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Beta Israel – Wikipedia

Beta Israel (Hebrew: , Beyte (beyt) Yisrael; Ge’ez: , Bta ‘Isr’l, modern Bte ‘Isr’l, EAE: “Bet srael”, “House of Israel” or “Community of Israel”[4]), also known as Ethiopian Jews (Hebrew: : Yehudey Etyopyah; Ge’ez: , ye-Ityoppya Ayhudi), are Jews that developed and lived for centuries in the area of Kingdom of Aksum and the Ethiopian Empire that is currently divided between Amhara and Tigray Regions of Ethiopia. Most of these peoples have emigrated to Israel since the late 20th century.[5] Beta Israel lived in northern and northwestern Ethiopia, in more than 500 small villages spread over a wide territory, alongside populations that were Muslim and predominantly Christian.[6] Most of them were concentrated in the area around and to the north of Lake Tana, in the Tigray Region among the Wolqayit, Shire and Tselemt, in the Amhara Region of Gonder, and in the Semien Province found in Dembia, Segelt, Quara, and Belesa. The Beta Israel made renewed contacts with other Jewish communities in the later 20th century. After Halakhic and constitutional discussions, Israeli officials decided on March 14, 1977, that the Israeli Law of Return applied to the Beta Israel.[7] The Israeli and American governments mounted aliyah operations[8] to transport the people to Israel.[9] These activities included Operation Brothers in Sudan between 1979 and 1990 (this includes the major operations Moses and Joshua), and in the 1990s from Addis Ababa (which includes Operation Solomon).[10][11] By the end of 2008, there were 119,300 people of Ethiopian descent in Israel, including nearly 81,000 people born in Ethiopia and about 38,500 native-born Israelis (about 32 percent of the community) with at least one parent born in Ethiopia.[12] Throughout its history, the community has been referred to by numerous names. According to tradition the name “Beta Israel” (literally “house of Israel” in Ge’ez) originated in the 4th century CE, when the community refused to convert to Christianity during the rule of Abreha and Atsbeha (identified with Se’azana and Ezana), the monarchs of the Kingdom of Aksum who embraced Christianity.[13] This name contrasts with “Beta Kristiyan” (literally “house of Christianity”, referring to “church” in Ge’ez).[14][15] It did not originally have negative connotations,[dubious discuss] and the community has since used Beta Israel as its official name. Since the 1980s, it has also become the official name used in the scholarly and scientific literature to refer to the community.[16] The term Esra’elawi “Israelites”which is related to the name Beta Israelis also used by the community to refer to its members.[16] The name Ayhud “Jews” is rarely used in the community, as the Christians had used it as a derogatory term. The community has begun to use it only since strengthening ties with other Jewish communities in the 20th century.[16] The term Ibrawi “Hebrew” was used to refer to the Chawa (free man) in the community, in contrast to Barya “slave”.[17] The term Oritawi “Torah-true” was used to refer to the community members; since the 19th century it has been used in opposition to the term Falash Mura (converts). The major derogatory term Falasha “landless, wanderers” was given to the community by the Emperor Yeshaq I in the 15th century. Zagwe, referring to the Agaw people of the Zagwe dynasty, among the original inhabitants of northwest Ethiopia, is considered derogatory since it incorrectly associates the community with the largely pagan Agaw.[16] Haymanot (Ge’ez: ) is the colloquial term of the Jewish religion in the community.[18] Maf Kedus (Holy Scriptures) is the name for the religious literature. The language of the writings is Ge’ez, which is also the liturgical language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. It is the parent-language of modern Amharic and Tigrinya. The holiest book is the Orit (used by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church to denote the word “scripture”) which consists of the Octateuch: Five Books of Moses with Joshua, Judges and Ruth. The rest of the Bible has secondary importance. Sources are lacking on whether the Book of Lamentations is excluded from the canon, or whether it forms part of the Book of Jeremiah as it does in the Orthodox Tewahedo biblical canon[citation needed] Deuterocanonical books that also make up part of the canon are Sirach, Judith, Esdras 1 and 2, Meqabyan, Jubilees, Baruch 1 and 4, Tobit, Enoch, and the testaments of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Important non-Biblical writings include: Nagara Muse (The Conversation of Moses), Mota Aaron (Death of Aharon), Mota Muse (Death of Moses), Te’ezaza Sanbat (Precepts of Sabbath), Arde’et (Students), Gorgorios, Maf Sa’atat (Book of Hours), Abba Elias (Father Elija), Maf Mla’kt (Book of Angels), Maf Kahan (Book of Priest), Drsan Abrham Wsara Bgabs (Homily on Abraham and Sarah in Egypt), Gadla Sosna (The Acts of Susanna) and Baqadmi Gabra Egzi’abr (In the Beginning God Created). Zna Ayhud (Jews Story) and Flasf (Philosophers) are two books that are not considered sacred but have had great influence. The synagogue is called masgid (place of worship), also bet maqds (Holy house) or alot bet (Prayer house). Beta Israel kashrut law is based mainly on the books of Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Jubilees. Permitted and forbidden animals and their signs appear on Leviticus 11:38 and Deuteronomy 14:48. Forbidden birds are listed on Leviticus 11:1323 and Deuteronomy 14:1220. Signs of permitted fish are written on Leviticus 11:912 and Deuteronomy 14:910. Insects and larvae are forbidden according to Leviticus 11:4142. Waterfowl are forbidden according to Leviticus 11:46. Gid hanasheh is forbidden per Genesis 32:33. Mixtures of milk and meat are not prepared or eaten but are not banned either: Haymanot interpreted the verses Exodus 23:19, Exodus 34:26 and Deuteronomy 14:21 “shalt not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk” literally, as in Karaite Judaism. Nowadays, under the influence of Rabbinic Judaism, mixing dairy products with meat is banned. Ethiopian Jews were forbidden to eat the food of non-Jews. A Kahen eats only meat he has slaughtered himself, which his hosts prepare both for him and themselves. Beta Israel who broke these taboos were ostracized and had to undergo a purification process. Purification included fasting for one or more days, eating only uncooked chickpeas provided by the Kahen, and ritual purification before entering the village. Unlike other Ethiopians, the Beta Israel do not eat raw meat dishes such as kitfo or gored gored.[19] The Beta Israel calendar is a lunar calendar of 12 months, each 29 or 30 days alternately. Every four years there is a leap year which added a full month (30 days). The calendar is a combination of the ancient calendar of Alexandrian Jewry, Book of Jubilees, Book of Enoch, Abu Shaker, and the Ge’ez calendar.[20][21] The years are counted according to the counting of Kushta: “1571 to Jesus Christ, 7071 to the Gyptians and 6642 to the Hebrews”;[22] according to this counting, the year 5771 (Hebrew: ‘”) in the Rabbinical Hebrew calendar is the year 7082 in this calendar. Holidays in the Haymanot (religion)[23] are divided into daily, monthly and annually. The annual holidays by month are: Monthly holidays are mainly memorial days to the annual holiday, these are yaaraq ba’l (“new moon festival”)[24] on the first day of every month, asrt (“ten”) on the tenth day to commemorate Yom Kippur, ‘asr hulat (“twelve”) on the twelfth day to commemorate Shavuot, asr ammest (“fifteen”) on the fifteenth day to commemorate Passover and Sukkot, and om mlya a fast on the last day of every month.[25] Daily holidays include the om so (Monday fast), om amus (Thursday fast), om ‘arb (Friday fast) and the very holy Sanbat (Sabbath). The Beta Israel once spoke Qwara and Kayla, Agaw languages. Now they speak Amharic and Tigrinya, both Semitic languages. Their liturgical language is Ge’ez, also Semitic.[26][27] Since the 1950s, they have taught Hebrew in their schools. Those Beta Israel residing in the State of Israel now use Modern Hebrew as a daily language. There is no independent tradition of origin transmitted over the ages among the Ethiopian Jews. The known Beta Israel versions of the Ethiopian legend of origin take as their basis the account of Menelik’s return to Ethiopia.[28] Menelik is considered the first Solomonic Emperor of Ethiopia, and is traditionally believed to be the son of King Solomon of ancient Israel, and Makeda, ancient Queen of Sheba (in modern Ethiopia). Though all the available traditions[29] correspond to recent interpretations, they reflect ancient convictions. According to Jon Abbink; three different versions are to be distinguished among the traditions which were recorded from the priests of the community.[30] By versions of this type, the Beta Israel expressed their belief that they were not necessarily descendants of King Solomon, but contemporaries of Solomon and Menelik, originating from the kingdom of Israel.[31] According to these versions, the forefathers of the Beta Israel are supposed to have arrived in Ethiopia coming from the North, independently from Menelik and his company: The Falashas [sic] migrated like many of the other sons of Israel to exile in Egypt after the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE the time of the Babylonian exile. This group of people was led by the great priest On. They remained in exile in Egypt for few hundred years until the reign of Cleopatra. When she was engaged in war against Augustus Caesar the Jews supported her. When she was defeated, it became dangerous for the small minorities to remain in Egypt and so there was another migration (approximately between 3931 BCE). Some of the migrants went to South Arabia and further to the Yemen. Some of them went to the Sudan and continued on their way to Ethiopia, helped by Egyptian traders who guided them through the desert. Some of them entered Ethiopia through Quara (near the Sudanese border), and some came via Eritrea. …Later in time, there was an Abyssinian king named Kaleb, who wished to enlarge his kingdom, so he declared war on the Yemen and conquered it. And so, during his reign there arrived another group of Jews to Ethiopia, led by Azonos and Phinhas.[32]:413414 The Ethiopian history described in the Kebra Nagast relates that Ethiopians are descendants of Israelite tribes who came to Ethiopia with MenelikI, alleged to be the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (or Makeda, in the legend) (see 1Kings 10:113 and 2Chronicles 9:112). The legend relates that Menelik, as an adult, returned to his father in Jerusalem, and later resettled in Ethiopia. He took with him the Ark of the Covenant.[33][34] In the Bible there is no mention that the Queen of Sheba either married or had any sexual relations with King Solomon (although some identify her with the “black and beautiful” in Song of Songs 1:5).[35] Rather, the narrative records that she was impressed with Solomon’s wealth and wisdom, and they exchanged royal gifts, and then she returned to rule her people in Kush. However, the “royal gifts” are interpreted by some as sexual contact. The loss of the Ark is not mentioned in the Bible. Hezekiah later makes reference to the Ark in 2 Kings 19:15. The Kebra Negast asserts that the Beta Israel are descended from a battalion of men of Judah who fled southward down the Arabian coastal lands from Judea after the breakup of the Kingdom of Israel into two kingdoms in the 10th century BCE (while King Rehoboam reigned over Judah). Although the Kebra Nagast and some traditional Ethiopian histories have stated that Gudit (or “Yudit”, Judith; another name given her was “Esato”, Esther), a 10th-century usurping queen, was Jewish, some scholars consider that it is unlikely that this was the case. It is more likely, they say, that she was a pagan southerner[36] or a usurping Christian Aksumite Queen.[37] However, she clearly supported Jews, since she founded the Zagwe dynasty, who governed from around 937 to 1270 CE. According to the Kebra Nagast, Jewish, Christian and pagan kings ruled in harmony at that time. Furthermore, the Zagwe dynasty claimed legitimacy (according to the Kebra Nagast) by saying it was descended from Moses and his Ethiopian wife. Most of the Beta Israel consider the Kebra Negast to be legend. As its name expresses, “Glory of Kings” (meaning the Christian Aksumite kings), it was written in the 14th century in large part to delegitimize the Zagwe dynasty, to promote instead a rival “Solomonic” claim to authentic Jewish Ethiopian antecedents, and to justify the Christian overthrow of the Zagwe by the “Solomonic” Aksumite dynasty, whose rulers are glorified. The writing of this polemic shows that criticisms of the Aksumite claims of authenticity were current in the 14th century, two centuries after they came to power. Many Beta Israel believe that they are descended from the tribe of Dan.[citation needed] Most reject the “Solomonic” and “Queen of Sheba” legends of the Aksumites. To prove the antiquity and authenticity of their claims, the Beta Israel cite the 9th-century CE testimony of Eldad ha-Dani (the Danite), from a time before the Zagwean dynasty was established. Eldad was a Jewish man of dark skin who appeared in Egypt and created a stir in that Jewish community (and elsewhere in the Mediterranean Jewish communities he visited) with claims that he had come from a Jewish kingdom of pastoralists far to the south. The only language Eldad spoke was a hitherto unknown dialect of Hebrew. Although he strictly followed the Mosaic commandments, his observance differed in some details from Rabbinic halakhah. Some observers thought that he might be a Karaite, although his practice also differed from theirs. He carried Hebrew books that supported his explanations of halakhah. He cited ancient authorities in the scholarly traditions of his own people.[38] Eldad said that the Jews of his own kingdom descended from the tribe of Dan (which included the Biblical war-hero Samson) who had fled the civil war in the Kingdom of Israel between Solomon’s son Rehoboam and Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and resettled in Egypt. From there they moved southwards up the Nile into Ethiopia. The Beta Israel say this confirms that they are descended from these Danites.[39] Some Beta Israel, however, assert that their Danite origins go back to the time of Moses, when some Danites parted from other Jews right after the Exodus and moved south to Ethiopia. Eldad the Danite speaks of at least three waves of Jewish immigration into his region, creating other Jewish tribes and kingdoms. The earliest wave settled in a remote kingdom of the “tribe of Moses”: this was the strongest and most secure Jewish kingdom of all, with farming villages, cities and great wealth.[40] The Mosaic claims of the Beta Israel, in any case, like those of the Zagwe dynasty, are ancient.[41] Other sources tell of many Jews who were brought as prisoners of war from ancient Israel by PtolemyI and settled on the border of his kingdom with Nubia (Sudan). Another tradition asserts that the Jews arrived either via the old district of Qwara in northwestern Ethiopia, or via the Atbara River, where the Nile tributaries flow into Sudan. Some accounts specify the route taken by their forefathers on their way upriver to the south from Egypt.[42] As mentioned above, the 9th-century Jewish traveler Eldad ha-Dani claimed the Beta Israel descended from the tribe of Dan. He also reported other Jewish kingdoms around his own or in East Africa during this time. His writings probably represent the first mention of the Beta Israel in Rabbinic literature. Despite some skeptical critics, his authenticity has been generally accepted in current scholarship. His descriptions were consistent and even the originally doubtful rabbis of his time were finally persuaded.[43] Specific details may be uncertain; one critic has noted Eldad’s lack of detailed reference to Ethiopia’s geography and any Ethiopian language, although he claimed the area as his homeland.[44] Eldad’s was not the only medieval testimony about Jewish communities living far to the south of Egypt, which strengthens the credibility of his account. Obadiah ben Abraham Bartenura wrote in a letter from Jerusalem in 1488: I myself saw two of them in Egypt. They are dark-skinned…and one could not tell whether they keep the teaching of the Karaites, or of the Rabbis, for some of their practices resemble the Karaite teaching…but in other things they appear to follow the instruction of the Rabbis; and they say they are related to the tribe of Dan.[45] Some Jewish legal authorities have asserted that the Beta Israel are the descendants of the tribe of Dan, one of the Ten Lost Tribes.[46] They believe that these people established a Jewish kingdom that lasted for hundreds of years. With the rise of Christianity and later Islam, schisms arose and three kingdoms competed. Eventually, the Christian and Muslim Ethiopian kingdoms reduced the Jewish kingdom to a small impoverished section. The earliest authority to rule this way was David ben Solomon ibn Abi Zimra (14791573), who explains in a responsum concerning the status of a Beta Israel slave: But those Jews who come from the land of Cush are without doubt from the tribe of Dan, and since they did not have in their midst sages who were masters of the tradition, they clung to the simple meaning of the Scriptures. If they had been taught, however, they would not be irreverent towards the words of our sages, so their status is comparable to a Jewish infant taken captive by non-Jews And even if you say that the matter is in doubt, it is a commandment to redeem them.[47] In 1973 Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, then the Chief Sephardic Rabbi, based on the Radbaz and other accounts, ruled that the Beta Israel were Jews and should be brought to Israel. He was later joined by a number of other authorities who made similar rulings, including the Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Shlomo Goren.[48] Some notable poskim, from non-Zionist Ashkenazi circles, placed a safek “legal doubt” over the Jewish peoplehood of the Beta Israel. Such dissenting voices include rabbis Elazar Shach, Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, and Moshe Feinstein.[49][50] Similar doubts were raised within the same circles towards the Bene Israel[51] and to Russian immigrants to Israel during the 1990s Post-Soviet aliyah. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the Beta Israel were required to undergo a modified conversion ceremony involving immersion in a mikveh, a declaration accepting Rabbinic law, and, for men, a “symbolic recircumcision”.[52] Chief Rabbi Avraham Shapira later waived the “symbolic recircumcision” demand, which is only required when the halakhic doubt is significant.[53] More recently, Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar has ruled that descendants of Ethiopian Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity are “unquestionably Jews in every respect”.[54] With the consent of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rabbi Amar ruled that it is forbidden to question the Jewishness of this community, pejoratively called Falash Mura in reference to their having converted.[55][56] According to Cruciani et al. (2002), haplogroup A is the most common paternal lineage among Ethiopian Jews. The clade is carried by around 41% of Beta Israel males, and is primarily associated with Nilo-Saharan and Khoisan-speaking populations. Additionally, around 18% of Ethiopian Jews are bearers of E-P2 (xM35, xM2), which today is restricted to a few Niger-Congo-speaking communities in West Africa. The rest of the Beta Israel mainly belong to haplotypes linked with the E1b1b and J haplogroups, which are instead associated with local Afroasiatic-speaking populations in Northeast Africa. Altogether, this suggests that Ethiopian Jews have diverse patrilineages indicative of both Afro-Asiatic and non-Afro-Asiatic origins for this community.[57] A 2001 study by the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University found a possible genetic similarity between 11 Ethiopian Jews and four Yemenite Jews who took part in the testing. The differentiation statistic and genetic distances for the 11 Ethiopian Jews and four Yemenite Jews tested were quite low, among the smallest of comparisons involving either of these populations. The four Yemenite Jews from this study may be descendants of reverse migrants of Ethiopian origin who crossed Ethiopia to Yemen. The study result suggests gene flow between Ethiopia and Yemen as a possible explanation for the closeness. The study also suggests that the gene flow between Ethiopian and Yemenite Jewish populations may not have been direct, but instead could have been between Jewish and non-Jewish populations of both regions.[58] A 2002 study of mitochondrial DNA (which is passed through only maternal lineage to both men and women) by Thomas et al. showed that the most common mtDNA type found among the Ethiopian Jews sample was present only in Somalia. This further supported the view that all Ethiopian Beta Israel were of local or Ethiopian origin.[59] The Ethiopian Jews’ autosomal DNA has been examined in a comprehensive study by Tishkoff et al. (2009) on the genetic affiliations of various populations in Africa. According to the analysis, the Beta Israel showed significant Afro-Asiatic affinities. They also shared some ties with neighboring Nilo-Saharan and Bantu speakers in the African Great Lakes region due to considerable genetic exchanges with these communities over the past 5000 or so years.[60] A 2010 study by Behar et al. on the genome-wide structure of Jews observed that the Beta Israel had levels of the Middle Eastern genetic clusters similar to the Semitic-speaking Tigrayans and Amharas.[61] A number of other DNA studies have been done on the Beta Israel.[62][63][64][65][66][67] A 2012 study showed that although the Beta Israel more closely resemble the indigenous populations of Ethiopia, they have some distant Jewish ancestry, going back 2000 years. This has resulted in speculation that the community was founded by a few Jewish itinerant traders who moved to Ethiopia, converted locals to Judaism, and married into the local population. This evidence has been used as an explanation as to why the Beta Israel had no idea about the holiday of Hanukkah until they were resettled in Israel. The holiday commemorates events in the second century BC, long after their ancestors had left Israel.[68] Early secular scholars considered the Beta Israel to be the direct descendant of Jews who lived in ancient Ethiopia, whether they were the descendants of an Israelite tribe, or converted by Jews living in Yemen, or by the Jewish community in southern Egypt at Elephantine.[69] In 1829, Marcus Louis wrote that the ancestors of the Beta Israel related to the Asmach, which were also called Sembritae (“foreigners”), an Egyptian regiment numbering 240,000 soldiers and mentioned by Greek geographers and historians. The Asmach emigrated or were exiled from Elephantine to Kush in the time of Psamtik I or Psamtik II and settled in Sennar and Abyssinia.[70] It is possible that Shebna’s party from Rabbinic accounts was part of the Asmach. In the 1930s Jones and Monro argued that the chief Semitic languages of Ethiopia may suggest an antiquity of Judaism in Ethiopia. “There still remains the curious circumstance that a number of Abyssinian words connected with religion, such as the words for Hell, idol, Easter, purification, and alms are of Hebrew origin. These words must have been derived directly from a Jewish source, for the Abyssinian Church knows the scriptures only in a Ge’ez version made from the Septuagint.”[71] Richard Pankhurst summarized the various theories offered about their origins as of 1950 that the first members of this community were (1)converted Agaws, (2)Jewish immigrants who intermarried with Agaws, (3)immigrant Yemeni Arabs who had converted to Judaism, (4)immigrant Yemeni Jews, (5)Jews from Egypt, and (6)successive waves of Yemeni Jews. Traditional Ethiopian savants, on the one hand, have declared that ‘We were Jews before we were Christians’, while more recent, well-documented, Ethiopian hypotheses, notably by two Ethiopian scholars, Dr Taddesse Tamrat and Dr Getachew Haile…put much greater emphasis on the manner in which Christians over the years converted to the Falasha faith, thus showing that the Falashas were culturally an Ethiopian sect, made up of ethnic Ethiopians.[72] According to Jacqueline Pirenne, numerous Sabaeans left south Arabia and crossed over the Red Sea to Ethiopia to escape from the Assyrians, who had devastated the kingdoms of Israel and Judah in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE. She says that a second major wave of Sabeans crossed over to Ethiopia in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE to escape Nebuchadnezzar II. This wave also included Jews fleeing from the Babylonian takeover of Judah. In both cases the Sabeans are assumed to have departed later from Ethiopia to Yemen.