Bibi Baby

May 01, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

 Like a raging toddler pointing to another toddler’s nappies while his own pampers dripped from every direction. 

Like a raging toddler pointing to another toddler’s nappies while his own pampers dripped from every direction.

By Gilad Atzmon

Yesterday PM Netanyahu provided a fascinating glimpse into a psychotic tribal mind. A clown who sits on a huge pile of WMDs, an arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons designed to kill millions, is crying foul, complaining that another state in the region may attempt to equip itself with similar weapons as a means of deterrence. Netanyahu’s performance looked like a raging toddler pointing to another toddler’s nappies while his own pampers are dripping from every direction.

Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East. Israel has never allowed any international body into its nuclear and other WMD facilities.

The international community was unimpressed by Bibi’s absurd theatrics.  A senior European diplomat told Reuters:

“We knew all of this and what especially stands out is that Netanyahu doesn’t speak of any recorded violations of the 2015 Iran deal.”

It does not take a genius to gather that if Iran stored its 1999-2003 nuclear research archive in an unprotected warehouse, it didn’t regard the information as a strategic or sensitive asset.

Why are Netanyahu and the Israelis horrified by the Iranian nuclear project? Most likely, Projection. Israel operates as the regional bully. Its relationship with its neighbours is defined by crude violence and abuse. It is only human and natural for abusers to assume that their victims are as violently inclined as they themselves are. The Israelis tend to attribute their own violent traits to the Palestinians, to the Iranians and to Muslims in general. This psychological tendency is called projection. It is a vicious cycle, the more abusive you are, the more haunted you are by the notion that your victims may be as malevolent as you have been.

Jesus Christ identified this psychological trait in his fellow Hebrews and counselled them on how to counter this barbarian tendency. Instead of believing their neighbors evil, he told them to  Love their neighbor and turn the other cheek. It didn’t take long before Jesus was nailed to the cross. But his message has remained with much of humanity. I would like to believe that when the Bibis of the world find their path towards compassion the Jewish State will be redeemed and matured. I don’t hold my breath for that to happen anytime soon.

If they want to burn it, you want to read it!

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McMaster Threatens Russia in Speech at Holocaust Museum; is there a ‘Jewish Agenda’ at Work?

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Departing US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster believes the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. is holy ground. He said so in a recent speech there.

“We are gathered together this afternoon on holy ground,” he proclaimed.

Yesterday it was reported that McMaster has been ousted from his position in the Trump administration. While there were subtle nuances in views on such things as Russia and the JCPOA agreement with Iran, the “personal chemistry” between Trump and McMaster probably had at least as much, if not more, to do with the latter’s departure than anything else. And the general’s speech at the Holocaust Museum, I would contend–a speech given on the 7th anniversary of the outbreak of the war in Syria–offers us some interesting insights into why the anti-Russia hysteria emanating from Washington has ramped up to such dangerous levels.

You can go here to access a Politico report on the speech, and here to see a video of it uploaded by the US State Department. As you will observe, McMaster devoted much of the talk to fulminating against Russia. The program also abounded with the usual rhetoric against Syria and Iran.

“Unfortunately today in Syria we are confronted with some of the worst atrocities known to man,” McMaster declared, and he went on to adjure that “the Russian government has bombed civilian areas and provided political cover for Assad’s crimes.”

Some of the worst atrocities known to man? McMaster ludicrously seems to be suggesting that President Assad, whose ouster has been openly called for by both US and Israeli officials, may be “worse than Hitler,” as it were. It is a sign that desperation to remove him is reaching new levels.

Significantly, the talk was given on March 15, which as I say was the 7th anniversary of the outbreak of the war in Syria–and at several points during the program McMaster made reference to a “Syria exhibit” there at the museum.

“The Syria exhibit here at the Holocaust Museum details these horrifying crimes through photographs, film, first person accounts, and other documentary evidence. It is estimated that nearly 500,000 people have perished since the war began,” he said.

Throughout, the following image was projected onto a large screen upon the stage from which the general gave his talk:

Question: Why would the Holocaust Museum, an entity presumably devoted to remembering an event in history, insert itself into the contemporary politics of regime change in the Middle East? Does it not suggest that the agenda of overthrowing the Assad government may be quintessentially a “Jewish agenda”?

In that regard, another point to consider is this: Russia is the chief reason why, after seven long years, the efforts to overthrow Assad have gone up in smoke. Imagine. All the money, resources, time and effort spent recruiting, arming, and training terrorist proxies, and nothing to show for it other than heaps of dead bodies and whole areas reduced to rubble. Despite all that, Assad remains leader of Syria.

Imagine the pent up fury this has triggered in certain circles in Washington…and probably elsewhere. Do you really doubt that pitting the US in a war against Russia is an option that has not been considered? So should we consider the bringing about of such a war a part of the aforementioned “Jewish agenda”?

Many political analysts would say what’s being played out now, vis-à-vis the escalating tensions between the US and Russia,  is a “neocon agenda.” Or, alternately, that the “Deep State” or the “Military Industrial Complex” are behind it all. But McMaster’s speech at the Holocaust Museum on the anniversary of the start of the war strikes me as an oddity, a red flag almost. If you were Sherlock Holmes trying to solve the puzzle of a murder mystery it’s certainly a piece of evidence you wouldn’t overlook.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (as it is officially called) is located adjacent to the National Mall in Washington, some ten blocks from the White House. According to Wikipedia, it has approximately 400 employees and is run by a governing board called the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, a body whose membership  includes 55 individuals appointed by the president of the United States. The Council also includes five members of the US Senate and five members of the House of Representatives. Congressional members include Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ted Deutch, and Marco Rubio of Florida; Lee Zeldin of New York; Brad Schneider of Illinois; Orrin Hatch of Utah; and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The current chairman is Howard M. Lorber, chairman and CEO of Vector Group Ltd., a holding company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He is chairman also of Nathan’s Famous, a fast food chain. While in college, Lorber was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, an experience which, according to Wikipedia, “had a large impact on his Jewish identity, and as such he endowed a position within the organization called the Lorber Director of Jewish Programming.” Alpha Epsilon Pi, by the way, is a fraternity that is “based upon Jewish principles.” Supposedly it is open to all who espouse its “purpose and values,” however, some have questioned whether this is indeed the case since the fraternity is said to have “expelled non-Jewish members from some of its chapters.”

Lorber reportedly has known Trump for more than 30 years.

The day McMaster gave his speech at the museum was also the day the US, UK, France, and Germany issued a joint statement on the Salisbury nerve agent poisoning, a statement in which the NATO members judged it “highly likely” that Russia was behind the attack. In fact, McMaster even made mention of the statement in his speech that same day.

“This morning the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom condemned the abhorrent nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal that took place in Salisbury, United Kingdom on March 4,” he said. “The statement made clear that we believe that Russia was responsible for this attack, and we call on the Russian government to answer all questions related to this incident and to provide full information to the OPCW.”

Other commenters, from George Galloway to Paul Craig Roberts, have covered extensively why it would have been absurd for Russia to carry out such an attack, so I’m not going to waste space on it here. What I’d like to do instead is posit the theory of an historical continuum.

What we are seeing now, with all the venomous rancor being directed against Russia, is not solely the result of Russia’s entry into the Syrian war in 2015; it in fact has relatively little to do with that; it also has little or nothing to do with Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, nor does it trace its roots back to the outset of the Syrian war in 2011.

It did not begin with Assad’s becoming president of Syria in the year 2000, nor with Putin’s assuming the leadership of Russia in 1999.

What we are seeing is not a “new cold war,” a throwback to the 1950s and 60s; nor did it even commence with the Holocaust in the 1940s and 30s. No. What we are seeing now began much earlier. Much earlier. It is a continuum that stretches back for 2000 years–all the way back to the crucifixion of Christ.

dictionary definition of “continuum” is: “a continuous extent, succession, or whole, no part of which can be distinguished from neighboring parts except by arbitrary division”…and…“a continuous series or whole, no part of which is perceptibly different from the adjacent parts.”

In other words, a continuum, particularly an historical continuum, could be thought of as a play of many acts. In this case, the play started in the time of Christ–and it has yet to reach its conclusion. I say this because anger at Christ and Christianity seems to be embedded in the collective Jewish psyche. Jews for centuries have blamed Christians for their problems. Certainly a lot has changed since the Second Vatican Council and the onset of the era of “interfaith dialog” (an era which has coincided with the rise of Christian Zionism), and the ill-will between Christians and Jews today is nowhere near what it used to be. Now, rather than Christians, it is the Muslim world which Jews, or Israeli Jews at any rate, find themselves at war against, yet the old resentments are still there– bubbling underneath though surfacing from time to time in such forms as negative portrayals of Christians in Hollywood films and TV shows.

Alleged “Christian anti-Semitism” is something that many Jews harbor seething resentments over. And this is why I say a continuum is in effect…and why such a continuum should be taken into consideration when forming an analysis of current events.

The key events in this continuum are:

→ The crucifixion of Christ in 30 A.D.;

→ Destruction of the Jewish temple exactly 40 years later;

→ Third Jewish revolt crushed by the Romans in 136 A.D.;

→ Rome renames Judea “Syria Palestina”; some Jews remain; others disperse to other regions;

→ The compilation, starting in early 3rd century, of the Talmud (in which Jesus is reviled);

→ The compilation, in the 7th century, of the Quran (in which Jesus is revered);

→ Conversion to Judaism by the Khazars in the 8th century;

→ Khazar Kingdom defeated by joint Russian-Byzantine force in the 10th century; Khazarian Jews disperse to Eastern Europe;

→ 11th-20th centuries: Jews expelled from roughly 100 countries or regions;

→ 1933-45: Hitler comes to power; Jews placed in camps; World War II is fought

→ 1948: Israel established; more than 700,000 Palestinians dispersed from their villages and homes;

→ 1951: AIPAC is founded and Jewish power begins to grow in America

Russia is the most powerful Christian nation on earth. Yes, its power and influence are viewed as threatening to US global hegemony, but the irrational threats and accusations being made against it, the heightening of tensions to almost unprecedented levels, can be fully understood only within the context of the above continuum.

Likewise the threats against Assad and Syria.

Bashar Assad is a secular leader who has protected Christians. If terrorism is truly the concern of US officials, why single out Assad as the enemy? Why not Saudi Arabia instead? Assad is actually fighting the very terrorists Washington professes such concern over. Assad has ensured that Christians in Syria, at least in areas controlled by the government, remain free to practice their religion. Their churches and monasteries are protected. In fact, Assad arguably has done more to unify Christians and Muslims than any other national leader, certainly in the Middle East–and this may be the real reason he is hated so much. Here is a video which I posted on December 30, 2015. It shows Assad and his wife, Asma, visiting a Church in Damascus during Christmas that year:

The church is the Notre Dame de Damas Church, an ancient cathedral located just two kilometers from the militant-held area of East Ghouta. The people you see in this video are probably some of those who have suffered most from terrorist shells fired from East Ghouta. The more the Syrian Army has closed in on these terrorists, establishing humanitarian corridors for trapped civilians, the louder have become the howls of protest from the mainstream media and US officials. And yes, a case in point–McMaster’s speech on the 15th.

“The war has now raged for seven years. The Assad regime has killed indiscriminately, tortured, starved, raped, and used chemical weapons on his own people. It has attacked hospitals and schools, and countless Syrians have been arrested, abducted, or simply disappeared,” he claimed.

This wasn’t the only reference to the Syrian “regime” reputedly killing its “own people.” In fact throughout his talk, McMaster repeatedly referred to “Assad’s use of chemical weapons,” as if it were a proven, undisputed fact. And almost laughably–despite America’s documented support for terrorists in Syria, including the Nour al-Din al-Zenki movement, which in 2016 filmed themselves beheading a 12-year-old Palestinian boy–he touted the US as a “civilized nation.”

“All civilized nations must hold Iran and Russia accountable for their role in enabling atrocities and perpetuating human suffering in Syria,” he insisted…and he issued a demand:

If Iran and Russia do not stop enabling the regime’s atrocities and adhere to Security Council resolutions, all nations must respond more forcefully than simply issuing strong statements. It is time to impose serious political and economic consequences on Moscow and Tehran.

I suppose we should breathe a sigh of relief that McMaster didn’t call for an all-out military invasion of Russia–and that so far no other US official has issued such a call either. But that being said, it’s hard to imagine what further “political and economic consequences” could be imposed that would not lead to war.

Is it just a coincidence that Vladimir Putin, president of the most powerful Christian nation on earth, and Bashar Assad, a head-of-state who has worked toward Muslim-Christian unity, would be held up by US leaders and mainstream media as objects of vilification and demonization? Did that simply happen by chance? Or is there a continuum in effect? A continuum that has resulted in a Jewish agenda that is now leading us toward global confrontation?

The lies tirelessly generated by mainstream media on Syria are discussed in an article published a couple of days ago by independent journalist Eva Bartlett.

“As per their norm, corporate media’s reports on Eastern Ghouta rely on the usual suspect sources,” Bartlett says.

One of the “usual suspect sources” heavily relied upon for a good while now has been the infamous White Helmets. This proved to be the case in McMaster’s speech as well–in fact, from his podium the general recognized and applauded two members of the so-called humanitarian organization present at the time–present in the halls of the Holocaust Museum in Washington. “Let’s give them a round of applause,” he urged. The audience obliged.

Bartlett also discusses an article by Sharmine Narwani that was published a few days prior to her own, an article in which Narwani discusses her experience of visiting, and seeing with her own eyes, a chemical weapons laboratory discovered by the Syrian Arab Army in a recently-liberated portion of East Ghouta. Narwani’s article, which includes photos taken inside the lab, can be viewed here.

But yet McMaster and other US officials go on asserting that it is Assad, rather than terrorist saboteurs, resorting gawkishly to chemical attacks–and they state their opinion on this matter almost uniformly, as if singing in a chorus.

McMaster, in his position as National Security Advisor, participated regularly in meetings of the National Security Council. He presumably had access to CIA intelligence on the situation in Syria. If the CIA is even remotely competent then would it not know, or at least have a fairly good idea, who is manufacturing and using chemical weapons in Syria? If the answer to that question is no, then it inevitably begs a second question, somewhat more trenchant and sardonic than the first: do CIA agents, tasked with gathering, processing and analyzing national security information, derive their intelligence assessments from reading the mainstream media?

Of course the other alternative is that the US national interest has now been replaced by some other agenda.

Bartlett’s article, well worth reading in its entirety, is headlined, ‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’: West’s war propaganda on Ghouta crescendos.

In it, she also cites a group of Trappist nuns in Syria–and even provides a couple of quotes from one of them. Here is what she writes:

“We, the people who actually live in Syria, we are really exhausted, nauseated by this global indignation that issues blanket condemnations of those who defend their lives and their land.

“The attacks on civilians in Damascus, began from the Ghouta area into the government-controlled part, and not vice versa… Why this blindness on the part of the West?”

You can well understand why the nuns would feel nauseated. So thorough has been the distortion of reality that soldiers of the Syrian Army, the very young men who have given their lives to protect the nuns and other innocent Syrians, have been portrayed as the evildoers. Bartlett herself then goes on to comment:

It is a painful rhetorical question that many of us have asked over the years, well-aware of the answer: because it doesn’t serve the regime-change agenda, one so diligently put forth by the corporate media.

As the war propaganda continues, I quote the nuns, who said: “Deliver us Lord from the war… and deliver us from bad journalism.”

I’ll close here with a quote from Jesus–it is the 9th beatitude, from the 5th chapter of Matthew, a quote which Russians and Syrians generally, and most especially Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad in particular, would do well to keep in mind:

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I’ll also offer a quote from John, from his first epistle, a passage in which this beloved disciple of Jesus discusses the crucial importance of love. What he is outlining here is the most fundamental of all Christian concepts:

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

It is vital that we continue to live in love rather than succumb to the hatred of other nations and peoples–hatreds that are being deliberately fomented. It is also important that we understand the continuum, to recognize that it is still in effect, and that most likely there are further acts in the play that are yet to come. These do not have to include World War III, however. It is not mandated that the play end tragically. For the choice of how it ends is our own–and the possibility of choosing love, rather than fear and hate, lies with all of us.

Al-Quds’ Church of Holy Sepulchre Closes Amid Row with Occupation Authorities

Church of Holy Sepulchre closed

February 25, 2018

In a rare move, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) was closed on Sunday until further notice in protest of Israeli occupation government legislation and new city tax policy.

The decision was announced on Sunday by the churches sharing the management of the property, the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian, Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported

The heads of Christian churches in the holy city announced the move in protest against Israeli taxation and land policy affecting church property.

The churches are also protesting Al-Quds municipality’s new policy on municipal tax payments for church property.

The heads churches – Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III, Custos Francesco Patton and Armenian Patriarch Nourhan Manougian – released a letter attacking the legislation and the recent move by the city, labeling it as “a systematic attack on the Christian minority in the Holy Land.”

Source: Agencies

And Speaking of Banned and Challenged Books…

A few days ago I posted an article about children’s books by Jewish authors, a disproportionately high number of which were found by Andrew Joyce, the writer of the article, to have been included on a list of “banned and challenged books” that is yearly maintained by the American Library Association (ALA).

Not long after I posted the article, a friend sent me an email about the children’s book you see above.

