Silwan Circulars, Christmas 2014

A Sad and Sick Satire

Ahmed and Mohammed were very excited to open the newspaper one cold day in late 2014. The brothers knew that the paper was packed with colorful circulars for Christmas 2014. While they were devout Muslims, they appreciated toys as much as the next kid, and this year’s circular promised to be one of the best ever.

The boys ripped open the paper and let the various pages fall into the middle of the room. They grabbed handfuls of inserts that colored the hard floor. Each claimed a stack to himself and started to review the pictures and text.

The brothers learned quickly that each insert was sponsored by a different organization. The younger Mohammed yelled out “this one is from Hamas!” It had a giant picture of Khaled Mashaal pointing his finger in the air with a quote: “Who says you can no longer afford it?” Mohammed began to read off the promotions for the Hamas circular:

  • A model train set modeled after the Jerusalem light rail line, complete with switches to blow up the stations and rail cars
  • A kit called “Terror Tunnel for Tots,” complete with 160 small shovels named for each of the children who died digging in Gaza
  • Dera” T-shirts with targets on them, (dera means “shield” in Arabic)
  • A hand grip exerciser which claimed to strengthen hands and empower stone throwing
  • An assortment of emojis including ones with a green bandana, a keffiyeh, and black ski mask
  • An adaption of the Majesco Entertainment game “Zumba” called “Boomba” which gets suicide bombers into shape
  • An advertisement for summer camp where children as young as three can learn to shoot guns and sport suicide vests
  • The back page included a note that any order comes with a copy of the Hamas Charter, animated with pictures of Jews as apes and pigs killing prophets

The older brother Ahmed got the circular promotion from Fatah. The large picture at the top of the front page was of acting PA President Mahmoud Abbas speaking at the United Nations with the teaser “Free Palestine”. The circular included:

  • Two large pictures of a shirtless Abbas with the quote “Let us stand before them with chests bared”. The ad offered a waxing service and showed Abbas with a hairy chest and the other smooth as a baby’s bottom.
  • A new release of “Martyr Cards”, updated with the newest inductees including Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shaloudi (killed a three-month old with his car), and Mu’taz Ibrahim Khalil Hijazi (shooter of Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick)
  • A “Hanging Kit” including ropes of different sizes, “ideal for hanging land brokers who sell land to Jews”
  • A GoPro Car hood ornament, perfect for videoing running over Israelis
  • A map of the Jerusalem light rail with markings to show which ones have roadblocks
  • The back page had a picture of a scene with baby Jesus in a kheffiyeh with a sign that read “Bethlehem, Palestine”. Underneath the picture was a coupon for five “Apartheid Wall Paint” spray cans for graffiti, with any order of $200

The Islamic Jihad circular was relatively small:

  • A collection of small model cars with spikes on the front grill, some painted “Jew red” according to the outer box.
  • A couple of bumper stickers which read “We Don’t Break for Jews” and ”Islamic Jihad – Supplying Suicide Bombers for your Community”
  • Boxes of “Killing Candies” to be handed out to the community upon the murder of any American or Israeli

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine used the full page for a single ad on each side:

  • A knife collection in various sizes, ideal for Papa Terrorist, Mama Terrorist and Baby Terrorist. Buying two or more sets entitles the purchaser to the newly branded “Jerusalem Cleaver” like the one used to butcher four rabbis in November 2014
  • A vintage model airplane with various toy terrorists that can be placed inside to fly the plane to a destination of your choice

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine printed their circular in the format of a poster, only printing on one side:

  • The top of the page had pictures of ancient pottery. The website and phone number sat above a description for making “Ancient Pottery for Profit” for sale to tourists
  • The bottom of the page was full of skeleton keys, to represent homes of Palestinian Arabs lost in the 1948 “Nakba.” All items were labeled as being made locally in Syria.

The United States included a circular for the first time, likely as part of Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world. The advertisement included a big picture of Obama with a quote “A New Beginning” near his face. At the bottom of the page was a large picture of former US President Jimmy Carter holding up his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”. The Obama administration was offering a discount code and the ability to buy the book on the whitehouse.gov website.

The most exciting offers were high-end electronic gear from a joint marketing effort between New York University – the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and Brookstone. The offerings were beyond the boys expectations:

  • A rock pulling cart, complete with LED lights for night time stonings
  • A hand massager for relaxing the hands after a full day of rock throwing
  • A hand sized electric lighter, ideal for igniting Molotov cocktails on the go
  • Earplugs connected to mosque loudspeakers, in case 120 decibels wasn’t enough to wake you up for morning prayers

The boys thought that they were done going through all of the advertisements when the older Ahmed found a small ad printed on thick cardboard stock. This insert was sponsored by the Qatari government. They offered $1,000 for anyone who died killing a Jew.

“That stinks,” said Ahmed. “Saudi Arabia and Iraq used to give us a heck of a lot more!”

“Well,” answered Mohammed, “they gave that money after the fact, when they knew how much it would cost them. At this point, Qatar isn’t sure how many people will sign up.”

Ahmed laughed and patted his younger brother on the shoulder. “You make an excellent point!”  Mohammed beamed.

“So what do you think of this year’s offerings?” Ahmed continued.

“I like the model train set which you can blow up,” he replied. “But I think it’s too expensive for Abi (father).”

“Oh, no, he can afford it,” answered Ahmed. “He just won’t go to such an expense without actually killing any Jews.”

Mohammed let out a huge laugh as he thought, this is going to be the best season ever.

20141128_090554


Sources:

Khaled Meshaal affordability: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/12684-meshaal-blames-netanyahu-for-current-escalation

The dead children of Hamas terror tunnels: http://tabletmag.com/scroll/180400/hamas-killed-160-palestinian-children-to-build-terror-tunnels

Abbas bare: http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=12915

Abbas “martyr inductees: http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/10/23/abbas-fatah-praises-slayer-of-israeli-infant-as-holy-martyr-as-new-attack-footage-emerges-video/

http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-says-glick-shooter-will-go-to-heaven-as-martyr/

http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=709&fld_id=709&doc_id=9297

Fatah on hanging people on poles: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/11/16/video-plo-official-wants-horrific-punishments-for-palestinians-who-sell-land-to-jews/

Fatah run over Jews: http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=12979

Palestinian Jesus: http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.564989

Islamic Jihad candies: http://www.israelnewsagency.com/bostonmarathonterrorattackpalestiniansdancingcandygazaobamahamasislamicjihadhezbollahiran48041513.html

Reducing noise levels of call to prayer: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/178063#.VHi9I5stCUk

Hamas Themes song for kids “Teach Your Children Well (CSNY)”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF2fcaSPB6M

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

A Review of Five Sacred Sites

The United Nations is inconsistent regarding its position on the “character”, “access” and “rights” of holy sites in the Holy Land across the Green Line.

In 2010, UNESCO published a paper highly critical of Israel regarding its treatment of two holy places in Judea and Samaria/the West Bank: the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem. The statements were a complete inversion of the truth:

  • “Since Israel’s occupation, the Israeli Government has attempted to highlight the Jewish character of archaeological and heritage sites in the occupied Palestinian territory, while erasing or neglecting the universal character of these heritage sites and denying access to all people of faith.
  • “As part of the illegal settlement enterprise, the Israeli authorities also exploit Palestinian heritage sites for financial and political gains. Under the Netanyahu administration, Israel has publicly begun to use these sacred and universal sites to provoke unnecessary religious conflict by promoting control and access on the exclusive basis of one faith while denying the rights and views of other faiths.”          UNESCO PARIS, 19 March 2010

TOMB OF THE PATRIARCHS (HEBRON)

As a point of reference (as detailed in the FirstOneThrough article) almost all of the Jewish forefathers and foremothers are buried at the tomb. As such, it is the second holiest site in Judaism (after the Temple Mount in Jerusalem). Biblical characters Ishmael and Esav (forefathers of the Arabs) are not attributed to this burial site.

The tomb was a destination for Jewish pilgrims since its purchase by Abraham 3700 years ago, and for the following 2900 years. Roughly 800 years ago, Muslims took over Hebron and converted the tomb into a mosque. The Muslims forbade Jews from entering the area, and even approaching beyond the seventh step of the platform. That changed when the Israelis took over the site after the Jordanians and Palestinians attacked Israel and lost the West Bank in 1967.

  • It was the Muslims that “erased and neglected the universal character” of the site
  • It was the Muslims that ”denied access to all people of faith
  • And It was the Jews that opened the Tomb for both Muslim and Jewish prayer

THE TOMB OF RACHEL (BETHLEHEM)

As the burial site of one of Judaism’s foremothers, the tomb of Rachel is considered the third holiest site in Judaism (similar to Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for Muslims).

The Crusaders built a small covering for the gravesite in the 1200s and around 1517, the Ottomans denied non-Muslim prayer when they took over control of Bethlehem. In 1615, Mohammed, Pasha of Jerusalem transferred exclusive use of the tomb to Jews, but the site fell into disrepair. In 1841, Jewish philanthropist and traveler, Sir Moses Montefiore was given the keys to the tomb and permission to build a larger structure for pilgrims.

Over the years, the area around the tomb became more densely populated. As Bethlehem was only 5 kilometers south of Jerusalem, the growth of both cities created a greater metropolitan area. The United Nations 1947 partition plan recommended that this Greater Jerusalem / Greater Bethlehem area become a single “Holy Basin” under international control, being neither Israeli nor Palestinian. While accepted by the Israelis, the Palestinians rejected the proposal.

In 1948, five Arab armies attacked Israel and Jordan illegally annexed Judea and Samaria, including Bethlehem. In 1954, the Jordanians gave Palestinian Arabs citizenship but specifically excluded citizenship for any Jews. After 333 years, the third holiest site of Judaism became off-limits to all Israelis.

Israelis took control of the area after the defeat of the Jordanians (and Palestinians) in 1967, and opened the tomb to Jewish worship once again.

In 1995, as part of the Oslo Agreements, Israel handed over control of half of the “Holy Basin” – Bethlehem – to the Palestinian Authority, under the condition that Jews be able to freely access and pray at the tomb. With that handover, the Tomb of Rachel fell under Palestinian Authority.

During the Second Intifada in 2002, with almost daily killings of Jews by Arabs, the Israeli government built a security barrier through parts of the West Bank. In 2005, a wall was built around the Tomb of Rachel to protect it from Arab assault.

  • The site is not even considered sacred to Islam, yet for almost 100 years, Muslims denied the rights of Jews to pray at the tomb
  • It was Ottomans of centuries ago who gave the Tomb of Rachel back to Jews
  • Modern Jordanians and Palestinians denied citizenship and access to the tomb for Jews
  • It was Israel that reopened access and rights for Jews at the tomb
  • It was Israel that agreed to give control of the “Holy Basin” to the U.N. in 1947
  • It was Israel that agreed to compromise and divided half of the “Holy Basin”, handing control of the city to the Palestinians in 1995

There are other examples of the United Nations condemning Israel for opening up access to holy sites, while ignoring the denial of access and destruction that Arabs caused to holy places.

JOSEPH’S TOMB (NABLUS/SHECHEM)

The Tomb of Joseph, the biblical son of Jacob and Rachel, is found in Nablus (Shechem). After the 1967 war, Israel gained access to the site once more and built a small seminary nearby in the 1980s.

Israel handed control of Nablus to the Palestinians in 1995, but retained control of Joseph’s Tomb. However, during the Intifada in October 2000, Palestinians ransacked the tomb and killed an Israeli soldier and Rabbi Hillel Lieberman who came to protect the site. His body was found in a ditch riddled with bullets.

Israel agreed to give temporary control of the tomb to the Palestinians to quiet the situation and to allow the Palestinians to repair the tomb. However, the site was set on fire and further ransacked. Later, the Associated Press reported that “the dome of the tomb was painted green and bulldozers were seen clearing the surrounding area,” as the Palestinian Arabs sought to transform the biblical Joseph’s resting place into a Moslem holy site.

Israeli president Shimon Peres remarked that the “Palestinians made a terrible mistake in Joseph’s Tomb. They pulled the rug out from under their feet regarding their demand for control of the holy places, by showing that they don’t know how to preserve and respect them.”

  • It was Arabs that vandalized a Jewish site
  • It was Palestinians that sought to change the character of Joseph’s tomb
  • It was Israel that handed temporary control of the site to Palestinians to try to quell violence

What was the United Nations response to ransacking of a Jewish holy place? Of attempting to “change the character” of the Jewish site? Silence. No comment nor condemnation.

What was the UN response to a visit to the Temple Mount by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon two weeks earlier? Condemnation.

  • Deplores the provocation carried out at Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem on 28 September 2000”

The UN Secretary General condemned the Israeli prime minister for exercising his “right” for “accessing” Judaism’s holiest site during normal visiting hours.

THE HURVA SYNAGOGUE (JERUSALEM)

Jews began construction of a significant synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem in 1694 called the Hurva Synagogue which was destroyed by Muslims in 1721. Groundbreaking for rebuilding the shul happened in 1855, and it was rededicated on completion in 1864.

In 1949, the Jordanian army attacked the Jews in Jerusalem and blew up the Hurva Synagogue and 57 other synagogues in the Old City. They expelled the 2000 Jewish residents and forbade them from returning.

After the Jordanians (and Palestinians) attacked Israel again in 1967, Jews retook the Old City but did not seek to rebuild the Hurva right away. In 2010, Israel finally rebuilt and reopened the synagogue before the Passover holiday. There was condemnation from around the world.

