U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell reached his decision hours after attorneys for the mosque and the U.S. Department of Justice sued Rutherford County. His action is the latest in two-year battle over whether the county properly advertised a planning meeting on mosque construction.
“We are here to celebrate the freedom of religion and that the concept of liberty is a fact existing in this nation,” said Ossama Bahloul, the mosque’s imam. “The winner today is not an individual, the winner today is our nation and the fact that our Constitution prevailed.”
The regional planning commission advertised its May 24, 2010, meeting agenda, which included the mosque, in the Murfreesboro Post newspaper, the same place the county advertises all of its public events.
Mosque opponents alleged that didn’t constitute adequate public notice given intense local interest in the mosque, and they filed suit against the county. But in court arguments, opponents made clear they also objected to the practice of Islam.
Their attorney, Joe Brandon, said he wasn’t surprised that the U.S. attorney got involved and reiterated his view that public will was circumvented.
“You don’t throw a lawsuit like this together overnight,” he said. “So, clearly, it’s something they’ve been planning for some time.”
The chancery court ruling blocked county workers from inspecting and issuing a certificate of occupancy for the mosque, along Veals Road off Bradyville Pike, although Campbell’s restraining order renders that ruling moot. The inspection process can continue on the 12,000-square-foot building, and mosque leaders hope the site will meet all its requirements to ensure the new space can be used for Ramadan, the monthlong period of daytime fasting that will begin at sundown today.
Mosque leaders were unsure if they would be able to occupy the site by the first day. In years past, much of their community spent services for Eid-al-Fitr, the breaking of the fast of Ramadan, in the parking lot of their rented worship space — one they outgrew years ago and sought to replace.
More legal action could follow to address the pain Muslims associated with the Islamic center have endured, said attorney Luke Goodrich of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who represented mosque leaders in the suit.
Goodrich told the judge the mosque has been “under siege the past two years,” noting that a federal grand jury last month indicted a 24-year-old Texas man for making a bomb threat against it. No one has been arrested in an August 2010 arson involving construction equipment on the site.
County officials have remained in support of the mosque being treated like any other religious building. They have appealed the chancery court ruling, objecting to its assertion that the mosque should have a different public notice requirement than other buildings.
“We have maintained from the outset that federal law requires that the ICM (Islamic Center of Murfreesboro) be treated in the same manner as other religious uses, and the county has done just that,” county Mayor Ernest Burgess said.
U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin said in court that chancery court judge established a “mosque standard,” which created a set of rules that discriminated against Islamic institutions.
A friend of mine had planned to go to England in October to get away from the electoral clamor and clash. He had arranged to swap his apartment in that part of Brooklyn where all the celebrated writing couples in brownstones live, with their one or possibly two children, and send them to the local public schools, and the ghosts of potsie-players past still humanize the stoops of Park Slope -- for a house in a small village, all sermons, and marmite and Ribena and choccy biccies, and Dr. Syntax picturesqueness, and a hint of skimmington-rides on a summer night. I won't tell you the name of the village. But I don't think I'd be betraying his confidence if I let you know that it is located somewhere between the Somerset Levels and the Norfolk Broads.
But I just this morning received a call from him telling me that he's had to cancel the flat-swap,at the last possible minute, because he did his sums and figured out that right now he's got to start saving his pennies. Why? Oh, I forgot to mention that until a year ago my fried was quite plump. For a long time it didn't seem to bother him. Then he finally tired, at parties and concerts and vernissages, of sensing from the facial expressions of the monde's beau-brummels (the ones with tattoos snaking up both arms) that they were subrosily asking, just before being introduced and forced politeness kicked in, "Who's your fat friend?" He made up his mind. And he went at weight-loss with a vengeance. He took on two impersonal trainers, an energetic couple, Mr. Exercise Manual, and Mrs. Vegetarian Cookbook, and managed to lose, he told me, 70 pounds (anglice, five stone) within a year. But that has led to a different problem, which is why he felt he had to cancel his English stay. For how now to pay for a panniculectomy? He doesn't, you see, want to have quite so much skin in the game.
CAIRO - Former Egyptian spy chief Omar Suleiman, a trusted adviser of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and a key CIA partner in the Middle East, died Thursday at a hospital in Cleveland at 76, the Egyptian government said.
How The BBC And AFP First Reported The Homicide Bombing Of Israeli Tourists
From Dexter Van Zile at CAMERA:
BBC and AFP Flummoxed by Terror Attack in Bulgaria
BBC announcer refers to terror attack as "awful accident." Video from Cifwatch
Yesterday’s terror bombing attack that killed at least five Israelis and injured more than 30 others at Burgas, a resort town in Bulgaria, caught journalists at the BBC and Agence France Press a bit flat-footed. For one reason or another, the two outlets characterized the bus-bombing in a manner that downplayed its horror, violence and the certainty about it being an act of terrorism.
CifWatch documented the BBC’s inability to call the bombing by its correct name – an act of murderous terrorism. At 21 seconds into the posted below, (also available at this link), A BBC commentator who was attempting to downplay the possibility that Iran was behind the attack said the following to an Israeli official:
As you say, it’s a very short time after this awful accident, well this explosion, occurred. Isn’t there a danger that you’ve been hasty in automatically looking to Iran?
This was no accident. Somebody put a bomb on a bus at an airport in Bulgaria and killed people. It was a murderous, intentional attack. This is an egregious mischaracterization.
This was not the only journalistic misstep that took place in the aftermath of yesterday’s attack. Agence France Presse (AFP) used the following headline to describe the attack.
LONDON — British police officials said Thursday that they had charged five people with terrorism offenses but insisted the accusations were not related to the Olympic Games opening here next Friday amid a shortage of civilian security personnel that has forced an expanded military deployment.
The counterterrorism command at Scotland Yard said three men from London were charged late Wednesday with offenses that involved travel to Pakistan for what was described as terrorism training between July 2010 and this month. A woman and another man were charged with having material likely to be useful in terrorism.
The three men from London included Richard Dart, who had appeared in a British television documentary program relating to his conversion to Islam.
At a court appearance on Thursday, Mr. Dart and the other two men, Imran Mahmood, 21, and Jahangir Alom, 26, a former police support officer in London, were ordered held until another hearing on July 31. The woman, Ruksana Begum, 22, and the other man, Javed Baqa, 47, were being held until a court hearing next Friday.
Police officials said that Ms. Begum and Mr. Baqa were carrying copies of Al Qaeda’s English-language magazine Inspire when they were arrested, and that Mr. Baqa had several compact discs containing the work “39 Ways to Support and Participate in Jihad.”
The development followed a rash of security alarms this month during which the police arrested 13 people in a 24-hour period in London and the English Midlands farther north.
At the time, the unusually high number of detentions reflected concerns that when the Games open in London, the event could become the highest-profile target since the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington. Three of the people arrested were seized in east London, close to the location of the Olympic stadium and village.
Despite official assurances that the arrests were not related to the security of the Games, preparations for the event have been tarnished by the failure of G4S, a huge global security company, to recruit all of the 10,400 personnel it promised to deploy.
JERUSALEM — Standing on the Golan Heights, close enough to the Syrian border to hear what he called “the dull boom of shells” fired on the other side, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, observed on Thursday that President Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power was slipping away.
“The disintegration is not abstract; it is real,” Mr. Barak said after a tour and debriefing with the local commander. “It is getting closer.”
The devolution in Syria, while welcome, presents a series of intensifying problems for Israel, its neighbor to the south. Israel’s leaders are growing concerned about Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons falling into the hands of rogue groups equally opposed to Israel; about the prospect of throngs of refugees appearing at the border; and about the Golan itself “turning into a lawless area where terror elements might also operate,” as Mr. Barak put it. There is concern that the collapse of the Syrian government could lead to a civil war in Lebanon.
“What you have in Syria is that the Middle East is coming apart; a new form of chaos is replacing what has existed,” said Dore Gold, a longtime diplomat who now runs the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. “The fundamentals you’re working with in the region are changing; you can’t just go back to the old discussions you might have had.
“Chaos is never an opportunity,” Mr. Gold added.[why not? Why isn't chaos in the enemy camp an opportunity - to sow, for example, more chaos, more internecine strife?]The Syrian military is divided, and if in a new, smaller Syria the Alawite officer corps is turned on, or simply leaves the army rudderless, or Alawite-led units fight other units, or everyone remains permanently suspicious of everyone else, then surely this lessens the military threat to Israel in the north. Still better, if the chaos and strife spill into other Muslim countries. Why does everyone simply accept the idea that the Western world needs "stabiltity" in the Muslim world? What it needs is weakness, while it buys time both to diminish the OPEC oil revenues, and to educate, or allow to be self-eduated, about Islam, the peoples of the Western world.. If Israel can prevent Iran from completing its nuclear project, it can look forward to being able to enjoy a peace, not through a meaningless "truce" treaty but through deterrence, and the Muslim Arab invocation of "Darura" as a justification for inaction.]
At the moment, the issue that looms largest may well be Syria’s arsenal of chemical and biological weapons. Over 40 years, Syria has amassed a stockpile, United States officials contend, of mustard gas, sarin and cyanide. In recent days, American and Israeli intelligence officials have said that Mr. Assad has been moving some of these weapons out of storage, apparently to keep them from falling into the hands of the rebels.
That has elevated concerns here that the weapons could fall into the hands of Israel’s enemies, including Islamist radicals who have taken up arms in the fight against Mr. Assad, or Hezbollah, which is increasingly worried over the potential fall of its patron.
“Israel will not sit idle,” said Danny Yatom, a former chief of the Mossad intelligence agency. “If we will have information that chemical agents or biological agents are about to fall into the hands of the Hezbollah, we will not spare any effort to stop it.”
But Shlomo Brom, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said that while the prospect of chemical weapons in the hands of terrorist groups is frightening, the threat may not be as dire as it seems. In order for the weapons to be used, Mr. Brom said, two substances must be combined in a certain way, and they must be deployed via aircraft.
“In many cases, the weapons are not really usable,” Mr. Brom said. “You need knowledge, you need systems, to use it.”
Mr. Assad’s Syria has remained a steadfast enemy of Israel. The two countries have no formal relations and are technically at war. Mr. Assad has been a provocateur whose support for Iran and Hezbollah is seen by Jerusalem as pernicious. But he is, as many said in interviews on Thursday, well known, part of the old Middle East that began to unravel last year with the fall of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. With Mr. Mubarak’s ouster, Israel has had to contend with rising lawlessness in Sinai and concerns over the fate of the two nations’ peace treaty.
There is no telling what the ramifications would be if Mr. Assad fell.
“Bashar kept the border quiet, and now it can be like in the case of Sinai, with chaos and terror,” said Eyal Zisser, chairman of the Middle East and African history department at Tel Aviv University. “Most Israelis do not care about the grievances and the aspirations of their neighbors, democracy, justice, prosperity. They care about their own security. That’s the way of the average Israeli, and as a result, his government.”
The Golan, a strategic plateau of about 450 square miles, is home to about 39,000 Israelis, and Mr. Barak warned on Thursday that the longer fighting continued in Syria, “the risk grows that the bloody residue left over between the sides” could turn it “into a lawless area where terrorists might operate.”
Still, several leading government officials and analysts here said Israel hardly seemed on a war footing, using the same words to describe its posture: “watching from the outside.” While the threat of a chaotic Syria — or, for that matter, a nuclear Iran or a desperate Hezbollah with dangerous weaponry — may seem most acute here, they said, Israel continues to count on international intervention.
“It’s not only an Israeli issue: if Qaeda or radical members will take control of nonconventional weapons, it might appear anywhere on the globe,” said Ilan Mizrahi, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council, and deputy chief of Mossad. “I do not think that we have to be the whip of God.”
The Bulgaria bombing only complicates the Syria question. “The Iranians would love to see Israel retaliate against Hezbollah in a limited way,” [at this point,, there is no possibilty of the Assad regime rallying around those who are against it, and certainly not if the attack is on Hezbollah rather than on Syria itself. And the Syrians don't dare do anything back, for a simple reason -- the last time Syria entered into conflict with Israel, more than 30 years ago, when the Ikhwan was an internal threat, the result was 82 Syrian planes shot down, without a single Israeli plane being lost. That's a lesson that the Syrian military learned, just the way that the Egyptian military, in 1956, and 1967, and 1973, learned, and fortunately, some of those who were soldiers then and are generals now, are still around and still remember, and have no intention of humliiating themselves, and endangering their positions, again] said Yoram Schweitzer, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies. “It can create belligerent acts that could help Syria. The Iranians are very keen on helping Assad as his situation is getting worse and worse.” [this, pure speculation, is impl
but the version presented by Mario J Mallari of the 'Tribune' - a Philippines outlet? - gives rather more detail, including the names of five of those who were murdered in the ambush. The story also includes - if you click on the link to see it in its original location - a picture of some of the wounded.
