Ancient Roman Canals Discovered Near the Dead Sea

An excavation has unearthed an elaborate system of canals, built in Roman times, near the Dead Sea. The canals were constructed to sustain local agriculture:

The system used gravity to carry water from the Ein Bokek spring to the [region’s terraced farming plots]. The longest of the canals measures 1.2 miles. . . .

[According to archaeologists], “the terraces were used to raise various crops that were apparently used in the process of creating the legendary persimmon perfume. That perfume was known far and wide, and researchers think that on these terraces, the persimmon plants themselves, which were different from the persimmon trees we know today, were grown.”

The area of the Dead Sea Valley in question, from Ein Gedi to Jericho, was the only place in the world where the persimmon was grown, making persimmon products extremely valuable in ancient times. The persimmon perfume was produced by combining resin of persimmon with purified oil and sundry spices.

Read more at JNS

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Dead Sea, History & Ideas

The Viciousness of the Left’s Turn against Israel

Naturally, neither the Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez nor his political ally and compatriot Josep Borrell—who was as quick to express his sorrow over the death of the Iranian president as he has been to condemn Israel for war crimes on flimsy evidence—would admit any hostility toward Jews. These two socialists would instead fall back on the rhetoric of progressive internationalism, and their defenders would rush in to complain of the “weaponization of anti-Semitism” to stifle any criticism of Israel. Susie Linfield, a scholar of leftwing anti-Zionism, has some thoughts on this matter:

There is . . . something almost laughable—though also deeply irritating—about the increasingly talmudic debate over whether anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. [The magazine] n+1 published an open letter signed by many leftist Jewish writers, insisting that the two “anti’s” aren’t the same. But they couldn’t bring themselves even to mention the Hamas attacks by name, instead putting forth a sort of wimpy “all lives matter” line. So let’s stipulate: no, anti-Zionism isn’t always anti-Semitism. You’re not an anti-Semite? Mazel tov! Unfortunately, the political positions of many self-professed anti-Zionists are atrocious nonetheless.

And what’s so weird about all this is that in the aftermath of October 7, it’s become crystal clear that anti-Zionism is often anti-Semitism, and deeply so. The loathing, the resentment, the vilification of Jews is viscerally palpable in so many of the pro-Palestinian demonstrations, articles, statements. The n+1 statement was titled “A Dangerous Conflation.” It seems to me that what’s dangerous is the vicious, unhinged anti-Semitism that is circulating all over the world and all over this country, including in its elite spaces.

This is one of the many striking passages in an interview with Linfield by Robert Boyers for the left-leaning journal Salmagundi. Boyers, although admirably open-minded, comes to the conversation with the assumptions of someone steeped in progressive assumptions about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, for which Linfield has little patience. For instance, to the insistence that the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS) isn’t anti-Semitic even if “some BDS supporters envision a total undoing of the Zionist project,” Linfield responds:

What does it mean to “totally undo” a national project—in this case, one that saved millions of Jewish lives? Who the hell is BDS to undo a national project? Are there other national projects on its hit list—France? Bangladesh? China? Why is eliminationism considered a valid “project”—a progressive project!—when it comes to the state of the Jewish people? What will the “total undoing” of Israel look like? We know the answer: it will look like October 7.

Read more at Salmagundi

More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, BDS, Leftism