The Christian Holocaust In Palestine, A.D. 614
The print article to the condensed form of this essay "The Christian Holocaust In Palestine, A.D. 614" has a painting by Quentin Masssys (1466-1530) titled Ecce Homo ("Behold the Man") showing Pontius Pilate handing over Jesus to be crucified, with the following caption: " One of Pilate's accomplishments was the digging of Mamilla Pool. Ironically, that reservoir would become the site of one of the world's worst-ever holocausts."
Things move really fast nowadays. Just yesterday we hardly dared to call the Israeli policy of official discrimination against Palestinians by the harsh word "apartheid". Today, as Sharon's tanks and missiles pound defenceless cities and villages, the word barely suffices. It has become an unjustified insult to the white supremacists of South Africa. They, after all, did not use gun-ships and tanks against the natives, they did not lay siege to Soweto. They did not deny the humanity of their kaffirs. The Jewish supremacists made it one better. They have returned us, as if by magic wand, to the world of Joshua and Saul.
As the search for the right word continues, the courageous Robert Fisk proposes calling the events in Palestine a "civil war". If this is civil war, a lamb slaughter is a bullfight. The disparity of forces is just too large. No, Virginia, it is not "civil war", it is creeping genocide.
This is the point in our saga, where the good Jewish guy is supposed to take out his hanky and exclaim: "How could we, eternal victims of persecutions, commit such crimes!" Well, do not hold your breath waiting for this line. It happened before and it can happen again, for the mad idea of being the only Chosen ones, the idea of supremacy, whether of race or religion, is the moving force behind genocides. If you believe God chose your people to dominate the world, if you think others but subhuman, you will be punished by the same God whose name you took in vain. Instead of a gentle frog, he would turn you into a murderous maniac.
When the Japanese got a whiff of this malady in the 1930s, they raped Nanking and ate the liver of their prisoners. Germans, obsessed by the Aryan superiority complex, filled Baby Yar with corpses. As thoughtful readers of Joshua and Judges, the father pilgrim-founders of the United States tried on the "Chosen" crown and succeeded in nearly exterminating the Native American peoples.
The Jewish chosen-ness led to genocide time and again. Outside of Jerusalem's Jaffa gate (Bab al-Halil), there was once a small neighbourhood called Mamilla, destroyed by real-estate developers just a few years ago. In its place they created a kitschy "village" for the super-rich, abutting the plush Hilton Hotel. A bit further away there is the old Mamilla cemetery of the Arab nobles and the Mamilla Pool, a water reservoir dug by Pontius Pilate. During the development works, the workers came upon a burial cave holding hundreds of sculls and bones. It was adorned by a cross and the legend: "God alone knows their names". The Biblical Archaeology Review, published by the Jewish American Herschel Shanks, printed a long feature[i] by the Israeli archaeologist Ronny Reich on this discovery.
The dead were laid to their eternal rest in AD 614, the most dreadful year in the history of Palestine until the Twentieth Century. The Scottish scholar Adam Smith, wrote in his Historical Geography of Palestine: "until now, the terrible devastation of 614 is visible in the land, it could not be healed".
By 614 Palestine was a part of the Roman successor state, the Byzantine Empire. It was a prosperous, predominantly Christian land of well-developed agriculture, of harnessed water systems and carefully laid terraces. Pilgrims came in flocks to the Holy places. The Constantine-built edifices of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives and of the Holy Sepulchre were among the man-made wonders of the world. The Judean wilderness was enlivened by eighty monasteries, where precious manuscripts were collected and prayers offered. The Fathers of the church, St Jerome of Bethlehem and Origen and Eusebius of Caesarea, were still a living memory. One of the best Palestinian writers, on a par with the Minor Prophets, blessed John Moschos, just completed his Spiritual Meadow.
There was also a small, wealthy Jewish community living in their midst, mainly in Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Their scholars had just completed their version of the Talmud, the codification of their faith, Rabbinic Judaism; but for instruction they deferred to the prevailing Jewish community in Persian Babylonia.
In 614 local Palestinian Jews allied with their Babylonian co-religionists and assisted the Persians in their conquest of the Holy Land. 26,000 Jews participated in the onslaught. In the aftermath of the Persian victory, the Jews perpetrated a massive holocaust of the Gentiles of Palestine. They burned the churches and the monasteries, killed monks and priests, burned books. The beautiful basilica of Fishes and Loaves in Tabgha, the Ascension on the Mount of Olives, St Stephen opposite Damascus Gate and the Hagia Sion on Mt Zion are just at the top of the list of perished edifices. Indeed, very few churches survived the onslaught. The Great Laura of St Sabas, tucked away in the bottomless Ravine of Fire (Wadi an-Nar) was saved by its remote location and steep crags. The Church of the Nativity miraculously survived: when Jews commanded its destruction, the Persians balked. They perceived the Magi mosaic above the lintel as the portrait of Persian kings.
This devastation was not the worst crime. When Jerusalem surrendered to the Persians, thousands of local Christians became prisoners of war and were herded to the Mamilla Pool area. The Israeli archaeologist Ronny Reich writes:
They were probably sold to the highest bidder. According to some sources, the Christian captives at Mamilla Pond were bought by Jews and were then slain on the spot.
The Oxford Professor Henry Hart Milman's History of the Jews describes it in stronger terms:
It had come at length, the long-expected hour of triumph and vengeance; and the Jews did not neglect the opportunity. They washed away the profanation of the holy city in Christian blood. The Persians are said to have sold the miserable captives for money. The vengeance of the Jews was stronger than their avarice; not only did they not scruple to sacrifice their treasures in the purchase of these devoted bondsmen, they put to death all they had purchased at a lavish price. It was a rumour of the time that 90,000 perished.
An eyewitness to the massacre, Strategius of St Sabas, was more vivid:
Thereupon the vile Jews rejoiced exceedingly, because they detested the Christians, and they conceived an evil plan. As of old they bought the Lord from the Jews with silver, so they purchased Christians out of the reservoir How many souls were slain in the reservoir of Mamilla! How many perished of hunger and thirst! How many priests and monks were massacred by the sword! How many maidens, refusing their abominable outrages, were given over to death by the enemy! How many parents perished on top of their children! How many of the people were brought up by the Jews and butchered, and became confessors of Christ! Who can count the multitude of the corpses of those who were massacred in Jerusalem!
Strategius estimated the victims of the holocaust at 66,000.
In plain prose, the Jews ransomed the Christians from the hands of the Persian soldiers for good money to slaughter them at Mamilla Pool, and it ran with blood. Jews massacred between 60,000 and 90,000 Palestinian Christians in Jerusalem alone, almost 1.5 million in today's values (the total earth's population was according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica about 300 million, twenty times smaller than today). A few days later, the Persian military understood the magnitude of the massacre and stopped the Jews.
To his credit, the Israeli archaeologist Ronny Reich does not try to shift the blame for the massacres onto the Persians, as it is usually done nowadays. He admits that the Persian Empire was not based on religious principles and was indeed inclined to religious tolerance. This good man is clearly unsuitable to write for the Washington Post. That paper's correspondent in Israel would have had no trouble describing the massacre as "retaliatory strike by the Jews who suffered under Christian rule".
The holocaust of the Christian Palestinians in year 614 is well documented and you will find it described in older books. It has been censored out of modern guides and history books. Elliott Horowitz described, in his brilliant expose of the Jewish apologia[ii] how almost all Jewish historians suppressed the facts and re-wrote history. The cover-up continues even now. Recent Israeli publications attach the blame to the Persians, as they push the responsibility for Sabra and Shatila massacre onto the Lebanese Maronites. Horowitz writes:
Raul Hilberg, in The Destruction of the European Jews, asserted that "preventive attack, armed resistance, and revenge are almost completely absent in two thousand years of Jewish ghetto history". Avi Yona, a leading Israeli historian, Leon Polyakov, author of History of Anti-Semitism (published at the expense of Marc Rich, the thief - ISH) and many others glossed over the holocaust of 614, kept silent or denied it completely. Benzion Dinur, a former director of the Holocaust Museum Yad va-Shem, told his readers euphemistically, in language that might have offended him if used with regard to Jews, that "recalcitrant Christians were firmly held in check".
As a rule, Jewish historical and ideological writing is notoriously unreliable and apologetic, Horowitz shows. Granted, "not all Jews", vide Horowitz, Finkelstein and other wonderful men, but they would be the first to agree with the truth of the above. The feeling of self-righteousness and perpetual victim-hood reinforced by a tendentious, distorted historical narrative is a source of mental disease, an obsession common to many modern Jews. This obsession intoxicates Jews and gives them unusual strength in promoting their own distorted narrative. In a way, this massive distortion of reality turns Jews into victorious berserks of ideological struggle. Still, while being a successful strategy, it is a mental disease, a danger to the souls of Jews and to the lives of others.
The Jews are not unique. Germans were intoxicated by the injustice of Versailles, and Adolf Hitler voiced it. Eric Margolis of the Toronto Sun[iii] wrote about Armenians inflamed by the story of their holocaust. They massacred thousands of their peaceful Azeri neighbours in the 1990s, and uprooted 800,000 native non-Armenians. "It's time to recognize all the world's horrors", Margolis concludes. It is time to recognise the danger of inflammatory and one-sided narrative, I would add. The same system of tendentious reality-distorting narrative was deployed by the activists of militant feminism, communism, psychoanalysis, neo-conservatism, neo-liberalism, Zionism and a plethora of smaller movements as the means to enrage and intoxicate supporters for the ideological struggle.
As a result, we live in a psychotic, sick world. Our only system of communication, the media, is the enforcer of the malady and leads us to our perdition. It is necessary to promote balanced, alternative discourse in order to return to the common sense. Since the Jews have become so prominent in the modern world, the lopsided Jewish discourse has to be deconstructed and the crown of martyrdom carefully removed.
The tragic events of 614 should be returned into historical narrative, for it will help the Jews to heal their paranoid delusion. Without this knowledge one cannot understand the provisions of the treaty between the Jerusalemites and Caliph Omar ibn Khattab, concluded in year 638. In the Sulh al Quds, as this treaty of capitulation is called, Patriarch Sofronius demanded, and the powerful Arab ruler concurred to protect the people of Jerusalem from the ferocity of the Jews.
The genocide of the AD 614 was the most horrible, but not the only, genocide wreaked by Jews in those troubled years. Though the biblical story of the Canaan conquest by Joshua is just a story, it influenced Jewish souls. The Sixth Century was a century of strong Jewish influence, and it had more than its fair share of genocide.
Just a few years before 614, in 610, the Jews of Antioch massacred Christians. The Jewish historian Graetz wrote:
[The Jews] fell upon their Christian neighbours and retaliated for the injuries which they had suffered; they killed all that fell into their hands, and threw their bodies into the fire, as the Christians had done to them a century before. The Patriarch Anastasius, an object of special hate, was shamefully abused by them, and his body dragged through the streets before he was put to death.
For Graetz, as for IDF spokesmen, Jews always kill "in retaliation". This dogma was not invented by CNN and Sharon: it is deeply rooted in the Jewish psyche as the ultimate defence. This historian (like other Jewish historians) did not care to mention that
The Jews of Antioch disembowelled the great Patriarch Anastasius, forced him to eat his own intestines; they hurled his genitals into his face.[iv]
After the Arab conquest, a majority of Palestinian Jews accepted the message of the Messenger, as did the majority of Palestinian Christians, albeit for somewhat different reasons. For local Christians, Islam was a sort of Nestorian Christianity without icons, without Constantinople's interference and without Greeks. (The Greek domination of the Palestinian church remains a problem for the local Christians to this very day.)
For ordinary local Jews, Islam was the return to the faith of Abraham and Moses. They had not been able to follow the intricacies of the new Babylonian faith anyway. The majority of them became Muslims and blended into the Palestinian population.
Modern Jews do not have to feel guilty for the misdeeds of Jews long gone. No son is responsible for the sins of his father. Israel could have turned this mass grave with its Byzantine chapel and mosaics into a small and poignant memorial reminding its citizens of a horrible page in the history of the land and of the dangers of genocidal supremacy. Instead, the Israeli authorities preferred to demolish the tomb and create an underground parking-lot in its place. That did not cause a murmur.
The guardians of the Jewish conscience, Amos Oz and others, have objected to the destruction of ancient remains. No, not of the tomb at Mamilla. They ran a petition against the keepers of the Haram a-Sharif mosque complex for digging a ten-inch trench to lay a new pipe. It did not matter to them that in an op-ed in Haaretz, the leading Israeli archaeologist denied any relevance of the mosque-works to science. They still described it as "a barbaric act of Muslims aimed at the obliteration of the Jewish heritage of Jerusalem". Among the signatories I found, to my amazement and sorrow, the name of Ronny Reich. One thought he might tell them who obliterated the vestiges of the Jewish heritage at Mamilla Pool.
Censored history creates a distorted picture of reality. Recognition of the past is a necessary step on the way to sanity. The Germans and the Japanese have recognized the crimes of their fathers, have came to grips with their moral failings and have emerged as humbler, less boastful folks, akin to the rest of human race. We Jews have so far failed to exorcise the haughty spirit of the Chosen-ness, and find ourselves in a dire predicament.
That is why the idea of supremacy is still with us, still calling for genocide. In 1982, Amos Oz[v] met an Israeli who shared with the writer his dream of becoming a Jewish Hitler to the Palestinians. Persistent rumours identify the potential Hitler as Ariel Sharon. Whether it is true or not, slowly this dream is becoming a reality.
The Haaretz published an ad on its front page[vi], a fatwa, signed by a group of Rabbis. The Rabbis proclaimed the theological identification of Ishmael (the Arabs) with the Amalek. Amalek is mentioned in the Bible as the name of a tribe that caused trouble for the Children of Israel. In this story the God of Israel commands His people to exterminate the Amalek tribe completely, including its livestock. King Saul botched the job: he exterminated them all right, but failed to kill nubile, unwed maidens. This "failure" cost him his crown. The obligation to exterminate the people of Amalek is still counted among the tenets of the Jewish faith.
At the end of WWII, some Jews, including the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin, identified the Germans with Amalek, and a Jewish religious socialist and a fighter against Nazis, Abba Kovner, hatched a plot in 1945 to poison the water-supply system of German cities and to kill "six million Germans". He obtained poison from a brother of the future President of Israel, Efraim Katzir. Katzir supposedly thought Kovner intended to poison "only" a few thousands German POWs. The plan mercifully flopped when Kovner was stopped by British officials in a European port. This story was published last year in Israel in a biography of Kovner written by Prof Dina Porat, head of the Anti-Semitism Research Centre at Tel Aviv University[vii].
In plain English, the Rabbis' fatwa means: our religious duty is to kill all Arabs, including women and babies and their livestock to the last cat. The liberal Haaretz, whose editor and owner are sufficiently versed to understand the fatwa, did not hesitate to place the ad. Some Palestinian activists recently criticized me for associating with the Russian weekly Zavtra and for quoting the American weekly Spotlight. I wonder why they have not condemned me for writing in Haaretz? Zavtra and Spotlight have never published a call to genocide, after all.
It would be unfair to single out Haaretz. Another prominent Jewish newspaper, The Washington Post, published an equally passionate call to genocide by Charles Krauthammer[viii]. This adept of King Saul cannot rely upon his audience's knowledge of the Bible, so he refers to General Powell's slaughter of routed Iraqi troops at the end of the Gulf war. He quotes Colin Powell saying of the Iraqi army: "First we're going to cut it off, then we're going to kill it". For Krauthammer with his carefully chosen quotes, multitudes of slain Arabs do not qualify for the human pronoun "them". They are an "it". In the last stage of the war in the Gulf, immense numbers of retreating and disarmed Iraqis were slaughtered in cold blood by the US Air Force, their bodies buried by bulldozers in the desert sand in huge and nameless mass graves. The number of victims of this hecatomb is estimated from one hundred thousand to half a million. God alone knows their names.
Krauthammer wants to repeat this feat in Palestine. "It" is already cut off, divided by the Israeli army into seventy pieces. Now it is ready for the great kill. "Kill it!" he calls with great passion. He must be worried that the Persians will again stop the bloodbath before the Mamilla Pool fills up. His worries are our hopes.
[i] BAR, 1996, v 22 No 2
[ii] "The Vengeance of the Jews Was Stronger Than Their Avarice": Modern Historians and the Persian Conquest of Jerusalem in 614 (published in Jewish Social Studies Volume 4, Number 2, Indiana University)
[iv] Horowitz, ibid.
[v] Here and there in the Land of Israel, Amos Oz
[vi] 21 November, 2000
[vii] Haaretz, 28 April 2001
[viii] Washington Post, 20 Apr 2001