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That said, before we submerge a crucifix in urine let’s give the Abrahamic tree a second look, and examine the fruit it has borne.
The Jews never had a drive to spread over the Earth. Their scriptures taught them that certain lands were given them by God; so they took them, enough said, this was 6,000 years ago after all. But after that they lost any territorial ambitions. But, the Persians and Romans proceeded to push them this way and that; being rather fanatical, they pushed back. After the destruction of the 2nd Temple and the Judean Diaspora the centuries have seen Judaism become a religion withdrawn into itself. Having lost the arrogance of the Temple but retained the Love of God and intellectual tradition they became a creative yeast in their host cultures.
The Jews never expected to take over the world; at most they expected, and some maybe still expect that the world will join them. Not by the sword, but by the Love of God. One of the best aspects of the Jewish religion is its focus on the Love of God and a Love for God in each moment of a person’s life.
But along came Jayzus!
Things started out ok, Yesuah merely echoed and extended the teachings and philosophy of Hillel. It expanded organically and gently; converting mostly people otherwise considered “unworthy” of membership in one of the more respectable religions, then into the idle upper-class (often by way of religiously adventurous wives discontent with being the ornament on a rich man’s arm.
But then Paul and Constantine came to deal the Judaic Chrestians, and then, later, the mild original “Greek”, a double death-blow of politicization.
After several centuries of defending themselves from the fanatically imperialistic Islam Christianity began to model all sorts of the worst of the Islamic “innovations” in religion and took on an expansionist, aggressive attitude of its own.
But, it is inherent in a religion mostly based on the teachings of Jesus that every now and then people would remember what their religion was supposed to be about. Christianity may have done much more good during those periods than it did evil during its more cognitively-dissonant times.
Since the Enlightenment the swings of the pendulum between arrogant fanaticism on one hand, and humble servitude to God on the other seem to have gotten gentler. Christianity also seem centered more and more toward the liberal side of the equation; i.e. Fred Phelps, not Qaradawi.
Christianity may one day even manage to have more people who follow it for the right reasons than fools-in-lambs-clothing who use religion in unhealthy ways, or merely for social reasons.
Christianity has a core in its teachings and scripture that is there for all to see; one of Love. It today can be, and always has been, a potentially dangerous religion (I.e. Fred Phelps, Torquemada) but is not inherently so by the structure and teachings of its chief scriptures.
I do think that, despite the quantum jump that The Enlightenment enabled in society’s evolution, Christianity has shown a definite tendency to speed humanity’s growth due to the focus of many of the faithful being on Jesus’ ministry rather than the “died for your sins” part.
Now, about Islam.
Islam teaches much about peace and love. There are verses equal to any in the other Abrahamic writings. I will not comment here about those who feel it was the work of someone passingly familiar with both religions. But Pat Robertson did get one thing right; Islamic theology IS inherently aggressive.
The Islamic scriptures consist of three parts:
The Qur’an, the Sunnah –basically a biography of Mohammed’s life, and the ahadith – stories about Mohammed from people who knew him. If you read it all it is clear that there can only be peace when everyone has submitted to Allah.
Even the most fanatical religion tends to mellow over the years; people are basically families, people who want to live and work and laugh and have the space to find God before they die. Even individuals attracted to a “religious” life for evil reasons can be shocked to learn that Love of God and Love BY God can blossom in their hearts; that is the core of any religion.
Islam unfortunately is working uphill in the all so human battle against hubris while trying to find truth. But, by having such an aggressive set scriptures; by having so much to draw from that feeds the darker hungers of man, Islam will, I believe spend more time orbiting around radical aggression before submitting finally to that peace and love that is God, is Allah.
Islam is inherently dedicated by its self-declared scriptural doctrine to naturally one day rule the world by TAKING control of it and forcing Dar al-Harb(‘House of War’) (Non-Muslim controlled regions) into Dar al-Islam(‘House of Islam); then all people will be free, in the Islamic view, to “choose” the “right” religion.
Sadly, it is not hard to justify all sorts of atrocities on infidels (non-Muslims) with the Qur’an; by contrast there are very few Samaritans or Philistines around for Jews or Christians to use their scripture as an excuse to start a pogrom against.
In Islam it does not matter that reformist Imams do not support something. In fact it is literally forbidden in Islam to use your ‘conscience’ as a guide in a religious dilemma; the only proper way to get an answer is to ask the proper authority, and then submit to the “truth.”
In Christianity, the violent books and verses are all somewhat shielded by being in the OT and considered to be superseded by the Love of Jesus when any conflict occurs. Islam does not have a NT to mellow its hard edges, though it does recognize the concept of abrogation (what a prophet says later is ‘rock’ to the ‘scissors’ of any earlier pronouncements or doctrines).
This makes “insulting” Islam dangerous at times in the modern world of high tech, and horrific weapons that you can make in your garage.
I mostly find it sad that the bulk of Muslims are not more vocal about denouncing their radical Brethren in both the private and the public arena. It is every person in the world’s duty to restrain the fundies of all aggressive religions until they grow up. Until a religion’s devout – highest clergy to clueless souls just born in it – recognize to their core’s that it is ok to DIE because of your religion but, that it is NEVER anything but evil to use religion as an excuse to KILL, that religion should be watched, and kept on a leash in polite company.
Islam has yet to show that it can stay grown up. They are younger though, lets give them time…but, keep the rolled up newspaper ready to smack their noses if they sh*t on the rug. We have too many permanent stains from Christianity and its messes; AND the Islam’s’ earlier messes. Of course Christianity STILL pees on the floor now and then. We just have to be patient and rub their noses PROMPTLY in their messes; but, we don’t have to worry about them eating the neighbor’s cat anymore.
I am not too PC to call a club a club (well, I can’t say spade anymore can I?); religion can be very wonderful but, people need to get over their BS and realize that the basic code of ethics that most religions have can also be formulated by simple common sense and an understanding of psychology and social dynamics. Go read a little about Neuro-Linguistic Programming and such. Real secular morality is what the world needs, not the Fascist pretend kind, only then can religion truly flourish; when we get over all this bickering on who is actually the only ones in touch with the “ONLY source of Morality™”; which they cannot even prove exists.
Faith is the problem; submission to something you do not feel yourself is the problem. Beliefs have reasons, sometimes bad ones but, reasons that can be ‘reasoned with’; faith has no reason therefore the most reasonable argument does no good, your head still rolls on the floor.
After Obama’s amazingly naive speech on peace in the Middle East I just have to repost this wonderful satire by Latma, Caroline Glick‘s Hebrew language humor site.
You have to give Hamas some credit for chutzpah, they really do manage to “Con the World”…
Pre 67 border Safe for Israel? Now, THAT is a Con!
May Israel Always be Free, from the Jordan to the sea.
I think the full picture is that we should end occupation. Them being bad doesn’t give you the right to steal their land, kill their children, and rape their daughters and wives. Educate yourself focus and listen to some Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Robert Fisk and others.
Here is my reply:
@hicham437 Noam Chomsky? Washington and Jefferson would have held him down while Franklin shoved the Declaration and Constitution down his throat! He makes the word “Liberal” into a curse instead a badge of honor.
He is a classic Marxist fellatiating “progressive” who thinks people like Mao, Ho, Pol Pot and Stalin were “O.K. dudes”!
That said, if you would understand the modern situation in Israel and it’s neighbors study the history going back all the way to the mid 1800’s.
This is when most of the ancestors of both Arabs and Jews started flocking to the area; this influx of Arabs and Jews continued until the early 30’s, with many Arabs coming to work in British and Jewish initiated jobs; jobs that did not exist where the Arab immigrants, mostly Syrians and Jordanians (new countries Hand-Delivered Compleat including new & improved infrastructures to the local Arabs by the British and French, those “Colonializing Bastards”, after centuries of callous foreign domination by the Turks) were from.
When looking at the actual history, as opposed to the rampantly political rhetoric from the extremes of both sides, you will find that the “Palestinian people” does not, and never did, exist as either a cultural or ethnic division from Arabs of “Greater Syria.”
Indeed, the concept of a Palestinian people that did not include Jews was created in the early 60’s as an open and blatantly political tool to “win” in the battle to remove Israel. Prior to that any and all accounts of “Palestine and “Palestinians” in general referred to ALL inhabitants of the area, including, and and especially, the Jewish elements that had been the majority population of Jerusalem for some time. The “Palestinian mandate” referred to Jews, not Arabs, they having been given the vast majority of the entire region when the Turkish Empire folded up after they sided with Germany in WWI. Government was gone in those regions, Saudi Arabia was Arab ruled solely because of British intervention on their side against the Turks; and the British and French stepped n and established modern infrastructures of government and social services then let themselves be kicked/invited out of control before the locals had grown beyond their tribal-based endemic corruption and nepotism.
At that point both the Arab nationalist movement and the Jewish nationalist movement gained steam and a foothold; until the office of Mufti of Jerusalem fell into the hands of a rabid anti-Semite this was more a joint venture than a competitive one!!! This man was a buddy of Hitler, and had his own Muslim S.S. division!
He may, emphasize may, have been the originator and motivator of the entire “kill them all, and we won’t HAVE a problem” quote unquote ‘solution’ dear Adolph and others so hideously embraced. He was poised to apply it in his own backyard when things went sour for the Axis and he had to go on the run; mainstream history, if you bother to look it up!
As to “occupation”, follow the history and you find that never in hundreds of years, and then only briefly, has sovereignty been exercised in the region by locals, Arab or Jewish; even when it was Arab it was foreign Arabs, not local tribes. There cannot be a legal “occupation” if there was never a settlement of the disputed territories; which is what Gaza and the West Bank LEGALLY are by any and all BINDING international declarations, agreements or UN Security Council commandments; deal with it, or stop talking about international “law” and how Israel is breaking it.
Well, today has been a VERY interesting day, from nonsensical pronouncements on “Palestine” to curiously timed assaults on my “rudeness” by a very rude professor, it has been a learning experience to say the least.
Today, at Scripps College in lovely and beloved Claremont, Ca I attended a panel (not what you could call a discussion, more a multi-lecture) on , well, I will let the Scripps Website tell it:
“Scripps College will host a panel discussion on Friday, February 12, 2010 from 12:00-2:00 p.m. with four distinguished experts on United States foreign policy in the Middle East. The event, “Report Card: Evaluating the Obama Administration’s First Year of Middle East Policy,” will take place in the Hampton Room, Malott Commons, on the Scripps College campus and is free and open to the public.
This distinguished Middle East panel — including the Editor and Editorial Committee members of the prominent journal Middle East Report — will explore diverse Middle East issues, including the War in Iraq, the closing of Guantanamo, the challenges of life in Palestine, and piracy on the Red Sea.
- Lisa Hajjar, Professor of Law and Society, UC Santa Barbara and author of Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza
- Julie Peteet, Chair and Professor of Anthropology, University of Louisville and author of Gender in Crisis: Women and the Palestinian Resistance Movement and Landscape of Hope and Despair: Palestinian Refugee Camps”
Two others had been scheduled to speak but were snowed in on the East Coast (You know, Global Warming).
Fair and balanced was probably not the best way to describe Ms. Peteet’s presentation. To be polite, she seemed to me to display all the classic symptoms of a strong case of WhatInconvenientFacts Syndrome.
From an inability to see Israeli concerns about security as anything but “rhetoric” to expressing amazement at Israeli soldiers getting into ambulances to confirm that the occupants are really injured (Hamas has been filmed during the latest Israeli response using ambulances donated by charities as personnel carriers for armed men) Ms. Peteet sees the world the way Ms. Peteet wants to see it.
I asked her during the Q&A why everything she spoke of put all responsibility on Israel to have open borders with a “state”, actually I believe I said “people”, that has openly and consistently for years declared it’s intent to see Israel no more – especially when Israel is hardly the only country bordering either Gaza or the West Bank.
Rather than actually answer this question, Ms. Peteet actually declared that in the 60’s the Arabs were not responsible when ISRAEL redrew the map. Then, she went on to say that it is “international law” that the “host” state’s ( i.e. the state the “refugees” originated in) responsibility to handle said refugees.
Are you following her logic Virginia? Half the Arab world’s armies were on the march toward Israel’s borders, and Egypt had already closed the straits of Tiran to Israel ( already a casus belli) then expelled the UN Peacekeeper force at the border, but it is ISRAEL’s fault for being the first to fire a shot.
It should also be noted I had asked about borders and trade, not about resettlement of refugees!
As a follow-up I asked if it was the case that host countries were responsible for their own refugees would she agree that the Arab states were responsible for giving a right of return to all expelled Jews from 1948 and their descendants.
This champion of the downtrodden coldly informed me that no Jews had been expelled from anywhere in 1947 or 48, period. So, I asked if that meant that the Arabs who left Israel without force were also “not refugees”. Her answer was less than detailed; “This conversation is OVER.”
I asked the above questions at the very end of the event after it had started to break up. I had not been called on after my first question despite little competition from the audience.
Once I had asked that first question a professor hopped up from his seat, (no, he was NOT one of the actual event organizers) and intimidated my assistant out of her seat to plop down next to me and (while the lectures were still going on and making it impossible for ME to hear what was being said) berate me for being so rude as to not have gone up, in the one minute after I arrived before the event started, introduce myself AND IDENTIFY WHO I WROTE FOR and THEN ask for permission to record.
Now I had been recording voice openly and my asst. was shooting photos. She even accidently let loose one flash shot! So I am sure that the entire panel and the moderator were aware of what I was doing, yet had said and done nothing about it!
This professor had taken it upon himself to harass me ONLY after I had asked a question that showed me to be less than a member of the choir on the Israel question.
Just like a redneck telling the city black that the “Standards of the Community” required certain extra-legal rules to be followed this defender of academic freedom expected me to conform to unstated, biased and unenforced rules lest I be declared “terribly rude and even “disruptive.”
I replied that his harassing me and not letting the speaker be heard was far ruder. Then he began to berate me for the tiny sound my blackberry keys made as I took notes. This sound would have been totally inaudible to him if he had not displaced my assistant from her seat to lean into me and lecture in my ear.
He then glanced at my notes, didn’t like what he saw and declared it also against “Common courtesy” to text message during the event. I informed him in a less than patient tone that if he had bothered to READ the top of the page he would have noticed that it said Word to Go – Untitled.doc in larger print than the notes that had offended him.
All in all it was an adventure exploring the limits of human silliness in defense of the indefensible.
Oh, I should add that in two hours of talk about “Palestine”, and Israel, and the terrible plight of “Palestinians”, and how they were being used and controlled to their detriment, two words were NEVER MENTIONED BY ANYONE, but me, in my first question.
What were the words that these eminent scholars felt had NOTHING to do with the problems of “Palestine and “Palestinians”?
Fatah and Hamas, of course.
Oh, again, the ONLY thing in the whole event that was about Obama at all was a tiny bit at the end, dissing him for keeping only a few of his campaign promises and otherwise following in George Bush’s footsteps. There was FAR more talk about the “sins of Bush and Cheney” than about anything Obama had done, good or bad.
A good time was had by all…at least once Ms. Peteet got away from my uncomfortable questions.
Not a lot of comments about this one. I completely agree.
I am very worried about Israel lately. When I was growing up Israel was the accepted proof that the whole Western Civilization thing could work ANYWHERE that the people truly believed in it. Israel has my whole life been the good hearted David who triumphs again and again over the hateful Goliath. (yes, I know that a couple Jews go ballistic every few decades, so? Is that a significant comment about ISRAEL in relation to the daily assaults by many Muslims with the full support of their political leaders? In the real world?
NO. But the winds in the West are changing and the so called “Liberals” now are ruled by those who are more truly called Leftists. The West is coming more and more under the sway of minds that can only see opposition as a thing to be suppressed instead of a challenge from which we can grow.
When the Big Lies of the Arab nations that first fought for Hitler then against Israel are being accepted and spread all across the West by Leftists masking as Liberals how long will it be before even Israeli spirit and innovation cannot prevail against the alliance of the hateful with the apathetic?
This morning I was cleaning the kitchen, and listening to Jesus Christ Superstar by AndrewLloyd Webber; a wonderful skeptic’s commentary on the traditional view of Jesus. The song at the time was about Jesus supposedly foreseeing the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.
At the end comes this lyric:
If you knew all that I knew, my poor Jerusalem, You’d see the truth, but you close your eyes.
But, you close your eyes.
While you live, your troubles are many, poor Jerusalem.
To conquer death, you only have to die.
You only have to die.
At that moment, as I sang those words I began to cry. I am not Jewish. I was raised Christian (Presbyterian) but am a passionate God believing Agnostic and am just as passionately certain that ANY organized religion that feels it can put God in a box to force its followers to accept or be damned is wrong. But I also understand and accept the positive reasons we seek God, to be distinguished from the ways we use religion as a social club to sooth personal insecurities and fear of death.
As a student of history without an agenda I admire the Jews as a culture for almost the last two thousand years. When dispersed and severed from the domination of the scribes and priests (A trend that had actually been a reversal of the ancient Judaic Synagogue model.) and the rabbinical model of Hillel, and his school of Pharisees became dominant the Jewish faith truly was able to mature.
In the times of the Romans, right up until the destruction of the Temple, the Jews habitually behaved much the same as the youngest member of the Judeo-Christian family behaves; easy to offend and extremely into Tit for Tat against any real or imagined “provocation”. Put alongside them the Greeks who at that time had little true devout” passion for even their own Gods and you have a recipe for trouble.
Imagine, if you will, what would happen if you could put a few thousand Devout Muslims from rural Pakistan 2009 into the New York of 1926 as residents.
Picture the New Yorkers having a ball making fun of the silly Muslims and their rites and see the Silly Muslims taking their God and Prophet’s honor back in blood every time. That is about what things looked like in the days when both the Temple and the Romans lived lived in Jerusalem.
But then the Romans had their fill of the Jewish leadership inciting violence against any perceived insult to their Law as well as with the Greeks acting out THEIR hatred toward the Jews whether they had reason or not.
When left to themselves in their own lands they did not cause trouble without provocation and had been slowly reforming their more barbaric customs to a point where in many ways beyond the Romans in ethical reasoning. but anywhere the Greek and Jewish cultures touched, regardless of who had been there first, trouble came from both sides being unable to accept the other cultures idea of social/religious limits and duties.
Once the Romans inflicted the Diaspora however an unforeseen side effect appeared. The rabbinical paradigm, the philosophy of those who shared the view of Hillel that the ultimate expression of both God and Man is Love, took over the Jewish heart for good. The Jews went from being a classic People of the Temple following an un-forgiving “Truth” to a “People of the Book” who sought understanding instead of dominance, reconciliation rather than victory.
Even before the destruction of the Temple the Jews were famous for their scholarship, their dedication to their concept of Justice and for their constant desire to walk with God.
Afterward these traits, all of which are suppressed under a powerful priesthood, were free to blossom.
A close study of Western History will show the result. Everywhere the Jews went economic, social and scientific progress were soon to follow. Indeed there are many more examples than Nazi Germany where nations lost advantage after suppressing or expelling the Jews.
This is not, I think, due to any attachment by God to the Jewish people but to the nature of the Jewish culture itself. If you doubt my words take a map of the world and put an overlay on it that shows where Jews live shaded for population density.
Jews have been accused of fomenting this revolution or that scandal. But they also stand “accused” of more humanitarian acts than you can shake a Liberal-Fundraiser at. So what is it? To me it is very obvious. Jews are…..HUMAN. Yep they have the same strengths and weaknesses that the rest of us have. What they HAVE that is their own is their dedication to be VITAL. To seek understanding of SOMETHING and to better themselves, at least in their own eyes. The result of this is that in ANY creative, intellectual enterprise good, bad or indifferent you are likely to find Jewish people in numbers beyond their percentage in the population. It also helps that it is an essential Jewish virtue to be able to accept with gratitude all criticism. I think that is most likely from where the wonderful self-deprecating Jewish humor comes.
The Jewish Religion, other than in its most conservative (and least popular) forms, is the most “Liberal” of the big five in its relations with other faiths. Now we look at the history of Israel, a nation built by the Rabbinical Jew. An Israel built by those who mourn their Temple and hold its site Holy but who, almost to aperson, do not want to see the Priesthood revived.
This nation that was founded despite treachery and bad faith has prospered and paid the entire world back many times with inventions, inspiration and creative minds seeking to better all of humanity for their little patch of barren desert. Can any nation founded in modern times show as much to its credit on the world stage astiny Israel? Only the U.S. has given the world more in ideas and technology. But if the balance is considered by population then this Californian Patriot will have to salute the Israelis as having surpassed our own ideals.
Anyway, enough of me explaining why I support Israel and am heartsick at the thought of the U.S. freely ALLOWING the next thing to a spiritual child die at the hands of rabid dogs. Here is an excellent article by someone who both gets it and is not afraid to talk about it.
End the Arab Occupation of IsraelBy Ron BreimanFrom Gideon Levy to Barack Obama, from Yariv Oppenheimer to Ismail Haniyeh, from Zahava Gal-On to Tzipi Livni – they all recite the same phrase: It’s time to put an end to the “occupation.” Once the “occupation” ends, peace will be sealed. Once the Jews are expelled from the heart of their country, redemption will come to Zion. From here emerges “the solution” – two states within the tiny piece of prized property that remains, the western Land of Israel, not the Greater Land of Israel.We would do well to recall that the PLO – the (all of!) Palestine Liberation Organization -was founded in 1964 before there was an “occupation,” “the West Bank,” “territories,” and the other political terms that were designed to disinherit the Jewish people from the heart of their country, those swaths of land that were occupied – without quotation marks – by the Jordanian army in 1948, an occupation that lasted just 19 years. The PLO’s goal was not to liberate the territories from Jordan, because those lands were in Arab hands. Rather, it aimed to liberate the “occupied” territories from the State of Israel, which lay within “the Green Line.”We would do well to recall that the PLO never changed its spots. It failed to do so when it signed for “peace” with the naive Yitzhak Rabin, who was lured into the trap sprung for him by the Osloites. And it failed to do so when it
allegedly abrogated its charter. Even the recent Fatah conference and the statements by the “moderate” Holocaust denier, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, can attest to this. The goal was and remains to this day: the Liberation of the “occupied” territories from Israel, namely the State of Israel within the confines of the Green Line.On the other hand, when the Osloites let Yasser Arafat and his gang of henchmen come into the heart of the country with his army of terrorists, they brought with them their own army of occupation. As things went, thanks to the shock after the Rabin assassination, the Osloites quickly handed the cities of Judea and Samaria over to the occupier, an error that the slain prime minister apparently did not intend to commit. This is how liberated territories became occupied territories, without quotation marks. In Operation Defensive Shield, the Israel Defense Forces were compelled to pay a steep price in blood to liberate the heart of the country from Arab occupation.Most of the Arabs in the Land of Israel immigrated here after our waves of aliyah. In other words, Zionism and the prosperity it engendered spawned “the Palestinian people.” Since the Arab occupation of the Land of Israel in the seventh century, and throughout the centuries of Muslim occupation, not one of the occupiers viewed this land as anything more than a distant imperial outpost.The demand to grant a state to Arab immigrants to this country and their army, which is stationed here thanks to the blindness of certain Jews and the nations of the world, is without foundation. It is tantamount to legitimizing a reality that was created here after the criminal act that allowed an occupying army to enter this country.The critics’ responses are predictable: What do you propose, that the Arabs just evaporate into thin air? In contrast with the critics who espouse a racist transfer of Jews from Judea and Samaria, I reject any forcible transfer of any population group.Perhaps there is no solution to the problem. There is certainly no solution at this point. But, this is no reason to commit suicide or sacrifice the Zionist vision on the altar of “peace.”I do not want a bi-national state. If there is a solution, it cannot be found within the confines of just the western Land of Israel. In the long term, the solution will be a regional one that combines democracy, demography and geography. The Arabs of the Land of Israel will continue to live in their present homes and will hold Jordanian and Egyptian (for Gazans) citizenship, voting for their respective parliaments. In the long term, citizens of Jordan who comprise an overwhelming majority in eastern Transjordan will gain power in Amman. It is there that a solution will be found for their brothers who live west of the Jordan River.But in the meantime, we must end the occupation. The Arab occupation in the Land ofIsrael.
The writer was
the chairman of Professors for a Strong Israel from 2001 to 2005
the chairman of Professors for a Strong Israel from 2001 to 2005
Here is a tribute to the Hebron Massacre in Israel.
Yet another wrenching exile and return, now rarely remembered, occurred 80 years ago this week. On Aug. 23-24, 1929, the Jewish community of Hebron was exiled following a horrific pogrom. The tragedy is known as Tarpat, an acronym for its date in the Hebrew calendar.
Until 1929, Jews had lived in Hebron for three millennia. There, according to Jewish tradition, Abraham purchased the cave of Machpelah to bury Sarah. It was the first parcel of land owned by the Jewish people in their promised land. Ever since, religious Jews revered Hebron as the burial site of their matriarchs and patriarchs. Conquered, massacred and expelled over the centuries, Jews always returned to this sacred place.
In August 1929, that community was suddenly and brutally attacked. Incited by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem—who claimed that Jews were endangering Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem—Arab rioters swept through Palestine. In Hebron, the carnage was horrendous.
It began on Friday afternoon when Arabs attacked Jews with clubs and murdered a yeshiva student. The next morning, joined by local villagers, Arabs swarmed through Hebron screaming “Kill the Jews.” They broke into the home of Eliezer Dan Slonim, where many Jews had gathered for safety. There they wielded knives and axes to murder 22 innocents. In the Anglo-Palestine Bank, where 23 corpses were discovered, blood covered the tile floor. That day, three children under the age of five were murdered. Teenage girls, their mothers and grandmothers were raped and killed. Rabbis and their students were castrated before they were slain. A surviving yeshiva student recounted that he “had seen greater horrors than Dante in hell.”
When the slaughter finally subsided, 67 Jews had been murdered. Three days later, British soldiers evacuated 484 survivors, including 153 children, to Jerusalem. The butchery in Hebron, Zionist and religious officials alleged, was “without equal in the history of the country since the destruction of the Temple.” Sir Walter Shaw, chairman of an exhaustive British royal investigation, concluded that “unspeakable atrocities” had occurred.
Tarpat extinguished the most ancient Jewish community in Palestine. With synagogues destroyed, Jewish property converted into storerooms and barns for livestock, and the ancient cemetery desecrated, few signs remained that there had ever been a Jewish presence in Hebron.
But nearly 40 years later, after the Six-Day War of 1967, a small group of religious Zionists returned to Hebron to rebuild the destroyed community. “What was in the past in Hebron,” declared their matriarch Miriam Levinger, “is what will happen in the future. Always!” So it would be.
The Jewish community of Hebron—some 700 people—recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of their return. This month they commemorate the 80th anniversary of Tarpat. All the other ancient peoples mentioned in the Bible have vanished. But Jews, a community of memory, still live in Hebron.
Hebron Jews are relentlessly vilified as fanatics who illegally occupy someone else’s land. As religious Zionists, they are the militant Jewish settlers whom legions of Jewish and non-Jewish critics love to hate. It is seldom noticed that their most serious transgression—settlement in the biblical land of Israel—is the definition of Zionism: the return of Jews to their historic homeland.
Mr. Auerbach, a professor of history at Wellesley College, is the author of “Hebron Jews: Memory and Conflict in the Land of Israel,” published in July by Roman & Littlefield.
By Aaron Klein
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
JERUSALEM – The Jews have no historical connection to Jerusalem or the Western Wall, declared a Palestinian Authority lecturer on official PA television.
“[The Jews have] no historical roots. This is political terminology to win the hearts and the support of the Zionists in Europe, so they would emigrate and come to Palestine. Nothing more!” stated Shamekh Alawneh, a lecturer in modern history at Al-Quds Open University.
“The [Jews’] goal in giving the name ‘Wailing Wall’ to this [Western] Wall is political,” continued Alawneh, speaking on a PA television program called “Jerusalem – History and Culture.”
“The Jewish Zionists had no choice but to invent an excuse [about Jerusalem] to spread among the Zionists or the Jews in Europe, to connect to something concrete from the past about Jerusalem. They made false claims and called the ‘Al-Burak Wall’ the ‘Wailing Wall,” Alawneh said.
His remarks were translated from Arabic by Palestinian Media Watch.
Alawneh was the latest PA-connected official to deny the Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem and the Western Wall, which are intimately tied to Judaism. Islam largely did not consider the area holy or important until the late 19th century.
Mainstream Palestinian leaders claim the Temple Mount and Western Wall are Muslim in spite of overwhelming archaeological evidence documenting the First and Second Jewish Temples.
Last June, WND quoted the chief of staff (link:) of PA President Mahmoud Abbas claiming Jerusalem and the Temple Mount belong to the Muslims. He warned any Israeli action that “offends” the Mount will be answered by 1.5 billion Muslims.
“Jerusalem is Muslim. The blessed Al Aqsa mosque and Harem Al Sharif (Temple Mount) is 100 percent Muslim. The Israelis are playing with fire when they threaten Al Aqsa with digging that is taking place,” said Abbas’ chief of staff Rafiq Al Husseini.
In a WND exclusive interview in March 2007, Taysir Tamimi, chief Palestinian justice and one of the most influential Muslim leaders in Israel, argued the Jewish Temples never existed, the Western Wall really was a tying post for Muhammad’s horse, the Al Aqsa Mosque was built by angels, and Abraham, Moses and Jesus were prophets for Islam.
Tamimi is considered the second most important Palestinian cleric after Muhammad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.
“Israel started since 1967 making archeological digs to show Jewish signs to prove the relationship between Judaism and the city, and they found nothing. There is no Jewish connection to Israel before the Jews invaded in the 1880s,” said Tamimi.
“About these so-called two temples, they never existed, certainly not at the [Temple Mount],” Tamimi said during a sit-down interview in his eastern Jerusalem office.
The Palestinian cleric denied the validity of dozens of digs verified by experts worldwide revealing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temples throughout Jerusalem, including on the Temple Mount itself; excavations revealing Jewish homes and a synagogue in a site in Jerusalem called the City of David; or even the recent discovery of a Second Temple Jewish city in the vicinity of Jerusalem.
Tamimi said descriptions of the Jewish Temples in the Hebrew Tanach, in the Talmud and in Byzantine and Roman writings from the Temple periods were forged, and that the Torah was falsified to claim biblical patriarchs and matriarchs were Jewish when they were prophets for Islam.
“All this is not real. We don’t believe in all your versions. Your Torah was falsified. The text as given to the Muslim prophet Moses never mentions Jerusalem. Maybe Jerusalem was mentioned in the rest of the Torah, which was falsified by the Jews,” said Tamimi.
He said Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus were “prophets for the Israelites sent by Allah as to usher in Islam.”
Asked about the Western Wall, Tamimi said the structure was a tying post for Muhammad’s horse and that it is part of the Al Aqsa Mosque, even though the Wall predates the mosque by more than 1,000 years.
“The Western Wall is the western wall of the Al Aqsa Mosque. It’s where Prophet Muhammad tied his animal which took him from Mecca to Jerusalem to receive the revelations of Allah.”
The Kotel, or Western Wall, is an outer retaining wall of the Temple Mount that survived the destruction of the Second Temple and still stands today in Jerusalem.
Tamimi went on to claim to WND the Al Aqsa Mosque , which has sprung multiple leaks and has had to be repainted several times, was built by angels.
“Al Aqsa was built by the angels 40 years after the building of Al-Haram in Mecca. This we have no doubt is true,” he said.
The First Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.
The Temple was the center of religious worship for ancient Israelites. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God’s presence dwelt. All biblical holidays centered on worship at the Temple. The Temples served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and were the main gathering place for Israelites.
According to the Talmud, the world was created from the foundation stone of the Temple Mount. It’s believed to be the biblical Mount Moriah, the location where Abraham fulfilled God’s test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac.
The Temple Mount has remained a focal point for Jewish services for thousands of years. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition.
The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed in about A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark what Muslims came to believe was the place at which Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven to receive revelations from Allah.
Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible 656 times.
Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night on a horse from “a sacred mosque” – believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia – to “the farthest mosque” and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque became associated with Jerusalem about 120 years ago.
According to research by Israeli Author Shmuel Berkovits, Islam historically disregarded Jerusalem. Berkovits points out in his new book, “How dreadful is this place!” that Muhammad was said to loathe Jerusalem and what it stood for. He wrote Muhammad made a point of eliminating pagan sites of worship and sanctifying only one place – the Kaaba in Mecca – to signify the unity of God.
As late as the 14th century, Islamic scholar Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, whose writings influenced the Wahhabi movement in Arabia, ruled that sacred Islamic sites are to be found only in the Arabian Peninsula and that “in Jerusalem, there is not a place one calls sacred, and the same holds true for the tombs of Hebron.”
It wasn’t until the late 19th century – incidentally when Jews started immigrating to Palestine – that some Muslim scholars began claiming Muhammad tied his horse to the Western Wall and associated Muhammad’s purported night journey with the Temple Mount
A guide to the Temple Mount by the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem published in 1925 listed the Mount as Jewish and as the site of Solomon’s Temple. The Temple Institute acquired a copy of the official 1925 “Guide Book to Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” which states on page 4, “Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which ‘David built there an altar unto the Lord.'”
Daniel Doron, 05.16.09, 03:00 PM EDT
Irving Kristol said that whomever the Gods want to teach humility they first tempt to resolve the Middle East conflict.
Solving this conflict has been so difficult because it has always been misconstrued. As a result of confusion about the conflict’s nature, the solutions that were nevertheless tried, such as the Oslo agreement establishing the Palestinian Authority, or Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, resulted in costly failures. The suffering of Israelis and Palestinian Arabs increased.
The most common approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict, held by the well-connected Peace Now camp, holds that the conflict is about nationhood and territory. It blames Israel for the conflict, claiming Israel’s reluctance to fully withdraw its settlements from the West Bank (it did from Gaza) denies the Palestinian Arabs a contiguous territory and enough living space to assert their sovereignty.
This must be why the Obama administration seems to believe that pressuring Israel to immediately accept a Palestinian Arab state and to withdraw to the 1967 boundaries will bring about peace. Obama seems determined to take serious risks to pursue what he believes is a strategic imperative and a moral duty. Indeed, the two-state solution seems like the decent and rational solution to the conflict. But there are many serious doubts about its feasibility.
Advocates of the two-state solution consider themselves political realists. But they always stress the historical and judicial justification for establishing a Palestinian state. They see it as not only politically necessary but an absolute moral imperative, doing justice to a dispossessed people.
But should not the establishment of such a state–which the Europeans so strongly promote–adhere to the European Union’s 1993 Copenhagen Political Criteria for new members, which states, “Membership criteria require that the candidate country must have achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, rule of law, human rights, and respect for and protection of minorities”?
Clearly a Palestinian Authority state will not even remotely meet such criteria. What moral justification is there, then, for forcing a vulnerable Israel, threatened by an irredentist Palestinian state, to help establish it when a powerful European Union refuses to take much smaller risks in the case of Turkey?
While Israel has impeded the evolution of Palestinian Arab society toward statehood, it is not the major culprit. Until Oslo, relatively free economic interaction between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs resulted in spectacular economic growth in the West Bank and Gaza. This created an informal peace process that greatly improved Arab life and promoted a Palestinian civil society committed to peace.
But external economic setbacks compounded by increasing Israeli bureaucratic oppression reversed this prosperity. Increasing Arab frustration finally exploded in 1987 in a popular uprising that led to the 1993 Oslo accords. The Palestinian Liberation Organization, a terrorist organization, was invited to set up a Palestinian Authority as a preparation for an independent Palestinian state living in peace beside Israel.
But Arafat’s Authority was not interested in living in peace with Israel; it wanted to destroy it. Arafat gladly sacrificed Palestinian welfare, even lives, for this purpose. Ruining the Arab economy and using a totalitarian propaganda campaign to blame Israel for Palestinian misery, Arafat exploited Arab anger to escalate the conflict.
He succeeded because the conflict between the Palestinian Arabs and Israel is only superficially about nationhood and territory. Since the 1948 partition of Palestine, British Mandate Arabs had several opportunities to create an independent state. Jordan and Egypt ruled the area until 1967; recently, they could have done so after Oslo, after the Gaza withdrawal. But they did not, because they were intent on first destroying Israel.
As long as this is so, granting the Palestinian Arabs a state will not result in peace, but in continued war.
As for the historic and legal claims for a Palestinian Arab state, the argument that the Arabs seek the restoration of “stolen Palestinian lands” is sheer fabrication. The area of the former British mandate of Palestine (which included Jordan) was for centuries under the Ottomans an empty, deserted land.
Private rights never amounted to more than 4% of the land; 96% remains to this day mostly arid and government-owned. Palestine, as Mark Twain found it in 1860, was an empty “prince of desolation.” There was not even a Palestinian people–the few inhabitants considered themselves Syrian.
Palestine became a “promised land” again only after Jewish pioneers, in the second half of the nineteenth century, miraculously revived it, making it the most developed land in the region. It was then also that, as a result of their clash with Zionism, the Arabs started identifying themselves as Palestinians. So much for their “stolen” rights.
The claim that “illegal settlements” are an obstacle to peace is absurd too. Jewish settlements occupy less than 4% of the West Bank territory, mostly constructed on deserted government land. The reason the Arabs want them removed (but not Arab settlements in Israel) is that their radical leadership cannot tolerate any Jews living among them. All Arab lands were ethnically cleansed after 1948, forcing more than 1 million Jews to flee countries in which they had lived long before the Muslim occupation.
The Arabs’ struggle to retrieve “stolen Palestinian lands” is really an attempt to get rid of all Jews in the Middle East. The Palestinian Authority maps of Palestine never mark an area as the state of Israel, and their leaders refuse to recognize the Jewish right for a national state.
International law too does not support Arab claims to a state in former Palestine. The last international adjudication of the rights to this territory took place in the post-World War I peace conference in San Remo, Italy. The victors generously granted the vast former Ottoman territories to newly formed Arab states (like Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq). Less than 1% of these vast territories were to be given in trust to the British to establish “a Jewish national home.”
The League of Nations decided that the Jews had a stronger legal claim to Palestine, their historic and national homeland. The Arabs, represented by Emir Faisal, agreed. They were happy to receive huge areas of land for such a small price. Fiasal welcomed the Jews back to their homeland. Only later British colonial machinations incited the Arabs to renege on this fantastic (for them) deal.
The conflict persists because the Arabs, and the Palestinians in particular, cannot forget their 1948 defeat by the Jews. It is a blot on their honor that only the destruction of Israel can wipe out.
But the greatest difficulty in the immediate establishment of a Palestinian Arab state is the unlikelihood that it can be established and maintained right now. It is not by accident that the Arabs missed several opportunities to establish such a state.
The creation of yet another dysfunctional Palestinian Arab state will not only mortally threaten Israel, its irredentist nature will inflame the region. As importantly, it will continue making the personal and communal life of Palestinian Arabs unbearable. Remember what happened in Gaza after Israel vacated it: the wanton destruction of the hot houses Israel left behind to enable the Gazans to make a better living from agriculture; the rule of oppression and mayhem Hamas has instituted in Gaza; the continued impoverishment and immiseration of their hapless citizens. Is this the kind of government America wants extended to the West Bank?
But this will inevitably happen as a result of the premature formation of a Palestinian state. Within a very short time, it will disintegrate and be taken over by the extremist Hamas movement.
As in Gaza, a Hamas West Bank government, an Iranian proxy, will quickly launch missile attacks against Israel. From the West Bank, however, the missiles will not hit a sparsely inhabited Negev but the densely populated heartland of Israel, the greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area. They will hit Israel’s only links to the world, Ben Gurion International Airport and the ports of Haifa and Ashdod.
Eventually Israel will be forced to go to war and re-occupy the West Bank. Such a campaign, as the recent Israeli Gaza operation demonstrated, will involve bloody fighting in densely populated areas, many casualties and great destruction. It won’t spare the civilian population. … This is surely not what the “realists” want, but can they honestly dismiss the probability that this may happen?
Chances that advocates of a Palestinian state will be convinced by such arguments are small. It is hard to dispel faith with facts. President Obama and his advisers seem convinced that they will succeed where others failed.
Israel may have to accede to Obama’s demands. But since there are great risks involved in the two-state solution, it would be fair for Obama to assure Israel that the U.S. will protect it from its serious consequences, should they unexpectedly materialize, as they have in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Daniel Doron is president of the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progess.