Sunday, May 31, 2020

Being a Torah-Licensed Scoundrel

In Volume 53, Issue 1 of European Judaism, Jeremy Schonfield published Kaddish for Gaza
Some Liturgical Ground ClearingSchonfield views the recital by young Jews of the Mourners’ Kaddish for Palestinians shot while trying to break through the border as being a misunderstanding about the different ways Kaddish is used in Traditional and Progressive contexts. Mourners’ Kaddish is, of course, for deceased relatives and he questions whether the reciting was appropriate as none of the Gaza victims were Jewish and whose intentions were uncertain.

But he has an alternative recital: an act of text study could have been used to highlight moral ambiguity, followed by Kaddish de-Rabbanan, the traditional coda to a study session. This would have avoided offence to Muslims and to Jews, and have ensured that the act of reciting Kaddish refers in this case not to the dead but to the moral problems raised by their killing. The article relates to a 2018 event and 

questions the appropriateness of reciting Mourners’ Kaddish for the Gaza victims, none of whom were Jewish and whose intentions were uncertain. Instead, an act of text study could have been used to highlight moral ambiguity, followed by Kaddish de-Rabbanan, the traditional coda to a study session. This would have avoided offence to Muslims and to Jews, and have ensured that the act of reciting Kaddish refers in this case not to the dead but to the moral problems raised by their killing.

Schonfield is a professor at Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and Lecturer in Liturgy at Leo Baeck College, London and scion to an orthodox rabbinical family. He, then, would know what is is to be a scoundrel with a Torah license (or with the permission of).

He factually describes the action of the Gazan Arabs as a “march over the border to Israel”.
In other words, an invasion, akin to an act of war. And he undoubtedly is aware that those protests were distected by Hamas, with Hamas cordinators in the field, with weapons such as IEDs, other explosives, firebombs, rocks and then incendiary kites and balloons later employed. This was not in the least a non-violent demonstration.  The participants were urged to rip out the hearts of the Israelis they encounter once over the border.  The peacefulness, so-called, was admitted to be a deception. Even though this was the third time this act of Kaddish recital for dead terrorists was enacted, and even if we can find some way to excuse the young Jews, to ignore the character and purpose of the march protests two years later is truly astounding.

Moreover, even when he acknowledges that Hamas admits


that fifty of the sixty-two dead had been members of their organisation...[and] Islamic Jihad claimed three others. 

he adds

These numbers are not necessarily accurate, since the need to emphasise that Hamas is in control of Gaza would encourage the percentage to be increased,

Noting that in any case, there seemed to have been 10 innocent civilians, or rather, non-combatants, he sarcastically adds

unless one thinks that living in Gaza and therefore perhaps voting for Hamas is a capital crime

While it may not necessarily be a capital crime, it could (should?) be a crime to support a terrorist organization that almost exclusively targets Jewish civilians. That there has been no true popular revolt or any serious street protests against the Hamas rule in Gaza since 2006, surely the population at large is not wholly innocent even if only ethically.

Putting words into someone elses mouth is another trick. Schonfield writes


why shoot to kill, the media asked

But not all the victims, that day, or on other Fridays, were shot to death on purpose. A fair percentage, the majority I would think, were victims of stray bullets or got in the way or richochets. If there was a purpose involved, it was to prevent damage to the fence that would allow murderous hordes to stream through to nearby kibbutzim or to neutralize those using lethal weapons themselves.

He is sloppy when writing

invaded Gaza in 2014 to destroy tunnels that could have been located from inside Israel

But the tunnels were only discovered to exist after those hostilities began and the Hamas terrorists emerged. And as further evidence of his military expertise, he suggests in the future:

wider belts of barbed wire

which means that Israel has to withdraw further into its own terriotry as to extend the fence area into Gaza he would, I presume, term extending the occupation. 

He mentions

the Israeli army’s morality

yet applying immorality to Hamas is mssing. 

Further on, he refers a Midrash in connection to God supposedly prohibiting the angels to rejoice over the drowning Egyptians recorded in Sanhedrin 39B:


R. Samuel b. Nahman said in R. Jonathan's name: What is meant by, And one approached not the other all night? In that hour the ministering angels wished to utter the song [of praise] before the Holy One, blessed be He, but He rebuked them, saying: My handiwork [the Egyptians] is drowning in the sea; would ye utter song before me!
 
I cannot but assume that he ignored an alternate well-known reading, that God intended that only He as their creator could rejoice but ot them.  They had no right as they were not involved in any form of responsibility for the Egyptians but, he, Hod, surely could because he was meting out true justice. The right to sing exists but belongs only to the proper authority.

At that section he brings three examples of Biblical models dealing with the punishment of sinners - Avraham and Sodom, the drowning Egyptians and the Purim story with the killing of the Persians in large numbers. Why not mention the Seven Nations (Mishneh Torah, Sefer Shoftim, Melachim Umilchamot 5:4)?  Why not mention the very reasonable two-stage approach in the next chapter at 6:1? Has not Israel over and over attempted to negotiate with Hamas?

At the bottom of page 134, I would suggest he mixes up the din rodef with a matter of a burglar writing

Killing a burglar may thus be murder under certain circumstances in Jewish, as it is in British, law

But Rashi at the source, Exodus 22:1  indicates that a thief sneaking in to a house may be killed: The Torah teaches, ‘If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first’.”:

This is not murder for he (the intruder) is as if dead already. From this the Torah teaches us that if one comes to kill you, you should rise prior to kill him. And in this case (our verse) he (the intruder) has come with intent to kill you,

Even if Schonfield disagrees, he need deal with this general rule. Indeed, can a civil law be applied to a war situation, as is at the Gaza border? 

He also adds that minimum force must be used but that is if only possible, which in this case, it is not. There are crowds, en masse, trying to get at the fence, to damage it, or undercover of the civilians launch all sorts of weapons and attempt to get across. The soldiers plead through loudspeakers, drop leaflets, contact Hmas leadership and, by the way, the weekly protests have been going on for a long time. Anybody approaching is surely aware of the danger. But no, Schonfield is captive of his on ideology, writing, in clear dissonance of the truth, that

There is also doubt about the murderous intent of women and children who may have been told by their leaders that the way ahead was clear and that the soldiers would not harm them.

Of course, soldiers should do all possible to avoid unnecessary bloodshed. But this attack on IDF morality, employing misreadings of Biblical and Rabbinical texts is niot helpful in the least, especially as it was published to justify even a Kadissh D’Rabbanan for these terrorists.

If he had included one call to Hamas to cease this action, I could have found at least one point in his favor.

Engaging Greene

I read through this op-ed at Haaretz,  Why the Netanyahus Are Embracing 'Christian Europe'. What irks the author, Toby Greene, is that radical right circles in Europe which were mostly anti-Semitic and anti-Israel, now “embrace Israel as a model ethno-national state, and Europe’s frontline against radical Islam” and the European radical right is a source of great temptation for the Netanyahus, senior and junior.

I presume the op-ed stemmed from an academic article he recently published, Judeo-Christian civilizationism: challenging common European foreign policy in the IsraeliPalestinian arena. His finding points to “the growing influence of civilizationist discourse on European attitudes towards the Israeli-Palestinian arena”.

To my understanding, Greene is not pleased that Israels Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has succeeded in creating a supporting, even an applauding, European base quite favorable to Israel to replace/offset the EU which for 40 years has been extremely anti-Israel. He is fearful that these new pro-Israel countries are nationalist, very anti-Islam and, ultimatley, present a danger to Israel. Netanyahu, he believes,  “plays happily with the politics of cultural and civilizational identity”. He doubts that “this politics serves Israel’s strategic interests. That view is one that is legitimate to be argued, even it is wrong or misrepresented or formulated in incnediary terminology.

But Greene then enters the internal Israel debate and I picked out one sentence and I tweeted out the following on May 13

@toby_greene_ wants Israel to maintain “a commitment to liberal democracy...[without] foreclosing the option of negotiated peace with the Palestinians”. Imagine how much better it would be if the .@nadplo would be 10% even the liberal democacry Israel is.

and it continued, back and forth:

He replies:

Israel will not look much like a liberal democracy with 3 million Palestinians within its permanent borders without citizenship rights.

and I answer and ask:

a) why not? Arabs cannot be Israelis? (or do we have to ban subversive Arab parties?)b) but will “Palestine” ever be a liberal democracy? let us not forget my point.c) do you think Jews could live, safely, in a Palestine? Maybe as citizens?P.S. and I won’t argue the numbers

He responds:

If you made West Bank Palestinians into Israeli citizens, Israel would be a binational state. I think the better option is to preserves Israel's Liberal Democratic AND Jewish character (with an Arab minority) in the context of a 2 state solution.

And I added:

Another angle:Today between east Haifa and west Tiberias, the Gallilee has a solid Arab majority.Do we yield that territory up to assure there is no binationalism?

His answer is:

The existing minority since 1948 does not compromise Israel's ability to be Jewish and democratic. Offering citizenship to 3m WB Palestinians would. You still haven't said if that's what you really want. I don't see how anyone seriously thinks that's a recipe for success.

And my comeback:

Which would permit the PLO to do what Hamas has been doing since 2005 but from the heights of Judea & Samaria with Gedera-to-Hadera layed out before them? There really is no such thing as `territory-for-peace`.

Somehow, I am amazed that people considered to be smart and intelligent reveal themselves, well, not to be.

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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Davening Near the Jerusalem Hotels


Once upon  time, when my wife and I had occasion to spend a few days at a hotel along Keren Hayesod, I realized that finding a minyan for all three daily prayers was not a given.  So I snapped these synagogue times of a few within a relative short walking distance from the King Solomon and if you have other suggestions (it was a few years ago but I am now going through files), please leave your info in the comments.






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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Were The Nabateans Ancient Jordanians?

This I found at the official Jordan Petra News Agency site and piqued my interest:

The Nabateans, an Arab people, were among the first to settle in Jordan, with their base in Petra.

As a country called Jordan did not really exist at that time. Even Wikipedia knows that 

Jordan refers to the history of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and...of the region of Transjordan.

Note the description here, for example:

Among the oldest references to Arabs in what is now Jordan is the account of the battle of Qarqar in 853 BCE,

And here:

Nabataeans...carved into the rose-red rocks of present day Jordan 

a source which also illuminates that they were not that native:

The Nabataeans probably originated as a nomadic Arabic tribe known as the Nabatu. They emerged in the seventh and sixth centuries BC, migrating into the region which today forms parts of Jordan... 

The Britannica only mentions Jordan as a river:

Nabataean, member of a people of ancient Arabia whose settlements lay in the borderlands between Syria and Arabia...When the Roman emperor Trajan annexed the kingdom (AD 105–106) and set up the new province of Arabia, Bostra (Bozrah), east of the Jordan River, was chosen in place of Petra as the provincial capital.

The Nabateans were not ancient Jordanians.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Revisiting Netanyahu on the Mufti’s Holocaust Role

Remember the contretemps when, five years ago, Binyamin Netanyahu attacked the Grand Mufti of the Palestine Mandate?

Examples:


Anger at Netanyahu claim Palestinian grand mufti inspired Holocaust

Israeli PM accused of trivialising the Holocaust for saying grand mufti of Jerusalem gave Hitler idea of exterminating Europe’s Jews


Netanyahu Denounced for Saying Palestinian Inspired Holocaust

Israeli historians and opposition politicians joined Palestinians in denouncing the Israeli prime minister


Netanyahu: Hitler Didn't Want to Exterminate the Jews

Prime minister tells World Zionist Congress that Hitler only wanted to expel the Jews, but Jerusalem's Grand Mufti convinced him to exterminate them, a claim that was rejected by most accepted Holocaust scholars.

And then there is this:

...at a war crimes trial on 26 July 1946 Adolf Eichmann’s deputy Dieter Wisliceny testified that “the Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and advisor of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan.”   

which is from Joseph B. Schechtman, The Mufti and the Fuehrer: The Rise and Fall of Haj Aminel-Husseini (New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1965), p. 160.  

In the British Foreign Office file, 371/52585/E1984/515/31, F.O. minute, October 6, 1946, you can find this quotation of Wisliceny:

"According to my opinion, the Grand-Mufti who has been in Berlin since 1941 played a role in the decision of the German Government to exterminate the European Jews."

Phillip Mattar describes those affidavits as unreliable yet Eichmann himself, in his testimony at his trial, confirmed that the Nazis had "an agreement with the Grand Mufti" to prevent emigration to Palestine (The Eichmann Trial: Proceedings, Session No. 58, p. 1053).
But the British did not feel confident to place him on trial.  Other historical surviews of the Mufti disagree with the Mufti not bein involved firectly in the Holocaust.  Here. And here.

Rafael Medoff took to task those who had an interest in downplaying the Mufti Nazi links.  He notes a 1990 study of American Zionism during the Holocaust years. Its author


claims that American Zionist organizations exaggerated the Mufti's crimes and sought his indictment as a war criminal on the false premise that he had a role in formulating the Final Solution

What they did seek to charge the Mufti was this

the Mufti's organizing the Arab Legion, his role in the pro-Nazi revolt in Iraq in 1941, and the Yugoslavia atrocities — but not the genocide.

Medoff includes, in a footnote,  reliable evidence of a Nazi link to Palestinian Arab violence before the outbreak of World War II during 1938 based on five original British police documents proving such a link that were published in Efraim Dekel, Shai: The Exploits of Haganah Intelligence, New York, 1959.

