Saturday, August 31, 2013
1. Leftism is a form of herd behavior. Leftists sit back to see what other leftists are saying so that they will know what they themselves should think. Leftist petitions are signed by leftists who see that other leftists have signed them.
Among the most common signers of petitions in Israel supporting the radical Left's agenda are the members of Israel's Literary Left. The best known of these are A.B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, and David Grossman, but there are perhaps two dozen others less well known.
It took me a few minutes to realize that it was not someone who was running a spoof of the Literary Left when I saw that Haaretz on August 30. It carried a large ad containing a brand new petition signed by Israel's Literary Left. The petition itself concerns a recent leftist cause célèbre, the attempts to evict the "Cave Dwellers of South Mount Hebron." The signers support the "cave dwellers." Basically the ruckus concerns some illegal Arab squatters on land that belongs to the Israeli military south of Hebron and is used as a firing range. The squatters claim they live in caves in the area and have done so for ages. They are lying. But the Left has embraced their cause.
Allegations by Arabs constitute ironclad proof in the minds of leftists. Some of the facts about the matter, as opposed to leftist fiction, can be read here: http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_print=1&x_context=6&x_article=1892 . If I move into Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico tomorrow and claim it belongs to me, guess how long it will take for the state troopers to toss me into the klink.
The Literary Left recently decided to adopt the cause of the "cave dwellers." Basically the rationale of these people is that if Arabs want something and then do not get what they want, then a great injustice must be taking place. Strangely when Jews fail to get things that they want this never triggers literary petitions.
So the Literary Left placed an ad with their petition in Haaretz. It contains 24 names. And I am not making this up: one of the names is Yoram Kaniuk! Why is this noteworthy? BECAUSE KANIUK DIED THREE MONTHS AGO!!! His name appears on the ad as Yoram Kaniuk RIP.
So how exactly did Kaniuk arise from his grave to sign this petition? The answer is that he did not have to. He no doubt gave his herd mates permission to add his name to any petition they would sign in the future. The literary analogue of a blank check (or a pre-nup?). The Left knows that someone does not have to be ALIVE to sign a petition!
When I finally contained my laughter and brought my bladder under control upon seeing this, I started imagining other petitions the Left might consider publishing in Haaretz. I mean, why stop with just one dead signer? Why not compose entire petitions of signatures of dead leftists? They could be called the Dead Poets Society.
Here are a whole bunch of people who could be added as signers: http://www.pacbi.com/cms/alerts.php?pid=16&id=200.
If challenged, the petition sponsors can always say that the signer had texted their agreement to sign in SMS messages sent from hell.
2. Allow us to introduce you to Professor Ruth Tsoffar, who teaches comparative literature and "women's studies" at the University of Michigan. An Israeli leftist expatriate, she holds a PhD in Near East Studies from the anti-Israel department of same at Berkeley, and her thesis supervisors were radical haters of Israel including Daniel Boyarin. She is a member of radical anti-Israel pro-terror groups and has supported BDS economic warfare against Israel. She is clearly part of the tiny Mizrachi communist anti-Zionist movement headed by Yehouda Shenhav and his so-called Mizrachi Democratic Rainbow organization.
And she is an anti-democratic leftist skank. Let me explain.
Comrade Tsoffar has as Op-Ed in Haaretz from August 30, 2013 demanding that Israel pass a law making it a crime to use the word "freicha." Her call for suppression of freedom of speech appears under the heading "A Law against Ethnic Harassment." It can be read in Hebrew here: http://www.haaretz.co.il/opinions/.premium-1.2109717 (the Haaretz English edition does not carry it).
The word "freicha" is Israeli slang for skank. The term is used pretty much the same way "skank" is, although in some contexts or when used by some people it carries the implication of a Oriental Jewish woman skank. It does not necessarily carry such an association, and I regularly use the word to refer to women leftist academics, almost all of whom are Ashkenazi. It also does not really serve as a derogatory term for stupid uncivilized WOMEN, since there is a companion slang word "freich" that refers to stupid uncivilized men. Both of these are actually derivative from the word "freier," Israeli slang for sucker (and having German etymological roots).
Anyhow, Sister Tsoffar is all upset because Israelis use the word freicha in speech. She cites the use of the word by a Likud Knesset member against another Knesset member four years ago, which Tsoffar claims was a "crisis and cultural emergency." Huh?
Tsoffar's conclusion from this premise is that Israel needs to pass a law that criminalizes the use of the word "freicha." She compares the word to the N-word in the United States, saying it is just as bad. The word epitomizes "ethnic discrimination" in Israel she says, as well as bigotry towards lower economic classes. Moreover, its use directly causes violence against women, and her evidence for this amazing assertion is that she thinks so. She demands a legal speech code that would lead to indictments of people who use such slang terms as "freicha."
Now Tsoffar has spent so much of her adult life in the US in Michigan and Berkeley that one might suppose that she has learned a thing or three about America. One would be wrong.
Let us begin by noting that the use of the "N word" is not illegal in the United States. If it were, then every rap "singer" would be in prison, and now that I think about it that might not be such a bad eventuality. In any case, sure, civilized people in polite company do not use the word, and someone using it in a bar would likely get punched in the nose. Judges might consider the use of the word hate speech that justifies such a punch. But using the word is protected speech. It will not get you arrested. And it goes without saying that no one could ever be indicted in the US for using the word "skank." If used to refer to a leftist "women's studies" professor at a university known for its anti-Israel radicalism, I think we would all applaud.
Tsoffar is opposed to freedom of speech. She wants words and sentences that she considers to be insensitive to be prohibited by law. Of course she has emigrated to the US and would not be affected by any such censorship in Israel, should her proposal ever be adopted. Tsoffar is not just anti-Israel and goofy, she is a leftwing fascist.
And a pseudo-academic skank.
3. Now would be a good time to remind everyone of the "deal" with Syria that Israel almost signed in 2000, the deal that would have placed Bashar Asad's stormtroopers on the very beaches of the Lake of Galilee. (And if the al-Qaeda opposition in Syria takes over now, then THEY would be the ones bathing in the Sea of Galilee had that "deal" gone through.)
That almost-deal was largely the "fruits" of the efforts of Itamar Rabinovich, who had served as president of Tel Aviv University in the 1990s, and later served as Israeli Ambassador to the US. Rabinovich is a leftist who claims to be an expert on Syria. He lobbied throughout the 1990s for a "deal" with Syria that would have "returned" the entire Golan Heights to Syria, smack up to the shores of the Sea of Galilee, in exchange for some sort of murky proclamation on a worthless piece of paper. His devotion to academic freedom and democracy can be seen in the fact that as President of Tel Aviv University he once called the President of the University of Haifa to urge that punitive actions be taken against me by the University of Haifa because I had criticized the politicization at Tel Aviv University. (To its credit, the University of Haifa chiefs dismissed the demands by Rabinovich with mirth.)
Rabinovich was behind the attempt by Ehud Barak to strike a blitz-deal with Syria in 2000, when Barak was Prime Minister. Fortunately for the world, Syria was so greedy that it refused to accept the total capitulation it was being offered by Barak. It also wanted swaths of the Galilee. While Israel has been harmed by the behavior of many people at Tel Aviv University, nothing comes close to what Rabinovich nearly caused.
Rabinovich may have done more to endanger Israel's very existence than anyone since the Labor Party fiasco at the start of the Yom Kippur War, whose 40th anniversary is coming up in a few days.
Friday, August 30, 2013
1. Ah the Israeli Left. Just when you thought it could not get any goofier, now it turns out that it is jihading against annexationist feminism.
Let me explain. It seems the Left is upset by a feminist initiative in the Knesset. A number of Knesset members have initiated a measure to extend feminist protection to the West Bank. This means that any women in the West Bank in places under Israeli administration would be entitled to things like pregnancy leave and fertility treatments. The main initiator for the bill is a woman right-winger Orit Struk from Naftali Bennett's "Jewish Home" party. She is joined by people from other parties, including the ultra-leftist feminist Meirav Michaeli from the Labor Party mensheviks. The bill would apply to Arab women as well as Jews living there.
Now other parts of the Left are soiling their undergarments in rage at this. Why? Because by imposing humane pro-woman rules on the "Palestinians" this amounts to a creeping form of Israeli legislative annexation. I mean, if Arab women are granted pregnancy leaves under Israeli law, what will be next? The right not to be murdered by their family members for immodesty? Or for dating before marriage?
And what after that? Kosher delicatessens in Ramallah? Mezuza inspectors in Nablus?
The leftists leading the counterattack against this infernal imperialism are the cabinet Ministers from Tzipi Livni mini-party. Meaning wannabe feminist Livni herself and Yaakov Peri from her party, who is "Minister of Science and Technology," a fancy term for someone with cabinet-level on-the-payroll unemployment. Other leftists are attacking Sistuh Michaeli and denouncing her for being "tricked" into collaborating with the forces of evil occupation. She told them to go frolic themselves (she used a different word).
2. Meanwhile a few weeks back I ran a story about the phony "racist attacks" campaign at Oberlin College. You can read it here: http://frontpagemag.com/2013/steven-plaut/the-so-called-klan-infiltration-of-oberlin-college/.
At the time the president of the College, who is a graduate of the Zionist Young Judea youth movement, shut the whole campus down for a day in atonement for students to contemplate the atmosphere of racist harassment. It seems that some graffiti was showing up on bathroom walls and other places on campus containing anti-black, anti-Semitic, and anti-gay epithets. Some included swastikas.
Well, now at long last, the "perp" of these "racist incitement" incidents has been apprehended. It turns out that it was all done by a leftist student there who had campaigned for Obama and has a clearly Jewish last name: http://dailycaller.com/2013/08/22/meet-the-privileged-obama-supporting-white-kids-who-perpetrated-cruel-oberlin-race-hoax/#ixzz2d2Zs6BY2 . The perp did it as a provocation so that people would think it was rightwing Klan types who did it and so people would respond with sharp shifts to the Left.
Oberlin President ex-Young-Judean Marvin Krislov has NOT shut down the campus in a NEW day of atonement to contemplate moronic leftist students fabricating racist graffiti on campus.
3. Jewish Breakdancing for Rosh Hashana
The New Grand "Adopt a Ba'athist" Campaign of the Left
By Steven Plaut
Not a single bullet has been fired at the Assad regime so far by the Western allies. Nevertheless the Left is already emerging from its caverns to oppose the war. It even is using the same old worn out banners and signs, without even bothering to change them and bring them up to date. Things like: No War for Oil, and US Get Out, and Hands Off Syria. In the UK the "Stop the War Coalition" is preparing mass demonstrations, and parliamentary leftists have already voted against any military involvement. Their party clones in Times Square held an identical protest, and in Chicago their cousins were determined to restore the loop to the Loop.. Protesters in Turkey, which has regularly threatened Syria, held an anti-American solidarity with the Asads protest. The local radical tenured Left in Israel is getting in on the act and is preparing petitions of Israel "academics" condemning the US for shooting at the Asads and demanding that no Western powers get involved in protecting the Syrian population from the regime.
