No Huffington Post, Jews Are Not Crusaders

In a recent article on Huffington Post titled: “First Judeo-Christian Crusade for Jerusalem” the author Liaquat Ali Khan paints a Muslim centric picture of history in the Holy Land by claiming that Jews are essentially recent residents of the Land of Israel or what he would like to call “Historic Palestine.”

Khan’s claim is that evangelical Christians have decided to partner with Jews to launch a crusade to take Palestine from its inhabitants.

Khan states the following early in his article:

“Currently, a Judeo-Christian Crusade is underway to consolidate the territorial claims of Israel, a state instituted by the European Jews with the support of the European Christians, in lands that constitute historical Palestine. Since 1948, the European Jews have occupied some parts of Palestine through a colonial gift from Great Britain and some parts through wars and settlements.”

He then adds:

“It is unclear how to date the first Judeo-Christian Crusade to recapture Jerusalem from Muslims. Some might date it from the November 1917 Balfour Declaration when the United Kingdom, then at war with the Ottoman Empire, promised to establish a homeland for Jews in Palestine, an Ottoman territory. Some might date it from May 1948, when Israel was declared an independent state. Some might date it from June 1967, when the Jews defeated the Arab armies and conquered East Jerusalem and other Muslim territories. Some might date it from December 2017 when the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. November 1917 is most certainly the date for the public declaration of the first Judeo-Christian Crusade. June 1967 is a more realistic date for the actual conquest of Jerusalem. December 2017 is significant because this is when the United States abandoned its false neutrality and openly sided with the Jews against the Muslims.”

“Whatever date is the origin of the Judeo-Christian Crusade, this is the first time that Jews and Christians have come together to take Palestine and Jerusalem away from the Muslims.”

“Even though many Christian nations are divided over the final status of Jerusalem, their support of Israel as a replacement state in Palestine has been loud and clear.”

The problem with Khan’s argument like all other Islamic historical revisionists is that it is not the Jews whether they are European or Middle Eastern that are newcomers to the land, but rather the Arabs themselves.

Claiming that evangelical Christians and Jews have been working together to wrest control of the Holy Land from the so-called Palestinians is a twisting of history.  If that was the case, how could it be that the majority population of Jerusalem in the 1860s according to the Ottoman themselves was in fact Jewish?

More so, it was the Balfour declaration itself that gave the region the distinct name the Arabs claim is connected to them.  It was the British that called it “Palestine.” No such name as a political unit existed before that (except in times of Hadrian) and Balfour used that name to refer to the Jews that had been streaming back home to resettle it.  Afterall, Mark Twain himself noted in his famous travel journal titled “Innocents Abroad” that the Holy Land was mostly desolate.

This is not to say that no one existed in what was known by the Ottomans as Southern Syria.  There were a growing population Jews who had been encouraged by the Ottomans to settle in the Land of Israel as well as Bedouin tribes.

The Jews living in Israel at the time of Mark Twain, were not confined to just a few blocks in Jerusalem.  There were ancient communities in Hebron, Safed, and Tiberius.  These communities existed well before the Islamic conquests of Saladin and before.  Proof of this can easily be mustered by visiting ancient synagogues that were still in use through the 19th and 20th centuries Locations include Hebron, Susya, Safed, Jericho, Samoa, Tiberius, and Jerusalem.

There were also Arab serfs that lived in the land as well.  Some villages like today’s Abu Gosh or rab villages near Haifa were not Arabs at all but Muslim Chechnyans and Bosnians dating only back to the 18th century.

Most interestingly, the Arabs we see today in Israel did not stream into Israel until the early 1900s.  By the time Britain took over, the British government openly encouraged Arab immigration while holding back Jewish returnees by instituting quotas. Moreover, the British worked hand in hand with Arabs to push out Jews that had been living in Jerusalem and Hebron for centuries.

Khan also attempted to focus on the Jews being of “European” descent as if this disqualifies them as “real Jews.”  This line of attack is not special to Khan, but has bubbled up across academia and is being used by various anti-Israel movements.

Of course, this is absurd as it should be noted that the location of Israel places it squarely on the border of three continents, Europe, Asia, and Africa.  This is ultimately the reason how there can be so many colors that share similar DNA within the Jewish nation.  It was the Romans and their predecessors the Greeks as well as the Persians that allowed for Jewish migration throughout their empires.

In fact, those Palestinians who can trace their ancestry back centuries and are not recent immigrants may not be who they claim to be at all.

Professors Ostrer and Skorecki wrote in a review of their findings that they co-authored in the journal Human Genetics in October 2012 the following conclusion:

“The closest genetic neighbors to most Jewish groups were the Palestinians, Israeli Bedouins, and Druze in addition to the Southern Europeans, including Cypriots.”

The research paper goes on to clarify that it is in fact European Jews that have a stronger connection to “Palestinians” than even their Middle Eastern counterparts.

Doesn’t this throw Khan’s assertion that Jews are newcomers to Israel or as he calls it Palestine out the window?

If Jews or let’s say it more accurately, European Jews were never here, how can the Palestinans have such a  close genetic connection?

If one looks at history in a neutral manner, it is not the Jews who are the “crusaders” but rather Muslims themselves. These Muslims came in the 7th and 8th centuries after a series of Roman expulsions of the Jews that ended in the 4th century CE. and forcibly converted the remaining Jewish inhabitants with a decree issued in the name of the Fatimid Khaliph El-Khakem in 1012. This caused the region’s Christians to flee and the Jews who became the majority to convert.

Khan’s ignorance of history is either willful or like many Muslims fabricated to fill their need to turn all history into Muslim history.  Afterall to most Muslims, Abraham, David, and Jesus were Muslims. Khan is not interested in history, but rather creating an alternate history, based not on facts but rather on fiction. Hkan appears to be driven by what he perceives as a loss of a piece of Dar Islam.

Huffington Post has a right to publish any article it wants.  However, if it wants to be taken seriously it should consider refraining from publishing articles that act as catalysts for undermining documented historical norms.

Israel in Exile is a Distortion of Reality

“The survivors among you – I will bring weakness into their hearts in the land of their foes; the sound of a rustling leaf will pursue them, they will flee as one flees the sword, and they will fall, but without a pursuer. They will stumble over one another in flight from the sword, but there is no pursuer; you will not have the power to withstand your foes.” (VAYIKRA 26:36-37)

It is in this Divine curse that the Torah reveals the disgrace of Israel’s exile. And history can attest to the truth of these verses. Outside of our homeland, the Nation of Israel was reduced to vulnerable migrants wandering through foreign lands. Unable to resist the persecution we suffered in the Diaspora, Jews acquired a reputation for cowardice and victimization. We were treated as vermin, easily exterminated without a fight. Israel’s survival became largely dependent upon the benevolence of our neighbors and we were conditioned to accept our shameful status as an uncontested reality.

Israel’s downtrodden state in the exile distorted our concepts of kedusha and stripped us of our former valor. The Jewish people’s self-image was severely damaged by the cruelty of host nations to the extent that we began to see ourselves as naturally incapable of self-defense. Many “pious” Jews even began to view traits of courage and heroism as foreign to our culture, as if Israel were by design physically inferior to other peoples. This mentality of learned helplessness grew in Jewish hearts to the point that many were fearful at even the slightest sign of tension with neighboring gentiles. Due to the tremendous suffering Israel experienced at foreign hands, the once proud Hebrew Nation developed a low soul – a slave mentality that made us fearful of even “the sound of a rustling leaf.” The great valor that had characterized Israeli fighters in ancient times was forgotten as we wandered the globe as a national ghost through history – a broken people perpetually searching for safe refuge.

But just as the Jewish people were stripped of our former honor in the exile, the Land of Israel was stripped of her illustrious beauty. She became barren without her soul mate to nurture her soil. Her great splendor had departed and she was reduced to an infertile wasteland.

“I will make the land desolate; and your foes who dwell upon it will be desolate. And you, I will scatter among the nations, I will unsheathe the sword after you; your land will remain desolate and your cities will be in ruin.” (VAYIKRA 26:32-33)

According to the Ramban, the verse “your foes who dwell upon it will be desolate” is a partial blessing within the curse that guarantees through all generations that the Land of Israel will not receive any foreign sovereign in place of her rightful people. He points out that in the entire world, there are no other lands which were once good and bountiful but are now (in the lifetime of the Ramban) as desolate and empty as Palestine.

A century before Hebrew sovereignty was returned to Eretz Yisrael, the renowned American author Mark Twain visited the country and described it in The Innocents Abroad Or The New Pilgrim’s Progress as a “desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds – a silent mournful expanse… A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action…We never saw a human being on the whole route…There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”

While most of the Jewish people wandered through a dark and bitter exile, the Land of Israel lay anguished in barren devastation. Although foreign conquerors tried to cultivate her once rich and fertile soil, the land was unwilling to provide for illegitimate rulers and remained unwaveringly faithful to her true indigenous people. Only with Israel’s miraculous return did the country once again resume productive life. In an astonishingly short time, the once harsh infertile country became a major world exporter of flowers, fruits and vegetables.

The reunification of the Nation of Israel with the Land of Israel miraculously infused new life and strength into both. Only a few short years after the decimation of six million, Jewish remnants on their native soil stunned the world with unmatched military prowess. The Hebrew Nation was reborn and the Land of Israel returned to agricultural productivity.

Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael are inseparably connected in a bond so tight that we even share the same name. Our deep spiritual connection to our homeland – like the connection of the soul to the body – transcends all rational human understandings. Our country is an intrinsic part of who we are and the foundation for our national mission in this world, as neither it nor we can attain full expression without the other. Separated from the nation, the land is doomed to desolation (as was the case for nearly two thousand years). Similarly, the Jews outside our borders are not the essential Hebrew Nation but rather a deformed shadow of our true inner potential – a wandering people miraculously able to hold on to our individual “Judaism” without possessing any tangible concept of peoplehood. But when properly situated in our ancestral homeland, Israel becomes the healthy living nation that brings the knowledge and blessing of HaShem to mankind.

The Maharal of Prague teaches in Netzaḥ Yisrael that like the orbits of the planets in space and the importance of oxygen for human beings, Hebrew sovereignty over the Land of Israel is a natural necessity built into the system of Creation. When Israel is living as an independent nation in our homeland, the entire world becomes healthy. The heart of humanity is in place and able to channel Divine life and blessing to all existence. It has been in opposition to the laws of nature inherent in Creation for Israel to be separated from our beloved country. Like a ball thrown up in the air that must come down, Am Yisrael must return to sovereignty over our soil. Nature corrects itself as we return home and the Torah now aspires – for the first time in nearly two thousand years – to be lived on a national level that infuses kedusha into every sphere of life. And as nature corrects itself and history progresses forward, our liberation will advance toward the full redemption of humankind.

[watch] Mike Huckabee Receives Award for his Defense of Jerusalem

Israel Rising was privileged to be invited to an intimate gathering with Mike Huckabee and the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce.  Mike Huckabee has been one of the most outspoken friends of the Jewish people and Israel. With this being 50 years since the liberation of Jerusalem, 100 years after the Balfour Declaration, and 150 years since the visit of Mark Twain to jerusalem, it was fitting for the award to be given in the very place where Mark Twain stayed on his journey to the Holy Land.  It was this trip and the travel log “Innocents Abroad” that launched Twain’s career.



Beit Wittenberg is the Key to Jerusalem

When walking down Hagai Street these days, the tension is palpable. Most people see the area as historically Muslim, but Hagai Street running North South to Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate) had bustling Jewish population until the 1929 and 1936 riots.

Unlike the alleyways that shoot off of it, Hagai Street is a main avenue replete with shops as well as Muslim and Jewish communities. The violence in the last few days is nothing new except now it is turning deadly. Jews are being taunted, harassed, and yes stabbed to death.

I asked myself yesterday as I headed to Beit Wittenberg about the significance of why the violence seems to be circling around this specific area. True the Arab population has long been cheered into raging mobs bent on killing Jews, but why on Hagai Street and most specifically the Beit Wittenberg area.

For that a little background on the house is necessary.

Reb Moshe Wittenberg made Aliyah in 1882 at the age of 62, from the town of Wietebsk, in Belorussia. He brought with him 500,000 rubles to buy large property in Jerusalem’s Old City. With the help Eliezer ben Yehuda (the reviver of modern Hebrew) he negotiated with the Latin Church and bought the property. The property housed 20 Chabad families giving the complex renewed Jewish life.

Moshe Wittenberg died in 1899 and bequeathed the property to a communal hekdash (set aside), which was recorded by Turkish authorities. The residents continued to live their, yet were driven out in the riots that would consume Jerusalem and the Land of Israel in the decades that followed.

After being reacquired through the efforts of Ateret Cohanim, Ariel Sharon bought rights to use it as his house in order to fully demonstrate Jewish sovereignty over the Old City.

I have of course left out one exciting fact that I believe is key to understanding the central role this house and complex plays in Jerusalem’s unfolding redemption.

In recent years it has been discovered that Beit Wittenberg is in fact the same Mediterranean Hotel that Mark Twain stayed in during his visit to Israel in 1867. It was that hotel that contributed to the inspiration in the section about Israel in his memoir Innocents Abroad.

So why is this so relevant to a Jewish Jerusalem?

The memoir Innocents Abroad details the truth of the barrenness of the Land of Israel at the time of Mark Twain’s visit. It is a refutation of years of Arab propaganda that the Land of Israel had no Jews in it and was home to an indigenous Arab population. More than this, Mark Twain’s account stands as a memory of a crossroads in Jewish History, just prior to the beginning of the return of the “remnant of Israel.” It is that memory that the Arabs are attacking when they focus on the area around Beit Wittenberg.

Understanding this piece of history is key to understanding the war being raged against Jewish control in Jerusalem. It is a focused and concerted effort to wipe out not only Jewish History, but American historical dynamism in the Land of Israel that has closely united the Judea-Christian culture specific to the West and the rebirth of the Modern State of Israel.

The battleground is more than the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem or the hills of Judea and Samaria, it is in fact a war to protect the truth and facts of the past in order to use them as tools to hold onto our future.