53 thoughts on “Purim: Till You Can’t Tell the Difference Between Israel and ISIS – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Purim has been part of Judaism for almost 2,500 years and Amalek was commanded to be ‘genocided’ by God (presumably). Since Judaism is so terrible and you are such fan of Islam, why won’t you convert? Do you believe sticking a word in front of it liberal/progressive/whatever changes the core essence of it?
    And out….

    1. @ Ariel:

      Since Judaism is so terrible and you are such fan of Islam, why won’t you convert?

      You are already on moderation. Because I find this comment deeply offensive & objectionable as a Jew, you are now banned.

      I never said “Judaism” as a whole was objectionable. Nor do I believe this. You are a liar.

  2. We bang each other on the head with harmless toy hammers on Yom Ha’atzmaut, not on Purim. As to the charge of Genocide, the primary victims were Haman’s supporters. The original edict by Achashverosh ordering the killing of all the Jews was not overturned. It was never annulled. The new edict merely stated that the Jews were allowed to defend themselves against those who posed a lethal risk against them. On Adar 13, Haman and his 10 sons as well as 500 attackers were killed. The scroll of Esther states that throughout the empire, 75,000 enemies of the Jews were killed and another 300 in Shushan. Sounds pretty bloody and messy but I guess it was them or us. What would anyone have done differently with their family and community’s lives at stake?

    1. One does NOT kill SEVENTY-FIVE THOUSAND people in order to “protect” ones self, that not defense, that is not revenge, that IS genocide.

      I guess attitudes like yours, must be the order of the day in Israel, how else can an entire nation accept the continuous genocide and massive periodic slaughters of Palestinians, with such equanimity?
      Israel and its Blind Supporter Jews, are becoming more and more like their erstwhile tormentors, pretty soon we should be hearing calls for the rise of the “Thousand-Year Nation”.

        1. Yawn Hefe. Well, “every one” is inaccurate and rather an all-encompassing statement which only betrays your own exaggerated views of people you may not like. In Israel’s case and in characterizing some Jews, I do make that analogy more than I normally would against others. One reason for this is because I note how easily so many Jews compare unsavory non-Jews to Hitler and to Nazis so, why not put the shoe on the other foot? Another reason is that I feel the Shoah was such a horrible and possibly, an incomparable event, that its surviving victims and their progeny should be the most sensitive and aware and should avoid doing thing that stink of racial hatred, but sadly, the wrong lesson has been learnt by Jews.

          In this case, Israel IS orchestrating an organized, and continuous genocide against Palestinians under the guise of “defending Israel’s character and survival”. I know, some people think the word “genocide is a bit over the top, but check out the internationally-adopted definition of “Genocide” (http://www.hrweb.org/legal/genocide.html) and then educate me as to why I should not use this term for what Israel is doing. In fact the term “Genocide” and the entire Convention on Genocide was coined, drawn and pushed into life, by a Jew named Lemkin (I believe that was the name), so no “Anti-Semitic conspiracy there either.
          By the way, I know you refuse to acknowledge this, but I use “Israel”, not “Jews” when I talk about what is happeneing to Palestinians. Were I the “Anti-Semite” you would love me to be, I would say “Jews” and blame “Jews” as a broad group, for the atrocities

        2. @ Hefe: You’ve written something that is false & a lie. Jafar compared Lieberman, an Israeli fascist leader to Nazis. He did not compare “Jews” to Nazis. You’ve implied Jafar is an anti-Semite, again a lie.

          I usually look askance at comparisons even of Israelis to Nazis, but in the case of the Israeli far right I think such comparisons fair and apt, if carefully drawn, which Jafar did.

          Comments which contains falsehoods, lies or baseless claims are grounds for moderation or banning. I’ve warned you a number of times. You’re on the edge and have been warned.

        3. Yawning Hefe. Is my family Pashtun?
          Would it change the price of potatoes in Idaho?
          You satisfy my curiosity by telling why you ask and I will satisfy yours as to my background.
          By the way I cannot help but notice a certain arrogance when you cannot even be bothered to spell my name correctly…my pov.

          1. I had a Pashtun friend who told me that some of the Afghan tribes claimed to be Lost Tribes of Israel. Just curious to see what you had to offer.

          2. Yes, I have also heard the myths about the lost tribe being a Pathan tribe, but this many years later, it is entirely fanciful to speculate as to where those descendants might be.

            Ben’s linked article, “Just How Similar are Pashtun and Jewish People?” is an amazing flight of fancy or perhaps, fantasy. I was brought up in the Frontier region (home of Pathans/Pukhtuns/Pashtuns) and am as native as they are except for DNA. I have never seen ANY Pathan family separating meat and milk or, lighting candles in Friday. If we did light candles on Friday, it was because there was one of the ubiquitous power failures that evening.
            The names are also Arabic so, I am sure there is some Aramaic/Hebrew derivation to them. “BaraK” on Pashtu/Urdu means “Blessing (from Arabic), but “BarQ” means lightening, electricity or power. “Tameer” means construction and I have not come across “Timor” however, Taimur is a name of one of the conquerors of India.

            God is Khuda, “Khudai” is a reference to something “of God” and Tolia is an Urdu word. While there may be some White+ blue stripes shawls, I have not seen any in a number that would suggest a practice. I have never heard of any day, not even Eid, the highest of high holidays, when work is not allowed.

            Pukhtunwali (Hospitality, Sanctuary and revenge) is a common enough practice among tribes in S & E Europe, ME and S Asia that I would not take it to mean it had Hebrew connections rather, they are probably all derived from primitive urges for survival and supremacy.

      1. @Jafar: The story of Purim predates the State of Israel. The Book of Esther is part of the Jewish Tanakh or bible. It’s as Jewish as, I don’t know… Cholent. Purim is celebrated by all streams of Judaism. Now, the books of Maccabees were not incorporated into the Tanakh even though they form the basis of Hanukah. Many commentators say that the Rabbis were put off by the violence and extremism displayed by the Maccabees. But no such concern was ever shown regarding Purim because the Jews were in fact defending themselves against an expressly genocidal foe. So there you have it. You may not like it but it is what it is.

        1. @ pea: You posit a unitary version of Judaism which isn’t recognizable to many of the ancient rabbis. There is no single agreed version of Judaism. In fact, the midrash gives us the freedom to offer alternative views of sacred text. My own views of the Book of Esther are completely within the norms of Jewish tradition. Mass murder happens at the end of the Book. I am a Jew in good standing & I object to this portion of the narrative strongly, just as I object to genocide perpetrated against the Jebusites, Amorites & Moabites by the Israelites. You’ll find similar objections to many other portions of the Bible by rabbis including the sacrifice of Issac and rape of Dinah, among others.

          You’re right, I don’t like it and I can say it and still be a good Jew. You may not like that either. But that’s just the way it is.

          1. Huh? What I “posit” is simply p’shat. It’s right there in The Book of Esther, bereft of any interpretation at all. What ancient Rabbis are you talking about? The Anshei Knesset Ha’gdolah who canonized The Book of Esther? The commentators in the mishnah and gemara in the tractate Megillah? What ancient Rabbis wouldn’t recognize the literal words of the Book of Esther? You are of course free to view an act of self-defense as an act of genocide but try as I may, I have never seen any authoritative or broadly accepted rabbinic commentary that views the events of Purim as a black mark upon the history of the Jews. I am however, always willing to be enlightened and edified and to have my perceptions challenged.

            Also in reference to genocide, there was some debate as to how many sons Haman had. According to Rab Haman had 30 sons. 10 were hanged, 10 died and 10 became beggars. Rami bar Abi said there were as many as 208 and according to other Rabbis 70 of Haman’s sons became beggars. Why is this relevant? Because the obvious question is, if it was an act of genocide, why weren’t all of Haman’s sons killed? Surely beggars would be easy targets, no? One can explain this by noting that only those that posed a threat against the Jews were killed.

            And finally, while The Book of Esther mentions 75,800 supporters of Haman killed, it doesn’t mention any Jews killed in what must have been a series of pitched battles. The answer is that it would dampen the festivities and so no mention was made of Jewish deaths which must have been significant given that Haman’s supporters were armed and prepared to carry out their own state sanctioned Genocide against the Jews. But again, I am open to any citations you might have that dispute anything I have written. And please note that I never passed any negative judgement regarding your Jewishness. You are indeed a Jew in good standing. I would never say otherwise.