Just WHY are these kneejerk reactions coming from the Left? The answer is that the raison d'etre of the Left everywhere is anti-Americanism. So if the US favors something, it must be evil and therefore the Left should support the other side. And so the Left demands "Hands Off Syria" NOT because it fears the Syrian opposition is even worse than the Ba'ath regime, which is something I believe. The Left simply hates America and if it thinks it hurts the US by adopting a position of Solidarity with the Asads or Let's All take a Ba'athist to Lunch this week, then this is what it needs to be said. And the Leftist herd will automatically toe that line. Obviously the Left could not care less if a few tens of thousands of Syrian civilians get massacred, including by means of poison gas. As long as Asad is anti-Israel the Left thinks he deserves the benefit of the doubt and gestures of leftist solidarity.
Now as it turns out, there actually ARE some problems with the idea that the US and friends should bomb the Ba'ath back to the Stone Age. The first is what I mentioned, namely, that the opposition forces in Syria include and in fact are largely led by Islamofascists even worse for the world than the Ba'athists. If they were in power Syria would be more of a threat to Israel, not less of one.
All the gesticulating about civilians deaths by Western powers is so much silly posturing. When hundreds of thousands of civilians were murdered in the civil war in Algeria, the Western media all but ignored it and even today most Americans do not even know there WAS such a civil war or civilian casualties there.
On the other hand, Obama did publicly proclaim that use of gas by Asad would be casus belli and, having placed American prestige behind the threat, failure to carry through would remove any doubts in the minds of Iranians and North Koreans that the US is all hot air and empty threats.
SO what should be done? In my opinion the very best possible scenario is to maintain the Syrian civil war for as long as possible. Maintain a semi-permanent situation where Syria simply does not function as a state. Lawless anarchy is the ideal. Secession of parts of the country, like Jebel Druse, would be even better.
That means the US should bomb whichever side begins to grow in strength and threatens the other side, a bit like traditional British policy regarding the Continental conflicts in the centuries before World War I. If Asad gets too strong, send in the Tomahawks. If the opposition gets strong enough to threaten to seize power away from him, adjust the dials on the missiles to redirect them. If Asad shoots a single missile in the direction of Israel, then Latakia should be erased from the face of the earth, preferably by Israeli planes carrying daisy cutters. As long as the two sides are simply murdering one another's civilians but are unable to consolidate power, send both sides small arms and ennui and baklava and Halal treats, and bring me a Diet Sprite please.
And the Syrian civil war does have its amusing sides. The Israeli media this week reported that all of the people in a large "refugee camp" of "Palestinians" near Damascus were in hysteria and mass panic, fearing that Asad and his Hezb'Allah allies might turn their poison gas weapons against these "Palestinians." I have no doubt that, like in Sabra and Shatilla, the Anti-Zionist Lobby and the Israeli Tenured Left would figure out a way why this would all be somehow the fault of the Jews. But I must say that, if it happened, I simply cannot find words that would adequately capture my anguish and empathy and shock.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
1. You know how the classic definition of "chutzpah" is the guy who kills his parents and then asks the court for mercy because he is an orphan? Well, we may have to update that.
It seems that many of the illegal Eritrean infiltrators in Israel are whining that they are afraid of an outbreak of hostilities with Syria. After all, the state has not arranged for these criminals to get gas masks and other defensive equipment. See this:
Foreigners without gas masks: 'We're frightened as well'
Some 220,000 foreigners in Israel are not equipped with gas mask in case of Syria strike; Eritrean refugee: 'State has to take care of us'
Now here is an idea. Since they are so frightened, now would be a really good time to send them all home!
2. I mentioned this matter yesterday but I think it is important enough to raise again, and in fact I would like to ask for your assistance in petitioning the Attorney General to prosecute this guy for racist incitement.
The Anti-Semitic Professor at the Univcersity of Haifa Micah Leshem Published a Neo-Nazi Cartoon, displaying a blood libelous defamation against Jews in a jihadist web site:
Writing to the heads of the University to demand his dismissal would be a helpful although useless gesture. Israel, however, has anti-racism laws that criminalize racist incitement. I cannot imagine a more appropriate incident to which the law should be applied. Therefore, kindly take a moment and drop a note to Yehuda Weinstein, the Israeli Attorney General. Demand that he indict this malicious anti-Semite immediatedly for racist incitement.
The most effective way to do so would be to fax him at 972-2-6467001
You should send the same request to the Attorney General of the Haifa district at 972- 2-6467060
If you are reluctant to fax, then the second best is by email: Send your demand for indictment to the Israeli Attorney General via firstname.lastname@example.org. Send a copy to the Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni at email@example.com . Her fax is 972- 2-6285438
3. What with Rosh Hashana approaching, let me take a moment for something happy and lovely and sweet, obviously behavior uncharacteristic for me. As you know, I occasionally like to post material about what I think are interesting developments in Israeli culture and especially in Israeli music.
I would like to introduce you to a young Israeli singer named Gila Hassid. She is an Israeli singer who grew up in a Greek-Jewish family from Saloniki although I think she actually was born in Tel Aviv. A talented singer, for years she simply sang standard Israeli Hebrew music. Like New Yorkers who have never been to the Statue of Liberty, she thought Greek music was boring and not worth performing. But the past few years she changed her mind and is in my opinion a rising star. She sings authentic Greek music, not the commercial knockoffs that are also popular in Israel.