'Suspected Abu Sayyaf [that is, 'Son of the Sword' - CM] bandits ambushed a convoy of rubber plantation workers escorted by government militiamen in Sumisip town, Basilan province yesterday, killing six persons and wounding 22 others.
'Army 1st Infantry Division [ID] Spokesman Capt Albert Caber said a four-vehicle convoy of workers of Tumajubong Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Integrated Development Council (TARBIDC) was traversing along the Circumferential Road in Barangay Sapah Bulah around 6 am when it was attacked.
'No group claimed responsibility for the attack, although the military pointed to the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf.
'Caber said more or less [than] 10 Abu Sayyaf terrorists [sic: that is, terror jihad raiders - CM] staged the ambush.
'Killed were Dante Binondo, Larry Mangaran Sr, Bonifacio Estequia, Albert Parang and Loreto Jeneney Jr, all rubber tappers of TARBIDC, and an unidentified member of the Special Cafou Active Auxiliary (SCAA) of TARBIDC.
Let's just repeat those names, shall we?
Larry Mangaran Sr.
Loreto Jeneney Jr.
All non-Muslims; all, to judge from the names, at least nominally and probably practising Catholic. They and one other, unnamed, adding another six victims to the ever-lengthening death toll - perhaps as many as some 270 million, and counting - exacted upon the world's non-Muslims by the 1400-year Muslim campaign to achieve Total World Domination. - CM
'Twenty other civilians and two SCAA members were wounded during the attack.
'The military tagged the group of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Radzmil Janatol as responsible in the attack.
'Janatol's group was also encountered by members of the TARBIDC-SCAA last Tuesday along the vicinities of Sitio Campo Dos, Barangay Tumajubong.
'Caber said the SCAA members managed to return fire at the Abu Sayyaf bandits, forcing them to retreat in different directions.
[Note: the Daily Inquirer report that I linked above, includes the information that some Abu Sayyaf were wounded; after 'in different directions', add "with their own casualties'. - CM].
'Army 104th Brigade commander Col Arthur Ang immediately deployed additional troops in the area to pursue the Abu Sayyaf band.
'Elements of the 17th Special Forces Company and 20th SFC were conducting the hot pursuit operations.
'Ang, however, stressed that the Army troops will continue to secure vital government installations in Basilan, particularly the Circumferential Road which is scheduled to be completed within the year, while tracking down the attackers.
'Army spokesman Major Harold Cabunoc noted that the ambush was the second attack against the workers of TARBIDC this year, raising belief that the refusal of the plantation to yield to the extortion activities of the Abu Sayyaf.
'Extortion activities'. In other words, Abu Sayyaf are attempting to force non-Muslims in Basilan to behave like dhimmis, paying exorbitaant 'jizya' in order not to be killed by their Muslim overlords. For more on how the dhimma - Muslim 'protection' racket - works, and how it is designed to break the spirit of the dhimmis and keep them physically poor and weak whilst forcing them to support parasitical Muslims who dominate and domineer over them, see Mark Durie, 'The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom'. - CM
"This is the second time this year that lawless elements attacked the workers of the rubber plantation. It is believed that the refusal of the rubber planters to pay extortion money to the lawless elements was the motive of the crime", Cabunoc said.
In other words, a bunch of Muslim sharia pushers demanded that the rubber planters pay 'jizya' ransom/ 'protection' money to Muslims (that is, to said sharia pushers), or else. - CM
'Taha Katu, the cooperative's manager, said prior to the attack they had received extortion letters purportedly from the Abu Sayyaf demanding payment of over $1,000 a month, in exchange for not being harmed.
Q: In what way does the Ummah differ from an Organised Crime 'Family'? - Answer: Not much. - CM
'Late last year, Abu Sayyaf gunment also killed five workers in a similar ambush near the area.
'Basilan is a rugged, jungle-clad island in the southern Philippines. It is a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, and farm workers commonly travel with armed escorts.
'The Abu Sayyaf is a small Islamic militant movement that has been blamed for most of the country's worst terror attacks as well as the kidnapping of foreigners.'
For the moment, though I do not know how long the link may remain active, you will see a picture of one of the survivors, and a distressing image of the white-shrouded form of one of the dead, at the following link, where the story is presented by reporter Richard Falcatan.
Conflicting Federal and Local Rulings in the Murfreesboro Mosque Issue.
Counsel Luke Goodrich and ICM Imam Lou Ann Zelenik
Osama Bahloul outside NashvilleGOP Congressional Candidate in Tennessee 6th CD Primary
Source: The Tennessean
Late yesterday, Federal District Court Judge Todd Campbell in Nashville ruled that the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM) had the right to complete its inspection process and receive a certificate of occupancy to possibly open its 12,500 square foot expanded facility on Veals Road. This followed presentation of the case by counsel and federal prosecutors on behalf of the ICM. The ruling was on the basis of violation of religious liberty and discrimination under the First Amendment and US civil rights laws claimed by the ICM with the backing of federal prosecutors. The Tennesseanreported the victory comments of the plaintiff, the ICM and its legal counsel:
“We are here to celebrate the freedom of religion and that the concept of liberty is a fact existing in this nation,” said Osama Bahloul, the mosque’s imam. “The winner today is not an individual, the winner today is our nation and the fact that our Constitution prevailed.”
Attorney Luke Goodrich with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the mosque in the suit, called the ruling a victory for people of all faiths.
US Attorney for Nashville Jerry Martin said in court that the chancery court judge established a “mosque standard,” which created a set of rules that discriminated against Islamic institutions.
Counsel Joe Brandon for the plaintiffs in the Rutherford County Chancery Court rulings that held up the issuance of the certificate of occupancy noted:
He was not surprised that the U.S. attorney got involved.
“You don’t throw a lawsuit like this together overnight,” he said. “So, clearly, it’s something they’ve been planning for some time.”
He said Rutherford County residents were “circumvented."
Lou Ann Zelenik, competing in the Tennessee 6th Congressional District GOP August 2nd primary race against incumbent Rep. Diane Black, today denounced actions by the U.S. Department of Justice to force Rutherford County officials to issue permits expediting the opening of the Murfreesboro Islamic Center.
Notwithstanding the ruling, County Building inspectors today told The Tennessean that additional work had to be completed before the certificate of occupancy could be granted. Thus, on the eve of the Islamic holy period of Ramadan the ICM will meet at its existing facility. Should the final inspection grant the certificate of occupancy for the new facility, there may be the prospect of the ICM occupying the structure sometime during the month long observance of Ramadan.
Judge Campbell’s ruling late yesterday overturned Rutherford County Chancery Court Chancellor Robert E. Corlew, III rulings on June 1st and July 13th . Corlew’s rulings held that Rutherford County had not given adequate notice to its citizens when the Regional Planning Commission approved the project on May, 2010. He then granted a writ of mandamus to plaintiffs opposing the Mosque denying issuance of the certificate of occupancy until the Planning Commission held hearings in accordance with the requirements of the Tennessee Open Meetings Law.
As we noted in our recent coverage of the Murfreesboro Mosque controversy, the Planning Commission and the ICM board had elected in mid June 2012 to appeal Corlew’s ruling to federal courts on grounds of alleged discrimination and denial of freedom of worship under the First Amendment. They had the backing of the US Attorney for Nashville, Jerry Martin, when at a press conference in late June 2012 he indicated that the US Department of Justice would back the appeals of both Rutherford County and the ICM board. Martin said:
The Department of Justice, the FBI and our law enforcement partners’ intent to protect the rights afforded under the Constitution to all individuals, including the most basic right to exercise freedom of religious beliefs. The controversy and criminal activity surrounding the construction of this particular place of worship has impeded the ability of people to exercise that most basic right.
We will continue to monitor the progress of construction and legal proceedings at the local level to insure these citizens are able to enjoy all basic liberties guaranteed under the Constitution.