Fatah official Khatem Abd al-Khader called the reopening a “provocation” and warned that Israel “was playing with fire”. Khaled Meshaal of Hamas said the opening was a “declaration of war” and “a falsification of history and Jerusalem’s religious and historic monuments.” The Jordanian government (that intentionally blew up the synagogue) “categorically rejects the rededication of Hurva Synagogue.

These reactions were about a synagogue that had absolutely no connection to Islam.

  • Arabs destroyed the synagogue
  • The Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs denied access to the Old City and site
  • Palestinians threatened violence over rebuilding a synagogue they destroyed
  • Palestinian leadership incited a riot by falsely stating that Jews were attempting to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque

How did the United Nations respond to the reopening of the Hurva Synagogue?

  • Ban Ki Moon March 2010: “I have spoken out and have been diplomatically active whenever other provocations have taken place – including the decisions on holy sites in Hebron and Bethlehem, actions in places like Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah and tensions surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

THE TEMPLE MOUNT (JERUSALEM)

The first Jewish Temple was built by King Solomon around the year 954BCE. At that time, there was no large platform that we know of today. That Temple was destroyed around the year 586BCE. A second Temple was built around 515BCE and destroyed in 70CE.

Before the Second Temple was destroyed, King Herod did major renovations in Jerusalem, including extending and building a large platform on which the Second Temple sat (from 19BCE until 63CE). Today’s “Western Wall” or “Wailing Wall” is the western retaining wall of that platform extension. It is also the area where Muslims built the Al Aqsa mosque in 705CE. That original mosque was destroyed several times, and the silver domed mosque of Al Aqsa that sits on the southern-most edge of the Temple Mount that we see today, was completed in 1033CE.

Christian crusaders came to Jerusalem in 1099, slaughtered the Jewish and Muslim inhabitants and took over the Temple Mount. Crusaders and Muslims fought over control of Jerusalem on-and-off through the year 1260, with the Muslims ultimately prevailing.

With the Muslim victory, Jews began to move back to Jerusalem, and the first new permanent synagogue in Jerusalem was set up by Nachmanides (the Ramban) in 1267. Over the next centuries, several noted rabbis stated that it was the custom of Jews in Jerusalem to ascend the Temple Mount and pray there, including Rabbi Menachem Meiri (1249-1316) and Rabbi David ben Shlomo Ibn Zimra, (known as the Radbaz, 1479–1573), the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.

However, in 1550, Ottoman leader Suleiman I set aside the Western Wall area as a designated area for the Jews to pray. It would appear that from this date until 1949, non-Muslims could have access but were effectively barred from praying on the Temple Mount.

After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the local Arab population became very anxious about future control of the land, especially in light of the 1920 San Remo Conference and the 1922 British Mandate which specifically described ensuring a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Every “normal” action of prayer at the Western Wall was viewed by the Arabs as a change to the status quo, and as such, a “provocation” in which “Zionists” were taking over.

  • In 1925, a new prohibition against bringing chairs or benches to the Western Wall (in response to bringing chairs for the elderly and infirm)
  • In 1928, a new prohibition of erecting a screen (mechitza) between men and women for prayer (in response to putting one up on Yom Kippur) at the Western Wall

In 1929, Arabs rioted at the Western Wall, first burning prayer books and later calling for Jihad as they rampaged through the city killing dozens of Jews. They felt that Islamic authority at the Western Wall was being called into question as an initial step to the takeover of the Temple Mount.

In 1948, the Arab armies of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq attacked Israel. At war’s end the following year, the city of Jerusalem became divided with the Jordanians occupying the Old City including the Temple Mount. After the Jordanians evicted all of the Jewish inhabitants, they banned any Jew from coming into the Old City and visiting the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.

During that war, in December 1948, the United Nations Resolution 194 again called for the “Holy Basin” to be under international jurisdiction and that all holy sites should be given free access, with a carve-out for historical practices of discrimination:

  • Resolves that the Holy Places – including Nazareth – religious buildings and sites in Palestine should be protected and free access to them assured, in accordance with existing rights and historical practice”
  • Resolves that, in view of its association with three world religions, the Jerusalem area, including the present municipality of Jerusalem plus the surrounding villages and towns, the most eastern of which shall be Abu Dis; the most southern, Bethlehem; the most western, Ein Karim (including also the built-up area of Motsa); and the most northern, Shu’fat, should be accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations control”

In 1967, in response to a preemptive Israeli attack on Egypt and Syria, Jordanian (and Palestinian) forces attacked Israel. The Israelis took the Old City of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount, but handed administrative control of the Mount to the Jordanian Waqf. The plaza in front of the Western Wall was expanded to enable thousands of Jews to pray at the site. Israel enshrined the protections of Holy Places in its Basic Laws in June 1967:

  • The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places.”
  • “Whosoever does anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of five years.”

Israel opened up the Temple Mount for non-Muslim visitors during specified visiting hours. However, non-Muslims were still prohibited from praying on the Mount according to the wishes of the Jordanian Waqf.

Many Israelis were not happy with maintaining the discriminatory policy and lobbied the Israeli government to make changes. One such activist, Yehuda Glick, was shot repeatedly by two Palestinians for those efforts in October 2014.

In response to the shooting of Glick and the killing of the two Palestinian Arabs who shot him, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon discussed his displeasure with Israelis on the Temple Mount:

  • As you mentioned this holy site in Jerusalem and as I also said this morning, I am deeply concerned by repeated provocations at the holy sites in Jerusalem. These only inflame tensions and must stop.”
  • On November 24, 2014: “Incitement and provocative acts related to the holy sites are fanning the flames of conflict far beyond the holy city.”

While the United Nations claims to care about keeping the universal access and rights to people of all faiths, it condemns the only party – Israel – which practices those values and even enshrines those values into the Basic Laws of the country.  Further, the U.N. ignores the actions of the Arabs which deliberately have erased the Jewish character and rights of Jews to pray at their holiest sites.

For 800 years, from the Arab conquest of Jerusalem and the introduction of Islam to the Holy Land until 1550, Islamic and Jewish prayer both occurred on the Temple Mount.

It is not only time for there to be open access and rights for Jews, but it is time for the United Nations to acknowledge the party that provides access and rights, and the parties that do not.


