If you’ll recall, back in the distant mists of early 2001, a certain unpopular dictatorial Muslim regime decided to destroy some historical antiquities that it found inconvenient to its own political and religious position. That destruction raised an epic cry of protest from all over the world, made the front pages of countless newspapers, and was a closely-followed story all the way up until the antiquities’ destruction.

Of course, I’m talking about the Taliban’s decision to destroy the massive Buddhas of Bamiyan, which catapulted the formerly little-known group of Islamic thugs to worldwide prominence. UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), in charge of a list of World Heritage Sites, and dozens of world governments, even Islamic theocracy Iran, protested mightily. The Japanese government offered the Taliban a huge sum to save the statues. But of course, the Taliban destroyed them anyway.

Meanwhile, two years before the world outcry over the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, a certain Muslim religious organization was carrying out a massive act of willful destruction of antiquities that it found inconvenient to its own invented history.

I’m talking about the Waqf’s construction beneath the Temple Mount, which required the removal and unceremonious disposal in garbage dumps of tons and tons of rubble which contained, among other things, ruins from both the first and second Temples. The Waqf purportedly was interested in building a mosque, although given the PA’s (and Islam’s) official policy of denying the existence of a historical Jewish presence in Israel (because after all the Israelites were Muslims) and particularly on the Temple Mount, their intent may have been more sinister. A PA press release from 1997 claimed “The archaeology of Jerusalem is diverse – excavations in the Old City and the areas surrounding it revealed Umayyad Islamic palaces, Roman ruins, Armenian ruins and others, but nothing Jewish. Outside of what is mentioned written in the Old and New Testaments, there is no tangible evidence of any Jewish traces or remains in the old city of Jerusalem and its immediate vicinity.” And straight from the mouth of PA President Mahmoud Abbas: “[Israelis] claim that 2000 years ago they had a Temple [on the Temple Mount]. I challenge the claim that this is so. But even if it is so, we do not accept [current Israeli claims on the Temple Mount].” Abbas is also noteworthy for challenging other commonly accepted historical facts such as the Holocaust.

In any case, nobody cared when the Waqf started dumping the remains of the Temples. UNESCO was more concerned with Muslim claims that Israelis were not providing appropriate protection to Islamic antiquities unearthed by excavations (which itself may be a problem but is certainly nothing compared to willful destruction). The UNESCO agent assigned to inspect Israel’s complaint that the Waqf was destroying Temple Mount antiquities decided that the only damage on the Temple Mount was caused by neglect due to concerns over sovereignty, and not any intentional destruction.

Curiously, the Israeli Antiquities Authority gave the mounds of rubble a cursory inspection and declared they were of no archaeological worth. However, it may be that the Antiquities Authority needs better archaeologists, because an archaeologist from Bar-Ilan University working independently of the Authority to sift through the rubble has discovered a 2600-year old seal from the First Temple Period, the first find of its kind from that era. In addition, the archaeologist, Dr. Gavriel Barkay, has discovered coins, pottery and various architectural odds and ends from the First Temple Period all the way down to the late Islamic period.

One would think, especially now that solid evidence of the Waqf removing historically significant material exists, the world who raised such protest when two Buddha statues were destroyed might raise at least a whimper in defense of the historical merit of the Temple Mount, the center of the Israelite religion which gave modern Western civilization its moral code. Instead the only protestors are Israeli archaeologists and religious Jews.

Apparently dynamiting Buddha statues is a grave crime against humanity, but bulldozing and dumping the remains of two Jewish Temples of huge historic import is, well, not so objectionable. Hmm.

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  • Michael, just wanted to commend you on raising awareness of this issue, to a worldwide audience. It makes me happy to know that aside from ck’s Soldiers and Porn series, there’s always great content on Jewlicious. Oh, and as someone who dressed up like Indiana Jones on more than Hallow’s Eve, this really pisses me off. I’ve always wanted to dig through dirt and crap in Israel and find scrolls. One of the 1,000 things to do before i die.

  • Yea Michael, great article. Just one of the many crimes perpetrated against us, trying to erase our history. This is just one of many reasons why the temple mount should be in Jewish hands, and not the careless wanton puss bags…….

