July 11, 2020

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03/26 Links Pt2: Abolish the World Health Organization; America’s Largest Population of Holocaust Survivors Is Endangered by the Coronavirus

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2020/03/0326-links-pt2-abolish-world-health.html

From Ian:


America’s Largest Population of Holocaust Survivors Is Endangered by the Coronavirus as Crown Heights and Borough Park Shut Down
By last Wednesday afternoon the outer doors of 770 Eastern Parkway were locked, while the doors connecting the complex’s narrow lobby to the rambunctious communal shul for New York’s Chabad Hasidim were chained shut. The unthinkable was occurring. The Mitzvah Tanks sat idle on Kingston Avenue, Crown Heights’ typically lively ultra-Orthodox main street, which is now almost fully emptied of people. The mikvah and the Beit Din were closed, although in the latter case, “drop-off for shaalos can be done in the door slot as always,” per a posted notice. Pallets of paper towels and toilet paper crowded the entrance to nearby Empire Kosher, where the shoppers seemed every bit as fearful of one another—or, perhaps, every bit as wary of revealing their fears to one another—as the people in my local Walgreens a couple neighborhoods north. “You see,” said Dovid Margolin, an editor for Chabad.org and my guide around virus-era Crown Heights last week, “there are no old people here.”

The coronavirus pandemic is perhaps the first total event in human history. There have been other spells of worldwide pestilence and conflict, but this is the only one to occur during a time of instantaneous mass communication and high-speed global travel—and maybe the only one to occur during an era in which there is theoretically a species-wide agreement on the intrinsic value of human life.

And yet the pandemic inflicts miseries that are particular to each place it visits. On Wednesday at 770, there were maybe 15 young men standing around a long table stacked with religious texts. I began chatting with two chavruta partners who were sitting together next to the Eastern Parkway bike path, studying the section of the Shulchan Aruch about religious courts—the pages they might have otherwise been probing if their yeshiva had stayed open (all the religious schools in Crown Heights had suspended operations at noon the previous Friday). They, and the nearby group of 15, were all speaking Hebrew to one another. These were students who had no family in America, nothing to do, nowhere else to go. The resilience of the Crown Heights community, and of Orthodox communities in general, comes from their close-knit, multigenerational families, a ready-made support network when things take an unexpected turn for the surreal. These students only had each other.

Everywhere else in the neighborhood, a visitor could feel the presence of people hiding behind brick walls and closed doors. On Crown Street, someone blasted a recording of the Shema from a high balcony, followed by “Ouf Ghazal” or “Fly, Fledgeling,” a beloved secular Israeli folk song by the late Arik Einstein whose lyrics are an extended metaphor for a parents’ hopes and fears for their young in an unpredictable world. Maybe the listeners found the music heartening—but they were inside, invisible.

Stephen L. Miller: Abolish the World Health Organization

The WHO has become another pointless organization pandering to the world’s worst actors

Since the coronavirus has become a global pandemic, halting the world’s economy in its tracks, Tedros has taken it upon himself to repeat Chinese state talking points about shifting blame for their own role in the spread of the virus: ‘When fighting an outbreak such as #COVID19, we must be guided by solidarity, not stigma. The greatest enemy we face is not the virus itself; it’s the stigma that turns us against each other. We must stop stigma and hate!’

This has been a familiar refrain from the Chinese state, whose government which runs forced labor and concentration camps. China repeatedly eludes scrutiny by the not only the head of WHO but sectors of the American media as well.

Since his appointment as head of the WHO in 2017, with the full backing of China and its vast financial resources, Tedros has come under fire for his role in covering up multiple cholera epidemics in Ethiopia. Shortly after his appointment as WHO D-G, Adhanom bestowed the honor of Goodwill Ambassador on late Zimbabwean president and tyrant Robert Mugabe. It was only after a deluge of outrage from human rights groups and WHO members that Adhanom withdrew the honor.

According to a Washington Post report at the time, Tedros’s decision was based partly on rewarding China for backing his appointment. ‘Some speculate that Tedros’s decision to appoint Mugabe was a pay-off to China, which worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help Tedros defeat the United Kingdom candidate for the WHO job, David Nabarro. Tedros’s victory was also a victory for Beijing, whose leader Xi Jinping has made public his goal of flexing China’s muscle in the world.’

Beijing and Mugabe had an understanding: he would not criticize Chinese colonialism and exploitation of Africa’s resources; they would support him. In December 2015, Mugabe gushed about Xi at the China-Africa summit in Johannesburg. He called the Chinese autocrat ‘a God-sent person’.

But Tedros’s capitulation to the world’s worst actors isn’t the biggest problem with WHO as an organization. WHO slow-walked its coordinated response to the Ebola epidemic in 2015, which killed more than 10,000 people on the continent of Africa alone. The whole organization is evidently unfit for purpose: it needs to be abolished and replaced. Tedros’s goal seems to be turning the WHO into another United Nations, a body that delivers impotent lectures without ever taking politically sensitive decisions. The world demands accountability and action. It demands both come from the country behind this all and its puppet leader at the WHO.

The Quiet Rage of the COVID Moms

Forget Soccer Moms and Tiger Moms. Behold the COVID mom.

According to the New York Times’ gender editor Jessica Bennett, she is the beleaguered woman toiling under the strictures of patriarchy while also struggling to keep her household going amid a pandemic. Sure, moms and dads are both living through this crisis (and men are more likely to die from the virus than women), but, Bennett argues, “Many moms face an added stressor: They remain the chief operating officers of their households, even when they have full-time jobs,” and the pandemic has “emphasized the often lopsided division of labor in the home.” As one mom complained to the Times, “I feel like I have five jobs: mom, teacher, C.C.O., house cleaner, chef.”

Polls show that women are more likely to worry about the impact of virus-related disruptions than men, and women on average do perform more unpaid labor in the home than men. Feminist critics of the division of domestic labor often describe this “second shift” as a form of “invisible work” that is an artifact of patriarchy.

But the rush to blame the patriarchy for increased anxiety among women at this particular moment seems both ill-timed and overwrought. “I don’t think that these data suggests that the dads are slacking, necessarily,” Liz Hamel, who led the Kaiser’s poll of attitudes about the pandemic told the Times. She did notice differences between men and women in their feelings about the pandemic: “I think women overall are feeling this more acutely,” she said.

Judging by the remarks of many of the mothers in the Times story, however, women seem more wry and resilient than downtrodden. They acknowledge the challenge of juggling work with caregiving while everyone is at home (at least for those fortunate enough to still be employed). “I think we’ve all joked now about, like, what is the mortality rate for marriages in this virus,” one mother said. Another mother suggested, “You have to find a sense of humor in it.”

That’s a good approach to take, albeit one that is entirely absent in another woe-is-women opinion piece in the Times written by Jessica Grose. The pandemic, Grose claims, has “exposed the great lie of modern motherhood.” What is this terrible lie? “That mothers have been unfairly blamed for their children’s illnesses, even in the face of public health crises, for decades.” Mothers, Grose says, “are held responsible for every detail—large and small—of their children’s well-being.”

Community is just 0.3% of population, yet nearly 5% of UK virus dead are Jewish

Nearly 5% of all coronavirus-related deaths in the United Kingdom are of Jewish people, who make up just 0.3% of the country’s population, the Jewish News of London reported.

According to the paper’s report Thursday, at least 22 Jewish families have lost loved ones to the disease, which has killed 465 people in the United Kingdom. The UK has about 66 million residents and 250,000 Jews.

Jewish community leaders in Antwerp, Belgium, last week predicted a significantly higher infection rate of 85% in their congregation than the 50-70% rate that scientists expect to find in the general population. The leaders cited the large social circles and interaction of the Jewish community.

Among the hardest-hit congregations in the United Kingdom has been the Spanish and Portuguese Sephardi Community, which is based in northern London. It has lost four members in recent days, one of its rabbis told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Wednesday.

A man in his 70s who died was connected to the Edgware and Hendon Reform synagogue through his funeral, The Jewish Chronicle reported.

At least two rabbis of died of the disease: Yehuda Yaakov Refson, a senior rabbi in Leeds, was 73 when he died Sunday, and Zeev Willy Stern, a Holocaust survivor, was 86 when he died over the weekend.

Frieda Feldman, 97, died in London on Friday, the same day that she was diagnosed as having the virus, according to the Bhol news site.

Coronavirus hits Moscow synagogue, congregation told to self-isolate

The congregation of a Moscow synagogue has been placed under quarantine after one of its rabbis contracted the coronavirus.

Rabbi Gershon Lisus, 36, is in the hospital in stable but serious condition. He attended several communal events at the Bolshaya Bronnaya Synagogue, including a Purim party on March 8, the news site NG reported Sunday. The synagogue closed 10 days later because of the coronavirus.
Joseph Kogan, the senior rabbi at Bolshaya Bronnaya, reached out to inform his congregation of the situation earlier this week, the report said.

“We closed down the synagogue and asked people to go into self-isolation immediately,” Kogan told the news site.

He said Lisus did not travel abroad in the months leading to the outbreak of the pandemic. Several dozen people and their relatives have gone into self-isolation as a result.

Lisus’ wife, Dvora, in a Facebook post urged readers to pray for her husband and not underestimate what the virus can do to younger people who are infected.

An Explanation of Germany’s Low COVID-19 Death Toll

‘We salute you’: Queen thanks Britain’s army of volunteers including 405,000 who stepped up to boost the NHS in just 24 HOURS following government appeal – as Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus

The Queen has paid tribute to the army of 405,000 volunteers who stepped up to boost the NHS in just 24 hours following a government appeal – as Prince Charles tested positive for coronavirus.

The PM hailed the response from the public after the target number of 250,000 was smashed in less than 24 hours. He said he wanted to give a ‘special thanks’ to those who had come forward.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock had appealed last night for volunteers to carry out tasks such as ferrying patients to hospital and bringing food and medicine to those isolated.

The premier said at a press conference tonight: ‘That is already in one day as many volunteers as the population of Coventry.’

It emerged earlier that some 170,000 answered the call overnight. And Mr Johnson said the numbers had kept stacking up during the day. The PM offered a ‘special thank you to everyone who has now volunteered to help the NHS’.

‘When we launched the appeal last night, we hoped to get 250,000 volunteers over a few days,’ he said. ‘But I can tell you that in just 24 hours, 405,000 people have responded to the call.’

StandWithUs: Enemies No More: How Israelis Saved 1000s of Syrian Lives / StandWithUsConnect #Episode 4

Are you in quarantine? Don’t worry – StandWithUs is here to keep you educated about Israel.
Join our StandWithUsConnect webinar with Lt. Col. (Res.) Eyal Dror, the commander of “Operation Good Neighbor,” who will tell us about Israel’s covert humanitarian mission to support Syrian refugees during the civil war.
It’s free!

Ilhan Omar Is Using The Wuhan Virus To Shill For Iran

NIAC considers Omar one of its closest allies, endorsing the congresswoman as a reliably pro-Iranian regime member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Omar’s former senior legislative assistant was a recent candidate for NIAC Action’s leadership board. These connections ought to give us pause.

In January 2020, Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Mike Braun of Indiana delivered a letter to Attorney General William Barr calling for the Justice Department to determine whether an investigation into the NIAC for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act was merited. Then-Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., sent a similar letter to then-Attorney General Eric Holder in 2009 on account of NIAC’s ties to and efforts seemingly benefiting Iran’s regime.

As The Federalist book editor Mark Hemingway detailed in a recent RealClearInvestigations exposé, the latest inquiry came amid NIAC’s ramping up of lobbying efforts “to shape America’s response” to the strike on Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

That Omar appears to be colluding with NIAC in a similar Iran-aligned campaign regarding sanctions-lifting is disturbing. What makes it particularly outrageous is that in so doing, she is blaming America for a disaster that lies squarely at the ayatollahs’ own feet.

U.S. sanctions are not depriving Iranians of aid. The thousands of Iranian casualties are a direct consequence of the deplorable regime’s dedication to death and destruction and its greed.