P is for Palestine has not, at least as of yet, made the ALA’s list, although that could be because it was only published this past November. Yet assuredly the book has been challenged (rather persistently), and may possibly have been banned in certain places as well. It is not currently available, for instance, at either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The only online retailer that appears to be carrying it is Etsy.

According to Joyce, the books published by Jewish authors and which made the ALA’s list were found to have been objectionable by parents and school officials mainly due to their sexual content. For instance, one of the books he talks about, It’s Perfectly Normal, contains graphic illustrations of people engaging in sex acts. The book, which has been made available to ten-year-olds, has a section explaining that sexual intercourse “can involve the penis and the vagina, or the mouth and the genitals, or the penis and the anus.” Not surprisingly, the inclusion of the book in public school curricula has sparked considerable protest.

P is for Palestine has also sparked protests–but for an entirely different reason.

In November of 2017, shortly after the book’s release, a number of New York City Jews launched a campaign against a local bookstore after it scheduled an event featuring a reading and book signing by the author. The following was reported by the website Palestine Legal:

Last week, a popular independent book store in New York’s Upper West Side, Book Culture, received calls to censor and denounce a children’s book, P is for Palestine, after the book’s author, Professor Golbarg Bashi, publicized an event at the store on an Upper East Side mother’s blog.

I haven’t actually seen a copy of the book, but apparently it does not include any graphic depiction of the human anatomy or sex acts. On the contrary, like many children’s books, it attempts to expand children’s vocabularies by presenting them with words beginning with different letters of the alphabet (this I do know from reading the reviews). And the chief complaint from Jews who have gone ballistic over the issue is the “I” word–intifada.

“I is for Intifada, Intifada is Arabic for rising up for what is right, if you are a kid or a grownup!” reads one section of the book.

Additionally, there is a section reading, “J is for Jesus,” which probably also doesn’t sit too well with the kosher critics.

“We forcefully reject Palestinian efforts to persuade us that ‘intifada’ has a peaceful connotation,” wrote three rabbis in an open letter posted on the website of a local synagogue after the controversy erupted. “These are apologetics, at best, and more likely, attempts to confuse, whitewash, and distort. It is easy to philosophize from afar about the Arabic origins of the word ‘intifada’ if you have never experienced its murderous wrath or lived under its constant violent threats.”

Besides all the venom-spitting over the book, the article in Palestine Legal goes on to report on threats to block the store, Book Culture, from participating in an upcoming book fair sponsored by a local synagogue. The piece was published November 29, but on December 4, an update was posted noting that the store’s owners had been “forced to put out a statement which says that they do not endorse boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns for Palestinian rights, that they support Israel’s right to exist, and that they oppose terrorism.”

The statement issued by the store reads as follows:

  1. We regret that we did not fully appreciate the political or communal ramifications of the children’s book P is for Palestine by Dr. Golbarg Bashi, nor did we anticipate the pain and distress it has caused in our community. We now understand these much better.
  2. We oppose terrorism or other forms of violence perpetrated against Israeli civilians during the intifada or thereafter. Any impression from the book to the contrary is not our view.
  3. We support Israel’s right to exist.
  4. We do not endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

In addition to the above written statement, one of the store’s owners, Chris Doeblin, produced an outpouring of contrition in an interview with a local media outlet–in an article headlined, “Rabbis and Bookstore Owner Break Bread After Split Over Palestine Book.”

The store, we are told by Palestine Legal, was finally allowed to participate in the book fair.

The author of P is for Palestine is Goldbarg Bashi, an Iranian-Swedish woman who formerly taught at Rutgers University. You can visit her website here. In a Facebook post in late November she talks about death threats and other hostile communications she has received since the release of her book. Here is an excerpt:

A small but very loud minority have accused my book of very serious but false charges. It is important for me to note, once again, that their disproportionate backlash against my book and my person (resulting in death threats, devaluing of my social-impact business) was initially to the mere title of the bookPalestine they claimed does not exist, even though the UN and scores of legitimate nation states on our globe recognize Palestine as a country, and how dare I (read an Iranian, or Muslim, or Arab, or Palestinian woman) publish such a book in “their” city New York.

There are 26 letters in the English alphabet, and in the Palestinian context the letter I most certainly stands for Intifada, as does B for BethlehemC for ChristmasJ for JesusF for FalafelK for KuffiyaN for Nazareth and so on.

Intifada means resistance and resilience against the global and the UN condemnation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine—it is a daily component of Palestinian life that is manifested in carrying the signs and symbols of Palestinian life with pride—carrying a Palestinian flag, wearing a Palestinian dress, cooking a Palestinian dish, protecting a Palestinian olive tree from being bulldozed etc are all examples of Intifada.

