For the record, it never ceases to amaze me that the same Christians who love to use the words of the Koran as justification for a holy war against Muslims have either totally forgotten or never read the words of the Jewish Talmud. The Talmud was the law that the Pharisees held in highest regard – even above The Torah. It was the law they constantly accused Jesus of violating. Still today, the Talmud is regarded as God's highest law by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and most of Israel's leaders. In fact, just recently Bibi announce that it was his intention to enshrine the Jewish Talmud as the "official basis for Israeli state law."Mr. Baldwin and I are in agreement in opposing "killing in the service of God," but from there we part ways.
The Talmud did not exist until centuries after the time of the Pharisees. Jesus had conflicts with the Pharisees over the authority of their oral traditions, but this sort of disagreement was common among Second Temple-era Jews - for example, the disagreements of the Qumran sectarians with other Jews about specifics of Torah praxis were quite strident. (I have noted the story about Prime Minister Netanyahu's comments here.)
Mr. Baldwin then goes on to refer to a series of out-of-context quotations from and fake quotations attributed to the Talmud. These can be found on various internet sites.
"When the Messiah comes every Jew will have 2800 slaves."Mr. Baldwin does not even trouble to give any of the real or fake references that normally go with them. It seems a safe assumption that he has not bothered to check them for himself. David S. Maddison has collected and responded to many of these here.
"That the Jewish nation is the only nation selected by God, while all the remaining ones are contemptible and hateful."
"That all property of other nations belongs to the Jewish nation, which consequently is entitled to seize upon it without any scruples. An orthodox Jew is not bound to observe principles of morality towards people of other tribes. He may act contrary to morality, if profitable to himself or to Jews in general."
"Kill the Goyim [non-Jew] by any means possible."
"Everyone who sheds the blood of the impious [non-Jews] is as acceptable to God as he who offers a sacrifice to God."
"The non-Jew is consequently an animal in human form, and condemned to serve the Jew day and night."
"A Jew may violate but not marry a non-Jewish girl."
A similar collection of Talmud-libel quotations came up in an Al Jazeera article back in 2004, noted here, all links now rotted. It is disappointing and disturbing to see that this anti-Semitic nonsense is still being circulated. And as I noted some months later, the concern in not just theoretical: this propaganda inspired a terrorist to commit murder in that same year. Follow the link in that post to Gil Student's website for more refutations of Talmud libel.
UPDATE: The first version of this post referred to a nineteenth-century work by one I. B. Pranaitis but, although this work serves as partial inspiration for some of the above-mentioned internet sites and is itself posted on the internet, it does not seem to be directly relevant to the Renew America article, so I have rephrased to omit the reference. I have also copied the quotations in the Renew America article for posterity. You can see the overlap with the quotations in the letter of the terrorist who murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in 2004 (link above). I am sure Mr. Baldwin condemns that act as much as I do, but I wish he would not draw on the same fallacious sources. I appreciate that one of the things he is trying to do in the article is to defend Muslims from unjust attacks, but this is not the way to go about it.