Wednesday, September 20, 2017

  • Wednesday, September 20, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
(Posting early so my Australian and Israeli readers can see it before the holiday.)


Another year has passed. And it has been a good year for the blog. As far as the rest of the world...hard to say.

Israel is in better diplomatic shape than any time since 1967. Terrorism in Israel is down, again thanks to brilliant IDF intelligence and smart police work.

But Iran is one year closer to the bomb. And it is best friends with North Korea, where it gets much of its missile technology. (And probably nuclear tech as well.) And no one knows what is going to happen with the current resident of the White House.

Praying for two days sounds like a great idea.

On the blog front, I have nearly 25,000 Twitter followers. An article I quickly wrote last week went viral on Facebook and is now my most popular news post ever, with nearly 100,000 views across all platforms. (#1 rule of social media: You never know what will go viral!) I can't even keep up with the comments here any more (if you need to bring something to my attention, please email me!)

I didn't send out my quarterly donation appeal yet, but if you think that this blog is valuable, please use the donation buttons on the sidebar or the subscription Patreon link below.

I created the graphic above a few years ago, to symbolize the 30 mandatory sounds of the shofar as a kind of art (stealing the idea from a mystical artist in Tzfat/Safed.) Feel free to use it as a Sukkah decoration!

May the coming year be one of blessing, health, prosperity, joy and, above all, peace.

I will not be blogging from Wednesday afternoon until at least Saturday night.





We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

From Ian:

Professors Stand Up to BDS
A new academic year has begun and, with it, we can expect new attempts to demonize Israel on our college campuses. As ever, the immoderation of those who support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement should help. The most recent visible move by prominent BDSers has been to try to align their colleagues—in however hedged a manner—with the politically toxic Antifa movement.

So yes, we are not dealing here with strategic masterminds. But, in academia, such people have an advantage, nonetheless. They are “scholar-activists,” distant cousins of the 1960s New Left, who view campuses, as their forebearers did, as grounds from which to assail the powers that be. That is to say, they are there primarily, not incidentally, to engage in political activism. They have an influence far out of proportion to their numbers because most academics are at colleges and universities to teach and engage in research. They don’t, as people say in the movies, want no trouble. So they are inclined to leave politics to the people who care about it, so long as they are allowed to do their work in peace.

It is in part for this reason that organizations like Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and the newer Academic Engagement Network exist (full disclosure: I have worked with both organizations). On the one hand, they enable scholars drawn reluctantly into a fight against BDS to learn from and support each other’s efforts. On the other hand, they try to spread the news that BDS is not only unjust to Israel—a fact that may worry those with no dog in the fight only a little—but also damaging to the academic enterprise, for which BDS seeks to substitute propagandizing.

At the beginning of the academic year, it is worth pausing to notice how many professors have been willing to put their reputations on the line to turn back BDS efforts and how often they have been successful. These include figures like Cary Nelson, Russell Berman, Rachel Harris, Sharon Musher, and Jeffrey Herf, to name just a few. These academicians have well-deserved reputations for waging long and successful campaigns for the integrity of their disciplines in the Modern Language Association and the American Historical Association. But they also include physicist Azriel Genacka and biochemist Fred Naider, who, along with many of their colleagues at the City University of New York, stood up and opposed a pro-BDS resolution passed by a graduate student union there, and supported by some CUNY faculty.

Perhaps most impressively, they include scholars like the anthropologist Gila Silverman, who, despite working in a field that includes many BDS supporters and without the protection of tenure, was willing to fight publicly against a BDS resolution that very narrowly failed to win the support of the American Anthropological Association. Credit is due to the Academic Engagement Network for pulling together, as part of a new guide for faculty, these and other examples of faculty efforts to counter BDS.

Most of the participants in these efforts are left-liberals; in a profession in which conservatives have neither numbers nor much influence, that can hardly be surprising. But BDS has inadvertently brought together people on the left and right who have in common, at the very least, an interest in the health and integrity of their universities and professional associations.

Why Does the U.N. Exist? Secret Deals, Sex Scandals and Silence Harm United Nations Mission
For more than seven decades, the United Nations has been a leading international authority on world affairs. However, its credibility has been damaged by allegations of corruption, and political stalemates among leading powers undermine the U.N.'s core values and often produce more talk than change, critics say.

This week, world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York are set to deliver major speeches addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the international community. President Donald Trump, a frequent critic of the U.N., is widely expected to take on rivals Iran and North Korea in his first appearance at the forum. While the gathering is likely to host some fiery rhetoric from all sides, critics such as U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer are more concerned with what's going on behind closed doors, something he says could compromise the integrity of the organization as a whole.

"People don't realize this, but most of what happens at the U.N. is vote-trading," Neuer told Newsweek.

"Sadly, too often European democracies do deals in the darkness; they do secret deals that end up being sort of a deal with the devil," he added.

U.N. Watch is a Geneva-based monitoring group founded in 1993 by lawyer and civil rights activist Morris Berthold Abram. Its stated goal is to hold the U.N. accountable when it fails to live up to its mission. While Neuer cites U.N. inaction on humanitarian crises in Syria and Venezuela as examples of times when states needed to step up and effect real change, he expressed particular indignation toward a recent U.N. scandal that highlighted the practice of nations offering votes for individual political gains, as opposed to dealing on ethical and moral grounds.



Maybe you've heard of the phenomenon known as "only in Israel." It may seem self-explanatory: something that could only happen in Israel, which is true. But it's more than that. It's a flavor, a culture. You only know it's happened when it hits you, and you wouldn't know what you were seeing unless you'd spent some time in Israel, living among Israelis.

"Only in Israel" is so well known a phrase that people often abbreviate it, especially on social media. "OIL," they'll comment, which is ironic, considering that nope: oil was not one of the things God gave Israel. At least not that we're aware, up until now.

There's a Facebook group where people share their moving "Only in Israel" stories. Because they are moving. Besides which sharing and reading "Only in Israel" stories can change a blah, or no-good-very-bad-day to a better one.

The thing is, an "Only in Israel" moment doesn't happen that often. Which is one reason these moments are so beloved, so precious. You have to not be looking for them. They have to catch you unawares. That's part of the charm of "Only in Israel" moments.

The "Only in Israel" moment comes to remind you why you love the land, why you chose to live in Israel instead of your birthplace, in spite of the heat, the terror, and living so far away from family you may have left behind. It comes just when you need it, the "Only in Israel" moment, when you're heart-sore and tense and worried. It's a kind of magic or medicine that completely changes your perspective, without effort, in milliseconds.

As you know, we usher in Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, Wednesday night. Since Rosh Hashana, a two-day holiday, is this year followed by Shabbat, we have to prepare for what is, in essence, a three-day holiday. If one is not lucky enough to get invited out for the holiday, the week has been a maelstrom of earnest shopping and cooking the likes of which is difficult to describe.

You worry about how far in advance you can cook chicken, and whether that kugel can be frozen. You worry about buying lettuce, because if you buy it early it will spoil and if you wait too long, there won't be any left. You worry about not having enough air circulating in your fridge because it's so jam-packed, that the lettuce you managed to find might actually freeze, rendering it inedible. You worry about waking up on Shabbos morning and oh no, that chicken you cooked on Wednesday doesn't smell very good.  Most of all, you worry about paying for it all. And if you work for a living, you're hard pressed to get it all done: work, shop, cook, work, shop, and cook some more.

It's a recipe for some serious tension.   

Sunday morning, my husband took my second Rosh Hashana shopping list (I made five, broken down by days and tasks) and failed to come home with ginger root, marzipan, and marmalade. I accused him of being vision-challenged, and he dared me to come with him right there and then to find those things in the store. Huffing and puffing, I slipped on my shoes and jumped into the car with him. Sure enough, I found ginger root, marzipan, and marmalade, no problem. That may have been because it was a different store. Or it may be that my husband is, um, vision-challenged.

At any rate, I brought my loot to the checkout line and it was LONG. The cashier was yelling at a woman, saying, "You can't do that when it's busy like this. You can't just make everyone wait and let the line pile up while you go and look for something when I'm already checking out your items!"

'Oh, great,' I thought. 'This is just lovely. Waiting to buy three items with a gazillion people in front of me, a selfish customer, and a testy cashier.'

The cashier called out, "It's busy, here. We need to open another line," and a guy came over to open another line. Three of us raced over the other line. But MAN, this cashier was slow. I should have stayed in the first line.

I was watching the people in front of me to see how long it would take and I realized both of them were friends with me on Facebook, and neither of them knew me by sight. 'Depressing,' I thought. And sighed.

Right at that moment, the cashier, the new one who'd opened up the line, whistled the opening bars of the Looney Tunes theme song, The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down. "DAH dada da DAH da DAH da dada da DAH. DAH dada da DAH da DAH da dada da DAH."

Without breaking a beat, I puckered up and blew, "Da-a DA-AH da-a DA-AH dada da DAH. Da-a DA-AH da-a DA-AH dada da DAH!"



The cashier looked at  me agog. Everyone in the store stopped and stared. The guy in front of me whipped around, confused. "Who's whistling??" he said.

"Me," I said. "Er, him," I stuttered,  gesturing to the cashier.

The cashier said, "It was a duet!"

Everyone was, by now, smiling and laughing, the tension completely defused. The cashier from the first line, getting in on the fun said, "Everyone knows that song!

No longer was anyone grousing about long lines first thing on a Sunday morning in the supermarket, no longer was anyone worried about paying for the holiday, or getting the cooking done. No longer was anyone panicked about punching a clock at work. All that was gone.

Just like that.

It was an "Only in Israel" moment.

Shana Tova to all my readers! A sweet year.





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When you want to find pearls, you need to be patient and be willing to go deep. They aren’t on the surface, they are in the muck at the bottom of the ocean, created in response to an irritation, a grain of sand or a parasite.

And sometimes they are right in front of you - but you have to know how to see them.

There is a cashier in my grocery store named Pearl.  Pearls are beautiful. She is not. You could easily call her ugly. She is rather unattractive, middle aged with buck teeth. Uneducated and just a little too loud.

Do you pay attention to the cashier at your grocery store? I assume that most people don’t. They are just one more station in the midst of errands and tasks that need to be completed…  One of the invisible people that help us through our day.

The upcoming holiday made me think of a tiny interaction I witnessed in the store. It was before a different holiday (Passover). I suppose it was the similar atmosphere that brought the incident to mind. Or possibly it’s the reflective nature of Rosh Hashana that had me pondering the amount of power each of us has to do good in the world. 

It was a few days before the Passover holiday and the grocery store was packed.

Looking for the fastest check-out line, I picked Pearl.  She works fast.

Pearl was in the midst of a conversation with an elderly Russian man in front of me in line. She talks to everyone. She was explaining that he was entitled to choose a discounted product from a special section in the store. He thanked her but said that he would pass on the discount.

“Why?” she asked. She wanted him to benefit from the offer. It wasn’t a significant discount, nothing that would make a big difference on his bill but she wanted him to have it.

He said that his legs don’t work well, that it would take him a long time to walk to the area dedicated to discounts. It would hold up the line and annoy everyone.

Before he completed his thought Pearl responded: “I’ll go instead of you! What do you want?”

The man replied: “No never mind, don’t worry about the discount.”  

He didn’t want to be given personal, unusual service because his body was weak.

Somehow Pearl instinctively knew what he wanted – gefilte fish for the upcoming holiday. In an instant she figured out how to solve the problem. The people behind me were buying gefilte fish. After quickly verifying with the man that it was ok Pearl swiped through the gefilte fish that the couple behind me were buying. The old man then had the fish on his bill. He could pay, pack his groceries and then go get his own fish - at his own pace.  

In an instant Pearl enabled the man to save the money the discount entitled him to receive, without holding up the other customers AND preserve his dignity.

All this took place so swiftly that the couple behind me was not sure exactly what had happened. They were immigrants from America and their Hebrew was not very good. Seeing their confusion, I explained what Pearl had done. The husband, choked up, said: “That is the good of Israel, the heart”. 
Translating, I explained to Pearl that they were moved by her kindness. At first she wasn’t sure what we were talking about. She’s used to herself and that is just the way she is. All the time.

Israel has taught me to look at the heart of matters big and small. It is always the heart that counts. Content of character - not color, gender, religion, status – is what defines the quality of a person. We can’t control what happens to us in life but we can control our reactions to our experiences. These are the choices that define what kind of person we become.

Often it is the people of Israel who teach me the most powerful lessons. The cashier at my grocery store is like many others in this country – the exterior may be tough, even coarse but that is just the outer shell. Inside is a true Pearl. 





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From Ian:

PMW: Ariel Sharon's birthday wish was that 10 Palestinian children be murdered, says PA TV preacher and Abbas' appointee
One hateful and dangerous Palestinian libel is that Israelis murder Palestinians in cold blood, and deliberately target Palestinian children.

This week, PA TV chose to rebroadcast a version of this lie that was first heard on PA TV as part of a religious lesson. PA TV's Islamic educator taught that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would celebrate his birthday by asking Israelis to murder 10 Palestinian children, before "the end of the day." Imad Hamato, the preacher who taught in his weekly PA TV lesson on religion that the dead children would bring "joy" to Sharon, is not an insignificant figure: Hamato was appointed last year by Mahmoud Abbas to be dean of the Al-Azhar institutes, a system of schools that prepare students for studies at the Al-Azhar University in Gaza.

Imad Hamato: "Read the memoirs of [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon who died. When he wanted to celebrate his birthday, he used to say: 'On my birthday I want 10 candles to be blown out, 10 Palestinian children. I want to hear that at the end of the day, so that I can feel joy.'"
[Official PA TV, Sept. 15, 2017, Aug. 7, 2015]

Palestinian children are brought up to hate Israelis who they are told are seeking to murder them. During the Palestinian terror wave in 2015-2016 when young Palestinians attacked Israelis with knives, guns, and in car rammings, the host on PA TV's children's program The Best Home, claimed Israelis are "barbarians" and murderers, warning Palestinian children under 18 and 15 not to go out alone because Israelis were looking for children to kill:

"The occupation [Israel] targets children everywhere. In their schools, near their homes... We must be very careful now. We are confronting the occupiers who act in a very barbaric terrorist way. They are trying to kill people everywhere. These are barbarians, my young friends. They try to kill people for no reason, who are just walking on their land. They make various accusations against them. This is called barbarity, my friends. Be very careful all the time. All children under 18, and children under 15, when you go out, your mom or dad, should accompany you, I mean that an adult should accompany you."
[Official PA TV, Nov. 13, 2015]


Evelyn Gordon: Israel Courts Shield Hamas Officials from Consequences
If you can forfeit citizenship for serving in a foreign government, you can certainly forfeit permanent residency. After all, Hamas officials surely don’t deserve more rights than Israeli ones. Yet that’s exactly what the court gave them: Hamas officials can now retain dual nationality even though their other nationality is Israel’s bitter enemy, while Israeli officials cannot, even when their other nationality is Israel’s close ally.

Moreover, it’s eminently reasonable to expect people who choose to serve in a foreign government to move to that government’s jurisdiction, unless some unusual obstacle prevents them. In this case, no such obstacle existed, as evidenced by the fact that two of them did relocate to Ramallah after losing their Israeli residency (the other two were arrested by Israel on unrelated grounds).

Even the majority justices appeared to realize how irrelevant their argument actually was. In a truly stunning statement, Justice Uzi Vogelman, who wrote the main opinion, said, “Our interpretative decision didn’t focus on the petitioners’ case specifically, but on an interpretive question of general applicability to residents of East Jerusalem.” Quite how any court can decide a case without focusing on that case specifically is beyond me.

Ostensibly, the case at least has limited application. After all, how many East Jerusalem Palestinians are going to become Hamas legislators of cabinet members? But in reality, the implications are broad, because if even swearing allegiance to a foreign government on behalf of a terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction isn’t enough to make a Palestinian lose his Israeli residency and its attendant benefits, what on earth would be? Nothing I can think of. Thus, Hamas supporters in Jerusalem will now be emboldened to step up all kinds of activity on the organization’s behalf, secure in the knowledge that they need not fear expulsion from the country as a consequence.

The court’s judicial activism impedes the government’s ability to set policy in almost every walk of life, as I detailed in Mosaic last year, and several rulings over the past few months rightly outraged many members of Israel’s ruling parties. But last week’s ruling may have been a tipping point: In response, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and her Jewish Home party submitted legislation to curb the court’s excesses. Whether it will pass remains to be seen. But this outrageous ruling in defense of Hamas legislators amply shows why it should.
The Myth of the Disappearing Two-State Solution
A frequent refrain among those who claim the need for an immediate peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians is that soon it will “too late” for compromise. According to this argument, the ongoing increase in the number of Jews living on the West Bank will soon lead to Palestinian and Israeli populations that are hopelessly entangled, rendering any division of territory impossible. But, writes Jackson Diehl, the facts tell a different story:
The annual UN General Assembly is under way this week in New York, so we can expect to hear, again, its most hackneyed rhetorical theme—the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” Speaker after speaker will declaim the urgency of settling the conflict once and for all; many will assert that the time for doing so has all but expired. . . . It consequently seems worthwhile to offer a couple of reality checks: no, this is not the time to fashion a Mideast peace deal; and, no, the time for one has not run out.
Of the some 600,000 [Jewish] settlers who live outside Israel’s internationally recognized borders, just 94,000 are outside the border-like barrier that Israel built through the West Bank a decade ago. Just 20,000 of those moved in since 2009, when Benjamin Netanyahu returned to office; in a sea of 2.9 million Palestinians, they are hardly overwhelming. Last year, 43 percent of the settler population growth was in just two towns that sit astride the Israeli border—and that Mahmoud Abbas himself has proposed for Israeli annexation.
If the Palestinians were today to accept the deal they were offered nine years ago by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a state on 94.2 percent of the West Bank, only 20 percent of current settlers would find themselves on the wrong side of the border. . . . It follows that a wise U.S. policy would aim at preserving that option until Israeli and Palestinian leaders emerge who can act on it.

  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon


Over the years, we've seen a number of different presidents, each with his own approach to the Middle East. For example:
  • Carter favored the Arabs, and even today shows a clear bias against Israel.
  • George W. Bush tried to be more even-handed, and during his 8-year term never invited Arafat to the White House -- unlike his predecessor, Bill Clinton.
  • Obama showed a clear bias towards the Arabs. His first trip was to address the Arab world from Cairo.
But nothing Obama said to the Arab world compares to this appeal, ostensibly by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the Arabs of West Africa:
Praise be unto the only God. In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. O ye Moslems. O ye beloved sons of the Maghreb. May the blessing of God be upon you.

This is a great day for you and us, for all the sons of Adam who love freedom. Our numbers are as the leaves on the forest tress and as the grains of sand in the sea.

Behold. We the American Holy Warriors have arrived. We have come here to fight the great Jihad of Freedom.

We have come to set you free. We have sailed across the great sea in many ships, on many beaches we are landing, and our fighters swarm across the sands and into the city streets, and into the wide country sides, and along the highways.

Light fires on the hilltops; shout from your housetops, and from the high places, and say the sound of the drum be heard in the land, and the ululation of the women, and the voices even of small children.

Assemble along the highways to welcome your brothers.

We have come to set you free.

Speak with our fighting men and you will find them pleasing to the eye and gladdening to the heart. We are not as some other Christians whom ye have known, and who trample you under foot. Our soldiers consider you as their brothers, for we have been reared in the way of free men. Our soldiers have been told about your country and about their Moslem brothers and they will treat you with respect and with a friendly spirit in the eyes of God.

Look in their eyes and smiling faces, for they are Holy Warriors happy in their holy work. Greet us therefore as brothers as we will greet you, and help us.

If we are thirsty, show us the way to water. If we lose our way, lead us back to our camping places. Show us the paths over the mountains if need be, and if you see our enemies, the Germans or Italians, making trouble for us, kill them with knives or with stones or with any other weapon that you may have set your hands upon.

Help us as we have come to help you, and rich will be the reward unto us all who love justice and righteousness and freedom.

Pray for our success in battle, and help us, and God will help us both.

Lo, the day of freedom hath come.

May God grant his blessing upon you and upon us.

--Roosevelt [emphasis added]


This is from October 1942, when the British were able to stop Hitler's Afrika Korps at El Alamein during WWII. The Allies were finally confident they could keep the Nazis out of the Middle East. Leaflets containing Arabic translations of the appeal were distributed as part of the effort to exploit the situation by winning over the Muslims to their side.

The text was actually written by 2 US agents with help from one of their Muslim spies. Still, one would imagine that Roosevelt would have had to give his approval since his name appeared at the end of the text.

The text goes pretty far in order to win over his audience:
  • The text uses the phrase "Holy Warriors," likely translated as Mujahideen, a term for those engaged in Jihad.
  • The term Jihad implies more than a war. It was a religious obligation, so calling it a Jihad of Freedom might have sounded a bit strange to the Arab ear. Apparently, unlike today, there was no doubt as to the meaning of the word.
  • Referring to the enemy as "other Christians" seems odd and unnecessary. Later, FDR identifies them as "Germans or Italians." But why identify them by religion? What is to be gained by establishing them as kuffar when the Allied forces themselves were Christian?
  • The phrase "kill them with knives or with stones or with any other weapon that you may have set your hands upon" is one that could easily have been written by Hamas, or ISIS, today. That was a simpler time, when it was acknowledged that a stone was a weapon. Basically, the US itself was encouraging terrorism -- even lone wolf terrorism -- against its enemies.
It's not clear that the leaflets had any effect.

Meanwhile, the Germans made their own attempt to win over the Arabs.

In the spring of 1943, in an attempt to win over the Arabs to the Nazi side, Himmler wanted to "find out which passages of the Qur'an provide Muslims with the basis for the opinion that the Fuhrer has already been forecast in the Qur'an and that he has been authorized to complete the work of the Prophet."

Himmler was disappointed - there were no verses to support that claim, so something a bit more modest was suggested. Hitler could be advertised as “the returned ‘Isa (Jesus), who is forecast in the Qur’an and who, similar to the figure of the Knight George, defeats the giant and Jew-King Dajjal at the end of the world."

That led to printing one million pamphlets in Arabic to convince the Arabs to side with Germany. A sample:
O Arabs, do you see that the time of the Dajjal has come? Do you recognize him, the fat, curly-haired Jew who deceives and rules the whole world and who steals the land of the Arabs?… O Arabs, do you know the servant of God? He [Hitler] has already appeared in the world and already turned his lance against the Dajjal and his allies…. He will kill the Dajjal, as it is written, destroy his places and cast his allies into hell.
The effort was a failure. The Arabs ended up preferring to fight on the side of the British in North Africa and the Middle East.

The efforts of the Nazis to enlist the help of the Arabs were based purely on pragmatic reasons, and not out of admiration for the Muslims themselves.

There are Nazi writing that refer to Islam as "the great retarder, which prevented all progress."

However, Hitler himself preferred Islam over Christianity, and felt that the actual problem was that Arabs didn't make the best Muslims:
...He reportedly described Islam as a more muscular belief system than Christianity and thus better suited for the Germany he wished to build.

According to Albert Speer, Hitler once offered a remarkable counterfactual history of Europe. He speculated about what might have been if the Muslim forces that invaded France during the eighth century had prevailed against their Frankish enemies at the Battle of Tours. “Hitler said that the conquering Arabs, because of their racial inferiority, would in the long run have been unable to contend with the harsher climate” of Northern Europe. Therefore, “ultimately not Arabs but Islamized Germans could have stood at the head of this Mohammedan Empire.

Whether adopting The Muslim terminology, like the US or adapting and remaking Islam as the Nazis attempted, a lot of effort was put into winning over the Muslims as part of the war effort.

In the end, the Nazis failed miserably and the US pursuit of a 'Jihad of Freedom' is as distant as ever, and even their own "Arab Spring" did not last.

And no president since Roosevelt appears to have any better grasp of the Middle East.




We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
I received a J-Street pseudo-Rosh Hashanah greeting, written by their Rabbi John Friedman, asking
for money and then twisting the Torah for its own ends:
[T]he Torah reading that we hear on the first day of Rosh Hashana provides us with some important lessons -- lessons that ought to resonate with us as we continue to advocate for diplomacy and the pursuit of peace.

In the reading from the Book of Bereshit, we learn of a water dispute between the patriarch Abraham and Abimelech, a local chieftain based in the land of the Philistines. Abraham has dug a well to provide for the needs of his sheep and cattle, but Abimelech’s men have been stealing the water. Abimelech comes to confront Abraham, bringing along with him the head of his military forces. The text describes their negotiations in some detail. Faced with a difficult and hostile opponent and a situation that could easily erupt into violence, Abraham instead chooses a path instead designed to safeguard his community and avoid war.

Abraham offers Abimelech compensation in the form of animals from his flock, in return for an admission that the well belongs to him. Abimelech agrees. The two leaders conclude a treaty and loss of life is avoided.

What lessons does this story have for us? First, that wise leaders resort to diplomacy to resolve their disputes, and see the use of force only as a last resort. According to the text, Abraham is clearly in the right, but also understands that what is most important is securing the long term interests and safety of his family and community. He negotiates a prudent compromise to do so -- and avoids an unnecessary war in which both sides would likely have suffered.
... The biblical text teaches us the crucial lesson that simply winning the dispute is not the highest goal. For Abraham, achieving a durable peace and protecting his tribe is far more important than proving that he is right, or suppressing the arguments and goals of his opponent.
This is a completely backwards description of the story.

Here are the verses for the episode (Genesis 21), which occurred after Abimelech saw that God was on Abraham's side in the previous chapter - after God explicitly told him in a dream that Abraham was special and was protected.

At that time Abimelech and Phicol, chief of his troops, said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything that you do. Therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my kith and kin, but will deal with me and with the land in which you have sojourned as loyally as I have dealt with you.”

And Abraham said, “I swear it.”

Then Abraham reproached Abimelech for the well of water which the servants of Abimelech had seized.

But Abimelech said, “I do not know who did this; you did not tell me, nor have I heard of it until today.”

Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them made a pact.

Abraham then set seven ewes of the flock by themselves, and Abimelech said to Abraham, “What mean these seven ewes which you have set apart?”

He replied, “You are to accept these seven ewes from me as proof that I dug this well.”

Hence that place was called Beer-sheba, for there the two of them swore an oath. When they had concluded the pact at Beer-sheba, Abimelech and Phicol, chief of his troops, departed and returned to the land of the Philistines.
[Abraham] planted a tamarisk at Beer-sheba, and invoked there the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God.
Abimelech didn't come to "confront" Abraham over the well; he didn't know anything about it. He didn't come with any aggressive intent - on the contrary, he came with his general to pay tribute to Abraham! (See Rashi who lists the things that Abraham did that Abimelech was awed by - he had left Sodom safely, he had fought against the kings and won, and that his wife had been remembered in his old age and gave birth to Isaac.)

Once Abimelech was there, Abraham told him about his troubles with the well and Abimelech took care of the situation. Because that was the right thing to do. In no way did Abimelech claim the well.

Abraham's gift was simply that - a gift - given by the clearly stronger party to the weaker one, as a goodwill gesture. And the seven ewes were a symbol of Abraham's ownership of the well, as well as the surrounding land where he planted the tree (or built an inn according to some.)

This is a dramatic difference from what reform Rabbi John Friedman claims. There was no negotiation and no compromise. Abraham was in the right and everyone knew it. Abimelech has zero desire to mess with Abraham, especially after what happened to him and his court in Chapter 20. Abimelech's language as he comes to pay his respects to Abraham even imply that any land that Abraham traveled through in Philistine belongs to him, and begging to be treated kindly.

Abraham was indeed like Israel today, and Abimelech shows exactly how the Palestinians should act - by trying to work together with Israel, who holds all the cards. Israel, like Abraham, is more than willing to be very generous - after there are assurances of peace!

But the Palestinians do not have the wisdom of Abimelech. They act the way J-Street pretends Abimelech is acting, confronting Abraham without having any real legal claim for their position. And J-Street is saying that such behavior should be rewarded! That Abraham should give up his possessions without any assurance that there will be any real peace!

If Abimelech had actually been aggressive, claiming the well as his own, Abraham would have been offended by the lie and he would never, ever have rewarded that with a gift. He would have fought for his possessions. Abraham knew how to fight a war - and win - which he did earlier (Genesis 14) to rescue his nephew, defeating five kings with a small force. Abraham didn't compromise for peace - he established peace with overwhelming force.

There are a couple of lessons here. One is that you really can learn from the Torah that are relevant today.

Another is that J-Street is eager to twist the Torah for its own narrow, sick political goals.

And yet another is that J-Street's average supporter is too ignorant to even know that J-Street's "rabbi" is purposefully twisting a Torah story.





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  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

The earliest story I could find about the "#GasTheSynagogue" hashtag was in Haaretz on September 17:

With violence breaking out between protesters and police in riot gear on the streets of a Missouri city, the Central Reform Congregation of St. Louis opened its doors on the Jewish Sabbath to provide sanctuary to those caught up in the confrontation.
As penned-in protesters piled in, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police reportedly surrounded the synagogue and prepared to fire tear gas at those who had taken refuge within. The night's goings-on being widely shared live on social media, a Twitter hashtag calling for the police to breach the Jewish house of worship began to trend: #GasTheSynagogue.
This story was picked up and repeated in other media as if there were hundreds of Nazi Tweeters all calling to gas the St. Louis synagogue.

I could only find a couple of these tweets before the backlash. And I don't think Twitter removed any.

The first one was not a call to gas the synagogue, but a fake news story that the White House told the police to gas the synagogue.

This was followed two minutes later with a more direct call also based on what appears to be a fake news story:


Note that these tweets went nowhere..

Then, the originator - who is clearly an antisemite based on his timeline - pretended that the hashtag he created was trending in a tweet that is supposedly horrified by this fact:


This was only nine minutes after his original tweet.

But this "reaction" to his own hashtag did get traction and as far as I can tell, all the reactions afterwards came from this manufactured set of tweets.

And the media fell for it.

A single person "RightWing Love Squad" managed, in the space of ten minutes, to create the impression that there was a whole lot of Nazis tweeting an offensive hashtag that he himself originated.

The result? Now everyone thinks that there are a huge number of Nazis in America. All because of one asshole and a lazy reporter who knows that the offensive hashtag "#GasTheSynagogue"  will get lots of links and advertising dollars for his or her news site.

I could not find a single list on Twitter that said that this hashtag was "trending." It was a manufactured story.

Since the election, the media loves Nazi stories because they can implicitly link them to Trump and blame him for the most sickening neo-Nazi excesses. (There were plenty of neo-Nazi marches during the Obama administration, but they received far less coverage.) 

So fact-checking goes out the window.

Like it or not, this year the media has been complicit in giving oxygen and vastly inflating the importance of the tiny number of neo-Nazis in the US.

Which, in turn, makes the Nazis look like they are far more numerous and powerful than they are.

Meaning that the very people who claim to be upset over Nazis are empowering them.

So which is more dangerous: a few haters who spew their bile in the dark recesses of the Internet where no one notices them, or major publications pretending that there is a wave of hate - and giving them millions of dollars of free publicity, where they can recruit more losers?






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  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Overcompensating?

Hamas has declared another member to be a "martyr" for dying in an "accident" while working in a terror tunnel.

Hani Faraj Shalouf was killed while working in what Hamas euphemistically calls a "resistance tunnel."

Shalouf's timely death "came after a great career of jihad, after hard work and jihad and sacrifice, we consider him a martyr."

The number of tunnel deaths has definitely been going up, which indicates that Hamas is really working hard to get as many tunnels as possible finished before Israel finishes its underground barrier meant to stop them, a project that is two years from completion.

Which means either Hamas thinks that their tunnels will manage to remain undetected by the barrier - or they are planning a major terror attack in Israel, complete with kidnapping civilians or soldiers, within a year or two.

Such an attack would have the full support of Mahmoud Abbas' "moderate" Fatah as well, as the two rival groups are now making noises of conciliation.





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Monday, September 18, 2017

  • Monday, September 18, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
After a too-long absence on these pages, Ziesel R. - the young woman originally from the US who joined the IDF as a lone soldier earlier this year - has resumed telling us her story.
_____________________________

After the most basic of basic training we started our Hebrew course. Thanks to a Yeshiva education I was in the higher level Hebrew course with kids of expatriate Israelis. Interestingly, while they had a good speaking vocabulary, the yeshiva kids were better at reading, writing and grammar.

Now came the time that was the topic of most conversation, occupied most of our thoughts and the source of our greatest anxiety. What would be our jobs in the army?

We each received a letter from the army. Actually it is a form. In military fashion it states your name and serial number at the top followed by a list of job possibilities. I’ve been told (but stand to be corrected) that it works like this: first different units look at the personnel file of each soldier to decide to make an offer, then the soldier rates the list of offers by preference, after which each unit picks the solders they want most who rated them most desirable.

Most soldiers receive about 10 offers. Lone soldiers, especially from English speaking countries, are known to do exceptionally well and many receive 20 or more possibilities. Not to brag but my parents would never forgive me if I didn’t mention that I received over 40 job offers.

For girls there is one job that is never on the list. Combat. There are opportunities for women but you have to apply at army headquarters and be accepted. Which means more anxious waiting.  In addition to the months of hard training a half year is added to enlistment. Besides I have some very interesting opportunities to consider.

I am now transitioning into the life of a combat soldier. I am a soldier in Aryot Hayarden (Lions of the Jordan Valley) which means for the next four months I will be doing intense combat training. The past couple weeks have been extremely draining mentally and physically.

Coming from a course with the majority being Lone Soldiers, I didn't realize how difficult it would be being with "real Israelis". It really hit me towards the end of my first full week. I stood exhausted on a Thursday afternoon after being in the shetach (field), on maneuvers, for three days, holding back tears. A wave of homesickness hit me. All the girls I'm training with get to go home to their parents tomorrow while I will be returning to my friends. Don't get me wrong - army friends are extremely important but it's not the same as returning to your mom's home-cooked Shabbat meal.

Although that moment was particularly hard for me, for the most part I've had an easy transition. Discipline in my Hebrew course was extremely difficult. My current combat training is relatively easy in comparison. However that is just in terms of discipline. Combat training is an extremely mentally and physically draining experience. I just finished my preparation period. There are two weeks for girls to get used to the transition before the boys come. So I know from here on out it will just get harder.

