Monday, September 25, 2017

From Ian:

Prager U: Does Israel Discriminate Against Arabs?
Is it today's version of apartheid South Africa? Olga Meshoe, herself a South African whose family experienced apartheid, settles the question once and for all.

Book Review: “United Nation: The Humanitarian Spirit of Israel”
At a time when smear campaigns against Israel often go unchallenged on college campuses and anti-Israel activists hijack protest movements across the U.S. to attack of the Jewish State, a newly published book tells the story of Israel’s 69-year silent journey to impact the world and serve those in most need. “United Nation: The Humanitarian Spirit of Israel” written by the Israeli entrepreneur David Kramer, is a collection of 40 stories, each illustrating the benevolent and altruistic side of Israel that the mainstream media and the 24-hour news cycle don’t care to show.

“Today, a great disconnect exists in the general perception of Israel throughout the world. Israel is the only country where a global boycott and sanctions movement against it continues unabated on most college and university campuses,” David writes. “However, the reality of life in Israel is totally different. In truth, Israelis embrace a deep appreciation and responsibility for life despite the many challenges they face on a daily basis and this is evident by the thousands of different charitable organizations currently working in Israel and all over the world.”

With 32,000 non-profit organizations based throughout the tiny country, Israel has the highest number of charities per-capita. IsraAID, country’s largest non-profit organization, with expertise in disaster relief and international development, has responded to crises in more than 39 countries, delivering 1000 tons of relief and medical suppliers and reaching over 1.5 million people in need. To date, Israel has sent over 140 official aid missions, to over 50 countries. When major earthquakes strike, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is the first to respond by setting up field hospitals — be it Gujarat (2001), Haiti ( 2010) or Nepal (2015).

“The stories presented in David Kramer’s United Nation embody Israel at its best,” commented Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN. “From bringing clean water to the thirsty, to providing aid where it’s needed most, this is the real Israel — working every day to make the world a better place.”
'Anti-Semitism has been cleverly repackaged'
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman says, "We have to put the emotional issues aside" if we are to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict • His main goal as ambassador is to "manage a very robust, complicated relationship, like two family members."

Among the 233 new immigrants from the U.S. that landed in Israel last month, one stood out in particular. A young woman named Talia Friedman, whose father happens to be the American ambassador to Israel.

Her arrival may have appeared to be coordinated with her father's appointment, but the truth is that Talia, 24, has been planning this momentous move for years, long before anyone in her Orthodox Jewish family even imagined that her father, David Friedman, would be named ambassador.

"Talia's been planning to come here for years," says her mother, Tammy, 54, with a smile. "In fact, when she went on dates, she always said she was planning to move to Israel. She told her friends, don't set me up with anyone who is not Israel-minded. Because that was her plan."

"I remember thinking to myself, when we talked about this a few years ago, how hard it was going to be to have her so far away and how much I'm going to miss her. I never dreamed, in my wildest dreams, that I would be living near her and that my [four other] children [and seven grandchildren] would be living away from me," she says.

  • Monday, September 25, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
In Saudi Arabia's speech to the General Assembly, Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir the Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister, said that the "Israeli-Palestinian conflict" was the most protracted in the region’s history and had led to a great deal of human suffering.  He added that nothing could justify the continuation of that conflict, pushing the Saudi peace plan of Israel giving back everything including the holy sites in Jerusalem (and allowing a "right to return")  in exchange for full peace with the Arab world.

Iran is not happy about the idea of Arab peace with Israel. Al Alam quotes a Palestinian "analyst" named Shaker Zalloum (who is just a shill for Iran) as saying that the Saudi leaders are the same as the as "Jews of Khyber" who of course are the archetypes of the evil, lying Jew who deserves to be slaughtered in Muslim thought.

So Iran shows yet again that they are not only against any peace than allows Israel to exist, but also that they are antisemitic, comparing their ideological enemies with evil Jews.

Nice to have that in black and white.

