Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Shot in the Head But In Self-defence

No, not the incident in Hebron last week but in London in 2005 and the judges found the security officers were blameless with no need to investigate further.


In their ruling the Strasbourg judges said the British authorities had taken appropriate steps after the shooting.

"The court found, overall, that it could not be said that the authorities had failed to ensure that those responsible for Mr de Menezes’s death had been held accountable," it said.

"The court noted that the facts of the case were undoubtedly tragic and the frustration of Mr de Menezes’ family at the absence of any individual prosecutions was understandable.  "However, the decision not to prosecute any individual officer had not been due to any failings in the investigation or the State’s tolerance of or collusion in unlawful acts; rather, it had been due to the fact that, following a thorough investigation, a prosecutor had considered all the facts of the case and concluded that there had been insufficient evidence against any individual officer to prosecute in respect of any criminal offence."

...An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report in 2006 said avoidable mistakes had contributed to the shooting of Mr de Menezes.  It identified a number of possible criminal offences that might have been committed by officers involved, including murder and gross negligence. However, after examining the case the CPS announced that no individual should be charged.

...A Government spokesman said: "The Government considers the Strasbourg court has handed down the right judgment. "The facts of this case are tragic, but the Government considers that the court has upheld the important principle that individuals are only prosecuted where there is a realistic prospect of conviction."

To remind you:

Jean Charles de Menezes is shot dead by police on the London Underground after being mistaken for suicide bomber Hussain Osman in the wake of the July 21 attempted terror bombings, which comes just weeks after the 7/7 terror attack in London.
The de Menezes family accuses the Met of “getting away with murder” after the IPCC decides that 11 officers will not be punished over his death. The Met Police is fined £175,000 for breaching health and safety legislation.

(thanks to DME)



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke this evening (Thursday, 31 March 2016), with the father of the soldier involved in the Hebron incident, at the request of the soldier’s family.

The Prime Minister said to the soldier’s father:

"I heard your words and as the father of a soldier, I understand your distress. In recent months our soldiers have bravely and resolutely stood up in the face of terrorist attacks and murderers who set out to kill them. The soldiers are forced to make decisions in the field, in real time, under stress and conditions of uncertainty. This is not a simple reality and I’m sure that the investigation is taking the entirety of these circumstances into account. I am convinced that the investigation will be professional and fair towards your son. 
I trust the IDF, the Chief of Staff and the investigation 100% and I think that you too should trust the commanders and the investigation. The people of Israel must remain united around the army because we have just one army and we have many great challenges ahead of us. I wanted to say this to you heart-to-heart. Everything you have to present – do so in the framework of the investigation, which is genuine, professional and fair. I ask you to understand this, that you not think for a moment that they will not conduct the most objective and fair investigation of your son. I ask that you pass this message to your entire family."


Final Neutralization

As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Easter Rising, Jews and Zionist Undergrounds

I recently blogged on the difference in attitude and approach taken to the IRA and the Lechi undergrounds in respect to their alliances or attempted alliances with Germany, especially during World War II.

That the Irish underground revolutionary struggle served as an example for both the Irgun and Lechi is known.  Yitzhak Shamir's nom de guerre, Michael, was in deference to Michael Collins. Jabotinsky met with Dublin's Jewish Mayor Robert Briscoe who assisted then and later the Irgun.

I now have learned from this that

On the first day of the Easter Rising, 14th April 1914, a Jewish Volunteer, Mr A Weeks was killed outside the GPO in Dublin on the first day of action. Days before he had been laying the Foundation  stone of the Adelaide Road synagogue. This was the first Jewish Irish nationalist who died for the cause though he was far from being the acceptation that proved the rule.

In the main, Dublin and Cork Jews were nationalists and republicans whilst many of Belfast’s Jews were loyalist or pro-British. Notable amongst the revolutionaries were Robert Briscoe, an IRA Captain and the first Jewish member of the Dail Eirann (the Irish Parliament) and Michael Noyk who worked closely with the revolutionary leader Michael Collins. My own great-aunts, Fanny and Molly Goldberg joined the revolutionary Cumann na mBan  (Women’s IRA) and did everything but shoot: hiding IRA soldiers, nursing and marching. 

A bit more.  More than a bit more. And on Avraham Weeks.

And on Robert Briscoe.


Jerusalem Consulate Service-Providing Follow-up

Is this service available, in the form and location it is given, for Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria?

On March 20, U.S. expert on disability John Kemp spoke to 35 Palestinians at America House Jerusalem & Ramallah about living with disabilities. As President of the The Viscardi Center, a non-profit organization that provides educational services on disabilities, Kemp spoke powerfully about U.S. laws protecting people with disabilities and new technologies available to increase quality of life for the disabled

This one?

During a ceremony in Ramallah, the The Palestinian American Chamber of Commerce launched its The U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI)local grant called “Increasing Export Readiness of Palestinian Women’s Businesses." This project will train 20 Palestinian women in strategic business planning and marketing. We're excited to see their business grow in the coming months!

This one?

this video of USAID West Bank/Gaza Director Dave Harden introducing one of our water projects in Halhul. What else do we need to do to ensure that every human has access to affordable and reliable water?


Monday, March 28, 2016

Bauer's Anti-Wyman Address

Last week, on the occasion of his 90th birthday, Professor Yehuda Bauer lectured for over 90 minutes, a talk that was a direct attack on Prof. David Wyman and his school.

Wyman, the author of The Abandonment of the Jews, Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis, 1938-1941 and  A Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust, and founder of the institute that bears his name, champions the position that FDR and the Allies could have saved many more Jews than they did.  As noted:

In January 2012, Bauer's article in the Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs entitled "The Holocaust, America and American Jewry" precipitated a bitter debate between himself, Rafael Medoff (Wyman Institute) and Alexander J. Groth (University of California, Davis), on what the US Government and the Jews of America could and could not have done to rescue the Jews of Europe.

I was a part of that argument on a parallel issue.  On the argument, see here, too. Also here. And a contra.  Bauer has also been behind the stonewalling over the years of any proper acknowledgement of the Bergson Group's activities by Yad Vashem (there was more success at the US Holocaust Memorial).

Bauer was afforded a very special platform at the Israel Academy of Sciences in its Van Leer hall.

And he used to it to the fullest, going over his earlier arguments and adding more points. For him, it didn't really matter in the end whether FDR and his State Department officials were anti-Semitic or whatever.  The point he made was that it was not possible to save Jews in any significant number.

Points from my notes of the talk:

a. Were FDR, etc. obligated to save the Jews?

b. Wyman assumes, based on the Protestant background, a religious/moral approach rather than an analytical/political one in judging the issue based on the specific time period.

c. Was the US really obligated to Jews more than any other group threatened?  Did the US intervene in the Abyssinia invasion?  Nanking?  Why should we expect the Jews to be treated better than those?

d.  Germany controlled Europe and there was no way Jews could escape.  By ships?  How could they even reach ports?

e.  He went through specific numbers of possibilities which were minuscule.

f.  The fact of the matter that even when reliable information was passed out from occupied Europe on the fate of the Jews, no one believed it, including many establishment Jews.  So why blame FDR, etc.?

g. Was there anything to bomb?  And when?  He charted distances and flying capabilities. This he needed to do after being roundly criticized at an international conference.

h.  The idea that Zionist leaders, foremost among them Jabotinsky, foresaw the Holocaust is not at all exact.  What Holocaust?  Did they knoiw of an industrial murder machine? Actually, it is a fantastical idea.

i.  The ability of the Allies to accomplish any sort of rescue operations was almost zero. No military action could have been put in place.

j. Even the 400,000 claimed by Wyman/Medoff doesn't exist.

k.  Wallenberg was not a War Relief Board appointee by actually a US-sponsored spy.  And that was why the Soviets treated him they way they did instead of a humanitarian mission.

l.  The Holocaust, as such, wasn't even known until late 1942 and by then the numbers left were not large and there were not planes capable at that time of reaching areas to be attacked as that only happened in late 1943-early 1944.  There weren't that many Jews left to save.

My immediate thought was that even within the framework Bauer constructs, even he cannot know what would have been the effect on Germany had some operations been attempted and declarations made.

On this matter, a review of a new book was brought to my attention.  The book, “1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History,” we read that the author thinks that

Roosevelt should have imbued World War II with a higher moral purpose, making it not only a fight against the Axis but also “a war against the Final Solution.” He adds, “In 1944 he had his chances.”

Such arguments sidestep certain realities, beginning with the emphasis on 1944 as a potentially pivotal year for Jewish rescue. 

Was it that

the opportunity to save a sizable percentage of Jews had long since vanished...By the time of D-Day, a vast majority of European Jews were dead. Winik argues that many thousands of Jews in Hungary could have been saved if the Allies had bombed Ausch­witz in 1944, but whether such raids could have had a significant effect is still hotly ­debated.

And the reviewer also notes

In all, the War Refugee Board and its operatives were credited with rescuing more than 200,000 Jews from the Holocaust — an impressive feat, to be sure, but only a tiny fraction of the millions murdered by the Nazis. The success of the board’s 11th-hour effort underscores the haunting question that runs through Winik’s book: How many more could have been saved had America acted sooner?

So, is Bauer the more correct historian?

To Bauer's claim of "how would the Jews have gotten to the ports?" and "Would the British could have opened Palestine to Jewish refugees?", the Wyman/Medoff school would reply

Some would have managed to find a way, many wouldn't; we don't have to produce some foolproof method. What's important is that the Allies obstructed the possibility of rescue - not because they thought not a single Jew could escape, but because they didn't want the "burden" of having Jewish refugees on their hands.

To Bauer's doubt that even if the Roosevelt administration had established the War Refugee Board in 1943, instead of fighting tooth and nail against its creation, and establishing it only in 1944, how could the WRB staff found ways to rescue more refugees? the reply would be

The exact same way that they did in 1944--sending funds to Europe for bribing and sheltering, sending emissaries to negotiate the opening of blocked-off escape routes, etc; but they would have been doing it for a whole extra year, so more would have been accomplished.

Other responses:

- if the War Refugee Board had been appropriately funding by the U.S. government instead of 90% of its budget supplied by private Jewish organizations, rescue attempts would have benefited from more money = more staff, more funds for bribes, more funds for sheltering Jews underground in Europe, and in general more rescue work.

- as for the claim that the American public was so anti-Semitic that it prevented FDR from setting up numerous temporary shelters for Jewish refugees, instead of just the one token camp in Oswego, New York, where 982 refugees were housed, Bauer knows that the White House commissioned a Gallup poll in April 1944 which found that 70% of Americans were willing to admit an unlimited number of Jewish refugees temporarily until the war ended.

- that a bombing option, which Bauer agrees is but a "moral" matter, is really one of efficacy is answered so: what's not an open question is this: the reason the Allies turned down the bombing requests was not because they thought bombing the camps or the railway tracks wouldn't be effective. They never did study to determine if it would be effective. Instead, the War Department lied and claimed it had done a study and bombing would divert planes from the battlefield. They knew that planes didn't have to be diverted because they were already bombing targets within five miles of the gas chambers. But they lied because they didn't want to use even the most minimal resources for a humanitarian objective--and they didn't want to be left with hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees to deal with.

I can only presume that issue will continue to be contentious.



I was reminded by a comment about something Bauer said which, to me, indicated he is still motivated by a personal political approach.

He recalled that he had appeared on the same platform as then PM Yitzhak Shamir at a Holocaust memorial event and Shamir had declared the lesson of the Holocaust was that Israel had to be strong.  That last part, Bauer said with a bit of denigration and scornful disrespect.

But he also added a description of the event, saying that "Shamir ascended the speaker's p[odium to his full height".  That brought smirks from the audience.  Why?  Because we all know that Shamir was quite short.  Bauer was simply making fun of a physical characteristic that had nothing to do with his point, unless you grasp that Shamir was Lechi and Bauer was Palmah.

He also said something condescending about Barak and his wish that the IDF be a small and compact fighting force but I don't recall the exact words.  But the intent was similar - making fun of him rather than a point of dispute.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Not Yet

I have pointed out that to my knowledge, only two or three nationalist movements have employed a negative phrase in their national struggles.

The first is Poland

"Mazurek Dąbrowskiego" the national anthem of Poland...[the] English translations of its Polish incipit ("Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła" [ˈjɛʂt͡ʂɛ ˈpɔlska ɲɛ zɡʲiˈnɛwa]) include: "Poland has not yet perished","Poland has not perished yet", "Poland is not lost", "Poland is not lost yet", and "Poland is not yet lost".

and the second is Israel (and there's a third there):

"Hatikvah" the national anthem of Israel. Some people compare the first line of the refrain, “Our hope is not yet lost” (“עוד לא אבדה תקוותנו”), to the opening of the Polish national anthem, Poland Is Not Yet Lost (Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła) or the Ukrainian national anthem, Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished (Ще не вмерла Україна; Šče ne vmerla Ukrajina). This line may also be a Biblical allusion to Ezekiel’s "Vision of the Dried Bones" (Ezekiel 37: "…Behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost"), describing the despair of the Jewish people in exile, and God’s promise to redeem them and lead them back to the Land of Israel.

I know have discovered another: Ireland -

[Constance Georgine Markievicz, Countess Markievicz] was jailed for the first time in 1911 for speaking at an Irish Republican Brotherhood demonstration attended by 30,000 people, organised to protest against George V's visit to Ireland. During this protest Markievicz handed out leaflets, erected great masts: Dear land thou art not conquered yet.

I guess my list is not yet final.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Raad Salah Doesn't Like the Temple Mount Cameras

Why doesn't he like them?

For his part, Sheikh Raad Salah,- President of the Islamic movement in the Palestinian territories [he lives in Um El-Fahm], warned in a statement to QPress of the consequences of the installation of surveillance cameras, and expressed concern that the hands of the Israeli occupation will be extended through these cameras, and demanded of the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf to reconsider the decision.

He said: "I expressed my conviction in the past few days, and I still say, if the implication that these cameras will remain just under the control of the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf, we would say it's a good project, but what will happen with deep regret is that the Israeli occupation" will enter his finger "in these cameras that could control and turn them into 55 eyes for the Israeli occupation, which monitors everything that happens in the chapels of the Al Aqsa mosque and the life of the congregation and chapels, and the Almrabotat and Almataihn stationed in it. "

He added: "So I told her I still warn and say that is expected from the Israeli occupation of all evil, do not rule out that these cameras used in the near future to the evidence against our people who have long journeys to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in order to toughen them in the sanctions, either deportation or imprisonment or expulsion of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque blessed. "

" will open the way for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and perform Talmudic rituals in it and declare outright annoyance to our people in the Al-Aqsa Mosque...I hope the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf to reconsider the installation of these cameras before they bite on the fingers of remorse."


Jamma A-Sittin: What A Difference Jews Make

The former mosque and possibly a previous synagogue called Jamma A-Sittin about which I have blogged (and here too) is here in Shiloh.

A picture of it from the 1890s:-


And more recently:-

A difference of 120 years.

Oh, then there were no Jews at Shiloh.  And for the past 38 years, Jews have lived here in Shiloh.  We take care of antiquities, all of them and of everyone.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Biding the Biden

We read:
Vice President Joe Biden warned on Sunday that Israel’s continued construction of settlements in the West Bank was eroding the prospects for peace in the region and said there was “no political will” from either Palestinians or Israelis to move forward with any proposals.
"Israel's government's steady and systematic process of expanding settlements, legalising outposts, seizing land, is eroding in my view the prospect of a two-state solution," Biden said in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a leading pro-Israel lobbying group.
He said that, unlike Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he didn’t believe that there could be any way to reconcile settlements with a two-state solution.  "Bibi (Netanyahu) thinks it can be accommodated, and I believe he believes it. I don't," Biden said.

And this:

Israel’s policy allowing settlements to proliferate. Such activities, Biden said, move Israel “toward a one-state reality, which is a reality that is dangerous.”   That remark, which he acknowledged would anger Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., drew a mixture of boos and applause.

You can hear him directly here at 2:17:15 or so.

Well, we're asked, it seems the participants had to bide* Vice President Joe Biden's appearance at AIPAC.

We'll ignore his argument with Menachem Begin back in June 1982:

At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, however, both Mr. Begin and several senators were said by participants at the meeting to have been bristling with anger….The bitterest exchange was said to have been between Mr. Begin and Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, who told the Israeli leader that he was not critical of the Lebanon operation but felt that Israel had to halt the policy of establishing new Jewish settlements in the West Bank….

After the meeting, Mr. Begin said: ”I enjoyed the session very much. I believe in liberty, that free men should freely discuss problems and if they have differences of opinion they should voice them in sincerity.”

”I said it was a lively discussion,” he said. ”If you want to use other adjectives. …” He paused, then said, ”Lively is enough.”

A Jewish presence in the Land of Israel is not a factor in making peace with Arabs.

On the other hand, Muslims kill Jews and others with no link to "settlements".

Unfortunately, we cannot bide our time while politicians like Mr. Biden and his boss attempt to fit their very square peg into any Middle East playboard.

to wait for —used chiefly in the phrase bide one's time

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

It Worked Well for the Jews

Clinton: Closing borders 'unrealistic'         Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is pushing back on Donald Trump's claim that he could close the nation's borders after a terrorist attack, remarks that follow a series of bombings Tuesday in Brussels.

"It's unrealistic to say that we're going to completely shut down our borders to everyone," Clinton said during an interview on NBC's "Today" show.


It worked "well" for the Jews.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Is It "Disputed" or "Occupied" Territory?

No, not here in Israel.

Western Sahara referendum key to peace: pro-independence groupA referendum on the future of the disputed territory of Western Sahara holds the key to peace and stability in North Africa, the pro-independence Polisario Front said Wednesday.  The former Spanish territory has been back in the spotlight after UN chief Ban Ki-moon angered Morocco by using the word "occupation" to describe its status.

"There will be no peace or stability in the region so long as the Sahrawi people are denied the right to self-determination," Mohamed Salem Ould Salek, a leader of the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, told a news conference in Algiers.  He said that Morocco "knows full well that the Sahrawi people will choose independence if a referendum is held".  "We are not Moroccans and we refuse to become Moroccans," he said.

The resources-rich Western Sahara is at the centre of a four-decade-old dispute.  Morocco considers the territory to be part of the kingdom and insists its sovereignty cannot be challenged.

Any BDS there?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Is There a Parallel to the Upcoming AIPAC/Trump Ruckus?

In a 2009 meeting with the  Foreign Affairs Committee of the Israeli Knesset, former President Jimmy Carter was reminded of an event 30 years previously:

...Mr. Begin said on your first visit to the Israeli Knesset on March 12 1979, "We have a beautiful democracy," and you will be witness to democracy today. This is the meaning of Knesset, the meaning of parliament, and we have many views around this table. I think that most of the people here, maybe most Israelis were, to say the least, frustrated with some of your remarks about the Palestinian issue but respect your vision, commitment and love for the state of Israel, and this is why we felt we have to listen to you and also to share our feelings and thoughts with you today. You are the first former American President visiting this committee and we look forward to a fruitful discussion.

As this newspaper report makes clear, indeed there was a ruckus going on:

Here is another account:

In Carter's speech he said pointedly: "The people of the two nations are ready now for peace. The leaders have not yet proven that we are also ready for peace enough to take a chance." Begin's speech was interrupted repeatedly by members of the right and the Communist party, and MK Geula Cohen was removed from the chamber.  Carter believed that Begin took pleasure in showing him the strength of Israeli democracy.

So I suggest to the AIPAC heads that when the ruckus breaks out, just quote Menachem Begin.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

"We cannot afford to see the other man's point."

And you thought all this post-modern/progressive anti-Zionism is new?

This, from a book review of Thieves in the Night by Arthur Koestler (also a movie), highlights my "that's old news" attitude:

Although he does not entirely come to life, Joseph's doubts, questionings and slowly achieved certainty do live, and they are provocative, disturbing and important to anyone interested in understanding the moral and emotional basis of Zionism, which makes it something more than a mere desire to find refuge from oppression, even though it has been ignited by that desire. They have the further interest of seeming to be the personal doubts and self-questionings of Mr. Koestler, whose sensitivity to moral values provides him with a conscience that is a literary instrument of great power and illumination.

Most of his bemused contemplations are self-scourging and have to do with qualities he finds unpleasant in his own people. To take a characteristic example, Joseph is worried over the quality of the younger generation of Zionists.

Their parents [he says] were the most cosmopolitan race of the earth- they are provincial and chauvinistic. Their parents are sensitive bundles of nerves with awkward bodies- their nerves are whipcords and their bodies are those of a horde of Hebrew Tarzans roaming the hills of Galilee. Their parents were intense, intent, over-strung, over-spiced- they are tasteless, spiceless, unleavened and tough. Their parents were notoriously polyglot- they have been brought up in one language which had been hibernating for twenty centuries before being brought artificially to life.

Although his criticisms of his people, both moral and esthetic, are based on a sort of hypercritical, exaggerated sensitiveness towards their flaws which grows increasingly savage in him as he prepares to join the direct-actionists, there is never a time when he questions the right of his people to dominate the land in which the Arabs are and have long been in a majority. He knows that Zionism can bring- and has brought- to the Palestine Arabs techniques in production, medicine, organization and sanitation which will raise the living standards of all the inhabitants of whatever race or religion.
He knows, too, that the primitive, as well as the new intellectual, among the Arabs has an answer to this, and the following passage indicates his reaction to it:

"I wish my Arabic was as good as yours," said Joseph. "What was the old Sheikh explaining so solemnly?""He explained that every nation has the right to live according to its own fashion, right or wrong, without outside interference. He explained that money corrupts, fertilizers stink and tractors make a noise, all of which he dislikes.""And what did you answer?""Nothing.""But you saw his point?""We cannot afford to see the other man's point."

As a political tract for the Zionist cause, "Thieves in the Night" might have gained in persuasiveness for the sympathetic reader still troubled in his mind by one or two aspects of the movement if Bauman, the terrorist, had replied to the Sheikh. Such a reader, disturbed by the thought that the right to be master in a land through superiority in technical skill was, ironically enough, once asserted by the English when they transported the wild Irish from vast districts in their country and it to the more socially advanced Britons, may be inclined to feel that the old fellow made a point worthy of an answer. As a tract it suffers, too, from its failure to treat the ferment among Arab intellectuals as seriously as it deserves to be taken, since it is a very living thing.

But Mr. Koestler, although he is sympathetic to Zionism and a little intolerant on the subject, is not primarily concerned with his defense of it. Chiefly what he has set out to do is to probe and dramatize the emotional tension of the sensitive, highly civilized Jewish intellectual, who finds himself fighting for a national state in Palestine while the memories of European oppression are still bitterly fresh in his mind. Brilliantly and with deep passion Koestler has captured the hope and the dream, the hard emotional intensity, the terror and heroism, the violence and the mysticism that dominate the Jewish struggle in Palestine. The mood and spirit of that struggle, given added poignance by the tragic irony of fratricidal strife between Hebrew and Arab, are portrayed in such human and comprehensible dramatic terms, and the pity and the terror of it are so powerfully captured that "Thieves in the Night" becomes another unforgettable Koestler document on the desperate sickness of our time.


