Borat the Character and Cohen the Jew

Jonah Goldberg can surprise me every now and then and come up with a good column; his piece on the film Borat and its star Sacha Baron Cohen was not such an occasion. He basically sees the film as an attempt to make America look like a racist and militaristic nation for the benefit of those who hate America, especially in Europe, and Cohen as someone with a grudge against America, I do not see it that way.

I went to see the film Borat twice since it has been out. The first time I saw it at a big multiplex in the St. Louis suburbs (St. Louis Mills Mall) and the second time I saw it at a more upscale urban theater at the Chase Park Plaza. Both audiences laughed throughout the movie and at most of the same scenes; however there were a few scenes that flew over the heads of those at the suburban mall and that hit home to the audience at the Chase and those were the jokes that people who are not familiar with Jewish history and issues will not get. The crowd at the Chase, by my estimation, was heavily Jewish, and again by my guesstimate, the crowd at the Mills contained few Jews.

Why do I make this point? Because in order to understand Borat, or any of the other characters that Cohen plays, you must first understand who Cohen the Jew is and how his Jewishness colors all of his brilliant work. This is a man with a strong sense of a Jewish identity, a commitment to the faith, and the product of an observant Jewish home.

Borat is an anti-Semite not just because Cohen seeks to highlight the fact that in many cultures anti-Semitism is a part of the national fabric; but also to draw out the anti-Semitism of others who at first appearance are more refined and sophisticated. Goldberg points to the fact that there are only two real instances in the film, at the rodeo and with the frat boys, that Cohen is able to usefully do this, and that is incomplete.

First let us look at the character of Borat on Da Ali G Show on HBO. On that show Cohen was given hunting lessons by a man who supported the killings of Jews by Nazis in the holocaust and said he personally would not mind if Jews were hunted on his ranch, a bar full of people joining in on an anti-Semitic sing-along (“throw the Jew down the well”) at a country western bar, a Mississippi politician who said all Jews or going to hell and as he character of Bruno a man at a gun show who goes on an anti-Semitic rant. You will also notice that during the film Borat Cohen, who did research on the American Civil Rights Movement in college, happens to bring a black hooker to a Southern mansion on Succession Drive and he falls and breaks the goods in a store dedciated to the memory of the Confederacy. It should also be noted that while at the right-wing Pentacostal Church, where fiery political rhetoric was given, a general stood on the stage and cheered the whole time.

The point Cohen is trying to make is that behind the niceties and political correctness, anti-Semitism still exists below the surface amongst many and on this issue I agree with him wholeheartedly and I can somehow identify with the character of Borat on this issue.


If the work of Cohen can bring this to the service he has perfumes a mitzvah in my humble opinion.

 

This topic is increasingly important in an era of a new anti-Semitism, the resurgences of classical anti-Semitism, and a generation of lost (and in many cases self loathing Jews) in the Jewish Diaspora. Cohen should be applauded for addressing this issue, unlike many prominent Jews in entertainment who run away from all tings Jewish and as the award winning American-Jewish documentarian Marc Levin has said “ you can get Jews in Hollywood to talk about anything….except Jews.”

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53 thoughts on “Borat the Character and Cohen the Jew

  1. Umar, I enjoyed the Borat movie and have enjoyed his character on HBO. The movie is laugh out loud funny at times, but also rather poignant and sad – like when he was at the bed and breakfast of that nice old Jewish couple.

    The stereotype I wondered about was the idea that Muslims (from Kazakstan) all hate Jews. Is Cohen perpetuating that stereotype?

  2. No. In the movie, Borat is asked by a rodeo-man, “Are you a Muslim?” And he says “No, I am a Kazakh, I follow the hawk.” The character of Borat is specifically not a Muslim.

  3. Kazakhstan is a 100% Muslim country, I believe, even though the country itself I believe is officially secular.

    I saw the movie today, actually. There is a lot in the movie that can be missed. Cohen is very smart and I started watching him in the late 1990s when I lived in England.

    I dont know how much Arabic you know Umar, but did you notice that the town he said he comes from in Kazakhstan is “Kusik”?

    In Arabic that is the word for someone’s vagina.

    Anyway, good movie, although I say I cringed at certain times. I guess I have been so involved in the Muslim community here in the USA that I forgot some of these things still happened in the USA.

  4. Salam, only half of Kazakhastan is Kazak: “The population is estimated to be 53% ethnic Kazakhs and 30% ethnic Russians” – Wikipedia…just for the sake of accuracy.

  5. ” He basically sees the film as an attempt to make America look like a racist and militaristic nation”

    Well, Goldberg is just trying to be an apologist for American exceptionalism. Eventually, you start to see the world in black and white when you become so partisan like that and so crazy defensive. He’s put himself into a victimization syndrome. If all you have is a hammer, everything to him now looks like a nail.

  6. Very interesting take on it, Umar. Still, I’m kinda surprised you watched it more than once, the nudity and crude humor really turned me off. It was funny, in a South Park kinda way (“omg, I can’t laugh at that because its so wrong”).

  7. I guess I was wrong about the ethnic/religious make-up of Kazakhstan.

    Anyway, am I the only one to find it odd that one of the major anti-Semities in Russia is actually Jewish himself?

  8. I think Borat is definitely supposed to be a Muslim, but Baron-Cohen will avoid saying so explicitly to avoid the appearance of hypocrisy. In a recent Newsweek article about Baron-Cohen, there was a large full-page picture of Borat wearing these really tacky hiked up shorts while sitting on the floor in a very suggestive pose giving the thumbs up sign, and easily visible on his finger was a ring with the Holy Name of Allah written on it in Arabic.

  9. Yes, the movie is funny. But it is blackface-lite. It fits every description. Crass stereotypes, released at a time when it will not be criticized for it, and the jokes will sound funny to most people.

  10. “I think Borat is definitely supposed to be a Muslim, but Baron-Cohen will avoid saying so explicitly to avoid the appearance of hypocrisy.”

    I think this is true; my guess is that Baron Cohen is not an Islamophobe, and he does not want to offend Muslim feelings, but that Borat is probably only not explicitly a Muslim character because political correctness makes it inadvisable for him to be. Protests could start, and Baron Cohen could be targeted for death.

  11. Cohen is one of the most over-hyped comedians ever, and he’s an asshole for conning Romanian villagers the way he did. Borat is for those who enjoy retarded shit like “Jackass the movie.”

  12. the fact that kazakhstan is 47% muslim (still majority muslim) is a little troubling when it comes to Borat. but the real question is, why would an extremely religious jew, religious to the point that his fiancee will be converting to judaism before they wed, get naked on the screen?

  13. I just found out today in an Islamic class that I was taking-that Sasha Cohen owns land in Israel. in part of the disputed territory. Has anyone else heard this?

  14. An “extremely religious Jew” would not get naked in front of the camera. You’ll find that Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews are almost exactly the same with Muslims when it comes to these things, many of them will refuse to shake hands of people of the opposite sex.

    Cohen, if he is religious, would most certainly be a member of a “reformed” Synagogue, or he is “religious” in the nature of people like the Saudi royal family, who claim piety, but head off to Europe for Ramadan so as not to miss the eat, drinking, and prostitution in the Middle East.

  15. Abu Sinan, never underestimate the importance of being funny to a Jew. It really is the cornerstone of our civilization.

    Borat is in fact orthodox, keeps kosher, observes Shabbat, etc.. It is a myth that all orthodox observe gender segregation, many (if not most) do not. I have been to orthodox synagogues where men and women sit separately and orthodox synagogues where they sit together. And I personally never met a Jew who refused to shake hands with a woman, although no doubt they do exist just pretty rare.

  16. I have met more than a couple Jews who will not shake hands with the opposite sex. But I guess it all depends on who you hang with.

    The people I associate with, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim, tend to be observent in their religion.

    You have made it clear Jordan that you practice no religion, so that might not be important to you. But rest assured, I value religion and the role it plays in people’s lives. I would much rather be friends with a religious Jew or Christian than a secular or lax Muslim. We would have much more in common.

    I have seen this be true in so many cases. Much of what Muslims practice today are drawn directly from Jewish law. Now whether or not “observant” Jews choose to observe the law, or they pick and choose various pieces of it, that is their choice.

    Personally, I dont care for people who pick and choose what to follow in their religion. It is kind of like telling God “you know what, you made these rules, but I’ll go ahead and follow the ones I like, the ones that might be easy, and I’ll disregard those that I dont know, or might be harder to follow.”

    Going to Synagogue, eating kosher and doing Shabbat makes one “an observant Jew” about as much as fasting for Ramadan, going for Friday prayers and not eating pork makes one an observant Muslim. It doesnt.

    I know Jews and Muslim would could be described as thus, but they drink, date, and do all sorts of things that are haraam in both faiths. The outward, open forms of observance seem to be done just for that reason, they are open and outward.

    As to being funny, and the corner of your civilisation, I would say you are wrong. Religion, Judaism, is the cornerstone of Jewish life and civilisation. Drop that and see how long you remain “Jewish” in any way, shape or form.

    It is for this very reason I support Jewish groups like the Chabad Lubavitchers who try to bring secular and lax Jews more into active observance of their faith. I used to live right next to a major Jewish community center and Lubavitcher center and I loved the work they did calling back Jews to their religion.

    I enjoyed sitting on the front porch watching the observant walk to Shabbat prayers. Nothing better.

  17. Abu Sinan, from my experience Orthodox Jews can reject gender-segregation and still be considered Orthodox by their community, at least in the Toronto area. Specially in the last 20 years where gender segregation has been abandoned in many Orthodox synagogues.

    “Personally, I dont care for people who pick and choose what to follow in their religion.”

    But Abu Sinan, do you not believe that somewhere out there is a more devout Muslim saying the same thing about you? Is there no room for interpretation or modernization in various religions?

    After all, no Jew is considered a traitor if they believe stoning to death is immoral even though it is prescribed as a rule in the Torah. Aren’t there any literal commandments in the Quran you do not practice?

    “As to being funny, and the corner of your civilisation, I would say you are wrong. Religion, Judaism, is the cornerstone of Jewish life and civilisation. Drop that and see how long you remain “Jewish” in any way, shape or form.”

    I disagree. While the supernatural component is of course important, Judaism is identified as much by its set of cultural ideas as it is with faith. Perhaps this is why it is so difficult to identify what it means to “be Jewish”.

    Personally, of all the “Jewish traits” that my parents passed on to my, humour is the one I value most. It really makes such a wonderful impact on my day-to-day life.

    But I will credit the faithful Jews for keeping the civilization alive simply due to their commitment to having multiple children, something secular Jews fail to do.

  18. FYI, I actually was friends with a Lubavitch in high school who after much prodding, got me to agree to celebrate Sabbath at his Orthodox synagogue. After a lengthy service, it wasn’t my cup of tea. But he couldn’t have been kinder.

    While many Jews find these missionaries somewhat irritating, with such aggressive campaigns by “Jews for Jesus” and the gradual disappearance of Jews in North America, their service to the Jewish community is grudgingly appreciated even by the atheists.

  19. What you fail to realise Jordan is that all of the Jewish culture you talk about is ALL linked back to the faith. No Jewish faith, no Jewish culture.

    That is EXACTLY why some Jewish communities are fighting so hard to keep their communities religious. It isnt long after the religion goes that most other vestiges of “Jewishness” will disappear as well.

    If you do not raise your children, if and when you have them, with at least a basic religious upbringing, they will have less of the “Jewishness” that you talk about, and their children even less. Two generations down the road “Jewishness” will mean nothing.

