The well-versed traveler to the Holy Land is familiar with the legendary Israeli, his qualities and his roadside manners. Intense, in a rush, he speeds, tailgates, beeps and passes on the four-lane Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, the scene of horrific car accidents every week.
25 November 2008
23 November 2008
Zionist Jews like to pretend that Palestine was relatively unpopulated and/or barren prior to their arrival and seizure of the territory. Some of them also like to claim that Jerusalem was already a Jewish city in the 19th century. I am offering this information from a 19th century source as a check on that propaganda.
In these passages Dr. William M. Thomson, an elderly Christian missionary, discusses some of the highly productive farming communities that existed in Palestine long before the Zionist takeover wherein it has been claimed that the Jews "made the desert bloom." Palestine was already quite fertile where, as Thomson observes, an underground "river of vast breadth" seems to flow, not realizing that this underground "river" was actually a system of irrigation tunnels left by the Persian Empire.
Thomson also mentions that Bedouins inhabited significant portions of "the Holy Land" but unlike the industrious Philistines (i.e. Palestinians) of Jaffa and Gaza he does not find much to praise in them; yet even they are evidence that the land was not uninhabited.
Oddly, Thomson repeatedly waxes romantic amid observation of the Palestinians in mundane tasks, viewing through a Biblical lens and thinking, this is how it must have been in Biblical times, but when he comes to the modern Jews living in Jerusalem he is totally unimpressed. His impression of them is both unattractive and un-Biblical. He has to contrive rationales to continue believing that they really are the heroes of his favorite story-book.
I think that it may be a mistake on Thomson's part to try to name a cause for the gloomy demeanor of the Jews that he saw at Jerusalem. We have plenty of gloomy Jews in the USA today, and some that look like death warmed over even when nothing is particularly wrong. For some people gloom is the normal mode; Jewish negativity is proverbial. The poverty-stricken appearance of those 19th century Jews may be misleading too, if it is true that Jews cultivated the habit of appearing as paupers no matter how much wealth they accumulated.
Thomson estimated that Jews constituted only 40% of the population of Jerusalem (10,000 out of 25,000) in 1880, even after several decades of rapid increase due to the arrival of Ashkenazim from Europe. The fact that there were some Jews in Jerusalem in the 19th century by no means proves that it was a Jewish city; much less does it imply that Palestine in general belonged to Jews. Thomson mentions encountering Jews only in and near Jerusalem, and by the Dead Sea, where he saw encamped "Muhammedans, Druses, Maronites, Catholics, Greeks, Armenians, Copts, Syrians, Jews, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, and infidels, in one vast congregation (p.353)."
Selected passages from
THE LAND AND THE BOOK
BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATIONS DRAWN FROM THE MANNERS AND CUSTOMS, THE SCENES AND SCENERY, OF THE HOLY LAND (SOUTHERN PALESTINE AND JERUSALEM)
by William M. Thomson, D. D. (Forty-five years a missionary in Syria and Palestine)
Who made the desert bloom? The ancient Persian irrigation system at Jaffa
Our position is not only novel but picturesque, and extremely pleasant. Notwithstanding all I had heard and read about these gardens, I am surprised at their extent. From the roof of the house the eye wanders over a veritable wilderness of luxuriant vegetation, apparently without limits, and certainly very beautiful.
Jaffa is famed in modern times for her gardens and orchards of delicious fruit more than for anything else. They are quite extensive, flourishing, and profitable, but their very existence depends upon the fact that water to any amount can be procured in every garden, and at a moderate depth. The entire plain seems to cover a river of vast breadth, percolating through the sand en route to the sea. Hundreds of Persian water-wheels, working night and day, produce no sensible diminution, and this inexhaustible source of wealth underlies the whole territory of the Philistines [i.e. Palestinians] down to Gaza at least, and probably much farther south, though wells have to be sunk to a great depth in many places to reach the water.
Have we any reason to believe that these Persian water-wheels were here in ancient days of Jewish history? I have been greatly interested in them, and they seem admirably adapted for the purpose intended.
Simple in construction, cheap, quickly made, soon repaired, easily worked, they raise an immense quantity of water. Many efforts have been made to introduce pumps, but they always fail and get out of repair ; and as there is no one able to mend them, they are thrown aside, and the gardener returns to his na'urah. The whole of this machinery is quickly enumerated and described. A clumsy cog-wheel, fitted to an upright post, is made to revolve horizontally by a mule attached to a sweep; this turns a similar one perpendicularly, placed at the end of a heavy beam, which has a large wide drum built into it, directly over the mouth of the well. Over this drum revolve two rough hawsers, or thick ropes, made of twigs and branches twisted together, and upon them are fastened small jars or wooden buckets. One side descends while the other rises, carrying the small buckets with them ; those descending empty, those ascending full, and as they pass over the top they discharge into a trough which conveys the water to the cistern. The length of these hawsers and the number of the buckets depend, of course, upon the depth of the well, for the buckets are fastened on the hawser about two feet apart. The depth of wells in Jaffa varies from ten to forty feet. If the mule or camel turns the wheel rapidly, which he rarely does, a bucket with about two gallons of water will be carried over the top of it and discharged into the trough every second ; and it must be a good pump that will steadily do as much. The hawser is made of twigs, generally of myrtle, not merely because it is cheap and easily plaited by the gardener himself, but because its extreme roughness prevents it from slipping round on the wheel, as an ordinary rope would do, and thus fail to carry up the loaded buckets.
