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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘British Library’

Daniel Pipes is Blocked by the British Library

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Editor’s note: The British Library has sent out the following tweet, in response to this article:
BL Press Office
@JewishPress @DanielPipes these sites were blocked in error by our wifi filter and were unblocked yesterday – apologies for the mistake.

Prominent counter-jihadis like Geert Wilders, Michael Savage, and Robert Spencer have the distinction of being banned from entry into the United Kingdom – and, now, Her Majesty’s Government, in its wisdom, has also banned two websites connected to me. It’s not quite the same, admittedly, and I am working to get this ban removed, but I also wear it as a perverse badge of honor given that government’s shameful record vis-à-vis Islamism.

Say you’re in the British Library, the national depository library and a government institution, roughly equivalent to the Library of Congress in the United States or the Bibliothèque nationale in France. Say you want to read what David Brog writes about declining Evangelical support for Israel in the latest Middle East Quarterly. You type in MEForum.org and get the following result:

Notice that pops up if you enter "MEForum.org" in the British Library catalogue system.

Notice that pops up if you enter “MEForum.org” in the British Library catalogue system.

Or perhaps you wish to learn why I  distinguish between Islam and Islamism, or why I worry about Islamist aggression in Britain, so you type in DanielPipes.org only to find this:

Notice that pops up if you enter DanielPipes.org in the British Library catalogue system.

Notice that pops up if you enter DanielPipes.org in the British Library catalogue system.

The distinction between the two sites particularly charms me. The British Library categorizes MEForum.org as “Religion, Intolerance” and DanielPipes.org as “Religion, Adult Sites, Intolerance, Blogs.” (It’s probably titles like “Arabian Sex Tourism” that won me the X-rating.) Oddly, both sites are blocked for the same reason: “Intolerance.”

Should you, however, be in the British Library and wish to develop hatred toward Jews, no problem! Here are some antisemitic sites, all accessed in the past few days:

• Exposing the Holocaust Hoax Archive: the name tells it all • Gilad Atzmon: the personal website of a toxically antisemitic Jew • Jew Knowledge: contains learned inquiries into Jewish control of Hollywood, Jewish connections to 9/11, and the like • Muslim Public Affairs Committee, UK: an antisemitic jihadi group • The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion: the “warrant for genocide” is available in multiple versions Then, if you need firing up to go murder people on jihad, the British Library makes rich pickings available to you:

• Al Muntada: runs some of the worst hate preachers in Europe and stands accused in Nigeria of funding Boko Haram • Anjem Choudary: possibly the most extreme of British Islamists, he praised the perpetrators of the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks • FiSyria: promotes the Sunni jihad against the Assad regime in Syria • Friends of Al-Aqsa: a pro-Hamas British group • Hizb ut-Tahrir: an international movement seeking to replace existing countries with a global caliphate • Islamic Education and Research Academy: a Qatari-funded Salafi group that includes a number of openly pro-terror. Its trustees openly incite hatred against Jews, women, et al. • Muslimah’s Renaissanceanti-Semitic, anti-Shia group • Al-Qassam: the military wing of Hamas, widely categorized as a terrorist organization • Palestinian Forum of Britain: a Hamas front • Palestine Return Centre: another Hamas front • Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine: deemed a terrorist group by both the European Union and the U.S. government. And then, perhaps the worst of all:

• Tawhed: al-Qaeda’s Arabic-language ideological website which promotes writings by Osama Bin Laden and Ayman az-Zawahiri There could be a technical explanation for this bizarre situation. The British Library issued a press release in December 2013, “Web filtering on the British Library’s WiFi service,” explaining that

in our public areas where there are regular visits by school children, we filter certain online content, such as pornography and gambling websites. We have recently introduced a new WiFi service. It’s early days in the implementation of this service and we are aware that the new filter has been blocking certain sites erroneously. We are actively working to resolve this issue. Might this be the problem? I have written the library and requested that it unblock the sites. Now, let’s see if the censorship was “erroneous” or intentional.

What We Can Glean From Ruth’s Posture

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Until one examines the Book of Ruth – which is read on the holiday of Shavuot – artistically and mines the text for visual fodder that would lend itself to dynamic subjects to paint, one is unlikely to realize how passive the book actually is. The overwhelming majority of action verbs have to do with speech, and there is virtually no violence or conflict. Save a spitting in a shoe here or uncovering an ankle there, the book is much more about states of mind and identity than it is about action.

 

In the central moment of the book, Ruth, in a grand act of self-negation and concession, declares to her mother-in-law Naomi, “Your nation is my nation, and your God is my God” (1:16). So determined is Ruth’s statement that Naomi, who has just seen her other daughter-in-law, Orpah, depart (1:14), knows that the former means business and doesn’t try to send her away anymore. In just a matter of verses, the book tells of Ruth’s intense decision to stay with Naomi, even though her own husband had passed away.

 

Just about the only other thing Ruth does in the book is to gather grain in Boaz’s field, another action of hers that represents obedience to Naomi’s charge or at least a decision she ran by Naomi before going out on her own.

 

The artistic tradition “Ruth Gleaning” has largely cast David’s forebear in a vulnerable position, reflecting artists’ interpretation of her character as a weak and passive woman. (It evokes the artistic tradition of “Esther Swooning” or “Esther Fainting” before Ahasuerus, though she is surely a courageous woman putting her life on the line, and the Book of Esther offers no indication that she swooned or fainted.)

