The Shrapnel of Intent

“The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters
and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,
with four dead and eleven wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered
and one graveyard. But the young woman
who was buried in the city she came from,
at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,
enlarges the circle considerably,
and the solitary man mourning her death
at the distant shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won’t even mention the howl of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
beyond, making
a circle with no end and no God.”

“The Diameter of a Bomb”
Yehuda Amichai (1924 – 2000)

 

Yehuda Amichai moved to Palestine from Germany in 1936, as the Nazi war against the Jews was emerging in Europe, and the Arab war against the Zionists was gathering steam in Palestine. He would fight together with the British army in World War II and with the Jewish Defense Forces in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948-9. He would later become one of Israel’s most treasured poets, winning the Israel Prize for poetry in 1982 for his collection of works he penned in Hebrew. He died at the age of 76, at the start of the Second Intifada in September 2000.

Like all living things, Amichai’s life had a beginning and end. However, his works touched upon deeper truths which surpassed both time and geography. In a life framed by antisemitism and rejection, his words brought the Jewish people a mixture of bitterness, longing, anger and comfort about the hatred and violence they all endured.

The poem above is such an example regarding how the diameter of a bomb doesn’t begin to explain the sphere of its impact. While the scars are physical, the trauma is mental; the explosion may be ephemeral, but the shock is eternal.

Amichai’s words resonated deeply for the small global Jewish community which suffered from constant attacks both in Israel and in the diaspora. In Europe and Russia during the 20th century, millions of Jews were slaughtered while the Jews in Arab countries were expelled. The physical pain experienced by one Jew touched their cousins around the world. The grief was shared.

But the pain experienced by the Jews in Israel from multiple Arab wars and countless terrorist attacks carried an extra burden for world Jewry. While the emotional trauma of fellow Jews slaughtered and maimed reinforced the constant haunting echo of antisemitism, the attacks on the Jews in Zion also compromised the Promised Land. A place of holiness became a house of mourning. The collective Jewish inheritance bestowed by God was being ravaged in an unholy assault.

Since the beginning of the rebirth of the Jewish State in the early 1900’s, Jews and pro-Israel people around the world have been emotionally connected to the terrorism and wars inflicted upon Israeli Jews. Amichai’s poem noted that local Israeli tragedies encircled the world in grief. The bombs severed limbs and cut lives short, yet they connected everyone.

But something changed drastically over the past dozen years. The tragedies befalling Israeli Jews are now perceived through different lenses for both Israeli Jews and the Zionist community around the world.

The Changed Israeli Perspective: The Bombers

The beginning of the altered Israeli perspective began as the Second Intifada was born at the failure of the Oslo Accords.

The September 1995 Oslo II Accords were scheduled to reach a conclusive peace agreement in five years, in September 2000. However, when the Palestinian Arab leadership under Yasser Arafat was not able to secure 100% of his desired goals, he launched waves of attacks against Jewish civilians, killing hundreds of people over several years.

The ramification of the Second Intifada was not only the hundreds of murdered Israelis, but the penetrating shock waves that rippled through Israeli society which left permanent scars. Israelis internalized that the conflict was not about land as they had hoped, or about Palestinian “refugees” as they had been told. Israelis concluded that people who would intentionally slaughter children because they did not get a 100% of their demands, would never allow the Jewish State to exist on even 1% of the land. The Second Intifada scorched the psyche of Israelis that the Palestinians rejected the basic presence of Jews and the existence of the Jewish State. No enduring peace could ever be achieved with such Arab sentiment.

The shrapnel of intent of the bombers of the Second Intifada entered the minds of Israelis altering their views of the Palestinian Arabs, while the heat of the blasts incinerated the Israeli doves. The dream of peace with such murderers was reckoned a fantasy too dangerous to pursue and impossible to achieve.

In light of their new perspectives, the Israelis altered direction in dealing with the Palestinian Arabs. They erected a security barrier between the Arabs in the West Bank and Israel, and have elected a series of right-of-center governments. All to the chagrin of the liberals in the diaspora.

The Changed Diaspora Perspective: Untouched

Yossi Klein Halevi, an American-Israeli author who works at the left-of-center Shalom Hartman Institute recently wrote a book called  “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor,” which captures some of the divide between the American left-wing and Israelis. In describing the book, he talked about the anguish of his dream of peace with Palestinian Arabs being destroyed by the Second Intifada.

