Those racist bastards in Spain

More than five centuries after Spain’s Jews were forced to flee, convert to Catholicism or face execution without trial, their descendants are being invited to return and take up dual citizenship.

Spain’s government has approved a draft bill that will allow descendants of those Sephardic Jews who were expelled in 1492, under the crusading Catholic rule of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, to seek dual citizenship.

OK.

An estimated 300,000 Jews resided in Spain before the infamous Spanish Inquisition of the 15th Century, when the “Reyes Catolicos” reconquered Spain from its Arab rulers and ordered Jews and Muslims to convert to the Catholic faith or leave the country.

So where’s the racism?

Spanish Muslim groups have long been campaigning for the Spanish state to grant nationality rights for the descendants of Muslims who were expelled or forced to convert during the same period as the Sephardic Jews but no legislation has yet been proposed to award them the same rights.

“It seems unfair that one thing is being offered to the Jews but will not be considered for the Muslims who suffered the same fate,” said a spokesman from the Junta Islamica de Espana.

Maybe religionism is the right word here, not racism. But it does appear odd…..

121 thoughts on “Those racist bastards in Spain”

  1. I’m afraid there’s a Realpolitik issue with inviting millions more muslims into Europe (not that that is stopping the rest of us doing it). We might not like things to be like that but they are.

    Personally I find vibrant multicultural diversity to be enriching, which is why I oppose having one doiminant group among that “diversity” that expects us to conform to its mediaeval world-view and claims special privileges that are not acceptable in a western society. It’s not even a “good muslims vs. terrorists” thing, demographics are important.

    Besides if you opened it to the descendants of all those expelled in the 15th century you would increase the population of Spain by about 4 Jews and 20,000,000 muslims. Best not to do it at all, if people want to move somewhere they haven’t had a connection with for 500 years they can do so on their own personal merit.

  2. All of this was essential to the process of reclaiming the territory for Christendom. It’s beyond insane that modern Spaniards would want to undo the enormous struggle and sacrifices by their ancestors that rid the European continent of the scourge of Islam. Forging a singular Christian identity included as a necessary part the removal of Judaism as a force, partly as a means of spiritual unification, partly because the Jews had in many cases been active collaborators with the Muslims, particularly the Berbers. It is very sad to see the descendants of the peoples of Christendom who spent centuries fighting and dying for mere survival pandering to this nonsense.

    You cannot repair history on the basis of modern fancies. We now know, for instance, that a primary reason for the Viking scourge was that they were slave raiding to sell to the Muslims. Can we have an apology from (a) Islam and (b) Sweden/Denmark/etc for this? No? Why not?

    Where do we stop?

  3. Europe should be saying much the same to its current Muslim population, renounce your medieval cult or bugger off. All the mosques in the UK can be turned into themed pubs.

  4. Wasn’t it resident Moroccans who blew up the commuter train some years ago? Probably descendants of expelled moriscos.

  5. Personally I find vibrant multicultural diversity to be enriching, which is why I oppose having one doiminant group among that “diversity” that expects us to conform to its mediaeval world-view and claims special privileges that are not acceptable in a western society. It’s not even a “good muslims vs. terrorists” thing, demographics are important.

    “good muslims”

    A fancy of poetic licence, I see.

    “Dominant group”

    Coming soon but not as you may like it.

  6. Germany grants citizenship pretty much automatically to descendants of any Jew who fled the Nazi regime. This is absolutely right and proper.

    On the other hand, giving citizenship to the descendants of people who were expelled 500 years ago seems a bit silly, honestly. Time passes. Records are falsified, or are illegible, or don’t exist. People are not perhaps descendants of who they think they are. People often don’t have much connection to their ancestors of 500 years back.

  7. There is also a fundamental difference.

    The Sephardic jews have not declared the desire to reclaim Al-Andalus (thereby dismembering Spain) for the new moorish empire (which the muslims have).

  8. A couple of parents at my children’s last school were descended from Jews expelled from Spain. They had moved to London from Istanbul. Much of the community settled in the Ottoman Empire after being expelled from Spain, and met with a sorry end at the hands of the Germans. Thoroughly nice people in my limited knowledge!

  9. Today’s fun fact. The Treaty of Utrecht provides that we get Gibraltar, and one condition is that no Jews or Moors are to be allowed there. So we are in breach.

  10. Just on a technical point:
    “the infamous Spanish Inquisition of the 15th Century, when the “Reyes Catolicos” reconquered Spain from its Arab rulers and ordered Jews and Muslims to convert to the Catholic faith or leave the country. ” was not when Moorish occupation of the Spanish mainland ended.
    The Treaty of Granada in 1492 gave former Moorish ruler an enclave to the south of the city, the Alpujarras. It remained under Moorish control until the uprisings ended 1571 & the last Muslims were expelled in 1614. From about a km from where I’m writing this.
    The land i use in the Alpujarras is on a terrace, originally created by the Moors, the house has the flat roof construction of N.Africa & the town’s church was once a mosque..
    .

  11. If the expelled community was sufficiently hermetic then you could perhaps boast blood ties to Spain. But if your expelled ancestor and his descendants married out, then you might have only about one millionth of a claim after 20 generations.

  12. I just don’t get how any of these groups have some kind of moral right of return. That somebody’s ancestors once lived in a land that was not in any comprehensible way their own does not confer a right to dwell in it.

    The Jews have for a very long time now raised a great hullabaloo to the effect that they are a Middle Eastern people and demanded a specific plot of land which their ethnic mythology claims was given them by God. The Sephardim were Jews from the Middle East who invaded Spain along with Muslims, from the Middle East. Neither of these groups are in any sense natives. Their genes, culture, language, practices and religion are Semitic in origin. I don’t know one historian who would say otherwise. They were simply temporary residents of land they took by great violence, from the Visigoths whose post-Roman culture they destroyed and replaced with the barbarisms of the Levant.

    At a cultural level, they ought to be ashamed of what they did, if anything (rather than just letting bygones be bygones). This is total bullshit.

  13. “The Sephardim were Jews from the Middle East who invaded Spain along with Muslims, from the Middle East.”

    i) I’ll bet that some of the Jews had been there since Roman times.

    ii) And Semites are hardly a recent thing in Spain – Carthaginians.

    III) The muslims who invaded Spain were from North Africa rather than the Middle East.

  14. None of which alters the point that they are not natives, and as you point out, were a rabble of North Africans under a Middle Eastern cultural banner. If you believe the Jewish position that a Jew is a Jew is a Jew, all descended from Abraham, they’re from the Middle East. Biblically, ancient Mesopotamian invaders of Palestine. Not a smidge of European ethnicity to the whole sorry shower.

    I do not get why they can’t be contented with the goat-ravaged desert margins they came from and just the whole lot of them fuck off back there and kill each other, which seems to be the number one sport of Semitic races.

    Carthage is in Tunisia, by the way.

  15. I’m a bit puzzled why it is that the mad racists in this thread don’t support the Norfolk Nazi, given they agree with him when it comes to the kind of foetid and ignorant hatred being spouted here.

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme – “i) I’ll bet that some of the Jews had been there since Roman times.”

    Some of them opened the gates of some of the Spanish cities when the Muslims invaded.

    “III) The muslims who invaded Spain were from North Africa rather than the Middle East.”

    Surely it varied. Some were Arabs. Some were Berbers. With the Arabs in general control – and taking the best lands. While the Berbers started out mainly as slaves.

    But if the Arabs are serious about this, they can start with a small act of good faith. The peid noir community of Algeria lived there for over 100 years. They can let them back and return their property. Not to mention Egypt with its Greeks and Jews.

  17. Ritchie wants the muslims to go back to their goat ravaged desert margins? I didn’t know that.

    Well, he’s just gone up in my estimation then.

  18. @Ian B
    ” They were simply temporary residents of land they took by great violence, from the Visigoths whose post-Roman culture they destroyed and replaced with the barbarisms of the Levant.”
    I have doubts about this wholesale replacement of populations, anyway. The western hemisphere replacement of indigenous peoples by settlers was an anomaly due to diseases they brought with them, annihilated the locals in a very short period.
    You can see what actually happens in this part of the world. The inhabitants of the Mediterranean fringe are much the same people who’ve been here for the past 10,000 years. At various times various cultures have been superimposed as small but dominant groups have imposed their own. It explains the nonsense, a bunch of raghead camel jockeys from the Arabian peninsular were somehow able to bootstrap themselves up to a high civilisation in a few hundred years. It’s no more true than Africans are Home Counties white middle class because they got an influx of Methodist missionaries.
    There’s various populations around the Med. Sometimes they’re Carthaginians, then they’re Romans, then they’re Visigoths, then they’re Moors & currently they’re estate agents trying to flog you high priced villas with no planning consent. But they’re all the same people.
    It’s like saying the Moors were “driven out of Spain”. Not many Moors actually came to Spain. The family who farm dope up in a valley in the Alpujarras are bloody obviously Moors who hung around when some got kicked out by Philip. Short brown guys with an affection for heavy weaponry. Their Andalus is almost unintelligible.

  19. So Much For Subtlety

    Dave – “AKA the Murphmonster, Ritchie, etc. You lot sound just like him right now.”

    Dave, you do know that a lame attempt to shame people on the internet is not an actual argument, don’t you?

    And Ritchie is an Irish immigrant. I am willing to bet he would be perfectly happy to see the British reduced to a small minority in their own homeland. As they will be.

  20. So Much For Subtlety

    bloke in spain – “I have doubts about this wholesale replacement of populations, anyway. …. The inhabitants of the Mediterranean fringe are much the same people who’ve been here for the past 10,000 years.”

    I think that depends if you look at the Y chromosomes or the X chromosomes. Very few Anglo-Saxons may have come to the UK. But it still didn’t work out well for the locals. Same in 1066.

  21. It explains the nonsense, a bunch of raghead camel jockeys from the Arabian peninsular were somehow able to bootstrap themselves up to a high civilisation in a few hundred years.

    The story seems to be that the Roman world just couldn’t match the violence of the desert Arabs. The populations were highly urbanised, disarmed and expected professional soldiers to do the fighting (mostly by that point hired mercenaries). Once the legions had been overwhelmed, the sheer primitive savagery of the Muslims was unstoppable.

    The whole area is littered with ruined cities that fell and never rose again; Islam destroyed classical civilisation and any “bootstrapping” was taken from its remnant. The agricultural base was destroyed and replaced by goats.

    It was only when the muslim horde got beyond the old Roman world that they met proper resistance from European tribes who could match them in terms of violence- and who were eventually able to take back Spain, a reconquest for which we should all be truly grateful. It is baffling why anyone would be ashamed of it.

    Culture matters. The one that sacked Visigothic Spain was (and is) of little merit, and we shouldn’t be ashamed to say so. We should just be glad it was eventually contained.

  22. Staggering ignorance on display here.

    SMFS>

    Murph’s whole stich is based on fomenting hatred against ‘the Jhooz’. ‘The Muzzies’ are of less concern to him other than that they’d also Semitic. He’s an old-fashioned Nazi through and through.

    Ian>

    You are aware those ‘destroyed civilisations’ you refer to are a result of a climactic shift, right? No, wait, you’re just a mad racist ranting from a position of ignorance.

  23. “Carthage is in Tunisia, by the way.” Don’t you know they were Semites? News must get around slowly in your part of the world.

  24. Hey this is cool. We haven’t had one where we can all call each other racists and Nazis for at least a week. For the record I think everyone’s exactly like Hitler. Myself included.

  25. You are aware those ‘destroyed civilisations’ you refer to are a result of a climactic shift, right? No, wait, you’re just a mad racist ranting from a position of ignorance.

    I think you’re looking for the word “climatic” there, Mr Ignorance.

    Which would still be wrong. North Africa was once a breadbasket that fed those cities. We now know that it wasn’t some “climatic shift”; the agriculture was dependent on maintenance of irrigation systems and general good practise. The Muslims rolled in, wrecked the economy, failed to maintain the irrigation systems, and turned the land over to goat pastoralism.

    The result is visible in archaeology; a deep layer of silt across the whole region that suddenly appears as the topsoil is washed down into the valleys and into the sea margins; it’s called the “Younger Fill”.

    It’s an interesting thing; for a long while we’ve historically blamed the Germanics for destroying classical civilisation. It turns out that the Muslim invasions did it. That’s useful knowledge.

    Racist? I find myself shrugging at that epithet. It used to have some utility as a word, but nowadays it’s about as barbed as calling somebody Mr Poopy Pants. I’ve better things to do than waste time trying to prove that my pants are not poopy.

  26. dearieme-

    I’m not entirely bothered about the racial distinctions of the region; by the time we’re talking about, the muslim (semitic based) culture was hegemonic across the whole region. It’s not really worth arguing about haplotypes. I could call them all wogs or something, if that would be more useful.

  27. ian
    it depends on where you think “civilisation” lies. You can look at it in the way academics do. They like names in history books, king’s heads on coins & dead Greeks in togas. (Although I’m told greeks didn’t wear togas but WGAF?
    I’m more inclined to think it lies with the stonemasons, carpenters, blacksmiths & all the other unremarked people who provide the framework civilisation hangs on. Armies, religions & rulers come & go. Sometime they speak one language & go through the motions of worshiping one sky fairy. Bit later they’ve learned another for a different bit of god bothering. But they’re all the same people passing knowledge down from father to son & learning a bit more with each iteration.
    Without them it’s just assoles with with clubs beating the shit out of each other. ad infinitum. They couldn’t even make a decent sword to do it with.

  28. “For the record I think everyone’s exactly like Hitler. Myself included.”
    I like dogs & occasionally paint. I’m planning a trip to Poland.
    Me too.

  29. Ian>

    If adults actually pooped their pants regularly, you would have some sort of point. But frankly it doesn’t really matter what you call your crazy prejudiced nonsense.

    Those 99.9999% of us who don’t share your foetid prejudices and hatreds find that ‘racist’ does just fine to tag the untermenschen like yourself. You resile from the human race when you adopt such views.

  30. Dave, that’s just a list of slogans. Read back what you read. It has literally no content at all.

    I’m happy to engage on any of the points I made, if you ever care to address them.

  31. I’ll agree with IanB on one point anyway: shrugging off being called a “racist” seems good sense to me. It’s like being called a Nazi – childish rubbish, really.

  32. dearieme>

    Depends if you’re actually a Nazi or racist. If so, then I imagine you would shrug off some of the worst titles anyone can earn themselves.

    Ian>

    No slogans, just a simple statement that your virulent mentally unbalanced prejudices literally disgust the vast, vast majority of human beings.

    Your claim of being ‘happy to engage’ is of course the standard dissembling apologetics of your kind. You are no such thing, or you would have ‘engaged’ by citing something to back up your wild claims. But then you can’t, because they have no basis in fact whatsoever, which is why they’re crazy racist bile. That you believe them merely shows you to be so filled with hatred against certain groups that you’d believe anything bad about them, however clearly implausible, unlikely, or otherwise untrue.

  33. Ian B is talking a load of rubbish. The Jews have never invaded anywhere much beyond the borders of Eretz Yisrael, certainly not Spain. The Jewish community in Spain was formed following the defeat of the Jews by the Romans in the first century, many of the migrants arriving as slaves. Centuries later, the Visigoths invaded, and some time after that adopted a form of Christianity. Unfortunately, with Christianity came persecution of non-Christians, Jews especially. Fortunately, after two centuries of Visigoth Christianity the Moors brought a much longer period of civilization and tolerance to Spain. Unfortunately, the Moors were eventually displaced by a new wave of Christian invaders, and the barbarism resumed.

    If it’s absurd to seek to restore the rights of the Sephardim in Spain 522 years after their expulsion, and it is, it’s still more absurd to claim that there was a fundamental right in 1492 to reclaim Spain for Christianity, 781 years after the Moorish invasion.

  34. Dave-

    No slogans, just a simple statement that your virulent mentally unbalanced prejudices literally disgust the vast, vast majority of human beings.

    You have now lapsed into self parody, not least by confusing “the ideological fetishes of a subset of left-leaning westerners over the past few decades” with “the vast, vast majority of human beings”.

    You are not mankind, Dave. You are just Dave.

    Your claim of being ‘happy to engage’ is of course the standard dissembling apologetics of your kind.

    Or, it could have been me asking for a substantive criticism to respond to.

    I do understand why you’re saying what you are saying, really I do. The myth of civilising Islam has been going for some time and is very popular, as we see from Paul B subsequently declaring the Muslim destruction of the Visigothic post-Roman society as “fortunate”.

    Talking of which-

    If it’s absurd to seek to restore the rights of the Sephardim in Spain 522 years after their expulsion, and it is, it’s still more absurd to claim that there was a fundamental right in 1492 to reclaim Spain for Christianity, 781 years after the Moorish invasion.

    That last date there is the end of the reconquest, which took much time and blood. I don’t think anyone particularly thought of a “right”. Nobody would have considered matters in such terms then. The Muslim invaders never considered the rights of the Visigoths either. It was kill or be killed.

    It was a matter of practicality, and a very fortunate one too, that the land was taken away from the Muslims by Christians. It was an essential part of saving civilisation- the rest having collapsed in its Eastern heartland- and enabled our modern society to exist; and thus enlightenment, science and liberalism to exist, none of which could have ever existed under Islam.

    Consequentially, we can understand the christianisation of Spain as similar to denazification and decommunisation, if more bloody. Again, a practical matter to ensure that the festering pustule would not re-erupt and infect the body. We look back on it from a safe historical perspective; our ancestors (or rather, the Spaniards’ ancestors) did some dirty work which we can criticise while benefiting from it, not dissimilar to criticising the actions of Bomber Command now that we are ourselves safe from the Nazis.

    There is also, one might add, a reasonable argument that Mediaeval Christianity learned its excesses from the Muslims. But that’s another discussion.

  35. Also, I’ll just add that it’s a little baffling that anyone who has been in the Worstall commentariat for some time (as Dave has) would consider my criticisms racially motivated, considering the reams of condemnation I’ve heaped upon (a) Christianity and (b) the culture of England and the Anglosphere, particularly of the past two centuries.

  36. Paul
    Exactly which bit of the Caliphate do you believe the Muslims have a right to? is it Andalucia? Iberia? Southern France up to the gates of Toulouse?

  37. … science and liberalism … none of which could have ever existed under Islam.

    This is the opposite of the historical truth. The early renaissance was built on the translation into Latin of Arabic texts.

  38. “This is the opposite of the historical truth. The early renaissance was built on the translation into Latin of Arabic texts.”

    It’s also complete historical bollocks. When did a bunch of illiterate camel jockeys suddenly become scientists? The science & the liberalism come from their assimilation into the Roman culture bequeathed to the North African coast. The Romans being remarkably liberal in the matter of religion. Pay your taxes was their imperative. It’s Middle Eastern religions, the Children of the Book, who’ve a penchant for murdering non-believers.

  39. “This is the opposite of the historical truth. The early renaissance was built on the translation into Latin of Arabic texts.”

    It’s also complete historical bollocks. When did a bunch of illiterate camel jockeys suddenly become scientists?

    During the Islamic Golden Age, which started in the 8th century and ended when the Monguls destroyed Baghdad in 1258.

  40. > enlightenment, science and liberalism to exist, none of which could have ever existed under Islam.

    Under modern Islam, you’d have a point. But we’re not talking about modern Islam. Under mediaeval Islam, enlightenment and science progressed at quite a reasonable pace, and liberalism… well, was there liberalism anywhere at the time? The Muslims were certainly a lot more liberal than some.

    > When did a bunch of illiterate camel jockeys suddenly become scientists?

    First ever treatise on the systematic solution of quadratic equations, the foundation of algebra, one of the most important books in the history of science, written by this guy, in whose honour we coined the words “algorithm” and “algebra”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu%E1%B8%A5ammad_ibn_M%C5%ABs%C4%81_al-Khw%C4%81rizm%C4%AB

    > The science & the liberalism come from their assimilation into the Roman culture bequeathed to the North African coast. … It’s Middle Eastern religions, the Children of the Book, who’ve a penchant for murdering non-believers.

    Not that I think anyone should get any actual credit for this — it’s very much an unintended consequence — but historians of science believe that monotheism was a vital step on the road to the development of science, as it replaced the old perception of the behaviour of the world as being at the whim of competing and frankly mental gods with the idea of the natural world behaving consistently, with a given cause always producing the same result.

  41. The “Muslim Civilisation” of post-Visigoth Spain is rapidly being exposed as myth.

    From Emmet Scott’s:Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited
    pages 128-131-

    “Before leaving the topic of Visigothic Spain, it is important to emphasize a crucial feature: The abundance of archaeology from Visigothic times contrasts sharply with the virtually complete absence of all archaeology from the first two centuries of the Islamic epoch. This is a fact that has only recently come to the attention of the scholarly community, and assuredly constitutes one of the greatest puzzles unearthed by excavation. We have traditionally been told that the first two centuries of the Spanish Emirate, supposedly founded in 756 by Abd’ er Rahman I, constituted a veritable Golden Age of Spanish history. The following description of eighth-tenth century Cordoba, written by English historian H. St. L. B. Moss in 1935, may be regarded as fairly typical of the genre: “In Spain … the foundation of Umayyad power [in 756] ushers in an era of unequalled splendour, which reaches its height in the early part of the tenth century. The great university of Cordova is thronged with students … while the city itself excites the wonder of visitors from Germany and France. The banks of the Guadalquivir are covered with luxurious villas, and born of the ruler’s caprice rises the famous Palace of the Flower, a fantastic city of delights.”

    The picture Moss paints was derived from medieval Arab annalists, who spoke of a city of half a million inhabitants, of three thousand mosques, of one hundred and thirteen thousand houses, and of three hundred public baths — this not even counting the twenty-eight suburbs said to have surrounded the metropolis.

    Over the past sixty years intensive efforts have been made to discover this astonishing civilization — to no avail. Try as they might, archaeologists have found hardly anything, hardly a brick or inscription, for the two centuries prior to the mid-tenth, at which point substantial remains are indeed attested. According to the prestigious Oxford Archaeological Guide, Cordoba has revealed, after exhaustive excavations: (a) The south-western portion of the city wall, which is presumed to date from the ninth century; (b) A small bath-complex, of the 9th/10th century; and (c) A part of the Umayyad (8th/9th century) mosque. This is all that can be discovered from two centuries of the history of a city of supposedly half a million people. By way of contrast, consider the fact that Roman London, a city not one-tenth the size that eighth and ninth century Cordoba is said to have been, has yielded dozens of first-class archaeological sites. And even the three locations mentioned in the Guide are open to question. The city wall portion is only “presumably” of the ninth century, whilst the part of the mosque attributed to the eighth century is said to have been modeled by Abd’ er Rahman I. However, the latter character sounds suspiciously like his namesake and supposed descendant Abd’ er Rahman III, of the tenth century, who indisputably made alterations to the mosque (which was originally the Cathedral of Saint Vincent).

    Even when real archaeology does appear at Cordoba, from the mid-tenth century onwards, the settlement is absolutely nothing like the conurbation described by the Arab writers. Indeed, at its most opulent, from the late tenth to the late eleventh centuries, the ‘metropolis’ had, it would seem, no more than about forty thousand inhabitants; and this settlement was built directly upon the Roman and Visigothic city, which had a comparable population. We know that Roman and Visigothic villas, palaces and baths were simply reoccupied by the Muslims, often with very little alteration to the original plan. And when they did build new edifices, the cut-stones, columns and decorative features were more often than not simply plundered from earlier Roman/Visigoth remains. A text of the medieval writer Aben Pascual tells us that there were, in his time, to be seen in Cordoba surviving buildings, “Greek and Roman. … Statues of silver and gilded bronze within them poured water into receptacles, whence it flowed into ponds and into marble basins excellently carved.”

    So much for the “vast metropolis” of eighth to tenth century Cordoba. The rest of Spain, which has been investigated with equal vigor, can deliver little else. A couple of settlements here and a few fragments of pottery there, usually of doubtful date and often described as “ presumably” ninth century or such like. Altogether, the Oxford Guide lists a total of no more than eleven sites and individual buildings in the whole country (three of which are those from Cordoba mentioned above) which are supposed to date from before the first quarter of the tenth century…

    The above meager list contrasts sharply with the hundreds of sites and structures from the Visigothic epoch — a comparable timespan — mentioned in the same place.”

  42. “but historians of science believe that monotheism was a vital step on the road to the development of science, as it replaced the old perception of the behaviour of the world as being at the whim of competing and frankly mental gods with the idea of the natural world behaving consistently, with a given cause always producing the same result.”

    Shows you how barking historians of science can get, if encouraged.
    It’s harder to think of anything more hostile to science than an all encompassing god figure who created the universe & fucks about with the fine tuning with the odd miracle whenever he feels like it. It’s much worse than dealing with the sort of gods the Romans had, Who at least kept themselves to themselves provided you made the odd sacrifice. The Christian paradigm must have been one of the most destructive influences on rational thought before Mohammed took off on his horse into the skies of Palestine or whatever myth his believers came up with.
    These monotheistic gods are the ones you believe in on pain of pain.

  43. Under mediaeval Islam, enlightenment and science progressed at quite a reasonable pace,

    There is not so much evidence of this, and it begs the question of why if this was a consequence of Islam- as the Islamophiles imply, with Islam “bringing civilisation”- it would peter out as it did.

    Academic Islamophilia is understandable. Western academics saw the use of Islamic texts and the writings of Islamic philosphers like Averroes at the dawn of the European intellectual surge, and reasonably interpreted this is a gift of knowledge. Ergo, all the self-congratulatory commentary from Islamic annalists seems reasonable. With the idea of a European Dark Age that destroyed the knowledge from the Classical World, we have a nice narrative.

    But what is missed is the geography of the situation. Europe was, in classical times, a backwater. It had only one world class city- Rome- which was itself sidelined as Roman civilisation shifted east. The centres of learning, the arts, etc, were in the Eastern (Byzantine) Empire. Nobody came to Europe to study; by contrast, a European with intellectual ambitions would hop on a boat across the Med to go study somewhere like Alexandria. So, there wasn’t much intellectual material for Europe to lose. It never really had it.

    It is much the same as somebody from Wales, having to go to Oxford or Edinburgh to get an education or do deep research (prior to the modern profusion of British universities and academic instiutions). Imagine, in that condition, Oxford and Edinburgh suddenly being lost; the rest of the country would have no intellectual heartland to visit. It wouldn’t be that Swansea “fell into a dark age”. It was always, in terms of academic institutions, “dark”.

    So when the barbarians of Islam slammed into the heartland of classical civilisation in the Eastern Roman lands, it was like losing Oxford. With the Mediterranean unnavigable due to marauding Muslim pirates and slavers, Europe simply lost any access to learning.

    What remained of classical learning was now in Islamic hands. There were certainly some scholars in Islam who took some of that knowledge, preserved it, and extended it. But Islam had destroyed the centres of learning and thus when Europeans sought to get that knowledge for themselves, they had to retrieve what they could from the Muslim world via Islamic copies and texts written by the few scholars still operating in the fading ruins of civilisation.

    The point here is that Islam never had any civilisation of its own; it took what it felt like from civilised people who had succumbed- Persia being signficant in particular. But it was a culture of aggressive desert bedouin; it brought nothing because it had nothing to bring. No literature, no arts, no architecture, no science. The only intellectual project of Islam- like the ancient Jews- was a totalitarian religion and a despotic, tribalist politics. That was its sole contribution “as Islam”.

    We should be grateful that enough survived the ravaging of the classical heartlands that something could be retrieved by Christendom once the conquests had been halted. But had Islam never boiled out of the desert, there would never have been a need to retrieve anything, because it never would have been lost. It is a mistake thus to credit or thank Islam for what we were able to retrieve; it is like thanking a man who drove a JCB all over your garden, because he stole some of the rose bushes rather than flatten them and eventually gave you them back once you’d disabled his JCB.

  44. @Squander Two re algebra
    Sounds a lot like Pythagoras’ coming up with his theorem.
    Except it was been used for a few thousand years by builders, before he got there.

  45. @Squander Two re algebra
    Sounds a lot like Pythagoras’ coming up with his theorem.
    Except it was used for a few thousand years by builders, before he got there.

  46. Ian
    it depends on how much value you attribute to centers of learning. Most of the knowledge was likely accumulated as a result of people actually doing things. I know what’s need for goldsmithing. Things like pi, Archimedes Principal. They were known before the Greeks because you need then to make the things were made. They’re known right through the dark ages because they were being used. Just because someone who’s never done it gets told, writes it down & claims the credit doesn’t make him a genius. Just a good hand with a pen.

  47. BIS-

    Knowing various factoids isn’t the same as systematic (academic/intellectual) knowledge. Knowing that pie is about 3 and a seventh isn’t the same as having access to the mathematics that derives its expansion. Knowing a 3:4:5 triangle isn’t the same as knowing why the square on the hippopotamus equals the sum of the squares on the other two sides, and the derivation of that. Syria, Egypt etc were the heartland of the ancient world’s academic knowledge.

  48. “Depends if you’re actually a Nazi or racist.” Since almost nobody is a Nazi, and almost everybody is a racist, this doesn’t take us very far.

  49. @Dave
    “February 12, 2014 at 2:57 pm
    Ian>
    Those 99.9999% of us who don’t share your foetid prejudices and hatreds find that ‘racist’ does just fine to tag the untermenschen like yourself. You resile from the human race when you adopt such views.”

    Is English your first language? Dislike of people because of their religion is not in English racist. Race and religion are quite different.

    For example I would be quite happy to have a million Christians from Pakistan or Syria to come here. I don’t want any Pedophile worshippers because I don’t like the Pedophile prophet and I want to have the ability to say that the wife beating pedophile prophet was scum in public without using a pseudoname.
    Condsidering that on Friday it will be 25 years since freedome of speech died in the UK this is a strange discussion.

  50. It’s kind of fun that as I was reading this argument about Muslims and Christians invading each other, Pandora decided to play, “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)”.

    Must be a sign from God,

  51. Exmouth>

    Attempting to redefine the meaning of words in an extremely pedantic way is the real last refuge of scoundrels.

    Dearieme>

    Allow me to rephrase, then. You only think that ‘racist’ is some phrase which has become meaningless through being bandied about and used for things which aren’t racist if you’re so racist that you can’t see the ridiculous prejudices resulting in, and grave offence caused by, the behaviour which has triggered the use of the phrase.

  52. @”Dave
    February 12, 2014 at 10:36 pm
    Exmouth>

    Attempting to redefine the meaning of words in an extremely pedantic way is the real last refuge of scoundrels.”
    The people who most dislike Muslims are normally people of the same race as them who live in a Muslim majority country or next to one. (I wonder why?).
    They cannot be racist anymore than a German who hated Nazi was racist, although of cause the Nazis did accuse foreigners who disliked them of racism.

    I would guess that there were some idiots who believed them up to the moment that Hitler invaded their country.

  53. So Much For Subtlety

    Dave – “Murph’s whole stich is based on fomenting hatred against ‘the Jhooz’. ‘The Muzzies’ are of less concern to him other than that they’d also Semitic. He’s an old-fashioned Nazi through and through.”

    Quote the Murphster even mentioning Jews much less formenting hatred against them.

  54. PaulB
    February 12, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    … science and liberalism … none of which could have ever existed under Islam.

    This is the opposite of the historical truth. The early renaissance was built on the translation into Latin of Arabic texts.

    That’s a really weak argument and and well beneath you.

    Arabic isn’t Islamic and we might well have got some of the work despite Islam not because of it if modern observations are anything go by.

  55. ukliberty
    February 12, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Always had respect for the Romans. They didn’t pray for rain. They built aqueducts..

    They did both.

    Very wise people them Romans.

  56. “Knowing various factoids isn’t the same as systematic (academic/intellectual) knowledge.”

    Very true Ian

    But knowing various factoids will build you Chartres.
    Academics will hold out their food bowl & ask to be fed.
    And the idea Europe dragged itself out of the Dark Ages on the back of some inky fingered scribes is comical.
    Ideas are tools to be used. They have no other purpose.

  57. So Much For Subtlety

    PaulB – “This is the opposite of the historical truth. The early renaissance was built on the translation into Latin of Arabic texts.”

    Allegedly. Even though 90% of surviving Classical Texts go back to a copy made under Charlemange, not a copy brought from Spain. But the more important fact is that not one mediaeval Muslim figure is known to have translated so much as one non-Muslim text.

    Those Arabic texts were produced by Arab Christians.

    bloke in spain – “The Romans being remarkably liberal in the matter of religion.”

    Apart from the Christians. And the Druids. They might have been on to something there. And the worshippers of Dionyssus.

    ukliberty – “During the Islamic Golden Age, which started in the 8th century and ended when the Monguls destroyed Baghdad in 1258.”

    There are virtually no Arab Muslim thinkers outside the world of religion. This so-called Golden Age was, again, mostly the work of Christians and recent Persian converts.

    bloke in spain – “It’s harder to think of anything more hostile to science than an all encompassing god figure who created the universe & fucks about with the fine tuning with the odd miracle whenever he feels like it.”

    Actually there is. Tolerance. The idea that you can have your opinions and I can have mine. That ends the need or desire for science. You may think the world is round, I like to think it is flat. We go our separate ways. What science needed was someone to say, no, there is one truth, the world is an objective expression of one God, we can show which of these two is His choice – and I will burn you at the stake for being wrong. Or at least I will humiliate you until you are forced to admit I am right. That hunt for heretics is still a vitally important part of science.

    Ian B – “Academic Islamophilia is understandable.”

    I think it is simpler – the enemy of Western liberals and in particular Western Jews has been the Catholic Church. The Muslims fought them and eventually were forced out of Spain by Catholics. Therefore the enemy of my enemy is my friend so the Muslims of Spain must have been brilliant.