These days, she has emerged as one of the leading musical voices in Israel singing in Greek, in Ladino (the medieval Spanish spoken by many Sephardic Jewish communities, including Saloniki; my father-in-law grew up in Egypt speaking Ladino as one of his mother tongues). She also sings Hebrew versions of Greek songs. Israelis in general are the second greatest aficionados of Greek music after the Greeks themselves. And I am one of them! She is not the only Israeli singer of Greek and Balkan music - Yehuda Paliker is another and is also quite good. If you are interested you can see lots of examples of his music on youtube.
Take a little time off from worrying about what Syria is about to do or about the appeasements by Netanyahu. It is almost Rosh Hashana. Get into the mood for something really sweet. Sit back and relax and count to 10 and then listen to this, for this too is Jewish/Israeli music. You will not be sorry:
Finally as desert, since we are talking about Israeli singers of Greek songs, the following is really a spoof of Greek music by Arik Einstein but has become an Israeli classic, and the video is unusually amusing. Take a moment and open http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cygVEtou0E. It will make your day!
(More generally, you cannot go wrong listening to almost ANYTHING that Arik Einstein sings!)
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
1. The Israeli judicial system has always been fundamentally anti-democratic. It operates at a dual level, with one set of rules for leftists and the other for everyone else. It is notoriously weak in protecting fundamental civil liberties and especially freedom of speech. The courts, including the Supreme Court, are crawling with anti-democratic "judicial activists," who adhere to the doctrine of judicial tyranny that holds that unelected judges have the right to veto the will of the democratically elected representatives of the people and that judges should be able just to make up laws and rights out of thin air as they go along.
Well, now the very top officials in the Israeli judicial system have launched an official jihad against freedom of speech. It takes the form of the attempted criminalization of media criticism of the rulings and verdicts of judges. This is not the first such attempt to suppress criticism of judges, verdicts, and rulings. The Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court Asher Gronis and the non-judge administrative chief of the Israeli court system, Michael Spitzer, have submitted an official petition to Israel's Attorney General and Chief Prosecutor demanding that criticism of court rulings by people on web sites and in blogs be criminalized. The story appears in Hebrew at http://www.haaretz.co.il/news/law/.premium-1.2108173 (Haaretz English web site has not run it). Ironically, the leftist Attorney General has indicated that he is dubious about the petition because it clearly violates freedom of speech, all this from a leftist who has a very dubious record of his own when it comes to freedom of speech for non-leftists.
The two judicial honchos are upset because there is so much harsh criticism of judges on the internet. Not all of it is over the outrageous rulings by some Supreme Court judges, in fact a lot of the condemnation concerns rulings in family court and divorce court.
The two honchos claim to favor freedom of speech in general and the right to criticize harshly anyone ELSE in Israeli public life, just not judges. In a few cases, protests have been held in front of the private residences of targeted judges, and I suppose the chiefs might have a case in asking that THESE be prohibited, since they create a public nuisance. But that is a far cry from demanding that those who criticize court verdicts on the internet be indicted as criminals. The two chiefs may have adopted their initiative from Stalin's Soviet regime, which had similar criminalization measures.
And since your humble curmudgeon criticizes judges all the time, including in this special case of judicial honchos trying to criminalize the exercise of freedom of speech, if you do not hear from me now for a few years please bake me a cake with a file inside and smuggle me some cartons of smokes to use as currency.
2. Yediot reports today that many diplomats from foreign countries are complaining that their offices and residences in Tel Aviv have been burglarized in recent weeks. Thieves and burglars break in and steal valuables, cash, and computers .
So why is this such a delicious story? Because many of these diplomats who were victimized are themselves the official representatives of countries that have been pressuring Israel to allow the Eritrean infiltrators to remain in Israel rather than give them the bum's rush back to Africa. And my bet is that at least two thirds of the burglars of the diplomats are Eritrean infiltrators. So who says there is no justice in this world of sin??!!
Meanwhile the Israeli press has uncovered another amazing mailman-bites-dog story. Much of Tel Aviv these days is barely livable thanks to the countless Eritrean criminals prowling the streets (not all the Eritreans are criminals, but enough are, and on second thought actually ALL the Eritreans are criminals in the sense that they infiltrated into Israel from Egypt illegally!). SO after countless incidents where Eritreans attacked, mugged and raped Tel Aviv residents, yesterday a group of four Israeli hooligans attacked a group of Eritreans in southern Tel Aviv and stole their property. The hooligans are hardly heroes, but it does make for a refreshing change in the news coverage.
3. For weeks the caring Left has been screaming its indignity against the mayor of Upper Nazareth, because he has called for maintaining the Jewish character of Upper Nazareth, much like regular Nazareth has such a dominant Arab character. Well, now the silence of the same indignant care bears is deafening. It seems that the terrorist Hanin Zoabi will be running for mayor of regular Nazareth. This is the same Zoabi who participated in the violent assault against unarmed Israeli troops when they boarded the "Gaza Flotilla" ships. She is an open cheerleader for terrorism and seems never to have met a Jew who does not deserve to be murdered. And the caring Left is suddenly all a-silenced. In any normal country, someone like Zoabi would have been long ago tossed into solitary or sent to Gitmo.
4. The following story is so mind-bogglingly stupid that the only reason it is of interest is to show what passes for "journalism" these days at Haaretz, the Palestinian newspaper printed in Hebrew.
The headline reads: "Dozens of Police are called in against Waitresses who resisted being Ticketed." It can be read in translation here http://www.haaretz.com/news/.premium-1.543800 . The text also reports a demonstration by supposedly 200 people (numbers of demonstrators in Haaretz stories should never be taken too literally!) who protested the anti-feminist and anti-progressive attitudes of the police, who were targeting this "progressive" café. Huh??
Well the story seems to be this. There is a café called the Albi Café in Tel Aviv that serves the night crowd. (Defined as people who go out hours after I have gone to bed.) I confess that I have no idea what a progressive café is and doubt I will ever enter one.
Anyway, evidently the neighbors complained about the noise, when the café stayed open past legal opening hours. Some inspectors (not clear if they were from the City or from some sort of labor hours enforcement squad of regulators) came by one day to issue a summons about the fact that staff was being employed there beyond the legal operating hours. When they tried to deliver the summons, there were only two waitresses still in the premises cleaning up, which were locked and closed. The labor inspectors called the cops to the scene. The waitresses told the cops they were prohibited by the owners from opening the locked doors after the café was closed. The cops insisted that they open anyway and demanded that the waitresses show the cops some ID. In Israel for obvious reasons cops have the right to demand to see some ID. They refused and were detained by the cops. SO far, not much of a story.
But some far-leftist radical feminist organization, "Women in Yellow," decided to adopt the "cause." Its radical feminist lawyer named Gaby Laski started issuing pronouncements about how this was all part of a vast conspiracy to undermine feminism! (Huh?) A sort of Israeli Andrea Dworkin, Lasky is an activist in Peace Now and in some other loopy leftist groups even worse than it (see http://www.inclusivesecurity.org/network-bio/gaby-lasky/ ). She once ran on the Meretz slate. She works with B'Tselem.
Lasky and her ilk seem to be those behind the "feminist progressive" demonstration to defend the waitresses against police demands that they show some ID. And Haaretz faithfully toes the line of the moonbettes and reports the entire story as if it is a political scoop rather than a trivial story about a noise nuisance after hours in Tel Aviv and about some bored limousine feminists. Lasky and friends did NOT protest when the police recently tasered a rightwing settler who was peaceful and minding his own business. Haaretz did protest, not because it cares about rightwingers getting tasered but because it fears communists and other leftists might be next.
By the way, if you think B'Tselem is something other than an anti-Semitic terrorist organization, take a look at this:
5. University of Haifa professor composes anti-Semitic blood libel "cartoon": http://isracampus.org.il/third%20level%20pages/HaifaU%20-%20Micah%20Leshem%20-%20Pens%20Anti-Semitic%20Cartoon.htm
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Outrage: U.S. Returning Artifacts Looted from Iraqi Jews to Iraq, Instead of Lawful Owners
Posted By Harold Rhode On August 26, 2013 @ 12:02 am In Iraq,Israel,Legal,Middle East,US News,World News |
The National Archives is readying an exhibit of Iraqi Jewish artifacts due to open on October 11. Appallingly, the U.S. government has agreed to then return the Iraqi Jewish archives — including holy books — to Iraq, which systematically expelled its Jewish community, by June of 2014.
How did the Jewish Iraqi community — which dates to 721 B.C.E. when the Assyrians conquered Samaria and eventually deported the population to central Mesopotamia, and which was one of the two main sources of Mishnaic and Talmudic learning — lose, find, and lose again its patrimony?
The incredible story of how this unlikely turn of events came to pass has never been told in its entirety until now; I am one of the few who can tell it.
After American forces entered Baghdad in May 2003, the head of the Jewish and Israel section of Saddam Hussein's Mukhabarat (intelligence agency) came to the Iraqi National Congress (INC), offering information about Saddam's intelligence operations against Israel and Jews. He did this in order to curry favor. Former Iraqi officials frequently came to opposition groups to tell their stories, in return for which they would get "safe passage" documents stating that since they were cooperating with post-Saddam authorities, they should not be harmed.
The tipster visited the INC to talk about the rumored Jewish archives hidden in the basement of the Mukhabarat headquarters. After his visit, INC chairman Ahmed Chalabi called Judy Miller, the former New York Times reporter then embedded with a mobile unit looking for WMD, and me. I was an Arabic/Hebrew speaking policy analyst with the Office of Net Assessments in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, then assigned to the Coalition Provisional Authority, at the time.
We rushed over to talk with Chalabi, who told us that a former Mukhabarat employee reported that a huge treasure trove of Iraqi Jewish and Israeli material was amassed in the Mukhabarat building, and that he was prepared to show us where it was located. He also said there was an ancient copy of the Talmud written on leather or parchment.
Miller and I then went off to the Mukhabarat building with the former Saddam officer and an INC contingent.
The tipster indicated from outside the building where in the basement the Jewish and Israel sections were located. Then — he promptly disappeared. Despite the bombed-out structure's instability, looters were overrunning the building. Danger was everywhere.
We were, in fact, standing beside a large metal device which had lodged itself halfway into the ground. We later learned that this live, undetonated bomb had penetrated through three or four stories of the building and destroyed the building's water system. It had pierced the wall almost at ground level. We saw, through the hole it made, that the Jewish and Israel sections were flooded.
We went around to the building's main entrance and descended only halfway down a basement staircase, blocked by water which had risen about halfway up. Several WMD team members waded into the water and entered the Israel section. They found pictures of the Dome of the Rock, a Soviet map of Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor, and a sign in Arabic which read: "Who will be the one to send the 40th missile to Israel?" (This referred to the fact that during the Kuwait war, Iraq had sent 39 missiles toward Israel.)
The WMD team then proceeded down the hall, found the Jewish section, and carried out religious books and a tiq (the wooden/metal box which holds Torahs). These items proved to be only a tiny example of what we were to find later.
