More Heresy from The Economist: Time to Scrap Affirmative Action

April 28, 2013

As noted a few weeks ago, The Economist has gone off the reservation on climate change, and in the current issue it has done so again on the issue of affirmation action and race-conscious policy.  The issue is featured on the cover, which means it is the subject of the first “leader” (house editorial), “Time to Scrap Affirmative Action,” as well as the focus of a long feature news story.  In particular The Economist takes note of the important original research on the “mismatch hypothesis” by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor.

Time to Scrap Affirmative Action: In 1997 Thomas Espenshade of Princeton analysed the scores on SATs, a widely used test for college admissions, that different races needed in order to get into private universities. He found that Asian-Americans’ SAT scores had to exceed those of whites by 140 points out of 1,600, those of Hispanics by 270 points and those of blacks by 450 points. A study by Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute, a think-tank, found that black students with average grades and test scores were almost three times more likely than Asians with similarly average qualifications to get into medical school.
Not mentioned here is that the proportion of Asians declined simultaneously and converged at almost the identical percentage at most of our leading universities, almost as if admissions directors colluded on the outcome. Seems like an ideal subject for an investigation by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights or the Justice Department. Don’t hold your breath. More likely the Justice Department will investigate The Economist to find out why it has suddenly become so politically incorrect.


Elder of Ziyon: Did Jews rule #Jerusalem in 614 CE?

April 28, 2013

One of the reasons given for today’s Lag B’Omer celebrations is to commemorate the Bar Kochba revolt of 132-136 CE. Most Jews believe that this was the last time of Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel before the 1948 War of Independence.

However, there may have been another brief period of Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem, many centuries later.

In “A History of the Jewish People” by Haim Hillel be-Sasson, we learn:

In the last days of Byzantine rule over the Land of Israel the Jews made an attempt to exploit the rivalry between the powers ruling the orient – Persia, Byzantium and Rome – in order to regain their political independence. For hundreds of years they had repeatedly hoped that the redemption of the Jewish people would come with the conquest of Palestine by Persia; and now the time seemed to have arrived. At the beginning of the seventh century, the Persians set out on their conquests in the East, and in the year 614 they reached the borders of Palestine. Their approach set off a powerful messianic fermentation, which is reflected in several works written at the time whose theme is the Redemption. The Armenian historian Sebeos reported (Chapter XXIV): ‘As the Persians approached Palestine, the remnants of the Jewish nation rose against the Christians, joined the Persians and made common cause with them.’ The Jews assisted the invaders materially in their conquest of Galilee. From there the invading army turned to Caesarea and continued its conquests down to Apollonia, then eastwards to Lydda and from there to Jerusalem, which was captured in May 614. Jewish forces also took part in the conquest of Jerusalem. Sophronius, a contemporary monk who lived near Bethlehem, wrote in a poem: ‘God-seeking strangers and citizens of the city [Jerusalem]; . When they faced the Persians and their Hebrew friends/Hastened to close the city gates.’

The Persians handed Jerusalem over to Jewish settlers, who proceeded with the expulsion of the Christians and the removal of their churches. At the head of Jerusalem stood a leader whom we know only by his messianic name: Nehemiah ben Hushiel ben Ephraim ben Joseph. The sacrificial cult may even have been resumed. Jewish rule in Jerusalem lasted three years. In 617 there was a reversal of Persian policy. For reasons that are not sufficiently clear, the Persians made peace with the Christians. The Jews, on the other hand, did not, and the Persian authorities were forced to fight them: ‘And they waged war against the saints and brought down many of them. and Shiroi [the king of Persia] stabbed Nehemiah ben Hushiel. and sixteen of the just were killed together with him (Book of Zerubabel, page 101).

There are other accounts of this episode as well.

