03 April 2008 - Jew-hatred at Harvard: Stop this vicious lie!
Harvard's Arab and Islamic student groups have been circulating an article that claims that "a number of prominent rabbis in Israel" have issued a "ruling" calling on Jews to kill all Palestinians.
This article is a vicious lie whose sole purpose is to incite hatred of Jews.
It takes advantage of the deep hatred of Jews that already exists in the Arab and Islamic world, even among people who should know better--which is why some Arab and Muslim students at Harvard are apparently falling for this forgery and assisting it.
The story is being circulated throughout the Arab media and on Arabic news blogs such as The Angry Arab (click here for the full Google translation).
The forgery violently distorts a story that ran in Ha'aretz on March 26, 2008.
The Ha'aretz article describes the Jewish concept of Amalek, and how the Biblical commandment to erase Amalek does not apply today.
The reason Amalek came up at all in some congregations is that Jews worldwide recently celebrated the holiday of Purim, which commemorates the survival of Persian Jewry in the face of an attempt by a minister named Haman, who is sometimes described as a descendant of Amalek, to exterminate them. Amalek is described in Deuteronomy 25:17-19 as a nation that targeted the innocent and vulnerable among the people of Israel. In the wake of the recent terrorist attack at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, the image of Amalek was particularly potent for some, particularly religious, Jews.
However, not one single rabbi called for Jews to kill Arabs, nor issued any remotely similar ruling.
In fact, as the Ha'aretz article makes clear, those rabbis who saw fit to address the subject told their congregations that while Israel still has enemies, the Bible's injunction regarding Amalek is forbidden today. It is forbidden by the Oral Law as recorded in the Talmud and other sources, according to the rabbis, because Jewish law forbids intentionally killing innocent people even if they are among enemies as vicious as the Amalekites were. The rabbis also explicitly noted that Amalek does not even exist today as a specific group or nation, but that Amalek's memory is evoked by those particular murderous individuals who deliberately kill innocent children in their schools and in their homes.
Every single quote in the Ha'aretz article has been twisted deliberately and maliciously by the authors of the forgery. If any rabbi had said anything remotely close to what the Arab media is claiming these rabbis said, the story would be all over the Israeli and Jewish media, the rabbis would have been forced by their congregations to resign, and the police would have laid charges of incitement. Under Israeli law it is forbidden to call for anyone's murder, and political parties that advocate racism or incite hatred are banned.
Harvard's Arab and Islamic student groups must immediately stop circulating this terrible, hateful lie.
-Julia Bertelsmann and Joel Pollak