Many Iraqis with whom we spoke about the discovery told us to get the material out of the country as soon as possible before it became public knowledge. That way, Iraqi Jewry could have its patrimony, and no Iraqi politician could be held responsible for having let the Jews take the material.
But that was not so simple. Almost all of the material was under water, and whatever its long-term fate, it had to first be rescued and salvaged. We therefore needed drainage pumps so we could get to the items, and we needed manpower to take the material out, and we needed money to pay for both and had no access to either.
Chalabi volunteered to start the project. His people procured pumps and hired locals to save the books, documents, and holy articles. We started draining at night with the small pumps we had, and managed to get into the Jewish and Israel sections the next morning. But the water continued to drip down from the broken pipes in the building's upper levels, so by early afternoon the water had risen too high and we were unable to continue our operation. This situation continued daily for the next few weeks.
Such a large operation costs money, and Chalabi's personal generosity was stretched. We managed to secure a grant from philanthropist Harvey Krueger, an investment banker then of Lehman Brothers, who heard about the project from friends and managed to get us about $15,000 to continue the operation.
I tried to interest American officials in the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) of which I was a member, but my pleas were not heard. The American bureaucracy back home was not helpful either, as it clearly saw this project as a nuisance. Worse, bureaucrats thought the rescue project could potentially cause them serious problems — such as the issue of provenance — with which they did not want to be bothered.
The next problem we faced was what to do with the material once we got it out of the Mukhabarat building. Chalabi gave us 27 large aluminum trunks and gave us space to dry out the material in the Orfali Art Gallery courtyard, which was part of his INC's headquarters. Since the American bureaucracy did not want to participate in the rescue of the Jewish archive, we needed advice on how to do so ourselves. Through friends, we were put in touch with Jerusalem's Hebrew University document and book restoration section, whose director tried to give us instructions by phone on how to handle the material. She told us we needed low humidity — dry, air-conditioned rooms to help dry the material out and to prevent mold. There was only sporadic electricity in Baghdad at that time, and therefore no possibility of following her instructions.
We let the material dry out for a few hours in Baghdad's humid air and hot sunlight.
We were forced to roll out on the ground the Torah and other holy scrolls we had rescued — something which is normally absolutely prohibited in Jewish law — so that we could dry them out however slightly, and then roll them back up and place them in the aluminum trunks. Had we not rolled them out, they would have dried and hardened, and therefore been forever unusable and destroyed.
When the books and documents were still damp but not yet dry, we put them in the large aluminum trunks Chalabi's people had found for us. Despite our best intentions, these temporary solutions could not salvage the material for the long run. But day after day, we and the Iraqi workers went down into the Mukhabarat building's basement, rescued books, papers, and other materials, brought our load to the Orfali courtyard some two miles away, and dried out the daily stash. This process went on for about four weeks.
Every day, friends from around the world called to see how we were doing. Some deserve special mention because their intervention and assistance is the reason this material exists today.
Natan Sharansky, the ex-Soviet dissident and Israeli government minister, called to see how things were developing. After hearing about our predicament, he called Vice President Dick Cheney and asked if he could intervene with the American authorities in Iraq to save the materials. Richard Perle, the former assistant secretary of defense under Ronald Reagan, and my former boss and longtime friend, also called us. After hearing our story, he called then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Both Cheney and Rumsfeld then brought this matter up with the Coalition Provisional Authorities (CPA), who, after previously refusing any assistance, went into action and took over the project.
Sharansky, Cheney, Perle, Rumsfeld, Ahmed Chalabi, and the members of the WMD team who originally waded into the water and discovered the initial material are the real heroes of this operation. It is largely due to their intervention that the Iraqi Jewish archive exists today. Without their help, it is unlikely that any of this archive would have survived.
As a result of their intervention, on June 5, 2003 — the second day of Shavu'ot, when Jewish tradition teaches that Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai — the American authorities, now fully engaged in the rescue operation, brought in large pumps which very quickly drained the entire area. The next day, the large amount of material still left in the archives was put in the rest of the aluminum trunks and then placed in a large refrigerated truck which kept the material as protected as possible until the American archival restorers arrived and took possession of the archive in June 2003.
The materials were then flown to Texas where they were vacuum-freeze-dried, and in Fall 2003 they were brought to the National Archives. In 2011, the State Department kicked in over $3 million for stabilizing, digitizing, and packing the material. Again, none of that would have been possible without the interventions of the people I have referenced.
Among the items we found in the intelligence headquarters basement: a 400-year-old Hebrew Bible; a 200-year-old Talmud from Vienna; a copy of the book of Numbers in Hebrew published in Jerusalem in 1972; a Megillat Esther of uncertain date; a Haggadah published in Baghdad and edited by the chief rabbi of Baghdad; the Writings of Ketuvim containing books like Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Lamentations, Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles published in Venice in 1568; a copy of Pirkei Avot, or Ethics of the Fathers, published in Livorno, Italy in 1928 with commentary written with Hebrew letters but in Baghdadi-Judeo Arabic; a luach (a calendar with lists of duties and prayers for each holy day printed in Baghdad in 1972); a printed collection of sermons by a rabbi made in Germany in 1692; thousands of books printed in Vienna, Livorno, Jerusalem, Izmir, and Vilna; miscellaneous communal records from 1920-1953; lists of male Jewish residents, school records, financial records, applications for university admissions.
All of this illustrated the history of Baghdadi Jewish community life, a community which is no more.
After Israel became a state in 1948, martial law was declared in Iraq and many Jews left in the mass exodus in 1950-51. Almost all of those who remained behind left by the 1970s. They were not allowed to take much with them.