 

Almost invariably, when artists represented the motif “Ruth Gleaning,” they presented her kneeling or bowing in the fields, often before Boaz. 

 

The following is a partial list of representations of Ruth kneeling in the fields: “Ruth threshing: Naomi counseling Ruth; Ruth at the feet of Boaz” in the Macejowski Bible (c. 1250); Ruth Gleaning in Marco dell’Avogadro’s Bible of Borso d’Este (15th century); Ruth Thanks Boaz for Letting Her Glean His Fields in an engraving by Philips Galle (1560-70); Ruth Gleaning Grain in the Field of Boaz, an engraving by Hendrik Goltzius (1580); Rembrandt’s pen and wash drawing, Boaz Meeting Ruth in His Fields (c.1648-9); Nicolas Poussin’s Summer (Ruth and Boaz) (1660-64); Michelangelo Marullo’s 17th century drawing Ruth and Boaz; Johann Ulrich Kraus’ 1705 illustration Boaz meets Ruth gleaning in his fields, and Boaz taking Ruth to wife; Marco Ricci’s 1715 Landscape with Boaz and Ruth; and Randolph Rogers’ sculpture “Ruth Gleaning” (1853-1860).

 

 


Southern German Mahzor. “Ruth and Boaz (text for Shavuot).”

First quarter of the 14th century. British Library.

 

 

           In Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones’ 1879 drawing “Ruth and Boaz,” which was created for a window in All Hallows Church in Allerton, Liverpool, and is in the collection of the Tate, the kneeling Ruth lifts grain off of Boaz’s shoe, perhaps foreshadowing the shoe removal ritual that will later make her Boaz’s wife. One gets the impression that Burne-Jones’ vision is that Ruth was gleaning and lifted some wheat up to reveal a foot. The drawing reflects the camera angle as it pans up revealing the owner of the foot.

 

In other works, Ruth bends over or bows, as in the initial R and story of Ruth in the 12th century illuminated Lambeth Bible, a 1550 etching by Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert (after Maarten van Heemskerck) The Story of Ruth and Boaz, and Simone Pignoni’s c. 1650 Ruth and Boaz.

 

However helplessly Ruth is portrayed when she is a woman encountering Boaz the man, Ruth is given equal treatment when she is in the company of just Naomi or Orpah. In two 13th century bibles, Bible Moralisée and a bible made in Bologna, and Rembrandt’s Ruth and Naomi on Way to Bethlehem (c. 1648-49), Ruth stands firmly beside Naomi. Ruth and Naomi are also equals in the illumination Ruth and Naomi on their way to Bethlehem from the Aurifaber Workshop, dated around 1275 to 1300.

 

 


Ruth, centrally located and standing before her mother-in-law in “Ruth and Naomi”

by a follower of Jan van Scorel. C. 1525-60. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria.

 

 

In Jacob Jordaens’ c. 1641-42 Ruth and Naomi, Ruth sits comfortably in front of her mother-in-law, while she peeks out from behind the grain in Boaz’s field in Niklas Stoer’s c. 1562-63 woodcut “Ruth and Boaz in the Wheat Field” and in Antonio Tempesta’s (1555-1630) “Ruth and Boaz in the Wheat Field.”

 

 


Jean François Millet. “Harvesters Resting (Ruth and Boaz).” 1850-53.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

 

 

But there are artistic depictions of Ruth that come from more of a feminist perspective. In Jean François Millet’s 1850-53 painting Harvesters, a man in trousers and a vest (perhaps Boaz?) presents Ruth to a group of nearly a dozen resting laborers. Ruth wears a shawl, and modestly (or shyly) looks at her feet. A lamb (surely symbolic of innocence) follows Ruth as she is led to the group. Although Ruth is an outsider, she is presented as a real person rather than a caricature. However awkward the first meeting is, Ruth is not frozen in a servile position.

 

 


Archie Rand. “Ruth (For Kitaj).” Acrylic on fabric. 2002.

 

 

Archie Rand may have paid Ruth the best compliment in his Ruth (For Kitaj), in which Ruth, wearing a purple backpack (for gathering wheat of course!), is pursued by Boaz, who tells her, “Did you hear, my daughter? Don’t go glean in anyone else’s field.”

 

Ruth’s expression makes it seem like she’s considering Boaz’s offer. Of course, Rand has abstracted the story. There is no wheat. There are backpacks, trousers and contemporary attire. But Rand latches onto an essential aspect of the story of Ruth and Boaz – Ruth’s allure. Ruth definitely pursued Boaz, and even let herself into his private threshing room at night and uncovered his feet. But Boaz must have been struck by Ruth when he first saw her in his fields or else he wouldn’t have condescended to introduce himself.

 

Whereas Ruth had been depicted as helpless through centuries of art history, Millet, Rand and others liberated Ruth and sought to present her perspective. Richard McBee’s 2001 painting Ruth and Boaz achieves a similar balance, as a Chassidic-looking Boaz confronts Ruth, who looks away. Boaz has an intense gaze, but McBee, by offering viewers a glimpse of Ruth’s inner turmoil, reveals her to be the more interesting character.


 


Menachem Wecker, who blogs on faith and art for the Houston Chronicle at http://blogs.chron.com/iconia,  welcomes comments at mwecker@gmail.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/what-we-can-glean-from-ruths-posture-2/2011/06/07/

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