Thursday, May 20, 2021

Carl Zha - Chinese state media CGTN "antisemitic" video deleted from Twitter

CGTN removed its video on US-Israel relationship from Twitter after accusation of antisemitism. You be the judge


Peter Pan said...

CGTN guilty of self-censorship.

Marian Ruccius said...

Not anti-semitic, IMO, but it simplifies matters a s bit too much. For instance, the power of the "Israel lobby" is likely equally matched by that of Christian Zionists. And Israelis themselves are not monolithic in their support for settlement or repression of Palestinians. And then there is the simple issue of corruption among Israel's and the US's political classes (and those of other countries); the settlements and military financing involve vast kick-backs to ruling elites. That is not against the CGTN post, but there is a tendency to think that everything is driven by explicit policy, but other interests, often non-state, intervene too, and that is harder for a Chinese reporter to recognize.

Ahmed Fares said...

Jews fear the loss of anti-Semitism (their words, not mine). A long article but well worth the read. It was written in 1997 but still relevant and appears to be a summary or excerpt from a book. Here are the beginning paragraphs (bold mine).

The Vanishing American Jew —Alan M. Dershowitz

THE GOOD NEWS is that American Jews--as individuals--have never been more secure, more accepted, more affluent, and less victimized by discrimination or anti-Semitism. The bad news is that American Jews--as a people--have never been in greater danger of disappearing through assimilation, intermarriage, and low birthrates. The even worse news is that our very success as individuals contributes to our vulnerability as a people. The even better news is that we can overcome this new threat to the continuity of American Jewish life and emerge with a more positive Judaism for the twenty-first century--a Judaism that is less dependent on our enemies for its continuity, and that rests more securely on the considerable, but largely untapped, strengths of our own heritage.

American Jewish life is in danger of disappearing, just as most American Jews have achieved everything we ever wanted: acceptance, influence, affluence, equality. As the result of skyrocketing rates of intermarriage and assimilation, as well as "the lowest birth rate of any religious or ethnic community in the United States," the era of enormous Jewish influence on American life may soon be coming to an end. Although Jews make up just over 2 percent of the population of the United States--approximately 5.5 million out of 262 million--many Americans mistakenly believe that we constitute a full 20 percent of the American people, because of our disproportionate visibility, influence, and accomplishments. But our numbers may soon be reduced to the point where our impact on American life will necessarily become marginalized. One Harvard study predicts that if current demographic trends continue, the American Jewish community is likely to number less than 1 million and conceivably as few as 10,000 by the time the United States celebrates its tricentennial in 2076. Other projections suggest that early in the next century, American Jewish life as we know it will be a shadow of its current, vibrant self--consisting primarily of isolated pockets of ultra-Orthodox Hasidim.

Jews have faced dangers in the past, but this time we may be unprepared to confront the newest threat to our survival as a people, because its principal cause is our own success as individuals. Our long history of victimization has prepared us to defend against those who would destroy us out of hatred; indeed, our history has forged a Jewish identity far too dependent on persecution and victimization by our enemies. But today's most serious threats come not from those who would persecute us, but from those who would, without any malice, kill us with kindness--by assimilating us, marrying us, and merging with us out of respect, admiration, and even love. The continuity of the most influential Jewish community in history is at imminent risk, unless we do something dramatic now to confront the quickly changing dangers.

This book is a call to action for all who refuse to accept our demographic demise as inevitable. It is a demand for a new Jewish state of mind capable of challenging the conventional wisdom that Judaism is more adaptive to persecution and discrimination than it is to an open, free, and welcoming society--that Jews paradoxically need enemies in order to survive, that anti-Semitism is what has kept Judaism alive.
This age-old perspective on Jewish survival is illustrated by two tragic stories involving respected rabbinical leaders.

Matt Franko said...

Ahmed it’s the “Judeo-Christian” Art degree synthesis... in US you have these Art degree Socratic synthesizers who are always looking to combine stuff instead of discriminating between stuff.. many Jews and Christians in US are educated in this methodology our Tom here included via his Jesuit training which is based on this Socratic methodology.... always looking for some type of combinatory synthesis... “kumbayah” for everyone etc.., instead of discrimination between the methodologies...