  • While I agree with the post, I just want to point out that most archaeologists believe the Waqf’s digging probably did not go as deep as Roman times.

    The problem, of course, is that since this rubble has been dug out and dumped, there is no chronological context to the materials that have been dug up and this makes identifying their source and timeline very complicated. The Israeli government should be ashamed. Also, this is an example of IAA being remiss in serving its key function of protecting Israeli antiquities.

  • what if all israelis and palestinians shared bagels for one day out of the year? a huge bagel day…could you imagine? millions of bagels and tons of cream cheese and lox…

    dunno where I’m goin with this one. I just though it’s worth a try.

    middle maybe u can help me with this one.

  • Thanks for the compliments.

    While I can’t find any direct evidence to back me up, which is why I didn’t put it in the post, I feel that the IAA’s refusal to study the dumped ruins smacks of politics. I can’t think of any other reason why an archaeological organization would turn a blind eye to destruction of antiquities. I’m wildly hypothesizing, but perhaps the Israeli government didn’t want to inflame Palestinians and Muslims in general by starting a conflict over the Waqf’s desecration out of interest in trying to salvage the Oslo process (and probably due to American pressure to keep the Oslo process alive, embodied by the Camp David talks the very next year).

    As far as the Waqf’s digging not going as far back as Roman times, wouldn’t it seem that the appearance of artifacts from pre-Roman periods, from the Hasmonean period to the First Temple refutes that assertion? Items such as coins, which have been found in abundance and are widely used by archaeologists to definitely anchor dates, conclusively date at least some of the rubble as pre-Roman. Although a lot of post-Roman material has been uncovered as well.

  • Yeled, if that happened, Abbas or Dahlan would probably start eating the bagels way too fast, because PA governmental people are greedy like that, and start choking, and the Palestinians would accuse the Israelis of making sinister Zionist death bagels with the intent of killing Palestinian babies, and they’d start shooting people, and they’d have to bring in the IDF, and all the lox would spoil in the hot sun and smell bad.

  • They haven’t found much in the rubble that goes as far back as this particular find.

    To this day it’s hard to understand why the Israeli government and the IAA did nothing to stop this destruction by the Waqf. It does appear to be political and directly related to the fact the digging was done to develop areas of prayer by the official caretakers of the Haram Al Sharif. I think Israel is very sensitive to the fact that this particular mosque, while it may reside over the Temple Mount, is a potential trigger to a very serious conflict with the entire Muslim world.

  • And then FEMA would need get flown in, and it’d probably be Brown, since he worked as International Arabian Horse Association President and probably, one would hope, knows the area pretty well, and he’d fuck up on the job again, and the salmon would rot and have to get pumped out into the Red Sea, cause an ecological disaster that’d involve Kofi Annan, who’d draw up a UN resolution blaming Israel for all eternity, approved by all of the Security Council save the United States, who is desperate for a new source of energy to replenish its supply of fossil fuels.

    Can you imagine perusing Noahs now?

    Sesame, onion, everything, Sinister zionist death, egg, jalepeno, rye, young palestinian blood…

    They kinda sound like hot sauces, come to think of it.

  • It’d be a big hit in the territories!

    Punish the underdog with this new hotsauce! It’ll destroy houses! And innocent people! So hot, SO HOT it’s Zionist!

  • Yes! Instead of sowing uprooted Palestinian olive groves with salt, cuz that’s what Jew–er, Zionists–do, we could sow them with Sinister Zionist Death Sauce! And then open a wildly successful chain of Zionist barbecue joints (give a whole new meaning to “babyback” ribs!) in the West Bank!

  • Those could be the ones not made of Palestinian babies. Cuz we eat them like whoa. Just ask those people at San Francisco State U who distributed the posters with the “canned Palestinian children meat slaughtered according to Jewish rites”. Maybe we could advertise on campus.

  • Michael dearest, you think the world is silent because because it doesn’t know that antiquities are being destroyed? Pleeease! The Buddha structures caused an uproar because they fit into the world’s definition of “diversity”. Plus it cost nothing to condemn the Taliban, on the contrary it may have resulted in a lot of self-congratulation. The antiquities you’re concerned about are great n all, but hey, speaking up may result in an oil embargo of something like that. So please don’t trouble the world’s conscience when there’s money at stake.

