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Neither prayer nor propaganda nor the paper of record will ever convince the world of the Jewish right to control al Aqsa plaza

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As was reported here on October 11, the Rick Gladstone article, “Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem’s Holiest Place,” which appeared in the New York Times on October 8 engendered a firestorm of criticism from Jewish pro-Israel writers on Twitter and what can only be described as a hit piece by Tablet writer, Liel Leibovitz. The Times subsequently issued a correction and edited the piece, apparently to placate its Jewish critics.

In addition to the Leibovitz piece, four other vituperative and frantic responses have been published in the Jewish press, including a second piece in Tablet by Ari Lamm, which found an initial “correction” and editing of the Gladstone article insufficient. (Also see 1, 2, 3)  These over-the-top reactions portrayed Gladstone as stupid, ignorant and antisemitic.  The veracity of the author was compared to that of a Holocaust denier and a 911 truther.  These gratuitous insults and hyperbole are reminiscent of the reaction to the publication of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, which like the Times story, was perceived as threatening Israeli and Jewish justifications for the Zionist political agenda and occupation.

As we stated here:

… Why [would] the NYT raise a question, presumably based on reporting, and then withdraw it under pressure from Zionists who hector you as a “truther?” And if it was really wrong, why not take down the whole article?

A day after publication, the newspaper issued the following correction ludicrously claiming that Gladstone misstated what was the central point of the article:

An earlier version of this article misstated the question that many books and scholarly treatises have never definitively answered concerning the two ancient Jewish temples. The question is where precisely on the 37-acre Temple Mount site the temples had once stood, not whether the temples had ever existed there.

On October 13, the Times replaced the correction with the following lengthy editors’ note which now explicitly states that the paper never intended to challenge Israeli claims to sovereignty over Jerusalem or the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, despite what appeared in the article and what was implied by the title. Interestingly, the paper never chose to edit the title nor place a notice of either correction (subscribers only) in the print edition (at least as of this writing).

An article on Thursday, with the headline “Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem’s Holiest Place,” examined the scholarly debate about two ancient Jewish temples on the Temple Mount, a site sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians. While the article laid out the history of the Jewish temples and the archaeological and historical evidence about them, the headline and a passage in the initial version of the article implied incorrectly that questions among scholars about the location of the temples potentially affected Jewish claims to the site and Israel’s broader assertion of sovereignty over Jerusalem. In fact, as the article was later corrected to clarify, the scholarly debate is a narrower one, focused on the precise location on the Temple Mount where the long destroyed temples once stood. All versions of the article should have made clear that the archaeological and historical uncertainties about the site — unlike assertions by some Palestinians that the temples never existed — do not directly challenge Jewish claims to the Temple Mount.

The reason for the seemingly excessive Jewish criticism and the Times’ obsessive altering of the article is that the past existence of the Jewish temples on what Jews call the Temple Mount is claimed as justification for the right of Jews to access the site, to rule over the site, to rule over a Jewish united Jerusalem, rule over the occupied territories, and/or to acquire sovereignty over all of the land from the Nile to the Euphrates.  The extent to which the temple justification applies is determined by one’s religious and political affiliation.  The New York Times’ editors’ note indicates that the newspaper is, at the very least, committed to the validity of first three justifications.

The reasoning behind any of these claims, even based on the assumption that temples existed on the al Aqsa plaza, is highly questionable, an issue upon which I will briefly comment at the end of this post.

The lead paragraph in the original article clearly defines the question as: Were the Jewish temples located on the al Aqsa plaza?

The question, which many books and scholarly treatises have never definitively answered, is whether [emphases mine, IG] the 37-acre site, home to Islam’s sacred Dome of the Rock shrine and Al Aqsa Mosque, was also the precise location of two ancient Jewish temples, one built on the remains of the other, and both long since gone.

The edited version of the same paragraph alters the question to, not whether the temples were there, but to where on the plaza the temples were located.

The question, which many books and scholarly treatises have never definitively answered, is where [emphasis mine, IG] on the 37-acre site, home to Islam’s sacred Dome of the Rock shrine and Al Aqsa Mosque, was the precise location of two ancient Jewish temples, one built on the remains of the other, and both long since gone.

In other words, the new version affirmatively answers the main question posed in the original article, by its assumption that the temples existed on the al Aqsa plaza.

On October 12, the Times published a letter from Jodi Magness that reiterated the current view of the Times that the temples were located within the perimeter of the al Aqsa plaza, but in doing so she also contradicts the Times’ claim that the Gladstone piece only dealt with where on the al-Aqsa plaza the temples were located.

The question of the existence and location of two successive temples on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is not nearly as contested as the article suggests.

Magness is one of the experts quoted in the article. She had been in contact with Ari Lamm of Tablet, according to Lamm’s critical piece.

The original article clearly called into question the very existence of the temples, at least, on the plaza, stating such a claim was in need of proof.

Many archaeologists agree that the religious body of evidence, corroborated by other historical accounts and artifacts that have been recovered from the site or nearby, supports the narrative that the Dome of the Rock was built on or close to the place where the Jewish temples once stood.

Nonetheless, the Waqf has never permitted invasive archaeological work that could possibly yield proof of either temple. [Emphasis mine, IG]

But in the edited version, “of either temple” is deleted, thus making it appear that the second paragraph refers to the first, in other words, proof of the location of the temples that are assumed to be close to the Dome of the Rock (which is at the center of the al Aqsa plaza).

Surprisingly, the amended article and most pointedly the correction endorsed the dubious view that Solomon’s temple unquestionably existed on the site of the current al Aqsa plaza, although no historical or archaeological evidence backs this claim.  Our only knowledge of Solomon’s temple is from biblical sources, a fact which was mentioned in the article itself, and remains in the edited version. This contradicts the intent of the “correction,” which states that the existence of both temples is beyond doubt. Admittedly, I am assuming that the bible does unquestionably describe reality.

‘The sources for the first temple are solely biblical, and no substantial archaeological remains have been verified,’ said Wendy Pullan, senior lecturer in the history and philosophy of architecture at the University of Cambridge, in the book ‘The Struggle for Jerusalem’s Holy Places.’

The present unrest in Jerusalem and its deadly consequences are very much related to the recent assertions of Jewish prayer rights and claims to sovereignty over the al Aqsa plaza. Some Jews want to pray at what they consider the site of their ancient temples, although most will readily concede that their exact location on the plaza is unknown.  Palestinians view the Jewish presence on the plaza as an unjustified violation of the agreed upon status quo.

If Gladstone proposed an article whose discussion was limited to the precise location of the temples on the plaza, it would have been rejected as irrelevant.  But the question whether a Jewish temple existed within the perimeter of the al Aqsa plaza is at the center of the current debate.

It is unfortunate that when Gladstone discussed the views of experts, the quotes he uses do not clearly differentiate between the issues of existence and non-existence on the plaza, the first and second temple and location inside and outside the plaza. This made it convenient for the New York Times to make small edits, which threw its own editor/writer under the bus in order to appease its vocal Jewish critics.

Even if the temples existed on the al Aqsa plaza, this does not justify any Jewish claims to a site that has been in continuous Muslim use and under Muslim control for over 1300 years.  Sadly, the previous sentence is fighting words for those who justify Israeli oppression of another people, based on a kingdom that last existed 2000 years ago.

I would say to my fellow Jews: The prayer about a return to a metaphorical Jerusalem and for spiritual redemption was cynically distorted by Zionists in order to advance their political goals. It was never meant or understood as a call to political action.  Neither prayer nor propaganda nor the New York Times will ever convince the world of your right to control the al Aqsa plaza or to rule over the Palestinian people.

Finally, I would say to the editors of the New York Times: Stop re-editing and writing “corrections” and editors’ notes to  the Gladstone article.  They only call attention to your biased reporting of Israel/Palestine and your fear of Jewish complaints.

Ira Glunts
About Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY. His twitter handle is @abushalom

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28 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    October 14, 2015, 3:49 pm

    RE: “I would say to my fellow Jews: The prayer about a return to a metaphorical Jerusalem and for spiritual redemption was cynically distorted by Zionists in order to advance their political goals. It was never meant or understood as a call to political action.” ~ Ira Glunts

    SEE: “Why rebuilding the Temple would be the end of Judaism as we know it”, By Tomer Persico, Haaretz.com, Nov. 13, 2014
    • The current drive of Jews, both Orthodox and secular, to ascend to the site of the Holy Temple and rebuild it, reflects a sea change in the Zionist camp.

    [EXCERPTS] There is one overriding question that accompanies the Zionist project, wrote Gershom Scholem, the scholar of Jewish mysticism – “Whether or not Jewish history will be able to endure this entry into the concrete realm without perishing in the crisis of the messianic claim, which has virtually been conjured up.” The entry into history to which Scholem refers is the establishment of the state and the ingathering of the exiles, borne, as they were – notwithstanding their secular fomenters and activists – on the wings of the ancient Jewish messianic myth of the return to Zion. However, when Scholem published the essay “Toward an Understanding of the Messianic Idea in Judaism,” in 1971, the adjunct to the question was the dramatic freight of Israel’s great victory in the Six-Day War, four years earlier. . .

    . . . It is not surprising, then, that the first group advocating a change in the Temple Mount status quo did not spring from the ranks of the religious-Zionist movement. The Temple Mount Faithful, a group that has been active since the end of the 1960s, was led by Gershon Salomon, a secular individual, who was supported – how could it be otherwise? – by former members of the Irgun and Lehi. It was not until the mid-1980s that a similar organization was formed under the leadership of a religious-Zionist rabbi (the Temple Institute, founded by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel) – and it too remained solitary within the religious-Zionist movement until the 1990s.

    Indeed, in January 1991, Rabbi Menachem Froman could still allay the fears of the Palestinians by informing them (in the form of an article he published in Haaretz, “To Wait in Silence for Grace”) that, “In the perception of the national-religious public [… there is] opposition to any ascent to the walls of the Temple Mount… The attitude of sanctity toward the Temple Mount is expressed not by bursting into it but by abstinence from it.”

    No longer. If in the past, yearning for the Temple Mount was the preserve of a marginal, ostracized minority within the religious-Zionist public, today it has become one of the most significant voices within that movement. In a survey conducted this past May among the religious-Zionist public, 75.4 percent said they favor “the ascent of Jews to the Temple Mount,” compared to only 24.6 percent against. In addition, 19.6 percent said they had already visited the site and 35.7 percent that they had not yet gone there, but intended to visit. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.626327

    P.S. A MORE EXTENSIVE EXCERPT OF THIS ARTICLE – http://mondoweiss.net/2015/10/hectored-archaeologists-location#comment-802121

  2. tokyobk
    tokyobk
    October 14, 2015, 7:05 pm

    You’re right. There is no right for Jewish control of this space but its not because we don’t know the precise place of the Temples. Its because there is no such thing as Jewish land.

    There is also no such thing as Muslim land.

    Palestinians should control Palestinian territory, I would hope respectfully of the various faiths that have historically comprised Palestine.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      October 14, 2015, 9:39 pm

      “There is also no such thing as Muslim land.”

      Is that a big problem for you? Are there Muslims trying to kick you out of your house, or city, on that basis?

      • tokyobk
        tokyobk
        October 16, 2015, 12:15 am

        I care more than just about myself Mooser. The idea that a religion or race or ethnicity owns land has been a great cause of misery on earth.
        It’s also important in a just solution to I/P that all faiths of rightful citizens are respected. You disagree? Or is it because I said so?

      • annie
        annie
        October 16, 2015, 2:00 am

        all faiths of rightful citizens are respected. You disagree? Or is it because I said so?

        that would depend on your definition of “rightful citizen”.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        October 16, 2015, 11:32 am

        Are Jewish Israelis rightful citizens for you, Annie?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        October 16, 2015, 11:59 am

        “The idea that a religion or race or ethnicity owns land has been a great cause of misery on earth.”

        I know, I know, and we can’t possibly give it up until they do first. Why don’t we take responsibility for ourselves, and not worry about others? Don’t you think we Jews have earned that right by now?

      • eljay
        eljay
        October 16, 2015, 12:36 pm

        || hophmi: Are Jewish Israelis rightful citizens for you, Annie? ||

        Jewish (and non-Jewish and refugee) Israelis are rightful citizens of Israel.

        Israel’s decades-long and on-going occupation of the Free City of Jerusalem (FCoJ) does not make Jewish (and non-Jewish and refugee) Israelis rightful citizens of the FCoJ.

    • eljay
      eljay
      October 16, 2015, 7:29 am

      || tokyobk @ October 14, 2015, 7:05 pm ||

      Well said. And I agree.

  3. Mayhem
    Mayhem
    October 15, 2015, 8:25 am

    In 1967 Defense Minister Moshe Dayan announced to the Wakf and the heads of the Supreme Muslim Council that they would be able to administer the compound themselves, while the Jews would just be able to visit but not pray there. That has been the status quo ever since, enacted very generously and compassionately by Israel.
    Now if Muslim clerics backed up by Abbas’ rants are going to resort to fear-mongering, concocting fictitious threats to the Wakf then they should be exposed for what they are doing – inciting totally unproductive violent conflict.

    • diasp0ra
      diasp0ra
      October 15, 2015, 8:55 am

      Are you seriously trying to imply that Abbas is disturbing the oh so “generous and compassionate” status quo?

      Not the tunnel digging? Not the provocations of the settlers? Not the armed troops? Not stopping people from praying? Not the closure? Removing people from the area? Harassment?

      Is incitement the word of the month in Israel? Just like delegitimization was a bit ago?

    • talknic
      talknic
      October 15, 2015, 9:07 am

      @ Mayhem “In 1967 Defense Minister Moshe Dayan announced to the Wakf and the heads of the Supreme Muslim Council that they would be able to administer the compound themselves”

      How generous. Muslims were allowed by “Israel, the Occupying Power to administer their own property

      ” while the Jews would just be able to visit but not pray there”

      Indeed, and why would any of our Jewish fellows wish to pray at a mosque anyway?

      ” That has been the status quo ever since, enacted very generously and compassionately by Israel”

      Whatever nonsense you need spout

      “Now if Muslim clerics backed up by Abbas’ rants are going to resort to fear-mongering, concocting fictitious threats to the Wakf then they should be exposed for what they are doing “

      Oh dear, you haven’t heard? https://www.google.com/search?q=The+Temple+Institute

      “inciting totally unproductive violent conflict”

      “Israel, the Occupying Power has by its illegal facts on the ground, been inciting violent conflict for almost 68 years and the Zionist Federation for more than a century!

    • Rashers2
      Rashers2
      October 15, 2015, 12:53 pm

      How, pray, is it “[generous] and [compassionate]” for an Israeli minister to announce to anyone that he “allows” the Wakf to administer what is not Israel’s and what is not IN Israel? And to dictate who may do what, there? You really need a few weeks’ “cold turkey” from the Ziocaine and perhaps you might be able perceive the arrogant absurdity of your entire comment. Gtf off the Noble Sanctuary, out of East Jerusalem and out of the West Bank; and you might be surprised how the “unproductive violent conflict” surrounding Al-Haram al-Sharif – which ISRAEL has deliberately incited – subsided. IgiK….

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      October 15, 2015, 3:24 pm

      “In 1967 Defense Minister Moshe Dayan announced….”

      That Israel was illegally occupying Jerusalem, and would never be able to legally annex the place?

      Edit: “Mayhem” there is a question which has been bothering me for a while, maybe you know the answer. What happens to the overwhelming number of comments which pour in agreeing with and supporting your position? Where do they go?

  4. Ronald Johnson
    Ronald Johnson
    October 15, 2015, 10:11 am

    Readers are referred to Volume 147, issue 3 of the “Link”, a publication of Americans for Middle East Understanding, July – August, 2014, for a paper by George Wesley Buchanan:

    “What if the Ruins of King Solomon’s Temple Are NOT Under the Dome of the Rock?”

    – for a complete discussion of the biblical exegesis about the locations of temples 1 and 2 atop the Spring of Siloam.

    http://www.ameu.org is the link to the AMEU archive. It appears that the Third Temple Movement is about erasing Muslim landmarks, not about fundamentalist piety.

    • Rashers2
      Rashers2
      October 15, 2015, 1:43 pm

      I don’t think one needs to have excavated anything more ambitious than a vegetable plot to deduce that, “… the Third Temple Movement is about erasing Muslim landmarks, not about fundamentalist piety.” Of course it is! It’s also another stick to poke into the hornets’ nest and then go whining to Uncle Shem and anyone else who can be hectored into listening when the stick-wielder is stung.

  5. RoHa
    RoHa
    October 18, 2015, 9:39 pm

    And just to throw another cat among the pigeons:

    “Mr. Salibi, a distinguished professor of history at American University in Beirut, writes that the kingdoms of David and Solomon were established in what are now the Saudi provinces of Asir and the southern Hijaz.”

    http://www.csmonitor.com/1984/0831/083139.html

    • annie
      annie
      October 18, 2015, 10:11 pm

      the kingdoms of David and Solomon were established in what are now the Saudi provinces of Asir and the southern Hijaz

      oh fun!

      • annie
        annie
        October 18, 2015, 10:18 pm

        i can’t stop laughing.

        ”I was simply searching for place-names of non-Arabic origin in west Arabia, when the evidence that the whole Bible land was here struck me in the face,” he writes in his book. ”Nearly all the biblical place-names were concentrated in an area about 600 km long by 200 km wide (370 miles by 125 miles), comprising what are today Asir and the southern part of the Hijaz.”

        Salibi went back to the original, unvoweled text of the Hebrew Bible – he had early training in Semitic linguistics – and discovered that many passages which had previously been obscure suddenly came into sharp focus, often presenting a picture radically different from that given by the accepted translations.

        Thus by Salibi’s account, the land God promised to Abraham lies between the ”stream of Misrima,” near the North Yemeni border, and the ”stream of Firat” in the southern Hijaz, not between the Nile and the Euphrates.

        Moses, he says, led the children of Israel across one of the Asir’s flash-flooded wadis (valleys), not the Red Sea. And H-YRDN (translated as ”Jordan” in the Bible) across which Joshua led the Israelites was the huge escarpment that dominates the Asir, running from north to south parallel to the Red Sea coast. He locates ancient Jerusalem at the present-day Saudi village of Al-Sharim, and the City of David on a ridge 60 miles south which today bears the name Qawat Sian – the Hill of Zion.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        October 19, 2015, 12:14 am

        “the land God promised to Abraham lies between the ”stream of Misrima,” near the North Yemeni border, and the ”stream of Firat” in the southern Hijaz, not between the Nile and the Euphrates.”

        Netanyahu: D’oh!

    • Kris
      Kris
      October 19, 2015, 12:58 am

      Thank you, RoHa. The article, “Was Kingdom of David really in Arabia?,” is about The Bible Came from Arabia,, a book that will be published later this year by Der Spiegel. http://www.csmonitor.com/1984/0831/083139.html

      Prof. Kamal Salibi, a distinguished professor of history at American University in Beirut,

      writes that the kingdoms of David and Solomon were established in what are now the Saudi provinces of Asir and the southern Hijaz. He says it is there, and not in Palestine, that the origins of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam should be sought. …

      His bombshell theory, which challenges the foundations of biblical scholarship – not to mention those of the state of Israel – is backed by a mass of geographical and linguistic evidence which he presents in his book, ”The Bible Came from Arabia.” It is to be published later this year by Der Spiegel, the German publishing empire.

      Salibi asserts that, read in its new context, the Hebrew Bible becomes the key to ancient Near East history, and not a puzzle. He says his work explains why so few of the Old Testament place-names have been plausibly traced in Palestine, why the archaeological evidence is so scant, and why the origins of Judaism remain obscure in the Palestinian setting. …

      Salibi believes that his work establishes the Bible as a much more accurate historical document than it has previously been believed to be, and that the archaeologists have simply been digging in the wrong place. No serious digs have been carried out in Asir, and the Saudis are unlikely to welcome research that could prompt Zionist claims to part of their kingdom….

      Thus by Salibi’s account, the land God promised to Abraham lies between the ”stream of Misrima,” near the North Yemeni border, and the ”stream of Firat” in the southern Hijaz, not between the Nile and the Euphrates.

      Moses, he says, led the children of Israel across one of the Asir’s flash-flooded wadis (valleys), not the Red Sea. And H-YRDN (translated as ”Jordan” in the Bible) across which Joshua led the Israelites was the huge escarpment that dominates the Asir, running from north to south parallel to the Red Sea coast. He locates ancient Jerusalem at the present-day Saudi village of Al-Sharim, and the City of David on a ridge 60 miles south which today bears the name Qawat Sian – the Hill of Zion.

      Naturally, Jewish and Israeli scholars are going nuts, though they haven’t read the book, since it’s not out yet.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        October 19, 2015, 2:46 am

        George Washington really lived in Cuba and Lief Ericson in Uganda.

      • bryan
        bryan
        October 19, 2015, 4:57 am

        “Naturally, Jewish and Israeli scholars are going nuts, though they haven’t read the book, since it’s not out yet.”

        You are mistaken – it was first published by Jonathan Cape in 1985. I assume the book is simply being re-issued, having long been out of print. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamal_Salibi

        You are however right about scholars going nuts about it: e.g. “It is dangerous because Salibi’s ideas have all sorts of implications, not least in terms of the legitimacy of the State of Israel”

      • talknic
        talknic
        October 19, 2015, 7:35 am

        “Naturally, Jewish and Israeli scholars are going nuts, though they haven’t read the book, since it’s not out yet”

        Der Spiegel’s will be a new publication. ‘The Bible Came from Arabia’ was published by Jonathan Cape 1985 & Pan Books 1987

        Never the less, they’ll go nuts ….again

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        October 19, 2015, 8:13 am

        talknic: … they’ll go nuts ….again
        ———————

        They went nuts over Shlomo Sand’s “Invention of the Jewish People” and “Invention of the Land of Israel“. Then they trashed it and called it antisemitic. And that was that.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        October 19, 2015, 1:45 pm

        My recollection of the reviews of Sand’s Jewish People is that his drawing on the most respected research was acknowledged: he was just putting things together in a provocative way that could, thought the reviewers, mislead the public. The Bible, in both Testaments, is (as per Sand) ‘a theological masterpiece’ which uses historical events as a background but is not a record, rather an interpretation of history. This interpretation began to approach its final form in the Persian and Ptolemaic periods, when there is no doubt that the Jewish lands were considered to be within what was to be or already was the Ptolemaic Kingdom, ie was Palestine. You could’t interpret Ptolemaic policy, much centred on Palestine, nor Ptolemaic writers like Hecataeus, any other way, I’m sure.
        The Biblical narrative draws on many sources, some from Iraq and just maybe some from Arabia, but there is no point in thinking of it as a record of anything Iraqi or Arabian: if it borrows from these sources it is not for the purpose – and wildly unlikely to be with the effect – of recording the places and events where these sources begin.
        Salibi seems to me closer to von Daniken than to Sand.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        October 19, 2015, 2:15 pm

        MHughes976: My recollection of the reviews of Sand’s Jewish People is that his drawing on the most respected research was acknowledged…

        ——————————
        Cf. Eminent Zionist historian Anita Shapira:

        Sand bases his arguments on the most esoteric and controversial interpretations, while seeking to undermine the credibility of important scholars by dismissing their conclusions without bringing any evidence to bear.
        —————–

        […] On the question of the Khazars, Sand’s methods again come to the fore as he grabs at the most unorthodox theory in the field and stretches it to the outer limits of logic and beyond

        http://www.scribd.com/doc/143191195/Anita-Shapira-Shlomo-Sand-Book-Review#scribd

        Also:

        What makes Americans’ reactions to the book difficult to grasp is their hysteria. These reactions are indicators of cultural distance as much as of political disagreement. By repeatedly emphasizing how dangerous the book is, how inexpert its historiography is, how ideologically suspect and complicit its claims are, Sand’s detractors in the United States ritually affirm their incomprehension of his positions more than they delegitimize them.

        http://forward.com/culture/126819/we-are-all-simon-schama-the-threat-of-an-undefine/

  6. gamal
    gamal
    October 19, 2015, 2:36 am

    “since it’s not out yet.”

    I read a book by Salibi about all this in the 80’s, it was available in English, he died a few years ago and was a Lebanese Christian of some kind, I havent heard how his Judah in Arabia theory is doing these days, to be fair most Arab history scholars I know dont take it too seriously, I wouldnt be able to judge but most of the Alim I knew found his stuff interesting, for the linguistic arguments etc, his “Who Was Jesus?: Conspiracy in Jerusalem” is a fine little read without having to take any position on his major thesis. you can sample a bit here

    https://books.google.ie/books?id=yWzcsddrx_wC&pg=PA90&lpg=PA90&dq=salibi+is+jerusalem+in+the+hijaz&source=bl&ots=oIZhlM-L0_&sig=VTpajlbUHQzKbjMwG2UP5cLiT4M&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAWoVChMIsOTX5vDNyAIVxu0UCh1ZbwVc#v=onepage&q=salibi%20is%20jerusalem%20in%20the%20hijaz&f=false

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