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Emet m'Tsiyon

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Jewish navigation device in the hands of the Institut du Monde Arabe

Jews were a significant group among seafarers during late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. An account by a non-Jew, Synesius, of sailing on a vessel captained by a Jew with a mostly Jewish crew, is found in Menahem Stern's Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism, vol. III.

An artifact reminding us of this history is an astrolabe, a maritime navigation device, with Hebrew letters clearly visible around the rim. Yet, this device is not in the possession of Jews nor in any sort of Jewish museum nor in a maritime museum. It is in --you guessed it-- the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. The device has a long inscription in Hebrew letters -- while it has no inscription in any other alphabet. Yet, it is claimed as part of "Arab civilization" purely because the language of the inscription is Judeo-Arabic, a language spoken and sometimes written by Jews living in Arab-ruled lands. This language combined an Arabic and Hebrew [and sometimes Aramaic] vocabulary. Likewise, Jews in northern and eastern Europe usually spoke and often wrote in Yiddish, a language combining in its vocabulary medieval Germanic words with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic and Romance words. About 30% of the Yiddish vocabulary is estimated to be Hebrew-Aramaic in origin. By writing their inscription on the astrolabe in Hebrew letters, the Jews for whom it was made were clearly stating their Jewish identity. Even if the letters were Arabic, the mixed vocabulary would still indicate a Jewish identity for the owners of the piece and the piece itself.

To take another example, likewise, an Irish product would still be considered Irish even if it bore an English inscription. The Irish haven't lost their national identity just because almost all of them today speak English. The Spanish Jew Abraham Zacuto was famous for his work on navigation instruments and maritime charts, by the way.

Aeroports de Paris [no. 7 / 02/06]

Despite the identity of the owners and users and probable makers of the astrolabe, the Institut du Monde Arabe [Arab World Institute] insists that it is "Arab" and part of "Arab civilization." Likewise, Arab nationalist intellectuals sometimes like to boast of the Jewish philosopher Maimonides [Rambam] as part of "Arab civilization" despite Maimonides' opinion that Ishmael [the Arabs/Muslims] had treated the Jews worse than any people had treated them. See here.
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Coming: British journalopropagandist likes w-m's propaganda tract, peace follies, propaganda, Jews in Jerusalem, Hebron, elsewhere in the Land of Israel, etc.

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  • It never ceases to amaze me that the world takes every opportunity to deny our history, our accomplishments, and our heritage. This is one of the reasons it's important that every Jew make aliyah...for our very survival and the survival of our homeland.

    By Blogger Yehudi, at 8:39 AM  

  • This is Daniel. You probably remember me from Deborah Lipstads blog protesting Holocaust denial and condemning Ahmadinejad's speeches. You left me a comment in this post http://srebrenica-genocide.blogspot.com/2007/07/srebrenica-genocide-questions-answers.html .

    Let me start this comment by quoting your earlier statements (from http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2006/11/george-dubya-is-daddys-boy-anti-israel.html ):

    Quote Start: “The north-south mountain ridge going through Ramallah-Jerusalem-Bethlehem-Hebron is of great defensive strategic value. Likewise, crossings over the Jordan river and into the Gaza Strip have to be controlled for Israel's security and to discourage war. Consult the principles of the Allon Plan... it might be best to invite Jordan to take over civil control of the Arab population centers in the WB, and to encourage Arab emigration from Gaza. By the way, much of the West Bank has long been desert [especially east of the mountain ridge] and still is. Israel should control most of this area, and use parts of it, such as the area east of Jeruselem, for settling the overflow of its own population. This Israeli salient [Ma`aleh Adumim, etc] is also needed to minimize Arab territorial contiguity between Samaria and Judah. That too is of strategic importance... Terrorists ought to be expelled from those zones, and the rest of the Arab population put under Jordanian civil control [if possible]. Some Arabs could be given Israeli citizenship based on past loyalty, peacefulness, and respect for law. Other Arabs ought to be put in jail. As I said, there is no simple, easy solution.” Quote End

    Do you realize how insulting, racist, and inhuman above quoted comments really are? How would you feel if somebody advocated foreign country to take civil control of Jewish people and encourage emigration of Jews from Israel (or any other country)? How would you feel if a foreign country held Israel under occupation, advocated that some Jews should be given citizenship “based on past loyalty” and other Jews “ought to be put in jail” (as you suggested for Palestinians)? How would you feel if Israel spend over 50 years under occupation and if occupators advocated minimization of Jewish/Israeli territorial contiguity? I ask you these questions to challenge your opinion. I want you to understand that Muslims are as human as Jews and that you need to put yourself into Palestinian shoes to understand how hard their lives are under occupation and uncertainty for all these decades. I want you to talk to Palestinians face to face, to befriend them, as this is the best way for you to realize that you are all flesh and blood (aka: human). Just as Bosniaks and Serbs are human; Jews and Palestinians are also human. In fact, in this case it is important to state obvious: we are all human. And please listen to my advice, it will change your perspective positively; it will enrich your life --- befriend Palestinian as a friend and I guarantee you: You will realize that he/she is no different than your next door neighbour. It is time for all of us to start lending hands of friendship to each other, as opposed to weapons of hate.

    I am lending you my hand of friendship.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:09 AM  

  • Daniel, I suggest that you study the history of European boundary changes, population transfers and forced migrations after WW2. Also study the population transfers between Greece & Turkey in 1922-23. Then come back and preach to me about racism.

    if you are not racist yourself towards the Serbs, then why don't you acknowledge that Bosnian Muslims massacred Serbs during the 19th century while helping the Ottoman empire put down Serbian revolts and during WW2 as part of the bosnian Muslim SS division, as well as the massacres of Serbs --supposedly under UN protection-- by Croat forces north of Banja Luka
    just a few weeks before the srebrenica massacres. Also take note of the mass expulsion of 200,000 Serbs from the Krajna region of croatia and the bosnian Muslim massacres of Serbs during the Yugoslav war. Also read my blog posts on kosovo and Yugoslavia 100 years ago.

    As far as the notion of a "palestinian people" is concerned, in my informed opinion, it was invented by british psychological warfare experts in order to help justify the mass murder of Jews. In the year 1900 nobody talked of a "palestinian people," least of all the Arabs.

    By Blogger Eliyahu m'Tsiyon, at 2:14 PM  

  • I never denied there were war crimes in WW2 against Serbs, but you never acknowledged that Serbian chetniks, who collaborated with NAZI's, massacred over 100,000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) in World War II. Somehow, Muslim victims are always irrelevant in leftist circles while Serbian chetniks who collaborated with NAZI's are celebrated as saviors of Jews.

    You also failed to mention there were Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) revolts against Ottoman Empire led by Bosniak Captain Husein Gradascevic.

    When it comes to Krajina, Croat forces did expell 200,000 Serbs from Krajina, and I never denied it; but before Croat forces did anything, Serbs expelled hundreds of thousands of Croats from 1/3 of Croatia. I invite you to look at mass scale massacres, ethnic cleansings, and rapes that Bosnian Serb army committed against Bosniaks. According to the Research and Documentation Center, over 80% of all civilian victims of Bosnian war were Bosniaks (Muslims).

    It is not my intention to preach about racism to you, but my intention is to try to change your opinion to the better, so you can realize that not all people are the same.

    I am trying to have positive effect on you and I understand your frustration.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:22 PM  

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