There are other kinds of water-wheels in this country. The shaduf, so conspicuous on the Nile, is nowhere to be seen in Palestine, but the well-sweep and bucket are used in many places ; and I once saw an Egyptian working an apparatus much like the shaduf on the shore of the lake a little north of the city of Tiberias.
Another method is common in this land of Philistia, which I have also seen on the plains of Central Syria. A large buffalo-skin is so attached to cords that, when let down into the well, it opens and is instantly filled, and, being drawn up, it closes so as to retain the water. The rope by which it is hoisted to the top works over a wheel, and is drawn by oxen, mules, or camels, that walk directly from the well to the length of the rope, and then return, only to repeat the operation until a sufficient quantity of water is raised. This, also, is a very successful mode of drawing water.
The wheel and bucket, of different sorts and sizes, are much used where the water is near the surface, and also along rapid rivers. For shallow wells merely a wheel is used, whose diameter equals the desired elevation of the water. The rim of this wheel is large, hollow, and divided into compartments answering the place of buckets. A hole near the top of each bucket allows it to fill, as that part of the rim, in revolving, dips under the water. This, of course, will be discharged into the trough when the bucket begins to descend, and thus a constant succession of streams falls into the cistern. The wheel itself is turned by oxen, or mules, or camels.
This system of wheels is seen on a grand scale at Hums, Hamath, and all along the Orontes. The wheels there are of enormous size. The diameter of some of those at Hamath is eighty or ninety feet. Small paddles are attached to the rim, and the stream is turned upon them by a low dam with sufficient force to carry the huge wheel around with all its load of ascending buckets. These immense wheels are driven by the river itself; and the water, carried up to the required height, is sufficient to irrigate the extensive gardens. There is, perhaps, no hydraulic machinery in use by which so much water is raised to so great an elevation at so small an expense. Certainly I have seen none so picturesque or so musical. These wheels, with their enormous loads, slowly revolve on their groaning axles, all day and all night, each one singing a different tune, with every imaginable variation of tone, sobs, sighs, shrieks, and groans — loud, louder, loudest, down to the bottom of the gamut — a concert wholly unique and half infernal in the night, which, heard once, will never be forgotten.
The fruits of Jaffa are the same as those of Sidon, but with certain variations in their character. Sidon has the best bananas, Jaffa furnishes the best pomegranates. The oranges of Sidon are more juicy and of a richer flavor than those of Jaffa ; but the latter are FRUITS OF JAFFA. 23 larger, hang on the trees much larger, hang on the trees much later, and will bear to be shipped to distant regions. They are, therefore, more valuable to the producer. It is here that you see in perfection fragrant blossoms encircling golden fruit. In March and April these Jaffa gardens are indeed enchanting. The air is overloaded with the mingled perfume of orange, lemon, apple, apricot, quince, plum, and china trees in blossom. The people then frequent the biarah, sit on mats beneath the grateful shade, sip coffee, smoke the nargileh, sing, converse, or sleep, as best suits their individual idiosyncrasies, till evening, when they slowly return to their homes in the city. To us of the restless West this way of making kaif us of the restless West this way of making kaif soon wearies by its slumberous monotony, but it is elysium to the Oriental.
Are these orchards remunerative in a pecuniary point of view ?
I am informed that they yield ten per cent, on the capital invested, clear of all expense. Our friend Mr. Murad tells me that a biarah which costs 100,000 piastres will produce annually 15,000; but 5000 of this must be expended in irrigation, ploughing, planting, and manuring. This allows the proprietor 10,000 piastres, which is a fair profit on capital invested in agricultural pursuits.
The Friendly People of Fertile Gaza
The first time I came into this region I was agreeably surprised to find it neither flat nor barren, nor in any way resembling a sandy desert, as I had been led to expect from reading the narrative of Philip's ride through it with the eunuch. From the distant mountains it indeed has the appearance of a level plain, but the view is so vast that even very considerable hills are lost to the eye. In reality, Philistia closely resembles in appearance some of the rolling prairies of the Mississippi Valley. The country is equally lovely, and no less fertile. I am inclined to believe that, owing to something in the nature of the soil, or of the climate, or both, the sources of its fertility are even more inexhaustible than in most parts of our own land. Without manure, and with a style of ploughing and general culture which would secure nothing but failure in other countries, this vast plain continues to produce splendid crops every year, and this, too, be it remembered, after forty centuries of such tillage.
