The World’s Oldest Archaeological Journal Cancels a Conference in Order to Boycott Israel

Last March, praising his own “clarity of thought” and “courage,” the chairman of the venerable Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF) took to the pages of that organization’s journal, the Palestine Exploration Quarterly, to defend a decision to cancel a then-upcoming conference in Jerusalem. Citing international law and “the demands of neutrality,” Philip Davies explained that the conference could not accept papers based on the findings of “Jewish excavations” in east Jerusalem, lest the PEF “appear to condone illegal archaeology.” Rami Arav responds:

When I queried him [regarding] his use of the objectionable term “Jewish excavations” in his editorial, Davies stated in a written reply: “In my defense, I understand that the excavations in question are conducted by Jews and funded by Jews and have a Jewish purpose, so that you might perhaps be gracious enough to allow that I was factually correct.”

That one defensive statement not only defined “Jewish excavations” but seems to imply that the Jews have some sinister “purpose” behind their “Jewish excavations.” This is absurd. The PEF chairman willingly wished to collaborate with [his organization’s German counterpart, which] sponsored a dig in the Lutheran Church of Jerusalem [that employed] Lutheran archaeologists. [Should this] excavation be branded “a Lutheran excavation”? . . .

I have ascertained through correspondence that at least three Israeli scholars were initially rejected out of hand from the conference. . . . One presentation that fully complied with the [conference] guidelines and focused on the archives of PEF in London was at first rejected solely because the presenter was Israeli. If he had written under a name like “John Smith,” the conference would have accepted his paper. . . .

So a golden opportunity to illuminate important chapters in the history of Levantine archaeology was missed thanks to the strident anti-Israel bias of the PEF chairman. . . . The American Institute of Archaeology and the American Schools of Oriental Research do an excellent job [of fostering the study of the land of Israel in ancient times] without meddling in unnecessary political agendas. Why can’t the PEF continue to heed the warning of its founders to stick to inductive inquiry and steer well clear of religious and political controversy?

Read more at Bible and Interpretation

More about: Academic Boycotts, Anti-Semitism, Archaeology, Israel & Zionism

The Temple Mount Terrorist Attack Exposes the Real Reasons behind Palestinian “Rage”

July 20 2017

After the terrorist attack at the Temple Mount last week, Israeli police found a large cache of weapons hidden in the al-Aqsa complex. Eli Lake comments on Palestinian reactions, and what they suggest about the persistent canard that “al-Aqsa is in danger” from alleged Jewish infiltration:

The real threat to the mosque on Friday did not come from Jewish settlers, [as Palestinian propaganda would have it], but from the Israeli Arabs [who did the shooting]. So it’s important to examine the response from Palestinian leaders. Let’s start with Abbas. He was forceful in his condemnation of the act, noting that there is no room for violence in such a holy place. . . . But by Monday the old patterns emerged. [His] Fatah party called this week for a “day of rage.” Was this to protest the gunmen who entered the “noble sanctuary,” or those mourning their deaths? No. This protest is aimed at Israel for erecting metal detectors at the entrance of the Temple Mount compound after the shootings.

The most telling response, however, came from Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group that rules Gaza. A spokesman for the group, Sami Abu Zuhi, said on Friday the attack “was a natural response to Israeli terrorism and their defilement of the al-Aqsa mosque.” . . . [But] how can any thinking person take the professed pieties of Hamas leaders seriously if they rail against “defilement” of the site yet praise gunmen who fled to it in a shooting spree?

As Martin Kramer, a historian at Shalem College in Jerusalem, told me this week, the attack at the Temple Mount broke a taboo. “The usual Islamist claim is that the danger to the mosque and the shrine is from Jews,” he said. “Here there was an actual conspiracy to smuggle weapons into this holy place and Hamas does not condemn it, they praise it. Who poses the greater danger to al-Aqsa?”

Read more at Bloomberg

More about: Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Palestinians, Temple Mount, Terrorism