Letters To The Editor: Tikkun, Shalom, Anti-Semitism, Oy Vey!
Tikkun, Shalom, Oy Vey!
(January /February 2003 issue)
I was pleasantly surprised to see your use of the word “tikkun” in the current issue of Spirit of Change . I recently received mail from an organization called Tikkun, which seeks to combine political activism with spiritual ideals; after all, social change and inner change go hand in hand. The organization is open to all faiths and one of its major goals is peace in the Middle East. Perhaps you and your readers might be interested in checking it out: http://www.tikkun.org/
Dear Ms. Bedrosian,
I am writing to point out two instances of anti-Semitic sentiments in the January/February 2003 issue of your magazine. Actually, I feel that term is slightly in accurate. It is more accurate to call such things hatred of Jews.
“Not In My Name” by Emmanuel Ortiz, on page 34, reads in part, “And if I could add one more thing…a full day of silence for the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the hands of U.S.-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation.” Nowhere in the poem is any mention of Israelis and Jews from other countries or anybody who has died as a result of Palestinian and Arab terrorism. Nor is there any attempt to address why Israel is occupying the West Bank to begin with, namely the Palestinians’ unwillingness to live in peaceful coexistence with Israel. According to Mr. Ortiz, the indiscriminate killings of Jews are acceptable, but acts of self-defense by Israel are not.
Mr. Ortiz also deems it worthy to be silent for victims of those killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but not for the victims of the Nazis, Jewish and otherwise, nor those occupied by Japan in World War II. Again, he seems to have more sympathy and place more value on the lives of those he sees as victims of perceived American or American-sponsored aggression than others.
On page 36, Jane Drake’s article “From Abraham to Muhammad” reads, “By believing in all the prophets, Jews could recognize the world’s messiah, instead of insisting that no one can identify him until his arrival.” This is a call for the conversion of Jews to Christianity or some other religion, which would result in the elimination of Judaism. She doesn’t seem to be willing to let Jews believe what they want and is willing to accept Jews only if they believe in her messiah.
Considering the general tenor of your magazine, which I have read on and off for a number of years, the elements of hatred seem disturbing. I don’t know if you’re aware of the implications of what Ortiz and Drake wrote. It was all the more surprising in light of your constructive statements regarding the Jewish mystical tradition in your column, “Musings.” I understand that you may grant artistic autonomy to your contributors and am in no way advocating censorship, but do you want Spirit of Change to be associated with this hatred of Jews?
Thank you for your comments and observations, which were echoed in other letters and phone calls this past issue. This is not the first time Spirit of Change, and myself as the editor, have been accused of being anti-Semitic for what has been printed in this magazine (or omitted, as is the case.) Because I know personally how misguided such assertions are, I believe this resurfacing issue needs closer attention and have opened this topic to wider discussion and comment, beginning with the letters that follow.
I would also like to point out that the Armenian genocide of 1915-1918 where 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by the Turks was not mentioned in the poem “Not in My Name.” This certainly does not make me anti-Armenian for printing the poem. Nor would I consider the United States of America to be anti-Armenian, even though it refuses to officially acknowledge the Armenian genocide because of its current political and military ties to Turkey. These are complex issues requiring wisdom, courage and the ability to look at a situation from all sides. There are no black and white, right and wrong answers. We must acquire more patience and tolerance for justice and truth to emerge. — Ed.
Dear Neil Zolot,
I deeply regret giving you the impression [from my article “From Abraham to Mohammed”] that I am anti-Semitic or trying to convert Jews to Christianity. Were you to read my book Of Promises and Previews, you would realize how far removed I am from such thinking. For the moment, however, I offer you two excerpts from other articles I have written, which might help you understand that all believers in Abraham’s God urgently need an improved understanding of the messages delivered by the Prophets.
Muhammad told Muslims to believe all the Prophets who preceded him and draw no line between them, and he specifically mentioned Moses among the Prophets to be believed (Women 4:150; The Family of Imran 3:84). Moses told the Hebrews, before they had even entered the promised land, that they would eventually be “driven out” and remain in exile until they were gathered “from all the nations” where God had scattered them (Deut. 30:4). If, today, Muslims obeyed Muhammad by believing Moses, they would be rejoicing in the prophesied return of the Jews to Israel, instead of trying to “drive them into the sea.”