Here we are at el Muntar. I have brought you to the top of this high tell, not to honor the mukam of the saint, nor because this is the "hill that is before Hebron," to which Samson carried the gate of Gaza — though the tradition is probably correct, since it is in the proper direction — but because from it there is a fine view, stretching far away to the south-east, even to the ridge that overshadows el Khulil, as the city of Abraham is now called. Nothing more than this can be intended by "the hill before Hebron," for the town itself is at least thirty miles off, and behind lofty mountains. Be this as it may, I know no one stand-point from which you can survey so much of old Philistia as from this Muntar. We are to pass through the central part eastwards to-day, and can study it at our leisure ; but the southern region, quite to the desert, is best seen from here. I once came from er Ruhaibeh, spending the night on the bank of Nahr es Suny, where it unites with Wady es Seba', which comes down from Beer-sheba. The rolling plain from that wady northwards to Gaza was then green and flowery as a meadow, and much of it clothed with wheat ; but there is not a village along the entire route, and all the grain belonged to tent-dwelling Arabs. We passed many of their encampments, where every kind of work common in ordinary villages was in active operation, and carried on with the same sort of implements. There were, however, as was natural, many more camels and larger flocks than ordinary peasants possess ; and these formed a very striking feature in this agricultural tableau. All around us were examples of primitive pastoral life, like those seen on this same plain, I suppose, in the days of Abraham and Isaac. Men, women, and children, clad in garments, and following employments, pastoral and agricultural, like those of the patriarchs. It carried one back, as by enchantment, to the tents pitched in the valley of Gerar in the days of those venerable ancestors of God's chosen people.
These pastoral Arabs present a very interesting study. Unlike the wandering Bedawin, their cousins, they are permanently settled on this plain along the seaboard ; and their manner of life must closely resemble that of the Philistines with whom the patriarchs associated. We were passing through their encampments for several hours, and were everywhere welcomed as friends. The women were not veiled, nor was there any objection made to our visiting their tents, and inspecting their furniture, their employments, and even their garments. They were far from idle ; but, as the harvest had not yet commenced, they were chiefly occupied with their flocks and herds, and in the manufacture of cheese and butter. Some of the women were spinning goat's-hair into strands, to be woven into coarse black material for tent-coverings, rugs, and sacks for the grain. Their spindle was of the most simple kind, being often merely a stone, which they dexterously twirled around until the strand was sufficiently twisted. They can weave without any loom. The threads of the warp are stretched upon the ground, and made fast at either end to a stout stick ; and the threads of the woof are passed through with the hand, and pressed back into position by a rude wooden comb.
Boys and girls were scattered over the plain, watching the flocks to prevent them from trespassing upon the wheat-fields. From every camp broad and well-trodden paths led across the plain to the wells, where only the flocks are watered ; and I noticed that many of these paths turned towards the sea-shore, probably because water is there found at less depth than in the interior. These wells are the places of public resort, and there one can see and study to the best advantage the appearance, manners, customs, and costumes of these modern Philistines. There they gather, with all their belongings, in groups picturesque and suggestive to the traveller and to the eye and imagination of the artist.
German Colonists at Sarona
We have a long detour to make [on the route from Jaffa to Caesarea], and I hope we shall find the tents pitched and dinner awaiting when we reach our camp in the evening. For what special purpose is this detour? To obtain a general view of the northern part of the plain of Sharon, and to visit the fountain-head of the river 'Aujeh at er Ras, which has recently become a competitor with Kefr Saba for the honor of being the site of Antipatris.
Here, on our right, is a suburb evidently modern, and the houses have a familiar appearance, not unlike those in our own land.
They are foreign, and the people who inhabit them are also foreign, and connected mostly with the German colony through which we shall pass in about an hour's time. This nearest and most conspicuous house is the residence of our present consular representative, Mr. Hardegg ; and near it is the girls' school, and the home of Mrs. Hay and her invalid sister, Miss Baldwin, who conduct it. For similar benevolent purposes, that large and prominent edifice on the elevated ridge east of the city has been erected by Miss Arnott, an energetic and devoted lady from Scotland. May their self-denying work be crowned with abundant success.
Where is to be the terminus of the much-talked-of railroad to Jerusalem ?
You noticed a large building on our right, before we passed this suburb ; that is to be the first station, and it is the only part of the enterprise that has hitherto been achieved.
Or ever will be, I suppose. I cannot associate Joppa and the Holy City with a modern railway, even in imagination.
It would be unwise to pronounce almost any projected enterprise impossible in these days. And since there are no great engineering obstacles to overcome between Jaffa and Jerusalem, a railroad could soon be built, were there any adequate demand for it, or travel and traffic to support it. [The railroad from Jaffa (a.k.a Joppa) to Jerusalem was completed in 1892.] When I was here a few years ago, there was some talk of excavating a harbor along the low ground extending into the gardens eastward from that solitary station-house. It could be made, no doubt ; and when the great Hebrew capitalists of the world purchase Palestine from the Sultan, and restore it to the Jews, it very likely will be.
If not till then, the prospect is dim and distant enough.
You need not be too confident even of that. Some such project is persistently kept before the public by letters, essays, pamphlets, and lectures, premillennial and others. And it is a fact not to be ignored, that many intelligent people, both in Europe and America, are now greatly interested in this subject, and in this country with direct reference to such a consummation. Things more strange have happened in this land, and in the world at large, than that the Rothschilds, the Montefiores, and their compeers in colossal wealth, should purchase Palestine; and so far as the bankrupt government of the Sultan is concerned, the best use that could be made of this country would be to sell it. Now let us dismiss this subject, with the remark that although it is impossible to be in Palestine at the present day without having these and kindred topics thrust upon our attention, yet we need not dwell upon them, nor allow them to interfere with our special purposes.
We are continually meeting groups of donkeys, with baskets swinging on either side, and filled with the largest, brightest oranges I ever saw. They are to be sent by sea to foreign parts, I suppose, for there can be no local demand for such quantities of fruit.
No doubt; for this is but one of the many similar roads that converge from all parts of these gardens towards a common centre about the entrance into the city.
How extensive are the gardens?
The entire length, from north to south, is about seven miles, the average breadth one mile and a half, and the variety and quantity of fruit produced is quite surprising. Did you ever compare the list of modern fruits with those mentioned in the Bible ?
I have never had the specific information necessary for such a comparison.
No better data can be found in the country than those furnished by these gardens of Jaffa, and we may make the comparison here and now. The result will probably disappoint you. Those mentioned by the sacred writers, such as olives and figs, dates and apples, pomegranates and grapes, are all here; while the fruits that are the life and glory of these gardens — the orange, the lemon, the apricot, the peach, the pear, the plum, the quince, and the banana — do not appear at all on the Biblical list. In like manner the number and variety of berries, of vegetables, of nuts, and of flowers known and valued in our times, far exceed those of the ancients.
How do you account for the great superiority of the modern?
By the supposition that these fruits are not indigenous products of this country, but were brought into it from foreign lands, in connection with the Persian, Greek, and Roman empires, and, of course, after the canon even of the New Testament was closed. Many of the names in common use among the Arab peasants are neither Hebrew nor Arabic, and not a few of them are evidently Persian. It was not until after the Hebrew isolation had given place to general intercourse with distant lands that the fruits and vegetables in question were introduced into this country.
What place is this which we are laboriously approaching through this shifting sand ?
It is the German colony, and bears the appropriate name of Sarona. The situation is high, and ought to be healthy. The houses, erected in the midst of pleasant gardens, with ample space around them, and painted white, have a very home-like and inviting appearance.
It is surprising to find veritable Germans upon this plain of Sharon. Who are they, and under whose auspices have they been led to emigrate to this lonely spot?
The motive or impulse is a religious one, and the parent society, called The Temple, has its head-quarters in Germany, I believe at Stuttgard. Though I have had their published articles of faith kindly sent me by Herr Hardegg, the head of a similar colony located at the foot of Carmel, near Haifa, I cannot easily give a summary of them. Their assumed title, The Temple, intimates the belief that they are to found some sort of a spiritual temple in the Holy Land. So far as I know, they are plain, honest, hard-working people. Amongst them are carpenters, masons, shoemakers, blacksmiths, and one or more representatives of nearly every other trade or profession in civilized life. The colony numbers, all told — men, women, and children — about two hundred souls. Herr Hoffman is the presiding elder of the little community; but I believe there are no recognized clergy amongst them, and no special importance is attached to the common ordinances of the Christian Church. The site occupied by that part of the colony near the city belonged originally to an American company, under the control of a Mr. Adams, which was mismanaged, and ended disastrously many years ago. But peace to Sarona and its kind-hearted people! It is full two hours' ride to er Ras, across the wide and fertile plain of Sharon, and we must push on.
As there are very few villages on this part of the plain, I suppose it must be unhealthy.
All along the river 'Aujeh, which you see below us on our left, malarial fevers are very common during the months of summer and autumn; and those who cultivate the land locate their homes at a distance — generally on the lower slopes of the mountains. You can see them dotting the foot-hills of Judaea far away to the south, and northward also, along the picturesque declivities of Samaria. That dilapidated castle coming into view on our left marks the site of er Ras, and to visit it we have come thus far out of our way.
What is it, or was it, and for what distinguished ?
The castle was called Mirabel by the Crusaders, and built, doubtless, to command the fountain and the road.
The Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem as of 1880
Re-entering the city, I passed down eastwards from Zion Gate through the Jewish quarter, or Haret el Yehud. It is the most squalid part of the city, and the inhabitants make no effort to clean their filthy lanes and streets. I was in search of the new synagogue, which, standing on the eastern brow of Zion, directly fronting the Haram area, is quite a conspicuous object. It is a large
square building with a lofty dome, but without the least pretensions to architectural adornment on the outside, and with little to relieve the severe simplicity of the interior except some texts in Hebrew painted upon the walls.
It is a comparatively new edifice, and, therefore, has a fresh and cheerful appearance, in marked contrast to the wretched hovels around it. The [recently immigrated] Ashkenazim, to whom it belongs, are chiefly of German and Polish origin, and are under the protection of their several consular agents. The Sephardim, though mostly from Spain and Portugal, and speaking a corrupt Spanish, are, nevertheless Turkish subjects, and the only Jewish community recognized by the Government. They have their synagogue in that vicinity, and there are other smaller ones in different parts of Haret el Yehud: but none of them are specially attractive.
I have a vivid recollection of my first visit to one of these synagogues, many years ago. The room had nothing in or about it like any other place of worship I ever entered, and the congregation was in character and keeping with the place. I never saw such an assemblage of old, pale, and woe-begone countenances.
The behavior of the worshippers was very peculiar and somewhat ridiculous. The men, with broad-brimmed hats, or whatever other head-dress they possessed, were reading or muttering prayers, and while doing so they twisted and jerked and wriggled about incessantly, and at times with great vehemence, that "all their bones should praise the Lord," as one of them explained the matter to me. When they began what was understood to be singing, it was the most outrageous concert of harsh nasal sounds I ever heard. It was Hebrew, too; but if David thus "praised the Lord," I should never have thought of calling him the sweet singer of Israel.
And yet, I suppose, it was much after this fashion that he and all his band of trained musicians did actually celebrate the praises of the Most High. You hear the same nasal twang and grating gutturals in the singing of every denomination throughout the East. The Orientals know nothing of harmony, and cannot appreciate it when heard, but they are often spellbound, or wrought up to transports of ecstasy, by this style of music ; and no doubt the Temple service, performed by those trained for it, stirred the deepest fountains of feeling in the vast assemblies of Israel gathered at Jerusalem on their great feasts.
There is something inexpressibly sad in the features, deportment, and costume of these children of Abraham, as they grope about the ruins of their once joyous city.
This is partly owing to the fact that many of them have been great sinners elsewhere, and have come up here from all countries whither the Lord hath driven them, to purge away their guilt by abstinence, mortification, and devotion ; then to die, and be buried as near the Holy City as possible. This also accounts for the ever-increasing multitude of their graves, which are gradually covering the side of Olivet. The Jews come to Jerusalem to die ; and a community gathered for that specific purpose will not be particularly gay, or very careful about appearances.
In their Biblical and historical relations to the Holy City, the Jews form the most interesting class of her mingled population: but it is difficult for a stranger, while wandering amongst their wretched habitations, to have any other feeling in regard to them than that of compassion. They are miserably poor, and almost wholly dependent upon their coreligionists in Europe for their support. All their public buildings and charitable institutions have been established and are supported by the liberality of Sir Moses Montefiore, Baron Rothschild, and other wealthy Hebrews in distant countries.
Population and Demographics of Jerusalem as of 1880
I found it impossible to ascertain the number of the present inhabitants of the city, some estimating it at sixteen thousand, others as high as thirty-five thousand. You are aware that the Turkish Government does not take any reliable census, and hence all statements founded upon its estimates must be mere approximations. It is certain, however, that the population of Jerusalem is steadily, though not rapidly, increasing. My own acquaintance with the city extends over nearly half a century, and during that long period I suppose the population has doubled — that is, from twelve thousand in 1833 to something more than twenty-five thousand at the present day. The Jews have increased more than any other class, and probably amount, in round numbers, to ten thousand, the Moslems to eight or nine thousand, and the Christians of all sects to six or seven thousand. This gives a total population of over twenty-five thousand.
I assume that "South Asian" in this article means the racially mixed people of southern India and environs, who can be extremely dark and may have some portion of Negro ancestry. There are Negroes living on islands near India, and there was also a slave trade 1000 years ago that spread Negroes and Negro genes all over the Indian Ocean rim. Many "Middle Eastern" and "Mediterranean" people also have some Negro ancestry. The article avoids using clear racial terms, preferring instead to talk about "communities" and geographic origin, but most likely these conditions all pertain to Negro ancestry.
The aversion to considering race goes so far in the UK that screening for sickle cell is offered to White women, who are not at risk for it.
In spite of the fear of racial discussion, the article makes some race-specific suggestions for maintaining good health: e.g. Negroes should not eat all the same foods that White people eat, and they should not have their ears pierced or get tattoos.