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By Petra Marquardt-Bigman

While many Jews were offline for a few days due to Rosh Hashanah, Valerie Plame Wilson – a former CIA operative who became a best-selling author after her cover was blown got caught sharing a blatantly antisemitic article on Twitter. Even though the article’s title “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars” was a bit of a give-away, Plame Wilson at first doubled down when she was criticized for sharing the piece: she claimed to be “of Jewish decent and explained that she was simply motivated by her support for the “Iran nuclear treaty” and her opposition to “war with Iran.” She urged her critics to read the entire article” and to “put aside your biases and think clearly.”
So presumably, Plame Wilson herself had read the entire article and found nothing wrong with it. Among the points offered in the piece she recommended so warmly was the suggestion that some American Jewish commentators should be treated like rat poison in the US media:
For those American Jews who lack any shred of integrity, the media should be required to label them at the bottom of the television screen whenever they pop up, e.g. Bill Kristol is ‘Jewish and an outspoken supporter of the state of Israel.’ That would be kind-of-like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison – translating roughly as ingest even the tiniest little dosage of the nonsense spewed by Bill Kristol at your own peril.’”
It quickly turned out that this was not the first time Plame Wilson had shared articles from this website and this author – including one that claimed Israelis were celebrating after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and one that was entitled “Why I Still Dislike Israel.”
If you want to catch up on the details of the story and look at some of the tweets, see e.g. this report at The Times of Israel and the comment by Alan Dershowitz in The Algemeiner.
By now, the article Plame Wilson shared is adorned with an update informing readers that the authorwas fired over the phone by The American Conservative, where he had been a regular contributor for fourteen years.”
On her Twitter page, Plame Wilson has just pinned a tweet that includes a thread offering a detailed explanation of her regrets:
On Thursday, I shared a deeply offensive article on Twitter. The anti-Semitic tropes in the piece are vile and I do not, nor ever have, endorsed them. I regret adding to the already chaotic and sometimes hate-filled conversation on social media. In the past, I have also carelessly retweeted articles from this same site, the Unz Review, without closely examining content and authors. Now that I have, I am horrified and ashamed. The white supremacist and anti-Semitic propaganda espoused by this website is disgusting and I strongly condemn it. It is an affront to human dignity and does not reflect my values. I unequivocally oppose anti-Semitism and prejudice in every form. I believe we all have a moral responsibility to speak out when we see injustice and racism. Although I have strong opinions on public policy matters, going forward I will endeavor to avoid resorting to stereotypes to express my positions and ensure my arguments are grounded in facts. While intending to underscore the madness around those fanning flames of war w/ Iran and their efforts to kill the Iran nuclear deal I made a grave mistake and am deeply sorry for perpetuating any conversation that gives credence to anti-Semitism. Actions have consequences, and while I have been honored to serve on the board of the Ploughshares Fund to avoid detracting from their mission, I have resigned. I take full responsibility for my thoughtless and hurtful actions, and there are no excuses for what I did.

Well, better late than never, I suppose – though it is infinitely depressing to think that a former CIA operative, i.e. someone presumably trained to evaluate information critically, could fall for the Unz Review – which after all advertises itself as “An Alternative Media Selection: A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media.” I would also have thought that for someone who is supposedly interested in news and politics, it should take just a glance at the contributors and offerings of the site to realize that something is fishy.
The Anti-Defamation League has described Unz cautiously as aControversial Writer and Funder of Anti-Israel Activists,” but the entry illustrates well that the sites and people supported by Unz provide a veritable intersectionality study of right- and left-wing antisemitism.
Last but not least, it’s also worthwhile pondering Omri Ceren’s view that Plame Wilson simply said “what many advocates of Obama’s realignment with Iran believe and that her original tweet linking to the article from Unz’s website was therefore just an increasingly routine attack on Jews mainstreamed by Obama admin & its echo chamber to sell the Iran deal. Omri’s thread includes many relevant examples; one could arguably add a recent tweet from the influential Swedish politician and former EU and UN official Carl Bildt, who told his 650K Twitter followers: “Egged on by Netanyahu it seems Trump wants to take the US into a region-wide war with Iran. Europe will suffer. Everyone will lose.

Maybe Bildt could write an article about it for Unz???

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From Ian:

PMW: Fatah: Munich Olympic massacre was “excellent operation”
Fatah: "The Munich operation... will continue to be remembered and recorded in history"

45 years after the massacre of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, Abbas' Fatah Movement still sees the attack as "the excellent operation" and the attackers as "the heroes of the Munich operation"

45 years after the massacre at the Munich Olympics, Abbas' Fatah Movement is still honoring the planners of the murders of the 11 Israeli athletes and celebrating the terror attack.

During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, the Palestinian terror organization Black September, a branch of Fatah, took the members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage and murdered 11 of them.

On the anniversary of the murders this month, two branches of the Fatah Movement posted photos of the terrorist murderers and comments glorifying the attack on Facebook.

Fatah's Bethlehem branch wrote a short post about "the excellent operation in Munich," posting photos of some of the terrorists:

Posted text: "Sept. 5, 1972 - Sept. 5, 2017 - the 45th anniversary of the excellent operation in Munich. On this date the Black September organization, one of the Fatah Movement's military bodies, kidnapped the Zionist Olympic delegation and took its members hostage in order to release Palestinian prisoners in the Zionist prisons."
[Facebook page of the Fatah Movement - Bethlehem Branch, Sept. 5, 2017]
In Syria: How Israel Overtly—And Covertly—Protects Its ‘Red Lines’
Israel is clearly committed to upholding its red lines in Syria, which includes prevention of the establishment of a permanent Iranian military presence in the Golan, which would allow Tehran and its proxies to open up another front against the Jewish state during future hostilities. Israel has repeatedly conducted missile strikes in Syria to prevent the transfer of “game-changing” weaponry to Hizbullah as it arrives by air and then travels overland to the Lebanon-based terrorists.

Speaking to The Media Line, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council, said he was unaware of any such coordination with Syrian rebel groups and stressed that “those operating in the Syrian Golan [which at intervals has included offshoots of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda] are not supportive of Israel.”

As such, he views Moualem’s comments foremost as a justification for Syrian and Iranian-backed military operations near the border.

By contrast, Eiland explained that Israeli military intervention in Syria is prompted by three intersecting circumstances; first, a response to errant fire that enters its territory by targeting Assad regime assets; second, when Hizbullah offensives are identified along the border; and third, if there is an attempt to transfer advanced weapons—precision missiles, in particular—to Iran’s Lebanese Shiite underling.

In this respect, the IDF last week reportedly for a second time this year attacked an arms depot next to Damascus International Airport; this, following a purported Israeli strike on the Scientific Studies and Researchers Center in the central Syrian city of Masyaf, where chemical arms were allegedly being manufactured in contravention to a previous U.S.-Russia-brokered deal to completely rid the Syrian regime of WMDs.

According to Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, who commanded IDF troops along the Syrian border, while Israel’s direct involvement on the ground is restricted, its overriding goal is to ensure “stability and security along the frontier, [thereby avoiding] the creation of another area from which a war of attrition [can be initiated].

“Israel may not be able to stop this,” he acknowledged to The Media Line, “but can nevertheless influence the process. Jerusalem must emphasize that it is part of the game and that it is willing to take risks to achieve its objectives. Moreover, the Israelis need to make clear that any solution in Syria must take into account its considerations.”
UN Watch: U.N. Clash: Son of Hamas Chief Calls PA ‘Enemy of the Palestinian People’
A Hamas member turned humanitarian addressed the U.N. human rights council today and called the Palestinian Authority the “greatest enemy of the Palestinian people.” See full speech below.

“If Israel did not exist, you would have no one to blame; take responsibility for the outcome of your own actions,” said Mosab Hassan Yousef, whose father was a founding member of Hamas.

As recounted in the film The Green Prince, Yousef emerged as one of Israel’s prized informants, who disrupted lethal attacks and uncovered terror cells.

Yousef spoke today on behalf of UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights organization, taking the floor in a meeting on alleged Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. By contrast, the council has no special agenda item on Syria, Sudan, Iran, North Korea, or any other region.

“For good reason, Western democracies once again boycotted today’s debate,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

“In the dystopian universe of George Orwell’s 1984, everyone was forced to undergo a daily ‘Two Minute of Hate’. In the dystopian universe of the UN Human Rights Council—where Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Cuba and Venezuela are members—the built-in schedule of every session includes one day dedicated solely to spewing hate against the Jewish state.”

There are a number of useful insights to be gained by looking at how Israel’s opponents portray themselves, especially in materials tied to their recruitment and planning.  Which is why communications about the annual conference of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) become regular sources for tea-leaf reading regarding the opposition’s priorities.

The title for this year’s SJP confab: “A Reimagined World: Dismantling Walls from Palestine to the Rio Grand” packs a lot of messaging into a single line, highlighting that the continued colonization of the Left end of the political spectrum represents the organization’s priority for the year.

This is reinforced by the first goal they specify: “Connecting our Regions and Struggles” which spells out plans to “move past lip service” of solidarity towards a Full Intersectional Monty whereby campus and community protest groups would be forged into a united front.

SJP’s second goal, “Holding onto History,” tries to make a connection between the Nakba (“the Catastrophe” - the Palestinian name for the creation of Israel) and the Great Migration of the South, demonstrating (1) continued effort to leverage racial hostilities in the US that have been brewing for the last 2-3 years; (2) indifference to historical fact (since this weak, incoherent parallel implies a total lack of familiarity of what that “Great Migration” actually was); and (3) contempt for the public meant to swallow SJP’s fact-free history and ridiculous parallels whole.

It is only when we get to Goal #3 that divestment makes an appearance in a telling goal title “Mobilizing Alongside and Beyond Divestment.”  The fact that BDS resolutions went down by nearly half last year indicates our side has effectively mobilized against SJP, or the number of strategic targets for divestment strategies (mostly student governments at colleges and universities) are drying up, or both.

Long-time BDS watchers know it is impossible to get the boycotters to admit defeat (since everything they do, including losing, is interpreted as victory).  For every reference to “successful campus BDS campaigns” (referring to couple of dozen student government votes they’ve won or continue to push), you’ve got weasel phrases like “getting our institutions to follow through on their commitments to divest” (which ignores the fact that not a single institute has made any such commitment, student government votes be damned).

Distilling the above with other elements of their announcement (including lists of activities SJP conference attendees will be trained in under the rubric of “Skills Sharing” – Goal 4), I think we are likely to see a ramping up of “intersectional” strategies vs. heavy-duty BDS campaigning over the coming academic year.

This is a sensible move for an organization like SJP which has proven adept at forming alliances with the most radical elements on college campuses and getting them to submit to their will.

For example, when the Women’s Studies Association became one of the few groups to vote for an academic boycott of the Jewish state, many people highlighted the hypocrisy of doing so while ignoring the rampant gender Apartheid among the very societies that boycott is meant to support.  But from a strategic (rather than a moral) standpoint, that alliance simply demonstrates how well SJP is able to build one-way demands into its supposed alliances of solidarity.  This is why admission to a “united front” always seems to require everyone adhere to SJP priorities, while bringing up little matters like the slaughter of Arabs (including Palestinians) in Syria or the brutal repression of women and gays throughout the Middle East (including Palestinian-controlled territories) will earn you an immediate blackballing as a right-wing, Zionist lackey.

The political zeitgeist on campus will continue to center on reaction and resistance to the new US administration and its policies, which is why the Rio Grande makes an appearance in the handle for this year’s SJP event.  This would indicate that the priority for 2017-2018 will be to tie every controversy associated with that administration to some aspect of Israeli leadership or policy.

Some have predicted that a decrease in boycott and divestment activity will be matched by an increase in aggressiveness as some of the most virulent and violent behavior associated with radical student groups gets channeled towards Israel and its supporters on campus.  To fight such a wave, we will need to disrupt those alliances as much as possible, while also preparing to take advantage of a likely backlash against the kind of behavior we’ve seen in schools over the last year or two – two strategies that will be fleshed out next time.

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  • Monday, September 25, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

From Palestinian Media Watch:
Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub exploited his entry to Israel around two weeks ago in order to visit the family of terrorist murderer Karim Younes.

Karim Younes is an Israeli Arab who, together with his cousin Maher Younes, kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980. He was sentenced to life in prison. (His sentence was commuted to 40 years by Israeli President Shimon Peres in 2012.)

In a post on his Facebook page, Rajoub took pride in having visited the murderer's family in the village of 'Ara, and he posted pictures of himself with the family members.

Palestinian Media Watch checked and found that the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories had not approved Rajoub's visit to the murderer's family.
 Rajoub is of course the head of the Palestinian Olympic Committee and a master at creating anti-Israel propaganda, all while supporting terrorism in Arabic.

Here's the Facebook post of his visiting the terrorist's family.

His rights to go on any more overseas junkets should be restricted immediately for his support of terror.

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  • Monday, September 25, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
This article in Felesteen describes exactly what is so horrible with "normalization" - and is a great example of how the West fails miserably when we assume that everyone has the same hopes, aspirations and thought processes.

We don't.

It is true that the scene of rabbis dancing with Arab businessmen in the Bahraini capital Manama several months ago was shocking and calls for many questions and explanations, but today after the leaks that showed  the  King of Bahrain's intention to open the door of normalization with the Zionist entity it became understandable, We learned that relations between Bahrain and the Entity started since 1999.

We can not talk about "normalization" with the Zionist occupation without invoking the Camp David agreement in 1978 with Egypt and the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement in 1979. It is also impossible to isolate the great Jordanian normalization with the occupation in the Wadi Araba agreement in 1994 after the signing of the Oslo agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993, where the door was opened to a commercial representation office with the Zionist enemy in the Omani capital Muscat in 1995 and another in Doha  in 1996.

Normalization can not be limited to the Zionist enemy only in the political or economic form , but normalization, which means "restoring the relationship between the two parties so that the relationship between them is natural" goes beyond the normalization of media and cultural and even academic and religious. [Some claim] that normalization is a recognition of reality and an objective response to the existence of the State of Israel! Indeed, the Sudanese Minister of Investment in August said that "the Palestinian cause has delayed the Arab world," expressing a state of distortion of thought and superficial thinking.

What is strange is that while the Europeans are active in the boycott of the occupying power, we see Arabs chasing normalization in a scene that can not be described as less a crime against their history and the sanctities of their nation, as if they are unaware that they will not get beyond normalization.

Perhaps the statements of Israeli officials, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he has repeatedly stated that his country enjoys qualitative relations with many countries in the Arab region, are considered an application of his great project, which he calls "regional peace." Here, it is important to establish an explicit definition of normalization that gives us the clarity of vision and purpose. Normalization in our Palestinian, Arab and Islamic concept is "every relationship that arises with the Zionist occupation and its existence on the land of Palestine."

The pretext of the Arabs that normalization is in support of the Palestinian cause fall in the face of the vulnerability suffered by all the countries that made agreements with the Zionist entity, Egypt has lost its security authority on the Sinai Today and today is reaping the scourge of Israeli economic hegemony, and Jordan has lost its right to water in the Jordan Valley, but  does not dare to talk about it, while the weapons of repression of Israeli demonstrators failed to stop the" Arab Spring "in Tunisia! Which was carrying the words "Made in Israel"!

Yes, the Palestine Liberation Organization signed the Oslo agreement and made an agreement between the Arabs with the Zionist enemy...

Normalization with the Zionist occupation is a psychological reflection of the state of defeat before the enemy. We are strengthened when we weaken and disappear when we rise, but normalization is the beginning of the break and the end of national sense of self. It is known that normalization will necessarily negate our right to liberation and freedom.

[Opposition to normalization is] still an important bulwark in the face of all attempts to erase the Arab consciousness of the nature of the enemy based on denial of the other, and draw him to economic dependence and political slavery, under the pressure of the media and international institutions with him.

Anti-Zionism? Check.
Antisemitism? Check.
Anti-peace? Check.
Zero-sum mentality? Check.

But most important is that the Arabs are looking at BDS and similar efforts as a lost cause, and see the train of Israeli-Arab peace is nearly unstoppable,

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  • Monday, September 25, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

The "Jews for Justice for Palestinians" website reproduces an article from Middle East Quarterly that calls into question the traditional holiness of the Western Wall.

Middle East Quarterly's article is entitled "Is the Western Wall Judaism's Holiest Site?" We all know the answer to that - no, of course not. The site of the Holy of Holies in the Temple on the Temple Mount, widely assumed to be in the area of the Dome of the Rock, is.

The anti-Israel site however retitles the article "There is no Western Wall tradition" in an attempt to delegitimize the importance of the Kotel, because the article argues (fairly persuasively) that the current site of the Kotel was not even available for prayer before the 16th century, when an earthquake leveled the houses that were built up against that section of the retaining wall of the Temple Mount, and Suleiman the Magnificent created an area for Jews to worship that became the site of today's Kotel.

But the article really proves that the Temple Mount was always the focus of prayer for Jews, and they only prayed at the retaining walls (from all directions) when Muslims barred them from worshiping on the Temple Mount itself.

This may be the best overview in English on the history of Jewish prayer that centered on the Temple Mount in the post-Temple period.

