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Emet m'Tsiyon

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Two Aspects of the Holocaust to Keep in MInd

Israel commemorates the Holocaust in several days on the 28th of the month of Nisan, the month of Spring, which falls this year on the 28th of April, actually starting on the evening before, the evening of the 27th. This year, interestingly, it falls close in time to the Armenian commemoration of their genocide, which is on 24 April every year. Israel Radio [Qol Yisrael] discussed the Armenian genocide today on several programs. Right now Israel TV [channel 1] is running Claude Lanzmann's film, The Last of the Unjust.

First, an observation about the earlier genocide, the Armenian at the hands of Ottoman Empire, ruled during WW One by the Young Turks, a group of revolutionaries, supposed progressives. In fact, the formal name of the Young Turks' party was the Committee for Unity and Progress. Many Arab nationalists took inspiration from the Young Turks. Anwar Sadat's parents even named him after one of the Young Turks' leaders, Enver Pasha [Enver = the Turkish form of the Arabic name Anwar].

Although progressives, the Young Turks were imbued in their education with the values of Islam, especially the need for Islam and Muslims to dominate non-Muslims. To be sure, one Armenian historian, Raymond Kevorkian, located in France, wants to believe that the motive for the genocide was Turkish or Pan-Turanian nationalism, rather than Islam. This is very short-sighted but this is not the time to go into my reasoning.

Much has been written about the Jewish Holocaust. I now want to just stress two aspects.
1) The Holocaust was not restricted to Jews living in Europe. Thousands of Jews were sent to death camps in Europe from the North African countries of Libya and Tunisia. And the Germans set up labor camps for Jews in those countries. Pro-Nazi pogromists in Baghdad slaughtered local Jews in the Spring of 1941 in an orgy of violence and brutality called the Farhud. The numbers of Jews murdered range from 179 to 600 or more. It is a common mistake that the Holocaust was restricted to European Jews, or Jews living in Europe. However, Leon Poliakov, one of the most important Holocaust historians wrote long ago about the North African Jews caught up in the Holocaust crimes. Yet, the mistake is still made.

2) The Arab nationalist movement in its  majority was pro-Nazi. The Arab intellectuals who set up the Arab Socialist Ba`ath Party and the Syrian National Socialist Party [often called the Syrian Social Nationalist Party in order to hide its Nazi inspiration] were much interested in and great admirers of Nazi ideology, policies, power, and organization.

The chief leader of the Palestinian Arabs in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, Haj Amin el-Husseini, instigated the Farhud in Baghdad, according to an Iraqi investigating committee. After two days of Farhud massacres, British troops occupied Baghdad and finally suppressed the pogrom after waiting outside the city for two days. At this point Husseini fled Baghdad and made his way through Iran and Turkey to the Nazi-fascist domain in Europe. Greece, bordering on Turkey, was already occupied. While still in Baghdad, Husseini and a small group of other Arab nationalist leaders drew up a draft political statement which they wanted Hitler to make in favor of Arab nationalist ambitions. In essence, this was really a petition to Hitler to recognize what these Arab leaders saw as their rights and interests, including the right to solve the Jewish Question in the Arab lands as it was being solved in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Bernard Lewis supplies a thorough discussion of the several versions of their petition to Hitler in his book, Semites and Anti-Semites.
While in Baghdad Husseini may not have understood the full meaning of "the Final Solution." However, after speaking with Hitler in Berlin, or before, he knew that it meant genocide of the Jews. On his visit or visits to Auschwitz he was able to observe just how this Final Solution was being carried out. The Germans provided Husseini, the British-appointed Mufti of Jerusalem [1922], with a headquarters and money to support a large entourage and used him to make pro-Nazi, pro-Arab nationalist, anti-Jewish propaganda over Radio Berlin. [such as: Kill Jews wherever you find them (see Lukasz Hirszowicz, The Third Reich and the Arab East)].

In their discussion at Hitler's headquarters Hitler promised Husseini that "solving"  the Jewish Question in  the Arab lands was part of Nazi Germany's plan. Husseini, the Mufti, was "fully reassured and satisfied by the words which he had heard from the Chief of the German State. . ."  He was pleased with Hitler's promise.

Later in the war, Husseini addressed the Bosnian Muslim SS division [the Handschar, khanjar]. He told them that Nazi ideology, National Socialism, had much in common with Islam (see Joseph Schechtman's biography of Husseini, The Mufti and the Fuehrer).
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24 April 2014 -- Obama continues to evade recognizing the Armenian genocide as genocide. He issued  a statement that danced around a frank statement of the issue [here]. He still wants to protect Erdogan and Turkey and Islam in general.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

The New York Times Once Again Shamelessly Displays Its Partisanship & Contempt for Facts

No doubt that the New York Times lies or omits vital information on all sorts of matters and issues. But when Israel is concerned, the NYT can be relied upon  to both be partisan and to falsify almost always. This carries over of course to Arab affairs. The officials and operatives of the PLO, known to be bloodthirsty enemies of Israel, need to be protected from their own records of mass murder and Big Lies.
Therefore, Rashid Khalidi, now an American professor, must have his reputation protected and his personal record sanitized. He is a scion of the al-Khalidi family, long prominent in the Jerusalem area with some of its sons taken into the imperial service by the Ottoman Empire and given high imperial rank. His relative Walid Khalidi worked with British political agents to make propaganda for the Palestinian Arab cause --also a British cause-- in the UK and the USA.  Rashid is American-born, yet served the PLO as one of its leading PR agents, that is, leading liars, for several years in Beirut. Now that Rashid is a prof at the Ivy League Columbia University, it might embarrass not only him but Columbia and his friend B Hussein Obama if it became common knowledge that he was a leading PLO liar in Beirut when the PLO and its member groups made no attempt to conceal their terrorist bloodthirst.
 So the NYT must cover up for its pet "moderate" Arab terrorist mouthpiece. Here is the essence of Prof Martin Kramer's devastating refutation of  the lies about Khalidi in and by the NYT:
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. . .  I do care how the New York Times reported one aspect of the story this morning: “Critics have accused the professor of having had ties to the Palestine Liberation Organization, which he has denied.” The reference here is to the activities of Khalidi when he resided in Beirut in the 1970s and up until Israel’s 1982 invasion. In those days, the PLO ran an exterritorial gangland, and was neck-deep in terrorism planned by Arafat and his mob.
Note this phrase: “Critics have accused…” Today’s article thus repeats a trope that appeared back in 2008, when the Times ran a piece on Khalidi prompted by his past association with Barack Obama:
He taught at universities in Lebanon until the mid-’80s, and some critics accuse him of having been a spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization. Mr. Khalidi has denied working for the group, and says he was consulted as an expert by reporters seeking to understand it.
Again, it’s the “critics” who “accuse him.”
Well, I’m a critic, but we critics didn’t just imagine Khalidi’s PLO affiliation. We were alerted to it by a parade of highly regarded journalists, including two from the New York Times. So here are the “critics” who first leveled the “accusation” (still more sourcing here):
• Joe Alex Morris Jr., reporting from Beirut for the Los Angeles Times on September 5, 1976, quoted Khalidi and described him as “a PLO spokesman.”
• James M. Markham, reporting from Beirut in the New York Times on February 19, 1978, quoted Khalidi and described him as “an American-educated Palestinian who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut and also works for the P.L.O.”
• A Pacifica Radio documentary, reporting in 1979 from Beirut, interviewed Khalidi “at the headquarters of the PLO in Beirut,” and described him as “an official spokesperson for the Palestinian news service Wafa,” “PLO spokesperson,” “official spokesperson for the PLO,” and “the leading spokesperson for the PLO news agency, Wafa.”
• Thomas Friedman, reporting from Beirut in the New York Times on June 9, 1982, quoted Khalidi and described him as “a director of the Palestinian press agency, Wafa.”
• Doyle McManus, reporting on rumored American-PLO contacts in the Los Angeles Times on February 20, 1984, quoted Khalidi and described him as “a former PLO official.”
• James Rainey, reporting on Khalidi’s connection to Obama for the Los Angeles Times on October 30, 2008, described him as “a renowned scholar on the Palestinians who in the 1970s had acted as a spokesman for Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization.” (As I noted at the time, the Los Angeles Times thus honorably stood by the 1976 reportage of its legendary, long-dead Beirut correspondent, Joe Alex Morris Jr.)
• Thomas W. Lippman, for thirty years a diplomatic, national security, and Middle East correspondent for the Washington Post, in a letter published in that paper on November 1, 2008, wrote that “Khalidi was indeed ‘a PLO spokesman.’ In the early years of the Lebanese civil war, Mr. Khalidi was the Beirut-based spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization, and his office was a stop on the daily rounds of journalists covering that conflict. As we used to say in the pre-electronic newspaper business: Check the clips.”
None of these people were or are “critics” of Rashid Khalidi, and two of them were reporting for the New York Times itself. So why does the Times repeatedly inform us that it is only Khalidi’s “critics” who have “accused” him, when in fact a raft of esteemed journalists who interviewed him in Beirut identified him as a PLO spokesman, as a fact? This is not another he-said she-said (or Jew-says Arab-says) question. As Thomas Lippman said: Check the clips.
This is another opportunity to urge the New York Times to get off its derriere and get to the bottom of the Khalidi story. It is unthinkable that a Brooklyn-born, Yale-educated U.S. citizen operated in PLO headquarters in Beirut in the late 1970s, and wasn’t known to the personnel of the U.S. embassy and the CIA station. That was over thirty years ago, so some documents must have been declassified. Can we get some investigative reporting here? Instead all we’ve ever read about Khalidi in the Times is the puff piece.
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For full article by Martin Kramer, go here.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why Do the Arabs Oppose Recognizing a Jewish State?

Prime Minister Netanyahu suggested to US  secretary of state John Kerry that the framework he was drawing up for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority include Palestinian Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Kerry did intend to include this Israeli proposal but since has backed away from it in view of Arab opposition, first of all from Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah and Palestinian Authority. Just today, the Arab League voted its support for Abbas' position.

One of the justifications for this opposition that apologists for the PA/PLO present is that by Israel being a Jewish state, the civil rights of Arab citizens of Israel would be adversely affected. However, all states belonging to the Arab League define themselves as Arab states. All Arab League member states but Lebanon define themselves constitutionally as Islamic states in one way or another. This does not stop them from opposing Israel being defined as a Jewish national state. The arguments against Israel as a Jewish state could logically be applied to Arab and Islamic states, and with more justification, since we have the benefit of hindsight to know just how non-Arabs and non-Muslims have been treated in Arab states.

The explanation for the Arab position lies, I believe, in the traditional Arab-Muslim view of Jews as an inferior dhimmi people, a millet [see below] devoid of national rights, and only entitled to live if they pay a yearly head tax on dhimmis called the jizya. The dhimma system applied to all non-Muslims who were subjects of the Islamic state, with individual exceptions. Within this system, the Jews were at the bottom of the barrel, at least in the Fertile Crescent  countries, including the Levant, where the Jews' status was inferior to that of their fellow dhimmis, the Christians.

Whereas the Quran and medieval Arab historiography, such as the writings of Ibn Khaldun, recognize the Jews as a nation or people, the entrenched Islamic view of Jews as an evil, inferior contemptible millet is now dominant. Moreover, in fact, in practice, that was the actual status of Jews in the Arab-Muslim countries for centuries. Even today in the 21st century Muslims believe that Jews do not deserve the dignity of having a national state of their own, the Quran and the old Arab historians notwithstanding.

This contemptuous view of Jews is clearly stated by the PLO in its charter. Article 20, already denies that the Jews are a people, claiming that they are merely a "religious" group. Jewish tradition holds that the Jews are both a people and a  religious group. Here is the relevant text of Art. 20:

"The claim of historical or religious ties between Jews and Palestine does not tally with historical realities nor with the constituents of statehood in their true sense. Judaism in its character as a religion is not a nationality with an independent existence. Likewise the Jews are not one people with an independent identity. They are rather citizens of the states to which they belong."

Note the contempt for Jews which oozes from this text. The history of Israelite/Jewish kingdoms in the country, as well as of the Roman province of Judea, is denied. The setting of much of the Hebrew Bible lies in the Land Of Israel which the PLO denies in a way reminiscent of Holocaust denial. Further, Jews do not have "the constituents of statehood in their true sense." Just by the way, the Nazis and other German Judeophobes claimed that the Jews were not capable of being a "state-forming nation." [see Francis R  Nicosia, The Third Reich and the Palestine Question (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press 1985)].

For texts of the PLO charter and the  Hamas charter, see here.
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Addition: in ancient Greek Jews were sometimes referred to as Ethnous Ioudaion, Jewish nation.
millet -- Turkish word referring to a recognized, organized religio-ethnic community within the Ottoman Empire [from the Arabic word milla or millatun, meaning originally people or nation but in Turkish usage referring specifically to the legally inferior communities of dhimmis (zimmis in Turkish), who were in turn the non-Muslim subjects of the Islamic states]. The millet was charged with keeping order among its members and often charged with collecting the jizya tax from them, and the millet enjoyed a certain religious autonomy and authority over its members, provided that Islamic restrictions on dhimmis were not violated. The traditional millets were the Armenians, Ermeni millet, like the Jews a religio-ethnic community, the Jews, a millet within the Ottoman Empire and also including Samaritans defined as Jews in Muslim tradition; as well as Greek Orthodox Christians, who were called I believe Rumi millet. The Greek Orthodox millet included Arabic-speaking Christians as well as other Eastern Orthodox Christians, such as Vlakhs [the old name for Rumanians], Bulgars, Serbs, etc. In the 19th century up to 1914, eleven millets were added to the original three, with the new millets representing ethnic subdivisions of the Greek Orthodox.There were no doubt nuances of the law in effect in different places.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Crimea? Why Doesn't Obama Blame Bush for Kossovo?

What does Crimea have to do with Kossovo? In both cases, you have a territory with a certain amount of official autonomy within a larger state. Kossovo was part of Serbia with an autonomous status officially. And Serbia was a part --a republic-- of Yugoslavia.  The Crimea was an autonomous republic, officially, within Russia until 1954. In that year, a year after Stalin's death, the new boss of the USSR, Nikita Khrushchov, administratively transferred the Crimea from Russia to Ukraine. Why did he do it? I can't be sure. He was part Ukrainian and maybe wanted to flatter his conationals or make up for the cruelties under his own rule over Ukraine in the 1930s. In any event, it didn't much matter in Soviet days since all the big decisions were made in Moscow.

So historically the Crimea was never Ukrainian. In ancient times it is said to have been inhabited by Scythians and Sarmatians, people of whom little is now known. There were Greek colonies there in classical times and it became part of the Roman empire along with Greece and later, in the Middle Ages, it formed part of the East Roman [Byzantine] Empire, although as Byzantium grew weaker, Genoa set up colonies there along with Byzantine-ruled areas, after a time of Khazar rule. In the 1200s it was conquered by Genghis Khan's Mongol Golden Horde and Tartars have been there ever since.

The peninsula was mainly inhabited by Tartars, eventually converted to Islam, and under loose Ottoman suzerainty. The Tartars raided the Slavic zones of northern Ukraine, southeastern Poland, Belarus and southern Russia for slaves, They seem to have been the major source of slaves for the  empire. It was after Russia had stopped the slave raids after annexing the Crimea in 1783 that the Ottoman Empire turned to Black Africa as its major source of slaves.

In fact all of southern Ukraine of today was Tartar territory conquered by Russia starting with 1774 and the Treaty of Kutchuk Kainardji. The conquest of Crimea crowned this Russian effort. The Turkish historian Kamal Karpat notes that  most of the Tartars migrated to the lands of the Ottoman Empire so as not to live under infidel rule. The Russian tsars undertook to give special inducements to get their subjects to come settle in the depopulated formerly Tartar territory. Even Jews were given inducements to settle there, such as exemption from restrictions on Jews elsewhere in the Russian Empire. Settlers, including Jews, were given land.

Hence, the southern Ukraine of today was not Ukrainian originally. But the clown Yatseniuk, new leader of the Ukraine, says that the Ukraine will never surrender. He was referring to the Crimea, never Ukrainian until 1954. And he almost sounds like he is saying that the Ukraine will fight for the Crimea until the last drop of blood. And Yatseniuk and his followers want to fight over what was never Ukrainian until a Soviet ruler made an arbitrary decision in 1954. It seems that Soviet Communist decisions are more important than self-determination of the current population now in the Crimea.