    You can see this in modern works on Muslim Spain. Jewish historians have moved more or less in lock step away from praising Muslim Spain to condemning it and praising Catholic Spain. The evidence has not changed. But the willingness of the Pope to abase himself and young Palestinians to blow themselves up has.

    It is now hard to find a modern liberal and especially Jewish historian of Spain who continues to uncritically defend the Golden Age of Muslim Spain myth.

    ukliberty – “A quality not peculiar to Islam, then.”

    How do you conclude that? Western Europe had little but preserved and developed what it had. The Muslim East had everything but destroyed the massive cultural riches that it inherited. That is perculiar to Islam.

    And by the way, the myth of the Muslim burning the Library in Alexandria is a Muslim story oft told in various parts of the Muslim world. It may or may not be true, but they think it is.

  58. SimonF: the point is that during the Golden Age of Islam, scholarship flourished under Islamic rule. By 1258, developments in mathematics and science in Islamic countries far exceeded anything that had ever been achieved in countries under Christian rule. The scholars themselves were not all Arabic, or Muslim, and they (to their credit) adopted earlier learning, especially from the Greeks, but it was the Islamic rulers who valued the acquisition and free development of knowledge.

    In those times, tolerance and learning were features of Islamic rule. For murderous religious fundamentalism one looked to the Christian countries of Western Europe.

    From the perspective of the modern European non-Muslim, the replacement of Muslim with Christian rule in Spain looks like a good thing. But to the neutral observer at the time – a Sephardic Jew say – it seemed more like a victory for barbarism.

    And that’s even before anyone expected the Spanish Inquisition.

  59. …the more important fact is that not one mediaeval Muslim figure is known to have translated so much as one non-Muslim text.

    That’s not true – al-Fazari father and son, for example. But it could be true that none of the known translators of Greek into Arabic were Muslim. It makes no difference at all to my argument, which is that Islamic rulers, especially the Caliphs who encouraged such translations, were strongly in favour of learning. Where were the Christian kings sponsoring the translation of Greek texts into Latin?

  60. Bloke in Central Illinois

    If ‘bankers’ and ‘the rich’ are codewords for ‘the Jews’, what are the codewords for ‘bankers’ and ‘the rich’?

  61. So Much For Subtlety

    Dave – “He uses common codewords like ‘bankers’ and ‘the rich’.”

    Ahh Dave, now we know you’re taking the p!ss.

  62. Where were the Christian kings sponsoring the translation of Greek texts into Latin?

    Referring to my above long post describing the situation; where prior to the Islamic invasions was the need to translate Greek texts into Latin, and where, subsequent to the Islamic invasions, were the Greek texts?

  63. Must say. I am a somewhat bemused. I thought we were talking about the Renaisance. When Europe dragged itself out of the Dark Ages & began producing enough surplus wealth for fine buildings, art & indeed scholars to sit around studying the Ancient Greeks. But how would the knowledge of the Ancient Greeks achieve that? Euclidean geometry is all very interesting. But it doesn’t tell you how to make a more efficient plough to increase farm yields. It isn’t necessary to know the mathematical proof of the volume of a cone or the calculation of pi to build a cathedral. The important knowledge, when you’re trying to do that, is functional knowledge. Making of alloys so you can make the tools. How to cut & shape the stone makes the buildings. How to build the ships to carry trade.

  64. BIS-

    That’s not what I’m discussing 🙂 The issue for me in this thread is why Islam gets the credit for the academic/intellectual knowledge that laid the foundation for science, engineering etc.

    The narrative has tended to be that Christianity destroyed that knowledge, and Islam restored it, so Islam is a jolly good thing and supposedly instituted an age of learning while Christianity was (voluntarily) mired in ignorance of anything outside the Bible.

    The alternative view is that Christendom’s intellectual heartland was in the East; the Islamic invasions overwhelmed that area and thus deprived the remains of Christendom of that knowledge, so then the remnant of Christendom in Europe had to get it back from/via the Muslims. Which is a different story.

  65. “so Islam is a jolly good thing and supposedly instituted an age of learning while Christianity was (voluntarily) mired in ignorance of anything outside the Bible”
    Except Europe wasn’t mired in the ignorance of anything.
    There’s two strands to my argument.
    Europe wasn’t suffering from ignorance. it was suffering from the wrong sort of thugs running it. Too busy fighting amongst themselves to let the continent prosper.
    The thugs running the Islamic world were no brighter than the ones running Europe. But it’s the same as the Iranian nuclear program. it isn’t engineered by the mad mullahs in mosques in Tehran. It’s done by Iranians know how to build bombs. they’d still be in Iran if it was run by the LibDems & be designing yoghourt knitting machines.
    The thugs who run countries are all right if you want a tree chopped down or your daughter raped. That’s about the limit of their intellect. If the Bey of Algiers wants a mosque built he doesn’t roll up his sleeves & get at it with the hammer & chisel. He asks a stonemason to do it who’s grandfather, to the Nth generation back, built the Romans an aqueduct.
    Whichever bunch of thugs run the place it’s always the same people. So trying to attribute the safekeeping of knowledge to Islam is bollocks. it’s like trying to attribute British technological progress to Gordon Brown or David Cameron. The very best they can do is not interfere.

  66. “why Islam gets the credit for the academic/intellectual knowledge that laid the foundation for science, engineering etc.2
    Wrong way round. The foundation is being able to do the things. Anyone can write the textbooks later. Exactly what input did the academics have into the Industrial Revolution? Most of it was hands on engineering done by blokes with oily fingers. It’s only when that’s given you a base of sufficient complexity, you start getting a benefit from “scientists”. But you don’t need book thermodynamics to build basic steam engines. You need a hammer.

  67. BICI>

    “If ‘bankers’ and ‘the rich’ are codewords for ‘the Jews’, what are the codewords for ‘bankers’ and ‘the rich’?”

    There are none. I’m quite shocked to find people so naive that they think anyone like Murhp genuinely has anything against bankers.

  68. So Much For Subtlety

    PaulB – “That’s not true – al-Fazari father and son, for example.”

    I could quibble about that myth. But I am feeling generous so I will give that one to you. There’s one.

    “But it could be true that none of the known translators of Greek into Arabic were Muslim. It makes no difference at all to my argument, which is that Islamic rulers, especially the Caliphs who encouraged such translations, were strongly in favour of learning.”

    Again this is largely myth. There were a very small number of Caliphs who were probably just trying to annoy their Ulama. So it does make a difference. Remember that it is next to impossible to know that the rulers were thinking.

    “Where were the Christian kings sponsoring the translation of Greek texts into Latin?”

    All over Europe? Charlemange for example. The Popes actively encouraged Greeks to move to Italy and translate. They set up a college in Rome to train Greek speaking priests. The Medicis are probably the best example. The French Royals seem to have funded this guy – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burgundio_of_Pisa

  69. BIS: Some truth in what you say. But beyond a certain point an engineer cannot advance without theory. The Cathedral to think of is Beauvais not Chartres. It suffered two partial-collapses, one in 1284 and a less-known event in 1573 when they were building a tower to be 502 ft tall and that fell also. Because rule of thumb goes only so far. The Iranian bomb makers may be very practical fellows but without physics/maths etc they would not be in the nuclear business. The knowledge preserved in Byzantium and the post-roman east pointed the way to a new conception of what was possible.

    PS-Just out of interest, according to a Discovery show the ancients could have built a Tower of Babel. Kiln-baked clay/straw bricks could sustain a weight such that a 10000 ft tall tower could have been built in a ziggurat (giant wedding-cake) style. The economic cost would have been beyond them tho’. How’s that for Rule of Thumb.

  70. Ian>

    It may be news to you, but the ‘self-hating Jew’ is a classic trope. Because, when one doesn’t believe the mad racist nutcases, there is such a thing as stupid people of the Jewish persuasion, and they are quite capable of believing anti-Semitic lies.

  71. @SMfS
    “Remember that it is next to impossible to know that the rulers were thinking.”
    Is there evidence rulers do much thinking?
    The qualification for the job, through most of history, is competence with an edged weapon to get the job & to keep it when you’ve got it. In more complex societies it’s making sure the guys with the edged weapons are on your side. Rulers who diversify into thinking about other things don’t prosper. They’re usually the ones whose heirs have the civil war.

  72. So Much For Subtlety

    Dave – “It may be news to you, but the ‘self-hating Jew’ is a classic trope. Because, when one doesn’t believe the mad racist nutcases, there is such a thing as stupid people of the Jewish persuasion, and they are quite capable of believing anti-Semitic lies.”

