Sunday, April 12, 2009

No Sarcasm Intended, But Working Through The News These Days And What Passes For The American Dialog Is A Real Test Of One’s Sanity.

No Sarcasm Intended, But Working Through The News These Days And What Passes For The American Dialog Is A Real Test Of One’s Sanity.




Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. Matthew 27:3-8 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood.


And they said, what is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field of Haceldama, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.


Some say the coins became cursed, bringing misfortune to all who possessed them.




Is Hysterical Right-Wing Media Pushing the Unhinged Over the Edge?
By Tana Ganeva, AlterNet
AlterNet readers had a lot to say about a recent article arguing that right-wing media may have fueled the Pittsburgh killer's rage. Read more 

'These People Fear Prosecution': Why Bush's CIA Team Should Worry About Its Dark Embrace of Torture

By Liliana Segura, AlterNet
The New Yorker's Jane Mayer discusses the fallout from the Red Cross' shocking report on CIA torture and its serious legal implications. Read more »

CIA Videos Predated Bush Memo
Some the CIA's destroyed videos of harsh interrogations were made before George W. Bush's Justice Department created a legal cover for practices that crossed the line into torture, Jason Leopold reports. April 11, 2009

US Media and the Memory Hole
Rather than tell the American people the truth about unpleasant history, the U.S. news media prefers to assign such facts to a memory black hole, media critic Norman Solomon observes in this guest essay. April 10, 2009

America, Torture and Hypocrisy
The newly disclosed Red Cross report on George W. Bush's torture policies represents a challenge to American democracy -- to finally face up to the dark side of recent U.S. history, writes Robert Parry. April 9, 2009

Easter Hope: Justice Against Torture
At Easter -- celebrating Jesus's triumph over torture and death -- Ray McGovern hopes Americans will demand that George W. Bush be brought to justice for disgracing the nation with torture and death. April 8, 2009

Bush's CIA Suspected of More Torture
The International Committee of the Red Cross complained that the Bush administration withheld information about what happened to many detainees at CIA secret prisons, Jason Leopold reports. April 8, 2009

The Passion of Glenn Beck: Why Have "Manly" Conservatives Embraced a Man Who Cries?
By Tana Ganeva, AlterNet
Are Beck's crazy antics the logical conclusion of conservatives' grievance-based ideology? Or something else entirely? Read more »


Sweet Irony: One of Congress's Slimiest Reps Loses $700K Investing in Cronies' Companies
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Sad day for Texas oilmen. Read more »


Maddow Brilliantly Mocks GOP 'Teabagging'; Anti-Gay Rights Group Goes Cruising for Dudes 
By Isaac Fitzgerald, AlterNet
This is just too much. Ok, actually, it's not. It's perfect. Read more »


We Must Nationalize, Reorganize, and Decentralize the Banks
By Zephyr Teachout, The Nation
It is time for A New Way Forward. Read more »


U.S. Indicts Terror Bomber (and Former CIA Operative) on Charges of ... Perjury and Obstruction
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
They got Al Capone on tax charges, but this is a bit different. Read more »

Michael Steele: Recession? What Recession?
By Tana Ganeva, AlterNet
RNC chair Michael Steele contends that the malls are still full. They're not.Read more »


Gen. Petraeus Implements Military Surge Against Four Somali Pirates in a Lifeboat
By Jeremy Scahill, Rebel Reports
In today's episode of "Pirates," the most powerful Navy in the world remains in a stand-off with four pirates in a small boat in the Indian Ocean. Read more »


TV Jury Finds Osama Bin Laden "Not Guilty" of 9/11
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
And not necessarily the ring-leader of Al Qaeda. Read more »


Jon Stewart Slams Media, Lieberman Over Military Spending
By Staff, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recommends fundamental changes to the 

Glenn Beck Gone Bonkers: Empties Gas Can on Guest in Disturbing Skit
By AlterNet Staff, AlterNet
"President Obama, why don't you just set us on fire?" Read more »


CIA Director 'Fires' Military Contractors From Interrogating Terror Detainees
By Liliana Segura, AlterNet
Leon Panetta said on Thursday that interrogators will be replaced by agency employees and promised that no suspects would be tortured. Read more »


Fox 'Military Analyst' Shills for F-22 Fighter Jet
By Ali Frick, Think Progress
Network's military analyst never discloses ties to Northrop Grumman. Read more »

Rachel Maddow Brilliantly Mocks GOP 'Teabagging'; Anti-Gay Rights Group Goes Cruising for Dudes 
By Isaac Fitzgerald, AlterNet
Conservatives reveal their blind sides to double entendres. Read more


Is Hysterical Right-Wing Media Pushing the Unhinged Over the Edge?
By Tana Ganeva, AlterNet
AlterNet readers had a lot to say about a recent article arguing that right-wing media may have fueled the Pittsburgh killer's rage. Read more 






Obama imports pies   : Chicago purveyors willing to pardon




Obama has requested another 83.4 Billion to continue the war, and Nancy Pelosi is too scared to demand that the administration actually keep the promise to end the war. In fact, now we may have to keep troops well past the June 30 deadline that Obama set. That deadline, by the way, was intended to be a timeframe for switching our focus from Iraq to Afganistan (and seemingly, Pakistan).

Like the militarized police at home, who misread addresses and conduct SWAT-style drug raids killing innocent people and pets, these officials maintain that the tactics aren’t the problem, it’s just that the targets are just a smidge off. We’ve just been knocking (or rather not knocking) on the wrong doors! We have the wrong Lebowski! And we’re sorry we peed on your rug - we know how it tied the room together.

This is unbelievably dumb, and should infuriate the left, but most (and nearly all) in the beltway don’t seem at all ruffled by it, and aren’t doing the best job holding The Big O to his promises. The left seems to have forgotten that it spent the last 8 years on the moral high ground for it’s antiwar message. Those were the days...

This will not be lost on the Republicans, who will either claim that this vindicates the Bush adminstration’s policies, or slam Obama for flip-flopping. Most likely they’ll do both. Let’s be honest; if the war was worth ending a year ago when Obama was campaigning (and it was – that’s why he won), it’s worth ending now. Ending, not transferring.

Shame on Pelosi for not coming out firmly against this extension of the Iraq war. Just as it’s laughable to hear the Republicans pretend to be anti-government after steamrolling the PATRIOT act, it gets old real fastwatching the Left deny that 'dissent is patriotic' and crying ‘racist!’ every time someone disagrees with the current president, despite spending the past eight years calling the last president an evil little moron. Perhaps he was an evil little moron. If that’s the case, then why aren’t progressives crying treason when Obama continues the policies that made Bush infamous?

The new message seems to be “Obama: Change What We Believe In.”



Hillary is a criminal and Biden is insane. Obama serves China, Russia and Iran. He is no American. He has betrayed every ally and intends to take apart US defenses. Obama is helping our enemy. He aids our enemies and hates our allies. He is worse than Carter. His actions will accelerate our economic demise. Obama brings the end to America dominance and support of democratic principles. Obama loves the Muslims; not America. Pelosi is a total screwball. Obama's betrayal of Israel signals the end of US might and influence. Our economic woes are due to his betrayal of Israel. Obama is here to destroy American influence. Obama hates God and loves Iran. His hatred of Israel and God guarantee our fall. We are on our own, just like Israel. Israel won't wait for Obama's approval to take care of business; no matter what pressure he brings to bear upon Israel. Obama represents 'Evil' in the world today. His friends and supporters are evil. He isn't even an American. This is where you are, America. God help us, please.

CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive ...
By rsinderbrand 
If he kissed him on the cheek the right wing conspirators would already be calling for hisimpeachment, Republicans have nothing to hang on. dan, April 10th, 2009 5:44 pm ET. The Grand Old Phony party is at it again. .... It seems to me that Bush/Cheney bowed to the devil for 8 years and bowed to Bin Laden after leaving for Iraq so dont criticize Obama for showing some respect.You cowboys talk that tough guy act but hide behind your guns when really you just cowards. ...
CNN Political Ticker -

WaPo: Dubya Now Lives In 'Insular World,' Squarely Among the '33 ...
By Tim Graham 
The Washington Post has an odd way of showing appreciation for Bush’s humble exit: mocking him on Saturday’s front page about his return to Texas: "In Insular World, the Negative Is Left Behind." ... No one at the Post seemed to debate this story idea: did Bill Clinton start having Bob Barr and the otherimpeachment managers over for hot dogs and Ruffles after he left office, or was he surrounded by friends and supporters? As Saslow recounts Bush talking to neighbors ... blogs -

Pelosi Calls For Gun Registration, Opposes DC Gun Reform Legislation
Right Side News - Kennesaw,GA,USA
In February, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rightly rejected Attorney General Eric Holder's call for renewing the so-called "assault weapons" ...

On The Hill: NEWS ANALYSIS: After Pa. Cops Shooting, Right Plays ...
By Scott Nance 
An organization called the Second Amendment Foundation released a statement this week saying "the gloves are coming off" of the Obama administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, less than a week after Richard Poplawski, 23, ...
On The Hill -


Analysis: No winner in New York 20
The Hill - Washington,DC,USA
"Until then, our primary focus is to preserve the integrity of this election process." Democrats, on the other hand, have portrayed a Murphy win as further ...See all stories on this topic


"Never Before In History Has An American President Gone To Europe And Apologized To Them For Us. We Are The Leaders Of The Free World And Have Nothing To Apologize For. How Dare He Do That?"




Dear Newsmax Reader:

Please find below a special message from our sponsor, The United States Justice Foundation, they are leading the fight nationally to get the truth out about Obama’s citizenship. Please read carefully the important information they want to share with you. 

Thank you.


Obama Nomination Papers Are Perjurious! 

Tell All 50 State Attorneys General To Investigate NOW The Compelling Evidence That Barack Obama Was Born In Africa! 

Dear Concerned Friend, 

I dared bring Barack Obama into court to force him to produce his birth certificate and put an end to the controversy over his status as a "natural born" citizenship once and for all. And now he's coming after me and the United States Justice Foundation (USJF) -- the public-interest legal group that I founded over 30 years ago -- with a vengeance! Merely because we dare to seek the truth! 

And they must have something to hide, because Mr. Obama's attorneys have threatened to spend, and then sanction, USJF out of existence. 

USJF has started efforts to convince State Attorneys General, all across the country, to investigate whether Barack Obama has committed perjury by knowingly filing false nomination papers ... claiming to be constitutionally eligible to run for, and serve as, President of the United States. As you know, the available evidence shows that he was born in Africa. A FAX to all 50 State Attorneys General is available for you to send right now. 

You see, even though it's past January 20, 2009 -- inauguration day -- Barack Obama can still be stopped from becoming an illegal "squatter" in the White House.

FAX All 50 State Attorneys General To Investigate Obama's Fraud

Frankly, the evidence that Barack Hussein Obama was born in Africa -- not Hawaii as he claims - and, therefore, cannot serve as the President of the United States, is compelling.

  • First, Mr. Obama's refusal to release his birth certificate. If he has nothing to hide, what does he gain by refusing to allow the press to see the birth certificate?
  • Second, the contention by Barack Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, that Mr. Obama was born in a particular Hawaiian hospital, only to claim that it was in a different hospital several years later.
  • Third, the erecting of a wall around Barack Obama's grandmother, the late Madelyn Dunham, by Mr. Obama, thus cutting off access to the one person then alive who would have been present if he was actually born in Hawaii.
  • Fourth, the posting of law enforcement personnel at the two hospitals in Honolulu mentioned by Ms. Soetoro-Ng in an effort to block the press from discovering the truth about the birth certificate.
  • Fifth, a taped phone conversation with Mr. Obama's step-grandmother in Kenya, who claims that she was present at his birth ... in what is now called Kenya!
  • Sixth, the "birth certificate" posted on the Obama campaign website and other liberal websites. Since Barack Obama was born in 1961, long before laser printers and office computers, his original birth certificate would be typewritten ... unlike the laser printed "copy" purported to be genuine.

The evidence demands that Barack Obama answer why he has been hiding the truth from the American people about his eligibility to run for, and serve as, President! 

That's right. Not only does Mr. Obama continue to categorically refuse to produce the decisive evidence proving whether he is a "natural born" citizen, his high-priced LA-based "dream team" of attorneys has USJF squarely in its crosshairs! And they're loading both barrels! 

So, unless you help me and my team here at USJF to stand our ground in court, Mr. Obama's hired guns could blow a financial hole in USJF's ability to be the proverbial thorn in Mr. Obama's side! 

Barack Obama continues to battle any attempt to see his real birth certificate - producing only a phony one posted on his website -- as well as fighting us tooth and nail as we seek access to his college records... records which we believe may prove that he was foreign born! 

USJF served a subpoena upon Occidental College to gain access to Mr. Obama's college records and we are fighting to get at the truth on many other fronts, as well, including: 

  1. Appealing a case filed by USJF in California, all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, if necessary, on behalf of 2008 Presidential candidate Alan Keyes, calling into question Mr. Obama's status as a "natural born" citizen;
  2. Funding, and assisting local attorneys and Plaintiffs, in similar lawsuits, in Ohio, Hawaii, and Mississippi, AND we're considering filing more lawsuits in other states; and
  3. We have initiated a campaign demanding that your State Attorney General take action now, which I'll tell you about momentarily...

Select Here Donate & Demand Mr. Obama Show Us the Truth!

You see, when Barack Obama officially entered the office of President, he became, in essence, a "pretender to the throne." According to the Constitution, only a "natural born citizen" can occupy the presidency. 

Even though he was sworn in on January 20, 2009, Barack Obama is not legally the President of the United States, unless he can prove that he is a "natural born citizen." 

What's more, every action taken by him while he occupies the White House may be invalid. If he cannot legally be President, every law passed by Congress will be null and void because the Constitution clearly requires that all laws be signed by the President ... and, without a legally elected and sworn in President in office, that becomes an impossibility. 

Quite frankly, this crisis must be ended! And it must be ended now! 

And that's just what we're fighting to do. The United States Justice Foundation is spearheading a campaign to protect the United States Constitution ... and your liberty. 

Select Here Donate & Demand Mr. Obama Show Us the Truth!

We have to press our case to stop Barack Obama from, apparently, illegally holding the Presidency, despite the ongoing threats against us. We are speaking of filing additional lawsuits and administrative actions, over and above the dozens already filed, if you will help us today. 

I need your help right now in order to win this battle. We must raise the needed funds to continue our legal research, pay court costs and lawyer fees, and to contact all 50 State Attorneys General. Helping USJF with this campaign is your best shot, and, possibly your only chance, at finding out whether Barack Obama is legally holding the Presidency of our great nation, or whether he is a fraud, a usurper! 

My friend, please take action immediately. Please FAX all 50 State Attorneys General and please send to me your best possible gift to help USJF stop Barack Obama from continuing his apparent theft of the Presidency! 

FAX All 50 State Attorneys General To Investigate Obama's Fraud

Are you willing to see the Constitution shredded by the Left? Will you sit back and do nothing while a foreign-born person may be illegally occupying the White House as President of the United States? 

We will not be intimidated. But we MUST have your help immediately if USJF is to survive this fight to the finish -- and if the U.S. Constitution is to weather this crisis intact! 

Our country is on the fast track to disaster ... but you can help us keep the situation from getting worse. I pray that I'll hear from you today. 

In His Name,

Gary Kreep, Executive Director
United States Justice Foundation 

P.S. America has never before faced such a threat. Everything we hold dear is at risk with Barack Obama sitting as President without him releasing his actual birth certificate. Please, send in your best possible gift today! 

P.P.S. And don't forget to check out our website at for more information about this case and other critical issues affecting our nation. 

Select Here Donate & Demand Mr. Obama Show Us the Truth!

Or Send Checks to:
United States Justice Foundation
Dept Code 2258
P.O. Box 131637
Houston, TX 77219-1637


The Constitution says a President can be impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors," but it doesn't define the term. Who decides what that means? 


But Don’t You Worry The Right Will Define It For You!!!!


 The Congress decides the definition: by majority vote in the House for impeachment, and by 2/3 vote in the Senate for conviction. The Framers of the Constitution deliberately put impeachment into the hands of the legislative branch rather than the judicial branch, thus transforming it from strictly a matter of legal definition to a matter of political judgment. Then Representative Gerald Ford put it into practical perspective in 1970, when he said an impeachable offense is "whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history."

"High crimes and misdemeanors" entered the text of the Constitution due to George Mason and James Madison. Mason had argued that the reasons given for impeachment -- treason and bribery -- were not enough. He worried that other "great and dangerous offenses" might not be covered, and suggested adding the word "maladministration." Madison argued that term was too vague, so Mason then proposed "high crimes and misdemeanors," a phrase well-known in English common law. In 18th century language, a "misdemeanor" meant "mis-demeanor,"or bad behavior (neglect of duty and corruption were given as examples), while "high crimes" was roughly equivalent to "great offenses."

Lawyers and historians are still arguing about the exact meaning of "high crimes and misdemeanors," dividing into three schools of thought about the appropriate definition: (1) serious criminality evidenced by breaking existing law; (2) an abuse of office, and (3) the Alexander Hamilton standard (Federalist 65) of "violation of public trust."

In our most recent experience with presidential impeachment -- Watergate in 1974 -- the House Judiciary Committee strongly argued that the case for impeachment need not be limited to actual violations of criminal law. In its report, Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment, the Committee argued the definition should go beyond actual breach of law, citing Blackstone's phrase, "an injury to the state or system of government," Justice Joseph Story's phrase, "offenses of a political character," and Edmund Burke's statement at an impeachment trial that the official on trial should be judged "not upon the niceties of a narrow jurisprudence, but upon the enlarged and solid principles of morality." The Committee further stated that historically, Congress had issued Articles of Impeachment in three broad categories: (1) exceeding the constitutional bounds of the powers of the office; (2) behaving in a manner grossly incompatible with the proper function and purpose of the office; and (3) employing the power of the office for an improper purpose or for personal gain.

If you would like to read more about it, the following books deal with this timely and controversial topic:

 Grand Inquests by Justice William Rehnquist [1992]

 High Crimes and Misdemeanors by Ann Coulter [1998]

High Crimes and Misdemeanors: the Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson by Gene Smith [1976]

 Impeachment: the Constitutional Problem by Raoul Berger [1973]



The Founding Narrative Of The Modern State Of Israel Was Born From The Words Of Moses In The Old Testament, That God Granted The Land Of Israel To The Jewish People And That It Was To Be Theirs For All Time.


(Mr. Sands writing must be read carefully, as there is a great deal of wordsmith crafting and “couching” that can lead a less than careful and not fully informed reader to jump to some very questionable over-generalized conclusions”. This is one of those occasions where one must be very careful in accepting first arguments and thesis statements carte blanche. I will make no argument for the “Word Of God” argument other than the psychological adage that one “Believes” to be true; is the truth.”  And there are those believers.  The Disporia matter cannot be dismissed as casually as one might be inclined to do without a good historical grounding in fact.  It is true that it was not enmasse as that would have been a massive feat for the time and conditions, but it was none-the-less sufficiently large scale enough to generate among the community that perception and the perpetuation of “pure Disporia” position. 

Then, there was the story of the Diaspora – that after Jewish uprisings against the Romans in the First and Second centuries A.D., the Jews were exiled from the land of Israel and dispersed throughout the Western world. They often were isolated from European populations, suffered persecution, and ultimately were marked for extermination in the Nazi Holocaust.

Finally after centuries of praying for a return to Israel, the Jews achieved this goal by defeating the Arab armies in Palestine and establishing Israel in 1948. This narrative – spanning more than three millennia – is the singular, elemental and sustaining claim of the State of Israel as a Jewish nation.

But a new book by Israeli scholar Shlomo Sand challenges this narrative, claiming that – beyond the religious question of whether God really spoke to Moses – the Roman-era Diaspora did not happen at all or at least not as commonly understood.

In When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?, Dr. Sand, an expert on European history at the University of Tel Aviv, says the Diaspora was largely a myth – that the Jews were never exiled en masse from the Holy Land and that many European Jewish populations converted to the faith centuries later.

Thus, Sand argues, many of today’s Israelis who emigrated from Europe after World War II have little or no genealogical connection to the land. According to Sand’s historical analysis, they are descendents of European converts, principally from the Kingdom of the Khazars in eastern Russia, who embraced Judaism in the Eighth Century, A.D.  (I would not disagree…Ed.)

The descendants of the Khazars then were driven from their native lands by invasion and conquest and – through migration – created the Jewish populations of Eastern Europe, Sands writes. Similarly, he argues that the Jews of Spain came from the conversion of Berber tribes from northern Africa that later migrated into Europe.

The Zionist Narrative

Sand, himself a European Jew born in 1946 to Holocaust survivors in Austria, argues that until little more than a century ago, Jews thought of themselves as Jews because they shared a common religion, not because they possessed a direct lineage to the ancient tribes of Israel. ( I would not disagree…Ed.)

However, at the turn of the 20th Century, Sand asserts, Zionist Jews began assembling a national history to justify creation of a Jewish state by inventing the idea that Jews existed as a people separate from their religion and that they had primogeniture over the territory that had become known as Palestine.

The Zionists also invented the idea that Jews living in exile were obligated to return to the Promised Land, a concept that had been foreign to Judaism, Sand states.

Like almost everything in the Middle East, this new scholarship is fraught with powerful religious, historical and political implications. If Sand’s thesis is correct, it would suggest that many of the Palestinian Arabs have a far more substantial claim to the lands of Israel than do many European Jews who arrived there asserting a God-given claim. 

(That statement is of no practical matter as any settlement of the existing issues will, in the final analysis have nothing to do with these arguments. In the end their will be two sovereign states or an unthinkable conflagration and Genocide.  The political issues that frame this conflict in the modern era will dictate a modern solution and not one based upon history.  I remind you that every boundary and barrier ever drawn on a map can and at times has been removed with an eraser. Those acts have often been the cause of later conflicts and wars when they have created artificial divisions of cultural ties.  The divide is well defined in this matter, so I fear little accident on this issue, but I will hold that the historical arguments of claims on both sides are fraught with flaws and fiction and cannot be the overriding factor in any peace settlement.  There must be a new accommodation created an new page in history written. The past will not serve well here as a measuring stick to settlement. Ed.)

Indeed, Sand theorizes that many Jews, who remained in Judea after Roman legions crushed the last uprising in 136 A.D., eventually converted to Christianity or Islam, meaning that the Palestinians who have been crowded into Gaza or concentrated in the West Bank might be direct descendants of Jews from the Roman era.  (true in part but of little practical concern today as it adds nothing to the persuasion for arguments of peace..Ed.)

Despite the political implications of Sand’s book, it has not faced what might be expected: a withering assault from right-wing Israelis. The criticism has focused mostly on Sand’s credentials as an expert on European history, not ancient Middle Eastern history, a point that Sand readily acknowledges.

One critic, Israel Bartal, dean of humanities at the Hebrew University, attacked Sand’s credentials and called Sand’s thesis “baseless,” but disagreed mostly over Sand’s assertion that the Diaspora story was created as an intentional myth by Zionists seeking to fabricate a direct genealogical connection between many of the world’s Jews and Israel. (I would not say created, but certainly used..Ed.)

“Although the myth of an exile from the Jewish homeland (Palestine) does exist in popular Israeli culture, it is negligible in serious Jewish historical discussions,” Bartal wrote in the newspaper Haaretz. “Important groups in the Jewish national movement expressed reservations regarding this myth or denied it completely. …

"The kind of political intervention Sand is talking about, namely, a deliberate program designed to make Israelis forget the true biological origins of the Jews of Poland and Russia or a directive for the promotion of the story of the Jews' exile from their homeland is pure fantasy."

In other words, Bartal, like some other critics, is not so much disputing Sand’s historical claims about the Diaspora or the origins of Eastern European Jews, as he is contesting Sand’s notion that Zionists concocted a false history for a cynical political purpose.

But there can be no doubt that the story of the Diaspora has played a key role in the founding of Israel and that the appeal of this powerful narrative has helped the Jewish state generate sympathy around the world, especially in the United States.

"After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom," reads the preamble to the Israeli Declaration of Independence.

Reality from Mythology

In January 2009, as the Israeli army bombarded Palestinians in Gaza in retaliation for rockets fired into southern Israel, the world got an ugly glimpse of what can result when historical myths are allowed to drive wedges between people who otherwise might have a great deal in common.

After the conflict ended – with some 1,400 Palestinians dead, including many children and other non-combatants – the Israeli government investigated alleged war crimes by its army and heard testimony from Israeli troops that extremist Rabbis had proclaimed the invasion a holy war.

The troops said the Rabbis brought them booklets and articles declaring: “We are the Jewish people. We came to this land by a miracle. God brought us back to this land, and now we need to fight to expel the non-Jews who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land.”

In his book – and in an interview with Haaretz about his book – Sand challenged this core myth. In the interview, he said:

"I started looking in research studies about the exile from the land - a constitutive event in Jewish history, almost like the Holocaust. But to my astonishment I discovered that it has no literature. The reason is that no one exiled the people of the country.

“The Romans did not exile peoples and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to. They did not have trains and trucks to deport entire populations. That kind of logistics did not exist until the 20th Century. From this, in effect, the whole book was born: in the realization that Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled."

The True Descendants

Asked if he was saying that the true descendants of the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Judah are the Palestinians, Sand responded: 

"No population remains pure over a period of thousands of years. But the chances that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Judaic people are much greater than the chances that you or I are its descendents.

“The first Zionists, up until the Arab Revolt [1936-1939], knew that there had been no exiling, and that the Palestinians were descended from the inhabitants of the land. They knew that farmers don't leave until they are expelled.

“Even Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel, wrote in 1929 that, 'the vast majority of the peasant farmers do not have their origins in the Arab conquerors, but rather, before then, in the Jewish farmers who were numerous and a majority in the building of the land.'" 

Sand argues further that the Jewish people never existed as a “nation race” but were rather an ethnic mix of disparate peoples who adopted the Jewish religion over a great period of time. Sand dismisses the Zionist argument that the Jews were an isolated and seminal ethnic group that was targeted for dispersal by the Romans.

Although ruthless in putting down challenges to their rule, the Romans allowed subjects in their occupied territories a great many freedoms, including freedom to practice religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.

Thousands of Jews served in the Roman legions, and there was a sizable Jewish community in Rome itself. Three Jewish descendants of Herod the Great, the Jewish Emperor of Jerusalem, served in the Roman Senate.

Jewish dietary laws were respected under Roman law, as well as the right not to work on the Sabbath. Jewish slaves – 1,000 carried to Italy by Emperor Titus after crushing the first Jewish rebellion in 70 A.D. – were bought and set free by Jewish families already long settled into Roman society.

After the final Jewish rebellion, the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132-136 A.D., historians say the Romans placed restrictions on Jews entering Jerusalem, which caused other areas, such as Galilee in northern Palestine, to become centers of Jewish learning. But there is little or no evidence of a mass forced relocation.

Sand says the Diaspora was originally a Christian myth that depicted the event as divine punishment imposed on the Jews for having rejected the Christian gospel.

Genetic Evidence

There has been no serious rebuttal to Sand’s book, which has been a bestseller in Israel and Europe – and which is expected to be released in the United States within the year. But there were earlier genetic studies attempting to demonstrate an unbroken line of descent among Ashkenazi Jews in Europe from the Hebrew tribes of Israel.

In a genetic study published by the United States National Academy of Sciences, the Y chromosomes of Ashkenazi, Roman, North African, Kurdish, Near Eastern, Yemenite, and Ethiopian Jews were compared with 16 non-Jewish groups from similar geographic locations. It found that despite long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level.

Although the study also demonstrated that 20 percent of the Ashkenazim carry Eastern European gene markers consistent with the Khazars, the results seemed to show that the Ashkenazim were descended from a common Mid-Eastern population and suggested that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the Diaspora.

However, a monumental genetic study entitled, “The Journey of Man,” undertaken in 2002 by Dr. Spencer Wells, a geneticist from Stanford University, demonstrated that virtually all Europeans males carry the same genetic markers found within the male population of the Middle East on the Y chromosomes.

That is simply because the migration of human beings began in Africa and coursed its way through the Middle East and onward, stretching over millions of years. In short, we are all pretty much the same.

Obsessive Delusion

Despite the lack of conclusive scientific or historical evidence, the Diaspora narrative proved to be a compelling story, much like the Biblical rendition of the Exodus from Egypt, which historians and archeologists also have questioned in recent years.

It is certainly true that all nations use myths and legend for sustenance; some tales are based on fact, others are convenient self-serving contrivances.

However, when myth and legend argue for excess, when they demand a racial, ethnic or religious purity to the exclusion of others – so that some prophecy can be fulfilled or some national goal achieved – reason and justice can give way to extremism and cruelty.

The motive for creating the state of Israel was to provide respite for the Jews of Europe after World War II, but that worthy cause has now been contorted into an obsessive delusion about an Israeli right to mistreat and persecute Palestinians.

When right-wing Israeli Rabbis speak of driving non-Jews out of the land that God supposedly gave to the Israelites and their descendants, these Rabbis may be speaking with full faith, but faith is by definition an unshakable belief in something that taken by itself cannot be proven.

This faith – or delusion – also is drawing in the rest of the world. The bloody war in Iraq is an appendage to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as is the dangerous rise of Islamic fundamentalism across the region.

There is also now the irony that modern Israel was established by Jews of European origin, many of whom may be ethnically unconnected to Palestine.

Another cruel aspect of this irony is that the descendants of the ancient Israelites may include many Palestinians, who are genetically indistinct from the Sephardic Jews who were, like the Palestinians, original and indigenous inhabitants of this ancient land.


Yasir Arafat told me quite often that the Israelis are really cousins of the Palestinians. He may have been wrong; they are more likely brothers and sisters.


Morgan Strong is a former professor of Middle Eastern history, and was an advisor to CBS News “60 Minutes” on the Middle East.

To comment at Consortiumblog, click here.


Historians have the obligation to search for the truth.  Sometimes that can become quite argumentative!


If I’m Corrupt, It’s Because I Take Care Of My District.

Posted by Moonage on 01 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: Ethics

“If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district.”  - Jack Murtha

The corruption charge will possibly come from the FBI investigation into PMA Group.  Or, it may be flashbacks to ABSCAM.  Either way, ABSCAM involved faux Arab sheiks, PMA Group involving lobbyists in Washington, DC.  Jack Murtha represents rural Pennsylvania.  These are Arabs or lobbyists, they’re rednecks by Murtha’s definition.  Anyone want to take the leap of how taking bribes from sheiks and lobbyists is taking care of his rednecks.


Nancy Pelosi is looking to this corruption I’m sure.

Bottom line, corrupt is just corrupt.


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