A Centenary Approaching

The Centenary of the Founding of the Jewish Legion is approaching.

Announced in August 1917, its recruits marched through the streets of London on February 2, 1918.

Its commander was John H. Patterson:

Its initiator was Ze'ev Jabotinsky and looking at this photograph at the official reception in Whitechapel from the film clip:

and I am positive that there is Jabotinsky:

Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement, was considered by Jabotinsky to be the fourth battalion of the Legion, the core of the Jewish Army of the future Jewish state to arise.

With the flag:

Here is Jabotinsky with Betarim in Krakow in 1934:

Is anyone preparing for the anniversary?

Perhaps in conjunction with the centenary of the Balfour Declaration?



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Countering Erekat's Netufians With A New Narrative

Now, I now there has always been a strong Jewish presence in Arabia.  The fact that Mohammed tried first to convert the Jews with Jerusalem as the First Qibla and then, despairing, eventually slaughtered thousands, I knew.  The kingdom of Mar Zutra II I knew. I had a faint recall of the Himyar Kingdom from college.

But this article has opened up another avenue of perception, for example,

While the Koran and later Muslim tradition make no bones about the presence of Jewish and Christian communities across the peninsula in Mohammed’s day, the general picture that is painted of pre-Islamic Arabia is one of chaos and anarchy. The region is described as being dominated by jahilliyah – ignorance – lawlessness, illiteracy and barbaric pagan cults...Reexamination of works by Muslim and Christian chroniclers in recent years, as well as finds like the one in Saudi Arabia, are producing a much more elaborate picture, leading scholars to rediscover the rich and complex history of the region before the rise of Islam.

One of the key, but often forgotten, players in Arabia at the time was the kingdom of Himyar.

Established around the 2nd century CE, by the 4th century it had become a regional power. Headquartered in what is today Yemen, Himyar had conquered neighboring states, including the ancient kingdom of Sheba (whose legendary queen features in a biblical meeting with Solomon).

In a recent article titled “What kind of Judaism in Arabia?” Christian Robin, a French epigraphist and historian who also leads the expedition at Bir Hima, says most scholars now agree that, around 380 CE, the elites of the kingdom of Himyar converted to some form of Judaism.

And more:

Until 300 AD, southern Arabia had many kingdoms and principalities of very variable size...The creation of ever larger political entities remains a trend, which is observed from the beginning of the South Arabian civilization in the eighth century BC Saba'impose its supremacy for two centuries (seventh to sixth century) then it was the turn of Qataban, but neither one nor the other of these realms conquers all of southern Arabia. The first to succeed, in the late third century AD, is Himyar. Now all southern Arabia has the same sovereign, uses the same language - at least in the inscriptions - and shares some institutions, such as the calendar. In order to deepen its hold, the Himyarite dynasty religiously endeavors to unify the country. Monotheism is in the air. The choice of Christianity have the disadvantage of involving a liability to Byzantium. Himyar The kings therefore make the choice of Judaism, convert but do not make the official religion.

And further history:

[as] reported in The Martyrdom of Saint Arethas and his companions in the city of Najran (Asian Journal - 1873). The Martyrdom tells of a Jewish king took power in Yemen. Because of winter - a time of strong winds in the Red Sea - the Ethiopians were not able to react. The Jewish king then laid siege to Najran, large oasis where Christians dominate. The town surrendered after having the assurance that the people would be spared. The king did not keep his word and force Christians to convert to Judaism; those who refuse are executed. Several hundred faithful perish during this persecution, dated fall 523.

Of course, the Christian world can not stand idly by. Religious leaders of the Byzantine Empire and the Emperor himself ask the Christian king of Ethiopia, Kaleb, organize the response. Kaleb gathers seventy ships and, after Pentecost 525, through the Red Sea. Ethiopian fleet arrives at the entrance to the harbor of Shaykh Sa'id, barred by a chain, while a storm arises. While part of the fleet breaks the chain, the rest with the king, is rejected and further north arrives - he seems - to al-Makha '(Moca), site of the decisive battle. Kaleb outweighs the Jewish king is defeated and executed; then he seized all of Yemen, imposed Christianity, founded churches everywhere, creates an ecclesiastical hierarchy and retires in Ethiopia where he became a monk...
... he growing outside pressures ultimately took their toll on Himyar. Sometime around the year 500, it fell to Christian invaders from the Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum.

In a last bid for independence, in 522, a Jewish Himyarite leader, Yusuf As'ar Yath'ar, rebelled against the puppet ruler enthroned by the negus and put the Aksumite garrison to the sword. He then besieged Najran, which had refused to provide him with troops, and massacred part of its Christian population – a martyrdom that sparked outrage amongst Yusuf’s enemies and hastened retribution from Ethiopia.

In 2014, the French-Saudi expedition at Bir Hima discovered an inscription recording Yusuf’s passage there after the Najran massacre as he marched north with 12,000 men into the Arabian desert to reclaim the rest of his kingdom. After that, we lose track of him, but Christian chroniclers recorded that around 525 the Ethiopians caught up with the rebel leader and defeated him.

According to different traditions, the last Jewish king of Arabia was either killed in battle, or committed suicide by riding with his horse into the Red Sea.

(If you read French, here's a book and also a monograph)

The point I'd like to make need recall Saeb Erekat's 2014 statement 

“I am the son of Jericho. I am 10,000 years old … I am the proud son of the Netufians and the Canaanites. I’ve been there for 5,500 years before Joshua Bin Nun came and burned my hometown Jericho. I’m not going to change my narrative,”

The credulousness of that claim is non-existent. 

But more importantly, we now know, through inscriptions and texts 

that included Hebrew writing

and not just handed-down traditions, that Jews were the forefathers of Arabian political development:

For fifty years, archaeological research provides confirmations [through] the discovery of dozens of inscriptions and graffites in Yemen and Saudi Arabia [that] showed that Judaism was rooted in northwestern Saudi from the first centuries of the Christian era and was dominant in Yemen from the fourth century. Christianity, which had many followers in the islands of the Arabo-Persian Gulf and the coasts, has not spread to Yemen belatedly in some peripheral regions. Now, more than about the extent of Judaization that need be asked, but rather on the nature of Judaism that spread in Arabia from the second century.

It appears Erekat has a new narrative challenge to face.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Partial Summary of Terror Attacks Sept. 2015 - Mar. 2016

Just received:-

Hatzalah Yehudah Shomron and the Jordan Valley

A Partial summary of the continuous terror attacks from 13-9-15-13-3-16

Jews have been run over, stabbed, and shot, even before what is termed as the "wave of terror" which is encouraged, praised and aided by the continuous incitement by the Palestinian Authority, which calls the murderous terrorists "martyrs" and their acts of terror deemed "acts of heroism".

In the last six months these acts of terror have been carried out by terrorists from age 72 and down to 13-years old. These murderous attacks were carried out by an Arab who has citizenship of Israel, Bedouins, Sudanese, and members of the PA security forces who are full of hate and the desire to murder Jews.

Six Months of Terror and murder by numbers:

35 murdered and at least 517 wounded, 20 widows, 77 orphans, some of whom are infants.

The terrorists use many ways to carry out their intention to murder:

8 murdered and about 127 injured in stabbing attacks, 5 of which are in attacks where the terrorists penetrated into a community.
7 murdered and at least 12 injured in terror attacks where 4 stabbing and gunshot /explosive devices were used 
1 murdered and at least 12 injured in 5 terror attacks combined with running over and stabbing 
2 murdered and at least 60 injured in 30 run over terror attacks 
10 murdered and 81 injured in 79 shooting attacks (many of the terror attacks against security forces are not publicized)
4 dead and 18 injured from friendly fire by our security forces
1 murdered from attacks with rocks at least 188 injured : 33 soldiers-59 policemen- 96 civilians the smallest a six month old baby girl
2 non-Jews were murdered and 5 injured during terror attacks 
By miracle 2 moderately injured in 169 terror attacks with explosive devices most of which were directed to security forces and the attacks are mostly not publicized
7 injured in 1363 terror attacks with fire bombs, including a three year old little girl who was seriously injured and required many medical treatments for her burns
1 policeman injured from explosive gas during terror attack
4 injured in various types of terror attacks

A: This report includes both security forces and civilians
B: Many of the shooting and explosive device attacks are against security forces and are calculated from data taken from the reports from the General Security Forces statistics on their site


Monday, March 14, 2016

Lechi, the IRA and Nazi Germany

I pointed out the 1916 German-Irish connection already and remind us of one of the more difficult episodes in the chronicles of Lechi: the outreach to Germany:

Even more controversial than the robberies and bombs was his decision to contact the Germans.  This was 1940 and 1941; the “Final Solution” had not yet been decided upon. Stern said the Germans wanted the Jews out of Europe and any Jews who stayed were doomed. He offered to cut a deal with the Germans to transfer the Jews to Eretz Israel. He was pilloried by the British and Jews, considered a traitor. In a private conversation with one of his deputies he agreed to accept the epithet, if he might save the Jews by doing so. Ultimately, of course, the Germans were not interested.

A more negative portrayal is here:

Stern sought alliance with the Nazis, both because they shared an enemy in Britain and because Lehi shared Hitler’s totalitarian ideology. During the war Sternists openly celebrated Nazi victories on the battlefield.

An infamous document called the “Ankara Document”

because it was found in the German Embassy in Ankara after the war, detailed Avraham Stern’s ideas “concerning the solution of the Jewish question in Europe.” It was dated Jan. 11, 1941. At the time, Stern was still a member of the Irgun, which he called by its initials, NMO. Wrote Stern: “The evacuation of the Jewish masses from Europe is a precondition for solving the Jewish question; but this can only be made possible and complete through the settlement of these masses in the home of the Jewish People, Palestine, and through the establishment of a Jewish state in its historical boundaries....The well acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities toward Zionist activity inside Germany and toward Zionist emigration plans....The NMO is closely related to the totalitarian movements in Europe in its ideology and structure.”

But history is also comparing persons, circumstances, developments and attitudes.

Consider this IRA history:

Claiming to be the legitimate government of the Irish Republic, in January 1939, the Army Council under [Sean] Russell's leadership declared war on the United Kingdom in alliance with Nazi Germany. The Sabotage Campaign commenced some days later with bombing attacks on a number of English cities. Russell was also involved in a meeting with German Intelligence (Abwehr) agent Oscar Pfaus...Once in Berlin [by May 1940], Russell was informed of Operation Mainau, the plan to parachute Hermann Görtz into Ireland. Russell was asked to brief Görtz on Ireland before his departure that night but missed his takeoff from the Kassel-Fritzlar airfield. Russell's liaison officer while in Nazi Germany was SS-Standartenfuhrer Edmund Veesenmayer.

...Russell had begun training with Abwehr in the use of the latest German explosive ordnance. This training was conducted at the Abwehr training school/lab at Quentzgut near Brandenburg which specialised in the design of explosives as everyday objects. Russell also visited the training area for the Brandenburg Regiment, the 'Quenzgut', where he observed trainees and instructors working with sabotage materials in a field environment. As he received explosives training, his return to Ireland with a definite sabotage objective was planned by German Army Intelligence. His total training time with German Intelligence was over 3 months.

More here:

Collaboration between the IRA and Abwehr during World War II ranged in intensity during the period 1937–1943 and ended permanently around 1944...Tom Barry, an IRA member who had fought during the Anglo-Irish War and was still active within the organisation. They met frequently with a view to fostering links between the IRA and Germany...In December 1938, the Abwehr II. Ast., located at Knochenhauerstraße, Hamburg, took an English-speaking agent on loan from the English section of the Fichte-Bund headquarters (HQ) in Hamburg. This agent was Oscar Pfaus...A meeting between Pfaus and IRA representatives took place on 13 February 1939...Seamus O'Donovan, a German speaker and former Director of Chemicals for the IRA, made three trips to Germany in 1939. The first meeting in February saw O'Donovan conduct discussions with the head of Office 1 West, Abwehr HQ – Friedrich Carl Marwede, codenamed "Dr. Pfalzgraf". O'Donovan and Marwede discussed the appropriate wartime role of the IRA as it concerned the German Government...By this stage of events, each IRA CS. from 1937 onwards had been involved in liaisons with the Germans to one degree or another. These liaisons were to continue into the tenure of Stephen Hayes and his overture to Nazi Germany via "Plan Kathleen" in 1940...

And here:  Mark M. Hull, Irish Secrets. German Espionage in Wartime Ireland 1939-1945, Dublin:Irish Academic Press, 2003.

And the point of all this?

What was with Lechi and its so-called German connection pales as regards what went on with the IRA but the Irish history is relatively unknown whereas any search of the Internet will bring you to raving anti-Lechi pages which attempt to negate the entire effort of Lechi to liberate Israel from the oppressive British Mandatory rule.

Another instance of a double-standard.



In August 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, Casement and John Devoy arranged a meeting in New York with the western hemisphere's top-ranking German diplomat, Count Bernstorff, to propose a mutually beneficial plan: if Germany would sell guns to the Irish revolutionary and provide military leaders, the Irish would revolt against England, diverting troops and attention from the war on Germany. Bernstorff appeared sympathetic. Casement and Devoy sent an envoy, Clan na Gael president John Kenny, to present their plan personally. Kenny, unable to meet the German Emperor, received a warm reception from Flotow, the German ambassador to Italy, and from Prince von Bülow.

In October 1914 Casement sailed for Germany via Norway — traveling in disguise and seeing himself as an ambassador of the Irish nation. While the journey was his idea, Clan na Gael financed the expedition.

and this

...Casement was about to embark on a course of action which would cause him to be converted from hero to villain in the British mind. He joined the nationalist Irish Volunteers on their foundation in 1913, and on the outbreak of World War I in 1914 he supported Britain's enemy Germany, in the hope that it would assist the achievement of Irish independence. Casement travelled to Germany in 1914, where he endeavoured to secure significant military aid and to persuade Irish prisoners of war to desert the British Army for an Irish Brigade.