Josel of Rosheim, Martin Luther, and Jewish Politics in 16th-Century Germany

When his proclaimed attempt to purify Christianity failed to precipitate a mass conversion of Jews, Martin Luther declared that “their synagogues . . . should be set on fire, . . . their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed,” and their sacred books confiscated. He also advocated the execution of rabbis. Josel of Rosheim, a capable and resourceful leader, sought to rebut Luther’s slanders and successfully interceded with the Holy Roman emperor to obtain an official confirmation of Jewish rights and privileges. Eli Kavon comments:

Josel had the title of “chief of the Jews in the German Lands.” Time after time, he had to place his life at risk to defend his fellow Jews. In his [Hebrew-language] memoirs he relates how he had to confront peasants in Alsace [during their 1525 revolt] and convince them not to attack the Jews. . . .

Josel’s genius was rooted in his ability to persuade both Protestants and Catholics, based on the underpinnings of their theology and politics, not to harm Jews and to allow Jews to live in peace and with privileges. Toward the end of his life, he found himself siding with Catholic rulers to provide Jews with protection against Luther and the Protestant Reformation. While he realized that the emperors posed a danger to the Jews as well, he feared Luther most of all.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, German Jewry, History & Ideas, Jewish history, Martin Luther, Reformation

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University