A Forgotten Zion in North Florida

Dec. 11 2014

In 1816, Moses Elias Levy, a Moroccan-Jewish businessman, set sail for America from London to create an agricultural settlement for Jews fleeing anti-Semitism in Germany and France in the wake of the Napoleonic wars. Established on a plot of land in Florida, his settlement, named Pilgrimage Plantation, survived legal troubles and an attempt by a local merchant to burn it down, but was eventually destroyed in the Second Seminole War of 1835. The area where the Jewish colony once stood is now in the town of Micanopy, but not a trace of it remains. Brian Zimmerman writes:

On the grassy prairie lands amidst the sage brush and wilting oak trees, Levy arrived with the goal of building his Jewish homeland. He could not have picked a better site for a community founded on the desire to appease religious suffering. To finance Pilgrimage Plantation, Levy invested in a sugarcane mill and blacksmith shop, as well as a wide array of agricultural equipment and livestock, including horses, sheep, oxen, and hogs. Then, all Levy needed was residents. Those came as early as 1822, when [Levy’s partner, the Anglo-German Jewish banker Frederick] Warburg arrived in Florida with 23 Jewish settlers, all of whom had answered an advertisement in a New York City newspaper.

Read more at Forward

More about: American Jewish History, Florida, Moroccan Jewry

The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy