Turkey has been descending into one of the most intolerant and dangerous promoters of terrorism under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan for several years, but the United Nations seems intent on blessing this particular brand of anti-Semitism and barbarism.
Erdogan promotes blood libels against Jews. In May 2021, he said that the “Jewish Prime Minister” in Israel’s “greatest pleasure” was killing Palestinians because it “is part of their nature” as “they are only satisfied by sucking blood.” The United States senate quickly issued a bill condemning “Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s invocation of the blood libel myth, which has historically been used to justify violence against Jews.”
The anti-Semitic slurs are consistent with Erdogan’s desire to kill Jews. The country was granting citizenship to members of the political-terrorist group HAMAS which the European parliament noted would allow them to set up a base in Turkey and freely travel, affording them “greater freedom in planning attacks on Israeli citizens around the world.“
Turkey’s crimes are not confined to only being against Jews. Turkey’s military invaded Syria in 2018 and continues to control Afrin, home to thousands of Kurds. The Kurds used to account for 96 percent of Afrin’s population and has now been driven down to 25 percent as Turkey has turned the area into a haven for Syria’s Islamic population fleeing the war zones. Turkey treats the minority group as pariahs inside Turkey as well, and has extended its oppressive reach against them and Yazidis until today. A number of senators have urged U.S. President Biden to “forcefully condemn President Erdogan’s escalating efforts to disband the country’s largest pro-Kurdish political party,” as Erdogan continues to purge non-Islamists from the region.
Remarkably, none of this seems to irk the leader of the United Nations.
On September 20, 2021, UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres issued a proclamation praising Turkey as the UN General Assembly gathered to meet. Guterres said:
“Turkey is engaged across the spectrum of our work, as we deal with challenges from the climate crisis to long‑standing threats to peace and security. I am personally familiar with enormous generosity of Turkey and Turkish host communities towards refugees. I offer my sincere appreciation for your support to people in need of protection.
“The number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution and human rights violations is at record levels. I count on Turkey to continue doing its utmost, with the support of the international community. This is an act of solidarity that concerns us all.
“Peacemaking is another critical dimension of our work. I welcome Turkey’s consistent support to our mediation efforts, including by co-chairing the Group of Friends of Mediation — one of our most important tools to reduce, manage and end conflict.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the leadership of His Excellency, Volkan Bozkir, as President of the of the seventy-fifth session of General Assembly. We have been fortunate to rely on him through a difficult year.
“I look forward to our continuing close cooperation with the Government and people of Turkey, and wish you many years of productive work in the new Turkish House. Thank you.“
Gutteres had no similar comments for any other countries’ efforts on behalf of refugees.
The head of the United Nations singled out for praise an anti-Semitic, authoritarian regime which crushes free speech and minority rights during the latest gathering of world leaders. It is a clear indication that the extremist Islamist factions have assumed control of the global body.
Israel sent 25 athletes to the 2020 Paralympics held in Tokyo from August 24 to September 5, 2021. Some of the athletes were accompanied by their guide dogs.
One of the athletes is Roni Ohayon, who is competing in a sport that is unique to the Paralympics called Goalball. It is similar to soccer, specifically designed for players with visual blindness by playing with a ball with bells inside. All players wear blindfolds as part of the game.
Team Israel won the silver medal in goalball at the European Championship held in Germany in 2019. The schedule for the team in Tokyo can be found here.
Roni’s dog Rudy was trained at the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind. It is the only accredited guide dog center in the entire Middle East. Each year, the center provides roughly 35 Guide dogs for the visually-impaired and 35 Companion dogs for Israelis suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.
Many of the athletes trained for competition at the Israel Sports Center for the Disabled. Founded in 1960, the ISCD is a home away from home to around 2,500 Israelis of all ages, where the unique merits of sports are utilized to strengthen body, spirit and mind.
The Paralympics were founded by Dr. Ludwig Guttmann (1899-1980), a Jewish doctor who escaped Nazi Germany to England. He revolutionized the research and treatment of spinal cord injuries including rehabilitation. “It occurred to me that it would have been a serious omission not to include sport in the rehabilitation of handicapped people,” he said, as his efforts began small alongside the Olympics that were held in London in 1948. In 1960, the games went international, and since the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and 1992 Winter games in France, the Paralympics have been held in the same city as the Olympics.
The 2020/1 Tokyo Olympics gathered the worst television ratings ever but hopefully people around the world will tune in to watch the incredible athletes (and dogs) of the Paralympics.
There have been a slew of cases of sexual harassment in the news. The latest culprit is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who joins a list from the entertainment and business worlds. The various incidents ranged from inappropriate behavior to outright crimes.
And all of the perpetrators were men.
While everyone was appalled at the most egregious behavior of these famous men, left-wing feminists took to vilifying all males with a bevy of hashtags including #BelieveWomen and #MeToo. Somehow, even though almost all men do not harass women, because almost all of the perpetrators were men, the essence of manliness was seemingly to blame.
It was sharp departure from the alt-left’s defense of terrorists, where the vast majority of terrorists are Muslim, even though those terrorists make up a small percentage of the global Muslim population. In those cases, liberals defend Islam as a religion of peace, but decry the abuse of the religion by some extremists.
Liberals adopted the opposite approach regarding men. They have vilified all men, and question how they can talk to their daughters about being friends with boys when they are inherently perverts. They do not attribute the bad behavior to outliers.
Consider how some liberal forums suggest that the pathway to raising a new generation of men to be more respectful of women, a basic idea, with foolish suggestions. They suggest encouraging boys to wear pink, do dress-up and play with dollhouses. I kid you not.
Newspapers published guides for how to raise boys to be feminists with ideas ranging for promoting non-stereotypical boy toys, and discouraging those traditionally associated with boys (no more trucks or erector sets). Here’s a selection from The New York Times:
“Even as adult gender roles have merged, children’s products have become more divided by gender than they were 50 years ago, research has found: pink princesses and blue trucks, not just in the toy aisle but on cups and toothbrushes. It’s no wonder that children’s interests end up aligning that way.”
“Offer open-ended activities, like playing with blocks or clay, and encourage boys to try activities likedress-up or art class, even if they don’t seek them out, social scientists say. Call out stereotypes. (“It’s too bad that toy box shows all girls because I know boys also like to play with dollhouses.”) It could also improve the status of women. Researchers say the reason parents encourage daughters to play soccer or become doctors, but not sons to take ballet or become nurses, is that “feminine” equals lower status.”
““Teach our sons to cook, clean and look after themselves — to be equally competent in the home as we would expect our daughters to be in the office,” said Anne-Marie Slaughter, chief executive of New America, a think tank.”
This is ridiculous. The pathway to combatting sexual harassment according to these feminists, is to attack the entire notion of “manliness.” If they could get boys to take estrogen, I am sure that they would promote it. Would this cohort ever attack core Islamic teachings as an underlying reason why so many terrorists are Muslims? Never. They would focus on the nature of the violence, and the terrible break in otherwise normal behavior. The Koran inspires many Muslims to be kind and peaceful just as playing with blocks and trucks guides men to become productive members of society.
The problem of sexual harassment isn’t about men; it’s about violence. The solution is not neutering and de-programming boys. It is about teaching boundaries.
Here are two appropriate examples for society that could help curb the incidents of harassments:
Know and respect boundaries. Almost every incident of sexual harassment would have been okay if the actions were consensual. It was the nature of men not knowing appropriate boundaries and taking advantage of their situation that made the incidents wrong.
When kids are young, let them break up their toys into two groups: those that are personal – that they needn’t share with anyone if they do not want – and those that are public and available for general use. When they engage with siblings or friends, they must offer up the public toys, but have complete discretion on sharing those that they decided to keep private. They will learn the power of “no” – by saying it and hearing it.
Stop making women passive. Why do men ask women out on dates? Why do they pay for the activities? Society has put men in the position of taking the assertive role and women as stationary. As described in “The Misogyny of Treating Women like Victims,“ we are not helping women by treating them as passive. Protecting them at all times ultimately undermines and hurts them.
Sexual harassment is a subset of violence, not sex. Sex is a good thing if fully consensual and “manliness” is not a disease. Stop the attacks on testosterone as billions of men manage it without ever abusing women.
