Thursday, October 30, 2014

Israel to re-open Temple Mount tomorrow

Israel closed the entire Temple Mount today to entry by anybody - Muslims, Jews, and other visitors - out of fear of violent clashes there. This is the first time since 2000, according to Israeli officials. An official from the Waqf said that this was the first full closure since 1967.

There was a lot of pressure today to reopen it, not the least from US Secretary of State Kerry. He issued a statement condemning the shooting of Yehuda Glick. He said that he is "extremely concerned" about "escalating tensions across Jerusalem" and particularly at the "Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount." He says that it is "absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount - in word and practice." He states that "The Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount must be re-opened to Muslim worshipers and I support the long-standing practices regarding non-Muslim visitors to the site, consistent with the status quo arrangements governing religious observance there." Apparently he'll be visiting Jerusalem next week to try to do something.

Israeli police officers arrested a right-wing activist on Thursday after he tried to access the sacred plateau revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary in the Old City of Jerusalem.CreditOliver Weiken/European Pressphoto Agency

A Palestinian woman gestured toward an Israeli police officer in the Old City of Jerusalem on Thursday. CreditFinbarr O'Reilly/Reuters
Israel will be opening the area again tomorrow.
Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the Israeli police, said the site would be “fully functional and back to normal” on Friday. But he said that men under the age of 50 would not be allowed to enter — a restriction that has often been imposed recently to ward off clashes around the noon prayer. He said police officers would be out in force in the Old City “to make sure that there are no incidents.”
I can understand why Israel closed the site today. As the New York Times says, "The site has been the scene of ferocious clashes between Muslim worshipers and protesters and the Israeli police." I guess they were hoping for a little breathing space before the inevitable attacks that will occur tomorrow. Fatah has called for a "Day of Rage," after Abu Mazen said that Israel's closure was a "declaration of war."

The Jordanian government is also very angry. 
Under a decades-old agreement with Israel, Jordan is ultimately responsible for Jerusalem’s Islamic holy sites, though Israel controls security at them. Jordan’s minister of Islamic affairs, Hayel Daoud, said on Thursday that the closing was "a serious escalation and 'state terrorism' by the Israeli authorities.” 
The statement followed a string of unusually harsh public criticism of Israeli actions in Jerusalem by Jordan’s king and other leaders. Equating “Zionist extremism” with “Islamic extremism,” King Abdullah told members of the Jordanian government on Monday that “if Jordan and other countries are fighting extremism within Islam, and the Israelis are slaughtering our children in Gaza and Jerusalem every five minutes, then we have a problem.”...
Jawad Anani, a former Jordanian foreign minister and deputy prime minister, said in an interview on Thursday that “Jordanians feel the latest actions taken by Israel are directed against Jordan this time, not only against Palestinians.” 
“Jordan is finding it hard to explain to its people that it is in its interest to maintain the peace treaty and defend it,” Mr. Anani said. “His Majesty is reflecting the anger domestically. If anything happens to Al Aqsa under his guardianship, there will be huge consequences inside and outside of Jordan, so there’s a lot of pressure.”

This graphic from the New York Times web site shows the respective Jewish and Muslim prayer areas, the area managed by the Waqf, and the access gates to the Temple Mount. There are nine gates for Muslims and one, the Mughrabi gate, for non-Muslim visitors, including Jews. The Mount is open only a few hours a day to non-Muslims - in the winter, from 7:30 am to 10 pm, and from 12:30-1:30. When I visited this summer I went during the afternoon hour.

This New York Times map shows the larger context, including Jewish, Christian, and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, as well as the location where Yehuda Glick was shot. 

Yehuda Glick, "Not your typical Temple Mount zealot"

An interesting portrayal of Yehuda Glick in Haaretz, by Roy Arad (Not your typical Temple Mount zealot).

Glick is an exceptional right-wing activist, who also befriends secular Jews and left-wingers, and recalled how he had spoken at an Ir Amim event. In contrast to Feiglin, who insists that visits to the Temple Mount should not be regarded as part of the discourse on human rights but rather as an issue of Israeli sovereignty, Glick views the matter as a question of freedom of worship for members of all religions, so he manages to reach a broader audience.

Before I left, after one of the speakers called him “King David” because of his flaming red hair, I shook his hand. We had become friends since Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely’s wedding, to which he came carrying dirt from the Temple Mount in his pocket. We talked about how he doesn’t arouse anger among the left and has no major enemies, and that it’s clearly a bad thing when people harass Jews or people of any religion when they try to pray at a place that is holy to them. 
“The Arabs know who to harm,” an activist close to Glick wrote me. “They did it to Minister Rehavam Zeevi [assassinated in 2001] and now to Yehuda Glick. Yehuda was actually on their side. I was always amazed at how he respected them.”

Love and friendship between Jews and Arabs at bilingual school in Jerusalem

This is the Yad b'Yad (Hand in Hand) school in Jerusalem, where Jewish and Arab students study together in both Arabic and Hebrew. Yesterday angry, hateful graffiti was scrawled at the school calling for death to Arabs. Today they have changed the graffiti so it calls for love, friendship, and partnership between Arabs and Jews.

The Hebrew reads: יש פה שותפות אהבה וחברות בין ערבים ויהודים.
English translation: "Here there is partnership, love, and friendship between Arabs and Jews."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Attempted assassination tonight in Jerusalem of Temple Mount activist R. Yehuda Glick

Yehuda Glick, right-wing activist advocating the presence of Jews on the Temple Mount, was shot and seriously injured tonight just outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, about an hour after a conference about the Temple Mount. Moshe Feiglin, a right-wing Member of Knesset, spoke to a reporter for Reshet Bet and said that the would-be assassin, who spoke with Glick before shooting him, had a heavy Arabic accent. The assassin shot him and then raced away on his motorcycle, and the police in Jerusalem are now searching for him. Glick was taken to the Shaarei Zedek Hospital, where he has been operated on and is in serious condition.

Yisrael Medad, who is the Director of Information and Educational Resources at the Begin Center, just posted a photo that he took of Glick at the event. He wrote: "Here's my snap from this evening's assembly with Yehuda at the lectern."

This is the announcement for tonight's event:


Israel Returns to the Temple Mount

Conference of Seekers of Zion - Conclusions, Accomplishments, Lessons, and Goals

5 Marheshvan 5775, October 29, 2014, 6:30 pm
Menachem Begin Heritage Center, 6 Sh. A. Nachon St., Jerusalem

Rav Eliezer Rabinowitz - Who will ascend to the Mount of the Lord?
Dr. Haggai Ben Artzi - Professional Guiding on the Temple Mount
Rav Eli Ben Dahan, Deputy Minister of Religions
MK Miri Regev, Chairman of the Knesset Interior Committee
MK Moshe Feiglin, Deputy Chairman of the Knesset
Matan Peleg,  Chair of the Movement "Im Tirzu" - Between Rishikesh and the Temple Mount
Yehuda Glick - Return of Israel to the Temple Mount
The writer Tuvia Tenenbaum - Catch the Jew on the Temple Mount

Awarding of certificates of "Seekers of Zion"
to devoted volunteers for the return of the People of Israel to the Temple Mount

The conference was sponsored by:
  • the Foundation for the Heritage of the Temple Mount and the Temple
  • HaLiba, The Initiative for Jewish Freedom on the Temple Mount
Report from the Jerusalem Post:
Rabbi Yehuda Glick, spokesman for the Joint Committee of Temple Organizations – is in serious condition after being shot in front of the capital’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center Wednesday night. 
According to police, the shooting took place at approximately 10:30 p.m. outside the memorial center, located near the Old City, by a suspect riding a motor bike who fled the scene. 
Glick, who has a long history of advocating for Jewish prayer rights at the Temple Mount, spoke Wednesday evening at the Begin Center alongside MKs Eliyahu Ben-Dahan, Moshe Feiglin and Miri Regev at an event titled “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount.”  
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) who was with Glick, said that a motorcyclist drove up to Glick as he put posters from the event in his car and asked if he was Yehuda Glick. 
When Glick affirmed his identity, the motorcyclist shot him and fled.

“Shots were fired and the victim was rushed to an area hospital in serious condition,” said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. “Special patrol units are searching the area for the suspect and we are investigating the background of the incident.” 
“It was an assassination attempt,” a Jerusalem city official said. “This is very serious.”
I have been at the location where Glick was shot many times. The Cinematheque is just down the hill from the Begin Center, Gan haPa'amon (the Liberty Bell Park) is across the street, and the Tahana Rishonah (the renovated old Jerusalem main railway station) is about five minutes away. This is a busy area, and many other people could have been injured or killed by the attacker if he had chosen to attack people at random (including Moshe Feiglin, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset). The circumstances of the attack make it very unlikely that Glick was simply a random victim.

The situation in Jerusalem has been terrible for the last several months, since the three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered in June. When I visited for three weeks during the Jewish holidays this year, the situation seemed to have eased a bit, but recently it has worsened again, after a terrorist attack last week (October 22). A Palestinian man drove into people at one of the stops on the light rail, killing two of them, a three-month old baby and a young woman converting to Judaism.

This is from the New York Times report on the attack:
JERUSALEM — A Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem plowed his car into a group of pedestrians at a light-rail station in the northern part of Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing a 3-month-old Israeli baby and injuring eight other people. The police said they were treating the crash as a terrorist attack. 
The driver tried to flee on foot and was shot by police officers, according to Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the police. The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, later reported that he had died of his wounds. 
Mr. Rosenfeld said there was a “strong possibility” that the driver had deliberately run people over. 
Footage from a security camera showed the car swerving off a main road and speeding across the light-rail tracks toward the station. The footage was broadcast on Israeli television. 
The baby who was killed was identified as Chaya Zissel Braun. Her grandfather, Shimshon Halperin, told reporters, “She was a pure girl, with a holy soul, who had done no wrong and was murdered for no reason.” 
Palestinian news outlets called the crash an accident and identified the driver as Abd al-Rahman al-Shaloudy, 20 or 22 years old. 
Mr. Rosenfeld said the driver had served time in an Israeli prison for security offenses. Palestinian reports said Mr. Shaloudy had been released in December 2013 after 16 months in prison. 
Mr. Shaloudy was a resident of Silwan, a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in territory that Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war and later annexed, a step that has not been recognized internationally. An influx of right-wing Jewish settlers who have acquired property in the area in recent years have made the neighborhood a flash point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 
Mr. Shaloudy was reported to have been the nephew of a leader in the military wing of Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that dominates Gaza, who was killed in 1998. 
Mr. Rosenfeld said that intensive police operations were taking place in several areas. A police helicopter hovered above Silwan on Wednesday night. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel ordered a reinforcement of security forces in Jerusalem and issued a statement accusing President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority of inciting violence against Jews in Jerusalem. 
In a speech over the weekend, Mr. Abbas called on Palestinians to use all means to defend Al Aksa Mosque, regarded as Islam’s third-holiest site. His call followed a series of violent confrontations in the mosque compound between Muslim worshipers, protesters and the police. 
Many of the recent clashes have centered on visits to the compound by hard-right Israelis who have been increasingly demanding the right to pray there. The mosque is on the Temple Mount, revered by Jews as the location of ancient Jewish temples and the holiest site in Judaism. 
Tensions have been running high in Jerusalem since early July, when Jewish extremists murdered a local Palestinian teenager, Muhammad Abu Khdeir. The killing was in retaliation for the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the occupied West Bank by Palestinian militants affiliated with Hamas. 
Some Palestinians drew a line between Wednesday’s crash and a case a few days ago when a Jewish settler ran over and killed a Palestinian girl, Inas Shawkat, 5, in the West Bank. The settler fled the scene but reported the episode to the Israeli police when he reached the nearest Jewish settlement...
From my Twitter feed, it's clear that tensions were already very high in Jerusalem, and this will only make the city more jumpy. The Israeli Police have closed the Temple Mount to everyone tomorrow - neither Muslims nor Jews can go there.
Reaction from Moshe Feiglin:

Yisrael Medad says:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Jewish heritage in Mumbai, India

Unexpectedly, Al Jazeera published a wonderful photo-essay on Indian Jews, with gorgeous pictures of synagogues in Mumbai. Here's one image:

See the article for the rest: In Pictures: Indian Jews keep heritage alive.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


I'm spending the academic year at the Ruhr-University in Bochum, Germany, finishing my book on women in early Jewish magic and mysticism. I arrived in here a couple of weeks ago, and today went with a friend for a walk near the university - it was a beautiful warm day.

This first photo is of one of the university buildings. This is not a beautiful, ancient university. It was founded in 1965, and the architects built 12 big towers (one of which is below), with a huge auditorium in the middle of campus. The surrounding area is quite pretty, however.

Ruhr University Bochum
A view from the university of the Ruhr valley.
Leaves turning - view from campus.
Dahlias in the botanical gardens.
In the botanical gardens.
A stagnant pond in the gardens.

On the path down to the lake from the botanical gardens.
At the lake
Sailing on the lake

Monday, October 13, 2014

Islamic State Officially Admits to Enslaving Yazidi Women

A report in Syria Comment, published by Joshua Landis, and by Matthew Barber, confirms the reports that Yazidi women are being enslaved by ISIS.
IS has just released the fourth installment of Dabiq, an official publication that they began to produce in July. This issue, called “The Failed Crusade,” contains an article entitled “The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour,” which details how IS fighters kidnapped and distributed Yazidi women as slave concubines. The article also provides their rationale for reviving slavery, which they root in their interpretation of the practice of the earliest Islamic communities. The Islamic State has now officially disclosed that it engages in the sexual enslavement of women from communities determined to be of “pagan” or “polytheistic” origin.
Several observations on this IS article:1) The campaign to enslave Yazidi women is genocidal in that it is part of a greater effort to end the existence of the Yazidi people: 
The article states that the existence of the Yazidis is something for which God will judge Muslims: 
Upon conquering the region of Sinjar in Wilāyat Nīnawā, the Islamic State faced a population of Yazidis, a pagan minority existent for ages in regions of Iraq and Shām. Their continual existence to this day is a matter that Muslims should question as they will be asked about it on Judgment Day, considering that Allah had revealed Āyat as-Sayf (the verse of the sword) over 1400 years ago.
The Islamic State also see the enslavement project as a means of forcing Yazidis to renounce their identity and convert to Islam: 
Many of the mushrik women and children have willingly accepted Islam and now race to practice it with evident sincerity after their exit from the darkness of shirk.
Rasūlullāh (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Allah marvels at a people who enter Jannah in chains” [reported by al-Bukhārī on the authority of Abū Hurayrah]. The hadīth commentators mentioned that this refers to people entering Islam as slaves and then entering Jannah.  
Abū Hurayrah (radiyallāhu ‘anh) said while commenting on Allah’s words, {You are the best nation produced for mankind} [Āli ‘Imrān: 110], “You are the best people for people. You bring them with chains around their necks, until they enter Islam” [Sahīh al-Bukhāri].
2) The Islamic State differentiates between a) People of the Book (non-Islamic religions receiving some rights and protection), b) religious groups that were originally Muslim but that have apostatized, and c) religious groups that were “originally polytheistic:”
Prior to the taking of Sinjar, Sharī’ah students in the Islamic State were tasked to research the Yazidis to determine if they should be treated as an originally mushrik group or one that originated as Muslims and then apostatized, due to many of the related Islamic rulings that would apply to the group, its individuals, and their families. Because of the Arabic terminologies used by this group either to describe themselves or their beliefs, some contemporary Muslim scholars have classified them as possibly an apostate sect, not an originally mushrik religion, but upon further research, it was determined that this group is one that existed since the pre-Islamic jāhiliyyah, but became “Islamized” by the surrounding Muslim population, language, and culture, although they never accepted Islam nor claimed to have adopted it. The apparent origin of the religion is found in the Magianism of ancient Persia, but reinterpreted with elements of Sabianism, Judaism, and Christianity, and ultimately expressed in the heretical vocabulary of extreme Sufism. 
Accordingly, the Islamic State dealt with this group as the majority of fuqahā’ have indicated how mushrikīn should be dealt with. Unlike the Jews and Christians, there was no room for jizyah payment. Also, their women could be enslaved unlike female apostates who the majority of the fuqahā’ say cannot be enslaved and can only be given an ultimatum to repent or face the sword.
3) The IS article justifies their enslavement of polytheist women through their interpretation of the practice of the early Islamic community: 
The article invokes the practice of khums originating with the earliest battles of Islam in which 1/5 of the war booty was set aside for the Prophet Mohammed (i.e. the “state”): 
After capture, the Yazidi women and children were then divided according to the Sharī’ah amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations, after one fifth of the slaves were transferred to the Islamic State’s authority to be divided as khums.The enslaved Yazidi families are now sold by the Islamic State soldiers as the mushrikīn were sold by the Companions (radiyallāhu ‘anhum) before them. Many well-known rulings are observed, including the prohibition of separating a mother from her young children.
From the Islamic State’s point of view, any Muslim who tries to interpret the practice of the early Islamic community in a different way, in order to condemn the practice of slavery, speaks in direct contradiction to the Qur’an and the Prophet and has therefore left Islam:
Before Shaytān reveals his doubts to the weak-minded and weak hearted, one should remember that enslaving the families of the kuffār and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Sharī’ah that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Qur’ān and the narrations of the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and thereby apostatizing from Islam.
4) In the view of the Islamic State, reviving the practice of slavery is actually a desirable goal with tangible spiritual benefits. They believe that slavery helps men avoid sexual sin because it enables them to avoid prohibited forms of extramarital sex. They underscore that it is impermissible to sleep with a hired household maid (a widespread occurrence in some countries where maids who become pregnant are often punished/imprisoned), yet sleeping with one’s concubine (who will have the same duties as the maid) is permissible: 
Finally, a number of contemporary scholars have mentioned that the desertion of slavery had led to an increase in fāhishah (adultery, fornication, etc.), because the shar’ī alternative to marriage is not available, so a man who cannot afford marriage to a free woman finds himself surrounded by temptation towards sin. In addition, many Muslim families who have hired maids to work at their homes, face the fitnah of prohibited khalwah (seclusion) and resultant zinā occurring between the man and the maid, whereas if she were his concubine, this relationship would be legal. This again is from the consequences of abandoning jihād and chasing after the dunyā, wallāhul-musta’ān.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Stephen Sizer, hanging out at an antisemitic conference in Iran again

The Reverend Stephen Sizer is in the news again, and not for a good reason. He's one of the people who attended the latest Iranian conference, New Horizon, which provided a venue for Jew-haters and conspiracy theorists of all kinds. The purpose of the conference from the point of view of the Iranian regime seems to be to bolster the Iranian position in the ongoing talks on its nuclear program. Its official title was "New Horizon – The 2nd Annual International Conference of Independent Thinkers & Film Makers."

Sizer spoke on two panels. At the opening ceremony, he gave a talk entitled "Christian Jihad vs. Christian Zionism." In another panel, titled "The Mechanisms of Action of the Israeli Lobby and their Effects in Western Capitals," he reported on "The Israeli Lobby in England."

