Friday, 18 April 2014

An Israeli soldier found Judea-Samarian checkpoints more traumatic than fighting in Lebanon

Elon Perry is an israeli journalist and soldier who gave a lecture at Limmud on 'Jerusalem Burning, 100 years of the Arab-Israeli conflict'. EP's account of his own life was fascinating, but his many historical mistakes means he should leave the history of Zionism and Israel to others who know it better and concentrate on his own wealth of experiences.  
This howler is an example where Perry talks about palestinian arab opposition to zionism:
“They started sending messages to Herzl and others 'don't dare to make aliyah'”
I don't know his sources for this statement, but when Herzl was alive there was no palestinian arab identity, and even arab nationalists were only beginning to form their movements. There was if anything some understanding from arab leaders such as Faisal that arabs could benefit from jewish immigration to Israel. Of course Faisal represented himself and his tribe but there were few other arab representatives for zionists to approach before the British overturned the ruling Ottoman Turkish rulein Syria.
“The masscres in Haifa, Hebron... were messages to Herzl, don't do what you're going to do” (The arab killers who took part in those attacks would have been sending their messages to a man who died 25 years before)
The statement is, apart from the two decade time lag ludicrous as the jews affected were not zionists but those jews who had lived in Pekiin, Hebron,Safed and Jerusalem amongst other places for hundreds if not thousands of years. The jews were attacked on account of their religion as Jews and because the racist arab leadership appointed by the British used their opportunity to foment pogroms. Trying to ascribe a nationalistic motive to these unprovoked attacks on jews is post facto anti-zionist obfuscation of the facts.

Elon's description of Ben Gurion's statesmanship in declaring the State of Israel (in the teeth of opposition by Britain and also the USA whose Defence Secretary Marshall believed/hoped that jewish forces would not last more than 3 weeks) is correct. He didn't however go into the extremely acrimonious relationship that developed between these two giants of zionism. Ben-Gurion in addition to being the outstanding leader of Israel was extraordinarily spiteful. He even forbade Weizmann from signing the Declaration of Israel's Independence.

EP gets interesting when recounting his own experiences:

In the West Bank in those territories I found myself a policeman, a teacher ....... It's crazy we had to make decisions in seconds. The decisions were not to shoot or not to shoot but should I let this person in. This woman crying with her baby,what can you do? We are people, and we have mercy and you have to say yes you can go. And there's 300 in the queue. And some of them exploded.
When I go home I think of how to be better next time, but the media they condemn you, they call you killers...
It was really so difficult, you have a lot of pressure psychologically.
A lot of situations were like if I don't let her in she may die, how will I live with it.
 Elon complained that he had not got any help or training for such situations.
“when I think back on it, those situations were more dangerous than what we faced in Lebanon because in Lebanon you just took cover and could shoot. But here decisions stay with you all day.”

Before the wall (Oops-mostly a fence) we had 700 checkpoints, now less, 50 or 45 i'm not sure (Oops-I read somewhere that there are now just 3 plus mobile checkpoints, which is why there is an epidemic now of stonings and molotov and shooting attacks on israelis throughout Judea and Samaria).
People who complain about the fence, “don't know about the real situation where the wall is protecting Israel.”

“We give them jobs. We expect them to come to Israel, do their job, say thank you and go home. But some of them use terror.

“It's not that they want to use terror. Their leaders, they entice them...either they are offered money or they are blackmailed.”
"I nearly got killed many times at the checkpoint because we have to be up at front. We can't hide. I prefer the war."
 When asked about Britain condemning Israeli "occupation", the response was "what a chutzpah, the nation that occupied the whole of the world.......Jews in Israel will always be blamed, even for the weather."
"We built something from nothing in 70 years, and i travel the world a lot.... i see countries with nothing to compare "
Elon explained about his time in Gaza also published on his website:
“When I was a soldier serving in Gaza, we had been ordered to take shelter in the back of a hospital.
“We saw Palestinian kids covered in blood rushing into the hospital from an ambulance. At the back of the hospital the children took off their T-shirts which had been covered in ketchup.”
 Elon als recalled when his unit surrounded a house with terrorists in it. A child entered it and suddenly they were ordered not to fire at the house. A Hamas sniper there however did not have any such orders, and wounded 4 of his group. Elon had a friend die in his arms.
A general in the background had given express orders not to open fire, because of human rights concerns and fear over the Geneva Convention.
 The Geneva Convention does not apply in such a situation where human shields are deployed to protect combatants firing from a defended position. I challenge anyone to show otherwise, rather than just assert it as fact.

