Thursday, May 19, 2022

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The Holocaust memorial laundry project
The Chief Rabbi and the rest of the Jewish leadership are falling over themselves to declare that the Labour party is once again an acceptable repository of the British Jewish vote. In their desperation to prove to themselves that there is no serious problem for Jews in Britain, these leaders have told themselves that siting the Holocaust memorial next to Parliament would send a message that the British state supports the Jewish people. This assumption speaks volumes for their troubling proclivity to stick their heads deep into the sand.

For in endorsing this flawed memorial to Jewish victimhood in the Shoah, the Jewish leadership is thereby sanitising deeply troubling attitudes by the British state to Jewish victims today.

Not only did Britain’s betrayal of its Mandate undertaking in the last century to settle Jews throughout Palestine, and its consequent appeasement of murderous Arabs determined to destroy the reborn Jewish homeland, create the century-old Arab and Muslim war of annihilation against Israel that continues to this day. The British state even now undermines Israel by insisting on a tendentious and misleading interpretation of the Geneva Conventions to maintain that Israel is in “illegal occupation” of “Palestinian” land.

Through this falsehood, the British state helps incite murderous hatred of Israel which foments hatred of Jews. Yet the Jewish leadership never campaigns against this lethal untruth. Nor does it ever draw attention to the prevalent antisemitism in the Muslim world which has done so much to promote antisemitism in the Labour party. Instead it demonises as “extremists” those who do call out these things.

What the Chief Rabbi should have told Starmer is this: that there can be no question of rapprochement with the Labour party unless and until the party as a whole stops demonising Israel and promoting a Palestinian cause which writes Jews out of their own national story; and until it stops supporting Palestinians who, day in, day out, write the Jews out of their own history and from whom pours an unstoppable torrent of rabid antisemitism complete with Nazi tropes.

Rabbi Mirvis said none of this. Instead, he has helped launder the Labour party. He has sucked up to a movement that remains consumed by a deranged hatred of Israel based upon thinly concealed antisemitism — while he himself has cold-shouldered those objecting to a project that risks doing more harm to the Jewish people than good.

It is beyond dismaying that Jewish leaders in Britain should be set upon a project which will so dishonour the Shoah and launder Britain’s shameful bigotry. Their support for the Victoria Tower Gardens memorial reveals a Jewish leadership that has lost its way.
Priti Patel slams BDS as 'racist', declares her 'unflinching and unequivocal' support of Israel
Priti Patel has declared her “unflinching and unequivocal” support for Israel, describing her relationship to the country as “deeply personal” to her.

Speaking at a Conservative Friends of Israel reception on Monday, the Home Secretary also said that she is “quite unapologetic” about the proscription of the Hamas terror group last year, saying that it was “not just the right thing to do, [it was] a moral imperative”.

Patel praised the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, also in attendance, thanking her for “who you are and what you do” and for the “wider support” that Israel gives to the UK.

Speaking to an audience of 140 CFI supporters, including 50 parliamentarians, Patel spoke of the “shared values” between the UK and Israel, adding that “everything we have seen around the BDS movement is racist”.

She said that the UK and Israel have an “unwavering belief in freedom, democracy and security”, saying that they are “united in speaking out and standing up against racism and antisemitism”.

The Home Secretary expressed her concern that antisemitism has “infiltrated our politics, our political dialogue and discourse”, adding: “It is utterly appalling that antisemitism has been on the increase”.

These comments follow a report by Tel Aviv University last month that found that antisemitism was on the rise around the world in 2021, with the UK experiencing a significant rise compared to both 2020 and 2019.

Patel also expressed her “sympathies and condolences” to the families of the 19 Israelis murdered in the latest wave of terror attacks.
NGO Monitor: After Ken Roth, Can Human Rights Watch Be Repaired?
Roth also showed a strong animus towards Israel, repeatedly joining the shrill voices demanding an end to American support and repeating false accusations of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity.” HRW, in concert with Amnesty International and Palestinian groups, was central in reviving the Soviet-led effort to equate Zionism with South African apartheid. In 2001, HRW was among the leaders of the blatantly antisemitic NGO Forum of the UN Durban conference, ostensibly called to celebrate the end of South African apartheid. In responding to critics, including from within HRW, he declared that “Israeli racist practices are an appropriate topic.”

To support this agenda, Roth filled HRW’s Middle East and North Africa division with people who joined in disproportionately attacking Israel, with only token publications on Syria, Libya, Iran and other authoritarian regimes. Roth lobbied the UN Human Rights Council to create one-sided “investigations,” and pressed the International Criminal Court to adopt invented versions of international law to use against Israel, including a fictitious version of apartheid. He used the term “primitive” in the context of Jewish religion and tradition (2006), and blamed Jews for antisemitism. HRW’s April 2021 “report” claiming that Israel had “crossed the line into apartheid” is a reiteration of this 20-year campaign.

These activities were noted by Robert Bernstein, the founder of HRW, and although he had retired, was strongly opposed to the direction that Roth was taking the organization, specifically in demonizing Israel. (Full disclosure: I discussed these issues in meetings with Bernstein beginning in 2004.) In 2009, Bernstein took the unprecedented and painful step of denouncing HRW in a New York Times column and in a series of speeches, and many of HRW’s donors ended their support.

However, Roth is a very skilled fundraiser, and after getting $100 million from George Soros, he added other secret donors, such as a Saudi billionaire whose 2012 “contribution” (the existence of which was denied for many years) was only revealed in 2020.

Finding a qualified successor devoted to universal human rights who is not inherently hostile to the West and to Israel, and will not sell out to corrupt donors, is a major challenge. If successful, the difficult process of repairing the damage and restoring the credibility and universality of human rights principles envisioned by HRW’s founders can begin.

Pro-Israel groups see mixed results after pouring millions into Democratic primaries
Pro-Israel groups enjoyed a number of victories for centrist Democratic candidates they backed in Tuesday night primary battles across the US, though the lobbies appeared poised to lose a key race where they spent unprecedented sums in order to defeat a progressive Democrat.

The House races in North Carolina and Pennsylvania were seen as early tests for AIPAC’s new political action committee, which flooded funds into contested races between progressive candidates, who are increasingly critical of Israel, and moderate opponents, who toe a more traditional line backing the Jewish state.

It is difficult to point to the millions in fundraising — from AIPAC’s United Democracy Project (UDP) super PAC, along with the smaller PAC belonging to the slightly more left-wing Democratic Majority For Israel — as the deciding factor in any of the races. Many are certainly framing it that way, however, reigniting the debate over campaign financing laws.

Pennsylvania’s 12th District
While she was only leading by 446 votes, with 94% of the results in, progressive State Rep. Summer Lee has declared victory over centrist Steve Irwin, a Jewish attorney from Pittsburgh.

Irwin has yet to concede, though pundits speculated that it would be very difficult for him to overcome Lee’s lead.

For months, Lee was seen as the frontrunner, before AIPAC began pouring unprecedented amounts of money into the race, largely in attack ads against the progressive who enjoyed the backing of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

AIPAC spent $2.7 million on Irwin’s behalf and DMFI threw in an additional $403,000.

The pro-Israel groups have painted Lee as hostile to the US-Israel relationship. While the Democratic Socialist has backed Israel’s right to exist and refrained from supporting the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, she has sounded off against the Jewish state on a number of occasions.

“When I hear American [politicians] use the refrain, ‘Israel has the right to defend itself,’ in response to undeniable atrocities on a marginalized pop, I can’t help but think of how the West has always justified indiscriminate and disproportionate force and power on weakened and marginalized people,” she tweeted during last May’s Gaza war.

Last month, Lee called out AIPAC in everything but name, tweeting that “for two straight weeks I’ve been the target of the most expensive hate campaign of any candidate running, by a super PAC that sponsors Republicans who support insurrection.”

“And those [establishment] Democrats who swear they believe Black women ‘deserve a seat at the table’ have been silent,” she added, lamenting the “barely subtle racist attacks” against her.
California Parents Say No to Anti-Semitic Ethnic Studies
A group of Jewish public-school parents and teachers filed a federal lawsuit last Thursday challenging the adoption of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist curricular materials in Los Angeles public schools.

The Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Consortium, which disseminates teaching materials lifted directly from radical anti-Israel websites, rejects the idea that all cultures should be studied. It asserts that ethnic studies is about only four groups: Native Americans, black Americans, Chicanos/Latinos, and Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders. That last group includes Arabs from the Middle East - but not Jews, who've lived in that same region for millennia.

The consortium's materials deny that Jews are indigenous to the Middle East and teach that Israel is a "colonialist" and "settler state" founded through "genocide," "ethnic cleansing" and "apartheid." They falsely teach that Zionism is an invention of the "late 19th century." Tell that to the millions of Jews who end their Passover Seders with "next year in Jerusalem," or end every Jewish wedding by breaking a glass to mourn Jerusalem's destruction, or pray each day facing Jerusalem.

The consortium's materials says Israel and the U.S. are "white settler states," even though Israel's Jewish population is more than half "people of color" - including people whose ancestors lived in Africa and India and more three million Israelis descended from Jews who've lived in the Middle East for more than 2,600 years.

Jewish teachers have the right to a workplace, and Jewish parents to a public school for their children, where government-paid teachers don't denounce their homeland, characterize their people as genocidal criminals, or disparage their religious beliefs.
Louisiana State University Student Divestment Bill Takes Aim at Israeli Academic Partners
The student government of Louisiana State University (LSU) unanimously passed a divestment bill during its final session of the year that singled out several of the school’s Israeli academic partners, a campus newspaper reported on Monday.

The resolution — approved with 36 votes in favor, none against, and ten abstentions, out of a senate roster of 78 students — called on LSU to “divest its stocks, funds, and endowments from companies and institutions that profit from or engage in human rights violations in US prisons, at the US Mexico Border, in Occupied Palestine, and environmentally.”

The measure specifically named only Israeli institutions — including Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, the Israeli Institute of Technology, and the Geological Survey of Israel, as specific targets — The Daily Reveille noted. All are partners of the LSU’s College of Engineering through the US-Israel Energy Center, a $27 million research program led by the US Department of Energy and the Israeli Ministry of Energy.

An author of the resolution — which was initiated by school’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter and the group Cooperation Rouge — told the campus paper that it was inspired by the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and subsequently broadened to draw wider appeal.

“We first thought of how we can incorporate and support an effort to divest, which is a common strategy by oppressed groups,” the author told the Reveille. “A lot of people don’t have a connection specifically to Palestine and a lot of people want something that in some way incorporates them.”
UK taxpayer funds pro-BDS arts company founded by terrorist
UK taxpayer cash is pouring into two arts companies that demand a boycott of Israel – including one founded by a terrorist who said he established his theatre troupe with “the butt of my machine gun”, the JC can reveal.

Funded by the Foreign Office via the British Council, The Freedom Theatre supports BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions). Based on the West Bank, it was created by Zakaria Zubeidi, who led al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

Also receiving British Council cash is dance troupe Hawiyya, which recently took part in a protest against “apartheid” outside the Israeli Embassy in London. It was co-founded by Shahd Abusalama, a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University who described a Palestinian terrorist as a “beautiful fighter”.

The revelations come after the Government’s recent pledge in the Queen’s Speech to stop publicly funded bodies supporting BDS. Senior Tory MP Robert Halfon told the JC: “This is pretty shocking. Taxpayers’ money is being spent on promoting boycotts of Israel and one of these groups is linked to a terrorist. The Government must now deliver on what it promised over BDS in the Queen’s Speech.”

The Freedom Theatre was awarded a £74,976 British Council grant in March 2022.

Zubeidi ran the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades during the bloody second intifada from Jenin, the West Bank city where the theatre is based. He was granted an amnesty in a political deal in relation to crimes perpetrated during the 2000-2002 intifada, including a fatal Tel Aviv bombing.
Slavery, Anti-Semitism and Harvard's Missing Moral Compass
A Harvard Crimson editorial proposes to help "free Palestine" by boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Yet Arab claims of victimhood at the hands of the Jews is a daring political inversion. The 21 Arab countries occupy 640 times more land than Israel. The Arab League, not the Jews, refused to partition Palestine in 1947.

I was privileged to teach at Harvard for 21 years, and the gratitude I feel is in no way diminished by my dismay at seeing this great university succumb to ideas that, if left unchallenged, may yet bring down the republic.
Rewarding and Valorizing Jew Hatred at CUNY Law
One has to wonder if the CUNY community fully comprehends what “Palestinian liberation” means and how such a catastrophic and genocidal event would affect the 6.8 million Israeli Jews who live there now were the delusional fantasies of BDS proponents realized and “Palestine” was purged of its pesky Jews as part of Palestinian self-determination.

