A religious Jew who advocates the total embrace of illegal aliens
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been observing with consternation how the proposed amnesty for 12 million illegal-alien Third-Worlders has brought out unprecedentedly frank expressions from various Jews of their deep devotion, as Jews, to open borders and the well-being of illegal aliens at the expense of America. Yesterday I saw the most disturbing such expression so far. It came in an e-mail exchange I had with someone previously unknown to me, whom I will call Allan Fleischman. I was included in the bcc list of an e-mail that Mr. Fleischman sent to a VFR reader whom I will call Barbara. He was disagreeing with her on her support for the boycott of the meat companies on May 1 because of their support for illegal immigrants.
This blog entry is long, 4,400 words, but readers who are concerned about the problem of Jewish anti-nationalism will find it of particular interest. (I’ve eliminated any personal information that would identify my correspondent.)
Subject: May Day Alert: Don’t Buy Meat this MondayI then wrote to Mr. Fleischman. I was not disagreeing with him on any substantive issue, but only on his insistence that people supporting the boycott were also required to adopt his position on the meat companies’ treatment of their workers and of animals:
LA to Allan Fleischman:
The issue here is not the general treatment of workers or treatment of animals. That is a legitimate issue and you are free to take the position you take on it.He then wrote back to me.
Allan Fleischman to LA:
But it is wrong to intrude your own issue into our issue and tell us that if we are to be sincere in our issue, that means that we have to adopt your issue as well.I was appalled by his e-mail, especially his arrogant statement that “I am not looking at it as a USA legal issue … nor how illegals impact the USA,” but solely from the point of view of God’s commandment to be kind to all strangers. I wrote back to him in very strong terms. (Note also that I did not mention my Jewish background as a way of avoiding the charge of anti-Semitism for my harsh criticisms of his Jewish position. This is because I reject the idea that Jews or people of Jewish background should have a “licence” to criticize Jews that is to be denied to non-Jews.)
LA to AF:
Allan,Below is his reply to me. In order for the reader to keep in mind the context of this long document, here again is the key text from his earlier e-mail that was the basis of my charging that he is indifferent or contemptuous of the laws and well-being of the United States. He had said:
… [for] those of the Jewish faith, the issue isn’t one of man’s laws being broken or not broken, followed or not followed, but … how we treat those among us who are strangers in a strange land, as ‘we’ were once strangers in a strange land as well … I am not looking at it as a USA legal issue … nor how illegals impact the USA. I am looking at it purely in spiritual terms. [Italics added.] …Notice that in his response below to my charge that he is indifferent or contemptuous of America, he says that this is not true, because he cares equally about all people and all countries without discrimination! Which means of course that he has no special concern about America. Notice also that in response to my charge that he does not respect the laws of the U.S., he says that he does respect the laws of the U.S., unless they contradict the Talmud (namedly the Talmud’s command to care for all strangers), in which case the Talmud must be followed.
Finally, perhaps most disturbingly, notice that that he bases his entire position on Jewish religious law. It has been said over and over, by Dennis Prager for example, that Jewish leftism and anti-nationalism are the expression of secular Jews who reject Jewish religion, and who therefore are not “real” Jews. But here is a Jew who proudly bases his left-wing anti-national vision of America on the Talmud. (However, the good news, as Paul Gottfried indicates in the below comment, is that Fleischman’s radical egalitarian interpretation of the Bible and Jewish law is as off-base as the open-borders Christians’ interpretation of the Bible.) Further, he attacks secular Jews for being assimilated to America and its pagan ways, while other religious Jews attack secular Jews for being leftist anti-Americans.
In Fleischman’s e-mail, he interspersed his answers with my text. To make it more readable I have made each quote and reply into a separate paragraph. I’ve also cleaned up spelling and introduced normal capitalization.
Allan Fleischman to LA:
LA: Are you an anti-Semite pretending to be a Jew?AF: No.
LA: I seriously get that impression, because everything you are saying fits the anti-Semitic view of Jews exactly.AF: What others may think of the way Jews are taught, is none of our business.
LA: Anti-Semites say that Jews have a hostility or indifference to America and its majority culture.AF: The Talmud says that the law of the land is the law of land. But, if at any time, the law of the land, supersedes our religious obligations to another human, our rules supersede the law of the land. We aren’t taking about ritual. The Talmud, which is the basis of Judaism, is quite clear on this.
LA: They say that Jews care more about foreigners and minorities than they do about America.AF: Jews should care more about fellow humans, than about borders. Fellow humans are made in the image of God. Hence we as Jews have an obligation to follow certain behaviors towards them. America was founded in the late 1700s. Our Talmudic edicts were given to us, while we were in captivity in Babylon circa 580 BCE and kept oral until circa 500 CE.
LA: They say that Jews want to use America as a vast social experiment in equality.AF: I think our Founding Fathers, who knew more about Talmudic Judaism, than the average Jew today, would, if one took the time to read their writings, have believed that America was a vast social experiment in equality.
LA: They say that Jews even arrogantly boast of their lack of loyalty to America.AF: Fools will say foolish things. The first South Carolinian to die in our revolution against the tyranny of great Britain was Francis Salvador, a Jew. [there then follows some personal information including information about his Jewish ancestors in the U.S. going back to Colonial times.] Fools can say Jews aren’t loyal to the USA because we see the USA not standing up to the ethical principals on which is was founded. I doesn’t change what is ‘emet’.(truth)
LA: What you do you?AF: I do my best each day, as instructed in the Mishna, to make my will, his will.
LA: You say you don’t care about America and its well-being.AF: Whoa. Never said that. I care very deeply about the well being of every country and every human.
LA: You say you only care about the “other.”AF: Didn’t say that either. I said, as Jews, we have an obligation to care about the ‘other’.
LA: You say you have no loyalty to America and its laws, you only have loyalty to a God who tells you that the highest obligation is to care for the “vulnerable”—who I guess are defined as everyone in the world who is different from us.AF: As explained above, of course I must obey American laws, provided they don’t contradict the laws provided to me by a higher authority. America provides for conscientious objection. I didn’t burn my draft card during the Viet Nam war and run to Canada. I protested the war legally. And so it is the same with this boycott of yours. I won’t participate in it, as we have an obligation to treat the stranger among us with certain acts of ‘ahavath chesed’. (Loving kindness). Using your logic, in 1938 Germany, would be following the Nuremberg laws, done democratically, as Hitler was elected democratically. And this is exactly how Germany got into trouble. The church advised their members not to follow church ethics, but to follow German law … laws against the ‘others’, Jews, gypsies, communists, unionists, and so forth. It wasn’t until the 60’s that the Lutheran church of Germany, made amends for such stupidity.
LA: You even boast of the fact that as the Jew you have a higher calling—higher than those of us mere non-Jews, and it’s your calling to impose your suicidal standards on everyone else.AF: I have never mentioned suicide. That is a sin. And Rabbi Yeshua, aka Jesus in Greek, taught talmudic Judaism in what is called the ‘new testament.’ would Jesus turn away ‘the stranger’ in his midst? No, Jesus would follow the Torah, and the Talmud. Jews don’t have a higher calling compared to anyone else. But we have a calling from God, as Isaiah says, we are to be a light unto the nations (i.e. you). And we, as the Torah teaches, “don’t stand idly by.”
LA: You write:AF: This is 100% correct.
LA: Does that mean all ‘others’ in the world.AF: All people are created in the image of God. Judaism doesn’t discriminate.
LA: So then you think all the people in the world who should want to come to America should be able to?AF: This is a question that is not Judaic. I can tell you that as a Jew, the closed door policy of the USA State Department, run by admitted anti Semites in the time prior to WW2 and during, that closed the door to Jews trying to escape Nazi Europe, is a permanent shame on USA history.
LA: That includes, right now, 40 percent of the population of Mexico. Do you support that? If not, why not?AF: You are mixing immigration policy, i.e. decisions to let people into a country, with the edict, that is one of the Jews 613 commandments, of treating the stranger living among you with the same decency as someone born in the land. Treating , as you call them Mexicans (when Latinos come from all over central American and south America), as second class citizens, is wrong by our Jewish code. Jews should be working toward legislation to help those here, become legal, and develop perhaps, an Ellis Island type of immigration center, where those wishing to enter, can come first, to be examined, and get legal documentation, as it was 100 or so years ago, and not have this open border situation.
LA: Do you also believe that Israel should treat all the people who want to come into Israel that way?AF: Again, you’re confusing politics with Judaism. Israel picks and chooses which Jewish laws it wishes to obey. It calls its self a ‘Jewish state’ but it is truly not. It is extremely secular and the Jewish education of Jews there, is at an all time low.
LA: That includes several million Palestinians who want to move to Israel. Do you favor letting them in? If not, why not?AF: I have publicly spoken out on this question and my comments are published globally. In brief:
The right of individuals to their homes is primary and undeniable, and no amount of apologetics or global shuffling can eradicate it. The demand for the restitution of the refugees to their land indeed is seen by virtually all Israeli Jews as tantamount to the dismantling of the state of Israel, and the disintegration of Israeli Jewish society.
