The religion of Judaism contains 613 commandments that govern every aspect of a Jew’s life. They command the Jew to have honest scales at the market, to eat certain foods and not eat others, undertake acts of charity, take a weekly day off, not commit acts of theft and murder and many others that govern both personal conduct and matters of religious practise. There is also a very strong prohibition against what the bible calls idolatry or the worship of statues and other idols such as sacred stones (Leviticus 26:1). This doesn’t mean that the Jew has the right to make war on those, such as Hindus or neo-Pagans, whose religion is based on such practises, that’s definitely not the case, only that the Jew doesn’t take part in idol worship or benefits from the same or promotes idolatry.
But an idol doesn’t have to be a physical statue or a rock or grove of trees, an idol can also be an idea or a political ideology. Sometimes an ideology can become so powerful for some people that adherence to this ideology becomes more important than anything else. More important than morals or common sense and for some, even more important than God.
As a non-Orthodox Jew, I have looked on in horror as some of our more left wing Rabbis put aside common sense and morals, and even utter false interpretations of history, purely in order to adhere to an ideology that in my opinion is going to end in disaster, not just for Jews, but for everyone. I speak here of the foolish ‘Refugees Welcome’ campaign, in which two of Britain’s non-Orthodox Jewish movements are very heavily involved.
The Rabbonim who are involved in and are promoting this utterly suicidal policy must surely have taken leave of their senses? They are calling for the entry into the UK of those coming from societies and cultures that are violent, misogynistic and are as shot through with anti-Semitism as a town’s name runs through a stick of seaside rock . Certain Rabbonim are wilfully ignoring cast iron evidence that the people they are championing are not the sort of people that anyone with any sense would want as neighbours. These Rabbonim are treating this ‘refugees welcome’ policy almost like an idol and are worshipping it and bowing down to it. Some of these Rabbonim are refusing to countenance objections to this policy from the ordinary ‘the Jews in the pews’ who may be to a greater or lesser degree critical of their non-Orthodox movement’s jumping into this policy feet first. I also understand that there have also been attempts made to silence and isolate those who speak up and criticise the overly naïve ‘refugees welcome’ idea. This has been done both by the ubiquitous and false accusations of xenophobia and racism, but also by the use of very left wing interpretations of Scripture.
Left wing Rabbonim, who I must say are in a numerical minority, but who occupy powerful positions in some non-Orthodox Jewish movements, are failing to approach the ‘refugee crisis’ with any sort of intelligence or proper judgement. When it comes to these alleged ‘refugees’ these Rabbonim have become almost like the idols mentioned in Psalm 115. They have ‘eyes that cannot see, ears that cannot hear and mouths that cannot speak’. They refuse to see the evidence of their own eyes and the eyes of trustworthy men and women. They refuse to hear cautionary voices that are saying ‘be careful, be watchful and consider the consequences of your actions’. They also refuse to speak up for the very Jews who will ultimately be the first victims of the ‘refugees’ for whom they are campaigning.
When the Chief Rabbi of the Orthodox United Synagogue, Ephraim Mirvis, visited a refugee camp in Greece, the high levels of anti-Semitism among the ‘refugees’ meant that the Rabbi Mirvis could not wear the traditional Jewish Kippah on his head. For security reasons Rabbi Mirvis was instructed to wear a baseball camp over his Kippah. Surely this should tell anyone, no matter how ‘intellectually challenged’ that these ‘refugees’ have very problematic attitudes to Jews and probably much else. Of course I agree with Rabbi Mirvis that these refugees are made in the image of God and should be helped, but so also are criminals, even if they were not born to be criminal. I certainly concur that those fleeing conflict should be helped, but they should be helped in such a way that they do not endanger the helper or the nations from which the helpers come. If help is to be given to these people, then it must be done in situ and not by bringing them to the United Kingdom or other civilised nations.
However, some of Britain’s non-Orthodox Jewish movements have gone beyond doing the morally correct thing, giving aid to people close to the centre of the problem. Instead they have teamed up with some seriously questionable left wing organisations, such as Citizens UK, and have campaigned for Britain to open its doors. Unfortunately, they are campaigning for the doors to be opened not only for the peaceful and the oppressed but also the violent and the oppressors. It’s an example of non-judgementalism gone completely mad.
I was moved to write this piece by seeing a copy of one of the news items put out by the Liberal Judaism organisation, one of Britain’s smallest and most left-wing Jewish movements. I’ve reproduced a large amount of this news item below. As is usual policy for this blog the original text is in italics whereas my comments are in plain text. Also, as I’m questioning Rabbinical policy, rather than any particular individual Rabbi, it’s only right that I do so using scripture and the historical record where necessary. It should be noted that I’m not singling out Rabbi Rich, the senior Rabbi of Liberal Judaism, for criticism here, but am using his comments as an example of Rabbonim following and promoting policies that are going to end up causing a whole heap of trouble. If you search for comment s by other Rabbonim from non Orthodox movements who are involved in the ‘Refugees welcome’ campaign you will find similar views and attitudes.