[73] According to Menachem Waldman, a major wave of emigration from the Kingdom of Judah to Kush and Abyssinia dates to the Assyrian Siege of Jerusalem, in the beginning of the 7th century BCE. Rabbinic accounts of the siege assert that only about 110,000 Judeans remained in Jerusalem under King Hezekiah’s command, whereas about 130,000 Judeans led by Shebna had joined Sennacherib’s campaign against Tirhakah, king of Kush. Sennacherib’s campaign failed and Shebna’s army was lost “at the mountains of darkness”, suggestively identified with the Semien Mountains.[74] In 1987 Steve Kaplan wrote: Although we don’t have a single fine ethnographic research on Beta Israel, and the recent history of this tribe has received almost no attention by researchers, every one who writes about the Jews of Ethiopia feels obliged to contribute his share to the ongoing debate about their origin. Politicians and journalists, Rabbis and political activists, not a single one of them withstood the temptation to play the role of the historian and invent a solution for this riddle.[75] Richard Pankhurst summarized the state of knowledge on the subject in 1992 as follows: “The early origins of the Falashas are shrouded in mystery, and, for lack of documentation, will probably remain so for ever.”[72] By 1994 modern scholars of Ethiopian history and Ethiopian Jews generally supported one of two conflicting hypotheses for the origin of the Beta Israel, as outlined by Kaplan:[76] According to the Beta Israel tradition, the Jewish kingdom of Beta Israel, later called the kingdom of Gondar, was initially established after Ezana was crowned as the Emperor of Axum (in 325 CE). Ezana, who was educated in his childhood by the missionary Frumentius, declared Christianity as the religion of the Ethiopian empire after he was crowned. The inhabitants who practiced Judaism and refused to convert to Christianity began revolting this group was referred to as “Beta Israel” by the emperor. Following civil war between the Jewish population and the Christian population the Beta Israel appear to have forged an independent state, either in northern western Ethiopia or the eastern region of Northern Sudan. By the 13th century, the Beta Israel have already moved to the more easily defensible mountains to the northwest of the Christianized region of the plains.[77] The kingdom was located in the Semien Mountains region and the Dembia region situated to the north of Lake Tana and south of the Tekez River. They made their main city at Gondar, crowned their first king, Phineas, a descendent of the Jewish High Priest Zadok, and started a period of territorial expansion eastward and southward. During the mid-9th century, the empire of Aksum began a new expansion, which led to an armed conflict between the Empire forces and the Beta Israel forces. The Beta Israel kingdom under King Gideon the fourth managed to defeat the Axum forces. During the battle king Gideon was killed. As a result, Gideon’s daughter Judith inherited the kingdom from her father and took command. Queen Judith signed a pact with the Agaw tribes which were pagans. Around 960, The large tribal confederation led by Queen Judith, which included both forces of the Agaw tribes and the Beta Israel forces, invaded the capital of Axum and conquered and destroyed the city of Axum (including many churches and monasteries which were burned and destroyed) and imposed the Jewish rule over Axum. In addition, the Axumite throne was snatched and the forces of Queen Judith sacked and burned the Debre Damo monastery which at the time was a treasury and a prison for the male relatives of the emperor of Ethiopia, killing all of the potential heirs of the emperor. The Golden Age of the Beta Israel kingdom took place, according to the Ethiopian tradition, between the years 8581270, in which the Jewish kingdom flourished. During that period the world Jewry heard for the first time the stories of Eldad ha-Dani who either visited the kingdom or heard many accounts of it in his own Jewish kingdom of pastoralists, which may have been located in the Sudan (since he speaks of the Mosaic kingdom lying on “the other side of the rivers of Ethiopia” in remote mountains). Even Marco Polo and Benjamin of Tudela mention an independent Ethiopian Jewish kingdom in the writings from that period. This period ends with the rise of the Christian Solomonic dynasty In 1270 the Christian Solomonic dynasty was “restored” after the crowning of a monarch who claimed descent from the single royal prince who managed to escape Queen Judith’s uprising. For the next three centuries, the Solomonic dynasty emperors conducted several long ongoing series of armed confrontations with the Jewish kingdom. In 1329, Emperor Amda Seyon campaigned in the northwest provinces of Semien, Wegera, Tselemt, and Tsegede, in which many had been converting to Judaism and where the Beta Israel had been gaining prominence.[78] He sent troops there to fight people “like Jews” (Ge’ez : kama ayhd).[79] During the reign of Emperor Yeshaq (14141429) who invaded the Jewish kingdom, annexed it and began to exert religious pressure. Yeshaq divided the occupied territories of the Jewish kingdom into three provinces which were controlled by commissioners appointed by him. He reduced the Jews’ social status below that of Christians[79] and forced the Jews to convert or lose their land. It would be given away as rist, a type of land qualification that rendered it forever inheritable by the recipient and not transferable by the Emperor. Yeshaq decreed, “He who is baptized in the Christian religion may inherit the land of his father, otherwise let him be a Fals.” This may have been the origin for the term “Falasha” (fal, “wanderer,” or “landless person”).[79] This term is considered derogatory to Ethiopian Jews. By 1450 the Jewish kingdom managed to annex back the territories it lost beforehand and began preparing to fight the armies of the emperor. The Beta Israel forces invaded the Ethiopian Empire in 1462 but lost the campaign and many of its military forces were killed. Later on the forces of the Ethiopian emperor invaded the kingdom in the region of Begemder and massacred many of the Jews in that region throughout a period of seven years. The Emperor Yacob Zara (reigned 14341468) even proudly added the title “Exterminator of the Jews” to his name. Although the area of the kingdom became significantly smaller afterwards, the Jews were able to eventually restore their mountain kingdom. Between the years 1529 until 1543 the Muslim Adal Sultanate armies with the assistance of forces from the Ottoman Empire invaded and fought the Ethiopian Empire and came close to extinguishing the ancient realm of Ethiopia, and converting all of its subjects to Islam. During that time period the Jews made a pact with the Ethiopian Empire. The leaders of the Kingdom of Beta Israel changed their alliance during the war and began supporting the Muslim Adal Sultanate armies. However, the Adal Sultanate armies felt strong enough to ignore this offer of support and killed many of its members. As a result, the leaders of the Beta Israel kingdom turned to the Ethiopian empire and their allies, and continued the fight against them. They conquered different regions of the Jewish kingdom, severely damaged its economy and requested their assistance in winning back the regions lost to the Adal Sultanate. The forces of the Ethiopian empire did succeed eventually in conquering the Muslims and freed Ethiopia from Ahmed Gragn. Nevertheless, the Ethiopian Christian empire decided to declare war against the Jewish Kingdom, giving as their justification the Jewish leaders’ change of positions during the EthiopianAdal War. With the assistance of Portuguese forces from the Order of the Jesuits, the Ethiopian empire under the rule of Emperor Gelawdewos invaded the Jewish kingdom and executed the Jewish king Joram. As a result of this battle, the areas of the kingdom became significantly smaller and included now only the region of the Semien Mountains. In the 16th century, the Chief Rabbi of Egypt, Rabbi David ben Solomon ibn Abi Zimra (Radbaz) proclaimed that in terms of halakha (Jewish legal code), the Ethiopian community was certainly Jewish.[80] After the execution of King Joram, King Radi became the leader of the Beta Israel kingdom. King Radi also fought against the Ethiopian Empire which at that period of time was ruled by Emperor Menas. The forces of the Jewish kingdom managed to conquer the area south of the kingdom and strengthened their defenses in the Semien Mountains. The battles against the forces of emperor Menas were successful as the Ethiopian empire forces were eventually defeated. During the reign of emperor Sarsa Dengel the Jewish kingdom was invaded and the forces of the Ethiopian empire besieged the kingdom. The Jews survived the siege, but at the end of the siege the King Goshen was executed and many of his soldiers as well as many other Beta Israel members committed mass suicides.[81] During the reign of Susenyos I the Ethiopian empire waged war against the Jewish kingdom and managed to conquer the entire kingdom and annex it to the Ethiopian empire by 1627. After the Beta Israel autonomy in Ethiopia ended in the 1620s, Emperor Susenyos I confiscated their lands, sold many people into slavery and forcibly baptized others.[82] In addition, Jewish writings and religious books were burned and the practice of any form of Jewish religion was forbidden in Ethiopia.[citation needed] As a result of this period of oppression, much traditional Jewish culture and practice was lost or changed. Nonetheless, the Beta Israel community appears to have continued to flourish during this period. The capital of Ethiopia, Gondar, in Dembiya, was surrounded by Beta Israel lands. The Beta Israel served as craftsmen, masons, and carpenters for the Emperors from the 16th century onwards. Such roles had been shunned by Ethiopians as lowly and less honorable than farming.[82] According to contemporary accounts by European visitors: Portuguese merchants and diplomats, French, British and other travellers, the Beta Israel numbered about one million persons in the 17th century.[citation needed] These accounts also recounted that some knowledge of Hebrew persisted among the people in the 17th century. For example, Manoel de Almeida, a Portuguese diplomat and traveller of the day, wrote that: There were Jews in Ethiopia from the first. Some of them were converted to the law of Christ Our Lord; others persisted in their blindness and formerly possessed many wide territories, almost the whole Kingdom of Dambea and the provinces of Ogara and Seman. This was when the [Christian] empire was much larger, but since the [pagan and Muslim] Gallas have been pressing in upon them [from the east and south], the Emperors have pressed in upon them [i.e., the Jews to the west?] much more and took Dambea and Ogara from them by force of arms many years ago. In Seman, however, they defended themselves with great determination, helped by the position and the ruggedness of their mountains. Many rebels ran away and joined them till the present Emperor Setan Sequed [throne name of Susneyos], who in his 9th year fought and conquered the King Gideon and in his 19th year attacked Samen and killed Gideon. … The majority and the flower of them were killed in various attacks and the remainder surrendered or dispersed in different directions. Many of them received holy baptism but nearly all were still as much Jews as they had been before. There are many of the latter in Dambea and in various regions; they live by weaving cloth and by making zargunchos [spears], ploughs and other iron articles, for they are great smiths. Between the Emperors kingdoms and the Cafres [Negroes] who live next to the Nile outside imperial territory, mingled together with each other are many more of these Jews who are called Falashas here. The Falashas or Jews are … of [Arabic] race [and speak] Hebrew, though it is very corrupt. They have their Hebrew Bibles and sing the psalms in their synagogues.[83] The sources of De Almeida’s knowledge are not spelled out, but they at least reflect contemporary views. His comments regarding the Hebrew knowledge of the Beta Israel of that time is very significant: it could not have come from recent intercourse with Jews elsewhere, so it indicates deep antiquity to Beta Israel traditions, at least at that time, before their literature was taken away from them and demolished by the later conquering Christians. (The more sceptical school of historians, whose views are discussed above, deny that the Ethiopian Jews ever knew Hebrew; they certainly have no Hebrew texts remaining, and have been forced in recent centuries to use the Christian “Old Testament” in Ge’ez after their own literature was destroyed.) It is also of interest that he mentions more Jewish communities dwelling beyond Ethiopia in the Sudan. As so often in such medieval hearsay accounts, however, loose claims are made that may not be accurate. The Beta Israel were not predominantly of the Arabic race, for instance, but he may have meant the term loosely or meant that they also knew Arabic. The isolation of the Beta Israel community in Ethiopia, and their continuing use of some Hebrew, was also reported by the Scottish explorer James Bruce who published his travelogue Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile in Edinburgh in 1790. The Beta Israel lost their relative economic advantage in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, during the Zemene Mesafint, a period of recurring civil strife. Although the capital was nominally in Gondar during this time period, the decentralization of government and dominance by regional capitals resulted in a decline and exploitation of Beta Israel by local rulers. No longer was there a strong central government interested in and capable of protecting them.[82] During this period, the Jewish religion was effectively lost for some forty years, before being restored in the 1840s by Abba Widdaye, the preeminent monk of Qwara.[82] The contemporary history of the Beta Israel community begins with the reunification of Ethiopia in the mid-19th century during the reign of Tewodros II. At that time, the Beta Israel population was estimated at between 200,000 to 350,000 people.[84] Despite occasional contacts in an earlier stage, the West only became well-aware of the existence of the Beta Israel community when they came in contact through the Protestant missionaries of the “London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews” which specialized in the conversion of Jews.[85] The organization began its operating in Ethiopia in 1859. The Protestant missionaries, who worked under the direction of a converted Jew named Henry Aaron Stern, converted many of the Beta Israel community to Christianity. Between 1859 and 1922, about 2,000 Beta Israel members converted to Orthodox Christianity (they did not convert to Protestantism due to an agreement the Protestant missionaries had with the government of Ethiopia). The relatively low amount of conversions is partly explained by the strong reaction to the conversions from religious leadership of the Beta Israel community[citation needed]. The Beta Israel members who were converted to Christianity are known today as “Falash Mura”. The Protestant missionaries activities in Ethiopia provoked European Jewry. As a result, several European rabbis proclaimed that they recognized the Jewishness of the Beta Israel community, and eventually in 1868 the organization “Alliance Isralite Universelle” decided to send the Jewish-French Orientalist Joseph Halvy to Ethiopia in order to study the conditions of the Ethiopian Jews. Upon his return to Europe, Halvy made a very favorable report of the Beta Israel community in which he called for world Jewish community to save the Ethiopian Jews, to establish Jewish schools in Ethiopia, and even suggested to bring thousands of Beta Israel members to settle in Ottoman Syria (a dozen of years before the actual establishment of the first Zionist organization). Nevertheless, after a brief period in which the media coverage generated a great interest in the Beta Israel community, the interest among the Jewish communities world wide declined. This happened mainly because serious doubts still remained about the Jewishness of the Beta Israel community and because the Alliance Isralite Universelle organization did not comply with Halvy’s recommendations[citation needed]. Between 1888 and 1892, northern Ethiopia experienced a devastating famine. The famine was caused by rinderpest that killed the majority of all cattle (see 1890s African rinderpest epizootic). Conditions worsened with cholera outbreaks (188992), a typhus epidemic, and a major smallpox epidemic (188990). About one-third of the Ethiopian population died during that period.[86][87] It is estimated that between a half to two-thirds of the Beta Israel community died during that period. The myth of the lost tribes in Ethiopia intrigued Jacques Faitlovitch, a former student of Joseph Halvy at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris. In 1904 Faitlovitch decided to lead a new mission in northern Ethiopia. Faitlovitch obtained funding from the Jewish philanthropist Edmond de Rothschild, traveled and lived among the Ethiopian Jews. In addition, Faitlovitch managed to disrupt the efforts of the Protestant missionaries to convert the Ethiopian Jews, who at the time attempted to persuade the Ethiopian Jews that all the Jews in the world believe in Jesus between the years 19051935, he brought out 25 young Ethiopian Jewish boys, whom he planted in the Jewish communities of Europe,[88] for example Salomon Yeshaq,[89] Taamerat Ammanuel,[90] Abraham Adgeh,[91] Yona Bogale,[92] and Tadesse Yacob.[93] Following his visit in Ethiopia, Faitlovitch created an international committee for the Beta Israel community, popularized the awareness of their existence through his book “Notes de voyage chez les Falashas”, and raised funds to enable the establishment of schools in their villages.[94] In 1908, the chief rabbis of 45 countries made a joint statement officially declaring that Ethiopian Jews were indeed Jewish. The Jewishness of the Beta Israel community became openly supported amongst the majority of the European Jewish communities during the early 20th century. In 1921 Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the British Mandate for Palestine, recognized the Beta Israel community as Jews. In 1935 armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy headed by the fascist leader Benito Mussolini invaded and occupied Ethiopia. Ethiopia officially surrendered in 1936. The Italian regime showed hostility towards the Jews of Ethiopia. The racial laws which were enacted in Italy were also applied to Italian East Africa. Mussolini attempted to reach an agreement with Britain which would recognize Italian East Africa, during which Mussolini proposed to solve the “Jewish problem” in Europe and in Palestine by resettling the Jews in the north-west Ethiopian districts of Gojjam and Begemder along with the Beta Israel community.[95][96] The proposed Jewish state was to be federally united with the Italian Empire. Mussolini’s plan was never implemented. When the State of Israel was established in 1948 many Ethiopian Jews began contemplating immigrating to Israel. Nevertheless, the Emperor Haile Selassie refused to grant the Ethiopian Jewish population permission to leave his empire. Between the years 1965 and 1975 a relatively small group of Ethiopian Jews immigrated to Israel. The Beta Israel immigrants in that period were mainly a very few men who had studied and come to Israel on a tourist visa and then remained in the country illegally. Some supporters in Israel who recognized their Jewishness decided to assist them. These supporters began organizing associations, including one under the direction of Ovadia Hazzi, a Yemeni Jew and former sergeant in the Israeli army who married a wife from the Beta Israel community after the Second World War.[97] Some of the illegal immigrants managed to regularize their status with the Israeli authorities through the assistance of these support associations. Some agreed to “convert” to Judaism, which helped them to regularize their personal status and thus remain in Israel. Those who had regularized their status often brought their families to Israel as well. In 1973, Ovadia Hazzi officially raised the question of the Jewishness of the Beta Israel to the Israeli Sephardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. The rabbi, who cited a rabbinic ruling from the 16th century David ben Solomon ibn Abi Zimra and asserted that the Beta Israel are descended from the lost tribe of Dan, acknowledged their Jewishness in February 1973. This ruling was initially rejected by the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who eventually changed his opinion on the matter in 1974. In April 1975, the Israeli government of Yitzhak Rabin officially accepted the Beta Israel as Jews, for the purpose of the Law of Return (an Israeli act that grants all the Jews in the world the right to immigrate to Israel). Later on, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin obtained clear rulings from Chief Sephardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef that they were descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel did however initially require them to undergo pro forma Jewish conversions, to remove any doubt as to their Jewish status. After a period of civil unrest on September 12, 1974, a pro-communist military junta, known as the “Derg” (“committee”) seized power after ousting the emperor Haile Selassie I. The Derg installed a government which was socialist in name and military in style. Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam assumed power as head of state and Derg chairman. Mengistu’s years in office were marked by a totalitarian-style government and the country’s massive militarization, financed by the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, and assisted by Cuba. Communism was officially adopted by the new regime during the late 1970s and early 1980s. As a result, the new regime gradually began to embrace anti-religious and anti-Israeli positions as well as showing hostility towards the Jews of Ethiopia. Towards the mid-1980s Ethiopia underwent a series of famines, exacerbated by adverse geopolitics and civil wars, which eventually resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands.[98] As a result, the lives of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians, including the Beta Israel community, became untenable and a large part tried to escape the war and the famine by fleeing to neighboring Sudan. Concern for the fate of the Ethiopian Jews and fear for their well-being contributed eventually to the Israeli government’s official recognition of the Beta Israel community as Jews in 1975, for the purpose of the Law of Return. Civil war in Ethiopia prompted the Israeli government to airlift most of the Beta Israel population in Ethiopia to Israel in several covert military rescue operations which took place from the 1980s until the early 1990s (see section below). At the start of 1990, Israel provided military assistance to the Derg regime in exchange for the trouble-free exit of the Beta Israel population. The emigration to Israel of the Beta Israel community was officially banned by the Communist Derg government of Ethiopia during the 1980s, although it is now known that General Menghistu collaborated with Israel to receive money and arms in exchange for allowing the Beta Israel safe passage during Operation Moses.[101][102] Other Beta Israel who did not participate in either Operations or Solomon sought alternative ways of immigration, via Sudan or Kenya. In 1991, the Israeli authorities announced that the emigration of the Beta Israel to Israel was about to conclude, because almost all of the community had been evacuated. Nevertheless, thousands of other Ethiopians began leaving the northern region to take refuge in Addis Ababa, declaring themselves to be Jewish converts to Christianity and asking to immigrate to Israel. As a result, a new term arose which was used to refer to this group: “Falash Mura”. The Falash Mura, who weren’t part of the Beta Israel communities in Ethiopia, were not recognized as Jews by the Israeli authorities, and therefore were initially not allowed to immigrate to Israel, not being eligible under Israel’s Law of Return. As a result, a lively debate has arisen in Israel about the Falash Mura, mainly between the Beta Israel community in Israel and their supporters and those opposed to a potential massive emigration of the Falash Mura people. The government’s position on the matter remained quite restrictive, but has been subject to numerous criticisms, including by some clerics who want to encourage the return to Judaism of these people.

October 31, 2016   Posted in: Ethiopian Jews  Comments Closed

Israel lobby in the United States – Wikipedia

The Israel lobby (at times called the Zionist lobby) is the diverse coalition of those who, as individuals and as groups, seek to influence the foreign policy of the United States in support of Zionism, Israel or the specific policies of its government.[1] The lobby consists of Jewish-American secular and religious groups. The most famous and visible group within the Israel lobby is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC and other groups within the Israel lobby influence American public policy in a variety of ways such as through education, responding to criticism of Israel, and putting forth arguments in support of Israel. The Israel lobby is known for its success in encouraging U.S. lawmakers to support the policies that it supports. A Christian belief in the return of the Jews to the Holy Land has roots in the US, which pre-date both the establishment of the Zionist movement and the establishment of Israel. Lobbying by these groups, to influence the US government in ways similar to Zionist ideology, dates back to at least the 19th century. In 1844, Christian restorationist George Bush, a professor of Hebrew at New York University and distantly related to the Bush political family, published a book entitled The Valley of Vision; or, The Dry Bones of Israel Revived.[2] In it he denounced the thralldom and oppression which has so long ground them (the Jews) to the dust, and called for elevating the Jews to a rank of honorable repute among the nations of the earth by restoring the Jews to the land of Israel where the bulk would be converted to Christianity.[3] This, according to Bush, would benefit not only the Jews, but all of mankind, forming a link of communication between humanity and God. It will blaze in notoriety…”. It will flash a splendid demonstration upon all kindreds and tongues of the truth.[4] The book sold about a million copies in the antebellum period.[5] The Blackstone Memorial of 1891 was also a significant Christian Restorationist petition effort, led by William Eugene Blackstone, to persuade President Benjamin Harrison to pressure the Ottoman Sultan for the delivery of Palestine to the Jews.[6][7] Starting in 1914, the involvement of Louis Brandeis and his brand of American Zionism made Jewish Zionism a force on the American scene for the first time, under his leadership it had increased ten-fold to about 200,000.[8] As chair of the American Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs, Brandeis raised millions of dollars to relieve Jewish suffering in war-torn Europe, and from that time became the financial center for the world Zionist movement.[9] The British Balfour Declaration of 1917 additionally advanced the Zionist movement and gave it official legitimacy. The US Congress passed the first joint resolution stating its support for a homeland in Palestine for the Jewish people on September 21, 1922.[10] The same day, the Mandate of Palestine was approved by the Council of the League of Nations. Zionist lobbying in the United States aided the creation of the State of Israel in 1947-48. The preparation of and voting for the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine which preceded the Israeli Declaration of Independence, was met with an outpouring of Jewish American support and advocacy in Washington.[11] President Truman later noted, “The facts were that not only were there pressure movements around the United Nations unlike anything that had been seen there before, but that the White House, too, was subjected to a constant barrage. I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance. The persistence of a few of the extreme Zionist leadersactuated by political motives and engaging in political threatsdisturbed and annoyed me.”[12] In the 1950s, the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs was created by Isaiah L. “Si” Kenen. During the Eisenhower administration, Israel’s concerns were not at the forefront. Other problems in the Middle East and USSR were paramount, and Israel’s U.S. supporters were not as active as they had been. AZCPA formed a pro-Israel lobbying committee to counter rumors that the Eisenhower administration was going to investigate the American Zionist Council.[13] AZCPA’s Executive Committee decided to change their name from American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs to American Israel Public Affairs Committee.[14] The relationship between Israel and the government of the United States began with strong popular support for Israel and governmental reservations about the wisdom of creating a Jewish state; formal inter-government relations remained chilly until 1967.[15] Before 1967, the government of the United States provided some aid but was generally neutral towards Israel.[16] Since 1979, Israel has received the most foreign assistance. The roughly $3 billion in assistance to Israel comprises a small percentage of the roughly $3 trillion US budget.[17] AIPAC “has grown into a 100,000-member national grassroots movement” and claims that it is America’s “pro-Israel lobby.”[18] The pro-Israel lobby is composed of formal and informal components. Support for Israel is strong among American Christians of many denominations.[19] Informal Christian support for Israel includes a broad range varieties support for Israel ranging from the programming and news coverage on the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Christian Television Network to the more informal support of the annual Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem.[20] Informal lobbying also includes the activities of Jewish groups. Some scholars view Jewish lobbying on behalf of Israel as one of many examples of a US ethnic group lobbying on behalf of an ethnic homeland,[21] which has met with a degree of success largely because Israel is strongly supported by a far larger and more influential Christian movement that shares its goals.[22] In a 2006 article in the London Review of Books, Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt wrote: In its basic operations, the Israel Lobby is no different from the farm lobby, steel or textile workers unions, or other ethnic lobbies. There is nothing improper about American Jews and their Christian allies attempting to sway US policy: the Lobbys activities are not a conspiracy of the sort depicted in tracts like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. For the most part, the individuals and groups that comprise it are only doing what other special interest groups do, but doing it very much better. By contrast, pro-Arab interest groups, in so far as they exist at all, are weak, which makes the Israel Lobbys task even easier.[23] Bard defines the Jewish “informal lobby” as the indirect means through which “Jewish voting behavior and American public opinion” influence “U.S. Middle East policy”.[24] Bard describes the motivation underlying the informal lobby as follows: “American Jews recognize the importance of support for Israel because of the dire consequences that could follow from the alternative. Despite the fact that Israel is often referred to now as the fourth most powerful country in the world, the perceived threat to Israel is not military defeat, it is annihilation. At the same time, American Jews are frightened of what might happen in the United States if they do not have political power.”[24] The formal component of the Israel lobby consists of organized lobby groups, political action committees (PACs), think tanks and media watchdog groups. The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks all lobbies and PACs, describes the background of those Pro-Israel as, A nationwide network of local political action committees, generally named after the region their donors come from, supplies much of the pro-Israel money in US politics. Additional funds also come from individuals who bundle contributions to candidates favored by the PACs. The donors’ unified goal is to build stronger US-Israel relations and to support Israel in its negotiations and armed conflicts with its Arab neighbors.[25] According to Mitchell Bard, there are, three key formal lobbying groups: Christians United for Israel give every pro-Israel Christian and Christian church the opportunity to stand up and speak up for Israel. According to the group’s founder and head, Pastor John Hagee, the members ask the leadership of our government to stop putting pressure on Israel to divide Jerusalem and the land of Israel.[26] In his 2006 book The Restoration of Israel: Christian Zionism in Religion, Literature, and Politics, sociologist Gerhard Falk describes the evangelical Christian groups that lobby on behalf of Israel as being so numerous that “it is not possible to list” them all, although many are linked via the National Association of Evangelicals.[20] It is a “powerful religious lobby” that actively supports Israel in Washington.[20] According to the author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, Michelle Goldberg, “Evangelical Christians have substantial influence on US Middle East Policy, more so than some better-known names such as AIPAC.”[28] According to Mitchell Bard, the two Jewish groups aim to present policy makers with unified and representative messages via the aggregation and filtering of the diversity of opinions held by smaller pro-Israel lobby groups and the wider American Jewish community.[24] The diverse spectrum of opinions held by American Jewry is reflected in the many formal pro-Israel groups, and as such some analysts make a distinction within the Israel lobby between right-leaning and left-leaning groups. This diversity became more pronounced following Israels acceptance of the Oslo Accords, which split liberal universalists and hard-core Zionists — the Orthodox community and right wing Jews.[29] This division mirrored a similar split for and against the Oslo process in Israel, and led to a parallel rift within the pro-Israel lobby.[30][31] During the 2008 election campaign, Barack Obama implicitly noted differences within the lobby in his comment that “there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says, ‘unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel, that youre anti-Israel,’ and that cant be the measure of our friendship with Israel.” Commentary Magazine, notes It was an odd choice of wordsLikud has not been Israels governing party for more than three yearsbut what Obama clearly meant was that an American politician should not have to express fealty to the most hard-line ideas relating to Israels security to be considered a supporter of Israels.[32] US foreign policy scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, focusing almost exclusively on Jewish groups, define the core of the lobby to include AIPAC, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Anti-Defamation League and Christians United for Israel.[33] Other key organizations which they state work to benefit Israel, in many cases by influencing US foreign policy, include the American Jewish Congress, the Zionist Organization of America, the Israel Policy Forum, the American Jewish Committee, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Americans for a Safe Israel, American Friends of Likud, Mercaz-USA, and Hadassah.[34] Fifty-one of the largest and most important come together in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, whose self-described mission includes forging diverse groups into a unified force for Israels well-being and working to strengthen and foster the special US-Israel relationship[35] Stephen Zunes, in a response to Mearsheimer and Walt, lists “Americans for Peace Now, the Tikkun Community, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, and the Israel Policy Forum” as “pro-Israel” organizations that, unlike the right-leaning organizations focused on by Mearsheimer and Walt, are opposed to “the occupation, the settlements, the separation wall, and Washington’s unconditional support for Israeli policies.”[36] These organizations, however, are not PACs and therefore, like AIPAC, are prohibited by campaign finance regulations from financially supporting political campaigns of candidates for federal office. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt state in their controversial bestseller, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, that the tone of the right-leaning component of the Israel lobby results from the influence of the leaders of the two top lobby groups: AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. They go on to list, as right-leaning think tanks associated with the lobby, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Hudson Institute.[1] They also state that the media watchdog group Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) is part of the right-wing component of the lobby.[1] In The Case for Peace, Alan Dershowitz also of Harvard, argues that the most right-leaning pro-Israel groups in the United States are not Jews at all, but Evangelical Christians. Dershowitz cites “Stand for Israel, an organization devoted to mobilizing Evangelical Christian support for Israel” co-founded by “[f]ormer Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed.”[37] Although the rhetoric of most groups like Stand for Israel is similar to their Jewish-based counterparts, some individuals have based their support on specific biblical passages, thus they have been vulnerable to criticism from Israelis and US Jews for having “ulterior motives” such as the fulfillment of “prerequisite to the Second Coming” or having “better access for proselytizing among Jews.”[37][38] In April 2008, J Street was established, describing itself as the only federal “pro-peace, pro-Israel” PAC. Its goal is to provide political and financial support to candidates for federal office from US citizens who believe a new direction in US policy will advance US interests in the Middle East and promote real peace and security for Israel. Founded by former President Bill Clinton advisor Jeremy Ben Ami and policy analyst Daniel Levy and supported by prominent Israeli politicians and high-ranking officers (see Letter of support from prominent Israeli leaders), J Street supports diplomatic solutions over military ones, including with Iran; multilateral over unilateral approaches to conflict resolution; and dialog over confrontation with a wide range of countries and actors.[citation needed] As with all interest groups, it matters what they are asking for and when they are asking for it.[39] The means via which Israel lobby groups exert influence are similar to the means via which other similar lobbies, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the AARP (formerly known as “American Association of Retired Persons”), exert influence. A number of commentators have asserted that the Israel lobby has undue or pervasive influence over U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.[citation needed] However, other commentators note that no similar volume of criticism exists concerning the NRA, AARP or other major political lobbies, and claim that much of this criticism is based on antisemitic notions of a Jewish conspiracy.[40] According to Bard,[24] “Jews have devoted themselves to politics with almost religious fervor.” He cites that “Jews have the highest percentage voter turnout of any ethnic group” and that of the American Jewish population “roughly 94 percent live in thirteen key electoral college states” which alone “are worth enough electoral votes to elect the president. If you add the non-Jews shown by opinion polls to be as pro-Israel as Jews, it is clear Israel has the support of one of the largest veto groups in the country.” Bard goes on to say that for United States congressmen “there are no benefits to candidates taking an openly anti-Israel stance and considerable costs in both loss of campaign contributions and votes from Jews and non-Jews alike.”[24] “Most important fact about the Jewish vote in America”, according to Jeffrey S. Helmreich of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, “lies in the fact that it is a uniquely swayable bloc. The issue of support for Israel [by a candidate] has proven capable of spurring a sizable portion of Jews to switch partiesin large enough numbers to tip the scales in national or statewide elections. Moreover, the “Israel swing vote” is especially open to political courtship because, unlike the interests of other minority groups, support for Israel has long been compatible with traditional Republican and Democratic agendas. … On the other hand, being distinctively unsupportive of Israel can significantly hurt a candidate’s chances.”[41][42] “Political campaign contributions”, writes Mitchell Bard, “are also considered an important means of influence; typically, Jews have been major benefactors.” According to Bard, objective quantification that the impact of campaign contributions have on “legislative outcomes, particularly with regard to Israel-related issues” is difficult. This is because raw analysis of contributions statistics do not take into account “non-monetary factors” and whether or not “a candidate is pro-Israel because of receiving a contribution, or receives a donation as a result of taking a position in support of Israel.”[24] AIPAC does not give donations directly to candidates, but those who donate to AIPAC are often important political contributors in their own right. In addition, AIPAC helps connect donors with candidates, especially to the network of pro-Israel political action committees. AIPAC president Howard Friedman says AIPAC meets with every candidate running for Congress. These candidates receive in-depth briefings to help them completely understand the complexities of Israels predicament and that of the Middle East as a whole. We even ask each candidate to author a position paper on their views of the US-Israel relationship so its clear where they stand on the subject.[43] This process has become more targeted over time according to Bard, “In the past, Jewish contributions were less structured and targeted than other interest groups, but this has changed dramatically as Israel-related PACs have proliferated.”[24] Among politicians considered unfriendly to Israel who AIPAC has helped defeat include Cynthia McKinney, Paul Findley, Earl F. Hilliard, Pete McCloskey, Senators William Fulbright and Roger Jepsen, and Adlai Stevenson III in his campaign for governor of Illinois in 1982.[44] The defeat of Charles H. Percy, Senator for Illinois until 1985, has been attributed to AIPAC-co-ordinated donations to his opponent after he supported the sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia. Donations included $1.1 million on anti-Percy advertising by Michael Goland, who was also a major contributor to AIPAC.[44] Former executive director of AIPAC, Tom Dine, was quoted as saying, “All the Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And the American politicians – those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire – got the message”.