Friday, May 22, 2015

Obama, Israel and Anti-Semitism

Selections from the troubling Obama interview

"And when I am then required to come to Israel’s defense internationally, when there is anti-Semitism out there, when there is anti-Israeli policy that is based not on the particulars of the Palestinian cause but [is] based simply on hostility, I have to make sure that I am entirely credible in speaking out against those things, and that requires me then to also be honest with friends about how I view these issues...
...he was adamant that he would not allow the Jewish right, and the Republican Party, to automatically define criticism of the Netanyahu government’s policies as anti-Israel or anti-Semitic...
I also raised another concern—one that the president didn’t seem to fully share. It’s been my belief that it is difficult to negotiate with parties that are captive to a conspiratorial anti-Semitic worldview not because they hold offensive views, but because they hold ridiculous views. As Walter Russell Mead and others have explained, anti-Semites have difficulty understanding the world as it actually works, and don’t comprehend cause-and-effect in politics and economics. Though I would like to see a solid nuclear deal (it is preferable to the alternatives) I don’t believe that the regime with which Obama is negotiating can be counted on to be entirely rational."
...I interjected by suggesting that anti-Semitic European leaders made irrational decisions, to which Obama responded, “They may make irrational decisions with respect to discrimination, with respect to trying to use anti-Semitic rhetoric as an organizing tool. At the margins, where the costs are low, they may pursue policies based on hatred as opposed to self-interest. But the costs here are not low, and what we’ve been very clear [about] to the Iranian regime over the past six years is that we will continue to ratchet up the costs, not simply for their anti-Semitism, but also for whatever expansionist ambitions they may have. That’s what the sanctions represent. That’s what the military option I’ve made clear I preserve represents. And so I think it is not at all contradictory to say that there are deep strains of anti-Semitism in the core regime, but that they also are interested in maintaining power, having some semblance of legitimacy inside their own country, which requires that they get themselves out of what is a deep economic rut that we’ve put them in, and on that basis they are then willing and prepared potentially to strike an agreement on their nuclear program.”
On Israel, Obama endorsed, in moving terms, the underlying rationale for the existence of  a Jewish state, making a direct connection between the battle for African American equality and the fight for Jewish national equality. “There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law,” he said. “These things are indivisible in my mind.”
In discussing the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe, he was quite clear in his condemnation of what has become a common trope—that anti-Zionism, the belief that the Jews should not have a state of their own in at least part of their ancestral homeland, is unrelated to anti-Jewish hostility. He gave me his own parameters for judging whether a person is simply critical of certain Israeli policies or harboring more prejudicial feelings.
“Do you think that Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people, and are you aware of the particular circumstances of Jewish history that might prompt that need and desire?” he said, in defining the questions that he believes should be asked. “And if your answer is no, if your notion is somehow that that history doesn’t matter, then that’s a problem, in my mind. If, on the other hand, you acknowledge the justness of the Jewish homeland, you acknowledge the active presence of anti-Semitism—that it’s not just something in the past, but it is current—if you acknowledge that there are people and nations that, if convenient, would do the Jewish people harm because of a warped ideology. If you acknowledge those things, then you should be able to align yourself with Israel where its security is at stake, you should be able to align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not held to a double standard in international fora, you should align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not isolated.”...
Read it all.

If you can.

Or read this.

“Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” is within President Obama’s own State Department definition of anti-Semitism. 


From Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA:  5 important observations:

#1. "Prime Minister Netanyahu said a Palestinian state would not happen under his watch".  This is the SAME thing Mr. Obama HIMSELF said last week (Al Arabiya 15 May 2015): "And what I think at this point, realistically, we can do is to try to rebuild trust -- not through a big overarching deal, which I don't think isprobably possible in the next year, given the makeup of the Netanyahu government, given the challenges I think that exist for President Abbas."

#2.  The gaping flaws indicated by Iran in the developing Iran nuclear deal require a 5 second attention span to raise - Goldberg declines to mention any of them:
a. Inspection regime to exclude any serious inspection of Iranian military sites that may conceal nuclear program.b. Inspection regime inside nuclear facilities to exclude live monitoring (prohibit video feeds that might provide images of Iranian nuclear scientists)c. Ongoing development and construction of advanced centrifuges to slash break-out time permitted.d. Ongoing development, construction and even deployment of delivery systems for nuclear weapons permitted.

#3. The "rationality" argument vis-à-vis Iranian policy is fundamentally flawed by the refusal to address  Iranian Twelver messianism:
Consider Bernard Lewis The Wall Street Journal Aug. 8, 2006:  “In this context, mutual assured destruction, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, would have no meaning. At the end of time, there will be general destruction anyway. What will matter will be the final destination of the dead -- hell for the infidels, and heaven for the believers. For people with this mindset, MAD is not a constraint; it is an inducement.”
#4. A profoundly bizarre claim: "They [Iran]  are not a threat to the region because of their hardware. "

#5. A disturbing  remark hinting at a policy of relying on Iran in the neighborhood:  "How do we find effective partners to govern in those parts of Iraq that right now are ungovernable and effectively defeat ISIL, not just in Iraq but in Syria?"

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jerusalem As A Nincompoop's Non-Capital

 A professor emeritus of geography, 
Once again Jerusalem Day arrived, and once again the prime minister repeated the clichéd mantra: “Jerusalem was and is the capital city of the Jewish people only.”
Is that really so – or is Benjamin Netanyahu, known for historic declarations that do not always accord with the historical truth, once again mistaken and misleading the masses?
Jerusalem, according to scientific research, has existed for about 4,000 years. During the first 1,000 years it had no connection to the Jewish people. Even in the Bible, the Book of Genesis tells about Melchizedek, the king of Salem, who came out to bless Abraham, who had no connection to Jerusalem. During the time of the patriarchs, Jerusalem did not figure in their activity at all. Even when the Israelites were in Egypt, Jerusalem was never mentioned, and when they wandered in the desert they spoke about the Land of Canaan – but not about Jerusalem.
The conquest of "the land" by Joshua, son of Nun, did not include taking over Jerusalem. It was actually the king of Jerusalem who organized the coalition of five monarchs against Joshua, and at the time the city was apparently the capital of another nation, not the Israelites.
The conquest of Jerusalem by the tribe of Judah, following the death of Joshua, led to the burning of the city rather than to settlement of the tribe there. Later on it was inhabited by the Jebusites, and only 1,000 years after its establishment did King David capture the city and turn it into his capital...

There's more here.

Some comments from friends of mine:

What a staggeringly dumb article.

Come On.  Everyone knows the Capital of the Jews is Boca Raton

"During the time of the patriarchs, Jerusalem did not figure in their activity at all." Are there alternative theories about where Mt Moriah was? Some traditions have an alternative site near Mecca. So yeah - checkmate.

Which is where Abraham offered his son Yishmael as a sacrifice to God.

so David conquered Jerusalem only 3000 years ago. Jews were here through all that time except for periods when various conquerors specifically prevented Jews from being here, as after the crushing of the Bar Kokhba revolt, in the period after Constantine up to the Arab conquest [see, the Arabs did something good, they let Jews come back to Jerusalem] and during the Crusader period. Again, since 1000  BCE, Jews/Israelites were always here except when specifically excluded.

As to the Temple Mount, it is identified in the Bible as Mt Zion. Today's Mt Zion outside the Zion Gate takes its name from a Byzantine church there called the Nea Sion [its ruins are next to the parking lot in the Jewish Quarter]. This is not the original Mt Zion. As to Mt Moriah I don't think anybody knows where it is/was.   The practice of naming Mt Zion/Temple Mt/ as Mt  Moriah started with the Talmud, not the Bible.

Ridiculous.  By this standard, nobody on earth has a valid capital city.

Did Biger get paid to write this?

Embarrassingly stupid. Perhaps he can explain why it appears 669 times in the Tanakh (not counting other equivalent references such as Zion).

How long has Paris  been capital of the French? 2000 years ago, Paris was called Lutetia and was small settlement on a mud spit in the middle of the Seine river. It may have become the capital about 1000 years ago, roughly speaking. But 2000 years ago nobody called the country France, it was just Gaul. Cairo did not exist 2000 years ago. Damascus did exist 2000 years ago, but the people there did not speak Arabic and were not Arabs (there were probably some Arabs around). There was no Tunis and no Algiers.


But Weren't the "Pals." Here First?

The ancient acqueduct was built under the villages?

Word for word:

Press Release
Thursday, May 21, 2015

“With Joy Shall Ye Draw Water…”
A Section of Ancient Jerusalem’s Lower Aqueduct was Exposed in the Eastern Jerusalem Neighborhood of Umm Tuba

A section of Jerusalem’s Lower Aqueduct, which conveyed water to the city more than 2,000 years ago, was exposed in the Umm Tuba quarter (near Har Homa) during the construction of a sewer line in the neighborhood by the Gihon Company. This line is just part of an extensive project directed by Zohar Yinon, CEO of the Gihon Company Ltd, to install a modern sewer system for the benefit of the residents of Umm Tuba and Sur Bahar.

The Israel Antiquities Authority conducted an archaeological excavation there following the discovery of the aqueduct. According to Ya’akov Billig, the excavation director,“The Lower Aqueduct to Jerusalem, which the Hasmonean kings constructed more than two thousand years ago in order to provide water to Jerusalem, operated intermittently until about one hundred years ago. The aqueduct begins at the ‘En ‘Eitam spring, near Solomon’s Pools south of Bethlehem, and is approximately 21 kilometers long. Despite its length, it flows along a very gentle downward slope whereby the water level falls just one meter per kilometer of distance. At first, the water was conveyed inside an open channel and about 500 years ago, during the Ottoman period, a terra cotta pipe was installed inside the channel in order to better protect the water”.

The aqueduct’s route was built in open areas in the past, but with the expansion of Jerusalem in the modern era, it now runs through a number of neighborhoods: Umm Tuba, Sur Bahar, East Talpiot and Abu Tor. Since this is one of Jerusalem’s principal sources of water, the city’s rulers took care to preserve it for some two thousand years, until it was replaced about a century ago by a modern electrically operated system. Due to its historical and archaeological importance, the Israel Antiquities Authority is taking steps to prevent any damage to the aqueduct, and is working to expose sections of its remains, study them and make them accessible to the general public.

The Umm Tuba section of the aqueduct was documented, studied, and covered up again for the sake of future generations. 


GraphicZionism: Jewish Footsteps


(with thanks)


Two Halves of the Rambam Together

I was privileged to attend tonight the opening of a special display of a Mishneh Torah, the classic Halachic codex of the Rambam, commissioned and completed ca. 1457 in northern Italy and illustrated in the Renaissance style of the time. 

It was at the Israel Museum in the presence of the Rishon Letzion Yitzchak Yosef, the Apostolic Nuncio in Israel Archbishop Guiseppe Lazzarotto, Msgr. Cesare Pasini, the Vatican's Prefect of its Biblioteca Apostolica with a nice talk by Prof. Moshee Halbertal who spoke of the Rambam's approach that to be religious, one must learn to love, which is beyond fearful respect and can only be achieved through knowing God which, in turn, can only be gained by learning of his works in nature.

The two halves of the volume were separated some two centuries ago and ended up in the Vatican and in Germany and that second Jewish-held half was only recently located and purchased by the Israel Museum jointly with New York's Metropolitan Museum.

The two halves

The Nuncio

and also with James Synder, Museum Director (red tie)

The attendees

The Chief Rabbi and the Nuncio

James Snyder speaking

P.S.  The title of the evening was a play on words - יד ביד - which is 'Hand in Hand' - but refers to the fact that the Rambam's work contained 14 sections which, in gammatria is יד, I think was lost to many of those who attended.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

To Who Was President Rivlin Referring?

He couldn't be referring to President Rivlin here, could he?

I have nothing but regret for the discordant voices that we heard this morning, supporting the separation between Jews and Arabs on the basis of ideas that have no place being heard or said.  Such statements go against the very foundations of the State of Israel, and impact upon our very ability to establish here a Jewish and democratic state.  Such statements cause great damage to the State of Israel, and to the settlement movement.  It is important we remember that our sovereignty obligates us to prove our ability to live side by side."



That was President Rivlin.

(Communicated by the President's Spokesperson)
Wednesday 20 May 2015 / 2 Sivan 5775

President Rivlin's Statements on This Morning's Events

"This morning, (Wednesday May 20th), as we witnessed the terror attack in Jerusalem we received a painful reminder of the complex security situation Israel's faces and the price we pay for our basic principles. We must confront terrorism firmly, whilst defending our democratic values ​​as a country and as a people. I spoke this morning with the Minister of Defense, and I welcomed halting the process that could have led to an unthinkable separation between bus lines for Jews and Arabs.

"As one who loves the Land of Israel, I have nothing but regret for the discordant voices that we heard this morning, supporting the separation between Jews and Arabs on the basis of ideas that have no place being heard or said.  Such statements go against the very foundations of the State of Israel, and impact upon our very ability to establish here a Jewish and democratic state.  Such statements cause great damage to the State of Israel, and to the settlement movement.  It is important we remember that our sovereignty obligates us to prove our ability to live side by side."

Further details: Jason Pearlman, Foreign Media Advisor


What A Difference in Run-overs

Was this in anyway connected to today's terror incident when an Arab resident of Jerusalem ran over two Border Policewomen?

Police officers on Tuesday afternoon shot and wounded a man who accelerated a vehicle in their direction, a spokesman said.  The shooting happened in the parking lot.  They were conducting an investigation when "a suspect accelerated his vehicle in the direction of two of the officers," according to a spokesman.  Both officers opened fire, wounding the suspect. The man, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, was taken to a hospital.


The genuine story:

Federal agents on Tuesday afternoon shot and wounded a man who accelerated a vehicle in their direction outside a West Palm Beach furniture store, a spokesman said.

The shooting happened in the parking lot of El Dorado Furniture at 1901 Okeechobee Blvd.

Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations were conducting an investigation when "a suspect accelerated his vehicle in the direction of two of the agents," according to Nestor Yglesias, an agency spokesman.

Both agents opened fire, wounding the suspect. The man, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, was taken to a hospital.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Operation Brainwash

Just received this:

Join Extend’s Summer Tour of the West Bank! (June 8-12th!)
Have you ever wanted to explore life in the West Bank first-hand? We are offering a chance to meet
Palestinian and Israeli civil society leaders, businessmen, educators, political leaders and activists,
learn their stories, and discover first-hand the touchstones of West Bank life.
Join Extend on its upcoming tour of the West Bank, this June 8-12.
Extend, a non-profit organization offering highly-subsidized tours of the West Bank for young
Jewish Americans, warmly welcomes you on our next tour of the West Bank, this June 8-12th. Join
us as we visit Palestinian families, as well as historic, cultural and religious sites on a journey that
will deepen your understanding of life in the West Bank and in particular, will offer insights into
Palestinian perspectives on the conflict.
Open-minded, enthusiastic American Jewish college students of all political perspectives, eager to
get into deep conversations with people of myriad perspectives, are encouraged to apply.
The cost of the 5-day program is $300.

And here is a Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Jerusalem
Morning: Visit to All For Peace Radio Station, award-winning joint Israeli-Palestinian radio initiative.
Early afternoon: Visit to the Austrian Hospice for a chat with a filmmaker and Ph.D student in George Mason's conflict resolution program, on how to reconcile dueling Israeli-Palestinian narratives on the conflict.
Late afternoon: Walking tour of East Jerusalem with a Palestinian resident of the city. The walk explores the complex politics of the city, divided Arab-Jewish neighborhoods, and home demolitions.
Day 2: Hebron and Bethlehem
Morning: Tour of Hebron with Breaking the Silence, an organization that offers tours of the West Bank led by former IDF soldiers with a critical perspective on Israeli policy in the West Bank.
Late afternoon: Meeting with the English-language spokesperson for the Hebron settler movement and a tour of the Hebron settlement.
Evening: Dinner in Bethlehem with a former Palestinian combatant and member of Hands of Peace.
Day 3: Gush Etzion
Morning: Trail walk through the hills outside of Bethlehem with a settler disciple of Rabbi Froman, a rabbi committed to achieving peace between settlers and Palestinians. During the trail walk participants discuss the Jewish and Palestinian connection to the land.
Early afternoon: Tour of villages within the Gush Etzion settlement. Introductions to a wide array of settlers.
Evening: Dinner outside Ramallah with Palestinian peace activists at a Palestinian home.
Day 4: Nabi Saleh and Bi'lin
Morning: Nabi Saleh: Visit a family in this small village that is at the heart of the protest movement, and learn about the village's weekly protest and tensions with nearby settlements.
Afternoon: Bi'lin: Meet a number of local activists in this village and learn about the nonviolent protests that culminated in an Israeli high court decision to reroute the Wall.
Evening: Discussion with former PA officials on negotiating policy, divides within Palestinian society, and more.
Day 5: Ramallah, South Hebron hills, Jerusalem
Morning: Conference with international lawyers from Military Court Watch on the West Bank legal system. Visits to Palestinian families who have gone through the legal system.
Afternoon: Meeting with prominent Palestinian businessmen on their ideal economic relationship to Israel.
Evening: The tour concludes once everyone has been deposited in Jerusalem!

