Unity – not Uniformity – in the Pro-Israel Tent

The story of the Tower of Babel in the Bible is just a few sentences in length, but it has long captured the imaginations of all sorts of people. Artists have pictured its physical heights, while biblical scholars and theologians have sought to decipher the story’s meaning.

A new book by Rabbi Shai Held, “The Heart of the Torah,” took an interesting approach to the story. Held questioned the essence of the “sin” of the architects and builders of the Tower of Babel. If the punishment for their actions was that the people of Babel were scattered around the Earth, each speaking a different language, it would imply that the crux of the offence was the group’s cohesiveness. Too much unity was a seemingly bad thing, at odds with today’s view of unity as a worthy goal.

Held responded to his own observation by advancing the notion that the problem of the people building the Tower was not their unity, but their uniformity. It was not a problem that everyone was working to accomplish something together, but that the societal structure created a monolithic mass in which people were indistinguishable from each other. Such a state is unnatural, and could only be accomplished with an authoritarian ruler. It was that totalitarian regime that was the core of the sin and what needed to be broken, not the cohesiveness of a multitude of people. Hence the “punishment” to create more unique individuals with their own language and direction who could not be controlled by a single ruler.

Unity of Purpose

A good example of a group of different people uniting in a common purpose can be found in sports.

A professional basketball team typically includes players with a variety of different skills: one player may be a good outside shooter; another a solid rebounder; a third good at dribbling and passing; etc. The players likely do not have a uniform set of skills, but have a unity of purpose of winning a game.

As part of the effort to win, the players support each other. They pass each other the ball. They set screens and picks to provide an open shot. They encourage and cheer their teammates on, whether they are playing well, or need encouragement to perform better.

That is unity, and the mark of a successful team dynamic.

Conversely, a bad teammate is one that throws the ball to opposing team. That never shows up for practice. That tells the referee that one of their teammates committed a foul. Allowing such a player onto the court hurts the entire team.

A good teammate tells a fellow teammate when he is in the paint for too long; a bad teammate tells the referee that his teammate should be called with a 3-second violation. A strong team witnesses teammates pulling each other up; a weak team has teammates shouting each other down.

In short, a team with unity uses active and passive means to help the team win. A flawed team has teammates yelling at each other and calling for outside forces to punish their own team.

With such orientation, it is useful to explore unity and uniformity in the pro-Zionist tent.

The Pro-Israel Tent

The pro-Israel camp has been attempting to figure out how wide to extend its community tent. There are many opinions surrounding Israel, whether about land, politics or religion. There is certainly no fear of uniformity. But what about unity? When do the myriad opinions become intolerable for a joint effort?

As in the sports example above, the pro-Israel tent should allow people with different voices, but not those that seek to use external pressure to harm the Jewish State. Outside forces might be financial, such as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel, and using the United Nations or United States to pass anti-Israel resolutions and laws.

There are a number of groups that claim to be pro-Israel that precisely take these actions:

  • Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is an advocate for BDS of Israel and lobbies governments, churches and schools to support BDS. It seeks to use financial pressure to force Israel to capitulate to a variety of demands ranging from giving up Judea and Samaria, to removing the limited blockade of Gaza. It has also proudly hosted events for convicted terrorists. The group’s leader, Rebecca Vilkomerson has stated clearly “our charge is to change U.S. policy [about Israel].”
  • J Street pushed the Obama Administration to declare the Jewish towns in Judea & Samaria (the “settlements”) as illegal and to allow a United Nations resolution to pass in December 2016. That action has set in motion a massive action campaign against businesses in Judea & Samaria.
  • New Israel Fund (NIF) supports a variety of groups that seek to end Israel as a Jewish State. NIF supports Adalah which seeks to replace the Jewish State with a bi-national state in which Jews would be a minority. NIF funds groups and movies that tour the world that demonize Israel and the Israeli Defense Forces.

All of these groups are bad actors. They go to international fora to condemn Israel and suggest punitive actions against the Jewish State. They do not seek to advance Israel by engaging with the country directly with concerns, but through external force.


Rabbi Held described the dangers of uniformity in his review of the Tower of Babel. “If everyone says the same words and thinks the same thoughts, then a society emerges in which there is no room for individual tastes, thoughts and aspirations, or for individual projects and creativity.” Uniformity is a problem, but not unity. Unity without uniformity combines the talents of each individual in a common purpose and enhances the participants as well as the end-result. However, a lack of uniformity together with a lack of unity is simply chaos. There is nothing that binds the people or mission together other than a flimsy veneer that will ultimately dissolve.

The Jewish State and pro-Israel groups will never have uniformity of opinions, but it should have unity of purpose. Those groups that want to be part of the Pro-Israel and Pro-Zionist movement should adhere to the basic principle of not going to external fora to harm Israelis or the government of Israel. While these groups may self-identify as pro-Israel, they cannot be welcomed into the pro-Israel community.


Related First.One.Through articles:

There are Standards for Unity

A Disservice to Jewish Community

Students for Justice in Palestine’s Dick Pics

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

The Evil Architects at J Street Take a Bow

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A Response to Rashid Khalidi’s Distortions on the Balfour Declaration

On the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi took the stage to address “United Nations’ Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestine People.” Yes, that’s the organization’s actual title, that only a group like the UN could contrive.

Khalidi fed the group the lying propaganda they sought. Below is the speech, with fact-checking inserted after each paragraph.

 
Rashid Khalidi on Russian TV

“It is a great honor to be asked to speak here on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. I am grateful to Ambassador Fodé Seck, to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and to the staff of the UN Secretariat for making this event possible. It is particularly fitting to be speaking today at the United Nations, which has played such a large role in the Palestine tragedy. Today I will be addressing the impact on the Palestinian people of the Balfour Declaration, and of the League of Nations mandate based upon it. I can only hope that if we can all become more aware of this historical background, the United Nations may be able to address the harm caused by this Declaration, and all that followed, more fairly and effectively than it has done over the past 70 years.”

Palestine tragedy.” Perfect propaganda. Not a statement of fact, but one of complete biased narrative which stands counter to the facts. A land that had failed for hundreds of years would in the following years become a global leader. From a failed economy to a thriving one. From a malaria invested desert region to an environmental leader. From a land with virtually no minority rights to the most diverse and liberal in the entire Middle East. Oh, and the number of Arabs in Israel and Israeli territories surpassed the growth of any neighboring countries.

past 70 years.” Meaning since the creation of Israel in 1948, not the Balfour Declaration (1917) itself nor the Palestine Mandate (1922), which both established legal rights for Jews throughout the land. Khalidi’s beef was about creating the State of Israel.

“The momentous statement made on behalf of the British cabinet on November 2, 1917 by Arthur James Balfour, His Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, is usually regarded in light of British imperial interests, or in terms of its ostensible subject, a “national home for the Jewish people.” We know a great deal about Britain’s commitment to Zionism. We know less about what the support of the British Empire via this declaration meant for the aims of the Zionist movement – which for nearly half a century proudly described itself as a colonial endeavor, and which at the same time was a national movement in the making.  The ultimate objective of political Zionism, as laid out by its founder, Theodor Herzl, in his 1896 booklet Der Judenstaadt, was as far-reaching as it was crystal clear: a Jewish state in Palestine, meaning Jewish sovereignty and control of immigration into the country. And whatever Britain may have intended, complete and exclusive control over the entirety of Palestine was what the Zionist movement consistently fought for during the ensuing half century, and eventually obtained. It did so largely as a result of over two decades of unstinting British support secured via this Declaration, and the League of Nations mandate that was based upon it.”

complete and exclusive control.” The leading terminology of “complete and exclusive control,” is specifically intended to make political Zionism appear as a racist ideology. It was nothing of the sort. It was an attempt to reestablish Jews in their homeland as a self-governing entity. It did not mean that non-Jews would be evicted from the land nor be denied citizenship. Indeed, at the founding of the country in May 1948, approximately 160,000 non-Jews were given immediate Israeli citizenship. Unlike neighboring Lebanon and Syria, there is no religious litmus test on who can be prime minister or serve in governmental positions in Israel; Arabs and Muslims are not excluded.

“Much of this is well known. However, the Balfour Declaration has another aspect of paramount importance that is often ignored. This was the perspective of the people of Palestine, whose future the Balfour Declaration ultimately decided. For the Palestinians, this statement was a gun pointed directly at their heads, particularly in view of the colonialist ambiance of the early twentieth century. As I will show, the Balfour Declaration in effect constituted a declaration of war by the British Empire on the indigenous population of the land it was promising to the Jewish people as a National Home. It launched what has become a century-long assault on the Palestinian people aimed at implanting and fostering this national home at their expense.”

For the Palestinians, this statement was a gun pointed directly at their heads,Let’s be clear who were the “people of Palestine:” they were Jews and Arabs. The Jews did not view this as a “gun to their heads.” It was a chance to achieve more rights and support for the Jewish immigration to their holy land which had been going on for decades. For the Arabs living in Palestine, there was absolutely no threat to their lives counter to Rashidi’s absurd claim. The declaration actually stated just the opposite of ensuring the rights of non-Jews.

the Balfour Declaration in effect constituted a declaration of war by the British Empire on the indigenous population of the land it was promising to the Jewish people “ Khalidi declared that only Arabs are indigenous to the land. Such a statement deliberately cast that Jews as foreigners and interlopers with no connection to the land. It is a complete falsification of Jewish history, as Jew have lived continuously in the land for 3700 years, and for over one thousand years as the majority, before being expelled by hostile forces. Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem since the 1860s!

a century-long assault on the Palestinian people Khalidi’s warped view of history is that the world has waged a war on Arabs for a century. It completely ignores the active warfare launched by the Arabs from the region against the Jewish people. The “assault” from one side is that the British (and the world) recognized the legitimate rights of Jews to reestablish their homeland; on the other is an Arab world that launched a century-long war to murder and expel the Jewish people. Who really made a “declaration of war” and “assaulted” whom?

“From its inception, Zionism was both a nascent national movement and a colonial enterprise in search of a metropolitan sponsor. After having failed to find that sponsor elsewhere, Chaim Weizmann succeeded with the wartime British cabinet.  The Zionist movement thereafter had the support of the greatest power of the age, which was about to become one of the victors in World War I.  Whereas Zionism had begun to be viewed with concern in Palestine since the late 19th century, the Balfour Declaration meant that the country was now threatened by a far greater danger. Indeed, at the very moment that the declaration was issued, British troops were advancing northwards through Palestine, capturing Jerusalem five weeks later.”

colonial enterpriseis a favorite phrase used by anti-Zionists. It follows from the basic line of reasoning of denying the Jews their 3700 year-old history in their homeland. Once Jews have been divorced from their historical connection to the land, their insertion into the region would be as a foreign transplant. As the Jews did not control any country, Khalidi coined the term “metropolitan sponsor” suggesting that since the Jews were scattered all over the world, they were pushing governments to endorse this Zionist initiative. They finally succeeded with the UK as their sponsors.

the country was now threatenedis a theme used over and again by Khalidi, that the indigenous people of the “country” were threatened by both the British and the Zionistic cause laid out in the Balfour Declaration. But Palestine was not a country, but a province of the Turkish Empire. The Empire was already long engaged in World War I when the Balfour Declaration was issued.

“The text of the Declaration confirmed the nature of this danger. It consisted of a single paragraph of 67 words:

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

“The overwhelming Arab majority in Palestine (which then constituted around 94% of the population) went unmentioned by Balfour, except in a backhanded way: as the “existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” They were not described as a people – notably, the words “Palestinian” and “Arab” do not appear in the text of the Declaration. Furthermore, they were offered only “civil and religious rights,” and no political or national rights whatsoever. By way of contrast, Balfour ascribed national rights to “the Jewish people,” who in 1917 were represented in Palestine by a tiny 6 percent of the total population. Regarded in this way, Britain’s backing for Herzl’s aims of Jewish statehood, sovereignty, and control over immigration into the country had portentous implications. It meant British support for bringing into Palestine and implanting a foreign majority at the expense of the indigenous population’s rights, and ultimately at the expense of its existence as a people in its own land.

the words “Palestinian” and “Arab” do not appear in the text of the Declaration.As described above, the term “Palestinians” in 1917 meant both Jews and Arabs that both lived in the region. Palestinian Arabs chose to declare themselves as the sole people entitled to the name “Palestinian” decades later, after the Jewish State was established in 1948 and the Palestinian Liberation Organization was created in 1964 claiming that only Arabs could be Palestinians.

implanting a foreign majority at the expense of the indigenous population’s rights, and ultimately at the expense of its existence as a people in its own land.This phrase sums up the grievances of Arabs: Jews are “foreign” and the Arabs are “indigenous” who have “rights” which are threatened from these invaders coming to take Arab land. However, this is preposterous. Jews are indigenous to the holy land. Arabs invaded the entirety of the Middle East and North Africa in the 7th and 8th centuries. The Arabs that lived throughout the region in what is now known as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Egypt traveled constantly from location to location. Many of the Arabs who lived in Palestine at the time of the Declaration were tenants in homes that were owned by Egyptians. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs from around the region moved to Palestine in the decades after the Balfour Declaration. Who is really indigenous and who really owns the land? An Iraqi that moved to Palestine in the 1930s and rented a house owned by an Egyptian is somehow a “Palestinian” and more indigenous than a Jew that moved to the Jewish homeland in the same year? That’s the ridiculous claim of Khalidi.

“The Balfour Declaration thus meant that the Palestinians faced the prospect of being outnumbered by unlimited immigration, and of losing control of Palestine to the Zionist drive for sole sovereignty over a country that was then almost completely Arab in population and culture. It took just over three decades, and the mass expulsion of most of the Arabs of Palestine from their homes in 1948, for these things to happen, but happen they did.”

losing control of Palestine is a complete lie that the Palestinian Arabs “controlled” Palestine. The Arabs had no control of Palestine. The region was a part of the Turkish Empire – Muslim, but not Arab. The local Arab population did not rule a country nor control its destiny.

mass expulsion of most of the Arabs of Palestine” in Khalidi’s narrative, the local Arabs then living in Palestine were passively minding their business, tending to their orchards when “the Zionist drive” forced them from their lands. The reality is that the Arabs began to attack Jews in Palestine beginning in the early 1920s (including the massacres of 1929) and the first multi-year riots (now called “intifadas”) in the late 1930s. When the Jewish State declared its independence in 1948, armies from five neighboring Arab countries invaded Israel to wipe the Jews into the sea. Palestinian Arabs left the fighting scene while they waited for their Arab brethren to destroy Israel. While some Arabs were forced by Israel to leave the land, most left on their own as they prayed for “their land” (to quote Khalidi) to be liberated and the Jews to be slaughtered.

“Even before World War I, there had been trepidation among the Arabs of Palestine about the rapid progress of the Zionist movement. This became a widespread sentiment as the movement grew in strength and as immigration to Palestine increased: between 1909 and 1914, the leading Haifa and Jaffa newspapers, al-Karmil and Filastin, published over two hundred articles warning against the dangers of Zionism for the Palestinians. Among the peasantry in areas of intensive colonization, Zionist inroads were felt in concrete terms, as land purchase led to the removal of Arab peasants working the land. Their concerns were shared by Arab city dwellers, who observed with mounting concern the constant arrival of new European Jewish immigrants.

dangers of Zionism for the Palestinians.” How dangerous were these Jews? Did they have blood libels against Muslims the way the Arabs had against Jews? No. Did they force Arabs from their homes? No, they purchased the Arab houses (and had the audacity to move in to them afterwards!) Did they initiate riots and kill Arabs? No. So what was the danger from the Jews who were moving to Palestine? Their physical presence. Their being. Something that rankles anti-Semites (93% of Palestinian Arabs are anti-Semitic according to ADL) to their core.

new European Jewish immigrants.” Jews were the only people to move to Palestine during the last century of Ottoman rule. The annual growth rate of Muslims in Palestine was 1.1%, essentially the rate of births minus deaths. Meanwhile Jews moved to Palestine at an annual growth rate of 2.1% from 1800 to 1914. In other words, Jews always moved to Palestine, even before the Balfour Declaration, while Muslims did not. The Arabs only began to descend on Palestine from around the region after the Declaration in numbers that matched the immigration of Jews.

“News of the Balfour Declaration reached Palestine only with much delay after November 2, 1917. All local newspapers had been shuttered since the beginning of the war. Then, after British troops occupied Jerusalem in December 1917, the strict military occupation regime banned news of the declaration from being spread, and did not allow papers to reopen for two year. There were other reasons for the delayed Palestinian reaction to the Balfour Declaration. They relate to the extraordinary wartime conditions that prevailed in Palestine and that caused intense suffering. The country was the scene of a more than a year of grinding battles between British and Ottoman forces which continued until mid-1918.”

delayed Palestinian reaction to the Balfour Declaration,” continues the layering of Khalidi’s #AlternativeHistory. Stating that there was delayed Palestinian reaction suggested that the Palestinians were a people and an entity. They were not. They were part of the Turkish Empire which was melting at the end of World War I. The entire region was collapsing and its fate was uncertain.

“By the war’s end, the Palestinians were already prostrate and exhausted by severe wartime shortages, penury, dislocation and famine, the requisitioning of draft animals, a plague of locusts, and draconian conscription that sent most working-age men to the front. Of all the major combatant powers, the Ottoman Empire suffered the heaviest wartime death toll, with over three million war dead, or 15% of the total population, most of them civilians. Greater Syria, including Palestine, suffered half a million deaths due to famine alone between 1915 and 1918.  Civilian deaths were compounded by horrific war casualties: 750,000 Ottoman soldiers out of the 2.8 million mobilized died during the war. The impact of all these factors on Palestine was intense. It is estimated that after growing about 1 percent annually in the prewar years, Palestine’s population declined by 6 percent during World War I.

growing about 1 percent annually in the prewar years, Palestine’s population declined by 6 percent during World War I.” War is terrible, no doubt. The Jews in Palestine that accounted for over 8% of the population suffered right alongside their Arab neighbors. And the annual growth in the population of Palestine in the prewar years was mostly because of Jewish immigration.

“It was against this grim background of mass suffering and the advance of the British army that Palestinians eventually learned about the issuance of the Balfour Declaration. The shock of hearing about it was exacerbated by a British occupation that marked the end of 400 years of Ottoman sovereignty, a regime which had prevailed for a full twenty generations. There was nevertheless a rapid evolution in the way the Palestinians saw themselves during and after World War I. In a world where nationalism had been gaining ground for many decades, a world war driven largely by unrestrained nationalist sentiment provided a major boost to the national idea in Palestine and other parts of the world. The enhanced salience of nationalism was compounded by the espousal in 1917 by Woodrow Wilson and Vladimir Lenin of the principle of national self-determination. The endorsement of the national principle by two ostensibly anti-colonial powers had an enormous impact on peoples the world over. As a result of the hopes aroused, and later disappointed, by Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the Bolshevik Revolution, and the Paris peace conference, India, Egypt, Korea and many other countries witnessed massive anti-colonial upheavals.

a rapid evolution in the way the Palestinians saw themselves during and after World War I… unrestrained nationalist sentiment”  Khalidi pivots his view of history from stating that Palestine was a country, to the Palestinians suddenly finding an “unrestrained nationalist sentiment,” like much of the world. Which was it? Were the Palestinian Arabs sovereign and autonomous in their own country of Palestine the way Khalidi began the speech, or were they part of a 400 year Ottoman Empire as Khalidi stated here? Were the people fighting in defense of their country, or were they suddenly self-aware, and now considered themselves a unique people? Khalidi wants you to believe both, as convenient to different parts of the story.

massive anti-colonial upheavals. As in the entirety of Khalidi’s view of history, the local Arabs were the only rightful owners of the land. Jews who moved to the area and purchased homes? Colonialists. After the British took over the Palestine Mandate in 1924, did they export thousands of British Jews to act as their colonial imprint on the territory? Nope. The Jewish immigration to Palestine from 1917 to 1948 came principally from other countries. Further, the British government treated the Jews in Palestine terribly.

“As a result of the war, the Palestinians were suffering from what might be described as collective post-traumatic stress syndrome. They now had to face entirely new realities as they entered a post-war world suffused by nationalist fervor. The Ottoman Empire was gone, replaced by the hegemony of Britain and France, which in 1915-16 had secretly carried out a self-interested colonial partition of the region — the Sykes-Picot accords — that was publicly revealed in 1917. Against this could be set the possibilities of Arab independence and self-determination, promised secretly by Great Britain to Sharif Husayn of Mecca in 1916, and the subject of repeated public British pledges thereafter. While these promises were at best partially and belatedly kept as regards other Arab peoples, they were never honored where the Arab population of Palestine was concerned. So while other Middle Eastern countries eventually achieved a measure of independence, no such option was on offer for the Palestinians.”

 promises were at best partially and belatedly kept as regards other Arab peoples, they were never honored where the Arab population of Palestine. Khalidi sets the tone in a difficult dance in the speech by acknowledging that the Palestine Mandate was both not unique and unique at the same time. The French and British set up new regions in the collapsed Turkish Empire which would ultimately become countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Jordan. Khalidi was nominally fine with those colonial projects since the Arab populations in those manufactured countries got independence. But the Arabs in Palestine did not. But he misleads the audience as to the reasons, as described below.

“In Palestine, Great Britain operated with a different set of rules than in other League of Nations mandates. Unlike all the other class A mandates established in the former Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, all of which were treated according to Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations as provisionally “independent nations,” Palestine was denied such treatment. Instead it faced a set of rules rigidly dictated by the terms of the Balfour Declaration. And the Declaration had been tailored to suit the desiderata of Zionism, a European colonizing project and a national movement which had now acquired as its patron a formidable empire whose armies were just then in the process of conquering Palestine. British troops were not to leave the country for over thirty years, by which time the Zionist enterprise had become firmly entrenched.”

European colonizing project… British troops were not to leave the country for over thirty years,” To listen to Khalidi, one would think that the British and French set up mandates throughout the Middle East and then left quickly, giving independence to the local population. However in Palestine, the British army was entrenched so it could set up its “European colonizing project.” It is an absurd falsification of history.

The length of mandates were decades for many regions. Lebanon became independent in 1943. Syria in 1946. Israel in 1948.

Second, the Balfour Declaration had nothing to do with the borders of the Jewish homeland. That was laid out in the San Remo Conference in 1920 which was authored by several global powers including France, Italy and Japan. This was not a British exercise, nor just a European one. It was approved by international law.

Additionally, the San Remo Conference and then the Palestine Mandate gave the British the right – which they exercised – to break the Palestine Mandate in two to establish an Arab state (Article 25). The British did just that, and created the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan in two-thirds of the land of the Palestine Mandate. The Arab country that Khalidi claimed was never created, WAS CREATED at the outset and exists today in the country known as Jordan.

As soon as they were able to do so in the wake of World War I, the Palestinians began to challenge vigorously both the form of governance imposed by the British, based on the Balfour Declaration, and the introduction of the Zionist movement as a privileged interlocutor of the British. They did so initially in the shadow of a strict British military occupation regime that lasted until 1920, followed by rule by a series of British High Commissioners. The first of them was Sir Herbert Samuel, a committed Zionist and former cabinet minister, who laid the governmental foundations for much followed.”

As soon as they were able to do so” is a rewrite of history to vilify Britain in particular for stating that it was in favor of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The Palestinian Arab riots began in the 1920s due to the San Remo Conference which gave international legitimacy to the Zionist dream and detailed the historic rights of Jews to reestablish their homeland in Palestine.

challenge vigorously.The Arab riots of 1920 and 1921 and the massacre of Jewish civilians in 1929 cannot be called “challenge vigorously” by anyone other than someone suffering from deep pathology.

“In understanding the unsuccessful efforts of the Palestinians to oppose this regime, two crucial factors are of paramount importance. The first is that unlike most other peoples who fell under the sway of colonial rule, the Palestinians had to contend not only with the colonial power in the metropole but also with the terms of the Balfour Declaration. Thus they had to deal with a colonial settler movement which, while beholden to Britain, was independent of it and had a powerful national impulse and an international base, most importantly in the United States. The second is that Britain did not rule Palestine outright: it did so as a mandatory power of the League of Nations. In rejecting Palestinian protests about the Balfour Declaration, British officials could point to the international legitimacy for its terms provided by the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which, at the instigation of the British themselves, had incorporated verbatim the text of the Balfour Declaration, and in 7 of its 28 articles, substantially amplified and expanded on its commitments. Thus the British government could hide behind the terms of their League of Nations mandate in denying the Palestinians treatment as an “independent nation” in accordance with Article 22 of the Covenant.”

colonial, colonial, colonial” Did Khalidi mention colonial? While repeating that the British were a colonial power and tying the Jews to this colonialist enterprise, Khalidi gives a whiff of honesty when he mentioned the “international legitimacy” of the Mandate and the rights of Jews to live, buy land and obtain citizenship in Palestine. But he did this as an aside, suggesting that the goal of a British outpost was a disgraceful subterranean plot in cahoots with Zionists, masked in international law. At this point, Khalidi’s hatred for Jewish presence has taken on an air of an anti-Semitic caricature with Jews now gaining more patronage from other global powers like the United States, while the real motivation and truth was concealed.

“The Palestinians were therefore in a triple bind, which may have been unique in the history of resistance of indigenous peoples to European colonialism. They faced the might of the British Empire in the era between the two world wars when not one single colonial possession, with the partial exception of Ireland, succeeded in freeing itself from the clutches of the European imperial powers. They faced as well an international colonizing movement with a national mission, and with its own independent sources of finance and support, besides those generously offered by Britain. And finally they were confronted with the international legitimacy accorded to British rule by the League of Nations, which had sanctified the Balfour Declaration and its colonial import for the Palestinians by endowing it with the legal imprimatur of the preeminent international body of the day. The Balfour Declaration thus became more than a statement by the British cabinet: it was an internationally sanctioned legal document. In explaining the failure of the Palestinians to retain control of their ancestral homeland, alongside understanding the shortcomings of their leaders and the hindrances resulting from fissures within their society, it is vital to keep in mind this triple bind they were in.”

resistance of indigenous peoples to European colonialism… international colonizing movement… own independent sources of finance and supportThe sum of Khalidi’s arguments of the Palestinians “triple bind” was a combination of lies. Rather than state that the international community had come to realize that the Jews deserved to reestablish their homeland – the EXACT OPPOSITE OF A COLONIZING MOVEMENT – in Palestine, Khalidi advanced that the Jewish money (“independent sources of finance and support”) were able to advance their “colonizing movement” under the umbrella of “international legitimacy” to advance Britain’s “colonial” aspirations. The simplicity and beauty of Jews returning to their homeland was too much for Khalidi, so he invented a multi-headed scheme to vanquish the “indigenous” Palestinian Arabs.

The French and British administered several mandates during these years, ultimately giving each autonomy and statehood. Why would they single out the Arabs living in Palestine for such abuse? If the “European imperial powers” truly wanted to subjugate the Arabs of the Middle East, why did every other region become a state with the exception of the Arabs west of the Jordan River?

For Khalidi, the answer is that the scheming Jews took something that they had no right to – Arab land. In the decades following Israel’s independence in 1948, the Iraqis, Egyptians, Syrians and other Arab states evicted one million Jews from their homes. Where in power, the Arabs could rid themselves of their Jewish neighbors. But the thorny issue of a Jewish State is a bone still lodged in the throat of the Arabs. And rather than accept the legitimacy of the Jewish State, Khalidi and other anti-Zionists have spun a tale of Palestinian victimhood.

“Before November 2, 1917, the Zionist movement was both a national movement in embryo, and a colonial enterprise without a fixed metropole, like an orphan searching for a foster parent. When it found one in Great Britain, as symbolized by the Balfour Declaration, the colonization and transformation of Arab Palestine into a Jewish state could begin in earnest. This process was backed soon afterwards by the international legitimacy provided by the League of Nations. It was backed as well by an indispensable “iron wall” of British bayonets, in the words of that most forthright of Zionist leaders, Ze’ev Jabotinsky.”

transformation of Arab Palestine into a Jewish stateKhalidi makes clear that he believes that Arab Palestine was a proper and appropriate state, and its transformation into a Jewish State happened with shameful “international legitimacy” and the force of British arms. He is correct that Zionism was recognized in international law as described above, but the British did not attack Palestinian Arabs to make this happen. The British came to the defense of Jews being massacred by Palestinian Arabs during their mandate, but they were no friends of the Zionists.

“Seen from the perspective of the Palestinian people, the careful, calibrated prose of the Declaration amounted to a proclamation of war on them. For the next few decades, this war was waged by the Zionist movement with money, legal means, propaganda, and mortars and car bombs, and by the British Empire with multiple forms of repression, prison camps, exile, summary executions, warplanes, tanks and artillery. The issuance of the Balfour Declaration thus marked the beginning of a century-long colonial conflict in Palestine, supported by an array of outside powers. In much different forms, this conflict continues until this day.”

war was waged by the Zionist movement with money, legal means, propaganda, and mortars and car bombs, and by the British Empire with multiple forms of repression, prison camps, exile, summary executions, warplanes, tanks and artillery.” Wow and wow. Once Khalidi established that the natural state of Palestine was an Arab Palestine in which the Arabs were the sole indigenous people, he added that a war was declared to alter that ideal state. He offers an extensive list of aggressions used by the Zionists to execute their war. However, the unvarnished truths were too difficult for Khalidi to admit: that Palestine has been the homeland for the Jewish people for thousands of years; that the Jews had always lived in Palestine, and had always moved to Palestine, despite the difficulties imposed by various ruling authorities; and that the British and the international community had finally recognized that it was time to ease those restrictions as the Ottoman Empire collapsed. Could the international community predict that local Arabs would object to Jews returning to their homeland in a small sliver of the entire Middle East dominated by millions of Arabs? The war was WAGED BY ARABS, not the other way around, made clear the Arab rejection of any Jewish rights or claims to the land.

“I realize that I have imposed on your patience by summarizing some of the history around the Balfour Declaration. Some say that we should forget history in dealing with the Palestine conflict. Those who say this, however, have an absolutely miserable track record of failure in attempting to resolve the core issue at stake: the conflict between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. In fact, this historical background is essential to understanding why this conflict has lasted for so long, and to its just resolution. It also helps us to understand that it did not begin in 1967 or 1948, as some shortsighted observers would have it. Finally, it points out the avenue towards a real lasting, sustainable peace, and towards real reconciliation and compromise between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. Genuine reconciliation depends on acknowledging historical realities rather than ignoring them. And genuine compromise must be based on justice and absolutely equal treatment, and absolutely equal rights, for all, not on the imposition of the will of the stronger on the weaker. That is not compromise.”

Genuine reconciliation depends on acknowledging historical realities rather than ignoring them.There are multiple problems with Khalidi’s world view. If he believes that peace will only be achieved by the world adopting his false version of history, there is no chance of ever realizing peace. It augers a future where Israel will have to finally wage a war against the Arabs that reject the very legitimacy of its existence, rather than just fighting defensive wars against Arab foes that seek to destroy it.

“This historical background points to another fact. This is that peace between Palestine and Israel is far too important to be left to the self-interested ministrations of the great powers alone. Again and again, the history of the League Nations and the United Nations shows us that these great powers were responsible for imposing formulas in Palestine that suited their interests of the moment. In every single case these formulas exacerbated and magnified this conflict. In so doing, these great powers have ignored international law, and essential elements of the covenants and charters they themselves helped to shape, such as the principle of self-determination that animates both the Covenant of the League of Nations and the Charter of the United Nations.”

great powers have ignored international lawInternational law gave Jews the right to reestablish their homeland in their homeland. International law permitted two-thirds of the Palestine Mandate to be separated into a country where Palestinian Arabs would have self-determination. The great powers supported the Zionist project in international law. Yet the great powers failed in upholding the principles of human rights and self-determination when it allowed two-thirds of Palestine to become a country which expelled and banned Jews. This pathetic travesty is  being further advanced at the United Nations which similarly is advocating for such policy for the West Bank of the Jordan River (all contrary to Article 15 of the Palestine Mandate).

“As the son of an international civil servant who served the United Nations for his entire career, I have been a close witness for decades to the failure of this body to live up to its principles where Palestine is concerned, largely because of the machinations of the great powers.  I am not naïve, however, and as a historian I know all too well that power has its prerogatives. But the United Nations was not set up to make the world a more comfortable place for the powerful, but rather to bring about peace with justice, and the rule of international law. Over the hundred years since the Balfour Declaration was issued, the 70 years since the passing of the Partition resolution, and the fifty years since the adoption of UNSC 242, neither peace with justice nor the rule of law has prevailed where Palestine is concerned. It is high time for the United Nations and the entire world community to act in this spirit.”

the failure of this body.” For 100 years the Arabs have fought against the formation and existence of a Jewish State, not the global community. Seventy years ago the Arabs rejected the Partition plan; not the global community. Fifty years ago the Palestinians and Jordanians attacked Israel and thereby lost the “West Bank” which it had illegally annexed; the global body did not initiate the war. Just after that 1967 war, it was the Arab countries that refused to negotiate peace with Israel, not the global community.

And it is the Palestinian Arabs today that continue with anti-Semitic and anti- Zionist vitriol that prevents peace. In line with UN Resolution 242, Israel gave territories (Sinai) for peace with Egypt. Israel gave territories (Gaza) in exchange for war with Palestinian Arabs.

The problem is neither Israel nor the international community. The problem is Palestinian Arabs.

“Specifically, after a century, it is high time that the establishment of a national home promised by Balfour and the League of Nations to the Jewish people in 1917 and afterwards be matched by the establishment of a national home for the Palestinian people. After 70 years, it is high time that the national self-determination promised to the Israeli people by the UN in 1947, and that they have enjoyed since 1948, be enjoyed by the Palestinian people. And after 50 years, it is high time for the injunction in UNSC 242 forbidding “the acquisition of territory by war” to be vigorously enforced where the territories occupied in 1967 are concerned.”

promises, promises.” If Khalidi wants an Arab parallel to the Balfour Declaration and the UN Partition Plan, he is presumably now in favor of those articles which he had just spent ten minutes lambasting. And if he understood anything about UN Resolution 242, he would understand that land is forbidden to be taken in an offensive war, not a defensive war. The Jordanians and Palestinian Arabs attacked Israel first and lost the land in June 1967. The same way that Israel was allowed to take more land in the 1948-9 war, than had been suggested in the 1947 Partition Plan.

“Finally, it is high time for the United Nations and the entire international community to take vigorous action to break the century-old logjam created and perpetuated by the great powers. This man-made logjam has prevented the principles of self-determination from being applied fairly and equally to both parties to this conflict, the Palestinian and the Israeli peoples. They both deserve the peace and stability that an equitable resolution of the conflict between them on the basis of international law and in a spirit of justice and equality would bring.”

The Palestinian Arabs have shown no interest in the “spirit of justice and equality” for 100 years. The have refused to allow Jews to pray at their holiest location on the Jewish Temple Mount. They have stated that they will not allow a single Israeli to live in Palestine. They have stated that they will never recognize the Jewish State of Israel. They maintain laws that make it a capital offense for an Arab to sell land to a Jew.

The “logjam” to peace in the region is the failure of Palestinian Arabs to recognize the historic and human rights of Jews to be self-governing in their homeland. The myth of passive victimhood and the tainting of the Balfour Declaration and history, is yet another arrow in the Palestinian propaganda machine to defame and undermine the existence and viability of the solitary Jewish State surrounded by over 50 Arab and Muslim countries.


Related First.One.Through articles:

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

The Original Nakba: The Division of “TransJordan”

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

The Many Lies of Jimmy Carter

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

Squeezing Zionism

The United Nations’ Remorse for “Creating” Israel

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From the Balfour Declaration to the San Remo Conference

On November 2, 1917, Lord Arthur Balfour wrote a letter to Lord Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, that the British government supported the establishment of a Jewish home in the land of Palestine. It became known as the Balfour Declaration:

“Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you. on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours,

Arthur James Balfour”

The letter became the basis of international law in following years which expanded on the principle of a Jewish homeland.

In April 1920, Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan met in San Remo, Italy to consider what to do with the collapsed Ottoman Empire after its defeat in World War I. On April 24, the powers decided to adopt the key essence of the Balfour Declaration (being in favor of a Jewish homeland) as a basis for the disposition of Palestine. The language of the San Remo Convention expanded on the theme with several additional declarations:

  • Historical basis for the Balfour Declaration:Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connexion of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country;
  • Provide safety for the Jews: “The Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.” (Article 2)
  • Jews to have autonomy (possibly an independent state or something short of it): “The Mandatory shall, so far as circumstances permit, encourage local autonomy.” (Article 3)
  • Facilitate Jewish immigration and land ownership: “The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.” (Article 6)
  • Citizenship. “The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine.” (Article 7)
  • Access to Holy Places. “All responsibility in connexion with the Holy Places and religious buildings or sites in Palestine, including that of preserving existing rights and of securing free access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites and the free exercise of worship, while ensuring the requirements of public order and decorum, is assumed by the Mandatory, who shall be responsible solely to the League of Nations in all matters connected herewith, provided that nothing in this article shall prevent the Mandatory from entering into such arrangements as he may deem reasonable with the Administration for the purpose of carrying the provisions of this article into effect; and provided also that nothing in this Mandate shall be construed as conferring upon the Mandatory authority to interfere with the fabric or the management of purely Moslem sacred shrines, the immunities of which are guaranteed.” (Article 13) “A special Commission shall be appointed by the Mandatory to study, define and determine the rights and claims in connection with the Holy Places and the rights and claims relating to the different religious communities in Palestine. The method of nomination, the composition and the functions of this Commission shall be submitted to the Council of the League for its approval, and the Commission shall not be appointed or enter upon its functions without the approval of the Council.” (Article 14)
  • Freedom to Worship and Live throughout the land:The Mandatory shall see that complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals are ensured to all. No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.” (Article 15)
  • Hebrew an official language.English, Arabic and Hebrew shall be the official languages of Palestine. Any statement or inscription in Arabic on stamps or money in Palestine shall be repeated in Hebrew and any statement or inscription in Hebrew shall be repeated in Arabic.” (Article 22)

As detailed above, the San Remo Conference took many more exhaustive steps in broadening the rights of Jews to a homeland beyond the simple statement of support in the brief Balfour Declaration.

It would ultimately be the Palestine Mandate of 1922 that would repeat the terms laid out in the San Remo Convention and cement them into international law. The British would assume their role as the administrator for the Mandate in 1924.


On November 2, 2017, Zionists around the world celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration which declared Britain’s approval of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. That short letter became the basis for the global powers formally laying out the historical and legal rights of Jews to reconstitute their autonomy and live, worship, own property and have citizenship throughout Palestine.

As they celebrate, they appreciate the emergence of the Jewish State as a leading democracy, military and economic powerhouse, and environmental and technological marvel. Unfortunately they will have to also acknowledge that much of the world  refuses to recognize Jewish history in the land, thinks that Israel should be limited in its defenses against hostile forces, believes Jews should not have rights to worship at their holiest location, and not be allowed to live and own land throughout Judea and Samaria.

Still much to do 100 years on.


Related First.One.Through articles:

In Defense of Foundation Principles

Heritage, Property and Sovereignty in the Holy Land

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

The Original Nakba: The Division of “TransJordan”

Obama’s “Palestinian Land”

Squeezing Zionism

The New York Times will Keep on Telling You: Jews are not Native to Israel

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Uncomfortable vs. Dangerous Free Speech

The month of September brings the most perfect weather to much of the world. Not too hot during the day and not too cold in the evening, people can be comfortable without the need for artificial air conditioning or heat.

Those are the Goldilocks days, which are, unfortunately, just a few weeks long.

However, as the autumn moves on to October and the nights get colder, people turn on their heating systems that had been dormant for months. Several states have laws that demand that beginning October 1, landlords must begin to provide heat. Yet there is no equivalent requirement for landlords to provide air conditioning in the hot summer months.

The rationale for forcing landlords to provide heat is about safety. People could become extremely sick or freeze to death if the temperature drops too low. Such a situation would likely force the individuals to turn on their stoves and ovens or light candles for heat, all of which could produce a massive fire killing many people and destroying property. The dangerous situation would stem from primary (the freezing cold itself) and secondary (the actions that people would take in reaction to the cold temperature) events.

The dynamic in the summer months is not so dire. People could dress lightly and use fans to cool off. The probability of someone dying from heat would only happen in extreme circumstances. As such, governments do not force landlords to supply air conditioning to their tenants.

The government intervention in matters of heat and air-conditioning revolves around safety, not comfort. Just as it does for free speech.

Free Speech

The First Amendment to the US Constitution gives people the right to free speech. Some people have argued that such right is absolute and that the government cannot provide any exceptions which ban people’s expressions. However, the government has placed laws which curtail some forms of speech.

Consider Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s 1919 opinon in Schenck v. United States, which limited free speech in certain situations. Holmes wrote that “The most stringent protection of free speech, would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic…. The question in every case, is whether the words are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.”

The courts clarified this opinion in 1969’s Brandenburg v. Ohio when it wrote”the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

The courts ruling on free speech are similar to the rules on providing heat: the line between what is allowed and disallowed surrounds safety. It has nothing to do with the comments themselves nor around discomfort.

While this may appear basic, it has been upended and questioned in recent times.

Politicians and media sources recently argued that only right-wing racist calls to violence should be illegal. However the courts make clear that ALL calls for violence are illegal, including from far left extremists.

Free speech has NOTHING to do with political views and everything to do with safety.

There is a lot of speech that is hateful and offensive. Consider Pamela Geller’s Draw Mohammed Contest in 2015 which offended Muslims, or students at University of California Berkeley that wore shirts “White Man Bow Down” in 2017 which deliberately targeted and offended white men. The Draw Mohammed contest did ultimately result in violence while the racist behavior of the black Cal Berkeley students did not. But both initial expressions were considered lawful as there was no incitement to violence in the present.

The vast majority of speech is benign and enjoyable, like the Goldilocks days of September. Yet as more people take to the streets and social media to express themselves in more confrontational ways, we should be mindful of whether the temperature of the language is simply hot and uncomfortable, or dangerously cold that must be stopped. University students can escape to “safe spaces,” much like running to an air-conditioned mall on a hot summer day. But we must be mindful that the lines of safety not be crossed from either side of the political spectrum.

The right to free speech extends to the right and the left. It does not cover calls for violence from either the right or the left.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Active and Reactive Provocations: Charlie Hebdo and the Temple Mount

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

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

Selective Speech

We Should Not Pay for Your First Amendment Rights

The Monumental Gap between Nikki Haley and Donald Trump

Students for Justice in Palestine’s Dick Pics

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The Invisible Flag in Judo and Jerusalem

They were not even supposed to be there.

Long marked for exclusion, their physical presence was repulsive to the locals. “Modern” society being slightly more “progressive” in the ancient Middle East as well as being more visible to a global audience because of the Internet, made it slightly more difficult to bar them. The vile creatures could stand there, but the rightful hosts would deny them space, honor or acknowledgement. These interlopers may be human, but their essence remained a problem.

They would sing no song, carry no flag, and represent no people.

In 2017.

In the United Arab Emirates Judo competition.

On the Jewish Temple Mount in the Jerusalem.

Judo Grand Slam

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) hosted the Judo Grand Slam in October 2017. The competition was nominally supposed to represent the best fighters in the judo martial arts from countries from around the world. Not simply from around the world, but from COUNTRIES from around the world.

The official website from the tournament listed 47 countries that participated in the event. Alphabetically, after Hungary at number 21 was “IFJ,” which stood for the International Judo Federation. Not normally considered a country, it was a name assigned to a country loathed by the host country. That despised country is Israel.

Israel is not a recognized country by the UAE. Not only does the country not have diplomatic relations with Israel, Israeli citizens are denied entry into the UAE.

That posed a problem for the UAE which was hosting the Judo tournament. Would the tournament be considered a farce if it excluded many of the best competitors? Israeli athletes had become champions in many global judo competitions and they qualified to compete at the IFJ event. How could the host country of the event deny entry to those people?

However strong their desire, the UAE could not bar the physical entry of the Israeli athletes. But that would be as far it would go.

  • The Israeli flag, national anthem and the name “Israel” would be banned from the entire program.
  • The Israeli athletes would be the only ones to not have a flag on their uniform.
  • The Israeli athletes would not have their national flag raised nor anthem played when they won medals.
  • And the name “Israel” would not even be listed anywhere among the 47 countries competing in the global event.

The “human rights” groups that monitor the Middle East would be silent. Human Rights Watch? Nothing T’ruah? Zero. OHCHR? Couldn’t be bothered. The Carter Center? You kidding me? Jimmy Carter?

Those “rights” organizations have no breath to support human decency if it means defending Israel or Israelis. For “progressive” groups, Israel is solely the object of scorn and condemnation.

The Jewish Temple Mount

For 3000 continuous years, there has been a single place which Jews have revered as their holiest location: the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Jews had two temples there, and after the Second Temple was destroyed, Jews continued to pray in the direction of their holy temples. Until this very day.

At Israel’s founding in 1948, the surrounding Arab countries invaded in the hopes of completely destroying the new Jewish state. At war’s end, the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan took over the western side of the Jordan River through the eastern half of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. The Jordanians promptly evicted every Jew from their illegally seized land.

The Jordanians annexed the region in 1950 in a move that was not recognized by virtually the entire world. In 1954, the Jordanians gave citizenship to every person that lived or had lived in these acquired lands, but deliberately excluded Jews to make sure that the Jews could not re-enter their land, including Jerusalem.

Israel reunited Jerusalem in 1967 after the Jordanians attacked Israel again. It reopened the Old City for Jews to live, visit and worship.

Well, not exactly.

The Israelis gave administrative control of the Temple Mount to the Islamic Waqf shortly after the 1967 war ended. The Waqf has denied Jews the right to pray at their holiest site. Jews cannot carry Jewish prayer books nor Israeli flags.

The Jews can be there physically as human beings, but nothing more.

Kotel Plaza, the closest an Israeli flag can come to the Jewish Temple Mount

And human rights organizations reacted: they were appalled that Jews were even visiting the Temple Mount.

Ir Amim, a radical left-wing organization had the following to say about Jews visiting the Temple Mount in October 2017:

Over the Sukkot holiday, the number of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound continued to rise: according to Temple activists, some 2,000 visitors ascended the Mount during the holiday. From Rosh Hashanah until the end of Sukkot, the number of Jewish visitors totaled about 3,000. These numbers, according to the estimates of the Temple Movements, represent an increase of 30%-40% in the number of visitors relative to last year.

More worrying than the increase in and of itself, however, is the evident change in policy by the police: Greater coordination and friendly relations have been witnessed between the police and Temple Movement activists. Larger and sometimes multiple groups of activists have been allowed to enter the compound, and restrictions on non-Muslim prayer on the Mount appear to have been relaxed. The police permitted a mass religious ceremony to be held, for the first time, near the Western Wall plaza, rather than within the Jewish Quarter as in previous years. Activists were also permitted to put up a sukkah, bearing the emblems of the Temple Movements, on the ramp leading to the Holy Esplanade.

These troubling changes in policy and relations between the police and the activists are undermining the spirit of the status quo on the Mount, if not eroding the status quo in practice.”

Ir Amim called it out: a small handful of Jews can be at Judaism’s most revered location, but they cannot be treated like everyone else.

Whether in Judo competitions or in Jerusalem, a small handful of Jews are reluctantly permitted to stand alongside every other human being on the planet. Still, they must be bleached of their Judaism and cleansed of their affiliations with the Jewish State. The racists, the anti-Semites and progressives know a good status quo when they see one.


Related First.One.Through Articles:

Israeli Olympians get their #IsraeliLivesMatter Moment

Dancing with the Asteroids

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

It’s the Temple Mount, Not the Western Wall

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

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New York Democratic Committee Doubles Down Calling Pro-Israel Republican Candidate an Anti-Semite

Politics has always been an ugly business. It would appear that the Democratic machine in New York will stoop to new lows in broadcasting disgusting libelous lies to protect the shortcomings of their candidates.

In August 2017, the senior Democratic politician in Westchester County called County Executive Rob Astorino a “clever Nazi.” Almost no Democrats condemned the heinous remark of the staunchly pro-Israel Republican.

And no one seemed to care. So the entire Democratic machine got into the game.

Just two months later – two weeks before the election – the New York State Democratic Committee sent out a mass mailing to residents in Westchetser. The revolting text accused Astorino of placating anti-Semites.

Referring to an incident in November 2016 when a swastika and “White Power” were painted on a bike path, the Democratic committee claimed that Astorino said that the perpetrators had a point. That is a complete lie. The fact is Astorino stated that the graffiti was “vile,” “disturbing,” and would be prosecuted as a hate crime.

It is understandable that the Democratic political machine would need to lie to support George Latimer who owes over $40,000 in back taxes, who is challenging Astorino in the November 7 election. That is why one of the flier’s many lies claims that Astorino wants to raise taxes (even though he has never raised property taxes in his eight years in office, while Latimer wants to raise taxes) is not a surprise. Lying to cover the shortcomings of your own candidate while pulling down your opponent has a long history in politics. Have a problem with paying taxes and being on record for wanting to raise taxes – lie that your opponent raised taxes!

But to call your opponent a Nazi and anti-Semite? What could the Democrats be trying to conceal? Is Latimer a Nazi? Are Astorino’s pro-Israel credentials simply too much to overcome?

Did Astorino visit too many area synagogues where he stated his pride in representing such an ethnically diverse and Jewish county? Are Democrats nervous about Astorino’s trips to the Republican Jewish Coalition where he met with hundreds of like-minded pro-American and pro-Israel people?

Maybe it is because anti-Israel groups like WESPAC and Jewish Voice for Peace despise Astorino and actually like Democrat George Latimer. George Latimer visited and was welcomed at WESPAC events, while WESPAC protested against Astorino often.

Westchester is the eighth most Jewish county in the USA and voted for Rob Astorino, a pro-Israel Republican for County Executive two times in a row. So the New York State Democratic machine has opted to brand him as an anti-Semite. A Nazi. With outright and outrageous lies.

“Dear New York State Democratic Committee,

Is there no floor to vile slander? Don’t some red herrings reek even too much for you? Are your candidates that weak that you need to call pro-Israel Republicans “Nazis” and “anti-Semites?”

When I think that the Democratic party can stoop no lower, you are there to depress me again.

Sincerely – and definitely not faithfully,

A fading Democrat”


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Democrats’ Slide on Israel

The Democratic Party is Tacking to the Far Left-Wing Anti-Semitic Fringe

Politicians React to Vile and Vulgar Palestinian Hatred

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

In The Margins

A Country Divided

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There are Standards for Unity

The Jewish holiday of Sukkot (Tabernacles) is one that emphasizes unity more than any other Jewish holiday.

In addition to the commandment to stay in huts (sukkahs) over the holiday, Jews are commanded to gather four species and hold them together in commemorating the holiday. The four species are the lulav, the aravot, the hadasim and the etrog. The four different natural items are said to represent four different types of people. Just as the four species have different characteristics – smell & taste / no smell & taste / smell and no taste / no smell & no taste – similarly these items represent people with a different mix of good deeds and Torah learning. Just as it is necessary to hold all four of these species together to execute the biblical command, so it is with welcoming all kinds of people into our communal tent.

As such, the holiday of Sukkot is a demonstration of unity.

Many progressive rabbis emphasize the nature of unity during the holiday but overlook a critical component of the laws surrounding the lulav: minimum standards.

Each of the four species cannot be contaminated in any way. For example, the tip of the etrog must be intact; the hadasim cannot be dried out. If any one of the four species is damaged, the mitzvah cannot be performed.

So too there are limits to unity.

In theory, all types of people should be allowed in the communal tent. However, there are thresholds at which actions or statements render people unfit and unwelcome into the collective.

Hillary Clinton made a point of describing racists and misogynists as “deplorable,” during her presidential campaign. While she was right in stating that there are some people that are deplorable, she chose that label for 25% of the US population. That is and was an absurd libel.

Liberals have held on to Clinton’s claim post the election of Donald Trump. They continue to state that one in four Americans is a pariah. A disgrace. Unfit to wield a vote.

As such, liberals concluded that the 2016 election was flawed. Like a lulav with dried out hadasim, the process itself was compromised. They held placards that “He’s not my president,” and blamed the loss on a variety of issues like Russian meddling and late breaking revelations about her emails.

But at the core, it was really about their perception of the American deplorables.

Protesters hold signs during a protest against the election of President-elect Donald Trump, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in downtown Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Similarly, for many pro-Israel Americans, there is a divide over acceptable approaches to Israel. Some left-wing extremist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, the New Israel Fund and J Street are viewed as beyond the pale for many in the pro-Israel community due to the groups’ approaches of punishing Israel economically and politically. They are the Jewish “deplorables.”

Does one in four pro-Israel Americans really support such left-wing extremist groups? Unlikely. Just as the number of racists in America is much lower than 25%.

America and the pro-Israel community are strong enough to manage a handful of “deplorables.” But it is incumbent on all of us to make sure that our society does not reach a tipping point where one in four people have such hateful views.

The fabric of decency and unity has limits.


Related First.One.Through articles:

A Disservice to Jewish Community

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

Selective Speech

Students for Justice in Palestine’s Dick Pics

A Deplorable Definition

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The New York Times will Keep on Telling You: Jews are not Native to Israel

The New York Times has a long history of using a Palestinian Arab narrative in its articles about Israel. One of the anchors of such viewpoints was made clear in the October 10, 2017 article about Israelis and Arabs seeking peace through cultural exchange, entitled “Seeking Peace Through Backgammon and Music, Not Politics.”

The article highlighted several Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs that sought to engage each other outside of politics. However, The New York Times (intentionally or not) used a non-political article about peace to distance Jews from their holy land, while simultaneously anchoring every Arab as indigenous.

Every Jew in the article was described as coming from somewhere else, while every Arab was local: from East Jerusalem; Ramallah; Jericho; Hebron; and other locations.

Palestinian Arabs:

  • “Riman Barakat, an East Jerusalem-born Palestinian peace activist,”
  • “The king of Palestinian rap from the Shuafat refugee camp in northeast Jerusalem”
  • “An Armenian from Jerusalem’s Old City
  • “Palestinian hip-hop artists from East Jerusalem
  • “fellow rappers from Ramallah, Jericho and Hebron
  • “rappers like the duo Muzi Raps, from the Old City,”
  • “Raed Bassem Jabid, from the Palestinian neighborhood of At-Tur on the Mount of Olives,”
  • “The [Jerusalem-Armenian] band, most of whose members come from Bethlehem,
  • “Karem Jubran, a Palestinian from the Shuafat camp,”

Israeli Jews:

  • “Tel Aviv poet of Yemeni descent
  • “DJ Ramzy, whose grandmother came from Syria
  • “Zaki Djemal, an Israeli of Syrian descent

Not only did the article feature many more Palestinian Arabs than Israeli Jews even though the article admitted that all but a few dozen of the 2000 attendees to the event were Israelis, every Palestinian originated in a local town in the holy land. That was juxtaposed to every Israeli who originated from somewhere outside of Israel.

The Times will never educate its readers that more Arabs from around the Middle East than Jews from Europe moved to Palestine from 1917 to 1948 under the British Mandate. For the New York Times, the grandchildren of the Iraqi and Egyptian Arabs will be forever Palestinians, while the Jewish descendants that moved to the area during the 20th century will forever be viewed as colonialists.

More #AlternativeFacts from the liberal rag.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Nicholas Kristof’s Crocodile Tears

Every Picture Tells a Story, Don’t It?

Every Picture Tells a Story: Anti-Semitism

Every Picture Tells a Story, the Bibi Monster

The New York Times’ Buried Pictures

Every Picture Tells a Story: Arab Injuries over Jewish Deaths

Every Picture Tells A Story: Only Palestinians are Victims

Every Picture Tells a Story: The Invisible Murdered Israelis

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

Every Picture Tells a Story: Goodbye Peres

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

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

Israel’s Freedom of the Press; New York Times “Nonsense”

New York Times Confusion on Free Speech

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Losing Rights

There are some rights that are considered immutable, granted to human beings everywhere, while other rights are granted by a country’s laws or local society. But individuals and countries can lose those rights if they are deemed threats to society.

Individual Rights in the United States

Consider the right to vote in the United States.

While it was given to adult white men at the birth of the country, it took the passage of the 15th Amendment of the US Constitution in 1870 for black men to get the right to vote. Women got the right to vote in 1919 when the 19th Amendment passed. To this day, citizens under 18 years old are still denied the right to vote.

The right to vote in elections is NOT immutable, as it is conditioned on a level of decent behavior. Many states rescind the right to vote for people who are convicted of a felony. Some states suspend the right while the person is in prison; other states ban the right to vote permanently.

The right to own a gun in the USA is also subject to limitations.

While the 2nd Amendment gave citizens the right “to keep and bear arms,federal law also rescinds such right for people in certain categories, such as convicted felons, domestic abusers and people with certain kinds of mental health issues. The government has opted to remove certain rights of the individual because of their threat to the well-being of society.

That principle relates to countries as well.

Iranian Quest for Nuclear Power

There are nine countries with nuclear weapons and 31 with nuclear power. Despite its prevalence, the world was alarmed when Iran wanted to pursue its own nuclear ambitions. Why did so many countries enforce severe sanctions on Iran, when it was just pursuing a nuclear program similar to many other countries?

As many people stated when the Iranian deal was being formulated and Israeli MK Michael Oren wrote on October 2, 2017 “The Iran Nuclear Deal Isn’t Worth Saving,” the problem lies with Iran itself. The country is a leading state sponsor of global terrorism. It is a dangerous destabilizing force, backing corrupt regimes and terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East. Many countries correctly concluded that Iran is a bad actor that must be restricted from having weapons of mass destruction. It follows the logic of keeping guns out of the hands of felons by a factor of 7 billion.

The current Islamic Republic of Iran is unfit to handle nuclear weapons or even possess nuclear power. It must be satisfied with a conventional arsenal to protect itself and conventional sources of electricity until it can demonstate that it can be trusted with greater power.

Palestinian Arabs’ Quest for an Independent State

In 1975, the United Nations passed General Assembly Resolution 3376 which created the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP). Since 1977, the UN has celebrated on every November 29 the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which echoed the CEIRPP call for “the right to self-determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced.

But the Palestinian Arabs have themselves undermined these “inalienable rights” based on their actions to date.

No “right to return to their homes and property from which they had been displaced.” UN Resolution 194 specifically stated that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so.” However, the millions of Palestinians who want “to return to their homes” are not refugees, but descendants of internally displaced people. Further, the various wars, intifadas and stabbing and car ramming attacks prove that the Palestinian Arabs have no intention of living in peace with Jews in the region.

No “right to national independence and sovereignty.” While people can appreciate the desire of people to self-determination and being citizens of a country, that does not equate to people having a distinct country of their own. Many Arabs are now citizens of Israel, accounting for 20% of the country. Millions of Arabs have Jordanian citizenship, many having moved to Jordan from the West Bank. Millions of Arabs east of the Green Line (EGL)/ Judea and Samaria/ West Bank had Jordanian citizenship from 1954 to 1988, from when the Jordanians granted all non-Jews in the region citizenship until the Jordanian government rescinded it and any claim to EGL. The Arabs in Gaza were under Egyptian rule from 1948 to 1967.

The Palestinian Arabs have shown themselves unfit to have a country of their own based on a long list of actions.

  • Electing a Holocaust denier as President
  • Electing a terrorist group (Hamas) to the majority (58%) of parliament
  • Established laws calling for capital punishment for any Arab selling land to a Jew
  • Calling for a new country to be Jew-free
  • Denying the 3700 year history of Jews in the holy land
  • Almost a completely anti-Semitic populace (93% according to an ADL poll)
  • Using language such as “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” against the Jewish people who just suffered that fate at the hands of Germany and Arab countries around the Middle East
  • Wars and intifadas, and the incitement to murder Jews from 1920 until today

l
logo of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,
showing the entire Arab world invading Israel

[the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade is part of the “moderate” Fatah party and features a logo with guns over the Dome of the Rock on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. New rules by WordPress prevent it being inserted here.]

Like Iran’s pursuit of nuclear power and a convicted felon’s desire to purchase a gun, granting Palestinian Arabs a sovereign country would be a dangerous and alarming action. That countries would even consider pursuing such course while the Palestinian Authority works to bring Hamas into a unity government, would be akin to handing an automatic weapon to a serial domestic abuser who bought the apartment next door to his ex-wife.

The Palestinian Arabs can achieve their “inalienable right” to become citizens of either Israel, Jordan or Egypt. They are still a very long way of earning the right to sovereignty.

 


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Gap between Fairness and Safety: WMDs in Iraq and Iran

Half Standards: Gun Control and the Iranian Nuclear Weapons Deal

Is the Iran Deal a Domestic Matter (NY Times) or an International Matter (Wall Street Journal)

What do you Recognize in the Palestinians?

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

Palestinian Jews and a Judenrein Palestine

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

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There’s No White Privilege for Prostitutes in Minnesota

The FBI recently released its crime statistics report of 2016. In contains a breakdown of Human Trafficking by state which includes “commercial sex acts” and “involuntary servitude.” One state stood out from all of the others regarding human trafficking: Minnesota.

State Population Sex Offenses, 2016 Offenses per MM
Massachusetts 6,873,018 3          0.44
Tennessee 6,705,339 55          8.20
Indiana 6,663,280 4          0.60
Missouri 6,123,362 16          2.61
Maryland 6,068,511 17          2.80
Wisconsin 5,795,147 35          6.04
Colorado 5,658,546 34          6.01
Minnesota 5,554,532 235        42.31
South Carolina 5,030,118 22          4.37
Alabama 4,884,115 NA
Louisiana 4,714,192 123        26.09
Kentucky 4,450,042 NA

Among mid-sized states of 4.5 million to 7 million, only Louisiana and Minnesota had over 100 cases of human trafficking, and Minnesota had almost twice as many as Louisiana. Minnesota had seven times the number of incidents as its neighbor (and similarly sized) Wisconsin.

Are there more women in Minnesota than other states? Greater poverty? More lenient laws about prostitution, whether on the streets or escort services? What could account for such a disparity?

The male/ female breakdown in Minnesota and Wisconsin is identical at 49.6%/50.4%, and the number of people in poverty in Minnesota is among the lowest in the country. Large metropolitan areas like Minneapolis-St. Paul have seen dramatic improvements in poverty, bringing it to the second to lowest of any major city in the United States.

So prostitution is not correlated to the number of women or poverty (terrorism is also not related to poverty, although the United Nations and the Obama administration often argued that it was).

Maybe it has to do with state laws regarding prostitution.

Every state has laws making it illegal to pay for sex (which many believe are completely illogical, including Amnesty International). However, the penalties for prostitution vary significantly by state.

Minnesota has relatively light punishments for the first offense (up to 90 days in jail and/or $1000. Afterwards it jumps to up to 1 year in jail and $3000 per offense. The penalties in Wisconsin are much steeper: up to 9 months in jail and/or fines of $10,000. That is a significant difference and would seem to suggest that penalties – not ubiquity or economic situation – correlate to human trafficking.

However, there is no broad-based correlation. Missouri has even more lenient penalties (30 days to 6 months and/or $500) with only 1/16th the number of arrests. Similarly, South Carolina (first offense 30 days and $200; second offense 6 months and $1000; thereafter 1 year and/or $3000) had 1/10th the number of arrests as Minnesota.

So a large number of prostitution-related arrests does not correlate to laws permitting the practice or the penalties associated with breaking the law.

Then what would account for the difference? How is Minnesota different than every other state that would cause such a disproportionate number of prostitutes?

A deeper look into the FBI tables may yield some clues.

In most states, the number of people arrested were disproportionately black. In Wisconsin, 77% of those arrested were black, in a state that is 80% white. Tennessee had an equal number of whites and blacks arrested (and a few Asians) in a state that is 73% white. South Carolina did not list the race of many of those arrested, but for those that it did, 83% were black in a state where 26% of the residents are black.

But in Minnesota, 69% of the arrests were of white people (in a state that is 80% white). It was the only state which had a somewhat proportionate number of white people arrested as resided in the state. Without the prosecution of white people, the statistics for Minnesota would more closely resemble the rest of the country.

These white people were not recent arrivals to American shores. While Minnesota may have a reputation of being home to Scandinavian immigrants (hence the NFL football team being called the Vikings), the state had 8.3% of the people being foreign-born with only 29.1% of those immigrants being white. That compares to Wisconsin with 44.7% of the foreign-born population being white.

So are there simply more white prostitutes and johns in Minnesota than everywhere else in the country? As the state of Minnesota uses a greater number of undercover cops to catch the buyers and sellers of sex, could they be actively selecting white people for arrests? As the MN police departments have shifted to viewing women as victims, are they more likely to arrest only men?

Quite possibly. It would appear that “white male privilege” in prostitution has hit a wall in Minnesota.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Misogyny of Treating Women like Victims

The Gender Diamonds

Republican Scrutiny and Democratic Empowerment of Muslims in Minnesota

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