Sunday, May 09, 2021

Jews in the Temple Mount 1833

What were two Jewish youngsters doing in the Temple Mount in 1833, reportedly?

Found here, in an article by Judith Mendelsohn Rood:

An example of the relations between the Muslim community of Jerusalem and the Khedival government is a case involving the Jewish community. On 11 July, 1833, in the period before the 1834 rebellion, a group of Khedival soldiers, along with a servant of the al-Aqsa Mosque escorted a Jewish youth, aged 15, to the shari'a court.27 They explained that some workers had found him in the draperies of the windows in the mosque. The mutasallim decided that the court should consider the case, and called for an investigation to be conducted by himself and a group of Muslims to ascertain what the “scoundrel,” who is not named in the document, did. The investigators found that the youth had broken most of the stained glass in a large window above the mihrab, as well as damaging the tops of some of the columns above the mi hrab which were found crushed and broken. They also found three broken windows to the right of the mi hrab above the school door. The stained glass in question “had been fashioned in an adroit way out of coloured gypsum in a strange and wonderful form long ago; this method is no longer used in this city.” They also found that the youth had come from the Maghariba quarter through a garden known as the Khatuniya and from there through the school known as Dar al-Aqsa, which is attached to the mi hrab.

This alleged vandalism had caused chaos (balbala) and the document records that “it seemed proper to turn the case over to highest authority because such a thing had never before been encountered.” According to the document, “[a]ll of the people of Islam grieved over this, and everyone lamented the contempt that was shown for the al-Aqsa Mosque whose virtues cannot be counted.” The mosque “had to be restored, and the scoundrel detained.” The mutasallim would detain him until an order would be issued concerning the correct course of action had been determined.

The next morning, another Jewish youth was found inside the mosque, and he too was arrested. The mutasallim asked what to do about this and the mulla qa di answered that Istanbul had to be contacted since this was a strange occurrence because the Jews did not “usually enter the Haram” (because of Rabbinical law concerning the holiness of the site and the danger that a Jew might inadvertently step upon the Holy of Holies, a law with the Muslim authorities were familiar) and because “they lived far from the place”. Therefore, the case was to be judged at the highest level. Unfortunately, neither the court registers nor other records reveal the outcome of these cases. However, it appears that the Khedival authorities, working with the Ottoman chief judge of the city, prevented any kind of mob action and maintained public order in the city, since there is no mention of an outbreak of violence during this incident in contemporary accounts of this period.

In addition to revealing some interesting architectural details, and their appreciation by the Muslims of Jerusalem, this document also gives us a glimpse of the significance of the al-Aqsa mosque to the Muslims in Jerusalem. The Khedival authorities in Jerusalem clearly recognized the importance of this case to the Ottoman authorities, and referred the case to them, rather than to Ibrahim Pasha or the hikimdar. It was only on this symbolic level that the Khedival government conceded the authority of the Ottoman State.

27.  Law Court Record of Jerusalem 317, 123. 23 Safar 1249.


One can only but wonder what, indeed, was their fate.


^



Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Lechi and "Hebrew Christians" in 1948

In this source, "Operation Mercy on the Eve of the Establishment of the State of Israel – The “Exodus” of Jewish Disciples of Yeshua from the Land of Israel in 1948" by Gershon Nerel, the English translation of his Hebrew article published in Iggud – Selected Essays in Jewish Studies, Vol. 2 – History of the Jewish People and Contemporary Jewish Society, ed. Gershon Bacon, Albert Baumgarten, Jacob Barnai, Chaim Waxman, and Israel J. Yuval (Jerusalem: The World Union of Jewish Studies, 2009), 83–109, I found a quite astonishing claim:


there were a few Hebrew Christians who were arrested and interrogated by the so-called “Stern Gang” (known in Hebrew as LEHI, an acronym for Israel Freedom Fighters), the most militant of the pre-state underground groups, who suspected that as Christian agents they were spies and collaborators with the British enemy. Some of the LEHI members suspected that the regular religious association of “the baptized Jews” with the English in joint meetings in their churches was nothing more than a guise for an espionage organization

In the Hebrew version, there is an assertion based on a R.G. Allison that one member of the community was executed.

I had never read such a claim in any Lechi publication or in other research works. I asked Aryeh Eldad who recently published a history of Lehi in its last year in Hebrew.

I will investigate.

P.S. Palestine Post, June 17, 1948


^

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Who Was Joan M. Thompson?

According to the report in the Palestine Post of March 31, 1948, Miss J. M. Thompson was shot and killed in Jerusalem:


Joan M. Thompson was the Acting Deputy Director of the British Department of Social Welfare.  She had attended Mildred Marston’s funeral on Easter Monday, according to one source. Marston had worked for CMJ as a teacher at the Girl’s College (CMJ is "The Church's Ministry Among Jewish People" is an Anglican missionary society founded in 1809). 

Mildred and a colleague, Hannah R. Hunard writes, were on their way to St. George’s Cathedral on Easter morning (March 28) when there was a sudden burst of gunfire. The companion threw herself on the ground and was unhurt. However, the sniper fire struck and killed Mildred.

Thompson's life was recalled in this Palestine Post obituary:


Here is Bet Safafa on the 1945 British Survey of Palestine map:


and enlarged


The hospital mentioned is on another grid:




The Hebrew press carried the story and, in several versions, blame was apportioned to the Arab side. The Government version blamed the Hagana.

In this Davar report, while snipers are mentioned, the story, illogically, notes she was approached up close and shot.


HaBoker notes that Jewish snipers were targeting Arab vehicles traveling on the Hebron Road to and from Bet Lehem. The story claims Thompson was on her way to visit an Arab nurse recuperating at the Government Hospital in Bet Safafa. It adds that the car was driven by an Arab who also was wounded. The official notice of the Mandate press office suggested she was killed by Jews.


Haaretz (which calls her 'Majorie') asserts she was shot while standing by her car near the Bet Safafa hospital but adds "near Kilometer 5". It convery the response of the Hagana's "Kol HaMagen" radio denying any Hagana members were involved. The tstimony of an Arab nurse it quoted whereby, while standing some 150 yards away, she saw a Jew armed wih an automatic weapon approach the car and even though she yelled out that the woman was British, he opened fire and raked the car with bullets. Miss Thompson died at 5:45 the next morning:


Some more maps show the area, its relative emptiness, the distance from Ramat Rachel but closeness to other Arab villages:








Thompson was in Mandate Palestine eleven years. She arrived in the midst of the 'Disturbances', that violent three-year period of an Arab revolt. Why did she come? Where was she from in England? What was her early life? Did she only work with the Arab population?

There is so much here. Was she a Hebrew Christian missionary or just friends with members of the group?

Hopefully, to be continued.
____________

Now see here.

^

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Throwing Good Money After Bad - $310 Million

For the record, from the State Department Press Briefing – April 7, 2021 

by Ned Price, Department Spokesperson


MR PRICE: ...And today, we’re pleased to announce that, working with Congress, we plan to restart the U.S. economic – U.S. economic, development, security, and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people. It includes $75 million in economic and development assistance in the West Bank and Gaza, 10 million for peacebuilding programs through the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, and 150 million in humanitarian assistance for the UN Relief Works Agency, or UNRWA. All assistance, of course, will be provided consistent with U.S. law.

Assistance includes, among other things, support for small and medium enterprises’ recovery from the effects of COVID-19; support for needy households to access basic human needs, including food and clean water; and support for Palestinian civil society. A portion of this funding will support the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, as it continues to provide the necessary and life-saving treatments to Palestinians. This funding is in addition to the $15 million in humanitarian assistance to address COVID-19 pandemic and food insecurity that we announced last month.

U.S. foreign assistance for the Palestinians serves important U.S. interests and values, including providing critical relief to those in need, fostering economic development, and supporting Israeli-Palestinian understanding, as well as security and stability in a volatile region.  It aligns with the values and the interests of the United States as well as those of our allies and partners.  The United States is committed to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians in tangible ways in the immediate term, which is important in its own right, of course, but also as a means to advance towards a negotiated two-state solution.

The United States encourages other donors to support programs and activities that work toward a common goal of stability and progress for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

QUESTION: So I got two things, both on the Middle East, including – well, one on that. When you say that all this aid is going to be provided in – well, consistent with U.S. law, I’m curious as to how actually you’re going to do that.

MR PRICE: Sure.

QUESTION: Because U.S. law – there’s several of them – says that the U.S. cannot provide money to the Palestinian Authority, or – perhaps more importantly – money that would be fungible, that would be used for projects and programs that they – that a government would otherwise do as long as they continue to pay stipends to people convicted of anti-Israel or anti-U.S. attacks and their families. So how exactly are you going to square this?

MR PRICE: Sure.

QUESTION: Because as you’re aware, since reports about this have come out for a week or so, there have been growing opposition in Congress.

MR PRICE: Well, let me just start there. And I don’t want to characterize the reactions of individual members, but I think it is fair to say that we have been gratified by the reaction that we have heard from Congress on a bipartisan basis. Members of Congress, just as we do, recognize that the aid we announced today is consistent with our interests, it is consistent with our values, it is consistent with the interests of those in the region, to include Palestinians not only in the West Bank and Gaza but also in the broader region as well, as well as the interests of our Israeli partners.

Now, you asked about how we ensure that this aid is consistent with applicable U.S. law, including the Taylor Force Act. I just want to underscore that —

QUESTION: And ATCA.

MR PRICE: I’m sorry?

QUESTION: And —

MR PRICE: And ATCA. And I just want to underscore that all of this aid is absolutely consistent with relevant U.S. law, including those two statutes. As we do around the world, we provide assistance in the West Bank and Gaza through experienced and trusted independent partners on the ground, and it’s these partners who distribute directly to people in need, not through government or de facto government authorities. Our development partners in the West Bank and Gaza have aggressive risk mitigation systems in place aimed at ensuring just that – namely, that U.S. taxpayer-funded assistance is reaching those for whom it is intended: the women, the men, the children in need of lifesaving assistance.

Now, you asked about this fairly technical issue as to how we ensure that this aid is consistent with the Taylor Force Act —

QUESTION: Well —

MR PRICE: — and that it doesn’t directly —

QUESTION: Okay, fine, but I would not say that that’s “fairly technical.”

MR PRICE: No, no, no – well, I’m getting to a technical point.

QUESTION: You’re either breaking the law or you’re following the law. That’s not a technical —

MR PRICE: Well, it is – you’re right, it is very clear. We are following the law. Everything we are doing here is quite consistent with it, scrupulously so. But you did ask about how we ensure this doesn’t benefit —

QUESTION: Yes.

MR PRICE: Directly benefit the Palestinian Authority, which is the relevant provision, and assistance considered as quote-unquote “directly benefiting” the PA is actually defined in the Department of State – defined by the Department of State and was transmitted to Congress in May of 2018. And in making this determination, we take several conditions into account, including the intended primary beneficiary or end user of the assistance; whether the PA is the direct recipient of the assistance, of course; whether the assistance involves payments of Palestinian Authority creditors; the extent of ownership or control the PA exerts over an entity or an individual that is the primary beneficiary or end user of the assistance; and whether the assistance or, in some cases, the services provided directly replace assistance or services that the PA would otherwise provide.

So we take all of that scrupulously into account – not only Taylor Force, not only ATCA, every relevant statute – to ensure, again, that what we are doing is in service of our interests, our values, consistent with U.S. law, and betters the lives of the people in the region.

QUESTION: Okay. As it relates to the UNRWA assistance, the 150 million to UNRWA, the Israelis have already come out and said that they’re concerned about this, that they don’t think it’s a good idea because the – because UNRWA, they think, is – well, one, that it’s non-transparent and that it promotes anti-Israel activity; and then secondly, the previous secretary of state just before he left office really laid a – quite a harsh allegation against UNRWA, saying that there’re fewer than 200,000 refugees that it actually serves from 1948. So one, do you – or, well, one, when you say you take into consideration Congressional concerns, are you also taking into account Israeli concerns? And then secondly, are you repudiating former Secretary of State Pompeo’s criticism of UNRWA that it’s riddled with corruption and is not serving anywhere near the number of quote-unquote “real” refugees?

MR PRICE: Well, you asked about UNRWA. Let me just say one more word on the bilateral assistance we’re providing to the Palestinian people because it gets to your question about security, and that is, of course, that we have an enduring commitment to Israel’s security. It is a cornerstone of U.S. policy in the Middle East but also, beyond that, globally. Likewise, we are committed to advancing the safety and the security of the Palestinian people. As we said in a statement earlier this week, we believe that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of security, prosperity, and dignity.

Now, when it comes to U.S. security assistance, that has played a key role in strengthening Palestinian Authority security forces capable of or, in some cases, willing to partner with Israel to address regional instability. We expect that a key part of our security assistance going forward will be working to advance the rule of law in the West Bank for the benefit of all through the development of professional and accountable security and criminal justice institutions, institutions that, by the way, are able to maintain security and stability in the West Bank to uphold the rule of law, to contribute directly to regional security, and to protect the population. That is not only in the interests of the Palestinian people. That, of course, is in the interests of our Israeli partners.

And as you know or as you might have guessed, we have engaged at multiple levels repeatedly with our Israeli partners on these questions. Of course, it was noted in the recent readout of the call between Secretary Blinken and his counterpart, Foreign Minister Ashkenazi. I wouldn’t want to characterize any further those diplomatic conversations, but we do all of this, again, consistent with the interests and the values of this country.

QUESTION: You don’t have to characterize it because the Israelis have already come out and said they think it’s a bad idea. So – or so the reservations that Congress has about this and the opposition that Israel has about this doesn’t matter; is that what you’re saying?

MR PRICE: Matt, we are doing this consistent with the values and the interests of the United States and also with the interests of those in the region as well. You did ask about UNRWA —

QUESTION: Yes. Yes.

MR PRICE: — and concerns there, so let me just take a moment to note how seriously we take oversight of – our oversight role of UNRWA when it comes to UNRWA’s policies, programs, and finances. We take them extraordinary seriously. Got a long answer here.

QUESTION: You don’t really have to go on – you don’t have to drone on forever about it. But just, like, you are repudiating what the former administration thought about UNRWA? Do you still – do you believe, as the previous secretary of state did, that UNRWA serves a very, very small number of Palestinian refugees as opposed to what they claim to serve?

MR PRICE: I’m not going to characterize what the previous administration might have said or might have concluded. I am relaying here what this institution, what this secretary of state, what this administration, and what this building thinks and has concluded. And that is, again, that is that these steps and measures that we’ve announced today are consistent with our interests and our values.

I think the other point I would make is that even when the United States had stopped its support for UNRWA, the United States, and in this case the previous administration, did maintain a dialogue even in the absence of funding with UNRWA. By resuming this assistance today, not only do we have that dialogue, but we have a seat at the table. We can help drive UNRWA in the ways that we think it is in our interest and consistent with our values to do. Obviously, there are areas where we would like to see reform. We will continue to be in a position, an even greater position to drive and to steer UNRWA in a direction that we think is productive and useful with this step today.

Humeyra.

QUESTION: Can I actually get you to elaborate on that? So you do think that UNRWA needs to be reformed. Can you identify in which areas? And also, by restoring this aid today, are you guys working towards restoring to the amount of $365 million, which was in 2017? Is that what you’re aiming for, and what’s the path to that look like? But don’t forget the first one I asked.

MR PRICE: Well, let me start with the first one. It is absolutely the case that we are committed to closely engaging with UNRWA to uphold its neutrality, to promote human rights and tolerance and education, and to improve the agency’s effectiveness and sustainability, and we plan to do that in a few different ways. One, we plan to do that bilaterally with the agency, with UNRWA, to improve its transparency, accountability, and internal governance and oversight processes. And two, multilaterally to improve its sustainability over time.

The point I made before is absolutely a critical one. Even in the absence of the funding that the previous administration halted, we – in this case the previous administration maintained a dialogue with UNRWA. Now not only do we have a dialogue, but we have a seat at the table. We are able to help effect these reforms – these reforms that we think are necessary, these reforms that we think are important – in a manner that is much more – that will be much more effective going forward.

Yes.

QUESTION: Thank you, Ned. I have two questions on the Palestinians and one on Iraq. On the Palestinian issue, so would you say that any part of this money will go to support election in East Jerusalem since you value the democratic process? Number one. And number two, would you say that this money is trying to address a severe humanitarian need or also double as a carrot for the Palestinian Authority to come back to the negotiation table?

MR PRICE: This is – these are humanitarian steps when it comes to the humanitarian aid that we have announced today. The Secretary was speaking in a completely different context earlier this week when he said that we don’t trade shots in arms for political favors. But I think the broader principle is one that stands. This is consistent with who we are as a people. It also happens to be consistent with what is in our interest. And when we talk about the humanitarian funding that we are – I would – that we have announced today, it is to alleviate the – in many cases the humanitarian suffering that Palestinians have endured, whether it is in the West Bank, whether it’s in Gaza, or whether it’s in the broader region.

Now, when it comes to the question of elections, again, I would make the point that everything we are doing is going to be consistent with ATCA, it’s going to be consistent with the Taylor Force Act, and as we do around the world, we are providing this assistance through experienced and trusted independent partners on the ground who in turn distribute that aid. Palestinian elections are a matter for the Palestinian people. I think I would leave it at that in terms of our announcement today.

Yes.

QUESTION: Yes, I was just wondering if the Secretary or any official in this building has made sort of calls with the Palestinian officials ahead of today’s announcement. If not, when would they do that? And another question: Is there any update about the pledges to reopen the diplomatic – the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C.?

MR PRICE: Well, I would reiterate the point I have said before that we believe it is important for us to have a partnership with the Palestinian people and with Palestinian officials. I don’t have any calls to read out – I would imagine if Secretary Blinken had a call with his Palestinian counterpart, we would be in a position to read that out – nor do I have any calls to preview, but it is true that we have engaged extensively with stakeholders, including officials in the region, but I don’t have any details of that to read out.

Now, when it comes to the ways in which we will engage with the Palestinian people and Palestinian authorities, obviously today’s announcement, the announcement of funding on a bilateral basis for the Palestinian people and through UNRWA is an important element of that, but it is not the only way in which we intend to do that. But I just don’t have any announcements to preview at this time.

QUESTION: I don’t think you answered my first question.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) 365. Is that the aim that you’re going to eventually increase this? Is that where you’re going?

MR PRICE: I’m not going to – I’m – today we’re talking about a significant, a sizable, an ambitious announcement of funding. I don’t have anything to preview beyond today.

QUESTION: Did you have any comment that —

QUESTION: (Inaudible) this is the first tranche, because I know that the administrations have usually provided their UNRWA funding in trenches – tranches, whatever – leading up to the full amount. So you haven’t made a decision about whether you’re going to go back to that historic amount of (inaudible)?

MR PRICE: I just don’t have anything to preview today. We are in April of 2021. Of course there are many months left in this fiscal year. But I just don’t have anything to preview today as to where we are heading.

QUESTION: But then I turn to the security assistance. That’s – is that like the 60 million extra that’s not part of the number that you put into this press release?

MR PRICE: We – I’m sorry.

QUESTION: The security assistance.

MR PRICE: Yes.

QUESTION: You said we’re also resuming vital security assistance programs. So that’s separate from the numbers that you have in this press release, right?

MR PRICE: We can – we can – if we have more details on exactly what that security assistance looked like – looks like in terms of numbers, we can let you know.

QUESTION: Did you guys ever have a response to the GAO report that found that USAID had not followed all of the – all of the requirements of the Taylor Force and ATCA laws in awarding not direct grantees but sub-grantees?

MR PRICE: Well, we are of course aware of the GAO report. We have welcomed the report. We take it, its findings, very seriously. It’s important to note that this GAO report found no cases of U.S. funding going to parties, providers on the ground who failed vetting. USAID is already taking steps to strengthen its existing, extensive antiterrorism procedures. I would also say that the funding we have announced today takes into account that report and our implementation of that funding has and will take into account what the GAO put forward. Again, the bottom line here is that this administration is firmly committing to – committed to ensuring that all U.S. assistance is provided in accordance with antiterrorism requirements and all U.S. laws, including the Taylor Force Act.

^

Monday, April 05, 2021

The Murder at the Temple Mount

This article appeared originally at the Jerusalem Post Magazine and I've added more graphics here:

The Murder on the Temple Mount

On April 11, 1947, Asher Itzkowitz, along with his acquaintance – and despite the shared family name no family connection – Yitzchak Itzkowitz, walked from entered the Old City through the Damascus Gate and continued on towards the Western Wall.  It was Asher’s first time visit.

For some reason, perhaps first-time disorientation, they turned left towards a gate and proceeded towards the Temple Mount. Asher never made it to the Wall and never left the Old City alive.

-  - -

It was either during the late Ayyubid 1187-1250, or the early Mamluk (1250-1517) period, or perhaps from the time of Saladin’s victory over the Crusaders in 1189, that a ban was instituted forbidding non-Muslims from entering the compound of the Temple Mount.

Islam’s tenet was it was the sole true religion rather than Christianity or Judaism. It alone carried on the heritage of Abraham. That ban was extended also to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron in the form of the infamous ‘seventh step’. It is quite possible that despite Jews visiting the Temple Mount in the previous centuries, notably, Maimonides, that ban was sublimated into later Rabbinic prohibitions on Jews from entering the site.

Nicholas Tavelić, Peter of Narbona, Deodatus of Ruticinio and Stephen of Cuneo became the first Franciscan martyrs of the office of the Custody of the Holy Land when, having been in Jerusalem since 1384, they decided to take their charge to spread their faith to the Qadi of the city who was singularly unimpressed.

On November 11, 1391, they entered the Temple Mound compound, appeared before the Qadi’s gathering and began to preach. They were arrested, refused an option to convert to Islam and near the Jaffa Gate on November 14, they were executed, beheaded, their bodies blown up and their remains completely burned. Their ashes were scattered. In June 1970, they were declared Saints in the Vatican Basilica by Pope Paul VI. 

In May 1818, Sarah Belzoni disguised herself as a Muslim female and, retaining the services of a 9-year old Muslim boy in order to facilitate entry, she managed a peek inside the Dome of the Rock. On November 13, 1833, the English architect Frederick Catherwood dressed up as an Egyptian officer and entered the sacred precincts, eventually spending six weeks “investigat[ing] every part of the mosque and its precincts" and made the first complete survey of the Dome of the Rock.

In 1839, following the Tanzimat reforms in the Ottoman administration, non-Muslims were permitted to enter Temple Mount on receiving the special permit from the governor. In the 1850s, an Italian military engineer named Ermete Pierotti was engaged as architect and engineer to the Ottoman authorities in Jerusalem, a position that provided him unrestricted freedom to study the Temple Mount. His 1864 book, Jerusalem Explored, describes his findings.

In March 1855, the Duke of Brabant, the future King Leopold II of Belgium, toured the Temple Mount while club-wielding Sudanese from Darfur guards were locked in their quarters for fear they would attack the infidel. In June that year, Archduke Maximilian, the heir to the Habsburg Empire, also was permitted entry. 

As for Jews, Moses Montefiore and his wife Judith toured the site on July 26, 1855 including the underground Ancient Al-Aqsa to the Southern Wall and, apparently, on other occasions. The Palestine Exploration Fund got Charles Warren of the Royal Engineers into the area in 1867 and his diary entry of April 8, 1869 begins, “I visited the Dome of the Rock.” 

-    -    -

On Wednesday, January 29, 1873, the 56-year old Yosef Assa, like Asher Itzkowitz six decades later, erred while walking to his study session at an Old City bet midrash. Being blind, he missed a turning perhaps and entered to Temple Mount. As reported in HaLevanon on February 5th, his body was found the next day, seemingly tossed over the ramparts into the valley below. Obviously, unauthorized entry was an extreme danger. 

In the few years prior to World War One and just after, matters were more relaxed. We know that Tel Aviv’s Herzliya school pupils toured the site during Passover 1912 as did others during the Second and Third Aliyah periods. Rahel Yannait did so in 1908, Berl Katznelson in 1918 and Uri Tzvi Greenberg in1924.

Asher Itzkowitz, most probably born in Ivanovice in the Máramaros district of north-east Hungary in 1927 although another source has his birthplace as Drohobycz, was taken to Auschwitz during the war. His parents, from whom he was separated, did not survive the Holocaust but a sister did. Making his way to Budapest, he joined a Dror Zionist youth group despite being religiously observant, boarded the Yagur clandestine immigration ship and was sent to a Cyprus detention camp. He arrived in Israel in late 1946. He lived in Tel Aviv and worked as a carpenter.

On the last day of Passover, Shvi’I shel Pesach, April 11, 1947, he walked from the Beit Yisrael neighborhood with a friend (but not a relative), Yitzhak Itzkowitz, 36, to the Western Wall. Becoming perhaps disoriented in the alleyways unfamiliar to them, they walked down David Street and missed the right-hand turn to the Western Wall. 

They approached the Chain Gate at approximately three o’clock in the afternoon. The presence of non-Muslims so close to the Haram precincts incensed the crowds. Some records note that the Moslem holiday of Nebi Mussa, always a heightened time of potential violence since 1920, was coetaneous that day. Both were set upon by over 30 rowdies. They were beaten with heavy sticks, called nabbot, metal rods, stoned and stabbed. The newspaper reports were contradictory as to what happened next. 

The first information was that they had unwittingly entered the Temple Mount. Such an act would have been cause for such violence. Indeed, as reported in this paper on December 16, 2020, over 70 years later, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, a Palestinian Authority appointee, declared there is “no place for non-Muslims in any way in this mosque, whether through schools, churches or other places of worship.” 

In fact, the Palestine Government press office had issued a press release that was broadcast over the official Mandate’s Voice of Jerusalem radio that the murderous assault indeed took place inside the compound. Subsequent items appearing in the press related that they were attacked outside. 

Yitzchak was saved by an Arab policeman, a corporal, who dragged him into the courtyard who then closed the gate on the mob. Asher was left outside to be finished off. Suffering severe loss of blood and critical head injuries, Asher died. The HaTzofe newspaper indicates the corporal, who was on duty inside the sacred compound, at the police station on the north side of the raised platform, found them inside the gate when he rushed over in response to the shouting.

Asher’s funeral service was conducted Saturday night in the courtyard of the Bikur Cholim Hospital and was addressed by Rabbis Aryeh Levin and Zalman Brizel. From there, his bier was carried through Meah Shearim until the police intervened and insisted it be placed in a van. Shouting and shoving then ensued. Eventually, the procession made its way to the Mount of Olives where Itzkowitz was buried. If you seek out his grave, you will find a barely recognizable plot with the text illegible.

The “Situation Committee” of Jerusalem’s Jewish Community Council decried the murder and demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice. At the same time, they called for restraint on the part of Jews as on the Shabbat, two Arab ice cream vendors along Aggripas Street were beaten moderately by a crowd. The previous week, in a retaliation against the Palestine Police for the murder of Moshe Cohen on April 7, the Lechi underground had shot the 20-year old Basil Forth, who had been in the city but a week, killing him.

Most papers did not carry the story on their front pages. By the following Monday, he murder disappeared from the pages of the Yishuv’s press. The Communist organ, Kol Ha’Am, devoted but seven lines to the incident. Other news, of the escape of Geula Cohen and the forthcoming hanging of Dov Gruner and his legal battle were more prominent. 

There is no memorial plaque near where he was murdered. He lies in a forsaken near-unmarked grave. He has no progeny. He is a forgotten martyr.

_______

Haaretz



Haboker


Hatzofeh


The grave two years ago


The grave today




Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A Comment on the Pollard Interview

The Friday, March 26, 2021 Hebrew edition of Israel Hayom carried a long interview with Jonathan Pollard.

There is a swipe at the Knesset Lobby in a short Q & A at its end




I translate:

The Knesset Lobby?
They did nothing. Zero. It was a joke.
A group came to visit me once, at Butner Penitentiary, after returning from Washington.
They excitedly related that they were at the Capitol.
I asked them, 'did you talk about me?' and they stammered 'no'.

While I cannot say that the incident happened or not, I can say that as regards the Pro-Pollard Lobby in the Knesset between 1987, when it was founded by MKs Geulah Cohen and Edna Solodar, and until 1994, when it was then headed by MK Rechavam Zeevi, and with me as coordinator, the Lobby was active, effective and supportive.

Jay's memory has either lapsed or anything pre-EZ is purposely erased. A great disrespect to Geulah and Edna, their interventions with the suport of dozens of MKs, the assistance by the-then Israel UN Amabssador and many others. Diplomatic, political, and other aid was done. The Pollard Family was brought to the Knesset on several occasions and lobbying was done, even as it was an uphill fight.

The archives of that period exist and so a future academic research study will probably be made.

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Morris Pollard on Why Is Jonathan Pollard in Prison? - 2008

The following was presented to me at a meeting I had with Dr. Morris Pollard, Jonathan Pollard's late father in his hotel room in Jerusalem. He was making yet another trip to the Knesset on behalf of his son. The date the document carries is October 2008. I have added, here and there, links (and will continue to do so).


Why is Jonathan Pollard in Prison?
Morris Pollard, Notre Dame, IN

Frequent inquiries regarding Jonathan Pollard’s continued incarceration point to one of the most troubling aspects of what has come to be called “The Pollard Affair.” Jonathan has been in federal prison for 23 years, and up to this point in time we did not know what and who ignited the vicious attacks directed against him. Jonathan was arrested and indicted by the grand jury on one count of transmitting classified information to Israel “for the benefit of Israel,” and the damage report stated “without damage to United States security.” The indictment: Jonathan informed Israel that Iraq had developed weapons of mass destruction. While treason was never mentioned in the indictment, propaganda promoting his sentence was more in line with those who committed treasonous acts.

Prior to his arrest in 1985, Jonathan ,a civil service analyst in the office of Naval Intelligence, had observed satellite photos of buildings in Baghdad, Iraq, that had been marked by unknown U.S.security personnel with the letters “WMD” (Weapons of Mass Destruction). He learned that contrary to the treaty existing between the United States and Israel, that Israel had not been informed of this threat. His superiors denied knowledge about those photos, did not know why this information was not transmitted to Israel, and suggested that perhaps an explanation required higher security clearance. Jonathan felt morally obliged to inform our ally, the Israeli government, of the danger it faced from weapons of mass destruction in the hands of the malevolent Saddam Hussein. In doing this, Jonathan broke the law.

The treaty pledged mutual exchange of vital information between Israel and the United States. The breach of the treaty was announced by then Deputy Director of the CIA “Bobby Ray” Inman. He was so furious that the Osirak nuclear reactor center in Baghdad was destroyed by Israel (June 7,1981) that he arbitrarily curtailed the vital flow ensitive classified information to Israel. Years later, Inman’s words were revealed in The Wall Street Journal (August 6, 1998) by Boston University Professor Angelo Codevilla, who was witness to that event as a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. By his act in changing the treaty between the U.S. and Israel, Mr Inman broke the law. The Constitution of the United states in Article 6 [2] describes valid treaties as “the law of the land”.

The Israeli government’s rapid response to the information Jonathan gave them, in securing gas masks for her citizens and mandating that each Israeli household seal a room against a gas attack. This response by Israel gives convincing evidence that Israel was not aware of Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. But what other information, of importance to Israel was omitted by the CIA during the previous 4 years? Equally important, who promoted and supported the WMD program in Iraq, and is Israel still receiving “curtailed”information ?

The Israeli response to the information from Jonathan created hysteria among certain members of the United States Administration. Jonathan was placed in solitary confinement without bail. The media was informed that Jonathan Pollard “knew too much” and that "he was a threat to the security of the United States". The intensity of the propaganda promoted such a pervasive “lynch mob” atmosphere that Jonathan’s attorney, Richard Hibey,* and the United States Prosecuting Attorney, Joseph Di Genova, recommended to Jonathan that he forego a trial by jury and sign a plea agreement for a sentence of” less than life “in exchange for his complete cooperation. However, soon after the plea agreement was signed, the attacks in the media were intensified with government-released announcements (especially from Secretary of  Defense Caspar Weinberger) that “Jonathan Pollard was the most dangerous spy in the history of our country” and that ”he should be shot”. United States Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Di Genova joined Weinberger in accusing Jonathan of “treasonous acts”, and secret testimony against Jonathan, submitted to the court under oath by Weinberger, was sealed in the name of “national security.” To this day, access to his testimony has been denied to Jonathan’s subsequent defense attorneys who had clearance to view “top secret” information.

Defense attorney Hibey refused to tell me anything about the status of the case because I was “not his client”. Errors by Richard Hibey, retrieved from the Court Record, were so blatent and so egregious that it is not reasonable to presume that they were simply accidental. He failed to protest the fact that presiding Judge Aubrey Robinson did not advise Jonathan of his right to file a direct appeal (this is considered grounds for a “reversible error” and could cause a sentence to be over-turned). Hibey failed to challenge: a) the arbitrary breach of the plea agreement, in view of the fact that there was no ”evidentiary hearing “on that subject; b) the unsupported accusations of “treason” by Weinberger and Di Genova; and, c) Weinberger’s secret sealed testimonies. Hibey, as revealed in the record presented confidential attorney-client conversations to presiding Judge Robinson. He constantly assured Jonathan that his (Hibey’s) errors would be reversed when the case would be appealed to a higher court. And surprise! Hibey, without telling anyone, including his client, did not sign the petition for appeal within 10 days after sentencing, thereby forever blocking Jonathan’s chances of mounting a direct appeal of his sentence. His client was condemned to life in prison. Hibey’s misconduct can be viewed as intentional incompetence. 

In my final meeting with him, in the privacy of his office, he revealed, in anger, his personal animosity against Israel that governed his failures as Jonathan’s defense attorney.

After Jonathan was sentenced to life in prison. he was immediately transferred to a Hospital for the Criminally Insane in the Federal Correction Facility in Springfield, Missouri. After incarceration in the” bedlam” of that Hospital for 10 months, Jonathan was” rescued” by Congressman Lee Hamilton, who handed a copy of Jonathan’s clinical record to me with the printed statement that “Jonathan Pollard was not in this hospital as a patient.” Jonathan was then transferred to the notorious maximum security Federal Prison in Marion, Illinois, where he was held in solitary confinement in a basement cell for over seven years. Our visits with Jonathan, his mail, and telephone calls were monitored by federal agents. Jonathan frequently asked me, in their presence, “why am I being punished so severely for dealing with an ally”? I had no logical explanation. Americans who actually spied against the United States for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Greece, China, South Korea, The Phillipines, South Africa and the Soviet Union were ignored by Weinberger, “by the anonymous government sources,” and by the CIA. Was this a “special agenda”that was aimed at Jonathan and not at the criminals noted below?

Jonathan is now in a medium security Federal Prison in Butner, North Carolina. He was transferred there only after public inquiries were made about the reasons for his continued incarceration in solitary confinement in Marion. At intervals, coinciding with appeals for leniency by Jonathan’s present attorneys, U.S. government “sources” issued reminders of the” serious crimes” committed by the “traitor” Jonathan Pollard. The “crimes” were never identified ; and no person ,no organization ,nor did anyone in the media demand identification of Jonathan’s alleged crimes and proof of the accusations.
The CIA illegally released records of “allegations of unsolved crimes ”that were attributed to Jonathan, to reporter Seymour Hersh who published the CIA records as “facts” under the title “The Traitor” in the New Yorker Magazine (1-1-1999). Jonathan was there portrayed as a “master spy”responsible for unsolved heinous crimes involving the sales of highly classified information and the destruction of our intelligence network in the Soviet Union .This ,in spite of the facts that he lacked security clearances for access to such programs ,nor was he formally charged with “treason”.

Years later, Americans in our security services, whose crimes had been attributed to Jonathan , were apprehended ,and are now serving long sentences for spying for the Soviet Union. They include: CIA agents David Barnett, who sold the names of 30 American agents; William Kampiles, who sold the Operating Manual of the K11 satellite; NSA Agent David Boone sold “the Manual of Secret Codes” ;and long time moles CIA Chief of Counter-intelligence Aldrich Ames and Senior FBI agent Robert Hanssen who were paid millions of dollars to destroy our intelligence apparatus in the Soviet Union along with the execution of many of our agents . No one in the United States administration,(including Caspar Weinberger) nor in the CIA fomented adverse public opinion against these indicted and convicted criminals. Nor were they publically-accused of “treason”.

Jonathan’s case, placed before the United States Circuit Court of Appeals by attorney Theodore Olson, was denied by two of the three judges, based on a “technicality”: there was no signed petition for appeal to be submitted within 10 days after sentencing ,from Jonathan’s former defense attorney Hibey . The third Judge, Stephen Williams, declared in his dissenting opinion that “because Jonathan Pollard’s plea agreement was arbitrarily breached by the lower court, the case is a fundamental miscarriage of justice.” One of the three judges, not identified in the record, then asked United States Prosecuting Attorney Fisher “How can it be justified that the Secretary of Defense used the term ‘treason’ and that the government lawyer used the term ‘treason’ in a case in which the government could not and did not charge treason?” Mr. Fisher responded “I think it is regrettable that that word was used by the Secretary of Defense.”

Jonathan’s frequent question “Why am I being punished so severely”. Accusations from government officials that “he knows too much” were clarified in 1993 by Alan Friedman, a prominent award-winning investigative reporter with the Financial Times of London and The Wall Street Journal. He wrote a documented book titled The Spider’s Web: The Secret History of How The White House Illegally Armed Iraq, Bantam Press. 
Friedman’s prologue states that 
”evidence now gathered tells a sorry tale of abuse of power by some of America’s highest level government officials. Some of our highest government administrators showed a frequent disregard for established laws and Constitutional procedures. 

Many of the things that were done were in violation of acts of Congress and of U.S. Arms Export laws. Among those who were identified with the illegal activities included George Herbert Walker Bush, James Baker, and others as the architects of a series of secret policies that illegally committed billions of American taxpayer dollars and allowed the reckless export of United States technology to some of the Iraqi dictator’s most cherished and lethal weapons projects. They believed that neither the public nor Congress could be trusted with the truth of America’s deepening involvement with Saddam. The Pentagon Chief (Caspar Weinberger) perceived Iraq as America’s secret ally against Iran.”
In the midst of all these activities, a former White House official recalled “there was substantially no leadership. Reagan was sleeping through it all ”. This may have been the early manifestation of Alzheimers disease in President Reagan..
“On July 8, 1992, twenty members of the House Judiciary Committee signed a letter addressed to Attorney General William Barr, asking that an independent prosecutor be appointed to look into charges of real crimes such as conspiracy to defraud the U.S., obstruction of justice, falsification of records, perjury, and financial conflict of interest by high .Executive Branch officials. The Committee was most disturbed about the mishandling and cover-up of investigations looking upon U. S. Policy toward Iraq..No attorney general of the U.S . had ever turned down a request from Congress to appoint a special prosecutor. Attorney General Barr was the first to do just that. The Bush administration’s attempts to hide the truth about their American policy was a more insidious threat to the proper functioning of democratic government than any weapon Saddam could have employed”{from chapter-“As the Cover-up Unravels”}.
To this day, few people may know about this illegal affair because within weeks after The Spider’s Web was delivered to book stores, the books had disappeared from their shelves. Clerks in Barnes and Noble Bookstore could not understand, from their store records, why the books had “disappeared.” Recently, I acquired a ”second-hand”copy of the book .

When Jonathan Pollard told Israel that he observed satellite photographs of buildings in Baghdad that had been labeled “WMD,” he was not aware of the source of the photographs, but he did recognize the significance of the letters “WMD.” The cabal responsible for the illegal operation probably figured that since Jonathan “blew the whistle,”on their operation, he must also know of their crimes. This very likely ignited the “cover-up” campaign by Caspar Weinberger to silence Jonathan Pollard.

However, if Jonathan did know of the crimes described in The Spider’s Web, he would certainly have revealed them to the Grand Jury ,convened to judge the worthiness of the case against him. Jonathan’s silence over 23 years of punishment for unspecified crimes that were emphasized by the word “treason” were not challenged by defense attorney Richard Hibey nor by the sentencing Judge Aubrey Robinson (who showed poor judgment in contravening the flawed use of the word “treason “in our Constitution and he condoned the inflammatory accusations of “treason” by Caspar Weinberger). Efforts aimed at compromising Jonathan’s future credibility by placing him in a hospital for the criminally insane, failed through intervention by Congressman Lee Hamilton. 

The seven years of silence during Jonathan’s solitary incarceration in Marion Prison was not experienced by any of those criminals noted above, who were convicted for committing identified heinous crimes against the United States. Jonathan’s silence must have convinced the cabal that their campaign to silence him did not need a cover-up ,that he obviously did not know of their criminal activities. In early 2002, Caspar Weinberger, in a tape- recorded interview with respected investigative reporter Edwin Black, responded to Mr. Black’s question “in your published memoir ’In the Arena,’ why was the Pollard incident left out of your book?” Weinberger casually replied, “because it was, in a sense, a very minor matter, but made very important.” Asked to elaborate, Weinberger repeated “as I say, the Pollard matter was comparatively minor. It was made far bigger than it’s actual importance.” Pressed on why the case was made far bigger than it’s actual importance, Weinberger replied “I don’t know why, it just was.” (New York Jewish News, June 21, 2002). Thus, Weinberger admitted in his comments, that his secret testimonies, under oath,against Jonathan were not true; so why is his testimony still sealed, and why is Jonathan Pollard still in prison?

Every time Jonathan’s case comes up for a clemency hearing, the government propaganda machine publicly demonizes him. This propaganda was – and continues to be - highly pervasive , emphatic and confusing to the media, as exemplified by a report in the New York Times (May 6, 1987), that “Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to life in prison for ‘treason’”; and, in theWashington Post, that he had a jury trial (January 1, 1999), thus illustrating the confused “mind-set” even among professional journalists.  Further, at a public meeting in Israel (May 2007),  the current U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Richard M. Jones, announced that” the United States showed mercy to Jonathan Pollard by not executing him for his crimes”. This ignited a furious response among the Israelis; and he apologized on the following day. Since ambassadors rarely initiate policy statements, who authorized Jones to deliver that inflammatory message? And what ”crimes” were committed ?

When President Clinton was considering clemency for Jonathan during the waning days of his second term, a letter signed by 60 Senators was sent to President Clinton urging him to deny clemency in “the interest of Justice and the National Security.” The letter was signed by Senators Lieberman and McCain. I wonder if any of the senators demanded that his “ crimes” be identified, the proof thereof, and the content of the secret testimony by Weinberger. Note that more than 23 years after Jonathan’s arrest, no evidence has yet to be presented of any damage caused to the United States by his actions, nor by any consequence that would even begin to justify his continued incarceration. Jonathan Pollard was not indicted, he was not tried, and he was not convicted of treason. He is not a terrorist, nor did he maim nor murder any one! Sadly, Jonathan Pollard is the target of a cover-up of a crime that was unknown to him.

What do we know now, 23 years later, that we did not know then? Without realizing it, Jonathan “stumbled” unknowingly into what was a secret conspiracy by U.S.Government Adminstrators to promote and support, through the CIA, the development of WMD in the hands of the dictator Saddam Hussein. The American people would be appalled that the CIA would knowingly entrust any WMD to a known vicious sociopath who, without remorse, murdered thousands of innocent Kurdish Iraqi men, women and children with poison gas in August 1988. Without prior knowledge and preparation for such a catastrophe, Israel might have suffered the same treatment .The treaty that was conceived for preventing such a catastrophe was “erased” by then Deputy Director of the CIA Bobby Inman, in cold disdain for probable tragic consequences. My objective assessment of the cynical intent by this CIA official was to leave Israel in a vulnerable position, to the will of Saddam Hussein.

Now, Weinberger is dead. However, with the retraction of his cover-up attacks against Pollard, why is it that his secret testimonies have not been declassified ,in accord with President Clinton’s Executive Order of October 1995, on intelligence that sets a 10 year shelf-life on state secrets. It is of added interest to note that after reading the secret testimony of Weinberger, Senator Charles Schumer "found nothing there that justifies a life sentence”.

No one, including my son, should be serving a life sentence that is based on secret testimony by a witness (Caspar Weinberger) whose history includes multiple counts of perjury and obstruction of justice. (“Firewall-The Iran Contra Conspiracy and Cover-up” by Lawrence E Walsh, Norton Press, 1997). He was pardoned by the elder Bush before court action We do not know of any crimes that Jonathan committed, other than that of passing information to an ally that was entitled by treaty to that information. If the action by Pollard can be called “treason” by Weinberger, was he calling Israel the enemy? His views were rejected by judges in the U.S.Circuit Court of Appeals and rejected by U.S. Attorney Fisher. 

It was a highly significant change of perception by Caspar Weinberger: from his early promotion of “ maximum sentence” for Pollard, including execution, to his more recent admission that “the Pollard matter was comparatively minor. It was made far bigger than it’s actual importance “. Thus, in the name of justice and accountability it is timely that the sealed testimony, made under oath by Caspar Weinberger be unsealed, including his message to Judge Robinson , prior to sentencing ,when he promoted “ maximum sentence”. But, let us not overlook the damage to Jonathan by his defense attorney Richard Hibey who, without the knowledge of his client, refused to sign the Petition for Appeal within 10 days after sentencing ,thereby condemning Jonathan to life in prison .By this maneuver, further assessment of his errors and of errors of judgment by the lower Court were, on a technicality, blocked. Hibey gave perfidious comfort to the criminals whose crimes were covered-up, and his client was, and is to this day being punished severely.

Decades ago it was clearly predicted by Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh that ”the Jonathan Pollard affair is a festering sore that will not go away”.  After reading this article, I hope that you will also agree with him and with Thomas Burke when he said, “It is necessary for good men to do nothing for evil to flourish”. 

It is urgent that we restore the rule of law and due process, and for the good name and honor of the American justice system to review the totality of the case against Jonathan Pollard, which I believe, would lead to his commutation and release after 23 years of severe incarceration.

So, why is Jonathan Pollard in prison?

________
* Hibey is a Lebanese Maronite.

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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Lord Curzon Wasn't Really an Anti-Zionist

Promoters of Palestinianism point to Lord Curzon as a possible savior who could have prevented the British Government's pro-Zionism World War One policy. Here is one source.

One of them is Karl Sabbagh who wrote in the Guardian back in 2017

If only Lord Curzon, who succeeded Balfour, had been foreign secretary in 1917 we might have had a very different outcome. He wrote in a private letter to Balfour at the time: “I do not myself recognise that the connection of the Jews with Palestine, which terminated 1,200 years ago, gives them any claims whatsoever.

But in his December 5, 1917 report to the Cabinet he seems quite clear about the future political siutation of Jews in Palestine:    


There will be a national home for Jews in Palestine and it will be equal to the "chance" that the Arabs will have.

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Yet Another Unpublished Letter-to-the-Editor

On March 17, 2021, the UK Guardian published an oped by Salem Barahmeh entitled, "The Israeli and Palestinian elections offend democracy – each in their own way".

I wrote a letter-to-the-editor and it was emailed the following day:

In his March 17 op-ed, Salem Barahmeh, of the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy, conveniently blames Israel for the lack of democracy in the Palestinian Authority. Israel has never prevented President Mahmoud Abbas, last elected 16 years ago, from initiating elections. The responsibility for the regime Abbas oversees which among other actions severely restricts the freedoms, liberties and rights of its population too numerous to list cannot be assigned to Israel. At some time in their history, the Arabs of Palestine must assume accountability for their own actions or lack thereof.

In bemoaning the fact that upwards of 700,000 Jewish Israelis are living in the territories claimed by the Palestinian Authority, Barahmeh ignores the pre-state period of 1920-1948, when thousands of Jews who were living in those same areas such as Jerusalem's Old City and its environs, Hebron, Gaza, Nablus, Etzion Bloc and other locations then called by the United Nations in its 1947 partition plan as Judea and Samaria, were removed due to both a campaign of terror promoted by the then Mufti Amin El-Husseini and the hostilities Arabs launched after rejecting that internationally supported compromise arrangement which the Jewish community of Mandate Palestine did accept. Had Jews not been targeted in an ethnic cleansing operation, just  as twenty percent or more of Israel's current citizenry are Arab, there should be no reason 20% of Palestine's residents, if not citizens, could be Jewish.

Yisrael Medad

Shiloh, Israel

I waited a few days and I don't see it.

So now it's public here.


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