Recently, the following information came to light, for those of us scouring the newsfeeds less taken, that I thought you might like to know. And, just so you know, I saved the worst for last.
First, it looks like Jonathan Pollard, who has been in prison longer than nearly anyone else convicted of spying for a friendly nation, may not really be guilty of what the courts used to justify his life sentence.
JTA reports that Pollard’s CIA debriefers said in a newly declassified 1987 damage assessment, that he cooperated “in good faith” while in custody and that his handlers’ requests were limited to intelligence on the Pakistanis, Arab states and the Soviets. It also says polygraphs “tended to confirm that his cooperation with U.S. authorities was bona fide.”
Both revelations undercut a key argument by the national intelligence community who have resisted calls to commute Pollard’s sentence based partly on arguments that he and Israel withheld the extent of his espionage while he was a U.S. Navy civilian analyst, the report notes.
The CIA assessment suggests the judge who ignored a plea agreement and sentenced Pollard to life did so because Pollard and his then-wife broke the agreement by speaking to the media.
A bipartisan slate of 42 U.S. House of Representatives members, backed by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, recently urged President Obama to commute Pollard’s sentence, the latest of many such pleas since the mid-1990s.
Overseas, it was reported that Hungary is saddled with an unfortunately rabid anti-Semitic political party, with members in its parliament, one of whom was arrested after burning an Israeli flag in Budapest.
Some 100 demonstrators reportedly attended the flag burning in front of the Foreign Ministry and shouted slogans such as “Filthy Jews” and “To Auschwitz with all of you.”
On the bright side, the actions were condemned by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who promised to protect Hungary’s Jewish population.
But in a frightening indication of where the UK is headed, the British government reportedly is planning to exclude Hebrew from a list of recognized foreign languages in the national education system.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews reportedly warned this could damage Jewish education in the country.
Education Minister Elizabeth Truss reportedly announced plans last month to make it compulsory, starting in September 2014, to teach a foreign language to children aged 7 to 11. Schools would be required to offer at least one of only seven recognized languages, which excludes Hebrew.
The Jewish community there fears they’d have to drop Hebrew lessons in their schools if forced to include an additional foreign language, suggesting this would be “extremely detrimental to our community’s identity.”
And, the report with perhaps the scariest implications comes from Egypt, where newly minted Islamist lawmakers are suggesting the remnants of the country’s Pharaonic past is anti-Muslim and must be destroyed.
They have plans sure to completely wipe out the nation’s tourism industry in other ways, as well.
A spokesman for the Ultraconservative Salafis, key allies of Egypt’s new Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, reportedly told a conference of tour guides in Aswan earlier this month that alcohol sales even to tourists should be outlawed, though they may be allowed to bring it with them and drink it in their rooms, and that they should “be encouraged” to dress “conservatively” – read burqa.
I’m sure that will bring the tourists in droves. But, better yet, “one Salafi sheik earlier this year said the Pyramids and Sphinx should be demolished as anti-Islamic — like Afghanistan’s then-Taliban rulers destroyed monumental Buddha statues in 2001,” the Associated Press reported.
Some see the Salafis’ attitude as a threat, “saying the constitution should have said more to protect Egypt’s pharaonic heritage,” the story notes. “We are talking about a civilization that they do not acknowledge. They see it as idolatrous,” someone is quoted saying.
I wonder if the civilized world has the authority and/or the will to intervene if it looks like these nuts are planning to blow up the Sphinx.
Egypt’s tourism industry is already suffering from “the lawlessness” gripping the country the past two years, with increased assaults on guides and tourists, by some trying to intimidate them into taking a camel ride or some other touristy thing, A.P. reported.
Obviously, the immediate threat to Egypt’s tourism industry posed by overly aggressive tour shills pales in comparison to the specter of the Islamists doing to the county’s historic legacy what they always do – steal the parts they want, erasing any evidence of its actual origins, and attempt to make the rest of it disappear.
Afghanistan is just one example.
A similar thing has been going on under Israel’s Temple Mount for years, with Arabs finding and disposing in garbage dumps, any artifacts that might suggest a Jewish connection to the ancient Jewish homeland, United With Israel reported.
A new report surfaced just this week, that the Islamic Waqf is continuing to destroy Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount and disposing of them in the garbage in a direct violation of a 2004 the Israeli Supreme Court ruling which says anyone wishing to move the dirt pile must give 30 days’ advance notice.
It furthermore asserted that the pile may contain important archaeological findings and, in fact, similar piles ones have included signatures of Cohanim (priests) mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah, remains of the Holy Temple plaza, and other things. It’s been asserted that “dozens of ancient artifacts are found daily in the pile in question,” according to the report.
The Waqf is also accused of failing to protect beams from the period of the First Temple, leaving them exposed to bad weather.
There is nothing new in this behavior.
In 1996, the Islamic Waqf converted two ancient underground Second Temple period structures into a large, 10,000-capacity mega-mosque. Both structures, known as Solomon’s Stables and the Eastern Hulda Gate passageway, were never mosques before. Now Israel’s largest mosque, this monstrosity’s construction reportedly resulted in the destruction of many ancient Jewish antiquities. Solomon’s Stables had enormous historical value as a pivotal part of the Jewish Temple during the Herodian era, the report noted.
Then, in November 1999, the Waqf opened an “emergency exit” to the new mosque the construction of which sent thousands of tons of ancient fill to dumps in Kidron Valley, where Israeli archeologists later found in the garbage, artifacts dating as early as the First Temple period.
And then, in February and March 2001, an ancient arched structure built against the eastern wall of the Temple Mount enclosure was razed by bulldozers to further enlarge the “emergency gate” and in 2007, the Islamic Waqf caused more damage to Jewish antiquities while digging ditches to replace power lines, the story notes.
A sign at the Temple Mount entrance may hold a hint to the Islamic strategy for dealing with not just the Jewish past, but the history of every and all cultures it seeks to overtake, which is, ultimately, all other cultures.
The sign reads, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard and everything in it is Islamic property.”
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