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Another Brief Note

Somewhere in the middle of my Friday roundup, I inserted a brief note expressing my disappointment with American Thinker for running a column which used Judaism and its Kosher laws as a negative metaphor for Bloomberg's war on food, writing...

"Mayor Bloomberg is not an Orthodox Jew. Attacking his policies by conflating them with Orthodox Judaism is just as offensive as criticizing Cuomo or Pelosi's legislative activities in terms of Catholic doctrine."

Thomas Lifson of American Thinker has responded to that with a full post stating that the "article was far from an attack on Judaism and was not using Judaism as a whole as a metaphor for the left" because its author, Fay Voshell referred to "transmogrified politico/religious sensibilities."

I don't really think that an article which frames the current diet controversy in terms of old arguments between Judaism and Christianity, while negatively describing major elements of Judaism, is not talking about Judaism because it throws in "transmogrified politico/religious sensibilities."

Voshell finds the time to defend Mormons and Southern Baptists, while using Jewish custom and history as a metaphor for the actions of a Jewish public figure.

Lifson states that using Kosher and the Pharisees are logical themes for discussing Bloomberg's soda ban, but they are certainly not random choices from history. And they have no natural relevance except the theme of Jewishness.

Lifson suggests that this isn't worth the energy. I would not have bothered had this been Vdare or TakiMag. I inserted my brief note to express my disappointment because I expected better from American Thinker.

He writes, "I do not think that Jewish history should be off-limits for drawing metaphors and lessons for humanity. That would be to treat Jews differently from other peoples."

And I strongly agree. I don't think that there should be a double standard. I propose the same standard for all religions. If you wouldn't use your beliefs as a metaphor for the left, don't use those of other religions. It's a variation of an idea from an old Pharisee named Hillel.

If you wouldn't run an article comparing prayers to saints or transubstantiation to the agenda of the left, then don't run an article that uses Kosher as a metaphor for the left. If you wouldn't dip your own religious symbol in urine and put it on display in a museum, likewise don't do it to another.

Traditional Jews are not the enemies of traditional Christians and conflating Judaism and the Left creates unnecessary divisions in all our efforts.

“That which is hateful to you, do not unto another," Hillel said. In our mutual relations, they aren't bad words to live by.


  1. When I was a teenager, I worked in a non-kosher restaurant in my native St. Louis. I now know that working there itself is at least questionable according to Jewish law, but at the time I simply didn't eat anything, even though the employees were welcome to eat the leftovers.

    The manager of the restaurant was a very well-meaning non-Jew who repeatedly asked me, "Why don't you just have a Rabbi bless the food?". No amount of explanation seemed to get the point across that that was just not how it worked.

  2. Anonymous4/3/13

    My answer to Fay Voshell And Thomas Lifson.

    The article in question was Highly inflammatory. First of all, the theme is a non-sequitur since Bloomberq's policies are based on a reference to "health". Kashrut has Nothing to do with healthy eating. All one has to do is look at all the junk food with a hechsher. Therefore what religious sensibilities are we speaking about here. If he were following an "orthodoxy" he would be Promoting un-healthy Kosher food. This is why the article lacks Any credibility.

    What is Most troubling is the attitude of the author regarding a Truly Orthodox lifestyle of Mitzvot. It is quite evident of the writer's biased background when it states "distributing loaves and fishes" and later references to "Pharisees". We All certainly know the origination of these remarks. And they are certainly Not favorable to Jews, and they are not a recent attitude. It's been that same prevalent perception that has led to virulent anti-semitism perpetrated for generation after generation. This is just the newest version of what's been a continuation of pereptions, or rather Misperceptions.

    The comment regarding "Forced conversion to a new faith never goes over well" can be answered by asking a question. Who world-wide religion DID attempt a forced conversion of the populace. The Jews are well aware of those who attempted mass "forced conversions".

    Evidently this author has literally NO knowledge of who the Pharisees even were. Their beginnings date to the time of Biblical Ezra and the Men of the Great Assembly. It's no wonder such a confused mess has has been written about this Righteous group, the Pharisees. Is this person aware the vast majority of Jews followed these same Pharisees when they could have followed others. The Knew the righteousness of their leaders. Maybe the writer should read their Own texts on the matter. The christian messiah himself said that these Rabbis sit in Moshe' seat and he told the people they should do ALL that they are told by them. It's quite interesting that all those who followed the Pharisees had no issues with whatever was decreed but only one man Did seem to have issues. It's also rather interesting that the Jews of today still follow those same rulings without any complaint and have no problem in keeping All of them. Furthermore, the Rabbis today are OF those same Pharisees. This certainly hasn't been my first encounter with religious bigotry on the part of some christian against the religious Jews. I doubt it will be the last either.

    Apparently this writer has failed to read anything other than christian writers. The prophet Isaiah writes in accordance with the Pharisees, that if you restrain your foot on the Sabbath it shall be a delight to the Lord. But the Gentile ignorance can be understood by David in the Psalms when he writes statutes and ordinances, along with their understanding are given only to Israel, and not given to any other nation. It is also written that the Rabbis are the "agents" of Hashem (G-d).


  3. Anonymous4/3/13

    It's a shame when conservatives, who should know better, denigrate a policy by comparing it to anyone's religious practice or beliefs. I routinely hear cap-and-trade emissions programs referred to as environmental "indulgences." How many times has a conservative pundit suggested that "what Islam really needs is a Reformation." As a Catholic I find the use of these terms both historically ignorant and (in such context) offensive.
    Lifson and Voshell should just apologize and pull their foot out of their mouths instead of shoving it further in.

  4. wolskerj, thank you, those are very important points that people should keep in mind.

  5. The great American Republic ... I guess in the beginning (from Columbus onwards) it was pretty much like it happens in nuclear physics.

    Like, if you put the right pieces of the right material together properly, the reaction will start.

    Maybe it was just unique historical circumstances, or the higher power, I wouldn't know.

    These days, the great American experimental "nuclear reactor" seems to be malfunctioning.

    Needless to say, with potential dire consequences to the entire civilized world.

    And I were Mr Lifson, I would pay serious attention to the cold fusion reactor of Judaism.

  6. Chana4/3/13

    The article was designed to blast Jews and Jewish methods. It brought out the creepy comments as well when one commenter delighted in calling Mayor Bloomberg a "nazi".
    American Thinker is a rag.

  7. Good points. You are in the right SK.

  8. It has been a rather long time since the article on American Thinker has been published. May I ask you,Mr. Greenfield, if you or any of your friends read the articles defending Jews and Israel written by me? They were all linked. Please take the time to do so before you target a friend. I am disappointed to think you would indulge in targeting as an anti-semite some one who has been a friend of Jews and Israel all her life. With friends like you, who needs enemies?

    May I note Mr. Greenfield never contacted me for an explanation; never asked me what I meant; never asked for clarifcation. Instead, he went straight for the jugular without going to the source. Bad journalism and bad opninon on all counts. Shame on you,
    Greenfield. You should know better.

    Feel free to contact me at fvoshell@yahoo.com. But I doubt you will do it, as you seem to have a vested and prejudicial interest in destroying those whom you see, unjustly, as enemies those hwo are actually friends

  9. I did not at any point use the word anti-semite or describe you as anti-semitic. Nor did I go for the jugular or set out to destroy you. I expressed my disappointment with the tone and content of the article.

    It's nice that you have written articles that are pro-Israel, but I still have a basic problem with using Judaism as a metaphor for describing the left.

    I'm not sure what contacting you would change about that.


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