On this single global issue and for this one group of perceived victims—the Palestinians—the entire law school has committed itself to stand in solidarity? That it supports “resistance” by the Palestinians, a euphemistic term for terrorism against Jews? That it deems Zionism to be racism? That Israel is an illegitimate, colonial outpost created by imperialism and maintained through apartheid and the oppression of a wholly innocent indigenous people who only seek peace? Those notions comprise the ideology of the BDS movement and certainly WOL’s tenets are just as extreme and lethal.

That CUNY stands by and thinks that Kiswani and her fellow students are somehow reflecting well on the institution because they purport to be acting on behalf of the downtrodden does not erase the fact that their ideology is based on one in which the well-being of Jews is inconsequential and the continued existence of the Jewish state is an irritating detail that can be cured by a “globalized Intifada” in which Israelis are slaughtered and their state eliminated once and for all.

When you allow a speaker at a graduation ceremony to bray about being victimized by those who have a problem with this incendiary and anti-Semitic rhetoric and behavior, you have stopped being a place where true debate and reason prevail. You have created, instead, an echo chamber in which like-minded, misguided radical activists have corrupted the purpose on which a university is based. That is not what a university should do or be. And that is not a place where the country’s future lawyers should be taught.

A university should, and must, have the right and responsibility to its respective community to decide which student groups have a legitimate and valid mission and which are animated by extremist ideology and a penchant for spreading bigotry, ethnic hatred, and misreading of history and facts.

And by allowing a bigoted, anti-Semitic activist to speak on behalf of an entire professional school at a public university is a profound betrayal of higher education’s values and purpose.
Labour councillor suspended after 'antisemitic' social media posts revealed
A Labour councillor has been suspended by the party after the JC revealed he had shared “antisemitic” posts about Israel.

Ansar Hussain was elected in 2021 for the Wolverton ward in Milton Keynes, and served previously as Wolverton’s mayor.

In posts which the JC has now shown to Labour officials, he has shared groundless claims and conspiracy theories about Israel.

The revelations have prompted the party to take immediate action by suspending the councillor and starting an investigation.

The material highlighted by the Gnasher Jew investigation team includes an article headlined “30 Little-Known Facts About Israel” shared by Mr Hussain on 7 November 2015.

On this list of “facts” is the claim that “instead of sewing an insignia on clothing to distinguish race (like the Germans did to the Jews in WW2, Palestinian licence plates in Israel are colour coded to distinguish Jews from non-Jews”.
Ohio High School Lacrosse Match Marred by Swastika Display, Antisemitic Slur
A Cleveland, Ohio-area high school lacrosse player joined a match on Monday with a swastika drawn on his calf, while a parent supporting his team called a rival player a “k*ke,” local outlets reported on Tuesday.

“Administrators at Lake Catholic High School have been made aware of the very serious allegations of antisemitism involving a player on the school’s varsity lacrosse team as well as a Lake Catholic fan during the game against Orange High School yesterday evening,” the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland said in a statement on Tuesday, according to a report. “The behaviors alleged are reprehensible and contrary to the Gospel values that Lake Catholic works so hard to promote.”

According to the outlet, images taken by a student photographer for Lake Catholic’s opponent and winner of Monday’s match, Orange High School, appeared to confirm the allegations.

In a letter to students and parents, Orange superintendent Lynn Campbell said Tuesday that the school board “does not tolerate discrimination or harassment.”

“Furthermore, we understand the devastating impact these incidents have on kids and our community,” he continued. “Therefore, our players will be informed about the support we have for them as they try to process this incident.”
France’s First Female Premier in Decades is Daughter of Holocaust Survivor
French President Emmanuel Macron has named Élisabeth Borne to be the country’s new prime minister—the first woman to hold the position in 30 years.

“I dedicate this nomination to all the little girls in France, to tell them ‘follow your dreams,’ ” said Borne, 61. “Nothing should stop the fight for women’s place in our society.”

Borne held three different ministerial positions—transportation, environment and labor—during Macon’s first term in office. Macron secured a second term after facing a run-off contest with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, a Holocaust denier even further to the right.

An engineer, Borne served as director of strategy for the French railway company SNCF. She also worked in various local and national governmental departments.

Her father, Joseph Bornstein, was a Polish Jewish refugee who fled from Belgium to France in 1940 and joined the French resistance against Nazi forces in Europe. He was later deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where his father and his youngest brother were killed upon arrival.

Another brother was deported to Majdanek and hanged. Bornstein and an older brother survived the Holocaust. He passed away in 1972 when Borne was just 11 years old.
Holocaust survivor’s collection of over 1,000 miniature books reflect a sad chapter
In her 96 years on earth, Lilly Toth didn’t get much of a formal education. Born in Budapest in 1925, the self-proclaimed spoiled brat often misbehaved and was frequently suspended from school.

But instead of attending university in her late teens, the Holocaust survivor was literally running for her life — hiding with neighbors, surviving an attempted execution on the shores of the Danube, then working for the very fascist organization that attempted to take her life.

Despite these huge upheavals and larger losses, Toth managed to amass something very small, and very valuable: a collection of 1,119 miniature books that are a testament to Toth’s resilience and worldliness.

Toth’s collection, which she bequeathed to Montreal’s Jewish Public Library prior to her death last May — and which the library will honor in an exhibit starting May 15 — is as diverse as the inside of a Barnes & Noble. There are cookbooks, musical scores, sports-themed books, novelties known as “mass-market minis” because of their ubiquity, and children’s literature, including “The Tales of Peter Rabbit,” first published between 1902 and 1909. Shakespeare features prominently in two nearly-complete 24-volume sets published between 1890 and 1930.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before and I’ve been working here for 26 years,” said Eddie Paul, senior director of Library and Learning Services at the Jewish Public Library.

It’s also one of the finest miniature book collections in Canada, and likely of Hungarian miniature books in North America, according to the exhibit’s curator, historian Kristen Howard.
Unit becomes first banking-as-a-service unicorn with $1.2b valuation
The Israeli banking-as-a-service platform Unit, which allows companies to embed financial services in their products, has raised a $100 million in a Series C round led by global software investor Insight Partners. The round included participation from existing investors Accel, Better Tomorrow Ventures, Aleph, Flourish Ventures and TLV Partners. New investors Moving Capital and Stepstone also joined the round.

The latest infusion of capital brings total funding raised by Unit to $169.6m. with a valuation of $1.2 billion, establishing the company as the first banking-as-service platform to reach unicorn status.

Unit will use the new funds to accelerate product development and expand its offering into lending in partnership with its bank partners. Unit will be launching business credit cards in the next three months. Additional lending products including cash advance, invoice factoring and early wage access will follow. The addition of lending products to Unit’s platform will enable companies to build both their banking and lending products on a single platform via a single application programming interface.

“Unit’s mission is to help companies launch new banking products that unlock value and expand financial access for all. We’ve seen tremendous success helping high-growth companies launch game-changing revenue streams and banking experiences in weeks,” said CEO and co-founder Itai Damti. “Lending is the clear next step of growth, and we believe it will be the most important wave in financial services in the coming years. With this new round of funding, Unit will be able to empower the companies best suited to offer lending with the technology and infrastructure to make that a reality.”

Unit has grown significantly over the last year, taking on more than 140 customers including AngelList, HoneyBook, Veryable, Roofstock, Hearth and Benepass. Over the last six months alone, Unit has seen transaction volume grow seven-fold, crossing an annualized transaction volume of $2.6b. It has issued more than 430,000 cards to some 330,000 end-customers, and saw a 10-fold increase in deposit volumes.
Does 'Beauty Queen of Jerusalem' live up to the hype?
When Michael Aloni's agent told him about The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem, he was a bit confused. "Since when is there a beauty pageant in Jerusalem?" Aloni recalled asking at the time, at an event last week at Temple Emanu-El's Streicker Center in New York City.

He'd just finished filming the third season of "Shtisel" and had shaved off his beard. He said he read the best-selling novel by Sarit Yishai Levi, on which the show is based, in less than two days and cried while reading it.

"There was such an intense shift of everything Shtisel stands for and what Akiva is – and then shifting into something that is so out there," he said.

In the novel and the show, the Armoza men are sort of cursed to marry women they don't love. The family deals with numerous issues over a span of decades as Palestine is controlled by the Turks in the early 1900s, then by the British as part of its mandate until it eventually becomes the modern-day State of Israel. The show jumps around a lot through different periods; at first, it's a bit confusing, though the viewer gets used to it.

Originally slated to be filmed in Ukraine, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was mostly filmed in Tzfat, Israel, and aired in the country. It won "Best Drama" and garnered three other awards in what is Israel's version of the Emmy Awards. It's also one of the most expensive Israeli productions, according to Aloni.

The 10-episode series comes to Netflix on May 20 and is one of the most anticipated Israeli shows of the year.

It certainly lives up to the hype. There's a hanging, a shooting, a stabbing, a bomb exploding and a prison break. There's a steamy make-out scene, a non-steamy love scene, an opium-induced hallucination and even the dressing up of an ill male baby in female clothes in an attempt to confuse the evil eye and save its life.

Arab Israeli wins kickboxing world championship in Turkey, drapes himself in flag
Israeli kickboxer Loai Sakas won a gold medal on Thursday at the world championships in Turkey.

Sakas, a Christian Arab from the northern town of Kafr Yasif, draped himself with the Israeli flag as he stood in the ring after he defeated his Slovakian opponent in the under-75 kilogram (165.3 pound) weight class of K-1 style kickboxing.

Speaking with Channel 12, Sakas said that his goal in representing Israel in international competitions is to promote coexistence.

“I’m first and foremost an Israeli citizen,” he said. “I do not care about Judaism, Islam, Christianity, or Druze — I represent the country and want everyone here to live in peace with each other.”

However, Sakas’s experience in the competition was not entirely smooth.

Right after winning the match that sent him to the finals, his Moroccan opponent refused to shake his hand in protest.

‘Mechanics are en route’: Defense Ministry releases logs from 1972 Sabena hijacking
Fifty years after Palestinian terrorists hijacked Belgian Sabena Airlines flight 571, the Defense Ministry on Thursday published the military’s official logbook from the tense standoff that culminated in the passengers’ rescue.

The documents describe the chain of events, exactly as they occurred on May 8 and 9, 1972, when Israel’s top officials huddled in the control tower of Lod Airport, now Ben Gurion International, as members of the Sayeret Matkal commando unit disguised as mechanics stormed the plane and took down the terrorists, killing two and capturing two.

According to the logs, then-defense minister Moshe Dayan was in a helicopter returning from a tour in the Sinai Peninsula — held at the time by Israel — to a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

Shortly after Sabena flight 571’s trip from Vienna to Tel Aviv began, Ahmed Awad, Abed al-Aziz Atrash, Theresa Khalsa and Rima Tannous rushed the cockpit, armed with explosives and pistols.

“A report was received of hijacking ‘Sabena’ and of it landing in Lod, Moshe was ordered to land in Lod,” reads the opening of the logbook. The initial entry was not given a timestamp, but the hijacked plane had landed at 5:15 p.m.

Dayan, then-transportation minister Shimon Peres, then-chief of the military David Elazar, and other defense officials gathered in Lod Airport’s control tower to handle the hijacking, in an effort later codenamed “Operation Isotope.”

Matti Friedman: The Treasure of the Jews
Andrew Lawler's book Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World's Most Contested City, surveys some of the colorful and fraught episodes that have played out underground over the past century and a half. 1865 saw the creation of the Palestine Exploration Fund in London, where the founders included the archbishop of York, who "called for a new crusade to rescue from darkness and oblivion much of the history of that country in which we all take so dear an interest." The explorers were inflamed by the possibility of grand findings from Jewish antiquity.

A central problem affecting many Western observers is their narrative of a city "sacred to three faiths." There is a failure to understand the unique centrality of Jerusalem in Judaism or to admit that the city is of interest to other religions only because it was sacred to Jews first. Jerusalem has existed at the center of Jewish consciousness since Rome was a village on the Tiber and it has that role in no other religion.

Christianity cares about Jerusalem because Jesus and his followers were Jews who orbited the Jewish ritual center on the Temple Mount. Islam built the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount because that was the site of the Jewish temple. Both religions have more important cities elsewhere, but came here to claim they had supplanted the numerically insignificant but historically imposing natives of Judea. The lack of interest in archaeology on the part of Arab residents is related to the common, and politically dangerous, knowledge that if you dig past the city's Islamic and Christian layers, what you're going to find is Jewish.

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