Calls From the Ashes

Christians around the world were crushed by terrible news over the past week.

On April 15 flames tore through the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France almost completely destroying the 800-year old building. Current reports are that an electrical short caused the blaze.

Then just days later on Easter Sunday, several bombs killed over 300 people in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. Early reports blame radical Islamic terrorists for the carnage.

If there is any solace to be taken from these terrible tragedies, it is from the reaction from all corners of the world of expressions of horror, condolences and support to rebuild.

  • US President Donald Trump saidso horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris,” and Vice President Mike Pence, said it was “heartbreaking to see a house of God in flames”, describing the cathedral as “an iconic symbol of faith to people all over the world.
  • UN secretary general, António Guterres, tweeted that he was “horrified” by the destruction of the cathedral, which he called “a unique example of world heritage that has stood tall since the 14th century.
  • Donald Tusk, the president of the EU council, said “Notre Dame of Paris is Notre Dame of the whole of Europe. We are all with Paris today.”

The expressions were repeated regarding the killings in Sri Lanka:

  • US President Donald Trump tweetedHeartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels. We stand ready to help!”
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May said that “the acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time. We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practice their faith in fear.”
  • EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said “such acts of violence on this holy day are acts of violence against all beliefs and denominations, and against all those who value the freedom of religion and the choice to worship.”

The sentiments were that destruction of these particular Christian houses of worship were an affront to people of all faiths, not just Christians. The entire world was saddened by the accidental cause of destruction and sickened by the deliberate acts of terrorism. The global community stood together in wanting to see these communities rebuild and fight against vile hatred.

If only the Jews in Jerusalem could get an iota of those sentiments.

The Hurva Synagogue and Tiferet Yisrael
in the Old City of Jerusalem

When Israel declared its independence in May 1948, the armies of five Arab countries invaded. The Jordanian army took over the eastern part of the Jewish homeland including eastern Jerusalem and annexed it in a move not recognized by the global community. The Arabs evicted all Jews from those lands and destroyed the synagogues in the Old City of Jerusalem, including the two large buildings of Tiferet Yisrael and the Hurva Synagogues.


Old picture of Jerusalem with Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue on left
and top of Hurva Synagogue seen on right

Israel retook the eastern part of its homeland after Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967. It rebuilt the Hurva Synagogue and rededicated it in March 2010 and has started to rebuild Tiferet Yisrael which should open in a few years.


Rebuilt Hurva Synagogue
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

One would imagine that the world would celebrate seeing these Jewish houses of worship being rebuilt on the ground where they once stood, in the holiest city for Jews, where they have been a majority since the 1860’s.

Unfortunately, such sentiments are seemingly reserved for other religions.

Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan condemned the opening of the Hurva in 2010 and United Nations General Counsel Ban Ki-Moon also criticized the opening, causing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to skip the re-dedication ceremony. No country would send an emissary to the opening or congratulate the Jewish State on the milestone.

The Arab world has already started to criticize the rebuilding of Tiferet Yisrael, an even taller structure than the Hurva Synagogue which will dominate much of the Old City skyline.

The Arabs’ ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem and the eastern part of the internationally mandated Jewish homeland in 1949-1967 has been getting a warm nostalgic response today in the United Nations and parts of the globe advocating a boycott of Israel. Those sentiments have set a fertile ground for noxious public antisemitism. As Jews rebuild their Jerusalem synagogues in that blackened holy earth, Zionists hope to hear the sentiments of world leaders supporting the Jewish houses of worship, much as those leaders have declared their support to the besieged Christian communities today.


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The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

Je Suis Redux

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Bernie Sanders is Less Sophisticated Than Forrest Gump

The King of the Democratic Socialists, Senator Bernie Sanders, continues to show off his stupid ideas. His latest – capping pay of private companies.

The current salvo is part of Sanders’ “Stop Walmart Act” in which he wants to limit CEO’s pay to 150 times that of a typical employee. Somehow, raising the quality of life for poorest Americans is not sufficient via increases to the minimum wage and work conditions. Sanders is intent on putting the breaks on income inequality by limiting what the top brass earn. So if the average employee made $50,000 per year at a company, the CEO pay would be capped at $7.5 million.