More from Medoff:


A specific link between the Mufti and the Final Solution became known in early 1946 when a prominent American journalist, Edgar Ansel Mowrer of the New York Post, cited documents revealing Husseini's effort to interfere in ransom negotiations over European Jewish refugees. The documents referred to a proposal by the British in the spring of 1943 to permit 4,000 Jewish refugee children from Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria and Slovakia, accompanied by 500 adults, to enter Palestine, in exchange for the release of 20,000German prisoners of war. The Germans were interested in the scheme and entered into negotiations with the British, but later withdrew after the Mufti protested...Surely the Mufti knew something about the Final Solution from the visit by his top aides to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, near Oranienburg. David Yisraeli long ago uncovered German Foreign Office correspondence documenting how the Mufti arranged, in 1942, for several of his assistants to undergo training by the SS, including a visit to Sachsenhausen,adjacent to the headquarters of the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps, in order "to learn how to deal with the enemy, particularly the Jews."

And

Eichmann himself confirmed that the Mufti's aides were given SS training, and that he himself briefed them on the genocide process. He testified at his 1961 trial that on one occasion, three of the Mufti's Arab associates "came to work in my Section for their information for a day or two."  He recalled: "I received the order to open everything to them, to let them look everywhere, also state secrets."  In his testimony, Eichmann also acknowledged that the Mufti's aides were given training, in his department and others, to "recondition [them] into experts for any Gestapo to be set up in the Near East" in the event that the Nazis conquered that region.

The 1943 Himmler congratulatory telegram to the Mufti is, alas, too non-specific although being friendly enough with Himmkler to receive such a missive is interesting.

At the time of the Netanyahu-Mufti affair, Time Magazine had this to offer from 
David Kaiser on the Mufti:


He proposed an Arab revolt all across the Middle East to fight the Jews...He also wanted to form an Arab legion, using Arab prisoners from the French Empire who were then POWs inside Germany. He also asked Hitler to declare publicly, as the German government had privately, that it favored “the elimination of the Jewish national home” in Palestine.Netanyahu uttered a half-truth when he referred to Hitler’s supposed desire to expel, rather than murder, the Jews. 


Nevertheless, the Holocaust was not the brainchild of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem although he had plans for crematoria in the Dotan Valley in northern Samaria.  And let us not forget this from Bernard Lewis' 1999 book, "Semites and Anti-Semites: An Inquiry Into Conflict and Prejudice", pages 146-47, that I posted five years ago




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Monday, May 11, 2020

The Quran and Jewish Rights on the Temple Mount

Do Jews have rights to the Temple Mount, upon which today is the Haram E-Sharif esplanade with the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque?

Is the Temple Mount a Jewish holy place? Does it possess sanctity within Judaism? Should it be revered and respected?

The Waqf, the Islamic religious trust which administers the Temple Mount under Jordanian custodial supervision, with a new council whose members identify with Fatah, Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Turkey, denies that and seeks to subvert any Jewish expression of identity with the iste.

Now, consider this from Omer Salem’s “Missing Peace” on page 63:-


Then Allah clarified to Prophet Muhammad unequivocally in the Holy Qur’an that Allah wishes Ahlul Qur’an (Muslims, i.e. People of the Quran) to have a one qibla [direction of prayer]– Masjid Haram in Mecca - and that Ahlul Kitab (Jews, i.e., People of the Book) have a separate qibla  – The Temple Mount, Jerusalem. 

Here is the prooftext for the two different qiblas

“And even if you bring to those who have been given the Book/Scripture every sign, they would not follow your qibla, nor can you be a follower of their qibla, neither are they the followers of each other’s qibla, and if you follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, then you shall most surely be among the unjust/wrongdoers.” (Quran 2:145)

If there was one verse in the Holy Quran that gives God-fearingJews the right to pray on the Temple Mount, or to share the Temple Mount with their Muslim neighbors, this verse is it.

Salem further explains there

Allah ordered prophet Muhammad to change the qibla from Masjid Aqsa (the al-Aska Mosque located on the Temple Mount) to Masjid Haram (the shrine in Mecca). The Qur’an records the change in qibla, and refers those who object to such change as “the fools”; here is the Quranic text: 

“The fools among the people will say: “What hath turned them from the Qibla to which they were used?” Say: To Allah belong both east and West: Allah guides whom Allah wills to a Way that is straight” (Quran 2:142)

To be sure, Salem is a moderate. He asks for patience is golden. He believes 

there will rise a group of Muslim and Jewish scholars (Imams and Rabbis) who will agree on how and when the Jews are to pray in peace on the Temple Mount. Jews have waited two millennium for such an honor, no harm will befall the Jewish people if they reach out to Muslim scholars and wait a little.

Salem is a Yale University alumnus and holds a PhD from the Al Azhar University in Cairo. 

Unfortunately, those Muslims who possess control thinking quite differently and for Jews, no rights on and within the Temple Mount nor to discover what is under.

At least we now know that Muslims, according to their own religious texts, should allow Jews to at least visit without interference or harrassment.

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Ancient Jerualem Bar-Kochba Coin Discovered

The Israel Antiquities Authority informs us that a rare Bar-Kochba Revolt period has been discovered.  And hwere?

At the Foot of the Temple Mount, north of the City of David and it bears the inscription 

“Year Two of the Freedom of Israel,” 

with the reverse side featuring a palm tree and the word “Jerusalem.”

It is the only coin from the period of the Bar Kokhba revolt bearing 
the name “Jerusalem” ever discovered within Ancient Jerusalem.

As the Authority explains:

Coins from the period of the Bar Kokhba revolt, which declared the rebels’ purpose - to liberate Jerusalem from Roman occupation after the destruction of the city - are well-known in archeology. Discovering such coins helps researchers map out the revolt, which took place approximately 1,900 years ago. It is interesting to note that the rebels minted these revolt coins on Roman regime coins with stripped or damaged faces, possibly out of defiance of the Roman occupation. The revolt coins featured the Temple facade, trumpets, a harp/violin, as well as the inscriptions: “Redemption of Israel” and “Freedom of Israel.”

The coin:



Perhaps a Roman soldier who had picked it up as a souvenir, dropped it at camp.

Photo credit:  Photo: Koby Harati, City of David Archive (Koby is a friend)

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Sunday, May 10, 2020

Yes, There is Islamist Anti-Semitism

Who is the he being here quoted?

American women in general he described as having "thirsty lips . . . bulging breasts . . . smooth legs," all topped off by  "the calling eye . . . [and] the provocative laugh."

The he is Sayyid Qutb, and Benny Morris selected that extract in his review of the volume, Sayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism by John Calvert.

And he quotes him again here:

The Jews, he  wrote: Free the sensual desires from their restraints and they destroy the moral foundation on which the pure Creed rests, in order that the Creed should fall into the filth which they spread so widely on the earth. They mutilate the whole of history and falsify it. . . . From such creatures who kill, massacre and defame prophets one can only expect the spilling of human blood and dirty means which would further their machinations and evil.

In an academic study of the Jew as an evil metaphor, the author

discusses the image of the Jew in its recent manifestations in Arab discourse...It contends that the “Jew” is being constructed as a functional metaphor, an all-purpose villain...it is suggested that the metaphor “Jew” has become a “cultural code” that...serves to define non-Jewish adversaries by Judaizing them and attributing to them certain supposed features of Jews, while denouncing them for their actions.

Is this perhaps a result of Zionism, of Jews defeating Arabs in the last century? 

No. For in

a letter written in 1600 by traveler William Biddulph from Jerusalem reporting that when the Turks swear, they use the curse: “If this is not true—may God make me die a Jew.” In another case, on April 17, 1722, Hajj ‘Ala’ al-Din Ibn Abu Lahiya charged a man named Hamdan for offending and cursing him in the market, saying: “Oh he who is like Hanna, Oh Jew!” Although Hamdan denied the allegation in court, two witnesses testified that he indeed had said, “Oh he who is like a Christian, oh damned, oh Jew!,” and the court ordered that he be flogged.

Sources:  Amnon Cohen, The Jewish Community of Jerusalem in the 16th Century (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Publications, 1982), 151; Michael Ish-Shalom, Christian Travels in the Holy Land: Descriptions and Sources on the History of the Jews in Palestine (Tel Aviv: Am Oved and Dvir, 1965), 309. and Amnon Cohen, Elisheva Simon-Pikali, and Ovadia Salama, Jews in the Moslem Religious Court: Society, Economy and Communal Organization in the XVIII Century, Documents from Ottoman Jerusalem (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, 1996), 272.

Another issue

Jews and Judaism were explicitly applied by the followers of ‘Ali in the seventh century to the “heretical” movement of the Kharajites (Khawarij) that arose after the death of Muhammad and disrupted the Islamic empire’s political and social stability. ‘Ali’s partisans associated the adherents of this movement with the Jews by using Qur’anic texts “to expose and denounce conflicts among Muslims” and alert followers of their hypocrisy: “They invoke the book of God, but are not related to it in any way.”41 Sunni critics of the early Shi’i movements gave Shi‘i Islam Jewish paternity, claiming that it was the Jew ‘Abdallah ibn Saba’ who convinced the Muslim community to elevate ‘Ali; in return, the Shi‘ites attacked the Sunnis with the same accusation.

Sources:  Nirenberg, Anti-Judaism, 174; 175; Uri Rubin, Between Bible and Qur’an: The Children of Israel and the Islamic Self-Image (Princeton, NJ: Darwin Press, 1999), 6 and particularly 147–67. See also Steven M. Wasserstrom, Between Muslim and Jew: The Problem of Symbiosis under Early Islam (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995).

In Chapter Three of David Patterson’s Anti-Semitism and its Metaphysical Originswe read this quoted from Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Yaqoub, Al-Rahma TV, 17 January 2009:


If the Jews left Palestine to us, would we start loving them? Of course not.... They would have been enemies even if they did not occupy a thing.... Our fighting with the Jews is eternal, and it will not end ... until not a single Jew remains on the face of the Earth.... As for you Jews, the Curse of Allah upon you, you pigs of the earth! 

Abdul Al’a Maududi also was an early proponent in the 20th century of anti-Jewishness. To his mind, Jews and the Christians 


... should be forced to pay Jizya in order to put an end to their independence and supremacy so that they should not remain rulers and sovereigns in the land. These powers should be wrested from them by the followers of the true Faith.

As Patterson notes


Islam does not understand itself to supersede Judaism and the Covenant of Torah, because, according to the Quran, the Jews had no covenant to be superseded; rather, the Jews falsified the Scriptures to suit their own evil ends (see Quran 2:59; 3:78). Indeed, Abraham was not a Jew but a Muslim (3:67), and the heir in the way of Allah was Ishmael, not Isaac (2:127). As for the Jews, the Quran declares that, far from being the people of the true Covenant, Allah has cursed them because of their refusal to believe (2:88; 4:46) and that they are damned both in this world and in the next (5:41).

With the Muslim invasion of North Africa and Spain, Muslim violence against the Jews came in its wake:

pogroms taking place in Fez in 1032 and 1033...the Muslim Ibn Tumart (ca. 1080–ca. 1130), founder of the Almohad movement, waged a campaign of extermination against the North African Jew...Then came the decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues in Egypt and Syria (1014, 1293, and 1301), Iraq (854–859 and 1344), and Yemen (1676). Jews were often forced to convert to Islam or face death, for example, in Yemen (1165 and 1678), Morocco (1275, 1465, and 1790–1792), and Baghdad (1333 and 1344).32 There was also the killing of five thousand Jews in Granada in 1066, as well as the Almohads’ slaughter of Jewish and Christian populations in Spain and North Africa from 1130 to 1232. The fifteenth century brought more Muslim violence against the Jews: in 1465 Arab mobs in Fez killed thousands of Jews, and thousands more suffered under the Ottoman conquests. In 1535, for example, there were mass killings and expulsions of Jews in Tunisia, and the Jews of Jerusalem endured numerous attacks between 1625 and 1627. Then came Ali Burzi Pasha’s massacre of hundreds of Libyan Jews in 1785, followed by the slaughter of Jews in Algeria (1805), Safed (1834, 1838), and Morocco (1859).34 There were pogroms against the Jews in Aleppo (1853), Damascus (1848 and 1890), Cairo (1844 and 1901–1902), Alexandria (1870 and 1881), and Fez (1912). Between 1864 and 1880 more than 500 Jews were murdered in Morocco.

And the blood libels in Hama (1829), Beirut (1824), and Antioch (1826). The Damascus Affair of 1840, when eight of the city’s Jews were accused of ritual murder and the pogrom in 1872 against the Jews of Smyrna in the wake of yet another blood libel.

Returning to Qutb, he professed that “the Children of Israel, both before and after Moses, tarnished and perverted his message”, that is, the message of Allah (Sayyid Qutb, Basic Principles of the Islamic Worldview, 2006, p. 207). And Jews possess “a wicked nature which is full of hatred for Islam, its Prophet and its followers” (p. 220-221).

I will stop here with just the last quote from the Hamas Covenant, Article 28


The Zionist invasion is a mischievous one...the interests of Zionism and under its directions, strive to demolish societies, to destroy values, to wreck answerableness, to totter virtues and to wipe out Islam. It stands behind the diffusion of drugs and toxics of all kinds in order to facilitate its control and expansion...Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.
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Proselytizing Broadcasting in Israel?

|This is an expanded version of this JNS column|
___________ 

There are Christians who still seek to convert Jews despite knowing well that most Jews view this activity as disrespectful and some term it as soul-snatching. 

A recent effort to reach out to Jews in Israel is that of 
Here is the story in Haaretz; and in the Jewish Press; and in the Jerusalem Post.
Vic has responded.

This group has attempted this before as attested to a 2006 Hebrew item I found and here is one from the Los Angeles Times in 2012:


The dueling studios are part of an aggressive push by U.S. evangelical broadcasters seeking to gain a stronger foothold in the holy city. Their presence not only offers boasting rights with American viewers and contributors, but also — and more controversially — a platform for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to Jews in Israel.

And today we read

God TV Responds to Critics: ‘We’re Not Trying to Convert Jews; We Just Want Them to Accept Jesus as the Messiah’

That is a bit of sleight-of-rhetoric. It is the Jews for Jews line, that you can be Jewish and still accept Jesus which we cannot.

God TV CEO Ward Simpson admitted he knew he was in the wrong, saying


he regretted that “some of the language I used was offensive to some folks and maybe not in keeping with what we can and cannot say on the network.”...At the same time, he refused to rule out missionizing. “The subject of preaching about Jesus is a touchy one, and we do understand that, and we have to be sensitive to it,” he said. “But that’s what we do, and that’s who we are. We’re Christians, and we’re called to go into the world and preach the gospel. That’s what we’re trained to do, and that’s what we’re doing.”

I will soon deal with that supposed obligation but first, we need know that not all pro-Israel or Christian Zionists accept that duty.

A formulation that is more considerate of the reality of the circumstances in 2020 is this of Zac Waller of HaYovel in his introduction to Christians Meet Israel:-


The words of God spoken by prophets three thousand years ago were being fulfilled in perfect detail! This reality has pushed theologians back to the drawing board, pastors to the Bible, and all Christians to fear the God of Heaven who is faithful to His promises.Why did God choose a land and people?God created the entire world. Does He show favoritism to Israel?How does Yeshua (Jesus) fit into this narrative?Was Yeshua a Zionist?God has resurrected the literal nation of Israel. How should we, as Christians, relate to it? 

And there is this from Christians for Israel International which posits that the planned broadcasts reveal:-


a certain insensitivity we Christians often have for the history of Christian persecution of the Jews, and lack of empathy for feelings of the Jewish people today.  
At Christians for Israel, we believe it is not our task as Christians at this time to tell the Jews what to do or think. Our job is to get our own house in order. We have been arrogant, we have become lukewarm, we have failed to look earnestly for Jesus’ return, and the coming of His Kingdom. And in all of that, we have for two millennia looked down upon the Jewish people and despised them.  
Of course we must witness our hope – even to Jewish people. But the best way we can do this is by repenting for 2000 years of Christian anti-Semitism, and showing mercy and love towards the Jewish people – not with words, but with our actions.  
God has never abandoned the Jewish people. The restoration of Israel shows His eternal love for the Jewish people. Let’s trust Him to bring them home – in His way and His time – as He promised. And He is doing just that. 


I will not argue the matter of Daystar but I do wish to add a bit of a theological argumentation on whether there is a need for Christians to missionize among the Jews today at all.

There is the Great Commission (itself a 17th century Lutheran term). Many Christians consider the act of spreading the Gospel and attempting to cause Jews to become Christians as, well, a...Mitzva.

Let me approach this textually in an effort to have Christians first see the othr side, that is, how we Jews see and feel.  Reading Matthew 12:41, a case could be constructed that perhaps Jews should, as Jonah did, begin preaching to non-Jews. That just like the men of Nineveh who repented at the preaching of Jonah,  "now something greater than Jonah is here". The principle is set: just like a Jew, Jonah, preached in Niveh, why not have Jews preach in Rome, or Paris or New York?

Would Christians appreciate that? Accept it? Feel comfortable?  Could it be that the instruction to missionize did not have to be applied to Jews, even though that usually is taken to simply mean non-believers, but used by Jews to proselytize among Christians?

However, let us return to the central source which, of course, is from Matthew 28:19 


"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" 

However, the term the "nations" in the Bible does not include the Jews - for the "nations" Biblically were understood to be the alien, non-Jewish nations (and in Mark 16“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”) . 

Jews are of the Abrahamic Covenant already and we are not the nations. The Covenant never had been abrogated as is obvious from Israel's flowering today, our increased religiosity and the work in Judea and Samaria.

My approach can be understood, perhaps, also from Luke 24:47 who predicates repentence as being required to: “...be preached in his name to all nations”.  Do Jews need to repent? And athough added there is beginning at Jerusalem”, Jerusalem could mean various peoples in the city and not necessarily Jews . 

We Jews could have been excluded as 'targets'.

In Matthew 21:43 we read: 


"the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits"

That could be an explicit reference to Jews and is, in facr, the basis for replacement theology and the concept of the New Israel.

But looking around at the past 80 years of recent history and more, Jews have been quite successfully at keeping their religion flourishing and relevant to todays world and we have been successful; at returning to the Land of Israel.  Obviously,  to be generous to Christian belief, the reality is the opposite at what that preaching was intended to do,

It is wrong to missionize. I would suggest  missionizing to Jews should not apply to today (or ever) and should be halted.  Especially in a reality of a major rebuilt Jerusalem, admittedly, not yet with a Temple, and a reestablished state of the Jews and control over Judea and Samaria, this broadcast channel is not needed and the decision to grant it a license should be reversed.

There are two other sources that need be referenced as they explicitly refer to Jews.

In Romans 1:16, we read


“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew" 

And after first turning to the Jew, what happened? Was there success?

At Acts 13:46 we see that the Apostles admitted 


“We had to speak the word of God to you [the Jews] first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles"?

and even then, 2000 years ago, realized it was not going to a successful project and they moved on. 

Why should Christians continue what the Church originally accepted as a doomed mission?

This was not an imperative from Jesus* but a secondary interpretation. Even then, in the 1st century, the priority or even something to be pursued was not to missionize amongst the Jews. Why centuries later missionaries attempted again, and basically failed - except to stir up bad inter-faith relations - is beyond me.

And to my Christian friends, if this reads as a bit uncomfortable to you, theologically, remember that I am not asking you to convert to Judaism. I do rigorously reject that Messianic Jews represent the genuine Judaism and these broadcasts are to encourgae that. Now, imagine how Jews feel when Chritians actually do try to subvert Jews from their Judaism.

_________

There is a petition now.
_________

*  I received a heads-up that Jesus did imply, according to Luke 15, that he sought that Jews - or perhaps only the Pharasees, - should repent as per the parable of the Lost Sheep.  But the Matthew 18 version has no identity attached to possible interpretation of the sheep.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2020

The Battle at Shiloh

I live at Shiloh.


which is on the north of Beth-el, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Beth-el to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah

which was probably burnt and destroyed by the Philistines after the battle at Even-HaEzer.

but the one in Tenessee I am well-versed.


It was horrific. More than 13,000 of Grant’s and Buell’s approximately 62,000 troops were killed, wounded, captured or missing. Of 45,000 Confederates engaged, there were more than 10,000 casualties. 

From the autobiography of Henry Morton Stanley. Yes, this Stanley:

"Doctor Livingstone, I presume?"

The desperate character of this day's battle was now brought home to my mind in all its awful reality. While in the tumultuous advance, and occupied with a myriad of exciting incidents, it was only at brief intervals that I was conscious of wounds being given and received; but now, in the trail of pursuers and pursued, the ghastly relics appalled every sense. I felt curious as to who the fallen Greys were, and moved to one stretched straight out. It was the body of a stout English Sergeant of a neighbouring company, the members of which hailed principally from the Washita Valley. At the crossing of the Arkansas River this plump, ruddy-faced man had been conspicuous for his complexion, jovial features, and goodhumour, and had been nicknamed 'John Bull/ He was now lifeless, and lay with his eyes wide open, regardless of the scorching sun, and the tempestuous cannonade which sounded through the forest, and the musketry that crackled incessantly along the front.

Close by him was a young Lieutenant, who, judging by the new gloss on his uniform, must have been some father's darling. A clean bullet-hole through the centre of his forehead had instantly ended his career. A little further were Cambridge Core terms of use, available at some twenty bodies, lying in various postures, each by its own pool of viscous blood, which emitted a peculiar scent, which was new to me, but which I have since learned is inseparable from a battle-field. Beyond these, a still larger group lay, body overlying body, knees crooked, arms erect, or wide-stretched and rigid, according as the last spasm overtook them. The company opposed to them must have shot straight.Other details of that ghastly trail formed a mass of horrors that will always be remembered at the mention of Shiloh. I can never forget the impression those wide-open dead eyes made on me. Each seemed to be starting out of its socket, with a look similar to the fixed wondering gaze of an infant, as though the dying had viewed something appalling at the last moment.

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