September 4th, 2013
04:47 PM ET

Iranian president's surprising message to Jews

By Daniel Burke and Mitra Mobasherat, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - Marking a sharp shift from his Holocaust-denying predecessor, new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday appeared to wish "all Jews" a "blessed Rosh Hashanah" on his English-language Twitter account.

Rosh Hashanah, of course, is the Jewish celebration of the new year. As Rouhani mentions, it began Wednesday at sundown. The image in the tweet is reportedly taken from a synagogue in Tehran.

Rouhani, a Shiite Muslim cleric, was elected president in June. He is widely seen as more moderate than former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, though his goodwill gesture on Wednesday stunned even veteran Iran watchers.

“Not even under the monarchy do we remember such a message,” Haleh Esfandiari, a native Iranian and director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, told Al-Monitor.

On Thursday, however, Mohammadreza Sadegh, an adviser to Rouhani, told Iran's Fars News Agency that the Rosh Hashanah tweet did not come from the Iranian president. The tweet came from former campaign aides, rather, who run the Twitter account, Sadegh said.

"All the news regarding the president, after his election, is reflected by his appointed bureau chief and those are the only official reports. Mr. Rouhani does not have a Twitter account," Sadegh told Fars.

A close aide to Rouhani, however, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that while the president does not tweet from his account, people in his office do, so it is semi-official.

Interest in Rouhani's Twitter account was nearly eclipsed on Thursday by extraordinary Tweets from the official account of Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister.

If the name of Zarif's interlocutor looks familiar, it should. @SFPelosi is the Twitter account of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's daughter, Christine Pelosi.

Ahmadinejad isn't as tech savvy nor as pluralistic as Rouhani, but on a few occasions, he would issue positive statements about Christmas or Rosh Hashanah.

The former Iranian president was much more widely known, however, for saying that Israel should be eliminated and calling the Holocaust a myth. Usually, Ahmadinejad would caution that he was criticizing "Zionists," not all Jews.

Fewer than 10,000 Jews remain in Iran, according to the JTA, the Jewish news service, which still makes it the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside of Israel.

Religious minorities are not completely free to participate in Iranian government and often face discrimination, but Jews and Christians are, to some extent, allowed to live and worship openly in Iran.

As Washington Post foreign policy expert Max Fisher points out, it's difficult to extricate Rouhani's tweet from the context of Israeli-Iranian politics.

"It’s not exactly a unilateral declaration of peace – tomorrow, Iran will probably still support Hezbollah – but it’s yet another hint of Rouhani’s efforts to dramatically soften Iranian foreign policy and rhetoric," Fisher writes.

In honor of Rosh Hashanah, here are some other things to know about the Jewish holiday:

According to the Talmud, the world was created on the first day of Tishri, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. So Rosh Hashanah is considered a birthday of sorts for the world. (Other rabbis teach that it honors the day Adam and Eve were created.)

It is celebrated on the first and second days of the month of Tishri, which generally corresponds to September or October on the Gregorian calendar.

Rosh Hashanah begins the High Holy Days or Ten Days of Penitence, which end 10 days later with Yom Kippur.

One of the most significant rituals during Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the Shofar, or ram's horn. It is used as a call to repentance during the High Holy Days.

During this time, Jewish people attend synagogue services and refrain from working.

Another popular practice is to eat apples dipped in honey, symbolizing the hope for a good year to come. Also, challah bread in round loaves instead of braided loaves is dipped in honey instead of salt.

Pomegranates are eaten because the seeds are symbolic of the many commandments in the Torah that Jews must fulfill.

Another popular ritual is to walk to a river or stream and recite special prayers of penitence. Afterwards, one throws breadcrumbs in the river, to symbolically cast away sins.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Foreign policy • Holidays • Holocaust • Iran • Iran • Judaism

soundoff (659 Responses)
  1. Colin

    The following is a copy of an article written by Spanish writer Sebastian Vilar Rodriguez and published in a Spanish newspaper on Jan. 15, 2008. It doesn't take much imagination to extrapolate the message to the rest of Europe – and possibly to the rest of the world.

