A Moat from the First Crusade Discovered Outside Jerusalem

July 18 2019

From June 7 to July 15, 1099, the armies of the First Crusade laid siege to Jerusalem, then ruled by the Fatimid caliphate. According to two 12th-century accounts, the defenders dug a moat around the city as a protective measure, which took the Crusaders several attempts to cross. Archaeologists exploring the edges of the Old City have finished excavating the ditch, writes Amanda Borschel-Dan:

[The excavation’s] co-director Shimon Gibson laughingly said that contrary to popular imagination, the moat was most certainly not filled with water and patrolling crocodiles. Rather, it was a somewhat shallow ditch (thirteen-feet deep), he said, which would have been “an annoyance” to the invading Crusaders who could not stand their siege tower against the wall and gain a foothold into the city. In addition to the dry moat, other remnants of war include slingshots, arrowheads and pendant crosses. . . .

According to two chronicles, [the French commander] Raymond of Saint-Gilles offered his soldiers a gold dinar to fill the moat under the cover of night so a surprise siege tower could be placed next to the wall. While trying to break through, the Crusaders would have suffered showers of arrows . . . and cauldrons of boiling olive oil, said Gibson.

Despite the hardships [involved], the soldiers were successful in filling the ditch and the tower was built— but it was immediately burned down by the Fatimid defenders. A day later, other Crusader forces on the northern side of the city breached the walls. After their victory, the Crusaders spent another week slaughtering the city’s [Muslim and Jewish] inhabitants.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Archaeology, Crusades, Jerusalem


The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

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Read more at Fathom

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media