Thursday, December 08, 2016

A 136-Year Difference

The 1880 PEF Map of the area of Shiloh:

The 2016 Map:

Via this site.

Palestinian Talibans vs. the Biblical Narrative

Are you incensed when you read about Orthodox Jews suspected of painting grafitti on churches and mosques?

Are you angry when you learn that in some cases even arson is involved?

Read this (h/t=RH) and let me know how you feel:-

Biblical Jewish fortress vandalized once again

Fortress built in 800 BCE vandalized in Sebastia National Park, a Jewish and Christian heritage site; culprits smashed a 2,000-year-old marble pillar buttressing the palace in the ancient capital of Israel.

The incident is the second time vandalism has occurred within three months at the archeological site against antiquities directly connected with Israeli heritage...This is not the first time that biblical treasures have been vandalized. Indeed, graffiti was sprayed at the site denouncing Judaism and Christianity, while Christian monuments were defiled, antiquities were robbed, and seats in a Roman amphitheater were damaged.

There was this three months ago, too:

The Parks Division of the Civil Administration in conjunction with the District Coordinator's office and the Samaria brigade removed the Palestinian flagpole at Sebastia upon which a PLO flag had illegally been hung this morning. The Sebastia site, considered to be the site of the ancient city of Samaria, is situated in area C under Israeli civil and military control and therefore the flag constitutes trespassing and illegal use of land.  This is the third time the flag was removed and now the flagpole has been removed as well.

Background here, including this bit:

The PA’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities brochure avoids any mention of Israel or a Jewish connection to the site. It notes that Sebastia was “an important administrative and political regional capital during the Iron Age II and III” and was “a major urban center during the Hellenistic period,” but makes no reference to the Israelite Kingdom or the Hasmoneans. A Palestinian description of Sebastia in a bid to have it listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site goes to even greater lengths to omit references to the city’s Jewish history, referring to it as the former “capital of the northern kingdom during the Iron Age II,” and alluding to Jewish figures such as Omri and John Hyrcanus without explanation.

And this.  And this.


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Official Discrimination Is Still There

Israeli/Jewish institutions being assisted by an American government grant assistance fund sponsored by the Jerusalem Consulate in the total amount globally of $23,000,000 with an award ceiling of $2,000,000.

But the references to "Jerusalem, WB, Gaza", I thought, needed to be checked.  Were Jews or institutions of Jews  residing in the Judea and Samaria communities eligible?

So, I clicked on the link there and looked around and clicked on this PDF document where, in the section on Eligibility I found this:

USOs and OSIs must be open to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, parental status, political affiliation, and veteran’s status. However, targeting assistance to certain populations as defined in the Project Description will not be construed as discrimination for this APS.

So, we're back at the official American discrimination policy that disallows Jews residing in Judea and Samaria from applying, except, I presume, through the Embassy in Israel.


P.S.  Latest event that is avoiding Jewish J&S communities:

Curious about American rap music? Want to see how art and activism can go together? Then come check out the fabulous Aisha Fukushima and her band of “Raptivists” (rap activists) LIVE in concert! #SharingCulture #HolyLandRaptivism

Bethlehem Academy of Music, in cooperation with the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, is pleased to invite you check out the fabulous Aisha Fukushima.

Aisha Fukushima is a Singer, Speaker, Educator, and ‘RAPtivist’ (rap activist). Fukushima founded RAPtivism (Rap Activism) a global hip hop project spanning 10 countries and four continents, highlighting the ways culture can contribute to universal efforts for freedom and justice by challenging oppression with expression. She is a multilingual, multiracial African American Japanese woman whose work is influenced by her global upbringing with roots spanning from her birthplace of Seattle, Washington to her other hometown of Yokohama, Japan.

Comment to a Comment on Dylan's "Neighborhood Bully"

Your comment is awaiting moderation. 

To Jamal of India who wrote:

January 22, 2016 at 5:34 pm

“My respect for Dylan fell with this song. I always thought of him as a liberal protest singer with a strong sense of right and wrong. This song screws all that.”
Your first error is presuming that a “liberal” is always correct.