    Date: Tue. 15 January 2008 14:30


    I walked down the street in Barcelona , and suddenly discovered a terrible truth – Europe died in Auschwitz . We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.

    The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, International trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned.

    And under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty, due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.

    They have blown up our trains and turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime.

    Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.

    And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and supersti.tion.

    We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.

    What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe .

    The Global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000; that is ONE BILLION TWO HUNDRED MILLION or 20% of the world's population. They have received the following Nobel Prizes:

    1988 – Najib Mahfooz

    1978 – Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat
    1990 – Elias James Corey
    1994 – Yaser Arafat:
    1999 – Ahmed Zewai



    1960 – Peter Brian Medawar
    1998 – Ferid Mourad


    The Global Jewish population is approximately 14,000,000; that is FOURTEEN MILLION or about 0.02% of the world's population. They have received the following Nobel Prizes:

    1910 – Paul Heyse
    1927 – Henri Bergson
    1958 – Boris Pasternak
    1966 – Shmuel Yosef Agnon
    1966 – Nelly Sachs
    1976 – Saul Bellow
    1978 – Isaac Bashevis Singer
    1981 – Elias Canetti
    1987 – Joseph Brodsky
    1991 – Nadine Gordimer World

    1911 – Alfred Fried
    1911 – Tobias Michael Carel Asser
    1968 – Rene Cassin
    1973 – Henry Kissinger
    1978 – Menachem Begin
    1986 – Elie Wiesel
    1994 – Shimon Peres
    1994 – Yitzhak Rabin

    1905 – Adolph Von Baeyer
    1906 – Henri Moissan
    1907 – Albert Abraham Michelson
    1908 – Gabriel Lippmann
    1910 – Otto Wallach
    1915 – Richard Willstaetter
    1918 – Fritz Haber
    1921 – Albert Einstein
    1922 – Niels Bohr
    1925 – James Franck
    1925 – Gustav Hertz
    1943 – Gustav Stern
    1943 – George Charles de Hevesy
    1944 – Isidor Issac Rabi
    1952 – Felix Bloch
    1954 – Max Born
    1958 – Igor Tamm
    1959 – Emilio Segre
    1960 – Donald A. Glaser
    1961 – Robert Hofstadter
    1961 – Melvin Calvin
    1962 – Lev Davidovich Landau
    1962 – Max Ferdinand Perutz
    1965 – Richard Phillips Feynman
    1965 – Julian Schwinger
    1969 – Murray Gell-Mann
    1971 – Dennis Gabor
    1972 – William Howard Stein
    1973 – Brian David Josephson
    1975 – Benjamin Mottleson
    1976 – Burton Richter
    1977 – Ilya Prigogine
    1978 – Arno Allan Penzias
    1978 – Peter L Kapitza
    1979 – Stephen Weinberg
    1979 – Sheldon Glashow
    1979 – Herbert Charles Brown
    1980 – Paul Berg
    1980 – Walter Gilbert
    1981 – Roald Hoffmann
    1982 – Aaron Klug
    1985 – Albert A. Hauptman
    1985 – Jerome Karle
    1986 – Dudley R. Herschbach
    1988 – Robert Huber
    1988 – Leon Lederman
    1988 – Melvin Schwartz
    1988 – Jack Steinberger
    1989 – Sidney Altman
    1990 – Jerome Friedman
    1992 – Rudolph Marcus
    1995 – Martin Perl
    2000 – Alan J. Heeger

    1970 – Paul Anthony Samuelson
    1971 – Simon Kuznets
    1972 – Kenneth Joseph Arrow
    1975 – Leonid Kantorovich
    1976 – Milton Friedman
    1978 – Herbert A. Simon
    1980 – Lawrence Robert Klein
    1985 – Franco Modigliani
    1987 – Robert M. Solow
    1990 – Harry Markowitz
    1990 – Merton Miller
    1992 – Gary Becker
    1993 – Robert Fogel

