While UNESCO Condemns Egalitarian Prayer at the Kotel, J Street Yawns

J Street has long opposed Israel’s control and administration of lands that it won in the defensive war against Jordan in 1967.

  • In 2011 it urged the Obama Administration to craft language with the United Nations that condemned Jewish “settlements” east of the Green Line (EGL/ the West Bank) – including in Jerusalem.
  • In 2014 it urged the United States to declare that Jewish settlements were “illegal under international law.
  • In 2016, J Street declared victory upon the UN Security Council’s passing of Resolution 2334 with the Obama Administrations help. J Street would take out a full page advertisement in the New York Times on January 5, 2017 thanking Obama for this action.

Did J Street mind that this same United Nations did not care much for the rights of Jews to pray at their holiest spot? Seemingly, not at all.

In October 2016, UNESCO approved a resolution condemning Israel for a wide range of violations in Jerusalem. One of these rebukes addressed the Israeli government’s attempt to create a place for pluralistic prayer along the Kotel.

“19. Deprecates the continuing Israeli unilateral measures and decisions regarding the Ascent to the Mughrabi Gate, including the latest works conducted at the Mughrabi Gate entrance in February 2015, the instalment of an umbrella at that entrance as well as the enforced creation of a new Jewish prayer platform south of the Mughrabi Ascent in Al-Buraq Plaza “Western Wall Plaza”, and the removal of the Islamic remains at the site, and reaffirms that no Israeli unilateral measures, shall be taken in conformity with its status and obligations under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict;”

The “new Jewish prayer platform” was being advanced by the Israeli government in collaboration with the non-Orthodox Jewish denominations to create a space for worship in an egalitarian fashion. As with all activities by Israel in Jerusalem – even the installment of an umbrella! (above) – the United Nations condemned Israel.

J Street was nonplussed.


The leader of J Street, Jeremy Ben Ami

In its statement addressing the October 2016 UNESCO resolution, J Street never mentioned the United Nations attack on the advancement of non-Orthodox prayer at the Kotel. Instead J Street argued for the United States to restore funding for UNESCO which has been withheld after the organization admitted “the State of Palestine” as a member.

J Street would eventually tackle the issue, with a statement in June 2017 condemning the Israeli government on the decision to suspend the creation of an expanded Jewish prayer platform for egalitarian prayer. J Street attacked “Ultra-Orthodox parties” for being behind the Israeli government’s move. It then urged its loyal liberal backers to distance themselves from the current Israeli government:

“The current [Israeli] government, dominated by the far-right of Israeli politics, has made clear that it is out of step with many of the core values, beliefs and interests of the vast majority of American Jews.”

J Street had moved from lobbying the far-left US Obama Administration to lobbying Americans to condemn the Israeli government.


J Street’s positions often seem at odds with itself. It aggressively pushed the US to label Israeli actions east of the Green Line as “illegal,” but then condemned the Israeli government for not taking actions at the Kotel in the Old City of Jerusalem, where it claimed that the Israeli government has no legal rights at all.

Does J Street believe that the Israeli government has authority to create a place for non-Orthodox prayer at the Kotel or not? If the government has no legal rights, then why condemn it? If J Street was so comfortable in stripping Israel’s authority at Judaism’s holiest site and giving it to the United Nations, then why not condemn the United Nations assault on pluralistic prayer?

J Street is a far-left fringe group that does not represent most Americans or most American Jews, yet it lobbied successfully to push the US Administration to adopt a damaging resolution on the world stage with far-reaching implications – for ISRAEL. At the same time, J Street attacked the “far-right” in Israel for lobbying successfully for actions – in ISRAEL. Which is more outrageous? A fringe group of Americans damaging Israel on the world stage, or a fringe group of Israelis lobbying for actions in their own country?


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The Religious Denominations Take on Diets

A Satire about Officiating at Intermarriages

 

In an effort to stay on top of current trends and remain relevant, the Reform Movement made a declaration about proper eating habits.

The head of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Nick Isaacs, noted that Americans were having a difficult time sticking with diets and often “cheated” leading to pangs of guilt. He said that those feelings of guilt could in turn lead to depression and further over-eating. “People should only feel guilt when they harm another living thing. It is nonsensical to have remorse for eating a cookie,” he said. “The Reform movement understands the very human nature of people and so declares that there is no distinction between a healthy diet and a non-healthy diet.” Isaacs went on to explain that his movement sought to obviate the negative sensation that ultimately pushes people further away from a healthy lifestyle. In his line of reasoning, removing any definition of what makes for a healthy lifestyle would thereby actually promote healthier living.

“And it’s really popular,” he added.

The Reform Movement is the largest denomination of American Jews and its latest proclamation is likely to attract more people, especially those that hate exercise.

Meanwhile the Orthodox movement – often the laggard of the three religious  denominations – felt compelled to issue its own statement in response to URJ’s Non-Diet Diet. The Orthodox Union wrote “Orthodox Judaism is rooted in rules and tradition that have been core to our beliefs and practices for generations. A healthy diet consists of eating properly and exercise.”

Really? Amongst the chulent chow-hounds?

Rabbi Isaacs ridiculed OU’s statement, noting the rigidity of their position. “Orthodox Jews will remain a small niche movement of extremists until they realize that people have a range of desires. Pretending otherwise is foolishness.”

“And they’re so fat too. They never exercise. They’ve adopted an immovable position that makes them both self-righteous and self-loathing. How is that really healthy?”

The OU would not formally respond to Rabbi Isaacs. However, in response to this reporter’s question, all the OU would say is that “Judaism never said it isn’t a big world with lots of tasty treats, and busy schedules which make it difficut to exercise. All we said was that a healthy diet consists of eating properly and exercise. It doesn’t mean that some people don’t fall short.”

A noted author, David Horkis who identifies with the Conservative Movement noted the exchange between the Reform and Orthodox denominations, and added his own take on the direction of the Conservative Movement. “The Reform Movement is obsessed with numbers. It believes that its sole mission is to have as many members as possible. Stating that there is no such thing as a healthy diet is obviously ridicuolous, but the Orthodox take the opposite extreme, and leave no room for people acting like people. It’s too rigid. They [Orthodox] are going to be left with a bunch of fitness nuts who will probably have kids with eating disorders.”

“But I fear for my Conservative Movement as well,” Horkis said. ”We have been so focused on a pathway of balance, of trying to maintain a goldilocks equilibrium between strict rules and no rules. I fear that the recent actions of a few Conservative rabbis proudly eating bowls of ice cream from the pulpit in a direct nod to the Reform movement will result in some absurd positions from the Rabbinical Assembly.”

Rabbi April Summer, head of the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly (RA) has been slow to wade into the diet debate. While she did not object to Horkis’s comments that Conservative Judaism sought a balance between tradition and popularity, she thought that chasing Reform’s position was crossing lines in the sand. “Our movement understands the reality of the science of the healthy diet and we understand the human desires to eat fatty foods and be lazy. Our focus is not demand complete obedience nor to sanction any-and-all behavior. Our goal is to focus on empathy, about the people struggling to have a healthy diet.”

Rabbi Summer said that the RA was not currently issuing an official position on the parameters of a healthy diet. Instead, it would issue a statement that it understood the challenges of people in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Horkis was none-too-pleased with that approach. “Is our denomination going to ever stand for something? Will we ever not cave in to our cravings? We’re stuck on not offending people. That’s become our mission statement.”

For their part, non-Jewish dieticians have been amused. “There are just a few million Jews on the planet, and they are caught up making declarations ranging from there’s no such thing as a diet; you must stick to a diet, and we feel for those trying to keep to a diet. They’ve got a lot of opinions for such a small community. And one thing is clear, 80% of the Reform movement will likely be overweight in short order.”

That’s not really much of a prediction; 71% of non-Orthodox Jews aleady are.


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In Defense of Foundation Principles

There are times when a Democracy recalls its seminal moments and rises to its defense. The US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley did just that in elegant fashion. Will other leaders do so as well?

Human Rights as Foundation of the USA

In 1776, the United States of America declared its independence from Great Britain. The US’s foundation principle laid out the argument that God gave people basic human rights and the primary role of government was to protect them. If the government could not do so, it no longer served its basic function and thereby lost its legitimacy and reason to exist.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

On June 6, 2017, almost 241 years later, Nikki Haley brought up America’s founding principle to the United Nations Human Rights Council in an effort to prod the global agency to live up to that mission that is dear to Americans.

My country has a unique beginning, founded on human rights, holding self-evident the truth that all men are created equal with rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Of course America did not invent these rights – God did. Simply by our birth, human beings are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. These rights belong to all of us. They are not the gift of any government. They cannot legitimately be taken away by any government.

The American idea is that government exists to serve the people, not the other way around. Government should secure our rights, not violate them.”


US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addressing the 
UN Human Rights Council June 6, 2017

Haley went on to admonish the global agency for neglecting its basic purpose of defending human rights by simply politicizing human rights:

“The Human Rights Council has been given a great responsibility. It has been charged with using the moral power of universal human rights to be the world’s advocate for the most vulnerable among us. Judged by this basic standard, the Human Rights Council has failed.

In case after case, it has been a forum for politics, hypocrisy, and evasion – not the forum for conscience that its founders envisioned. It has become a place for political manipulation, rather than the promotion of universal values. Those who cannot defend themselves turn to this Council for hope but are too often disappointed by inaction.

Once again, the world’s foremost human rights body has tarnished the cause of human rights. The United Nations must now act to reclaim the legitimacy of universal human dignity….This is a cause that is bigger than any one organization. If the Human Rights Council is going to be an organization we entrust to protect and promote human rights, it must change. If it fails to change, then we must pursue the advancement of human rights outside of the Council….In the end, no speech and no structural reforms will save the members of the Human Rights Council from themselves. If they continue to put politics ahead of human rights, they will continue to damage the cause that they supposedly serve.

Not everyone in the United States believes in God, but almost everyone still believes that people have a basic right to liberty and a pursuit of happiness. Some liberals – like former president Barack Obama – may mock fellow citizens that “cling to God and guns,” but they will still promote expanding the protection of liberties aggressively. On the other end of the political spectrum, conservative Americans may believe that ever-expanding government regulations impede personal liberties. All of these groups debate the tactics of defending human rights, but each believes in the foundation principle of the country of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the ultimate goal.

Holy Land as Foundation of Israel

Judaism is a unique religion in that it has a tie to a specific piece of land.

Laid out clearly and repeatedly throughout the Old Testament, God first promises the land of Canaan to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendant in Genesis, and then to the Children of Israel on their return from Egypt in the other four books of the Bible. The later prophets add a third chapter of the promise of the land: that Jews will return home to the land of Israel from their period of exile.

International law did not focus on God’s gift of the land of Israel for the Jewish people, but it recognized Jewish history and the rights of Jews to their homeland in 1920 and 1922.  It would take until 1948 for the Jewish State to be reborn, in just a portion of their homeland. Similar to the 1920 San Remo agreement and the 1922 Mandate of Palestine, Israel laid out its foundation principle in 1948 as based on history, not religion, in the Israeli declaration of independence:

The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.

After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.

Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses. Pioneers, defiant returnees, and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country’s inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood.

In the year 5657 (1897), at the summons of the spiritual father of the Jewish State, Theodore Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country.

This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of the 2nd November, 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in particular, gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Eretz-Israel and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home.”

These days, the United Nations has sought to undermine Israel’s foundation principle that it clearly understood a hundred years ago.

Several times in recent history, UNESCO has passed resolutions denying Jewish history in its holiest city of Jerusalem. In December 2016, UN Security Council denied that Jews have any legal rights to live east of the invisible 1949 Armistice Lines, including in Jerusalem.

It is not too dissimilar to Haley’s complaints about the pathetic actions at the United Nations. However, a stark difference is that all Americans know and defend America’s foundation principle, but many members of the Israeli government and population do not defend Israel’s foundation principle.

Consider that the Arab Joint List is the third largest political party in Israel’s 20th Knesset. One its members, Hanin Zoabi, has stated: “we threaten the Jewishness of the state. It’s true, but it’s not my problem, this is the problem of the racist definition of the state (of Israel) as a Jewish state… I do not represent the State of Israel nor do I speak for the State of Israel, but rather in the name of a struggle that performs the exact opposite of the role of the Israeli Knesset, according to its vision.

Other members of the Arab Joint List advocate against Israel, such as Ahmed Tibi who claimed that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, despite its stated goal of destroying Israel and killing hundreds of Israelis.

Another Arab MK in the Joint List, Masud Ganaim, has denied basic Jewish history, that the Jewish Temples existed on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, statinghistorically, religiously, it is a Muslim site, period. The State of Israel knows that Jews and Israel have no legitimacy to the site, except for their legitimacy as an occupier — a legitimacy (won) by force.

Many left-wing radical Jews welcome this negation of Israel’s foundation principle and Jewish history.

In November 2015, a group of left-wing radicals invited Zoabi to speak in Amsterdam in an event to commemorate Kristallnacht when Nazis killed Jews. They applauded her as she compared Israel’s policies to those of Nazis.

The liberal Israeli paper Haaretz hosted a conference in which it removed the Israeli flag because it offended some Arab speakers. One of the paper’s columnists said that Jews making aliyah, moving to Israel, is a crime as Jews have no rights to the land.

Left-wing extremists then continue to advance the cause of BDS – boycotting Israel – to the cheers of other members of the Joint List like Ayman Odeh. The circle of #FakeNews and hatred reinforces itself.


Nikki Haley is fully aware of the foundation principles of the United States and is not shy about taking her passion to the global stage. She knows that she has the support of Americans of all political leanings.

However, the situation in Israel is peculiarly dysfunctional. There are many Jews and members of the Israeli government that have politicized their emotions. In their desire to assist beleaguered Palestinian Arabs, they have attacked the fundamental underpinnings of Israel, that by right of history, Jews have an inalienable right to live as independent sovereign people throughout their homeland.

When Jews and many members of the Israeli government undermine the foundation principle of the Jewish State, how can it expect fair treatment on the global stage?

The poisonous venom of denying Jewish history and rights must end, as it corrodes the foundation of the state. It must be given no air. Starting at the Israeli government itself.

Anytime any member of Knesset denies basic facts of Jewish history, the government should label the comments as #FakeNews and begin to deny such MK speaking privileges in the Knesset. The Israeli government should also permanently install the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s exhibit “People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel,” in the Knesset lobby (that same exhibit which the Arab League successfully got UNESCO to cancel).

It is right and commendable that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes the floor of the United Nations to proudly review Jewish history in the Jewish homeland. It is time for him to do more in Israel itself.


Related First.One.Through articles:

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“Peace” According to Palestinian “Moderates”

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

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

The Countries that Acknowledge the Jewish Temple May Surprise You

Squeezing Zionism

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

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750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

There is a myth that has spread into every corner of the world that Jews are foreign transplants in the holy land, even in their holiest city of Jerusalem.

The lie has become so pervasive, that even people that believe that Jews lived in Jerusalem since King David took the city as a capital in 1000BCE, still imagine that virtually no Jews lived in the city from the time Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70CE until modern Zionism.

But Jews have had a continuous presence in Jerusalem since 1267. For 750 years.

From 70CE Until 1267

After the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, Jews became scattered throughout the holy land. Many moved to Yavne and points north of Jerusalem, while others left the land completely. But Jews continued to live in and around Jerusalem, and made three attempts to rebuild the Temple:

  • During the Bar Kochba Revolt (132-135), Jews believed that they would be able to evict the Romans and build a Third Temple. They failed in their attempt, and it was at that time that the Romans evicted the Jews from Jerusalem and renamed the city Aelia Capitolina.
  • On July 19, 362, a new Roman emperor Julian (the Apostate) had a softer approach to the Jews and announced “I shall endeavor with the utmost zeal to set up the Temple of the Most High God.” The Jews hired craftsmen and began the process of rebuilding the Temple, but the materials were destroyed in an earthquake on May 27, 363. When Julian came to the city on June 26, a Christian soldier killed him.
  • On May 21, 614, a Persian king named Khusrau (who was Zoroastrian) and his general Shahrbarz (the Royal Boar) came to Jerusalem to put down a Christian revolt. After he defeated them in three days, he deported 37,000 Christians to Persia and gave the city to the Jews. However, within three years, the Royal Boar concluded that the Christians were a more valuable ally and returned the city to the Christians.

The Arabs then came to the Holy Land and Jerusalem in 638, and the Muslim invasion ultimately led to battles with Christians from Europe. The Crusades ran from 1099 to 1250, with the Muslims generally allowing Jews to live in Jerusalem, while the Christians killed all non-Christians and banned them from the city while they ruled.

750 Years of Jews in Jerusalem

After the Ramban (1194-1270) won a religious disputation in Spain, he was forced to flee and went to the Holy Land. When he arrived in Jerusalem in 1267 he found only two Jews in the city out of a total of 2000 people (0.1% of the total Jerusalem population in 1267). He set up a synagogue there, which became the center of the Jewish Quarter.

Over the Mamluk period (1250 – 1517) there were reports of Jews ascending to the Temple Mount to pray, according to Rabbi Menachem Meiri (1249-1316) and Rabbi David ben Solomon Ibn Zimra, (known as the Radbaz, 1479–1573). In general, the city became more Islamic and run down. In 1405, the city had only grown to 6000 residents, of which 200 were Jewish (3% Jewish in 1405).

In 1553 Suleiman I came to Jerusalem and decided to fix up the city, including rebuilding the city walls that surround the Old City today. With his investment, the city grew to 16,000 people of which 2000 were Jews (12.5% Jewish in 1553). Not surprisingly, most were Sephardi Jews who had escaped the Spanish and Portuguese expulsions of 1492 and 1497, respectively.

Ashkenazi Jews from Europe and Russia tried to establish their presence as well. In 1694 the first Hurva synagogue was built in the Jewish Quarter, only to be burned down in 1720 when debts went unpaid.

When Napolean came to the holy land in 1799, he issued a “Proclamation to the Jews”:

“…the unique nation of Jews who have been deprived of the land of your fathers by thousands of years of lust for conquest and tyranny, Arise then with gladness, ye exiled, and take unto yourselves Israel’s patrimony. The young army has made Jerusalem my headquarters and will within a few days transfer to Damascus so you can remain there [in Jerusalem] as ruler.”

Napolean failed and the city fell into disrepair again by the 1820s.

Things changed significantly in the 1830s and 1840s, as blood libels came to Damascus, and Druze riots and earthquakes shook Tsfat and Tiberias bringing more Jews to Jerusalem. The Ottoman rulers allowed non-Muslim communities to renovate houses of worship, and four synagogues in the Jewish Quarter –Sephardic and Ashkenaz – were in service. Wealthy and influential British patrons began to focus on Jerusalem, including Moses Motefiore and Benjamin Disraeli, and tourists began to flow into the city – an estimated 10,000 per year in the 1850s – prompting the opening of the first hotels in the city. Montefiore financed the rebuilding of the Hurva Synagogue (opened 1856, only to be destroyed by the Jordanians in 1949).

At this point, the first permanent settlements outside of Jerusalem popped up in the 1860s. With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, trade emerged in earnest throughout the region, as the British invested further to connect Britain to its colony in India. The Jaffa-Jerusalem road (to the Jaffa Gate of the Old City) was paved leading to the faster growth of neighborhoods such as Nahalat Shiva (1869) and Me’a She’arim (1874).  In 1869, the estimated population of the city was 18,000, of which 9,000 were Jews (50% Jewish in 1869). Said differently, over 300 years of Muslim Ottoman rule from 1550s to 1860s, the Muslim population in Jerusalem declined from 14,000 to 9,000 (-36%) while the Jewish population of Jerusalem grew from 2,000 to 9,000 (+350%).

Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority continuously since 1869.

Modern Zionism

Theodore Herzl (1860-1904) is considered the founder of modern Zionism. He penned “The Jewish State” in 1896 and convened the First Zionist Congress in 1897. His efforts helped propel the reestablishment of the Jewish homeland in the Jewish holy land. It also helped advance the First Aliyah (1882-1903) of Jews from Russia.

But these events all came years after Jews were already an established majority in Jerusalem.

The city of Jerusalem became divided for the first time in its 4000 year history in 1948, when Arab armies invaded the nascent State of Israel. In 1950, the Jordanians annexed the western bank of the Jordan River all of the way through the Old City of Jerusalem, in a move that was not recognized by almost every country in the world (exceptions being Jordan itself, the United Kingdom and Pakistan). The Jordanian Arabs expelled all of the Jews from the lands they seized and awarded citizenship to everyone, while specifically excluding Jews. Jordan passed a land law that made it a capital offense for any Arab to sell land to a Jew (a law that the Palestinian Authority continues to keep in place).

However in June 1967, despite repeated warnings from Israel to not initiate hostilities, the Jordanians attacked Israel and lost all of the land they illegally annexed, including the eastern half of Jerusalem. Israel reunited the city and annexed it officially on July 30, 1980. The Jordanians finally gave up any claim to the “West Bank” in July 1988.


The Western Wall of the Jewish Temple Mount
Jerusalem, Israel

The acting-President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas stated that Israel is trying to “Judaize” Jerusalem, but Jerusalem has been majority Jewish for almost 150 years, has had a continuous Jewish presence for 750 years, and been the holiest city for Jews for 3000 years – even before the creation of Christianity or Islam. The Arabs’ illegal activities and anti-Semitic laws that removed Jews from the eastern part of Jerusalem for 19 years never had any legal validity, nor the power to erase history.


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The Arguments over Jerusalem

The Battle for Jerusalem

Jerusalem, and a review of the sad state of divided capitals in the world

Heritage, Property and Sovereignty in the Holy Land

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Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

I went to see the new play Oslo at Lincoln Center in New York City. It is always a fun New York moment when people in the news – in this case Joe Lieberman who just withdrew from a potential job at the FBI – are in line with you to enjoy the many great activities that the vibrant city has to offer.

The show was quite good. It relayed the behind-the-scenes activities that brought the Oslo Accords of 1993 into being. It tried to be balanced to the narratives of both Israelis and Palestinian Arabs, while not getting into a debate about particular issues. The emphasis was much more on the process, than the merits of either sides’ arguments.

The balance made me recall one of the statements that came out of the Oslo accords:

REAFFIRMING their determination to put an end to decades of confrontation and to live in peaceful coexistence, mutual dignity and security, while recognizing their mutual legitimate and political rights;”

It is a concept that has lost meaning regarding Israel today.

Security

Over the eight years of the previous presidential administration, Barack Obama repeatedly boasted about his bona fides regarding Israel because he had “Israel’s back” when it came to matters of security. He helped fund the Iron Dome defense shield. He shared a lot of intelligence about security threats. He signed a new $38 billion military aid package.

Obama assumed that by focusing on Israel’s need for security, he could abuse the dignity of its leader and country.

Obama felt that he could solely focus on Palestinian Arab dignity and Israeli security. In doing so, he abused the Jewish State and has helped lead to a twisted “progressive” approach to Israel which denies Israel its dignity today.

Dignity

Much of the reason that Israelis have warmly embraced the new US President Donald Trump is that they believe that he will not only focus on Israeli security, but on its dignity as well.

 

Donald Trump at the Western Wall
May 22, 2017

Trump was the first sitting US president to ever visit the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, a sacred site for Jews. And when he spoke to a crowd at the Israel Museum, he spoke of “dignity” four times:

  • “Today, gathered with friends, I call upon all people — Jews, Christians, Muslims, and every faith, every tribe, every creed — to draw inspiration from this ancient city, to set aside our sectarian differences, to overcome oppression and hatred, and to give all children the freedom and hope and dignity written into our souls.”
  •  “There are those who present a false choice.  They say that we must choose between supporting Israel and supporting Arab and Muslim nations in the region.  That is completely wrong.  All decent people want to live in peace, and all humanity is threatened by the evils of terrorism.  Diverse nations can unite around the goal of protecting innocent life, upholding human dignity, and promoting peace and stability in the region.”
  • “But even as we strengthen our partnership in practice, let us always remember our highest ideals.  Let us never forget that the bond between our two nations is woven together in the hearts of our people, and their love of freedom, hope, and dignity for every man and every woman.  Let us dream of a future where Jewish, Muslim, and Christian children can grow up together and live together in trust, harmony, tolerance, and respect.”
  • “Today, in Jerusalem, we pray and we hope that children around the world will be able to live without fear, to dream without limits, and to prosper without violence.  I ask this land of promise to join me to fight our common enemies, to pursue our shared values, and to protect the dignity of every child of God.”

The Jewish State demands more than security. It demands dignity that has been denied it around the world.

  • At the United Nations under Ban Ki Moon, where the nations of the world stood silent while Iran threatened to wipe Israel off the map and lambasted the Jewish State more than every country in the world combined.
  • In Europe, where the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanction) movement has taken hold, even though no other country with a territorial dispute is subject to such actions.
  • In the US “progressive” camp today, where “activists” like Linda Sarsour can be lauded by Democratic senators and given honors at universities, even after she extolled terrorists that killed innocent Jews and berated feminist Zionists.

It is time for both Israel and Jews to demand their dignity again. Especially on the 50th anniversary of the defeat of the Arab nations that sought to annihilate every Jew in its small homeland.

Aside from the terrible negotiation tactics utilized by Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry in foreign affairs, he ignored a basic decency: the dignity of Israel and the Jewish people. It is time to bring it back to the fore.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Here in United Jerusalem’s Jubilee Year

It’s the Temple Mount, Not the Western Wall

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

What’s “Outrageous” for the United Nations

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

Joint Prayer: The Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount

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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.


Related First.One.Through articles:

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

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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

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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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Every Picture Tells a Story: Anti-Semitism

The Every Picture Tells a Story series in FirstOneThrough compares the use of photographs and captions in the major US newspapers. It demonstrates time-and-again how a liberal paper like The New York Times advances a Palestinian Arab narrative over an Israeli narrative, even in the use of pictures.

It would appear that the Times prefers to bury stories of anti-Semitism as well.

On February 22, 2017, the major papers reviewed the toppling of roughly 200 headstones in a cemetery in St. Louis, MO. The conservative paper, The Wall Street Journal, was clear about both the significance of the event as well as the target of the attack: Jews.

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Cover page of the WSJ February 22, 2017

The paper printed a large color photograph on the top of its front page with a heading: “President Denounces Weekend of ‘Hate and Prejudice and Evil.” The caption of the photo read: “DESECRATION: Headstones were toppled in a Jewish cemetery over the weekend in University City, Mo. President Donald Trump on Tuesday denounced anti-Semitism, after calls for him to address the vandalism and bomb threats against Jewish community centers.

The WSJ ran a story on page A4 which included another colored picture.

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WSJ Page A4 on February 22, 2017

The caption read: “Jewish headstones that were toppled over the weekend were being put back Tuesday at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in Missouri.” As with the front page picture, the caption of the picture was clear that Jews were targeted in the hate crime.

That was in sharp contrast to the coverage in The New York Times.

20170223_052156

NYT Page A13 on February 22, 2017

The New York Times did not give the story any prominence. There was neither a cover story nor picture. However, back on page A13, there was a medium-sized black-and-white picture with an innocuous caption: “Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, Mo., where nearly 200 graves were vandalized.” The caption did not mention Jews or anti-Semitism.

The New York Times has a long history of picking on Israel, including targeting its leadership and policies.  The paper often minimized stories of anti-Semitism in Europe when it was tied to Israel fighting hostile neighbors. But now, as it continues to minimize stories of anti-Semitism in the United States, the Times is making more clear that the target of its bias is not Israeli policy, but Jews and the Jewish State.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Every Picture Tells a Story: Arab Injuries over Jewish Deaths

Every Picture Tells a Story: Goodbye Peres

Every Picture Tells a Story: Versions of Reality

Every Picture Tells A Story: Only Palestinians are Victims

Every Picture Tells a Story: The Invisible Murdered Israelis

Every Picture Tells a Story, the Bibi Monster

Stories on New York Times minimizing anti-Semitism:

“An anti-Semitic Tinge”

“Tinge” Two. Idioms for Idiots

New York Times’ Small Anti-Semitism

New York Times Finds Racism When it Wants

NY Times Discolors Hate Crimes

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The Palestinian’s Three Denials

In September 1967, the Arab States put forward the Khartoum Resolution in the wake of their defeat in the June 1967 Six Day War with Israel. The resolution set down their intransigence in accepting the nation of Israel with a call of “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it,” in a policy that would stymie any chance of peace in the region for decades. It became known as “the Three No’s.”

Today, the Palestinian Arabs have adopted their own version of the policy which can be called “The Three Denials”: deny the history of the Jews; deny the rights of the Jews; deny the acceptance of the Jews.

It will similarly block any chance for peace in the region.

Deny the History of the Jews

There was once a time when the Arab world accepted the basic history of the Jews in the holy land. In 1925, the Supreme Muslim Council published a guidebook for the Temple Mount which clearly identified the place as the location of the Jewish Temples.

“The site is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest times.

Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.”

al-haramal-sharif-cover150best

However, the acting president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas somehow came to the conclusion that acknowledging Jewish history in Jerusalem would undermine the claim that the site is purely a Muslim holy site. As such, he repeatedly charged that Israel is trying to “Judaize” Jerusalem. He asserted that Israel is getting rid of “the Arab character of the city.” He was recently successful in putting forward resolutions before the United Nations that referred to the Temple Mount in Islamic terms that denied any connection of Jews. So when the new UN Security General Antonio Guterres clearly stated that “it is completely clear that the Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple,” the Palestinians went crazy and demanded an apology.

Perhaps revisionist history should not come as a surprise, as Abbas wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial.

Deny the Rights of the Jews

The follow up to the denial of Jewish history in their holy land is to deny Jews the rights to live there.

Abbas stood at the UN General Assembly and claimed that Israel is “colonizing” Arab land. He claimed that Jews first began to colonize Palestine with the British declaration of the Balfour Declaration in 1917. He has now demanded an apology from the United Kingdom and for it to “bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibility for the consequences of this declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people.” Abbas has stated that the colonization continues post-1967, as Israel seized additional Palestinian land in the 1967 war.

To Abbas, it has always been Palestinian land, so Jews have no rights to any part of it.

As such, Abbas has called for a new Palestinian country to be free of any Jews. He has retained a Jordanian law that condemned to death any person selling land to Jews, and was able to get former US President Barack Obama to agree that Jews should not be allowed to live in “Palestinian Land.” A sorry note in US-Israel relations.

Beyond the rights of living in the land, Arabs have denied the basic rights of Jewish access to their holy places.

The Jordanians evicted all Jews from the West Bank and Jerusalem after they illegally annexed the land in 1950 in a move that was not recognized by the world. They denied Jews any visitation rights into Jerusalem, just as they denied Jewish rights to visit the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron. Abbas has similarly called for Jews to be expelled from the Jewish Temple Mount and Jerusalem today.

Deny the Acceptance of Jews

Abbas has stated that he will never recognize Israel as a Jewish State. The declaration received support from the Arab States:

“The council of the Arab League confirms its support for the Palestinian leadership in its effort to end the Israeli occupation over Palestinian lands, and emphasizes its rejection of recognizing Israel as a ‘Jewish state’.”

Foreign ministers of the Arab League countries meet in Cairo March, 9, 2014. The Arab League on Sunday endorsed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's rejection of Israel's demand for recognition as a Jewish state, as U.S.-backed peace talks approach a deadline next month. The United States want Abbas to make the concession as part of efforts to reach a "framework agreement" and extend the talks aimed at settling the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. REUTERS/Stringer (EGYPT - Tags: POLITICS)

Foreign ministers of the Arab League countries meet in Cairo March, 9, 2014. The Arab League on Sunday endorsed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s rejection of Israel’s demand for recognition as a Jewish state, as U.S.-backed peace talks approach a deadline next month. The United States want Abbas to make the concession as part of efforts to reach a “framework agreement” and extend the talks aimed at settling the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. REUTERS/Stringer (EGYPT – Tags: POLITICS)

So much for the principle of two states for two people. The Palestinians – at best – are seeking one state that is 100% Arab and second state that is a mix Arab and Jewish, with no preferences for Jews at all.

The Global Response

The world seemed to understand the Arab States “3 No’s” in 1967, and would soon push forward a “Zionism is racism” resolution at the United Nations. It would take many years for that resolution to be rescinded, and for some Arab states to begin to make peace with Israel.

For many years the United States under Obama and the United Nations under UNSG Ban Ki Moon also seemed to endorse the “3 Denials” of the Palestinian Arabs. The UN routinely passed resolutions which inverted facts regarding rights and access to holy places and disregarded the history of Jews in the holy land. Obama endorsed the #AlternativeFacts as well.

Not surprisingly, the region went backwards. Three wars against Israel from Gaza and wars spreading throughout the region under the watch of inept leadership. The responses from Ban Ki Moon and Obama? That they stood with Gaza and sought the inclusion of the terrorist group Hamas into a joint Palestinian leadership.

However, there is now a new president in the United States, and a new Secretary General at the United Nations. Antonio Guterres showed that he will not deny the history of Jews in Israel in an attempt to appease the anti-Semitic Palestinian Arabs. Hopefully, but he and President Trump will break “The 3 Denials” of the Palestinians and advance peace in the region.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

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

Real and Imagined Laws of Living in Silwan

Video of UNSG Guterres on Holocaust Remembrance Day

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An Orthodox Rabbi at the Capitol

It has been several decades since any rabbi delivered a prayer at a presidential inauguration, the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan in 1985 being the last one. In Reagan’s and each of the prior events, the prayer was delivered by a rabbi from the Reform or Conservative movements. In 2017, at the swearing in of President Donald Trump, an Orthodox rabbi finally took the stage.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, is a well-known rabbi on the national and international stage, as dean and founder of the Simon Weisenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance. He also founded Moriah Films which has won two Academy Awards. His credentials in combatting hatred and in educating the world about the evils of the Holocaust are beyond reproach.

hier-inauguration

Why did Trump invite a rabbi when Obama, the Bushes and Clinton did not do so? Why invite an Orthodox rabbi, the smallest of the Jewish denominations?

A major factor to consider must be that Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her entire family are Jewish. And Orthodox.

Trump also hails from New York City and built his business in the real estate industry, where many Jews live and work. He has gotten to know many Jews – and Orthodox ones in particular- over many years. That is in sharp contrast to past presidents who were lifelong politicians, a profession with fewer Orthodox Jews. 

The point that I will add here is that it should not be a surprise that the first party to include an Orthodox rabbi in one of the greatest of human occasions – the peaceful transfer of power of the most powerful nation in the world – was the Republican party.

Orthodox Jews are Mostly Republican

The Pew Research group did a comprehensive survey of American Jews in 2013, and published the results in August 2015. The survey found that “American Jews tend to be more highly educated and politically liberal than the U.S. public as a whole,” but one group did not fit that pattern: the Orthodox, which are 57% Republican-leaning.

“Unlike most other American Jews, Orthodox Jews tend to identify as Republicans and take conservative positions on social issues such as homosexuality. On average, they also are more religiously committed and much younger than other U.S. Jews, and they have bigger families.

“…the median age of Orthodox adults (40 years old) is fully a decade younger than the median age of other Jewish adults (52). Despite being younger, more than two-thirds of Orthodox adults are married (69%), compared with about half of other Jewish adults (49%), and the Orthodox are much more likely to have minor children living in their household. On average, the Orthodox get married younger and bear at least twice as many children as other Jews (4.1 vs. 1.7 children ever born to adults ages 40-59).

“…in a few ways, Orthodox Jews more closely resemble white evangelical Protestants than they resemble other U.S. Jews. For example, similarly large majorities of Orthodox Jews (83%) and white evangelicals (86%) say that religion is very important in their lives, while only about one-fifth of other Jewish Americans (20%) say the same. Roughly three-quarters of both Orthodox Jews (74%) and white evangelicals (75%) report that they attend religious services at least once a month. And eight-in-ten or more Orthodox Jews (84%) and white evangelicals (82%) say that Israel was given to the Jewish people by God – more than twice the share of other American Jews (35%) who express this belief.”

So while Orthodox Jews only make up about 10% of the 5.3 million American Jews, they are the fastest growing denomination by far. The implication is that even as Democrats point to the growth of the non-white population in the USA as favoring the Democrats, within the Jewish minority, the Republicans hold an advantage.

The Address

Rabbi Hier spoke for just two minutes after President Trump was inaugurated. In his remarks he recited a passage from Psalm 137: “By the rivers of Babylon we wept as we remembered Zion… If I forget thee o’ Jerusalem may my right hand forget its skill.” It was an interesting choice of quotes, as the Obama Administration let the area of Babylon – in today’s Iraq – fall into an Islamic jihadist war zone, and neighboring Iran have a pathway to nuclear weapons. In regards to Jerusalem, Obama abandoned Israel at the United Nations, letting a motion pass that declared that the eastern half of Jerusalem which houses the Jewish Temple Mount and all of the West Bank were illegally controlled by Israel.

Conversely, the Trump administration has broken with Obama’s view that Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory, and has vowed to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is a campaign promise that many presidents have made only to reverse course once they assumed office, however, it would appear that Trump is likely to follow through with his pledge.

Did Hier deliberately use the quote to voice the displeasure of the pro-Israel community with Obama? As encouragement to Trump to honor his pledge to Jerusalem?


It had been over 30 years since a rabbi was invited to give a blessing at the presidential inauguration. While it was a special moment for all Jews to celebrate, many liberal Jews tried to petition Hier to withdraw as they disliked Trump’s stated policies. It was a shame that in the divisive election campaign between Democrats and Republicans, Jews could not pause to appreciate the acknowledgment and invitation that was extended to their small community.


Related First.One.Through articles:

On Accepting Invitations, Part 2

“Jews as a Class”