          2. @ pea: I’m not going to get into a discussion with you about this. It’s off-topic. Also, I want you to observe the three comment a day rule. No more than 3 comments in a single day.

            Mass murder is NOT self-defense. You’re using midrash to change the story in the original text. You & I both know that in the original text all of Haman’s family (which probably was a tribe, i.e. 76,000 as you yourself say, hence my calling this genocide) was wiped out. In fact, I’d say that the Rabbis changing the story so that NOT all of Haman’s family was exterminated is in effect an admission of deep discomfort with the original narrative. If Haman’s family/tribe was NOT entire wiped out then it wasn’t genocide. As the original text clearly states they were, then it is. But thanks for pointing us to a midrash which evinces the rabbi’s dislike of the connotations of the original story.

            You’re done in this thread.

          3. Pea, you really believe this all happened, it seems.
            There is no historical basis to the story though, from what I’ve read.
            It’s just a revenge fantasy by a people that are being given a hard time, if you ask me.

        2. Pea. No holy book that I know of, is free of some genocidal story or another…or slaughters in the name of God, I cannot object to violence in any book without showing a double standard. I was objecting to your final statement of:
          “but I guess it was them or us. What would anyone have done differently with their family and community’s lives at stake?”
          Every genocidal event I am aware of, is launched by an “us or them” existential position which is patently false but very appealing (I see it rising today in the US against Muslims). Existential positions are generally created for the unthinking and the gullible because the leaders need the masses to follow. Existential positions are also clothed in Patriotism and the sacred (“It is good thing we do, when we eradicate the TB bacilii”)…and bingo! you get your Hitlers, Milosevics, Habyarimanas, Pol Pots and innumerable others throughout history, including many of our sacred-cow leaders in all faiths.
          There is no “defending yourself” when the numbers of people you kill are in the thousands, tens of thousands or, millions.

          1. The story of Purim was not a slaughter in the name of God. Nowhere in the book of Esther is the name of God mentioned. Not every death occasioned by an us or them existential position is a genocide. Haman and his supporters received a state sanctioned license to commit genocide against the Jews. They demonstrated their intention to carry out said genocide by directing gallows meant for the Jews. The Jews for their part received a last minute state sanctioned license allowing them to defend themselves against Haman’s clearly articulated genocidal intent. What ensued was not a genocide but rather a war which Haman and his supporters lost. Was it bloody and unfortunate? Yes, without a doubt. Was it genocide? No. Well at least not in my opinion.

          2. @ pea: Whether or not God’s name is mentioned is irrelevant. You & I both know that Jews are “God’s people” according to tradition. So whether or not the name is used what happens to Jews is deeply intertwined with what God wants. If the Jews survived by slaughtering their enemies that’s certainly a reflection on God Him or Herself.

          3. i believe it is stated that Haman’s sons went to live in Bnei Brak, ironically the most ultra-orthodox Jewish city in the world today.
            they were considered to be from the seed of Amaleq but converted and learned Torah!

        3. Pea. Come on, lets get sensible and not split hairs. 75,800 people killed is not a slaughter? Back in those days that must be a number equivalent to what today, a million? 500,000? Even if you don’t use today’s equivalent numbers, 75,800 is a HUGE number and to say this was simply an act of defense and not a genocide is denial in the extreme.
          Your opinion does not hold up against the 1948 Convention on Genocide, Article 2(a) which states:
          In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
          •(a) Killing members of the group;

          I will agree with you that “Not every death occasioned by an us or them existential position is a genocide.”, although the definition of “Genocide” does not limit numbers of victims. But we are not talking about an individual killing or even the killing of ten people, we are talking about a number so large that even today, it is beyond comprehension. Even during Alexander’s wars and battles (and he is remembered for his vengeful attacks), such a large number was unheard of, simply because there were seldom such concentrations of people unless one hunted far and wide for them. Even during the Christian slaughters of Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem, the numbers are around a “paltry” 40,000 people and the stories related of “rivers of blood”.

          I don’t understand why you would be so resistant to the idea that this was indeed, a genocide, Book of Esther or not.

