Ramifications of Ignoring American Antisemitism

Summary: Despite furious discussions of attacks on blacks in America and of growing anti-Semitism in Europe, an American Jew is over two times more likely to experience a hate crime than an African American or an American Muslim.

 brooklyn attack
Torching of Jewish-owned cars in Brooklyn, NY

The last eighteen months witnessed a terrible spike in hate. In Europe, anti-Semitism filled the streets with riots and shootings in the heart of European capitals. In America, several blacks were killed by police officers which prompted protests and federal investigations into possible police bias. American Muslims protested a growing trend of “Islamophobia” as they feared being targeted due to jihadist terrorism around the world.

Yet the situation for American Jews is rarely discussed, and when it is, it is viewed as generally satisfactory, especially when compared to the rest of the world.

The statistics may surprise you.

Hate Crimes in America

The FBI compiles a list of hate crimes every year. It tracks the nature of the crime, and breaks the attacks into categories by race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability and gender identity. The data is compiled from information gathered from over 15,000 law enforcement agencies around the country.

In 2013, 49.3% of hate crimes were racially motivated, while 20.2% and 16.9% were based on sexual-orientation and religion, respectively. Within the racially motivated crimes, 66.5% were targeted against blacks. For sexual orientation hate crimes, 60.9% were against gays, and for religion-based hate crimes, 60.3% were against Jews.

In total, hate crimes seemed to heavily weigh against blacks, and indeed, crimes against blacks made up one-third of all hate crimes in 2013. However, the black population is significantly larger than other minority groups.

When taking into account that Jews make up only 1.8% of the population of the United States, while gays are roughly 3% and blacks are 13.2% of the population, respectively, the relative frequency of attacks against Jews is much more significant.

There was roughly one anti-Semitic hate crime in the US each year for every 7700 Jews. That compared to an attack against gays for every 10,700 gays and an attack against blacks for every 17,600 African Americans. For Muslims, the rate was one attack per 17,000 Muslims. That means that an average Jew can expect to experience a hate crime at over twice the rate of blacks or Muslims. Jews are the most disproportionately attacked minority in the United States by a significant margin.

Fortunately, hate crimes do not often involve murder.  In 2013, 0.1% of the crimes involved murder and 0.3% were for reported rapes.  Assault (aggravated and simple), intimidation and attacks on property were the typical forms of hate crimes.

Impact on Obama’s World View

Is it possible that the relatively small number of murders that occur in US hate crimes impacts President Obama’s world view?  As Brett Stephens of the Wall Street Journal wrote, “Can there be a rational, negotiable, relatively reasonable bigot? Barack Obama thinks so.

In May 2015, President Obama had an interview with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg where they discussed ISIS, Iran and Israel.  Obama clearly stated “that the supreme leader [of Iran] is anti-Semitic ” but he also stated firmly that the Iranian leader would not risk his country’s security in pursuit of such hatred. “At the margins, where the costs are low, they [Iran] may pursue policies based on hatred as opposed to self-interest.  But the costs here are not low, and what we’ve been very clear [about] to the Iranian regime over the past six years is that we will continue to ratchet up the costs, not simply for their anti-Semitism, but also for whatever expansionist ambitions they may have. That’s what the sanctions represent. That’s what the military option I’ve made clear I preserve represents.

Has Obama’s view of anti-Semitism been colored by the experience in the United States? Does he simply acknowledge that anti-Semitism exists, but that the “costs are low” to both the victim and the abuser?  Brett Stephens wrote convincingly that the Iranian leader’s actions are driven by a fanatical zeal which has shown it does not mind incurring very high costs.  Stephens concluded: “Maybe Mr. Obama doesn’t understand the compelling power of ideology.

I would add to that sentiment, that Obama has shown by his (in)actions in the Ukraine that the United States will not stand by obligations to support an ally, and therefore the costs to Iran will be very low. Despite commitments and treaties as outlined in the Budapest Memorandums, the US, United Kingdom and others let Russia invade and annex sections of the Ukraine without any intervention. Does Obama think that the Iranian leader doesn’t read the news?


In the United States, anti-Semitism remains in full force. It has remained largely “low cost” (to paraphrase Obama) to both victims and perpetrators thus far.  Under President Obama’s foreign policy, it would appear that Iranian anti-Semitism will only become a “high cost” for Israel.

Related First One Through article:

Netanyahu’s View of Obama: Trust and Consequences

The “Unclean” Jew in the Crosshairs

CNN’s Embrace of Hamas

Many people in the pro-Israel community continue to be frustrated by the refusal of many media outlets and some political organizations to designate Hamas a terrorist organization. While the phrase “one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter” is often bandied about, organizations have no difficulty clearly labeling some organizations as terrorist groups.

Consider CNN which highlighted five jihadist groups in February 2015 as terrorist organizations: Al-Shabaab; Al Qaeda; Boko Haram; ISIS; and the Taliban. The groups are consistently labeled as jihadist terror organizations that seek to destroy reigning governments.


CNN has clearly labeled Al-Shabaab as a terrorist group:

Al-Shabaab was specifically designated as a  terrorist organization by CNN, which did not couch the language as a suggestion that it could be considered a terrorist group by some third party.


As of early 2015, CNN considered Al Qaeda’s central command structure under threat while it spread around the world. It was clear in all circumstances that they were terrorists:


CNN often localized Boko Haram to Nigeria and neighboring countries (compared to the growing global threat of Al Qaeda), but consistently referred to the group as terrorists.


ISIS/ ISIL/ Islamic State has been extremely active in 2015 and gathering many news reports on CNN and all media outlets, particularly as the United States has been engaging them in Iraq and Syria:


The Taliban has not been as prominent in the news lately.  However, when it was, CNN was clear that the group’s actions and the group itself was involved in terrorism.

These five organizations are identified by CNN as terrorist groups. They are Islamic jihadists. They terrorize and attack. They seek to overthrow existing governments through murder and mayhem.

Now compare them to CNN’s description of Hamas.


On February 28, 2015 CNN had an article entitled Egyptian court designates Hamas as a terror organization, state media says.  Note that CNN clearly did not make the designation, but repeated an assertion from Egypt.  The article read: “Hamas, the Islamist group which dominates the Gaza strip, has been at odds with the Egyptian government…” made it seem that there was simply a political disagreement between Hamas and Egypt, between two ruling parties. CNN referred to Hamas only as “Islamist” and not “jihadist”, “militant” or “terrorist”.

CNN continued: “Hamas quickly denounced the decision at a news conference…. “It is a shocking and dangerous decision that targets the Palestinian people,” Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said at a news conference”.  The article highlighted that Hamas was designated a terrorist organization by one country (as opposed to actually being a terrorist group) and CNN made the effort of showing that the group challenged such opinion.  The quote chosen by CNN further tried to show that such designation was itself an attack on “the Palestinian people” making the group the victim.

How is that for a turn?

On January 6, 2015 CNN wrote another piece that seemed all about politics. “Senior Hamas official Izzat Risheq denied reports Monday that the group’s political leader Khaled Meshaal has been expelled from Qatar” making the group appear as purely s political party. There was no mention that the group is in favor of jihad, destruction of Israel or is terrorist group.

On November 27, 2014 a CNN article entitled “Israel says it broke up Hamas terror plot” specifically gave attribution of the plot to Israel, and not as a clear fact. The article stated that “Authorities arrested at least 30 members of Palestinian militant group Hamas” which at least referred to the group as “militantwhich is much more than it typically writes to describe Hamas.

These were the recent articles while Hamas licked its wounds from its 2014 war against Israel.  How did CNN describe Hamas during the 2014 campaign itself?

CNN’s Assertion of No Hamas War Against Israel 

In its August 22, 2014 article “Hamas leader admits militants abducted slain Israeli teens,” CNN quickly distanced the group leadership from the abduction and murder of three Israeli boys.  The three leading paragraph’s took pains to absolve the group’s leadership:

“Three Israeli teens kidnapped in the West Bank in June and later found dead were abducted by Hamas militants who did not inform the group leadership about
the kidnapping, a Hamas official said Friday.
“At that time, the Hamas leadership had no knowledge about this group or the operation it had just carried,” Saleh Aruri, a Hamas Political Bureau member, said in a statement from Doha, Qatar. “It turned out later, however,
that they were members of Hamas.”
Aruri said the operation to abduct the teens was not approved by the Hamas leadership or its military wing, the Qassam Brigades.”

The article (in its entirety) quoted no Israelis. CNN repeatedly referred to Hamas as a political entity (does CNN ever quote Boko Haram’s main political spokesman?), as the article sought to distance Hamas from the murders.

These actions were done repeatedly by CNN, most egregiously on August 4, 2014 when it aired an interview “CNN exclusive: Inside the mind of Hamas’ political leader

Meshaal CNN Meshaal “Political Leader” on CNN

The introduction to the interview with Khaled Meshaal made it appear that CNN was going to have a serious exchange: “CNN’s Nic Robertson had tough questions for Hamas’s political leader.”   Well, maybe not- CNN was again directing the public that Hamas is simply a political organization. Did the article ever mention:

  • that the Hamas Charter calls for the complete destruction of Israel?
  • the Hamas Charter calls for jihad and murder of Jews by every man, woman and Palestinian child?
  • the Hamas Charter which declares that there is no possibility of peace with Israel through any negotiation, and that all of Israel must be destroyed through military means?
  • the Hamas Charter’s repeated use of anti-Semitic slurs, stereotypes and conspiracy theories?
  • the repeated calls by Hamas and Palestinian leadership to attack Israel?

During the interview, did Robertson get answers to questions:

  • if Hamas is fighting for the Palestinians, why was Meshaal sitting comfortably in Qatar?
  • if Hamas was intentionally firing rockets from civilian neighborhoods in Gaza?
  • if Hamas targeted Israeli civilians with such attacks?
  • if Hamas built tunnels to abduct and kill Israelis?
  • if Hamas would abolish its charter?
  • if Hamas would recognize Israel?
  • what lands Hamas considers as “occupied” since Israel left Gaza in 2005

It is noteworthy that Robertson asked Meshaal how he was helping his “resistance” to Israel (Robertson used Hamas’ terminology instead of terrorism). Meshaal responded that Palestinians understood that military resistance was needed to get rid of Israeli occupation, the same way that the Americans got rid of the British and the French got rid of the Nazis.  Robertson let the statement stand and did not follow up about the absurdity of the comparisons. The French repelled the Nazi invading force that took over France. The US sought separation from a colony to an independent country. But here, the Palestinians were attacking an independent country, once again seeking its complete destruction and murder of its people.

Neither in the interview nor accompanying article did CNN’s Robertson ever call out Hamas as a jihadist terrorist group.  It did however, allow Meshaal to air his propaganda and assume a victim status both at the hands of Israel and the global community:

“”We the Palestinian people have, since 1948, have listened to the international community and U.N. and international regulations, in the hope they end the aggression against us. But the international community failed in ending the Israeli occupation and failed in helping our people to have self-determination and have its own state.”

Imagine CNN airing such an interview and article about any other terrorist group.

Related FirstOneThrough articles:

Differentiating Hamas into Political and Military Movements

The New York Times wants to defeat Terrorists (just not Hamas)

Cause and Effect: Making Gaza  

Recognizing the Palestinians

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

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

Why the Media Ignores Jihadists in Israel




Shavuot the Community Slept Late

A Short Comedy / Short on Comedy

This Shavuot, many synagogues in the metropolitan New York City area used a new approach for the old tradition of all-night learning. Rabbis told people the subject of their talk in advance and invited members of the community to follow the speech with their own thoughts on the same topic. It would appear that the membership did not hear the titles very clearly.

  • The Westhampton Beach Hampton Synagogue’s Rabbi Marc Schneier’s subject was “The pros and cons of being a rabbi’s son.
    A member of the shul misheard the rabbi and thought the talk was going to be about the “sun”, so delivered a talk entitled “Is using a tanning salon a sin?”
  • At Nishmat, the rabbi chose to discuss: “50 nights: the Second Day of Shavuot.”
    A member of the community’s topic was: “50 Shades of Grey: You Shouldn’t Do It.”
  • Rabbi Pruzansky from Teaneck had a long lecture with handouts on “My Views on Voyeurism.
    A member of the board discussed “Oy Vey: what you hear at shul boards.
  • The new rabbi at the “Bayit” in Riverdale spoke on how “Black and Jewish Lives Matter.
    A politically active member of the shul debated “Obama: Milcheg or Fleishig?
  • The Spanish and Portuguese’s Rabbi Soloveitchik’s topic was “Is Krusty the Clown a good Jew?”
    The president of the shul spoke about “Is a crusty old davening the only path for a good Jew?”
  • Rabbi Fink from New Rochelle addressed the community about “Ranking Mitzvot: The most important mitzvah is building a mikvah (after the other most important mitzvah of building a really big shul).
    A member of the shul discussed “Ranking Mitzvahs: Who gets the mitzvah when you guilt your friends into writing a check to your favorite charity while you get some exercise?
  • Rabbi Lookstein addressed “Did the Shavuot heroine Ruth wear tefillin?
    One of the Baal HaBatim at KJ was confused and discussed “On Shavuot, can you use Rangers tickets?
  • At the YIWP, Rabbi Greenberg discussed: “Bikur Cholim: Making Time in a community with a hospital; rehabilitation center, old age facility and psychiatric hospital.”
    The recipient of the shul dinner award gave his talk on “Bitter Chulent: Using lime in Mexican Chili.
  • A rabbi in Monsey talked about the hlichos of neighboring supermarkets.
    An older gentleman spoke about the hilchos of using your neighbor’s pool.
  • In Williamsburg a rabbi reviewed kashrut laws in “Shiksas in the Kitchen.”
    A local caterer gave a Shavuot talk: “Blintzes: It don’t taste like Chicken.
  • JOFA published a long piece “Why the best Megillahs are all about Women.”
    A man was invited to speak on “Why the best Megillahs are all about Women.”
  • In Flatbush, a rabbi had a lecture on “Kissing Cousins: Tefillin; Tzizit and Mezuzah.”
    A woman from the congregation spoke about “Marrying Cousins: When your Mother-in-Law is Your Aunt.”
  • The rabbi of a Syrian synagogue in Deal, NJ spoke on an important topic: “The Conversion of Ruth and Conversions in our Community Today.”
    No one else was allowed to address the subject.
  • The rabbi of Manhattan’s B’nai Jeshrun discussed “Ten things I love about the UN.”
    An old member who fought repeatedly with the rabbi and since left the synagogue was allowed to speak “How UNloving a hippie shul can be towards Israel.
  • Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in Englewood, NJ subject was “Keep Love in Marriage alive.
    The youth director heard something else and spoke about “Kippa logos from Marvel comics.
  • A rabbi in Great Neck, NY had an interesting lecture on “Evolution of davening and korbanot.
    A member of the shul discussed “Etiquette of using a cellphone for davening on the golf course.
  • The chazan from the Belz School of Music discussed “Breshit: It’s all about the Bais
    One of the students took a different approach and stated “I really like the treble
  • West End Synagogue, a Reconstructionist synagogue came up with the idea of learning for one-third of the night, from 11PM until 1AM. The plan is to learn next year from 1AM until 3AM, and then finish the cycle of learning in two years with 3AM to 5AM studies.
  • A Conservative Temple from Long Beach Island noted the amazing coincidence of having Shavuot fall on Memorial Day, and sent an email to the community that Shavuot was cancelled, the Temple would be closed and everyone should enjoy Memorial Day at the beach.

Who Reads First One Through?

Summary: A year in, 50,000+ views.


The idea behind the blog First.One.Through was to get people educated about Israel. While there are many news sites that describe the latest events, there are woefully few that do any proper analysis, as many are either lazy, inaccurate, or just have a very anti-Israel bias.

First.One.Through is deliberately anonymous; you will not see a byline in the articles.  The goal of the site is to empower each person who reads the articles to post them to their Facebook page, Twitter feeds, forward an email, etc. By simply using “First One Through,” people are not forwarding someone else’s opinion piece, but sharing their own sentiments (which someone wrote out for them).

The blog has loyal followers in Australia, Israel, United States and slowly growing in the UK, where articles are re-posted and re-blogged almost daily.  Hopefully the other English-speaking countries like Canada and South Africa will gain loyal followers this year.

As the blog just reached 50,000 views as it passed its first anniversary, it seemed an opportune time to share with you a little bit about your fellow readers. As seen below, sharing things in a digital world has a way of reaching all parts of the globe.


People read the posts in 130+ countries and territories. Top Ranked are:

  1. United States
  2. Israel
  3. Australia
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Canada
  6. South Africa
  7. Netherlands
  8. Germany
  9. Brazil
  10. France

In case you were curious how this list compares to the FirstOneThrough YouTube channel, here is the top ten countries for the videos:

  1. United States
  2. Israel
  3. Canada
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Australia
  6. Germany
  7. Netherlands
  8. France
  9. Saudi Arabia
  10. Brazil

Yes, that is Saudi Arabia at number 9, mostly watching a video about themselves followed by Syria .

Top Posts

  1. Honor Killings in Gaza
  2. Every Picture Tells a Story, Don’t it?
  3. “Please Sir, May I have Some More?”
  4. Early Fridays in the Office
  5. An “Anti-Semitic Tinge”
  6. An Inconvenient Truth: Population Statistics in Israel/ Palestine
  7. Aliyah to Israel
  8. Eyal Gilad Naftali Klinghoffer. The New Blood Libel
  9. The Legal Israeli Settlements
  10. Alternatives for Punishing Dead Terrorists

How they found the Blog

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Jewish Press
  4. Google
  5. American Thinker

What Links did People Click?

  1. Other WordPress articles
  2. Youtube
  3. New York Times
  4. Al Monitor
  5. Al Jazeera
  6. Wall Street Journal
  7. Times of Israel
  8. United Nations
  9. NY Post
  10. CNN

The busiest viewership months were July 2014 and November 2014 as Israel was in the news often.  Over the past few months, the number of viewers has declined, but the “quality” has improved as measured by the number of articles read by  the average reader each visit (growing from 1.5 to 1.9).

The site does not make any money from advertisements and does not take donations.  All of the work is for free.  If you would like to support the cause, be an avid advertiser by forwarding and promoting the articles you like.  Forward email addresses of people who would enjoy the articles under a private message.

To answer a question that has come up many times- the pictures at the top of the each article appear randomly and do not have anything to do with the content of the article.  I took every picture at various locations in Israel.

Continue to enjoy and share the posts.

firstonethrough 2 10

Related First.One.Through article:

“Cast thy bread upon the waters”

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Summary: Imagine perceiving the future when you cannot see the present nor recognize the past.

One of the most famous paintings in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is by Pietro Perugino, entitled “Christ Handing the Keys of the Kingdom to St. Peter.” The painting itself is notable for several important contributions to the world of art such as displaying three dimensions using linear perspective and a vanishing point. The subject matter is also an interesting metaphor for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today.


The Painting

The subject of the painting reflects the establishment of the role of the pope in Catholicism. Jesus’s handing of the “keys of heaven” to his disciple Peter was considered establishing a connection between earth and the heavenly realm.

The center of the painting focuses on the actual handing of the keys: one key is held by Jesus, while a second key remains dangling in the foreground. The viewer does not really notice two keys, but the single dangling key. From that key, eyes are drawn up towards the open doors of the Temple of Solomon, displayed as an interpretation of the eight-sided Dome of the Rock. This is a metaphor of the connection between the divine to the physical and up again to the divine: the keys connecting Jesus and Peter, and then the dangling key from Peter to the Temple.

In the painting, the Temple of Solomon is sitting on a plaza surrounded by people and triumphal arches of Constantine. It was the emperor Constantine that welcomed Christianity to the Roman Empire in 325CE. While the Temple of Solomon sat in Jerusalem, these arches were in Rome, near the Vatican.  By integrating these themes, Perugino brought Jerusalem to Rome and had Christianity flanking the holy Temple.

 The Metaphor of Keys

Keys are often used as metaphors in art and poetry. Keys are not only tools for gaining access, but connote ownership. The holder of the key is considered both the rightful owner of whatever is locked, and is the sole person who has the means of gaining access to whatever the lock has sealed. In the case of this famous painting, Jesus holds the heavenly key in gold, which is paired with a darker key for Peter. The twining is a partnership bridging heaven and earth, with Peter as the rightful owner of the earthly key. The key itself opens the Temple in Jerusalem, the physical gateway back to heaven.

The brilliance of the painting lies in the suspension of the dark key. Set against a plain background in the center of the painting, a viewer has no choice but to be drawn to it. The key anchors the focus, and the story is built around it.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Middle East has a long history of using keys, both physical and metaphorical. In 1917, the Mayor of Jerusalem handed over “keys of Jerusalem” to British General Allenby as a sign of surrender, and in 1841, the Ottomans handed the keys to Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem to Jews as a symbol of their control of the holy site. Even today, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre has a key that is held by a Muslim family as was the tradition dating back to 1246, even though the church has no religious significance to Islam.

Many Palestinians carry their own physical keys with symbolic messages today: that they are the rightful owners to homes in Israel and are waiting to move there.


The skeleton keys are not the actual keys to homes that grandparents abandoned in 1948 while they waited for Arab armies to destroy the nascent Jewish State.  These Palestinian keys are representational of their quest to a “right of return” to homes in Israel. It has become a physical manifestation of their view of themselves as refugees. However, both the keys and status are manufactured.

As detailed in “Palestinian “Refugees” or “SAPs”?” there are only about 30,000 refugees (or more accurately, Internally Displaced Persons) alive from 1948, as refugee status cannot be handed down like an inheritance. Further, a refugee is someone who left a country, not a house. International law covers refugees return to a country, not an abandoned building (and Palestine was never a country).

Regardless, the acting President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, continues to put the “refugees” as a key issue in negotiations with Israelis. He does this with the blessings of the United Nations which is complicit in misleading the Palestinians.

The United Nations not only created a unique agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) separate from the organization that handles all other refugees in the world (UNHCR), but uniquely enables the descendants of Palestinian refugees to get services from the UN.  As elaborated in “Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, fund the UNHCR” the staffing of the UNRWA now exceeds the total number of Palestinian refugees.

The larger issue with UNRWA is not their giving extended services to millions of Palestinians who are not refugees, but the UN agency’s active encouragement of Palestinians to seek to move to, and delegitimize Israel.

key doorway
Entryway to UNRWA camp in Bethlehem with a large key atop

Both the United Nations and Palestinians have manufactured a particular narrative:

  • Palestine was an Arab country in 1948
  • Palestinian Arabs were the only indigenous people who had lived there for centuries
  • Jews ethnically cleansed Palestine of its Arab inhabitants
  • Per the points above, Israel is not a legitimate state as the Jews are interlopers who stole the native Arab land

Such story stands in stark contrast to basic facts:

  • Palestine was never an independent country
  • The region and Mandate of Palestine had a mixture of Jews and Arabs, with Jews accounting for over 30% of the population in 1948
  • More Arabs than Jews moved to Palestine under the British Mandate 1922-1948
  • Many Palestinian Arabs were not land owners but tenants in the land
  • Most Arabs fled from their homes in 1948, while they hoped and waited for Arab armies from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt to destroy Israel
  • Israel welcomed non-Jews, giving 160,000 non-Jews citizenship in 1948, in sharp contrast to the Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs who expelled all Jews from Judea and Samaria

As in the painting “Delivery of the Keys,” UNRWA has  handed Palestinians a narrative and claim to Israel: the Arabs are the rightful owners of Israel. The United Nations paints these “refugees” against a bleak background (like the key in the painting) to emphasize their stateless position. The key above the portal at the UNRWA camp is a potent symbol to all Palestinians, that it is through the United Nations that millions of Arabs will migrate to Israel. UNRWA and the Palestinians have established a pairing of keys like Jesus and Peter in the painting above: Palestinian Arabs are the owners of Israel, and the gateway to getting that land is through the United Nations.

The Vanishing Point

The vanishing point is where eyes are drawn to in the horizon.  It is a place where parallel lines converge giving depth to a two dimensional painting.  It is also the point where things become increasingly smaller and faint, disappearing altogether.

In the Perugino painting, the vanishing point is the open door to the Temple of Solomon. It is this worldly portal to the heavens, where man’s prayers ascend to ethereal songs.  The viewer of the painting is pulled to the very spot where the material world melts – indeed, the vanishing point.

Today, a person could look at the artwork with another perspective.

The Temple of Solomon, the most holy place on earth for Jews, is replaced with an Islamic shrine.  The Temple, and Jewish presence has seemingly disappeared.  In this Christian piece of art, the flanking of Constantian arches and Jesus and Peter in the foreground are meant to underscore that the pope and Christianity are the proper pathways to God. Judaism has faded to Islam, and both are replaced by Jesus’s emissary.

Over Jerusalem Day 2015, the vanishing point added an additional dimension.

The current pope, Pope Francis, canonized two nuns who were born in the holy land in the 1840s, while it was part of the Ottoman Empire. One nun was born in Jerusalem and another was born in the Galilee.  Yet the pope decided to refer to these nuns as “Palestinians,” not Ottomans and not Israeli (while the status of Jerusalem is under debate, the only people that consider the Galilee part of Palestine are Hamas-supporters who seek the destruction of Israel).  If one chooses to be generous and argue that the region was called Palestine in the 1840s, does the pope refer to people from regions like the Sahara (Saharans?), the Rockies (Rockies?) or Patagonia (Patagonians?), or does he call them Libyans, Americans and Chileans?

Is the pope seeking a new replacement theology, where not only has the Vatican replaced Jerusalem as the center of divine revelation, but history itself can be updated? Is Israel being supplanted today the way the painting at the Vatican shows Judaism being replaced?

The news media has certainly rallied to such vision.  The New York Times decided to cover the celebrations of Jerusalem Day on May 17, 2015 from a purely Arab point of view.  The day in which Israelis celebrate the reunification of their holiest city from which they were expelled and barred from reentry was characterized as a moment of protest. The atrocities committed by Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs during 1949-1967 vanished and this year’s celebration was mocked.

The Times questioned the very essence of Israeli rights to Jerusalem as it quoted a Palestinian man ““How would you feel if somebody marched through your living room, without your permission?””  Whose house is this anyway?


A Vanishing Point has interesting features: our eyes are drawn there; but the subject matter blurs and disappears.