[45] A summary of pro-Israel campaign donations for the period of 19902008 collected by Center for Responsive Politics indicates current totals and a general increase in proportional donations to the US Republican party since 1996.[46] The Center for Responsive Politics’ 19902006 data shows that “pro-Israel interests have contributed $56.8 million in individual, group and soft money donations to federal candidates and party committees since 1990.”[47] In contrast, Arab-Americans and Muslim PACs contributed slightly less than $800,000 during the same (19902006) period.[48] In 2006, 60% of the Democratic Partys fundraising and 25% of that for the Republican Party’s fundraising came from Jewish-funded PACs. According to a Washington Post estimate, Democratic presidential candidates depend on Jewish sources for as much as 60% of money raised from private sources.[49] According to Mitchell Bard, Israel lobbyists also educate politicians by “taking them to Israel on study missions. Once officials have direct exposure to the country, its leaders, geography, and security dilemmas, they typically return more sympathetic to Israel. Politicians also sometimes travel to Israel specifically to demonstrate to the lobby their interest in Israel. Thus, for example, George W. Bush made his one and only trip to Israel before deciding to run for President in what was widely viewed as an effort to win pro-Israel voters’ support.”[24] Mearsheimer and Walt state that pro-Israel figures have established a commanding presence at the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). These think tanks are all decidedly pro-Israel and include few, if any, critics of US support for the Jewish state.[50] In 2002, the Brookings Institution founded the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, named after Haim Saban, an Israeli-American media proprietor, who donated $13 million toward its establishment.[51] Saban has stated of himself, Im a one issue guy, and my issue is Israel,[52] and was described by the New York Times as a tireless cheerleader for Israel.[52] The Centre is directed by AIPACs former deputy director of research, Martin Indyk. Frontline, an Indian current affairs magazine, asked rhetorically why the administration of George W Bush that seemed “so eager to please [Bush’s] Gulf allies, particularly the Saudis, go out of its way to take the side of Ariel Sharon’s Israel? Two public policy organizations give us a sense of an answer: the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.”[53] Frontline reported that “WINEP tended to toe the line of whatever party came to power in Israel” while “JINSA was the U.S. offshoot of the right-wing Likud Party.”[53] According to Frontline, JINSA had close ties to the administration of George W Bush in that it “draws from the most conservative hawks in the U.S. establishment for its board of directors”[53] including Vice-President Richard Cheney, and Bush administration appointees John Bolton, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Armitage and Elliott Abrams. Jason Vest, writing in the The Nation,[54] alleges that both JINSA and the Center for Security Policy thinktanks are “underwritten by far-right American Zionists” and that they both “effectively hold there is no difference between US and Israeli national security interests, and that the only way to assure continued safety and prosperity for both countries is through hegemony in the Middle East a hegemony achieved with the traditional cold war recipe of feints, force, clientism and covert action.” Stephen Zunes writes that “mainstream and conservative Jewish organizations have mobilized considerable lobbying resources, financial contributions from the Jewish community, and citizen pressure on the news media and other forums of public discourse in support of the Israeli government.”[36] Journalist Michael Massing writes that “Jewish organizations are quick to detect bias in the coverage of the Middle East, and quick to complain about it. That’s especially true of late. As The Jewish Daily Forward observed in late April [2002], ‘rooting out perceived anti-Israel bias in the media has become for many American Jews the most direct and emotional outlet for connecting with the conflict 6,000miles away.'”[55] The Forward related how one individual felt: “‘There’s a great frustration that American Jews want to do something,’ said Ira Youdovin, executive vice president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis. ‘In 1947, some number would have enlisted in the Haganah, ‘ he said, referring to the pre-state Jewish armed force. ‘There was a special American brigade. Nowadays you can’t do that. The battle here is the hasbarah war,’ Youdovin said, using a Hebrew term for public relations. ‘We’re winning, but we’re very much concerned about the bad stuff.'”[56] Indicative of the diversity of opinion is a 2003 Boston Globe profile of the CAMERA media watchdog group in which Mark Jurkowitz observes: “To its supporters, CAMERA is figuratively – and perhaps literally – doing God’s work, battling insidious anti-Israeli bias in the media. But its detractors see CAMERA as a myopic and vindictive special interest group trying to muscle its views into media coverage.”[57] A former spokesman for the Israeli Consulate in New York City said that the result of this lobbying of the media was: Of course, a lot of self-censorship goes on. Journalists, editors, and politicians are going to think twice about criticizing Israel if they know they are going to get thousands of angry calls in a matter of hours. The Jewish lobby is good at orchestrating pressure.[58] In addition to traditional media, Israeli public relations on the internet also is targeted with software called the Megaphone desktop tool, which is designed and promoted by pro-Israel interest groups.[59] Regarding the ‘Megaphone’, the Times Online reported in 2006 that the Israeli Foreign Ministry “ordered trainee diplomats to track websites and chatrooms so that networks of US and European groups with hundreds of thousands of Jewish activists can place supportive messages.”[60] According to a Jerusalem Post article on the ‘Megaphone’, Israel’s Foreign Ministry was “urging supporters of Israel everywhere to become cyberspace soldiers ‘in the new battleground for Israel’s image.'”[61] Christopher Williams wrote for The Register: “However it is used, Megaphone is effectively a high-tech exercise in ballot-stuffing. We’re calling it lobbyware .”[62] There are a number of organizations that focus on what could be called “pro-Israel activism” on college campuses. With the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2001, these groups have been increasingly visible. In 2002, an umbrella organization, that includes many of these groups, known as the Israel on Campus Coalition was formed as a result of what they felt were “the worrisome rise in anti-Israel activities on college campuses across North America”. The mission of the Israel on Campus Coalition is to “foster support for Israel” and “cultivate an Israel friendly university environment”.[63] Members of the Israel on Campus Coalition include the Zionist Organization of America, AIPAC, Americans for Peace Now, the Anti-defamation League, Kesher, the Union of Progressive Zionists (Ameinu and Meretz USA/Partners for Progressive Israel), and a number of other organizations. There has been at least one conflict among these groups, when the right wing Zionist Organization of America unsuccessfully attempted to remove the left wing Union of Progressive Zionists from the coalition when the latter group sponsored lectures by a group of former Israel Defense Forces soldiers who criticized the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.[64] However, there are some who feel that pro-Israel activism on college campuses can cross the line from advocacy to outright intimidation. One highly publicized accusation comes from former President Jimmy Carter, who complained of great difficulty in gaining access to a number of universities to discuss his new book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. In October 2007 about 300 academics under the name The Ad Hoc Committee to Defend the University issued a statement calling for academic freedom from political pressure, in particular from groups portraying themselves as defenders of Israel.[65] In December 2007, student leaders who advocate pro-Israel films and groups on college campuses were eligible for being hired as “emissaries of the Jewish state” for their work and would receive up to $1000 a year for their efforts.[66] Rabbi Alexander Schindler, former chair of the Conference of Presidents, told an Israeli magazine in 1976, The Presidents Conference and its members have been instruments of official governmental Israeli policy. It was seen as our task to receive directions from government circles and to do our best no matter what to affect the Jewish community. Hymen Bookbinder, a high-ranking official of the American Jewish Committee, said Unless something is terribly pressing, really critical or fundamental, you parrot Israels line in order to retain American support. As American Jews, we dont go around saying Israel is wrong about its policies.[67] Bard writes that “by framing the issues in terms of the national interest, AIPAC can attract broader support than would ever be possible if it was perceived to represent only the interests of Israel. This does not mean AIPAC does not have a close relationship with Israeli officials, it does, albeit unofficially. Even so, the lobby some times comes into conflict with the Israeli government.”[24] Since the early 20th century both Israeli and Greek lobbies have been working in parallel in order to prevent any rising tensions in the unstable Eastern Mediterranean. Greek and Jews lobbies have maintained excellent ties even before the establishment of the bilateral relations of Greece with Israel. American Jewish Committee delegates have visited Greece and maintain contacts with various Greek officials of both political and military backgrounds.[68] In their annual meeting in the New York City in December 2012 Greek and Israeli lobbies have assured that relations between Greece and Israel and to some extent Cyprus remain strong due to the common interest of the three countries for democracy and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. Chairman of the Board of Trustees Nicholas Karacostas together with the other Greek American representatives have announced that both their lobbying groups will remain in contact ahead of the upcoming extraction of natural gas in both Israel and Cyprus, as part of their wider Energy Triangle.[69] Chairman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Alan Solow has expressed his enthusiasm in an interview by George Gilson that there is an increasing exchange of information between the two lobbies and leaders of both communities consistently join forces to solve their common problems.[70] A new joint action committee for the Greek-Israeli alliance has been created in the U.S. Congress in early 2013. The creation and goals of the Greek-Israeli Caucus under the name Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance were announced at a special event held in the Congress.[71] It is co-chaired by Congress members Gus Bilirakis the Republican representative from Florida and Ted Deutch the Democrat from Florida, and the Greek-Israeli Caucus consists of powerful members of both Republican and Democratic party. It is estimated that it may become the most important pressure group in Congress by 2014.[72][73][74] On the 13 March 2013 in Washington the Israeli ambassador Michael Oren hosted the launching of a new congressional grouping dedicated to improving Israeli-Greek-Cypriot ties.[75][76][77] Attending the launch were the co-chairmen of the newly established Hellenic-Israel Caucus, Ted Deutch and Gus Bilirakis as well as lawmakers including John Sarbanes and Eliot Engel, the senior Democrat on the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren in his remarks at the dinner at his residence touted shared economic and strategic interests among Greece, Cyprus and Israel. The Greek ambassador Christos Panagopoulos in Washington announced that cooperation among the three countries would bring peace, stability and prosperity to the region. Also addressing the event was Olympia Neocleous, the charge daffaires at the Cypriot embassy in Washington.[78][79] In the passing of Greek-American Leader Andrew Athens AJC honored his pioneering work to advance Greek-Jewish and Hellenic-Israeli ties more than once. The most recent occasion occurred in recognition of Athens 90th birthday before AJCs National Board of Governors and invited guests from the political and diplomatic communities, in his hometown of Chicago in 2011. Partnering early on with his cherished friend, the late Maynard Wishner, a fellow Chicagoan and AJC national leader, Athens spearheaded a number of joint AJC and Greek-American delegations to Greece, Cyprus and Israel.[80][81][82] Zunes writes that “assaults on critics of Israeli policies have been more successful in limiting open debate, but this gagging censorship effect stems more from ignorance and liberal guilt than from any all-powerful Israel lobby.”[36] He goes on to explain that while “some criticism of Israel really is rooted in anti-Semitism”, it is his opinion that some members of the Israel lobby cross the line by labeling intellectually honest critics of Israel as antisemitic.[36] Zunes argues that the mainstream and conservative Jewish organizations have “created a climate of intimidation against many who speak out for peace and human rights or who support the Palestinians’ right of self-determination.”[36] Zunes has been on the receiving end of this criticism himself “As a result of my opposition to US support for the Israeli government’s policies of occupation, colonization and repression, I have been deliberately misquoted, subjected to slander and libel, and falsely accused of being “anti-Semitic” and “supporting terrorism”; my children have been harassed and my university’s administration has been bombarded with calls for my dismissal.”[36] In an opinion piece for The Guardian, Jimmy Carter wrote that mainstream American politics does not give equal time to the Palestinian side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that this is due at least in part to AIPAC.[83]George Soros pointed out that there are risks associated with what was in his opinion a suppression of debate: “I do not subscribe to the myths propagated by enemies of Israel and I am not blaming Jews for anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism predates the birth of Israel. Neither Israel’s policies nor the critics of those policies should be held responsible for anti-Semitism. At the same time, I do believe that attitudes toward Israel are influenced by Israel’s policies, and attitudes toward the Jewish community are influenced by the pro-Israel lobby’s success in suppressing divergent views.”[84] In his book, The Deadliest Lies, Abraham Foxman referred to the notion that the pro-Israel lobby is trying to censor criticism of Israel as a “canard.”[85] Foxman writes that the Jewish community is capable of telling the difference between legitimate criticism of Israel “and the demonization, deligitization, and double standards employed against Israel that is either inherently anti-Semitic or generates an environment of anti-Semitism.”[85]Jonathan Rosenblum expressed similar thoughts: “Indeed, if there were an Israel lobby, and labeling all criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic were its tactic, the steady drumbeat of criticism of Israel on elite campuses and in the elite press would be the clearest proof of its inefficacy.”[86] Alan Dershowitz wrote that he welcomes “reasoned, contextual and comparative criticism of Israeli policies and actions.”[87] If one of the goals of the pro-Israel lobby was to censor criticism of Israel, Dershowitz writes, “it would prove that ‘the Lobby’ is a lot less powerful than the authors would have us believe.”[87] Dershowitz himself, claims to have written several critical pieces on specific Israeli policies.[citation needed] Dershowitz disagrees with those who believe that the media is uncritical of Israel and cites the frequent New York Times editorials and even an editorial in The Jewish Daily Forward against some of Israel’s more right of center policies as proof.[citation needed] Dershowitz also denies that any significant, mainstream leader in the American Jewish community equates criticism of Israel with antisemitism.[citation needed] According to William Safire, the term “Israel Lobby” came into use in the 1970s and, similar to the term “China lobby”, carries “the pejorative connotation of manipulation.”[88] He also writes that supporters of Israel gauge the degree of perceived animus towards the Jewish State by the term chosen to refer to the lobby: “pro-Israel lobby” being used by those with the mildest opposition, followed by “Israel lobby”, with the term “Jewish lobby” being employed by those with the most extreme anti-Israel opinions.[88] According to Walt and Mearsheimer, “Using the term ‘Israel lobby’ is itself somewhat misleading…One might more accurately dub this the ‘pro-Israel community’…” since this is not the lobby of a foreign country, rather, it is composed of Americans.[89][90] However, justifying their usage of the term, they write “because many of the key [pro-Israel] groups do lobby, and because the term ‘Israel lobby’ is used in common parlance (along with labels such as the ‘farm lobby’, ‘insurance lobby’, ‘gun lobby’ and other ethnic lobbies), we have chosen to employ it here.”[91] Progressive journalist John R. MacArthur writes Given my dissident politics, I should be up in arms about the Israel lobby. Not only have I supported the civil rights of the Palestinians over the years, but two of my principal intellectual mentors were George W. Ball and Edward Said, both severe critics of Israel and its extra-special relationship with the United States. Nowadays I ought to be even bolder in my critique, since the silent agreement suppressing candid discussions about Israeli-U.S. relations has recently been shaken by some decidedly mainstream figures. These critics of Israel and its American agents include John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, of the University of Chicago, and Harvard’s Kennedy School, respectively; Tony Judt, a historian at New York University; and former President Jimmy Carter. Somehow, though, I can’t shake the idea that the Israel lobby, no matter how powerful, isn’t all it is cracked up to be, particularly where it concerns the Bush administrations past and present. Indeed, when I think of pernicious foreign lobbies with disproportionate sway over American politics, I can’t see past Saudi Arabia and its royal house, led by King Abdullah.[92] Mearsheimer and Walt have collected and quoted some of the lobbyists’ comments on their organizations’ political capital. For example, Mearsheimer and Walt quote Morris Amitay, former AIPAC director as saying, “Its almost politically suicidal … for a member of Congress who wants to seek reelection to take any stand that might be interpreted as anti-policy of the conservative Israeli government.”[93] They also quote a Michael Massing article in which a staffer[who?] sympathetic to Israel said, “We can count on well over half the House 250 to 300 members to do reflexively whatever AIPAC wants.”[94] Similarly they cite former AIPAC official Steven Rosen illustrating AIPACs power for Jeffrey Goldberg by putting a napkin in front of him and saying, “In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.”[95] However, some U.S. government officials have stated that the Israel lobby is not so powerful that they control U.S. foreign policy. Former Secretary of State George Shultz stated “… the notion that U.S. policy on Israel and Middle East is the result of [the Israel lobby’s] influence is simply wrong.”[96][97]Dennis B. Ross, former U.S. ambassador and chief peace negotiator in the Middle East under Bill Clinton, who is now an official at WINEP, wrote: “never in the time that I led the American negotiations on the Middle East peace process did we take a step because ‘the lobby’ wanted us to. Nor did we shy away from one because ‘the lobby’ opposed it. That is not to say that AIPAC and others have no influence. They do. But they don’t distort U.S. policy or undermine American interests.”[98] Individual journalists each have their own opinions on how powerful the Israel lobby is. Glenn Frankel wrote: “On Capitol Hill the Israel lobby commands large majorities in both the House and Senate.”[99]Michael Lind produced a cover piece on the Israel lobby for the UK publication Prospect in 2002 which concluded, “The truth about Americas Israel lobby is this: it is not all-powerful, but it is still far too powerful for the good of the U.S. and its alliances in the Middle East and elsewhere.”.[100] Tony Judt, writing in the New York Times, asked rhetorically, “Does the Israel Lobby affect our foreign policy choices? Of course that is one of its goals. But does pressure to support Israel distort American decisions? That’s a matter of judgment.”[101] Mitchell Bard has conducted a study which attempts to roughly quantify the influence of the Israel lobby on 782 policy decisions, over the period of 1945 to 1984, in order to move the debate on its influence away from simple anecdotes. He “found the Israeli lobby won; that is, achieved its policy objective, 60 percent of the time. The most important variable was the president’s position. When the president supported the lobby, it won 95 percent of the time. At first glance it appears the lobby was only successful because its objectives coincided with those of the president, but the lobby’s influence was demonstrated by the fact that it still won 27 percent of the cases when the president opposed its position.”[24] According to a public opinion poll by Zogby International of 1,036 likely voters from October 1012, 2006, 40% of American voters at least somewhat believe the Israel lobby has been a key factor in going to war in Iraq. The following poll question was used: “Question: Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree that the work of the Israel lobby on Congress and the Bush administration has been a key factor for going to war in Iraq and now confronting Iran?”[102] In March 2009, Charles W. Freeman, Jr., criticized the lobby after withdrawing his candidacy for the chair of the National Intelligence Council.[103][104] Freeman said, “The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired …. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency …. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process ….”[105] Members of Congress denied that the Israel lobby had a significant role in their opposition to Freeman’s appointment; they cite Freeman’s ties with the Saudi and Chinese governments, objections to certain statements made about the Palestinian territories and his lack of experience as the reasons for their opposition.[106][107] The closest comparison is probably to other ethnic-group based lobbies that attempt to influence American foreign policy decisions such as the Cuban-American lobby, the African-American lobby in foreign policy and the Armenian American lobby, although the lobby has also been compared to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the lobby for the Pharmaceutical industry.[108][109] In comparing the Israel Lobby to the NRA, Glenn Frankel concludes that “Nevertheless, the Israel lobby, and AIPAC in particular, gained a reputation as the National Rifle Association of foreign policy: a hard-edged, pugnacious bunch that took names and kept score. But in some ways it was even stronger. The NRA’s support was largely confined to right-wing Republicans and rural Democrats. But AIPAC made inroads in both parties and both ends of the ideological spectrum.”[99] Zunes describes that some groups who lobby against current U.S. policy on Israel “have accepted funding from autocratic Arab regimes, thereby damaging their credibility” while others have “taken hard-line positions that not only oppose the Israeli occupation but challenge Israel’s very right to exist and are therefore not taken seriously by most policymakers.”[36] Zunes writes that many lobbying groups on the left, such as Peace Action, are “more prone to complain about the power of the Israel lobby and its affiliated PACs than to do serious lobbying on this issue or condition its own PAC contributions on support for a more moderate U.S. policy” in the region.[36]Noam Chomsky, political activist and professor of linguistics at MIT, writes that “there are far more powerful interests that have a stake in what happens in the Persian Gulf region than does AIPAC [or the Lobby generally], such as the oil companies, the arms industry and other special interests whose lobbying influence and campaign contributions far surpass that of the much-vaunted Zionist lobby and its allied donors to congressional races.”[110] However, while comparing the Israel Lobby with the Arab Lobby, Mitchell Bard notes that “From the beginning, the Arab lobby has faced not only a disadvantage in electoral politics but also in organization. There are several politically oriented groups, but many of these are one man operations with little financial or popular support.”[111] The Arab American Institute is involved in supporting Arab-American political candidates, but, according to award-winning journalist Ray Hanania “its nothing compared to the funds that AIPAC raises not just for Jewish American congressmen, but for congressmen who support Israel.”[112] Furthermore, Arab American lobbies face a problem of motivation; Jewish Americans feel the need to support their homeland (as well as other states in the Middle East who have signed peace treaties with Israel) in active, organized ways. Arab Americans do not appear to have a similar motivation when it comes to their own homelands.[113] Friendly relations between Israel and the U.S. has been and continues to be a tenet of both American and Israeli foreign policy. Israel receives bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that U.S. and Israel share common “economic, political, strategic, and diplomatic concerns” and that the countries exchange “intelligence and military information” and cooperate in an effort to halt international terrorism and illegal drug trade.[114] Furthermore, a majority of American citizens view Israel favorably.[115] In 2011, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (a think tank founded by “a small group of visionary Americans committed to advancing U.S. interests in the Middle East”) argued that the U.S.-Israel relationship is “A Strategic Asset for the United States.”[116][117] In discussing their report, Walter B. Slocombe said that while in the popular imagination, the U.S.-Israel relationship is only good for Israel, Israel provides enormous assistance to the United States, including military expertise which has saved American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Robert D. Blackwill countered the claim that the U.S.-Israel relationship significantly damages the relationship between the United States and the Arab world. He asked rhetorically: “Would Saudi Arabia’s policies toward the United States be markedly different in practice if Washington entered into a sustained crisis with Israel over the Palestine issue during which the bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel went into steep, systemic decline? In that instance, would Riyadh lower the price of oil? Would it stop hedging its regional bets concerning U.S. attempts to coerce Iran into freezing its nuclear weapons program? Would it regard U.S. policy toward Afghanistan any less critically? Would it view American democracy promotion in the Middle East more favorably? Would it be more inclined to reform its internal governmental processes to be more in line with U.S. preferences? Walt [Slocombe] and I judge the answer to all these questions [to be] ‘No.'”[117] When asked how this report could so flatly contradict the Walt and Mearsheimer thesis, Slocombe responded, “There is so much error in the world,” and added, “I think it would be interesting to ask them whether they make the same contrary argument about the other countries to whom we also provide something like this kind of support. There are obviously differences, but the principle is the same.”[117] The Israel Project noted in 2009 that “when youre talking to Americans, you need to know that when you dont support a two-state solution you risk having a major public relations challenge in America and Europe.”[118] In a 2008 editorial, Israeli-American historian and author Michael B. Oren wrote that Israel and the United States are natural allies, despite what the opposition from “much of American academia and influential segments of the media.” Oren claimed this was because Israel and the United States shared similar values such as “respect for civic rights and the rule of law” and democracy. Israel and the United States share military intelligence in order to fight terrorism.[119] Oren also noted that “more than 70% of [Americans], according to recent polls, favor robust ties with the Jewish state.”[119] In his 2007 review of Mearsheimer and Walt’s book, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote: “Forty years of polling has consistently shown that Americans support Israel in its conflict with the Arabs. … Both Israel and America were founded by refugees from European religious intolerance; both are rooted in a common religious tradition; Israel is a lively democracy in a part of the world that lacks democracy; Israelis seem self-reliant in the manner of American pioneers; and Israel’s enemies, in many cases, seem to be America’s enemies as well.”[120] Israeli academic and political activist Jeff Halper said that “Israel is able to pursue its occupation only because of its willingness to serve Western (mainly U.S.) imperial interests” and that rather than influencing the United States via the lobby, Israel is actually “a handmaiden of American Empire.”[36] According to political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, though, “the combination of unwavering U.S. support for Israel and the related effort to spread democracy throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized U.S. security.” They alleged that while “one might assume that the bond between the two countries is based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives….neither of those explanations can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel.”[121]Robert Satloff cited the events of MayJune 2010 (in which Israel stopped a flotilla meant to break its blockade of the Gaza Strip and yet, a few days later, every country expected to vote U.N. sanctions against Iran ended up voting as the U.S. wanted them to) as a counter-example that disproved that point of view.[122] Goldberg similarly cited the Arab Spring to counter Walt and Mearsheimer’s point: “It seems as if the Arab masses have been much less upset about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians than they have been about their own treatment at the hands of their unelected leaders. If Israel ceased to exist tomorrow, Arabs would still be upset at the quality of their leadership (and they would still blame the United States for supporting the autocrats who make them miserable); Iran would still continue its drive to expunge American influence from the Middle East; and al Qaeda would still seek to murder Americans and other Westerners.”[123] In 2006 former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq Scott Ritter published “Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change” (ISBN 978-1-56025-936-7). In his book he stated that certain Israelis and pro-Israel elements in the United States were trying to push the Bush administration into war with Iran.[124] He also accuses the U.S. pro-Israel lobby of dual loyalty and outright espionage (see Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal).[125] American journalist Michael Massing argues that there is a lack of media coverage on the Israel lobby and posits this explanation: “Why the blackout? For one thing, reporting on these groups is not easy. AIPAC’s power makes potential sources reluctant to discuss the organization on the record, and employees who leave it usually sign pledges of silence. AIPAC officials themselves rarely give interviews, and the organization even resists divulging its board of directors.”[55] Massing writes that in addition to AIPAC’s efforts to maintain a low profile, “journalists, meanwhile, are often loath to write about the influence of organized Jewry. In the end, though, the main obstacle to covering these groups is fear.”[55]Steven Rosen, a former director of foreign-policy issues for AIPAC, explained to Jeffrey Goldberg of The New Yorker that “a lobby is like a night flower: it thrives in the dark and dies in the sun.”[126] According to Gal Beckerman there are many individual pro-Israel op-ed columnists, but the argument that the media as a whole is part of the Israel lobby cannot be concluded from Mearsheimer and Walt’s cherry picked evidence: “Walt and Mearsheimer undermine our intelligence by assuming that we are simply being manipulated…. If the lobby is so influential over the media, how were Walt and Mearsheimer given such space in every major news outlet in the country to express their ‘dangerous’ views? You want to tell me that a force that can impel us to got [sic] to war in Iraq cant find a way to censor two academics? Not much of a lobby, now is it?”[127] Writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, Beckerman cites examples of op-eds critical of Israel from several major U.S. newspapers and concludes that an equally compelling argument could be made that the Israel lobby doesn’t control the media. Itamar Rabinovich, writing for the Brookings Institution, wrote, “The truth of the matter is that, insofar as the lobby ever tries to intimidate and silence, the effort usually causes more damage than it redresses. In any event, the power of the lobby to do that is very modest.”[128] On The Diane Rehm Show (December 11, 2006), Middle East experts Hisham Melhem, Lebanese journalist and Washington Bureau Chief for Al-Arabia, and Dennis Ross, a Jewish-American diplomat working as counselor Washington Institute for Near East Policy, when asked about the pervasive Israeli influence on American foreign policy in the Middle East mentioned in former President Jimmy Carter’s 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid said: [H. Melhem] “When it comes to Israel [discussing Israeli and/or Jewish American issues], it is still almost a taboo in certain parts, not everywhere…there are certain things that cannot be said about the Israeli government or America’s relationship with Israel or about the Israeli lobby. Yes there is, excuse me, there is an Israeli lobby, but when we say an Israeli lobby we are not talking about a Jewish cabal. The Israeli lobby operates the way the NRA operates, a system of rewards and punishment, you help your friends by money, by advocacy and everything, and sometimes they pool money in to the campaigns of those people that they see as friendly to Israel. This is the American game”.[129] (radio interview: 16:30-20:05) “Prime Minister Yitzak Rabins handshake with Yasir Arafat during the 13 September [1993] White House ceremony elicited dramatically opposed reactions among American Jews. To the liberal universalists the accord was highly welcome news. However, to the hard-core Zionists — the Orthodox community and right wing Jews — the peace treaty amounted to what some dubbed the ‘handshake earthquake.’ From the perspective of the Orthodox, Oslo was not just an affront to the sanctity of Eretz Yisrael, but also a personal threat to the Orthodox settlers … in the West Bank and Gaza. For Jewish nationalists … the peace treaty amounted to an appeasement of Palestinian terrorism.” “Abandoning any pretense of unity, both segments began to develop separate advocacy and lobbying organizations. The liberal supporters of the Oslo Accord worked … to assure Congress that American Jewry was behind the Accord and defended the efforts of the [Clinton] administration to help the fledgling Palestinian authority (PA) including promises of financial aid. … Working on the other side of the fence, a host of Orthodox groups, … launched a major public opinion campaign against Oslo. … Hard-core Zionists also criticized, often in harsh language, [the Labor government] architect[s] of the peace accord. “Not only was the Israeli electorate divided on the Oslo accords, but so, too, was the American Jewish community, particularly … among the major New York and Washington-based public interest groups. U.S. Jews opposed to Oslo teamed up with Israelis “who brought their domestic issues to Washington” and together they pursued a campaign that focused most of its attention on Congress and the aid program. … The Administration, the Rabin-Peres government, and some American Jewish groups teamed on one side while Israeli opposition groups and anti-Oslo American Jewish organizations pulled Congress in the other direction. “Powerful interest groups lobby against Israel in Washington while much of American academia and influential segments of the media are staunchly opposed to any association with Israel. How does the alliance [between the United States and Israel] surmount these challenges? One reason, certainly, is values the respect for civic rights and the rule of law that is shared by the world’s most powerful republic and the Middle East’s only stable democracy. There is also Israel’s determination to fight terror, and its willingness to share its antiterror expertise. … The admiration which the U.S. inspires among Israelis is overwhelmingly reciprocated by Americans, more than 70% of whom, according to recent polls, favor robust ties with the Jewish state.”