“The Second Intifada brought the right back to power and nearly destroyed the Israeli left, something the international community still hasn’t internalized.”

For Israelis, the Second Intifada was different than the wars and terrorism before 2000. The Israelis felt that they had stretched far to achieve peace and were rewarded with the massacre of innocents. Even after the Second Intifada, when the Palestinians got to hold open elections for their parliament for the first time in 2006, they elected the terrorist group Hamas to a 58% majority. When Israel left Gaza in 2005, it was rewarded with wars in 2008, 2012 and 2014. And regarding people living and working side-by-side, the coexistence was paid for with stabbings and car rammings – literally funded by the Palestinian Authority.

Unlike Yehuda Amichai’s poem, liberals outside of Israel were not deeply touched by the Second Intifada. The Jewish diaspora didn’t see the pizza store and bus bombings of the 2000’s as markedly different than Palestinians shooting up schools or hijacking planes in the 1970’s: the Palestinian Arabs were still seeking 100% of their demands and the Israelis were not compromising nearly enough. The Israelis concluded that the counter-party was forever false, while the international community was occupied counting refugees and square kilometers of land.

While Israelis became convinced that the Palestinians rejected any enduring peace with the Jewish State, the left-wing diaspora was certain that the Israelis were never going to give the Arabs everything they demanded without external pressure. The viewpoints were different; the near term objectives were different; and one party was going to force the other to adhere to its terms.


Amichai’s poem concluded with a bond of empathy that surpassed boundaries: deeper truths surpass raw figures. While Israelis gained clarity of their relationship with the Palestinians in witnessing their pathological reaction to minuscule gaps in an agreement, the international community and liberal diaspora Jews were tracing the invisible 1949 Armistice Lines.

The difference in reactions opened a wide divide in the relationship.

Since the Second Intifada, the diameter of Palestinian bombs no longer encircles and binds Israeli Jews and liberal diaspora Jews. Until the shrapnel of intent penetrates the minds of the international community, the chasm in the relationship is only likely to widen.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Pray for a Lack of “Proportionately” in Numbers. There will never be an Equivalence of Intent.

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Non-Orthodox Jewish Denominations Fight Israel

Israel’s Peers and Neighbors

The Proud Fathers of Palestinian Terrorists

For Liberals, It’s Israelis, Palestinians, and Indifference

The Impossible Liberal Standard

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Christiane Amanpour is More Anti-Semitic Than Ilhan Omar

On January 17, 2019, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed the new Democratic member of the House of Representatives, Ilhan Omar. Amanpour asked Omar to comment on a tweet she made in 2012 when she accused the government of Israel of being evil and “hypnotizing the world” regarding the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza, a statement which many people viewed as anti-Semitic.


CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviews Ilhan Omar January 17, 2019

The lead-in by Amanpour was arguably more anti-Semitic than Omar’s tweet (which Omar claimed was simply about her anger about military actions of the Israeli government):

“Can I move on to something that is generally sort of a right of passage for politicians in the United States and that is sort of to profess sort of fealty, or at least pay homage, to AIPAC, the pro-Israel PAC that is very, very prominent.”

To be clear, the expression “professing fealty” is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as “the fidelity of a vassal or feudal tenant to his lord.

Amanpour’s introductory statement was that all US politicians are vassals of (slaves to) the pro-Israel lobby. She made this anti-Israel canard as a casual observance of fact, not a concocted claim of outrageous fiction. She gave the CNN audience the impression that the US-Israel relationship is not based on MUTUAL values and benefits, but one of sinister puppet-masters controlling the US government.

Omar made a disgraceful statement about the Jewish State several years ago, but at least it was born from an anger related to military activity. However, Amanpour used a vile anti-Semitic charge against all Zionists at all times.

It was right and proper for CNN to terminate Marc Lamont Hill for his calls to destroy Israel. It is even more appropriate for the media group to fire Christiane Amanpour for going beyond terrible accusations of dual-loyalty against Americans who support Israel, to actually charging them with abusing the entirety of American politics with selfish Zionist schemes.