Think about applying the logic to the movie business.

Tom Hanks earned roughly $60 million for his work in Forrest Gump. Taking his pay and dividing by 150 would mean that the average worker for that movie – including hair and makeup, lighting, sound editor, key grip (whatever that means) – would earn $400,000. Needless to say, the average worker on the movie made nowhere near that total. If the average person made $75,000, should Hanks have his pay capped at $11.25 million?

In baseball, Mike Trout earns $33.25 million a year playing for the Angels. The ecosystem in baseball is vast and includes groundskeepers, umpires, gate and parking attendants, people in concessions and advertising and marketing. Does the average person who works in Major league Baseball make $221,667? If they don’t, then Sanders believes that Tout shouldn’t make as much as he does. His perception of fairness trumps the value of his contribution as determined by the free markets.

People can readily appreciate the performances of actors and athletes, and pay money to see them perform. But the management talents of corporate executives is not easy to comprehend or see. A bad CEO could cost a company billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. Their work is not simply to amuse people for a few hours, but has dramatic impact on shareholders, employees and customers.

But for new era of American Socialists, income inequality is inherently evil. As freshman member of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saida system that allows billionaires to exist… is wrong” and “immoral.


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders

The start of this thinking in the Democratic Party can be traced to 2012, when President Barack Obama made the remark “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” While there is a kernel of truth to his broader commentary that most businesses are built with many employees and an ecosystem which enables wealth creation, the current alt-left version of that thinking is that ALL people who have a hand in wealth creation inherently deserve a good portion of that wealth. In the example above, Sanders does not only think that a grounds-keeper at a stadium should get a large raise when the baseball players get huge paydays, but Mike Trout’s Little League coach when he was ten years old should also be entitled to some of Trout’s salary.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is another presidential hopeful from the left-wing who is hyper-focused on income inequality. She has proposed forcing large companies to have almost half of the boards of directors be representatives of the employees. Such efforts are meant to curtail the efficiencies and cost-savings which companies like Amazon utilize to pass cost-savings onto consumers, and instead ensure more employees are hired and make more money relative to shareholders and management. The goal is for unskilled labor to get shielded in a world of automation while trimming Jeff Bezos’s wealth; a double win for progressives. For the people who maximized efficiencies and created new companies, not so much.

Big progressive government is trying to launch the biggest takeover ever – of the entirety of the American business community. It promises to be heavy-handed, very intrusive and punitive as it devalues the contribution of those who innovate and lead.

Bernie Sanders proudly adopted one of the mottoes of Forrest Gump, that “mama said there’s only so much fortune a man really needs… and the rest is just for showing off,” as he pushes to pass laws preventing highly skilled people from making “too much” money. In truth, the Democratic Socialist motto is “stupid is as stupid does.


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Purim 2019, The Progressive Megillah

Bernie Sanders is the Worst U.S. Presidential Candidate for Israel Ever

An Open Letter to Non-Anti-Semitic Sanders Supporters

Please Don’t Vote for a Democratic Socialist

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Netanyahu Props Up Failed Arab Leaders

To read New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is to live in another universe. While he once had some basic understanding of the Middle East, that seems to be a long time ago.

Friedman’s view – and that of almost every journalist for The Times – is that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a right wing lunatic, while his counterparts around the Arab world including acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II are simply weak and incompetent. The left wing media will have you believe that the Arab people are peace-loving people who are frustrated with their economy, while Israeli public are racists. The media tells this narrative over-and-again in various ways.

But the reality is much more shocking for both pro-Zionists and pro-Arabs and those who seek an enduring peace in the region.

The Arab leaders are indeed very weak. They hold onto whatever power they have by criticizing Jews and Israel to gain public support. The Arab masses are broadly antisemitic and celebrate any insult and setback of the Jews and their leaders are happy to supply the red meat.

Netanyahu knows all of this. He therefore allows his Arab counterparts to rant and rave while saying and doing nothing, to keep a lid on the Arab masses and stability in leadership. He knows that if the Arab leaders appear to be on overly positive terms with the Jewish State, the Arab street will turn on their leaders and remove them from power.

So when the Jordanian king claims rights over the Christian sites in Jerusalem even though he has none, Netanyahu stays silent. In 2010, when Jordan denounced the rebuilding and reopening of the Hurva Synagogue which it had destroyed in 1949, Netanyahu decided to skip the re-dedication. When Abdullah cries that the biggest crisis in the Middle East is the lack of a Palestinian State while millions of Syrians, Iraqis and Yemenites are slaughtered by fellow Arabs, Netanyahu lets the venting at him proceed without comment.

The theater is because Abdullah needs Netanyahu to prop up his veneer of strength, and noting does that better than castigating the “little Satan” on the world stage for everyone to see and hear. For his part, Netanyahu needs to keep the Arab masses from tearing the Jewish State apart and to keep Jordan as a stable buffer from the crazy Islamic radicals at home and beyond.

The dynamic is not different regarding the two major Palestinian political parties, the terrorist group Hamas and the politely antisemitic Fatah.

Hamas has a stated goal of seeking the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews. Yet Netanyahu has not assassinated the entirety of its leadership even though he could do so easily. Instead, he allows hundreds of millions of dollars to flow through into Gaza from Qatar to give Hamas a little breathing room with its populace. By controlling the spigot of cash, Netanyahu exerts additional leverage over Hamas.

In exchange, Hamas keeps the rocket attacks to a minimum over the Israeli election season. Fatah occasionally keeps its incitement in check and coordinates security with the Israeli police. Netanyahu goes on to victory and the Palestinian parties get some ammo to trade with Netanyahu down the road.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife
celebrating his 2019 election victory

Right wing Zionists would be upset to learn that Netanyahu is softer than he appears and right wing Arabs would be appalled how their leaders actively consort with their enemy even as the Arab leadership gives public lip service to the masses. For its inept part, the media cannot cover the political machinations anywhere close to as well as they write about every nuance of The Game of Thrones. Their liberal goal is to undermine American support for Israel, not to tell the news.

The leader of the Jewish State has learned how to survive in the turbulent Middle East, playing politics to its fullest both inside and outside of Israel. He leaves behind a media scratching their heads only able to call out “victor” as fact and “right-wing radical” as uninformed biased opinion.


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Israel & the United States Repel the Force of the World

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Anti-“Settlements” is Anti-Semitism

Consider this scenario:

There are three houses on a street in Silwan in eastern Jerusalem, two for sale. One is purchased by an Israeli Arab from Haifa and another by an Israeli Jew from Tel Aviv. The third is owned by an Arab who decides to finally take Israeli citizenship, an offer that had been outstanding for decades.

  • The Palestinian Authority welcomes the Arab purchase, but will sentence to death the person who sold the house to the Jew. It will ignore the Arab who became an Israeli.
  • The United Nations has no issue with the Arab’s purchase or taking Israeli citizenship, but considers the Jew’s purchase illegal.
  • The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement appreciates that the Arab purchase maintains the “Arab character” of Silwan, put demonizes the Jew’s purchase as an obstacle to peace. No opinion about the Arab become an Israeli.
  • Airbnb will list the homes of the new Arab owner and the Israeli Arab on its website but will donate any profit from the Jewish owner’s listing.

Those blatant antisemitic actions are the not only reality today, but are celebrated by Islamic extremists and are being mainstreamed by the alt-left. Rather than loudly calling out the vile Jew-hatred, people are loudly calling for more.


The neighborhood of Silwan in eastern Jerusalem,
founded by Yemenite Jews in the late 19th century

(photo: First.One.Through)

After the Jordanians attacked Israel in 1948 and ethnically cleansed all Jews from the west bank of the Jordan River and eastern Jerusalem, the Arab world celebrated. The Jordanians annexed the region in a move not accepted by almost every country on the world and then granted citizenship to anyone who wasn’t a Jew in 1954.

When B.D.S supporters call out for the “good old days,” this is what they seek to reestablish – those Jew-free days between 1949 and 1967. That’s the reality which the United Nations wants to recreate when it makes statements that every Jew has no rights to live east of the Green Line.

How has it not occurred to people that the statement that “settlements are an obstacle to peace,” stems from the noxious antisemitism of Palestinians demanding a Jew-free country?


Does Airbnb believe that coexistence means condoning Palestinian Authority’s laws
which call for killing people who sell homes to Jews?


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The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

The Legal Israeli Settlements

Real and Imagined Laws of Living in Silwan

Obama supports Anti-Semitic Palestinian Agenda of Jew-Free State

No Jews Allowed in Palestine

The United Nations Bias Between Jews and Palestinians Regarding Property Rights

The Three Camps of Ethnic Cleansing in the BDS Movement

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

Marking November 29 as The International Day of Solidarity with Jews Living East of the Green Line

BDS is a Movement by Radical Islamists and Far-Left Progressives to Block Your Freedoms

Abbas’s Speech and the Window into Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism

The “Diplomatic Settler”

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As Ilhan Omar Clearly Demonstrates, Not Every “First” is Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson became the first black person to play Major League Baseball when he took the field on April 15, 1947. His ten years in the majors were remarkable in many ways, including his incredible talent on the field and his exemplary personal character in an era of tremendous black-white tensions in the USA. His stellar record made it much easier for segregation to come crashing down, and chart a course for an MLB which showcases talents of people with all backgrounds.

Not all firsts are shining stars like Jackie Robinson, as several members of the freshman class in Congress demonstrate, none more than Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

Freshmen members of Congress
Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)

In just a few short months in office, Omar has already made several antisemitic comments including that Jewish money buys off Congress and that Jews suffer from dual loyalty. Over the past week, she minimized the terrorism of 9/11, and rather than apologize for the statement, doubled-down with stupid and erroneous remarks about former President George W. Bush.

Fellow Democrats have tried to rush to her defense that she’s relatively new at politics. It is worth reminding them that so was Donald Trump, but after repeatedly making offensive remarks, people understood that the man himself is offensive.

The New York Times Charles Blow penned a piece “Demonizing Minority Women” on the 72nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s taking the field for the first time. Blow made the Omar incidents about white racism and painted Omar as a victim of the reaction to her repeated vile comments. As someone deeply impacted by 9/11, let me say clearly that such op-ed is bizarre, preposterous and offensive itself.

It is unreasonable to assume that every “first” person – whether black, women, gay, refugee or amputee – will be an outstanding leader. Most white baseball players never approached the level of talent and grace of Jackie Robinson, and why should every black player be held to such a high standard or every “first” person breaking a barrier?

Similarly, why can’t we admit that the first black Muslim woman in Congress has serious deficits that cannot be excused because she is new, or black, or Muslim, or a woman, or a refugee? With so many strikes in such a short time period, the early results are that she is highly offensive, the progressive version of Trump. If that’s the kind of “leader” that Sen. Bernie Sanders respects, he deserves the condemnation heaped on the supporters of another black Muslim anti-Semite named Louis Farrakhan.

To paraphrase Sen. Lloyd Benson, “Jackie Robinson was a hero of mine. Ilhan Omar, you’re no Jackie Robinson.”


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The Debate About Two States is Between Arabs Themselves and Jews Themselves

The common refrain surrounding the Arab-Israeli Conflict is that the Israelis and Arabs need to find a compromise solution that will work for both parties. People on the left believe that Israel, as the entity which is much stronger than the Palestinian Authority, must make the majority of that compromise. For those on the right, Israel is the smaller party that has always been under attack by the surrounding Arab and Muslim world, and therefore will demand that Arabs must make significant concessions.

This viewpoint is valid in concept, but lacks any nuance to capture the situation as it exists today. In reality, it is the Palestinian Arabs themselves and the Israelis themselves who are torn on the path towards an enduring peace. Until each party can arrive at a consensus internally, the only bridge with consensus regarding a two state solution is found between the Palestinian Authority leadership and far left progressive Jews; a failed partnership, as the PA is despised by the Arab masses and fellow Jews in Israel and the diaspora consider the progressives a dangerous fringe group, as discussed below.

The Arabs

The Palestinian Arabs have three distinct viewpoints regarding the conflict, and a fourth approach among Israelis Arabs who share some commonality with Jews.

  1. Hamas. Hamas has no interest in a two-state solution as they believe that Israel has no right to exist. While it may make some short-term accommodations related to a cease-fire or an interim acceptance for a two-state solution, the concept of an enduring peace between two countries is abhorrent to Hamas and all of its supporters.
  2. The Palestinian Authority. The PA is a corrupt and inept kleptocracy which seeks a two-state solution to empower and enrich themselves. It has stated it will make the great “compromise” of not demanding the entirety of Israel as part of its state and “very reasonably” demand that its country be stripped of any Jews while refusing to accept Israel as a Jewish State. From such perch, the PA flies around the world with honor, pomp and circumstance while fattening their bellies as foreign nations pour money into the wallets of its leadership.
  3. The Palestinians. The Palestinian Arabs have no interest in a two-state solution according to their own polls, even if they get everything which the PA demands. They are fed up with everybody – the PA, Hamas, the Israelis and the Arab world which has forgotten about them. They view any and every deal with deep distrust.

This is not very promising. The only Palestinians who want the two-state solution today is a leadership which has no legitimacy as it is ten years past its stated term limit, and the majority of Palestinians want the acting leadership to resign.

A softer position in the Arab world which is closer to the Jewish positions on two states is held by Israeli Arabs.

Israeli Arabs. The Israeli Arabs are eager for a two state solution which looks very different than what the PA has proposed. They want NO RETURN of any Palestinian refugees into Israel. They want Israel to be recognized as the nation state of the Jewish people. They demand institutions that are transparent and devoid of any fraud – all desires which the PA will not accept.


Arabs in the Old City of Jerusalem
(photo: First.One.Through)

The wide range of opinions regarding a two state-solution is not limited to Arabs, as Jews also have their own spectrum of ideas.

The Jews

  1. The Far Right. Israel has a number of political parties including Yisrael Beiteinu, United Right (each with 5 seats in the new Knesset), Zehut and the New Right (which got zero seats in the 2019 election) who support annexing Judea and Samaria/ the area east of the Green Line (EGL) commonly called the “West Bank.” The extent of Palestinian “sovereignty” would be limited to Gaza which will be denied any standing army, and essential be an entity with autonomy but will likely need to be a territory of either Egypt, Jordan or Qatar. Israel would likely never permit it to be aligned with Turkey.
  2. The Right. Is represented by the majority Likud party and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is in favor of annexing blocs of the West Bank such as the Gush Etzion area and Maale Adumim, but would give the Palestinian Authority large sections of the West Bank where the majority of Palestinian Arabs live including Areas A and B and parts of Area C. There would be no admittance of any Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs). Good news is that the Israelis just held elections so there is clarity that this is the majority consensus view.
  3. The Left.The left is represented by the Blue and White party which came in second in the Israel elections. They would allow as many as 100,000 SAPs into Israel as part of a peace deal and give virtually the entirety of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem to the PA. A bit further to the left in Israel are the Labor and Meretz parties in Israel (6 and 4 seats, respectively) and in the diaspora in groups like J Street and the Israel Policy Forum who oppose the notion of Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish people.
  4. The Far Left. Believes that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish State. They advocate for folding all of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza into a bi-national state with no special rights or privileges for Jews. Essentially the Hamas platform, without the murder of Jews, but with all of the demonization. There is virtually no one in Israel with such views, but is in vocal extremist diaspora organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, the New Israel Fund and Code Pink.

Lining up the groups against each other reveals interesting bedfellows between Arabs and Jews:

  • Hamas <> JVP/ Code Pink
  • the PA <> Labor/ J Street
  • Israeli Arabs <> Likud/ Republican Jewish Coalition
  • some Israeli Arabs <> Yisrael Beiteinu/ the New Right
  • The Palestinians <> everyone who has given up hope for any solution

Hamas, JVP, Code Pink, Students for Justice in Palestine and similar groups have tried to gain legitimacy in the public sphere. Former US President Jimmy Carter blessed Hamas despite its vile antisemitic charter and the United Nations has sought to fold it into the Palestinian Authority. Groups like SJP are getting awards on college campuses like New York University. These are hate groups and should be condemned and boycotted by everyone who wants to see an enduring peace in the Middle East. They will never be accepted by any Israeli administration forging a peace settlement, and will only make Israelis move further rightward.

J Street and progressives around the world have been reaching out to the PA as the best chance for peace. However, the PA is despised and disrespected by Palestinians. Until there are legitimate Palestinian elections, reaching out to the PA is a fool’s errand. Most Jews and conservatives see through the chimera and think J Street’s moves to weaken Israel and go against the Israeli government by advancing condemnations at the United Nations and promoting a deeply flawed Iranian nuclear deal are dangerous and divisive. The liberal media mostly follows this narrative and will promote the PA as “moderate” which is counter-factual and J Street as “mainstream” which is liberal wishful thinking. However, if they can tack towards the center instead of continuing to lurch leftward, perhaps they can be part of forging an enduring solution instead of today’s alt-left miasma.

For their part, Israeli Arabs and Likud consider the past decade a tremendous success. While the neighboring region had wars killing nearly a million people in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and other countries; with millions of war refugees scattered around the world; military coups taking over Egypt and almost Turkey; and heads of state chopped off in Libya, Israel was relatively calm. When the financial markets took the western world into an abyss, Israel emerged unscathed and its economy boomed. Riding the status quo has worked, and selectively extending that secret sauce with more global partnerships and annexing blocs of the West Bank are logical next steps.

However, the masses are unhappy. The lack of self-determination for the SAPs is not in anyone’s interest and everyone should want to see a resolution to their status. But with no consensus between the Arabs themselves and Israelis themselves, there is little hope for an enduring peace anytime soon.

It may therefore be time for some Israeli Arabs to assume a leadership role in the negotiations to help both the Arabs and Jews each reach a centrist consensus among themselves, and then ultimately with each other.


Israeli Arab women entering the Western Wall Plaza
(Photo: FirstOneThrough)


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Israeli Arabs SUPPORT Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People

On a good day, the mainstream media will spin narratives of alternative facts. On bad days, they will completely lie to their readership, either deliberately or through indifference to doing research which might reveal facts counter to their preferred narratives.

A favorite repeated lie for the New York Times is that Israel’s Nation State Law was anti-Arab, racist and loudly condemned by Israel Arabs (or as the Times prefers to call them, “Palestinian citizens of Israel.”). It simply is not true.

At the same time that Israel was debating and passing the new Basic Law on July 18, 2018, detailed polling was going on among Palestinians, Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs on a wide range of issues. The splits between the various groups on different topics were interesting, but perhaps nothing was more revealing than the questions which garnered almost unanimous approvals.

The Palestinians and the Israeli Jews were divided among themselves on every issue. However, the Israeli Arabs showed overwhelming consensus on four questions:

  1. Support for the recognition that Israel is the home for Jewish people and Palestine is the home for Arab people received 84.8% approval (compared to Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews who only favored it by 42.9% and 61.9%, respectively).
  2. Palestinian refugees will return to Palestine and a cap of 100,000 refugees will move to Israel as part of family reunification. The balance of refugees will receive compensation, got 84.1% approval (compared to Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews who only favored it by 47.5% and 21.3%, respectively).
  3. The future Palestinian state and the state of Israel will both have a democratic
    political system based on rule of law, periodic elections, free press, strong parliament, independent judiciary and equal rights for religious and ethnic minorities as well as strong anti-corruption measures received 91.2% approval (compared to Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews who only favored it by 48.2% and 61.7%, respectively).
  4. The Israeli-Palestinian agreement will be part of a larger peace agreement
    with all Arab states according to the Arab Peace Initiative received 84.5% approval (compared to Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews who only favored it by 45.8% and 50.8%, respectively).

Israeli Arabs – more than Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs – want distinct Jewish and Arab states and want to be a protected minority in the Jewish State. They DO NOT want to see millions of refugees descend and transform Israel into a bi-national state. They want those refugees to go to a new Palestinian Arab state while they remain citizens of the nation state of the Jewish people.

That is what the Israeli Arabs say. Would you rather believe them or a media industry intent on telling you that Israel is a racist apartheid state?


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Israeli Arabs in the Galilee
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

What the Palestinians Were Thinking While Israelis Were Voting

While the Israelis went to the polls again to elect their government in a democratic process, the Palestinian Arabs could only watch with envy. They have not held an election since 2006, when they elected the terrorist group Hamas to 58% of Parliament. They last got to vote for a president in 2005 for what was supposed to be a four-year term. Mahmoud Abbas has opted to not hold elections for 10-plus years passed his expiry date and counting.

Political pundits will comment about what the new Israeli government will mean for the peace process, as if the tango just involved a single party. In fairness, the ineptitude and corruption of Palestinian Authority which cannot even broker a peace between the rival Fatah and Hamas parties make them easy to ignore as a counter-party for Israel. But if one wants to actually be able to achieve an enduring peace, it is important to understand what Palestinian Arabs think about their situation and the Jewish State next door.

The latest Palestinian poll results were released on April 9, 2019, on the same day as the Israeli elections, and reflect polling done March 13-16. Here is snapshot of some of the findings:

  • 60% of Palestinians want acting-President Mahmoud Abbas to resign, with 62% being dissatisfied with his job performance
  • Only 54% of Palestinians believe that the PLO is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, a low-water mark
  • More Palestinians blame their own leaders for the conditions in Gaza than Israel
  • 50% of Palestinians oppose the two-state solution; more people in Gaza support two states than people in the West Bank
  • Even if the Peace Plan contained everything that Abbas currently claims to desire (East Jerusalem capital, 1967 borders, return of refugees) only 43% of Palestinians would vote in favor of it and 52% would reject it
  • 47% support a return to armed intifada
  • 71% want an armed battalion to exist outside of the control of the Palestinian Authority
  • 64% oppose the Palestinian Authority engaging with the Trump Administration
  • 60% fear for their safety if their criticize the Palestinian leadership
  • 95% of Palestinians consider themselves religious

Based on these results, there is no pathway towards an enduring peace anytime in the near-future regardless of who leads the State of Israel. The Palestinian Arabs have no faith in their own leadership and no interest in accepting the most generous two-state solution (which Israel wouldn’t offer anyway).

It is therefore ridiculous to look at the Israeli elections through the prism of a peace process. Instead, the orientation should be about shrinking the conflict with the Stateless Arabs (SAPs); dealing with Iran and Hezbollah; establishing more diplomatic and trading partners around the world; continuing to build the economy; developing a comprehensive housing strategy; and bringing the devout communities (Haredi and Arabs) into the workforce and out of poverty.

We wish the new Israeli government best of luck in tackling these issues.


The Menorah outside of the Knesset
(photo: FirstOneThrough)


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The United Nations Bias Between Jews and Palestinians Regarding Property Rights

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In it, the global body sought to ensure that all people had basic human rights as laid out in the preamble:

“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,”

Such rights afforded to all people included the right to own property as enumerated in Article 17:

“(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.”

With such understanding, it is worth delving into the rights of Jews and Arabs to own property in the holy land.

Jews Owning Property in the Holy Land

Even before the UDHR was codified, international law encouraged Jews to live and settle throughout Palestine, which at the time included areas which today are commonly called, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan. The Mandate of Palestine of 1922 stated clearly the mission to “secure the establishment of the Jewish national home,” and encourage “close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.” Further, the law laid out that “[n]o discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.

International law stated that everyone – Jew, Arab and all others – could live throughout the land, but it was specifically Jews who were encouraged to settle the land and establish a national home throughout the entirety of the Palestine Mandate. Article 25 of the Mandate did allow the British to separate off the area east of the Jordan River (now known as Jordan), but it still forbade such entity from banning people from living and owning property because of their religion.

But that’s precisely what happened.

On September 23, 1922, the British separated that area into “Transjordan” and soon recognized a new government there. That government believed that Jews had no rights to own land. When Jordan invaded Israel in 1948 and took over the area now known as the “West Bank” and eastern Jerusalem, it evicted every Jew. When Jordan passed a nationality law in 1954, it specifically forbade the Jews from eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank from getting citizenship. The Jordanians also passed a law that made it a capital offense for any Arab to sell land to a Jew. The Palestinian Authority has proudly inherited and maintained that policy today.

And the world seemed to endorse this Jew-free formula.

Even beyond the dozens of Muslim states which refused to recognize the basic existence of Israel, in 2014, former US President Barack Obama chastised Jews for legally buying homes in the predominantly Arab section of eastern Jerusalem stating that the “US condemns the recent occupation of residential buildings in the neighborhood of Silwan by people whose agenda provokes tensions.” The inherent dignity of Jews to own property was viewed as secondary to the demands of the antisemitic Arab neighbors.

For Muslims nations, progressives and much of the world, the inalienable human right to own property did not cover Jews, and in their homeland, no less.

Arabs With Rights to Ancestors’ Homes

In stark contrast to Jews who uniquely have been determined as not worthy of basic human rights and dignity, the United Nations extended the property rights for Palestinian Arabs that do not exist for any other group of people.

On November 22, 1974 the UN General Assembly passed A/RES/3236 (XXIX) which granted Palestinian Arabs the rights to not just own property but the “inalienable right” to go actually “return” to homes and property where ancestors lived generations ago.

“2. Reaffirms also the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return;”

The concept was and remains without precedent. Do Americans have the right to return to homes in other continents where great grandparents lived 100 years ago? Even more outrageous, most of the local Arabs in Palestine did not own the house or land; it was mostly owned by wealthy people from other areas including Turkey and Syria. That is why the UNRWA definition of a “refugee” simply states that it is for “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine,” not that they OWNED any property. Even more, the Palestinian “refugees” which concern the UN simply lived in Palestine between 1946 and 1948, with most having moved to the area from neighboring Arab lands in the preceding years.

Not surprisingly, the UN branded “Zionism is a form of racism,” and “a threat to world peace” just a year later as it pushed resolutions to eliminate Jewish rights and dignity while advancing those of the Arabs in their midst.


Jews have been uniquely stripped of their “inalienable rights” to purchase and own homes in the Jewish homeland, while Palestinian Arabs have been uniquely granted “inalienable rights” to move to houses and villages which no longer exist in a foreign country because ancestors once lived and worked there, even if they were just renting for a couple of years.

With the absurdity of such biased declarations, why should Israel pay any heed to the rantings of the rabidly antisemitic and biased body?


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The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

Compensation Fund for Palestinian Arabs’ and MENA Jews’ Lost Property

The United Nations Oxymoronic Care for Israel

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

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Homes in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem,
a city which has been majority Jewish since the 1860’s

 

The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

The Cambridge Dictionary defines the term “in situ” as “in the original place, or the place where something should be,” or, alternatively, “in the original place instead of being moved to another place.” In the world of archaeology, there is nothing more valuable than finding an object “in situ” as it gives the ancient room, building and town where the object was found, important context in both time and purpose. Unfortunately, due to ancient sites being raided for centuries, most historical finds are traded in the black market, destroying the ability to accurately relay the provenance of the object and the story of the place from which it was taken.

However, last week the world was blessed by two remarkable discoveries in the City of David, just south of the Old City of Jerusalem’s external walls, of ancient Jewish objects found in situ.

In the ruins of what is currently thought to be a large municipal building dating back to the 6th or 7th century BCE, was a clay seal bearing the inscription “LeNathan-Melech Eved HaMelech – which translates to “[belonging] to Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King.” Such servant to the king is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in 2 Kings 23:11.

The second item is a blue agate seal saying “LeIkar Ben Matanyahu” – “(belonging) to Ikar son of Matanyahu.”

Finding these two items in their original location is a blessing and curse for many. For those people who enjoy learning about history, these ancient Jewish finds in what is believed to be the original capital of the unified kingdom of Israel under King David is considered an important piece of the puzzle to understanding the location and way of life of the Jewish people in Jerusalem thousands of years ago. However, for those people who want to see modern Jews evicted from Jerusalem in favor of Arabs, the findings present an obstacle in convincing Jews that they should abandon their history and religion.

Like the finding of the seal of King Hezkiah in Jerusalem in December 2015, and the burnt remains of a Torah scroll found in a synagogue in Ein Gedi, these findings attest to the long history of Jews living throughout the area east of the Green Line. Arab news sites like Al Jazeera refuse to print any of these stories, in an effort to continue to lie to its readership about the history of the Jews in the holy land which predates Islam by thousands of years.

The incredible discoveries makes one consider the two alternative definitions for “in situ” described above: the ancient Jewish finds in Jerusalem were located “in the original place instead of being moved to another place,” while the Israeli Jews themselves and the capital of the Jewish State are “in the original place, or the place where something should be,” in Jerusalem.


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