Mel Brooks on Being a Jew

may be angry at God or at the world, and I'm sure that a lot of my comedy is based on anger and hostility. It comes from a feeling that as a Jew and as a person, I don't fit into the mainstream of American society. Feeling different, feeling alienated, feeling persecuted,
feeling that the only way you can deal with the world is to laugh – because if you don't laugh you're going to cry and never stop crying – that's probably what's responsible for the Jews having developed such a great sense of humor. The people who had the greatest reason to weep, learned more than anyone else how to laugh.

Based on the accomplishments of individual Jews, Nobel Prize winners and heroes of modern culture, as well as the amount of attention Jews get in the media, you'd never believe the correct answers: There are little more than 13 million Jews in the world, comprising less than
1/4 of 1% of the world's population!!!! Do you think it's just a coincidence? Twenty-one percent of Nobel Prize winners have been Jews,
even though Jews comprise less than one-quarter of one percent of the world's population. Choose any field, and you will find that Jews have excelled in it.

Think of the names of many modern-day figures most responsible for the intellectual turning points in history - MARX, FREUD, EINSTEIN (Editor’s Note: Hey! How about Moses, the Prophets, and Yeshua?) and you will find proof of the Biblical verdict: "Surely this is ... a wise and understanding people." There simply is no way to deny it. Jews really are smart. There must be a reason - and I can give you three:


¿ HEREDITY - Historians have pointed out a fascinating difference between Jews and Christians. In Christianity, as well as in many other religions, holiness was identified with asceticism, great spirituality with the practice of celibacy. For centuries the finest minds among Christians were urged to join the church and become priests.

That effectively condemned their genetic pool of intelligence to an untimely end. Jews, on the other hand, took quite seriously the first commandment to mankind - to be fruitful and multiply. Sex was never seen as sinful, but rather as one of those things created by God that He surely must have had in mind when he declared, in reviewing his work, that, "Behold everything was very good."

Among Jews, the most intelligent were encouraged to become religious leaders. As rabbis, they had to serve as role models for their congregants as procreators and "fathers of their countries." Brains got passed on from generation to generation, and Jews today are still reaping the benefits of the frequent sexual activities of their ancestors.

¿ ENVIRONMENT - If challenge and response are the keys to creativity and achievement, it's no surprise that Jews are smart; they've been challenged more than anyone else on earth. The school of hard knocks is a wonderful teacher. Jews had no choice but to learn to be better than anyone else since the odds were always so very much stacked against them. When you're born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you tend to get fat and lazy.

When you're born with the lash of a whip on your back, you quickly learn to become crafty, street smart, and knowledgeable in everything that will help you make it through life.  

¿ A UNIQUE VALUE SYSTEM - We still haven't touched on the most important
reason of all. Jews are smart because they have been raised in a tradition that treasures education above everything else, that considers study the highest obligation of mankind, and that identifies the intellect as part of us created in "the image of God."

To be illiterate was unheard of in the Jewish world, not only because it was a sign of stupidity, but, more significantly, because it was a sin. Jews are obligated by law to review the Bible every year, dividing it into manageable weekly sections. The widespread custom when a child turned three years old was to write the letter of the Hebrew alphabet on a board in honey and have the child learn them as he licked them off, equating their meaning with the taste of sweetness.

Jews studied the Midrash, and it taught them: The Sword and the Book came from Heaven together, and the Holy One said: "Keep what is written in this Book or be destroyed by the other." Jews studied the Mishna and it taught them, “Say not, ‘when I have leisure…’ ” Philosophical Tevye, that delightful creation of the Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem and the star of Fiddler On The Roof, explained that Jews always wear hats because they never know when they will be forced to travel.

What he didn't say, which is probably more important, is that they always made sure to have something under their hats and inside of
their heads - because physical possessions could be taken from them, but what they accumulated in their minds would always remain the greatest "merchandise" a Jew possesses!

Presbyterian Church Defames Christianity
Dennis Prager (archive)

I have argued in this column that the greatest sin is committing evil in God's name. As bad as the evil committed by secularists, such as communists and Nazis, has ever been, the most grievous evil is that which is committed in the name of God. For not only do religious evils harm their victims, they also do lasting damage to God-based morality, which those of us who believe in God and religion consider the only viable antidote to evil.

That is why Islamic terror is so evil. Not only because it targets the most innocent of people for death and torture, but because it does so in the name of Allah and Islam.

Incredibly, The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) joins the list of religious groups committing evil. In the name of Jesus, it has called for the economic strangulation of Israel. They have equated the Jewish state with South Africa during apartheid and called for a universal divestment from it.

     The Presbyterians are the first Christian church to do this, and, ironically, the divestment campaign came the very week that the Roman Catholic Church signed a document equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

     It takes a particularly virulent strain of moral idiocy and meanness to single out Israel, not Arafat's Palestinian Authority, or terror-supporting, death-fatwa-issuing Iran, or women-subjugating Saudi Arabia, for condemnation and economic ruin. One of the most decent societies, one of the most liberal democracies in the world, is fighting for its life against Islamic fascists who praise the Holocaust and publicly call for the annihilation of Israel -- and the Presbyterian Church calls for strangling Israel!

     Apartheid state? This Goebbels-like Big Lie, concocted by the world's anti-Israel and anti-American Left and by those who want Israel destroyed, is now an official doctrine of the Presbyterian Church. Israel is a nation whose population is one-quarter non-Jewish Arab, with the same rights, including voting and its own political parties, as Jewish citizens; a nation whose second official language is Arabic, the language of those who wish to annihilate the Jewish country; a nation that occupies a tiny sliver of land known as the West Bank only because Jordan, overwhelmingly composed of Palestinians, invaded Israel in 1967 in order to destroy it and thereby lost its ownership of the West Bank.

     As an American who fights to preserve Judeo-Christian values as America's primary value system and preserve Christianity as the specific American faith that embodies those values, I can only say this: the God that the 431 leaders of the Presbyterian Church worship is not my God, any more than the Allah of the Islamic fascists that Israel and America fight is my God.

     The Bible that these Presbyterians read is not my Bible.

     The religious values that these Presbyterians hold are not my religious values.

     This is not a difference about immigration policy, affirmative action, taxation, bigger or smaller government, welfare policies, gun control, or a myriad of other moral issues over which decent, God-fearing people can disagree.

     This is one of the morality-clarifying issues of our time. To single out Israel for economic strangulation while that good nation fights for its life is an act of such immorality that holding that view precludes one from the title "good" or "God-fearing," for if they are true to God, I am false to Him. If they are good, I who support Israel am bad. If their Bible teaches them to strangle Israel and support Yasser Arafat, I am guided by a different Bible.

     They have drawn a line. It is now time for good people, Presbyterians specifically, Christians generally, to distance themselves vigorously and publicly from this morally sick church. And it is time, once again, for Jews to realize that the enemies of the Jews in our day are to be found on the Christian Left while their friends are far more often on the Christian Right.

     Many serious Christians ask, "What Would Jesus Do?" If Jesus were here, he would probably be at Israeli hospitals comforting fellow Jews who were deliberately blinded, paralyzed and brain-damaged by Jew- and Christian-hating Palestinian terrorists. He would surely not be with the Jews' enemies, among whom are now the leaders of the Presbyterian Church, USA.

©2004 Creators Syndicate, Inc.