[Incidentally, Sizer has published a talk called The Christian Jihadist on his website which may provide the gist of what he talked about at the conference].

Press TV has a short video about the conference, and Sizer appears briefly, speaking at the opening ceremony, but we don't hear what he's saying. Here's a screen grab from the video, showing him speaking:

He also participated in the "Conversations" part of the conference, in a session titled "Christian responsibility against Systematic Iniquity." The other participants were Randy Short, who has appeared many times on the Iranian propaganda channel Press TV, Maria Poumier, and Marzieh Hashemi. Poumier is a French filmmaker who was the director of a movie about Roger Garaudy, the Holocaust denier. She also worked on a movie called "L'antisémite" together with the French antisemitic comedian, Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. Hashemi is an American who converted to Islam, moved to Iran, and now works for Press TV. Randy Short is a Protestant minister, but Hashemi is a Muslim, and Poumier doesn't appear to be connected to religion at all. A strange set of interlocutors for Sizer.

Sizer has also just uploaded a bizarre video to Vimeo, "Syrian Tourist Board Promo." It has to be seen to be believed, because it is so out of touch with the current reality of civil war and atrocities in Syria. [Update from September 22, 2018 - the video is still available!]

Another interesting participant was Medea Benjamin, of Codepink. She was one of only a few female participants (although from the New Horizon website it also appears that Alison Weir [not the historian] is also speaking, although she's not listed among the participants). Despite her feminist beliefs, she covered her hair with a scarf, as the Iranian regime requires of all women.

Medea Benjamin being interviewed by Iranian state TV - image is from ADL article on the conference.
She was part of a panel on "The Gaza War & BDS Movement Strategies against the Zionist Regime," and participated in two "conversations": on "Different Facets of the Resistance," along with Tim Pool and Caleb Maupin, on "Paradigms Old & New," with Ken O'Keefe, Tim Pool, and Caleb Maupin. The panel discussion also included Randy Short, and two Iranians, Vahid Jalili and Khaled Qoddumi.

Here's how O'Keefe is described on Wikipedia: "Ken O’Keefe (born July 21, 1969) is an Irish-Palestinian citizen and activist and former United States Marine and Gulf War veteran who attempted to renounce US citizenship in 2001. He led the human shield action to Iraq and was a passenger on the MV Mavi Marmara during the Gaza flotilla raid. He said that he participated during clashes on the ship including having been involved in the disarmament of two Israeli commandos."

Tim Pool has worked for Vice Media and is praised on his Wikipedia page for his use of new technology in covering event such as the Occupy Wall Street protests. It's not clear to me from reading about him why he would participate in a conference overflowing with conspiracy theorists and antisemitic nut cases.

Caleb Maupin works for the International Action Center, which still defends North Korea as a communist state. He is also a member of the Workers World Party, another Marxist-Leninist group that supports the vicious North Korean regime. The abstract of his talk at the conference can be found here. He writes, "The same banking institutions which drive the US toward war and support for Israel, are devastating the US economy. I will point to key events that I directly observed during the Occupy Wall Street protests that showed the potential for building a higher level of solidarity. I will identify the harmful role of Zionist Non-Governmental Organizations in controlling the movement’s politics, and blocking it from building a broader perspective."

Who is Vahid Jalili? A report in Alahednews on the conference cites him:
A few Iranian figures spoke during the conference among which was Vahid Jalili, the Director of Cultural Front of Islamic Revolution. He assured that "Israel" failed to establish its land from Nile to the Euphrates. He also said its army is no longer known as the invincible army, and is unable to protect itself. 
Jalili stressed on the cultural aspect of recognizing the fact that the Palestinian cause is international and humane not only Islamic and Arab. He also underlined that efforts worldwide should be joined to fighting the presence of a body that was entrenched in the Middle East.
Some media coverage:

Rosie Gray in Buzzfeed: "Antiwar Activists, 9/11 Truthers Gather In Tehran For Anti-Zionist Conference: Everyone from Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin to French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala."

An article by Ben Cohen in the Algemeiner: "Anti-Semites Gather in Iran for Regime Sponsored Hate-Fest"

Meir Javendafar, "Iran Regime Returns to its Antisemitic Propaganda - Again."

An article by Elham Hashemi in Alahednews, "New Horizon Conference: In Support of World Justice." The article reports that the Islamic Jihad representative in Iran, Nasser Abu Sharif, spoke on the evils of Israel. It also reports on the session with Medea Benjamin and Caleb Maupin:
Medea Benjamin, an American political activist, best known for co-founding Code Pink assured during her speech that there is not even one congress person in the US government who is ready to say ‘I want to cut aid to "Israel", even among the progressives as they are too afraid to take the step. 
Benjamin assured that BDS; Boycott Divestment Sanctions and other movements such as Students injustice for Palestine have become very prominent and vibrant in the United States. She assured these movements raise a very important issue in supporting the Palestinian people and bringing justice to the world. The activist assured that the effort now is to direct these campaigns correctly, and to find the best targets to boycott such as the Ahava cosmetic products, which not only are made by "Israel" but also steals salts from the Dead Sea. 
Other good targets, according to Benjamin, are G4S company, BAE systems, and Soda stream which are major supporters to the Zionist entity. 
In addition, Caleb Maupin, political analyst and journalist from the International Action Center assured that the list of corporations in charge of the economic trouble the US has been facing is almost identical to that of the boycott list, hence proving boycott fruitful. He stressed that boycott is one of the real keys to a major change in the world balance that people would want to see.
A press release by the ADL - "Iranian Hatefest Promotes Anti-Semitism, Draws Holocaust Deniers and U.S. Anti-Israel Activists." See also an earlier article: "Iran New Horizon Conference Draws U.S. Anti-Semites, Holocaust Deniers." An article published on October 2, "Details Emerge On Anti-Semitic Gathering In Tehran," gives more information on the speakers.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Views of the Old City

I went to the Old City today and was lucky enough to arrive at the Kotel area in time to go up to the Temple Mount. The times that tourists are able to go up are very limited. I was there from about 1:30-2:30 pm.

A sparrow at the Kotel

Door of the Al Aqsa Mosque with the Dome of the Rock reflected in it.

A view into Silwan

Dome of the Rock, looking towards the south.
The "Cup", the ablution fountain,
is between the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel (with umbrella) walking on the Temple Mount with several other men. He is the head of the Temple Institute, which argues that the Temple Mount should be in the hands of Jews, and that the Temple should be rebuilt where the Dome of the Rock is now.

A view of the Dome of the Rock

Entrance to the Al Aqsa Mosque

The Dome of the Rock.

Floor of the Dome of the Chain

Mihrab of the Dome of the Chain

Women at one of the entrances of the Dome of the Rock

Dome next to the Dome of the Rock.

One of the stairways that leads up to the plaza of the Dome of the Rock.

Tiles on the Dome of the Rock.

One of the several olive trees on the Temple Mount.

Opening of a small building opposite the Dome of the Rock.

Marble floor at one of the entrances of the Dome of the Rock.

A minbar (pulpit where the preacher exhorts the worshippers).

Patterned stone on the wall of the Dome of the Rock.

I'm standing halfway up the stairs to the Dome of the Rock - a woman asked me to photograph her, and then she offered to photograph me.

Setting up for the perfect shot.

A venerable olive treee.

A fountain, right outside the Gate of the Chain. Rabbi Ariel and his entourage are to the left.

On the Street of the Chain.

Writing outside the home of someone who went on the hajj to Mecca.

Drawing of the Dome of the Rock as part of the decorations celebrating the hajj to Mecca.