Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)
"Zionism [..] has transformed into an imperialistic claw used against the Arab nation. Zionism has partnered wit imperialism and participated in its economic and political plans. Moreover, it relies on its unfounded, historical belief for the purpose of destroying the Arab nation... This means maintaining the weak state of the Arab nation... Zionism regards unity of Arabs as contradictory to its existence. Therefore, Zionism's line of defense is based on the principle that the Arab nation must be broken....
It is necessary for Zionism to revive all the old historical frictions that took place in the path of nationhood, so it can use them [..] to break up the fabric of Arab nations." (The Saddam's tapes, 1978-2001, page 67)
Zionism by definition defies bedrock principles of liberalism. A philosophy that values and treats every citizen equally despite differences in ethnicity and religion, is fundamentally at odds with a “Jewish state”. Therefore liberal Zionism is an oxymoron. (Reem Khamis-Dakwar 2014)
About political holism
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent. Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.
Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance.
"We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community." Haile Selassie
“Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned.., until there are no longer first-class and second class citizens of any nation..., until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes.., until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race...., until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained..." Haile Selassie 6-10-1963
Jabotinsky & Zionist morality
Either Zionism is moral and just, or it is immoral and unjust. But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists.
Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative. We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality. (Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923)
While Ezra prayed before the house of God, a very large assembly of Israelites gathered about him, men, women, and children; and the people wept profusely.
Then Shecaniah, the son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, made this appeal to Ezra: “We have indeed betrayed our God by taking as wives foreign women of the peoples of the land. Yet in spite of this there still remains a hope for Israel.
Let us therefore enter into a covenant before our God to dismiss all our foreign wives and the children born of them, in keeping with what you, my lord, advise, and those who are in dread of the commandments of our God. Let it be done according to the law!
A proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem that all the exiles should gather together in Jerusalem... All the people, sitting in the open place before the house of God, were trembling both over the matter at hand and because it was raining.
Then Ezra, the priest, stood up and said to them: “Your apostasy in taking foreign women as wives has added to Israel’s guilt.
But now, give praise to the LORD, the God of your ancestors, and do his will: separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign women.”
In answer, the whole assembly cried out with a loud voice: “Yes, it is our duty to do as you say!
A Nation Apart
After the breakup of the mixed families, the people of the land knew that the returned exiles would not assimilate, but had come among them as a nation apart, a people that viewed themselves as superior to all other men on earth, a people who would not cooperate on projects of common welfare or "be reasonable" regarding social conventions of marriage, worship and government..." (racialpeace.org)
The ruling Likud party, under Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the Jewish Home, under Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, have agreed not to attack each other in the upcoming election campaign.
Instead, the parties will focus on Yisrael Beytenu and Moshe Kahlon's as-yet-unnamed party, for their apparent enthusiasm to trade land for a peace treaty.
1. Jewish men who have sexual relations with Jewish women
2. Jewish bastards
3. Jewish women who have sexual relations with Jewish men or with the Holy One Blessed Be He
4. Jewish men who have sexual relations with non – Jewish women
5. Jewish homosexual men who have sexual relations with Jewish men
6. Jewish lesbians who have sexual relations with Jewish women
7. Jewish homosexual men who have sexual relations with non – Jewish men
8. Jewish lesbians who have sexual relations with non – Jewish women
9. Male Goyim (gentiles or non-Jewish persons)
10. Female Goyim.
The agreement between Netanyahu and Bennett reflects developments in their personal and political history. Before the 2013 elections, newspapers were rife with reports about the bad blood between Bennett and Netanyahu...
It is a well known fact that Likud's election campaign in 2012-13 focused on tearing apart the Jewish Home.
Likud poured its multi-million-shekel campaign budget into an advertising drive that centered on the slogan, “the Jewish Home versus the women.”
In an attempt to convince the public that the Jewish Home's religious identity meant that it espoused a dark, misogynistic ideology, the campaign pointed at Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, number 4 on the religious Zionist party's list... Ben Dahan – whose large white beard gives him a hareidi look, and who served as Director of the Rabbinical Courts for 20 years – could be portrayed as menacing symbol of religious-patriarchal tyranny, who wanted to rob Israel women's of their “advancement” and its children of their “rights”.
The campaign, which parroted the ideology of liberal-feminist opponents of the traditional Jewish family, demoralized the younger nationalist electorate, much of which wound up voting for Yair Lapid.
Now elections appear near again. This time around, Likud will not repeat its mistake. This means that Netanyahu and Bennett have buried the hatchet, and that Likud and the Jewish Home are allies - but it also means something deeper than that... This time around, Jewish tradition is not in the line of fire, and hareidi-bashing will not be the order of the day, at least not in Likud's campaign.
Instead, it appears that the campaigns of both Likud and the Jewish Home will be directed against other parties' plans to relinquish land for promises of peace.
Hopefully, this change of direction will annul the effect of the 2013 elections, and keep young Israelis voting for Jewish Home and Likud... It seems safe to say that this election signals a return to Jewish roots, Jewish morals and Jewish strength – and given the threats Israel faces from without and within, this comes not a minute too soon.
US President Barack Obama celebrated Hanukkah on Wednesday.
550 guests arrived at the White House for the event, including 20 Israeli teenagers who brought a Hanukkah lamp. Obama arrived with a cheerful smile with his wife, Michelle..
"Obviously, the bonds between our two countries are unbreakable, and with the help of young people, they’re only going to grow stronger in the years to come," said Obama.
Among the attendees were members of Congress, representatives of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, and dozens of 12th-graders from around Israel who arrived as part of a leadership program.
Hannukah & Phariseeism
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of the 2nd century BCE.
Phariseeism: Hypocritical observance of the letter of religious or moral law without regard for the spirit.
Although celebrated as heroes who saved Jewish practice and Torah law from suppression and abrogation by the Syrian Greeks, the Maccabees are portrayed in the First Book of Maccabees as religious zealots, murdering coreligionists who had chosen the path of Hellenism.
The Role of Hellenism
Central to any assessment of the Maccabees is an evaluation of the role of Hellenism, an ideology whose universalistic outlook was based on Greek ideas and athletic prowess. Following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Hellenism became a political tool used by the Syrian Greeks to consolidate their power among the wealthy bourgeoisie. In turn, the aristocratic elites who embraced Hellenism gained access to the social and economic perquisites flowing to citizens of a Greek polis, including the right to mint coins, to take part in international Hellenistic events, and to receive protection from the city’s founding ruler.
But Hellenism encompassed more than a pragmatic relationship between the ruler and local economic elites; it also represented an "enlightened" worldview considered by many to be the way of the future.
Nations who shut themselves off and did not confront the challenge of Hellenism were falling by the wayside. Because it was viewed as the wave of the future, the pressure to acculturate to Hellenism was quite intense in Judea. Therefore, the people of Judea had to decide whether the universalistic focus of Hellenism constituted a danger to their ancestral religion and its God or whether it simply represented a more modern and "progressive" way of life that could be merged with Jewish practice.
Was the appropriate response, then, to reform Judaism in the spirit of Hellenism or to assume a stance protective of traditional Jewish values by "liberating" Judea from the Syrian Greeks? The Jewish Hellenists chose the reform path; they wanted to move beyond separatism and assimilate the positive aspects of Greek culture into Judaism.
As First Maccabees recounts, "In those days there emerged in Israel lawless men [Jewish Hellenists] who persuaded many, saying, ‘Let us go and make a covenant with the nations that are around us; for since we separated ourselves from them, many evils have come upon us’" (I Maccabees 1:11).
When evaluating the Maccabees’ role, one must ask whether the Hellenist Jews, deemed apostates by the Maccabees and their supporters, had the right to assimilate their Jewish observance to the surrounding Greek culture. The Maccabees answered with a resounding "no".
41 Moreover king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people,
42 And every one should leave his laws: so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king.
43 Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath.
44 For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Juda that they should follow the strange laws of the land,
45 And forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the sabbaths and festival days:
46 And pollute the sanctuary and holy people:
47 Set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine's flesh, and unclean beasts:
48 That they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation:
49 To the end they might forget the law, and change all the ordinances.
Hellenism is the term used to describe the assimilation of Greek culture into other nations and peoples.
The Greek influence in other nations and cultures is referred to as Hellenistic, especially after the time of the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C.
The word “Hellenism” means “becoming like Greeks” and is derived from the Greek Hellas Isles (Helles meaning Greek in the Greek language.)
All aspects of life were affected by Hellenism and this applied to the Diaspora Jews in Egypt and Palestine. Within 100 years, Hellenism was dominant throughout the Eastern Mediterranean territory including Palestine/Syria.
After the conquests of Alexander and under the government of Ptolemy (who ruled from Alexandria in Egypt), certain government practices were introduced, turning the Jewish way of life toward a more Hellenistic culture. Many Jews felt their ways to be old-fashioned and were embarrassed by their religious practices in contrast to the sophisticated culture of the Greeks. Consequently, they enthusiastically embraced the Greek ways.
For others, their Jewish identity and way of life were thought to be threatened by the Hellenistic culture and cultural assimilation was a great concern in 1 and 2 Maccabees.
Jews in Palestine were forced by Syrian Greek King Antiochus IV Epiphanes to publically violate Jewish law in 168 BC. ... It was at that time that the Maccabees rose up under the leadership of Mattathias and later his son Judas Maccabeus. Both the priestly Sadducees and the Pharisees emerged during the time of the Maccabees.
41 Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those that were in the fortress, until he had cleansed the sanctuary.
42 So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the law:
47 They took whole stones according to the law, and built a new altar according to the former; 48 And made up the sanctuary, and the things that were within the temple, and hallowed the courts.
49 They made also new holy vessels, and into the temple they brought the candlestick, and the altar of burnt offerings, and of incense, and the table.
50 And upon the altar they burned incense, and the lamps that were upon the candlestick they lighted, that they might give light in the temple..
The Pharisees desired to be "holy"…. It was their desire and intention that everyone in Israel achieve holiness through the study of the Torah…
"The crown of the Torah is set before every man." "All wisdom cometh from the Lord." The Pharisees adopted this principle entirely. Consequently the entire people must study the Torah.
WHEN I was 15 years old and a member of the Irgun underground we sang “(In the past) we had the heroes / Bar Kochba and the Maccabees / Now we have the new ones / The national youth…”
We were in desperate need of national heroes to emulate. For 18 centuries, Jews had not fought... So we found the Maccabees, the Zealots and Bar Kochba.
THE MACCABEES, in whose honor we celebrated Hanukka this week, revolted against “the Greeks” in 167 B.C.