October 21, 2016   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Woody Allen’s Café Society

“I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews,” down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.” [i]  — Joel Stein Woody Allen’s crepuscular film Café Society (2016) is as boring as it is instrumentally instructive as a testament to Jewish cosmopolitanism, domination and reshaping of American values and culture. Set in the 1930s the film centers on Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg), the youngest son of a New York Jewish family, who leaves his father’s jewelry business for Hollywood. If Fellini used Mastroianni, as an idealized surrogate-self, Eisenberg is used rather as Allen’s mirror image, neurotic, shlumpy, physically weak, lascivious, overtly sentimental but quick-witted, clever with high verbal acuity – a certain Jewish je ne sais quoi . Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, and Woody Allen, on the set of  Café Society The conflation of Dorfman and Allen is made even more obvious with Allen’s voiceover narration throughout. The Dorfman family trio functions as a trio of Jewish stereotypes, his elder brother a gangster, his sister married to a Marxist intellectual, and both he and his uncle settled in the entertainment industry. Radical intellectualism and entertainment are a microcosm of the Jewish cultural enterprise, and the explicitly crude expression of usurious tendencies in the gangster are a stand-in for a still-common Jewish phenomenon of exploitative business practices (see Andrew Joyce’s “ Jews and Money Lending: A Contemporary Case File ”).  Each of these enterprises supports and affirms the other. Continuing with the Jewish stereotypes, Allen intersperses scenes with Jews who fleetingly pass off stock tips, whispering in an ear at a party – implicitly showcasing ethnic networking. Advertisement – Time to SUBSCRIBE now! The film is illustrative of the immense and impressive penetration of Jews into American elites, but with most of the focus on the cultural elements rather than the purely economic or criminal. Jews have dominated the cultural scene in American life at least since World War II, much as they had in the cosmopolitan centers of Europe. In fact, knowing nothing of the movie, I had assumed that its title referred to Vienna, the central hub of Jewish Mittel-Europa known for its famous “café society.” Indeed, the parallels between Jewish control and domination of fin-de-siècle Vienna and modern America are too numerous to be merely coincidental, and it’s worth mentioning that Jewish domination of cultural life in Vienna was a potent source of anti-Semitism. As one pan-German paper of the period put it, “the products of a ‘degenerate afterculture’ of the ‘modernists’ should well be banned. … Everything that is sacrosanct to us, our people’s customs, our ancestor’s way,’ was in danger of becoming ‘Jewish-contaminated.’” [ii] Unlike the rich cultural traditions of the Old World, America, with its explicit liberalism, heterogeneous demographics, utilitarian and egalitarian philosophies, hyper-capitalism, and anti-traditionalism, was already, whether it knew it or not, open to Jewish influence. Jews had far fewer obstacles in their rise to elite status, and  used culture as a springboard to alter American perceptions and values to their advantage. As Harold Cruise puts it in Crisis of the Negro Intellectual : But the Anglo-Saxons and their Protestant ethic have failed in their creative and intellectual responsibilities to the internal American commonweal. Interested purely in materialistic pursuits—exploiting resources, the politics of profit and loss, ruling the world, waging war, and protecting a rather threadbare cultural heritage—the Anglo-Saxons have retrogressed in the cultural fields and the humanities. Into this intellectual vacuum have stepped the Jews, to dominate scholarship, history, social research, etc.” [iii] In this passage Cruise accounts for two aspects of Jewish cultural control, as represented by the film’s characters —the media and intellectual high ground. The third component, gangsterism, and general lawlessness (Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Dutch Schultz) are related metaphysically to the other two elements. They are a direct expression of a central feature of Jewish consciousness, as each is propelled by a disregard for social limits. For Jews, the rules do not apply, since after all the rules are established by a society that is not their own. The film is set half in California and half in New York, the two central hubs of Jewish domination of American culture and society and reflecting Michael Novak’s comment: “A relatively small number of Jews in New York and Los Angeles set a style for Jewishness that may be foreign to Jews in Cleveland or Utica.” [iv] It’s a style that is foreign to the traditional people and culture of America. The central focus of the film is the story of how Jews came to dominate American culture and  secondarily (and not coincidentally) how they came to dominate non-Jewish women. Indeed the central narrative element moving the story along are romantic relationships of Jewish men with WASP women. Dorfman travels to Hollywood to work for his Uncle Phil (Steve Carell), an industry power broker. Dorfman is stunned by his uncle’s young assistant, Veronica (Kristen Stewart), who is tasked with showing Dorfman around Hollywood. During these pseudo-dates the two grow fond of one another and begin an intimate relationship—at the same time as powerful Uncle Phil is having an affair with her. The obvious message is that power in Hollywood translates into sexual access to beautiful, young White women. While, the film is set in the 1930’s, I was also reminded of the treatment and condition of scores of non-Jewish women in “Hollywood’s seedier cousin,” another Jewish-dominated enterprise, the adult film industry, wherein White women are passed around like ‘liberated’ Valley of the Dolls extras to reenact the tragedy of Norma Jean on film: “It is clear,” says Anthony Summers in his biography, “that Marilyn made judicious use of her favors. A key beneficiary was the [Jewish] man who got Marilyn that vital first contract at Fox — Ben Lyon. According to writer Sheila Graham, Lyon had been sleeping with Marilyn and promising to further her career . . . Lyon called the casting director for Sol Wurtzel, a [Jewish] B-movie producer of the time [and Monroe was awarded a small part in the 1947 film Dangerous Years ]” (Summers, 35). In olden times,” Upton Sinclair once remarked, “Jewish traders sold Christian girls into concubinage and into prostitution, and even today they display the same activity in the same field in southern California where I live.” Or as F. Scott Fitzgerald summed up the Hollywood scene of his era — “a Jewish holiday, a Gentile tragedy” (Gabler, 2). [v] When the revelation of the love triangle is discovered, Veronica makes the decision to marry the established and wealthy Phil, explicitly because of his wealth and power. Phil then divorces his wife, and Dorfman goes back to New York with memories of his idle time spent with Veronica, a woman vastly out of his league. Back in New York Dorfman runs a high-end nightclub that his gangster brother Ben (Corey Stoll) started. There Dorfman meets an even more out-of-his-league gentile woman, the statuesque Veronica Hayes (Blake Lively), and the two begin to date, marry and begin a family. Hayes is used as a kind of prized Rainbow Lorikeet in a gilded birdcage, the shiksa in the designer dress and lush apartment. The fact that both are named Veronica may point towards the effective consumable quality of each. Blake Lively (left) and Kristen Stewart, in Café Society The Sunday evening audience, comprised mostly of geriatric Jews, gasped when Southern belle Hayes made some classic anti-Semitic remarks as Dorfman was aggressively coming on to her: “god you people are pushy” (gasp), and ‘where I’m from, you’re not supposed to mix with Jews.’ Of course, Hayes has left her Southern heritage behind, and has become a rather one-dimensional prop illustrating the prototypical liberated woman who can choose her associations with no concern for group-loyalty. Her loyalty is the Carrie Bradshaw variety — loyalty to high-end brands, cosmopolitanism, and sexual liberation. If the audience was a bit upset by Hayes’ slightly offensive, antiquated, and toothless anti-Semitism, it relished a bit of Jewish inside humor. When the gangster brother who had converted to Christianity was electrocuted for his crimes, his mother laments, “my son first a murderer, now a Christian,” implying the latter is worse (laughter). Overall, the film was overly sentimental (the ending is truly bathetic), with one-dimensional, allegorical characters meant to represent interesting and historically important Jewish stereotypes — albeit stereotypes with a substantial degree of truth. In content and execution it reminded me of Steve Martin’s Shopgirl (2005) with the same monotonous sweeping aimlessness, aridness, and near pointlessness. Except for the little signposts that said that, at the end of the day, this was a deeply Jewish allegory. [i] http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/19/opinion/oe-stein19 [ii] Hamann, Brigitte. Hitler’s Vienna : a portrait of the tyrant as a young man . London: Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2010. Print. 84. [iii] Cruse, Harold. Crisis of the Negro intellectual . London: W.H. Allen, 1969. Print. [iv] Novak, Michael. Unmeltable ethnics : politics & culture in American life . New Brunswick, U.S.A: Transaction, 1996. Print. [v] http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/08/who-killed-marilyn-monroe/