The world’s attention is focused on the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Jews and Palestinian Arabs are focused on Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.  As they do, Palestinians grab hold of the dangling key and Israelis don’t see the golden key in their hand. Everyone wonders what the future will bring and ventures predictions as they gaze into the distance.

And as they do so, all reality disappears.

Related First One Through articles:

In Israel, Everybody’s New

The Holocaust and the Nakba

The Arguments over Jerusalem

“Arab” Land

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Summary: In considering the arguments that Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews each make for Jerusalem as their capital, only one party makes a truly compelling case.

Jerusalem has long been considered the thorniest issue in the Israeli-Palestinians Question. In 1947, when the United Nations put forward a plan to partition the land into two states, it proposed placing Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem into an international zone called the “Holy Basin.” This Holy Basin would be neither part of Israel nor Palestine, to remove the sensitive region from the conflict.

1947plan jerusalem
UN 1947 Partition Plan for the “Holy Basin”
of Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem

However, as fate would have it, the partition plan was rejected by the Palestinians who then launched a war to destroy Israel in May 1948, together with armies from Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iraq. At war’s end, the Holy Basin was divided with the western half of Greater Jerusalem and Hebrew University falling under Israeli control, and Greater Bethlehem and the eastern half of Jerusalem falling under Arab control (Jordan annexed the area and granted the Palestinian Arabs there citizenship).

The Holy Basin remains an outstanding issue.  In a two-state resolution, the Israelis propose to split the Holy Basin whereby they control all of Greater Jerusalem and the Palestinians would have Greater Bethlehem; the Palestinians seek to have all of Greater Bethlehem AND the eastern half of Jerusalem as its capital, while Israel would only have the western half of Jerusalem. Which side has a better claim?


The Arguments over Jerusalem


RELIGION: The sensitivity over the Holy Basin is due to the fact that it holds many holy sites for the three monotheistic religions. A short list includes:

  • The Temple Mount/ The Noble Sanctuary (Jerusalem). Jewish and Muslim
  • Al Aqsa Mosque (Jerusalem). Muslim
  • Dome of the Rock (Jerusalem). Jewish and Muslim
  • The Wailing Wall / Kotel (Jerusalem). Jewish
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Jerusalem). Christian
  • Dormition Abbey (Jerusalem). Christian
  • The Old City (Jerusalem). Jewish
  • Church of the Nativity (Bethlehem). Christian
  • The Tomb of Rachel (Bethlehem). Jewish

There are many other churches, synagogues and mosques in the Holy Basin, however, these sites are considered sacred as various events are believed to have occurred at these locations. For Christians, the churches were built on the various spots where Jesus and Mary are thought to have had significant life events. For Muslims, the Al Aqsa Mosque is considered to be the place where Mohammed ascended to heaven. For Jews, the Temple Mount is not only considered to be the place of two Temples, but also the spot where Abraham brought Isaac for a sacrifice.  Of this entire list, only the Jewish Temple has any archeological evidence supporting the beliefs.

Among the three religions, Jerusalem is considered the holiest spot only for Jews. Muslims consider the Al Aqsa Mosque to be its third holiest spot (after Mecca and Medina), and the Roman Catholic Church considers the Vatican in Rome, Italy to be the holiest location.

Judaism is also unique in considering the entire Old City to be holy. While Christianity and Islam consider certain specific spots to be sacred, only Judaism considers the city as a whole.

Jerusalem: Advantage Israel
Bethlehem: Advantage None

Aerial view of Old City of Jerusalem from the south

ACCESS TO HOLY PLACES: A key concern for the United Nations (UN) is that access is provided to each religion’s holy places. In this regard, the divide between the Palestinian Arabs and Israel is stark.

The Arabs only controlled Bethlehem and the eastern half of Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967, as the cities and entire region were governed by the British and Ottoman Turks (who were NOT Arabs) for hundreds of years before then. During their brief period of control, the Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs evicted all of the Jews from Jerusalem and forbade their reentry, even during religious holidays.

While Israel has controlled all of the Holy Basin since 1967, all religions have had access to all of the holy places. Not only does Israel ensure that people of all religions have access, but the country created laws ensuring their safe keeping and open access, and put their religious organizations in charge of those places – even the Islamic Waqf over the Temple Mount which Jews consider their holiest spot.  This same Islamic Waqf prohibits Jews from praying at their holiest location today.

Further, Israel has allowed other denominations to establish themselves in Jerusalem.  The government of Israel helped the Mormons build their church overlooking the Old City.  This compares to Jordan, which doesn’t even recognize the Baha’i faith today (Israel has a huge Baha’i temple in Haifa).

Advantage Israel

MAINTAINING HOLY PLACES: While access is the primary concern for the UN, maintenance of the holy spaces is important as well. When the Palestinian Arabs controlled areas such as Nablus (Shechem), they almost destroyed the Tomb of Joseph. Archaeological digs occurred on the Temple Mount unsupervised resulting in the destruction of important and sacred sites.

Conversely, Israel has made extensive efforts to maintain all of the religious sites under its control. It performs archeological digs mindful of scientific rigor while balancing religious sensitivities.

Advantage Israel

The Hurva Synagogue in the Old City was destroyed by the Jordanian Arabs in 1949
(photo: FirstOneThrough)


HISTORY: The history of the Jewish people in Jerusalem extends back 3700 years when Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice. It became the unified capital of Jews under King David 3000 years ago and site of two temples (954BCE-587BCE and 516BCE-70CE). Jews have always continued to live there and move there over the centuries except when they were banned during the Crusades (early 1200s) and under Arab rule (1949-1967).

Arab history in Jerusalem is more recent than for Jews. Arabs came to the region and city of Jerusalem as part of the Muslim invasion in the seventh century, roughly 2300 years after Jews.

Advantage Israel

CAPITAL: Only one people ever made and considered Jerusalem to be its capital: the Jews. Whether in ancient times or modern, Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people.

When Muslims ruled the region and controlled Jerusalem, they never made Jerusalem the capital. Whether under the initial Arab invasion of the seventh century, under the Mamelukes or the Ottoman Turks, or even under Jordanian Arab rule 1949-1967, Jerusalem was never the central seat of government.

Jerusalem: Advantage Israel
Bethlehem: None

CENTRALITY: There is only one country in the UN that has a national anthem that is completely about its capital: Israel.

“As long as in the heart within a Jewish soul still yearns And onward, towards the ends of the east, an eye still gazes towards Zion.

Our hope is not lost, the hope of two thousand years, To be a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”

Jerusalem: Advantage Israel
Bethlehem: None

Beta Israel, Jews from Ethiopia, return to Jerusalem
(photo: FirstOneThrough)


In considering the future of the residents of the Holy Basin, it is important to consider how the people have been treated.

CITIZENSHIP: When Israel declared statehood in 1948, it granted citizenship to 160,000 non-Jews. When it took control of the entire Holy Basin in 1967, it offered citizenship to those who requested it.

This was in stark contrast to the Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs who evicted the Jews in 1949. Today, Palestinian leadership has insisted on a new Palestinian state devoid of Jews, which is why the Palestinian Authority objects so strongly to Jews buying homes in Jerusalem.

Advantage Israel

POPULATION GROWTH: Population growth can be used as a proxy for the freedom for Arabs and Jews in the Holy Basin under the different administrations.

From 1949 to 1967, the Jewish population under Jordanian and Palestinian Arab control went from zero to zero. The Jews were evicted from eastern Jerusalem and were not allowed to return. However, the Jewish population in the western part of Jerusalem nearly doubled (+98%). Over the same time period, the Arab population under both Israeli (the Israelis gave Arabs citizenship in their half of Jerusalem) and Jordanian control grew by 72%. Jewish growth outpaced Arab growth, even though Jews were only able to live in half of the city.

After reunification of the city in 1967 until 2005, the population trends changed. Jewish growth throughout the city grew by 196%, while Arab growth grew by 315%. Overall, the city grew at a compounded growth rate of 3.1% compared to the divided city which only grew at 2.4%.

  • Under Arab control, Jews were expunged from the area; but under Israeli control, Arab growth rate surpassed Jews’. Arabs performed ethnic cleansing while Jews encouraged diversity.
  • Under a constrained Jewish situation from 1946-1967 while there was no access to eastern Jerusalem, Jewish growth outpaced an unconstrained Arab dynamic. Jewish demand to live in Jerusalem outpaced Arab interest.
  • Under Israeli sovereignty, the city grew faster than under Arab control.

Under Israel, the city did better, the Arabs did better and the Jews did better.

Advantage Israel

POPULATION: Jews have been the dominant religious group in Jerusalem since the 1860s. Even at the start of World War I, when Jews accounted for only 8% of Palestine, they accounted for 64% of the population of Jerusalem.

Today, Jews continue to be a majority of Jerusalem, despite the Arab growth accelerating in Jerusalem under Israeli control (up to 3.8% CAGR from 2.6%). Jews account for roughly 69% of the city’s population overall, and 39% in the eastern part of the city.  The eastern part contains some of the largest Jewish neighborhoods (Pisgat Ze’ev) and is home to Hebrew University (established in 1925).

Advantage Israel

View from Hebrew University
(photo: FirstOneThrough)


Any final agreement between the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs must not simply focus on being fair, but be sustainable.

SECURITY: No capital city sits on the border of another country. To have the seat of government sit adjacent to a foreign country risks the viability of the state. In the case of Israel, the situation is even more sensitive than for other countries:

  • The countries adjacent to Israel have repeatedly attacked it
  • Those same countries continue to challenge the basic right of Israel to even exist
  • The main political party (Hamas) of the proposed country has a charter repeatedly calling for Israel’s complete destruction
  • Jerusalem sits on hills, making it even more vulnerable if the city would be divided, but significantly safer, if all of the hills and access roads remained within Israel

Jerusalem: Advantage Israel
Bethlehem: None

HISTORY OF DIVIDED CITIES: Fewer than 1/1000th of 1% of cities and towns in the world are divided. Those handful of towns that are split between two countries are typically very small and have a natural geological separator like a river dividing the city.  None of those factors apply to Jerusalem.

Divided capitals are even more rare, and history shows that they are unsustainable.  Recent examples include: Beirut, Lebanon; Berlin, Germany; Jerusalem and Nicosia, Cyprus.

Beirut and Berlin were divided by war for a few decades, and both have been reunified in peace.  Nicosia has continued to be split along with the rest of Cyprus, and ongoing peace talks since 1974 have attempted to reunite the city – not divide it.

Advantage Israel

OFFENSIVE-DEFENSIVE PARTIES: In the San Remo Resolution of 1920, the League of Nations (precursor to the UN) recognized the right of Jews to return to their homeland in the holy land. However, the Palestinian Arabs launched major riots against the Jews, most notably in 1929 and 1936-9 which made the British start to move Jews out of their homes in certain cities (such as Hebron).

When the UN developed various proposals over the years 1937-1947 to divide the land, the Israeli Jews said yes while the Arabs consistently said no. The Arab position was to control all of the land including Jerusalem with no land for Jewish control.

As part of their efforts, the Arabs launched a war to destroy all of Israel in 1948, and then again in 1967. The Arabs lost both wars, and the incremental land Israel acquired in each of those wars were from defensive actions.

In total, Israel’s land was acquired initially from the world’s recognition of the historic rights of Jews to the holy land, together with defensive wars.

Conversely, all of the Arab land was acquired through fighting the UN mandate and launching wars.

In regard to the Holy Basin specifically, both Israel and the Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs took sections of the city during the Arab war against Israel in 1948-9, that the UN had proposed to keep under international control. As such, the UN did not recognize either country’s seizure of parts of the city. When Israel took the eastern half of Jerusalem along with Bethlehem in 1967, the UN continued to withhold recognition.

Countries around the world did not recognize Israel’s western Jerusalem in 1949 nor the capture of eastern Jerusalem in 1967, so they have never moved their embassies to the city. Their refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (or Jordan’s) is from 1949, NOT because of Israel’s reunification of the city in 1967.

Advantage Neither
Slight preference for Israel due to defensive nature of acquisitions


By almost every measure, Israel should maintain control of all of Jerusalem as well as additional territory to the east to control the hills and access roads to the capital.  The Palestinians could have control of half of the Holy Basin – Bethlehem – which was handed to Palestinian Authority control in 1996 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

There is one last reason which underscores the complete logic of Israel maintaining complete sovereignty of all of Jerusalem: it is the heart of the home of the Jewish people.  While there are 57 Islamic countries and dozens of Arab countries, there is only one Jewish State, and it has always had one capital: Jerusalem.

The Israeli flag at the Kotel
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

 Text from first half of Israel’s Basic Law declaring Jerusalem as it’s capital:

1. Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.
2. Jerusalem is the seat of the President of the State, the Knesset, the Government and the Supreme Court.
3. 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 towards those places.

Related First One Through articles:

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

The anthem of Israel is JERUSALEM

A Review of Divided Capitals

“East Jerusalem” – the 0.5% Molehill

Israel: Security in a Small Country

A “Viable” Palestinian State

Israel, the Liberal Country of the Middle East

America’s Closed Doors

The spring of 2015 has been a tumultuous time for Americans.

Politics and debate are not new and neither are riots and war. However, it is typically the former that resides on America’s shores while the latter remains a foreign phenomenon.

Closed Doors at Home

Historically, when riots broke out in the United States, they were over isolated incidents such as after a sports game, a concert or visit of foreign diplomats. When protests had “a theme,” such as “Occupy Wall Street,” they carried on for a long time, but remained mostly non-violent. Today’s multi-city violent protests over a common cause is unusual.

The black community has had a mixed relationship with police for a long period of time. People on all sides of the political spectrum debate the reasons for the tension between law enforcement and the citizens they are there to protect. No one denies that there is a problem that is capturing more American cities, whether Ferguson, MO, Berkeley, CA or Baltimore, MD.

Liberal arguments have followed two general themes – racism and economic opportunity – which are actually one: Black unrest stems from the fact that a predominantly white populace holds positions of power. The power may be law enforcement (including the police force and lawyers), municipal government, banks or business. They argue that white people’s biases (whether overt or veiled) discriminate against black people.

The racism argument stems from the large number of arrested and incarcerated black people which is disproportionate to their population figures. The Department of Justice report on Ferguson, MO stated that Ferguson’s police and municipal court practices both reflect and exacerbate existing racial bias, including racial stereotypes…. Evidence shows discriminatory intent.

Counter-arguments point to the situation in Baltimore, MD where the mayor, the majority of the city council, the head of police and the majority of the police force are black. Yet, an unarmed black youth still died while in police custody and black violence took to the streets.

Regardless of the reason, doors appear closed.

Liberals argue that metaphorical doors to economic opportunity are closed to blacks which create economic hardship and frustration. Conservatives argue that doors are naturally closed to everyone; people need to open the doors on their own.  The conservatives do not agree that metaphorical doors of progress are locked because of white bigotry.

Conservatives are focused on physical doors that are closed. Stores which were looted and burned to the ground may never reopen. Both the businessmen and community suffer from the destruction.  For their part, liberals use such conservative arguments to claim that conservatives care more about business than about the lives of black people.

But more physical doors continue to close.

The city of Baltimore imposed a curfew. It barred people from attending a professional baseball game, the first time in history that a game had no fans in the stands.  What will be next?

Closed Doors Abroad

America’s doors are closing due to violence and political snafus in other parts of the world as well.

In Yemen, the United States closed its embassy doors due to unrest in the country. The Obama administration had been using drones to attack rebel forces for many years, yet the rebels overtook the capital.  It would appear that despite America’s outreach to Iran, the Iranians continue to back rebels in Yemen who fight against American allies.

America’s allies in the Middle East are not happy with Obama.  While Obama invited the leaders of several Gulf countries to visit the White House to sell them on his Iranian nuclear deal, Saudi Arabia and other countries declined the invitation.

Just months before, it was Obama who snubbed the Israeli Prime Minister on his visit to the US, who similarly disagreed with Obama’s Iranian policy.


Regarding physical doors, both in the US and abroad, people are locked out of public places and embassies because the government cannot protect them. Metaphorically, America seems to be failing its citizens and allies as well.

At least Obama is focused on opening the door with Iran…. to get nuclear weapons while it chants “Death to America.”

US. Secretary of State Kerry and Iranian FM Zarif shake hands as Omani FM Alawi and EU envoy Ashton watch in Muscat.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Selective Speech

Summary: Just because we are free to do or say something, doesn’t mean we should. And the selection of what speech to admire or admonish is not hypocrisy, but a choice on philosophy.


Many people have taken very hard positions regarding the recent killings at a “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest,” in Texas. In an effort to portray everything in black-and-white, they miss important distinctions.

  1. Murdering someone for being insulted is ALWAYS wrong. As discussed on these pages, “I’m Insulted; You’re Dead,” everyone should whole-heartedly condemn the killing of people because sensibilities were offended. Whether the attacks were at the Parisian offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, or at an event in Texas where people drew the Islamic prophet, no one should condone murder.
  2. Freedom of Speech is a CAUSE worthy of Defense. Freedom of speech and press are cornerstones of western democracies. They are basic and important causes to uphold.
  3. Specific language does NOT need to be defended. Just because someone has the right to say something, doesn’t require everyone to come to the defense of the content of any particular speech. An individual or organization that opts to distance itself from an event does not mean they are against free speech.

Civil Sensitivities

Western societies are a mix of people and ideas. Such combinations create both civil and uncivil conversations. One can choose to be part of a completely civil society where nothing unpleasant is ever said, uncivil society in which people attack people all of the time, or more likely, a blend of the two, where different ideas are shared which may upset certain individuals at certain times.

Civil society’s “safe spaces” are one’s home and organizations where people share common values.  It is hard to imagine that one can walk in public and never hear or see something disagreeable.

An inherent component of being part of the mixed society is to strike a balance of the use of free speech and society’s sensitivities.  Just because someone has the right to say something, doesn’t mean that they should, and that everyone has to support the comment. The other half of that balance is that there is no requirement in society to be polite to everyone.

Not Hypocrisy, But a Preference

When a party or organization chooses to defend some speech and not others, they show their own preferences or priorities. Consider the New York Times approach to several events that upset segments of the American population:

  • Mosque at Ground Zero (2010): The United States offers freedom of religion (as well as speech and press) and as such, Muslims are free to build a mosque at any location where they legally have rights to the land. However, many people viewed the proposed building of a mosque overlooking the site where terrorists killed thousands of people in the name of Islam, as wrong and insulting. The New York Times editorial felt differently stating that it saw “the wisdom of going ahead with the project,” in an opinion that sided with Muslims but offended many people.
  • Convent at Auschwitz (1989): Similar to the mosque at the base of the destroyed World Trade Center, the location of a Roman Catholic convent on the grounds of a notorious concentration camp where over a million Jews were killed simply because of their religion, was viewed as completely insensitive by many Jews. While the Times covered the news story in several articles, it conspicuously never offered its own opinion as to whether the convent should be moved.
  • Giuliani on the Brooklyn Museum art show (1999): The Brooklyn Museum ran a controversial series of “art works” that treated Christianity harshly, including a painting of Mary covered in dung. After New York City NYOR Rudolph Giuliani threatened to withhold funding for the museum, the NYT opted to attack the Mayor stating that “Art is the name of a perpetual human struggle with the limits of perception. The Mayor… is failing dramatically in that role in a fashion that makes him and the city look ridiculous
  • Metropolitan Opera on Klinghoffer (2014): When the streets of New York held civil protests about the Metropolitan Opera’s airing of a play that showed a sympathetic side of terrorists murdering an infirm elderly Jew, the New York Times rushed to the opera’s defense. The editorial page ran a headline that stated “The Death of Klinghoffer Must Go On”. It argued that it stood for art and free speech. Others claimed that it simply stood on the side of Palestinian terrorists.
  • Charlie Hebdo (2015): The New York Times printed a series of editorials trying to find its position on the murder of journalists by Muslim terrorists. While it clearly stood by the rights of journalists to free press, it seemed to support such right because it lampooned all religions, and not just Islam.
  • Draw Mohammed Exhibit (2015). The New York Times chose to attack the organizer of the event, Pamela Geller and stated that the event was simply “hate speech”. It condemned the contest “cannot justify blatantly Islamophobic provocations like the Garland event.

What is the summary of the observations of the New York Times?

  • It sided with Muslims at Ground Zero and the Draw Mohammed Contest; against them at Charlie Hebdo;
  • It sided against Christians at the Brooklyn Museum and offered no opinion at the Auschwitz convent;
  • It sided against Jews for the Klinghoffer opera and no opinion at the Auschwitz convent

When it came to religion, the Times record was mixed, while showing a preference for Muslim sensitivities over Christians and Jews.

Overall, the Times will claim its record is for upholding freedoms.  It obviously failed in that principle when it came to the Mohammed Exhibit, which it claimed failed the threshold for art and was merely “hate speech”.  Perhaps the Times forgot the never-ending nature of its definition of art from 1999: “Art is the name of a perpetual human struggle with the limits of perception.”

Related First.One.Through articles:

Blasphemy OR Terrorism

My Terrorism

New York Times Confusion on Free Speech

Look for Mom on Mother’s Day

Summary: Society’s ongoing demands for special recognition is making seeing one’s mother on Mother’s Day the equivalent of “Where’s Waldo”.

Just 101 years ago, on the brink of World War I, US President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother’s Day.

In its original format, it seemed like a nice, sweet, uncontroversial idea. Each person would make time to thank and honor their own mother for the love and effort they expended in bringing them into and up in this world.

Within a few months, many of those American mothers would be mothers-no-more, as over 100,000 American men died in combat. Americans reached out to those bereaved parents, and implicitly changed the singular “Mother’s Day” to “Mothers’ Day” in plural (as preferred by President Wilson over the wishes of the holiday’s creator, Anna Jarvis).

It did not take long for other societal changes to creep into this Sunday in May.

The first foxes in the henhouses were commercial opportunists. Merchants of flowers, candy and greeting cards convinced us that buying-was-caring, and that their wares were welcome with women, while warm wishes were watered down gifts.

They exploited the public “MotherS’ Day” and advocated that every mother you ever knew was important to recognize. Gone was the one-to-one heartfelt communication from child to mother. On came mass media and mega merchandizing.

This was much better for businesses, as now husbands were expected to buy more significant gifts for their spouses. Before long, jewelry and fashion accessories became the normal gift from a spouse, while the flowers remained a welcome gift from children. Meanwhile, terms of endearment became shorter than Twitter, as the space for sentiments was just the accompanying notecard.

As society expanded the definition of MotherS’ Day, many people came forward to demand their own recognition.  The LGBT community called for more coverage of people who would not have historically been considered mothers.  Others called on society to account for recognizing women with every conceivable iteration of motherhood or non-motherhood.  It is now commonplace for a person grabbing a quick bite to be told by the cashier to call their mother.

How did all of this societal noise get introduced when the day was intended to be a direct communication between child and parent?  Can American society soon expect extreme feminists will assault Mothers’ Day and try to replace it with a single gender-neutral Parents’ Day, the way they are destroying urinals and gender distinct bathrooms?

Hillary Clinton wrote a New York Times bestseller book in 1996 called It Takes a Village” in which she argued that all of society is needed to raise a child.  It would appear that our society is now demanding its acknowledgment in return. Perhaps you can simply use a megaphone and thank your mother in the crowd.


It is perhaps not surprising that the by-product of declaring a public day to have a private communication would eventually destroy that private moment and insist on the public’s inclusion.

However, I do hope that people can move past the cacophony of societal demands and advertising blitz to carve out time for personal expressions of thanks directly with their moms.


Wilson declares Mother’s Day

The “Unclean” Jew in the Crosshairs

Summary: Antisemites calling Jews “unclean” is their first step towards calling for purifying them from the world. How should the world respond?

There have been a number of political leaders who have called Jews “unclean”:

  • Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf (1925): “The moral and physical cleanliness of this race [Jews] was a point in itself. It was externally apparent that these were not water-loving people, and unfortunately one could frequently tell that even with eyes closed. Later the smell of these caftan wearers often made me ill. Added to this were their dirty clothes and their none too heroic appearance. 
  • Hamas Charter (1988):The basic structure of the Islamic Resistance Movement consists of Moslems who have given their allegiance to Allah whom they truly worship, – “I have created the jinn and humans only for the purpose of worshipping” – who know their duty towards themselves, their families and country. In all that, they fear Allah and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors, so that they would rid the land and the people [Jews] of their uncleanliness, vileness and evils.”
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (2013):Israeli regime, this sinister, unclean rabid dog of the region
  • Acting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (2014): “Keep the settlers and the extremists away from Al-Aqsa and our holy places. We will not allow our holy places to be contaminated.


It did not take long for these leaders and parties to move from their initial anti-Semitic positions, to calls to eradicate the Jews:

  • Hitler’s Nazi party gradually stripped Jews of their citizenship in the early and mid-1930’s once the gained power, pushed them into ghettoes and work camps by late 1930’s and began their annihilation by the early 1940’s.
  • Hamas called for the murder of Jews and destruction of Israel in the very same 1988 charter: “rid the land and the people [Jews]“, “there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him” and “Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people.”  The Palestinian people voted for Hamas into 58% of the Parliament in 2006.
  • Iran’s leader was quite clear in 2014: “This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated
  • The Fatah party of the Palestinians was led by Yasser Arafat who said: “We will not bend or fail until the blood of every last Jew from the youngest child to the oldest elder is spilt to redeem our land!”” His successor, Mahmoud Abbas declared In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands.

One can call Abbas a “moderate” in comparison to those around him in that he has not openly called for killing Israelis (he prefers the indirect method of honoring and celebrating those that do kill Israelis).

President Obama commented about ISIS (2014) that “the world must never cease in seeking to defeat their evil ideology.” Such evil ideology is the open platform in the Iranian and Palestinian leadership.

As Obama is actively engaged in dialogue and negotiations with both of those parties, does he think

  • that the Iranian and Palestinian platforms are not “evil ideologies
  • that they are exceptions that do not need to be defeated, or
  • his process of negotiation and placating them is a method of “defeating” them?

Related FirstOneThrough articles:

The Palestinians War Against the Jews

Palestinian anti-Semitism surpasses Nazi Germany

Before recognizing a Palestinian State, Recognize what the Palestinians are saying