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Re: [XTalk] sadly...

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  • Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab)
    Dear Jim, Tragic indeed ­ and I¹m grateful that it is only one and only a sign (no petrol bombs) ‹ but sadly not surprising. It should be noted that a
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 28, 2004
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      Dear Jim,

      Tragic indeed ­ and I¹m grateful that it is only one and only a sign (no
      petrol bombs) ‹ but sadly not surprising. It should be noted that a rabbi
      had warned the Jewish community some weeks ago that the Œstrident protests¹
      of some of its members was both imprudent and ill-advised‹not least given
      that no Jewish voice was raised in protest over the infamous Brooklyn
      Museum¹s feces-smeared Madonna or the screening of Hell¹s Angel (a film that
      obscenely defamed Mother Teresa) both displayed under Jewish auspices and
      defended by several prominent Jewish social critics as freedom of speech and
      artistic expression. When at least one very prominent pro-Jewish Catholic,
      well-known for his support of the Jewish cause, appealed to the Jewish
      community to join the near-universal Christian protest, he was ignored.
      (Please note that I am simply repeating the rabbi¹s point of view.) He
      warned of a backlash.

      He concluded:
      ³America is the most philo-Semitic country in history. Suggesting
      equivalency between American Christians today and those of Europe's past is
      offensive and ungrateful. If it is appropriate to blame today's American
      Christians for the sins of past Europeans, why isn't it okay to blame
      today's Jews for things that our ancestors may have done? Clearly both are
      wrong.

      Jewish groups that fracture friendship with American Christians are harming
      our relationships with one of the few groups on the planet that is
      sympathetic toward us today. The attacks on The Passion are decidedly not in
      the interests of most American Jews who go about their daily lives in
      comfortable harmony with their Christian fellow citizens. Many Christians
      will see these attacks, with some justification in my view, as attacks
      against Christianity itself.

      The Americans that most ardently defend Israel and denounce anti-Semitism
      today happen to be Christians fervently committed to their faith. Jewish
      interests are best served by fostering understanding with these steadfast
      allies. Rejecting flagrant anti-Christianism from persons who claim to be
      acting on behalf of Jews would be our wisest course as a community. It is
      also the right thing to do.²

      I think the rabbi has a point (and interestingly enough it is post-Christian
      Europe that is witnessing a frightening re-emergence of violent
      anti-semitism). I have no problem at all with discussing anti-semitism
      issues. But the manner in which it is done is also important: it is possible
      to talk about tolerance in a very intolerant way. It might be worth humbly
      asking ourselves whether or not some of the broader scholarly community¹s
      more intemperate remarks about others¹ anti-semitism, etc. have not in fact
      achieved just the opposite effect by contributing to the
      tension/polarization surrounding this film? All in all, not our best
      moment. Let¹s hope we do better next time.

      Regards
      Rikk



      On 28/2/04 5:58 AM, "Jim West" <jwest@...> wrote:

      > All along during our discussion of Mel's movie some have said that it would
      > stir anti-semitism. I protested, surely it would not. Surely people are
      > intelligent enough to read the new testament and recognize that according to
      > its narration ALL are responsible for Jesus' death and hence Jews would not
      > be singled out.
      >
      > Evidently I was wrong. This sickening story from Colorado shows what can
      > happen when uninformed, unlearned folk get involved in such matters:
      >
      > http://rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_2683994,00.html
      >
      > Its tragic.
      >
      > jim
      >
      > +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
      > Dr Jim West
      > Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
      > http://biblical-studies.org -- Biblical Studies Resources
      > http://biblical-studies.blogspot.com -- Biblical Studies Resources Weblog
      >
      >
      > "The way many young theologues are dissociating themselves from the church
      > is highly displeasing to me. It is also utterly unrealistic". Gerhard von
      > Rad
      >
      >
      >
      > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
      >
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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jim West
      ... Well put. Jim +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Dr Jim West Pastor, Petros Baptist Church http://biblical-studies.org -- Biblical Studies Resources
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 28, 2004
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        At 08:19 AM 2/28/04 -0800, you wrote:

        >I think the rabbi has a point (and interestingly enough it is post-Christian
        >Europe that is witnessing a frightening re-emergence of violent
        >anti-semitism). I have no problem at all with discussing anti-semitism
        >issues. But the manner in which it is done is also important: it is possible
        >to talk about tolerance in a very intolerant way. It might be worth humbly
        >asking ourselves whether or not some of the broader scholarly community¹s
        >more intemperate remarks about others¹ anti-semitism, etc. have not in fact
        >achieved just the opposite effect by contributing to the
        >tension/polarization surrounding this film? All in all, not our best
        >moment. Let¹s hope we do better next time.

        Well put.

        Jim

        +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        Dr Jim West
        Pastor, Petros Baptist Church
        http://biblical-studies.org -- Biblical Studies Resources
        http://biblical-studies.blogspot.com -- Biblical Studies Resources Weblog


        "The way many young theologues are dissociating themselves from the church
        is highly displeasing to me. It is also utterly unrealistic". Gerhard von Rad
      • Lisbeth S. Fried
        Dear Rikk, I m having a bit of trouble with the sentiments expressed below. Dear Jim, Tragic indeed ­ and I¹m grateful that it is only one and only a sign
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 28, 2004
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          Dear Rikk,
          I'm having a bit of trouble with the sentiments expressed below.

          Dear Jim,

          Tragic indeed ­ and I¹m grateful that it is only one and only a sign (no
          petrol bombs) ‹ but sadly not surprising. It should be noted that a rabbi
          had warned the Jewish community some weeks ago that the Œstrident
          protests¹
          of some of its members was both imprudent and ill-advised‹not least given
          that no Jewish voice was raised in protest over the infamous Brooklyn
          Museum¹s feces-smeared Madonna or the screening of Hell¹s Angel (a film
          that
          obscenely defamed Mother Teresa) both displayed under Jewish auspices and
          defended by several prominent Jewish social critics as freedom of speech
          and
          artistic expression.

          Granted that you are merely quoting someone else, but you quote it with
          approval, and I am pained.
          It is not my understanding that the Brooklyn Museum is a Jewish
          institution. It is owned by the city of New York, to my knowledge. There is
          a Jewish Museum in Brooklyn, I think, so had the paintings been shown there,
          I would agree that they were shown under "Jewish auspices." Is it "Jewish
          auspices" if they are shown in a city museum if the curator or someone
          happens to be Jewish? I also see that "several prominent Jewish social
          critics" defended the showing. Does this imply that Jews as a collective are
          now held responsible for the painting? Is not this the same problem that
          Jews have experienced over the millennia with the collective charge of
          deicide? Is this not the essence of anti-Semitism?

          Respectfully,
          Liz Fried


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab)
          Sorry Liz, I had no intention of causing offence or pain. ... As far as I can tell the rabbi himself was also deeply pained even though he regarded this as an
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 28, 2004
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            Sorry Liz, I had no intention of causing offence or pain.

            On 28/2/04 8:50 AM, "Lisbeth S. Fried" <lizfried@...> wrote:

            > Dear Rikk,
            > I'm having a bit of trouble with the sentiments expressed below.
            >
            > Dear Jim,
            >
            > Tragic indeed ­ and I¹m grateful that it is only one and only a sign (no
            > petrol bombs) ‹ but sadly not surprising. It should be noted that a rabbi
            > had warned the Jewish community some weeks ago that the Œstrident
            > protests¹
            > of some of its members was both imprudent and ill-advised‹not least given
            > that no Jewish voice was raised in protest over the infamous Brooklyn
            > Museum¹s feces-smeared Madonna or the screening of Hell¹s Angel (a film
            > that
            > obscenely defamed Mother Teresa) both displayed under Jewish auspices and
            > defended by several prominent Jewish social critics as freedom of speech
            > and
            > artistic expression.
            >
            > Granted that you are merely quoting someone else, but you quote it with
            > approval, and I am pained.
            As far as I can tell the rabbi himself was also deeply pained even though he
            regarded this as an accurate account. I need to be clear that I am simply
            repeating what he said and am happy to respond with my best rendition of his
            sentiments ‹ but please don't shoot the messenger...

