.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Emet m'Tsiyon

Friday, December 29, 2006

More on Hebron in the 19th Century -- Part III

Saul Friedman goes on with his account of 19th century Hebron and his compilation of quotes about the city from travelers' accounts:
The worst example of Islamic bigotry operated at the Haram, the fortress structure [the Tomb of the Patriarchs built by King Herod] which rose over the blackened Cave of Machpelah. . . as Cook's [Cook's Handbook, p 149] advised, "The traveller can only stand a short way off from the entrance; he dare not enter, the place being guarded with most jealous care by the Moslems." It was advice well-taken. Elizabeth Butler wrote of "insolent-looking Muslims" who barred the way. "Had we attempted to enter," wrote Ms Butler, "we should have had a bad quarter of an hour from the Mahometans. These sons of the Bondwoman [= Hagar, mother of Ishmael, forefather of the Arabs] would stone any son of the Free who would attempt an entry." A contemporary, Henry Van Dyke, was only a trifle more successful [Friedman, p 135; E Butler, Letters from the Holy Land, p 37 ]:
The modern town has about twenty thousand inhabitants, chiefly Mohammedans of a fanatical temper, and is incredibly dirty. We passed the muddy pool by which King David, when he was reigning here, hanged the murderers of Ishbosheth. We climbed the crooked streets to the Mosque [the Tomb of the Patriarchs, called by Muslims al-Masjid al-Ibrahimi] which covers the supposed site of the cave of Machpelah. But we did not see the tomb of Abraham [Ibrahim in Arabic], for no "Infidel" is allowed to pass beyond the seventh step in the flight of stairs which leads up to the doorway. [Friedman, p 135; Van Dyke, Out-of-Doors in the Holy Land, p 99]
Despite the chatter about Islamic toleration so common nowadays, in particular Arafat's claims about Muslim-Arab tolerance in his UN General Assembly speech [13 November 1974],
no Christian could proceed beyond the fifth, then seventh step leading into the mosque until the Prince of Wales was accorded that distinction in 1862. Over the next forty years, a select handful of dignitaries followed. Only in 1919 when the British came to rule. . . [the Land of Israel] were non-Muslim commoners granted access to the inner chambers and whitewashed plaster mounds [grave markers or symbolic graves] within the mosque. Once again, however, there was a stipulation that visitors secure a letter of endorsement from the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. [Friedman, p 135] In practice, this meant that while some Christians could enter the building deemed holy to three faiths, Jews could not. Throughout the Mandatory period, Jews were still barred on pain of death from proceeding beyond the thick green stripe of paint that marked the seventh step leading to the door of the mosque. On certain days of the year, they were permitted to stuff notes of supplication addressed to "Father Abraham" into an aperture along the eastern wall. But, as John Kelman sadly reported, "The Moslem boys are said to know that the hole has no great depth, and collect these letters and burn them before Abraham has seen them." [Kelman, The Holy Land, p 235]. It was not until the Six Day War of 1967 that Jews could be admitted to what was one of their most sacred shrines. [Friedman, p 136]
It's nice to know that in this world of disorder, hostility and violence, there was one place where tolerance prevailed and the milk of human kindness washed through the streets.
- - - - - - - - - - -
Coming: More on Hebron, on peace follies, Jews in Jerusalem, the corruption of the Olmert-Livni regime, propaganda, archeology in the Land of Israel, etc.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Professor Biger's Turkophilic Fantasies -- More Distortion of History

UPDATING 7-22-2008, see bottom

Gid`on Biger is indeed an expert on the internal adminstrative boundaries in the Land of Israel during the Ottoman period [see previous post]. However, he has an unfortunate proclivity to apologize for Muslim misdeeds. Hence, he has been taken to the bosom of a Turkish apologist website, "Tall Armenian Tale." Remarks that he made several years ago at an Israeli-Turkish conference of historians at Tel Aviv University were recorded and summarized by Abraham Rabinovich, for many years a correspondent of the Jerusalem Post.
Prof. Gideon Biger of Tel Aviv University said that Israeli and other Jewish historians have been distinctly ungenerous to the Turks in making them out to be "the big bad wolf."

Acts of villainy attributed to the Turks during the World War I in fact constituted moderate, even civilized, behavior in the context of war, he said.

WHEN fighting broke out in 1914, there were 85,000 Jews in Palestine, most of whom had arrived in the decades after 1882. Most did not adopt Ottoman citizenship, preferring to retain citizenship of their home country, with the protection that offered.

With the outbreak of war, some of these home countries — like Britain, France and Russia — became enemies of Turkey. Their nationals were given a choice of becoming Ottoman subjects or leaving the Ottoman Empire. If they became subjects, they would be liable to draft but, as a gesture, the Turks said they would defer draft for a year.

About 15,000 foreign Jews who refused to take Ottoman citizenship were forced to leave the country. Noting that Israeli history books refer to this as "the cruel deportation," Biger said that no country behaved more gently to citizens of enemy states during a war. [report of lecture by Abraham Rabinovich]
What Biger doesn't ask is why Jewish immigrants into the Land of Israel --which did not exist as a political or administrative-territorial entity under any name under the Mamluk and Ottoman empires-- preferred "to retain citizenship of their home country, with the protection that offered," rather than take on Ottoman subjecthood. We say subjecthood, since the Ottoman Empire had subjects not citizens. Actually, Biger errs. The bulk of the immigrants were Russian Jews. The Russian Empire provided minimal "protection" --if at all-- to their Jewish subjects in the Ottoman Empire. The Russian Empire hated Jews and the Russian Jews generally hated that empire. The tsar's empire did not "protect" or represent the Russian Jews in Jerusalem, for example, except minimally and sporadically perhaps. The Russian tsars wanted to renew Greek Orthodox domination of the Land, as embodied in the Byzantine Empire before the Arab conquest, and in the future to be embodied in Russian leadership or domination. For this purpose, Jews in the Holy Land were seen as a hindrance.

It is reasonable to conclude that most Russian Jews in the Land of Israel would have been happy to take on Ottoman subjecthood ["nationality"] if it had been better than, an improvement over, Russian subjecthood. The Russian Empire was notorious before WW1 for persecution and harassment of Jews, particularly in areas of thick Jewish settlement, Russian Poland, Belarus and the Ukraine [in outlying, non-Slavic, areas like Bukhara, Russian rule was an improvement for the Jews over previous Muslim oppression]. Actually, one of the ways in which the Russian Empire oppressed Jews early in the 19th century was to impose on them a practice copied from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans for hundreds of years confiscated children from the Christian natives in the Balkans, Serbs, Greeks, Rumanians [then called Vlakhs or Wallachs] in a system called devshirme and forced them to convert to Islam and serve in the army or other state agencies. The comparable Russian practice was called the Cantonist policy, which was in fact milder than devshirme, since it gave the Jewish child recruits a chance to return to their families if they had not converted after 25 years of service. The policy was discontinued in the mid-19th century. Given the loathing of most Jews in the Russian Empire for their oppressors, Jews from Russia in Israel would have gladly taken up Ottoman subjecthood, if it had been an improvement. Indeed, during the Crimean War against Russia, the local Ottoman officials in Jerusalem enlisted local rabbis of both the Sefardim and the Ashkenazim [many of them from the Russian Empire] to lead prayers for an Ottoman victory in the war [actually, French and British forces defended the Ottoman Empire against Russia] at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount.

The question that we would ask Biger is: Why did so many non-Muslim natives of the empire, Christians as well as Jews (especially Christians), take on the protection and citizenship [sometimes called then "nationality"] of Western powers? Their purpose was to avoid the disabilities, the social and juridical inferiority imposed on non-Muslims under Muslim dominion.
Moreover, the historian George Clark tells us of the Ottomans:
It has often been said that their empire was an army of occupation and not a political power.
[G Clark, The Seventeenth Century ( 1st ed. 1929; 5th printing: New York: Oxford Univ Press 1961), p 172].
For the same reasons, the same could be said about the early, pre-Crusades Arab empires. For related reasons, I would accept in some ways Biger's defense of the Ottoman state. The oppression of non-Muslims as dhimmis that so many wanted to escape was carried out not only by the Ottoman state but by local Muslims. Indeed, sometimes the Ottoman state protected dhimmis from oppression and persecution by local Muslims that went beyond the commands of Muslim law [shari`ah]. When the Ottoman state was strong it could supply such protection. But when it was weak local Muslim notables and strongmen felt that they could act without restraint. This was why many or most Jewish immigrants did not seek Ottoman subjecthood, Professor Biger, especially after it became possible to take on a Western citizenship or "nationality."

The Turkish apologist website then goes on to falsify Ottoman imperial history:
Here's the deal: after centuries of prosperity, practically all the minorities of the Ottoman Empire decided to take advantage of the weakened Ottoman Empire and stabbed their nation in the back. Years later, groups from Armenians to Greeks to Assyrians would dishonorably present the reaction to their treachery as "genocide."
It's too funny --"after centuries of prosperity." So the oppressed dhimmi subject peoples "stabbed their nation in the back." Their "nation" or their state? As if they owed something to the Ottoman Empire. It should be needless to say that the above is asinine but in the 21st century no knowledge or understanding --on the part of the uneducated or the university- educated alike-- can be taken for granted. That is, historical knowledge is so meager among ordinary people and "intellectuals" and academics, even regarding events within living memory, like the Holocaust, like Palestinian Arab collaboration in the Holocaust, that one cannot take it for granted that people know anything.

Be that as it may, after blaming Jews for not taking Ottoman subjecthood, Prof Biger gets to another related issue.
THE MOST emotion-laden grievance against the Turks [on the part of Jews in Israel] involved their crackdown on the Nili spy ring, founded by a group of young Jews in Zichron Ya'acov to help the Allied war effort [during World War 1]. The ringleader, Aaron Aaronson, managed to escape but the Turks hanged other members of the ring and tortured Aaronson's sister, Sara, who finally shot herself.

The known facts are correct, said Biger, but the prevailing Jewish attitude is too narrow.

The only people punished by the Turks, he noted, were those actually involved in the ring — and only after a military trial. There was no collective punishment against the Jews of Palestine or even of Zichron Ya'acov. "No house was burned and anyone can visit today the original house of the Aaronson family. The woman who committed suicide was actually a spy who received the 'usual treatment' of spies during war."
[Abraham Rabinovich, "The Secret Crescent Cause"]

Yes, many other countries have executed spies. The United States executed --during peacetime-- the Rosenbergs, husband and wife, who indeed spied for the Soviet Union (the wife's activity was marginal). The press of the time charged the Rosenbergs with giving the secrets of the atomic bomb to the Communist USSR during WW2, while the USA and USSR were allies. In fact, Harry Hopkins, a White House advisor of FDR, has been accused of seeing to the transport to the USSR of cartons of documents produced by the Manhattan Project to produce the atomic bomb, in addition to having heavy water shipped there. Furthermore, certain atomic scientists who actually worked on the bomb and knew much more about it than Rosenberg did, and gave information about it to the USSR, were sentenced to only light terms [i.e., Klaus Fuchs]. So even the USA executed spies. By executing members of the NILI, the Ottoman government was doing nothing exceptional, as Biger says. However, he does not ask WHY the NILI group spied for the British on the Ottoman Empire.

