Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Remember That Cairo Speech?

In Cairo, it seemed that President Obama publicly accepted the Palestinian narrative about the origin, and hence also the doubtful legitimacy, of Israel. Although hereferred to an “unbreakable bond” between Israel and America, Obama said that the “aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied,” and he specifically identified that history with the Holocaust. Obama said that denying the Holocaust was “deeply wrong.”

What he completely left out of his remarks was a much more fundamental connection between the Jews and Israel: a history of thousands of years of Jewish life, culture and statehood in the land now called Israel and also in what is now often identified as “Palestine” or “Palestinian territories.” Jews lived in Israel for centuries before there were any Palestinians to speak of. Jews were in Jerusalem a thousand years before the Christian Era. Arabs did not arrive in Jerusalem until the seventh century, some 1,600 years later. The holy city of Jerusalem is mentioned over 600 times in the Hebrew Bible but not even once in the Quran. In modern times, a Jewish majority in Jerusalem preceded the founding of Israel by about eighty years. Though subjugated and diminished, Jews continued to live in their ancestral land from the time of King David to the time of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Jews who immigrated in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to what is today’s Israel did so when the area was ruled by Turkey and by Great Britain, not by anyone called Palestinians. Jews settled and cultivated the land not by conquest, not by fire and sword, but by the prosaic and lawful acts of purchase, and they have certainly made the land flourish.

By reducing the Jewish connection with the land of Israel to the singular tragedy of the Holocaust, Obama implicitly accepted Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s view that whatever the Nazis did to the Jews of Europe (if anything) was being somehow compensated for by the seizure of Palestinian lands and the displacement of Palestinian people by “colonialist” Jews from Europe.

Obama’s descriptions of the Palestinians’ alleged suffering at the hands of Israelis were highly unbalanced, inflammatory echoes of Arab propaganda — certainly not examples of “telling it like it is.” The president spoke of “more than sixty years [... of] the pain of dislocation,” and said that “many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands.”

Reflections on Obama’s Cairo Speech
and Beyond by Alexander J. Groth
Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs III : 3 (2009)


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your posts, I want to maintain a balanced perspective as one who works among Muslim Arabs, and have learned much about the Israeli perspective from you. I think it's important to see and listen to both sides of the conflict.
It is disappointing when either side distorts 'truth' especially objectively verifiable things like the contents of the Qur'an. Indeed Jerusalem is mentioned several times in the Qur'an, see http://islam.about.com/od/jerusalem/a/quds.htm.
I am an Evangelical Christian and am trying to balance a conviction for Israel's right to exist, and the need for justice and peace for Palestinians.
I urge you to not let your convictions lead you to over exaggerate, and mis-state truth. Peace is possible, but truth, fairness, compromise and the cessation of 'demonizing' enemies is necessary from both parties before this is possible.
With warm regards,
Dale Edwin

YMedad said...

Sorry, but no Jerusalem is mentioned in the Koran. Check again.

And read this page, all of it and especially Daniel Pipes' article, Source

Anonymous said...

Try 2:142-144 and 17:1. References to the change in prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca (Muslims were copying Jews at the time in their direction of prayer) and the story of the Miraj. If you are looking for the word 'Jerusalem'... you're right not there. But there are clearly references to it.

YMedad said...

Try this:

Egyptian Ministry of Culture Publication: The Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock were Built to Divert The Pilgrimage from Mecca; Jerusalem was Not the Center of Worship for the Followers of the Prophet Muhammad

On August 5, 2003 Ahmad Muhammad 'Arafa, a columnist for the Egyptian weekly Al-Qahira, which is published by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, wrote an article rejecting the established Islamic doctrine that the Prophet Muhammad's celebrated "Night Journey" (Koran 17:1) took him from Mecca to Jerusalem. 'Arafa, presenting a new analysis of the Koranic text, asserts that the Night Journey in Surat Al-Isra' (that is, "the Sura of the Night Journey") in the Koran does not refer to a miraculous journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, but to the Prophet's emigration (Hijra) from Mecca to Medina

See here.

YMedad said...

Try this

And this

as well as this

Anonymous said...

All interesting sources, thank you, will read.
Of course, you post sources that all written by Jews, with the exception of the Egyptian reference, whose theories are marginal and not accepted in mainstream Islam. Point is this: for the overwhelming majority of Muslims, and Muslim scholars, the above references in the Qur'an have meant Jerusalem for over a thousand years.
It still stands as a holy city for Jews, Muslims and Christians, for mostly the same reasons. To try and make the case that it shouldn't be holy or important to any one of those groups (or less important to some than others) is simply irresponsible. To disallow Islam's claim as 'a myth' is similar to Iran denying the Holocaust... it's baseless, irresponsible and doesn't further peace. Do you honestly think you are going to change Islam's mind that Jerusalem shouldn't be holy to them?
We need balance and fairness, not the destruction of each sides moral or legal case for Jerusalem. We don't even have to agree... we just need to figure out a way to live in peace given the current circumstances. Sorry, but I don't think this kind of dialogue helps that along, hence my 1st comment.
Again thanks for your references.

YMedad said...


"Myth" or not, I don't care if the Muslims believe if Muhammed flew to Mecca on a winged horse and that the Koran details that. I do care if that is historically true. The Koran does not mention Jerusalem, a city that existed at the time and had been for some 2000 years previously. Odd that, no?

And if you accept that as a basis for contemporary political arrangements or what, what's then wrong with the Jewish belief, myth or archeological-proven fact that two Temples existed there long before Islam and Christianity and that, at the very least, the right of Jews to pray there in a corner, and be allowed at certain hours of the day to walk about with a Bible should be supported by all, especially Evangelical Christians. Well?

Anonymous said...

Taking a similar posture then, I shouldn't 'care' that Jews (and incidentally myself as a Christian) believe God spoke to Abraham to stop the sacrifice of his son at the location of the temple mount.
I trust you would extend me the courtesy of my belief as a Christian that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, died and was buried and then rose again, near Jerusalem. I believe both because of historical evidence, and on the basis of testimony given by many down through the ages in addition to my personal experience in living out these truths. My belief is grounded in compelling evidence after careful study, but in the end boils down to faith. I respect others who hold differing opinions, but their attacking the evidence that supports my faith-belief does not shake it.
I do care deeply what Jews believe, (and Muslims and Christians) because belief precedes passion and conviction, whether or not historically verifiable. It is held very passionately by over a billion Muslims that Jerusalem is a holy city... because of what's written in the Qur'an. Arguing with that is completely unproductive and pointless.

As to your second statement, point well made. I fully agree that Jews, Christians and Muslims should have access to the site. I understand the historical facts and archeological evidence and 'believe' that there were two temples there. I have visited but due to tensions at the time, could not go up to the mount. Thankfully the Jewish authorities allowed our visit to the tunnels and Western Wall, which I very much enjoyed.
I am not trying to take sides. In fact, with my Muslim friends, I often advocate for an understanding of the Jewish perspective. Their claims are many times inflammatory and unproductive.
Fight fair... If you don't want others distorting the historical veracity of your beliefs to make their point, don't stoop to that level in your arguments. Differing interpretation is completely acceptable, but I think the article you posted steps over that line.

YMedad said...

You have my full curtesy, for sure, for your beliefs. But remind me, what historical evidence is there about the story of Jesus' crucifiction?

And I fail to comprehend this: "Fight fair... If you don't want others distorting the historical veracity of your beliefs to make their point, don't stoop to that level in your arguments."

All I said was that there is a great doubt if the site of Al-Aksa is Jerusalem.

Versus these:

The Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Sabri, has said: “The Al-Buraq Wall [Western Wall] and its plaza are a Muslim religious property, and the Israeli government’s decisions do not affect it. . . . The Al-Buraq Wall is part of the Al Aqsa Mosque. The Jews have no relation to it” (Al Ayam, Nov. 22, 1997).

Walid Awad, director of Foreign Publications for the PLO's Palestine Ministry of Information, said in an IMRA interview Dec. 25, 1996: “There is no tangible evidence of Jewish existence from the so-called 'Temple Mount Era'. . . . The location of the Temple Mount is in question. . . . It might be in Jericho or somewhere else.”

May 21, 2002

NEW YORK - Yasir Arafat has been circulating yet another bizarre allegation, claiming that the ancient Jewish Temple did not stand in Jerusalem, but rather in Nablus (Shechem).

Arafat made the allegation during the July 2000 Camp David talks, according to U.S. envoy Dennis Ross, who was present when Arafat spoke. Ross has now revealed: “He did offer one new idea, which was that the Temple didn’t exist in Jerusalem, that it was in Nablus.” (Jerusalem Post, May 15, 2002)

Earlier statements by Arafat and other PA officials attempting to delegitimize Judaism and Jewish history:

* “Jews never had any connection to Jerusalem.” In a statement issued Dec. 10, 1997, the PA’s Ministry of Information claimed that archaeological excavations in the Old City have found “Umayyad Islamic palaces, Roman ruins, Armenian ruins and others, but nothing Jewish.” The Ministry also falsely claimed that “there is no tangible evidence of any Jewish traces/remains in the old city of Jerusalem and its immediate vicinity.”

* “The Tombs of Rachel and Joseph are actually Muslim sites.” The PA newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah published an article in its issue of Dec. 1, 1997, which declared: “I call to be alert and to treat the Tomb of Joseph and the Tomb of Rachel as dunams of Palestinian land which must be liberated, and to treat Joseph and Rachel as just two people who died, like anyone else who dies.”

Forget the Temple Mount - you want me to take these people seriously for peace talks?

Anonymous said...

This is indeed good dialogue, I am grateful for your careful responses.
You open the door to me on a subject that volumes have been written about. This comment section can hardly do it justice. I would say firstly, where is his tomb? I would suggest this site: http://www.doxa.ws/Jesus_pages/Talmud_JC.html And, I would refer your excellent research skills to the works of Dr. Simon Greenleaf, who held the Royal Professorship of Law at Harvard. He was a
skeptic, often mocking the Christians in his classes. One day they challenged him to take the three volumes he had written on the laws of legal evidence and apply them to the resurrection. After much persuasion he did that. In the process he became a Christian and went on to write a book about his search. Greenleaf
came to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the best established events in history according to the laws of legal evidence.
Josh McDowell has also written several volumes on the historical proofs of the life death and resurrection of Jesus. Are you telling me you have not explored and researched this subject?
In regards to your cited quotes, I agree, the statements are good hogwash, and typical of the low-ball tactics in this conflict. However, I would refer you to the Proverbs of Solomon for wisdom on how to proceed. "The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, The one who utters slander is fool" 10:18 and "Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent" 11:12
The core issue is not the attacks of historical veracity, but the attitudes of the heart. Palestinians hate the Jews, and vice versa. You do not see each other as neighbors. It is evident in the way you blog about 'these people' and in the way Arabs where we live seethe at 'those Jews.' The conflict will continue unless key people such as yourself, start taking a posture of humility, and lead into reconciliation with the conviction that you'll maintain integrity, no matter what the other side says or does. That is of course if you want peace?

YMedad said...

all I meant was that is their anything physical that would serve as an indication of proof of what you claim, not reasoning or logic? We claim there were Two Temples on Moriah and we are finding artifacts all the time. The name of David appeared at Tel Dan, Lachish Letters, tablets from Egypt mention "Israel", etc. What is there of your claims?

YMedad said...

btw, the spelling there at http://www.doxa.ws/Jesus_pages/Talmud_JC.html is atrocious

Anonymous said...

Yes, I hate bad spelling too... just ruins otherwise good writing.
There's a list of some good sources on the web here: http://www.rationalchristianity.net/historical_evid.html from which I take some of the below...
I would also cite http://www.leaderu.com/theology/burialcave.html and the discovery of Lazarus' family catacombs.
RE: other physical evidence, we can do even better than that! Eyewitness accounts... many of them. The primary sources are the 4 gospels, that contain the testimony of the eye witnesses themselves, or else the writers were relating the accounts of other eyewitnesses of the actual events. One of the earliest records of Christ's appearing after the resurrection is by Paul. The apostle appealed to his audience's knowledge of the fact that Christ had been seen by more than 500 people at one time. Paul reminded them that the majority of those people were still alive and could be questioned.
The next logical thing of course is to wonder about the reliability of the texts themselves, which I defer again to Josh McDowell's work 'Evidence that Demands a Verdict' and others such as F.F. Bruce's book, found full text here: http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/ffbruce/ntdocrli/ntdocont.htm The discovery of Greek, Hebrew and Latin sources all confirming the authenticity of current translations of the Bible, is overwhelming.
Other historical documents are considered reliable based on much less than our New Testament.
Both Jewish and Roman sources and traditions admit an empty tomb, i.e. resurrection. Those sources range from Josephus to a compilation of fifth-century Jewish writings called the "Toledoth Jeshu." Dr. Paul Maier calls this "positive evidence from a hostile source, which is the strongest kind of historical evidence. In essence, this means that if a source admits a fact decidedly not in its favor, then that fact is genuine."
Let us know when you find the Holy grail in Jerusalem... until then I believe based on the eyewitness accounts.

YMedad said...

I know Simcha Jacobowicz (sp?) and recall the controversy over his presumed tomb discovery

Anonymous said...

'presumed' tomb discovery? You have reason to question the find?

YMedad said...

Scholar: 'Jesus Tomb' makers mistaken

The Associated Press
updated 7:21 p.m. ET March 13, 2007

JERUSALEM - A scholar looking into the factual basis of a popular but widely criticized documentary that claims to have located the tomb of Jesus said Tuesday that a crucial piece of evidence filmmakers used to support their claim is a mistake.

Stephen Pfann, a textual scholar and paleographer at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, said he has released a paper claiming the makers of "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" were mistaken when they identified an ancient ossuary from the cave as belonging to the New Testament's Mary Magdalene.

The film's director, Simcha Jacobovici, responded that other researchers agreed with the documentary's conclusions.

The film and book suggest that a first-century ossuary found in a south Jerusalem cave in 1980 contained the remains of Jesus, contradicting the Christian belief that he was resurrected and ascended to heaven. Ossuaries are stone boxes used at the time to store the bones of the dead.

The filmmakers also suggest that Mary Magdalene was buried in the tomb, that she and Jesus were married, and that an ossuary labeled "Judah son of Jesus" belonged to their son.

The scholars who analyzed the Greek inscription on one of the ossuaries after its discovery read it as "Mariamene e Mara," meaning "Mary the teacher" or "Mary the master."

Before the movie was screened, Jacobovici said that particular inscription provided crucial support for his claim. The name Mariamene is rare, and in some early Christian texts it is believed to refer to Mary Magdalene.

But having analyzed the inscription, Pfann published a detailed article on his university's Web site asserting that it doesn't read "Mariamene" at all.

The inscription, Pfann said, is made up of two names inscribed by two different hands: the first, "Mariame," was inscribed in a formal Greek script, and later, when the bones of another woman were added to the box, another scribe using a different cursive script added the words "kai Mara," meaning "and Mara." Mara is a different form of the name Martha.

According to Pfann's reading, the ossuary did not house the bones of "Mary the teacher," but rather of two women, "Mary and Martha."

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17599355/

muebles said...

Hey, there is a lot of useful info above!