Wednesday, October 18, 2017

No Fair Play There

I recently saw an exchange in England's parliament on "demolitions, settlement expansion and land appropriation in the west bank."

I hastened to write to an MP so:

I caught your parliamentary question of 17 October on the situation in Palestine/West Bank/Judea and Samaria.
May I extend to you an invitation to visit a Jewish community in the area next time you are in the area?
I hope you would agree that listening to both sides, at the least, provides one with information and perspective that increases understanding of any issue.

In the automatic reply I received, I spied this:

Parliamentary protocol dictates that I can only assist residents of Sunderland Central with constituency related enquiries.

So, an MP can interfere in my part of the globe, way away from England, while I, who am affected by the views and actions the MP holds and takes, may not be allowed communication that would assist me?

Not very British fair play, I'd say.

But, perhaps, if I am not assisted, communication is possible?


Monday, October 16, 2017

Are You Prepared For November 29th?

On November 29th, 1947, the Arab residents of the Palestine Mandate rejected the vote at the United Nations to create an Arab State within the territory originally to become the Jewish National Home.

They not only refused a generous offer, but they immediately engaged in violence.

Here is from the House of Commons session in London on December 3, 1947:

§Mr. Manningham-Buller (by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make a statement with regard to the grave events reported in Palestine.

§The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Creech Jones) I have not received complete reports yet on recent events in Palestine, but the High Commissioner has already briefly reported incidents on 2nd December, when Arab demonstrations 390 took place in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Nazareth, Ramle, Acre, Tiberias, Beisan and Tarshiha. These disturbances, the High Commissioner informs me, were sporadic and unorganised. In Jerusalem there was mob violence directed against Jews and Jewish property. A number of shops were looted, and there were several cases of arson. Shots were fired by Jews, and possibly also by Arabs, though the latter is not certain. Hagana has been out on the streets in force, and has generally done its best to restrain the Jews from reprisals. Casualties reported are, two Jews seriously wounded, one Jew and four Arabs injured, and one Jewish and two British police injured. A number of Jews with arms were arrested during the day, two of whom had been sniping.

In Haifa, two Jews were injured by Arabs, neither seriously. In Jaffa, Arabs attacked Jewish shops, and police were compelled to make a baton charge. One British policeman was slightly injured. In Lydda, two Jewish clinics were sacked by Arabs. There were a number of cases of Arabs holding up and stoning Jewish transport in the Lydda district. These incidents resulted in one Jew being fatally injured, one Jew seriously injured, and one Jew slightly injured. A fourth Jew was injured when a bus was fired on near Ramle. Among other incidents reported was one near Roshpina, where a car containing Jewish Supplementary Police was held up and stoned by Arabs. Jews fired warning shots and escaped injury. Subsequently, an Arab was found dead in the vicinity, and an injured Jew named as his assailant was found in a nearby colony. He claimed to have been beaten by Arabs. I should add that the Palestine Government is responsible for the maintenance of law and order until the Mandate is finally surrendered, and will continue to take all possible steps to preserve order and to prevent such tragic and unhappy conflicts. The Arab leaders in Palestine are fully informed of this.

Here is from the front page of the Palestine Post's December 3 edition:



Moyne Not An Anti-Zionist?

I hope to read an academic article soon. The subject is the fall-out from the Lechi assassination of Edward Guiness.  It is "Politics and Ideology: Lord Moyne, Palestine and Zionism 1939–1944" by Ronen Yitzhak published in Britain and the World, Aug 2017, vo. 10, No. 2 : pp. 155-169.  It is not his first treatment of the subject.

From the abstract it claims it
refutes the claim that Lord Moyne was anti-Zionist in his political orientation and in his activities and shows that his positions did not differ from those of other British senior officials at the time. His attitude toward Jewish immigration to Palestine and toward the establishment of a Jewish Brigade during the Second World War was indeed negative. This was not due to anti-Zionist policy, however, but to British strategy that supported the White Paper of 1939 and moved closer to the Arabs during the War.

So, in other words, Moyne wasn't that bad, he just went along with anti-Zionism because...?

Because why?

Lord Moyne displayed apolitically pragmatic approach and remained loyal to Prime Minister Churchill. He therefore supported the establishment of a Jewish Brigade and the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine in the secret committee that Churchill set up in 1944. Unaware of his new positions, the Zionists assassinated him in November 1944. The murder of Lord Moyne affected Churchill, leading him to reject the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.

