December 1, 2014 — Neither Thucydides, Gibbon, von Ranke, nor Braudel ever cited a paper appearing in Geophysical Research Letters. They did not worry themselves about fluctuations in the Siberian High or the Southern Oscillation. The vast majority of more recent historians also remained untroubled by such concerns. However, in the past five years, a handful of highly distinguished historians have come out with new books that put climate at the center of historical explanation. What on Earth is going on?
Perhaps a historiographical wheel is turning. A century ago, historians and other scholars of human affairs often felt quite comfortable turning to climate as explanation for both broad patterns and twists and turns in history. Those who saw in climate adequate explanation for the vigor of some peoples and the stupor of others followed in the intellectual traditions of Montesquieu, Ibn Khaldun, and Aristotle. They looked to climatic regimes to help make sense of the diverse fortunes of nations. This outlook was deeply ahistorical: the climate that allegedly made people in southern China listless a century ago is very much the same as it is today, when the people of southern China are among the most economically dynamic around. Arnold Toynbee, writing in the 1930s, believed that the bracing climate accounted for the economic vivacity of the north of England, whereas the softer climate of London and the home counties did not provide sufficient stimulus in the south, which lagged behind. This looks silly 80 years later, not least because it’s the north of England that lags behind today. Toynbee also thought the challenging climate of New England explained the domination of US history, as he saw it, by New Englanders.1 Such views, emphasizing the power of climatic regimes in human affairs, were never universally held—Hegel, among others, objected strenuously to them—but nonetheless made sense to many leading lights of the historical profession before the mid-20th century.
Climate change, on the other hand, never seemed quite as useful to historians. Some geographers, most famously perhaps Ellsworth Huntington, argued that pulses of drought accounted for the folk migrations of various pastoral peoples across Asia. His argument was taken up here and there, and others like it occasionally found favor among historians. But by and large, climate change did not figure prominently in historical explanation. No doubt this was in part because no one knew enough about past climate to make much use of it. And few people, whether historians or not, supposed that climates did change very much, or fast enough, to make much difference to human history. As late as the 1960s, the great French historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie supported this position when, after a decade of careful study of the question, he concluded that climate change had mattered little in European history in the centuries since 1000 CE. In the English translation of his big book on climate history, he put it this way: “the human consequences of climate seem to be slight, perhaps negligible, and certainly difficult to detect.”2 (He now freely admits he thought climate more important than he allowed, but trimmed his sails for fear of the response from his senior colleagues in the French academic firmament.)
By the 1960s, the sciences of historical climatology and paleoclimatology had just begun to reveal the mutability of climate on historical time scales (as opposed to geological ones). Not only might ice ages come and go, but volcanic eruptions could bring a string of very cold years around the world. Droughts, especially those related to the El Niño Southern Oscillation might not only be severe, but could affect several large regions of the world at once. Evidence from European history piled up in favor of the proposition that the centuries between 1250 and 1850 were colder than those immediately preceding or following. This evidence inspired scholars to conceive of a Little Ice Age, a term first used in 1939, and in routine use among historians by the 1970s.
Since the 1980s, anxiety about contemporary climate change has inspired research that has brought a cavalcade of new evidence about past climate. New scientific techniques have emerged providing “proxy” evidence for past climate, allowing increasingly lengthy and detailed reconstructions of global, regional, and local climates. Every year the numbers of tree ring, fossil pollen, and ice core oxygen isotope analyses grows. For more than a decade now, new evidence from Antarctic and Greenland ice cores has provided a fair record of earthly climate going back more than 400,000 years. For anyone interested in the subject, these are heady times. It is easy to feel like a kid in a candy shop, with endless morsels of new data there for the grabbing.
Nonetheless, historians on the whole have resisted temptation. They are ill at ease assigning agency to anything other than people, whether individually or in groups. They may delight in arguments about the role of culture or economic structures, or the agency available to the dispossessed or subaltern, but they are usually unwilling to take seriously arguments that attribute historical agency to animals, plants, rocks, or changes in any of the Earth systems, climate included. Arguments that embrace such non-human agents are routinely dismissed as environmental determinism, which since 1945 has carried a faint whiff of the biological determinism of the Nazis. No wonder historians sought to distance themselves from it.
Historical arguments and understandings that entirely omit climate change are of course often right to do so. Depending on a historian’s subject, climate shifts might indeed be entirely irrelevant. Intellectual historians, for example, might not see any use for climate data. When studying the origins of Maoism it might not seem particularly relevant. Equally, the hordes of historians focusing on the years between 1815 and 1980, have chosen a period in which climate change was slow, extreme climate events comparatively few, and non-climatic changes dramatic—in other words, an era in which neglect of climate is minimally problematic.
But earlier periods are another matter, and it is here that a new literature foregrounding climate is taking hold. While junior scholars are wading in fearlessly, as they are expected to do, it is more remarkable that established historians are taking a climate turn. Among those eager to seize on the new evidence about old climates is Richard Bulliet. He is a distinguished historian of the Middle East, who has written reams of respected work on medieval Iran, on Islamicization, on technology, and, not least, on camels.3 Bulliet, now emeritus at Columbia University, has long been attracted by new methods, and built his reputation partly on innovative study of biographical dictionaries and the evidence provided by names therein.
In his Cotton, Climate, and Camels in Early Islamic Iran: A Moment in World History, he offers an elaborate if tentative argument to explain the rise and fall of an urbanized, commercialized, cotton-based economy in Iran from the 9th through the 12th centuries. Using the extremely slender evidence from medieval Iran, especially the names of a few hundred religious scholars, Bulliet argues for an irrigation-fed cotton boom in northern Iran in the 9th and 10th centuries, initiated mainly by immigrant Arab Muslim entrepreneurs. The cotton boom fueled urbanization and export trade, and undergirded an era of prosperity in Iran. But, employing relevant snippets of medieval Arabic texts and tree-ring analyses from western Mongolia, Bulliet identifies a century-long cold snap, beginning early in the 11th century, which he calls the Big Chill. Caused by a high-pressure cell usually anchored over Siberia that connects the climates of Mongolia and Iran, the Big Chill, according to Bulliet, undercut the cotton economy, and “triggered” the southward migration of Turkic herders from western steppe lands into Iran. In making the migration argument, Bulliet returns to his knowledge of camels and camel history, arguing that colder times made northern Iran less hospitable to the one-humped dromedary familiar in Arabia, and more suited to two-humped, shaggy, Bactrian camels (or to two types of hybrid camels that were also cold-resistant) native to the steppes. He finds implications of the Big Chill and the decline of cotton that include the exodus of many Persian literati, shifting the cultural centers of Islam westward from Iran and Iraq and spreading Persian influence far and wide. In this case, at least, if one believes Bulliet, intellectual history did have a component of climate change history to it.
If the EU court rulings on Hamas and the European Parliament vote on “in principal” recognition of a Palestinian state weren’t enough ‘gifts’ on Hanukkah for Israel, there was the third calumny. That was the approval of a declaration by the Geneva Convention Conference stigmatizing Israeli ‘Occupation” and “illegal settlements” in the West Bank. See our Iconoclast post yesterday, “Sound an Alarm this Hanukkah”.
The Geneva Convention, an outgrowth of a Swiss initiative in the 19th Century, had been negotiated with 196 nations following WWII. The Conventions endeavored to codify “the standards of international humanitarian law in time of war and occupation.” The objective of the Geneva Conventions was to “limit the barbarity of war and protect those who do not take part in the fighting (civilians, medics, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, sick and shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war).”
Why Israel was singled out for this latest Geneva Convention conference rather the Sunni Muslim extremist Islamic State, which has clearly violated the Convention in its barbaric treatment of civilians and prisoners, is mind numbing, yet clearly political. To the Palestinians, their supporters in the Arab League and the member states of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the barbarity of their Sunni brothers of the Islamic State is of no moment. It’s about Jewish Israel willfully defending itself against such violators of the Conventions like Hamas and the PA PLO-Fatah Al Aqsa Brigade in both Gaza and the West Bank. Very Orwellian. Clearly, Europe has forgotten its post-Shoah obligation in support of the Jewish nation. Given the rise of Antisemitism, largely driven by accommodation of burgeoning European Muslim émigré communities’, yesterday’s outcome in Geneva was predictable. The ‘presumptive ‘state of Palestine’ hypocritically acceded to the Conventions in early April 2014, after 25 years seeking membership.
Israel severely criticized and boycotted yesterday’s proceedings on the grounds that Palestine is not a universally recognized state, “complicating possible peace talks”. The Jewish nation had the support of both Canada and the US.
At a conference in Geneva, 126 of the 196 parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention sign a declaration emphasizing their "deep concern" about "the impact of the continued occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the closure of the Gaza Strip."
The nations that took part in the conference signed a 10-point declaration reaffirming the obligations of both Israelis and Palestinians under international humanitarian law. According to the declaration, "All serious violations of international humanitarian law must be investigated and that all those responsible should be brought to justice."
The declaration does not create new obligations but reiterates some, such as the "need to fully respect the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law," to prohibit "indiscriminate" and "disproportionate" attacks, the targeting of civilian objects and placing military objectives in the "vicinity of civilians and civilian objects. … The signatories 'reaffirm the illegality of Israeli settlements.'
Swiss Ambassador Paul Fivat, who chaired the conference on Wednesday, told reporters afterward the declaration is legally binding on all nations that adopted it.
"This is a signal and we can hope that words count," Fivat said.
Watch Swiss Ambassador Fivat’s comments on this news video:
The clear-eyed and usually astute Khaled Abu Tomah offers these comments in a Gatestone Institute article that clearly illustrate the European hypocrisy in honoring the Palestinian requests to throw Israel under the bus, EU Backs Palestinian Dictatorship:
These European parliaments are also turning a blind eye to the fact that, under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, there is no respect for the rule of law, free speech, transparency or accountability.
These Western parliamentarians are in fact acting against the interests of the Palestinians, who are clearly not hoping for another corrupt dictatorship in the Arab world.
"The situation in Palestine does not conform at all with democracy or the rule of law... Wake up and see the loss of rights, law and security." — Freih Abu Medein, former Palestinian Authority Justice Minister.
"Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] wants to concentrate all authorities in his hands and the hand of his loyalists. He's acting in a dictatorial way and wants to be in control of everything, especially the finances." — Yasser Abed Rabbo, Secretary General of the PLO.
By turning a blind eye to human rights violations, as well as assaults on freedom of expression, the judiciary and the parliamentary system in the Palestinian territories, Western parliaments are paving the way for a creation of a rogue state called Palestine.
The campaign to discredit Eric Zemmour, by those journalists and politicians who have been apologists for Islam and Muslims in France, has no end. It includes putting words into his mouth -- in this case, the loaded word "deportation." But it's a word Eric Zemmour did not say. Nor did his interviewer in Italy, so the charge that "even if he did not say it, he should have objected to its use by the interviewer" is baseless.
A day after all that soul-wrenching soul-searching, with a solemn declaration of war against "terrorism" by Nawaz Sharif, it turns out that in Pakistan "terrorism" does not include those acts of terror whose victims are non-Muslims. Story here.
When modern Iraq was created, the former Ottoman vilayet of Basra was added to those of Mosul and Baghdad in order to further British interests in India. Basra supplied foodstuffs for India, and from Basra, at the very head of the Persian Gulf, the sea route to India could be better secured. Now Iran wants to make sure it can intimidate the Arab statelets on the left littoral of what those Arabs now call, enraging the Iranians, the Arabian Gulf (they had practice, and good results, with their toponymic changes elsewhere -- vide "the West Bank"), and military exercises at the Straits of Hormuz are a good way to begin. Saudi Arabia might also be reminded that its oil-bearing region is full of Shi'a who are deeply disaffected.
In the last few paragraphs of this cheerful holidayesque Hanukkah article about Tradition and Pastry, a darker story is told in passing. The writer does not invite the reader to linger on what happened to the Jews of Rhodes (and Crete, and elsewhere midst the Isles of Greece). But you can. And I can. And everyone can. And should, as the Jews of Israel and of Europe are once again under mortal and relentless propaganda assault, especially at the E.U. and the U.N., even if that form of Jihad, to which the entire non-Muslim world is itself to be subject, is not yet sufficiently recognized or understood.
BAGHDAD - At least 150 women who refused to marry militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, were executed in the western Iraqi province of Al-Anbar, Iraq's Ministry of Human Rights said. The victims were buried in mass graves in one of the city’s neighborhoods.
"At least 150 females, including pregnant women, were executed in Fallujah by a militant named Abu Anas Al-Libi after they refused to accept jihad marriage," the statement said. "Many families were also forced to migrate from the province’s northern town of Al-Wafa after hundreds of residents received death threats."
The ministry said many children died when their families were stranded in the desert after leaving their homes.
And those who are not, nonetheless constitute a permanent danger too -- and not only because there is no way of knowing what form of Jihad they will in the future support., Their mere presence, their swelling of Muslim ranks, constitutes a danger to Italy, Europe, and the West. For it makes the political class more fearful of them, more reluctant to limit the presence and power of Muslims in the very lands that Islam teaches them to regard as Dar al-Harb, the Domain of War, enemy territory to be conquered, by one means or another, until Islam dominates and Muslims rule.
Here he is, Abdul Al-Wahwah, bizarrely in Australia and eager to take advantage of the rights an advanced non-Muslim state offers, in order to destroy non-Muslims and those very rights, setting out his world-view. Why not take him seriouslyl? Why try to ignore him or pretend he represents only himself? Why not connect the dots, to Qur'an and Hadith, and to the doctrines of Islam, and to the observable behavior and attitudes of so many Muslims everywhere in the world? Why not draw the right conclusions? Why not think rationally about what allowing Muslims into the West has done, and if not halted and reversed, will inevitably do, to the life, to the safety, to the wellbeing in every sense, of the non-Muslims in whose lands and societies these people have so foolishly been allowed to settle?
Waltham Abbey in Essex in Winter (and Advent). Me trying out a special effect on my camera.
Waltham Abbey, dedicated to The Holy Cross and St Laurence was famous for the Holy Rood of Waltham. The land was owned by Harold Godwinson (later King Harold) who rebuilt the original church in thanksgiving for his cure after he prayed before the Holy Rood. It is believed that after the Battle of Hastings Harold's body was brought to waltham and buried by the High Altar. This site is now outside the shortened building now used as the parish church and is marked by a stone. It is believed that his body (which was moved at least once) is still somewhere within the precincts.
Yesterday, marked the beginning of the eight days of Hanukkah-the Jewish Festival of Lights . The holiday commemorates the Maccabees’ victory over their Syrian Greek oppressors who denied these ancient Jews their liberty and religious freedom. Following the recital of the braches (blessings) for the first night of Hanukkah candle lighting we noshed some US kosher gluten-free versions of sufganiyot (Israeli jelly doughnuts), quaffed a small libation while we listened in flickering candle light to Handel's oratorio Judas Maccabeus. Something we usually do on first night of Hanukkah. After reading today's news this air from the 1747 libretto of Judas Maccabeus by John Morell takes on new meaning given developments in Europe. We refer to the mind numbing EU court ruling lifting the designation of Hamas as a terrorist group and the EU Parliament vote of a Palestinian statehood recognition resolution in principal by a vote of 488 to 81:
45 . Judas Maccabeus
Sound an alarm! Your silver trumpets sound,
And call the brave, and only brave, around.
Who listeth, follow: to the field again!
Justice with courage is a thousand men. Sound an alarm. . . da capo.
Listen to an excerpt of this Handel air, Sound and Alarm in a performance of Handel’s Oratorio , Judas Maccabeus conducted by Sir Charles Mackarras and the English Chamber Orchestra circa 1976 on DG/Archiv Records.
Sound an Alarm for the Europeans have effectively thrown Israel under the bus. These EU actions abet the objectives of Palestinians and their Muslim allies in the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to enforce a potential draconian settlement threatening the Jewish nation’s existence. The PA failed to line up the requisite votes for a UN Security Council resolution fixing a two year demand for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. However the PA is emboldened by today’s European Parliament vote to push for resolutions to be brought by Jordan and France before the Security Council. France has emerged to play a leading role on such a UNSC vote pushing for an action before year end. The language of those resolutions differ and in the case of France is still undergoing refinement, we have been told by sources in Europe.
