The Shrinking Modern Jewish Homeland

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

Map of Terra Sancta, Homann, 1730

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

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

Modern Jewish homeland per Mandate of Palestine, 1920 and 1922

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Related First One Through articles:

The Original Nakba: The Division of “TransJordan”

Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

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

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WHY The Progressive Assault on Israel

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

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

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

Underdogma

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

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

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

Proportionality

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

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

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

Narrative of Emotions versus Facts

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

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

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

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

The Masses Make History

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

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

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

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

Why Progressives Attack Israel Today

In short, why now and why Israel:

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

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

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

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

The Green Line Through Jerusalem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Related First One Through article:

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

The Arguments over Jerusalem

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

“Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Here in United Jerusalem’s Jubilee Year

The Remarkable Tel Jerusalem

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

May 15 is Israel’s Neighbor Day

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

The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

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Conditional U.S. Support in The Middle East

In late 2019, some Democratic candidates for president stated that they would condition American support for Israel with Israel’s behavior regarding Palestinian Arabs. Former Vice President Joe Biden considered the suggestion made by Senator Bernie Sanders (as well as Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg) to be “bizarre.”

Biden seemed to further cement his position of not compromising on military aid to Israel in a recorded message to an AIPAC conference on March 1, 2020 when he reiterated that “I will never boycott [Israel]…. Israel must be able to defend itself. It’s not just critical for Israel’s security, I believe it is critical for America’s security.

As Biden tries to court the Sanders supporters who are highly critical of Israel, it remains to be seen how far Biden will tilt towards the anti-Israel stance of Team Sanders who demand a boycott of Jewish homes and businesses east of the Green Line and funneling Israeli military aid towards rebuilding Gaza.

To appreciate the “bizarre” Sanders conditional approach to Israel, consider America’s approach to the Middle East overall.

American Blood

The United States has thousands of troops deployed throughout the Persian Gulf.

Country U.S. Troops Operations
Bahrain 5,000 Headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (USNAVCENT)
Qatar 10,000 Home to the Al Udeid Air Base, which includes the forward headquarters of U.S. Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT)
Saudi Arabia 2,500 Prince Sultan Air Base
Kuwait 14,500 U.S. uses Camp Arifjan, Camp Buehring, Ali Al Salem Air Field and the naval base Camp Patriot
Iraq 6,000 Remaining troops after Operation Inherent Resolve to fight ISIS
Oman 600 Relatively small footprint
UAE 5,500 Al Dhafra Air Base hosts several U.S. fighter, attack and reconnaissance aircraft of the U.S. 380th Air Expeditionary Wing.

There are over 225,000 U.S. troops stationed abroad but the United States has no permanent base in Israel and no troops are stationed there. Based on the shared principles of democracy and trust, the United States relies on Israel as a partner in the region and supplies it military aid to defend itself.

The figures of American dead and wounded reflect these facts. The data below is from October 2001 to April 18, 2020 from the U.S. Department of Defense:

Military Operation  Killed   Wounded 
Iraqi Freedom             4,431             31,994
New Dawn (Afghanistan)                  74                  298
Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan)             2,353             20,149
Inherent Resolve (ISIS)                  96                  224
Freedom’s Sentinel (Afghanistan)                  92                  570
            7,046             53,235

No Americans have died protecting Israel.

In June 1996, a truck bombing killed 19 Americans at the Khobar Towers barracks near Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.Credit…U.S. Navy, via Associated Press

Treasure

The United States spent roughly $2 trillion to fight wars in Iraq and has spent over $2.5 trillion fighting in Afghanistan. It has spent tens of billions of dollars maintaining its various bases throughout the Persian Gulf and supporting and protecting the Arab and Muslim Persian Gulf countries.

In Egypt, the United States has provided over $40 billion in military aid and $30 billion in economic assistance since 1980. The United States also provides over $1 billion of aid to Jordan every year, in addition to billions of dollars of loan guarantees.

In total, the United States has spent roughly $5 trillion since 2001 on countries in the Middle East, excluding Israel. Almost all of that money has been expenses to stabilize failing regimes and protect U.S. interests. There has been almost no investment in technology development to advance the U.S. military.

However, when it comes to Israel, the United States has benefited from an INVESTMENT in a close ally. As described by the U.S. State Department,

“Israel has long been, and remains, America’s most reliable partner in the Middle East. Israel and the United States are bound closely by historic and cultural ties as well as by mutual interests.”

The U.S. gives Israel over $3 billion per year in military assistance, much of which is spent procuring American products. Israel shares the technological advancements that it develops to enhance America’s military capabilities. In total, the U.S. has given Israel roughly 1/80th of the funds it has spent on the rest of the Middle East, while receiving over 80 times the benefits in technological advancement.

Conditionality

The United States has spent $5 trillion this century on Middle Eastern countries that do not share American values, yet the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has been mum.

Saudi Arabia, a major trading partner, executes minors – in public. It kills people for basic human rights like converting religion. It executes men for engaging in homosexual sex (it only beats woman who are lesbians). Women are forbidden to drive and cannot leave the house without a male escort or approval.

No one seems to care.

Qatar and the United Arab Emirates also have a death penalty for apostasy, converting from Islam. Kuwait, Oman and the UAE have capital punishment for people dealing in drugs. The Palestinian Authority has capital punishment for Arabs who sell land to Jews.

Yet there have been no calls from Sanders or other Democratic Socialists to condition aid to these countries which KILL people for basic human rights. There are over 70 countries – mostly Arab and Muslim – which consider homosexuality a crime, and there is not a peep about placing any conditions on trade and assistance.

The singling out of Israel for allowing a basic human right of a family living in a home and protecting itself from missiles is both hypocritical and antisemitic. Threatening to withhold or divert military aid to Israel which directly benefits American security interests while saying nothing to spending 80 times as much on Arab and Muslim countries is insane. And putting thousands of American lives in danger for backwards regimes while denying Israel the ability to protect Israeli and American interests with ITS OWN SOLDIERS is outright un-American.

Team Sanders and the Democratic Socialists of America including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib should not be allowed on any foreign policy committee or have any hand in crafting the Democratic Platform. They are dangers to America on multiple levels.


Related First One Through articles:

Bernie Sanders’ Antisemitic and Anti-Zionist Friends

Bernie Sanders is Less Sophisticated Than Forrest Gump

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

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For CNN, The Critical Israeli Facts Have No Murdered Jews

The bias against Israel in the liberal media is no longer an accusation but established fact.

Consider the salient facts regarding Israel by the largest global media company, CNN.

Its website has a page called “Israel Fast Facts” which attempts to showcase the most relevant information about the modern state of Israel.

The “Timeline” runs from November 2, 1917 until January 28, 2020 (as of this writing). From the 1917 Balfour Declaration until Israel’s independence in May 1948, CNN wrote that there were “riots” between 1936 and 1939 due to “tensions between Arabs and Jewish settlers.

  • For CNN, every single Jew who came to Palestine was a “settler.” In today’s parlance, CNN and the liberal media call any Jew living east of the 1949 Armistice Lines a “settler” committing an illegal activity. Does CNN believe that every Jew who came to Palestine did so illegally? The facts that Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem since the 1860’s and many thousands of Jews lived in the land for years is unmentioned and irrelevant.
  • The “riots” included massacres of Jewish civilians as in Hebron in 1929. However, no blame on Arabs or Jewish victims are noted.
  • The 1936-9 Arab riots resulted in the British succumbing to Arab pressure to issue a White Paper limiting the immigration of Jews into Palestine to 75,000 over five years, just as the Holocaust in Europe was starting. CNN failed to mention the Arab riots not only killing hundred of Jews in Palestine but resulting in over 100,000 dead Jews in Europe.

Two papal visits are listed in CNN’s timeline, in 1964 and 2000. It is unclear how that is critical to the history of Israel as CNN does not list papal visits to other countries like Lebanon in their timelines.

Dozens of Palestinian terrorist attacks around the world are unmentioned, and the sole attack listed by CNN was the slaughter of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games, which failed to label the terrorists as Palestinian.

There is no mention of Hamas being formed in 1987, the publication of its anti-Semitic charter calling for the killing of Jews and destruction of Israel in 1988, its election to a majority of the Palestinian parliament in 2006 or its routing of Fatah and takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

No mention of Israel’s peace agreement with Jordan in 1994.

While CNN mentioned the Gaza Disengagement Plan in December 2003, it failed to mention the April 2004 letter from US President George W. Bush to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in conjunction with such action, clearly stating the US position that a two-state solution would NOT run along the 1949 Armistice Lines.

The May 2010 Turkish flotilla to Gaza is referred to as bringing “humanitarian supplies,” in which “nine activists” were killed by Israeli commandos. Lost in this description was that the boat refused to dock peacefully in an Israeli port to have the supplies delivered to Gaza and that the “activists” actively beat the Israelis with the soldiers responding in a defensive action.

Continuing its theme of Israelis being aggressors, CNN wrote about Israeli confrontations with Hamas in 2008, 2014 and 2018 mentioning the number of Palestinians killed but never mentioning any Israelis killed or injured.

CNN map of Israel, referring to “East Jerusalem,” a place that only existed for 19 years as an artifice of war

CNN’s timeline of Israel’s history includes thousands of dead Palestinians at the hands of Israelis but not a single dead or injured Israeli by Palestinians. It further minimized Palestinian terrorist attacks against Jews around the world with only a solitary mention of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Olympics and even then, refusing to state the terrorists were Palestinian.

And CNN goes further to label Israelis as militants and Palestinians as victims by describing every Jew that ever came to Israel as a “settler,” inherently deserving of Arab wrath.


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New Head of UNRWA is Another Hamas-Sympathizer Politician

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Philippe Lazzarini of Switzerland to be the new head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Upon hearing that the head was going to be from Switzerland and not England which is forever anti-Israel, one had a moment to be hopeful that the tainted agency that prevents peace in the Israeli-Arab conflict might have a chance of reform.

Philippe Lazzarini

Lazzarini had been the Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon and before that served in a similar capacity in Somalia, as well as a decade at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). His work often focused on “humanitarian assistance and international coordination in conflict and post-conflict areas,” so there was hope that the U.N. was making an active step to turn UNRWA into an organization of humanitarian assistance and not a political instrument to attack Israel.

Reading about Lazzarini’s work in Somalia gave a person a measure of hope. He said that “it is important to bear in mind that the humanitarian agenda will not be subordinated to political decisions,” an important point to make to gain support of people on the ground and to be effective and supporting people in need.

But that is seemingly only his concern in Somalia.

In September 2009, Lazzarini wrote a scathing peace about Gaza and the West Bank called “Putting dignity at the heart of the humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory.” It showed a complete deafness to the history of the region and to his own recommendations in Somalia of keeping politics out of his work.

Regarding the first “intifada” which killed hundreds of civilians in Israel between 1987 and 1993, Lazzarini wrote

“Although that period was violent, with daily mass demonstrations, confrontations,
arrests and casualties, it was at least possible to dream of a better future.” 

No mention of brutal killings, bombings or the slaughter of civilians. Just optimism.

He would continue that the situation at the time he wrote (2009) was worse, as there was little cause to be hopeful.

“The current crisis in Gaza was triggered by the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 and the unprecedented blockade imposed by Israel.”

Nowhere in the nearly 2,000-word article did Lazzarini mention that Hamas is recognized as a terrorist group by a dozen countries and sworn to the destruction of Israel. As such, the blockade appeared unjustified. He would keep his audience in the dark in writing about Operation Cast Lead of December 2008 – January 2009:

“The bulk of the 1,383 fatalities were civilians not involved in the fighting, including over 330 children. Tens of thousands were injured or traumatised. Enduring three weeks of daily bombardment from land, sea and air, the population had nowhere to seek refuge: borders were sealed and safe havens non-existent since even UN premises and schools, where civilians had taken shelter, were hit by direct shelling.”

Lazzarini failed to note that Israel launched the operation to stop the constant missile attacks coming from Gaza and to destroy hundreds of tunnels which Hamas used to bring in weaponry. He also did not mention that Israel allowed the flow of humanitarian goods throughout the conflict.

Regarding U.N. schools being safe havens, the question is safety for who? Just before Operation Cast Lead, Israel killed the principal of one of those UN schools, Awad al-Qiq, who built rockets for Islamic Jihad to fire into Israeli schools and playgrounds.

Lazzarini continued:

“Locked in by a medieval siege whose enforcers decide what items will be allowed in and what people will eat, Gaza has become a ‘humanitarian welfare society’ supported by the international community.”

The author of the Goldstone Report, Richard Goldstone said unequivocally, that “Israel, like any other sovereign nation, has the right and obligation to defend itself and its citizens against attacks from abroad and within.” The “medieval” behavior is by the antisemites who seek to kill Jews, not by those seeking to defend themselves.

Lazzarini then went on to blame Palestinian Arab child and spousal abuse on Israel:

“Women and children in particular are paying a high price, as shown by a recent UN survey revealing an increase in the prevalence of domestic and gender-based violence. Possible factors behind the increase in domestic violence include the
unprecedented levels of trauma and stress that emerged after the conflict.”

The obsession for blaming Israel for the situation continued, as did false political aspersions that “East Jerusalem” is “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Firstly, East Jerusalem doesn’t exist, it was a 19-year blip in the city’s 4,000-year history and an artifice of war. Secondly, Jerusalem was NEVER designed to be Palestinian: not in the British Mandate; not in the 1947 U.N. resolution to divide the land for two peoples; not in the post-1948/9 war which saw the Jordanians illegally annex the city; not in the post-1967 war after Jordan attacked Israel and lost the eastern half of the city; and not in the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995, the last agreements signed by the Israelis and Palestinian Authority.

Lazzarini concludes his article with a notion that has proven untrue:

“Poverty, isolation and humiliation are recipes for extremism. ‘Unlocking’ Gaza by opening its crossing points and freeing up space for Palestinian development in the West Bank are the first steps towards averting a future explosion of violence.”

There is no correlation between poverty and “violence” a/k/a “terrorism.” Palestinians rioted in the 1920’s and 1930’s killing hundreds of Jews without “poverty, isolation and humiliation.” The perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks were from wealthy families.

The Palestinian Arab objection is the presence of Jews and the establishment of the Jewish State as Hamas made clear in its 1988 Charter with statements “Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people,” and “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” The Palestinian Arabs voted Hamas to 58% of the parliament in 2006 with this call for a religious war against the Jews.

It was not about “poverty.”

The new head of UNRWA looked at first blush as a man who could turn a terrible agency into a constructive organization solely dedicated to humanitarian assistance. Alas, he has shown that he is another political creature born in the UN swamp who will spare no ink to defend Hamas and berate Israel.


Related First One Through articles:

What’s Wrong with UNRWA

The United Nations Once Again “Encourages” Hamas

While Palestinians Fire 400 Rockets, the United Nations Meets to Give Them Money

The Dangerous Red Herring Linking Poverty and Terrorism

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

Palestinian Arabs De-Registering from UNRWA

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

UN’s Confusion on the Legality of Israel’s Blockade of Gaza

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

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Members of Knesset and the Jerusalem Program

The World Zionist Congress just finished its elections on March 11, 2020. There were few conditions to voting in the United States such as being Jewish and 18 years old. However, there was another requirement to have one’s diaspora voice heard in Israel: a confirmation of supporting the Jerusalem Program. As detailed by the American Zionist Movement, those beliefs are:

  • The unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland Eretz Yisrael, and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital, in the life of the nation;
  • Aliyah to Israel from all countries and the effective integration of all immigrants into Israeli society.
  • Strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state and shaping it as an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character, marked by mutual respect for the multi-faceted Jewish people, rooted in the vision of the prophets, striving for peace and contributing to the betterment of the world.
  • Ensuring the future and the distinctiveness of the Jewish people by furthering Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education, fostering spiritual and cultural values and teaching Hebrew as the national language;
  • Nurturing mutual Jewish responsibility, defending the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation, representing the national Zionist interests of the Jewish people, and struggling against all manifestations of anti-Semitism;
  • Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.

Yet these same principles are not held by many members of Israel’s own parliament, the Knesset.

The Joint List – a collection of four Arab parties – received 15 seats out of the 120 in Knesset, a 12.5 per cent tally. The party is led by Ayman Odeh, a man who called on Palestinian Arabs across the Green Line to fight against Israel and refused to attend a meeting in New York City held on the same floor as the Jewish Agency, the group that helps facilitate “aliyah to Israel,” as called for in the Jerusalem Program. The party also includes Ahmed Tibi who has said that Hamas is “not a terror organization,” even with a charter calling for the total destruction of Israel and the murder of its Jewish inhabitants.

The Joint List of Arab parties celebrates its showing in the March 2, 2020 Israeli elections with Odeh and Tibi at center (Photo: AFP)

This collection of Arab parties includes people against the Jerusalem Program and Israel itself.

In the past, Arab List Members of Knesset (MKs) included people like Hanin Zoabi who saidI 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.” Current MK Yousef Jabareen is a member of Hadash (part of the Joint List) who openly calls Israel a racist society and speaks of ending the national identity of Israel.

Israelis somehow don’t seem to mind.

Hadash-member Raja Za’atra founded the B.D.S. (boycott, divest and sanction) movement in Israel and has compared Israel to ISIS and Nazis. While not a member of Knesset he is welcomed as a member of the Haifa City Council.

The State of Israel demands more Zionist affirmation from Jews in the diaspora than from its own citizens with zero effect. The March 2020 elections concluded with openly hostile anti-Zionist Israelis securing a considerable showing in the Knesset, while the alt-left Hatikvah slate had to lie about its Zionist bona fides to participate in the United States’ WZC elections and also secured a sizable vote.

These anti-Zionists are inside the power structure regardless of approach, so a decision should be made whether the Jerusalem Program be scrapped as irrelevant or actively enforced in both Israel and the diaspora to discharge the venom within.


Related First One Through articles:

Ayman Odeh Doesn’t Speak for Arab Israelis, Jewish Israelis or Peace

“Peace” According to Palestinian “Moderates”

In Defense of Foundation Principles

Arabs in Jerusalem

Jews, Judaism and Israel

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

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

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Israel Stands Out Regarding Equality for Women

March 8, 2020 was celebrated as the International Day of Women. To mark the occasion, the United Nations produced a study which tracked how women are doing regarding equality around the world. It was called “The 2019 Human Development Reportand it was produced by The Human Development Report Office (HDRO) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The study took into account a number of factors including violence against women, economic power, ability to obtain an education and political power. It tracked the results by country and region and tried to assess why certain “social norms” existed in certain societies. It did this focusing strictly on the statistical data for most of the report, but the introductory comments spoke generally about how certain societies viewed women:

Social norms cover several aspects of an individual’s identity—age, gender, ability, ethnicity, religion and so on—that are heterogeneous and multidimensional. Discriminatory social norms and stereotypes reinforce gendered identities and determine power relations that constrain women’s and men’s behaviour in ways that lead to inequality. Norms influence expectations for masculine and feminine behaviour considered socially acceptable or looked down on. So they directly affect individuals’ choices, freedoms and capabilities.

Social norms also reflect regularities among groups of individuals. Rules of behaviour are set according to standards of behaviour or ideals attached to a group’s sense of identity. Individuals have multiple social identities and behave according to identity-related ideals; they also expect others sharing a common identity to behave according to these ideals. Norms of behaviour related to these ideals affect people’s perception of themselves and others, thus engendering a sense of belonging to particular identity groups. The beliefs people hold about appropriate behaviour often determine the range of choices and preferences that they exercise—in that context norms can determine autonomy and freedom, and beliefs about social censure and reproach create barriers for individuals who transgress. For gender roles these beliefs can be particularly important in determining the freedoms and power relations with other identities—compounded when overlapping and intersecting with those of age, race and class hierarchies.”

The study states that societies have certain normative behaviors and gender is very integral to that configuration. A break from accepted patterns risks a rupture in the community to which one belongs. As such, a seemingly small break from community norms like young Pakistani woman Malala Yousafzai insisting on going to school, got her shot.

Reviewing the study from a country and regional standpoint highlights certain trends in what are considered “societal norms.”

The leading countries in gender equality are from western Europe, North America and Australia. The worst performing countries are from sub-Saharan Africa. The Arab States and South Asia were right behind sub-Saharan Africa.

It was a curious label to see “Arab States” as a category under “Region,” (Table 1) as it is not a region the way “South Asia” and “Latin America” are. One would have expected the report to call the region “Middle East and North Africa (MENA)” the way the United Nations usually refers to that part of the world.

But it could not because of an anomaly in the MENA region in its treatment of women which broke statistically from all of the Arab and Muslim countries: Israel.

As seen in the chart above, Israel is statistically much more like the leading western countries in the world in its treatment of women and not like its neighbors in the Arab world. The western countries in the chart above include Norway; Germany; Australia; Netherlands; Canada; United Kingdom the United States… and Israel. The Arab states include The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Qatar; Iran (not actually Arab but Muslim), Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Palestinian Authority, Iraq and Syria.

The differences in every category are striking:

  • Maternal Mortality. The West is 7.4 and Arabs 35.4, while Israel is 5 deaths per 100,000 births
  • Adolescent Birth Rate. The West is 10.0 and Arabs 35.0, while Israel is 9.6 births among women 15-19 years old per 1,000
  • Per cent Seats in Parliament. The West is 31.6% and Arabs 13.2%, while Israel is 27.5%
  • Per cent of Women with Secondary Education. The West is 91.9% and Arabs 60.1%. Israel is 87.8%
  • Per cent of Women in Labor Force. The West is 58.3% and Arabs 22.5%. Israel is 59.2%

Israel is not only an outlier in the Middle East in being the only Jewish state in the middle of Muslim states, it is an outlier in its progressive treatment of women as well.


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A Flower in Terra Barbarus

The Color Coded Lexicon of Israel’s Bigotry: It’s not Just PinkWashing

Is Israel Reforming the Muslim Middle East? Impossible According to The NY Times

The Impossible Liberal Standard

Dancing with the Asteroids

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Ever-Elections, Never-Elections and Controlling Elections

On March 1, 2020, the Israeli public went to the voting polls – again. It was the third time in just a year in which the Jewish State sought to establish a government. While the final results are not in, it looks like Israeli Prime Minister’s Likud Party won 36 seats while the Blue and White Party won 32 seats. Overall, the Right-Religious block appears to have secured 59 seats, short of a 61 seat majority.

Israeli elections again?

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority continues to do nothing. The PA last held elections for Parliament in 2006, in which the Hamas, a U.S., a designated terrorist organization, won 58 percent of the seats, an over-whelming majority. In 2005, the Palestinians voted for president and elected Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah to a four-year term. That term expired in January 2009, over eleven years ago, but Abbas refuses to relinquish power or hold elections.

The Palestinians have divided their areas of control with Hamas ruling in Gaza and Fatah administering Palestinian territories in the West Bank. The two parties cannot reconcile between themselves to form a unity government and refuse to let the people hold new elections as a way out of the impasse, as each party fears losing the little control it does wield.

And in the United States, the presidential contest is set like clockwork, moving towards a November vote, as it does every four years. This year, the Democratic establishment is so fearful of the leading position of Socialist Bernie Sanders, that it effectively pushed two moderates – Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg – off of the Super Tuesday ballots and to endorse Vice President Joe Biden for president, in the hopes of giving the moderates of the party a chance to coalesce behind a single person to defeat the extremist Bernie Sanders. The leaders of the Democratic Party know that a brokered convention will tear their party apart – either in blocking Bernie Sanders and making the progressive wing of the party go to war, or by giving the ticket to Bernie and watching all of the Democratic candidates around the country go down to defeat.

Such is the state of elections today: Israel forever holding elections, Palestinians never having elections and the United States attempting to control the election outcome. It brings to mind a quote by Winston Churchill, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Naked Democracy

Liberal’s Protest Bubble Harms Democracy

The U.S. is Stealing Real Choices from the Voters

A Country Divided

John McCain 2008 / 2018

Let’s Make America VOTE Again

Michael Bloomberg Talks to America about Marrying a Prostitute

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At AIPAC, Joe Biden Waves His Finger While Bernie Sanders Flips the Bird

The annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) gathering kicked off in Washington, D.C. on March 1, 2020 during the highly unusual backdrop of both an election in Israel (March 2nd) and the thick of the presidential campaign in the United States (March 3rd). It was an highly opportune time for politicians and candidates to feed red meat to the pro-Israel crowd.

The politicians with some sanity understood that.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) addressed the audience in an unambiguous style that Israel is a strongly bi-partisan matter for Republicans and Democrats alike. He said that a strong Israel is vital for American interests and that he would always stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the strong American ally and oppose any notion of boycotting the Jewish State. Unfortunately, his time slot was right before dinner so much of the crowd was already out the door and didn’t hear it.

In the morning, Senator Amy Klobuchar who is running for president spoke to the crowd via a pre-recorded message. With the U.S. Capital placed on the green screen behind her, she spoke of her long, strong support for Israel and her desire to see peace emerge in the Middle East.

Foreign leaders took the stage to address the 18,000 people, including from Serbia and Congo, who spoke of their strong affinity for the Jewish people. The president of Serbia recalled how his country was quick to back the Balfour Declaration and has always been proud of its relationship of the Jewish community and stated his desire to deepen the connections to the Jewish State. The leader of the Congo quoted scriptures and spoke of his country’s expanding ties with Jerusalem.

President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, addressing AIPAC in Washington, D.C., March 1, 2020 (photo: First On Through)

President of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, saying he will appoint an ambassador to Israel during the AIPAC conference on March 1, 2020 (photo: First One Through)

And then there was former Vice President Joe Biden. He spoke to the audience via a pre-recorded message that looked like he stepped out of a tour bus into an alleyway to quickly say something to a crowd of people he really preferred not to address. While he said he was pro-Israel, he was not convincing, as he sternly warned the crowd that actions by the Israeli government to approve Jewish housing east of the Green Line risked making Israel a wedge issue in American politics. His meaning was clear: only Republicans would give Israelis unconditional support and the green light to live in Judea and Samaria; a Biden administration would come down hard on Israel.

Vice President Joe Biden addressing AIPAC in a pre-recorded message

The Biden video went off with a thud. Whereas the president of Serbia received a standing ovation, the audience was puzzled why Biden would opt to give a speech that was seemingly crafted by staffers from Code Pink and the New Israel Fund.

The thinning Democratic herd just lost Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer, and the leaders of AIPAC were faced with the realization that despite their repeated assertions that the group works closely with both Democrats and Republicans, the two front runners of the remaining Democrats were either hostile or ambivalent about Israel and the US-Israel relationship: Bernie Sanders called AIPAC a racist “platform for bigotry,” and Joe Biden said that real friends told friends when they were drunk and took away their car keys.

The new president of AIPAC, Betsy Berns Korn sounded the alarm bell. The emergence of politicians against the U.S.-Israel relationship is not limited to a few fringe freshmen members of Congress. It is working its way through the entire political power structure.

In November 2015, Vice President Biden addressed a progressive Jewish crowd and stabbed a finger at Israel, admonishing the entire Jewish State for something a private Israeli citizen had once said about Obama. In March 2020, Biden continued to admonish the Jewish State with a wave of his finger that the American-Israeli bond was very, very conditional, while Senator Bernie Sanders flipped AIPAC the bird. Will the pro-Israel community raise their hands in surrender or take a fighting stance?


Related First One Through articles:

While Joe Biden Passionately Defends Israel, He Ignores Jewish Rights and the History of the Jewish State

The Invisible Anti-Semitism in Obama’s 2016 State of the Union

Mike Bloomberg, Where #NeverTrump Meets #NeverBernie

The New York Times’ Select Defense of a Civilian

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