Sources:

UNESCO claim that Israel is Judaizing the Cave of the Patriarchs and The Tomb of Rachel (2010). http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/8F8CBDCA74D7D20385257721007157CF

FirstOneThrough article on Tomb of Patriarchs: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/joint-prayer-the-cave-of-the-patriarchs-and-the-temple-mount/

History of Rachel’s Tomb: http://www.rachelstomb.org/capsulehistory.html

Bethlehem changing hands: http://www.jpost.com/Features/In-Thespotlight/This-Week-In-History-Bethlehem-changes-hands

Bethlehem history: http://www.zionism-israel.com/dic/Rachels_Tomb.htm

Article on Tomb of Rachel: http://www.timesofisrael.com/on-obamas-path-to-bethlehem-a-harshly-fortified-shrine/

Jordanian Nationality Law barring citizenship to Jews (Article 3): “The following shall be deemed to be Jordanian nationals:… Any person who, not being Jewish,…http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b4ea13.html

Jordan (and Palestinians attack Israel in 1967):

Tomb of Joseph: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/joetomb.html

Hillel Lieberman: http://www.shechem.org/elon-moreh/enghillel.html

Ascending to the Temple Mount: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CC4QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hakirah.org%2FVol%252016%2520Loewenberg.pdf&ei=Ldd1VO_lIO_HsQSxxILoAg&usg=AFQjCNFI6ujLjX2fEw6kPd6QNgTqQoN57A&sig2=JhXKJuu8BPvY_Oint80UKA

1929 riots: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&ved=0CFMQFjAH&url=http%3A%2F%2Fisites.harvard.edu%2Ffs%2Fdocs%2Ficb.topic1232564.files%2FSela_1929.pdf&ei=ud11VL2XLKaMsQS34ILIBw&usg=AFQjCNFrq28tbKf1Uns0HD-GAFYPBo7vQg&sig2=aUGriieF5AxIpKxwTtbApQ

UN Resolution 194: http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/C758572B78D1CD0085256BCF0077E51A

Israel Law on Protection of Holy Places (1967): http://www.bu.edu/mzank/Jerusalem/tx/lawofholyplaces1967.htm

Yehuda Glick shooting: http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Report-Suspect-in-right-wing-activist-Yehuda-Glicks-shooting-killed-by-police-380238

UN Security Council Resolution 1322 condemning Sharon visit to the Temple Mount: http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/22F8A95E5C0579AF052569720007921E

UNESCO 2013: http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/diplomania/israel-thwarts-unesco-resolution-condemning-its-temple-mount-activities.premium-1.470609

Ban Ki Moon on Temple Mount: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/13/un-general-secretary-ban-ki-moon-criticises-israel-settlement-building

http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocus/sgspeeches/statments_full.asp?statID=2444#.VHR3U_8tCUk

http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocus/sgspeeches/statments_full.asp?statID=767#.VHR4X_8tCUk

IMG_2052

Obama’s Iranian Red Line

The world watched Israeli Prime Minister draw a red line over Iran’s nuclear program at the United Nations two years ago. US President Obama also described a “Red Line” for Syria’s chemical weapons- from which he quietly back-tracked.

bugsbunny

The cartoon of Obama’s “Red Lines”

The cartoon of Obama’s red line is being spread around the Internet right now, as US Secretary of State John Kerry kicked-the-can on Iran once again, and Obama fired Defense Secretary Hagel:

Obama as Bug Bunny:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttfhSJQPDlY

 


Sources:

Netanyahu Iranian nuclear red line: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/27/us-un-assembly-israel-iran-idUSBRE88Q0GI20120927

Obama Syrian red line: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-issues-syria-red-line-warning-on-chemical-weapons/2012/08/20/ba5d26ec-eaf7-11e1-b811-09036bcb182b_story.html

Kicking the can on Iran: http://online.wsj.com/articles/iran-nuclear-talks-likely-to-close-without-result-1416830109

Canning Defense Secretary Hagel: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/us/hagel-said-to-be-stepping-down-as-defense-chief-under-pressure.html

Seeing Security through a Screen

 The 44th US President is surrounded by high walls
and peers out at the world through pretty screens.

In November 2014, “someone” in the Obama Administration chose to belittle the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The choice of expletives aside, the call was not just revealing about how much Barack Obama and his administration disliked Netanyahu, it reflected a smugness and cluelessness of the US Administration about living in the dangerous Middle East.

America at Peace

America has been blessed with peace on its shores. While the country has waged many wars over the past 70 years, the actual fighting was on foreign lands including: Europe; Iraq; Vietnam; Korea; Japan; Libya; Kosovo; Somalia and many other countries. Other than two attacks on American soil, the US has been spared fear and death at home.

  1.  Points in Time: There were only two days that the USA had foreigners attacking the country: December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001. America has not faced a prolonged attack on its shores for centuries.
  2. Troops Trespassing: Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 attacks were done via airplanes. Foreign warriors did not walk the streets of America.
  3. Families Threatened: The two attacks were on military installations (the navy fleet and the Pentagon) and financial center (World Trade Center).   America did not face an enemy that threatened homes and families.
  4. Existential Threat: America is a superpower, armed with firepower that can destroy the world many times over. It has not engaged with an enemy that could threaten the very existence of the country.
  5. Peaceful borders: America is lucky to have only two borders despite its enormous size. Both neighbors are friends, allies and trading partners of the USA.

None of these facts are true for Israel. Israel is surrounded by several enemy countries. These neighbors have stated their intention to wipe Israel off of the map and have repeatedly gone to war and fired directly into civilian population centers over and over again through the decades of Israel’s existence.

Lawyers as Commanders-in-Chief

America’s peaceful existence has enabled it to calmly elect presidents with no military experience over the last several decades. When America fought its great wars such as the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and World War II, the American people elected the respective generals to become the Commanders-in-Chief in the following years (George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and Dwight Eisenhower).

  1. Never in battle. The recent US presidents and vice presidents (particularly the Democratic ones) including Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Bill Clinton had no military experience at all. George HW Bush fought in World War II, while George W Bush served in the National Guard but was never in battle. Al Gore served as a military reporter for a short stint.       Other than HW Bush, these men never faced true fear or saw friends die in battle. They led the world’s largest military machine as Commanders-in-Chief without appreciating the danger and fear of deadly combat.
  2. No draft. America no longer has a draft so every person that serves in the military does so as a volunteer. Such a system can mask the decision of deploying troops for a military commander. Each soldier is a volunteer and trained professional. This “professional army” is very different than “citizen armies” that pull people out of the workforce and touch every corner of a country. As such, American presidents fight wars without the same direct economic and emotional impact that face other countries.
  3. The infrequent visitor. President George W Bush launched the Iraq War in response to the attacks on 9/11 and President Obama invested heavily in the War in Afghanistan. Each president made only four short trips to the regions despite deploying well over half a million troops in each war over many years.

In Israel, every person must serve in the armed forces. Every family deals with disruption to its business and annual routine. Each citizen faces the risks on a very personal level – physical, financial and emotional. Every family in Israel knows someone who died in one of its wars.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu served in the elite unit Sayeret Matkal, and took part in a number of military operations, including the 1972 rescue of a hijacked Sebana passenger jet. His brother died leading a raid to free Israeli civilians hijacked in Entebee in 1976. Other members of the current Israeli ruling coalition include Naftali Bennett who served in two elite units including Sayeret Matkal and Maglan. Yair Lapid served as a First Sergeant in the IDF.