Mr Elon could not understand this point when I put it to him that not firing on the house was madness. Israel's enemies have so changed the situation that Israeli troops are scared of defending their lives, and pay for it.

As one Israeli commander said, 'I prefer my troops in hospital than before a courts martial'.

Israeli commanders need to back their troops if they expect them to do their duty. Covering their backs now will mean much blood spent uselessly in the future. Never in the history of warfare has an army faced such an untenable situation. If the enemy knew that the war crime of using human shields would not help them, the practice would very quickly disappear.

Elon should read the revolt by Begin to understand that Britain was not benign in its occupation of Israel, but often took sides, facilitating arab attacks on jews before the state existed. The Irgun and Lehi made Britain's continued stay in Israel hot enough for Montgomery to complain of Britain having been 'driven' out of Israel. 

Britain was never an honest broker in Israel. And even its present friendliness is hard headed opportunism with regard to Israeli technology and energy security, a hankering after Israel's gas reserves. Britain's dealings with arabs go back a long way and until Israel can offer Britain the lucrative bribes that the Saudis do with their billions of dollars arms contracts the change will be long coming.

Elon Perry has served Israel well and is still doing his best in its defence. But I believe he should avoid imparting wrong history to Jews about Israel and zionism.
He would be better to instead talk about his fascinating experiences fighting in Israel's wars and of highlights of his journalistic career in Israel.
I would have wished to have heard much more from Elon Perry about himself and his own experiences.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Allah, the Ten Plagues and Koranic Zionism

Michelangelo's 'horny' Moses

The Egyptian columnist who is calling for compensation from Israel over the 10 plagues seems to be in ignorance of what the Koran says about this episode.

Egyptian columnist Ahmad Al-Gamal wants:
 compensation for the [Ten] Plagues that were inflicted upon [us] as a result of the curses that the Jews’ ancient forefathers [cast] upon our ancient forefathers, who did not deserve to pay for the mistake that Egypt’s ruler at the time, Pharaoh as the Torah calls him, committed,” ... “For what is written in the Torah proves that it was Pharaoh who oppressed the Children of Israel, rather than the Egyptian people.”
Putting aside the time lag involved one piece of information that seems to have escaped Mr Ahmad Al-Gamal is that to claim compensation in any court in the world you need to be either the aggrieved party or his representative. Mr Gamal's forbears were not of ancient egyptian ancestry but related instead to Muhammad's arab cohorts who were bottled up in the arabian peninsula until the 7th century AD (this of course does not apply the indigenous Coptic Christians who don't count anyways as they are steadily being ethnically cleansed from Egypt by their muslim neighbours, despite the new regime's general tolerance towards them). When the arab armies erupted from what is now Saudi Arabia they came as imperialist occupiers. Islam is after all a crusading and supremacist religion.

Ahmad Al-Gamal dips into the Bible saying:
“They inflicted upon us the plague of locusts that didn’t leave anything behind them; the plague that transformed the Nile’s waters into blood, so nobody could drink of them for a long time; the plague of darkness that kept the world dark day and night; the plague of frogs; and the plague of the killing of the firstborn, namely every first offspring born to woman or beast, and so on”
Our arab Bible expert seems to be in ignorance of what the Koran says about the matter. As usual a little gratuitous violence is added to the biblical crib, such as a bit about cutting of a hand and foot on alternate sides. But in addition the Koran takes all the credit for the Exodus for Allah:
We sent forth Moses to pharaoh and his nobles (7:101,Koran, Penguin Classics, N.J.D.)
And in true Koranic style, even the Jew's narrative was taken with Moses now being outed as a muslim:
 Moses said: 'Pharaoh, I am an apostle from the Lord of the Creation and may tell nothing of Allah but what may be true'. (7:104)
Here whilst Moses the muslim is plugging for Allah, Allah is at the same time showing himself to be a zionist. In a parallel to Genesis 1 in the Bible where God first tells us who created the earth before ascribing the Land of Israel to the Jews:
Moses said to his people;'seek help in Allah and be patient, The earth is Allah's; He gives it to those of his servants he chooses'(7:129)
'Your Lord will perchance destroy your enemies and make you rulers in the land (the Koran can not be referring to  Egypt because it deals with the Exodus in the next few verses. Yet again the Koran recognizes that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews. Muslims who work for the destruction of Israel are going against their own founding text).(7:130)
Here Allah takes the credit for the 10 Plagues:
 We afflicted Pharaoh's people with dearth and famine so that they might take heed.(7:130)
If Egyptian  Ahmad Al-Gamal wants compensation for the10 Plagues it is surely with the islamic deity of Allah that he must take issue ( presuming he's a muslim which in a 80-90% muslim country where Christians are not asked for their opinions as columnists in the wholly state run media, a pretty good presumption) .

As arab countries ban any text that is of a zionist nature, may I humbly enquire as to whether there are any moves afoot to put that zionist work the Koran on their banned list, or even whether any muslims are boycotting their mosques in protest?

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Limmud day school, Sepharadi Music and Palestinian narrative

The Limmud day schools have become a fixture in the Jewish calendar. Until this year I haven't managed to attend one, and to be truthful I didn't feel much need to do so as much of my time is spent reading and blogging about subjects affecting Jews I thought there would be little to  learn from such a series of talks. I was wrong. The Limmud I attended had many topics of interest, some of which such as sepharadi music I had barely thought about previously.

The  lectures I attended were generally interesting although one talk given by an Israeli journalist was so replete with palestinian narrative distortions of zionism and the history of Israel that I thought at first that the speaker was an anti-zionist. This later turned out not to be the case. However even with my understanding of the general ignorance and orientation towards the Palestinian Arab cause amongst israeli journalists that I see on a daily basis reading their press in hebrew and english I was shocked. I'll hopefully write more about this talk soon.

The lecture by Rabbi Ariel Abel and Daniel Moussa on sepharadi music was an eye opener to someone brought up mainly in the western ashkenazi musical tradition. Until now my exposure to eastern music has been quite eclectic, that of eastern european, azeri (Davut Guloglu is one of my favourite singers) and 'arab' music (as arabs are relative newcomers to most of the region, the Jews are very possibly the founders of that musical tradition. Jews were also traditionally the ablest musicians in the arab world, which often forbade music altogether, the legendary Al Kuwaiti Brothers come to mind), being especially fond of the singer Fayrouz. Happily I can't understand the lyrics to the military sounding 'Jerusalem'. Arab music can sound very beautiful in service of a heinous intent (and i'm not even referring to the Al Qaida type videos with their associated evil sounding chants).

The duo gave a fascinating introduction to oriental modes of the maqam including many well known israeli songs such as Hava Nagilah ( Hijaz mode similar to the phrygian mode), Hatiqvah  (Nahwand mode which is equivalent of the minor scale) and Jerusalem the Golden (Nahwand mode) are sung according to these modes. In western classical and popular music we are basically limited to just two modes of the harmonic minor and major scales whereas sepharadi music uses 22 different modes used according to the mood of the text.

It would have preferable to my mind were audience participation not encouraged as hearing the subtelties of the music sung by the Rabbi and Daniel was drowned out by the enthusisatically loud group.

The newly formed duo intend to take their show on the road, a very good idea. I'm looking forwards to that.

Further information is on which amongst other things lists 22 different scales in sephardic music.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Now the Catholic Church wants another piece of Israel

Jews in Israel must not give away their heritage, their ancient homelands of the Bible. The reaction to arab aggression must not be to give away land but to retake lands lost to our enemies. .

UPDATE 13/05/2014  - The unpardonable intention to give away an essential part of Jewish heritage to the Roman Catholic Church is beginning to cause a storm in Israel, and not before time. There needs to be a strong reaction to stop this act of folly.
Israel seems unable to forgive itself for having managed to wrest back control of its ancestral homelands and holy places. That's just as well because there is no lack of interested parties wishing to divest Israel of its lands. 

The Palestinian Arabs are ever present with their threats and their constant terrorism in service of their stated goal to destroy Israel. Hamas and Egypt took their bits of Israel without ever guaranteeing peace. Hamas encouraged by Sharon's retreat from Gaza stepped up its rocket attacks. 

Egypt would have been content to lick its wounds after the Yom Kippur War thrashing Israel gave it. Beigin had no need to give the strategic Sinai away for a scrap of paper, a peace treaty that Muhammad Morsy was content to undermine whilst conniving with Turkey to encircle Israel by land and sea, creating the conditions for another war. 

During the reign of Israel's much touted egyptian 'friend' President Mubarak, he was happy for Hamas to smuggle thousands of rockets into Gaza before being delivered to Israel. Mubarak complained that it was too much to expect of him to find up to a thousand tunnels in a strip of land a few miles wide. Strangely enough the present government of Sisi has done just that in less than a year. But Egypt now sees Muslim Brotherhood offshoot Hamas as a threat to its own security. 