Everything seems quite clear except whether the "former PA officials" also were terrorists, or are.

(thanks to JN)


Zionist youth movement involvement.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

The First Settlement Swap?

Following the Man of YamhadSettlement and Territory at Old Babylonian Alalah
Jacob Lauinger, The Johns Hopkins University
€162,00     $210.00

Legal texts recording the purchase or exchange of entire settlements are among the most important cuneiform tablets discovered at Old Babylonian/Middle Bronze Age (Level VII) Alalah. Following the Man of Yamhad is the first book-length study of these legal texts and the socio-economic practice that they document. The author explores the nature of the alienated settlements, the rights enjoyed by their owners, the underlying system of land tenure, and the larger political context in which the transactions occurred. The study is supported by extensive collations and up-to-date editions of relevant legal and administrative texts. Its conclusions will be of interest to anyone working on the history, society, and economy of the Bronze Age Near East.

Who knew?

Darn That Danino

Back in November, we learned that Israel's

Police chief won’t let any more MKs on Temple Mount

He explained that
...behavior [going to the Temple Mount] — even by MKs — can endanger public safety and security
and, therefore, despite MKs' immunity, he will not allow such 'behavior'.
We learned, further that the head of the national police, Yochanan Danino,
singled out MKs whose visits to the site have been accompanied by posts on social media...these lawmakers’ intentions were to “provoke and make remarks about changing the law on the Temple Mount [that allows Jewish visitors but bars them from praying there], which is exploited by [Muslim] extremists as a sign of a changing status quo.”
So, you would presume only Jews wish to alter the status quo.

But here can see MK Ahmed Tibi on the Mount - via social media even -
and he is demanding a Muslim-only approach (hear him here).

Isn't that campaigning for the altering of the status quo?

I can only presume that the pro-Mulsim status quo is even more sacred than the Temple Mount's sanctity for the Jews or the lawful right of Jews to pray there.
And that being so, I can further presume that Danino prefers even more anti-Jewish incitement by Muslim Arabs, supported by a MK, rather than the protection of Jewish rights.
That is a very sorry state of affairs.

I would have suggested Danino go back to bed but I feel that would unfairly implicate him in other police activity.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Is Netanyahu Down In the Dumps?

It started in 1996, then the owner of the store over the basement was abducted under orders of Arafat, who was asked by Egypt's Mubarak to persuade him to give basement to Copts but he refused, was then referred to as a Subterranean volcano in 2009 and by 2010, we were updated about the ownership of a long-forgotten medieval cellar that for centuries has been filled with rubbish.

The basics:

The cellar, which dates to at least the 12th century, lies in Jerusalem, and is claimed by both a Palestinian Muslim shopkeeper and Egyptian Coptic Christians who have responsibility over part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of Christianity's holiest site.

The legal battle over the centuries-old vaulted stone cellar has been festering for 14 years...Antonios al-Orshaleme, general secretary of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, insists the basement is holy ground and was once part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered by most Christians as the site where Jesus Christ was crucified and buried.

...The church was built in the fourth century. Its destruction seven centuries later provided an impetus for the Crusades. It was rebuilt in 1048 following agreement between the Byzantine Empire and the region's Muslim rulers.  "Here is a monastery, below is also a monastery," says Orshaleme.

Not so, says lawyer Reuven Yehoshua, who represents storekeeper Hazam Hirbawi. "For 800 years this cellar was used as a garbage dump," says Yehoshua.

And, basically, PM Binyamin Netanyahu may have to resolve it.


Israel court stumped by holy row over property near Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The owner is dead but his son and his Israeli lawyers keep on.

This week, a report (in Hebrew) indicates the decision was that thee cellar belongs to ... Hirbawi.

And you thought the Temple Mount was the only troublesome holy site?

(thanks to RH)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

When July Becomes June

In Muslim countries, July 4th will be a month early this year:

Ramadan will be starting June 18th and ending mid-July.


Vatican To Lose Mount Zion?

The Vatican will be recognizing some entity that calls itself the 'state of Palestine'.

If it ever thought that after years of negotiations it will now obtain more than just a right of access to the Cenacle on Mount Zion, a revered Jewish site, I think that's a no.

Or that should be a no.


In 1537, Jews managed to expell the Franciscans from the site, which was a Jewish synagogue, after they took it over in the early 14th century.