Jordan’s King Abdullah II Fights to Retain His Throne

On May 29, 2019, the United States team tasked with forging peace in the Middle East met with Jordan’s monarch Abdullah II. Abdullah insisted that the so called “deal of the century” include an independent sovereign state of Palestine with “East Jerusalem” as its capital.

On its face, the king’s comment might seem a gesture of support for the Palestinian Authority. It was actually more than that. It was a statement made out of fear about losing his own monarchy.

To understand the current state of the Jordanian king, one must appreciate two factors: the history of Jordan regarding Palestine and the current situation in the country.

History of Jordan / Transjordan / Palestine

When the Ottoman Empire was facing defeat in World War I, the world powers sought to set up distinct new entities in the Middle East. The broad region now known as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Israel were to be administered by the United Kingdom and France for a period of years until each would become an established new state. The Mandate of Palestine (1922) fell under the UK and included the area now known as Jordan.

Due to effective lobbying of the British government, the Hashemite family was able to secure a monarchy on 77% of the Palestine Mandate in 1924, incorporating all of the area east of the Jordan River. Such division was hinted at in the Mandate (Article 25), but other key provisions of the Mandate were ignored by the Hashemite king, notably Article 15 which forbade the exclusion of any person based on religion (no Jews allowed as detailed below).

The Hashemite kingdom’s quest for more of Palestine would play out over the years 1948 to 1954.

When Israel declared itself an independent state in May 1948 as the British mandate ended, the Jordanians attacked the nascent Jewish State together with armies from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt. At war’s end in 1949, the Jordanians took over Judea and Samaria which would later become known as the “West Bank.” They ethnically cleansed all Jews from the region, including the eastern portion of Jerusalem, while tens of thousands of Arabs from Israel moved to the West Bank and Jordan. In 1950, Jordan officially annexed the West Bank in a move not recognized by any country other than the United Kingdom and Pakistan.

In an effort to further cement its ownership of “Greater Jordan,” the Hashemites gave all West Bank Arabs Jordanian citizenship, as well as those who moved to Jordan. The 1954 Jordanian Citizenship law specifically forbade Jews from obtaining citizenship (Article 3), a bold anti-Semitic initiative which received no condemnation at the United Nations.

In June 1967, Jordan attacked Israel again. However this time it lost the territory it had illegally annexed. Many of the Arabs who had moved to the West Bank in 1948-9 then moved to Jordan, while many others remained, holding onto their Jordanian citizenship even though they no longer lived in Jordanian-ruled land.

Many Arabs were furious with the failures of the leadership.

In 1964, several Arabs decided that they did want to be ruled by the Hashemites of Jordan nor the Jews of Israel and established the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to launch a “holy war” to free the land from “International Zionism and colonialism.” The 1967 loss of more land was an alarming setback in those goals.

In September 1970, the PLO fought to topple the Hashemite monarchy attempting to kill King Hussein, King Abdullah’s father, and take over Jordan. The Jordanian army routed the Palestinian fighters, killing over 3,000 of them. The remaining fighters were expelled to Lebanon, where they would later participate in the Lebanese Civil War and then wars against Israel.

The Jordanians would not be done with the Palestinian issue.

After Israel fought to expel the PLO terrorists from Lebanon in 1982, they moved on to Tunisia, but only for a few years. The Tunisians withdrew the passports issued to several members of the PLO leadership and cancelled the residency permits of many others in 1986. The group began to spread throughout Algeria, Yemen, Sudan and Syria, establishing terrorist training camps around the region.

And they would soon find themselves back next door to Jordan.

In 1988, Yasser Arafat nominally recognized Israel’s right to exist, as the Palestinians declared an independent state, a move not recognized by most of the world. The Jordanians revoked the Jordanian citizenship of the Palestinians at this time, leaving them theoretically with Palestinian citizenship, but effectively no citizenship since no countries recognized Palestine. The Jordanians would also give up all claims to the West Bank (indicating that they clearly sought to recapture that land before such time).

A few years later in 1991, 400,000 Arabs of Palestinian descent were expelled from Kuwait, due to the PLO’s siding with Iraq in its war with Kuwait. The vast majority of these Arabs would settle in Jordan, inflating the already significant number of Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs) in the country.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Arab “intifada” against Israeli Jews would rage from 1987 until 1993. It was in that year that Yasser Arafat, the head of the PLO, moved from Tunisia to Gaza, and the current Jordanian King Abdullah would take a Palestinian bride, Rania. The Oslo I Accords of September 1993 set in motion a plan for a “two-state solution,” one for Arabs (Palestine) and one for Jews (Israel), helping pave the way for the Jordanians to make peace with Israel in the following year, in October 1994.

The tug-of-war between the Palestinians-and-Jordanians, the Palestinians-and-Israel, and Israel-and-Jordan was seemingly coming to a peaceful conclusion.

It was not to be.

Current Situation of the Hashemite Kingdom

The Oslo I Accords would be followed by the more comprehensive Oslo II Accords in 1995 which set in motion a plan to arrive at a conclusive deal within five years, by September 2000. Those five intermediate years were marked by constant Arab terrorist attacks against Israel, but the two parties still tried to advance to a peace agreement.

The Jordanian King Hussein who forged the peace agreement with Israel died in February 1999, and was succeeded by his son King Abdullah II. Abdullah kept the peace treaty with Israel in place, a move unpopular with many Jordanians during the Second Intifada which began in September 2000 when the Oslo II Accords failed to bring about a Palestinian State. Abdullah’s police and military fought with members of the Parliament and countered riots in the street which were committed to the Palestinian cause.

The monarchy was once again caught in the three-way fight between Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians.

And then 9/11 happened.

King Abdullah strongly condemned the attacks against America, and pushed forward a much more authoritarian shutdown of the public protest in support of Palestinians. However, the daily bloodshed of the Second Intifada made the protests from the streets where most people were SAPs and had relatives in the West Bank hard to contain. Queen Rania herself led some of the protests.

But King Abdullah saw that America was coming to wage war again in Iraq after the attacks of 9/11. He ruled over a people who overwhelmingly supported Iraq just a decade earlier, and who cheered when Iraq fired scud missiles into Israel which wasn’t even part of the battle. How could Abdullah manage such a population when he relied on America for economic aid and military protection?

As described in an article by The Middle East Policy Council, King Abdullah instituted a “Jordan First” policy, to manage the internal threat.

“Through its emphasis on domestic priorities, Jordan First offered an innovative political strategy that mixed elections with repression in an effort to ensure a loyalist parliament that would allow the Hashemite regime to continue its support of American policies in an effort to secure the economic benefits essential to the regime’s long-term survival…. In brief, these policies are the maintenance of normal ties with Israel, alignment with U.S. policies toward the Middle East, and active support for the American war on terror.”

Abdullah prioritized Israel-Jordan over Jordan-Palestine while he ignored Palestine-Israel. And he would continue to do so throughout the Second Intifada, even while occasionally berating the Israeli government, in an effort to convince the Arab street that he was not a puppet of the US administration or a closet Zionist.

And then the “Arab Spring” happened in December 2010, devolving most notably into the Syrian Civil War in March 2011.

The bloodshed and anarchy of a fellow Arab monarch slaughtering his own citizens at his borders was difficult for Abdullah to watch. So his country of 9.7 million people welcomed almost a million Syrian refugees, almost 10 percent of its population. This was on top of the over 2.3 million people in Jordan who were registered as Palestinian refugees.

In total, King Abdullah rules over a population in which one-third of the people don’t identify with the country. The loyalties, allegiances and aspirations of the “Palestinian”- Jordanians and Syrian refugees lie elsewhere, in neighboring lands. The country is like an airport waiting area in which the flights keep on getting delayed and the people become more and more restless.

Which brings us back to King Abdullah’s comments today.

The Tottering Hashemite Crown

Jordan’s unemployment rate now stands at 18.7%, roughly the same high mark for the past six quarters. By way of comparison, Israel’s unemployment rate is at a remarkable low of 3.8%, a level which keeps getting lower. Jordan may have survived the Arab Spring violence that engulfed Syria, Iraq and Yemen, but it is limping along.

The “Arab Spring” may not have liberated the Arab world, but it made the populations question the legitimacy of their governments. This is much more true in the motley group of “Jordanians” who have nothing to do with the Hashemite who sits on the throne, a man who cannot deliver jobs.

It is therefore impossible for Abdullah to take on another 2.9 million Arabs living in the West Bank in a possible confederation scenario. Such a move would bring the Palestinians to roughly 42% of the Jordanian population, and together with the Syrians, a majority. And this majority has no loyalty for a small tribe which took control of the area almost 100 years ago. In Abduallah’s calculation, the Palestinians must gain their own state, or he risks losing his monarchy in Jordan.

The Jordanian king often uses passionate and flowery speech to convince his audience of his good nature. But as a creature of the volatile Middle East, he is simply a crafty survivor, fighting to retain his family dynasty among a restless and poor population which doesn’t recognize him.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Oh Abdullah, Jordan is Not So Special

The Jordanian King Abdullah’s Absurdities

Time for King Abdullah of Jordan to Denounce the Mourabitoun

The Original Nakba: The Division of “TransJordan”

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

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Jordan’s Hypocrisy: Queen Rania on Palestinians and UNRWA

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Seeing the Holocaust Through Nakba Eyes

People have accused U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) of getting her facts wrong about her version of history as it related to the Holocaust in stating that Palestinian Arabs helped European Jewry when they did the exact opposite. Her defenders explained that her words were misconstrued and taken out of context and that she merely suggested that it was the Palestinian Arabs who were the principle party who were left to deal with the “Jewish Problem” after Europe murdered its Jews.


U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)

The direct connection of the “Nakba” of Palestinian Arabs to the Holocaust of European Jewry is not simply a falsification of history by a lone congressman. The connection is widely promoted in progressive circles.

The New York Times suggested that both Jews and Palestinians have endured suffering, and the key to the parties living with each other is for the Palestinians to understand the Holocaust and for Jews to understand the Nakba.

Putting aside the fact that comparing the Holocaust and the Nakba is akin to a ten-car fatal accident relative to a parking ticket, the two parties comprehend each other’s narrative completely differently.

Jews understand the Nakba. They are a people consumed with guilt for anything and everything they may or may not have done. What other people could produce comedians plagued with anxiety like Woody Allen and Richard Lewis or psychologists like Sigmund Freud? This is a group of neurotic people who, upon accusation of doing something intentionally or not, real or imagined, will immediately ask for forgiveness before they even know the topic of discussion. While the Bible asked Jews to feel empathy, Jews contorted that message into always feeling guilty.

Israelis appreciate the Nakba from an ARAB POINT OF VIEW. They understand the Arabs’ grievance and position about Jews coming into Palestine and changing the demographics of the land. The Arabs were a majority and now they’re not; they were under Muslim control (Ottomans) and now they’re not; grandparents used to live in Israel and now they don’t. Further, the ongoing situation of many Arabs being stateless is understood as a fact. While Jews might use different language – for example, not saying that they are “colonizers” since they are indigenous to the land – and have a wide variety of opinions regarding the methods of paving a path towards an enduring peace, the Palestinian Arab perspective is not distorted by Jewish claims.

For Jews of all political leanings, the Palestinian narrative has been heard and internalized.

However, the situation is not remotely the same for the Arabs regarding the Holocaust. Palestinians have been taught that they cannot accept the Holocaust from a Jewish perspective, as IT MUST BE TIED TO AND SEEN THROUGH THE NAKBA.

  • The Holocaust showed off the worst side of humanity: To acknowledge Palestinian Arab participation would be to admit that your ancestors were evil anti-Semites. Maybe it would imply that current Arabs are as well, and their desire for a Jew-free country has nothing to do with ancestral claims, but naked antisemitism.
  • The Holocaust was a uniquely European affair and it was the western world’s guilt that made them vote at the United Nations to create a Jewish State: Convincing the West that it made the Palestinians pay the price for European crimes might change their behavior to favor Palestinians in the Arab-Israel conflict today.

For Palestinian Arabs, the Holocaust is used as a vehicle to undermine Israel today.

Just as over 3,000 years of Jewish history in the Jewish holy land is ignored because it undermines Arab claims that only they are indigenous to Palestine, rewriting the history of the Holocaust can burnish the Palestinian position.

Mahmoud Abbas wrote his doctoral dissertation on a particularly noxious form of Holocaust denial in which he claimed that Jews around the world had no interest in moving to Palestine in the 1920’s and the 1930’s. Therefore, to encourage immigration to Palestine, a number of leading Zionists conspired with the Nazi regime to make life unbearable for Jews so that they would flee to Palestine to create a viable Jewish State.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s recent comments are complements to the theme, claiming that not only did the Palestinians not conspire with the Nazis, it was the Palestinians who gave the Jews a state.

When Palestinians view the Holocaust, they think Jewish suffering literally CAUSED Arab suffering in losing the land, while they see Palestinian suffering of the Nakba as causing Jewish joy in creating Israel. This clouded vision leads Palestinians to believe that misery can yield a global reward, so they will continue to distort the actual history of the Holocaust and Nakba to get the outcome they desire today.

It is a sick by-product of ignoring the history of Jews, denying the rights of Jews, and refusing to accept Jews.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

The Ultimate Chutzpah: A New Form of Holocaust Denial

The Palestinian’s Three Denials

Palestinians of Today and the Holocaust

The Termination Shock of Survivors

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

Abbas’ European Audience for His Rantings

Failing to Mention the British White Paper of 1939 when Discussing Refugees

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When the Democrats Opposed the Palestinian “Right of Return”

Israel’s Channel 2 reported over the weekend that US President Donald Trump was prepared to push the Palestinian Authority to end its so-called “Right of Return” in which millions of descendants of Palestinian Arabs that left homes in what is now Israel, be granted the right to return. Various news stories picked up the story as something new and fantastic including the Jerusalem Post and Arutz Sheva.


Senior Advisor Jared Kushner Meets with Acting-P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas
(Photo: AP)

It is remarkable to witness how the tenure of former President Obama was so pro-Palestinian, that people have forgotten that the Democratic Party also was against the “Right of Return” before Obama took office.

The 2008 Democratic Platform (drafted pre-Obama) stated clearly that:

“[t]he creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.

That is, there are one of two ways that the Palestinian Arabs will be compensated for lost property: either through monetary compensation, or by permitting them to move to the new country of Palestine. There would be NO right of return into Israel.

Should President Trump move to close the return issue demanded by the Palestinians, he would simply be reverting back to the standard bipartisan approach that both Democrats and Republicans used before Obama’s aggressive push of the Palestinian Arab agenda. That Trump’s action is being viewed as novel says more about how far the Obama administration shifted the Democratic Party and the media away from Israeli-leaning positions than the Trump action itself.


Related First.One.through articles:

Stabbing the Palestinian “Right of Return”

The “Great Myth of Return”

Removing the Next Issue – The Return of 20,000 Palestinian Arabs

Time to Dissolve Key Principles of the “Inalienable Rights of Palestinians”

Losing Rights

The Democrats’ Slide on Israel

The UN Must Pay to Repair the Gaza Fence

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

First.One.Through video:

I Hate Israel – Right of Return

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The Gross OVER-Staffing of UNRWA Schools

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been bloating its staff and wards since 1949. Tasked with taking care of displaced Arab people from the 1948-9 Arab war against Israel’s creation, the agency has continued to provide services for children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the original refugees who continue to live in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza.

To examine the staffing of UNRWA is to gain insight into the gross misuse of the world’s generosity.

UNRWA’s own 2017 statistics revealed the following:

 Jordan   Lebanon   Syria   West Bank   Gaza   Amman HQ   Total 
 Registered Refugees        2,175,491        463,664        543,014        809,738        1,348,536        5,340,443
 Other Registered Persons            111,152           50,131           75,114        187,435              87,080            510,912
 Total Registered Persons (RR)        2,286,643        513,795        618,128        997,173        1,435,616        5,851,355

UNRWA gives services to nearly 5.9 million people today, even though only 711,000 “refugees” existed in 1949. Of those 711,000 people, only about 25,000 real refugees are alive today.