I wonder, if I injure someone because I am loyal, say, to my friend, am I liable for the consequences? Does this not apply to Moyne?

Are not politicians to be moral and independent thinkers?

But am I to think that the 1939 White Paper of 1939 which fundamentally altered the idea of a reconstituted Jewish homeland, and actually negated it completely, and moving closer to the Arabs during the War are not deep anti-Zionist elements rather than simply "policy"?  A politician would have to be anti-Zionist to adapt to those positions.

That later Churchill sought to alter them, however inadequately - and let us not forget the four-year delay in establishing the Jewish Brigade, not to mention the refusal to bomb the railways to Auschwitz or the camp itself, horrific anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish decisions - should not lessen Moyne's own personal proclivities which some think anti-Semitic.  In his first article cited above, Ronen claims

Lord Moyne was not anti-Semitic, and he did not support Zionism. 

Yitzchak Shamir, one of the Lechi commanders who ordered the assassination continued to believe until his last lucid days that Moyne was anti-Semitic, although that did not intrinsically affect the decision to kill him.  And in that interview, Joanna Saidel writes

British Foreign Office documents confirm that a plan for partition was set for proposal. It is questionable whether the plan would have been accepted. According to Eban the motives for the plan were pro-Arab but would, nonetheless, serve the Jewish cause. Winston Churchill’s November 4, 1944 memorandum to Chaim Weizmann noted that Moyne had come over to the Zionist cause, albeit for pro-Arab motives...As unclear as the plan was there is no doubt that Moyne’s motivation was not to further the Jewish plan for statehood. Even Eban agreed, telling me: “He (Moyne) did this for Arab reasons. In other words, he said that unless the British were able to stop immigration, which they were not able to do, then the only way to save anything for the Arabs was by seeing that some part of Palestine was reserved for them. So he reached what I would call a Jewish State solution for anti-Jewish reasons, namely that otherwise the Jews would take over the whole of the country, and, therefore, partition was a sort of defense of the Arab position.”

Here is from Moyne's speech on June 9, 1942:

If a comparison is to be made with the Nazis it is surely those who wish to force an imported régime upon the Arab population who are guilty of the spirit of aggression and domination. Lord Wedgwood's proposal that Arabs should be subjugated by force to a Jewish régime is inconsistent with the Atlantic Charter, and that ought to be told to America. The second principle of that Charter lays down that the United States and ourselves desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned; and the third principle lays down that they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of Government under which they will live.

Surely it is time for the Zionists to abandon this appeal to force, and to seek a settlement with the Arabs by consent. The Zionist leaders expect about 7,000,000 Jews to be surviving in Eastern Europe at the end of the war, and they reject the policy of re-establishing Jewish communities under civilized conditions in Europe... I hope the Government will give serious consideration to the possibility of negotiations with the neighbouring States of the Levant to take part in re-settling the Jews. It is obvious that the fear of political domination by immigrant Jews will be decreased if they can be spread over a wider area and shared among different Administrations. A Federation of the Northern Arab States might well assist such a solution, but federation may be long in coming, and we ought at once to discuss with the Governments concerned to what extent and under what conditions they could admit Jewish immigration without swamping their own nationalities and independence.

Did Moyne compare Zionism to Nazism in there?  

If a comparison is to be made with the Nazis...those who wish to force an imported régime upon the Arab population who are guilty of the spirit of aggression and domination

By the way, Lord Josiah Wedgewood had little compunction when describing the Mandate Administration and its supporters as being anti-Semitic:
My Lords, before I begin to lose your sympathy I should like to say a that we are discussing a question which relates to Palestine.I think that the whole gist of the speech of my noble friend Lord Davies points to one self-evident truth, which is that the Administration in Palestine is Anti-Semitic. I think that all our troubles in connexion with that country have come from this constant Anti-Semitic bias of the Palestine Administration. The evidence of that Anti-Semitism has been given in the speech of my noble friend, and, in addition to the things which he mentioned, I should like to refer to certain other facts. I will quote as evidence the toleration shown by the Administration to the Arab side in the riots of four years ago, and the escape of El Fawzi and the Mufti from that country when the riots were suppressed and their capture could have been effected. Then there was the question of the imprisonment of those Jews who dared to drill. They attempted to drill with the rifles that had been issued to them. It was against the law. They were all sent to prison, with sentences which range up to seven years' imprisonment for merely drilling in order to learn how to defend themselves. Some of them are still in prison. That, I think, is evidence of Anti-Semitism.

