The Peace Proposal Monologues

The Trump administration put forward a new Middle East Peace Plan as the latest installment of a series of frameworks over the years to try to find an enduring peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Like every proposal before it, it was declared dead on arrival.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 28: U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a joint statement in the East Room of the White House on January 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. The news conference was held to announce the Trump administration’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images/AFP

The Israelis had made numerous direct overtures for peace through the years, from its founding in 1948, post the 1967 war and in 2008, when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented a plan that met nearly every desire of the Palestinian Authority. But in the end, the Arabs rejected every Israeli effort to find peace.

So third parties took a stab at putting forward their versions of a workable peace. The last serious attempt was advanced by the Arab League in 2002, known as the Arab Peace Initiative (API) which was advanced by Saudi Arabia. The API, not surprisingly, was heavily biased towards the Palestinian Arabs. The Obama Administration worked off of the API in trying to strike a peace agreement, and secured small adjustments from the Arab League to make it more palatable for Israel to accept, such as the notion of including “comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land” in 2013.

But the plan did not meet Israel’s basic security needs, and no peace agreement was advanced, particularly after Hamas’ 2014 war against Israel and the Palestinian Authority fomenting the “stabbing intifada” in 2015.

President Trump, in concert with his pro-Israel advisers including Jason Greenblatt, realized that a new paradigm needed to be advanced.

Trump’s team spent years developing a new framework based on a long-term vision for the region, rather than simply trying to get Israel to accept the API which would have left it very vulnerable in a tumultuous region. This new initiative recognized several inherent flaws of the Obama-approved API, including lies which had become mainstreamed, or as US founding father Thomas Paine once said “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.

  • “East Jerusalem.” There is no place called East Jerusalem any more than there is a place called East Berlin. That name existed for only 18 years of the city’s 4,000 year history and was an artifice of war that ended in 1967.
  • “Occupied East Jerusalem.” Jerusalem was NEVER slated to be under Arab control in international agreements including the San Remo Agreement, the Mandate of Palestine or the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan. To call it “occupied Palestinian territory” is a complete lie.
  • Refugees. Refugees are people who left a COUNTRY, not a mandate territory or a specific town. To extend the farce of calling for a return of “refugees” when the mandate was later advocated to be split for two peoples is against the very nature of the goal. To continue the charade for several generations entrenches resentment and has long been an obstacle to peaceful coexistence.
  • “Inalienable rights.” The United Nations has pushed forward the notion that Palestinian Arabs have “inalienable rights” of sovereignty. That would make them the only people with such rights – do Hispanic people who lived in New York City in the 1970’s have inalienable rights to their own country? People only have inalienable rights to self-determination.

Beyond the outright lies which have permeated discourse in the Arab-Israel conflict, there has been a denial of facts:

  • Return of “territories.” Israel has already complied with UN resolutions to return territories won in the 1967 War: it returned the Sinai to Egypt and handed Gaza to the Palestinians, the first time Palestinians ever had self-rule of a territory.
  • War from Palestinian territories. Since the Palestinians have ruled Gaza, they launched thousands of rockets into Israeli civilian neighborhoods.
  • Inability to Compromise. The two Palestinians factions have not even been able to negotiate between themselves, so how realistic can it be that they will ever agree to peace with Israel.
  • Rights. Only under Israel has there been freedom of access and freedom to worship for all religions, as opposed to the Arabs from 1949 to 1967 which barred Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem and Hebron.
  • Growth. The Arab population in the West Bank has grown significantly more than the Arab populations in all of the neighboring countries from 1967 until now, demonstrating the positive and stable environment of Israel for all of its inhabitants.

The Trump peace plan takes reality into account as it seriously addresses the security risks of the region. It is a constructive document to counter-balance the flawed Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and will hopefully enable the parties to chart a course towards an enduring peace.

Like Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” play which included a series of skits meant to address violence against women, the Middle East Peace Monologues now has a new installment to address the violence against and isolation of Israel. The question is whether this latest addition will break the impasse to become a dialogue.


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The Callous-tinian Pause

As is their custom, Palestinian Arabs are calling for a “day of rage” because of what might possibly come out of the Trump Administration this week regarding a proposed peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Palestinians had called for a similar day of “mass protests” when the Trump Administration said that Israeli settlements are not inconsistent with the law in November 2019. At that time, various PA officials made statements about their position of a “rejection and condemnation of the Israeli-American settlement enterprise that aims to eliminate the Palestinian cause,” and that they reject “Zionist and American hostile policy… [that are designed to] liquidate the Palestinian cause.

The Palestinians similarly called for a “day of rage” in March 2018 after Trump moved the US embassy in Israel to its capital city of Jerusalem. Palestinian officials said they “will continue to protest against this decision and the plan to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, as well as attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause.” There were “days of rage” when Israel put metal detectors on Jerusalem’s Jewish Temple Mount after Arabs killed a few people on the holy site.

What is this “Palestinian cause” that is threatened by Jews living alongside Arabs in the West Bank as they do in Israel, and which cannot stand to have the US embassy in Jerusalem? Why do Palestinians hold days of rage when Jews visit the Temple Mount or Israel shows any signs of controlling the site? Why launch this latest “day of rage” before even hearing Trump’s peace plan and stating “[t]he Palestinian leadership, with the support of our people, will fail attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause?

Do Palestinians believe that they will expel all Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem just as the Jordanians did in 1949? Is the “Palestinian cause” designed to deny Jews their presence, rights and dignity to live, visit and pray at Judaism’s holiest site? Was the Arab happiness about Obama’s endorsement of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 about  expunging the history of Jews in Jerusalem and rolling back the “Judaization” of the city?

It would appear that the “Palestinian Cause” has much less to do with the rights of Palestinians than denying the rights of Jews. Its goal is to reintroduce the 18-year ban on Jews which Arabs introduced and enforced during that window of their control of Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967: the “Callous-tinian Pause.”


Jerusalem’s Old City pre-1949, with the Tiferet Yisrael and Hurva Synagogues,
both destroyed by Arab armies.

This Palestinian cause of a Callous-tinian Pause SHOULD be deliberately and specifically liquidated, their calls for days of rage be damned.


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Is Columbia University Promoting Violence Against Israel and Jews?

Columbia University has claimed to be a champion of free speech. It was in that spirit that it invited the noted anti-Semite Malaysian Prime Minster Mahathir Mohamad to speak on campus in September 2019. Mohamad has called Jews “hook-nosed,” said they “rule the world by proxy” and questioned the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust. He has even said he is “glad to be labeled anti-Semitic.”

That same week, seemingly to make the Jewish students on campus feel particularly unwelcome, one of Columbia’s professors, Lis Harris, released her book “In Jerusalem.” The student-run Columbia Spectator magazine reviewed the book in its Winter 2019-20 edition.

The review was shocking in seemingly endorsing the author’s contentions that Israel is an oppressor of Palestinians without adding any facts or context.

The article is set up to inform the reader that the book will have a natural “pro-Israel” tenor, as the author Lis Harris “grew up in a secular Jewish family in the United States fully alert, she says, ‘to the wrongs done to the beleaguered Jews across the ocean,’ but with little sense of the ‘wrongs done to the Palestinian people.’” Ah, if someone with a pro-Israel bias can see how terrible Israel is, it certainly must be true. The birth of a woke anti-Zionist is a cause for a progressive party.

Facts in the review and/or the book were seemingly few in the offering.

We are told that the book tries to look at the conflict through the lens of two families, a Jewish one living in “West Jerusalem” and a Palestinian one “living across the border wall in East Jerusalem.” This is fiction. There is no “border wall” between “West Jerusalem” and “East Jerusalem.” In 1967, Israel tore down the fence that divided the Jerusalem after Jordan illegally attacked Israel, and reunited the holy city. There is no West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, and the fence which had existed from 1949 to 1967 was explicitly declared to NOT be a border by Israel and Jordan in their Armistice agreement. The “security barrier” which Israel began to erect in 2002 to stop the terrorism of Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank is to the east of unified Jerusalem.

Perhaps the facts make the author’s shuttle diplomacy seem less daring, but it’s a sad intro for a writer “who spent more than ten years gathering research and interviews for the book.” The book established zero credibility from the outset.

The review then moves from the gross inaccuracies to ignoring Jewish history and blessing Arab terrorists.

We are informed that the stories in the book are told by “accomplished women” and intelligent and respected family members who “want peace and a fair solution to the conflict.” The Jewish woman’s aunt escaped Nazi Germany who found asylum in Mandatory Palestine “as a refuge from violence.” There is no mention that Mandatory Palestine was designed to REESTABLISH the Jewish homeland years before Nazis came to power. Jews were not dumped into Mandatory Palestine in a reaction to the Holocaust; the land of Israel has been the Jewish homeland for 3,700 years. Modern Zionism pushed for Jewish sovereignty in that land decades before the State of Israel came into being. That’s why Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority since the 1860’s, all facts not covered in the review and presumably not in the book.

This Jewish aunt “is juxtaposed with the experience of Niveen’s [the Arab’s] aunt. At twenty-one, Rasema Odeh was accused of terrorism, illegally tortured, and served ten years at the Ramla prison… Rasmea’s story is shocking, but the chapter devoted to it is one of the book’s best.” The review made it sound like Odeh was a poor victim, unjustly “accused of terrorism.” It neglected to state that she was convicted of terrorism in which she placed a bomb at a supermarket killing two civilians (her accomplices openly admitted such on Palestinian TV). It failed to state that Odeh lied about the events in getting a visa into the United States in 1994 and was stripped of her citizenship in 2017 and deported. It failed to note that many countries – including Germany in 2019 – banned her from speaking in public and denied her a visa as she calls violence against Israel. The mayor of Berlin said about Odeh that “anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic resentments, wrapped up in liberation rhetoric, have no business here. I am glad that we have found a way to stop this propaganda.

This “juxtaposition” of a Holocaust survivor finding refuge at the expense of Palestinian Arabs seems to take a page out of the book of pathological liar U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) who claimed she found comfort that her ancestors created a safe haven for Jews when they actually did everything they could to kill the Jews and/or keep them out of Palestine. It is called Seeing the Holocaust Through Nakba Eyes, which turns the Jews from victims to oppressors, and the Palestinians from participants in the Holocaust to victims themselves.

The article continues with more inanity such as “Harris is clear-sighted and firm in her own view that the Israeli government is more oppressor than victim. She does not condemn the Palestinian people fighting to live in their occupied home of East Jerusalem (but neither will she excuse the violence of Hamas).”  No commentary that the Arab population in the eastern part of Jerusalem has grown FOUR TIMES since 1967, a rate that surpasses the population growth of Arabs in any neighboring country. It also neglects to mention that Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem have the option of becoming Israeli citizens and thousands have opted to do so. Palestinians aren’t “fighting to live;” they are fighting to evict the Jews and destroy the Jewish State.

The Spectator adds that “Harris was able to comment on President Trump’s rash recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” Rash? Was President Truman’s recognition of Israel in 1948 also rash? The snide comment didn’t even attempt to hide the reviewer’s bias.

In summation, the review states that “through the people she comes to know in Israel and Palestine, Lis Harris sees hope, and this brave new book ultimately helps us see it too.” Palestine? The United States recognizes no such country. And to the extent that it recognizes “Palestinian Territories,” those are limited to Gaza and Areas A and B, and certainly not “in Jerusalem.”


Columbia University has chapters of anti-Israel hate groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace as student-run groups on campus. Their voices seem to have penetrated not only the student-run paper and magazine but the University itself which includes a faculty with anti-Israel authors and promoters of boycotts of Israel, and enabled the invitation of proud anti-Semites like the Prime Minister of Malaysia onto its campus. Beyond the student agitators, maybe the university’s anti-Israel platform was purchased by foreign donors like Saudi Arabia who pumped more than $193 million into Columbia between 2011 and 2017.

In October 2019, a report entitled “A Hotbed for Hate” produced by the Alumni for Campus Fairness listed over 100 anti-Jewish incidents at Columbia and Barnard since the 2016/7 academic year. In addition to the on-campus activities like a swastika painted on a Jewish professor’s office, the report listed numerous faculty members who deny the history of Jews as well as peddle forms of Holocaust denial.

At the very moment when antisemitism is on the rise, the murder of Jews is becoming commonplace and the demonization of Israel is accepted, it is a travesty that New York City’s only Ivy League school gives credibility, honor and an open mic to such vile sentiments.


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The New York Times All Out Assault on Jewish Jerusalem

The week before Israeli elections always brings out the bile in the anti-Zionist New York Times. This election, scheduled for September 17, was no exception.

The front page screed (not worthy of being called news) on September 14, 2019 called “A Challenge to the Essence of Old Jerusalem, Coming by Cable Car,” was written by Michael Kimmelman, an architecture critic, leading a reader to imagine a piece covering the “essence” of Jerusalem’s architecture and the proposed modern cable car. While the article did touch on those points, the observations were drowned out by the paper’s anti-Jewish narrative of Judaism’s holiest city.


Front page and page A8 of the September 14, 2019 New York Times

The opening paragraph directs the reader that Jerusalem is a city of Muslims and Christians and… well, there aren’t any Jews.

“At a glance, Jerusalem’s Old City and its surroundings still look pretty much as they must have looked centuries ago. The Old City’s yellow walls still read in silhouette against an ancient landscape of parched hills and valleys. The skyline is still dominated by the city’s great Muslim and Christian shrines: the gold, glistening Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus was said to have been buried.”

Has Kimmelman even visited the city? The “parched hills and valleys” are dotted with modern apartment buildings and hotels. The Old City skyline includes the newly rebuilt Hurva Synagogue (2010), reconstructed now for the third time, first built in 1694.

Jerusalem’s Old City with a mix of Muslim, Christian and Jewish sites
(photo: First.One.Through)

The article’s second paragraph showed ignorance in addition to blindness.

“But this is about to change. Israeli authorities have approved a plan to build an elevated cable car to the Western Wall, the holiest site in the Jewish world, by 2021.”

The Western Wall, the Kotel, is not the holiest site in Judaism; that is the Temple Mount. The Kotel is only a retaining wall of the Temple Mount where Jews have been relegated to use since Suleiman I kicked the Jews off of the Temple Mount in the 16th century.

With bona fides of ignorance established, the author leaned into his bias, pointing a finger at “right-wing Israeli leaders” as the promoters of a plan which “has provoked howls of protest from horrified Israeli preservationists, environmentalists, planners, architects and others who picture a global heritage site turned into a Jewish-themed Epcot.

This is the “essence” of the article.

Israelis enjoy a full-throated democracy and opine on everything. Such a new visible transportation system would obviously prompt outcries, mostly on the basis of aesthetics, which is presumably why it was an architecture critic penning the article. But The Times’ anti-Israel politics quickly overwhelmed the story.

The article stated that the cable car proposal is being advanced by “right wing” leaders and opposed by many Israelis. The “global heritage site” – which readers were just educated has no Jewish ties – will be transformed by the radicals into a Jewish Disneyland (ie. fake and cheesy to bring in tourist dollars). Even fellow Jews were nauseated. The Arabs must be apoplectic.

Queue the Times’ right-wing racist Prime Minister Netanyahu theme music.

Moving quickly from the architecture of the site, Kimmelman went full-politics describing Netanyahu’s announcement of annexing “nearly a third of the occupied West Bank.” This diversion from transportation and architecture into politics went to the heart of the author’s view: the cable car is a Jewish takeover of Arab sites and heritage. Tying those themes together Kimmelman continued:

“The cable car project is an example, illustrating how Israel wields architecture and urban planning to extend its authority in the occupied territories. Whatever its transit merits, which critics say are negligible, the cable car curates a specifically Jewish narrative of Jerusalem, furthering Israeli claims over Arab parts of the city.

For the Times, the environmentally-friendly approach of helping bring the over 2.4 million tourists visit the Kotel in the cramped ancient city had little to do with tourism or transportation, but served as yet another example of Israel’s right-wing government turning Arab lands into Jewish assets. The article never mentioned that Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem for 150 years, that two Jewish Temples stood at the center of the Temple Mount, nor that Jerusalem is the focus of prayer for Jews around the world.

Instead, the article continued on a theme that Jewish fanatics were forcing Arabs from their homes and entrenching an illegal occupation.

“From Mount Zion, the cars will land near the Western Wall, on the rooftop of what is to be multistory center for a right-wing Jewish settler organization called the City of David Foundation, in the midst of a Palestinian district of East Jerusalem called Silwan. The City of David oversees archaeological excavations centered on uncovering biblical Jewish remains in an effort to cement an ancient Jewish connection to a contested site. Israel considers East Jerusalem annexed, but international law considers it occupied territory.”

A paragraph so rich in alternative facts and fake history, it deserves to be unpacked:

  • The City of David Foundation is not a “right-wing settler organization” but a foundation which promotes archaeological discovery and tourism, something that people of all religions and political persuasions enjoy.
  • The City of David does not “oversee” excavations; they help fund the work which is performed by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
  • The area of Silwan was originally founded by Jews from Yemen in early 1880’s. It is not a “district of East Jerusalem.” East Jerusalem was a blip in history that lasted for only 19 of Jerusalem’s 4,000 years, which ceased to exist over 50 years ago. Further, it is not “Palestinian,” but a predominantly Arab neighborhood which also includes Jews.
  • The notion that the only reason that Israel is doing excavations is to “cement an ancient Jewish connection to a contested site” is vile and disgusting. Israel has archaeological excavations all over the country – do Jews need to validate their history everywhere in the holy land? Uncovering the unified Jewish capital city of King David and King Solomon from 3,000 years ago is an exciting discovery for the entire world and each discovery is a celebration for anyone who has read the bible. But not for Kimmelman, who added “Archaeology works hand in glove here with settler efforts to press Jewish claims to the land.

Remarkably, the article descended into further conspiracy theories from there.

Kimmelman wrote that Israelis treat Arabs as invisible and are forcibly evicting them from their homes to make way for this attraction. The goal is to give tourists a “Jewish version of the city’s history” from a time when “there were no Christians or Muslims.

The author leaves the reader with the feeling that it is also the current intent of the right-wing settler government of Israel to see a city devoid of Muslims and Christians, as “the cladding of East Jerusalem’s settlements in Jerusalem stone, the architectural uniform traditionally worn by buildings in Jewish West Jerusalem, helps spread the image of a single Jewish city.

For the New York Times, the “essence” of the Old City of Jerusalem is its Arab character navigated via narrow walkways, now being violated by right-wing Jewish invaders changing and scarring its demographics, character and approach. Especially at election time, the Times wants to warn everyone that the “essence” of this Israeli government is racist colonial Jewish supremacists.


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Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

The New York Times Major anti-Netanyahu Propaganda Piece

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The Remarkable Tel Jerusalem

Archaeologists spend their time excavating and examining sites where humans lived in an effort to better understand the nature of societies from long ago. They let the physical evidence provide clues as to how people lived, what they ate and how they existed as a community.

Some of the best places to explore ancient history are found in tels, hills where one society was built upon the ruins of an earlier society. Such ruins are common in the Middle East, where there has been continuous human presence in many of the same locations for 4-5,000 years.

The issue confronting archaeologists excavating any tel is that one layer of history must be removed to be able to explore the next layer of the human past. Removing the ruins of a floor of a 13th century mosque may reveal a 5th century church, while clearing the 5th century level may reveal a municipal building from the first century BCE. History must be destroyed to find yet more ancient history. Peeling back time yields discovery via destruction.

In the holy city of Jerusalem, the challenges for archaeologists and historians becomes further ensnared in religious and political battles. Why should the ruins of a 16th century mosque be cleared to reveal an ancient Byzantine church? Why should the church be dismantled to uncover an ancient Jewish ritual bath house? Is one truth more significant than another? Does the exposure of ancient Jewish edifices impact today’s realities and political considerations? Is the destruction of an ancient house of worship in favor of another religion’s house of worship an act of historical exploration or a crusade?

The city of Jerusalem became central to the Jewish people 3,000 years ago, when King David sacked the then-Jebusite city and made it the official capital of the Jewish people in roughly 1000 BCE. His son, King Solomon, built the First Jewish Temple in the city in 950 BCE, making the city both the religious center and the political center of the people. Jews made pilgrimages to sacrifice at the temples during both the First Temple period (950 BCE – 587 BCE) and during the Second Temple period (515 BCE – 70 CE). Since the destruction of the Second Temple, Jews continued to live in and make pilgrimages to the city to pray, but without the ritual sacrifices, as Arab Muslims and Christian Crusaders took turns dominating the landscape.


City of Jerusalem during First Temple Period covered a portion of the current
Temple Mount and an area south of today’s Old City walls

Over the last several years, a team of archaeologists has been excavating an old road used by the Jewish pilgrims of two thousand-plus years ago. The “Pilgrimage Road” was one of a series of pathways that facilitated the flow of hundreds of thousands of Jews into the Jewish Temples. It’s route must have changed during the centuries as the walls of Jerusalem changed, and as archaeologists continue their excavations, undoubtedly, more facts will emerge.


The Pilgrimage Road from the Shiloach Pool to the Temple Mount, used by Jewish worshipers in the late Second Temple period, was excavated over the course of six years and unveiled by the City of David organization on June 30, 2019.
(Source: City of David.)

The road now exists as a tunnel lying beneath a predominantly Arab section of Jerusalem, called Silwan. The area was originally settled in modern times by Yemenite Jews in the 1880’s, who were then expelled when Jordan attacked Israel in 1948 and annexed the area in a measure not recognized by almost every country in the world. Just as in ancient history, the sacking and rebuilding of the city continues to play out.

But today’s Israeli archaeologists managed a new feat: they did not destroy the layers of recent history above the Pilgrim Road; they burrowed a tunnel which left the current residents of Silwan still living in their homes. As opposed to the living history of tels which builds one reality on top of another, and excavations which destroy one history to unveil another, both the ancient Jewish history and modern Arab homes coexist.

Historians celebrated the event as did the State of Israel which plans to develop the road as a tourist attraction as an important part of understanding the history of Judaism’s holiest location. Even foreign dignitaries came to the June 30 opening dedication including U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and United States Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

But Palestinian Arabs cried foul. Palestinians like PLO veteran Hanan Ashrawi said that the United States “will go to any length to show collusion, identification with and support for all these illegal acts, for the transformation of the character of Jerusalem.” A ridiculous charge which prompted Greenblatt to reply on Twitter that “we can’t ‘Judaize’ what history/archaeology show. We can acknowledge it; you can stop pretending it isn’t true! Peace can only be built on truth.

Traditionally, archaeologists need to destroy one layer of history to reveal the more ancient, but in Jerusalem today, the Israelis managed to uncover a 2,000-year old road used by pilgrims to ascend to the Jewish Temple Mount, while leaving the homes of modern day Arabs and Jews intact. It is a feat which sustains all truths, and underscores both the deep historic and religious ties of the Jewish people to their holiest city, while also respecting the modern sensitivities and political realities of the diverse modern capital city.


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Squeezing Zionism

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

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

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

The Six Day War of June 1967 was remarkable in many ways, but it also led to shameful disappointments.

  • The Victory of War. Vastly outnumbered in people and armory, the Israeli army nevertheless triumphed over the surrounding Arab Muslim countries which sought to destroy the Jewish State.
  • Victory of Right. While Israel fought a preemptive battle against Egypt and Syria, making its argument of self-defense slightly tenuous, the battle against Jordan was 100% defensive, and therefore the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” is wholly irrelevant to Israel’s retaking of eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria which were an integral part of the Palestine Mandate and rightfully “reconstituting their national home in that country.
  • Victory of Rights. The Arab Muslims of Jordan ethnically cleansed the Jews from eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank and forbade Jews from visiting or praying in Jerusalem from 1949-1967, while the broader Muslim world under the Ottomans had banned Jews from entering or praying at the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron for centuries. That ended in June 1967, as Jews were once again able to access their holiest and second holiest locations.

The victories were incredible and continue to be celebrated around the world in Jerusalem Day celebrations, highlighting the reunification of the city and Jewish control of their holiest city.

However, the Jewish generals and leaders of 1967 took two actions immediately after the victory which have led to a falsification of history and belief.

  • Giving Control of the Temple Mount to the Waqf. In an effort to end the war and keep the broader Muslim world from descending upon Israel, the Israeli government decided to hand control of the Temple Mount, the holiest location for Jews, to the Jordanian Waqf, who have maintained a policy of banning Jews from praying at the site to this day.
  • Clearing the Kotel Plaza. Arab homes had filled the area in front of the Kotel for centuries and the Israeli government quickly ordered the low-rise homes to be demolished to enable thousands of Jewish pilgrims to approach and pray en masse at the site.

Mughrabi Quarter before 1946

Clearing the Kotel Plaza, 1967
The combined efforts of giving away the Temple Mount and enlarging access to the Kotel has left the Jewish people and consequently the world with the false idea that the Kotel is the holiest place for Judaism. It is not, nor has it ever been. The Kotel, is just a large exposed segment of the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount built by King Herod 2,000 years earlier in an effort to give Jews greater access and movement on THE TEMPLE MOUNT, not so they’d worship a sliver of the wall which kept the mount from collapsing.

Now, some people even believe that the Kotel was actually the western wall of the Temple itself, also completely untrue.

Jerusalem Day is a moment to celebrate the incredible victory of Jews reestablishing their presence and rights in their holiest city. However, it is also a time to note how actions immediately after that victory reoriented our focus and prayers to a wall built by a mad king 2,000 years ago, rather than the “place which He will choose” (Deuteronomy 16:16), the Jewish Temple itself.


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It’s the Temple Mount, Not the Western Wall

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Losing the Temples, Knowledge and Caring

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

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Calls From the Ashes

Christians around the world were crushed by terrible news over the past week.

On April 15 flames tore through the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France almost completely destroying the 800-year old building. Current reports are that an electrical short caused the blaze.

Then just days later on Easter Sunday, several bombs killed over 300 people in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. Early reports blame radical Islamic terrorists for the carnage.

If there is any solace to be taken from these terrible tragedies, it is from the reaction from all corners of the world of expressions of horror, condolences and support to rebuild.

  • US President Donald Trump saidso horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris,” and Vice President Mike Pence, said it was “heartbreaking to see a house of God in flames”, describing the cathedral as “an iconic symbol of faith to people all over the world.
  • UN secretary general, António Guterres, tweeted that he was “horrified” by the destruction of the cathedral, which he called “a unique example of world heritage that has stood tall since the 14th century.
  • Donald Tusk, the president of the EU council, said “Notre Dame of Paris is Notre Dame of the whole of Europe. We are all with Paris today.”

The expressions were repeated regarding the killings in Sri Lanka:

  • US President Donald Trump tweetedHeartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels. We stand ready to help!”
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May said that “the acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time. We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practice their faith in fear.”
  • EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said “such acts of violence on this holy day are acts of violence against all beliefs and denominations, and against all those who value the freedom of religion and the choice to worship.”

The sentiments were that destruction of these particular Christian houses of worship were an affront to people of all faiths, not just Christians. The entire world was saddened by the accidental cause of destruction and sickened by the deliberate acts of terrorism. The global community stood together in wanting to see these communities rebuild and fight against vile hatred.

If only the Jews in Jerusalem could get an iota of those sentiments.

The Hurva Synagogue and Tiferet Yisrael
in the Old City of Jerusalem

When Israel declared its independence in May 1948, the armies of five Arab countries invaded. The Jordanian army took over the eastern part of the Jewish homeland including eastern Jerusalem and annexed it in a move not recognized by the global community. The Arabs evicted all Jews from those lands and destroyed the synagogues in the Old City of Jerusalem, including the two large buildings of Tiferet Yisrael and the Hurva Synagogues.


Old picture of Jerusalem with Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue on left
and top of Hurva Synagogue seen on right

Israel retook the eastern part of its homeland after Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967. It rebuilt the Hurva Synagogue and rededicated it in March 2010 and has started to rebuild Tiferet Yisrael which should open in a few years.


Rebuilt Hurva Synagogue
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

One would imagine that the world would celebrate seeing these Jewish houses of worship being rebuilt on the ground where they once stood, in the holiest city for Jews, where they have been a majority since the 1860’s.

Unfortunately, such sentiments are seemingly reserved for other religions.

Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan condemned the opening of the Hurva in 2010 and United Nations General Counsel Ban Ki-Moon also criticized the opening, causing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to skip the re-dedication ceremony. No country would send an emissary to the opening or congratulate the Jewish State on the milestone.

The Arab world has already started to criticize the rebuilding of Tiferet Yisrael, an even taller structure than the Hurva Synagogue which will dominate much of the Old City skyline.

The Arabs’ ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem and the eastern part of the internationally mandated Jewish homeland in 1949-1967 has been getting a warm nostalgic response today in the United Nations and parts of the globe advocating a boycott of Israel. Those sentiments have set a fertile ground for noxious public antisemitism. As Jews rebuild their Jerusalem synagogues in that blackened holy earth, Zionists hope to hear the sentiments of world leaders supporting the Jewish houses of worship, much as those leaders have declared their support to the besieged Christian communities today.


Related First.One.Through articles:

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

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

The Arguments over Jerusalem

The United Nations “Provocation”

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

Je Suis Redux

Germans have “Schadenfreude” Jews have “Alemtzev”

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The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

The Cambridge Dictionary defines the term “in situ” as “in the original place, or the place where something should be,” or, alternatively, “in the original place instead of being moved to another place.” In the world of archaeology, there is nothing more valuable than finding an object “in situ” as it gives the ancient room, building and town where the object was found, important context in both time and purpose. Unfortunately, due to ancient sites being raided for centuries, most historical finds are traded in the black market, destroying the ability to accurately relay the provenance of the object and the story of the place from which it was taken.

However, last week the world was blessed by two remarkable discoveries in the City of David, just south of the Old City of Jerusalem’s external walls, of ancient Jewish objects found in situ.

In the ruins of what is currently thought to be a large municipal building dating back to the 6th or 7th century BCE, was a clay seal bearing the inscription “LeNathan-Melech Eved HaMelech – which translates to “[belonging] to Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King.” Such servant to the king is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in 2 Kings 23:11.

The second item is a blue agate seal saying “LeIkar Ben Matanyahu” – “(belonging) to Ikar son of Matanyahu.”

Finding these two items in their original location is a blessing and curse for many. For those people who enjoy learning about history, these ancient Jewish finds in what is believed to be the original capital of the unified kingdom of Israel under King David is considered an important piece of the puzzle to understanding the location and way of life of the Jewish people in Jerusalem thousands of years ago. However, for those people who want to see modern Jews evicted from Jerusalem in favor of Arabs, the findings present an obstacle in convincing Jews that they should abandon their history and religion.

Like the finding of the seal of King Hezkiah in Jerusalem in December 2015, and the burnt remains of a Torah scroll found in a synagogue in Ein Gedi, these findings attest to the long history of Jews living throughout the area east of the Green Line. Arab news sites like Al Jazeera refuse to print any of these stories, in an effort to continue to lie to its readership about the history of the Jews in the holy land which predates Islam by thousands of years.

The incredible discoveries makes one consider the two alternative definitions for “in situ” described above: the ancient Jewish finds in Jerusalem were located “in the original place instead of being moved to another place,” while the modern Israeli Jews themselves and the capital of the Jewish State are “in the original place, or the place where something should be,” in Jerusalem.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Gimme that Old-Time Religion

Squeezing Zionism

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

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Pope Demanding that Jews Have Rights to Pray on The Temple Mount

Pope Francis visited Morocco in late March 2019. He signed a declaration together with Morocco King Mohammed VI that Jerusalem is sacred to three monotheistic religions and must be open and accessible to all religions.

Yet today, only Muslims are allowed to pray on the Jewish Temple Mount and any Jew seen mumbling under their breath is evicted from the site in fear that they might be praying. Further, while large groups of Christian visitors are allowed to roam the 35 acre site, Jews are only allowed to walk around in small groups, and are often accosted by “Mourabitan,” women paid by Hamas to harass Jewish pilgrims.

It is an interesting development for Jewish rights as Morocco hosted a United Nations conference on “The Question of Jerusalem” in Rabat in June 2018. Seemingly, the Arab world is now trying to position itself as the protector of the freedom of access and worship for the three monotheistic religions… even though when Arab Muslims controlled the Old City of Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967, they evicted every Jew and forbade any Jew from entering the city, and continue to attack Jewish visitors at every opportunity.

It is highly unlikely that the Pope will call out the Muslim world on their antisemitism, as many Christians are embattled minorities in Muslim-majority countries. However, this latest announcement could be a wonderful opening for the Pope to clearly advocate for allowing full and open Jewish prayer at their holiest location on the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Jerusalem’s Old City Is a Religious War for Muslim Arabs

The Custodianship of a Child and Jerusalem

Oh Abdullah, Jordan is Not So Special

The Arguments over Jerusalem

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

Heritage, Property and Sovereignty in the Holy Land

It’s the Temple Mount, Not the Western Wall

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

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Jerusalem’s Old City Is a Religious War for Muslim Arabs

The acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas warned the Israelis to not turn their long political fight into a religious war after Palestinian Arabs murdered Jews praying in a Jerusalem synagogue in November 2014. Remarkably sensitive words of consolation (?!) from a head of state.

Just a few months later, Abbas and the Jordanians submitted a 33-page report to UNESCO outlining that the battle for Jerusalem and the Temple Mount was specifically about religion.

The situation is completely farcical from the outset. Jordan, which had attacked the nascent state of Israel in 1948 and illegally seized and annexed the “West Bank” and eastern Jerusalem in a move not recognized by any country in the world, submitted the Old City of Jerusalem to UNESCO in 1981, a year after Israel declared the city its unified capital. How does a country with no standing submit a city in a foreign land for consideration to UNESCO? Who knows?! Perhaps Turkey should submit some sites in northern Cyprus to UNESCO as well. Or better yet, Russia should submit East Berlin, a city divided in war that no longer has a distinct separated entity anymore and is no longer occupied by foreign forces.

To add insult to injury and absurdity, the March 2015 Jordanian/Palestinian document was not a review of the current condition of the Old City of Jerusalem, a matter which might interest UNESCO as part of its officially stated mission. Instead, it was an attack on Jews and the Jewish State, exactly the opposite of what Abbas asked from Israel.

The report mentioned the word Jews and Jewish 44 times (and not favorably). It also introduced a bizarre set of words such as “Judaize” and “Judaization” which it used 22 times. Here’s a meaty example:

“They all reassure their rejection of the attempts to Judaize Al-Aqsa Mosque or any of its components by the Israeli Occupation Authorities, its various organs and the extreme Jewish organizations, which attempt interfering with its administration, preventing and disrupting Muslim worshippers from entering and praying, hampering its maintenance/renovation/repair, and attempts to befog the religious historic Muslim exclusive right and identification by forced use of un-Islamic names such as “The Temple Mount” as part of the Judaization policy enforced by the Israeli Occupation Power of the Occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”

Wow! Now I’m really befogged!

In case you wondered, “Al-Aqsa” is mentioned 109 times compared to only three for the “Temple Mount,” and, as you might have guessed, those three were not positive. In this quote, the Jordanians and Palestinians dismiss the historical existence of the two Jewish Temples:

“… as 2010 approached, the Davidson Center was constructed and the site was turned into an active museum of the so-called “First Temple and Second Temple.

For the Jordanians and Palestinians, the issue isn’t as much about the sovereignty of the land of eastern Jerusalem as much as it is about enforcing a “Muslim exclusive right” to the Old City and the Temple Mount.


Judaism’s holiest site

When the United Nations adopts Muslim anti-Semitic propaganda and says nothing about stripping Jews of their holiest site, no one should be surprised when religious Christians and Jews and decent people everywhere say enough is enough.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

Would You Rather Have Sovereignty or Control

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Abbas’s Harmful East Jerusalem Fantasy

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

Time for King Abdullah of Jordan to Denounce the Mourabitoun

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

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