Your second is that Dylan erred on the wrong side.

Third, he is no bigot.

Fourth, putting out “TV channels run by Israel-backed magnates” not only is factually wrong but slides into a Judeaophobic frame of reference that most people would recongize as gutter anti-Semitism.

Fifth, the most “obvious guilt” is that of the Arabs who refuse still to acknowledge any Jewish national identity anywhere in what the world recognized as the historic Jewish homeland.

Oh, as for Roger Waters, is he still going out with that Palestinian woman who he stole from her Jewish husband? Is that being too liberal?


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

NYTimes Amazes Me

"Jerusalem's veneer of harmony, tolerance and inclusiveness is as thin and as alluring as the fine layer of gold covering the gray lead dome standing on the top of the contested Temple Mount, or the Haram al-Sharif as it is called in Arabic."


First of all, "Temple Mount" comes first.

As it should.

Second, the employment of "Arabic" rather than "in Islam", for example.  After all, Jews use/used Arabic as a language.

But thirdly, a bit of a mix-up, I think.

There are two domes there. One gilded gold over the Dome of the Rock. The second is indeed gray but is over Al-Aqsa.

So the NYTimes gets it only two-thirds correct in the end.

The article related to this exhibit.

Shiloh Area in 1942 Map

Here is the Shiloh area in the Palestine Mandate Map of 1942:



Lost Zionist History Lesson

Who was Robert Frier Jardine?


So why should he, even being in charge of land settlement registration during the Mandate period, be interesting and even important?


Jewish 'Settlements' in the Land of Israel Are Not "Illegal"

Here's CAMERA' s summary on the question:

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are legal. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions, which is relied upon by those who claim the settlements are illegal, does not apply in the case of the West Bank. This is because the West Bank was never under self-rule by a nation that was a party to the Convention, and therefore there is no “partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party,” as Article 2 of the Convention specifies. Moreover, even if it did apply, by its plain terms, it applies only to forcible transfers, and not to voluntary movement. Therefore, it can’t prohibit Jews from choosing to move to areas of great historical and religious significance to them. 

Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, which is relied upon to make the claim that settlements are illegal, was written for the purpose of outlawing the Nazi practice of forcibly transporting people into or out of occupied territories to death and work camps. It was never intended to prevent Jews from free movement into their historic homeland.

Furthermore, the drafters of UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed in the aftermath of the Six-Day War, have made plain that they never intended it to mean that Israel must return to the 1948 ceasefire lines (sometimes mistakenly referred to as “the 1967 borders”), as well as that any Israeli withdrawals must be preceded by resolution of the conflict. Eugene Rostow, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs from 1966-1969, who was one of the drafters, explained in 1991, that

Security Council Resolution 242, approved after the 1967 war, stipulates not only that Israel and its neighboring states should make peace with each other but should establish “a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.” Until that condition is met, Israel is entitled to administer the territories it captured – the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip – and then withdraw from some but not necessarily all of the land to “secure and recognized boundaries free of threats or acts of force.” (Emphasis added.)
In fact, no new UN resolutions are necessary, since Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) establish the guidelines for achieving a general Arab-Israeli peace. The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Accords (1995), moreover, taking 242 and 338 as reference points, apply them as well to a particular Israeli-Palestinian peace. 

For more background on this issue, see here, here and here

I also add Eugene Kontorovich's research into state practice under Art. 49(6) of the Geneva Convention and related IHL rules - the rules regarding settlements in occupied territories. It examines what could be called "settlement activity" in all situations of belligerent occupation since the adoption of the Geneva Conventions.

The paper is now available on SSRN at this link.


Monday, December 05, 2016

Illegal Immigration from Gaza (UPDATED)

Thanks to TN, I can now inform you that the Gazans allowed to travel to Jerusalem to pray at the Haram A-Sharif (here) not only have been benefiting from a privilege that I do not think they deserve, one that is not granted to a Jew, especially as they come from a Hamas regime area, but as the Civil Administration admits, they are taking advantage of and sneaking off to the Galilee and other places to remain in Israel.

(see Update below)

Here's one post:

Here's a news item that I see confirms:

More than 200 Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip traveled to occupied East Jerusalem on Friday to attend prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to Palestinian liaison officials...The number of Palestinians permitted to worship at Al-Aqsa was reduced by Israel earlier this year...A spokesperson for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma'an at the time that Israeli authorities decided to reduce the quota of permits for Palestinians to travel to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for prayers as a result of Hamas and other groups "choosing to use the crossing permits given to them illegally."


We are increasing our demographic imbalance (not to mention potential future terror activities) - and for prayer privileges that Jews cannot enjoy?

Maybe you'd like to discuss this matter with them?

Public Ombudsman at the Unit's HQ and the Civil Administration
Telephone: 03-6977957
Fax: 03-6975177

Civil Administration: 

Telephone: 02-9977001
Fax: 02-9977341

Social Media


Or with your favorite MK?



Israel cancels permits for elderly Gazans traveling to Al-Aqsa for Friday prayers

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) - Israeli authorities cancelled weekly permits allowing elderly Gazans to travel to occupied East Jerusalem on Fridays to attend prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

An official at the Palestinian liaison office told Ma’an that Israeli authorities decided to cancel the weekly visits of Palestinians in Gaza to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque due to Palestinian worshipers not returning directly back to the Gaza Strip after prayers, in violation of the permit conditions.

However, the official added that Israel would continue to permit 100 Palestinians who are UNRWA employees, the UN agency responsible for providing services to some five million Palestinian refugees, to travel to Al-Aqsa for prayers.

Reform Diasporian Celebration

This begins with George Steiner and goes downhill from there.

Last night, participating at the Gala Opening of the Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem, I was given a booklet.  It even had the imprimatur of the Wold Zionist Organization with this cover logo:

Welcome to Diaspora-Israel Day – a worldwide festival of Jewish Peoplehood on the 7th of Cheshvan! We invite you to celebrate your partnership in the wider Jewish world and to mark the deep bond between Jewish communities around the globe and between these communities and Israel –

But before we deal with some of the issues this program idea raises, let us return to the matter of George Steiner who is quoted on page 3 of the booklet.

The odd thing is that Steiner thought of his father as thinking that

Jews were endangered guests wherever they went

and as for his relationship with Zionism and Israel, there is this there as well:

...Steiner has held up the diaspora as an ideal: "He's always had a non-Zionist view of Jewish history. He refuses to buy into Jewish nationalism, and believes Jewish creativity is essentially a diasporic condition." Steiner says: "I've tried at personal and professional cost to warn against nationalism in Israel and the treatment of Palestinians; to say that because of what we are, there are things we can't do. The extremists spit in your face; others say, 'Shut up in your beautiful house in Cambridge.' 

And please read this essay on Steiner.

As I noted above, the 28-page Tractate which was placed in our hands last night carries a motto from Steiner:

Trees have roots, men have legs and are each other’s guests...The Jew has his anchorage not in place but in time...Six thousand years of self-awareness are a homeland.

That is actually stringing two different utterances/writings together.  A bit fuller version is this:

To show that where trees have roots, men have legs and are each other’s guests...The Jew has his anchorage not in place but in time, in his highly developed sense of history as personal context. Six thousand years of self-awareness are a homeland.” 

Actually, there is an even fuller quotation of the first part of his words which were published in ‘A Kind of survivor’ (pp.132-3), see here, and they appear as:

Nationalism is the venom of our age. It has brought Europe to the edge of ruin. It drives the new states of Asia and Africa like crazed lemmings. By proclaiming himself a Ghanaian, a Nicaraguan, a Maltese, a man spares himself vexation. He need not ravel out what he is, where his humanity lies. He becomes one of an armed, coherent pack. Every mob impulse in modern politics, every totalitarian design, feeds on nationalism, on the drug of hatred which makes human beings bare their teeth across a wall, across ten yards of waste ground. Even if it be against his harried will, his weariness, the Jew – or some Jews, at least – may have an exemplary role. To show to show that where trees have roots, men have legs and are each other’s guests

"Venom"?  "Drug of hatred"?  And the Jew is not to be nationalistic?

The quoted section also appears here as

But to me trees have roots, and humans have legs, which is an immense advance. We are each other's guests as we move across the earth. This vision of Judaism runs roughly from Jeremiah to Trotsky, another one of the greatest figures of Jewish internationalism 

The second part of the quotation, of which Rabbi Nir Barkin and Smadar Bilik, the Tractate's collectors and editors leave out the bit of "in his highly developed sense of history as personal context" is from another source, see here.

In short, not only have Steiner's words been chopped up and bereft of context, but placing an ambivalent anti-nationalist Jew as a pillar of wisdom, the team is directing its learners in a non-Zionist direction.

Even Amnon Rubinstein wrote of "George Steiner's Zionist Heresies" that

It is the Jews' otherness, their alienation and the absence of a territorial patrimony that explains, in George Steiner's view, their contribution to civilization. The homeland of the Jews is the book, not the soil.

If they are celebrating Diaspora Existence Day, that is one thing.  If that is what the Reform Movement wants to do, a bi gezundt.  

But that the WZO is finding or sponsoring this?

Is the Reform Movement backing out of Jewish nationalism, as it first did?

Or should they have selected this from a speech he made

 "Israel is an absolute miracle, a dream out of the inferno that was realized as though with a magic wand. Now it is the safe haven for Jews. Should trouble arise again - and it will arise - one day maybe Israel will give shelter to my son and to my son's sons."

What is going one with this initiative?

Well, here is one major issue: Jewish history is turned on its head.

This is what is asserted in the Tractate:

The nation's heritage begins its story outside the Land of Israel and its formative history is one of a series of ongoing migrations to and from the Land.

A Zionist, of course, would view that as a non-historical reality.

Yes, Jews left and came to the Land of Israel.  And yes, Abraham the Patriarch did come, as urged by his vision, from modern-day Iraq, to the Land of Canaan.  But Jewish history is one of Land-anchored events, religious commandments and customs and practices and the ability to be a nation rather than a community or, as Steiner would wish it to be, Jewish individuals.

Is this an underground effort to re-alter Jewish life agendas?

The Tractate quotes many sources that support, as it were, a Diaspora existence but what seems to be missing is all the actual historical experiences that mitigated against Diaspora existence.  The word 'Holocaust' appears once, in a biographical note of a Rabbi born in "the pre-Holocaust period".  The term 'anti-Semitism' does no appear and neither does 'pogroms'.

This is Jewish history and Land of Israel-Diaspora relations?

So, who in the WZO was responsible for this?



Emily Hauser Tweet Twat

A series of tweets by Emily Hauser who is an American-Israeli writer currently living in Chicago. She has studied and reported on the contemporary Middle East since the early 1990s for a variety of outlets, including The Chicago Tribune and The Daily Beast:

1) If I still wrote about Jewish issues &/or Israel/Palestine (which I don't) this is what I would be writing abt the @keithellison nonsense

2) This shameful treatment of Ellison is a natural outcome of organized Am-Judaism ceding our identity as Jews to a modern-day nation-state.

3) The ADL isn't sure if Steve Bannon, an actual anti-Semite, is an anti-Semite, b/c he's willing to back Israel's occupation & RW govt.

4) The ADL is sure that Keith Ellison, a good man who is NOT AN ANTI-SEMITE, is an anti-Semite, b/c he's willing to argue w/ Israel's govt.

5) The machinations of Israeli politicians trying to hold on to land that DOESN'T BELONG TO THEM is a geo-political issue, not a Jewish one.

6) The dog whistles & stated animus of many in Trump's circle toward Jews, OTOH, IS a Jewish issue. It is anti-Semitism. It is Jew hatred.

7) But yrs ago, the organized Am-Jewish community chose to make being an Am-Jew all abt having a collective crush on Israel, come what may.

8) So when faced w a good man devoted to the wellbeing of all INCLUDING THE JEWISH STATE,we can't handle that he won't demonize Palestinians

9) We call the failure to demonize Palestinians anti-Semitism. It is not really crystallized what I've been feeling for the past 5 years (as a chasidic Jew who used to live in Jerusalem) It's hard - I'm Israeli, husband Jslm-born-&-bred, & truly love it but a place & a govt don't = Judaism or malkhut shamaim.


What Did Kerry Just Imply?

MR GOLDBERG: You know how hard it is to move 10,000, 8,000 settlers from Gaza. You’re talking about 90,000 --
SECRETARY KERRY: But they don’t all have to move necessarily depending on what the solution is, depending on what you choose to have as your outcome. 

Some other quotables:

MR GOLDBERG: Why don’t you have any leverage with the Israeli Government? Why do you – what – you’re describing a situation in which you have zero leverage.
SECRETARY KERRY: I think we do – I think we do have leverage --
MR GOLDBERG: But they never listen to you.
SECRETARY KERRY: No, they don’t, and they haven’t listened on settlements, that’s correct – hasn’t been listened to on settlements.
Kerry: I remember Shimon Peres, the wonderfully eloquent, incredibly gifted and committed Shimon Peres saying to me as recently as two months before he passed away, I think 22 percent [of the former Mandate area less Transjordan] is fair and that’s enough; we can’t ask for more.
Goldberg: ...  you’re asking us to begin a process of withdrawing from territory that overlooks Ben Gurion International Airport, that wants to turn over territory to a weak and divided Palestinian Government.
MR GOLDBERG: What’s the – what is your --
SECRETARY KERRY: No, Jeff. No, no, no, no, no. Nobody has ever suggested there should be a turnover to a weak and divided and (inaudible).
MR GOLDBERG: But the reality is it’s a weak and divided Palestinian entity right now.
SECRETARY KERRY: It is today, but nobody is talking about a turnover today. This is something that’s going to take time. We’ve always acknowledged that. We’ve always said to Prime Minister Netanyahu this is going to take years of work to evolve. Nobody is talking about something happening tomorrow or next year, in three years. It has to happen with the assurance that you’re not turning the West Bank into Gaza. 
Kerry:  if I showed you a map, and I have this map that shows all the sectors of where the violence has been in Israel and in the territories. And you will see that it’s where the settlements are. That’s where most of the violence is. Now, there are other incidences of violences that come into Tel Aviv and into Jerusalem and other places, but there’s a huge amount of violence out there and some of it, as you know, has been settler on Palestinian, Palestinian on settler. So that obviously is having an impact on people’s perceptions of peace and on rights.


Sunday, December 04, 2016

Fires - Arson or ... ?

Left-wingers are trying to push a "no arson" message.

But if one rolls back the years...

Fire near Neve Tzuf; firefighters: Probably arson
A fire broke out in a woodland area near the West Bank settlement of Neve Tzuf. Israeli and Palestinian firefighters are on scene. This is the second time on Saturday that a fire has started in this area.


Fire breaks out near Neve Tzuf
A fire has broken out near the West Bank settlement of Neve Tzuf, and settlers claiming Palestinians were trying to torch sheds at the nearby Maayan Meir clashed with the Palestinians.


Military officials warn of 'arson intifada'Number of arson cases plaguing West Bank settlements spikes, prompting concern over 'new weapon discovered by Palestinians'

According to a report published by Yedioth Ahronoth Tuesday, more than 20 fires have been maliciously set in West Bank settlements and outposts in the past few weeks.  
Police investigators determined that all of the fires were the result of arson and evidence in all cases led to surrounding Arab villages. The Judea and Samaria District Police have recently arrested six suspects.
Defense establishment sources have expressed concern that the area may be facing an "arson intifada," saying Palestinians have foregone hurling rocks and rioting in favor of setting fires near settlements and letting the hot weather and winds do the rest – i.e. feed the blaze as it spreads and threatens communities and wildlife alike.
Residents of northern West Bank outpost of Mizpeh Danny have had to conquer seven fires over the past three weeks, Neve Tzuf, Migron, and Givat Ronen outposts battle an average of one fire a week; and just last week, an entire neighborhood in the Kochav Yaakov settlement in the Binyamin region had to be evacuated after flames began devouring its outskirts.
 "This is a genuine concern," Amiad Kadmon, Mizpeh Danny's security officer, told Yedioth Ahronoth. "This could literally burn our lives down to the ground." 
The IDF has also voiced concerns over the new "trend": Binyamin Division Commander Colonel Saar Tzur has declared the fight against arson a top priority

Where there's smoke, there's fire.

Where there's fire, there is a good probability, but not in all cases, of arson.


Friday, December 02, 2016

Shiloh, As Seen From Across the Valley

I just received this in the mail:

While growing up in in Turmus Ayya I was surrounded by tales and evidence to dislike Israel. From the way 18-20 year olds in the military harassed innocents on the streets to the stories of bombings in Gaza and elsewhere, the image of an omnipotent power forcing its might onto us was ubiquitous. I broke away from the reflexive hatred and realized that holding on to any grudge, especially when no direct harm to me was caused, is quite ignorant. The fog caused by the embitterment made it impossible to make out the beauty of belonging to such a region. The land where Eli lived, Hannah urged and Samuel reigned.

Attached are two pictures I took from the opposite side of Shiloh... I send these knowing that it's from an angle you probably never saw. (Sorry for the bad quality, I was just snapping pictures with no intention on what to capture).

Shiloh is far in the background, on the hill:


Thursday, December 01, 2016

And You Thought Walking Through Meah Shearim Was Tough

Well, seems there are problems elsewhere as protests mount over a  temple dress code.

In Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.

As reported:

A day after relaxation of the age old dress code for women entering the ancient Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple here, confusion prevailed today with its administrative committee asking the Executive Officer to withdraw his decision after protests surfaced. 

The order of Executive Officer K N Sateesh allowing entry of women attired in 'salwar kameez and churidar', doing away with the earlier requirement of wearing a 'mundu' (dhoti) over the churidar for offering worship, triggered protests from various Hindu organisations in front of the temple.  Some women devotees early in the day entered the temple wearing salwar kameez and churidar, but they were prevented briefly by temple officials after the Supreme Court-appointed Administrative committee of the shrine intervened. 

By the way:

it is the richest Hindu temple in the world. In terms of gold assets and precious stones, it is by far the wealthiest institution and place of worship of any kind in the recorded history of the world, with an estimated $22 billion worth of gold and jewels stored in underground vaults (not accounting for historical value). 



Student Assistance from the U.S. Jerusalem Consulate

Here are two updates found on the US Jerusalem Consulate General Facebook page:

Are you a student between the ages of 20-24 with strong English skills and leadership potential? If so, you need to apply for the MEPI Student Leaders Program! This is a fully-funded six-week intensive leadership training program in the United States for undergraduate students from across the Middle East and North Africa. Apply via the link here and share with your friends. Amideast- West Bank EducationUSA GAZA Education USA - West Bank

If you go to the link, the first requirement is

"Eligible Applicants:
Palestinian citizens, living and attending university in the West Bank, Jerusalem or Gaza. Note that applicants should be residing in one of these three areas at the time of application submission and during the interview process."

What is a "Palestinian citizen"? Is there a country called "Palestine"?  
Can a Jew be an "Palestinian citizen" living in "Jerusalem" or the "West Bank"?

Or does a Jew living in a community village like Shiloh or a town like Efrat or a city like Ariel not live in the "West Bank"?

By the way, that interpretation may have relevance for the labeling of products by the EU.

If the US doesn't consider me or other Jews as living in the "West Bank", why label our products as being produced there?

Are you a Palestinian university student who is interested in spending a semester studying at a U.S. University? If so, consider applying for the Global UGRAD program! This fully funded State Department Program will give you the opportunity to enroll in full-time, non-degree, undergraduate course work at a prestigious U.S. university. Apply here and share with your friends. #Exchanges  Amideast- West Bank

If you go to that link you'll read:

​"Eligibility for the Global UGRAD Program: 1. Applicants must be Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, the West Bank, or Gaza and must be currently studying in their place of residence"

What is a "Palestinian resident"? Only Arab? Or only Muslim? Or only Christian? 

Or, anything but Jewish?

By the way there's more there:

But nothing in a Jewish residential community.