            > It is not my understanding that the Brooklyn Museum is a Jewish
            > institution. It is owned by the city of New York, to my knowledge.
            > There is
            > a Jewish Museum in Brooklyn, I think, so had the paintings been shown there,
            > I would agree that they were shown under "Jewish auspices.
            > Is it "Jewish
            > auspices" if they are shown in a city museum if the curator or someone
            > happens to be Jewish?
            The rabbi made that distinction, i.e. the museum was not owned by Jewish
            people. By under Jewish auspices, sincere apologies if the term was
            misleading, I was referring to the rabbi's view that everyone knew that the
            players (Arnold Lehman who'd also done something, in the rabbi's view,
            similarly provocative while a curator in Chicago, the individual from whose
            collection the art came ‹ why would someone want a feces besmeared Madonna
            in their art collection anyway?‹ and some of the most outspoken supporters
            of freedom of artistic expression) were of "Jewish ethnicity" (his words).

            > I also see that "several prominent Jewish social
            > critics" defended the showing. Does this imply that Jews as a collective are
            > now held responsible for the painting? Is not this the same problem that
            > Jews have experienced over the millennia with the collective charge of
            > deicide? Is this not the essence of anti-Semitism?
            I doubt very much that the rabbi meant this. I certainly didn't take him
            this way. My guess would be that he would protest strongly that words were
            being put in his mouth and an unfair slant put on his concerns. His pained
            protest was not that his fellow Jews were collectively responsible for the
            painting but that by and large they did not speak out against it, while some
            ‹ e.g. Norman Siegel and Arthur Eisenberg of the New York Civil Liberties
            Union, Steven Shapiro of the American Civil Liberties Union, and lawyer
            Floyd Abrams ‹ were active apologists. As a fellow Jewish person what would
            you say to him about his concerns?

            But I was more interested in his larger point, as a rabbi speaking to his
            own, as per the last three paragraphs. Any comments you wish to share?

            > Respectfully,
            Appreciated! And very much likewise. I do trust that you realize that I am
            in no way excusing the behavior of the gentleman who posted the sign.
            > Liz Fried
            Rikk

            PS I was greatly encouraged by your post on the Chapters encounter. May such
            tribes increase.
          • Lisbeth S. Fried
            ... From: Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) [mailto:rwatts@interchange.ubc.ca] Sent: Sat, February 28, 2004 12:59 PM To: xtalk Subject: Re: [XTalk] sadly... Sorry
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 28, 2004
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              -----Original Message-----
              From: Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) [mailto:rwatts@...]
              Sent: Sat, February 28, 2004 12:59 PM
              To: xtalk
              Subject: Re: [XTalk] sadly...


              Sorry Liz, I had no intention of causing offence or pain.
              Apology accepted!

              On 28/2/04 8:50 AM, "Lisbeth S. Fried" <lizfried@...> wrote:

              > Dear Rikk,
              > I'm having a bit of trouble with the sentiments expressed below.
              >
              > Dear Jim,
              >
              > Tragic indeed ­ and I¹m grateful that it is only one and only a sign (no
              > petrol bombs) ‹ but sadly not surprising. It should be noted that a
              rabbi
              > had warned the Jewish community some weeks ago that the Œstrident
              > protests¹
              > of some of its members was both imprudent and ill-advised‹not least
              given
              > that no Jewish voice was raised in protest over the infamous Brooklyn
              > Museum¹s feces-smeared Madonna or the screening of Hell¹s Angel (a film
              > that
              > obscenely defamed Mother Teresa) both displayed under Jewish auspices
              and
              > defended by several prominent Jewish social critics as freedom of speech
              > and
              > artistic expression.
              >
              > Granted that you are merely quoting someone else, but you quote it with
              > approval, and I am pained.
              As far as I can tell the rabbi himself was also deeply pained even though
              he
              regarded this as an accurate account. I need to be clear that I am simply
              repeating what he said and am happy to respond with my best rendition of
              his
              sentiments ‹ but please don't shoot the messenger...

