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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘History’

UN Mid-East Envoy Not Thrilled with Netanyahu’s Free History Lesson Offer

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, on Saturday angrily refused an invitation from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attend his lecture to the world organization on Jewish history. The PM’s offer came in response to a UNESCO resolution that ignored completely the Jewish history of key spots in the Old City of Jerusalem, most notably the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. According to UNESCO, both sites have always been Arab, and only Arab.

“I was shocked to hear that UNESCO adopted a decision denying any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, our holiest site,” Netanyahu said in a statement, adding, “It is hard to believe that anyone, let alone an organization tasked with preserving history, could deny this link, which spans thousands of years.”

As a measure of correcting “this historical ignorance,” the prime minister, whose late father was a prominent professor of history, offered to host a special lecture on Jewish history for all UN personnel in Israel.

Mladenov appeared deeply offended by the PM’s suggestion that his staff were uneducated. “If someone wants to issue invitations they should be sent to Paris and addressed to the ambassadors of the member-states of UNESCO there,” he said in a statement. “UN staff in Jerusalem know the history of the region, its people and religions all too well.”

It should be noted that after Israeli officials had hit the ceiling in reaction to the insulting UNESCO resolution, the organization’s chief Irina Bokova issued a statement acknowledging that “Jerusalem is a Holy Land of the three monotheistic religions, a place of dialogue for all Jewish, Christian and Muslim people.”

Perhaps Netanyahu could ask Bokova to give that free lecture.

JNi.Media

The Paranoid View Of History Infects Oberlin

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

“Anti-Semitism,” wrote Stephen Eric Bronner, author of the engaging book A Rumor About The Jews, “is the stupid answer to a serious question: How does history operate behind our backs?”

For a wide range of ideological extremists, anti-Semitism is still the stupid answer for why what goes wrong with the world does go wrong. It is a philosophical worldview and interpretation of history that creates conspiracies as a way of explaining the unfolding of historical events; it is a pessimistic and frantic outlook, characterized in 1964 by historian Richard Hofstadter as “the paranoid style” of politics that shifts responsibility from the self to sinister, omnipotent others – typically and historically, the Jews.

Long the thought product of cranks and fringe groups, what Hofstadter described as the paranoid style of politics has lately entered the mainstream of what would be considered serious and respectable academic enterprise.

Witness, for instance, the Facebook posts of Joy Karega, an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at Oberlin College, who wildly claimed that Jewish bankers control the world economy and have financed every war since Napoleon; that Israelis and Zionists were not only behind the 9/11 attacks in New York but also orchestrated the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris; and that Israeli fingerprints could be found in the downing over Ukraine of Malaysian Air Flight 17 and also in the rise of ISIS.

What troubles observers of this type of intellectual incoherence emanating from academia is that, unlike its intellectually flabby predecessors from right-wing hate groups or left-wing cranks, this political analysis comes complete with the academic respectability of Oberlin, a trend that Professor Hofstadter had himself originally found noteworthy.

“In fact,” he wrote, “the idea of the paranoid style as a force in politics would have little contemporary relevance or historical value if it were applied only to men with profoundly disturbed minds. It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant.”

For Karega, the archetypal malevolent Jew is found in the person of Jacob Rothschild, whose photograph she posted in December 2014, along with text, allegedly from him, stating that “We own nearly every central bank in the world. We financed both sides of every war since Napoleon. We own your news, the media, your oil and your government” – oft-repeated tropes about Jewish domination of media and banking that suggest to Karega and like-minded conspiracists that Jewish wealth and influence enable Jews, and by extension Zionists and Israelis, to get away with various predations and political manipulations.

She raises the specter of the Jewish banker in a later Facebook post when she blames Israel, “the same people behind the massacre in Gaza,” of shooting down the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. “With this false flag,” Karega rants, “the Rothschild-led banksters [sic], exposed and hated and out of economic options to stave off the coming global deflationary depression, are implementing the World War III option.”

In a March 2015 Facebook post, Karega provided what she apparently thought was a helpful link to a crazed speech by Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, in which, to no one’s great surprise, the enlightened minister ascribed the blame for the 9/11 attacks not to the homicidal Muslim terrorists who clearly perpetrated them but to Israel and greedy Jews who realized financial and political gains from the felling of the Twin Towers.

“Farrakhan is truth-telling in this video,” Karega wrote in her post, and “we need more of us willing to venture into these areas.”

Farrakhan, it will be remembered, characterized Judaism as a “gutter religion,” deemed Hitler “a great man,” and, lest there be any doubt where his sympathizes lie regarding Israel, decided that the “plight” of American blacks puts them “in the same position” as the Palestinians. So his view that Israel’s fingerprints are all over the 9/11 attacks, and that Jews in fact benefited from the terrorism, is not in variance from his twisted beliefs – nor, apparently, those of Karega.

“Now you know I’m going to be lambasted and called anti-Semitic,” he said in a 2012 Chicago speech. “They’ll say Farrakhan was up to his old canards; he said Jews control Hollywood. Well, they said it themselves! Jews control the media. They said it themselves! Jews and some gentiles control the banking industry, international banks. They do! In Washington right next to the Holocaust Museum is the Federal Reserve where they print the money. Is that an accident?”

Once Professor Karega’s demented posts were made public, Oberlin’s president, already reeling from a spate of other anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish incidents on his campus, reacted fecklessly, giving the disingenuous response that the college “respects the right of its faculty, students, staff and alumni to express their personal views,” and that “the statements posted on social media by Dr. Joy Karega . . .are hers alone and do not represent the views of Oberlin College.”

That may well be true, and universities do not necessarily have to take responsibility for the outrageous views expressed publicly by its faculty; but neither do academic leaders have to refrain from denouncing the same views a faculty member is perfectly able to utter under the protection of academic free speech, just as they regularly do in those rare instances when slurs are made by faculty aimed at blacks, gays, Muslims, Hispanics, or other perceived victim groups for who such speech is deemed “hurtful,” “oppressive,” or “hateful.”

The university campus is not the public square, where any idea – no matter how deranged, improbable, inaccurate, libelous, historically unfounded, or damaging – can be spoken and heard, unchallenged, without government interference. While universities should, and do, protect the notion of unbridled expression and the ability to express any opinion as part of “scholarly inquiry,” it has never been the function of academic free speech to protect or promote irresponsible, inaccurate, or deranged speech that is clearly outside the parameters of responsible scholarship, research, and factuality.

Richard L. Cravatts

1,700-Year-Old Gravestones of Unknown Rabbis Uncovered in Northern Israel

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Three 1,700-year-old burial inscriptions in Aramaic and Greek have been uncovered in the northern Israeli community of Tzipori.

The discovery came after residents of the moshav found pieces of the stone and called the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret Academic College.

Researchers from the college excavated the site together with archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The two Aramaic inscriptions mention individuals referred to as “rabbis” who were buried in the western cemetery of Tzipori; their names have not yet been deciphered.

According to Dr. Motti Aviam of the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology, “The importance of the epitaphs lies in the fact that these reflect the everyday life of the Jews of Tzipori and their cultural world.

“Researchers are uncertain as to the meaning of the term ‘rabbi’ at the time when Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi resided in Tzipori together with the Tannaim and after him by the Amoraim – the large groups of sages that studied in the city’s houses of learning.

“One of the surprises in the newly discovered inscriptions is that one of the deceased was called ‘the Tiberian’. This is already the second instance of someone from Tiberias being buried in the cemetery at Tzipori.

“It is quite possible that Jews from various parts of Galilee were brought to Tzipori to be buried in the wake of the important activity carried out there by Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi.

“Another possibility is that the man moved to Tzipori and died there, but wanted to be remembered as someone who originally came from Tiberias,” he explained.

In the second Aramaic epitaph the word ‘le-olam’ (forever) appears for the first time in inscriptions found at Tzipori. The term le-olam is known from burial inscriptions in Beit She‘arim and elsewhere. “It means that the deceased’s burial place will remain his forever and that no one will take it from him. Both inscriptions end with the Hebrew blessing ‘shalom,’” Aviam explained.

Greek inscription on ancient gravestone found in Moshav Tzipori in northern Israel.

Greek inscription on ancient gravestone found in Moshav Tzipori.

“The Greek inscription mentions the name Jose, which was very common amongst Jews living in Israel and abroad.”

So far, 17 epitaphs were documented in the Tzipori study, most of them written in Aramaic, which was the everyday language of Jews in Israel at that time.

Contrasting this are the funerary inscriptions found in Tiberias – the second capital of the Galilee – which were mainly written in Greek.

Several of the ancient inhabitants from Tzipori are mentioned in these inscriptions, which include the names of rabbis and often have the names of the professions they were engaged in. Aramaic was the everyday language used by the Jews in the period of the Mishnah and Talmud, but some of them also spoke and read Greek, and thus there are also burial inscriptions in that language.

Tzipori was the first capital of the Galilee from the time of the Hasmonean dynasty until the establishment of Tiberias in the first century CE. The city continued to be central and important later on and was where Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Nasi resided and compiled the Mishnah.

Jewish life in the city was rich and diverse, as indicated by the numerous ritual pools (mikvahs) discovered in the excavation.

At the same time the influence of Roman culture was also quite evident as reflected in the design of the town with its paved streets, colonnaded main roads, theater and bathhouses.

The wealth of inscriptions from the cemeteries attests to the strong Jewish presence and the city’s social elite in the Late Roman period.

Hana Levi Julian

Eight Is Not Enough: History of the Ancient Candles in Israel

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

(JNi.media) The central commandment associated with Hanukkah, lighting the candles, presents the spiritual redemption of the nation following the victory of the Hasmoneans in their war against the Hellenistic Seleucid empire of Antiochus IV. The additional light we kindle each day of Hanukkah reminds us of the Hellenistic attempt to defile all the oil in the Temple, and the miraculous appearance of a pure oil jug that lasted until we were able to replenish the supply of untainted oil.

The Hanukkah commandment is to light the candles at the front door, or in a window overlooking the street, so they may be seen by passersby, as an announcement of the miracle. The candles light up the darkness, expressing the hope that the goodness associated with light prevail over the evil associated with darkness.

Biblical and Mishna-time candles were different from the candles we know today, notes a recent online exhibition at the Israel Antiquities Authority. The term “candle” was used to refer to a vessel, usually made of clay, which contained the fuel and a fuse. Initially a small clay bowl was used to contain the oil—usually olive oil—and the fuse was typically made from linen. Eventually, artisans pinched a fold in the lip of the clay bowl, for the fuse.

The shapes of ancient candles evolved over the years. During the Early Bronze Age to the Persian period (3500-300 BCE), the most common candles in Israel were open. These were simple, bowl-shaped ceramic lamps, with a pinched lip, made with a potter’s wheel, without decoration.

During the Hellenistic period (third century BCE) — the time of the Hasmoneans — and later, during the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic eras, local artisans began to produce a different kind of candle. the “closed” candle. This lamp was made with a stencil, and is composed of two separate parts, upper and lower, joined together after drying. The top of the candle had two openings: one for melting the fat and the other for laying the fuse; the lower part served as the base and the oil container. The origin of the closed candle was in Greece, and soon it became so common that it replaced the open candle in Israel. The closed candle is characterized by incised decoration, in relief or by drawing on the outside. Occasionally, candles were painted or colored.

The late Islamic period reintroduced the bowl-shaped open candle, made with a potter’s wheel.

The oil lamp provided portable and controlled light for thousands of years, until the invention of electricity. Here are a few candles representing the evolution through the ages in Israel. For a complete display, go to the Israel Antiquities Authority page.

 

Pinched lip candle — 1000-2000 BCE

Pinched lip candle — 1000-2000 BCE

Long nose, corked refill hole, satire decoration — Hellnistic period 337-333 BCE

Long nose, corked refill hole, satire decoration — Hellnistic period 337-333 BCE

Sunburst candle with radial decoration — Hellnistic period 337-333 BCE

Sunburst candle with radial decoration — Hellnistic period 337-333 BCE

JNi.Media

Palmyra ‘Arch of Triumph’ Latest Casualty of ISIS

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

The Da’esh (ISIS) terror group has blown up another priceless archaeological treasure in its quest for the world’s attention.

According to Syrian chief of antiquities Ma’amoun Abdulkarim, the Arch of Triumph at the 2,000-year-old city of Palmyra was destroyed on Sunday, local witnesses attested.

The group had already blown up two temples at the Roman-era UNESCO World Heritage site, which it captured from Syrian government forces this past May.

Other monuments and historic buildings at the ancient site, which the group considers to be sacrilegious, have been mined.

“It’s as though there is a curse that has befallen this city,” Abdulkarim told Reuters. “I expect only news that will shock us. If the city remains in their hands the city is doomed.”

But he added that he does not believe the destruction is driven by idealism alone at this point.

“It is now wanton destruction … their acts of vengeance are no longer ideologically driven because they are now blowing up buildings with no religious meaning,” he said.

In August, the terrorists blew up two pagan temples – the temple of Ba’alshamin, and then the Temple of Bel – one of the best preserved Roman-era sites.

Earlier this month it was confirmed that Da’esh had demolished some of the best preserved of Palmyra’s funeral towers. These were sandstone mausoleums built to hold the remains of the ancient city’s richest families.

UNESCO — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — describes the Arch of Triumph that graced the colonade entryway to Palmyra as “an outstanding example of Palmyrene art.”

An outraged UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova called the destruction of Palmyra’s architectural gems by Da’esh, “a war crime.”

In August, the terrorists beheaded venerated chief archaeologist of the ancient city, 82-year-old Khaled Asa’ad, after interrogating him for more than a month.

Asa’ad was executed in a main square of the historic site. His body was then hung from one of the 2,000 year old columns, his family said.

Hana Levi Julian

Palmyra’s Ancient ‘Temple of Bel’ Destroyed in New Blast

Monday, August 31st, 2015

A new blast ripped through central Syria late Sunday, notifying local residents that another majestic tribute to their history had been blown into rubble.

The Temple of Bel, an even larger prize that one taken a week prior, became the latest casualty of the radical Islamist hordes that are now known as “Da’esh to the Middle East — and by various names elsewhere around the world: ISIS, ISIL, or Islamic State. It matters little.

One cannot replace destroyed antiquities, the record of a people’s past.

The extent of the latest damage to the priceless 2,000 year old UNESCO World Heritage Site is not yet clear, because it is beyond dangerous to approach the area. But it is certainly clear the destruction was extensive.

Da’esh operatives practice an extremist form of fundamentalist Islam and have stated their commitment to smashing any idols they encounter, regardless of historic value as museum pieces or archaeological artifacts.

The only exceptions have been stolen pieces the group has sold on the black market in order to fund its activities — but the nature of those looted items is not clear, nor does anyone really know which pieces were sold, nor to whom.

Local residents near Palmyra described the mammoth explosion that shook the ground where they were, according to the BBC. One resident told the Associated Press it was “total destruction,” adding that “bricks and columns are on the ground.”

Reporters were told that only the wall of the temple, which was dedicated to the Palmyrene gods and was one of the best preserved parts of the ancient site, remains.

Just one week ago, the terrorist group blew up another temple in the ruins of the ancient city they had seized in May.

Da’esh terrorists beheaded the chief archaeologist of Palmyra, 82-year-old Dr. Khaled Asa’ad less than two weeks ago after having first interrogating and torturing him for a month.

They hung his bloodied, headless body from one of the 2,000 year old columns in the ancient city after executing him in the main square of the historic site.

Syrian state antiquities chief Ma’amoun Abdulkarim said in a statement quoted by Reuters, “The continued presence of these criminals in this city is a curse and bad omen on (Palmyra) and every column and every archaeological piece in it.”

Syrian officials led by Asa’ad had managed, however, to move out hundreds of the ancient statues that were in Palmyra but were not part of its Roman-era structures, before the site was captured by the Da’esh terrorists.

It was for this reason he was tortured: Da’esh wanted to know the location of the treasures from Palmyra, said a Syrian source. Asa’ad denied them this prize.

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish Money in the Civil War to be Shown in Jerusalem

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

The interest of the Jewish community in the American Civil War has traditionally been minute, as most Jews who arrived came in long after the War had ended. For that reason, two rare American Civil War tokens issued during the war by a Jewish restaurant in New York City have raised much curiosity among collectors.

The 150-year-old tokens will be presented this week at the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem.

The background of the minting of these tokens lies in the American Civil War, during which the state ran out of money as it consumed the existent stash. This prompted the private issuing of over 10,000 different types of tokens by a wide range of private merchants to fill the gap.

Jews at the time comprised less than one percent of the total population, making Jewish artifacts from the time rare and uncommon. Despite the fact many Jewish merchants issued tokens as many of the Jews worked in commerce, only the Felix Dining Saloon token had Hebrew letters, stating Kosher food was served.

Not only the Hebrew letters make these tokens special however; the reverse side of one of the token reveals the Union Shield and the legend “Constitution and the Union” while another shows an Indian surrounded by 13 stars, representing the USA, of course. This corresponds with the historical research which showed that the contemporary Jews identified almost completely with their neighbors, showing long-term and even post-War loyalty and patriotism with the North or South in accordance with where they lived. Thousands of Jews had fought in the war itself, the majority with the North, though Jews were also slave owners and even slave traders.

The Felix Dining Saloon, a Jewish restaurant in New York, was the one to issue the tokens. The token inscription reveals the saloon was at 256 Broadway, New York, today a residential building opposite to City Hall Park. It should not be surprising that such overt restaurants acted in New York at the time as the Napoleonic Wars (1803 – 1815) brought to a substantial immigration wave of Ashkenazi Jews to the city and communal aid societies were formed.

Meron Eren of the Kedem Auction House concludes that “Small and rare as these tokens might be, they bear the vibrancy of Jewish life in New York, which started already over 150 year ago up till today. The tokens declare on one side the proud Jewish identity, and on the other side – the profound affiliation to the American state and values.”

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-money-in-the-civil-war-to-be-shown-in-jerusalem/2015/02/01/

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