    Here is a big “up” to the religious Jews and those fighting to keep the Judaism in their “Jewishness”.

  20. I have to tell you Abu Sinan, I really believe if you ask a Jew “who is your most famous prophet?”, most will reply “Albert Einstein” rather than Moses. Judiasm has been a largely secular ideology for a very long time.

    I will give you this Abu Sinan, the question of the necessity of superstition to be necessary for a Jewish identity is a question that has consumed the Jewish community for generations. Hell, our most famous musical is based on it! “Tradition!” :)

    I happen to disagree, but you are definitely not alone in your opinion.

  21. I have to tell you Jordan, that I think that is your experience and shows the types of people you hang out with.

    If you believe that Judaism is a “secular ideology” you basically are saying that the state of Israel has no right to exist, as it isnt set up as a religious state, rather a cultural state.

    See, I guess the problem here is that you confuse religion, and hence Judaism, with superstition. You and your type are the biggest threat that the Jewish people have ever faced, ever.

    Secular, non religious Jews are a bigger threat to Judaism than Hitler ever was. It is clear that as soon as Jews loose their religion that any real connection to their Jewish roots soon disappears.

    This can be seen in the hundreds of thousands of Jews in Europe and the USA, who are Jewish in name only, many of which no longer identify as Jews, and their children are likely to even forget they are Jewish.

    Like I have always contended, the religious, of whatever faith, have much more in common than the non-religious.

  22. Abu Shinan, there is a reason those of a jewish background eschew the rural areas for the urban, aside from economic opportunity even. There is still some sense of jewish community even amongst the seculars, by more regional and haphazard based mechanisms, although ironically it is weakening by the introduction of such large extra-European ethnic diversity.

  23. Again, if you pull religion out of the mix, that all soon disappears. I have met many people who came from “Jewish” families (Jewish in name only) and because they have no real attatchment to the religion, they just felt fine and dandy with having basically nothing to do with anything Jewish anymore, not culture, not religion, and basically do not even identitify themselves as Jewish anymore.

    This is the receipe for the end of the Jewish people, and many Jewish groups realise this, hence the effort they make to bring Jews back int0 the faith.

  24. Abu Sinan, I absolutely believe Israel has the right to exists because I see Judiasm as a set of ideas (culturual, religious, economic, social, etc..) which unite people in my opinion is the best way to create stable productive countries. FYI, the first Zionists in the 1800’s were predominately secular.

    While I am usually upset when you bring in Hitler and the Holocaust against the Jews, this time I must admit you have a point. My dedication to my Jewish culture was not strong enough to withstand my temptation to fall in love with a Muslim or inclined me to have children. This “silent Holocaust” (a term I object to) is a real phenomonon as 50% of Jews marry non-Jews outside of Israel.

    If Israel ceased to exist or was made into a muslim-majority one state, Judiasm would no doubt die out within 100 years. Even in America which has the most religious Jews in the world, the population of Jews is on the decline.

  25. Jumping into the thread (as opposed to the post, not to be a complete non sequitur :)), Abu Sinan is completely right, and I’ll go further. Those of us Jews who are religious, who do want to maintain a connection to Torah and Judaism, are increasingly marginalized in Israel by a secularist elite who would like to mandate secularism.

    Inventing a Jewish identity completely devoid of the Torah and G-d is antithetical to the roots of the Jewish people, as well as counterproductive. (Albert Einstein? Moses? Please.)

    One need only Google to learn of the forced secularization the state of Israel did to Jews from Yemen. Judaism is not a “secular ideology”, it is a religion and always has been. The “secular Judaism” invented by those Jews who did not want to keep the laws of the Torah is being forcibly imposed on those Jews who never made such a decision. The American population — and the Israeli one — is becoming increasingly Orthodox, demographically, and G-d willing perhaps we will see the day when Judaism being thought of as a “secular ideology” becomes an ideological relic of the bad old days.

  26. Y-Love,

    Glad to see you here! You made the point better than I could have done.

    For those who dont know, Y-Love has a great site that is of interest to Muslims and Jews alike and goes a long way to promoting interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Jews.

    Jordan, Israel survived with a state for almost 2,000 years and would survive without a state if it came to that. Why? Because people like Y-Love are dedicated to their faith enough to pass it onto their children.

    If you really cared for the Jewish people as much as you talk about, the best way to show it would be to become dedicated to your faith.

    Judaism, and through it “Jewishness” survived for 1,800 years because people prized their religion and their traditions, and nothing can stomp that out, not gas chambers, not pogroms, not even those Jews who would force their secular lives on others.

    I, as a non Jew, realise that what I love about Jewish culture stems directly from the faith of Judaism. So a rejection of the faith is a rejection of the culture.

    From science to music, Jewish culture has added massively to the world, and it all goes back to the religion. From Ofrah Haza to Einstein, it was all made possible by the faith.

  27. FYI, I actually did attend a private Jewish day school until high school. The school, while engaged in daily hebrew, torah, and religious lessons, was largely considered relatively secular.

    My teachers were often Israeli, one who I remember was so proud of her daughter who was part of the top-elite military service. And of course, we marched every year in support of Israel, had a thorough holocaust education, jewish history lessons and so on.

    But when it came to prayer and superstition, we were told to “take it with a grain of salt”. No one was ever condemned for being devout of course, but it was not mandatory.

    From my perspective, this was an adequate Jewish experience even though it was not theological. True I failed in my Jewish duties to keep the culture alive, but most of my friends from that school did make marrying a Jew and having children a high priority… even though most of them are “high-holiday jews” at best.

    Perhaps my experience in Toronto differs from that of New York or Montreal, but I really believe Judaism excels when its social component (humour, education, science) eclipses its theological component.

  28. Jordan: “But when it came to prayer and superstition”

    If left to people like yourself, the Jewish people would die out. Like I said before, it is not the Hitlers of the world, nor all of the pogroms that are a threat to the Jewish people and future, it is people like you!

  29. Abu Sinan, you are dedicated to ending the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. If that happens, it will destroy Judiasm within a few generations.

    Are you sure people like you are not a greater threat to the Jewish people than one Yid who doesn’t want to have kids?

    And once again, thank you for comparing me to Hitler. That is always a thrill.

  30. Jordan,

    If so, how did the Jewish people exist for 2,000 years without a state? I am opposed to any state set up for the sole advancement of one people, or one religion, over another. A sentiment I share with a lot of Orthodox and Hassidic Jews, I might add.

    Judaism, with the help of people who value the Jewish faith, will survive, but like you have mentioned, your part in the “silent holocaust” wont help.

    Jordan, I’ll make it clear when I say I have nothing but complete and utter contempt for you. Both as a person, and what you stand for, and what you dont stand for. You are not a credit to your people, you are a liability.

    The Jewish people will survive, even if people like you jump ship. So feel free to choose Western secular society over your people, over your religion. Thank God that others do not.

    It is the religion of Judaism that will save the Jews, and nothing else. Not a state, not a culture based on anything besides the religion.

  31. Abu Sinan – “I am opposed to any state set up for the sole advancement of one people, or one religion, over another. ”

    It must be nice being in a position of moral superiority to denounce the tiny Jewish state knowing Muslims are protected by 55 Islam majority states where the idea of giving Infidels equal rights is laughable.

    Now that the Arab world has cleansed itself of 99% of its Jews, its time to make sure the Jews have nowhere to protect themselves. Thats not justice, thats a death sentence.

    This is how Islam will ultimately win. The side that doesn’t believe in the golden rule ultimately dominates. The West is supposed to respect and tolerate Muslims and Islam, all the while no such respect is afforded to Christians and Jews in the Islamic world.

    Abu Sinan – “If so, how did the Jewish people exist for 2,000 years without a state?”

    It wasn’t easy, mostly be keeping hidden in ghettos. There are only 15 million Jews left. And everywhere except Israel, the numbers are decreasing. Israel is the only thing keeping Judaism alive.

    Abu Sinan – “Jordan, I’ll make it clear when I say I have nothing but complete and utter contempt for you. Both as a person, and what you stand for, and what you don’t stand for. ”

    Since we are being so honest, I am not exactly particularly fond of you either.

    When I first went to your blog I tried so hard to be cautious and kind, and often gave you compliments mostly because they were deserving, but also partly to see if you would ever return the gesture to an ideological opponent.

    And while I was sincerely moved by your honesty about describing your violent past, I can see what has motivated you when choosing which causes you support.

    Always wanting to belong to the “other, marginalized, and oppressed” allows you to focus your rage into causes which you believe violence is riotous. But ultimately, this is nothing more than you simply looking for a fight. The hatred you had during your gang years hasn’t gone away, its under the surface waiting for an excuse.

    You believe that I am a liability to Judaism. Perhaps you are right.

    But as a violent ex-gang member convert, if you are the future of Islam, your faith is in trouble as well.

  32. Jordan, Jordan Jordan. Your coloured blinders are amazing. I have no problem heaping praises on the “opposite”, Y-Love is the perfect example, a religious pro-Israel Jews, yet I really like his blog and what they have to say and make it well known.

    Your problem is that I never found much at all of interest in you. You have a fascination with homosexuals, you like to consistantly throw it in people faces you are dating a girl who used to be a Muslim, that you think religion is for the supersticious.

    So Jordan, to use your own tactics, you are a gay loving, religion denying, lay about. Thank God Judaism doesnt depend on your or it’s fate would certainly be over.

    As for myself, I dont rely on you for my self-esteem, thank God. I am living proof that people can change, and for the better. I am actively involved in inter-faith dialogue, I do charity work, and I am a proud and living father. I am a productive worker and contribute positively to my society. Good enough for me, thank you.

    If you have an issue with people with violent and dodgy pasts who have made good for their society and the people around him, you are on the wrong blog, because that describes Umar 100% as well.

    See, I think it would be better to have had a troubled youth and actually become a positive force in society than to be a dope smoking lay about in youth, who grew up to be a dope smoking lay about in their adult years.

    Such a person helps no one but themselves, oh, and their drug dealers.

    Lucky you.

  33. Just to answer a few of your claims. Yes, I am a “lay-about”. And yes, from 2001 until last year I consumed marijuana.

    This situation is due to complications from a motorcycle accident which has left me a semi-shut-in unable to work or leave my appartment for long periods of time since 2001.

    As you mentioned, my existance is pretty much useless and revolves around watching TV, surfing the internet aimlessly, and inflicting a terriblly boring lifestyle on to my undeserving girlfriend who is missing out on everything fun life has to offer.

    I began consuming illegal marijuana to help reduce some of my symptoms post-surgery but had to stop last year as my body built up a tolerance.

    Fortinately, prior to the accident I was an obsessed dot.com entrepeneur. And the small business I built has since paid the bills keeping my ass off disability.

    So sorry your various assumptions about my character kinda backfired. But since I never brought up my illness, I say lets just let this one go. I guess from your perspective, I can see how you felt this way. But please don’t think for a second this is what I wanted.

    Oh…

    …Yes, I believe gays and lesbians are human beings who deserve the same rights and freedoms as you believe you are entitled to yourself. But I did find your 1950’s “gay loving” reference particularly hateful… I guess if you use the words “gay loving” instead of “ni**er loving”, it still makes you a delightful anti-racist human being. Keep focusing that rage Abu Sinan.

  34. Jordan, you have in fact mentioned your “condition” on more than one occasion, just as you have played off your former Muslim Iranian girlfriend.

    Sorry if I dont believe sweet f/a of anything you say. I think you troll for sympathy, but your attitude and your propensity for going places you know your views and ideas will probably not be liked, means you wont get it from me.

    So hey, head back to the dope, see if you can get your former Muslim Iranian girlfriend to come over and help you role a big “j” and think about how terrible the world is for not giving you your due.

    I am sure with all of the dough you made you can smoke the cigar sized ones. But then again, those that usually talk about their money tend not to have as much as they would like others to think.

  35. How dare you Abu Sinan.

    Every minute of every day I feel like it is 3am. I lost my job, I lost my friends, I lost my chance at the dot.com adventure, I had to move to be alone because I couldn’t handle the noise.

    And you think I am lying? You think I am saying this because I want sympathy from a violent thug like yourself? You made accusations, I answered them. Unlike violent Islamic “activists” like yourself, I don’t spend my entire life to make people feel sorry for my endless causes of “oppression”.

    You believe what you want to believe. You go ahead and believe you are not becoming just like your father. You believe that the hate in you isn’t all consuming. But you and I both know it is.

    You haven’t evolved from the thug that enjoyed seeing people in pain from your fists when you were a teenager. You use Islam to try to focus your hate, but it won’t work. You will always look for another person to scape-goat, another person to use an excuse to justify violence. It will never end.

  36. Abu Sinan, take it easy akh. Its better to keep silent when your words aren’t doing good and are tempting you towards disaster. The shaytan loves to see people fight – more so when there is no benefit coming out of it. You don’t have to explain anything – you’re leading a life towards betterment. Take it easy and focus on the productive things you do. Don’t waste your time on these arguments, give the twins a hug, and enjoy the weather – its looks almost like springtime in the DC area today doesn’t it? (It sure does in B’more!)

    Jordan : You know most people aren’t that bad unless we let the circumstances make us so. A lot of us have big political disagreements with you, but may be that is for another day. No one here is enjoying your pain. Most people want for themselves what you want for yourself – freedom to be equal, make your own choices and be treated with dignity. Yes, I have disagreements with what you think is good. What you call superstitious, I think is higher truth, and whom you consider a national hero (Moses), we consider someone far above a nation, and a bearer of sublime truth. Your views disappoint me, but so do those of many people I know, and am friends with. Its not a big deal, and you probably think the same about me. Abu Sinan, or anybody else saying that you’re making all the wrong choices shouldnt bother you if they are indeed the right choices. Think about them for yourself. A person’s physical circumstances aren’t matters of choice. Someone being rich or poor, stuck in an apartment or the owner of multimillion dollar business doesn’t make them better or worse. That’s one reason why your arguments centering on Jews giving us microchips and technologies sound so offensive and hollow- because they are irrelevent. We could all stop being so stuck up about these things. Take it easy – I hope you’ll come round and see the light. But its your choice, and I wish you have a good day either way.

  37. qawukzi, while I disagree, you are very fair and polite. Thank you.

    Just for the record, I never made millions… not even (ridiculously) close. I was just happy to be able to stay off disability. If that came across as bragging I apologize. It was never my intention.

    I should also apologize if you found the word “superstitious” as offensive. I am not opposed to religion as I believe it is a necessary component for a stable society. This is not just words, I make it a habit to donate primarily to religious charities as I know the good work they do. I also recognize how aggressive and demeaning my fellow Atheist can be towards people of faith. Just as a co-incidence, I just wrote a letter to the Seattle airport hoping they will reverse their decision to take down their Christmas trees. (yep, I get that bored) :)

    I know my views are deeply offensive and sometimes difficult to put up with. I rarely comment on sites I agree with as I try to avoid group think and frankly, the Jew in me loves a good (hopefully polite) debate that you cannot find on group think.

    qawukzi, I always welcome your attempts to change my views as you do so with style and integrity. It is a real pleasure. Never feel like you have to hold back.

  38. Whoa, ok, Jordan I’m sorry for what you’ve had to go through. G-d should give you a 100% recovery, with or without THC. (And Jewish law isn’t as hard on intoxicants — those without the propensity to physical addiction — as shari’a. Smoking weed wasn’t forbidden until 1973 and is subject to debate to this day.)

    But to bring it back to something you said a couple days ago:
    “Abu Sinan, you are dedicated to ending the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. If that happens, it will destroy Judiasm within a few generations.”

    El Al flying on Shabbat, serving nonkosher sandwiches, the Israeli Education Ministry flatly denying yeshiva students right to long kindergarten school days and equal funding, Haredi (Orthodox) poverty rates that only Americans are helping?

    Things like this — were they to become the rule — make me wonder how “Jewish” the Jewish state is. I believe Israel should exist, yes, but because it is a sovereign nation and world reality dictates that it must be dealt with. If Israel continues denigrating Torah observance like this to the point that religious people have to form their own airlines just to get back and forth without benefitting from Sabbath desecration, I’ll go Neturei Karta (or out of my mind, whichever comes 1st:D).

    The Torah has kept the Jewish ppl for 3 millenia. And, G-d willing, it will always do so — for those who choose to allow it to.

  39. Thank you for your kind words Y-Love. Ironically, pot is perhaps the least toxic of all the medications I have been put on but definitely turns the most heads :)

    Of course being an atheist I disagree with your statement, but I do appreciate your position. I as well have worries about Israel but it is similar to the worries I have with the west in general.

    Zionism to me has always meant “optimism”. The generations before us ran the country by day and turned malaria infested swampland into productive farmland by night. Challenges were met head on with passion of a dream. Unfortunately, they succeeded.

    But now that Israel is a relatively successful capitalistic nation, the same drive is not there because it is not needed. Now its just union strikes, pension issues, etc.. Optimism has been replaced by malaise.

    Same goes with America. JFK brought America a great challenge to take to the moon. It gave people purpose and pride.

    I love capitalism and democracy, but societies do need positive challenges to give people meaning. War is poor substitute. With any luck, a Marshal plan to get off oil will bring back the spirit of the west.

  40. Assalamu’alaikum wa rahmatullah

    I have found the correlation between the Cohen’s saying where he said he is from Kusik. Let me tell you my source: about.com,search in there “The God Idea of The Ancient or Sex In Religion”. I found it when I look for Mandaean(Iranians).

    What is inside my mind is about the revelation by Rasulullah that 70.000 Ashbahani(Iran) Jews will fight with Dajjal(the almasih beast) against Almasih ‘Isa ibnu Maryam(Yesu Rasulullah may peace be upon him),imam Mahdi and all the muslims at that time. You know like in QS.4:157,in another source from Coptic Apocalypse of Peter and Gospel of Nazorean inside Study in The Order of Nazorean Essenes(i.e. the substitutionary theory). The son of women was taken to the third sky alive,as until now he’s still alive,wallahu a’lam about how is the Almasih rasulullah exact condition there.

    So,how come that Ashbahani Jews is going to follow the big liar ? Again I see why,when I see the connection between all that I have mentioned earlier’.

    By the way,If you want to know the truth about 9/11,you may see The Real Truth by Jerry D.Gray(Muslim living in Indonesia),which collected many of empirical exact proofs on that. He was a journalist at that time. If you may,this is Abdurrahman Jerry’s email: kusuma71@net.zap.com, kusuma71@gmail.com,my email hunaini@bdg.centrin.net.id .

  41. Mandaean in Arabic is Shabiin,in English is Sabian or Magian,they worshipped stars. Before,they were Yahya ‘Alaihi Salam’s followers,but after been influenced by Persian Musyrik,this is also because they live in Persia. The Nazorean Essenes also influenced by syirik in Persia,which is into worshipping Mary Magdalene(Miryai)and Mandaean are like this.

    Cyrus 2 is Dzulqarnain mentioned in al Qur’an,he received ILHAM from Allah Ta’ala but like Maryam,Jesus’s hawariyun,they were not prophets.

    The difference between Nabi and Rasul is:
    Rasul is a man who received new kitabullah from Allah Ta’ala,while Nabi is a man who did not receive a new KITABULLAH.

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