Men can be gun-totting, football watching, sarcastic CEOs, and never harass a woman. If Andrew Cuomo had worn pink he would still have taken advantage of women. If Matt Lauer had played with more dollhouses, he would still have sexually assaulted people. How stupid are these feminist writers, and how stupid do they think their readership is?
I am confident that if liberal rags wrote articles about verses in the Koran that encourage violence, there would be an uproar. If they would suggest that more Muslim boys should take ballet, there would be a lawsuit and people would be fired.
But for the feminist extremists, the “patriarchy” is the rightful target, and sexual harassment is just a tool to redistribute wealth and power.
The mainstream narrative organizations (formerly known as “news outlets”) refuse to label Palestinian terrorist groups as such, preferring softer marketing terms like “extremist” and “militant.” To be clear, the United States and many governments specifically and officially designate foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) to “play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business.“
Here is a list of the Palestinian terrorist groups.
HAMAS. This terrorist group is responsible for hundreds of attacks and murder of civilians. It’s foundational charter reeks of anti-Semitism and calls for the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel. It is highly popular among Palestinians, winning 58% of parliament in 2006 and its leader is projected to win the presidency according to recent Palestinian polls (should elections ever take place), amounting to millions of supporters. The political-terrorist group runs Gaza, and has launched repeated wars and skirmishes against Israel.
Palestine Liberation Front (PLF). Broke away from the PFLP-GC in mid-1970s. Later split again into pro-PLO, pro-Syrian, and pro-Libyan factions. Several terrorist attacks including the hijacking of the Achille Lauro and an attack near a beach in Tel Aviv.
Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Originated among militant Palestinians in the Gaza Strip during the 1970s as a series of loosely affiliated factions rather than a cohesive group. Committed to the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel through holy war. Conducted suicide bombings against Israeli targets in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel. Has threatened to attack US interests in Jordan. Receives financial assistance from Iran and limited assistance from Syria.
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Marxist-Leninist group founded in 1967 by George Habash as a member of the PLO. Joined the Alliance of Palestinian Forces (APF) to oppose the Declaration of Principles signed in 1993 and has suspended participation in the PLO. Broke away from the APF, along with the DFLP, in 1996 over ideological differences. Has made limited moves toward merging with the DFLP since the mid-1990s. Committed numerous international terrorist attacks during the 1970s and against Israelis after the signing of the Oslo II Accords. Receives most of its financial and military assistance from Syria and Libya.
PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC). Split from the PFLP in 1968, claiming it wanted to focus more on fighting and less on politics. Led by Ahmad Jabril, a former captain in the Syrian Army, who just died. Headquartered in Damascus with bases in Lebanon and cells in Europe, it receives logistic and military support from Syria and financial support from Iran.
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB). Group aims to drive the Israeli military and Jewish residents from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem and to establish a Palestinian state via terrorism, including shootings and suicide operations. At least five Americans were killed by the group. The group is more secular than HAMAS which is Islamist.
Army of Islam (AOI). Based in Gaza, it is viewed as even more extreme than HAMAS. It has conducted a number of kidnapping raids into Israel, including that of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit.
The following Palestinian terrorist groups were removed from official designation:
Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. A member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), it has a more moderate stance than many fellow organizations. For example, it was opposed to attacks against Jews and Israelis outside of Israel and it is not Islamist. While it committed several terrorist attacks in the 1970’s, the deep-Islamist turn of Palestinian society with the rise of HAMAS marginalized the group. It was the group primarily credited for advancing the notion of a “two-state solution” inside of the PLO which made the US drop the FTO designation in 1999.
Abu Nidal Organization (ANO). Group carried out terrorist attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring almost 900 persons. Targets included the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Israel, moderate Palestinians, the PLO, and various Arab countries. Major attacks included the Rome and Vienna airports in December 1985, the Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul and the Pan Am Flight 73 hijacking in Karachi in September 1986, and the City of Poros day-excursion ship attack in July 1988 in Greece. Suspected of assassinating PLO deputy chief Abu Iyad and PLO security chief Abu Hul in Tunis in January 1991. The group went inactive with the death of Abu Nidal in 2002, and the US removed it as an FTO in 2017 when President Trump tried to prod Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to stop payments to terrorists (it didn’t work).
Palestinians have a remarkable number of terrorist groups dedicated to killing Jews and moderate Palestinians. It is equally remarkable that the press refuses to call them out.
The United Nations began its week-long program of combatting terrorism on June 16, 2021, in Qatar, one of the leading sponsors of the terrorist group, Hamas. Even worse, the UN didn’t simply convene a counter-terrorism conference in Qatar, it actually opened an office dedicated to that cause in the country.
The program’s opening remarks discussed the UN’s opening of the counter-terrorism office in Doha, Qatar “in recognition of the United Nations and the international community of Qatar’s outstanding role in the fight against terrorism, under the leadership and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, “May Allah protect him” and for his well-established policy in the fight against terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, whatever its source and in the elimination of its causes.“
The UN “recognition” seemingly comes in the face of one its own priorities of stopping the funding of terrorism, an important element of defeating the global scourge, in which the UN “Security Council expressed concern at the flow of funds to terrorists and the need to suppress all forms of terrorist financing.” One must therefore conclude that the UN cannot recognize Qatar’s funding of Hamas and/or that Hamas is a terrorist group.
Qatar Funds Hamas’ Terrorism
The United States has long noted Qatar’s funding of the terrorist group Hamas. After the 2014 War from Gaza, the House Foreign Affairs Committee wrote about “Hamas’ Benefactors: A Network of Terror.” The report noted that “Qatar funds Hamas’ strikes in Gaza, as well as its project, building terror tunnels from which to attack Israel,” and that the US “cannot continue to allow Qatari funds to go to terrorist groups, Hamas or any other, unabated and unaddressed.”
Despite the dirty open secret, just last week, the UN’s Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace, Tor Wennesland, met with the leader of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar. Sinwar was looking for the UN to press Israel allow the flow of $30 million from Qatar, as the first part of a $500 million transfer directly to Hamas “to solve the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.” Israel had supposedly said it would work with the UN to allow such money transfers, making Sinwar excited about the meeting.
Sinwar was disappointed.
Wennesland passed along a message from the new Israeli government that the Jewish State had no intention of allowing the funding of terror. Naftali Bennett, the new Israeli Prime Minister, is likely looking to obtain the release of the bodies of Israeli soldiers held by Hamas for the past seven years in exchange for a Qatari-led funding program which would be fully managed by the United Nations instead of Hamas.
The UN Won’t Comment on Hamas’ Terrorism
Meanwhile in New York, the UN Secretary General’s spokesperson answered a few questions about the nature of the meeting between Wennesland and Sinwar.
When asked about Hamas’s military summer camp which has a promotional video with children as young as 9 years old being trained to infiltrate Israel with guns, the UN spokesperson meekly offered “I have not seen that particular video.” That summer camp is called “Talayiea Al Tahrir” or “Vanguards of Liberation,” with a stated program goal to “ignite the flame of jihad in the generation of liberation, sow Islamic values and prepare the expected victory army for the liberation of Palestine, Allah willing.“
The UN has more personnel on its payroll devoted to Palestinians than any other group in the world but they just couldn’t find or know about military camps for kids which have been going on for years. And years. And years. And years. And years.
Turning a blind eye to the terrorism of Hamas is an integral part of the UN strategy.
In May, UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres thanked Qatar for its role in helping broker a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel and added that “no effort should be spared to bring about real national reconciliation that ends the division,” between Hamas and Fatah. Gutteres consequently cannot simultaneously call Hamas a terrorist group and endorse its integration into the Palestinian Authority. So the UN grants Hamas a free pass on terrorism.
While the United Nations meets to stop terrorism, it turns a blind eye to Hamas and its sponsors as it reveals its steel heart to the only Jewish State.
People consider what actions they can take when they are upset by the situations around them. When looking at the violence in Israel, a place to direct attention is the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The committee is responsible for legislation regarding foreign affairs, national security and arms control. The committee has a direct impact on U.S. policy.