Related First.One.Through articles:

CNN Makes Clear the Attackers and Victims in Gaza-Israel Fight

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CNN’s Embrace of Hamas

Stopping the Purveyors of Hateful Propaganda

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New York Times Reprints Union Manifesto

The Los Angeles Teacher’s Union went on strike, abandoning roughly 600,000 students. The 30,000 public school teachers want many things, the primary one of which is more money. You’d be hard pressed to learn about how much money they make today, their pension and healthcare benefits and vacation perks from the New York Times.

The NY Times front page January 18, 2019 article focused on the plight of the students. The article conveyed how poor students have no place to go while rich students did while school was out. It described a California tax system that favored rich neighborhoods over poor ones. It described how California public schools often had over 40 students per grade while most urban public schools had between 16 and 28 (curious math when 600,000 students serviced by 30,000 teachers implies an average of 20 students per teacher). The article reviewed how charter schools hurt the public schools.

In other words, the paper published a sad story about the students without shedding light on what teachers in California earn. One would imagine that an actual NEWSpaper which is (theoretically) meant to educate readers would supply some basic information about the REASON FOR THE STRIKE. Instead, the liberal rag opted to make it sound like the teachers are striking for the benefit of the students.

Here is some data from the California Department of Education:

  • For elementary schools, the mid-range average salary for a teacher in a middle-sized school is $75,417. For a large school, the average teacher makes $80,256
  • For high schools, the mid-range average salary for a teacher in a middle-sized school is $80,177. For a large school, the average teacher makes $86,127
  • Overall, the average salary of public school teachers in 201617 in the State of California was $79,128
  • California public school teachers don’t pay social security tax – they aren’t a part of the country-wide system of support for seniors. Instead, they have their own pension system. The pension allows people to begin withdrawing money without penalty at age 60 or 62 – five years before the rest of the country gets any social security benefits. Further, the system doesn’t pay out anemic monies to seniors – the annual payout often exceeds the annual salary the teachers earned for the rest of their lives. (In case you’re wondering how such a system can work with such generous payments and little teacher pay-in – it can’t. It’s supported by taxes).
  • Health benefits for California teachers are among the best in the country.
  • While most Americans work at least 245 days per year, school teachers in California work only 180 days, 26% less.
  • Did we mention job security? While most Americans are worried about losing their jobs or their employer failing, teachers in California have almost a guaranteed job for life.

The average teacher in California makes 52% more than the average person (average CA salary is $51,910), has a more generous pension and works significantly fewer hours than the rest of the people in the state.

But the NY Times opted to not educate its readers. Instead, it opted to be the public mouthpiece of union labor, pretending the strike is about the welfare of children rather than the pockets of union members. Another edition of #AlternativeFacts


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Amnesty International’s Rankings for 2017/2018

Amnesty International defines itself as an organization which “campaign(s) to end abuses of human rights” around the world. It writes research reports on 150 countries and territories describing its perceptions of human rights abuses. It then lobbies governments, and organizes petitions and campaigns to rectify the issues which it concluded needs redress.

The Amnesty reports vary greatly in length. In countries in which Amnesty believed there were few human rights abuses, the reports were very short; where there were extensive abuses, the reports were quite lengthy.

Consider the reports on two Pacific countries, New Zealand and Australia. Amnesty viewed those countries in a very favorable light. The organization barely touched upon the trampled rights and ongoing situation of the indigenous people. The reports contained just 370 and 684 words for New Zealand and Australia, respectively.

Amnesty similarly viewed much of Western Europe through rose tinted glasses. The countries of Denmark, Switzerland and Belgium had reports of just 532, 613 and 670 words, respectively. The fact that they ban minarets for mosques, the wearing of hijabs and burkas, do not permit the ritual slaughter of meat and continue to enforce more and more anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim laws did not ruffle the human rights organization.

Banana republic’s like Cuba, Somalia and Sudan also were treated with gentle hands, with just 877, 853 and 1,191 words written in those reports, respectively. Those countries had some of the worst human rights records in the world. Perhaps Amnesty thought that abject poverty served as an excuse for illiberal policies.

But the oil rich Gulf countries were also spared Amnesty’s intense attention. Oman, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain had 719, 1013, 1091 and 1539 word-reports, respectively. The lack of worker and women’s rights, religious freedoms and those of the press and assembly were seemingly blinded by a buck.

