This week we learned that the grand mufti of Jerusalem gave Hitler the idea for the Final Solution — or at least that Israel’s prime minister believes that.
But it turns out that Palestinian nationalist Haj Amin al-Husseini was not merely a notorious anti-Zionist and anti-Semite: He was also a talented hotel builder responsible in part for the acclaimed Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem.
The luxury hotel the mufti built — which has since been refurbished considerably and is under new management — was just named top hotel in the Middle East and seventh in the world in the Conde Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
According to the Times of Israel, the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, previously the Palace Hotel, opened in 2014 following a $50 million refurbishment. The original hotel, located in western Jerusalem, near Independence Park, was empty for years, then used for government offices by both the British Mandate and Israel — and then vacant again.
Citing a recent Israeli TV report, the Times of Israel said Israel’s pre-state Haganah planted listening devices in the hotel’s chandeliers to spy on meetings of Britain’s Peel Commission held from late 1936 to mid-1937.
Jerusalem’s Mamilla Hotel and King David Hotel also made the Middle East top 10 list .
According to GoJerusalem, a tourism website, the Palace was built in 1928-29 “under the order of Jerusalem’s Supreme Muslim Council and supervised by the infamous mufti of Jerusalem.”
The engineer supervising the hundreds of Arab workers was Jewish and a Haganah member (facilitating the spying incident later). But, GoJerusalem writes, the Palace didn’t stay in business long:
Due to a hardcore rivalry, much deceit (during the excavation, it was revealed that the site was an old Muslim cemetery – the Mufti covered this up) and a dash of sabotage between the British-appointed Arab mayor and the mufti, the hotel was destined to fail. Management of the hotel was handed over to a local corrupt hotelier, but it was eventually forced to close its doors once the King David opened down the block.
Everyone wants peace in the Middle East. That’s the easy part — saying it. But then, how to achieve it?
Jon Stewart may have the answer.
On Tuesday night’s “Daily Show,” Stewart opened a segment on the conflict between Israel and Hamas by showing clips of American leaders who “all want to see peace in this region.”
“It’s what we do,” Stewart quipped. He then pointed out that the U.S. is sending arms to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Israel.
“We’re like the Oprah of Middle East Weapons systems!” Stewart said. “You get some bombs! You get some bombs! Everybody get some bombs!”
Stewart, who has been lambasted for his coverage of Israel’s operation in Gaza, once again took the opportunity to strike back at his critics:
“This is a dangerous region,” he said, “even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of ***| (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
Watch the whole segment below:
(JTA) — First, there were the celebrity tweeter and deleters.
As the Israel-Gaza conflict continues to spark a proxy war on Twitter and other social media, numerous celebrities are getting themselves caught in the crossfire.
Earlier this week, both singer Rihanna and basketball player Dwight Howard alienated partisans on both sides by tweeting the #FreePalestine hashtag — and then deleting it.
Then former Justin Bieber paramour Selena Gomez decided to get all political and post a “Pray For Gaza” photo on her Instagram feed.
Fans got upset, so she posted a photo of herself meditating on the beach with the caption: “And of course to be clear, I am not picking any sides. I am praying for peace and humanity for all!”
Now comedian Bill Maher is irking feminists (and, presumably, Hamas supporters) with the following post:
Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who’s trying to kill u - u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her — Bill Maher (@billmaher) July 18, 2014
Jezebel took issue with the “crazy woman” analogy: “Making a joke about hitting a woman to make a point about a country where people are being killed is just gross.”
In the delicate Middle East, leaders are constantly watching their backs. But not quite enough, so it seems. Of all the hazards facing Ismail Haniyeh — Palestinian Prime Minister, according to his organization Hamas, a pretender to the throne, according to Fatah, and a terrorist, according to Israel — who would have thought that the real danger looms on the soccer field?
Haniyeh, a prolific footballer when he’s not inciting hatred against Israel, was reportedly injured on the soccer field earlier today. He will be on the sidelines for ten days, under doctor’s orders to rest.
This part of the world is a breeding ground for conspiracy theories. Who can forget the South Sinai governor, Mohamed Abdul Fadil Shousha, who was reported in December to have suggested that Mossad was behind a string of shark attacks in the Red Sea? How long before it’s claimed that Israel made the grass on the soccer pitch wonky, or untied Haniyeh’s shoelaces to make him wobbly on his feet?
It has to be one of the most common comments on the Middle East conflict. “If only everyone would resort to dialogue instead of turning to violence.” But when Knesset members start receiving emails from Arabs on the conflict, some seem to be unimpressed.
Ynet reports that lawmakers have started to receive “large numbers” of emails in Arabic, which according to Likud’s Yariv Levin who is quoted, contain “information about the Palestinian issue.”
He has concluded that the emails come from Palestinians who “seek to flood MKs’ mailboxes, apparently in order to disrupt their work.” But here’s a thought. What if they just result from a letter-writing campaign in Palestinian circles – like those commonly run across the free world - by people who want to influence things through the democratic process?
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