Iron Age toilet is evidence Judean king dumped on the gods
‘Throne room’ found in Lachish’s monumental gateway dates to period when Hezekiah centralized cult worship in Jerusalem

The King Who Defecated on the Gods

Showing malevolence and disrespect to deities is something that goes back into antiquity from various groups and individuals.  However, the literal act of “shitting” on the gods may have actually taken place.  An archaeological excavation in Israel as discovered an ancient toilet at Tel Lachish, a city that was important in the Southern Kingdom of Judah after Israel had divided itself.  The toilet was discovered in the chamber of a shrine near some smashed altars, in nearby rooms were pot handles bearing the mark of King Hezekiah and Hebrew letters.  According to 2 Kings 10:18-28, King Jehu in the Northern Kingdom of Israel had decreed to remove the cult of Baal from Israel after he had overthrown the previous rulers King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.  

Under Jehu’s decree the priests of Baal were killed and the shrines were destroyed and, interestingly enough, in 2 Kings 10:27 it is said that the people of Israel used the shrines as a latrine.  King Hezekiah in Judah also issued a decree against the worship of other deities and may have done the same things as Jehu.  This toilet could be Hezekiah’s message to the cult of Baal.


Selling loaves of bread as part of a fundraising campaign for Cambodian refugees in Jerusalem, Israel; 1979. x

The Cambodian humanitarian crisis began in 1969 and continued until 1993.  It began as the result of extensive U.S. bombing campaigns - which started in 1969 - as a part of the Vietnam War and killed as many as 150,000 Cambodian civilians.  The situation was further exacerbated when North Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1978 and established the People’s Republic of Kampuchea.  This led to thousands of Cambodian refugees attempting to escape the fighting and mass food shortages across the country.

In response to this, Israeli society mobilized weeks before the rest of the international community.  Encouraged by a marathon broadcast on Israeli television, Israeli citizens donated over $1 million that went to purchase 250 tons of food which was delivered to Cambodian refugees in Thailand.  Plastic bowls, rice, and sardines were delivered as part of this shipment, along with medical experts who worked in the Thai-run refugee camps.  Avraham Nathan (also known as Abie Nathan), an Israeli Persian-Jewish peace activist, led the convoy.

JVP Just Can't Quit Miko Peled

Every once in awhile, Jewish Voice for Peace finds an “anti-Zionist” who is in fact too anti-Semitic even for them. Alison Weir was an example from a few years ago. More recently, it was Miko Peled (an Israeli Jew who has become a vitriolic critic of the state) who stepped over the line after linking the US/Israeli aid deal to why “Jews have a reputation for being sleazy thieves.” This led to the cancellation of a scheduled talk at Princeton (hosted by a pro-Palestine group) and later another at SDSU. JVP and its head Rebecca Vilkomerson lauded the move:

Princeton group did right thing cancelling @mikopeled talk b/c of his tweets-no place 4 antisemitism in our movement https://t.co/wI23XPaJaa — Rebecca Vilkomerson (@RVilkomerson) September 20, 2016

Peled was livid at the accusation of anti-Semitism, going so far as to threaten an SDSU student newspaper with a libel suit for publishing an editorial calling him anti-Semitic (lawyer’s aside: he’d have no case, as assessments of anti-Semitism are matters of protected opinion immune from a libel action). With respect to JVP, he endorsed the sentiment that Vilkomerson was a “zionist in the closet” who needed “to be purged out of the movement for good.”

In Weir’s case, it took all of six months for her to start reappearing at JVP events. In Peled’s case, JVP walked itself back in the space of a few days. Vilkomerson put up a new statement that agreed she had “overreached” and “clearly made a mistake” in her reaction to Peled’s “sleazy thieves” comment.
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What we have here is an example of the JVP’s untenable position when it comes to anti-Semitism. The problem is not that they’re “critical of Israel” or even that they’re anti-Zionist. The problem is that their politics about anti-Semitism are predicated on the notion that “anti-Semitism” is, in nearly all cases, a hysterical charged lobbed in bad faith by evil Zionists wanted to suppress criticism of Israel. But, having spent years hammering this message home, they’re somehow surprised to discover that when they call something anti-Semitic, they’re subjected to the same treatment – dismissed as “Zionists in the closet” (Peled’s allies) or “turning priorities to suit Jewish interests” (Weir’s backers). They want special dispensation as the “good Jews”, and they don’t get it.  Instead, their “allies” treat them exactly the same as they treat every other Jew (and indeed, exactly as JVP says Jews – other Jews, anyway – should be treated) – with derision, disdain, and dismissal anytime JVP tries to use its Jewish standing to challenge rather than validate their position.

