Christopher Hitchens pushes my buttons. I respect his rhetorical abilities, but I hate many of his views.
To read Hitchens these days is to be transported to an alternate universe where religious Jews are often terrorists inspired by racist Jewish ideology that is fomented by their rabbis. Of course, those who live in the real world and who never read about Orthodox Jews setting off bombs in Bali and Baghdad might be a trifle confused by Hitchens’ regular rants against Judaism.
You should be. Most of the time he is simply fabricating, like this famous quote taken from his 2007 book God Is Not Great. "Dr. Baruch Goldstein… killed 27 worshipers… While serving as a physician in the Israeli army he had announced that he would not treat non-Jewish patients, such as Israeli Arabs, especially on the Sabbath. As it happens, he was obeying rabbinic law in declining to do this, as many Israeli religious courts have confirmed."
For this particular blood libel against Jewish courts Hitchens relied on a well-known hoax perpetrated by writer Israel Shahak, which was exposed as a fraud more than 40 years ago by Lord Immanuel Jakobovitz, chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth. This is the same Israel Shahak who once accused Jews of worshipping Satan. When I challenged Hitchens about his use of a well-known forgery, and when he could not cite a single other religious court to have ever ruled that a non-Jewish life could not be saved on the Sabbath, he wrote to me and agreed to amend the item in the next edition of his book.
He did not.
Now he is at it again, only this time he’s outdone himself. Writing in the March 23 edition of the Slate website, Hitchens argued that the religious settlers in Israel are preparing for a future where "Torah verses will also be found that make it permissible to murder secular Jews as well as Arabs" as they all coalesce together to make the West bank into an apocalyptic Jewish theocracy.