Suggested Answers to the Short Quiz

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Suggested Answers to the Short Quiz

Post by johnkarls »


Question 1

When did the Jewish Diaspora occur? What caused it?

Answer 1

The Second Jewish Revolt was brutally put down by the Romans 130-135 A.D. Not only were 580,000 Jews killed in battle, but 90% of the remaining Jewish population died from the illness and famine that followed. Thereafter, Jews were forbidden to live within 10 miles of Jerusalem and, upon pain of death, were only permitted to visit it once a year on the Ninth of Av. Virtually no Jews were left in Judea – they were scattered to the winds. And no Jews were allowed to live in Jerusalem again until the mid-600’s when the city was conquered by the Muslims.

Question 2

Following the expulsion of the Jews from Palestine by the Romans, how much longer did Palestine remain a part of the Roman Empire?

Answer 2

Palestine remained part of the Roman Empire until the fall of Rome in 476.

Question 3

Following the fall of Rome and the Western Roman Empire in 476, how much longer did Palestine remain a part of the Eastern Roman Empire (aka the Byzantine or Greek Empire governed from the Greek capital of Constantinople)?

Answer 3

Although the Eastern Roman Empire lasted a millennium after the fall of Rome (977 years to be precise), it was constantly being pushed back and truncated. It was evicted from Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean in 632-655.

Question 4

After the Byzantine/Greek Empire (aka Eastern Roman Empire) was evicted from Palestine and the rest of the Eastern Mediterranean in 632-655 by the first three Caliphs in the initial expansion of Islam following the death of the Prophet Mohammed, how long was the new Arab Empire able to hold it?

Answer 4

The Arab Empire for more than a millennium was the center of culture and learning in the world (though an argument could be made for Chinese civilization rivalling it). Arabic numerals, the concept of zero, algebra, trigonometry, astronomy, etc., were all invented by the Arabs. Indeed, in making their Hajj’s to Mecca, they noticed that as they travelled across vast expanses of desert or ocean, the directions between three distant points comprising a triangle had, as the sum of its three angles, slightly MORE THAN 180 degrees!!! So in the 800’s they theorized that the earth was NOT flat and calculated correctly that if it was a sphere, then based on the size of the various triangles and the sum of their angles, the earth’s diameter was 8,000 miles and its circumference was 25,000 miles. At the same time, Arab doctors understood infections and put raw meat on stakes throughout each city to determine which took the longest to fester as the method for locating their hospitals. Arab medical texts were in standard use in Europe until the 1800’s. Indeed, Europe during the millennium of the Arab Empire (600-1600) was a very backward place and if an educated Arab “couldn’t hack it” in the Arab Empire, he could always become a court sage anywhere in Europe!!!

Nevertheless, the Arab Empire originally stretching from the Middle East through North Africa to Spain and Portugal, was constantly being pushed back FROM the Middle East toward the Atlantic. The Arab Empire was able to hold Palestine for only the first four of its ten centuries. Indeed, the Seljuk Turks who captured Palestine from the Arab Empire by the mid-1000’s, were the target of the First Crusade launched in 1095.

Question 5

Who were the Seljuk Turks sweeping in from Central Asia (Chinese Turkestan, aka Sinkiang Province, and Russian Turkestan which later fragmented into all of today’s "stans" (except Afghanistan which had always been independent and Pakistan which had been part of India)), and how long were the Seljuk Turks able to rule Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean?

Answer 5

Like the Arabs they displaced, the Seljuk Turks (and, indeed, all of the Turks of Chinese Turkestan and Russian Turkestan) were Muslim. However, they were able to hold Palestine for little more than two centuries before being pushed out by the Ottoman Turks.

Question 6

Why did all of the Crusades occur “on the watch” of the Seljuk Turks?

Answer 6

There were no Crusades during the four-plus centuries that Palestine was part of the Arab Empire!!! The Crusades (1095-1291) all occurred in response to pleas for help from the Rulers of the Greek Empire (aka the Byzantine Empire and aka the Eastern Roman Empire) from the Greek capital of Constantinople (aka Byzantium). The pleas were issued because of military pressure as the Seljuk Turks, now based in Persia, were pushing the Greek Empire backwards. Indeed, the plea for the First Crusade was issued after the fall of Anatolia to the Seljuk Turks (Anatolia comprises much of modern-day Turkey, but Constantinople itself did not fall until 1299 and then to the Ottoman Turks). The plea for the First Crusade was issued by the Greek/Byzantine/Eastern-Roman Emperor Alexios I Komnenos to Roman Catholic Pope Urban II.

Since helping the Greeks/Byzantines against the Seljuk Turks of Persia in trying to hold Constantinople lacked “sex appeal,” most of the Crusades were “sold” on the basis of recapturing the Holy Land in general and Jerusalem in particular from the Seljuk Turks. From a military viewpoint, attacks anywhere against the Seljuk Turks would divert resources from their push against Constantinople and, in this respect, the Crusades in Palestine achieved that purpose.

Incidentally, American history textbooks have typically claimed, falsely, that the Crusades were provoked by, and aimed at eliminating, Arab rule in Palestine!!! And that Saladin, who always seemed to be the chief nemesis of the Europeans in many of the Crusades, was Arab!!! Not only were all of the Crusades aimed at the Seljuk Turks who had “gone native” in Persia, but Saladin was actually a Kurd who was born in Tikrit which was under Seljuk rule but, interestingly, became the ancestral home of Saddam Hussein in modern-day Iraq.

Question 7

Why did the Ottoman Turks sweeping in from Central Asia (Chinese Turkestan and Russian Turkestan) seem so different from the Seljuk Turks if they came from the same place and from the same ethnic people?

Answer 7

The “short answer” is that the Seljuk Turks “went native”!!!

The Seljuk Turks made Persia (modern-day Iran) their base and “went native” with Persian language, dress, culture, etc. Modern-day Iranians, like their Persian ancestors, are NOT Arab. Moreover, they speak Farsi and they are predominantly Shiite Muslim. So it is no wonder that when the second great wave of Turks sweeping in from Central Asia TWO-PLUS CENTURIES LATER and aimed initially at the Greek capital of Constantinople (head of the Greek Empire, aka the Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire), which the Ottoman Turks captured in 1299, they would view the “gone native two-plus centuries ago” Turks in Persia as no different from the Persians with whom they “went native.”

Question 8

For how many centuries did the Ottoman Turks rule Palestine?

Answer 8

Six centuries – the longest period that anyone ruled Palestine after the Jewish Diaspora.

Question 9

Following the defeat of the Ottoman Turks by the British as part of World War I, how long did Britain rule Palestine (and the other Ottoman Turk areas of the Eastern Mediterranean such as Lebanon, Syria, etc.)?

Answer 9

Although the Brits did defeat the Ottoman Turks as part of World War I and the Brits were the only army fighting the Turks and, as a result, the Brits did occupy the Middle East all the way from their long-time pre-existing colony of Egypt all the way to Turkey itself, the League of Nations actually gave France “mandates” over Lebanon and Syria in 1923, so they were ruled by the Brits for only 5 years.

However, the heart of the question involves Palestine, which Britain ruled from the defeat of the Ottoman Turks in World War I until May 14, 1948 (British rule was confirmed by a League of Nations mandate in 1923).

Question 10

According to the 31 Aug 1947 Official Report of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, what was the break down of Palestine's population?

Answer 10

Per the UNSCOP Report (Para. 86), the British White Paper of 1939 restricted Jewish immigration for the next 5 years to a grand total of 75,000 and banned it altogether thereafter. Per the UNSCOP Report (Para. 12), the 1945 population of Palestine =

Moslems 1,076,783
Jews 608,225
Christians 145,063
Others 15,488
Total 1,845,559

and was estimated at 31 December 1946 to be –

Arabs 1,203,000
Jews 608,000
Others 35,000
Total 1,846,000

The 12/31/46 numbers show the effect of the British ban on Jewish immigration and, although UNSCOP estimated virtually no change during 1946, it allocated the “Christians” between “Arabs” and “Others.”

Question 11

Was the UNSCOP report the basis for United Nations Resolution 181 of 29 November 1947 dividing Palestine into a "Jewish State" and an "Arab State" based on who owned what?

Answer 11


Question 12

What two things happened on 14 May 1948?

Answer 12

Britain’s League of Nations “mandate” to rule Palestine expired one year after the United Nations formed UNSCOP (as part of the UN decision to form UNSCOP), and Israel declared its nationhood.

Question 13

What was the reaction of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon?

Answer 13

They invaded Palestine in an attempt to crush the new Jewish state.

Question 14

Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War (known in Israel as the War for Independence and in Arab countries as The Catastrophe), how many Jews were expelled from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon, and had to flee to Israel? How many Arabs were displaced from Israel?

Answer 14

567,000 Jews according to Encyclopaedia Britanicca. The number of Arabs displaced from the portion of Palestine that became Israel was comparable (after all, per the UNSCOM Report, the total number of Arabs living in Palestine including Gaza and the West Bank was only 1,203,000, including 126,000 Arab Christians).

Question 15

Following the 1948 war, what happened to the West Bank? to Gaza?

Answer 15

Although both had been part of Palestine, the West Bank was annexed by Jordan and Gaza was annexed by Egypt.

Question 16

What happened in 1956?