Once the Second Temple was demolished by the Romans in the year 70 C.E., prayer replaced sacrificial worship. Most scholars agree that Jews offered prayers on the Temple Mount even after the destruction of the Second Temple. "During the first period after the destruction of the Temple of Herod, the Jews continued to go and weep at the ruins of it," read a report by the British Royal Commission, established in 1930 to determine the claims of Muslims and Jews at the Western Wall. The report also noted that "the Jews' wailing-place at that time seems to have been the stone on Mount Moriah where the Mosque of Omar [in the Christian Quarter] now stands."[3]

But before long, all this changed. Early in the second century the Roman emperor Hadrian prohibited Jews from worshipping on the Temple Mount. They were permitted to assemble for prayer only on the Mount of Olives from where they had an unobstructed view of the ruins of the Second Temple. The prohibition to ascend the Temple Mount was strictly enforced during Hadrian's lifetime, but the periodic need to re-issue the decree by subsequent emperors suggests that enforcement was often lax after his death. In fact, Jews did pray on the Temple Mount during the remainder of the second and most of the third centuries, but even when they were prohibited from doing so, there is no indication that they chose instead to pray at today's Western Wall.[4]

Once the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as its official state religion in the fourth century, the situation of Jerusalem's Jewish community became precarious. During most of the next three hundred years, Jews were not permitted to live or visit Jerusalem, but there were periods when this anti-Jewish policy was relaxed, and Jews were permitted to live in or visit the city. Yet there are no records of Jews praying at the Western Wall during those years. After the Persian and Arab conquests of the city in the seventh century, Jews were again allowed to reside in Jerusalem. They chose to live on Mount Zion where they had a number of synagogues. They even had a synagogue on the Temple Mount but no prayer services were conducted at the Western Wall.[5] 
An eleventh-century document, found in the Cairo Geniza describes how Jewish pilgrims frequently circled the Temple Mount (from the outside), stopping at each of the gates to recite specific prayers. Moshe ben Yitzhak, a mid-11th-century pilgrim, is reported to have prayed daily at one of the Temple Mount gates. At that time, Jews prayed at all of the retaining walls of the Temple Mount. The Western Wall was not accorded any preference. When they prayed at the Western Wall, they did not worship at the site that nowadays is known as the Western Wall Plaza but rather north of this area because, at that time, buildings prevented access to the area currently used. This same geniza manuscript from 1057 confirmed that the Jews paid special taxes for the privilege of praying at the Temple Mount gates and on the Mount of Olives.[6]

Until the thirteenth century, prayer on the Temple Mount was sporadically possible. Benjamin of Tudela (1130-73 C.E.), the famous Jewish traveler who visited Jerusalem during the Crusader years, wrote in his travelogue:

In front of the [Dome of the Rock] is the Western Wall. This is one of the [remaining] walls of what was once the Holy of Holies. ... All the Jews come there to pray before this wall.[7]

The wall that Benjamin described was not the present Western Wall (which, as previously noted, is part of the outer retaining walls of the Temple Mount) but the ruins of the western wall of the Second Temple, which were apparently still standing in his days. Maimonides, who arrived in Jerusalem in 1165, also prayed on the Temple Mount, but his letters make no mention of praying at the site where the Western Wall is now located.

Rabbi Shmuel ben Shimshon, who arrived in Jerusalem in 1211, describes in great detail his first days in the city. He ascended the Temple Mount soon after arriving and often prayed on "the Mount of Olives, the place where they used to burn the [Red] Heifer."[8] But on "Shabbat we prayed the afternoon prayer [on the Temple Mount], on the very place where the uncircumcised used to erect their idols."[9] Again, no mention is made of praying at the Western Wall of our days.

Early in the fourteenth century, Jews were barred from entering the Temple Mount by the Mamluks, who ruled Jerusalem from 1250 to 1516. Ishtori Haparchi (1280-1366), author of one of the earliest books of the geography of the Holy Land, Kaftor v'Ferah, wrote that in his day, Jews prayed at the eastern wall and outside the gates of the southern wall. He describes the geography of Jerusalem in great detail but makes no mention of a holy site at the western wall.[10]
This is a strong case that Jews continued to ascend to the Temple Mount to pray up through the 13th century, and when that was not possible only then would they pray at whatever site afforded them proximity or a view of the holy spot on the Temple Mount.

The Kotel is just as holy as any other part of the retaining wall of the Second Temple, although the western part is closer to the Holy of Holies and therefore more desirable. This is why so many (usually women) are found reading Psalms all day at the site of the Western Wall tunnels nearest the Holy of Holies.

It is also why the "Kotel HaKatan," the "Little Western Wall" to the north of the Kotel, is actually a holier spot than the Kotel itself. But that wasn't available for prayer, apparently, until much more recently, while the Kotel was been a gathering spot for prayer since the 16th century.

This article, rather than taking away from the holiness of the Kotel, actually proves the holiness to Jews of the entire surrounding areas of the Temple Mount in all directions, and how the scores of existing Muslim structures on those holy walls are actually a desecration of the Jewish holy site.  The article shows the veneration that Jews have always shown towards the Temple Mount.

The author's earlier article on the synagogue on the Temple Mount itself is even more fascinating:

Did the Jews build a synagogue on the Temple Mount in the century immediately following the Muslim invasion? All historians agree that the Jews played a prominent role in identifying the holy areas on the Temple Mount; these same Jews subsequently worked as servants and cleaners of the mosques that were erected there. The medieval Arab historian Mujir al-Din al-Ulaymi (1456-1522), born in Ramle but a lifelong resident of Jerusalem where he was buried, described the role that the Jews played on the Temple Mount in the early Muslim period in his comprehensive history of Jerusalem and Hebron, as follows:
The Jews who served as servants [in the mosques] were exempt from paying poll tax, they and their descendants forever. At first these numbered ten, but later their number rose to twenty. Their job was to clean the mosques. Other Jews were engaged to manufacture and attach the glass and the candelabras and other things. They also supplied wicks. Most interesting is Mujir al-Din’s suspicion that the Jews consented to engage in these jobs in order to gain a foothold on the Temple Mount so that they could offer prayers in the place where their Temple once stood.14 At this time Muslims did not consider a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount problematic because they had not yet designated the mount as a sacred site.
Several scholars wrote that Jews received permission to build a synagogue or prayer-and-study hall on the Temple Mount. Some have even suggested that the first wooden structure built on the site of the Temple was meant originally to be a synagogue, but that before it was completed the Muslims expropriated the building and gave the Jews another site on the Temple Mount as a substitute location for their synagogue. Sebeos, a 7th-century Armenian bishop and historian, wrote about the existence of a Jewish prayer hall on the Temple Mount as follows:
After the Jews enjoyed the aid and protection of the Arabs for a long time, they conceived the idea of rebuilding the Temple of Solomon. They identified the location of what they called the “The Holy of Holies” and there they built a prayer hall, using the foundations and the remnants of the original building. Once they had started to build, the Arabs became jealous and banished them from there. Instead, they gave the Jews another area on the Temple Mount for a synagogue.15
Solomon ben Jeroham, a Karaite exegete who lived in Jerusalem between 940 and 960, wrote in his commentary on the Book of Psalms that the Muslims had permitted the Jews to pray on the Temple Mount for many years.
When, with the mercy of the God of Israel, the Romans were thrown out [of Jerusalem] and the Islamic kingdom appeared, permission was given to Israel to enter [the city] and live there. Furthermore, the courtyards of the Temple were turned over to them and they prayed there [on the Temple Mount] for many years. Afterwards [slanderers] told the Muslim king that they did bad things there, that they drank intoxicating wine and desecrated the place. He therefore ordered them expelled to one of the many gates and there they prayed for many years. But they continued to do bad things and there came a new king and he expelled them from the Temple Mount completely.16
The 11th-century letter written by the Elder of the Jerusalem Jewish community that we cited earlier also stated unequivocally that from the time of the Arab conquest of Jerusalem until the present time (tenth or eleventh century) Jews were allowed to pray without interference on the Temple Mount or at its gates.17
Petachiah of Regensburg, a Bohemian rabbi who set out from Prague to Palestine in 1175 and arrived in Crusader Jerusalem no later than 1187, reported that in his days it was “common knowledge” that the Dome of the Rock (he called it the ‘Umar-mosque) was designed originally to serve as a synagogue.18
The midrash collection called “Nistarot de-Rabbi Shimon ben Yohai” [The Esoteric Teachings of Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, believed to have been compiled at the time of the Crusaders] brings the following account:
… the second king who arose to Ishmael was friendly to Israel, and he mended their breaches and the breaches of the Heikhal, and dug up Mount Moriah... and he built there a place for prayer [lit., a place for bowing down] on the Foundation Stone [that is, on the site of the Temple].19
Many years ago Professor Dinur wrote a comprehensive article on “A Jewish synagogue and study hall on the Temple Mount during the Arab period” in which he summarized all the evidence available at that time concerning Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount during the Muslim period.20 He suggested that the building that eventually became known as the mosque of ‘Umar was originally built by Caliph ‘Umar as a synagogue or prayer hall for the Jews. He cited evidence of the existence of a synagogue on the Temple Mount from the 9th century on.This synagogue, known as the Mahkema, was located on the southwestern side of the Shalshelet Gate. After the Fatimid rulers conquered Jerusalem in 969, this synagogue was rebuilt and used until the Jews were banished by Caliph alChakim in 1015. Jews returned to this synagogue on the Temple Mount after a subsequent ruler cancelled al-Chakim’s ban. 21
While there is disagreement about where the synagogue was located on the Temple Mount, most scholars agree that there was a functioning synagogue on the Temple Mount during the first century after the Muslim conquest—and perhaps even later. Subsequently (the exact date is not known) the permission for Jews to have a synagogue on the Temple Mount was cancelled.  
There are two conclusions that these articles point to:

One is that Jews have the right to pray on the Temple Mount, both halachic and historic, and that  for centuries this permission was actually granted by Muslims themselves.

The other is that the entire area surrounding the Temple Mount is holy, and when some non-Orthodox Jewish groups want to stake their claim to the right to pray at the Kotel, they actually have no reason not to accept any prayer area around the retaining walls, since the holiness of all of those areas are roughly the same.

(h/t Richard Landes)

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

  • Sunday, September 24, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
This is horrific - and not surprising at all:

The Iranian asylum seeker Leila Bayat, who was deported from Norway on 8 March 2017, has received 80 lashes in Tehran. During the investigation of her asylum case, the Norwegian authorities didn’t approve the documents regarding Leila Bayat’s flogging sentence and denied her asylum.