So Israel unnecessarily gave away the whole of Sinai to Egypt which had no historical claims whatsoever on it (It was a present from Britain that wrested the Sinai in 1917 from the Ottoman Turks, for purely British imperial reasons of defence of its Suez canal positions). 

And then there was Oslo whereby Israel gave Palestinian Arabs de facto independence by withdrawing from 60% of Judea and Samaria. That of course could never be enough for arabs who don't recognize Israel, or Jews rights to any land anywhere in the region. Arab maps do not even mention Israel with Palestinian Authority and Fatah maps of 'Palestine' including the whole of Israel. So much for giving away Israel's land in the cause of peace. There is always a demand for more.

Israel withdrew from all of Lebanon rather than keeping a militarily sensible defensive line from the Litani river southwards. The result was not peace but constant aggression until the war of 2006. Even the UN agreed that with Israel's withdrawal in 2000 all of Lebanon's territory had been returned. So then the 'Sheba Farms' red herring was raised. Anything to deny Israel peace. And if Israel were to give the 'Sheba Farms' to Lebanon you can bet your bottom dollar that the case of villages that Israel conquered when defending itself in 1948 would come up as new demands.

Olmert wanted to give away the whole of east Jerusalem, probably in exchange for some bribe or another. For Olmert what was good for east Jerusalem was good for the rest of Jeruslaem. He decided to hand over parts of Jerusalem to Russia. Russia as we all know is so small that in its desperation for land it has annexed parts of Georgia and Ukraine.
So we can't blame the Catholic Church for now getting in on the act. The Israelis so much want to be liked by the gentile world that they will give away everything to achieve a temporary popularity. Anyone can enter the reputed room of the last supper which is over the Tomb of David. Why does the Church feel the need to take possession of it?

Which other country in the world voluntarily gives up its land? Israel which has paid such a heavy price in blood to defend itself from arab aggression seems always ready to give away that which its people died, and are dying to protect.

Rather than offering to give away lands, to strip itself of its defences, Israel should itself draw up demands for the return of its ancient biblical territories in Jordan, and lands that zionists bought south of Damascus before the establishment of Israel.

When the Pope comes to visit, a man who is recognized as a friend of the Jewish People he should be given all honors, courtesy and some presents such as an ancient oil lamp or two. But the land belongs to the Jewish People as our Bible reading pope knows only too well.

Report: Vatican Pushing for Control of Mount Zion
Christian leaders push Israel to hand over control of area housing King David’s tomb, ‘last supper’ hall.
By Maayana Miskin

Christian leaders reportedly pressured Israel to turn over control of Mount Zion in Jerusalem during a clandestine meeting of senior city officials.

The meeting took place Tuesday in the office of Attorney Amnon Merhav, the director-general of the Jerusalem municipality. It was attended by officials from the Prime Minister’s Office, President’s Office, Tourism Ministry, Police, Kotel Rabbi’s Office, and more.

During the meeting, representatives of Christian groups in the capital pushed Jerusalem leaders to give the Catholic Church control over the Mount Zion area that includes the “Hall of the Last Supper.” There have been reports that Israel’s government is planning to turn the building in question over to the Vatican prior to the Pope’s expected visit in May.

Pope Francis is expected to visit Israel and to lead a service in the Hall of the Last Supper.

The same building that houses the hall, which is holy to Christianity, also includes the tomb of King David, a holy site frequently visited by Jews. Some Church officials expressed upset over what they termed a major increase recently in the number of Jewish visitors to the site.

Representatives of the Israel Police and Shin Bet who were at the meeting warned that turning the building over to the Church could spark Jewish “price tag” attacks.

Several Members of Knesset and ministers have asked the Prime Minister to respond to rumors that he is planning to give control of the Mount Zion compound to the Vatican. To date, the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry have refused to respond, although Deputy Foreign Minister Zev Elkin stated in mid-2013 that the government has no such plans.

In response to reports regarding the Tuesday meeting, the city of Jerusalem released a statement saying, “The state of Israel and the Jerusalem municipality are paying special attention to the Mount Zion compound, with the goal of improving and updating the infrastructure and the municipal service, and of calming tension… The municipality will continue to lead the process as the central sovereign power on Mount Zion.”

The Prime Minister’s Office declined to respond.