December 08, 2005

A Letter to the President of Iran

The president if Iran has been pushing that tired old Islamic agenda of "Let's push the Jews into the Sea" and "Kill all Jews!"

Apparently, cooler heads prevail. Today the president of Iran called on the nations of Europe to open their doors and lands to house the Occupiers (that would be us Jews), and, oh, by the way, the president of Iran went on to say, he doesn't believe the Holocaust ever happened.

Dear President of Iran,

What do Christian high school students and madrassah students have in common?

Neither can pass history or science tests.

So, here's a little history lesson for you.

2000 BCE: Abraham, a Hebrew
Canaan occupied by Phoenicians, Amorites, and Hebrews, collectively known as Canaanites. Note absence of any entity called Palestine, or Islam, or Muslim, or Allah.

1100-1200 BCE: Moses, also a Hebrew
~1446-1211 BCE: Hebrews flee the Pharaoh

Canaan occupied by Phoenicians, Amorites, and Hebrews, collectively known as Canaanites. Note absence of any entity known as Palestine, or Islam, or Muslim, or Allah.

1100-1085 BCE: Ramses XI
Tries but fails to colonize Canaan (thus starting a trend that will continue well into the future), thus leaving part of the Judean and Israeli coastal regions to the Sea Peoples, aka, the Philistines, a literate, traveled people, likely descended from Greeks who fled the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization.

In Canaan, the Philistines freely mingled and intermarried with their Canaanite neighbors, adapting their religious practices and gods' names to those of the Canaanites…except the Hebrews, who continued to live more in the hilly regions and kept their own religion. The Philistines tried to run Dan, one of the Hebrew tribes, out of their homes. Samson, one of Dan's leaders, fought back.

Note absence of any entity known as Islam, or Muslim, or Allah, although Palestine is a corruption (no pun intended) of the name Philistines, a people who worshiped a pantheon of deities, not one of which was the as yet to be 'discovered' Allah.

After a period of battles won and lost between Philistines and Hebrews, the Hebrew King David wins back lands temporarily lost to the Philistines, with the land of the Hebrews now stretching from the Red Sea to Damascus, from the Mediterranean eastward to the Euphrates. The resident and immigrant Amorites, Philistines, Cretans and neo-Hittites intermarried with the Hebrews, eventually losing discrete identity, blending into the overall dominant Hebrew and pagan cultures.

And still no Islam, no Muslims, no Allah. Just a land ruled by the Hebrews, populated mostly by Hebrews.

480 BCE
During these same centuries, the Hindus, Jains and Buddhists were all following their deities, writing great works of literature and art as their civilizations and cultures evolved.

In the Far East, as the Zhou dynasty declined, the scholar Kongfuzi (Confucius, born 551 BCE) espoused a new conservatism. Mozi, feeling that was all too pretentious, walked a different path. Laozi and Zhuangzi, founding fathers of the Taoist way, felt both Kongfuzi and Mozi were inappropriate, and counseled a withdrawal from social strife.

And still no Islam, no Muslims, no Allah. And in the Middle East, still a land ruled by the Hebrews, populated mostly by Hebrews.

The next 1000 years, to 500 BC, brings to the world stage more sociopolitical upheaval and changing borders and leaders. The Greeks infiltrate, then conquer the lands in the Middle East, including the Hebrews and other Canaanites, now more often all called, collectively Palestinian. As the Greeks wane, the Romans wax, encountering yet again Jews who, while interested in many things, are not interested in converting to anyone else's gods.

And, still no Allah. Christians, but no Muslims. Hebrews, but no Muslims. Greeks, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Persians, Zoroastrians, and Sassanids…but no Muslims.

Is the point here coming through? Or is that dense block of crap the Madrassah filled your brain with still lodged firmly in place?

By 600 CE, monotheism has taken full hold over the Middle East. People are Jewish, or they are Christian, with smaller numbers still following various pagan holdouts. Ever since the Jews came up with the wacky idea of a messiah, various false ones have proclaimed themselves (or been proclaimed as such, like Yoishke, whose followers to this day call themselves Christians), and little cults here and there have always populated the landscape, some more peaceably than others.

The remaining pantheistic groups in the Middle East and its environs are heavily influenced by all this dominant One God-ness. Just as the Philistines adapted their religion to the dominant Hebrew religion, so too are the people living on the fringes of the Hebrew and Christian empires around the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Middle East, and up through Turkey (with its Christian emperor awaiting the Second Coming of the Christian messiah).

613 CE: Finally!
A guy named Mohammed starts preaching that One God thing that his Jewish and Christian neighbors have been doing for millennia and centuries, respectively. Only instead of the Yahweh of the Hebrews, or the Trinity of the Christians, Mohammed, like so many before and so many after him, has decided that HE and HE only has the line on the only true god. Like so many before and so many after him, he is dismissed as a crackpot or ignored.

623 CE: The Mohammedian Tradition of Whining Begins
When the sizeable Jewish community in his new place of residence fail to succumb to Mohammed's blandishments, in a snit he stops praying facing Jerusalem, and starts praying while bowing towards Mecca. That'll show those damned Jews! Yeah!

When Allah fails to provide Mohammad with a sustainable living, Mohammed gathers together a group of similarly underemployed cult members, er, followers, to start attacking merchant caravans, killing the traders and taking their goods. When he attacks a large caravan of merchants from Mecca, Mecca gets a wee bit pissed off at Mohammed, and so they go to war. Note the traces of the now tiresome recurring theme of Islam: Mohammad does a bad thing, gets spanked, and then goes after the spanker, attacking Mecca. By now, you see, all his stolen wealth, including that stolen from those damned Jews who refused to willingly become his followers (oh, excuse me, worshipers of Allah), has bought him a gang who support themselves by continuing to attack others who refuse to pay tribute, literally and figuratively, to you-know-who.

631 CE: Mohammed dies.
With the Arab peninsula (Note to Muslims: NOT the Hebrew- and Christian-dominated historic lands of Israel & Judea, aka Canaan, aka Palestine) in a serious recession (Note to Republicans: there is only so much you can steal from the have-nots before the whole structure collapses), and feeling a bit cranky and in need of more bling and cult members, Mohammed's followers branch out and begin attacking peoples farther afield, combining pillaging with forced conversion.

One of countries they conquered was Persia, Mr. President, where the Muslims deemed Zoroastrianism to be evil.

So, if anyone is going to demand the occupiers leave anywhere, Mr. President, how about we start with you moving yourself and all other Muslims out of Iran and back to Mecca, where this whole mess started.

And while we are talking about occupiers getting out, that would apply to Muslims everywhere. Out of Israel. Out of Northern Africa. Out of Syria and Lebanon. Out of Jordan. Out of Indonesia. Out of Turkey. Out of the various -istans from The Country Formerly Known As Russia to China. Out of every country Muslims conquered by force, returning all properties to the peoples they subjugated and murdered.

Now, do you really want to debate the Holocaust, or do you just want to crawl back into the dark hole of willful and persistent ignorance and brutality that is the hallmark of far too many leaders, civil and religious, in times past and in the present. Unfortunately, since such ignorance and brutality is not genetically linked with infertility, people like you will make more ignorant and brutal people.

Some god, Allah, if you and your ilk are representative of the type of follower He favors.

Ignorance isn't punishable by death, but you and those like you make a good argument in favor of it.


For those who are not aware of the systematic, institutionalized and politicized persecution of Jews in Arab lands through the centuries since the advent of Islam, nor of the Arab pogroms and flight of 1 million Jews from Arab lands to other countries, including Israel, I highly recommend a new documentary, The Forgotten Refugees.

While you read about it and watch it, ask yourself: Why, 57 years after the British Mandate ended and the U.N. recognized the new (yet again) state of Israel, and the Arabs once again failed to eradicate the Jews, are there still "Palestinian refugee camps", but no Jewish refugee camps?

The President of Iran's position on the Holocaust is actually pretty funny, since it was a Muslim attorney and religious leader, Mohammed al-Husseini, who met with Hitler with whom he planned how best to eradicate the world of Jews. While in Germany, Husseini issued a call for all Muslims to begin the eradication by slaughtering their Jewish neighbors, something which the Muslims did quite cheerfully. But, hey! Don't believe this Jew, read about it for yourselves, something the President of Iran clearly hasn't bothered to do.

From the Muslim Brotherhood to the Third Reich

Who Was the Mufti (Haj) Muhammed Amin al-Husseini?

Hitler's Mufti

December 02, 2005

Merry Happy Whatever

I would like to take a moment to weigh in on the "Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas" thing going on this season. Some merchants and towns are doing away with any mention of christmas as if it--the 25th of December or the nice Jewish boy now known as Jesus Christ--had anything to do with this mid-winter celebration that originated to remind everyone during the darkest, coldest days of deep Winter that the warm days of Spring are now a little bit closer than they were.

Other than the Romans decimating what was left of the dwindling forests in Israel/Judea to build, among other things, the crosses upon which they punished various miscreants, christmas trees, wreaths, evergreen boughs, and the ribbons, ornaments, gewgaws and lights used to decorate them, have nothing--zip, nada, diddly squat, naught, zero--to do with the supposed birth of a son of a carpenter in Bethlehem or thereabouts 2000 years ago.

What we call Christmas is just a pagan holiday typically celebrated by cold climate peoples with trees and warming, spicy things to scent the air and eat. The winters forced large numbers of unwashed people to live in close proximity with each other (and their livestock) for months on end, and so a celebration including the bright colors and stench-masking fragrances associated with various cultural traditions of mid-winter solstice celebrations are no surprise.

To those who have studied the emergence of the cult of Christ followers, it becomes clear that to attract followers, the early cult leaders found it expedient to incorporate local religious practices, including Jewish ones and those of many of the pagan religions and cults that flourished at the time, into the emerging Christian ritual. Oh, sure, call it something else, like "birth of Christ" instead of "solstice celebration", Easter instead of Passover, move the Sabbath around a bit, etc. But the bottom line is, assuming Jesus really did exist, he was Jewish, not, well, anything else.

So, I don't care what someone wishes me. I don't care if there is Merry Christmas! or Happy Holidays! emblazoned in lights and gilt across the boulevard or store front or cards arriving in the mail. Either one makes a nice change from the nasty looks from people who believe you have to be missing a limb or walking with a cane or walker or riding in a wheelchair to be able to park in a handicap parking space.

As a Jew growing up in a relatively small Midwest town that was home to an even smaller Jewish community, my family celebrated Hanukkah. For eight days. The non-Jewish boy who lived across the street made his German war bride mother very unhappy when he went home and asked if they could be Jewish like me so he could get presents for eight days like I did. Needless to say, no converts were made that day on Solway Drive. Little did he or most of my non-Jewish friends know that, while we celebrated Hanukkah for eight days, we rarely got gifts on all of the days, or if we did, they weren't the great lavish gifts most of our goy friends found under their christmas trees. (Stereotype breaker alert: Not all Jews are wealthy!)

When we moved to California, where my mother was born (and stoned, 20 years earlier, when as a young girl, she was chased by classmates who were yelling "Christ killer!" at her, not that she had any idea who Christ was or why her now former friends said she killed him), my mother wanted to have a christmas tree, simply because she never had one and thought they were pretty. So, she and my dad picked out a mass of flocking shaped like a tree, and our first christmas in California was marked by a tree. A tree which made such a mess shedding and deflocking that my mother was disinclined to have any more.

Oh, sure, occasionally we'd have a "Hanukkah bush", a silly gilded branch with ribbons tied around the bare branchlets, propped up on something, under which we put our Hanukkah gifts. The holidays were usually spent with family friends, with a homey mix of Jewish chopped liver and rye bread and other snackers to keep up going through the late afternoons, preceding dinners that looked pretty much like the dinners our goy friends were having, with the possible occasional exception of the one of the nana's noodle kugel.

When I married a lapsed Catholic, I married someone who, like me, really enjoyed the color and smells of the holiday season. Finally, I could indulge in a way my mother had never envisioned. Vince and I went out tree shopping just after Thanksgiving, and I whined and wheedled to keep the tree up through the Greek Orthodox New Year (January 6). I needlepointed and cross-stitched and painted little clay ornaments for the tree, bought tons of other ornaments to mingle with the ones Vince had collected through the years. Poinsettias littered the hearth and front steps, with little ones on tables around the living room, scattered amongst the other holiday stuff I'd made or acquired through the years.

Along with the big tree, the mantel was spread with fresh pine boughs and holly berries, and the front door surrounded with more boughs. Across the wide archway between the living room and dining room I hung white and blue "boughs" and hung blue and white ornaments. The house smelled of cinnamon and nutmeg and pine. Every other year we would have an open house, and I'd spend weeks cooking and baking for the 70-80 people who would come to visit.

THAT is what the holidays are for me. What I do for Hanukkah (or not) is for me and my family, just as going to midnight mass is for those who go to midnight mass.

What the strident "How dare they take Christmas out of the holidays!' voices are ranting about isn't the religious or faith part of the holiday season. Religion and faith have nothing to do with the festive decorations that emerge the day after Thanksgiving. Just as religion and faith have no place in public schools and nonsectarian private schools, just as religion and faith have no place in a doctor's office, or pharmacy, or place of business (outside of churches, temples, or mosques), religion and faith have nothing to do with what the public expression of the holiday season is in the US, Canada, and much (if not all) of the EU (a notable exception being the Vatican).

It is this very stridency and attempt by some people to push their religion into the whole fabric of Americans and American life--which is more like a bowl of salad, than a bowl of cream soup-- that is pushing merchants and others to push right back.

So, back off. Religion belongs in the home and in your preferred place of worship. It doesn't belong in the marketplace, or the schools. If you have to force it into someone's face, you're doing something wrong.

If we're all God's children, what's so special about Jesus?
-- Jimmy Carr

When dogma enters the brain, all intellectual activity ceases.
-- Robert Anton Wilson

The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.
-- Jiddu Krishnamurti

Merry Happy Hannukmas, everyone!