    1908 – Elie Metchnikoff
    1908 – Paul Erlich
    1914 – Robert Barany
    1922 – Otto Meyerhof
    1930 – Karl Landsteiner
    1931 – Otto Warburg
    1936 – Otto Loewi
    1944 – Joseph Erlanger
    1944 – Herbert Spencer Gasser
    1945 – Ernst Boris Chain
    1946 – Hermann Joseph Muller
    1950 – Tadeus Reichstein
    1952 – Selman Abraham Waksman
    1953 – Hans Krebs
    1953 – Fritz Albert Lipmann
    1958 – Joshua Lederberg
    1959 – Arthur Kornberg
    1964 – Konrad Bloch
    1965 – Francois Jacob
    1965 – Andre Lwoff
    1967 – George Wald
    1968 – Marshall W. Nirenberg
    1969 – Salvador Luria
    1970 – Julius Axelrod
    1970 – Sir Bernard Katz
    1972 – Gerald Maurice Edelman
    1975 – Howard Martin Temin
    1976 – Baruch S. Blumberg
    1977 – Roselyn Sussman Yalow
    1978 – Daniel Nathans
    1980 – Baruj Benacerraf
    1984 – Cesar Milstein
    1985 – Michael Stuart Brown
    1985 – Joseph L. Goldstein
    1986 – Stanley Cohen [& Rita Levi-Montalcini]
    1988 – Gertrude Elion
    1989 – Harold Varmus
    1991 – Erwin Neher
    1991 – Bert Sakmann
    1993 – Richard J. Roberts
    1993 – Phillip Sharp
    1994 – Alfred Gilman
    1995 – Edward B. Lewis
    1996- Lu RoseIacovino
    TOTAL: 129!

    The Jews are NOT promoting brain washing children in military training camps, teaching them how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of Jews and other non Muslims. The Jews don't hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics, or blow themselves up in German restaurants. There is NOT one single Jew who has destroyed a church. There is NOT a single Jew who protests by killing people.

    The Jews don't traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and death to all the Infidels.

    Perhaps the world's Muslims should consider investing more in standard education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems.

    Muslims must ask 'what can they do for humankind' before they demand that humankind respects them.

    Regardless of your feelings about the crisis between Israel and the Palestinians and Arab neighbors, even if you believe there is more culpability on Israel 's part, the following two sentences really say it all:

    'If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel." Benjamin Netanyahu

    September 4, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • anti-propaganda

      It has been established scientifically that the Ashkenazi Jews are among the most, if not THE most genetically predisposed to higher intelligence. Your post puts the spotlight on what has replaced them: feudal medieval tribal warfare and murder, immigration and invasion, corruption and terrorism. There may be no end to the Jihad until all muslims are removed from the lands they infiltrated. I do not advocate violence, but I don't know what methods can remove the invading murderous culture from our cities and countries.

      September 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • guy

      To be fair, muslims typically were not as rich as jews so did not have as much opportunity for an education, in addition to fact they were from the middle east which, while had some significant contribution to the sciences, fell on the wayside while science exploded in europe (historically)

      September 4, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
      • Colin

        Guy, you said "To be fair, muslims typically were not as rich as jews so did not have as much opportunity for an education." Bullsh.it. With 1.2 billion people and about 15% of the Earth's land under their control, Muslims have had every opportunity.

        The Jews have done more with a country the size of a large Montana county than the Muslims have with all of the Middle East and Southern Asia.

        September 4, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
        • JeffinHouston

          And this is AFTER their numbers were decimated by Hitler.

          September 4, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
        • jango

          This is another sign of your lack of education 🙁 People in muslim countries did have their scientific era when, most of white Europe was inhabited by crazy morons, burning witches. Luckily for the white guys, there was no Noble Prize back then. European, American or Israeli Jews benefited from global hegemony white countries had established over the centuries. But this century is the chinese century, buddy. That means that over the next 3, 4, or 5 decades you guys will crawl back to your caves and forget what DNA actually means. The funniest thing are morons like you, who actually are proud of the achievements of other (usually smarter) people. Tell me, what exactly do you have in common with Einstein?? Your religion? Is religion a race? Even if that were the case, just because Shakespeare was a great poet, every Englishman is a great poet? Or has the ability to be a great poet? You guys are just ridiculous 🙂

          September 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
      • togirl188

        i thought they had all the oil. It certainly isn't in Israel., However if you wish to read about industry in Israel I suggest you read
        Start up Nation. Shows you dont need oil to make a lot of $.

