Sunday, February 01, 2004

In my search for Talmudic references to the tumtum (an intersexed person), I came across a web site, "Come and See," that published significant parts of the Soncino Press's English translation of the Talmud. When I first found it I was grateful to be able to get fairly complete quotations (rather than the brief mentions from the other articles on the web--see previous entry). Then I delved a bit deeper to find out whether the Soncino Press had given permission to put their translation on line. I discovered through reading the page on copyright issues that Come and Hear had taken the Talmudic texts from a book called The Plot Against Christianity by Elizabeth Dilling, which apparently had published hundreds of pages from the Soncino Press edition. The Plot Against Christianity appears to be an anti-semitic screed containing many classic anti-Jewish tropes.

Elizabeth Dilling's book was published by Noontide Books, which has published David Duke's autobiography, My Awakening: A Path to Racial Understanding. David Duke is a former Ku Klux Klan leader who has attempted to make white supremacy and anti-semitism respectable.

The Come and Hear web site, aside from its on-line Talmudic publication, has many essays written by the web site owner, Carol A. Valentine, and others, under the heading of America under the Talmud. From the examination of one essay, Holy Atrocities and Judaism, it appears that the author examines the Talmud and other Jewish writings through a hostile, anti-semitic lens designed to see the worst in anything Jewish. Her primary worry seems to be that the United States is quickly becoming a nation governed by Talmudic law.

The author, Carol A. Valentine, owns another web site called Public Action, Inc.. One of the key topics on the web site is Waco and the Branch Davidians, an issue that galvanized the extreme right in this country in the 1990s. There are also articles by her and others that claim that the September 11 attacks were carried by NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command), remotely controlling the planes. The site also contains a listing of Holocaust Revisionist web sites.

When I started my research on the Come and Hear site, I thought I had found something very useful -- a web site that offered search capabilities for a significant part of the English translation of the Babylonian Talmud. Upon discovering, however, that the web publication of the Soncino Talmud translation was certainly not authorized by the Soncino Press, and in addition that the web master who put up this site uses it to attack Jews and Judaism, this web publication seems to me to be very much like the free or for-sale term paper sites -- it purports to present legitimately publicly available information in an easy-to-access form, but actually perpetrates a malicious fraud.

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