An explosive controversy has erupted with the publication in a journal of linguistics (1) of “Blight unto Nations,” an article by Prof. Daniel Herschenboim, which has already been retracted by the journal.
The article claims that the accurate translation of the well-known and much used phrase “Light unto nations” (which allegedly describes the divine mission of the Jews in the world) is actually “Blight unto nations.”
Herschenboim is a linguist of considerable renown and a former disciple of Noam Chomsky (2), with whom he broke up after a stormy clash they had in the pages of the same journal over what Herschenboim called “the ideological content of prefixes in the Hasbara idiom.”
The phrase “Light unto Nations,” used in reference to Jews and more recently to the state of Israel, is derived from the Torah, according to Wikipedia:
“Light to the Nations (Hebrew: אור לגויים or LaGoyim; also Light of the Nations, Light of all Nations, Light for all Nations) is a term originated from the prophet Isaiah which may express the universal designation of God’s kingdom of priests as a mentor for spiritual and moral guidance for the entire world.”
Herschenboim argues that what Isaiah actually said was that the Jews (Israeli tribes) were destined to become a “Blight unto Nations.”
What makes this claim even more extraordinary is that it shows that not only is the English translation of “blight” as “light” erroneous and misleading, but that there is a close correspondence between this falsification and the initial falsification of the Torah text in Hebrew.
Isaiah, contends the Professor, did not say “LaGoyim” but ‘ElaGoyim”(3), which can be roughly but serviceably translated as “pest” or “blight” on the Goyim.” Isaiah makes his prediction with relish, says Herschenboim. He, after all, named his own son Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, which means “quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil.”
As expected, the huge controversy this claim has created in its wake has given rise to two warring camps.
On one side there is a loud chorus of indignation, accusing Herschenboim of scientific fraud perpetrated with malice aforethought (and worse, fueling the flames of anti-semitism) and comparing his article to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
On the other side there are a few vocal supporters of the Professor who, oddly enough, embrace the damning comparison with the Protocols. They say that empirical evidence shows that, just as in the case of the Protocols (whether authentic or apocryphal), the world Jewry has been fulfilling Isaiah’s metaphorical prediction and has become a certifiable “blight” on the Goyim (“nations”).
This controversy will not end soon – a modest but safe prediction to make.
- 1. History-Shmistory, The Journal of the Society of Jewish Weltanschaung.
- 2. Avram Noam Chomsky (1928-?), English-speaking Jewish linguist, cognitive scientist and logician, famous for having discovered the lobby power ratio elegantly expressed as AARP > JL to demonstrate that the power of the Association of American Retired Persons lobby is greater than the power of the Jewish Lobby.
- 3. In Hebrew writing vowels are omitted, which may well explain the missed initial vowel in Hebrew that turned “light” into “blight” in English. Similarly, if the English words “shot” or “shut” were written “sht” the reader may inadvertently or intentionally insert another vowel in the middle obtaining an altogether different word.