              As I see it, the rabbi was expressing a thought very common in Jewish
              circles.
              "Don't do anything that might offend the goyim!" because of fear of a
              backlash.
              A Jew should stay in the background and not give offense. This means that
              a curator of a city museum who happens to be Jewish should think twice about
              showing a piece of art for fear of anti-semitism. Whereas a Gentile curator
              would only have to think once, i;e., to ask does this have artistic merit, a
              Jew must think is this going to reverberate negatively on Jews everywhere.
              This is what the rabbi was saying: that it would reverberate negatively on
              Jews everywhere. By quoting and giving credence to the statement, you are
              perpetuating this type of thinking. That what a Jew does reflects not only
              on simply himself, but on Jews everywhere. This type of thinking is
              anti-Semitic.

              > It is not my understanding that the Brooklyn Museum is a Jewish
              > institution. It is owned by the city of New York, to my knowledge.
              > There is
              > a Jewish Museum in Brooklyn, I think, so had the paintings been shown
              there,
              > I would agree that they were shown under "Jewish auspices.
              > Is it "Jewish
              > auspices" if they are shown in a city museum if the curator or someone
              > happens to be Jewish?
              The rabbi made that distinction, i.e. the museum was not owned by Jewish
              people. By under Jewish auspices, sincere apologies if the term was
              misleading, I was referring to the rabbi's view that everyone knew that
              the
              players (Arnold Lehman who'd also done something, in the rabbi's view,
              similarly provocative while a curator in Chicago, the individual from
              whose
              collection the art came ‹ why would someone want a feces besmeared Madonna
              in their art collection anyway?‹ and some of the most outspoken supporters
              of freedom of artistic expression) were of "Jewish ethnicity" (his words).
              The implication here is that their actions are going to reflect on the
              entire Jewish people, not just on themselves. This is the essence of
              prejudicial thinking.

              > I also see that "several prominent Jewish social
              > critics" defended the showing. Does this imply that Jews as a collective
              are
              > now held responsible for the painting? Is not this the same problem
              that
              > Jews have experienced over the millennia with the collective charge of
              > deicide? Is this not the essence of anti-Semitism?
              I doubt very much that the rabbi meant this. I certainly didn't take him
              this way. My guess would be that he would protest strongly that words were
              being put in his mouth and an unfair slant put on his concerns. His pained
              protest was not that his fellow Jews were collectively responsible for the
              painting but that by and large they did not speak out against it, while
              some
              ‹ e.g. Norman Siegel and Arthur Eisenberg of the New York Civil Liberties
              Union, Steven Shapiro of the American Civil Liberties Union, and lawyer
              Floyd Abrams ‹ were active apologists. As a fellow Jewish person what
              would
              you say to him about his concerns?
              As a fellow Jew (there is no need to say "Jewish person" as I do not view
              the term "Jew" as a dirty word) I would say to him that people who are
              members of the ACLU have defended free speech and free artistic expression
              wherever they are. They have defended the rights of the KKK and the
              neo-Nazis to march in the middle of the Jewish suburb of Skokie Ohio. I
              would also tell him that I would hope that we have come to a time when Jews
              would be treated as individuals and that their thoughts and activities would
              reflect only on themselves and that we need not fear a "backlash" against
              Jews everywhere.

              But I was more interested in his larger point, as a rabbi speaking to his
              own, as per the last three paragraphs. Any comments you wish to share?

              I suppose I lost the larger point, unless it is the ghetto mentality that
              I object to that Jews should resist doing anything that might offend
              Gentiles for fear of a backlash.
              I strenuously object to that entire way of thinking.
              IT is curious to me tho that the rabbi would fear backlash against Jews
              for showing the painting or for expressing an opinion that it should be
              shown, and that he had no fears for the young Christian fellow who actually
              painted it. It was painted out of Christian angst, if I correctly recall an
              interview with the painter, it was not painted by a Jew.

              > Respectfully,
              Appreciated! And very much likewise. I do trust that you realize that I am
              in no way excusing the behavior of the gentleman who posted the sign.
              > Liz Fried
              Rikk

              PS I was greatly encouraged by your post on the Chapters encounter. May
              such
              tribes increase.











              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab)
              Hi Liz, This will be my last comment, but feel free to have the last word. From my perspective I think the point is being missed but I am happy to take the
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 28, 2004
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                Hi Liz,

                This will be my last comment, but feel free to have the last word. From my
                perspective I think the point is being missed but I am happy to take the
                blame. I don¹t think the rabbi was saying no discussion or dissent. It was
                instead the stridency of some of the responses which he felt was not in
                keeping with the tolerance shown (or affirmation given) to the said Madonna.
                He said, as a Jew, that the distinction between ³a feces-smeared Madonna
                equals freedom of artistic expression² and ³Mel Gibson¹s movie equals
                anti-semitism² was a Talmudic distinction (his words) that escaped him. By
                all means allow artistic freedom but allow it then for everyone. But I
                suppose that¹s the issue isn¹t it? One person¹s art is another person¹s
                anti-semitism, and apparently one person¹s let¹s try to work together is
                another¹s kowtowing to Gentile pressure. Sounds like we still have a long
                way to go, but I¹m sure we both agree that it¹s worth working on.

                Take care
                Rikk


                On 28/2/04 10:36 AM, "Lisbeth S. Fried" <lizfried@...> wrote:

                >
                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) [mailto:rwatts@...]
                > Sent: Sat, February 28, 2004 12:59 PM
                > To: xtalk
                > Subject: Re: [XTalk] sadly...
                >
                >
                > Sorry Liz, I had no intention of causing offence or pain.
                > Apology accepted!
                >
                > On 28/2/04 8:50 AM, "Lisbeth S. Fried" <lizfried@...> wrote:
                >
                >> > Dear Rikk,
                >> > I'm having a bit of trouble with the sentiments expressed below.
                >> >
                >> > Dear Jim,
                >> >
                >> > Tragic indeed ­ and I¹m grateful that it is only one and only a sign (no
                >> > petrol bombs) ‹ but sadly not surprising. It should be noted that a
                > rabbi
                >> > had warned the Jewish community some weeks ago that the Œstrident
                >> > protests¹
                >> > of some of its members was both imprudent and ill-advised‹not least
                > given
                >> > that no Jewish voice was raised in protest over the infamous Brooklyn
                >> > Museum¹s feces-smeared Madonna or the screening of Hell¹s Angel (a film
                >> > that
                >> > obscenely defamed Mother Teresa) both displayed under Jewish auspices
                > and
                >> > defended by several prominent Jewish social critics as freedom of speech
                >> > and
                >> > artistic expression.
                >> >
                >> > Granted that you are merely quoting someone else, but you quote it with
                >> > approval, and I am pained.
                > As far as I can tell the rabbi himself was also deeply pained even though
                > he
                > regarded this as an accurate account. I need to be clear that I am simply
                > repeating what he said and am happy to respond with my best rendition of
                > his
                > sentiments ‹ but please don't shoot the messenger...
                >
                > As I see it, the rabbi was expressing a thought very common in Jewish
                > circles.
                > "Don't do anything that might offend the goyim!" because of fear of a
                > backlash.
                > A Jew should stay in the background and not give offense. This means that
                > a curator of a city museum who happens to be Jewish should think twice about
                > showing a piece of art for fear of anti-semitism. Whereas a Gentile curator
                > would only have to think once, i;e., to ask does this have artistic merit, a
                > Jew must think is this going to reverberate negatively on Jews everywhere.
                > This is what the rabbi was saying: that it would reverberate negatively on
                > Jews everywhere. By quoting and giving credence to the statement, you are
                > perpetuating this type of thinking. That what a Jew does reflects not only
                > on simply himself, but on Jews everywhere. This type of thinking is
                > anti-Semitic.
                >
                >> > It is not my understanding that the Brooklyn Museum is a Jewish
                >> > institution. It is owned by the city of New York, to my knowledge.
                >> > There is
                >> > a Jewish Museum in Brooklyn, I think, so had the paintings been shown
                > there,
                >> > I would agree that they were shown under "Jewish auspices.
                >> > Is it "Jewish
                >> > auspices" if they are shown in a city museum if the curator or someone
                >> > happens to be Jewish?
                > The rabbi made that distinction, i.e. the museum was not owned by Jewish
                > people. By under Jewish auspices, sincere apologies if the term was
                > misleading, I was referring to the rabbi's view that everyone knew that
                > the
                > players (Arnold Lehman who'd also done something, in the rabbi's view,
                > similarly provocative while a curator in Chicago, the individual from
                > whose
                > collection the art came ‹ why would someone want a feces besmeared Madonna
                > in their art collection anyway?‹ and some of the most outspoken supporters
                > of freedom of artistic expression) were of "Jewish ethnicity" (his words).
                > The implication here is that their actions are going to reflect on the
                > entire Jewish people, not just on themselves. This is the essence of
                > prejudicial thinking.
                >
                >> > I also see that "several prominent Jewish social
                >> > critics" defended the showing. Does this imply that Jews as a collective
                > are
                >> > now held responsible for the painting? Is not this the same problem
                > that
                >> > Jews have experienced over the millennia with the collective charge of
                >> > deicide? Is this not the essence of anti-Semitism?
                > I doubt very much that the rabbi meant this. I certainly didn't take him
                > this way. My guess would be that he would protest strongly that words were
                > being put in his mouth and an unfair slant put on his concerns. His pained
                > protest was not that his fellow Jews were collectively responsible for the
                > painting but that by and large they did not speak out against it, while
                > some
                > ‹ e.g. Norman Siegel and Arthur Eisenberg of the New York Civil Liberties
                > Union, Steven Shapiro of the American Civil Liberties Union, and lawyer
                > Floyd Abrams ‹ were active apologists. As a fellow Jewish person what
                > would
                > you say to him about his concerns?
                > As a fellow Jew (there is no need to say "Jewish person" as I do not view
                > the term "Jew" as a dirty word) I would say to him that people who are
                > members of the ACLU have defended free speech and free artistic expression
                > wherever they are. They have defended the rights of the KKK and the
                > neo-Nazis to march in the middle of the Jewish suburb of Skokie Ohio. I
                > would also tell him that I would hope that we have come to a time when Jews
                > would be treated as individuals and that their thoughts and activities would
                > reflect only on themselves and that we need not fear a "backlash" against
                > Jews everywhere.
                >
                > But I was more interested in his larger point, as a rabbi speaking to his
                > own, as per the last three paragraphs. Any comments you wish to share?
                >
                > I suppose I lost the larger point, unless it is the ghetto mentality that
                > I object to that Jews should resist doing anything that might offend
                > Gentiles for fear of a backlash.
                > I strenuously object to that entire way of thinking.
                > IT is curious to me tho that the rabbi would fear backlash against Jews
                > for showing the painting or for expressing an opinion that it should be
                > shown, and that he had no fears for the young Christian fellow who actually
                > painted it. It was painted out of Christian angst, if I correctly recall an
                > interview with the painter, it was not painted by a Jew.
                >
                >> > Respectfully,
                > Appreciated! And very much likewise. I do trust that you realize that I am
                > in no way excusing the behavior of the gentleman who posted the sign.
                >> > Liz Fried
                > Rikk
                >
                > PS I was greatly encouraged by your post on the Chapters encounter. May
                > such
                > tribes increase.
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                > The XTalk Home Page is http://ntgateway.com/xtalk/
                >
                > To subscribe to Xtalk, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >
                > To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to: crosstalk2-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >
                > List managers may be contacted directly at: crosstalk2-owners@yahoogroups.com
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                > * To visit your group on the web, go to:
                > * http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/
                > *
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                > * Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service
                > <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .
                >




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Lisbeth S. Fried
                Dear Rikk, Since you allow me the last word, I ll take it! I think the rabbi was being a bit disengenuous. Artistic expression isn t the issue at all. Showing
                Message 7 of 8 , Feb 28, 2004
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                  Dear Rikk,
                  Since you allow me the last word, I'll take it!
                  I think the rabbi was being a bit disengenuous. Artistic expression isn't
                  the issue at all. Showing the feces-smeared Madonna, no matter how
                  disgusting and
                  how offensive, is not likely to give rise to pogroms against Christians.
                  Jewish experience with passion plays is quite the opposite. For those
                  who oppose the presentation of the movie, it is not an issue of
                  artisic expression, but of life and limb. People have a right to swing
                  their
                  arms too, but not everywhere.
                  Liz

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) [mailto:rwatts@...]
                  Sent: Sat, February 28, 2004 3:54 PM
                  To: xtalk
                  Subject: Re: [XTalk] sadly...


                  Hi Liz,

                  This will be my last comment, but feel free to have the last word. From my
                  perspective I think the point is being missed but I am happy to take the
                  blame. I don¹t think the rabbi was saying no discussion or dissent. It was
                  instead the stridency of some of the responses which he felt was not in
                  keeping with the tolerance shown (or affirmation given) to the said
                  Madonna.
                  He said, as a Jew, that the distinction between ³a feces-smeared Madonna
                  equals freedom of artistic expression² and ³Mel Gibson¹s movie equals
                  anti-semitism² was a Talmudic distinction (his words) that escaped him. By
                  all means allow artistic freedom but allow it then for everyone. But I
                  suppose that¹s the issue isn¹t it? One person¹s art is another person¹s
                  anti-semitism, and apparently one person¹s let¹s try to work together is
                  another¹s kowtowing to Gentile pressure. Sounds like we still have a long
                  way to go, but I¹m sure we both agree that it¹s worth working on.

                  Take care
                  Rikk


                  On 28/2/04 10:36 AM, "Lisbeth S. Fried" <lizfried@...> wrote:

                  >
                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) [mailto:rwatts@...]
                  > Sent: Sat, February 28, 2004 12:59 PM
                  > To: xtalk
                  > Subject: Re: [XTalk] sadly...
                  >
                  >
                  > Sorry Liz, I had no intention of causing offence or pain.
                  > Apology accepted!
                  >
                  > On 28/2/04 8:50 AM, "Lisbeth S. Fried" <lizfried@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >> > Dear Rikk,
                  >> > I'm having a bit of trouble with the sentiments expressed below.
                  >> >
                  >> > Dear Jim,
                  >> >
                  >> > Tragic indeed ­ and I¹m grateful that it is only one and only a
                  sign (no
                  >> > petrol bombs) ‹ but sadly not surprising. It should be noted that
                  a
                  > rabbi
                  >> > had warned the Jewish community some weeks ago that the Œstrident
                  >> > protests¹
                  >> > of some of its members was both imprudent and ill-advised‹not least
                  > given
                  >> > that no Jewish voice was raised in protest over the infamous
                  Brooklyn
                  >> > Museum¹s feces-smeared Madonna or the screening of Hell¹s Angel (a
                  film
                  >> > that
                  >> > obscenely defamed Mother Teresa) both displayed under Jewish
                  auspices
                  > and
                  >> > defended by several prominent Jewish social critics as freedom of
                  speech
                  >> > and
                  >> > artistic expression.
                  >> >
                  >> > Granted that you are merely quoting someone else, but you quote it
                  with
                  >> > approval, and I am pained.
                  > As far as I can tell the rabbi himself was also deeply pained even
                  though
                  > he
                  > regarded this as an accurate account. I need to be clear that I am
                  simply
                  > repeating what he said and am happy to respond with my best rendition
                  of
                  > his
                  > sentiments ‹ but please don't shoot the messenger...
                  >
                  > As I see it, the rabbi was expressing a thought very common in Jewish
                  > circles.
                  > "Don't do anything that might offend the goyim!" because of fear of a
                  > backlash.
                  > A Jew should stay in the background and not give offense. This means
                  that
                  > a curator of a city museum who happens to be Jewish should think twice
                  about
                  > showing a piece of art for fear of anti-semitism. Whereas a Gentile
                  curator
                  > would only have to think once, i;e., to ask does this have artistic
                  merit, a
                  > Jew must think is this going to reverberate negatively on Jews
                  everywhere.
                  > This is what the rabbi was saying: that it would reverberate negatively
                  on
                  > Jews everywhere. By quoting and giving credence to the statement, you
                  are
                  > perpetuating this type of thinking. That what a Jew does reflects not
                  only
                  > on simply himself, but on Jews everywhere. This type of thinking is
                  > anti-Semitic.
                  >
                  >> > It is not my understanding that the Brooklyn Museum is a Jewish
                  >> > institution. It is owned by the city of New York, to my knowledge.
                  >> > There is
                  >> > a Jewish Museum in Brooklyn, I think, so had the paintings been
                  shown
                  > there,
