Counterpunch: Why is the US Honoring a Racist Rabbi?

April 7, 2014, Alison Weir wrote for Counterpunch, a magazine of the left:

If things proceed normally, President Barak Obama will soon proclaim April 11, 2014 “Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A.” Despite the innocuous name, this day honors the memory of a religious leader whose lesser-known teachings help fuel some of the most violent attacks against Palestinians by extremist Israeli settlers and soldiers.

The leader being honored on this day is Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, charismatic head of a mystical/fundamentalist version of Judaism. Every year since 1978, a Presidential Proclamation, often accompanied by a Congressional Resolution (the 1990 one had 219 sponsors), has declared Schneerson’s birthday an official national day of observance.

So what are the racist things the rebbe said? This supposedly comes from a 1960s book in Hebrew of things the rebbe taught that were not translated into English:

“The difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish person stems from the common expression: “Let us differentiate.” Thus, we do not have a case of profound change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather, we have a case of “let us differentiate” between totally different species.”

“This is what needs to be said about the body: the body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world … The difference in the inner quality between Jews and non-Jews is “so great that the bodies should be considered as completely different species.”

“An even greater difference exists in regard to the soul. Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres, while the Jewish soul stems from holiness.”

“As has been explained, an embryo is called a human being, because it has both body and soul. Thus, the difference between a Jewish and a non-Jewish embryo can be understood.”

“…the general difference between Jews and non-Jews: A Jew was not created as a means for some [other] purpose; he himself is the purpose, since the substance of all [divine] emanations was created only to serve the Jews.”

“The important things are the Jews, because they do not exist for any [other] aim; they themselves are [the divine] aim.”

“The entire creation [of a non-Jew] exists only for the sake of the Jews.”

I see nothing wrong with what the rebbe said. All strong in-groups say these sorts of things about out-groups. Commanches said them about other tribes and I am sure Sioux said similar things about Commanches, etc. American Indians said similar things about the white man and the early Americans said similar things about the Indians.

I don’t see anything in what the Rebbe said that refers specifically to race. Also, there was no such sin as “racism” prior to the 20th Century. No moral system had such a sin, not Judaism nor Christianity nor Islam nor secular humanism nor Buddhism nor Shintoism, etc. “Racism” is entirely a made-up moral category. It’s another example of the false moral thinking of the moral world along with “homophobia” and “Islamophobida” and “sexism” and the like.

Before I was 22, I never knowingly met a Jew. Do you think Jews were real to me? They were no more real to me than Zulus. I only saw them in books and movies. I grew up as a Seventh-Day Adventist and we believed that only Christians were going to Heaven and that everyone else was condemned to Hell.

In his book Esau’s Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews, Professor Albert S. Lindemann details horrible things Christians said about Jews and horrible things Jews said about Christians. That’s the way of the world. Jews and Christians said equally horrible things about each other. The big difference is that Jews did not lay out programs for persecuting Christians because they never conceived of having the earthly power to do such things.

I don’t see any harm in Jews believing that Jews have special souls any more than there is harm in the Chinese thinking China is the center of the world and the Japanese believing that the sun rises first on Japan and then goes to the rest of the world.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe did not live a life oppressing non-Jews and he did not encourage his followers to oppress non-Jews.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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