It was not only a national-religious struggle against a regime which wanted to impose its Hellenic culture, but also a cruel civil war. The main struggle of the Maccabees was against the “Hellenizers”, the cultured modernist Jewish elite who spoke Greek and wanted to be part of the civilized world. The Maccabees were fundamentalist adherents of the old-time religion.
In today’s terms, they were the ISIS of their time. But that is not what we learned (and what is being taught today) in school.
The Maccabees (or Hasmoneans, their dynastic name) set up a Jewish state, the last one in Palestine, that lasted for 200 years.
THE NEXT great rebellion started in the year 66 AD. Unlike the Maccabee revolt, it was a totally mad affair.
The Zealots belonged to diverse competing groups, who remained disunited to the bitter end. Their rebellion, called “The Great Revolt”, was also a fanatical national-religious affair.
At the time, messianic ideas filled the air in Palestine... With the Messiah expected any moment, Jewish fanatics did something that now seems incredible: they declared war on the Roman Empire, which was then at the height of its power.
It took some time before the Romans gathered their legions, and the end was as could be foreseen: the Jewish community in the country was squashed, the temple was destroyed and the Jews evicted from Jerusalem...
HOWEVER, THE lesson of the catastrophe caused by the Zealots was not learned. Less than 70 years later, an adventurer called Bar Kochba (“Son of a Star”) started another war with the Roman Empire, even more hare-brained than the last.
At the beginning Bar Kochba, like the Zealots, won several victories, before the Romans could gather their forces...
The inevitable defeat of Bar Kochba was an even greater disaster than the previous one. Masses of Jews were sold into slavery, some were thrown to the lions in the Roman arena.
The Jewish sages were determined to stamp out, once and for all, the craving for revolts and military adventures.
The Zealots and Bar Kochba were ignored or belittled in rabbinical writings, which shaped Judaism and Jewish life since then until this very day. Jews were supposed to adore God, not human heroes. Until Zionism appeared on the scene. It resurrected the ancient heroes and turned them retrospectively into Zionists.
The Maccabees, Zealots and Bar Kochba became our models.
Three generations of Israeli children were brought up from kindergarten on these myths.
They are almost completely cut off from world history. They learn that the Greeks were the people whose yoke was thrown off by the Maccabees, but learn next to nothing about Greek philosophy, literature or history. It creates a very narrow, egocentric state of mind, good for soldiers, but not so good for people who need to make peace.
URI AVNERY is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to CounterPunch’s book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.
"God is spirit and those who venerate Him, must venerate Him in spirit and truth." John 4:24
Both economically and socially Antiochus made efforts to strengthen his kingdom by founding and fostering Greek cities.
Even before he had begun his reign he had contributed to the building of the temple of Zeus in Athens and to the adornment of the theatre. He enlarged Antioch on the Orontes by adding a section to the city (named Epiphania after him). There he built an aqueduct, a council hall, a marketplace, and a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus.
Babylon, which revered him as Soter (Liberator, or Saviour) of Asia, was given a Greek colony that was granted freedom of the city.
Another Epiphania was founded in Armenia. Ecbatana (in Persia) was also named Epiphania and became a Greek city.
Antiochus’ hellenizing policies brought him into conflict with the prosperous Oriental temple organizations, and particularly with the Jews.
Since Antiochus III’s reign the Jews had enjoyed extensive autonomy under their high priest. At this time the High Priest was the leader of the people. The Jews were divided into two parties, the orthodox Hasideans (Pious Ones) and a reform party that favoured Hellenism.
Antiochus supported the reform party. In 172 he appointed Menelaus as High Priest ( Menelaus was a Cohen, a priest by hereditary right).
Menelaus and the sons of Tobias retreated to Antiochus (IV) and informed him that they wished to abandon their native (Jewish) laws and corresponding (priestly) civic order for those of the king and a Greek civic order.
So they called on him to support them in building a gymnasium in Jerusalem. And when (Antiochus) concurred, they disguised the circumcision of their private parts so they might be Greeks even when undressed. And abandoning all their other native (Jewish) customs, they copied the practices of other nations. (Josephus, Antiquities 12.237-241 )
The reformists desired to accommodate traditional Judaism to the times. Their intention was to preserve those characteristics of the Jewish religion which suited Greek taste - the imageless God, for example - but to remove everything which smacked of separation, of the "ghetto": Sabbath observance, beards, circumcision...etc..
In 169, however, while Antiochus was campaigning in Egypt, another priest, Jason, conquered Jerusalem — with the exception of the citadel.
Jason, though a member of the reform party, was for the conservatives a guarantor of the "laws of the fathers." Jason (supported by the conservative party) took control of the city, forcing Menelaus and his supporters to seek refuge in the citadel, but wreaked vengeance for his setbacks by conducting murderous purges of his fellow citizens. The slaughter generated a sharp reaction...
When Antiochus returned from Egypt in 167 he took Jerusalem by storm and enforced its Hellenization. The city forfeited its privileges and was permanently garrisoned by Syrian soldiers. Apollonius, Antiochus' governor, began a persecution of the faithful Jews, not for religious reasons, but in order to subdue a rebellious people. The "laws of the fathers" were annulled.
In response to a letter from the Rabbinical Congress for Peace (RCP), which comprises over 350 prominent Israeli rabbis, Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) affirmed that peace negotiations with no backing from the other side is a dangerous thing.
"There is no doubt in my mind that empty words like 'negotiations' or 'peace agreement' that have no backing other than preparedness by Israel to concede without getting anything in return is futile," wrote Edelstein.
Edelstein wrote in response to RCP's campaign calling on the government to officially condemn the policy of land withdrawals as a "fatal mistake," citing the blatant example of Gaza where Hamas took control thanks to the 2005 Disengagement plan.
Commenting on Edelstein's response, RCP Chairman Rabbi Yosef Gerlitzky said Edelstein in essence acknowledged the precept of Jewish law stated in the formative legal text Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, 329), stating that surrendering land increases danger to human life and advising Israel to adopt this Jewish law as the state's guideline for peace and security.
Rabbi Gerlitzky called on the government to officially state it will refrain from negotiations suggesting future withdrawals. "When dealing with Jewish Law there is no left or right,” said RCP Director Rabbi Abraham S. Lewin.
Remarking on the upcoming March 17 elections, the rabbi added "when entering the polling station to vote one must consider only one thing, will your vote help to prevent the establishment of a government that will continue negotiations on further withdrawals..."
"We will bring this basic principle to the attention of every Jew in Israel and we pray that the future government will be a stronger government that will follow the instructions of the Torah...
The Security Council rejected a Palestinian resolution demanding an end to Israeli occupation within three years late Tuesday, a blow to an Arab campaign to get the UN's most powerful body to take action to achieve an independent state of Palestine.
The United States, Israel's closest ally, had made clear its opposition to the draft resolution, insisting on a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, not an imposed timetable. It would have used its veto if necessary but it didn't have to because the resolution failed to get the minimum nine "yes" votes required for adoption by the 15-member council.
The resolution received eight "yes" votes, two "no" votes — one from the United States and the other from Australia — and five abstentions.
"We voted against this resolution not because we are comfortable with the status quo. We voted against it because ... peace must come from hard compromises that occur at the negotiating table," US Ambassador Samantha Power said.
She criticized the decision to bring the draft resolution to a vote as a "staged confrontation that will not bring the parties closer." She added that the resolution was "deeply unbalanced" and didn't take into account Israel's security concerns.
"Our effort was a serious effort, genuine effort, to open the door for peace," said Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador. "Unfortunately, the Security Council is not ready to listen to that message."...
"We believe this to be a strategic mistake," Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, a strong supporter of the resolution, said.
Religious Zionist News Net Arutz Sheva:
Palestinian Terrorist Organisations Complain Loudly
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), terrorist organization behind the Palestinian Authority (PA), complained loudly on Wednesday, after the unilateral PA bid demanding statehood and Israeli withdrawals was shot down in a vote at the UN Security Council.
PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said "the UN Security Council vote is outrageously shameful," reports AFP. The unilateral PA move is a breach of the 1993 Oslo Accords the PLO signed onto.
The PA resolution received eight votes but needed nine to pass... Apparently the vote that left the resolution short of nine was that of Nigeria, which originally agreed to support the resolution but ended up abstaining after being convinced about the failings of the unilateral move by Israel and the US.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thanked Nigeria and Rwanda on Wednesday for abstaining, saying "this is what tipped the scales."
Abbas's unity partner Hamas, the terrorist organization ruling in Gaza, slammed him for the UN move...:
"He is now facing two choices after this failure...he must make good on his threats to end security cooperation with the occupier, and sign the Rome Statute," said Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhum.
However, if the PA joins the ICC, it is appraised to be the main loser from the move as it would open it up to a slew of Israeli lawsuits for its involvement in terrorism.
"The Palestinians will themselves be judged by this court which will show the world the nature of Palestinian terrorism and the war crimes committed in the name of the Palestinian Authority," foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told AFP. (By Ari Yashar, 31-12-2014)
Arutz Sheva (Channel Seven) is an Israeli media network identifying with Religious Zionism. Arutz Sheva sees itself as "the only independent national radio station in Israel" and a counterbalance to " 'negative thinking' and 'post-Zionist' attitudes." (Wikipedia)
The Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is "irreversible," Former Yesha Council Chairman Dani Dayan who is running in the Jewish Home primaries in two weeks stated Friday.
Dayan commented on figures presented by the Interior Ministry, which noted Thursday that almost 400,000 Israeli Jews now live in the region.
"In my period [as Yesha Council Chairman] the population grew by 35%, and the growth does not stop, on the contrary," he continued. "The international community understands that there will not be a Palestinian state here..."
389,250 Jews now live in Judea-Samaria, up over 15,000 people since 2013. An additional 375,000 live in neighborhoods of Jerusalem over the 1949 Armistice line, such as the French Hill, Sanhedria, the Mount of Olives, and Mount Scopus.
Israel legitimately seized the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria in self-defense. Israel’s moral claim to these territories, and the right of Israelis to call them home today, is therefore unassailable.... We aim to expand the existing Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, and create new ones.
This is not — as it is often portrayed — a theological adventure but is rather a combination of inalienable rights and realpolitik.
The attempts by members of the Israeli left to induce Israelis to abandon their homes in Judea and Samaria by offering them monetary compensation are pathetic. This checkbook policy has failed in the past, as it will in the future. In the areas targeted for evacuation most of us are ideologically motivated and do not live here for economic reasons. Our presence in all of Judea and Samaria — not just in the so-called settlement blocs — is an irreversible fact. Trying to stop settlement expansion is futile...
The settlements of Judea and Samaria are not the problem — they are part of the solution.
