mr. Foxman, one would be led to believe that anti-Semitic means people who hate the Jewish race.
I checked many web sites on the question: Is being Jewish a race? According to Lisa Katz:
"Being Jewish is not a race because Jews do not share one common ancestry or biological distinction. People of many different races have become Jewish people over the years. Is being Jewish a nationality? Being Jewish is not a nationality because Jews have been dispersed throughout the world for almost two thousand years. People of many different nationalities are Jewish. Is being Jewish a religious identity? Being Jewish means you are a part of a religious movement."
Mr. Foxman, et al, have screeched for months that The Passion of the Christ will incite “anti-Semitism” and violence against Jews. According to all the dictionaries and credible source references that I researched, this alleged future violence would also have to extend to all people of the Semitic speaking languages, regardless of their religion or race. When was the last time you heard of a rash of violence against Christian Ethiopians in these united States? After all, they are of the 'Semitic speaking languages' group.
What does the ADL fear about The Passion of the Christ?
There has been a moderate amount of publicity focusing on how many individuals involved in the making of The Passion of the Christ converted to Christianity as a result of the story of Jesus and his sacrifice for all mankind. The message in this movie is about forgiving and love and yes, that Jesus is the son of God. Apparently some individuals on the set were so moved by the message, they became Christians.
This message doesn't sit well with Mr. Foxman because those who practice the Jewish faith maintain that Jesus was just another prophet who came along and perished, end of story. This is and always has been the rub between Christians and those of the Jewish faith. It hasn't for this writer, because I believe everyone has the God-given right to worship as they choose, it's none of my business nor do I gang up on anyone for their beliefs. Each of us will know the truth on the day we face God for our judgment.
Mr. Foxman should not fear the message of The Passion of the Christ. Those who are true to the Jewish faith will remain Jewish and those who are true to the teachings of Christ (Christians) will remain faithful. Those of the Christian faiths, Catholic, Baptist and so forth, are not going to view The Passion of the Christ and then run out and do violence to anyone of the Jewish faith whether they are Arab, Ethiopian or born right here in America.
There has been religious bigotry in America long before Gibson's movie and unfortunately, there are stupid people out there who would engage in it without The Passion of the Christ. There might be a few nut cases out there who harass people of the Jewish faith following the release of this move just because it’s been so highly promoted as a "maybe" and are looking for any excuse. I would recommend Mr. Foxman conduct fund raising for the ADL against legitimate agitators against people of the Jewish faith and stop smearing Catholics.
As for the puffed up peacocks who write for publications like the NY Times of "all the news that's fit to fake" fame, take a break why don't you? The same goes for the mouthy curmudgeon, Andy Rooney, whose comments border on absurd silliness. I'm sure it must irk them to no end that their constant tirades against the movie have helped to make it a huge box office success and I'm certain that privately, Mel Gibson says thank you!
The Passion of the Christ is a movie made by a very skilled and successful Hollywood actor and director. Mel Gibson made and financed a project he says came from his heart and was meant to be a message of love and forgiveness. People from all religions ought to give Gibson the benefit of the doubt instead of buying into the cheap and tawdry fund raising tactics of Abe Foxman.
Is bigot the more appropriate label?
Bigotry is defined as "one who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ."
This entire smear campaign smells of bigotry by Abraham Foxman. Gibson is Catholic. Mr. Foxman has attacked me in the most putrid fashion without any justification whatsoever; I am Catholic. Mr. Foxman has attacked former IRS CID agent Joseph Banister in the same disgusting fashion without any justification whatsoever; Joseph is Catholic. While Mr. Foxman likes to mouth politically correct platitudes about promoting harmony between Christians and Jews, from what I have seen, I don't feel that his words come from the heart. What I see is a pattern of hatred against individuals who are Catholic.
If Mr. Foxman wants to accuse The Passion of the Christ as being anti-Jewish, he should just come out and say so with the proper label instead of flinging "anti-Semitic" as the one size fits all for anyone of the Christian faith who Foxman apparently hates - especially Catholics.
© 2004 Devvy Kidd - All Rights Reserved
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Devvy Kidd authored the booklets, Why A Bankrupt America and Blind Loyalty, which sold close to 2,000,000 copies. Has been a guest more than 1600 times on radio shows, ran for Congress twice and is a highly sought after public speaker. Devvy is a contributing writer for www.NewsWithViews.com Devvy's web site is: www.devvy.com; e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org