UK Chief Rabbi Says Dawkins’ Atheist Philosophy is Anti-Jewish

September 14, 2012 6:12 pm 8 comments

UK Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

Atheist evolutionist Richard Dawkins denied making an anti-Semitic remark in his book The God Delusion after he was accused of that by Lord Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi of the British Orthodox synagogues, during an hour-long debate at a BBC religion and ethics festival at Salford’s MediaCityUK.

Sacks’s complaint was about a passage in Dawkins’s book in which he states that the God of the Old Testament is the “most unpleasant character in all fiction.”

“There are Christian atheists and Jewish atheists, you read the Bible in a Christian way. Christianity has an adversarial way of reading what it calls the Old Testament—it has to because it says ‘we’ve gone one better, we have a New Testament,” Sacks said on the program, according to the Telegraph. “So you come prejudiced against what you call the Old Testament and that’s why I did not read the opening to chapter two in your book as a joke, I read it as a profoundly anti-Semitic passage,” he added.

Dawkins refuted the claim as “ridiculous,” but also stated that the moral values presented by the God of the Old Testament were “very deplorable indeed – all that stuff about slaughtering the Amalekites,” according to the Jewish Chronicle. Later in the debate, Lord Sacks conceded that Dawkins was a “really nice guy” and that he “was not concerned that Richard is anti-Semitic at all, but using an anti-Semitic stereotype, which has been a strand through Christian reading of the Bible through the Middle Ages. [It] really terrifies me to see the power of these stereotypes into atheism today.”

8 Comments

  • Secular Christians and agnostics like to consider their “purified” beliefs as their own and all the traditional “prejudices” and primitive morals as the Jewish.This is the long mournful tradition of the European free-thikers.

  • The rabbi is Anti-nonsemitic for denying that it IS the most unpleasant god ever.

    Based on millenia of persecution and prejudice, of usury and denialism of jewish talmud and hasidic crimes, people like Yosef ovadia comes up

    “The sole purpose of non-Jews is to serve Jews, according to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the head of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages and a senior Sephardi adjudicator.

    “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel,” he said in his weekly Saturday night sermon on the laws regarding the actions non-Jews are permitted to perform on Shabbat.

    According to Yosef, the lives of non-Jews in Israel are safeguarded by divinity, to prevent losses to Jews.

    “In Israel, death has no dominion over them… With gentiles, it will be like any person – they need to die, but [God] will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money.

    This is his servant… That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew,” Yosef said.

    “Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat.

    That is why gentiles were created,” he added.

    Yosef’s Saturday night sermons have seen many controversial statements from the 90-year-old rabbi. In August, Yosef caused a diplomatic uproar when he wished a plague upon the Palestinian people and their leaders, a curse he retracted a few weeks later, when he blessed them along with all of Israel’s other peace-seeking neighbors.

    __

    By Jonah Mandel for the Jerusalem Post “

  • The Rabbi is wrong, simple as that. His views are an attempt to censure criticism of a book that should now be regarded as profoundly racist and supremacist about others. This was not exceptional at the time, but just look at how the Hebrew Bible portrays  ’Cannanites’ and Samaritans.  The Yahwists who wrote the book accused others of practices such as child sacrifice when this was part of some branches of the cult of Yahweh. It refers gleefully to the slaughter of women and children all in God’s name. This was standard for the time in which it was written. It is not standard now.  That progress is due to the development of our moral understanding, and that growth has little to do with religion. The parts of the book that Richard Dawkins was referring to were written long before Rabbinic Judaism started anyway.  Thousands of years of human effort, (mostly male effort) has gone into ‘explaining away’ all the nasty bits of the Hebrew Bible. Why not accept like Humanistic Jews do that this is just a book that reflects its time, the events in it are not always true, and they are not morally correct. The Rabbi needs to accept that if he wants the kudos of hanging with his new science chums he will be expected to bring evidence to the table to back up what he says, and the mis treatment of minorities including, but not restricted to Jews, (Gays, Atheists, other Christians) by Christians is not explained by what he says. A last thought, the writers of most of the Hebrew Bible did not call themselves Jews, they were Hebrews, or Israelites. RD is discussing their concept of God, not the God that modern branches of Judaism beleve in. Therefore RD can in no way be accused of anti-semitism. The Rabbi should rethink and apologise.

    • Richard Dawkins is a Darwinian religious fanatic. In furthering the religion of Darwinism, he is willing to accept any amount misrepresentation, as long as it serves his blind adherence to an outdated doctrine wrapped under the guise of pseudoscience.

      To argue that because some people, who may or may not have called themselves Christians, have mistreated minorities (as if Christians as an entity were actually persecuting anyone) is simply a smoke screen in order to attack the Judeo-Christian ethic, which stands in the way of the socialist agenda.

  • The Amalakites deserved to be slaughtered then….just as the Nazis and all their supporters deserved to be slaughtered in the 1930s& 1940s….and the Iranians deserve to be slaughtered now..

  • Irish Libertarian

    Someone really needs to draw a distinct line between anti-semitism and anti-Judaism. Hatred towards a Jewish person for ethnic reasons is abhorrent. However, merely pointing out the horrible nature of both the Old Testament deity and his bloodthirsty prophet is not anti-semetic. I don’t know how anybody could read the Old Testament and not come up with the conclusion that Yahweh was evil, and that any race who got in his and his people’s way was eligible for cleansing.

    • Oddly enough, millions of people have read the Old Testament, and they did not come to the conclusion that Yahweh was evil, but rather that He was the Creator. Perhaps you might try re-reading, and pay attention to the context.

      By the way, do you have any original ideas other than rehashed Dawkins’ quotes?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.