From: "David S. Maddison"
Subject: Another anti-Semitic "quote" refuted Newsgroups: soc.culture.jewish User-Agent: tin/pre-1.4-19990805 ("Preacher Man") (UNIX) (FreeBSD/3.2-RELEASE (i386)) NNTP-Posting-Host: power.connexus.net.au Message-ID: <email@example.com> Date: 28 Jan 2000 15:05:46 +1100 X-Trace: 28 Jan 2000 15:05:46 +1100, power.connexus.net.au Lines: 125 Path: hub.org!hub.org!news.maxwell.syr.edu!newsfeed.berkeley.edu!intgwpad.nntp.telstra.net!news1.optus.net.au!optus!newsfeed.zip.com.au!newsserver.pacific.net.au!news2.melbpc.org.au!news.labyrinth.net.au!news.internex.net.au!not-for-mail Xref: hub.org soc.culture.jewish:437831 [ This is a repost of the following article: ] [ From: "David S. Maddison" ] [ Subject: Another anti-Semitic "quote" refuted ] [ Newsgroups: alt.revisionism ] [ Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> ] Here is the latest installment in my project to refute various anti-Semitic fabrications. I would like to express my gratitude to Professor Levene for his work on this piece. Please see my web page for refutation of other material, including alleged quotes from the Talmud and other anti-Semitic fabrications. http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Cyprus/8815/ #753 ALLEGED QUOTE Cicero was serving as defense counsel at the trial of Flaccus, a Roman official who interfered with Jewish gold shipments to their international headquarters (then, as now) in Jerusalem. Cicero himself certainly was not a nobody, and for one of this stature to have to "speak softly" shows that he was in the presence of a dangerously powerful sphere of influence, and on another occasion Cicero wrote: "The Jews belong to a dark and repulsive force. One knows how numerous this clique is, how they stick together and what power they exercise through their unions. They are a nation of rascals and deceivers." RESPONSE The above quote is #753 from the anti-Semitic document http://abbc.com/quotes/q751-800.htm "1000 Quotes by and about Jews". It is available in similar form from many sources, but not necessarily with the same number. Professor Levene responds: This is yet *another* reference to the same passage from Cicero, "Pro Flacco" 66-69, versions of which appeared as #51 and #258, and I refer readers to my comments on the second of these for a full discussion [see below]. What I will address here is the final part, quoting what Cicero wrote "on another occasion". Of that quote, the second sentence ("One knows how powerful this clique is ...") is not "another occasion" at all, but a further "adjusted" quote from "Pro Flacco" 66 - but the original does not refer to "power they exercise through their unions", but says "how powerful they are in public meetings". Moreover, the first and last sentences ("The Jews belong to a dark and repulsive force" and "They are a nation of rascals and deceivers"), are straightforward fabrications: Cicero never said anything even resembling this. D S Levene (D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk) ======================================================== 258 ALLEGED QUOTE "Thou knowest how numerous this tribe is, how united and how powerful in the assemblies. I will plead in a low voice so that only the judges may hear, for instigators are not lacking to stir up the crowd against me, and against all the best citizens. To scorn, in the interest of the Republic, this multitude of Jews so often turbulent in the assemblies shows a singular strength of mind. The money is in the Treasury; they do not accuse us of theft; they seek to stir up hatreds..." (Pro Flacco, Cicero). RESPONSE The above quote is #258 from the anti-Semitic document http://abbc.com/quotes/q251-300.htm "1000 Quotes by and about Jews". It is available in similar form from many sources, but not necessarily with the same number. David S. Maddison (email@example.com) Professor Levene's response is as follows: The exact reference is Cicero, "Pro Flacco" 66-69. But this passage does not appear there in this form: the quoter has without acknowledgement strung together a set of sentences each taken from a different part of Cicero's argument. This significantly distorts what Cicero is saying. Thus the person who "scorns" the Jews is not Cicero (as the quote implies), but the defendant Flaccus. And in the final sentence, the person who is seeking to "stir up hatreds" is not the Jews, but the Roman prosecuting counsel (it isn't "they" in the original Latin). The passage (or at least the first two sentences of it) is of course still anti-Semitic; but I should perhaps explain a little about the background in order that one can see how Cicero came to say this. Flaccus was the Roman governor of Asia Minor, and was accused by the local Greek inhabitants of extortion (he was almost certainly guilty). The case came to trial in 59 B.C.E: Cicero was not only the leading barrister of the day, but also Flaccus' political ally, and so defended him. Much of the speech is spent by Cicero in a virulent xenophobic attack on Asian Greeks in order to impugn their reliability as witnesses. He then very briefly refers to a subsidiary accusation against Flaccus by Jews, which the prosecutor had alluded to in passing to support his case; and accordingly Cicero there switches his attack to Jews: but that is a minor side-issue in the case, and he drops the subject after barely a page. The point is that it was normal in trials in Roman lawcourts for provincial corruption for the defence to appeal to the Roman jury's xenophobia by indulging in racial attacks on the provincials. Thus as well as attacking Greeks and (briefly) Jews in this speech, Cicero spent a good deal of his earlier speech "Pro Fonteio" attacking Gauls (who were there the chief accusers), and in his later speech "Pro Scauro" he spent his time attacking Sardinians. In short, while certainly anti-Semitic in part, this passage tells us nothing about Cicero's real views about Jews (or Greeks, Gauls or Sardinians). It simply tells us the methods that, as an experienced barrister, he thought would be effective in achieving an acquittal for his client. D S Levene ========================================================
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