That is what the synagogues did back in biblical times... synagogue = “together-teach”... the synagogues were the locus of this same synthesis of Judism and Socratic method we see here today...

I think Dershowitz is lamenting the loss of pure Israelite discriminatory teachings and then from Christianity side they want to start WW3 over there so Jesus comes back and rescues the Israelites from impending doom based on their synthesized interpretation of the old and new testaments...


Matt Franko said...

Dershowitz is properly “Christian” here:

“24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. Mat 15:24

Jesus was only sent for benefit of Israelites vs we of the nations outside of Israel... iow He had nothing to do with us.., iow I’m not an Israelite Ahmed I’m assuming you are not either I’m assum8ng you are Muslim by your name which is basically Cannite like myself...

The “Judeo- Christian “ Socratic synthesizers can’t get this... they are not trained to discriminate or divide... they are trained to combine..

Matt Franko said...

“ because its principal cause is our own success as individuals.”

That “success” so called is defined in Greco-Roman (ie purely materialistic) terms... ie not Israelite terms...

Success in Israelite terms would be 100% compliance with Moses and the prophets..

(That methodology failed 2,000 years ago due to attempted Socratic synthesis but Art degree morons don’t want to admit it...)

Matt Franko said...

“ Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” Luke 12:51

Dershowitz basically gets it right.....

Ahmed Fares said...

Yes, I am a Muslim and a Sufi, Sufism being the mystical branch of Islam, i.e., the Islamic path to enlightenment.

many Jews and Christians in US are educated in this methodology our Tom here included via his Jesuit training which is based on this Socratic methodology.... always looking for some type of combinatory synthesis... “kumbayah” for everyone etc.., instead of discrimination between the methodologies...

I'm with Tom here and I hope that what you said about Tom, i.e., that he's a Jesuit, is actually true. That's because Ignatians and Calvinists are my two favorite types of Christians. Also that at the center of every tradition is the one and same truth. Allow me to explain.

About thirty years ago, while I was reading a book on Christianity, I ran across this phrase: "With Ignatians it's God all the time". It instantly burned itself into my brain, this because it accords with Islam which says everything we see around us is from God.

Similarly, Calvinists are accused of having a "puppet theology", i.e, that we are all puppets on a divine string. Calvinists detractors think that this somehow precludes free will. Nothing could be further from the truth. They forget that we can choose what type of puppet we want to be.

The play has already been written, but you can choose what type of character you want to be in that play. Here, the Sufi Ibn al-Farid uses the shadow play to explain:

Lo, from behind the veil mysterious
The forms of things are shown in every guise
Of manifold appearance; and in them
An all-wise providence hath joined what stands
Opposed in nature: mute they utter speech,
Inert they move and void of splendour shine
And so it comes that now thou laugh’st in glee,
Then weep’st anon, like mother o’er dead child,
And mournest, if they sigh, for pleasure lost,
And tremblest, if they sing, with music's joy.
Birds warbling on the boughs delight thine ear,
The while their sweet notes sadden thee within;
Thou wonderest at their voices and their words—
Expressive unintelligible tongues!
On land the camels cross the wilderness,
At sea the ships run swiftly through the deep;
And thou behold’st two armies—one on land,
On sea another—multitudes of men,
Clad, for their bravery, in iron mail
And fenced about with points of sword and spear.
The land-troops march on horseback or on foot,
Bold cavaliers and stubborn infantry;
The warriors of the sea some mount on deck,
Some climb the masts like lances straight and tall.
Here in assault they smite with gleaming swords,
There thrust with tough brown shafts of quivering spears;
Part drowned with fire of arrows shot in showers,
Part burned with floods of steel that pierce like flames 2;
These rushing onward, offering their lives,
Those reeling broken ’neath the shame of rout;
And catapults thou seest hurling stones
Against strong fortresses and citadels,
To ruin them. And apparitions strange
Of naked viewless spirits thou mayst espy
That wear no friendly shape of humankind,
For genies love not men.

And in the stream
The fisher casts his net and draws forth fish;
And craftily the fowler sets a snare
That hungry birds may fall in it for corn.
And ravening monsters wreck the ships at sea,
And lions in the jungle rend their prey,
And in the air some birds, and in the wilds
Some animals, hunt others. And thou seest
Many a form besides, whose names I pass,
Putting my trust in samples choice, tho’ few.

Regard now what is this that lingers not
Before thine eye and in a moment fades.
All thou beholdest is the act of One
In solitude, but closely veiled is He.
Let him but lift the screen, no doubt remains:
The forms are vanished, He alone is all;
And thou, illumined, knowest that by His light
Thou find’st His actions in the senses’ night.

Ahmed Fares said...

Further to my comment,

For those who don't know what a shadow play, this definition from Wikipedia:

Shadow play, also known as shadow puppetry, is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment which uses flat articulated cut-out figures (shadow puppets) which are held between a source of light and a translucent screen or scrim. The cut-out shapes of the puppets sometimes include translucent color or other types of detailing. Various effects can be achieved by moving both the puppets and the light source. A talented puppeteer can make the figures appear to walk, dance, fight, nod and laugh.

A quick Google search and I found this:

The religious nature of the play manifests itself on a Sufi basis. As a matter of fact, the famous Sufi Ibn Arabi refers to shadow play in his book “Fütûhât-ı Mekkiyye” (“Meccan Revelations”). According to him, the curtain in the play is material causes which are worldly means. He says: “Most people are like little children who think that the shadow on that curtain is real. In the shadow play, young children rejoice and cheer up. And the ignorant take it as a play and a pastime, and the pundits take lessons from it knowing that God puts forth that play as an example.”

Throwing light on Sufism: Traditional Ottoman shadow play bears traces of Islamic mysticism

Ahmed Fares said...

Further to my comment on the unity of all religions,

I should mention that I have ten years in the study of comparative religion. All self-study. If I didn't respect all these religions, why would I be studying them, if not to search for the same truth within them?

I recall a book that showed a picture of a wheel with spokes and a hub describing how different religions relate to each other. In that vein, I did a Google search and came up with this:

The Religion Wheel: Hub and Spokes

Picture a wheel with many spokes. Each spoke represents a different religion—Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and the many variations.

How many variations? Counting denominations, branches, sects, there are tens of thousands unique groups. Most spun off in some disagreement from a parent religion. Christianity alone has thousands: all kinds of Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Mormons, Pentecostals and so on. Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and the rest have many branches, too. Add in animism, Wicca, New Age, humanism, atheism, and the many other isms.

(picture of a wheel here)

At the wheel’s hub all the spokes come together. In that center are love, compassion, justice, truth, connectedness, harmony, peace, freedom, equality, dignity, hope, wonder, beauty and joy. The pure ideals. The qualities that inspire human life at its best.

At the center of the wheel, where each spoke is near the others, followers of a religion see these universal ideals in their fellow humans, even those who are different from them. Gandhi got that. Asked if he was a Hindu, he replied, “Yes I am. I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.” “Religions are not for separating men from one another; they are meant to bind them,” he also said.

At its best, a religion inspires us to connect with the highest universal ideals and possibilities. Whatever our religion, the closer we are to that center, the more we connect to others in a true and powerful way. We see the dignity and worth in each person.

The article continues:

Out the spoke: fundamentalism and religious extremism

But as you follow each religion’s spoke outward, away from the noble hub, connections begin to be lost. There’s less harmony. Less equality. Less beauty. Truth gets skewed, some people bend the religion for their own gain and are elevated above others. Some freedoms begin to be lost, the seeds of disunity are sown.

You hear that this way of belief is the only true way. All others are false. And you’ll see things that don’t make sense: a distrust or outright rejection of science, televangelists who live in mansions and fly in private jets funded by susceptible and often limited-income viewers, religious leaders who look the other way while priests sexually abuse children. Entire groups, especially women, have fewer rights.

Travel out far on any spoke and you’ll likely hit fundamentalism, a form of religion (or other belief system) that stresses strict adherence to a certain scripture or principles. Not every religion makes it out this far, but all have the potential. Fundamentalists have a rigid intolerance of other’s views. Insisting that average followers aren’t capable of reading and interpreting sacred texts, fundamentalist priests claim to know what these texts, written so long ago, mean in the current context.

The Religion Wheel: How is “religion” both good and bad?

Ahmed Fares said...

Further to my comment as regards Islam and Sufism,

In 2014, the BBC reported that in that year, Rumi was the best-selling poet in the US.

This 807-year-old Persian mystic and dervish has a massive following in the US and around the world. Jane Ciabattari explains his enduring influence.

The ecstatic poems of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Persian poet and Sufi master born 807 years ago in 1207, have sold millions of copies in recent years, making him the most popular poet in the US. Globally, his fans are legion.

“He’s this compelling figure in all cultures,” says Brad Gooch, who is writing a biography of Rumi to follow his critically acclaimed books on Frank O’Hara and Flannery O’Connor. “The map of Rumi’s life covers 2,500 miles,” says Gooch, who has traveled from Rumi’s birthplace in Vakhsh, a small village in what is now Tajikistan, to Samarkand in Uzbekistan, to Iran and to Syria, where Rumi studied at Damascus and Aleppo in his twenties. His final stop was Konya, in Turkey, where Rumi spent the last 50 years of his life. Today Rumi’s tomb draws reverent followers and heads of state each year for a whirling dervish ceremony on 17 December, the anniversary of his death.

Why is Rumi the best-selling poet in the US?

Rumi, as a Sufi, is of course a Muslim. Yet, here are Americans who have witnessed the events of 9/11 flocking to his works. This is because they've gained enough knowledge to know that there is an inner side to Islam that is far removed from the types of people who commit terrorism. They don't fall for what I call the "generalization fallacy".

Here's an example of some Sufis in Germany (watch the first minute or so):

Hadra @ Osmanische Herberge, Germany (HD)

Some of you might have noticed the green turbans. That's one of the colors of Islam. Also, Yoda, you know, in Star Wars.

Ahmed Fares said...

Further to my comment, Yoda in a previous incarnation.

The 18th Surah of the Qur'an describes the meeting of Moses with a mysterious figure. Though he is not mentioned by name, Muslims know his as Al-Khidr (Arabic for "the green one"). Here, Moses represents the religious, while Al-Khidr represents the spiritual, and illustrates how the religious cannot understand the spiritual.

Here, in the movie Circle of Iron (aka The Silent Flute), actor David Carradine plays the role of Al-Khidr. As like in the Qur'an, he breaks the boat. Actor Roddy McDowall who plays the role of Moses, questions him as to how he could commit an evil act, destroying someone's property (watch the first minute from where it starts).

Circle of Iron - Part 02

Later on, like in the Qur'an, he explains that he there was a king in the area who was seizing boats by force. By destroying the boat, he was protecting its owners from violence. What looked like evil was actually good.

More on the movie:

Circle of Iron is a 1978 martial arts fantasy film co-written by Bruce Lee, who intended to star in the film himself, but died before production. The film is also known as The Silent Flute, which was the original title of the story conceived by Lee, James Coburn and Stirling Silliphant in 1969. After Lee's death in 1973, Silliphant and Stanley Mann completed the screenplay, and Lee's part was given to Kung Fu television star David Carradine. Many other well-known character actors also had small roles in the film, including Roddy McDowall, Eli Wallach and Christopher Lee.

Circle of Iron

Some of you guys might remember watching this movie years ago. It probably never occurred to you that you were watching a movie about Sufism, taken right out of the Qur'an. That's how symbolism works.

Sad about David Carradine though. I grew up watching Kung Fu.

Ahmed Fares said...


"Actor Roddy McDowall who plays the role of Moses"

It was actually Jeff Cooper who played the role of Moses in that movie.

Jeff Cooper in Circle of Iron