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Austin Cline

Rabbi to Publish Book on Jewish Supremacy

By January 20, 2004

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Anti-semitism is a serious problem, but what many people may not realize is that there is an parallel aspect in Jewish tradition which teaches that Jews are superior to non-Jews. This is fringe teaching, rarely accepted by Jews (especially today), but it does exist and it does find adherents.

One is Rabbi Saadya Grama, author of an upcoming book "On the Exalted Nature of Israel and Understanding Its Exile." In the magazine Forward, Allan Nadler describes it:

Written by Rabbi Saadya Grama an alumnus of Beth Medrash Govoha, the renowned yeshiva in Lakewood, N.J. the self-published book attempts to employ classical Jewish sources in defense of a race-based theory of Jewish supremacy. ... [I]n his book, Grama argues that the Holocaust was both a divine punishment against the Jews for assimilation and also proof of the "true nature and face" of the non-Jewish world. ... In his book, Grama writes: "The difference between the people of Israel and the nations of the world is an essential one. The Jew by his source and in his very essence is entirely good. The goy, by his source and in his very essence is completely evil. This is not simply a matter of religious distinction, but rather of two completely different species."
In an effort to back up his arguments, Grama draws on an array of racist sources ranging from medieval theological tracts to the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche to the works of Nazi figures. Among other things, Grama argues: The differences between Jews and gentiles are not religious, historical, cultural or political. They are, rather, racial, genetic and scientifically unalterable. ... Jewish successes in the world are completely contingent upon the failure of all other peoples. Only when the gentiles face total catastrophe do the Jews experience good fortune. ... Grama frequently quotes Biblical verses that advocate terribly harsh treatment of the pagan inhabitants of ancient Canaan, implying that the same standards ought to be applied to his non-Jewish neighbors in America.

Most Jewish leaders, including Orthodox leaders, have condemned the book and Grama's arguments as being racist and indicative of someone who has taken leave of their senses. Rabbi Yosef Blau, also writing in Forward, attempts a weak defense:

Rabbi Grama accepts the notion that non-Jews are created not fully in God's image (tzelem elokim). This is an extreme formulation of the approach of a stream of Jewish thinkers who see the Jew as a higher form of creation beyond that of human. Grama, however, is not an advocate of acting against the gentile. On the contrary, his message is the need to separate from a hostile, intrinsically antisemitic world. He criticizes secular education and denies that there are moral values in gentile wisdom. Integrating into the non-Jewish environment has failed to eradicate antisemitism, and a return to the traditional low-profile ghetto Jew is seen as appropriate.

Thus, Grama isn't calling upon Jews to rule over Gentiles, but, rather, to separate themselves from Gentiles for two reasons: Gentiles have nothing of value to offer and Gentiles will inevitably try to destroy the Jews. That's not much of a defense, is it? Grama has taken leave of his senses, I think, but it can't be argued that he is just making things up out of nowhere - he is, rather, a part of a genuine tradition of Jewish thinking that is being taken to its extreme.

The best course for Jews who object to Grama's arguments is not to deny their connection to Judaism but, rather, to acknowledge it and argue that they represent the worst aspects of Jewish thinking. Jews are, after all, human beings like everyone else - dig around and you'll find both the good and the bad. Critics of Grama need to accept that Grama is working within Judaism, but picking the bad instead of the good.

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May 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm
(1) MHJ says:

Shlomo Sand’s “The Invention of the Jewish People” would be a good place for this deluded moron to start.

May 11, 2010 at 8:48 pm
(2) GottaB says:

It can hardly be said that this fool is a discredit to his education, for he clearly has none. Likewise, he has not taken leave of his senses, he simply has none. At his best he is an embarrassment to anyone who would consider him part of their people. He’ll have to wait in line though, the world is full of ignoramuses.

May 11, 2010 at 9:16 pm
(3) Mr. Blair M. Phillips says:

I wonder what Professor Noam A. Chomsky, Dr. Norman Finklestein and Phyllis Bennis opinion is on the subject of Jewish race superiority?

Maybe, if I do some reading of their writings,” I’ll find it”!

I do know what deceased author Raul Hilberg(The Destruction of European Jews) opinion is – nonsense!

May 11, 2010 at 10:52 pm
(4) Joe says:


This video is a response to the trick repeatedly used against this channel in channel comments. It’s the the standard tactic of calling someone “anti-Semitic,” and its used to sabotage anyone who speaks out against the US government policy of supporting immoral and illegal Israeli policies which violate basic human rights. And as you can see, this person suggests using a new word for the same old trick.

Amy Goodman interviews a former Israeli minister and she helps expose this trick used against dissidents, the defamation tactic of calling people “anti-Semitic.”

May 11, 2010 at 11:49 pm
(5) Miriam says:

I was brought up with this notion as well. However, it was based on the notion that superiority only came from superior virtues. If you have to lie, steal and torture to prove yourself superior, you are not. It also, funnily enough, increases antisemitism. Strange that.

May 13, 2010 at 4:06 am
(6) InTheBubble says:

Grama is not a racist. He is simply insane.

May 13, 2010 at 11:48 am
(7) Bill says:

Actually the Mormons are superior to all other races. They come from the planet Kolob don’t you know. Kolobians are definitely superior to any Earthlings.

May 14, 2010 at 12:53 am
(8) Raelian Donna says:

Genetically, Palestinians are the same as Jews. There was never an exile. The farmers converted to Islam. These people are in Gaza. (The true Jews are being exterminated?)

The lost Palestinian Jews
According to amateur historian Tsvi Misinai, many Jews and Palestinians share not only DNA, but also customs and even names.

“We are of the same race and blood, and cooperation will bring great prosperity to the land,” wrote Emir Faisal to Felix Frankfurter in 1917. Faisal was known for his affinity to the Zionists who had begun streaming to the Holy Land; in 1919, he signed a cooperation agreement with Chaim Weizmann, to whom he wrote that he was “mindful of the racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people.”

But Faisal’s proclamations of kinship with the Jews were more than lip service to a commonly held belief, says Tsvi Misinai, who knows perhaps more about the origins of the modern Palestinians than anyone. “Faisal’s paternal line was Hashemite,” he says, “meaning he was directly descended from Muhammad. But the mother of his maternal grandfather, King On, was descended from a family of forced Jewish converts to Islam that immigrated to the east bank of the Jordan, later returning to one of the villages west of the Jordan. Unlike today, when Faisal was growing up, his grandfather’s mother’s Jewish origin was known, and they made no great effort to hide it. And what was known to Faisal is known to many Palestinians today as well.”

This is a story of what may be one of the best-kept secrets in history – one that could, in time, heal the terrible rift that has torn the Land of Israel asunder. After years of research, Misinai says that he can declare with certainty that nearly 90 percent of all Palestinians are descended from the Jews. “And what’s more, about half of them know it,” he says. Not only that, many Palestinians retain Jewish customs, including mourning rituals, lighting Shabbat or memorial candles and even wearing tefillin.

While the common wisdom among many Israelis is that the group that calls itself “Palestinian” is a motley collection of Arabs from various parts of the Middle East who immigrated to the Land of Israel following the employment opportunities provided by Jews, Misinai says that the vast majority of today’s Palestinians are descended from the remnants of Jewish families who managed to avoid being deported over the past 2,000 years or returned to their lands after they were exiled, as the Jews in the Holy Land suffered blow after blow – from the Roman destruction of the Temple to the Crusades to famine, poverty and war throughout the Middle Ages.

One thing many were unable to avoid, however, was converting to Islam – a forced conversion that never really “took,” done more out of fear than conviction. Misinai has made it his mission to spread the word among Palestinians, giving them the opportunity to retrieve their lost heritage. And not just introduce them to their roots; according to Misinai, the reintegration of what he calls the “descendants of Israel” with the Jewish people is the best – perhaps the only – way to solve the seemingly endless Middle East crisis. Despite what some may be thinking.

Misinai is not a nut. In fact, he is a hi-tech entrepreneur, perhaps the first in Israel’s history. While the kids from ICQ andGoogle were still in diapers, in the early 1980s Misinai was building Sapiens into a world-class application developer, focusing on the insurance industry. All those rule-based, object-oriented applications we use every day; it was Misinai who invented the concept and the product, winning the Rothschild Award for industrial development in the field of software in 1992. Several years afterward, he retired from the hi-tech business to return to his first love – researching the history of the Land of Israel.

“I became interested in this area because of my father, who was a great collector of artifacts about the Land of Israel,” he says, a hobby he has continued. But besides objects, Misinai collected stories – legends and folklore from the mouths of mukhtars, village elders throughout the land, attesting to the truth of his assertions. “There are large clans throughout the country, in the Hebron Hills, in Samaria and among the Negev Beduin, who know of their heritage and even have family trees that document their roots. Not only that; many of them have specifically Jewish customs, and their neighbors would call them ‘the Jews,’ even though they were technically as Muslim as anyone else.”

Close to nine out of 10 Palestinians in the Land of Israel – Israel proper, Judea, Samaria and Gaza – have Jewish roots. In fact, he says, the percentage in Gaza is somewhat higher than 90 percent. Misinai is far from the first researcher to have stumbled upon this historical find. The first president of Israel, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and the first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, wrote several books and articles on the subject.

In fact, Ben-Gurion believed so strongly in the idea that in 1956 he set up a task force headed by Moshe Dayan and Haim Levkov (the Palmah’s “point man” among the Arabs of Israel, he worked with Yigal Allon to set up the Trackers’ Unit, traditionally the domain of Negev Beduin), that was supposed to develop ways to “Judaize” the Beduin, teaching them something about modern Jewish life and tradition to integrate them with the Israeli people, ethnically if not religiously. The Beduin were willing enough, but the teachers who were supposed to live and work with them dropped out of the program because of the rough living conditions. In the end, Dayan convinced Ben-Gurion that the idea would upset “the Islamic world,” and the program was dropped.

That’s an important point, Misinai says. “I don’t necessarily believe most, or even some, of the Palestinians would want to convert to Judaism, at least right now. Reintegrating them with the Jewish people does not necessarily require them to convert, and I imagine many of the rabbis would be reluctant to go ahead with such a program.” Plus, he says, many Israelis of all stripes would be suspicious that the Palestinians were embracing their “Jewish identities” as a way of getting Israeli ID cards – to get National Insurance money, if not to carry out terror attacks.

In his book, Brother Shall Not Lift Sword against Brother, which discusses what he calls “the Engagement,” Misinai foresees a gradual process of education and integration that could take 40 to 50 years, with immigration and natural growth among the Jews keeping the demographic balance in check. “It sounds like a long time, but we often forget that it’s been 40 years since the Six Day War and the only ‘progress’ that we’ve made has been the Oslo process, which has turned out to be a tragedy for Israel and the Palestinians,” Misinai says.

Besides, he says, many of the Palestinians might not have to convert anyway. “Many of the families in question know they are of Jewish origin and they marry among themselves. Halachically there may be some questions, but I have consulted with rabbis who say they are resolvable. It would certainly be in line with historic Judaism, which in the past – during the Temple periods, for example – had more lax standards for accepting returnees.

For example, Jews who were idol worshipers during the First and Second Temple periods were not forced to convert back in order to be considered part of the people of Israel.”

Besides, he says, with most of the available spouses living in the land coming from Jewish backgrounds themselves, the opportunity to intermarry with someone of non-Jewish ancestry was low – far lower than the chances for such a marriage to take place in modern-day America or Russia, he says.

“Several Palestinians have gone through formal conversion, but I know of a number who have taken on Jewish practices – and who say they don’t need to convert because they know they’re already Jews.” And the evidence for the Jewish ancestry of the Palestinians is persuasive – very persuasive, when all the information is taken into account. First, there are the names – not just place names, but family names. “Many villages here have names that are not Arabic, and very rarely appear in other Arab lands. Among such names are Kafr Yasif, Kafr Kana, Kafr Yatta, Kafr Manda, Kafr Samia, and many others,” says Misinai.

Indeed, Ben-Zvi in his 1932 book The Peoples of Our Land wrote that west of the Jordan River, 277 villages and sites – nearly two-thirds! – had names that were similar to or the same as the Jewish settlements on the same sites during Second Temple times. That in itself, said Ben-Zvi in his book, is proof that the inhabitants of those villages were Jews who had remained after the destruction. “If in fact the Jewish settlements became inhabited by entirely different people, they would not have preserved the Hebrew names (which in fact, did occur in most of those settlements where the population did change, such as in the eastern part of the Jordan).

Such is not the case in western land of Israel where the old Hebrew names are preserved, which proves the continuity of settlement in this place,” he wrote. It’s not just place names; many Palestinians have Hebrew-derived family names as well, reflecting their origins, says Misinai. Already in the 1860s, “Colonel Condor of the Institute for Israel Research found biblical names among Palestinian fellahin [peasants]. Many of these names have no root in the Arabic lexicon. Large, distinguished families from various parts of the country carry Hebrew names or Jewish family names.”

Among the surnames of some of the larger clans are the Abu Khatsiras, who control much of the fishing in Gaza; Elbaz, a family of Jews who immigrated from Morocco; Abulafia, the family with the famous Jaffa bakery which is descended from the 13th-century Spanish kabbalist Rabbi Abraham Abulafia; the Almogs of Jenin; the Dawouda (Davids) of Hebron; and even, believe it or not, 4,000 forced converts to Islam named Cohen living in Jordan.

Not only that: The Palestinian dialect of Arabic contains many terms and words not found in “standard” Arabic – the result of the integration of Hebrew and Aramaic into the Arabic they were forced to learn after the various Arab and Turkish conquests. Israel Belkind, one of the organizers of the Bilu movement, who researched the roots of the Palestinians during the 1890s, wrote that “it was already proven by Major Condor, in his research on the land of Israel, that the ‘Arabs’ of the Land of Israel had spoken Aramaic in the days of the Crusades, the language spoken by the Jews until the Arab conquest – meaning that these Aramaic-speaking ‘Arabs’ were actually Jews themselves.”

In fact, Misinai says, Aramaic was still the lingua franca among some villagers not too long ago. “In 1974, the settlers who established the modern Ofra were astounded to find that the residents of the village on the ancient biblical site of Ofra – called Tybiba – were Christians who spoke Aramaic.”

While many gentiles converted to Christianity in the religions early days, they would most likely be Greek speakers; any group that spoke Aramaic is far more likely to have Jewish roots. Many Jewish customs have survived among the Palestinians as well, Misinai says. “In Islam, parents are required to have their sons circumcised by the age of 13. While in many Islamic countries the custom is to wait several years, among Palestinians many perform the ritual a week after their son is born – meaning on the eighth day,” he says.

Other customs include sitting seven days for deceased loved ones instead of just three (a custom, Misinai says, that has fallen by the wayside since the first intifada), lighting memorial candles for the dead (a custom found nowhere in the Muslim world), lighting Shabbat candles and practicing levirate marriage – the practice of having a brother marry his deceased sibling’s wife under certain circumstances. That’s a widespread practice among the Beduin, says Misinai, and in fact “much of the legal code of the Beduin is remarkably similar to many laws in the Torah and the Mishna.”

In addition, several Palestinian families own ancient hanukkiot, which they used in mid-winter – around Hanukka.

YEHUDA BOORLA described in his book Be’ein Kochav (about his service as an officer in the Turkish army during World War I) interesting information about an Arab attendant from the Land of Israel who accompanied him. One section of the book describes a “moment of discovery” on the part of the attendant. Upon hearing the author speak about the Islamic custom of cutting off the breasts of Jewish women, the Arab attendant realized that his mother, who suffered from the same deformity, was in reality Jewish. Until today, elderly Palestinians in Jordan who moved there from west of the river tell of this tradition, says Misinai. “They say that this was done in cases where Muslim men married Jewish women, so that the Jewish women would not be able to breast-feed and their children would not take in the milk of their Jewish mothers. Thus the children would not be thought to be Jewish.”

May 14, 2010 at 11:04 am
(9) MikeC says:

I’ve never understood how members of a certain religion can even be called a “race”.

Every Jew I’ve ever met (or seen in the media) looks causation to me.

Muslims, Christians, Hindus, etc, don’t call themselves a “race”.

What makes the Jewish the people a race? Is there something in say, Jon Stewart or Fran Drescher’s DNA that makes them THAT different from me? Is it because they believe they come from a certain part of the world? Are the French a different race than the Britons? Are Persians a different race than Arabs?

Of course, I go so far as to say that people with “darker” skin, or “redder” skin, or “yellower” skin, are the same race as me:

The Human Race.

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