Sunday, November 30, 2014

Provocatively Picnicking

Here are two snaps from this video taken today, Sunday, on the Temple Mount:

The Murabitoun, those Waqf-hired Islamic-paid mercenaries, self-described 'sentinels', 

The Public Security Ministry and other branches of Israel’s defense establishment are advancing a bill to outlaw the organization of Palestinian guards stationed on the Temple Mount to block entry by Jews. The guard corps, staffed by Muslim men and women, has often been at the center of clashes with Jewish worshippers during the past year.  The guards are called “Mourabitoun” in Arabic, a term used to describe an advance guard meant to protect Islamic holy sites from heretics. Dozens of men and women are part of the guard, and are present near the mosques on the Temple Mount – which is worshipped by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary – day and night. They are funded by various Islamist parties, including some extremist groups in Israel. In many cases, the guards, particularly the females, have been involved in clashes with the Israel Police or Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount. A senior security official told Haaretz that the defense establishment has learned that the Mourabitoun guards receive a monthly salary of between 3,000 and 4,000 shekels ($776 - $1036). Some of the funds come from the Gulf States, through the occupied territories by way of couriers, and from there the money makes its way into East Jerusalem. Recently, the Shin Bet and Israel Police apprehended a courier at the Jordanian border in possession of 1 million shekels, meant for the Mourabitoun guards.

are sitting on the pathway directly leading from the raised platform at the center of the Temple Mount towards the east.  The pathway leads to the Eastern Wall where those who visit pause to observe the sight, to hear a short lecture on how the compound looked when the Temple was extant and to silently and motionlessly meditate.

Not only do they break the law, Protection of Holy Places Law 5727 (1967)

The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places...Whosoever does anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of five years.

but they are establishing a new status quo because three years ago they weren't there.

The police, if they are so zealous on behalf of the status quo, should be rolling back this new status.

Abbas Also Is Against the Status Quo

President: We are no Longer Able to Live with the Status Quo


The other status quo, not the one on the Temple Mount:

CAIRO, November 29, 2014 – (WAFA - PLO news agency) – President Mahmoud Abbas stated Saturday that the Palestinian people could no longer live with the status quo in the occupied Palestinian Territory.

Addressing the Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, Abbas stated: “We could no longer live with the status quo, particularly since Israel has been stepping up its attacks to impose a fait accompli on the ground.”


Quoting Jabotinsky on a 'Jewish State' and its Arabs

Michael Brenner has a blog post wherein he writes about the new Jewish Nation State legislation and notes:

It may come as a surprise to many that Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky...was not that different [than Herzl] in his views of a future Jewish state. While his conviction that Jews should be allowed to settle on both sides of the Jordan and his vision of a state with a strong Jewish army are certainly no secrets today, it is less known that all [?] a Jewish state meant for him was a territory in which Jews enjoyed a sufficient degree of sovereignty in their internal and external affairs and in which they constituted a majority.

In The Jewish War Front, his last book before his premature death in 1940...Jabotinsky draws on the draft constitution worked out by the Revisionist Executive in 1934.

In Jabotinsky’s vision of a future Jewish state, the inhabitants not only all enjoy equal individual rights, but both Jews and Arabs share equal collective autonomous rights as well. Jabotinsky writes:

In every Cabinet where the Prime Minister is a Jew, the vice-premiership shall be offered to an Arab, and vice-versa. Proportional sharing by Jews and Arabs both in the charges and in the benefits of the State shall be the rule with regard to Parliamentary elections, civil and military service, and budgetary grants… Both Hebrew and Arabic shall be used with equal legal effect in Parliament, in the schools, and in general before any office or organ of the State… The Jewish and the Arab ethno-communities shall be recognized as autonomous public bodies of equal status before the law… Each ethno-community shall elect its National Diet with the rights to issue ordinances and levy taxes within the limits of its autonomy, and to appoint a national executive responsible before the Diet.

And just like Herzl, Jabotinsky states: “After all, it is from Jewish sources that the world has learned how ‘the stranger within thy gates’ should be treated.”

but he concludes that turn Israel from a Jewish state into a more Jewish state is not only an unnecessary provocation to Israel’s Arab citizens. It also ignores the vision of its founders right underneath their images proudly displayed inside the Likud headquarters.

The book, and it may come as a surprise even to Brenner that it was reviewed the Foreign Affairs, is no surprise to my readers as I have quoted from it and particularly that passage many times.  I even quoted an extreme anti-Zionist quoting that book favorably.

One always need be careful when dealing with quotations from Jabotinsky. Excerpts must be faithful to the fundamental conceptualization of the author's thinking so that the quotation cannot be used for a purpose which is contrary to the author's outlook.  

For example, Jabotinsky writes in his introduction to the article that

Nothing, of course, is perfect on this earth, and there is no doubt that it is pleasanter to be in the majority than in the minority, even under the best conditions imaginable; but that does not mean that the status of a minority is everywhere and always a tragedy. Every great people has its outlying
fragments which form minorities in other countries...

Today's reality amongst Israel's Arab minority is not quite that.  They do think of their status a tragedy, the events of 1948 that caused their status a nakba, catastrophe, and have, in increasing numbers and ferocity, acted with violence to the idea of a Jewish state.  Can Jabotinsky's idyllic vision be easily applied today, without a period of reduction of Arab hostility on the one hand and, on the other, a coming to terms with Israel, by Arabs both within and without?

Secondly, Jabotinsky does add a qualifier:

The draft is not an official programme, and the writer is not prepared to defend it in all its aspects.

And even while extending assurances and guarantees, Jabotinsky writes:

...the Jews are ready to guarantee to the Arab minority in a Jewish Palestine the maximum of the rights which they claimed but never obtained for themselves in other countries. 

The "Jews", and not Israelis; "Jewish Palestine" echoing today's "Jewish State". As Jabotinsky writes in introducing his thinking on the basic issue of civic equality: 

1. Provided nothing be done to hinder any foreign Jew from repatriating to Palestine, and, by doing so, automatically becoming a Palestinian citizen, the principle of equal rights for all citizens of any race, creed, language or class shall be enacted without limitation throughout all sectors of the country's public life. 

there are certain inbuilt constitutional privileges, like the one above echoing Israel's own Law of Return, which Arabs combat and refuse to accept.

Jabotinsky knew that Muslim Arabs were problematic as regards the entire question of Jewish nationalism and so he added this:

Should the Christian Arabs, or any other group of citizens reasonably justified in claiming autonomy, also demand a measure of independent recognition, Parliament shall be entitled to grant the request. 

Do our progressive liberals accept that?  Would that lead to bifurcation of our society?  Is that good or bad?  Should not all citizens feel patriotic and compliant to a general state culture?

Following that line of thought, Jabotinsky continued and wrote:

The following matters shall be delegated by the State to each ethno-community with regard to its members:
(a) religion and personal status;
(fa) education in all its branches and grades, especially in the compulsory elementary stages;

Again, is that agreeable to our liberals, as with the ultra-Orthodox community or will they fight to have core educational themes incorporated in their curriculum? And would the right-of-center and even a good deal of the centrist elements agree to this:


1. The relevant areas within the Old City of Jerusalem, to be delimited under the authority of the League of Nations, shall enjoy the same measure of extra-territoriality as that universally recognized in the case of embassies.

And what if the Arabs disagreed with all this?  What was Jabtoinsky's thinking? Here:

Whether the Arabs would find all this a sufficient inducement to remain in a Jewish country is another question. Even if they did not, the author would refuse to see a tragedy or a disaster in their willingness to emigrate. The Palestine Royal Commission did not shrink from the suggestion. Courage is infectious. Since we have this great moral authority for calmly envisaging the exodus of 350,000 Arabs from one corner of Palestine, we need not regard the possible departure of 900,000 with dismay. The writer, as he has already said, cannot see any necessity for this exodus: it would even be undesirable from many points of view; but if it should appear that the Arabs would prefer to migrate, the prospect can be discussed without any pretence of concern. 
I think it, too, quite necessary to quote Jabotinsky's logic for ignoring many of the Arab demands and complaints:

There is, moreover, one great ethical difference between the case of Palestine and that of all the other poly-ethnical areas...In all the other areas friction is caused by ambition: one section wishes to dominate, or so at least the weaker section fears. Such an ambition may be, or seem, justifiable or excusable, in the sense that it is an expression of inherited vitality...In Palestine any inconvenience to the native population from the influx of immigrants arises from the tragic necessity that these immigrants must find a home. It has nothing to do with ambition, nothing to do with the will to dominate over anyone...The cause is genuine hunger, the nostalgic passion of people who have nowhere else where they can make a home for themselves.

That need still exists and it does not gain any sympathy with our Arabs.

One can quote Jabotinsky.  One must do so correctly and fairly and one must be able to adapt his principles to current realities.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

What Is A 'Religious War'?

Here is an example why the struggle for Jewish rights, under law, the secular law which guarantees free access and worship, that is, is a "religious war" - because the Muslims make it so:

I excerpted that from a clip broadcast on Israel's Channel One TV news this past week.

The Muslim women are being interviewed, or shouting their answers back, at 2:41, and they are explaining that the prohibition of Jews entering the current Temple Mount compound is "in your Torah" and "It's not me saying it. It's your own Torah."

The moment non-Jews begin telling Jews what or what not is dictated by our own religion is the moment something becomes wrong.  Not because we are special but because would "Palestinians" tolerate being told what "Palestinianism" is all about?  Or that a Rabbi would declare that Muslims have no real connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem?  Or that I would interpret a Quranic passage as indicating that indeed Jerusalem is really not that important to Muslims.

Whose narrative is this?  Would Muslims accept my "reverse inventivity" model?

Would a Muslim wish the Jew to revert to a second-class citizen?  Redefine us as unbelievers as in the beginning of Sura 2?  

And to those Jews who charge the Temple Mount Jewish activists with hypocrisy in saying 'would you permit a Muslim to pray at the Western Wall?', I ask you: in what direction would they be facing?


Friday, November 28, 2014

Is There Jewish Archaeology?

I don't think so and for sure, our radical progressive liberals would denounce that.  So particularistic, so narrow, so anti-cultural.

I did find a recent conference entitled Archéologie du judaïsme en France et en Europe but if my French is still good, that should mean the 'archaeology of Judaism' otherwise the adjective 'juive' should have been used.

However, I did find this:-

Whilst in the past Islamic archaeology was often regarded as peripheral to the main areas of interest within Near Eastern Archaeology it has now emerged as an integral part of the study of the archaeology of the region. Recent sessions at BANEA have incorporated papers on Islamic archaeology both within the general sessions and within workshops however there has not been a specific session which addresses some of the issues of particular significance to the Islamic period (approx. 622- 1914). Islamic archaeology was last represented as a special session at BANEA in the 1990’s since then there have been many developments including numerous fieldwork projects, a large number of synthetic and thematic studies, several introductory books and most recently the launch of a new journal Islamic Archaeology. In view of these developments it seems appropriate to have a workshop which looks at the current state of this rapidly growing field of enquiry within Middle Eastern Archaeology.

More interestingly, one of the 'key themes' includes

• Archaeology and Conflict

I wonder, do they mean something like this

or something like this

or this

or this

which, 13 years later, is still problematic

Will there be a paper at that session dealing with this?

'Waqf Temple Mount excavation damaged archaeological relics'
State Comptroller's report finds that the Muslim religious trust carried out works without permits and used heavy equipment damaging the Jerusalem holy site.

And if want to assist with salvaging the damage done on the Temple Mount by the Islamic Waqf (a Jordanian institution), go here.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

James Baldwin's Hyberbole

Dear the late Mr. Baldwin,

Your reference to the Holocaust in your complaint that Angela Davis was photographed for the cover of Newsweek in 1970 that the New York review of Books saw fit to republish

You look exceedingly alone—as alone, say, as the Jewish housewife in the boxcar headed for Dachau,

was probably dealt with adequately at the time.

Slavery was and is evil.  It endnagered lives for sure.  But it wasn't certain death.

Why NYRB saw fit to highlight your letter now is one matter (hint).  That your hyberbole is repeated is the problem.


Britain's Avishai Raviv

I read this and Avishai Raviv* came to mind:

Bob had been a member of the Special Demonstrations Squad, the domestic-intelligence-gathering arm of the Metropolitan Police. The S.D.S. was established in 1968, after the Grosvenor Square protests against the Vietnam War. Conrad Hepworth Dixon, the squad’s first chief, when ordered by his superiors to do something about the protests, is said to have replied, “Give me a million pounds and ten men, and I can deal with the problem for you.”

The unit’s mission—to provide “sufficient and accurate intelligence to enable the police to maintain public order,” according to an internal document obtained by Evans and Lewis—was as broad as its techniques were particular. Officers, known as “deep swimmers,” transformed themselves into facsimiles of their targets, taking on new identities that they inhabited for years. They got perms and new passports; they acquired tattoos, accents, and, if necessary, drug habits. “For the whole time they were undercover they would never wear a uniform or set foot in a police station, unless, of course, they were dragged in, kicking, screaming, and handcuffed,” Evans and Lewis write. “They would find flats or bed-sits, preferring those at the back of houses in case fellow activists went past at night and noticed the lights were off and no one was in. They would take up jobs with flexible working hours and travel, such as laborers or delivery van drivers, so they could disappear for, say, a day with their family without arousing suspicion.”
...In October, 2011, Bob was a speaker at a conference organized by anti-racist groups in London. In front of an audience of four hundred people, he delivered a lecture on extremist political violence. During the question-and-answer session, a man stood up and raised his hand. When called upon, he spoke:

“I have one question from the floor. David Morris, London Greenpeace. Is he going to apologize for organizing disgusting undercover police infiltration of campaign groups including anti-fascists and my own group, London Greenpeace, for five years as Bob Robinson?”

The lecture’s moderator tried to quell the mutiny. Morris, who had come with a group of activists, continued to shout from the floor, pressing Bob to apologize. He added, “We want to ensure that you are not informing on groups that are here today.” According to “Undercover,” “Lambert sat impassively, giving nothing away. He sipped from a glass of water.”

...The revelation of the extent of the British police’s spying, and the dubiousness of some of their tactics, caused a scandal that has yet to be resolved. Reporters and activists have confirmed that at least nine police officers—including one woman—conducted sexual relationships with unsuspecting citizens during their undercover deployments. At least twelve women, including Jacqui, are suing the Metropolitan Police for deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office, and negligence. Those whose relationships began after 2000 are also bringing suit under the Human Rights Act, arguing that the Met’s “systemic abuse of female political activists” breached Articles 3 and 8, which forbid inhumane treatment and guarantee the right to private life. Jacqui has said that she feels as though she were “raped by the state.”


"Avishai Raviv was an agent of Israel's Shin Bet or Shabak, Israel's domestic intelligence service whose mission was to encourage and fabricate activities of right-wing extremists. His code name was 'Champagne'.
Raviv was a student at Tel Aviv University and was expelled for violent behavior. He was later a student at Bar Ilan University.
Under orders from the Shin Bet Raviv created Eyal to perpetrate acts of violence to discredit the Israel right wing. Raviv recruited Yigal Amir, a religious law student from Bar-Ilan University, who fiercely opposed the Oslo Accords.
At one protest, Raviv was filmed with a picture of Rabin in an SS uniform prior to Rabin's murder. Raviv allegedly knew of Yigal Amir's plans to assassinate Israel's prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, based on a controversial classification of handing over Jewish land in the category of "din rodef" ("law of the pursuer"). According to Jewish law, anyone who is classified as a pursuer, must be killed immediately...Uri Dan, a journalist close to Ariel Sharon, wrote that witnesses heard Raviv tell Amir: "Be a man! Kill him already!"
After Rabin was assassinated, the journalist Amnon Abramowitch revealed that Raviv was an agent of the Shabak.
Raviv was brought to trial in 2000 for not preventing Rabin's assassination. Raviv mounted a successful defense on the grounds that he had just been doing his job and events had spun out of control.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Democracy and the Police Commandant

The 'wisdom' of a police officer, the most senior in the force:

It's a mistake to allow right-wing MKs on Temple Mount, Police Chief Danino says
 “Anyone who wants to change the status quo on the Temple Mount should not be allowed up there,” Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino said Tuesday, criticizing Attorney General Yehudah Weinstein for enabling right-wing politicians to incite Arab unrest by visiting the disputed holy site.

...Citing an “extreme right-wing agenda to change the status quo on the Temple Mount,” Danino made his position clear: “We say leave the Temple Mount alone.”

The police chief, whose force has been beleaguered by months of rioting and terrorist attacks, added that declarations by politicians, such as Moshe Feiglin, to change current policy does little more than incite the “Muslim world.”

First, he clashes with another government official.

Second, he misunderstands democracy.

Third, he forgets parliamentary immunity.

Fourth, he points an accusatory finger at the victims of violence hwo only seek what the law guarantees them.

Fifth, he is perceived as letting off the Muslims despite their violcnce. 

Will he resign or be forced to do so?


Entirely Predictable

Did this appear in print?

What transpired in the West Bank last night was entirely predictable, widely anticipated, and, yet, seemingly inevitable. 


But this did:

What transpired in Ferguson last night was entirely predictable, widely anticipated, and, yet, seemingly inevitable. 


The Amir Benayoun "Ahmed" Song and Lyrics

The song

The words

Salaam Aleikum, my name is Ahmed.
I reside in Jerusalem, I study at the University a thing or two.
There's no one like me that enjoys both worlds
Today I am moderate and smiling
Tomorrow I'll fly up to Heaven
Sending a Jew or two to Hell.

It's true I'm just a plain slimy ingrate
It is true but I'm not guilty as my childhood was loveless
It's true that moment you turn your back to me
Then I'll bring down on it a sharpened hatchet.

My name is Ahmed
I live in the country's center.
I work right next to a kindergarten
And behind it some cooking gas balloons.
There's no one like me that enjoys both worlds
Today I'll be me
And tomorrow they'll be not,
Many many of them will not be.

It's true I'm just a plain slimy ingrate
It is true but I'm not guilty as my childhood was loveless
It's true that moment you turn your back to me
Then I'll shoot straight into it.

The reaction as communicated by the President’s Spokesperson:

Tuesday, 25 November, 2014 / 3 Kislev 5775President's Residence Cancels Invitation to Israeli Singer Amir Benayoun The office of the President of Israel has announced that following the release of his song this week, it would not be possible for Israeli singer Amir Benayoun to perform as planned as part of events scheduled to mark the exile and expulsion of Jews from Arab Lands and Iran, due to take place at the President's Residence this coming. Director General of the President's Residence Harel Tubi stated in a letter to the event organizers, "Against the background of the release of Amir Benayoun's latest song yesterday, I wish to notify you that we will not be able to allow him to perform at the President's Residence.  Amir Benayoun is a renowned and exceptional artist, and his talent has greatly contributed to Israeli music.  However, his statements made at this time of conflict and tension, even if uttered out of frustration and pain, do not, to say the least, help bring calm to the streets, and are inconsistent with the responsibility required of the President's Residence, and of all institutions with influence over the public discourse, to work to alleviate tensions, and promote cooperation rather than division in Israeli society." 



Minister for Senior Citizens, Uri Orbach (Jewish Home) issued a response to the move shortly after the announcement was made, saying that he would cancel his own appearance at the upcoming event out of deference for Benayoun's rights."The cancellation of singer Amir Benayoun's concert at the President's house, marking the expulsion of Jews from Arab Lands and Iran, contradicts our position," Orbach stated. Orbach added that while he respects Rivlin, he views the cancellation as an infringement on freedom of expression. "Punishing artists due to their opinions is an impermissible act, so unfortunately I cannot attend," he said. "If Benayoun isn't singing, I won't speak." 

And over at Ayelet Shaked's FB (Hebrew).

This reaction

In an interview Benayoun gave to Army Radio, he lashed out at host Yael Dan and at legal scholar Prof. Kremnitzer from the Israeli Democracy Institute, after the latter stated that this song could lead to charges of incitement against Benayoun. Benayoun refused to apologize for his lyrics, adding that “according to your criteria you are a murderer yourself since you just incited people against me. Your words have consequences and I don’t buy your stories.” When the host tried to restrain him, Benayoun asked: “If someone commits a murder near my house will you take responsibility? Enough with this hypocrisy, I get my inspiration from the latest murders. You’re murderers yourselves, your words lead to murder - you should be ashamed of yourselves!”


My translation of  the lyrics:

To the Memory of those Murdered in the Lethal Attack in Jerusalem


Another day, yet another sorrowful day in Jerusalem,
Another day in which Jewish blood has been spilled like water
In a synagogue of yours, Father.
Until when?
They only wished to pray to You
That all should be well.  That if only it would be.

A day of sorrow in the Holy City
Another day that Jewish blood has come to be spilled
Before your very eyes, Father.
In front of the Holy Ark.
In front of the Holy Ark - until when?

More unfortunate orphans, additional weeping widows,
More young children whose dreams have beem cut short
More suffering orphans who again wait for the Devil to burst out in dance.

Is to be Jewish to die every day anew,
To renew death every day again?

Monday, November 24, 2014

An Example of Academic Bias

This is Hebrew University's Dr. Hillel Cohen addressing last Tuesday an intimate conclave arranged for his year-old book, "1929 - The Zero Year of the Jewish-Arab Conflict" (in Hebrew: "Tarpat: Shnat Ha’efes Ba’sihsuh Hayehudi-Aravi").

The session was, unfortunately, quite characteristic of the sorry state of academic scholarship on issues of the Arab-Israel (or Jewish-Muslim) conflict. The moderator, Dmitry Shumsky and the three other discussants - Israel Bartal, Vered Vinitzky-Serussi and Raef Zarik - were all of one persuasion, to the left in varying degrees, and cheered and applauded the book.  It's not that because I am at an opposite ideological pole that I criticise this lack of balance.  The fact is that the book came under sharp criticism by Anita Shapiro, Benny Morris, Avi BeckerEliezer Schweid, and others.  These are not lightweights. And yet, the people at the Hebrew University who organized the event seemingly could find no one who disagreed with the book's scholarship, methodology or conclusions to speak?  Were they cowed or are they of a special frame of mind that tolerates no deviation from the 'line'?

As for the book, to provide insight, one reviewer noted last January

Cohen realized that from a Palestinian perspective, the story of Tarpat is different from the one he knew. And this is what interested him: How did it happen that the Arabs perceived reality so differently from the Jews?

Another reviewer sums it up so:

he presents information not known before or not sufficiently highlighted. That the Arab attackers felt provoked by Jewish moves to change the prevailing arrangements in the Western Wall prayer space, that rumors of atrocities committed by Jews against Arabs fueled the wrath of Arab rioters, that Jewish attacks on Arab pedestrians in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv preceded or coincided with the Arab attacks, that Jews also murdered Palestinians in the course of the events, though not on a large scale, that many Palestinian residents helped their Jewish neighbors by standing up to the attackers and preventing them from harming Jews, that no solid evidence exists that the Palestinian leadership – especially Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the grand villain of Zionist historiography – incited the rioters, let alone that they operated on its instructions, that the British forces did not facilitate the attacks and usually tried to stop them but were not always quick enough, and so on. 

In short, Cohen's book seeks to even out the playing field by turning events on their head, which doesn't bother Haaretz's Uri Misgav.

Is all that not really known?  Of course not.  That narrative was and has been the Arab version since before 1929.  It's all been published.  Almost nothing in his book has not appeared in previous books although for sure there are additional research elements that he brought to light and for that, history is enriched, especially his readings from the Arabic both contemporary accounts and others.

His book does lack a full review of sources.

For example, this article, "The "Western Wall" Riots of 1929: Religious Boundaries and Communal Violence" by Alex Winder in the Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. XLII, No. 1 (Autumn 2012), provides additional background and information and while sympathetic to the Arab cause, it also affords an insight into the element of the integration, or not, of the Oriental Jews within the Arab majority, a theme highly prominent in his book.  It does not fully support Cohen's narrative and even undermines it.

Hillel, who is a friend who I have known for over 30 years since he was a teenager, I think, is quite sincere but his paradigm in unchageable no matter what he says of his ability to be both a Zionist and its critic, an unfair critic to my mind.  He almost cried when he said that today's situation parallels to an extent the 1929 period and he foresaw, if nothing appropriate is done, hundreds of dead in the near future.

His book, I found, on one level, is very detailed and tells the story is an absorbing fashion and, indeed, Hillel informed the attendees that he purposefully wrote it for the younger generation, those who do not know the history.  On another, there are no maps. too few pictures, no replication of newspaper headlines and the such.

There are also minor matters. On p. 190 he mentions a desecration of a mosque, the Awkashi mosque (it's located behind Yeshayahu St.), 

but no picture of the desecration although one would think that there would be one.  It indeed happened but too what extent?  Today, it would be no more than a 'price-tag' incident, serious but not equal to hacking off people's limbs.  By the way, incidents like this were not unknown in the British empire.  In August 1913, there was the Kanpur riots in India.

Seems incendiary situtations were not unique to the Arab-Zionist struggle.

On p. 124, he notes a bomb having been set off near the house of a sheikh involved in inciting against Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall but writes "On one of the nights of 1927...".  It took me less than an hour to find out that that incident occured on the night of August 31/September 1 and I have a scanned newspaper clipping.  Oh, and it was a Hagana operation.  Am I a better researcher than a Doctor who lectures at a University?

My copy is fulll of notations.  He deals with the attack on the Georgian Quarter  opposite the Damascus Gate

and positioned on this modern view (the two views are in opposite directions)

and attempts to suggest that Hews first attacked Arabs there rather than Arabs who poured out of the Damascus Gate, incited by immams at the Temple Mount, who began to sweep up the street heading for Meah Shearim.  He also tries to re-time events that also there attacks on Arabs preceeded attacks on Jews.  It's as if he's a conspiracy theorist.

The book is invidious and the conclave was an embarrassment.


On another of his books.


A Matter of 'Perception'

According to an anonymous "Former Commander", Israel Made a 'Strategic Mistake' last summer.

But be that as it may, what caught my eye was this:

Given rising regional tensions over Israel’s perceived plan to alter the delicate status quo governing the holy Temple Mount in East Jerusalem, any minor tactical action could spark “a religious war of strategic proportion,” the retired commander warned.

“The Temple Mount is a game changer, and any attempt — or perceived attempt — to alter the status that has more or less kept the peace since 1967 will insert God into this conflict,” he said.

“If Israel doesn’t change its behavior and strategic thinking, we’ll face much more than a third intifada. We’ll face a Holy War that will ignite all the regional fanatics in solidarity against us.”

I do not dispute the thinking there but by problem is with the "perceived plan" bit.