The committee members include Democrats and Republicans, both pro- and anti-Israel voices. They include:
Some of the committee members have spoken recently about Israel:
Chairman Gregory Meeks (general concern): “I am deeply concerned by recent violence in Jerusalem perpetrated by both Israeli and Palestinian mobs. To stoke the flames further, Hamas fired dozens of deadly rockets and mortars into Israel. All these acts of violence should be condemned by responsible leaders, Israeli and Palestinian. The Israeli National Police, who are responsible for ensuring safety and order in the city, must use precision and wisdom to focus on those engaging in violence and criminality, whomever they may be, and ensure the rights and freedoms of all residents of the city, particularly during holy periods. The situation in Sheikh Jarrah is deeply concerning. The United States believes Jerusalem must be a city in which coexistence, not violence, reigns, and it is up to the residents, leaders, and officials, to ensure that it is.”
Ilhan Omar (anti-Israel): “Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism. Palestinians deserve protection. Unlike Israel, missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, don’t exist to protect Palestinian civilians. It’s unconscionable to not condemn these attacks on the week of Eid”
Joaquin Castro (anti-Israel): “The forced displacement of Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem is illegal and unacceptable. The Biden administration must stand up for the rights of the Palestinian families in #SheikhJarrah and urge the Israeli government to stop these evictions.“
Lee Zeldin (pro-Israel): “An attack on Israel is an attack on the United States. Our nation should stand shoulder to shoulder with our greatest ally in the world as it is indiscriminately targeted by Hamas terrorists launching rockets at innocent civilians.“
Ted Deutch (pro-Israel): “Congress is committed to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge and its ability to defend itself, by itself, against persistent threats. Our aid to Israel is a vital and cost-effective expenditure which advances important U.S. national security interests in a highly challenging region. For decades, Presidents of both parties have understood the strategic importance of providing Israel with security assistance.“
Click on the links above which go directly to each committee member’s contact page and share your thoughts about what is going on in Israel today.
Henry Ford Sr., the founder of the Ford Motor Corporation was a well known vile anti-Semite. He published a four-volume work called “The International Jew” in the early 1920’s which encapsulated much of the bile from the Russian forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion“. Both publications assert that Jews seek to control the world, as summed up in a line from Ford’s work: “If there is one quality that attracts Jews, it is power. Wherever the seat of power may be, thither they swarm obsequiously.“
This smear has been uttered from the lips of the world’s worst genocidal anti-Semites, from Nazi Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s, to the Palestinian political / terrorist group Hamas in the present day.
It is catching on in liberal circles today as well.
Consider the March 13, 2021 New York Times article about “nearly $3 billion earmarked for private schools… which came after Mr. Schumer was lobbied by the powerful Orthodox Jewish community in New York City, riled other Democratic leaders and public school advocates.” The “powerful” Jews got a U.S. senator to funnel money to their schools “even after House Democrats expressly sought to curtail such funding by effectively capping coronavirus relief for private education in the bill at about $200 million. Mr. Schumer, in the 11th hour, struck the House provision and inserted $2.75 billion — about 12 times more funding than the House had allowed.”
New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo agrees with the Times about Orthodox Jews. In October 2020 he berated the community about their actions during the pandemic and added “these ultra-Orthodox communities, who are also very politically powerful, don’t kid yourself.“
In January 2019, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour said that the pro-Israel community controls Congress saying “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.” Newly-minted Democratic member of Congress Ilhan Omar of “it’s all about the Benjamins“-fame enthusiastically agreed. The former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke was so impressed, that he sent Omar a heart emoji.
MSNBC wrote articles about how Republican “candidates for president are trumping out to Las Vegas to go kiss the ring of a billionaire casino owner,” Sheldon Adelson. However, when MSNBC wrote about Michael Bloomberg spending $400 million on the 2020 presidential race it wrote “Bloomberg’s ambitions serve as a reminder of the limits of money.” It also wrote in a positive tone that “Mayor Bloomberg and his team are making good on their commitment to beating Donald Trump.” For the liberal MSM, it would seem that Jewish billionaires are manipulative schemers when they back Republicans but noble fighters who sometimes lose when supporting Democrats.
The media’s education about Jewish control is not limited to politicians. The New York Times bemoaned how the Metropolitan Opera House “bow[ed] to the wishes… of Jewish critics” of the ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ opera and cancelled its global telecast.
When the largest newspaper and the governor of the state with the largest number of Jews comfortably smear the Jewish community in the manner of Henry Ford, decent people must assess the state of anti-Semitism everywhere in the United States, and most definitely, the rest of the world.
The Pew Research Center completed a survey in 2016 comparing world religions in regards to their levels of education. To the surprise of very few, Jews were the most educated group with an average of 13.4 years of education. What was also notable, was that Jews were the only religious group in which the level of education for men and women was the same.
The educational level for all ages in each religion has been rising, with Hindus and Muslims making the strongest gains (people over age 55 in those religions have only about 3.5 years of education). Unfortunately, as younger Hindus and Muslims get educated, the gender gap remains significant. Due to a rigid patriarchal society in many poor countries, 33% of young Muslim women and 38% of young Hindu women receive no formal education.
The exact opposite trend is happening among Jews. For older Jews, men (66%) outpace women (59%) in post-secondary degrees, while for younger Jews, women (69%) outpace men (57%).
Jews have a higher level of education in every country they live in. In Brazil, Jews average 12.5 years of schooling while non-Jews average 6.8 years. In South Africa, Jews average 12.0 years in school and non-Jews average 7.2 years.
Latin America is a curious anomaly regarding educational gender gaps for Jews and non-Jews. Jewish men average 12.1 years of education and Jewish women 11.6 years, a 0.5 year gap. Meanwhile, non-Jewish men and non-Jewish women have 7.4 and 7.3 years of schooling, respectively, almost no gap at all. So while Jews in Latin America are more highly educated than non-Jews as they are in every continent, the gender gap is uniquely more pronounced in that community than in society.
Overall, Jews are the most highly educated and have achieved gender parity unlike any other group.
As the United Nations meets in March 2021 to discuss the role of women around the world, perhaps it is time for it to promote Jewish women into leadership positions at the troubled agency.
While the U.S. liberal media has tried to paint the coronavirus as a matter which only countries led by Socialists and/or women can navigate, they have ignored the country immediately to the south which is fairing horribly.
Mexico ranks as number 18 in the world in the number of deaths per million (number 16, ignoring small Gibraltar and San Marino), with 1,330. The country is led by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who had COVID some weeks ago, who is a Socialist pushing for higher wages, free internet, absolution for drug criminals, while driving away private investment. He has no grasp for the situation.
Putting aside his refusal to wear a mask, his administration is not testing anyone. To date, Mexico has only tested 38,925 people per million. That compares to Hungary (1,414 deaths and 348,124 tests per million), Spain (1,384 deaths and 765,137 tests per million), Peru (1,308 deaths and 206,862 tests per million) and Panama (1,284 deaths and 409,116 tests per million). The country is testing at rates that are 10 to 30 times LESS than countries with similar death tolls. The countries with so few tests have a fraction of the death rate and include Uzbekistan (40,804 tests with 18 deaths per million), Honduras (40,661 tests with 385 deaths per million), Pakistan (37,576 tests and 55 deaths per million) and Indonesia (36,414 tests with 120 deaths per million). That’s Mexico at 1,330 deaths per million and other countries ranging from 18 to 385, three to 74 times the rate of death.
Despite these numbers, and only 86,000 people fully vaccinated in a country of 126 million, Mexico just announced it is reducing the COVID-19 alert in half of the states.
The second book of the Pentateuch is called “Exodus” in English but called “Names” in Hebrew due to the opening lines. In reviewing the first ten sentences of the book, there is seemingly a deeper message about the names themselves.
Let us deal shrewdly with them, so that they may not increase; otherwise in the event of war they may join our enemies in fighting against us and rise from the ground.”
The first sentence opens with calling Jacob by his changed name “Israel” before switching to his birth name “Jacob.” The text then lists all of the names of Jacob’s sons and subsequently pivots back to “Israel” after Joseph and his brothers died. At the end of the section, not only does the text pivot to using “sons of Israel” to include women and later generations but the new king in Egypt goes further in calling them a “nation of the sons of Israel.”
There is clearly more to appreciate in the names employed.
Birth Names of Human-Tension
The names given to the Jewish forefathers are explained inside the text in Genesis with some rationale given of how the parents felt at the time of the baby’s birth. Often, the names portend events in the future.