"In accordance with acting Constitution, Syria is a secular state. Therefore, no movement that acts under religious slogans and aims to split the Syrian society can hope for it. This goes for the Muslim Brotherhood too. This organization can not be legalized judging upon their ideology. It does not mean, though, that we cut those people from the opportunity to participate in the peaceful life of the country. We offer them to establish their own political party which would be based on secular principles so that the party could struggle for the seats in the parliament." Bashar al-Assad, 13-12-2011
"Our battle with ISIS is an intellectual battle." ... "The first target for any Western intervention should be dictator Bashar al-Assad's regime."
Omar Mushaweh 2014 (Syrian Muslim Brotherhood spokesman)
After sweeping to power in most "Arab Spring" countries, 2014 has brought several political and security setbacks for the Arab world's largest Islamic movement. The movement has been blacklisted as a "terrorist" group in at least three Arab countries and has lost power in other states.
In Egypt, where one of the Brotherhood leaders – Mohamed Morsi – was elected president, the movement is now labeled as a "terrorist" group following a military coup.
Egyptian authorities have also disbanded the Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, and froze its assets, in addition to freezing the assets of nearly 342 Brotherhood-affiliated companies, 1,107 NGOs and 174 schools.
Hundreds of Brotherhood members, including several senior leaders, have also been put on trial for various charges.
Egypt's two major allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also declared the Muslim Brotherhood a "terrorist" group.
In another blow, Qatar – one of the main backers of Morsi's administration – asked seven Brotherhood leaders and figures to leave the country under pressure from its Gulf neighbors.
The tiny Gulf country also shut down Al Jazeera's Mubashir Misr television channel – devoted to following news from Egypt – dealing another blow to supporters of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group.
A similar crackdown was reported against the Brotherhood in Jordan, where at least two group leaders have been put on trial. King Abdullah II has also accused the Muslim Brotherhood of "hijacking" the Arab Spring revolutions.
On the political scene, Muslim Brotherhood-inspired groups have lost elections in at least two Arab Spring countries in 2014.
In Tunisia, the Ennahda movement, led by Rachid Ghannouchi, came second in the country's parliamentary election following the centrist Nidaa Tounes party of Beji Caid Essebsi, a former parliament spokesman under ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
Essebsi was also elected Tunisia's President after beating his rival, Moncef Marzouki, who was closely associated with the Tunisian revolution that ousted Ben Ali in 2011.
Islamic groups also lost Libya's parliamentary election in June to liberals, adding to the woes of Brotherhood-allied groups across the region.
In the Palestinian territories, the crackdown has forced Palestinian group Hamas – an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood – to sign a reconciliation agreement with rival group Fatah under which it agreed to cede power in the Gaza Strip.
By the winter of 2011, the Syrian Brotherhood had greatly expanded its influence. It was not only strong in the SNC — it had won supporters within the ranks of military defectors and the Local Coordination Committees inside Syria. Before the September conference, around 100 young activists traveled to Turkey, where the Brotherhood gave them media training and provided them with equipment. When the trainees returned to Syria, according to one of the organizers of the opposition meetings, they formed coordinating committees in dozens of small towns and cities to support the movement.
Brotherhood members also met with early defectors from the regime’s army. As one military defector told me, the Brotherhood asked for their loyalty, and in return, the group promised to pressure Turkey to create a buffer zone along its border with Syria. The effort was unsuccessful, but the Brotherhood won the loyalty of Col. Riad al-Asaad, who formed the Free Syrian Army (FSA), replacing the secular-leaning Free Officers Movement.
BEIRUT, December 31 (Sputnik) — The Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood has called on Syrian opposition factions not to take part in the talks on national reconciliation, proposed to be hosted by Moscow.
"We call on our people, all communities, groups and factions to unite and oppose the attempts to fight the fire of the revolution… And to decline Moscow's initiative [to host peace talks between opposition and the Syrian government] and all such initiatives," a statement released on the organization's website on Tuesday said.
The Muslim Brotherhood of Syria added that it will continue to fight the Syrian government "and its allies Russia and Iran."
In early December, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said that Russia is ready to host the initial talks between all parties of the Syrian conflict.
The Syrian government has been fighting numerous militias, including Islamic extremists, since 2011.
Considered the best organised political opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, which receives financial support from Qatar, has often been accused critics of seeking to dominate the opposition at the expense of other groups.
The Brotherhood, which is also backed by Turkey, supports Islamist rebel groups in Syria who have lost influence over the past year because of the rise of the Islamic State and other jihadist groups. (Al-Arabya 7-11-2014)
The Syrian opposition is preparing to attend meetings with the Assad regime in Moscow, expected to take place in January, according to representatives from the two main umbrella opposition groups. Qasim Al-Khatib, the representative of the Syrian National Coalition in Cairo, told Asharq Al-Awsat that both his organization and the National Coordination Committee had met in the Egyptian capital in the past few days and had decided to present “a united vision” for a solution to the conflict in Syria, as well as a “political roadmap within the context of the Geneva I meetings revolving around a united [opposition] council.”
“There is now almost full agreement between all the opposition groups who believe in a political solution [to the crisis] on paper. We will follow this up when we meet in Cairo again soon,” Khatib said.
The Coalition was also coordinating with a large number of other opposition groups and personalities, he said, “in order to have a strong delegation at the conference in Moscow.”
Majid Habo, the secretary of the National Coordination Committee, told Asharq Al-Awsat that his organization had received an invitation to the Moscow conference.
He said work now was ongoing between the different opposition groups “to head to Russia with a united opposition front with one document.”
He said the document being prepared by the opposition groups “calls for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held, and leaves all matters of the eventual destiny of the country to the Syrian National Council, emphasizing that the fight against terrorism in the country will be a joint mission for the new political administration.”
With the entry of the new year, President Bashar al-Assad made a field visit to
Jobar neighborhood in Damascus.
“If there was an area of joy which remained in Syria, it thanks to the victories
that you achieved in the face of terrorism," Syrian President told Syrian
soldiers during his visit.
“Receiving a new year is everybody’s hope, but the bigger hope is the victory of
our armed forces and of all those who fought alongside with them, in our battle
against terrorism”, Syrian President declared.
“On the new year, families meet together, but you wanted to be here to protect
your country and people leaving your parents behind, we do embrace you, as a
society and people, but we derive our morale from your heroism and high
The passing of year 2014 must be marked by the Palestinians as another year of no state, no prospects for a peace deal and no justice...; only dashed dreams, broken promises and empty rhetoric.
Most Palestinians recall how they were optimistic and looking for a better future a year after the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords by the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Yasser Arafat on their behalf... Arafat promoted the Oslo Accords as the “peace of the brave”, a great triumph that would lead to the creation of a sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital in very short time. He promised to deliver a vibrant viable state, economically prosperous no less than Singapore or Hong Kong, and many Palestinians believed him and were euphoric.... The agreements turned out to be a scam designed to recognize the State of Israel on 78% of historic Palestine and no restrictions on colonizing the remaining 22%.
When Arafat and his associates discovered that the agreement they signed was a deliberate strangulation of the Palestinian national struggle, it was too late to reverse the conditions of occupation, dependency and submission.
Today and ten years after Arafat’s death, there is no Palestinian State, Gaza is besieged and in ruins, no right of return for the refugees, no removal of any settlement, no change on Israel’s position of annexing Jerusalem and its surroundings, and Israel demands recognizing Israel as a state of the Jews.
Jewish settlers are joyously loitering in the hills of the West Bank and Arab Jerusalem, attacking the Palestinians, and burning mosques, torching olive orchards, harassing farmers and travelers. The settlers are the product of Israel’s religious and political institutions collective behavior and its national policy of promoting the superiority of the Jewish people and the disregard for the human rights of others.
The silence of the international community allows Israel to think that it can get away with even more violations of international norms and signed conventions. Israel has no plans to recognize the Palestinians rights as long as it is getting unconditional support of the US.
Hasan Afif El-Hasan, Ph.D. is a political analyst. His latest book, Is The Two-State Solution Already Dead? (Algora Publishing, New York)
"There’s a whole machinery of brainwashing in Israel which really accompanies each of us from early childhood... [We are taught] a few narratives that it’s very hard to break. That we Israelis are the ultimate and only victims... So you get a society without any moral doubts, without any questions marks, with hardly public debate.” Gideon Levy (Independent.co 24-9-2010)
"We are living in The Neocon Moment, a testament to the foolishness and arrogance of those who believe themselves to be engineers of peoples, societies, and nations." Doug Bandow (Cato Institute 3-11-2014)
The most determined push for war in 2015 will come from neocons and interventionists who want a U.S.-Putin confrontation and regime change in Russia.
Because of U.S.-EU sanctions on Russia for its role in Ukraine and the collapse in the price of oil, Russia’s principal export, the ruble has lost half its value, and the economy faces a contraction of 5 percent in 2015. Real hardships lie ahead for the Russian people. But it seems they are not blaming Vladimir Putin for their troubles. They are blaming us.
“According to the respected Moscow ‘Levada Center,’ which measures political sentiment in Russian society,” the New York Observer reports, “74 percent of Russians have negative feelings towards the USA. … In the 1990s, 80 percent had positive attitude toward America. “Currently, 76 percent of Russians hate Obama personally and only a meager 2 percent like him. …
One Moscow supermarket is using American flags as doormats, and customers are wiping their feet on them.
Former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg attended a meeting by the joint Arab-Israeli party Hadash which took place in Nazareth Saturday and expressed his support for the leftwing party.
A source from within the party said that "Burg has joined Hadash, and it is possible he will run in the party..."
After the Israeli government passed a controversial governance law which saw the election threshold go up, Israel's three Arab parties decided to consider the possibility of running together to maximize their respective power.
Burg, the son of a prominent leader from Israel's religious-Zionist movement, served as Labor party Knesset member from 1995-1998 and then again between 1999-2004, and also served as the 15th Knesset's speaker.
Flashback: "Defeating Hitler"
Reviewed by By Ina Friedman
The Jerusalem Report 31 juli 2007
In a stinging indictment of its approach to the Holocaust, Avraham Burg assails his country's insecurities as self-induced, charges that the Jewish state is prone to a form of racism no less vicious than that of the Nazis, and urges his countrymen to shed their narrow Israeli ethos and transform themselves into universal Jews.
Burg begins by arguing that Israel's understanding and approach to the Shoah (the Holocaust) has warped its psyche and values almost to the point of mirroring those of Hitler and his cohorts.
He then launches a frontal attack on what he regards as the Jewish racism (derived from the notion of being God's "Chosen People") that is fostered, he argues, by Israel's rigidly fundamentalist religious establishment and has been echoed from the podium of the Knesset...
He advocates dismantling the classic constructs of the Jewish nation-state (such as the Law of Return), imploring his countrymen to embrace, and truly eternalize, the humanist values embedded in Judaism and thus join the family of enlightened nations.
The gist of Burg's opening argument is that, rather than view the Shoah as part of a broader campaign of genocide propelled by the Nazi doctrine of the master race [..] Israel has chosen to portray it as a unique and exclusively Jewish tragedy... By portraying the Shoah as proof of abiding Jewish vulnerability, Israel has exploited it as an excuse to justify its own acts of brutality.
"The Shoah is our life," he writes. "We have removed it from its historical context and turned it into a claim and reason for every deed. Everything is compared to the Holocaust."
In nigh-apocalyptic language, he argues that the warped, fundamentalist reading of the liturgical verse, "You have chosen us from among all the nations" has given rise to a "Jewish racist doctrine" positing the innate superiority of the Jewish people. ...
He sees Israeli society as "somewhere quite close to the initial stages of the collapse of the humane and cultured Germany" when Hitler rose to power. So alarmed is he by his assessments that he even predicts "the day is not far off when the Knesset may well enact the equivalent of the Nuremberg Laws..."
The Law of Return is an unfortunate echo of the Nazis' Nuremberg Laws. Burg calls for altogether rejecting the tradition of "genetic Judaism" (Ezra) in favor of a "Judaism of values" (Hillel). (www.rense.com)
"They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and they have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness" Ezra 9:2
"Any doctrine of superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous." UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman launched a bitter attack against European and Palestinian leaders Sunday, saying Ramallah’s move toward statehood proved the death of the Oslo Accords and accusing European parliaments of recreating anti-Semitic lies.
Speaking at a conference of Israel’s European ambassadors, Liberman denounced the attitudes of European lawmakers as comparable to a century-old anti-Semitic hoax.
“The lies told during debates in the European parliaments are reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” Liberman said, referencing the document that claims a Jewish plan for world domination...
Liberman singled out Sweden and Ireland, both of which recently passed parliamentary votes calling for recognition of a Palestinian state, and likened their actions to the 1938 Munich agreement in which Britain and France ceded control of the Sudetenland region to Germany in an appeasement that ultimately failed to prevent World War II.
“The behavior of Sweden and Ireland toward us is comparable with that which led to the breakup of Czechoslovakia,” he said.
What is this best-selling political tract of the 20th century? It is a series of 24 mostly articulate, well-argued lectures outlining a plan for world capitalist domination, with sharp political and social analysis, lots of Machiavelli and a Marxian sophistication in its understanding of capitalism and historical processes.
Briefly, it outlines a plan of world conquest by first establishing world government by consent...
What immediately struck me was that with a little dusting off, abridging and updating, it could easily be the handbook of the neocons.
With the wonders of modern computers, you can download a free copy from the Internet, cleanse it of anti-Semitism by replacing "fellow Jews" with "neocons" and make sense of what's happening in the world today.
True, it has the prescience to allow for an anti-capitalist revolution on the way to its final goal, but there's nothing even vaguely socialist in it. It's firmly founded on a plan for capitalist domination through Jewish control of international finance...
There is no fear of the dangerous effective of democracy: "The abstraction of freedom has enabled us to persuade the mob in all countries that their government is nothing but the steward of the people who are the owners of the country, and that the steward may be replaced like a worn-out glove. It is this possibility of replacing the representatives of the people which has placed them at our disposal, and, as it were, given us the power of appointment."
The major flaw behind the logic of the Protocols is its basic premise - that there is a Jewish race...
About 40% of the Protocols are made of some sentences coming from a previous work which is untitled: "Dialogue aux Enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu". This work was published in Brussells in 1864 by Maurice Joly, an antibonapartiste lawyer who wanted to demonstrate that the emperor Bonaparte and his relatives were plotting in hope of getting all the powers of the french society. Using this forgotten text, the forger of the Protocols had replaced the words "France" by "the world" and "Napoléon III" by "the Jews."
Every man aims at power
Pr-1-3. It must be noted that men with bad instincts are more in number than the good, and therefore the best results in governing them are attained by violence and terrorisation, and not by academic discussions. Every man aims at power, everyone would like to become a dictator if only he could, and rare indeed are the men who would not be willing to sacrifice the welfare of all for the sake of securing their own welfare.
No place for morality
Pr-1-11. The political has nothing in common with the moral. The ruler who is governed by the moral is not a skilled politician, and is therefore unstable on his throne. He who wishes to rule must have recourse both to cunning and to make-believe. Great national qualities, like frankness and honesty, are vices in politics, for they bring down rulers from their thrones more effectively and more certainly than the most powerful enemy.
Might Is Right
Pr-1-12. Our right lies in force. The word "right" is an abstract thought and proved by nothing. The word means no more than: Give me what I want in order that thereby I may have a proof that I am stronger than you.
Pr-4-4. In order to give the GOYIM no time to think and take note, their minds must be diverted towards industry and trade.
The real enemies are the intellectuals
Pr-4-5. Then will the hour strike when, not for the sake of attaining the good, not even to win wealth, but solely out of hatred towards the privileged, the lower classes will follow our lead against our rivals for power, the intellectuals.
Flashback 2004: The Oligarchs
Or How the Virgin Became a Whore, By URI AVNERY
The "oligarchs" are a tiny group of entrepreneurs who exploited the disintegration of the Soviet system to loot the treasures of the state and to amass plunder amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars. In order to safeguard the perpetuation of their business, they took control of the state. Six out of the seven are Jews.
In the first years of post-Soviet Russian capitalism they were the bold and nimble ones who knew how to exploit the economic anarchy in order to acquire enormous possessions for a hundredth or a thousandth of their value: oil, natural gas, nickel and other minerals. They used every possible trick, including cheating, bribery and murder. Every one of them had a small private army...
After a period of fighting each other, they decided that it would be more profitable for them to cooperate in order to take over the state... In practice, the oligarchs ruled Russia. One of them, Boris Berezovsky, appointed himself Prime Minister. There was a minor scandal when it became known that he (like most of the oligarchs) had acquired Israeli citizenship, but he gave up his Israeli passport and everything was in order again...
In the end, there was a reaction: Vladimir Putin, the taciturn and tough ex-KGB operative, assumed power, took control of the media, put one of the oligarchs (Mikhail Khodorkovsky) in prison and caused the others to flee (Berezovsky is in England, Vladimir Gusinsky is in Israel, another, Mikhail Chernoy, is assumed to be hiding here.)...
These facts must alarm everybody who cares about democracy. Oligarchy and democracy are incompatible. As a Russian commentator in the TV series said about the new Russian democracy: "They have turned a virgin into a whore." (Avnery, 3-8-2004)
Anti-intellectualism has long been a strain in American life.
Perhaps John F. Kennedy was the last president who was unapologetic about his intellect and about luring the best minds to his cabinet.
More recently, we’ve had some smart and well-educated presidents who scrambled to hide it. Richard Nixon was a self-loathing intellectual, and Bill Clinton camouflaged a fulgent brain behind folksy Arkansas aphorisms about hogs. As for President Bush, he adopted anti-intellectualism as administration policy, repeatedly rejecting expertise (from Middle East experts, climate scientists and reproductive health specialists).
Mr. Bush is smart in the sense of remembering facts and faces, yet I can’t think of anybody I’ve ever interviewed who appeared so uninterested in ideas.
The social critic William Burroughs once bluntly declared that “intellectuals are deviants in the U.S.”
"In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America's leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason - or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem..."
"We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will "talk sense to the American people." But we can hope that fewer people will listen to nonsense."
(Part of a speech that was supposed to be delivered by President JOHN F. KENNEDY at the Dallas Trade Mart on the afternoon of November 22, 1963)
Speaking on Galei Yisrael radio, Burg attacked the Labor and Meretz parties for presenting themselves as “the Zionist camp” and agreeing to form a coalition that does not include Arab parties.
He complained that “the entire discourse in Israel is saturated not just in national feeling; it is also saturated with nationalism. The national-nationalistic discourse has taken over every good part of Jewish society, including, by the way, Labor, and there are even some hints of this in Meretz.
"When Labor calls itself 'the Zionist camp', it is saying 'I have no Arabs', and when Meretz remains silent when they speak of a government 'from Liberman to Meretz' and it does not protest the exclusion of Arabs, it is also enjoying this unkosher atmosphere – and this nationalism has also overtaken the Arab discourse,” he explained.
Burg said that Hadash is the only truly egalitarian party, and that he has voted for it in the last two elections and will do so again:
“The basic principle that must guide a civil society, which is equality between all human beings – between Jew and Arab, woman and man, the oleh and the veteran Israeli, between everyone and everyone – this basic principle has been perverted."
Hadash – Democratic Front for Peace and Equality
Hadash – (the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) was established in 1977 by the Israeli Communist Party (Maki). The aim of its founders was simple: to unite most of the supporters for peace, equality, democracy and workers' rights, Jews and Arabs, in order to create a political alternative to the government's policy of occupation and exploitation.
"A movement which supports women's rights in a patriarchal male chauvinist society"
Hadash has been, during all its years of existence a haven of Jewish-Arab cooperation in a reality of separation and discrimination.
It was (and still is) a socialist movement in a capitalist state; a movement which fights against every manifestation of racism and discrimination; a movement which supports women's rights in a patriarchal male chauvinist society; a peace movement which objects to the occupation and fights for a just peace which will prevent wars...
Hadash was the first to run in the elections under the slogan "Two states for two peoples"; the first who warned that the privatization policy would deepen poverty and inequality; the first and most consistent to stand up against the settlements and against military aggression, wars, and occupation, even on the very day they start.
Hadash's doors are open to anybody who struggles for the rights of workers, for social justice, for Israeli-Palestinian peace, for the abolishment of racism, for equal rights and for a democratic and pacifistic Israel which integrates among the peoples of the area.
To join Hadash means joining a long, challenging, thrilling and exciting trip against the system.
Over the past decade, there has been a steady increase in rabbinical rulings that permit the entry of Jews to the Temple Mount. The only limitation was to observe the restrictions regarding purity when doing so...
Since the destruction of the Second Temple, Jews have been considered impure due to contact with dead bodies, and therefore they are forbidden to enter the area where the Temple stood...
According to halakha (Jewish religious law), anyone who enters the Temple area will be punished by karet—a death sentence carried out by God. This decision has been reinforced in innumerable rulings.
Motti Inbari is an assistant professor of religion at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
And now Herod, in the eighteenth year of his reign, and after the acts already mentioned, undertook a very great work, that is, to build of himself the temple of God...
Templeplateau 45 by 45 meters.
Temple 11 by 5.5 meters (height: 3.5)
Herod took away the old foundations, and laid others, and erected the temple upon them, being in length a hundred cubits (45 meters), and in height twenty additional cubits, which [twenty], upon the sinking of their foundations 23 fell down; and this part it was that we resolved to raise again in the days of Nero.
