The Boston Rabbi Who Blamed Judaism’s Troubles on an Elaborate Jewish Conspiracy

The baroque theories of anti-Semites often link Jews to the Illuminati, the Freemasons, and other favorite subjects of conspiracists. The Boston rabbi Marvin Antelman was not the first Jew to promulgate such ideas, but he may have been the only one to use them to detect a plot to undermine Orthodox Judaism from within. Zvi Leshem writes:

In his work Antelman, who also held a PhD in chemistry, painted a detailed conspiracy theory incorporating the Jewish Enlightenment, Reform Judaism, and Communism, tracing their origins back to the [17th-century] false messianic movement of Shabbtai Zvi, his Polish successor Jacob Frank, the Illuminati, and the Jacobins [of Revolutionary France].

Here is where Gershom Scholem, the preeminent scholar of the Sabbatean movement, enters our story. Antelman [cites] him regarding the possible influence of Sabbateanism on the development of the Jewish Enlightenment and Reform Judaism, but goes well beyond Scholem’s suggestion of a possible cultural influence; Antelman lunges into a . . . conspiracy theory so complex as to be beyond the scope of this article.

Antelman eventually went on to serve as “chief justice” of the “Supreme Rabbinical Court of America” that he founded. Among the more dramatic acts of the court was the excommunication of the American secretary of state Henry Kissinger in 1976.

Among Scholem’s papers are several letters from Antelman along with his 1974 book, To Eliminate the Opiate: The Frightening Inside Story of Communist and Conspiratorial Group Efforts to Destroy Jews, Judaism, and Israel—in which Scholem wrote, in English, “Nonsense based on me!!!”

Read more at The Librarians

More about: American Jewish History, Anti-Semitism, Gershom Scholem, Henry Kissinger, Shabbetai Tzvi


Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security