It would be irresponsible of an author of a book for Palestinian children (or e.g. Native American children) to ignore or whitewash the fact that their people have a resistance movement, most of which is manifested in peaceful protest—I have written a loving book for real Palestinian children with some of whom I grew up in a Swedish refugee camp—along with many other refugee children from around the world. My sense of moral responsibility emerged in those refugee camps not among the self-proclaimed powerful neighborhoods of New York City who racially-profile me, incite hatred and violence against my person and my social-impact start-up, and issue edicts to boycott and shut down bookstores for having dared to sell world’s first English language alphabet book on Palestine.

I wonder how many of the Jews who have gotten so upset over P is for Palestine, became equally as worked up over It’s Perfectly Natural.

Something tells me probably not many.

And I wonder how many of those who take such offense at the word “intifada” have ever bothered to go out and protest against any of  Israel’s murderous campaigns in Gaza?

Again, something tells me probably not many.

Whether the book P is for Palestine has specifically been banned from Amazon and Barnes and Noble I can’t say. All I know for sure is that as of this posting it is not available at either (unlike It’s Perfectly Natural, which is available at both). Certainly it’s possible that the author, for whatever strange reason, chose not to sell it through these two major online dealers.

But a question very much worth pondering at this point is whether any of this will be mentioned by the American Library Association when it publishes its next list of the most “banned and challenged books.”

And once again…though I hope I’m wrong…I have a feeling I know the answer to that as well.

IN PHOTOS: ISRAELI FORCES CLASH WITH PALESTINIAN SANTA CLAUSES ON CHRISTMAS EVE

South Front

24.12.2017

On December 24, Palestinians, many of them dressed as Santa Claus, staged a rally in the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank protesting against to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s true capital.

Israeli forces used tear gas and stun grenades against the protesters near an Israeli military tower in Bethlehem. This rea is widely known as the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ.

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

In Photos: Israeli Forces Clash With Palestinian Santa Clauses On Christmas Eve

Click to see the full-size image

Merry Christmas Everyone, Joy to the world: Jesus is a celebrated prophet in Islam, too, peace be upon him

Joy to the world: Jesus is a celebrated prophet in Islam, too, peace be upon him

Joy to the world: Jesus is a celebrated prophet in Islam, too, peace be upon him

 Christmas in Bethlehem is a special time for all children – Muslim and Christian
In the interest of peace, Safdar Khwaja from CAIR reminds us that Muslims revere Jesus highly, and believe in the divine origin of the holy books of all three Abrahamic religions. She reminds us of the need to work together, for there is much to be done in our broken world.
At the end of the article, If Americans Knew offers you some photos of Christmastime in Bethlehem, where there is genuine interfaith peace.

by Safdar Khwaja, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Christmas season brings lights, cheer and charity across America and prayerful celebration of the Christian savior’s birth in churches across the world. Greeting cards proclaim “Joy to the World,” though people might wonder just how to spread joy.

Christian Americans also might wonder how non-Christians perceive the festive Christmas season — particularly Muslims, given all the controversy about them that’s been stirred up in recent election cycles.

It may come as a surprise to many people that Muhammad, peace be upon him (pbuh), recognized Jesus (pbuh) as the promised final leader for mankind. As recorded in multiple Hadith (sayings of the Prophet) ( Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 34, No. 425 et seq.), “… Jesus (pbuh) son of Mary, will descend amongst you as a just ruler, kill the anti-christ, and abolish unfavorable practices. Money will become in abundance so that no one will accept it as charity.”

This significant Hadith is neither unique nor an isolated forecast in Islam. As the youngest of the three major Abrahamic faiths, Islam recognizes all of the revelations and commandments of a singular God (Eloh in Hebrew, Alah in Aramaic, Ilah in Arabic, Allah as “the-God” in Arabic), as a continuum of God’s messages. The Scrolls (Abraham, pbuh), Torah (Moses, pbuh), Psalms (David, pbuh), Gospels (Jesus, pbuh), and Quran (Muhammad, pbuh), are all recognized as of divine origin and included in the faith of Islam.

Quran 2:136: “Say: (Oh Believers) ‘We believe in God and in what was sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and what was given to Moses, Jesus, and all the prophets by their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we devote ourselves to Him (God).’ “

Followers of these divine revelations are recognized as “People of the Book,” with marriages allowed among them, which has led “mixed” families over the centuries to develop close relationships.

Jesus is mentioned 25 times in the Quran in many contexts, including as a messenger of God, as the Messiah, as the “word” and “sign” of God, as endowed with healing miracles, as ascending into heaven, as promising to return.

The Quran mentions the virgin birth of Jesus many times. He is the only prophet who is mentioned along with his mother. The Quran’s chapter 19 is dedicated to Mary (Maryam), who holds a singularly exalted place in Islam, being the only woman named in the Quran. She is referred to 70 times in multiple chapters, and she explicitly is identified as the greatest of all women.

To Muslims in America, celebration of the life of Jesus and acts of charity during the Christmas season are very similar to their own traditions. The two major Muslim celebrations, or Eids, feature charity, prayers and festivities. They occur following the month of fasting (Ramadan) and at the commemoration of Abraham’s (pbuh) commitment to personal sacrifice. Celebrations such as Christmas and Eid are meant to renew the foundations of our beliefs.

Sadly, we see anxiety and suspicion between Christians and Muslims, which are politically inspired and cause us to overlook our shared heritage. If we were true to the teachings of our faiths, we would see that the values we collectively cherish are rooted in a common history. Such a realization could become the basis for cooperation, for friendship, for truly spreading “Joy to the World.”

Humanity has massive challenges to overcome; disease, poverty, hunger, ignorance, war, the list goes on. These challenges require a new paradigm of collaboration among people of all faiths, or no faith, from the local to the global level.

Interfaith dialogue is growing here in Pittsburgh, but participation remains sparse. In our “home of the brave,” we need more brave souls who are willing to listen to the narratives of people who are very different from themselves.

Here is my wish for this holy, festive season:

May our leaders be brave. May they employ their energies and talents toward bringing us together rather than driving us apart. May they help us solve the intractable problems we face by harnessing our common values and humanity. May this spirit of cooperation bring us joy.


Safdar Khwaja is president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.

 

Palestinian Christians celebrate the lighting of a Christmas tree in Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Christmas Eve is a major event for the biblical town, drawing thousands of foreign tourists each year. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

 

Another view of Manger Square
A member of the Palestinian Authority security services patrols in front of the nativity scene in Manger Square
Greek Orthodox Liturgy in the Church of the Nativity


Bell tower in the background is the Church of the Nativity, built over the site traditionally believed to be where Christ was born
Santa is an equal-opportunity acceptor of donations.
Catholic clergymen outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
A Christian worshipper prays after lighting a candle on Christmas Eve at the Church of the Nativity, built atop the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born, in the West Bank

Rabbi Warns that Jews May Be Headed for a ‘Cataclysmic Disaster’

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Is Patagonia to Become the New ‘Promised Land’?

By Richard Edmondson

Bible scholars have pointed out that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke appear to have been written with two different audiences in mind. The Gospel of Matthew seems to have been directed at a Jewish audience, while the Gospel of Luke would appear to have been written with a primarily Gentile audience in mind.

One passage in Matthew where we can see the intended audience was Jewish is in the story of Jesus’ birth. Here we encounter a reference to the Old Testament book of Micah–a citation which not only  prophesies the birth of Christ but which clearly  presents the Israelites as divinely chosen. The passage in question is Matthew 2:1-6. The setting is Herod’s court in Jerusalem, where the three wise men from the east have just stopped off in their quest to find the newborn Christ child:

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd[d] my people Israel.’”

The quote in verse 6 containing the words “my people Israel” is a cross reference to Micah 5:2. It’s rather amazing that the gospel writer supplies us with these words in the story of Jesus’ birth…but then later goes on to give us the following passage in the account of his death:

24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” 25 Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

It is almost as if the Jews have gone from being divinely blessed in the early part of the gospel…to divinely cursed in the gospel’s closing chapters.

The reason I make mention of the birth story from Matthew is not solely because we’re in the Christmas season, but for a couple of other reasons as well. One has to do with a commentary published recently by a rabbi by the name of Brant Rosen; the other in regard to some interesting information presented recently by Thierry Meyssan of Voltairenet.org. Let’s take Rosen’s commentary first.

Rabbi Brant Rosen is an advocate of justice for Palestinians as well as the founder of Tzedek Chicago, a “non-Zionist” synagogue in Chicago. He also maintains a blog, Shalom Rav, where he recently published an article entitled “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.” In the article he discusses the intersection of Zionism with Jewish messianism, this in the context of Trump’s recent decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem–and he comments that “Zionism has always been, in its way, a kind of false messiah.”

He also warns that Jews today may be headed for a “cataclysmic disaster,” and he quotes Gershom Scholem, a Jewish scholar of the 20th century who authored a biography of Sabbatai Zevi, a Jewish false messiah who gained a huge following in the 1600s. Scholem’s perspective on the subject, written in 1928, reads in part:

The messianic phraseology of Zionism, especially in its decisive moments, is not the least of those Sabbatian temptations which could bring disaster to the renewal of Judaism.

Rosen then goes on to comment:

I genuinely believe that the disaster Scholem wrote of has already come to pass. This zealous drive for political sovereignty and control over Jerusalem as the “eternal undivided capitol of the Jewish people” is a form of idolatry that has all but highjacked a venerable spiritual tradition. Now I fear a much more cataclysmic disaster is waiting in the wings.

Perhaps Rosen isn’t the only Jew worried about a cataclysmic disaster at this point–and this brings me to Meyssen’s article.

Entitled “What is Israel’s Project in Argentina?“, the piece was posted December 12 at Meyssen’s Voltaire blog. In it the author discusses Jewish billionaire Joe Lewis of Britain, who has purchased vast amounts of land in the region of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in southern Argentina. Meyssen notes that the properties Lewis has acquired “cover areas several times larger than the State of Israel”; that hundreds of thousands of houses have been built upon them, as well as a private airport capable of handling military aircraft; and that 8,000-10,000 Israeli soldiers journey there every year for “holiday camps.”

A  few other interesting points Meyssen makes are:

  • Google Earth has neutralized satellite photographs of the region just as it does with NATO military installations
  • Israel has now secured a submarine base in the area courtesy of neighboring Chile, while “tunnels have been dug in order to survive the polar winter”
  • George Soros is now believed by some inhabitants of the region to be financing a secessionist movement, presumably to “liberate” Patagonia from Argentina

Meyssen comments that it is “impossible for the moment to determine if Israel is engaged in a programme for the exploitation of Antarctica, or if it is building a rear base in case of defeat in Palestine.” Of course if nuclear war breaks out between the US and Russia, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego would probably be among the less severely impacted parts of the planet–so that might be a factor in the thinking as well. I don’t know.

In any event, I suggest people read Meyssen’s article in its entirety, because there’s a lot of interesting information in it that I haven’t covered here. As for Rosen’s article, while I look somewhat askance at a comment he supplies about “Christian supremacy,” I do note that the remark is made in regard to Christian Zionist pastor John Hagee, and while I confess I find Rosen’s characterization of Judaism as a “venerable spiritual tradition” a tad puzzling, I’ll go out on a limb and guess that he has passages like Exodus 23:9 (“you shall not oppress a stranger…” etc.) more so in mind than the exhortations to blood and genocide. I’m guessing he does not include Talmudic supremacy as part of that “venerable spiritual tradition.” And I’m also guessing he would take strong exception to comments of such as Rabbi Saadya Grama:

Jewish success in the world is completely contingent upon the failure of other peoples. Jews experience good fortune only when gentiles experience catastrophe…The difference between Jews and gentiles is not historical or cultural, but rather genetic and unalterable.

But the fact is that numerous other rabbis, despite this ‘venerable’ spiritual tradition, hold views similar to Grama’s. Whether theirs is a theological ideology or a political ideology, it is an ideology nonetheless that has brought “catastrophe” upon Syrians for the past seven years–and upon Palestinians for the past seventy years.

It may at some point bring catastrophe upon others as well, including Americans. Given the unemployment rate and the totally unprecedented degree of wealth disparity we’re seeing, some might say it already has.

If Jews who subscribe to Talmudic precepts should continue in their endeavors at foisting these catastrophes, the result is going to be a “cataclysmic disaster” upon Jews themselves–if that is the point Rosen is trying to make, then I agree with him and I think his prediction is correct.

What I would say to Jews in general is that moving to Patagonia is not going to save you. Unless you change your ways, you’re going to be hated and resented there just as you are presently hated and resented in Palestine, and just as you have been hated and resented most everywhere else you have settled and lived for the past two millennia, going all the way back to the riots of Alexandria in 38 A.D.–or even earlier.

The only way to break this cycle is by learning to act with kindness, to treat others with love and compassion–which of course were the precise teachings of your messiah–that is to say your true messiah–Jesus.

Doing this would not only save you, it potentially would save humanity as a whole, for the entire planet is teetering on the edge of the abyss right now.

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