Israeli Prime Ministers do not just visit the frontlines in each battle they fight- they can see the missiles standing next to their families from their bedroom windows.

The Obama Detachment

The detachment from reality regarding the fear and adrenaline of battle for an American president is compounded in the case of Obama, who is generally acknowledged to be a “detached” individual.

  1. Constitutional law. President Obama has referred to himself as a professor of constitutional law. His leadership style exemplified this attitude whether on domestic matters such as Immigration Reform or the Targeted Killing of Anwar al-Awlaki when he delved into the nuances of particular laws in large legal briefs. Despite being the Commander-in-Chief, he is most comfortable as a lawyer surrounded by other lawyers sitting around a conference room table; he is clearly not a military leader surrounded by armed forces in the field of battle.
  2. Community organizer. Obama’s background as a community organizer focused on ways to elevate a particular community within the 330 million-population of the United States. He has no background or experience in protecting the entire country, which every leader in Israel has experienced for several years.
  3. Competitive sports. Obama is very proud of his athletic skills and people have noted his deep competitive streak. However, talking dirt about dunks is divorced from the reality of deploying troops in your backyard against enemies sworn to your destruction while the world admonishes your right to defend itself. Beating an opponent on the court has little to do with protecting ones citizens.
  4. Battle by Remote. The best summary of the Obama detachment is in his moniker “The Drone President”. More than any president in US history, Obama has used drones to assassinate his enemies. The pilots of the drones may be hundreds or thousands of miles from the battle scene. Obama’s army drops the missiles and departs, never personally entering the zone of combat and therefore never exposed to danger.
  5. The Ultimate belief in Self. Despite never being in battle, (other than some competitive basketball games), and relying more and more on mechanized drones in the battlefield, Obama has a tremendous sense of his centrality to the war machine.  After US marines assassinated Osama bin Laden while Obama sat and watched on a screen, his speech to the nation the next day was littered with an active “I” to describe the mission.
    1. “I directed Leon Panetta”
    2. “I was briefed”
    3. “I met repeatedly”
    4. “I determined”
    5. “I, as Commander-in-Chief”

Obama and his administration sit in their comfy offices in their calm country thousands of miles from confrontation and peer into the battle through TV screens and simulators.  They watch their orders for assassinations and wars, with laptops and coffee. Their added security blanket of being a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, adds yet another shield from any serious global charge. As Mel Brooks once aptly said “It’s good to be the King.

obama screen bin laden
Obama, Clinton and crew watch the attack on Bin Laden on monitors,
May 2011

Remarkably, Obama, the cloistered captain, touts his talents and has the temerity to taunt his unloved ally, the besieged Bibi Netanyahu.

The Israeli Prime Minister, the “chick*hit” that the Obama administration referred to, never had the ability to be so smug. His backyard contains a museum memorializing millions of relatives slaughtered for the crime of being a Jew just a few decades ago.  He grew up with a gun in his hand to fight terrorists attacking his neighbors, and armies attacking his country.  He wakes each morning knowing that his house and family are in the comfortable crosshairs of enemies sworn to destroy him, his country and his people.

In addition to his enemies, today Netanyahu has to fight against a world that admonishes him for protecting his people. He has to contend with his greatest ally, the United States, which continues to make it impossible to preemptively attack and destroy Iran’s nuclear weapons.

 

Insults are not a big deal for a leader who has fought for the survival of his people; Bibi has been called worse by members of his own parliament.

The insult says much more about Obama than it does about Bibi.

 


Sources:

The Atlantic on Obama anger at Bibi: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/10/the-crisis-in-us-israel-relations-is-officially-here/382031/

Obama visits Afghanistan: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-arrives-in-afghanistan-on-surprise-visit/2014/05/25/7df61452-e41f-11e3-8f90-73e071f3d637_story.html

Bush visit Iraq: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/background-bushs-surprise-visits-to-iraq-afghanistan/

Obama Constitutional Law Professor: http://www.factcheck.org/2008/03/obama-a-constitutional-law-professor/

Obama detached: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/democrats-privately-calling-obama-detached-flat-footed-incompetent_793544.html

Obama competitive sports: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2012/08/book-obama-driven-by-competitive-streak-/1#.VHMoCLMtCUk

Legal Case for Killing: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/world/middleeast/anwar-al-awlaki-a-us-citizen-in-americas-cross-hairs.html?hp&_r=0

Obama speech on Bin Laden: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/05/02/osama-bin-laden-dead

 

An Inconvenient Truth: Population Statistics in Israel/Palestine

The questions of word choice and chosen narrative dominates much of the discourse around the Israeli-Arab conflict. However, simple statistics do not suffer and sit in the same simmering pot as poisoned positions.

Below is a music video with music by Seal with a basic question: “Why do people get complacent with the things they’re told?”

  1. Under the Ottomans, the Muslim population in Palestine barely grew from 1800 to 1922. The rate of growth was effectively births minus deaths (meaning no Muslims moved to Palestine).
  2. Jewish population growth in Palestine BEFORE THE BRITISH MANDATE took effect was twice the Muslim population growth (meaning Jews were the only people who moved to Palestine, well before the mandate).
  3. The expanding Jewish aliyahs to Israel after the mandate came from countries OTHER THAN ENGLAND (meaning that the “creation of a Jewish homeland” as dictated under the San Remo agreement, was NOT a colonization effort, as the Jews did NOT come from England).
  4. Jews did not come to Israel as a reaction to the Holocaust- they already constituted 31% of the country in 1945.
  5. By the time World War II was over, the growth of Jews in Israel was equally from NATURAL population growth, as from aliyah (further undermining the claim that the Holocaust had anything to do with the creation of Israel).
  6. The population growth of Muslims in the region, ONLY started under Israeli rule in 1967 (the claims of ethnic cleansing are not only insulting but completely opposite the actual population statistics).
  7. Jerusalem has had a majority of Jews since 1866 (the claim that Israel is “Judaizing” the city is not simply insulting about their holiest city, it has no merit on the basis of simple numbers).
  8. The only time the Christian population in Jerusalem declined over the past century, was during the period of Jordanian/Palestinian rule 1949-1967.
  9. The Muslim population in Jerusalem exploded since Israel reunified the city in 1967. Their growth far surpasses the growth of Jews or Christians (not only has there been no “ethnic cleansing” in Israel, there has been none in Jerusalem).
  10. Compared to all of the surrounding countries which house Palestinians, the Palestinian population is not only growing faster in Israel/WB/Gaza than in any other region, it is the only place where they are growing faster than the host country.

