Another Tack: The Crusades Aren’t Our Problem

Godfrey of Bouillon (center) as depicted in a 13th Century illustration at the British Museum

Godfrey of Bouillon (center) as depicted in a 13th Century illustration at the British Museum

Last week, at Washington’s annual National Prayer Breakfast, US President Barak Obama admonished us all lest “we get on our high horse and think that this [religious fanaticism] is unique to some other place – remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ … So, it is not unique to one group or one religion.”

This presidential platitude looks innocuous enough except that it’s deceptively simplistic. For one thing it casually glosses over the fact that the crimes it alludes to aren’t contemporaneous.

I am the last who’d seek to whitewash the Christian record. I hazard a guess that my family line was affected way more by Christian brutality than were any of Barack Obama’s ancestors. (Even if we accept his thesis that slavery in the American South and its Jim Crow laws were imposed in the name of Christ, none of Obama’s forebears suffered therefrom).

But one quick glance at my uniquely long genealogical chart will show many names accompanied by the notation “killed for Kiddush Hashem” – the sanctification of the Holy Name – Jewish euphemism for martyrdom.  

Some of my ancestors were executed by Christian persecutors because they resisted attempts to convert them forcibly. Others were massacred by their frenzied Christian neighbors and rampaging Crusaders who hacked them to death in their own homes. The most seminal early mega-trauma registered on our family tree occurred during the First Crusade of 1096, when the Rhineland Jewish communities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz were destroyed in a homicidal tempest.

Peter the Hermit of Amiens and Count Emich of Leiningen exhorted the masses to slaughter the Jews as an extension of their Christian mission. They vilified the Jews as the crucifers of Christ and these helpless heretics were available for immediate retribution – in contrast to the hardly vulnerable, hardly peace-loving, hardly non-aggressive, hardly blameless and more distant Muslims. Besides, robbing the Jews also served to fill Christian coffers and finance the onward march to Jerusalem.

Godfrey of Bouillon, one of the leaders of the First Crusade and first ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, left no doubt when he vowed that he would embark for the Holy Land “only after avenging the blood of the Crucified One by shedding Jewish blood and completely eradicating any trace of those bearing the name ‘Jew,’ thus assuaging His own burning wrath.”

All this, conveniently ignored by today’s educators, was but a prelude to many centuries more of massacres of Jews, expulsions and noxious religious preaching that eventually and inexorably culminated in the Holocaust. Christian clerics implanted in the European mind a deep-seated aversion to Jews that endured even when the hate no longer necessarily relied on religious pretexts.

“Completely eradicating any trace of those bearing the name Jew,” became a slogan shouted loudly and clearly on European soil in the 20th century and millions of ecstatic Germans and their numerous avid collaborators hoarsely shrieked “heil” in approval.

So, if anyone should bear a grudge against the Crusaders, it’s us Jews. We, here today largely descend from survivors of murderous Christian predations.  We are also the children of those who escaped the death warrant issued against every single Jew anywhere by Godfrey’s ideological torchbearer, Adolf Hitler.

Our most compelling historical lesson is inscribed in one phrase of our Passover Hagada: “in each generation they rise against us to destroy us.” In each generation, the guise of the would-be destroyer may change and his idiom mutates, but he is no less dedicated to our annihilation.

Our would-be destroyer at this point in time isn’t burning us at the stake under the sign of the cross and he doesn’t speak Old German or proto-French, or even later Russian and Ukrainian. He speaks Arabic and Farsi. He quotes the Koran, esoteric instructions from the Hadith and fiery sermons by imams and ayatollahs – Sunni, Shiite and all other rival variations.

For that reason, without belittling or exonerating the dark history of Christendom, the Crusaders aren’t our problem today. Neither are the Crusaders the problem of the rest of the West. Obama knows that full well.

Today, the great danger that threatens us Jews foremost – and which will inevitably engulf the entire civilized world – comes from the Islam that had remained what it was in the days of the Crusaders. It had failed to evolve. Its xenophobic and expansionist mindset didn’t reform even if its weapons are thoroughly modern – including long-range missiles and nuclear bombs-in-the-making.

Today’s Islam still fumes and fulminates against infidels as it did a thousand years ago and it maligns any westerners as Crusaders.

The Jewish state is to Muslims (even to the self-styled moderates among them) the most conspicuous reincarnation of the Crusader state. This calumny is disseminated not only by Islamic State (a.k.a. ISIS or ISIL) and by al-Qaida but also by Iran, by the Palestinian Authority (both the Ramallah and Gaza branches), by Qatar, the Gulf Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and numerous others of their ilk – their internecine quarrels notwithstanding.

In Muslim eyes Americans too are Crusaders. Europeans to them are Crusaders. We are all Crusaders. Islam’s radical warriors vow to quash us all – Jew or Christian – in the vehemence of their ongoing anti-Crusader struggle. They persist in waging an ancient war which they regard as alive and relevant today.

Obama, consequently, plays with fire by so much as resorting to Crusader allusions. His very terminology is dangerous. He isn’t just misguidedly calling for repentant humility as prescribed by the politically correct dogma of the High Church of Multiculturalism.

By resonating prevalent Muslim apologetics, Obama effectively tells Muslims that they have a valid gripe. Wittingly or unwittingly, he signals all Muslims – even within the mainstream of purportedly pacifist Muslims – that they are justified to pursue their jihad against all the many national categories currently demonized as Crusaders.

As Jihadists see it, even the American president has now called attention to Crusader sins. Even he has publicly admitted Crusader culpability. Therefore, by their logic, Obama has conceded the righteousness of their reprisal against those who comprise the present-day Crusader enemy ranks.

Sanctimonious and foolhardy, Obama has tossed a flaming match into Islam’s powder keg in the name of the hallowed postmodern creed of moral relativism. The problem is that the Muslim warlords aren’t postmodern but medieval. Moreover, their fervent battle cry beckons many Muslims domiciled in so-called Crusader territory – Boston’s Tsarnaev brothers and Paris’s Kouachi brothers among them.

This is our civilization’s Achilles heel. Today’s theatres of war aren’t in far-flung lands and there are no clearly drawn distinctions between conflict zones and the hinterland. There are no demarcations and no frontlines.

Europe and America have let Islam into their midst and hostilities will rage in New York and in Boston, in London and in Manchester, in Paris and in Toulouse, in Brussels and in Amsterdam, in Madrid and in Burgas, in Moscow and in Beslan. No continent, no country and no city anywhere on this planet is exempt – not Asia or Africa, not Nigeria or Cameroon, not Sydney, Mumbai or Buenos Aires.

The terrorists reside among us and demand our postmodern indulgence for their medieval ghastliness. Obama has just given voice to their grievances and perhaps convinced a few more impressionable members of the much-vaunted silent Muslim majority to join the jihad and to wreak vengeance against latter-day Crusaders.

It’s easy to fall for Obama’s seductive superficiality when he lumps us all in his apparent castigation of religious extremism (by inference we Jews too are included in his censure, although our religion is anything but proselytizing and conquest-oriented).

Yet the thrust of Obama’s argument is that Christians and Jews today shouldn’t condemn those who burn captives alive, decapitate others, stone women, sell small girls into slavery, toss gays off high-rises, bury children alive and actually crucify “infidel” boys – to say nothing of holding hostages to ransom, skyjacking, flying planes into skyscrapers, setting off explosive devices in busy marketplaces, firebombing busses or rocketing civilians in their homes.

The refrain that “everybody is capable of evil” (even when not committing it) is the perfect cop-out for those who do daily plot and perpetrate atrocities. Imagine Churchill telling the Allied nations that they – in fact all liberal-minded folks – are as culpable as the Nazis and as potentially capable of Third Reich barbarity. That would hardly have been the way to boost morale among those who confronted that barbarity.

But Obama has no intention of boosting our morale in the face of barbarity. He diminishes barbarity and taints its opponents.

No surprise here. Anyone who heard him at the outset of his presidency suck up to Islam in Cairo should have understood that he has no intention of addressing Islam’s excesses.

The object of Obama’s rebuke from the get-go was what he portrayed as Western arrogance and American dominance. In these he identified what ails the world. The democracies, as per his universalist post-colonial precepts (tinged with Marxism), were those who needed dressing down.

Hence the term “Islamic terror” is forbidden in official US parlance and hence American leadership in the world is not what this Oval Office occupier advocates.

The fact that Obama had to reach back a thousand years to come up with excuses for the enemy he dare not name says it all. Don’t be knocked for a loop, fellow Israelis, if he next tells us that since America has the bomb it’s unfair to deny it to the Iranians.

And if Iran threatens to wipe us off the map – in its own adaptation of Godfrey’s oath to “completely eradicate” us – we must charitably consider historical parallels and not whine against Tehran. In Obama’s worldview there are no differences between east and west, past and present, democracies and theocracies, today’s rampant Islamic terror and Crusader onslaughts of the Eleventh Century.

Indeed, why single out Islamists when Crusaders also butchered Jews? Why should contemporary Muslims be prohibited from doing what Crusaders so excelled at a millennium ago?

Throughout the ages Jews were accused of being too inherently intransigent for their own good. We still apparently are. Even today we stubbornly will not acquiesce in our own mass-murder by Muslims just because the Crusaders attempted it first.

Egotistically we refuse to appreciate the wisdom of getting nuked out of existence by Islamic zealots just because their Christian counterparts strove to eradicate us beforehand. Obama’s edifying equivalency fails to overcome our parochial tunnel vision.

15 thoughts on “Another Tack: The Crusades Aren’t Our Problem

  1. Obama wants us dead. So of course does Islam.

    Obama was born technically a Muslim, with a Muslim biological father and then a Muslim step father. Obama claimed to be a Christian because he couldn’t otherwise get traction in the organizing community as a Muslim. He also probably does not have the balls to be an overt Muslim. Few people are able to escape being a Muslim at heart. Obama is not one of them.

    It’s hard to internalize, but yes, the current president of the United States wants us dead.

    Bush may have been dumb but he loved his country and it’s people (and also some Muslims, which is where some of the dumbness comes into play). Obama on the other hand isn’t so much dumb as he hates our guts and those of what is left of the mainstream American people.

    And we were so intellectually lazy and brainwashed that 75% of us voted for him – twice! Most are still spoon-fed by the media-of-convenience and too many still don’t get it. Many still believe what Obama says to us, but have cognitive dissonance regarding what he otherwise says and does, e.g. Iran and Islam itself.

    If anything, Honig starts off by giving Obama too much of the benefit-of-the-doubt. But the weight of her arguments shows Obama’s true nature and intention. There is no escaping the facts either on Islam nor Obama, both dedicated to our destruction. Both behaving not unalike, with two opposing sides of the mouth always in opposite motion.

    Search for the following: There are two forms of lying to non-believers that are permitted under certain circumstances, taqiyya and kitman.

    Honig is precisely correct, if initially a little easy on Obama.

    The education Honig provides on the greater details of the Crusades, which itself was a response to the invasion of Islam, are also appreciated. I for one have gained knowledge and a better perspective. Thank you Sarah.

    For Sarah’s knowledge, insight and writing, western civilization might survive.

    Now let’s do our part to make sure that happens. Educate your fellow citizen as to the true nature of Islam and Obama. Study both if you are not already fully familiar with their details and true nature.

    Thank you Sarah.