September 14, 2016   Posted in: Occidental Observer  Comments Closed

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto: Cosmic Goddess Explorer

In the egalitarian world of academia the deeds of great European men stand like an irritating thorn. Allowing university students (the majority of whom are now females) to learn that practically every great philosopher, scientist, architect, composer, or simply, everyone great, has been a male makes them uncomfortable. Academics feel even less comfortable, terrified even, at the thought of teaching their increasingly multiracial classrooms that these males are overwhelmingly European. While universities cannot ignore altogether the cultural achievements of Europeans, otherwise they would have little to teach — all the disciplines, after all, were created by Europeans — the emphasis tends to be on the evolution of “progressive” ideas framed as if they were universal ideals by and for humanity.  Egalitarians particularly enjoy teaching how these ideas have been improved upon, and continue to be, through the “critical thinking” of teachers and activists. Hail to the professors fighting for humanity’s liberation right inside their classrooms! But it is not always easy to “critically” hide European greatness. It stands out in every subject of human endeavor. I would say that, when it comes to the teaching of history, academics have implemented four major discursive strategies to deal with this irksome issue in an age of egalitarian expectations. The first strategy, and possibly the most influential, is to argue that Europe’s history has to be seen in the context of “reciprocal connections” with the rest of the globe. The Greek classical world was part of a wider network of cultures within the Mediterranean Basin, predated and “fundamentally” shaped by the “foundational” civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Rome was both Western and Eastern. Christianity originated in the East. Medieval Europe borrowed its technology from China. “Without the Islamic Golden Age there would have been no Renaissance.” The Enlightenment was “the work of historical actors around the world”. Advertisement Another strategy is to argue that the “Great Divergence” occurred only with the coming of the industrial revolution of 1750/1820. Europe became different because it experienced this revolution first.  Before this revolution, Europe was a typical traditional culture in which the vast majority of people barely managed to survive. All the peoples of the earth were equally susceptible to Malthusian cycles. The “great mass of people” in pre-industrial times experienced the same pattern of existence within the constraints of agrarian stagnation, inert mentalities, and servitude. The “great personalities and ideas” were devoid of influence outside miniscule social circles. This revolution is now part of the “human experience” and the Asians are surpassing the Europeans. The third strategy is to argue that England, as the “first industrial nation,” was the “lucky” recipient of plentiful coal, African slave labor, and cheaply produced tropical products in the New World. Columbus’ encounter with the New World was accidental; he was heading for the affluent and superior markets of Asia, and, without knowing it, “stumbled” upon the Americas. The “ultimate cause” of Europe’s faster rate of development was her geographical fragmentation, which resulted in the generation of a highly competitive inter-state system, which promoted innovations.  As one historian put it, Europeans “weren’t just lucky; they were lucky many times over.” But there is a fourth strategy,  one I will address in this essay, not always overtly articulated, but deeply held, and perhaps better identified as an underlying ontological attitude permeating the academic world and the minds of cultural Marxists generally. It is an outlook, a way of thinking about reality and the nature of things, prevailing throughout the social sciences, which may be best summed in the way economic Marxists did: cultural life is fundamentally “superstructural” and the further away cultural achievements stand from the masses and the facts of survival, the less significant they are historically and democratically. The worthwhile facts of life revolve around economic survival, security, and comfort. Anthropologists later added that cultural differences were no more than adaptations to different ecological settings. Then cultural Marxists generally insisted that culture was important in regards to the everyday life and the “struggles” for class identity by workers and peasants, but also by women against patriarchal norms, and by a whole host of “minorities” neglected by traditional academics — gays, transsexuals, lesbians, Blacks, natives, etc.  This egalitarian emphasis on the culture of oppressed groups contained a corresponding assault, and inevitable devaluation, of the one agent that stood out as unoppressed, as ultimate oppressor: White European males. Egalitarianism calls for equal appreciation of the cultural longings and achievements of non-Europeans.  The Western Canon is the purview of privileged White males. This Canon has to be diversified and leveled. The teaching of high Arts, Philosophy, Classics, and History must be provincialized to accommodate the equally valuable study of all cultures. This is not merely a curricular matter; it is an activist oppositional stance: the critical thinker must be dedicated to the promotion of non-Whites and females seeking a “voice” against European males. This has entailed not just a replacement, or mere addition of non-European experiences, but a concomitant depreciation and steamrolling of European greatness. But there is a problem: the greatness of Europeans is overwhelmingly substantial and pervasively present in all the fields; it cannot be effortlessly placed (equally) alongside the achievements of other cultures:  we may add Chinese philosophers to the history and discipline of philosophy, but how much do we teach about native aboriginal metaphysics, Mayan epistemology, and African ontology? European greatness must somehow be explained away, cut back, hidden, contextualized, and, in the end, held in contempt. European males stand in violation of human equality and, as such, must be dealt with accordingly, desecrated and defiled. I view all the major schools, interpretations, methodologies, and discursive analyzes of the last decades as consisting of efforts to negate, one way or the other, implicitly or explicitly, the attainments of Europeans: Global History , Deconstruction , Orientalism , the Annales School , “ History from Below ,” World Systems Theory , Dependency Theory , Afrocentrism , Structuralism , Foucauldian discourse analysis , Ethnomethodology , Symbolic Interactionism , Quantitative History — to list some. It remains to be shown, in a concerted way, how all these academic movements have amounted to a relentless assault on Europe’s high achievements. In this essay I will discuss only one very telling example — subject of exploration. Exploration is not only a popular subject, but one filled with fascinating stories of human greatness, heroic will, and stamina against immense odds and hardship—exactly the sorts of traits that, according to cultural Marxists, should not be found to be unusually common among Europeans. Thus I am going to focus on one book, Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration , published in 2006, authored by one of the most acclaimed historians today, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. This book is an excellent example of how someone committed to egalitarian results in history reacts in the face of persistent European greatness. While Fernandez-Armesto is best known as a world historian, author of Millennium: A History of Our Last Thousand Years (1995), his main period of expertise is the sixteenth century, the great age of transatlantic navigation, publishing numerous articles on this subject, as well as two books, C olumbus (1991), and Amerigo: The Man Who Gave His Name to America (2007). Among his many accolades, he has garnered titles associated specifically with navigation and geography, including the Caird Medal (awarded by the National Maritime Museum [UK]), the Premio Nacional (awarded by the Sociedad Geográfica Española), and the John Carter Brown Medal (awarded by the Brown University Library). His book Pathfinders was received as a very important statement on the history of exploration, receiving numerous reviews in both the academic and mainstream media. In 2007, it won the World History Association Book Prize, a prize that is reserved only for books with a “global reach.” This book’s assessment of exploration from a “global perspective” is extremely revealing. The book was written as a challenge to the one-sided Eurocentric preoccupation with European explorers; it would set the record straight by bringing into light many ignored non-European explorers.  The New York Times described the book as a “brilliant…rich study of humankind’s restless spirit.” From the opening pages ones gets the sense that a whole new approach to exploration encompassing all the peoples of the earth is about to be revealed. Exploration is possibly the most male-oriented subject a historian could write about. All explorers are males, and most accounts of exploration were either written by the explorers or by male historians. But Armesto was determined to be different — he habitually calls himself “a true revolutionary” — informing us in the first page that he will write about this subject as if he were an imaginary cosmic observer, not just any observer, but a goddess standing on high with a gift for judging the affairs of men on earth: Imagine a cosmic observer [Armesto], contemplating humankind from immensely remote space and time, seeing us with the kind of objectivity that we — who are enmeshed in our history — are unable to attain. Imagine asking her — for, perhaps on the basis of my own experience of home life, I see omniscience and omnipresence as female qualities — how she would characterize the history of our species on our planet. Imagine her answer (1). (My emphasis) Approaching the most male of subjects from a female point of view would afford him the opportunity to treat this subject “objectively”. The first chapters, evocatively titled “Stretching” “Reaching,” “Stirring,” “Springing,” all seemed to be perfectly organized and written according to how a goddess would see it, starting with the migrations of Lucy’s descendants out of East Africa to the rest of the continent and to Eurasia, continuing with the spread of cultures throughout the world, from the Tigris and Euphrates to the Pacific Islands, the Middle East and Africa. It all seemed so global and “stirring” — never mind that Armesto, or the imaginary goddess he was, was confounding two very different subjects, migrations and explorations. Let’s give her a pass here. There are some readable accounts of the Austronesians of the Pacific, the Thule Inuit’s and Norsemen in the Artic and Atlantic, and of navigators who learned to decode the monsoon system governing the Indian Ocean. The explorations of the Greeks throughout the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, all the way to the North Sea , and their invention of the science of geography and cartography are given short shrift, but we get some lively anecdotes about a Japanese woman’s maritime diary.  The territorial expansion of the Mongols and the Silk Road trade are loosely defined as exploratory, though the Roman territorial expansion is left unmentioned. Armesto uses “elegant” and “felicitous” words, as one reviewer has it. He is quite keen recounting Zheng He’s voyages in the early fifteenth century, describing them as a display of “China’s potential as the launching bay of a seaborne empire,” relishing “the capacity and productivity of China’s shipyards; her ability to mount expeditions of crushing strength and dispatch them over vast distances.” He excuses the termination of Zheng He’s expedition, and China’s prohibition of further exploration, by pointing to the priority China’s Confucian government assigned to “good government at home” rather than “costly adventures” abroad. Mind you, he infers that the Chinese, not the Europeans, were the true explorers on the grounds that He’s expeditions along the Indian Ocean were more difficult due to less predictable wind patterns as contrasted to the Atlantic. Zheng He, I will note, was not a true explorer since he was navigating well-known sea routes in the Indian Ocean and did not discover a single new nautical route or territory, unlike the navigations of the Spaniards across the unknown Atlantic and the Portuguese down the western coasts of Africa. But again, let’s give Armesto a pass; he at least acknowledges the “great leap forward of the 1490s” by Spaniards and the global routes established in the next two centuries by Europeans generally, even if his prose is not as endearingly affecting as in the first chapters. There is a real change in tone, however, in all the subsequent chapters; Armesto’s celebratory manner undergoes a dramatic change as he reaches the 1700s and after.  He wanted a “global history” of exploration, announcing confidently in the first page that as an imaginary cosmic goddess he would be able to show “objectively” that the history of humanity was “above all” a history of “increasing diversity” (1). Armesto’s main gift as a historian and scholar is that he is an effective narrative writer who can puff up one book every year without overburdening himself with too much analysis and philosophical reflection. I would not be surprised if he truly believed that as goddess he would be able to write a book that would break with the old Eurocentric approach, showing empirically that exploration was a very diverse affair populated by many ethnic groups. But as he kept writing beyond the amorphous migrations of Africans, expansion of Mongols and anonymous seafaring of Polynesians, he could not escape the persistently European character of exploration after the 1450s. With each new chapter and century thereafter, there was not only less and less diversity; there was no diversity at all: the entire endeavor was 100 percent dominated by Europeans. After witnessing this reality, and unable to find sources challenging it, Armesto’s interest in the topic of exploration wanes to the point that he actually starts to trash the very actors and activity of exploration itself! The goddess is clearly upset. What was all the more surprising to me was that his put downs become all the stronger as Europeans began to explore for the sake of exploring without engaging in the territorial expansions and violence that had characterized this activity in the pre-1700s. When European explorations started to take on a more scientific and humane character, less by soldiers, merchants and missionaries than by scientists and pure explorers, the tenor of Pathfinders becomes extremely cynical and disparaging. Chapter 8, which deals with the period between 1740 and 1840, opens with this sentence: “What good came of all this exploration?” After which he writes: Certainly, the excesses explorers committed — of arrogance, of egotism, of exploitation — showed the folly of supposing that travel necessarily broadens the mind or improves the character. (289–90) Keep in mind his praises for Zheng He’s peaceful navigations,it was during this period that one begins to see among explorers men like Antoine de Bougainville, deliberately commissioned by the French government to circumnavigate the world in 1766–69, with naturalists, scientists and artists. It was at this point, more than ever, that explorers began to ask such questions as: “Where these people [from the Pacific islands] had come from, and how they had evolved a state of society so different from the Europeans?”[1] The most illustrious member of this emerging group of peaceful explorers was Captain Cook. As a young apprentice in a navy merchant ship, he applied himself to the study of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, navigation and astronomy. During the course of his legendary three Pacific voyages between 1768 and 1779 he showed that New Holland and New Guinea are two separate lands or islands, dispelled belief in the long-imagined southern continent, discovered New Caledonia, charted Easter Island, and discovered the Hawaiian Islands. It is said that he explored more of the earth’s surface than any other man in history. His methods were “painstaking, practical, and humane.” He prided himself on the fact that his feats were achieved “without loss of life among his crew as in the discoveries themselves.”[2] Cook was undoubtedly a heroic figure, filled with a zeal for greatness, adventure, and immortal fame, a man with “indomitable courage”. In his own words, what he wanted above all else was the “pleasure of being first”; to sail “not only farther than man has been before me but as far as I think it possible for man to go”.[3] Armesto recounts Cook’s voyages in a fairly detached way. His disapproving tone is actually reserved for the most benign forms of exploration, the explorations to the Polar Regions of the late 1800s and early 1900s.  He seems unsure of his ground handling the Faustian “adventured-craving” of Europeans, as Spengler put it, “for uncharted distances” for the sake of testing one’s character as a noble man. What could have motivated Europeans without the presence of colonies and spices? He starts trashing everyone and the entire purpose of exploration. “Almost all the explorers who have featured in this chapter,” the period from 1850 to 2000, “were failures,” “amateurish”, “naïve”, “credulous,” “bombastic,” “mendacious,” “myopic,” “incompetent” (394). David Livingstone, arguably one of the greatest land explorers of all time, is portrayed as a buffoon: Livingstone was already famous as the author of what he called ‘missionary explorations’. It is not clear how far missionizing and exploring are congruent or even compatible activities. Missionary work…demands compromises with alien cultures and collaboration with distasteful regimes. Livingstone was unsuited…He had a strong sense of his own ‘Channel of Divine Power’, but how much of a missionary vocation he ever really had is doubtful. Notoriously, he is supposed only ever to have made one convert who soon reverted to paganism. … He tackled slavers and Boers and intractable native chiefs with gusto. … The expedition failed in all its objectives: no trade, no converts, no suitable sites for British colonization, no new geographical discoveries resulted. …His meanderings took him nowhere useful (353-354; my emphasis). This is a barefaced caricature. At the age of ten, Livingstone started working in a cotton mill for 12-hour days, while putting himself through medical school, later landing in Algoa Bay in 1841, and until his death thirty two years later in 1873, travelling thousands of miles during his sojourns there, for a total of about 30,000 miles (!), mostly alone —”a solitary White man with a nucleus of faithful [African] attendants,” enduring sickness and dangers of every kind, at times during the rainy season and even once desperately sick with dysentery. His legacy includes: discovery of the southern end of Lake Tanganyika, Lake Mweru, Lake Bangweulu, Lake Nyasa, and Victoria Falls. Livingstone did not sympathize with Africans from the safe comforts of an Ivy League professorship; contrary to Armesto’s claim that his missionary efforts involved no compromises with Africans, he lived with them , learned their local language, vehemently condemning and working against the cruelty of the slave trade.  As Clare Pettitt writes, David Livingstone did not just explore Africa and then come home again, he lived there and worked alongside Africans. … Much of his writing is from Africa looking at Europe and the ‘old civilized countries’ as from a distance.[4] Similarly, Armesto has nothing to say about Ernest Shackleton’s incredible voyage to the South Pole, except that it was a “failure,” “pointless.” His standing as one of the greatest figures of the “ heroic age of Antarctic exploration ” is thusly dismissed. Of Henry Morton Stanley (1841–1904), the first European, and possibly the first person, to circumnavigate Lake Victoria, to connect the Lualaba River to the Congo River, and add many new place names to the map of Africa, Armesto simply says that Stanley did nothing worthwhile except “spent his patron’s wealth and his men’s lives with equal profligacy. … Stanley worked for millionaires or governments.” He describes Robert Peary’s identification of the location of the North Pole as an achievement that “was much disputed…unverifiable,” “remains a matter of doubt” (379–380). That’s it. Behind all these assertions, I should add, there is little scholarly effort, only a handful of books and biographies are referenced. He trashes completely with utter disrespect Robert Falcon Scott’s tragic expedition to the South Pole in 1911–12: Scott was an irresponsible commander. … He jeopardized his men by refusing to recognize the obvious symptoms of scurvy. … Scott’s final message with its pathos and patriotism, its historic nostalgia and its unspecific religion, was perfectly calculated to appeal to British sensibilities and match the common notions the British share of themselves. (381–384) Not a single one of the many biographies written on this iconic British hero is referenced. Armesto is British, born in London to a Spanish father and a British mother. Scott was a revered figure during the first half of the twentieth century, with more than 30 monuments and memorials set up during the first dozen years following his death. But in the last decades of the twentieth century, as the cultural Marxists marched through the institutions, Scott became a figure of controversy and even ridicule, particularly after the publication of Roland Huntford’s 1979 biography Scott and Amundsen, where Scott is portrayed as a reckless, sentimental amateur responsible for the death of his men. Armesto, however, does not cite this biography. And he is completely unaware of subsequent attempts to rescue Scott’s reputation from Huntford’s interpretation. One of the most welcoming aspects of studying explorers is the healthy fascination and admiration for adventure and heroism even in some universities and surely among educated laymen. Cultural Marxists have had a difficult time imposing their resentful views in this field.  This may explain why Armesto’s main source on the explorations of the Arctic and Antarctica is a meager book, M.H. Rosove’s broad survey, Let Heroes Speak (2000). He can be excused for not citing Stephanie Barczewski’s Antarctic Destinies: Scott, Shackleton and the Changing Face of Heroism, which came out in 2007, a year after Pathfinders was published, overturning Huntford’s “at best one-sided, at worst wholly malicious” attack on Scott. But Armesto could have consulted many other sources including Sir Ranulph Fiennes’s 2003 biography Captain Scott , defending Scott as a great historic hero, and praised by reviewers as a stinging rebuttal of Huntford’s “story of a living liar.”[5] Armesto references Scott’s famous diaries, the 1913 edition by L Huxley, published as Scott’s Last Expedition . Citing Scott’s legendary last letters to his family and country, Armesto comments: Despite the fine words, they had died demoralized, unwilling or unable to go on, though they were only 11 miles from a food stump…The suspicion abides that they were virtual suicides, who preferred to die dramatically rather than live in obscurity. Scott’s excuse for failure was bad luck. (383; my emphasis) Just to set the record straight: when Scott and his party of five men were 21 miles from the depot, he wrote in his diary: We have had more wind and drift from ahead yesterday; had to stop marching; wind NW, force 4, temp. -35. No human being could face it, and we are worn out nearly. … My right foot has gone, nearly all the toes.  [ 6] A few days later, one of the explorers, Lawrence Oates, who was barely able to walk, willingly left the tent and walked to his death. When they were some 11 miles away from a food depot, held up by a blizzard that howled relentlessly for nine days, with their supplies almost out, Scott wrote his final words, “Message to the Public,” defending the expedition’s organization and conduct and adducing weather conditions for the party’s failure: We took risks, we knew we took them. Things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence, determined still to do our best to the last…Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. [7] Armesto questions the sincerity of these words, and even imputes that the deaths were orchestrated by Scott and his men as “the best career move” (396). But the meteorologist Susan Solomon, in The Coldest March , Scott’s Fatal Antarctic Expedition (2001), has factually defended Scott’s message, attributing the failure of the expedition to the extreme weather condition of February and March 1912. The Wall Street Journal review of Pathfinder informs us that Armesto writes with “gusto and panache.” Armesto certainly delights in the use of mocking phrases against Scott’s somber expressions of patriotic duty. Scott was dutiful alright, says Armesto, “until the glare of the ice got in his eyes and the scent of the quest in his nostrils. Then he forgot his ‘plain duty’” (395). Max Jones, in his “Introduction” to Robert Falcon Scott’s Journals: Captain Scott’s Last Expedition, offers a very different view. Scott composed the most haunting journal in the history of exploration. … Scott carved his name on the nation’s psyche by penning a last testament of duty and sacrifice” (xvii). Jones extols the pervading idea of the journals, the heroic vision of exploration as a test of individual worthiness and national character. From his early manhood, Scott was filled with anxiety and doubts about his adequacy in life’s struggles: “I write of the future; of the hopes of being more worthy; but shall I ever be — can I alone, poor weak wretch that I am bear up against it all. (xix) The nationalistic spirit that once encouraged Britons to have the journals of Scott read to schoolchildren throughout the land, before the 1960s, has been replaced by multicultural incantations fostering the role of Islam in British public life . Armesto describes the medieval Islamic traveler Ibn Battuta as perhaps the greatest traveler of all time. It boggles the mind how an expert on world history and human exploration could be so dismissive of Scott without even consulting one biography. One does not have to endorse a hagiographical glorification of Scott. David Crane’s 2005 book, Scott of the Antarctic: A Life of Courage and Tragedy in the Extreme South acknowledges Scott’s organizational errors and general faults of character and, in this way, actually restores his “humanity” as a flawed hero. Stephanie Barczewski’s book recounts the “revision of the revisionist view” while offering a balanced assessment of Scott free from the reverential approaches of the early 20th century, and the cultural Marxist approach of Armesto. I should add that, in fairness to Huntford’s biography, Scott and Amundsen, its intention was to draw attention to the long neglected achievements of Roald Amundsen, which had been obscured by the British patriotic preoccupation with Scott’s failed mission. But Armesto is equally dismissive of Amundsen’s explorations, describing them as futile, even though he was the first to traverse successfully the fabled Northwest Passage, where he learned from Inuit’s techniques, which he then used to become the first to reach the South Pole. According to Russell Potter, Amundsen’s achievements “stand unequalled.”[8] But Armesto is not impressed: Amundsen demonstrated the paradox of the Northwest Passage. The American Arctic was navigable between the Pacific and Atlantic – but uselessly so. (380) He says no more. Happily, Armesto’s view has only impressed academics and journalists at the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal , not the public. Among the many biographies of Amundsen is a recent one by Stephen Brown, The Last Viking (2012), recipient of numerous positive reviews, and fully cognizant of Amundsen’s Faustian longing. From his youth, Amundsen “had vision of vanquishing against great odds, geographical chimeras, enduring incredible suffering in the process and emerging a hero” (8).  In Amundsen’s words, in The North West Passage (1908): Strangely enough the thing in Sir John Franklin’s narrative that appealed to me the most strongly was the suffering that he and his men endured. A strange ambition burned within me to endure those same sufferings. Perhaps the idealism of youth, which often takes a turn towards martyrdom, found its crusade in me in the form of Arctic exploration. [9] As one reads the last chapter of Pathfinders , “Globalizing, 1850–2000,” its utter dismissals of explorers, and its complete silence on most of the European explorers of this era, one realizes that Armesto’s book is a complete travesty. A consultation of the Smithsonian publication, Explorers, Great Tales of Adventure and Endurance (2010), and The Great Explorers , edited by Robin Hanbury-Tenison (2010) quickly brings home the numerous great explorers Armesto willfully ignores. For example: Heinrich Barth’s (1821-1865) “breathtaking” 10,000 mile overland expedition and discoveries in North and Central Africa across the Sahara; Wilfred Thesiger’s (1910-2003)  dangerous journeys from Sudan across Sahara to Tibesti, and through Syria, Arabia, and Indonesia, driven by the “lure of the unknown and the challenge to resolution and endurance.” Armesto thinks Ibn Battuta was the greatest traveler (though he travelled in known Muslim lands), but what about Alexander von Humboldt’s (1769–1859) scientific expeditions in South America, climbing Silla of Caracas (8000 ft.), mapping the course of the Orinoco River (1,500–mile), collecting 12,000 specimens, almost starving to death and being reduced to eating ants, climbing what was then believed to be the highest peak in the world, Chimborazo (19,286 ft.), to mention some epic expeditions, in the course of which he collected over 60,000 thousands specimens and a vast amount of zoological, geological, oceanographic, and astronomical data, ending it all with a massive 25–year work, Kosmos , in which he attempted a physical description of the universe. I could go on; roughly speaking I counted about 75 great European explorers in the period from about 1800 to the present, men (and a few women) who dedicated themselves to the discovery of the unknown, reconnoitering every place of the planet, climbing the highest mountains, penetrating into the deepest crevices of the oceans and high above in space. This history is rarely taught in our schools and universities; it has been virtually banned, or slandered by charges of imperialism. Earlier I gave Armesto a pass in his designation of any form of human movement (migrations out of Africa, trade via the Silk Road, and conquests by Mongols) as exploration. I thought these were eras with few or no literary records about human explorers. But it becomes apparent in this last chapter that Armesto was determined from the very beginning to impose a cultural Marxist definition of exploration knowing that a “global” history of this subject was impossible since all the explorers after 1450 (and most before) were European. He uses the word ‘globalizing’ to identify the last era of exploration in order to obfuscate the subject, hide European greatness, and tell an alternative story in which exploration is identified with globalization, with European imperialism, with the spread of railways, telegraph and telephone communications, car highways, and current information technologies connecting humanity across the world.  The ultimate intended message of this book can be said to be: all humans are explorers except the “useless” Europeans who explored the world! Amazingly, a back cover reviewer of Pathfinders calls Armesto “indefatigable and daring,” and other reviewers even surmise that Armesto is the true explorer in having exposed the false credentials of past explorers. This is what egalitarianism amounts to: a lack of respect and appreciation for true greatness leaving the door open for charlatans and verbose characters like Armesto to step in front (as in this video ; start at the 2:25 mark) and demand special attention as “a real man of the people,” offering a “genuinely revolutionary message about equality” from a public deprived of the history of their heroes, increasingly unable to make qualitative distinctions. [1] Peter Whitfield, Maps in the History of Exploration (1998): 120-1; Vanessa Collingridge “Louis-Antoine de Bougainville” in Robin Hanbury-Tenison, The Great Explorers (2010). [2] Whitefield, 121-23. [3] Robin Hanbury-Tenison, ed., The Oxford Book of Exploration (1993): 490-3.This book is an anthology of the writings of explorers. [4] Clare Pettitt, “David Livingstone, Africa Coast to Coast” in Hanbury-Tenison (2010): 151; Frank Debenham, Discovery and Exploration (1960): 170-5; Whitfield, 170-2. [5] Cited in Jasper Rees, “Ice in Our Hearts,” The Telegraph (December 19, 2004). [6] Robert Scott, “Final Diaries and Letters,” in Hanbury-Tenison, ed., The Oxford Book of Exploration , 508. [7] Ibid. [8] Russell Potter, “Roald Amundsen, A Burning Ambition to Reach the Poles,” in The Great Explorers , 181. [9] In Russell Potter, 181.

December 20, 2013   Posted in: Occidental Observer  Comments Closed

Jewish Heritage » This Day in Jewish History, The Leo M.Frank trial testimony and Conviction of Leo M. Frank

Leo Frank claimed to the police he never left his office from noon to 12:45, and also that Mary Phagan came to his office between 12:05 and 12:10. However, Monteen Stover testified Leo M

August 26, 2011   Posted in: Leo Frank  Comments Closed

This Day in Jewish History, August 26, 1913, The ADL Born in Blood. The 1913 Leo M. Frank Murder Trial that Birthed the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith in October 1913

Leo M. Frank, Plaintiff in Error, vs. State of Georgia, Defendant in Error. In Error from Fulton Superior Court at the July Term, 1913Murder Trial Testimony in Adobe PDF format: http://www.leofrank.org/library/georgia-archives/ In the Supreme Court of Georgia FALL TERM, 1913 LEO M. FRANK PLAINTIFF IN ERROR VS. STATE OF GEORGIA DEFENDANT IN ERROR In Error […]

August 26, 2011   Posted in: Anti-Defamation League, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Semitism News, Ashkenazi, B'nai B'rith, Christian, Discrimination News, Israel, Jewish, Jewish American Heritage Month, Jewish Heritage, Jewish History, Jews, Judaism, Leo Frank, Multicultural News, Race Relations, Racism News, Racist News, White Nationalism, White Supremacism, Zionism  Comments Closed

This Day in Jewish History: August 17, 1915, the Mob Lynching of Leo M. Frank for the Bludgeoning, Rape and Strangulation of little Mary Anne Phagan (1899 to 1913)

Photo Archived at the Library of Congress. Leo Frank was Lynched at 7:17 AM, August 17, 1915, this photo was taken later that morning after word got out about what happened and people flocked to Frey’s gin creating a critical mass of spectators.A Very Rare Photo of Leo Frank More Than an Hour After the […]

August 17, 2011   Posted in: Anti Racism, Anti-Defamation League, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Semitism News, Ashkenazi, B'nai B'rith, Christian, Discrimination News, Holocaust, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust Revisionism, Israel, Jerusalem, Jewish, Jewish American Heritage Month, Jewish Heritage, Jewish History, Jews, Judaism, Leo Frank, Multicultural News, Race Relations, Racism News, Racist News, White Nationalism, White Supremacism, Zionism  Comments Closed