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Emet m'Tsiyon

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

UPDATED with link to performance 12-15-2014
CORRECTION to musical terminology 12-3-2018

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 chorus 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 chorus, 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, whether Western or 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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12-15-2014 Here is a good performance of the Hebrew Slaves Chorus (Va, Pensiero).
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.