[One of my most faithful South African supporters in the “diaspora” sent me this. Here are his remarks:
Jewish leaders call for new editions of the Bible and the Koran to carry trigger warnings highlighting anti-Semitic passages
- A Catalogue of Policies to Combat Antisemitism outlines numerous suggestions
- It was produced after a conference organised by the European Jewish Congress
- The conference discussed anti-Semitism online and in various religious texts
- Leaders met earlier this week in Vienna to discuss the new policy suggestions
Jewish leaders are calling for new editions of the Bible and Koran to carry warning messages which highlight anti-Semitic passages in the holy texts.
The recommendations have been made in a new document called ‘An End to Antisemitism! A Catalogue of Policies to Combat Antisemitism’.
It was produced following an international conference organised by the European Jewish Congress, at which academics gathered to discuss how prejudice and discrimination can be tackled.
Ariel Muzicant, Vice-President of the European Jewish Congress, and co-author of the new document holds it up, showing the title ‘An End to Antisemitism! A Catalogue of Policies to Combat Antisemitism’
Among the policies mentioned in the document was the idea of warning messages in holy texts, a topic discussed in a chapter entitled ‘recommendations regarding Religious Groups and Institutions’.
The document reads: ‘Translations of the New Testament, the Qur’an and other Christian or Muslim literatures need marginal glosses, and introductions that emphasize continuity with Jewish heritage of both Christianity and Islam and warn readers about antisemitic passages in them.
‘While some efforts have been made in this direction in the case of Christianity, these efforts need to be extended and made consistent in both religions.’
These include the blame of Jews for the death of Jesus and the seemingly stubborn nature of the Jewish people and their disloyalty to God.
While there are some negative remarks about Jews in the Koran, and negative portrayals of the people.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has previously spoken of how religious texts can be exploited or misinterpreted to promote discriminatory attitudes.
Academics and leaders gathered in Vienna earlier this year to discuss how an end to anti-Semitism can be brough about. Pictured here (left to right) are Ariel Muzicant, Vice-President of the European Jewish Congress, Heinz Fassmann, Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research, Mathias Doepfner, CEO Axel Springer SE, Danielle Spera, Director of the Jewish Museum Vienna, Kenneth Jacobson, Deputy National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, Pawlo Klimklin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and Dina Porat, Head of the Kantor Centre
Writing in a collection of essays published in 2016, he said: ‘It is a shameful truth that, through its theological teachings, the church, which should have offered an antidote, compounded the spread of this virus.
‘The fact that anti-Semitism has infected the body of the Church is something of which we as Christians must be deeply repentant. We live with the consequences of our history of denial and complicity.’
The document, which was produced by academics including Dina Porat and Lawrence H. Schiffman, also calls on all antisemitic texts and passages in the heritage of Christianity and Islam ‘to be identified and rejected’.
Other recommendations include religious leaders and thinkers ‘publicly denouncing as unholy writ’ canonical or quasi-canonical writings of religious anti-Semites.
The justification for these changes, the documents states, is because divine messages are always communicated through human beings and therefore subject to error.
It reads: ‘God’s revelation is thus marred by human fallibility. Beginning with the New Testament, divine revelation expresses itself in Christian holy texts that also express a form of hatred.
‘The manifestations of this hatred resulted in a tradition of antisemitism that gave moral legitimacy to crimes against the Jewish people, the epitome of which is the Shoah.’
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, and Manfred Weber, Chairman of the European People’s Party, are pictured during a conference on anti-Semitism in Vienna, Austria. The conference followed the publication of a document outlining a number of policy suggestions
Once the ‘antisemitic contents of a religious memory are identified’ religious leaders and followers need to be told, the document concludes.
Other areas highlighted, following the conference, include addressing anti-Semitism online and within research organisations and academic institutions.
This includes ensuring internet search engines privilege positive depictions of Judaism and accurate descriptions of the history of anti-Semitism.
Academics have been reacting to suggested recommendations laid out in the documents.
Dr Christine Joynes, a theology lecturer at Oxford, told The Times that she had ‘some sympathy’ over the suggestion of an annotated bible.
But said: ‘The whole Bible needs a health warning to read it through the right critical lens and in historical context.’
While Muhammad Abdel Haleem, professor of Islamic Studies at the University of London, and also speaking to The Times said that the Koran is entirely negative towards Jews.
He said: ‘If someone wants to get involved in antisemitism or anti-Islamic behaviour, they will do it whether or not you add warnings and footnotes.’