Wednesday, March 22, 2023

From Ian:

Democrats vs. the Jews
For those who want to look away: Imagine what our grandparents and great-grandparents—staunch Democrats from the moment they hit Ellis Island—would think about this. Imagine what John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr.—both ardent Zionists—would say.

As a lifelong independent, I don’t understand how any Jew can remain in the Democratic Party after this. I don’t buy the “we will work from within” excuse, because look how well that turned out.

To those of us who believe that this version of the Democratic Party needs to die—that it will never return to classical liberalism—this poll just confirms the obvious. But the fact is that if every Jew and those who claim to not be antisemitic left the party over this, the party would die. Three-quarters of American Jews—5.7 million—identify as Democrats.

We’re seeing the damage caused by a pro-terrorist Democratic Party on a near-hourly basis. From House Democrats voting to block funding of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system in 2021 to the multitude of missteps by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the continued funding of Islamist terrorism in Judea and Samaria, what more do the Democrats need to do to show where their loyalty lies?

Yes, disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced he is launching an organization called “Progressives for Israel.” But talk to anyone who lived through Cuomo’s vicious and self-serving COVID policies about whether he is capable of thinking, let alone doing anything moral. Even Democrats won’t listen to him.

In stark contrast, Republican views on Israel have remained the same. According to the new poll, 78% continue to back the Jewish state.

Until this version of the Democratic Party returns to sanity or dies, American Jews who care about the survival of our people have one task: To make sure pro-Israel Republicans are elected to the White House and Congress. Since polls show that Donald Trump could lose to any Democratic contender for the 2024 presidential race, while Gov. Ron DeSantis has a very good chance of winning—pulling in nearly all Independents and even some Democrats—this is a moment of reckoning for Jews in the GOP as well.

We have to make sure one thing happens: Democrats need to exit the White House and Congress and not come back until they’ve returned to classical liberalism and sanity. And the only way to do that is with a sane GOP.

What else needs to happen for everyone to understand how dangerous this moment is?
Jonathan Tobin: Democrats’ attitudes towards Israel reach a tipping point
Meanwhile, at the same time that the GOP was embracing Israel, a shift began on the other side of the aisle.

Part of that was due to political changes in the Jewish state. The end of the domination of the Labor Party and the election of Menachem Begin as prime minister in 1977 made it a bit more difficult for American liberals to identify with Israel. The policies of Labor-led governments on security issues prior to the Oslo Accords in 1993 were not that different from those of the right. But the rise of Begin’s Likud Party, coupled with the camp of nationalist and religious parties, was hard to fathom for Americans who had come to define their Jewish identity solely through the prism of their political liberalism and social-justice issues.

More than that, it was during this period that the far left of the Democratic Party began to regard the Jewish state through the prism of anti-Zionist propaganda, which falsely depicted it as an expression of colonialism.

Still, the vast majority of Democrats rejected those ideas and the leadership of the party, which was reflected in the views of the geriatrics that have led its congressional caucuses up until this year, and many in the rank-and-file were still happy to identify as pro-Israel.

In 2001, Gallup reported that Democrats still backed Israel by a 51% to 16% margin. While that’s still true of some congressional Democrats, they are now out of touch with their party’s left-wing base.

It’s not as if strong sympathy for Israel across the board is gone. When Gallup asked respondents how they feel about Israel without adding in the contrast with the Palestinians, the numbers are more encouraging. The survey says 56% of Democrats have a favorable view of Israel, a number that has shown little change since 2001 when it stood at 60%. But it’s still much lower than independents, 67% of whom view Israel favorably (up from 59% in 2001)—let alone Republicans, 82% of whom view it favorably (up from 75% in 2001).

And only a minority of Americans think well of the Palestinian Authority—36% of Democrats, 28% of independents and only 9% of Republicans.

But the problem is that when you ask people how they feel about Israel vis-à-vis the Palestinians, the intersectional mindset kicks in for those who are influenced by the left. That explains why, when given the choice, more Democrats now favor an entity that has repeatedly rejected peace than those who back Israel.
Jonathan Tobin: Joel Pollak & the Left's Willful Blindness to Antisemitism
In this week’s episode of Top Story, JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin speaks with Breitbart News senior editor-at-large Joel Pollak who discussed the famous insight of the publication’s founder Andrew Breitbart about “politics being downstream of culture.”

In this far-reaching interview, they discuss
- Why do liberal Jewish institutions only see antisemitism on one side.
- How the ADL has made common cause with hate groups and exaggerated antisemitism statistics to justify its existence
- Addressing accusations against Breitbart of antisemitism and being part of the alt-right.
- Pollak’s view on the current protests against legal reform in Israel

Ken Roth & Peter Beinart Gaslight Jewish Community With Antisemitism Tweets
Ken Roth’s Narrow View of Antisemitism
In his March 18 tweet, Roth, the former head of Human Rights Watch, linked to a recent Pew survey that found “anti-Jewish harassment” had occurred in 94 countries in 2020, an increase from past years. Rather than simply highlighting this fact, Roth tweeted that this is “all the more reason for partisan defenders of the Israeli government to stop using false charges of antisemitism to try to silence legitimate criticism of Israeli repression.”

In doing so, Roth accused pro-Israel advocates of calling out antisemitism in bad faith and effectively minimizing the role of antisemitism in certain critiques of Israeli policy and anti-Israel activities.

As is evidenced by the vibrant political atmosphere in Israel itself, it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the Israeli government’s policies.

However, as noted in the internationally recognized IHRA working definition of antisemitism, anti-Israel activity and rhetoric can devolve into base antisemitism. This includes (but is not limited to) the claim that the Jewish state’s entire existence is based on a racist ideology, the use of antisemitic imagery to criticize Israeli policies/actions, and holding Jews around the world collectively responsible for Israel’s actions.

This last point is especially relevant as the rise in violence and tensions between Israel and the Palestinians has been shown to provide an impetus for antisemitic assaults and harassment worldwide.

Thus, it is clear that the recent rise in international antisemitism is directly related (in part) to an increase in anti-Israel rhetoric and activities that go beyond the pale of acceptable criticism and into the morass of antisemitic hate, a phenomenon that Roth purposefully ignores.

While it is disturbing that Ken Roth seeks to condemn a rise in antisemitism while simultaneously exonerating antisemitism masquerading as criticism of Israel/anti-Zionism, it is not at all surprising.

As noted by both NGO Monitor and UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer, Roth’s own criticism of the Jewish state has on occasion devolved into antisemitic rhetoric and imagery, as well as justifying antisemitism.

This includes blaming Israel for the rise in European antisemitism (as opposed to blaming the antisemites themselves), comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, and suggesting that Judaism is a ‘primitive’ religion.

Can “The Whole World” Be Wrong? Lethal Journalism, Antisemitism, and Global Jihad is a book that makes you shake your head a lot. You just can’t believe how stupid people are. The stupid things they say and do to make themselves feel better about themselves; the stupid things and the lies they say that allow them to hate Jews and look the other way at the jihadists who target the liars, their loved ones, and their way of life. It’s hard to watch—you want to look away from this slow, global, own-goal suicide. But the author, Professor Richard Landes, has made this work so compelling, you have no choice but to continue reading, even when, as a sane person, it leaves you, the reader, feeling rather queasy. 

Richard Landes

The book takes its title from the words of two men on the subject of blood libels, issued a century apart. There are the mocking words of writer Ahad Ha’am (Asher Ginsburg), who in 1897, echoing the oft-expressed sentiment by European non-Jews when confronted with proof that, no. Jews don’t use the blood of Christian babies in the manufacture of matzah: “Is it possible the whole world is wrong and the Jews are right?”

Ahad Ha'am (Asher Ginsburg)

In 2002, A little more than 100 years later, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, referring to Israeli denials of a massacre in Jenin that never occurred, said, “I don’t think the whole world, including the friends of the Israeli people and government, can be wrong.”

In this way, antisemitism takes its path. Because there are plenty of Jew-haters in the world. And the more there are, the more they give themselves moral permission to hate. The media, of course, is there to help things along with its own rendition of the modern blood libel. It’s called “lethal journalism.” They use fake footage, knowing it’s fake. They lie, because the lies are what their audiences want to hear. And they demonize Israel every time, because again: it’s exactly what their audiences want to hear.

Landes takes you on a journey, beginning in 2000 with the Al Durah hoax, moving on to 9-11, the phony Jenin “massacre,” and the Danish cartoon scandal (Danoongate). At the end of each chapter, Landes summarizes the stupid things that various figures have said in relation to these events. For example, journalist Catherine Nay said of the faked viral photo of the dead boy in his father’s arms, “This death erases replaces the image of the boy in the Warsaw Ghetto.”

Every bit as shockingly stupid are the words of George W. Bush, spoken at the Islamic Center of Washington only days after 9-11, on September 17, 2001, “Islam is peace.”

Regarding the fictional Jenin massacre, journalist Janine di Giovanni wrote, “Rarely in more than a decade of war reporting from Bosnia, Chechniya, Sierra Leone, Kossovo, have I seen such deliberate destruction, such disrespect for human life. “Inside the Camp of the Dead,” The Times, April 16, 2002.

And of Danoongate, the French Director of Intelligence speaking in 2005, said, “These riots have nothing to do with Islam.”

Landes has been documenting this astounding stupidity and world folly for more than a decade. The result is this 500-page compendium with its prodigious, painstaking footnotes that leave the reader open-mouthed and astonished. You wonder: “How on earth did we get here?”

But you already know. Landes has connected up all the dots: the lies and lethal journalism, and the way the world gave jihad a pass, while damning the Jews. The facts and the progression of this deadly state of affairs have been amply covered by the author and you begin to understand the depth of the threat to our world, today. 

This a book you want on your shelf. It is not an easy read, but a necessary one if you want to understand how we got here—and how we are to dig our way out of this ugly, Jew-hating, jihadi, fake news mess. I put some questions to author Richard Landes to learn more about his book and its implications for the future:

Varda Epstein: Most writers think about who they’re writing for and gear their writing to that reader. “Can The ‘Whole World’ Be Wrong?” seems to be identifying who the readers is not. The book begins with a warning, but it’s more like a dare, or even a threat—like you’re trying to scare the reader off: “If you feel up to the task . . . turn the page. If not, just sit in your tub tweeting about white, racist privilege, while you bleed out.”

Who do you envisage as your reader? Who is it you’re trying to reach?

Richard Landes: My ideal reader is someone who really does care about liberal and progressive values. I actually lay out my concerns in the introductory chapter by contrasting zero-sum and positive-sum values, and stating my unequivocal preference for the latter, while conceding that the former has an inevitable presence in our lives and warning that those thinking they can eliminate zero-sum are not only fooling themselves with messianic dreams, but ultimately opposed to key life forces.

What I document in the book, however, is a massive shift in what was considered “liberal” or “progressive” in the new century/millennium. By 2003 it became a “litmus test of liberal credentials” to be pro-Palestinian (Buruma in NYT), at a time when the Palestinians were engaged in a suicide-mass murder war against Israeli civilians. By any standards of real liberal values that was a travesty which continues to this day (think Gays and LGBTQ for Palestine). So in a sense, the book is an attempt to go back to the moment this travesty first “took” and rethink how it could have happened so quickly and thoroughly. But since I firmly believe that the willingness to hear criticism and take it seriously is one of the key components of the liberal sensibility, I address this criticism to liberals sufficiently committed to their values to take it seriously.

Varda Epstein: Do you worry you’re preaching to the choir? Do you even aspire to reach the masses?

Richard Landes: Well that’s hard to say. Obviously a 500-page book with notes at the bottom of each page is not for “the masses.” But, between masses and choir lies many a circle of readers. Obviously, the “choir” of pro-Israel people are going to find it congenial. A number of people have written me about devouring the book in one sitting and thanking me: “Someone finally has the words for everything I’ve been struggling to say!” wrote one person. And if it helps them make the point to others, that’s great. But my real audience is what we might call the goats. As shepherds know, if you have about one goat to every ten sheep, then when there’s a problem, the sheep look to the goats. If they’re calm, the skittish sheep settle down. Similarly, I don’t think I’m going to reach some gay guy so caught up in his peer group that he repeats nonsense about being passionately for a political culture that hates gays. But if I can reach the thoughtful ones, then maybe they can explain it to him.

Varda Epstein: You write, “In a sense, this book should not have had to be written and I should be able to work on the origins of modern Western civilization in the demotic millennialism of eleventh-century France to my heart’s content.” Why did the “Can The ‘Whole World’ Be Wrong?” have to be written, and why by you, Richard Landes? After all, as you suggest, lethal journalism, antisemitism, and global jihad are not your chosen field.

Richard Landes: Well, actually, global jihad is my field since it’s an apocalyptic millennial movement, and it came on my screen in the mid-90s through the (then) graduate work of David Cook (now at Rice U.). Actually, in the mid-1990s, in my work on the 11th century, I began to work out a model of antisemitism that went in waves starting with philo-semitism, leading to important socio-economic changes that eventually produced an antisemitic reaction. Given that the period after the Holocaust (i.e. my life) was the longest and most philo-semitic period in recorded history (especially in the USA where I grew up), I speculated that the advent of 2000 might mark the reappearance of antisemitism in the West. At the time I thought it would come from the apocalyptic “right” – fundamentalist Christian Zionists disappointed that the Rapture didn’t happen, and Jihadi Muslims who were already openly and ferociously antisemitic. What I didn’t see coming were two linked phenomena: 1) the attraction of the “Left” for the Jihadi apocalyptic narrative that Israel and the US were “Satans”/Antichrists, and 2) the utter failure of liberals, who had a huge presence in the public sphere, to resist. As a result, what I thought would be a wave of Jew-hatred that we could resist, has, over 20 years of astonishing and self-destructive mishandling, become an existential threat not only to Israel (its purported target) but to democracies around the world.

Why did I have to write it rather than someone else? I don’t know. But someone else didn’t write it. It’s such a hard thing to grasp, a history of your own time. Maybe working historians in the early 11th century writing histories of the turn of that millennium made it a conceivable project. Obviously I don’t write about everything (and neither did they). I write in depth about what I think were errors of judgment on a civilizational plane, which continue to be made by very smart people. We all love the story of the emperor’s new clothes, but few of us want to entertain the notion that it’s actually happening. Someone jokingly said that Amazon should bundle my book not with another book, but with antidepressants. It’s dark stuff. Very depressing. Without a deep sense of humor, I wouldn't have been able to keep my eye on this ball over the course of decades.

Varda Epstein: How, if at all, does your work as a medievalist inform your book, and in particular your interest in eleventh-century France? Does your work on the Al Durah story, which you mention in your book, have anything to do with that? You cite many French sources and drop French phrases in your book. I’m getting the idea that you’re a Francophile—but not!

Richard Landes: As for the Middle Ages, there are three key issues:

1)      Honor-shame societies: As a medievalist I work on a society in which gaining/keeping honor and avoiding/revenging shame were key components of public life, where it was legitimate, accepted, even required that one shed blood for the sake of honor. Without understanding those dynamics, you don’t understand Arab political culture. Now Edward Saïd made it taboo to discuss these matters (the quintessence of “Orientalism”), and in doing so blinded the West to the cultural dynamics of this region. In my book I show how the Oslo Accords were based on thinking that Arafat and Arab political culture were ready to give up the view that the very existence of Israel was so shameful that it must be destroyed, and go for the positive-sum, win-win, of “land for peace,” to the benefit of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. And how ignoring those dynamics meant that right up to the last second, the peace negotiators thought we were “sooo close.” And still do.

2)      Apocalyptic millenarian: the jihadis are a classic expression of a distinctly (but not exclusively) medieval form of eschatological thinking, namely they embrace an “active cataclysmic apocalyptic scenario” – evil permeates the world and we are God’s agents in destroying it – aiming at a hierarchical millennium – Islam will dominate the world, infidels either accept dhimmitude (subjection), or convert, or die. It’s really hard for moderns to take apocalyptic beliefs seriously because every time in the past that people have been so moved, they’ve been wrong, sometimes disastrously so. (This included modern historians of the Middle Ages.) As a result of this cognitive lapse, and the pressures of political correctness in the 21st century, to avoid anything too negative about Islam (don’t say “radical Islam”), has produced a Western culture that cannot see its enemy (embodied in the absurd formula “war on terrorism”).

3)      Public Secrets: for reasons that I’m not sure about, both my academic career and my journalistic one have found and investigated public secrets, that is, something everyone “in the know” knows about, but when it comes to the public record, they deny any knowledge or existence of the issue in question. In the Middle Ages it was about how Charlemagne was crowned on the first day of the year 6000 from Creation – a millennial date Christian chronographers had been tracking for over 6 centuries – and yet no one who wrote about the coronation, or his imperial period, mentioned it. In this book, the main public secret I deal with is that the Palestinians fake news footage all the time, and that the press is so profoundly intimidated by them, that they run Palestinian “lethal narratives” as news. This unacknowledged, even denied phenomenon, has immense impact on the kind of lethal journalism that we get constantly from our news media.

Varda Epstein: There’s a lot about stupidity in your book—you call it when and where you see it, using exactly that word “stupid” in its various forms. Why is it important to you to use precisely this descriptor and how do you account for the sheer amount of it that exists in the world? 

Richard Landes: First because it’s a technical term in economic and game theory for someone who hurts someone else without gaining any advantage (Cipolla). Secondly because it’s so stunningly prominent in our times. I define “astoundingly stupid” as creating advantages for an avowed enemy. And as far as I can make out, that has been a consistent pattern among the Western opinion leaders – journalists, academics, public intellectuals, politicians, and policy makers – for the last two decades. As Elder of Ziyon put it, my book is a “modern take on the Emperor’s New Clothes.” Then, when I found the comment by Bonhoeffer (which I included in the epigrams)—who also lived at a time when his society was being seized by apocalyptic memes—about the impossibility of arguing with precisely this kind of self-destructive stupidity, I knew I was on the right track. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Varda Epstein: How did you decide on the structure of the book? How does the first part complement the second? Why not have it in, say, two volumes? Oh, and you must tell us about the haikus! That must have been fun.

Richard Landes: The structure wrote itself. The first four chapters are my “history of my time,” namely four incidents in the early aughts (‘00s) that chronicle key moments in the assault of global jihad on western democracies, and the astoundingly stupid way in which the West processed what was happening to them: the outbreak of the intifada and the al Durah affair; 9-11; the “Jenin Massacre”; and the Danish cartoon scandal.

Then, to explain how this could happen, I went through the key players: 1) Shame-Honor driven Arab culture; 2) Apocalyptic-Millennial driven Jihadi beliefs – what I call Caliphators; 3) Liberal Cognitive Egocentrics: people who project their positive-sum values onto cultures that don’t share it; 4) radical progressives who, blinded by Saïd’s assault on Orientalism, end up allying with the most imperialist movement in the world because it’s “anti-imperialist,” i.e. anti-USA and Israel; 5) the lethal journalists who radically disorient their audiences with their Palestinian-compliant “news” reports; and 6) the virtue-signaling Jews who adopt their enemy’s narrative (something an apocalyptic Caliphator predicted in 2001), thereby giving wings to the very kind of exterminationist antisemitism that fueled the Nazi madness.

The last part sketches developments over the next decade and a half (mid-aughts to now), identifying some of the phenomena so striking in our current culture that I think this turn-of-the-millennium seizure helped set in motion – woke, cancel-culture politics, fake news, anti-racism discourse, and what I call pre-emptive dhimmitude, namely the adoption by our information elites of a posture of subjection to Muslim demands for respect which ends up attacking not the invaders of democratic culture, but those (like me) who warn and mobilize against those enemies.

As for the haikus, I’ve been writing them ever since I ran across the form in my youth. The one for al Durah (chapter one) was originally written for Y2K: “We need not have been/ Mouths open inhaling, when/ The sh*t hit the fan.” My favorite is the one for the chapter on Jews against themselves: “Have ever before/ lambs denounced lambs who refuse/ to lie with lions?”

Varda Epstein: I so appreciated all the detailed footnotes you included at the bottom of each page (I hate it when writers put them the end and I have to flip back and forth). But that would have been a daunting task! You must have been taking voluminous notes for years on end, as you read, watched, talked . . . does that about sum it up? How many years was this book in the making? 

"A book that keeps writing itself,"
Tat Aluf Yossi Kuperwasser

Richard Landes: Yes, it does sum it up nicely. Thanks to Evernote (I have over 35,000 notes clipped there), I’ve been able to preserve access to articles that no longer can be found online. I’m ashamed to say the book was over a decade in the making. The working title – They’re so smart, cause we’re so Stupid – was inspired by the Fort Hood Massacre (2009) in which a Palestinian-American major in the army, after extensively displaying his jihadi sympathies, shot dozens of his fellow-soldiers, and inspired Mark Steyn to write an article entitled: “These days, it’s easier to be even more stupid after the event.” It’s just hard to write a history book about your own time. As Yossi Kuperwasser put it, “It’s a book that keeps writing itself.” When Shireen abu Akleh was killed, I knew I couldn't include this ongoing, slow-motion train wreck.

As for the footnotes, I feel passionately about a) having many, and b) at the bottom of the page. I took out all the URLs one can find for oneself easily from the hard-copy book, but for those who want to get them, I have them up at my personal webpage for the book:

Varda Epstein: There are so many shocking parts in your book still rattling around in my head. For instance, that remark from a peer, “Well, the Jews have been asking for it, and now, thank God, we can say what we think at last.”

Richard Landes: For me it will always be Charles Enderlin, when I pointed out how much faking was going on at Netzarim Junction the day Muhammad al Durah was allegedly shot, saying to me “Oh yes, they do that all the time.”

But the two worst comments by far were a) when a colleague in the history department responded to my bemoaning the suicide terror war of the Palestinians with the comment, “What choice do they have?” and b) the journalist Catherine Nay saying that the image of al Durah “erased, replaced” the picture of the boy in the Warsaw Ghetto. Hard to get more empirically and morally disoriented, and yet people heard these kinds of remarks and nodded knowingly.

What would you say shocked you most about your findings? I’m guessing it’s the stupidity. . .

Richard Landes: That’s one way to put it. Cowardice is another. The way I’d put it, in the ‘90s, I may have seen a wave of antisemitism coming in 2000, and even a wave of Jihadi attacks on the West, but I never dreamed that Western democracies would be so feckless in responding.

Varda Epstein: What do you want the reader to take away from your book?

Richard Landes:

1) that when “the whole world” agrees on something (whether it’s the emperor’s courtiers or the academics and journalists and pundits who think they speak for “the whole world” and are sure they’re right) they can (and have, and are and will) be, sometimes, wrong.

2) that the meanings of “liberal” and “progressive” have been terribly distorted, even betrayed, in the 21st century. 

3) that when the legacy media reports Israel has done something terrible and Israeli sources deny it (or even admit to it only partially) it’s possible that the legacy media is wrong.

4) that we’ve gotten into this mess because a lot of nice and well-intentioned people have allowed themselves to be pushed around, silenced, and cowed by those filled with passionate intensity, and we need to speak up.

5) that to continue down this path spells disaster.


Landes, R. (2022). Can “The Whole World” Be Wrong?: Lethal Journalism, Antisemitism, and Global Jihad (Antisemitism in America). Boston : Academic Studies Press, 2022. 

(available on Amazon.)

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!



  • Wednesday, March 22, 2023
  • Elder of Ziyon
I was browsing Google Books looking for the use of the term "Palestinian Talmud"when I came across  an 1883 work, "The Mishnah on which the Palestinian Talmud Rests; Edited for the Syndics of the University Press from the Unique Manuscript Preserved in the University Library of Cambridge, Add. 470. 1" by William Henry Lowe, a Hebrew lecturer at Christ's College.

This edition of the Mishna has little to do with the Jerusalem ("Palestinian") Talmud. It is a transcription of a 15th century manuscript of the Mishnah at Cambridge, one of the earliest complete such manuscripts. 

Lowe chose to write the entire work using "Rashi" script, rather than the usual Hebrew scripts. But that isn't the weirdest part.

Lowe wrote the Hebrew title page, and the Hebrew introduction, in the style of Jewish works of scholarship, to the extent that he refers to the decidedly non-Jewish Christ's College becomes "The Beit Medrash for the Group of the Messiah."

Here are the English and Hebrew title pages:

Lowe even lists the (Hebrew) publication year (5)643 by using the gematria of a Hebrew Biblical phrase the way Jewish scholars do, using a verse from Psalms 102:14 which happens to be quite Zionist: "You will surely arise and take pity on Zion, for it is time to be gracious to her; the appointed time has come."

His dedication page and introduction are likewise in the style of Jewish scholars.

The original 15th century manuscript that Lowe transcribed (and commented on) is now online at Cambridge's website. 
My favorite page is this one, where a child decided to practice his or her Aleph-Bet lessons on the bottom margin of the priceless page:

This, to me, symbolizes Judaism's eternal survival. Scholarship is not relegated to the ivory tower; these books were in people's homes where anyone could access them, including six-year olds. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!



From Ian:

Academics miraculously criticize the ‘Golden Age’ myth of Muslim empire
“If you are looking for a Golden Age, talk to the people that have the gold. For the rest of the people, it’s probably not that golden,” said University of Colorado-Boulder religious studies professor Brian Aivars Catlos.

Along with other panelists, Catlos’ discussion of medieval Muslim society in the Mediterranean during a recent webinar offered some remarkably serious critique—along with the usual platitudes—which was much in contrast to the usual glorification of alleged Islamic tolerance and pluralism.

With his coauthors, Catlos discussed his new book The Sea in the Middle: The Mediterranean World, 650-1650. The host for “Integrating European and Islamic History in the Medieval Mediterranean” was Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU). This Saudi-sponsored entity, along with its director, John L. Esposito, who moderated, usually engages in incessant Islamist apologetics.

“Two things you won’t find in our book are moralizing and nostalgia. We tried to present things, warts and all. No one gets a free pass. This isn’t a book that looks back to some Golden Age of intercommunal harmony,” Catlos said in a refreshing change from ACMCU’s usual pablum.

“There is a constant background of violence to all history,” he added, and agreed with his fellow panelist, University of Toronto history professor Mark Meyerson, about illiberality in the era’s Muslim and Christian societies. Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories

“Structures of discrimination and segregation … are part of the package of premodern diversity in the Mediterranean,” he noted. Yet “minority communities or their leaders are actually advocates of these structures” at times “as the only way of preserving themselves. It is very difficult to apply a sort of modern moral perspective.”

Nonetheless, Meyerson engaged in some of the usual apologetics. Concerning religious restrictions on minority communities, he spoke of “how often [such restrictions] were not observed” and promoted the common falsehood that the dhimma status placed on non-Muslims was a form of security rather than subjugation.
Of course there Is no Arab “Palestinian” People and there never was an Arab “Palestine.”
Facts remain facts. Jews, Catholics, and Protestants all have access to Biblical narratives that tell a profound truth: There never ever was an Arab country called “Palestine,” and there never ever were an Arab people who called themselves “The Palestinians” until the past century. Their claims are bogus. Their lies are brazen.

Minister Smotrich is correct. Even Labor Socialist Golda Meir published in the New York Times that “There is no Palestinian people.”

In foreseeable time, the Israeli Government finally will extend sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, just as it did in uniting Jerusalem and in annexing the Golan Heights. No one is going to uproot and displace nearly a million Jews from their homes in cities throughout Judea and Samaria. To remove Jews from Hebron, where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah repose? From the region where Rachel’s Tomb stands? To ethnically cleanse Jews out of the regions where Isaiah, Amos, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel prophesied? Absurd.

The opinions of the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab and Muslim World, and the Russia-China-North Korea Axis do not matter. That is the beauty of Israel having been the target of their one-sided, viciously unfair and biased attacks for more than seventy years: Israelis and those who support Israel throughout the world learned decades ago to tune out their endless condemnations. France’s opinion does not matter. Poor Parisians, they now have to work until age 64 instead of retiring at 62. Britain does not matter. The whole European Union does not matter.

Nor do Biden, Blinken, Nides, and that crew. America is facing a mega banking crisis that even has driven Leftist Jewish money back to Israel. They have to deal with train derailments, Russia and Ukraine, China’s designs on Taiwan, North Korean nuclear tests, Iran uranium enrichment, a debt exceeding 30 trillion dollars, the craziness that soon will ensue if they arrest or indict Donald Trump, a southern border out of control, a culture war in their schools, newly stoked racial divisions, fights over abortion-on-demand and gender dysphoria that sees men saying they are women, women claiming to be men, others claiming to be neither or both, pronouns by which he is they and they is she, and so much more.

2None of those characters has time, energy, or serious care about “Palestine.” They simply say what they are expected to say, and they move on.

Minister Smotrich has done a great public service by leveraging his enhanced public platform to state a 1simple fact. And as Ben Shapiro famously has written, facts don’t care about your feelings.

How to Keep Antisemitism Away From Turtle Bay
Of the many fundamental flaws that characterize the United Nations, one is that, on the 47-member Human Rights Council (UNHRC), China, Cuba, and Qatar have the same vote as the U.S., UK, or Finland. Another is that an entire UN agency is dedicated to perpetuating the Israel-Palestinian conflict, running schools that indoctrinate pupils into hating Jews while using them as human shields for Hamas rocket batteries. Another is that the UN’s permanent, professional staff is rife with anti-Semites. Take the all-too-typical case of Craig Mokhiber. David May and Richard Goldberg write:

Craig Mokhiber heads the New York section of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which oversees the UNHRC. On Twitter, Mokhiber has falsely accused the Jewish state of “genocidal cruelty” and of committing “ongoing genocide,” “race-based slaughter,” “apartheid,” and “ethnic cleansing.” But that’s just par for the course. Mokhiber is currently in the spotlight because UN Watch—an NGO dedicated to accountability at Turtle Bay—issued a report showing that Mokhiber wants to block the UN from endorsing a widely-used definition of anti-Semitism, a key step in the process of rooting out anti-Semitism at the UN.

The Biden administration is a bit player in this drama, which is part of the problem. It promised that deeper and more consistent engagement with UN bodies would promote reform, but that hasn’t happened. The Mokhiber affair suggests it is past time for the Biden administration and Congress to threaten to withhold U.S. funding from any UN body found to be engaging in anti-Semitism.

Every year, the president requests and Congress appropriates upwards of a billion dollars to the United Nations and its various agencies and operations. That money should not be handed over as a blank check. Instead, conditions should be added to tie U.S. funding to any UN organization on whether that organization or its officials engage in anti-Semitism. American taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the world’s oldest hatred.
Raja Abdulrahim wrote an article in today's New York Times that is ostensibly about how difficult Israel is making it for Muslim artisans to repair damage from clashes on the Temple Mount.

From start to finish, the article is a very sophisticated piece of anti-Israel propaganda

The propaganda begins in the headline:

According to the headline, the "Al Aqsa Mosque" and the "Temple Mount" are two names for the same thing. While the article itself says "Al Aqsa Mosque compound" this is part of a relatively new campaign by Muslims to rename the entire Mount as "Al Aqsa Mosque," the third holiest site in Islam, a holy place for Muslims, and not just the mosque itself which is now referred to as the "Al Qibli Mosque." Up until recent years, the Waqf called the building the Al Aqsa Mosque and the compound the Haram al-Sharif.

 At a workshop on the edge of the Aqsa Mosque compound, Muhammad Rowidy spends hours hunched over panes of stained glass, painstakingly carving through white plaster to reveal geometric designs. While he works, there is a thought he can’t shake.

“You see this,” he said, pausing and leaning back, “this takes months to finish, and in one minute, in one kick, all this hard work goes.”
The "one kick" is a clear reference to Israeli security as being the source of damage to the stained glass. And that is the impression that the article tries to give, that Israeli forces are the ones who cause damage, until nearly at the end, when it says:

Mr. Rowidy, 41, said it was easy to tell which side had broken which windows. Those completely smashed were done by the Israeli police with batons, he said. A video posted on Facebook during the unrest shows one of the windows being broken, with what appears to be a baton, from the roof outside.

In comparison, Palestinians who threw stones had knocked large holes in the windows, he said.
So Palestinians stockpile stones inside the mosque, throwing them at Jews and responding troops including through valuable stained glass windows, and Israeli forces shoot tear gas through the damaged windows to avoid entering the mosque. And somehow the Israelis are the ones blamed!

The Times doesn't show these images of deliberate damage to and weaponization of the Al Aqsa Mosque by Muslims:

The article has other examples of one-sidedness:

Incidents at the compound have often served as a spark in the broader Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In 2000, a trip to the site by Ariel Sharon, who later became Israel’s prime minister, surrounded by hundreds of police officers, set off the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising. More recently, the security minister in Israel’s right-wing government, Itamar Ben-Gvir, angered Palestinians and regional Muslim states by visiting the compound.
Sharons' visit didn't spark the second intifada. It was an excuse for a pre-planned, deadly uprising. 

And Ben Gvir's visit did not result in any incident whatsoever, although many predicted it would. So why mention it at all?

But on the other hand, sometimes Muslims start to attack Jews for no reason from inside the mosque - but they are never described as "sparking" anything.

More bias:

The workers at the mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, need approval from the Israeli authorities for repairs or replacements, down to every broken window or smashed tile, according to the workers, administrators of the site, and Israeli rights groups.

Jews believe that the compound is the location of two ancient temples and consider it the holiest site in Judaism. In recent years, Jewish worshipers have prayed inside the compound, a violation of an agreement that has been in place since 1967.
Calling Al Aqsa the "third holiest site in Islam" is said with no caveats, even though for Sufi Muslims this is not so obvious, and this is controversial in Shiite Islam as well, as some believe that the Al Aqsa mosque mentioned in the Quran exists only in heaven. 

But while the Sunni Muslim beliefs are written as fact, the location of the Jewish Temples are framed as something that Jews merely "believe," despite the quite clear evidence of the 2000 year old remains of the Temple compound that exist today and a continuous historical thread since Biblical times. 

. With the overlapping holidays this year, there are concerns that increased visits and unauthorized prayers could provoke further clashes between the Israeli police and Palestinians, as has been the case in previous years.
Jews quietly and silently praying "provoke" clashes? No, Muslim intolerance for Jews is the source of the violence, not devout Jewish prayers. 

But perhaps the biggest problem with this article isn't how Abdulrahim artfully manages to avoid running afoul of the New York Times fact checkers while injecting so much bias. The major problem is that she doesn't say a word about why Israel is so skittish about unauthorized and unsupervised repairs on the Temple Mount.

Because Muslims had lied about this before and used those lies to build a massive underground mosque that destroyed and carted away tons of the most valuable archaeological and religious treasures on Earth. And the destruction of valuable treasures continues today. Even during last year's riots the Muslim youth broke some ancient columns, with not a word from the New York Times. 

By not reporting about this wholesale destruction done by the Waqf and Palestinians on the Temple Mount, Abdulrahim frames this as Israeli meddling in Muslim culture just to harass them.

Put it all together, and this isn't a news article. It is anti-Israel agitprop that twists and chooses facts to give an entirely wrong impression to the reader. 

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Kotel, circa 1920

According to Palestinian media, the League of Arab States declared that the 1930 international commission that declared that Muslims had legal ownership of the Western Wall is still true, and the Western Wall - as well as the plaza in front of it - is all Muslim Waqf land where Jews have no legal rights. 

While US and European leaders have fallen over themselves to condemn Bezalel Smotrich for saying that the Palestinian people are a recent invention, saying that statements like that are inflammatory, there is silence in both diplomatic circles and the media about the Arabs denying any rights of Jews to the very place that they have prayed towards for thousands of years.

Selective outrage is the norm, of course. Arabs are expected to say inflammatory, inciting and false statements - they do this every day - but only Jews are expected to speak in measured tones and not to plainly state the truth if it might upset the touchy Arabs.

But there is a very interesting angle to the newfound Palestinian love of the 1930 Western Wall Commission report. (They made it clear at the time that they do not accept that the Commission has any legal right to rule on the issue.) 

If you look closer at the specific Muslim claims in 1930 quoted in the Commission report, you find out that according to their logic at the time, Israel is the legal owner today not only of the Kotel but of all of Jerusalem.

The Muslim side, represented by Ahmed Zaki Pasha, declared  the Muslim legal case to the Commission:

History shows that after having acquired Palestine by the right of conquest, the Jews were definitely driven out of the country by the Romans after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. The Christians then ruled the country until the Arab conquest under Omar. With the exception of 90 years during the epoch of the Crusades the effective possession of the country has been in the hands of the Arabs from generation to generation.  The Jews who came to Palestine were not interfered with by the Arabs and were fairly well treated by the Moslem rulers of the country.  During this long period there were no incidents at the Buraq.  The Jews never claimed any rights to the Wall and were content to go now and them to lament at that place, contented in the assurance that the tolerant Arabs would not interfere with them.  It is the Balfour Declaration, reiterated in the Terms of the Mandate, that has been the cause of the discussion which finally brought bloodshed over Palestine and incited the Jews to urge claims which they had never thought of before. The creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine, an Arab country, lost for ever by the Jews hundreds and hundreds of years ago, can only give rise to perpetual troubles and dissensions. The country which the Jews had taken over by right of conquest was again lost, and the Arabs in their turn conquered it, not from the Jews, who had been driven out of Palestine several centuries before, but from the Byzantines. It was not a Jewish kingdom that the Arabs occupied in the 7th century, but a country to which the Jews had no right whatever. 
It is here a question about property which has belonged to the Moslems for many centuries.
The Arab side is saying explicitly that the way that land in Palestine changes legal ownership is by the right of conquest. They admit that Jews owned the land before any Arabs did, legally, by conquering it. Then the Romans, Byzantines and finally Muslims had legal ownership because of their subsequent conquests. And even the Muslim ownership of the Temple Mount and Western Wall had only been for "many centuries" because of the Muslim conquest of the land. 

Since then, of course, the Jews re-conquered the land of Israel. And therefore, according to the Muslim's own testimony to this commission that they now say has legal weight, Jews have complete ownership of all of Jerusalem today, having conquered the city in 1967.

This is not the only part of the Muslim claims from 1930 that undermine their claim today.

One is that the 1930 claims admitted that the original holiness of the Temple Mount came from the Temples themselves, which today's Palestinian deny ever existed:

It ought to be observed that when Mohammed came to Jerusalem, the site of the ancient Temple, which was already an object of veneration for the Moslems, was called Masdjed Al Aqsa (i.e., remote oratory) in contrast to the Mosque of Mecca or Masdjed Al Haram (i.e., oratory, sanctuary).  At that time Mecca was hostile to Mohammed.  Owing to that, Jerusalem and especially the Temple area, for a certain period, became the first Kibla (direction) for the Moslems, i.e., during that period they turned their faces in the direction of Jerusalem when praying and it was not till later on that Mecca became definitely the Kibla.
Another most interesting section notes that according to Sharia law, once land is declared sacred Waqf land, it cannot lose that status - except for one case:
A Waqf property cannot be acquired by usucaption unless the usucaptor has enjoyed a peaceful and uninterrupted possession ab antique, i.e., for at least 33 years. 
Israel has certainly had unquestioned possession of the Kotel since 1967, and arguably all of Jerusalem. (This is probably a very weak argument under Sharia; I imagine any dispute by the previous owner would make usucaption invalid, but it is a fun argument.) 

Perhaps the Palestinians shouldn't be so quick to embrace the 1930 international commission report.  It shows that the same Muslim legal reasonings that sounded good to them in 1930 can now be used against them.

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Heroes Haim Graf and Mordechai Komornik

There were two interesting and related articles in the Palestine Post of March 22, 1948, on events that happened 75 years ago today, that were both about Jewish heroes.

The first real heroes were two guards, Haim Graf and Mordechai Komornik, who saw smoke coming out of the abandoned vehicle outside the Solel Boneh building in Haifa. They warned scores of people about a truck bomb - and who were killed by that very bomb as they were pushing the truck away from the crowded building.

Unfortunately, four were killed besides the guards, including a father and his five year old son.

The other heroic story was of a different type:

The Jews rushed to save the lives of their armed enemies - and Zichron Mizrahi paid with his life.

Why did the Arab Legionnaires assume that the Jews who were trying to rescue them were attacking them? 

Because that is how Arabs would act! 

Palestinian Arabs have a different idea of what being a "hero" means. They have used the word "heroic" consistently with every single murder of a Jew this year (and every other year) by an Arab.

If you want to know a people, know who they consider their heroes.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

From Ian:

Bernard Henri Levy: Israel’s Genius, and Its Bad Shepherds
I love Israel.

I’ve loved it since day one, just after the 1967 war, when I discovered this unknown land where everything spoke to me in secret.

I love the miracle of this country, born of a publicist’s passion for a history that he knew very little about; baptized with a name from psalmists and poets who knew nothing of what makes a nation; built by practical dreamers who, while resuscitating Hebrew, realized this other miracle, which was the invention of one of the only true social contracts in history (“we decide to be a republic, therefore we are one”—who else dared, except maybe America?).

I love Israel when I feel it’s a refuge for persecuted Jews, and I love it when it’s being menaced, stigmatized or demonized by adversaries who, by arms or words, intend to weaken or destroy it.

And, unlike France, which after six years of war with Algeria suspended some of its fundamental liberties, or the United States, which needed only six weeks after September 11 to pass their Patriot Act, I love that Israel, even at war, not after six years or six weeks, but since the very day of its birth, i.e., for 75 years, has never removed its freedoms or ceased to be a democracy.
Phyllis Chesler: Israeli protesters, I can no longer keep silent
I can no longer keep silent. I may be sitting in Manhattan, but my heart is in Jerusalem and my heart is very heavy.

I may not be a lawyer or a legal scholar, but I have been an organizer, an activist, a leader who has acted on behalf of civil and human rights—especially women’s rights. But I have never acted in the way that Israeli rioters are now acting: Not stopping, threatening to continue until they’ve brought down an entire country.

These leftists/progressives/“good people” (my former people) seem to be behaving the same way that pro-Palestinian/pro-jihad students behave in the streets and classrooms of America. They are like hecklers in the classroom who will not allow a speaker with whom they disagree to speak, trying to chase them out of the lecture hall. These rioters are aiming to abolish a lawful and democratic election because they despise and fear the people’s choice. They aim to make their country odious in the eyes of the world.

Do they not understand that Israel is already defamed, that the noose has tightened around the Jewish neck globally, that Israel is already hated everywhere? Do they think that by standing for civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, minority and Arab rights (all important issues) they will be seen as the “good” Israel, the “good” Jew and will be sent to the gas chambers last?

Do they not see that their style of protesting, however righteously intended, resembles a Black Lives Matter demonstration, a jihadist uprising, a Jan. 6 storming of the American Capitol or an adolescent tantrum? Do they not see that they are enacting their own form of BDS?

Do they not understand that they reside in a neighborhood where such a dangerous riot would be put down with live bullets, prison, torture, execution, perhaps even chemical warfare? Do they not understand that they are lucky to live in a country that does not do such things? Do they have no better way to protest what they view as dangerous and awful as a “tyranny of the majority?”
Thomas Friedman's fury
Nothing riles New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman more than an Israeli government with the audacity to disregard his opinions and demands. His laceration of the Jewish state stretches as far back as his undergraduate years at Brandeis University. There, he was a member of Breira, a left-wing Jewish advocacy group that favored a two-state solution along the pre-1967 lines, thereby removing biblical Judea and Samaria (previously Jordan's "west bank") from Israeli control. Friedman has been an unrelenting critic of Israel ever since.

In a March 8 diatribe, Friedman fancifully warned that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pursuing a "judicial putsch to crush the independence" of Israel's judiciary. He urged American Jews "to choose sides on Israel," but not any side – only Friedman's.

"Every rabbi and every Jewish leader in America," he wrote, must speak out to affirm his fury. Friedman's preferred Jewish leader seems to be Los Angeles Rabbi Sharon Brous, who recently delivered a sermon titled "The Tears of Zion," urging her congregation to challenge Netanyahu's "illiberal, ultranationalist regime." Only Netanyahu, it seems, is worthy of rabbinical laceration.

Given Friedman's rants, Brous's was mild criticism. In what he no doubt viewed as his nastiest insult, Friedman not only blamed Netanyahu for embracing "more and more ultranationalist and ultrareligious parties," but also claimed that the prime minister "has come to embrace the Trumpist playbook," whatever that means.

Friedman ignores the fact that, for Israel, former President Donald Trump was the most supportive American president since Harry Truman recognized the fledgling Jewish state back in 1948. Trump acknowledged Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and relocated the American embassy to Jerusalem in 2017, affirming it as Israel's capital. Would that Friedman's preferred presidents, whoever they may be, had done as much for Israel.

In Friedman's indictment, Netanyahu is guilty of "radicalizing his base, attacking Israel's legal, media and academic institutions" and "inciting his loyalists against centrist and left-wing Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs."

The European Union issued a press release:

Today’s decision in the Knesset to repeal some articles of the 2005 Disengagement law concerning the Northern West Bank is counter-productive to de-escalation efforts, and hampers the possibility to pursue confidence building measures and create a political horizon for dialogue.

Israel has reaffirmed its commitment to efforts to reduce tensions just very recently, with the joint communiques of Aqaba (26 February) and Sharm al-Sheikh (19 March).

The EU considers settlements as illegal under international law. They constitute a major obstacle to peace and threaten the viability of the two-state solution. The Gaza Disengagement law of 2005, and its articles concerning Northern West Bank, was an important step towards a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The decision of the Knesset is a clear step back.

We call on Israel to revoke this law and take actions that contribute to de-escalation of an already very tense situation.
The term "West Bank" wasn't capitalized until the 1970s, thousands of years after the area was named Judea and Samaria.

Now the EU has publicized a brand new place name: "Northern West Bank."  I can only find one other place where it is capitalized as a place name - by the obsessively anti-Israel World Council of Churches. 

But the EU is pretending that there is an Israeli law that specifies the "Northern West Bank."  No, there isn't.

The Disengagement Plan that resulted in Israeli withdrawal from Gaza also included the depopulation of several Jewish towns in Samaria - which is referred to repeatedly in the Plan as "Northern Samaria."

The EU would rather adopt a new place name, Northern West Bank, than use what the area is actually called. And the only reason is to separate that area from its Biblical and Jewish roots.

That is not objectivity. That is propaganda to pre-judge the outcome of negotiations. 

(h/t Irene)

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This video from Palestine Times is upset at an Israeli Knesset member suggested that playing soccer on the Temple Mount be prohibited, and defends the right of Muslims to desecrate the holiest place in Judaism.

It is remarkable that the very people who insist that everyone else respect their customs to the extent that all must follow their own laws  (e.g., no one can draw cartoons of Mohammed) and who threaten those who don't adhere to their standards,  have so little respect for the feelings of others.

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From Ian:

FDD: Israel and Palestinians Make Peace Commitments in Sharm el-Sheikh
“The good news is that there is an effort underway between Israelis and Palestinians to curb unrest during Ramadan. The bad news is that violent groups have been preparing to unleash terror attacks for some time now. And it’s difficult to say if any concrete commitments were made at the summit. Outside actors could have an outsized role in keeping a lid on the violence. Jordan’s rhetoric in particular could be a bellwether.”— Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research Efforts to Calm Tension as Violence Soars

The meeting is the second round of talks that began in Aqaba, Jordan, on February 26. The conference aimed to agree on a viable solution to deescalate violence. Recent terror attacks inside Israel — including a March 6 roadside bombing — have exacerbated concerns by Israeli and American officials that terrorist groups will exploit Ramadan to carry out further attacks.

While the talks in Sharm el-Sheikh were proceeding, a Palestinian terrorist shot and injured a U.S.-Israeli citizen who was traveling in the West Bank city of Hawara. Israeli security forces apprehended the shooter, who had used a makeshift weapon during the terror attack. The attack occurred in the same city where a Palestinian terrorist shot and killed two Israelis three weeks ago, provoking retaliation by Israelis against homes and property in Hawara.

Mixed Messages
Prior to the talks, Hamas and other terrorist organizations issued statements urging the Palestinian Authority (PA) not to meet with Israel. The meeting “only serves the occupation’s agenda to consolidate its power and control over Palestinian land,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said. An unnamed PA official also expressed doubt, saying the chance of a successful outcome in Sharm el-Sheikh was “zero.” Still, an unnamed American official said the outcome of the talks was “constructive, honest and forthright.”
Knesset repeals 2005 act on West Bank settlement pullout
The Knesset on Tuesday voted 31-18 to repeal articles of the 2005 Gaza Disengagement Law banning Israelis from entering and residing in four communities in northern Samaria.

The Gaza disengagement led to the destruction and evacuation of the Israeli communities of Sa-Nur, Homesh, Ganim and Kadim in northern Samaria, as well as 21 communities in the Gaza Strip.

In addition to rolling back the articles (23-27) banning movement into and out of, and residence in, northern Samaria, the amendment stipulates that Article 28, which canceled rights regarding real estate in vacated territory, will not apply to rights established there starting from the date of the bill's approval.

"There is no longer any justification to prevent Israelis from entering and staying in the evacuated territory in northern Samaria, and therefore it is proposed to state that these sections [of the disengagement law] will no longer apply to the evacuated territory," reads the introductory text to the bill.

The bill's passage erases "to some extent" the "the stain on the garment of the State of Israel" left by the disengagement, it continues.

The IDF must now approve a military order allowing Israelis to return to those areas.

"Seventeen years of attempts, an uncompromising struggle, and a strong belief in the righteousness of this path converged into one moment when the Knesset plenum voted in favor of canceling the Disengagement Law," Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, who sponsored the bill, said Tuesday.

"The State of Israel tonight began the recovery process from the deportation disaster," he added in reference to the 2005 expulsion of some 8,000 Jews from their homes in Gaza and Samaria. "This is the first significant step towards real healing and settlement in Israel's historical territories that belong to it."

Khaled Abu Toameh: Biden Administration Pushing Arabs Towards Iran
Today, China is victorious by sponsoring the historic agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, while the US has a new president who comes to destroy agreements reached by his predecessor, and even brags about it during his election campaign and his presidency." — Saeed Al-Mryti, Saudi political activist, Twitter, March 14, 2023.

"[N]o matter how hard analysts try to beautify the situation for US policy, what Saudi Arabia has done today is a direct and successful blow to the Biden administration and its policy in the Middle East." — Jubran Al-Khoury, Lebanese political analyst,, March 12, 2023.

It is thus no surprise that Iran and its terror proxies – Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah – are expressing profound satisfaction over the Saudi-Iranian agreement. In their eyes, the agreement is an indication of the growing weakness of the US and the failed policy of the Biden administration in the Middle East. Thanks to the US administration's fragility, the Iranian-led axis of evil has been significantly emboldened as America's erstwhile Arab allies are rushing towards the open arms of the mullahs in Tehran.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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