Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Those "Apartheid Roads", Take Two

Over a decade ago, I tried to counter the propaganda line then popular hat there are "apartheid roads" in Judea and Samaria. I think this was my first blog attempt. I even brought a PowerPoint to show at Limmud UK on the theme and to disprove it.

Then in 2015, after the NYTimes' Roger Cohen spoke of Jews driving down highways in fancy cars while Arabs drive donkey carts, my friend Ezri Toubi did this.

And now, my friends Josh and Caleb Waller have done this fabulous clip.

But I am sure the pro-Pals will come up with some other theme soon.


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Thursday, January 20, 2022

The 'In-Between' Mandate Period Arab Terror

Most anyone who has read opeds or non-academic articles knows that when tracing the subject of Arab anti-Jewish terror during thye years of the British Mandate, the time frame usually appears as

the riots of 1920, 1921, 1929 and 1936-1938

Of course, to the unknowledgeable, that would imply that outside those years, everything was peaceful and calm. Arab terror was restricted only to those years. Nothing much, if at all, happened inbetween. The terror came it uncontrollable, as iut were, outburts and were a result of something the Jews did, as if a reaction to a provocation.

Reading a paper on the Mufti's activities, I spotted the examples I reproduce below as incidents from outside or inbetween those seemingly fixed time frames of Arab terror:



And there is so much more.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Saluting Two Arab Palestinian Martyrs

I found myself directed to Walter Laqueur's A History of Zionism, p 267, where he mentions two of the many assassinations of Arabs who opposed the Mufti Amin Al-Husseini, espeially if they were binationalists.

Jewish minimalists, after Brit Shalom, now the Ihud led by a ‘Committee of Five’ - Magnes, Szold, Buber, Smilansky and Simon, and other groups sought out a partner (see here for all the convoluted history).

Lacquer writes that "with the blessing of the Jewish agency", contacts were made by them with leading Arab personalities to find a common language. They met and talked and prepared more blueprints, only to realize in the end that in spite of all the outward civilities there was no common ground. 

On July 15, 1947, a binationalist testified to the UN Special Committee on Palestine that

Mr. COHEN (Interpretation from Hebrew): Concerning the question of the programme of the League, it was presented to you in the memorandum which was given before the hearing. This programme was crystallized after direct contact with certain Arab groups. These negotiations which have taken place between certain groups of Arabs and Jews have proved more than once that this programme has considerable chance of success, 

Success?

The Ihud found Fawzi Darwish Hussaini, a labor activist and a cousin of the mufti. He was willing to sign an agreement with his Jewish friends providing for a bi-national state based on the principle of no domination of one nation over the other. He suggested the immediate establishment of political clubs and a daily newspaper to combat the influence of the Arab war party. 

On 11 November 1946, five members of Young Palestine, Fawzi’s group, signed an agreement concerning common political action with Ihud representatives, but this promising initiative came to a sudden and tragic end. Twelve days later Fawzi was killed by Arab terrorists and his group dispersed. ‘My cousin stumbled and received his proper punishment’, Jamal Hussaini, one of the leaders of the extremist party, declared a few days later. 


Laquer goes on and relates that in September 1947, Sami Taha, a prominent Haifa trade resident, was killed. His society had declared itself in favor of a Palestinian, not an Arab state, acknowledging that Jews too had certain rights. He had become a target for extremists. 

More names:


They should be saluted, not as much as for their politics as for simply trying to be independent thinkers.

____________

UPDATED

Even the NYTimes knew, early on, of the Mufti's political assassinations of Arab rivals:


From THE ISRAEL/PALESTINE QUESTION
Edited by Ilan Pappé 


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Behind the Diplomatic Scene

This is from Monty Penkower's latest book, Israel: As A Phoenix Ascending (I will be reviewing it in depth) on page 203. Explanation follows below.


The meeting took place in London on April 28, 1948.

Playcard:

Douglas is Lewis Williams Douglas, American Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Rusk is Dean Rusk, director of the Office of Special Political Affairs in the State Department.

Attlee is Clement Attlee, UK Prime Minister.

Bevin is Ernest Bevin, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

HMG is His Majesty's Government.

Source here.

From the original document:


Background:

After the US had reneged on support for partition at the UN, which recommended a Jewish state be established, by suggesting a trusteeship, President Harry Truman came around to supporting the original vote. Tasked by Rusk, Douglas meets Attlee and Bevin in London.

As the minutes show, the two most senior British politicians display bias, prejudice, antisemitism and anti-Zionism in their thinking about the future Jewish state.

Jews, attacked ever since on the morrow of the November 29, 1947 Partition Plan vote, not to mention the terror from 1920 on, are the "aggressors".

Palestine, the land the League of Nations recognized as having a long historical connection with the Jewish people, is an "Arab country".

They justify the invasion of the Mandate territory.

Jews who arm themselves, after coming in as refugees from Hitler's Holocaust, are following "Hitler' method".

This was the behind-the-scene thinking of the top British diplomats directing the Mandate just prior to Israeli statehood.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2022

The Naked Archaeologist and I

Thanks to Uri Gobey, who screen-snapped this picture and inquired if it was, indeed, me,


I can relate a tale.

I am acquainted with Simha Jacobovici, having first met him decades ago at a meeting of the World Union of Jewish Students at which, although not a student then, I attended. It was at Kiryat Moriah I recall.

Anyway, when he was producing this 2008 episode of his "Naked Archaeologist", he was on Emeq Refaim Street in Jerusalem and was talking about belief in hard-to-believe-in Biblical themes. I worked at the Begin Center and while out getting something (either a pizza or a book), I stopped to observe.

During a break, I stepped over to introduce myself and say hello. He remembered me and asked if he could film me while asking a question. I agreed.

He went on about the Refaim, mythical creatures for all intents and purposes, and then asked me at 5:45 if I believed that Og, King of Bashan, was nine cubits tall? (See Deutoronomy 3:11).


Luckily for me, I remembered that the exact quotation is:

his bedstead was a bedstead of iron;...nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it

and so, on the spur of the moment, and with a bit of cheeky wit, I answered,

or may he had a very big girlfriend?

 


 


That stumped him and almost brought out an on-camera laugh, I think.

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Sunday, January 02, 2022

An Attack on Tel Shiloh and the Biblical Narrative

I think I may have missed this hit piece on Shiloh's archaeological value at the time.

Excerpts:

About 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, just west of the Israeli settlement Shiloh, lies Tel Shiloh, an archaeological site that attracts tens of thousands of evangelical Christians every year.

There, Scott Stripling, an evangelical pastor from Texas, heads a dig...

...Stripling calls Tel Shiloh Israel's "first capital", based on the idea that Shiloh was the first capital of the Israelites for close to 400 years from the 15th century BCE. ...Biblical scholars beg to differ.

"Properly credentialed biblical scholarship does not assume the historicity of anything prior to King David [ca. 1010-970 BCE]," says Southern Methodist University Professor of Old Testament Susanne Scholz. "That Stripling projects the biblical stories into the historical record exposes him as a Christian fundamentalist. That's the origin of his drive to do archaeology at Tel Shiloh."

Scholz also points out that the claim that Shiloh was the capital of ancient Israel is "utter nonsense".

"Such statements are used to advance geopolitical goals," she says.

The first question an academic like her should be asked is: have you reviewed any of the results of the dig? After all, to depend on a news media site is really an inadequate source.

Has she reviewed the previous results of any earlier digs? The pottery? The walls? Etc.

Some of the studies:

- Buhl, Marie-Louise, & Svend Holm-Nielsen, Shiloh--The Danish Excavations at Tall Sailum, Palestine, in 1926, 1929, 1932 AND 1962: The Pre-Hellenistic Remains. Copenhagen: The National Museum of Denmark, 1969.
- Finkelstein, Israel, et al. Shiloh: The Archaeology of a Biblical City. Tel Aviv, 1993.
- Hizmi, Hananya, and Reut Livyatan-ben-Arie. “The Excavations at the Northern Platform of Tel Shiloh the 2012-2013 Seasons [Translated from Hebrew].” Edited by D. Scott Stripling and David E. Graves. Translated by Hillel Richman. Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 62 (2017): 35–52.
Kaufman, Asher S. “Fixing the Site of the Tabernacle at Shiloh.” Biblical Archaeology Review 14.6 (Nov-Dec1988): 42-49.
- Schley, Donald G. Shiloh: A Biblical City in Tradition and History, Sheffield, 1989, 2009. 
and this from Stripling:
- Stripling, Scott. “The Israelite Tabernacle at Shiloh.” Bible and Spade 29.3 (Fall 2016): 88-95.
Or even a semi-academic presentation, as here.

Even Finkelstein accepts Shiloh as site of the Tabernacle (religion is not his driving force) and as 
"the sacred religious center of the Israelite population of the hill country"
More from Finkelstein, no Christian fundamentalist, here.

And in this article, evidence of Carbon-14 is presented dating a major conflagration at Shiloh at 1050 BCE, plus or minus 25 years, which corresponds with the Biblical narrative.

According to her CV, her archaeological experience is minimal:
Susanne Scholz is Professor of Old Testament at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. As a diasporic German-American feminist post-Holocaust scholar, she researches, writes, and teaches in the area of sacred text studies, primarily in Hebrew Bible studies.

Dr. Scholz holds a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Born and raised in Germany, she studied at the University of Mainz and the University of Heidelberg while preparing for the equivalent of the Master of Divinity. She also studied in a one-year study program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, prior to coming to the United States. During these years, she participated at an archaeological dig at Tell el-Oreme/Tel Kinrot on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, led by one of her professors in Mainz.

I would suggest that perhaps it is Scholz who has an agenda rather than an independent objective body of knowledge.

The ongoing excavation and the investigation of the artifacts discovered are impressive and present real evidence and not just theories.

Maybe, when she gets the opportunity, she should visit Tel Shiloh?

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An Anti-Semite on Jewish DNA

This came into my mailbox:

Dear White Fake Hebrew Racist Thieving Invading Jew-Nazi Yisrael Medad,

Regarding ... https://www.ynetnews.com/article/b1q82zvok

Nazi-Israel will Burn for its Crimes in Palestine, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq.

Most Jews alive today have no DNA connection to the Ancient Hebrew or the Levant ...

Semitism is Racism ... https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Semitism ... "policy or predisposition favorable to Jews"

https://www.docdroid.net/vdJhN97/the-geography-of-jewish-ethnogenesis-pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eran_Elhaik

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4974603/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fgene.2017.00087/full

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fgene.2017.00101/full

Thanks,

Steve Benassi

Minneapolis Minnesota


My reply:

Dear Ben-Assi​,

If there is any problem with Jewish DNA and links to the ancient Hebrews, it is probably due to Jewish women being raped by your ancestors although conversions of other peoples into the Jewish nation probably also account for any
genetic deviations.

Thank you for your attention.


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Bucky

My uncle, Arthur D. Bachner, “Bucky”, died this week and the funeral is today. He was two days past his 97th birthday. 


Despite his age, it seems he suffered no known long-term illness besides being old. But he woke up, complained of stomach pain and perhaps had a stroke. Who knows?  A short while after, despite emergency medical attention, overseen by my cousin, quite a qualified nurse, he passed away. My condolences to Sindy and my other cousin, Evan, his life-partner Ed, their children, Daniella, Michael and Rebecca and their children’s children.

Bucky was married to my dearest Aunt Selma, my mother’s youngest sister, 


of the Nadel-Steckler family and their love story made it into the New York Times. I even was part of it, the 'toddler':

“And so her brother-in-law talked privately with Arthur. Then he asked Selma to babysit at his apartment while he and her sister went to the movies. She was reading on their couch, her toddler nephew fast asleep, when the bell rang. “I didn’t say ‘Who is it?’ or anything,” she said. “At the time, you just opened up the door. And Bucky was standing there.” “She had a smile on her face, and I knew that I had a chance,” he said. Six months later, they were married.”

Bucky was special in many ways. He and Selma were the ones responsible for treating me on my early birthdays. The Statue of Liberty, museums, NY Public Library. New York culture. 


One of my very first life lessons I learned from him.

Walking all the way up the Statue of Liberty he was behind me but going down, he was in front. I may have been 6 or 7 but I didn’t get the change of order. He explained that going up, if I tripped, I would fall backwards and he would be there to prevent any injury. And if I tripped descending, again, being in front, he would be there. One always needs someone to be there even if not doing anything or if anything is at that moment wrong. And now he isn’t there.

He was in the Marines* and fought in the South Pacific. 


He was in the refrigerator business and to me, he was strong and powerful. And he could prove it. 

At my Bar Mitzva, he was given the honor of raising up the Torah scroll (hagb'a) after the weekly portion had been read. It was a heavy scroll, big and with the old-fashioned wood rollers (etz chaim). As those who know, to lift it, one drops the bottom portion over the edge of the table (bima) a bit, and then one employs leverage by slowly raising it up and then, when you feel you control the balance of it, raising it up. Bucky walked up, grabbed the handles and just lifted the Torah scroll straight up, stiff-armed.

My childhood is, to my chagrin, a longways back, but I still have a vivid memory and good retention, if not perfect, and the news of his death revives so much: of the West Bronx (when I was born, it was almost 50% Jewish), until I was 7 and then later Queens where we already were, when they moved to Corona. He was funny. Quite funny. He could write backwards and I needed a mirror to read it. He did the NYTimes crossword puzzle with a pen.

He smoked, early on, a pipe (which he one let me hold while he took a dip in the sea at the Rockaways and which drew stares from people wondering why a youngster was nonchalantaly holding a pipe) and last November had a cigar.


After my cousins followed me into Betar, he and Selma provided a support group at marches, demos, overnight vigils (showing up around midnight to make sure we were okay and to supply all with hot drinks and munchies on a Manhattan sidewalk). And at Camp Betar in the Catskills. Bucky was unabashedly liberal and, perhaps, the only argument we had was over FDR. We, shall we say, discussed the Rosenbergs, too. But he was always reading and learning. I am sure reducing his library when they moved out of their New Jersey home was a painful task. Once, I, my father and Bucky were on the same couch and reading different sections of the Sunday New York Times. My aunt said to her sister, my mother, ‘the house would burn down and they wouldn’t move’.

A lot of the previous generation is gone. In fact, Bucky was the last survivor in my family of that generation. No more grandparents; no more uncles and aunts.


I last saw him end of 2019, November. 


And here we are during his 2010 trip to Israel:


My cousins took care of him well.


I could, and maybe, I should go on, but I have to get ready for the Zoom of his funeral service.




אברם דוד בן שעיה נפתלי וחיה הלוי
___________

* and they had an honor contingent at his funeral:



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Saturday, December 18, 2021

Was 'Arab Palestine' Thought of by Arabs As A Separate Country?

Did the idea that "Palestine" for the Arabs was not really thought of as a separate country a 'Zionist plot'?

Or...?

Page 35:



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