When is someone going to take some concern about the special health needs of White people and make race-specific recommendations for us? Certainly a list could be compiled of things that Blacks do that Whites, for our own wellbeing, should not do, not just for physical but for mental health, and for maximizing our peculiar potentials.
Why good health is in the genes
7:00am Saturday 22nd November 2008
While all of us have the same general health concerns, some conditions are more prevalent in different races - with recent research revealing a higher rate of prostate cancer in black men. We look at black health and wellbeing.
By Gabrielle Fagan
While we all have the same general health concerns, some people may be more at risk from certain illnesses because of their race.
A UK study recently suggested that black men in England are three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than white men. Researchers at the University of Bristol looked at hospital records for both white and black men and found that the rate of prostate cancer was significantly higher among the black population.
Black men also tend to be diagnosed with prostate cancer at an earlier age, typically five years younger than white men.
Also African or African Caribbean people who live in the UK, along with those in the South Asian communities, are thought to be five times more likely to have diabetes. Both communities are also more at risk from high blood pressure and stroke than the general population.
Scientists are still trying to find out what may cause the increased risks, but diet and genes that affect the storing and processing of fat in the body may be important factors.
NHS Choices recently launched an online information site specifically targeting black health issues. "We identified a need for an information source on specific health issues affecting certain communities," explains Mark Pownall, its senior clinical editor.
The site also focuses on inherited blood conditions that mainly affect people of African, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern or Asian origin, such as sickle cell anaemia.
"We hope it will raise awareness," Pownall says. "It's been well received, with a lot of interest in its guidance on how people can protect or improve their health."
:: PROSTATE CANCER Men of African Caribbean origin are three times more likely to get prostate cancer - the most common cancer in men in the UK - than white men. They also tend to be diagnosed five years younger, a study of all cases by the University of Bristol, in London and Bristol found.
"The study indicates that there is a true biological difference between ethnic groups and this knowledge could potentially lead to improved care for men at higher risk of developing prostate cancer," says Dr Joanna Peak, science information officer at Cancer Research UK.
Researchers are looking at what causes this increased risk, but diet - some research points to a higher risk in Western diets rich in saturated animal fats and red meat - and genes may be important factors.
:: SICKLE CELL ANAEMIA There are certain inherited blood conditions that mainly affect people of African, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern or Asian origin.
Sickle cell disease affects around 12,500 people in England, with around 9,000 sufferers in greater London, making it the most common inherited disease in the country.
It is a group of conditions but the most serious, and common, is sickle cell anaemia, with sufferers generally of African or Caribbean origin [i.e. Negroes].
The disease affects red blood cells, which help carry oxygen around the body, and these cells are distorted in shape into a sickle (crescent) shape, which means they can get stuck in blood vessels and block the flow of blood.
People are born with sickle cell anaemia, inheriting it from their parents. If both parents carry the gene for sickle haemoglobin, there is a one in four chance the child will have sickle cell anaemia.
A simple blood test shows whether a person is a carrier of the sickle cell gene - carriers do not have symptoms. Men and women should find out whether they are a carrier before they start a family so they can get information and find out what choices they can make.
In England all pregnant women are offered screening , and newborn babies are offered a test for the disease. [All White women are offered screening to determine whether they carry sickle cell? This is non-discrimination carried to the point of absurdity!]
Symptoms can include episodes of pain in the joints, bones, stomach and chest and more severe symptoms may include chronic anaemia, jaundice and damage over time to the heart, lungs and liver.
:: BLOOD PRESSURE AND STROKE People from the African and African Caribbean communities [i.e. Negroes] are more at risk of high blood pressure and stroke, than the general population.
"It's not fully understood why African Caribbean people are likely to have high blood pressure," says Professor Graham MacGregor of the Blood Pressure Association.
"However, we know that a healthy diet combined with exercise and awareness can make a vital difference in preventing early death from stroke, heart attack or heart disease."
The Blood Pressure Association has a booklet, Healthy Eating The African Caribbean Way, available from 0208 772 4994/www.bpassoc.co.uk. [This is funny. They are recommending that Blacks eat a special diet suited to their race.]
:: DIABETES Those in the African Caribbean and South Asian communities in the UK are thought to be five times more likely than white people to have diabetes, according to Diabetes UK.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body can't deal properly with glucose (sugar) in food. There are more than two million sufferers in the UK.
"Diabetes prevalence in the South Asian community is six times higher than in the general population and five times greater in people of Black or African Caribbean origin," says Jenne Dixit, equality and diversity officer at Diabetes UK.
She urges those of South Asian, Black or African Caribbean origin, who are over 25, have diabetes in the family and/or a waist measurement of 31.5 inches or more for females, 35 inches or more for South Asian males, or 37 inches for black males, should ask a GP for a test for diabetes.
"It is vital that we raise awareness and show people that reducing the risk of diabetes is by having a healthy, balanced diet and doing 30 minutes of activity at least five days a week," she says.
"People can still follow their traditional diet, but they can do it more healthily. So instead of frying with a lot of oil, use only a teaspoonful, or try baking and steaming instead."
:: KELOID SCARRING Some scars grow lumpy and larger than the wound they are healing. While this can happen to anybody, it is more likely in people with black skin.
Although rarely painful, sufferers can feel embarrassed or upset if the scar is particularly visible.
"A keloid scar is an overgrown scar that can spread outside the original area of skin damage," says Indy Rihal of the British Skin Foundation.
"People with dark skin get keloids much more easily than people with fairer skin, and it is common in people with black skin. They're most common between the ages of 10 and 30, and can run in families," Rihal says.
"Keloid scars are shiny and raised above the surrounding skin, and can feel hard and rubbery. They can appear anywhere, but tend to form on the shoulders, head and neck."
You can't stop a keloid from happening, but you can avoid any deliberate cuts or breaks in the skin, for example tattoos or piercings, including on the earlobes.
"Avoid surgery on the skin for cosmetic purposes, and if you have acne, see your doctor to have it treated and minimise the risk of scarring," says Rihal.
:: See www.nhs.uk/livewell/blackhealth for more information on black health.
[Source: http://www.halesowennews.co.uk/newsxtra/3849277.print/ ]
14 November 2008
Actually there is a fairly reliable registry of those who died in German camps, the Red Cross International Tracing Service in Bad Arolson, Switzerland. But these records, since they have recently been opened to the public and it has been seen that they show no indication of anything like six-million Jewish deaths, and indicate no deaths by gassing, apparently are no longer accepted by some people as a reliable registry. The figure of six-million dead Jews is the sacred assumption on which belief in vast quantities of usurped Jewish wealth is based. Any evidence contradicting the sacred assumption is automatically discounted.
Simpson suggests that many Jewish-owned bank accounts were abandoned not because of death, but because paperwork needed to access the account was lost. "Those who survived didn't typically hold onto the sort of records that can buttress a claim." This seems not unlikely in the turmoil and destruction of 1945.
For European banks, "Settlements were often based on fragmentary evidence and statistical estimates of what banks and institutions owed." All of this occurred under "intense international pressure," i.e. under pressure from the Jewish-dominated Clinton Administration, represented by Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstadt. Israeli banks by contrast get "a chance to fight claims case-by-case, then shekel-by-shekel within each case." The Israeli banks will end up paying relatively little.
The way the matter is being handled in Israel is the way it should have been handled in Europe, instead of the strongarm treatment from Big Jew-S-A.
Battle for Holocaust Assets Roils Israel
By CAM SIMPSON
NOVEMBER 12, 2008
RAMAT GAN, Israel -- The global quest to ferret out money and property left behind by Jews killed in the Holocaust is now targeting Israel, and investigators say it's proving at least as difficult in the Jewish state as it did in Europe.
Many big banks and the government itself have resisted efforts to claim hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for bank deposits, land, corporate shares, art and other assets that investigators say once belonged to Jews killed by the Nazis and their allies.
"I cannot say that the Israeli establishment has been, or is, happy about the return of properties," says Avraham Roet, the recently retired chairman of the Company for Location & Restitution of Holocaust Victims Assets Ltd. The private firm, often referred to simply as the Company, was created by the Israeli parliament after its investigators identified up to 9,000 bank accounts suspected of belonging to Holocaust victims.
Thousands of European Jews deposited or invested tidy sums here during the decades before World War II, often without visiting what was then British-controlled Palestine. After many were killed in the Holocaust [which generally means died of typhus], their substantial assets went unclaimed, passing into the hands of the government of the newly created nation of Israel and some of its largest banks.
While some Israeli institutions have challenged the validity of the Company's claims, they are generally loath to say much about any of this in public. Mr. Roet and others say the institutions privately argue they should be treated more gently than their European counterparts because they are in a different position than banks and governments that actively assisted the Nazis.
As in Europe, it's impossible to know how much was really lost in Israel. The Nazis and their surrogates tried to hide their genocide. [On other occasions, Jewish writers like Daniel Goldhagen will say that the "genocide" was no secret at all. The "Holocaust" is claimed to have been either a secret or public knowledge depending on which serves the argument being made.] There is no reliable registry of the dead nor of their international assets. Those who survived didn't typically hold onto the sort of records that can buttress a claim.
In the 1990s and earlier this decade, Jewish groups threatened or took legal action against European governments and businesses. The U.S. got involved, threatening reluctant European [countries] with sanctions.
Under intense international pressure, deals were reached across the Continent. Settlements were often based on fragmentary evidence and statistical estimates of what banks and institutions owed. After hammering out a total price tag, the targeted institutions funded settlement pools or agreed to specific procedures for paying claims. Heirs with verified accounts or other documented assets typically got top priority. The remaining cash was designated for other victims of Nazi persecution, including refugees and slave laborers.
