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Who’s telling you the truth about Israel?

On November 4, Isabel Kershner had a long story in the New York Times titled, “Who’d Import Pigs to Israel? Ancient Europeans, Researchers Say.” Excerpts:

Israel may not be the most obvious place to study pigs, given that religious strictures in both Judaism and Islam forbid their consumption.

But Israeli researchers involved in a lengthy project whose goal is to reconstruct ancient Israel have now established that the pigs here are of European stock, unlike their Middle Eastern counterparts elsewhere in the region, and that they probably arrived with the non-kosher Philistines about 3,000 years ago…

Understanding human and animal movement is crucial to that process, said Israel Finkelstein, a professor at Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology, who directs the project. “We archaeologists know that pigs and pork consumption are two very good markers of ethnicity and identity,” he said, given the pig taboo in ancient Israel….

“Here, there’s an island of pigs with European ancestry,” said Steve Weiner, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, who is a partner in the project, which is funded by a grant from the European Research Council. “We don’t know if Napoleon brought pigs, or the Crusaders, or if they all did.”

“Archaeologists,” he concluded, “take pigs very seriously.”

The same day, November 4, Juan Cole had a piece up on his site about all Israel’s human rights violations that week. Some excerpts:

Israel just issued tenders for over 1,700 new homes for Israelis on the Palestinian West Bank. The plan will involve demolishing Palestinian residences. This, at a time when Israel and the Palestinians are supposedly engaged in good faith negotiations that might end in a Palestinian state. At this rate, where would you even put one? (Another 3,000 such Israeli squatter homes are planned).

Israel is planning to dig for oil in the Occupied West Bank, in violation of the Oslo Accords and of the laws governing military occupations. Israel is likewise preventing Palestinians in Gaza from developing their offshore natural gas resources.

The government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is planning to build a ‘security wall’ along the border of Palestine with Jordan. This infrastructure is designed to secure Israel’s security presence along the Jordanian border, where it has no business being, far into the future, yet again detracting from Palestinian sovereignty.

Israel this week destroyed two “residential buildings in Beit Hanina village and 2 rooms in Jabal al-Mukaber neighbourhood” in East Jerusalem, leaving 33 Palestinian civilians homeless” , adding more displaced to the some 400 who have lost their homes in Palestinian Jerusalem in 2013 alone.

Israeli squatters on the Palestinian West Bank in Migdalim just sent bulldozers to the Palestinian village of Qusra, in order to annex more land to the Israeli squatter settlement.

Militant Israeli squatters uprooted and burned 121 olive and almond trees in Nablus and Bethlehem.

Who’s telling the real story, Juan Cole or Isabel Kershner?

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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29 Responses

  1. Krauss
    Krauss
    November 8, 2013, 1:20 pm

    Ah, but you see, both of them are!

    It’s just that the Gray Lady selectively tells the story. You can’t say she is lying. It’s just that she withholds a lot of information. The favourite method of bias of the New York Times. Their slogan does say it all, really.

    I’m sure some say not telling everything is a form of lie, but in technical terms, does what she says constitute a lie? Not really.
    But if you think about it, what does it say that Kershner and people like her don’t even bother with hasbara-masquerading-as-news to the same extent which was much more likely 10 years ago? They know they can’t win anymore. So they just avoid.

  2. Pamela Olson
    Pamela Olson
    November 8, 2013, 1:25 pm

    Please don’t insult pigs. They are cute and intelligent and don’t bulldoze anyone’s home.

    • November 8, 2013, 3:30 pm

      very intellegent, by the way , and have also suffered from discrimination. hey, is there a pun here or what? you know, pigs? israel?
      israel finkelstein is the top biblical archaeologist in the world who’s courageously taken a lot of heat himself for saying there’s no forensic archaeological evidence of this jewish mythical kingdom of david. when he says something believe it!

    • piotr
      piotr
      November 8, 2013, 7:40 pm

      We are not taking about cute pudgy pinkish animals but about quite hirsute muscular brutes that were feral more often than not and which could demolish garden or a cultivated field with gusto.

      But really, “here we have an island of pigs of European ancestry …” — quite funny. Perhaps too funny.

      • Mondowise
        Mondowise
        November 8, 2013, 11:08 pm

        “We are not taking about cute pudgy pinkish animals but about quite hirsute muscular brutes”

        LOL!!! now THAT is funny!!! oh wait, oops…you’re referring to certain 4-legged swine, i thought you were talking about a particular group of homo sapiens, you know, the ones who steal land, bulldoze homes, violate human rights and commit crimes against humanity daily….sorry, my bad. but anyway, you might as well have been, i see no diff…

  3. libra
    libra
    November 8, 2013, 1:36 pm

    Oh dear, Taxi will want these porcine colonists deported back to Europe forthwith.

    • Taxi
      Taxi
      November 8, 2013, 9:04 pm

      Actually, I’d rather the pigs stay and the zionists leave.

  4. Cliff
    Cliff
    November 8, 2013, 2:54 pm

    Isabel Kershner.

    Zionist Jew.

    Married to an Israeli Zionist Jew.

    Probably has children – maybe in IDF?

    The NYT is occupied by Zionism.

  5. Marco
    Marco
    November 8, 2013, 3:20 pm

    It’s amusing, but I think Philip is right to highlight stories like this.

    It seems innocuous – a science story about pig genetics in Israel.

    But if you read the Times long enough, you’ll notice a recurring pattern of such cute, apolitical articles on Israel and Israelis.

    In my opinion, there is an agenda here, which is to normalize Israel in their readers minds.

  6. libra
    libra
    November 8, 2013, 5:33 pm

    “Here, there’s an island of pigs with European ancestry,” said Steve Weiner, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, who is a partner in the project, which is funded by a grant from the European Research Council. “We don’t know if Napoleon brought pigs, or the Crusaders, or if they all did.”

    Notice how Weiner ignores the evidence that the pigs arrived around 900BC, putting the Philistine presence on an equal footing with the ancient Israelis, and a much longer contiguous presence than modern Jewish Israelis.

    Weiner begs the question, is there an honest professor at the Weizmann Institute? Or are they all hasbarists like our very own physics professor?

  7. lysias
    lysias
    November 8, 2013, 5:43 pm

    Did the Canaanites eat pork? According to Wikipedia, there is evidence that the ancient Syrians and Phoenicians did not eat pork, so I suppose it is likely that the Canaanites — the ancestors of both Phoenicians and Hebrews — did not eat it either.

    At least one article argues that the taboo arose in the upper class in Egypt (where lower-class Egyptians did not observe the taboo), and was spread to the Hebrews by the upper-class Egyptian Moses.

    • piotr
      piotr
      November 8, 2013, 7:48 pm

      Philistines (coastal settlements of Cana’an) exhibit a number of European traits, most notably pottery adorned with patterns from Aegean region, including non-kosher marine animals. If I had to guess, these pork-lovers (or lovers of the meat of wild boars) exterminated local pigs through hunting and rebuilt the pig/boar population by bringing animals from Greece.

  8. Mondowise
    Mondowise
    November 8, 2013, 11:48 pm

    contemplate this: there’s not one single species on the entire face of this planet…nor in its history…that harms its own kind [or its environment] to the degree and/or frequency that humans do to their own kind [and environment]…not one! the incidents of conspecific murder throughout the non-human animal kingdom are comparatively extremely rare.

    the implications of this are very profound and far-reaching. humans are extraordinarily cruel and destructive whereas animals (e.g. pigs) maintain harmony and the only peaceable kingdom on earth. even an amoeba has the ‘wisdom’ (whether consciously or not isn’t the point) to morph away from harmful stimuli and move towards that which does no harm. this pretty much relegates humans to far lower than ‘animals’, more like scum of the earth as a species. how utterly sad the majority of our species remain this way. hats off to the pigs, they don’t behave this way!

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      November 10, 2013, 8:32 am

      Animals that eat their own kind are considered cannibals. There are more than 1500 species that have been recorded doing this, a few are; spiders, praying mantis, scorpions, chimpanzees, pigs, cats and fish.

    • eljay
      eljay
      November 10, 2013, 9:26 am

      >> this pretty much relegates humans to far lower than ‘animals’, more like scum of the earth as a species. how utterly sad the majority of our species remain this way.

      Yup, the human race is a sad lot. Watching Zio-supremacists strenuously insist – day after day – that they have a gawd-given right to steal, occupy, colonize, terrorize, ethnically cleanse, destroy, torture and kill simply affirms that fact.

  9. RoHa
    RoHa
    November 9, 2013, 1:29 am

    “the pigs here are of European stock, unlike their Middle Eastern counterparts elsewhere in the region,…Here, there’s an island of pigs with European ancestry,”

    Am I the only one who sees the pigs as a symbol for something else?

    • Shmuel
      Shmuel
      November 9, 2013, 3:09 am

      Am I the only one who sees the pigs as a symbol for something else?

      Sometimes, a pig is just a pig ;-)

      • Walid
        Walid
        November 9, 2013, 4:56 am

        “Sometimes, a pig is just a pig”

        There are some (extreme)times when a pig could be designated kosher, n’est-ce pas? Pikuach Nefesh and all that jazz. Maybe this came into play at Taxi’s Masada.

        Lat week I saw a report on TV about refugees exiting a neighbourhood of Aleppo; seems they were under siege for nine months by the rebels with no food and they survived by eating cats and dogs following the local edict of fatwa by a Muslim cleric permitting them to eat such foods. Isn’t religion wonderful; every rule can be easily overridden by another..

      • just
        just
        November 9, 2013, 6:10 am

        It’s survival, Walid. It’s not religion.

      • eljay
        eljay
        November 9, 2013, 8:49 am

        >> It’s survival, Walid. It’s not religion.

        Survival shouldn’t require permission from a religious authority.

      • Walid
        Walid
        November 9, 2013, 9:08 am

        just and eljay, it wasn’t the survival aspect I was knocking. It was the flexibility of religion when convenient, especially those frequent and opportune fatwas since the uprising started in Syria.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        November 10, 2013, 8:36 am

        Are Hindus allowed by their religion to eat beef to survive?

      • jon s
        jon s
        November 10, 2013, 9:58 am

        There’s a midrash according to which the pig is called “Hazir” because in the messianic future the Almighty will “return ” it to the people of Israel and allow it. (the root h-z-r, denoting “return”).
        למה נקרא שמו חזיר שעתיד הקב”ה להחזירו לישראל

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 10, 2013, 6:12 pm

        Walid, as I understand it, the Islamic position has always been that dietary laws, regulations concerning prayer times, washing before prayers, etc., only hold in normal circumstances, and have always been subject to modification under the pressure of necessity. The “ensure survival” rule is always the overriding rule. Seems a sensible arrangement to me.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        November 10, 2013, 8:47 am

        A pig is just a pig, but it’s one of the smarter animals and, very contrary to popular opinion, always strives to be clean. Dolphins are apparently the smartest non human on earth: http://forums.sherdog.com/forums/f48/top-15-worlds-most-intelligent-animals-new-2416327/

        I often wonder whether clever humans are smart, don’t you? How about Sheldon Adelson, for example? Unbookish clever folks with dire lack of intellectual abstraction tools seem more than often to win in a tug of war for practical rewards, don’t they? Or is that just the force of money and/or political culture they know just enough to take full advantage of?

  10. Obsidian
    Obsidian
    November 9, 2013, 7:53 am

    You people are all nuts.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      November 9, 2013, 8:15 am

      Sorry, Obsidian. If Zionism was right you wouldn’t need hasbara. You wouldn’t need lies, career assassination, torture or mass murder.

      • just
        just
        November 9, 2013, 8:32 am

        nor assassinations of Iranian scientists or Palestinian leaders.

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