Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Plus ca Change...Redux

I teach two related courses (every few years or so). One is entitled 'Judaism and Other Religions,' the other is entitled 'The War Against the Talmud and its Impact on the Text of the Talmud.' In both, I often have occasion to note that one cannot understand today's headlines without a background in Jewish-Christian or Jewish-Muslim relations. While the former is self-evidently true, given the rhetoric of Imams and Qadis around the world, the former case usually sees me citing radical, anti-semitic websites that continue the tradition of anti-Talmudic agitation.

No more. Today's Haaretz reported that:

The Moscow district prosecutor has ordered an examination into the Shulhan Arukh - a code of Jewish halakhic law compiled in the 16th century - to ascertain whether it constitutes racist incitement and anti-Russian material.The prosecutor ordered the probe against a Jewish umbrella organization in Russia for distributing a Russian translation of an abbreviation of the Shulhan Arukh.

So here it is again. Anti-Jewish agitation is being directed against Jewish religious literature in an obvious attempt to diabolize Jews. The report conmtinues:

Jerusalem sources following the affair said this is the first time since Stalin's regime that Russian officials have described holy Jewish scriptures as prohibited incitement.

That's true. It fails to mention, however, that anti-Talmud agitation has a long, nefarious history in Czarist Russia in particular (and Christian Europe, in general).

Plus ca change, plus ca reste le meme chose.

UPDATE: Yair Sheleg has a very good piece on the Russian action, in which he quotes Yisrael Yuval. Of equal interest, for those with strong stomachs, are the responses listed under Talkback.

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