        September 4, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Akira

      Food for thought, indeed.

      September 4, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • togirl188

      thank you

      September 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • Proud Bostonion

      Peter Medawar was not muslim. His dad was a Lebanese Christian, his mom was Brit. Medawar was an athiest.

      On the other hand there have been other muslim nobel laureates not listed here. Mohammed Yunus (Economics), Abdus Salam (Physics)..

      Its a list designed to put down a people by pretending to be erudite when its bunkum.

      September 4, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
  2. currency1896

    he has to now worry more about sunni / al qaeda than he does israel, thus new friends ? .... crazy planet

    September 4, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
  3. ERichards

    I find it shocking and amusing that so many people on this planet believe a manic-depressive, attention-wh0re of some particular gender to be "God".

    September 4, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • FlaEMT

      And I find it shocking and amusing that the whole time atheists complain about those with religious beliefs an overwhelming number exhibit the same annoying behaviors as those they're criticizing. This especially includes the habit of shoving their beliefs in your face and down your throat. People of all faiths and no faith ALL need to stop trying to force others to believe what they do.

      September 4, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
      • ERichards

        If you referring to me as an atheist you are mistaken. My criticism of the masses' definition of "God" is in no way a reflection of my own spiritual beliefs. "God", "Atheist", "Heaven", "Hell" etc. are silly labels. Most people like yourself tend to pursue labels and do not try to understand the underlying reality, tend to choose form over substance.

        That being said, a mere expression of thoughts is a basic human right and does not equal shoving my beliefs down someone's throat.

        September 5, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  4. Watching in the wings

    Do all anti-zionists have to be anti-semites? No. It is entirely possible to have no problem with Jewish people or their religion and still have problems with the existence of the state of Israel or its behavior.

    September 4, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • Frank

      They will be nice now to get those nukes. We will never see it coming when they wipe us out with our colossal STUPIDITY and child like NAIVETY in our government.

      September 4, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
      • carczarconsultingdotcom


        September 4, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Marcus Pearl

      Anti-Zionism is just an excuse for people to blame the Jews for the world's problems. it is the same thing just a different name

      September 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • togirl188

      for those of us on the receiving end of that hate, hate is hate.

      September 4, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
  5. Scott

    Iran actually has closer to 35,000 Jewish residents. But Ahmendynajhad (SP) was often misquoted. He never said Isreal should be eliminated. He said it would be eliminated, and elaborated eventually, the Muslims and Christians in Isreal and the West Bank would out populate the Jews, making Isreal an Apartheid state. Let's get it right. Ahmed was more moderate than most MSM and Isreal supporters give him credit for. He wanted to allow women to attend men's soccer matches, that was verboten under the mullahs. He butted heads with them and lost on that. He was a loud mouth, but he also had to be. But this could all go South attacking Syria.

    September 4, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • Akira

      So Ahmadinejad was merely misunderstood? Okay.

      September 4, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  6. Hank

    He was just being nice because his country is about to wipe them off the map.

    September 4, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Arsio

      llol...I hope you're right on this my friend.

      September 4, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
  7. children of Israel

    Rebekah a Syrian woman gave birth to Jacob / Israel. (Genesis 25:28) *Romans 9:13*

    September 4, 2013 at 6:54 pm |

    Dear reality, the versus you quoted are taken out of context and incomplete. Here is an example of one (surah 48 V29). Here is the complete verse. Take care- Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah ; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in prayer], seeking bounty from Allah and [His] pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from the trace of prostration. That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks, delighting the sowers – so that Allah may enrage by them the disbelievers. Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward.

    September 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • EMcK

      Deuteronomy 13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
      13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
      13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
      13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

      September 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • Colin

      Current religious conflicts in the World.

      Alawite Muslims v. Suni Muslims in Syria
      Muslims v. Coptic Christians in Egypt
      Muslims v. Jews in Palestine
      Muslims v. Buddhists in Myanmar
      Muslims v. Hindus in Kashmire
      Muslims v. Christians in Northern Nigeria
      Muslims v. Catholics in Phillipines
      Shia Muslims v. Sunni Muslims in Iraq

      Ya starting to see a theme.........

      September 4, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
      • togirl188

        Yeah, those Muslims dont get along with anyone.

        September 4, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
  9. jonquil123

    Wow. This is wonderful and confusing. Will tolerance and good will become a trend in Iran? Time will tell but the World will take good signs when we can.

    September 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  10. Shannon

    Extremists are probably already lining up to assassinate him just for making the comment. This will not set well with them.

    September 4, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
  11. Marty in MA

    Fars News journalist Sadegh Ghorbani reports that a Rouhani spokesperson says that the president does not have a Twitter account.

    September 4, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Gary Bonner

      Why sow discord by inventing a lie like that?

      September 4, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
  12. children of Israel

    Heaven will be on earth. Hell is the grave. (Isaiah 14:9) *Matthew 6:10*

    September 4, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Boring troll is boring.

      September 4, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
      • .

        so are you

        September 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  13. carczarconsultingdotcom

    Hope, perhaps. Change? Reagan: "Trust but verify."

    September 4, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
  14. Helen Burnstein

    Is this a joke, Iran is really schizo

    September 4, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  15. Barry McDonald

    Whats that rascally Iranian up to?

    September 4, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • TheGrimJester

      Using his left hand to promote good will while his right hand beats people with a stick?

      September 4, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
      • netanyahu

        thats like izraeliz crying in pain everytime they strike you...

        September 4, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Yep. Their k!ll ratio is like four to one, or three to one, isn't it? For every Israeli who gets it, they take out three Palestinians.

          September 4, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
      • bellenoitr

        He only has rhetoric. He has no powers. The ayatollahs have the power.

        September 4, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
  16. YeahRight

    Boy oh boy! I guess we don't need to mistrust him now. He loves the Jews! Everything is a-ok in Iran now, and now the Middle East can be peaceful. Yay!

    September 4, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
  17. CommonSensed

    Wow. An Iranian president who may not be a complete whackjob.


    September 4, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
  18. Reality

    Is the result of the sanctions? Let us hope so.

    But then there is this from the Koran:

    http://www.muslimaccess.com/quraan/arabic/005.asp et al
    o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
    "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

    "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

    "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

    "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

    "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

    "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

    "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

    "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

    "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

    "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

    "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

    "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

    "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

    "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

    September 4, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • religioushypocrites

      have you looked at the violence in the old testament ?.. it makes the Koran look like a children's book. I love how jews and christians rip into the koran but dismiss their own religious god ordaned violence from the old testament

      September 4, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
      • Reality

        •Exodus 32: 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf.

        •Numbers 31: After killing all men, boys and married women among the Midianites, 32,000 virgins remain as booty for the Israelites. (If unmarried girls are a quarter of the population, then 96,000 people were killed.)

        •Joshua: ◦Joshua 8: 12,000 men and women, all the people of Ai, killed.
        ◦Joshua 10: Joshua completely destroys Gibeon ("larger than Ai"), Makeddah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, Debir. "He left no survivors."
        ◦Joshua 11: Hazor destroyed. [Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (1987), estimates the population of Hazor at ?> 50,000]
        ◦TOTAL: if Ai is average, 12,000 x 9 = 108,000 killed.

        •Judges 1: 10,000 Canaanites k. at Battle of Bezek. Jerusalem and Zephath destroyed.
        •Judges 3: ca. 10,000 Moabites k. at Jordan River.
        •Judges 8: 120,000 Midianite soldiers k. by Gideon
        •Judges 20: Benjamin attacked by other tribes. 25,000 killed.

        •1 Samuel 4: 4,000 Isrealites killed at 1st Battle of Ebenezer/Aphek. 30,000 Isr. k. at 2nd battle.
        •David: ◦2 Samuel 8: 22,000 Arameans of Damascus and 18,000 Edomites killed in 2 battles.

        ◦2 Samuel 10: 40,000 Aramean footsoldiers and 7,000 charioteers killed at Helam.
        ◦2 Samuel 18: 20,000 Israelites under Absalom killed at Ephraim.

        •1 Kings 20: 100,000 Arameans killed by Israelites at Battle of Aphek. Another 27,000 killed by collapsing wall.
        •2 Chron 13: Judah beat Israel and inflicted 500,000 casualties.
        •2 Chron 25: Amaziah, king of Judah, k. 10,000 from Seir in battle and executed 10,000 POWs. Discharged Judean soldiers pillaged and killed 3,000.
        •2 Chron 28: Pekah, king of Israel, slew 120,000 Judeans

        •TOTAL: That comes to about 1,283,000 mass killings specifically enumerated in the Old Testament/Torah.

        The New Testament has only one major atrocity, that of god committing filicide assuming you believe in this Christian mumbo jumbo. Said atrocity should be enough to vitiate all of Christianity.

        On the other hand, that many contemporary scholars believe that the OT is either semi-fiction or complete fiction. For example, 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis in the USA believe that both Abraham and Moses were myths.

        And for a body count/atrocity count:

        M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

        The Muslim Conquest of India

        "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

        Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

        1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

        2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

        3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

        4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

        5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

        6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

        7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

        8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

        9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

        10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

        11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

        12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

        13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

        14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

        15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

        16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

        17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

        18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

        19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

        20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

        September 4, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • bellenoitr

      I have no trust in man's interpretation of the Koran or the Bible. I especially am skeptical of modern man's interpretation. Both books cannot help the modern man, except for the 'love thy neighbor as you would yourself' quote. Now, THAT has meaning.

      September 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
      • Reality

        As a concept, the Golden Rule has a history that long predates the term "Golden Rule", or "Golden law", as it was called from the 1670s.[1][6] As a concept of "the ethic of reciprocity," it has its roots in a wide range of world cultures, and is a standard way that different cultures use to resolve conflicts.[1][5] It has a long history, and a great number of prominent religious figures and philosophers have restated its reciprocal, "two-way" nature in various ways (not limited to the above forms).[1]

        Rushworth Kidder discusses the early contributions of Confucius (551–479 BCE) (See a version in Confucianism below). Kidder notes that this concept's framework appears prominently in many religions, including "Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and the rest of the world's major religions".[7] According to Greg M. Epstein, " 'do unto others' ... is a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely."[8] Simon Blackburn also states that the Golden Rule can be "found in some form in almost every ethical tradition".[9] In his commentary to the Torah verse (Hebrew: "ואהבת לרעך כמוך" ca.1300 BCE):"

        You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

        —Leviticus 19:18[10], the "Great Commandment"

        Did the historical Jesus utter a version of the Golden Rule? Luke 6:31 = Matt 7:12- no he did not according to the findings of many contemporary NT scholars.

        e.g Professor Gerd Luedemann [Jesus, 151f] notes the ancient and diverse attestation of this saying in antiquity, including its earliest occurrence in Herodotus III 142, 3:

        "I will not do that for which I censure my neighbors."

        From Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 151-152, " In view of the widespread attestation of the Golden Rule in antiquity and its generality, it cannot be attributed to Jesus."

        See also: http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb033.html

        And because of the common sense nature of the Golden Rule, most humans to include myself follow said rule.

        September 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • franzwo

      dear illiterate man.

      these quotes mean nothing.

      have you not read the even more eXtreme violent passages from the Bible... they are more than a handful.
      Have you not known that in Russia they even briefly Banned the Hindu religious text since they contained extremely violent language and interactions.

      September 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.