If the Arabs can perceive reality which isn't, assume a truth which isn't, what is the use of doing anything rationale?  In this situation Israel can declare morning-to-night that the status quo wil not be altered by the government but the masses won 't believe that and will, perhaops, escalat the violnce.

What then?  What is the strategic perparation for that?  The defense against that? 

How we prevent "regional fanatics" from starting a Holy War if they want to?

And if he insists upon being anonymous, I don't perceive him as an expert.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stuck on the Temple Mount

I had uploaded Arab caricatures and cartoons with anti-Semitic themes earlier this year.

Another now:


Before Jerusalem, There Was Shiloh

Otto Eissfeldt


(found here p. 89)

Original German


Hanukah is the Temple Mount Holiday

Here is Josephus on the First Hanukkah (December 164 BCE) from Antiquities 12.7.6-7 316-325  (1 Maccabees 4:36-59) 

...The generals of Antiochus's armies having been defeated so often, Judah Maccabee assembled the people and told them that after the many victories which God had given them they ought to go up to Jerusalem and purify the Temple and offer the appointed sacrifices

But when he with the whole multitude came to Jerusalem and found he Temple deserted, its gates burned down, and plants growing in the Temple of their own accord because of the desolation, he and those with him began to lament in their distress at the sight of the Temple. 

So he chose some of his soldiers and gave them an order to fight the men that guarded the upper city until he has purified the Temple. When therefore he he had carefully purged it he brought in new vessels -- the menorah, the table and the incense altar, which were made of gold, and hung up the veils at the doors and restored the doors themselves. He also took down the altar and built a new one of stones that he gathered together, and such as had not been hewn with iron tools. 

And on the twenty-fifth day of  the month Kislev...they lighted the lights that were on the menorah, and offered incense upon the altar, and laid the loaves upon the table, and offered whole burnt offerings upon the new altar. 

...And so Judah and his fellow citizens celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the Temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasure, but everyone feasted upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and they honoured God, and delighted themselves with psalms of praise and the playing of harps. Indeed, they were so very glad at the revival of  their customs and, after so long a time, having unexpectedly regained their right to worship, that they made it a law for their posterity that they should keep a festival celebrating the restoration of their Temple worship for eight days...


Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Western Wall, the Kotel, Is ... Al-Buraq



Jodi Ruderon Fits the News

A fair if brief wrap-up on the Temple Mount ends with this:

But in recent times, radical Right-wingers have refused to be satisfied with this [being allowed to visit the site under supervision but not permitted pray thereand have begun clamouring for prayer rights inside the compound itself. This has led to an increasing number of visits to the mount by Israeli activists, some of whom are said to have prayed surreptitiously, triggering clashes between Palestinians and the security forces.

This in turn has fuelled Palestinian accusations – refuted by Benjamin Netanyahu's government – that Israel is intent on overturning the status quo on the compound, which forbids Jewish prayer and cedes administrative control to Jordan. Yet the idea of Jewish prayer on the site is anathema even among many religious Jews. Many refuse to visit the site lest they enter an area where the Holy of Holies once stood, the most sacred part of the ancient temple and the place where the high priest – who entered only once a year on Yom Kippur (the Jewish day of atonement) – is said to have communicated directly with God.
According to tradition, ordinary Jews were forbidden to go to the Holy of Holies – whose precise location is unknown – because they were ritually impure.
Jews are at fault because we stand on our rights?

The New York Times published an analysis by Jodi Ruderon, Mistrust Threatens Delicate Balance at a Sacred Site in Jerusalem, which includes this relevant passage:

The real struggle over the site, however, is...between two peoples who seem unable to find a way to simply share. After triumphantly seizing the site during the 1967 war, Israel quickly turned back all but security matters to the Palestinian religious authorities, the Islamic Waqf. Now, as more and more Jews challenge Israel’s prohibition on their prayer in their religion’s most sacred space, many Palestinians fear that what they really want is to take over the entire compound and replace its Dome of the Rock with a third temple...“Enough is enough,” Rabbi Benny Lau, a renowned modern­Orthodox figure who had previously opposed Jewish visitation to the site, said recently. “It can’t be that Muslims stand on the Mount, pray as they wish under the Waqf rule, and the Israeli nation will be degraded to the depths.”

As for this bit in there - "The site has been a flash point since the advent of modern Zionism. More than 100 people on each side died in a week of rioting in 1929 over access to the Western Wall below" - see here

But, again, the onus is placed on the Jews.

Arab intransigence, unwillingness to compromise or agree to arrangements of coexistence, their fanaticism and violence are ignored, downplayed or excused.

She quotes Yitzhak Reiter who tells her

“The extreme factions within both the Israeli and Palestinian communities realized that holy place is a symbolic asset, so to speak, in consolidating support for their struggle.”

The Arab terrorists are only a faction or has the entire "struggle" of the Arabs-who-refer-to-themselves-as-'Palestinians' been mainly extreme throughout all levels of the population?

She quotes one Ali Qleibo, a cultural anthropologist, who also composes poems, who tells her:
“The Israelis try to force it — it’s not through negotiation, it’s not through discussion, it’s not through any rational means: They use the police, they come in a brutal manner to take over the place...It becomes political when other people try to take the symbol.” 
And here is another example of his thinking:
Until the early twenties, before the massive influx of European Jewish immigrants, both Christians and Jews were ethnic minorities. Whereas the Greek Orthodox Christian indigenous population maintained its own class structure and social position through the centuries, which was deferred to by the Muslims, the Jewish community, because of the transience of its members, was less rooted.
Transience?  Less-rooted?

She quotes another Muslim, Mustafa Abu Sway, dean of Islamic studies at Al Quds University and a member of the Waqf council, who continues the prevarications:

Islam does not prohibit outsiders from praying at Al Aqsa. The problem, he said, is that Parliament members have declared rebuilding the temple as their real goal.
No non-Muslim can pray there or read from the Bible.  That includes Christians.

And this is the posterior prayer position of Muslims there:

Their rears directed towards the sacred rock under the Dome since they turn towards Mecca.

All the news that fits the NYTimes' agenda.


A NYT/Jodi Ruderon Equivalency

"More than 100 people on each side died in a week of rioting in 1929 over access to the Western Wall below."

"On each side died"?

In 1929, after an incident at the Western Wall during Yom Kippur of 1928, following almost a year of vicious Islamic propaganda, intentional violent attacks of Jewish worshippers, passing donkeys through the small courtyard after opening a doorway in an Arab house, playing clanging Dervish music and more, the Mufti Amin El-Husseini organized murderous riots throughout the country in mid-August 1929.

The number of Jews murdered were 135, some of the victims raped, dissected and otherwise put to a horrible death.  The riots lasted almost three weeks.  A few Arabs were killed, seemingly, in revenge attacks, but the vast majority of the 116 Arabs who "died" were killed in self-defense by Jews but actually mainly by British police and troops while trying to restore order and protect the Jews.

The blood dripping down the stairs

The Jews did not die.

They were murdered.


Hacked to death.(*)

Zvi Yosef Kizelstein, his daughter Chaya (18) and son Yeshayhu


Babies crushed against doors, being swung by Arabs.

Limbs chopped off.

There is - and can not be - any moral equivalency in this matter.


In Jerusalem the Government published a refutation of the rumors that the dead Jews of Hebron had been tortured before they had their throats slit. This made me rush back to that city accompanied by two medical men, Dr. Dantziger and Dr. Ticho. I intended to gather up the severed sexual organs and the cut-off women's breasts we had seen lying scattered over the floor and in the beds. But when we came to Hebron a telephone call from Jerusalem had ordered our access barred to the Slonim house. A heavy guard had been placed before the door. Only then did I recall that I had inadvertently told a fellow newspaperman in Jerusalem about our gruesome discoveries.

from EOZ


Friday, November 21, 2014

Oxford Has Nothing on Jerusalem

Bill Bryson, in his Notes from a Small Island, wrote.

I am constantly filled with admiration at this – at the way you can wander through a town like Oxford and in the space of a few hundred yards pass the home of Christopher Wren, the buildings where Halley found his comet and Boyle his first law, the track where Roger Banister ran the first sub-four minute mile, the meadow where Lewis Carroll strolled; or how you can stand on Snow's Hill at Windsor and see, in a single sweep, Windsor Castle, the playing fields of Eton, the churchyard where Gray wrote his 'Elegy,' the site The Merry Wives of Windsor was first performed. Can there anywhere on earth be, in such a modest span, a landscape more packed with centuries of busy, productive attainment?

My response - Jerusalem.

Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
Kings. Queens. Princes.
Prophets.  Isaiah. Jeremiah.
Freedom fighters and liberators.
Two temples.
The Western Wall.
Torah. Talmud.
The Knesset.
Shmuel Yosef Agnon.
Uri Tzvi Greenberg.
Hebrew University.
Mir Yeshiva.  Porat Yosef Yeshiva.
Israel Museum.
Meah Shearim.  Rechavia.

And on, and on, and on.