Can't wait to read it.


Islam, Armed Struggle and the Fatah

Just simply informative:

Islam and the Armed Struggle, 1959-1968

Ido Zelkovitz

In recent years, Islam has played an increasingly important role in the discourse of the Fatah movement. This phenomenon is not a new one but rather one that has historical roots. This article explores the Islamic background of the Fatah founding fathers and suggests that the appreciation of their social background and their early military and political experience is crucial to the understanding of later developments in the movement. The article also analyzes the adoption of the armed struggle ideology and its connection to Islam as a means for strengthening public support in Fatah.

From the moment it was established, the "armed struggle" was at the heart of the movement's ideology. The objective of that strategy was to mobilize the masses for the revolution that was to "bring them back to the lost paradise" of pre-1948 Palestine as was often written in the movement's scripts.

Fatah perceives the revolution as a key instrument for creating a new future for the Palestinian people. This is by no means a Marxist-style revolution that strives to eliminate the old socio-political order. Although the term revolution was constantly used, its full meaning remained undefined to the masses.

It should be noted that in the revolutionary discourse of the movement, Islam held and still holds great significance. According to current research about Fatah, the terms "revolution" and "armed struggle" have been used as synonyms. This makes it easier to place these terms in a wider linguistic context which can refer to both national and religious identities.

One could expect that some tension would exist between national and religious identities. However, the two can also coexist. Islam was utilized as an instrument for creating a system of symbols and images. This imagined system combined with the national struggle would fuse the Palestinian past and present, and pave the way to an ideal future. Fatah presents Islam as part of its national character. Religion, integrated as a sacred symbol into the national culture values, provides a tangible expression to the masses’ state of mind. It also provides a moral system that relates to the supreme political objective of liberation and the achievement of independence.


Khirbet Kulâsôn - Jewish Until 2nd Century


Eitan Klein & Boaz Zissu

Department of Land of Israel Studies and ArchaelogyBar-Ilan University

Khirbet Kulâsôn is an ancient site located in the southern desert fringe of Samaria, approximately 2 kilometers east of the Shiloh Valley and one kilometer northwest of the modern village El-Mughaiyir.

 Kulâsôn underlined in red

In early 2009, the authors conducted an archeological survey at the site on behalf of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, after great damage was caused to the site by development works, agricultural work, and systematic illegal excavations.

This article will present the results of the archaeological survey, concentrating on remains attesting to a Jewish settlement at the site in the latter part of the Second Temple period until the days of the Bar-Kokhba Revolt. Such remains include ritual baths and stone vessels which were used by the Jewish population in accordance with strict observance of purity laws, underground hiding complexes used at the time of the Bar-Kokhba Revolt and a rich repertoire of pottery from that period.

The site joins other sites in southeastern Samaria in which archaeological remains were found, indicating Jewish settlement from the latter part of the  Second Temple period. These sites belonged to the Jewish settlement which existed in the Toparchy of Acraba – the northern region, which was annexed to Judea during the Hasmonaean period and was inhabited by Jews until the Bar Kokhba Revolt. Findings from the exploration of Khirbet Kulâsôn are presented in the wider historical, geographical and archaeological framework. 


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Conservation in Judea and Samaria, Too? --- UPDATED

I've just read this:

U.S. Consul General Launches Conservation Project at Solomon’s Pools in Bethlehem
Jerusalem – Consul General Donald Blome joined Palestinian officials and dignitaries to launch a major conservation project to protect and preserve the famous Solomon’s Pools archaeological site in Bethlehem. The USD $750,000 project consists of a $500,000 grant from the State Department’s Ambassador Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) and a complementary $250,000 grant from Consulate General Jerusalem. Both projects will be implemented through a partnership with the Solomon’s Pools Preservation and Development Center (SPPD). The program will help protect this historic site, damaged in recent years by erosion, and support tourism and the Palestinian economy. The project includes a supporting conference and other events.
In his remarks, Consul General Donald Blome said, “This contribution from the U.S. government not only underscores America’s respect and admiration for Palestinian heritage and its treasured antiquities, but also the imperative of supporting the Palestinian economy as an essential element for peace.”...
The U.S. Government, through the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, supports the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects, and forms of traditional cultural expression in more than 100 countries around the world. 

I don't think I need to be too verbose in my reaction.

First of all, thanks for conserving a Jewish engineering site.

The pools were part of a complex ancient water system, initially built between sometime around 100 BCE and ca. 30 CE.

...The growing water needs of the Jerusalem Temple and the pilgrims it attracted during the later part of the Second Temple period, led to efforts to create a conduit able to reach the relatively high top of the Temple Mount by gravity alone...The water system gradually created consisted of two aqueducts feeding the pools, which themselves acted as a collection and distribution facility, and of three further aqueducts carrying the water north to Jerusalem (two) and to Herodium (the third one). Together, the five aqueducts totalled some 80 kilometres in length.

...evidence suggests that the lower pool was probably constructed during the Hasmonean period, between mid-second and mid-first century BCE....A second phase occurred when Herod the Great, using Roman engineering and in connection with his rebuilding program of the Second Temple, created the sophisticated Wadi el-Byiar Aqueduct, which fed the upper pool...In a third phase, Roman prefect Pontius Pilate built 39 kilometres (24 mi) of aqueduct bringing yet more water to Solomon's Pools from the large collection pools at Arrub to the south.

Of course, there's always an alternative "fake archaeological facts" version:

"The pools were named for Ottoman Sultan Suleiman al-Kanuni [Suleiman the Magnificent], who renovated and expanded them," Palestinian archeologist Nour Taha told Anadolu Agency, in reference to the three ancient water cisterns in the village of Al-Kahder located some 5km south of Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The Ottoman sultan restored the pools in 1536 and extended the aqueducts that supplied the walled city of Jerusalem with water.

And this:

some Palestinians and others involved with the renovation of the poolsbelieve that the traces found through excavation in the last centuries point only as far back as the first century AD

Secondly, are you sure the area is actually a "country"?

In 1931 (view from the west and notice how densely populated the area):

Third, there are other sites that need US support in that region including Tel Shiloh, Tel Hebron, Herodian, Sebastia and others.  Just ask me.

Until then, is the US Consulate insistent in ignoring Jewish needs and rights?

As my friend EG wrote of Blome's words:
This statement is an acceptance of the UNESCO/Arab position. Jewish antiquities are renamed as "Palestinian heritage"



Jewish Press:

We wrote the following to some State Department officials here in Israel:

We'd like to receive a clarification from the State Department and the Embassy regarding the recent statement by the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem vis-a-vis Solomon's Pools.

In a statement Consul General Donald Blome said, "This contribution from the U.S. government not only underscores America's respect and admiration for Palestinian heritage and its treasured antiquities, but also the imperative of supporting the Palestinian economy as an essential element for peace."

We'd like the State Department to please clarify exactly how Solomon's Pools -- built by a Jewish king to service the Jewish Temple in the Jewish city of Jerusalem at a point in history approximately 2,000 years prior to Arab Palestinians -- could possibly be considered any part of a "Palestinian heritage."

Considering the recent withdrawal of the United States from UNESCO, due to the one-sided and historically inaccurate positions UNESCO has taken against Israel, will Consul Blome be offering a retraction and/or apology?

We received the following response:

Thank you for raising this to our attention.  The statement you cited had been included in an earlier version of remarks, but then removed after a discussion on the history of the site.  It was not delivered in remarks and should have been removed from the press release - it was left in due to a clerical error.

We are removing the press release from the website and will issue a corrected copy.  Thank you for flagging.

Best regards,

Clayton Alderman
U.S. Consulate General
Press Officer

وسينفذ هذا المشروع الذي يجمع ما بين القطاعين العام والخاص إصلاحات طارئة لجزء من الجدار والصهريج الذي انهار في العام الماضي. وسيقوم أيضا بإعادة تأهيل البركة للحد من مخاطر الانهيار في جدرانه ومنصاته. سيقوم المشروع بإصلاح وحماية القنوات وإنشاء مسارات المشي المخصصة وذلك لحماية العناصر الأثرية المحيطة وفي نفس الوقت سيسمح للزائرين بالتجوال في الموقع دون تعريضه لاي ضرر.
"This contribution from the US government not only confirms the American respect and admiration for the Palestinian heritage and its precious effects, but also the need to support the Palestinian economy as an essential element of peace," said US Consul General Donald Blum.


