zaterdag 10 december 2011

Toespraak Danny Ayalon over vluchtelingenvraagstuk voor UNHCR

Danny Ayalon, de Israelische onderminster, heeft ook weer een video op YouTube gezet, zijn derde al, dit keer over het vluchtelingenvraagstuk. Het begin ervan is wat te simpel gebracht, en de aantallen vluchtelingen die hij noemt zijn lager dan doorgaans aangenomen. Zo schat Benny Morris het aantal Palestijnse vluchtelingen niet op 500.000 maar zo'n 675.000, en de meesten hanteren nog wat hogere getallen. Ook het aantal Joodse vluchtelingen uit de Arabische en Perzische wereld was waarschijnlijk hoger dan 850.000, maar die vertrokken niet allemaal naar Israel zoals het filmpje suggereert; enkele honderdduizenden gingen naar de USA en Europa (met name Frankrijk, de voormalige kolonisator van enkele landen). Ook voltrok hun vlucht zich over enkele decennia, niet zoals vaak gedacht gelijk in 1948. Ayalon zelf is overigens de zoon van Joodse vluchtelingen uit Algerije, die tijdens en na de onafhankelijkheidsoorlog van dat land massaal moesten vluchten. Zijn filmpje is het sterkst waar hij de dubbele standaard aankaart tussen de UNRWA voor de Palestijnse vluchtelingen en de UNHCR voor alle andere vluchtelingen, een historische schande waar je zelden iemand over hoort...


Danny Ayalon's speech to the UNHCR


Since this seems to have been Danny Ayalon week at EoZ, I might as well finish it off with the full text of the speech he gave at a UNHCR Ministerial Meeting in Geneva yesterday:


Thank you, Mr. High Commissioner. 


I would like to congratulate the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the 60th anniversary of the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Your office and the convention are vital tools in dealing with the global challenge of helping people in need who were forced for different reasons to leave their homeland and families and to find a better life somewhere else.

The State of Israel is a country that was established as a shelter for Jewish refugees from all over the world, including, survivors of the Holocaust and those forced from their homes in North Africa and the Middle East. Our society is a mosaic of people from around 100 countries who returned to their ancestral homeland escaping the horrors of persecutions and violence.

As a result of our experience, Israel was one of the initiators of the Refugees Convention and one of the first countries to join it. Israel is committed to all its articles.

In addition, we support the application of the general principles governing the treatment of refugees worldwide to apply universally, without exception, including those in the Palestinian context. While the UNHCR has found durable solutions for tens of millions of refugees, the agency created specifically for the Palestinian context has found durable solutions for no one.

This has meant that a peaceful solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians remains further away. This is morally and politically unacceptable.

The refugee issue is a core element towards finding a solution to our conflict and in its broader context would have to address both the Palestinian and the Jewish refugees forced to flee from Arab lands. Jewish refugees also require redress.

Israel's unique history, core values and moral compass are the basis for our sympathy toward those who require shelter and refuge. During the 70's, Israel was among the first countries to accept "Boat People" from Vietnam and decades later we gave shelter to refugees who escaped the ravages in Darfur.

In recent years, for different reasons - climate change, lack of employment, conflicts and a general desire for a better standard of living, we are witnessing an increasing number of population movements from developing countries to the developed world. It is a global challenge and the international community should work together to find the most effective and humanitarian ways to deal with these challenges.

Israel, as a flourishing democracy with a contiguous land access from Africa is facing a growing number of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers arriving in its territory. In a small country such as Israel, it has severe implications on society, economy, demography and security. There is increased debate in Israel at all levels on this issue. The dilemmas are not simple and there are no easy solutions.

We cooperate in a full and transparent manner with UNHCR in trying to formulate the best solutions. The UNHCR has assisted us in training our RSD unit and in developing a unique voluntary-return program to South Sudan based on incentives and vocational training, which we are very proud of.

Israel is committed

  • To continue expanding Government capacity and refugee status determination expertise;
  • To assuming greater responsibility for refugee status determination;
  • To reaffirm our commitment to the internationally recognized principle of non-refoulement;
  • To provide the necessary assistance and medical care to victims of human trafficking, among them many women who, on their way to Israel, were kidnapped, tortured and raped.
  • We are committed to continue our policy in encouraging voluntary-returns through incentives and professional training that will enable the returnees to rebuild their future and to start a new life with better tools at their disposal.

I am happy to report that Israel will increase our annual contribution to UNHCR.

And finally, we offer UNHCR the use of Israel's expertise and to work together, through MASHAV - Israel's International Development Agency, to create and implement professional and vocational training programs in mutually agreed locations of UNHCR's refugee camps around the world, with the aim of uplifting the refugees' standard of living and helping them to obtain a better future. We stand ready to start a dialogue with UNHCR on this matter as soon as possible.

Thank you.


Benny Morris over de Palestijnse vluchtelingen (video)


Deze video geeft een goed overzicht van het aantal Palestijnse vluchtelingen en de redenen waarom ze vluchtten. Morris onderscheidt vier fases, en vooral in de tweede fase (100.000 vluchtelingen, zomer 1948) zijn veel vluchtelingen verdreven zonder direct militair doel, met name uit Lod en Ramle. In de andere fases ging het vooral om Palestijnen die voor het oorlogsgeweld vluchtten, tijdens gevechten of vantevoren uit angst. Belangrijk was dat juist in de eerste fase, voordat Israel/de Haganah het initiatief naar zich toetrok, veel notabelen en beter gesitueerde Palestijnen vluchtten, waardoor de dorpelingen zonder lokale leiders achterbleven. Dat heeft hun moraal sterk beinvloed. 








Excerpts of a talk by Prof. of history Benny Morris, about the actual number of Arabs expled from Palestine during the 47-48 war. The Israeli policies and actions that lead to the Palestinian refugee problem.
To see the lecture in its entirety, with supplements and Q&A (about 10 videos) click here to start:
For links to related information go to the end of the description, after the "enclosed texts" part.

***The four stages of the creation of the Palestinian Refugee Problem***

** Stage #1 **
Started: November 1947 (after the announcement of the Partition Plan for Palestine after which the Arabs started the civil war against Jews in Palestine).
Ended: March 1948.
Population: Mainly middle and upper class.
Reason: Moved to be out of harm's way (not expelled!).
Number: ~75,000
Actually expelled by Jewish forces: None.

** Stage #2 **
Started: April 1948 (Roughly coincides with the creation of Israel and the invasion of neighboring Arab countries)
Ended: June 1948 (Beginning of first truce)
Population: Lower middle class town and village inhabitants.
Reason: Fled due to fear and lack of leadership.
Number: ~300,000
Actually expelled by Jewish forces: Almost none.

** Stage #3 **
Started: July 1948 (After the end of the first truce during the most intense fighting)
Population: Lower class.
Reason: Expulsion and mass flight.
Number: ~100,000
Actually expelled by Jewish forces: ~50,000 mainly from Lod and Ramle.

** Stage #4 **
Started: October 1947 (During another escalation in fights as Israel goes into the offensive)
Population: Mainly northern inhabitants.
Reason: Mainly mass flight with some expulsions
Number: ~200,000

*** Were There Israeli Expulsion Policies? ***
- When looking at Israeli internal documents we clearly find that (In accordance with original Zionistic principals) there was NO Jewish institutional policy of expelling the Arabs.
- In a military directive from March 1948, there was a specific order that commanders should treat the Arab population with dignity and NOT expel inhabitants, except for military objectives.
- At the point in April 1948, when it seemed to Jewish leadership that an existential threat hangs over the Jewish "yeshuv" there was a change in atmosphere, nevertheless no specific expulsion policy was adopted and no directive given.
How do we know there was no Israeli expulsion policy?
- About 50% of Arabs stayed in Israel, which is the reason why Israel till today consists of 20% Arab citizens.
- No Israeli officer at the course of the 48 war was put to trial for expelling, or not expelling Arabs.
- According to documents we see an inconsistency in expulsions. In some cases there were expulsions and some there weren't.
NOTE: When the civil war escalated to the point that Arab armies invaded Israel, more field commanders took action in actually clearing Arab settlements to prevent attacks from both sides (i.e. entering Arab armies in the front and Arab inhabitants at the back).
The Reason: Left wingers in the army, civil population and leadership.

More information:

Benny Morris - The 1948 War:

Einstein Zionism 1940-1949:

United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine:

1948 war:

Timeline (Chronology): Israel War of Independence:

De Vara huurt via Joop de antisemiet Peter Edel in


Een tijdje terug zag ik op een stukje tegen Israel van Peter Edel. 'Peter Edel? Toch niet die van dat boek – hoe heet het ook alwaar, iets met een ster meen ik – dat indertijd zelfs mevrouw Meulenbelt te gortig was? Zo iemand zouden ze toch geen podium geven op een officiële website van de VARA? Edel is ook weer niet zo'n vreemde naam, misschien heet hij toevallig ook zo....' Zo dacht ik, maar besloot toch maar even te googlen, en ja, hij was het dus wel, en het boek heette De schaduw van de Ster, en werd inderdaad ook door (radikaal) links als antisemitisch in de ban gedaan. Ik schreef een reactie op het stuk, maar die werd niet geplaatst. Na lang aandringen, ook van iemand anders, kreeg ik in twee regels te horen dat mijn aantijging dat hij een 'bedenkelijk boek' had geschreven wat te gortig was voor dit toch vrijdenkende en verschillige medium. Ik had er nog wel een link bijgezet voor onderbouwing, maar dat mocht niet baten. Je mag Israel van de meest verschrikkelijke zaken beschuldigen, zionisten zijn sowieso de nieuwe nazi's, en Wilders is eigenlijk ook een soort nieuwe nazi, maar een antisemiet ervan betichten een bedenkelijk boek te hebben geschreven, dat gaat te ver. Voor mij is Joop daarmee voorgoed door de mand gevallen. Diep triest dat sommige mensen ter linkerzijde zo diep zinken en zo kritiekloos staan tegenover antisemitisme 


Zie voor meer informatie ook: de censuur van 





De Vara huurt via Joop de antisemiet Peter Edel in

Door: Filantroop

Hij was een tijdje uit beeld. Er gingen geruchten rond dat hij zich tijdelijk en in deceptie in Antwerpen teruggetrokken zou hebben nadat hij er zelfs van links van langs gekregen had vanwege zijn obscure ideeën over Joden en zijn beruchte werk De schaduw van de ster. Maar inmiddels blijkt dat hem stilletjes een schrijftafeltje geboden is bij Joop. Weliswaar zonder erbij te vermelden dat hij de auteur is van dat antisemitische werk. Je moet natuurlijk geen ronkende honden waker schudden over een werk dat er zo breed van langs kreeg. Op een weblog waar Wilders als kampcommandant van Auschwitz neergezet wordt wil je natuurlijk geen woord hebben voor een werk dat alom als antisemitisch gedefinieerd werd. Dus lees je over het Curriculum Vitae van Peter Edel: 

