Ann Coulter and the Jewish Problem

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54 Responses

  1. He Who Remembers says:

    It grows increasingly depressing to read the convoluted pro-Christian, political right wing material on this blog. One might think that for a frum person to hold to the line of not interacting religiously with Christians and to support decent liberal positions in the face of an administration that has done and continues to do great harm to America and the world is to be the odd one out.

    Well, I for one wish to register my dissent from such manipulation of Yiddishkeit.

  2. dr. william gewirtz says:

    I suspect that are right, but given the long history of anti-semitism and all too willing (and perhaps unsophisticated) listeners, provocative language, even if accurate, remains just that.

  3. Lubab No More says:

    Thinking your religion is right and everyone else’s is wrong is one thing. Saying “[w]e just want Jews to be perfected” sounds like an endorsement of the Spanish Inquisition and not that far from Hitler’s vision of perfecting the human race.

  4. Michael Atlas says:

    Isn’t what she said what every Christian believes? I’m not sure I see the problem with WHAT she said.

  5. Ariella says:

    Rabbi Menken: Your use of the word k— is unfortunate and beneath you. Otherwise, I agree with pretty much everything you said.

    “Thinking your religion is right and everyone else’s is wrong is one thing. Saying “[w]e just want Jews to be perfected” sounds like an endorsement of the Spanish Inquisition and not that far from Hitler’s vision of perfecting the human race.”

    Give me a break. Hitler didn’t want Jews to be “perfected” he wanted them dead. Hence the fact that even Jewish converts to another religion and their children and grandchildren were considered “Jewish.” The fact that Ann Coulter wants Jews to be Christians isn’t even in the same universe as Hitler or the Spanish Inquisition. Wake up and smell the coffee: the majority of Christians want non-Christians to be Christian. It’s not the remarkable.

  6. He Who Remembers says:

    I for one am not surprised by the k word brutally employed above. There is all too much association of too deep a kind with ideas and mannerism of the host culture by many of the contributors here. Ironically, many of the enthusiasts here for right wing religious and reactionary political elements pride themselves for being removed from the non-Jewish culture they revile while buying into even worse parts of that culture.

    Jews need to cleanse their minds of an extreme philo-Christianism and selfish vicious political positions that is poisoning their Yiddishkeit.

  7. Aaron says:

    I’ve met Ann. Told her when she signed a copy of a book that I’d be one Orthodox Jew who’d gladly be on her side in the crusade she advocated on 9/12/2001 to convert the Muslims to Christianity.

    For Chomsky, Soros, et al, I actually agree with Ann.

    My sense, and I got to speak with her for over 15 minutes, was that she seemed to really wish that MORE Jews were observant and aware that this hemisphere should not be treated like Europe where pogroms were common for centuries. You can only falsely accuse a benign/benevolent host for so long before the lack of hakaras hatov and outright motzei shem ra concerning this country before we provide the very ingredients for those to resent us.

  8. Melanie says:

    It grows increasingly depressing to read the convoluted pro-Christian, political right wing material on this blog.

    I think you’re oversimplifying Rabbi Menken’s piece.

    But, sometimes I think all the political thinking and writing and re-positioning aren’t all that effective anyway – this is just another case of Hashem’s plan unfolding somehow, and I don’t think some easily-misinterpreted ultra-Orthodox, pro-Christian propaganda campaign will have any effect at all.

    Let’s voice a position of silence on this one.

  9. Tal Benschar says:

    R. Menken, excellent piece!

    Is Ann Coulter’s view of her religion any different, lehavdil elef alfei havdalos, than Rashi’s pshat in the possuk Shma Yisrael — i.e. “Hashem she hu elokeinu ‘ata, velo elokei ha umos, hu asid lihyos Hashem echad . . .”???? We too look forward to the day when the world will reject idolatries of every kind and accept the truth of our Torah (although, for non-Jews, not the 613 mitzvos, the 7 mitzvos Bnei Noach).

    Non-Orthodox Jewry seems to have a real problem with anyone who rejects their pluralistic, multiple truth viewpoint. Seems to be some level of insecurity there — if you believe in nothing, then someone who actually believes he or she has the truth makes you really nervous.

    And Ariella, I think the use of the k— was indeed appropriate. Ann Coulter stands accused of being an anti-semite — some here even compare her to Hitler and Torquemada, yimach shemam ve zichram. That she views Joe Lieberman as the ideal Democrat shows just how absurd that charge is. No anti-semite would say anything like that — they view Sen. Lieberman as just another dangerous k—.

  10. rejewvenator says:

    Rabbi Menkin, you seem to imply in your piece that Coutler would be fine with Jews, so long as they were frum. You notably leave out this part of the exchange, which, imo, most accurately describes her (and mainstream Evangelical Christian) beliefs:

    DEUTSCH: That isn’t what I said, but you said I should not — we should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians, then, or —

    COULTER: Yeah.

    DEUTSCH: Really?

    COULTER: Well, it’s a lot easier. It’s kind of a fast track.

    DEUTSCH: Really?

    COULTER: Yeah. You have to obey.

    Whether that is Antisemitic is for others to judge. I don’t suppose that Coulter hates Jews and blames them for problems though. I guess in my vision of Mashiach, Judaism and Jewish ideas about life and how to live it win over the world in the open marketplace of ideas (perhaps as promulgated through a courageous, charismatic, Divinely-chosen leader, who combines wisdom and honesty with strength, and whom Hashem lend might to and makes victorious on a miraculous scale). I don’t think it will come about because America, through government action, becomes a fundamentalist Christian country that is tolerant of Orthodox Jews.

  11. mnuez says:

    Look, in my opinion what you’re saying is entirely obvious (so much so that I won’t suffer the boredom of watching the actual interview) BUT nonetheless, I’m glad that you’re saying it. For the benefit of the many many many non-Jews, including Ann herself, it’s important that you say this in such a public and important Jewish forum as Cross Currents.

    At the same time, I’d caution against the error of believing Republican = Good!, Democrat = Bad! because on every economic issue that I can think of Yiddishe values are Democratic values.

    But again, thank you for your important post – obvious though it may be to proud Jews and irrelevant though it may be to non-proud Jews.

    Cheers,

    mnuez

  12. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Wow! A Christian who believes that G-d wants people to be Christians wants us to do what she thinks G-d wants. I’m shocked! Shocked! It would be like a Jew who wants gentiles to be Noahides. I wonder what the next outrage will be. A feminist career woman who believes all women should want a career? A parent, believing that having kids is the best thing in the world and everybody who can should do that? A college professor who thinks everybody should learn her subject, since it’s so valuable or fascinating? Maybe a Rabbi who believes in the value of Talmud Torah for all Jews?

    I’m sorry for the sarcastic tone, but if you think something is good, of course you’ll want other people to have it too. That’s the way people are supposed to be. There is no justification to mind it when people say “you would be better off doing X”. That is not the same as people who force you to do X, which is evil.

  13. Steve Brizel says:

    I find talk radio on any subject, whether from the liberal or conservative POV, a uniquely poor venue for the discussion of complex issues. Neither the Donnie Deutches , the Al Frankens nor the Ann Coulter interest me in their “discussions” and harangues. Unfortunately, we suffer from a real shortage of media where the issues facing America, and a fortiori, the Torah community are discussed in an intelligent manner.

  14. Harry Maryles says:

    I don’t think Ann Coulter is in any way an anti-Semite. When I was informed about this story last Thursday on my blog, I responded with the following.

    Ann Coulter is an embarrassment to most conservatives. She practically dresses like a hooker and then goes around preaching morality.

    2) She is not a spokesman for her Church. She speaks only for herself and I doubt that she has any been given the right to speak for any church by any Christian leaders.

    3) Even if you take what she says seriously, big deal. She believes her religion is absolute truth… as we do ours. Why should that surprise anyone? Is there any Orthodox Jew that does not believe that …all things being equal… being a Jew means having higher level of spirituality than being a Christian?

    That’s what she thinks about being a Christian. What do you expect a believing Christian to believe… that they are second class Jews?!

    Her only sin here is that she is about as tactful as an atomic bomb. But then again, that is her style… isn’t it?!

  15. L. Mark DeAngelis says:

    Thank you Rabbi Menken for speaking your mind on this topic. The righteous indignation on this issue, whether faux or sincere, is simply indicative of the lack of confidence so many Jews have in their own faith. I judge people based upon what they are willing to do for us in this world, not what they think of our spiritual beliefs, or what will happen to us because thereof. For example, when Ann Coulter, or any other Christian fundamentalist for that matter, stands up and speaks in favor of protecting Jewish life in Eretz Israel, I accept her as a worthy ally. I don’t quite care what she feels will happen to me in the afterlife, or if she believes I need to be perfected spiritually or otherwise. When Mesiach comes, won’t it all be made clear? The real problem is, as the recent studies suggest, most Jews today don’t have any faith, so they cannot fathom anyone having a sincere religious belief. I would much rather enjoy the company and support of someone who thinks if I don’t accept JC as my savior I am going to suffer fire and damnation than that of an “enlightened liberal” Presbyterian who wants to see Israel emasculated to the point that we suffer another Shoah in our day.

  16. Ariella says:

    Tal Benschar–If the word was so appropriate, you would have typed it out in its entirety. I am of the opinion that educated, civilized people should never let the word k— even enter their mind, let alone say or type it. IMO, it is in the same category as other derogatory, racist words.

  17. Joe Fisher says:

    What??

    “I would much rather enjoy the company and support of someone who thinks if I don’t accept JC as my savior I am going to suffer fire and damnation than that of an “enlightened liberal” Presbyterian who wants to see Israel emasculated to the point that we suffer another Shoah in our day.”

    Incorrect. Our life is Torah and Mitvos. Coulters people are spending tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of dollars missionizing Jews away from their faith. And succeeding!

    Anyone who wants to pull us away from Torah and Mitzvos is the enemy. No matter how they try to seduce us with their so-called “support” for some of our newfound sine qua nons.

  18. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Do Jews(1) for Jesus draw Orthodox Jews away from Torah and Mitzvot, or do they draw people who, while technically Jewish, have little or no actual connection to Torah and Mitzvot? Is there really a difference, Halachically, between somebody who does not believe in G-d and somebody who believes that G-d incarnated on the Earth? Between a Jew who drives on Shabbat to a shopping mall and one who goes on Sunday to a non-Jewish service?

    (1) I am using their own term for themselves. This in no way implies a judgment about the Jewishness or lack thereof of any individual member of the movement, or about the appropriateness of using the term “Jew” in its name.

  19. Yitzchok Adlerstein says:

    Coulters people are spending tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of dollars missionizing Jews away from their faith. And succeeding!

    And just who are “Coulter’s people?” All Christians? Or do you mean Coulter’s particular denomination?

    If you mean all Christians, you must be a supporter of collective guilt. Is this the pay-back for many centuries in which all Jews were held accountable for the real and imagined sins of the few?

    Perhaps, then, you mean Coulter’s own denomination. Trouble is, she has none. She has consistently refused to align herself with any one group.

    For people willing to look at shades of gray, there are lots of distinctions to be made in looking at missionizing in the Christian world. There are denominations that provide major funding for directed proselytizing to Jews. There are denominations that don’t proselytize to anyone, arguing that their job is to teach by example. There are denomiations that take replacement theology for granted, and those (like French Calvinists and their successors) that never bought into it. There are those who accepted it for hundreds of years, and dropped it after the Holocaust; there are those, unfortunately in which replacement theology is now (excuse the term) being resurrected anew.

    Does it make sense to ignore all differences, and treat people according to the lowest level of expectation? The Orthodox groups and askanim that I know that deal with Christian support carefully vet the groups they work with, and simply refuse to work with those that proselytize to Jews as Jews.

    Ann Coulter has made many statements that can reasonably be challenged. But antisemite she isn’t, nor is the totality of Christianity involved in a mega-Crusade to convert the infidel by force. We can leave that to some different groups.

  20. L. Mark DeAngelis says:

    Response to Mr. Fisher:

    I doubt very much that Ann Coulter, or anyone in her immediate circle, spends much time or money missionizing. However, if she did, it would not offend me in the least. If she genuinely believes that by converting me she will save my soul, why is this so upsetting? If a Christian sincerely believes that I can only find favor in Heaven if I have accepted JC, at least this person cares enough about me to want me to convert. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is the manner in which this person attempts to convert me.

    We all agree that the “Jews” for Jesus cadre are deserving of our scorn because they perpetrate fraud to attempt to convince our lost souls to “convert.” Once more, if, let’s say, my Baptist neighbors would not relent in their attempt to get me to convert, this too would be unacceptable. However, when is this the case? Does Rabbi Adlerstein in his professional interactions with Christians really experience an unrelenting barrage of attempts to convert him? I cannot speak for him, but I would seriously doubt it. Why? Because obviously a man so dedicated to Torah and Mitzvot would not be an attractive target for missionizers.

    So why do so many Jews become so epileptic any time a Christian dares to speak of conversion? It’s simple; they fear the missionizers might succeed. However, to this I state the best defense is clearly a strong offense. If we fear losing our lost souls to missionizers, reach out to those Jews most susceptible to them. After all, missionizers don’t go after the devout among us; they go after the one’s we have abandoned. If one cares about fighting against these trollers of lost souls, do something positive to give them fewer targets. Support your local kiruv organization; invite a single Jew you know over for Shabbos; arrange a match. Don’t turn a blind eye to the people with whom your children associate.

    We Jews too often fall into the victim mentality running rampant in our society. Quit pointing the finger at the Christians, or the President, or the talk radio DJ, or the ad agencies, or the corporations, or who knows who, and do something to make sure that we no longer have so many adrift souls out there for the missionizers to so easily scoop up.

  21. Joe Fisher says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein:

    Coulter declared on national media that Jews should be “perfected,” which is the quite famous code word for converted to Christianity. Then she went ahead and called explicitly for Jews to become Christians.

    This is totally contrary to your claim that she refuses to align herself with any group. She most certainly explicitly aligned herself with the large and well-known group of fundamental Christians who want Jews to become like them.

    In addition it is totally contrary to your claim of “collective guilt”. She herself called for Jew’s conversion; with her own words she incriminated herself.

    “Coulter’s people” are people who carry out what Coulter says should be done. All the evil that has been done to the Jews over the ages has been done by people who followed the evil suggestions of their leaders.

    Coulter provides the moral and philosophical foundation on which attacks on our people are built. Calling for “shades of gray” in this analysis is just sticking your head in the sand.

  22. Noam says:

    I guess my listing of Ann Coulter’s previous idiotic pronouncements did not make the publication list, but at least merited an update in the post. So what about her statement?

    She was asked about her “dream America”- and she wants it to be Christian. She wants Mr. Deutch to be more of a practicing Jew. She says that Jews need to be perfected.

    Lets look at Ms. Coulter’s religion. Um, she is some sort of Christian, since she doesn’t affiliate with any specific group, as far as Wikipedia knows. It must be easy to be a practicing member of your religion when you feel free to make the rules as you choose. But that would not really give you a moral platform from which to accuse others of not fulfilling their religious responsibilities.

    “Jews need to be perfected.” Coming from this source, I am personally offended. I would actually be offended no matter what the source, but especially when it comes from someone as self admittely mean spirited and imperfect as Ms. Coulter(“I’m a Christian first and a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second, and don’t you ever forget it.”) Is this statement anti-Jewish? Of course it is. Does it mean she hates Jews? not neccessarily. We Jews believe that everyone should believe in a monotheistic religion. Does it mean that I hate the Hindu down the street? or the Wiccan? The difference is that Judaism has a sophisticated theology that is able to deal with complex issues. Whereas Ms. Coulter has…. Christianity according to Ms. Coulter, of which we know little.

    Certainly this is a statement that should not have been made, and is offensive to Jews. And, Jews have a right to be offended. Whether it signifies a true hate of Jews is not clear, but it certainly should not be defended by Jews, no matter how much they love her Conservative politics.

  23. rejewvenator says:

    Is there really a difference, Halachically, between somebody who does not believe in G-d and somebody who believes that G-d incarnated on the Earth? Between a Jew who drives on Shabbat to a shopping mall and one who goes on Sunday to a non-Jewish service?

    There are significant differences between these kinds of Jews. One is an oved avodah zarah (according to the majority of poskim) and the other is not. That’s a pretty big halachic difference, no?

    Also, is the atheist Jew the one being converted by J4J? From my knowledge it is usually not secular Jews who become J4J, but traditional non-Orthodox Jews.

    And finally, what does it matter? Or do you show, once again, that you don’t really accept all Jews as your people, whom you are bound to love and with whom you are bound up in judgment before God, but rather, that you only see Orthodox Jews as your people, and are willing to shuck off what you see as a dessicated husk. This is what Orthodox triumphalism breeds!

  24. Larry says:

    Ori Pomerantz asks: “Is there really a difference, Halachically, between somebody who does not believe in G-d and somebody who believes that G-d incarnated on the Earth? Between a Jew who drives on Shabbat to a shopping mall and one who goes on Sunday to a non-Jewish service?”

    There are great differences between the two. The first is the issue of avodah zarah (idolatry), an offense of more than slight significance and one that applies to Jewish converts to Christianity but not to Jewish non-believers or incomplete believers. And a second difference is practical: a Jew who buys into the missionary brand of Christianity, as typified by “Jews for Jesus” and its “Messianic Jewish” cohorts, has accepted a theology that has the missionizing of other Jews — through actions designed to take them from Judaism and convert them to Christianity — at its core and as an imperative. “Secular” Jews have no similar conversionary mandate.

  25. HESHY BULMAN says:

    I believe that what is perhaps the most salient point re: Ann Coulter’s interview by a secular Jew (at least I believe he is secular) has been overlooked. It is, when one considers the more negative contributions secular Jews have made to American society – Hollywood, perhaps first and foremost – nothing less than miraculous that the leading spokespeople for Conservative values are not more openly Anti-Semitic. Consider the typical decent, moral Christian, trying desperately to raise his children in a country which was founded upon religious principles,and which has, for the past 40 years, been engaged in jettisoning value after value of the Founding Fathers. He looks about, in all open-mindedness, and what does he see? It is the Jews who are in the forefront of almost every leftist movement which threatens the moral underpinning of his beloved America. It is the Jews who are the most vociferous about the abolition of prayer in the schools (in their distorted understanding of the meaning of “Separation of Church & State”), it is the Jews who are leading proponents of Abortion, it was the Jewish campus radicals in the 60’s who, when not busy trying to force America to surrender in Vietnam, led the charge against the traditional Christian values (inconsistent though they were)of Marriage and chastity before Marriage. Amazing as it is, Ann Coulter is not Anti-Semitic, and let us be grateful to the One Above that she is not.

  26. Ari says:

    R. Menken: Well said. You succeeding in changing my thinking on Coulter’s comment. That said, I can understand everyone’s reaction, myself included, when she said what she did. We’ve had too much experience with Crusaders killing us with kindness and “good news.”

    As for Ann Coulter herself, my opinion of her hasn’t changed for the better. She is abrasively intolerant of others, and incites others who are militantly so. And that just strikes me as obnoxious, dangerous and wrong.

  27. One Christian's perspective says:

    “Coulter’s people” are people who carry out what Coulter says should be done. All the evil that has been done to the Jews over the ages has been done by people who followed the evil suggestions of their leaders.

    Coulter provides the moral and philosophical foundation on which attacks on our people are built. Calling for “shades of gray” in this analysis is just sticking your head in the sand.

    Comment by Joe Fisher

    Ouch !

    That Jews and Christians can reach out to one another as G-d’s image bearers and for no other reason is to the Glory of G-d because left on our own devices, we will fall to our lowest level of disgust.

    What an insult to Christians who would never see Ann Coulter as the ultimate representative of all Christians because she is not the head of the church invisible who BTW is a Jew. Nor would I accept your view as the ultimate representative view of all Jewish people because I have met some of your brethren and know otherwise. Before there were Christians in this world, there were many evil leaders who caused the punishment and exile of G-d’s people. In Isaiah, I read this morning, these were Jews leading other Jews astray because of idolatry.

    I find far more encouragement in the wisdom and kindness of Rabbi Adlerstein and Solomon who wrote “there is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the L-RD” – Proverbs 21:30.

  28. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Joe Fisher,

    1. Are Jews who suggest Christians should become Noahide guilty of anything?

    2. Is guilt based on absolute facts, or on facts as perceived by the perpetrator? For example, is an Israeli soldier guilty if s/he shoots a Palestinian teenager with a toy gun? Or somebody who ignored the warning to stop because of being deaf? Assume the soldier was not negligent – it was truly a case of bad luck.

    3. Is Ann Coulter negligent in believing in Christianity? Is there clear evidence that should have convinced her that Judaism is true?

  29. Ori Pomerantz says:

    rejewvenator: Or do you show, once again, that you don’t really accept all Jews as your people, whom you are bound to love and with whom you are bound up in judgment before God, but rather, that you only see Orthodox Jews as your people, and are willing to shuck off what you see as a dessicated husk. This is what Orthodox triumphalism breeds!

    Ori: I guess I should be more explicit about who I am here. I am not Orthodox. I am intermarried, my wife and I drive to a Conservative synagogue on Shabbat, and I do not believe in the Rambam’s eighth principle, that the Torah we have is all G-d given.

    Having said that, I do not think that Judaism, in this day are age, is truly synonymous with the Halachic definition of having a Jewish mother or converting. It is an identity that people can choose to assume (by following Mitzvot, and converting if they were not born Jewish). It is also one that people can choose to renounce, either explicitly by choosing another religion, or implicitly by not doing anything Jewish.

    It is because of my respect for that choice, made by each individual, that I do not mind that Ann Coulter tells us she thinks we should renounce Judaism. I don’t think anybody who cares about Judaism will listen to her anyway, and I don’t think anybody who does not care about Judaism will keep it anyway.

  30. He Who Remembers says:

    After reading the whole skein here, I am back more so than before to my comment number one at the very top of this discussion.

  31. LOberstein says:

    Let’s be little cynical. There should be Jews in both parties so we can have influence no matter who wins. But, don’t get carried away with the rhetoric, it just isn’t pure ideology. Mostly it is about who is giving whom money. Our system is corrupt, not like in some 3rd world countries, but heavily dependent on fat cats. Ann Coulter is a loud mouth who makes money being outrageous, like Rush used to do. I am a Democrat because I do believe that the values of Judaism are more to be found in the party of the people over the party of the elites. However, I am not naive enough to think that the politicians are totally sincere. They are ‘pander bears”, except for a few.

  32. Jack says:

    You can only falsely accuse a benign/benevolent host for so long before the lack of hakaras hatov and outright motzei shem ra concerning this country before we provide the very ingredients for those to resent us.

    This sort of attitude is unbecoming of citizens of the U.S. No one is asking for anything other than the same rights and protections granted to all citizens by the U.S. Constitution.

    It is a fabrication and complete propaganda to suggest that there is any sort of war on religion within the U.S. The people are free to worship as they choose within the guidelines of the law.

    I don’t what Coulter thinks, my only concern is the potential negative impact it has. An argument could be made that this sort of sentiment fosters nothing but discord and could serve as fodder for the ignorant who engage in baseless hate.

    Coulter likes to be bombastic. Let her reap her just rewards.

  33. David N. Friedman says:

    A applaud Rabbi Menken for taking a stand and I fully agree. Ann Coulter is simply defining terms and that cannot be a crime. She expresses no antisemitism.

    It might be wondrous for all Christians to come to an agreement that Judaism is superior and all Christians should rightly become Jews. This is not a statement of reality. Although some serious Christians do come to value Judaism as a higher form of Christianity– The majority have the faith and the courage to believe they have the best theological terms.

    Duetsch pressed her to fantasize about an ideal America– and Ori P has it right–what self-respecting Christian would not wish that America could be more Christian?

    Rabbi Menken is correct–this fetish for believing that everyone’s religion is no better than anyone else’s is not good for the Jews or intelligent people.

    Ann Coulter is blunt and I appreciate what she said. She prefers “the fast track”–while we have “all those laws.” This is entirely consistent with normative Judaism that tells us that the Jews have a different job and the Christians have the Noahide laws. Coulter wants Israel to grow and prosper–America will not be 99% Jewish since about 300 million Americans will not suddently wish to convert to Judaism. The fantasy that a Christian country like America that was once 95% Christian might be 99% Christian is hardly a statement of bigotry and intolerance.

    Donny Deutsch is revealed as a preacher of the a brand of political correctness we should all abhor that is, in fact, poisonous to Jewish interests.

    For the record, I wish that all Christians become perfected by the Noahide laws. Coulter wants Christians perfected through JC–whatever that means. Perhaps we could encourage them to define terms better. Coulter is after the wayward Christians and that is fine. If she throws a barb at a secular-minded Jew–she garners no contempt from me since he invited her on his show.

    Again, Rabbi Menken has the point perfectly. Isn’t it revealing that Donny thinks it is fine for them to disagree about every matter of politics but they cannot disagree about religion?

  34. Pinchas Giller says:

    Ya’akov Menkin has demonstrated a tin ear for nuance, both in his use of an odious perjoraive unbecoming to the Rabbinate, and in his defense of the aforementioned gentile woman. In fact, individual Christians have every right to be supercessionist, but institutionalized supercessionism is a threat to Jewish interests. As the Rav pointed out in “Confrontation,” it is not fo Esav to indicate to Ya’akov what is preferable Jewish behavior.

  35. Miriam Shear says:

    Rabbi Menken: Excellent article! Ann Coulter only said what every Christian thinks and believes: That their religion is the right one, that their way to heaven is the only way, and they would like everybody – not just Jews – to join them in their salvation. The difference between Coulter and some other Christians is that she’s willing to say what’s on her mind and let the chips fall where they may. Wanting others to “perfect” themselves by adopting one’s own religion, does not make them an anti-semite. It simply means that they are convinced that their religion is the truth. While Coulter may desire for all Jews to convert to Christianity, she is not advocating conversions by force nor is she calling for the eradication of those who refuse. Donnie Deutsch, as a secular Jew, is no match for Ann Coulter’s knowledge and commitment to her religion. That’s the real tragedy and that’s what should upset us Jews most of all. Instead of criticizing Coulter for simply exercising her constitutional right to state her religious beliefs, we should be reminding Deutsch that there is at least one segment of Jews he does not represent: those of us who feel at least as strongly about our religion as Ann does about hers.

  36. HILLEL says:

    TO HESHY BULMAN:

    I agree that it is a miracle that we have not been kicked out of America, given our prople’s record of Hollywood debauchery on and of the screen.

    I have dealt with many evangelical Christians and Catholics over the years, and I have almost always found them to be respectful of true adherents of the “mother faith” of Judaism.

    What they despise are secular renegades who trash G-D and all religious faiths in the print and electronic media.

    Given the sorry record of majority secular Judaism in America, one can excuse a Christian who feels that Jews lack perfection.

    The truth is that we Jews also belive that the rest of Mankind needs to be “perfected”–LeSaken Olam BeMalChus S’.”

    p.s. Ori: although we have profound differences, you have shown a great deal of common sense toleration in your comments, and I found myself agreeing with you despite myself (except, of course when you start speaking of intermarriage and patrilineal Judaism, where you are not an unbiased commentator.)

  37. Ari says:

    Hillel – I know your comment about getting kicked out of America was not 100% serious, but I think our history of expulsion is no laughing matter. We are not more or less guilty of debauchery — or any other deviant behavior — than anyone else. A cabal of Jews does not run Hollywood, and Jews, as a group, do not control the media. The only thing disproportionate about us are the contributions to science and scholarship compared to other groups.

    As for our “desire” to see others recognize G-d, we have an entirely different approach than other religions. We do not have a track record of persecuting others because of their beliefs, and do not have a tradition of evangelizing. Yes, we believe ourselves to be uniquely fortunate, but that has never compelled us to go on a Crusade or Jihad to convert or kill others to show how enlightened or “superior” we are. We believe that everyone has a mission in life, and ours is to serve G-d, and yes, to perfect our character and scholarship through our own efforts, but not through anyone else’s.

  38. howard says:

    So in conclusion: If you believe that the mitzvah system has been superceded and all you need to connect to G-d is to believe in his kid, then you are called an Anti-Semite.

    But,

    If you believe that the mitzvah system has been superceded and all you need to connect to G-d is to be a good person then you are called aReform Jew

    Its funny how those that are most offended are people who believe the whole thing is meaningless anyways.

  39. tzippi says:

    Re 28, point 1. Very interesting point, but not exactly analogous. When Jews think of how non-Jews can “perfect” themselves, i.e reach spiritual perfection (or as close as we mortals can get), we think in terms of the Noachide laws. Sure, it calls for a real paradigm shift in thinking, but we do not advocate remaking everyone in our Jewish, 613-mitzvos-obligated image.
    And when we think of “the end of days”, that too does not involve all non-Jews being remade in our image.
    So this is why many people feel threatened. That being said, while I am no fan of Ms. Coulter’s, I don’t believe she’s anti-semitic and that’s a good thing because if she truly were, that would be extremely unpleasantfor us.

  40. Ari says:

    As for the word kike, let’s not get too excited. It was either the nickname German Jews called then-newcomer Jewish immigrants from Poland, whose names often had a surfeit of “K’s.” Other theory is that Jewish immigrants at Ellis Island opted to circle items or sign their names with circles instead of drawing cross-like X’s. They told immigrations officers that they preferred to make “kikels,” which is apparently Yiddish for “circles.”

  41. Charles B. Hall says:

    “Perfected” is a Christian theological term with specific meanings, something that only applies to Christian believers. While Ms. Coulter may be an offensive boor, she is also very smart; I am sure she means exactly what she says. I can’t see any way to understand what she writes except that she thinks that her ideal America would have all Jews become Christian. I do find that offensive.

    HESHY’s blaming secular Jews for Hollywood is an anti-Semitic lie that needs to be refuted. The controlling interest in all of the major motion picture studios in America are today maintained by publicly held corporations, mostly international media conglomerates. None are controlled by Jews. Their main concern is making money for their stockholders. That may be amoral, but it is no different from any other for-profit company.

    And I agree 100% with Steve Brizel’s comments about talk radio. Listening to it is not the kind of thing that results in improved midot; it is arguably worse than television. (I don’t watch TV either.)

  42. Adam says:

    The trouble with this sort of Xianity is that it has not been benign for Jews, not in our history, and not now.

    We see now the proselytizing on military bases, the true horror for Jews in the military academies, etc. etc. as a result of this thinking.

    It seems that just saying, “They really love us, even though they want to convert us” is ignoring the reality. Jews being more observant is not a goal, but a stepping stone for them.

    How can one not be repulsed by someone saying that, “Jews need to be perfected”?

    I am worried about the loss of sensibility to what is many awful things, including dangerous contempt.

    One source of so many:

    http://militaryreligiousfreedom.org/

  43. Jewish Observer says:

    “As for the word kike, let’s not get too excited”

    I appreciate the historical lesson (seriously) but think the origin on the term’s offesnsiveness b’zman hazeh. If we were to find similar mekoros regarding the african N word or Italian W word, would hat make it better?

  44. Ori Pomerantz says:

    HILLEL, thank you. I believe in the open society, meaning that it’s OK people disagree on anything except for the rules that are necessary to allow us to live peacefully together. BTW, did you notice the resemblance between you and Ann Coulter? Both of you believe I am doing something wrong in my life and would like me to become a better person by changing. Neither of you would force me to change.

    Howard, your comment is 90% of the way to understanding why Reform Jews could be so offended. May I explain the remaining 10%?

    If I understand things correctly, Reform Jews believe that all you need to connect to G-d is to be a good person. For them that is the meat and marrow of Judaism (“what is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow”), and everything else is commentary that may be superseded by social change. It’s the “may be superseded by social change” that separates them from Hillel.

    Ann Coulter is basically telling them: “being a good person is not enough – you need to believe in G-d’s kid, and that a bunch of unlikely miracles have happened”. That is what is so offensive to them.

  45. One Christian's perspective says:

    Howard : If you believe that the mitzvah system has been superceded and all you need to connect to G-d is to be a good person then you are called a Reform Jew.

    Tzippi : When Jews think of how non-Jews can “perfect” themselves, i.e reach spiritual perfection (or as close as we mortals can get), we think in terms of the Noachide laws.

    Response: Can you not see the irony in this ? A Reform Jew is as bad as a Noachide because neither follows the mitzvah system. Thus, it would seem that Noachide Theology is Replacement Theology in reverse.

  46. Dan says:

    The problem with this article, as some commentators allude to, is that it spins what Coulter said. She didn’t say if Jews were Shomrei Torah, she’d be happy. She also wants them to believe in J____. That is what the “Old Testament” she believes in requires. This article appears to be an attempted rationalization of the author’s support for Coulter rather than an analysis. I would far more respect an article that acknowledged what she really said, and feels, but said so what? IMO, there is no doubt that Coulter and leaders of the Christian Right want America to be a Christian country, and Americans (including Jews) to be Christians. The real question is whether we as Jews should ally ourselves with such people, and support their gaining power over the government. Some say, let’s take advantage of our similarities and we will part company if necessary. I say promoting people to power whose goal is to make Jews into Christians is dangerous for Jewish survival, and history bears that out. Contrary to some commenters’ assumptions, I am an observant “orthodox” Jew. As a frum person, a lawyer, and a student of history, I know how the “liberal” policies of the last 40-50 years, which the Christian Right identifies with the moral decay of America, has allowed Orthodox Judaism to thrive and observant people to gain opportunities and openly practice without the fears that characterized early time periods when America was more “Christian” and Jews were afraid to wear yarmulkes in public. For me, keep Ann Coulter and any one else who wants Jews to be Christian far away from the reins of power.

  47. Bob Miller says:

    Charles B. Hall said, “And I agree 100% with Steve Brizel’s comments about talk radio. Listening to it is not the kind of thing that results in improved midot; it is arguably worse than television. (I don’t watch TV either.)”

    Much blog content can also promote wrong midot, so we all have to be careful about what we read and write in the blog world.

    As regards Ann Coulter, it’s nothing new for Christians to think they are the exclusive travel agents for a trip to heaven. Have some of us fooled themselves in thinking Christians have all abandoned their own religion?

  48. ASC says:

    Defenders of Coulter say her remarks characterizing
    Christians as “perfected Jews” are hardly anti-Semitic, but merely an
    honest annunciation of her own beliefs. Fine, let’s grant her that.
    Implied in each individual’s religious faith is the sense that he or
    she has found the way, or the “fast track,” as Coulter puts it.

    But anyone involved in the Jewish-Christian dialogue can tell you, while Coulter may be expressing her personal beliefs, she nonetheless distorts the practiceof most Christian churches, which teach that Jews remain in a special relationship with God. That lesson is the fruit of the Jewish-Christian dialogue that convinced church leaders that “supersessionist” theology was often at the root of the worst anti-
    Semitic abuses.

    Beyond the anti-Semitism charge, however,
    is the disturbingly mono-cultural America
    Coulter aspires to, at least according to her
    remarks on Donny Deutsch’s show. Coulter
    tells Deutsch her dream for America: “It would
    look like New York City during the Republican
    National Convention. In fact, that’s what I
    think heaven is going to look like… Happy,
    joyful Republicans in the greatest city in the world.” When
    Deutsch asks why this would be a better world, Coulter explains:
    “Well, OK, take the Republican National Convention. People were
    happy. They’re Christian. They’re tolerant. They defend America,
    they…” Deutsch interrupts to ask, “It would be better if we were all
    Christian?” Coulter replies, “Yes.”

    Anti-Semitism? It would be, if Coulter were not catholic (small c)
    in her disdain for all people — Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists,
    secularists — who don’t share her Christian beliefs. Coulter represents
    a strain of nativism that views diversity, multiculturalism, and
    the melting pot not as American ideals but as obstacles to America’s
    greater glory.

    Coulter is not an elected official, and more of an entertainer than
    she is a thinker of much consequence — although for years conservatives
    have been happy to let her play the role of their class clown.
    It’s troubling, however, how similar intolerance for diversity has
    crept into the language of those who are elected officials and influential.

    John McCain told an interviewer, “I just have to say in all candor
    that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles,
    personally I prefer [as president] someone who I know has a solid
    grounding in my faith.” The GOP presidential candidate added that
    the “Constitution established the United States of America as a
    Christian nation,” a remark that led many of us on a fruitless search
    for just where the Constitution says anything of the sort.

    Similarly, Idaho Rep. Bill Sali, another
    Republican, declared last summer that the recitation
    of a Hindu prayer in the Senate and the election
    of a Muslim to Congress “are not what was
    envisioned by the Founding Fathers. The principles
    that this country was built on, that have
    made it great over these centuries, were Christian
    principles derived from Scriptures.”

    Remarks like these do not make McCain or
    Sali anti-Semites, but they do make them sound
    like radical revisionists of America’s founding principles. The
    Founding Fathers may not have imagined a Muslim congressman,
    but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be proud of a country that
    embraces their grand vision of pluralism and constitutional secularism.

    The National Jewish Democratic Council is distributing a petition
    urging CNN, FOX News, and other networks to stop inviting
    Coulter on their shows. Rather than call on networks to bar Coulter,
    it might be wiser, and more revealing, to call on GOP presidential
    hopefuls and other party influentials and ask if they share her or
    McCain’s notion of America as a “Christian nation.”

  49. Ori Pomerantz says:

    More fuel/input to this argument: Ann Coulter’s response.

  50. One Christian's perspective says:

    I know how the “liberal” policies of the last 40-50 years, which the Christian Right identifies with the moral decay of America, has allowed Orthodox Judaism to thrive and observant people to gain opportunities and openly practice without the fears that characterized early time periods when America was more “Christian” and Jews were afraid to wear yarmulkes in public. For me, keep Ann Coulter and any one else who wants Jews to be Christian far away from the reins of power.

    Comment by Dan

    Dan, I emphasize with your fears. If Jewish people can wear yarmalkes in public, walk to worship in peace without persecution and live in safety without fear, that is the America I want to be part of as well. By the same token, I think Christians of today would appreciate the same priviledge. I am not aware of the “policies of the last 40-50 years ago” because I was a benefiting pagan who looked down on all people of faith. Our nation is now reaping the fruit of this life style: language is coarse; the weakest members of society are abused and ignored; inappropriate dress and casual sexual activity is encouraged on TV, the movies and every other form of media output; perverse sexual activity and pseudo marriage contracts are the poster child of this decade; and the list goes on. Christians that I know today: support Israel in the land; study the writings of your ancient rabbis and sages; some are clergy familiar with the mishnah and the talmud; some read books by the late Professor David Flusser, a practicing Orthodox Jew, who did extensive research on the 2nd temple period and the historical Jesus; and send aid to the needy of every land without regard to their religion. I believe that the separation of church/temple/mosque and state means that there will be no established national religion and that people are free to worship as they please or not if they chose but without ridicule or forced conversion. I don’t appreciate liberal groups who under the guise of tolerance really mean in “our secular nation” G-d does not have a part. Some of the darkest places of the world today are those where secular liberalism thrives. Coulter would vote for an Orthodox Jew because she knows whose values he follows.

  51. Recorder says:

    Coarse language in the public realm can be traced directly to the Nixon Watergate tapes: when it became clear Nixon’s mouth was a sewer, suddenly language became debased. And he was a right winger.

  52. Charles B. Hall, PhD says:

    From Ori’s link, it looks like Ms. Coulter, a non-Catholic, is publicly accusing the leader of a prominent Catholic lay organization with an advanced degree in theology from a Jesuit seminary of not understanding Catholic theology. I’m keeping out of this one!

  53. One Christian's perspective says:

    From Ori’s link, it looks like Ms. Coulter, a non-Catholic, is publicly accusing the leader of a prominent Catholic lay organization with an advanced degree in theology from a Jesuit seminary of not understanding Catholic theology. I’m keeping out of this one!

    Comment by Charles B. Hall, PhD

    In all due respect Mr Hall, all of Coulter’s comments must be seen in their entirety. What she is saying does not address the degrees of Chris Korzen but rather his actions and words when compared to the New Testament teaching which must be the authority for Christians as well as comments by the late Pope Paul VI. Calling oneself a Christian or even a specific type of Christian by denominational definition does not make one a Christian if their walk does not match their talk. According to Coulter, his talk and walk doesn’t even match the NT. There have been – I am guessing – very many learned people in both your faith and mine over the years whose very deeds and actions did not match G-d’s commands. In the case of education and degrees, I would side with G-d first since His wisdom is greater and He is the author of the Bible and the author and perfector of faith. If Moses could speak G-d’s words to the entire nation of Israel and they heard and said “We will” something was happening that was outside of what man himself brought to the table; it was G-d’s very own Spirit touching the hearts and minds of His chosen people to enable them to understand just like His Spirit did later when the Tabernacle was constructed. The Bible says draw near to G-d and He will draw near to you; it doesn’t say don’t come unless you have tons of credentials because all G-d wants is yourself.

  54. Ori Pomerantz says:

    One Christian, may I add a bit of context to Dr Hall’s comments?

    Jewish law comes in three flavors:

    1. Written Torah, the Pentatuch
    2. Oral Torah, which is mostly written down in the Mishnah and Talmud
    3. Rabbinic ordinances since the time of Sinai

    When the Written Torah and the Oral Torah appear to contradict each other we go by the Oral Torah, because it is the version with the explanations. For example, despite the heavy reliance on the death penalty in the Pentatuch, an execution every seventy years is considered excessive.

    Dr. Hall assumes that Catholicism works the same way. Catholics believe that at the start of their religion they got the “deposit of faith”, which is partially documented in the New Testament. Since then, their hierarchy has had changes to their laws (for example, clerical celibacy). Just as an outsider would not be able to understand Judaism from the Pentatuch, an outsider would not be able to understand Catholicism from the NT. Therefore, somebody who isn’t conversant in Catholic theology shouldn’t try to argue about their religious laws, their version of Halacha.

    Personally, I think Ann Coulter is justified because she doesn’t claim to know Catholic theology – she claims that Chris Korzen contradicts other Catholics who presumably have greater authority, such as the Bishops. This would be like you saying if you saw a Jew mixing meat and dairy that it’s not Kosher – you’re not a Kashrut expert, but you know enough to know that the expert say that’s bad.

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