Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Language Obfuscation Or, How To Divert Attention

I saw this relating to the Ohio State University Islamist a la Palestinian terror-style attack the other day:

"The suspect has tentatively been identified as a man of Somali heritage," the Council of American Islamic Relations's press release said.

And at 2:16 in this video


In other words, his religion was less important than his cultural heritage, his ethnic identity?

Are they diverting attention?


Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Real Land Grab at Amona

From remarks delivered by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on the situation in the West Bank, including settlements at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on November 22, 2016

The so-called regularisation bill, which passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset, would allow for the ex-post legalisation of Israeli outposts in the occupied West Bank. It would enable essentially the confiscation of the private property rights of Palestinian land owners in the West Bank for the benefit of settlers. This would mean crossing a new threshold, even under Israeli law, for the settlement enterprise in the West Bank. It would also mean the exact opposite of what the Quartet has called for, namely preserving the two-state solution.

Let's review that confiscation of the private property rights of Palestinian land owners bit.

In the Amona instance, despite the fact that the lands in question were distributed by an illegal occupying power, i.e., Jordan, with no real purchase proof, and despite the legal assertion by the Amona residents' lawyer that that was without legal foundation as regards actual "private" ownership, the High Court ignored that and asked the State Prosecutor's Office who agreed that the land in question was "privately-owned".

In a check, 7 out of the 9 plaintiffs "owned" land that was outside the Amona community. The two people - Maryam Hassan (מרים חסן עבד אלקרים חמאד) and Ibrahim Halil (אברהים חליל יעקוב גע'מה) - "owned" proportionally 2 dunams out of a total of...500 dunams in question. Hassan held proportionally 12 out of... 109 of 24 dunams and Halil held...80 out of 36,000 in an area of 36 dunams.  "Worse", they cannot pinpoint exactly where on the map those portions exist.

Out of 500 dunams, two are claimed but the owners know not where exactly the lands lie.

And what the Civil Administration did was not to define the proportionality of the land but to 'submerge' the 2 dunams into the 60 and then decide those 60 covered the entire soutern portion of Amona.

That's a land grab!

(based on a research article by Dr. Yehuda Yifrach in Makor Rishon, November 18, 2016 which was also published at NRG).


France's Regulations Should Be Worded Exact & Correct

Here is a section of the new French regulations on goods produced in that part of the Land of Israel not yet under Israel's full sovereignty:

For products from the West Bank or the Golan Heights originating from settlements, a restriction to "product originating in the Golan Heights" or "product originating in the West Bank" is not acceptable. Although these expressions refer to the broad area or territory from which the product originates, the omission of additional geographical information to the effect that the product originates from Israeli settlements may mislead the consumer True origin of the product. In such cases it is necessary to add, in brackets, the expression "Israeli colony" or equivalent terms. Thus, expressions such as "product originating in the Golan Heights (Israeli colony)" or "products originating in the West Bank (Israeli colony)" may be used.

I was wondering: do products in that same geographical area but not produced in Jewish communities need to be registered/labeled as "hummus produced in Arab-occupied Samaria" or "olive oil originating in Arab-occupied Judea"?

The additional geographical information is that those areas, Samaria and Judaea, are the ones the United Nations used to describe the border of the Jewish and Aerab states to arise as a reult of the 1947 partition plan (which the Arabs rejected, launched a war of aggression and then had Jordan occupy and annex):

The boundary of the hill country of Samaria and Judea starts on the Jordan River at the Wadi Malih south-east of Beisan...

So, if the French want to be just and correct, let them employ the correct nomenclature and the genuine legal standing of the areas.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Did Bob Dylan Describe Arab Propaganda

I’ve been down on the bottom of a world full of lies
I ain’t looking for nothing in anyone’s eyes
Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

He's Inciting, Lying and He's A Minister

He's trying to start a riot.

From this report (via Google Translate):

Palestinian minister: Israeli occupation seeks to demolish Al-Aqsa Mosque
Wednesday, 23 / November / 2016 - 20:10 
Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs of the Palestinian Adeis Yusuf, said the situation in the holy city and the Aqsa Mosque has reached an extremely dangerous level, given the lapse of the Israeli occupation authorities in their practices against racism and the Judaization of the mosque and the city.

Adeis in an exclusive statement to the UAE site 24 said that the Israeli government is trying to undermine the Al-Aqsa Mosque and implement a spatial partitioning scheme and then destroy it, to establish on its ruins the alleged structure [i.e. the Third Temple], stressing that Israel is seeking to impose a fait accompli policy.

Adeis explained that the Israeli occupation of racist practices designed to blur the historical Arab and Islamic presence in Jerusalem, in preparation for implementation of all settlement plans and colonial against Jerusalem.

He pointed out that the Palestinian leadership took the file to the international community and the Security Council, and moving toward the cessation of Israeli practices and punish the crimes of the Israeli occupation in the holy city, noting that the Palestinian move alone is not enough to rein in Israel and stop the repeated crimes.

Maybe this response?


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Did Rabbi Eric Yoffie Proofread His Oped?

Did I read this correctly?

"Now is actually a good time to put forward a reasonable plan to resolve the settlement question and to indicate Israel’s intentions in negotiations with the Palestinians. And Lieberman has done just that, calling for a return to the terms of the Bush-Sharon letters of 2004. The Bush-Sharon letters called for a two-state solution and an end to settlement construction outside of the major settlements blocs. At the same time, they also called for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and suggested that the blocs could be incorporated into Israel as part of any final status agreement. As Lieberman noted, a reaffirmation of this correspondence could be negotiated in such a way that would give Israel freedom to expand settlements within agreed-upon borders of the blocs.

If the Bush-Sharon letters are adopted by Trump and Netanyahu, peace is hardly likely. In the current climate, it is hard to imagine the Palestinians embracing the 2004 formula.

What is he suggesting here?  

Does he make sense to you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Educating of the Press

According to what I readtwo dozen anchors and executives from CBS, NBC, CNN, and ABC, including Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Wolf Blitzer, Gayle King, David Muir, and Martha Raddatz and some others (NBC’s Deborah Turness, Lester Holt, ABC’s James Goldston, George Stephanopoulos, CBS’ Norah O’Donnell John Dickerson, Charlie Rose, Christopher Isham, Fox News’ Bill Shine, Jack Abernethy, Jay Wallace, Suzanne Scott, MSNBC’s Phil Griffin and CNN’s Jeff Zucker and Erin Burnett) were invited to a press briefing and with the President-elect were his top aides including Stephen Bannon, Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, and Kellyanne Conway (also spokesman Jason Miller, and Republican National Committee chief strategist and communications director Sean Spicer).

Trump blasted the media coverage.

The reactions?

One participant at the meeting said that Trump’s behavior was 

“totally inappropriate” and “fucking outrageous.” 

Another remarked 

“I have to tell you, I am emotionally fucking pissed,”

Another source I reviewed contained this 

“It was like a f–ing firing squad,”

and this

“Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong.’ He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was [a] network of liars,” the source said.

In a separate incident, an interview, I caught this exchange:

"I think we should all learn from the election that this doesn't fly with the voters," she [Kellyanne Conway] said, adding that CNN is "focusing on divisions" by calling out Trump's tweets.

"This network and other people will always be focused on divisions. How about accepting the election results,[CNN host] Chris [Cuomo], and letting him form a government?" Conway said. "He is a leader and takes the counsel of many people, and that's exactly what he's doing."

"And a leader should also have thick skin," Cuomo shot back.

My takeaways:

1. Media people use the "F" word a lot.

2. Media people do not seem to have thick skin themselves.

3. They probably still don't think they did too much wrong during the campaign.

4. This is going to be some ride. 


Monday, November 21, 2016

A Thought of Hypocrisy From Standing Rock

Let me get this straight. (updates below and now also a follow-up)

One of the reasons for demonstrations at Backwater Bridge, where most prominently Indians are protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline project, is that the the pipeline’s impacts to sacred sites and culturally important landscapes to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe are being ignored?

Also, pro-"Palestine" activists are there, too.  Here's a banner there, photographed by Haithem El-Zabri:

and the flag-waving:

and there are Jews there as well.

And Jews who are quite pro-"Palestine":-

I have no principled opposition to this.

I just want to ask:

when Jews claim they are discriminated against and have lost legal rights at their "sacred site" and their "holy place", where are all these liberal, radical and progressive Jews?

That a rock upon which stood the most sacred of Jewish religious locations is off-limits and prohibited from being viewed by a Jew who openly identifies as such and the area of that rock, within the Temple Mount compound, is being treated in quite an unsupervised fashion with damage being done to the site, then the first word that come to mind is: hypocrisy.



I left a comment here, at this blog:

If any native Americans are reading this, please note: between 1920 and 1948, almost 20,000 Jews who had been living in those areas which became known as the "West Bank" (a term that was created only in 1950 when the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan illegally occupied the area that was to become the Arab State of Palestine as declared by the United Nations in 1947) but historically known for over 2500 years as Judea and Samaria, where subjected to an Arab-initiated and instigated ethnic cleansing campaign. It was carried out violently including riots, pogroms, rape, murder, banditry, destruction of property and terror. Jews who had been living in some locations, such as Hebron, Gaza and the Old City of Jerusalem, were attacked and those who survived forced to flee in 1920, 1921, 1929, 1936-39 and finally, in the war pf aggression Arabs launched after rejecting the UN Partition Plan. Until 1951, UNRWA cared for some 17,000 Jewish refugees from Jerusalem, kibbutzim in Gush Etzion, agricultural communities north of Jerusalem and other areas. Do not be fooled into believing Arab propaganda.

I don't know how long it will stay up.


It continues:


To update, here's from a Nov. 23 piece:

From our demand for just rights, the pursuit of sovereignty, and a long history of resistance, we walk a joint path to liberation.
Their poster:

and their pitch:

From the dominant diatribe of manifest destiny and the insidiousness of settler-colonialism to our extortion as Indigenous people, our beasts are of the same species — we face similar barriers in varied contexts: we live on land surrounded by settlements, we have plentiful water and resources around us but have no power over how we access them. From our demand for just rights, the pursuit of sovereignty, and a long history of resistance, we walk a joint path to liberation.

We Jews are the indigenous people on this land. 



Islamists Join Environmentalists At Standing Rock To Delegitimize America
What unites these two seemingly antithetical movements is their shared desires to accumulate power and topple a common enemy.


Friday, November 18, 2016

The New ADL Chant: 'Register, Register'!

Progressive and liberal America, with Jews way out in the lead, view the,selves after the election results as now living in...Nazi-land.


They even go further.  Here's a comment left at my FB account on the appointment of Stephen Bannon:

Jews who read, quote, and believe anything written in Breitbart even after Bannon said it was the platform for the alt. right remind me of the kapos of many years ago. There really is no difference

I found this:

The majority of the people who stood by and did nothing when my father and his family were in Hitler Germany were not good. They were pretty much like your friends who were Trump supporters,

Welcome to Trump's fourth Reich.

And this talkback:

Trump has shown that he a racist and it is just plain silly to think he was saying and posting racist, xenophobic and anti-semitic words and symbols just to gt votes from the KKK and other white supremacy and American Nazi party supporters, he really is part of this himself. Any Jewish person who is attracted to this crap because they sympathize with the hate he spews or because they like his politics of greed is very misguided. My dad told me about Jews like this in Berlin who were looking to profit off of the misfortune of others.

Is this what mass hysteria looks like?  Are sane people going crazy?  So, it is true that, in order to be liberal/left, you need be irrationally extreme?

Now we have the ADL's Jonathan Greenblatt who, after backtracking on libelous comments he made relating to Bannon, said this:

“The new administration plans to force Muslims to register on some master list. As Jews we know what it means to be forced to register.  I pledge to you that because I am committed to the fight against anti-Semitism that if one day Muslim Americans are forced to register their identities, that is the day that this proud Jew will register as Muslim.”

As far as I know, Trump's proposal was only for people entering the US on non-immigrant visas from specific countries and it has been on the table for years, a decade, as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System.  Did Greenblatt register then?

But more important, there are also threats from the extreme Left, an element that has caused trouble for Jews on campuses and in grocery stores when protesting Israel and is now feneigling into the Democratic Party leadership.

Like Keith Ellison and his challenge.

According to sources (see below), it seems he was involved in the Nation of Islam. He worked on Farrakhan's Million Man March (he later repudiated it). Many of his supporters hate Jews, which parallels the claim that Trump "was supported by anti-Semities, a twist on some of my best friends are...Jew haters.

He has called for white people to pay reparations for slavery, in place of affirmative action.
He is also very close to the Council on American-Islamic Relations which is the Muslim Brotherhood's organisation in the US.  See A; B; C;

And Ellison has raised money for CAIR, it appears

He has spoken at ISNA and IIIT conferences.  He was associated with NAIF, the Flying Imams. People think he’s a Muslim Brother…he supported Sami Al-Arian.  And he criticized Zuhdi Jasser and spoke out against Peter King’s hearing on radicalization. He's signed onto a couple letters organized by the BDS movement.  See D; E.

And there's a Diane Feinstein, too.

The Trump Team Is No More Anti-Semitic Than Democrats Are

And by the way, is Greenblatt so 'in' with Obama that he won't decry the violence of some of the anti-Trump demos?

What will Greenblatt have to say about Muslim anti-Jewish preaching, attacks and other negatives signs that have already crept into the American reality?

There's also Peter Beinart who thinks Jews tribal, that Trump "began flirting with anti-Semitism" and that "America’s most influential Jewish groups have prioritized Netanyahu over U.S. Jews’ safety" and "Jewry’s two most influential groups no longer take moral responsibility for the country in which their members live."  His next step might well be that Netanyahu and/or Israel are really what anti-Semites claim is happening: ZOG.

P.S.  And now this demo:
Jewish protesters march into D.C. building hosting Trump team against Bannon's appointment
And Greenblatt now says:
U.S. Anti-Semitism Worst Since ‘30’s


Caught this Saturday night:


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Comment of the Law of Regulation

Coming in:

A bill legalizing West Bank outposts passed a preliminary reading Wednesday

I just want to point out that the impression I have is that the Arab "landowners" are of the type of which the 2012 Levy Report spoke of (see this discussion).

That is, they were awarded property from the "state lands" of Palestine by an illegal occupier, i.e., Jordan.  They did not purchase it. Nor did they pay taxes.

At the time, I suggested Netanyahu declare a re-register of all such lands and that all those that were not developed, not built on, not planted, should revert to their former legal status. A campaign was launched but Netanyahu rebuffed any policy initiative.


Just Who Is An Anti-Semite

My dear fellow Jews,

There is a difference between a non-Jew (or even a Jew, to our growing horror) not liking a Jew and not wishing to mingle with us and a non-Jew (or a Jew) actually hating a Jew and then wishing to do him/her physical harm, deny him work, kick him out of schools, degrade publicly, etc.

Anti-Semitism is, as Jabotinsky phrased it, the

"progressive economic degradation of...Jewry, the systematic stultification of its legal equality...and many recurrent and unchecked outbursts of brutal violence"

in relating to inter-war Poland as the example.

If you think Trump and Co. are crazy, the solution for you is not to become crazier and more irrational.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Don't Be Tricked By Headlines

Like this headline By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS JERUSALEM — Nov 13, 2016:

Israeli Bill to Recognize West Bank Outposts Approved

Continue reading:

An Israeli committee on Sunday approved a bill that if adopted would legalize outposts built without government permission in the West Bank, territory Palestinians demand for their future state.

One hurdle. That was the cabinet committee on legislation.

It still needs to pass several stages before it can be adopted

Second hurdle.

A first reading is expected in parliament on Wednesday.

Hurdle number three.


Israelis Polled: Keep Judea and Samaria

...a majority of the Jewish public (53.5%) are sure or think that the status quo between Israel and the Palestinians can keep going for a long time. Forty-one percent are sure or think the opposite. On the left only a minority (about a third) believes the situation can continue as it is, while on the right there is a majority of more than half.

In the Jewish public, among those who think the current situation cannot continue, 47% expect that the stalemate will end because international pressure will be exerted on Israel to end its control of the territories, 20% assess that a Palestinian uprising will erupt, and 10% think Israel will annex Judea and Samaria/the West Bank. A total of 7.5% chose other possibilities that would bring an end to the stalemate. A particularly high rate (15.5%) does not know what will happen.

...Another question that was asked in this context was: “In light of the situation, are you for or against annexing all of Judea and Samaria/the West Bank to the state of Israel?” In the Jewish public the highest rate (46%) favored annexation, compared to an only slightly lower rate (42%) who expressed opposition to it. Whereas on the left and in the center there was, as expected, only a minority of supporters of annexation, among those who defined themselves as right-wingers there was a majority of supporters for it in light of the existing situation...


Friday, November 11, 2016

Blessed by A Cohen Who Has Become Very Dark

Leonard Eliezer Cohen has died.

Admitting my age, my intellectual development coalesced in the mid-1960s, from the end of high school through to university studies.  Leonard Cohen was there.

I first heard "Suzanne" in the winter of 1968 when I went up to Montreal to visit the Betar group there (Dina Kolodny-Shalit, Mendy Shalit, etc.) but dropped off to see the three HaShomer HaTzair girls who were with me on Machon.  Of course, it was at their ken that the song was played

I have, still, I hope, his Spice-Box of Earth book of poetry.  I bought my son a book of his poems translated into Hebrew.

His records were heard by all our children.

My wife would use his "Hallelujah" in her English teaching curriculum.

I recently found this article on his Zohar references.

And I still read intensively:

Including this last interview with this

In recent years, he spent many Shabbat mornings and Monday evenings at Ohr HaTorah, a synagogue on Venice Boulevard, talking about Kabbalistic texts with the rabbi there, Mordecai Finley. Sometimes, on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Finley, who says that he considers Cohen “a great liturgical writer,” read from the pulpit passages from “Book of Mercy,” a 1984 collection of Cohen’s that is steeped in the Psalms. “I participated in all these investigations that engaged the imagination of my generation at that time,” Cohen has said. “I even danced and sang with the Hare Krishnas—no robe, I didn’t join them, but I was trying everything.”

To this day, Cohen reads deeply in a multivolume edition of the Zohar, the principal text of Jewish mysticism; the Hebrew Bible; and Buddhist texts. In our conversations, he mentioned the Gnostic Gospels, Lurianic Kabbalah, books of Hindu philosophy, Carl Jung’s “Answer to Job,” and Gershom Scholem’s biography of Sabbatai Sevi, a self-proclaimed Messiah of the seventeenth century. Cohen is also very much at home in the spiritual reaches of the Internet, and he listens to the lectures of Yakov Leib HaKohain, a Kabbalist who has converted, serially, to Islam, Catholicism, and Hinduism, and lives in the San Bernardino mountains 

and other snippets:

Cohen showed up in Israel [during the Yom Kippur War], hoping to replace someone who had been drafted. “I am committed to the survival of the Jewish people,” he told an interviewer at the time. He ended up performing, often many times a day, for the troops on the front.) 

and finally,

what is on Cohen’s mind now is family, friends, and the work at hand. “I’ve had a family to support, so there’s no sense of virtue attached to it,” he said. “I’ve never sold widely enough to be able to relax about money. I had two kids and their mother to support and my own life. So there was never an option of cutting out. Now it’s a habit. And there’s the element of time, which is powerful, with its incentive to finish up. Now I haven’t gotten near finishing up. I’ve finished up a few things. I don’t know how many other things I’ll be able to get to, because at this particular stage I experience deep fatigue. . . . There are times when I just have to lie down. I can’t play anymore, and my back goes fast also. Spiritual things, baruch Hashem”—thank God—“have fallen into place, for which I am deeply grateful.”

Cohen has unpublished poems to arrange, unfinished lyrics to finish and record or publish. He’s considering doing a book in which poems, like pages of the Talmud, are surrounded by passages of interpretation.

“The big change is the proximity to death,” he said. “I am a tidy kind of guy. I like to tie up the strings if I can. If I can’t, also, that’s O.K. But my natural thrust is to finish things that I’ve begun.”

“I know there’s a spiritual aspect to everybody’s life, whether they want to cop to it or not,” Cohen said. “It’s there, you can feel it in people—there’s some recognition that there is a reality that they cannot penetrate but which influences their mood and activity. So that’s operating. That activity at certain points of your day or night insists on a certain kind of response. Sometimes it’s just like: ‘You are losing too much weight, Leonard. You’re dying, but you don’t have to coöperate enthusiastically with the process.’ Force yourself to have a sandwich.

“What I mean to say is that you hear the Bat Kol.” The divine voice. “You hear this other deep reality singing to you all the time, and much of the time you can’t decipher it. Even when I was healthy, I was sensitive to the process. At this stage of the game, I hear it saying, ‘Leonard, just get on with the things you have to do.’ 


My Letter That DIDN't Make It Into the JPost Magazine

Sent July 9:

In his letter contra David S. Galdi (May 27), Shai Ben-Tekoa asserts, mistakenly, that prior to 1967, "there was no 'West Bank'" and that "it was not yet in use". Of course there was and it was indeed in use.

The term "West Bank" was created in April 1950 when Jordan's King Abdallah I annexed, illegally, that portion of the former Mandate of Palestine that was to become an independent Arab state. Jordan was on the East Bank and so, Judea and Samaria, the terms actually used in the 1947 UN Partition recommendation, became the "West Bank".

I add that one need not be an exuberant right-wing nationalist and mistaken in historical facts.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

My Bumped Al-Jazeera Piece

I was contacted by Al-Jazeera.

They requested a 250-word response as part of a broader piece, asking people around the world similar questions about Obama and then the current election.

Here is it is.

President Barack Obama and the Jewish Communities across the Green Line
Yisrael Medad

The past eight years of the Obama Administration have undoubtedly been one of the most contentious and tension-filled periods since 1967 between the United States and Israel on the issue of Jewish communities across the Green Line.  On the positive side, Mr. Obama never referred to our residency as "illegal" (it aren't) but as "illegitimate" beginning on his Cairo Speech, June 4, 2009: "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements" (even though the Bush-Sharon 2004 Understanding did do just that) but in the same breath demanded that "it is time for these settlements to stop." To be fair to Obama and precise, he targeted always "continued" Jewish residency activity not the totality of the presence of Jews in areas of their historic homeland.

On the other hand, despite that the 2009-10 moratorium on construction proved that the Palestinian Authority was not interested in negotiations, not to mention its anti-Jewish incitement which resulted in more terror, Obama always placed the onus for a lack of agreement on Israel's government. America's Jerusalem Consulate General effectively cold-shoulders the Jews living in the communities and denies them equal cultural non-consular services Arabs receive which, unfortunately, allows the assumption that the total removal of communities would be tolerated even the new Jerusalem neighborhoods.

But Obama is leaving and a Netanyahu/Likud government continues.If the new administration will be Republican, a whole new panorama of possibilities exist taking into consideration the purposeful ignoring of a two-state solution by the Republican Platform. The Palestinian Authority, already being objects of critical Congressional moves together with the anti-BDS legislation in states' legislatures, will be more pressured. A Democratic win will be expected to further badger Israel while showing a lax attitude toward Palestinian Authority inadequacies.

It never appeared.

Bumped, I presume.


Ben & Jerry's Kashrut Problem

This product

is a bit problematic here in Israel according to the Chief Rabbinate's Kashrut Bulletin:

Locally-produced ice cream of all sorts is fine.

But certain imported products like the Karamel Sutra seem to be identified as "not in accordance with regulations".  I do not know if that means the product is kosher but not imported as expected or some other problem.

Do they still boycott?


The Pals. don't like them much, either. Even though they sold out tUnilever.


Tuesday, November 08, 2016

As Goes the Hagia Sophia Church...

In trying to explain the inanity of the situation as regards the Temple Mount whereby Muslims deny Jews even the right to campaign for Jewish rights within the walled compound when they do that very well for themselves at the Cordoba Cathedral in Spain, I also mention Turkey's Hagia Sophia Church.

I have now seen this report from which I quote:

The church of Hagia Sophia ("Holy Wisdom") in Istanbul for centuries, was ground zero for Orthodox Christians. Here the Roman emperors were crowned, after Constantine moved his capital here in 324 AD.

Mohammed recognized the significance of the city, and the hadith report him saying, "Verily you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader will her leader be, and what a wonderful army will that army be.” 

Indeed it was day of rejoicing for Muslims when Constantinople fell to them in 1453 and was renamed IstanbulHagia Sophia was converted into the most important mosque of the Islamic caliphate...Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern, secular Turkey, turned Hagia Sophia into a museum. The ancient Christian frescoes were uncovered, and visitors today can see Mary, the "mother of God" right alongside the more recently added calligraphy reading "Allah" and "Mohammed."

hagia sophia

This week come new reports of rising public pressure in Turkey to turn Hagia Sophia back into a functioning mosque:

Onder Soy, the new imam of the Hunkar Kasri, part of the Hagia Sophia complex, recently led the first friday Muslim prayers there in 80 years, sparking enormous joy and excitement among many Muslims...

"We see that Erdogan is after an imperial presidency. And what better place to finalize this than a prayer session at the Hagia Sophia and converting it back to a mosque? This will be just like how the sultans' inaugurations were done — and all Turkish soap opera audiences know that."

In addition, 

...several believers who were interviewed on television Oct. 21 after the first Friday prayers at the complex said this access was not enough. One commented, “We are calling upon the president: Please open the Hagia Sophia as a mosque again so we can pray freely.” Below are a few examples from hundreds of jubilant comments on social media.

Political commentator Savci Sayan, who is known for his adoration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, tweeted, “I am dreaming of the president leading the Friday prayer at Hagia Sophia. And I am praying for this dream to come true. #LetUsPray.”

Another citizen tweeted, "Now there is an imam for the Hunkar Kasri of Hagia Sophia. The next order of business should be to open Hagia Sophia for believers."

Monday, November 07, 2016

Guess Which Dispute This Is

Here are some terms and phrases I am sure you are familiar with and my question is: guess which dispute is the subject of the news report from which I am quoting.

Division along a United Nations-monitored ceasefire line


negotiations...are expected to zero in on territorial disputes which have fuelled more than four decades of discord

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has made clear he wants to see a final, enduring deal reached before his term expires at the end of the year.

"Important ... security and territorial issues - which are decisive - have not yet been the object of any substantive dialogue."

The last peace efforts collapsed...when a proposal worked out...was accepted by most...but resoundingly rejected by...

"This is not something that we can keep discussing after 50 years for another 50 years. Everyone, including the UN, is aware of this," 

If you've guessed Israel and the Palestinian Authority, you are ... wrong.



Division along a United Nations-monitored ceasefire line has prevailed since a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a coup supported by the military junta ruling Greece, and is a source of friction between NATO allies Greece and Turkey.

But on Monday five days of negotiations open at a luxury resort outside Lausanne are expected to zero in on territorial disputes which have fuelled more than four decades of discord between the island's Greek and Turkish communities.

"The prospect of a solution in Cyprus is within their reach," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters as the negotiations got underway in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland.

The talks began 17 months ago between Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Mustafa Akinci. UN chief Ban Ki-moon has made clear he wants to see a final, enduring deal reached before his term expires at the end of the year. "Disagreements remain on issues which have been discussed," Anastasiades told reporters. "Important ... security and territorial issues - which are decisive - have not yet been the object of any substantive dialogue."

The last peace efforts collapsed in 2004 when a proposal worked out by then-UN chief Kofi Annan was accepted by most Turkish Cypriots, but resoundingly rejected by Greek Cypriots in twin referendums.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus - which is only recognized by Turkey - says talks cannot go on indefinitely. "This is not something that we can keep discussing after 50 years for another 50 years. Everyone, including the UN, is aware of this," Akinci said in a speech last week.