Freelance journalist/fotograaf
Peter Edel (1959) is freelance journalist/fotograaf en woont in Istanbul. Zijn artikelen en foto's verschijnen onder andere in de Engelstalige Turkse krant TodaysZaman. Momenteel werkt hij aan een boek over de politieke geschiedenis van Turkije

Geen woord over datgene waarmee juist wél faam vergaard heeft, namelijk een obsessieve drang negatief over Joden te schrijven. Zich inmiddels gepositioneerd hebbende als Turkije-kenner (Zeg maar de Dr. Remco Clavan bij Joop) wil hij er kennelijk niet aan herinneren dat hij alvorens hij dat werd de Jodenkenner bij uitstek was. Al moet meteen gezegd dat hij nog steeds overtuigd is van de kwaadwilligheid van de Joden en het land waar Joden zelf voor hun veiligheid zorgen. 

Dat de VARA zich kennelijk geneert voor het omstreden werk van deze Jodenfetisjist zou je ronduit laf kunnen noemen, want het moet daar net zo bekend zijn als dat Wilders nooit opgedragen heeft moslims naar Auschwitz te sturen. 

Wie zo obsessief met Joden bezig is als Peter Edel moet iets mankeren. Wie zich de moeite getroost historische boekenwerken zodanig met een Braun staafmixer te bewerken zodat er precies uitkomt wat er gewenst wordt, namelijk dat het Joodse volk verderfelijk en racistisch is, zodat er begrip ontstaat voor het uitroeien ervan, moet categorisch gerangschikt worden in de rubriek waarin ook Alfred Rosenberg Julius Streicher, Joseph Goebbels en onze eigen Max Blokzijl ingedeeld zijn. En verwijt mij hier geen Godwin, want dat doet juist Peter Edel in het veelvoudige. 

Met zijn werk De schaduw van de ster, met een voorwoord van de inmiddels tot het hogere geroepen SP-prominent Karel Glastra van Loon, die er meteen maar bijschreef dat Peter Edel wel weer van antisemitisme beticht zou worden, wist de schrijver precies te oogsten waar hij zijn zaaigoed voor bedoeld had. 

Je kunt kritisch zijn jegens de Israëlische politiek inzake de Palestijnen, maar wat Peter Edel besloot te doen om de zaak in het voordeel van de Palestijnen te beslechten was de Joden genetisch op de objectietafel van de microscoop te leggen en dingen te zien die alleen hij en enkele van zijn vurigste medestanders konden zien.

En die medestanders verwierf hij bij segmenten van extreemlinks, bij waar de antisemitische uitingen en gros gedaan werden, en… uiteraard bij de neonazi's. Wie het werk graag tot zich wil nemen, hoeft het daarom niet te kopen want die kan bij de neonazi's van Stormfront terecht, waar het met graagte ter lezing aangeboden wordt ter aanduiding van de aangeboren slechtheid der Joden. 

Eerlijkheidshalve moet gezegd dat het werk ook bij links niet alle handen op elkaar kreeg, zodat kritiek op het werk niet zonder meer toegeschreven kan worden aan de vermaledijde Joodse lobby. Iets wat Peter Edel en zijn medestanders graag wilden doen laten geloven. 

Omdat voorwoordschrijver Karel Glastra van Loon destijds een geëerd adviseur van de SP was, haastte Jan Marijnissen zich bij Barend en van Dorp te distantiëren van het werk en de opmaat van Karel Glastra van Loon. De kritiek kwam van meer linkse kanten, zoals in de Gebladerte reeks, Kleintje Muurkrant en de Fabel van de illegaal, hetwelk Peter Edel in woede deed uitbarsten tegen zijn criticus "De oorlogsverklaring van Peter Zegers". Het NRC Handelsblad en Trouw zagen de bui ook al hangen en zelfs Anja Meulenbelt miste de nuance en dat wil bij haar toch echt wel iets zeggen.

Het definitieve oordeel over De Schaduw van de ster laat ik aan de lezers, maar waarom de Vara en Joop deze idealist faciliteert is een raadsel voor mij. Want wil de VARA inzake het antizionisme radicaler zijn dan Jan Marijnissen, Anja Meulenbelt en de scribenten van Kleintje Muurkrant en de Fabel van de illegaal? Wil de VARA geassocieerd worden met een antisemiet die dankbaar door de neonazi's gebruikt wordt om de Holocaust te rechtvaardigen? 

Ja, dat wil de VARA, want die omroep is sedert de komst bij die omroep van Karel Roskam, Marcel van Dam en de Nieuw Linksgarde in de late jaren zestig van de vorige eeuw zo sterk afgedwaald van de beschaafde sociaaldemocratie waarin Wim Kan, Annie M.G. Schmidt, Simon Carmiggelt, Koos Postema en Loe de Jong excelleerden dat er zelfs geen masker nodig is het te maskeren. Daarom kreeg Peter Edel ondanks of juist dankzij zijn verleden er een schrijftafeltje aangeboden. En geen rooie haan die er naar kraait.