    I am enjoying your trolling Dave. So Trotsky, Eric Hobsbawm, Richard Oppenheimer, Noam Chomsky, all of them are self hating? Ed Miliband’s Dad too?

  73. Charlemagne’s a good example. It’s the division of the Empire between his grandchildren results in every European war since, as the inheritors of the divisions try to put the Empire back together again.

    True Mr Ecks.
    But a structural engineer can design an arch but a structural engineer can’t build an arch. The paper crumples. Masons can build arches & it’s a lot easier to work out where the thrust lines go than it is to lay the stones. Doesn’t stop damn fool architects telling them to build arches that subsequently collapse.
    Take this from someone who can build arches.

  74. I am enjoying your trolling Dave. So Trotsky, Eric Hobsbawm, Richard Oppenheimer, Noam Chomsky, all of them are self hating? Ed Miliband’s Dad too?

    There exists a set “Jew” of which some can be defined as “self-hating”*, some can be defined as “communist” and some can be defined as “economists”.

    Now, get the LHTD to draw you a Venn diagram 🙂

    * I would note that the trope “self-hating” as applied to members of the Jewish race / religion is usually interpreted as hating their Jewish identity (or, in more modern circles, Israel or Zionism), rather than actually hating themselves as a person. It therefore doesn’t actually require stupidity to fit in with the trope.

  75. On Jewish intellectualism.
    There’s a whole tradition in Talmudic scholarship of squeezing the Book till the pips squeak. Real angels on the head of a pin stuff down to trying to extract meaning out of the incidence of letters in passages. it’s nigh on an industry indulged in by the guys with the side locks & funny hats but wins brownie points in Jewish circles. Produces arguments like, if you call village a “house” then you can carry things on Shabbat without breaching rule because you haven’t actually gone outdoors..
    There’s a tendency to turn the same thinking to other things. Works sometimes. Not others. Very easy to be in love with theoretical communism because the theory rings all the right bells without getting round to whether it actually works.
    Same as stringing string round a schtettle to represent walls of an erun instead of asking why carrying things is wrong in first place.

  76. bloke in spain,

    Produces arguments like, if you call village a “house” then you can carry things on Shabbat without breaching rule because you haven’t actually gone outdoors. …Same as stringing string round a schtettle to represent walls of an erun instead of asking why carrying things is wrong in first place.

    I remember ten years ago when an eruv was marked out by wires and poles in Golders Green, so Orthodox Jews can do things in public on Shabbat that are normally prohibited, like pushing a pram or wheelchair.

    Religion’s a funny old game.

  77. BiS, UKL>

    More uninformed comments.

    ” if you call village a “house” then you can carry things on Shabbat without breaching rule because you haven’t actually gone outdoors..”

    Your example is entirely untrue.

    “I remember ten years ago when an eruv was marked out by wires and poles in Golders Green, so Orthodox Jews can do things in public on Shabbat that are normally prohibited, like pushing a pram or wheelchair”

    They’re not prohibited within a city, but Orthodox Jewry has this thing about avoiding even the possibility of breaking a religious proscription, so there were arguments about whether e.g. London is a city in the biblical sense (or whether it’s too big/sprawling/modern to count, or whatever). Putting up a symbolic fence satisfies the requirements by demarcating the limits of a more discrete community.

    “Religion’s a funny old game.”

    Can’t argue with that.

    SMFS>

    There’s a difference between criticisng some specific part of (or even the whole of) our financial system, and ranting about ‘bankers’.

    And despite that, you haven’t cited a counter-example since none of those you mention were actually Jewish – Chomsky claims the whole concept of ‘god’ is meaningless, Trotsky was an avowed atheist, and so-on. Although saying that, I’ve never heard of ‘Richard’ Oppenheimer. Did you mean Robert?

  78. Oh, missed one.

    SE>

    “I would note that the trope “self-hating” as applied to members of the Jewish race / religion is usually interpreted as hating their Jewish identity (or, in more modern circles, Israel or Zionism), rather than actually hating themselves as a person. It therefore doesn’t actually require stupidity to fit in with the trope.”

    Stupidity is required to believe the anti-Semitic lies and slurs which make people become self-haters. It’s kind of required anyway if one’s to believe such nonsensical claims, but especially if the claims are being made about yourself: you really ought to know they’re not true.

  79. Oh, so now only devout Jews are Jews. Is this just members of Chabad Lubavitch, or do those wishy-washy Reform types count? Noam Chomsky isn’t Jewish. What is he then?

  80. Stupidity is required to believe the anti-Semitic lies and slurs which make people become self-haters. It’s kind of required anyway if one’s to believe such nonsensical claims, but especially if the claims are being made about yourself: you really ought to know they’re not true.

    The whole point of my comment was that “self hatred”, as a term applied to Jews today, does not mean ‘hatred of yourself’. A Jew who is an atheist*, or is against expanding the West Bank settlements, which isn’t, of itself**, stupid, nonsensical or anti-semitic, will be accused of “self hatred”. We don’t need*** to be in “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” territory here.

    * Being a race as well as a religion, you can be an atheist Jew. Whereas you would, for other religions, usually described them as lapsed. This, of course, keeps Trotsky and Chomsky (in so far as there is a difference, apart from the ice-pick thing) as reasonably described as Jewish.

    ** Many, even most, of the people who are opposed to expanding the West Bank settlements are nonsensical anti-Semites, of course.

    *** Many, of course, of the people etc, etc, are, in fact, in PotEoZ territory.

  81. @dave
    Sorry to intrude on your private world, but:

    “The literal meaning of the word is blending or intermingling, but that really does not tell us much. The concept of an eruv goes back to the principle of Shabbat rest. According to Shabbat rules it is forbidden to carry any item – regardless of its weight, size or purpose – on the Shabbat. Under Jewish law on Shabbat, it is forbidden to carry anything from a “private” domain into a “public” one or vice versa, or more than four cubits (approximately 6 feet) within a public domain. Private and public do not refer to ownership, rather to the nature of the area. An enclosed area is considered a private domain, whereas an open area is considered public for the purposes of these laws.

    Practically, it is forbidden to carry something, such as a tallit bag or a prayer book from one’s home along the street and to a synagogue or to push a baby carriage from home to a synagogue, or to another home, on Shabbat.

    It became obvious even in ancient times, that on Shabbat, as on other days, there are certain things people wish to carry. People also want to get together with their friends after synagogue and take things with them—including their babies. They want to get together to learn, to socialize and to be a community.

    Given the design of many communities in the past, many neighborhoods or even cities were walled. As such, the whole area was regarded as “private,” and carrying allowed. That, however, wasn’t always the case. And today, it is an obvious impracticality to build walls throughout portions of cities, crossing over or through streets and walkways, in order to place one’s home and synagogue within the same “private” domain.”
    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/700456/jewish/What-Is-an-Eruv.htm

    So the concept of an “eruv” is based on *private*, primarily. Not the wider concept of *city*, which could be *public* & therefore not an eruv. So to turn it into a concept would work to non-Jews, a *house* is much closer. A *house* being *private* extending to its boundary.

    Yeah. The Finchley eruv was a tad contentious. Problem being, in Jewish terms it puts non-Jews inside a Jewish private area. Jews would say, it doesn’t matter if you’re . goyim. Said goyim might not agree, if they’re Muslim.

  82. Dave,

    They’re not prohibited within a city

    That’s not the impression I got from the people behind the North West London Eruv, but whatever. My point was not about the particulars but that there is are zones in the first place where pushing wheelchairs is prohibited even to the extent of preventing one from travelling to synagogue.

  83. Yeah. The Finchley eruv was a tad contentious. Problem being, in Jewish terms it puts non-Jews inside a Jewish private area. Jews would say, it doesn’t matter if you’re . goyim. Said goyim might not agree, if they’re Muslim.

    There were complaints from some secular Jews, at the time.

  84. By the way, apologies for misspelling “eruv” i understand some Yiddish not write it. And the word seems to be close to the Hebrew for “setting” which defines Shabbat, from dusk to dusk. Not a *day*, as in the Christian sabbath.

    We’ll do light switches, some other day.

  85. “There were complaints from some secular Jews, at the time.”

    Were their but! The non-frummers are a little more interested in preventing another Holocaust descending than pissing about with obscure bits of Talmuditry. If you want a quiet life, don’t annoy the neighbors.

  86. Returning to further back in history than 2003, I like this idea of the monolithic entities ‘Christendom’ and ‘Islam’ warring against each other and only having one intellectual heartland apiece to destroy. Very Manichean, very videogame. When really we had a variety of kingdoms, principalities and whatnots and it was the kingdom with the intellectual heartland that owned it, not Christendom or Islam. I dare say that most of the known world (Eurasia and North Africa) was intellectual backwater, relatively speaking, whether nominally Christian or Muslim.

    We can speculate forever about what ifs, what if the Mongols hadn’t destroyed Baghdad, what if the Caliphate hadn’t rolled over the Med, what if the Roman Empire hadn’t split in two. Fact was that Hellenic knowledge didn’t make it out of the region so after that region was destroyed people who wanted that knowledge had to get it from the people who assimilated it, because their peers hadn’t acquired it beforehand. What interests me is why they didn’t acquire it beforehand.

  87. @UK Lib
    Mightn’t it be a good idea to look behind the knowledge at what the knowledge is contained in?
    With the Greeks you had a particular society produced old men with beards arguing about geometry. it was also a society, wrote down a myth structure like Odysseus & his travails that preceded Greek culture by millennia. The practical applications of the geometry aren’t done by old men with beards. it’s intellectual entertainment..Much like Odysseus.
    Wind the clock forward & you have university academics discussing the Big Bang. When it comes down to it, most of astrophysics is entertainment for eggheads. it’s got few practical applications. Much of science is accumulation of knowledge for its own sake. Justified by practical applications, later
    For that you need a society with time on its hands. Surplus production. And you also need a society doesn’t get diverted into questions like how many angels dance on the heads of pins. Doesn’t happen that often. Get that society & it’ll create the knowledge, working up from the basics. Like we’ve left Greek sciences a long way behind.

  88. Ian B: where prior to the Islamic invasions was the need to translate Greek texts into Latin

    According to you, western Christianity was much concerned with the promotion of science and liberalism. That would have required access to Greek texts, especially for mathematics, as much in Western Europe as in the Caliphate. But whereas the Abbasid Caliphs sponsored the work of translators, the rulers of Western Europe showed no interest.

    SMFS:…Charlemange for example…

    Ah, good point, I forgot about Charlemagne. Perhaps you could give me a few examples of Greek mathematical, scientific, or philosophical texts he had translated.

    Ian B: where, subsequent to the Islamic invasions, were the Greek texts?

    In the monasteries. And, of course, in Constantinople. Contrary to what you seem to think, Constantinople remained in Christian hands until 1453, and there were no Muslim countries on the land route from there to Western Europe.

    In fact, the Fourth Crusade – for which read ‘armed gang of murderers and looters’ – visited Constantinople, looted it, and destroyed the library.

    However, there were pockets of enlightenment in the West. Early in the 12th century, Adelard of Bath, wanting to study mathematics, travelled to Syria, learned Arabic, and translated the Elements. His translation remained the standard Latin text for four hundred years.

  89. The mistake’s thinking there’s something inherently virtuous in knowledge packaged in an academic structure. There isn’t. You can do everything you need to do with discrete bits of knowledge each applicable where it’s needed. That is the way things are actually done, now, isn’t it? You don’t need to know all of chemistry to do one particular bit of chemistry.

  90. PaulB-

    According to you, western Christianity was much concerned with the promotion of science and liberalism.

    That is very much not at all what I said. This is what I said-

    It was a matter of practicality, and a very fortunate one too, that the land was taken away from the Muslims by Christians. It was an essential part of saving civilisation- the rest having collapsed in its Eastern heartland- and enabled our modern society to exist; and thus enlightenment, science and liberalism to exist, none of which could have ever existed under Islam.

    Which is not the same thing. I said that science and liberalism could not have come into existence under Islam. And that stopping and then pushing back the Muslim horde was essential to saving the European civilisation which produced that science and liberalism.

    Regarding the rest of your post; yes, there were pockets of this and that in Western Europe, but as I said, Europe was a backwater and the centers of learning were in the East, now under Muslim control. Which is why, we all agree, that Europe had to get much of that via Arabic texts. If all those documents had been in monasteries, nobody would have needed to do that, would they? Just go to the monastery and read it.

    Europe was effectively cut off due to the loss of the Mediterranean to the Muslims. It was thus hard to get to the East. It could be done, but it was now an arduous land journey instead of hopping in a boat.

    So, for a good 300 years, Europe was struggling for mere survival, having been cut off from the old centre of civilisation by the triumph of Islam’s savages. And I use that word, because you have this bizarre “liberal” spin that somehow a muslim conquest is a fine and lovely thing. It was a fucking bloodbath, Paul. Not some “golden age”. I mean, it probably felt pretty golden if you were the one chopping heads off for Allah. But not for anyone who got in their way, it wasn’t.

  91. So, for a good 300 years, Europe was struggling for mere survival, having been cut off from the old centre of civilisation by the triumph of Islam’s savages.

    Why was there only one “old centre of civilisation” to be cut off from?

  92. bloke in spain,

    The mistake’s thinking there’s something inherently virtuous in knowledge packaged in an academic structure.

    I don’t think anyone here has claimed there is something inherently virtuous in that, it’s an inference you’ve made and are criticising.

    Wind the clock forward & you have university academics discussing the Big Bang. When it comes down to it, most of astrophysics is entertainment for eggheads. it’s got few practical applications. Much of science is accumulation of knowledge for its own sake. Justified by practical applications, later

    Well yes. What good are relativity and quantum theory? ‘only’ semi-conductors, nuclear magnetic resonance, particle accelerators, global positioning systems, etc…

    If your goldsmith and other worthy types don’t advance beyond what their fathers handed down from their forefathers, society doesn’t advance.

  93. I’m having problems here (or the website is.)

    Why was there only one “old centre of civilisation” to be cut off from?

    This? And volumes 2 to 6 to boot.

  94. Why was there only one “old centre of civilisation” to be cut off from?

    Because there was one centre of gravity of classical civilisation, centred on the Eastern Med; Syria, Egypt, Byzantium. All the great cities were there, bar Rome which was itself of much less importance than it had been in antiquity.

  95. No Ian, all wars are ugly, and all mediaeval rulers were brutal.

    It’s a mistake to think that either Christianity or Islam is particularly favourable to “science and liberalism”: Islam in its Golden Age was good for it, as was Christianity in the Enlightenment. Undoubtedly Spain was better off in the 17th century under Christian rule than it would have been under a government like that of the Ottoman Empire, but there’s no particular reason to think that Muslim rule in Spain would have stagnated in the way it did in the East.

    However, what we can easily understand is the attitude of the Sephardic Jew around 1500. Under Muslim rule, he had paid the jizya and been left to get on with his life. Under Christian rule, he was ordered to leave or convert, and if he converted he was then at risk of torture and burning to death if suspected of not being enthusiastic enough about his new religion.

    I don’t regret the fact of the Christian conquest of Spain. But it’s a pity the Christians couldn’t have acquired a bit more civilization before they set about saving it.

    (I note with some amusement Ecks’ view that Muslim rulers were worse than Christians because they weren’t so much in the habit of extorting taxes to fund grandiose building schemes.)

  96. I find it bizarre that those who hate and despise a medieval cult are branded as racists. I’m pretty sure I’m not a racist, I served on Justice and Reconciliation Committees in Johannesburg and Witbank. I led marches before Nelson Mandela was released. The ANC asked me to be its regional representative for the Eastern Transvaal at democratic negotiations and the South African Police had a file with my name on it due to my anti-apartheid activities.

    Despite that, I utterly hate and despise Islam, precisely because it seeks to deny the freedoms I have spent my life fighting for and delights in keeping its followers in ignorance and bondage. I don’t feel the need to apologise for my attitude to Islam, it is a fetid, obscene cult founded by a murdering, thieving pedophile. It has no redeeming features (just like the cults of Jim Jones, David Koresh and Ron Hubbard) and no rational, intelligent person could accept its beliefs.

    Islam is completely incompatible with western liberalism which is why western democracies should make no concessions to Islam, Muslims should be told that they must embrace western values of freedom, equality and justice or eff off to those backward countries from whence they came.

  97. UK Lib
    I was entirely predictable you’d come out with something llike that. It’s the usual academic response/
    Firstly, some acquired knowledge is useful. Granted. but quoting one or two things doesn’t make it all useful. There is no useful theory of gravitation in 1200. it doesn’t do anything. It may explain the nature of the solar system but you’re not in the business of launching spacecraft.

    Secondly “If your goldsmith and other worthy types don’t advance beyond what their fathers handed down from their forefathers, society doesn’t advance.”
    Do you seriously believe all advances are produced by academics in universities? How do the goldsmiths become goldsmiths? Who teaches them? University professors? Trades advance just the same as science does. in the middle ages, considerably quicker. Academics were still with the Greeks. Trades were in the iron age not the bronze age.

  98. Do you seriously believe all advances are produced by academics in universities?

    No, I don’t – again this is something you keep inferring, and it’s this thing you’ve inferred that you’re railing against. I’ve neither written nor implied anything of the sort.

  99. The middle ages seen form a thuggish viewpoint.

    Europe’s basically two groups. The thugs who run it & the rest.
    For thugs read the aristocracy, the church & the scholars. Because they are all the same people. Mostly they were related, anyway. They live off the people who farm the land & make the goods. They do none of these things themselves. Mostly they’re hindrance to getting anything done with their wars, witch burnings & bullshit. These are not the people brought Europe out of the Dark Ages. Most of them couldn’t tie their own shoelaces. Europe began to prosper when its workers could produce enough surplus to feed themselves, these parasites & have some left over. Then you get enough slack to have a Renaissance..

  100. This argument is the same as Tim’s re 3 rd world development. It comes from endeavor & trade. it doesn’t come from politicians or assoles in development agencies with clever ideas.

  101. Ian B>

    Hitler believed one could never stop being Jewish. Rabbinic Judaism believes the same thing. Outside those two extremes, most people would agree that someone who does not believe in or practice Judaism is not Jewish.

    Chomsky was born into a Jewish family and raised in the religion, but as an adult did not believe in it, or practice it. He was no more Jewish than Disraeli.

    BIS>

    The Loobies are not known for their scholarship, and, perhaps coincidentally, that’s not a great explanation. In fact, it’s a poor one.

    “According to Shabbat rules it is forbidden to carry any item – regardless of its weight, size or purpose – on the Shabbat.”

    That statement is simply wrong. Or perhaps I should say it’s complicatedly wrong, because it’s broadly true but made far too definite.

    “Given the design of many communities in the past, many neighborhoods or even cities were walled. As such, the whole area was regarded as “private,” and carrying allowed. That, however, wasn’t always the case. And today, it is an obvious impracticality to build walls throughout portions of cities, crossing over or through streets and walkways, in order to place one’s home and synagogue within the same “private” domain.”

    That’s a better presentation of the issues. But the terms ‘public’ and ‘private’ are also approximations, so it’s still not accurate – more of a metaphor.

    “So the concept of an “eruv” is based on *private*, primarily. Not the wider concept of *city*, which could be *public* & therefore not an eruv. So to turn it into a concept would work to non-Jews, a *house* is much closer. A *house* being *private* extending to its boundary.”

    We’re both struggling slightly with accurate analogies. But to ridicule the actual laws and debates over them because they don’t make sense in depth when simplified for explanation to those who aren’t studying them thoroughly is unfair. Orthodox Judaism is actually very practical about such things, once one understands the real issues under discussion – although obviously they’re based on irrational beliefs about what God said to do or not do.

    The whole thing makes more sense once it’s understood that the original ban on carrying is a Rabbinic interpretation rather than the explicit word of God, and that the terms once used to define it have been updated. The take-home point is that the Eruv is not the wire and poles: those are merely to mark out the limits. It’s about the way the area inside is viewed/treated, and that depends on how people there actually behave.

    UKL>

    “My point was not about the particulars but that there is are zones in the first place where pushing wheelchairs is prohibited even to the extent of preventing one from travelling to synagogue.”

    That was always extremely contentious. Many Rabbinic authorities said that was permitted, or at least that it was up to the individual. It is definitely the case that it is not permitted to criticise others for their decisions in such matters, not that it stops some people, of course.

    BIS>

    “If you want a quiet life, don’t annoy the neighbors.”

    An excellent example of self-hating, there. In what possible world could stringing barely visible wire from lamp-post to lamp-post (using private funds) be seen as annoying the neighbours?

    Docbud>

    You sound pretty racist to me. Being anti-apartheid could be because you think it’s disgusting to differentiate between people based on skin shades – that was my reason for campaigning. Or it could be because you think the treatment of one group so defined was unfair. (It could also be because you think those with darker skin are superior, but that’s relatively unusual.) The Truth and Reconciliation Committees were extremely contentious, and remain so to this day, because they appeared to promote the idea there’s some difference between people based on skin colour that’s important, which many of us anti-Apartheid campaigners felt was precisely what we’d been trying to stop.

    You then go on to make absurd generalisations about ‘the Muslims’, just the way the National Party made ridiculous generalisations about ‘the blacks/coloureds’.

  102. Paul B:
    “(I note with some amusement Ecks’ view that Muslim rulers were worse than Christians because they weren’t so much in the habit of extorting taxes to fund grandiose building schemes.)”

    Choke back your amusement and point out to me where I said that.

  103. So Much For Subtlety

    Surreptitious Evil – “There exists a set “Jew” of which some can be defined as “self-hating”*, some can be defined as “communist” and some can be defined as “economists”. Now, get the LHTD to draw you a Venn diagram :)”

    Yes but in my experience, every Jewish person has his own definition of what the set of self-hating Jews looks like. I am sure Dave has a unique one if he thinks that hating bankers makes you self-hating if Jewish.

    Dave – “There’s a difference between criticisng some specific part of (or even the whole of) our financial system, and ranting about ‘bankers’.”

    And which do the Communists like Ed’s Dad and Marx do?

    “And despite that, you haven’t cited a counter-example since none of those you mention were actually Jewish – Chomsky claims the whole concept of ‘god’ is meaningless, Trotsky was an avowed atheist, and so-on.”

    So you have to be religious to be Jewish? Israel does not think so. In fact Israel was created by the secular. I am sure some of them would be amused to hear that in fact they are not Jewish. Judaism is both a religion and an ethnic group. Chomsky may not be religious, and neither was Trotsky. But they both identified as Jews. It was written on Trotsky’s ID card – Jewish being an official ethnic group in the Soviet Union. But Einstein wasn’t religious. Not a Jewish scienist then? Spinoza? Freud? None of these people Jews?

  104. @dave
    Trying to discuss a culture, outside a culture, is an almost impossible task.
    But a few points..
    “The whole thing makes more sense once it’s understood that the original ban on carrying is a Rabbinic interpretation rather than the explicit word of God, ”
    That pretty well sums up the Orthodox end off Judaism. A miscellany of sects each cleaving to the differing interpretations of the supposed “word” of god teased out by various past rebbes from the small print. As they say, ask two Jews & get three opinions.

    “The take-home point is that the Eruv is not the wire and poles: those are merely to mark out the limits.”
    Hence there would be disagreement about that. Some, I gather, would regard two poles & the joining wire as comprising a doorway in a notional “house”. It’s a very slightly different interpretation of “limit”. But, as with all things Jewish, the difference can be a source of endless enjoyable argument. capable of splitting families & the creation of a new sect.

    “If you want a quiet life, don’t annoy the neighbors.”

    An excellent example of self-hating, there. In what possible world could stringing barely visible wire from lamp-post to lamp-post (using private funds) be seen as annoying the neighbours?”

    For totally asinine comments, that’s a doozy. The wire is of course entirely symbolic to Jews. The problem being, of course, it’s going to be equally symbolic to any non-Jews who choose to make it symbolic. There’s nothing “self hating” in thinking that could cause problems. It’s sensibly acknowledging the notion, if you don’t want to get stung don’t prod the wasp nest. It acknowledges there are other people in the world, other than Jews, who might have opinions.

  105. Dave,

    I’m pretty sure I typed Justice and Reconciliation not Truth and Reconciliation, Yes, it appears I did. The Justice and Reconciliation Committees were apartheid era local structures involving activists from all communities meeting to plan anti-apartheid activities and to help ameliorate the consequences of apartheid and the state of emergency on specific communities. They usually met in the townships in the evenings. It wasn’t unusual for me to bump into the SAP on my way home from such meetings and occasionally the phone would ring soon after I got home but was silent when picked up.

    My comments are about Islam. I do not believe western democracies should compromise their beliefs about the rights and freedoms of individuals to accommodate backward cults who have unacceptable views on issues such as the place of women in society or the right of gay people to live their lives without interference from the state or bigots. If Muslims are not prepared to accept the basic principles of the Enlightenment I do believe they should preferably eff off or at least keep their odious beliefs to themselves.

    I see nothing racist in that.

    “that was my reason for campaigning.” Bless, what did you do, not buy Outspan oranges?

  106. Deeply unimpressed by IanB’s comments about the Jewish settlers in various places. I hadn’t figured him to be an anti-semite and I hope that isn’t the case. Maybe he wants to mix some water with whatever he’s drinking.

    Alas, I have noticed among some so-called “libertarians” a touch of this sort of prejudice, or at least something dangerously close (dog-whistle expressions such as “enemy class”, etc). Knock it off, people.

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