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Bush 43 Takes Heat for Raising Money for Messianic Jewish Group

There’s been a lot of uproar over the last week or so over former President George W. Bush headlining a fundraising dinner for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group whose entire goal is to convert Jews to Christianity. He’s taking a lot of heat from Jewish leaders over it, including from one of his own former advisers.

Of course Tevi Troy has heard the hubbub.

He knows full well that his onetime boss, former President George W. Bush, plans to speak Thursday at a Dallas fundraiser for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute – a group dedicated to converting Jews to Christianity.

“I have yet to meet a Jewish person who hasn’t heard about this,” says Troy, who served as a Bush administration liaison to the Jewish community and was a former deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The topic of conversion can prompt a visceral reaction for Jews whose darker times have been marred by persecution, expulsion and forced conversions. Millions have died for and because of their faith.

“There’s good historical reason for the Jewish discomfort,” Troy says.

But honestly, I don’t see why this is such a big deal. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to convert Jews to Christianity. I know that Jews, unlike Christians, rarely attempt to convert others to their beliefs, but that doesn’t mean doing so is wrong in and of itself (those beliefs can be wrong, of course). Trying to convert someone just means trying to convince them that they’re wrong and you’re right. Don’t we all do that every day on lots and lots of subjects? And there’s nothing wrong with it. As long as it isn’t coercive, why is it suddenly wrong in this one instance to make an argument to someone to convince them that you’re right?

Comments

  1. MikeMa says

    One objection is the targeting of Jews specifically. That seems to hit too close to historical travesties. Maybe if they targeted Semites rather than just Jews it would seem less threatening?

  2. says

    As long as it isn’t coercive, why is it suddenly wrong in this one instance to make an argument to someone to convince them that you’re right?

    Given the dishonest and blatantly manipulative — and, yes, sometimes bigoted and coercive — nature of such conversion campaigns, why are you so eager to EXCUSE this one instance? Why are you eager to brush off the clearly stated objections you quoted with no discussion at all?

  3. Taz says

    Can you imagine any politician speaking to a group whose avowed purpose was to convert people away from Christianity?

  4. barry21 says

    Having been raised Jewish, what annoys me about Messianic Jews is that they’re not Jews*. They’re Christians who adopt some of the trappings of Jewish observance in order to dupe people into thinking that conversion to Christianity isn’t such a radical switch.

    It’s a patronizing ruse.

    As for Bush: he got 19% of the Jewish vote in 2000, 24% in 2004. I don’t think he needs to worry about losing Jewish support.

    It also doesn’t seem plausible that anyone could have supported him through his nightmare presidency only to be turned off by an after-dinner speech.

    * A teacher of mine once put it this way: A Jew for Jesus is like a vegetarian for meat.

  5. doublereed says

    These groups have a lot of connections to the highly right-wing crazies of Israel-American relations. This is not innocent at all. Using Jews as pawns in your religious war against Muslims is pretty disturbing.

    And saying there’s nothing wrong with evangelizing Jews because they’re “just trying to convince people that they’re right” is a pretty ridiculous thing to say. You’re completely ignoring historical and social implications of evangelizing Jews, which obviously you cannot do. It’s like saying the N-word is “just a word.” You don’t get to ignore context.

  6. Alverant says

    “As long as it isn’t coercive, why is it suddenly wrong in this one instance to make an argument to someone to convince them that you’re right?”

    It was never “suddenly” wrong to lie to make your argument. It’s ALWAYS been wrong to lie to make your argument and that’s what the “Jews for Jesus” group is. I agree with the others that it’s also patronizing and insincere. The purpose of converting Jews is to fulfill Biblical prophesies to end the world and get christians into heaven. It’s not done out of respect for the people themselves.

  7. barry21 says

    Doublereed – I think your criticism of Ed is a bit unfair. Among other things, Christianity is a response to the perceived flaws of Judaism.

    How is it ridiculous for him to say that they’re trying to convince Jews of the validity of their beliefs? Aren’t they?!?

    And are Jews (or is Judaism) so fragile that they can’t withstand the same criticisms they’ve fended off for 2000 years? I don’t think so.

