Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas is cancelled in Gaza

While crowds of anti-Zionists protested at Israel's 'criminal siege of Gaza' outside the Israeli embassy in London yesterday, Gaza's few remaining Christians concluded a very sombre Christmas.

In a report from Gaza City, The Guardian's Pheobe Greenwood said she had been told that by local Christians that after seizing control of Gaza in 2007, Hamas effectively cancelled Christmas, and that any open celebration of the holiday is met with threats of arrest or worse.

The manager of Gaza City's Bible bookshop was brutally murdered soon after Hamas took power.

'People here do not celebrate Christmas anymore because they are nervous,' Imad Jelda, an Orthodox Christian, told Greenwood. Fewer than 1,400 Christians now live among Gaza's 1.5 million Muslims.

Two brothers from another Christian family explained that most of their family had been forced to flee Gaza under threat of Muslim violence.

One of the brothers told Greenwood, 'This is not a Christian environment. There are no good universities [for Christians], there is no opportunity to work, no apartments to rent and so no way we can get married. We have no future here.'

Meanwhile, Israel's enemies continue to blame Israel for the dwindling number of Christians in the Holy Land.

Expect Israel's antagonists to gloss over and dismiss The Guardian's rare truthful report regarding the true reasons behind the disappearance of Christian communities in the region.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Abbas in high profile meeting with child murderer

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is a controversial figure and some of his remarks about the Israeli-Palestinian situation have been extreme.

Neveetheless, his belief that a genuine peace deal with the Palestinian Authority is not possible at present is justified.

The Islamist takeover in Egypt, the fragility of Iraq's democracy, the ongoing bloodshed in Syria, according to Lieberman, make it clear that now is not to the time to push for a Israeli-Palestinian peace arrangement.

Lieberman asked rhetorically,'In the midst of an earthquake do you start to lay the foundations for a new building?'

As he has in the past, Lieberman suggested that the focus of Israel and the international community should be maintaining the status quo in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while trying to improve economic conditions in Palestinian-ruled areas.

As further evidence that a true peace is currently impossible, Lieberman referred to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' visit to Turkey last week, during which he had a highly publicized meeting with the female Palestinian terrorist Amneh Muna (shown above).

In 2001 Muna used the Internet to lure 16-year-old Ofir Rahum to the Palestinian town of Ramallah, where she and her accomplices brutally murdered the Israeli youth. Muna was released from an Israeli prison in the recent prisoner swap that saw Israel free over 1,000 terrorists in exchange for abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Lieberman pointed out that Abbas had no reason to visit Amneh Muna except to glorify the terrorist murder of Israeli Jews, even when the victims are children. With such people, he said, it is impossible to have truly peaceful coexistence.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

'An organised hypocrisy'

For years a small group of nationalist religious Jewish youth has been carrying out ‘price tag’ acts of vandalism to demonstrate to the Israeli government that it cannot surrender to international demands regarding control of the Land of Israel without causing problems with its own people.

Over the past month those attacks have escalated, culminating in a raid on an Israeli army outpost in the Jordan Valley that had allegedly been tasked with forcibly uprooting a nearby Jewish community.

These attacks are regrettable and they are wrong but they have not so far resulted in a single casualty. However, they have exposed the deep-rooted hypocrisy of the international community and local Arabs when relating to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Last Tuesday, the four current European members of the UN Security Council – France, Britain, Germany and Portugal – released a statement that included a detailed condemnation of the ‘price tag’ attacks:

One of the themes that emerged was the severely damaging effect that increased settlement construction and settler violence is having on the ground and on the prospects of a return to negotiations.

By contrast, the international community has never viewed Palestinian terrorism, which has claimed the lives of many Israeli Jews, as impeding peace efforts. Terrorist murders of Jews usually galvanizes the world to urge Israeli to make greater concessions.

Deadlocks in the peace process are always blamed on Israel, while systematic Palestinian intransigence and officially-sanctioned violence is swept under the rug.

Israeli Arab lawmakers succeeded in introducing a new Knesset bill demanding harsh punishment for ‘price tag’ attacks. The bill calls for tough punishment for vandalism against any holy sites, be they Muslim, Christian or Jewish. It also stipulates imprisonment for incitement against another religion or its adherents.

The explanatory notes to the bill, however, make clear that the bill is not as unbiased as it would appear. The sole target of the bill is the Jewish nationalist movement:

In the wake of the wave of arson against mosques, this proposal is inevitable and we cannot settle for weak condemnations.

The two MKs who submitted the bill, Ahmed Tibi and Ibrahim Sarsour, have for decades been at the forefront of fomenting hatred for Israel’s Jews and dismissing Arab Muslim violence. Tibi in particular has cried out loudly whenever a Muslim leader is arrested for inciting violence against Jews and has been conspicuously silent when Muslim vandalise Jewish holy sites, such as the weekly defacement of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.

Israel, meanwhile, has strongly condemned ‘price tag’ vandalism, demonstrating once again that it is not like its enemies. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to take firm action against the perpetrators, as he would against any criminal, and has condemned their actions as immoral, despite the possible legitimacy of their political concerns.

A group of students from a Torah academy cleaned up a mosque that had been vandalized. Rabbi Yair Ansbacher of the Eitan Academy in Maaleh Adumim told Israel National News:

We discussed the issue and decided to express our total opposition to these acts by going to a mosque and cleaning it up.

Rabbi Ansbacher lamented that the positive actions of his students had been totally ignored by the media which, instead, focused its attention on the Jewish vandals in an effort to paint all Jewish settlers as hostile and aggressive.

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Palestinianisation of Jesus

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber turned Jesus into a Superstar, to Kris Kristofferson ‘Jesus was a Capricorn’, to Judy Tzuke, ‘Jesus was a Cross Maker’ and to Sir Elton John, Jesus was (what else?) a ‘super-intelligent gay man’. I've also heard that Jesus was a Buddhist priest, a spaceman and a time traveller. Now he’s a Palestinian hero.

It’s nothing new for the Palestinians to claim that Jesus was one of them. Yasser Arafat used to declare as much every Christmas in Bethlehem. Arafat may be gone but the malady lingers on, as demonstrated last week in a statement from the Palestinian Authority’s ‘moderate’ Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

'Christmas is an opportunity to celebrate the Palestinian identity of Jesus Christ,’ Fayyad declared when he flipped the switch lighting a 50-foot Christmas tree in Bethlehem's Manger Square last week.

The notion that Jesus was a Palestinian permeates Arab society in the region. In an interview on 3 December last year, the author Samih Ghanadreh was interviewed on Palestinian Authority TV about his book Christianity and its Connection to Islam. Ghanadreh recalled with fondness that Arafat labelled Jesus ‘the first Palestinian Shahid (Martyr),’ to which the host responded that no one denies ‘Jesus was a Palestinian.’

Earlier in 2010, the Communications and Education Authority of Fatah issued a statement on its official website:

If we are proud of the holiness of our land, then we are proud and pride ourselves that the first and most important holy woman among the nations and peoples is from the holy land: The Virgin Mary – the woman of love and peace – is of the nation of Palestine…

In 2009, the Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein, who was appointed by Mahmoud Abbas, preached on Palestinian TV:

Jesus was born in this land; he took his first steps in this land and spread his teachings [of Islam] in this land. He and his mother [Mary], we may say, were Palestinians par excellence.

The belief that Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, was a Palestinian and a pre-Islamic Muslim to boot is ingrained into the Palestinian communal psyche. All historic or religious ties between Jesus and the Jews have been severed, just as the Palestinians have severed all historic and religious ties between the Jews and the land of Israel.

But it’s not only Palestinians that are being indoctrinated. Western Christians are very susceptible to Palestinian propaganda. Some years ago I attended a symposium in London at which one speaker recounted that on his first encounter with Palestinian Christians he had asked when they became Christians. There response was one of annoyance. How dare he ask that question? Their people had been Christians since the day of Pentecost!

A biblical scholar I admire very much has stated that on the day of Pentecost, Peter preached in Arabic!

Other western Christians can do even better than that. One evangelical author knows Palestinian Christians who have been faithful to the Saviour since the magi visited Bethlehem, while another knows Palestinian Christians who are descended from the shepherds to whom the angels appeared!

Well, as they say, this is a magic season, so we shouldn’t be surprised that there are conjurors around who can turn Israel into Palestine, Jesus into a Palestinian and Christianity into Islam.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Vote, vote, vote for Hamas. We kill more Jews.

Last Wednesday, Hamas marked its 24th anniversary by publicising the number of Jews it has murdered. The highly publicized event (and grisly casualty figures) came just months before Palestinians are scheduled to go to the polls to elect a new parliament and president.

In an official statement, Hamas' military wing the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade, boasted of killing 1,365 Israelis and wounding another 6,411 in 1,117 terror attacks over the past twenty years. The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade claimed it had fired over 11,000 rockets and missiles from Gaza into southern Israel.

Hours later, tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered in Gaza City to celebrate Hamas' founding and its successes against the hated Jews of Israel. Speakers at the event reiterated Hamas' dedication to eliminating Israel, and decried ongoing Middle East peace negotiations as a failed experiment.

Many in Israel saw the public event as the start of Hamas' campaign for the next legislative and presidential election, which Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has announced will take place in May 2012.

Hamas leaders expect to score another landslide victory when next the Palestinians go to the polls. The 2006 Palestinian election produced a surprise Hamas takeover of the Palestinian parliament, a result that left clueless Western diplomats baffled.

If recent electoral results in Egypt, with successes for the Muslim Brotherhood which begot Hamas are any indication, the general sentiment on the street has only drifted closer to the Islamist viewpoint in the intervening years.

And what will the international community do in the face of Hamas’ electoral campaign? If Hamas is victorious at the polls, Israel will be urged to talk to Hamas.

Picture this. A group of thugs has murdered all your family and they are threatening to kill you also. You go to the police and the sergeant behind the desk responds, ‘Have you tried talking to these people sir?’

‘They’ve killed my parents, my wife, my children and they are after me too,’ you shout.

‘Well sir,’ says the sergeant, ‘I’m sure these people can be made to think differently if you just have little talk with them.’

Surreal? Of sourse. But that’s essentially what the world has been saying to Israel for the last two decades.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Conspiracy for Dummies

Some conspiracy theories are sophisticated and compelling while others are so crude you’d have to have the IQ of a walnut to be taken in by them but tens of thousands are duped by such things. I was reluctant to post this because readers might think I doubt their reasoning faculties but sometime in the future you might receive an email with the headline ‘Full Speech Of Rabbi Rabbinovitch Found’ and a ‘Commentary by Rose Rabbinovich’.

Two days ago I received such a message.

The email informed me that a ‘report from Europe carried the following speech of Rabbi Emmanuel Rabinovich before a special meeting of the Emergency Council of European Rabbis in Budapest, Hungary, January 12, 1952: ‘Greetings, my children; You have been called her to recapitulate the principal steps of our new program [a la The Protocols of the Elders of Zion]…’

There is enough in that one short excerpt to tell anyone who knows anything about Judaism that it is a fake. When do rabbis address their fellow rabbis as their ‘children’? Rabbis are not Catholic priests.

‘Emergency Council of European Rabbis’? Oh, please…

A meeting of rabbis in Budapest in the Communist-ruled People’s Republic of Hungary in 1952? I don’t think so.

All the evidence suggests that Rabbi Emmanuel Rabbinovich never existed but if anyone knows anything about the man who supposedly headed up this fictional shadowy group of Elders of Zion, I'd be interested to know about a man who was clever enough to remain hidden until now but not so smart as to make sure his explosive document was never discovered.

‘Rose Rabbinovich’ who sent the speech to Jeff Rense, labels herself a ‘Former Zionist’. She apparently lives in Melbourne, Australia and her email address is listed as

When I received the mail, I strongly suspected that ‘Rose Rabbinovich’ was as non-existent as her rabbinic namesake; today I know it. Though she apparently lives in Melbourne in Australia, I noticed she uses a Swiss email address, so I emailed Ms Rabbinovitch just to ask if she really existed and, as I expected, I received the following message:

Postini rejected your message to the following e-mail addresses: (
Postini gave this error:
550 : User unknown

I decided this morning to try to set up an email account with the Swiss company 'Bluemail', also known as 'Bluewin'. I received this message:

Unfortunately, Bluewin registrations are not possible outside Switzerland.
If you are in Switzerland, this page is unlikely to appear. But if it does, please call our Customer Service (free of charge) on 0800 800 800. Our operators are there to take your call seven days a week. For SME customers 0800 055 055.

Not only is the so-called Rabbinovich speech a fabrication, so also is Rose Rabbinovich. I suspect the flambuoyant Jeff Rense (just look at his picture on his website!) wrote the letter in an attempt to add some kind of authenticity to the hoax.

The fictitious ‘Rose Rabbinovich’ says she received ‘hundreds of emails to her ‘non-existent email address’ after the speech was posted. ‘If any of you had email “problems,” trying to contact me,’ she says, ‘please try again.’

Anyone who used the supplied email address would have had ‘problems’ trying to contact the elusive Ms Rabinovitch because the address is fictitious.

For clarity, I will now place all quotes from Rabinovitch in bold.

One question which was repeated in many of the emails to me was: 'How can we find the full Rabbinovich speech?'

I searched the Internet, but all websites with Rabbi Rabbinovich speech have been 'cleaned up' or blocked (I assume by the Zionists, as usual). Since I remember hearing from my grandfather about this speech already in the fifties, I decided to contact my Rabbi. He searched his favourite website and found the full article. I am enclosing here the full speech by Rabbi Rabbinovich…

Now, let me get this straight. Ms Rabinovich sent the full text of the speech to Jeff Rense, who published it on his website.

'Hundreds' of people who read the speech then asked her where they could find the speech.

Ms Rabinovich couldn't find the speech she had sent to Rense because the nasty Zionists had managed to expunge it from every site on the World Wide Web. She then asked her rabbi to find the speech and he found it not on the Rense website where she'd published it but on a site that sells books…

Am I missing something here? I find Quantum Physics easier to understand than Rabinovich’s account.

In fact, about the only place where you can’t find the speech is at the ‘favourite website’ of ‘Rose Rabbinovich’s’ rabbi. Try it. Just Google ‘Rabbi Rabinovich’s Speech of January 12th 1952’ and in 0.22 seconds your get 33,100 results! Not only are these anti-Zionist bloggers liars; they are stupid to boot. Do they not realise that their readers know how to use search engines? Sorry. That was a stupid rhetorical question.

To tell you the truth, I was surprised at the fantastic reaction of your readers to this speech. After all there is little new in that speech, and most people who read the Elders Of Zion Protocols are already very familiar with this information.

Unfortunately we Jews are NOT allowed to read the Protocols, as the Zionists want to keep us uninformed to [sic] the hidden agenda of Zionism.

‘The Zionists’ don’t allow Jews to read the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’ How on earth can Zionists prevent anyone from reading any book? The book is readily available at Amazon and in bookshops. It is also freely available on Islamic and anti-semitic websites.

Some of the email I received claimed that The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion are [sic] a forgery.

To this I have five comments:

1. If it is a 'forgery', it implies that there is an original somewhere, WHERE IS IT? WHO WROTE IT?

The document was forged by a Russian secret police agent, Pytor Ivanovich Rachovsky, who claimed a secret Jewish network was plotting to take over the world. It was first printed in 1897. But Rachovsky copied it from the nineteenth century novel Biarritz by German author Hermann Goedsche who wrote under the pseudonym ‘Sir John Retcliffe’. Goedsche had stolen the idea from Maurice Joly’s Dialogues in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu (1864), a satire aimed at Napoleon III.

2. Whether it is a forgery or not IS IRRELEVANT for the simple reason that our Zionist 'Jewish' 'brothers' have already implemented most, if not all of it. That is a fact. Every Jew who reads the Protocols knows that it was written by Jews, NO ONE ELSE could have written them.

First: So it’s ‘IRRELEVANT’ that, since it was published, this gross forgery has caused untold suffering for the Jewish people? The most charitable thing that can be said about the author of the letter is that she/he is a moral pygmy. The author is trying to cover her/his lies with an appeal to pragmatism.

Second: The author first of all tells us that Jews are not allowed to read the ‘Protocols’! Now she/he tells us they know what what ‘every Jew’ who has read the ‘Protocols’ thinks about them.

Third: No one but a Jew could have written the Protocols? Give me a break! If this is so, then Gentiles are not only ‘stupid’ but must also be illiterate!

3. The gentiles are really stupid (sorry), until now, they did not realise yet that the Zionists essentially control them.

Only those who are gullible enough to believe this half-baked, mendacious, anti-Semitic, badly written, amoral, illogical effluence.

4. It is VERY sad that most honest and honorable Jewish thinkers and intellectuals' articles are posted today on Moslem websites only.

If the Muslims are so great, why doesn’t the author become a Muslim? Obviously because ‘the Zionists’ won’t let Jews convert to other faiths.

5. As a person who grew up on Jewish ethics, I am at a great loss and shame to see our Zionist Rabbis justifying the present Moslem holocaust in the name of God and our Jewish religion. One thing I am sure of, if there is God, he is NOT 'Zionistically' Jewish. After reading many non-Zionists Jewish websites, I started believing as do many Rabbis in New York, that Zionism is: Satan hijacking our Jewish religion.

