Sunday, September 29, 2019

We Blew It: On The Prohibited Sounding of the Shofar

These names might not be recognizable to most:

Eliel Lofgren. Charles Barde. C.J. Van Kemken. Stig Sahlin.

Those were the three members of a committee that reviewed the issue of the Western Wall following the August 1929 riots, and its coordinating secretary

Matson Collection

In a short 2010 blog post I recalled their activity and I want to return to them and that period, as has been noted, we will soon be marking 90 years to the ban on the blowing of the shofar at the Western Wall by the British, which was vigorously protested by the Chief Rabbis immediately on the day following Yom Kippur 1929:


I need present some necessary history and will use material from the Report of the that three-man Commission which had been appointed by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with the approval of the Council of the League of Nations, to determine the rights and claims of Moslems and Jews in connection with the Western or Wailing Wall at Jerusalem.  

As shown, there was a constant struggle of Jews against attempts by the Moslems to deny any legitimacy to customs and even simple decency of comfort of Jewish worshippers:
On 19th February, 1922, the acting Governor of Jerusalem received a letter from the Supreme Moslem Council, asking for the removal, according to the Palestine Government's previous instructions, of seats and benches from the Wall. As the Jews had again begun to place the seats there, the Council wrote again to the Governor on 16th April, 1922, asking him to restrain the Jews from bringing benches or seats to the place. Then the Council, at the request of the inhabitants of the private dwellings near the Pavement, in a letter dated 8th January, 1923, complained of a repeated trespass on the part of the Jews in the same respect. A reply was given by the acting Governor on the 3rd February, 1923, informing the Council that orders had been given for due observance of the earlier instructions.
That was 1922-1923.

Next, 1925-1926
After a certain time had elapsed the guardian of the Waqf of the Moghrabis protested again against the Jews for precisely the same reason and on that account in a Ietter dated 28th September, 1925, the Council lodged a complaint with the Governor, referring to the promise contained in his letter of 3rd February, 1923. As the Council did not receive any written answer for some time, they wrote again to the Governor on the 7th June, 1926, asking for a reply and entreating him to prevent the Jews "from repeating this act of theirs so as to abide by the status quo." Along with the said letter, however, there was enclosed a copy of a petition from the guardian of the Moghrabi Waqf, in which complaints were made "that Jews place benches, mats, tables, chairs, and lamps when they have not been previously allowed to do so." The guardian of the Waqf goes on to say that "this has caused a nuisance to passers by, as the road leads to the houses of the Waqf. They have therefore trespassed on part of the Waqf land, because the width of the passage does not exceed 2-1/2 metres. We are in continual quarrels with them as they insist on placing these things."
In other words, the Moslems, who built houses right up to the wall, leaving but a dozen feet or so for Jewish worshippers, then get upset they cannot walk by.

To continue:
Upon an answer being received from the Governor's Office dated the 28th of June, 1926, to the effect that "the matter was under investigation," the Council through their President wrote again on 20th July, 1926 repeating its request of 7th June, but without mentioning any particular appurtenances. As the result of the promised investigation was not forthcoming, the President of the Council sent a letter to the Deputy District Commissioner on the 4th of August, 1926, informing him that the Jews were again endeavouring to put out seats at the Wall. This information, he stated, had reached the Council from the guardian of the Moghrabi Waqf and his repeated request for action on behalf of the Council was dictated by those complaints. This time, however, the Council concluded their letter by saying: "The aim of the letter dated 20th July, 1926, was that the necessary steps be taken to prevent the Jews from putting anything in the Buraq, especially on Saturdays and Jewish feast days." On 25th August, 1926, the District Officer wrote to the President of the Council in reply to the above letter as follows: "That the measures referred to in the last paragraph of your quoted letter have been taken, and that no change in the status quo will take place."
And you wonder where Moshe Dayan got his idea about a "status quo".
After that nothing of any special interest happened up to the beginning of November, 1926, at which date the inhabitants of the Moroccan Quarter complained to the Supreme Moslem Council about the Jews bringing "small portable chairs" to the Wall, under the presence that they had been promised leave to use such chairs by the District Police Officer. Quarrels had arisen between the Moroccans and the Jews on account of that, and the guardian of the Waqf asked that the Jews might be prevented from placing anything there that was not sanctioned by old practice. The said petition caused the Council to write to the Deputy District Commissioner on 7th December, 1926, informing him about the quarrels that had just arisen about the small chairs which were " contrary to the ancient usage and practice," and he concluded his letter in the following way: "We do not believe that the Government desires to alter the ab antiquo state which has been enforced on to the present." (Italics inserted by the Commission.)
On to 1927-1928:
At the end of 1927 the Deputy District Commissioner advised the President of the Supreme Moslem Council that, in his opinion, it was desirable in the interests of public security that during certain hours of the day when Jews were wont to congregate at the Wall for praying purposes, tourists should not be permitted to go there. He, therefore, proposed to give orders to the policemen stationed near the Wailing Wall to refuse admission to tourists during those particular hours of the day.

This letter was written on the 2nd of December, 1927, and was answered very fully by the President of the Council, on the 15th of January, 1928. The Council objected to prohibiting tourists from approaching the Pavement, because any such prohibition amounted to "granting the Jews new rights in the same place, and, moreover, would arouse the feelings of the Moslems." In this letter the view was consequently advanced which came to light later in the proceedings before the Commission, viz., that "several incidents and many problems caused by the Jews around the question of the Buraq plainly indicate that they have laid down a plan of gradually obtaining this place.

Thereafter, the Deputy District Commissioner by letter of 30th March, 1928, informed the President of the Council that he would post a notice in the area of the Western Wall for the information of the tourists stating the special hours of prayer and "requesting the public to respect the privacy of those engaged in prayers at such times." In his answer to that letter on the 3rd of April the President of the Council stated that he could not agree to that notice being put up and repeated his assurance that every attempt by the Jews to extend their claims in the Buraq would be received with the utmost anxiety by the Moslems and would be flatly refused.

Not until the 24th of September, 1928, i.e., on the same day as the disturbances described in the Shaw Commission Report (page 29) took place, did the President of the Moslem Council himself make a direct and detailed protest against the Jews' habit of bringing appurtenances of worship to the Wall. He then specified "a wooden room covered with cloth, screens, mats, a large table in the middle and also the Ten Commandments placed on a chair which should not be there."

There is more but the above is more than sufficient. And it is important to see the development of the issue. The Mufti had his eye on turning the conflict into a religious one early on, prior to 1928 and "Jewish provocations".

The prohibition on sounding the shofar was already in place for Yom Kippur 1929, some two months after the riots, as reported in the Yiddish newspaper the Grodna Express:

and thanks to Bella Bryks-Klein for confirming my presumption that that what was reported.

The Committee concluded in its Report in connection with the shofar sounding:
It forms a part of the Jewish service in the Synagogue to blow the Shofar (ram's horn) on New Year's Day and on the Day of Atonement and the Jews have claimed the right on the said occasions to carry out this ceremony of theirs in front of the Wall too.

That is a claim that has not been recognised in the present administrative regulations or otherwise in actual practice, and the Commission has not found any sufficient reason for assenting to it.
And decided:
The Jews shall not be permitted to blow the ram's horn (Shofar) near the Wall nor cause any other disturbance to the Moslems that is avoidable;
Jews didn't have a chance with the Mandatory Government:

Already, back on November 28, 1928, the British published a 'forgotten' White Paper that was issued after the infamous "Prayer Partition" incident to re-established the principle of a status quo at sacred sites which included that 
a protocol could be mutually agreed upon between the Moslem and Jewish authorities regulating the conduct of the services at the Wall without prejudies to the legal rights of the Moslem owners and in such a way as to satisfy normal liturgical requirement and decencies in matters of public worship.
In that White Paper, it was made clear as reported in the Palestine Post of December 5, 1928, anything the Moslem Waqf and the Supreme Muslim Council considered as an act that infringes on the status quo would be opposed:
His Majesty 's Government regard it as their duty and it is their intention, to maintain, the established Jewish right of access to the pavment in front of the Wall for the purpose of their devotions and also their right to bring to the Wall those appurtenances that they were allowed to take to the Wall under the Turkish regime. It would be inconsistent with their duty under the Mandate were they to endeavour to compel the Moslem owners of the pavement to accord any further privileges or rights to the Jewish community. 
A previous post of mine on the subject.

Some other historical background here


P.S. Despite the ban, from 1930 until 1947, members of Betar, Brit Habiryonim and the Irgu blew the shofar, some being subsequently detained for up to 6 months in prison. In 1944, the Irgun warned the British not to think of coming into the alleyway in front of the Wall, a suggestion with which they complied.


Friday, September 27, 2019

Hilarious BDS Fail

You hopefully know about the Canada case, whereby a Jew has taken upon himself to effectively halt the import of Psagot Wines and other products that are produced in Judea and Samaria.

I mentioned it here, with a solution. The issue has been referred back to legal and political consultations which has angered the Pals.  Israellycool noted a problem with the Nadim Winery and it continues, as Daoud Kuttab has tweeted.

Read on, here:



In a case of unexpected blowback, products from the Taybeh winery and Taybeh Brewing Co. in Ramallah are being withheld from shelves in Ontario, as officials work out whether they can be labelled as a “Product of Palestine.”
Taybeh products that have been delivered to Canada “are currently on hold due to uncertainty surrounding labelling of products from the Israeli-occupied West Bank,”...

...In an Aug. 29 post on its website, Palestine Just Trade said the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s (LCBO) World Destination Program arranged to include five “Nadim” wines from Taybeh and five varieties of Taybeh beer earlier this year – all labeled “Product of Palestine.” The products were ready for release in early August, when notification came that they were put on hold.

“… the LCBO informed Palestine Just Trade that ‘due to the recent decision by the Federal Court regarding labeling requirements for wines from this region, we have placed these products on hold,’ ” the group stated...

"...In an Aug. 28 letter to the president of the CFIA, Lascaris enclosed a certificate from the Palestinian Authority confirming that Taybeh is based in the West Bank city of Ramallah, “which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority. We can assure you that the Taybeh products that have been placed on hold have not been produced in any Israeli settlement.”

Lascaris also enclosed a list of 60 wines made in “the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights or Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory” that are still sold in Canada, despite the Federal Court ruling.

“In our view, the manner in which the CFIA and LCBO are dealing with accurately labelled Taybeh products and falsely labelled products from Israeli settlements in occupied territory is plainly discriminatory,” Lascaris wrote.

Oh, well.


Thursday, September 26, 2019

How Did the Yesha Communities Vote?

The result of the voting in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley (source: Moetzet Yesha)

Number of Residents in the Jewish Communities: 456,865.
Number of Eligible Voters: 241,403 (52.8% of total population)
Percentage of State of Israel Voters: 3.78%
Percentage of Voter Participation: 76.8% (vs. 69.7% overall; 1.6% drop from April)
Voting Results per party (in percentages) :
Yamina: 24.4%
Likud: 22.4%
UTJ: 20.4%
Shas: 9.9%
Blue and White: 9%
Otzma: 6.9%
Yisrael Beiteinu: 3/6%
Labour: 1.7%
Democratic Camp: 0.6%
Other Parties that did not pass the threshold: 1.1%


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Anti-Anti-Semitism Professor

A Hofstra professor of Teaching, Learning and Technology and the director of social studies education programs, Alan Singer, thinks

Not everything is anti-Semitism

Well, "thinks" might be inappropriate. He promotes an idea that while there is anti-Semitism, there are different approaches to solving it.

For example, the recent violence in New York he sees this way

Urban tension in gentrifying communities where racial and ethnic minorities are being displaced by gentrification and in Brooklyn, New York, by an expanding orthodox religious group has led to anti-Semitic slurs and physical assaults on religious Jews, but they are not an attack on Judaism as a religion and on the Jewish people as a whole. This behavior can best be addressed by building an inclusive community.

"As a whole"?  Does he mean the attacks are actually targeting specific Jews?

Of course not. All Jews are targets for this form of hatred. 

Singer is with Jewish Voice for Peace, an anti-Zionist pro-Palestine group (see this). And that sheds some light on his approach to anti-Semitism. It's a form of what I see as "it's the Jews' fault and therefore, Jews are obligated to solve it by being less Jewish".

For example, he wrote in his Hofstra piece:

Distinguishing between bias and racism or anti-Semitism makes it possible to have thoughtful and respectful discussions and societal debates on difficult issues without automatically putting people on the defensive.

This may sound logical to some but it is based on a purposeful misrepresentation. Bias directed at Jews because they are Jews is anti-Semitism. Yes, Jews can be, and are, guilty of various wrongdoings but to create a distinct category of "bias" when Jews, and especially Jews who appear Jewish, like Hasidim in Brooklyn, are being attacked for things they have not done, is anti-Semitism and no amount of debates or inclusivity will set right.

He further pooh-poohs anti-Semitic behavior by academic staff at his university be referring to it as "microaggressions" thus exhibiting his own anti-anti-Semitism mode.

He goes further with a form of goody-goodiness penning this drivelous wisdom:

As a teacher, I distinguish between bias and racism or anti-Semitism. Everyone has biases. They are products of culture, what we are taught and our understanding of experiences. But everyone does not act on biases to restrict or hurt other people. 

If he would only act, think and write as a Jew.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Albion in Palestine: The British Who Tried to Destroy Israel in 1948

I already blogged Meir Zamir's previous discovery, that the British in 1944 were engaged in convincing the Syrian opposition to reject the French Mandate, accept the British and together they'll create a Greater Syria with Jordan and there'll be no Jewish state.

And now?

Intelligence obtained by the French secret services in the Middle East sheds new light on Britain’s role in the Arab-Israeli War of Independence. It was reported that

Brig. Iltyd Clayton...“architect” of the Greater Syria plan, the Oriental Bloc and the bilateral defense treaties with the Arab states – was now advocating a new scheme for the partition of Palestine. The plan proposed that : “Imperialist Lebanon will annex the Western Galilee up to Shavei Zion; Syria the northeastern part of the Galilee and part of its southern region; Egypt will have part of the cake; and Transjordan will swallow up the rest.”

More excerpts:

In fact, these and other reports in the Lebanese press on the activities of British secret agents were part of a secret war being waged by French intelligence against the British.

Information conveyed by the French intelligence services to the Haganah [the prestate underground Jewish army] in the fall of 1947 indicated that Brig. Clayton and his assistants were involved in a new initiative to secure Britain’s strategic position in the Middle East, and linked Clayton to the escalating Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine...Brig. Clayton had, on December 17, 1947, reached an understanding with Lebanese Prime Minister Riyad al-Sulh, according to which the British forces would evacuate northern Palestine and give free rein to the irregular forces of the Arab Liberation Army, headed by Fawzi al-Qawuqji, to attack Jewish settlements.

...Ben-Gurion’s concern regarding the undercover activities of Brig. Clayton and Arabist “experts” in the Foreign Office and the Middle East intensified after August 1947. On November 11, 1947, he sent a British-Jewish former officer to interview Clayton, who was unaware that Ben-Gurion had drafted the questions. The urgency to uncover the British secret services’ intentions prompted Ben-Gurion to approve the “Acre operation,” in which the Haganah seized the files of the British Legation in Beirut, on December 25, 1947, as they were being transferred from Beirut to Haifa, en route to Britain.

...The question of Britain’s role in the war between Israel and the Arab states in 1948 is one of the most studied issues in the historiography of the War of Independence.

And yet, despite the considerable efforts of historians, they found no evidence of Ben-Gurion’s allegations that Britain had instigated the Arab leaders to invade Israel a day after its establishment.

In fact, confirmation of Ben-Gurion’s allegations can be found in French archives, especially in the files of French intelligence, whose officers closely followed the activities of the British secret services in the Middle East in the 1940s.

...The thousands of Syrian and other Arab documents found in the French archives, together with British intelligence reports obtained by French intelligence, confirm that the role of the British secret services in the Middle East during and after World War II comprises the “missing dimension” in the historiography of the region in the 1940s.

Two conclusions can be drawn from research into these documents, which are relevant to the role of British intelligence in the war in Palestine.

The first is that, in the 1940s, Britain conducted a two-track policy in the Middle East: one, a well-documented, official policy defined by Whitehall under both the Conservative and Labour parties; the second was informal and secretive, which can be termed “regional,” implemented by “agents in the field,” which left few traces in British archives.

It was perpetrated by a small, influential group of Arabist secret agents who manipulated the cabinet in London and implemented their own policies, which deviated from the official position...They joined forces with Arab rulers, whom they portrayed as voicing the Arab view, in order to mislead their government. Their tactics, which were backed by senior military officers in Cairo, gathered momentum under the post-WWII Labour government and during the crisis in Palestine in 1947-48.

The second conclusion is that the British secret agents succeeded in implementing their policies due largely to their use of indirect control over local “agents of influence.” 

The Secret British Scheme

In early June [1947], Mardam Bey wrote directly to Bevin, complaining of the intrigues of British officers in the Arab Legion against Syria, adding, “What makes the situation even more delicate is that the plot organized against Syria is welcomed by all the British officials in the Near East.”

In the summer of 1947, a shift took place in the British Arabists’ stand – especially those in the secret services – toward the Labour cabinet’s Middle East policy.


On September 23, 1947, shortly after the Arab League meeting in Saoufar, the French attaché in Baghdad reported a secret British scheme to instigate an Arab-Jewish war in Palestine, in order to facilitate the implementation of the Greater Syria plan...“It seems, in effect, that the British government, urged on by the young elements in the Foreign Office and the Intelligence Service, has decided, after months of hesitation, to undertake a large-scale maneuver that will enable it to consolidate, at little cost, its present wavering position in this part of the world. The British believe that the UN will no doubt ratify the UNSCOP decisions. Disturbances will thus begin in Palestine. The English will benefit from the situation to build new positions as advantageous as those they have lost in Egypt. According to information from an English source, the British plan will be as follows:

“England will give up its mandate over Palestine as soon as possible and return it to the UN, which will oversee, if necessary, an international force to reestablish order in this country. A retreat from Palestine of most of the British troops can already be envisaged. In the event of open conflict between Jews and Arabs, the English, under the pretext of not wanting to be attacked from both sides in these hostilities, where it maintains an officially neutral position, will retreat to Transjordan, from where one or two British divisions will be able to immediately intervene if necessary. British agents will now push the Arab countries to intervene to help their brethren in Palestine if they are attacked by the Jews.”

...the cabinet in London neither knew of nor approved the scheme of their secret agents to instigate an Arab armed invasion of a Jewish state. Prime Minister Attlee, who decided on withdrawal from Palestine despite the objections of his chiefs of staff, would not have taken on the moral responsibility for a plot that could have annihilated the Jews in Palestine only three years after the Holocaust. Moreover, such an act could have jeopardized Britain’s international standing and its relations with the United States.

...Between September and December 1947, Brig. Clayton and other secret agents tacitly collaborated with Azzam, Mardam Bey and Sulh to organize an irregular force – the Arab Liberation Army, under Qawuqji’s command – to be activated before Britain formally withdrew from Palestine...

A British military mission under Col. Fox, an unofficial adviser to the Syrian High Command since 1946, tried to obtain arms and ammunition from British army stocks in Palestine to arm Arab volunteers in the Katana camp south of Damascus...

British agents also negotiated with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem – initially indirectly through Sulh and later with his envoy, following his demand to command his own armed forces in Palestine. The Arab Liberation Army entered Palestine in the first half of January 1948; Qawuqji later wrote that the British army had hardly hindered the advance of his forces on northern Palestine.

...The British secret agents used almost all the “dirty tricks” in their arsenal – fear, jealousy, greed, false promises, misleading information and playing on inter-Arab rivalries – to provoke the Arab rulers into a war in Palestine. Nuri al-Sa’id (until the failure of the Portsmouth Treaty); King Abdullah (between June 1947 and May 1948); and Azzam, Mardam Bey and Sulh, and other co-opted “agents of influence” – all allowed the British secret services to operate behind-the-scenes to implement their schemes.

Meir Zamir teaches at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His book, “The Secret Anglo-French War in the Middle East: Intelligence and Decolonization, 1940-1948,” is due to be published by Routledge this December.




Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Robbers and Bandits of Shiloh

I found it interesting that two different travellers experienced a similar event when visiting the ruins of Shiloh in the middle of the 19th century.

The first is John Newman's 1864 "From Dan to Beersheba"

It was amid the recollection of such events that the robbers of Shiloh made their appearance and commenced an unprovoked assault upon our party. We had been forewarned of the turbulent character of the people, and of the danger a visit involved. At Sinjil we had discussed the prudence of a detour to this place, and, though it was a bold and hazardous step, as the sequel proved, yet we resolved to advance. We were in search of the most important knowledge, and, trusting to a gracious Providence, we felt justified in making the attempt. Unfortunately, our servant at the time was at Nablous, awaiting our arrival there, and, being without escort or guide, we were compelled to employ a peasant whom we had chanced to meet in a neighboring field. He was a simple, inoffensive, unarmed man, and was of no advantage to us except to guide us to the site of Seilûn. Having seen us from their mountain fastnesses, the robbers rapidly congregated around the old stone tower, where, at the moment, we were reading the inspired story of the place, and recording those reflections suggested by the hour.

Such another band of villainous-looking men Nature has scarcely ever suffered to dwell upon the earth. Some were without a nose, others without an eye, while all bore scars of previous fights, and wore a vicious countenance which promised us no good. Each ruffian was armed with a long gun and a missile not unlike an Indian tomahawk. One, more reckless than the rest, began the fray by plundering my saddle-bags; but, seeing with what determination I drew my revolver, he immediately desisted. Wishing, if possible, to avoid another collision, we attempted to cross a corn-field to the hill on which Shiloh’s ruins lay scattered, but they seized us and drove us back. Knowing that every moment’s delay diminished our chances of escape, we concluded to resume our journey—peaceably if possible, but forcibly if we must. But we had no sooner mounted our horses than the brigands seized the bridles and demanded our money. Another exhibition of our well-conditioned revolvers—which by them is a dreaded weapon—again saved us from their hands, and, putting spurs to our horses, we descended a narrow valley on the south of Shiloh, keeping an eye upon the robbers, who were after us at full speed. But the bottom of the valley soon became so rough that it was impossible to proceed faster than a walk. Having overtaken us, they still clamored for money, and evinced their purpose to renew the attack. At that moment my horse stumbled, throwing me on his head; but, springing back into the saddle, and jerking the reins with all the strength at my command, I saved him from going down. My haversack, however, had fallen off, and one of the ruffians, having picked it up, refused to return it without a reward. Fortunately, the small amount I gave him satisfied him, and to that man I owe my life. Among the plants I had gathered at Shiloh was one of curious structure, which I desired to preserve. Its large bright green leaves were so folded as to resemble an embossed star, but it was a deadly poison. Having dropped it, I called to the Arab to pluck another, but he refused, assuring me in Arabic that it was poisonous.

We now dismissed the peasant previously employed, giving him the promised sum. This proved our misfortune, as the robbers, becoming exasperated at the favor shown their neighbor, came upon us with renewed fierceness in a solitary mountain pass. They had the advantage in numbers, and a base indifference to human life. Sixteen against four gave us but little hope of successful resistance; but, unwilling to yield even against such odds, we determined to resist to the last. Rushing upon us with the utmost fury, they seized our bridles, and, raising their tomahawks over our heads, demanded our money or our lives. Refusing to give the former, we resolved to protect the latter. Having never seen the countenance of a bandit in the act of violence, I shall never forget the expression of the ruffian who assailed me. His face was livid with rage, and his solitary eye blazed with murderous intent as he grasped the bridle firmly with one hand and with the other raised the weapon of death over me. Undaunted either by his rage or threats, I held a parley with him for several minutes, he demanding, and I, in turn, refusing. Trying the power of religious fear, I pointed him to heaven, and repeated the sacred name of “Allah,” but he smiled like a demon, and fiercely replied, “Give me your money!”

Our firmness would have saved us from violence had not a member of our party, in an unguarded moment, struck one of the brigands with a riding-whip, which precipitated the assault, and it was now baksheesh or death. Aware that by this act we had become the aggressors, we concluded to give each a few piastres. Happily for myself, I had not a piastre in change, but, borrowing half a one (two cents) from a companion, I gave it to the villain, whose fury had been cooled by firm looks, strong words, a Damascus blade, and a good revolver.

Grouping together, they counted the spoils, but, finding the booty less than they had expected, they attempted another pursuit, but we had eluded their grasp. Dashing down the glen, we reached in safety the small village of Lubbân—the Lebonah of the Judges,475 grateful to divine Providence that, through Arab cowardice and Christian grace, no blood had been shed.

The second is "The Pathways and Abiding places of our Lord: illustrated in the journal of a tour through the Land of Promise" by J. M. Wainwright published in 1851

He, too, was approached by a robber:

Unfortunate that those wishing to visit a former place of important spiritual and historical value were accosted and threatened and not only that, the negative reputation that spread to those who would seek to visit would have kept people away.

I can assure all those planning to visit Shiloh today that our Jewish presence assures them the required safety.


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Pushing Boundaries

I saw this here:

As a comic who also "pushes boundaries" part of the deal getting pushback. If you don't want pushback then don't "push boundaries".

The backstory is the reaction to a comic who slurred Chinese and gays and others.

His humor wasn't all that funny, it appears.

But I was just wondering, could I use that phrase on Israel's behalf?

Something like

If Arabs think they can push Israel's boundaries, they can expect pushback

What do you think?

Saturday, September 14, 2019


When pro-Palestinian groups use the word "peace", what do they mean?

Well, in the case of this campaign of "Wear the Peace", which pushes clothing, jewellry and accesories, it can mean "eradicate Israel".


Check out this necklace:

(I love how the Hebrew shows up thanks to whatever engine is involved).

Do you see any geographical illustration/representation of Israel in that map?

That's what I meant when I used the word "extinctify" in a tweet.


Friday, September 13, 2019

I Was Accused of Trolling

On Wednesday, I was accused of 'trolling' which appears to be a social media platform crime, a charge usually reserved for someone doing basically the same thing you are doing but from a different political viewpoint.

I noticed that Avi Scharf, editor of the English-language edition of Haaretz, had tweeted (by the way, you can learn so much following Israeli journalists on their Twitter feeds where they shed any modicum of objectivity or even fairness and lash out at each other, sometimes sarcastically but most times viciously) a tweet that read:

"Bibi is now channeling Kahane, whose party is projected to get 4 seats in the next Knesset"

and I retweeted that and added in commentary:

"Example how Haaretz English outdoes even the Hebrew edition at times is slanting, shaping, spinning, managing the news." 

Anyone who follows the English edition of Haaretz, and I suggest you check CAMERA's site as well as it's Israeli partner, Presspectiva, if you read Hebrew, knows that my assertion is not incorrect.  For five years I was Director of Israel Media's Watch and we also did studies, thanks to IMRA's Aaron Lerner's father, Dr. Joseph Lerner, that showed a particular venomous approach to the news if it dealt with issues of a right-wing/nationalist character from the period of the late David ("rape Israel") Landau and on to his successors. 

For example, recently they slyly "misconstrued" Netanyahu's Hebrew (here), intimating he was declaring 'Arabs want to annihilate us all' when he said "the Arabs who desire to kill us all", indicating a specific group.

For measure, I added

"If the Supreme Court allowed them to run, ipso facto they are not racist nor Kahanist"

After all, if the Left holds Israel’s High Court of Justice is esteem, their decision should be respected. But it seems that is true only if the court decides according to their world-view.

Scharf then responded

"You're full of crap. this is my personal tweet - not Haaretz English/Hebrew edition. Though it's def poss Haaretz editorial will have a say as well."

Even ignoring the lashing out and invective, I would fully accept that if his Tweeter bio had included a normative alert such as "my tweets are my personal opinion" or something similar that I would be in the wrong.

Scharf followed up with a clip of Netanyahu saying what he had quoted and added

And here's your supreme leader, calling out - IN ENGLISH - against elected Arab leaders - in the only democracy in the Middle East

I rejoined, if a bit sharply:

Using "supreme" only confirms my presumption that your journalism ethics course mark was F. Or that you run an ideological gazette rather than a newspaper. Next time, answer the point I made?

After all, I pointed out something quite a factual and logical: if the Supreme Court permitted Otzma Yehudit to participate in the democratic process of elections, they are, so to say, kosher. One may not like that. One can suggest no one vote for them. In fact, he was doing exactly what he was railing against what Netanyahu was doing, that is, attacking another political party. And in sharp and strident language.

His comeback?

you're a troll. feel free to unfollow

There it was. I am a troll. No argument about the rather nonsensical logic he was employing. Or the avoiding of countering my points. A simple slapdown and off he goes. I am unworthy. Bothersome.

The standards of newspaper editors these days.


Monday, September 09, 2019

I Was Asked About the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence

I never like to leave things open-ended, especially when asked a question. 

About a week ago, as I was attempting to provide some historical backdrop to the curent Arab Palestinian narrative, which one of their academics confirmed, I was asked, a bit out of the bue, about the McMahon-Hussein correspondence 

and the intentions of the British early on.

I say "out-of-the-blue" because not only is it quite a convoluted and complex matter but it is one of those items that old-time Arab propagandists trot out to try to fool an uninfrmed audience.

The best study, I think, of the affair is that of Elie Kedourie, here.

Basically, as George Antonius has written, did Great Britain break faith with the Arabs and 'steal' Palestine away from them?

I, therefore, sent off the following material in hopes that the questioner would receive the material that I could not provide on the spot.


The British intended from the start that the Jews should be able to reconstitute their historic national home:

"It is none the less a historical fact that in drawing up the Balfour Declaration, Mr. Balfour did have a future Jewish State in Palestine definitely in mind. That fact is well known to those who were in touch with Mr. Balfour at the time. It was also made public by Mr. Lloyd George himself, who was Prime Minister at the time and who, in the evidence he gave before the Palestine Royal Commission, spoke as follows:

"The idea was, and this was the interpretation put upon it at the time, that a Jewish State was not to be set up immediately by the Peace Treaty without reference to the wishes of the. majority of the inhabitants. On the other hand, it was contemplated that when the time arrived for according representative institutions to Palestine, if the Jews had meanwhile responded to the opportunity afforded them by the idea of a national home and had become a definite majority of the inhabitants, then Palestine would thus become a Jewish Commonwealth."*

* From the Report of the Palestine Royal Commission, Cmd. 5479, 1939, Chapter II, paragraph 20 found in the the Lord Chancellor's Staement on February 24, 1939


From a speech of Lord Milner in the House of Lords on the 27th June, 1923: —

"I am a strong supporter of pro-Arab policy. ... I believe in the independence of the Arab countries. ... I look forward to an Arab Federation. ..., But Palestine can never be regarded as a country on the same footing as the other Arab countries. You cannot ignore all history and tradition in the matter. You cannot ignore the fact that this is the cradle of two of the great religions of the world. It is a sacred land to the Arabs, but it is also a sacred land to the Jew and the Christian, and the future of Palestine cannot possibly be left to be determined by the temporary impressions and feelings of the Arab majority in the country of the present day."


The following are the terms of the message which Commander Hogarth was instructed to deliver to King Husain when he visited Jedda in January, 1918:
"(3) Since the Jewish opinion of the world is in favour of a return of Jews to Palestine and inasmuch as this opinion must remain a constant factor, and further as His Majesty's Government view with favour the realisation of this aspiration, His Majesty's Government are determined that in so far as is compatible with the freedom of the existing population both economic and political, no obstacle should be put in the way of the realisation of this ideal.

Whatever the exact geographical definition, what is undisputed is that there existed a British intention, as indicated in this section of the correspondence:

"The two districts of Mersina and Alexandretta and portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo cannot be said to be purely Arab, and should be excluded from the limits demanded." 
that a territory was to be excluded from the area of an Arab state. That area was Palestine. Moreover, there is also the British undertaking that the holy places need be safeguarded and that would not have been necessary if Palestine was not part of the area to be separated from the future Arab state.


Last, in this context, it is obvious from the January 1919 Feisal-Weizmann Agreement that the intention that there would be a Jewish state in Palestine, separate from an Arab state, as for example, in Article II:

"Immediately following the completion of the deliberations of the Peace Conference, the definite boundaries between the Arab State and Palestine shall be determined by a Commission to be agreed upon by the parties hereto."

Taken all together, the above unreservedly indicate there was to be a Jewish national homeland developed under British tutelage in a territory separate from the area that was to become an Arab state.