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the director and spokesperson of Iran Human Rights (IHR) said, “It is a shame that the authorities of a country like Norway, which has a reputation of respecting human rights and in particular women’s rights, didn’t provide a woman who had escaped flogging sentence with asylum and deported her back to Iran. In this case, Norwegian authorities didn’t fulfill their legal and human duty, and in the best case scenario, deported her to Iran despite having serious doubts about her flogging sentence. There were lots of evidence showing Leila’s flogging sentence was authentic but the Norwegian authorities ignored them. The Islamic Republic of Iran is to be blamed for the inhumane sentence of 80 lashes Leila received, but the Norwegian authorities have their share of responsibility in this case and must be held accountable for it.”

According to a close source, Leila Bayat received 80 lashes at branch 3 of the Section for Implementation of Sentence of Tehran’s Prosecution Office at 1 pm on Tuesday September 19.

Leila Bayat and three of her friends were arrested in 2007 and sentenced branch 3 of the 21th district Prosecution Office of Tehran to 80 lashes for drinking alcoholic beverages. They were released on bail of 7 million Tomans (about 1800 USD) and tried to change the sentence for two and a half years. Being disappointed, Leila together with her 5-year-old son sought asylum in Norway where they were denied asylum several times by the authorities of The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.

Leila Bayat was finally deported to Iran on March 11, 2017 and tried to have her sentence suspended which was unsuccessful.

“I told them (Norwegian authorities) the exact details of my case, but it was refused seven times. They claimed that the verdict, the warrant, my lawyer’s testimony, and everything I presented to them were fake and my case was a lie. They said that their expert at Norway’s Embassy in Iran had examined the documents and said that such a sentence would never be carried out in Iran. And in the end, they separated me from my 13-year-old son and deported me back to Iran,” said Leila to IHR.

She added, “Before returning to Iran, I was so angry about why I had to escape from my own country. But now, I’m angrier at Norway. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, we were sentenced to flogging because we didn’t obey the law, but I sought asylum in Norway and I thought that I would be safe there, which was far from true.”

The story has been verified and is starting to gain traction in Europe.

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  • Sunday, September 24, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Iran responded to Netanyahu's speech at the UN last week with some brand new lies I'd never heard of before (video here):

The representative of Iran, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the representative of the Israeli regime had made unfounded allegations against his country.  The nature of that regime was founded on aggression, occupation, suppression, violence and terror, he said, adding that in the information age, “weapons of mass deception” (which the Iranian representative called "another type of WMD" that Israel has)  were becoming more useless day by day.  That representative could have explained why his regime had invaded all its neighbours, and even countries outside its region, waging 15 wars in its short lifetime.  Why did that regime continue to disrespect resolutions adopted by the Assembly, the Security Council and other United Nations bodies, he asked, and why was it a State sponsor of terrorism, including support for ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) with arms and other military assistance.  It was the world’s last apartheid regime and the warden of its biggest prison, arresting and jailing Palestinians and imposing an inhumane blockade on the Gaza Strip.  He went on to ask why that regime, the only nuclear weapons possessor in the Middle East, lectured the world on non-proliferation and Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme.  The representative of the Israeli regime had hypocritically tried to abuse the Assembly by accusing others and stirring anxiety about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he said.  It was a regime that favoured conflict and war over diplomacy, he added.

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From Ian:

David Collier: Thomas Suarez, an academic charlatan. State of Terror is hateful fiction
Alongside Jonathan Hoffman, I spent part of the summer inside the National Archives at Kew, checking some of the sources that Thomas Suarez had used to build his argument for the book ‘State of Terror’. The findings were inexcusable. Suarez distorted the documents to such a degree that history was unrecognisable.

At times Suarez had simply inverted the meaning of a document. At others, I felt we were looking at entirely different files. From the perspective of someone who respects historicity and spends much time sewing together the complex tapestry of historical context, Thomas Suarez is an academic charlatan.

Recently, Thomas Suarez has been spreading his hate-filled mythical tale in the United States. He also found time to respond to the report. What an empty response it was.
The Thomas Suarez response

Given that what was found in our analysis was so overwhelming, his recent response is a clear attempt to create a deflective dialogue. To suggest that we are engaged in an argument over opinion.

It will not work. I will not be drawn down a rabbit-hole by anyone, least of all by Thomas Suarez. Our argument was that his work is deceptive. That he has misused, misquoted, misrepresented and even inverted the meaning of, what he found in the archives. Our underlying position was that this occurred too often to be just down to Suarez being an awfully bad historian.

Time after time, quote after quote, file after file. ON EVERY SINGLE OCCASION we uncovered an error, we found the error supported an anti-Zionist stance. Each one dehumanised Jews or created a devious intent surrounding their actions. None of the many, many mistakes we found, favoured the Zionists. Not one. How on earth can that be deemed anything but deliberate?

I am reminded of part of the judgement following the David Irving trial:
‘the correct and inevitable inference must be that for the most part the falsification of the historical record was deliberate and that Irving was motivated by a desire to present events in a manner consistent with his own ideological beliefs even if that involved distortion and manipulation of historical evidence.’
The time when Israeli intel, CIA caught mega-arms boat and changed history
“Everything you say is well and good, but we have no boat!” IDF Lt. Col. Naval Intelligence Counter-terror chief Yaron* exclaimed in frustration to his deputy, IDF Maj. Gal*.

Gal* (full names kept secret to prevent identification) had just updated him on the first intelligence breakthrough in the Karine A Affair, which would eventually change history.

In the affair, the IDF navy and air force units captured a large Palestinian Authority owned freighter in the predawn hours of January 3, 2002. The freighter was loaded with 50 tons of weapons, including long range rockets, from Iran with assistance from Hezbollah.

Had the weapons gotten through to PA President Yasser Arafat, he could have targeted larger cities like Ashkelon and possibly even Ben Gurion Airport with rockets, changing the entire balance of war and peace in the region.

The full riveting intelligence backstory about uncovering the well-concealed plot and finding (just barely) the phantom boat, included work between Israeli intelligence and the CIA. The story is being told now for the first time after its declassification by Israeli intelligence for a Hebrew book, also sponsored by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, about to come out called Drama in the Red Sea by retired IDF Brig. Gen. Amos Gilboa.

The Jerusalem Post recently interviewed Gilboa and received a copy of the book prior to its full release next month.

Israeli naval intelligence officers Yaron and Gal were speaking sometime between October 3-8, 2001 after having worked since August 15, 2001 on trying to put together a puzzle of some sort of major PA-related arms smuggling development.
PMW: Jibril Rajoub visited the family of terrorist murderer
Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub exploited his entry to Israel around two weeks ago in order to visit the family of terrorist murderer Karim Younes.

Karim Younes is an Israeli Arab who, together with his cousin Maher Younes, kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980. He was sentenced to life in prison. (His sentence was commuted to 40 years by Israeli President Shimon Peres in 2012.)

In a post on his Facebook page, Rajoub took pride in having visited the murderer's family in the village of 'Ara, and he posted pictures of himself with the family members.

Palestinian Media Watch checked and found that the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories had not approved Rajoub's visit to the murderer's family.

In the 2015 terror wave, Rajoub explicitly incited for terror attacks and acts of murder, and he called the terrorist murderers "heroes... a crown on the head of every Palestinian."

This year the Fatah Movement appointed murderer Karim Younes to be a member of Fatah's central committee.

Forest Rain has written a smart piece published in Israellycool entitled, From Exodus to Munich: How Did We Get Here?

This is an interesting bit of cultural inquiry that wonders how the Jewish people in Israel went - in the popular Western imagination - from plucky and outnumbered victims seeking sovereignty (Exodus, starring Paul Newman in 1960) to what is, essentially, the "galut" mentality of semi-neurotic self-doubt in Steven Spielberg's Munich.

Concerning Exodus, Forest Rain writes:

"This is the first, the only movie I have ever seen that has empathy (rather than sympathy), not for the Jewish victim but for the Jewish survivor – admiration for the people who had been to hell and back, that had more spirit than anything else and were willing to do whatever it takes to be free in the land of their ancestors."

Forest Rain is, for very good reason, a tad more skeptical of Steven Spielberg's Munich.

She writes:
Steven Spielberg did a deep service to the preservation of Jewish heritage by creating the Shoah Foundation and documenting the testimonials of Holocaust survivors. His movie, Schindler’s List, has become a staple in teaching children about the Holocaust. I’m sure, when he chose to create Munich, he did not intend to create a film filled with poisonous, anti-Israel propaganda. And yet, shockingly, that is exactly what he created.
In Exodus, the Paul Newman character (Ari Ben Canaan) is a proud, strong Jew and military commander, fighting unapologetically for the establishment of the State of Israel and for the well-being of the Jewish people in our continuously conquered homeland.

Spielberg's Munich, on the other hand, according to Forest Rain:
show conflicted Jews. Jews (especially Israelis) who are strong but feel bad about it. The IDF soldier that does not want to fight, is afraid or doesn’t want to “hurt the poor Palestinian” is a particularly popular character.
Spielberg's emotive standpoint is close to Ari Folman's 2008 Waltz with Bashir wherein the main character is so horrified by whatever role he thinks that the Jews played in the 1982 Lebanese Christian massacre of Arab-Muslims in Sabra and Shatila that he cannot even remember it.

He psychologically blocks it out.

He cannot emotionally face the idea that while he was a soldier in Lebanon Jews may have been complicit in the Christian murder of Muslims. Or, at least, that he - himself, personally - may have been complicit.

Ultimately, Forest Rain and I wonder along similar lines.

She concludes:
From Exodus to Munich, how did we get here? More importantly, how do we go back?
I do not know that I believe in the notion of "national characteristics" but if there is such a thing ours were forged, in part, through the continual irrational malice of larger powers, both European and Muslim.

And while we can never go back to the Western sympathies pre-1967 what we can do is stand up unashamedly for ourselves as did Ari Ben Canaan in Exodus.

The popular sensibility among "soft" anti-Zionists on the western-left is that we are well-meaning murderers.

The friendliest among them tend to be vaguely sympathetic, but ultimately come down on the side of the enemies of the Jewish people.

They honestly believe that Arabs seek to murder Jews because we are mean. Israel is mean. The Jews are, as a matter of schadenfreude, are the New Nazis.

Although they understand about the Shoah, they also consider Israeli Jews to be persecutors of the bunny-like "indigenous Arab population" and this is why "one person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter."

The Jewish people will not retrieve western-left sympathies anytime soon. That is simply out of the question. It is not going to happen and it eludes me why we should continue to try.

What we should do is send our young people to Krav Maga training because there is pretty good chance that they might need it.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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