Now the temple was built of stones that were white and strong, and each of their length was twenty-five cubits (11 meters), their height was eight (3.5 meters), and their breadth about twelve (5.5 meters); and the whole structure, as also the structure of the royal cloister, was on each side much lower, but the middle was much higher...
The hill was a rocky ascent, that declined by degrees towards the east parts of the city, till it came to an elevated level. He built a wall below, beginning at the bottom, which was encompassed by a deep valley.
In the western quarters of the enclosure of the temple there were four gates; the first led to the king's palace, and went to a passage over the intermediate valley; two more led to the suburbs of the city; and the last led to the other city, where the road descended down into the valley by a great number of steps, and thence up again by the ascent for the city lay over against the temple in the manner of a theater, and was encompassed with a deep valley along the entire south quarter..
The Antonia Citadel
470 by 300 meters
Now on the north side [of the temple] was built a citadel, whose walls were square, and strong, and of extraordinary firmness.
This citadel was built by the kings of the Asamonean race, who were also high priests before Herod, and they called it the Tower, in which were reposited the vestments of the high priest, which the high priest only put on at the time when he was to offer sacrifice. When Herod the king of the Jews had fortified it more firmly than before, in order to secure and guard the temple, he gratified Antonius, who was his friend, and the Roman ruler, and then gave it the name of the Tower of Antonia.
Wikipedia info: In around 19 BCE, Herod the Great extended the Mount's natural plateau by enclosing the area with four massive retaining walls and filling the voids. This artificial expansion resulted in a large flat expanse which today forms the eastern section of the Old City of Jerusalem. The trapezium shaped platform measures 488 m along the west, 470 m along the east, 315 m along the north and 280 m along the south, giving a total area of approximately 150,000 m2 (37 acres).
picture left: Antonia Ford, as the Jews see it, a small building for 6000 soldiers
picture right: a standard Roman armycamp
Now as to the tower of Antonia, it was situated at the corner of two cloisters of the court of the temple; of that on the west, and that on the north; it was erected upon a rock of fifty cubits in height, and was on a great precipice; it was the work of king Herod...
In the first place, the rock itself was covered over with smooth pieces of stone, from its foundation, both for ornament, and that any one who would either try to get up or to go down it might not be able to hold his feet upon it. Next to this, and before you come to the edifice of the tower itself, there was a wall three cubits high; but within that wall all the space of the tower of Antonia itself was built upon, to the height of forty cubits.
There always lay in this tower
a Roman legion = 3600-6000 soldiers
But on the corner where it joined to the two cloisters of the temple, it had passages down to them both, through which the guard (for there always lay in this tower a Roman legion = 3600-6000 soldiers) went several ways among...
The hill on which the tower of Antonia stood was the highest...; it was the only place that hindered the sight of the temple on the north. (The Temple Revolution)
83 When we arrived in the land of the Jews we saw the city situated in the middle of the whole of Judea on the top of a mountain of considerable altitude. On the summit the temple had been built in all its splendor. It was surrounded by three walls more than seventy cubits high and in length and breadth corresponding to the structure of the edifice.
All the buildings were characterized by a magnificence and costliness quite unprecedented. It was obvious that no expense had been spared on the door and the fastenings, which connected it with the door-posts, and the stability of the lintel... The Temple faces the east and its back is toward the west. The whole of the floor is paved with stones and slopes down to the appointed places, that water may be conveyed to wash away the blood from the sacrifices, for many thousand beasts are sacrificed there on the feast days. And there is an inexhaustible supply of water, because an abundant natural spring gushes up from within the temple area. There are many openings for water at the base of the altar which are invisible to all except to those who are engaged in the ministration, so that all the blood of the sacrifices which is collected in great quantities is washed away in the twinkling of an eye. ..
The author also claims to have toured the citadel adjacent to the Temple; he describes seeing towers and catapults (100-104).
100 But in order that we might gain complete information, we ascended to the summit of the neighbouring citadel and looked around us. It is situated in a very lofty spot, and is fortified with many towers, which have been built up to the very top of immense stones...
On the towers of the citadel engines of war were placed and different kinds of machines, and the position was much higher than the circle of walls which I have mentioned...
The citadel was the special protection of the temple and its founder had fortified it so strongly that it might efficiently protect it.
The European Union (EU) and others in the international community need to stop enabling the Palestinian Arabs to make demands without making concessions, Dennis Ross, US peace talks mediator from 1993 to 2001, stated in an Op/Ed in the New York Times Sunday.
"Palestinian political culture is rooted in a narrative of injustice. Its anticolonialist bent and its deep sense of grievance treats concessions to Israel as illegitimate," Ross explained.
"Compromise is portrayed as betrayal, and negotiations - which are by definition about mutual concessions - will inevitably force any Palestinian leader to challenge his people by making a politically costly decision."
"But going to the United Nations does no such thing," he argued. "It puts pressure on Israel and requires nothing of the Palestinians. Resolutions are typically about what Israel must do and what Palestinians should get."
Dennis Ross began his career as a high level policymaker during the Carter administration, working in the Pentagon under Paul Wolfowitz.
His track record as a foreign policy hawk continued during the Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43 presidencies. A Fellow of the hardline pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), Ross was an advocate of the policies of the neoconservative Project for a New American Century (PNAC).
At the time of Ross’ appointment, objections were raised as to his appropriateness for the highly sensitive post, not only in light of his neoconservative contacts but because of his bluntly expressed “liberal hawk” views.
Ross served as the chairman of the Board of Directors and the “Professional Guiding Council” of the Jewish People’s Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI) between its founding in 2002 and February 2009, when he assumed his State Dept. post.
Although JPPPI describes itself as an “independent think tank,” its website notes that it was established by the Jewish Agency, an Israeli quasi-governmental organization. Links provided on the JPPPI website include AIPAC and Jewish organizations such as the American Jewish Committee. (Marsha Cohen, 15-6-2009)
Here comes the new Israeli, a man’s man; with a tiny skullcap, service in an elite army unit, high-tech, English and a swimming pool, with the coolest and most up-to-date message: “Stop apologizing, we love Israel” ; the poster is already in evidence on several balconies.
On Monday night, at a meeting convened by Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), the most successful politician in Israel at present explained: “This election is between those who apologize and those who are proud ... those who are objective and those who are in favor of the State of Israel.”
Well, [Habayit Hayehudi chairman] Naftali Bennett... you’re going to stop apologizing? Israel never even started doing so. If only it had apologized a long time ago. If only it would acknowledge its sins, if only it would accept moral responsibility for them.
It’s no shame to apologize – it’s far more embarrassing not to do so. Apologizing is a strength, not a weakness, and on the way to reconciliation (with the Palestinians) we have to stop at the first station – an apology.
As a rule, in Israel people don’t apologize for anything, not in the occupation nor on the road. Here only nerds apologize.
Guilt feelings are an embarrassment, and apologizing is for those with no backbone. That’s why Bennett’s election slogan: “Stop Apologizing. Be Proud” will become so catchy and popular: the “apologizers” vs. “the proud,” the “objective ones” vs. “lovers of the country.”
"Either Zionism is moral and just, or it is immoral and unjust..." "We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not. There is no other morality." (Zeev Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall, 1923)
Addressing a mostly female audience at Rupin College in central Israel Tuesday, Labor MK Tzipi Livni had a few things to say about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's deep voice, which she apparently sees as being part of his political appeal.
"We will safeguard Israel's security better than Netanyahu,” she stated categorically. “Yesterday, he tried to sound amused when he tried to convince people that only he, with the deep masculine voice, can safeguard security...
"The answer to the question, who will take care of security, is not a matter of a masculine voice and an amused politician, but a true matter of standing strong against pressure, the ability to reach the right diplomatic decisions and to enlist the world to our interests.”
While Livni has derided the importance of a “deep masculine voice” for leadership, her own party co-chief MK Yitzhak Herzog has been taking voice, speech and intonation lessons to try and put some more oomph in his somewhat chirpy delivery style.
Herzog spoke about his image in December 2013, saying he is portrayed as a weak figure "because I'm thin, and I don't have a low voice, and I have a baby face. They call me a nerd..."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that if he is reelected on March 17, he will not evacuate any settlements during his term.
“I don’t see such a move as being practical at this point. Since I’m in charge it won’t happen,” he said in an interview with Channel 2.
Insisting that he was open to Palestinian statehood, as he first claimed in his 2009 Bar-Ilan speech, Netanyahu said, “The Palestinians have emptied it of any relevance. Instead of negotiating they are going to the International [Criminal] Court in The Hague, charging IDF soldiers with war crimes.”
In the interview, Netanyahu went on to deny that he had promised Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett the defense portfolio in the next government... He also denied that he and Bennett had agreed to refrain from attacking each other during the election campaign, despite Bennett’s public claim to the contrary.
Netanyahu rejected Yair Lapid’s claims that he has ruined the relationship with the Obama administration. “The American public’s support of Israel is the broadest it’s ever been,” he said. “The Congress is solidly behind us. Relations with the administration on security and intelligence matters are strong and solid. That doesn’t mean we don’t have disagreements.”
Jerusalem will forever be a complex city and will always attract the finest extremists the Land of Israel produces, those who dream of the Third Temple or the destruction of the Zionist enemy.
In Jerusalem, you are always fighting in the service of some or other radical ideology. Why else would one be here?
People like me, who see themselves as emissaries of the vision of moderation, are becoming an endangered species here.
"Jerusalem," someone said to me recently, "will always be a city of fanatics. Someone who has no yearning for the Temple Mount, from either side of the divide, has no business here."
If the Zionism of the past came in the form of radical terrorist groups, the new Jewish pioneering enterprise is moderation. Yes, it is far less glamorous and romantic, it has less adrenaline – but it is the only thing that will save us.
"Outposts of moderates" in the heart of Jerusalem's Jewish neighborhoods should be the new trend followed by anyone who wants to make a profound change in Israeli society, and not just continue to complain that an assortment of messianic individuals is taking over the capital.
Elisheva Mazya is CEO of New Spirit, a non-profit organization set up to encourage young, secular Israelis to remain in Jerusalem.
the temple region: no one is praying over here...
The Two Messiahs" in Zechariah
Zechariah 9:9-10 -- The humble King, a King of Peace
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. And He will speak peace to the nations.
Zechariah 14:2-4 -- A King of War and Power
Later, however, Zechariah gives another description of the coming king, a picture quite different from that of chapter 9.
"For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured. Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle..." "And the Lord will be king over all the earth..."
In chapter 9 the king is humble, but in chapter 14 he is a force to be reckoned with. In the latter picture, the king is a conqueror.. This is perhaps a more traditional picture of Messiah.
Naftali Bennett & The Warrior-King
Naftali Bennett was born on 25th March 1972 in Haifa, Israel. The Sun is in Aries and his Moon is in Leo.
Political heroes: King David, "who founded the first Jewish commonwealth in Israel, the kingdom", and David Ben Gurion, "who had the courage to make tough decisions, sometimes against the will of the world"
Leo: Passion for luxury, lust for power
Leo is the most dominant, spontaneously creative and extrovert of all the zodiacal characters. In grandeur of manner, splendor of bearing and magnanimity of personality, they are the monarch's among humans as the lion is king of beasts.
Their faults can be as large in scale as their virtues, and an excessively negative Leonian can be one of the most unpleasant human beings imaginable, displaying extreme arrogance, autocratic pride, haughtiness and excessive hastiness of temper.
Add to them a passion for luxury, a lust for power, unlimited sexual lust and emotional indulgence, and a character emerges that no one would want to know either in public life or private. If jealously suspicious of rivals, they will not hesitate to use cunning, lies and trickery to discredit them.
Aries: The Warrior of the Zodiac
In astrology, the sign Aries exemplifies the archetype of Warrior and has much to teach us about his ways:
When you act, make your action a clear one. Don’t pussyfoot around. Don’t muddy the waters with unclear actions, unfinished motions. When you act, follow through immediately — it gives your actions force and power.
The Warrior cares about territory and will respond with anger and affront when lines are crossed. The downfall of the Warrior is that he needs a war. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. It is the nature of Aries to be attracted to strife and conflict, perhaps even to create conflict where there is none.
Mainstream Judaism has been hostile to astrology, beginning with the Jewish sage Maimonides (Rambam, 1135-1204) who condemned it. Maimonides probably saw astrology as a pagan practice, and this is likely the reason he never mentions ibn Ezra in any of his works, including his well known “Guide to the Perplexed”. Rabbi Avraham ibn Ezra, a leading 12th century scholar born in Spain, said, “If you don’t know astrology you can’t know the Torah.” (YNet News 2005)
Avraham Ibn Ezra is claimed by the proponents of the higher biblical criticism of the Pentateuch as one of its earliest pioneers. Baruch Spinoza, in concluding that Moses did not author the Pentateuch, and that the Pentateuch and other Deuterocanonical books were written or redacted by Ezra and others centuries later, found precedent for these "heretical" views (which resulted in his excommunication from the Amsterdam Jewish community) in Ibn Ezra's commentary on Deuteronomy.
Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban stressed that Syria agreed to attend Moscow Meeting to hold talks on the bases of a Syrian-Syrian dialogue.
“What is suggested today is a dialogue between those who represent the Government and the people, and those who represent the opposition in Moscow, and Syria agreed on this Syrian-Syrian dialogue, indicating that there is more hope than what it was in Geneva”, Shabaan said in an interview with al-Mayadeen TV on Wednesday.
She added that the problem with Geneva was that those who target Syria were meeting with the opposition party everyday and they were telling them what they must say...
She indicated that during her meeting with Jeffrey Feltman and Former US President Jimmy Carter in Norway, she felt that the Americans have at least started to understand the mistakes which they have committed in Syria and that they are convinced that the track which they have adopted will not lead to any place.
Shaaban added that Feltman was almost desperate regarding the opposition and he said ”We know that President al-Assad will stay, but we are searching for a way how to deal with that”. Carter was very enthusiastic to change the US stance and he announced in his deliberations before the conference that he advises the US administration “not to ask President al-Assad to step down.”
Shaaban stressed that we must get out of the notion of opposition which has been made to us by the West, to reach the concept of opposition in which the West believes: a national opposition that is keen on preserving the homeland and its people and institutions.
Shaaban stressed that what is required from Syria internationally and regionally is what has been always required from it, which is not to be a country of resistance and not to have an ideological army...
She added that we must believe that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the map which directs all of these destruction in the Arab world...
Regarding the Egyptian stance, Shaaban said: ”We have always been talking positively about Egypt which is a brotherly country and the Egyptian Army is the brother of the Syrian Army…There is a history of amity between the two countries, and Egypt is passing through difficult circumstances now and our circumstances are also difficult, yet the mutual respect, amity and desire might allow our relations to witness a positive development in the future.”
The United Nations Security Council has voted to reject the proposal submitted by the Palestinian Authority to end the Israel military occupation, recognize the state of Palestine on the 1949 armistice line (the so-called ‘Green Line’) and “the just settlement of all other outstanding issues...
Once again this rejected proposal clearly shows that power counts more than morality and justice.
There is clearly no doubt that it is state power and interests which determine a state’s foreign policy. Otherwise why would a country like Nigeria vote against the just and legal demand of the oppressed people of Palestine? How else can anyone explain Western politicians and states betraying their own principles of democracy and the rule of law?
It also shows their hypocrisy and a continuation of a policy of double standards when it comes to the Palestinian cause. The United States and Australia voted against the motion and Britain abstained, proving the direct complicity of these countries in maintaining the Israeli military occupation and therefore the prolonged suffering of the Palestinian people.
Since its artificial establishment in 1948, Israel, like any other colonial power, has tried with all means possible to justify its right to exist in Palestine; principally by denying the existence of the indigenous Palestinian people.
The use of force and power of a strong military machine has been Israel’s way of conducting its policy to determine its own existence. This has been encouraged by the financial, military and political support Israel receives from the United States which has positioned Israel as a superpower among its neighboring countries and within the region. During the 66 years since its establishment in1948, Israel has exercised its military power and repeatedly engaged in wars and conflicts, more so than any other state in the region.
Israeli state policy of warmongering is not new: this ‘tactic’ lies deep at the heart of its origins.
The Palestinian Nakba of 1948 continues until now. It is a modern human catastrophe that has still not been acknowledged by those who committed the crimes of ethnic cleansing and the attempted eradication of Palestinian society. In 1967 the process continued with large-scale enforced expulsions and further attempts to destroy Palestinian society. Despite the internationally-recognized illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, the ongoing and relentless Jewish expansionist policy of settlement continues and ensures the colonization of all of Palestine, by any means possible.
A powerless PA has responded by signing the Rome Statute with the intention to join the International Criminal Court (ICC). This decision is a reaction rather than a strategic move towards protecting Palestinians’ rights. The PA is looking to a powerless international agency... The apartheid wall Israel has built, creating Palestinian ghettoes, is a clear example: the ICJ ruled that the wall contravenes international law and should be dismantled. It’s still there.
THE HAGUE, 9 July 2004. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has today rendered its Advisory Opinion in the case concerning the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (request for advisory opinion). The Court responds to the question as follows:
- A. By fourteen votes to one, The construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated régime, are contrary to international law;
- B. By fourteen votes to one, Israel is under an obligation to terminate its breaches of international law; it is under an obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated, and to repeal or render ineffective forthwith all legislative and regulatory acts relating thereto, in accordance with paragraph 151 of this Opinion;
- C. By fourteen votes to one, Israel is under an obligation to make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem;
- D. By thirteen votes to two, All States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction; all States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention [..] have in addition the obligation [..] to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that Convention...
France’s Socialist government provoked outrage today by becoming the first in the world to ban protests against Israeli action in Palestine.
In what is viewed as an outrageous attack on democracy, Socialist Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said mass demonstrations planned for the weekend should be halted. Mr Cazeneuve said there was a ‘threat to public order’, while opponents said he was ‘criminalising’ popular support of the Palestinian people.
Mr Cazeneuve welcomed a legal procedure instigated by the Paris police prefecture to ban the march, despite it already being widely advertised.
Anyone who turns up to an illegal demonstration now faces up to a year in prison, and a 15,000 euro fine. If they hide their faces to avoid being identified, this sentence can be increased to three years, and a 45,000 fine.
Even those who publish details of an illegal rally on social media face up to a year in prison, and a 15,000 euro fine. This can be increased to seven years and a 100,000 fine if the postings lead to violence.
Mr Cazeneuve also advised other prefects across France to examine planned marches on a ‘case by case’ basis, and to ban ‘if appropriate’.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a meeting with Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides in Tehran on Sunday said Iran wants to widen ties and cooperation with the European Union.
"Iran is looking for establishment of cordial relations and closer cooperation with the EU," President Rouhani said during the meeting.
President Rouhani pointed to the regional developments, and said, "The present conditions in the Middle East and even the Mediterranean region necessitate growing mutual cooperation, and specially more consolidated ties between Iran and the EU."
He stressed that violence and savagery anywhere and against any nation or race, nationality and religion is doomed to failure, and said, "When a terror attack takes place in Paris, London, Berlin or Washington, we condemn it to the same degree that we condemn the massacre of the people in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Syria."
The recent terrorist attacks in France are deplorable, barbaric and condemnable. For Syrians, under the scourge and plague of terrorism for decades, the terrorist attacks in France are considered as barbaric attacks against the entire globe...
Yes, the majority of Syrians contempt, abhor and do reject terrorism in all of its forms against whoever might be. This is why, the leadership of Syria was the first worldwide in the eighties to call for a conference as to define and combat terrorism as well as to define and draw sharp distinctions between terrorism and people's right to resistance...
Syria, whose Army has been fighting multi-national terrorists of more than 80 countries, including France, has vehemently condemned the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine and offered heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and their colleagues.
The attack showed indeed the dangers of the spread of extremist terrorism which poses a threat to the stability and security of the world as a whole.
Hopefully, the anti-terrorism march in Paris would be a jump-start in unifying and coordinating anti-terrorism international efforts in commitment to combating all forms of terrorism according to International legitimacy, the latest of which were UN Security Council resolutions 2170 and 2178.
- Question: Mr. President, three years into this war, and considering how things have turned out, do you regret that you haven’t managed things differently at the beginning, with the appearance of the first signs of the revolution in March 2011? Do you feel that you are responsible for what happened?
Syria 2011: "martyrs from the army and the police.."
- President Assad: Even in the first days of the events, there were martyrs from the army and the police; so, since the first days of this crisis we have been facing terrorism.
It is true that there were demonstrations, but they were not large in number. In such a case, there is no choice but to defend your people against terrorists. There’s no other choice...
Let’s be honest: had Qatar not paid money to those terrorists at that time, and had Turkey not supported them logistically, and had not the West supported them politically, things would have been different. If we in Syria had problems and mistakes before the crisis, which is normal, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the events had internal causes.
- Question: Your army is blamed for its excessive use of force during this war. Why are civilians shelled?
- President Assad: When a terrorist attacks you with weapons, how do you defend yourself and your people....? With dialogue?!
"The policy of the [French] Socialist Party in general and that of François Hollande in particular has its roots in nineteenth century colonialism, of which Jules Ferry was a herald and Theodor Herzl a promoter." Thierry Meyssan, 26-11-2013
"My message to the French Parliamentarians is: Go back to the principles of the French Revolution that the whole world is proud of: Liberty, Justice, Equality.
- Question: The Syrians we meet in Damascus talk about sleeping Jihadi cells in the West more than they talk about the war against ISIS. Isn’t that strange?
- President Assad: Terrorism is an ideology, not an organization or a structure; and ideology doesn’t acknowledge any borders. 20 years ago, terrorism used to be exported from our region, particularly from Gulf countries, like Saudi Arabia. Now, it is coming to our region from Europe, especially from France.
The largest percentage of the European terrorists coming to Syria are French; and you had a number of incidents in France. There was also an attack in Belgium against a Jewish museum. So, terrorism in Europe is no longer asleep, it is being awakened.
- Question: On July 14th, 2008, you stood on the presidential podium in the Champs Elysees on the sidelines of the Mediterranean summit. Today, the French government considers you an outcast. Do you believe that you can revive relations with Hollande some time in the future?
- President Assad: The issue has nothing to do with personal relations, for I don’t know him to start with. It has to do with relations between states and institutions, relations based on the interests of two nations. When there is any French official, or French government, seeking mutual interests, we will deal with them.
- Question: Your wife used to consider herself an ambassador of modernity. How does she live in Syria, and how does she feel about what is happening in Syria...?
- President Assad: Like all Syrians, she feels pain. Both of us feel pain for the destruction and the blood we see in Syria, to see Syria going backwards decades and not years.
It’s painful to see the country which used to be one of the top five countries in the world in terms of security become a safe haven for terrorists. It is also painful for both my wife and I to see our belief that the West will help us in our bid for development and openness go in the opposite direction, and what is even worse, to see the West having allies among these medieval states in the Gulf, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The majority of displaced Iraqis are living in either temporary camps, which were settled by the UN mission in Iraq in cooperation with the Iraqi government, or are taking refuge in mosques and schools. The rest are hosted by relatives or volunteer families outside of the conflict zones.
Despite the fact that the Iraqi government had formed a special body known as the Supreme Committee for Relief that provides shelter for IDPs with an open budget, some are living in miserable conditions that do not measure up to the acceptable conditions of normal life.
"The catastrophe is big and the displacement operations are uncontrolled. Thousands of families are randomly and suddenly moving from one area to another based on their sense of safety," Hussain Dawood, the secretary of the Supreme Committee for Relief, told Al Jazeera.
"The number of the displaced has exceeded 2,450,000 people. We are facing serious problems relating to supplying them with basic needs because of the contentious displacement and the new military operations in the hot zones," Dawood said.
Shia Muslims and followers of Sufism and Christianity, along with moderate Sunnis and Yazidis - who accepted becoming a part of the new political system in Iraq - are viewed by ISIL as apostates who should be killed.
Thousands of civilians and troops have been killed in direct clashes or mass executions carried out by ISIL fighters since June, when the group overran the second largest Iraqi city, Mosul...
The UN mission in Iraq has called on the international community to allocate more funds to cover the additional urgent relief needed for the IDPs as winter sets in.
Both Jewish Home and Likud have responded publicly to the preliminary primary results of the Labor Party.
According to Jewish Home, the selected list, is "post-Zionist and puts an end to Labor's ambitions to be a ruling party.
Describing the elected candidates, Jewish Home stated there are "Marmara flotilla supporters, New Israel Fund members who support abolishing the Law of Return, and other members who have said they are ashamed of [Hatikva - The Hope] Israel's national anthem." "The founders of the party are rolling in their graves," the statement concluded.
Likud's public relations staff addressed that the Labor Party had chosen "a significantly left list."
Deputy Minister of Environment Ofir Akunis (Likud) also slammed the party's list: "The selected list represents the most far-left views with regard to socio-economic policy and political approach. Support for higher taxes and a withdrawal to the 1967 borders are outdated and dangerous conceptions. The candidates chosen are extremely inexperienced in state affairs," Okunis stated.
“The symbols of the state must connect with the whole country and not just one part of it.” Afu Aghbaria (Hadash party)
The verses in question, written by Naftali Herz Imbar, who immigrated to Palestine from Eastern Europe in the 1880s, read:
As long as deep in the heart, The soul of a Jew yearns,
And forward to the East, To Zion, an eye looks
Our hope will not be lost...
Israel defines itself as a Jewish, democratic state. Arabic is one of Israel’s official languages, although some legislators are trying to change that. Arab citizens vote in elections and pay taxes, yet many say they are not completely equal.
The wording of the national anthem which refers to the “Jewish soul” is just one example of what Israeli Arabs find difficult to embrace.
They offered creative solutions for making the national anthem relevant to Arab citizens. One idea was to change the expression “Jewish soul” to “Israeli soul.” Another was to write two versions of the lyrics to the same melody, similar to what Canada has done with its anthem.
Many Kabbalistic sources, notably the Tanya, contain statements to the effect that the Jewish soul is qualitatively different from the non-Jewish soul.
A number of known Chabad rabbis offered alternative readings of the Tanya, did not take this teaching literally, and even managed to reconcile it with the leftist ideas of internationalism and class struggle.
Hillel of Parich, an early Tanya commentator, wrote that the souls of righteous Gentiles are more similar to the Jewish souls, and are generally good and not egoistic. This teaching was accepted by Schneerson and is considered normative in Chabad.
"Every person has a lower animalistic and higher Godly soul"
Dov Ber Pinson, a contemporary Chabad mystic, denies the idea that there is any essential difference between the Jews and non-Jews. According to his theory, every person has a lower animalistic and higher Godly soul.
The Tanya does not talk about Jews and non-Jews as social groups, but describes the internal struggle between the materialistic "Gentile" and spiritual "Jewish" levels of consciousness within every human soul.
An anti-Zionist interpretation of Tanya was offered by Abraham Yehudah Khein, a prominent Ukrainian Chabad rabbi, who supported anarchist communism.
Khein basically read the Tanya backwards; since the souls of idol worshipers are known to be evil, according to the Tanya, while the Jewish souls are known to be good, he concluded that truly altruistic people are really Jewish, in a spiritual sense, while Jewish nationalists and class oppressors are not.
Rabbi Menachem Meiri considered all people, who sincerely profess an ethical religion, to be part of a greater "spiritual Israel". He explicitly included Christian and Muslims in this category.
Meiri rejected all Talmudic laws that discriminate between the Jews and non-Jews, claiming that they only apply to the ancient idolators, who had no sense of morality.
The idea of chosenness is "morally untenable", because anyone who has such beliefs "implies the superiority of the elect community and the rejection of others."
Reconstructionist Judaism rejects the concept of chosenness. Its founder, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, said that the idea that God chose the Jewish people leads to racist beliefs among Jews, and thus must be excised from Jewish theology.
In the mid-1980s, the Reconstructionist movement issued its Platform on Reconstructionism. It states that the idea of chosenness is "morally untenable", because anyone who has such beliefs "implies the superiority of the elect community and the rejection of others."
“When you talk about terrorism, about killing civilians, and regardless of the political position, agreement or disagreement with the people who have been killed, this is a case of terrorism,” said the President in response to a question about the recent events in France in an interview with the Czech newspaper Literarni Noviny.
“We are against killing innocent people anywhere in the world… This is our principle,” said the President.
He made it clear that Syria is “one of the countries which best understand this issue because we have been suffering from terrorism for the past four years and we lost thousands of innocent lives in Syria.”...
“At the same time, we want to remind many people in the West that we have been talking about these repercussions since the beginning of the crisis in Syria. We have been saying, you shouldn’t support terrorism and provide it with a political umbrella, because this will reflect on your countries and your people. They didn’t listen to us,” President al-Assad said.
About his vision for the best way to fight terrorism, the President said “If we want to talk about the reality now, we need to fight terrorists because they are killing innocent people, and we have to defend these people..."
“But if we want to talk about the crisis,” he added, “fighting terrorism needs good policies. We should fight ignorance with culture and education, should build a good economy to fight poverty, and there should be an exchange of information among the countries concerned with fighting terrorism.”
He clarified that “The problem cannot be addressed in the way they addressed it in Afghanistan, I mean what they did in Afghanistan in 2001. A group of Congressmen visited Damascus at that time and they were talking about invading Afghanistan in revenge for what happened in New York earlier.
I said this is not how you should do it, because fighting terrorism is similar to treating cancer. You do not treat cancer by cutting it, but by extracting it.
What happened in Afghanistan is that they cut the cancer, and the result was that it spread much faster. That’s why, as I said, we should focus on good policies, on the economy, and on culture and education.”
27-5-2013: Rebel military and civilian leaders from all over Syria came to see McCain, including from Homs, Qusayr, Idlib, Damascus, and Aleppo. The entire trip was coordinated with the help of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, an American nonprofit organization that works in support of the Syrian opposition. (The Daily Beast 2013)
Following attacks in Paris that left 17 people dead, former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul accused the United States and France of being responsible for the rise in Islamist extremism.
In an article posted to his website, Paul said two of the gunmen in the Paris attacks fought alongside rebels seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He also pointed out that the U.S. and France spent years training and equipping foreign fighters to infiltrate Syria and overthrow Assad.
“In other words, when it comes to Syria, the two Paris killers were on ‘our’ side,” the article states. “They may have even used French or U.S. weapons while fighting in Syria.”
Paul blamed Western interventionist foreign policy for deliberately radicalizing Muslim fighters, with the hopes they would attack strategically advantageous targets. According to the former Congressman, Paris learned last week what the U.S. learned on Sept. 11, 2001: Those fighters will sometimes attack those who have trained them.
“Perhaps one way to make us all more safe is for the U.S. and its allies to stop supporting these extremists.”
A delegation of US senators led by John McCain have met separately with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman and Qatar's emir, part of a Middle East tour focusing on training the so-called moderate militants in Syria...
The US senators also met in neighboring Qatar with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the country's emir. The official Qatar News Agency said they discussed "Qatari-U.S. relations and means to develop them."
The delegation included Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, Angus King, I-Maine, and Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, the state news agency reported. All sit on the Senate's Armed Services Committee, which McCain chairs. The meetings took place Saturday, a day after the Pentagon said that as many as 1,000 U.S. troops and support personnel would be sent to sites in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to help train select Syrian militants they claim as being moderate.
The 23rd conference of the Arab Lawyers’ Union opened in Cairo on Friday affirmed solidarity with Syria.
Participants in the conference chanted the Syrian national anthem and slogans that show support to the Syrian Arab Army and condemn the role of Turkey and Qatar in sponsoring terrorism. Secretary General of the Arab Lawyers Union Abdel Latif Boueshrin condemned the bloodshed in Syria, underlining the need for strengthening the Arab unity and solidarity in facing the current challenges and achieving the economic and political independence.
He called on Arabs to take unified positions to reach solutions to the current crises in Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen and in Libya.
Chairman of the Arab Lawyers Union Sameh Ashour called for maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity and condemned the Arab silence towards the schemes of fragmenting Iraq, Libya, Sudan and other Arab countries, underlining the need for Syria to restore its seat in the Arab League.
Participants in the conference slammed Western support for takfiri terrorist organizations, underscoring the necessity of confronting a US-led new colonial scheme for fragmenting the region.
Arab Lawyers Union (ALU) is a pan-Arab confederation of bar associations and law societies based in Cairo. ALU was engaged in founding the Arab Institute for Human Rights (AIHR) at Tunis.
• Promote and protect human rights, basic freedoms and the primacy of law.
• Participate in the decolonization of the Arab Countries, to their liberation and the establishment of social justice.
• Struggle with the Arab Palestinian people to liberate Palestine from Zionist settlers colonialism.
• Struggle against Zionism and its greed as a form of racism.
• Resisting at all projects which aim at dominating the Arab region and eradicating its identity.
• Struggle against colonialism and new colonialism, and participation in the defence of the basic rights of all people and supporting the solidarity, cooperation and equality among them and its rights of independence, sovereignty and self-determination.
•Struggle to liberate the Arab person from all forms of oppression, backwardness and exploitation.
•Endeavor to liberate Arab countries from all forms of domination and guaranteeing its independence and development as means to realize social justice.
President Assad: These terrorists have only one message, which is the dark ideology they carry in their minds; for them, all those who do not think like them do not deserve to live.
Every so often, they carry out these acts of terror to either attract people to their cause or to frustrate them. In other words, they want people to lose hope – and when you lose hope, life has no meaning. So in one way or another you become closer to them.
From another perspective, these terrorist operations are financed, planned and instigated by people outside Syria with the aim of pushing Syrians towards complete despair, making them believe that there is no hope in their homeland and that the Syria which has existed for centuries no longer exists...
In fact they have all had the opposite effect – Syrians today are more committed than ever before to defending their country...
As for the interests of the United States, I believe that for decades, the actions of the United States, through wars and interventions, completely contradict their interests.
It is a superpower and as such has political, economic, military and other interests. It can achieve these interests through mutual respect, good relations, trust, credibility and promoting science and knowledge instead of spreading terrorism, destruction and fear.
Most of the big powers have interests around the world, but these interests need to be based on achieving stability in the world first. You cannot have any interests in an unstable region full of wars and terrorism.
“The newspaper should apologize for this cartoon (Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall with the blood and bodies of Palestinians). We’re not going to let this stand as it is,” Israeli Ambassador to London Daniel Taub told The Times of Israel in a telephone interview. “We genuinely think that a red line has been crossed and the obligation on the newspaper is to correct that.”Taub added that he was going to meet with the newspaper’s editor “at the earliest opportunity, perhaps already today,” to express the government’s concern about a cartoon that draws “on classical anti-Semitic themes.”
A spokesman for the newspaper told The Times of Israel Sunday the cartoon was not anti-Semitic but critical of the prime minister’s policies, as it was “aimed squarely at Mr. Netanyahu and his policies, not at Israel, let alone at Jewish people.”
The Israeli ambassador to Britain, Daniel Taub has written to Liberal Democrat leader and deputy PM Nick Clegg to condemn a tweet posted by David Ward on the presence of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the solidarity march in Paris on Sunday.
During the ('Je Suis Charlie') march, which followed last week’s terror attacks in the French capital that left 17 people dead, Lib Dem MP Ward tweeted:
“#Netanyahu in Paris march – what!!! Makes me feel sick,” and “Je suis #Palestinian.”
Ambassador Taub wrote to deputy PM Clegg to express his abhorrence at Ward’s “offensive and shocking” comments.
“It gives me no pleasure to write to you once again to express my abhorrence at statement made by David Ward MP, on this occasion with regard to the presence of the Prime Minister of Israel at the solidarity march in Paris,” Taub wrote. Taub questioned why Bradford East MP Ward was still a Lib Dem party member, given his previous statements concerning Israel.
“Mr Ward’s comments are offensive and shocking, but more shocking still is the continued impunity that he seems to enjoy from his party,” he wrote.
A Liberal Democrat spokesperson told the BBC that Ward does not speak for the Liberal Democrats on this issue.
“The Liberal Democrats believe fundamentally in the values of tolerance, openness and compassion, values that have been reaffirmed in the last week in the response of millions to the terrorist attacks in France.”
This is not the first time Ward stirred up controversy with his remarks on Israel. In 2013 he tweeted: “Am I wrong or am I right? At long last the Zionists are losing the battle – how long can the apartheid State of Israel last?”
For this, he was suspended from the Lib Dem parliamentary party in July 2013 and had the whip withdrawn for three months.
Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said on Friday Israel had irritated close allies by over-reacting to Stockholm recognizing the state of Palestine, saying its rhetoric over the issue had "crossed all limits".
"It is unacceptable how they have been talking about us and everybody else," Margot Wallstrom said in an interview in daily Dagens Nyheter. "It has irritated not only us, but the Americans and everyone who has anything to do with them right now."
Relations between Israel and Sweden have nose-dived since Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Lofven used his inaugural address in parliament last year to announce that his country would recognize a Palestinian state.
Israeli said the move was ill-considered, would not contribute to peace and called its ambassador back to Jerusalem for discussions.
Humiliation of Palestinians
In the interview, Wallstrom said Sweden supported Israel, Palestine and peace, but was sharply critical of Israel's policies.
"Israel has been extremely aggressive," she said. "They have continued with their settlement policies, they have continued demolitions, they have continued with their occupation policies which entail a humiliation of Palestinians, which makes the (peace) process difficult."
Wallstroem was scheduled to arrive in Israel in mid-January... However, prior to the visit, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced he would boycott the Swedish Foreign Minister’s visit...
"It is basically an insult," Per Joensson, an editor with the Swedish Institute for International Affairs, told AFP. "That is not a way to treat a sovereign foreign minister, unless you really want to punish her."
According to the Palestinian Authority, around 135 countries have recognized the state of Palestine.
Israel is lobbying member-states of the International Criminal Court to cut funding for the tribunal in response to its launch of an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories.
ICC prosecutors said on Friday they would examine "in full independence and impartiality" crimes that may have occurred since June 13 last year. This allows the court to delve into the war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza in July-August 2014 that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and 70 Israelis.
The decision came after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas requested ICC membership, which comes into effect on April 1.
Israel, which like the United States does not belong to the ICC, hopes to dent funding for the court that is drawn from the 122 member-states in accordance with the size of their economies, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said.
"We will demand of our friends in Canada, in Australia and in Germany simply to stop funding it," he told Israel Radio.
"This body represents no one. It is a political body," he said. "There are a quite a few countries - I've already taken telephone calls about this - that also think there is no justification for this body's existence."
Benjamin Netanyahu 2014:
Human Rights Council a "kangaroo court"
Israel's foreign ministry recalled that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously called the Human Rights Council a "kangaroo court".
"Already, with the decision on July 23 to establish the committee, the prime minister and the foreign minister declared that the Human Rights Council had long ago turned into the 'terrorist rights council' and a kangaroo court, whose 'investigations' are pre-determined," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a statement....
On July 25, 2014, the United States Congress published a letter in which the signatories asserted that the Human Rights Council "cannot be taken seriously as a human rights organization" over their handling of the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.
Kangaroo Court: a court of law in which the violations of procedure, precedents, and due process are so gross that fundamental justice is denied. It usually means that the judge is incompetent or obviously biased.
Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.
A Likud campaign video depicted Naftali Bennett as a child playing with tanks and Netanyahu as a kindergarten teacher attempting to keep order.
In the campaign video, Netanyahu is the one adult in a kindergarten populated by his rivals - played by children - who are wreaking havoc on the room.
In addition to Bennett, Yair Lapid, Avigdor Lieberman and Tzipi Livni also appear in the video.
When little Lapid and little Bennett fight over a chair during a game of musical chairs, Netanyahu tells them off, and tells a hyperactive little Tzipi Livni to "stop running from one place to another." "This is a waste of time, we can't continue with this kindergarten..."
Turning to education, Dr Hassoun said, "Let us teach our school pupils that what is sacred in the world is man" since man "is the creation of the creator".
He also argued that "we must create states on a civil basis, not a religious basis", adding "I don't impose my religion on you, nor do you impose your religion on me". (European parlement, 15-1-2008)
French President Francois Hollande addressed the Institute of the Arab World on Friday, in a bid to reassure French Muslims, who fear being the victims of a collective guilt campaign or reprisals after the attack of radicals on Charlie Hebdo.
Hollande said: “It is the Muslims who are the first victims of fanaticism, fundamentalism and intolerance… We must remember that Islam is compatible with democracy.. We must have in France French of Muslim faith who have the same rights and the same duties as all citizens... They must be protected. Secularism helps in this regard since it respects all religions…"
Hollande is being a little idealistic about actual French secularism as it is enshrined in law and practice, but the general principle is correct. Secular government can neutralize religious competition for the state of the sort we have seen in post-Bush Iraq, with all its disasters.
Traditionalists reject modernity, by which they mean Western secularism and the banishment of religious values from most aspects of daily life. In this world view, reason and the Enlightenment have become the new devils, modern blasphemies because they dare to set Man up as equal to God. The original sin of modern Man is therefore to have rejected the sovereignty of God and put in its place the sovereignty of the Individual. (www.ibaradio.org)
"What kind of country do you want to leave your children?" I was asked by Knesset Member Yair Lapid, along with tens of thousands of other people who received the email with that subject line from his election headquarters.
For me it is a simple question which I am prepared to give a simple answer to. I want to leave my children an Israel with a secured future: A state which does not have (at least) 1.6 million citizens living below the poverty line and which does not have (at least) 2.6 million Palestinian non-citizens living below the occupation line.
I would be completely at peace leaving my children the country as it is today, only without these two horrible humps on its back: Without occupation and without poverty...
These are the two malignant growths endangering its future. The two swords hanging over our children's heads and over our grandchildren's heads, intertwined. And we have failed, so far, to remove them...
Because my wife and I and many other Israelis like us want to leave their children a country which does not control another people and which is not indifferent to its poor, we will not stop fighting for the end of the occupation and end of poverty. All the rest is important, but not critical. Temporary, but not essential. Irritating, but not unusual or a threat to Israel's identity, image and future.
You asked, MK Lapid, what kind of country we want to leave our children. Well, here's the answer: A normal country with normal difficulties.
""What's important is not me. And it's not you. It's us." David Brin