Atheism vs. Judaism

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Joseph Stalin's secretary Boris Bazhanov declared that Stalin made anti-semitic outbursts.[1][2]

In the 20th century, the atheistic Soviet Union persecuted Soviet Jews (See also: Communism and religious persecution and Atheism and communism).

In addition, the Soviets played a crucial role in arming the Arab states and instigating the Six-Day War against Israel (See: Soviet Union and the Six-Day War). Israel was victorious in the Six-Day War. To explain their humiliating defeat, the Arab leaders Gamal Abdel Nasser and King Hussein of Jordan together concocted a lie that US and British forces aided Israel by joining in the war.[3]

Furthermore, as can be seen below, the new atheist Richard Dawkins and the atheist A.C. Grayling both lost a debate to rabbi. The Richard Dawkins and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach debate was particularly embarrassing to Dawkins as he denied the videotaped debate ever took place. The college audience ruled that Dawkins lost the debate.[4] Grayling, and atheist philosopher, did very poorly in his debate with Rabbi Daniel Rowe and had a poor grasp of some fundamental issues relating to the atheism vs. theism issue (see: A.C. Grayling vs. Rabbi Daniel Rowe debate).

Soviet Union vs. Soviet Jewry

According to the Jewish Virtual Library:

The protest movement on behalf of Soviet Jewry, which spread throughout the United States and other Jewish communities during the 1960s and 1970s, was in large measure a response to the Holocaust. The revelations of what the Nazis had done to the Jews, coupled with the revelations of the general inactivity and indifference of much of the Western world's leadership to their fate, left world Jewry (particularly that of America) with a deep sense of anger and guilt (the latter because of their own relative passivity during the years of the Holocaust). Thus, when news started to spread of the Soviet Union's attempts to destroy the Russian-Jewish community, American Jews were outraged and determined to do something.

Of course, the Russian government was not seeking to annihilate the Jewish community (though in the early 1960s, well over one hundred Jews were executed on trumped-up charges of economic crimes). However, the government systematically closed down synagogues and published a large number of anti-Semitic books, some of which accused Judaism of being a Nazilike religion. Cartoons of Israeli General Moshe Dayan routinely appeared in Soviet newspapers showing him wearing an armband with the Nazi swastika.

In 1964, the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (SSSJ) was founded in New York by Jacob Birnbaum, who has headed it ever since along with Glenn Richter. Since its inception, SSSJ has been assertive in demanding the Jews' right to live as Jews within Russia, and to leave the country if they so wish. Other Soviet Jewry support groups were quickly founded around the country: Many of them eventually joined together to create the Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry. In 1971, the leading Jewish organizations in the United States founded the National Conference on Soviet Jewry. And in its early years, the Jewish Defense League, headed by Meir Kahane, used to follow and harass Soviet diplomats stationed in the United States.

The combined reach of the various Soviet Jewry protest organizations was extensive...

The Russian government, however, wanting to discourage large-scale Soviet-Jewish migration, often imprisoned leaders of the Jewish movement. These prisoners of conscience became the new focus of the international Soviet-Jewish protest movement...

By the late 1980s, the Soviet-Jewish protest movement had achieved far more than its founders had expected. On December 6, 1987, the eve of a summit between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, 250,000 people marched on Washington in solidarity with Soviet Jewry. The march included activists from across the U.S., and was organized by the National Conference for Soviet Jewry (NCSJ), the Council for Jewish Federations (CJF), and other smaller groups. It was expected that 150,000 or less people would attend, and the overwhelming participation sent a clear message to the Russian Premier: end the forced assimilation of Russian Jews, and allow them to emigrate from the U.S.S.R.

By the end of the 1980's the large majority of Soviet Jews applying to emigrate were being permitted to do so, and inside the Soviet Union, for the first time since the Communist revolution of 1917, a yeshiva was established.[5]

Soviet Union and the Six-Day War

See also: Soviet Union and the Six-Day War

IDF soldiers at Jerusalem's Western Wall shortly after its capture.

According to the Six Day War website:

The Soviet Union played a crucial role in arming the Arab states and instigating the Six-Day War.

Initially supportive of Israel at the time of its founding, by the early 1950s the Soviets no longer regarded the Zionist state as useful for extending their influence into the Middle East. Transferring their support to Arab side, the Soviets took on the role of armorer for both Syria and Egypt, supplying them with modern tanks, aircraft and later missiles. The Egyptian and Syrian armed forces primarily used Soviet weapons during the 1967 war and employed tactics developed by the Soviets. The Soviet Union exerted a troublesome influence on the events leading up to the war by feeding Arab suspicions about Israel. This culminated in the delivery to the Syrians and Egyptians of a false alert on May 13 that Israel had massed troops near the Israeli-Syrian border in preparation for an attack on Syria...

After the war the Soviets rapidly made up the equipment losses suffered by the Syrians and Egyptians and increased their involvement in Egypt’s anti-aircraft defenses.

Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War had an enormous impact on the Jewish population in the Soviet Union and helped set in motion the Jewish exodus from the Communist regime. As famed refusenik, Natan Sharansky reminisced,

we knew all too well the anti-Semitic stereotypes about greed, parasitism, and cowardice — but about what Judaism stood for, we knew nothing.
That was before 1967. In the months leading up to the war, animosity towards us reached a fever pitch. Then, in six dramatic days, everything changed for us. The call that went up from Jerusalem, “The Temple Mount is in our hands,” penetrated the Iron Curtain and forged an almost mystic link with our people. And while we had no idea what the Temple Mount was, we did know that the fact that it was in our hands had won us respect. Like a cry from our distant past, it told us that we were no longer displaced and isolated. We belonged to something, even if we did not yet know what, or why. Of course, we still suffered from anti-Semitism, but even that assumed a new character. Jews were no longer cowards. Instinctively, and without any real connection to Judaism, we became Zionists. We knew that somewhere there was a country that called us its children, and this knowledge filled us with pride.[6]

Atheist vs. Jew debates about the existence of God

Richard Dawkins and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

See also: Richard Dawkins and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach debate

The prominent new atheist Richard Dawkins flip-flops between declaring himself an atheist and agnosticism as far as his public persona (see: Richard Dawkins and agnosticism).

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was named the London Times Preacher of the Year 2000 and is the author of 20 books.[4]

Recently Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote concerning Richard Dawkins:

...Dawkins attacked me on his website and denied that he and I had ever debated. My office quickly posted the full footage of a two hour debate which took place on October 23, 1996, a debate which Dawkins actually lost after a vote taken by the students as to which side, science or religion, caused more students to change their minds. In my article on the subject responding to his attack I was extremely respectful of Dr. Dawkins and was therefore shocked to receive a letter in return in which he accused me of speaking like Hitler. Had the noted scientist lost his mind? Hitler? Was this for real?[4]

WorldNetDaily offers the following quotes of Rabbi Boteach about debate and the initial denial by Dawkins that the debate never took place:

That is a particularly bold untruth. Our debate, which took place at St. Catherine's College, Oxford on Oct. 23, 1996, attracted hundreds of students and featured, on the atheist side, Prof. Dawkins and chemistry Prof. Peter Atkins, and on the religion side, me and Prof. Keith Ward, Oxford's Regius Professor of Divinity. Student president Josh Wine was in the chair," the rabbi explained.

"In a vote at the end of the debate as to how many students had changed their minds after hearing the arguments, Dawkin's side was defeated and religion prevailed, which might account for his selective memory," he wrote.[7]

Rabbi Boteach reported at Beliefnet:

I also gave Dr. Dawkins the opportunity to even score by accepting a further debate, at the time and place of his choosing (within reason, of course), to which he has yet to respond.[4]

A video of the debate that Dawkins lost to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is available at Rabbi Schely Boteach's website.[8]

Incidentally, Paul Humber notes there was a deception that occurred during email correspondence with Mr. Dawkins concerning the tally of vote counts that occurred for the Oxford debate between creation scientists Professor A.E. Wilder-Smith and Professor Edgar Andrews and evolutionist Richard Dawkins and John Maynard Smith. Mr. Humber did not indicate whether Mr. Dawkins committed the deception or was merely duped by someone who provided an altered account.[9]

A.C. Grayling vs. Rabbi Daniel Rowe debate

See also: A.C. Grayling vs. Rabbi Daniel Rowe debate

The atheist A.C. Grayling is a British philosopher. He is commonly called the fifth horseman of the New Atheism movement. He debated Rabbi Daniel Rowe about the existence of God.

According to Dr. Michael Egnor, "Rowe devastated Grayling."[10]

Atheist Jerry Coyne said of the debate:

I have to admit to finding the prospect of an orthodox rabbi holding his own in a debate with Dr. Grayling on God's existence rather disheartening, but I'm afraid that's exactly what went down the other night in London.[10]

Richard Dawkins on Jewish Nobel Prize winners

See also: Richard Dawkins on Jews and Nobel Prizes

The website Algemeinor declares:

The usually self-assured biologist, author and atheist Richard Dawkins expressed his bewilderment at the disproportionate amount of Nobel prizes won by Jews in a recent interview with the New Republic, saying he is “intrigued by” the “phenomenally high” number of Jewish laureates...

Asked why he thought it is that Jews have won so many Nobel Prizes, Dawkins was forthright with his uncertainty.

“I haven’t thought it through. I don’t know. But I don’t think it is a minor thing; it is colossal. I think more than 20 percent of Nobel Prizes have been won by Jews.”

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, since the Nobel was first awarded in 1901 approximately 193 of the 855 honorees have been Jewish (22%). Jews make up less than 0.2% of the global population.

This year 6 of 12 laureates were Jewish. The 13th laureate, for the Nobel Peace Prize, was awarded to an organization and not an individual.[11]

See also

Notes

  1. Ro'i, Yaacov , Jews and Jewish Life in Russia and the Soviet Union, Routledge, 1995, pp. 103-6.
  2. Montefiore, Simon Sebag, Young Stalin, Random House, Inc., 2008, p. 165.
  3. Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East uthor: Michael B. Oren
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Richard Dawkins' Shameful Attack, Beliefnet blog entry, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, May 2008
  5. Jews in America: Soviet Jewry Movement
  6. Six Day War and the Soviet Union
  7. Rabbi reveals video of debate that 'didn't happen', WorldNetDaily, April 14, 2008
  8. http://anhonestdebate.com/2007/09/03/shmuley-boteach-vs-richard-dawkins/
  9. Debating Dawkins, by Paul G. Humber, M.S., Creation Matters, Volume 8, Number 4 (July / August 2003)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Fellow Atheist Dismayed at A.C. Grayling's Debate Performance Versus Rabbi Rowe
  11. [Richard Dawkins Perplexed by High Number of Jewish Nobel Prize Winners]