Muslim Brotherhood’s Dr Kamal El-Helbawy defines who is a Jew, and who isn’t.

Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, Andrew Murray, Seumas Milne at the SOAS Respect meeting.

Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, Andrew Murray, Seumas Milne at the SOAS Respect meeting.

When I went to SOAS on Sunday for the Respect Party’s public meeting Where now for Egypt and the Middle East?, chaired by The Guardian’s Seumas Milne, I didn’t expect a sermon on who is, and who is not, a Jew.

Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, Chair of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and former speaker for the Muslim Brotherhood in the West, was updating us on the political situation in Egypt as he saw it. He welcomed the fact that 75% of the new Egyptian parliament was now Islamic, but said that he hoped for increased Coptic Christian participation and the promotion of women.

The Muslim Brotherhood isn’t especially keen on Jews. For example, Hamas, the Brotherhood’s subsidiary in Gaza, remembers us in their Charter by calling for us to be killed.

However, Dr Kamal El-Helbawy seemed to be concentrating on Egypt’s pressing internal issues. Could this be a new Egypt; a Light Unto the Arab nations, I thought? Fifteen minutes into his speech and Dr Kamal El-Helbawy still hadn’t mentioned Israel and the Palestinians.

Finally, Dr Kamal El-Helbawy, a self-proclaimed scholar of comparative religion, introduced the subject as follows (see clip 1 below):

“I have Jewish friends who are really Jewish. They stay with me, they eat with me, they sleep with us at home. Who are real friends. Like Neturei Karta people. Like Dovid Weiss and hundreds of others, who are real Jews. And we respect them and we love them. We are brothers in humanity if not in religion. But unfortunately the ones we have in Israel, the Zionists, are not Jews. I am happy with what usually my dear brother George Galloway says ‘atheist Jews’. Even I say they are Zionists. They have nothing, nothing at all related to Jewish religion. Moses did not order people to kill each other and the Christ did not ask people to kill each other or colonise each other or destroy each other or stop, for example, Iran doing good research in atomic energy.”

During the Q&A I said I thought it disrespectful of him to tell us who is, and who isn’t, Jewish and that just because one might disagree with someone’s political view shouldn’t make anyone less of a Muslim, Jew or Christian for it. To applause he responded (see clip 2 below):

“I have 100% right to define. I am a scholar of comparative religion as well. And I understand, and I have many friends who are Jews, and I don’t believe that the Nobel Laureate Peres is a Jew at all, is a Jew. Who is a Jew is the one who follows Moses, peace be upon Him. Who’s a Christian is the one who follows Jesus Christ, peace upon Him. Who is a Muslim is the one who follows Muhammad the Prophet, peace be upon Him. So it is not difficult to define who is a Jew and can measure who is a Jew, who is not. If you kill you are not a Jew, because Moses did not ask you to kill people. If you ousted them from their lands and houses and destroy them you are not a Jew.”

Meanwhile, Gorgeous George described (see clip 3) the Balfour Declaration as “142 words that have produced nearly a hundred years of misery and disaster in the Middle East” before continuing:

“Mark Sykes hated Jews. He was a vicious, foul anti-Semite, but he loved Israel and he loved the idea of Israel. Like so many he saw Zionism as a means of ensuring that he would never have to look at Jewish people on the streets of London. He talked openly about ‘we’ll be able to clean the East End of London if we can create Israel and, by one means or another, encourage or otherwise, the Jews of the East End of London to go and live in Palestine’. He hated Arabs also who he described as venal and lazy.”

Amid all this fascination with Jews Galloway, Kate Hudson, General Secretary of CND, and Andrew Murray, founder of the Stop The War Coalition, rejected all types of outside intervention in the affairs of Syria instead calling for the revolution to be allowed to take place from the ground upwards on the basis that there had never been an example of outside intervention working effectively in the Middle East and that such intervention always took place out of pure self-interest.

Clip 1: Dr Kamal El-Helbawy discusses Israel and the Palestinians

Clip 2: Dr Kamal El-Helbawy responds to criticism of his definition of Jews

Clip3: George Galloway on Mark Sykes and more

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35 responses to “Muslim Brotherhood’s Dr Kamal El-Helbawy defines who is a Jew, and who isn’t.

  1. Oh how your commentary reminds me of the meetings my father and a few of his brothers infiltrated run by Oswald Mosley-
    There was no Israel then- but the anti-Semitic vitriol was the same-
    And those Neturei Karta orthodox “Eat with him” do they bring their own food and plates. Maybe he employs a supervisor to check that the plates are kosher!

  2. Why remind me these photos of the panels of the Sartre plays that were so much in fashion in the late 50s, early 60s in Germany?

    Is it the dreariness or is it the scarves?

    Or is it that they all look like they haven’t breathed fresh air in a long time?

    Confusing for me though is, that he says both Moses and Christ forbade people to kill eachother. Is he by chance trying to tell me that killing is the prerogative of those who take their orders from Mohammed?

  3. Reminds me of stinking John Mearsheimer who gave a speech in April 2010 separating “Righteous Jews” (like Neturei Nutters) from “New Afrikaners” (like Richard and me).

  4. So as soon as you define your Jewishness in terms of self determination you cease to be Jewish. Makes a lot of sense

  5. ”Moses did not order people to kill each other” Yes he did.
    El-Helbawy doesn’t know his Bible. But then he’s not the only one.
    He is another ignorant fool spouting untruths just to support his own deranged ideological agenda.
    Moses instructed the Levites to kill 3,000 Israelites for worshipping the golden calf. He also authorised Joshua to perpetrate the first genocide in history, the annihilation and enslavement of the Canaanites.

    • Nonsense, the first genocide in history was “the Flood”, perpetrated by the Creator of heaven and earth.

      Regarding Joshua, our sages tell us that the Canaanites were given three choices; to leave, to make war or to accept Jewish sovereignty over Israel and live there as residents with certain rights. Many of the tribes living in Israel chose to fight and were defeated in a miraculous fashion, with G-d killing more of them than the Israelite warriors.

      I guess that if you believe that there is a G-d in heaven, then you don’t second-guess him for bringing the flood. If you don’t believe in Him, then it’s only a fairy-tale anyway.

  6. I am sure you mean the first REPORTED IN WRITING mass slaughter of a group – though I doubt even that is true.

    Also the story strikes me as strange – as best I know in antiquity they needed slaves and were after a conquest careful to leave slave material alive.

    So either Jews didn’t hold slaves at the time which should be mentioned in the context in their favour or it can’t have been genocide in the modern definition.

  7. I find it amazing that the anti-Semites in this world don’t think it necessary to ask us, the Jewish people, how we define ourselves. At least we do know that that is one characteristic of an anti-Semite and can then readily identify them.

  8. Well I guess if we can have a Judge in a British court deciding who is a Jew and how a Jew should practice in order to gain a place at a Jewish school, why not this extremist Muslim? After all, its all gloves off for Jews with the Genocide postulated by Hamas, so why should we have the same rights as others who are allowed to define themselves, like our fellow Islamic citizens or Mr Qatada who seems to have more rights of self realization than any Jew?

  9. The arrogance of the man . His definition of a Jew is the subservient Jew forced to live his life as a Dhimmi and pay the jizz for the priviligege . Perhaps on that basis I should define Islam by the ideology of the Islamists and their adherence to Jihad and terrorism .

  10. @Sharon – we are all appalled by the decision to give Qatada his freedom – albeit restricted. What are they thinking???

    • @ Gill Katz – thinking doesn’t come into it – more conniving. Lets not forget who holds sway over the EU Court and it is nothing short of expected that they would come up with such a ruling and it is nothing short of expected that this mealy minded government would accept such a ruling of a court that ultimately has no real jurisdiction in order to melt the hearts of the secular humanists who are the current opponents of the Judeo-Christian ethic that is democracy and Western Civilization. Each decade brings its group of smug liberals who think they hold sway of right and wrong and anyone who disagrees with them must be right wing neocons. That’s the world we live in and any real planning and understanding doesn’t come into the equation.

      • Democracy did not spring from Judaism. Until the end of the 18th century, classical rabbinical Judaism had functioned for 2000 years as a totalitarian dogmatic system expelling, flogging, executing and assassinating dissenters, heretics, adulterers, informers, and whoever did not tow the Talmudic line. They would have executed the great Spinoza if the Dutch authorities were not around to prevent that. The European Jews were emancipated from this punitive, superstitious belief system by the burgeoning democratic modern states fresh from the Enlightenment which put an end to the autonomy of the Jewish communities. It was then that the great minds of the Jewish people flourished, free from the constraints and fear mongering of the rabbis. And those mindswhich went on to win Nobel prizes were not a product of Judaism, which has never been democratic in spirit but backward and totalitarian, but rather existed in spite of it and because of secular Western rationality, which ironically saw all as equal, unlike the fanatics of classical Judaism. The fundamentalists in Israel who are in the news so much lately are trying to drag their people back to those ‘good old days’ of anti-democratic theocracy.

      • @roger -rubbish. You clearly know nothing about Jewish law.

      • and what about the Sabbath?

        I think it was Edna Brocke who pointed out that that was the first time a day without work was for all people independent of where they were on the social ladder.

      • Hi Roger,

        I’m sure that your intentions are good, but would advise you to restrict your comments to subjects that you understand, unless you don’t mind looking rather silly as these utterances about rabbinic Judaism illustrate.

        The fact that the Jewish People, as a whole, have a higher than average level of intellectual achievement I believe is uncontested, even by those who hate us. It is not for nothing that 40 million South Koreans study Talmud.

        http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/143192

        It has long been recognized that this is the source of the Jewish genius. Theologically we believe that Talmudic logic gives us an inkling into the way that G-d thinks. Personally, I play chess at a reasonably high level and participate in various other “intellectual” past-times, but nothing comes near to the study of gemara. I think I study about 12 hours a week on average.

        Your argument that it is being freed from all these that enabled great minds to flourish is absurd. Not only because so many great minds from the Rambam to Reshevsky never stopped studying Talmud, but mostly because if that is the case, then what is the secret of Jewish genius? If it’s not studying Talmud, then why aren’t all the nations who have never seen a Talmud winning more Nobel Prizes than us? You don’t appear to know anything about Talmud, but neither do you seem to be a genius, why not?

        I am not a racist and do not believe that any group of people is inherently more intelligent than another. If there are many clever Jews among us, it must be because of something that they are doing or that their ancestors did. Assuming it’s not the kosher food that we have eaten, what could it be that all Jews have been doing all these years?

      • Daniel

        when Prussian Baron vom Stein freed the peasants from serfdom he found that he didn’t have enough literate persons to establish a functioning bureaucracy. He found what he needed amongst Jews and gave them jobs. It goes without saying that none of those he hired had ever done any religious studying. ;o(

        I strongly believe that if you learn a certain style of thinking discipline that will help you to become successful in a lot of fields.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Friedrich_Karl_vom_und_zum_Stein

      • I’m pretty sure that you’re right, Silke. Our mathematics teacher told me once that his challenge is not to teach students to pass exams, but to think in a mathematical way.

        Likewise, chess players analyze many areas of life in a different way to others, but a way that is not dissimilar from Talmud. I think that even the superficial understanding of military tactics (not strategy) that I acquired in IDF helps me to look at some aspects of reality in a slightly different way.

      • Daniel…you may not consider yourself a racist but Rambam certainly was. He was a vicious nasty racial and religious supremacist. I could cite many examples of the hatred he expressed towards gentiles (‘if they are at the point of death..if one is seen falling into the sea, he should not be rescued’……and ‘it is forbidden for a Jewish doctor to heal a gentile even for payment’ and ‘a gentile woman must not be helped in childbirth on the sabbath’), Jesus (‘may the name of the wicked perish’), Jewish heretics ( ‘it is a duty to exterminate them with one’s own hands’ and ‘those Jews who deny the Torah, et non-kosher meat, wear sha’atnez clothing should be put to death’), Ashkenazi Jews (‘only our Sephardi brothers have brains and are clever’), blacks (‘they are not on the level of human beings’) , women (‘most women never intend to learn anything and will, because of their weak understanding, convert the pronouncements of Torah into nonsense’) and heretics, who he stated should be either excommunicated, flogged or executed and that their repentance should never be accepted. His inspiration of course was the Talmud. He was against all independent thought (‘any thought that may cause a Jew to doubt one principle of the Jewish religion is forbidden’ and ‘every Jew is forbidden to allow himself to follow his own knowledge and to imagine that his own thoughts are capable of reaching the truth’), gentile children (‘any non-Jews, no matter what age, will have to pay for any crime committed whereas no Halachic punishments can be applied to Jewish boys and girls below the ages of 13 and 12 respectively’).
        All of the above is no different from the theocratic fascism of the Ayatollah Khomeini……they are birds of a feather.
        So Daniel,You are either in massive pathological denial or are being deliberately dishonest and covering up material that would outrage any decent human being……and yes, you guessed it, cause antisemitic sentiments. The fact is that in the Middle Ages, Christians and non-Jews knew about these teachings and yes, you guessed it, they more than resented them. To fight antisemitism, it is necessary to fight and expose this Jewish chauvinism and racism at the same time.
        Baruch Goldstein, the doctor from Kiryat Arba, consistently refused to treat non-Jews during his military service,( so much for his Hippocratic oath) and he quoted his hero Maimonides as his authority. Nothing was done….in fact, he was up for promotion when he murdered 29 Arabs in Hebron, shooting them in the back while they were praying. Some polls in Israel after the event indicated that 50% of the population supported what he did, and thousands of Jews have been to his grave to pay their respect.

      • @Roger – I am not as astute a scholar as Daniel, but I have learned a little in my life time and I can say that for you to write about Maimonides, or Rambam as you do shows how misinformed you are. This is a man who has written a huge volume of medical and science books, books on philosophy and religion. Nowhere can I find a parallel with the kind of language or even words you are attributing. Here is an extract of a letter he wrote for his son:

        “……….Therefore, I will now explain to you how to always behave humbly. Speak gently at all times, with your head bowed, your eyes looking down to the ground and your heart focusing on Hashem. Don’t look at the face of the person to whom you are speaking. Consider everyone as greater than yourself. If he is wise or rich, you should give him respect. If he is poor and you are richer — or wiser — than he, consider yourself to be more guilty than he, and that he is more worthy than you, since when he sins it is through error, while yours is deliberate and you should know better!….”

        http://www.magendavid.org/page.asp?ID=17

        I don’t find in this any indication of a bigot or a racist. So I ask you to please send your source material as the source is an indication of the understanding. It is always wise to double check as one can be influenced by some who would misinform or who have an alternative agenda.

        I do know that in current times there are many detractors who practice replacement theology to discredit the great sages of the past in order to assist the downfall of Western Civilization that is based in the Judeo-Christian ethic. Perhaps you are prey to such propaganda.

      • Google tells me Rambam is Maimonides

        Maimonides was physician at Saladin’s court – I find it hard to imagine that he got that job for treating only non-gentiles.

      • Daniel

        the women in my family liked to play very complex solitaires. One is for two playing against each other with both of course wanting to win, but they have to obey the rule that the game comes first i.e. when in conflict you have to prefer moves which are conducive to the solitaire “going up” as we say i.e. solving the solitaire comes first and winning it second.

        Whenever I am now thinking back on how I behaved in the past I find that I have taken that attitude into the job and pretty much elsewhere also.

        (chess is beyond me but as a metaphor I like to think of politics in your area that it compares to chess to be played in many more than 3 let alone 2 dimensions.)

  11. Richard
    You should have pointed out his overlook of the most common Islamic definition of Jews being the descendants of monkeys and pigs .
    Or quoted the Hadith ( bukari and Muslim )
    ” Oh Muslim there is a Jew behind me ” etc etc
    There are just no words for these sick individuals .

  12. Just a couple of points to further the way this discussion is bending- between Sharon and Gill-
    I wonder why Cromwell opened the doors to the Jews and ushered them back in?
    And in WW2 Japan asked Hitler to send “His” Jews to them?- Now I know they were not treated well in Japan- But why the Jews, not any of the other civilian prisoners?

  13. Roger,

    I’m still prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you honestly have no idea what you are talking about. That was a ridiculous diatribe which only proved that you have studied neither the Yad Hahazakah nor the Guide for the Perplexed nor any of the Rambam’s other works, but instead have read all bits and pieces mistranslated out of context. I have no intention of giving you an online course on Jewish law or philosophy and quite frankly I’d have no idea where to start. However, here are a few points to look up:

    1. The difference between Ikar Hahalacha (the basis of the law) and Halacha Lema’se (the law as it is practiced in reality.
    2. The connection between a Talmudic determination, the halachah as determined by the Rambam, Shulchan Aruch, etc and its modern day application.

    After that your comments about supposed similarities between radical Islam and Judaism and your justification for the anti-Antisemitism of the middle ages (a viewpoint that even the Catholic Church has long ago abandoned) are of no interest to me, at least, and say nothing about either the Rambam, or the Jewish People in general, but everything about you. I make a point of not debating with people who justify antisemitism, and by so doing you have closed down this conversation.

    “…that would outrage any decent human being……and yes, you guessed it, cause antisemitic sentiments.”

    That’s it. I rarely lose my temper, but my grandfathers and grandmothers suffered from too many pogroms for me to carry out a dialogue with someone who understands the motivations of their perpetrators.

    Too many tears and too much blood.

  14. attilathecricketer

    Where’s the big picture? All these interesting articles in the press about Iran and whether Israel will attack etc? One chap wants to define who is Jewish. Big deal. Not sure intervention in Syria would work but very saddening to see situ it is in.

  15. OT

    Dr. Yehuda David acquitted by French Court in al Durrah case

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4190373,00.html

    • Yes, my Talmud study partner just told me. That’s the father whose son was shot, but didn’t bleed because his blood had turned to ice from fear – thus giving a new meaning to the expression “cold-blooded murder”.

      Talking of murder, it was a quiet day for our Syrian neighbors yesterday – only 32 murdered, among them:
      3 children
      1 woman
      1 defected soldier

      12 Idlib
      5 in Damscus Suburbs (Bloudan, Douma, Harasta)
      4 in Homs,
      3 in Daraa
      3 in Hama
      2 in Hasakeh
      1 in Lattakia
      1in Damascus
      1 in Aleppo

      On the other hand the “Syrian Revolution General Commission” reported that by the end of the day, 54 people have been killed by security force gunfire across Syria, with most of the deaths in Idlib and Homs.

      The Arab Spring!

  16. The definition of a Jew is someone who has a Jewish mother. Is that why he says he’s a mere scholar of comparative religion, Does he have any recognised qualifications in the subject? If he does, he should know better, shouldn’t he, or is he just trying to deceive the audience?

  17. Thanks for the picture at the top. Reminded me of the Three Brass Monkeys- and the speeches were appropriate, too.

  18. Brad Brzezinski

    At least Dr Kamal El-Helbawy is not an antisemite as the people he hates are not Jews. (There’s a lot of this about today.)

    In the real world, Jews are defined by those that would harm them; Herr Hitler was a prime example.

    In the comments at The Guardian, Huffpo, etc you can see the phenomenon on display. The New York Times is assumed to be a pro-Israeli paper and its owners excoriated for being Jewish despite having converted to Christianity generations ago and their disgusting record. If (maybe when) the mob really gets going, the net will be cast far and wide, surprising a lot of people who had no idea they were Jewish.

  19. Brad Brzezinski

    Steve Mann: Interesting about you father. Mine attended public meetings that promoted Nazism before the war, in South Africa. These often turned into brawls. On one occasion, a speaker held up a pamphlet titled, “Disraeli – Traitor,” whereupon the moderator (it was a debate) took off his coat and laid him out.

    Before he died, my father reminded me that the central theme of all those events was The Jews. He felt it was the driving force behind Nazism and without the use of this hatred, Hitler would never have gained the power he did.

  20. Who cares what he thinks! I am a Jew and I don’t need some crackpot telling me otherwise………..

    Love live Israel.