The Jews saw another opportunity to take back Jerusalem in the early seventh century, just before the rise of Islam. The Persians conquered what had been Judea from the Byzantine Empire, capturing Jerusalem in 614 CE. The Armenian historian Sebeos described the Jews’ reaction to the Persian campaign: “As the Persians approached Palestine, the remnants of the Jewish nation rose against the Christians, joined the Persians and made common cause with them.” The Persians even installed a Jew, Nehemiah ben Hushiel ben Ephraim ben Joseph, to rule the city.

But this regime was short-lived. Hoping to accommodate their Roman Christian subjects, the Persians apparently withdrew their support for any Jewish self-government. Moreover, in 629 CE the Byzantine emperor Heraclius reconquered Jerusalem, where the former anti-Jewish edicts were again renewed. The city’s new rulers banned public recital of Judaism’s core prayer, the Shema, and executed many Jews or evicted them to neighboring countries. Five years later, the Byzantines required all the empire’s Jews to become baptized. This harsh regime did not last long, however, for in 638 CE Muslim armies from Arabia conquered Jerusalem, thus opening a whole new chapter in the Holy City’s history.

Thirteen hundred years would pass between the last Jewish self-government in Jerusalem in 614 and the establishment of a Jewish national home under the British that would later become the State of Israel. During that time, Jerusalem would remain the center of Jewish national aspirations as well as religious ritual. But the quest to return to Jerusalem was not left as an eschatological task for the distant future. Jews returned to Jerusalem whenever the bans on Jewish settlement were lifted; thus many Jews came back to the Holy City after the second caliph of Islam defeated the Byzantines, establishing a new Jewish Quarter that was populated until the First Crusade. Jerusalem’s main Jewish synagogue in the first decades of Islamic rule, known as “the Cave,” was located under the Temple Mount, at the point along the Western MA closest to the Holy of Holies.

The Jewish Encyclopedia does not mention this, however.


Did Jews rule #Jerusalem in 614 CE?

April 28, 2013

One of the reasons given for today’s Lag B’Omer celebrations is to commemorate the Bar Kochba revolt of 132-136 CE. Most Jews believe that this was the last time of Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel before the 1948 War of Independence.
However, there may have been another brief period of Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem, many centuries later.
In “A History of the Jewish People” by Haim Hillel be-Sasson, we learn:

In the last days of Byzantine rule over the Land of Israel the Jews made an attempt to exploit the rivalry between the powers ruling the orient – Persia, Byzantium and Rome – in order to regain their political independence. For hundreds of years they had repeatedly hoped that the redemption of the Jewish people would come with the conquest of Palestine by Persia; and now the time seemed to have arrived. At the beginning of the seventh century, the Persians set out on their conquests in the East, and in the year 614 they reached the borders of Palestine. Their approach set off a powerful messianic fermentation, which is reflected in several works written at the time whose theme is the Redemption. The Armenian historian Sebeos reported (Chapter XXIV): ‘As the Persians approached Palestine, the remnants of the Jewish nation rose against the Christians, joined the Persians and made common cause with them.’ The Jews assisted the invaders materially in their conquest of Galilee. From there the invading army turned to Caesarea and continued its conquests down to Apollonia, then eastwards to Lydda and from there to Jerusalem, which was captured in May 614. Jewish forces also took part in the conquest of Jerusalem. Sophronius, a contemporary monk who lived near Bethlehem, wrote in a poem: ‘God-seeking strangers and citizens of the city [Jerusalem]; . When they faced the Persians and their Hebrew friends/Hastened to close the city gates.’
The Persians handed Jerusalem over to Jewish settlers, who proceeded with the expulsion of the Christians and the removal of their churches. At the head of Jerusalem stood a leader whom we know only by his messianic name: Nehemiah ben Hushiel ben Ephraim ben Joseph. The sacrificial cult may even have been resumed. Jewish rule in Jerusalem lasted three years. In 617 there was a reversal of Persian policy. For reasons that are not sufficiently clear, the Persians made peace with the Christians. The Jews, on the other hand, did not, and the Persian authorities were forced to fight them: ‘And they waged war against the saints and brought down many of them. and Shiroi [the king of Persia] stabbed Nehemiah ben Hushiel. and sixteen of the just were killed together with him (Book of Zerubabel, page 101).