  • I can’t decide what emotion I should currently be feeling: outrage at the lack of public outcry on behalf of the antiquities that are being lost/desecrated, wonder at Zionist Death Sauce, or just plain pissy-ness at people who are really passing out pamphlets saying Jews are cannibals…so I’m out-won-pissed right now. Thanks, Jewlicious!

  • Michael –

    1. More info on the seal on my site.

    2. Whats truly amazing is that when everything was dumped 4 years ago, many Jewish archaeologists ran to the site and started sifting through everyting. They were promptly ARRESTED by the Israeli police for violating antiquities laws! Anyone looking for anything “JEWISH” is obviously a right wing fanatic (not that there’s anything wrong with that) — but just goes to show you how pathetic the government here can be. *sigh*

  • We cannot blame other people for not decrying what we ourselves have not tried to prevent.

    I don’t think this is a question of politics. The Israelis could easily have insisted on a halt to construction without inflaming the Muslim world – there is nothing wrong with insisting on the status quo, or insisting on a proper excavation.

    This is basically evidence of the identity crisis now plaguing many Israelis. The recent discovery of King David’s palace (or that of one of his sons) including the seal of a figure mentioned in the Bible – was lost in the human interest stories. For the secular elite none of this is relevant to their identity.

    Allowing the Temple Mount to be plundered is symbolic of a deep mental rift in the Israeli psyche. I am sure that not a single modern Greek worships any of the Olympic gods – but can one imagine the outcry if the ruins of the Acropolis were similarly trashed?

    It’s an enormous, painful blind spot.

  • No one person owns this blog. It belongs to the Jewish people.

    OK, I guess REALLY, CK owns it. And Laya possibly co-owns it. But that’s it for ownership.

    As for Sinister Zionist Death Sauce…I think you’re onto a huge marketing idea there. Is it any stranger a name for hot sauce than “Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally,” which is an actual hot sauce that a friend of mine ordered from a catalogue?

    And no, I haven’t read the actual post yet. Just the comments. I’ll get there, don’t worry.

  • Joy, Jameel and Ben-David are right.

    This whole thing is the result of a sick confluence of a bunch of fucking anti-Semitic goyim doing their best to obliterate real Jewish history because it conflicts with their 1984 “we-pulled-it-out-of-Mohammed’s-ass” version and a bunch of self-hating Jews who are desparate to shed the burden of the Torah and establish a de-Judaized Israeli identity rather than a Jewish one. There are many, many people, including a lot of guilt-ridden Jews who are water carriers for the anti-Semites, who have a huge stake in “proving” that the Torah is all a bunch of lies; any actual, tangible proof that many of the things written in the Torah might actually be true puts their whole carefully-constructed scenario at risk. And I am sure there was Oslo-related political pressure as well.

    I expect the world to remain silent in the face of insults and depradations committed against the Jews, their religion, their history, and their sacred things; they’re goyim. WTF can you expect from them on issue like this? It is hopeless to expect them to lift a finger to help us on an issue like this. Pretty stone Buddhas put up by an extinct group of people are important because they don’t threaten anything. But anything showing that the Jewish “narrative” is ACTUALLY TRUE AND CAN BE PROVERN TO BE TRUE USING MODERN SCIENTIFIC TECHNIQUES WITHOUT RESORT TO RELIGIOUS MUMBO-JUMBO is a knife in the heart of the appeasers, the anti-Semites, the secularists and the Muslims. It proves the Jews were right all along and forces them to draw the proper conclusions, which cannot but upset the applecart. What do you expect them to do? Applaud?

    What is disgraceful is the craven cowardice of the Israeli government in allowing this desecration to happen.

  • Ephraim, you should note that many of the archaeologists who demonstrated against the Waqf’s dig being allowed, are secular.

  • Ummn…not that muffti really disagrees, but who are these (apparently ubiquitous) “guilt-ridden Jews who are water carriers for the anti-Semites, who have a huge stake in “proving” that the Torah is all a bunch of lies; any actual, tangible proof that many of the things written in the Torah might actually be true puts their whole carefully-constructed scenario at risk.” Is that just a rude charicature of atheists? or is there a group you have in mind that is dedicated to ensuring that that torah isn’t true? Even Muffti has no real interest in that: all things considered, he would probably prefer to be believe in God and all the attendant benefits.

  • I actually think it is joint monetary/political concern that the IAA didn’t “authorise” excavations of the Temple Mount “refuse” (and by refuse I mean the tonnes of soil, building materials and artefacts that were discarded). If the IAA took the project on, it would have to come up with the funds to finance the operation – very very pricey. The IAA ia extremely stretched at the best of times – that’s why all the excavations in Israel have to have private donors as well. So, instead, Dr Barkay applied for a permit from the IAA and is running the excavation himself – ie, the IAA has authorised his excavations but is not funding it.

    Politically, I agree with what themiddle and michael had to say. Messing with the temple mount causes a whole world of trouble, which the IAA can do without seeing as it is supposed to be (italics on supposed to) separate from the government.

    Also, the whole context thing is an issue archaeologically. The fact that everything has already been removed by the Waqf and dumped screws up the stratigraphy. So, in the tonnes of dirt, sherds and building materials etc only the major finds such as the seal are worthwhile because only they can be dated contextually. On excavations, anything that isn’t dug out from a stratigraphic layer is discarded (such as from the bulkheads).

  • Sorry for waxing apoplectic; this particular issue just drives me crazy. There is a whole school of thought, perhaps symbolized by books like “The Bible Unearthed”, which posits, essentially, that nothing the Torah says is even remotely true. (Avraham Avinu and Moshe Rabbenu never existed; David, if he existed at all was just the Bedouin sheik of a dusty hilltop village; there never was a united monarchy, etc.)Archeology, the findings of which can, like anything else, easily fall prey to an a priori agenda, is enlisted in the service of this agenda.

    Then, of course, you have the Waqf, which has an overt and publicly stated interest in denying all Jewish prsence on the Har ha Bait in service of their position that the Jews were never in Israel, the obvious point being that Israel has no right to be there now. So, like murderers who are afraid of bbeing caught with the body, they do everything they can to destroy the evidence.

    For the purposes of this discussion I am not positing that what the Torah says is true in a religious sense; in this case I am mainly interested in whether or not the Torah is a source of reasonably accurate historical information that can be independently verified. That is to say, as far as archelogy is concerned, the religious outlook of the Torah on various things like the religious meaning of, say, David’s palace (which apparently has been found exactly where Shmuel says it was located) is nowehere near as interesting (to me, anyway) as whether it actually existed on the spot the Torah says it did.

    Zionsim is based on the proposition that the Jews have a right to a state in Israel because they once did have a state there. There are plenty of people, Jews included, who seem to have a desire to prove that this is all claptrap.

    This is bad enough, but, like I said, the biggest shanda is the apparent lack of willingness of the Israeli government to put a stop to the desecration.

  • Middle – for once unmuddled:
    Ephraim, you should note that many of the archaeologists who demonstrated against the Waqf’s dig being allowed, are secular.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    It’s likely that these professors – like most MOR Israelis – still do incorporate some positive feelings for Judaism – or at least Jewish history – in their identities.

    But overall, you’re right – the abandonment of these artifacts is indefensible by any rational scale of values, so any well-adjusted secular Israeli should object.

    It follows that the blind spot that allows this to happen must spring from some very strong and irrational motives.

    We know that the secular Zionist drive to “normalize” the Jewish people was driven by very virulent rejection of Judaism. It was as nasty cross-polinated mess of old diaspora shame and self-hatred, and new socialist “human engineering”.

    If anything the anger has gotten worse, the disdain even shriller, as both socialism and secular Zionism have fallen apart – while what was dismissed as primitive and backward has succeeded and flourished, both materially and intellectually.

    It is less about external geopolitics and more about the internal crisis of Israeli identity.