The regime took its Iran deal windfall and put it not toward its people — including their health care infrastructure — but toward its raison d’etre: exporting the Islamic revolution, fomenting terror, and lining its pockets. Can chief kleptocrat Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei not be bothered to liquidate some of his estimated $95-$200 billion in assets during a pandemic?

For now, the sad truth is that the Iranian regime and its apparent colluders, such as Omar, are seeking to use a pandemic crisis to enable the regime to remain in business. It is bad enough that Omar has a penchant for blaming America first. Actively aiding our adversaries is even worse.

As this episode reflects, the fact that Omar, as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, consorts with, mimics the rhetoric of, and supports the policies of terror-tied Islamists, foreign and domestic, renders her a danger to America.

NYU slams ex-SJP president for ‘callous’ tweet about coronavirus victim

A former New York University student who oversaw the campus Students for Justice in Palestine apparently expressed a morbid pleasure over the death of an Israeli Holocaust survivor due to the coronavirus, NYU said Tuesday.

NYU spokesman John Beckman wrote: “With almost 500,000 alumni, NYU does not routinely respond to its graduates’ social media posts, but the reported Twitter post by a former NYU student about the first Israeli death from COVID-19 was shameful and callous. The death and disruption caused by this pandemic should be reason to draw us together in sympathy, not be fodder for divisiveness and indifference. NYU denounces such insensitivity; it is at odds with our campus’ values.”

Aryeh Even, an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor, died last week. He was the first Israeli to die from the virus.

Leen Dweik, a former first president of NYU’s chapter of SJP, wrote on Twitter in response to Even’s death: “anyway should i paint my nails red or green today.”

Haaretz’s Zvi Bar’El Cites Hezbollah’s Disputed Claims As Fact

After thanking the American officials who worked towards last week’s release of Amer Fakhoury – the seriously ill Lebanese-American former member of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) imprisoned on charges of murder and torture during Israel’s occupation of south Lebanon – family members expressed gratitude towards more unexpected players.

“We also want to thank the journalists who reported accurately on Amer and avoided the slander that was being directed at him. Amer is in very poor health and urgently needs care, but all of you gave him a fighting chance and most importantly, hope and freedom. God Bless America,” the Fakhoury family said in a statement.

Indeed, some media coverage of Fakhoury’s story has been largely shaped by Hezbollah propaganda, with some media outlets outright adopting as fact the unproven and disputed claims that Fakhoury was the “butcher” of the SLA-run Khiyam prison responsible for the murder and torture of thousands. U.S. officials, along with Fakhoury, his family and his lawyer, all acknowledge that he had worked at the notorious prison, but deny that he had any role in the abuse of prisoners and completely reject the accusation that he is the “butcher” of Beirut, saying there is to evidence to support the claim.
In his March 24 article, “The ‘butcher’ who fled Lebanon in a U.S. helicopter,” Haaretz‘s Zvi Bar’el reported Hezbollah’s unproven accusations as fact, ignoring the American denials (page 4, online here and also in Hebrew).

Bar’el wrote:
Fakhoury was a senior officer in the Israeli-backed South Lebanese Army under the command of Gen. Antoine Lahad, and was in charge of the notorious Khiam Prison, in which thousands of Lebanese citizens were detained, interrogated and tortured during the first Lebanon war in 1092, Horrifying testimony has been published about what was happening in Khiam Prison during the years of harsh abuse perpetrated by Fakhoury, who was dubbed “The Butcher of Khaim.” [sic] He was accused of personally torturing and causing the death of detainees, at a time when the prison was under Israeli control.

Echoing Hezbollah’s unproven claims, Bar’el states as fact, without qualification, that Fakhoury “was in charge of the notorious prison,” and that he perpetrated “years of harsh abuse.” Yet, Fakhoury, his family, his lawyer, and the U.S. government denied that he was responsible for any abuse, and have said there is no evidence to back up the charges.” (Fakhoury’s interrogation was carried out by Lebanon’s General Directorate of the General Security which is Hezbollah-linked and his presence in Lebanon was first reported by the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese Al-Akhbar daily.)