          Back to MY main point, there can not be a defense of “us or them” to justify such a slaughter, not back then and not today. Yes, there have been huge numbers of people killed during war in single events, such as the fire-bombings of Dresden or Tokyo, in wich each event caused the deaths (slaughters) of 100,000 and 200,000 people respectively. I will agree these may not be classified as genocide, but they certainly do classify as War Crimes; nothing less than the slaughters of Jews in Auschwitz or Treblinka.But because the US won that war, the bombers and their planners are considered to be heroes…again, in an “us or them” situation.

          1. Look, I appreciate where you are coming from. But I respectfully disagree. The Persian empire at the time spread from Ethiopia to India. The population has been estimated at close to 100 million people. The Jewish population was estimated at about 2 million. Every Jewish community in this far flung Empire was under existential threat. The 75,800 number cited by the Book of Esther is not an exceptional number. This wasn’t one battle in one place, it was a series of battles taking place across a massive empire. And I should emphasize the word “battle.” Haman and his supporters were not slaughtered in their sleep, or lined up at a ravine and shot. The depiction of what happened in Shushan was that of a battle, not an indiscriminate massacre of civilians or what have you. The same happened across the Empire. Trying to compare the events of Purim to the Holocaust or the bombing of Dresden is all kinds of wrong given that the people killed in Megillat Esther had every express and well articulated intention of murdering all the Jews of the realm. Every single one of them. It might seem one sided because only enemy casualties are mentioned and there is no mention of Jewish casualties. But the Rabbis and commentators surmised that the number of Jews killed was purposely omitted so as not to put a damper on the ordained festive celebrations. Not a genocide when you are defending yourself against an enemy whose unequivocal and well documented intent is to kill you and all your people.

            And please don’t try to juxtapose this with Israeli extremists who consider Palestinians to be modern day descendants of Amalek or those who liken the Iranian regime to Haman. Those guys are wrong and I would in no way support such characterisations.

        4. Pea. We disagree on a fundamental human issue, but it will not be the last time, I am sure.
          I was going to suggest that your outlook reflects the Loud and clear israeli outlook against Palestinians, including Hamas and Hizbollah and against Arabs and Muslims in general, but you forestalled me. Still, while it may not be an out look you support, obviously all of Israeli Jews do, because the regimes that coninue to perpatrate “not-genocide” on Palestinians, continue to stay in power

          1. I am an Israeli Jew and I don’t support that outlook. So obviously you’re wrong. And I am not the only one. But I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

          2. @ pea: Of course you support an Israeli regime that perpetrated mass murder against Palestinians. Saying you don’t support “that outlook” is meaningless. You’re as guilty as Avigdor Lieberman. Plus your liberal Zionism makes you a sophist as well.

        5. @Elizabeth – I am merely correcting some notions that I believe are mistaken about the Book of Esther and Judaism. Belief in the literal story is irrelevant. The Book of Esther is part of the Jewish canon and is incorporated into the Tanakh. The Feast of Purim is an integral part of Jewish celebration. It neither represents Genocide nor does it support Genocide in my humble opinion. Its historicity is irrelevant to the conversation.

          1. Yet you write things like this, clearly indicating that you believe in the reality of this stuff:
            “And finally, while The Book of Esther mentions 75,800 supporters of Haman killed, it doesn’t mention any Jews killed in WHAT MUST HAVE BEEN a series of pitched battles. The answer is that it would dampen the festivities and so no mention was made of Jewish deaths WHICH MUST HAVE BEEN SIGNIFICANT given that Haman’s supporters were armed and prepared to carry out their own state sanctioned Genocide against the Jews.”

  3. Lieberman does not want Arabs in israel (saying Arab-majority areas should be “transferred” to a fictitious “Palestinians State/Entity), but he does want Israeli Palestinians to love and support the state that persecutes them. Lieberman does not oppose the state of affairs where Arabs are not permitted to join the I “D” F (please don’t trot out the Druze!), but he wants them to serve in it.

    I don’t believe he is trying to show how extreme he is, because of elections, I think he is trying to control himself so he does not show up too much, like Der Fuhrer. Clearly, Israelis don’t mind acting like Storm Troopers as long as they don’t have to wear brown shirts and do the Goose-step.

  4. With respect to the horrible anti-semitism displayed by Haman, it may be useful to remind ourselves that the story of Purim is not one of historical fact, but is a reworking of the Babylonian myth of Ishtar and Marduk. The name “Esther” is a variant of Ishtar, as the name “Mordechai” is a variant of Marduk.

    Ishtar’s characteristics as goddess of fertility and war are paralleled in the Megillah version by Esther’s characteristics as a maiden who employs her seductive beauty as a means of securing the life of Mordechai and the lives of the Jewish people residing in Shushan and its surrounds. The Purim story happens in Adar, during the season of the year when winter is receding and the sunlight and vegetation are returning to the Earth of our everyday experience.

    There is, of course, more to the myth. In short, however, it makes approximately zero sense to draw historical conclusions from the Purim story, which is mythical in nature in the first place.

    1. @ Jeff: The ancient origins of the Book are of course very interesting. But your interpretation is quite deficient. It doesn’t matter whether the story is historical or not. The books of the Bible are sacred text on which Jews base their lives. The stories, all of them whether historically true or not, inspire behavior. Purim is deeply ingrained into the lives of all Jews who are influenced by tradition. To say that the mythical origins to the book somehow diminish the role of the book in the lives of Jews who live by it makes little sense.

      For example, when a rabbi says the Palestinians are Haman or Amalek and infers the lesson that they will have to be eliminated in order for Israel to survive, this is an interpretation with real impact in everyday life. In that sense, it makes no difference whether Esther was based on myth rather than fact.

  5. Ran HaCohen drew a few years ago attention to a short video in which the Chief Rabbinate of the IDF instructed the military about “the meaning” of Purim. In order to bring out the contemporary moral of Purim, Haman and his sons are situated for a while in the Land of Israel in this version of the story – and, yes, there they demanded that construction in Jerusalem be stopped. To HaCohen the video, with its suggested equivalence of Haman and Amalek, has clear genocidal overtones. He wrote:

    “The Chief Rabbinate of the Israeli army has recently produced a short video (in Hebrew) to “explain” Purim to Israeli soldiers. It opens by stating the obvious, namely that Persia is today’s Iran; among the images that flash every now and then when Haman is mentioned we see not only Ahmadinejad, but also Hezbollah’s leader Nasrallah, as well as (several times) Hitler, and, yes, Jesus Christ, who also makes a brief appearance. In a baseless rewriting of the legend, obviously aimed against present-day Palestinians, Haman and his sons are said to have resided in the Land of Israel, where they were inciting against the Jews and demanding to stop construction in Jerusalem(!) before moving to Persia, where the Book of Esther takes place.
    In other words, the army “educational” video draws a line from Haman to Jesus, to Nazi Germany, to today’s Iran and Hezbollah, as well as to the present-day Palestinians. And Haman, as the video doesn’t even bother to remind its viewers, is Amalek, the eternal enemy of the Jews: “you shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven, do not forget.” “

  6. @Ben

    The speculation about the final destination of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel is endless. One of the more outlandish flights of fancy here is that one of them ended up in Papua, this because of the Semitic (and I must say often notably intelligent) appearance of some Papuans of the South West Coast. More well known is “British Israelism” which holds that they ended up in Western Europe, notably in Britain. There is of course not a shred of genetic and historical evidence for that. The movement started around 1880 and still has a few adherents today. But Blake’s poem Jerusalem, which was written much earlier, seems to be inspired by the hypothesis:

    And did those feet in ancient time
    Walk upon Englands mountains green:
    And was the holy Lamb of God,
    On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
    I will not cease from Mental Fight,
    Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand:
    Till we have built Jerusalem,
    In Englands green & pleasant Land.

    Now there is a settlement plan for you.

    1. The feet are those of Jesus though, not of the lost tribes. The idea that one of the lost tribes wound up in England apparently comes from the idea that the word ‘Brit’ comes from (B’nai) b’rith!

