Scotland and the Bar Kokhba Revolt

Aug. 29 2016

Archaeologists have long known that a fort once stood on the Scottish hill of Burnswark, and that large numbers of Roman soldiers once encamped on either side of it. Recently, they have become more certain of what occurred there: a massive Roman assault that marked the beginning of an invasion of the country in the year 140 CE. Part of the evidence involves the Bar Kokhba revolt, in which, a few years earlier, Rome crushed the last hopes of renewed Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel. Willie Johnston writes:

Using metal detectors, it has been found that massive amounts of lead shot were fired [by slingshot] at the fort, and not in a way indicating target practice. More evidence is the known presence of General Lollius Urbicus, brought here from the Middle East to do the Emperor Antoninus’s dirty work.

John Reid, [an expert on the Roman presence in Scotland], says Urbicus had “previous” [experience]. “He made his name in the Jewish war that had taken place in Israel where legionaries had literally gone through the whole of Judea taking hill forts one after the other. . . . He was [thus subsequently] given the job of taking Scotland; we know that from Roman literary sources.” . . .

Many of the lead sling-bullets found at Burnswark have identical four-millimeter holes in them which, initially, was a mystery. . . [But] the effect of the hole became obvious when replicas were made and fired.

“You’d hear this screeching noise that you’ve never heard before or experienced before in your life,” explained the archaeologist Andrew Nicholson. . . . “You hear this keening sound through the air and the chap with the spear next to you drops dead and you wonder what on earth is doing it. You’d be utterly terrified.”

Read more at BBC

More about: Ancient Rome, Archaeology, Bar-Kokhba, History & Ideas, Jewish history, Scotland


The Palestinian National Movement Has Reached a Point of Crisis

With Hamas having failed to achieve anything through several weeks of demonstrations and violence, and Mahmoud Abbas reduced to giving rambling anti-Semitic speeches, Palestinian aspirations seem to have hit a brick wall. Elliott Abrams explains:

[Neither] Fatah [nor] Hamas offers Palestinians a practical program for national independence. . . . [The current situation] leaves Palestinians high and dry, with no way forward at all. Whatever the criticism of the “occupation,” Israelis will certainly not abandon the West Bank to chaos or to a possible Hamas takeover. Today the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state is simply too dangerous to Israel and to Jordan to be contemplated. . . . There are only two other options. The first is the “one-state solution,” meaning union with Israel; but that is a nonstarter that Israel will reject no matter who is its prime minister. The other option is some kind of eventual link to Jordan.

In polite diplomatic society, and in Palestinian public discourse, such a link cannot be mentioned. But younger people who visit there, Palestinians have explained to me, can see a society that is half-Palestinian and functions as an independent nation with a working system of law and order. Jordanians travel freely, rarely suffer from terrorism, and [can vote in regular] elections, even if power is ultimately concentrated in the royal palace. The kingdom has close relations with all the Sunni states and the West, and is at peace with Israel.

The fundamental question all this raises is what, in 2018, is the nature and objective of Palestinian nationalism. Is the goal sovereignty at all costs, no matter how long it takes and even if it is increasingly divorced from peace, prosperity, and personal freedom? Is “steadfastness” [in refusing to compromise with Israel] the greatest Palestinian virtue now and forever? These questions cannot be debated in either Gaza or the West Bank. But as Israel celebrates 70 years and the “occupation” is now more than a half-century old, how much longer can they be delayed? . . .

The catastrophic mishandling of Palestinian affairs by generations of leaders from Haj Amin al-Husseini (the pro-Nazi mufti of the British Mandate period) to Yasir Arafat and now to Mahmoud Abbas has been the true Palestinian Nakba.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Jordan, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinians