A universe of beauty, mystery and wonder

A universe of beauty, mystery and wonder

Saturday, March 15, 2014


The following letter is addressed to the Presbyterian Church, but the concepts also apply to the historically and still wickedly anti-Semitic Catholic Church. 
Open Letter to the Presbyterian Church
By Joe Samuels, a former Iraqi Jew
Some of your members, under the banner of human rights, have demonized one country. According to them, the one country that destabilizes the Middle East and creates much pain and suffering to the Arab world, is not Iran, Syria, or Lebanon. It is Israel.  They believe the root of the problem is Zionism and the return of the Jews to Israel.
Your group has just published a booklet entitled “Zionism Unsettled”. The booklet claims that if it weren’t for the Zionist movement that established Israel, the Jews from Arab lands would still be living in peace and harmony among the Arab nations.
I quote from your from Page 48 of “Zionism Unsettled”:
Middle eastern Jews, also called Mizrahi Jews, share a history of largely harmonious integration and acculturation in their host countries. Sadly, this model of coexistence was destabilized by the regional penetration of Zionism beginning in the late 19th century.
My Arabic name is Yusuf. I was born in the Jewish quarter of the old city of Baghdad known as “Taht El Takia” in December of 1930. I am now 83 years old. My mother tongue is Arabic and I am one those Jews who was integrated in the Arabic Islamic culture of Iraq.
Here are some examples of how us Arab Jews lived in harmony with our hosts:
I survived the Farhud of 1941 — a violent “pogrom” when Iraqi Muslims, incited by Nazi Germany, took to the streets, destroyed the Jewish quarter and killed 180 Jewish men, women and children.  I was 11 years old. Google Farhud or read Edwin Black’s book “The Farhud”.
The cause of the Farhud, wasn’t  Zionism. The Farhud was purely an anti-Jewish act 

At 14, I was chased by two Muslim youths with a knife for stopping them from molesting my neighbor’s teenage daughter in broad daylight.
At 18, after graduation from Al A’Adadiah High School, I was refused an exit visa to leave Iraq to study in America because I was Jewish. My story is not unique.
I am one of 150,000 Iraqi Jews who was discriminated against, oppressed, and forced to escape religious persecution because of my faith.
In May, 1948, after failed attempts to destroy Israel in its fight for independence, the Iraqi government, turned against its Jewish citizens whose ancestors had been there continuously for over 2,500 years.
Arrests, torture, imprisonment and hanging of Jews sent fear in every Jewish person’s heart. It was the fear for my life that made me attempt to be smuggled out of Iraq in December, 1949. I was smuggled through Iran and found my freedom for the first time in Israel.

In 1941 during the Farhud, there was nowhere to run to. Thank God Israel was there to take us. I started my life there, like many Jews from Muslim countries, as a dispossessed, homeless, penniless refugee.
Your comment that “the Jews in Arab lands lived in harmonious integration and coexistence in their host countries and were destabilized because of Zionism in the 19th century” is totally misleading and wrong. First there was never a continuous peaceful coexistence between Muslim and Jews.
There was existence of the Jews in Arab lands for thousands of years, but we lived as second-class citizen dhimmis. We had to pay bribes regularly and take abuse without seeking justice. For example when a Jewish girl was raped, when a Muslim customer didn’t pay my father for merchandise he bought, or when a Muslim murdered a Jew, we wouldn’t dare seek justice for fear of the threat of retaliation.
Out of the 850,00 Jews who once inhabited Arab lands who were either expelled or fled, myself and family included, none of us are living in refugee camps. We are settled around the world as good-standing citizens in many countries. My family is grateful to be citizens of the United States. We are happy to have escaped Iraq and none of us share your sadness or have nostalgia to go back and live as oppressed second-class citizens of any Muslim country.
Of the 600,000 Jews who left Arab lands for Israel, none of them are living in refugee camps. A similar number of Palestinian refugees, from the war their leaders started, are still living in refugee camps in Arab lands after 66 years.
Imagine the Iraqi government promising to return my family’s confiscated home in the Al Alwiya district. Imagine them promising the return of my father’s import business. Imagine taking my wife, my three children (two Ph.Ds, and one MD) and five grandchildren to Baghdad. How crazy would I be? As American Jews and Zionists, how long do you think we would last before being killed?
Your publication, “Zionism Unsettled,” advocating for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel rejects the existence of a Jewish state. It is not an attack on Israeli politics, but the very idea of Jews being self-determined and having our own country and home.
To pretend that your publication is about occupation, to pretend this is about peace, to pretend this is about human right abuse, to pretend that this is anything other than vile, spiteful anti-Semitic Jew hatred is a lie.
As a Christian church, shouldn’t  your priority be to advocate for your Christian brothers? Where is your publication “Islam Unsettled, and the treatment of Christians in the Muslim world.” Fifty Coptic churches were burnt in one day when Morsi ruled Egypt. One Million Iraqi Christians live in refugee camps in Jordan.
How about Christians in Syria under the rebels or Christians in Gaza? Bethlehem was a Christian majority; today it has a Muslims majority. Lebanon was the only Arab country with a majority of Christians. Today the Lebanese Christians live as a minority and don’t dare to disarm Hezbollah, the Islamic extremist group, that rules Lebanon.
Rev. Chris Leighton, the Executive Director of the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies, who strongly objected to your publication, summarizes his objection in an open letter to the church. He wrote, “to suggest that the Jewish yearning for their own homeland — a yearning that we Presbyterians have supported for numerous other nations — is somehow theologically and morally abhorrent is to deny Jews their own identity as a people.”
There are 22 Arab countries. There is place for a 23rd. Yet there is no place for a Jewish state the size of New Jersey?
Shame on you.
Author Joe Samuels                   
Joseph Samuels was born in Taht El Takia, the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Iraq in 1930 and he now resides in Santa Monica, California. He is a member of the Speaker’s Bureau of JIMENA (Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa)   
Read more from Joe Samuels and Iraq here

Another informative response to the Presbyterian Church misleading booklet about Jews from Arab countries


By Lyn Julius, The Huffington Post - March 2014

It has become almost received wisdom that the first Zionists to resettle in 19th century Palestine were European Jews. Not so. The Jewish immigrants from Yemen arrived in 1882, seven months before the first wave of Jewish farmers from Russia.

The Zionists arriving from Yemen on foot were living proof that their yearning to live as masters of their own destiny in the land of Israel had been a motivating force for Mizrahi (oriental) Jews before Theodor Herzl made his mark. For centuries before them, waves of Sephardi (Spanish) Jews from the Ottoman Empire had resettled in Hebron, Jerusalem, Safed and Tiberias.

Why is it important to put the record straight? Because propaganda such as Zionism Unsettled, a congregational study guide produced by the Israel-Palestine Mission of the U.S. Presbyterian Church, tries to paint Zionism as an unjust European settler movement. Yet none can describe Jews who had been in the Arabian peninsula for 3,000 years as other than indigenous.
The guide has to create a pre-existing myth of 'peaceful coexistence' between Jews and Arabs. Thus, the diaspora is really not such a bad place for a Jew. Anything is better than living in that 'unsettling' Zionist state. Jewish life 'is alive and well' in Iran under Islamist rule. (An assertion ably refuted by Karmel Melamed here).

In truth the booklet is not especially aware, or interested, in the 50 percent of Israeli Jews whose families escaped with their lives from Arab and Muslim lands.

Read more -


Jews were scapegoats in the Arab world


A Farhud legacy of hate 
Jews were massacred by Arabs in 1929 for sitting while praying at the Western Wall. Those events, argues the author of a new book, remain pivotal.            

As Israelis and Palestinians struggle with a 21st-century peace process, the world must face the forgotten history that was so pivotal in determining the present crisis. In many ways, a turning point was the day Arabs massacred Jews because they dared to sit at the Western Wall while praying. This simple act of prayer was so unacceptable to Arabs that it helped launch a worldwide crisis of hate that provoked a global Islamic jihad, forged an Arab-Nazi alliance during the Holocaust and still echoes to this day.

The year was 1929. Jewish Palestine was still being settled by torrents of Eastern European refugees. 
The League of Nations Mandate for Palestine included the provision for a Jewish homeland. The Balfour Declaration, widely endorsed by many nations, was a matter of international law. But the Arabs in Palestine refused to coexist with Jews in any way except as second-class dhimmis (non- Muslim subjects of a Shari’a law state).

Islam had been at war with the Jewish people since its defining inception in 627 when Muhammad exterminated the Jews of Medina and launched the Islamic conquest that swept north and subsumed Syria-Palestina.

For centuries, Jews and Christians in Arab lands were allowed to exist as dhimmis, second-class citizens with limited religious rights. These restrictions were enforced by the Turks who, until World War I, ruled the geographically undetermined region known as Palestine, which included Jerusalem.

When the Ottoman Empire fell, after World War I ended in 1918, the British were obligated by the Mandate to maintain the Turkish status quo at the Western Wall. That status quo, according to numerous decrees under Shari’a, maintained that Jews could pray at the Wall – the last remnant of the Temple – only quietly and never sit, even in the heat. Nor were Jews allowed to separate men from women during prayer.

(Muhammad had dream - that and bloody conquest is Islam's link to Jerusalem
Muhammad never set foot in Jerusalem. 
Note by blogger)

The Jews revered the Wall as their holiest accessible place and a direct connection to God. But under Turkish and Arab tradition, the Wall was not the Jews’ holy site. 
Rather, it was revered by Muslims as al-Buraq, the place where Muhammad tethered his winged steed during his miraculous ascent to heaven. During that miraculous journey, according to Islamic tradition, Muhammad flew through the air on his magnificent horse to the farthest mosque.

The farthest mosque was in Jerusalem, hence al-Aksa, meaning “the farthest.” Therefore, the Western Wall became preeminently a Muslim holy place, only available for Jewish visitation with permission and under strict guidelines that would not connote independent worship or ownership.

IN 1928, on Yom Kippur, Jews decided to bring benches and chairs to sit on while they prayed, and they also brought a mehitza, in this case a flimsy portable partition to separate men from women. This provoked outrage among Arabs, and the British even tried to pull chairs out from under people to force them to stand.

The offense catapulted Haj Muhammad Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, to sudden international Islamic importance, as Muslims everywhere – from India to London – objected to Jews sitting. Husseini even convened an emergency international conference of Muslims in Jerusalem to stop Jews from sitting at the Wall to pray.

The mufti and his machinery also began a nonstop protest movement against the perceived Jewish encroachment on the Wall. As the chief religious authority, it was Husseini who directed that the muezzin, the man who calls Muslims to prayer from the minaret, position himself within earshot of the Western Wall pavement, and then dial the volume up to rile Jews during prayer and prove Islamic dominance.

At the same time, it was Husseini who directed the revival of the cacophonous dhikr ceremony, complete with repetitive shouts of “Allahu akbar,” as well as loud gongs and cymbals, once again disrupting Jewish prayers with strategic noise. The mufti also was the one who permitted mules to be herded through the Jewish prayer area, dropping dung and creating the feel and smell of what one Jerusalem newspaper termed “a latrine.”

On August 15, 1929, when Jews again marked Tisha Be’av by sitting, as well as chanting “The Wall is ours,” the Arabs began yet another in a series of bloody massacres.

The massacres in several cities culminated in unspeakable atrocities at Hebron.

It began in Jerusalem. “Itbach al-Yahood! Itbach al- Yahood!” Slaughter the Jews. Slaughter the Jews. With knives and clubs, the mob attacked every Jew in sight, burned Torah scrolls and yanked supplication notes to God from the cracks in the Wall and set them aflame.

Attacks spread throughout the land. Jews were stabbed, shot, beaten with rocks, maimed and killed in various towns and suburbs. The chaos continued for days. With thousands of dagger- and club-wielding Arabs swarming throughout the city hunting Jews, wire services transmitted headlines such as “Thousands of peasants invaded Jerusalem and raided all parts of the city.”

Martial law was declared. Armored cars were brought in from Baghdad. British airplanes swept in to machine-gun the Arab marauders. Violence continued to spread throughout Palestine. Jews fought back and retaliated with bricks and bars and whatever they could find. Then, on August 23 and 24, 1929, Hebron became a bloody nightmare.

Arab mobs went from house to house, bursting into every room looking for hiding Jews. Religious books and scrolls were burned or torn to shreds.

The defenseless Jews were variously beheaded, castrated, their breasts and fingers sliced off and, in some cases, their eyes plucked from their sockets.

Infant or adult, man or woman – it mattered not.

The carnage went on for hours, with the Arab policemen standing down – or joining in. Blood ran in streamlets down the narrow stone staircases outside the buildings. House to house, room by room, the savagery was repeated.

One young boy, Yosef Lazarovski, later wrote of the horror: “I remember a brown-skinned Arab with a large mustache breaking through the door. He had a large knife and an axe that he swung through the doorjambs until he broke through. [He was] full of fury, screaming, ‘Allah akbar!’ and ‘Itbach al-Yahood!’...

My grandfather tried to hold my hand, then [he tried] to push me aside [and hide me], screaming, Shema Yisrael... and then I remember another Arab... with an axe that he brought down on my grandfather’s neck.”

Not a single victim was simply killed. Each was mutilated and tortured in accordance with their identities, the specific information provided by local Arabs. The Jewish man who lent money to Arabs was sliced open and the IOUs burned in his body. The Jewish baker’s head was tied to the stove and then baked. A Jewish scholar who had studied Koranic philosophy for years was seized, his cranium cut open and his brain extracted. Another man was nailed to a door. Some 67 Jews were brutally murdered.

London dispatched special investigative commissions which determined that under the Shari’a status quo, Jews were not permitted to sit. Jews were even blamed for provoking the massacres by deliberately sitting.

The mufti used the Wall controversy to continue his campaign against the British and the Jews. As part of that war, he led a broadly accepted, international and popularly accepted Arab and Islamic alliance with Nazi Germany. Eventually, when the British tried to arrest him, he fled to Iraq. There, the mufti and Nazi agents helped inspire the 1941 Farhud, a two-day spree of killing, looting and raping the Jews of Baghdad.

ONCE THE British finally helped restore order, the mufti fled again, this time to Germany, where he was taken under the personal auspices of Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler. He formed a 8,000-man plus Muslim Waffen-SS division, which partnered with the bloodthirsty Ustasha in Croatia to commit the most heinous crimes in the hell that was the Holocaust. The Ustasha wore Jewish eyeballs on necklaces.

 The alliance with the Nazis spanned every aspect of the war, from intelligence offices in Paris to plans, to parachute units, to artillery battalions, to a plan to exterminate all Jews in Palestine. This alliance was more than one man, the mufti of Jerusalem – it was a movement of popular international Islamic fervor that stretched across the Middle East and Europe.

After the fall of Hitler, the legacy of hate continued in the postwar expulsions of a million Jews from Arab lands.

Periodically, the fervor that ignited the massacres of 1929 surfaces even today. Intifadas arise, riots erupt and the Arab rallying call, spoken and collectively remembered, continues to be in Jerusalem – where Jews should not be permitted to sit at the Western Wall when they pray.

EDWIN BLACK is the author of IBM and the Holocaust. This article is drawn from his book, The Farhud, Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance during the Holocaust.         








The Myth:
Muhammad Traveled to Jerusalem
The Truth:
The Muslim connection to Jerusalem is extremely tenuous compared to Judaism and Christianity.  In fact, the claim to the city seems to exist largely because it is held sacred by Western religion.  From the time of Muhammad to the present day, Islam has always been a "me too" faith, attempting to ride the coattails of other faiths to which it hopes to aspire.
The official reason that Muslims claim Jerusalem for themselves - after marching an army into the city only two years after Muhammad's death - is that their prophet once visited there...
Unfortunately this would have been in a dream - not in real life.  As much as those who demand full control of Jerusalem today would prefer, there is simply no evidence that Muhammad's physical body ever made the trip.

Read more


 DHIMMITUDE - The Status of Non-Muslim Minorities
 Under Islamic Rule

Dhimmitude: the Islamic system of governing populations conquered by jihad wars, encompassing all of the demographic, ethnic, and religious aspects of the political system. 

The word "dhimmitude" comes from dhimmi, an Arabic word meaning "protected". Dhimmi was the name applied by the Arab-Muslim conquerors to indigenous non-Muslim populations who surrendered by a treaty (dhimma) to Muslim domination. Islamic conquests expanded over vast territories in Africa, Europe and Asia, for over a millennium (638-1683).

Dhimmitude is not exclusively concerned with Muslim history and civilization. Rather it investigates the history of those non-Muslim peoples conquered and colonized by jihad.

Dhimmitude encompasses the relationship of Muslims and non-Muslims at the theological, social, political and economical levels.

Source -



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