    • I do not believe that is correct. Obama is a Christian, as are his wife and daughters. He did spend time in Indonesia in his youth and I think he developed a visceral attachment to Islam as well but those are just emotional reactions, they have nothing to do with policy.
      I believe Obama is, at heart, an appeaser. He wants everyone to be friends and the feathers he will smooth are the ones most easily ruffled.
      That was how he got elected president of the Harvard Law Review. He was liberal but bent over backwards to accommodate the conservatives. After he was elected President he appeased Wall Street in spite of the fact that they were the ones responsible for the financial debacle. He attempted to reconcile with the Republicans who make it a point of honor never to agree with him – even on their own bills! With the Health Care bill he went along with Congress even though he had the mandate to make everyone bend to his will. The Congress in turn allowed the Insurance companies to write the bill. Finally, the point at hand. He knows the Jews have to take whatever he gives, so he gives nothing. The Muslims on the other hand make crazy noises act like they’ll do anything if he opposes them. They aren’t so tough (look how poorly they defend themselves from ISIS which kills them more than any other) but they ACT tough – and that’s what appeasers respond to.
      “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” – and he’s far from the best.

  2. The key phrase, to me, was:
    “noxious religious preaching that eventually and inexorably culminated in the Holocaust”. Anti-Jewish genocidal rage is inherent in both sub-sects. Yes, not EVERYONE, but it doesn’t take everyone, does it?
    The post-modern view is, “Hitler was a Bad Man. He victimized everyone, especially the Germans. We are tired of your paranoiac whining (Free Palestine)”.
    The difference between the crusades and the present is brains now win over muscle. So yes, muslims have the brutality and the hatred but they haven’t the intelligence. Has anyone noticed how LONG it is taking for the Iranians to develop the Bomb? Even with help from Khan and Khaddafi and Kim? The three kays, all to help the fourth.

  3. Indeed early Christians/Catholic Church were a murderous lot. Hence part of why there was centuries later the Reformation leading to Protestant massacres by those same Catholic advocates. My family were French Huguenots and killed down to one fortunate son, Issac, who escaped with the family bible to the new world, to become Americans. There has not been a uprising of Christians in centuries, but that never stops the non-Christian Obama from finding fault with every religion but Islam, for obvious reasons.

  4. Dear Sarah, I was both amazed and horrified at Obama’s latest comments, he really seems to have either willfully drifted towards the mad men of middle east or accidentally exposed his real historical feelings as they have always been, its mind boggling to consider this man as the so called leader of the free world, its absolutely frightening, more so, sadly than the mullahs or Iran, they are not very good at hiding their true intentions, and now that Obama is in his home stretch, it looks like he is no longer trying to hide his, he is probably going to be remembered as the least popular US president in history, your writing is amazing again, thank you, I was hoping you would address these latest expose’s of his, along with his more recent comments that the chaps who shot up the Kosher store in paris were just committing a random act of violence,,, could he be more see thru? Israel cannot rely on this man…..thank you for articulating it/exposing him so well!

  5. Dear Sarah,
    Obama is on his way to becoming the most evil ruler that ever lived, far surpassing Hitler, not only in barbarity,
    but also in the amount humans wiped off the face of the earth, which will top out at somewhere between 2 and 3 billion dead.
    The present Pope shall be his sidekick.
    Whoever doesn’t understand these things would be advised to immediatly pull their head out of the dark orifice located on their backside and smell the nuclear roses.
    Have a pleasant little WW III.
    Yours lovingly,
    Noody
    שבת שלום

  6. Yes Sarah…and NOW Bibi has to stand big before the American Congress and he MUST and he will tell the truth to America and to the world.
    He will tell the truth about Irans nuclear Holocaust program in the making.
    Obama is a lame duck already and in one year from now the US will go into full swing, to find his successor.
    Hussein Obama has done a lot of harm to Israel during his six years of support for the Iranian monsters, NOW with the Republicans in control of Congress, is the time to finally break free from that EVIL man.
    We A L L support Bibis MOST IMPORTANT speech !
    IRAN MUST BE STOPPED BY ALL MEANS POSSIBLY, TO BECOME A NUCLEAR TERROR ENTITY !
    THE IRANIAN NAZIS MUST BE STOPPED NOW !
    NEVER AGAIN !

  7. Sarah you are so right about Adolf Hitlers ideological connection to the Crusaders.
    The poisoned words of the “New Testament” are the roots of Antisemitism and it will be worth a try to obliterate those words…

  8. President Obama’s words merely reflect the spirit of the Antichrist at work in the world today. He, and others who think like him, are always looking for an excuse to justify Islam. This is just my personal opinion, but I believe, echoing the words of the late Bible teacher, Derek Prince, “Islam is the most powerful, sinister force opposing the truth of God in the world today.”
    In his speech at the UN in 2012 Obama declared, “The future belongs to those who will not slander the prophet of Islam” What many people fail to realize is that Christians and Jews and others “slander” the prophet of Islam merely by existing on the same planet with Muslims who see them as unbelievers or “infidels”.
    Apparently, what the president does not know, or care to know about. is that while Jesus hung in terrible agony on the cross, He was more concerned with the souls of the people killing Him than His own suffering.
    Jesus loved the people who were jeering and mocking Him.
    That’s why He asked, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
    This single, yet profound statement, spoken by the Lord from the cross, gives absolutely no excuse to the people whom over the centuries have claimed to represent Christ-and this includes both the Roman Papacy, the Crusaders, and the great reformer, Martin Luther, and many others-but instead of showing His love and mercy to the world, chose to bow their knee to the lies and deception of Satan, in order to justify the persecution and murder of the Jewish people, calling them, “Christ-killers” and blaming them for everything, from causing the Black Death in Europe by poisoning well water to stealing Christian babies to be used in blood sacrifices, to being in league with the devil, etc. Outrageous lies, and yet, many people chose to believe what they were being told by church authorities. Just like what is happening today. Many self-professed Christians, at the urgings of their leaders, have joined the boycott and divestment campaign against Israel in protest of the “occupation of Palestine”.
    The very word, “Christian” has far too many negative connotations associated with it today. I prefer to call myself a believer and follower of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, the Hebrew Messiah. Furthermore, I love and support the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. And, like many other believers in America, my thoughts and my prayers are with them in these uncertain and perilous times.

  9. As a genealogist I’d love to see your “uniquely long genealogical chart”. I’ve only ever met one fellow-Ashkenazi Jew who could trace back in unbroken line as far as the 14th century – most of us run into the sand around 1750. This does not, of course, detract in anyway from the profound rightness of your blog – which I’m sharing.

    • Ric, as a genealogist you should be very aware that lots of Ashkenazi families easily trace their ancestry to way before 1750.

      The fact that you had failed to encounter any, doesn’t mean much except that you need to hone your genealogical skills. There’s much to learn.

      • Naama, I would be fascinated to continue this conversation, but perhaps on another forum as it’s off-topic. Suffice it to say that by “unbroken line” I mean generation by generation without skipping, giving references for birth and marriage/chuppah for each ancestor.

  10. Among the things I’d say to Obama, given the chance, is not to use the massacres committed by the Crusaders as an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for not curbing Islamic atrocities committed today. Fancy way of saying that two wrongs don’t make a right. However, moral idiocy(read; equivalency) aside, the West really should get up a big crusade, to first put the Islamic expansionists on notice that their current 20 year long intifada against the West won’t be tolerated any longer, and then gradually deport them from the various countries they’re threatening to overrun. But most important, something has changed in the European psyche. In times past, Muslim invasions were met with force, and either defeated or resisted for a long time. Charles Martel, El-Cid, John Sobieski(King of Poland), and eventually, Thomas Jefferson, William Eaton, and the U.S. Navy(in 1801), all fought and defeated rampaging Islamic expansion. Where are they today?

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