The numbers continue to show further abuse:

 Jordan   Lebanon   Syria   West Bank   Gaza   Amman HQ   Total 
 UNRWA Staff                6,642             3,096             3,003             4,635              13,037                  386              30,799
 International Staff                      15                  15                  17                  19                      27                    85                   178
 RR / Staff                   344                166                206                215                   110                   190

As of December 31, 2017, there were close to 31,000 employees of UNRWA – more than the number of ACTUAL refugees alive today.

Further, almost all of the 31,000 employees are local Palestinian Arabs – only 178 people are “international.” UNRWA is simply a vehicle to employ local Arabs.

The most aggressive employment happens in Gaza, where there is an UNRWA Staff person for every 110 Registered Refugees (RR). That is almost twice the level in the other regions, and three times the staffing level as in Jordan.


UNRWA offices in Jerusalem
(photo: First.One.Through)

Most of the staffing is for UNRWA’s schools. As shown in the chart below, roughly 71% of the overall staffing is for the schools.

 Staff Detail   Jordan   Lebanon   Syria   West Bank   Gaza   Total 
 Educational Staff                5,090             2,082             2,193             2,671                9,910              21,946
 Pupil enrollment            121,368           36,088           46,733           48,959            262,112            515,260
 Pupil / Educational Staff                      24                  17                  21                  18                      26                      23
 Educational Staff as % Staff 77% 67% 73% 58% 76% 71%

To get an appreciation for  staffing levels of the schools, consider that UNRWA has a student-to-staff ratio of approximately 23:1. By way of comparison, the student-to-staff ratio in the schools in the United States is 32:1, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. There is a wide disparity in the ratio, ranging from 15:1 in Virginia to 136:1 in Kansas. But on average, UNRWA over-staffs its schools by roughly 40% compared to the United States.

There are various arguments against the existence of UNRWA which keeps Arabs in a perpetual state of statelessness and hopelessness (SAPs). There are additional arguments against the funding of the schools which promote antisemitism and intolerance.

It is worth taking note of the gross over-staffing of the organization as another component in assessing the funding of UNRWA.


Related First.One.Through articles:

UNRWA Is Not Just Making “Refugees,” It’s Creating Palestinians

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Removing the Next Issue – The Return of 20,000 Palestinian Arabs

The UN Wants “Real Stories on REAL Refugees”

Related First.One.Through video:

Jordan’s Hypocrisy about UNRWA

The Hamas Theme Song (CSNY)

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The Palestinian State I Oppose

It is remarkable – if not scary – to hear many world leaders call out their support for a two-state solution to resolve the Israel-Arab conflict. There are already 22 Arab countries.
I do not fault ignorant people who want to see the stateless Arab people from Palestine (SAPs) to have self-determination. However, I am appalled that knowledgeable politicians would call to create a state for these people today, due to the current dangerous and vile reality of Palestinian society:
In addition to these deep flaws of the Palestinian people and leadership today, the suggested contours of a two-state solution are completely unacceptable:
  • a suggestion that Israel give up its capital city and the holiest city to Jews to the people described above, who had banned Jews from the city while they controlled it for 18 years from 1949 to 1967
  • a preposterous notion that Israel should invite millions of the SAPs into Israel, just because their relatives were internally-displaced people decades ago while they waited for their Arab brothers to destroy Israel
Who could possibly support the creation of a new state with such dynamics?
Anti-Semites. Jew haters. People that seek the destruction of Israel.
I will not support Palestinian dignity that is predicated on denying Israeli and Jewish dignity, nor will I support a “viable” Palestinian state that undermines the viability of Israel.
I completely oppose the creation of such a Palestinian state ANYWHERE in the world, let alone adjacent to the only Jewish state, and in the Jewish holy land.

Related First.One.Through articles:

US State Department Comments on Terrorism in Israel and the Territories

There were several terrorist attacks against Israeli Jews in early October 2015.  The US State Department gave very tepid comments about the murders, especially compared to how the US reacted to the arson attacks that claimed the lives of three Palestinian Arabs in July 2015.  When one considers that the attack against the Arabs was arson against a house (which could have been empty) compared to deliberate murders shooting at a moving car and stabbing individuals, the response from the US State Department was even more appalling.

 Kirby
State Department Spokesperson John Kirby

 

July 31 Attack on Arabs October 1 Attack on Jews October 3 Attack on Jews
Words in Statement 122 68 77
Condemnation “condemns in strongest possible terms” “strongly condemns” “strongly condemns”
Terrorist attack “vicious terrorist attack” AND “terrorism” “terrorist attack” Not called terrorism
Condolences “profound condolences” “condolences” No condolences
Prayer for Injured “prayers for a full recovery” None None
Families mentioned “Dawabsheh family” None None
Location of Incident “Palestinian village of Douma” West Bank.” Not Israeli; not Samaria Old City of Jerusalem today”. Not Israeli
Call for Justice “murderers” “the perpetrators all perpetrators of violence” A general term

As seen in the chart above, the trend line of not even expressing condolences or calling the attack terrorism is very worrying.

Supporters of Israel have long complained about the bias of the United Nations against Israel.  It would appear that those supporters must now worry about the support of its strongest ally.

#JewishLivesMatter

Attacks Against Israelis

US State Department October 3, 2015:

“The United States strongly condemns all acts of violence, including the ‎tragic stabbing in the Old City of Jerusalem today that left two victims dead and two injured. We call for all perpetrators of violence to be swiftly brought to justice. We are very concerned about mounting tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem, including the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount, and call on all sides to take affirmative steps to restore calm and avoid escalating the situation.”

US State Department October 1, 2015:

The United States strongly condemns the terrorist attack that took place late Thursday evening in the West Bank. The shooting resulted in the death of an Israeli couple who were driving with their young children. We extend our condolences to the victims’ family. We urge all sides to maintain calm, avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this tragedy, and work together to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Attacks Against Palestinian Arabs

US State Department July 31, 2015:

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms last night’s vicious terrorist attack in the Palestinian village of Douma. The arson attack on a family’s home in the dead of the night resulted in the death of an 18 month-old baby and the injury of three other family members. We convey our profound condolences to the Dawabsheh family and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured.

We welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu’s order to Israel’s security forces to use all means at their disposal to apprehend the murderers for what he called an act of terrorism and bring them to justice. We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this tragic incident.”


Related First.One.Through articles:

UN Comments on the Murder of Innocents: Henkins

UN Comments on the Murder of Innocents: Itamar and Duma

The New Blood Libel

The US State Department’s Selective Preference of “Status Quos”

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Every Picture Tells a Story: The Invisible Murdered Israelis

In an Instagram and Twitter world, people expect their news in small tidbits. The major media sources have understood this and not only have taken to social media, but have their news stories include more pictures than they had previously. A review of their selection of pictures and captions provides an interesting snapshot of their views of the news.

 

Over a two week period in June/July 2015, seven major unprovoked attacks on Israeli Jews were committed by Palestinian Arabs. The Washington Post captured the anguish of the attacks with a picture of a grieving family which included a caption “Relatives of Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld, an Israeli settler who died in a car shooting attack on Tuesday near a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, cry during his funeral.”

The New York Times had no such pictures or description of Israelis suffering. Even while reporting on the region from many different journalists on June 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and July 1 and 4

On June 27, the NYTimes made a small post without a picture in the World Briefing section in a blurb called “Man is Shot in West Bank After Opening Fire on Soldiers”. (journalist: Diaa Hadid)

On July 1, the NYTimes posted in the World Briefing section a blurb called “Man Died After West Bank Attack”. (Isabel Kershner)

These two attacks on Israeli Jews were completely invisible to a casual reader.