Something else that has been difficult for me in the transition of now being with Israelis is my confidence when speaking Hebrew. Although my last course helped my confidence tremendously it still takes courage speaking with native speakers. Sometimes I just feel like people will laugh at me if I mess up even though I know that probably won't actually happen. Sometimes the Israelis lack patience with me and would rather just tell me a word in English when their English is way worse than my Hebrew.

On Wednesday we got divided up into our official groups for the next four months. At first I was terrified I was all alone, the only English speaker, and didn't know anybody. However I realize now that this is going to be an advantage for me because my Hebrew will improve significantly. Beginnings are always difficult but I know I can handle it and I know that I'm willing to push for it because this is what I came to do. The girls that I'm with now are extremely sweet and caring. They all love asking me questions like "why are you here?" and "are you alone?" and "if you ever need anything please come to me."  I've already been invited to several Shabbat meals. Like I said every transition is difficult but I really think that I was put in a good place and I'm excited to move forward.

With that transition yesterday I had a short interview just like everybody else with my ממ (company commander).

He asked me about things that are difficult for me, being a lone soldier. I expressed to him that sometimes it's difficult and I just feel alone because I don't get to return to my family at the end of the week. He made it extremely clear to me that now I've entered into a new family and I will never be alone. It was a very comforting conversation and he really made me feel like I am part of something great and that this really is my new family.




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From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Hello Refugees
Tuvia Tenenbom, that most acute and incendiary observer of what’s festering beneath the surface of polite society, has turned his attention to Germany’s “refugees”. To his surprise and no little dismay, what he has found out is not so much about these migrants but about Germany itself, and it isn’t pretty at all.

In his new book Hello Refugees, he adopts his now familiar but no less devastating tactic of trading on his blond hair, Falstaffian girth and indeterminate accent to conceal the fact that he was born and brought up in an ultra-orthodox family in Israel. He derives his unique insights from the fact that many of those to whom he addresses his faux-naïf but devastatingly direct questions assume he is an antisemite — just like them. And so they open up to him in a uniquely frank manner.

In Hello Refugees “Toby the German”, his previous persona, has become “Toby the Jordanian”. Posing as the son of Jordanian and European parentage, he uses his fluent Arabic to gain access to refugee camps in Germany where access is routinely denied to the media.

What he discovers shocks him deeply. He finds migrants effectively warehoused in wholly inadequate conditions, housed twelve to a “room” in what are no more than, and indeed described as, “containers”. Existing on disgusting food, jobless and with no apparent means of emerging from these holding pens, these migrants have in effect been abandoned by the German state.

Everywhere he goes, people tell him the same thing: that Chancellor Angela Merkel famously invited in more than one million migrants in order to erase the moral stain of Germany’s Nazi past. He concludes that this was not an act of conscience. How could it have been when these people have been left so abandoned? It was instead a move to show the world — and themselves — that this former Nazi state has become the world’s conscience. In other words, it was a cynical move that evacuates the word conscience of all meaning.
NGO Monitor: EU Heads of Mission Condemnation of Israeli Policy in E. Jerusalem and NGO Campaigns
On August 11, 2017 the EU Heads of Missions (HoMs) in Jerusalem and Ramallah issued a statement condemning the “imminent threat of eviction” of Palestinian residents of an apartment in east Jerusalem. The occupants had lived in the apartment since the 1970s but had not paid rent to the Jewish owners who were driven out in the 1948 conflict.

Palestinian residents often refuse to pay rent on Jewish-owned homes for political purposes, and sometimes are encouraged to so by activists with little concern for the consequences to those who then go through lengthy legal proceeding and can be evicted.

The eviction order given to the Palestinian residents of the house is based on Israeli law and followed lengthy court sessions on the issue. The final verdict was delivered by the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) in 2013. The HCJ also ruled that the family be given 18 months to leave prior to the eviction. Furthermore, the Jerusalem Municipality did not attempt to enforce the eviction for two and half further years. The eviction finally took place on September 5, 2017.

It appears that the condemnation by the EU HoMs is based at least in part on NGO allegations and publications. As shown in NGO Monitor reports, the EU has consistently relied on NGO reporting in accusations directed against Israel, and this appears to be another instance. European diplomats also made highly publicized visits to the site in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The EU statement details a number of purported plans by Israeli authorities to evict Palestinians in “Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, the Old City and Beit Safafa.” This appears to be based on Terrestrial Jerusalem and Peace Now, both of which have recently released statements on these plans. Substantial funding for these political advocacy NGOs is provided by the EU and a number of individual governments.

European Arrogance Costs Lives
Finally we come to Europe.

The same Europe that perennially “advises” Israel on how to achieve peace and security, while frequently condemning Israel for not adopting policies similar to Europe’s own disastrous strategies.
Deputy Head of Mission from the UK to Israel Tony Kay exemplified the standard European talking points:

We are doing quite a lot on… safeguarding people from becoming terrorists, or supporting terrorism… [using] a combination of soft power with hard power. We are…engaging communities [and producing] lots of successes that the UK has made on countering terrorism recently.

There is a dark irony in Kay’s statement, which came just three days before a devastating terror attack hit London’s Parsons Green, injuring 29 victims this past Friday. While Kay undoubtedly meant well, his statement served as just one more example of deadly European self-assurance, at a time when Europe desperately needs a measure of humility.

In fact, Europe’s recent track record has been bloody:
Just this past week Europe saw three separate attacks in London and Paris, in addition to recent attacks in Nice, Brussels, Stockholm, Berlin, Manchester, Barcelona and others. In just two years (2015-16) Islamic terror killed 288 Europeans and injured 739. Contrast with Israel, where 50 were killed during the same period.

  • Monday, September 18, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
With all of the talk about the Temple Mount, it is sometimes easy to forget that every single Jewish holy site is also claimed by Muslims today as being exclusively Islamic.

Think about that. Muslims do not want to allow the Jews, who  they claim to respect, to have a single holy site of their own. They have attempted to steal every one, from major Jewish shrines to relatively minor ones.

Today's Palestine Today has a story about how Jews "broke into" the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Here's the autotranslated headline (the picture caption of "Tomb of the Patriarchs" is Google being helpful, it really translates to "Ibrahimi Mosque")


The story says "According to Ma'ariv, the settlers performed a Talmudic ritual inside the Ibrahimi Mosque and left the area this morning."

The "Talmudic ritual," of course, is praying. But that doesn't sound quite as sinister, does it?

Muslims always denied Jews from visiting this site when it was under Muslim rule. Even though they know quite well that Isaac and Jacob and their wives, interred there, have nothing to do with Islamic history besides the Koran claiming them as "prophets."

This wholesale theft of an entire history seems a bit more serious than Israelis saying falafel is their national dish. But there are more articles about how Israel's supposed "cultural appropriation" than Muslim theft and attempted theft.





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  • Monday, September 18, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Omar Suleiman is a young Palestinian-American imam who counts Linda Sarsour among his many ardent admirers. According to one flattering profile, Suleiman is “a new kind of American imam” with “a wildly popular social-media presence:” his Facebook page has more than 1.2 million “Likes” and followers, and his YouTube sermons have garnered tens of millions of views. Another article explains that due to “his charismatic sermons and message of inclusiveness,” Suleiman “has gained a national following” and has become a leader “of Dallas’ social justice movement.” As far as Linda Sarsour is concerned, Omar Suleiman makes her “more proud to be a Muslim and a Palestinian.”



All this praise prompted me to try to learn a bit more about Suleiman. Of course, I was particularly interested in finding out what Suleiman thinks about Israel and Jews. As I documented in two recent articles published by The Algemeiner, the results of my research were rather depressing: Suleiman quite obviously thinks the world’s only Jewish state should be replaced by yet another Arab-Muslim majority state, and despite his efforts to present himself as a deeply spiritual and tolerant preacher, he can’t quite hide his intense theological anti-Judaism.

As I argued in The Algemeiner, one example that reveals Suleiman’s hostile views regarding Jews and Judaism is a lecture he gave in January 2016 on “Masjid Al-Aqsa: The occupied sanctuary.” The advertisement noted that Suleiman’s “passion for this topic comes naturally” because he is “the son of Palestinian parents.” In a short promotional clip for the lecture, Suleiman denounced the “brutal occupation” of Al-Aqsa and claimed that “religious rights” of Muslims were being “taken away,” noting dismissively that the site was “being called ‘Temple Mount’ all of a sudden.”
This is truly breathtaking hypocrisy for a preacher who is supposedly “a new kind of American imam:” while claiming that the “religious rights” of Muslims were being “taken away,” Suleiman brazenly denies the Jewish connection to Judaism’s holiest site.

Yet, since Suleiman himself is telling a revealing story about the victorious Caliph Umar in his lecture, there can be no doubt that he knows full well that Jerusalem’s Muslim conquerors built Islamic shrines over the ruined Jewish Temple.

The story takes place after the Christian Patriarch Sophronius surrendered Jerusalem in April 637. Umar supposedly went to clean up what Suleiman calls “masjid Al-Aqsa,”i.e. the Temple Mount, which had become a dumping ground. Suleiman reminds his audience (1:05) that “[in] the middle of masjid Al-Aqsa, there is this rock, this rocky area, … and it’s right in the center, and that’s believed where Suleiman [i.e. Solomon] … established the Temple.”

When the area was cleaned up, Umar and his companions supposedly asked a former Jewish rabbi who had converted to Islam where to pray and where the mosque should be built — a question that obviously shows that there was no trace of any mosque, which should indicate to any thinking person that the tall tale about Muhammad’s supposed night journey to “the farthest mosque” – a story Suleiman also tells in his lecture – cannot refer to Jerusalem and the then obviously non-existent Al-Aqsa mosque. The convert responded to Umar’s question about where to pray: “We should pray behind the rock.” As Suleiman explained to his audience:

“Umar sensed from that that he [i.e. the convert] felt a reverence towards this rock. So Umar [Arabic blessing] said that must be your Jewish influence speaking. He says we’re gonna pray in front of the rock, haha, we’re not gonna honor this rock, we’re gonna pray in front of it, there’s nothing special about this rock.”

So much for Islam’s supposed respect for other religions. Yet, completely oblivious to his own hypocrisy, Suleiman claims shortly after telling the story of the triumphant Umar: “It’s proven that other religions only flourished in Jerusalem under Muslim rule. It never happens any other way.” According to Suleiman, it is therefore terribly unfair that Muslims have the “reputation” that they “want to turn Jerusalem into some sort of blood bath.” Suleiman rejects such suspicions: “No, we recognize the sanctity of that place, we love that masjid, we love that land, we know what that land is. No one wants to do anything with that land except restore it to the way that it was.”

But as far as Suleiman is concerned, “the way that it was” means that there never was a Temple Mount – indeed, his long lecture about Al-Aqsa is a determined effort to Islamicize Jerusalem’s entire history.

Right at the beginning of his lecture, Suleiman announces that he wants to talk about “the history” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It is noteworthy that he says “history” and not “myth” or “legend,” or even “religious tradition” — because what follows is simply mind-boggling. Unfortunately, the narrative he presents clearly reflects some mainstream Muslim beliefs that are obviously a major factor in the widespread Muslim hatred for Israel.

Suleiman notes early on in his lecture that people “might think that Al-Aqsa was built maybe by a prophet of Bani Israel, maybe it’s something that arose from the time of Solomon […] or Jacob.” Then he turns to Muslim tradition to answer the question “What mosque was constructed on the face of the earth first?” According to Suleiman, the answer is that the first mosque was built in Mecca, and that 40 years later, the Al-Aqsa Mosque was built.

Suleiman then goes on to explain that Muslim scholars believe that Adam built the Kaaba in Mecca, and that he or maybe his son Seth then built the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem – which obviously means that Muslims are supposed to believe that many centuries, if not millennia before the rise of Islam, there were people building mosques. Later on, Suleiman repeats the claim that Abraham and his son Isaac “raised the pillars” of the Kaaba in Mecca, and that they “did the same” at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa, which had both been “constructed” and “made a sanctuary” by Adam. Suleiman then emphasizes again that Abraham and his son built “two of the holiest masjids [mosques] in the world.”
The bizarre assertion that the mosque in Mecca and the Al-Aqsa Mosque go back to the time of Adam and were then built up by Abraham and his son long before Muhammad introduced Islam is obviously intended to claim these sites and their builders as part of Muslim heritage. Islamic supersessionism, i.e the notion that Islam replaces and invalidates previous religions, notably Judaism and Christianity, is apparently supposed to operate even retroactively. In the case of Jerusalem, the claim that the Al-Aqsa Mosque was founded by the biblical Adam and built up by Abraham serves to delegitimize all Jewish claims to the Temple Mount — which is exactly what Suleiman is trying to do.

Thus, Suleiman tells his audience (from 18:00 of the speech) that “Solomon is the most important king in the history of Jerusalem. Why? You always hear of the Temple of Solomon.” While that sounds like an acknowledgement of Jewish history, Suleiman immediately adds that Solomon “built about 40 masjids [mosques],” including “Masjid Al-Aqsa.” He then proceeds to spell out this vile effort to Islamicize Jewish history in some more detail:

“And as he [Solomon] builds Masjid Al-Aqsa — and I want you guys to realize, so I’m just going to clear that from now, Masjid Al-Aqsa is that entire rectangle, that entire sanctuary, it is humongous, that is actually all Masjid Al-Aqsa; the Dome of the Rock is at the center of it, so that entire compound is Masjid Al-Aqsa. So Solomon builds that all out, the original Temple of Solomon, what’s known as the Temple of Solomon, right, the first time that Masjid Al-Aqsa would be built in that caliber, right, he built it throughout. The Old Testament has a lot of detail about how lavish and how elaborate the masjid was when Suleiman [sic] built it, but we don’t know if it’s actually true or not.”