The Western powers, especially the EU and USA, are mightily outraged. International law is being violated by Russia and its planned annexation of the Ukrainian real estate called the Crimea. The pro-Russian referendum is another violation of international law. To be sure, the referendum was hardly fair. Voters could not vote to stay with the Ukraine. The choices on the vote were limited, much like the choices on many public opinion polls that are designed to elicit the desired answer, whatever public opinion may really be. On the other hand, TV reports on Israel and France24 TV showed that the majority wanted reunification with Russia. In the Crimea the West exalts the principle of  "international law" and rejects self-determination.

In Kossovo, on the other hand, where Kossovo was part of Serbia, the West rejected international law in favor of self-determination for the Kossovo Albanians who had, by the way, performed ethnic cleansing on the Serbs in that territory with seeming international approval. And this was after centuries of Kossovo Albanian oppression and exploitation of Serbs in Kossovo since nearly all Kossovo Albanians were Muslims in the Muslim Ottoman Empire.

Let's say politely that the West has flexible standards, not double standards, God forbid. Just flexible ones. And it seems that interests overcome principles.

Prez George Bush II, the one whom Obama likes to blame for all domestic and international problems, pushed Kossovo independence and its breaking away from Serbia. Russia opposed this on the grounds of international law. Now the situation is reversed. Putin and other Russian officials warned at the time that supporting Kossovo independence against Serbia could lead to other actions elsewhere that the West might not like. But Bush and Condoleezza Rice went ahead with promoting the independence of a government of traders in human body parts. It's obvious that the subsequent Georgian and Crimean crises are Russian reactions to Western actions in Kossovo, promoted by Bush and Condi. But Obama has nothing to say in criticism of Bush's Kossovo policy. That he apparently approves of although, as Putin said, that policy opened a Pandora's box.

In view of the above, how can anyone both sane and well-informed believe that US mediation can lead to Israel-Arab peace?


Also on Kossovo see here & here & here.

On Crimea and Ukraine see an interview with Charles E King  here.
Leftist writer also acknowledges presences of Nazi-sympathizers in Ukrainian Maidan movement [here]

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Even Clothing Was Used to Humiliate Non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire

Wayne Vucinich, a specialist in Ottoman history, described how the empire used clothing to humiliate non-Muslims, called dhimmis. In fact, humiliation by clothing was a feature of  the dhimma rules in Muslim dominions before the Ottoman Empire.

This is Vucinich:
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Clothing. After the Ottoman conquest there was a gradual "Turkification" of clothing in many parts of the Empire. The dress worn by different Ottoman subjects, however, was not always a mere copy of Turkish styles. Often it represented either a local adaptation of that dress or an entirely indigenous creation. Nonetheless, the "Turkification" of clothing was extensive, and a large Turkish or Persian or Arabic nomenclature enriched the vocabulary of many non-Turkish subjects.

Turkish influence on the clothing of the subject peoples was the result of both voluntary imitation and official regulations [emph. added]. The Turks did not like to see Christians  copy their clothing and forbade them to wear expensive and brightly colored clothes as well as garments in the "sacred" color of green.  To a good Muslim, an acceptance [by Muslims] of infidel [infidels wearing Turkish] headgear implied social degradation [of the Muslims] and religious betrayal [by the dhimmis of the Muslims]. The insistence on clothing that distinguished Muslim from non-Muslim encouraged similar tendencies among the Christians. If, in the nineteenth century the Muslims made the fez a mark of their faith, the Montenegrins did the same with their zavrata. Nonetheless, many a non-Turk had a suppressed desire to dress like a Turk and to free himself of regulated clothing. . . . .

As Ottoman rule weakened and Christians gained a greater degree of freedom, some Christians gradually proceeded to copy the Turks in clothing and jewelry. One of the first things the Serbs did after the liberation of 1804 was to don Turkish dress --- the fancier clothes of their rulers. Later, as political and cultural contacts with the West expanded, everything associated with the Turks came to be regarded as backward and alien. . . . .

Though by 1860 the condition of the Christians had improved, they continued to suffer from unequal treatment. R Davison observes that "They still protested the general prohibition of bells on their churches, the frequent rejection of their testimony in Turkish courts, occasional rape of Christian girls or forced conversions, and other sorts of personal mistreatment."
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Wayne Vucinich, The Ottoman Empire: Its Record and Legacy (New York: Van Nostrand 1965),  pp 65-66.

See a previous blog post with quotes from an 18th century source on the Muslim mania to control the clothing of non-Muslims, the dhimmis  [here].

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Friday, February 14, 2014

The Ottoman Empire as an Oppressive State for Non-Muslims

Edward Said belonged to a whole school of American apologists for Islam and the Arabs. This school goes back before WW2 and continued with Roosevelt's visit with King Ibn Saud on the Red Sea on an American warship. Once large amounts of oil were being shipped out of Arabia, which Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud had named "Saudi Arabia" after his dynasty, pro-Arab, anti-Israel policies could be justified by Washington as necessary to keep the oil flowing, a considerable part of the profits of which went to the American oil consortium ARAMCO, made up of four major US oil companies.

Did Prof William Polk have to gloss over Muslim crimes in order to keep the oil and profits flowing to American oil companies? I don't know but the Saudi royal family too was making large profits from the oil extracted by ARAMCO.

Polk was writing back in the 1950s and 1960s, when he was also for a time the director of  Middle East policy planning on the State Department's Policy Planning Council. In the late 1970s, Edward Said, a rather obscure English and comparative literature prof at Columbia U came out with the first of his books glossing over all the faults and blemishes of traditional Islamic society. Said's fairy tales were all the more persuasive because he himself came from a Middle Eastern family, albeit his family had been converted to the Anglican/Episcopal denomination of Christianity, most likely from the Greek Orthodox Church. Said's family originated in the Jerusalem area but his father had left there for America before the First World War. William Said served in the US Army in the war and gained US citizenship. He was hardly typical of the Muslim Middle Easterner, although he came back to the Middle East  after the war but he went to Cairo rather than Jerusalem. In Cairo he built up a large stationery and textbook business and became rather wealthy. Nevertheless, in the early 1950s, Nasser's pan-Arabist "socialist" regime was making life hard for all those who were not Muslim or "authentically" Egyptian (here too Muslims were favored over native Christian Copts). So William Said, a US citizen, brought his family to America where Edward took up an academic career and at some point married a Middle Eastern Christian woman from Lebanon. But she was not Anglican. Rather she was the daughter of a prominent Lebanese Quaker, a leader of a Church with a large Middle Eastern missionary establishment, which was deeply involved with the 1948 Arab refugees from Israel.

Said's books sanded down the rough spots and whitewashed the history of Muslim relations with non-Muslims, although his family were non-Muslims and had no doubt been dhimmis before the Ottoman Empire eliminated the dhimma in its full original form as Western influence over the Ottomans increased in  the late 19th century. Despite the tendentious fraud that Said's books Orientalism [1978], The Question of Palestine [1979], and Covering Islam [1981] and others represented, they made a great impact on Western intellectuals, especially on the breed called "leftists."

However, writing before the age of Said, Prof. Wayne Vucinich gave in 1965 a sketch of social conditions in the Muslim Ottoman Empire for non-Muslims that is accurate, although he softens the picture by keeping to a concise statement of the general facts, omitting the gory details. Here are quotes from Vucinich below the broken line:
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Discrimination. The Ottoman state system fostered denominational and social discrimination, for the population was grouped by religion, classes, and ranks. One alleged purpose of this division was to separate various groups from one another "as much as possible in order to prevent contact and possible conflict."[quoting S Shaw] Each individual . . . had a place in life established by his social status, and within "the bounds (hadd) of his place, he was absolute." . . .  The confessional and social compartmentalization was scarcely adopted by the Ottoman rulers out of altruistic reasons, but rather in order to make it easier for them to rule the heterogeneous populations they had conquered.

The non-Muslims were never able to mix freely in Muslim society. As subject infidels they were socially castigated and denied many of the rights enjoyed by the ruling Muslims. The government was Muslim, and the official language was Turkish. It was Islam and not the Turkish "national identity" that separated the rulers from the ruled. The Turks thought of themselves "almost exclusively as Muslims," and in this way they were no different from many of their subjects. Not until the nineteenth century did the concepts of "a Turkish nationality" and "Ottomanism" develop. But . . . not all Muslims were held equal. After the seventeenth century we note, for example,  a tendency for the "born" Muslims to blame "converted" Muslims for the empire's plight.
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[Wayne Vucinich, The Ottoman Empire: Its Record and Legacy (New York: Van Nostrand 1965), pp 63-64]

We will present more on this topic from Professor Vucinich in following posts.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Researcher Edwin Black Finds Ford Foundation Indirectly Funding Bodies that Support Arab Anti-Israel Terrorism

Edwin Black has published a long series of books and articles on Modern Jewish history, particularly on how the Ford Foundation has funded NGOs and individuals that have called for boycotting Israel, doing away with Israel or  committing the now mundane violence against Israel and Israelis. For instance, Black wrote a series of articles for the JTA [Jewish Telegraphic Agency] detailing how various NGOs funded directly or indirectly by the Ford had joined together at the Durban "anti-racism" conference in 2001 and called for a boycott of Israel, as if Israel were a racist country and indeed the major racist country in the world.

Joshua Levitt, a reporter for the Algemeiner, originally a weekly Yiddish-language newspaper, now in English on the web, wrote a review and summary of Black's latest book. We are facing the Ford Foundation once again:

EDWIN BLACK’S NEW BOOK CONNECTS NIF TO FORD FOUNDATION ANTI-ISRAEL ACTIVISM

by Joshua Levitt

 

"Financing the Flames," a new book by "IBM and the Holocaust" author Edwin Black. 

In Edwin Black's new book, 'Financing the Flames,' the author of 'IBM and the Holocaust' follows the money trail to uncover the powers behind non-profit groups attempting to de-legitimize Israel.
The book focuses on the role played by the New Israel Fund, a non-profit initially funded by the Ford Foundation, that donates to hundreds of smaller non-profits, many of which Black ties to programs attacking Israel or attempting to de-legitimize the Jewish state.
Black's book explores NIF's funding sources and its out-sized influence as a lobbying force in the Knesset and as a destabilizing force for the IDF. He also profiles some of the fringe groups impacting Israel today and makes the case that Americans are indirectly funding a controversial Palestinian Authority program that pays convicted terrorists in Israeli jails.
In an interview with The Algemeiner, Black said the book was written to show U.S. taxpayers and the U.S. Congress how well-meaning intentions have transformed into a force that is threatening the Jewish state from within.
The Algemeiner was granted special permission by the author to cite the book's newsworthy passages extensively.
Black describes the opaque financing routes that have created the situation:
A superhighway of money goes directly from Israel's greatest adversaries into a vast interchange where it co-mingles with dollars, shekels, Euros, and yen from the finest financial nameplates and charitable funds in the world. This merged money courses throughout Israel with exit ramps into some of the most benevolent Arab programs—as well as those that stoke violence and confrontation.
In the case of NIF, the money can be traced back to the Ford Foundation, which Black described in a previous monograph entitled 'Financing Hate,' published by the JTA. . . . .
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For continuation of the above review and more on Black's latest book, go here.

For background on Henry Ford's hatred of Jews and on the Ford Foundation go to the two previous post on Emet m'Tsiyon here and here.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ford Foundation Founded with the Capital of a Man Who Inspired Hitler

additions 1-22 & 2-23-2014 at bottom

Edsel Ford, Henry Ford's son, founded the Ford Foundation in 1936 with his family's money. Both Edsel and Henry bequeathed valuable, high-yielding [non-voting] stock to the foundation upon their deaths in 1943 and 1947 respectively. This made the foundation "the largest philanthropy in the world . . . a national and international philanthropy dedicated to the advancement of human welfare." Human welfare no less!! Therefore, let's look at Henry Ford's motives for concocting and publishing The International Jew:
When asked in 1921 why he had chosen to publish the series, Ford explained that he was "only trying to awake the Gentile world to an understanding of what is going on. The Jew is a huckster, a trader who doesn't want to produce but to make something out of what somebody else produces." He also blamed them for subversively instigating war behind the scenes for their own profit.  [Alex Grobman, License to Murder: The Enduring Threat of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Noble OK: Balfour  Books 2011), p53]
Ford himself was a producer of course. He produced automobiles, just by the way working his employees to death or near to it. Still, he was a producer. But he was also a huckster. After all, he wanted to sell the cars that his factories produced. And for that purpose, he hired advertising agencies to produce suitably persuasive sales messages and bought space in newspapers and other publications to reach the public. His The International Jew series published in his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, was also meant to persuade, to persuade people to believe in an ugly, false message.

Ford's readers included "college professors, Christian clergy and the uneducated." His readers "sent him money, praised him for assailing the Jews, and clamored for more information." [Grobman, p 53]

One of Ford's readers was a very special person or shall we say that he was  a unique creature. This was none other than Adolf Hitler.
Adolph Hitler acknowledged that Henry Ford's The International Jew  influenced him in writing Mein Kampf, and had a picture of Ford hung on the wall in his Munich office. "I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration," Hitler told a reporter for the Detroit News. In 1938, Hitler sent his personal greetings to Ford on the occasion of his 75th birthday, and conferred upon him the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the highest honor that could be bestowed on a foreign national. [Grobman, ibid.]
Hitler was not the only Nazi inspired by Ford's The International Jew. Another was
. . . Baldur von Schirach, Reich leader of the Nazi Students' Federation and future leader of the Hitler Youth. After reading Der international jude [German translation of The International Jew] in 1924 at the age of 17, a year prior to hearing Hitler speak for the first time, von Schirach remarked that "The younger generation looked with envy to the symbols of success and prosperity like Henry Ford. And if  Ford said that the Jews were to blame, why, naturally we believed him." [Grobman, p 54]
So Ford's prestige as a leading manufacturer and a very wealthy man helped to persuade people to believe in his ugly message. Von Schirach in turn persuaded young Germans to willingly join Hitler's army and take part in his wars and mass murders.

To be sure, Ford's The International Jew did not meet with universal approval.
"Despite the acclaim garnered by The International Jew . . . and its translation into a number of languages . . .  Prominent periodicals of the time, including Current Opinion, the Outlook, The Century, Harper's Weekly, and the Independent condemned the Protocols, The International Jew, and Ford himself." [Ibid, p 54]

The Nation [much different from the Nation of today] observed the significant increase of anti-Semitism engulfing the world in 1920 and concluded that "the chief responsibility for the survival of this hoary shame among us in America attaches to Henry Ford." Historian Norman Cohn believed that The International Jew  "probably did more than any other work to make the Protocols more famous." On the eve of World War II, the Protocols were more popular than they had been even in 1920 before being exposed as a forgery. [Grobman, ibid.]
Grobman's last sentence reminds us that today, as in the past, big lies like the Protocols are used to make deadly --indeed genocidal-- propaganda against the Jewish people. One of the recent big lies was the Muhammad al-Durah hoax. But that is a story for another time. Let us just bear in mind that the capital of the Ford Foundation was provided by a cruel employer and bigoted anti-Jewish propagandist, Henry Ford.

In the 21st century, nearly 100 years after Ford published his version of the Protocols, the Ford Foundation provides millions to the New Israel Fund which in turn funds many so-called  "non-governmental organizations" in Israel which engage in activities meant to undermine Israel in world public opinion and weaken Israel in the face of Israel's Arab and other enemies.
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ADDED 1-29-2014 Unbeknownst to me when I wrote the above blog post, Edwin Black had published a book that goes into the Ford Foundation's funding of the New Israel Fund as well as a number of Arab anti-Israel NGOs [see review here]

2-23-2014 Scholarly article on Henry Ford's Judeophobia [here]
3-20-2014  Contemporary press report by the JTA on the libel suit against Henry Ford [here]

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Where Did the Ford Foundation Get the Money to Get Started with?

The Ford Foundation's first money came from the Ford Family fortune made through the Ford Motor Company. Now the Ford Foundation today likely receives funding from several sources. But how was the family fortune originally made??  Another question: What did Henry Ford do with his money?

One of the ways Ford got rich was to work his factory laborers harder than the other manufacturers in Detroit. It was known there that a job in a Ford factory was more exhausting than jobs in other plants.
Here a Black factory worker up from the South writes about workers' experiences in the Detroit auto plants. His name was Matthew Ward and the following is an excerpt from his book [see below]:
 --------------------------------
I never wanted to work for Ford. And I never did work there. Everyone talked about it, they said it was the house of murder. There was a big rumor all over the city [Detroit] that other men had to take care of Ford workers' sexual home affairs. Everybody always asked about a Ford worker's wife, "Who is her boyfriend?" If a man would see a woman and she would say that her husband worked for Ford, he would make a big joke. He would pretend to take a pencil and a pad and ask her for her telephone number. They were all so worked down they couldn't have sexual relations. Mr Gordon's wife had to help him up the steps and feed him in bed. Where he laid on a sheet at night he didn't move from that spot.
Every worker could identify Ford workers on the streetcars going home at night. Every worker who was asleep was working for Ford. You'd see twenty asleep on the cars and everyone would say, "Ford workers." Many times the conductors looked over the car and shook a man to tell him it was his stop. On Sunday Ford workers would sleep on the way to church.
Sometimes some people tried to cover it up. They would say it was working in a foundry that made the men sleep. They said it was the fumes. But everybody knew Ford was a man killing place. That always frightened me. I tried to stay away. But during the Depression, everything closed down once for two or three months. The paper came out asking for men for Ford. The next morning there was a stampede at Ford of two thousand men at five a.m. They were only  hiring fifty or a hundred men. The agent came out and told us they were not hiring but nobody would leave. We thought it was a line to send us away and give jobs to those who remained. We stayed, pushing and shoving. The police rode up on horse and ran at the crowd hitting us with sticks. This didn't disperse the workers. The police called the Fire Department and they hooked up their hoses and shot cold water on us. It was the middle of winter. While we waited for the streetcars our clothes froze on us hard as bricks. That's the first and last time I went  to Ford to look for work.
[Matthew Ward, Indignant Heart (New York: New Books 1952), pp 35-36]
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The Ford plants were cruel places to work, crueler even than the factories of other manufacturers. That's one of the ways in which Henry Ford made his fortune.

Now what were some of the things that Ford did with his money? One thing was to publish an Americanized version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the  notorious plagiarism and forgery.
". . .  the first American edition of the Protocols was published in The Protocols and World Revolution" [in 1920] by one Boris Brasol,  a Russian monarchist exile living in the USA and a leader among his fellow monarchist exiles. This was just three years after the Russian emperor, the Tsar, had been overthrown in March 1917.
It is Brasol who was responsible for convincing Henry Ford of the authenticity of the Protocols, which Ford then published in his International Jew series in the Dearborn Independent. [The Dearborn Independent was a newspaper owned by Ford himself.] [Alex Grobman, License to Murder: The Enduring Threat of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Noble Oklahoma: Balfour Books 2011), p 52]
However, the original Protocols had been worked up to support the Russian imperial government. As a product of the Russian intelligence agencies, it favored the Russian Orthodox Church against the Roman Catholic Church, even making accusations against the Catholic Church. This obviously posed an obstacle to full acceptance of the Protocols in Catholic lands and in the USA which had a large Catholic population. So Ford  made up a new version of the Protocols which was tailored to American tastes. He removed the negative references in the book to the Catholic church and creed which were found in the original Russian version. Along with other deletions and additions and reworkings, this became the International Jew.
. . . the first article in this consecutive series appeared on May 22, 1920, and then sporadically until 1927. [Grobman, p 52]
 The hostile slanderous nature of Ford's anti-Semitic articles is evident in their titles, which included: "The Scope of Jewish Dictatorship in America," "Jewish Gamblers Corrupt American Baseball," "How the Jewish Song Trust Makes You Sing," "Jewish Jazz Becomes Our National Music" . . . . "The Jewish Associates of Benedict Arnold." [Grobman, Ibid.]
For the information of non-Americans, Benedict Arnold was a notorious traitor in favor of the British during the American revolutionary war. At that time, the Jewish population of the United States was a minuscule percentage.

Ford's fortune was based on the most ruthless exploitation and oppression of labor, even by the standards of the time, worse than other automotive manufacturers. And he used a part of his fortune to propagate notions intended to make people hate Jews. Henry Ford died after the Ford Foundation had already been set up. But given the Foundation's stress on funding actions harmful to Jews and Israel --in the name of peace and human rights to be sure-- we may say that Henry Ford's hatred of Jews is still alive in the Ford Foundation.
The Ford Foundation provides a large subsidy to the New Israel Fund which in turn finances a whole series of supposed human rights and peace NGOs operating in Israel whose ulterior motive is to destabilize Israeli society and favor Arab  claims over Jewish human rights. And favor Arab political claims and demands on Israel.
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More on Ford's endeavors to bring the hatred of Jews to the general American public to come in subsequent posts.

 Scholarly article on Ford's Judeophobia [here]
JTA press report on the libel trial against Henry Ford in 1927 -- from JTA's archives [here]

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

PLO/Palestinian Authority Revise Christian Tradition to Rewrite the Jews Out of It

The PLO for many years claimed the Jesus revered by Christians as a "Palestinian." The Palestinian Authority that was set up in 1994 continues this tradition. Yet the Christian holy book, the New Testament, repeatedly makes clear that Jesus was a Jew. Indeed, there was no "palestine" on the ground at the time of Jesus. The Romans and Greeks called the whole country Judea, although the Jews themselves called it the Land of Israel. Jews used Judea in a narrow sense [when writing or speaking Greek], referring to the territory of the former Kingdom of Judah wrecked by Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian forces.

What is relevant to the PLO/PA claim that Jesus was a "palestinian" is that the New Testament
itself says that the Bethlehem where Jesus is supposed to have been born is called Bethlehem of Judea [book of Matthew 2:1]. Get that. The NT itself says that Jesus was born in Judea. No mention of  palestine. Apparently, this is a usage of Judea in the narrow Jewish sense referring only to the former kingdom of Judah, not the broad Greco-Roman usage of Judea which referred to the whole country, all of the Land of Israel, roughly speaking. I deduce that from the fact that the same chapter of Matthew calls the country "Land of Israel" twice [2:20-21]. There appears to have been another Bethlehem in the country, Bethlehem of Galilee, although this point is of lesser importance. Be that as it may, in Jesus's time the country was not called "palestine" either by the Jews, the people of the land, or by the Roman Empire or by writers in Greek and Latin. In Jesus' time nobody knew about any so-called "palestinian people."

This is my introduction to an excellent article by Evelyn Gordon on the historical revisionism of the PLO/PA and on the failure of the major Christian churches to object to this denial of their own Christian Scriptures:

Why Do Christians Tolerate  Palestinian Historical Revisionism?
 by Evelyn Gordon

Christmas this year brought the usual spate of Palestinian historical revisionism, including the by-now routine claim that Jesus was a Palestinian. This, as Jonathan Tobin noted, tells us a lot about the Palestinian mindset and prospects for peace. But to me, the most striking aspect of this story is that objections to such historical revision come almost exclusively from Jews, whereas many Christian churches and organizations seem to have no problem with it. After all, it’s not only Jewish history and the Jewish religion Palestinians thereby erase; they are also erasing Christian history and the Christian religion.
What, for instance, becomes of the famous scene of Jesus evicting money-changers from the Temple if, as Palestinian officials claim, the Temple never existed? (They refer to it strictly as “the alleged Temple”; for examples, see here and here.) Or what becomes of Mary’s husband Joseph, who was “of the house and lineage of David” (Luke 2:4), if, as Palestinians claim, the Davidic kingdom never existed?
Even if you want to claim, in defiance of all the evidence, that Jesus himself wasn’t a Jew, his entire story as related in the Gospels takes place in a Jewish state with a largely autonomous Jewish political and religious leadership, albeit subject to some control from the Roman Empire. According to the Gospels, it is this Jewish leadership that arrests and tries Jesus, though the Romans ultimately crucify him. If no Jewish state with the power to arrest and try ever existed (as Palestinians, again, routinely claim; see here or here, for instance), how did this most foundational of all Christian stories ever occur?
Granted, the Christians most sympathetic to this Palestinian revisionism generally represent liberal churches that aren’t wedded to a literal reading of the Bible. Nevertheless, belief in Jesus is ostensibly fundamental even for liberal Christians–and absent the historic Jewish kingdom of the Gospels, there quite literally is no Jesus.
This ties in with a related issue: Many of these same liberal Christian groups have also turned a blind eye to the ongoing slaughter of Christians in Syria and Iraq, the worsening persecution of Christians in Egypt and various other anti-Christian atrocities worldwide, preferring to focus all their energies on vilifying the one Middle Eastern country where, to quote Israeli Arab priest Father Gabriel Nadaf, “We feel secure” as Christians. As I’ve noted before, this contrast between the terrible plight of other Middle Eastern Christians and the safety they enjoy in Israel is increasingly leading Israel’s Arab Christians to rethink their former identification with the state’s opponents; one result is that the number of Arab Christians volunteering for service in the IDF shot up more than 60 percent this year (though given the minuscule starting point, the absolute numbers remain small). But no such rethinking has occurred among anti-Israel Christians in the West.
In short, the leadership of groups like the Church of Scotland or the Presbyterian Church seem prepared to sacrifice both historical Christianity and real live Christians on the altar of their single-minded obsession with undermining the Jewish state. The million-dollar question is how long their rank-and-file memberships will continue tolerating this travesty.

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I differ with Evelyn Gordon on two points:
1-- The Christian New Testament is not part of the Jewish Bible, almost all of it written in Hebrew with much of the books of Daniel and Ezra and some other parts in Aramaic. The Jewish Scriptures are distinct from the Christian Scriptures although the NT repeats parts of the Jewish Scriptures. [The paragraph has been corrected in regard to the Aramaic in the Jewish Bible, 1-4-2014]

2-- There was never a people called "palestinians." Nobody ever heard of such a people  until the 1960s when the notion of a "palestinian people" was introduced to the world by British psychological warfare experts.




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Monday, December 23, 2013

French Prez Hollande Gives Arabs a Chance to Show What Motivates Their Hatred of Israel

12-24-2013 new paragraph inserted

French president François Hollande gave the Arabs a chance last week to demonstrate once again how much they hate Jews --Jews, not merely Israel.
During a speech last week to the CRIF Jewish representative group, Hollande joked that Interior Minister Manuel Valls had just returned “safe and sound” from a trip to Algeria. “That’s already a lot,” Hollande added. [al-Arabiya, here]
Algeria suffered a fearsome civil war in the 1990s between Islamist fanatics and Government forces. Between 100,000 and 200,000 Algerians were killed by fellow Muslims, often in the very gruesome ways that Islamist jihadists are so fond of.  So Hollande's wisecrack had grounds in reality. The country was very dangerous in the 1990s and is still not very safe. To be sure, the wisecrack was not very politic or diplomatic. Yet what seems to have bothered the Algerian Arabs the most was that he made the joke in front of a Jewish audience.

Hollande said in French the words between quotes below:

A l'occasion de l'anniversaire du Crif, le chef de l'Etat a plaisanté sur le voyage de son ministre de l'Intérieur en Algérie. "Il est revenu sain et sauf et c'est déjà beaucoup". Mais certains internautes n'ont pas apprécié. [ici]

The Jewish organization, the CRIF [Conseil Représentatif des Israélites de France -- Representative Council of French Jews], is the umbrella group for many smaller Jewish organizations in France. And François Hollande was appearing before the CRIF at its 70th anniversary dinner. Many of the Jews in the audience were themselves natives of Algeria where the Jewish community had preceded the Arab invasion by centuries, yet they fled for their lives with the French Algerians in 1962. So Hollande's remark may have given those Jews a certain bittersweet satisfaction. But the anger at him came from well fed government officials and newspaper editors as well as from more ordinary Algerians:
The statement sparked widespread outrage and front-page headlines in the Algerian press.

Lamamra [Algerian foreign minister] said Saturday that the joke did not reflect “the spirit of our relations and of the reality that French delegations and others can see regarding the security situation in Algeria.”

He said he hoped “to be able to find a way before the end of the year to turn the page on this regrettable incident.” [here]
One Algerian  paper wrote in a headline: “Hollande mocks Algeria in front of the Jews”.[France24, here]

Here is a summary of Algerian internet commentary on the incident [in French]:
The French president's joke made his audience [of Jews] laugh but it was far from being to the taste of Algerian Internet surfers. The fact that François Hollande had uttered this phrase before the CRIF, an organization reputedly close to Israel, much outraged the Algerian facebookers and tweeters. "And yes, they come to invest and take the money, later to insult us to win the favor of the Jews!" Mohamed reacted on Facebook. "Just one question Monsieur Hollande. Jean-Marc Ayrault [the very Nordic-looking French PM] came back from Algeria with contracts for several billion euros for the French economy! Do you agree? The CRIF brings you what for the economy? 0%. On the contrary, they came to celebrate at the Élysée [France's presidential palace presumably the site of the dinner]  at the expense of the French taxpayers. What you gain on contracts in the Algerian market, you use to win the favor of the CRIF. That's the equation that I ask you to reexamine," Far notes. "Frankly, it's dumb. It is clear that he was making fun of Valls, since the latter, besides being an over the top racist, is totally devoted to the 'legitimacy of Israel' and the Jewish community in France, and in Algeria . . ." Quelque Chose insists. "It is in order to please the Zionists who finance him and pay his check at the end of the month," Romaissa adds. [tsa-algerie.com , ici]

La plaisanterie du président français a fait rire son audience mais elle est loin d’être du goût des internautes algériens. Le fait que François Hollande ait prononcé cette phrase devant le Crif, une organisation réputée proche d’Israël, a beaucoup indigné les facebookers et twittos algériens. « Et oui, ils viennent pour investir et prendre l'argent ensuite nous insulter pour les beaux yeux des Juifs ! » réagit Mohamed sur Facebook. « Juste une question Monsieur Hollande. Jean-Marc Ayrault est revenu d'Algérie avec des contrats de plusieurs milliards d'euros pour l'économie française ! On est d'accord ? Le Crif t'apporte quoi à l'économie ? 0%. Au contraire, ils sont venus festoyer à l’Élysée aux frais des contribuables français. Ce que vous gagnez sur le marché algérien en contrats, vous le consommez pour les beaux yeux du Crif. C'est l'équation que je vous demande de revoir », note Far. « Franchement, c'est débile. Il est clair qu'il se moque de Valls, puisque ce dernier en plus d'être raciste sur les bords, a un dévouement total pour la "légitimité d’Israël" et la communauté juive en France, et en Algérie, ce n'est pas le cas, bien au contraire », souligne Quelque Chose. « C'est pour plaire aux sionistes qui le financent et qui paient son chèque de fin de mois », ajoute Romaissa. [tsa-algerie, ici]
[paragraph added 12-24-2013] Note that the commenters quoted in the paragraph above do not deny that Hollande's witticism reflected the reality of life in Algeria.  What they object to is Hollande making the remark to a Jewish audience. To be sure, the foreign minister said that the remark did not reflect "the reality that French delegations . . . can see regarding the security situation in Algeria.” Be the "security situation" in Algeria as it may, the ordinary commenters quoted above are concerned not about the truth or falsehood of the witticism but that it was made in front of Jews.

It is also interesting that Hollande was criticized at home by both the "Left" and the "Right" for insulting Algeria, although spokespersons for each camp in France failed to point out how the Algerians were insulting the Jews, many of them refugees from Algeria driven out by the Arabs.
French politicians on the right and left also expressed disapproval of the joke. Far-left leader – and 2012 presidential candidate – Jean-Luc Mélenchon said [and]  tweeted that Hollande’s quip made him “nauseous”.

And Valérie Pécresse, a former minister under Nicolas Sarkozy and a current representative from the right-wing UMP party, said on French television that she found the remark “particularly clumsy and not worth of a president of the republic [France 24, here]

Whereas these two French politicians only worried about the hurt feelings of the Arabs, neither one seemed bothered by the insult to the Jews, for what bothered the Algerian Arabs the most was that Hollande made his wisecrack to a Jewish audience. Arabs and Muslims generally have been taught to hate and despise Jews for centuries, and when Jews gain state power, they feel insulted that their former subjects whom they lorded over once upon a time have now regained their dignity leaving the Arabs in a weaker position. So it's not the "occupation" but their own refusal to accept Jews as equals that causes them to be so enraged.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ismail Pasha Hires & Endorses Pro-Zionist Composer, Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi wrote his famous opera Nabucco in 1841. It was first performed at the La Scala in Milan in 1842. The opera contains the following lyrics in the famous aria Va, Pensiero. These lines recognize the Jews' yearning for their homeland and their right to it.

O Thought, go on gilded wings;
Go, alight on slopes and hills
Where the sweet breezes of our native soil
Waft scents warm and soft!
Greet the banks of the Jordan,
And the thrown down towers of  Zion.
O my homeland so beautiful and lost!
O memory so dear and fateful!

O Golden Harp of prophetic seers,
Why do you hang mute from the willow tree?
Rekindle memories in our breasts,
Speak to us of the times that were!
O Being of the same order as Salem [Jerusalem] for the Fates,
Bring forth a sound of raw lament, 
O, may the Lord inspire you  with a harmony
Infused with the virtue of suffering!
[translation by Eliyahu m'Tsiyon]
 
Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate;
va, ti posa sui clivi e sui colli
ove olezzano tepide e molli
l'aure dolci del suolo natal!
Del Giordano le rive saluta,
di Sionne le torri atterrate.
Oh, mia patria sí bella e perduta!
Oh, membranza sí cara e fatal!

 Arpa d'or dei fatidici vati
perché muta dal salice pendi?
Le memorie nel petto raccendi,
ci favella del tempo che fu!
O simile di Solima ai fati
traggi un suono di crudo lamento,
o t'ispiri il Signore un concento
che ne infonda al patire virtu!
 
 
Nabucco, one of Verdi's most famous operas and his first great success, was  named    after Nebuchadnezzar [Nabucodonosor, in Italian, later shortened to Nabucco]. This was the Babylonian king who made a ruin of Jerusalem and later exiled the Jews to his own country where
"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat, sat and wept, as we thought of Zion.
There on the poplars we hung up our lyres. . . "  [Psalm 137, NJV translation]

This aria, called both Va, Pensiero and the Hebrew Slaves Chorus, is not only of great beauty, but has clear Zionist overtones. Its sympathy for the exiled Jewish people is impressive. Today's rising Nazi-like anti-Israel movement would consider it definitely "politically incorrect." But the 19th century was different. The Muslim ruler of Egypt of the time, Khedive Ismail, loosely under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire, admired Verdi as a great composer and commissioned him to compose an opera to mark the opening of the newly built Cairo opera house. The result was Aida, considered a great opera like Nabucco. Note that Aida was first performed in 1871. Nabucco was first performed in 1842, about 30 years earlier. So Ismail was well aware of Nabucco and its theme sympathetic to Jews when he commissioned Verdi. Muslim rulers today, as well as the frenetic politically correct Western partisans of Arabs and Muslims, would likely boycott him. Zionism did not exist as a movement by that name at the time, although Jews were drawn to Zion, to Jerusalem, from many parts of the Jewish Diaspora. They were already a majority in the Holy City by 1853, if not before.

Ismail's grandfather, Muhammad Ali [Mehmet Ali], and his father Ibrahim had ruled over Jerusalem for about ten years up to 1840 and treated the Jews there and their fellow dhimmis, the local Christians, rather well by the Muslim standards of the time, which is one of the reasons that they are called "modernizers." Moreover, the Quran foretells the return of the Jews to their land [sura 17:104] and contains some other Zionist-like verses. Of course today Muslims avoid quoting those verses. In addition, in the early period of the Zionist movement, some leading Egyptians who opposed British rule were sympathetic too to Zionism. Moreover, in Isma`il's time, neither Muslims/Arabs nor Westerners had heard of a "Palestinian people." Nor did Arabs and other Muslims call the country "palestine" then. They saw it as part of Greater Syria [ash-Sham]. Nor did fanatic partisans of the Arabs, neither Western nor Arab nor other Muslims, demonstrate riotously against the play's performances in Cairo or elsewhere. Nor was Verdi boycotted. Nor was Jewish history denied. Times have changed.
 
 Here is a background account of the composition of Aida:
Verdi was commissioned to compose Aida by the ruler (Khedive) of Egypt, Isma’il Pasha for the then enormous sum of 150,000 [gold] francs.  The commission was not to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal but rather to mark the opening of a new opera hall in Cairo.  The libretto was written by Antonio Ghislanzoni based on a plot developed by Auguste Mariette, the foremost Egyptologist of the era.  He based the plot on his historical research of the Upper Nile valley.  The première was planned for January 1871.  However it was delayed by the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War and finally took place in Cairo on December 24, 1871 where it was met with enthusiastic acclaim.  Aida’s European première took place at La Scala in Milan on February 8, 1872.  Given its success in Cairo and Milan, Aida productions were quickly mounted throughout Italy in the following years.  It was premièred in New York in 1873, in St. Petersburg in 1875, and in both Paris and London in 1876.  [see here]
Here is background on Nabucco:

. . . an Italian-language opera in four acts composed in 1841 by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera. The libretto is based on the Biblical story and the 1836 play by Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois and Francis Cornue, although Antonio Cortese's ballet adaptation of the play (with its necessary simplifications), given at La Scala in 1836, was a more important source for Solera than the play itself.[1] Under its original name of Nabucodonosor, the opera was first performed at La Scala in Milan on 9 March 1842. [here]

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NOTE: The name Solyma for Jerusalem is used in Greek and probably comes from Salem which in ancient Hebrew was probably pronounced Sholem [Shawlem-- the vowel qomets had a different sound then than in modern Hebrew. It was like how the Ashkenazim and Yemenites traditionally pronounced it.]. In Greek we also have the name Hierosolyma for the city, hiero meaning holy. So the Greeks may have seen the name as meaning Holy Solyma.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Alan Baker Answers Kerry's Ignorant Threats

You have probably seen the nasty threats that John Kerry, US secretary of state, has made against Israel for not complying with US Govt desires in the negotiations between Israel and the "Palestinian Authority." For one thing, Kerry "warned" [threatened] Israel with a "third Intifada" if it didn't come to terms with the PA on the PA's terms. This has rightly been seen as encouraging the PA to drag its feet in the negotiations and not make concessions since it can expect US official support in any case, whatever it does, even if it starts a new round of terrorist violence, to be called an "intifada," as Arafat started one in the year 2000 after he did not get what he wanted in the Camp David talks with Clinton and Ehud Barak. Kerry, portraying himself as a peacemaker, has justified in advance an Arab return to low intensity warfare.

Alan Baker, a former advisor on international law to the Israeli foreign ministry and a former Israeli ambassador, sent an open letter to John Kerry, explaining to him his mistakes in regard to international law and history.

Alan Baker, Attorney, Ambassador (ret')
P.O.B. 182, Har Adar, Israel 90836
The Hon. James Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State,
The State Department,
Washington D.C.
November 8, 2013
Dear Secretary Kerry,
After listening to you declare repeatedly over the past weeks that "Israel's settlements are illegitimate", I respectfully wish to state, unequivocally, that you are mistaken and ill advised, both in law and in fact.
Pursuant to the "Oslo Accords", and specifically the Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement (1995), the "issue of settlements" is one of subjects to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. President Bill Clinton on behalf of the US, is signatory as witness to that agreement, together with the leaders of the EU, Russia, Egypt, Jordan and Norway.
Your statements serve to not only to prejudge this negotiating issue, but also to undermine the integrity of that agreement, as well as the very negotiations that you so enthusiastically advocate.
Your determination that Israel's settlements are illegitimate cannot be legally substantiated. The oft-quoted prohibition on transferring population into occupied territory (Art. 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention) was, according to the International Committee Red Cross's own official commentary of that convention, drafted in 1949 to prevent the forced, mass transfer of populations carried out by the Nazis in the Second World War. It was never intended to apply to Israel's settlement activity. Attempts by the international community to attribute this article to Israel emanate from clear partisan motives, with which you, and the US are now identifying.
The formal applicability of that convention to the disputed territories cannot be claimed since they were not occupied from a prior, legitimate sovereign power.
The territories cannot be defined as "Palestinian territories" or, as you yourself frequently state, as "Palestine". No such entity exists, and the whole purpose of the permanent status negotiation is to determine, by agreement, the status of the territory, to which Israel has a legitimate claim, backed by international legal and historic rights. How can you presume to undermine this negotiation?
There is no requirement in any of the signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians that Israel cease, or freeze settlement activity. The opposite is in fact the case. The above-noted 1995 interim agreement enables each party to plan, zone and build in the areas under its respective control.
Israel's settlement policy neither prejudices the outcome of the negotiations nor does it involve displacement of local Palestinian residents from their private property.  Israel is indeed duly committed to negotiate the issue of settlements, and thus there is no room for any predetermination by you intended to prejudge the outcome of that negotiation.
By your repeating this ill-advised determination that Israel's settlements are illegitimate, and by your threatening Israel with a "third Palestinian intifada" and international isolation and delegitimization, you are in fact buying into, and even fueling the Palestinian propaganda narrative, and exerting unfair pressure on Israel. This is equally the case with your insistence on a false and unrealistic time limit to the negotiation.
As such you are taking sides, thereby prejudicing your own personal credibility, as well as that of the US.
With a view to restoring your own and the US's credibility, and to come with clean hands to the negotiation, you are respectfully requested to publicly and formally retract your determination as to the illegitimate nature of Israel's settlements and to cease your pressure on Israel.
Respectfully,
Alan Baker, Attorney, Ambassador (ret'),
Former legal counsel of Israel's Ministry for Foreign Affairs,
Former ambassador of Israel to Canada,
Director, Institute for Contemporary Affairs, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs,
Director, International Action Division, The Legal Forum for Israel
Copy:
H.E. Daniel B. Shapiro, US Ambassador to Israel,
71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv, Israel
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See a useful article on this issue here.

For more on Israel's international law status, the status of Judea & Samaria in particular, see here.


Here is the text of the letter from Amb. Alan Baker to Secretary of State John Kerry, dated Nov. 8, 2013 Alan Baker, Attorney, Ambassador (ret’) P.O.B. 182, Har Adar, Israel 90836 Tel: +972-54-3322643 E-mail: ambassador.alan@gmail.com The Hon. James Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, The State Department, Washington D.C. November 8, 2013 Dear Secretary Kerry, After listening to you declare repeatedly over the past weeks that “Israel’s settlements are illegitimate”, I respectfully wish to state, unequivocally, that you are mistaken and ill advised, both in law and in fact. Pursuant to the “Oslo Accords”, and specifically the Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement (1995), the “issue of settlements” is one of subjects to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. President Bill Clinton on behalf of the US, is signatory as witness to that agreement, together with the leaders of the EU, Russia, Egypt, Jordan and Norway. Your statements serve to not only to prejudge this negotiating issue, but also to undermine the integrity of that agreement, as well as the very negotiations that you so enthusiastically advocate. Your determination that Israel’s settlements are illegitimate cannot be legally substantiated. The oft-quoted prohibition on transferring population into occupied territory (Art. 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention) was, according to the International Committee Red Cross’s own official commentary of that convention, drafted in 1949 to prevent the forced, mass transfer of populations carried out by the Nazis in the Second World War. It was never intended to apply to Israel’s settlement activity. Attempts by the international community to attribute this article to Israel emanate from clear partisan motives, with which you, and the US are now identifying. The formal applicability of that convention to the disputed territories cannot be claimed since they were not occupied from a prior, legitimate sovereign power. The territories cannot be defined as “Palestinian territories” or, as you yourself frequently state, as “Palestine”. No such entity exists, and the whole purpose of the permanent status negotiation is to determine, by agreement, the status of the territory, to which Israel has a legitimate claim, backed by international legal and historic rights. How can you presume to undermine this negotiation? There is no requirement in any of the signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians that Israel cease, or freeze settlement activity. The opposite is in fact the case. The above-noted 1995 interim agreement enables each party to plan, zone and build in the areas under its respective control. Israel’s settlement policy neither prejudices the outcome of the negotiations nor does it involve displacement of local Palestinian residents from their private property. Israel is indeed duly committed to negotiate the issue of settlements, and thus there is no room for any predetermination by you intended to prejudge the outcome of that negotiation. By your repeating this ill-advised determination that Israel’s settlements are illegitimate, and by your threatening Israel with a “third Palestinian intifada” and international isolation and delegitimization, you are in fact buying into, and even fueling the Palestinian propaganda narrative, and exerting unfair pressure on Israel. This is equally the case with your insistence on a false and unrealistic time limit to the negotiation. As such you are taking sides, thereby prejudicing your own personal credibility, as well as that of the US. With a view to restoring your own and the US’s credibility, and to come with clean hands to the negotiation, you are respectfully requested to publicly and formally retract your determination as to the illegitimate nature of Israel’s settlements and to cease your pressure on Israel. Respectfully, Alan Baker, Attorney, Ambassador (ret’), Former legal counsel of Israel’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Former ambassador of Israel to Canada, Director, Institute for Contemporary Affairs, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Director, International Action Division, The Legal Forum for Israel Copy: H.E. Daniel B. Shapiro, US Ambassador to Israel, 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv, Israel 63903

Read more at: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/kerry-skorched-by-legal-expert-for-false-settlements-narrative/2013/11/11/
Here is the text of the letter from Amb. Alan Baker to Secretary of State John Kerry, dated Nov. 8, 2013 Alan Baker, Attorney, Ambassador (ret’) P.O.B. 182, Har Adar, Israel 90836 Tel: +972-54-3322643 E-mail: ambassador.alan@gmail.com The Hon. James Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, The State Department, Washington D.C. November 8, 2013 Dear Secretary Kerry, After listening to you declare repeatedly over the past weeks that “Israel’s settlements are illegitimate”, I respectfully wish to state, unequivocally, that you are mistaken and ill advised, both in law and in fact. Pursuant to the “Oslo Accords”, and specifically the Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement (1995), the “issue of settlements” is one of subjects to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. President Bill Clinton on behalf of the US, is signatory as witness to that agreement, together with the leaders of the EU, Russia, Egypt, Jordan and Norway. Your statements serve to not only to prejudge this negotiating issue, but also to undermine the integrity of that agreement, as well as the very negotiations that you so enthusiastically advocate. Your determination that Israel’s settlements are illegitimate cannot be legally substantiated. The oft-quoted prohibition on transferring population into occupied territory (Art. 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention) was, according to the International Committee Red Cross’s own official commentary of that convention, drafted in 1949 to prevent the forced, mass transfer of populations carried out by the Nazis in the Second World War. It was never intended to apply to Israel’s settlement activity. Attempts by the international community to attribute this article to Israel emanate from clear partisan motives, with which you, and the US are now identifying. The formal applicability of that convention to the disputed territories cannot be claimed since they were not occupied from a prior, legitimate sovereign power. The territories cannot be defined as “Palestinian territories” or, as you yourself frequently state, as “Palestine”. No such entity exists, and the whole purpose of the permanent status negotiation is to determine, by agreement, the status of the territory, to which Israel has a legitimate claim, backed by international legal and historic rights. How can you presume to undermine this negotiation? There is no requirement in any of the signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians that Israel cease, or freeze settlement activity. The opposite is in fact the case. The above-noted 1995 interim agreement enables each party to plan, zone and build in the areas under its respective control. Israel’s settlement policy neither prejudices the outcome of the negotiations nor does it involve displacement of local Palestinian residents from their private property. Israel is indeed duly committed to negotiate the issue of settlements, and thus there is no room for any predetermination by you intended to prejudge the outcome of that negotiation. By your repeating this ill-advised determination that Israel’s settlements are illegitimate, and by your threatening Israel with a “third Palestinian intifada” and international isolation and delegitimization, you are in fact buying into, and even fueling the Palestinian propaganda narrative, and exerting unfair pressure on Israel. This is equally the case with your insistence on a false and unrealistic time limit to the negotiation. As such you are taking sides, thereby prejudicing your own personal credibility, as well as that of the US. With a view to restoring your own and the US’s credibility, and to come with clean hands to the negotiation, you are respectfully requested to publicly and formally retract your determination as to the illegitimate nature of Israel’s settlements and to cease your pressure on Israel. Respectfully, Alan Baker, Attorney, Ambassador (ret’), Former legal counsel of Israel’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Former ambassador of Israel to Canada, Director, Institute for Contemporary Affairs, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Director, International Action Division, The Legal Forum for Israel Copy: H.E. Daniel B. Shapiro, US Ambassador to Israel, 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv, Israel 63903

Read more at: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/kerry-skorched-by-legal-expert-for-false-settlements-narrative/2013/11/11/