From Kindle preview, this looks like a precious view of Thessaloniki in late Ottoman times, “a city of hidden doors” through which this mad heretical printer seems to be dashing about to escape “rabbinical thugs.”
How do you get your hands on these? An abstract from the most recent issue of Near Eastern Archaeology (76):
SPYING ON THE PAST:
Declassified Intelligence Satellite Photographs and Near Eastern Landscapes
While attempting to document Soviet nuclear capacities, the first generation of American intelligence satellites also captured vivid images of archaeological sites and landscapes across the Near East. Since the declassification of these satellite photographs, archaeologists have eagerly exploited them to investigate early cities, trackways, and irrigation systems. In many cases, forty years of development and modernization has dam aged or destroyed these sites and features, leaving the satellite photographs as the best surviving record. This paper reviews case studies from Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
Solomon Schechter in his Cambridge office, surrounded by pages from Cairo Genizah. Part of exhibit on walls next to elevators of Migdal Eshkol. Thanks Haifa University for the inspiration.
I am hearing people in the Department talking about the Alliance Israélite at the moment, which I know was a major factor in the history of late Ottoman Jewry, but I wanted to get to the bottom of the organization’s clash with the Zionist movement.
This Paris-based organization, founded in 1860, had a kind of civilizing mission for the Jews of the Middle East and the European territories of the Ottoman empire. It also advocated for minority rights in these places. Its schools, (in places like Thessaloniki, but also in Palestine), promoted French values and civilization, and it was suspected by political Zionism of ultimate fealty to the French state.
It turns out, they did not officially express support for political Zionism until quite late in the game — 1945, in fact.
A quote from Mikhael Laskier’s The Alliance Israélite and the Jewish Communities of Morocco, 1862-1962, recording the remarks of Ansel Perl, a Zionist activist in North Africa, from May 1927:
“No one can propagate new ideas without the consent and permission of the Alliance of Paris which dominates the Jewish public [in Morocco] like a tyrant with the effective aid of the French Residency.”
I have never seen a politician create so much controversy with Facebook. First with the social democratic left, now with the religious right. Finance Minister Yair Lapid defends facebooking on the Sabbath…
top: the great mosque of aleppo (the umayyad mosque) with its minaret built by the seljuks in the 11th century
bottom: what’s left of mosque after the assad regime got to it
the current building of the mosque, which lays in ruin now, was built by the mamluks in the 13th century.
when syria is liberated, the mosque will surely be rebuilt, and it will stand as a giant symbol of defiance against the memory and legacy of the baathist criminals who tried and failed to take the people of syria down with them.
Haifa University must be the most diverse campus in Israel. As a result, there are occasional flare-ups between the Jewish and Arab students. I think I saw one coming on Holocaust Remembrance day last week. There were definitely some students that were walking around during the siren blast, which is a sacred ritual around these parts. When the sirens rang, buses stopped on the side of Mount Carmel. The Department of History froze. But I did notice some scurrying about, which according to Israelis in the office, is a real taboo. So I was not surprised to see some unhappy feelings coming out among the students on Facebook. Just saw a manifesto in English, so I thought I would record it, simply as a memento of the mood. From an anonymous student, [sic]:
On April 3, the government of Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the membership of a special commission charged with explaining the current negotiations with Kurdish rebels to the public. Turkey’s answer to the United States’ “Super Committee” is the “Wise Men,” a panel quickly criticized for not including enough women (51 men to 12 women; it is said that pop singer Sezen Aksu declined her invitiation).
But look, this isn’t the Super Committee — not by a long shot. This isn’t an advisory panel of non-partisan or bi-partisan experts, technocrats, or leaders from civil society. It’s a “psychological operaton” initiated by Erdoğan, openly, confirming once again my impression that Turkish politics and society is a hall of mirrors — essentially the world of Orhan Pamuk.
From Today’s Zaman:
“In a speech on March 23, Erdoğan defined the role of the commission saying they will be conducting a ‘psychological operation,’ indicating the ‘wise people’ will act as public relations agents. Erdoğan said in a speech he made in Ankara on March 23, ‘It is important to prepare the public for this and social perceptions should be created by the wise men.’ He said only public acceptance can fend off nationalistic shows. ‘Like the old phrase, “psychological operations,”’ he said, referring to a method used by coup plotters in the Turkish military to refer to social campaigns seeking to manipulate public opinion. The military reference associated with junta plans was found to be vexing by many observers.”