The Consul's office has now posted a new, corrected version in both English

We share the hope that this site can be a source of pride, hope, and discovery for people of every culture, religion, and background. Places of this sort of antiquity should stir and inspire all of us to come together and celebrate their beauty.”

and Arabic.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Haaretz's Interview Style

From the popular weekly column at the airport by Liat Elkayam as she interviews Christina Morente, 43, from Puebla, Mexico; arriving from Naples, Italy:

Hello, can I ask what you’ll be doing in Israel?

I am a devout Christian, and for me you are the Chosen People, and every time I land here my heart pounds – everything is super-wonderful.

Thank you, but you’re exaggerating.

Look how you’ve survived over the years, Am Israel hai! [The Jewish people lives!] I’ve been to 65 countries in my life, and Norway is my favorite among the normal countries. But Israel is not one of the normal countries. It’s supernatural.

We can agree on “not normal.”

The way to make friends for Israel.

How Many Real Palestine Refugees?

A "refugee from Palestine" is someone who could prove he/she was in the territory of the Palestine Mandate from two years prior to the 1948 war:
Palestine refugees are defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” 
Now, consider this:
Jerusalem (Feb. 4, 1946)
There are at present more than 10,000 Arabs in Palestine who entered the country illegally, an official Government estimate revealed today. Most of these illegal immigrants are concentrated in the Haifa district, the Government said.
If there were 10,000 illegal Arab residents in 1946, I presume there were more by the end of 1947 and that would mean that in addition to the ridiculously short time period, much shorter than that most countries demand as a requirement for citizenship, the numbers of refugees today is inflated.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Danino's Dithyramb

Barry Danino wrote in Haaretz a week ago about a museum. Maybe his first contribution.

The Hebrew Music Museum in Jerusalem.

He discovered that the
website of the museum’s founder, Laurent Levy, sheds light on his worldview. He notes that...“The return of Jews of the Diaspora to the land and to the Torah are two phenomena that we will witness in Israel in the coming years; that is, we will study Torah more intensively and thus reveal more of the Divine aspect of the world for the benefit of Jerusalem, Israel, the world and everyone on earth. That’s how the Third Temple will be rebuilt.”
The mention of the Temple seemed to have unnerved him.  The title of the column is 'The Third Temple will be rebuilt'.

A Twitter promotion reads:
The main exhibit at the Hebrew Music Museum? A model of the Temple in Jerusalem, of course! 
As if the Temple was not filled with music. It was. It was.

He then concluded that the museum 
is another stage in the preparations for rebuilding the Temple, since, as its founder notes, “In the Temple it was forbidden to offer sacrifices, to confess sins or to come close to God without the music.”

The museum’s founders are ignoring the words of the prophet Isaiah, “For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples,” (Isaiah 56:7), which requires respectful cooperation with representatives of all religions, including Islam – and certainly doesn’t call to exclude them.The founders missed the opportunity to achieve their declared goal to “unite, gladden and awaken each person’s inner good” through music. The museum is another indication of the trend we are witnessing in educational and cultural institutions...conveying messianic-religious messages in the guise of educational content.
I am not sure how Danino understands an "exclusion" element or how the museum founders have "failed".

I am definitely amused by his attempt to turn around a music museum into a one-horse "messianic-religious message".

Pity the man.


"Dithyramb" is any wildly enthusiastic speech or writing.

We're Now "Rampaging"

Normally, Islamic new reports use either "storming" or "breaking in" as the verbs used to describe the entrance of Jews who openly declare their reverence for the Temple Mount as the site of the previous two Temples and other occurrences, like revolts against Rome, the re-dedication of the altar which forms the basis of the Hanukkah holiday and other events in Jewish history.

The Jews seem to engage in "Talmudic rituals" while encircling the site, a blatantly anti-Semitic term.