Consider how Sarah laughed when she heard she was going to have a child (Genesis 18:12) and then later Abraham named him Isaac (Genesis 21:3) after the Hebrew name for laughter. Sarah seemingly approved of the name (Genesis 21:6) only to soon witness Isaac’s half-brother Ishmael making fun of him (Genesis 21:8). Isaac’s name was an omen of things to come or perhaps served as the catalyst for how people perceived him. Maybe both.
One can see the impact of names when reading about Jacob’s eldest son, Reuben. Born to an unloved wife, Leah, Genesis 29:32 describes one of the saddest baby-namings in the Bible: “Leah conceived and bore a son, and named him Reuben; for she declared, “It means: ‘The LORD has seen my affliction’; it also means: ‘Now my husband will love me.’” How that name must have weighed on Reuben! To carry a name that shows his mother was unloved! With Leah’s sister as another wife and two handmaids also producing half-brothers, the family dynamic was extremely difficult. When his mother’s sister Rachel died years later and Jacob opted to still not enter Leah’s tent but that of Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid, Reuben was apoplectic and raped Bilhah (Genesis 35:22).
The bible is deliberately silent on Jacob’s reaction to the event, stopping the story mid-sentence and starting a new paragraph with “Now the sons of Jacob were twelve in number.” Seemingly, Reuben is not punished by his horrific act and remained part of the collective twelve sons. Perhaps Jacob acknowledged that it was Reuben’s obligation to fight for the honor of his spurned mother, maybe even uniquely among Leah’s six sons, as he bore the name of desperate love.
Jacob himself was named by his mother Rebecca for the contentious relationship he would have with his brother Esau. In Genesis 25:23, God told Rebecca that two nations were struggling inside her womb and she named Jacob in Genesis 25:26 because he was clutching the heel (ekev in Hebrew) of Esau. This highly fraught relationship continued for years until an angel renamed Jacob in a night struggle, seemingly redoing the struggle in Rebecca’s womb. This time, Jacob came out on top but instead of clutching the heel of the winner, he incurred a permanent limp. As the victor, he was renamed Israel (Genesis 32:29) “for you have striven with beings divine and human, and have prevailed.” It was only at this point, stripped of a name that carried the significance of brotherly-confrontation, that Jacob met with Esau who had come to meet him with a 400-person army. Peace prevailed.
Karma of the Nation of Israel
After reviewing the nature of how parent-given names influenced the lives of the biblical forefathers, we can take a fresh look at the opening sentences of Exodus in a different manner.
From the middle of the first sentence through the sixth, the Bible names Jacob and his sons by their parent-given names with Joseph separated from everyone – twice. First, he is described as already living in Egypt and then specifying his death while not listing any other deaths in the family. Seemingly this fits the narrative to come, that a new Egyptian king did not know Joseph. A casual reader would infer that the new king did not know how Joseph saved the entire region from starvation and made Egypt into a rich and powerful nation.
But such a linear reading could have been accomplished without starting and closing the section with the name “bnai Yisrael,” at first being the sons of Jacob, then the extended family and ultimately entire nation of Israel.
The birth-named middle section is a family set upon itself. As sons of Jacob, they were dysfunctional to an extreme: Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery after throwing him into a pit; the sons lied to their father that Joseph was dead; Reuben raped his half-brothers’ mother. The list goes on. This family of Jacob was a quarrelsome bunch, quite distinct from Joseph whose position was established in Egypt. The Egyptians tolerated the sons of Jacob only because of – and under the control of – Joseph.
When Joseph died and a new king arose, it was not so much that the new king no longer appreciated what Joseph did for Egypt as much as he no longer saw a small fragmented family under the control of an Egyptian prince. Instead, the “sons of Israel” had become generations and ultimately a “nation of the sons of Israel,” large and no longer under the control of a reliable Egyptian. As alarming, this rag tag group had a blessed name, meaning that it will prevail in dealing with “beings divine and human.” This unnerved the new king.
She’mot, the Book of Names, is not only a story of how a family became a nation, but how such family matured beyond individual names of personal conflict to realize the full-potential of its divine name.