      Here’s a different interpretation of the text of the hymn (from Wikipedia):

      The poem was inspired by the apocryphal story that a young Jesus, accompanied by Joseph of Arimathea, a tin merchant, travelled to what is now England and visited Glastonbury during his unknown years.[2] The legend is linked to an idea in the Book of Revelation (3:12 and 21:2) describing a Second Coming, wherein Jesus establishes a New Jerusalem. The Christian church in general, and the English Church in particular, has long used Jerusalem as a metaphor for Heaven, a place of universal love and peace.[3]
      In the most common interpretation of the poem, Blake implies that a visit by Jesus would briefly create heaven in England, in contrast to the “dark Satanic Mills” of the Industrial Revolution. Blake’s poem asks four questions rather than asserting the historical truth of Christ’s visit. Thus the poem merely implies that there may, or may not, have been a divine visit, when there was briefly heaven in England

      1. Arie. I hate to nit-pick but did you just repeat your ideas when you said:
        “When I was a young man I also had a lot to do with Papuans and I found that among them were people who looked strikingly intelligent, even to my culture bound perception.”?
        Now mere LOOKS can be an indentifier for intelligence and I suppose for good and evil as well? It looks (no pun) like the Nazi ideas (among many others) that Jews looked evil, greedy and whatever else, did have merit? Fascinating!
        May one ask, how does Stephen Hawking rate on your scale of intelligence?
        Does a paler skin lend more to intelligence and a darker one to less?
        Perhaps a “Semitic look” would be the above average ones for intelligence? Is that how Israelis comfort themselves that they are the Chosen Ones to rule their ME dunghill?

        You should contract yourself to headhunter corporations (again, no pun), just think of how fast you can find intelligent candidate, just by looking at them.
        You certainly got the better of me, I am still in shock.

        1. Arie is clearly talking about himself as a young man in what may have been the beginning of the post-colonial era. He is being refreshingly honest about his views in those days:
          I found that among them were people who looked strikingly intelligent, EVEN TO MY CULTURE BOUND PERCEPTION.
          I think you are over-reacting Jafar.

          1. You write an over-the-top comment accusing someone of all things evil, and now suddenly find it opportune not to react?
            Too bad.

    2. Holy smokes Arie! I was going to leave further discussion onthis particular post altogether because I had said enough thus far, but you pulled me back. Did you really mean to imply that certain (Semitic) looks on Papuans lend an air of intelligence to their otherwise unintelligent looks?
      I can’t believe you or anyone else could have meant that, yet what you say, certainly says it:
      “this because of the Semitic (and I must say often notably intelligent) appearance of some Papuans”

      1. Elisabeth. I did not think there was much more to contribute to this discussion, there was not much to react with except for repeating ourselves. Arie had stated the idea of people “looking Intelligent”…twice, even allowing for the excuse that you put forward, that he was merely stating his state of mind back whenever, I would have thought he might have said as much, at least in the second response. He never clarified his comment, even after I asked.

        I am sorry I sounded over the top to you, but the thought of people being sorted by “looking intelligent” is repugnant to me. If you think about it, this very line of reasoning was the cause of the greatest mass-murder in history, when the Hutus committed their genocide of the Tutsis. The Belgians who ruled that area (Ruanda-Urundi and Belgian Congo), placed the Tutsis in leadership positions because the Tutsis “looked intelligent” (sharper features). This built a lot of resentment among the Hutus, against the Tutsis which festered and finally exploded in blood.

        I don’t mind or care, if two similar people are compared as to which one “looks” more intelligent, based on perceptions of alertness etc., but to suggest that one group “looks” superior to another? THAT is over the top.

        1. @Jaffar

          It was, in the Papuan case, where I worked not a matter of groups but of certain individuals within a group.

          Neither was it a matter of discrimination of not particularly intelligent looking individuals vs. keen looking ones except that one would rather try to get information from the latter.

          But we are way off topic now …

  7. @Jaffar

    The well-known geographer Jared Diamond, who has had a lot to do with Papuans, claims that they are, on average, more intelligent than westerners. His explanation for this is that evolutionary development gave them a tougher deal so that only the more intelligent survived. Now it is quite possible that Papuans are on average more intelligent than “Westerners” but a) Diamond couldn’t establish that on the basis of his limited personal observation and b) it is quite doubtful that Papuans had a tougher deal in the course of human evolution. To begin with more Northern climes were probably quite a bit more challenging.

    I believe that we are dealing here with a matter of over compensation. The interpretation of facial features is culture bound, as is the conception of physical beauty. Diamond hadn’t expected Papuans to be all that intelligent and when he found that in many cases they were he started to exaggerate a bit.

    When I was a young man I also had a lot to do with Papuans and I found that among them were people who looked strikingly intelligent, even to my culture bound perception. Since they notably differed from other Papuans in that regard it was understandable that people had speculated about a different origin. Well what human groups are supposed to have wandered around the world? There are not all that many candidates we know of. The ten lost tribes came in handy here. Not that I have ever believed this myself.


    The interpretation of Blake’s Jerusalem you present is probably the correct one. I owe my notion that the poem had something to do with the ten lost tribes to my reading, long ago, of the recollections of the nineteenth century British jurist, Sir Frederick Pollock, entitled For My Grandson. The maddening thing is that I have the book somewhere but my library is presently in such a state of disorder (due to circumstances that are not relevant here) that i just cannot lay my hands on it. If and when I can I would like to come back to this.

  8. Hi richard,
    I would like to bring to your attention that there is a poroblem with some facts you mentioned in your post. First the academic institution where zoabi spoke was not the idc at all. It was a completely different place, in an entirely different city: .http://www.clb.ac.il/english/index.html. I think that considering some of the things you said about the idc, connecting it to the zoabi incident, and getting to conclusions and making groundless accusations based on an incident that took place somewhere else.. that you should quickly correct thst mistake. secondly you wrote that zoabi was invited to speak about feminism, but you failed to mention that it was an election meeting open to the students and I believe the wide public of many parties combined. The last thing I want to mention and emphasize is that the zoabi attacker was arrested on the spot and is facing criminal charges… (some might say that spilling orange juice on somebody’s face isn’t nice but is not a crime, but the israeli judicial system take those actions very seriously and punish zoabi’s attacker…)

    1. @ amadeo: You are right. It was Lieberman who advocated cutting off Arab heads when he spoke at the IDC. Zoabi was speaking in Ramat Gan.

      Regardless, everything I said about IDC remains true. The fact that they featured Lieberman advocating murder against Palestinians & made no comment rejecting such rhetoric tells you all you need to know about IDC. Further, IDC hosts as a lecturer an alleged Iran analyst named Meir Javedanfar. IDC hosted fraudulent polling of Iranians on behalf of the Mossad in which Javedanfar participated. It is also well known for producing Shabak, Mossad and Aman agents.

      As for the violence against Zoabi, you neglect to mention that a Party official was struck with a flag pole. Why is it you neglected to refer to that but only referred to spilling of soda on Zoabi as “not nice?” As for arresting the attacker, it’s nonsense to say the “Israeli judicial system takes those actions very seriously.” In fact the opposite is the case. The attacker will likely not go to trial and likely not be convicted and likely not spent a day in jail. You let me know if I’m wrong, OK?

      1. Well you are wrong… and you didnt even bother to correct yourself.. do you still believe that the idc didnt protect zoabi when she spoke? And that its shamefull that they didnt protect her? As for zoabi’s attacker ( and the spokeperson’s attacker) not spending a day in jail… well you should look into your base beliefs. .. you are mistaken.. greatly.. both spent time in jail already… you can chek it here.. http://news.walla.co.il/item/2834916 maybe you should read some of what the attackers lawyers had to say about the treatment they got from the police and the attorney’s office…. I think your sayings are just prejudice against israeli judicial system.. pure and simple.. and unbased regarding this iscident. ..

        1. @ amadeo: It was Zoabi herself who said the host of her event in Ramat Gan did not protect her. It was that institution I was referring to.

          If you review my comment more carefully you’ll see I said the attacker would not be charged, nor convicted nor imprisoned, in that order. So will the suspect spend “a day” in jail?” Perhaps. Before being charged & tried. But that is all that will happen. He won’t be charged, convicted or sent to prison. Mark my words.

          As for being “prejudiced” against Israel’s judicial system, “prejudice” implies unfair judgment not based on evidence. My negative views of Israeli justice are well documented in this blog. My views are based on facts & evidence and in fact derived from published stories in the Israeli press. So you’ll have to blame Israeli lawyers & reporters who’ve expressed these same views before me.

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