Answer 16

The Suez Canal was built in 1869 by France and Egypt, with Ottoman-ruled Egypt being forced by financial hard times to sell its 50% stake to the British in 1875. To protect their investment in the face of local unrest, France and Britain sent warships to Ottoman-ruled Egypt in 1882 and, when that show of force failed to quell the disturbance, Britain invaded and captured Egypt from the Ottomans and made it a British colony. On July 26, 1956, Egypt decided to nationalize the Suez Canal JUST 8 DAYS AFTER ACHIEVING FULL INDEPENDENCE FROM BRITAIN. In response, France and Britain invaded Egypt on October 29, 1956. Israel joined France and Britain because (1) Egypt had blockaded in 1953 the Straits of Tiran at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba leading to the Israeli port of Elath which, following the Egyptian seizure of Suez, meant Israel had no access to the Indian Ocean, and (2) under Egypt, Fadayeen terrorist camps flourished in Gaza.

President Eisenhower pulled out all the stops in calling a halt to the invasion for a variety of reasons including (1) his disgust in trying to condemn the Soviet Union crushing the 1956 Hungarian Revolution while France and Britain were engaged in a similar action in Egypt, and (2) Soviet threats to rain nuclear missiles on Britain, France and Israel. Although Britain and France vetoed resolutions in the U.N. Security Council, Eisenhower took the issue to the U.N. General Assembly which created the first U.N. Peace-Keeping Force. Eisenhower also threatened Britain and France economically to force submission (which was effective since neither had fully recovered from World War II).

Question 17

When was "The Six-Day War"? What happened to the West Bank? to Gaza?

Answer 17

The “Six-Day War” occurred in June 1967. Egypt had once again closed the Straits of Tiran to Israel and massed 1,000 tanks and 100,000 troops on its border with Israel, while Syria had been attacking Israel for quite some time with artillery and rockets from the Golan Heights. In response to the Egyptian military build up, Israel launched a preemptive attack against Egypt. Jordan and Syria quickly joined in the hostilities. Material support was provided by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

The hostilities lasted only six days (June 5-10) with Israel capturing not only the West Bank from Jordan and Gaza from Egypt, but also the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria.

Question 18

What was the Yom Kippur War?

Answer 18

Egypt launched a surprise attack against Israel on the Jewish Holy Day of Yom Kippur in 1973. Syria quickly joined in the hostilities.

Question 19

In the Yom Kippur War why, according to Pulitzer-Prize winner Seymour Hersh (in his book "The Samson Option") did Israel NOT follow its long-standing policy that if it ever reached the point that it had fewer than 24 hours to go until complete annihilation, it would launch all of its nuclear weapons (about a dozen at the time) which, interestingly, were trained on Russian cities rather than Arab capitals?

Answer 19

By 1973, the United States had replaced France as Israel’s principal supplier of weapons and Henry Kissinger had instituted 12 months earlier in 1972 an embargo against re-supplying Israel with ammunition because he was disgusted with Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan’s imperious treatment of Arab diplomats.

Although the Egyptian invasion quickly stalled after the Egyptian troops crossed the Suez Canal into Sinai, Syrian tanks were rolling through Israel because Israeli defense forces were rationing their ammunition because it was in such short supply.

Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir convened the Israeli Cabinet to make the formal decision to implement their long-standing policy to fire their nuclear missiles if the point was reached that Israel had fewer than 24 hours to go until complete annihilation. Seymour Hersh does not record who the Israeli Cabinet Minister was who suggested that before “pushing the button” they send a telex to Kissinger to give him a “heads up” on what “was going down” WITHIN A MATTER OF MINUTES. Luckily, Kissinger was on hand to receive the telex and immediately telexed back, according to Hersh: “Commence firing ‘as if there is no tomorrow’ – the re-supply planes will take off at dawn.”

The Israelis did stop rationing the ammunition, the American supply planes did take off at dawn, the Israeli-Syrian front stabilized, and Israel did not become the answer to a trivia question = what WAS Israel!!!

Israel “thanked its lucky stars” that it had followed Charles de Gaulle in declining the American nuclear umbrella and developing its own nuclear weapons. Thereafter, Israel adopted a policy of manufacturing its own weapons and ammunition insofar as possible.

Question 20

When did Egypt get the Sinai Peninsula back? Why wasn't the return of Gaza included?

Answer 20

The Egyptian-Israeli Peace Agreement was signed on March 26, 1979 following the Camp David Accords negotiated in 1978 under the auspices of President Carter. Egypt agreed to permit Israeli ships to use the Suez Canal and the Straits of Tiran, and became the first Arab country to recognize Israel’s “right to exist”!!! Israel returned to Egypt the Sinai Peninsula which flanks the eastern side of the Suez Canal and which contains Egypt’s perch on the Straits of Tiran. Israel and Egypt established diplomatic relations. And the United States “sealed the deal” by commencing substantial annual foreign aid to Egypt.

However, Israel did not return Gaza to Egypt because it was inhabited by Palestinians and had been part of Palestine before Egypt annexed it following the Arab-Israeli War of 1948.

Question 21

When did Israel withdraw from Gaza, including the abandonment of all of the Jewish "settlements" in Gaza?

Answer 21


Question 22

Despite Israel PR claims that the 2006 invasion of Southern Lebanon and the 2008 invasion of Gaza were unsuccessful, did both invasions in fact achieve their objective?

Answer 22

Yes. Despite bravado threats from Hezbollah, there have been virtually no artillery or rocket attacks from Southern Lebanon since 2006. And despite bravado threats from Hamas, there have been virtually no artillery or rocket attacks from Gaza since 2008. Both appear to have learned the lesson that attacks on Israel will provoke unimaginable devastation in return.

Question 23

What happened to all the suicide bombers that used to dominate the world headlines by blowing up Israel restaurants, buses, etc.?

Answer 23

Israel built a wall.

Question 24

Why couldn't Yasir Arafat simply say "yes" to the Peace Plan he negotiated with Israel and President Clinton in 2000 which would have resulted in a Palestinian State?

Answer 24

Yasir Arafat, in his Arabic speeches to his Palestinian followers, had always promised undying enmity toward Israel and promised to never rest until Israel “was thrown into the sea”!!! When he returned to Palestine following his agreement with Israel and President Clinton, he found that he hadn’t prepared his followers sufficiently to accept his Peace Plan and that he would be deposed. Accordingly, he reneged.

If there was ever anyone who deserved a Nobel Peace Prize more than President Clinton, I don’t know who it would be – and he didn’t even win one because Arafat reneged!!!

Question 25

Did the same unofficial group of Israel and Palestinian experts and former official negotiators that produced a 2003 report on a "two-state peace plan" based on the 2000 Clinton-Arafat-Israel Agreement on which Arafat reneged, produce a much more detailed 424-page blueprint based on the 2000 Agreement this past Tuesday? Did it, among other things, call for the division of Jerusalem, an underground highway between Gaza and the West Bank, and 100,000 Jewish settlers to move from the West Bank (in similar fashion to the way Jewish settlers were forced by the Israeli government to move from Gaza in 2005)?

Answer 25

Yes. Yes.

And for extra credit, a few geo-political questions that relate to the Israel-Palestine imbroglio -

Question A

If ethnic-cleansing and forced migrations have been common throughout the 20th century (and even the 21st so far), why has there been so much trouble with the Israel-Palestinian imbroglio which did NOT involve ethnic-cleansing and only a small displacement of fewer than a million in each direction off-setting each other?

Answer A

Because the Soviet Union used the existence of Israel throughout the “Cold War” to “stir the pot” in trying to undermine American influence in the Middle East. Following the end of the “Cold War” Iran has done exactly the same thing for exactly the same reason.

Question B

What are some of the major tragedies of ethnic cleansing and forced migrations that have occurred recently in Europe?

Answer B

The Serbian war against Kosovo (1998-1999) and the Serbian ethnic cleansing and genocide in Bosnia (1992-1995).

Question C

What are some of the major tragedies of ethnic cleansing and forced migrations that have occurred recently in Africa?

Answer C

Sudan-Darfur (2003–the present) and the Hutu-Tutsi genocide in Rwanda (1994).

Question D

What was the cause of the genocide in Sudan/Darfur?

Answer D

Suppression by the Sudanese central government.

Question E

What was the cause of the genocide of Rwanda’s Tutsis by its Hutus? Was there even a Tutsi tribe and a Hutu tribe, or was the distinction an invention of European colonial masters?

Answer E

The genocide was caused by hatred between the Tutsis and Hutus. The Tutsi-Hutu distinction was invented by Rwanda’s German colonial masters based on whether each native Rwandan had a broad nose and thick lips, or had features that were more European. Following the replacement of Germany by Belgium in the wake of World War I, the Belgium colonial masters made the distinction of paramount importance until Rwandan independence in 1962. By that time, the enmity between the Tutsis and the Hutus was unbridgeable. The 1994 genocide resulted in 1 million deaths, with half of those occurring in a mere 100 days.

Question F

Why do commentators frequently refer to Islam as the religion that always has "bloody borders"? How many of the major tragedies in Questions B-E involved Islam?

Answer F

Unlike the Roman Catholic Church (or the Mormon Church for that matter), Islam is NOT centralized (much like Christian protestantism, though some protestant sects are themselves centralized).

Accordingly, the proper interpretation of Islamic teaching is a matter for each Muslim cleric to proclaim and each Muslim cleric has the power to issue a “fatwa” making it the religious duty of his followers to implement the fatwa or religious order – such as Osama bin Laden’s fatwa to nuke 10 million Americans which was the subject of a book by the founding Dean of Harvard U’s Kennedy School of Government and which has been the greatest cause for concern by every Senate Foreign Relations Chair since Democrat Sam Nunn and including Democrat Joe Biden (indeed, during the Presidential-primary campaign at the beginning of the 2008 election cycle, Candidate Joe Biden wrote an OpEd Article in the 6/4/2007 issue of the Wall Street Journal (it is the third of four “Reference Materials” posted on our bulletin board for our 13 December 2007 meeting on the topic “Is War With Iran Inevitable?”) in which Biden explained that nuclear weapons have “DNA” that indicates their source and proposed massive nuclear retaliation against whatever nation state had permitted, whether or not intentionally, its nuclear material to be used by Al Qaeda to nuke American cities!!!).

As we have learned from our various studies of, or involving tangentially, Islam, the concept of Jihad or religious war is a central belief. But even more importantly, every Muslim believes in a Judgment Day on which s/he will be prosecuted by “avenging angels” – AND THAT EVERY MARTYR (TOGETHER WITH 72 FRIENDS/RELATIVES) BY-PASSES THE JUDGMENT DAY!!! Is it any wonder that media pictures of the family of Muslim suicide bombers typically show the family rejoicing???

Both of the European genocides (Bosnia and Kosovo) involved Muslims, as does the Sudanese genocide on both sides (Sudanese Arab Muslims against Sudanese Black-African Muslims).

Question G

What is the Battle of Armageddon? Is it likely to occur in the near future, the way matters are being handled?

Answer G

Although “Armageddon” is actually named only once in The Bible, the Battle of Armageddon is the subject of many prophecies, both in the Jewish Bible (aka the Christian “Old Testament”) and in the Book of Revelation authored by St. John as he was nearing the end of his life in exile on the Island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea and imagining what the prophecies of the Jewish Bible might actually be like if and when they came to pass.

Armageddon is an actual plain in Israel that military experts believe would be an ideal battleground. Indeed, the area is served by Armageddon High School.

The various prophecies describe a war of unimaginable devastation and many scholars believe that they describe a nuclear holocaust.

Yes, the Battle of Armageddon is likely to occur in the near future – judging from the way Iran is proceeding to acquire nuclear weapons and Ayatollah Khamenei (the real ruler of Iran) proclaims at every opportunity his objective of destroying Israel which, by the way, has nuclear submarines and other ways of preserving its nuclear weapons from an Iranian “first strike” capability, and the way the Gulf State Six (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman) have announced that they will themselves go nuclear the instant Iran goes nuclear.

Question H

What is “The Right of Return”? Wouldn’t it be cheaper for the United States to simply offer to make each Palestinian a millionaire by offering to buy her/his “right of return” on condition s/he move out of the refugee camps and start a real life – rather than spending so much of American attention and resources on a conflict that may otherwise continue for another 60 years – IF NOT ENDED SOONER BY A NUCLEAR BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON IN A WORLDWIDE “TWILIGHT OF THE HUMANS”?

Answer H

The “right of return” refers to Article 11 of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 passed on December 11, 1948 near the end of the Arab-Israel War, which states: The General Assembly “Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

Technically, it applies to the descendants of the half-million Jewish refugees who fled to Israel, as well as the descendants of the half-million Palestinians who were displaced from Israel. Moreover, Israel has always rejected the “right of return” by Palestinians claiming that none of them are “wishing…to live at peace…” The 2000 Peace Agreement between Israel, President Clinton, and Yassir Arafat on which Arafat reneged provided that Palestinians would NOT have a right to return to what is now Israel.

And, yes, the United States (at least in the opinion of “yours truly”) should offer to make every Palestinian a millionaire by offering to buy her/his “right of return” on condition s/he move out of the refugee camps and start a real life – if for no other reason than “cost effectiveness”!!!

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Re: Suggested Answers to the Short Quiz

Post by BillV »

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: Re: Suggested Answers to Short Quiz - American Policy Toward Israel
From: John Karls
Date: Wed, September 30, 2009 6:20 am
To: Bill Vogel

Dear Bill,

As usual, your comments were not only immensely enjoyable but incredibly thought provoking.

The number of Jews killed in the Second Jewish Revolt (as well as much of the other details relating to that period) come from our second/optional book. I should have cited the source so that my own reputation was not associated with the "facts" if they turn out to be inaccurate.

Right you are that Constantinople (aka Byzantium) fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. I don't recall where the 1299 date came from (I'll go back and check) but as I was flying along trying to get the Q&A's out on time (they ran to 14 Microsoft pages and you are probably the only person who read everything!!!), the 1299 date seemed plausible because the last Crusade ended in 1291.

So since we agree that Constantinople did not fall until 1453 and the Ottoman Turks had begun invading 150 years earlier, why weren't there any calls from Constantinople for more Crusades from 1299-1453??? In other words, why were all of the Crusades aimed at the Seljuk Turks??? (I am glad that you agree that there were no Crusades during the 4-plus centuries that the Holy Land was part of the Arab Empire, but why did they cease during the last 150 years when the military pressure against Constantinople came from the Ottoman Turks rather than the Seljuk Turks???)

Yes, my "ex" and I were always highly amused by the abrupt last-minute left turn that the Fourth Crusade took!!! But if you accept my thesis that ALL of the Crusades were aimed at relieving military pressure by the Seljuk Turks against Constantinople (regardless of what most of the European participants thought they were doing), then the abrupt last-minute left turn to Constantinople makes sense and Constantinople didn't really "fall" but merely had a change in leadership against the Seljuk Turks.

Re WWI, I don't agree with the basic thrust of your point because of the timing question. As you will recall, the first Russian revolution occurred long before the end of WWI with the Russian army deserting the field!!! Early in my 33-year “career” (which was merely a part-time hobby) of assisting my "ex" with successive editions of her H.S. World History textbook by reading 12-15 biographies and historical tomes each year, I had been intrigued by the question of how a belligerent could simply desert the field without the opposing army invading!!!

The answer is that the German Army did invade!!! But since the priority of the German Army was food, they invaded and captured Ukraine when the Russian Army deserted the field!!!

Even if one ignores the issue of timing, I would be very intrigued by the question of whether Russia even engaged Turkish troops on the border of the Ottoman Empire early in the war -- though I have never considered that question. Doing so, of course, would have exposed the Russian flank much more seriously to the potent Austro-Hungarian (aka Hapsburg) army that had ruled most of Central Europe for many centuries.

No quarrel with your points about the questionable loyalty of the Armenians and Greeks (or even the Kurds and other ethnic groups, for that matter). However, I was trying to address the issue of who ruled Palestine between WW-I and WW-II -- and the British Army conquered it from the Turks as part of WW-I.

My point about Rwanda (and, indeed, Darfur and the Balkans) was the equanimity with which world opinion has always treated genocide and ethnic cleansing -- in contrast to the way world opinion treats Israel because of the "pot stirring" by the Soviet Union followed by Iran -- even though no genocide was involved. I'll stand by that and “raise you” with – (1) Stalin, per the surprising Russian census in the 1930’s that found only 130 million Russians rather than the 180 million that had been commonly thought, killing 50 million MORE people (primarily during the forced-collectivizations of the Russian peasants) THAN ANYONE THOUGHT POSSIBLE from the mere 7 million/year killing capacity of the Gulags (described in Alexander Solzennitzen works (most notably “Gulag Archipelago”) and any of 3-4 good Stalin bios that I could recommend, and set up originally by Lenin to kill off the intelligentsia and the aristocracy), (2) Hitler invading eastward to create Lebensraum (“Living Room”) for the German people which not only resulted in the extermination of 6 million Jews from all of Europe and 6 million other minorities from the projected Lebensraum area but, inter alia, produced the death of 25 million Russians in battle, (3) Chairman Mao’s many millions if not 10’s of millions killed in such projects as “The Great Leap Forward” and “The Cultural Revolution,” (4) Chinese genocide and ethnic cleansing against Tibet, (5) Chinese genocide and ethnic cleansing against their Turks in Sinkiang Province, (6) taking after World War I the vast area of Germany known as the Sudetenland and giving it to Czechoslovakia because military strategists thought it would comprise a “dagger aimed at the heart of Germany” that would prevent another world war and, after it became a cause of WW-II, forcing all of the ethnic Germans to leave their ancestral Sudetenland homes, (7) the frequent movements of both the eastern and western borders of Poland with the forced population dislocations (including the city of Danzig and the “Danzig corridor”) – etc., etc., etc.

I don't know the answer to your last question -- perhaps you could "chase that rabbit"!!!

Your friend,

John K.

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: Suggested Answers to Short Quiz - American Policy Toward Israel
From: Bill Vogel
Date: Tue, September 29, 2009 10:12 pm
To: John Karls


Commendations for your thorough and hardly short treatise on the Middle East. I'll want to read it a couple more times before RL. Now my inevitable picky comments, all from the top of my head. The number of Jews killed in battle in the Second Jewish Revolt seems implausible. I learned that Byzantine fell to the Turks in 1453. No mention of the earlier fall to the Fourth Crusading western Christians. In WW1 the Turks fought not only the British to the south and in Gallipoli but the Russians to the east, and had questionably loyal Greek and Armenian subjects. That last factor (recall our WW2 removal of Japanese-American citizens) played a role in a genocide with much more significance to the current Middle East situation than the more recent Rwandan genocide. Did Timur and his Mongolians reach Palestine?


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More On 1299 vs 1453

Post by BillV »

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: More on 1299 vs 1453
From: John Karls
Date: Fri, October 2, 2009 8:41 pm
To: Bill Vogel

Dear Bill,

Sorry to have been “out of pocket” for the last few days.

But have finally had a chance to investigate further the discrepancy
between 1299 and 1453 as the date for the Ottoman Turks capturing

As conceded in my e-mail of Tuesday evening, Constantinople did NOT fall
until 1453 but the 1299 date had seemed right because the LAST CRUSADE ended in

Obviously, as I was putting together the Suggested Answers to the Short
Quiz (though the suggested answers themselves, running to 14 Microsoft
pages, obviously weren’t short!!!), I mis-reported the founding of the
Ottoman Turk Empire in the Middle East in 1299 as the date that
Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks.

So that compounds the mystery of the Crusades!!!

We had already noticed that there were no crusades during the four-plus
centuries that the Holy Land was part of the Arab Empire!!!

And that all of the crusades (1095-1291) occurred while the Holy Land was
ruled by the Seljuk Turks from Russian Turkestan and Chinese Turkestan who
had “gone native” in Persia (modern-day Iran).

So now we have 154 years after the establishment of the Middle East Empire
of the Ottoman Turks from Russian Turkestan and Chinese Turkestan until
the fall of Constantinople when there were again no crusades!!!

So why were all of the crusades aimed at the Saljuk Turks within a
196-year period – when there were no crusades against the Arab Empire
during the previous four-plus centuries it occupied the Holy Land and no
crusades against the Ottoman Turk Empire during the succeeding 154-year
period that it occupied the Holy Land before Constantinople fell???

Perhaps you have some time to help “chase these rabbits”???

Your friend,

John K.

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Still More on 1299 vs 1453

Post by BillV »

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Still More on 1299 vs 1453
From: John Karls
Date: Wed, October 7, 2009 - 6:18 am
To: Bill Vogel

Dear Bill,

Nothing has been heard from you since my e-mails of Sep 30 & Oct 2.

Accordingly, I did a bit more research since a small "time window" developed for “chasing the rabbits” of why all of the Crusades occurred during the two centuries that Palestine was ruled by the Seljuk Turks – while NONE occurred during the previous four-plus centuries that Palestine was part of the Arab Empire, and NONE occurred during the succeeding 150 years after the invasion of the Ottomen Turks until they captured Constantinople.

As an initial matter, though, your original e-mail said that I had stated incorrectly in the Q&A’s that the original invasion into the Middle East of the Ottoman Turks sweeping in from Russian Turkestan and Chinese Turkestan, was aimed at Constantinople which fell to them in 1299.

Actually, my date for the fall of Constantinope was “Jeckyl and Hyde” and “flying along at Mach 3” in order to get the Q&A’s out on time, I didn’t realize that I was using two different dates – and, as previously noted, the 1299 date seemed OK because it lined up with the end of the Crusades in 1291 and could have been the explanation for why they didn’t continue.

(Yes, the 1299 date appeared in Answers 6 and 7, but Answer 3 said “the Eastern Roman Empire lasted a millennium after the fall of Rome (977 years to be precise)” and 476 + 977 = 1453.)

Next time, I’ll have both my “Jeckyl” and “Hyde” personas proof materials before they are posted on the bulletin board.


The apparent explanation lines up very nicely with my thesis expressed in my Sep 30 e-mail – that all of the Crusades were aimed at relieving military pressure by the Seljuk Turks against Constantinople (regardless of what most of the European participants thought they were doing).

In 1071, the Seljuk Turks engaged the Byzantine armies north of Lake Van and defeated them decisively. Then, with no Byzantine force left to stop them, the Seljuk Turks flooded into Anatolia, which is the bulk of modern-day Turkey. As noted in the Q&A No. 6, the First Crusade occurred in 1095 and resulted from a plea which was issued by the Greek/Byzantine/Eastern-Roman Emperor Alexios I Komnenos to Roman Catholic Pope Urban II.


Not only did the first crusade result from an appeal from Constantinople to the Roman Catholic Pope – it is also important to understand that the first 5 of the 9 Crusades to the Middle East were all commissioned by the Roman Catholic Pope.

Indeed, the 6th Crusade(1228-1229), which was the first not commissioned by the Pope, was actually mounted by Emperor Frederick II who had been excommunicated in 1228 by Pope Gregory IX for failing to honor numerous previous commitments to launch a crusade!!!

And the 7th Crusade involved Papal interests represented by the Knight Templars. While the 8th Crusade was organized by Louis IX who was later canonized for his efforts. And the 9th and last Crusade was undertaken by the future Edward I of England who had participated in the 8th Crusade.

For anyone who thinks it odd that the Roman Catholic Popes, who enjoy a popular perception as solely spiritual leaders who don’t engage in worldly affairs (“render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” – Jesus Christ, and “How many (army) divisions does the Pope have?” – Stalin)), it may come as a shock to learn that Catholic Popes were indeed engaged in worldly matters, that they did field armies of their own (in addition to commissioning Crusaders), and in their military campaigns did as many shocking things as they did in their spiritual policies (of which Martin Luther catalogued 95 in 1517).

But I don’t really want to engage in “chasing those rabbits.”

The reason for documenting that all 9 Crusades were really animated by the Catholic Popes is to frame the questions = So why did the Popes stop arranging new Crusades during the 150 years after the Ottoman Turks appeared on the scene before Constantinople fell??? Was there any love of the Ottoman Turks??? Or was it pure coincidence???

One factor is the animosity between the Catholic Popes and the Constantinople or Eastern Orthodox Church (which later fragmented into Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox and the remainder of Eastern Orthodoxy).

It is interesting that the mutual excommunication of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches occurred in 1054, before the 1st Crusade even took place. Union was attempted in 1274 in negotiations at Lyon, France. And in 1439, Byzantine/Greek Emperor John VIII Palaeologus negotiated union with Pope Eugene IV in Florence, Italy, and a proclamation of union was issued. But that union failed due to public opinion sabotage in Constantinople.

So only 13 years after the proclamation of union in Florence, as Constantinople was facing imminent collapse, Constantine wrote to the Pope promising to implement the Union if only the Pope would mount another Crusade to save Constantinople.

But Europe was exhausted from many recent local wars of its own, and most rulers were suspicious of the temporal machinations of the Catholic Popes.

Though I have seen no mention of it in relation to the Crusades, it should also be noted that the failure of the Catholic Church to rescue Constantinople occurred just after the period of the Avignon Anti-Popes. You will probably recall that from 1305 to 1378, the 7 Catholic Popes actually resided in Avignon France rather than Rome. And that from 1378 to 1423, there were rival Popes – Clement VII and Benedict XIII in Avignon and Urban VI – Boniface IX – Innocent VII – Gregory XII and Martin V – based in Rome. I would be curious what role, if any, this played in the ability of the Roman Catholic Popes to aid Constantinople.

Perhaps for this, as well as other reasons both mentioned and overlooked, the Roman Catholic Church did not come to the aid of Constantinople.

Before drawing this brief survey to a close, it is probably also worthwhile to note what had happened to the Greek Empire (aka Byzantine Empire) and Constantinople (aka Byzantium) before the fall.

Without going into a lot of detail, the Greek/Byzantine Empire had not only been pushed westward by the Seljuk Turks and then the Ottoman Turks, but they had also been pushed militarily from the other side by the potent Empire of Venice.

Meanwhile, the Greek/Byzantine Empire had fragmented badly and comprised roughly half a dozen components that were warring with each other.

So that exhausts my “time window” that was available to look at this mystery. My tentative conclusion (since my "time window" was short)??? The fact that no Crusades were launched against the Ottomen Turks for the 150 years before they conquered Constantinople was purely coincidental and had nothing to do with any benign view that the Catholic Church might have taken toward the Ottomen Turks.

Please let me know what you think.

Your friend,

John K.

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Re: Still More on 1299 vs 1453

Post by BillV »

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Re: Still More on 1299 vs 1453
From: Bill Vogel
Date: Wed, October 7, 2009 4:47 pm
To: John Karls

Dear John,

I hadn't responded out of embarrassment over having not done your style of exhaustive research and having only another top of the head reaction to offer--which was and is, that the lack of any western crusade against the Ottoman Turks had nothing to do with a calculated appraisal that these Turks were better than their predecessors. Rather it had everything to do with western monarchs and popes and what they thought would best serve their own interests, such as preemptive wars to divert their subjects' attention from those secular and religious rulers' transgressions. But I did spend a few minutes opening an encyclopedia to learn that Timur conquered Syria and Damascus from the Mameluke rulers (unmentioned in your coverage of the rulers of Palestine) in about 1400. I'll make a point of learning whether Timur's conquests included Jerusalem.


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Timur or Tamerlane

Post by BillV »

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Timur or Tamerlane
From: Bill Vogel
Date: Wed, October 7, 2009 9:06 pm
To: John Karls

Dear John,

From my 1973 book “O Jerusalem” by Collins and LaPierre (page 21):

"Sacred to three great religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Jerusalem's stones bore the stigmata of her sanctity and her walls the memory of the crimes committed within them in the name of religion. David and Pharaoh, Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar, Ptolelmy and Herod, Titus and the Crusaders of Godefroy de Bouillon, Tamerlane and the Saracens of Saladin, all had fought and burned and killed here."


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