Friday, July 31, 2020

China Seeds: A Biological Attack on America? - Gordon G. Chang

"Beijing looks like it attempted biowarfare with the novel coronavirus from Wuhan. Now, they may be trying their hand at ecological warfare."

  • Some think the packages [of seeds marked as "jewelry"] could be part of a "brushing scam" — an effort to create fake customer reviews on online retail platforms — but that appears unlikely. For one thing, there is no indication these seeds — there are several varieties of them — are either branded or are offered for sale.

  • "DO NOT plant them," officials in every state have warned.

  • There is also an infamous statement attributed to General Chi Haotian. In a secret speech to senior Communist Party officials sometime around 2002, Chi, then the Chinese defense minister, stated there was a need for "new living space" because of the exhaustion of existing Chinese territory. Chi suggested the "mass colonization" of the land occupied by United States as the best option.

  • "We are not as foolish as to want to perish together with America by using nuclear weapons," he said. The way to "clean up" the U.S., Chi argued, would be through biological attacks.

  • "For forty years, the Chinese have used unconventional tactics to further their ambitious goal of defeating the United States," said Brandon Weichert of the Weichert Report to this publication. "They employed economic warfare, lawfare, information warfare, and cyber warfare. Beijing looks like it attempted biowarfare with the novel coronavirus from Wuhan. Now, they may be trying their hand at ecological warfare."

(Image source: iStock)

Residents in

"DO NOT plant them," officials in every state have

"They could be invasive, meaning they may have the potential to introduce diseases to local plants, or could be harmful to livestock," the Montana Department of Agriculture

Trump administration officials now need to ask one question: Are the seeds a biological-warfare attack on the United States?

China acceded to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in 1984 but today is almost certainly in violation of its obligations.

The State Department's

Moreover, China today is almost certainly conducting biological weapons research in violation of its obligations. "The United States has compliance concerns with respect to Chinese military medical institutions' toxin research and development because of the potential dual-use applications and their potential as a biological threat," the State Department report notes.

Perhaps most disturbingly, Beijing is directing its efforts at particular segments of humanity. As a "senior Trump administration official" in May told

Multiple intelligence sources suggest Beijing inked a secret three-year agreement with Islamabad to

China has had a long history of studying the offensive use of viruses. "Intelligence sources found evidence of two epidemics of hemorrhagic fever in the area in the late 1980s, where these diseases were previously unknown,"

SARS, the epidemic beginning in 2002 in China, may also have started with a leak of a "combat virus," as Russian experts have speculated. Then, Julie Gerberding of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the SARS genome "didn't look like much of any of the viruses we already had in our reference strain collection." Some believe SARS started with a natural mutation but, as the World Health Organization explained at the time, was

Today, there are indications the COVID-19 pandemic started with a leak from a bioweapons lab. The core of the argument,

Especially troubling is that in February, China

Regardless of the origin of the coronavirus, Chinese ruler Xi Jinping in December and January took steps — falsely denying the contagiousness of the disease and pressuring countries not to impose travel restrictions on arrivals from China — that he knew or should have known would inevitably

Attacking the world — specifically the United States — with disease is consistent with the doctrine of China's People's Liberation Army, as is evident from

Moreover, there is also an infamous statement attributed to General Chi Haotian. In a

"We are not as foolish as to want to perish together with America by using nuclear weapons," he said. The way to "clean up" the U.S., Chi argued, would be through biological attacks.

"Even though we cannot confirm whether General Chi gave that speech, suspicions surrounding China's concealment of the SARS epidemic plus suspicions of the connections between research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology with the global pandemic only add to the longstanding concern about Beijing's bioweapons program," Richard Fisher of the Virginia-based International Assessment and Strategy Center told Gatestone.

That brings us back to the Chinese seeds now in the U.S. Some think the packages could be part of a "brushing scam" — an effort to create fake customer reviews on online retail platforms — but that appears unlikely. For one thing, there is no indication these seeds — there are several varieties of them — are either branded or are offered for sale.

Yet whatever the reason for their distribution — commercial or geopolitical — the seeds can cause great damage to the United States. "For forty years, the Chinese have used unconventional tactics to further their ambitious goal of defeating the United States," said Brandon Weichert of the Weichert Report to this publication. "They employed economic warfare, lawfare, information warfare, and cyber warfare. Beijing looks like it attempted biowarfare with the novel coronavirus from Wuhan. Now, they may be trying their hand at ecological warfare."

China for decades has been broadening the concept of warfare, and with the mysterious seeds there just may have been another attack on the United States.

Gordon G. Chang



Jim Jordan laid out the best-ever explanation of the seditious plot to spy on Trump's campaign and take down his presidency - Thomas Lifson

​ by Thomas Lifson

Jim Jordan puts it all in a nutshell

Rep. Jim Jordan's opening statement for the House Judiciary Committee's hearing yesterday was as superb as the behavior of the Democrats was disgraceful.  In just under seven minutes, he laid out the way the plotters spied on candidate Trump and then, after he was elected, worked to cover up their plot.  At each step, he cited the evidence already on the record.

The video in the tweet below is perfect for explaining to friends and relatives the gravity of the sedition undertaken by senior levels of the FBI and the Intelligence Community at the behest of the Obama administration.


Right after this explanation, Jordan introduced and showed video of the actual mayhem on the streets that Democrats and their media enablers described as peace.  Another masterstroke that has the usual suspects squealing.

Hats off to Jim Jordan!

Photo credit: Twitter video screen grab.

Thomas Lifson



The Democrats Declare a Jew Ban - Jeff Ballabon

​ by Jeff Ballabon

And threaten the Jewish State.


Anyone concerned with Jews and Israel should be horrified by the Democrats’ newly released 2020 platform. It directly threatens the Jewish state, employs double-talk calculated to stoke antagonism between the American left and Israel, and pays passing lip-service to opposing antisemitism, but in the gaslighting way Linda Sarsour and Ilhan Omar do; to deny it where it exists and point fingers elsewhere. In both narrative and policy, the platform crosses over the line into deep antisemitic territory. It’s a dangerous acceleration of an approach first tested when Joe Biden was Vice President and in which 

Upon entering office, President Obama immediately terminated the decades-old 

This launched a correspondingly inverted set of narratives, policies, and loyalties. Though claiming to be “pro-Israel,” Obama – and then Democrats generally - relentlessly demonized Israel’s center-right Likud party and its popular leader, Bibi Netanyahu. When that attempt at scapegoating didn’t suffice – a solid majority of Americans deplored the “Iran deal” – 

The rising strain of antisemitic tropes and threats in national Democratic politics, was thus already being foreshadowed – and normalized – by the Obama Administration’s attacks on Israel and Jews.  

Outgoing Secretary of State Kerry announced that when Democrats were back in power they would punish Israel for its stubborn refusal to be bullied into suicidal positions “for the sake of peace.”  Biden’s platform delivers on that threat. 

The platform proudly reaffirms the Iran Deal and the MOU.  It equates America’s liberal, democratic ally Israel with corrupt, anti-American, terrorist PA. It equates Jewish homeownership in disputed areas not with Arab homeownership in those same areas, but with Arab terror—effectively casting a Jew simply residing in a place deemed off-limits as justification for murder.  It reserves this antipathy for indigenous Jewish territories in which Jews have lived for more than 3,000 years and over which the state of Israel possesses legal claims far superior to those of any other entity.  Though studiously avoiding the words “illegal occupation,” it characterizes Jewish life in the historic Jewish homeland as criminal and intolerable. Democrats thus deny Jewish history, selectively apply law to discriminate against Jews, endorse ethnic cleansing of Jews, and champion the principle of 

This is the position of a major American political party as regards the most Jewish of all places on Earth – Israel, Judea, Jerusalem. It advances the agenda of a collective that has displayed no purpose other than Jewish genocide. All within living memory of the mass slaughter and expulsion of Jews from European and Arab countries. This platform is a crisis as grave as any Jews have confronted at any time in our history.

There is no equivalent American policy applicable to any other ethnic or religious group anywhere in the world.  No one would even dare to suggest such an atrocity.  And there is an exquisite cruelty to the Democrats’ agenda redolent of ancient empires seeking to grind the Jews under their heels: it is their demand that Israel execute their evil bidding. In every respect the Democrats’ agenda is intended to break Israel’s back; to punish the Jews for daring to survive. 

In obscene, almost cinematic irony, the Democrats released this platform the very same week they trumpeted their “

Employing anodyne platitudes – call it the banality of evil – Democrats have articulated a brutally antisemitic program treating Jews and Israel as pariahs, uniquely worthy of discriminatory treatment.  It makes mockery of Israel as a sovereign state and an American ally.  It directly aligns the Biden campaign—and the entire Party—with Israel’s mortal enemies.  

An administration pursuing this agenda would continue to promote antisemitic narratives hostile to Jewish life in America and pose an existential threat to the Jewish State.

The column was co-authored by Bruce Abramson. 


Reprinted From Townhall.

Jeff Ballabon



The UN Arms Embargo against Iran Must Be Extended - Con Coughlin

​by Con Coughlin

Iran's ability to make new arms' purchases would enable Tehran to continue its support for proxies in the Middle East, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as enabling it to fuel conflicts from Venezuela to Syria, and to the far reaches of Afghanistan.

  • "If the embargo is not renewed, this will allow Iran to import and export arms with impunity. They are already buying and selling arms on the black market, but ending the arms embargo will allow them to do so officially." — Senior Israeli official who asked not to be named. Private interview with the author.

  • "When the embargo... is lifted next year we can easily buy and sell weapons... This is one of those important impacts of this (nuclear) agreement." — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, November 11, 2019.

  • In addition, Iran's ability to make new arms' purchases would enable Tehran to continue its support for proxies in the Middle East, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as enabling it to fuel conflicts from Venezuela to Syria, and to the far reaches of Afghanistan.

Addressing the UN Security Council in June, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned diplomats that failing to renew the arms embargo against Iran would enable the ayatollahs to purchase Russian-made fighters capable of striking targets within a 2,000-mile radius -- including Israel -- as well as allowing the Islamic regime to upgrade and expand its fleet of attack submarines. (Image source: US State Department)

There is mounting concern in Israel at the prospect of the United Nations arms embargo against Iran

Under the terms of UN Resolution 2231, the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo against Iran as part of the controversial nuclear deal negotiated by former US President Barack Obama.

The resolution is due to expire on October 18, and senior security officials in Israel are now expressing concern that, because of opposition from China and Russia, it will not be renewed. Beijing and Moscow, which have the authority to veto Security Council resolutions, have

"If the embargo is not renewed, this will allow Iran to import and export arms with impunity," a senior Israeli official, who asked not to be named, told me in a recent interview. "They are already buying and selling arms on the black market, but ending the arms embargo will allow them to do so officially."

The Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already experienced an

Israeli security officials believe the attack was launched in retaliation for the

Israeli security officials are concerned that if Iran is allowed greater access to global arms sales, it will be encouraged to carry out further attacks against Israeli targets. This has prompted Mr Netanyahu to mount a major diplomatic offensive aimed at putting pressure on the UN to renew the arms embargo when it comes up for renewal in October.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has made no secret of his desire to take full advantage of the relaxation of the arms embargo when it comes into effect.

Speaking at the end of last year, the Iranian leader was

Israeli concerns about Tehran's plans to exploit the ending of the arms embargo are certainly being taken seriously by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Addressing the UN Security Council in June, Mr Pompeo

Mr Pompeo said Iran would be free to purchase Russian-made fighters capable of striking targets within a 2,000-mile radius -- including Israel -- as well as allowing the Islamic regime to upgrade and expand its fleet of attack submarines. In addition, Iran's ability to make new arms purchases would enable Tehran to continue its support for proxies in the Middle East, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as enabling it to fuel conflicts from Venezuela to Syria, and to the far reaches of Afghanistan.

In a blunt message to the Security Council, Mr Pompeo

Mr Pompeo is now seeking to persuade Washington's allies in Europe to support an extension of the embargo, warning that China, which has recently

The good news is that, even if the Russians and Chinese insist on blocking an extension of the arms embargo, Washington is working to ensure that measures remain in place to prevent Iran from rebuilding its weapons arsenal.

One proposal under consideration by the Trump administration is to argue that, as a signatory to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Washington has the




A few thoughts about AG Barr at the House - Silvio Canto, Jr.

Silvio Canto, Jr.

Recent media stories show that they're trying to shift the narrative to blame the riots on anyone but Black Lives Matter and Antifa.

No need for Hollywood to do a modern version of Martin's and Lewis's crazy movie titled Scared Stiff.  We saw a great version of it on TV yesterday.

Like most of you, I have a life and responsibilities and could not watch the entire "Barr at the House show."  I caught most of it later thanks to video clips, social media messages, and reading my favorite sources, such as John Hinderaker, who nailed it:

We are approaching a very weird election in which one of our major parties is taking a stand in favor of rioting, looting, arson, destruction of federal property, and violent attacks on law enforcement. The Democrats seem to think that this is a winning formula. If it is, our republic is doomed. While we may be in deep trouble, I don't think we are that far gone yet.

One more thing: perhaps the only non-rhetorical question in today's hearing came from Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell: "Do you commit to not release the Durham report before the election?" Barr's answer: "No." Obamagate is the reason why the Democrats undertook to demonize Attorney General Barr before he was even sworn in. 

Yes, the Democrats were panicky and defensive at the hearing.  They fear the Durham Report and what indictments may be coming.  I got the impression that many Democrats know that A.G. Barr has a surprise coming, and they can't stand the suspense.

So destroy the messenger, or more accurately, make a fool of yourself trying, as they did in this hearing.

They fear the left because of primary challenges.  They know that primary challenges can take out veteran Democrats, such as Representative Joe Crowley and Representative Eliot Engle.

They fear that African-Americans and Hispanics may support President Trump in larger numbers than they did in 2016.  Some polls suggest that enthusiasm for Biden is not much, especially among the young.

They don't look like a confident bunch, as an old coach once told us about the team in the other dugout.  They look scared, and that may explain their pathetic behavior.

With all due respect to Martin and Lewis, "scared stiff" is the name of that show.

PS: You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.



You Can’t Get Cancelled for Antisemitism, But You Can for Philosemitism - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

You can get cancelled for a lot of things these days, but antisemitism isn’t one of them.

If you’re a celebrity and you say something antisemitic, there’s a reliable process for making the whole thing go away as quickly as possible. Have your PR person, who’s probably Jewish, write up an apology, meet with some local Jewish leaders, and visit your local Holocaust museum. If there isn’t a local Holocaust museum or if you don’t have the time, you can meet with a Holocaust survivor.

After DeSean Jackson of the Philly Eagles posted a fake Hitler quote claiming that, “white Jews knows that the Negroes are the real Children of Israel and to keep Americas secret the Jews will blackmail America”, he was sentenced to a Zoom session with a 94-year-old Holocaust survivor.

“I’m taking this time to continue with educating myself and bridging the gap between different cultures, communities & religions,” Jackson informed the world via his Instagram account.

The NFL player is presumably still a Farrakhan supporter and will go on playing with the Eagles.

Then Nick Cannon, the host of The Masked Singer, took off his own mask when he hosted a podcast which praised Farrakhan and claimed that the antisemitic things that he and his guest, Professor Griff, formerly of Public Enemy, were saying weren't antisemitic because black people are the real semites.

Nick also apologized and visited a Holocaust museum. As if Hitler, not Farrakhan, were the issue. And he’ll keep on hosting The Masked Singer because cancel culture is backward when it comes to Jews. Antisemitism actually helps convince Jewish organizations to promote antisemitic celebrities.


You’re not going to get cancelled for antisemitism, but you can get cancelled for philosemitism.

Over in the UK, Stephen Lamonby, a university engineering lecturer, was

Judge O'Rourke, upheld Lamonby's dismissal, contending

And yet one can’t help but suspect that if Lamonby’s crime had been cheering on Hamas and suggesting that the Jews were the new Nazis, there would be a legion of academic defenders rising on his behalf.

The problem wasn’t that the 73-year-old Hollywood veteran was antisemitic, but philosemitic.

Cancel culture rewards antisemitism, even as it ruthlessly punishes the mildest forms of political incorrectness, and assails those people who express an affinity for Jews and support for Israel.

And the alphabet soup of organizations that claim to represent Jews plays its part in this perversion.

The institutional infrastructure of federations, museums, and organizations that claim to represent Jews, despite having been subject to fewer elections than a Cuban dictator, knows quite well what to do with antisemites. At least those who are famous enough to do more than dismiss them out of hand. It takes them to a Holocaust museum and asks them not to be so mean and hurtful the next time around.

The ritual is degrading and pointless for everyone involved, but only the antisemites understand that.

A few years ago, D.C. Councilman Trayon White suggested that Jews control the weather. So naturally he was taken to visit the D.C. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he made assorted bizarre remarks and then left early. White, who has the expected Farrakhan ties, is still in office, but he hasn't lately accused Jews of controlling the weather. He knows what will happen if he does. Another museum tour.

But philosemites who may express their friendliness in politically incorrect ways are awkward.

The neurotic liberal establishment that insists on dragging Farrakhan fans who believe that Jews control the world, the weather, and are only pretending to be Jews, to Holocaust museums, does so because it wants to be liked by people who hate Jews and believes bigoted celebrities are the best sorts of people.

It doesn’t especially want to be liked by people who like Jews because they’re not very trendy.

Choosing between Nick Cannon and Stephen Lamonby, a young black celebrity and an elderly white male engineer, is an easy choice for organizations concerned not with integrity, but with popularity.

Like every nerd, they don’t want to be thought of as clever, but cool.

The dirty little secret of fighting antisemitism is that it’s never been concerned with what the wrong people do, but with what the right people say. The ADL got started battling vaudeville depictions of Jews by Jews because the latter, Eastern European and Russian Jews, embarrassed the ADL’s German Jews. If American Jewish organizations had put in a fraction of the effort trying to save Jews from the Holocaust that they did battling for admission to country clubs, fewer Holocaust museums would be needed.

The battle against antisemitism is obsessed with class perceptions instead of actually saving lives.

Even now, there’s a lot of interest in policing speech and little interest in preventing violence. When an idiot celebrity spews hate, he’s taken off to view photos of Auschwitz. Meanwhile, Peter Beinart can call for the destruction of Israel and still have plenty of speaking opportunities in temples across America.

Resuming foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, the updated brand of the PLO, which directly compensates terrorists who kill Jews, is the mainstream position of the Democrat Party.

If only the Jewish Democrats who wanted the host of a show where famous people dress up as giant singing geese to visit a Holocaust museum were as motivated to stop the actual murder of Jews.

While organizations that spent generations lecturing about antisemitism supported sending the Palestinian Authority more money so it could go on paying terrorists to kill Jewish teenage girls in Jerusalem, President Trump stepped in and took an axe to the terrorist money pipeline.

To their outrage.

Jewish Democrats are working hard to elect Biden so that terrorists will once again be paid to kill Jews.

President Trump, like Lamonby, often expresses his affinity for Jews in politically incorrect ways. The same organizations that were falling over themselves to tell DeSean Jackson about the Holocaust wouldn’t be caught dead with Trump. Like Lamonby, he’s another old white male. Politically incorrect.

But his cutoff of aid to the Palestinian Authority actually saved Jews from being killed by terrorists.

The organizations conducting their unauthorized battles against antisemitism have conflated prejudice with violence. They have no clue how to fight the former and no interest in fighting the latter.

Prejudice isn’t fought with Holocaust museum tours, but with dignity. The first line of defense against it is having enough self-respect not to offer atonement to bigots who have nothing but contempt for you. Unfortunately, too many Jews on the Left and the Right can be counted on to launch into militant defenses, asked or unasked, of bigots on their side and to do so by leveraging their own status as Jews.

And too many organizations are happy to whitewash trendy bigots while ignoring uncool supporters.

What the fight against antisemitism really needs is the ability to separate class anxieties about acceptance from real threats. And that won’t be done by organizations like the ADL, whose class anxieties have transformed it into a generic leftist advocacy group with little interest in Jewish issues, or the rest of its organizational cohort whose priority is winning the acceptance of the urban upper class.

And that acceptance is premised on embracing the left-wing politics and antisemitism of that class. That’s how fighting antisemitism to mute class anxieties perversely turns into embracing antisemitism.

Distinguishing between class anxieties and real threats doesn’t require futile efforts to educate celebrities who like Farrakhan with Holocaust museum tours, but to educate Jews about dignity and self-respect. People who are less worried about acceptance by those it’s not worth being accepted by are better able to deal with real threats to their physical existence instead of threats to their feelings.

Cancel culture is the product of people who don’t have actual problems and spend all their time worrying about their feelings. Jews do have actual problems, including synagogue attacks by black nationalists and alt-right gunmen, Iranian nukes and the harassment of Jewish students on campus.

When we focus on real world attacks, then the real problems of antisemitism also come into focus.

A people possessing its own dignity is able to stop chasing the affections of its enemies, whether in the Middle East or closer to home, and accept the affection of its friends even if they aren’t trendy enough.


Daniel Greenfield



Israel’s ‘Stability’ Strategy Strengthens Terrorists - Caroline Glick

​ by Caroline Glick

No Israeli interest is served by propping up bad actors.


Since the 1990s, the dominant view in Israel’s national security community has been that Israel’s top priority in relation to the Palestinians is to maintain the stability of their leadership. This is the case in relation to both the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria and the Hamas regime in Gaza.

The rationale behind this view is that despite their hostility, if the regimes lose control things will be worse for Israel, which will have to take over, at great cost in lives and international stature. In other words, it’s either Fatah and Hamas or the Israel Defense Forces. And Israel’s security establishment prefers the former.

To achieve the goal of preserving the Fatah regime, Israel’s generals and their think-tank colleagues have long insisted the government ensure its financial viability. In practice, this has required Israel to collect customs and other indirect taxes for the PA and transfer the funds to it, with no strings attached, every month.

The fact that the PA has always used large portions of its budget to finance terrorism was of little consequence to the generals and their colleagues.

In the case of Hamas-controlled Gaza, preserving the terrorist regime has required Israel to permit the P.A. to transfer funds to its employees in Gaza, even though by paying their salaries the PA effectively enabled Hamas to devote its resources solely to waging its war against Israel.

Preserving Hamas has also involved Israel allowing Qatar to send truckloads of cash to Gaza to keep Hamas’s terror state afloat.

Safe in power — thanks to Israel — Fatah has been free to devote its energies to waging its multidimensional war against Israel. It funds terrorists — with the tax arrears Israel collects for it. It incites terror on its media organs — again paid for by the taxes Israel transfers.

It pays its security forces and indoctrinates its members to seek Israel’s destruction. It engages in large-scale theft of government lands and illegal construction in Judea and Samaria to choke off Jewish communities. And the Fatah-PA wages diplomatic war against Israel at the United Nations, in the world capitals, and increasingly at the International Criminal Court.

Safe in power in Gaza, Hamas builds up its forces. It develops collaborative ties with Hezbollah and the Houthis and strengthens its client relationship with both Iran and Turkey. And every so often, it opens another missile offensive against Israel, aimed at killing and terrorizing Israeli civilians.

Strengthening terrorists

Whether they like it or not, the denizens of Hamastan and Fatahland alike have no choice other than to live under the jackboot of their regimes. Thanks to Israel — and its stability-minded security experts — they have no chance of competing for power or rebelling.

Israel’s security community isn’t alone in its preference for stability — even at the cost of strengthening enemies. Their American colleagues are in the same cognitive boat. The place where the Americans have been pushing this position most strongly in recent years is in Lebanon.

Following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, despite the direct assistance both the Lebanese government and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) provided Hezbollah in its war against Israel, the Bush administration massively expanded U.S. civilian and military assistance to the Lebanese government and the LAF.

Obama expanded the aid packages still further. And despite opposition from some quarters of the Trump administration, the Pentagon insists on maintaining the assistance.

Much like their Israeli counterparts, the U.S. security brass insists that despite the fact that Hezbollah is a more powerful military force than the LAF, and indeed dominates it, and despite the fact that Hezbollah controls the Lebanese government, both the government and the LAF should be treated as independent organizations.

Their stability and ties to U.S. aid may, in time, enable them to assert national authority over their country.

There are several problems with this view. The main problem is that under the current system, Hezbollah rules the roost and so long as the system remains unchanged, Hezbollah will continue to control the government and the LAF; no matter how many aircraft, night vision devices, mortars and artillery pieces U.S. taxpayers buy the LAF and no matter how much civilian assistance they buy the Lebanese government.

The only way to change the situation is to change the system. And the U.S. military and civilian assistance to the Lebanese government and LAF preserves the system.

Counterproductive strategy

The counterproductive nature of the shared preference of the Israeli and U.S. security elites for stability above all was exposed with brutal clarity by the civil war in Syria.

For decades both Israeli and American security authorities supported the Assad regime in Syria. As they still argue with regard to the Palestinians and the Lebanese, the experts insisted that the Assad tyranny was better than any alternative.

True, both Hafez Assad and his son and heir Bashar Assad sponsored terrorism and developed weapons of mass destruction. True, under their rule, Syria served and continues to serve as a Russian and Iranian satellite and a hub for global terrorism.

But the longevity of the regime made it seem credible. Since it survived, the American and Israeli security experts argued, it was a stabilizing force.

Even as the Assads facilitated and often ordered Hezbollah and other terror groups to attack Israeli and American targets, the Israeli and American security communities insisted it wasn’t really interested in the chaos it was provoking. It was just letting off steam. Or something.

Moreover, they believed that eventually, the Assads could be appeased into signing a piece of paper with the word “peace” on it for the bargain price of the Golan Heights. And when that happened, the Syrians would disband the terror forces they sponsored themselves and walk away from the Russians and the Iranians.

Due to the Assads’ chokehold on their citizens, opposition groups, such as they were, were largely powerless and incapable of providing credible or useful intelligence to Israel and the United States.

And then the inconceivable happened. The Syrian people revolted and the status quo regime was no more.

Empowered by destabilization

Israel was not harmed by the destabilization of the Assad dynasty. It was empowered. Assad couldn’t back Hezbollah strikes against Israel when he needed them in Syria to protect him. So the civil war in Syria reduced the prospect of a Hezbollah strike on Israel to an unprecedented low.

Then there were the Syrians themselves. It worked out that once the people began rising up against their oppressor, they were eager to reach out to Israel.

Even as Israel maintained an official position of complete impartiality in the war in Syria, and deployed no forces across its border, the Syrians themselves were willing to reward Israel’s humanitarian assistance with significant intelligence assistance.

According to multiple reports and sources, today, nine years after the war broke out, Syria is an open book for Israeli intelligence. And thanks to Israel’s intelligence prowess in Syria, it has gained unprecedented intelligence gathering capabilities throughout the Arab world and in Iran.

This then brings us to Lebanon. Lebanon doesn’t appear to be on the brink of civil war, but it is in the midst of economic and civic collapse. Electricity is now supplied a mere two to three hours a day. Lebanon’s currency has been devaluated by 60 percent over the past year, and its credit rating is lower than Venezuela’s.

Hezbollah’s control over the country has driven out Arab investors and dried up aid dollars from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

U.S. sanctions ended Iran’s financial support of Hezbollah. Government corruption has prevented the International Monetary Fund from lending it cash. Lebanese banks are going bankrupt. Even the Chinese don’t want to throw good money after bad.

There appears to be only one force in the world today that may save Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon from destruction: the Pentagon.

Last week, General Kenneth McKenzie, the Commander of the U.S. Army Central Command, expressed understanding for the Lebanese government’s subordination to Hezbollah.

“Hezbollah remains a problem, it remains an issue,” McKenzie said in an online news conference.

“We recognize that it’s there. We’d be—I’d be blind to say we don’t see it there. We recognize that … local people there in Lebanon have to make accommodations as a result of that.”

In other words, the U.S. military is fine with Hezbollah control over the Lebanese government and military. During a visit in Beirut earlier this month McKenzie expressed the United States’ continued commitment to supporting both.

To be clear. Lebanon is collapsing. But the day after the government—and its Hezbollah overlords—go down, the Lebanese people will still be in Lebanon, adrift and suffering to be sure, but very much alive and looking for a way forward.

Although reports are increasing that Iran wants Hezbollah to attack Israel in retaliation for the recent fires and explosions at Iranian nuclear and missile sites, if Hezbollah attacks Israel, the Lebanese, (who are beginning to starve) will not rally to its side. To the contrary.

As was the case in Syria, the destabilization or collapse of the Lebanese government and Hezbollah will not harm Israel (or the United States).

It will harm their enemies and open up a whole new set of opportunities for Israel and the United States to work with Lebanese people, who are not their enemies, to the benefit of all concerned. Such cooperation will not require Israeli or American boots on the ground.

Propping up PA

This brings us to the Palestinians.

Last weekend, Defense Minister Benny Gantz extended for an additional 45 days a suspension of Israel’s terror finance laws in Judea and Samaria that he first instituted last month.

In so doing, Gantz gave a green light to the PA to continue financing terrorists and their families and transferring their payments to terrorists through Palestinian banks without exposing either the P.A. or the banks to financial sanction and criminal prosecution.

In response to an outcry by the parents of terror victims, Gantz insisted that he was acting at the behest of the security community.

Because again, from the perspective of Israel’s old-guard security brass, the most frightening phrase in the world is “PA collapse.” They will work to prevent it even if it means paying the salaries of Palestinian terrorists.

Thanks to the Israeli security community’s slavish devotion to stability, neither Hamas nor Fatah need to concern themselves with internal dissent. Rather than rebel against their Fatah and Hamas overlords, (and turn towards Israel), the various Palestinian factions maintain themselves by joining their regimes in attacking Israel. It’s the only game in town.

Were the PA and the Hamas regime to collapse, the dynamic would change. And as has been the case in Syria, the Palestinians’ choices would change.

Although it is easy to understand the allure of stability, relations with enemy regimes are inherently unstable and today more than ever, our world is unstable. Our enemies are either collapsing or on the brink of collapse. No Israeli interest is served by saving them.

Caroline Glick


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Jordan moves to resolve 'West Bank' sovereignty problem it created - David Singer

Jordan wants a one-state solution, which can work if it absorbs the PA and leaves the rest of the area in Israel's hands as it is now.

Dry Bones One State Solution?
Dry Bones One State Solution?                                                                                            Kirschen

Jordan’s Prime Minister Omar Razzaz has made a welcome intervention to resolve the issue of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria (aka 'West Bank').

Razzaz’s offer comes as Israel readies - hopefully - to restore Jewish sovereignty in 30% of Judea and Samaria after an absence of 3000 years – as promulgated by the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter - and detailed in President Trump’s

Razzaz has

“We are against unilateral actions. We are against annexation. We are against any steps that are not within an overall scheme that leads to a two-state solution. Short of that, if we’re not going towards a two-state solution, let us know what we’re going towards, what kind of one-state solution we’re going towards.”

The “two-state solution” favoured by the international community for the last 40 years – creating an independent State of Palestine between Israel and Jordan – has long passed its anticipated birth date. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

Razzaz should consider going towards a varoatopm pf the “Jordan one-state solution” that existed between 1948 and 1967 - after Transjordan:

Razzaz lays down three conditions for any “one-state solution”:

  • “Jordan will not absorb transfers of Palestinians.
  • Jordan will not become ‘the’ Palestine, as the Israeli extreme right wishes.
  • And Jordan will not give up its custodianship over [holy Muslim and Christian sites in] Jerusalem. These three are clear for us.”

Under the “Jordan one-state solution”:

  • No 'West Bank' or Gazan Arab would have to move from his current home or business
  • 'West Bank' Arab residents would regain their 1954-1988 Jordanian citizenship – once again electing their own representatives to the Jordanian Parliament
  • Unification of Gaza and possibly 70% of the 'West Bank' with Jordan would accord with proposals contemplated by article 25 of the Mandate for Palestine 1922, the 1937 Peel Royal Commission and UN General Assembly “Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine” in 1947.
  • Jordan’s custodianship over the Muslim Holy Sites in Jerusalem is retained under the Jordan Israel Peace Treaty 1994
  • The status quo existing between 1964 and 1968 would be restored when the PLO under article 24 of its founding Charter did “not exercise any regional sovereignty over the 'West Bank' in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” or “on the Gaza Strip”:
  • The territory comprised in the Mandate for Palestine would have been finally allocated as intended.

The late King Hussein of Jordan - writing in

“Palestine (as it was called then without any connection to those calling themselves, Palestinians today, ed.) and Jordan were both under the British Mandate, but as my grandfather pointed out in his memoirs they were hardly separate countries. Trans-Jordan being to the east of the river Jordan, it formed in a sense, the interior of Palestine”

Razzaz and Netanyahu need to start a dialogue to bring a variation of the “Jordan one-state solution” to fruition and end the 100 years old Arab-Jewish conflict.

Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones” - one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog.

David Singer



Jews Need to Jexit from Democrat-Left Racist Poison - Howard Sachs

​ by Howard Sachs

All Americans, particularly Jews, should be ashamed of embracing any of the values of the Democrat-left party.

I am a proud American.  I am also Jewish, and equally proud.  I'm particularly proud that Judaism gifted to the world the first anti-racist notion when it said all men are created in the image of God.  Black lives indeed matter to me as a true liberal (now called a conservative Republican).  They matter, as all lives matter in their essential humanness.  That means they matter deeply because each of us, from conception to death, is imbued with the spirit of God.  It also means that humans matter especially based on their humanness, their character, behavior, virtues, and values.  The essence of their being is not material.  It is certainly not the concentration of skin pigment, of oxidized tyrosine in their dermal cells.  Nor does the essence of their humanity come from hair texture, genital makeup, height, strength, portfolio size, where their grandpas immigrated from, shoe size, or their body mass indices.

The Democrat, the man of the left, disagrees.  Skin color is a defining characteristic of one's humanness.  Such a notion is the mark of a foul, pre-biblical, illiberal, and regressive ideology.  Such a view is tragically now rampant on our burning streets, in our classrooms, on our news feeds, on leftist blogs, in sports stadiums, and especially from the mouths of Democrat-leftist politicians.  Such a view is an existential threat to America.  Such racism should be repugnant to an American Jew's value system.  But the majority of my fellow Jews embrace this Democrat-leftist party — where, now, the only vestige of true systemic racism remains in America.  It's beyond shameful.  I don't know if it is willful ignorance or just sheer brainwashing from our media and schools that has so distorted the minds of so many good people.

Look at what is involved with this embrace.  The Democrat party, unlike America, dear New York Times, was birthed in the poison of slavery, racism, and segregation.  The poison has run now 170 years through American Democrat Party history, where today such evil remains as potent and nefarious.  Now the racism has morphed from segregation to separation, as the great writer and radio host Mark Levin says.  Black and white men, we are now told, are essentially different beings, and never the twain shall meet.  White men think and act one way and have a certain set of values, and men with higher concentration of melanin pigment in their dermis think and act differently and carry a different set of values.  Joe Biden , even from the fog of an ill brain , said it succinctly: "'If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black."  Great conservative blacks like Clarence Thomas, Larry Elder, Walter Williams, Tom Sowell, Candice Owens, and Carol Swain are said by the Democrat left not to be true blacks.  They are banned from our leftist Democrat media.  Democrat John Calhoun from antebellum South Carolina could not have spewed such raw racism as well as his successors in the modern Democrat left.  And my fellow Jews vote for this?  It's shameful beyond words.

How could any citizen with liberal American values, any Jew, now walk onto our university campuses and not be utterly repulsed at the normative racism displayed by our Democrat left — people who now command and control almost all of university life?  Their views and actions are right out of 1930s Germany or plantation Alabama in 1840.  Campuses have graduation ceremonies and dorms, social groups, and orientation ceremonies limited to people only if their melanin pigment levels in their dermal cells reaches a certain prescribed level.  Administration buildings on these campuses are full of $175,000-a-year deans of diversity and inclusion searching out with obsessive precision the pigment level of school, professorship, and administrative applicants.  Entry is gained if leftism and pigment levels reach high levels.  University teachers and administrators are demanding that our young learn the racist notion about the shame they should feel and obligations they have to repay others because they have "white privilege" — that is, too low a tyrosine polymer concentration in the cytoplasm of certain cells.

It goes on throughout our society as the left destroys pillar after pillar of American liberalism.  The Democrat-leftists tell us that citizens with dark skin are too incompetent to obtain a photo ID to vote.  They inform us that these citizens must get points added to their SAT, ACT, LSAT, or MCAT scores because their mental capacities are not up to those of lighter skin color who also by definition have not had to face the vicissitudes of life like a man "of color" has.  This week, the music critic of the N.Y. Times wrote, and that despicable paper published, that citizens with much melanin in their skin cannot be expected to learn to play a musical instrument at the level of a N.Y. Philharmonic player, hence they should be accepted into the orchestra with much lower standards.  How degrading to a man to be considered so fundamentally different and incompetent because of skin pigmentation.

Our Democrat left inform us that citizens rioting, burning, and looting must not be held to basic standards of self-control and restraint because of skin shading.  It's why Democrat-left mayors and governors have barred police from doing their job.  The radical leftist Obama education department told our poor beleaguered teachers to cut out disciplining American kids disrupting our classrooms if their skin melanin levels are too high.  Just last week, leaders of the National Museum of African-American History, each a hardcore Democrat leftist, told the world that people with dark skin in America do not and should not embrace basic Western and American norms like self-reliance; rational, objective thought; delayed gratification; the nuclear family; progress; and respect for authority.  Such values, they say, are inherent to people with low levels of skin pigmentation — white folks.  The Democrat-leftist leadership of the University of California have told the country that if a man says there is only one race — the human race — he is a racist.  The implication is that there are two separate essences in humanity, black humans and white humans.  Now topping the Holocaust-denying, Ukrainian Holodomor–denying, and Russia hoax–pushing New York Times list is the White Fragility book.  John McWhorter, a professor and citizen with dark skin, noted in a recent op-ed that this book teaches us a whole new permutation of raw racism.  It argues, he notes, the obnoxious and immoral notion that our humanness is intricately entwined with our melanin pigment levels. 

But the Democrat left, including the majority of American Jews, are in love with this Democrat-left political party.  In essence, it has become really a religion or cult.  No fact, no argument, no appeal to liberal, biblical, Enlightenment values, no self-reflection can shake the commitment to the magisterium of the Golden Donkey.  The Jewish, Christian, black, white, straight, and gay left also laps up the poison of this ideology as it attacks not only our liberal notions of race, but our basic American notions about everything else.  Leftists tell us that liberty, small government, republicanism, love of country, a God-based and God-fearing society, free-market capitalism, strong nuclear families, traditional notions of marriage, respect for the Constitution, the fact of two sexes, the love of biblical values, protection of unborn girls and boys, protection of private property, sovereign borders, a colorblind society , respect for authority, law and order...all basically stink.  That's why we have the new "burn it all down, baby" movement from the Democrat left — all egged on by our Democrat media, academia, the Democrat party, and Hollywood.

All Americans, particularly Jews, the people who introduced liberal enlightened values to the world, should be ashamed of embracing any of the values of this Democrat-left party — especially its racism.  It has been a poison on the American soul since its inception.  Now, 170 years later, its poison is as noxious and deep in all areas of American life.  Its new variation of raw, crude, virulent segregation/separatist racism is one of its most evil brews infecting our beautiful country.

Howard Sachs


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Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Western Wall and the Jews: More than a Thousand Years of Prayer - Nadav Shragai

by Nadav Shragai

[A] researcher at the Jerusalem Center, published this collection of forgotten and lesser-known facts about the Western Wall, which Muslims are trying to deny.

Jews Praying at Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
Jews Praying at Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, by Johann Martin Bernatz (Ottoman Archives, 1868)

Institute for Contemporary Affairs
Founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation

Vol. 20, No. 16

Against the background of the Jordanian condemnation of Israel for work carried out by Israel on the southern extension of the Western Wall and the Muslim denial of the Jewish connection to the Western Wall, Nadav Shragai, a researcher at the Jerusalem Center, published this collection of forgotten and lesser-known facts about the Western Wall, which Muslims are trying to deny.
  • After the destruction of the Temple, Jews prayed on the Temple Mount, on the Mount of Olives, at the eastern and southern walls, and finally – when Jerusalem was reopened – Jews returned to the Western Wall, which is closest in proximity to the Holy of Holies.
  • The current place of worship at the Western Wall was established after an earthquake in 1546, which collapsed a row of buildings leaning against the Western Wall and cleared a short prayer alley for Jews, used with the approval of the Ottoman authorities.
  • The central synagogue of the Jews in Jerusalem, “The Cave,” was located inside the Western Wall tunnels for many years, until the city fell to the Crusaders in 1099.
  • The Jewish scholar, Yitzhak Yehezkiel Yehuda, collected dozens of testimonies of Jewish prayers throughout many points in time, beginning in 950 CE. They were submitted to the 1930 British Western Wall Commission, testifying to the Jewish connection to the place.
  • A valuable new study prepared by Dr. Aryeh Kimelman reveals that in parallel with the prayers at the Western Wall “alley,” which later expanded to become the Western Wall Plaza, Jews prayed at various points along the entire length of the wall, for example, near the Cotton Merchants’ Gate, Council Gate, and Iron Gate.
  • Muslims today deny the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, as well as reject any Jewish connection to the Western Wall. They claim that the entire area of the Temple Mount is “part of al-Aqsa.”
  • After 1967, the Muslims expanded the definition of “al-Aqsa” beyond just the southern mosque on the Mount and applied it to the entire compound and its walls.
  • During the 19 years of occupying east Jerusalem, Jordan violated a commitment to allow Jews to pray at the Western Wall.
On January 14, 1546, a severe earthquake struck throughout the land of Israel. Hundreds were killed or injured. Many were left homeless. The earthquake was so strong that the Jordan River stopped flowing for three days. Rock and soil erosion temporarily blocked the river channel. A high tsunami wave hit the port of Jaffa. Severe damage was documented in Hebron and Jaffa. Jerusalem was also damaged: some of the gates of the Old City were destroyed, and the bell tower of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher collapsed. The earthquake brought death and bereavement to many homes, but it had another historical consequence that had a decisive impact on the history of Jerusalem and the life of the Jewish people.

Archeologist Prof. Dan Bahat notes in his recent research that this destructive earthquake actually determined the location of where generations of Jews went to pray for centuries, the central area of prayer at the foot of the sacred Western Wall. The severe quake tore down a row of old structures built and propped up by the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. The clearing of the ruins slightly expanded the limited areas of the Western Wall of about 488 meters, where Jews had prayed for 500 years from approximately the year 1000.
Aerial photo of Jerusalem’s Mughrabi section
An overhead photograph of the Mughrabi quarter that would become the Western Wall Plaza in 1967. The Western Wall prayer alleyway is marked in yellow. (Graf Zeppelin, 1931)
Suddenly, after years of covering many parts of the Western Wall with Muslim construction, mostly Mamluk, a narrow and empty plaza was created at the foot of the Western Wall, the closest of the Temple Mount walls to the presumed site of the Holy of Holies. The Jews hurried to make use of this area for their prayers. This area later became known as the “Alley of the Western Wall,” and after the Six Day War turned into the “Western Wall Plaza,” which Israel prepared as a large open area for Jewish prayers in 1967.

Now, on the eve of Tisha B’Av, the national day of mourning of the Jewish People,  we offer this study of the ancient traditions of the Jews near the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. (The Western Wall is also known as a “Remnant of the Temple,” even though it is not the western wall of the Temple itself, but rather the western wall of the Temple Mount retaining wall.)
The southwest corner of the Temple Mount compound
The southwest corner of the Temple Mount compound, showing the western and southern retaining walls. (Robertson and Beato, circa 1860)
In recent years, Arab sources claim the term “al-Aqsa” is no longer a description of the mosque built at the southern end of the Mount, but of the entire Mount, including the Western Wall. In Palestinian Authority publications and PA television, as well as statements by Palestinian clerics, the Jewish connection is denied not only to the Temple Mount and the Temple but now also to the Western Wall. This also provides background to the description of the Western Wall by the Jordanians now: “The Western Wall of the al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Divine Presence (Shechinah) in the West

Archaeologist Dan Bahat was not the first to link the site of the destruction of the houses that once stood in front of the Western Wall with the place that was eventually designated as the main prayer site for the Jews at the foot of the Western Wall. The first to present this hypothesis in the 19th century was the British archaeologist Charles Warren who conducted archeological excavations in Jerusalem in the years 1867-1870. Warren writes –
It is not known where near the Western Wall they would have gathered in the early days; probably not near the present place of weeping, because we find signs of arched rooms built in front of the Western Wall; and probably only after these buildings were destroyed, or destroyed by man. The mourners were given the opportunity to approach the Western Wall. (Israeli scholar Avraham Moshe Lunz also refers to this possibility in his article “Western Wall of the House of God’s” in 1914).
But the geographical and historical reasons for the prayer of Jews at the Western Wall are secondary: the sanctity of the Western Wall, more than any other wall of the Temple Mount, stems primarily from halakhic and religious reasons, in which Midrashim (biblical exegesis by ancient Judaic authorities) and legends were woven. This Talmudic compilation was central to a 1,700-year-old process that made the Western Wall everything it is today: a center of attraction for the Jewish people, a symbol of its antiquity, a center of longing, and a center of prayer for the individual and many for redemption and the building of the Temple.

The Western Wall, more than any other wall of the Temple Mount, is closest to the presumed location of the Jews’ Holy of Holies, under the Dome of the Rock that sits on the western part of the Mount (according to the estimations of most researchers). The proximity of the Western Wall to the presumed place of the Holy of Holies has for many generations given tangible expression to the concept of a “Divine Presence in the West” (Shechina), which appears in many Jewish sources, especially in Midrashim. For example, in “Midrash Tanhuma” – “The Shechinah (Divine Presence) never moved from the Western Wall of the Temple” and it also is referenced in Bamidbar Rabbah – “Here it stands behind our wall, it is the Western Wall of the Temple that is never destroyed, the Shechinah in the West.”

There is a dispute among the commentators as to which Western Wall these Midrashim and other sources, which were written about 1,500 years ago, referred to. To the Western Wall of the Temple? Or to the Western (retaining) Wall of the Temple Mount? But there is no dispute that after the destruction of the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount, when the site of the Western Wall of the Temple building itself disappeared, the Jewish people consecrated the Western (retaining) Wall of the Temple Mount compound. Contrary to the version of Islam and many scholars today, the Jewish people have an intimate connection to the Western Wall and held prayers at the foot of the Kotel for many centuries before the earthquake. Bahat, Warren, and Lunz may identify the earthquake as the geographical reason for the consequential expansion, turning the Western Wall “Alley” into the central place of Jewish prayer, but there is more to the story.

Even before the narrow prayer alley was arranged for them, Jews visited the Western Wall, along with many other points. The Muslim conquest allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem after being expelled by the Romans and Byzantines. Until then, and throughout the 700 years after the destruction of the Temple, Jews prayed in four places: on the Temple Mount itself, on the Mount of Olives (east of the Temple Mount facing the Temple Mount), at the foot of the eastern wall of the Temple Mount, and later at the southern wall of the Temple Mount, where the main entrance and exit gates of the Temple Mount were located, including the Huldah Gate.
The Temple Mount’s southern wall
The Temple Mount’s southern wall, including the sealed “triple gate” (1900, Library of Congress)
Aerial photograph of the Temple Mount from the south
Aerial photograph of the Temple Mount from the south, showing the southern wall, Dome of the Rock, and al-Aqsa mosque. The arrow on the left points to the Western Wall. (1950, Library of Congress)

Evidence from the Cairo Geniza

Many times, especially in the Middle Ages, Jewish visitors to Jerusalem left engravings of their names and various inscriptions on the walls, and years later, these engravings were discovered and documented by scholars and archaeologists. The aforementioned Muslim occupation gradually brought the Jews closer and closer to Jerusalem and the Western Wall. The Muslim’s al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock were built above ground, and the Jews built a synagogue in the underground space of the Warren’s Gate, near the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, in the place closest to the Holy of Holies.

This synagogue, which according to some scholars, is identified with the synagogue known as the “The Cave,” was apparently used as the main synagogue of the Jews of Jerusalem for many years, until the city fell to the Crusaders in 1099. Warren’s Gate, where “The Cave” synagogue was located, is according to one of the hypotheses “Sha’ar Yehuda” mentioned in the prayer “Sivuv HaShaarim” (Around the Gates) – an ancient prayer whose various versions were discovered as part of the study of the “Cairo Geniza” – a prayer said to this day by a Jewish worshiper who walks around the Temple Mount gates.
Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall
Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall, photograph by Mendel Diness (circa 1859, Harvard)
Evidence of Jewish prayer at the foot of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount has been available since 950-980 CE. The evidence appears in the book of the Jewish scholar Yitzhak Yehezkiel Yehuda, which he compiled at the beginning of the 20th century. The leadership of the Jewish Yishuv used this collection of prayers during the discussions with the British Western Wall Commission, which conducted an inquiry that examined the “Western Wall Conflict” and the events that followed in 1929 and 1930. The “Western Wall Conflict” and the massacre of the Jews in 1929, took place in the context of continuous harassment by Muslims against Jewish prayer at the Western Wall, as well as Muslim incitement which accused Jews of planning to destroy the mosques on the Temple Mount, and not settle for prayer at the Western Wall.

Yehezkel’s book, (edited and proofread by Middle East scholar Prof. Yoel Yosef Rivlin, the father of the current president, Reuven Rivlin) presents documentation that shows Jewish prayer took place at the Western Wall for more than a thousand years, contrary to the Muslim claims that this is a new phenomenon of only a few hundred years. The first record mentioned in Yehezkel’s study is of Governor (Naggid) Paltiel (died 976 CE) and his son Shmuel, mentioned in the genealogy of poet Ahimaaz ben Paltiel (in the Chronicle of Ahimaaz). The scroll describes, among other things, how a thousand years ago, they sent “money for oil for lighting candles at the Western Wall.” According to the chronicle, it is clear that this is a synagogue, resting against the Western Wall. The traveler, Benjamin of Tudela, in 1167, testifies to the existence of the Western Wall, then also called the “Gates of Mercy,” as a place where Jews came to pray.

Additional testimonies came from the time of the Crusaders about Jewish prayer near the Western Wall from Yaakov son Rabbi Netanel HaCohen, followed by other testimonies by Shmuel ben R. Shimshon (1210), Menachem ben Peretz of Hebron (1215), one of the students of the Nachmanides (1310), Ishtori Haparchi (1313), Isaac Chelo (1393), Eliyahu of Ferrara (1435), “The Unknown Traveler” (1495), Rabbi Israel Ashkenazi (1520), Rabbi Isaac ben Meir Latif (1531), Shimshon Bek (1584) and many others.

Prayer also at the “Little Wall” in Earlier Days

This list, by the scholar Yitzhak Yehezkiel Yehuda, which is not known to the general public today, is important to our case, because many Muslims, apart from denying the Jewish connection to the Western Wall, claim that it is an invention of the last 400-500 years. To add insult to injury, even non-Muslim scholars are making this claim. Yehezkiel’s research, backed by the historical records, shows that prayer at the Western Wall goes back at least a thousand years. Earlier, the Jews were prevented from accessing the Western Wall by the Crusaders, the Byzantines, the Romans, and even by the more permissive Muslim rulers, as well.
Little Western Wall
The “Little Western Wall” (Nadav Shragai)
Little Kotel
The “Little Kotel” (Kotel Hakaton) photographed in 1865 by Sgt. James McDonald (Palestine Exploration Fund) Compare the arch carving on the left to the contemporary picture above.
Another valuable study, the summary of which we present here, was prepared by Dr. Aryeh Kimelman, an expert on the history of Jerusalem and an extraordinary scholar of the history and mysteries of the Temple Mount. This study has not yet been officially published but has been shared with this author. Here are some examples of where Jews have prayed along the Western Wall, apart from the familiar “Alley” or “Plaza,”  the Or Chadash Synagogue near the Mashgiach Gate, the Little Western Wall north of the Iron Gate, Beit Danon next to it, the Mendel Rand home adjacent to the Temple Mount in the Cotton Merchant’s market, the Cotton Gate itself, near the Chain Gate, in the house of Rabbi Akiva Yosef Schlesinger near the Western Gate (Mughrabi Gate), south of that gate, and near the southwest corner of the Temple Mount, as well as in the synagogue in the courtyard of Rabbi Fischel Lapin, near the Majlis Gate. The archaeologist Prof. Dan Bahat comments on the same matter that the letters of the “Geniza,” which were brought as evidence by the Jews in the 1930 “Western Wall Committee,” indicated the precedence of the Jewish affiliation with the Western Wall, but do not refer as they mistakenly believe, to the familiar alley area, but to a more northern place of worship near the Western Wall, right in front of the Holy of Holies.
Painting of the Cotton Merchants’ Gate to the Temple Mount
Painting of the Cotton Merchants’ Gate to the Temple Mount by Gustav Bauernfeind, (Wikipedia, 1886)
Enlargement of the Bauernfeind painting shows Jewish worshippers wearing prayer shawls (talitot) and traditional headgear.
The Israeli scholar Chaim Bar-Droma, also found that “the Jews held the entire Western Wall from the Chain Gate to the Cotton Merchants Gate in the western neighborhood (today’s Mughrabi Gate, to the edge of the wall in the southwest corner and beyond. ” Jews, it should be noted, also prayed on the lower floor of the Machkema Building (Al-Madrasa Al-Tankiz /Building of Wisdom), which was built in the Mamluk period, at a point in the neighborhood then known as the “Little Western Wall.” Today, this name is known as the site located in the center of the Muslim Quarter, 175 meters north of the familiar prayer plaza.

“Muslim Western Wall”

In previous years, imams recognized, at least de facto, the Jewish connection to the Western Wall and their right to pray there. However, in recent years, the Western Wall has undergone a process of “Islamization” and is considered to be exclusive property of Muslims. Muslim leaders in our generation deny any sanctity of the Western Wall to Jews. They also began claiming the supposed holiness of the Western Wall to Islam. They cite their belief that a miraculous beast “Buraq” had carried the prophet Muhammed during his night dream from Mecca to Jerusalem, where Mohammed had bound “Buraq” to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. As a result, it is considered holy for Muslims.

For example, Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, claimed that “Jews have no right to the Western Wall… and that this place is sacred for Muslims only, and no one can negotiate even an inch of the al-Aqsa, because the Western Wall is a part of it.”

Similar statements were also made during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Western Wall in June 2012, when he said that at the Western Wall, “one can see how the Jewish past is engraved in Jerusalem stones.” Following his statement, the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf (“Islamic Religious Trust”) hurried to respond: “We say to Putin and those like him that the Buraq Wall (the Western Wall) is an exclusively Islamic sacred site. It is an integral part of the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque, and no one besides Muslims has a right to it…the entire historical record and international documents emphasize that the Western Wall is the Muslim Buraq Wall.”

Nasr Farid Wasil, the former Mufti of Egypt, argued that the Western Wall is a Muslim sacred site and part of the al-Aqsa Mosque, and, as such, Muslims cannot surrender it. According to him, it should be called the “Buraq Wall” and not the “Western Wall.”  Wasil also ruled, “It is forbidden to anyone who is not Muslim to repair the Western Wall even if it needs to be renovated since it is a Muslim obligation, which must be carried out exclusively by Muslim institutions.”

Statements of a similar nature were heard even in Israel especially in sermons delivered by the leader of the northern faction of the Islamic movement, Sheikh Raed Salah, who said in 2000:
It must be honestly said to the Jewish society that you have no right to even one stone from the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque, you have no right even to one grain from the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque… The Western Wall of al-Aqsa (meaning the Western Wall) is a part of the blessed al-Aqsa. It will never be a small Western Wall. It can never be a big Western Wall… The political and religious leadership in Israel has been told clearly: the demand to keep the blessed al-Aqsa under Israeli sovereignty is also a declaration of war against the Islamic world.
The Muslims of our generation are not satisfied with mere ideological declarations. Already in summer 2011, the official Palestinian Authority (PA) television reported in a framework of a documentary program that the PA is planning to build an Arab residential area on the site of the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem. In the broadcast, the worshippers at the Western Wall were portrayed as “sinners and unclean.”  Jewish history was presented as “fake,” and during the broadcast, it was clarified: we are drawing now our maps. When they (the Jews) “disappear from the picture, like a forgotten chapter from the pages of our city’s history, the residential area will be rebuilt. Here at the Western Wall Plaza, the Arab Mughrabi neighborhood will be rebuilt.”

This broadcast reflected a statement made by the Minister of Religious Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud al-Habbash, in which he denied the Jewish connection to the Western Wall. In January 2013, he made a baseless claim saying that “throughout history no one besides Muslims has ever referred to the Western Wall as a worship place, until Lord Balfour made his ominous promise in 1917.”

Camels, Donkeys, and Horses in the Western Wall Alleyway

The Muslim claim to the Western Wall lacks any historical ground. After the Six- Day War, when Israel evacuated the Mughrabi neighborhood (that stood adjacent to the Western Wall), and a large Western Wall Plaza was built, a different light was shed to what had been taking place at the Western Wall throughout modern history. There are numerous descriptions and testimonies from the ninetieth and early twentieth centuries detailing how the Jewish holy place was continually defiled by the residents of the Mughrabi neighborhood. Worshippers were physically jostled; garbage and animal dung were dumped in the narrow prayer alley; the marching of camels and horses, as well as music ceremonies and noisy dances were held at this Jewish place of worship; latrines were built adjacent to the Western Wall. During the British Mandate, there were repeated protests against the placing of benches or bookcases for Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall, providing sinks for ritual hand-washing, blowing the shofar, and erecting a “mechitza” (a partition between men and women prayer areas).

Over the years, these protests grew into severe incitement against the Jews who were accused by the Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, of intending to destroy the mosques at the Temple Mount. On Tisha b’ Av, 1929, a Jewish national day of mourning commemorating disasters in Jewish history including the destruction of the two Jewish Temples, al-Husseini set in motion the massacre of Jews in Hebron, Safed, and many other places in the Land of Israel. During the riots, 133 Jews were killed, and hundreds were injured.
The Western Wall and the Mufti’s window, circa 1920
According to Life Magazine’s John Phillips, in “the house in the background, the Mufti of Jerusalem used to pass his days watching the Jews to see if they committed any crimes.” The Western Wall and the Mufti’s window, circa 1920 (Wikipedia, National Library of Israel)
Muslim clerics’ denial of the Jewish connection to the Western Wall is a relatively new phenomenon. Until the Six-Day War in 1967 and even shortly thereafter, Muslim clerics and well-known Muslims in the Land of Israel considered the Wall to be exactly what it was to the Jews. We will not provide all the examples, but one of them, especially striking, is by the well-known Palestinian historian Aref al-Aref (1892-1973). He was a declared Palestinian nationalist who ran the Rockefeller Museum of Archeology and served as a mayor of east Jerusalem in the 1950s during the Jordanian annexation of the West Bank. Aref included the Western Wall as one of the holy places for Jews in Jerusalem because “… this is the retaining wall of the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great…” He noted that “the Jews often visit this place, especially on Tisha B’Av when they remember their glorious and unforgettable past and weep there.”

In addition, he wrote in his book “Ta’arikh al Quds” that the “al-Haram al-Sharif” (an Arab name for the Temple Mount- N. S.) is Mount Moriah mentioned in the book of Genesis. This is the location of Jebusite Araunah’s threshing floor, which was purchased by King David, as the site where in 1007 BC, his son King Solomon built the Jewish Temple.

Palestinian denial of the historical truth occurred shortly before the Six Day War, but mainly afterward. Already in 1966, the Supreme Muslim Council reprinted its abbreviated guide to al-Haram al-Sharif. The Council quoted remarks by Aref al-Aref about the Western Wall. However, it omitted the Muslim historian’s earlier reference to the holiness of the Western Wall for Jews and chose to emphasize the sanctity of the Western Wall for Muslims. Through the years, Muslim denial of the Jewish connection to the Western Wall grew.

After the Six-Day War, with the background of the Arab-Jewish confrontation over the Temple Mount, Muslims changed the established history of the Temple Mount, which they had acknowledged for hundreds of years. In addition to their attempt to prove that their connection to the Temple Mount preceded the Jews’, in their sweeping denial of the existence of the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount and the Jewish affinity towards it, Muslims redefined the boundaries of the Temple Mount compound.

They started calling the entire Temple Mount compound “al-Aqsa” and began treating the whole area as one big mosque. The al-Aqsa Mosque itself is located at the southern part of the Mount. Muslims started calling it “al-Jami’ al-Qibli,” which means that the mosque indicates in which direction Muslims should pray. (It is important to note that the first direction of the prayer in earlier Islam was considered Jerusalem and not Mecca, the way it is today. During the early Islamic period, when Mohammed attempted to convert the Jews of Medina to Islam, the original direction of prayer was toward Jerusalem).

Between Ownership and the Right to Use

Until the Six-Day War, the southern mosque was distinguished from the rest of the compound and was called by its real name “al-Aqsa,” whereas the entire area was called “al-Haram al-Sharif” (the Noble Sanctuary) or “al-Haram al-Quds al-Sharif” (the Noble and Venerable Jerusalem Holy Compound). In those days, Muslims had a tendency to give to the site in Jerusalem a status of “Haram” (the highest sanctity), similar to the status that was given to holy places for Islam like Mecca and Medina.

Travel books and maps issued by Muslims until 1967 (and shortly thereafter) list various sites, including the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which are labelled “al-Haram al-Sharif,” that is the name of the entire complex. For example, in an official Jordanian tourist map from 1965, the entire complex is marked as “al-Haram al-Sharif” and a Hebrew name of the place, Mount Moriah, is mentioned. Only the southern structure was called al-Aqsa.

After the Six Day War, the State of Israel strengthened its position at the Western Wall. It was a necessary step in light of the fact that the Temple Mount, the holiest place for the Jewish people, had been entrusted to the Muslim religious authorities. It reflected the numerous restrictions imposed on Jews at the Western Wall over the generations – especially during the Ottoman, British, and Jordanian rule.

Even the 1930 Commission on the Rights and Claims of Muslims and Jews in regard to the Western Wall (the Western Wall Commission), appointed by the British government with the approval of the League of Nations, did not succeed in correcting the grave violation of Jewish rights to the Western Wall. It published a scandalous report stating that the Western Wall is Muslim property, and the Jews have the “right to use” it, that is, the right to pray there.

The Commission’s regulations humiliated Jews and denigrated Jewish prayers at the Western Wall. For example, it was forbidden to place any object at the narrow alley at the Western Wall, including any mechitza (screens), tables, shelves, or chairs. Bringing a Holy Ark containing a Torah scroll and a platform for reading the Torah was only allowed on holidays and fasting days. On the other days, the worshippers had to stop their prayers to read the Torah in the houses near-by and then return to the Western Wall to continue praying there.

Jews were also forbidden to blow the shofar near the Western Wall, resulting in an inability to hold Rosh Hashanah prayers there. Despite this, at the end of the Yom Kippur prayer in 1930, Moshe Zvi Segal, a young man from the Betar youth movement, blew the shofar, and as a result, was arrested. Over time, shofars were smuggled to the Western Wall, and almost every year Jews would smuggle and blow the shofar at the end of the Yom Kippur fast.

The Western Wall’s last Prayer – in 1947

The last public prayer at the Western Wall was held on the eve of the Jordanian conquest, on the 16th of the Jewish month of Kislev, the eve of the United Nations Partition Plan proposed on November 29, 1947. On that day, around 1,500 worshippers gathered at the Western Wall to celebrate the success of a state in the making. At midnight, a group of followers of Breslov Hasidism came to hold a “Tikkun Chatzot” ritual prayer recited after midnight as an expression of mourning and lamentation over the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. After that, the British blocked the road to the Western Wall. The Arabs laid siege to the Jewish Quarter for the next six months, until it fell to the Jordanian Legion in the spring of 1948.
Jordanian soldier at the Western Wall, 1948.
Jordanian Legionnaire patrolling the abandoned Western Wall alleyway after the Jews were expelled from Jerusalem’s Old City, Feb. 23, 1948. (Associated Press)
In the Israel-Jordan Armistice Agreement signed on April 3, 1949, it was agreed that Israeli citizens would be allowed to visit the Western Wall. However, in reality, during the years of the Jordanian rule over the east Jerusalem, between 1948 and 1967, Israelis were denied access to the Western Wall. At the beginning of the Jordanian rule, the Western Wall was closed to international tourists, but after some years, tourists were allowed to visit it. On Tisha B’Av every year, Jews would have to go to various high places in west Jerusalem or would ascend Mount Zion to get to the “Temple View” in their attempt to get a glimpse of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

During those years, Israelis expressed their longing for their holiest place in songs, stories, and memories. The most famous were the poems of Yitzhak Shalev and a compilation written and narrated by Rachel Yanait Ben Zvi, the wife of Israel’s second president, Yitzhak Ben Zvi.

The Jordanian “Appetite”

On the night of June 10, 1967, after Jordanian attacks on Jerusalem and the victory in the Six Day War, Israel evacuated 108 families who lived in the old houses of the Mughrabi neighborhood at the foot of the Western Wall. Israel provided them alternative housing and demolished their homes. Instead of a tiny prayer area, which was only 28 meters long and 3.4 meters wide with a total area of 95.2 square meters and could accommodate only a few hundred worshippers, a new wide plaza was built with a capacity for thousands of worshippers.  The length of the section of the Western Wall intended for prayers was enlarged up to 57 meters, and the new prayer area is 40 meters wide. An additional huge upper plaza with an area of about 20,000 square meters was designed for large holiday celebrations and swearing-in ceremonies of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Three days after the Mughrabi neighborhood was demolished, the Shavuot holiday was celebrated with 250,000 Jews from all over Israel gathered at the newly built Western Wall Plaza.

Later, the Israeli government also announced the abolition of the status quo imposed by the British Mandate, with the humiliating restrictions on Jewish prayer at the Western Wall.  The Israeli parliament and Supreme Court abolished the status quo, and the Western Wall was officially declared a holy place for Jews.

Part of the Western Wall, 143.72 meters long and 4.5 meters high, was registered in the Lands Registration Bureau as the property of the State of Israel. This includes the area between the southwestern corner of the Western Wall, up until the Tankiziyya Madrasa by the Chain Gate. 

Jordan’s Policy on the Temple Mount and Western Wall

Jordan’s choice to condemn Israel for the work it is conducting at the southern part of the Western Wall is not unusual. It actually reflects Jordan’s position holding Israel responsible for what takes place at the Temple Mount area. According to Jordan, which “aligns” with the rulings of contemporary Muslim clerics, the entire Temple Mount area, including its four retaining walls, is “al-Aqsa.” Only the Jordanian Waqf is authorized to perform any type of work on it, even if it is just renovation.

In this spirit, Faisal al-Fayez, an official spokesperson of the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, condemned on June 17, 2020, the “continuation of the work of the Israeli authorities at the Western Wall of the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque.” He stated, “All maintenance and renovation work on the mosque, which covers 144 dunam, including the walls, is a part of an exclusive authority of Islamic Religious Trust in Jerusalem, and Israel, as an occupying power, must honor its obligations in this regard and must stop the work immediately.”

Previously, on its own initiative, during Ariel Sharon’s government in early 2000, Israel entrusted Jordan with restoration works at the southern and eastern walls of the Temple Mount.  At the time, cracks were seen in the retaining walls, and there was a concern that the walls might partially collapse. Israel also complied with a veto by Jordan when it wanted to replace the temporary Mughrabi Bridge, which leads to the Mughrabi Gate located in the center of the Western Wall. The gate is the only entrance to the Temple Mount for Jews, whereas Muslims use ten other gates. Israel also acquiesced to the Jordanian veto regarding the removal of the garbage and construction debris next to the “Little Wall,” a continuation of the Western Wall – approximately 175 meters north of the Western Wall Plaza, located in the center of the Muslim quarter.

Israel and Jordan – Who’s the Boss?

Israel was wrong when it entrusted the restoration of the southern and eastern walls to Jordan and even surrendered to Jordan on the issues of the Mughrabi bridge and the Little Western Wall. Israel’s “weakness” in respect to Jordan’s demands regarding care and maintenance of the Temple Mount walls is used by Jordan to its advantage.  As a result, the Jordanians see themselves as the “caretakers” of the walls of the Temple Mount and permit themselves the privilege of reprimanding Israel for its vital work there.

Occasionally, Jordan publishes bellicose announcements like the one regarding the Western Wall in June, which completely ignores the Jewish people’s past, roots, and rights to the area that is today under Israel’s sovereignty. This, after Jordan defied for 19 years its written obligations to allow Jews to pray at the Western Wall.

Selected Bibliography

Nadav Shragai


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