Is Trump Seeing Mid-East Countries to Combat Religious Extremism, or Visiting Religious Sites to Promote Coexistence?

On May 4, 2017, US President Donald Trump announced that he will visit the Middle East. He saidThe purpose of this meeting is to bring together all the different countries and all the different religions in the fight against intolerance and to defeat radicalism.” The destinations on the trip included the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Israel and the Vatican. The GOALS of the visit were to fight against intolerance and radicalism.


President Trump announcing intention to visit the Middle East
May 4, 2017

Can Trump “bring together” the countries and religions in such an effort?

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

KSA is just one of 50 Muslim-majority countries, so Trump could have visited any of the fifty to make a point of connecting with Islam.

But KSA has a number of key attributes that the other Islamic countries do not have:

  • It holds the two holiest sites for Islam, Mecca and Medina
  • It is a US ally, compared to several Muslim countries that are not
  • It is a major opponent to Iran, which is a US-designated state-sponsor of terrorism
  • KSA has received billions of dollars in US military equipment and is engaged in joint strikes against targets in war zones like Yemen

Trump will not get to visit Mecca or Medina, the central places holy to Muslims because KSA forbids non-Muslims from visiting the Islamic holy sites. However, his meeting with the custodian of the holy sites – the KSA royal family – will make clear that the trip is not simply a visit to any Muslim country, but one that is willing to fight alongside America.

Is KSA a repressive regime? No question. It’s human rights record is appalling and many Trump critics think it outrageous to give the royal family such honor. But Trump made clear in his remarks:

“Our task is not to dictate to others how to live, but to build a coalition of friends and partners who share the goal of fighting terrorism, and bringing safety, opportunity and stability to the war-ravaged Middle East.”

Trump’s focus is narrow: the war on terror. However, KSA is actually a supporter of Wahabism and radical Islam. It happens to be a foe of Iran which earned its designation of a sponsor of terrorism well before it got involved in regional wars in Syria and Yemen, wars in which KSA is opposing Iran.

In visiting KSA, Trump will be visiting a country that is both a custodian of religious holy sites and a military partner. He will not get to visit religious sites nor showcase religious tolerance.

The Vatican

There are dozens of countries with a majority of Christians that Trump could have visited. And the Vatican isn’t even a country according to the UN.

But Catholicism is the largest of the Christian denominations, and the Pope is unique in being a central figure of a church. No other single individual has a command over such a flock.

While the Pope has no army to engage in a military battle against violent extremism, his message of tolerance is one that Trump seeks to connect with and spread throughout the world.

Israel

There is only one Jewish majority state, which makes the choice of Israel apparently simple in rounding out the Trump tour of the monotheistic faiths. In the other two countries with a significant Jewish populations – the United States and France – the Jews make up just a small percentage of the overall population, 2.1% and 0.8%, respectively.

For many decades, Israel has been America’s closest ally in the entire Middle East. It is the only true democracy in the region and Americans and Israelis share many of the same values. Israel has also been an important ally for the US in the ongoing War on Terror.

But there are large differences between Israel and the other stops on Trump’s trip:

  • Israel is the only country in Trump’s Mideast tour to tamper radicalism, that suffers from ongoing terrorism
  • Israel is the only country that had the (former) United Nations Secretary General stand up and state that he supports a terrorist regime (Hamas) and their inclusion in a Palestinian Authority government
  • The Jewish State is the only country where the world doesn’t recognize its holiest location and where the Muslim Waqf forbids Jewish prayer.

Israel promotes religious tolerance but receives none. It does this while confronting ongoing terrorism.

Trump will visit the holiest site in Judaism accesible to Jewish prayer today – the western wall of the Jewish Temple Mount. But he will do so WITHOUT Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as the US is not comfortable stating that the Jewish state is the custodian of the religion’s holiest site.

It is an interesting backdrop on which to draw further comparisons.

The War on Religious Radicals and
the Promotion of Religious Tolerance

As Trump navigates the Middle East, he will attempt to promote two messages: of religious tolerance and of the battle to stamp out religious violence.

Religious Tolerance:

  • Saudi Arabia is 100% Muslim and the Vatican is 100% Christian. Only in Israel is there a mix of religions (75% Jewish and 25% non-Jewish)
  • Saudi Arabia restricts access to its holy sites only to Muslims. The Vatican welcomes all religions to the city. In Jerusalem, the Islamic Waqf which is overseen by Jordan, prohibits Jews from praying at its holiest site, the Temple Mount.
  • Saudi Arabia restricts bringing religious artifacts like a cross or Jewish bible into the country. The Vatican and Israel have no such restrictions.

The list goes on. Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia clearly has nothing to do with rewarding it for promoting religious tolerance. Perhaps that is an aspiration. Israel is the prime example of religious tolerance to be emulated in the Middle East

War on Radicalism:

  • In the attacks of 9/11/01, fifteen of the 19 terrorists were from KSA. Saudi Arabia continues to fund a radical form of Islam in schools around the world. For its part, the Catholic Church tries to convert people to Catholicism, but not by force and it does not promote violence. Israel and the Jewish State do not attempt to convert anyone in any manner and is not engaged in terrorist activities around the world.
  • Saudi Arabia does not fight radical Islam; it fights Iran and the Islamic State as discrete entities in an ongoing war between Sunni and Shia Islam. The Vatican has no army to participate in any war. For its part, Israel is actively fighting terrorism in its homeland, principally against an enemy that is rabidly anti-Semitic that wants to rid the region of Jews.

In short, only in Israel will Trump find both a partner in promoting religious tolerance and a partner in combatting violent religious extremism. Only in Israel will Trump see a people that faces terrorism on a daily basis.

Together:

Trump stated that he sought to bring parties “together.” With the exception of Egypt and Jordan, the rest of the Arab countries have refused to recognize the legitmacy of the State of Israel. Perhaps Trump hopes that this initiative to eradicate radical jihadists will change that dynamic. It would appear to be wishful thinking: The Saudi royal family has funded the families of Palestinian terrorists for years.

 

These are important points for Trump to address during his Mideast visit. A key victory in advancing both agendas of combatting religious violence and promoting religious tolerance would be to get the Palestinian Authority to finally rip up the anti-Semitic law which calls for the death sentence for any Arab that sells land to a Jew. Nothing demonstrates the vileness of intolerance and radicalism as much as the Palestinian Land Law.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

Saudi Arabia, “Ally” of the United States

Ban Ki Moon Defecates on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Extreme and Mainstream. Germany 1933; West Bank & Gaza Today

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Students for Justice in Palestine’s Dick Pics

Something has become all the “rage” in the world. Without the rage.

Dick Pics

There was once a time when society knew what was offensive.

There was a time when people would see something and immediately call it out as obscene. The reaction would be clear and unequivocal: Stop it! I don’t want to see that! Ever!

The perpetrators of the offensive behavior would be ridiculed. They would be shunned from any public event and run out of political office.


Democratic candidate for mayor of New York City, Anthony Weiner (aka Carlos Danger) with wife Huma Abedin

The perp would be forever viewed differently. A creep.

There was a time that communities would ask the police to arrest a person for lewd and ugly behavior. No one would rise to the offender’s defense about free speech or expression.

A community wouldn’t ponder the motivation of such an action. It would be simply bewildered that any normal person could possibly think that viewers would find the spectacle attractive.

Students for Justice in Palestine

There is a group that has taken hold in many college campuses called “Students for Justice in Palestine.” It is a group that glorifies the killing of Jews in Israel.

In May 2016, Northwestern University invited convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh to speak at an event that SJP billed as “Israeli Apartheid Week.” Odeh, who was convicted in Israel of killing two Israeli college students with a bomb, spoke to 50 students in Illinois about the “Israeli colonial project” and the suffering of Palestinian Arabs.

No one disrupted the talk. It was covered by free speech.

In February 2015, the SJP chapter in DePaul University held “a fundraiser to celebrate the resilience of Rasmea Odeh.” The students in the university did not simply want to hear the perspective of a convicted terrorist: they wanted to actively support her.

The anti-Zionist group, Jewish Voice for Peace, gave Odeh a standing ovation in April 2017, as she bid farewell to the United States because she was being deported for having entered the country without disclosing her terrorist conviction.

And the Women’s March in Washington D.C. in January 2017 invited Odeh to address the crowd. To thousands.

That is the “progressive” fringe world today.

The Left-Wing Participation in Terrorism

When someone sends another person a “dick pic,” they are engaging in crude behavior. The goal is to either provoke and offend, or to engage a basic human lust. It is not romance or love. It is a blunt instrument with a binary outcome: 95% of the time it is disgust and 5% amusement or desire.

When an organization invites a convicted terrorist that murdered innocent students to address its members, there is something sickening and perverse that becomes normalized. The most animalistic of activities – cold-blooded murder of innocent youth – is celebrated. It is endorsed. It is rationalized to the audience as proper behavior.

While society will be disgusted (or in rare circumstances amused) by lewd pictures that are easily erased, it celebrates – or at least tolerates – the killing of innocents. This is the same society that has no issue showing videos of beheadings on social media, but bans pictures of a woman’s breast. We extol butchery and shun nudity.

Let’s be clear: The person who sends a “dick pic” has a very ugly and narrow view of the recipient. They are selfish and interested in only one thing, and it is not the recipient’s personality. It is the aspiration for a complementary raw emotion that the recipient might bring to the encounter.

Similarly, when the radical anti-Zionists like SJP and JVP address you, they are not seeking a rational discussion about disputed land. They want your active endorsement of the murder of Jews and the Jewish State. That is your “complement” to their actions.

Decent people of the world, it is time to delete these disgusting groups faster than a dick pic from a stranger.


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Martin Luther King and Zionism

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

A Disservice to Jewish Community

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

Your Father’s Anti-Semitism

The Evil Architects at J Street Take a Bow

Politicians React to Vile and Vulgar Palestinian Hatred

Pride. Jewish and Gay

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Politicians React to Vile and Vulgar Palestinian Hatred

People in the western world are proud of their freedom of speech. In the United States, people on both the right and left point out the importance of the First Amendment of the Constitution:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petitition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Yet, the government has taken steps to curtail some vile forms of speech, such as calls for violence. For example, several states have enacted more severe penalties if crimes are based on racism, religion or sexual orientation.

Whether there is really an exemption for hate speech (as opposed to motivation for a crime) is a matter of debate. What is not a matter of debate, is how civil society should respond to vile speech.

Linda Sarsour

One of the leaders of the “Women’s March” in Washington D.C. in January 2017 was a Palestinian – American Muslim woman named Linda Sarsour. In addition to hateful comments she made about Israel, she offered the following about a woman who suffered from genital mutilation as a young Muslim woman.

Sarsour’s callousness extended beyond uttering threats against private citizens, to specifically assaulting Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s area of sensitivity and pain: her vagina, which had been attacked because she grew up in Muslim society where such mutilation was condoned. The Sarsour comment went beyond poor taste; it was vile, vulgar and disgusting. It deserved repudiation from every decent human being.

At least one hoped.

New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand praised Sarsour in an article in Time magazine, saying “The images of Jan. 21, 2017, show a diverse, dynamic America—striving for equality for all. The moment and movement mattered so profoundly because it was intersectional and deeply personal. These women are the suffragists of our time.”  The Jewish community was appalled that Senator Gillibrand would stand behind Sarsour who constantly vilified Israel. Gillibrand issued no retraction.

Democratic National Committee vice chair Michael Blake came out full force defending Sarsour: “If you keep coming after @lsarsour, we’re going to respond directly, consistently, with all heart and soul. Fall back!

Other supporters of Sarsour included Senator Bernie Sanders and another DNC Vice chair, Keith Ellison.

Put aside Sarsour’s embrace of convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh for a moment, whom she invited to the Woman’s March stage. Even if the Democratic politicians despised Israel, how could they support a woman who is so vulgar and despicable to deliberately mock a woman who suffered genital mutilation?

Mahmoud Abbas

Linda Sarsour was not the only Palestinian Arab to use disgusting language to maliciously attack those with whom she disagrees.

Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, does not simply fight against Israel. He vilifies the Jewish State in the most hurtful and outrageous manner: by belittling the Holocaust.

The Jewish people in Europe were one of the few people in the world to suffer a genocide over the past hundred years. The German Nazis sought to ethnically cleanse the Jews for Europe and rounded them up for torture and execution wherever they came to power. It was one of the darkest periods of mankind.

Abbas, who wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial, chooses to constantly attack the victim. Abbas accused those same Jews that were the victims of a genocide, as committing a “genocide” against Arabs in Israel (even though the growth of the number of Arabs in Israel exceeds the rate of growth of Arabs anywhere in the world.) Abbas accuses the actual victims of ethnic cleansing, of committing “ethnic cleansing” of Arabs, even though everywhere that Israel established its state, it offered citizenship to every Arab that wanted it.

So when Abbas came to visit US President Donald Trump in May 2017, it was hard to hear Trump welcome the hateful Abbas as though he were a national leader. However, it was also heartening to see that Trump deleted his Twitter post that said it was “an honor” to meet Abbas.

Hamas

The world had become accustomed to bestowing honor on hateful entities for many years. The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, with its vile anti-Semitic charter which calls on Arabs to kill Jews and destroy Israel, was a favorite of the last United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. He encouraged Hamas to join the Palestinian Authority and stated loudly that he stood with them after their war with Israel.

Recep Erdogan

The Muslim Turkish leader Recep Erdogan is also fond of berating the Jewish victims of Nazi atrocities by using those same hurtful terms. Erdogan accused Israel of “Hitler-like Facism” and “genocide.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was nonplussed, and let Turkey host the first ever World Humanitarian Summit, where he thanked “His Excellency the President, the Government and people of Turkey for their hospitality, and for their role at the forefront of humanitarian action.

Nice praise for the leader that has suppressed freedoms broadly in his country and insulted victims around the world.


On May 8, 2017, Republican Senator John McCain wrote an op-ed in the New York Times “Why We Must Support Human Rights.” He argued that it is not enough to navigate the “realism” of a world of despots and ignore their vile human rights abuses and attacks on victims.

“I consider myself a realist. I have certainly seen my share of the world as it really is and not how I wish it would be. What I’ve learned is that it is foolish to view realism and idealism as incompatible.”

Every person – including politicians that are forced to engage with horrible local and national leaders – must call out the ugliness. Their comments was be repudiated. And most obviously, not given praise as Gillibrand and the heads of the Democratic National Committee have done. As McCain wrote:

“Depriving the oppressed of a beacon of hope could lose us the world we have built and thrived in. It could cost our reputation in history as the nation distinct from all others in our achievements, our identity and our enduring influence on mankind. Our values are central to all three.

Taylor Swift knows that “haters gonna hate.” Politicians must avoid broad praise of the haters, or at a minimum, denounce their specific digusting comments.


 Related First.One.Through articles:

The UN is Watering the Seeds of Anti-Jewish Hate Speech for Future Massacres

Selective Speech

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

Stopping the Purveyors of Hateful Propaganda

Regime Reactions to Israel’s “Apartheid” and “Genocide”

New York Times Confusion on Free Speech

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Welcoming the Unpopular Non-President (Abbas) of a Non-Country (Palestine)

On May 3, 2017, the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, came to the United States to meet US President Donald Trump. Is this the pathway to the “ultimate deal” of peace between Israel and its neighbors?

Unlikely.


President Donald Trump shook hands with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office on May 3, 2017. ( Photo: EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Abbas has no Legitimacy

Abbas was elected to a four year-term as President in 2005. That term ran out in January 2009, and he has refused to hold new presidential elections as he and his Fatah party are weak.

Abbas has no Control

A year after Abbas took office, the Palestinian Arabs elected the rival political party, Hamas, which is viewed by much of the world as a terrorist entity, to 58% of the parliament of the Palestinian Authority. In 2007, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip and launched three wars against Israel (2008; 2012; and 2014). Abbas either supported those wars or he had no control over the region.

Abbas is Unpopular

The Palestinian Arabs poll themselves on a number of issues every three months. In September 2015, they began to ask people their thoughts of Abbas. In every poll since that time, between 61% and 65% of respondents wanted Abbas to resign.

The Palestinians Prefer War

While Abbas would have won several theoretical elections many years ago, his rival in Hamas has become the Palestinian favorite as a result of the wars against Israel. As evidence, in the September 2012 Palestinian poll, Abbas would have beaten rival Ismail Haniyeh by 11%, but he would have lost by 3% just three months later after the November 2012 Hamas war. Abbas’s popularity bounced back in the next quarter’s poll, but he has never been able to recover from his dramatic fall in popularity after the 2014 Hamas war: In the June 2014 poll Abbas would have beaten his Hamas rival by 12%; after the war, Abbas would have lost by 17%.

The Palestinians are done with Abbas and prefer to stake a future with terrorists.

Lack of Support for Two States

Since the 2014 Hamas war, Palestinians have become ambivalent about a two-state solution, with roughly even percentages supporting and opposing the plan. The notion reached the lowest point at the aggressive Palestinian push of the “stabbing intifada” in December 2015, when 54% of respondents stated they opposed two-states to 45% in favor.

Abbas has no Ability to Govern

In the last ten of the twelve years that Abbas has headed the Palestinian Authority, he has been unable to rule. He has not been able to control Gaza or reconcile with rival political parties. How can he possibly be expected to negotiate and deliver a peace deal with Israel?


Acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas

Abbas Continues to Attack Every Aspect of Zionism

Abbas has used every opportunity during his tenure to fight against the basic rights and beliefs of the Jewish State, laid out in international law (references to the 1922 Palestine Mandate below):

  • Citizenship: Abbas stated that no Israelis will be citizens of a Palestinian State, even while international law promoted Jewish citizenship. (Palestine Mandate Article 7: “facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews,” and Article 15: “No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.“)
  • History: Abbas routinely denies the 3000+ year history of Jews in their holy land and works with United Nations agencies to promote false narratives. (Palestine Mandate preamble: “recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine“)
  • Owning Land: Abbas has said that no Jews can own land in Palestinian areas, and PA law has a death sentence on any Arab that sells land to Jews. (Palestine Mandate Article 6: “shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.“)
  • Immigration: International law in 1920 and 1922 explicitly encouraged Jews to move to the holy land. Meanwhile, Abbas has sought an international apology for the declaration. (Palestine Mandate Article 6: “shall facilitate Jewish immigration“)
  • Reconstituting the Jewish Homeland was the stated goal of the San Remo conference and the Palestine Mandate. Abbas has repeatedly refused to acknowledge that Israel is a Jewish State. (Palestine Mandate preamble: “grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country“)
  • Freedom of Religion and Worship was both part of the international laws calling for reestablishing the Jewish homeland, and part of Israel’s basic laws. However, Abbas seeks to prohibit Jews from accessing and praying at their holiest location. (Palestine Mandate Article 13: “securing free access to the Holy Places” and Article 15: “complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship.“)

The Freedom CHOIR are fundamental building blocks of long established international law underpinning the Jewish State.  And the weak and unpopular Abbas tramples on every aspect of it.

In case the aforementioned list wasn’t enough, Abbas peddles vile Holocaust conspiracies, as a further affront to the Jewish people.

The Ugly Straw Man

So the inept straw man came to Washington, D.C. to meet with the president of the United States. Is he the man that can negotiate and deliver peace. No.

Abbas serves as a fig leaf for both Israeli and Palestinian leaders that they are actually moving forward with a peace process.

If people wanted to take constructive steps towards peace, there are two different paths to take: 1) treat Abbas like the unpopular straw man that he is, and force him to accept the peace proposal that is put in front of him; or 2) let the Palestinian Arabs hold new elections with someone that has the backing of the people and can deliver on the results of the negotiations. If the Arabs elect someone who has no interest in peace, then the Israelis have no need to compromise on its cherished goals.

The failure of past peace processes was that they were based on a failed dynamic. There is no point in dealing with a cut-out. It is time to either treat Abbas like the straw man that he is, or show him the door.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Abbas Knows Racism

The Disappointing 4+6 Abbas Anniversary

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

The Only Precondition for MidEast Peace Talks

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

“Mainstream” and Abbas’ Jihad

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

Mutual Disagreement of Mediators and Judges in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

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Abbas demands R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Aretha Franklin)

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The New York Times’ Select Defense of a Civilian

The New York Times often decries bankers and the excesses of Wall Street. But only when associated with Republicans.

On April 26, 2017, the Times ran an article about Hungary’s anger with billionaire George Soros. The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was upset with the various left-wing institutions funded in Hungary by Soros including NGOs and a university.

The Times came to the billionaire’s defense.

“It was an exceptional attack by a head of government against a private citizen, albeit a wealthy and powerful one. Mr. Soros has been a frequent target of criticism from right-wing news media organizations like Breitbart and Infowars, which deplore his affinity for Democratic and liberal causes. Supporters of Mr. Soros, who is 86, a native of Hungary and a Holocaust survivor, have detected a whiff of anti-Semitism in the attacks in the United States.”

Wow.

George Soros spent more money on US lobbyists than Goldman Sachs and the National Rifle Association COMBINED. But the Times made light of the powerful global lobbyist by stating that he had an “affinity for Democratic and liberal causes,” as if he were simply an observer and not the master puppeteer. It slandered those opposed to Soros’s agenda by suggesting that the opposition was driven by anti-Semitism (as if a huge percentage of Jews weren’t also appalled by Soros’s behavior and causes).

And the Times was of course shocked that a head of a government would attack a private citizen. In this case.

Joe Biden Attacked Israeli Citizen

In November 2015, the Union of Reform Judaism invited Vice President Joe Biden to speak at its biennial. During his public address, the Vice President chose to berate a private Israeli citizen for remarks that he had made about the Obama administration’s handling of the Iranian nuclear deal. Biden yelled as he stabbed his finger at the crowd:

There is no excuse, there should be no tolerance for any member or employee of the Israeli administration referring to the president of United States in derogatory terms. Period, period, period, period!

The crowd of Reform Jews applauded Biden’s rebuke of the Israeli (who was not employed by the Israeli government.) The New York Times decided not to cover the attack at all.

When the liberal head of the US government attacked a right-leaning Israeli citizen, there was no sound of alarm. But the Times came to the quick defense of the liberal billionaire.


George Soros
(photo: Niccolo Caranti)

Woe unto anyone criticizing a liberal – even a billionaire capitalist. The New York Times has ink for you.


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Is the Left-Wing Coming Back to Zionism?

The years from 2010 to 2016 were an abysmal abandonment of the left-wing in the United States from supporting the Jewish State. Their criticisms of Israel in public and private were not only demonizing of Israel, but of Jews generally.

Consider how left-wing politicians argued that Jewish schools should be denied police protection, arguing that Jewish schools had anti-gay curricula.  Consider how the Democratic party ripped up their pro-Israel platform in 2012 and then had their party head lead a walkout on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The far-left darling, Senator Bernie Sanders was the most anti-Israel presidential candidate in the running who drafted Israel-basher Cornel West to be part of the new Democratic mainstream.

Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx
1/29/16
Dr. Cornel West and Bernie Sanders are seen at a Bernie Sanders Rally in Davenport, Iowa.

Fortunately, there are signs that the tide may be turning.

On April 28, 2017, all 100 US Senators sent a letter to the new UN Secretary General to stop the anti-Israel bias at the United Nations. The letter was co-authored by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and signed by every Democratic senator.

One week before the US senators wrote their letter to the UNSG, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in a case related to using public funds for safety mats in playgrounds of religious schools. Even liberal judges like Elana Kagan and Stephen Breyer could not understand how the public could withhold safety and security from religious schools.

These are refreshing changes in liberal positions from just last year.

Whether the changes are stemming from the Democrats’ loss of the presidency or the nadir of the Obama administration permitting UNSC Resolution 2334 to pass, one can only hope that the Democratic party continues to move away from the left-wing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic fringe.


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International-Domestic Abuse: Obama and Netanyahu

The Evil Architects at J Street Take a Bow

“Coastal Liberal Latte-sipping Politically-correct Out-of-touch Folks.”

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The Impossible Liberal Standard

Pride. Jewish and Gay

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The Three Camps of Ethnic Cleansing in the BDS Movement

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) of Israel movement seeks to use global pressure on Israel force it to change its policies towards Palestinian Arabs. The pressure includes economic and cultural boycotts of Israel and denying any normalization of relations with the Jewish State.

The backers of BDS fall into three general camps. Those that seek to:

  1. Dismantle the Jewish State
  2. Remove all Jews from the West Bank
  3. Remove all Jews from historic Palestine

The first group wants to change the character of Israel by cleansing its ethnicity, while both the second and third groups promote ethnic cleansing the land of Jews themselves.

Dismantling the Jewish State

Many of the founders of the BDS movement despise the nature of the “Jewish State.” They find a system of Jewish preferences (such as automatic citizenship for Jews around the world) and Jewish symbols in the flag and national anthem as the antithesis of democracy and a burden for Israeli Arabs. Their goal is rid Israel of its “Jewishness.”

Some of the prominent supporters of BDS seek to accomplish this goal by forming a single state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. They seek the “right of return” of millions of Arabs to the region and the removal of all Jewish symbols and privileges in the state. Their goal is to turn Jews into a minority in the country, and to dismantle the Zionist Project.

As stated by Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement:

  • “I am completely and categorically against binationalism because it assumes that there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land.”
  • “A Jewish state in Palestine in any shape or form cannot but contravene the basic rights of the indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically….Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”
  • “(The one state solution means) a unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.”

There are Jewish anti-Zionist groups that also support this vision including the New Israel Fund. Norman Finkelstein, a Jewish professor and loud Israel-basher has called out his fellow BDS supporters for masking their desire to end the Jewish State, as opposed to their publicly-stated goals of ending the “occupation” of the West Bank.

“I mean we have to be honest, and I loathe the disingenuousness. They don’t want Israel. They think they are being very clever; they call it their three tier. We want the end of the occupation, the right of return, and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they are very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is what, what is the result? You know and I know what the result is. There’s no Israel!”

Some pro-Zionists like Caroline Glick also support a one state solution (without Gaza). They do not believe the predictions of Jews becoming a minority in a state without Gaza and without permitting millions of descendants of Palestinian Arabs to move to Israel. The roughly 1.8 million Arabs living in Israel today plus the 2.5 million Arabs in the West Bank would be 2 million people fewer than the 6.5 million Jews living in the region. Israel would remain a democratic and Jewish State.

Removing Jews from the West Bank

A significant portion of the western world considers the goal of removing all Jews from the “West Bank,” a noble goal. They have advanced a notion at the United Nations Security Council (with the approval of the US Obama administration) that “Israel’s Settlements Have No Legal Validity, Constitute Flagrant Violation of International Law.” With such passage, they have opened legal venues for countries to advance boycotts of products made in the settlements.

The measure unfortunately ignores several important matters:

  • Jews have a legal basis for living east of the Green Line in international law. The 1920 San Remo Agreement and 1922 Mandate of Palestine clearly laid out the rights of Jews to live throughout Palestine. There was no such thing as a “West Bank” which was an artifice of the 1948-9 Israel war of independence. The arbitrary line (which Israel and the Arab states all agreed was NOT a border) has no bearing on where Jews can and cannot live.
  • There is no basis in law for “occupying” disputed territory. While the UN General Assembly voted to partition Palestine in 1947, the vote did not create the two states. Further, the Arabs rejected the partition, as they sought the entirety of the land. The land east of the Green Line (EGL) remains disputed and subject to various agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, including Oslo II (1995). International law uses the term “occupation” only in relation to a foreign force taking over another country, not disputed land. Lastly, international law forbids seizing additional territory in an offensive action, not as a matter of defense as was the case of Israel defending itself from Jordanian attack in 1967.

Jews have historically lived in the currently disputed lands for thousands of years. The ethnic cleansing of Jews from the region by Jordanian and Palestinian Arabs in 1948-9, and the Arabs subsequent refusal to grant any Jew in the region citizenship or visitation rights to their holy land, does not make such actions either legal or worthy of repetition.

Yet this is the publicly “accepted” face of the BDS movement, backed by the acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas adds fuel to the fire by stating that Israel is a “colonial occupier” that advances an “apartheid regime” in an effort to “ethnically cleanse” the area of Palestinians. All are inflammatory terms to paint Israel as an evil and malicious invader which should be expelled.

Removing Jews from Historic Palestine

For many Arabs and anti-Zionists, the term “colonial occupier” means the entirety of pre-Mandate Palestine, not just the West Bank and Gaza. They view the 1920 and 1922 international laws as fundamentally invalid, as they were made by foreign powers without input from the local Palestinians. As such, Abbas has demanded an apology from the British government for issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which served as a basis for the international laws allowing Jews to reestablish a homeland in Palestine.

The popular Palestinian party Hamas, which was elected to 58% of the Palestinian parliament, is defined as a terrorist group by much of the world. Its charter calls for the complete destruction of Israel, as the success of Zionism undermines the supremacy of Islam.

The more “moderate” (only on a relative basis) Palestinian party Fatah also called for a complete destruction of the Jewish state in its constitution until August 2007, when it modified some of its official positions. It did this, as it prepared to launch the global BDS movement in November 2007 to appear as a more reasonable fight against the Jewish state.

Ethnic Cleansing

Ethnic cleansing is not a distinct crime under international law, and there is no precise definition. The United Nations took steps to define “ethnic cleansing” in the aftermath of the war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. In its interim report it used a definition:

 “… rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area.

The final report was more stringent, and limited the term to the use of violence to achieve its goals:

a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.

The BDS actions of the past decade are the latest manifestation of anti-Zionists attempting to destroy the Jewish State after decades of failing to do so militarily, in actions that would clearly have fallen under “ethnic cleansing.”

Today’s BDS movement is attempting to use “force and intimidation” to ethnically cleanse all-or-part of the holy land of Jews, and to cleanse Israel of its Jewish ethnicity.


Related First.One.Through articles:

“Ethnic Cleansing” in Israel and the Israeli Territories

What’s “Outrageous” for the United Nations

Regime Reactions to Israel’s “Apartheid” and “Genocide”

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Israel was never a British Colony; Judea and Samaria are not Israeli Colonies

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

Related First.One.Through video:

The 1967 “Borders” (Music by the Kinks)

Judea and Samaria (Music by Foo Fighters)

The UN looks to believe the Palestinians (Music by Rod Stewart)

BDS Movement and Christian Persecution (Music by Hovhaness)

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In Inversion, New York Times Admits “The Truth is Hard to Find”

Ever since politics introduced the concept of “Alternative Facts” and “Fake News” some months ago, the mainstream media has been fighting back that it is the real authority on the truth. The New York Times has sought to portray itself as the media source that uncovers the truth and has pushed the tagline of “the Truth is Hard to Find,” as it features its journalists in large promotional advertisements.


Double page advertisement in The New York Times about Jodi Ruduren
April 23, 2017

On April 23, 2017, the Times featured an enormous spread to convey how its Middle East reporter, Jodi Roduren, went deep into a hidden Hamas tunnel to tell a story behind the Gaza War in 2014. The caption in the advertisement read: “Forty-six feet underground, Jodi Rudoren, Jerusalem bureau chief, ventured into a secret tunnel used by Hamas insurgents to launch surprise attacks from Gaza into Israel.”

If only the New York Times actually reported such events during the war in 2014.

As detailed in “The New York Times’ Buried Pictures” about Rudoren’s story when it was written on July 28, 2014, Rudoren mischaracterized the entirety of the story about the terror tunnels:

  • It took three weeks for the NYT to post a single picture of the terror tunnels, even though they were the root cause of the war;
  • On the day that the paper finally showed a picture of the tunnels, it only placed a small black-and-white photograph on page A6, even while it posted a large color picture on the front page of Palestinians mourning, and a large black-and-white picture of Palestinians mourning above the picture of the tunnel;
  • Rudoren’s article made light of Israeli concerns about the tunnels, referring to the Israeli invitation to tour the tunnels as a “propaganda push,” rather than a chance to report on the nature of the battle from a first-hand encounter;
  • Roduren wrote that “Israelis exchange nightmare scenarios that are the stuff of action movies” about the tunnels, as if the threat was simply imagined.
  • Compare Rudoren’s late and under-emphasized report during the 2014 war, with the front page story on May 21, 2016 that Palestinian Arabs are scared about the tunnels (because Israel will destroy them).

Yet the Times describes itself as the discoverer of “truth,” even while it misleads readers.

Consider two stories on the next day, July 30, 2014, when the Times repeatedly blamed Israel for bombing a power plant even though there was no proof that it was not done by Hamas, either intentionally or not. The two articles also did not mention the dozens of rockets that Hamas fired into Israel, nor that Hamas refused to accept a ceasefire.

Just two days before Rudoren’s article about the Hamas tunnels, she wrote that anti-Israel riots in Europe had an “anti-Semitic tinge,” belittling the thousands of people storming streets in Paris yelling “Hitler was right” and attacking Jews and Jewish stores.

Roduren was a key player in the New York Times’ biased and terrible coverage of Israel:

  • In October 2012, Roduren wrote an article about “honor killings” in Gaza and the West Bank. Rather than point the finger squarely at the disgraceful Islamic practice performed by Palestinian Arabs on their own family members, Rudoren repeatedly blamed Israel. How? Read the fact-altering “news” for yourself.
  • Rudoren’s May 2014 coverage of the Pope’s visit to Israel was disgraceful in repeatedly stretching facts to fit a narrative that Palestinian Arabs are victims of racist Israeli policies
  • On July 6, 2014, Rudoren wrote about the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, making it sound like an ancient Arab neighborhood rather than an ancient Jewish neighborhood
  • In September 2014, when Palestinian Arabs were firebombing Jewish homes and a gas station in an attempt to create a large explosion, Roduren minimized the riots and that Israeli soldiers over-reacted to the Arabs’ “crude gestures toward Israeli soldiers.”
  • Her front page article on March 13, 2015, “As Israeli Settlements Take Root, So Do Complications,” repeated Palestinian propaganda as fact when she claimed that a few thousand Jews living in the West Bank threatened the “viability” of a Palestinian State.

The examples of Roduren’s anti-Israel bias and deliberate misrepresentation of the facts were present in almost every article that she wrote for the Times. Her bias was so intense, that when Foreign Press Association wrote about threats its journalists received from Hamas about its reporting on the war, Roduren took to Twitter to defend Hamas. Yes, that same anti-Semitic terrorist group that dug terror tunnels into Israel.


On September 17, 1993, A.M. Rosenthal wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about the Oslo Accords. He concluded with a prescient comment about the news media confusing their biased narrative and hope for the future with actual facts: “[There] is the tendency to confuse hope for the future with present reality….Pray for peace but add another prayer for truth upon which it depends.”

The New York Times may write that the “Truth is Hard to Find.” In truth, for the liberal paper, the facts are difficult to print.


Related First.One.Through articles:

New York Times Lies about the Gentleness of Zionism

New York Times’ Tales of Israeli Messianic War-Mongering

The New York Times Refuses to Label Hamas a Terrorist Group

Educating the New York Times: Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood

The New York Times Thinks that the Jews from Arab Countries Simply “Immigrated”

Every Picture Tells a Story: Goodbye Peres

Every Picture Tells a Story: Arab Injuries over Jewish Deaths

Every Picture Tells a Story- Whitewashing the World (except Israel)

Every Picture Tells a Story: The Invisible Murdered Israelis

Every Picture Tells A Story: Only Palestinians are Victims

Social Media’s “Fake News” and Mainstream Media’s Half-Truths

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The Anger from the Zionist Center

Yossi Klein Halevi penned a piece in the left-wing journal by the Forward, Sh’ma Now called “A Jubilee For Our Political Certainties.” The article advanced the notion that both the right-wing and left-wing camps have valid points regarding Israel’s administration of Judea and Samaria/ the “West Bank.” However, Israeli society – and increasingly the American one as well – has become more polarized and is unwilling to listen to the validity of the other side’s arguments. The goal of the center should therefore be to not have someone adopt their position, but to appreciate some elements of the counter argument.

In short, he argues for balance.

As someone right-of-center, I appreciate the sentiment of the article, but I disagree with the author’s contention that American Jews are simply engaging in “that dysfunctional Israeli debate.” Such language suggests that some American Jews are simply expressing a personal opinion. They are not.

They are actively pushing Israel’s largest benefactor – the USA – to abandon Israel.

Since 2008/9, the left-wing of the American Jewish community took a much more aggressive stance amid a backdrop of new wars from Palestinian Arabs and the ascendency of a liberal American president.

  • November 2007: Palestinians launched a push for a global boycott (BDS) campaign of Israel
  • April 2008: J Street founded
  • July 2008: J Street pushed against naval blockade of Iran, as sanctions were pushing Iran to the negotiating table
  • November 2008/ January 2009: Election and inauguration of President Barack Obama
  • December 2008/ January 2009: First Gaza War
  • May 2009: First meeting between Obama and Israeli PM Netanyahu in which Obama ignored Netanyahu’s argument for aggressively countering Iran and instead demanded settlement freezes
  • October 2009: Daniel Sokatch takes over as head of the New Israel Fund
The election of a liberal to the White House with absolutely no international experience was an opportunity for liberal Jews to actively advance a new set of policies towards Israel. J Street falsely billed itself to the Obama administration as an alternative to AIPAC (a non-partisan pro-Israel lobby) rather than an alternative to the Republican Jewish Coalition. J Street told Obama that many American Jews were against the “occupation of the West Bank,” and preferred a negotiated settlement of the Iranian nuclear program.
The left-wing “pro-Israel” group told Obama that American Jews hated Israel’s policies (counter to actual facts), and advocated that he take actions directly opposite the desires of the Israeli government.
Such activity is not joining Klein Halevi’s “debate,” but manipulating a judge to determine the outcome.

Peaceful protest against Iran nuclear deal in Times Square, NYC July 2015
(photo: First.One.Through)
Over the past decade left-wing American Jews:
  • pushed the US administration to allow anti-Israel resolutions to pass at the United Nations
  • pushed BDS proposals in universities, so schools could not invest in Israel and would ban Israeli speakers on campus
  • rewrote Jewish texts (the NIF Haggadah) in a shared assault with anti-Zionists to undermine Jewish history
  • supported a pathway for Iran, a state-sponsor of terrorism that has called for wiping Israel from the map, to obtain nuclear weapons

In short, the left has become an active participant in the attacks on Israel, not just a protestor. And they are pushing such arguments with Israel’s prime supporter, the United States.

And that is the main issue with Yossi Klein Halevi’s approach.

Klein Halevi is correct that the center can see the merit of the arguments of both the left and right. But many in the center cannot agree with ACTIONS taken.

While the right-wing may give money to support the “settlements,” those actions are: 1) supportive of Israelis; 2) limited in scope; and 3) can be reversed (such as Israel’s removal of settlements in Sinai in 1982 and Gaza in 2005, or adjustments to the path of the security barrier).

However, the actions of the left-wing are: 1) harming Israelis by advocating for Israeli boycotts and Iranian nuclear weapons; 2) done on an international level; and 3) becoming permanent international law.

As the left-wing has moved from personal opinions to dangerous global actions, the split in the American Jewish community has moved passed a civil exchange on matters of policy. It has become a fight between people.

As such, Klein Halevi’s conclusion for “each side to concede the enormity of our dilemma and the compelling arguments of the other,” is insufficient. The two sides need to withdraw the weapons and from the forums of their disagreement:

  • The debate should be internal: Make the arguments about Judea and Samaria with the government of Israel, not with Israel’s key ally, the United States. It certainly should not be with Israel’s enemies or at the United Nations.
  • The actions should not be malicious: Calling for boycotts of Israeli businesses and people is harmful to Israel on many levels. Argue about policies; do not hurt people with whom you disagree.

The “centrist” article ultimately suggests “an invitation to humility,” to appreciate the merits of both sides of the Israel/Palestinian Arab debate. I would suggest another form of humility: that American Jews realize that they are not Israeli citizens. While they are deeply engaged and attached to Israel for many reasons, the day-to-day ramifications of policies are only felt by the people who live there. Have some humility about the actions that you advocate to advance your personal sense of “morality” on the backs of people living in a dangerous part of the world thousands of miles away.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Israel was never a British Colony; Judea and Samaria are not Israeli Colonies

The Evil Architects at J Street Take a Bow

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

For Liberals, It’s Israelis, Palestinians, and Indifference

Squeezing Zionism

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

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Here in United Jerusalem’s Jubilee Year

Biblical Command to Come to Jerusalem

There are commandments in the bible that are clear and explicit, while there are others that are deduced by the rabbis. For example, “Do not kill” is easily understood, while the commandment to not eat dairy and meat together was derived by the rabbis from different parts of the bible.

The commandment for Jews to go to Jerusalem three times a year is a combination of both clear and deduced commandments.

1Observe the month of Aviv and celebrate the Passover of the Lord your God, because in the month of Aviv he brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 Sacrifice as the Passover to the Lord your God an animal from your flock or herd at the place the Lord will choose as a dwelling for his Name. 3 Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste—so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt. 4 Let no yeast be found in your possession in all your land for seven days. Do not let any of the meat you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until morning.

5 You must not sacrifice the Passover in any town the Lord your God gives you 6 except in the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name. There you must sacrifice the Passover in the evening, when the sun goes down, on the anniversary of your departure from Egypt. 7 Roast it and eat it at the place the Lord your God will choose. Then in the morning return to your tents. 8 For six days eat unleavened bread and on the seventh day hold an assembly to the Lord your God and do no work.

Passover in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:1-8)

9 Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. 10 Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the Lord your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you. 11 And rejoice before the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites in your towns, and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows living among you. 12 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees.

Shavuot in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:9-12)

13 Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. 14 Be joyful at your festival—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. 15 For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Sukkot in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:13-15)

16 Three times a year all your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. No one should appear before the Lord empty-handed: 17 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.

Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot in Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16-17)

There is no question that God commanded Jews to make a pilgrimage three times a year to “the place He will choose.” However, that place was not clearly specified by God and changed over time.

When Jews emerged from Egypt and came back to the holy land roughly 3300 years ago, they first set up the holy Tabernacle in the town of Shiloh in Samaria. It remained there for 369 years.

“The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there. The country was brought under their control,”

(Joshua 18:1)

The Jews set up the “tent of meeting” in Shiloh and made their pilgrimages to Shiloh as directed in the bible. The Israelites themselves chose this location, which is not exactly what the text in the bible prescribed stating that God will choose the location. Presumably, the Jews chose Shiloh with divine inspiration and blessing.

After Shiloh was destroyed, the Tabernacle had temporary homes for fiftyseven years in Nob and Gibeon. When King David took over the leadership from King Saul around 1000BCE, he sought to unify the various tribes and establish a new capital. David seized the Jebusite city of Jerusalem which sat in the center of the kingdom. After David died, his son King Solomon built the First Jewish Temple there in 950BCE. From that time until the present day, it has been the center of Jewish worship.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem,
with thousands of Jews at the Kotel plaza on chol hamoed Pesach

The Incomplete Jerusalem

Whether the Jews were self-governing, or living under Assyrians, Greeks or Romans, Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was the focus of annual pilgrimages. That began to break down in 70CE.

The Romans destroyed the Second Jewish Temple in 70CE and then banned all Jews from the city in 135CE after the Bar Kochba Revolt. While Jews continued to live in the holy land, they could not visit Jerusalem.

Eventually Jews were allowed back to their holiest city, and they resumed pilgrimages even though there was no longer a Temple. But during the Christian Crusades in the 1200s, the Jews were evicted from Jerusalem again, and only able to reestablish themselves in the city in the middle of the 13th century. By the 1860s, Jews were the largest religious group in Jerusalem, exceeding both the number of Muslims and Christians, even while the city was under Ottoman rule.

That changed in 1949.

In 1948, five Arab armies invaded Israel after it declared its independence. At war’s end, the Jordanians went about an ethnic cleansing of the Jews in Jerusalem.

  • They evicted all of the Jews from the eastern half of the city, including the entire Old City
  • They destroyed over 100 synagogues in the Old City, including the Hurva Synagogue
  • They annexed the eastern half of the city in a move not recognized by most of the world
  • They established a land law which made it a capital offense for any Arab to sell land to a Jew
  • They gave Jordanian citizenship to all Arabs in the lands they annexed, and specifically excluded Jews from gaining citizenship
  • They refused to allow Jews to visit the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Kotel and Temple Mount, even on holidays

From 1949 to 1967, anti-Semites ruled in Jerusalem, and the holiest place in the world for Jews was out-of-reach.

But that changed 50 years ago.

Jubilee is for Redemption

In June 1967 the Jordanians attacked Israel after Israel pre-emptively attacked Egypt and Syria in the Six Day War. The Jordanians lost all of the land that they had illegally annexed, including Judea and Samaria and the eastern half of Jerusalem.

Jews once again moved into their holy reunited city.

The bible notes that 50 years is a jubilee, a time of redemption.

8 Count off seven Sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven Sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years.  Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. 11 The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12 For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.

13In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.”

50 years is freedom (Leviticus 25:8-13)

Fifty years ago Jews were able to walk their streets again, to rebuild their synagogues and live in their homes. The anti-Semitic Arab laws were nullified as the Jewish State proclaimed liberty in their holiest city.

Celebrations in Jerusalem’s Old City
(photo: First.One.Through)

Just one week ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved a new town in Samaria near Shiloh, the first new development in decades. The new town is adjacent to the ancient Jewish holy site. A return and redemption of sorts, thousands of years later.

Passover starts next week around the world. The seder ends with a song “HaShana HaBa B’Yerushalyim,” “Next year in Jerusalem. Next year in the rebuilt Jerusalem.” While there are still more obstacles to overcome in Jerusalem (such as the ban on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount), the city has been revitalized and home to thousands of Jews.

Passover 2017 marks anniversaries of both the redemption of the Jews from being slaves, and the redemption of Jerusalem from being Judenrein. Celebrating Passover in Jerusalem is performing a mitzvah, a positive deed, which combines a clearly delineated action with those divinely inspired. God saved us, and blessed us when we took actions to celebrate His gifts.

Happy Passover from Jerusalem.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Shabbat Hagadol at the Third Hurva Synagogue, 2010

It is Time to Insert “Jewish” into the Names of the Holy Sites

Today’s Inverted Chanukah: The Holiday of Rights in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

The Arguments over Jerusalem

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