In 1950-51, they were allowed one suitcase with clothing — sometimes not even their personal documents — and nothing more. They were forced to leave everything else behind, including their communal property. For many years, Jews were not permitted to leave Iraq at all and were persecuted. With time, the few Jews who remained in Baghdad transferred what communal holy books and religious articles they had to the one remaining synagogue which functioned. This was in Batawin, a section of Baghdad which in the late 1940s was the neighborhood to which upwardly mobile Jews moved. The remaining Jews stored this property in the synagogue's balcony, where the women sat during prayer.
The Jews did not freely relinquish this material. They did it under duress, having no other option.
In 1984, Saddam sent henchmen with trucks to that synagogue. Those scrolls, records, and books were carted off to a place unknown. Local Jews who were at the synagogue at that time witnessed this thievery, and described to me personally how the material was carted off against their will.
Why did Saddam even care about this material, and why did he keep it in his intelligence headquarters? Did he think he might gain some insights into the Jewish mind by doing so? Did he think doing so would help him defeat the Israelis?
From a Middle Eastern cultural perspective, capturing the archive makes perfect sense. Humiliation — i.e., shaming another's personal reputation — is more important and more powerful than physical cruelty. From this cultural perspective, by capturing the Jewish archives, Saddam was humiliating the Jewish people. He was showing how powerless the Jews were to stop him. By keeping that archive and the Israel section in the basement of his intelligence headquarters, Saddam further humiliated the Jews and Israel. And by doing so, Saddam – again, in Middle Eastern eyes — was also regaining a portion of the honor the Arabs lost through their constant military defeats at the hands of the (Jewish) Israelis.
Strange as it might sound to Western ears, Saddam also thereby demonstrated to other Middle Eastern leaders that he was in the vanguard of protecting and regaining Arab honor, and was therefore more worthy of Arab/Muslim leadership than were the others.
As for today's Iraqi leaders, they too do not want to be humiliated, and therefore cannot say that they are prepared to let the Jews or Americans have this material.
Any Iraqi Arab leader who publicly surrenders the Jewish archive will be humiliated in the eyes of his fellow Arabs. That is most likely why so many of them privately said that they wanted to me get this archive out of Iraq quickly and as quietly as possible before anyone would know. That way, they would not be blamed for the archive's removal.
Of course, according to international law, no country may remove or steal the patrimony or art effects of another country, even when captured in war. The U.S. therefore could not lawfully remove the Jewish material without the consent of the local Iraqi authorities. Accordingly, the Americans asked the Iraqis for permission to remove this material in order to restore it. The Iraqi cultural ministry authorities agreed to this, on condition that it eventually return to Iraq.
But did the Iraqi authorities have the right to demand the archives back?
The Iraqi government "acquired" this material by stealing it from the Jewish community and by persecuting a minority religious population.
The Iraqi Jews, under duress, had no choice but to relinquish control of their communal archives to the government. It was the Jewish community's property, not the Iraqi government's.
After our effort to retrieve the Jewish archives became publicly known, many former Iraqi Jews started exerting public pressure in an effort to take possession of the post-restoration archives. But the American bureaucracy — which did not want to get involved in the archive's rescue in the first place — did its best to ensure that once the material was restored it would return to Iraq. The bureaucracy said that it is illegal for a conquering power to remove property from the country which was conquered, and the bureaucracy did not want to become embroiled in questions of provenance.
But the property was stolen property in the first place, meaning that the Iraqi government did not own it. It is the Iraqi government which has no provenance. The stolen property must be returned to its original owners — according to international law.
Where are these Iraqi Jews, and since this robbery took place between 40 and 60 years ago, where are their descendants, who clearly are the rightful owners? Iraqi Jewry is scattered throughout the world. Today, about 85% of them and their descendants live in Israel. The rest live mostly in the UK and in the U.S. Only 20 remain in Iraq.
These people are the rightful owners of the Iraqi Jewish archives now housed temporarily at the U.S. National Archives in suburban Washington D.C., not the Iraqi government, which has never taken responsibility for Iraq's role in destroying the more than 2,500-year-old Jewish community.
It would be as if Germany demanded material looted from German Jewish communities under the Nazis in German government hands. But even in this case, the Germans today admit their Nazi crimes against the Jews, and they have done much to compensate the Jews for German actions.
Moreover, can Iraq even care for this archive?
Iraq now — today — has a basement room of its archives filled with Torahs. The conditions in which they are kept are deplorable. Moreover, no one is allowed access to this material. To be sure, the Iraqis have great difficulty taking care of their own historical and archival material, so this does not mean that the current Iraqi government discriminates particularly against the Jewish material in its possession. The point is they have shown no capability for preserving such material.
The most logical final resting place for the material is the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center outside of Tel Aviv. It is the only museum in the world dedicated to the history of Iraqi Jewry.
Article printed from PJ Media: http://pjmedia.com
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 Sign the petition to stop the transfer here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Dont_let_the_Jewish_archive_go_back_to_Iraq/?copy
Monday, August 26, 2013
1. It is time to demand an official investigation of the behavior of the Israeli Border Patrol unit that was in the battle that left three "Palestinians" dead in Qalandiya today near Jerusalem. I demand to know why ONLY three Palestinians were shot!
If you are watching the television news on non-Israeli channels, what you will learn from them is that a group of Israeli soldiers burst into Qalandiya and for no possible reason at all started harassing and attacking innocent "Palestinians" who were simply standing around and minding their business.