Robert Fisk describes notorious Lebanese prison as “Israeli”

In his latest Indy column, Robert Fisk addresses the case of Amer Fakhoury, a Lebanese-born American citizen jailed in his native country last fall for unsubstantiated charges by Hezbollah that he tortured and murdered inmates at Lebanon’s notorious Khaim prison in the 1990s.

Fakhoury was recently freed by a Lebanese court and is now back in the US.

Fisk’s piece (This is what Trump is doing in the Middle East while you’re distracted by coronavirus includes the following sentence, March 26), includes the following:
Fakhoury, now a US citizen, had returned to Lebanon last September to visit his family – he was met at Beirut airport by a senior army officer – but was recognised by former prisoners as an ex-warden at Israel’s notorious Khiam jail.

In fact, the Khiam Prison was run by the South Lebanese Army (SLA) and is not “Israeli”

As our CAMERA colleague reported about a similar error at AP, the SLA was allied with Israel, and received training, funds and weapons from the state, just like Hezbollah is backed by Iran and receives Iranians training, funds and weapons. Yet, journalists of course wouldn’t refer to a Hezbollah prison in Lebanon as “Iranian”.

BBC Radio 4 spreads inaccurate Gaza healthcare canard

Of course Iqbal had already told listeners that the counter-terrorism measures employed by Egypt and Israel are responsible for ‘devastating’ the health services in the Gaza Strip and so it was unsurprising to see that audiences received no information whatsoever concerning the real cause of the lack of essential medicines. Equally predictable was Iqbal’s failure to challenge Elessy’s promotion of the false notion of a “siege”.

Turning to the much favoured BBC theme of population density, Iqbal went on:

Iqbal: “I wonder though if you could reflect for us on the possibility of the outbreak affecting Gaza in a bigger way. Do you think, Doctor, that it would be possible to self-isolate in a densely-populated area?”

Elessy: “No, no because unfortunately all families here belong to an extended family class. So the parents living in the same home, their sons, their grandsons. So you see in the same building around 80 or 70 people living in the same building. So self-isolation is difficult, it is impossible and this is actually the scary scenario if, God forbid, we have a huge number of cases that is infected and we need to isolate them, we can’t isolate them.”

Interestingly, in the interview with Mark Lowcock which followed on from this he noted that in relation to weak health systems:

Lowcock: “Gaza in fact is a little bit better than some of the other places we’re talking about like Syria or Yemen or Afghanistan.”

The BBC however chose not to interview a doctor from any of those places but did use the opportunity to once again promote the false and entirely context-free notion (in a programme which will remain available for over a year) that the problems affecting the Gaza Strip’s healthcare services are attributable to Israel’s counter-terrorism measures.

Organizer of Iran Regime’s Holocaust Caricature Contest Now Peddling Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories

The organizer of the Iranian regime’s contest of caricatures trivializing the Nazi Holocaust has seized on a new theme — promoting the conspiracy theory that the US is behind the coronavirus pandemic.

Masoud Shojaei-Tabatabaei — an artist and veteran propagandist on behalf the Islamic Republic ‘s ruling clerics — told media outlets in Tehran on Wednesday that more than 2,000 submissions had been received from cartoonists in 68 countries for the regime’s “We Defeat Coronavirus” competition.

The accusation that the US deliberately unleashed coronavirus on an unsuspecting world and is now withholding medical and financial assistance to the same end appeared in many of the cartoons.

One entry showed a coronavirus missile being launched from the US with an accompanying note from US President Donald Trump that read, “To China and Iran, with my love.”

Another showed an Iranian man coughing while carrying a coronavirus microbe on his shoulder, as an enlarged hand draped in the American flag snatches vital medication away from behind his back.

Shojaei-Tabatabaei was the main organizer of the two contests staged by Iran in 2006 and 2016 showcasing cartoons that variously denied and mocked the Holocaust. More than 150 cartoons from the latter contest were exhibited at the headquarters of the Islamic Propaganda Organization in Tehran in May 2016.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Europeans Stymied By Lack Of Jews To Massacre Over Plague (satire)

As coronavirus overwhelms medical systems across the continent, local and national figures have voiced increasing concern that their society’s traditional response to outbreaks of disease will prove impracticable, given the paucity of Jewish communities at hand against which to incite, riot, pogrom, and pillage.

Officials in hard-hit Italy and Spain, as well as in France, Germany, and other European locales, expressed their anxiety over the lack of Jews to massacre, and predicted the low numbers of Jews inhabiting the Continent in the wake of the Holocaust and over a thousand years of other persecutions will short-circuit attempts to address the pandemic by accusing said Jews of poisoning wells or other malign activities that cause the pestilence.

“It’s a major concern,” acknowledged a Madrid City Council member. “We expelled all practicing Jews in the late fifteenth century and continued to persecute those who converted to Christianity in order to stay. A handful of Jews have returned in the last two hundred years, and we have invited more, but there is no Jewish population here of a size significant enough to meet the need our people have to blame someone and hurt that someone when big, inexplicable bad things happen. Before the expulsion we were able to hold occasional massacres of Jews for whatever reason – ‘desecrating the Host’ was a popular one – but we don’t have that option right now, so all we can do is practice social distancing and increase testing. It’s going to be rough.”

A Portuguese official seconded the fear. “We expelled our Jews just five years after Spain did,” she noted. “And a few have come back, but not enough for us to massacre in any effective or demonstrative way. Coronavirus is going to pose a huge challenge to our way of addressing misfortune, if things get as bad here as they have in Italy and Spain.”

New York Local DA Announces Discrimination Inquiry Into Car Dealership Where Hasidic Man Was Told, ‘You’re Spreading the Virus’

A New York car dealership that refused to honor a Hasidic Jewish man’s appointment by claiming he was “spreading” the coronavirus is now being investigated by the local district attorney for alleged antisemitic discrimination.

Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler announced on Tuesday that his office was conducting an inquiry into the incident at Johnstons Toyota in New Hampton, New York, on Monday.

As The Algemeiner and other news outlets reported on Tuesday, the Hasidic man — who filmed his encounter with a Johnstons employee on his cellphone — was ordered to leave the premises after being told, “You’re spreading the virus — you gotta go.”

As the Hasidic man protested, other customers were seen receiving service. His final question to the employee — “Why do I spread the virus more than other people?” — went unanswered.

A statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s office on Tuesday confirmed that Hoovler had spoken to the owner of the dealership.

“The owner stated that the dealership had not instructed their employees to refuse service to members of the Orthodox Jewish community and has since taken remedial action against the employees who were involved in the incident,” the statement noted. “The dealership acknowledged their obligation to provide service without regard to a customer’s religion.”

Citing New York State Civil Rights Law section 40, Hoovler said that no business “can withhold service from any person on account of their race, creed, color or national origin, even during this time of emergency.”

Intel Israel Donates Coronavirus Testing Machine To Rambam Hospital

Intel Israel has donated NIS 1.25 million (about $339,114) to the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa for the purchase of an automated coronavirus testing machine, the company announced on Monday.

The machine, called the Genomic STARlet by Hamilton Robotics, will help increase the number of tests processed for the diagnosis of COVID-19, the disease that causes the novel coronavirus.

Rambam’s General-Director Dr. Michael Halbertal said the donation is focused on “advanced equipment acquisition” which is needed to increase coronavirus detection capability, enabling medical staff to save lives.

The machine to be purchased is an automated system that produces and extracts genetic material (RNA) from respiratory samples taken from people suspected of contracting COVID-19, Dr. Halbertal said.

The hospital will also receive two real-time PCR systems that are capable of identifying the presence of the virus.

“With these three devices, we will be able to greatly increase the number of tests performed in the laboratory, while maintaining uncompromising quality,” Dr. Halbertal said. “The Rambam Hospital and Intel have a long history of collaborations that directly influenced the hospital’s capabilities and our ability to help patients. This time of current crisis is no different.”

Internet Archive opens National Emergency Library with unlimited lending of 1.4m books for stuck-at-home netizens amid virus pandemic

The Internet Archive on Tuesday announced the creation of the National Emergency Library to make it easier to borrow from its collection of ebooks during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

In theory, digital books are infinitely reproducible, however, American copyright law prevents unrestricted duplication. To comply with the law, libraries that lend ebooks allow people to check out as many copies as the libraries have licenses for, and then place would-be readers on a wait-list that provides access when checked-out titles get checked-in.

The National Emergency Library does away with its wait-list, to accommodate students, researchers, and others who cannot obtain assigned texts or necessary library materials while stuck at home. So the supply of digital texts in this collection will be unlimited, temporarily.

“The library system, because of our national emergency, is coming to aid those that are forced to learn at home,” said Brewster Kahle, digital librarian of the US-based Internet Archive, in a statement. “This was our dream for the original Internet coming to life: the Library at everyone’s fingertips.”

The National Emergency Library will let people borrow books without any waiting list, though only from the Internet Archive’s Open Library system, which includes about 1.4m digital books made available for lending. The Internet Archive maintains a separate set of 2.5m digitized public domain works not subject to any waitlist.

The available collection is not comprehensive but includes titles from the collections of Phillips Academy Andover, Marygrove College, and Trent University, with more than million other books donated by other libraries.

According to Chris Freeland, director of Open Libraries, these titles come mainly from the 20th century and were scanned because there’s no commercial ebook version. The wait-list suspension will continue through June 30, 2020 or the end of the US national emergency, whichever comes later. (h/t L King)

Coming to Armageddon The search for the lost city of Solomon

Breasted eventually wrote at length about the stone fragment, using almost the same words that he had written to Rockefeller:

‘On my first arrival at the mound after work had begun in the spring of 1926, Dr. Fisher informed me that a fragment inscribed with Egyptian hieroglyphs had been brought down from the top of the mound as a building block during the construction of the house. It was with considerable satisfaction on the first sunny day after the rains had diminished that I was able to make out the name of Shishak or Sheshonk I, in hieroglyphs very dimly glimmering from a badly weather-worn and almost illegible inscribed stone surface. As a lad in a country Sunday school, I had so often read the familiar words of the Old Testament historian in I Kings 14:25-26, that they came back to me very vividly as this record of the ancient conqueror’s name, found in the midst of ruins of one of his captured cities, slowly became legible.’

Eventually word got out to the wider world. In late June 1926, the St Louis Post-Dispatch ran a feature story about the find on page 2 of its Sunday Magazine supplement, complete with pictures of the fragment and of Megiddo, as well as Sheshonq’s inscription on the wall in Luxor down in Egypt, and a fine photo of Breasted himself looking very elegant and sophisticated. Although the article itself is full of erroneous information, the best part is a quote from Breasted, in which he states, ‘It was by mere chance that we came upon this stone. Already it had been thrown into the dump heap by a former expedition which I do not care to name.’

Momentous as the discovery of the Sheshonq fragment was, it would have been even more meaningful had the Chicago team found the inscribed piece of stone still in situ, or if Schumacher’s workmen had noticed it, whether built into a later wall or in its original context. As both Fisher and then Guy noted in their subsequent reports on their excavations at Megiddo, it might then have been possible to tell which city at Megiddo dated to the time of Sheshonq. By extrapolation, we would then also know which city at Megiddo was the one that Solomon built.

However, since Schumacher’s workmen had simply thrown the inscribed fragment into a spoil heap of dirt and other stones by the side of one of their trenches, there was no record of the level or strata in which it was actually found. In his 2003 book on Megiddo, Tim Harrison noted that this findspot was most likely near what is now the Northern Observation Platform at the site. In 2014, the Tel Aviv University team conducted excavations in this area, but no further fragments of the original inscription were found. Despite Breasted’s optimistic statement to Luckenbill that ‘It is not impossible, indeed probable, that the remnant containing a narrative of his [Sheshonq’s] Palestinian campaign may still be lying in the mound awaiting our excavations’, no other piece from this monument has ever been found.



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