The music video with music by Seal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI5l9V0uLEc


Sources:

FirstOneThrough article on “Who’s New?”: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/whos-new-everybody/

aliyah1918

Alternatives for Punishing Dead Terrorists

Some media pundits and politicians have questioned the logic of destroying homes of terrorists after those terrorists have been killed. The question as to whether it deters terrorists is impossible to answer as no one knows how many violent actions did not occur because of the home demolition policy that Israel enforced in 2014 against Arab murderers.

As Palestinian Arabs often talk about the importance of “dignity and pride”, perhaps there are some alternative punishments that Israel could administer to the dead murderers. As there is no dignity in intentionally murdering innocent civilians, these evil monsters’ memories should forever be cursed and their names erased. Perhaps attacking their memory broadly and publicly would dissuade others from taking such action.

Here are a few ideas from FirstOneThrough:

  • Place their image on scented pucks that sit at the bottom of urinals, making for excellent target practice (for men at least)
  • Make a small sticker with their name that could be put on the bottom of people’s shoes to trample (the bottoms of shoes are considered very degrading and insulting in Arab society)
  • Name the street where the murderer lives after the victims
  • The families of the murderers would forever forgo any type of compensation for homes lost/ abandoned in 1948
  • If a Palestinian official calls a murderer a “shahid” which means “martyr” in Arabic, all official Israeli publications should anoint such person the title of “Shatty” as in “we denounce the actions of Shatty Abdelrahman Shaludi”. Other variations like “Sharmoota baby” are acceptable (Sharmotta means whore).
  • Any photos used of the suicide killer should have a superimposed camel’s anus for his mouth
  • A bonfire should be made each year at the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, where people can write their curses on pieces of paper with the murderers likeness on it, and then toss the picture and curse into the fire

The expense for these items can be taken from a special surtax on the murderer’s families.  The amount of the charge will exactly equal the amount of money that terrorist sympathizers hand the families as “reward” for the disgraceful sick murder of innocents.

I’m sure the Facebook generation can come up with additional ideas.  Please share them. Here are some suggestions thus far:

  • Print the faces of the murderers on toilet paper
  • Do not return the bodies of the murderers to the families. Instead bury them near garbage dumps or at sea OR do not tell them what was done with the bodies at all
  • Every murder should be met with a huge fund-raiser for the Friends of the IDF
  • Every murder is met with a new construction project
  • All new buildings that are put up in Jerusalem or settlements will be named after victims.  Some suggest naming them after the attacker
  • Deport the murderer’s family to Gaza, Jordan or Syria
  • Revoke all working papers for the family
  • Demolish the homes- the family is complicit in the murder. Some suggest demolishing surrounding homes too
  • Celebrations on behalf of the murderer should be treated as incitement to terror and a jail-able offense for all participants
  • Every act of terror should be met with the distribution of guns to all Jews in the neighborhood where the crime took place
  • All Israeli ammunition should be coated in pigs blood to dissuade Arabs from seeking a path to Paradise
  • Take world funds destined to rebuild Gaza to support the victims’ families

camelarab


Sources:

Home demolition: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/israel-demolishes-jerusalem-home-of-palestinian-car-killer.aspx?pageID=517&nID=74523&NewsCatID=352

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/11/israeli-forces-destroy-home-palestinian-2014111955011479517.html

Arabic curse words: http://www.youswear.com/index.asp?language=Arabic#.VG1VF_8tCUk

Article 17 of the Palestinian Charter: “The liberation of Palestine, from a human point of view, will restore to the Palestinian individual his dignity, pride, and freedom. Accordingly the Palestinian Arab people look forward to the support of all those who believe in the dignity of man and his freedom in the world.” http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/plocov.asp

Salaries for suicide bombers: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/salaries-for-suicide-bombers/

FirstOneThrough article on Collective Guilt/ Collective Punishment: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/collective-guilt-collective-punishment/

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

The 78-year Civil War

While pro-Palestinians and Palestinian PR personnel describe Arabs killing Jews as a “natural” or “spontaneous” reaction to Israeli policies, the facts are clear that the Arabs are actively looking to murder Jews. Any person or media outlet that uses language that the Arabs are “resorting to violence” is simply lying.

“Resorting to violence” is something that someone does begrudgingly and spontaneously . The deliberate and celebrated killing of innocents has a different, specific name:  “murder”.

  • Premeditated murder…The various attacks in the fall of 2014 by Palestinian Muslims against Israeli civilians were premeditated.
  • …as called for by Palestinian leadership… The Hamas and PLO charters and repeated incitement by the Palestinian leadership encouraged the murders.
  • …endorsed and celebrated by the Palestinian people: The murderous agenda received overwhelming support from the Palestinian people and the murders were celebrated events.

In short, the Palestinians were not “resorting” to violence; they were fighting a war that they started in earnest in 1936 when they fought to stop Jewish immigration to Palestine and to halt the Jewish state from becoming a reality.

“Resorting to violence”

The media must stop using “resorting” language on its own, and cease quoting Palestinians who use the deceitful language to both cover the intentional murder of Jews, and to reverse the fault for the murder onto the victims themselves.

Not only is the “resorting” phrase disgraceful in putting the blame onto the victim, it ignores the incessant calls from Palestinian leadership for war, the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel.

Palestinian Leadership Calls for the Murder of Jews

Yasser Arafat (fungus be upon him):

Mahmoud Abbas:

  • Described the shooter of Rabbi Yehuda Glick as a “martyr
  • Abbas’s advisor on the murderer who ran over civilians “saturating the land of the homeland with their pure blood and igniting the flames of rage
  • On the Temple Mount: “We have to prevent them, in any way whatsoever, from entering the Sanctuary. This is our Sanctuary, our Al-Aqsa and our Church [of the Holy Sepulchre]. They have no right to enter it. They have no right to defile it. We must prevent them. Let us stand before them with chests bared to protect our holy places.

Sheik Ahmed Yassin (founder of Hamas):

Other Hamas & Fatah leadership:

  • Calls for “Day of Rage”
  • “move to save the Aksa Mosque and defend Jerusalem against the Israeli siege imposed on the city.”
  • Fatah Ahmed Assaf said that “the Jerusalem operation was a natural response to the Israeli violations.
  • Fatah official Amal Hamad on TV:It was only natural that the outcome of all that has happened would be the operation that we witnessed yesterday [murders of rabbis in the synagogue]…the natural outcome is the targeting of some settlers”
  • Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman, wrote in a Facebook post: “We have the full right to revenge for the blood of our martyrs in all possible means.

