Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There's Nothing More Terrifying Than a Jew Who Won't Die Quietly

I still think Anna Breslaw will hold the honor, but John Cook is making a late season run for the coveted "most anti-Semitic article published in a mainstream outlet" award. The piece is titled "Israel Names Its New War After Biblical Story About God Terrorizing Egyptians," referring to the Israeli operation "Pillar of Cloud" (translated into English as "Pillar of Defense").

The reference is to a Biblical story where God protects Israelites fleeing Egyptian slavery via a "pillar of cloud" which deflects Egyptian arrows and stones. Or, as Cook calls it, "God terrorizing Egyptians." Because nothing is more terrible than Jews not being enslaved.

That's what's truly bizarre -- of all the objectionable Bible stories (and there are many) -- freeing Jews from slavery isn't typically considered one. And this particular story, which is nonviolent and defensive (the cloud blocks enemy projectiles) is especially unobjectionable. Yet Cook not only slots it into "angry Old Testament God" territory, he actually views Jewish emancipation as an example of injustice to the Egyptians.

This doesn't even go into the dark murmurings that Israel's campaign is part of "a broader agenda rooted in ancient mysticism." I mean, come on. And Cook only digs in deeper on twitter, where he's basically delivering a live lecture on why you shouldn't opine on the meaning of another culture's stories without any actual knowledge.

Of course, I saw the link from someone who was telling Cook to rock on, so there's still work to be done. If you want the actual Biblical meaning of "pillar of cloud", this Tablet Mag article is a good primer.

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