Another World Briefing report on June 24 without picture had a headline “Gazans Denied Access to Mosque.” (Diaa Hadid)

On June 30 Diaa Hadid had another World Briefing “Ship Halted in Blockade Protest

DSC_0101DSC_0105

On June 30, the NYTimes ran a larger article, also without a picture entitled “Worried that a Fasting Palestinian Prisoner Could Die, Israel Releases Him.” While there was no picture, the bold headline might have caught someone’s attention. The details in the article that the Palestinian prisoner was the spokesman for the terrorist group Islamic Jihad certainly would not have been recorded. (by Diaa Hadid)

Here are stories that the Times emphasized with pictures with their own terse storyline captions.

On June 29 the paper had an article which included a small map. The heading was “Israel plans Fence for part of Jordan Border.” (Diaa Hadid and Rick Gladstone)

On June 26, the Times included a small color photograph under an article called “Palestinians Deliver Accusations of Israeli War Crimes to International Criminal Court.” The picture of a group of people had a caption “Riad al-Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister, center, and delegation members on Thursday after submitting what they called evidence of Israeli war crimes to the court in The Hague.” (by Marlise Simmons)

On June 25, the Times posted two large black and white photographs as part of an article “Years after Massacre, a West Bank ‘Ghost Town’ Stirs.” The large picture was of Israeli soldiers walking past a store, while the smaller picture was of a man opening his store before four children. The single caption read “Israeli soldiers patrolling al-Sahla Street passed a reopened granary. Below, children watched as Mohammed Abu Halaweh briefly unlocked his butcher shop.” (by Jodi Roduren)

DSC_0099

On July 4, The Times again posted two large black and white pictures alongside an article called “Palestinian, 17, is Killed by Forces from Israel.” The large photograph was of Palestinian women mourning with a caption “Relatives mourned the death on Friday of Muhammad Hani al-Kasba, a 17-year-old Palestinian. He was killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.” The smaller picture was of an Israeli soldier behind a barricade with two people walking before him. The caption read “Hours after Mr. Kasba was fatally shot, an Israeli soldier stood guard on Friday as Palestinians waited to cross to Jerusalem via the Qalandia checkpoint in the West Bank.” (Isabel Kershner)

DSC_0110

There was one news story which had two color pictures, albeit smaller than the two stories above. On June 28, the paper ran an article “Youth Chorus Unites Israelis and Palestinians, at Least for a Few Hours.” The two pictures were of a group of young men and women clapping and laughing. The caption read “Members of the Jerusalem Youth Chorus, above, took a break from rehearsing this month for their first United States tour. Micah Hendler, right, a Maryland native, founded the group.” (by Isabel Kershner)

DSC_0102

Contrast in Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs

The balance in the stories overall and in individual news reports was completely lacking in the New York Times.

First, consider the pictures and the stories they told: the Palestinians were dignitaries and everyday people going about life or mourning a death. They had names and professions. However, every Israeli that was pictured was a soldier and nameless. Even more, they were accused of war crimes.

Second, think of the seven attacks on Israelis Jews. They were treated as non-events and received no pictures or mention in the captions. The casual reader would not even know that such attacks occurred.

Third, review a specific story: The July 4 headline, pictures and caption would lead a reader to think that Israeli soldiers simply opened fire on a youth and that soldiers continue to patrol the intimidate the Arab population. The complete news report was that the Arab that was killed initiated an attack by hurling stones at Israeli vehicles, smashed the windows. It was in response to the Arab attack that soldiers got out of their vehicles and shot him. There were many pictures of the smashed car available that the Times could have posted as the second picture to show the complete story of the incident. Instead, it opted to convey a one-sided narrative of Palestinian Arabs as passive victims and Israelis as military oppressors.


The pictures and captions in the New York Times tell a specific narrative time after time after time: the Palestinian Arabs are passive victims under the oppression of the Israeli military. It is only these poor Arabs that suffer – unprovoked. Ordinary Israelis are not stoned, stabbed and murdered and are not subject to attacks by Palestinian Arabs. More, if there is any chance for peace in the region, it will come from Americans who will bring peace to the region.


Related First.One.Through articles

Every Picture Tells a Story, Don’t It?

Every Picture Tells a Story, the Bibi Monster

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

The New York Times’ Buried Pictures

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

On May 21, 2015, Jeffrey Goldberg from The Atlantic published an interview with US President Barack Obama on ISIS, Iraq and Israel. Here is a review of Obama’s comments on Israel and his deliberate attempt to minimize his threats to Israel. It would appear that the president needs a reminder that the primary Jewish value is the sanctity of life.

 obama the atlantic
Photo of President Obama from The Atlantic May 2015

 

OBAMA’S CLAIM OF JEWISH SUPPORT AND
PRO-ISRAEL POSITIONS

  • 1)  Obama stated that he enjoys broad Jewish support.I consistently received overwhelming majority support from the Jewish community, and even after all the publicity around the recent differences that I’ve had with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the majority of the Jewish American community still supports me, and supports me strongly.

Comment: Obama’s Jewish support has declined considerably. Obama received weaker Jewish support than any of the recent Democratic candidates for president (going back to the loser Michael Dukakis in 1988).

  • 2012 Obama 69%
  • 2008 Obama 78%
  • 2004 Kerry 76%
  • 2000 Gore 79%
  • 1996 Clinton 78%
  • 1992 Clinton 80%
  • 1988 Dukakis 64%

Obama’s poll numbers continued to collapse among Jews, especially during the six months prior to the interview. The latest Gallup poll had Obama’s approval rating among Jews at 54%, only 8% above the national average. That was the narrowest gap ever in Obama’s presidency. This precipitous drop-off coincides with Obama’s decision to encourage 58 Democratic loyalists to walk out on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the joint session of Congress

  • 2)  Obama said “political” opportunists are portraying him as anti-Israel and anti-Jewish because he questions Israel’s policy regarding Palestinians. there has been a very concerted effort on the part of some political forces to equate being pro-Israel, and hence being supportive of the Jewish people, with a rubber stamp on a particular set of policies coming out of the Israeli government. So if you are questioning settlement policy, that indicates you’re anti-Israeli, or that indicates you’re anti-Jewish. If you express compassion or empathy towards Palestinian youth, who are dealing with checkpoints or restrictions on their ability to travel, then you are suspect in terms of your support of Israel. If you are willing to get into public disagreements with the Israeli government, then the notion is that you are being anti-Israel, and by extension, anti-Jewish. I completely reject that.

Comment: Obama’s critics and his collapsing poll numbers are about OBAMA’s policies regarding Israel, not Israel’s policies regarding Palestinians. Obama’s poll numbers among Jews were fairly consistent during his first term, but with a downturn which could be attributed both to his criticisms of Israel’s permitting Jews to live anywhere they choose as well as the Democrat’s gutting of their pro-Israel platform in 2012. The more precipitous drop in Jewish support for Obama had to do with his Iranian nuclear negotiations and his treatment of the Israeli PM during that time.

Comment: Obama is being a hypocrite by stating that his “public disagreements with the Israeli government” should not be construed as anti-Israel, while Netanyahu’s public criticism of Obama’s policies were attacked. Obama has criticized Israel repeatedly on the world stage for Israel’s handling of disputed lands. However, when Netanyahu disagreed with Obama, it was over a matter that was an existential threat to Israel. Yet Obama chose to belittle Netanyahu’s argument and berate the Israeli leader.

  • 3)  Obama believes that Israel is simply a safe haven for Jews.There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law. These things are indivisible in my mind

Comment: Obama has never internalized that Israel is THE homeland of the Jewish people. There has always been an important and significant disconnect that Obama has about Israel: Israel is not simply a safe haven where Jews are “free of discrimination and persecution.” Such a safe space could have been created in Uganda too. Israel is not just “a homeland” as if Jews had been self-governing in many other places on earth for centuries; as if the Jewish religion did not have an exclusive and unique relationship with the holy land. Israel is THE homeland of the Jewish people as it has been for 3700 years. That is why the San Remo Conference in 1920 specified Palestine for the Jews.

  • 4)  Obama has hung all of his pro-Israel credentials on his support of Israel militarily.I have maintained, and I think I can show that no U.S. president has been more forceful in making sure that we help Israel protect itself, and even some of my critics in Israel have acknowledged as much.

Comment: Obama’s goal for Israel is not particularly unique. Obama has stressed that the Iraqi government needs to protect Iraq; the Afghani government needs to protect Afghanistan, and so on. Obama has sought to pull American forces out of conflict zones and put the onus on the local governments to protect themselves. That is a broad Obama policy decision – with which one can agree or not regarding America’s role as the world policeman.

What is not subject to debate, is that the policy is not unique and is hardly the great shining example for Obama to underscore as his complete bona fides in being pro-Israel. His stance for Israel’s security is part-and-parcel of his broad position regarding military support and cooperation around the region.

 

OBAMA’S DOUBLE STANDARDS
AND THREATS

  • 5)  Obama was highly critical of Netanyahu’s comments as being counter to Israel’s democratic laws. Obama came out forcefully against Netanyahu’s comments to get out the vote when Bibi feared he was losing the election. “what I [Obama] did say is that when, going into an election, Prime Minister Netanyahu said a Palestinian state would not happen under his watch, or there [was] discussion in which it appeared that Arab-Israeli citizens were somehow portrayed as an invading force that might vote, and that this should be guarded against—this is contrary to the very language of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, which explicitly states that all people regardless of race or religion are full participants in the democracy. When something like that happens, that has foreign-policy consequences.

Comment: Obama was curiously selective in focusing on certain comments which portrayed Netanyahu only as an extremist. Obama chose to focus on Netanyahu’s comments on election eve when Netanyahu was worried he was going to lose the elections and was trying to rally groups to get out and vote for him. Obama ignored Netanyahu’s later comments which back-tracked and explained his intentions regarding election night. Obama ignored the many years that Netanyahu negotiated with the Palestinian Arabs (Netanyahu ran three prior Israeli governments). Obama ignored Netanyahu’s handing over cities to the Palestinian Authority in showing his willingness to swap land-for-peace.

Comment: Obama ignored comments from repressive regimes. Obama is putting forward sanction reliefs for Iran while the regime chants “Death to America”. Obama has back-tracked from his no nuclear capability for Iran pledge, while Iran chants “Death to Israel”. Obama pushed Israel to negotiate with acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas and to release Arab terrorists convicted of murder, while Abbas celebrated the killers of innocent Israelis.

Comment: Obama ignored undemocratic regimes. Obama’s reference to Israel’s Declaration of Independence suggested that he only treats countries with liberal values as allies. How does Obama send billions of dollars to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which is one of the most repressive regimes in the world?

Comment: Obama threatened Israel. While Obama ignored the many statements and long history of Netanyahu negotiating with the Palestinian Authority, and ignored the actions and statements of surrounding Arab governments, he threatened Israel. Threatening a country is a far cry from having a difference of opinion or being upset with momentary excited statements from an individual. When Turkish leader Erdogan called Zionism a “Crime against Humanity”, the White House denounced the statement but never threatened Turkey. When Erdogan called for Muslims to conquer Jerusalem, the White House was silent; no threats were issued. Indeed, Obama considered Erdogan one of his closest friends among world leaders.

As detailed in FirstOneThrough “International-Domestic Abuse: Obama and Netanyahu”, the relationship between Israel and the United States is both unique and not one of peers. Israel relies on the US on many levels. Therefore, Obama’s double standards for Netanyahu, coupled with Obama’s global pronouncement that he will punish the entire country of Israel, is an abuse that has angered Israel supporters around the world.

  • 6)  Obama has no issue criticizing Israel on the global stage, as he stated: “the one argument that I very much have been concerned about, and it has gotten stronger over the last 10 years … it’s less overt than the arguments that a Sheldon Adelson makes, but in some ways can be just as pernicious, is this argument that there should not be disagreements in public

Comment: Obama has double standards about criticism in public. Obama lectured Netanyahu that Bibi’s election eve comments and actions ran counter to Israel’s laws. Would Obama feel it is appropriate for Netanyahu to lecture him about America’s ongoing use of the death penalty which most of the western world abolished? Would Obama care to hear about Netanyahu’s views on how the US should treat gay marriage or gays in the military as running afoul of America’s foundation documents? Or would Obama feel that such comments have nothing to do with Israel and that he doesn’t need to listen to a lecture about his own country’s laws from a foreign leader?

Yet, when Netanyahu criticized Obama’s negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program – which poses a direct existential threat to Israel – Obama did not just get offended, but rallied his Democratic loyalists to boycott Netanyahu’s speech in D.C.

 

OBAMA’S “VALUES” RED HERRING

  • 7)  Obama received talking points from liberal rabbis. Obama’s interview was peppered with remarks specifically intended for a Jewish audience: “we creating a safe Jewish homeland, but also we are remaking the world. We’re repairing it.” Obama also said “when you show intolerance and when you are persecuting minorities and when you are objectifying them and making them the Other, you are destroying something in yourself,”

Comment: Obama learned only half a lesson from the rabbis. The phrases used by Obama are uniquely Jewish referring in English to Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, and “Acher”, the Other. The choice of language was so out of place that it would be the equivalent of a Jewish person littering a conversation with “Grace”. The Atlantic’s Goldberg even made the comparison stating “Obama, when he talks about Israel, sounds like a rabbi in the progressive Zionist tradition.” The aggressive Obama sales tactic was clearly courtesy of a progressive rabbi to parrot to a Jewish audience.

Regrettably, Obama only learned (or was taught) half of the lesson. The most important Jewish value of all is the preciousness and sacredness of life. Protecting life supersedes almost every other commandment. It is precisely for that reason that Jews have turned against Obama and his poll numbers have dropped. Enabling Iran to get a nuclear weapon threatens millions of people in Israel. Obama’s threats to suddenly withhold support for Israel at the United Nations risks putting Israel’s border security and economic viability at risk.

  • 8)  Obama has higher expectations for Israel. it’s true, I have high expectations for Israel, and they’re not unrealistic expectations, they’re not stupid expectations, they’re not the expectations that Israel would risk its own security blindly in pursuit of some idealistic pie-in-the-sky notions”

Comment: Obama has double standards for Israel. There is no crime in having high expectations for someone; indeed, it is often thought of as a compliment. However, if one uses those higher expectations to punish the party, that is a form of discrimination. For example, Obama cannot make demands on Israel for preconditions for final status talks but make none on Palestinian Arabs. Obama cannot wage wars thousands of miles from his shores against enemies who cannot possibly destroy the US, while berating Israel for fighting against an enemy on its borders that threaten to destroy Israel.

  • 9)  Obama thinks there is nothing unique about Jewish values or a Jewish State.Goldberg question: you want Israel to embody Jewish values. Obama: I want Israel, in the same way that I want the United States, to embody the Judeo-Christian and, ultimately then, what I believe are human or universal values that have led to progress over a millennium”

Comment: There is one Jewish State called Israel and its Jewish Values stress the sanctity of life. Obama managed to roll Judaism into Christianity and ultimately human and universal terms. While I am sure that he intended this as a compliment, it also undermined the uniqueness of Israel.

By way of comparison, does Obama have dreams that Turkey will embody Judeo-Christian values? How about Norway or Greece? Costa Rica? He probably does, but he would never make such a statement as those countries have distinct Islamic or Christian characters. To state that he wished they embody several cultural values does several things:

  • It minimizes the difference between the religions
  • It suggests that the country does not live up to those values

Regarding the first point, Obama minimized the fact that there is only one Jewish state. While Israel has religious freedom for all, it is the Jewish homeland. Israel’s goal is not to embody Obama’s dream of a Star Trek-like future of universalism.

Regarding the second point, Obama needs to be re-educated by the progressive rabbis that coached him, about the paramount Jewish value of the sanctity of life. It is precisely for that reason that Netanyahu came to address the joint session of Congress to talk about the Iranian nuclear threat. That exact value and speech that Obama boycotted.

  • 10)  Obama thinks Jewish Values are about freedom and human rights. Obama continued from his comments above about Judeo-Christian and universal values: “The same values that led to the end of Jim Crow and slavery. The same values that led to Nelson Mandela being freed and a multiracial democracy emerging in South Africa. The same values that led to the Berlin Wall coming down. The same values that animate our discussion on human rights and our concern that people on the other side of the world who may be tortured or jailed for speaking their mind or worshipping—the same values that lead us to speak out against anti-Semitism. I want Israel to embody these values because Israel is aligned with us in that fight for what I believe to be true. And that doesn’t mean there aren’t tough choices and there aren’t compromises. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have to ask ourselves very tough questions about, in the short term, do we have to protect ourselves,

Comment: Obama doesn’t know that Israel is the most liberal country from Greece to Singapore to South Africa.  What was this Obama rant? Was there an insinuation that Israel is an apartheid state (why mention Jim Crow or Nelson Mandela)? Was there a suggestion that Israel’s Security Wall which it built to stop Palestinian terrorism in 2002 is like the Berlin Wall? Does he think that people are being tortured or jailed for speaking their mind or worshipping in Israel? Israel is a thriving liberal country in the heart of a backwards Middle East. What were these bizarre comparisons? Why does Obama say that he “wants Israel to embody these values” rather than acknowledge that it DOES embody those values?

Should Netanyahu wax about his dream for America to not shoot unarmed black people?

  • 11)  Obama claimed to understand the need for protecting Jerusalem.  As he stated above and continued: “I was the first one to acknowledge that you can’t have the risk of terrorists coming up right to the edge of Jerusalem and exposing populations

Comment: Obama lied about understanding security for Jerusalem. If Obama understood the need for security for Israel’s capital, how can he condemn Jews LIVING in Jerusalem? Why did Obama condemn Jews moving into homes they legally purchased?

How can Obama state that Israel’s development of E1 which protects Jerusalem from the east, is a bad idea that hinders a final agreement?  Obama in March 2013 to Palestinian Arabs: “You mentioned E1, in particular.  I think that is an example of at least a public statement by the Israeli government that would be very difficult to square with a two-state solution.”  E1, which connects Jerusalem to Maale Adumim, a city which every Israeli Prime Minister has always insisted on retaining, is the exact solution for keeping “terrorists [from] coming up right to the edge of Jerusalem and exposing populations.

  • 12)  Obama thinks he is a better at Jewish Values than Netanyahu.  Obama concluded the thought above with “So this isn’t an issue of being naive or unrealistic, but ultimately yes, I think there are certain values that the United States, at its best, exemplifies. I think there are certain values that Israel, and the Jewish tradition, at its best exemplifies. And I am willing to fight for those values.”

Comment: Obama continued to move the discussion away from defending Israel’s security to defending its values.  In a fitting conclusion of delusion, Obama placed himself in the center of defending Israel.  How is he doing it? By enabling Iran to get nuclear weapons and withholding support for Israel at the United Nations.  Doesn’t seem logical to you?  Well, let me explain the Obamian logic:

  • Since Obama said he has Israel’s back, you must believe him.  Just ignore that his words about preventing Iran to get nuclear capacity have been meaningless; that the Syrian red line was crossed without consequence; that Obama has ignored US’s treaties to support Ukraine and let Russia take over half of the country.
  • Since Obama said he is willing to fight for Jewish Values, you must believe him. Just ignore that he doesn’t understand that the primary Jewish value is the sanctity of life. Ignore that he thinks Israel isn’t the most democratic and humane country for thousands of miles in every direction.

Obama clearly does not appreciate the values that Israel lives each day.  If he did, he would be doing the opposite of his current actions by nixing a bad Iranian deal and by standing proudly next to Israel in international fora like the United Nations.

 

OBAMA UPSET AT BEING CRITICIZED BY ISRAEL SUPPORTERS

  • 13)  Obama knows that double standards are wrong.you should be able to align yourself with Israel when it comes to making sure that it is not held to a double standard in international fora”

Comment: Obama hasn’t internalized his own double standards for Israel.  Obama spoke about Israel’s history and the history of anti-Semitism even until today which makes it easy to align himself with Israel.  However, his personal higher expectations of Israel and the unique role that the United States has in defending Israel in international for a has made him use double standards for the country.

  • 14)  Obama feels his moral convictions and role as defender of Jewish values can let him criticize Israel without being hostile.we can have a debate, and we can have an argument. But you can’t equate people of good will who are concerned about those issues with somebody who is hostile towards Israel

Comment: Threats and actions that have dire consequences are not debates.  Of course anyone can debate and disagree (in a democracy!) The two questions are 1) how do you do it and 2) what are the ramifications.

Regarding how one disagrees, the notion of being publicly hostile and rallying party loyalist to blacklist the Israeli prime minister is NOT the way to disagree. When the animosity is so public that fellow world leaders would approach you and share their disgust with Netanyahu (French PM Sarkozy in 2011), you have clearly let it be known to the world that you seriously despise the man. Politics is an art of subtlty and getting things moivig along. Mission Failed.

To the second point, on the ramifications of disagreeing, in a civil society, people just go back to their corners and disagree. However, in this situation, the disagreement leads to Iran – which has sworn to destroy Israel – obtaining nuclear weapons. Here the disagreement has led to the threat of the US not siding with Israel at the United Nations to make Israel become a pariah state and subject to various sanctions.

This is not simply “it’s OK to disagree”. Those disagreements will seriously harm the very viability of the State of Israel. And to somehow suggest that putting Israel in grave risk REPEATEDLY should not lead anyone to question the “good will” of those people is puzzling.  To argue that the actions themselves are not “hostile towards Israel” is absurd.

 

While Obama may have won over some Israel-supporters with his heavily coached- discussion on values, the red herring he is marketing is foul.

Related First One Through Articles:

International-Domestic Abuse: Obama and Netanyahu

Netanyahu’s View of Obama: Trust and Consequences

For Obama, Israeli security is not so time-sensitive

Bugs Bunny on Obama’s credibility in Negotiating with Iran

Red Herrings on the Red Line

A Disservice to Jewish Community

Summary: There is a Jewish community in New York with a long-standing effort to maintain a strong Community: among the various denominations of Judaism within the city, and in staying connected with the Jewish State. For the 67th birthday of Israel, it opted to destroy all of those efforts.

 

The Jewish community of White Plains NY is not a typical New York City suburb. The five synagogues of the city (5SWP) – Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and two Modern Orthodox – all sit within 1.5 miles of each other and actively seek to maintain a sense of close community. Each temple helped to establish the communal eruv around the residential neighborhood. The rabbis have study groups together. And lastly, the members of the shuls do their Israeli programming together.

In the spring of 2015, a group from the Israel Action Committee of the 5SWP decided that it was time to invite a left-wing speaker to address the group, as past speakers included right-of-center speakers including Bret Stephens and Malcolm Hoenlein. While voices of dissent came from within the committee as they learned about the proposed speaker’s line of work as a lawyer for Palestinian Arabs that sues the government of Israel, the group elected to invite Danny Seidemann to speak anyway – on Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Danny Seidemann was presented to the audience as a “Leading Israeli Expert on Contemporary Jerusalem.” He spoke to the group for roughly one and one-half hours, including Q&A. If Danny is an expert, it is in deception. For 90 minutes, the group of 70 attendees heard deliberate misstatements and lies of omission. However, Danny’s views and message were very clear: that Jerusalem has never been united and can never be a united capital of Israel.

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Seidemann’s Lies

Here is a selection of some of Danny’s lies to support his position.

Palestinians are deliberately excluded from Jerusalem society. Danny made several remarks early in his talk that he clearly knew to be untrue. He stated that Palestinians in East Jerusalem are “deliberately and permanently disenfranchised” and “are not allowed to be leaders” in Israel. However, in Q&A at the end of the talk, he admitted that Palestinians in East Jerusalem are permitted to ask for Israeli citizenship and thousands have already become citizens. How can the Palestinian Arabs be “permanently disenfranchised” if they can become Israelis, similar to the over 1 million Arabs that are currently citizens of Israel? Those Israeli Arab citizens include members of the Israeli Knesset and the Supreme Court.

A minority of Jerusalem’s residents celebrates Israel Independence Day. Danny asserted that the capital of Israel barely celebrates Yom Ha’azmaut, undermining the claim that the city can truly be the capital of Israel. Along with Palestinian Arabs living in Jerusalem who are not Israeli citizens, are roughly one-quarter of the population that are Ultra-Orthodox Haredi who are not Zionists according to Danny, leaving only a minority of the population in Israel’s capital celebrating the holiday. However, Danny later admitted that the Haredi do actively participate in Israeli elections and actively seek roles in the Israeli Knesset. Does he not like the black hat brand of patriotism? Further, these Haredi Jews predominantly live in the western half of Jerusalem- does Danny question the legitimacy of the western part of the city too?

No Jew enters East Jerusalem. Danny claimed that “80% of East Jerusalem is off-limits to Jews.” First, that is untrue as many Jews go into East Jerusalem all of the time (and not just the Old City). For example, Pisgat Ze’ev, the largest Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, lies next to Shu’afat. Further, would a neighborhood being dangerous or consisting of a single ethnic group mean it ceases to be part of a city? If few Jews visit Umm al-Fahm, an Israeli city that is nearly 100% Arab (compared to the eastern part of Jerusalem which is 60% Arab), would that mean that the city is not part of Israel? When few white people entered areas of black Harlem in the 1970s, did Harlem cease to be part of New York City?

No Arab enters West Jerusalem. Danny said that Arabs no longer enter the western part of the city. That is patently false. On most days, there are more Arabs in Independence Park than there are Jews. Danny may claim that these are Israeli Arabs and not Palestinians from East Jerusalem, but how could he make such claim without speaking to the hundreds of Arabs that anyone can see in the streets of western Jerusalem every day without talking to each one?

Countries do not recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel because of East Jerusalem. Danny argued that Jews pretend that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital but that such claim is untrue as no country places its embassy in the city. His point deliberately led the audience to believe that this international action is a direct result of Israel’s annexing the eastern half of the city. That is completely false. No country moved their embassy BEFORE Israel annexed the eastern half of the city because the entirety of Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem (known as the “Holy Basin” in the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan) was planned to be an international city. World governments are waiting for final status negotiations before moving any embassy, as they viewed the 1949 Jordanian annexation of East Jerusalem and the Israeli annexation of West Jerusalem as contrary to that 1947 Plan. It has NOTHING to do with Israel’s taking East Jerusalem in 1967.

 1947plan jerusalem
United Nations 1947 proposed map for an international “Holy Basin”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want Peace. Danny claimed that the four-term Israeli Prime Minister “is a terrible person who preys on Israelis’ fears of security.” Not only did Seidemann ignore Netanyahu’s numerous statements supporting a two-state solution (without any part of Jerusalem for Palestine), but Danny also failed to relay that it was Netanyahu who handed over half of the Holy Basin (Bethlehem) to the Palestinian Authority back in 1995.

The US Democratic Party Considers East Jerusalem too Controversial. Danny relayed how the 2012 Democratic National convention had removed its long-used platform language that Jerusalem would be the capital. He said that Americans were “tired of being bullied” about the contested city. What Danny failed to say was that the 2012 platform also removed the standard language that: Palestinian refugees would be settled into a new state of Palestine, not Israel; that it is unreasonable to expect that the borders of Israel would follow the 1967 “borders”/ the 1949 Armistice Lines; and that Hamas is a terrorist organization. Are Democrats tired of believing all of these platform items too? Are they now welcoming Hamas? Danny made it appear that the status of East Jerusalem was the only reason Democrats were breaking with Israel, while in fact, it was the entire pro-Israel platform that was either intentionally or unintentionally gutted.

Olmert ultimately realized the need to give up East Jerusalem. Danny said that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ultimately concluded late in his career that the only way to get to a final status agreement with the Palestinians was to give up East Jerusalem. What Danny failed to say was that Olmert only pitched this approach as he was about to get indicted on bribery charges, and was hoping that he could win over the liberal Israeli press to save him for going off to jail (it was too late and he was ultimately sentenced). Further, Danny failed to mention that acting President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas never responded to Olmert’s plan for Jerusalem.

If Jews move to East Jerusalem, then Arabs will have an added case for the Right of Return. The “expert” on Contemporary Jerusalem has no understanding of the Palestinian claim of the “Right of Return.” Danny spoke about recent “terrible” news of Jews legally (according to Israeli law) buying homes in an East Jerusalem neighborhood called Sheik Jarrah. He described that some of these homes had been owned by Jews before the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, which were then taken over by Arabs at the war’s end.

For starters, it should have been noted at some point in the speech that the Israeli War of Independence started when several Arab armies initiated an attack to destroy Israel when it declared independence at the end of the British Mandate.  The land wasn’t “Arab” and Israel’s war was of self-defense.

Secondly, Danny failed to clarify that the Jordanians (and Palestinians who accepted Jordanian citizenship), evicted all Jewish inhabitants from East Jerusalem and all of the West Bank, and then further barred their reentry after the war, counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention. Conversely, after the war, Israel granted citizenship to roughly 160,000 Arabs.

Third, Jews acquiring homes in East Jerusalem is legal according to Israeli law in the same way that Arabs may buy homes in West Jerusalem; there is no discrimination either way. These are private transaction between private people, and the government does not get involved. Danny’s commentary left the exact opposite impression that the Israeli government acted in a discriminatory manner.

Lastly, and perhaps most telling, the private purchases of homes have absolutely NOTHING to do with the Palestinian Arab claim for a Right of Return. A quick review for this “Israeli expert”:

  •  Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “[e]veryone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his COUNTRY (emphasis added).” The law is about returning to a person’s country, not a particular house where someone’s grandparent may have lived.
  • In regard to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, UN Resolution 194 Article 11 “Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and LIVE AT PEACE WITH THEIR NEIGHBOURS (emphasis added) should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.” Palestinian Arabs are not refugees, but the children and grandchildren of refugees. And as Seidemann makes abundantly clear throughout his talk, they have no intention of living at peace with Israel.

Jews acquiring properties in Silwan or Sheik Jarrah or any other parts of East Jerusalem have absolutely nothing to do with these laws and give Palestinian Arabs no additional rights or claims to any “Right of Return” to any part of Israel or western Jerusalem.

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Daniel Seidemann at Yom Ha’atzmaut Discussion

These were just some of the false comments that the speaker made about Jerusalem. Seidemann did say that Jerusalem is holy to Jews and referred to “Jewish Jerusalem,” but he made the comment only about the western part of the city. He gave no historical context that the area called “East Jerusalem” was an artifice of war. That its creation was solely from a war started by Arabs to utterly destroy any Jewish state, and the only reason that there are fewer Jews than Arabs in that part of the city was because of the ethnic cleansing committed by the Palestinian and Jordanian Arabs.

  • There was no clarification that Jews have been a majority in ALL of Jerusalem since the 1860s.
  • No mention that the Ottomans never limited where Jews could live in Jerusalem for 400 years.
  • No mention that the British Mandate of Palestine allowed Jews to live throughout the region, including what some today refer to as the “West Bank.”

Overall, Seidemann’s speech was an attempt to portray Israel as an evil, racist occupier of eastern Jerusalem. To the more informed in the audience, all his speech actually conveyed was that the Palestinian Arabs hate the Jews, hate Israel and will never want to be part of the Jewish State.

That may be true, but it certainly does not make Israel an evil racist occupier and does not mean that Jerusalem isn’t completely part of Israel.

Seidemann’s Call to Action

An hour into the Seidemann story, he became particularly excited.