In fact, they were well aware of the Armenian genocide. Sarah Aaronsohn had seen how the Armenians were being herded toward their death, suffering abuse, as she watched from her train window on a trip from Kusta [the Hebrew name; it was then called Constantinople in the West, now Istanbul] in 1915. Jews in the NILI group spied for Britain out of fear that the Armenian massacre might be applied to Jews in Israel. The Jews had no special loyalty to Russia, the UK's ally in the war. The NILI group were well aware of the Armenian genocide. Zionists and other Jews outside of Israel were well aware of the Armenian genocide and worried that it might be extended to the Jews. Ze'ev Jabotinsky, Max Nordau and Prof. A.S. Yahuda wrote during WW I about the concern for the survival of the Jews in Israel during the war. The Turkish/Ottoman apologist quoted above supplies the name of another Zionist writer on this matter, Alfred Boehm, through a quote from an Ottoman Jewish subject of that time. I am not familiar with Boehm's writings.
As Mustafa Kemal Ataturk pointed out, however, there was one exception among the different millets [subject ethno-religious groups with autonomy as dhimmi peoples]: Ottoman Jews remained loyal. In an emotional encounter, one summed it up:
"So now the unethical genocide industry has gotten wind of this episode. Creepy Zionists like Alfred Boehm have written books making ugly statements such as, If Palestine had not been freed by the English at the end of 1917, the Jewish Yishuv (settlement) [Yishuv= the Jewish population in Israel] would have been exterminated by Djemal."
Jamal Pasha was part of the triumvirate ruling the Ottoman Empire during WW I. He and his friends took power in 1908 through the Young Turk movement, formally known as the Committee for Unity and Progress. Nasser's Free Officers were much like the Young Turks when they took over in 1952. They too were seen as "progressives," "reformers," "uncorruptible," etc.

Getting back to the threat to the Yishuv in Israel. Jabotinsky discussed the threat in an article in Yiddish entitled "Activism," which he published in 1915 in Copenhagen in neutral Denmark [in Di Tribune, 10 October 1915]. This article was influential at the time, although it is barely remembered today. It may never have been published in English, although I am personally aware that the bulk of it was translated into English. Jabotinsky in 1915 was well aware of the Armenian genocide but believed that Jewish influence in the capitals of the Ottomans' major allies, Berlin, Vienna and Budapest, would prevent the Committee of Unity and Progress, the Ittihad government, from bringing upon the Jews in Israel the same fate as the Armenians were suffering.

Prof Yahuda was concerned about the fate of the Jews in Israel from the very beginning of WW I. He wrote [in German] to Oscar S Straus, a prominent Jewish leader in New York. Straus answered him [in English] on 23 October 1914:
I am in receipt of your letter of October 5th in regard to the condition of the Jews in Palestine, and a foreshadowing of what may happen to them should war break out between Turkey and Russia.
Straus wrote on 30 October 1914 to Nordau, who had also written to him of his concerns:
I also communicated with the German Ambassador, informing him that should Turkey enter the war on the German side and a massacre occur in Palestine, the civilized world would hold Germany, the dominant power, responsible.
A.S. Yahuda's background is of interest. He was born in Israel in 1877 (d. 1951) of a family that had come from Iraq. He was educated in Israel and later went to study in Europe, eventually becoming a professor at the Higher School of Jewish Studies in Berlin [Hochschule fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums], and later at the University of Madrid. His book on parallels between the Biblical accounts of Egypt and archeological findings there --The Accuracy of the Bible-- seems to have been a major influence on Immanuel Velikovsky and his citation of Egyptian documents confirming the story of the Exodus [in Worlds in Collision, Ages in Chaos, etc]. Yahuda also purchased personal papers of Isaac Newton, the famous physicist. These papers demonstrate Newton's interest in the Bible and the Jewish role in history, papers that the British universities were not interested in purchasing from Newton's family. These papers are now in Jerusalem at the Hebrew National and University Library.
The letters quoted above are in Yahuda's article in Hebrew, "The Effort to Defend the Jewish Population in Israel during the First World War," in A.R. Mal'akhy [ed.], Yisrael (New York: Shulsinger Bros, 1949-50), pp 73-84.

Prof. Biger is technically correct in most of what he said, but he avoids the conditions of those times that are necessary for understanding the Ottoman state's actions as well as those of the Jews in the NILI.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
UPDATING 7-22-2008 Eyewitness Testimony by a NILI Member on the Armenian Massaces
Here & here & here
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Coming: More on Hebron, more on peace follies, more on Jews in Jerusalem, etc.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The European Union: Madness & Moral Corruption vs A Rare Voice of Sanity in Europe

The European Union is hostile to Israel following a European tradition of hostility to Jews going back 2,000 years. The hostility operates in many ways. The European Union is not an innocent bystander in Israel's conflict with the Arabs, nor can the EU be an "honest broker." Obviously, it has NOT been honest or decent in its relations with Israel, nor in its favoritism for anti-Israel Arabs. This deeply rooted policy can be partly explained by Bat Ye'or's Eurabia theory. But it goes back much farther into European history, into the history of European relations with the Jews, and into the European mind than the Eurabian phenomenon, which emerged in the early 1970s. In the context of its abysmal hatred for the State and People of Israel [and Jews generally], the EU propagates lies big and small. A recent EU declaration illustrates this phenomenon. Of course, there are sane voices in Europe, and Israel has many friends there. One of our favorites is the intelligent Italian daily, Il Foglio. Here is their excellent report and commentary on the pre-Christmas summit meeting of the EU and the ensuing anti-Israel declaration.

Europe against Israel
Gaza Is Exploding and Lebanon Is Exploding, but Brussels Only Attacks Jerusalem.
For Iran? A Slap on the Wrist

Brussels. With the Palestinian Territories and Lebanon on the verge of civil war, the pre-Christmas summit of the European Union accused the usual suspect, Israel. Yesterday, Europe ordered the Jerusalem government to "stop violations of Lebanese air space," to release prisoners, extend the truce to the West Bank, unblock funds for the Palestinians, and guarantee freedom of access and movement across the Rafiah crossing. "The parties --the conclusions of the Twenty-Five declaim-- must take immediate measures to put an end to activities contrary to international law, including the settlements and the construction of the barrier on Palestinian territory." Hamas and Fatah have traded bullets and accusations, but the EU "salutes the efforts to form a government of national unity" and is ready to resume the partnership with and financing for the Palestinians. According to Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema [of Italy], in this way Europe expresses its "will to continue to be more active" in the Middle East, as it is doing "in the Israelo-Lebanese conflict of this summer, not without some positive results."

The UN reports on the powerlessness of the UNIFIL mission in Lebanon and the arrival of weapons through Syria into the Palestinian camps in the Biq`ah Valley were not discussed. On the other hand, the Twenty-Five self-celebrated their own "prominent" role "in the new UNIFIL" and requested "international jurisdiction" for the Shaba Farms. Their support for Lebanese prime minister Fuad Siniora will be concretized in the Paris Conference of 25 January, whereas his government might have passed into history by then. For the moment, the dialogue with Syria, desired by German chancellor Angela Merkel and by Italian premier Romano Prodi, has come up against the veto of French President Jacques Chirac.

As to Iran and its nuclear program that is by now moving ahead under full sail, according to the words of president Mahmud Ahmadinejad, and will be concluded by March, the European statement limits itself to "concern" over its impact on the [role favoring] Middle Eastern stability played by Teheran --the orchestrator of the crises both in the Territories and in Lebanon-- threatens sanctions postponed for more than three years, and confirms the promise to "furnish everything that it (= Teheran) needs in order to develop a modern civilian nuclear industry." [Il Foglio, 16 December 2006]


The main impression of the EU given by the article is foolishness and fatuousness. While Teheran's Islamomaniacs build The Bomb, the EU condemns Israel for building a barrier to keep out terrorist mass murderers. As to Iran's bomb, the EU expresses "concern" and promises nuclear goodies, if only the mullahs play nice. Then there is the Judeophobia disguised as Israelophobia under the cover of chirping about "international law" and concern for the rights and sensitivities of the invented "palestinian people." Then we have D'Alema's lie --perhaps he is not conscious that he's lying-- about an "Israeli-Lebanese conflict" over the summer. The war was with Hizbullah, not with Lebanon. Most of Lebanon sat and watched from the side, unable to control a foreign-controlled force operating on Lebanese territory, and thereby trampling Lebanese sovereignty, yet being identified with Lebanon by foolish or deceitful EuroCommunists like D'Alema. But the EU does not much care for Lebanon, although the Lebanese are not even Jewish. Lebanon's sovereignty is not of concern to D'Alema, for instance, since, for him and many others, Hizbullah is Lebanon. The contempt for Lebanon's sovereignty also appears in the order to Israel to stop overflights over Lebanon which are meant to track weapons shipments from Syria or elsewhere to anti-Israel forces in Lebanon [including Hizbullah]. The EU and the UN do nothing to enforce SC resolution 1559 which called for disarming the Hizbullah. That is the real violation of Lebanese sovereignty, much more so than Israeli overflights which are self-defense measures, albeit they do not go far enough.

The EU falsifies international law by claiming that Jewish settlements in Judea-Samaria are illegal. This nowhere appears in Geneva Convention IV. Rather, it is an invention of Arab and pro-Arab ideologues. Forbidding Jews to go to live in Judea-Samaria is anti-Jewish racism.

It is obvious that the EU, given its bi-millenial history of Judeophobia, is playing the role of an enemy of Israel. The EU cannot be a partner in Israel's relations with the Arabs, unless its policy toward Israel and Israel's neighbors undergoes profound change. Obviously, no peace for Israel can be expected to ensue from the EU's madness and moral corruption.

- - - - - - - -
Coming: Prof Biger's Turkophilic fantasies, more on Hebron, Jews in Jerusalem, etc.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Generous, Welcoming Spirit of the Arabs of Hebron

The Arabs of Hebron were notorious in the 19th century for their religious fanaticism, as indicated by our previous post on Hebron. Professor H E Dunning, who toured Israel around 1900, reports on his trip to the City of the Patriarchs:
The people of Hebron are not only Muslims, but they are bad-tempered Muslims. They do not welcome a stranger of another faith. The small boy is apt to curse him. As these imprecations fall harmlessly, he may have recourse to stone. The stranger objects and attempts to chastise [admonish]. Then the adult citizen protests. The Christian stranger must remember that he is accursed, a fit object for stones and bad language. [Dunning, p 61; Friedman, p 134].
Brritish Major Claude Conder, another 19th century visitor to Hebron, wrote:
Let the student of Islam [that is, the curious non-Muslim] run the gauntlet of the fanatical guards of those sanctuaries [in both Hebron and Sh'khem (= Nablus)], let him be stoned for a dog and denied a drink of water as a Kafir, and then acknowledge that the stern prejudices of the Middle Ages are not extinct. [Conder, p 232; Friedman, p 135].
These accounts go to show that the fanatical religious hatred of the 20th century Hebron Arabs, manifested in the 1929 pogrom and in post-1967 murders against Jews, was also alive in the 19th century, when the Hebron Jews lived the perfect life of dhimmis. Exploited, humiliated, often harassed, restricted in their places of residence, their activities and movements, including access to the Tomb of the Patriarchs (their patriarchs!), Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, they knew their place in society. This place was in some ways better than that of South African Blacks under apartheid, and in some ways worse. But it was onerous, as shown in the reports of John Lloyd Stephens on Hebron which we quoted on this blog in July 2005.

The accounts by Major Conder and Professor Dunning that we quote above were taken from Professor Saul S Friedman's book: Land of Dust: Palestine at the Turn of the Century (Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1982). Friedman went over much of the very extensive literature left by Christian pilgrims and travelers to Israel in the 19th century and up to World War I, and extracted some very interesting and significant accounts.
Also see:
Dr H E Dunning, To-day in Palestine (New York: James Pott & Co., 1907)
Major Claude Conder, Palestine (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., n.d. ca. 1910)
- - - - - - - -
Coming: Professor Biger's Turkophilic fantasies, more on Hebron, more on Jews in Jerusalem, more on peace follies, etc.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Fake History on the "History Channel"

The History Channel in Israel [channel 42 on `Arutsey Zahav] gets most of its broadcast material from American and British sources, unfortunately. It seems that most comes from the American History Channel. This material --these "historical" films-- reflect the biases and conventional lies of American Establishment and British propaganda. And this includes treatment of Jewish and Israeli historical matters. The problem for us in Israel is that this Anglo-American material is used uncritically, broadcast uncritically, without correction. The films are broadcast with the original English-language narration, plus Hebrew subtitles which do not diverge from the original. A case in point was broadcast this morning 12-17-2006 on the Israeli History Channel.

