The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit
and its Impact on World History
By E. Michael Jones
Reviewed by Richard Edmondson
Recently while visiting the blog Wake Up From Your Slumber I came across the interview with E. Michael Jones that you can hear in the four videos embedded below. I had actually read Jones’ book, The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History, a year or two back and had for a long time now been intending to post something on it. Problem is where do you begin? The book is 1200 pages long and covers some 2000 years of history. How do you condense all that down to a single blog post? But after listening to the interview below, I finally decided to give it a whirl.
Of course it always helps to know where people are coming from, so I’ll mention right off the bat that Jones is a Roman Catholic, and one of the focuses of his book, perhaps the main one, is the gradual erosion, over a number of centuries, of the Church’s power and authority in Europe, a process in which Jews, as the author shows, played very key and very active roles every step of the way (along with the help of willing Christians), and the eventual displacement of that authority by the rising tide of Jewish power. This is an extremely important area of study because for many, many centuries it was the Catholic Church that kept Jewish power in check. Today the Church no longer plays that role, leaving a void that Islam, fortunately, has stepped in to fill, and while Islam has not been able, at least thus far, to thoroughly check Jewish power as successfully as Christianity once did, it nonetheless stands as one of the only major remaining obstacles to total global domination by Jewish Zionists, which is why Christians and Muslims, now more than ever, need to unite (but I’m getting a bit off topic here).
Initially upon picking up Jones’ book, it was hard for me to wrap my mind around the word “revolutionary” insofar as his use of the term. Having grown up in the sixties, I was accustomed to thinking of revolutionaries as the good guys (think Che Guevara, etc.), and the word has always had, for me, a positive, rather than negative, connotation. But what Jones refers to is that process I described in the previous paragraph, i.e. of overthrowing the power of the Catholic Church and replacing it with Jewish power. Or, to look at it another way (since Jones is a Catholic), the overthrow of God. That’s of course one that secular-minded Westerners would probably choke on their food laughing over, but consider the term Moharebeh. A concept found in Islamic law, the word means “waging war against God.” The fact that no comparable word exists in the English language (or even a comparable idea of such) is probably testimony to the extent of the collapse of the church’s moral authority and the widespread feelings of alienation and powerlessness that permeate Western society today. No such collapse has occurred in the Muslim world, though of course the Zionists are doing their damnedest to engineer it—in Libya, Syria, Iran, and elsewhere.
So in a sense—from Jones’ standpoint, and certainly this is true in the West—the “revolution” has already occurred, and at this point what we are waging—that is to say those of us who oppose Israel and seek to restrain the power of Jewish lobbies in our respective countries—is a counterrevolution. It’s good to understand this, and to make this distinction, when considering the areas into which Jones ventures in this book.
The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit has a total of 32 chapters, but in this review, I’ll focus mainly on three—the third chapter, entitled “Rome Discovers the Talmud”; Chapter number 7, “Reuchlin vs. Pfefferkorn”; and the 24th chapter, “The Second Vatican Council Begins.” Chapter 24, along with a subsequent related chapter, covers the Church’s passage of Nostra Aetate, the 1965 document that resulted in a capitulation to Jewish power and ushered in the modern era of “interfaith dialogue”—efforts that have led to little other than Christians being spat upon in Israel and their faith ridiculed in American media.
Rome Discovers the Talmud
Believe it or not, the Church first became acquainted with the contents of the Talmud way back in the year 1236. Before this, the collection of rabbinical writings was virtually unknown among Christians. Its discovery came about when a Jew named Nicholas Donin converted to Christianity and went public with what it contained. As you may imagine, Church leaders were not too thrilled. The church at this time had long operated under Sicut Judaeis non, a policy that had been articulated by Pope Gregory the Great, under which Jews were not to be harmed—but at the same time were to be given no positions of influence. The pope in power at the time Donin made his disclosures was Gregory IX. According to Jones:
He was shocked by what he discovered, but he did not abrogate Sicut Judaeis non and its prohibition against harming the Jew. What changed was his understanding of what the Jews believed and how they acted on those beliefs.
On June 9, 1239, Pope Gregory responded to Donin’s 35 petitions by dispatching him with a letter to William of Auvergne, bishop of Paris. His letter substantiates the changed perception of Jews after discovery of the Talmud. The Jews, Gregory wrote, “so we have heard, are not content with the Old Law which God gave to Moses in writing: they even ignore it completely and affirm that God gave another Law which is called ‘Talmud,’ that is ‘Teaching,’ handed down to Moses orally…In this is contained matter so abusive and so unspeakable that it arouses shame in those who mention it and horror in those who hear it.” The offenses are so great that Gregory uses the word “crime” to describe them. He also claims the Talmud is “the chief cause that holds the Jews obstinate in their perfidy.” He ordered “on the first Saturday of Lent to come, in the morning which the Jews are gathered in the synagogues, you shall, by our order seize all the books of the Jews who live in your districts and have those books carefully guarded in the possession of the Dominican and Franciscan friars.” If the friars found the books offensive, they were to burn them.
Eventually a commission was convened to study the books, its members ultimately finding them “full of innumerable errors, abuses, blasphemies and wickedness.” The panel concluded that the books “cannot be tolerated in the name of God without injury to the Christian faith.” Blasphemies against Christ in the Talmud, along with its injunctions about defrauding unsuspecting goyim, threatened “the conditions under which Jews were tolerated,” as Jones notes, and also “called for rethinking the whole social compact.” The debate raged for several years until finally, in June of 1240, a public forum, under royal auspices, was held, featuring Donin in a debate with a Rabbi Yehiel ben Joseph:
One Jewish commentator claims “the entire event epitomized the declining status of Jews in that century and their transformation in Christian minds into little more than embodiments of blasphemous doctrine.” The rabbi was dumbfounded that he had to defend Jewish esoteric writings in a hostile environment. Nothing like this had ever happened before. Rabbi Yehiel, lacking precedent for conducting a disputation of this sort, didn’t know how to respond. When asked whether it were true that the Talmud claimed “Jesus was condemned to an eternity in hell, immersed in ‘boiling excrement’” and Mary, his mother, was a whore, the Rabbi could only respond, yes, those passages were in the Talmud but they did not refer to “that” Jesus or “that” Mary. “Not every Louis born in France is the king of France,” Yehiel maintained, giving new meaning to the term “chutzpah.” “Has it not happened,” he continued, “that two men were born in the same city, had the same name, and died in the same manner? There are many such cases.” One Jewish historian referred to Rabbi Yehiel’s denial as the birth of Jewish humor. A Christian account of the debate, however, failed to see the humor in his statement, “Concerning this Jesus, he confessed that he was born out of adultery and that he is punished in hell in boiling excrement and that he lived at the time of Titus.” But Rabbi Yehiel said, “this Jesus is different from our Jesus. However, he is unable to say who he was, whence it is clear that he lied.”
Having exploded his own credibility, Yehiel could do little to refute Donin’s claim that the Talmud sanctioned criminal behavior, including “murder, theft, and religious intolerance.” The Talmud also “included strictures against trusting Gentiles, honoring them or even returning a lost piece of property to them.”
The result of the debate was a public burning of the Talmud in Paris, and as Jones remarks, “The Jewish religion was now clearly seen not as biblical Judaism, but rather as a heretical deviation from the Old Testament.” This is an extremely important point, because by 1962 and the convening of the Second Vatican Council, the contents of the Talmud would substantially disappear down the memory hole and Jews once again would be seen as merely carrying on the tradition of biblical Judaism.
Following the discovery of the Talmud, the Church made Jewish conversions a top priority, yet at the same time, Jews came under closer scrutiny by the Inquisition. In terms of public opinion, “they became revolutionaries, outlaws, and subversives, and by the end of the 13th century, they were universally recognized as such,” says Jones. “The expulsions that followed were the official recognition of status that had its roots in the discovery of the Talmud.” Yet in spite of this, “the Church never changed its position that no one had the right to harm the Jew,” and when Jews came under attack by angry mobs, “the popes were their first defenders.” In fact, the protection they enjoyed from the popes was often viewed critically by kings and princes, who regarded the Jews as subversives. And while there was a “crescendo of conversions,” a number of expulsions also took place. Jews were expelled from Cologne in 1424, from Speyer in 1435, from Mainz in 1438, and finally, in 1492, came the granddaddy of them all—the expulsion of the Jews from Spain by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella.
Reuchlin vs. Pfefferkorn
Some 270 years after Nicholas Donin, history basically repeated itself when yet another Jew, Josef Pfefferkorn, converted to Christianity and—once again—made public disclosures about the Talmud. By this time, however, as Jones relates, “times had changed” in Europe. The Reformation was in its early years, the Hussite Rebellion had occurred in Bohemia, and cracks had begun to appear in the edifice of Church authority. Furthermore, a process of “Judaizing” of the Christian faith was underway in some areas. As described by the author, “The temptation to look for heaven on earth was known as Judaizing, which took messianic inspiration from a distorted interpretation of the Old Testament.” And Christian “reformers” working to undermine Church authority—often aided and abetted by Jews (as was the case in the Hussite revolt)—saw themselves as modern embodiments of the Jews of the Old Testament. As may be expected, millennialism played a major role in their thinking (not unlike Christian Zionists of today). Heinrich Graetz, a Jewish historian quoted by Jones, puts it this way: “Whenever a party in Christendom opposes itself to the ruling church, it assumes a tinge of the Old Testament, not to say Jewish spirit.” The result being, of course, a de-emphasis on the teachings of Christ in favor of the violence and bloodshed of the Old Testament—certainly the case in the matter of the Hussite Rebellion of the early 15th century, as Jones explains:
Inspired by Israelite genocide in the Old Testament, the Hussite warriors of God earned a reputation for cruelty…Newman claims the Hussites had “personal associations with individual Jews and Jewish communities in their country.” He also claims “Jewish groups participated[ed] actively and publicly in the rise and spread of the [Hussite] movement. According to Newman, Jewish support of heretical movements, especially when they threatened to spill over into political revolutions, “run like dark threads through the history of nearly every movement of reform in European Christendom.”
This pattern, i.e. of Jews lending their support to the Christian Judaizers, was to continue over the next few centuries, and as Jones notes, “before long the trajectory was predictable”—the Judaizers would discard the teachings of Jesus in favor of the Old Testament, rising up against the established Church and urging “reform,” taking up the sword in an effort to “bring about heaven on earth.” And every step of the way the Jews were essentially playing them like a violin. Does any of this sound familiar?
Living much of his life in Cologne, Pfefferkorn (1469-1523) was a prolific writer who produced a number of books and pamphlets on Judaism, or what we might today call “Jewish identity.” Like Donin, he “knew Judaism from the inside out,” Jones tells us. In one pamphlet, Ich bin ain Buchlinn der Juden veindt ist mein namen, or The Enemy of the Jews (1509) he discussed the blasphemies against Jesus, Mary and the apostles, as well as the curses against Christians that Jews would incorporate into their daily prayers:
The Jews, said Pfefferkorn, utter “various insults and shameless words…every day against God, Mary, his most worthy mother, and the whole heavenly host.” The Jews call Jesus “mamser ben hanido,” which is to say, “one born from an unclean union.” Although Pfefferkorn doesn’t say so, “mamser” is traditionally translated “bastard.” The Jews are similarly vehement in denouncing Christ’s mother, callher her a “sono,” which Pfefferkorn translates as “a notorious sinner.” Again Pfefferkorn is discrete; the word means “whore.” Pfefferkorn says the Jews call Christian churches “mosschoff” or “beskisse,” that is [latrines or] shithouses.” Additionally, the Jews “hate the sign of the holy cross and find it quite unbearable. If they see pieces of wood or straw on the ground that are by chance arranged roughly in the shape of a cross, they push it apart with their feet that they may no longer have to look at it.” If a Jew “knowingly crosses a churchyard or listens to an organ,” he “believes that his prayers will not be heard by God for 30 days.”
Pfefferkorn converted to Christianity in 1504, along with his wife and child (whereupon he changed his first name from Josef to Johannes), and in one of his earliest writings, Der Juden Spiegel, or Mirror of the Jews, he attacked usury, confessing that prior to his conversion he had earned money from the practice. “I was born in the Jewish faith and am now, by the grace of God, a Christian,” he wrote. “If I continued to associate with Jews and continued to take usury, what would you say other than that I was in serious sin and that I never really became a Christian, and everyone would condemn me by saying that the blood and suffering of Christ had been lost on me.”
As may be expected, Pfefferkorn came under heavy attack from the Jews of his day. He was accused of criminal activity, and especially noteworthy were the charges found in a document that has been traced to a group of Jews in Regensburg: “Among its milder statements was the claim he (Pfefferkorn)was an illiterate butcher,” remarks Jones. “He was neither illiterate nor was he a butcher, an occupation morally less reprehensible than that of moneylender.”
But it wasn’t only the Jews of Pfefferkorn’s own day. Jones quotes a number of Jewish historians whose works have provided accounts of the time, among these the aforementioned Graetz—a 19th century Jew who became one of the first scholars of the modern era to write a compendious history of the Jewish people:
In his groundbreaking History of the Jews, Heinrich Graetz recites the slanders (against Pfefferkorn) faithfully and uncritically and adds a few of his own, calling Pfefferkorn “an ignorant, thoroughly vile creature,” as well as “the scum of the Jewish people,” and a “noisome insect” who was a tool of the “ignorant and fanatical Dominicans” of Cologne, a city known to be “an owls’ nest of light-shunning swaggerers, who endeavored to obscure the dawn of a bright day with the dark clouds of superstition hostile to knowledge.”
The last point is particularly important to keep in mind, for in those years of the early 16th century, “a new day of enlightened tolerance was about to dawn,” and Pfefferkorn’s Jewish contemporaries were quick to take advantage of it in their organized attacks upon him. The Hermetic texts, lost to Western culture during the Middle Ages, had been re-discovered, translated, and published—significant events, for with their appeals to alchemy and magic, the impact this corpus of writings had upon Renaissance thought and culture was considerable. Europe was about to veer in a new direction and the Church was considered an obstacle.
In part two of his Juden veindt, Pfefferkorn included a section entitled “How the Jews Ruin Land and People,” in which he described the process of usury—how it works and how it is used to impoverish the poor. “Thus the poor Christian, when he has nothing further to pawn, must run away and live out his life in poverty, which happens often and many times.” From there Pfefferkorn went on, in part three, to talk about Jews using their wealth to bribe officials as well as to “cause Christians to commit great sins”—sins in the course of which many Christians, both learned and unlearned, are “led astray” and come “to doubt their faith, as I have shown in other books of mine.”
All of this finally won the ear of the Emperor Maxmillian I, who in 1509 authorized this “anti-Semitic” troublemaker (as Pfefferkorn would no doubt be referred today) to travel throughout “the German empire” for purpose of examining Jewish writings and to “destroy all whose contents were hostile to the Bible and the Christian faith.” Subsequently, however, the emperor, bowing to Jewish pressure and bribery, reversed himself, and instead of having the books destroyed, appointed a commission to study them. Pfefferkorn won a seat on the commission, but luckily for the Jews, the panel was to also to hear testimony from Johannes Reuchlin, a man who, though ironically a Gentile, was to become their valiant ally and Pfefferkorn’s chief detractor.
Though Reuchlin is described by Jones as a “Judaizer,” he also was a highly educated man who had written a number of books, and like many of his time he was quite enamored of magic. Esteemed as a one of the great intellects of Europe, Reuchlin was a particularly avid proponent of the Jewish Caballah, and in 1506 he published De Rudiments Hebraicis, the first Hebrew grammar ever written by a non-Jew. Little wonder, then, the Jews celebrated his involvement with the commission.
Reuchlin claimed the Caballah demonstrated the validity of the Christian faith and also corresponded to the esoteric wisdom of Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Zoroaster. By locating the magical power of his system in the Hebrew language, Reuchlin hoped to evade the dichotomy the Church, following the classical tradition, had established. According to that dichotomy, a man either asked for power over nature, in which case his action was known as prayer and dependent on the permissive will of the deity; or he forced the issue by invoking evil spirits. Caballah seemed to indicate another possibility. The possibility of a middle ground between science and prayer based on the magical effects of angelic names in Hebrew seemed theologically unlikely, but that is the course Reuchlin pursued, hoping to evade the censure of those who claimed he was involved in black magic.
After skimming through the Jewish books that had been seized (it appears he never actually read all of them), Reuchlin recommended only two for destruction—Nizzachon and Toledoth Jeschu—meaning he did not find the Talmud objectionable. Pronouncing the latter “a work which is difficult to understand,” he acknowledged there were many strange ideas found therein, but held that this did not justify suppressing it. “If the Talmud were deserving of such condemnation, our ancestors of many hundred years ago, whose zeal for Christianity was much greater than ours, would have burnt it,” he assured. As for the two works which did merit extirpation in his view, Reuchlin insisted they had no standing in the Jewish community and that “even the Jews themselves regard them as apocryphal.”
But what of Jewish attitudes toward non-Jews? Reuchlin expressed the view that “whether they are inimically disposed toward us in their hearts, only God can say.” As gracious and cordial as that sounded, for the Caballah, of course, Reuchlin had nothing but highest praise, calling it “the most secret speech and words of God,” and asserting that “Jewish commentaries should not and cannot be abandoned by the Christian church, for they keep the special characteristics of the Hebrew language before our eyes.” Furthermore, he asserted that “the Bible cannot be interpreted without them.”
Thus having given the Jews a substantially clean bill of health, Reuchlin then turned his attention on their chief nemesis, insisting that Pfefferkorn’s attacks upon the Talmud were most likely motivated “for private reasons.”
In his report, Reuchlin denounced Pfefferkorn’s writings as the work of an ignorant hatemonger, thus establishing the debate’s parameters: the refined man of letters vs. the ignorant “tauf jud,” a racist slur picked up by Reuchlin’s supporters, including Erasmus of Rotterdam. Pfefferkorn called Reuchlin a Judaizer, a term then in the process of losing its opprobrium among educated humanists.
Says Jones, the debate in fact came down to a “Humanist vs. Scholastic mode,” with Pfefferkorn being staunchly defended by the Dominicans and the theology faculties at the Universities of Cologne and Louvain. In fact, every scholar appointed to the Commission, with the exception of Reuchlin himself, supported Pfefferkorn. But it was all to no avail. In the end, the Emperor decided matters in favor of the Jews.
As a result of Reuchlin’s recommendation, the emperor did not renew the mandate to confiscate the Jewish books. Reuchlin had killed the project, and Pfefferkorn was furious. Pfefferkorn correctly claimed “the Jews bribed Christians in high places…and they filled the ears of the good Emperor with false advice, so that His imperial Majesty gave orders to restore the books to the Jews”…
Having one of the most distinguished Christian scholars in Europe defend the Talmud left Jews rubbing their eyes in amazement. The Jews rushed out to buy Reuchlin’s book, and using their commercial connections, made it an instant bestseller, perhaps the first in history.
The incident paved the way for further changes in Europe, some of them huge, for as Jones notes, Reuchlin had gathered support from “virtually the entire Humanist community”—a group that included Martin Luther and Ulrich von Hutten.
The loser, of course, was the authority of the Catholic Church.
The Second Vatican Council
In June of 1960, a French Jew by the name of Jules Isaac journeyed to Rome where he managed to win an audience with Pope John XXIII. Isaac was an historian, had served as inspector general of France’s public schools, and had written two books on Catholic attitudes toward Jews, Jesus et Israel and Genese de l’Antisemitisme, in which he argued that 1) the Catholic Church had preached an anti-Semitism for 2000 years which, 2) found its ultimate expression in the mass murder of Jews in World War II. “Father Paul De Mann from Paris and Father Gregory Baum, a Jewish convert from Canada, spread his thesis in Catholic circles,” Jones writes. “Baum called Jesus et Israel ‘a moving account of the love which Jesus had for his people, the Jews, and of the contempt which the Christians, later, harbored for them.’”
Pope John’s predecessor, Pope Pius XII, had led the church through the war years, having been nuncio to Germany during the rise of National Socialism, elevated finally to the papacy in 1939. As Jones puts it, Pius “knew the rise of Hitler in Bavaria in 1923 was predicated on the excesses of Jewish Bolshevism there and not on readings of the sermons of St. John Chrysostom or the Gospel of St. John.” But with the death of Pius in 1958, Isaac sensed a “new spirit” blowing through the Vatican and a “window of opportunity for his ideas.” Indeed there was, and attacks upon Pius, not surprisingly, ended up becoming one of the chief strategies employed by Jews in pushing their resolution through the Council.
The story of Vatican II is a complex one, but Jones tells it skillfully and in detail. Initially, at any rate, the Council’s principle aim was not addressing the issue of anti-Semitism. Rather, the key word was aggiornamento, meaning to bring the church “up to date” in its relationship with the modern world. The preliminary documents in fact were already being drawn prior to Isaac’s audience with the pope, and for the most part their objective was not so much to “baptize the Enlightenment,” as Jones puts it, but to “make Catholics aware of a threat to faith and morals coming from the West, in particular, the United States, more particularly, Hollywood.” For some in the Church, represented particularly perhaps by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, American films were “a vehicle for American mores,” which in turn were “undermining the traditional way of life” in predominantly Catholic countries. “Modern life, without doubt, multiplies invitations to evil by such distractions as beauty contests, spectacles, billboards, songs, illustrated magazines, beaches, places of vacation, promiscuity, and certain forms of sport,” one of the early documents asserted. Condemning “the cult of movie stars, naturalism, the so-called sexual education, pansexualism, and certain injurious aspects of psychoanalysis,” the document warned that if the Church lost its hold on sexual morals, it would lose control of “the ordinary way of sanctification for the majority of the human race.” Jones comments:
It didn’t take a genius to know who in America was prominent in supporting “the cult of movie stars, pansexualism and psychoanalysis.” It was the Jews.
Yet at the same time, Isaac found himself amiably received by Pope John. Their meeting took place June 13, 1960, with the pope taking the initiative by “discoursing on his devotion to the Old Testament,” and Isaac responding that such sentiments “kindled great hopes in the people of the Old Testament.” Isaac further told the pope the time had come to fulfill these hopes and expectations, a fulfillment that could only be met with the Church issuing a strong condemnation of anti-Semitism. John had been “thinking along those lines,” and the pope referred the matter to a German Jesuit by the name of Augustin Bea, who had been made a cardinal the previous year. The idea was that Bea would draft a text about Jewish-Christian relations that the Council would consider for adoption. However, as Jones relates:
The pope’s desire soon was transformed into something radically different when it made contact with the realities of 20th century Jewish interest groups and publicity organs. Before long “the people of the Old Testament” were represented by international Jewish organizations like the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. Rather than formulating the Catholic position on the Jews in light of Catholic tradition, Cardinal Bea became a go-between between the Jewish organizations and the Council Fathers, who initially were also under the impression they were dealing with the “people of the Old Testament.” Because the Council Fathers were favorably impressed by Jules Isaac’s petition (as opposed to his books, which they had not read), Isaac was allowed to determine the terms of the debate, becoming the principle theorist for the Vatican’s statement on the Jews.
Though Isaac seems to have made a favorable impression overall with Church authorities, he did have his critics. Viscount Leon de Poncins was a journalist and Catholic essay writer who rose to the occasion by mounting a vigorous campaign against the resolution. Also, perhaps by virtue of being a fellow Frenchman, he seems to have had Isaac pegged to a tee. Poncins called Isaac the main promoter of a “campaign being waged against the traditional teachings of the Church,” and predicted (accurately as it turned out) that Nostra Aetate would become “a weapon designed to overthrow traditional Catholicism, which they consider the chief enemy.” Certainly his words, even then, must have had a ring of truth, but unfortunately not all heeded them. The Second Vatican Council “became a battleground over whose interpretation of the Jews was going to be normative,” as Jones puts it, or, in other words, competing visions over what actually the Jews were and are—“people of the Old Testament,” as Isaac portrayed them, or “the avant-garde of modernity and the promoters of sexual deviance as a covert form of control, as Ottaviani implicitly portrayed them”? Of course, for a good many in the Church, the “goal of condemning anti-Semitism seemed noble enough,” and regrettably “the spirit of the times precluded close theological examination of the terms of the discussion.”
The Second Vatican Council convened in October of 1962, and it came to be seen as a contest between Church liberals and conservatives, or at least that’s how it was portrayed in the media, particularly by Time Magazine and one of its reporters, Robert Blair Kaiser, whose reporting seems to have been anything but objective. The Church was out of sync with the modern world in its attitude toward the Jews, and in an effort to remedy that, the pope had “asked Cardinal Bea to prepare a schema for the Council that would revise the old Catholic story about the Jews killing Christ, and thus bringing eternal damnation on them and their children too,” Kaiser reported at one point, asserting that the New Testament’s crucifixion narrative was “a myth that had nurtured anti-Semitism for centuries.” In general, the portrayal of the Council in the media was as a struggle between “the forces of darkness and reaction”—as symbolized by Ottaviani—and “the forces of light and progress.” Among the “forces of light” were those apparently willing to throw out fundamental aspects of Church doctrine and Catholic teaching in an effort to appease the Jews—and ironically, the more they tried to appease, the more outrageous Jewish demands seem to have become.
B’nai B’rith wanted the Church to delete any language it deemed anti-Semitic from the Catholic liturgy. This was a tall order because the liturgy was based on Scripture that was, if not anti-Semitic, then certainly anti-Jewish. Virtually the entire Gospel of St. John and the Acts of the Apostles revolved around the conflict between the Jews who accepted Christ as their savior and the Jews who rejected him. Since those texts were central to any Catholic liturgy and full of invidious comparisons between the New Israel, the Catholic Church, and the Old, repudiated by Christ for its blindness and obstinacy, it was hard to see how dialogue could succeed. Unless, of course, the purpose of dialogue was something other than what it claimed to be.
Opponents of the declaration “claimed that ulterior motives had been driving the discussion from the beginning”—one ulterior motive, of course, being to deal the Catholic Church a crippling blow, a church which at the time, as Jones notes, enjoyed almost “universal esteem.” But as in previous eras of history, the Jews had no trouble finding Christians willing to join their cause. As the discussions progressed, Bea seemed to gravitate increasingly into the Jewish camp, being picked up by limousine at one point for a meeting with Jews at the Park Plaza Hotel in New York, while meanwhile in Rome, Time’s reporter, Kaiser, turned his spacious apartment into “a gathering place for conciliar progressives…those who were pushing hardest for updating everything and doing so with high hilarity.” A series of “soirees” were held in Rome, with Hollywood director Otto Preminger in attendance at one, but as Jones notes:
By this point the Jewish lobbying was beginning to cause a reaction. Pamphlets on the Jews began to appear at the Council. The Jews and the Council in the Light of Holy Scripture by Bernardus offered the most rational presentation from the official Church standpoint. Its message: Scripture states clearly that the Jews were voluntary deicides; the Fathers of the Church supported this doctrine. St. Thomas of Aquinas wrote that the attitude of the Roman Pontiffs can only be interpreted as an affirmation that the Jews partake of a world-wide plot to destroy the Church. Hence, all should be wary of the Jew and not destroy a foundational dogma of the Church.
The Council’s third session began in the fall of 1964, resulting, by November, in passage of “a document on the Jews so heavily influenced by Jewish lobbying that many thought it repudiated traditional Catholic teaching.” As Jones notes, “the Jews rejoiced, but their rejoicing was short-lived” when the schema was rejected by Pope Paul VI. The latter had become pope upon the death of John the previous year, and now he found himself faced with the “unenviable prospect” of having to mediate between warring factions within the Church. And at this point it was the conservatives, that is to say those opposing the declaration, who were gaining the upper hand. In October of 1965, Poncins showed up at the Council carrying thousands of copies of a pamphlet he had written entitled Le Problème Juif face au Concile, or “The Jewish Problem vis-à-vis the Council,” in which he committed the unpardonable, “anti-Semitic” sin of quoting directly from Jewish texts. Among those quoted were Isaac himself, who had previously attacked the Church in writing, calling its teachings:
a tradition which, moreover, is infinitely noxious and murderous, and which, as I have said and shall repeat, leads to Auschwitz—Auschwitz and other places. Some six million Jews were liquidated solely because they were Jews and thus brought shame not only upon the German people but upon the whole of Christianity, because without centuries of Christian teaching, preaching and vituperation, Hitler’s teaching, propaganda and vituperation would have been impossible.
Isaac had also labeled the Gospel of Matthew “obviously tendentious,” and accused the Church fathers of being “persecutors filled with anti-Jewish hatred.” Comments Jones:
Poncins maintained in his tract that the Schema of November of 1964 passed because the bishops were ignorant of Isaac’s true feelings toward Christianity, but, more broadly, they were ignorant of the difference between the Torah and the Talmud. The former is the Word of God; the latter is its antithesis. The Talmud, Poncins pointed out, was a post-Christian confection designed to keep Jews from converting to Christianity. After the destruction of the Temple, “The Talmud replaced the Torah as the foundation of all wisdom and the guide in every detail of daily life.” The point of the Talmud was “to consummate the definite break from triumphant Christianity.” So “The imposition of the ideals of the Talmud on the new branch of Judaism has been the calamity of the Jewish people even to this day.”…
The schema was dangerous because “it put the Church in the position of the accused, guilty of the permanent, unjustifiable and unatonable crime of anti-Semitism for two thousand years.” Beyond that, it questioned “the good faith and truthfulness of the Evangelists, of St. John and St. Matthew in particular, it discredited the teaching of the Fathers of the Church and of the great doctrinarians of the papacy by depicting them in distasteful colors; in short, it threatened to demolish the very bastions of Catholic doctrine.”
Poncins also argued against viewing modern-day Jews as “the people of the Old Testament,” demonstrating that their desire was not a Messiah, but “a terrestrial reign in which they will control the social, economic and political life of the nations…Judaism seeks to impose itself as the sole standard and to reduce the world to Jewish values.” Keep in mind, this was written in 1965. Clearly a man in many respects ahead of his time, Poncins concluded that the Jewish schema was an attack on the Church “under the banner of ecumenism,” and that in allowing Jews unprecedented access in the formulation of the document, the Church had provided them with a means of carrying a “war…into the very interior of the Church itself.”
As may be expected, given Pope Paul’s “unenviable prospects” in trying to negotiate an end to the strife, what ended up passing was a document that seemingly offered concessions to both sides.
The schema on the Jews was incorporated into a “Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions,” known as Nostra Aetate, promulgated by the Council on October 28, 1965…On the whole, the conservatives were jubilant, and the Jews were disappointed, but the results in light of the actual document were mixed. Jews were disappointed that the charge of deicide was not rebuked. But conservatives were disappointed the text did not implicate all the Jews in deicide. In one of the cleverest lines in the document, the Council Fathers wrote, “Even though the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ (cf. John 19:6), neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion.” According to the principles of logic, that statement could be taken to assert that some Jews were responsible for Christ’s death. If we exclude from that group the Blessed Mother, the Beloved Disciple, and all of the other Jews who accepted Christ as the Messiah, we come up with a statement that is largely faithful to the gospels texts.
But it didn’t end there. The Church was left divided, while “an indignant press campaign” ensued, provoking even more controversy, and Jones believes that in essence both sides ended up losing. Those who supported the document were accused of having sold out to international Jewry, while opponents were held practically “co-responsible” for the rise of Hitler. Furthermore, the disjunction between the Jews of Christ’s time, and those of today, raised a double standard on the issue of “collective responsibility”:
Jews could hold the German people accountable for Hitler’s crimes, forcing generations of German taxpayers to pay billions in reparations to Jewish organizations and the state of Israel. But Jews vehemently denied collective responsibility for the death of Christ. The Council’s schema tried to have it both ways, repudiating the claim the Romans alone were responsible for Christ’s death, but limiting Jewish guilt to Jewish leaders and their followers. As Poncins points out, in the case of Germany in the 20th century, “The whole people is considered responsible and subsequently punished for faults officials committed by its leaders, even when [those faults] are unknown to a great part of the people.” On the other hand, the Gospel accounts make clear that many Jewish people in Jerusalem were aware of what their leaders were doing and supported them in their efforts.
In addition to the above, one other factor figured prominently—most likely unanticipated saving perhaps by Poncins and a few others—namely the power of the Jewish media, for the Church ultimately lost control over the document’s interpretation. While Nostra Aetate had its share of “clever” lines, there were also passages that aided the “hijacking” of the resolution’s meaning, with Jones pointing to the following as one of the most glaring examples: “The Church…deplores all hatreds, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism leveled at any time or from any source against the Jews.” Thus the document condemns anti-Semitism, but, and this became the crucial point, without defining the meaning of the term. It was “an omission of truly catastrophic proportions,” says Jones, and here we might again consider the words of Poncins:
In Jewish eyes, every measure of defense and protection against the penetration of Jewish ideas and conceptions, against anti-Christian Jewish heresies, against Jewish control of the national economy, and in general every measure of defense of national Christian traditions is a manifestation of anti-Semitism. Furthermore, many Jews consider that the very fact of the recognition of the existence of a Jewish question constitutes a declaration of anti-Semitism…
Jules Isaac accuses all the Fathers of the Church of anti-Semitism…He accuses them of having unleashed the savagery of the beast and of being the real people responsible for German anti-Semitism and the gas chambers at Auschwitz. He finds them even worse that Hitler and Streicher and others for their system resulted in the Jews being tortured slowly and being left to live and suffer interminably…Does the Church admit Jules Isaac’s thesis and plead guilty?
For the next four-plus decades, Nostra Aetate would be used exactly as Poncins had predicted, i.e. as “a weapon designed to overthrow traditional Catholicism,” or as another writer described it, it was “the cornerstone of the abusive relationship that has hamstrung the Catholics.” By way of example, we might point to the passion play performed at the Bavarian village of Oberammergau. The play is a huge production and has a long tradition dating back to the year 1634, but one year after the passage of Nostra Aetate, the American Jewish Congress demanded that directors of the play make changes in the script or face a boycott. In support of its efforts, the AJC marched out a bevy of celebrities including Arthur Miller, Lionel Trilling, Stanley Kunitz, Leonard Bernstein, Leslie Fiedler, Theodore Bikel, Irving Howe, and Alfred Kazin, and even several German writers, including George Steiner, Guenter Grass (yes, that Guenter Grass), Heinrich Boell, and Paul Celan. Also in support of the effort was Elie Wiesel, whose account of his Auschwitz experience in recent years has been highly challenged, but in November of 1966, Wiesel, surrounded by the other celebrities, held a news conference in New York where he asserted:
The artist cannot be silent when the arts are used to exalt hatred. If the people of Oberammergau feel that they cannot faithfully represent their vision except through an explicitly anti-Semitic text, then others have no choice but to denounce that vision and urge that all who share our view join with us in condemning the performance.
Jews even enlisted Catholic theologians in their efforts, but the greatest weapon in their arsenal was Nostra Aetate, or as one Jewish writer put it, “Oberammergau was caught between the anvil of Vatical II and the hammering criticism of Jewish groups.” Caught not so much because of what the document said, but, as Jones argues, “because the Church could never make its interpretation of its own document prevail over the interpretation which the Jews wanted to impose on it.” Not surprisingly, the Bavarians made concessions. But of course, the more ground they gave, the more the Jews demanded of them. Changes to the play were adopted in 1970, in 1980, and again in 1984. The lesson to be drawn is that “interfaith dialogue” is always a one-way street—with Jews making demands, and Christians giving in. So it has been in the past, and so it remains to this day.
The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit is a remarkable look back at the past, but it is even more than that. By understanding history, we understand the world we live in today, and Jones provides an invaluable service in helping us to understand the “revolutionary spirit” of Jewish power—how it operates, how it evolved, and how it maintains itself. Besides the three chapters I have covered here, you’ll find others, focusing on various periods of history, particularly of the last 500 years, offering insights into what at times seems like a living, breathing animus…as well as the volatile reactions that sometimes occur when that animus (the “revolutionary spirit,” as it were) comes into contact with unsuspecting Gentiles. I’m talking about events such as England’s consolidation as a Protestant, and philosemitic, power under the reigns of Cromwell and Queen Elizabeth I; the rise of Freemasonry; and the Russian revolution—all events in which, as most of us are well aware, key roles were played by Jews.
But other historical offshoots—episodes lesser-known, perhaps, but in which Jews nonetheless played equally significant roles behind the scenes—are also covered here. Jones includes a chapter on the Jewish criminal Leo Frank, who in 1913 murdered a 14-year-old girl employed as a child laborer in his factory in Atlanta. We also get the American Civil War, the civil rights movement, as well historical portraits of figures like Frederick Douglas, Marcus Garvey, and Lorraine Hansberry—with the book culminating finally in chapters on the Jewish takeover of American culture and the rise of the neoconservatives. Jones packs it with information every step of the way, and basically what he gives us is “the other side of the story,” the parts of history that somehow got left out of school textbooks (textbooks which, if we looked closely enough, we’d probably find were published by Jewish-owned publishing houses). No doubt, were it to become a bestseller, such a book would pose a public relations nightmare to Jews.
This is not to say I don’t have some criticisms. I do. Like many Christians of both the past and present, Jones takes a dim view of the ancient Gnostics, and in an early chapter of the book he discusses Irenaeus, a bishop in the early church, who in the second century condemned Gnosticism in his tract, Adversus Haereses, or “Against Heresies.” Writes Jones:
Irenaeus’ work, as its title implies, was written to combat heresy, specifically Gnosticism, but in entering that fray he had to deal with the Jews, acknowledging “from the very beginning of the Gnostic attack on Christianity,” that Gnosticism was associated with judaizing.
Far from attacking Christianity, many, if not most, Gnostics were Christians themselves. Moreover, such views would seem to overlook Gnostic groups such as the Sethians and the Marcionites, who were very much opposed to worshipping the God of the Old Testament, and who, at least in the case of the Marcionites, sought to eliminate the Old Testament entirely from the Christian canon of sacred literature. Had that happened, the course of history, needless to say, would have been quite different. The Judaizers—neither they of Pfefferkorn’s time, nor those of today—would have had a leg to stand on.
Another quibble I have with the book is the omission of a bibliography. The book is extremely well documented, with roughly 5,000 source notes, but Jones habitually refers to the numerous authors he quotes by last name only, which leaves you with the task of going back through hundreds of footnotes searching for the initial author citation and the title of the work quoted. The inclusion of a bibliography would have eliminated this problem.
All in all, however, this is an extremely important work and one that should be read any and all concerned about Jewish supremacism and the extent of Jewish power in the world today.
The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit is published by Fidelity Press, South Bend, Indiana. The book is available for order here.
A couple of other things I’ll mention quickly before cutting to the videos. Firstly, a brief elucidation regarding a “red thread” that gets mentioned during the interview but that unfortunately is never elaborated upon—on page 19, in the book’s introduction, Jones talks about a tradition recorded in the Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 31b), of Jewish priests in the second-temple era supposedly determining how successful temple sacrifices had been—i.e. “successful” in terms of expiating the sins of the Jews—through observance of a scarlet thread. If the thread turned white, the sacrifice had been accepted by God and the sins expiated. “According to Schoeman, the Talmud itself ‘unwittingly confirms’ that the Temple sacrifices failed 40 years before the destruction of the Temple in 70 a.d. (i.e. at the time Christ died and the veil covering the Holy of Holies was rent in two) when it “recounts that from that time on…the scarlet thread never again turned white,” writes Jones.
And finally, a new interview with Jones has just been posted at The Ugly Truth. Though quite interesting, the interview deals primarily with current events in the Middle East rather than with the book, The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
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