The Circus of Recycling – Part I

As the Easter weekend ended, I had once again come through the annual quagmire of suspicious historical thickening and recycled storytelling.

No, this post is not about the increasingly needed awareness and action of local and global conservation; though I wish it were. Recycling is highly beneficial for our planet and certainly requires non-stop reminding, teaching, promoting, and implementing on wider scales from everyone. But this post will not be that. No, the post will be about repetition, about repackaging worn out fossilized traditions. If anything, it should be a challenge, an “I dare you!” for many to drop their pretense. This post will be about the complete irony of a great number of humans resisting or denying change while also existing in the very state of endless change. As Heraclitus wisely concluded, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” And Socrates reinforced, that living “the unexamined life is not worth living.

Every Spring Without Fail

I was at the local Starbucks to continue reading my new book by neurologist Dr. Simon LeVay, Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation. Since it was a comfortable cool evening, I thought I’d lounge at an outside table with my book and Caffè Americano. I hadn’t realized I chose a table near a church group. I assume they noticed my book and its title. Otherwise, I’m not sure what motivated them to strike-up (politely) conversation. We exchanged our pleasantries and preferences about the various coffee and beverage choices. The older gentleman of the group seemed to have another question.

eostreOver the years the discussions usually go something like this as did this one… “What are your plans for Good Friday and Easter weekend?” I respond, My kids are grown now so no need for fun rabbits and Easter-egg hunting. Their face appears more curious. “What Easter Sunday service will your family attend?” they ask with some reserved excitement. Not wanting to risk their invitation to their church service, followed by my decline and learned explanation, I simply reply I don’t have a specific Eostre location to celebrate the Pagan festival. And there it is… their puzzled, blank, momentary silent stare. One might think their curiosity has now rendered them speechless, right? Wrong.

I am now confronted with the choice to either let the naïvety perpetuate, or determine how much time they REALLY and truly want to invest into highly probable and highly plausible (near accurate?) history. Hmmm.

However, in this particular instance their next question was a new variation of the same agenda. It was not the usual “so you’re not a Christian? Why not?” or “Would you like to come with us to our sunrise service?” or the popular “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten…” lah-de-dah who eventually was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead days later. No, this question took a slightly different twist.

Have you not heard” he began to explain “that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the one divine miracle that distinguishes Christianity above all other beliefs?” My eyebrows raised into my forehead and a big grin took over my cheeks. Suddenly the song by The Clash leaps into my head, that well-known guitar strum opens, then… Should I Stay or Should I Go? I sigh, That is quite a bold claim I tell him modestly with a chuckle.

(In my head… I guess I’m staying, huh?)

It is bold because it is true” he answers. “Extraordinary events are very difficult for many to understand,” he continued “but God’s Word and promises, revealed in Scripture, fortunately make it easy as well as true.” My brain is going 90-to-nothing and all I could muster was Really? I wasn’t sure where to start! The explicit and implied presuppositions were everywhere flying out of his mouth and brain!

Yes” he told me, “and many hearts are too hardened to hear God’s Word and promises” I let him go on “…and some softer hearts respond immediately!” Now I’m thinking two different scenarios here. One, what type of “heart” does he think I have? And two, what is the difference (his definition) between a soft heart and a hardened heart? Drum roll please.

Irving TX mosque protestors

Protestors at Irving, Texas mosque – Nov. 2015

Since I suspected the gentleman was not a cardiologist and could offer very little knowledge on my own heart through his obvious clairvoyance, I chose number two. What is your explanation of a soft heart versus a hardened heart? I’m thinking I will dread having asked my hearty question. In my head I beg, please sir, answer cholesterol or too many ice-cones?

No such luck. “The soft hearted have been chosen by God’s Holy Spirit. In Hebrews” he began “God said, ‘…make sure brothers and sisters that none of you have a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.’” He was on a roll. “‘Encourage one another daily…so none of you will become hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ.’” With a slight grin I ask, Should I assume then you are massaging my soft or hardened heart? A loaded question, right? I did manage a laugh from him and two others of the group.

Before he could answer and start again, I quickly asked,

Up in Irving and Richardson, Texas a group of “Christian Patriots”, I’ll call them, stood outside Muslim mosques with slandering picket-signs, in camo-fatigues and semi-automatic rifles. Who has the “hardened hearts”? The American Muslims attending their mosque, or those wailing Christian Patriots with displaced trigger fingers?

I think the gentleman’s response was something like “the history between God, Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael answers the big question:  God’s favor.” The man’s biblical knowledge was good and so far correct. He went on… “In Genesis 16 an angel of God told Sarah, Abraham’s wife, that Ishmael and his descendants would be in disfavor of God. It would be Isaac, son of Abraham and Sarah, that would inherit all of Abraham’s, and therefore God’s blessings.” Then I added, And Ishmael would simply father a great nation of wild men full of justifiable animosity!Well yeah, more less” he said a little surprised by my apparent bible knowledge. “Since then,” the man continued “the Near and Middle East have been in constant conflict. They have hardened hearts to the purpose and salvation of Christ’s death and resurrection.” Yes, my eyes popped out like bowling balls as well… WOW! You just made a huge leap! I said startled. I asked:

Don’t you think the conflict today — well, for that matter, since the first Catholic Crusade in 1099 — is a culmination of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution #181, the United State’s ongoing military and economic support for the Israeli Occupation of Palestine!? And as if some 3,000 years of “Divine disfavor” and mistreatment on Ishmael’s descendants weren’t enough, the U.S. has and will commence necessary warfare and occupation on any Near and Middle Eastern countries should our foreign interests be perceived as threatened?

Geez, I really do empathize with their animosity!

It didn’t matter that my intended reaction from him was unsuccessful, it didn’t fit his intended result. He paid me a polite compliment for my history lesson, perhaps to patronize, but he returned to what he really wanted to achieve, “If you decide you’d like to attend a different sort of Easter service,” he reached into his satchel “here is my business card with our church’s address.” I smiled warmly That’s not necessary. Thank you. But the determined evangelist left his card on the table anyway.

After 20-minutes or so chatting with this gentleman, I asked myself why do so many (Texans) people care little about verified and most plausible history, especially that of Antiquity? Am I the only person to comprehend the concept:  Pop(ular) history is always written by the Victors — in this case, not the last remaining holdouts of 2nd century Jerusalem-Palestinia nor post-4th century Alexandria?

Class, Students…Take Your Seats

Since I have covered numerous times on my blog the wrong and unreliable history and construction of the Christian Canonical New Testament, I will not expound or repeat those posts here. I will make, however, one very important point in regard to the “story” of Jesus’ resurrection…the modern asserted purpose of Easter.

It is critical for the average indifferent reader of the New Testament crucifixion and resurrection story to know that the four synoptic gospels were not written in the same monastery room simultaneously — or within days or weeks of each other — by four specific authors or apostles. Furthermore, most all expert palaeographers agree that 1) the gospels proceed from oral traditions, 2) their language is from the primitive Aramaic form, and 3) the transliteration, mutation, and copying of the oral Aramaic tradition into the Greek Gospels took place some 70-80 years AFTER the crucifixion. Yet, with all the relevant scientific evidence as to reliable dating each of the four gospels, one must remember too that by 70 CE there were no living survivors personally acquainted with eyewitnesses to the crucifixion or possible resurrection. Only word-of-mouth from synagogue and household to synagogue and household were these stories passed on for 6-8 decades.

james tabor

Dr. James Tabor

With that Dr. James Tabor and the vast majority of other historians and scholars of Antiquity agree that the Gospel of Mark copies are the oldest and first written accounts of Jesus’ events. What makes this dating so paramount is that in the first written account of Jesus’ crucifixion and supposed resurrection is… there is NO RESURRECTION story in Mark! My evangelist gentleman at Starbucks had his story/facts wrong and disordered. Truly, the very last passages simply stop after Mary Magdalene and her female companions see Jesus’ tomb opened and emptied with a young man — not an angel — standing at the entrance. Out of astonishment and fear they fled from the tomb and said absolutely nothing! End of story (Mark 16:6-8). Dr. Tabor explains the massive implications for the validity of resurrection forgery stories thereafter in this article:  The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference. As it is, Easter is merely an ancient pagan festival.

Nevertheless, should you desire to read-up and possibly rethink on such a pivotal time in Western civilization’s social and literary history, I’ve provided the below list/links:

What I would now like to tackle are the little known historical factors about modern Jerusalem, Israel, and Palestine and the justifiable animosity some Muslims, Arabs, and Palestinians harbor toward all of the Western Allied victors of World War I. I’d wager that many of you had/have no clue.

Some Bullets for Buster-ing
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A rundown of the Jerusalem historical timeline from my March 2014 post Religious Imperialism Alive Still and Dr. Juan Cole’s ten historical reasons why Jerusalem is not Israel’s to occupy… deserves a quick revisit.

  • The ancient geographical history of Judaism begins in Mesopotamia, loosely modern-day Iraq and Syria, not Jerusalem or the Levant.
  • The settlement of Jerusalem was named in honor of Shalim, (salem) from the Canaanite religious pantheon, found on inscriptions in Syria. Modern Judaism wrongly translates the word as City of Peace, and has romanticized its historical context as their own at the exclusion of Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, and Jordanians.
  • Strictly from Biblical sources, i.e. not from additional independent sources, Judaism (a monotheistic religion) asserts that the prophet Moses led slaves inside ancient Egypt to the Sinai Peninsula. The only archeological evidence of a monotheistic worship happening inside Jerusalem doesn’t take place until around 1000 BCE.  All evidence prior to 1000 BCE clearly demonstrates common Canaanite deities were worshiped.
  • There is no definitive independent proof that Jerusalem was even inhabited between 1000 and 900 BCE by any particular people or tribes.
  • A Jewish group known as the Hasmoneans did rule Jerusalem briefly between 168 and 37 BCE.  This is a grossly different time span (almost a 2,200 year difference) from what Zionist Judaism claims:  3000 BCE to present? Beginning in 637 CE, the Muslim Arabs put siege to Jerusalem and conquered it a year later.  They ruled until 1099 CE when all the European Crusaders took it. It is at this point when the Jewish and Muslim inhabitants of Jerusalem fought side-by-side but were horrifically murdered in mass by Christian Crusaders.
  • Perhaps the most notable part of Jerusalem’s history is in 136 CE after the Bar Kochba revolt against Roman authority failed.  Some of the Jews in Jerusalem remained, but firmly under the rule of Rome and then Byzantium.  Many converted to Christianity to escape the harsh oppression.  After 638 CE and the Arab Muslim invasion, 90% of Jerusalem converted to Islam!  Thereafter, the entire region was almost exclusively Muslim for the next 1,300 plus years.  Palestinians are the legitimate descendants of Jerusalem, Eastern Israel, and the region!
  • In 1947 the virtual city and region of peace was completely turned upside down.  Despite the historical and archeological chronicle of Judaism, the United Nations enacted the Partition Plan for Palestine following World War II and under sympathy of the Jewish Holocaust.
  • Past and present Israeli governments have not been united, much less consistent, about how East Jerusalem and the West Bank should be settled and managed once they were taken over.  Comically, this is reminiscent of Judaism’s long history of sectarian division and fragmentation going all the way back to 37 CE.
  • The archeological record and linguistic history of Jerusalem and the Levant show who has the most legitimate claim to sovereignty from best to least, in chronological order listed below, by the number of years settled:
    1. Muslims – they ruled it and built it for at least 1,191 years.
    2. Egyptians – ruled it as a vassal state for several centuries in the 2ndmillennium BCE.
    3. Italians – ruled it for about 445 years until the fall of the Roman Empire in 450 CE.
    4. Iranians – ruled for 205 years under the Achaemenid Empire, for three years as a Parthian-Hasmonean vassal state, and for 15 years under the Sassanids.
    5. Greeks – ruled it for over 160 years, counting the Ptolemys and Seleucids as Greek empires.  If this period is counted as Egyptian and Syrian, that adds significantly to an Egyptian claim while introducing a Syrian one!
    6. Byzantines (Greeks/Turks) – ruled it for 188 years, however if one considers the heir to be Greece and add the time Hellenistic dynasties ruled, that gives Greece almost 350 years of ruling Jerusalem.
    7. Iraq– the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires ruled Jerusalem for 183 years, though adding the Ayyubid Empire (Saladin’s dynasty) who were Kurds from Iraq, ruled for 730 years bringing the total reigning years up to that point to a whopping 913 years!
    8. Jews – finally we arrive to the people who have the LEAST claim for Jerusalem.  The Hasmoneans ruled as a vassal state under Parthia for 131 years.
  • In the end, the only real claim Judaism has for Jerusalem and a state of Israel is based subservient to Persians, Greeks, and Romans when they ruled Palestine.

That said and established, now to take a 2-part look at how the United States, and by default its people, were a pawn used in the 1948 Israeli occupation of Palestine.

* * * * * * * * * *
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The U.S. and Israel Meet
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His name was Theodor Herzl. An Austrian-born European journalist, Herzl founded the Zionist Movement in 1897 called the World Zionist Organization and its first Zionist Congress. After its inception the WZO experienced unprecedented growth in just two years from representing 117 groups to 900 groups world-wide. Their first order of business was to start a Jewish state somewhere in the world. They consider at least four locations throughout four different continents, including Texas, but eventually decided on Jerusalem and Palestine even though Palestine in 1899 was already inhabited by 93-96% non-Jews all living in overall peace between the 7th century CE until 1920 when Great Britain took it as compensation from WWI and the Ottomans.

theodor herzl

Theodor Herzl

With 99% of Palestinian land owned by Christians and Muslims, the WZO had a serious obstacle in the way of their new Israel state. Dr. Israel Scheib (later Eldad) was a philosopher and member of the Zionist Movement, specifically the Lehi group. Despite being born in Pidvolochysk, Galicia — an area in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire now in modern day western Ukraine — Dr. Scheib wrote…

“Israel is the Jew’s land… It was never the Arabs land, even when virtually all of its inhabitants were Arab. Israel belongs to four million Russian Jews despite the fact that they were not born here. It is the land of nine million other Jews throughout the world, even if they have no present plans to live in it.”

Several other high-ranking WZO members speak the same language. Scheib’s and other sources can be provided if necessary.

Max Nordau is the next pivotal player. In the Maccabaean, Vol. 7 (1904), Nordau was quoted as saying “Zionism’s only hope is the Jews of America.” He was a close associate to Theodor Herzl. They are both initiates in the galvinization of American-based Zionist organizations in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Baltimore by the start of the 20th century. By 1918 Nordau, Scheib, and Herzl had helped generate over 200,000 Zionists in America. At the end of 1923 every New York Yiddish news press except one was Zionist, reaching 535,000 families in 1927. By 1948 Zionist numbers swelled to near 1-million.

Merely reaching ordinary American citizens, however, was not sufficient. Through most of President William Taft’s administration (1909-1913), American Zionist organizations began their inroads into Congress influencing Senators and House Representatives about the plight and goal for an Israeli state. Unlike Congressional officials, U.S. State Department positions were not dependent on public votes and campaign donations. Therefore, State Department officials had the advantage of more objective thinking and reasoning for the people rather than a tiny group working for domestic or foreign entities. Here we have the first serious opposition to Zionism. Correspondence after correspondence, year after year, U.S. statesmen and military advisors under Taft repeated, ‘Zionism runs counter to U.S. interests and principles.’ But they would not be deterred.

In 1912 the Zionist Literary Society approached the Executive office directly for endorsement. Secretary of State Philander Knox flat out refused them audience, saying:

“The problems of Zionism involve certain matters primarily related to the interests of countries other than our own.”
Fallen Pillars: U.S. Policy towards Palestine and Israel since 1945, by Donald Neff, Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, 2002

In that same year the Zionist went directly to prominent Harvard Law graduate Louis D. Brandeis who would later become a Supreme Court Justice in 1916.

Into the U.S. Supreme Court

louis brandeis

Justice Louis Brandeis

Though Brandeis’ Kentucky parents raised Louis as secular, in 1912 he converted to Zionism. Two years later he became the Director of the international Zionist Central Office which had recently moved from Germany to the United States. By most accounts and biographies, Justice Brandeis is held in high esteem. Yet, when his extra activities are put under microscope with Felix Frankfurter — later to become appointed Associate Supreme Court Justice by Franklin D. Roosevelt — evidence begins to paint a different picture.

Historian Bruce A. Murphy, an acclaimed judicial biographer of American Constitutional law and politics, wrote in his 1982 book The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection: The Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices

“In one of his most unique arrangements in the Court’s history, Brandeis enlisted Frankfurter, then a professor at Harvard Law School, as his paid political lobbyist and lieutenant. Working together over a period of 25 years, they placed a network of disciples in positions of influence, and labored diligently for the enactment of their desired programs. This adroit use of the politically skillful Frankfurter as intermediary enabled Brandeis to keep his considerable political endeavors hidden from the public.”
The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection, by Bruce Murphy, New York, Oxford UP, 1982, p. 10, 44

Murphy continued writing that Brandeis mentioned their arrangement to “another Zionist lieutenant — Court of Appeals Judge Julian Mack.” This book would earn Murphy the Certificate of Merit from the American Bar Association. Then and today, these types of activities and associations, intentionally hidden ones at that, would have been considered highly unethical for a Federal Justice. The fact that Brandeis and Frankfurter hid them is indication they knew they were unethical as well.

Because Theodor Herzl, Israel Scheib, Max Nordau, Louis Brandeis, and Felix Frankfurter realized over two decades, they would need a more extensive wider-web of key people in key positions to harness American support for an Israel state. But key U.S. federal offices and agencies were staunchly opposed to such obvious public efforts and very risky affairs abroad. As a result, they would have to go clandestine but efforts would have to appear upfront as humanitarian, as educational, and culturally uniting. Where best to begin their foreign interests in America? In the bosom of her most prestigious campuses: the Ivy League. Of course.

The Undisclosed ‘Other’ Menorah Society of Harvard

Professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem Dr. Sarah Schmidt first published an article in the American Jewish Historical Quarterly in 1978 reviewing the society saying “The image that emerges of the Parushim is that of a secret underground guerilla force determined to influence the course of events in a quiet, anonymous way.” Peter Grose, writer and former editor to the New York Times and ironically a Zionist sympathizer, also reported on a branch of the Menorah Society at Harvard in 1984 writing that Justice Brandeis was a leader in “an elitist secret society called the Parushim, the Hebrew word for ‘Pharisees’ and ‘separate,’ which grew out of Harvard’s Menorah Society.” Grose goes on to report that Brandeis used the Parushim  “as a private intellectual cadre, a pool of manpower for various assignments.

Julian_William_Mack_c1912

Associate Justice Julian Mack

During Woodrow Wilson’s Presidential campaign of 1912, Wilson was impressed by Brandeis’ abilities and accomplishments to make business moguls and government officials accountable to the public. They both shared very similar views on social and economic policies, and completely agreed that federal government should stay out of the national economy. This friendship would eventually foster Brandeis’ appointment by Wilson to the Supreme Court in 1916. Reluctantly, however, Brandeis had to withdraw from all his private clubs and associations, as was the ethical standards against conflicts of interest. Two years later when the multiple branches of the Federation of American Zionists reorganized, renamed as Zionist Organization of America, Brandeis was elected an honorary President and coincidentally(?) Harvard Law graduate Julian W. Mack elected as acting President. But privately Louis Brandeis did not abandon his ZOA lieutenants and friend Julian Mack.

“Through his lieutenants, [Brandeis] remained the power behind the throne.”
— Fallen Pillars: U.S. Policy towards Palestine and Israel since 1945, by Donald Neff, Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, 2002, p. 59-60

“At Brandeis’ behest, Frankfurter also became involved with American Zionism. In 1917 Frankfurter accompanied Ambassador Henry Morgenthau to Turkey and Egypt to see what could be done for the settlements in Palestine during the World War. Frankfurter also attended the peace conference in Paris as a representative of the American Zionist movement and as a liaison for Brandeis.”
Jazz Age Jews, by Michael Alexander, Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2001, p. 91

Sarajevo_Funeral

Funeral of Archduke Ferdinand & wife Sophie, Sarajevo, 1914

Despite the opposition by American Jewish anti-Zionist, the ZOA and American Zionist memberships grew dramatically during World War I. One particular anti-Zionist according to Jews Against Zionism by Thomas A. Kolskey (p. 25) wrote of the movement, it is “a foreign, un-American, racist, and separatist phenomenon.” When one today considers the 19th century seeds and roots of Zionism, i.e. Eastern Europe and specifically Vienna, Austria, they will find those seeds and roots in the heart of the Balkans conflict of 1912-13. When Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este was assassinated, World War I broke out. Zionism was born out of this deep historical Near Eastern-European crisis, losses, exiles and Diaspora, and the unwavering belief that Jerusalem and Palestine will forever be their homeland which continued through World War II and continues today.

On a sidenote correlating to my earlier Starbuck’s encounter above, Dr. Sarah Schmidt reviews the work of Timothy Weber, President of the Memphis Theological Seminary, regarding how the late 20th century friending of American evangelicals by the state of Zionist Israel, and continued today, was a natural eschatological fit for both. Since the end of WWI the two are synonymous with Fundamentalism. I highly recommend reading Schmidt’s short review:  Dangerous Friends – How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend. How the two want “God’s plan for mankind” to become fulfilled will or should horrify the world.

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World War I and the Balfour Declaration
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From the earliest stages of the Ottoman Empire’s decline, Zionist recognized that their weak global positioning required the backing of a superpower. They had tried to sequester the help of the Ottoman’s who controlled Palestine at the time, but by 1912 the Ottomans had only illusionary power over their distant provinces. They turned to the British. However, like the Ottomans the British were less than enthusiastic about their cause.

lord arthur balfour

Lord Arthur Balfour

In 1916 the war was going very poorly for the British. In one day alone in 1916 the British lost 57,470 soldiers in the Battle of the Somme. Now the Zionist had their leverage. Since pushing religious and idealist arguments upon the British Parliament hadn’t worked previously, pushing the power and influence of American Zionist to bring the United States into the war had much more punch. They promised the British they could bring the U.S. into the war on the side of the British under one condition:  give full support of a Jewish home in Palestine afterwards. Thus, in 1917 British Foreign Minister Lord Balfour wrote a letter to Zionist leader Baron L.W. Rothschild promising Great Britain would sympathize…

“…with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.”

Because 92% of all Palestinians were non-Jews in 1917, the U.S. State Department always saw the creation of a Jewish state there as nothing less than building a powder-keg and lighting the fuse. Zionist always had their counter-punch to any resistance to a state of Israel in Palestine as plain and simply ‘blatant anti-Semitism.’

Because Zionist sentiment was growing in America with powerful proponents as Brandeis, Mack, Nordau, and Schieb, along with growing ZOA memberships, the State Department considered alternative actions. One of these plans, though a long shot, was a separate U.S.-Ottoman peace. To explore this slim possibility the State Department sent an emissary, Ambassador Henry J. Morgenthau, to Turkey to discuss. However, Felix Frankfurter became part of the delegation and ultimately became a staunch opponent. He eventually persuaded Morgenthau to abandon all efforts for a separate non-British U.S.-Ottoman peace. All subsequent complaints of Zionist sabotage were answered as ‘blatant anti-Semitic rhetoric.

By war’s end, Jewish Zionist would have their necessary superpower support and begin the dismissal and removal of some 750,000+ Muslim and Christian Arabs.

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In the upcoming Part II of The Circus of Recycling, these four topics: the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the Modern Israeli Lobby & Harry S. Truman, the buckling of the U.N. General Assembly in 1947, and Zionist Militarism and the Conquest of Palestine… will be the next critical topics covered.

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41 thoughts on “The Circus of Recycling – Part I

  1. Bugger, I left a comment, but it’s disappeared.

    Fascinating article, professor.

    This is what Finkelstein has to say on Jerusalem.

    “There is no archaeological evidence for it. This is something unexampled in history. I don’t think there is any other place in the world where there was a city with such a wretched material infrastructure but which succeeded in creating such a sweeping movement in its favor as Jerusalem, which even in its time of greatness was a joke in comparison to the cities of Assyria, Babylon or Egypt. It was a typical mountain village. There is no magnificent finding, no gates of Nebuchadnezzar, no Assyrian reliefs, no Egyptian temples – nothing. Even the temple couldn’t compete with the temples of Egypt and their splendor.”

    Liked by 4 people

    • That is a great and revealing Finklestein quote John! Thank you!

      It is no surprise that he earned his PhD from Princeton University, one of the eight Ivy League schools. I also find it intriguing that in 2008, after much of his exceptional scholarly work was published, he was denied entry into Israel. A childish pouty sort of reaction, don’t you think? 😉

      Why do you think close microscopic scrutiny of any ideologies, any government behaviour or government-sanctioned behaviour, solicites a bully-ish pouty reaction? In the field of battle or simple verbal examinations and cross-examinations, showing discomfort, energized emotions, and rising testosterone, more often than not exposes weakness. Why Israel denied Finklestein entry is a good example of this reaction.

      Ahh, in the end I think, the human condition and its social nature is one of certain pathology and error, and should be endeavored to be refined THROUGH the mistakes and failures.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Really., he was denied entry? Peculiar, especially when you consider just over 50% of Israel is atheist. Doubly so when the majority of rabbis openly concede the Pentateuch is a work of 8/7th Century BCE geopolitical fiction. Could have been the work of a disgruntled zealot.