Israel veilige haven voor Arabische journalisten


In de Nederlandse pers wordt vaak beweerd dat Israel vreselijk restrictief is en journalisten het er maar zwaar hebben. Hoe het dan komt dat er zoveel journalisten zitten, in tegenstelling tot echte oorlogsgebieden waar Westerse journalisten echt voor hun leven moeten vrezen, wordt niet verklaard. Ook Palestijnse journalisten zouden het zwaar te verduren hebben. Wat dan weer niet wordt vermeld is dat juist de PA en Hamas het Palestijnse journalisten vaak behoorlijk lastig maken. Vandaar dat sommigen van hen naar Israel uitwijken:


It is ironic and sad that a number of Palestinian journalists have to move to Israel to be able to express themselves freely and without facing intimidation. Over the past two decades, these journalists, who once used to live in the West Bank, have moved to Jerusalem after being harassed by the Palestinian Authority.





Journalism The Arab World Is Not Used To

by Khaled Abu Toameh
December 9, 2011 at 5:00 am

Israel is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab journalists can still practice some form of real journalism without having to worry about their safety.

Over the past few years, several Arab media outlets have popped up in Israel, offering a type of journalism that the Arab world is not used to.

In Israel, they know, government "thugs" do not break the hands of cartoonists and photographers who dare to criticize the government. Nor does Israel arrest a journalist who post on Facebook a comment criticizing the president.

In Israel, a journalist has never been forced to go into hiding for reporting a story that the government did not like. But in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinian journalists continue to be targeted by both Fatah and Hamas.

Israeli Arabs have three major weekly tabloids that hire professional and independent journalists and writers, and not propagandists. The three privately owned papers, Assenara, Kul Al Arab and Panorama, are popular among the Arab community largely because they do not hesitate to cover stories that are considered taboo in Arab society.

These papers, for example, are full of stories about "honor killings" -- when a male kills a female relative for allegedly disgracing the family's reputation -- domestic violence such as wife -battering and sexual assaults, and corruption in state-run institutions.

The Arab reporters are not appointed by the Israeli government, which does not have the power to interfere with a newspaper's editorial line. Editors are required to submit to the military censor only those stories that are related to extremely sensitive security issues. Otherwise, the editors are free to publish anything they want, including sharp criticism of all state institutions and the IDF and other security agencies.

In many ways, Israeli Arab journalists are trying to copy the example of the Israeli Jewish media, which is free and independent.

When they launched their newspapers, the Israeli Arab editors and publishers had the Israeli, and not the Arab world, media in mind.

It is ironic and sad that a number of Palestinian journalists have to move to Israel to be able to express themselves freely and without facing intimidation. Over the past two decades, these journalists, who once used to live in the West Bank, have moved to Jerusalem after being harassed by the Palestinian Authority.

Just last week, Hamas detained five Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip and confiscated their computers and documents. When Israeli Arab journalists see what is happening to their colleagues in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, they are reminded of how lucky they are that they live in Israel.


donderdag 8 december 2011

Boeren in Gaza geholpen door Israel

Export van landbouwprodukten vanuit de Gazastrook is al jaren nauwelijks mogelijk, ondanks inspanningen (lobby!) van de Nederlandse regering bij Israel. Hopelijk betekent onderstaand bericht dat hierin struktureel verbetering gaat komen. Werkgelegenheid is immers wel een factor die jonge Palestijnen van gewelddadige aktiviteiten kan helpen afhouden....

From the IDF:

IDF holds conference supporting Gaza flower export

The Erez Crossing Coordination Liaison Offices (CLO) at the Gaza Strip held a flower cultivation conference for 24 Palestinian representatives in response to the recent carnation export. The conference focused on protecting crops during the winter and the export process in general.

"There is not natural border between Israel and the Gaza Strip," explained (CLO) agricultural coordinator, Ori Madar. "Diseases and other infections can pass from the Gaza Strip to Israel and vice versa." He added that approximately 8% of the Gaza agricultural product is exported.

Israeli authorities and the IDF are essential in the Gaza flower export and follow international standards. "The CLO is also in charge of water systems as well as ground and product inspections, and provides Palestinian farmers with the necessary agricultural tools and support," explained Madar.

Such educational programs are held monthly, this particular conference dealing with American Carnation crops that are in high demand in markets in Holland. This year, over 20 million flowers are to be exported from the Gaza Strip, as well as strawberries, peppers and tomatoes.

"The participants are thirsty for knowledge. They are seeking innovation and we can provide them with it. We help them with marketing and optimize their export," explained Joseph Moshe who lectured at the conference.

"This is about our income," said one of the Palestinian farmers. "The information and support we get from the CLO is extremely beneficial. The flowers' quality is the most important component affecting our income. I learned a lot about packaging, and most of my work is based on information I acquired from Israel throughout the years. 


I can't wait for "peace activists" and "human rights activists" put out any press releases praising this initiative between Israel and Palestinian Arabs as a shining example of peace and cooperation. After all, this should be an example as to how things should work, so no doubt these activists will be thrilled to learn about it. Otherwise, people might start to wonder whether they really care about peace at all.

And I found this news at an 
Arab website!  


Martelkampen in de Egyptische Sinaï woestijn

Terwijl de Bedoeïnen in de Negev vaak worden neergezet als onschuldige en machteloze slachtoffers van een racistisch Israelisch beleid, handelen hun volksgenoten (stamgenoten?) in de Sinai in gijzelingen, losgeld en organen van vluchtelingen uit Eritrea en Soedan. Hier is nauwelijks aandacht voor, maar af en toe sijpelen enkele horrorverhalen over martelingen en verkrachtingen door in de media.

Torture, rape and organ theft in the Sinai
From Al Masry al Youm:

Horrific accounts of torture, rape and organ theft are continuing to emerge from Egypt's Sinai desert, seven rights organizations said last week in a press statement.

Human trafficking networks operating in northern Sinai detain migrants and hold them in what the rights organizations describe as "torture camps" until relatives pay a ransom.

The statement says that despite the "chilling evidence of horrors" inflicted on refugees — mostly fleeing Eritrea and Sudan — in detention, little has been done to rescue them.

Smuggling networks are "still up and running and hundreds of refugee hostages are being tortured by human traffickers in Sinai," with the objective of obtaining tens of thousands of dollars in random money for their release.

Authorities have struggled to maintain control of North Sinai since Egypt's revolution began in January and the security vacuum has been exploited both by radical Islamists who have taken up arms, and some Bedouins who are cashing in on a lucrative human trafficking trade, smuggling migrants across the border to Israel.

The statement provides grim details of refugees' experiences while being held hostage in Sinai. These details have emerged while refugees are still in detention, via satellite phones provided by their captors to call relatives and demand ransom money.

Five groups of hostages are currently being held.

One group of 165 Eritrean refugees is under the control of a group of eight traffickers led by an individual known as Abu Musa. This group is not in Sinai but the Delta governorate of Mansoura, and has been held for several months in a bunker, according to the report.

One refugee told the Hotline for Migrant Workers, one of the groups behind the statement, that smugglers beat and electroshock their victims in order to raise ransom money — set at US$30,000. He added that the group has not left the bunker since they arrived, but that the women are taken out every night and raped.

Five prisoners died as a result of electrocution in one week, the statement says.

Members of another group of 59 people told the Italian Agenzia Habeshia, another of the seven rights groups, that two of their members are in late-term pregnancy, and one, who is seven-months pregnant and was kidnapped from Sudan, has been raped "many times."

When she was unable to pay the smugglers in Sudan the $3,000 they were demanding for her release she was sold to other smugglers.

"The current smugglers are demanding $23,000 and have made it clear that if she does not come up with the money by the time of her delivery, she will be forced to pay an additional $23,000 for the infant," the statement says.

Several details are known about members of the smuggling operation, it says, including the names of several prominent members whose names are often repeated by victims.

One member, Abu Musa, is believed to work with the assistance of an Eritrean living in Israel, while another, Abu Abdalla, works closely with an Eritrean man known as Cornell, who is "responsible for collecting ransom money sent to Egypt by hostages' relatives and for managing a network of collaborators in Israel," the statement says.

In Khartoum, an Eritrean man called Angosom has kidnapped hundreds of Eritreans from refugee camps in Sudan and Ethiopia and sold them to human traffickers in Egypt.

The Arabic edition of Al-Masry Al-Youm reported last month an even more sinister dimension to Sinai's human trafficking industry. Traffickers are stealing the organs of the refugees they kidnap, it reported, adding that there were violent confrontations in central Sinai as the Tayaha tribe accused members of the Nakhalwa tribe of stealing organs.

Palestijnse Arabieren grijpen vondst oude munten aan voor nieuwe ontkenning Joodse tempel Jeruzalem


In het Westen wordt het oude Joodse koninkrijk in de Levant doorgaans niet gezien als een rechtvaardiging voor huidige Israelische claims, maar de Palestijnen denken daar anders over, en blijven krampachtig ontkennen dat er ooit een Joodse tempel in Jeruzalem stond, hoe absurd die ontkenning ook is...






New Temple denial from our Palestinian Arab friends
Robinson's Arch
A couple of weeks ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced an astonishing find of coins underneath the paved street near Robinson's Arch that showed that parts of the western supporting walls of the Temple Mount has been built after Herod's death. I noted at the time that the Palestinian Arabic press was saying that this was somehow proof that there was no Temple there.

Now, a hastily-convened pseudo-scientific press conference has made this Temple denial official.

A Palestinian Arab academic named Jamal Amr said that the discovery has caused much frustration to Zionist archaeologists and blew up their claims about the "legend of the temple." This distinguished expert then went on to claim that all the discoveries that have been found in the city of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount came from the Arab and Islamic Umayyad and Abbasid periods up to the Ottoman period!

I'm not sure, but he might be saying that the Herodian Temple was built hundreds of years later.

Dr. Amr seems to be a professor at Bir Zeit University. As far as I can tell, he has no specific expertise in archaeology - but rather in architecture.

But when you want to dig up an pretend archaeology expert, he's the man!

Note that no Israeli media outlet expressed any misgivings about the discovery. It is well known that Herod didn't build the Second Temple but rather he expanded it some five centuries after it was built. Temple rituals were not stopped during the construction. In no way does the discovery of the coins contradict the existence of the Temple - which has lots of archaeological evidence, and more discovered every few months.

Boekbespreking: de Moefti van Jeruzalem en de Nazi's - de Berlijnse jaren


Een bespreking van het boek ‘The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis: The Berlin Years’ van Klaus Gensicke. Helaas nogal prijzig maar waarschijnlijk zijn geld wel waard.


The enduring nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the attacks of September 11, and the antisemitic rhetoric of Mahmud Ahmadinejad and other extreme Islamists has produced contemporary interest in the history of antisemitism in the Arab/Muslim world. Specifically, scholars and journalists have asked whether there exists a link between Nazi thinking on the Jewish question and current discourse in the Arab/Muslim world on Jews and on Western modernity. These questions are of great importance. Current “anti-Zionist” rhetoric is said to center on anticolonial narratives, which carry moral authority with many on the political left in Europe and in formerly colonized regions. But this moral authority would vanish should the roots of anti-Israel thinking be shown to have its roots in Nazism.


Helaas is de algemen tendens nog steeds om antizionisme als anti-kolonalisme te zien en wordt de mufti breed afgedaan als een zonderlinge gek, die niet representatief is voor de Palestijnen of Arabieren en ook verder weinig invloed had op de Palestijnen. Dat is helaas niet waar. Hij was de belangrijkste leider en wordt nog steeds als held geeerd en geprezen, bijvoorbeeld door president Abbas.


Gensicke points out that Husseini could easily have been tried for war crimes, particularly in Yugoslavia where Bosnian Muslims he recruited engaged in various excesses. But following his escape to France in the war’s final days, neither then French nor the British wished to inflame radical Arab opinion by extraditing him. The mufti’s apologists in Palestine and Egypt could thus claim that he tried to use the Germans for anticolonial aims rather than collaborating with them. Moreover, his role in the Final Solution did not come up in postwar trials. The distortion had immediate effects in Cairo, where Arab nationalists launched a pogrom to celebrate his arrival in 1946. It also had effects in Palestine, where as a hero with bona fides he effectively agitated against 1947 UN partition schemes, called for the immediate destruction of the Jews once the British left, and branded Arabs who accepted the partition as traitors. It all backfired. “The Mufti,” concludes Gensicke, “bore much of the blame for the naqba,” by which the attack on Israel in 1948 created throngs of Arab refugees (p. 189).


Zie voor een bespreking van Gensicke's eerdere boek: The Mufti and the Holocaust - Book review (John Rosenthal)





The Mufti shared Jew-hating ideology with Nazism 


Klaus Gensicke's book The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis: the Berlin years shows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Palestinian Mufti's relationship with the Nazis was not just an expedient anti-colonial alliance - it was ideological. Anti-Zionist thinking would soon lose its moral authority, argues Norman Goda in Jewish Ideas Daily, as soon as it were shown to have its roots in Nazism:


The enduring nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the attacks of September 11, and the antisemitic rhetoric of Mahmud Ahmadinejad and other extreme Islamists has produced contemporary interest in the history of antisemitism in the Arab/Muslim world. Specifically, scholars and journalists have asked whether there exists a link between Nazi thinking on the Jewish question and current discourse in the Arab/Muslim world on Jews and on Western modernity. These questions are of great importance. Current “anti-Zionist” rhetoric is said to center on anticolonial narratives, which carry moral authority with many on the political left in Europe and in formerly colonized regions. But this moral authority would vanish should the roots of anti-Israel thinking be shown to have its roots in Nazism.


Scholars have tackled the problem from many angles.[1] But a key piece to the puzzle is Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem from 1921 to 1948. In 1941 the mufti, having triggered failed revolts against the British in both Palestine and Iraq, gravitated to Berlin, where for four years he tried to tighten bonds between Nazi Germany and the Arabs and Muslims of the Middle East. After Germany’s defeat he fled to Paris, then Cairo, then Beirut, while styling himself as a nationalist and anti-imperialist. Was the mufti’s policy in Berlin simply a question of anti-British pragmatism? Or was he the missing link between the Nazis’ war against the Jews and more extreme forms of Muslim antisemitism today? And whom did the mufti ultimately speak for in the Middle East?


The complex of issues is the subject of Klaus Gensicke’s Der Mufti von Jerusalem und die Nationalsozialisten (2007), now translated and updated as The Mufti of Jerusalem and the Nazis. The book is based primarily on German and British records and shows that the mufti’s role in Berlin was multilayered yet telling. On the one hand, he never convinced the Germans to back his geopolitical aim of an independent Middle East under his own leadership. On the other, he endorsed Nazism’s war against the Jews on ideological grounds, and contributed where he could to the Jews’ destruction.

Amin al-Husseini was initially a clan leader and uncompromising political agitator. He worked against the Balfour Declaration from the moment it was issued in 1917 and helped trigger riots against the settlement of European Jews in the 1920s. The British hoped to co-opt him and the Husseini clan by making him the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in 1921. The position made Husseini responsible for Islamic holy sites, but Husseini used it to argue that the Jews were trying to control the al-Aqsa Mosque and to augment his political standing. By 1936 he was head of the Arab Higher Committee, a position from which he claimed to speak for all Arabs. The revolt he triggered in Palestine from 1936 to 1939 sought to end British rule and to eliminate the mufti’s more moderate Arab political opponents.


Husseini adopted an uncompromising antisemitism that viewed Jews not just as Western interlopers in Palestine and not just as religious infidels, but as an existential threat as per the modern European antisemitic tradition. He rejected British partition schemes for Palestine in 1937 as well as the 1939 White Paper, which sharply limited Jewish immigration and was accepted by the more moderate Nashishibi faction. Instead the mufti courted Nazi Germany from the moment Hitler came to power in part because Hitler, at least when it came to Jews, spoke his language. Husseini argued to German interlocutors that, “Current Jewish influence on economics and politics is injurious all over and has to be combated” (p. 29). Living in exile in Baghdad after his failure in Palestine, he further demanded the expropriation of the 135,000 Jews there--who were hardly part of the European Zionist movement--and he instigated the pogrom that eventually erupted in Baghdad after the failed anti-British revolt in 1941.


Most crucial is the mufti’s period in Berlin from 1941 to the end of the war. On the one hand, Husseini hoped to win Hitler’s support for an independent Middle East while outflanking his Arab rivals in Berlin, namely Rashid Ali al-Kailani, who led the coup against the British in Iraq and whom the Germans hoped they might return to power there. On the other, he hoped to enlist the Germans to help with the eradication of the Jews in the Middle East. It was one of the mufti’s great disappointments that Hitler, realizing Italian aims in the Middle East and viewing the Arabs as another inferior Asiatic race, refused to back Arab independence openly. Husseini was sure that such a statement would deliver the Arab world to the Axis while cementing his own position in the Arab world. But Hitler and the mufti were in full accord that when Germany defeated the British, the Jews of Palestine would be destroyed. The mufti knew what this meant. When he met personally with Hitler in November 1941, Nazi propaganda on the Jews had been clear for two decades, and the Germans, with local help, had been killing Jews in the Soviet Union for four months.


Here indeed was the crucial link between the mufti and the Nazis. Unable to agree on Middle Eastern geopolitics, they could agree that Jews controlled the governments in Moscow, London, and Washington, and that murder was a desirable policy by which to eradicate Jews from the Middle East. The mufti was pleased to broadcast this message to the Arab world through the use of German radio facilities, and the Germans were pleased to have him do so, particularly after June 1942 when it looked as though the Afrika Korps, with an attached SS murder squad, would break through British defenses. As late as December 1942, with the Allies having taken the offensive in North Africa, Husseini, on the opening of the new Islamic Central Institute in Berlin, proclaimed that “the Holy Koran ... is full of evidence of Jewish lack of character and their insidious lying and deceitful conduct” and that the Jews “will always remain a divisive element in the world ... committed to devising schemes, provoking wars, and playing people off against one another” (p. 108). As scholars have pointed out, the tone and content of Arab propaganda from Berlin, speaking as it did of Jewish global conspiracies, has much in common with extreme Arab narratives today.


Gensicke points out, however, that the mufti was more than a propagandist while in Berlin. He conducted his own diplomacy, acting as a mediator between Berlin and King Farouk of Egypt in 1942. He tried to create an Arab legion with French POWs from North Africa to help the Germans and he also helped with the recruitment of the Bosnian Muslim SS division in 1943 that fought against Josef Tito’s partisans in Yugoslavia. Berlin’s desire to use him for German ends rather than place him at the head of an Arab independence movement infuriated him. Yet as Gensicke points put, the mufti openly committed himself to the Germans past the point of no return. Besides, the German Foreign Ministry kept him in opulent comfort, providing him with immense sums for his work and living expenses.


And regardless of the mufti’s frustrations with Hitler, the Jews remained his existential enemy. In spring 1943 when gas chambers in Poland murdered Jews from all over Europe, the mufti engaged in quiet diplomacy with the Romanian, Bulgarian, and Hungarian governments, urging them not to allow a few thousand Jewish children to travel to Palestine as was then being discussed in London. The Jews would be better off, the mufti said, in Poland where the Germans could keep an eye on them. Husseini enjoyed a close relationship with Heinrich Himmler and knew what awaited deported Jews. The mufti never drove the Final Solution--Himmler was unwilling to allow Jews to escape in any event--but he worked to ensure that as many Jews were killed as possible. In the meantime he tried to fuse Islam with Nazism, creating seven new “pillars” that included the thesis that, “In the struggle against Jewry, Islam and National Socialism come very close to one another” (p. 149).


Gensicke points out that Husseini could easily have been tried for war crimes, particularly in Yugoslavia where Bosnian Muslims he recruited engaged in various excesses. But following his escape to France in the war’s final days, neither then French nor the British wished to inflame radical Arab opinion by extraditing him. The mufti’s apologists in Palestine and Egypt could thus claim that he tried to use the Germans for anticolonial aims rather than collaborating with them. Moreover, his role in the Final Solution did not come up in postwar trials. The distortion had immediate effects in Cairo, where Arab nationalists launched a pogrom to celebrate his arrival in 1946. It also had effects in Palestine, where as a hero with bona fides he effectively agitated against 1947 UN partition schemes, called for the immediate destruction of the Jews once the British left, and branded Arabs who accepted the partition as traitors. It all backfired. “The Mufti,” concludes Gensicke, “bore much of the blame for the naqba,” by which the attack on Israel in 1948 created throngs of Arab refugees (p. 189).

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To the victor belong the spoils? (With thanks : Michelle)


Israelische filmpjes over assimilatie Amerikaanse Joden zorgen voor ophef


Maandag stond er in De Pers weer eens een afkrakend stukje over Israel. Dit keer waren het een paar youtube filmpjes die niet deugden en de aandacht van Eva Ludemann hadden getrokken. De filmpjes zijn gericht op de honderdduizenden Israelische expats in de VS, die Israel graag terug ziet komen. Op een van de filmpjes is een triest meisje te zien dat op de dag van de gevallen soldaten (Remembrance Day) niet met haar vriendje wil vrijen, maar hij begrijpt dat niet. In onderstaand artikel geeft Gil Troy een genuanceerde visie op de soms moeizame relatie tussen Israel en de diaspora en de achtergrond van de filmpjes. 





Why did American Jews Overreact to a Clever Critique of American Assimilation? 