One of those involved in the clash over the approvals for the ICM expansion project by the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission is GOP candidate in the Tennessee 6th Congressional District primary contest on August 2nd, Lou Ann Zelenik. She is running in a tight race against incumbent Diane Black, who narrowly won over Zelenik in November 2010 by less than 282 votes of more than 200,000 cast. The Tennessee Sixth CD has since been redistricted with the assistance of consultants to Rep. Black and now excludes Rutherford County.
We spoke with Jay Heine, campaign manager for Zelenik about the issues in yesterday’s rulings. Zelenik had been active in the deliberations about plaintiff litigation in the first ICM matter in 2010 and 2011. During the 2010 Congressional contest she had received death threats for her position in opposition to the expanded ICM project.
Heine cited the basic issues arising from yesterday’s federal court ruling in Nashville:
The federal government was overstepping the boundaries of the 10th Amendment and in the process was trumping local notification and safety laws for building project approvals.
Effectively the President and Department of Justice have assumed rights to determine where buildings can be located.
Heine went on to note the role played by Zelenik’s opponent Congresswoman Black. He accused Black of being complicit when it suited her political agenda. During the 2010 Congressional race Zelenik took what was a courageous stand that may have contributed to her losing a close contest. Black engaged in a tight race seeking votes claiming that religious freedom under the First Amendment superseded local laws. Yesterday, Black issued a statement condemning Federal Judge Cooper’s ruling in favor of the ICM.
Heine stated that in February 2011 during the first ICM hearing, Black provided more than 70 air tickets to ICM members to travel to Washington, DC to visit the White House, the Capitol and lobby federal officials on civil rights and religious discrimination issues. He noted the information came from the ICM website.
In a campaign release issued today Heine highlighted Black’s demogoguery:
While Lou Ann Zelenik was working with the Tennessee Freedom Coalition to educate the public on the dangers to our freedom and democracy, Diane Black was handing out Washington DC tour tickets to representatives of the Islamic Center and accepted funds from the Attorneys that represented the mosque.
This issue most clearly demonstrates the difference between Lou Ann Zelenik’s principled action and Diane Black’s empty words. In 2010, and since, Diane Black made no effort to support the citizens of her district. Now that her Washington consultants have drawn Rutherford County out of the Sixth District, she suddenly finds her voice on this issue and trips over herself racing to provide interviews to media outlets. This is Diane Black at her most hypocritical. She cares nothing for doing what is right, so long as she can demagogue an issue she has shown no interest in for two years. If Diane Black was serious she would have joined Lou Ann Zelenik on the square 2 years ago and divulged and divested herself of all Sharia investments.
The issue in yesterday’s Federal court ruling overturning the Rutherford County Chancery Court rulings is does First Amendment religious liberty conflict with local authorities granted under the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution? This vaults the local matter in Tennessee to national concern. The conflict in Federal laws cited by Heine may figure prominently in the daunting federal appellate process now facing the Rutherford County plaintiffs.
It would appear that Congresswoman Black has a lot of explaining to do about switching sides on this fundamental issue. Lou Ann Zelenik’s courage stands in contrast with Rep. Black’s demagoguery. Surely that marked character difference will not be lost on Tennessee 6th CD voters when they cast their ballot for US Representative in the August 2nd GOP primary.
In a review-article, published in a recent New Yorker, of a new book on James Joyce, I came across this astonishing, absurd, and quite unnecessary comment: :
"He was a master of rhetoric, as he was a master of mimicry, but his preferred figure of speech was one of the lowest, the pun."
The sentence should read:
"He was a master of rhetoric, as he was a master of mimicry, but his preferred figure of speech was, as it was for Shakespeare, the pun."
Dryden can be forgiven for harumphing about Shakespeare's use of the clench. That's because Dryden wrote "An Ode to St. Cecilia's Day" and "Sylvia the fair, in the bloom of sixteen" and "Absalom and Achitophel" and "MacFlecknoe" and other poems,. And he was a playwright: Marriage A La Mode, All For Love, Aureng-Zebe. And a literary critic. And -- I almost forgot -- a translator of Virgil, one of the best in English. that Perhaps the New Yorker reviewer can point, by way of mitigation, to something similar.
Vladimir Jabotinsky's Place In History, And Slovo O Polku
Fm the Jerusalem Post:
Jabotinsky’s place in history
By DANIEL TAUBER 17/07/2012
The occasional spatter of articles don’t do justice to the lasting impact of Jabotinsky’s words and deeds.
He was called the next Herzl, the next Dostoyevsky, the Jewish Garibaldi, the Jewish Churchill, the Prisoner of Acre, the Defender of Jerusalem, the Father of the Revolt, and the Father of the IDF. He wrote books, poems and articles. He founded armies and organizations. He was the voice of the downtrodden and was considered by some to be a modern day prophet, travelling around the world warning the people of impending destruction but never doubting their ultimate redemption. Yet, most Jews don’t know much about him or understand his impact on Jewish history.
In much of the Zionist literature, Ze’ev Jabotinsky and his Revisionist-Zionist movement are treated as an afterthought. Where discussed at all, they are often mentioned as a fringe faction, which happened to be correct on a number of issues. In Walter Laquer’s History of Zionism, Jabotinsky gets one chapter.
In Howard Sachar’s tome, Jabotinsky is mentioned in a few scattered instances.
True, Jabotinsky’s legacy gets a boost every now and then with the election of a Likud prime minister or the death of a Revisionist- Zionist figure, such as Benzion Netanyahu or Yitzhak Shamir.
But the occasional spatter of articles don’t do justice to the lasting impact of Jabotinsky’s words and deeds.
Jabotinsky wasn’t just the head of a fringe faction, an influence on two or three prime ministers, or the spiritual father of the leading party in Israel. Every chapter of Zionist history after Herzl’s death was colored by Jabotinsky’s personality. He stands among Herzl, Ben-Gurion and Weizmann as one of the founding fathers of the Jewish State.
JABOTINSKY FOUNDED the Jewish Legion and the Hagana and renewed the Jewish military tradition which was and remains essential to Jewish statehood. His concept of the “Iron Wall,” with its implications for Jewish military strength, defeating violent Arab opposition to Zionism and achieving peace with our neighbors, has become embedded in Israeli society.
He fathered and fostered the organizations and philosophy which expelled the British from the country, without which the state would not have been founded. (Even Lehi, which split from the Irgun after Jabotinsky’s death, was composed of former members of Betar and the Irgun).
He led the effort for illegal immigration, saving thousands of Jews from the Holocaust.
Despite active opposition from the Zionist leadership, the Betar and Irgun saved at least 24,000 Jews, in what they called “Af Al Pi” (despite it all) immigration, which was the forerunner to Aliya Bet.
Until his death, Jabotinsky was the primary Zionist leader who carried the torch of Jewish statehood, while both Weizmann and Ben- Gurion shamefully denied that a Jewish majority and Jewish statehood were the goals of the Zionist movement.
This is not to mention his contribution to the revival of the Hebrew language, his founding of Jewish self-defense groups, his propaganda (hasbara) and fund-raising work for various Zionist causes, or his inspiring thousands to come to Israel and help build the Jewish state. His Zionist propaganda for the Jewish Legion in Britain has been said by many, including Chaim Weizmann, to deserve “half the credit for the Balfour Declaration.”
Nor is this to mention Jabotinsky’s failures, which also speak to his greatness as well as to the shortsightedness of his opponents. He failed to convince the Zionist leadership, the world, even European Jewry itself to evacuate Europe (his warnings were cast down as fear-mongering).
He died before he could convince the Allies to establish a Jewish army to fight in World War II, which would have created a sizable Jewish military force, enabled Jews to fight the Nazis on their own terms, and strengthened their claim to statehood after the war.
(Several years after his death, a less politically useful “Jewish Brigade” was formed which provided military training to thousands of Palestinian Jews). He also died before he could prevent the partition of the already diminished territory of Palestine.
It’s no wonder that multiple Israeli political parties now say they follow in his tradition, that more streets and public places in Israel are named after him than any other figure, or that Israeli legislators debate what he would say about this or that bill or policy.
UNFORTUNATELY, OUT of ignorance and political bias of various shades, our historians, intellectuals and educators have relegated Jabotinsky to the sidelines of Jewish history, especially in the Diaspora.
The result is a monolithic history in which our leaders were in general agreement and made essentially the best choices they could have made given the circumstances. In this history the two-state solution (or partition) was supported by all; it was the United Nations which founded the State of Israel; and our leaders never risked our security in fear of international opinion.
