Fmr MIT Prof Jeremy England: Jews Must Reject 'Lingering' Christian Morality and Embrace Ethnic Cleansing in Gaza

Chris Menahan
Jun. 03, 2024

Former MIT associate professor Jeremy England, an ordained rabbi, wrote in Tablet Magazine that Jews need to fully reject any "lingering" sense of Christian morality and embrace ethnically cleansing Gaza in accordance with Talmudic law.

In an article last week titled "Live by the Law or Die on the Cross," England said that "Israel must stop pretending it is a nation like any other."

"[W]e should conquer, annex, and resettle parts of Gaza so that Jews and friendly gentiles both can live there safely," England said.

"If our own, unsurpassably subtle ethical tradition guides us to these policies, then it is only our lingering ideological subjugation to the Western tradition that makes them seem scandalous," he continued. "Like the Jew among nations, Israel constantly struggles with its half-successful attempt to blend in with the crowd and pretend to be a member like any other, and it is time to put an end to this paralyzing charade."

"We did not stick to our Law through 3,000 years of human civilization to continue national life as the perpetual defendant," England added. "It is our job to know that Law, to teach what we know—and, most of all, to live by it."

He backed up these assertions by suggesting Israel is justified in killing children because Hamas holds up children as shields "while firing."

He also said "the concept of the innocent civilian" is Christian and un-Jewish, citing a passage from the Talmud stating "it is correct to kill even the righteous among your enemy."

England wrote:
What would Jesus do if a Hamas fighter held a Gazan Arab child up as a shield while firing? Hard to say for sure, but anyone who argues that a properly humane response is to die rather than to try to shoot around the child has ample basis in Christianity. The image of the Crucifixion may mean many things, but part of what it means is that accepting corporeal defeat in this world can be a path to God-like virtue and spiritual victory in the world of tomorrow. You will not hear Jesus mentioned when Western leaders speak on how important it is that Israel adhere to international laws of war, but the concept of the innocent civilian enshrined in these laws grew practically out of wars fought within Christendom during the last several hundred years.

More importantly, the very idea of the innocent civilian makes sense in an explicitly Christian context: "Render unto Caesar" plus the idea of a universal community of faith that transcends nationality means the conscience of the individual is paramount, and a person cannot so easily be classed as a targetable enemy "just because" of his membership in some nation waging war.

The contrast with the Jewish perspective here is sharp.

One particular Talmudic-era commentary comes to mind.
Everyone knows that Pharaoh and his army were on horses as they chased Moses and the Israelites seaward. But it took the genius of Shimon ben Yochai, the sage, to ask where the horses came from. A plague of hail had killed off all the livestock in Egypt, other than that which belonged to upright individuals who held the Lord in awe. What this means, then, is that Pharaoh got his horses from the upright individuals. Ben Yochai concludes: [In times of war], it is correct to kill even the righteous among your enemy (Mekhilta 14:7).

This is a wince-inducingly Judaic—and very unchristian—position.
The full passage he quoted is even more extreme.

England is not alone in these beliefs.

Israel's top rabbi in Jaffa, Eliyahu Mali, in March issued a call to genocide all Palestinians in Gaza and said the Torah demands the killing of men, women, children and babies.

As Israeli journalist David Sheen reported: "Israel's top rabbi in Jaffa calls to genocide Gaza: 'Don't leave a soul alive ... not only 14, 16-year-old lads ... also the next generation. And those who create the future generation.' Asked 'Babies too?' He responds 'Same thing. You can't outsmart the Torah.' "

The idea Israel's war isn't genocidal enough is extremely popular in Israel, with poll after poll showing the majority of Israelis think the government is using "too little firepower."

Even though Israel has used wildly disproportionate firepower against Gaza with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issuing repeated genocidal biblical threats to "wipe out Amalek" in accordance with Talmudic law, Israel has failed to achieve any of their strategic objectives and is still losing the war.

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