Several of the nuclear powers seemed to be treated a bit worse, even though there was no language admonishing the countries for having nuclear power. France and the United Kingdom had 1,193 and 1,726 word reports written about them, respectively. North Korea – perhaps a combination of both a banana republic and nuclear power had 1,269 word printed about its human rights abuses. Yes, that North Korea, which is one of the least free countries in the world according to Freedom House, received a fraction of the ink that Amnesty wrote about the UK.

According to Amnesty, the worst of the worst countries abusing human rights appeared to be those with long 2,000+ word reports. Some of these countries were indeed horrific places to live such as Syria and Afghanistan. But look at the list below and consider which countries received the most attention.

Country Words in Report
Myanmar 2003
Iraq 2004
Afghanistan 2083
Syria 2094
Saudi Arabia 2181
Mexico 2427
Israel 2496
Russia 2519
Nigeria 2541
USA 2627
Egypt 2638
Iran 2840
Turkey 2849
China 2934

It is perhaps not a surprise that China and Turkey – countries which jail the most journalists – or Russia, which kills many journalists, were high on the list for an organization that does a lot of research and writing.

But in what world can anyone seriously consider the reports of an organization that believes that Israel and the United States are worse human rights abusers than Syria and Saudi Arabia?

It is perhaps no surprise that NGO Monitor labeled the group “Shamnesty International” for not doing thorough and balanced research.

An example of the imbalance and bias can be found by doing a simple search under one of Amnesty’s core topics: Child Soldiers. While Amnesty reported on the terrible practice in Congo and South Sudan, it could not be bothered to describe the Palestinian Arab teenagers who are actively involved in terrorism on behalf of Hamas and also used as human shields, even while the organization went through great lengths to report on Israel’s perceived abuses.

Amnesty’s call for action and protests also fall flat. Did Amnesty ever call on the world to boycott Turkey for its illegal occupation of northern Cyprus since 1974? Nope. An arms embargo for its slaughter of the Kurdish minority? Nope. Maybe calls for halting cultural exchanges with a country that jails more journalists and dissidents than any country in the world? No way.

Amnesty only targets Israel. It called for an arms embargo. It called for a boycott of goods made in the Israeli territories in Judea and Samaria. In its focus on Israel and the Palestinians, did the organization ever call out Hamas? Well, yes, sort of. In 2010, Amnesty called on Hamas to not execute Palestinian collaborators with Israel.

Amnesty didn’t completely ignore the Palestinians. in a section devoted to “Palestine (State of),” the organization wrote a grand total of 1,623 words – slightly less than the United Kingdom. Excessive Force – against Arabs only – got 164 words. The horrible cases of “honor killings” which is absolved by Palestinian law received only 145 words. Torture got only 162. But Amnesty managed to spill 389 words – more than the combined total of abuse of women and torture – on freedoms of assembly and the press. Zero words – nothing – about the ongoing war against Israel. That stood in sharp contrast to its report on Israel which was almost completely devoted to Israel’s action (never noted as defensive) against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Amnesty International presents like many organizations which appear to be advancing the case for human rights around the world. However, scratching the surface reveals yet another jaundiced operation unfairly targeting the thriving liberal democracy that is Israel which sits in the middle of a region of human rights abusers.


Related First.One.Through articles:

A Flower in Terra Barbarus

Israel’s Peers and Neighbors

Dancing with the Asteroids

Oxfam and Gaza

No Disappearing in the Land of the Blind

Murderous Governments of the Middle East

Apostasy

I’m Offended, You’re Dead

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On Heretics and Slanderers

Judaism’s primary daily prayer has two common names in Hebrew, called the Amidah (because a person stands for the prayer), and the Shmoneh Esrei (which means “18” for the 18 blessings in the prayer). However, in reality, the Shmonesh Esrei has 19 blessings, as an additional one was added about 1900 years ago.

The nineteenth blessing was added by Jewish sages due to divisions within Judaism around the 2nd century CE. The background story resonates in some format today.

The Introduction of the 19th Blessing

After the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70CE, the traditional model of Temple service was terminated. In its stead, rabbinic Judaism as outlined by the Pharisees, began to take root as the new established norm. It included traditions such as the Oral Law, which became codified in the Gemara or Talmud.

A competing group, the Sadducee sect, did not believe in the Oral Law and rejected the Pharisees’ Gemara. In reaction to that rejection, according to the Gemara in Berakhot 28b and 29a, Rabban Gamliel, the leading rabbi of the 2nd century, considered how to minimize the influence of the Sadducee sect within the Jewish community. In an attempt to keep the Sadducees from infiltrating the minds and hearts of the nation, he had a new blessing composed against these “heretics” to be inserted into the Shmoneh Esrei. As detailed in Berakhot, the goal of inserting the new blessing in the primary prayer was that Sadducees would not join in such service which cursed their efforts, and would disassociate themselves from the community. How could a person stand in prayer with a community that was reciting blessings that cursed them?

Interestingly, the Gemara did not offer a more straightforward explanation of the blessing: that Jews wanted the efforts of these heretics to fail and were collectively rejecting their views of Judaism.

Here is the prayer, as translated in Orthodox prayer books today:

וְלַמַּלְשִׁינִים אַל תְּהִי תִקְוָה. וְכָל הָרִשְׁעָה כְּרֶגַע תּאבֵד. וְכָל אויְבֵי עַמְּךָ מְהֵרָה יִכָּרֵתוּ. וְהַזֵדִים מְהֵרָה תְעַקֵּר וּתְשַׁבֵּר וּתְמַגֵּר וְתַכְנִיעַ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, שׁובֵר אויְבִים וּמַכְנִיעַ זֵדִים:

And for slanderers may there be no hope; and may all wickedness be destroyed instantly and may all Your enemies be cut down quickly. Quickly uproot, smash, and cast down the arrogant sinners and humble them quickly in our days. Blessed are You, O Lord, Who breaks enemies and humbles arrogant sinners.

Today, the prayer is normally translated to be against as “slanderers” rather than “heretics” as intended 1900 years ago. The difference is significant in terms of intention, but perhaps less meaningful in terms of population, as discussed below.

Heretics

The notion of condemning “heretics” was religion-oriented. These people were “enemies” of God, distorting His laws. They stood against God and were “arrogant sinners,” a corrupting force against organized and unified religious practice.

Seen from today’s perspective, heretics may mean people like “Jews for Jesus.” They are people who nominally state they are within the Jewish community but espouse views that are not in concert with Judaism. As opposed to Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and other religions which are viewed as completely distinct from Judaism and therefore neither addressed nor condemned, the blessing targets missionaries within the Jewish fold who seek to distort and undermine rabbinic Judaism.

Slanderers

While heretics are enemies of religion, slanderers are enemies of the people.

Two thousand years ago, the Pharisees and Sadducees did not only split on religious matters, but also on political ones. While the Pharisees delved into the meaning and application of Oral Law, the Sadducees were more politically-oriented. The Sadducees conspired and worked with the Romans, reporting on fellow Jews. They leveraged influence not just for their own benefit, but to undermine and harm fellow Jews.

In modern times, slanderers could mean Jewish groups like “Jewish Voice for Peace.” This organization actively seeks to wage an economic war against all Jews living in the eastern part of the Jewish homeland and much of Israel as well. Another is “J Street” which actively lobbied the US Obama Administration to label Jews living in the Old City of Jerusalem and the “West Bank” as “illegal,” pushing passage of UNSC Resolution 2334.

Orthodox versus Non-Orthodox Prayer Books

The 19th prayer against heretics/slanderers found above is as printed in Orthodox prayer books today. This blessing has been deleted from the Shmoneh Esrei in Reform synagogues. There are a few possible reasons for the active deletion.

Reform Jews may have deleted the blessing as they did not want prayers to include condemnation of fellow Jews. Perhaps they sought a more positive spiritual experience during the prominent prayer service.

It is also possible that some of the editors of the Reform prayer books believed that the blessing was taking aim at themselves as either heretics or slanderers.

The concern regarding heresy is that Reform Judaism broke from thousands of years of rabbinic Judaism in many facets, including believing that the Bible was written by a human, not God, and that the definition of “who is a Jew” is not limited to matrilineal descent but could be passed down from a Jewish father as well.

As it relates to slander, the leading rabbis of the Reform movement are active in groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, J Street, T’ruah and many others that publicly call out Israel on the global stage. While they believe they are striving to hold Israel to a high standard, there is no question as to their criticizing fellow Jews. Knowing that the 19th blessing was composed by Orthodox rabbis who were trying to enforce conformity and control, deleting the blessing could have been an attempt to free themselves of traditional constraints.

Whichever reason, the Orthodox (and still the Conservative branch of Judaism) is in the minority in keeping the blessing, as the Reform, Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewal branches of Judaism have deleted it. The non-Orthodox branches are the largest in the United States and do not fear being marginalized like the Sadducees of 1900 years ago. They have their own synagogues and do not need to pray in the handful of Orthodox shuls where the blessing against heretics is recited.

Israel Today

In Jerusalem, there is a cemetery on Emek Refaim Street that is run by a group affiliated with Jews for Jesus. They consider themselves proud advocates for the Jewish State, but also seek to convert Jews.

Mural from the wall above the cemetery in Jerusalem’s Emek Refaim Street
showing scenes from the Bible
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

While Israel allows all religions to operate openly within its borders, it prohibits missionary work. The heretics who run the cemetery know this, and are careful with how they distribute their literature, walking a fine line of sharing information while avoiding proselytizing.

The Jewish State has also begun to take a more forceful response to slanderers and those that actively seek to harm Israel and Israelis. Specifically, groups like Code Pink and Jewish Voice for Peace which lobby governments to sanction Israel and boycott goods are being stopped from entering the country.

It is likely not a coincidence that the government of Israel has begun to act against slanderers, and the fact that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel is a political creature which only has Orthodox rabbis. Orthodox Judaism seeks a protective fence around religious practice and the Jewish people, and the rabbis have no issues calling out people who break from the insular fold and bring in external political forces to harm Israeli Jews. A theoretical office of the Chief Rabbinate which included all of the other branches of Judaism would likely not only redefine who is a Jew and the types of marriages that could be practiced in Israel, it would also likely greet Code Pink with a welcome banner at the airport.


There is a gap in the Jewish people, just as there was thousands of years ago: there are those that believe in traditional rabbinic Judaism and those that reject it. There are those that seek to slander and malign fellow Jews to the world and those that condemn such actions.

The Sadducees of 2,000 years ago ultimately faded away, while the rabbinic Judaism of the Pharisees became the established norm. Yet over the last few hundred years, new branches of Judaism emerged which initially only challenged the traditional rabbinic view of Judaism, and now confronts fellow Jews as well. It is the Sadducees Redux.

The divide within Judaism is not new; it was just dormant. The schism manifests itself when the Jews have power to control their own destiny, as opposed to 1900 years when they were helpless minorities scattered around the world. The questions for today are whether the Pharisees (Orthodox) or Sadducees Redux (Non-Orthodox/ Progressives) will prevail in defining the future of the Jewish people, and whether they will destroy themselves and the Zionist experiment in the process.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Non-Orthodox Jewish Denominations Fight Israel

The Reform Movement’s Rick Jacobs Has no Understanding of Tolerance

Rick Jacobs’ Particular Reform Judaism

A Basic Lesson of How to be Supportive

Unity – not Uniformity – in the Pro-Israel Tent

An Orthodox Rabbi at the Capitol

For Liberals, It’s Israelis, Palestinians, and Indifference

Denying Entry and Citizenship

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2018 FirstOneThrough Recap

The First.One.Through blog hit some milestones in 2018.

It crossed the 500,000 word-count and 600 article thresholds, for one thing. By way of reference, there are only a handful of books ever written that crossed half a million words such as War and Peace and Les Miserables. Not bad in 4.5 years of writing.

Year Articles  Words   Average 
2014 107        62,534           584
2015 144      143,239           995
2016 132      117,961           894
2017 106      104,462           985
2018 117      102,591           877
TOTAL 606      530,787           876

The articles continue to be picked up and re-posted by various news outlets and bloggers around the world. Some have translated the articles into different languages. Some of these include:

Paper / Blog Language Website
The Jewish Press English http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/firstonethrough/
Brabosh Dutch https://brabosh.com/
Shiloh Musings English https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/
Anne’s Opinions English https://anneinpt.wordpress.com/
Med Israel for Fred Norwegian https://www.miff.no/
JewsNews English https://www.jewsnews.co.il/
Love of the Land English https://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com/
Document Norwegian https://www.document.no/
Jews Down Under English https://jewsdownunder.com/
Hava HaAchrona English https://havahaaharona.blogspot.com/
Helplev German https://heplev.wordpress.com/
FutureLearn English https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/antisemitism/1/steps/294493
Facts About Israel English https://www.factsaboutisrael.uk/honest-news-from-israel/
Hammonton Schools English https://www2.eboard.com/eboard/servlet/BoardServlet?&ACTION=TAB_SHOW&ACTION_ON=TAB&OBJECT_ID=682149&SITE_NAME=hammontonps&BOARD_NAME=English,Cori&TAB_ID=682149&SESSION_ID=83hg80wmz3w3w99606
Israeli Frontline English http://www.israelifrontline.com/2018/07/the-time-factor-in-the-arab-israeli-conflict.html
Israel and Stuff English https://www.israelandstuff.com/
SMA Norwegian http://sma-norge.no/leder/hamas-takket-norge-for-hjelpen/
The Jewish Leadership Blog English http://jewishleadership.blogspot.com/
Israel Palestine Dialogue English http://israel-palestine-dialogue.blogspot.com/2018/01/?m=1
Politisches & Wissenswertes German https://politisches.blog-net.ch/2017/12/12/corpus-separatum-endete-fuer-immer-im-jahr-1995/
The Times of Israel English http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/read-this-if-you-think-israel-is-apartheid/
Pleins Feux sur l’Heure Juste French https://pleinsfeux.org/largent-de-lonu/
Light of Zion English https://lightofzion.org/palestinian-conflict/do-you-know-why-israeli-settlements-are-not-illegal-under-international-law/
Education News English http://www.educationviews.org/alabama-comparison-u-s-senate-candidates-doug-jones-democrat-judge-roy-moore-republican/
Kattukse Vdienden Voor Israel Dutch https://fredbarendsma.wordpress.com/
Shamrak English http://www.shamrak.com/sh_editorials/EL_Trauma%20from%20Prolonged%20Warfare.htm

The articles are also often cited in individuals’ commentaries on different sites.

Blog Language Website
Connecting Singles English https://www.connectingsingles.com/blog_96020_1/who_owns_jerusalem.htm
The Educator’s Classroom English https://theeducatorsroom.com/teaching-liberal-job-america/
True Cost Blog English https://truecostblog.com/2009/08/09/countries-with-universal-healthcare-by-date/
VG Debate Norwegian https://vgd.no/samfunn/midtoesten/tema/1850040/tittel/boikott-eurovision-i-israel/side/19

These sites and links have been important sources of readers, but Facebook continues to be the most important, accounting for 44% of traffic. Search engines and Twitter accounted for 12% and 1%, respectively.

The articles that gathered the most interest in 2018 were about Ari Fuld, an American-Israeli who was killed in cold blood by a Palestinian Arab. Other articles that were popular were about the United Nations and CNN, which both negatively portrayed Israel throughout the year.

Interestingly, one of the most viewed articles of 2018 was written in 2015, called “Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War.” It was one of the most popular articles of 2017 as well and ranks as the sixth most read-article (at least linked to) on the First.One.through site.

There was no dramatic shift in terms of the countries viewing the articles from last year, with the exception of Japan and Hong Kong jumping significantly. In response, there may be more articles written in 2019 about Asia as it relates to Judaism and Israel.

Country 2018 2017
United States 59.4% 58.5%
Israel 8.5% 7.9%
Canada 6.9% 7.4%
United Kingdom 4.3% 4.5%
Australia 3.4% 3.4%
South Africa 3.0% 2.9%
Netherlands 2.1% 1.8%
Japan 1.0% 0.2%
Germany 0.8% 0.9%
Sweden 0.8% 0.7%
Hong Kong 0.8% 0.1%
India 0.6% 1.0%
Norway 0.6% 0.8%

The FirstOneThrough YouTube page has slowed down since August 2018. While no new videos have been posted in six years, until August 2018, there was still an average of over an hour a day of video watched on the channel. Since August, viewing time is down by half.

The most popular videos of 2018 were:

The Hamas Theme Song (Music by CSNY)” was removed by YouTube for violating community standards. Curiously, many of the sources for that video (translated by sites like MEMRI and Palestinian Media Watch) which showed Hamas teaching Palestinian schoolchildren to murder Jews remain on YouTube.

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Wishing you a wonderful 2019.