Archive for September 2008

Things to Worry About

September 28, 2008

1. U.S. textbooks portray Judaism and Christianity inaccurately and condescendingly, while describing Islam exactly as the Moslem clerics do.  Israel is portrayed as an agressive terrorist state, while Palestinian terror is almost ignored.  These textbooks are being used by tens of millions of students!

2. Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal supports the theory that there never was a Dead Sea Sect (Essene or otherwise).

3. Will Ahmadinejad succeed in separating Israel from Judaism, thus bringing into question Israel’s right to exist?

Ahmadinejad’s Anti-Semitic Rants in New York

September 25, 2008

Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is spreading his anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist and Holocaust denial rhetoric in New York.  On Tuesday he told Larry King that more research needs to be done to determine the extent of the Holocaust.  He said it is impossible to be both Jewish and Zionist, because “How can you be religious and kill women and children at the same time?”

Z-Word Blog points out that this is Ahmadinejad at his most moderate.  In Iran he says things like: “They should know that regional nations hate this fake and criminal regime and if the smallest and briefest chance is given to regional nations they will destroy it.”  He is trying to present himself to the UN and to the world as a serious and responsible statesmen.  Instead, he comes off sounding like a raving lunatic.  Our main concern should be the American public – it’s possible that people who are ignorant of Jewish history may think there is a grain of truth to his claims.  And that is truly scary.

Newly Discovered Pictures of the Hebron Massacre

September 24, 2008

A collection of pictures from the Hebron Massacre of 1929, as well as simultaneous massacres around the country, have been posted on the website of Hebron’s Jewish community.  Noam Arnon has identified most of the victims and even corrected some wrong identifications.  The collection was given to Arnon by the widow of Gershon Gera, a researcher of the Land of Israel and its photos.  Gera recieved them from an anonymous donor who placed them on a table and left quickly without identifying himself.

Read the rest of the story at Haaretz.  The pictures can be viewed only on the Hebrew section of the Hebron website. (Note: They are a bit gruesome.)

Also see Hebron Massacre of August 1929, a previous post on this blog.

Arab States as a Refuge for Jews?

September 23, 2008

How’s this for irony?  In 1936, the Mufti of Jerusalem (Haj Amin Al-Husseini) told the Peel Commission that the Jews had always fared well under Moslem rule:

It will not be the first time that Jews have lived under the aegis of an Arab state. In the past it has been the Arab states which were the more compassionate to them. History shows that, during all periods, the Jews only found rest under the protection of Arab rulers. The East was always a shelter for Jews escaping from European pressure.

The commission’s response to this preposterous statement was:

We are not questioning the sincerity or the humanity of the Muft’s intentions and those of his colleagues, but we cannot forget what recently happened, despite the treaty provisions and explicit assurances, to the Assyrian minority in Iraq; nor can we forget that the hatred of the Arab politician for the National Home has never been concealed and that it has now premeated the Arab population as a whole.

A few years later, the Mufti joined the European oppression of the Jews by supporting Hitler and the Holocaust.  See What was the Mufti of Jerusalem Doing During the Holocaust?

Obama, Zionism and the American Dream

September 22, 2008

Barack Obama writes for Jewels of Elul:

Just as the courageous Zionists who established the State of Israel were energized by Theodore Herzl’s dictum, so do Americans draw inspiration from the notion that determination can turn our dreams into reality.

As someone who grew up without a strong sense of roots, I have always been drawn to the belief – embedded in the long journey of the Jewish people – that you could sustain a spiritual, emotional, and cultural identity in the face of impossible odds. And I deeply understood the Zionist idea – that there is always a homeland at the center of our story.

For America’s Founders, that story was based on a set of ideals – freedom and equality, justice and opportunity. Generations of Americans have worked to build a more perfect union that lives up to those ideals. And time and again, Americans have come together to meet great challenges at home while working to repair the world abroad.

Today, we face another defining moment. We must reclaim that basic American Dream for all Americans – the idea that if you work hard, you can support a family; that if you get sick, there will be health care you can afford; that you can retire with the dignity and security you have earned; and that every American can get a world-class education. Abroad, we must advance peace in a dangerous world and achieve a clean energy future that breaks our dependence on foreign oil, while securing our planet. Americans also stand firm in our friendship with the Israeli people and our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.

As Israelis take stock of their remarkable achievements over the last 60 years – and as Jews everywhere reflect with reverence on this treasured past while looking to an uncertain future – Americans are united in our determination to help Israel achieve lasting peace and security. These are dreams we can achieve if we are willing to come together and work for them.

Israel Antiquities Authority Setting Up Shop in Canada

September 18, 2008

The Israel Antiquities Authority hopes it can use the upcoming exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto as a jumping-off point for building a relationship between the IAA and Canadian Jewry.  The IAA has sent Ya’en Vered to Toronto for three years.  He has set up an office and has some interesting ideas about how to connect Canadians with Israel’s long heritage:

“I’m looking for somebody that will  donate a big sum, and then we’ll let them have an exhibition of the scrolls in their home for a meeting with people. That is something that has never been done in the world. That is something that is mind-boggling,” he said, adding, “I’m not sure it will happen, because we need special people to look into it.”

Vered is also looking into creating a twinning project between Canadian Jewish communities and antique sites in Israel.

“We’d like to twin a synagogue here in Toronto with an ancient synagogue in Israel.”

He said in the same way that Jewish communities travel to shtetls in Poland to explore their heritage, he hopes the twinning concept will encourage Canadians to visit Israel’s ancient sites and even raise funds in an effort to maintain them.

The full story can be read at The Canadian Jewish News.

Prime Ministers of Israel

September 18, 2008

Eric at The Israel Situation has started a series on Israeli Prime Ministers in History.  So far you can read about David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett.  Check it out!