  • muffti:
    who are these (apparently ubiquitous) “guilt-ridden Jews who are water carriers for the anti-Semites, who have a huge stake in proving that the Torah is all a bunch of lies; any actual, tangible proof that many of the things written in the Torah might actually be true puts their whole carefully-constructed scenario at risk.” Is that just a rude charicature of atheists? or is there a group you have in mind that is dedicated to ensuring that that torah isn’t true?
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    I guess my left/liberal assimilated Jewish cousins are a pretty good example. Their take on Judaism is non-covenantal, and reduced to universal platitudes like “social justice” – whose particulars are filled in by leftist/socialist doctrine rather than by the Torah’s rather detailed prescriptions for society.

    These people are intensely conflicted about their Jewishness – in particular, about the particularity of the Jewish people.

    Remember that the Reform movement started out rejecting Zionism and anything that smacked of Jewish particularism. Judaism was reduced to a personal moral code – the authority of community and revealed truth thrown off and subject to critique and revision based on a slippery personal notion of “relevance” – as had been done in “progressive” Protestant denominations upon which the Reform Jews modeled themselves.

    There is a direct line conneting those early Reform Jews with the modern liberal American or Israeli Jew who “expresses their Judaism” by defending Palestinian national aspirations over our own.

    The indifference to the Temple Mount artifacts is of a piece with self-flagellating rewrites of more recent events by Israel’s “new historians” and the worshipful embrace of the Palestinian narrative by the secular elite – they all spring from the same sad, self-negating place.

  • There is a direct line conneting those early Reform Jews with the modern liberal American or Israeli Jew who “expresses their Judaism” by defending Palestinian national aspirations over our own.

    But Mobius is Orthodox…

  • The Bible Unearthed is such a painful reading experience, from an accuracy perspective. I know Finkelstein is a respected archaeologist and all, but if he’s going to publish, he should at least do it properly. He brings all the evidence that supports his theories (that the Jews never “conquered” the land of Canaan, they were never slaves in Egypt, that there was no jewish monarchy at all) but never discusses the evidence on the other side that supports the exodus, conquering and monarchy etc.
    As an archaeologist, he should have discussed all the available evidence. Sticking to one side, as he does, makes him just an historian.

  • No, it doesn’t make him an historian, it makes him a partisan hack.

  • Muffti sees. Oh well. So long as you aren’t picking on the atheists: we have as much interest in historical narratives and evidence for them as anyone else (unless one is an atheist for political reasons, Muffti guesses. But most that he knows of aren’t like that).

    In any case, Muffti doesn’t really understand the crux of the issue. Surely showing the accuracy of parts of the Torah does little to nothing to establish the main points regarding social justice, etc. If one is an atheist who wants to deny that rules ‘from God’ have the highest authority, finding out that the Jews did indeed inhabit Israel a long, long time ago isn’t going to sway him much…

  • Finkelstein has another problem in that he has to refute any piece of evidence that proves his theories wrong.

  • I was trying to get at that… he doesn’t so much as refute it as ignore it…It’s such a shame that he’s in charge of the Megiddo excavations.

  • I think it is a shame was has been happening to all the Jewish antiquities and it is amazing at all the EFFORT that has gone on to make sure (or try to make sure) that there are no “signs” that Jews weren’t there.

    But let me ask you this…hasn’t the “Father of Lies” since the beginning been trying to get rid of and destroy anything and everyone Jewish??

    Although I am saddened by it, at the same time I am not surprised!!!

    And by the way, there are those like me who are not Jewish, but are equally outraged and speaking out for Jews and the preservation of their history. Being a Born-again Christian, I feel as if I myself have been attacked and hurt too.

  • I wrote:
    There is a direct line conneting those early Reform Jews with the modern liberal American or Israeli Jew who “expresses their Judaism” by defending Palestinian national aspirations over our own.

    and middle commented:
    But Mobius is Orthodox…
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Don’t think mobi can be labelled, or that the label is the main point here…

    Yes, mobi has drunk deeply from the “social justice” kool-aid – but he has a much more deeply felt sympathy for the Jewish side of the conflict than the type of Jew I am talking about: the Jews who have been quietly acquiescing – or downright agreeing – with the death-to-Israel extremism at ANSWER-sponsored rallies and on campus, and have have not bothered – as mobi has – to explore/experience the Israeli side of things.

  • Oh my Gawd! Who is that girl pictured to the right of the screen? She’s GAAAAWGEOUS!

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