The Israel Lobby’s Dangerous Agenda for the US: AttacK Free Speech and Criminalize Resistance

With help from influential liberals, pro-Israel lobbyists push to define resisting Israeli apartheid as hate speech.

ByMax Blumenthal / AlterNet

Photo Credit: Nora Barrows-Friedman

Last week, just a few minutes before the House Foreign Affairs Committee met for a hearing, one of the Israel lobby’s most dependable members of Congress, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen huddled with twenty supporters of AIPAC, the lobby’s front line organization in Washington. It was a routine affair for the Florida Republican and her pro-Israel allies, whom she addressed by their first names. But a member of the public who witnessed the meeting noticed a startling new agenda was on the table.

The witness told me that Ros-Lehtinen vowed to destroy the mounting grassroots BDS campaign to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel. To do so, she pledged to weaken the First Amendment. “Free speech is being used in our country to denigrate Israel and we need to actively fight against that,” Ros-Lehtinen declared, according to the source.

Disturbing as her statement might have been, it was consistent with the rhetoric bellowed out by nearly every presidential contender who appeared on stage at DC’s Verizon Center. Speaking before some 18,000 AIPAC supporters, Senator Ted Cruz not only pledged to starve educational institutions of federal funding if they dared to support BDS, he promised that under his watch, “they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” Echoing Cruz, Republican contender John Kasich announced his intention to “use the full force of the White House” to destroy what he called “the scourge” of BDS.

The Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, was no less draconian. Reverting to the “Goldwater girl” sensibility of her conservative college years, and tossing aside her recent appeals to social justice intersectionality, Clinton vowed to punish the campus left for supporting Palestinian human rights. Slamming BDS as a form of anti-Semitic hate speech, Clinton offered encouragement to the young, affluent and almost uniformly white pro-Israel students bused into AIPAC in droves. “Don’t let anyone silence you, bully you or try to shut down debate, especially in places of learning like colleges and universities,” she implored them.

The BDS movement has gathered momentum at a staggering pace since it was devised by Palestinian civil society groups in 2005. With its call for grassroots level boycotts to pressure Israel into respecting the human rights of Palestinians, the movement has spread across European capitals and found fertile soil on American college campuses. Yet just a few years ago, AIPAC and its affiliates displayed little interest at all in it. When he appeared at AIPAC in 2011, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent his entire speech badgering the Obama administration for not attacking Iran. He did not feel compelled to mention Palestinians even once. Despite the influential role played in the 2012 Republican presidential primary by Sheldon Adelson, a key benefactor of Netanyahu and the Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, BDS was scarcely mentioned by any of the candidates, nor was it discussed much in mainstream American media.

Almost four years later, with the Iran nuclear deal ratified, the peace process in shambles and the Green Line that was supposed to separate Israel from a future Palestinian state fully erased by a settlement movement that dominates the Israeli government, AIPAC is moving to destroy the last line of resistance. From Washington to Paris to London, Israel lobbyists are extracting ritual denunciations of BDS from its political hand puppets and authoring new laws to forbid its implementation. Repressive legislative efforts are accompanied by legal subterfuge, high-tech sabotage, McCarthy-style online blacklists and carefully orchestrated smear campaigns against anyone who resists. No target is too small. With guidance from Jerusalem, where the most right-wing government in Israeli history is mounting an all-out assault on internal dissent, the lobby has embraced a totalitarian agenda that aims for nothing less than the criminalization of all political opposition.

On display for the first time at AIPAC, the Israel lobby’s search-and-destroy mission against BDS has already found enthusiastic allies in governments across the West. In Paris, where President Manuel Valls vehemently equated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, a French court of criminal appeals recently upheld the conviction of a dozen Palestine solidarity activists for calling for the boycott of Israeli goods. In the UK, the Conservative government of Prime Minister David Cameron has introduced legislation to prevent local town councils from divesting from Israeli products or even from weapons manufacturers. As state legislaturesacross the US vote to blacklist companies that refuse to do business in Israel — a rare and highly unusual instance of corporate regulation — the University of California board of regents has taken the unprecedented step of defining anti-Zionism as anti-Jewish discrimination, setting the stage for outlawing a political position gaining in popularity among Jewish Americans.

In its bid to criminalize the speech of its opponents, the Israel lobby has sought to formally redefine anti-Semitism according to the “3 D’s” formula conceived by Natan Sharansky. Promoted as a former Soviet dissident who champions freedom, Sharansky is, in fact, a hardline Likudnik Israeli politician and promoter of Israel’s settlement enterprise who helped inspire George W. Bush’s Middle Eastern conquests. Sharansky’s “3 D’s” abandons the traditional understanding of anti-Semitism, redefining it from the discrimination against Jews as Jews to any opposition to the political imperatives of the Israeli government, thereby limiting Jewish identity to the narrow ideological designs of Zionism. Israel lobbyists have successfully pressured the US State Department to adopt Sharansky’s definition, and after a long slog, have pushed the University of California regents to endorse it as well. If this highly politicized understanding of anti-Semitism is ever enforced, anyone who has campaigned against Israeli human rights abuses could face harsh legal recriminations, even if they identify as Jewish.

Capitalizing on a campaign finance system deregulated by the Citizens United decision, which defined corporations as people with unlimited rights to free speech, the Israel lobby has unprecedented leeway to limit the speech of actual human beings. Leveraging massive donations from Likudnik oligarchs, it is planting cadres at every level of government, turning Congress, statehouses and student government councils into a unified platform for crushing resistance. As the veteran AIPAC operative Jonathan Kessler declared, “We’re going to make sure that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse [divestment votes]. This is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s capital.”

The lobby’s campaign extends well beyond crushing Palestine solidarity. In the years ahead, pro-Israel forces will serve as the leading edge of reactionary campaigns to fracture any iteration of solidarity between marginalized social groups. The smears of Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labour Party, offer a perfect example of how Israel has been instrumentalized to break down progressive social movements. Elected in one of the most dramatic grassroots triumphs in recent political history by a coalition of university students, blue collar workers and immigrants outraged by deepening austerity and destructive foreign interventions, Corbyn has come under sustained fire from the neoliberal Blairites who had dominated Labour since the 1990’s. This February, anti-Corbyn elements opened up a new front with a torrent of thinly sourced allegations that Labour had suddenly become infected with “an anti-Semitism problem.” Centered around the resignation of a Blairite Oxford University Labour club leader who complained that Jew-haters disguised as human rights activists had made his life unbearable, the unconfirmed claims made their way to the New York Times op-ed page through a column by Roger Cohen entitled, “An Anti-Semitism of the Left.”

Cobbling together a litany of complaints by anxiety-ridden Zionists about the tide of Palestine activism rising all around them, Cohen bemoaned the “identity and liberation politics” that now prevail on university campuses. Just a few paragraphs later, however, Cohen pronounced his devotion to the Zionist project, insisting that “the Jewish state was needed… That is why I am a Zionist — now a dirty word in Europe.” Yet Cohen does not live in Israel; he resides instead in an affluent locale in New York City, where Jews enjoy lavish lifestyles, political power and a sense of security they could never dream of in Jerusalem. His connection to Zionism is not grounded in the facts on the ground in Israel-Palestine, but in an identity politics that only elites like him can enjoy. When forms of speech that reinforce his identity have come under attack, as when Islamic fanatics massacred the staff of Charlie Hebdo, he summoned “the entire free world” to “ruthlessly” defend liberal values. When his identity has been challenged by the unrelenting demands of Israel’s colonial subjects, however, Cohen quickly abandoned all pretense to enlightenment. He has become the living embodiment of Phil Ochs’ sardonic classic, “Love Me I’m A Liberal”: “Ten degrees to the left of center in good times, ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally,” as Ochs sang.

While Israel lobbyists howl about the threat of intersectionality on campus, they are actively appropriating its identitarian language to undermine progressive social justice organizing on campus. Mark Yudof, the former University of California president who tacitly endorsed the criminal prosecution of Muslim-American students for protesting a speech by Israel’s former ambassador to the US, put the tactic on display by describingfactual claims that Israeli soldiers deliberately kill civilians as a “microaggression against Jews.” At the University of Michigan, a member of the student governing council justified her vote against a resolution to divest from corporations involved in the Israeli occupation on the grounds that it denied “safe spaces” to Jewish students. And at the University of South California, a pro-Israel student conceded that the UC regents’ decision to classify anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism was an attack on free speech — but supported it anyway because, in her view, Jews are “a minority still so unfairly discriminated against and maligned.” Animated by the perceived ethnic slights of a hyper-privileged overclass, pro-Israel activism is essentially a White Lives Matter movement protected from accountability by morally inconsistent liberals. Indeed, many of the Jewish liberals who claim to have battled South African apartheid and marched alongside the civil rights movement now seek to destroy a struggle they inspired.

Towards the end of his life, as he watched the occupation of Palestine deepen and expand, the dissident Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz described Israel as “the only totalitarian country in the enlightened world.” He was referring to the way that the Jewish state promoted itself as beacon of liberal democracy while it imposed a brutal, panopticon-style regime of repression on Palestinians, raiding their homes at night, shuttering their media outlets, and torturing them at will. Today, Israel is projecting this regime outwards, recruiting operatives across the West to eradicate all resistance, even attacking constitutionally protected forms of protest. Like the country it has enlisted to defend, a borderless settler-colony that demands special exemption from international law, the lobby’s mission knows no limits. Where the occupation started is well known, but where will it end?

Max Blumenthal is a senior editor of the Grayzone Project at AlterNet, and the award-winning author of Goliath and Republican Gomorrah. His most recent book is The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza. Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal.

Source: The Israel Lobby’s Dangerous Agenda for the US: AttacK Free Speech and Criminalize Resistance

 

Media Fakery, Numerology & Coincidence Theory in Brussels Terror Theatre : Waking Times


Jay Dyer, Contributor
Waking Times

Once again the ritual enactment of terror theatre has proven useful to the western establishment, with Europe once more the focus of a new round of psychological warfare – the mental attack that is “terror” (I am refraining from talking about actual deaths, since we will see no bodies or evidence of said deaths). What is actually dead is Europe, precisely because it long ago capitulated to the degenerate machinations of monied elites that long ago sought to replace the remnants and vestiges of traditional culture with masonic atheism, secularism and the Babel of the EU (conceived and drawn up long ago at Bilderberg through the Kalergi Plan).

Spiritually dead and rotting from a loss of tradition, it is no surprise the now toxic anti-culture of Europe has being co-opted by the Anglo-American system (through NATO and other globalist entities) to function as a means to both break down both Islam and the vestiges of Christianity through multi-cult clash, migrant movement and relocation, a warfare strategy. A great way to do this is mixing cultures and stoking the fire with synthetic terror.

It is no surprise, then, the thoroughly liberalized populations are unable to cope with the juggernaut of psy ops leveled against them, particularly when faced with establishment aided, funded and engineered terror against its own population. It should be first evident the radical Jihadi model of Al Qaeda and ISIS both share the similar patterns of absurdity, contradiction and Hollywood-esque scripting we’ve seen in past episodes of Terror Theater.

After months of staged ISIS videos and “beheadings,” Charlie Hebdo, the Paris Attacks, the string of US “terror” and mass “shootings,” a new installment has been concocted as a purported “revenge” on the part of ISIS for the capture of the so-called “mastermind” of the Paris event. Why, it sounds as if we are living through a season of Homeland or 24because we are, because the terror is scripted and engineered. As I wrote:

“We have also seen yet another ISIS “beheading” video that purports to kill two Japanese individuals following the silly ISIS “kid killer” production. However, as expected, these videos also demonstrate alteration and staging, adding to the long list of Hollywood productions, and even the Japanese government is speaking out about the apparent staging.”

Concerning the overriding plan and pattern for these “terror” events, we must look, not to radical Islam, but the NATO strategy of tension embodied in GLADIO and the stay behind units intended to sway public opinion away from “leftist” positions, into “right wing” order. While the Cold War tension is no longer relevant, what is relevant is the usefulness of the strategy of tension, particularly in relation to the replacement of the Cold War dialectic with the new one, the “clash of civilization” between western “Christianity” (read rotting, toxic culture) and “Islam” (read western intelligence-run and staged radical Jihadis). Concerning Gladio, Three Monkies summarizes the book, NATO’s Secret Armies:

“The existence of the network is a fact. It has, at this stage, been confirmed by numerous heads of state, by three parliamentary investigations (Italy, Belgium and Switzerland), and not least by a bizarre* denial and subsequent confirmation of its existence by NATO itself in 1990. And yet, apart from those involved in the network, very few people know for sure how the network functioned, or how it defined its own role. There is enough evidence and personal testimony to suggest, at best, casual links to right wing terrorist groups active throughout the ’70s and ’80s, and at worst that this network was itself responsible for implementing the so-called ‘strategy of tension’; that is the deliberate use of terrorism to scare the voting population of a given country into a rightward shift politically, towards a ‘law and order’ style government. The questions are unanswered because, even in the case of parliamentary investigations, when researching the subject one sooner or later runs up against official secrecy regulations. Underlining the ‘off limits’ nature of the subject, a NATO diplomat was quoted as saying, “I wouldn’t expect too many questions to be answered, even though the Cold War is over. If there were any links to terrorist organisations, that sort of information would be buried very deep indeed” [Reuters 15th November 1990].”

The recent Brussels attack demonstrates all the same patterns as all the other “attacks” we’ve highlighted. Before the event, we saw “warnings” of the coming wave of terror and threats from “ISIS” that these attacks would come. None other than insider and President of Turkey, Erdogan himself spoke of the coming attack days beforehand, which is all the more ridiculous, given the fact that Turkey and the Erdogan regime have already been fingered as supporting ISIS, the supposed entity behind the attack, and profiting from the oil. Turkey, you’ll recall is a NATO country and likely the origin of the ISIS “training” and thus the funneling into Syria for destabilization. Belgium, of course, is also the headquarters of both NATO and the EU, and despite “tips” concerning a coming terror attack (as is always the case), these tips go ignored – because terror is precisely the point. As I wrote last year:

“From Benghazi to Turkey, the ISIS “supply lines” are directly from NATO-controlled territory, and apparently it never occurs to the minds of Western media to ask where, in fact, the so-called Islamic State obtains their arms. The reason for this is obvious, as it would demonstrate that the Islamic State is not a homegrown, indigenous Wahhabist extremist group, but western creation, funded and aided like Al Qaeda since its inception, as Carter and Brzezinski openly discussed. Not much has changed in the international terror theater since 1979, save the targets.”

In Brussels, the official narrative is that two ISIS-affiliated men bombed a train station and a subway purportedly killing 31. The first curiosity that occurred to me was elucidated by Shawn Helton of 21st Century Wire – the events appear to be the same scripting as the London 7/7 bombing, targeting public transportation and a subway. In the wake of that attack, we saw the same story of missing “backpack man” on the run, while Rashid Aswat was reported to be working with MI5.

The alleged bombers from Brussels.

The alleged bombers from Brussels.

The date is also significant, with the numerology of 7/7 having an esoteric importance in relation to Crowley’s book of the same name, Liber OZ, or Liber 77. This is relevant because the date of the Brussels attack was 3/22, the number of the lodge known as Skull and Bones, with the second bombing occurring at 9:11 AM. For those who doubt the significance of the numerology, consider the curious incidents surrounding the Malaysian Plane fiasco I detailed here, noting the numerological elements of ciphers and cryptology:

JaysAnalysis has documented countless cases of film and television scripting being used for propaganda and psy ops in real covert operations, and this could be one of the more spectacular examples. Also of note are the numerological associations that are not coincidental. It should also be understood that according to the NSA itself in its scholarly publications, numerology and the occult have a long history of usage in cryptography and intelligence communications. Twilight Language as investigated on this blog is confirmed as a real, legitimate form of cryptography in examples such as this linked article. With all that in mind, and considering the propaganda and media blitz like this and this and this, while stories like this are ignored, it is not a stretch to consider the MH17 flight downing’s twilight language as a classic Mi6/CIA calling card.

Noting the parallels with Brussels and the previous Hebdo and Paris attacks, Helton comments again:

“Looking at the clues in Paris, leads directly to Brussels…

Following the first orchestrated Paris attack in January of 2015, Belgium was already in the periphery concerning terror networks, as a weapons supply cache was causally revealed by the Wall Street Journal, as well as a dark underground network of apparent militants:

 “An official with the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office said that a man presented himself to the police in Charleroi, a city in southern Belgium, saying he bought a car from Mr. Coulibaly’s wife, Hayat Boumeddiene, who is now believed to be living in Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria. Ms. Boumeddiene left France for Turkey a few days before the Paris attacks occurred.”  The police then searched the man’s home and discovered evidence that he was involved in weapons trafficking, the official said. A judge ordered the arrest of the man, who wasn’t identified. But officials say it is unclear whether Mr. Coulibaly bought any weapons from the man.”

Said and Cherif Kouachi named in the Charlie Hebdo attack, purchased AK-47 assault rifles and rocket launchers “for less than €5,000 near Gare du Midi, one of the main Brussels railway stations, located in a gritty area of the city.”

Beyond these details, the other oddities and anomalies that stood out to me were the largest drill in UK history a month ago, as reported by RT – costing a whopping 800k pounds, involving 1,000 actors staging an eerily similar attack of a subway. If this were all, it might be coincidental, but following this mainstream news reported various new agencies running the wrong CCTV footage not once, but twice, from different “events” that purport to be the Brussels attack. It goes without saying this shows we cannot trust the mainstream footage and reporting of the event. To add insult to injury, it also emerged mainstream news photographers were also caught staging emotional scenery following the attack.

And if that wasn’t ridiculous enough, the absurd tale of the Mormon Missionary named “Mason” gained viral traction by reporting the young zealot had been in attendance at not one, not two, but three recent terror spectacles. Helton again comments, highlighting the absurdity of the theater of terror, and when read in light of the above analysis, it becomes clearer the strategy of terror is advantageous to the degenerate establishment precisely for the purpose of breaking down both cultures – Islam through toxic Americanism and annihilating whatever skeleton remains of the “Christian west” (despite the stilted narrative of the “AltRight” which laughs and mocks the mere mention of false flags, yet never examines media fakery):

“Survivors of Multiple Terror Events

Perhaps the most bizarre and extremely questionable story to come out since the Brussels attacks, were the reports of Mason Wells, a Mormon missionary, who allegedly survived three separate terror attacks since 2013 – Boston, Paris and Brussels.

Back in 2013, just after the Boston marathon bombing, the Washington Post ran an article including some interesting statistics about terror directly from the National Counterterrorism Center, which stated that:

“In the last five years, the odds of an American being killed in a terrorist attack have been about 1 in 20 million (that’s including both domestic attacks and overseas attacks).”

Here’s the Mason Wells story, as reported by ABC news…

Just another coincidence? At those odds, it’s a near impossibility, and more likely we are looking at a role player of sorts.”

As a closing note, I would recommend this analysis as a good thesis as to what might connect, not just Brussels and Islamic terror, but the association of Olav Thon with both Breivik and Brussels (h/t John Adams):

About the Author

Jay Dyer is the author of the excellent site Jay’s Analysis.

Source: Media Fakery, Numerology & Coincidence Theory in Brussels Terror Theatre : Waking Times

The Dark Truth Behind the Brussels Attacks

Was Brussels 3/22 Another Staged Event?

James Robertson
Crimes of Empire 

“We need to try to understand the extraordinary evolution this phenomenon has gone through that…when it first started it was, the deaths were real but the story was bogus and in around about 2012 we had this amazing transformation whereby actors could apparently do it without needing real–you know- you’ve got ketchup all over the place instead of real blood and that was a real change I think.” -Dr. Nick Kollerstrom on the Kevin Barrett radio show, January 2016.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 10.53.10 PM

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Drill casualties: spot the difference. (Source)

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Cribgeworthy shot of faux bomb victim in Brussels. Logically fake victims can mean only one thing-no real attack has happened.

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A drill of a subway bombing took place three weeks before the 3/22 Brussels attacks. Drill casualties have better wounds! (Source)

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This classic shot sums up the farcical nature of what we are currently expected to believe. Fake wounded victim writhes randomly and laughably as people walk past ignoring the ridiculous spectacle. This is definitely not the aftermath of an attack.

On a satanic holiday a grand deception.

Since the year 2012 almost all of the supposed terror attacks in Western nations are confirmed and proven hoax events. This is the new model. The early indications are that the Brussels attacks were of the same genre. Fiction. Joining the entire wave of Euroterror that has taken place over the past 14 months at Charlie Hebdo and the Kosher Delicatessen, in Copenhagen, in Paris on Black Friday and in the genuinely hilarious French train psyop.

Gladio was the cold war synthetic terror/ strategy of tension, Gladio B as coined by Sibel Edmonds was similar to the original but with Muslims replacing communists as the enemy.

Gladio C is very similar to Gladio B but instead of false flag terror attacks such as 911, Bali and London 7/7 the events are entirely staged. These are drills that are enacted, filmed and sold to the public as authentic terror attacks.

Whether or not it is tactically intelligent to make the hoax argument when people are likely to be more receptive to a false flag narrative is a completely separate issue. The false flag attack narrative is no longer the truth when it comes to modern psyops and those who cling to the false flag narrative and pretend that these events are real, are not telling the truth.

It can be rather tricky positively proving that these events were feigned, faux and fraudulent and from a tactical point of view it may well be unwise to attempt to convince everyday people of this as the truth is so far beyond the reality they occupy that this hypothesis may only alienate them and cause them to see you as insane.

Nonetheless, the truth does matter; it is important even when to all intents and purposes the event might as well have taken place. The response to these things is such that it might as well have happened. Those who have swallowed the “terror” narrative and felt the real emotions that this narrative caused them to feel will never believe the whole thing was a fraud, but none of this changes the fact that this is the case.

It is astonishing the way so many intelligent people will respond like automatons whenever something like this happens. The whole political/media gang play their roles mindlessly like wind up robots with their pathetic attempts to blame their political opponents for the faux tragedy.

Everything that people are saying about this event,that is predicated upon the authenticity of the attack is nonsense.

ISIS Claims attacks were revenge for Belgium’s mighty 6 plane anti ISIS campaign that ended last July!

One of the more amusing things about the Brussles attack was the attempt to create a motive where none exists. Thus when “ISIS” made their claim of responsibility via a social media account that could be run by absolutely anyone,the group tried to say that the attack was in revenge for Belgium’s participation in fighting the “brothers” in Iraq as part of the “International Coalition”.

There are two funny things there, one being that Belgium ceased its involvement in Iraq last July having stationed six F16 jets in Jordan for less than a year, the other being that even when they were purportedly coalition members they did absolutely nothing, like most of the members of the US led coalition who generally make one or two attacks for PR purposes and then disappear into oblivion.

Belgium’s Exit From Anti-ISIL Coalition’s Bombing Campaign in Syria and Iraq | Global Research

The British and French campaigns are perfect cases in point, a big political noise followed by one or two “pageant” attacks and then nothing.

z4

2009 photo of the section of Zavantem airport where the incident of March 22nd took place.

Brussels

Given that the attack took place only days ago the evidence is still to be developed but it can be stated with confidence that the Brussels airport attack was not an authentic event based upon the footage that has been released.

There are several videos that purport to show the immediate aftermath of the Brussels attack. There are two major anomalies in these videos that immediately strike the critical viewer. There are no bodies inside the terminal that has supposedly just been attacked, nor any wounded. Some people, appear to be wounded as you watch the start of the video but as you watch they get up and walk away, dazed at worst.

Mayhem in Brussels airport: Immediate aftermath of Zaventem bombings

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHtC1Vyv7C8

The absence of wounded and dead people at the scene of the event is a core problem. When you add to that the many videos of the outside of the building at approximately the same time that also show no people with any significant wounds, it becomes pretty clear what has happened, although the authors of the Brussels psyop deserve a lot of credit for the innovation of apparently bombing the empty building before moving in the cast to conduct the psyop.

This is a clunky hypothesis but does seem to be the best explanation for the fact that the building has been damaged yet there are no victims of any veracity to be seen.

Fake Wounded People Mean the Event Cannot Possibly be an authentic attack

A tremendous effort has been made with the Brussels operation, and in the days since the event a massive amount of evidence of an “ISIS terror attack” in Brussels has been amassed by the establishment media in an attemtp to sear the Brussels narrative into the mind of the credulous audience. Some of it is superficially convincing such as the much used photo below, but even here critical scrutiny makes it clear that these are fake victims. We are told that the lady in the yellow top and black bra had her clothes blown off by the force of the blast yet she has not suffered any cuts, abrasions or other injuries to these areas. This is not credible and neither is the woman with the paint blood n her hands blithely talking on the phone beside her. Look at the woman on the phone’s face. Does she look like someone who has recently been witness even to a traumatic incident? Or does she appear to be having another mundane run of the mill day?

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Survivors of the airport attack in the aftermath.

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Has this woman been even in the same city as an actual terror attack? Of course not.

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Here is an empty stretcher, with a little blood smeared for verisimilitude. A tactical that was also used in Sydney.

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Here we have the same steetcher, the empty stretcher PIXELATED to avoid the poor viewer being upset by the fact that they are looking at an empty stretcher with some blood spattered upon it. This hilarious, dirty little tactic was very prominent with the Charlie Hebdo hoax when people were told they could not look at the fake shooting of the policeman in the street because it was too graphic. It actually showed the entire event was a fraud 100%. A pixelated empty stretcher is a strong marker of a faux event.

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Empty stretcher with a portion of fake blood at the Sydney siege, December 2014.

Trouser bombs strike again

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A classic reprise of the trouser bomb first experienced in Boston in Brussels.

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Props mismatch idicates the truth. The clothes are shredded by shrapnel that failed to break the skin. This is impossible. This is costume shredding.

Conclusion

It is too early to state definitively that what happened in a Brussels was a completely fake event but it is obvious that it was. The evidence and lack of evidence over succeeding months will make this claim a hard provable fact in my opinion, just as it is today hard proven that Boston and Sandy Hook were faux events like all of the other major incidents in Western nations in recent years with the apparent exception of the plane incidents such as German Wings 9525 and MH17 where genuine mass death appears to have occurred. Outside the West the violence is very real with very occasional theatrics thrown in at the behest of the BBC or CNN.

Source: The Dark Truth Behind the Brussels Attacks

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Efforts To Protesct Israel From Boycott Movment Will Backfire

Knowledge is power. And the more Israel publicly decries the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, the more the public is exposed to the atrocities that inspired it in the first place.

Activists carried out some actions in solidarity with the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement which targets Israeli apartheid.

Activists carried out some actions in solidarity with the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement which targets Israeli apartheid.

KITCHENER, Ontario — (Analysis) From September 2000 to February 2005, more than 3,200 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during the Second Intifada, or Palestinian uprising. From June to October 2004 alone, Israeli forces launched majorassaults in Northern Gaza, killing at least 150 Palestinians, injuring hundreds of others and leaving as many as 800 people homeless.

These assaults were the latest in decades of violence and oppression perpetrated by Israel that ultimately inspired the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Launched in July 2005 by a broad alliance of more than 170 Palestinian political parties, trade unions, refugee networks, NGOs and grassroots associations, the BDS movement aims to pressure Israel to end its apartheid regime and grant equal rights to Palestinians, with the ultimate goal of the establishment of a Palestinian state with the pre-1967 borders.

Modeled after similar initiatives targeting Apartheid South Africa a generation prior, the movement is having an undeniable impact. Even the government led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a man guilty of the most heinous crimes, has defined BDS as an “existential threat” to Israel. (Other threats include the recent Iran nuclear deal, and, incredibly, a request by Palestine to FIFA, the world soccer association, to ban Israeli participation.)

The impacts of the BDS movement, once dismissed by Israel as little more than a college fad,  are now being taken seriously. The Israeli economy is expected to suffer a $15 billion loss because of the movement.

There is also a huge psychological impact, as academics, including physicist Stephen Hawking, performers, including Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and Elvis Costello, and novelists such as Alice Walker, refuse to participate in any events in Israel. Additionally, Palestine has received the support of rock group Coldplay, and actresses Mia Farrow and Vanessa Redgrave, to name just a few.

Mr. Netanyahu decries all this as an effort to “delegitimize” Israel: “It is not connected to our actions; it is connected to our very existence. It does not matter what we do; it matters what we symbolize and what we are.”

He appears to be in denial, since the movement is, indeed, connected to Israeli actions — actions which are themselves causing Israel to be “delegitimized.”

Can BDS be legislated out of existence?

But when a popular people’s movement is having an impact, what is a cruel, barbaric Israeli leader to do? Well, since Congress is bought and paid for by Israeli lobbies, what better response for Israel than to instruct its congressional employees to outlaw it?

Members of Congress rush to greet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, after lobbying Congress to kill a peace plan with Iran at all costs. Studies show that more than half of Congress will themselves go on to become lobbyists. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Members of Congress rush to greet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, after lobbying Congress to kill a peace plan with Iran at all costs. Studies show that more than half of Congress will themselves go on to become lobbyists. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Israel has had some success in this new initiative. The recently-signed Trans-Pacific Partnership includes anti-BDS provisions, “which will discourage European governments from participating in BDS activities by leveraging the incentive of free trade with the United States.”

To say that is was not Israeli-inspired is to demonstrate a remarkable naivete.

Additionally, several states are considering, or have actually passed, anti-BDS legislation. And Israel’s anti-BDS efforts aren’t confined to the United States, its most favorite bottomless pit of money; the United Kingdom, too, has passed such legislation.

So, does this mean that the most effective, nonviolent means that people of conscience around the world have of supporting human rights and justice for the Palestinians will now cease? Will the countless university proposals to divest from Israel, along with the religious bodies which have made the same decision, be rendered null and void? Will the endorsement of BDS by various British unions now cause the union members to get in line with barbaric Zionism?

Hardly.

No such thing as bad publicity?

Let’s step back for just a moment and do what Israel has long refused to even consider: take a reality check. Far from than defeating the movement, this backlash against BDS is likely to propel it forward.

Jay Michaelson, writing about billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s university campus initiative to thwart BDS in The Forward in July, described why, as he put it, opposition to BDS will be a “boon” for the movement. This opposition, Mr. Michaelson argues, puts Jewish students and their non-Jewish peers in a “For Us or Against Us” scenario. Accepting the “For Us” position aligns students with “patriotism, nationalism, ethnocentrism and a refusal to admit ambiguity and nuance.” Further, he states that, from his own observations, the pro-Zionist movement presents a caricature of BDS supporters that no reasonable person could possibly accept.

Further, Mr. Michaelson suggests that this anti-BDS initiative completely misses the point. BDS isn’t growing because of anti-Semitism, he argues, it’s growing “because many people think it’s wrong for any state to deny 4 million people the right to vote, to determine their own future, and to live free of military occupation.”

So the anti-BDS initiative on college campuses doesn’t seem to have much promise for Israel. But what about the greater effort, the attempt to legislate BDS out of existence? Well, the news there isn’t too promising, either.

Laws to prevent BDS serve to publicize it, allowing more people to know of its existence. When President Barack Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, he endorsed the provisions protecting Israel from boycott, but also said he won’t observe the measures requirement to extend those same protections to what is generally called “Israeli-controlled territories” (read: Palestine). So the controversy over BDS, rather than being silenced by this measure, only increased.

Hillary Clinton wrote a letter to Haim Saban (left), the biggest giver on the Democratic side, saying that she will be speaking out publicly against BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign aimed at Israel, and will work “across party lines” to oppose it. –

Hillary Clinton wrote a letter to Haim Saban (left), the biggest giver on the Democratic side, saying that she will be speaking out publicly against BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign aimed at Israel, and will work “across party lines” to oppose it.

And so it is with racist Zionists such as Mr. Adelson and Haim Saban: As they sink millions into efforts to defeat the BDS movement, their attempts merely serve to help to publicize it, along with Israeli crimes. Their goal of “demonizing the demonizer” fails, as people see that Israel, by its racist, apartheid policies, only indicts itself.

Some say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but this is far from the truth for Israel. As it publicizes BDS in an futile effort to thwart it, it only shines a spotlight on its own crimes and on Palestinian victimization. This inspires more people to shun Israel, support Palestine, and embrace BDS.

Francis Bacon said that “knowledge is power.” This notion appears to be confirmed, as Israel suffers from the BDS movement, a movement that exists and grows because of knowledge.

Source: Efforts To Protesct Israel From Boycott Movment Will Backfire

Former Israeli Intel Operatives Run Security at Brussels Airport — Puppet Masters — Sott.net

These ‘jihadis’ are going to have to try harder to terrify the people into accepting racism, fascism and a police state.

The aviation and general security services firm ICTS handles security operations at Brussels airport, the scene of a bomb attack yesterday morning.

ICTS was established in 1982 by former members of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency and El Al airline security agents, and has a major presence around the world in airport security including operations in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Japan and Russia. ICTS uses the security system employed in Israel, whereby passengers are profiled to assess the degree to which they pose a potential threat on the basis of a number of indicators, including age, name, origin and behavior during questioning.

Chairman of the Supervisory Board at ICTS is Menachem J. Atzmon. Atzmon is a former Likud party member who was indicted and convicted in 1996 in a fraud and embezzlement case relating to the misappropriation of funds raised by charities. Atzmon is also the CEO of the port authority of Rostock in Germany.

This will not, however, be the first time that ICTS has come under scrutiny for possible security lapses leading to a ‘Muslim terror attack’.

The young knicker bomber. Groomed, sheep-dipped and expended, to bring ‘terror’ to your doorstep.

As the provider of security services to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and United Airlines and US Airways, the firm’s security system was criticized for somehow allowing erstwhile ‘underwear bomber’, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to “slip through” and board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 to Detroit with explosive materials on Christmas day 2009.

The Christmas knicker bomber, as he came to be known, was not your usual disgruntled Arab or lowly Muslim acolyte. He was the son of Nigerian banking mogul and former Nigerian government minister Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, one of the richest men in Africa. We’re talking one of the African colonial elite here, an African version of the British ‘old boy’s network‘ While in London, his son, the knicker bomber lived in a ₤4 million apartment in Mansfield Street, in the city’s West End. He also enjoyed access to visas for several different countries, including the US.

Unlike most alleged Muslim terrorists who usually bring their passports to the scene of their ‘suicide attacks’ (and often leave them there for police to find) Abdulmutallab apparently arrived at Schipol airport to board his flight to the US with a one way ticket, no luggage and without a passport.

Now usually this would have spelled a premature end to his planned attack, but according to Detroit attorney and eyewitness to events at Schipol,

Image

Detroit attorney Kurt Haskell and his wife Lori

Kurt Haskell, Abdulmutallab benefited from the help of a sharply dressed Indian man who was able to escort the youngster to the boarding gate where he told the attendant that Abdulmutallab had no passport but should be allowed on the flight anyway. When the sharply dressed man was told that he would have to speak to the security manager, he did so and successfully planted the knicker bomber on the plane.

Now this requires some serious string pulling, and all the hoopla in the press at the time about whether or not the security system worked was just hubris, because if the knicker bomber appeared at the gate without a passport, it is unlikely that he went through the normal process up to that point, including check-in which requires passengers to show their passports.

In all probability, Abdulmutallab was escorted as a ‘VIP’ to the gate by the sharply dressed man. So how do two suspicious looking dudes, at least one of them without a passport and carrying bomb materials, get to the gate in an airport and then onto the flight? The answer is they don’t, unless they have some friends among the people running the security controls at the airport. In this case, ICTS.

Within a few months of the underwear attack, the US State Department admitted that it had known about Mutallab’s intentions for some time and had not revoked his entry visa to the USA because they, effectively, wanted to see what he would do.

“Revocation action would’ve disclosed what they were doing,” Kennedy said in testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security. Allowing Adbulmutallab to keep the visa increased chances federal investigators would be able to get closer to apprehending the terror network he is accused of working with, “rather than simply knocking out one soldier in that effort.”

Richard Reid, hapless dupe.

But ICTS’ security faux pas’ don’t end there. In December 2001, they somehow managed to let deranged shoe bomber Richard Reid, onto his Miami-bound flight in Paris, and this was after ICTS had cleared Reid through security at Amsterdam airport on a flight to Tel Aviv in July 2001 for what was apparently an all-expenses paid week-long trip to the Israeli city. What precisely he did there remains a mystery. Reid later said that ICTS/El Al had failed to detect that he had explosives in his shoes on the flight to Tel Aviv, an amazing revelation considering the Israeli airline’s tight security and the fact that, six months later, they were responsible for letting him board the Miami-bound flight with the very same type of ‘shoe bomb’. Israel had not informed British, American, or any other security agency of their concerns about Reid. Reid’s aunt, Claudette Lewis who raised Reid in south London, was quoted as saying she believed her nephew had been “brainwashed”.

ICTS also somehow missed several of the alleged 9/11 hijackers who allegedly flew out of Boston’s Logan airport on September 11th 2001. ICTS also handled security for London’s bus network during the July 7, 2005, ‘suicide’ bomb attacks. In fact, two of its subsidiaries, ICTS UK and ICTS Europe Systems, are based at Tavistock House, Tavistock Square in London, scene of the London Stagecoach bus bombing that day.

That’s quite a record, all in all. And we have to wonder how many terror attacks could have been prevented, how many innocent lives saved, how much further we might be today from a burgeoning police state, if outfits like ICTS and those that support them had not allowed so many unlikely and hapless ‘Muslim terrorists’ to “slip through”.

Of all the authoritarian ‘leaders’ that benefit from the insecurity created by ‘Muslim terrorism’, the political elite of the state of Israel benefit the most. And of all the people who suffer from terrorist attacks, people of Muslim faith suffer by far the most. Israel, a country created on stolen Palestinian land and surrounded by Muslims, requires the continued threat of ‘Islamic terrorism’ to justify its existence. In pushing this insane agenda so far, by encouraging Europe and the ‘West’ to adopt Israeli attitudes towards Palestinians, it seems that the conditions are being created whereby the events of Nazi Germany may well repeat, only this time with Muslims in the position of the Jews.

Source: Former Israeli Intel Operatives Run Security at Brussels Airport — Puppet Masters — Sott.net

The Clinton ideal was that the US would impose regime change with arms, and without troops, and that Russia wouldn’t dare oppose America.

It is rare for a succinct foreign policy platform paper to so fully reflect a candidate’s thinking process. The State Department email of Hillary Clinton, available on WikiLeaks, lays out the Democrat front-runner’s strategy as an architect of US intervention in Syria, shows the flawed reasoning that beget the scheme, and perhaps most importantly is totally blind to the huge problems that the war ultimately led to.

As with so many US wars in the Middle East, it all starts with Israel, and then-Secretary of State Clinton saw the US imposing regime change in Syria as primarily about benefiting Israel and spiting Iran, a position that closely mirrors several Israeli officials on the matter.

The Clinton ideal was that the US would impose regime change with arms, and without troops, and that Russia wouldn’t dare oppose America (noting Russia did nothing during Kosovo), that the new US-backed Syrian government would abandon ties with Iran, turn against Hezbollah, and potentially negotiate a peace settlement with Israel, while the rest of the Arab world cheers America “as fighting for their people.”

The number of flaws in the reasoning are huge, and in hindsight very few of Clinton’s predictions came to pass, from her declaration that the Iran nuclear talks wouldn’t lead to a deal, that Russia wouldn’t defend the Assad government from US-backed rebels, that US pledges of arms would lead to more defections from the Syrian military, etc.

Perhaps the most glaring mistakes, however, are the ones that go totally unwritten, with Clinton totally blind to the prospect of Islamist groups getting involved. Five years into the civil war, US-backed rebels are still comparatively trivial, despite huge weapons shipments, and ISIS and other Islamist groups control more than half of the country.

Clinton’s position seems to be wrong at nearly every turn, with her one correct analysis being the fairly trite observation that Israel wants to retain a nuclear monopoly in the Middle East, without offering any plausible reason for why the US should commit forces to supporting that.

While the paper serves as instructive on Clinton’s interventionist leanings, it may also be educational on the interventionist mentality in general, showing how quickly the notion of a “low cost” war becomes official policy, and that policymakers are ultimately blind not just to the reality on the ground, but to the bigger risks of their schemes.

Copyright © Antiwar.com 2016

Source: WikiLeaks: US Sought Syria Regime Change For Israel’s Sake

WELL DONE MR. TRUMP!!! Israel-First, Neocons to join Hillary, all America’s enemies in one party

The disloyal Israel-First/Neoconservative (IF/NC) crowd seems to be having a collective and hopefully fatal seizure over Mr. Trump’s pledge to be strictly even-handed and neutral in the ongoing war between Israel and the Arabs — a war both sides clearly intend to fight to the death.

Now, many past presidential candidates have said much the same thing, but they have always added that silly, ahistorical mantra that the United States will defend Israel’s “right to exist”. But Trump did not add that mantra of the brain-dead, and so has markedly distressed the Israel-Firsters and Neocons. Indeed, they always have opposed Trump because, it seems, they sense that he will always put America first and let those individuals, nations, and groups irrelevant to the republic’s security and economic prosperity swing in the wind. I think — or at least hope — they are right.

What makes the current Israel First/Neocon seizure so hearteningly severe are not only Trump’s words and apparent America-First foreign policy inclinations, but the fact that he is getting so very many votes. “Could it possibly be,” ponder the likes of Bill Kristol, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Max Boot, Eliot Cohen, Robert Kagan, Michael Bloomberg, Peter King, Elliott Abrams, Eric Edelman, Michael Chertoff, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and John Bolton, “that Americans are not genuinely happy, proud, and eager to have their fellow citizens and soldier-children dying uselessly in wars motivated in large part by the U.S. interventionism we advocate and by America’s subservience to a country that does nothing but degrade the republic’s security and drain its treasury?” “Could it be,” the IF/NC’ers are wondering, “that Trump and the increasing number of voters supporting him know that we Israel-Firsters and Neocons have played them for fools, corrupted their political system and media, and done our best to keep their kids dying in wars meant to serve a foreign nation’s interests at the cost of their own?” Well, it is too soon to tell, but the words of the Israel Firsters and Neocons and their fierce hatred of Trump surely suggest that they fear their war-causing disloyalty has been identified and — at long last — their jig is about up.

Facing the next-to-last last ditch, the disloyal are nearly frantic in their support for Senator Marco Rubio. And why not? Rubio is a thorough-going IF/NC, and — as he has little money of his own — is on the payroll, according to the media, of two pro-Israel, Jewish-American billionaires. Rubio also has denounced the Founders’ approach to foreign policy, expressing his belief that the IF/NC approach to U.S. foreign policy — that is, America at war everywhere, all the time, to protect Israel — is superior to John Quincy Adams’ republic-preserving advice that the United States must never go abroad “in search of monsters to destroy.”

But Rubio, after his Super Tuesday shellacking, is circling the drain until the Florida primary sends him barreling toward the sewer, and the Neocons and Israel Firsters, as Jacob Heilbrunn has written in the National Interest, have only one place to go, and that is to Hillary Clinton, who already has few of both detestable species on her team, but, the media says, only one pro-Israel, Jewish-American billionaire.

Mr. Heilbrunn’s excellent article notes that the IF/NC was originally based in the Democratic Party and so in a sense would be going home if they side with Clinton. That they were once aligned with the Democrats is clearly true, but being aligned with is much different than being part of, and I would argue that the IF/NC have never been anything but a one-issue party of their own.

Their party — best identified as the Disloyal Party or perhaps just as Copperheads — has never had any goal other than protecting the interests of Israel and keeping the United States steadily involved in the Israel-Arab war by promoting and purchasing a U.S. foreign policy that results in wars to install “democracy” abroad, but which are, in reality, only wars that are intended to annihilate Israel’s enemies, while unnecessarily making Israel’s enemies America’s. Can any clear thinking person really believe, for example, that “Foundation for Defense of Democracies” is anything but an IF/NC tool for fomenting war against Muslims in order to protect what they describe as “the only democracy” in the Middle East?

The use of the democracy angle by the IF/NC crowd is amply demonstrated in a recent article by one of its leading lights, Max Boot, titled “The GOP’s Apologists for Tyrants”. In this piece, Mr. Boot denounces Republican presidential candidates Trump, Cruz, and Kasich for “their support for dictators” and their clear lack of enthusiasm for unnecessary overseas democracy mongering and interventionist wars. Mr. Boot lauds the usual Copperhead line and insists that overthrowing Saddam, Gaddafi, and others was the correct thing to do. The only problem, he says, is that the U.S. government did not go far enough in waging those useless and massively counterproductive wars. Only the Israel First-owned Marco Rubio, Boot declares, refuses to “embrace genocidal tyrants”, which means the Copperheads were betting that they could count on Rubio for more war.

Well, Mr. Boot, no, Trump, Cruz, and Kasich are not seeking to “embrace genocidal tyrants”, but rather are looking out for America first. They know that neither Saddam nor Gaddafi was ever a serious national-security threat to the United States; indeed, both were key and extraordinarily lethal allies — and ones we did not have to pay — in the war against the Islamists.

Saddam kept Iraq’s door locked tight and so prevented the Islamists located east of Iraq from moving westward in large numbers, and he made the Iranians little more than marginal players in the Levant. How are things looking in that area now, Mr. Boot? Gaddafi kept the Islamists at bay in much of North Africa and murdered or incarcerated every Islamist that Libya’s military and security services could get their hands on, but IF/NC wanted a pro-democracy war in Libya and got it. How are affairs in the Maghreb going these days, Mr. Boot?

And do not forget, Mr. Boot, that you and your IF/NC sidekicks insisted that the U.S. government go democracy mongering in the Middle East in the name of the Arab Spring, and then you supported the military coup in Egypt that destroyed a democratically elected regime. Now, Mr. Boot, how is all of that working out? Finally, what about that clever IF/NC plan to build a new, pro-Western democracy in Afghanistan, how is that doing? Could you check on the progress of democracy there and get back to me?

What I think Mr. Trump is saying, Mr. Boot, is that it is too bad/so sad that there are murderous dictators loose in the world, but as long as they pose no life-and-death threat to the United States there is no reason for America to militarily intervene and give them — as the saying goes — the boot. After all, if the dictators are not killing Americans and/or threatening genuine U.S. national interests, who cares? Humans are hard-wired for war, so let them fight. The U.S. government exists only to defend the republic, its commerce, and its citizens and their liberties; it is under precisely zero obligation — legal, moral, or one dreamed up by disloyal U.S. citizens — to defend any set of foreigners against the murderous machinations of the dictators who rule them or the enemies who threaten them.

The wars that disloyal IF/NC Copperheads like you champion, Mr. Boot, have invariably been greatly counterproductive for U.S. national security, the national debt, and, especially, for those you and your colleagues care the least about; namely, the parents, wives, husbands, and children who suffered the loss or maiming of their loved ones in the military while they were fighting in the unnecessary wars you and your kind demand that America fight for only one reason, to make the world safe for Israel.

So, Mr. Boot, if you and the rest of your wretched and disloyal IF/NC associates want to go to the Democratic Party and side with IF/NC’er Hillary Clinton, please go immediately and trumpet your departure from the roof tops. After all, what could be more appropriate than today’s Copperheads — a kind of snake that sneaks and strikes without warning — joining the Democratic Party, the original incubator and home of the Civil War’s Copperheads? In the decade before that war, Massachusetts’s Senator Charles Sumner was speaking when he saw one of his pro-slavery foes enter the Senate Chamber and walk toward his seat. Sumner stopped and asked, I paraphrase here, the other senators to witness that a slug was slithering across the chamber’s floor looking for a chair to adhere to. For the Republican Party, the movement of the entire IF/NC crowd to the Democratic Party would be a Godsend, a veritable slithering slug migration that would find no shortage of fellow slugs waiting for them in Hillary’s camp, and there probably would be enough chairs for all of them to adhere to.

There is, then, nothing that could strengthen the Republican Party more and attract more voters to its side than to be shed of you, Mr. Boot, and your disloyal fellow Copperheads. Be gone, good riddance, and praise God for cutting out the festering IF/NC malignancy from the Republican Party so that it can once again stand for something more than endless war and Israel First.

Source: http://non-intervention.com/2091/well-done-mr-trump-israel-first-neocons-to-join-hillary-all-americas-enemies-in-one-party/

What is a “Jew”?

Do “Ashkenazi” Jews have a right to Palestine?

 

Not according to many historians, such as the Jewish historian Arthur Koestler, who wrote The Thirteenth Tribe
The word “Jew” refers to both a religion and a race. Using one word for two different concepts is as stupid as referring to a religion as “Chinese”. In such a case, some people would describe themselves as Chinese when they were referring to their race, and other people would describe themselves as Chinese when they were referring to their religion.Idiotic arguments would occur because some Chinese would insist that you cannot be Chinese unless your parents were Chinese. Other people would argue that we can all become Chinese, even Sammy Davis Jr. Incidentally, was Sammy Davis Jr. Jewish?This arguing over words may seem trivial, but it is the reason we have wars in the Middle East. A group of people referring to themselves as “Jews” are insisting that Palestine belongs to them because their ancestors lived there 2000 years ago. They created the Zionist movement to help restore their homeland.However, numerous historians have looked into this issue and discovered that most of these Zionist Jews are not descendants of the original Jews. Rather, most Zionists are ” Jews”; a race of people who were known as the Khazars a thousand years ago, The real, original Jews were physically and genetically similar to the Arabs, specifically, dark skin, dark eyes, and dark hair. The Hebrew and Arabic languages have a lot of similarities, also.

The real homeland for the white, Ashkenazi Jews is near the Caspian and Black Seas, not Palestine. Their ancestors picked up the Jewish religion about 900A.D.. Due to the widespread ignorance of people in that era, after a few generations they assumed that they were the descendants of the Jews who lived in Palestine.

We also talk about this here.

Imagine if Africans made the mistake of assuming Alaska was their homeland.

We also have a short video ‘Israel is not the Ashkenazi Homeland’ at the top of this page:
HowToHelp.html

Jesus was not white
If there had been any white-skinned people living in Palestine 2000 years ago, the Romans and Arabs would have mentioned them in their writings, and they would have pointed out that the white folks get sunburned very easily.

Can you find any mention of sunburn, blisters, or white skin in any of their documents? We find remarks about red hair and white skin only when the Roman armies traveled north and encountered the Celts and Germans.
The Christians from the northern European nations usually depict Jesus with northern European features, but there were no white skinned people living in the Middle East 2000 years ago. Christians should depict Jesus correctly by giving him dark skin and Semitic features.
Sample images are here in our article on Aliens and Religion

Real Jews were brown
The depiction of Jesus and his mother as white, Northern European Caucasians is creating serious confusion among Americans and Europeans. The real Jews were brown, not white. The white, Ashkenazi Zionists are incorrect when they claim that their ancestors came from Palestine.

Furthermore, people have been interbreeding so much around the Mediterranean that it’s possible that there aren’t any real Jews today. There are some Jews with darker skin, (the Sephardic Jews) but they’re not necessarily descendents of the original Jews. For all we know, the Sephardic Jews are a mix of Ashkenazi Jews with people of darker coloring. Perhaps DNA analysis will become advanced enough to answer the question “who among us is a Jew?”.

It would be especially ironic if the Sephardic Jews are descendents of the original Jews because the Ashkenazi Jews discriminate against them, and are trying to kill them. For example, have you heard about their ringworm treatment for Sephardi children? Here is a this copy of the original news article.
The Thirteenth Tribe

The document below is a book written by a Jewish historian, Arthur Koestler, who died in 1983. He was an Ashkenazi Jew who helped to expose this major blunder that is causing horrendous suffering all over the world.

Koestler supported Israel, as you can see at the very end of his book in Appendix IV when he claims the issue of whether the Zionist Jews are related to the original Jews “…is irrelevant, and cannot affect Israel’s right to exist

However, no group of people has a “right to exist”. Or, if the Jews have a right to exist, then so does everybody else.

Why not allow the Aztecs have a special homeland in Palestine? When the Romans caused Celts to migrate into the British Isles, they took land away from whoever was living there already. Why not let those people have a homeland in Palestine? I made an audio file about the issue of Israel’s right to exist:
Hufschmid-7Oct2007.html

All throughout history we find groups of people fighting with their neighbors, and migrating to different areas. If the Jews had fought with the Arabs for Palestine a thousand years ago, the Arabs may have moved eastward after a few fights, and the Jews may have created Israel without much suffering.

However, nobody today is nomadic. You cannot chase a person off his land by throwing rocks at him or by shooting at him with arrows. Furthermore, the human population is dense; there is no vacant land anywhere.

Today all groups of people refuse to move. The end result is that fights over territory become devastating for any nation foolish enough to get involved in such fights.

It is no longer practical for people to fight over territory. We are no longer living like animals, and we must stop fighting over territory like animals.

The Jews are trying to create Israel in an era when creating nations is impractical. The entire world is suffering tremendously, and we should give it up as a hopeless fantasy.

Arthur Koestler’s book is available at Amazon by clicking here,
or you can read it online below.

The second half of the book is here: Koestler_part2.htm

Appendix and bibliography are here: Koestler_Apx.htm

 

The Thirteenth TribeTHE KHAZAR EMPIRE AND ITS HERITAGE
Arthur Koestler
PART ONE

Rise and Fall of the Khazars

“In Khazaria, sheep, honey, and Jews exist in large quantities.”

Muqaddasi, Descriptio Imperii Moslemici (tenth century).

I

RISE

1

ABOUT the time when Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the West, the eastern confines of Europe between the Caucasus and the Volga were ruled by a Jewish state, known as the Khazar Empire. At the peak of its power, from the seventh to the tenth centuries AD, it played a significant part in shaping the destinies of mediaeval, and consequently of modern, Europe. The Byzantine Emperor and historian, Constantine Porphyrogenitus (913-959), must have been well aware of this when he recorded in his treatise on court protocol[1] that letters addressed to the Pope in Rome, and similarly those to the Emperor of the West, had a gold seal worth two solidi attached to them, whereas messages to the King of the Khazars displayed a seal worth three solidi. This was not flattery, but Realpolitik. “In the period with which we are concerned,” wrote Bury, “it is probable that the Khan of the Khazars was of little less importance in view of the imperial foreign policy than Charles the Great and his successors.”[2]

The country of the Khazars, a people of Turkish stock, occupied a strategic key position at the vital gateway between the Black Sea and the Caspian, where the great eastern powers of the period confronted each other. It acted as a buffer protecting Byzantium against invasions by the lusty barbarian tribesmen of the northern steppes — Bulgars, Magyars, Pechenegs, etc. — and, later, the Vikings and the Russians. But equally, or even more important both from the point of view of Byzantine diplomacy and of European history, is the fact that the Khazar armies effectively blocked the Arab avalanche in its most devastating early stages, and thus prevented the Muslim conquest of Eastern Europe. Professor Dunlop of Columbia University, a leading authority on the history of the Khazars, has given a concise summary of this decisive yet virtually unknown episode:

The Khazar country … lay across the natural line of advance of the Arabs. Within a few years of the death of Muhammad (AD 632) the armies of the Caliphate, sweeping northward through the wreckage of two empires and carrying all before them, reached the great mountain barrier of the Caucasus. This barrier once passed, the road lay open to the lands of eastern Europe. As it was, on the line of the Caucasus the Arabs met the forces of an organized military power which effectively prevented them from extending their conquests in this direction. The wars of the Arabs and the Khazars, which lasted more than a hundred years, though little known, have thus considerable historical importance. The Franks of Charles Martel on the field of Tours turned the tide of Arab invasion. At about the same time the threat to Europe in the east was hardly less acute. … The victorious Muslims were met and held by the forces of the Khazar kingdom. … It can … scarcely be doubted that but for the existence of the Khazars in the region north of the Caucasus, Byzantium, the bulwark of European civilization in the east, would have found itself outflanked by the Arabs, and the history of Christendom and Islam might well have been very different from what we know.[3]

It is perhaps not surprising, given these circumstances, that in 732 — after a resounding Khazar victory over the Arabs — the future Emperor Constantine V married a Khazar princess. In due time their son became the Emperor Leo IV, known as Leo the Khazar.

Ironically, the last battle in the war, AD 737, ended in a Khazar defeat. But by that time the impetus of the Muslim Holy War was spent, the Caliphate was rocked by internal dissensions, and the Arab invaders retraced their steps across the Caucasus without having gained a permanent foothold in the north, whereas the Khazars became more powerful than they had previously been.

A few years later, probably AD 740, the King, his court and the military ruling class embraced the Jewish faith, and Judaism became the state religion of the Khazars. No doubt their contemporaries were as astonished by this decision as modern scholars were when they came across the evidence in the Arab, Byzantine, Russian and Hebrew sources. One of the most recent comments is to be found in a work by the Hungarian Marxist historian, Dr Antal Bartha. His book on The Magyar Society in the Eighth and Ninth Centuries[4] has several chapters on the Khazars, as during most of that period the Hungarians were ruled by them. Yet their conversion to Judaism is discussed in a single paragraph, with obvious embarrassment. It reads:

Our investigations cannot go into problems pertaining to the history of ideas, but we must call the reader’s attention to the matter of the Khazar kingdom’s state religion. It was the Jewish faith which became the official religion of the ruling strata of society. Needless to say, the acceptance of the Jewish faith as the state religion of an ethnically non-Jewish people could be the subject of interesting speculations. We shall, however, confine ourselves to the remark that this official conversion — in defiance of Christian proselytizing by Byzantium, the Muslim influence from the East, and in spite of the political pressure of these two powers — to a religion which had no support from any political power, but was persecuted by nearly all — has come as a surprise to all historians concerned with the Khazars, and cannot be considered as accidental, but must be regarded as a sign of the independent policy pursued by that kingdom.

Which leaves us only slightly more bewildered than before. Yet whereas the sources differ in minor detail, the major facts are beyond dispute.

What is in dispute is the fate of the Jewish Khazars after the destruction of their empire, in the twelfth or thirteenth century. On this problem the sources are scant, but various late mediaeval Khazar settlements are mentioned in the Crimea, in the Ukraine, in Hungary, Poland and Lithuania. The general picture that emerges from these fragmentary pieces of information is that of a migration of Khazar tribes and communities into those regions of Eastern Europe — mainly Russia and Poland — where, at the dawn of the Modern Age, the greatest concentrations of Jews were found. This has lead several historians to conjecture that a substantial part, and perhaps the majority of eastern Jews — and hence of world Jewry — might be of Khazar, and not of Semitic Origin.

The far-reaching implications of this hypothesis may explain the great caution exercised by historians in approaching this subject — if they do not avoid it altogether. Thus in the 1973 edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica the article “Khazars” is signed by Dunlop, but there is a separate section dealing with “Khazar Jews after the Fall of the Kingdom”, signed by the editors, and written with the obvious intent to avoid upsetting believers in the dogma of the Chosen Race:

The Turkish-speaking Karaites [a fundamentalist Jewish sect] of the Crimea, Poland, and elsewhere have affirmed a connection with the Khazars, which is perhaps confirmed by evidence from folklore and anthropology as well as language. There seems to be a considerable amount of evidence attesting to the continued presence in Europe of descendants of the Khazars.

How important, in quantitative terms, is that “presence” of the Caucasian sons of Japheth in the tents of Shem? One of the most radical propounders of the hypothesis concerning the Khazar origins of Jewry is the Professor of Mediaeval Jewish History at Tel Aviv University, A. N. Poliak. His book Khazaria (in Hebrew) was published in 1944 in Tel Aviv, and a second edition in 1951.[5]

In his introduction he writes that the facts demand — a new approach, both to the problem of the relations between the Khazar Jewry and other Jewish communities, and to the question of how far we can go in regarding this [Khazar] Jewry as the nucleus of the large Jewish settlement in EasternEurope. … The descendants of this settlement — those who stayed where they were, those who emigrated to the United States and to other countries, and those who went to Israel — constitute now the large majority of world Jewry.

This was written before the full extent of the holocaust was known, but that does not alter the fact that the large majority of surviving Jews in the world is of Eastern European — and thus perhaps mainly of Khazar — origin. If so, this would mean that their ancestors came not from the Jordan but from the Volga, not from Canaan but from the Caucasus, once believed to be the cradle of the Aryan race; and that genetically they are more closely related to the Hun, Uigur and Magyar tribes than to the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Should this turn out to be the case, then the term “anti-Semitism” would become void of meaning, based on a misapprehension shared by both the killers and their victims. The story of the Khazar Empire, as it slowly emerges from the past, begins to look like the most cruel hoax which history has ever perpetrated.

2

“Attila was, after all, merely the king of a kingdom of tents. His state passed away — whereas the despised city of Constantinople remained a power. The tents vanished, the towns remained. The Hun state was a whirlwind. …”

Thus Cassel,[6] a nineteenth-century orientalist, implying that the Khazars shared, for similar reasons, a similar fate. Yet the Hun presence on the European scene lasted a mere eighty years,[*] whereas the kingdom of the Khazars held its own for the best part of four centuries. They too lived chiefly in tents, but they also had large urban settlements, and were in the process of transformation from a tribe of nomadic warriors into a nation of farmers, cattle-breeders, fishermen, vine-growers, traders and skilled craftsmen. Soviet archaeologists have unearthed evidence for a relatively advanced civilization which was altogether different from the “Hun whirlwind”. They found the traces of villages extending over several miles,[7] with houses connected by galleries to huge cattlesheds, sheep-pens and stables (these measured 3-3½ x 10-14 metres and were supported by columns.[8] Some remaining ox-ploughs showed remarkable craftsmanship; so did the preserved artefacts — buckles, clasps, ornamental saddle plates.

Of particular interest were the foundations, sunk into the ground, of houses built in a circular shape.[9] According to the Soviet archaeologists, these were found all over the territories inhabited by the Khazars, and were of an earlier date than their “normal”, rectangular buildings. Obviously the round-houses symbolize the transition from portable, dome-shaped tents to permanent dwellings, from the nomadic to a settled, or rather semi-settled, existence. For the contemporary Arab sources tell us that the Khazars only stayed in their towns — including even their capital, Itil — during the winter; come spring, they packed their tents, left their houses and sallied forth with their sheep or cattle into the steppes, or camped in their cornfields or vineyards.

The excavations also showed that the kingdom was, during its later period, surrounded by an elaborate chain of fortifications, dating from the eighth and ninth centuries, which protected its northern frontiers facing the open steppes. These fortresses formed a rough semi-circular arc from the Crimea (which the Khazars ruled for a time) across the lower reaches of the Donetz and the Don to the Volga; while towards the south they were protected by the Caucasus, to the west by the Black Sea, and to the east by the “Khazar Sea”, the Caspian.[†] However, the northern chain of fortifications marked merely an inner ring, protecting the stable core of the Khazar country; the actual boundaries of their rule over the tribes of the north fluctuated according to the fortunes of war. At the peak of their power they controlled or exacted tribute from some thirty different nations and tribes inhabiting the vast territories between the Caucasus, the Aral Sea, the Ural Mountains, the town of Kiev and the Ukrainian steppes. The people under Khazar suzerainty included the Bulgars, Burtas, Ghuzz, Magyars (Hungarians), the Gothic and Greek colonies of the Crimea, and the Slavonic tribes in the north-western woodlands. Beyond these extended dominions, Khazar armies also raided Georgia and Armenia and penetrated into the Arab Caliphate as far as Mosul. In the words of the Soviet archaeologist M. I. Artamonov:[10]

Until the ninth century, the Khazars had no rivals to their supremacy in the regions north of the Black Sea and the adjoining steppe and forest regions of the Dnieper. The Khazars were the supreme masters of the southern half of Eastern Europe for a century and a hall, and presented a mighty bulwark, blocking the Ural-Caspian gateway from Asia into Europe. During this whole period, they held back the onslaught of the nomadic tribes from the East.

Taking a bird’s-eye view of the history of the great nomadic empires of the East, the Khazar kingdom occupies an intermediary position in time, size, and degree of civilization between the Hun and Avar Empires which preceded, and the Mongol Empire that succeeded it.

3

But who were these remarkable people — remarkable as much by their power and achievements as by their conversion to a religion of outcasts? The descriptions that have come down to us originate in hostile sources, and cannot be taken at face value. “As to the Khazars,” an Arab chronicler[11] writes, “they are to the north of the inhabited earth towards the 7th clime, having over their heads the constellation of the Plough. Their land is cold and wet. Accordingly their complexions are white, their eyes blue, their hair flowing and predominantly reddish, their bodies large and their natures cold. Their general aspect is wild.”

After a century of warfare, the Arab writer obviously had no great sympathy for the Khazars. Nor had the Georgian or Armenian scribes, whose countries, of a much older culture, had been repeatedly devastated by Khazar horsemen. A Georgian chronicle, echoing an ancient tradition, identifies them with the hosts of Gog and Magog — “wild men with hideous faces and the manners of wild beasts, eaters of blood”.[12] An Armenian writer refers to “the horrible multitude of Khazars with insolent, broad, lashless faces and long falling hair, like women”.[13] Lastly, the Arab geographer Istakhri, one of the main Arab sources, has this to say:[14] “The Khazars do not resemble the Turks. They are black-haired, and are of two kinds, one called the Kara-Khazars, [Black Khazars] who are swarthy verging on deep black as if they were a kind of Indian, and a white kind [Ak-Khazars], who are strikingly handsome.”

This is more flattering, but only adds to the confusion. For it was customary among Turkish peoples to refer to the ruling classes or clans as “white”, to the lower strata as “black”. Thus there is no reason to believe that the “White Bulgars” were whiter than the “Black Bulgars”, or that the “White Huns” (the Ephtalites) who invaded India and Persia in the fifth and sixth centuries were of fairer skin than the other Hun tribes which invaded Europe. Istakhri’s black-skinned Khazars — as much else in his and his colleagues’ writings — were based on hearsay and legend; and we are none the wiser regarding the Khazars’ physical appearance, or their ethnic Origins.

The last question can only be answered in a vague and general way. But it is equally frustrating to inquire into the origins of the Huns, Alans, Avars, Bulgars, Magyars, Bashkirs, Burtas, Sabirs, Uigurs, Saragurs, Onogurs, Utigurs, Kutrigurs, Tarniaks, Kotragars, Khabars, Zabenders, Pechenegs, Ghuzz, Kumans, Kipchaks, and dozens of other tribes or people who at one time or another in the lifetime of the Khazar kingdom passed through the turnstiles of those migratory playgrounds. Even the Huns, of whom we know much more, are of uncertain origin; their name is apparently derived from the Chinese Hiung-nu, which designates warlike nomads in general, while other nations applied the name Hun in a similarly indiscriminate way to nomadic hordes of all kinds, including the “White Huns” mentioned above, the Sabirs, Magyars and Khazars.[‡]

In the first century AD, the Chinese drove these disagreeable Hun neighbours westward, and thus started one of those periodic avalanches which swept for many centuries from Asia towards the West. From the fifth century onward, many of these westward-bound tribes were called by the generic name of “Turks”. The term is also supposed to be of Chinese origin (apparently derived from the name of a hill) and was subsequently used to refer to all tribes who spoke languages with certain common characteristics — the “Turkic” language group. Thus the term Turk, in the sense in which it was used by mediaeval writers — and often also by modern ethnologists — refers primarily to language and not to race. In this sense the Huns and Khazars were “Turkic” people.[§] The Khazar language was supposedly a Chuvash dialect of Turkish, which still survives in the Autonomous Chuvash Soviet Republic, between the Volga and the Sura. The Chuvash people are actually believed to be descendants of the Bulgars, who spoke a dialect similar to the Khazars. But all these connections are rather tenuous, based on the more or less speculative deductions of oriental philologists. All we can say with safety is that the Khazars were a “Turkic” tribe, who erupted from the Asian steppes, probably in the fifth century of our era.

The origin of the name Khazar, and the modern derivations to which it gave rise, has also been the subject of much ingenious speculation. Most likely the word is derived from the Turkish root gaz, “to wander”, and simply means “nomad”. Of greater interest to the non-specialist are some alleged modern derivations from it: among them the Russian Cossack and the Hungarian Huszar — both signifying martial horsemen;[**] and also the German Ketzer — heretic, i.e., Jew. If these derivations are correct, they would show that the Khazars had a considerable impact on the imagination of a variety of peoples in the Middle Ages.

4

Some Persian and Arab chronicles provide an attractive combination of legend and gossip column. They may start with the Creation and end with stop-press titbits. Thus Yakubi, a ninth-century Arab historian, traces the origin of the Khazars back to Japheth, third son of Noah. The Japheth motive recurs frequently in the literature, while other legends connect them with Abraham or Alexander the Great.

One of the earliest factual references to the Khazars occurs in a Syriac chronicle by “Zacharia Rhetor”,[††] dating from the middle of the sixth century. It mentions the Khazars in a list of people who inhabit the region of the Caucasus. Other sources indicate that they were already much in evidence a century earlier, and intimately connected with the Huns. In AD 448, the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II sent an embassy to Attila which included a famed rhetorician by name of Priscus. He kept a minute account not only of the diplomatic negotiations, but also of the court intrigues and goings-on in Attila’s sumptuous banqueting hall — he was in fact the perfect gossip columnist, and is still one of the main sources of information about Hun customs and habits. But Priscus also has anecdotes to tell about a people subject to the Huns whom he calls Akatzirs — that is, very likely, the Ak-Khazars, or “White” Khazars (as distinct from the “Black” Kara-Khazars).[‡‡] The Byzantine Emperor, Priscus tells us, tried to win this warrior race over to his side, but the greedy Khazar chieftain, named Karidach, considered the bribe offered to him inadequate, and sided with the Huns. Attila defeated Karidach’s rival chieftains, installed him as the sole ruler of the Akatzirs, and invited him to visit his court. Karidach thanked him profusely for the invitation, and went on to say that “it would be too hard on a mortal man to look into the face of a god. For, as one cannot stare into the sun’s disc, even less could one look into the face of the greatest god without suffering injury.” Attila must have been pleased, for he confirmed Karidach in his rule.

Priscus’s chronicle confirms that the Khazars appeared on the European scene about the middle of the fifth century as a people under Hunnish sovereignty, and may be regarded, together with the Magyars and other tribes, as a later offspring of Attila’s horde.

5

The collapse of the Hun Empire after Attila’s death left a power-vacuum in Eastern Europe, through which once more, wave after wave of nomadic hordes swept from east to west, prominent among them the Uigurs and Avars. The Khazars during most of this period seemed to be happily occupied with raiding the rich trans-Caucasian regions of Georgia and Armenia, and collecting precious plunder. During the second half of the sixth century they became the dominant force among the tribes north of the Caucasus. A number of these tribes — the Sabirs, Saragurs, Samandars, Balanjars, etc. — are from this date onward no longer mentioned by name in the sources: they had been subdued or absorbed by the Khazars. The toughest resistance, apparently, was offered by the powerful Bulgars. But they too were crushingly defeated (circa 641), and as a result the nation split into two: some of them migrated westward to the Danube, into the region of modern Bulgaria, others north-eastward to the middle Volga, the latter remaining under Khazar suzerainty. We shall frequently encounter both Danube Bulgars and Volga Bulgars in the course of this narrative.

But before becoming a sovereign state, the Khazars still had to serve their apprenticeship under another short-lived power, the so-called West Turkish Empire, or Turkut kingdom. It was a confederation of tribes, held together by a ruler: the Kagan or Khagan[§§] — a title which the Khazar rulers too were subsequently to adopt. This first Turkish state — if one may call it that — lasted for a century (circa 550-650) and then fell apart, leaving hardly any trace. However, it was only after the establishment of this kingdom that the name “Turk” was used to apply to a specific nation, as distinct from other Turkic-speaking peoples like the Khazars and Bulgars.[***]

The Khazars had been under Hun tutelage, then under Turkish tutelage. After the eclipse of the Turks in the middle of the seventh century it was their turn to rule the “Kingdom of the North”, as the Persians and Byzantines came to call it. According to one tradition,[15] the great Persian King Khusraw (Chosroes) Anushirwan (the Blessed) had three golden guest-thrones in his palace, reserved for the Emperors of Byzantium, China and of the Khazars. No state visits from these potentates materialized, and the golden thrones — if they existed — must have served a purely symbolic purpose. But whether fact or legend, the story fits in well with Emperor Constantine’s official account of the triple gold seal assigned by the Imperial Chancery to the ruler of the Khazars.

6

Thus during the first few decades of the seventh century, just before the Muslim hurricane was unleashed from Arabia, the Middle East was dominated by a triangle of powers: Byzantium, Persia, and the West Turkish Empire. The first two of these had been waging intermittent war against each other for a century, and both seemed on the verge of collapse; in the sequel, Byzantium recovered, but the Persian kingdom was soon to meet its doom, and the Khazars were actually in on the kill.

They were still nominally under the suzerainty of the West Turkish kingdom, within which they represented the strongest effective force, and to which they were soon to succeed; accordingly, in 627, the Roman Emperor Heraclius concluded a military alliance with the Khazars — the first of several to follow — in preparing his decisive campaign against Persia. There are several versions of the role played by the Khazars in that campaign which seems to have been somewhat inglorious — but the principal facts are well established. The Khazars provided Heraclius with 40000 horsemen under a chieftain named Ziebel, who participated in the advance into Persia, but then — presumably fed up with the cautious strategy of the Greeks — turned back to lay siege on Tiflis; this was unsuccessful, but the next year they again joined forces with Heraclius, took the Georgian capital, and returned with rich plunder. Gibbon has given a colourful description (based on Theophanes) of the first meeting between the Roman Emperor and the Khazar chieftain.[16]

…To the hostile league of Chosroes with the Avars, the Roman emperor opposed the useful and honourable alliance of the Turks.[†††] At his liberal invitation, the horde of Chozars transported their tents from the plains of the Volga to the mountains of Georgia; Heraclius received them in the neighbourhood of Tiflis, and the khan with his nobles dismounted from their horses, if we may credit the Greeks, and fell prostrate on the ground, to adore the purple of the Caesar. Such voluntary homage and important aid were entitled to the warmest acknowledgements; and the emperor, taking off his own diadem, placed it on the head of the Turkish prince, whom he saluted with a tender embrace and the appellation of son. After a sumptuous banquet, he presented Ziebel with the plate and ornaments, the gold, the gems, and the silk, which had been used at the Imperial table, and, with his own hand, distributed rich jewels and earrings to his new allies. In a secret interview, he produced the portrait of his daughter Eudocia, condescended to flatter the barbarian with the promise of a fair and august bride, and obtained an immediate succour of forty thousand horse…

Eudocia (or Epiphania) was the only daughter of Heraclius by his first wife. The promise to give her in marriage to the “Turk” indicates once more the high value set by the Byzantine Court on the Khazar alliance. However, the marriage came to naught because Ziebel died while Eudocia and her suite were on their way to him. There is also an ambivalent reference in Theophanes to the effect that Ziebel “presented his son, a beardless boy” to the Emperor — as a quid pro quo?

There is another picturesque passage in an Armenian chronicle, quoting the text of what might be called an Order of Mobilization issued by the Khazar ruler for the second campaign against Persia: it was addressed to “all tribes and peoples [under Khazar authority], inhabitants of the mountains and the plains, living under roofs or the open sky, having their heads shaved or wearing their hair long”.[17]

This gives us a first intimation of the heterogeneous ethnic mosaic that was to compose the Khazar Empire. The “real Khazars” who ruled it were probably always a minority — as the Austrians were in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

7

The Persian state never recovered from the crushing defeat inflicted on it by Emperor Heraclius in 627. There was a revolution; the King was slain by his own son who, in his turn, died a few months later; a child was elevated to the throne, and after ten years of anarchy and chaos the first Arab armies to erupt on the scene delivered the coup de grâce to the Sassanide Empire. At about the same time, the West Turkish confederation dissolved into its tribal components. A new triangle of powers replaced the previous one: the Islamic Caliphate — Christian Byzantium and the newly emerged Khazar Kingdom of the North. It fell to the latter to bear the brunt of the Arab attack in its initial stages, and to protect the plains of Eastern Europe from the invaders.

In the first twenty years of the Hegira — Mohammed’s flight to Medina in 622, with which the Arab calendar starts — the Muslims had conquered Persia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and surrounded the Byzantine heartland (the present-day Turkey) in a deadly semi-circle, which extended from the Mediterranean to the Caucasus and the southern shores of the Caspian. The Caucasus was a formidable natural obstacle, but no more forbidding than the Pyrenees; and it could be negotiated by the pass of Dariel[‡‡‡] or bypassed through the defile of Darband, along the Caspian shore.

This fortified defile, called by the Arabs Bab al Abwab, the Gate of Gates, was a kind of historic turnstile through which the Khazars and other marauding tribes had from time immemorial attacked the countries of the south and retreated again. Now it was the turn of the Arabs. Between 642 and 652 they repeatedly broke through the Darband Gate and advanced deep into Khazaria, attempting to capture Balanjar, the nearest town, and thus secure a foothold on the European side of the Caucasus. They were beaten back on every occasion in this first phase of the Arab-Khazar war; the last time in 652, in a great battle in which both sides used artillery (catapults and ballistae). Four thousand Arabs were killed, including their commander, Abdal-Rahman ibn-Rabiah; the rest fled in disorder across the mountains.

For the next thirty or forty years the Arabs did not attempt any further incursions into the Khazar stronghold. Their main attacks were now aimed at Byzantium. On several occasions[§§§] they laid siege to Constantinople by land and by sea; had they been able to outflank the capital across the Caucasus and round the Black Sea, the fate of the Roman Empire would probably have been sealed. The Khazars, in the meantime, having subjugated the Bulgars and Magyars, completed their western expansion into the Ukraine and the Crimea. But these were no longer haphazard raids to amass booty and prisoners; they were wars of conquest, incorporating the conquered people into an empire with a stable administration, ruled by the mighty Kagan, who appointed his provincial governors to administer and levy taxes in the conquered territories. At the beginning of the eighth century their state was sufficiently consolidated for the Khazars to take the offensive against the Arabs.

From a distance of more than a thousand years, the period of intermittent warfare that followed (the so-called ‘second Arab war”, 722-37) looks like a series of tedious episodes on a local scale, following the same, repetitive pattern: the Khazar cavalry in their heavy armour breaking through the pass of Dariel or the Gate of Darband into the Caliph’s domains to the south; followed by Arab counter-thrusts through the same pass or the defile, towards the Volga and back again. Looking thus through the wrong end of the telescope, one is reminded of the old jingle about the noble Duke of York who had ten thousand men; “he marched them up to the top of the hill. And he marched them down again.” In fact, the Arab sources (though they often exaggerate) speak of armies of 100000, even of 300000, men engaged on either side — probably outnumbering the armies which decided the fate of the Western world at the battle of Tours about the same time.

The death-defying fanaticism which characterized these wars is illustrated by episodes such as the suicide by fire of a whole Khazar town as an alternative to surrender; the poisoning of the water supply of Bab al Abwab by an Arab general; or by the traditional exhortation which would halt the rout of a defeated Arab army and make it fight to the last man: “To the Garden, Muslims, not the Fire” — the joys of Paradise being assured to every Muslim soldier killed in the Holy War.

At one stage during these fifteen years of fighting the Khazars overran Georgia and Armenia, inflicted a total defeat on the Arab army in the battle of Ardabil (AD 730) and advanced as far as Mosul and Dyarbakir, more than half-way to Damascus, capital of the Caliphate. But a freshly raised Muslim army stemmed the tide, and the Khazars retreated homewards across the mountains. The next year Maslamah ibn-Abd-al-Malik, most famed Arab general of his time, who had formerly commanded the siege of Constantinople, took Balanjar and even got as far as Samandar, another large Khazar town further north. But once more the invaders were unable to establish a permanent garrison, and once more they were forced to retreat across the Caucasus. The sigh of relief experienced in the Roman Empire assumed a tangible form through another dynastic alliance, when the heir to the throne was married to a Khazar princess, whose son was to rule Byzantium as Leo the Khazar.

The last Arab campaign was led by the future Caliph Marwan II, and ended in a Pyrrhic victory. Marwan made an offer of alliance to the Khazar Kagan, then attacked by surprise through both passes. The Khazar army, unable to recover from the initial shock, retreated as far as the Volga. The Kagan was forced to ask for terms; Marwan, in accordance with the routine followed in other conquered countries, requested the Kagan’s conversion to the True Faith. The Kagan complied, but his conversion to Islam must have been an act of lip-service, for no more is heard of the episode in the Arab or Byzantine sources — in contrast to the lasting effects of the establishment of Judaism as the state religion which took place a few years later.[****] Content with the results achieved, Marwan bid farewell to Khazaria and marched his army back to Transcaucasia — without leaving any garrison, governor or administrative apparatus behind. On the contrary, a short time later he requested terms for another alliance with the Khazars against the rebellious tribes of the south.

It had been a narrow escape. The reasons which prompted Marwan’s apparent magnanimity are a matter of conjecture — as so much else in this bizarre chapter of history. Perhaps the Arabs realized that, unlike the relatively civilized Persians, Armenians or Georgians, these ferocious Barbarians of the North could not be ruled by a Muslim puppet prince and a small garrison. Yet Marwan needed every man of his army to quell major rebellions in Syria and other parts of the Omayad Caliphate, which was in the process of breaking up. Marwan himself was the chief commander in the civil wars that followed, and became in 744 the last of the Omayad Caliphs (only to be assassinated six years later when the Caliphate passed to the Abbasid dynasty). Given this background, Marwan was simply not in a position to exhaust his resources by further wars with the Khazars. He had to content himself with teaching them a lesson which would deter them from further incursions across the Caucasus.

Thus the gigantic Muslim pincer movement across the Pyrenees in the west and across the Caucasus into Eastern Europe was halted at both ends about the same time. As Charles Martel’s Franks saved Gaul and Western Europe, so the Khazars saved the eastern approaches to the Volga, the Danube, and the East Roman Empire itself. On this point at least, the Soviet archaeologist and historian, Artamonov, and the American historian, Dunlop, are in full agreement. I have already quoted the latter to the effect that but for the Khazars, “Byzantium, the bulwark of European civilization to the East, would have found itself outflanked by the Arabs”, and that history might have taken a different course.

Artamonov is of the same opinion:[18]

Khazaria was the first feudal state in Eastern Europe, which ranked with the Byzantine Empire and the Arab Caliphate.… It was only due to the powerful Khazar attacks, diverting the tide of the Arab armies to the Caucasus, that Byzantium withstood them.…

Lastly, the Professor of Russian History in the University of Oxford, Dimitry Obolensky:[19] “The main contribution of the Khazars to world history was their success in holding the line of the Caucasus against the northward onslaught of the Arabs.”

Marwan was not only the last Arab general to attack the Khazars, he was also the last Caliph to pursue an expansionist policy devoted, at least in theory, to the ideal of making Islam triumph all over the world. With the Abbasid caliphs the wars of conquest ceased, the revived influence of the old Persian culture created a mellower climate, and eventually gave rise to the splendours of Baghdad under Harun al Rashid.

8

During the long lull between the first and second Arab wars, the Khazars became involved in one of the more lurid episodes of Byzantine history, characteristic of the times, and of the role the Khazars played in it.

In AD 685 Justinian II, Rhinotmetus, became East Roman Emperor at the age of sixteen. Gibbon, in his inimitable way, has drawn the youth’s portrait:[20]

His passions were strong; his understanding was feeble; and he was intoxicated with a foolish pride.… His favourite ministers were two beings the least susceptible of human sympathy, a eunuch and a monk; the former corrected the emperor’s mother with a scourge, the latter suspended the insolvent tributaries, with their heads downwards, over a slow and smoky fire.

After ten years of intolerable misrule there was a revolution, and the new Emperor, Leontius, ordered Justinian’s mutilation and banishment:[21]

The amputation of his nose, perhaps of his tongue, was imperfectly performed; the happy flexibility of the Greek language could impose the name of Rhinotmetus (“Cut-off Nose”); and the mutilated tyrant was banished to Chersonae in Crim-Tartary, a lonely settlement where corn, wine and oil were imported as foreign luxuries.[††††]

During his exile in Cherson, Justinian kept plotting to regain his throne. After three years he saw his chances improving when, back in Byzantium, Leontius was de-throned and also had his nose cut off. Justinian escaped from Cherson into the Khazar-ruled town of Doros in the Crimea and had a meeting with the Kagan of the Khazars, King Busir or Bazir. The Kagan must have welcomed the opportunity of putting his fingers into the rich pie of Byzantine dynastic policies, for he formed an alliance with Justinian and gave him his sister in marriage. This sister, who was baptized by the name of Theodora, and later duly crowned, seems to have been the only decent person in this series of sordid intrigues, and to bear genuine love for her noseless husband (who was still only in his early thirties). The couple and their band of followers were now moved to the town of Phanagoria (the present Taman) on the eastern shore of the strait of Kerch, which had a Khazar governor. Here they made preparations for the invasion of Byzantium with the aid of the Khazar armies which King Busir had apparently promised. But the envoys of the new Emperor, Tiberias III, persuaded Busir to change his mind, by offering him a rich reward in gold if he delivered Justinian, dead or alive, to the Byzantines. King Busir accordingly gave orders to two of his henchmen, named Papatzes and Balgitres, to assassinate his brother-in-law. But faithful Theodora got wind of the plot and warned her husband. Justinian invited Papatzes and Balgitres separately to his quarters, and strangled each in turn with a cord. Then he took ship, sailed across the Black Sea into the Danube estuary, and made a new alliance with a powerful Bulgar tribe. Their king, Terbolis, proved for the time being more reliable than the Khazar Kagan, for in 704 he provided Justinian with 15000 horsemen to attack Constantinople. The Byzantines had, after ten years, either forgotten the darker sides of Justinian’s former rule, or else found their present ruler even more intolerable, for they promptly rose against Tiberias and reinstated Justinian on the throne. The Bulgar King was rewarded with “a heap of gold coin which he measured with his Scythian whip” and went home (only to get involved in a new war against Byzantium a few years later).

Justinian’s second reign (704-711) proved even worse than the first; “he considered the axe, the cord and the rack as the only instruments of royalty”.[22] He became mentally unbalanced, obsessed with hatred against the inhabitants of Cherson, where he had spent most of the bitter years of his exile, and sent an expedition against the town. Some of Cherson’s leading citizens were burnt alive, others drowned, and many prisoners taken, but this was not enough to assuage Justinian’s lust for revenge, for he sent a second expedition with orders to raze the city to the ground. However, this time his troops were halted by a mighty Khazar army; whereupon Justinian’s representative in the Crimea, a certain Bardanes, changed sides and joined the Khazars. The demoralized Byzantine expeditionary force abjured its allegiance to Justinian and elected Bardanes as Emperor, under the name of Philippicus. But since Philippicus was in Khazar hands, the insurgents had to pay a heavy ransom to the Kagan to get their new Emperor back. When the expeditionary force returned to Constantinople, Justinian and his son were assassinated and Philippicus, greeted as a liberator, was installed on the throne only to be deposed and blinded a couple of years later.

The point of this gory tale is to show the influence which the Khazars at this stage exercised over the destinies of the East Roman Empire — in addition to their role as defenders of the Caucasian bulwark against the Muslims. Bardanes-Philippicus was an emperor of the Khazars’ making, and the end of Justinian’s reign of terror was brought about by his brother-in-law, the Kagan. To quote Dunlop: “It does not seem an exaggeration to say that at this juncture the Khaquan was able practically to give a new ruler to the Greek empire.”[23]

9

From the chronological point of view, the next event to be discussed should be the conversion of the Khazars to Judaism, around AD 740. But to see that remarkable event in its proper perspective, one should have at least some sketchy idea of the habits, customs and everyday life among the Khazars prior to the conversion.

Alas, we have no lively eyewitness reports, such as Priscus’s description of Attila’s court. What we do have are mainly second-hand accounts and compilations by Byzantine and Arab chroniclers, which are rather schematic and fragmentary — with two exceptions. One is a letter, purportedly from a Khazar king, to be discussed in Chapter 2; the other is a travelogue by an observant Arab traveller, Ibn Fadlan, who — like Priscus — was a member of a diplomatic mission from a civilized court to the Barbarians of the North.

The court was that of the Caliph al Muktadir, and the diplomatic mission travelled from Baghdad through Persia and Bukhara to the land of the Volga Bulgars. The official pretext for this grandiose expedition was a letter of invitation from the Bulgar king, who asked the Caliph (a) for religious instructors to convert his people to Islam, and (b) to build him a fortress which would enable him to defy his overlord, the King of the Khazars. The invitation — which was no doubt prearranged by earlier diplomatic contacts — also provided an opportunity to create goodwill among the various Turkish tribes inhabiting territories through which the mission had to pass, by preaching the message of the Koran and distributing huge amounts of gold bakhshish.

The opening paragraphs of our traveller’s account read:[‡‡‡‡]

This is the book of Ahmad ibn-Fadlan ibn-al-Abbas, ibn-Rasid, ibn-Hammad, an official in the service of [General] Muhammed ibn-Sulayman, the ambassador of [Caliph] al Muktadir to the King of the Bulgars, in which he relates what he saw in the land of the Turks, the Khazars, the Rus, the Bulgars, the Bashkirs and others, their varied kinds of religion, the histories of their kings, and their conduct in many walks of life.

The letter of the King of the Bulgars reached the Commander of the Faithful, al Muktadir; he asked him therein to send him someone to give him religious instruction and acquaint him with the laws of Islam, to build him a mosque and a pulpit so that he may carry out his mission of converting the people all over his country; he also entreated the Caliph to build him a fortress to defend himself against hostile kings.[§§§§] Everything that the King asked for was granted by the Caliph. I was chosen to read the Caliph’s message to the King, to hand over the gifts the Caliph sent him, and to supervise the work of the teachers and interpreters of the Law.…[There follow some details about the financing of the mission and names of participants.] And so we started on Thursday the 11th Safar of the year 309 [June 21, AD 921] from the City of Peace [Baghdad, capital of the Caliphate].

The date of the expedition, it will he noted, is much later than the events described in the previous section. But as far as the customs and institutions of the Khazars’ pagan neighbours are concerned, this probably makes not much difference; and the glimpses we get of the life of these nomadic tribes convey at least some idea of what life among the Khazars may have been during that earlier period — before the conversion — when they adhered to a form of Shamanism similar to that still practised by their neighbours in Ibn Fadlan’s time.

The progress of the mission was slow and apparently uneventful until they reached Khwarizm, the border province of the Caliphate south of the Sea of Aral. Here the governor in charge of the province tried to stop them from proceeding further by arguing that between his country and the kingdom of the Bulgars there were “a thousand tribes of disbelievers” who were sure to kill them. In fact his attempts to disregard the Caliph’s instructions to let the mission pass might have been due to other motives: he realized that the mission was indirectly aimed against the Khazars, with whom he maintained a flourishing trade and friendly relations. In the end, however, he had to give in, and the mission was allowed to proceed to Gurganj on the estuary of the Amu-Darya. Here they hibernated for three months, because of the intense cold — a factor which looms large in many Arab travellers’ tales:

The river was frozen for three months, we looked at the landscape and thought that the gates of the cold Hell had been opened for us. Verily I saw that the market place and the streets were totally empty because of the cold.… Once, when I came out of the bath and got home, I saw that my beard had frozen into a lump of ice, and I had to thaw it in front of the fire. I stayed for some days in a house which was inside of another house [compound?] and in which there stood a Turkish felt tent, and I lay inside the tent wrapped in clothes and furs, but nevertheless my cheeks often froze to the cushion.…

Around the middle of February the thaw set in. The mission arranged to join a mighty caravan of 5000 men and 3000 pack animals to cross the northern steppes, and bought the necessary supplies: camels, skin boats made of camel hides for crossing rivers, bread, millet and spiced meat for three months. The natives warned them about the even more frightful cold in the north, and advised them what clothes to wear:

So each of us put on a Kurtak, [camisole] over that a woollen Kaftan, over that a buslin, [fur-lined coat] over that a burka [fur coat]; and a fur cap, under which only the eyes could be seen; a simple pair of underpants, and a lined pair, and over them the trousers; house shoes of kaymuht [shagreen leather] and over these also another pair of boots; and when one of us mounted a camel, he was unable to move because of his clothes.

Ibn Fadlan, the fastidious Arab, liked neither the climate nor the people of Khwarizm:

They are, in respect of their language and constitution, the most repulsive of men. Their language is like the chatter of starlings. At a day’s journey there is a village called Ardkwa whose inhabitants are called Kardals; their language sounds entirely like the croaking of frogs.

They left on March 3 and stopped for the night in a caravanserai called Zamgan — the gateway to the territory of the Ghuzz Turks. From here onward the mission was in foreign land, “entrusting our fate to the all-powerful and exalted God”. During one of the frequent snow-storms, Ibn Fadlan rode next to a Turk, who complained: “What does the Ruler want from us? He is killing us with cold. If we knew what he wants we would give it to him.” Ibn Fadlan: “All he wants is that you people should say: “There is no God save Allah”.” The Turk laughed: “If we knew that it is so, we should say so.”

There are many such incidents, which Ibn Fadlan reports without appreciating the independence of mind which they reflect. Nor did the envoy of the Baghdad court appreciate the nomadic tribesmen’s fundamental contempt for authority. The following episode also occurred in the country of the powerful Ghuzz Turks, who paid tribute to the Khazars and, according to some sources, were closely related to them:[24]

The next morning one of the Turks met us. He was ugly in build, dirty in appearance, contemptible in manners, base in nature; and we were moving through a heavy rain. Then he said: “Halt.” Then the whole caravan of 3000 animals and 5000 men halted. Then he said: “Not a single one of you is allowed to go on.” We halted then, obeying his orders.[*****] Then we said to him: “We are friends of the Kudarkin [Viceroy]”. He began to laugh and said: “Who is the Kudarkin? I shit on his beard.” Then he said: “Bread.” I gave him a few loaves of bread. He took them and said: “Continue your journey; I have taken pity on you.”

The democratic methods of the Ghuzz, practised when a decision had to be taken, were even more bewildering to the representative of an authoritarian theocracy:

They are nomads and have houses of felt. They stay for a while in one place and then move on. One can see their tents dispersed here and there all over the place according to nomadic custom. Although they lead a hard life, they behave like donkeys that have lost their way. They have no religion which would link them to God, nor are they guided by reason; they do not worship anything. Instead, they call their headmen lords; when one of them consults his chieftain, he asks: “O lord, what shall I do in this or that matter?” The course of action they adopt is decided by taking counsel among themselves; but when they have decided on a measure and are ready to carry it through, even the humblest and lowliest among them can come and disrupt that decision.

The sexual mores of the Ghuzz — and other tribes — were a remarkable mixture of liberalism and savagery:

Their women wear no veils in the presence of their men or strangers. Nor do the women cover any parts of their bodies in the presence of people. One day we stayed at the place of a Ghuzz and were sitting around; his wife was also present. As we conversed, the woman uncovered her private parts and scratched them, and we all saw it. Thereupon we covered our faces and said: “May God forgive me.” The husband laughed and said to the interpreter: “Tell them we uncover it in your presence so that you may see and restrain yourselves; but it cannot be attained. This is better than when it is covered up and yet attainable.” Adultery is alien to them; yet when they discover that someone is an adulterer they split him in two halves. This they do by bringing together the branches of two trees, tie him to the branches and then let both trees go, so that the man tied to them is torn in two.

He does not say whether the same punishment was meted out to the guilty woman. Later on, when talking about the Volga Bulgars, he describes an equally savage method of splitting adulterers into two, applied to both men and women. Yet, he notes with astonishment, Bulgars of both sexes swim naked in their rivers, and have as little bodily shame as the Ghuzz.

As for homosexuality — which in Arab countries was taken as a matter of course — Ibn Fadlan says that it is “regarded by the Turks as a terrible sin”. But in the only episode he relates to prove his point, the seducer of a “beardless youth” gets away with a fine of 400 sheep.

Accustomed to the splendid baths of Baghdad, our traveller could not get over the dirtiness of the Turks. “The Ghuzz do not wash themselves after defacating or urinating, nor do they bathe after seminal pollution or on other occasions. They refuse to have anything to do with water, particularly in winter.…”

When the Ghuzz commander-in-chief took off his luxurious coat of brocade to don a new coat the mission had brought him, they saw that his underclothes were “fraying apart from dirt, for it is their custom never to take off the garment they wear close to their bodies until it disintegrates”. Another Turkish tribe, the Bashkirs, ‘shave their beards and eat their lice. They search the folds of their undergarments and crack the lice with their teeth.” When Ibn Fadlan watched a Bashkir do this, the latter remarked to him: “They are delicious.”

All in all, it is not an engaging picture. Our fastidious traveller’s contempt for the barbarians was profound. But it was only aroused by their uncleanliness and what he considered as indecent exposure of the body; the savagery of their punishments and sacrificial rites leave him quite indifferent. Thus he describes the Bulgars’ punishment for manslaughter with detached interest, without his otherwise frequent expressions of indignation: “They make for him [the delinquent] a box of birchwood, put him inside, nail the lid on the box, put three loaves of bread and a can of water beside it, and suspend the box between two tall poles, saying: “We have put him between heaven and earth, that he may be exposed to the sun and the rain, and that the deity may perhaps forgive him.” And so he remains suspended until time lets him decay and the winds blow him away.”

He also describes, with similar aloofness, the funeral sacrifice of hundreds of horses and herds of other animals, and the gruesome ritual killing of a Rus[†††††] slave girl at her master’s bier. About pagan religions he has little to say. But the Bashkirs’ phallus cult arouses his interest, for he asks through his interpreter one of the natives the reason for his worshipping a wooden penis, and notes down his reply: “Because I issued from something similar and know of no other creator who made me.” He then adds that ‘some of them [the Bashkirs] believe in twelve deities, a god for winter, another for summer, one for the rain, one for the wind, one for the trees, one for men, one for the horse, one for water, one for the night, one for the day, a god of death and one for the earth; while that god who dwells in the sky is the greatest among them, but takes counsel with the others and thus all are contented with each other’s doings.… We have seen a group among them which worships snakes, and a group which worships fish, and a group which worships cranes.…”

Among the Volga Bulgars, Ibn Fadlan found a strange custom:

When they observe a man who excels through quickwittedness and knowledge, they say: “for this one it is more befitting to serve our Lord.” They seize him, put a rope round his neck and hang him on a tree where he is left until he rots away.

Commenting on this passage, the Turkish orientalist Zeki Validi Togan, undisputed authority on Ibn Fadlan and his times, has this to say:[25] “There is nothing mysterious about the cruel treatment meted out by the Bulgars to people who were overly clever. It was based on the simple, sober reasoning of the average citizens who wanted only to lead what they considered to be a normal life, and to avoid any risk or adventure into which the “genius” might lead them.” He then quotes a Tartar proverb: “If you know too much, they will hang you, and if you are too modest, they will trample on you.” He concludes that the victim ‘should not be regarded simply as a learned person, but as an unruly genius, one who is too clever by half”. This leads one to believe that the custom should be regarded as a measure of social defence against change, a punishment of non-conformists and potential innovators.[‡‡‡‡‡] But a few lines further down he gives a different interpretation:

Ibn Fadlan describes not the simple murder of too-clever people, but one of their pagan customs: human sacrifice, by which the most excellent among men were offered as sacrifice to God. This ceremony was probably not carried out by common Bulgars, but by their Tabibs, or medicine men, i.e. their shamans, whose equivalents among the Bulgars and the Rus also wielded power of life and death over the people, in the name of their cult. According to Ibn Rusta, the medicine men of the Rus could put a rope round the neck of anybody and hang him on a tree to invoke the mercy of God. When this was done, they said: “This is an offering to God.”

Perhaps both types of motivation were mixed together: ‘since sacrifice is a necessity, let’s sacrifice the trouble-makers”.

We shall see that human sacrifice was also practised by the Khazars — including the ritual killing of the king at the end of his reign. We may assume that many other similarities existed between the customs of the tribes described by Ibn Fadlan and those of the Khazars. Unfortunately he was debarred from visiting the Khazar capital and had to rely on information collected in territories under Khazar dominion, and particularly at the Bulgar court.

10

It took the Caliph’s mission nearly a year (from June 21, 921, to May 12, 922) to reach its destination, the land of the Volga Bulgars. The direct route from Baghdad to the Volga leads across the Caucasus and Khazaria — to avoid the latter, they had to make the enormous detour round the eastern shore of the “Khazar Sea”, the Caspian. Even so, they were constantly reminded of the proximity of the Khazars and its potential dangers.

A characteristic episode took place during their sojourn with the Ghuzz army chief (the one with the disreputable underwear). They were at first well received, and given a banquet. But later the Ghuzz leaders had second thoughts because of their relations with the Khazars. The chief assembled the leaders to decide what to do:

The most distinguished and influential among them was the Tarkhan; he was lame and blind and had a maimed hand. The Chief said to them: “These are the messengers of the King of the Arabs, and I do not feel authorized to let them proceed without consulting you.” Then the Tarkhan spoke: “This is a matter the like of which we have never seen or heard before; never has an ambassador of the Sultan travelled through our country since we and our ancestors have been here. Without doubt the Sultan is deceiving us; these people he is really sending to the Khazars, to stir them up against us. The best will be to cut each of these messengers into two and to confiscate all their belongings.” Another one said: “No, we should take their belongings and let them run back naked whence they came.” Another said: “No, the Khazar king holds hostages from us, let us send these people to ransom them.”

They argued among themselves for seven days, while Ibn Fadlan and his people feared the worst. In the end the Ghuzz let them go; we are not told why. Probably Ibn Fadlan succeeded in persuading them that his mission was in fact directed against the Khazars. The Ghuzz had earlier on fought with the Khazars against another Turkish tribe, the Pechenegs, but more recently had shown a hostile attitude; hence the hostages the Khazars took.

The Khazar menace loomed large on the horizon all along the journey. North of the Caspian they made another huge detour before reaching the Bulgar encampment somewhere near the confluence of the Volga and the Kama. There the King and leaders of the Bulgars were waiting for them in a state of acute anxiety. As soon as the ceremonies and festivities were over, the King sent for Ibn Fadlan to discuss business. He reminded Ibn Fadlan in forceful language (“his voice sounded as if he were speaking from the bottom of a barrel”) of the main purpose of the mission to wit, the money to be paid to him ‘so that I shall be able to build a fortress to protect me from the Jews who subjugated me”. Unfortunately that money — a sum of four thousand dinars — had not been handed over to the mission, owing to some complicated matter of red tape; it was to be sent later on. On learning this, the King — “a personality of impressive appearance, broad and corpulent” — seemed close to despair. He suspected the mission of having defrauded the money: ““What would you think of a group of men who are given a sum of money destined for a people that is weak, besieged, and oppressed, yet these men defraud the money?” I replied: “This is forbidden, those men would be evil.” He asked: “Is this a matter of opinion or a matter of general consent?” I replied: “A matter of general consent.””

Gradually Ibn Fadlan succeeded in convincing the King that the money was only delayed,[§§§§§] but not to allay his anxieties. The King kept repeating that the whole point of the invitation was the building of the fortress “because he was afraid of the King of the Khazars”. And apparently he had every reason to be afraid, as Ibn Fadlan relates:

The Bulgar King’s son was held as a hostage by the King of the Khazars. It was reported to the King of the Khazars that the Bulgar King had a beautiful daughter. He sent a messenger to sue for her. The Bulgar King used pretexts to refuse his consent. The Khazar sent another messenger and took her by force, although he was a Jew and she a Muslim; but she died at his court. The Khazar sent another messenger and asked for the Bulgar King’s other daughter. But in the very hour when the messenger reached him, the Bulgar King hurriedly married her to the Prince of the Askil, who was his subject, for fear that the Khazar would take her too by force, as he had done with her sister. This alone was the reason which made the Bulgar King enter into correspondence with the Caliph and ask him to have a fortress built because he feared the King of the Khazars.

It sounds like a refrain. Ibn Fadlan also specifies the annual tribute the Bulgar King had to pay the Khazars: one sable fur from each household in his realm. Since the number of Bulgar households (i.e., tents) is estimated to have been around 50000, and since Bulgar sable fur was highly valued all over the world, the tribute was a handsome one.

11

What Ibn Fadlan has to tell us about the Khazars is based — as already mentioned — on intelligence collected in the course of his journey, but mainly at the Bulgar court. Unlike the rest of his narrative, derived from vivid personal observations, the pages on the Khazars contain second-hand, potted information, and fall rather flat. Moreover, the sources of his information are biased, in view of the Bulgar King’s understandable dislike of his Khazar overlord — while the Caliphate’s resentment of a kingdom embracing a rival religion need hardly be stressed.

The narrative switches abruptly from a description of the Rus court to the Khazar court:

Concerning the King of the Khazars, whose title is Kagan, he appears in public only once every four months. They call him the Great Kagan. His deputy is called Kagan Bek; he is the one who commands and supplies the armies, manages the affairs of state, appears in public and leads in war. The neighbouring kings obey his orders. He enters every day into the presence of the Great Kagan, with deference and modesty, barefooted, carrying a stick of wood in his hand. He makes obeisance, lights the stick, and when it has burned down, he sits down on the throne on the King’s right. Next to him in rank is a man called the K-nd-r Kagan, and next to that one, the Jawshyghr Kagan.

It is the custom of the Great Kagan not to have social intercourse with people, and not to talk with them, and to admit nobody to his presence except those we have mentioned. The power to bind or release, to mete out punishment, and to govern the country belongs to his deputy, the Kagan Bek.

It is a further custom of the Great Kagan that when he dies a great building is built for him, containing twenty chambers, and in each chamber a grave is dug for him. Stones are broken until they become like powder, which is spread over the floor and covered with pitch. Beneath the building flows a river, and this river is large and rapid. They divert the river water over the grave and they say that this is done so that no devil, no man, no worm and no creeping creatures can get at him. After he has been buried, those who buried him are decapitated, so that nobody may know in which of the chambers is his grave. The grave is called “Paradise” and they have a saying: “He has entered Paradise”. All the chambers are spread with silk brocade interwoven with threads of gold.

It is the custom of the King of the Khazars to have twenty-five wives; each of the wives is the daughter of a king who owes him allegiance. He takes them by consent or by force. He has sixty girls for concubines, each of them of exquisite beauty.

Ibn Fadlan then proceeds to give a rather fanciful description of the Kagan’s harem, where each of the eighty-five wives and concubines has a “palace of her own”, and an attendant or eunuch who, at the King’s command, brings her to his alcove “faster than the blinking of an eye.

After a few more dubious remarks about the “customs” of the Khazar Kagan (we shall return to them later), Ibn Fadlan at last provides some factual information about the country:

The King has a great city on the river Itil [Volga] on both banks. On one bank live the Muslims, on the other bank the King and his court. The Muslims are governed by one of the King’s officials who is himself a Muslim. The law-suits of the Muslims living in the Khazar capital and of visiting merchants from abroad are looked after by that official. Nobody else meddles in their affairs or sits in judgment over them.

Ibn Fadlan’s travel report, as far as it is preserved, ends with the words:

The Khazars and their King are all Jews.[******] The Bulgars and all their neighbours are subject to him. They treat him with worshipful obedience. Some are of the opinion that Gog and Magog are the Khazars.

12

I have quoted Ibn Fadlan’s odyssey at some length, not so much because of the scant information he provides about the Khazars themselves, but because of the light it throws on the world which surrounded them, the stark barbarity of the people amidst whom they lived, reflecting their own past, prior to the conversion. For, by the time of Ibn Fadlan’s visit to the Bulgars, Khazaria was a surprisingly modern country compared to its neighbours.

The contrast is evidenced by the reports of other Arab historians,[††††††] and is present on every level, from housing to the administration of justice. The Bulgars still live exclusively in tents, including the King, although the royal tent is “very large, holding a thousand people or more”.[26] On the other hand, the Khazar Kagan inhabits a castle built of burnt brick, his ladies are said to inhabit “palaces with roofs of teak”,[27] and the Muslims have several mosques, among them “one whose minaret rises above the royal castle”.[28]

In the fertile regions, their farms and cultivated areas stretched out continuously over sixty or seventy miles. They also had extensive vineyards. Thus Ibn Hawkal: “In Kozr [Khazaria] there is a certain city called Asmid [Samandar] which has so many orchards and gardens that from Darband to Serir the whole country is covered with gardens and plantations belonging to this city. It is said that there are about forty thousand of them. Many of these produce grapes.”[29]

The region north of the Caucasus was extremely fertile. In AD 968 Ibn Hawkal met a man who had visited it after a Russian raid: “He said there is not a pittance left for the poor in any vineyard or garden, not a leaf on the bough.… [But] owing to the excellence of their land and the abundance of its produce it will not take three years until it becomes again what it was.” Caucasian wine is still a delight, consumed in vast quantities in the Soviet Union.

However, the royal treasuries’ main source of income was foreign trade. The sheer volume of the trading caravans plying their way between Central Asia and the Volga-Ural region is indicated by Ibn Fadlan: we remember that the caravan his mission joined at Gurganj consisted of “5000 men and 3000 pack animals”. Making due allowance for exaggeration, it must still have been a mighty caravan, and we do not know how many of these were at any time on the move. Nor what goods they transported — although textiles, dried fruit, honey, wax and spices seem to have played an important part. A second major trade route led across the Caucasus to Armenia, Georgia, Persia and Byzantium. A third consisted of the increasing traffic of Rus merchant fleets down the Volga to the eastern shores of the Khazar Sea, carrying mainly precious furs much in demand among the Muslim aristocracy, and slaves from the north, sold at the slave market of Itil. On all these transit goods, including the slaves, the Khazar ruler levied a tax of ten per cent. Adding to this the tribute paid by Bulgars, Magyars, Burtas and so on, one realizes that Khazaria was a prosperous country — but also that its prosperity depended to a large extent on its military power, and the prestige it conveyed on its tax collectors and customs officials.

Apart from the fertile regions of the south, with their vineyards and orchards, the country was poor in natural resources. One Arab historian (Istakhri) says that the only native product they exported was isinglass. This again is certainly an exaggeration, yet the fact remains that their main commercial activity seems to have consisted in re-exporting goods brought in from abroad. Among these goods, honey and candle-wax particularly caught the Arab chroniclers’ imagination. Thus Muqaddasi: “In Khazaria, sheep, honey and Jews exist in large quantities.”[30] It is true that one source — the Darband Namah — mentions gold or silver mines in Khazar territory, but their location has not been ascertained. On the other hand, several of the sources mention Khazar merchandise seen in Baghdad, and the presence of Khazar merchants in Constantinople, Alexandria and as far afield as Samara and Fergana.

Thus Khazaria was by no means isolated from the civilized world; compared to its tribal neighbours in the north it was a cosmopolitan country, open to all sorts of cultural and religious influences, yet jealously defending its independence against the two ecclesiastical world powers. We shall see that this attitude prepared the ground for the coup de théâtre — or coup d”état — which established Judaism as the state religion.

The arts and crafts seem to have flourished, including haute couture. When the future Emperor Constantine V married the Khazar Kagan’s daughter (see above, section 1), she brought with her dowry a splendid dress which so impressed the Byzantine court that it was adopted as a male ceremonial robe; they called it tzitzakion, derived from the Khazar-Turkish pet-name of the Princess, which was Chichak or “flower” (until she was baptized Eirene). “Here,” Toynbee comments, “we have an illuminating fragment of cultural history.”[31] When another Khazar princess married the Muslim governor of Armenia, her cavalcade contained, apart from attendants and slaves, ten tents mounted on wheels, “made of the finest silk, with gold- and silver-plated doors, the floors covered with sable furs. Twenty others carried the gold and silver vessels and other treasures which were her dowry”.[32] The Kagan himself travelled in a mobile tent even more luxuriously equipped, carrying on its top a pomegranate of gold.

13

Khazar art, like that of the Bulgars and Magyars, was mainly imitative, modelled on Persian-Sassanide patterns. The Soviet archaeologist Bader[33] emphasized the role of the Khazars in the spreading of Persian-style silver-ware towards the north. Some of these finds may have been re-exported by the Khazars, true to their role as middlemen; others were imitations made in Khazar workshops — the ruins of which have been traced near the ancient Khazar fortress of Sarkel.[‡‡‡‡‡‡] The jewellery unearthed within the confines of the fortress was of local manufacture.[34] The Swedish archaeologist T. J. Arne mentions ornamental plates, clasps and buckles found as far as Sweden, of Sassanide and Byzantine inspiration, manufactured in Khazaria or territories under their influence.[35]

Thus the Khazars were the principal intermediaries in the spreading of Persian and Byzantine art among the semi-barbaric tribes of Eastern Europe. After his exhaustive survey of the archaeological and documentary evidence (mostly from Soviet sources), Bartha concludes:

The sack of Tiflis by the Khazars, presumably in the spring of AD 629, is relevant to our subject.… [During the period of occupation] the Kagan sent out inspectors to supervise the manufacture of gold, silver, iron and copper products. Similarly the bazaars, trade in general, even the fisheries, were under their control.… [Thus] in the course of their incessant Caucasian campaigns during the seventh century, the Khazars made contact with a culture which had grown out of the Persian Sassanide tradition. Accordingly, the products of this culture spread to the people of the steppes not only by trade, but by means of plunder and even by taxation…. All the tracks that we have assiduously followed in the hope of discovering the origins of Magyar art in the tenth century have led us back to Khazar territory.[36]

The last remark of the Hungarian scholar refers to the spectacular archaeological finds known as the “Treasure of Nagyszentmiklos” (see frontispiece). The treasure, consisting of twentythree gold vessels, dating from the tenth century, was found in 1791 in the vicinity of the village of that name.[§§§§§§] Bartha points out that the figure of the “victorious Prince” dragging a prisoner along by his hair, and the mythological scene at the back of the golden jar, as well as the design of other ornamental objects, show close affinities with the finds in Novi Pazar in Bulgaria and in Khazar Sarkel. As both Magyars and Bulgars were under Khazar suzerainty for protracted periods, this is not very surprising, and the warrior, together with the rest of the treasure, gives us at least some idea of the arts practised within the Khazar Empire (the Persian and Byzantine influence is predominant, as one would expect).[*******]

One school of Hungarian archaeologists maintains that the tenth century gold- and silversmiths working in Hungary were actually Khazars.[37] As we shall see later on (see III, 7, 8), when the Magyars migrated to Hungary in 896 they were led by a dissident Khazar tribe, known as the Kabars, who settled with them in their new home. The Kabar-Khazars were known as skilled gold and silversmiths; the (originally more primitive) Magyars only acquired these skills in their new country. Thus the theory of the Khazar origin of at least some of the archaeological finds in Hungary is not implausible — as will become clearer in the light of the Magyar-Khazar nexus discussed later on.

14

Whether the warrior on the golden jar is of Magyar or Khazar origin, he helps us to visualise the appearance of a cavalryman of that period, perhaps belonging to an elite regiment. Masudi says that in the Khazar army ‘seven thousand of them[†††††††] ride with the King, archers with breast plates, helmets, and coats of mail. Some are lancers, equipped and armed like the Muslims.… None of the kings in this part of the world has a regular standing army except the King of the Khazars.” And Ibn Hawkal: “This king has twelve thousand soldiers in his service, of whom when one dies, another person is immediately chosen in his place.”

Here we have another important clue to the Khazar dominance: a permanent professional army, with a Praetorian Guard which, in peacetime, effectively controlled the ethnic patchwork, and in times of war served as a hard core for the armed horde, which, as we have seen, may have swollen at times to a hundred thousand or more.[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡]

15

The capital of this motley empire was at first probably the fortress of Balanjar in the northern foothills of the Caucasus; after the Arab raids in the eighth century it was transferred to Samandar, on the western shore of the Caspian; and lastly to Itil in the estuary of the Volga.

We have several descriptions of Itil, which are fairly consistent with each other. It was a twin city, built on both sides of the river. The eastern half was called Khazaran, the western half Itil;[§§§§§§§] the two were connected by a pontoon bridge. The western half was surrounded by a fortified wall, built of brick; it contained the palaces and courts of the Kagan and the Bek, the habitations of their attendants[********] and of the “pure-bred Khazars”. The wall had four gates, one of them facing the river. Across the river, on the east bank, lived “the Muslims and idol worshippers”;[38] this part also housed the mosques, markets, baths and other public amenities. Several Arab writers were impressed by the number of mosques in the Muslim quarter and the height of the principal minaret. They also kept stressing the autonomy enjoyed by the Muslim courts and clergy. Here is what al-Masudi, known as “the Herodotus among the Arabs”, has to say on this subject in his oft-quoted work Meadows of Gold Mines and Precious Stones:

The custom in the Khazar capital is to have seven judges. Of these two are for the Muslims, two are for the Khazars, judging according to the Torah (Mosaic law), two for the Christians, judging according to the Gospel and one for the Saqualibah, Rus and other pagans, judging according to pagan law.… In his [the Khazar King’s] city are many Muslims, merchants and craftsmen, who have come to his country because of his justice and the security which he offers. They have a principal mosque and a minaret which rises above the royal castle, and other mosques there besides, with schools where the children learn the Koran.

In reading these lines by the foremost Arab historian, written in the first half of the tenth century,[††††††††] one is tempted to take a perhaps too idyllic view of life in the Khazar kingdom. Thus we read in the article “Khazars” in the Jewish Encyclopaedia: “In a time when fanaticism, ignorance and anarchy reigned in Western Europe, the Kingdom of the Khazars could boast of its just and broad-minded administration.”[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡]

This, as we have seen, is partly true; but only partly. There is no evidence of the Khazars engaging in religious persecution, either before or after the conversion to Judaism. In this respect they may be called more tolerant and enlightened than the East Roman Empire, or Islam in its early stages. On the other hand, they seem to have preserved some barbaric rituals from their tribal past. We have heard Ibn Fadlan on the killings of the royal gravediggers. He also has something to say about another archaic custom regicide: “The period of the king’s rule is forty years. If he exceeds this time by a single day, his subjects and attendants kill him, saying “His reasoning is already dimmed, and his insight confused”.”

Istakhri has a different version of it:

When they wish to enthrone this Kagan, they put a silken cord round his neck and tighten it until he begins to choke. Then they ask him: “How long doest thou intend to rule?” If he does not die before that year, he is killed when he reaches it.

Bury[39] is doubtful whether to believe this kind of Arab traveller’s lore, and one would indeed be inclined to dismiss it, if ritual regicide had not been such a widespread phenomenon among primitive (and not-so-primitive) people. Frazer laid great emphasis on the connection between the concept of the King’s divinity, and the sacred obligation to kill him after a fixed period, or when his vitality is on the wane, so that the divine power may find a more youthful and vigorous incarnation.[§§§§§§§§]

It speaks in Istakhri’s favour that the bizarre ceremony of “choking” the future King has been reported in existence apparently not so long ago among another people, the Kok-Turks. Zeki Validi quotes a French anthropologist, St Julien, writing in 1864:

When the new Chief has been elected, his officers and attendants … make him mount his horse. They tighten a ribbon of silk round his neck, without quite strangling him; then they loosen the ribbon and ask him with great insistence: “For how many years canst thou be our Khan?” The king, in his troubled mind, being unable to name a figure, his subjects decide, on the strength of the words that have escaped him, whether his rule will be long or brief.[40]

We do not know whether the Khazar rite of slaying the King (if it ever existed) fell into abeyance when they adopted Judaism, in which case the Arab writers were confusing past with present practices as they did all the time, compiling earlier travellers’ reports, and attributing them to contemporaries. However that may be, the point to be retained, and which seems beyond dispute, is the divine role attributed to the Kagan, regardless whether or not it implied his ultimate sacrifice. We have heard before that he was venerated, but virtually kept in seclusion, cut off from the people, until he was buried with enormous ceremony. The affairs of state, including leadership of the army, were managed by the Bek (sometimes also called the Kagan Bek), who wielded all effective power. On this point Arab sources and modern historians are in agreement, and the latter usually describe the Khazar system of government as a “double kingship”, the Kagan representing divine, the Bek secular, power.

The Khazar double kingship has been compared — quite mistakenly, it Seems — with the Spartan dyarchy and with the superficially similar dual leadership among various Turkish tribes. However, the two kings of Sparta, descendants of two leading families, wielded equal power; and as for the dual leadership among nomadic tribes,[*********] there is no evidence of a basic division of functions as among the Khazars. A more valid comparison is the system of government in Japan, from the Middle Ages to 1867, where secular power was concentrated in the hands of the shogun, while the Mikado was worshipped from afar as a divine figurehead.

Cassel[41] has suggested an attractive analogy between the Khazar system of government and the game of chess. The double kingship is represented on the chess-board by the King (the Kagan) and the Queen (the Bek). The King is kept in seclusion, protected by his attendants, has little power and can only move one short step at a time. The Queen, by contrast, is the most powerful presence on the board, which she dominates. Yet the Queen may be lost and the game still continued, whereas the fall of the King is the ultimate disaster which instantly brings the contest to an end.

The double kingship thus seems to indicate a categorical distinction between the sacred and the profane in the mentality of the Khazars. The divine attributes of the Kagan are much in evidence in the following passage from Ibn Hawkal:[†††††††††]

The Khacan must be always of the Imperial race [Istakhri: “…of a family of notables”]. No one is allowed to approach him but on business of importance: then they prostrate themselves before him, and rub their faces on the ground, until he gives orders for their approaching him, and speaking. When a Khacan … dies, whoever passes near his tomb must go on foot, and pay his respects at the grave; and when he is departing, must not mount on horseback, as long as the tomb is within view.

So absolute is the authority of this sovereign, and so implicitly are his commands obeyed, that if it seemed expedient to him that one of his nobles should die, and if he said to him, “Go and kill yourself,” the man would immediately go to his house, and kill himself accordingly. The succession to the Khacanship being thus established in the same family [Istakhri: “in a family of notables who possess neither power nor riches”]; when the turn of the inheritance arrives to any individual of it, he is confirmed in the dignity, though he possesses not a single dirhem [coin]. And I have heard from persons worthy of belief, that a certain young man used to sit in a little shop at the public market-place, selling petty articles [Istakhri: ‘selling bread”]; and that the people used to say, “When the present Khacan shall have departed, this man will succeed to the throne” [Istakhri: “There is no man worthier of the Khaganate than he”]. But the young man was a Mussulman, and they give the Khacanship only to Jews.

The Khacan has a throne and pavilion of gold: these are not allowed to any other person. The palace of the Khacan is loftier than the other edifices.[42]

The passage about the virtuous young man selling bread, or whatever it is, in the bazaar sounds rather like a tale about Harun al Rashid. If he was heir to the golden throne reserved for Jews, why then was he brought up as a poor Muslim? If we are to make any sense at all of the story, we must assume that the Kagan was chosen on the strength of his noble virtues, but chosen among members of the “Imperial Race” or “family of notables”. This is in fact the view of Artamonov and Zeki Validi. Artamonov holds that the Khazars and other Turkish people were ruled by descendants of the Turkut dynasty, the erstwhile sovereigns of the defunct Turk Empire (cf. above, section 3). Zeki Validi suggests that the “Imperial Race” or “family of notables”, to which the Kagan must belong, refers to the ancient dynasty of the Asena, mentioned in Chinese sources, a kind of desert aristocracy, from which Turkish and Mongol rulers traditionally claimed descent. This sounds fairly plausible and goes some way towards reconciling the contradictory values implied in the narrative just quoted: the noble youth without a dirhem to his name — and the pomp and circumstance surrounding the golden throne. We are witnessing the overlap of two traditions, like the optical interference of two wave-patterns on a screen: the asceticism of a tribe of hard-living desert nomads, and the glitter of a royal court prospering on its commerce and crafts, and striving to outshine its rivals in Baghdad and Constantinople. After all, the creeds professed by those sumptuous courts had also been inspired by ascetic desert-prophets in the past.

All this does not explain the startling division of divine and secular power, apparently unique in that period and region. As Bury wrote:[43] “We have no information at what time the active authority of the Chagan was exchanged for his divine nullity, or why he was exalted to a position resembling that of the Emperor of Japan, in which his existence, and not his government, was considered essential to the prosperity of the State.”

A speculative answer to this question has recently been proposed by Artamonov. He suggests that the acceptance of Judaism as the state religion was the result of a coup d”état, which at the same time reduced the Kagan, descendant of a pagan dynasty whose allegiance to Mosaic law could not really be trusted, to a mere figurehead. This is a hypothesis as good as any other — and with as little evidence to support it. Yet it seems probable that the two events — the adoption of Judaism and the establishment of the double kingship — were somehow connected.[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡]


II

CONVERSION

1

“THE religion of the Hebrews,” writes Bury, “had exercised a profound influence on the creed of Islam, and it had been a basis for Christianity; it had won scattered proselytes; but the conversion of the Khazars to the undiluted religion of Jehova is unique in history.”[44]

What was the motivation of this unique event? It is not easy to get under the skin of a Khazar prince — covered, as it was, by a coat of mail. But if we reason in terms of power-politics, which obeys essentially the same rules throughout the ages, a fairly plausible analogy offers itself.

At the beginning of the eighth century the world was polarized between the two super-powers representing Christianity and Islam. Their ideological doctrines were welded to power-politics pursued by the classical methods of propaganda, subversion and military conquest. The Khazar Empire represented a Third Force, which had proved equal to either of them, both as an adversary and an ally. But it could only maintain its independence by accepting neither Christianity nor Islam — for either choice would have automatically subordinated it to the authority of the Roman Emperor or the Caliph of Baghdad.

There had been no lack of efforts by either court to convert the Khazars to Christianity or Islam, but all they resulted in was the exchange of diplomatic courtesies, dynastic inter-marriages and shifting military alliances based on mutual self-interest. Relying on its military strength, the Khazar kingdom, with its hinterland of vassal tribes, was determined to preserve its position as the Third Force, leader of the uncommitted nations of the steppes.

At the same time, their intimate contacts with Byzantium and the Caliphate had taught the Khazars that their primitive shamanism was not only barbaric and outdated compared to the great monotheistic creeds, but also unable to confer on the leaders the spiritual and legal authority which the rulers of the two theocratic world powers, the Caliph and the Emperor, enjoyed. Yet the conversion to either creed would have meant submission, the end of independence, and thus would have defeated its purpose. What could have been more logical than to embrace a third creed, which was uncommitted towards either of the two, yet represented the venerable foundation of both?

The apparent logic of the decision is of course due to the deceptive clarity of hindsight. In reality, the conversion to Judaism required an act of genius. Yet both the Arab and Hebrew sources on the history of the conversion, however varied in detail, point to a line of reasoning as indicated above. To quote Bury once more:

There can be no question that the ruler was actuated by political motives in adopting Judaism. To embrace Mohammadanism would have made him the spiritual dependent of the Caliphs, who attempted to press their faith on the Khazars, and in Christianity lay the danger of his becoming an ecclesiastical vassal of the Roman Empire. Judaism was a reputable religion with sacred books which both Christian and Mohammadan respected; it elevated him above the heathen barbarians, and secured him against the interference of Caliph or Emperor. But he did not adopt, along with circumcision, the intolerance of the Jewish cult. He allowed the mass of his people to abide in their heathendom and worship their idols.[45]

Though the Khazar court’s conversion was no doubt politically motivated, it would still be absurd to imagine that they embraced overnight, blindly, a religion whose tenets were unknown to them. In fact, however, they had been well acquainted with Jews and their religious observances for at least a century before the conversion, through the continued influx of refugees from religious persecution in Byzantium, and to a lesser extent from countries in Asia Minor conquered by the Arabs. We know that Khazaria was a relatively civilized country among the Barbarians of the North, yet not committed to either of the militant creeds, and so it became a natural haven for the periodic exodus of Jews under Byzantine rule, threatened by forced conversion and other pressures. Persecution in varied forms had started with Justinian I (527-65), and assumed particularly vicious forms under Heraclius in the seventh century, Leo III in the eighth, Basil and Leo IV in the ninth, Romanus in the tenth. Thus Leo III, who ruled during the two decades immediately preceding the Khazar conversion to Judaism, “attempted to end the anomaly [of the tolerated status of Jews] at one blow, by ordering all his Jewish subjects to be baptized”.[46] Although the implementation of the order seemed to have been rather ineffective, it led to the flight of a considerable number of Jews from Byzantium. Masudi relates:

In this city [Khazaran-Itil] are Muslims, Christians, Jews and pagans. The Jews are the king, his attendants and the Khazars of his kind.[§§§§§§§§§] The king of the Khazars had already become a Jew in the Caliphate of Harun al-Rashid[**********] and he was joined by Jews from all lands of Islam and from the country of the Greeks [Byzantium]. Indeed the king of the Greeks at the present time, the Year of the Hegira 332 [AD 943-4] has converted the Jews in his kingdom to Christianity by coercion.… Thus many Jews took flight from the country of the Greeks to Khazaria.…3a

The last two sentences quoted refer to events two hundred years after the Khazar conversion, and show how persistently the waves of persecution followed each other over the centuries. But the Jews were equally persistent. Many endured torture, and those who did not have the strength to resist returned later on to their faith — “like dogs to their vomit”, as one Christian chronicler gracefully put it.[47] Equally picturesque is the description of a Hebrew writer[48] of one method of forced conversion used under the Emperor Basil against the Jewish community of Oria in southern Italy:

How did they force them? Anyone refusing to accept their erroneous belief was placed in an olive mill under a wooden press, and squeezed in the way olives are squeezed in the mill.

Another Hebrew source[49] remarks on the persecution under the Emperor Romanus (the “Greek King” to whom Masudi refers): “And afterwards there will arise a King who will persecute them not by destruction, but mercifully by driving them out of the country.”

The only mercy shown by history to those who took to flight, or were driven to it, was the existence of Khazaria, both before and after the conversion. Before, it was a refugee haven; after, it became a kind of National Home. The refugees were products of a superior culture, and were no doubt an important factor in creating that cosmopolitan, tolerant outlook which so impressed the Arab chroniclers quoted before. Their influence — and no doubt their proselytizing zeal[††††††††††] — would have made itself felt first and foremost at the court and among leading notables. They may have combined in their missionary efforts theological arguments and messianic prophecies with a shrewd assessment of the political advantages the Khazars would derive from adopting a “neutral” religion.

The exiles also brought with them Byzantine arts and crafts, superior methods in agriculture and trade, and the square Hebrew alphabet. We do not know what kind of script the Khazars used before that, but the Fihrist of Ibn Nadim,[50] a kind of universal bibliography written circa AD 987, informs us that in his time the Khazars used the Hebrew alphabet. It served the dual purpose of scholarly discourse in Hebrew (analogous to the use of mediaeval Latin in the West) and as a written alphabet for the various languages spoken in Khazaria (analogous to the use of the Latin alphabet for the various vernaculars in Western Europe). From Khazaria the Hebrew script seemed to have spread into neighbouring countries. Thus Chwolson reports that “inscriptions in a non-Semitic language (or possibly in two different non-Semitic languages) using Hebrew characters were found on two gravestones from Phanagoria and Parthenit in the Crimea; they have not been deciphered yet.”[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡][51] (The Crimea was, as we have seen, intermittently under Khazar rule; but it also had an old-established Jewish community, and the inscriptions may even pre-date the conversion.) Some Hebrew letters (shin and tsadei) also found their way into the Cyrillic alphabet,[52] and furthermore, many Polish silver coins have been found, dating from the twelfth or thirteenth century, which bear Polish inscriptions in Hebrew lettering (e.g., Leszek krol Polski — Leszek King of Poland), side by side with coins inscribed in the Latin alphabet. Poliak comments: “These coins are the final evidence for the spreading of the Hebrew script from Khazaria to the neighbouring Slavonic countries. The use of these coins was not related to any question of religion. They were minted because many of the Polish people were more used to this type of script than to the Roman script, not considering it as specifically Jewish.”[53]

Thus while the conversion was no doubt inspired by opportunistic motives — conceived as a cunning political manoeuvre — it brought in its wake cultural developments which could hardly have been foreseen by those who started it. The Hebrew alphabet was the beginning; three centuries later the decline of the Khazar state is marked by repeated outbreaks of a messianic Zionism, with pseudo~Messiahs like David El-Roi (hero of a novel by Disraeli) leading quixotic crusades for the re-conquest of Jerusalem.[§§§§§§§§§§]

After the defeat by the Arabs in 737, the Kagan’s forced adoption of Islam had been a formality almost instantly revoked, which apparently left no impression on his people. In contrast to this, the voluntary conversion to Judaism was to produce deep and lasting effects.

2

The circumstances of the conversion are obscured by legend, but the principal Arab and Hebrew accounts of it have some basic features in common.

Al-Masudi’s account of the Jewish rule in Khazaria, quoted earlier on, ends with a reference to a previous work of his, in which he gave a description of those circumstances. That previous work of Masudi’s is lost; but there exist two accounts which are based on tile lost book. The first, by Dimaski (written in 1327), reiterates that at the time of Harun al Rashid, the Byzantine Emperor forced the Jews to emigrate; these emigrants came to the Khazar country where they found “an intelligent but uneducated race to whom they offered their religion. The natives found it better than their own and accepted it.”[54]

The second, much more detailed account is in al-Bakri’s Book of Kingdoms and Roads (eleventh century):

The reason for the conversion to Judaism of the King of the Khazars, who had previously been a pagan, is as follows. He had adopted Christianity.[***********] Then he recognized its falsehood and discussed this matter, which greatly worried him, with one of his high officials. The latter said to him: O king, those in possession of sacred scriptures fall into three groups. Summon them and ask them to state their case, then follow the one who is in possession of the truth.

So he sent to the Christians for a bishop. Now there was with the King a Jew, skilled in argument, who engaged him in disputation. He asked the Bishop: “What do you say of Moses, the son of Amran, and the Torah which was revealed to him?” The Bishop replied: “Moses is a prophet and the Torah speaks the truth.” Then the Jew said to the King: “He has already admitted the truth of my creed. Ask him now what he believes in.” So the King asked him and he replied: “I say that Jesus the Messiah is the son of Mary, he is the Word, and he has revealed the mysteries in the name of God.” Then said the Jew to the King of the Khazars: “He preaches a doctrine which I know not, while he accepts my propositions.” But the Bishop was not strong in producing evidence. Then the King asked for a Muslim, and they sent him a scholarly, clever man who was good at arguments. But the Jew hired someone who poisoned him on the journey, and he died. And the Jew succeeded in winning the King for his faith, so that he embraced Judaism.[55]

The Arab historians certainly had a gift for sugaring the pill. Had the Muslim scholar been able to participate in the debate he would have fallen into the same trap as the Bishop, for both accepted the truth of the Old Testament, whereas the upholders of the New Testament and of the Koran were each outvoted two to one. The King’s approval of this reasoning is symbolic: he is only willing to accept doctrines which are shared by all three — their common denominator — and refuses to commit himself to any of the rival claims which go beyond that. It is once more the principle of the uncommitted world, applied to theology.

The story also implies, as Bury[56] has pointed out, that Jewish influence at the Khazar court must already have been strong before the formal conversion, for the Bishop and the Muslim scholar have to be ‘sent for”, whereas the Jew is alreadv “with him” (the King).

3

We now turn from the principal Arab source on the conversion — Masudi and his compilers — to the principal Jewish source. This is the so-called “Khazar Correspondence”: an exchange of letters, in Hebrew, between Hasdai Ibn Shaprut, the Jewish chief minister of the Caliph of Cordoba, and Joseph, King of the Khazars or, rather, between their respective scribes. The authenticity of the correspondence has been the subject of controversy but is now generally accepted with due allowance made for the vagaries of later copyists.[†††††††††††]

The exchange of letters apparently took place after 954 and before 961, that is roughly at the time when Masudi wrote. To appreciate its significance a word must be said about the personality of Hasdai Ibn Shaprut — perhaps the most brilliant figure in the “Golden Age” (900-1200) of the Jews in Spain.

In 929, Abd-al-Rahman III, a member of the Omayad dynasty, succeeded in unifying the Moorish possessions in the southern and central parts of the Iberian peninsula under his rule, and founded the Western Caliphate. His capital, Cordoba, became the glory of Arab Spain, and a focal centre of European culture with a library of 400000 catalogued volumes. Hasdai, born 910 in Cordoba into a distinguished Jewish family, first attracted the Caliph’s attention as a medical practitioner with some remarkable cures to his credit. Abd-al-Rahman appointed him his court physician, and trusted his judgment so completely that Hasdai was called upon, first, to put the state finances in order, then to act as Foreign Minister and diplomatic trouble-shooter in the new Caliphate’s complex dealings with Byzantium, the German Emperor Otto, with Castile, Navarra, Arragon and other Christian kingdoms in the north of Spain. Hasdai was a true uomo universale centuries before the Renaissance who, in between affairs of state, still found the time to translate medical books into Arabic, to correspond with the learned rabbis of Baghdad and to act as a Maecenas for Hebrew grammarians and poets.

He obviously was an enlightened, yet a devoted Jew, who used his diplomatic contacts to gather information about the Jewish communities dispersed in various parts of the world, and to intervene on their behalf whenever possible. He was particularly concerned about the persecution of Jews in the Byzantine Empire under Romanus (see above, section I). Fortunately, he wielded considerable influence at the Byzantine court, which was vitally interested in procuring the benevolent neutrality of Cordoba during the Byzantine campaigns against the Muslims of the East. Hasdai, who was conducting the negotiations, used this opportunity to intercede on behalf of Byzantine Jewry, apparently with success.[57]

According to his own account, Hasdai first heard of the existence of an independent Jewish kingdom from some merchant traders from Khurasan in Persia; but he doubted the truth of their story. Later he questioned the members of a Byzantine diplomatic mission to Cordoba, and they confirmed the merchants’ account, contributing a considerable amount of factual detail about the Khazar kingdom, including the name — Joseph — of its present King. Thereupon Hasdai decided to send couriers with a letter to King Joseph.

The letter (which will be discussed in more detail later on) contains a list of questions about the Khazar state, its people, method of government, armed forces, and so on — including an inquiry to which of the twelve tribes Joseph belonged. This seems to indicate that Hasdai thought the Jewish Khazars to hail from Palestine — as the Spanish Jews did — and perhaps even to represent one of the Lost Tribes. Joseph, not being of Jewish descent, belonged, of course, to none of the tribes; in his Reply to Hasdai, he provides, as we shall see, a genealogy of a different kind, but his main concern is to give Hasdai a detailed — if legendary — account of the conversion — which took place two centuries earlier — and the circumstances that led to it.

Joseph’s narrative starts with a eulogy of his ancestor, King Bulan, a great conqueror and a wise man who “drove out the sorcerers and idolators from his land”. Subsequently an angel appeared to King Bulan in his dreams, exhorting him to worship the only true God, and promising that in exchange He would “bless and multiply Bulan’s offspring, and deliver his enemies into his hands, and make his kingdom last to the end of the world”. This, of course, is inspired by the story of the Covenant in Genesis; and it implies that the Khazars too claimed the status of a Chosen Race, who made their own Covenant with the Lord, even though they were not descended from Abraham’s seed. But at this point Joseph’s story takes an unexpected turn. King Bulan is quite willing to serve the Almighty, but he raises a difficulty:

Thou knowest, my Lord, the secret thoughts of my heart and thou hast searched my kidneys to confirm that my trust is in thee; but the people over which I rule have a pagan mind and I do not know whether they will believe me. If I have found favour and mercy in thine eyes, then I beseech thee to appear also to their Great Prince, to make him support me.

The Eternal One granted Bulan’s request, he appeared to this Prince in a dream, and when he arose in the morning he came to the King and made it known to him.…

There is nothing in Genesis, nor in the Arab accounts of the conversion, about a great prince whose consent has to be obtained. It is an unmistakable reference to the Khazar double kingship. The “Great Prince”, apparently, is the Bek; but it is not impossible that the “King” was the Bek, and the “Prince” the Kagan. Moreover according to Arab and Armenian sources, the leader of the Khazar army which invaded Transcaucasia in 731 (i.e., a few years before the presumed date of the conversion) was called “Bulkhan”.[58]

Joseph’s letter continues by relating how the angel appeared once more to the dreaming King and bade him to build a place of worship in which the Lord may dwell, for: “the sky and the skies above the sky are not large enough to hold me”. King Bulan replies bashfully that he does not possess the gold and silver required for such an enterprise, “although it is my duty and desire to carry it out”. The angel reassures him: all Bulan has to do is to lead his armies into Dariela and Ardabil in Armenia, where a treasure of silver and a treasure of gold are awaiting him. This fits in with Bulan’s or Bulkhan’s raid preceding the conversion; and also with Arab sources according to which the Khazars at one time controlled silver and gold mines in the Caucasus.[59] Bulan does as the angel told him, returns victoriously with the loot, and builds “a Holy Tabernacle equipped with a sacred coffer [the “Ark of the Covenant”], a candelabrum, an altar and holy implements which have been preserved to this day and are still in my [King Joseph’s] possession”.

Joseph’s letter, written in the second half of the tenth century, more than two hundred years after the events it purports to describe, is obviously a mixture of fact and legend. His description of the scant furnishings of the place of worship, and the paucity of the preserved relics, is in marked contrast to the account he gives in other parts of the letter of the present prosperity of his country. The days of his ancestor Bulan appear to him as remote antiquity, when the poor but virtuous King did not even have the money to construct the Holy Tabernacle — which was, after all, only a tent.

However,Joseph’s letter up to this point is merely the prelude to the real drama of the conversion, which he now proceeds to relate. Apparently Bulan’s renunciation of idolatry in favour of the “only true God” was only the first step, which still left the choice open between the three monotheistic creeds. At least, this is what the continuation of Joseph’s letter seems to imply:

After these feats of arms [the invasion of Armenia], King Bulan’s fame spread to all countries. The King of Edom [Byzantium] and the King of the Ishmaelim [the Muslims] heard the news and sent to him envoys with precious gifts and money and learned men to convert him to their beliefs; but the king was wise and sent for a Jew with much knowledge and acumen and put all three together to discuss their doctrines.

So we have another Brains Trust, or round-table conference, just as in Masudi, with the difference that the Muslim has not been poisoned beforehand. But the pattern of the argument is much the same. After long and futile discussions, the King adjourns the meeting for three days, during which the discutants are left to cool their heels in their respective tents; then he reverts to a stratagem. He convokes the discutants separately. He asks the Christian which of the other two religions is nearer the truth, and the Christian answers, “the Jews”. He confronts the Muslim with the same question and gets the same reply. Neutralism has once more carried the day.

4

So much for the conversion. What else do we learn from the celebrated “Khazar Correspondence”?

To take Hasdai’s letter first: it starts with a Hebrew poem, in the then fashionable manner of the piyut, a rhapsodic verse form which contains hidden allusions or riddles, and frequently acrostics. The poem exalts the military victories of the addressee, King Joseph; at the same time, the initial letters of the lines form an acrostic which spells out the full name of Hasdai bar Isaac bar Ezra bar Shaprut, followed by the name of Menahem ben Sharuk. Now this Menahem was a celebrated Hebrew poet, lexicographer and grammarian, a secretary and protégé of Hasdai’s. He was obviously given the task of drafting the epistle to King Joseph in his most ornate style, and he took the opportunity to immortalize himself by inserting his own name into the acrostic after that of his patron. Several other works of Menahem ben-Sharuk are preserved, and there can be no doubt that Hasdai’s letter is his handiwork.[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡]

After the poem, the compliments and diplomatic flourishes, the letter gives a glowing account of the prosperity of Moorish Spain, and the happy condition of the Jews under its Caliph Abd al Rahman, “the like of which has never been known…. And thus the derelict sheep were taken into care, the arms of their persecutors were paralysed, and the yoke was discarded. The country we live in is called in Hebrew Sepharad, but the Ishmaelites who inhabit it call it al-Andalus.”

Hasdai then proceeds to explain how he first heard about the existence of the Jewish kingdom from the merchants of Khurasan, then in more detail from the Byzantine envoys, and he reports what these envoys told him:

I questioned them [the Byzantines] about it and they replied that it was true, and that the name of the kingdom is al-Khazar. Between Constantinople and this country there is a journey of fifteen days by sea,[§§§§§§§§§§§] but they said, by land there are many other people between us and them. The name of the ruling king is Joseph. Ships come to us from their land, bringing fish, furs and all sorts of merchandise. They are in alliance with us, and honoured by us. We exchange embassies and gifts. They are powerful and have a fortress for their outposts and troops which go out on forays from time to time.[************]

This bit of information offered by Hasdai to the Khazar King about the King’s own country is obviously intended to draw a detailed reply from Joseph. It was good psychology: Hasdai must have known that criticism of erroneous statements flows easier from the pen than an original exposition.

Next, Hasdai relates his earlier efforts to get in touch with Joseph. First he had sent a messenger, a certain Isaac bar Nathan, with instructions to proceed to the Khazar court. But Isaac got only as far as Constantinople, where he was courteously treated, but prevented from continuing the journey. (Understandably so: given the Empire’s ambivalent attitude towards the Jewish kingdom, it was certainly not in Constantine’s interest to facilitate an alliance between Khazaria and the Cordoba Caliphate with its Jewish Chief Minister.) So Hasdai’s messenger returned to Spain, mission unaccomplished. But soon another opportunity offered itself: the arrival at Cordoba of an embassy from Eastern Europe. Among its members were two Jews, Mar Saul and Mar Joseph, who offered to deliver Hasdai’s letter to King Joseph. (According to Joseph’s reply to Hasdai, it was actually delivered by a third person, one Isaac ben-Eliezer.)

Having thus described in detail how his letter came to be written, and his efforts to have it delivered, Hasdai proceeds to ask a series of direct questions which reflect his avidity for more information about every aspect of the Khazar land, from its geography to its rites in observing the Sabbath. The concluding passage in Hasdai’s letter strikes a note quite different from that of its opening paragraphs:

I feel the urge to know the truth, whether there is really a place on this earth where harassed Israel can rule itself, where it is subject to nobody. If I were to know that this is indeed the case, I would not hesitate to forsake all honours, to resign my high office, to abandon my family, and to travel over mountains and plains, over land and water, until I arrived at the place where my Lord, the [Jewish] King rules.… And I also have one more request: to be informed whether you have any knowledge of [the possible date] of the Final Miracle [the coming of the Messiah] which, wandering from country to country, we are awaiting. Dishonoured and humiliated in our dispersion, we have to listen in silence to those who say: “every nation has its own land and you alone possess not even a shadow of a country on this earth”.

The beginning of the letter praises the happy lot of the Jews in Spain; the end breathes the bitterness of the exile, Zionist fervour and Messianic hope. But these opposite attitudes have always co-existed in the divided heart of Jews throughout their history. The contradiction in Hasdai’s letter gives it an added touch of authenticity. How far his implied offer to enter into the service of the Khazar King is to be taken seriously is another question, which we cannot answer. Perhaps he could not either.

5

King Joseph’s reply is less accomplished and moving than Hasdai’s letter. No wonder — as Cassel remarks: ‘scholarship and culture reigned not among the Jews of the Volga, but on the rivers of Spain”. The highlight of the Reply is the story of the conversion, already quoted. No doubt Joseph too employed a scribe for penning it, probably a scholarly refugee from Byzantium. Nevertheless, the Reply sounds like a voice out of the Old Testament compared to the polished cadences of the tenth-century modern statesman.

It starts with a fanfare of greetings, then reiterates the main contents of Hasdai’s letter, proudly emphasizing that the Khazar kingdom gives the lie to those who say that “the Sceptre of Judah has forever fallen from the Jews’ hands” and “that there is no place on earth for a kingdom of their own”. This is followed by a rather cryptic remark to the effect that “already our fathers have exchanged friendly letters which are preserved in our archives and are known to our elders”.[††††††††††††]

Joseph then proceeds to provide a genealogy of his people. Though a fierce Jewish nationalist, proud of wielding the ‘sceptre of Judah”, he cannot, and does not, claim for them Semitic descent; he traces their ancestry not to Shem, but to Noah’s third son, Japheth; or more precisely to Japheth’s grandson, Togarma, the ancestor of all Turkish tribes. “We have found in the family registers of our fathers,” Joseph asserts boldly, “that Togarma had ten sons, and the names of their offspring are as follows: Uigur, Dursu, Avars, Huns, Basilii, Tarniakh, Khazars, Zagora, Bulgars, Sabir. We are the sons of Khazar, the seventh…”

The identity of some of these tribes, with names spelt in the Hebrew script is rather dubious, but that hardly matters; the characteristic feature in this genealogical exercise is the amalgamation of Genesis with Turkish tribal tradition.[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡]

After the genealogy, Joseph mentions briefly some military conquests by his ancestors which carried them as far as the Danube; then follows at great length the story of Bulan’s conversion. “From this day onwards,” Joseph continues, “the Lord gave him strength and aided him; he had himself and his followers circumcized and sent for Jewish sages who taught him the Law and explained the Commandments.” There follow more boasts about military victories, conquered nations, etc., and then a significant passage:

After these events, one of his [Bulan’s] grandsons became King; his name was Obadiab, he was a brave and venerated man who reformed the Rule, fortified the Law according to tradition and usage, built synagogues and schools, assembled a multitude of Israel’s sages, gave them lavish gifts of gold and silver, and made them interpret the twenty-four [sacred] books, the Mishna [Precepts] and the Talmud, and the order in which the liturgies are to be said.

This indicates that, about a couple of generations after Bulan, a religious revival or reformation took place (possibly accompanied by a coup d’état on the lines envisaged by Artamonov). It seems indeed that the Judaization of the Khazars proceeded in several steps. We remember that King Bulan drove out “the sorcerers and idolators” before the angel appeared to him; and that he made his Covenant with the “true God” before deciding whether He was the Jewish, Christian or Muslim God. It seems highly probable that the conversion of King Bulan and his followers was another intermediary step, that they embraced a primitive or rudimentary form of Judaism, based on the Bible alone, excluding the Talmud, all rabbinical literature, and the observances derived from it. In this respect they resembled the Karaites, a fundamentalist sect which originated in the eighth century in Persia and spread among Jews all over the world particularly in “Little Khazaria”, i.e., the Crimea. Dunlop and some other authorities surmised that between Bulan and Obadiah (i.e., roughly between 740 and 800) some form of Karaism prevailed in the country, and that orthodox “Rabbinic” Judaism was only introduced in the course of Obadiah’s religious reform. The point is of some importance because Karaism apparently survived in Khazaria to the end, and villages of Turkish-speaking Karaite Jews, obviously of Khazar origin, still existed in modern times (see below, Chapter V, 4).

Thus the Judaization of the Khazars was a gradual process which, triggered off by political expediency, slowly penetrated into the deeper strata of their minds and eventually produced the Messianism of their period of decline. Their religious commitment survived the collapse of their state, and persisted, as we shall see, in the Khazar-Jewish settlements of Russia and Poland.

6

After mentioning Obadiah’s religious reforms, Joseph gives a list of his successors:

Hiskia his son, and his son Manasseh, and Chanukah the brother of Obadiah, and Isaac his son, Manasseh his son, Nissi his son, Menahem his son, Benjamin his son, Aaron his son, and I am Joseph, son of Aaron the Blessed, and we were all sons of Kings, and no stranger was allowed to occupy the throne of our fathers.

Next, Joseph attempts to answer Hasdai’s questions about the size and topography of his country. But he does not seem to have a competent person at his court who could match the skill of the Arab geographers, and his obscure references to other countries and nations add little to what we know from Ibn Hawkal, Masudi and the other Persian and Arabic sources. He claims to collect tribute from thirty-seven nations — which seems a rather tall proposition; yet Dunlop points out that nine of these appear to be tribes living in the Khazar heartland, and the remaining twenty-eight agree quite well with Ibn Fadlan’s mention of twenty-five wives, each the daughter of a vassal king (and also with Eldad ha-Dani’s dubious tales). We must further bear in mind the multitude of Slavonic tribes along the upper reaches of the Dnieper and as far as Moscow, which, as we shall see, paid tribute to the Khazars.

However that may be, there is no reference in Joseph’s letter to a royal harem — only a mention of a single queen and her maids and eunuchs’. These are said to live in one of the three boroughs of Joseph’s capital, Itil: “in the second live Israelites, Ishmaelis, Christians and other nations who speak other languages; the third, which is an island, I inhabit myself, with the princes, bondsmen and all the servants that belong to me.….[§§§§§§§§§§§§] We live in the town through the whole of winter, but in the month of Nisan [March-April] we set out and everyone goes to labour in his field and his garden; every clan has his hereditary estate, for which they head with joy and jubilation; no voice of an intruder can be heard there, no enemy is to be seen. The country does not have much rain, but there are many rivers with a multitude of big fish, and many sources, and it is generally fertile and fat in its fields and vineyards, gardens and orchards which are irrigated by the rivers and bear rich fruit … and with God’s help I live in peace.”

The next passage is devoted to the date of the coming of the Messiah:

We have our eyes on the sages of Jerusalem and Babylon, and although we live far away from Zion, we have nevertheless heard that the calculations are erroneous owing to the great profusion of sins, and we know nothing, only the Eternal knows how to keep the count. We have nothing to hold on only the prophecies of Daniel, and may the Eternal speed up our Deliverance.…

The concluding paragraph of Joseph’s letter is a reply to Hasdai’s apparent offer to enter into the service of the Khazar king:

Thou hast mentioned in thy letter a desire to see my face. I too wish and long to behold thy gracious face and the splendour of thy magnificence, wisdom and greatness; I wish that thy words will come true, that I should know the happiness to hold thee in my embrace and to see thy dear, friendly and agreeable face; thou wouldst be to me as a father, and I to thee as a son; all my people would kiss thy lips; we would come and go according to thy wishes and thy wise counsel.

There is a passage in Joseph’s letter which deals with topical politics, and is rather obscure:

With the help of the Almighty I guard the mouth of the river [the Volga] and do not permit the Rus who come in their ships to invade the land of the Arabs.… I fight heavy wars with them [the Rus] for if I allowed it they would devastate the lands of Ishmael even to Baghdad.

Joseph here appears to pose as the defender of the Baghdad Caliphate against the Norman-Rus raiders (see Chapter III). This might seem a little tactless in view of the bitter hostility between the Omayad Caliphate of Cordoba (which Hasdai is serving) and the Abassid Caliphs of Baghdad. On the other hand, the vagaries of Byzantine policy towards the Khazars made it expedient for Joseph to appear in the role of a defender of Islam, regardless of the schism between the two Caliphates. At least he could hope that Hasdai, the experienced diplomat, would take the hint.

The meeting between the two correspondents — if ever seriously intended — never took place. No further letters — if any were exchanged — have been preserved. The factual content of the “Khazar Correspondence” is meagre, and adds little to what was already known from other sources. Its fascination lies in the bizarre, fragmentary vistas that it conveys, like an erratic searchlight focussing on disjointed regions in the dense fog that covers the period.

7

Among other Hebrew sources, there is the “Cambridge Document” (so called after its present location in the Cambridge University Library). It was discovered at the end of the last century, together with other priceless documents in the “Cairo Geniza”, the store-room of an ancient synagogue, by the Cambridge scholar, Solomon Schechter. The document is in a bad state; it is a letter (or copy of a letter) consisting of about a hundred lines in Hebrew; the beginning and the end are missing, so that it is impossible to know who wrote it and to whom it was addressed. King Joseph is mentioned in it as a contemporary and referred to as “my Lord”, Khazaria is called “our land”; so the most plausible inference is that the letter was written by a Khazar Jew of King Joseph’s court in Joseph’s lifetime, i.e., that it is roughly contemporaneous with the “Khazar Correspondence”. Some authorities have further suggested that it was addressed to Hasdai ibn Shaprut, and handed in Constantinople to Hasdai’s unsuccessful envoy, Isaac bar Nathan, who brought it back to Cordoba (whence it found its way to Cairo when the Jews were expelled from Spain). At any rate, internal evidence indicates that the document originated not later than in the eleventh century, and more likely in Joseph’s lifetime, in the tenth.

It contains another legendary account of the conversion, but its main significance is political. The writer speaks of an attack on Khazaria by the Alans, acting under Byzantine instigation, under Joseph’s father, Aaron the Blessed. No other Greek or Arab source seems to mention this campaign. But there is a significant passage in Constantine Porphyrogenitus’s De Adminisdrando Imperio, written in 947-50, which lends some credibility to the unknown letter-writer’s statements:

Concerning Khazaria, how war is to be made upon them and by whom. As the Ghuzz are able to make war on the Khazars, being near them, so likewise the ruler of Alania, because the Nine Climates of Khazaria [the fertile region north of the Caucasus] are close to Alania, and the Alan can, if he wishes, raid them and cause great damage and distress to the Khazars from that quarter.

Now, according to Joseph’s Letter, the ruler of the Alans paid tribute to him, and whether in fact he did or not, his feelings toward the Kagan were probably much the same as the Bulgar King’s. The passage in Constantine, revealing his efforts to incite the Alans to war against the Khazars, ironically reminds one of Ibn Fadlan’s mission with a parallel purpose. Evidently, the days of the Byzantine-Khazar rapprochement were long past in Joseph’s time. But I am anticipating later developments, to be discussed in Chapter III.

8

About a century after the Khazar Correspondence and the presumed date of the Cambridge Document, Jehuda Halevi wrote his once celebrated book, Kuzari, the Khazars. Halevi (1085-1141) is generally considered the greatest Hebrew poet of Spain; the book, however, was written in Arabic and translated later into Hebrew; its sub-title is “The Book of Proof and Argument in Defence of the Despised Faith”.

Halevi was a Zionist who died on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem; the Kuzari, written a year before his death, is a philosophical tract propounding the view that the Jewish nation is the sole mediator between God and the rest of mankind. At the end of history, all other nations will be converted to Judaism; and the conversion of the Khazars appears as a symbol or token of that ultimate event.

In spite of its title, the tract has little to say about the Khazar country itself, which serves mainly as a backdrop for yet another legendary account of the conversion — the King, the angel, the Jewish scholar, etc. — and for the philosophical and theological dialogues between the King and the protagonists of the three religions.

However, there are a few factual references, which indicate that Halevi had either read the correspondence between Hasdai and Joseph or had other sources of information about the Khazar country. Thus we are informed that after the appearance of the angel the King of the Khazars “revealed the secret of his dream to the General of his army”, and “the General” also looms large later on — another obvious reference to the dual rule of Kagan and Bek. Halevi also mentions the “histories” and “books of the Khazars” — which reminds one of Joseph speaking of “our archives”, where documents of state are kept. Lastly, Halevi twice, in different places of the book, gives the date of the conversion as having taken place “400 years ago” and “in the year 4500” (according to the Jewish calendar). This points to AD 740, which is the most likely date. All in all, it is a poor harvest as far as factual statements are concerned, from a book that enjoyed immense popularity among the Jews of the Middle Ages. But the mediaeval mind was less attracted by fact than by fable, and the Jews were more interested in the date of the coming of the Messiah than in geographical data. The Arab geographers and chroniclers had a similarly cavalier attitude to distances, dates and the frontiers between fact and fancy.

This also applies to the famed German-Jewish traveller, Rabbi Petachia of Ratisbon, who visited Eastern Europe and western Asia between 1170 and 1185. His travelogue, Sibub Ha‘olam, “Journey around the World”, was apparently written by a pupil, based on his notes or on dictation. It relates how shocked the good Rabbi was by the primitive observances of the Khazar Jews north of the Crimea, which he attributed to their adherence to the Karaite heresy:

And the Rabbi Petachia asked them: “Why do you not believe in the words of the sages [i.e., the Talmudists]?” They replied: “Because our fathers did not teach them to us.” On the eve of the Sabbath they cut all the bread which they eat on the Sabbath. They eat it in the dark, and sit the whole day on one spot. Their prayers consist only of the psalms.[60][*************]

So incensed was the Rabbi that, when he subsequently crossed the Khazar heartland, all he had to say was that it took him eight days, during which “he heard the wailing of women and the barking of dogs”.[61]

He does mention, however, that while he was in Baghdad, he had seen envoys from the Khazar kingdom looking for needy Jewish scholars from Mesopotamia and even from Egypt, “to teach their children Torah and Talmud”.

While few Jewish travellers from the West undertook the hazardous journey to the Volga, they recorded encounters with Khazar Jews at all principal centres of the civilized world. Rabbi Petachia met them in Baghdad; Benjamin of Tudela, another famous traveller of the twelfth century, visited Khazar notables in Constantinople and Alexandria; Ibraham ben Daud, a contemporary of Judah Halevi’s, reports that he had seen in Toledo “some of their descendants, pupils of the wise”.[62] Tradition has it that these were Khazar princes — one is tempted to think of Indian princelings sent to Cambridge to study.

Yet there is a curious ambivalence in the attitude toward the Khazars of the leaders of orthodox Jewry in the East, centred on the talmudic Academy in Baghdad. The Gaon (Hebrew for “excellency”) who stood at the head of the Academy was the spiritual leader of the Jewish settlements dispersed all over the Near and Middle East, while the Exilarch, or “Prince of Captivity”, represented the secular power over these more or less autonomous communities. Saadiah Gaon (882-942), most famous among the spiritua1 excellencies, who left voluminous writings, repeatedly refers in them to the Khazars. He mentions a Mesopotamian Jew who went to Khazaria to settle there, as if this were an every-day occurrence. He speaks obscurely of the Khazar court; elsewhere he explains that in the biblical expression “Hiram of Tyre”, Hiram is not a proper name but a royal title, “like Caliph for the Ruler of the Arabs, and Kagan for the King of the Khazars.”

Thus Khazaria was very much “on the map”, in the literal and metaphorical sense, for the leaders of the ecclesiastical hierarchy of oriental Jewry; but at the same time the Khazars were regarded with certain misgivings, both on racial grounds and because of their suspected leanings toward the Karaite heresy. One eleventh-century Hebrew author, Japheth ibn-Ali, himself a Karaite, explains the word mamzer, “bastard”, by the example of the Khazars who became Jews without belonging to the Race. His contemporary, Jacob ben-Reuben, reflects the opposite side of this ambivalent attitude by speaking of the Khazars as “a single nation who do not bear the yoke of the exile, but are great warriors paying no tribute to the Gentiles”.

In summing up the Hebrew sources on the Khazars that have come down to us, one senses a mixed reaction of enthusiasm, scepticism and, above all, bewilderment. A warrior-nation of Turkish Jews must have seemed to the rabbis as strange as a circumcized unicorn. During a thousand years of Dispersion, the Jews had forgotten what it was like to have a king and a country. The Messiah was more real to them than the Kagan.

As a postscript to the Arab and Hebrew sources relating to the conversion, it should be mentioned that the apparently earliest Christian source antedates them both. At some date earlier than 864, the Westphalian monk, Christian Druthmar of Aquitania, wrote a Latin treatise Expositio in Evangelium Mattei, in which he reports that “there exist people under the sky in regions where no Christians can be found, whose name is Gog and Magog, and who are Huns; among them is one, called the Gazari, who are circumcized and observe Judaism in its entirety”. This remark occurs à propos of Matthew 24.14[†††††††††††††] which has no apparent bearing on it, and no more is heard of the subject.

9

At about the same time when Druthmar wrote down what he knew from hearsay about the Jewish Khazars, a famed Christian missionary, sent by the Byzantine Emperor, attempted to convert them to Christianity. He was no less a figure than St Cyril, “Apostle of the Slavs”, alleged designer of the Cyrillic alphabet. He and his elder brother, St Methodius, were entrusted with this and other proselytizing missions by the Emperor Michael III, on the advice of the Patriarch Photius (himself apparently of Khazar descent, for it is reported that the Emperor once called him in anger “Khazar face”).

Cyril’s proselytizing efforts seem to have been successful among the Slavonic people in Eastern Europe, but not among the Khazars. He travelled to their country via Cherson in the Crimea; in Cherson he is said to have spent six months learning Hebrew in preparation for his mission; he then took the “Khazarian Way” — the Don-Volga portage — to Itil, and from there travelled along the Caspian to meet the Kagan (it is not said where). The usual theological disputations followed, but they had little impact on the Khazar Jews Even the adulatory Vita Constantine (Cyril’s original name) says only that Cyril made a good impression on the Kagan, that a few people were baptized and two hundred Christian prisoners were released by the Kagan as a gesture of goodwill. It was the least he could do for the Emperor’s envoy who had gone to so much trouble.

There is a curious sidelight thrown on the story by students of Slavonic philology. Cyril is credited by tradition not only with having devised the Cyrillic but also the Glagolytic alphabet. The latter, according to Baron, was “used in Croatia to the seventeenth century. Its indebtedness to the Hebrew alphabet in at least eleven characters, representing in part the Slavonic sounds, has long been recognized”. (The eleven characters are A, B, V, G, E, K, P, R, S, Sch, T.) This seems to confirm what has been said earlier on about the influence of the Hebrew alphabet in spreading literacy among the neighbours of the Khazars.

The rest of the book is here:
Koestler_part2.htm

 

Appendix and bibliography are here:
Koestler_Apx.htm
[‡] It is amusing to note that while the British in World War I used the term “Hun” in the same pejorative sense, in my native Hungary schoolchildren were taught to look up to “our glorious Hun forefathers” with patriotic pride An exclusive rowing club in Budapest was called “Hunnia”, and Attila is still a popular first name.

[§] But not the Magyars, whose language belongs to the Finno-Ugrian language group.

[**] Huszar is probably derived via the Serbo-Croat from Greek references to Khazars.

[††] It was actually written by an anonymous compiler and named after an earlier Greek historian whose work is summarized in the compilation.

[‡‡] The “Akatzirs” are also mentioned as a nation of warriors by Jordanes, the great Goth historian, a century later, and the so-called “Geographer of Ravenna” expressly identifies them with the Khazars. This is accepted by most modern authorities. (A notable exception was Marquart, but see Dunlop’s refutation of his views, op. cit., pp. 7f.) Cassel, for instance, points out that Priscus’s pronunciation and spelling follows the Armenian and Georgian: Khazir.

[§§] Or Kaqan or Khaqan or Chagan, etc. Orientalists have strong Idiosyncrasies about spelling (see Appendix I). I shall stick to Kagan as the least offensive to Western eyes. The h in Khazar, however, is general usage.

[***] This, however, did not prevent the name “Turk” still being applied indiscriminately to any nomadic tribe of the steppes as a euphemism for Barbarian, or a synonym for “Hun”. It led to much confusion in the interpretation of ancient sources.

[†††] By “Turks”, as the sequel shows, he means the Khazars.

[‡‡‡] Now called the Kasbek pass.

[§§§] AD 669, 673-8, 717-18.

[****] The probable date for the conversion is around AD 740 — see below.

[††††] The treatment meted out to Justinian was actually regarded as an act of leniency: the general tendency of the period was to humanize the criminal law by substituting mutilation for capital punishment — amputation of the hand (for thefts) or nose (fornication, etc.) being the most frequent form. Byzantine rulers were also given to the practice of blinding dangerous rivals, while magnanimously sparing their lives.

[‡‡‡‡] The following quotations are based on Zeki Validi Togan’s German translation of the Arabic text and the English translation of extracts by Blake and Frye, both slightly paraphrased in the interest of readability.

[§§§§] i.e., as later passages show, the King of the Khazars.

[*****] Obviously the leaders of the great caravan had to avoid at all costs a conflict with the Ghuzz tribesmen.

[†††††] Rus: the Viking founders of the early Russian settlements — see below, Chapter III.

[‡‡‡‡‡] In support of his argument, the author adduces Turkish and Arabic quotations in the original, without translation — a nasty habit common among modern experts in the field.

[§§§§§] Apparently it did arrive at some time, as there is no further mention of the matter.

[******] This sounds like an exaggeration in view of the existence of a Muslim community in the capital. Zeki Validi accordingly suppressed the word “all”. We must assume that “the Khazars” here refers to the ruling nation or tribe, within the ethnic mosaic of Khazaria, and that the Muslims enjoyed legal and religious autonomy, but were not considered as “real Khazars”.

[††††††] The following pages are based on the works of lstakhri, al-Masudi, Ibn Rusta and Ibn Hawkal (see Appendix II).

[‡‡‡‡‡‡] Unfortunately, Sarkel, the most important Khazar archaeological site has been flooded by the reservoir of a newly built hydro-electric station.

[§§§§§§] It now belongs to Rumania and is called Sinnicolaul Mare.

[*******] The interested reader will find an excellent collection of photographs in Gyula László’s The Art of the Migration Period (although his historical comments have to be treated with caution).

[†††††††] Istakhri has 12000.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] According to Masudi, the “Royal Army” consisted of Muslims who “immigrated from the neighbourhood of Kwarizm. Long ago, after the appearance of Islam, there was war and pestilence in their territory, and they repaired to the Khazar king.… When the king of the Khazars is at war with the Muslims, they have a separate place in his army and do not fight the people of their own faith” [Quoted by Dunlop (1954), p. 206] That the army “consisted” of Muslims is of course an exaggeration, contradicted by Masudi himself a few lines later, where he speaks of the Muslim contingent having a “separate place” in the Khazar army. Also, lbn Hawkal says that “the king has in his train 4000 Muslims and this king has 2000 soldiers in his service”. The Kwarizmians probably formed a kind of Swiss Guard within the army, and their compatriots” talk of “hostages” (see above, section 10) may refer to them. Vice versa, the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus had a corps d”élite of Khazar guardsmen stationed at the gates of his palace. This was a privilege dearly bought: “These guards were so well remunerated that they had to purchase their posts for considerable sums, on which their salaries represented an annuity varying from about 2.25 to 4 per cent.” (Constantine, De Ceremoniis, pp. 692-3). For example, “a Khazar who received £7.4s. had paid for enrolment £302.8s.” (Bury, p. 228n).

[§§§§§§§] The town was in different periods also mentioned under different names, e.g., al-Bayada, “The White City”.

[********] Masudi places these buildings on an island, close to the west bank, or a peninsula.

[††††††††] Supposedly between AD 943 and 947.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] Jewish Encyclopaedia, published 1901-6. In the Encyclopaedia Judaica, 1971, the article on the Khazars by Dunlop is of exemplary objectivity.

[§§§§§§§§] Frazer wrote a special treatise on these lines on “The Killing of the Khazar Kings” (Folklore, XXVIII, 1917).

[*********] Alföldi has suggested that the two leaders were the commanders of the two wings of the horde (quoted by Dunlop, p. 159, n. 123).

[†††††††††] Ibn Hawkal, another much-travelled Arab geographer and historian, wrote his Oriental Geography around AD 977. The passage here quoted is virtually a copy of what Istakhri wrote forty years earlier, but contains less obscurities, so I have followed Ouseley’s translation (1800) of Ibn Hawkal.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] Before the conversion the Kagan was still reported to play an active role — as, for instance, in his dealings with Justinian. To complicate matters further, the Arab sources sometimes refer to the “Kagan” when they clearly mean the “Bek” (as “kagan” was the generic term for “ruler” among many tribes), and they also use different names for the Bek, as the following list shows (after Minorsky, Hudud al Alam, p. 451):

Const. Porphyr.                   Khaqan                                Bek

Ibn Rusta                              Khazar Khaqan                  Aysha

Masudi                                 Khaqan                                Malik

Istakhri                                  Malik Khazar                      Khaqan Khazar

Ibn Hawkal                           Khaqan Khazar                  Malik Khazar or Bek

Gardezi                                  Khazar Khaqan                  Abshad

The order of the rulers appears to have been switched.

[§§§§§§§§§] i.e., presumably the ruling tribe of “White Khazars”, see above, Chapter I, 3.

[**********] i.e., between AD 786 and 809; but it is generally assumed that Masudi used a convenient historical landmark and that the conversion took place around AD 740.

[††††††††††] This was an age when converting unbelievers by force or persuasion was a foremost concern. That the Jews, too, indulged in it is shown by the fact that, since the rule of Justinian, Byzantine law threatened severe punishments for the attempt to convert Christians to Judaism, while for Jews “molesting” converts to Christianity the penalty was death by fire (Sharf, p.25).

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] These inscriptions are a category apart from the forgeries of Firkovitch, notorious among historians (see Appendix III). — Poliak (4/3) quoting Chwolson, D.A. (1865).

[§§§§§§§§§§] See below, Chapter IV, II.

[***********] No other source, as far as I know, mentions this. It may be a substitution more palatable to Muslim readers for the Kagan’s short-lived adoption of Islam prior to Judaism.

[†††††††††††] A summary of the controversy will be found in Appendix III.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡][‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] See Appendix III.

[§§§§§§§§§§§] This probably refers to the so-Called “Khazarian route”: from Constantinople across the Black Sea and up the Don, then across the Don-Volga portage and down the Volga to Itil. (An alternative, shorter route was from Constantinople to the east coast of the Black Sea.)

[************] The fortress is evidently Sarkel on the Don. “They are honoured by us” fits in with the passage in Constantine Born-in-the-Purple about the special gold seal used in letters to the Kagan. Constantine was the Byzantine Emperor at the time of the Embassy to Spain.

[††††††††††††] This may refer to a ninth-century Jewish traveller, Eldad ha-Dani, whose fantastic tales, much read in the Middle Ages, include mentions of Khazaria which, he says, is inhabited by three of the lost tribes of Israel, and collects tributes from twenty-eight neighbouring kingdoms. Eldad visited Spain around 880 and may or may not have visited the Khazar country. Hasdai briefly mentions him in his letter to Joseph — as if to ask what to make of him.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] It also throws a sidelight on the frequent description of the Khazars as the people of Magog. Magog, according to Genesis X, 2-3 was the much maligned uncle of Togarma.

[§§§§§§§§§§§§] This division of Itil into three parts is also mentioned, as we have seen, in some of the Arab sources.

[*************] Spending the Sabbath in the dark was a well-known Karaite custom.

[†††††††††††††] “And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] The date, however, is uncertain.

[§§§§§§§§§§§§§] Not to be confused with Nizhny Novgorod (now re-named Gorky).

[**************] Constantine Porphyrogenitus and the Russian Chronicle are in fair agreement concering the names and locations of these tribes and their subjection to the Khazars.

[††††††††††††††] See below, Chapter IV, 1.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] Very roughly, 830-930.

[§§§§§§§§§§§§§§] Or “Paccinaks”, or in Hungarian, “Bescnyök”.

[***************] This seems to be the plausible interpretation of Constantine’s statement that “the Ghuzz and the Khazars made war on the Pecheisegs”. [Cf. Bury, p. 424.]

[†††††††††††††††] Nine kinsmen of Olga’s, twenty diplomats, forty-three commercial advisers, one priest, two interpreters, six servants of the diplomats and Olga’s special interpreter.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] Toynbee does not hesitate to call this famous secret weapon of the Greeks “napalm”. It was a chemical of unknown composition, perhaps a distilled petroleum fraction, which ignited spontaneously on contact with water, and could not be put out by water.

[§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§] In the so cal1ed “long version” of the same letter (see Appendix III), there is another sentence which may or may not have been added by a copyist: “If I allowed them for one hour, they would destroy all the country of the Arabs as far as Baghdad…” Since the Rus sat on the Caspian not for an hour, but for a year, the boast sounds rather hollow — though a little less so if we take it to refer not to the past but to the future.

[****************] The most outstanding Russian epic poem of the period, “The Lay of Igor’s Host”, describes one of the disastrous campaigns of the Russians against the Ghuzz.

[††††††††††††††††] One substantial branch of the Kumans, fleeing from the Mongols, was granted asylum in Hungary in 1241, and merged with the native population. “Kun” is still a frequent surname in Hungary.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] Following a tradition set by Fraehn in 1822, in the Memnoirs of the Russian Academy.

[§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§] Yet one modern authority, Barthold, called him “one of the greatest geographers of all time”.[Quoted by Dunlop (1954), p. 245].

[*****************] “The probability is that Saksin was identical with, or at least at no great distance from Khazaran-ltil, and the name may be the older Sarisshin revived” (Dunlop, P.248, quoting Minorski).

[†††††††††††††††††] The Kasogians or Kashaks were a Caucasian tribe under Khazar rule and may or may not have been the ancestors of the Cossacks.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] The main sources for this movement are a report by the Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela (see above, II, 8); a hostile account by the Arab writer Yahya al-Maghribi, and two Hebrew manuscripts found in the Cairo Geniza (see above, II, 7). They add up to a confusing mosaic; I have followed Baron’s careful interpretation (Vol. III, p.204; Vol. IV, pp.202-4, and notes).

[§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§] I am indebted to Mrs St G. Saunders for calling my attention to the Teka episode, which seems to have been overlooked in the literature on the Khazars.

[******************] The above data appear in A. H. Kniper’s article “Caucasus, People of” in the 1973 printing of the Enc. Brit., based on recent Soviet sources. A book by George Sava, Valley of the Forgotten People (London, 1946) contains a description of a purported visit to the mountain Jews, rich in melodrama but sadly devoid of factual information.

[††††††††††††††††††] The two nations became united in a series of treaties, starting in 1386, into the Kingdom of Poland. For the sake of brevity, I shall use the term “Polish Jews” to refer to both countries — regardless of the fact that at the end of the eighteenth century Poland was partitioned between Russia, Prussia and Austria, and its inhabitants became officially citizens of these three countries. Actually the so-called Pale of Settlement within Imperial Russia, to which Jews were confined from 1792 onward, coincided with the areas annexed from Poland plus parts of the Ukraine. Only certain privileged categories of Jews were permitted to live outside the Pale; these, at the time of the 1897 census, numbered only 200000, as compared to nearly five million inside the Pale — i.e., within former Polish territory.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] Poland and Hungary were also briefly invaded by the Mongols in 1241-42, but they were not occupied — which made all the difference to their future history.

[§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§] Probably Wroclaw or Cracow.

[*******************] The last of the ancient Khazar villages on the Dnieper were destroyed in the Cossack revolt under Chmelnicky in the seventeenth century, and the survivors gave a further powerful boost to the number of Jews in the already existing settlement areas of Poland-Lithuania.

[†††††††††††††††††††] The opposite process of colonists settling on virgin soil applies to migrants from more highly developed to under-developed regions.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] Literally “master of the cart”.

[§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§] Not counting the Jews of Spain, who formed a category apart and did not participate in the migratory movements with which we are concerned.

[********************] According to the classic survey of Joseph Jacobs, The Jews of Angevin England, based on recorded Jewish family names and other documents. [Quoted by Baron, Vol. IV, p. 77.]

[††††††††††††††††††††] The modern community of Jews in France and England was founded by refugees from the Spanish Inquisition in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] See above, V, 2.

[§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§] For “Ashkenazi” see below, VIII, I.

[*********************] One of its students in the next century was Nicolaus Copernicus or Mikolaj Koppernigk whom both Polish and German patriots later claimed as their national.

[†††††††††††††††††††††] This does not, of course, apply to conquerors and colonizers, who impose their own language on the natives.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] Emenon wrote in his essay “English Traits”: “Every religious sect has its physiognomy. The Methodists have acquired a face, the Quakers a face, the nuns a face. An Englishman will point out a dissenter by his manners. Trades and professions carve their own lines on faces and forms.”

[§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§] Ibn Hawkal wrote his book in Arabic, but Ouseley translated it from a Persian translation.

[**********************] The original of this quote is enlivened by letters in Persian script, which I have omitted in kindness to the publishers.

[††††††††††††††††††††††] Hasdai’s name in Hebrew was bar Isaac bar Shaprut. The R (for Rabbi) is a courtesy title.

[‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡‡] Arab version of Hasdai’s name.

[§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§§] Two copies of the pamphlet belonging to two different editions are preserved in the Bodleian Library.

[***********************] The interested reader may consult Weingreen, J., A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew, 2nd ed, (Oxford, 1959).


[1] Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Caeromoniis I, p. 690.

[2] Bury, J. B. (1912), p. 402.

[3] Dunlop, D. M. (1954), pp. ix-x.

[4] Bartha, A. (1968), p. 35.

[5] Poliak, A. N. (1951).

[6] Cassel, P. (1876).

[7] Bartha, p. 24.

[8] Bartha, p. 24 and notes.

[9] Bartha, p. 24, n. 147-9.

[10] Istoria Khazar, 1962.

[11] Ibn-Said al-Maghribi, quoted by Dunlop, p. II.

[12] Schultze (1905), p. 23.

[13] Marquart, p. 44, n. 4.

[14] Quoted by Dunlop (1954), p. 96.

[15] Ibn-al-Balkhi, Fars Namah.

[16] Gibbon, Vol. V, pp. 87-8.

[17] Moses of Kalankatuk, quoted by Dunlop, p. 29.

[18] Artamonov, M. I. (1962).

[19] Obolensky, D. (1971), p. 172.

[20] Gibbon, p. 79.

[21] Gibbon, p. 180.

[22] Gibbon, p. 182.

[23] Op. cit., p. 176.

[24] Zeki Validi, Exk. 36a.

[25] Ibid., p. 50.

[26] Ibid., p. 61.

[27] Istakhri.

[28] Al-Masudi.

[29] Ibn Hawkal; also Istakhri (who was only 4000 gardens).

[30] Muqaddasi, p. 355, quoted by Baron III, p. 197.

[31] Toynbee, A. (1973), p. 549.

[32] Zeki Validi, p. 120.

[33] Quoted by Bartha, p. 184.

[34] Bartha, p. 139.

[35] Quoted by Dunlop (1954), p. 231.

[36] Bartha, pp. 143-5.

[37] László, G. (1974), pp. 66f.

[38] Hudud el Alam, No. 50.

[39] Op. cit., p. 405.

[40] St Julien, Documents sur les Tou Kioue, quoted by Zeki Validi, p. 269.

[41] Cassel, op. cit., p. 52.

[42] Ibn Hawkal, pp. 189-90.

[43] Op. cit., p. 405.

Chapter 2

[44] Bury, op. cit., p. 401.

[45] Ibid., p. 406.

[46] Sharf, A. (1971), p. 61.

3a Quoted by Dunlop (1954), p. 89.

[47] Ibid., p. 84.

[48] Quoted by Sharf, p. 88.

[49] The Vision of Daniel, a chronicle disguised as an ancient prophecy. Quoted by Sharf, p. 201.

[50] Quoted by Poliak, 4/3; Dunlop, p. 119.

[51] Poliak, (4/3); quoting Chwolson, D. A. (1865).

[52] Poliak, 4/3; Baron III, p. 210 and n. 47.

[53] Poliak, loc. cit.

[54] Quoted by Marquart (1903), p. 6.

[55] Quoted by Dunlop (1954), p. 90.

[56] Bury, op. cit., p. 408.

[57] Sharf, p. 100n.

[58] Bury, p. 406n.

[59] Dunlop (1954), p. 227.

[60] Baron, S. W. (1957), Vol. III, p. 201f.

[61] Dunlop, p. 220.

[62] Baron, Vol. III, p. 203.

Chapter III

[63] In his article “Khazars” in the Enc. Brit. 1973 edition.

[64] Op. cit., p. 177.

[65] Bar Hebraeus and al-Manbiji, quoted by Dunlop, p. 181.

[66] Marquart (pp. 5, 416), Dunlop (p. 42n.) and Bury (p. 408) all give slightly different dates.

[67] Bartha, p.27f.

[68] Op. cit. p. 547.

[69] Op. cit. p. 446n.

[70] Toynbee, p. 446; Bury, p. 422n.

[71] Gardezi (circa 1050), paraphrasing an earlier report by Ibn Rusta (circa 905), quoted by Macartney, C. A. (1930), p. 213.

[72] The Penguin Atlas of Mediaeval History, 1961, p. 58.

[73] Toynbee, p. 446.

[74] Zeki Validi, p. 85f.

[75] Ibn Rusta, quoted by Macartney, p. 214.

[76] Loc. cit.

[77] Ibn Rusta, quoted by Macartney, p. 215.

[78] Bid., pp. 214-15.

[79] Op. cit., p. I.

[80] Ibid., p. V.

[81] Toynbee, p. 419; Macrtney, p. 176.

[82] Toynbee, p. 418.

[83] Ibid., p. 454.

[84] Loc. cit.

[85] De Administrando, ch. 39-40.

[86] Toynbee, p.426.

[87] Op. cit., p. 426.

[88] Op. cit., p. 427.

[89] Macartney, pp 127ff.

[90] Baron, Vol. III, pp. 211f., 332.

[91] Bartha, pp. 99, 113.

[92] Quoted by Dunlop (1954), p. 105.

[93] Macartney, Guillemain.

[94]Quoted by Macartney, p. 71.

[95] Loc. cit.

[96] The Annals of Admont, quoted by Macartney, p. 76.

[97] De Administrando, ch. 40.

[98] Macartney, p. 123.

[99] Ibid., p. 122.

[100]Ibid., p. 123.

[101] Quoted by Dunlop (1954), p. 262.

[102] Bury, p. 419f.

[103] Op. cit., p. 448.

[104] Ibid., p. 447.

[105] Op. cit., p. 422.

[106] Toynbee, p. 448.

[107] Russian Chronicle, p. 65.

[108] Toynbee, p. 504.

[109] Loc. cit.

[110] Russian Chronicle, p. 82.

[111] Ibid., p. 83.

[112]Ibid., p. 72.

[113] Ibid., p. 84.

[114] Bury, p. 418.

Chapter IV

[115] Russian Chronicle, p. 84.

[116] Dunlop (1954). P. 238.

2a Quoted by Dunlop (1954), p. 210.

2b Quoted by Dunlop (1954), pp. 211-12.

[117] Quoted by Zeki Validi.

[118] Russian Chronicle, p. 84.

4a Ibid., p. 84.

[119] Ibid., p. 90.

[120] Toynbee, op. cit., p. 451.

[121] Russian Chronicle, p. 94.

[122] Ibid., p. 97.

[123] Ibid., p. 97.

[124] Ibid., p. 98.

[125] Ibid., p. 111.

[126] Ibid., p. 112.

[127] Vernadsky, g. (1948), pp. 29, 33.

[128] De Administrando, chs. 10-12.

[129] Toynbee, p. 508.

[130] Bury, op. cit., p. 414.

[131] Op. cit., p. 250.

[132] Zeki Validi, p. 206.

[133] Ahmad Tusi (twelth century), quoted by Zeki Validi, p. 205.

[134] Dunlop (1954), p. 249.

[135] Baron, Vol. IV, p. 174.

[136] Quoted by Dunlop (1954), p. 251.

[137] Kievo Pechershii Paterik, quoted by Baron, Vol. IV, p. 192.

[138] Quoted by Dunlop (1954), p. 260.

[139] Quoted by Zeki Validi, p. 143.

[140] Ibid., p. XXVII.

[141] Dunlop (1954), p. 261.

[142] Vernadsky, p. 44.

[143] Poliak, ch. VII.

[144] Loc. cit.

[145] Baron, Vol. III, p. 204.

[146] Baron, loc. cit.

Chapter V

[147] Baron, Vol. III, p. 206.

[148] Ibid., p. 212.

[149] Anonimi Gesta Hungarorum, quoted by Macartney, p. 188f.

[150] The Universal Jewish Encyclopaedia, article “Teka”.

[151] Dunlop (1954), p. 262.

[152] Poliak, ch. IX.

[153] Baron, Vol. III, p. 206.

[154] Poliak, ch. IX.

[155] Poliak, ch. VII; Baron, Vol. III, p. 218 and note.

[156] Brutzkus, Jewish Enc. Article “Chasaren”.

[157] Schiper, quoted by Poliak.

[158] Poliak, ch. IX.

[159] Baron, Vol. III, p. 217 and note.

[160] Poliak, ch. IX.

[161] Ibid.

[162] Ibid.

[163] Quoted by Poliak, ch. IX.

[164] Zajaczkowski, quoted by Dunlop, p. 222.

[165] Veltulani, A. (1962)., p. 278.

[166] Poliak, op. cit.; Kutschera, H. (1910).

[167] Vetulani, p. 274.

[168] Vetulani, pp. 276-7; Baron, Vol. III, p. 218 and notes; Poliak, op. cit.

[169] Baron, Vol. III, p. 219.

[170] Poliak, ch. VII.

[171] Enc. Brit., 1973 printing, “Yiddish Litterature”.

[172] Op. cit., ch. III.

[173] Ibid.

[174] Ibid.

[175] Zborowski, M., and Herzog, E. (1952), p. 41.

[176] Poliak, ch. III.

[177] Ibid., ch. VII.

[178] Ibid., ch. III.

Chapter VI

[179] According to William of Malmensbury’s De gestis regum Anglorum, quoted by Baron, Vol. IV, p. 277.

[180] Baron, Vol. IV, pp. 75-76.

[181] Roth, C. (1973).

[182] Roth, loc. cit.

[183]Baron, Vol. IV, p. 271.

[184] Ibid., p. 73.

[185] Kutschera, p. 233.

[186]14th ed., VI, p. 772, article “Crusades”.

[187] Baron, Vol. IV, p. 97.

[188] Ibid., p. 104.

[189]Ibid., pp. 105, 292n.

[190]Dubnov, S. (1926), p. 427.

[191] Ibid., p. 428.

[192] Baron, Vol. IV, p. 129.

[193] Ibid., p. 119.

[194] Ibid., p. 116.

[195] Mieses, M. (1924), p. 275.

[196] Ibid., pp. 274-5.

[197] Ibid., p. 273.

[198] Kutschera, pp. 235-6, 241.

Chapter VII

[199] Vetulani, loc. cit.

[200] Mieses, pp. 291-2.

[201] Jewish Enc., Vol. X, p. 512.

[202] Fuhrmann (1737), quoted by Mieses, p. 279.

[203] Mieses, loc. cit.

[204] Smith, H. Proc. V, pp. 65f.

[205] Mieses, p. 211.

[206] Ibid., p. 269.

[207] Ibid., p. 272.

[208] Ibid., p. 272.

[209] Smith, op. cit., p. 66.

[210] Kutschera, p. 244.

[211] Kutschera, p. 243.

[212] Poliak, ch. IX.

[213] Quoted by Poliak, loc. cit.

[214] Poliak, loc. cit.

[215] Roth, loc. cit.

[216] Roth, loc. cit.

[217] Ibid.

Chapter VIII

[218] Poliak, op. cit., Appendix III.

[219] Enc. Brit. (1973), Vol. XII, p. 1054.

[220] Comas, J. (1958), pp. 31-2.

[221] Ripley, W. (1900), p. 377.

[222] Ibid., pp. 378ff.

[223] Fishberg, M. (1911), p. 37.

[224] Fishberg, ch. II.

[225] Patai, op. cit.

[226] Comas, p. 30.

[227] Fishberg, p. 63.

[228] Quoted by Fishberg, p. 63.

[229] Patai, op. cit., p. 1054.

[230] Shapiro, H. (1953), pp. 74-5.

[231] Fishberg, p. 181.

[232] I Kings, XI, 1.

[233] Quoted by Fishberg, pp. 186-7.

[234] Fishberg, p. 189, n. 2.

[235] Comas, p. 31.

[236] Toynbee, 1947, p. 138.

[237] Graetz, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 213.

[238] Ibid., Vol. III, pp. 40-1.

[239] Fishberg, p. 191.

[240] Renan (1883), p. 24.

[241] Fishberg, p. 79.

[242] Ripley, p. 394f.

[243] Fishberg, p. 83, quoting Luschan.

[244] Fishberg, p. 83.

[245] Ripley, p. 395.

[246] Leiris, M. (1958), pp. 11 and 12.

[247] Fishberg, p. 513.

[248] Fishberg, pp. 332ff.

[249] Shapiro H. (1953), p. 80.

[250] E.g., Kerr and Reid, quoted by Fushberg, pp. 274-5.

[251] Ripley, p. 398.

[252] Fishberg, p. 178.

[253] Loc. cit.

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Ted Cruz is not eligible to be President of the United States; The meaning of “Natural Born.”

“No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.” — Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, clause 5

Ted Cruz is ineligible to run for President of the United States. He was born in Canada, of parents who were Canadian citizens at the time of his birth. Cruz’s mother claims to have been born in Delaware. The State of Delaware claims not to have any records of her. It makes Cruz’s mother a US citizen, but maybe not Cruz himself!

Raphael & Eleanor Cruz emigrated to Canada sometime in the 1960s and in 1968 Mr. Cruz became a naturalized Canadian Citizen. It appears that Eleanor by virtue of her marriage also attained Citizenship one year later and Raphael Eduardo (Ted) Cruz was born December 22, 1970. In 1970, Canada did not recognize the concept of dual citizen. Hence Cruz is Canadian by birth, ONLY Canadian by birth, despite his parents’ lineage! The fact that Ted Cruz claims to have renounced his Canadian citizenship proves this!

For Ted Cruz to be a US citizen by virtue of his mother’s dubious nationality, the parents would have to fill out a special form at the US Consulate called the Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (CRBA) to document that the child was a U.S. citizen. But according to Cruz’ own spokeswoman, Catherine Frazer, Cruz’s mother did not fill out that form until 1986, in order for Cruz to obtain a US passport to participate in a High School trip abroad. That means that from 1974, when Cruz’s family came to the US, until that form was completed in 1986, TWELVE YEARS, Ted Cruz was an illegal immigrant in the United States!

Now then, to the “Natural Born” requirement!

Ted Cruz’s supporters try to get around “Natural Born” by claiming it simply means any US citizen, an opinion even echoed at Wikipedia!

But if any US citizen could be President, then the qualifier “Natural Born” would not be needed (and is not present in the Constitutional citizenship requirements for Representatives and Senators). Clearly, to the Founding Fathers, “Natural Born” had a specific and obvious meaning, applied exclusively to the Presidency!

The Founding Fathers did not need to define what “Natural Born” meant inside the Constitution as it had been defined in existing legal theory in works such as “The Law of Nations” by Emerich de Vattel, published in 1758 and relied on heavily by the framers of the Constitution. “Natural Born” was already legally defined when the Constitution was written as “born inside the nation.”

Vattel’s definition of a natural born citizen: Law of Nations, Book I, Ch. XIX, at § 212:
§ 212: The citizens are the members of the civil society: bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens.

The requirement that parents be citizens also means Marco Rubio is not eligible, because while born in Miami, his parents were both citizens of Cuba, not the United States.

“…I am much obliged by the kind present you have made us of your edition of Vattel. It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising state make it necessary frequently to consult the law of nations. Accordingly that copy, which I kept, (after depositing one in our own public library here, and sending the other to the College of Massachusetts Bay, as you directed,) has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress, now sitting, who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have entertained a high and just esteem for their author. Your manuscript “Idee sur le Gouvernement et la Royaute” is also well relished, and may, in time, have its effect. I thank you, likewise, for the other smaller pieces, which accompanied Vattel…” — Ben Franklin, in a letter to Charles William Fredric Dumas, confirming that Vattel’s “Law of Nations” is the legal source used for the Constitution.

The inclusion of the “Natural Born” requirement for the US Presidency was proposed at the Constitutional Convention by Chief Justice John Jay, who wrote, “Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government and to declare expressly that the Command in Chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen…”

The intention is clear that the Presidency not be open to anyone not born within the United States.

In addition, there are no less than four United States Supreme Court Decisions that reaffirm that “Natural Born” means “Born inside the nation.”

The Venus, 12 U.S. 8 Cranch 253 253 (1814)

Shanks v. Dupont, 28 U.S. 3 Pet. 242 242 (1830)

Minor v. Happersett , 88 U.S. 162 (1875)

United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898)

There has never been a United States Supreme Court Decision that ruled “Natural Born” as having any other meaning than “born inside the country.”

All of Cruz’s supporters, including the corporate media, are demonstrating either an ignorance of the US Constitution, or an utter disregard for it. This tells us that were Cruz to become President, he would continue the long and tragic tradition of recent Presidents to ignore the Constitution to the detriment of the people.

The Constitution is the original contract with America. It is the rules by which We The People allow the government to act as caretaker of our National Sovereignty. If a politician does not wish to work within the restrictions and rules of the Constitution, the honorable thing to do is resign and find useful employment. If Ted Cruz’s supporters wish to live in a nation not protected by the Constitution they are free to move elsewhere.

But under the rules this nation operates on, Ted Cruz is not eligible to be President of the United States, and under the Twelfth Amendment, Cruz may not serve as Vice President either.

Read more: whatreallyhappened.com http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/NaturalBorn.php#ixzz437a4UiIC

Busted! Soros-Backed Pro-Clinton Group Caught Funding Violent Protests to Smear Sanders and Trump

soros-funding-violent-protestBy Jay Syrmopoulos

Longtime Clinton aligned organization MoveOn.org is raising funds to continue to disrupt Donald Trump rallies, according to emails sent out to members. While seemingly innocuous at first, the emails are potentially indicative of something much more calculating and sinister.

“Last night, without consulting local police, Donald Trump abruptly cancelled a rally in Chicago in the face of massive and overwhelmingly peaceful student-led protests,” an email to MoveOn.org members stated. “We’re being flooded with aggressive emails and social media posts from Trump supporters. Some of them are threatening. We refuse to be intimidated by Donald Trump, Fox News, or anyone else…”

So here’s the plan: We’ll support MoveOn.org members to call out and nonviolently protest Trump’s racist, bigoted, misogynistic, xenophobic, and violent behavior — and show the world that America rejects Trump’s hate. And to keep it going, we’re counting on you to donate whatever you can to cover the costs of everything involved — the organizers, signs, online recruitment ads, training, and more.

The email asks for a donation of $3 to continue the campaign against Trump.

So what could be sinister about that, right? But for those versed in far left ideology, Rules for Radicals, written by Saul Alinsky, there is no mistaking the hallmarks of left-wing radicalism. Clinton was a follower of Alinsky’s political philosophy and developed a relationship with him in the late 1960s.

“If you read some of the left-leaning writings of people like Saul Alinksy, you understand exactly what they’re doing. This is part of the plan,” former presidential candidate Ben Carson said.

In light of the recent violence that has transpired at a Trump event in St. Louis, the subsequent canceling of the Chicago rally, a closer analysis of the dynamic at play is warranted.

This past weekend, political operative Roger Stone stated that the disruptive violence at the Trump rally was actually a political false flag event staged by the Clinton campaign in an attempt to discredit rival Bernie Sanders.

“The entire conflagration in Chicago is a Hillary Clinton operation,” Stone said during a phone interview with Alex Jones. “Frankly, I can’t see Bernie Sanders having anything to do with it… this is not his handiwork.”

Stone went on to implicate George Soros, MoveOn, David Brock and Media Matters for America and “the reclusive millionaire, Jonathan Lewis.”

Remember that Moveon.Org was an organization founded with the distinct purpose of fighting back against the effort to impeach President Bill Clinton, thus allowing America “move on” to issues of substance, with billionaire European financier George Soros contributing millions to the progressive organization.

This election cycle, the group has officially endorsed Bernie Sanders for President after members overwhelmingly voted for him in a poll against the other candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. But that doesn’t mean the leadership doesn’t have a strategic agenda that differs from that of their member base.

The fact that the group’s members have endorsed Sanders actually gives the organization’s leadership room to operate in a manner that could actually hurt Sanders and bolster the efforts of longtime ally Hillary Clinton.

So while officially backing Bernie Sanders, the traditionally Clinton aligned organization sent out a fundraising emails regarding the Chicago protests of a Donald Trump rally Friday that resulted in the Republican presidential front-runner canceling his scheduled event, with the group admitting that they provided protesters and material support for the protests against Trump.

See what they did there.

A group that has officially supported Sanders, but is historically considered a Clintonian organization, is materially supporting mass protests against Trump.

So, if things devolve into violence at Trump rallies that MoveOn.org is advocating and supporting protesting, which presidential candidates will ultimately suffer?

Obviously Sanders and Trump – leaving Clinton to be the main benefactor of these strategic moves.

Of course, Trump and Bernie supporters are no angels, and they are playing right into the game. Trump has, in fact, instigated violence at his own rallies in response to these protesters.

In August, Trump issued a warning to protesters at his rallies, “I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself, or if other people will.” In November, he said a protester who disrupted one of his events “should have been roughed up.” Then, in February, he clearly went over the top by saying, in regards to a protester, “I’d like to punch him in the face.” Then in February, he managed to top the previous statement by telling a rally, “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them. . . . I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.”

However, make no mistake that the events you’re seeing transpire at Trump rallies are being orchestrated in part by a political elite Clinton campaign struggling to remain relevant in the face of internal scandal, Bernie’s surprising populist appeal, and the unexpected Trump juggernaut.

RNC Official Claims ‘Every Delegate Is a Superdelegate,’ Can Override Will of Voters

Republican National Committeeman Curly Haugland claims that current party rules allow delegates to the party’s 2016 nominating convention to vote their conscience rather than voting according to the will of primary voters in their states.

Screen capture from C-SPAN’s coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Republican National Committeeman Curly Haugland of North Dakota sent a letter on Friday to fellow RNC officials arguing that current party rules allow 2016 Republican National Convention delegates to vote for the presidential candidate of their personal preference during the first round of voting, rather than voting along with the will of voters in their states.

Haughland wrote in a letter published by The Daily Caller that the party’s Rule 38, also called “Unit Rule,” specifically allows Republican convention delegates to vote their conscience in every vote at the convention.

Every delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention is a completely free agent, free to vote for the candidate of their choice on every ballot at the convention in Cleveland in July. Every delegate is a Superdelegate!” claimed Haughland, who also pointed out that he has “been defending the right of the delegates to the Republican National Convention to vote according to their personal choice in all matters to come before the Republican National Convention, including the vote to nominate the Republican Candidate for President, for several years.

[RELATED: DNC Chair: Superdelegates Exist to Protect Party Leaders from Grassroots Competition]

Haughland, who is a member of the RNC’s Standing Rules Committee, claims that convention delegates were only bound to vote along with primary results at the 1976 convention and that the requirement was repealed in 1980.

He said that Tom Josefiak of the RNC’s Counsel’s Office gave a 2006 presentation to the Standing Rules Committee in which he counseled, “One of the important rules changes over the last 50 years has been the unit rule prohibited… that change was made so that an individual delegate can vote his or her conscience.

Haughland, who told The Daily Caller that he believes Trump will not obtain enough delegates to win the nomination, said, “The nominee of the party must receive a majority of the votes of the permanently feted delegates of the convention. That means it doesn’t make any difference what has happened in terms of primary voters, because they don’t count at the convention. It’s only the delegates at the convention whose votes matter.

[RELATED: GOP Debate: Trump Calls on Republican Party to ‘Be Smart and Unify’]

News of Haughland’s effort to convince the RNC of his interpretation of convention rules comes on the heels of a Truth in Media report that the GOP establishment is working to force a brokered convention by attempting to deny frontrunner Donald Trump the delegates necessary to clinch the nomination during the first round of voting at the convention in hopes that another candidate will prevail in a subsequent round.

For more election coverage, click here.

Follow Barry Donegan on Facebook and Twitter.

The Jewish Role in the Bolshevik Revolution and Russia’s Early Soviet Regime

Assessing the Grim Legacy of Soviet Communism

by Mark Weber

Romanovs1

In the night of July 16-17, 1918, a squad of Bolshevik secret police murdered Russia’s last emperor, Tsar Nicholas II, along with his wife, Tsaritsa Alexandra, their 14-year-old son, Tsarevich Alexis, and their four daughters. They were cut down in a hail of gunfire in a half-cellar room of the house in Ekaterinburg, a city in the Ural mountain region, where they were being held prisoner. The daughters were finished off with bayonets. To prevent a cult for the dead Tsar, the bodies were carted away to the countryside and hastily buried in a secret grave.

Bolshevik authorities at first reported that the Romanov emperor had been shot after the discovery of a plot to liberate him. For some time the deaths of the Empress and the children were kept secret. Soviet historians claimed for many years that local Bolsheviks had acted on their own in carrying out the killings, and that Lenin, founder of the Soviet state, had nothing to do with the crime.

Romanovs2

In 1990, Moscow playwright and historian Edvard Radzinsky announced the result of his detailed investigation into the murders. He unearthed the reminiscences of Lenin’s bodyguard, Alexei Akimov, who recounted how he personally delivered Lenin’s execution order to the telegraph office. The telegram was also signed by Soviet government chief Yakov Sverdlov. Akimov had saved the original telegraph tape as a record of the secret order.1

Radzinsky’s research confirmed what earlier evidence had already indicated. Leon Trotsky — one of Lenin’s closest colleagues — had revealed years earlier that Lenin and Sverdlov had together made the decision to put the Tsar and his family to death. Recalling a conversation in 1918, Trotsky wrote:2

My next visit to Moscow took place after the [temporary] fall of Ekaterinburg [to anti-Communist forces]. Speaking with Sverdlov, I asked in passing: “Oh yes, and where is the Tsar?”

“Finished,” he replied. “He has been shot.”

“And where is the family?”

“The family along with him.”

“All of them?,” I asked, apparently with a trace of surprise.

“All of them,” replied Sverdlov. “What about it?” He was waiting to see my reaction. I made no reply.

“And who made the decision?,” I asked.

“We decided it here. Ilyich [Lenin] believed that we shouldn’t leave the Whites a live banner to rally around, especially under the present difficult circumstances.”

I asked no further questions and considered the matter closed.

Recent research and investigation by Radzinsky and others also corroborates the account provided years earlier by Robert Wilton, correspondent of the London Times in Russia for 17 years. His account, The Last Days of the Romanovs – originally published in 1920, and reissued in 1993 by the Institute for Historical Review — is based in large part on the findings of a detailed investigation carried out in 1919 by Nikolai Sokolov under the authority of “White” (anti-Communist) leader Alexander Kolchak. Wilton’s book remains one of the most accurate and complete accounts of the murder of Russia’s imperial family.3

A solid understanding of history has long been the best guide to comprehending the present and anticipating the future. Accordingly, people are most interested in historical questions during times of crisis, when the future seems most uncertain. With the collapse of Communist rule in the Soviet Union, 1989-1991, and as Russians struggle to build a new order on the ruins of the old, historical issues have become very topical. For example, many ask: How did the Bolsheviks, a small movement guided by the teachings of German-Jewish social philosopher Karl Marx, succeed in taking control of Russia and imposing a cruel and despotic regime on its people?

In recent years, Jews around the world have been voicing anxious concern over the specter of anti-Semitism in the lands of the former Soviet Union. In this new and uncertain era, we are told, suppressed feelings of hatred and rage against Jews are once again being expressed. According to one public opinion survey conducted in 1991, for example, most Russians wanted all Jews to leave the country.4 But precisely why is anti-Jewish sentiment so widespread among the peoples of the former Soviet Union? Why do so many Russians, Ukrainians, Lithuanians and others blame “the Jews” for so much misfortune?

A Taboo Subject

Although officially Jews have never made up more than five percent of the country’s total population,5 they played a highly disproportionate and probably decisive role in the infant Bolshevik regime, effectively dominating the Soviet government during its early years. Soviet historians, along with most of their colleagues in the West, for decades preferred to ignore this subject. The facts, though, cannot be denied.

With the notable exception of Lenin (Vladimir Ulyanov), most of the leading Communists who took control of Russia in 1917-20 were Jews. Leon Trotsky (Lev Bronstein) headed the Red Army and, for a time, was chief of Soviet foreign affairs. Yakov Sverdlov (Solomon) was both the Bolshevik party’s executive secretary and — as chairman of the Central Executive Committee — head of the Soviet government. Grigori Zinoviev (Radomyslsky) headed the Communist International (Comintern), the central agency for spreading revolution in foreign countries. Other prominent Jews included press commissar Karl Radek (Sobelsohn), foreign affairs commissar Maxim Litvinov (Wallach), Lev Kamenev (Rosenfeld) and Moisei Uritsky.6

Lenin himself was of mostly Russian and Kalmuck ancestry, but he was also one-quarter Jewish. His maternal grandfather, Israel (Alexander) Blank, was a Ukrainian Jew who was later baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church.7

A thorough-going internationalist, Lenin viewed ethnic or cultural loyalties with contempt. He had little regard for his own countrymen. “An intelligent Russian,” he once remarked, “is almost always a Jew or someone with Jewish blood in his veins.”8

Critical Meetings

In the Communist seizure of power in Russia, the Jewish role was probably critical.

Two weeks prior to the Bolshevik “October Revolution” of 1917, Lenin convened a top secret meeting in St. Petersburg (Petrograd) at which the key leaders of the Bolshevik party’s Central Committee made the fateful decision to seize power in a violent takeover. Of the twelve persons who took part in this decisive gathering, there were four Russians (including Lenin), one Georgian (Stalin), one Pole (Dzerzhinsky), and six Jews.9

To direct the takeover, a seven-man “Political Bureau” was chosen. It consisted of two Russians (Lenin and Bubnov), one Georgian (Stalin), and four Jews (Trotsky, Sokolnikov, Zinoviev, and Kamenev).10 Meanwhile, the Petersburg (Petrograd) Soviet — whose chairman was Trotsky — established an 18-member “Military Revolutionary Committee” to actually carry out the seizure of power. It included eight (or nine) Russians, one Ukrainian, one Pole, one Caucasian, and six Jews.11 Finally, to supervise the organization of the uprising, the Bolshevik Central Committee established a five-man “Revolutionary Military Center” as the Party’s operations command. It consisted of one Russian (Bubnov), one Georgian (Stalin), one Pole (Dzerzhinsky), and two Jews (Sverdlov and Uritsky).12

Contemporary Voices of Warning

Well-informed observers, both inside and outside of Russia, took note at the time of the crucial Jewish role in Bolshevism. Winston Churchill, for one, warned in an article published in the February 8, 1920, issue of the LondonIllustrated Sunday Herald that Bolshevism is a “worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality.” The eminent British political leader and historian went on to write:13

There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistical Jews. It is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders. Thus Tchitcherin, a pure Russian, is eclipsed by his nominal subordinate, Litvinoff, and the influence of Russians like Bukharin or Lunacharski cannot be compared with the power of Trotsky, or of Zinovieff, the Dictator of the Red Citadel (Petrograd), or of Krassin or Radek — all Jews. In the Soviet institutions the predominance of Jews is even more astonishing. And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commissions for Combatting Counter-Revolution [the Cheka] has been taken by Jews, and in some notable cases by Jewesses.

Needless to say, the most intense passions of revenge have been excited in the breasts of the Russian people.

David R. Francis, United States ambassador in Russia, warned in a January 1918 dispatch to Washington: “The Bolshevik leaders here, most of whom are Jews and 90 percent of whom are returned exiles, care little for Russia or any other country but are internationalists and they are trying to start a worldwide social revolution.”14

The Netherlands’ ambassador in Russia, Oudendyke, made much the same point a few months later: “Unless Bolshevism is nipped in the bud immediately, it is bound to spread in one form or another over Europe and the whole world as it is organized and worked by Jews who have no nationality, and whose one object is to destroy for their own ends the existing order of things.”15

“The Bolshevik Revolution,” declared a leading American Jewish community paper in 1920, “was largely the product of Jewish thinking, Jewish discontent, Jewish effort to reconstruct.”16

As an expression of its radically anti-nationalist character, the fledgling Soviet government issued a decree a few months after taking power that made anti-Semitism a crime in Russia. The new Communist regime thus became the first in the world to severely punish all expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment.17 Soviet officials apparently regarded such measures as indispensable. Based on careful observation during a lengthy stay in Russia, American-Jewish scholar Frank Golder reported in 1925 that “because so many of the Soviet leaders are Jews anti-Semitism is gaining [in Russia], particularly in the army [and] among the old and new intelligentsia who are being crowded for positions by the sons of Israel.”18

Historians’ Views

Summing up the situation at that time, Israeli historian Louis Rapoport writes:19

Immediately after the [Bolshevik] Revolution, many Jews were euphoric over their high representation in the new government. Lenin’s first Politburo was dominated by men of Jewish origins.

Under Lenin, Jews became involved in all aspects of the Revolution, including its dirtiest work. Despite the Communists’ vows to eradicate anti-Semitism, it spread rapidly after the Revolution — partly because of the prominence of so many Jews in the Soviet administration, as well as in the traumatic, inhuman Sovietization drives that followed. Historian Salo Baron has noted that an immensely disproportionate number of Jews joined the new Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka And many of those who fell afoul of the Cheka would be shot by Jewish investigators.

The collective leadership that emerged in Lenin’s dying days was headed by the Jew Zinoviev, a loquacious, mean-spirited, curly-haired Adonis whose vanity knew no bounds.

“Anyone who had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the Cheka,” wrote Jewish historian Leonard Schapiro, “stood a very good chance of finding himself confronted with, and possibly shot by, a Jewish investigator.”20 In Ukraine, “Jews made up nearly 80 percent of the rank-and-file Cheka agents,” reports W. Bruce Lincoln, an American professor of Russian history.21 (Beginning as the Cheka, or Vecheka) the Soviet secret police was later known as the GPU, OGPU, NKVD, MVD and KGB.)

In light of all this, it should not be surprising that Yakov M. Yurovksy, the leader of the Bolshevik squad that carried out the murder of the Tsar and his family, was Jewish, as was Sverdlov, the Soviet chief who co-signed Lenin’s execution order.22

Igor Shafarevich, a Russian mathematician of world stature, has sharply criticized the Jewish role in bringing down the Romanov monarchy and establishing Communist rule in his country. Shafarevich was a leading dissident during the final decades of Soviet rule. A prominent human rights activist, he was a founding member of the Committee on the Defense of Human Rights in the USSR.

In Russophobia, a book written ten years before the collapse of Communist rule, he noted that Jews were “amazingly” numerous among the personnel of the Bolshevik secret police. The characteristic Jewishness of the Bolshevik executioners, Shafarevich went on, is most conspicuous in the execution of Nicholas II:23

This ritual action symbolized the end of centuries of Russian history, so that it can be compared only to the execution of Charles I in England or Louis XVI in France. It would seem that representatives of an insignificant ethnic minority should keep as far as possible from this painful action, which would reverberate in all history. Yet what names do we meet? The execution was personally overseen by Yakov Yurovsky who shot the Tsar; the president of the local Soviet was Beloborodov (Vaisbart); the person responsible for the general administration in Ekaterinburg was Shaya Goloshchekin. To round out the picture, on the wall of the room where the execution took place was a distich from a poem by Heine (written in German) about King Balthazar, who offended Jehovah and was killed for the offense.

In his 1920 book, British veteran journalist Robert Wilton offered a similarly harsh assessment:24

The whole record of Bolshevism in Russia is indelibly impressed with the stamp of alien invasion. The murder of the Tsar, deliberately planned by the Jew Sverdlov (who came to Russia as a paid agent of Germany) and carried out by the Jews Goloshchekin, Syromolotov, Safarov, Voikov and Yurovsky, is the act not of the Russian people, but of this hostile invader.

In the struggle for power that followed Lenin’s death in 1924, Stalin emerged victorious over his rivals, eventually succeeding in putting to death nearly every one of the most prominent early Bolsheviks leaders – including Trotsky, Zinoviev, Radek, and Kamenev. With the passage of time, and particularly after 1928, the Jewish role in the top leadership of the Soviet state and its Communist party diminished markedly.

Put To Death Without Trial

For a few months after taking power, Bolshevik leaders considered bringing “Nicholas Romanov” before a “Revolutionary Tribunal” that would publicize his “crimes against the people” before sentencing him to death. Historical precedent existed for this. Two European monarchs had lost their lives as a consequence of revolutionary upheaval: England’s Charles I was beheaded in 1649, and France’s Louis XVI was guillotined in 1793.

In these cases, the king was put to death after a lengthy public trial, during which he was allowed to present arguments in his defense. Nicholas II, though, was neither charged nor tried. He was secretly put to death – along with his family and staff — in the dead of night, in an act that resembled more a gangster-style massacre than a formal execution.

Why did Lenin and Sverdlov abandon plans for a show trial of the former Tsar? In Wilton’s view, Nicholas and his family were murdered because the Bolshevik rulers knew quite well that they lacked genuine popular support, and rightly feared that the Russian people would never approve killing the Tsar, regardless of pretexts and legalistic formalities.

For his part, Trotsky defended the massacre as a useful and even necesssary measure. He wrote:25

The decision [to kill the imperial family] was not only expedient but necessary. The severity of this punishment showed everyone that we would continue to fight on mercilessly, stopping at nothing. The execution of the Tsar’s family was needed not only in order to frighten, horrify, and instill a sense of hopelessness in the enemy but also to shake up our own ranks, to show that there was no turning back, that ahead lay either total victory or total doom. This Lenin sensed well.

Historical Context

In the years leading up to the 1917 revolution, Jews were disproportionately represented in all of Russia’s subversive leftist parties.26 Jewish hatred of the Tsarist regime had a basis in objective conditions. Of the leading European powers of the day, imperial Russia was the most institutionally conservative and anti-Jewish. For example, Jews were normally not permitted to reside outside a large area in the west of the Empire known as the “Pale of Settlement.”27

However understandable, and perhaps even defensible, Jewish hostility toward the imperial regime may have been, the remarkable Jewish role in the vastly more despotic Soviet regime is less easy to justify. In a recently published book about the Jews in Russia during the 20th century, Russian-born Jewish writer Sonya Margolina goes so far as to call the Jewish role in supporting the Bolshevik regime the “historic sin of the Jews.”28 She points, for example, to the prominent role of Jews as commandants of Soviet Gulag concentration and labor camps, and the role of Jewish Communists in the systematic destruction of Russian churches. Moreover, she goes on, “The Jews of the entire world supported Soviet power, and remained silent in the face of any criticism from the opposition.” In light of this record, Margolina offers a grim prediction:

The exaggeratedly enthusiastic participation of the Jewish Bolsheviks in the subjugation and destruction of Russia is a sin that will be avenged Soviet power will be equated with Jewish power, and the furious hatred against the Bolsheviks will become hatred against Jews.

If the past is any indication, it is unlikely that many Russians will seek the revenge that Margolina prophecies. Anyway, to blame “the Jews” for the horrors of Communism seems no more justifiable than to blame “white people” for Negro slavery, or “the Germans” for the Second World War or “the Holocaust.”

Words of Grim Portent

Nicholas and his family are only the best known of countless victims of a regime that openly proclaimed its ruthless purpose. A few weeks after the Ekaterinburg massacre, the newspaper of the fledgling Red Army declared:29

Without mercy, without sparing, we will kill our enemies by the scores of hundreds, let them be thousands, let them drown themselves in their own blood. For the blood of Lenin and Uritskii let there be floods of blood of the bourgeoisie — more blood, as much as possible.

Grigori Zinoviev, speaking at a meeting of Communists in September 1918, effectively pronounced a death sentence on ten million human beings: “We must carry along with us 90 million out of the 100 million of Soviet Russia’s inhabitants. As for the rest, we have nothing to say to them. They must be annihilated.”30

‘The Twenty Million’

As it turned out, the Soviet toll in human lives and suffering proved to be much higher than Zinoviev’s murderous rhetoric suggested. Rarely, if ever, has a regime taken the lives of so many of its own people.31

Citing newly-available Soviet KGB documents, historian Dmitri Volkogonov, head of a special Russian parliamentary commission, recently concluded that “from 1929 to 1952, 21.5 million [Soviet] people were repressed. Of these a third were shot, the rest sentenced to imprisonment, where many also died.”32

Olga Shatunovskaya, a member of the Soviet Commission of Party Control, and head of a special commission during the 1960s appointed by premier Khrushchev, has similarly concluded: “From January 1, 1935 to June 22, 1941, 19,840,000 enemies of the people were arrested. Of these, seven million were shot in prison, and a majority of the others died in camp.” These figures were also found in the papers of Politburo member Anastas Mikoyan.33

Robert Conquest, the distinguished specialist of Soviet history, recently summed up the grim record of Soviet “repression” of it own people:34

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the post-1934 death toll was well over ten million. To this should be added the victims of the 1930-1933 famine, the kulak deportations, and other anti-peasant campaigns, amounting to another ten million plus. The total is thus in the range of what the Russians now refer to as ‘The Twenty Million’.”

A few other scholars have given significantly higher estimates.35

The Tsarist Era in Retrospect

With the dramatic collapse of Soviet rule, many Russians are taking a new and more respectful look at their country’s pre-Communist history, including the era of the last Romanov emperor. While the Soviets — along with many in the West — have stereotypically portrayed this era as little more than an age of arbitrary despotism, cruel suppression and mass poverty, the reality is rather different. While it is true that the power of the Tsar was absolute, that only a small minority had any significant political voice, and that the mass of the empire’s citizens were peasants, it is worth noting that Russians during the reign of Nicholas II had freedom of press, religion, assembly and association, protection of private property, and free labor unions. Sworn enemies of the regime, such as Lenin, were treated with remarkable leniency.36

During the decades prior to the outbreak of the First World War, the Russian economy was booming. In fact, between 1890 and 1913, it was the fastest growing in the world. New rail lines were opened at an annual rate double that of the Soviet years. Between 1900 and 1913, iron production increased by 58 percent, while coal production more than doubled.37 Exported Russian grain fed all of Europe. Finally, the last decades of Tsarist Russia witnessed a magnificent flowering of cultural life.

Everything changed with the First World War, a catastrophe not only for Russia, but for the entire West.

Monarchist Sentiment

In spite of (or perhaps because of) the relentless official campaign during the entire Soviet era to stamp out every uncritical memory of the Romanovs and imperial Russia, a virtual cult of popular veneration for Nicholas II has been sweeping Russia in recent years.

People have been eagerly paying the equivalent of several hours’ wages to purchase portraits of Nicholas from street vendors in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other Russian cities. His portrait now hangs in countless Russian homes and apartments. In late 1990, all 200,000 copies of a first printing of a 30-page pamphlet on the Romanovs quickly sold out. Said one street vendor: “I personally sold four thousand copies in no time at all. It’s like a nuclear explosion. People really want to know about their Tsar and his family.” Grass roots pro-Tsarist and monarchist organizations have sprung up in many cities.

A public opinion poll conducted in 1990 found that three out of four Soviet citizens surveyed regard the killing of the Tsar and his family as a despicable crime.38 Many Russian Orthodox believers regard Nicholas as a martyr. The independent “Orthodox Church Abroad” canonized the imperial family in 1981, and the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church has been under popular pressure to take the same step, in spite of its long-standing reluctance to touch this official taboo. The Russian Orthodox Archbishop of Ekaterinburg announced plans in 1990 to build a grand church at the site of the killings. “The people loved Emperor Nicholas,” he said. “His memory lives with the people, not as a saint but as someone executed without court verdict, unjustly, as a sufferer for his faith and for orthodoxy.”39

On the 75th anniversary of the massacre (in July 1993), Russians recalled the life, death and legacy of their last Emperor. In Ekaterinburg, where a large white cross festooned with flowers now marks the spot where the family was killed, mourners wept as hymns were sung and prayers were said for the victims.40

Reflecting both popular sentiment and new social-political realities, the white, blue and red horizontal tricolor flag of Tsarist Russia was officially adopted in 1991, replacing the red Soviet banner. And in 1993, the imperial two-headed eagle was restored as the nation’s official emblem, replacing the Soviet hammer and sickle. Cities that had been re-named to honor Communist figures — such as Leningrad, Kuibyshev, Frunze, Kalinin, and Gorky — have re-acquired their Tsarist-era names. Ekaterinburg, which had been named Sverdlovsk by the Soviets in 1924 in honor of the Soviet-Jewish chief, in September 1991 restored its pre-Communist name, which honors Empress Catherine I.

Symbolic Meaning

In view of the millions that would be put to death by the Soviet rulers in the years to follow, the murder of the Romanov family might not seem of extraordinary importance. And yet, the event has deep symbolic meaning. In the apt words of Harvard University historian Richard Pipes:41

The manner in which the massacre was prepared and carried out, at first denied and then justified, has something uniquely odious about it, something that radically distinguishes it from previous acts of regicide and brands it as a prelude to twentieth-century mass murder.

Another historian, Ivor Benson, characterized the killing of the Romanov family as symbolic of the tragic fate of Russia and, indeed, of the entire West, in this century of unprecedented agony and conflict.

The murder of the Tsar and his family is all the more deplorable because, whatever his failings as a monarch, Nicholas II was, by all accounts, a personally decent, generous, humane and honorable man.

The Massacre’s Place in History

The mass slaughter and chaos of the First World War, and the revolutionary upheavals that swept Europe in 1917-1918, brought an end not only to the ancient Romanov dynasty in Russia, but to an entire continental social order. Swept away as well was the Hohenzollern dynasty in Germany, with its stable constitutional monarchy, and the ancient Habsburg dynasty of Austria-Hungary with its multinational central European empire. Europe’s leading states shared not only the same Christian and Western cultural foundations, but most of the continent’s reigning monarchs were related by blood. England’s King George was, through his mother, a first cousin of Tsar Nicholas, and, through his father, a first cousin of Empress Alexandra. Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm was a first cousin of the German-born Alexandra, and a distant cousin of Nicholas.

More than was the case with the monarchies of western Europe, Russia’s Tsar personally symbolized his land and nation. Thus, the murder of the last emperor of a dynasty that had ruled Russia for three centuries not only symbolically presaged the Communist mass slaughter that would claim so many Russian lives in the decades that followed, but was symbolic of the Communist effort to kill the soul and spirit of Russia itself.

Notes

  1. Edvard Radzinksy, The Last Tsar (New York: Doubleday, 1992), pp. 327, 344-346.; Bill Keller, “Cult of the Last Czar,” The New York Times, Nov. 21, 1990.
  2. From an April 1935 entry in “Trotsky’s Diary in Exile.” Quoted in: Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1990), pp. 770, 787.; Robert K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra (New York: 1976), pp. 496-497.; E. Radzinksy, The Last Tsar (New York: Doubleday, 1992), pp. 325-326.; Ronald W. Clark, Lenin (New York: 1988), pp. 349-350.
  3. On Wilton and his career in Russia, see: Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976), pp. 141-142, 144-146, 151-152, 159, 162, 169, and, Anthony Summers and Tom Mangold, The File on the Tsar(New York: Harper and Row, 1976), pp. 102-104, 176.
  4. AP dispatch from Moscow, Toronto Star, Sept. 26, 1991, p. A2.; Similarly, a 1992 survey found that one-fourth of people in the republics of Belarus (White Russia) and Uzbekistan favored deporting all Jews to a special Jewish region in Russian Siberia. “Survey Finds Anti-Semitism on Rise in Ex-Soviet Lands,” Los Angeles Times, June 12, 1992, p. A4.
  5. At the turn of the century, Jews made up 4.2 percent of the population of the Russian Empire. Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: 1990), p. 55 (fn.).
    By comparison, in the United States today, Jews make up less than three percent of the total population (according to the most authoritative estimates).
  6. See individual entries in: H. Shukman, ed., The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Russian Revolution (Oxford: 1988), and in: G. Wigoder, ed., Dictionary of Jewish Biography (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991).
    The prominent Jewish role in Russia’s pre-1914 revolutionary underground, and in the early Soviet regime, is likewise confirmed in: Stanley Rothman and S. Robert Lichter, Roots of Radicalism (New York: Oxford, 1982), pp. 92-94.
    In 1918, the Bolshevik Party’s Central Committee had 15 members. German scholar Herman Fehst — citing published Soviet records — reported in his useful 1934 study that of six of these 15 were Jews. Herman Fehst,Bolschewismus und Judentum: Das jüdische Element in der Führerschaft des Bolschewismus (Berlin: 1934), pp. 68-72.; Robert Wilton, though, reported that in 1918 the Central Committee of the Bolshevik party had twelve members, of whom nine were of Jewish origin and three were of Russian ancestry. R. Wilton, The Last Days of the Romanovs (IHR, 1993), p. 185.
  7. After years of official suppression, this fact was acknowledged in 1991 in the Moscow weekly Ogonyok. See:Jewish Chronicle (London), July 16, 1991.; See also: Letter by L. Horwitz in The New York Times, Aug. 5, 1992, which cites information from the Russian journal “Native Land Archives.”; “Lenin’s Lineage?”‘Jewish,’ Claims Moscow News,” Forward (New York City), Feb. 28, 1992, pp. 1, 3.; M. Checinski, Jerusalem Post (weekly international edition), Jan. 26, 1991, p. 9.
  8. Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1990), p. 352.
  9. Harrison E. Salisbury, Black Night, White Snow: Russia’s Revolutions, 1905-1917 (Doubleday, 1978), p. 475.; William H. Chamberlin, The Russian Revolution (Princeton Univ. Press, 1987), vol. 1, pp. 291-292.; Herman Fehst, Bolschewismus und Judentum: Das jüdische Element in der Führerschaft des Bolschewismus (Berlin: 1934), pp. 42-43.; P. N. Pospelov, ed., Vladimir Ilyich Lenin: A Biography (Moscow: Progress, 1966), pp. 318-319.
    This meeting was held on October 10 (old style, Julian calendar), and on October 23 (new style). The six Jews who took part were: Uritsky, Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Sverdlov and Soklonikov.
    The Bolsheviks seized power in Petersburg on October 25 (old style) — hence the reference to the “Great October Revolution” — which is November 7 (new style).
  10. William H. Chamberlin, The Russian Revolution (1987), vol. 1, p. 292.; H. E. Salisbury, Black Night, White Snow: Russia’s Revolutions, 1905-1917 (1978), p. 475.
  11. W. H. Chamberlin, The Russian Revolution, vol. 1, pp. 274, 299, 302, 306.; Alan Moorehead, The Russian Revolution (New York: 1965), pp. 235, 238, 242, 243, 245.; H. Fehst, Bolschewismus und Judentum (Berlin: 1934), pp. 44, 45.
  12. H. E. Salisbury, Black Night, White Snow: Russia’s Revolutions, 1905-1917 (1978), p. 479-480.; Dmitri Volkogonov, Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991), pp. 27-28, 32.; P. N. Pospelov, ed., Vladimir Ilyich Lenin: A Biography (Moscow: Progress, 1966), pp. 319-320.
  13. “Zionism versus Bolshevism: A struggle for the soul of the Jewish people,” Illustrated Sunday Herald (London), February 8, 1920. Facsimile reprint in: William Grimstad, The Six Million Reconsidered (1979), p. 124. (At the time this essay was published, Churchill was serving as minister of war and air.)
  14. David R. Francis, Russia from the American Embassy (New York: 1921), p. 214.
  15. Foreign Relations of the United States — 1918 — Russia, Vol. 1 (Washington, DC: 1931), pp. 678-679.
  16. American Hebrew (New York), Sept. 1920. Quoted in: Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Beyond the Melting Pot (Cambridge, Mass.: 1963), p. 268.
  17. C. Jacobson, “Jews in the USSR” in: American Review on the Soviet Union, August 1945, p. 52.; Avtandil Rukhadze, Jews in the USSR: Figures, Facts, Comment (Moscow: Novosti, 1978), pp. 10-11.
  18. T. Emmons and B. M. Patenaude, eds., War, Revolution and Peace in Russia: The Passages of Frank Golder, 1913-1927 (Stanford: Hoover Institution, 1992), pp. 320, 139, 317.
  19. Louis Rapoport, Stalin’s War Against the Jews (New York: Free Press, 1990), pp. 30, 31, 37. See also pp. 43, 44, 45, 49, 50.
  20. Quoted in: Salo Baron, The Russian Jews Under Tsars and Soviets (New York: 1976), pp. 170, 392 (n. 4).
  21. The Atlantic, Sept. 1991, p. 14.;
    In 1919, three-quarters of the Cheka staff in Kiev were Jews, who were careful to spare fellow Jews. By order, the Cheka took few Jewish hostages. R. Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), p. 824.; Israeli historian Louis Rapoport also confirms the dominant role played by Jews in the Soviet secret police throughout the 1920s and 1930s. L. Rapoport, Stalin’s War Against the Jews (New York: 1990), pp. 30-31, 43-45, 49-50.
  22. E. Radzinsky, The Last Tsar (1992), pp. 244, 303-304.; Bill Keller, “Cult of the Last Czar,” The New York Times, Nov. 21, 1990.; See also: W. H. Chamberlin, The Russian Revolution, vol. 2, p. 90.
  23. Quoted in: The New Republic, Feb. 5, 1990, pp. 30 ff.; Because of the alleged anti-Semitism of Russophobia, in July 1992 Shafarevich was asked by the National Academy of Sciences (Washington, DC) to resign as an associate member of that prestigious body.
  24. R. Wilton, The Last Days of the Romanovs (1993), p. 148.
  25. Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), p. 787.; Robert K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra (New York: 1976), pp. 496-497.
  26. An article in a 1907 issue of the respected American journal National Geographic reported on the revolutionary situation brewing in Russia in the years before the First World War: ” The revolutionary leaders nearly all belong to the Jewish race, and the most effective revolutionary agency is the Jewish Bund ” W. E. Curtis, “The Revolution in Russia,” The National Geographic Magazine, May 1907, pp. 313-314.
    Piotr Stolypin, probably imperial Russia’s greatest statesman, was murdered in 1911 by a Jewish assassin. In 1907, Jews made up about ten percent of Bolshevik party membership. In the Menshevik party, another faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, the Jewish proportion was twice as high. R. Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), p. 365.; See also: R. Wilton, The Last Days of the Romanovs (1993), pp. 185-186.
  27. Martin Gilbert, Atlas of Jewish History (1977), pp. 71, 74.; In spite of the restrictive “Pale” policy, in 1897 about 315,000 Jews were living outside the Pale, most of them illegally. In 1900 more than 20,000 were living in the capital of St. Petersburg, and another 9,000 in Moscow.
  28. Sonja Margolina, Das Ende der Lügen: Russland und die Juden im 20. Jahrhundert (Berlin: 1992). Quoted in: “Ein ganz heisses Eisen angefasst,” Deutsche National-Zeitung (Munich), July 21, 1992, p. 12.
  29. Krasnaia Gazetta (“Red Gazette”), September 1, 1918. Quoted in: Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution(1990), pp. 820, 912 (n. 88).
  30. Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: 1990), p. 820.
  31. Contrary to what a number of western historians have for years suggested, Soviet terror and the Gulag camp system did not begin with Stalin. At the end of 1920, Soviet Russia already had 84 concentration camps with approximately 50,000 prisoners. By October 1923 the number had increased to 315 camps with 70,000 inmates. R. Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), p. 836.
  32. Cited by historian Robert Conquest in a review/ article in The New York Review of Books, Sept. 23, 1993, p. 27.
  33. The New York Review of Books, Sept. 23, 1993, p. 27.
  34. Review/article by Robert Conquest in The New York Review of Books, Sept. 23, 1993, p. 27.; In the “Great Terror” years of 1937-1938 alone, Conquest has calculated, approximately one million were shot by the Soviet secret police, and another two million perished in Soviet camps. R. Conquest, The Great Terror (New York: Oxford, 1990), pp. 485-486.;
    Conquest has estimated that 13.5 to 14 million people perished in the collectivization (“dekulakization”) campaign and forced famine of 1929-1933. R. Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow (New York: Oxford, 1986), pp. 301-307.
  35. Russian professor Igor Bestuzhev-Lada, writing in a 1988 issue of the Moscow weekly Nedelya, suggested that during the Stalin era alone (1935-1953), as many as 50 million people were killed, condemned to camps from which they never emerged, or lost their lives as a direct result of the brutal “dekulakization” campaign against the peasantry. “Soviets admit Stalin killed 50 million,” The Sunday Times, London, April 17, 1988.;
    R. J. Rummel, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, has recently calculated that 61.9 million people were systematically killed by the Soviet Communist regime from 1917 to 1987. R. J. Rummel,Lethal Politics: Soviet Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1917 (Transaction, 1990).
  36. Because of his revolutionary activities, Lenin was sentenced in 1897 to three years exile in Siberia. During this period of “punishment,” he got married, wrote some 30 works, made extensive use of a well-stocked local library, subscribed to numerous foreign periodicals, kept up a voluminous correspondence with supporters across Europe, and enjoyed numerous sport hunting and ice skating excursions, while all the time receiving a state stipend. See: Ronald W. Clark, Lenin (New York: 1988), pp. 42-57.; P. N. Pospelov, ed., Vladimir Ilyich Lenin: A Biography (Moscow: Progress, 1966), pp. 55-75.
  37. R. Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), pp. 187-188.;
  38. The Nation, June 24, 1991, p. 838.
  39. Bill Keller, “Cult of the Last Czar,” The New York Times, Nov. 21, 1990.
  40. “Nostalgic for Nicholas, Russians Honor Their Last Czar,” Los Angeles Times, July 18, 1993.; “Ceremony marks Russian czar’s death,” Orange County Register, July 17, 1993.
  41. R. Pipes, The Russian Revolution (1990), p. 787.

From The Journal of Historical Review, Jan.-Feb. 1994 (Vol. 14, No. 1), pages 4-22.

About the Author

Mark Weber was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He studied history at the University of Illinois (Chicago), the University of Munich, Portland State University and Indiana University (M.A., 1977).

The IHR, an independent, public interest history research and publishing center, seeks to promote peace and freedom through greater awareness of the past.

Analysis: Fox News Only Tells The Truth 22% Of The Time

Analysis of recent statements made by Fox News anchors and journalists shows that the conservative news network is determined to stoke fears about refugees and gun control laws.      

NEW YORK — Less than half the “facts” broadcast on Fox News are even partially true, according to an ongoing analysis by an independent fact-checking project.

Some recent lies told by on-air personalities and guests seem designed to stoke fears over the safety of refugees living in the United States and to spread untruths about American support for gun control laws.

Punditfact, a joint project by the Tampa Bay Times and media analysts from Politifact, offers “scorecards” on the accuracy of the TV networks and major TV personalities.

Last updated in January, the Punditfact scorecard for Fox News shows that just 10 percent of statements made on the network have been “True” and another 12 percent “Mostly True” since the project began in 2014. Even generously including the 19 percent of statements deemed “Half True” reveals that just 41 percent of Fox News statements can be deemed “true” to some degree.

On the other end of the Punditfact scale, a full 29 percent of statements presented as fact by Fox News were found to be “False,” and another 9 percent were found to be so outrageously false the team determined them to be “Pants On Fire” lies, the worst of six possible categories.

Combined with 20 percent of statements determined to be “Mostly False,” well over half of statements made by Fox journalists or pundits were lies.

Punditfact's scorecard for Fox News shows that only 22% of statements analyzed by the project were true or "mostly true." (Punditfact)

Punditfact’s scorecard for Fox News shows that only 22% of statements analyzed by the project were true or “mostly true.” (Punditfact)

Those figures are largely unchanged from last year, when Punditfact found that about 60 percent of Fox News’ “facts” were actually false.

Most recently, Punditfact criticized conservative radio host Laura Ingraham for a “False” statement she made on “Fox News Sunday” on Jan. 3. Although polls consistently find that about 90 percent of Americans support background checks for gun purchases, a fact cited by President Barack Obama in his Jan. 1 weekly address, Ingraham claimed “that’s been debunked.”

Other lies told on Fox News seem aimed at fostering distrust of refugees and increasing tension around Obama’s proposals to bring more asylum-seekers from Syria and Iraq into the United States. On Nov. 22, Michael Needham, chief executive of the conservative lobbying group Heritage Action, declared on “Fox News Sunday” that the U.S. accepted “67 percent of the world’s refugees” in 2013. Determining this statement to be “Mostly False,” Punditfact reported that the correct figure was actually 2.3 percent, or about 264,000 refugees. Needham seemed to be confusing the actual figure with a UNHCR report that the U.S. had accepted 67 percent, or about 48,000, of refugees recommended for resettlement by that agency.

And Sean Hannity told the most recent “Pants on Fire” lie during a Oct. 19 interview with Jeb Bush. Hannity claimed that “[t]he president said he’s going to bring in 250,000 refugees into this country,” which he argued might facilitate a national takeover by Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the terrorist group commonly referred to in the West as ISIS or ISIL).

Even Bush seemed to question the figure, responding, “I’ve never heard that, and that would be impossible to imagine logistically for us to screen.”

Punditfact was unable to find any source approaching the figure . Instead, a September statement by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest suggests the U.S. is preparing to take about 10,000 Syrian refugees.

Of course, Fox News isn’t the only network broadcasting falsehoods on a disturbingly regular basis. While faring better overall, Punditfact’s scorecard for CNN shows that only 17 percent of analyzed facts were “True,” and a combined scorecard for MSNBC and NBC shows those networks only got it completely right 12 percent of the time.

Source: Analysis: Fox News Only Tells The Truth 22% Of The Time

Anti-BDS legislation moving through Colorado legislature: the case for the Israel boycott BDS

Anti-BDS legislation moving through Colorado legislature: the case for the Israel boycott BDS

Stop funding apartheid Israel

Rich Forer writes:

Colorado House Bill 16-284, which requires the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) to divest from companies that have economic prohibitions against Israel, passed the State House of Representatives on Friday 26 February.

On Tuesday 23 February I testified against the bill before a house committee. The state representatives who co-sponsored the bill went first and said the bill was needed to combat anti-Semitism and the delegitimisation of

At the request of the co-sponsors, opponents of the bill testified next followed by witnesses in favour of the bill. One pro-bill witness actually had the audacity to say that his support for the bill was because it was in the best interests of the Palestinians, as if he knows what is best for the natives who are too ignorant to know what is best for themselves. By having us testify first the co-sponsors made sure we could not rebut the hasbara [propaganda] that came after us.

The committee voted unanimously to move the bill to the full house where it passed the next day with very few No votes. It now moves to the senate where it will pass sometime next week before reaching the governor’s desk. Unless we can get 85,000 signatures by early to mid August the bill will go into law.

There are a total of 35 states that have already considered or are considering similar legislation. I believe this kind of legislation will not stop at state houses but will move onto college campuses and other arenas. Here is my testimony:

My name is Richard Forer and I am the author of Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion –A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict.

Growing up on the east coast, from ages five to 14, I attended religious services weekly as well as Saturday and Sunday school and spent my summers at the Jewish Community Centre. I am a former member of AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and have orthodox relatives living in settlements in the West Bank.

For 45 years my identical twin has been a member of a Hasidic sect of Judaism that believes the Arab population must be ethnically cleansed. Their ranks include members of the Knesset, the Israeli cabinet and rabbis that wield tremendous influence over all of Israeli society.

I learned that there is not a single argument – and I know them all – I ever made or heard in defence of Israel that was not factually inaccurate or taken out of context in order to blame the Palestinians and vindicate the Israelis.

Until 2006 I assumed, along with virtually every Jew I grew up with, that Israel had always wanted to make peace with the Palestinians but the Palestinians were so irrational they were willing to sacrifice their own people in order to push the Jews into the sea.

A series of circumstances compelled me to begin an investigation into the history of Israel-Palestine. For the past decade I have studied the history daily with an emphasis on Israeli state and Central Zionist archives, reports of Israeli ministries of defence and internal security, and the writings of Israel’s prime ministers and chiefs of staff.

I learned that there is not a single argument – and I know them all – I ever made or heard in defence of Israel that was not factually inaccurate or taken out of context in order to blame the Palestinians and vindicate the Israelis. I discovered that all my life I had closed my heart to the cries of the Palestinian people.These human beings were suffering profoundly from my ignorance.

BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] does not seek to harm Israel. It seeks to prevent Israel from harming Palestinians. Calling on Israel to comply with international law is not anti-Semitic. Nor is compassion for the unnecessary suffering of the Palestinian people. If it were, all Palestinians would, ipso facto, be anti-Semites.

The Torah’s commandments forbid Jews from corrupting justice. Jews are chosen to rectify injustice and bring blessing to the world. This is how the world is made into a dwelling place for the Divine. Defending injustice perverts the very nature of Judaism and delegitimises the Jewish state.

The truth is that with its cruel and inhumane occupation and its virulent racism, no one incites anti-Semitism more effectively than Israel. BDS’s goal is to transform this inhumanity into basic rights for all people, not some people.

A vote to suppress free speech, especially speech intended to end inhumanity, is a vote for endless turbulence not just in Israel but throughout the region.

I am willing to share with anyone my knowledge and my insights into how we humans create a world of suffering for ourselves and for those whose humanity we so carelessly deny.

Source: Anti-BDS legislation moving through Colorado legislature: the case for the Israel boycott BDS

NeoCon William Kristol is terrified Trump could Indict Dual-Citizen Israeli 9/11 perpetrators’

PressTV

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“William Kristol, who is one of the 9/11 perpetrators who is going to be tried, convicted and hanged for mass murder and high treason when this comes out, is terrified that Trump might become president, because there is a chance that Trump might decide to clean house,” Dr. Kevin Barrett told Press TV on Sunday.

US neoconservative commentator William (Bill) Kristol is terrified that if Donald Trump becomes president, he might try the perpetrators of the 9/11 coup d’etat for mass murder and high treason, an American scholar and researcher says.

Dr. Kevin Barrett, a founding member of the Scientific Panel for the Investigation of 9/11, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Sunday while commenting on a recent interview by Kristol, the founder of the Emergency Committee for Israel, an American neoconservative group associated with the Israel lobby.

In an interview with ABC News on Saturday, Kristol called for a third party run in the event Trump wins the Republican Party nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Kristol, the founder and editor of the political magazine The Weekly Standard, also said Trump will not be nominated by his party, adding that he will begin to fall behind his rivals if loses in the Iowa state primary elections.

Dr. Barrett said “Kristol is the dean of American neoconservatism, an ultra-Machiavellian Zionist, political-intellectual movement that brought us the 9/11 coup d’etat, the new Pearl Harbor, that the neoconservative think tank, Project for the New American Century, called for shamelessly exactly one year before September 11th. So therefore William Kristol, as I understand it, should be viewed as the godfather of the 9/11 perpetrators.”

“That’s his role in the current American political system. And he is terrified of Donald Trump. He is willing to do anything to try to stop Trump. Why is that?” he asked.

‘Trump knows about 9/11’

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

Dr. Barrett said he thinks “it’s because as Roger Stone recently said on the Alex Jones Show, ‘Trump knows about 9/11.’ People should ask themselves why Trump is constantly bringing up 9/11. Why has he blamed [George W.] Bush for 9/11, and gotten into a big fight over this with Jeb Bush?”

“Well if Roger Stone is right, Donald Trump, who should know this – he is well-placed in the oligarchy of New York City, and with the Jewish-Zionist element of that oligarchy, led by people like Larry Silverstein, a man who demolished his own buildings on September 11th and took huge insurance payoff (Silverstein being a close friend of Netanyahu) – Trump moves in those circles. He knows very well who murdered 3,000 Americans on September 11th 2001,” stated Barrett, a founding member of the Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance.

The September, 11, 2001 attacks, also known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage.

US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists but many experts have raised questions about the official account.

They believe that rogue elements within the US government, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, orchestrated or at least encouraged the 9/11 attacks in order to accelerate the US war machine and advance the Zionist agenda.

Cheney presided over murder of 3,000 Americans

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Dick Cheney watching the initial TV reports of planes hitting the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001.

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Dick Cheney sitting in the US president’s seat.

Dr. Barrett, who’s also an editor at Veterans Today, said “Kristol, who is one of the 9/11 perpetrators who is going to be tried, convicted and hanged for mass murder and high treason when this comes out, is terrified that Trump might become president, because there is a chance that Trump might decide to clean house.”

“He might decide to put the neoconservatives who murdered 3,000 of their fellow Americans in the worst crime ever committed on American soil – an act of high treason and mass murder – he just might decide to bring back democracy by exposing this and prosecuting these people,” he said.

“So Kristol is panicking. He’ll do anything to stop Trump. And look who he is calling for to run his third party candidate against Trump: Dick Cheney, the man who presided over the murder of 3,000 Americans on 9/11, who directed the operation from the situation room. That’s the guy that Kristol wants to run as the third party candidate against Trump,” the analyst stated.

Jeb Bush, brother of George W. Bush

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Jeb Bush’s role in 9/11 murderous op

Dr. Barrett said Kristol’s second “choice is Jeb Bush, the [former] governor of Florida, who’s not only the brother of the president who was the figurehead overseeing the 9/11 coup d’etat – Jeb Bush is actually a direct participant in the murderous operation of September 11th of 2001. Jeb Bush flew into the phony flight schools, which were actually CIA drug import airstrips in Florida, where the non-hijackers, the supposed hijackers, who were not on the planes at all, had been pretending learn to fly, going through the motion as they worked for the corrupt Bush wing of the CIA smuggling drugs.”

“Jeb Bush flew into those airstrips on a C-40 cargo plane and stole all the evidence showing these were not really flight schools, they were CIA drug import airstrips. That evidence had been seized by the police. He went to the police station, and he and his National Guard goons stole all that evidence at gunpoint from the police, and loaded that evidence into a C-40 cargo plane and flew out. This has been attested to by the police who were there and multiple witnesses and sources,” he stated.

“It’s all Daniel Hopsicker’s book, Welcome to Terrorland. So no wonder Kristol, who is going to be literally tried, convicted, and hanged for the worst crime ever committed in America, along with his friends, Dick Cheney and Jeb Bush, is terrified by the possibility that this unpredictable loose cannon Donald Trump, who knows what happened on 9/11 and may not really like it, could become president,” concluded the author of Questioning the War on Terror.


Dr. Kevin Barrett is an Islamic studies scholar who was witch-hunted out of the University of Wisconsin system in the mid-2000s for publicly questioning the US government conspiracy theory that sought to explain the events of 9/11. Barrett’s most recent book, We Are Not Charlie Hebdo: Free Thinkers Question the French 9/11 (2015) is an important new volume featuring contributions from Paul Craig Roberts, Webster Tarpley, Barbara Honegger, Alain Soral, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Cynthia McKinney, and many more. He is presently editing a volume on the November 13, 2015 “Paris attacks,” due for release on January 7, 2016, which will feature essays from numerous contributors, including Paul Craig Roberts, Stephen Lendman, and James F. Tracy.

Barrett holds a doctorate in Arabic Studies from The University of Wisconsin. He is a regular columnist at Iran’s PressTV and an editor at Veterans Today. Barrett is also the author of Truth Jihad: My Epic Struggle Against the 9/11 Big Lie (Progressive 2006) and Questioning the War on Terror: A Primer for Obama Voters (Khadir, 2009).

STOP THE ESTABLISHMENT FROM HIJACKING 2016 ELECTION !

ALL STAND UP!

Donald Trump Endorsed By The Ku Klux Klan? Nope.

Did Donald Trump refuse to repudiate the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan? Nope. Did Donald Trump refuse to repudiate the endorsement of former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke? Nope. Is the media creating another biased and inaccurate attack in an attempt to discredit Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump. Yep. 

Sources
http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02…
http://www.politico.com/story/2015/08…
http://www.politico.com/story/2016/02…
http://hinterlandgazette.com/2012/04/… 
http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/201…
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/new…
http://observer.com/2010/06/hillary-c…
http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/w…
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bla…
http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/28/pol…

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