When Jesus lived in Israel, he did not fulfill the prophecies associated with the Messiah in the Hebrew scriptures, such as establishing “peace without end” (Isa. 9:6) and the Jews becoming “a name and a praise” in the world (Zeph. 3:20). So, most Jews could not acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah.
On top of that, almost 400 years later, organized Christianity officially identified Jesus as “God, the Son,” though Jesus prayed to the One unseen Being he called “the only true God” (John 17:3), Who is the only God worshiped by Jews and Muslims.
When Muhammad arrived, he clearly identified Jesus as the Messiah (Women 4:171), but Jews will not believe it and Christians call Jesus “God.” So extremist Muslims decided that Jews and Christians are “unbelievers” in Abraham’s God, and they are now pursuing a “holy war” to cleanse the world of “unbelievers.” That war threatens to fulfill the prophesied “gross darkness” that shall cover “the earth” and “the peoples” (Isa 60:2).
Mr. Zolot, I remind you that the Hebrew Prophet Malachi offered us a way to avoid the darkness. He said that the “fathers” and the “children” must turn their hearts to each other (Mal. 3:24). In other words, the Jews, as the “fathers” of monotheism, and the Christians and Muslims, as the “children” of the faith, along with all human beings who are children of God, urgently need an improved understanding of the Prophets’ messages, so they can turn to each other with heartfelt respect for the truths each religion has received.
Today, everyone faces an unprecedented crisis that requires unprecedented thinking. We can find that new thinking, by listening to all the Prophets. I’ve made that easy to do, by combining their most vital messages in one book. Or, believers and unbelievers can wait to grow wiser until they are surrounded by the “gross darkness” of a nuclear winter, when everyone will be desperately praying that the promised Messiah will prove as real as the prophesied darkness!
May you be wise enough to allow all the Prophets to guide you. If we improve our understanding, one person at a time, we could create a groundswell that would spare us a war fought with weapons that will wreak “utter destruction” (Mal. 3:24) on the world as we have known it.
Author of Promises and Previews
In light of the questions and comments you posed to me about why many people perceive anti-Semitism where it does not exist, I propose that it’s the cleavage of separatism that is the entire problem: racism, hating gays, any form of separatism is evil. I have actually been studying some of this in the works of Alice Bailey. Talk about what could be considered anti-Semitic — but it isn’t, if you understand and read deep enough. The idea that we are not all one race, one family of humans, is where the problems lie. A friend mentioned to me that Kryon’s work, like Bailey’s, also addresses the Jewish situation as being a humanitarian issue that all humanity needs to deal with. When all of humanity feels the Jewish problem is a world problem, then peace will be possible. It’s almost as if this situation is a barometer for potential peace. This to me means the end of separatism. This is the most prominent world situation of separatism that we all know about and since the Jewish people have wanted to stay separate, it helps all of us recognize that this can no longer be the way. We are one world. One people. As I study this situation more, it becomes clearer.
As to the original poem printed, if we don’t mention all sides, then someone is bound to be offended. Mr. Ortiz didn’t mention the Nazi atrocities, so I can understand the writer’s point of view, as Ortiz did mention a lot of other situations and yet did not open his heart to this world disaster. So it seems, he had prejudices too. Are you as an editor responsible for that? I don’t think so. As for Jane Drake, she is only quoting the prophets, not what the clergy said they said, which is the entire problem. Humans put words into the prophets’ mouths to make their statements.
In my own reflections on the issue, I have wondered if this whole thing is about an ongoing process of understanding separatism, which is being played out on a worldwide basis through the Jewish faith and people, as if they are the “example.” Bailey’s writings note that the Jews were “the chosen race” because they were from the previous solar system, the purpose of which was the perfection of matter, active intelligence at its peak. According to this way of thinking, the present solar system’s purpose is to perfect love-wisdom, so those who are now called Jewish were sent here to teach and integrate love and wisdom. They were chosen.
However, if they were chosen, why have they reaped such tragic karma? Did they miss the purpose and get stuck in old thinking, old ways not appropriate for this present time? Perhaps they were to lead the humans on Earth, yet instead they wanted to stay separate. We can no longer be separate. We are one Earth, one race, one life. And so they demonstrate on a huge scale all the problems associated with separatism.
I am not against Judaism, Islam, Christianity or any tradition. Whatever path, I support them all and I align with the basic truths of Deity that can be found as the foundation in all religions. When all of humanity cares enough to include the rest of the planet as people of equal nature, then there will be peace on Earth. Love your brother and sister! Ho!
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