                  >> > I would agree that they were shown under "Jewish auspices.
                  >> > Is it "Jewish
                  >> > auspices" if they are shown in a city museum if the curator or
                  someone
                  >> > happens to be Jewish?
                  > The rabbi made that distinction, i.e. the museum was not owned by
                  Jewish
                  > people. By under Jewish auspices, sincere apologies if the term was
                  > misleading, I was referring to the rabbi's view that everyone knew
                  that
                  > the
                  > players (Arnold Lehman who'd also done something, in the rabbi's view,
                  > similarly provocative while a curator in Chicago, the individual from
                  > whose
                  > collection the art came ‹ why would someone want a feces besmeared
                  Madonna
                  > in their art collection anyway?‹ and some of the most outspoken
                  supporters
                  > of freedom of artistic expression) were of "Jewish ethnicity" (his
                  words).
                  > The implication here is that their actions are going to reflect on the
                  > entire Jewish people, not just on themselves. This is the essence of
                  > prejudicial thinking.
                  >
                  >> > I also see that "several prominent Jewish social
                  >> > critics" defended the showing. Does this imply that Jews as a
                  collective
                  > are
                  >> > now held responsible for the painting? Is not this the same
                  problem
                  > that
                  >> > Jews have experienced over the millennia with the collective charge
                  of
                  >> > deicide? Is this not the essence of anti-Semitism?
                  > I doubt very much that the rabbi meant this. I certainly didn't take
                  him
                  > this way. My guess would be that he would protest strongly that words
                  were
                  > being put in his mouth and an unfair slant put on his concerns. His
                  pained
                  > protest was not that his fellow Jews were collectively responsible for
                  the
                  > painting but that by and large they did not speak out against it,
                  while
                  > some
                  > ‹ e.g. Norman Siegel and Arthur Eisenberg of the New York Civil
                  Liberties
                  > Union, Steven Shapiro of the American Civil Liberties Union, and
                  lawyer
                  > Floyd Abrams ‹ were active apologists. As a fellow Jewish person what
                  > would
                  > you say to him about his concerns?
                  > As a fellow Jew (there is no need to say "Jewish person" as I do not
                  view
                  > the term "Jew" as a dirty word) I would say to him that people who are
                  > members of the ACLU have defended free speech and free artistic
                  expression
                  > wherever they are. They have defended the rights of the KKK and the
                  > neo-Nazis to march in the middle of the Jewish suburb of Skokie Ohio. I
                  > would also tell him that I would hope that we have come to a time when
                  Jews
                  > would be treated as individuals and that their thoughts and activities
                  would
                  > reflect only on themselves and that we need not fear a "backlash"
                  against
                  > Jews everywhere.
                  >
                  > But I was more interested in his larger point, as a rabbi speaking to
                  his
                  > own, as per the last three paragraphs. Any comments you wish to share?
                  >
                  > I suppose I lost the larger point, unless it is the ghetto mentality
                  that
                  > I object to that Jews should resist doing anything that might offend
                  > Gentiles for fear of a backlash.
                  > I strenuously object to that entire way of thinking.
                  > IT is curious to me tho that the rabbi would fear backlash against
                  Jews
                  > for showing the painting or for expressing an opinion that it should be
                  > shown, and that he had no fears for the young Christian fellow who
                  actually
                  > painted it. It was painted out of Christian angst, if I correctly recall
                  an
                  > interview with the painter, it was not painted by a Jew.
                  >
                  >> > Respectfully,
                  > Appreciated! And very much likewise. I do trust that you realize that
                  I am
                  > in no way excusing the behavior of the gentleman who posted the sign.
                  >> > Liz Fried
                  > Rikk
                  >
                  > PS I was greatly encouraged by your post on the Chapters encounter.
                  May
                  > such
                  > tribes increase.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >
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