American Jewry is furious. Israel-Diaspora relations are endangered. Israel’s Prime Minister is apologizing.  And why? Because the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption’s campaign inviting expatriate Israelis back home, suggested, shock of shocks, that there is widespread assimilation in America, so much so that Christmas sometimes trumps Chanukkah, especially for kids; that living in English shifts your linguistic orientation away from Hebrew; and that an American might not immediately realize a girlfriend’s candle-lit apartment on Israel’s Memorial Day sets the mood for mourning not snogging.


Before I lose all my American friends, let me acknowledge. Yes, the 30-second commercials were simplistic and heavy-handed.  But what effective advertisement isn’t?  Yes, it is awkward that the Israeli government produced the ads not some web whiz kid.  And yes, there are arrogant Israelis who don’t “get” American Jews and “dis” them.


Furthermore, this is not how I educate; this is not my kind of Zionism. My book Why I Am A Zionist encourages affirmative identity Zionism not reactive, guilt-laden Zionism. 


Still, the shrill reaction is disproportionate.  The campaign hit a nerve because it highlighted some uncomfortable truths we should acknowledge: 


·         Assimilation is America’s great blessing – and curse. American culture is welcoming and enveloping, for better and worse. While the US is open enough so millions can keep their traditions, many more jettison their pasts to dwell in the present, believing that to succeed as a “somebody” they must act like everybody -- which risks making you, existentially, a nobody.  Living by Facebook not the Good Book, worshiping at the altar of mammon, these new pagans, addicted to the iPod, the iPad and the me, me, me, are mall rats not church-goers, deifying celebrities,  revering themselves, and orienting their lives by the here-and-now not the-tried-and-true. And, yes, Virginia, America’s most seductive, most dazzling holiday is Christmas, which, many Christians lament, has been drained of its piety, becoming too consumerist and too Americanized. Intermarriage and ignorance, apathy and alienation are epidemic among American Jews, even as a committed Jewish minority – a minority within the minority – thrives. 


·         Many Israelis living in America embrace America’s assimilationist ethos on steroids.  Most ignore the organized Jewish community. Many come to America denuded of the kind of rich Jewish identity which keeps some American Jews Jewish because of Israel’s absurd all-or-nothing, religious-or-secular absolutism. 


·         Israel’s Remembrance Day is probably the hardest day for Israelis abroad. Even many involved American Jews are unfamiliar with the intense, intimate, reverent way Israelis observe that day. A few years ago, a snafu scheduled Montreal’s Jewish film festival’s opening for Remembrance Day Eve. The organizers could not understand why a respectful moment of silence before the festivities began still offended many Israelis. The organizers had no clue about the Yom Kippur-like atmosphere, the closed cafes, the somber songs, the restricted TV schedule that makes the day so difficult for Israelis to observe, anywhere but Israel. 


In advertising’s blunt, cartoonish way, the three internet ads captured these complex issues, dramatically, effectively.


This American Jewish freak-out is strange given all the talk lately about how Israelis must learn to take criticism from Americans and American Jews without freaking out. The “big tent” looks less welcoming if the criticism only flows, like the donations, from enlightened America to benighted Israel. “Hugging and wrestling” must be mutual; otherwise it becomes moralizing and finger-pointing.  With Jewish Voices for Peace becoming ever louder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton comparing Israel to theocratic Iran and the segregated South, while Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta browbeats Israel to kowtow to the Palestinians, Americans have shown they know how to disparage Israel.


The controversial ads are being “disappeared” down the Internet’s 1984-style “memory hole.” As an educator, I would rather use them to spark discussion.  We are living in an extraordinary moment in Jewish history. Two fabulous centers of Jewish life are thriving in Israel and North America, each offering distinct advantages and disadvantages.


North American Jews should acknowledge the occasional thinness of their lives, and learn more about the innate thickness of Israeli life – the overlapping communal, religious, national, traditional, ties fostering Israelis’ sense of intimacy, that sense of connectedness to each other and to the past. The Jewish State provides many of its citizens with natural frameworks for meaning and belonging that enrich their lives.


Simultaneously, Israel suffers from the overstated, all-or-nothing divide between secular and religious, the rabbinic establishment’s depressing, destructive ability to drive Jews away from Judaism, and the unappealing prominence of Judaism’s most illiberal, intolerant, unforgiving Jewish expressions. Israelis should learn from the more centrist, fluid, human-centered expressions of Judaism flourishing in North America today. 


The days of David Ben-Gurion’s shlilat hagolah – negating the Diaspora – are over. While some of Israel’s Jewish critics arrogantly engage in shlilat ha’aretz – negating  Israel – we need a true friendship, a real partnership, between Israel and the Diaspora. Despite tiffs like this, there is more mutuality today than ever. Sophisticated Israelis are learning they can learn from the philanthropic, creative, pluralistic American Jewish community. Sophisticated American Jews are realizing that Israel as “Start Up Nation” can be an inspiration and a partner not just a charity case.


We need a meaningful, mature Zionist conversation. In both America and Israel, Zionism, the dreams and the reality, the grounding of nationhood and the possibilities of statehood, should be used as tools to explain, enhance, challenge and critique the status quo. For all its glorious impact on both sides of the Atlantic, the Zionist revolution’s full redemptive potential remains untapped. And those common understandings, the shared dreams, even applied to different realities, can build a solid foundation of mutual respect, carving out room for constructive criticism, honest exchange, and, most important, real growth in both communities. 


The writer is professor of history at McGill University and a Shalom Hartman Research Fellow in Jerusalem. He is the author of Why I Am A Zionist: Israel, Jewish Identity and the Challenges of Today and The History of American Presidential Elections.