There are other accounts of this episode as well.

The Jews saw another opportunity to take back Jerusalem in the early seventh century, just before the rise of Islam. The Persians conquered what had been Judea from the Byzantine Empire, capturing Jerusalem in 614 CE. The Armenian historian Sebeos described the Jews’ reaction to the Persian campaign: “As the Persians approached Palestine, the remnants of the Jewish nation rose against the Christians, joined the Persians and made common cause with them.” The Persians even installed a Jew, Nehemiah ben Hushiel ben Ephraim ben Joseph, to rule the city.
But this regime was short-lived. Hoping to accommodate their Roman Christian subjects, the Persians apparently withdrew their support for any Jewish self-government. Moreover, in 629 CE the Byzantine emperor Heraclius reconquered Jerusalem, where the former anti-Jewish edicts were again renewed. The city’s new rulers banned public recital of Judaism’s core prayer, the Shema, and executed many Jews or evicted them to neighboring countries. Five years later, the Byzantines required all the empire’s Jews to become baptized. This harsh regime did not last long, however, for in 638 CE Muslim armies from Arabia conquered Jerusalem, thus opening a whole new chapter in the Holy City’s history.
Thirteen hundred years would pass between the last Jewish self-government in Jerusalem in 614 and the establishment of a Jewish national home under the British that would later become the State of Israel. During that time, Jerusalem would remain the center of Jewish national aspirations as well as religious ritual. But the quest to return to Jerusalem was not left as an eschatological task for the distant future. Jews returned to Jerusalem whenever the bans on Jewish settlement were lifted; thus many Jews came back to the Holy City after the second caliph of Islam defeated the Byzantines, establishing a new Jewish Quarter that was populated until the First Crusade. Jerusalem’s main Jewish synagogue in the first decades of Islamic rule, known as “the Cave,” was located under the Temple Mount, at the point along the Western MA closest to the Holy of Holies.

The Jewish Encyclopedia does not mention this, however.


Israeli jets buzz Assad palace, bomb chem weapons site outside Damascus

April 28, 2013

I have not seen this reported anywhere else in Israel yet, but UPI is reporting from Maariv (one of our Hebrew papers) that Israeli jets buzzed the Damascus palace of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday, and then went on to bomb a chemical weapons facility outside Damascus.

The Free Syrian Army says Israeli air force jets flew over President Bashar Assad’s palace and bombed a chemical weapons site near Damascus, Maariv reported.

The report said the Israeli jets entered Syria’s airspace close to 6 a.m Saturday and flew over Assad’s palace in Damascus and other security facilities before striking a chemical weapons compound near the city.

The Hebrew language daily said a Syrian army air defense battery positioned in the city fired at the Israeli jets that left Syria’s airspace unscathed. FSA rebels posted a video showing smoke rising up from the headquarters for chemical weapons. There were no reports of the extent of damage or casualties.

Neither Damascus or Jerusalem responded to the report.

In January, the IAF allegedly attacked a convoy moving Syrian weapons of mass destruction to Hezbullah in Lebanon. In 2006, the IAF buzzed Assad’s summer palace on its way to Lebanon.

Leave a Comment » | Uncategorized | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon


Israeli jets buzz Assad palace, bomb chem weapons site outside Damascus

April 28, 2013

I have not seen this reported anywhere else in Israel yet, but UPI is reporting from Maariv (one of our Hebrew papers) that Israeli jets buzzed the Damascus palace of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday, and then went on to bomb a chemical weapons facility outside Damascus.

The Free Syrian Army says Israeli air force jets flew over President Bashar Assad’s palace and bombed a chemical weapons site near Damascus, Maariv reported.

The report said the Israeli jets entered Syria’s airspace close to 6 a.m Saturday and flew over Assad’s palace in Damascus and other security facilities before striking a chemical weapons compound near the city.

The Hebrew language daily said a Syrian army air defense battery positioned in the city fired at the Israeli jets that left Syria’s airspace unscathed. FSA rebels posted a video showing smoke rising up from the headquarters for chemical weapons. There were no reports of the extent of damage or casualties.

Neither Damascus or Jerusalem responded to the report.

In January, the IAF allegedly attacked a convoy moving Syrian weapons of mass destruction to Hezbullah in Lebanon. In 2006, the IAF buzzed Assad’s summer palace on its way to Lebanon.

Leave a Comment » | chemical warfare, chemical weapons, Syria | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon


‘The UN Has Inverted Right and Wrong’, Says Expert.

April 28, 2013

‘The UN Has Inverted Right and Wrong’, Says Expert.(INN).

It’s time to re-think the United Nations, which turns Israel into a villain, says human rights scholar Anne Bayefsky.

The United Nations has been a “major disappointment” in the 21st Century and has “inverted right and wrong,” human rights scholar and activist Anne Bayefsky.

The UN “was founded in the middle of the 20th Century to offer a new world order based on peace and security and protection of human rights, and it has inverted right and wrong so that Israel becomes the villain and the victims become those who are some of the most intolerant people in the region,” said Bayefsky.

She said that a “re-thinking” about the organization is in order, adding, “I think there is some mistaken belief on the part of democracies that the UN is some kind of harmless talking shop and that the kind of anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, anti-Americanism that goes on at the United Nations won’t have its effects. But it does.”

Two weeks ago, noted Bayefsky, “the major committee that’s been tasked with drafting a comprehensive convention on terrorism for the first time in history ended once again – as it has done year after year – in disarray, because they can’t agree to define terrorism. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation believes that there should be an exception clause for so-called ‘legitimate struggle.’”

She mentioned the remarks this week of Richard Falk, the United Nations Human Rights Council-appointed “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” Falk implied that the Boston terror attack was a justified response to U.S. policies in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

This isn’t harmless talking,” stressed Bayefsky. “When people don’t understand the difference between right and wrong it encourages terrorism to the detriment of both Israel and the United States.”

Leave a Comment » | Uncategorized | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon


‘The UN Has Inverted Right and Wrong’, Says Expert.

April 28, 2013


‘The UN Has Inverted Right and Wrong’, Says Expert.(INN).

It’s time to re-think the United Nations, which turns Israel into a villain, says human rights scholar Anne Bayefsky.

The United Nations has been a “major disappointment” in the 21st Century and has “inverted right and wrong,” human rights scholar and activist Anne Bayefsky.
The UN “was founded in the middle of the 20th Century to offer a new world order based on peace and security and protection of human rights, and it has inverted right and wrong so that Israel becomes the villain and the victims become those who are some of the most intolerant people in the region,” said Bayefsky.
She said that a “re-thinking” about the organization is in order, adding, “I think there is some mistaken belief on the part of democracies that the UN is some kind of harmless talking shop and that the kind of anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, anti-Americanism that goes on at the United Nations won’t have its effects. But it does.”
Two weeks ago, noted Bayefsky, “the major committee that’s been tasked with drafting a comprehensive convention on terrorism for the first time in history ended once again – as it has done year after year – in disarray, because they can’t agree to define terrorism. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation believes that there should be an exception clause for so-called ‘legitimate struggle.’”
She mentioned the remarks this week of Richard Falk, the United Nations Human Rights Council-appointed “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” Falk implied that the Boston terror attack was a justified response to U.S. policies in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
This isn’t harmless talking,” stressed Bayefsky. “When people don’t understand the difference between right and wrong it encourages terrorism to the detriment of both Israel and the United States.”

Leave a Comment » | Anne Bayefsky, Anti-Zionism, United Nations | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon