More on Sudan and Joseph Kony

Following on from a recent Christianity Today piece which mentioned links between Sudan and the Lord’s Resistance Army (I blogged it here), Christopher Hitchens reports from Uganda for Vanity Fair:

…The whereabouts of [LRA leader Joseph] Kony are already known: he openly uses a satellite phone from a base across the Ugandan border in southern Sudan. Like the United States, Sudan is not a signatory to the treaty that set up the I.C.C. And it has sponsored the L.R.A. because the Ugandan government—which is an I.C.C. signatory—has helped the people of southern Sudan fight against the theocracy in Khartoum, the same theocracy that has been sponsoring the genocide against Muslim black Africans in Darfur. Arrest warrants look pretty flimsy when set against ruthless cynicism of this depth and intensity. Kony has evidently made some kind of peace with his Sudanese Islamist patrons: in addition to his proclamation of the Ten Commandments, he once banned alcohol and announced that all pigs were unclean and that those who farm them, let alone eat them, were subject to death…

Nigeria Crackdown on Gay Marriages, Associations

News just in, via the Nigerian Vanguard:

ABUJA—THE Federal Government has banned gay marriage in Nigeria, thus ending hopes by people of same sex to enjoy marital relationships in the Country.

Those who take part in, or abet, a gay marriage will face five years in prison – so we can assume that this must include even private, non-officially recognised ceremonies. But that’s not all:

…The ban also affects staging of Gay Rallies and Associations of whatever kind.

But why? Of course, it’s a double-whammy:

Addressing state House Correspondents on the bill, Chief Bayo Ojo and Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. Frank Nweke said that Government frowns against marriage of people of same sex as it contravenes the provisions of even both the Holy Bible and the HolyQuoran [sic].

(“National Orientation”?!) The clampdown comes just weeks after the New York Times reported on a meeting of Changing Attitudes Nigeria, a gay Anglican activist group:

At one end of town on a fall Saturday morning, in a soaring cathedral nestled in a tidy suburb, dozens of Nigeria’s most powerful citizens gathered, their Mercedes, Porsche and Range Rover sport utility vehicles gleaming in a packed parking lot. The well-heeled crowd was there to celebrate the Eucharist with the leader of Nigeria’s Anglican Church, Archbishop Peter J. Akinola.

At the other end of town, in a small clubhouse behind a cultural center, a decidedly more downscale and secretive gathering of Anglicans got under way: the first national meeting of a group called Changing Attitudes Nigeria. Its unassuming name, and the secrecy accompanying its meeting – the location was given to a visitor only after many assurances that it would not be revealed to anyone else – underscored the radical nature of the group’s mission: to fight for acceptance of homosexuals in the Anglican Church in Nigeria.

Changing Attitudes Nigeria (CAN) is run by Davis Mac-Iyalla, a former teacher who had been fired by his Anglican employer. It claims to have hundreds of members in Nigeria, and it is part of a wider gay Anglican organisation. The report adds that

in October, Mr. Mac-Iyalla and several other members of Changing Attitudes Nigeria were arrested after their first meeting, which drew several dozen people, after police officers found literature for the meeting in their car. Mr. Mac-Iyalla said he was kicked in the head by one of the officers, and he spent several days in jail without being charged or taken before a judge, although that is not unusual for people arrested in Nigeria. “There was no reason to arrest us other than that we were openly gay,” he said.

The Anglican church’s response to this coverage was bizarre – as Ekklesia reported, Rev Canon Akin Tunde Popoola released a statement warning about someone supposedly collecting money “to organise homosexual meetings that only take place on sponsored news reports”, as a form of fraud. This, and other weird accusations, were denied by CAN (here and here), which has also threatened legal action against the church over the claims. CAN’s statements on the subject give further details about its activities – now, apparently, all banned on pain of long prison sentences:

Since its formation in August 2005 CAN has achieved a great deal, including the formation of groups meeting in 5 dioceses, a first General Meeting held in Abuja, and significant press and media coverage in Nigeria and other parts of the Anglican Communion. The objective of CAN is to contribute to the commitment made by the Anglican Communion and specifically by Archbishop Peter Akinola to listen to the experience of lesbian and gay Anglicans. CAN also enables lesbian, gay and bisexual members of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) to meet and find support and encouragement in their faith.

(Hat tip – Harry’s Place)

Holocaust Deniers Neda Bit of Help in Iran

Updated to reflect a change blogged on 24 January

Hold your nose: with news that Iran is planning to hold a Holocaust “debate”, this blog dives deeper than usual into the sewer with a trip to the site of the far-right Adelaide Institute, where we fish out Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson’s praise for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

On December 8, 2005, – a date that will be remembered – the President of your country, Mr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, – a name that will go down in history – dared to voice doubts on the historical reality of the alleged “Holocaust”. (1)

This appears in an open letter from Faurisson to Jawad Sharbaf, managing director of Neda Institute of Scientific-Political Research and Studies in Iran. Sharbaf had written to Faurisson a few days before, in order to commiserate over the UN “Holocaust Day” resolution, and to encourage him to organize a denialist conference. Faurisson’s response, as ever, rants on at length at how “the Jews” disallow any discussion about the Holocaust – but while is keen on the idea of Islamist theocrats sponsoring his quest to show that he’s a serious scholar rather than a neo-Nazi, he’s doubtful on the practicalities:

…However, in view of the circumstances, such a project seems, sad to say, unrealisable at this moment. Allow me to explain why.

The reason, of course, is that all his comrades are in prison or suffering other forms of supposed persecution. Faurisson presents a long list of martyrs; they’re all pretty distasteful characters, although one name sticks out even there: Manfred Roeder, whom Faurisson calls a “barrister”. In fact, Roeder is a convicted terrorist, responsible for killing Vietnamese asylum seekers with bombs in 1982.

However, Faurisson has a “Plan B”:

…In conclusion, I think that, until things have changed somewhat, an international conference is, unfortunately, impossible. But, in accord with an idea put forth by professor Arthur Robert Butz, I shall say that we hope to see President Ahmadinejad create in Iran an international centre for revisionist studies whose first task would be to propagate historical revisionism’s attainments in the Arabo-Moslem world via the Internet or any other medium. Meanwhile, we request that Iran make repeated appeals to the Western world for the freeing of our prisoners of conscience.

Faurisson has praised Iran’s promotion of Holocaust denial before:

In November 2000, I spent a week in Iran at the invitation of the Centre of Strategic Studies, a body directly attached to the office of the President of the Islamic Republic, Mr Mohammed Khatami. I had no contact with the country’s press, radio or television but only with a few personalities who were well-informed about revisionism. I held no public conference but enjoyed an interview of several hours with the head of the Institute for Scientific Political Research, Professor Soroush-Nejad and a few of his colleagues. There again, I was struck by the knowledge of revisionism that certain Iranians could have. At about that time, the Swiss revisionist Jürgen Graf made his appearance in Iran and I am indeed pleased that, some months later, thanks to his intense activity and to the contacts which I, at my end, had maintained with the Iranian authorities after returning to France, the Teheran Times undertook the publication of a series of revisionist articles, the first of which was to bear the signature of Professor Soroush-Nejad. (2)

Sharbaf and Nejad show up on various sites reporting on Holocaust denial conferences; the Neda Institute itself, however, is (in English, at least) thankfully obscure online. However, UNISPAL, a website on Palestine affiliated to the UN, used to give the following information, until I contacted them:

Neda Institute for Scientific-Political Research

No. 20 Forsat Shirazi St.

Kargar Shomali St.

Tehran Iran

Focus: Assistance; Human rights; Peace promotion; Publication; Refugees; Research/Analysis; Solidarity

The site told us that “no endorsement by the United Nations is implied”, but it described Neda thus:

It conducts research projects on the Middle East with a particular focus on the question of Palestine.

Hardly an accurate account of its agenda, and of course completely counter-productive as far as the Palestinian cause is concerned. I’m glad I was able to bring it to UNISPAL’s attention, and that they removed the reference so promptly.

(NB: There is also a Neda Rayaneh Institute in Tehran, but seems to be completely unrelated)

UPDATE: David Bloom has some more background, over at World War 4 Report.

UPDATE 2: The MSM notices.


Far-right sites quoted, but not linked:



Name variation: Javad Sharbaf

ID Gets Astrologer Ally

Dispatches from the Culture Wars promised us amusement now that William Dembski has handed over the running of his pro-intelligent design blog Uncommon Descent to his fan club. And the goods have arrived – with this post about an ID theorist in India. Our blogger has found a report in the International Reporter, which he or she quotes approvingly:

Dr. Raj Baldev, Cosmo Theorist from India, had first compared Darwin’s theory with Intelligent Being in 1957, again in 1992 and then in 2003, 2005 and now in 2006. He gave this account in his book “Man Never Descended from Species” in 1957 and through articles in 1992 and 2005 and 2006.

Dr. Raj Baldev said, “There does exist a glaring controversy. Darwin’s principle is convincing to a certain extent that species sprung up by natural selection but there is a grave error so far the descent of human being is concerned”.

In fairness to the poster, there are two prominent Dr. Raj Baldevs in India: there’s this guy, who’s director of Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research; but the famous “Cosmo Theorist” Dr. Raj Baldev is better known as…erm…a swami and astrologer. His profile on lists his specialities:

Astro Tantrik, Introduced Sarjatak System of Astrology for the first time, a great divine science of prediction with effective remedies of all problems caused by negative effects of stars and black magic. He also guides in the area of Vastu directions, other systems of Predictions like palmistry, numerology and occult reading, both East and West. Above all, his specialty includes Spiritual Healing and Horoscope Matching, Business prospects, Partnerships, Court Cases, Marriages, Love Affairs, among others.

An email from the man, containing “suggestive guidelines”, is a bargain at $50! However, there’s one particular reason why Dembskiites might warm to him: in 2004 he was in large part responsible for a court case which decided that astrology was a legitimate science to be taught in Indian universities. Back to the International Reporter (via Skeptical News)

Astrology is Science, and is allowed to be taught in Indian Universities for degrees and research work for interested students. The Hon.’ble Supreme Court rejected the plea of scientists that Astrology should not be taught in Universities as a subject of science. The Full Bench accepted Astrology as Science and allowed the Universities for teaching and issuing degrees and research work in Astrology.

…Dr. Raj Baldev, who is a famous Cosmo Theorist, is also considered an authority in Astrology and occult sciences, was Intervener in this case and supported the plea of HRD Ministry, Govt. of India and the UGC. While tracing ancient history of Astronomy and Astrology, he gave all scientific reasons in his intervention application justifying how astrology is a complete science.

Along with his intervention, Dr. Raj Baldev had also filed the press clippings wherein he had predicted the fall and rise of three governments with exact time and date well in advance before their occurrences, even the indication of the name of the Prime Minister and how many alphabets he would carry with his name were also successfully predicted by him.

This report also includes one detail he perhaps might want to keep quiet about these days:

Dr. Raj Baldev was also consulted regularly by the close deputies of Saddam Hussein privately for their President and Saddam Hussein granted the special privilege to Dr. Raj Baldev for addressing Iraqi Parliament as the highest honor on behalf of his country, which included his best efforts in helping to end Iran-Iraq war by using the good offices of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India.

Raj Baldev is styled as the “Aristotle of India”, so it’s only fitting he should be cited on the blog of the “Isaac Newton of Information Theory”. Here’s his take on the Dover decision:

Dr. Raj Baldev, Cosmo Theorist from India, has explained the “Intelligence Design” under the sub chapter of ICLE (Intelligent Central Life Energy) in his book “Two Big Bangs Created the Universe” (Formed in Eternal Space).

Dr. Raj Baldev feels that the verdict given by the learned Judge is probably unfortunate. The learned Judge looks to have ignored the vital aspect of “Intelligent Design” that each and every bit of intelligence is based on some law or the other, whether material or spiritual and each law is science.

Baldev also claims that ideas from his book Two Big Bangs Created the Universe were stolen by Stephen Hawking (see this blog; alas, illustrated with a pic of the wrong Baldev). As Dembski himself wrote after his meeting with the Lubavitcher ultra-Orthodox Jews, “ID is not only going international but it is also going interfaith.” Indeed – and, as the saying goes, “with hilarious results”.

UPDATE: The blog entry on Uncommon Descent has now been revised, and the quote there from Dr. Raj Baldev has been deleted. Comment 36 on the entry is from the original poster, and he asserts that critical blogs noting Dr Baldev’s background are “bigoted” and “low”.

Chavez “did not…Speak about Jews” – American Jewish Committee

An update to my December piece on Hugo Chavez, due to new information from the Forward:

“We believe the president was not talking about Jews and that the Jewish world must learn to work together,” said Fred Pressner, president of the Confederation of Jewish Associations of Venezuela.

Both the AJCommittee and the American Jewish Congress seconded the Venezuelan community’s view that Chavez’s comments were not aimed at Jews. All three groups said he was aiming his barbs at the white oligarchy that has dominated the region since the colonial era, pointing to his reference to Bolivar as the clearest evidence of his intent.

One official noted that Latin America’s so-called Liberation Theology has long depicted Jesus as a socialist and consequently speaks of gentile business elites as “Christ-killers.”

…It appears to us that Chavez did not intentionally speak about Jews,” said David Twersky, director of the AJCongress’s Council on World Jewry. “I don’t think we should raise the flag of antisemitism when it doesn’t belong.”

Pat Robertson & Israel: The End of the Affair?

September 2004 (emphasis added):

More than over 40,000 churches globally have confirmed their participation to mark the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, said Rev. Robert Stearns, co-chairman of the October 3 event to be held near the Knesset parliament building in Jerusalem, Israel…The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, which is being called for the first Sunday of every October, has garnered the active support of such evangelical leaders of influence as Ted Haggard, Jack Hayford, Glenn Plummer, Ravi Zacharias, Jane Hansen, Benny Hinn, and hundreds of others.

…Leadership of the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem announced that Dr. Pat Robertson, a leading evangelical figure, will be the keynote speaker at a massive gathering to be held in Jerusalem on Sunday, October 3.

…”We can think of no more appropriate leader to address this event than Dr. Robertson, who has lived a life of spiritual passion, moral clarity, sound thinking, and influenced millions around the world to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”


Israel has suspended contact with evangelist Pat Robertson for suggesting Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s stroke was divine punishment for withdrawing from the Gaza Strip – casting doubt on plans for a Christian tourism center that would showcase the growing flow of money and influence from U.S. church groups.

…Tourism Minister Abraham Hirchson said he gave instructions to “stop all contact” with groups associated with Robertson.

I blogged on the proposed Christian theme park in the Galilee here. The last time Robertson put his foot in it, by calling for the death of Hugo Chavez, Ted Haggard came to the rescue, and assured us that

Pat doesn’t speak for evangelicals any more than Dr. Phil speaks for mental-health professionals.

Probably Haggard will be called on to smooth things over again. But this time it’s going to be rather more difficult, seeing as 40,000 churches reportedly decided Robertson was the best man to be their “keynote speaker” on the subject of Israel.

Meanwhile, Hal Lindsey’s similar sentiments (albeit rather more ambigiously expressed) in WorldNetDaily have passed unremarked upon:

Deliverance from Oslo curse?

New Years Eve I predicted that something would happen to Ariel Sharon that would facilitate Benjamin Netanyahu to become the new prime minister. Though I am very sorry to hear of Sharon’s massive stroke, it appears that it will facilitate Netanyahu replacing him in the next election.

On a personal note, back in 1994 I visited the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, the HQ of Christian Zionist activity in Israel and the settlements. A pastor I spoke to expressed to me his belief that the sudden death of Norweigan Foreign Minister Johan Jorgen Holst had been due to his role in organising the Oslo accords. God using illness to remove or punish someone who stands in the way of his supposed plans for the Middle East is not a particularly unusual concept in Christian Zionist thought.

Evangelicals to “Replace Rwanda’s Memories”

Rwanda continues to be the focus of Evangelical fascination and charitable intent. Recently we had Rick Warren’s plan to make Rwanda the first “Purpose-Driven Nation”; now there’s Hope Rwanda:



April 7th – July 15th 2006

The organisers are Australian Christian songwriters Mark and Darlene Zschech, but many other ministries are involved: Joyce Meyer, Samaritan’s Purse, Willow Creek, and Rick Warren himself are just a few of the better-known. The initiative was actually profiled in Christianity Today back in November, but passed me by:

Hope Rwanda – founded and directed by Mark and Darlene Zschech of Hillsong Church, Sydney, Australia – is a project to replace the nation’s painful memories of its 100 days of genocide with those of hope by coordinating projects to help rebuild the country and people. The project of hope next year will coincide exactly with the 100 days of genocide, April 7-July 15.

“Replace the nation’s painful memories”? Yes, I’m sure all those Rwandans are just waiting for foreign evangelicals to take charge and tell them how they ought to remember their tragedy. But predictable glib crassness aside, there is a serious intent:

Churches and Christian organizations during the 100 days will help address a wide-range of needs including the building of schools, homes, wells, orphanages; medical care such as immunization, open heart surgery, and dental care; supplying food, bicycles, Bibles, and everyday essential items; education on nutrition, hygiene, micro-enterprise development, leadership; training teachers, nurses, Pastors, youth workers, musicians; and caring for widows, orphans, prostitutes, prisoners and those without hope.

Somewhat downplayed in the report, however, is the fact that the “Days of Hope” will also be used for evangelising, through rallies and other “outreach events”, many of which will apparently be run by particular American and Australian churches. Prisoners, as noted above, will not be left out:

Joyce Meyer Ministries will also be visiting the inmates of all 16 prisons in Rwanda. Their teams will travel around the country preaching and demonstrating the gospel message. Prison activities will include dramas, skits, music, preaching and the distribution of hygiene gift bags to every person who is incarcerated there.

A captive audience, no less. The climax will be the closing ceremony in Kigali, led by Australian megachurch pastor Brian Houston, whose Hillsong Church is where the Zschechs lead worship.

I’m sure there’ll be a lot of good people out there getting things done – but I’m also rather uneasy: why not help Rwanda at some other time of the year? Here’s one of Africa’s greatest tragedies of recent years, being breezily appropriated by outsiders as part of what looks very much like a marketing gimmick of questionable taste.

From McMartin to Rochdale, Satanic Panic Reckoning Underway

Long after the tragic events of the 1980s and 1990s, the repercussions of the Satanic panic hysteria continue to make headlines. Here’s the latest, from the UK:

A DOZEN of the children who were snatched from their parents by Rochdale social workers in the so-called “Satanic abuse” scandal in 1990 are seeking compensation.

I’m actually pretty shocked that no action for compensation was taken on their behalf years ago, but there it is:

[Lawyer Richard Scorer] said: “When these events happened in 1990 these people were children who had no idea what was happening to them as they were being taken away from their families. Now they have all reached adulthood they are coming forward to speak about what they went through and they want the record put straight, which has led to this legal action.

“When they were eventually returned home, they had to put up with bullying and taunts from other children, massive family upheaval and, in some cases, parents splitting up.

“It has caused them enormous damage. This legal action is being brought because they want a proper apology from Rochdale council, and because they deserve compensation for the psychological damage, disruption to family life and long-term suffering caused by events which they did not understand and were never explained to them.”

This comes just weeks after Kyle Sapp, a former preschooler in California, admitted that he had been coaxed into lying about Satanic abuse at the McMartin Preschool in the early 1980s. The Revealer noted that accusations from Sapp and other children

…shape-shifted into a national panic that eventually leached beyond McMartin to include other preschools and child care centers. Tales of sexual abuse by teachers morphed into hair-raising claims of satanic ritual abuse and an ever expanding sex ring with victimized children at the center. Accusations of animal slaughters, visits to “devil land” and “Devil House,” and the forced touching of corpses flew through the air like witches on broomsticks.

However, this wasn’t just a “national panic”; it was actually international. The Fortean Times has a good survey:

…the SRA [Satanic Ritual Abuse] panic that gripped the USA, Britain, Holland, Australia and elsewhere can be clearly traced back to Michelle Remembers [see below] by way of the McMartin case. And, once again, there were never any two reports that matched, in the sense that two witnesses claimed to have been present at the same ritual, or even appeared to describe the same Satanic Order.

In 1987, the British Evangelical magazine Prophecy Today declared to its readers: “Information we are presently receiving suggests the reintroduction of infant sacrifice into Britain”. 12 Although they did not disclose their sources, their most tangible was an interview by the Reverend David M Woodhouse, the vicar of St James Church, Clitheroe, with a ex-Witch turned Christian who claimed that: “Witches also pray for the breakdown of Christian marriages. I used to take part in that.”

Prophecy Today is published by Clifford Hill, a Charismatic prophet who also blamed a 1989 plane crash on witches; his “evidence” was a vision he’d had. And while the US and the UK have now got over the hysteria, the legacy of this fundamentalist Christian paranoia is still being played out in countries as diverse as Cyprus and Zambia.

So who’s to blame? The easiest targets, of course, are the incompetent, credulous investigators who so betrayed the trust and authority that had been vested in them. Similarly, there are the bogus “recovered memory” experts (see my blog entry here), so-called therapists lacking in even the most basic self-awareness that they were manipulating children and some adults to say what they wanted them to say. The most notorious of these was the Canadian psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder (who died in 2004), who claimed to have recovered memories of Satanism from his patient Michelle Smith and published them as Michelle Remembers in 1980. Smith went on to divorce her husband and marry Pazder, which shows just what kind of a professional he was. Richard Webster notes that Pazder was brought in as a special consultant at McMartin, which he claimed was part of an international conspiracy.

But where did the idea of a Satanic conspiracy spring from, and why did it spread? Step forward a list of infamous liars, whose paperback books of Satanic survival spread the idea of a Satanic conspiracy through Christian bookshops and into the general public consciousness: Americans like Mike Warnke, Rebecca Brown (helped by Jack Chick), and Lauren Stratford, and Brits like Doreen Irvine and Audrey Harper.

Warnke set the ball rolling, but although his 1972 bogus memoir The Satan Seller has been comprehensively demolished by two Christian journalists, Mike Hertenstein and Jon Trott, Warnke continues with his “ministry“, while his co-author, David Balsiger, has gone on to a (mostly) successful media career making sensationalist pseudo-documentaries. Rebecca Brown’s royalties for books like Prepare for War (1987) appear to have provided for a very comfortable life-style, judging by her website. Trott also helped to expose Lauren Stratford‘s 1988 Satan’s Underground – bringing him and co-authors Bob and Gretchen Passantino into conflict with none other than Hal Lindsey, whose sister-in-law Johanna Michaelsen had been championing Stratford (notes in original):

From the beginning, we were led to believe that substantial validation for Laurel’s testimony exists. Laurel’s book contains a moving portrayal of how safe she felt when Hal Lindsey publicly warned satanists to stay away from her because he had the goods on anyone who might retaliate.[60] (Johanna Michaelsen, however, told us that Hal was “bluffing” when he said this.[61]) Laurel claimed she had passed the untold facts (e.g., Victor’s name, etc.) along to people like Johanna Michaelsen and Ken Wooden.[62] Harvest House told us they possessed documentation more than sufficient to prove her story.[63]

Lindsey denounced the investigation; to quote from Hertenstein and Trott’s book Selling Satan (pp.277-8):

Hal Lindsey asked his radio audience why someone, especially a Christian, would possibly want to investigate Lauren. He ignored the obvious reason: because Stratford’s story was a lie.

When Harvest House eventually withdrew her book, Lindsey arranged for its redistribution, and his endorsement appears on the later reissue by Pelican Books. Stratford later went on to reinvent herself as a Holocaust survivor, of all things, but despite this sign of obvious mental instablility there was no retraction or apology from the best-selling “prophecy expert” and current WorldNetDaily columnist (in which position he has continued to peddle the panic).

Those who first paved the way for the Satanic panic scare are pretty sad individuals; most likely, inadequates suffering from personality disorders of some kind. Anger at those who acted on their claims can be tempered with acknowledgment that they may have been well-meaning fools. But what of their cynical enablers – those who found their lurid stories useful for promoting their own careers or fear-mongering political agendas? Are not they ultimately most responsible for the lives and childhoods ruined by the hysteria? Lawrence Pazder is dead, but Clifford Hill, David Balsiger, Hal Lindsey: J’Accuse.


(Tipped from The Anomalist)

Sharon a Victim of Kahanist Voodoo?

Yesterday I profiled Yekutel Ben Ya’acov, the Kahanist settler leader who wants an independent Jewish “entity” in the West Bank; today it’s time get acquainted with some of his friends. The Jerusalem Post reports:

Far-right activists took credit Thursday for the severe deterioration in Ariel Sharon’s health, claiming that a pulsa denura – Aramaic for “lashes of fire” – death curse they instigated against the prime minister in July was the real catalyst behind his current state of health.

I blogged on this ceremony when it was first reported. The jubilant activists were interviewed in Kfar Tapuah, the militant Kahanist stronghold in the West Bank where Ya’acov resides. Among them were Baruch Ben-Yosef and Yosef Dayan:

Upon hearing the news of Sharon’s stroke, Ben-Yosef said, the group broke out in song and dance and celebrated the prime minister’s fall throughout the night.

…Yosef Dayan – another participant in the pulsa denura ceremony – said that Thursday was a “great day” for the State of Israel since Sharon, whom he called an “evil man,” was incapacitated and could no longer return to power.

Dayan claims to be a direct descendent of King David, and sees himself as a natural candidate for King of Israel once the evils of democracy have been swept away and a Jewish theocracy installed. Ben-Yosef, the Post fails to tell us, is the former Andy Green, a man who remains a suspect over the 1985 murder of an Arab-American activist, Alex Odeh, in California (See this ConWebWatch entry).

Another participant added some mystical numerology (square brackets in original):

“There is a judge in this world,” Ben-Gvir said. “[Prime minister] Yitzhak Rabin was killed on the fifth anniversary of Meir Kahane’s murder and Sharon fell ill on the anniversary of Binyamin Kahane’s murder.”

This must be Itamar Ben-Gvir, a well-known Kahanist leader who has a history of incitement and violence against Palestinians (see this PBS report).

Meanwhile, the Forward notes that settler violence is “escalating”.

(Tipped from Paleojudaica; Failed Messiah has further details of the Israeli far right’s response to Sharon’s illness)

Far-Right Theocrats want new “Jewish Entity”

WorldNetDaily touts a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but with a difference; both states are going to be Jewish:

JERUSALEM – A new movement is set to be presented next week by residents of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] calling for Jews there to secede from Israel and create their own autonomous Jewish entity in part to head off the possibility of further unilateral Israeli withdrawals from the area, WND has learned.

Naturally, this “autonomous Jewish entity” will be theocratic:

[Yekutel] Ben Yaacov said his new Jewish authority would be “governed by Jewish law. Non-Jews, including Palestinians, are more than welcome to live there as long as they accept Jewish sovereign and agree to abide by the Seven Noahide laws, the most basic of biblical dictates.”

Yekutel Ben Ya’acov hopes to gather 200,000 signatures to bring this about. But who is he? WND‘s Aaron Klein describes him simply as a “northern Samaria resident”, a typically vague description employed by Klein when he’s trying to downplay his cosy contacts with the racist and extremist Israeli far-right. However, the Anti-Defamation League notes that “Ben Ya’acov” is actually Mike Guzovsky, a one-time leader of the now-outlawed Kahane Khai movement in Israel. He’s also pro-terrorist, and has supported the targeting of American Jews on American soil:

Under Guzovsky’s leadership, Kahane Chai has signaled its support of a bombing incident directed against American Jewish supporters of the Middle East peace process. On January 5, 1994, between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m., one bomb was placed outside a New York building that houses Americans for Peace Now, Habonim, Israel Horizons, and the Progressive Zionist Caucus. It did not explode, but was later defused by police.

A second bomb, placed outside the building which houses the New Israel Fund, exploded but there were no injuries.

Assassination is also approved of:

In a February 1994 television interview, Guzovsky called Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin “a Jewish traitor,” and warned, “One day, with God’s help, he and his representatives will be tried for treason.” Later in the interview, Guzovsky warned, “If violence has to be used to prevent this destruction of the Jewish state, so be it.”

And needless to say, Palestinian blood is even cheaper, as his comments after the 1994 Hebron massacre show:

[Baruch Goldstein] did what he did out of a love for the Jewish people…We don’t condemn anybody who is targeting the enemies of the Jewish people.

Ya’akov was also close to Eden Natan Zaada, the Israeli army deserter who murdered four Israeli Arabs in April (Ya’acov called Zaada, who was himself killed at the end of his shooting spree “the first victim of the disengagement”; Klein famously reported that Zaada had been “murdered.”)

However, last summer Klein did report on Ben Ya’acov’s views on Palestinian expulsion:

Ours is a grass-roots effort. We want to get to as many Israelis as we possibly can, and see what the general trend is. And that trend – to get the Palestinians out – is hands down what almost everyone tells us they favor.”

Ya’acov’s website on the same theme led to him being briefly arrested by the Israeli police in August.

Klein has had previous contact with Ya’acov, in articles where he is named as Guzovsky; in 2004 he conducted an interview which suggested that Guzovsky and his group were being unfairly described as extremists. But Guzovsky’s past actions and statements were not discussed, and now Klein is happy to disseminate “Ya’acov”‘s views without even acknowledging that he is Guzovsky. So why doesn’t Klein give us all the background? Is he ashamed, or something?

UPDATE: Klein has a sequel, in which he mentions the “late author and Knesset member Rabbi Meir Kahane”. As ConwebWatch notes,

Describing Kahane as merely an “author and Knesset member” nicely obscures Kahane’s own history of racism and violence, so much so that his Kach party (which lived on as Kahane Chai after his 1990 assassination) was declared a terrorist organization by Israel. We suspect there’s a lot more about Kahane’s “State of Judea” that Klein isn’t telling us.


Note: Klein’s relationship with Ya’akov is difficult to track online, since there are various ways his names can be spelt, and Klein is not consistent in his usage. As well as the most recent “Yekutel Ben Yaacov”, we’ve also had “Yekutiel Ben Yacov“, as well as “Yekutiel Ben Yaacov” and “Mike Guzofsky”. “Yekutel” is  seems to be unique to Klein. Here are some of the ways Ya’akov appears on the internet:Yekutiel Ben Yaacov; Yekutiel Ben Yaakov; Yekutiel Ben Ya’acov; Yekutiel Ben Ya’akov; Yekutiel Ben Yakov; Yekutiel Ben Yacov; Yekutiel Guzofsky; Yekutiel Guzovsky; Mike Guzofsky; Mike Guzovsky; Michael Guzofsky. One website calls him “Mike Rosowski”; this is an error. A New Yorker article also clarifies that Ya’akov is Guzofsky.