The film told the story of Allenby's campaign in Israel in 1917-1918, particularly a September 1918 battle.
Lie # 1 - The narration took pains to point out the diverse ethnic and geographic origins of Allenby's forces, British, Indians, Gurkhas, Australians and New Zealanders. However, no mention was made of the Jewish Legion which took part in Allenby's battles for the Land of Israel [called "palestine" in the film]. The Legion was made up of the 38th, 39th, and 40th regiments of Royal Fusiliers and had been recruited among Jews from America, Britain, Canada, Israel and Egypt. This seems to have been a sizable force. Why was it not mentioned in the film? Probably for political reasons in order to efface the memory of the Jewish/Zionist contribution to the British war effort. The film seems to have been American-made however, since the narrator spoke with an American accent. But Americans usually follow the British lead in historical distortions.
Lie # 2 - The narrator claimed that Arabs in "palestine" and Syria, etc., were becoming tired of "Turkish" rule and were inclined to support the British. In fact, many many Arab troops fought in the Ottoman ranks, while only a relative handful fought in the bands of Amir Faysal bin Husayn [Emir Feisal bin Hussein] who was accompanied and aided by TE Lawrence. The Arabs overwhelmingly fought for the Ottoman Empire, which was a Sunni Muslim state, indeed the Ottoman sultan was also called Caliph [khalif ul-Islam]. At that time the Empire had many Arabs in positions of authority, in the diplomatic service, in the Ottoman parliament. These Arabs prominent in the Ottoman government included members of leading Arab Muslim families in what later became the Jewish National Home with the territorial designation of "palestine" which did not exist under the Ottoman state, neither as a name nor as a territorial entity by any other name. The leading Arab "palestinian" families that contributed members to the Ottoman service included the Husseinis [Husaynis] and al-Khalidis of Jerusalem and the Abdul-Hadi family of Sh'khem [Nablus].
Lie # 3 - That there was a territorial entity at that time called "palestine." The previous paragraph describes why this was wrong, although in the West, the name "palestine" was often used for the country along with other names such as "Holy Land," "Judea," "the Land where Jesus Trod," etc.

For more on the territorial-administrative divisions of the Ottoman Empire in the Levant before World War I [including names], see the writings of Gid`on Biger [Gidon or Gideon Biger], inter alia.
- - - - -
Coming: More on Jews in Jerusalem, peace frauds and follies, etc.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pierre Loti on Hebron circa 1895

Pierre Loti, the famous French writer, came to Israel near the end of the 19th century. We have already quoted and translated part of his description of Jerusalem here and here. He also visited Hebron, one of the four holy cities of the Jews according to Jewish tradition. A sizable Jewish population lived there [sizable in proportion to the town's total population] until 1929, when Arabs made a pogrom and massacre against the Jews there. This pogrom was conducted with British acquiescence, if not British approval and encouragement, even instigation.

Here we quote from a published translation into English of Loti's book:
. . . Hebron is still without hotels; it remains indeed one of the most fanatical Mussulman towns of Palestine and will scarcely consent to lodge a Christian under its roofs [Pierre Loti, Jerusalem (trans. W P Baines; London: T. Werner Laurie, n.d.), p10]
Arabs and Jews move in a crowd about the streets . . . Hebron is one of those towns that are not marred by a building of modern or foreign appearance.[p 12]
In regard to the Cave of Machpelah [Makhpelah] or Tomb of the Patriarchs, he writes:
. . . To Christians and Jews the mosque itself [Muslims call the tomb Masjid Ibrahimi = Mosque of Abraham] is proscribed [= forbidden]; influence, stratagem, gold, are powerless to gain them admittance to it -- and when, some twenty years ago, it was opened for the Prince of Wales on a formal order from the Sultan, the population of Hebron was on the point of armed revolt [p 14]
Almost on a level with the ground, there is a fissure through which Christians and Jews are allowed to pass their heads so that, crawling, they may kiss the holy stones. And this evening some poor Israelite pilgrims are there, prostrate, stretching out their necks like foxes running to earth, in an effort to touch with their lips the tomb of their ancestor; while Arab children, charming and mocking, who are allowed within the enclosure, watch them with a smile of high disdain.
This place is one of the most ancient venerated by mankind and there has never been a time when men have ceased to come and pray here. [p15]
And this surely is a thing unique in the annals of the dead: the sepulchre, originally so single, which reunited them all [= the Patriarchs and Matriarchs], has never ceased to be venerated -- while the most sumptuous tombs of Egypt and Greece have long since been profaned and empty. [p16]
Loti recognizes that the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron is a Jewish tomb taken over by Muslims, by Arabs. The tomb in its present form was built by King Herod in the late Second Temple period, although there are some Crusader and Muslim additions that mar the structure's simple beauty. The attribution to Herod is because he was a great builder of monumental buildings, including the Temple destroyed by the Romans and their auxiliary troops, including Arabs [see here]. Certain similarities of construction with the remnants of Herod's Second Temple are also evident. Jews were allowed by Muslim rulers to enter the Tomb and pray inside until Baybars the Mamluk forbid Jewish entry --as Loti describes-- in the year 1263, approx. After the Six Day War, Jews were again allowed to enter and pray in the Tomb, after the passage of slightly more than 700 years!!
The pogrom/massacre of 1929 has been described in many publications in Hebrew and other languages. Those who want a non-Jewish perspective could consult the reports of the famous journalists [at that time], Pierre van Paassen and Albert Londres. For Van Paassen, see Forgotten Ally, Days of Our Years, and other works. For Londres, see --in French-- Le Juif errant est arrive'. Note that the Arab-Muslim children show disdain towards the humiliated Jews, no doubt this is what they were taught. Jews and other non-Muslims in Muslim states [Dar al-Islam] were kept in a state of humiliation according to Islamic law [for instance, see Qur'an 9:29 (verse numbers vary in some editions)] and called dhimmis [See previous posts on this blog on dhimmis].