The Liberal Judaism E-Bulletin of 13 September 2016, available on their website, said:
Liberal Judaism’s senior rabbi, Rabbi Danny Rich, has made a number of media appearances this week calling on the British Government to do more to reunite refugee families.
Danny has been interviewed by BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster, BBC World Service and BBC News, as well as being quoted extensively in the Jewish press.
I’m not at all surprised to see a left-wing broadcaster giving air time to the views of Leftist Rabbonim. It would be much more of a surprise to have on a Rabbi who stepped outside of the left-wing bubble that the BBC have created.
He was part of a group of more than 200 religious leaders – including the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and senior representatives from the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faiths – to sign a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May urging her to create a legal route into the UK for those living in “desperate conditions” abroad, who have relatives here.
This passage of the report elicits many more questions than it answers. Firstly why does Britain have an obligation to take these people in? Their relatives are more than likely already in safe countries or are in refugee camps that are in areas that are less afflicted by conflict, so why not reunite these people there rather than here? We also need to look beyond the emotional appeals about ‘reuniting families’ and take a long hard look at the sort of people whom are likely to be allowed in under this proposed scheme. Even a cursory examination of the experience that other European nations have had with these ‘refugees’ should make us wary. Unlike most of the refugee waves of the 20th century, these current group of ‘refugees’ are characterised by violence, crime and sexual depravity. Why should we allow in such people, who are likely to cause problems, even if it is to ‘reunite families’? Are these families going to be peaceful ones, or are they likely to be a danger to society and a drain on the public purse?
Of course the Torah tells us to: “not oppress the stranger because we were once strangers in the land of Egypt’, ( Exodus 23:9 ) but does that mean that we should act in a suicidal manner by allowing in to our homes those who mean us harm? Of course it does not. Although Judaism forbids murder (Exodus 20:13), it does permit many forms of self defence and the rescue of family and friends in danger. Instances include concealment of those in peril (the concealment of Sarai by Abram) up to and taking an armed band to rescue those in danger (rescue of Lot from hostile forces) (Genesis 12 to 17:27 ). In my view not oppressing the stranger is a good thing, but when the stranger is carrying a big stick and waving it around, as all too many of the current ‘refugees’ seem to be doing, than all bets are off. There is also permission for self defence in Halacha, Jewish Law. Rabbi Zvi Solomons writing in the Jewish News and quoting from the Talmud says:
“The principle of self-defence is enshrined in the saying (relating to the same passage in Exodus and from the same section of the Talmud as above): “Im ba l’hargekha, hashkem l’hargo,” “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him (first)”.
There is nothing righteous in turning the other cheek. We are not supposed to passively accept death, but rather to fight and survive.”
In my view, barring entry to these troublesome alleged ‘refugees’ is an act of self defence and therefore permitted and a means of survival.
We would not let a burglar into our homes, so why should we allow in those who belong to groups of people who are more than likely to do us harm and who think badly of us? That would be a completely mindless, naïve and suicidal act. I’m not saying that these ‘refugees’ should be killed or harmed, but they should not be allowed the chance to harm us and our families by being brought to the UK. I completely agree with helping those in the current conflict zone in the Middle East but there is too great a risk to all of us in bringing them to the UK as opposed to giving them support closer to their point of origin.
Danny told BBC News: “We are asking the government to show compassion and also some common sense because if you have half a refugee family here they can’t be as well settled, as well absorbed, as if they were a full family.”
This is nothing but empty emotionalism. There is no solid evidence-based explanation why is it up to the people of the UK to bear both the fiscal and social costs of reuniting these families? Bearing in mind that many of these ‘Syrians’ are not as peaceful as they are painted, and that a third of those who have been given asylum in the UK have already been arrested by police, isn’t this ‘refugees welcome’ policy a bit warped? At the very least it is breaking the Biblical instruction to ‘seek the peace of the city in which you live’ (Jeremiah 29:7)? By allowing in those who will more than likely break that peace, those behind this ‘refugees welcome’ campaign are failing to comprehend what is likely to happen to those communities who will most likely suffer from the presence of these ‘refugees’.
Speaking to Radio 5 Live (pictured above), Danny added: “We are calling on Theresa May to implement these rules with compassion, as well as justice and fairness.
And where, may I ask, is the concern for the communities who will suffer? The nations of Germany, Denmark, France,Sweden and elsewhere have suffered from a cohort of refugees who are distinguished not by their gratitude, but by their arrogance and violence? These nations have suffered terribly from mass sexual assaults, attacks on natives and even attacks by those ‘refugees’ on those assigned to help them?
“People have legitimate concerns, but all the evidence shows that Britain has benefited from being a welcoming place for refugees.