Yet, the lack of progress towards the resolution of this issue not only dooms Israelis and Palestinians to perpetual violent struggle, but also negates the basis of, and perhaps even de-legitimizes, the very existence of the state of Israel.
Judaism has a tool that must be activated for this situation: ta-ka-nat ha-sha-vim, the ordinance for a compassionate justice in the restoration of misappropriated property.
In order to encourage the thief to return stolen property, the strict rules of restoration that would require one who has misappropriated a wooden beam (and already used it to build a roof) to dismantle whatever the stolen beam has been used for and restore the very same beam, the Talmud allowed for the beam’s value to be paid.
In our case, we could use this principle to foster a gradual restoration of “Arab homes”—built by Palestinians before 1948 and involuntarily surrendered when the refugees were expelled——to the descendants of the original owners. It would maintain Jewish homes or neighborhoods built on expropriated or “abandoned” Palestinian land, as long as equivalent plots of land be given to the heirs instead.
Thus, ta-ka-nat ha-sha-vim applied as-sid-u-ous-ly but compassionately would work towards the restoration of Palestinian roots without revisiting trauma on Jews. The reciprocal relationship between inner peace and interpersonal peace requires us, as it does all religious leaders, to recognize the religious imperative to contribute to peacemaking.
LA: Also, the Torah commands Jews to treat the other exactly as you would treat yourselves.AF: Correct
LA: Then it’s the Jews who should be caring for the illegals.AF: My wife and I and my rabbi and our congregation does. This is an interpersonal thing.
LA: But you want everyone in America to follow the Jewish command of sacrifice for the other.AF: No. My comments are to Barbara as a Jewess. And to Christians and Jews on her email list who will find that Jesus is teaching the same thing…as he was a talmudic rabbi. America is not a theocracy. As I Jew, I am commanded to ‘love my neighbor as myself, …and to reprove them when they are wrong, so that I remain sinless.” When I see a Jew, going off the Jewish beam, one who I have a relationship with, I have a Judaic obligation to inform him or her. Once I’ve done that, what he or she does, is between them and God, if they believe in God.
LA: Does the Torah command you to command non-Jews to follow Jewish law?AF: The Torah doesn’t command me to command anyone to follow any law. I have an obligation to reprove, gently instruct. Once I’ve done that, Leviticus tells me, I am sinless. Barbara has been given her lesson in what a Jew’s obligation is to the stranger in her midst. If she wishes to take an ax and kill everyone of them, that’s on her.
LA: That you as an American would speak with such contempt for America and its laws, even boasting that you don’t care about the impact of illegals on America, is beyond disgraceful.AF: I never said that. I don’t have contempt for America and its laws. Most of America’s laws are taken right from Judaic law. I do pray for those who are spiritually ill and so bigoted that they forget that America wasn’t even bought from those that lived here, was built on the backs of slave labor, and that for most of us, we came here, from some place else. My mother’s side came here, as Sephardic Jews and they didn’t go through immigration. I have contempt for no one. The Torah tells me not to hate and not to hold grudges. I do discern however. And I do work for justice, as we as Jews are taught, “justice, justice, shall you pursue” in our Torah.
LA: I spend a fair amount of fighting anti-Semites. But when I read a Jew writing as you do, boasting of his God-ordained contempt for America and its laws, and his command to force America to sacrifice itself for all the poor strangers in the world, it gets much harder to do that.AF: Jews don’t need your help. You don’t understand true Judaism. So you’re defending most likely Jews who have strayed from Judaism. We have all the help we need from god almighty. In God we trust. Its even written on the paper money in your wallet. You’ve now been writing to a Talmudic scholar who is teaching you Judaism as it really is, and you say, you might not be able to fight anti Semitism. This means you only like Jews if they have assimilated and are no longer Jews. Hence you are an anti-Semite.
LA: Do you think that if America during the great wave of Jewish immigration …AF: Which one? The one that started with the Spanish explorers in 1492? My family has been here longer than yours. My relative came here in 1733 and when Jews made up the majority of the city of Savannah. We let your family in.
LA: … had looked into the future and seen that the grandchildren of the immigrants would be talking like you, that they would have let all those Jews in? They would have thought, my God, if we let these people in, they will destroy our country. The Jews were let in on the assumption that they would be loyal citizens. But you boast of your indifference to America, its well-being, and its laws.AF: Your anti-Semitism is really showing. Have you read Dershowitz’s Chutzpah? We Jews don’t kowtow to anyone anymore. If we Jews in 1733 Savannah knew what bores you right wing conservative so called Christians would be, would we have let you in? Most likely. We need someone to pray for.
LA: I only hope that for the sake of the Jewish people that you are not typical of Jews.AF: Unfortunately, you are typical of an unlearned gentile, so I will pray for you. And unfortunately, Jews have become so assimilated in America, they don’t know what is right or wrong, Judaically. So if you meet Jews who have studied Talmud, Midrash and Torah, they will understand Judaism like I do. And if not, they will most likely be eating pork sausage with you on Christmas morning. You love the Jew when he acts like a pagan but hate the Jew when he acts like a Jew. I wonder now that I exposed you as the anti Semite you are, if Barbara will still call you ‘friend’ or if she will mount a protest in front of your home and send you back to church to learn about Jesus the Jew, who is your lord and savior?. There is nothing that I am saying that is not Jewish. And if you are told by a Jew that it is, ask him or her to show you such in our texts. These are not my opinions, but Judaism straight from our Talmud and Torah. And if you don’t like it, fine. But don’t go lying to me saying you fight against anti-Semitism. Next you’ll be telling me, you love Mexican food and hence love your Mexican neighbors. My prayers for you.
Carl Simpson writes:
A very interesting and informative exchange between yourself and Allan Fleischman. My overall reaction is that this proves another axiom that you’ve posted at VFR—that Christianity by itself cannot be the basis for a country. Assuming everything Mr. Fleischman stated about Jewish law is correct, the same axiom (that religion alone is insufficient to sustain nationhood) appears to apply to Judaism as well.Though it repeats points I’ve made above, here for the sake of completeness is my e-mail reply to Mr. Fleischman:
LA to AF:
You keep rejecting my charge that you are indifferent to or contemptuous of the laws and well-being of the United States. But that charge was based on what you yourself said:Paul Gottfried writes:
As someone who has studied Talmudic law, I am horrified by AF’s attempt to read liberal Christianity into rabbinic teachings. It is the height of dishonesty based on AF’s non-reading or gross manipulation of Jewish sources. Rabbinic law makes sharp and obvious distinctions between Jews and rov akum (the gentile multitude). No special ethical obligation is owed to gentiles, other than the duty not to break the “laws of their kingdom,” as long as Jews are forced to live there. Rabbinic law also instructs Jews to exterminate the descendants of the Amalekites and other Semitic tribes whom God commanded the ancient Hebrews to war down. If there is anything in Jewish law, as opposed to leftist reconfigurations of nineteenth-century Unitarianism, that requires Jews to welcome wetbacks into this country, I’m not sure where these revelations can be found. There are rabbinic and medieval Jewish glosses concerning the stranger or “ger” to whom Jews were urged to give hospitality. The conditions were extremely limited and referred to those who wished to assimilate to Jewish life and did not belong to the surrounding tribes that the Hebrews were supposed to treat as enemies. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” meant exactly as Jesus suggests it did, namely “try to get along with one’s fellow-Jews.” Note that I am not making value judgments when I bring up what ancient Jews really said. I am urging AF to speak for himself and to stop ascribing to our ancestors stupid things that are different from anything that they could have possibly meant.Carl Simpson writes:
I just read Paul Gottfried’s analysis, which is very interesting indeed. Perhaps what’s going on is that Mr. Fleischman and open-borders Christians alike are really simply creating religious justifications for their Neo-Jacobin ideology (to borrow Dr. Gottfried’s excellent term).LA replies:
Also, whatever Mr. Fleischman is, he’s not a “Zionist Jew,” since his egalitarian and universalist interpretation of the Talmud would mean the rapid demise of Israel. I mention this because so many anti-Semites single out the “Zionist Jew” as the primary threat to the West. Of course the threat to the West is not Zionism, which is merely nationalism for the Jews, but the opposite of nationalism, the liberal universalism which denies the legitimacy of all nations. This universalism is pushed by religous Christians, by secular people of Christian background, by secular Jews, and (as we now see from Fleischman’s example) by religious Jews. It is, we might say, a universal sickness of the West.Allan Fleischman wrote back to me, and I replied to him with interspersed bolded text:
AF to LA:
I am not sure what you mean by “Jewish background.” Does this mean that you are Jewish and are hiding this fact in the “background,” or at one point your family was Jewish, but became apostates and converted away from Judaism?
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 30, 2006 01:36 PM | Send