- - - - - -
Coming: more on peace and its follies, carter/baker and their follies, Jews in Jerusalem, etc.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

How Do the British Do It? -- How Do the Masters Perpetrate Psychological Warfare?

The British psychological warfare experts have long been the world's most expert, certainly on a level with the Communists, no slouches themselves. As for the American specialists in this field, they learned much or most of what they know from the British. Consider how close American and British foreign policies have been over the last 200 years, since the War of 1812.

One of the British psy war operatives during World War II was none other than George Orwell, who recounted his experiences at the time in his memoirs [see Orwell: The War Commentaries & George Orwell: The Lost Writings, both edited by WJ West]. Orwell actually describes some of the techniques used in various situations during the war. He describes them in the context of solving various problems posed for the UK psy war effort by developments in the war in view of the constraints of British policy, etc. Previous posts here have described BBC policy towards the Holocaust, which was to ignore it as far as could safely be accomplished without being embarassed or shamed by the lack of coverage when Holocaust-related events became widely known to the public nolens-volens. Hence, when the Holocaust or aspects of it began to be reported outside the Nazi-fascist domain, the BBC began to give stingy bits of information about it, never telling all that the British knew, nor admitting that the British 1939 White Paper policy was preventing Jews from reaching haven in the internationally designated Jewish National Home. This policy doomed hundreds of thousands of Jews to death at Nazi hands, since they had nowhere to go, nowhere to escape to. The British government, shamelessly hypocritically as usual, did not admit then nor have they ever admitted that the UK was a silent partner in the Holocaust.

I watched an example of British propaganda expertise last night, Saturday 11-22-2006. Bear in mind that the most effective propaganda is usually a blend of fact and fiction. Hence, the American psy warrior Noam Chomsky may say some true things in addition to the lies, all skilfully blended together so that the moderately informed consumer of propaganda is not aware of where fact ends and lies begin. This can be done by simply juxtaposing what a reasonably intelligent and informed person may know or believe to be true with a lie. Hence, the first sentence of one of Chomsky's efforts at deception may be fully true, or at least appear very reasonable and plausible, that is, it may have a great deal of verisimilitude. The second sentence can be a total lie, which may yet also be plausible to the informed, intelligent reader. In any event, the truth or verisimilitude of the first sentence carries over in the reader's mind into the second sentence, unless the reader is very well informed about a particular subject, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict and Western support for the Arabs over the years. That is, what is true or seems to be true extends its verisimilitude to the false.

Likewise, the basic principle explained here applies to most of what Edward Said said in Orientalism and other books. Said --a well-paid professor at Columbia, a prestigious Ivy League university-- was another American psy warrior, albeit wearing the cloak of an Arab nationalist, or oppressed "palestinian." Said was right to point out that anthropologists and other sorts of social scientists --as well as historians, archeologists, philologists, comparative religion specialists, etc-- can produce work useful to imperialists, and may even be agents of governments. Nor was Said the first one to point this out. However, what may be useful to a government's policy is not necessarily false. Indeed, it may very well be true. Don't governments want to know the truth, at least for their own purposes?

Said avoided admitting that various Western imperialist powers indeed were pro-Arab in policy in regard to Zionism, since they hated Jews much more than they hated Arabs, if at all. Imperial Germany, Austro-Hungary [the Habsburg Empire], Britain, and France, all had pro-Arab and/or pro-Muslim policies at various times during the 19th century. After World War I, the United States and Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and Britain and France all had pro-Arab, pro-Islamic policies at various times or consistently. Likewise, various Western writers and scholars living in and/or writing about the Arab and Muslim worlds were often sympathetic to Arabs and Muslims. One thinks of Sir Richard Burton and TE Lawrence.

Last night [11-22-06], Israel's First Channel relayed a feature report from a British TV station which demonstrated the use of psy war principles. Andrew Gilmore went to southern Lebanon and discovered that Israel --according to him and to "human rights" groups-- had been using cluster bombs. Gilmore at one point said that such weapons were illegal under international law; at another point he said that they were not illegal but were forbidden to be used in populated areas. He went on about these weapons over and over, interviewing families in Shi`ite villages, showing destroyed houses, a wounded child, etc. Yet he did not say that the Hizbullah and its sponsors, Syria and Iran, regularly made Judeophobic, Nazi-like propaganda, such as: "The Jewish microbe is everywhere", which I read in LeFigaro in about 1987, in a quote from a Hizbullah newspaper. No mention, likewise, of the hate-generating official Syrian position that Damascene Jews in 1840 had killed a monk in order to use his blood for baking matsot. This position has been expounded in several books by former Syrian "defense" minister, Mustafa Tlas. Likewise, the Hizbullah TV station, al-Manar, produced a TV film for viewing by Muslim families during Ramadan that supplies essentially the same message. For this reason, French Jews were able to prevail on the French TV and radio supervision body [le Haut Conseil de l'Audio-Visuel, the French counterpart of the American FCC] to ban al-Manar from satellite broadcasts under French control.

Now Gilmore spoke of the danger to children --especially-- with films of children in Shi`ite villages and scenic backdrops of pastoral landscape. He did briefly mention that "Human Rights Watch" had found that Hizbullah had shot cluster bombs into Israel, but --he claimed-- they were merely a "guerrilla group," omitting the Hizbullah's ties to Syria and Iran that threaten to destroy Israel, implicitly brandishing Iran's planned nuclear bomb. Nor did he point out that the Hizbullah's cluster bombs and rockets of various kinds shot into Israel were a danger for children and other civilians. In fact, many civilians --including children-- were killed in Israel. This was not mentioned. He did allude to Hizbullah placement of rocket launchers in and near civilian locations, by asking the family that he interviewed about this and admitting that they were evasive on the matter. What he did not report was how deeply the Hizbullah was involved with the lives of the Shi`ite villagers in south Lebanon, how deeply these people had been indoctrinated to hate Jews, how bunkers for weapons storage, concealment of terrorists, and combat had been built in and around population centers. Geneva Convention IV states that the presence of non-combatants ["protected persons"] does NOT exclude a location from military attack if there are also military targets in that location. Gilmore did not ask the family about their ties to Hizbullah, the possible use of their home for Hizbullah weapons storage or terrorist concealment. Nor did he point out the Hizb's sponsorship and supply from Nazi-like Syria and Iran.

None of that from psy warrior Gilmore. Just repetition of how the Israelis were ostensibly child killers, slaughterers of civilians, violators of international law, etc. Note that Gilmore very briefly alluded to an HRW report that Hizbullah had used cluster bombs against Israel [indeed, some of these bombs fell in an Israeli Arab village] and suggested that his hosts were being evasive about the presence of Hizbullah rocket launchers near their village. Here Gilmore was pretending to be fair and balanced, briefly to be sure. Also note his excuse for Hizbullah. They are "only a guerrilla group," he said, omitting reference to Syria and Iran, while thereby evoking the argument of "disproportionate" Israeli response, so often used by the Euro-hypocrites against Israel, that is, against the old target of their hatred, the Jews. Following his logic, Israel should have used no more cluster bombs than the Hizbullah had used, and Israel should have allowed Hizbullah to kill as many Israelis as Israel had killed Hizbullah operatives and/or civilians. But that is not how Britain or the USA fight their wars. These two Allied powers had killed, by the end of World War II, many more German civilians than British and Americans had been killed by the Germans. The British air force chief, nicknamed Bomber Harris, oversaw the destruction of the German city of Dresden by aerial bombing, not to mention the many tens of thousands killed in Hamburg by Allied bombings. Were the British and Americans being "disproportionate"? In fact, Nazi Germany was a mass murderous state. Further, tens of millions of people, soldiers and civilians, were killed by Germany on the Eastern Front. However, the numbers of civilians killed in London and elsewhere in the UK, were proportionally much lower than the number of Germans that they killed. Indeed, during and after WW2, Nazi propaganda and "pacifist" propaganda accused the Allies of war crimes in Dresden. But Gilmore mentioned nothing of his own country's "disproportionate" response to Nazi aggression. To look at the "disproportionate response" argument another way, should the police force in a civilized country respond to armed criminals in a proportionate way, should it negotiate with criminal gangs to ensure them their own turf protected by a cease fire? Should the police be armed with weapons no more potent than those of the criminals? Were the Americans and British proportionate in their responses in Iraq and Afghanistan? How about the British in the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas War of 1982? Of course, the European "disproportionate response" argument is ridiculous, but many of the British public --especially-- are taken in by it. That also includes a good portion of British academia, which has clearly Nazi leanings without realizing it, perhaps.

Other psy war themes used by British broadcast propaganda are:
1) the notion of a distinct "palestinian people" which nobody had ever heard of before Israel's War of Independence, whereas Arab expert witnesses testifying before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine [1946] had denied that there was such a place as "palestine" in history. This false "palestinian people" notion has been of immense aid to creating worldwide sympathy for Arab genocidal aims against Israel;
2) that the Jews are super-white "Europeans" intruding in the "non-white" Middle East. Actually, this theme, especially prominent in the 1960s, in order to take advantage of the Black civil rights movement in the United States, utilized insinuation rather than explicit assertion. For instance, various political factions and communications outlets would say that Israel had found refuge for Jews in a country inhabited by "non-white" people. However, the Jews were not explicitly described as "white" or "super-white" or "Nordic," since an explicit statement would be more likely to be easily refuted. Rather, the description of the Jews as "white" or "whiter than white" was insinuated from the description of the Arabs as "non-White." In fact, there is a wide range of skin color among both Jews and Arabs. This includes my own family, my mother's very dark father, some of my cousins on both sides, etc. Nevertheless, the propaganda succeeded in portraying Jews as alien to the Middle East, flying in the face of all known and previously accepted history.

In view of the skillful agit-prop of Andrew Gilmore and other psy warriors, it is no wonder that the extent of Israelophobia and Judeophobia in Britain is probably higher than anywhere else in Europe. According to my information, the extent of these hatreds is greater in the UK than in other major European states, such as France and Italy, and maybe worse even than in Germany.
- - - - - - -
Coming: Jews in Jerusalem and Hebron, follies of peacemaking, lies from the pens of Carter, Baker, & Co., etc.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

PLO & Jihadists Adopt "Leftist," Popular Front, Demo-Stalinist Slogans -- Where Does the West Stand on Lebanon?

Harald Vocke discusses the PLO's propaganda effort in Lebanon in the 1970s. This propaganda considerably aided the PLO's war effort, especially since it was relayed by the Western press back to Western countries to influence the Western populations:
During the civil war the Palestinian guerrillas put forward a clearly defined concept of psychological warfare. Their propaganda principles can be summarized as follows:
1. In Lebanon, Left or 'progressive' Muslims fight against Right or 'reactionary' or even 'fascist' Christians.
2. In the traditional distribution of power in Lebanon, the Muslims were at a disadvantage, since the Christians --especially the Maronites-- ensured for themselves too large a share in parliamentary representation and in the government.
3. In Lebanon the Christians are rich, the Muslims are poor, and the Palestinians live in miserable camps at a bare subsistence level.
4. The Lebanese Christians are 'isolationist' and 'separatist.' In order to preserve their privileges they strive for a division of the country.
5. The Lebanese Christians are modern Crusaders. They fight under the sign of the Cross and thus prevent a reconciliation between Christendom and Islam.
6. The Lebanese Christians committed grave crimes in the civil war. The Lebanese Left and their allies, on the other hand, fourght a just revolutionary people's war.
7. The civil war was an 'imperialist, Zionist and reactionary plot.' The 'imperialist United States' worked closely with the Zionist Jewish state of Israel, and with Syria as an agent of imperialism, in order to assist the reactionary Lebanese Christians to obtain victory.[Vocke, pp 63-64]

Since the 1950s, Arab nationalists and later Jihadists have adopted the rhetoric, slogans, and nomenclature of the European Popular Front, the WW2 Resistance movements, and the various breeds of Communists. The Stalinists [pro-Moscow Communists] of the 1930s were masters of this sort of rhetoric which deserves to be called Demo-Stalinist. Democratic and pacifist slogans were given unique twists by the Stalinist Communists in behalf of the anti-democratic Soviet regime which in fact allied with the German Nazis in 1939 in the Nazi-Soviet Pact. This treaty began the Second World War. Both German and Soviet troops invaded Poland, for instance, in the fall of 1939. Both Nazi and Soviet polticians declared a joint "struggle for peace" at that time, as the fires burned in Poland.

Vocke presents the slogans used in behalf of the PLO mass murderers during the first two years of civil war in Lebanon, which Vocke, writing in 1978, did not realize was going to go on until 1990. Bear in mind that before and during WW2, most of the Arab nationalist movement was pro-Nazi. Nasser and Sadat were both pro-Nazi and did not hide their sympathies even after the war. On this, see books by Sadat published while he was part of the Egyptian government after the Nasserite ["Free Officers"] coup d'etat in 1952. As late as 1964, while Nasser's Egypt was getting huge monetary amounts of aid from the Communist Soviet Union, he told a Neo-Nazi German editor of the Deutsche National Zeitung und Soldaten Zeitung [May 1, 1964] that during WW2, he and the other Arabs had been pro-German.

The Arab nationalist Ba`ath party, rival factions of which have ruled Iraq and Syria [until 2003 in Iraq, still today in Syria] was formed under the inspiration of Nazi practice and ideology. Likewise, the Syrian Social Nationalist [or National Socialist] Party was very consciously modelled on the Nazi party.
The Syrian National Socialist Party was founded in 1934 by the Greek Orthodox Lebanese Antoun Saade. Its model was the national socialism of Hitler with whose ideology Saade, who was a teacher of German at the American University of Beirut, had been well acquainted. [Vocke, p 29]
During the civil war, this party, also called, in French --le Parti Populaire Syrien-- fought alongside, in the same ranks as, the PLO forces. Compare this fact with the first item in the above list. Arafat as a youth had supported the pro-Nazi Mufti of Jerusalem, British-appointed by the way, who spent most of WW2 in the Nazi-fascist domain in Europe and encouraged the Holocaust. Arafat was also a militant in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. He had been born in Cairo in fact. Now, just how Arafat's background made him a "progressive" I don't know, yet the French press --particularly Le Monde-- referred consistently to the PLO and its allies as "les forces palestino-progressistes." So much for item # 1. The American press and media provided, if anything, much less information than the French press and media did about the Lebanese war, making it all the more difficult for Americans to know or understand what was going on. Just incidentally, atrocities perpetrated by PLO forces against Lebanese Christians were overlooked or misrepresented by the American press [i.e., Damour, etc.].

Let's classify the slogans and labels in the list above, as well some others that do not feature on the list.
Good _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Bad
revolutionary people's war _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _Right
progressive _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Reactionary
resistance [Hizbullah's label for itself] _ _ _ Fascist
front _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _imperialism
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ separatist, isolationist

The two labels "separatist" and "isolationist" meant that the "Christians," especially Maronites, wanted Lebanon to be a separate, independent country, whereas the PLO wanted Lebanon to be part of a pan-Arab state. Reading the PLO charter will make it clear to the reader that the PLO is fundamentally pan-Arabist and does not ultimately want an independent "Palestine." Arafat made it clear many times that the PLO was fighting in Lebanon to save the country for Arabism, that is, pan-Arabism. Of course, when speaking English he did not say this.
On item # 2: the Lebanese census before independence showed a Christian majority in the country. Agreement on an independent national government for Lebanon included fixed quotas of parliamentary seats and designated high offices for mutually distrustful religio-ethnic groups, as part of the National Pact. Further, the Christians --quite reasonably-- did not trust the Muslims from historical experience from the times when the country was under Muslim rule.
On item #3: there were poor Christians and rich Muslims in Lebanon, including rich Palestinian Arab Muslims.
On item #4: See the relevant paragraph above as well as the answer to item #2 above.
On item #5: See answer to item #2. It is typical of the cynical sloganeering of the PLO that it accused Lebanese Christians of being "Crusaders" for wanting to defend themselves in their own country, while the PLO itself operated under thinly veiled Islamic jihadist inspiration.
On item # 6: Here a coalition of jihadists, Palestinian Arab irredentists, fascists, mass murderers, etc., claimed to be fighting a "just revolutionary people's war." Also bear in mind that German neo-Nazi volunteers fought in the ranks of the PLO in Lebanon, particularly from the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann. Unfortunately, Vocke does not mention the German neo-Nazi involvement. If we want to be charitable to Vocke, maybe the Neo-Nazi involvement began after his book was published.
On item # 7: The PLO claimed to have been opposed by the United States. Yet, American policy was ambiguous at best, if not supportive of the PLO or acquiescent in its deeds. Nor can we say that the USA supported the Lebanese Christians. In 1958, during the incipient pro-Nasserite uprising in Lebanon, which was a pan-Arabist movement meant to subordinate Lebanon to Nasser's aggressive Arab nationalism, the USA had indeed sent troops to stabilize the situation and prevent a Nasserite coup d'etat against Maronite President Chamoun [Sham`un]. However, the US position changed. Consider:
Until the late 1960s, the United States favored the opponents of Chamoun, their former ally, and many important professorial chairs at the American University of Beirut were filled by representatives of the Arab Left.[Vocke, p 21]
The National Liberal Party . . . was founded in 1958 by Camille Chamoun. At that time the American government advised Chamoun to leave Lebanon when his term [as president] expired, together with his closest political friends, but this advice was not followed and instead he founded his new party, Al-Ahrar [= Liberals]. [Vocke, p 27]
Hence, on the grounds of the above, the situation in Lebanon from the 1950s till today is exceedingly complex and does not fit the simplistic claims of the PLO or of fashionable Western "leftists," whether those in the media and press, or those in the academic world.

Recommended Book on Lebanese War: Jean-Pierre Péroncel-Hugoz, Une Croix sur le Liban (Paris: Lieu Commun 1984).
- - - - - - - -
Coming: the follies of peacemaking, Jews in Jerusalem and Hebron, etc.