        Like

  2. A fantastically comprehensive overview, professor, and just like the learned Mr. Zande above, my immediate response was an unreserved ‘bugger!’ Why? History was never my thing, and I tend to go a little bleary-eyed with it; so having ploughed loyally through all of the above, I daresay I retained little more than 15% of the whole. [My oldest friend is an Historian, and can fully attest to this failing on my part, given the numerous occasions I have fallen asleep during his many oral disquisitions.] In short, I need pictures, moving ones, ideally.

    That said, I grasped much of your exposition, if not in memory, then at least within the moment, and was subsequently reminded somewhat of Adam Lake’s tremendous documentary on Western interference in The Middle East. Have you seen it?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02gyz6b

    Liked by 4 people

    • (laughing with my friend Hariod’s rawness!)

      You entertained me with that considered comment, sir. 😉 Nonetheless, I am fully aware that extensive and researched detail — from more than one or two points-of-view — require (demand?) fair presentation, which in turn makes for lengthy writing/reading or lectures. That’s for the happy academics and OCD readers of history. Thank you my friend for your effort. I’m gracious you ploughed through it even if half-comotose. 😛

      I have NOT seen that documentary. Thank you for the suggestion. I will indeed watch it fully, perhaps 2-3 times for deep intestinal digestion! ❤

      Liked by 3 people

        • That clip offers more excellent details into the purpose (morality?) of repeated foreign occupation/interventions into nations/regions, like Afghanistan, 20th century Tibet, the 18th and 19th century American frontier, 11th or 20th century Palestine, or any number of countries and peoples non-stop throughout history and continuing to the present day. Thank you Roughseas.

          And how well is this habitual behaviour known by the occupiers/invaders? In current curriculum standards for Texas high-school students, the world history taught is very Western-slanted…

          “The average high school world history course and textbook — aside from AP is still 67% Western, which means that other societies and larger, global forces receive both inadequate and inconsistent treatment. The world is still seen in terms of Western preponderance and initiative, and occasionally significant response elsewhere. Distortions are particularly great in the modern era. The state of California, for example, offers an imaginative world history program in the early grades, running up to 1500, at which point it abruptly turns on its heels and becomes elaborately and rather conventionally Western. And there is always Texas: a state with world history requirements on paper, but where conservative assessments of textbooks, among other things eager to slam religions other than Christianity, can constrain presentations for the whole country because of the power of this particular state adoption process for texts.”
          —- APCentral.CollegeBoard.com “World History: Curriculum and Controversy” 2006

          In 2015 here in Texas, Social Studies/History standards got even worse when the T.B.O.E. approved erroneous textbooks and slanted curriculums for the fall 2016-17 school year which received scathing state, national and worldwide criticism. Is it any wonder that many Americans, especially Texans, are completely oblivious to the real and FULL history of Palestine? Can they factually discuss or debate the 11th century CE events this 2005 film portrays?

          Texans most likely cannot. 😦

          Thanks again Roughseas. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

    • Watched the entire documentary Hariod, twice. Have many many thoughts. It is a very well done broad-lens investigative documentary — a genre which I regard highly — that I will keep in “Favorites” for sure, for later reference(s). Thank you so much for suggesting it. 🙂

      One specific topic the narrator & film covered I thought was particularly poignant was that of the GROSS oversimplification by all people’s, all leaders, all nations involved in Afghanistan’s troubles since the early 1920’s — and in honesty, since WELL BEFORE the early 20th century — was indeed that gross oversimplification of “Good versus Evil”! In a word, morality. Geez, talk about indiscretion-gone-hog-wild and given Cart Blanche by “moral oversimplification”. Wow, the entire scope of the 2-hour 17-minute documentary certainly revealed that folly. A great production! However, I would of course say the Westernized and the Near/Middle Easternized “good vs. evil” grossly oversimpllified into a “downward spiral” for all, started long, long, LONG before the 1950’s.

      The analogy/comparison with the 1972 Russian film (and if you’d like the 2002 American version) called Solaris was an utterly profound plug! Damn good job on that one and how history just keeps repeating itself, and repeating, and repeating, and repeating ad infinitum as long as osterich heads keep going into the same ancient antiquated ideological sands…

      …”Sands” that began around 2400 BCE, then repackaged around 900 BCE, repackaged again around 200 BCE, repackaged again in 325 CE, repackaged again in the 600’s CE, and since then repackaged exponentially into more than 4,000 packages and sub-packages! Hariod, that’s 4,000+ osterich heads buried in the sands!!! 😮 (chuckling)

      So…did you have any thoughts about it you’d like to share here? I would love to hear/read them Sir. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        • Just finished that first 40-minute segment. It was probably well over a year ago I first watched this, and it has me captivated again. You see, I do need the pictures, and some fantastic music helps too.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Well, there are two more parts sir, of about 39-40-mins each… so you’re one-third of the way there to MORE good pictures and great music to help you along! Besides, it is well worth a second view because of how WELL the documentary speaks to oversimplification of “Good vs. Evil” and how EVERYBODY has the right answer. Yet, Afghanistan is STILL exactly where it was in the 1920’s.

          So… when you finish, let me know your further thoughts! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • I remember remarking to myself first time ’round about the degree to which Western powers had been played in Afghanistan, and how naively we British fell into being used in local power struggles in that country, unwittingly doing the bidding of various warring tribal factions. I’m not a great one for reducing and settling things to first causes, which I suppose as an historian one has to do in order to arrive at the supposed ‘lessons’ of history.

          For myself, first causes come down to fundamental human psychological attributes such as cupidity and aversion, which we are all subject to in some degree. Still, how the same mistakes kept being made in Afghanistan by intervening nations does demonstrate a remarkable failure to learn from the past – even to learn vicariously by say, the failed Western interventions in French Indo China/Vietnam. Now we have more contemporary examples of course, with Iraq and Libya. Anyway, I shall take up the remainder of the documentary again later, professor, and well done for finding it on Vimeo.

          Liked by 1 person

        • For myself, first causes come down to fundamental human psychological attributes such as cupidity and aversion, which we are all subject to in some degree. Still, how the same mistakes kept being made in Afghanistan by intervening nations does demonstrate a remarkable failure to learn from the past – even to learn vicariously by say, the failed Western interventions in French Indo China/Vietnam.

          Very true Hariod. Cupidity/aversion I relate to a sandbox for say 3 boys with one plastic shovel and one bucket, or a small playground with only say 3 swings, but there are 7 boys. Playtime is strictly 30-minutes until dinner and washing up, right? With such ‘limited resources’ with which to play… what sort of behaviour will the sandbox boys or the swing-set boys typically exhibit? Why? And when is adult intervention appropriate? And IF adult intervention is used, what are those intervention’s mechanisms based upon?

          To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.
          — Marcus Tullius Cicero

          Is a toddler or child genetically-prenatally programmed to know or use one or any specific mechanisms when in a sandbox or playground with other children? Where do those mechanisms come from? And so, what does that say about parents, about grandparents, about family and community? This is why back in my Untapped Worlds series I was so intrigued by “the meeting of” or the intersection of A.S. Neill and E.O. Wilson and their works! Apologies, but my two introductory quotes to them deserve repeating here… 🙂

          The prude is in fact the libertine,
          without the courage to face their naked soul.

          —- A. S. Neill

          Exclusion makes us suffer. Inclusion makes us thrive.
          —- E. O. Wilson

          Anyway, many thanks Hariod for suggesting that documentary and of course for your thoughts and feedback! It is ALWAYS significant and welcomed. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

    – Oh that is a wonderful quote, and one I’ve not heard before so thank you for that Professor, and for the time and effort put into all of the above, some of which I was aware, some of which was brand new to me. There’s a lot going on up there isn’t there sir! *raps on his skull with her knuckles smiling*. Interesting stuff all round, and I read the lot.

    – Esme upon the Cloud

    Liked by 5 people

    • Mmmm, thank you my dear Lady! I’m not a fan of oversimplification, obviously, so I do the legwork, grunt-work, and dig, dig, dig… on all points-of-view, and it is tedious and exhausting sometimes, BUT… in the end, it’s always worth it. I’m glad you enjoy my efforts and say so! Thank you Darling! ❤

      And yes, there's all sorts of "stuff" up in this strange head. 😈

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Only in America could the question ‘So, what are you doing for Easter?’ be even remotely linked to religion 😉 Over here, the replies would be along the lines of family gatherings or extended drinking parties. Even my devout friends don’t feel the need to mention the church services they may or may not be attending – no one over here really cares at all. I found the article on the ‘strange’ ending of Mark very interesting and shall be forwarding to a Christian friend I regularly banter with over such things. I shall be interested to see his response. I love your blog so much. You are great.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Only in America could the question ‘So, what are you doing for Easter?’ be even remotely linked to religion😉

      Yes, I am quite aware (embarrassed?) of how… oh, what’s the word I’m fumbling for(?)… BOLD with a touch of naive arrogance, with which we Yanks move our mouths! The attitude deserves every bit of wonderful parody and comedy from more progessive cultures! 😉

      Thank you so much Lucy for your very kind words. ❤ And again, I know how busy you are over there and truly appreciate you taking the time to hop over, read — yes, my often pedantic epic anthologies — and then to be so wonderful to comment and share your thoughts. (graciously bows with hand on heart) 🙂

      Regarding your Xian friend and the fascinating topics I’m sure you both have… PLEASE let me know if I may be of assistance!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh I am very used to you darling Americans and I respect the oddities and quirks of the culture 😉 It is certainly an interest to *try* to understand the beliefs of others and Christians (especially conservative or creationist) are my very favourites.
        It is always a pleasure to stop by, it does my brain good to be bent in a different direction for a change 🙂
        Oh you would be very helpful – his knowledge of scripture boarders on the psychotic whilst mine is sketchy at best. He wouldn’t mind me saying this, by the way – he is rightly proud of his convictions and we enjoy our quibbles so very much 😀

        Liked by 2 people

        • Oh I am very used to you darling Americans and I respect the oddities and quirks of the culture😉 It is certainly an interest to *try* to understand the beliefs of others and Christians (especially conservative or creationist) are my very favourites.

          I find they remind me of playtime with my kids (now grown) or story-time, like Peter Pan or Monty Pythons Flying Circus! 😀 I do enjoy stories of boggling imagination, truly!

          Oh you would be very helpful – his knowledge of scripture boarders on the psychotic whilst mine is sketchy at best. He wouldn’t mind me saying this, by the way – he is rightly proud of his convictions and we enjoy our quibbles so very much.😀

          Perhaps some day the 3 of us could sit for afternoon tea as long as you had two flasks tucked nearby. 😉 (laughing) But I’ll have you know my Darling Lucy, theology, scriptural exegesis, mythology, fairy-tales and such, are NOT my only areas of expertise. As the green Ogre Shrek of Dreamworks fame has described… “I am like a delicate onion with many layers. You just need know HOW to peel them.” (massive green smile!) I can be a teddy bear too. 😉

          Liked by 2 people

        • That would be quite a thing for the three of us to convene for a nice chat – hip flasks might be an essential, certainly!
          The more layers the better, I say. It makes things so much more interesting 😉

          Liked by 2 people

    • Living in the bible-belt allows us to be face to face with the devout, blind, ignorant, religious zealots always at the ready to tell the rest of us how badly we are living and will bless our souls since we are obviously going to hell. It’s a good thing I don’t believe in that fairy tale.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You as much as anyone understands Texas and the Bible-belt, Lonestar. Question for you…

        Do you remember Texas being SO RADICAL back in the ’80s and ’90s and now especially so since Ann Richards left office? Granted you and I were younger, perhaps having fun, babies, and furthering our expensive educations… but F*CKING FLICKERING STARS and the GALAXIES THAT HOLD ‘EM, it wasn’t THIS bad! Right?

        And if all that Jebus hooplah here wasn’t enough, about 90% or more “born-againers” I speak with in any significant depth & time, don’t hardly know at all the earliest historical roots and 2nd – 3rd century CE events which influenced the VERY tenets and infrastructure of their faith! Zilch! Nada! Yet, they blindly follow the masses. 😮

        Hell? (laughs in near hysteria)… from what the current science is showing, “hell” or the Afterlife is NOTHING like we’ve been mythically taught. If anything, the compiling data & research are showing death is merely a transition into another dimension of existence. It is CERTAINLY nothing to fear! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Professor, until you just posed the question, I never really thought of it. Nevertheless, you are spot on! When you and I grew up together, it was not like this. Now a-days I have teen wannabe preachers ready to condemn those not walking in their chosen path – us “sinners”.

          I recently attended a “fantasy/sci-fi/fetish/steam-punk” ball at a really cool place in Ybor City. Would you believe there were 20-somethings out in the streets, thumping their bibles, using their bullhorns, in an attempt to convert us all and save our souls from going to hell? No way, no waaaaaayy in the late 70s and 80s would you have seen anything like that. I blame that stupid song “Jesus, take the wheel.” LOL.. . just kidding… it is indeed a quagmire we must deal with in today’s frenzied world. This whole situation reminds of a meme I recently saw, which is so apropos: “There’s a gang in my area who recruit new members by threatening them with all kinds of punishments if they don’t join…. but enough about the church.” Muahaha!!!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Hahaha. I love that meme! Seriously, it is sadly quite true. That’s exactly the reason I wrote my earlier blog-post “Religious Asylum” — like my ancestors throughout the 16 and 1700’s who escaped the Roman Catholic Church “Police”, escaped the 1655 Piedmont Easter Massacre, were refugees in Prussia taken in by Princess von Holzapfel-Schaumburg, then immigrated to Texas in 1845 to escape further religious oppression, persecution, and “cleansing”… and now I wonder if we/I will soon have to flee again seeking religious asylum somewhere else!? 😮

          Has broader history taught us nothing at all?

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Impressive research and information for this post! Very interesting and informative! 😎❤️
    I am still cracking up at the Richardson patriots reference lol…*sigh* no wonder you and I coming out of Texas feel so confused about life when we finally see the light and reality that “God’s favor” is no more than an excuse to be privileged and do stupid shit like protest other nonsense radical religions lol. Ugh- sorry- I am at an angry point in my spiritual journey so I am not holding that back here 😉😄🙈 I’m still on this journey but glad people like you and other bloggers I have and am encountering are keeping me grounded and real lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you ANGTB and for your comment.

      Angry, that is… temporary anger, is fine and understandable given your circumstances/background. Now… about that part on ‘keeping you grounded’. Hmmm, that is an interesting take on “us”. LOL 😛

      I should warn you… I have a strong inclination for the sophisticated hedonistic Bohemian lifestyle, so that “grounding” part I cannot be held responsible for!!! 😈

      Fyi Darling. (maniacal laugh)

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL hey whatever floats your boat. I don’t judge or hate! I have some bohemian but even without religion in my background or in my life- I am still fairly grounded and a hermit crab and do not venture out of my shell often lol. Mostly because I overthink situations and somehow think myself out of doing anything LOL!
        I’m pretty boring unless forced to be not boring and usually alcohol is quite persuasive in those rare circumstances where I venture out 🤔😂 college was the rare time in my life when I acted on my impulses and some of the things I did I am not sure how I survived lol…

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear professor, fantastically written and I love your humor, ah yes I can relate to why you said pagan festival but he still didn’t understand.

    Heading for part 2.

    Thank you professor I love the way you write, eager to read further.

    Liked by 1 person

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