Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tomthemick@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem

Pope Francis prays at Bethlehem wall. Message?

“Too much history, not enough geography.” That was how a veteran of the 1948 Israeli War for Independence described Israel. His name was Dan and he came to our house for dinner about ten years ago in the company of some old friends from San Francisco. My wife and I later toured Israel in May, 2007 and I can attest to Dan’s summation. It doesn't take long to drive the length and breadth of that tiny nation. There’s a definite lack of geography and every bit of it is contested almost constantly. In Jerusalem, it’s not unusual to see Jewish civilians walking around with automatic rifles slung over their shoulders while pushing a baby carriage. They’re in a constant state of war. Israel is located at what has been a crossroads between empires for millennia — throughout recorded history, actually.
Last month, Italian journalist Giulio Meotti wrote a short piece objecting to how the Vatican advertises tours of “Palestine,” or “The Holy Land,” but not tours of “Israel.” It seems the Vatican has as much trouble saying “Israel” as soon-to-be-former President Obama has saying, “Radical Muslim Terrorism.” Israel is a constant victim of radical Muslim terrorism — hence the profusion of AR-15s I saw there — and I’m thinking my church and my president are both refusing to recognize what is quite obvious to anyone visiting Israel.

“Catholic pilgrims spend virtually all their time visiting holy sites in Palestinian-run territory,” wrote Meotti, “staying in Palestinian Arab hotels and listening to Palestinian Arab tour guides. As a result, these pilgrims return filled with hatred towards Israel.”
Bus advertisement in Rome

That reads true because it’s exactly what our tour was like. We had a Palestinian guide and bus driver who were Christians from Bethlehem. In spite of the harassment Palestinian Christians were receiving from Palestinian Muslims, however, our guides were loyal to the Muslim view of things in that troubled land. For example, three times our bus passed the Battle of Hattin site in northern Israel at which Saladin defeated a Crusader army in 1187. Each time, our guide proudly described how Saladin outsmarted the Christians and slaughtered them. I was dismayed, but none of the other Mainers on our tour were disturbed by it.
Notre Dame Guest House in Jerusalem

Our first hotel was the Vatican-owned Notre Dame Guest House just outside the New Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem. Outside it, I could see bullet holes from battles during 1967’s Six-day  War during which Israel took control over Jerusalem for the first time since the Revolt of the Maccabees in 164 BC. The entire hotel staff was Palestinian and I was awakened by a Muslim call to prayer broadcast from a minaret just inside the Old City wall.
Inside the Church of The Nativity in Bethlehem

From there, we traveled to nearby Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity — the oldest church in Christendom. Five years before, it had been seized by Muslim terrorists who held hostages for 39 days, until an agreement allowed them to leave for Gaza. While we were there, Hamas terrorists in Gaza were fighting other terrorists from the Palestinian Authority — Yasser Arafat’s organization. Bethlehem was peaceful when Jesus Christ was born there during the Roman occupation, but it was relatively brief respite.
Your's Truly outside Seven Arches Hotel

At the end of our tour we stayed at the Seven Arches Hotel in East Jerusalem overlooking the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock, but were instructed not to venture outside the hotel because it wasn't safe for Americans. This was the neighborhood where they danced in the streets following the September 11th attack.
Celebrating in East Jerusalem 9/11/01

I was surprised to learn that populations of both Bethlehem and Nazareth are majority Arab Muslim. When I asked why the Palestinian Christian populations of Nazareth and Bethlehem were leaving after 2000 years, both the bus driver and the guide said it was because they were looking for better jobs in America. I knew different, but neither would acknowledge that much of the migration is because of severe Muslim harassment. I saw posters of Yasser Arafat on buildings and each time we passed through an Israeli checkpoint going into and out of the West Bank they complained bitterly. Neither, however, would answer my questions about the war then raging between Hamas and the Palestinian authority even though we had to cancel our trip to Hebron’s tomb of Abraham because of it.

Yasser Arafat poster in Bethlehem

Finally, they said we would go to a dinner in Bethlehem at which the police chief and other municipal officials would be present and I could get answers to my questions. The restaurant was right beside the tall, Israeli-built, black wall. As we got in, however, the music was so loud conversation was impossible. Instead, we had to watch a solo dance performance by a Palestinian  using his Yasser Arafat keffiyah as a prop. I could go on, but yeah, Meotti got it about right.

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, Don and I visited Jerusalem in 2008. We also had a Palestinian Christian guide who spoke Arabic , Hebrew, English and probably other languages also. He shared that the Christians are leaving largely because they are not equally treated as Israeli citizens, and those who can do so go overseas to be educated. Once the tour bus stopped at a check point and our tour guide said he was not going to personally go to meet with the Israeli guards, and he blended in with the pilgrims on the bus so he could avoid this. I recall the driver did what was necessary to get us through. I actually felt that their resentment was focused on the Israelis rather than the Palestinian Arabs. We also stayed in the same hotel outside the New Gate, and several times I walked through the Old City alone without any fear . Missed you at the CDS Christmas party, Kind regards, Ann McGarity

12/6/16, 2:46 PM  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

My wife and I were on a cruise in the Mediterranean on our way to Haifa on 10/12/2000 when the USS Cole was bombed. We had to be diverted to Santorini, Greece. Unfortunately, we never made it to Israel since.

"Israel is a constant victim of radical Muslim terrorism — hence the profusion of AR-15s I saw there — and I’m thinking my church and my president are both refusing to recognize what is quite obvious to anyone visiting Israel."

Radical Islam doesn't exist; it's just Islam. Jihad is a requirement of Sharia law and there is NO whitewashing the term as an introspective means to become a better person.
For starters, see: Qur'an 9:29, 9:5, 2:217, 2:191, 47:4, 8:12, 4:34, 9:123, 48:29 or 4:89.

And, speaking of AR-15s, even attending a security forum last month in Stoughton, MA there was a need for tight security since the Islamic Society of Boston and Hamas-linked CAIR protested the event. Islam is an ideology that must be eradicated as we did (mostly) with Nazism.


12/6/16, 3:06 PM  
OpenID bc64a9f8-765e-11e3-8683-000bcdcb2996 said...

"It seems the Vatican has (as much) trouble saying “Israel”
Of course not, "The Vatican" wasn't consulted in the matter.
Meh, I haven't known any Hasidim (or Mitnagged) folk fond of saying "Next year in the Vatican" either.
CaptDMO

12/7/16, 2:54 AM  
Anonymous scenario said...

Israel/Palestine was conquered by the Romans, later the byzantine empire, later the Ottoman Empire and then the British Empire. During the British Empire phase Jewish people came back to reclaim a homeland that they left more than 2500 years ago and many of their ancestors had never been there. The Israelis used terrorist tactics to drive out the British.

Once the Israelis took over they took over the properties of people who had been living in a location for many generations without paying for it.

Now the grandchildren of the people who had been forced to leave the houses their families have lived in for generations are not happy with the Israeli government. They are using the same tactics to try to drive out the Israelis that the Israelis used to drive out the British.

Tom seems appalled that the Palestinians would not like the Israelis. I can see why the Christians would side with the Palestinians over the Israelis even if the Palestinians have treated them badly. The Israelis haven't treated them any better.

12/7/16, 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Mr Ed said...

Still fighting the crusades, is this your Christmas column Tom? Peace on earth, good will towards men.

Of course muslims aren't men they are rabid dogs and they need to be exterminated.

Wow I'm all warm and fuzzy, pass the eggnog.

12/7/16, 3:54 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

Scenario: The Jews were pushed out by the Romans in 70 AD, not 2500 years ago. They killed a million Jews and drove the rest out, almost all of them, but a few remained. They destroyed Herod's Temple, burned Jerusalem, took their booty back to Rome and used it to build the Colosseum where they killed Christians.

After the Holocaust, when the UN recognized Israel as a country in 1948, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen all invaded tiny Israel. They told Palestianians living there to leave because the Arab Muslims intended to kill every Jew and they might be caught in the crossfire. They were promised Israeli land when they returned. Most went to Jordan and Egypt. However, the invasion failed. Israel kicked their asses, all by itself. All those much larger, Arab Muslim countries were humiliated to be so utterly destroyed by Jews -- a people they called "Descendants of pigs and dogs" and still do. Kindergartners in Palestinian schools are taught this nearly every day. On other days, they're taught to become Shahids -- Martyrs to jihad.

The Palestinians who stayed in country kept their property and over a million are full, voting, Israeli citizens. They're still there, doing much better than their jihadi cousins in surrounding Arab countries.

Many of the same Arab Muslim countries invaded again in 1967. The result? Another humiliation. They tried again in 1973 and again got their asses kicked. Their self-induced humiliation only fueled their hatred of Israel, but they learned not to attack using conventional warfare. Now they use terrorism on Israel which they call "The Little Satan" and also against America which they call "The Great Satan."

They want to destroy us: me, Scenario, and you too, Mr. Ed -- unless you want to convert to Islam. Maybe you guys do, but I do not. I'll fight. You can go on listening the "Religion of Peace" propaganda if you like, or you can start studying the Koran where you'll read about what they think of Jews and other infidels. But I would suggest you read some history instead.

Merry Christmas.

12/7/16, 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Mr Ed said...

You ought to read some recent history Tom on who is killing whom. You can't say that the US and Israel are working for peace within the region.

How many nations have we invaded and destabilized in the region in the last two decades and before with the Shah and Saddam we installed puppets to control the region and profit off their resources.

As far as Sharia and they killing us over here, I'd suggest we bar them at the border, but that apparently makes us racists. A nation that does not control its borders is no nation at all. I believe you will agree with me there.

I believe if we get out of their countries and leave them be they will leave us be, that might even be a Christian teaching some where in the bible. The US and Israel are the ones kicking the hornet's nest, when we quit doing that, the number of stings will decrease substantially.

12/8/16, 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Mr Ed said...

PS

It wasn't until recent US interventions, wars by any other name, that mostly destabilized secular governments that much of the killing of Christians and Jews occurred over there in libya, syria , lebanon, iraq.

When we destroyed the rule of law in these counties, the jihadists poured out of the wood work. The US just cannot keep its nose out of other people's business. They call that the duty to protect in reality it is just making matters worse.

12/8/16, 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Daniel said...


Operation Able Danger on 9/11---use you internet connection and research. Five dancing israeli's arrested by the FBI celebrating the collapse of the towers. Once caught, the first thing they said, literally, " We are Israeli we are not your enemy,Palestine is your enemy". Yep....Able Danger. A group of Israeli "art students" in NJ and Urban Moving Systems.

It's only a matter of time before Israel's role in 9/11 is uncovered for ALL to see. How ya gonna try and spin that one?

Israel is the nexus for all of our foreign policy disasters. We are fighting proxy wars for the benefit of the "project for a greater israel". Yes, that is a real plan.

What's truly pathetic is that anyone with a wi fi connection can do minimal research and find absolute proof of Israeli war crimes. lies and obvious propaganda. Yet, we still have to suffer this bs zionist propaganda from Americans? I find it traitorous and beyond un-american as would the founding fathers. Do you not realize/acknowledge the incredibly substantial pro israel bias in the media? Seriously?

Can't wait to read the article you write after Israel's connection to 9/11 is established.

Remember the USS Liberty.


12/10/16, 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews,” down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.

How deeply Jewish is Hollywood? When the studio chiefs took out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago to demand that the Screen Actors Guild settle its contract, the open letter was signed by: News Corp. President Peter Chernin (Jewish), Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey (Jewish), Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Robert Iger (Jewish), Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton (surprise, Dutch Jew), Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer (Jewish), CBS Corp. Chief Executive Leslie Moonves (so Jewish his great uncle was the first prime minister of Israel), MGM Chairman Harry Sloan (Jewish) and NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker (mega-Jewish). If either of the Weinstein brothers had signed, this group would have not only the power to shut down all film production but to form a minyan with enough Fiji water on hand to fill a mikvah.

The person they were yelling at in that ad was SAG President Alan Rosenberg (take a guess). The scathing rebuttal to the ad was written by entertainment super-agent Ari Emanuel (Jew with Israeli parents) on the Huffington Post, which is owned by Arianna Huffington (not Jewish and has never worked in Hollywood.)

The Jews are so dominant, I had to scour the trades to come up with six Gentiles in high positions at entertainment companies. When I called them to talk about their incredible advancement, five of them refused to talk to me, apparently out of fear of insulting Jews. The sixth, AMC President Charlie Collier, turned out to be Jewish.

As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood. Without us, you’d be flipping between “The 700 Club” and “Davey and Goliath” on TV all day.

So I’ve taken it upon myself to re-convince America that Jews run Hollywood by launching a public relations campaign, because that’s what we do best. I’m weighing several slogans, including: “Hollywood: More Jewish than ever!”; “Hollywood: From the people who brought you the Bible”; and “Hollywood: If you enjoy TV and movies, then you probably like Jews after all.”

But I don’t care if Americans think we’re running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.
--------------------------------------------------------
From Joel Stein's Article in the LA Times

12/10/16, 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Joshua said...

Historical revisionism isn't justification for a rogue and genicidal state. Not to mention Israel was created for Europeans! Not a Semite in sight, oh, except for the people who occupied the land. Like the Palestinians! They are the only Semites in the region.

There are many brave Jews who denounce the extreme violence and lies constantly put forth by Israel. No true Jew condones such abhorrent behavior. I know from personal experience.

The above post is spot on. Americans are dominated by Zionist (Jewish) influence and people think they get the straight story as far as gaza is concerned from the easily proven Zionist media? I find that hard to believe. Unless you have no integrity. Whats worse is the spineless tactic of merely calling someone an anti-Semite. Not only lazy but woefully misinformed as Semites are not from Europe.

The Bolsheviks committed the worst acts of horror, terror, and evil during WWII and yet all we hear about is the holocaust and hitler. The holocaust and hitler. Turn on your tv, I'll bet there is a program on that deals with either of those two.. You won't find a show about the evil Bolsheviks. Huh, who controls the media again ? Golly gee, this is starting to make sense!!!

Anyone from America supporting Israel is an enemy of peace, justice and the basic and essential tenets of Christianity. I pray for you.

12/11/16, 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

[ Editor’s Note: The DNC hacking story has gone on way too long with weasel word accusations, especially given the capabilities the NSA has to watch over internet communications.

We do not have any old NSA people with VT, so we have been waiting for someone to pop out of the woodwork to explain why the “iffy” accusations seem “fishy” to those of us who are of the suspicious persuasion.

It is quite a trick to move large files, especially internationally, without leaving a bread crumb trail that a lot of people were paid a lot of money to construct; and those same people like to do key word searches via massive communications traffic with supercomputers.

Top tier foreign governments are not in the habit of incriminating themselves, but they would set up a go-between patsy possibly, with no connection to them whatsoever, if they had an interest to do such a thing, or… just hire someone inside the DNC to sell it to them — again through an intermediary.

We may never know how it was done, even after hearing what our own officials tell us, as they have their own ways of laying out a breadcrumb trail, which can have all kinds of interesting uses.

The safest way to have done this, of course, is just to have hired the Israelis to do it. They never get caught because, if they do, they have so much blackmail info on so many important people that a prosecution would be self-defeating. Israeli espionage does not go on here year after year with no prosecutions because our people are stupid, but because they can’t stop them.

No one has more access to US (and other) networks than the Israelis. In our country, we just let them in by doing things like letting them fast-track bidding on Homeland Security contracts, as Mr. Michael Chertoff did during his short stint in that position.

Remember him, the guy who was later the sales agent for the million dollar airport body scanners that ended up not working… and got away with it? As Gordon loves to say, “Welcome to how the world really works… Jim W. Dean ]

from recent article at veteranstoday.com

12/14/16, 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

The regime in Tel Aviv is continuing its illegal settlement expansion in the occupied territories despite international calls to stop them. More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlement colonies built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds. It seems that Israel is taking advantage of the occupation due to the world’s distraction from the issue because of other conflicts in the Middle East.

Press TV has spoken to Kevin Barrett, American scholar and editor of Veterans Today, as well as Ian Williams, senior analyst at Foreign Policy in Focus, to discuss the issue.

Barrett believes the Tel Aviv regime is the biggest force behind the wars in the Middle East, adding that they have been created “consciously” as part of the Oded Yinon Plan which calls for balkanization of Israel’s neighboring countries along ethnic and sectarian lines.

He also stated that the Zionists have created these wars using their massive disproportionate influence in the Western financial structure and in the mainstream media.

“So using these kinds of assets, the Zionists have essentially taken over the West and stirred the West into a civilizational war against Islam and into this war in the Middle East that has busted up all of these countries around Israel and distracted the world from the ongoing crimes of Zionism,” he said.

The analyst also noted the 9/11 incident was a public relations stunt by hardline Zionists in order to launch the war on Islam and the so-called war on terror on behalf of Israel.

Barrett further pointed out that the Israeli control of US political system is the reason why international calls for Israel’s withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders have never been implemented.

He went on to say the there is no more viable two-state solution as Israeli settlers are increasingly “squatting permanently” on Palestinian lands.

According to the analyst, silencing people through laws and conspiracy theories that outlaw criticism of Israel as supposedly being anti-Semitic is an indication that the arguments are probably correct.

Meanwhile, the other panelist on Press TV’s program, Ian Williams, said the Israelis have put a huge amount of effort and money into what they call Hasbara propaganda in order to persuade people that “they are the nice guys” and that Palestinians are terrorists.

The analyst further mentioned that Israel is continuing with its settlement expansions because there are no possible repercussions, arguing that there needs to be serious sanctions.

Williams further criticized the United States for giving military assistance to Israel, arguing the regime should not get aid at all because it has nuclear weapons.

“There is an act of Congress that says that nuclear weapon states that are not declared and are not signatory to the NPT should not get military aid,” he added.

The analyst further asserted that anti-Semitism has increasingly been used by the Israel lobby across Europe and the US as a tactic to pander to political donors.

12/15/16, 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Ron said...

"Every time we do something , you tell me Americans will do this and will do that. I want to tell you something very clear. Dont worrry about American pressure on Israel; we, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER ARIEL SHARON OCTOBER 3 2001 IAP NEWS

You Zionist "Christian Americans" are truly sickening. The absolute worst. A betrayal to country and Christ.

1/10/17, 8:57 PM  

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