What a mealy mouthed way of dismissing the genuine and well-founded fears that these ‘refugees’ will be a burdensome ticking time bomb. In my view for Jews to campaign to allow in such ‘refugees’ will put them in the moral position of aiding and abetting any crimes that these ‘refugees’ commit. This is not right behaviour, not a proper use of compassion and neither is it just. There is a concept in Judaism called Dina D’malchuta Dina, which binds Jews to the civil law of the countries in which they find themselves, provided that these laws do not involve breaking basic Torah concepts, such as not committing murder or theft. To allow in those who murder, or rape, or thieve, or destabilise the nation, in my opinion that goes against the concept of Dina D’malchuta Dina. It’s not respecting the spirit of the civil law. No one of good heart or with historical knowledge, could deny that Britain has been genuinely assisted by those who have come here. The annals of Britain’s history are full of people who’ve come to the UK, sometimes in dire need, who have worked hard, served in our armed forces, obeyed the law and contributed to the life of the country. However, we should be very careful about exactly who we allow in. We must of course give consideration to those, such as Middle East Christians who are genuinely and provably oppressed, but should we also bring in Middle Eastern Muslims who are more often than not the oppressors? I don’t think so. Jews are commanded to judge people honestly (Leviticus 19:15) and not favour either the rich or the poor, but to welcome in to the UK both the oppressor and those who they have oppressed, makes a mockery of the commandment to make honest judgements. To me, it is like taking in the rapists as well as the victims of rape.
“Look at the Kindertransport and the contribution made to Britain over the last 70 years by those who escaped the Nazis. Look at the contributions made today by doctors, nurses and care workers, many of who were not English born.”
It’s difficult to put into words how angry I am at this comment. The Rabbonim who bring up the matter of the Kindertransport are not comparing like with like. As I said in a previous article on the ‘refugees welcome’ movement, it is hard to compare the Kindertransport children and the sort of criminals and thugs who are over-represented among these ‘refugees’. In the previous article I said that not only could I not find any evidence that those rescued by the Kindertransport were any more criminal than the rest of the population, but that many of these children have gone on to make great contributions to Britain and the world. Judging by how these latest ‘refugees’ have been behaving elsewhere in Europe and in the UK, I find it difficult to believe that the outcomes of taking in these current ‘refugees’ will be quite so positive. To compare the Kindertransport children with the ambulant criminal tide posing as ‘refugees’ is a monstrous falsehood, a distortion of history and an insult to those who so narrowly escaped with their lives from the murderous Hitler regime in Nazi Germany. I’m sick and fed up of seeing Leftist Rabbonim taking the history of peaceful and oppressed Jews such as those from the Kindertransport and using this to support policies that will allow in the violent and the oppressor.
This ‘refugees welcome’ policy, this leftist guff masquerading as religious imperative and dressed up in scriptural garb, must be opposed by anyone, whether Jewish or not, who values the free and open society that has been created in the UK. If this ‘refugees welcome’ policy is successful, then there will be very few winners from it. The communities who have to host these ‘refugees’ will lose. The wider society and the economy will lose and Jews also will lose. This policy is likely to have only one winner and those are the Jew-haters of the extreme far right, who falsely believe that ‘multiculturalism and immigration are a Jewish plot’ to destroy the Christian world. It’s one thing to stand up and be a voice crying in the wilderness about injustice, it is quite another to hand a weapon to one’s enemy, by acting according to false stereotypes or turning lies into reality.
Too many left wing Rabbonim have made an idol of the ‘refugees welcome’ policy, they need to be called out and challenged on it. Their policy is wrong and their adherence to this ideology has turned into a false idol. The outcomes of this policy will be very bad for all of us, whether we are Jewish or not. I urge all those Jews who have even the smallest inkling that their movements are embarking on a dangerous and troubling path, to speak up where and when you can and challenge those Rabbis who are pursuing policies that will only end in tears.
It appears to me that these Rabbonim who are blindly following this ‘refugees welcome’ policy without thinking of the consequences are replacing faith in the Eternal One with faith in a man-made ideology and that will seem to many not that much different from other sorts of idolatory.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
4Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
5They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
6They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
7They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
and they do not make a sound in their throat.
8Those who make them become like them;
so do all who trust in them.
9O Israel,a trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.
10O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.
11You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and their shield.
16The heavens are the Lord’s heavens,
but the earth he has given to the children of man.
17The dead do not praise the Lord,
nor do any who go down into silence.
18But we will bless the Lord
from this time forth and for evermore.
Praise the Lord!
Chief Rabbi Mirvis told he cannot wear a Kippah during visit to a refugee camp.
Zvi Solomons on self defence
LJ article on ‘refugees welcome’
Number of Syrians given asylum in the UK
Number of Syrians arrested by UK Police
The ‘holy fools’ of the Birmingham ‘Refugees Welcome’ summit. This article also contains information showing exactly why we should not make a false comparison with today’s ‘refugees’ with those who came to the UK on the Kindertransport
Here’s the list of all 613 Jewish commandments.
The doctrine of Dina Malchuta Dina which roughly translates as the law of the King is the law for everyone