PLO Charter:

  • Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit. ” (meaning all Gaza, Israel, West Bank and Jordan)
  • “It is a national duty to bring up individual Palestinians in an Arab revolutionary manner…He must be prepared for the armed struggle and ready to sacrifice his wealth and his life in order to win back his homeland and bring about its liberation”
  • “one national front working for the retrieval of Palestine and its liberation through armed struggle”
  • “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it”
  • “Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian popular liberation war….in the armed Palestinian revolution
  • “aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine…the Arab nation must mobilize all its military, human, moral, and spiritual capabilities to participate actively with the Palestinian people in the liberation of Palestine. It must, particularly in the phase of the armed Palestinian revolution, offer and furnish the Palestinian people with all possible help, and material and human support, and make available to them the means and opportunities that will enable them to continue to carry out their leading role in the armed revolution, until they liberate their homeland.”
  • “The Arab Palestinian people, expressing themselves by the armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions which are substitutes for the total liberation of Palestine”
  • “the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East”
  • Fighters and carriers of arms in the war of liberation are the nucleus of the popular army which will be the protective force for the gains of the Palestinian Arab people.”

Hamas Charter:

  • They [Jews] are smitten with vileness wheresoever they are found; unless they obtain security by entering into a treaty with Allah…
  • Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious….
  • until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realized…
  • raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors, so that they would rid the land and the people of their uncleanliness, vileness and evils…
  • raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine…
  • The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews)… O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him
  • Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes…
  • the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf…
  • Nothing in nationalism is more significant or deeper than in the case when an enemy should tread Moslem land. Resisting and quelling the enemy become the individual duty of every Moslem…
  • so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement
  • There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors…
  • The day that enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In face of the Jews’ usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised
  • the Palestinian problem is a religious problem, and should be dealt with on this basis…
  • Moslem woman has a role no less important than that of the moslem man in the battle of liberation
  • The Islamic nature of Palestine is part of our religion and whoever takes his religion lightly is a loser….
  • Arab countries surrounding Israel are asked to open their borders before the fighters from among the Arab and Islamic nations so that they could consolidate their efforts with those of their Moslem brethren in Palestine…
  • Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people…
  • Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – to coexist in peace and quiet with each other…
  • It is the duty of the followers of other religions to stop disputing the sovereignty of Islam in this region…
  • Hail to Jihad…
  • as the Moslems faced those raids and planned fighting and defeating them, they should be able to confront the Zionist invasion and defeat it”

Various comments from Palestinian leadership calling for the murder of Jews: http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=427

How has the incitement been received by the Palestinian masses? Quite well.

Majority of Palestinians Advocating and Celebrating Violence

  • Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research on October 10, 2014:“the public still favors Hamas’ “way” over negotiations, and Hamas and Haniyeh are still more popular than Fatah and Mahmud Abbas”
  • September 25, 2014 poll: “[if] presidential elections if held today: Ismail Haniyeh [of Hamas] would win a majority of 55% and Abbas 38%
  • Palestinians have demonstrated their majority support for the rabidly anti-Semitic Hamas party (elected to 58% of parliament in 2006).
  • Over 25% of Palestinian Arabs believe the goal of the Palestinian Authority is a complete destruction of Israel (every Palestinian poll in 2014).
  • Palestinians hand out sweets to celebrate the murder of four rabbis praying in synagogue.
  • Palestinian leadership calls murderers of Jews “martyrs” and names squares and tournaments after them.

The Palestinian people have willingly embraced a culture of war and terrorism and there is nothing begrudging in their violent actions or attitudes.  A global community that supports such actions and blames the victims is complicit in the terrorism itself.

jlem attack


Sources:

Ashrawi November 18, 2014: http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/18/world/meast/jerusalem-violence/

Palestinians celebrating murder of four rabbis praying: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/187615#.VGvObd4L8mg.facebook

New York Times Hamas “resorting” editorial: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/opinion/hamass-illegitimacy.html?_r=0

UN Ban Ki-Moon on “resorting”: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/23/john-kerry-flies-israel-flight-ban-gaza-ceasefire-talks

Palestinian poll September 2014: http://www.pcpsr.org/

PLO Charter: http://www.iris.org.il/plochart.htm

Hamas Charter: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp

Arafat quotes: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/y/yasser_arafat.html

Abbas on shooter of Yehuda Glick: http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=12946

Day of Rage (November): http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Palestinians-again-call-for-Day-of-Rage-against-Israel-on-Friday-381091

Day of Rage (July): http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/israel-hamas-agree-12-hour-cease-fire-article-1.1879824

Amal Hamad “natural”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bn5a0o4Qbk

Other comments on murder of rabbis praying: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/joseph-klein/palestinian-bloodlust-unleashed/


Related FirstOneThrough articles:

Mainstream and Abbas’ Jihad

Abbas’ Racism

The New Blood Libel

UN Comments on the Murder of Innocents: Itamar and Duma

Operation Moses 30 Year Anniversary

The Jews of Ethiopia, known as Beta Israel, were cut off from the broader Jewish community for over 1000 years.

When Menahem Begin became the Israeli Prime Minister in 1977, the noted champion of the under-privileged and under-represented “minorities” in Israel from Arab countries (they are actually a majority of Jews in Israel), made a point of trying to get the Jewish population out of Ethiopia.

The situation facing Ethiopian Jews began to decline rapidly in the early 1980s, so the Israeli government took aggressive action to get them out of the country. From November 18, 1984 until January 5, 1985, 7,000 Jews were rescued in Operation Moses.

Beta Israel2

The success of the rescue led to an even more audacious plan – Operation Solomon – on May 24, 1991. Over 14,000 Jews were rescued in just 36 hours and resettled in Israel.

These missions were the first times in mankind’s history, in which non-blacks came to Africa to save blacks from oppression by bringing them out of Africa as free people, as opposed to shipping them to a foreign land as slaves, as was the case for hundreds of years by Europeans and Americans.

Enjoy the amazing music video on the incredible rescue of Beta Israel (music by Phillip Phillips).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5bllU44Yh0

 


Sources:

Beta Israel: http://www.blackpast.org/gah/beta-israel

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/ejhist.html

Daniel Gordis biography of Menahem Begin: http://danielgordis.org/books/biography-of-menachem-begin/

Beta Israel1

Joint Prayer: The Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount

This weekend, thousands of Jews from around Israel and other parts of the world came to the Cave of the Patriarchs in the city of Hebron. The annual tradition of visiting the city on this weekend goes back many years, as it coincides with the reading in the Torah of Abraham buying land to bury his wife Sarah, the “first mother” of the Jewish people.

The Cave of the Patriarchs is considered the burial place of almost all of the “founding fathers and mothers” of Judaism 3700 years ago: Abraham; Isaac; Jacob; Sarah; Rebecca and Leah. As such, it is considered the second most holy site in Judaism (on par with Medina for Muslims).

Roughly 2,000 years ago, a monumental structure was built on top of the cave, attributed to the Jewish King Herod. Over the following centuries, many people conquered the city of Hebron. About 800 years ago, the Muslim Mamlukes took over the city and declared the Tomb of the Patriarchs to be a mosque and forbade Jews from coming beyond the seventh step of the structure.

caveofpatriarchs
The Cave of Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron

When the Ottomans ruled Hebron from 1517 to 1917, there was relative peace between the Arabs and Jews in the city (even though the Jews were forbidden from entering their holy site). However, in 1929, Arabs rioted against their Jewish neighbors after incitement from the Grand Mufti in Jerusalem. During those few days in August, 67 Jews were killed, hundreds were injured, and the British (who then controlled the mandate of Palestine) forced all of the Jews to leave their city.

In 1967, in response to the Jordanian (and Palestinian) attack on Israel, Israel captured Judea and Samaria, including the city of Hebron. When Israel took control of their holy site, it opened the shrine for prayer for both Jews and Muslims. Today, there are discreet times set aside for each religion to use the site for prayer.


In 2014, the discussion about opening the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – Judaism’s holiest site – to non-Muslim prayer has again been raised due to the shooting of Jewish activist Yehuda Glick who fought for that basic right. The acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas was outraged at the suggestion and described such approach as amounting to a “religious war“, as the al-Aqsa Mosque, which sits on the Temple Mount, is Islam’s third holiest site. While Glick and many other activists never suggested praying at or near the mosque, but on other parts of the 35 acre platform, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nevertheless agreed to keep the status quo ban on Jewish prayer on the mount.

On the tenth anniversary of Yaser Arafat’s (fungus be upon him) death, Abbas stated: “The leaders of Israel are making a grave mistake by thinking that history can move backward and that they could impose facts on the ground by dividing the Aksa Mosque in time and space, as they did with the Ibrahimi Mosque [Cave of the Patriarchs] in Hebron.

In Hebron, Israeli action at the Cave of the Patriarchs opened the way for both Muslims and Jews to share holy sites in the holy land. The Temple Mount could similarly become a place of tolerance and prayer.

 


Sources:

Pilgrimage to Hebron: http://unitedwithisrael.org/thousands-flocked-to-hebron/

Cave of Patriarchs: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/machpelah.html

1929 Hebron massacre: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/hebron29.html

Jordanian and Palestinian 1967 attack on Israel (from King of Jordan’s site): http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/his_periods3.html

Abbas claim of religious war: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/11/abbas-israel-jerusalem-holy-site

Palestinian Authority TV on call to “purify” Jerusalem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1gIetnpxH0

Abbas against any change in allowing Jews on Temple Mount: http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Jailed-Barghouti-to-Palestinians-Continue-armed-resistance-against-Israel-381454

FirstOneThrough article on tolerance at the Temple: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/tolerance-at-the-temple/

Dancing with the Asteroids

Mankind has always been enamored with stars. Since our earliest history, people have looked up at the stars in wonder. The bright points of lights inspired some of civilization’s greatest poetry and stories of heroism. The beacons of light in the darkness guided sailors lost at sea and eased the fear of night for children at home.

Today, some of our favorite celebrities and sports heroes are referred to as “stars”. Compared to the heroes in mythology immortalized in the sky, today’s stars are modern heroes on the sports field and movie screens on earth. We cheer their successes as our own and wait anxiously for the next opportunity to watch them.

Conversely, asteroids are lightless, lifeless pieces of rock. They lack any internal source of light and warmth. Some may have, once upon a time, been a part of something greater and noble, but those days are long past.

A hit television show developed in 2005 called “Dancing with the Stars” in which famous celebrities were paired in dance competitions with ballroom dancers. The shows quickly rocketed to number one as audiences loved watching their stars compete in an entertaining new setting. The phenomenon spread to more than 40 countries around the globe, including in: Western Europe; North America; parts of South America; Australia; Russia and China. Almost all of Africa and the Middle East did not adopt the show, with the only exceptions being Israel, Lebanon and South Africa.

Dancing_With_the_Stars_Map.svg
The map in blue of countries with “Dancing with the Stars”



The Politics of Dancing with Asteroids

In the fall of 2014, US President Obama formed a coalition of forces to fight the Islamic State or ISIS. Obama stated that: “The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.” Over 50 countries pledged support for the fight, but only a handful agreed to take part in military action.

Obama worked hard and touted his success in bringing Arab countries into the fighting coalition: Bahrain; Jordan; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; and the UAE. This was the US dance card Obama sought for what he claimed was “going to be a long-term campaign”.

  • Qatar: one of the leading financiers of terrorists, especially Hamas, but also extremists in Libya and Egypt. It’s Al-Jazeera TV has helped spread Salafism throughout the Middle East. It’s treatment of migrant workers is infamous.
  • Saudi Arabia: home to 15 of the 19 September 11 mass murderers. The greatest offenders of women’s rights in the world. Zero political empowerment for the masses.
  • Bahrain: a monarchy that successfully crushed the pro-democracy movement in its country (out of the lens of the western press or United Nations).
  • Jordan: a leading funnel of jihadists that cross into and out of Iraq and Syria.
  • UAE: another financier of terrorists

Obama’s dance card of the dark was seemingly not quite full. Reports emerged that Obama sent a secret letter to Iran to help battle the Islamic State.

  • Iran: perhaps the only country to finance and export terror more than Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It helped undermine the stability of Iraq. It is building nuclear capability while it threatens to destroy Israel.

KerryIran
US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (L)

Those are the partners Obama chose when he claimed that the battle is larger than ISIL, and that the coalition is “fighting an ideological strain of extremism that has taken root in too many parts of the region.That is the very definition of the coalition he assembled.

Obama may argue that allying in the fight with such parties is a necessary evil. It arguably protects the US from criticism that it is not acting alone against an Arab/Muslim foe, as fellow Arab and/or Muslim countries are alongside of America in the fight. Practically speaking, it is easier to wage a battle from nearby territory, so many of these coalition partners are simply the neighbors of ISIS. Perhaps.

It may be politically expedient to dance with the asteroids, but it is certainly not pretty to watch.



Sources:

Dancing with the Stars show: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2287630/Strictly-Come-Dancing-global-hit-BBCs-successful-export-rakes-millions.html

The coalition against Islamic State forms: http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2014/09/heres-map-obamas-coalition-against-islamic-state/95000/

Obama’s speech to the coalition: http://www.politicususa.com/2014/10/15/president-obama-talks-strategy-anti-isil-coalition.html

America’s coalition partners: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/09/23/350877632/obama-coalition-against-isis-shows-it-is-not-americas-fight-alone

A perspective on the coalition partners: http://lubpak.com/archives/74002

Obama letter to Iran: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/11/07/lawmakers-slam-obama-letter-to-iran-ayatollah-ali-khamenei/