June 10, 2009
Shooter Claimed Source in the Talmud
White Supremacist and Holocaust denier James Von Brunn, who shot and killed a security guard in an attack on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum today, titled his anti-Semitic manifesto “Tob Shebbe Goyim Harog – Kill the Best Gentiles.” He claimed the quote comes from Talmud Sanhedrin, 59B.
Von Brunn’s citation is a few pages off (the correct text is on 57A), and he pulls the idea out of context and distorts it. Rabbi Gil Student, writing in “The Real Truth About the Talmud,” put to rest a long time ago the canard that the Talmud enjoins Jews to kill Gentiles.
The quote is pulled from a midrash about the Exodus, in which the only Egyptians said to have survived the plagues and thus able to give chase to the Jews in their final escape from Pharoah were those who were God fearing. Yet even those Egyptians proved themselves to be a threat to the Jews, and so, Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai concludes in the Mechilta Midrash, quoted on Talmud Sanhedrin 57A, in a time of war when Jewish lives are threatened, “Kill even the best of the Gentiles.”
For a full explanation and citations, as well as rabbinic treatment of this issue, see http://www.angelfire.com/mt/talmud/kill.html.