This site, based in Qom, Iran, ratchet ups the semantic violence here

Oddly, the site serves as the voice of a group that writes of itself:

The followers of Ahlolbayt (as) and their holy Imams alike have been oppressed throughout the history from the dark era of Umayyad caliphs up to the age of Abbasids, and from Abbasids to middle ages, and afterward up to the present time. The roots of this oppression and even its further intensification may be sought in the ignorance of Shiite Muslims about each other and unawareness of global communities of such oppressions against Shiites...In the Islamic Republic of Iran, too, despite existence of many news agencies, newspapers and websites, there was always a tangible necessity for a specialized news agency to work specifically for broadcasting the news of Shiah world and followers of Ahlolbayt worldwide...

In 2011, Saudi Arabia banned it (in Persian). 


From EOZ:

a particularly challenging encounter at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. To enter the Dome of the Rock, my ex-husband was asked to perform ablutions (the ritual of washing before prayers), apparently to prove he was not a Jew. According to one of the guards, this was a necessary ritual because “Jews occasionally want to break into the sacred site.”


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Remember Article 9! Who Will Protest?

I am referring to Article 9 of the Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty.

Is that treaty not a commitment, to be honored?

Are Article 9's elements to be discarded?

Let's read the official Jordanian news agency Petra:

300 extremist settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque
 Ramallah, Oct.10 (Petra)-- Some 300 extremist settlers early Tuesday stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque/Haram Al Sharif, according to a Palestinian source.

The General Director of the Islamic Awqaf and Al-Aqsa Affairs, Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, told Petra's reporter in Ramallah that Israeli settlers broke into the holy shrine from the Bab Al-Magharbeh gate under heavy protection of Israeli special forces and police.

Al-Khatib said that the settlers provocatively toured the Al-Aqsa yards.

Okay, that's Jordan's bad behavior.

But is there ever an Israeli protest?

From the Prime Minister?

The Deputy Foreign Minister?

Minister of Religious Affairs?

Chief Rabbis?




Jordan condemns renewed Israeli violations against Al Aqsa Mosque

Amman, Oct. 12 (Petra)--Jordan has condemned the renewed Israeli violations in Jerusalem, the last of which was the storming of Al Aqsa Mosque by settlers and Jewish extremists on the occasion of Jewish holidays.

State Minister for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani said that such irresponsible and rejected behaviors by Israeli authorities, constitute acts of provocation of Muslims' feelings.


What's in a Name - A Fictional Story

The Washington Post has finally begin to semantically get with it.

In this story on the Israel government's decision to authorize a construction go-ahead, we read:
"...Oded Revivi, the foreign envoy for the Yesha Council, which represents Jewish settlers in the West Bank, which most Israelis refer to as Judea and Samaria..."
As was pointed out to me, the significance of this is the phrase: "'which most Israelis refer to". 

Thankfully, it's not couched as being "the Biblical term".

Getting close earlier was this New York Times story from February 1, 2017:
"“We are in a new era, where life in Judea and Samaria goes back to its normal and proper course,” the defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said in a statement, using the biblical name for the West Bank...Shilo Adler, the head of the Yesha Council, which represents settlers in the area,"
In there is "Judea and Samaria", "Yesha" and "biblical name".  Close. Good. But could be better.

In 2009 we had read
Buying homes in the settlement of Kiryat Netafim in the northern West Bank (known in Israel as Samaria) or in Tekoa in the southern West Bank (known as Judea)...The head of the Yesha settlers council, Daniel Dayan, says the growth of West Bank Israeli population is due to rapid population increase...
Let's remember, "West Bank" is an artificial geo-political name, created in April 1950 when Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria and incorporated it in his kingdom - which he himself first entered in November 1920 - an act considered illegal.

Are Judea and Samaria legitimate terms?

In the Mandate annual reports to the League of Nations, as here, the geography of the country was described so: the south are the mountains of Samaria and Judea, which in places reach heights little less than those of Galilee...

...The capital of Palestine is Jerusalem, situated in the midst of the hills of Judea, and the principal towns are Haifa, with its modern harbour, in the north at the entrance to the plain of Esdraelon; Jaffa, a second port which lies some 40 miles west- north-west of Jerusalem; Tel Aviv, which is contiguous to Jaffa; and Nablus, the ancient Sichem, in the hills of Samaria. Jerusalem has a majority of Jewish inhabitants; in Haifa the Arab and Jewish elements are approximately equal in numbers; Tel Aviv is an entirely Jewish township of 150,000 inhabitants. In Jaffa a large majority of the people are Arabs, and in Nablus, apart from a small community of Samaritans, all the people are Arabs. 
In its report for 1938, it was recorded that in June, 1938, terrorist activities continued and
there was also a marked increase in isolated murders of Jews, the majority being settlers in the Plain of Sharon and northern Galilee; in arson of Jewish crops and property; in attacks on Jewish settlements; and in shooting at police and military patrols. An Italian priest was killed by armed brigands in the Judaean foothills and a British soldier was killed and six others wounded by the explosion of a land mine on a country track in Samaria. 
The United Nations, in delineating the boundaries between the proposed partition of the Mandate territory into two states, also used the terms "Judea" and "Samaria" and not West Bank (and as pointed out to me, there really is but OneWest Bank and that has nothing to do with a "Palestine").

Jordan's "West Bank" appellation is a fiction and its annexation was an illegal act which, moreover, but one country, Great Britain, fully recognized and accepted.

Jesus did not live on the "West Bank".

It should be relegated to a side note in any reportage story.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Filthy Feet" 1927

In the Bnai Brith Messenger periodical of March 11, 1927, three Jewish university students, traveling with some 400 of their peers on a study trip to the Middle East, published their reminisces of the visit.

That visit also included entering the Dome of the Rock n the Temple Mount.

What I found:

Notice the foot covered in cloth:

But somehow, I think it more hostile when directed at Jews rather than tourists.


Does Arami Mean "Syrian"?

T'ruah held a demonstration outside of Trump Tower in New York this past Sunday to protest the US administration's immigrant policies.

Here are two photographs of the signs and I've circled one word:

That word, in the Hebrew, is Arami.  You may be familiar with it as it appears in the Haggada, quoted from Genesis 26:5.  It is also found in Deuteronomy 26:5.  It relates to Laban.

It is also translated as Aramean.  As to the exact meaning of the verse, see here.

But where was Aram?

Wikipedia informs:
Aram stretched from the Lebanon mountains eastward across the Euphrates, including parts of the Khabur River valley in northwestern Mesopotamia on the border of Assyria...Several of the Aramaean territories located within Aram are also referenced in the Hebrew Bible. These include Aram-Naharaim, Paddan-Aram, Aram-Damascus, Aram-Rehob, and Aram-Zobah.

So, Syria is connected geographically. Or not.

Genesis 28:10 says that Jacob fled to Haran, where he went to his mother's kindred, thus making Aram Naharaim a region beyond the Euphrates.  And 

the most important part of Aram, so far as the Hebrews were concerned, was Damascus. Amos (i. 5) and Isaiah (vii. 8) indicate this; the one by equating Aram with Damascus, the other by declaring that Damascus is the head of Aram...
In Rabbinical Literature:
"Aramean" was from the earliest times the equivalent of "heathen" in the Jewish vernacular, because the heathen neighbors of the Jews used the Aramean tongue. An old Targum, mentioned by the Mishnah (Meg. iv. 9), employs the word "Aramiyu-uta" in the sense of heathendom; as does also R. Ishmael in the first half of the second century (Yer. Meg. iv. 75c). In Palestine the word "Aramean" was so tabooed that the Jews preferred to use the Greek word "Syriac" to designate their mother-tongue, rather than call it "Aramean.

Did Syria as Syria exist at this time?  No. There is no Syria in the Bible. Some evangelicals, though, identify the current struggle in modern-day Syria as being the same as mentioned in Isaiah as regards Aram.

So these quite liberal Rabbis are basing their link between a Biblical verse relating to Jewish forefathers and the revolt in Syria just like evangelical Christians do.


But was an "Aramean father" a Jew?

This source indicates no:
In the Old Testament the Aramaeans are represented as being closely akin to the Hebrews and living in northern Syria around Harran from about the 16th century bc. The Aramaeans are also mentioned often in Assyrian records as freebooters.
An Aramean is a person who lived in that location and yet the Bible has Laban, son of Betuel, as identified as an Aramean. Genesis 10:22 has Aram as the son of Shem and Genesis 22:21 lists Aram as a son of Kemuel, son of Nahor, Abraham's grandnephew. 

But the verse in Deuteronomy reads
And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God: 'A wandering Aramean was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there, few in number; and he became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous.

Going back to the meaning of the verse, included in the Seder night ritual recitation, as based on Pesachim 10:4, it actually reads "My father was a wanderer", not, I would maintain, a refugee.  Was that father wandering due to strife or by his own decision?  Well,
According to Ibn Ezra, the verse refers to Jacob, who, when he was in Aram, was lost. Rashbam...argues that the verse more appropriately applies to Abraham, who can correctly be identified as an Aramean.
Abraham followed God's command to leave his home in contemporary Iraq and travel westward.  

In other words, the implicated message in the sign is not a true reading of the verse.

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, modern Orthodox rabbi and leader of the Jewish community of Efrat in his The Passover Haggadah (KTAV, 1983) notes:
The Haggadah teaches us through Laban’s example that Jews ought to fear the enemy within as much or even more than the enemy without. While non-Jewish persecutors, such as Pharaoh, have taken their toll of Jewish lives throughout history, even more Jews have been lost through the blandishments of the Labans of the world. Those presumably close to us–our "family"–have caused more danger to the Jewish community through the scourge of assimilation. Their kiss has been the kiss of death.

What a blast of an interpretation that is.

That would seem to fit these T'ruah Rabbis.


Just a Bit of Media Bias

Can you imagine if 26 parliamentarians from 14 different countries toured Samaria under the tutelage of Peace Now, or Breaking the Silence or B'tselem and they released a statement denouncing the Jewish communities and condemning the 'occupation' what the media response would be?

And that they released a castigating declaration against Israel's government's policies in the territories and handed it to a government minister.

Front page headline in Haaretz, I'd guess.

Large picture in Yedioth Ahronot.

Even Israel Hayom would note it.

After all, coming from the US, Australia, South Africa, Guatemala and several countries in Europe, that would be news.

But that isn't what happened.

What did happen was this, as reported in the Times of Israel:

A group of lawmakers from 14 countries visited the northern West Bank on Sunday in a show of solidarity with Israel, as the head of the settlement movement praised US President Donald Trump...
The lawmakers were in the country for the annual Israel Allies Foundation conference, which is co-sponsored by the World Jewish Congress and has for years brought Christian and Jewish pro-Israeli lawmakers from various countries to the Holy Land during Sukkot, the festival during which, according to Jewish tradition, the nations of the world ascend to Jerusalem.
Alan Clemmons, a Republican member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, told the other lawmakers that the Israel boycott movement is “financial terrorism.”
“Israel is the occupier of no one’s land other than the land that God promised to the people of Israel,” he said.

Of course, Arutz 7 in Hebrew posted it, as expected, with a video of Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipy Hotovely speaking.   And here is an extract from Arutz 7 in English:

Twenty-six parliamentarians from around the world on Monday signed a statement that the Jewish people have a legal right to sovereignty over all of the land of Israel, and a statement that anti-Zionism is an expression of anti-Semitism."We want to reject all declarations that seek to negate the connection of the Jewish people to Israel and Jerusalem, as well as the misrepresentation of the State of Israel as an occupier, and to emphasize the anti-Semitic character of the misnamed 'anti-Zionism," the parliamentarians wrote."We call upon governments, institutions and leaders around the world to adopt the definition of anti-Semitism used by the US State Department and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which has been approved by many European countries and recognizes that anti-Zionism is an expression which can be used in place of anti-Semitism."We support the State of Israel and recognize the right of the Jewish people, including the rights to sovereignty and self-defense in all its lands and territory, while recognizing the need of all religions for a strong and united Israel, with Jerusalem as its eternal and united capital.

It related that MK Gila Gamliel (Likud) received the position paper from the parliamentarians.

When you read mainstream Israeli media, you are a media consumer who is defrauded. The news you receive is biased, unbalanced, unfair, non-pluralistic and lacking in the really important facts, especially on the issue of the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.

I was informed, though, that Yaakov Ahimeir, host of "Seeing the World" Saturday evening news program, was present and recorded an interview.  I hope it will be aired.

I searched but didn't find reports in the foreign media as well.

You have been warned about Israel media bias.


P.S.    Middle East Monitor now has a story. ^