A diplomatic source noted that [French Foreign Minister] Fabius conferred Monday with his German and British counterparts. Although there were reports that they failed to reach a consensus, France later reaffirmed its desire to submit a resolution on the Palestinian issue.
Asked if France was prepared to wait until after Israel’s March 17 election, the source said that was not in the cards.
“The quicker the better,” he said. “It is time to move ahead on this.”
He added that as of Tuesday it was still unclear whether Jordan was preparing to introduce a resolution on behalf of the Palestinians.
“The Jordanian delegation is being encouraged by the Palestinian Authority to present a resolution,” he said. “I don’t know whose resolution will be submitted. It depends on what Jordan proposes and whether it is a good, balanced resolution. If it needs more work, France will propose its own. And the U.S. is saying it wants to see the resolutions before making a decision.”
Another diplomatic source has been quoted as saying the U.S. is now open to a resolution calling for binding Israeli-Palestinian peace talks if the timeframe remains unspecified.
Witness what we saw in Rome, Secretary Kerry raising in conversation with Israeli PM Netanyahu, the ante of a UN Security Council resolution that could possibly witness a US first, a threatened abstention. Netanyahu, pushed back, saying:
Our expectation is that the United States will stand by its position for the past 47 years that a solution to the conflict will be achieved through negotiations, and I do not see a reason for this policy to change.
The reaction to the EU court decision on ‘technical grounds” lifting the designation of Hamas as a terrorist group received brusque reactions from Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, Economy Minister and Yuli Steinitz, Knesset Speaker as reported by the Jerusalem Post:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before a meeting with Joni Ernst, the newly elected Republican senator from Iowa, said this was one example of “staggering” European “hypocrisy.”
Hamas, he said, “has committed countless war crimes and countless terror acts. It seems that too many in Europe, on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered, have learned nothing. But we in Israel, we've learned. We'll continue to defend our people and our state against the forces of terror and tyranny and hypocrisy."
“The burden of proof is on the EU and we expect them to immediately return Hamas to the list where everyone realizes they should be,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization whose charter says that its aim is to destroy Israel. We will continue to fight it with determination and strength so that it will never realize its aims. "
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that if anyone thinks that sacrificing Israel can save Europe, they are mistaken.
"The corrupt law of the EU court gives license for the shedding of Jewish blood everywhere and demonstrates the loss of a moral path," he said.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said that the European Union must have lost its mind." Edelstein said that the decision displays "inflexibility, moral distortion and grants a prize to the extremist Islamic terror that is currently plaguing the entire world, including Europe itself.”
Israeli PM Netanyahu meets US Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst Jerusalem 12-17-14
Source: Kobi Gideon/GPO
Watch Israeli PM Netanyahu discuss today’s EU actions with Iowa Republican Senator-elect, Joni Ernst on this JP video:
All this is occurring coincidental with Congress recessing for the Christmas -New Year Holidays effectively ending the truculent 113th Session. Congress returns for the 114th Session on January 3, 2015 under Republican Control which might make a difference in recognition of American support for this valued embattled special ally in the Middle East.
It is not lost on many of us concerned about Israel’s security that the Administration is engaged in a less than sophisticated game of isolating Netanyahu. This may be reflective of by the US Administration’s support Labor Party head Herzog and fired Justice Minister and Hanuat Party leader Tzipi Livni who favor renewal of Palestinian negotiations.
Let us not lose sight that there are American Jews who support these EU and Administration moves and imperil Jewish sovereignty to their ancient homeland. Do you see anything of concern emerging from AIPAC, the Council of Major American Jewish Organization? Not surprising because these alleged powerful Jewish lobby groups reflect the sentiments of 65% percent of American Jews who support and consistently vote the Democrat line. The Reform Movement is aligned with J Street and supports declaring an instant Palestinian state dividing Israel’ unified capital of Jerusalem. The leadership of the Conservative movement is totally lost reflected in continuing interfaith outreach to Muslim Brotherhood Fronts courtesy of Chancellor Arnold Eisen. The Anti-Defamation League’s long term executive director, Abe Foxman , is departing, replaced by an acolyte of anti-Israel billionaire and J Street supporter, George Soros. Bizarre.
A Zion that the Maccabees and Bar Kochba had bravely fought to preserve in liberty and freedom was crushed by Roman legions and Jewish divisiveness. Thus causing a lapse of 2000 years, until following the Shoah, the miraculous rebirth of the third and hopefully enduring Jewish Commonwealth. Israel has become a beacon of hope to the Jewish world- Hatikvah-the theme of its national anthem. Israel is a bastion for the Jewish people and for preservation of basic values inherent in both the US Constitution and Israel’s Basic Law; i.e., liberty, freedom and human and civil rights for all. That is not lost on the majority of Americans, especially those in the Christian Zionist evangelical and Pentecostal religious communities.
This latest round of calumnies against Israel comes amidst the darkened Middle East beset with thousands of jihadist atrocities committed against dwindling ancient Christian and religious minorities by the extremist Sunni guardians of the religion of peace, the Islamic State or ISIS.
Sound an Alarm this Hanukkah. We need millions of contemporary Maccabees to rally to Israel’s cause of liberty, religious and human freedom.
The recordings of corrut dealings at the highest level of the Turkish government -- including Erdogan and his son -- it is now being hinted, are not merely a frame-up by followers of Fethulleh Gulen, but a machination of the Mossad, mad at Erdogan for his Davos outburst against Shimon Peres.
A European court has ruled that the Palestinian militant group Hamas must be removed from a European Union list of designated terror groups.
The General Court of the European Union said Wednesday that the EU improperly included Hamas on the basis of information it got from the media and the Internet.
An EU measure in 2001 also added 12 other groups and 29 individuals to the list, but said they could only be designated terrorists based on "acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities."
The ruling Wednesday is open for appeal.
The court said the asset freezes that came with Hamas being on the terror list will remain in place for three months or until the appeals process is exhausted. That decision was made to ensure that the freezes would remain effective if they were to be reinstated.
The court also stressed in a statement that the ruling was procedural and "does not imply any substantive assessment" of whether Hamas carries out actions that define a terrorist group.
Police lawyers told the court they had concerns for men's safety if identifies were revealed and photographs published.
Lawyers for some of the men - who have not been convicted of criminal offences relating to the girl – also opposed publication of their names because they said they feared reprisals, embarrassment and suffering for their families.
Mr Justice Keehan, sitting in London, said: "I was extremely surprised at the stance taken by the police. When I pressed for the factual basis upon which the risk assessment had been made, I was told there was none, the risk was unknown but based on experience, the risk was high. I regret I do not understand that analysis at all."
Police had also argued that there was a risk innocent members of the public would be mistaken for members of the gang and attacked.
"The surest way of eradicating or ameliorating the risk of misidentification is ensuring the fullest possible details of each of the (men), including photographs, are made public and given wide coverage by the media,” the judge said.
"I am not satisfied that there is any credible evidence that there is a risk to the life of any respondent to these proceedings. Publicity about these (men) may cause embarrassment, distress or anxiety to the respondents or to members of their respective families and friends. Such would not have occurred if they had not engaged, as I have found they did, in the sexual exploitation of a vulnerable young female."
He added there were “exceedingly powerful arguments” in favour of the public knowing full details of cases of child sexual exploitation.
A West Midlands Police spokesman refused to release photographs of the men to the media.
Detective Chief Superintendent Danny Long, head of West Midlands Police's public protection unit, said the men's details would be "shared in the right places with the right people"."We are duty bound to act proportionately to the threat the men currently pose to the girl and possibly others," he said. "We also have a duty to consider the impact of releasing the men's images on innocent family members, which include their partners and their own young children."
Riaz is currently serving a prison sentence for an unrelated sexual assault and has a total of 14 criminal convictions, including burglary, racially aggravated assault and drugs, the court heard.
The judge praised the police and Birmingham City Council for the "bold and novel step” of obtaining civil orders against the 10 men.
The New English Review had pictures of the men obtained minutes before the press, nervous of the reaction of the West Midland Police, pixelated their features out of their photographs. As there was no injunction I kept them on-line. I am glad to find that my thinking accords with that of the Judge.
Arab spokesmen, unlike their Israeli counterparts, are not ashamed to be “intransigent” or to cherish territory.
Arab spokesmen, unlike most of their Jewish counterparts, are not ashamed to make the Temple Mount the center of their new war against Israel.
Arab spokesmen care so much about the site that they can claim that Abraham wasn’t a Jew, that Jews never had a Temple in Jerusalem, that Jews in Biblical Israel are “the descendants of monkeys and pigs”.
Arab spokesmen were so skillful and able to manipulate history that today the UN, Europe, America and the chattering classes, which have no religion at all, are all reinforcing the Arab claim that any who died on the Temple Mount were martyred defenders of holy places, mowed down by savage, unprovoked “Israeli settlers”.
But the world's feeble attempts to erase Jewish history from Jerusalem and the Land of Israel don't cut the mustard. The contrary proof is simply undeniable and overwhelming. And those who advocate the Arab view are liars and charlatans.
But at this point, only people like Moshe Feiglin can peacefully liberate the Temple Mount. Because Israeli as a nation and as a state is losing the holy site. Those who ascend, like Feiglin and other brave people, are the only obstacle to the Temple Mount's final islamization.
One of those heroes once told me: "I would sell my mother to have a minute of freedom in the Temple Mount".
A few weeks ago, Yehuda Glick was almost murdered for having tried to pray as a free Jew on Temple Mount. Terrorists also planned to target Feiglin and other figures related to the Temple Mount movement. But the Israeli authorities, instead of showing braveness and attachment to their own history, appeased the Arab-Islamic fury and closed the Temple Mount again. It is as if nothing happened in Jerusalem in the past month.
But Jews are stronger than their leaders. A few weeks ago, I visited Jerusalem and I wanted to see the synagogue in Agassi street, Har Nof, where four rabbis had been killed by Israeli Arabs. In the synagogue of the massacre I met a rabbi, Avraham Nadler, who told me: “The terrorists targeted us because we, the religious Jews, are the symbol of unity of the country. We must grow and get stronger after the attack”.
The Israeli authorities must show the same fortitude and moral clarity in front of anti-Semitism and terrorism, which is now focused on Temple Mount.
In 1967, during the Six Day War, after the Arab Legion had placed its batteries on the Temple Mount, but Israel recaptured the holy site. We all know the electrifying cry of Commander Motta Gur: “The Temple Mount is in our hands! The Temple Mount is in our hands”.
But Moshe Dayan handed the keys to the Muslims. He ia said to have done it to ensure freedom of worship, while in fact with that decision he disappointed the expectations of the entire Jewish people. He gave up a goal pursued for 1800 years.
That was the root of the current “status quo”: namely, that only Muslims can pray there and religious Jews are followed by the police and arrested even if they whisper a Psalm, if they stop praying, if they bring religious books, if they take out a paper from their wallet or even if they close their eyes.
This is anti-Semitism. Pure and simple.
Had Israel insisted on Jewish rights of prayer on the Temple Mount in theplaces judged to be permissible for prayer as Rabbi Goren suggested, or, since not all Torah scholars agree with his findings, insisted on excavations to be sure of the exact places where Jews are allowed to pray, the Jews would be in a different and better situation today.
But it is not too late.
The question of survival that had obsessed the Jews since the destruction of the Second Temple has not been resolved by the establishment of the State of Israel. And it will not be resolved if Israel does not liberate the Temple Mount and let Jews pray there.
Bring freedom to the House of God or prepare to lose the entire State of Israel. Everybody wants to control those few sacred acres. Will the Jews take what is theirs?
What I had in mind for today is trivial and inappropriate amongst today's bad news. But serendipity is a feature of my life and I found this, while looking for something else. I knew the song, Julian of Norwich, from the Albion Christmas Band's album An Albion Christmas. The Albion Band have had several different incarnations, the Albion Country Dance Band being the best known, in the genre of dance and Morris. But when they play music of the Christmas and winter season they are the Albion Christmas Band. Which is nothing if not logical.
What I didn't know until tonight listening to the introduction to this live, but sound only recording, is that the song (credited here as Bells of Norwich) was writtten by Sydney Carter who also wrote Lord of the Dance. One of the first articles I wrote for the New English Review was about Dame Julian of Norwich, and the words of hope of a Holy mystic who survived (but not without loss) the Black Death are relevant for our time also.
And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thyng shall be well.
A very interesting and apposite opinion piece from Andrew Bolt in The Australian
MAN Haron Monis couldn’t have done more to make the deaf hear that the terror he unleashed in Sydney was in the name of Islam.
As he walked into the Lindt Chocolate Cafe with his shotgun on Monday he wore a headband bearing the war cry: “We are ready to sacrifice for you, O Muhammad.”
The Iranian-born cleric had already fought for Islam by sending jeering letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. On his Facebook page he’d posted jihadist porn and pledged his allegiance to the bloody caliphate of ISIS.
He ordered some (of the hostages) to hold up against the window a black Shahada flag announcing: “There is no God but Allah; Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah.” He made videos of three of them reciting his demands, which included ordering police to fetch him an ISIS flag, and broadcast this explanation: “This is an attack on Australia by Islamic State.”
Then he killed two captives.
I don’t know how much more explicit Monis could have been. And I don’t know how more wilfully deaf some people can be.
“Cops still baffled by gunman’s motivations,” AAP reported yesterday.
The Age, in one long online news report on the terror attack, avoided any use of the words “Islam” or “Muslim”.
ABC reporters and commentators, especially on Radio National, babbled how this unfortunate episode had nothing to do with Islam, given Monis was clearly crazy.
Islamic groups claimed nothing in their faith licensed this ghastly attack and Monis’s former lawyer, Manny Conditsis, summed up this deep evasion in an interview with the ABC: “Yes, he said he was of the Islam faith but he could have been any other damaged individual that did what he did.”
Except, of course, we rarely get damaged individuals killing people in chocolate shops in the name of Buddha. We don’t get damaged individuals beheading a British soldier in the name of Christ.
We didn’t get damaged individuals shooting a Canadian soldier guarding Canada’s cenotaph, or plotting bombings of our MCG, or trying to blow up jets with the explosives in their shoes or their underwear in the name of any faith other than Islam
True, Monis seemed crazy. True, crazy people of all kinds kill and do not need a faith to make them pull a trigger – as we saw at Port Arthur. Yet are the apologists really trying to dismiss the faith of Monis as just a coincidence?
Must we always feign this surprise when a terrorist is found to be – gasp – Muslim? Surely we can drop this absurd game given 21 of the 21 people jailed for terrorism offences here in the past couple of decades were all Muslim, as are 19 of the 20 proscribed terrorist groups in Australia.
Surely we’re entitled to conclude something specific to Islam seems to license violence, given we have just as many Buddhists here as Muslims, yet not one Buddhist has killed here for his faith
The question is: What would Christianity have inspired Monis to do? Preach Armageddon at some street corner? Now ask what Islam, as interpreted by a minority of extremists, whispered in Monis’s ear. Whisper? It shouted.
As Monis’s lawyer conceded yesterday: “His ideology is just so strong and so powerful that it clouds his vision for common sense and objectiveness.” The ideology Monis followed was inspired in large part by Islamic scriptures that urge believers to “kill the polytheists wherever you find them” and exhorts “so when you meet those who disbelieve (in battle), strike (their) necks”.
We’re told, as always, that those who take seriously such passages in the Koran and Hadith are a tiny, unrepresentative minority.
But wait. The Sydney Morning Herald reports Monis had more than 14,000 “likes” on Facebook and a Muslim community leader asked by counterterrorism authorities to find the ISIS flag Monis demanded said: “I found plenty of people who had one, but they didn’t want to give them up.”
So why this denial about Islam – and specifically about its role in this attack?
For the authorities it is about public order. They fear reprisals against Muslims and also do not wish to alienate the overwhelming majority of peaceful Muslims here whose help they need against radicals.
For the Left more generally, to admit the latent threat in Islam would be to question disastrous Leftist programs that have left this country more exposed to political violence – particularly our too-lax immigration programs, multiculturalism and the much-rorted “refugee” programs that let in Monis in 1996.
But Islam contains a strong streak of violence and intolerance of other creeds. Mass immigration from the Middle East has left us in greater danger than before. Muslim leaders were recklessly slow to help fight extremism in their doctrine and their followers, including the mad.
And by screaming “racist” rather than allow debate, our academics, commentators and politicians deafened us to the warnings until it was too late.