‘Moslem [sic] holocaust’? What is that about?

Some of the emails were complaints that they could not buy The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion. This is true, as we Jews control most of the printing and book distribution in the USA and many other countries. I had to go myself to:

Then how come I was able to buy a copy?

‘We Jews control most of the printing and book distribution in the USA and many other countries’?

If ‘we Jews’ control The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, the BBC, or The New York Times et al, they have a remarkable talent for shooting themselves in the feet! The only pro-Jewish media mogul was Rupert Murdoch and his empire has just gone down the pan. Even if the empire survives, Murdoch’s son James is no friend of Israel.

These 'Elders of Zion' couldn't organise a booze-up in a brewery, let alone covertly control the world!

As Charles Haddon Spurgeon once remarked: You wouldn't know some people had brains if it wasn't for the fact they had addled them.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Lies, Damned Lies and the Khazar Theory

In response to my reply to the Facebook posting of a fake quote from Ariel Sharon, I received the following:

… just a quick response to your posting on my wall. I guess it will be impossible to get at the real truth. Even if he did not utter those words exactly as reported, I am convinced he believes them in [sic] anyway. I want to make clear that I am not talking about a man who is from the seed of Israel and a true Jew but a man who is a rabid Zionist who’s [sic] bloodline can be traced to Eastern Europe and is as Jewish as Obama. There is no doubt in my mind that Zionist Israel have [sic] massive control over the USA.

Although the writer guesses ‘it will be impossible to get at the real truth’, he is ‘convinced’ that he actually does know the 'real truth' i.e. that Ariel Sharon (when he was capable of expressing himself) believed Israel controlled the USA and that every American knew it but that the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, did not know it! The truth is that the claim is totally bogus.

In case you are confused about the reference to the ‘rabid Zionist who’s [sic] bloodline can be traced to Eastern Europe and is as Jewish as Obama’, all will be revealed. Read on.

My correspondent (For personal reasons, I’m not going to reveal his name. I’m trying to be totally objective here) goes on:

I want you to understand though, that I make the clear and unequivocal distinction between the two peoples, the true children of Israel, Semites, and the people from Eastern Europe who chose Judaism and flooded in into Palestine after the war from all parts of the World claiming to be of Israel.

This is a reference to the conversion of the Khazars to Judaism in 749 AD. Bearing in mind that every Khazar male convert would have submitted to the rite of circumcision without anaesthetic, we may assume their conversion was not a matter of political convenience.

So what happens when a non-Jew converts to Judaism? He becomes a Jew. It happened at times in the Old Testament as, for example, when the Moabite Ruth accompanied her widowed mother-in-law to Bethlehem, vowing: ‘Were you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.’

Whether Ruth’s ‘bloodline’ was Jewish is irrelevant. She became an Israelite. She married Boaz and became the ancestor of King David and the Messiah. Irrespective of their ‘bloodline’, the Khazars who converted to Judaism became Jews and, as such, inheritors of all the promises made to Abraham and his children.

The claim that Israeli Zionists (‘rabid’ or non-rabid) are not really Jews lacks any internal logic or consistency. If the Jews of Europe and Israel and Russia and the USA and Africa are not Jews, then where are the Jews? What happened to that people whom God said would not be counted among the nations?

Every Passover Seder ends with the wish: ‘Next year in Jerusalem.’ Prayers are offered in the synagogue for the restoration of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland and the restoration of the temple in Jerusalem. What ethnic group feels indissolubly linked to a land they never inhabited?

Not even the Khazars, after their conversion, appeared to feel the need to migrate to the Holy Land, but there are people around the world who have always felt an attachment to the land.

Prior to 1967, when the Arabs were in full control of the ‘West Bank’ and Gaza, the Palestinians’ appeared to feel no intrinsic link to the land itself and had no interest in establishing an independent Palestinian Arab state. Nor, in those years, did the international community seem to care about a Palestinian state. Everything changed only when those territories fell into the hands of the Jews.

Why, if European Jews today are not really Jews, have they over the centuries made hazardous pilgrimages and dangerous journeys to the Holy Land, risking their lives to live and study there? What explains the unquenchable longing for the land, if not the fact that the Jewish people sense they truly belong to the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants?

Since the time of Joshua there has always been a Jewish presence in the land of Israel. Under foreign occupation, after Israel was conquered by the Islamic armies and by the Turks, and Jews became a minority in their own country, the land languished and reverted to being desert and swamp.

In the 19th Century, ‘Palestine’ was a poor country. It was largely barren and uninhabited. Hundreds of years of abuse by foreigners had turned the country into a treeless waste, with malaria-ridden swamps and a sprinkling of towns and a desert in the south.

Mark Twain observed in The Innocents Abroad, written in 1867:

Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince … It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land … Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies … Nazareth is forlorn; about that ford of Jordan where the hosts of Israel entered the Promised Land with songs of rejoicing, one finds only a squalid camp of fantastic Bedouins of the desert; Jericho the accursed, lies a moldering ruin, to-day, even as Joshua’s miracle left it more than three thousand years ago … Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village … Capernaum is a shapeless ruin; Magdala is the home of beggared Arabs; Bethsaida and Chorazin have vanished from the earth … Palestine is desolate and unlovely. And why should it be otherwise? Can the curse of the Deity beautify a land?

The first modern wave of Jewish immigration began in the 1880s and in less than twenty years the Jewish population of Palestine had tripled to over 80,000. But why would any people want to emigrate en masse to one of the most inhospitable and infertile lands in the world with a view to making it their home? Why was the Jewish National Fund willing to pay exorbitant sums of money for barren land when they could have bought rich arable farmland in America for fraction of the price?

Also, why did the ‘fake’ Jews of Europe retain their identity during the Holocaust when they could have denied their identity? Why were they willing to die rather than deny their identity?

There is no internal consistency or logic with the ‘Jews are Khazars’ theory. It raises many more questions than it answers. In fact, it offers no answers at all; only questions. And unanswerable questions at that.

Faking it

Hi everyone. Due to other pressures, I’ve been out of circulation but something I read on Facebook propelled me back into the blogosphere. This was it:

Ariel Sharon: “We, the Jewish People, Control America, and The Americans Know it”!

There are some fake quotes you can spot a mile away, and this is one of them. The fabricated quote originated with the pro-Hamas American group Islamic Association for Palestine in a press release dated 13 October 2001, which claimed its source as Israeli radio Kol Yisrael:

According [to] the Israeli Hebrew radio, Col ...[sic] Yisrael Wednesday, Peres warned Sharon that refusing to heed incessant American requests for a cease-fire with the Palestinians would endanger Israeli interests and turn the US against us. At this point, a furious Sharon reportedly turned toward Peres, saying ‘ . . . I want to tell you something clear, don’t worry about American pressure on Israel, we the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it.’

Elsewhere in the press release, the quote was repeated, albeit slightly altered to: ‘we control America.’

Kol Yisrael political correspondent Yoni Ben-Menachem, who reports on Knesset meetings, states that there was no such broadcast and that Ariel Sharon never made such a statement.

The misquote also appears on many anti-Israel and hate sites.

Fake quotes are part of the stock in trade of anti-Zionists. For example, in Israeli Apartheid: A Beginners Guide, anti-Zionist Ben White says:

Ze’ev Jabotinski was one of the foremost Zionist leaders and theoreticians, a man who has more streets in Israel named in his honour than any other historical figure. In perhaps his most famous essay written in 1923, Jabotinsky was clear about one thing: “Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population.”

White cites as his source for the quote Nur Masalha’s Expulsion of the Palestinians. But why do that when Jabotinsky’s original document is freely available as a PDF file on the web. The document nowhere has that quote but what Jabotinsky says one the first page is this:

I am reputed to be an enemy of the Arabs, who wants to have them ejected from Palestine, and so forth. It is not true.

Emotionally, my attitude to the Arabs is the same as to all other nations – polite indifference. Politically, my attitude is determined by two principles. First of all, I consider it utterly impossible to eject the Arabs from Palestine. There will always be two nations in Palestine – which is good enough for me, provided the Jews become the majority. And secondly, I belong to the group that once drew up the Helsingfors Programme, the programme of national rights for all nationalities living in the same State. In drawing up that programme, we had in mind not only the Jews , but all nations everywhere, and its basis is equality of rights.

I am prepared to take an oath binding ourselves and our descendants that we shall never do anything contrary to the principle of equal rights, and that we shall never try to eject anyone. This seems to me a fairly peaceful credo.

At the 16:55 minute mark of the film With God On Our Side, there is a fake quote attributed to David Ben Gurion: ‘The Arabs will have to go, but one needs an opportune moment to make it happen, such as war.’

The source of the quote we used was The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by the notorious postmodern historian Ilan Pappe. All credit to Porter Speakman Jr, the producer of With God On Our Side, he has acknowledged that quote cannot be found in Ben Gurion’s diary, which Pappe falsely claimed was his source.

According to Speakman, ‘In an effort to be transparent and accurate, the producers have decided to take the extra step of removing [the pseudo quote] from future printings of “With God On Our Side.” We apologize for this change.’

Note, though, that Speakman apologises only for having to make the change, not for using a false quote. On 7 November, I emailed Porter Speakman:

Dear Mr Speakman,

Three questions:

Why is your acknowledgement for the quote falsely attributed to David Ben Gurion ( not on the official With God on our Side website?

Why do you apologise only for ‘removing it from future printings of “With God On Our Side.”‘ and not for using the quote which was known to be false?

Why did you rely on a fundamentally dishonest source for the quote? I reviewed Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine in 2009 and was shocked by his evidently tendentious method of doing history:

Porter Speakman has not replied. If he does, you'll be the first to know...

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Remembering Kristallnacht. Nazis in liberal clothing

Hindsight, as they say, is a wonderful thing.

Tonight we remember Kristallnacht, the night in 1938 when Jewish shops and synagogues throughout Germany were vandalised, looted and destroyed. As far as the safety and security of the Jews in Europe was concerned, Kristallnacht was the writing on the wall. It was the harbinger of a terror to come when millions of Jews, not just their properties and possessions, would perish.

The condemnation of the killing of Jews in the past is easy. Seventy years ago the Jews occupied their rightful place in society as the underdogs and we all feel sorry for the underdog. Today, Israel is strong both economically, industrially and militarily. She has risen above the underdog status that Jews should rightfully occupy.

So, seventy-three years on, we lament the night of broken glass while turning a blind eye to the nights, days, weeks and years of broken glass in Israel and blame the Jews for their current woes and, worse, accuse them of perpetrating atrocities on their neighbours in the Middle East.

Tonight, we hang our heads and wipe our moist eyes and ask rhetorically how a catastrophe on the scale of the Holocaust could possibly have befallen the Jews of Europe while, at the same time, we ignore the dark portentious storm clouds of another Holocaust hovering over the Jews of Israel.

Consider this. On 18 October, 1,027 well-fed, well-cared for Palestinian terrorists walked free from Israeli prisons. In exchange, Hamas released a gaunt, pale Gilad Shalit. Israeli officials said he showed signs of malnutrition, Vitamin D deficiency caused by lack of exposure to sunlight, and was still suffering the effects of the wounds he sustained when he was kidnapped more than five years ago.

Hamas has since vowed to abduct more Israeli soldiers. Prominent Saudi Muslim cleric Awad el-Qarni and Saudi Prince Khaled bin Talal have offered generous rewards to anyone who captures an Israeli soldier with a view of his being exchanged for Palestinian prisoners.

Two of the released Palestinian terrorists – Ahlam Tamimi, who masterminded an attack on a Jerusalem pizzeria, and Muhammad Abu Ataya – vowed to continue the fight against Israel. Speaking on Palestinian television, Tamimi expressed satisfaction about the number she killed: ‘You know how many casualties there were? … I would do it again today, and in the same manner.’

A public opinion poll in Egypt has revealed that most Egyptians want to annul the nation’s peace treaty with Israel. Fifty-four percent of Egyptians will support a candidate who advocates annulling the Camp David Accords.

Since the grossly asymmetrical exchange of prisoners, Turkey – whose belligerence toward Israel has been highly publicised – suffered a massive earthquake. Gaza, which Turkey supported by sending flotillas crewed by murderous anti-Israel activists, supplied no aid to Turkey’s earthquake victims. Neither did the Palestinian Authority. Muslim Malaysia and oil-rich Saudi Arabia sent anything to Turkey but their condolences.

But the allegedly Nazi-governed, apartheid Zionist state that massacres Palestinians with monotonous regularity was one of the first countries to supply aid to Turkey’s victims. Meanwhile, a two-ship flotilla has set sail from Turkey to Gaza to break the Israeli blockade.

Dozens of Grad missiles have been fired from Gaza into south-central Israel, destroying buildings and killing an Israeli civilian, while a delegation from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood visited Gaza to meet Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, signalling a major shift in Cairo’s posture toward the Palestinian Islamists.

And when Israel responds to these outrageous acts of war against its citizens, it is condemned by the very media moguls who shed crocodile tears for the six million victims of the Nazis.

As Israel releases over 1,000 Palestinian Nazis (no, that’s not an hyperbolic overstatement made for effect, Mein Kampf is a best seller in Arab countries), armchair experts in the West accuse the Jewish state of perpetrating a holocaust against the Palestinians.

Even as some of these well-fed, well-cared-for former prisoners declare their intention to continue to wage war against the Jews, their supporters denounce Israel as a Nazi state.

As western, left-wing liberals brand Israel a racist state, Islamic clerics teach Moslem children that Jews are pigs and apes, just as the Nazis taught that Jews were sub-human vermin, fit only to be exterminated.

Even as the Palestinian President declares that his vision for a Judenrein Palestinian state, his Arab neighbours and western liberals denounce Israel as an apartheid state.

Dismissing the hail of missiles from Gaza as little more than a nuisance, the West condemns Israel for defending its citizens by killing the perpetrators.

Bob Dylan trenchantly observed almost thirty years ago that Israel is the viewed as the neighbourhood bully of the Middle East:

The neighbourhood bully, he just lives to survive.
He's criticized and condemned for being alive.
He's not supposed to fight back, he's supposed to have thick skin,
He's supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in…

So what's new? The Nazis blamed the Jews for the Kristallnacht riots and fined them for the destruction of their own shops and synagogues.

Have the lunatics taken over the mad-house, or is are we witnessing one of the most compelling evidences for the Christian doctrine of Total Depravity?

Monday, 7 November 2011

History a la mode

The Rosh Pina Project has revealed that the producers of the anti-Israel film With God on our Side used a known false quote from David Ben Gurion to bolster their claim that the the founders of the state of Israel intended to ethnically cleanse the Arabs from the land. The quote came from Ilan Pappe's The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, a book I reviewed for Evangelicals Now in June 2009. Although widely quoted by anti-Israel writers, Pappe (pictured second from right)is 'fundamentally unsound sir,' as Jeeves would say.

My review is on the EN website but for your convenience, here it is.

In Israel they say ‘it’s easier to throw mud than to clean it up’ and it is far beyond the capability of a brief review to clear up the mess created by Ilan Pappe’s barrage in The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. This review must content itself with supplying guidelines to enable potential readers to judge the reliability or otherwise of Pappe’s indictment of Israel.

Pappe is currently a lecturer in the Department of History at Exeter University and a co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. He is one of a small but influential group of revisionist historians who since the early 90s have challenged the conventional account of the birth of the modern state of Israel, portraying the Zionists as colonialist aggressors and the Palestinian Arabs as their victims.

Pappe, however, is so extreme that some of his fellow revisionists have condemned both his methods of doing history and his conclusions. Pappe’s anti-Israel bias is so extreme that he recently gave an in-depth interview to the German anti-Semitic neo-Nazi paper National Zeitung, in which he repeated his charges against Israel.

The title of the book says it all. According to Pappe, contrary to the received wisdom, Hagana’s ‘Plan Dalet’ (Plan D) was not a strategy to defend Israel from Arab aggressors but a plot to cleanse the newly founded state of Israel of its Palestinian population. One would expect such a radical theory from a senior lecturer in history to be replete with extensive quotations from primary documentary sources, but, as Pappe makes clear in his Preface, he distrusts written Israeli military reports and prefers, instead, Arab sources and oral history (p.xv).

According to Pappe, the execution of Plan Dalet led to the forcible expulsion of more than half the Palestinian population of Israel and the total destruction of half its villages and towns. Pappe himself expresses surprise that a crime against humanity of such a magnitude should have gone unnoticed and unreported for 60 years when it ‘was perpetrated in modern times and at a juncture in history that called for foreign reporters and UN observers to be present’ (p.9).

Most anti-Israel writers at least claim to base their findings on documentary evidence, but Pappe is a self-confessed postmodern relativist for whom historical research is ‘a backward-looking projection of political attitudes and agendas regardless of actual facts’.

Chapter 6 features what is arguably the clearest example of his disdain for historical fact. Here he repeats an allegation of the deliberate massacre of 200 Palestinians in the village of Tantura by the Jewish Alexandroni Brigade. Pappe’s story relies heavily on a discredited doctoral dissertation by Teddy Katz, a graduate of Haifa University, who was found to have ‘gravely and severely’ falsified his evidence.

Nevertheless, in the Spring 2001 issue of the Journal of Palestine Studies, Ilan Pappe defended Katz, insisting that his conclusions were correct, even if his facts were not, since historical research need not be based on facts! ‘The Massacre at Tantura’ takes up five pages of chapter 6 and features about a dozen quotes and citations, only three of which are sourced, one of them being to a previous Pappe publication.

Under the unimaginable stresses and pressures of a struggle to survive, even the most civilised armies are capable of barbaric acts, but Ilan Pappe wishes us to believe that barbarism was the stock in trade of David Ben-Gurion and his cabinet.

If you have half a mind to believe that in the space of six months the fledgling state of Israel was able to wipe out over half its Palestinian population under the noses of international reporters and UN observers and leave no trace, that’s all you’ll need.

Calvin Smith has also put in his own two pennies' worth, which is worth reading.

You can see also Calvin debating Stephen Sizer on the subject 'Has the Church replaced Israel?' this Wednesday at 9.00pm on Revelation TV.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The tell-tale signs of abuse

Yesterday, I drew attention to the thin, pale Gilad Shalit and the well-fed appearance of the freed terrorists.

BICOM today draws attention to the physical state of Gilad:

There were some concerns regarding the state of health of Gilad Shalit, who appeared to be very gaunt - belying claims by his Hamas captors that he had been better treated than Palestinian prisoners in Israel while in captivity.

Obliged to give an interview to the Egyptian media before crossing the border into Israel (a move which has led to anger and criticism in Israel of the Egyptian authorities), Shalit appeared also to have difficulty answering questions. Israeli officials later said that he showed signs of malnutrition. According to reports, Shalit also has Vitamin D deficiency, caused by lack of exposure to sunlight.

In an impromptu press conference outside his Mitzpeh Hila home last night, Noam Shalit, father of Gilad, said that Gilad was also still suffering the effects of wounds sustained during his kidnap, which had been insufficiently treated, and also from the effects of being deprived of sunlight. Noam Shalit likened receiving Gilad from captivity to experiencing the birth of his son anew.

As I look at these pictures, I'm finding it hard not to describe Shalit's captors and all their sympathisers with an expletive that has not passed my lips in the forty-odd years since I became a Christian!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Mercy, Compassion and Revulsion

The UK’s foremost evangelical critic of Israel today expressed pleasure at the release of Gilad Shalit (pictured embracing his father Noam today).

However, he was also glad that Israel was releasing 1,027 Palestinian ‘political prisoners’.

The release of Gilad Shalit is indeed a cause for joy but not unmixed joy. Among the ‘political prisoners’ exchanged for Shalit is Ahlam Tamimi, the unrepentant female terrorist who allegedly smiled when she learned children had been among 15 killed and 130 wounded as a result of her bomb attack on a Jerusalem pizzeria in 2001.

Also on the list is Khalil Muhammad Abu Ulbah, who in 2001 used his Egged passenger bus to kill eight people. So are the terrorists who opened fire on a bus stop in 2005, killing Kinneret Mandel, Matat Rosenfeld-Edler and 14 year-old Oz Ben-Meir. And the terrorist sniper who killed Erez Rund in 2002.

Abed Alaziz Salaha, who become infamous in 2002 as the young dude photographed while joyfully waving his blood soaked hands after brutally lynching two Israelis is also walking free.

These people are a few of the hundreds of ‘political prisoners’ our evangelical friend if glad to see released.

Michael Ben-Ari lamented the decision and the precedent it sets, telling The Jerusalem Post:

Today every Arab child knows they can murder 20 or 30 Jews and tomorrow they will go free. Israel is sending the message that killing Jews is permissible.

Meir Indor of the Almagor Terror victims’ Organization urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to take part in any celebratory events, since for many Israelis today is a day of happiness for the Shalit family mixed with their own despair.

In a letter to Netanyahu, Indor wrote:

For many Israelis this is a second day of mourning and some see it as a day of submission … There is no victory here.

In Gaza and the Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, celebrations are underway to welcome the killers home.

Our evangelical critic talks of Gilad Shalit as a 'prisoner of war' when, in fact, he was kidnapped during a time of ‘peace’.

In an unusual phrase, he says:

Not withstanding the provisions of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war, and Islamic teaching on the treatment of prisoners of war, I wish Hamas had released Shalit unconditionally when first captured to provoke Israel into doing the same…

‘Not withstanding the provisions of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war...’ makes it sound as though the Geneva Conventions are on the side of Hamas and that the terrorist group should have risen above the constraints of the conventions of the civilised nations and been ‘magnanimous’!

The evangelical writer claims that a spokesman for Hezbollah, no less, consulted him as to what Hezbollah should do. His advice was: ‘Release the Israeli captives. Show them compassion and mercy. Show them you are magnanimous.’

You display mercy to undeserving wretches. The only people showing mercy and magnanimity today are the Israelis.

Take a look at the well fed faces of the released terrorists and compare them with the thin, pale former captive of Hamas.

Ignoring the fact that the evangelical blogger could have told Hezbollah to call a halt to killing Israeli citizens and stop sacrificing their own children as suicide bombers, what does it say about Hezbollah that they ignored his advice? That's right: Hezbollah is uncompassionate, merciless and totally lacking in magnanimity.

For anyone to draw a moral equivalence between the release of Gilad Shalit and the release of over 1,000 unprincipled, cold-blooded, murderous barbarians is chilling. But when an evangelical minister does so, it leaves me with a feeling of dread and revulsion in the pit of my stomach.

I recommend the insightful blog by Calvin Smith, Principal and Tutor of Theology
at King's Evangelical Divinity School

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

One Israeli is worth a thousand terrorists.

The news that Gilad Shalit is to be released, which broke yesterday, is a cause for rejoicing and comes appropriately the day before the Jewish ‘season of joy’ Tabernacles.

But the release is long overdue. Shalit was kidnapped on 25 June 2006 and has spent five soul-destroying years as a prisoner of Hamas. During Shalit’s 63 months of imprisonment, Hamas has refused to allow the International Red Cross to visit Shalit. Human rights organisations have stated that the terms and conditions of the young soldier’s confinement are contrary to international humanitarian law and since his kidnapping, the only contact between Shalit and the outside world has been three letters, an audio tape, and a DVD that Israel received in return for releasing 20 female Palestinian prisoners.

The price Israel is paying for the release of Shalit is 1000 Palestinian prisoners, almost half of them serving long sentences for some of the worst terrorist atrocities in the Israel’s history. Do not imagine for one nano-second that any of those merchants of terror will have learned the errors of their ways in prison. They will walk free, ready for action once again.

Politics is a difficult business but Hamas, Hezbullah and the PLO have learned once again that terror and kidnapping pay, while the international media will continue to draw an equivalence between the release of one young IDF soldier and a hundreds of terrorists. Releasing 1000 terrorists back to Gaza and the West Bank makes it more likely that Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon too will redouble their efforts to kidnap yet more Israeli soldiers.

In a book published in 1995 BinyaminNetanyahu wrote that prisoner exchanges were
‘a mistake that Israel made over and over again’ and that refusing to release terrorists from prison was ‘among the most important policies that must be adopted in the face of terrorism.’

‘The release of convicted terrorists before they have served their full sentences seems like an easy and tempting way of defusing blackmailed situations in which innocent people may lose their lives, but its utility is momentary at best.

‘Prisoner releases only embolden terrorists by giving them the feeling that even if they are caught, their punishment will be brief. Worse, by leading terrorists to think such demands are likely to be met, they encourage precisely the terrorist blackmail they are supposed to defuse.’

On the other hand, as Melanie Philips perceptively observes, ‘once Shalit comes home the Hamas in Gaza will have lost their most valuable human shield of all.’

‘For five years,’ writes Miss Phillips, ‘they have used their young Israeli captive -- whose fate has been the focus of such public agony within Israel -- to tie the Israelis' military hands. Now, it would seem, all such bets will be off.’

Monday, 10 October 2011

From Antisemite to Zionist

If I had it in my power, I would make it compulsory to have this article by Kasim Hafeez from this week's Jewish Chronicle printed on the front page of every newspaper in the UK.

In 2003, Pakistan's then President Pervez Musharaff sought to re-examine his country's relationship, or lack thereof, with Israel. He asked: 'Do we have to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves?'

With their new 'Liberation' campaign, it seems that the Union Of Jewish Students has decided to answer that question with a resounding 'yes'.

Rather than being a brave move forwards for UJS, it is a hollow and cynical campaign that smacks of extreme cowardice.

The reality is that there is real anti-Israel and antisemitic feeling on British university campuses. How do I know this? Because until recently I was antisemitic and anti-Israel. Until recently, I was the one doing the hating. It wasn't the evil Zionist Israel that I had been told about.

Growing up in a Muslim community in the UK I was exposed to materials condemning Israel, painting Jews as usurpers and murderers. My views were reinforced when I attended Nakba Day rallies where speakers predicted Israel's demise.

My hate for Israel and for the Jews was fuelled by images of death and destruction, set to the backdrop of Arabic melodies about Jihad and speeches of Hizbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah or Osama Bin Laden.

There was also constant, casual antisemitism around me. My father would boast of how Adolf Hitler was a hero, his only failing being that he didn't kill enough Jews. Even the most moderate clerics I came across refused to condemn terrorism against Israel as unjustified.

What changed?

In Waterstones one day I found myself in the Israel and Palestine section. To this day I don't know why I actually pulled it off the shelf, but I picked up a copy of Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel.

In my world view the Jews and the Americans controlled the media, so after a brief look at the back, I scoffed thinking 'vile Zionist propaganda'.

But I decided to buy it, eagerly awaiting the chance to deconstruct it so I could show why Israel had no case and claim my findings as a personal victory for the Palestinian cause.

As I read Dershowitz's systematic deconstruction of the lies I had been told, I felt a real crisis of conscience. I couldn't disprove his arguments or find facts to respond to them with. I didn't know what to believe. I'd blindly followed for so long, yet here I was questioning whether I had been wrong?

I decided to visit Israel to find the truth. I was confronted by synagogues, mosques and churches, by Jews and Arabs living together, by minorities playing huge parts in all areas of Israeli life, from the military to the judiciary. It was shocking and eye-opening. This wasn't the evil Zionist Israel that I had been told about.

After much soul searching, I knew what I had once believed was wrong. I had to stand with Israel, with this tiny nation, free, democratic, making huge strides in medicine, research and development, yet the victim of the same lies and hatred that nearly consumed me.

As an outsider, I ask why so many in the Jewish community are closing their eyes to the constant stream of anti-Israel hated spewed out from all facets of British society.

And while pro-Palestinian organisations burn Israeli flags, urge boycotts of Israel and protest against appearances by Israeli politicians or artists, UJS's response is shameful. It is not the time for UJS or any other group to engage in hollow flag-waving to show their 'progressiveness'. Let Israel's democratic history speak for itself.

Instead of meekly trying to avoid coming across as too pro-Israeli or too Zionist, it is time to make the facts known, to defend Israel against delegitimisation. It is time to stem the tide of Israel bashing before it becomes even more mainstream and consumes even more people like me.

Kasim Hafeez is a British Muslim and the founder of the website

Friday, 7 October 2011


Pray for the Jewish people tonight as the most solemn day in their calendar commences. Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year began at sunset on 28 September and, according to the rabbis and sages of Israel:

Three ledgers are opened on Rosh Hashanah: one for those who are entirely wicked, one for those who are entirely righteous, and one for those who are in the middle. The entirely righteous are immediately inscribed and sealed to live. The entirely wicked are immediately inscribed and sealed to die. The fate of those in the middle is held in balance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

According to Jewish tradition, therefore, Rosh Hashanah is the Day of Judgement when God weighs the sins of all men: “On Rosh Hashanah all of mankind pass before Him like sheep – they pass by Him one by one, one after the other, yet He scrutinizes them all with a single glance.’

The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have come to be known as Yomim Noraim, the ‘Days of Awe’ or the ‘Days of Repentance’.

In the hope of swinging the balances in heaven in their favour, during the Days of Awe Jewish people do acts of kindness and charity. The mediaeval Jewish philosopher and rabbi, Moses Maimonides wrote:

It is the custom of the entire Jewish community to give greater amounts to charity, and [do more acts of] good deeds, and to be concerned with fulfilment of commandments from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur, than the rest of the year. It is the custom to arise in the night during these ten days to pray ... until the day dawns. (Laws of Repentance 3:4)

Tashlich is a ritual traditionally performed on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. The word means ‘casting off’ in Hebrew and involves symbolically casting off the sins of previous year by throwing pieces of bread or other food into rivers, ponds or the sea, while reciting Micah 7:18-20:

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.

At the heart of the rituals for the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16 are two goats. One was sacrificed and its blood spattered on the Ark of the Covenant to make atonement for sin. The other was kept alive so the High Priest, by the laying of his hands on its head, could symbolically transfer the sins of the people to it. The goat would then symbolically carry the sins of the people into the wilderness. After the temple was destroyed in AD 70, Jewish people were taught that God requires only repentance.

Though Jewish people deny that God requires the shedding of blood to atone for sins, it is customary for some Eastern European Jews to take a cock (pictured)and whirl it about their heads three times, and intone a solemn prayer:

This is my substitute, my vicarious offering, my atonement; this cock shall meet death, but I shall find a long and pleasant life of peace.

The bird is than delivered to the ritual slaughterer to be killed and donated to the poor.

The concept of vicarious sacrifice is indelibly imprinted on the Jewish psyche. In an old version of the Mahzor, the prayer book for the Day of Atonement, is a strange prayer. Jewish people do not use this prayer any more but they used to.

He hath borne the yoke of our iniquities and our transgression, and is wounded because of our transgression. He beareth our sins on his shoulder, that we may find pardon for our iniquities. We shall be healed by His wound…

Our righteous anointed [Messiah] is departed from us: horror hath seized us, and we have non to justify us. He hath borne the yoke of our iniquities, and our transgression, and is wounded because of our transgression. He beareth our sins on his shoulder, that he may find pardon for our iniquities. We shall be healed by his wound, at the time that the Eternal will create him (the Messiah) as a new creature. O bring him up from the circle of the earth. Raise him up from Seir, to assemble us the second time on Mount Lebanon, by the hand of Yinnon.

This prayer bears a striking resemblance to the 53rd chapter of Isaiah; a portion of Scripture which, according to many of our ancient sages, describes the Messiah:

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed … and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. (Isaiah 53:5,10)

If this is the provision afforded by the Almighty, according to the Hebrew Scriptures, then the sacrifice of Messiah is sufficient to make atonement for us all.

Pray that tonight and tomorrow Jewish people will recognise that their repentance and good deeds are inadequate for finding atonement and forgiveness, and pray that they may look to the one spoken of by the Torah and the prophets.

Boycotts, Divestments, Sanctions ... and Jew hatred

Last night, I experienced a little of what it is like to be a Jew in the UK. In central London, in front of several police, some people loudly accused me of being a Nazi and a War Criminal. One particularly articulate lady wished I would rot in hell. When I smiled and wished her God’s blessing, she became incandescent with rage. She had no desire to be blessed by my God, she yelled; she had a god of her own. The insults were, of course, liberally spiced with the ‘F’ word.

These were not the worst counter-compliments I have ever received, I must confess, but they left a particularly bad taste in my mouth because the people concerned spat their venom at me because I was standing with Jews and, for that reason, they thought I was a Jew.

I was in London yesterday for a meeting with leaders of Jewish missions and also for a prayer meeting for the salvation of the Jewish people at Westminster Central Hall. I received an email early in the morning informing me that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign was holding a demonstration outside Downing Street to call for the arrest of Tzipi Livni, the Leader of the Opposition in the Knesset. The Zionist Federation was holding a counter-demo to express support for Israel.

A number of the people who attended the prayer meeting accompanied me to Downing Street and, for the first twenty minutes or so, apart from the organisers, a counter-demonstration consisted entirely of Christians.

Livni was in the UK to discuss Israeli-British relations and building support for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians. Two months ago such a visit would have been impossible. The universal jurisdiction law had prevented many high-ranking Israelis travelling to the UK because under that legislation they would have been arrested on charges of war crimes. An amendment to the law last month prevented pro-Palestinian organisations from applying for a warrant for Livni's arrest.

Despite the amended law, pro-Palestinian lawyers had issued a request to the Crown Prosecution Service to have Livni arrested when she arrived in London. The Foreign Secretary William Hague, intervened by issuing a certificate which designated Livni's visit a 'special mission.'

So there I was, just standing with an Israeli flag in my hand, when a lady I had never seen before informed me in no uncertain words that I was a Nazi.

What became clear over the next couple of hours was that the pro-Palestinians were not there to support the Palestinians so much as to denounce Israel. Their hatred was palpable.

As the Palestine Solidarity Campaign logo (pictured) eloquently demonstrates, the organisation does not wish to see a two-state solution to the present crisis in the Middle East (an issue that was being addressed by Livni and Hague).

The logo features what is currently Israel, Gaza and the Palestinian Authority as a single area. The PSC wants a single-state solution; a Jew-free Palestine. Nowhere on its website or on its printed publicity can I find any mention of ‘peace’. The PSC is committed to boycotts, divestment and sanctions. This is a call for destruction, not peace.

But of course the boycotts, divestments and sanctions are all selective. All the boycotters had mobile phones (available only because of technology developed in Israel) and you can bet your bottom shekel they all have laptops and/or PCs with ‘Intel Inside’ (perhaps that should be ‘Israel Inside’). And should these Israel haters become sick, it’s for certain they won’t boycott the numerous medicines available through breakthroughs in Israel. But then, anti-Semites were never all that hot on consistency.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Syria: 'Stay back or Israel gets it!'

A report from British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM)today says:

Syrian President Bashar Assad has threatened to carry out an attack on Israel in the event of foreign intervention against his regime, according to the Iranian FARS news agency.

The agency quoted Assad as telling Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu that he would transfer rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights and fire them at Israel, and that Hezbollah would also attack Israel, if NATO forces intervened in Syria.

The FARS report has not been confirmed by other sources. However, the nature of Assad's alleged threat mirrors similar remarks made by pro-regime figures to Syrian opposition sources, regarding the regime's likely course of action in the event of an attack on it by international forces.

Syria analysts have long noted the major difference between the situation in Syria and that in Libya. Whereas Gaddafi was isolated in the region, Assad possesses a network of dangerous allies across the Middle East, most importantly Iran and its client in Lebanon Hezbollah. If the remarks attributed to Assad are correct, they reflect the invocation of this network as a threat. This, in turn, may itself be confirmation of the beleaguered situation of the Assad regime.

Meanwhile, yesterday, a European-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution threatening sanctions against the Syrian regime failed to pass, after Russia and China used their veto to ensure its failure. The resolution was tabled because of the ongoing killing by the Syrian regime of peaceful protesters demanding reform.

More than 2,700 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against the dictatorial rule of Assad began in mid-April. The vote in the UNSC was 9-2, with Russia and China opposed, and India, South Africa, Brazil and Lebanon abstaining.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said after the vote that his country opposed any 'ultimatum' to the regime in Damascus. French Ambassador Gerard Araud, however, said that no veto could give 'carte blanche' to the Syrian authorities.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, meanwhile, expressed US outrage at the use of the veto, and demanded 'tough and targeted sanctions' against Damascus.

On Syria's northern border, as relations continue to deteriorate between neighbours Turkey and Syria, the Turkish armed forces announced yesterday that it would conduct a weeklong series of military exercises in a province along the border. Some Middle East experts interpret the announcement as a warning to Damascus. 'Turkey is sending a signal to Syria,' Lale Kemal, a defence expert and Ankara bureau chief with the Turkish newspaper Taraf, told CNN.

More than 10,000 Syrian refugees have fled across the border to camps in Turkey in recent months, while hundreds of Syrian demonstrators suffering from gunshot wounds have been treated at Turkish hospitals. On Tuesday, Turkey's prime minister stepped up his criticism of Assad. During a state visit to South Africa, Recep Tayyip Erdogan endorsed a Security Council resolution that would demand Syrian security forces immediately suspend their crackdown against anti-government protesters.

'We cannot remain a mere spectator to the developments in Syria,' Erdogan said. 'There are serious deaths against unjustly treated, oppressed and defenseless people. We cannot say "keep going" to this ... we have to fulfill our human task.'

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Cut me in St. Louis

by Chana Ya’ar at Arutz Sheva.

An Iraqi poet who converted from Islam to Christianity, and who expressed pain over the loss of six million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust, has paid the price for his beliefs.

Over a month has passed since Alaa Alsaegh was attacked over his Arabic-language poem, Tears at the Heart of the Holocaust, featured on the Arabs For Israel blog.

The site is run by Arabs and Muslims who believe they can ‘support Israel and still support the Palestinian people.... support the State of Israel and the Jewish religion and still treasure our Arab and Islamic culture.’

But the poem apparently inspired attackers in St. Louis, Missouri to mark the Iraqi immigrant as a target for hate.

On August 14, Alsaegh was trapped by two cars as he was driving in St. Louis, Missouri. One sideswiped and struck his car, forcing him to stop, while the other stopped behind, cutting off contact with anyone else.

The two attackers then quickly hopped out of the cars, jerked open Alsaegh’s door and pointed a gun at the poet, reported FrontPage Magazine.

‘They pushed his upper body down against the steering wheel, stabbed him and pulled off his shirt to expose his back. Then, with a knife, they carved the Star of David on his back while laughing as they recited his pro-Jewish poem,’ the magazine reported.

After the attackers fled Alsaegh was surrounded by witnesses and taken to the local hospital, where his wounds were photographed by a friend, to be given to police and to the media.

Alsaegh told local KMOV TV News 4 last week that he recently posted a poem online expressing support for Jewish people in Israel. He also said that his attackers, who he said may have been Somali Muslims, told him not to publish any more poems.

The FBI has allegedly opened an investigation into the incident, although a spokeswoman for the agency declined to comment. The crime has not been labelled a ‘hate crime,’ though no explanation has been offered. No arrests have been made in the case.

Iranian Christian to be executed for being a 'Zionist'

The international community was furious when it learned that Iran was going to execute a young man for converting to Christianity and wanting to start a church. So Iran on Sunday altered the charges and said it is instead going to execute Youcef Nadarkhani because, among other things, he loves Israel.

Nadarkhani was arrested and convicted in 2010. Legal documents obtained by CNN accused Nadarkhani of "turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion..."

In Iran, the punishment for apostacy is death.

But with pressure mounting for Iran to cease its brutal repression of religious freedom, Gholomali Rezvani, the deputy governor of Nadarkhani's home province, announced that the charges had been changed.

'His crime is not, as some claim, converting others to Christianity. He is guilty of security-related crimes,' Rezvani told the Fars news agency.

And what kind of security-related crimes had Nadarkhani committed? He 'is a Zionist,' declared Rezvani. And just in case, Nadarkhani also had charges of rape and extortion tacked on to his rap sheet. Both CNN and Fox News later pointed out that the original 2010 court ruling did not contain one mention of rape or extortion.

Israel Today

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Durban III: a sick joke

With all the fuss about the possible UN recognition of a Palestinian state last week, I forgot to say much about the high-level United Nations General Assembly meeting marking the 10th anniversary of the adoption of 'The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action', a.k.a. 'Durban III'.

The theme of the conference was 'Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance: recognition, justice and development'. In fact, Durban III was actually an attempt to distract world attention from racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance by slinging mud at Israel and the West.

Watch this eloquent, informed, articulate and hilarious 20-minute take on the Durban event by Douglas Murray.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Edinburgh Academic defends Israel

Last spring,270 students at Edinburgh University voted in favour of a motion which described Israel as an 'Apartheid State' and called for a boycott of goods. The Jewish Chronicle, however, reported that the Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) had confirmed a proposed boycott of Israeli products will not be enforced.

The following letter by Edinburgh University alumnus, Dr. Denis MacEoin (pictured), arguing against the boycott, is one of the most eloquent and informed defences of Israel I have read. Everyone should read it.

I am an Edinburgh graduate (MA 1975) who studied Persian, Arabic and Islamic History in Buccleuch Place under William Montgomery Watt and Laurence Elwell Sutton, two of Britain’s great Middle East experts in their day. I later went on to do a PhD at Cambridge and to teach Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University.

Naturally, I am the author of several books and hundreds of articles in this field.
I say all that to show that I am well informed in Middle Eastern affairs and that, for that reason, I am shocked and disheartened by the EUSA motion and vote. I am shocked for a simple reason: there is not and has never been a system of apartheid in Israel. That is not my opinion, that is fact that can be tested against reality by any Edinburgh student, should he or she choose to visit Israel to see for themselves.

Let me spell this out, since I have the impression that those member of EUSA who voted for this motion are absolutely clueless in matters concerning Israel, and that they are, in all likelihood, the victims of extremely biased propaganda coming from the anti-Israel lobby. Being anti-Israel is not in itself objectionable. But I’m not talking about ordinary criticism of Israel. I’m speaking of a hatred that permits itself no boundaries in the lies and myths it pours out. Thus, Israel is repeatedly referred to as a ‘Nazi’ state. In what sense is this true, even as a metaphor? Where are the Israeli concentration camps? The einzatsgruppen? The SS? The Nüremberg Laws? The Final Solution? None of these things nor anything remotely resembling them exists in Israel, precisely because the Jews, more than anyone on earth, understand what Nazism stood for. It is claimed that there has been an Israeli Holocaust in Gaza (or elsewhere). Where? When? No honest historian would treat that claim with anything but the contempt it deserves. But calling Jews Nazis and saying they have committed a Holocaust is as basic a way to subvert historical fact as anything I can think of.

Likewise apartheid. For apartheid to exist, there would have to be a situation that closely resembled things in South Africa under the apartheid regime. Unfortunately for those who believe this, a weekend in any part of Israel would be enough to show how ridiculous the claim is. That a body of university students actually fell for this and voted on it is a sad comment on the state of modern education. The most obvious focus for apartheid would be the country’s 20% Arab population. Under Israeli law, Arab Israelis have exactly the same rights as Jews or anyone else; Muslims have the same rights as Jews or Christians; Baha’is, severely persecuted in Iran, flourish in Israel, where they have their world centre; Ahmadi Muslims, severely persecuted in Pakistan and elsewhere, are kept safe by Israel; the holy places of all religions are protected under a specific Israeli law. Arabs form 20% of the university population (an exact echo of their percentage in the general population). In Iran, the Baha’is (the largest religious minority) are forbidden to study in any university or to run their own universities: why aren’t your members boycotting Iran?

Arabs in Israel can go anywhere they want, unlike blacks in apartheid South Africa. They use public transport, they eat in restaurants, they go to swimming pools, they use libraries, they go to cinemas alongside Jews – something no blacks could do in South Africa. Israeli hospitals not only treat Jews and Arabs, they also treat Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank. On the same wards, in the same operating theatres.

In Israel, women have the same rights as men: there is no gender apartheid. Gay men and women face no restrictions, and Palestinian gays often escape into Israel, knowing they may be killed at home. It seems bizarre to me that LGBT groups call for a boycott of Israel and say nothing about countries like Iran, where gay men are hanged or stoned to death. That illustrates a mindset that beggars belief. Intelligent students thinking it’s better to be silent about regimes that kill gay people, but good to condemn the only country in the Middle East that rescues and protects gay people. Is that supposed to be a sick joke?

University is supposed to be about learning to use your brain, to think rationally, to examine evidence, to reach conclusions based on solid evidence, to compare sources, to weigh up one view against one or more others. If the best Edinburgh can now produce are students who have no idea how to do any of these things, then the future is bleak. I do not object to well documented criticism of Israel. I do object when supposedly intelligent people single the Jewish state out above states that are horrific in their treatment of their populations. We are going through the biggest upheaval in the Middle East since the 7th and 8th centuries, and it’s clear that Arabs and Iranians are rebelling against terrifying regimes that fight back by killing their own citizens. Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, do not rebel (though they are free to protest). Yet Edinburgh students mount no demonstrations and call for no boycotts against Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iran. They prefer to make false accusations against one of the world’s freest countries, the only country in the Middle East that has taken in Darfur refugees, the only country in the Middle East that gives refuge to gay men and women, the only country in the Middle East that protects the Baha’is…. Need I go on? The imbalance is perceptible, and it sheds no credit on anyone who voted for this boycott.

I ask you to show some common sense. Get information from the Israeli embassy. As for some speakers. Listen to more than one side. Do not make your minds up until you have given a fair hearing to both parties. You have a duty to your students, and that is to protect them from one-sided argument. They are not at university to be propagandized. And they are certainly not there to be tricked into anti-Semitism by punishing one country among all the countries of the world, which happens to be the only Jewish state. If there had been a single Jewish state in the 1930s (which, sadly, there was not), don’t you think Adolf Hitler would have decided to boycott it? Of course he would, and he would not have stopped there. Your generation has a duty to ensure that the perennial racism of anti-Semitism never sets down roots among you. Today, however, there are clear signs that it has done so and is putting down more. You have a chance to avert a very great evil, simply by using reason and a sense of fair play. Please tell me that this makes sense to you. I have given you some of the evidence. It’s up to you to find out more.

Friday, 23 September 2011

The UN's Triple Whammy.

This week, in the fight for its survival, the United Nations delivered not a double whammy but a triple whammy to Israel.

First, the UN hosted The World Conference Against Racism, a.k.a. Durban III, at which Israel was singled out as the world’s most racist and abusive state. Thankfully, every Western democratic member of the permanent five powers on the UN Security Council boycotted the conference, which virtually guaranteed that Durban III, and whatever racist conclusions it arrived at, would not be able to claim a trace of moral authority.

The second blow was Iranian President Mahoud Ahmadinejad’s speech, in which he once again took the opportunity to denounce Israel. Israeli Prime Minister struck back powerfully and eloquently:

Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries.

But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency?

A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state.

What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations! Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews. You're wrong.

History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others.

This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries. In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times.

Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated. The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization.

It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death.

Yesterday, a third body blow was delivered to Israel by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In his speech, he stated that:

The goal of the Palestinian people is the realization of their inalienable national rights in their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the land of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, which Israel occupied in the June 1967 war, in conformity with the resolutions of international legitimacy and with the achievement of a just and agreed upon solution to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with resolution 194, as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative which presented the consensus Arab vision to resolve the core the Arab-Israeli conflict and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace. To this we adhere and this is what we are working to achieve.

Achieving this desired peace also requires the release of political prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons without delay...

I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence (emphasis mine).

Note that President Abbas made no mention of the homeland of the Jewish people.

The time has come for our men, women and children to live normal lives ... for our farmers to be able to take care of their good land without fear of the occupation seizing the land and its water, which the wall prevents access to, or fear of the settlers, for whom settlements are being built on our land and who are uprooting and burning the olive trees that have existed for hundreds of years. The time has come for the thousands of prisoners to be released from the prisons to return to their families and their children to become a part of building their homeland, for the freedom of which they have sacrificed (emphasis mine).

The issue of settlements is raised with tedious regularity but, according to the document West Bank Settlements, Communities, and Facts on the Ground:

The release of thousands of prisoners!? Fear of settlers? According to Palestinian and Israeli sources, the built-up areas of Israeli settlements cover 1.7 percent of West Bank land, The scheduled route of the security fence incorporates between 5 and 8 percent of West Bank land. Israel currently administers 60 percent of the West Bank (known as “Area C”) per the Oslo Agreement.

Netanyahu responded in typically robust fashion:

Ladies and gentlemen, Israel has extended its hand in peace from the moment it was established 63 years ago. On behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, I extend that hand again today. I extend it to the people of Egypt and Jordan, with renewed friendship for neighbours with whom we have made peace. I extend it to the people of Turkey, with respect and good will. I extend it to the people of Libya and Tunisia, with admiration for those trying to build a democratic future. I extend it to the other peoples of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, with whom we want to forge a new beginning. I extend it to the people of Syria, Lebanon and Iran, with awe at the courage of those fighting brutal repression.

But most especially, I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace.

Ladies and gentlemen, in Israel our hope for peace never wanes. Our scientists, doctors, innovators, apply their genius to improve the world of tomorrow. Our artists, our writers, enrich the heritage of humanity. Now, I know that this is not exactly the image of Israel that is often portrayed in this hall. After all, it was here in 1975 that the age-old yearning of my people to restore our national life in our ancient biblical homeland — it was then that this was braided — branded, rather — shamefully, as racism. And it was here in 1980, right here, that the historic peace agreement between Israel and Egypt wasn’t praised; it was denounced! And it’s here year after year that Israel is unjustly singled out for condemnation. It’s singled out for condemnation more often than all the nations of the world combined. Twenty-one out of the 27 General Assembly resolutions condemn Israel — the one true democracy in the Middle East.

Well, this is an unfortunate part of the U.N. institution. It’s the — the theater of the absurd. It doesn’t only cast Israel as the villain; it often casts real villains in leading roles: Gadhafi’s Libya chaired the U.N. Commission on Human Rights; Saddam’s Iraq headed the U.N. Committee on Disarmament.

You might say: That’s the past. Well, here’s what’s happening now — right now, today. Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon now presides over the U.N. Security Council. This means, in effect, that a terror organization presides over the body entrusted with guaranteeing the world’s security.

You couldn’t make this thing up.

So here in the U.N., automatic majorities can decide anything. They can decide that the sun sets in the west or rises in the west. I think the first has already been pre-ordained. But they can also decide — they have decided that the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest place, is occupied Palestinian territory.

And yet even here in the General Assembly, the truth can sometimes break through. In 1984 when I was appointed Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, I visited the great rabbi of Lubavich. He said to me — and ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want any of you to be offended because from personal experience of serving here, I know there are many honorable men and women, many capable and decent people serving their nations here. But here’s what the rebbe said to me. He said to me, you’ll be serving in a house of many lies. And then he said, remember that even in the darkest place, the light of a single candle can be seen far and wide.

Today I hope that the light of truth will shine, if only for a few minutes, in a hall that for too long has been a place of darkness for my country. So as Israel’s prime minister, I didn’t come here to win applause. I came here to speak the truth. The truth is — the truth is that Israel wants peace. The truth is that I want peace. The truth is that in the Middle East at all times, but especially during these turbulent days, peace must be anchored in security. The truth is that we cannot achieve peace through U.N. resolutions, but only through direct negotiations between the parties. The truth is that so far the Palestinians have refused to negotiate. The truth is that Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want a state without peace. And the truth is you shouldn’t let that happen.

Well, as they say, it’s not over till it’s over and there will be much discussion over the next week or so. Now is the time for us to pray more than ever for the peace of Jerusalem.