So according to Suleiman, we may not know “how lavish and how elaborate” Solomon’s buildings really were, but we do know that he didn’t really build a Jewish Temple because he built “Masjid Al-Aqsa.” This is a particularly pernicious form of Temple denial: following the bizarre “logic” of Suleiman’s narrative — which apparently reflects mainstream Muslim myths — there couldn’t be a legitimate Jewish Temple at the site that Muslim imagine to have been “Masjid Al-Aqsa” since the time of Adam.

When I listened to Suleiman’s lecture I couldn’t help wondering if Muslims don’t feel it is rather undignified to project the sway of their faith back in time in order to claim an ancient holy site of followers of another religion as their own. Does Suleiman’s ardent admirer and friend Linda Sarsour support his pathetic claims that “Masjid Al-Aqsa” was built at the time of Adam, and that Solomon’s Temple was merely a perhaps particularly elaborate addition to what was a mosque compound since time immemorial? Or is the “progressive” Sarsour appalled by this vile example of cultural appropriation? And how does a “progressive” like Sarsour feel about the denial of the historic Jewish attachment to the site where Muslim conquerors built Islamic shrines in order to prevent a rebuilding of the destroyed Jewish Temple and to demonstrate the splendor of their imperial power? Surely this should be completely unacceptable for anti-imperialist progressives who champion the rights of indigenous people?

In any case, it seems that some Muslims haven’t yet understood that imams like Omar Suleiman expect them to insist that all of the Temple Mount is the Al-Aqsa mosque. At the end of July, Suleiman posted a photo (that was at least a year old) of the Dome of the Rock surrounded by thousands of Muslim worshippers with the text: “Breathtaking shot of worshippers at #alaqsa in prostration/protest. Wow.” When several people noted that the photo didn’t show the Al-Aqsa mosque, Suleiman responded on his Facebook page: “For those saying it’s not Al Aqsa, the entire compound is Al Aqsa. Yes, Masjid Al Qibaly [i.e. the Al-Aqsa mosque] is not in this photo.”




I can’t say I’m particularly astonished that Omar Suleiman makes Linda Sarsour “more proud to be a Muslim and a Palestinian.” But decent people who think Suleiman should be praised as “a new kind of American imam” are sorely mistaken: Suleiman has only contempt for the Jews (e.g. he claims they are to blame for the fact that food rots), and he loves to depict Christian crusaders as beasts while presenting the Muslim conquerors of a vast empire as admirable and benevolent rulers of the people they ruthlessly subjugated. Suleiman probably regrets that he once publicly showed support [archived] for the Muslim Brotherhood, but given what he preaches, it seems clear that he would find a lot of common ground with Islamists. 







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From Ian:

PMW: Fatah Spokesman: Fatah will never recognize Israel
Fatah and Hamas announced yesterday that they are moving ahead towards Palestinian reconciliation and possible national elections. While the international community is waiting to see the final terms of a Palestinian unity agreement, the fundamental messages of non-recognition of Israel and support for the use of terror against Israel are principles that Fatah and Hamas already agree upon.

Speaking last month on Fatah-run Awdah TV, Fatah spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi forcefully told Hamas that it should not recognize Israel, since Fatah itself does not recognize and will never recognize Israel.

Fatah-run Awdah TV host: "Has the Fatah Movement recognized Israel in its political platform until now?
Fatah Spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi: "Certainly not. This is not required, and we will not recognize Israel... I declare this clearly and in a satellite channel broadcast: ‘My friends, Hamas, you should not recognize Israel, you are not required to. The PLO, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, sent a letter of mutual recognition of the State of Israel, on Sept. 12, 1993. You are not required to.'"
[Fatah-run Awdah TV, Aug. 23, 2017]

It should be noted, that Mahmoud Abbas the chairman of the Palestinian Authority is also the chairman of Fatah and the PLO. The Palestinian leadership employs double messages depending on who it is speaking to. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Fatah regularly reminds Palestinians that it does not recognize Israel's existence or right to exist. Fatah and the PA regularly teach Palestinian children to see all Israeli cities such as Jaffa and Haifa as "occupied" Palestinian cities that will eventually be under Palestinian sovereignty. When speaking to the international community, however, Abbas focuses not on Fatah's non-recognition of Israel but on the PLO's one letter of recognition of Israel, written in 1993.


Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians Imprison Journalists for Exposing Corruption
Hajer Harb, a courageous Palestinian journalist, has been found guilty by Hamas of exposing corruption in the health system in the Gaza Strip. On September 13, a Hamas court sentenced her to six months in prison and a fine. It was the first sentence of its kind to be passed on a female journalist in the Gaza Strip.

Harb, however, is unlikely to serve her prison term in the near future; she recently left the Gaza Strip to Jordan, where she is receiving medical treatment after being diagnosed with cancer.

Her illness, however, did not stop Hamas from pursuing legal measures against her for her role in exposing corruption in the Palestinian health system. Instead of suspending the legal proceedings against her, the Hamas court chose to sentence her to prison in absentia.

If and when she recovers from her illness and returns to the Gaza Strip, Harb will be arrested and sent to prison for six months. She will also be required to pay the 1000 shekel ($250) fine that was imposed on her by the Hamas court.

Harb's ordeal began in June 2016, when she published an investigative report that disclosed how Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) were using medical care to blackmail Palestinian patients. Her report exposed how some physicians and Hamas and PA officials were demanding bribes in return for issuing permits to patients to leave the Gaza Strip for medical treatment in Israel, the West Bank and some Arab and Western countries. Those who cannot afford to pay the bribes are left to die in understaffed and under-equipped Palestinian hospitals, the report revealed.
Elliott Abrams: “Like-Minded” Dictatorships and the United Nations
The United Nations General Assembly is about to open, with the traditional lead-off speech by the president of Brazil followed by the president of the United States. The speeches and activities this year will, as usual, be a mix of the interesting and the dull, the consequential and the useless, the honest and the hypocritical.

Whatever the speeches say, why can’t the UN get more done to promote freedom? The Preamble to the UN Charter says the organization’s purpose is “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights” but the organization has at best a very mixed record on doing so.

The answer is clear: so many member states are themselves dictatorships that engage in horrible human rights violations—and they stick together. The latter point is key: the worst countries are far more united in protecting human rights abuses than the democracies are in protecting human rights.

One important mechanism for this protection of human rights abuses is the so-called “Like-Minded Group,” consisting usually of Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. As a superb new Human Rights Watch report on China’s own abuses of the UN system, entitled The Costs of International Advocacy, states:

These countries have demonstrated political solidarity in the [Security] Council and have worked together to weaken the universality of human rights standards and resist the Council’s ability to adopt country-specific approaches. They have shielded repressive governments from scrutiny by filling speakers’ lists with promoters of these countries’ human rights records during Universal Periodic Reviews, and giving uncritical statements from friendly governments and Government-Organized NGOs (GONGOs).

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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