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


Hannah Arendt, Adolf Eichmann, and the Jews

Feb. 23 2018

In 1963—a year after Adolf Eichmann’s sentencing by an Israeli court—reports on the trial by the German-born Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt appeared in the New Yorker and were soon published as a book. This “report on the banality of evil,” as the book was subtitled, outraged many Jews, including many of her erstwhile friends and admirers, on account of her manifest contempt for the entire preceding, her disgust for the state of Israel, her accusation that a wide array of European Jewish leaders (if not the majority of the victims) were complicit in their own murder, and her bizarre insistence that Eichmann was “not a monster,” or even an anti-Semite, but a mindless, faceless bureaucrat. While extensive evidence has been brought to light that Arendt was wrong both in her claims of Jewish passivity and her evaluation of Eichmann as the head of the SS’s Jewish section, her book remains widely read and admired. Ruth Wisse comments on its enduring legacy:

When Arendt volunteered to report on the Eichmann trial, it was presumed that she was doing so in her role as a Jew. . . . But Arendt actually traveled to Jerusalem for a deeper purpose—to reclaim Eichmann for German philosophy. She did not exonerate Nazism and in fact excoriated the postwar Adenauer government for not doing enough to punish known Nazi killers, but she rehabilitated the German mind and demonstrated how that could be done by going—not beyond, but around, good and evil. She came to erase Judaism philosophically, to complicate its search for moral clarity, and to unseat a conviction [that, in Saul Bellow’s words], “everybody . . . knows what murder is.”

Arendt was to remain the heroine of postmodernists, deconstructionists, feminists, relativists, and internationalist ideologues who deny the stability of Truth. Not coincidentally, many of them have also disputed the rights of the sovereign Jewish people to its national homeland. Indeed, as anti-Zionism cemented the coalition of leftists, Arabs, and dissident minorities, Arendt herself was conscripted, sometimes unfairly and in ways she might have protested, as an ally in their destabilizing cause. They were enchanted by her “perversity” and were undeterred in their enthusiasm by subsequent revelations, like those of the historian Bernard Wasserstein, who documented Arendt’s scholarly reliance on anti-Semitic sources in her study of totalitarianism, or of revelations about her resumed friendship with Martin Heidegger despite his Nazi associations.

At the same time, however, the Arendt report on the Eichmann trial became one of the catalysts for something no one could have predicted—an intellectual movement that came to be known as neoconservatism. A cohort of writers and thinkers, many of them Jews from immigrant families who had turned to leftism as naturally as calves to their mother’s teats, but who had slowly moved away from the Marxism of their youth during the Stalin years and World War II, now spotted corruption and dishonesty and something antithetical to them in some of their very models of the intellectual life.

They and their Gentile colleagues had constituted the only European-style intelligentsia to flourish in America. Most of them were only one generation removed from Europe, after all, so what could be more natural than for them to serve as the conduit of European intelligence to America? Arendt’s ingenious twist of the Eichmann trial showed them how Jewish and American they actually were—and how morally clear they aspired to be.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Adolf Eichmann, Hannah Arendt, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Neoconservatism, New York Intellectuals