Authors: Alan Gold
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Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.
The opposite of the religious fanatic isn't the fanatical atheist, but the gentle cynic who doesn't care whether or not there is a god.
OFFER, MORAL PHILOSOPHER
A TIMELINE OF THE EVENTS IN JERUSALEM
1000â970 BCE: King David rules over a united Israel.
970â931 BCE: King Solomon rules. During this time the First Temple is built in Jerusalem.
922 BCE: Under the rule of Solomon's son, King Rehoboam, ten northern tribes of Israel secede from the two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
722 BCE: King Sargon II of Assyria conquers the northern kingdom and exiles inhabitants.
586 BCE: King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia conquers the southern kingdom of Judah, destroys Solomon's Temple, and exiles thousands of Jews to Babylon.
538 BCE: King Cyrus of Persia conquers the Babylonian empire and allows Jews to go back to Israel.
516 BCE: The Second Temple is built on the site of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.
332 BCE: Alexander the Great conquers the Persian Empire. Israel is now under Greek domination; early synagogues spread throughout the Greek world.
167 BCE: The Maccabees, the Jewish rebel army, rise up against the Syrian Greek overlords to rid the Second Temple of idols.
73â4 BCE: The life of King Herod the Great. During his reign, he invites the Roman Empire to
make Israel a client nation and rebuilds the Second Temple to be one of the major structures of the ancient world.
6 CE: Because of unrest in Israel, Rome annexes Judea.
66 CE: The beginning of the first great Jewish revolt against Rome, put down by General (later Emperor) Vespasian and his son, Titus.
70 CE: The Romans destroy Jerusalem and the Second Temple.
132â135 CE: The Jewish leader Simon bar Kokhba leads a second Jewish revolt. Emperor Hadrian crushes the rebellion. Jews are expelled from Jerusalem, but many remain in the rest of the land.
American National Broadcast Network
Iran Holocaust Conference: Global Jewish Community Outrage
“Affront to Memory of Martyrs” says US President
NOTE: Opinion columns do not reflect the opinions of ANBN.
From ANBN Correspondent Ivan Grossman
0950 Atlantic Standard Time, Thursday, December 14, 2006
TEHRAN, IRAN â (Transcription from filed report)
Even by the Messianic standards of the ultra-religious Hassidic Jewish sect, Neturei Karta, this was a step into the unknown. In the past they'd formed strange bedfellows with anti-Semitic protesters at the UN Conference in Durban, South Africa; protested against Ehud Olmert's visit to the White House; and denied Israel's right to exist. Yet being honored guests of the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, displayed an unprecedented step for the radical Jewish group.
Ahmadinejad had invited representatives of Neturei Karta, along with Ku Klux Klan leaders, white supremacists and anti-Semitic revisionist historians, to examine whether the Holocaust â perhaps the most documented and researched event in history â had actually happened.
Gathered in Tehran over the past two days, these 67 marginalized and peripheral representatives from 30 countries earnestly asked each other whether the Holocaust, which killed six million Jews, along with countless Slavs, Communists, handicapped and the mentally ill, had actually taken place.
To prove their case, discussion explored the half-life of Zyklon B, the poisonous chemical used in the Nazi gas chambers; the fact that no chimneys had been found, hence no gas chambers; and proposed that the concentration camps
had been respite places for overcrowded Jews from the ghettos.
Holocaust denial conferences have been organized for many years by discredited historians, and anti-Semites masquerading as bona fide researchers, but the presence of ultra-Orthodox rabbis from Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States shaking hands with Ahmadinejad represented a new and quite bizarre level.
The leader of Neturei Karta from Jerusalem, Rabbi Shmuel Telushkin, told the conference on its opening day, “The Orthodox Jewish community views the Holocaust as significant, but it was a punishment from God for the creation of Zionism, the political philosophy to create Israel before the arrival of the Messiah; it is God's punishment for the arrogance and secularism of the Jews who have wandered off the path of Orthodoxy and Judaism, and who fail to put into practice the dictates of the Torah. Yet these very same Jews are using the Holocaust to legitimize the criminality and actions of Zionism.”
Rabbi Telushkin's remarks were greeted with loud applause.
President Ahmadinejad has been a major accuser of Israel in its treatment of the Palestinians, and his policy positions have been given strange new legitimacy by the appearance beside him of the Neturei Karta. The front pages of Tehran's newspapers have been quick to carry the pictures of the rabbis standing side by side with the Iranian leader. In his state-controlled media, Ahmadinejad calls the Holocaust a myth created by Zionists as a propaganda tool to raise money and dominate the Middle East. He speaks of a glorious future for Arabia and Iran in which Israel ceases to exist. The implications for Iran's estimated 20,000 Jews, whose lives are already fraught, are unknown.
Hard as it is for the outside world â and a vast majority of Jews â to understand the rationale of Neturei Karta wanting the destruction of Israel, the sect believes that it is a sin before God for the secular Zionists to have created a Jewish state. The Torah says that God will create the state and Jews will live in exile by divine decree until the circumstances are right for the Messiah to return. And those circumstances? Upheaval, wars between nations, genocide and what they dub “the end times.” The creation of Israel, they believe, has caused massive pain for Jews, and so the Holocaust itself was God's displeasure with the Zionists.
Shmuel Telushkin wore a Palestinian flag in his lapel and believes that his presence was intended to shake the Jewish community out of its complacency.
Ivan Grossman in Tehran, reporting for ANBN, the American National Broadcast Network
LITTING THE MAN'S THROAT
wasn't the problem. Bilal waited, watching the Jew enemy shift position in his chair, and fought to overcome his rising panic by remembering the lessons he'd been taught. One hand over the man's mouth to stop him screaming as the knife in the other hand sliced through the soft tissue of the throat and all the blood vessels. Keep the hand tightly over his mouth for at least a minute for the lifeblood to drain away. He'd practiced the movement in his bedroom until he was fluid as a dancer.
Bilal crouched and held his breath as the Jew, remembering his duty, stood, scratched himself, walked around his position glancing left and right, up and down, made certain that everything was in order, and then sat again. Bilal saw the man looking directly upward to the white walls of the ancient city of Jerusalem and the golden mosque beyondâbut what was he thinking? And did it matter?
The panorama in front of Bilal made his heart beat in excitement.
The massive walls of the Old City that surrounded the Temple of Solomon gleamed white in the glow of the arc lights. The moon was a thin crescent over the distant mountain ridge. In his rising panic, he tried to calm himself by remembering what his imam had taught him. That the great sultan Suleiman the Magnificent had built those walls and Bilal even remembered the date: about 1538. It was impossibly long ago. Bilal couldn't even understand how long. But it all seemed so grand and old.
Above the walls was the gray-blue dome of the third holiest site in Islam, the al-Aqsa Mosque. And beyond that, the gleaming golden cupola of the Masjid Qubbat As-Sakhrah, the Dome of the Rock, both mosques the symbol of Islam's ancient claim to the city of Jerusalem. Bilal found himself imagining pictures from the stories he'd been told since a child, of Mohammed tethering his wondrous horse al-Buraq, with its head of a woman, wings of an eagle, tail of a peacock, and hoofs reaching to the horizon, before ascending on his journey to heaven.
“Peace and blessings be upon him,” Bilal murmured under his breath as a reverential reflex to using Mohammed's name. But Bilal's mission wasn't to pray. He prayed every Friday in his own mosque and lately, urged on by his imam so that he could familiarize himself with the terrain, he prayed in the al-Aqsa. No, today his mission was to begin taking back Jerusalem; to take revenge on the Jews who had dispossessed his family, destroyed his homeland, made his people into paupers, imprisoned his brother as a terrorist, and cast him as a refugee.
Jerusalem's night air was cold, but he felt comfort and warmth when he remembered being in the mosque of Bayt al Gizah, his village just across the valley, sitting at the feet of the imam a month ago, along with twenty other young men from his village. The imam sat cross-legged on a cushion, surrounded by Bilal and his friends on the carpet. His imam was smiling and talking with such ease and confidence about the splendors they would each
experience in the afterlife; but then his face and voice became severe as he spoke of the way in which their people, the Palestinian people, were daily abused and murdered, tortured and brutalized, by the Jews. He asked each youth on his way home that night to glance over the valley toward the city of Jerusalem; to look at the glory of the mosques, one gold and the other silver, their subtlety and quiet beauty, and then to look at the gaudy, tawdry, and immoral modern city the infidels had built. One day it would be gone.