  8. says

    Trying to convert someone just means trying to convince them that they’re wrong and you’re right.

    If you really believe that any religious evangelism/conversion campaign was that honest and sincere, Ed, then we’ve all grossly overestimated your intelligence.

    I’ve been listening to Christians trying to convert people for as long as I can remember, and there’s nothing honest or well-meaning about any of them. The only such Christian who gets any pass from me is my dad, and that’s only because he knew it was all bogus, so he never really got his back into it.

  9. doublereed says

    The only reason why it’s unfair is because you’re not recognizing what these groups actually are. Stop ignoring context. This is not the same thing as atheists having conversations with religious people. Not even remotely similar.

    Ed, you know all those interfaith organizations that bring people together for a common good? These groups are the opposite.

  10. TxSkeptic says

    It’s not so much that they are lying to make their argument, or that they are trying to make prophesies come true, it’s this one specific prophecy they are trying to make happen that bothers me the most. Oh, the biblical version ain’t gonna happen because it’s prophesied, but when the movement has world leaders co-opted to help, I’m afraid they can make the man made version of it happen.

    We need world leaders trying to diffuse this situation, not encourage it.

  11. barry21 says

    I believe I DID recognize what they actually are in comment #4.

    I just don’t think that it follows that they shouldn’t do what they’re doing. They believe that Judaism’s ongoing rejection of Jesus is a failure. They set out to remedy it.

    Yes, they’re insincere. Yes, Christianity is wrong. But why in the world shouldn’t they try to bring Jews around to their beliefs?

    What context am I ignoring when I say that individual Jews can accept or reject their buillshit as they see fit?

  12. Pierce R. Butler says

    What’s so wrong about asking somebody in an elevator up to your room for a cup of coffee at 4 am?

  13. barry21 says

    TX, I couldn’t agree more with your last statement.

    That said, I don’t think Bush has the capacity to fuck things up more than he already has.

  14. dingojack says

    I know the analogy is hardly exact but:
    “But honestly, I don’t see why this is such a big deal. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to convert Jews gays to Christianity being straight. I know that Jews gays, unlike Christians, straights rarely attempt to convert others to their beliefs, but that doesn’t mean doing so is wrong in and of itself (those beliefs can be wrong, of course). Trying to convert someone just means trying to convince them that they’re wrong and you’re right. Don’t we all do that every day on lots and lots of subjects? And there’s nothing wrong with it. As long as it isn’t coercive, why is it suddenly wrong in this one instance to make an argument to someone to convince them that you’re right?”
    See anything wrong now?
    Dingo

  15. barry21 says

    Dingo – the analogy is not apt. Both Judaism and Christianity are voluntary systems of belief & practice. They’re ways to look at the world and prescriptions for behavior.

    I don’t see any similarity at all.

  16. says

    They believe that Judaism’s ongoing rejection of Jesus is a failure. They set out to remedy it.

    In other words, they’re acting on a bigoted belief that sees the continued existence of other beliefs as a “failure.”

    And more to the point, J4J are basing their crusade on certain snippets of the Bible that demonize Jews, in particular, for not playing along with God’s new rules and giving Jesus the support he was “entitled” to. And their campaign to convert Jews is, in its intended effect, a campaign to erase Jewish culture altogether, just as past evangelists intended to erase African and First Nations cultures. This is just another bigoted campaign to abolish another culture identified as being “in darkness.”

  17. says

    Both Judaism and Christianity are voluntary systems of belief & practice.

    Yeah, and everyone who mouths one or the other doctrine does so totally on their own steam, no manipulation, pressure or coercion of any sort ever, right?

  18. barry21 says

    Totally agree with most of what you say, Raging Bee!

    I don’t think the comparison to Africa or Aboriginal North Americans works, though. A big part of the awfulness of how those cultures have been treated is the HUGE technological and economic imbalance.

    The J4J can’t offer medical or financial enticements to Jews. All they can offer is their shitty belief system.

    I just think that they should be free to make that offer, just as Jews are free to reject it.

  19. says

    Furthermore, the fact that J4J is getting support from the same party that made mindless support for a Jewish state the centerpiece of their foreign policy, further proves how deeply hypocritical they and their supporters really are.

  20. doublereed says

    @barry21

    Raging Bee was obviously being sarcastic.

    Unfortunately my other comment has links that have to be moderated. But honestly you can look up information on how deceptive and crazy these groups actually are. Essentially you’re blaming people for getting scammed, rather than blaming the scammer. Not original. Not interesting. Not sensible.

  21. says

    A big part of the awfulness of how those cultures have been treated is the HUGE technological and economic imbalance.

    The religious justification was still a major factor in how the people with the better technology behaved.

    I just think that they should be free to make that offer…

    This isn’t about their rights, and you know it. You can’t justify J4J’s actions, so now you’re changing the subject.

  22. says

    Christianity is a response to the perceived flaws of Judaism.

    That’s a bit like saying the KKK was a response to the “perceived flaws” of black people.

    And besides, what you’re saying is factually wrong. The teachings of Jesus were a response to certain flaws in Jewish law and doctrine. But Christianity is not the same as the teachings of Jesus; and J4J is not the same as Christianity.

  23. says

    I don’t think Bush has the capacity to fuck things up more than he already has.

    It’s not just Bush Jr., it’s his party; and they have PLENTY of capacity to fuck things up. Why the fuck are you so desperate to minimize the issue?

  24. barry21 says

    RB – I’m sincerely not trying to change the subject. I guess we see things pretty differently, but please don’t swear at me.

    I don’t want to justify their actions. I’ve said time and again, they’re odious.

    But I do think they have a right to act that way. It’s not illegal, it’s just shitty. In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be Jews for Jesus (or similar groups).

    But comparing them to the KKK is over the top! First off, it’s impossible to change one’s identity away from being black. Not so with Judaism, which is a belief system. Also J4J aren’t blowing up synagogues or lynching. They’re just saying a bunch of dumb shit.

    Also – I believe that Christianity (as enunciated by Jesus, John, Paul and their successors) is inherently antisemitic. How could it not be? It takes the Hebrew Bible as its starting point, and diverges wildly. That in itself is a statement that Jews are missing a fundamental truth about the universe. Martin Luther wanted to punish Jews for it. The medieval Church DID punish Jews.

    But J4J are powerless kooks who are completely entitled to believe what they want and to say what they want.

  25. barry21 says

    Doublereed – I NEVER blamed Jews for getting scammed. I don’t think conversion is a scam, I think it’s trading one bad belief system for another.

  26. Pierce R. Butler says

    TxSkeptic @ # 15 – “derail”?

    Do you not see any connection between one socially beleaguered group which has explicitly requested no-”friendly”-harassment-please and another in the same circumstances, being pressured by disingenuous members of dominant groups with long-noted tendencies not to accept any answer but “I surrender!”?

    Well, perhaps you don’t. But then again, do you think my comment was addressed to you, or to our esteemed host?

  27. Pierce R. Butler says

    Raging Bee @ # 21: … the same party that made mindless support for a Jewish state the centerpiece of their foreign policy…

    Ahem. We have two such parties, haven’t you noticed? (Not counting the “3rd” parties, including “tea”.)

  28. cswella says

    Seems condescending to me, but then I’ve always thought that missionaries were largely condescending anyway.

    “Let’s send a group of teenagers with no actual useful skills to China to smuggle in bibles to tell a village that we have it all figured out.”

  29. says

    But I do think they have a right to act that way.

    Who here ever said they don’t? Why are you arguing a point that isn’t in dispute?

    But comparing them to the KKK is over the top! First off, it’s impossible to change one’s identity away from being black. Not so with Judaism, which is a belief system.

    That sounds like an excuse I often hear for religious, viewpoint, and anti-gay discrimination. It may not be your intent to justify religious discrimination, but you shouldn’t repeat such justifications for things you don’t want to justify.

    Also J4J aren’t blowing up synagogues or lynching.

    So fucking what? Not all Jew-haters worked in death-camps either. You don’t have to actually kill anyone to be a dishonest, manipulative bigot.

    Also – I believe that Christianity (as enunciated by Jesus, John, Paul and their successors) is inherently antisemitic.

    So why are you going out of your way to excuse this particular form of antisemitism?

  30. says

    Do you not see any connection between one socially beleaguered group which has explicitly requested no-”friendly”-harassment-please and another in the same circumstances, being pressured by disingenuous members of dominant groups with long-noted tendencies not to accept any answer but “I surrender!”?

    There is no connection, you stupid asshole. This is a totally separate and different issue from Elevator-gate.

  31. doublereed says

    I NEVER blamed Jews for getting scammed. I don’t think conversion is a scam, I think it’s trading one bad belief system for another.

    Trading one bad belief system for another through a scam. Through lies, deception, and degradation.

    You said:

    I just think that they should be free to make that offer, just as Jews are free to reject it.

    That’s blaming the person getting scammed. Seriously. You can make that argument for phishers, con artists, and ponzi schemers.

  32. says

    “Both Judaism and Christianity are voluntary systems of belief & practice. They’re ways to look at the world and prescriptions for behavior.”

    Yeah, except the KKKristians (and they’re the folks behind J4J) see teh GAY as a “lifestyle choice”.

    Trolling on this blog never really works out, troll.

  33. barry21 says

    Bee – I think we’re talking past each other. I see that you are talking about propriety and I am talking about rights.

    That said – I’ll respond to comment #32 and maybe we should leave it at that.

    I am not justifying things I don’t want to justify. I just don’t see that there is something inherently wrong with trying to move someone from a position they occupy voluntarily. I do believe there is something inherently wrong with going after people for immutable characteristics like sexual orientation or race.

    As for the so fucking what re lynching: so fucking everything! It trivializes the terrorism perpetrated by the KKK to compare it to mere speech.

    I have NOT excused the antisemitism. I have REPEATEDLY condemned it by calling it “condescending”, “shitty”, and “odious”.

  34. barry21 says

    Democommie –

    I am definitely NOT a troll. I’ve been reading Dispatches for years, I’ve met Ed twice (in fact we took each other’s pictures with Michelle Bachmann on Capitol Hill in 2007), and Ed has linked to my own (now defunct) blog from Dispatches.

    Perhaps you shouldn’t be so quick to attack me personally when you disagree with my beliefs.

  35. Pierce R. Butler says

    Raging Bee @ # 33: This is a totally separate and different issue from Elevator-gate.

    Elevator Guy was one harassing jerk, Messianic Jewish Bible Institute is multiple harassing jerks. World o’ difference.

  36. doublereed says

    Bee – I think we’re talking past each other. I see that you are talking about propriety and I am talking about rights.

    No one is talking about rights. I’m starting to think you actually are trolling now. People do have the right to be antisemitic.

    I am not justifying things I don’t want to justify. I just don’t see that there is something inherently wrong with trying to move someone from a position they occupy voluntarily. I do believe there is something inherently wrong with going after people for immutable characteristics like sexual orientation or race.

    And as we have repeatedly said, this is a dishonest and disingenuous description of what these groups do.

    Christian Privilege. You are talking like the religious discussions that you’ve had with christians and atheists and such are the only kinds of religious discussions around. Maybe you shouldn’t tell minorities what they should feel threatened by.

  37. says

    Bee – I think we’re talking past each other. I see that you are talking about propriety and I am talking about rights.

    So why are you talking about rights, when no one’s rights are in dispute here?

    I have NOT excused the antisemitism. I have REPEATEDLY condemned it by calling it “condescending”, “shitty”, and “odious”.

    So why are you going out of your way to make (lame) excuses for this particular instance of antisemitism?

  38. says

    Elevator Guy was one harassing jerk, Messianic Jewish Bible Institute is multiple harassing jerks. World o’ difference.

    The difference is FAR greater than that, in both degree and kind. And either way, if you want to talk about the latter, you should be able to do it without mentioning the former.

  39. Pierce R. Butler says

    Raging Bee @ # 43: … if you want to talk about the latter, you should be able to do it without mentioning the former.

    And our esteemed host, who doesn’t “see why this is such a big deal. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to convert Jews to Christianity.” should be able to recognize why an obnoxious organization pushing hard on a major sore spot (and enlisting a former President of the United States to abet that effort) does not realistically compare with some toothpaste commercial.

    Except in legality, a major theme around here but this time Not The Point.

  40. barry21 says

    Doublereed- It’s preposterous to accuse me of trolling when I AGREE with the blog post I’m commenting on. All this started because I said that I think Raging Bee was being a bit unfair to Ed’s characterizations.

    I am not being intentionally disingenuous or dishonest; I just disagree with you.

    As for “tell[ing] minorities what they should feel threatened by” – I trust you’re talking to someone else. If not, you’re making a wild mischaracterization of my statements.

  41. says

    Also, Pierce, comparing J4J to the Elevator-Guy misses yet another important difference: EG wasn’t really a harassing jerk — he acted like one for maybe a few minutes, and gave one woman cause for concern, but, fortunately for everyone involved, took no for an answer and buggered off (unlike way too many other guys who got involved afterword). Yet another reason why comparing him to J4J is wildly, ridiculously inappropriate. Seriously, what the fuck are you getting at here? Your analogy is like Hitler at an ice rink.

  42. doublereed says

    I am not being intentionally disingenuous or dishonest; I just disagree with you.

    I’m so confused by this line. Are you saying that you’re being unintentionally disingenuous and dishonest? You’re disagreeing with me about you being disingenuous and dishonest?

    As for “tell[ing] minorities what they should feel threatened by” – I trust you’re talking to someone else. If not, you’re making a wild mischaracterization of my statements.

    No, I’m talking to you. You’re saying that evangelizing Jews should not be considered threatening toward Jews or antisemitic. From a Jewish standpoint, that’s obvious BS. But from the privileged standpoint: “oh they’re just trying to convince you what they believe is right!” It’s actually laughable how dishonest that is.

    Yes, because Christians have always been so respectful to Jews when they proselytize to them. LOL

  43. Pierce R. Butler says

    Raging Bee @ # 46: … what the fuck are you getting at here?

    The insensitivity and cluelessness of our esteemed host. Would he express the same attitude about, say, an “ex-gay” ministry hiring Dubious as part of trying to convert gays?

  44. barry21 says

    Doublereed: You seem incapable of understanding that I hold my views in good faith; rather than attempting any sort of careful response, you persist in bringing the conversation back to my honesty and toss around some unexplained accusation of privilege.

    I know the presence of a redundant “intentionally” in my last comment has you “so confused”, so I’ll be as clear as I possibly can:

    Your unsupported opinions are not persuasive, and your approach to conversation is condescending. I realize that your impression of me is informed entirely by my statements that you disagree with, but I fail to see why you take that as license to be disrespectful.

  45. doublereed says

    I thought I just explained the privilege thing. It’s right here:

    Yes, because Christians have always been so respectful to Jews when they proselytize to them. LOL

    That’s called sarcasm. Yes, it’s condescending sarcasm. I’m glad you caught on to that part. You gave me plenty of license to be disrespectful, and just because you didn’t recognize it doesn’t mean I didn’t.

    “Unsupported opinions”? Dude, just look up what these groups actually do. I can’t link without it going through moderation. You just haven’t bothered to look.

  46. doublereed says

    He’s avoiding all the questions. Calling me unpersuasive and condescending is simply not what the discussion is about (and calling me condescending is just pointing out the obvious).

    Either way, I’ve probably already crossed some civility line, so I better move on from this conversation. Have fun, Mr. Bee.

  47. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @barry 21.

    I believe you hold your views in good faith, but let’s look a couple of those views.

    But comparing them to the KKK is over the top! First off, it’s impossible to change one’s identity away from being black. Not so with Judaism, which is a belief system.

    Just what Torquemada said! I totes think you’re on the right track here. Let’s read what comes next…

    Also J4J aren’t blowing up synagogues or lynching. They’re just saying a bunch of dumb shit.

    Ah, I see. So the inheritors of Torquemada who inflicted torture and terrorism with impunity no longer have the legal, social, and political power to do so, so now they just endorse the same anti-semitic ends using overlapping rhetoric, while claiming that, given the **means** they adopted to promote the extermination of the Jews, they are now totally saintly, b/c the end of the Jews won’t happen unless God wants it to happen.

    This is completely different from someone who is today in the KKK. Because while the KKK once routine inflicted torture and terrorism with impunity, they no longer have the legal, social, and political power to do so, so now they just endorse the same white supremacist ends using overlapping rhetoric while claiming that, given the **means** they adopted to promote the subordination of the anyone not white, they are now totally saintly.

    I have no idea how you could possibly compare J4J and the KKK. Completely, utterly, different.

  48. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The topic of conversion can prompt a visceral reaction for Jews whose darker times have been marred by persecution, expulsion and forced conversions. Millions have died for and because of their faith.
    “There’s good historical reason for the Jewish discomfort,” Troy says.

    But honestly, I don’t see why this is such a big deal. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to convert Jews to Christianity.

    You’re dead wrong on this one, Ed. No one said persuading people is wrong, they said it “can prompt a visceral reaction for Jews whose darker times have been marred by persecution, expulsion and forced conversions”.

    When someone goes off on mormons for knocking on doors, criticize them: mormons are as free to knock on doors as anyone else.

    When someone says that they don’t trust Christians based on their past actions, don’t make that out to be a criticism of rhetorical persuasion.

    You know better or you should. The answer is in the plain language of your own quote. I remember what happened in Iberia from the 13th to the 16th centuries. I remember what happened in Poland in the 17th. I remember what happened in France in the 19th. I sure as hell remember what happened in Germany in the 20th. In every single case converts to Christianity willing to publicly denounce Judaism were given differential treatment.

    No one said J4J has been involved in murder. It is, however, unreasonable of the Jewish people to forget the trends of past conversion efforts, when they have become sufficiently widespread. Combine that with the fact that the **entire point** of the effort is to confine Jews to Israel so that God can pick 144k to whisk away and then easily kill off the rest, and having a “visceral reaction” is more than a little reasonable.

    Stop being disingenuous, Ed. No one in that quote says that conversion or rhetorical persuasion is wrong.

    They were saying, “We remember, and we don’t like what we remember when we look in the direction of J4J.”

    The fact that you can’t endorse that makes me seriously question whether you can see the relevant dynamics clearly at all.

  49. barry21 says

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden (incredible handle, btw):

    I want to better understand your position, because I am clearly approaching the issue from a completely different perspective.

    I understand the hatred that Jews have endured; all 8 of my Jewish great-grandparents emigrated to the US in the 1920′s as Russian pogroms were replaced with Soviet oppression. I know about Martin Luther, Torquemada, Khmelnytsky, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Mel Gibson, and John Galliano.

    As I see it, J4J have a terrible belief system that they want to spread. While I don’t agree with the substance of their beliefs, I do not object to their attempt to spread them. I do not automatically place J4J in the company of the people listed above.

    If I understand you correctly, you would say that J4J belongs in that list. Is that right? Are their ideas so toxic that the mere promotion of those ideas is J4J’s undoing?

  50. says

    I want to better understand your position, because I am clearly approaching the issue from a completely different perspective.

    Yeah, the perspective where you refuse to answer direct questions and avoid the substance of what the rest of us are saying.

    I understand the hatred that Jews have endured…

    Your refusal to show any respect for their stated concerns kind of implies you don’t understand shit, and don’t really intend to either.

  51. barry21 says

    Bee –

    I believe that I have responded to your questions. If I didn’t, sorry. Let me do so now.

    1. I was talking about rights because it seemed like a decent starting place to explain my own thoughts.
    2. I have never made excuses for antisemitism. I haven’t made those excuses because I abhor antisemitism (which makes particular sense because I was raised Jewish. I have since rejected the Tanach’s divine origin/inspiration, and I think Talmudic reasoning brings casuistry to unmatched levels. I’m a nonbeliever now. But I was bar mitzvah-ed, and I’m writing to you now from Herzliya, Israel, a city I lived in for a year before moving to Tel Aviv this summer.)

    I think you have me pegged wrong, and I don’t like that things I have said have created this impression in your mind.

    That said: you’re angry when I disagree with you, and you seem even angrier since I sought to better understand Crip Dyke’s approach to these issues (which seems substantially similar to your own). It has been quite unpleasant to interact with you; and I’m glad to be done with it.

  52. doublereed says

    You haven’t responded to anything. We keep bringing up historical and social context, and you keep going “yea but I don’t see it that way.”

    And this is why we think you’re being dishonest. Because you’re not engaging with the points actually being presented to you. You’re just dodging everything that we’re saying.

    Read the posts. Respond to the points in them. Stop dodging, or just go away.

  53. doublereed says

    I mean, let’s dissect that post of yours:

    1. I was talking about rights because it seemed like a decent starting place to explain my own thoughts.

    Irrelevant. No one cares why you were talking about rights. We just want to get back on topic.

    2. I have never made excuses for antisemitism. I haven’t made those excuses because I abhor antisemitism

    Also irrelevant. I don’t even think this is responding to anything.

    I could make the argument that you’re making excuses for antisemitism right now, but I don’t think anyone has made this argument. I also don’t see how this is a response. If we’re claiming that you are – right now – excusing antisemitism, then the way to respond is to explain why you aren’t doing that. You don’t just say “yea but I’m not the kind of dude who would excuse antisemitism therefore I’m not doing it.” It’s just not addressing anything.

    I think you have me pegged wrong, and I don’t like that things I have said have created this impression in your mind.

    You seem to be really trying to make this personal. It’s not that personal.

    That said: you’re angry when I disagree with you, and you seem even angrier since I sought to better understand Crip Dyke’s approach to these issues (which seems substantially similar to your own). It has been quite unpleasant to interact with you; and I’m glad to be done with it.

    His emotional state is perfectly logical and understandable when dealing with a person who refuses to actually engage in conversation and just keeps responding with “but I just don’t see it that way,” It is very frustrating and is exactly the kind of thing that trolls do.

    But quite frankly, his emotional state is irrelevant, because you haven’t responded to his points.

  54. says

    Doublereed: No one cares why Barry21 is talking about rights? That seems like one of the main things you and Raging Bee are asking him, is why he keeps talking about rights. From my perspective, it seems certainly not far outside the scope of the topic Ed brought up in his post.

    You keep accusing him of not responding to you and not engaging with the conversation, and reading this thread, it seems like that’s ALL he’s doing. But if you’d like to get “the conversation” back on track, please, by all means, do so. Define for me, if you would, what is in bounds for this conversation, and what is out.

  55. says

    I was talking about rights because it seemed like a decent starting place to explain my own thoughts.

    Theproblem here is that a) you’re talking about a point that was never in dispute, and is totally irrelevent to anyone’s comments, including Ed’s; and b) your “thoughts” go absolutely nowhere beyond that “starting point” — you just keep repeating the same empty “point” over and over.

    And if you find it unpleasant to interact with me, AND you have nothing of substance to add, then by all means go away.

  56. says

    Rage bee,

    You continually tell Barry21 that he is off the mark, missing the point. Please elucidate: what SHOULD we be talking about here? What IS germane? By all means, get this conversation back on track. Define the problem with Ed’s post as you see it.

  57. says

    Aleksei, if you want to know what we’re talking about, all you have to do is read what we’re saying. Start with the specific objections by Jewish groups quoted by Ed. Seriously, how hard is that? We’re talking about one thing, and barry is saying things that have nothing to do with it.

    And no, #57 did not answer my questions. I could explain why in detail, but that would only mean repeating what was already said. Just read the questions, then read barry’s non-answers. My questions were both “why” questions — can you point to where barry specifically answered them?

  58. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @barry21:

    Sorry to take so long to get back to you, I do hope it isn’t too late to communicate. (and thanks for the kind words about my handle)

    You said that it wasn’t fair to put J4J in a group with the KKK.

    While I believe that it wouldn’t be fair to put them in a group with the actively-lynching KKK of yesteryear, the KKK today is a shell of its former self that espouses repulsive ideas, including that the territory of the US rightfully “belongs” to white people, and that Black folk need to be sent back to Africa. They believe that the favor of some god or other depends on their racial purity, and thus on the forced/coerced relocation of people with more melanin than they. Moreover, when they act as they do, defending the goals of the past KKK while only mildly condemning their tactics, they make folk justifiably nervous about what such a group would do if they thought
    a) their current, non-violent actions were ineffective
    and
    b) they could get away with violent actions and/or the reward granted by some god or other would far exceed any earthly punishment.

    J4J doesn’t merely endorse Christianity. They endorse the conversion of Jews outside of Israel and/or the expulsion of those Jews until the only Jews that are left are residing within israel. And while they may not be the powerful engine of destruction that was the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith they believe that no US land should be in the hands of Jews and that all Jews must be sent “back” to Israel. Moreover, when they act as they do, defending the goals of the Inquisition while only mildly condmning its tactics, they make folk justifiably nervous about what such a group would do if they thought
    a) their current, non-violent actions were ineffective
    and
    b) they could get away with violent actions and/or the reward granted by some god or other would far exceed any earthly punishment.

    ===========
    To me, the modern KKK and the modern J4J are clearly comparable, and I don’t know why you would seek to put such a comparison beyond the pale.
    ===========

    I also criticized Ed because I thought he was unfairly reading the original article. Nowhere in it does any author or interviewee say that advocating a religion is bad. What is asserted is that the activity of J4J makes a lot of Jews nervous.

    I think understanding that their goal is to completely extinguish all Jews from any portion of the earth save Israel (though conversion or expulsion), and that the the reason behind that goal is so that their lord will come – literally – with a flaming sword, to ignite a cataclysm that will kill all the Jews that remain in israel save the 144,000 (or, for you, 144.000) who will be taken to the presence of their god in heaven. But what, from an earthly perspective, is ceasing existence on earth to join a god in a heaven, save death?

    it’s really hard to get around, then, that they feel with a theological certainty their god has commanded them to make sure that no Jews exist outside of Israel so that that god can make sure no Jews exist at all.

    The goal is repulsive. Rhetorical persuasion is a legitimate tactic, but I won’t judge them **only** on their embrace of a single tactic. As a movement, I will judge them on the view which they are promoting and the persons, movements, and institutions that they embrace as their ideological forbears. As individuals, I will judge them on far more qualities than that, but we weren’t discussing individuals.

    ==========
    In short, I believe Ed was wrong to focus only on conversion as if advocating one’s own religion on its own was the source of some Jews’ objections.

    And I believe that you were wrong to dismiss the comparison with the KKK.

    Does that adequately explain any ambiguity in my position, or do you have more questions?

  59. says

    Barry21:

    I’ve read some of your other comments on different threads. On those threads I see no trolling. Here I see trolling. You are either married to the idea that you’re right (not an uncommon premise amongst us humans) or you simply don’t understand that MANY people regard in-your-face conversion tactics–and not just the religious variety–to be repugnant. Most sensible folks, when told that their behavior is repugnant, stop behaving that way. J4J is not most folks; they are assholes engaged in assholery and their behavior is indefensible.

  60. Jen says

    It’s not THAT they’re trying to convert them, it’s WHY they’re trying to convert them. The second coming can’t happen if the Jews aren’t in Israel, and the ones who aren’t converted will die. They just want their book to come true, so they’re trying to convert a group of people that is HIGHLY averse to being converted, because of said past history. That’s why the Republicans are so staunchly pro-Israel, no matter what Israel does, because their book tells them that Israel plays such an integral part in the end of that book.

  61. barry21 says

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden:

    Thanks for your careful explanation. I see that our opinions diverge in our separate assessments of the duty that history imposes on contemporary behavior. It’s an interesting question, and you’ve given me a lot to think about.

    Cheers!

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