The European cases led Israeli scholars in 2000 to publish research showing heirs had been having difficulty recovering assets in the Jewish state. The revelations led to a parliamentary investigation, and, in 2006, the law creating the Company.
The Israeli law sets up a process similar to the one in Europe. Verified heirs are supposed to get paid first, with needy Holocaust survivors getting the rest. But there's a crucial difference from earlier settlements: The Company must target each institution over each asset that it allegedly held. As with Bank Leumi, this gives the targeted institutions a chance to fight claims case-by-case, then shekel-by-shekel within each case.
13 November 2008
Supermob: How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America’s Hidden Power Brokers
By Gus Russo
Bloomsbury USA, 592 pages, $34.95.
The Jewish people are instructed to be a “light unto the nations” — and what society could use more illumination than the underworld? So goes the story of mob lawyer Sidney Korshak, whose partnerships with Chicago gangsters led him to be named the most powerful lawyer in the world by the FBI. As part of his, er, “covenant,” he steered the mob toward a path of respectability, serving as its go-between with the white-collar world.
Sidney who, you ask? Those with a passing pop-culture familiarity with the Mafia know that Chicago was famous for its Italian Mafiosos, like Al Capone and Tony Accardo. New York City, of course, had its share of “tough Jews,” including Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel. But for much of the past century, the real center of mob power was a Chicago-born Jewish lawyer — or so says investigative reporter Gus Russo in his new book, “Supermob: How Sidney Korshak and His Criminal Associates Became America’s Hidden Power Brokers.”
The Supermob — the term was coined by late Senate investigator Walter Sheridan — was, according to Russo, a group of mostly Jewish men who made a fortune by collaborating with Chicago’s underworld. Generally, these men took mob money and funneled it into such respectable outlets as real estate and the burgeoning film industry.
The fact that these men were Jewish is crucial to Russo’s story. His telling of the Supermob tale begins in the Pale of Settlement and quickly advances to the Lawndale section of Chicago, a place so crowded with Jews that it was known as “Kosher Calcutta.” There, living amid crowded streets and a corrupt civic landscape, is a band of young, first-generation immigrant Jewish kids who are determined to make it big in American life — at any moral price. These Jewish gangsters would never make the headlines; instead, they’d serve as the behind-the-scenes masterminds of the mob.
And according to Russo, this is the role that Jews traditionally played. “Throughout history,” he writes, “the Jews were never the public leaders; they were always the kingmakers and power brokers.They knew from experience that a Jew would not get a top spot, however low the level, because of the existing anti-Semitism, even in America. They were always aware that their wealth and position in society could be noticed and another pogrom would ensue. Thus they worked surreptitiously, choosing to focus on the substrata of a business or an event.” [Think of Wolfowitz and Feith as the number two men to Rumsfeld and Cheney. Think of Barak Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, or the Jew who guided Obama through the electoral process, David Axelrod. With their connection to other Jews in mass-media, these ostensible subordinates have more power than meets the eye.]
Russo takes great pains to promote Korshak’s Jewish identity; the man attended the Herzl Grammar School, he lent financial support to Israel and, as a retiree in Beverly Hills, he collected Marc Chagall paintings. But early on, Korshak’s decidedly, well, goyish qualities are what set apart the rising star. Frequently referring to Korshak as “fair-haired,” Russo writes: “The adjectives most often used to describe the young barrister — suave, slim, tall and imperious — were the same attributes that made him the perfect corporate liaison for the most powerful underworld organization in the history of the nation.”
Korshak, too, represented a sort of duality. Though he prospered enormously from his mob ties — and used to brag about his early Capone associations — it seems he was conflicted, too. More than once, according to Russo, Korshak indicated that he wanted out — and, in an effort to put a tikkun olam wash over the criminal things he’d done, he donated large sums of money to charity.
Still, the Supermob’s reach extended far beyond the shtetl; by the time Korshak headed to Los Angeles in the 1950s, his list of associates read like a “Who’s Who” of American politics and business in the 20th century. Among Korshak’s cohorts were Jules Stein, founder of Universal Pictures and the Music Corporation of America, Conrad Hilton, Howard Hughes, Ronald Reagan and former California governor Jerry Brown.
Korshak lived the kind of riveting life that’s ripe for fiction — and indeed, he allegedly inspired the Tom Hagen character, played by Robert Duvall, in “The Godfather.” (Incidentally, Korshak was instrumental in securing Al Pacino for the film’s title role, as well as in staving off interference from the Mafia and the Italian-American Civil Rights League.) And yet, Russo forgoes narrative in favor of a heavily sourced, academic approach. The result is a brilliantly researched book that too often reads like a term paper. There are some interesting parts: The chapter on the Chicago Outfit’s involvement in the creation of Las Vegas — it actually predates that of the New York gangsters — is particularly compelling, while the chapter on the Supermob’s seizing of Japanese Americans’ property during World War II illuminates.