The Jordan Valley in 1930 and 2020

Israel is considering annexing the Jordan Valley in the near-future to establish a secure and natural border with Jordan to the east. The pro-Palestinian press has not surprisingly taken a harsh view of the contemplated action. It is comical to read how the media describes the physical land itself.

Consider Al Jazeera, a Qatar-owned media conglomerate which pushes its pro-Arab narrative around the world. It wrote that “fertile farmlands would become part of Israel.” The article claimed that Palestinians “have worked on the land for generations.” The land is described as rich which “bring a lot of income to the Israeli economy and so it works well to exploit the resources and land.”

The BBC wrote that “the Jordan Valley is a fertile strip of land running along the Jordan border that comprises nearly 30% of the West Bank. It is sparsely populated – home to around 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Jewish settlers. As such, it is the largest land reserve the Palestinians would have for the future development of an independent state.

CNN opined that the Jordan Valley is home to many “agricultural towns, taking advantage of the fertile land near the Jordan River.

NBC News called it the “strategic and fertile Jordan Valley, the region’s breadbasket, on the border with Jordan.

Almost seems like a paradise… today, under Israeli control.

But in 1930, before Jews came back to the holy land en masse, the Jordan Valley was far from a “fertile farmland” and the “region’s breadbasket.”

The British commissioned a report after Arabs slaughtered Jews around the land in 1929 to consider the tension and violence that was becoming too commonplace. The Shaw Commission provided a detailed background of the land and history in the late 1920’s to provide context to their analysis and recommendations. Regarding the Jordan Valley, it wrote:

“much of the Jordan Valley is at times oppressively hot, the rainfall is slight, and it seems doubtful whether the fertile tracts within it can support a large agricultural population.”

It described sections of “the Jordan Valley north of Jericho and south of Nablus where there is practically no rainfall and no cultivation.

This was no breadbasket but a harsh desert with occasional oases.

Palm trees in the Jordan Valley (photo: First One Through)

Even in this British report critical of Zionism which advocated curtailing Jewish immigration, the authors noted that “Jewish immigration and enterprise have been of great advantage to Palestine,” as the land began to flourish as early as 1930. But in the end, “when trade depression and unemployment followed the period of heavy immigration the indirect benefits which Jewish activities had brought to many parts of Palestine were forgotten and everywhere among the Arab people the Zionist movement was regarded as the cause of the economic problems of the country.

The media pens stories that Palestinians’ fertile farmland which has been worked on for generations is being ripped from their hands by Jewish “exploiters” (a typical antisemitic canard), when in fact it has been Israel which transformed and continues to enhance the Jordan Valley into the “region’s breadbasket” which the press describes today.

Related First One Through articles:

Maybe Truman Should Not Have Recognized Israel

The Hebron Narratives: Is it the Presence of Jews or the Israeli Military

New York Times Lies about the Gentleness of Zionism

The 1967 War Created Both the “West Bank” and the Notion of a Palestinian State

Considering Carter’s 1978 Letter Claiming Settlements Are Illegal

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The Shrinking Modern Jewish Homeland

The Jewish homeland as described in the bible is well known to the entire world. Originally the land promised to the first Hebrew, Abraham, was the land west of the Jordan River. When the twelve tribes of Israel returned to the land of their forefathers after being slaves in Egypt, they took land east of the Jordan River as well.

Map of Terra Sancta, Homann, 1730

Later generations would see the Jewish homeland carved up into different footprints under various kings and rulers over 1,400 years but the configuration above remains the orientation of anyone familiar with the Hebrew bible. It also became the basis of the modern initiative to facilitate Jewish immigration back to their homeland.

The San Remo Resolution of April 1920 became enshrined in the League of Nation Mandate of Palestine of July 1922. It sought to facilitate the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” based on the “historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine.” The mandate of Palestine roughly incorporated the land of Israel as described in the Old Testament plus additional lands.

Modern Jewish homeland per Mandate of Palestine, 1920 and 1922

Article 25 was added into the Mandate in March 1921 which gave the British who were to administer the lands, the option to separate the area east of the Jordan River to a distinct Arab state. The League of Nations approved the British request if such new state would NOT prohibit Jews from living there (“no action shall be taken which is inconsistent with the provisions of Articles 1516 and 18″). In spite of the clear language, the British did exactly that and created Transjordan in August 1922 and barred any Jews from living in the land. Not only was 77 per cent of the Jewish homeland removed by the British but they enforced an antisemitic edit on even allowing Jews to live in the land.

The British would continue to ban Jews from living in parts of their homeland.

In August 1929, Arabs engaged in a series of deadly pogroms in the holy land. The Jewish community of Hebron was massacred and the British response was to evacuate Jews from the city and forbid them from returning. The British commissioned the Shaw Report in 1930 which advocated for limiting the number of Jews in Palestine and their role in government:

  • it is our view that, among a large section of the Arab people of Palestine,
    there is a feeling of opposition to Jewish immigration, that this feeling is well founded in that it has its origin in the known results of excessive immigration in the past and that, given other and more immediate causes for disturbance, that feeling would undoubtedly be a factor which would contribute to an outbreak [of violence]…. It is clear that His Majesty’s Government should at an early date issue a clear and definite declaration of the policy which they intend to be pursued in regard to the regulation and control of Jewish immigration to Palestine.
  • “we would suggest that His Majesty’s Government should re-affirm the statement made in 1922 that the special position assigned to the Zionist Organization by the
    Mandate does not entitle it to share in any degree in the government of Palestine.”

The Jewish homeland was continuing to be chipped away by the British in regards to how many Jews could live in Palestine, where they could live and their role in government.

After more Arab riots in 1936, the British established the Peel Commission which concluded the Mandate was unworkable and suggested dividing the land into a section where the Jews would be allowed to live. As the proposal worked its way through the British system with Arab input, the end result was the 1939 White Papers which capped Jewish immigration to 75,000 people over five years just as the Holocaust began in Europe, condemning tens of thousands of Jews to death.

After Israel declared itself an independent country in 1948, five Arab armies invaded Israel to destroy it. At war’s end, the Arab army of Jordan seized the eastern part of the holy land and expelled all Jews, while the Egyptian army seized the Gaza Strip. In 1950, Jordan illegally annexed the land it took and in 1954, extended its ban on Jewish citizens beyond Transjordan into the “West Bank.”

Israel recaptured parts of the Jewish homeland in 1967 after surrounding Arab countries again sought the annihilation of the Jewish State. Many countries refused to recognize the rights of Jews to live in those lands which had become Judenfrei. Israel uprooted all Jews from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and in 2016, the United Nations Security Council declared that any Jew living east of the 1949 Armistice Lines between Israel and Jordan did so illegally, even in eastern Jerusalem.

First the British worked with the Arabs to shrink the Jewish homeland in regards to land where Jews could live, the number of Jews who could live there, and the role of Jews in government, making the notion of Jewish sovereignty questionable. Later the Arabs asserted for themselves that there was no Jewish history or rights in the land as they fought to completely dismantle the Zionist project in theory and practice. Then the United Nations supported the Arab cause to officially shrink the Jewish homeland.

The attack on the Jewish homeland is ongoing and without Jewish resistance, the Jewish homeland would disappear completely. #100YearsofZionistResistance.

Related First One Through articles:

The Original Nakba: The Division of “TransJordan”

Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

When You Understand Israel’s May 1948 Borders, You Understand There is No “Occupation”

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Israel and the US Collaborate on Emergency Response

When the United States was attacked by radical Islamic jihadists on 9/11/2001, the country was faced with the reality that it was unprepared for how the handle massive attacks on its shores. It turned to an ally who had developed systems to keep its citizens safe from harm.

Israel has long suffered from jihadist terrorists killing civilians.

Airplane Hijackings

In July 1968, Palestinian Arabs hijacked an El Al flight from Rome to Tel Aviv. It was the last time an Israeli airline was hijacked as the government began to institute several security measures to protect the flights.

Palestinian terrorists would continue to target airplanes including a massive operation in September 1970 in an attacked called the “Dawson’s Field Hijackings” in which members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijacked four planes heading to New York and one to London.

Other hijackings by Palestinian Arab terrorists included:

Airplane hijackings continued around the world with as many as dozens every year until Muslim terrorists hijacked four planes on September 11, 2001 in a coordinated attack which killed nearly 3,000 people. It was already the eighth airplane hijacking in the new decade, not two years old. The scale of the attack, casualties and damage made countries and airlines take many new precautions, adopting policies that Israel had been using for decades such as pre-flight interviews and screening luggage and passengers. The 2010’s decade had nine airplane hijackings, down from sixty in the 1970’s.

Response to Mass Casualty Attacks

The sheer scale of the attacks on civilians in the streets and office buildings of U.S. were beyond standard emergency protocols. America had waged wars abroad, but the scale of the terrorism against ordinary people going to work overwhelmed the local emergency response teams.

America turned to Israel for assistance, which had long been forced to respond to Palestinian Arab terrorists killing civilians in the streets.

In early September 2003, two years after the attacks on the United States, New York City hosted a major symposium on the medical response to mass casualty attacks. One of the speakers was Rabbi Dr. David Applebaum who flew to New York City from Jerusalem, Israel to address the audience. Dr. Applebaum was the head of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s Department of Emergency Medicine and was often the first responder at the scene of terrorist attacks. He was well recognized for developing innovative methods for handling emergency situations and tracking patients, introducing time- and life-saving techniques.

Dr. Applebaum flew back to Jerusalem a few days before the end of the symposium for his daughter, Nava’s wedding. The night before the wedding, on September 9, he took his 20-year old daughter out for a late dinner and a father-daughter talk. A Palestinian Arab walked into Cafe Hillel where they sat and blew up the restaurant, killing Dr. Applebaum, his daughter and five other diners ranging in age from 22 to 52. The Palestinian political party and terrorist group Hamas claimed responsibility.

Rabbi Dr. David Applebaum and daughter Nava

Israel and the United States have been the victims of terrorism for decades and continue to come under attack. They will continue to fight the scourge of hatred together.

Related First One Through articles:

Israel Lends a Hand, Again

Jared Kushner’s Parents Donate $20 million to the First Hospital Likely to Win the Nobel Peace Prize

Hamas Charter, Chapter and Verse. #16

Related First One Through video:

US and Israel Are There for Each Other (music by Michael Jackson)

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WHY The Progressive Assault on Israel

On February 10, 2019, New York Times opinion writer Bret Stephens posted an article about the dangers of the Democratic Party moving sharply to the left and adopting anti-Israel positions. He used considerable ink to refute the claims of progressives that Israel is an apartheid state and generally debunked the various arguments made against Israel.

But he never touched upon WHY progressives are suddenly so ready to condemn Israel when they weren’t a decade ago. Stephens mentioned the relatively new “intersectionality” concept in which the suffering of one group is the suffering and common cause of all groups, but he offered no reasons why Israel alone was the celebrated cause of the alt-left (for example, no group attacks Iran for hanging gays in the street, Turkey for occupying northern Cyprus, Switzerland for banning minarets at mosques or Belgium banning kosher and halal meat) and why these progressives feel so comfortable cozying up to anti-Semites like Louis Farrakhan.

WHY only Israel versus other countries in the world and WHY now as opposed to ten years ago?


Underdogma is the notion that the downtrodden are always the victims. Not only is the cause of the powerless always right, but their actions must always be excused. Black progressives can easily defend Louis Farrakhan because he is considered powerless; he is punching up in society on behalf of poorly performing Black people. Similarly, Palestinian Arabs who rape and kill 19-year old Jewish girls in Israel are not cast as terrorists, as the Palestinian Arabs are stateless.

This is a point made by Bret Stephens and Matti Friedman. Israel is viewed as the bigger and more powerful party if one views the situation very narrowly, namely the State of Israel with a strong military, against the Palestinian Arabs without either a state or army. The Arab-Israel Conflict has become a narrower Palestinian-Israeli Conflict for progressives. However, if one viewed the situation more broadly, it is easy to see a single Jewish State dwarfed by dozens of Muslim countries, an Israeli Jewish population outnumbered 100-to-1 by Muslims, and Israel standing alone at the United Nations where 30 countries still refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Jewish State.

The Jewish State is very small, but it looms large and powerful for progressives.


Part of the Israeli – and Jewish – problem for progressives is specifically about proportionality. It is not only that the Jewish State appears too big in their narrow focus, it is too powerful based on the raw number of Jews globally.

Progressives want positions of power to reflect the demographics of society. With a Jewish population of less than 15 million in a global population of 7.8 billion, why should a people with 0.2% of the population have any country at all? Perhaps if there were 500 countries instead of the less than 200, progressives might be more sympathetic. Instead, this slice of the global population presents like elites, with a thriving economy and powerful military. Worse, it has these attributes abutting people who are poor and without self determination.

The Jewish State doesn’t look like an oppressed minority success story for progressives. Israel looks like “the 0.1 percent” with a disproportionate share of land and resources.  Progressives attacking these (coincidentally) Jewish one-percenters is as natural as attacking the (also coincidentally) Jewish bankers and real estate owners.

Narrative of Emotions versus Facts

Adding fuel to the fire for progressives to attack the Jewish State is the evolving philosophy which has caught hold in the far left. Progressives have advanced the notion that emotions are not only real, they are perhaps more relevant than facts. Such approach allows them to shut down debate and discussion if they feel under attack from “microaggressions,” a term coined in the 1970’s which has infected college campuses and left-wing groups today.

The counter-factual Palestinian narrative now has a natural audience in the far left. Jewish history in the holy land can comfortably be erased such as the fact the Jerusalem has been majority Jewish since the 1860’s, with the charge that Jews are changing the Muslim “character” of the city using the ominous language of gentrification. Thousands of years of Jewish history evaporate as Jews are transformed into “colonialists” seeking to expel and subjugate the indigenous Arab population and continue to steal “Palestinian land.

Falsehoods do not matter. Fighting emotional perceptions with facts as Bret Stephens did is a debate using different bases. When progressives embrace non-factual emotions of feeling wronged, is the best method of countering it using facts, fact-based emotions or non-fact based emotions? Are Israelis forced to only talk about the pain of antisemitism and the Holocaust (fact-based emotions) or conjure up something new (what can really be worse than the Holocaust to dream up? That Palestinians harvest Jewish organs like the Arabs claim Jews do?)

Progressives demand no rebuttal, just a focus on the raw emotions of those in a disadvantaged state. The tacit conclusion is that to forge a peaceful coexistence, the outrageous lies should be ignored and/or considered as though they contain morsels of truth. Pretend that Arabs did not begin to arrive in the Jewish holy land in the Muslim invasion of the seventh and eighth centuries but are descendants of biblical Canaanites. Consider that the Palestinian Arabs did not try to destroy Israel in 1948 and 1967 but were arbitrarily expelled. Honor their counter-factual emotions. Do more than shut up as the stronger party, take steps to address their pain. To do less is cruelty.

The Masses Make History

One upon a time, history was written by the victor. In modern times it is re-written by the 99.8% with smartphones and social media accounts.

Jews have succumbed to raw power for thousands of years. Judaism was crushed by the power of the Catholic church which replaced the chosen people spiritually, and by the Moslems who replaced the Jews physically by taking over the Jewish holy land and building the Dome of the Rock atop their Jewish Temples. Both religions used the sword for execution and conversion, leaving Jews a paltry sum.

Today, Jews are falling to a new power: the stories, emotional narratives written by the masses. When feelings trump facts, billions of people will be drawn to compelling narratives such as a modern day David-versus-Goliath story and will love the irony of the Jew now being slayed as the Giant. Israelis are called Nazis without consideration of the deep antisemitism of the charge. Why pause to ponder, when it completes the chapter with a curious twist, and absolves the world from its role in the Jewish genocide as it shows that all people are just as evil when they obtain too much power.

Rip power from the elites, flatten society and distribute power equally is the logical conclusion say today’s socialists / Democratic Socialists. The stories secure alt-left converts with absolution, reward and righteous smugness. Empathy can be contagious: post it online and share it with friends. Take it to the streets. It doesn’t matter that the original whisperers came from Iran or Russia, when the emotions feel so real.

Why Progressives Attack Israel Today

In short, why now and why Israel:

  • It is laudable to attack the powerful. In the past, progressives wanted to empower the weak with programs like affirmative action. Now they want to pull down the powerful. It is no longer about making sure people do not live in poverty but to focus on the “gaps” in society including wealth and income. It is much easier to strip the elites than to build a long-term sustainable economy.
  • The alt-left believes Jews and the Jewish State are disproportionately powerful. Israel’s recent battles of 2008, 2012 and 2014 were with Gaza, a small impoverished strip of land, and not with the broader Arab world as in the early days of the state. Israel’s economy sailed through the global financial meltdown of 2008-9 and continues to have multi-billion dollar IPOs and sales of its flourishing technology and biotech industries. Progressives see elitists, not a minority success story.
  • Israel abandoned early socialism in favor of capitalism. Israel’s early days were scrappy and agrarian, working the land in collective kibbutzes. The left-wing Labor party dominated the political landscape for decades from its founding days. But the country pivoted to the right and the champion of privatizing the Israeli economy, Benjamin Netanyahu, has become the longest serving prime minister in Israeli history. For the alt-left, the right cannot be right: Israel’s success must have come from theft, corruption and abuse. The fact that Netanyahu is being charged with the same is too rich for the left to ignore.
  • Perception of White European Colonial Patriarchy. Israel has long had white Ashkenazi male leaders with the exception of Golda Meir in the 1970’s, so Netanyahu is not a new phenomenon. But the objection to his background in the middle of a Middle East with Arab leaders is suddenly more offensive to Americans who had a Black president for eight years. The fact that the majority of Israeli Jews are Brown and Black from Arab and African countries is ignored or not known. The face of Israel is portrayed as one of colonialism, white privilege and the patriarchy, all unforgivable sins to the newly woke.
  • Jewish liberals give them cover. Democrats once had champions for the Jewish State like Scoop Jackson, Patrick Moynihan and Joe Lieberman and a strong Israel advocacy group like AIPAC. Today, new alt-left wing Jewish groups like J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace loudly lobby for policies against the Jewish State and donate and back politicians with anti-Israel views. They supported the Iran deal, the declaration of Jewish homes east of the Green Line as illegal, boycotting Jewish Israeli businesses, and were upset with the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem. When Jewish groups which claim to be “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace” aggressively push the US and UN to take actions against the Jewish State, it becomes easy for all progressives to endorse anti-Zionist views without appearing antisemitic.

Among Progressives, the past dozen years has seen the Arab-Israel Conflict shrink into the Besieged and Impoverished Gaza Strip-Israeli Army Conflict. There is no longer an antisemitic Hamas or Palestinian terrorists, just poor Arabs seeking self-determination in the face of a powerful and rich alt-right foreign entity. It is a story recast to elicit empathy.

Israel’s supporters on the right may get excellent scores on Middle Eastern history but fail to connect with the masses who are craving a story of empathy. Tyrion Lannister summed it up in the finale of Game of Thrones: “What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.” The alt-left gets it and has spun a tale which is being mainstreamed and going viral.

Israel is in a new war with progressives and it is clueless about how to confront it.

Sen. David Carlucci Clarifies Positions on Israel

In response to the First One Through article “Will a Reliable Pro Israel Congressional Seat Flip?” New York State Senator David Carlucci’s office reach out to clarify his positions on Israel.

  1. Carlucci co-sponsored New York’s anti-BDS bill. S2430 was introduced for the stated purpose of “prohibit[ing] New York State from contracting with corporations that are boycotting Israel.” The bill has passed the assembly and has not yet been delivered to Governor Cuomo for signature. This is of particular importance as the United Nations recently assembled a list of 112 companies doing business in Israeli territories which will become the basis for global boycott action.
  2. Opposes UN Security Council Resolution 2334. One of the last acts by the Obama Administration was to allow the United Nations Security Council to pass Resolution 2334 which declared Israel’s activities east of the 1949 Armistice Lines to be illegal. Carlucci said the resolution “is an obstacle peace and should be rescinded.
  3. Recognizes and Supports the 2004 Bush letter to Ariel Sharon. President George W Bush sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in April 2004 which specifically stated that final borders in a peace agreement would incorporate “existing major Israeli populations centers” and that in a two-state solution, “the settling of Palestinian refugees [would be] there, rather than in Israel.
  4. Redo UNRWA. Regarding the UN agency which handles Palestinian refugees, Carlucci said “UNRWA failed the Palestinians and the cause of peace.  A new strategy is required to address the humanitarian needs of Palestinians and securing a prosperous future. Meaningful and sustainable investments in Palestinian society and realistic goals for a reinvigorated peace process are essential to bringing stability and growth to the Middle East.
  5. Supports the Taylor Force Act. The Taylor Force Act was designed to condition financial support to the Palestinians on their ceasing to support terror against Americans and Israelis, including paying stipends through the Palestinian Authority Martyr’s Fund to individuals who commit acts of terrorism and to the families of deceased terrorists.
  6. Opposed the Iranian nuclear deal. Carlucci stated “I oppose re-entering the Iran Nuclear Deal of 2015 for many reasons, including  most concerning is that it did not stop Iran’s path to nuclear weapons, it did not address Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism, it lacked inspections at military sites, it allowed Iran to continue its research into what could lead to the development of weapons of mass destruction, and it did not prohibit development of ballistic missiles.  Now that we have been removed from the Iran deal, we must restart negotiations as soon as possible with the goal being that Iran never get control of nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction.  These new negotiations must have these parameters in place to guide a productive resolution.

Sen. Carlucci also added that he supports “a secure Israel to protect our ally and Israeli lives” and will vote to supply Israel with the funding needed to defend itself against nations that want to do it harm. 

Significantly, he wants to ensure that Israel is not politicized and that both parties should be involved in the comprehensive work to support a two-state solution. 

New York State Senator David Carlucci

Related First One Through articles:

Ever-Elections, Never-Elections and Controlling Elections

Considering Carter’s 1978 Letter Claiming Settlements Are Illegal

American Jewry is Right on Israel

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Adam Schleifer Shares His Positions on Israel

Adam Schleifer is running for Congress in New York’s 17th District.

In response to the First One Through article posted on June 5 about the Israel positions of the various Democrats competing for Nita Lowey’s seat, Schleifer’s team updated the candidate’s website with a section called “Strong, Sustainable US-Israel Relationship.” The section contained over 1,000 words and covered Schleifer’s Jewish background, the benefits to America from its relationship with Israel, thoughts about peace in the region and analysis of how best to deal with Iran and its threat to the region.

Schleifer also spoke with me directly about his positions on Israel which are shared in a condensed, summarized fashion below.

First One Through: Question on Jerusalem: As recently as 2008, the Democratic platform stated “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel.” The statement was contested at the Democratic convention floor of 2012 but approved. In 2016, President Obama let a United Nations Security Council resolution pass which declared that Israel’s control of the eastern half of Jerusalem was “illegal.” However, President Trump later recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy there. What is your position about the city? Would you move the US embassy out of Jerusalem or change the recognition of the city?

Adam Schleifer: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. While I am not the president, I will take no action to undue the recognition of Jerusalem nor would I move the US embassy from the city.

FOT: Borders: President George W Bush wrote a letter to Ariel Sharon in 2004 that stated “it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.” Virtually identical language was used in the official Democratic platform of 2008 only to be removed under Obama’s presidential tenure. For his part, Trump stated that “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.” What do you think should be the basis for the borders and how does it impact your view of Israelis living east of the Green Line?

AS: I will not dictate or opine where the borders should be. The goal of America should be to get two parties [Israel and the Palestinians] to start negotiating with each other. They need to figure out out a number of details about how to exchange various parcels of land, and how to accommodate the demographic realities of various areas versus the legal claims to the same, including how to get the disconnected occupied territories to become connected by a transit route.

Right now we don’t have good parties in the mix. Arafat walked away from a historic opportunity in 2000 (I was in DC watching with sadness as the deal unraveled) and Hamas is terrible and not a partner for peace. I won’t get into whether I think Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is a good guy or not; that’s not our role. We just need to be constructive in getting the parties talking.

The reality is that under international law most legal opinions conclude that the territories are “occupied” in violation of that law, whatever the historical, moral and practical realities of the situation. It’s also true that the Israeli government’s actions of building settlements in far out places and areas that are almost certain to conflict with an orderly peace process and is a recipe for difficulty both for the Palestinians and Israel to ultimately dismantle.

FOT: Palestinian State: The UN Declaration of Human Rights states that all people should have self-determination, however, the UN declared that Palestinians also have a unique “inalienable right” to sovereignty, a sentiment that no other people in the world have. Do you believe that Palestinians have such inalienable right to have their own country, or just citizenship in some country, whether their own, Israel, Jordan or Egypt?

AS: That is not a useful question. The Palestinians operate and view themselves as having a unique culture and desire an independent state. The reality is that that aspiration will need to be accommodated as a pragmatic matter for a sustainable solution. Many other people similarly have aspirations for statehood, though, and one particularly legitimate additional example in the middle east appears to be the Kurds, who we have failed to stand by after they stood by us, and we should work to see them at least have autonomous regions permitting self-rule and determination of some form.

FOT: UNRWA: Refugees from around the world are managed by the UNHCR, taking care of over 60 million people fleeing war-torn areas, forced to resettle, build shelter and schools. Meanwhile, a distinct UNRWA handles grandchildren of Palestinian refugees who have a long-established infrastructure. UNRWA has bloated itself to provide services for people who are not even descendants of refugees and has arbitrarily extended its mandate to run until the establishment of a Palestinian State, rather than getting these descendants resettled. Do you think UNRWA should be dissolved or folded into the UNHCR?

AS: I have no opinion and would need to explore the issue further. It is clear that the UN has a very troubling double standard for all things related to Israel. Consider the UN Human Rights Committee which condemns Israel while ignoring the brutality of Libya, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Sudan.

FOT: USA as Moderator: Do you believe that the US should be the sole mediator of the peace process or should it be part of the “Quartet” of the European Union, UN and Russia? How should the America’s role change in situations of it acting alone or in concert with others?

AS: The United States is now viewed as weak and ineffective on the world stage because of the current president. I am a big believer of multi-lateralism and will take the UN involvement whenever we can get it. It will lead to reigning in regional chaos and injustice.

The current president of the US unduly relies on personal relationships to manage foreign policy, but such approach cannot endure beyond his tenure. We need to map out policies beyond the particular individuals. We are in a situation now where the US has no credibility and to be effective, you have to have credibility.

Being effective also means being honest. When it comes to Israel, America is a strong friend but being a friend doesn’t always mean being a non-critical friend.

We need to include other parties as part of the peace process and be an honest credible moderator to the parties.

FOT: Iran: What do you think of Iran and the Iranian nuclear deal and the withdrawal from it? 

AS: The U.S. cannot allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. It is a malignant autocratic regime. We cannot allow such an autocratic regime to arm themselves. We need to drive a hard bargain for a new and better deal.

More so, the U.S. must get the whole world to empower the people of Iran. Through various means, the U.S. should push for hard sanctions to pressure the regime to make real change towards the rule of law.

FOT: Antisemitism: How do you plan on fighting antisemitism?

AS: Antisemitism is a thread that unites extremists around the world. All forms of extremism are inherently dangerous. In France they self-define as left-wing and in Poland and Hungary they self-define as far right. They are united only in antisemitism.

Education is key to fighting the hatred. Holocaust education is critical, as are instituting new laws like the Hate Crime Prevention Act. We need to be creative with actively fighting against all kinds of antisemitic attacks.

It is worth reviewing Schleifer’s prepared AIPAC remarks which are now on his website.

Adam Schleifer on a trip in Israel

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Will A Reliable Pro-Israel Congressional Seat Flip?

Congresswoman Nita Lowey has served in the United States Congress for several decades. Representing New York’s 17th District covering Lower Westchester County and all of Rockland County, Lowey has been and consistent supporter of Israel since she entered Congress in 1989. Now, at age 82, she is retiring.

A long list of Democrats are lining up to compete for her seat. Almost all are quite to the left of Lowey politically, unabashedly “progressive” with the exception of David Carlucci. The candidates’ records and statements on Israel have been quite mixed as well. Below is a summary.

First, the Pro-Israel and Anti-antisemitism candidates: Buchwald and Carlucci

David Buchwald

David Buchwald, 41, is the most aggressively pro-Israel candidate among the Democrats.

He fought actively against the Iran nuclear deal as it left Iran’s pathway to nuclear weapons intact. He co-sponsored the anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) bill in the New York State Assembly and notably supported President Trump’s declaration that “the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.

Moreover, Buchwald has stated that U.S. military aid to Israel cannot be used “as a bargaining chip” to pressure Israel into making decisions which it feels undermines its security.

New York State Assemblyman David Buchwald

Justin Brasch, a member of White Plains City Council said that “David is by far the most pro-Israel candidate by every measure. He also is the most vocal against Iran due to their support of global terror and the terrorist group Hezbollah.

Buchwald’s full position paper on Israel is here.

David Carlucci

David Carlucci, 39, is a New York State Senator with an Italian father and Jewish mother. He is probably best known for working across the aisle with Republicans in New York State government for years, often making him an outsider with the current Democratic party pushing to the far left.

Carlucci has been active fighting antisemitism, including introducing the Social Media Hate Speech Accountability Act after Jews in Monsey (in Rockland County) were attacked during Channukah, and a bill that would categorize graffitiing as a hate crime if it targets a person’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation. He was particularly appalled by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio calling out the Chasidic community during the pandemic.

Regarding Israel, he is in favor of a two-state solution. He co-sponsored the anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) bill in the New York State Senate and notably supported the decision to move Israel’s capital to Jerusalem. He was critical of a letter sent by Democratic leaders to President Trump opposing Israel applying Israeli law to parts of Judea and Samaria. Like Buchwald, he is against any conditioning of aid to Israel.

In regards to the Iranian deal, Carlucci’s campaign office sent me the following to clarify his position:

“I oppose re-entering the Iran Nuclear Deal of 2015 for many reasons, including  most concerning is that it did not stop Iran’s path to nuclear weapons, it did not address Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism, it lacked inspections at military sites, it allowed Iran to continue its research into what could lead to the development of weapons of mass destruction, and it did not prohibit development of ballistic missiles.  Now that we have been removed from the Iran deal, we must restart negotiations as soon as possible with the goal being that Iran never get control of nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction.  These new negotiations must have these parameters in place to guide a productive resolution.”

Meh-Israel candidates: Farkas, Fine, Jones and Schleifer.

Evelyn Farkas

Evelyn Farkas, 52, is supported by J Street, a far-left group that was in favor of sanctioning Israel at the United Nations, labeling Jewish Israelis living east of the Green Line as “illegal settlers,” and the Iranian nuclear deal which gave the leading state sponsor of terrorism which calls for the destruction of Israel, a legal pathway to nuclear weapons.

Farkas worked in the Obama administration’s Defense department and has been endorsed by former Secretary of State John Kerry and US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shaprio.

Not surprisingly, Farkas’s positions on Israel are similar to the Obama administration: in favor of a two state solution and at odds with various Trump initiatives in the region.

Allison Fine

Allison Fine, 55, is also supported by J Street. She is far more left-wing than Farkas, having served as past chair of NARAL, a pro-abortion organization and also less sophisticated about international relations.

Fine views everything through a feminist lens, stating about her run for Lowey’s seat, “this is a woman’s seat and I think it should stay a woman’s seat.” Speaking in defense of the four progressive members of “the squad” who have been critical about Israel, she saidI think we need to support women once they are in office because the level of harassment that elected women receive is far larger than what men receive.

She has been happy to visit Israel several times and her website states “We must stand with the State of Israel and ensure both economic assistance and political support are never in question.

Mondaire Jones

Mondaire Jones, 33, is even more alt-left than Allison Fine, endorsed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Ayanna Pressley and others on the extreme fringe. Not surprisingly, he is also supported by J Street.

Jones viewed Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal as “great” and was strongly opposed to Trump’s withdrawal.

While his website states nothing about Israel, he worked with the Jewish Insider to post his position about the Jewish State. In it he states “I strongly oppose the building and expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.” He opposed Trump’s recognition of Israel’s capital in Jerusalem and believes the city should be divided by Israel and the Palestinians. He does, however, recognize that Hamas is a terrorist organization.

Adam Schleifer

Adam Schleifer, 38, has a background in law as a former US assistant attorney in California and NY State Consumer Protection Regulator. He is most famous for his parents – Leonard, who is the CEO of Regeneron, the Tarrytown-headquartered pharmaceutical giant and Harriet, President of the American Jewish Committee.

Schleifer doesn’t have much to say about Israel other than he disagrees with President Trump’s “style” and doesn’t believe it will create an enduring peace.

He is vocal about combating antisemitism, placing it in the number 7-of-12 slot on his policy goals.

For those people who want to see Nita Lowey’s seat remain in pro-Israel hands, there are really only two choices: David Buchwald and David Carlucci. Democratic primary date is June 23.

Related First One Through articles:

Liberal Senators Look to Funnel Money into Gaza

J Street is Only Considered “Pro-Israel” in Progressive Circles

Will the 2020 Democratic Platform Trash Israel?

The Insidious Jihad in America

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Schrodinger’s Cat and Oslo’s Egg

Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger developed a thought experiment in 1935 in which he tried to explain a situation of a cat existing in a dual state – both dead and alive – as a way of explaining quantum mechanics. In the experiment, a cat in a sealed box may or may not have been exposed to a poison and killed. Only when the box is lifted, is the cat revealed to be one of the two states. The example demonstrates the divide between reality inside the box which is only known to the cat and the two possible outcomes considered by the blind observer.

The situation of the Israeli-Arab Conflict can be viewed in such a manner, particularly regarding the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995.

Since the League of Nations (the precursor to the United Nations) supported the re-establishment of the Jewish homeland one hundred years ago, the Arab world fought to destroy it. From riots to wars to terrorist attacks, the surrounding Arab countries and Arab residents in Palestine took upon themselves a jihad to annihilate the Jewish State.

The Oslo Accords seemed to reverse that course. On its face, the Palestinians appeared willing to lay down their arms and accept the existence of Israel subject to a variety of terms. Israel signed the agreement and handed the newly created Palestinian Authority several cities to govern. Over the next five years, despite numerous terrorist attacks, the Israelis continued to try to forge a deal together with the assistance of the United States.

Details of the negotiations were kept under wraps, much like Schrodinger’s cat. The world was hopeful that the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs would be able to conclude a lasting peace agreement. To the outside observers, there was the open reality of Arabs killing Jews and a Hamas charter which completely rejected Israel’s existence but the active involvement of the Clinton administration made people hopeful that peace would emerge at the end of the five year interim agreement in September 2000.

However, Yasser Arafat was unhappy to not get every item he desired in the negotiations and launched the deadly Second Intifada, killing and maiming thousands of civilians. President Bill Clinton told Arafat that he missed the best peace deal the Palestinians would ever see and bemoaned “I’m a colossal failure, and you made me one.

Arafat smashed the covered Israeli dove egg before it was hatched.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, U.S. President Bill Clinton and PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat at Camp David, July 2000

The Arab League tried to put Humpty Dumpty together again and save the Palestinians from the scorn of the world. It put forth the Arab Peace Initiative (API) in 2002 which basically repeated the Palestinians demands, with the promise of the full recognition of Israel by the Arab and Muslim world. While Israel rejected those specific parameters, it began to take steps to give the Palestinians additional land once it secured assurances from the U.S. George W Bush administration in 2004 that it would not have to adhere to exact terms of the API.

U.S. President Barack Obama pivoted and put significant pressure on Israel towards the API once he took office in 2009. Under Secretary of State John Kerry, Israelis and the Palestinian Authority (PA) worked under secrecy through the Spring 2014 to try to arrive at a final settlement. The world waited to see if the Second Intifada and Gaza Wars of 2008 and 2012 were going to be shadows of the past, and the imagined Obama magic would render Humpty Dumpty viable again.

But it was not to be. The PA signed a unity government with the terrorist group Hamas and Israel refused to hand over the last batch of prisoners as part of “good faith” measures as Kerry had inserted murderers on the list. Within weeks, the situation rapidly devolved into an intense war in Gaza. This time, the Obama administration blamed the failure on Israel, and ultimately allowed a United Nations resolution to pass in the waning days of its administration labeling the West Bank as “Palestinian territory” which Israel illegally occupies.

Humpty Dumpty has now observed to be shattered and dead for the second time. The only change in 2014 from 2000 was the charge of the U.S. administration as to the cause for the failure, which fanned the flames of antisemitism throughout Europe during the 2014 war with Hamas.

The Trump administration recognized the results of the various failed peace initiatives and laid out a new road map to coexistence which more closely resembled the desires of America’s ally, Israel, rather than the API which parroted Palestinian demands. The Palestinians have refused to engage with the administration and no secret talks are enabling the imagination to ponder whether the possibility of peace is alive or dead.

Today, there is no Oslo egg in Schrodinger’s box waiting to be hatched, but a single reality for everyone to recognize.

Related First One Through articles:

Trump Reverses the Carter and Obama Anti-Israel UN Resolutions

The US Recognizes Israel’s Reality

The Shrapnel of Intent

Enduring Peace versus Peace Now

The Peace Proposal Monologues

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The Green Line Through Jerusalem

When the United Nations considered dividing Israel into an Arab State and a Jewish State in 1947, it sought to remove the contentious religious sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims into a distinct “corpus separatum” which would be under international control. The area of Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem was to become a “Holy Basin,” and a unique model from the nascent United Nations.

The Arabs rejected partition and five Arab armies invaded Israel. At wars end in 1949, armistice lines with Egypt, Syria and Jordan created new boundaries in the region. Jordan took control and soon annexed the area it seized, including three-quarters of the Holy Basin. The division for the Jordanian frontiers were marked in green and it became known as the “Green Line.”

The division of Jerusalem in the 1949 Armistice agreement between Israel and Jordan

The Israeli portion of the map was marked in blue and Israel applied sovereignty up to that line. The space between the blue and green lines was considered “no man’s land.”

The Jordanian side included the entirety of the Old City of Jerusalem. The line ran right along the western side of the city, including the Jaffa and New Gates up to the Damascus Gate. The Jordanians forbade Jews from living in, visiting or praying at their holy sites in the city.

The map above is from the United Nations and marks the city’s sacred locations. Note that even though the city is only considered the holiest for Jews, the Jewish locations are listed last. The holiest location, the Jewish Temple Mount, is not even marked as sacred to Jews. The Western Wall is marked as holy – to both Jews and Muslims.

The map lists the Christian holy places first and includes numerous locations including each station of the Cross. It lists but does not show the various sacred spots in Bethlehem.
Muslims have the fewest holy sites of the three monotheistic religions, but occupy the dominant platform of Jerusalem. Uniquely among the monotheistic faiths, Muslims have no sites subject to “the status quo” according to the map.

The only holy location on the Israeli side of the lines is the Tomb of David, curiously listed as the only site holy to all three religions.

The world’s vision of Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967 was a place dominated by Christianity in terms of reverence, by Muslims in regards to prominence, and lastly by Jews, whose holiest spot was not even acknowledged and their basic human rights to live and worship were ignored.

Jerusalem Day is a day to mark the upending of that dynamic, at least in part.

Related First One Through article:

The Dark Side of Jerusalem Day: Magnifying the Kotel and Minimizing the Temple Mount

The Arguments over Jerusalem

The UN’s #Alternative Facts about the 1967 Six Day War

“Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Here in United Jerusalem’s Jubilee Year

The Remarkable Tel Jerusalem

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

May 15 is Israel’s Neighbor Day

I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

Related First One Through video:

The anthem of Israel is JERUSALEM

The Green Line (music by The Kinks)

Judea and Samaria (music by Foo Fighters)

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For The New York Times, “From the River to the Sea” Is The Chant of Jewish and Christian Zealots

There has rarely been a pro-Palestinian march around the world without the chant “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be Free.” It is a chant for the destruction of the only Jewish State.

Pro-Palestinian protest in London

One sees the phrase on placards in Europe. One hears it in the streets of the United States.

It is the official charter of HAMAS, a terrorist organization and an official Palestinian political party, the ruling authority of Gaza.

The destruction of Israel has long been the desire of its neighbors since the state was re-established in 1948, prompting five Arab armies to invade the country to destroy it. Through wars, boycotts and terrorism, the craving has persisted in much of the Muslim world.

Yet the liberal media has decided to ignore the genocidal antisemitic intent of the chant. In Europe, the slogan is considered a pro-Palestinian anthem which has nothing to do with the destruction of Israel. In the United States, The New York Times is loathe to call any actions or comments by the Palestinians or their supporters as antisemitic.

So as Israel considers breaking the impasse in the region in which the Palestinian Authority refuses to negotiate with Israel and Hamas continues to attack Israel, it is remarkable to see The New York Times suddenly address the call “from the river to the sea” as a right-wing ISRAELI message.

On May 20, 2020, the paper published an article about acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas calling to cancel security agreements with Israel because Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for applying sovereignty to areas of the West Bank which were acknowledged by the PA to be under full-Israeli control in the 1995 Oslo Accords. The article wrote:

“With the peace talks non-existent for years, many right-wing Israelis have urged Mr. Netanyahu to extend sovereignty over the West Bank on ideological and religious grounds, believing the Jewish state should control the entire Holy Land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. Evangelical Christians who are key supporters of President Trump have also backed the effort.”

The article failed to mention that the Israeli government gave much of the “West Bank” to the Palestinians in 1996 despite repeated terrorist attacks. It did not mention that Israel gave Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005. The paper did not refer to the April 14, 2004 letter from US President George W Bush to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon which stated clearly:

“In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.”

Instead, the anti-Zionist paper called the application of sovereignty a move by religious radicals, not people who seek a secure Jewish State and an end to the stalemate.

The New York Times has been an apologist for radical Palestinian antisemitism for years. It has now re-branded the anti-Zionist chant “from the river to the sea” as a Zionist one, and newly cast it as the mantra of Jewish and Christian religious zealots.

Related New York Times articles:

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

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

The War Preferred

New York Times Grants Nobel Prize-in Waiting to Palestinian Arab Terrorist

The New York Times Refuses to Label Hamas a Terrorist Group

The Hebron Narratives: Is it the Presence of Jews or the Israeli Military

The Highbrow Anti-Semite

Examining Ilhan Omar’s Point About Muslim Antisemitism

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