Of course if you happen to watch the Israeli news broadcast or even one of the less biased less anti-Semitic news agencies outside Israel like yahoo.com, you will learn that a platoon of Israeli border patrolmen entered Qalandiya with arrest warrants, seeking to apprehend several terrorists. When their presence was noted, at least a thousand locals attacked the patrolmen with molotov cocktails, large rocks, and other weapons, including live ammunition and automatic rifles. This was an armed assault by the terrorists against the Border Patrolmen, many of whom are Druse and Bedouins by the way. The good guys responded as ordered with rubber bullets and tear gas. When their lives were clearly in danger they used live ammo. Did I mention that they were being attacked by a lynch mob consisting of more than 1000 terrorists? A THOUSAND! Ten to the third power! The international news agencies are all broadcasting images of Arab youths sitting quietly next to a wall in tears for fears of what became their friends and relatives. Yeah sure.
Of the three "Palestinians" shot dead there, two were convicted murderers who had been released as part of the moronic "deal" by Netanyahu to buy back Gilad Shalit by means of releasing terrorists. Their deaths today providing Israelis with a tiny pinch of closure and justice.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority just announced that it was calling off all "talks" with Israel in light of this "crime" by Israel. Now since Netanyahu paid 104 murderers in exchange for the holding of these ridiculous talks, now that the PLO has cancelled them can there possibly be any reason that a sane person would not demand that all of the 104 be re-jailed?
The lynch mob is still rioting in Qalandiya as we speak and still engaging in terrorist violence.
So I demand an apology from the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense! I demand to know why ONLY three terrorists were killed today!
Oh and it is all very nice that the world is about to bomb Syria for murdering Syrians. But why did the world never respond with force as long as Syria and its Hezb'Allah puppets were merely murdering Jews (and not just in Israel). I guess murder of Jews still just does count.
2. Minor correction: In the posting about Hitler's comment that Chamberlain was a little rodent who actually believed the scrap of paper of the accord had value, Hitler said it to Von Ribbentrop and not to Goering, and he referred to Chamberlain as a little worm, not a little rodent. We like to keep all the facts precise here at the Family Incitement Services!
3. Old but still cute:
The New York City Public Schools have officially declared Jewish English, now dubbed Hebronics, as a second language.
Backers of the move say the city schools are the first in the nation to recognize Hebronics as a valid language and a significant attribute of American culture.
4. Too related stories:
You probably saw that Bradley Manning, the big leaker of Wikileaks, wants to get himself, er, snipped, and I do NOT mean circumcised. See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323665504579028563211609706.html:
Pfc. Bradley Manning said Thursday that he wants to live his life as a woman and be known as Chelsea Manning as he begins a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified government information to WikiLeaks.
Pfc. Bradley Manning says he wants to live his life as a woman and be known as Chelsea Manning as he begins a 35-year prison term for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks. …
Less than 24 hours after being sentenced for being the source of one of the biggest classified leaks in U.S. history, Pfc. Manning said he wants to begin hormone therapy and be known by a new name.
This news story came out the same day as the following:
New German Law Recognizes a Third Gender
Posted By Daniel Greenfield On August 24, 2013 @ 10:30 am In The Point | 5 Comments
You probably thought it was going to end with Gay Marriage. Ha.
You thought that it would end with Tranny (transgendered) rights. Double Ha.
You thought that maybe the Bisexual Forum at the White House would be it.
It never ends. That's the point of any grievance industry. It just manufactures more crazy. And there's a big heap of crazy out there.
As a sample, the US gay rights movement is generally using LGBT for Lesbian Gay Bisexual (Transgender) Transvestite. But the new one is LGBTQIA, which adds Asexual, Intersex and Queer for "who do not adhere to sexual and/or gender norms" more so than gays, trannies, the asexual and the non-gendered already don't.
So get ready for the Third Gender.
There are men and women. And there are men who want to marry men for a few days. And there are men who think they're women. And there are men who want everyone to recognize that they are an entirely new gender.
Germany is set to become the first country in Europe to introduce a third, "indeterminate" gender designation on birth certificates. The European Union, which is attempting to coordinate anti-discrimination efforts across member states, is lagging behind on the issue.
The option of selecting "blank," in addition to the standard choices of "male" or female" on birth certificates will become available in Germany from November 1.
Under the new law, individuals can also opt to remain outside the gender binary altogether.
By the time the barbarians overrun us, history will record that we made Nero and Caligula look like the height of good reason and judgment.
Intersex people, that is, those who are born neither exclusively male nor exclusively female, form one of the most invisible groups in our society. Contrary to popular belief, this has little to do with their supposed rarity and more to do with the violence our society inflicts upon those who don't conform to binary and mutually exclusive "male" and "female" categories.
Conformity! Who needs gender anyway. Or even bodies. Or names. Or words. Let's escape all these categories by going off to live in caves.
This year, Australia has made great strides through the adoption of an anti-discrimination law that protects "intersex status" alongside established grounds such as "sex" and "race."
Also level of insanity.
According to Silvan Agius, policy director at human rights organisation ILGA Europe — the European chapter of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association — the European Union is lagging behind on the issue. Though Brussels commissioned a report on trans and intersex minorities in 2010, and has since attempted to coordinate efforts to prohibit gender discrimination, progress has been halting.
"Things are moving slower than they should at the European level," says Agius. "Though Brussels has ramped up efforts to promote awareness of trans and intersex discrimination, I would like to see things speed up."
Can't it wait till the whole thing collapses and the Intersexed are too busy rooting through garbage cans for food to worry about gendered pronouns?