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Monday, April 11, 2005
Is Harry Potter an ANNOYING Jewish/Non-Jewish boy?
I can't say I'm a Harry Potter fan. I haven't read any Harry Potter books. Reading books that are either schoolbooks or have some important educational value takes up all my time, and even if I had spare time to read novels, I certainly would not be choosing to read a children's book! I have, however, seen some Harry Potter films, due to the fact that my little niece makes me watch children's movies with her. They are quite nice to watch. At least they beat watching "The Little Mermaid".
 
But it seems to me that I am incapable of forming any sort of emotional bond with an adult that hasn't read all the Harry Potter books, and watched the films over and over again. I must say I'm a little shocked. I mean wake up people, it's children's material! I do, however, normally try to ignore it and smile, since I am after all a really patient & considerate human being. But this article simply is too much!:

Is Harry Potter Jewish?

 

British conference to examine book's origins; presenter: Harry's a 'yiddishe neshama'
By Jeremy Last, EJP

 

The bizarre question of Harry Potter’s Jewish identity is to be discussed at a three-day conference covering the entire spectrum of the magical children’s book.

 

Originally written for a young audience, the Harry Potter series has become a phenomenon enjoyed by adults and children alike.

 

Over the weekend of 29-31 July this year around 250 Potter enthusiasts will gather at a venue in Reading University, UK, to explore the book which follows Harry as he grows up as a wizard at a school in England.


One of the presentations will focus on the question of whether Harry Potter is, in fact, a nice Jewish boy. (Give me a break!).

 

Presenter Amy Miller believes the wizard created by JK Rowling has created “has a yiddishe neshama” -a Jewish soul. (Hahaha. Yeah I also have stupid thoughts sometimes. But then I usually try not to talk).

 

“That Harry Potter could be called ‘a nice Jewish boy’ makes many people laugh, including me. He doesn't wear a skull cap, or go to Hebrew school, or keep kosher,” she said.

 

“But he cares about how others are feeling, he is kind, and he defends his beliefs; these are a very few examples of proper Jewish behavior.”  (Yeah right, so he must be Jewish then).

 

Miller’s presentation will be one of a number of discussions on the religious persuasion of the character who is soon to be featured in the sixth and penultimate book.


Kabbala connection

 

Another academic debating the issue will be Cia Sautter, whose session will be entitled “Blessed are you for Creating Harry: Jewish Affinity with Rowling's tale.”  (Oh kill me now).


-------------------------
I don't get it. I myself am really busy all the time. Don't these people have anything better than this to do with their time, anything at all?

The Temple Mount's Jewish History
Due to ongoing events, I thought posting the following article would be appropriate:


The Temple Mount is the site of the first and second Jewish Temples, destroyed in 586 BCE and 70 CE, respectively–a historic fact accepted even by Muslim authorities. Nevertheless, that fact has not stopped some journalists from reporting on the Temple Mount’s significance in Jewish history cautiously, as if its status is a matter of Jewish faith, or “belief,” and not archeologic evidence.

Thus, in the context of anticipated demonstrations by right-wing Israeli Jews, Reuters’ Jonathan Saul reported on April 7:

The ancient mosque compound is Islam’s third holiest site. It is Judaism’s most sacred site, the place were Jews say a biblical Jewish temple was razed by the Romans in 70 A.D. ("Non-Muslims Banned from Flashpoint Jerusalem Shrine")

Likewise, the New York Times’ Steve Erlanger reported yesterday in the second paragraph of his article “Israeli Troops Kill 3 Teenagers In Buffer Zone at Gaza Border”:

The shootings sharply raised tensions ahead of a planned protest in Jerusalem on Sunday by Israeli militants who oppose a pullout from Gaza and want to demonstrate at one of Islam’s holiest places, Al Aksa Mosque.

Much further down, in the second to last paragraph, he notes:

In Jerusalem, thousands of police officers fanned out in and around the Old City to prevent the threatened march on Al Aksa mosque. Jews believe that the site, also known as the Temple Mount, housed the second temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.

(This article also appeared in the International Herald Tribune.) But it is not Jews who “say” or “believe” that the site housed both Jewish temples. Indeed, Muslim conquerors selected that site to build the Al Aqsa Mosque precisely because the Temples stood there. This fact is not under dispute even among Muslim authorities, (Yasir Arafat’s protestations to the contrary at Camp David in 2000 notwithstanding.) For instance, the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, a pro-Arab source edited by John Esposito, notes that the Muslim armies:

First built at [the Temple Mount’s] southern end their congregational mosque (al-Aqsa), and by 692, had completed at is center the splendid shrine called the "Dome of the Rock," revered both as the terminus of [Mohammed’s] Night Journey and the biblical site of Abraham’s sacrifice and Solomon’s Temple.(page 368)

Another pro-Arab source, Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East, edited by Reeva Simon, Philip Mattar, and Richard Bulliet, also confirms that the Temple Mount housed the Jewish temples:

Temple Mount in Jerusalem was expanded by Herod the Great (ruled 40-4 BCE); it is known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and has dozens of structures on it from various periods. Most notable is the Dome of the Rock–a sanctuary located over the ancient Jewish Temple of Solomon (founded 970 B.C.E.; destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.; the Second Temple rebuilt under Herod the Great during the Roman Empire. . . .( Page 1753-4)

The most famous of the archaeological remains of the Second Temple is the Kotel, the western retaining wall of the Temple’s plaza. The southern, eastern, and northern retaining walls are also still extant. Surviving features abutting the southern walls include a broad stairway leading up to the Temple Mount’s entrance and two gates, known as the Huldah Gates, which provided access to the Temple Mount (Hershel Shanks, Jerusalem: An Archaeological Biography, p. 143). Some of the interior part of the Herodian Double Gate (which is one of the Huldah Gates) is also still intact. There are also surviving underground remnants of the Temple complex, including the area known as Solomon’s Stables. In addition, an area called “Robinson’s Arch,” in the south-western corner of the Temple complex, still remains. In his book, Shanks provides details concerning numerous other remnants.

It should be noted that the New York Times deserves commendation for removing the mischaracterization of the Temple Mount in a subsequent story. The story by Steven Erlanger and Greg Myre today is a significant improvement. It begins:

About 3,000 Israeli police officers moved into positions throughout Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday, foiling a rally called by Israeli rightists at one of Islam’s holiest sites.

The police, some of them in helmets and bulletproof vests, arrested at least 31 Israelis to prevent them from entering the Temple Mount, revered as the site of the two Jewish temples. The same spot is revered by Muslims as the Haram al Sharif, which contains Al Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. (“Huge Police Force Bars Israeli Rightist Rally at Jerusalem Holy Site")


 
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Birthday Girl Maria
Once again it has come along, and each year it becomes less pleasant. For today, is my 26th birthday.
This year it has actually crossed my mind to turn my phone off for the day to avoid the phone calls I know I will receive during the day, in order to pretend I can forget. My whole childhood and teens I seemed certain that I was destined to stay young forever, but I am now realising that I grow older, just like everybody else.
I see negative as well as positive things in growing older. The negative would have to do with what I already mentioned. I felt perfectly happy being 20, 21, 22. Why grow to be 40, 50, 60, and old? The positive ones, on the other hand, do actually appear to outnumber the negative. Despite being older, I am glad that I have come a step closer to where I want to be in life. I am glad that I know now things I didn't know when I was younger, know people I didn't know before, learned things I didn't know before. But most of all, I am grateful for the fact that I have something that I can say what not every person is able to say on their 26th birthday. I can say that I know what I want, and where I am going next.

Okay this all sounds very poetic, and stuff. So I guess I should take a chill pill and just add that I also just hope I get something real good to eat today!

Oh yeah
Just when you think a person can't become a bigger ass than he already is.

Separated at birth?

 

 
Friday, April 08, 2005
Mindless rambling about chocolate
I have decided to rid myself of the poisonous horrors that chocolate keeps inflicting upon my mortal mind, soul and body. Indeed, I have stopped eating chocolate. It's been more than half a day since I last consumed some of that sweet, brown and ohh so delicious.. substance. Half a day, and the craving is getting bad. But I have decided that enough is enough. No longer shall I allow myself to be so completely and utterly addicted to a (unhealthy) food, that the craving prevails time and time again! As I was walking the shopping street today I realised just how serious my almost-amorous attachment to chocolate really is. Half a day, and the color brown simply drew me closer. I walked towards a bakery/confectionary and spent a couple of minutes gazing at the beautifully decorated marsipan cake. The cake was masterfully made with gorgeous milk chocolate decorations. The sight of it nearly made me wet eyed.
During my walk I also encountered some chocolate figures. I can't remember the story with the chocolate figures. They were on display in some shop. But they fascinated me as well. The chocolate...

As a healthfreak of many years I am not pleased that the curse of a chocolate addiction should so often get the chance to simply take control of my thoughts & behavior. I'd have the body of a fitness queen had I stayed away from it! But instead what do I have? Love handles!
So I say no more. And a time of great difficulty begins for me. I know I've tried before, on numerous occasions. But this time I'm really serious. I know I've said this before. But this time, I mean it more. The chocolate is going down! 

And all right so I realise that all of you (except maybe Alice) will have a hard time relating to my dilemma, and possibly even think I'm nuts. But well, I don't care.

 

 
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Thoughts on understanding the "visual"
My regular readers may be aware of the fact that when I was in "college" (in Scandinavia "college" is a 3 or 4 year school one must complete in order to be accepted to university), I majored in art. Photography was a mandatory course. I was quite annoyed about it back then. I had to borrow a huge camera from my sister's then husband, and I had to spend so much time photographing and developing. My teacher was extremely demanding and impatient. But by the end of the course I actually made friends with her, and it is because of her that I developed a passion for photography that has stayed with me since.

Another story that is not entirely unrelated, is a course I took during my first year of university, called "Visual anthropology". It deals with the anthropology of film. The teachers were horrible. They really were. Out of the 63 students who started the course, around 15 stayed until the end. The teachers would accept nothing short of perfection. They even made me cry on a few occasions when they practically spat on my work. But the funny thing is though, that I ended up getting the highest grade, as well as learning so much from them. One of the things I learned is how the "visual", (despite the photographer's ability to picture what he wishes) is capable of making a far stronger impression in the mind of a human being than the written word. Infact, there are some things we are incapable of understanding without experiencing it visually.
This is partly why I like to sometimes post photos here on my website.  So here are some photos from the amazing David Rubinger gallery. I decided to post what I'd like to call "Israel before and after".

    
With immigrants like these, Israel built a city in the vast desolation of the Negev Desert. A city that today houses Israel's nuclear reactor - Dimona. (1955)


In an immigrants transit camp, Nathan Tuvim and his wife Saadia, with their children. (1950)

The Tuvim family in their home in Petah Tikva, a town north of Tel Aviv. They now own a grocery store and live above the shop. The woman is the same little girl on the right in the tent picture. (1996)


Entertainment, educational, both??

New hate song on PA TV - Israelis kill Palestinians in God's name
Despite vows by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to remove incitement to hatred and violence against Israel from official Palestinian television, the incitement to hatred continues with new programming on PA TV. A cultural program broadcast this week features a song laced with hatred of Israel, accusing Israel of torturing, mutilating and killing Palestinians in the name of God.


As PMW has reported in the past, PA TV has for years used songs and music videos as a vehicle to impart educational messages, and has even mandated the killing of Jews as a religious necessity for Muslims.

To view the report, Kill a Jew - Go To Heaven, click here

This week's program promotes hatred in a new way. Perhaps to justify the PA's portrayal of genocide as religious necessity -- the message here is that Israel is killing Palestinians in God's name.

In the program, A Mirror of the Palestinian Heritage, a woman is seen writing the words, "a mirror of the Palestinian heritage," over a map of Israel -- thus portraying all of Israel as occupied "Palestine." The song to which the women dance accuses Israel of heinous crimes against the Palestinians, and accuses Israel of committing all these evils in the name of God.

The following is an excerpt from the TV program.



Women dancing to the music (the melody is reminiscent of an Eastern European lullaby):


 
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Academic racism
(from: Israel Midnight Café)

Boycott Academic Anti-Semitism

Please sign this letter and register your support. Send it as wide and far as possible.

Dear friend,

On April 20 2005, the British Association of University Teachers (AUT) will debate a motion which calls for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. This motion is the latest attempt in a long standing campaign by a group of academics to institute a boycott of Israeli universities.

The organisers of the motion say they are "standing up for justice in the Middle East," and characterise Israel as "racist," "colonialist," an "apartheid state."

The individuals calling for a boycott against Israel have chosen to target the only parliamentary democracy of its kind in the Middle East. It is one of the most open societies in the world, with 1.3 million Israeli citizens — 20 percent of the population - being Arab Israelis, with equal citizenship rights. In fact, Israel is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote. Arabs currently hold 8 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. Israeli Arabs have also held various government posts, from ambassadorships to cabinet ministerial posts.

The nefarious motives behind the drive to boycott Israel become transparent through the double standards that define it. A brief look at other states in the Middle East, all of which have not been targeted for a boycott, will quickly reveal this. The state of Israel is surrounded by police states and totalitarian theocracies, which have enshrined laws and constitutions that guarantee actual apartheid conditions for women (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran), and massive discrimination against homosexuals (Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia).

Many of these states persecute religious, ethnic, and national minorities (Sudan, Syria, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran). Some of them have murdered millions of people in the last three decades alone, through war, mass executions, torture, and state sponsored terror. The Arab Human Development Report, published by Arab researchers for the UN Development Program, concluded that out of the seven regions of the world, Arab countries had the lowest freedom score.

In Sudan, the northern Arab-Muslim government has unleashed a religious and ethnic war against the non-Arab, non-Muslim black African southern population. Sudan's treatment of its black population has led to more than 2 million deaths and over 4 million people displaced. Those who survive are often enslaved.

Yet, not a single call to boycott Sudan, or any other tyrannical country, has been voiced by those academics.

With this in mind, human rights and principles of justice are surely not the real causes that drive calls for an exclusive boycott of Israel.

Sue Blackwell, a Birmingham English professor and a key figure in the movement to boycott Israel, recently supported a campaign aimed at trying to get Irish fans to boycott a football match between Ireland and Israel. The campaign was entitled: "Irish soccer should show Israeli Apartheid the Red Card." The outright lies behind Blackwell's campaign were shattered in the game itself; an Israeli-Arab player, Abbas Swan, scored a goal for the Israeli team.

The organisers of the boycott often cite their opposition to Israel's anti-terrorism operations in the West Bank and Gaza. Yet they remain silent about the murderous terrorism directed against Israel that prompt such operations, and the systematic incitement in Palestinian schools and media, which has filled children with hatred and caused them to aspire towards "martyrdom" and mass murder of Israelis.

Ironically, the boycotters say that Israel is in violation of international law. Yet, the same academics do not wish to boycott Britain or the United States for their leading roles in the Iraq war and ensuing occupation, which has been deemed illegal by the United Nations.

China's illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of Tibet have not caused these individuals to call for a boycott of Chinese universities, and Russia's illegal carpet bombing of Grozhny, Chechnya, resulting in the death of 200,000 Chechens, have also failed to prompt calls for a boycott of Russian institutions.
The timing of renewed efforts to boycott Israeli universities is equally dubious. As Israeli and Palestinian leaders begin to talk about peace and cooperation, after many years of hardship and bloodshed, a group of British academics intensify efforts to demonise and isolate Israel; This is an obvious betrayal of their rejectionist stance towards a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In light of the falsehoods, double standards, and glaring hypocrisy that surround the arguments given by academics calling for a boycott against Israel, it can and must be concluded that they are not acting out of the principles they falsely cite.

We are therefore left with little option but to conclude that the calls to boycott Israel are motivated by a desire to harm Israel, solely because it is a Jewish nation-state, although the organisers of the boycott are unwilling and unable to say so publicly. This reason, and it alone, accounts for why Israel only, out of all the countries in the world, would be singled out and targeted for sanctions by the academic boycotters.

The academics involved in the boycott attempt should therefore themselves be boycotted. Join us in protesting this attempt to masquerade prejudice and bigotry as a progressive cause.

Add your name to this letter, and take a stand against a most modern manifestation of anti-Semitic prejudice.

Thank you.

 
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
My appetite just went bye bye
I saw this at Dave's. An interview with Aviv Geffen. How unfortunate that I just happened to be eating while reading it. I mean sure I know that people tend to tell a little lie or two, but this! And he can't even sing..


Aviv Geffen: A freak & a liar

 
Monday, April 04, 2005
Alrighty, so I'm gonna talk about The Pope
As I have occasionally mentioned, I really am not the biggest fan of Catholicism. It has nothing to do with the fact that I am not a Christian. I simply just seem to have some sort of an attitude problem when it comes to Catholics. I remember a funny clip from a movie I saw many years ago. I can't remember the name of the film, but it went something like this: A middle aged American Jewish lady was marrying an Italian man. At the wedding some of the bride's Jewish friends are standing around chatting, when they are approached by an old Italian lady:

Old Italian Lady: So you are Jewish?
Jewish ladies: Yes we are
Old Italian lady: So you don't believe in THE POPE?
Jewish ladies (with an ironic tone of voice): Noooo, we don't!
Old Italian lady: Hmmf! (And runs off).

I admit that I found the importance of a human being (The Pope) in Catholicism remarkable, and in honesty (whether I have any right to form such opinions or not), I can't say it agreed with me..

However. I've decided to get over my attitude problem (at least take a step in the right direction), and simply just pay my respect to those mourning the death of a good man.
So here is "The Life of Pope John Paul II in photos".

Here are also some random photos that I selected myself :p

Pope by Kotel & flags

Like I said, a random choice!

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