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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:30 pm
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"Fences around the Torah" and related matters

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The phrase "fences around the Torah" has lately been presented on this forum as if it referred to some sort of nefarious scheme or rule, apparently intended to "protect" the Jewish religion or the Jewish state, Israel, from criticism. Its actual meaning is known to even the most marginally educated Jew: any rule that is not actually a Torah law, but which is intended as a reminder not to violate such a law, is called a "fence around the Torah." 

From Judaism 101:
Quote:
A gezierah is a law instituted by the rabbis to prevent people from accidentally violating a Torah mitzvah. We commonly speak of a gezeirah as a "fence" around the Torah. For example, the Torah commands us not to work on Shabbat, but a gezeirah commands us not to even handle an implement that you would use to perform prohibited work (such as a pencil, money, a hammer), because someone holding the implement might forget that it was Shabbat and perform prohibited work. The word is derived from the root Gimel-Zayin-Reish, meaning to cut off or to separate.

Misunderstandings, in matters concerning religion, are inevitable and understandable. Falsifications and distortions, especially for polemic and/or propaganda purposes, are not. 

If one wants to find criticism of the practices and policies of Israel, one need look no farther than any Jewish newspaper or magazine. Tikkun, Moment, Ha'aretz, the Forward, The Jerusalem Post -- all are and have been highly critical of Israeli Governments and their policies, past and present. Criticism of Israel appears rather often, to say the least, in other Western media as well, in spite of the blatant canard that they are all "controlled by Jews." 

Further, criticism of Israel is not automatically synonymous with antisemitism, in spite of the commonness of that shovelful of manure as well. What IS antisemitic is holding Israel to standards that differ from those applied to any other nation, especially its enemies. Howling about the "human rights abuses" of Israel -- even though no one says that the Israelis are blameless in that regard -- while ignoring those of, say, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia -- is nothing if not inconsistent, and sometimes even hypocritical. 

It is also antisemitic, or at least evidence of a polemic agenda, to conflate the policies and practices of the state of Israel with the teachings of the Jewish religion, and most especially those of modern, liberal Judaism. You will find no more vehement critics of the "settlements," of targeted assassinations, and of various "security" restrictions placed on peaceful Palestinians than American Jews, often for the very specific reason that those seem to violate Jewish teachings; and yet we are often accused of being cheerleaders for those very policies.  Support for the right of existence of the state of Israel does not entail or imply unquestioning support of Israeli governments or policies, any more than opposition to those policies implies antisemitism -- or agreement with those who seek the total destruction of the state of Israel and the expulsion or extermination of every Jew in the Mideast, as the Palestinian terror organizations explicitly do.  

It will be interesting to observe the responses, if any, to this post.  Watch carefully and see if they involve actual responses and rebuttals to these FACTS -- or if they consist of mere denials of them, accusations that "Jews lie," and unsupported parroting of propaganda. 

Open and honest debate on this subject is not only possible on this forum; it is common. I have posted links to dozens of such debates on another thread.  It is also common for blatant hate- peddling and repeated unsupported claims of fact to result in banning -- though it is much more common for the members who engage in such tactics to simply slink away in silence when they are unable to actually defend and debate their claims.  

Further bulletins as events warrant. 

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:28 am
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While "holding Israel to standards that differ from those applied to any other nation, especially its enemies" is clearly agenda-driven hypocrisy, I do not believe that it is necessarily an expression of antisemitism, especially when emanating from the liberal left. Sometimes liberation rhetoric is simply shallow and irresponsible.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:23 pm
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Jayhawker Soule wrote:

While "holding Israel to standards that differ from those applied to any other nation, especially its enemies" is clearly agenda-driven hypocrisy, I do not believe that it is necessarily an expression of antisemitism, especially when emanating from the liberal left. Sometimes liberation rhetoric is simply shallow and irresponsible.

I think that's possible, but i've certainly seen antisemitism on the liberal left as well as the right. I'm a liberal myself, and of course prefer that stance; but there's no guarantee that bigotry won't appear among liberals. Knee-jerk acceptance of the Palestinian historical narrative is one place where it happens. One of the most antisemitic in effect, if not in actual motivation, members we've ever had here was one DeBunkem, and he was a dyed-in-the-wool leftist.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:58 pm
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cnorman18 wrote:

Jayhawker Soule wrote:

While "holding Israel to standards that differ from those applied to any other nation, especially its enemies" is clearly agenda-driven hypocrisy, I do not believe that it is necessarily an expression of antisemitism, especially when emanating from the liberal left. Sometimes liberation rhetoric is simply shallow and irresponsible.

I think that's possible, but i've certainly seen antisemitism on the liberal left as well as the right. I'm a liberal myself, and of course prefer that stance; but there's no guarantee that bigotry won't appear among liberals.

So we agree: liberals are perfectly capable of bigotry and anti-Israel vitriol is not necessarily a sign of antisemitism.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:37 am
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Jayhawker Soule wrote:

cnorman18 wrote:

Jayhawker Soule wrote:

While "holding Israel to standards that differ from those applied to any other nation, especially its enemies" is clearly agenda-driven hypocrisy, I do not believe that it is necessarily an expression of antisemitism, especially when emanating from the liberal left. Sometimes liberation rhetoric is simply shallow and irresponsible.

I think that's possible, but i've certainly seen antisemitism on the liberal left as well as the right. I'm a liberal myself, and of course prefer that stance; but there's no guarantee that bigotry won't appear among liberals.

So we agree: liberals are perfectly capable of bigotry and anti-Israel vitriol is not necessarily a sign of antisemitism.

I think that's a fair statement; but, of course, it's also true that vitriol of ANY kind can serve the purposes of bigots, even if it isn't actually motivated by true bigotry. Opposition to gay marriage comes to mind, for some reason....

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:46 am
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I do not wish this to become yet another thread on homosexual marrage. However, using that issue as an example, is it not possible that, even if there is not direct reference precluding homosexual marrage in the Tanakh, opposition to such marrage is acceptable as a fence to reinforce the father-mother family structure that seems to be clearly encouraged in the Tanakh?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:05 am
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bluethread wrote:

I do not wish this to become yet another thread on homosexual marrage. However, using that issue as an example, is it not possible that, even if there is not direct reference precluding homosexual marrage in the Tanakh, opposition to such marrage is acceptable as a fence to reinforce the father-mother family structure that seems to be clearly encouraged in the Tanakh?


A good example. Thanks.

I don't think so, myself; two parents of the same gender can be, and have been, as stable and beneficial a "family structure" as any heterosexual pairing. Though I can see how such a position might be based on a genuine good-faith understanding of the Scriptures, it still serves the agenda of the homophobic bigots that are thick on the ground, here and elsewhere.

In any case, that's a good argument for opposing RELIGIOUS marriages of gays. It is no argument at all for prohibiting CIVIL marriages.

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