Because they fail to actually acknowledge anti-Semitism as a serious and systematic problem – indeed, because they encourage it insofar as they promote the general sentiment that Jews normally can’t be trusted – the JVP falls into a trap of its own devise. It cannot actually advocate against epistemic anti-Semitism because that would require giving credence to the bulk of the Jewish community which adopts positions they wish to see delegitimized. But having helped normalize Jewish status as epistemically unreliable, they find their pleas for a special exception (in recognition of their respectable selves) will fall on deaf ears. It turns out that, in actuality, “good behavior” doesn’t in any way diminish the perceived entitlement non-Jews have to dictate Jewish behavior.

Eventually, the JVP is going to collapse under the weight of this contradiction. Again, the problem isn’t that it’s critical of Israel or even that it’s anti-Zionist. The problem is that its power lies simultaneously in the view that Jews are untrustworthy and the view that they (JVP) are extra-trustworthy because they are Jews. The tension is sublimated so long as JVP stays in perfect lockstep with its non-Jewish allies – JVP providing a Jewish patina to what non-Jews are already saying about Jews. But it emerges in full force and fury whenever JVP diverges from the opinions of its peers (as when they wish to challenge anti-Semitism in their movement). And the problem will only get worse. The general belief that Jews are untrustworthy, paranoid, hysterical, irrational, and/or blood-crazed cannot help but create more and more anti-Semitism of the sort that even JVP will find intolerable. But the more that JVP tries to adopt a critical rather than a vindicatory standpoint towards its “allies”, the more it will see that its “credibility” as a Jewish anti-Zionist organization can’t actually be drawn on.

There is space for good Jewish left-wing criticism of Israel (and plenty of groups better than JVP occupy that space: APN, J Street, and Third Narrative, to name three). But it can only work if it doesn’t draw its power from a fundamentally anti-Semitic narrative of general Jewish malfeasance. For a Jewish group to take that as their foundation is wrong in its own right, of course, but it is also self-sabotaging – a great example of De Tallyrand’s famous quip that “it was worse than a crime, it was a blunder.”

via The Debate Link http://ift.tt/2duZCFR

Israeli settlements, explained in 8 minutes

Settlers are Israeli Jews who live in the disputed lands of the

West Bank

. In this video, we look at how they got there and what their presence means for the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is often more a war of narratives than of weapons (though there are plenty of weapons). Both sides claim the West Bank as legitimately belonging to them. And both sides list a wide spectrum of reasons for their claims, including international law, biblical history, and family heritage.

The settler narrative is one of return, not conquest. The settlers believe they are returning to the ancient lands of Judea and Samaria where many of the events in the Jewish Bible took place.

But in addition to the biblical overtones to their mission, the settlers also have a political mission: to possess the West Bank and prevent a Palestinian state there. As the settler population swells, any scenario of a Palestinian state that encompasses the entire West Bank dwindles. It’s simply not plausible to remove more than 400,000 residents from their established communities.

Early settlers referred to their mission as “creating facts on the ground,” meaning creating a real-life Jewish presence in the West Bank such that any negotiations would have to take them into account.

“Creating facts” was originally the work of zealous activists who moved onto hilltop outposts, unsanctioned by even the Israeli government. But the settlers later began to receive institutional support from the government.

Over time, and especially as Israeli politics has shifted rightward, the settler movement has become an institutionalized part of Israeli society. Support comes in the form of building permits, public investment, and even incentives for Israelis to move into the West Bank.

While peace talks remain frozen, the settlements continue to grow, making any possibility of a Palestinian state in the West Bank faint. Watch the video above for an overview of the history of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Chinese Government Cracks Down on Practices of Small Jewish Community
JNS.org — The Chinese government has been cracking down on the religious practices of a small Jewish community whose ancestors settled in a central...

Chinese Government Cracks Down on Practices of Small Jewish Community

by JNS.org

Young Chinese men from the Jewish community of Kaifeng pray with Tefillin. Credit: YouTube screenshot.

JNS.org — The Chinese government has been cracking down on the religious practices of a small Jewish community whose ancestors settled in a central Chinese city over 1,000 years ago, according to The New York Times.

Some 100 to 200 individuals in the town of Kaifeng — out of 1,000 total who claim Jewish ancestry — remain actively observant, and they have been targeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government campaign to squash non-licensed religions.

According to the report, the government has shut down organizations that helped to rebuild the Jewish community, prohibited gatherings for Passover and other Jewish holidays, closed Hebrew and Judaism classes and removed Jewish historical signs and objects from public spaces.

“The whole policy is very tight now,” Guo Yan, 35, a tour guide who runs a small museum on Kaifeng’s Jewish past, told the Times. “China is sensitive about foreign activities and interference.”

No arrests have been made and the Jewish community can still gather in small groups to pray, but they are closely monitored by the government.

The approved state religions in Communist China are limited to Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism [sic] and Taoism.

Bill Clinton's unfinished business in Israel
Mourning his friend Shimon Peres, the former president returns to the scene of his greatest disappointment. By MICHAEL CROWLEY

In January 2003, Bill Clinton attended the 80th birthday of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, his friend and partner in pursuit of Middle East peace during the 1990s.

Onstage at a gala celebration in Israel, a twinkly-eyed Clinton sang along with a teenage pop star to John Lennon’s homage to world peace, “Imagine.”

Clinton may have stumbled his way through Lennon’s inspiring lyrics—"You may say I’m a dreamer….“—but his heart was in it. In the closing months of his presidency, Clinton came closer than any other president to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Associates say he has long been haunted by his inability to finish a process that Peres helped to start in the early 1990s, one that led Clinton to pronounce himself “a failure.”

Moreover, many believe that Clinton hasn’t given up his idealistic dream for peace, despite a growing global consensus that the peace broken is broken—perhaps beyond repair.

Read more here

Baruch Dayan HaEmet – Shimon Peres
A movie I saw recently had a very important line. The main character said, “How do you get to be someone so great? I guess you can only try.” No one is born a great person, greatness co…

Baruch Dayan HaEmet – Shimon Peres

SEPTEMBER 29, 2016


A movie I saw recently had a very important line. The main character said, “How do you get to be someone so great? I guess you can only try.” No one is born a great person, greatness comes from a life of great deeds, and those great deeds come about only from trying. Most of us feel that we can have no impact on the world around us, and a lesson I repeatedly try to teach to my son is, if you tell yourself you can’t, you’ll never be able to because you don’t try. Great people are great because they invest time and effort doing what they believe is right, and they focus on the goals and not the glory.

This week, one of the original founders of the State of Israel has passed on. Though some might disagree with some or all of his opinions, Shimon Peres did a lot of great things in his life, which was dedicated to the building of the State of Israel, a home for the Jewish people. From the time he was a teenager, he was already working with this goal in mind, and now, over 60 years after the State has been established, with the population rising constantly and one after another advancement in technology and health, we can say that his efforts were not in vain, but have accomplished something great. May his Neshama have an Aliyah.

Keep your distance from the upcoming Wonder Woman movie. She is played by Gal Gadot, an Israeli who served in the military and supports the genocide of Palestinians. 

During Israel’s last major attack on Gaza in 2014, she said: “I am sending my love and prayers to my fellow Israeli citizens, especially to all the boys and girls who are risking their lives protecting my country…” 

Her words rubbed salt into the wounds when you remember that Israeli citizens were relaxing on hilltops overlooking Gaza as they watched Israeli jets focus on killing large Palestinian families

More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, and six Israelis.

It’s impossible to hear of that movie and not immediately think ‘genocide’.