The true history is one of a minimalist-leftist coalition (Weizmann, Ben-Gurion and the socialist factions) rejecting the policies of Jabotinsky’s maximalist-rightist movement with disastrous consequences for the Jewish nation. Partition was criticized severely; it was Jewish arms which founded the state; and the leadership was cautious of international opinion to the point of being suicidal.
The danger of this historical cover-up is not merely the denial of a great man his place in history, but the prevention of generations of Jews from learning from the failed decisions of the past.
A Jew who is denied the opportunity to read Jabotinsky’s testimony before the Peel Commission, his article the “Iron Wall,” his warnings of “H-U-R-B-A-N,” or the plethora of other classic writings and speeches he produced is robbed of the realization that the issues we face today are essentially those we have faced for almost a century.
He is denied Jabotinsky’s eternal, prophetic and awe-inspiring message: We are not consigned to our fate. We need not concede our national interests in search of the ever-elusive moral high ground. Our cause is indeed just and if we have the courage, even in the 11th hour, we can redeem ourselves.
Before he was a political figure, he was in his native Russian a novelist, an essayist (as a feuilletonist for an Italian paper, writing in Italian, he wrote under the pseudonym "Altalena," which in 1947 was the name given to the ship that was famously used by the Irgun to attempt to smuggle in weapons to Mandatory Palestine, a ship which was sunk by a detachment of the Haganah). He translated Dante, Longfellow, Edgar Allen Poe into Russian. He translated Bialik from Russian into Hebrew. He gave speeches. . The uncle of Vladimir Nabokov, then the Russian ambassador to Great Britain, heard Jabotinsky give a speech in London; he later declared Jabotsinky to be the greatest orator he had ever heard.
Jabotonsky was forbidden to return to Mandatory Palestine, by the British, in 1930, and spent his last years in Europe, where he understood what was coming and tried to warn the Jews of eastern Europe. In Warsaw, in 1937, this is what he said to a gigantic crowd gathered at the time of a Jewish holiday:
"It is already THREE years that I am calling upon you, Polish Jewry, who are the crown of World Jewry. I continue to warn you incessantly that a catastrophe is coming closer. I became grey and old in these years, my heart bleeds, that you, dear brother and sisters, do not see the volcano which will soon begin to spit its all-consuming lava. I see that you are not seeing this because you are immersed and sunk in your daily worries. Today, however, I demand from you trust. You were convinced already that my prognoses have already proven to be right.
If you think differently, then drive me out of your midst! However, if you do believe me, then listen to me in this twelfth hour: In the name of God! Let anyone of you save himself, as long as there is still time, and time there is very little.
What else I would like to say to you on this day of Tisha B’Av is whoever of you will escape from the catastrophe, he or she will live to see the exalted moment of a great Jewish wedding - the rebirth and rise of a Jewish state. I don’t know if I will be privileged to see it, but my son will! I believe in this, as I am sure that tomorrow morning the sun will rise."
Jabotinsky was always a believer in Jewish self-defense, and nothing he experienced disabused him of that idea. With the celebrated Trumpelor (later murdered by Arabs at Tel Hai), he founded the Zion Mule Corps, and then, in 1917, the Palestine Legion.
And here is something about Jabotinsky that I find indelibly winning. The word in Russian for "regiment" is "polk." "Polk" an also be used, loosely, for other kinds of military units and undertakings. The most famousa appearance of the word "polk" in Russian is in the title of tbe national epic, that dates either from the 12th century, if it is genuine, or from the late 18th centur yif it was a later forgery produced, as some have argued, by a Bohemian Czech who was linguistically gifted and historically astute enough to fool such Russians as Count Musin-Pushkin and lots of of other Russians since. This was, after all, the great century of literary forgeries, with George Psalmanazar and Thomas Chatterton. For more on this matter see Roman Jakobson, Andre Mazon, Vladimir Nabokov, Dmitri Likhachev, and Edward Keenan.
The full title of that Russian epic is "Slovo o polku Igoreve." It is now known as "The Song of Igor's Campaign." The word "slovo" was more capacious once, but its meaning has etiolated over the centuries so that it now applies not to a "lay" or a "song" and has come to mean "word." But when Jabotinsky wrote his memoir about the founding of the Palestine Legion, a Jewish military force that helped Allenby during World War I, he chose to kalemburit' and gave the book this brilliant punning title: