Monday, November 14, 2022

From Ian:

Braving bigotry and enemy fire, Jews served the Union valiantly during the Civil War
Sgt. Leopold Karpeles had a dangerous job. Serving in the 57th Massachusetts Infantry’s E Company during the American Civil War, he was a color bearer, which meant carrying a flag that identified his unit’s position — a necessary role, but one that invariably drew attention from the enemy. In May 1864, his actions won him the Medal of Honor — a decoration created during the conflict. His citation credited him with encouraging fleeing men to reform ranks and drive back the Confederates during the Battle of the Wilderness in northern Virginia.

Karpeles’s story was one of the more prominent accounts of Jews in the US Army during the Civil War. A new book, “Jewish Soldiers in the Civil War: The Union Army,” by Adam D. Mendelsohn, director of the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Cape Town, explores the wider narrative around Jews serving in America’s bloodiest conflict. Its release is scheduled for November 15, just a few days after Veterans Day.

“Individual cases obviously gave life and color,” Mendelsohn told The Times of Israel, including when it came to “their decision to enlist, their experience in the army — which was not an easy one, particularly for Jews.”

On the battlefield, there was deadly combat and fear, including the terror Karpeles experienced in Virginia. Jews in uniform also faced ignorance, antisemitism or both from fellow servicemembers and higher-ups. Notoriously, in General Orders No. 11, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant expelled Jews as a class from the war department he commanded in the American South in December 1862.

“Clearly, in the senior ranks of the army, we see in [William T.] Sherman, Grant, [Benjamin] Butler, others, echoing views current in American society at the time of Jewish speculators and shirkers, profiting at the expense of the Union,” Mendelsohn said. “All these things ultimately came to a head in Grant’s order.”

Yet there were also interfaith friendships formed through mutual dependence during wartime.

“What I sensed in the data was the nature of comradeship,” Mendelsohn said. “Serving alongside each other, the experience of fighting together, does bring down the barriers.”

After the war, many Jews joined a nationwide veterans movement called the Grand Army of the Republic, with some even taking leadership roles. While the book states that Jewish veterans were largely unrecognized immediately after the war out of a national desire to move on, this changed several decades later. In the 1890s, the Hebrew Union Veterans Association was established amid a wave of antisemitism sweeping the nation.
The antisemitic history of the Union Army and the US civil war - opinion
The contractor, smuggler, speculator and shirker, however, were more than just figures of scorn. Jews and other “shoddy aristocrats” came to be seen as the creators and beneficiaries of the new economic and social order produced by the war. This “shoddy aristocracy” — whose morals and manners marked them as undesirable, whose profits were ill gained, and whose power derived from money alone — was imagined to lord it over a new and unjust social heap summoned into being by the chaos and disruption of war.

Even as the heated rhetoric of the war years receded after 1865, these ideas remained primed for action. They were returned to service in the Gilded Age.

It was no coincidence that the episode traditionally identified as initiating modern antisemitism in America — the exclusion of Joseph Seligman by Henry Hilton from the Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga Springs on May 31, 1877 — had at its center a man who had made a fortune as a contractor and banker during the Civil War. Seligman, a friend of President Grant, was viewed as an exemplar of the new capitalism that was remaking America.

Henry Hilton slandered Seligman as “shoddy—false—squeezing—unmanly,” a social climber who “has to push himself upon the polite.” Hilton drew upon themes familiar from wartime antisemitism: the Jew as speculator who trafficked in credit and debt; the Jew as obsequious ingratiator who attached himself to the powerful; the Jew as profiteer who advanced by improper means; the Jew as vulgarian who flaunted his (and her) obscene wealth and did not know his (or her) place; and the Jew as overlord whose money allowed him (or her) to displace others. In short, the “Seligman Jew” was the “shoddy aristocrat” by another name.

In an age of inequality and excess, the antisemite imagined the Jew as embodying all that was wrong with American capitalism. And during an age of mass immigration from Romania and the Russian Empire, they soon added another theme familiar from General Butler’s wartime diatribe: The Jew could not be trusted to become fully American.

Sadly, even as Louis Gratz, Max Glass and many other Jewish soldiers became American by serving in the Union army, the Civil War produced a range of pernicious ideas about Jews that have proven remarkably durable. We have escaped the everyday torments that afflicted Max Glass, but are still haunted in the present by the fantasies of Benjamin Butler and Henry Hilton.
A review of 'Woke Antisemitism', by David Bernstein
The American linguist and political commentator John McWhorter coined the term Woke Racism to refer to the latest wave of elite, radical, ‘anti-racist’ campaigners who posit that racism is so deeply embedded in the fabric of American life that it’s impervious to traditional civil rights and anti-racist legislation.

In order to level the playing field, liberal democratic systems of government – which aren’t up to the Utopian task of achieving perfect racial parity – must be radically re-constituted to allow for what Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How To Be An Anti-Racist”, refers to un-ironically as “anti-racist discrimination” against groups who are ‘disproportionately successful’.

The only thing that matters to such campaigners is the racial disparity in economic and social outcomes, which is viewed as sufficient evidence to demonstrate racism. Not only are all other possible factors for unequal results ignored, but it’s considered racist to even consider other explanations.

Thus, “privileged” whites and those labeled as “white adjacent” must accept a future where they will face ‘progressive bigotry’ until there’s complete racial parity in all areas of life.

Though the proponents of this Woke Racism typically focus only on the Black-White paradigm, the question of where Jews (and other successful, yet historically disadvantaged minorities) stand within this racial binary is rarely prominent within the public discourse.
Jason D. Greenblatt: Israel Deserves Better than the New York Times' Prophet of Doom
New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman wrote last week that in the new Israeli government coalition, Benjamin Netanyahu will soon preside over a parade of right-wing horribles whose very existence dooms Israel itself. Friedman then makes a giant leap of logic to suggest that if Jews in America share his distaste for two members of the new Israeli government, they will turn their backs on Israel once and for all. Apparently, these days, members of the Israeli government must pass muster not just with Israeli voters but also with newspaper columnists like Friedman - when in fact Israel, like the U.S., gets to choose its own leaders through free and fair elections.

Friedman claims that Arab countries entered the Abraham Accords only because "they wanted to trade with Israel." First, there's nothing wrong with that. And second, the Arab nations made peace with Israel because they're tired of pointless, expensive hostilities and because they recognize a common enemy in Iran. Friedman ought to have more respect for the courageous Arab governments that normalized their relations with Israel, and for those who may have quietly supported it from behind closed doors.

I abhor Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' anti-American comments, his payments to Palestinians to reward them for harming and murdering Israelis, and his comments about the Holocaust - yet I would still work with Palestinians and their leaders to try to improve their lives and seek peace between them and Israel. We don't burn everything down just because we disagree, however strongly, with the views of some of those in power.

FBI launching probe into killing of Palestinian-American reporter Abu Akleh
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, apparently by an Israeli soldier, an official familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel on Monday.

US officials updated their Israeli counterparts earlier this month of the decision, the official said, confirming a Channel 14 news report.

The 51-year-old Abu Akleh, who was wearing a vest marked “Press” and a helmet, was shot dead on May 11, during clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen that broke out after soldiers raided the Jenin refugee camp, in the northern West Bank, amid a wider terror crackdown.

An Israel Defense Forces investigation found that she was hit by a bullet likely shot by an Israeli soldier, seemingly by mistake. The Palestinian Authority has alleged that she was targeted.

The US decision represents an about-face, after the Biden administration insisted for months that it would not be opening its own investigation, instead relying on probes conducted by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

There has been intense pressure for a US probe from Abu Akleh’s family, as well as Democratic members of Congress, including several relatively moderate lawmakers who are known for their strong support for the US-Israel relationship, such as Sen. Robert Menendez and Sen. Corey Booker.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted that the decision to probe Abu Akleh’s “unfortunate” death was “a grave mistake.” He noted that the IDF had conducted its own investigation into the Al Jazeera reporter’s death and that those findings were shared with the Biden administration.

“I made it clear to the American representatives that we stand behind the IDF’s soldiers, that we will not cooperate with any external investigation and we will not allow interference in Israel’s internal affairs,” tweeted Gantz.
Noa Kirel sports Kanye West's face on outfit at MTV ceremony
Noa Kirel sported pants and gloves emblazoned with the face of Kanye West at the MTV EMA awards ceremony on Sunday.

The Israeli pop star posted a photo of herself in the outfit on her Instagram page with the caption "Oh ye..." The outfit was also adorned with gold chains, Stars of David and the word "Chai" ("Life").

"I chose to wear on the MTV red carpet a fashion item with a message for the whole world, an item that clearly symbolizes that I am both Jewish and Israeli. We have recently been experiencing a lot of antisemitism, especially in light of Kanye West's statements. I am proud to be an Israeli artist who represents Israel in the world," said Kirel on Sunday, according to N12.

Kirel won the award for "Best Israeli Act" at the MTV ceremony, her fifth time winning the award.

Jonathan Tobin: Dave Chappelle and normalizing black antisemitism
Chappelle and the SNL audience who cheered him in a Manhattan studio act as if the epidemic of violence currently being experienced by Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn happened 80 years ago in Europe. But it is happening right now, only a subway ride away in the same city in which they were sitting. And the perpetrators are largely African-Americans, not Nazis or Trump supporters.

We can attribute this to the influence of a Jew-hater like Louis Farrakhan, whom many in the world of the arts treat as a legitimate spokesperson for African-Americans, rather than an extremist hatemonger.

We can also point to the growing influence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the intersectional catechism it promotes, falsely labelling Jews and the State of Israel as white, colonialist oppressors. Sadly, that’s a movement that the ADL has supported, rather than opposed.

Black hatred against Jews persists and grows. Yet it is invisible in newspapers like The Times and erased completely in the influential pop-culture venues of network comedy shows.

The correct response to Chappelle should not be renewed calls for his cancellation. Instead, it should be to demand that such groups as the ADL, which purport to speak for Jewish interests, consistently focus on fighting the true sources of contemporary Jew-hatred, rather than on waging partisan battles on behalf of their liberal Democratic political allies.

Just as important, it is not unreasonable to ask influencers like Chappelle to start treating black antisemitism as a genuine problem, not something about which one can mock supposedly hyper-sensitive Jews for their fumbling efforts to use cancel culture against African-Americans who promote hate.
The Most Dangerous Comic Alive
It's far from his first time dabbling in Antisemitism. As he admits himself, he’s been ‘warning us’ for the last 30 years. Still, let’s concentrate on the last two years alone. In his last Netflix special, ‘The Closer’, he spent two very long segments with very few laughs meant to hammer in the idea that:
Jews willingly left the land of Israel (erasing our genocide & expulsion at the time)
Jews might look like humans, but we're an alien race that looks similar to but are not quite human.
Jews do not belong in the land of Israel (then, where else?)
Jews are trying to steal land that is not ours
Jews embraced the behavior of Nazis after the Holocaust
Jews went so far that even the Nazis would say, 'Calm down.'

Not that Jews are not the only ethnic group Chappelle attacked in 'The Closer.' Describing the time he spent in quarantine, 10 days where he was watching 'these brothers beating these Asians up,' he felt this was what was happening inside his body. His strong African genes were beating up that Asian disease. At the height of the #StopAsianHate campaign, the violence inflicted on Asian Americans was just a punchline to him.

And therein lies the difference between him and Norm MacDonald and why he will never simply take his place as the funniest comic alive. And certainly not the greatest of all time.

An Exception to the Norm.
Norm MacDonald, over the years, made multiple jokes about Jews and the Holocaust that would have been considered off-color by another. Some of these jokes, coming from anyone else, would have led not only to gasps and accusations of antisemitism, but it's easy to imagine the ADL getting involved, meeting with Rabbis, making public apologies, donations, the whole megillah.

Yet it never happened. Norm was widely celebrated by many Jewish comedians and celebrities, both in life and death. In fact, after his passing, he was called a 'gift to Jewish humor.' Why should Chappelle be treated any differently?

The answer is simple: Norm MacDonald's comedy came from a place where he wanted to make you laugh, even if that laugh came from you being uncomfortable. There was no hatred in the man, and it was clear that whoever or whatever he made fun of was part of the art of stand-up, and he was not trying to demean anyone. Except, maybe, a certain Swedish German of ill repute. As far as Jews go, he confided to Larry King that he had a Rabbi he often consulted, mentioned multiple times he had considered conversion to Judaism, and in fact showed a surprising knowledge of Jewish mysticism.
Antisemitic books from Kyrie Irving scandal removed from Barnes & Noble
The antisemitic book series popularized when the film adaptation was shared by basketballer Kyrie Irving has been removed from Barnes & Noble's online store, The Jerusalem Post found on Monday morning.

Entries in the Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America series were available for purchase on the bookseller's website as recently as November 4. The first book in the series was also found to be number 69 on Barnes & Noble's top 100 bestselling books. However, by at least Monday morning all copies had been removed from the list and store.

Controversial bestseller
The Post previously found that Hebrews to Negroes had been the top bestseller in three different categories on Amazon's website, as well as Amazon Prime Video. On Apple Books, Hebrews to Negroes was number 9 on the list of top audiobooks.

Barnes & Nobles and other online book retailers have been the subject of scrutiny for the sale of the book and audiobook version since Irving shared on social media a link to the documentary adaptation of author Ronald Dalton Jr.'s works. Critics have described Dalton's works as antisemitic.

Activists demand book retailers cease sales
On Friday, over 200 actors and artists from the entertainment industry in an open letter called on Amazon and Barnes & Noble to remove Hebrews to Negroes from their platforms.

CNN Producer Idris Muktar Ibrahim Tweeted ‘#TeamHitler,’ Called Hamas Terrorists ‘Freedom Fighters’
Idris Muktar Ibrahim, a California-educated native of Kenya, has done work for CNN since 2015, reporting on critical events in Africa, including then-President Barack Obama’s visit to the region and the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

Earlier this year, following his graduation from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, the broadcaster’s international desk took him on as a producer.

Ibrahim’s name has appeared in multiple bylines on, including in one above a November 13 article about Israel’s incoming coalition, titled “Israeli President invites Netanyahu to form government.”

Yet Ibrahim’s profound hatred of the Jewish state calls into question his ability to impartially report on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

For instance, in a July 13, 2014, Twitter post (screenshot), he seemingly expressed support for Nazi mass murderer Adolf Hitler. “I have shifted to team Germany after finding out that Messi supports Israel,” Ibrahim wrote, concluding the tweet with the offensive hashtag “#teamHitler.”

Ibrahim also lavished praise on Hamas (screenshot), claiming that members of the US-designated terror organization are “modern day freedpm fighters [sic]” who are “definding [sic] their land.” According to the CNN producer, Hamas is entitled to its “armed struggle” against Israeli civilian targets.

Notably, just hours after Ibrahim posted his tweet on July 18, 2014, a Hamas rocket struck a kindergarten in the southern Israeli town of Gan Yavneh.

Idris Muktar Ibrahim is, of course, entitled to his personal views, even if they are ignorant and offensive. But as we previously explained, producers with a political agenda can be selective with the information they present to the public, resulting in lopsided media coverage of the conflict in the Middle East.
Featured by Getty: Jihad-loving Videographer Who Tweets About ‘Deceptive, Invading Jews’
Montaser Alsawaf is a Gaza Strip-based video journalist who makes no effort to disguise his loathing of Jews and Israel on his publicly accessible Twitter account.

Over the years, Alsawaf, who is a full-time employee of the Turkish state-owned Anadolu Agency, has posted numerous antisemitic messages on his social media account, including those in which he takes aim at “effeminate Jews” and labels Israel the “Zionist enemy.”

He is also apparently a supporter of several US-designated terrorist organizations, such as the military wing of Hamas — the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades — which he claims “liberated Gaza from the Jews” and their “supporters.”

Such disturbing outbursts, however, have not prevented his work from being featured by one of the world’s largest media companies, Getty Images.

In a further example of how woefully inadequate the vetting process is for contributors and staff members of major media organizations, hundreds of Alsawaf’s videos have been featured on Getty’s website for distribution around the globe.

The photo agency, which serves nearly every single major news organization in the world, has strict editorial guidelines, including asking editorial content teams to “adhere to a common set of professional journalistic principles,” namely, responsibility, independence, and integrity.
Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales tells to i24NEWS: Elon Musk and Twitter have a real problem

McGill Tribune Publishes Retraction of Anti-Israel Group’s Antisemitic Conspiracy Theory
On November 11, HonestReporting Canada issued an alert about how the McGill Tribune had given a platform to an anti-Israel group on campus to spew the baseless antisemitic theory that “Zionist donors” control McGill University.

The Tribune’s November 8 article covered a supposed controversy that had erupted since late October, when the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) announced a $5-million donation to the institute from billionaire philanthropist Charles Bronfman.

According to McGill University, the gift will help launch a new initiative aimed at bringing Canada’s top minds together for discussions relating to the country’s economic, social and political future.

As if on cue, anti-Israel voices at McGill University were already complaining about the donation.

The Tribune’s article entitled: “Charles Bronfman’s $5 million donation to MISC raises concerns about academic freedom,” quoted the anti-Israel campus group Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) McGill, who claimed that because Bronfman is a prominent pro-Israel philanthropist, his gift to the university surely must be tarnished as a result.

“Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) McGill worries about the implications of Bronfman’s donation for student activism and governance, especially surrounding Palestinian liberation,” the article’s author, Ghazal Azizi, wrote.

The article originally quoted SPHR who claimed that “Accepting such large donations from so-called Zionist ‘philanthropists’ ensures that no pro-Palestine policy will ever be adopted at McGill University,” adding that it makes the school “puppets to their Zionist donors who can threaten to cut their funding anytime the word ‘Palestine’ is uttered on campus.”

The Novel That Warned of the Holocaust Just before It Began
First published in 1933, and swiftly translated into English and several other languages thereafter, Lion Feuchtwanger’s novel The Oppermans depicts a German Jewish family during the Nazi rise to popularity and then to power. While it remained influential in Germany after World War II, the book has largely been forgotten in the U.S. A newly published and revised English translation seeks to remedy the situation. Ari Hoffman writes in his review:
Reading The Oppermans is like riding a Ferrari into a slow-motion car crash; the ride is a pleasure if you can ignore the wheels spinning out and look away from what’s coming around the bend. . . . The Oppermanns shines when it aims a spotlight on the small-scale gains that made Hitler possible. A Nazi schoolteacher bullies [one young member of the family] and changes the curriculum, and both students and staff are too morally supine to stop it. “The boys,” we are told, “quickly come to terms with their first Nationalist teacher.” The Oppermans believe that “they had won a place for themselves in this country.” They hardly stood a chance.

The signs are everywhere, but so are the misreadings. A salesman notices that a gang tries to push a Jew in front of a train, but reassures himself that they were stopped in time. The butler at a private club turns up for work one day wearing a swastika. . . . Hitler, “the Leader,” is dismissed because his prose is turgid.

It is to Feuchtwanger’s credit that we like and respect his characters enough to resist blaming the Oppermans for their own misfortune. The novel is populated with major and minor characters who are allowed petty anxieties and grandiose dreams. They yearn for more marks, or a plate of piping hot schnitzel, or a joyride through Berlin. They try to keep the Nazis in the background because their foreground is full of life.
Antisemitic graffiti in Bethesda: "The Jewish community will not be intimidated," says AJC director
Antisemitic graffiti was seen near the Trolley Trail in Bethesda on Monday, according to authorities.

Photos shared with FOX 5 show hateful images and words against the Jewish community near Tuckerman Lane and Old Georgetown Rd. in North Bethesda.

"The antisemitic graffiti found in Bethesda today is a sickening reminder of the rise of antisemitism in our county. Not two weeks after the Montgomery County Council unanimously condemned hatred of Jews, antisemites are standing up loud and proud," said Alan Ronkin, director of the American Jewish Committee office in Washington, D.C. "The Jewish community will not be intimidated by these vicious messages. We stand together with our friends and allies as a proud and strong community. We thank local law enforcement for their attention to this incident and to local officials who facilitated having the graffiti removed."

"We are horrified and saddened by the recent displays of antisemitism in and around the Trolley Trail in Bethesda. We have seen a troubling rise in antisemitic incidents nationwide and, tragically, this deeply alarming trend is also occurring right here in Montgomery County," said the Montgomery County Council in a statement Monday. "The Council stands in strong solidarity with our Jewish community and condemns all acts of hate and religious bigotry. There is no tolerance in Montgomery County for these hateful actions and abhorrent, violent imagery attacking the Jewish community."
NYPD Arrests Men Who Shot Brooklyn Jews with Gel Gun
Police in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, arrested three men accused of harassing members of the Hasidic Jewish community last week.

According to Yeshiva World, earlier in the week Shomrim, a Jewish community watch group, received reports that the men had driven around the neighborhood shooting Hasidic Jews with a gel gun from a white sedan. The group sprung to action, alerting the New York Police Department (NYPD) and assigning 50 volunteers to patrol the area to ensure a rapid response to the next incident.

The perpetrators soon struck again on Nov. 8 targeting a victim near Kent Avenue and Park Avenue. Shomrim’s officers were near the scene and straightaway alerted the police, who, having knowledge already of the make and model of their car, stopped it and arrested them.

Charges from the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force, which is processing the case, are forthcoming.

On Thursday, New York City councilman Kalman Yeger, told The Algemeiner that the incidents are a consequence of New York’s lax crime policies.

“This is typical of what’s happening in New York City: criminal activity being perpetrated by criminals who do not believe there are any repercussions for their crimes,” Yeger said during an interview. “And, if they get caught, they will in all likelihood be out if they’re not already out now and likely be punished with a slap on the wrist, emboldened to then go on and escalate and do something worse, until, at same point they do something so heinously violent that we look back and see that they could have been stopped.”
Fugitive French Holocaust denier finally arrested in Scotland following appeals from CAA and Lord Austin
A notorious French Holocaust denier living in Britain, who was convicted by the French courts last year, has been arrested in Edinburgh after spending two years on the run.

Vincent Reynouard, 52, was sentenced to jail for four months on 25th November 2020 by a court in Paris and again in January 2021 for six months, in addition to fines. His latest conviction is in relation to a series of antisemitic postings on Facebook and Twitter and a 2018 YouTube video for which fellow French Holocaust denier, Hervé Ryssen (also known as Hervé Lalin), received a seventeen-month-jail term earlier that year.

However, Mr Reynouard fled the country before serving his sentence and settled in the UK, where he reportedly worked as a private tutor teaching children mathematics, physics and chemistry. Private tutors are not required to undergo background checks.

According to far-right activist Fabrice Jérôme Bourbon — who was himself convicted in December 2021 in connection with denial of war crimes and defending Hervé Ryssen and fined €8,000 — Mr Reynouard was visited by local police and Interpol on 25th October 2021.

Mr Bourbon elaborated in his far-right weekly magazine, Rivarol, claiming that police and Interpol visited Mr Reynouard’s flat at the time, believed to be in Kent, at around 16:00 in order to apprehend him and potentially initiate extradition proceedings. Mr Reynouard allegedly concealed his identity and fled the scene, remaining at large.
New synagogue built in Patagonia as Argentina's Jewish community grows
Patagonia, Argentina’s famously beautiful southern region, has been a haven for Israeli backpackers, vacationers from Buenos Aires and, in the 20th century, Nazi war criminals.

What the scenic territory hasn’t had for nearly 40 years is a new synagogue.

That has changed in the last year, as a group of Jews living in San Martín de los Andes have inaugurated the first-ever synagogue in their city. The synagogue is just the second Jewish institution in the 400,000-square-mile Patagonia region, and the first new synagogue in all of Argentina in years that is not affiliated with the growing Chabad-Lubavitch Orthodox movement.

Instead, the Hebrew Community of San Martín de los Andes is affiliated with the Conservative movement of Judaism, which is shrinking overall. Its founders have gotten support from Argentina’s Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, based in Buenos Aires, as well as from multiple synagogues in the Buenos Aires area.

The first event in the synagogue was a Passover seder in April, and over the last month, the community held services for the High Holidays for the first time ever in a permanent home.
Why Canaan’s Great Copper Mine Went Out of Business
Located near the modern-day Israeli city of Eilat, the Timna copper mines were used first by the ancient Egyptians, and then by the Edomites, to provide the metal that was used for making bronze. A group of Israeli scientists, by analyzing the slag left over from the copper-smelting process, have come upon a new theory about why the mines went into disuse. Nathan Steinmeyer writes:
Nicknamed King Solomon’s Mines, Timna is located in the Arava Valley, twelve miles north of the Gulf of Aqaba and within the most arid region of the entire Negev Desert. Utilized since the Chalcolithic period (ca. 4500-3300 BCE), the Timna mines were one of the most important sources of copper in antiquity. Yet in the 9th century BCE, mining at Timna came to a sudden halt, not to be restarted for nearly 1,000 years.

Although earlier theories as to the halt of copper production focused mainly on outside external factors, such as the 9th-century campaign of [the Aramean king] Hazael into Canaan, a new study by a Tel Aviv University team posits a different idea—that the overexploitation of the already poor Timna ecosystem led to extreme environmental degradation, which in turn made continued mining financially unviable. The ecological effects of this event can still be seen in the area around Timna, where acacia trees and other desert flora are all but absent.

The team found that for much of the 11th through 10th centuries BCE, the main sources of fuel were acacia trees and white broom bushes. Both of these grow throughout the region, and acacia is frequently mentioned as being used by the Israelites during their 40 years wandering in the desert (Exodus 25:10). . . . Yet this mass-scale smelting would have required far greater quantities of acacia and white broom than the area around Timna was capable of producing.

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