Call for BDS of the “Settlement Enterprise. Danny gave a short preamble that what he was about to say was illegal. He then raised his hand and voice and declared that all settlers living in the West Bank should be boycotted. That all businesses in the territory should be boycotted. That he, as a “true Zionist” that paid taxes and served in the army needed to protect his country from “right-wing idealogues” who threatened his vision of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

At that point, people in the audience finally began to leave.

Seidemann Refusal to Engage

At the reception after the talk, Seidemann continued to lie (or being more generous, show how uninformed he was):

  • Palestinians support Abbas. Seidemann claimed that Abbas enjoyed broad support of the Palestinians. When he was confronted that it was not true as shown in every poll conducted by Palestinians themselves, including recent university elections, he refused to back off his claim.
  • Abbas is in control. When Seidemann was asked how Israel can possibly negotiate with Abbas since he lacked control of the people and territory, he reiterated that Abbas had complete control. After it was pointed out that if Abbas was in control, he was therefore responsible for the Gaza war that fired thousands of rockets into Israel, Seidemann ripped off his yamulke and stormed away.

While the speaker demanded total silence and respect from the audience, he showed the group none.


A community that sought to be educated about Israel was lied to for 90 minutes. A group that wanted to bond with fellow Jews and Israel, heard from a speaker that called for Jews to punish and economically strangle Israeli Jews.

As this self-declared UberZionist drove away, the community was left with bitter feelings. At least it was no longer on the Israeli Independence Day.


Related First One Through articles:

It isn’t “Arab Land”

Legal Israeli Settlements

A “Viable” Palestinian State

The Fault in Our Tent: The Limit of Acceptable Speech

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Finding Mr. Right-Wing

Summary: US President Obama seemed fixed on select comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an effort to portray the Israeli leader as a right-wing extremist who is a regional threat to peace. Not the Iranians who seek nuclear weapons. Not the Palestinians who support Jihad.

 

Many articles have been published about US President Obama’s bizarre focus on select statements from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu in the heat of elections. Articles point out the hypocrisy of Obama who himself made many statements during his elections from which he later back-tracked. Obama is also duplicitous in ignoring Iran’s chants of “Death to America” in the middle of nuclear negotiations.

How and why are some statements glossed over while Obama gives others great attention?

Obama is using Netanyahu as the straw man for the Iranian nuclear talks and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Obama has orchestrated a narrative where Netanyahu is the belligerent, right-wing, war-mongering leader, and not the Iranians or Palestinians.

IRANIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS

  • The Concern: A right-wing, global sponsor of terrorism which has publicly and repeatedly declared its desire to destroy the United States and Israel is being allowed to develop nuclear weapons under Obama’s negotiations
  • The Israeli Position: Don’t threaten to destroy us; don’t have arms to carry out your threat; we will protect ourselves, as needed. We will make peace with you, if possible, on terms that do not undermine our security or viability.
  • The Obama position: Israel is a right-wing, war-chanting, racist country that doesn’t believe in a negotiated solution. The Iranians are-who-they-are and this is the best we can expect from them, and the best deal that can be achieved at this time.

Obama has said throughout his presidency that Iran should not get nuclear weapons and that he will make sure that they cannot get such weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). However, he has softened his tone and position significantly and acquiesced that Iran will be able to keep various plants and operations to make such weaponry. He believes that Iran has already advanced too far in its knowledge and infrastructure. Further, he thinks the rest of the P5+1 parties in the negotiations will not go along with a sanctions to enforce a better deal. Therefore, he capitulates to the Iranians as Brett Stephens of the Wall Street Journal wrote.

But why trash Netanyahu?

The Israeli Prime Minister believes the contemplated deal is a fiasco and has made his opinion known. He made clear that the deal assures the Iranians protection from attack while it continues to advance its nuclear research and development. The contemplated deal is not a nuclear deal, but simply a basis for the US to establish a new relationship with Iran and China. This same Iran, that threatens to destroy the US and Israel while it hangs gays in the streets. The same China, that executed three times the number of people as the rest of the world combined in 2014.

Netanyahu’s chant that “the emperor has no clothes” makes it hard for Obama to sell the failure. Obama has no response to tough questions about the nature of the deal, or about the nature of Iran itself. As such, he has enlisted his party hacks to skewer Netanyahu to draw attention away from the failure to keep his promises about Iran.

Obama and liberal loyalists have attempted to paint Israel as the right-wing fanatical country, not Iran. They portray Netanyahu as a hard-liner, not Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who is described as a moderate trying to fight his own Iranian “hard-liners. Netanyahu is described as a “racist“, while Rouhani is described as a “relative moderate“.

These characterizations are both an inversion of the truth and a red herring. But it serves to rally Obama’s liberal base in selling the Iranian non-nuclear deal: a right-wing fanatic (to them it has become Israel) is attacking a liberal country (magically, this has become Iran). Obama’s media minions mystically transformed the threat of the terrorist state of Iran being granted WMDs under Obama, to the right-wing rogue state of Israel attempting to block the moderate Iranians establishing ties with America. The deal’s numerous failures are ignored and the focus is diverted onto Netanyahu.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

  • The Concern: The most anti-Semitic people in the world that has repeatedly gone to war to destroy Israel, continue to seek its destruction. A straw man without the people’s support nor power to enforce a peace deal, is labeled as a “moderate” for only seeking an end to the conflict on terms that undermine Israel’s peace and viability.
  • The Israeli Position: Don’t threaten to destroy us; don’t have arms to carry out your threat; we will protect ourselves, as needed. We will make peace with you, if possible, on terms that do not undermine our security or viability
  • The Obama position: Israel is a right-wing, war-chanting, racist country that doesn’t believe in negotiations. The Palestinians are-who-they-are and Israel cannot wait forever for the Palestinians to become moderate.

Obama made a specific calculation to build bridges to the Muslim world which he felt were damaged under President George W Bush. He began his presidency with an international trip to Egypt where he gave his famous “New Beginning” speech to the parliament in Cairo. (He did not use the opportunity of being in the region to visit Israel). Indeed, when he finally came to Israel in 2013, he snubbed Netanyahu’s invitation to address the Israeli parliament and instead used that time to speak to select Israeli students that support his weltanschauung.

When it came to America’s involvement in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, Obama dictated various terms and conditions upon Netanyahu which had never been instituted in any of the various peace talks between the parties. It included a ten month freeze on constructing new homes east of the Green Line (EGL) and releasing dozens of convicted Palestinian terrorists. Netanyahu did both. These actions were on top of his handing control of EGL cities like Hebron to the Palestinians.

So why trash Netanyahu?

The Obama administration has not been able to extract a single concession from the Palestinians. They pushed to join the ICC against US wishes. The sought membership in UN agencies against US wishes. And they have spent the last several years continuing on a path that undermines any chance for peace with the Jewish State:

  • Inciting violence against Israel
  • Repeated wars against Israel
  • Insisting on a “right of return” for people who are not refugees, but “SAPs” (Stateless Arabs from Palestine) who are children and grandchildren of Arabs who sought the destruction of Israel
  • Never agreeing to recognize Israel as a Jewish State
  • Declaring a new Palestinian state must be free of Jews
  • Stating that no peace deal would happen without the eastern half of Jerusalem as a capital

Obama concluded that the Palestinians are forever stubborn and he has minimal influence over their actions.  He therefore feels he must exert greater pressure on Israel.

That left Obama in the uncomfortable position of pressuring its ally which has the strong support of the American people over an antisemitic people that preach Israel’s destruction. He concluded that the best way to convince the American people was to invert reality and portray the Palestinians as desperate moderates who only seek peace, and the Israelis as belligerent racist occupiers.  His left-wing megaphones were happy to pick up the line.

The New York Times has called the Palestinians “desperate” and full of “discontent” about their situation. They are constantly labeled victims (consider the coverage of “The War in Gaza” as opposed to “The War FROM Gaza“). The injured Palestinians in the 2014 conflict were covered on the front page of the Times for many days (consider that no pictures of the three murdered Israeli teenagers or victims of Saudi attacks in Yemen, US drone attacks, Boko Haram, al-Shabab and others have ever appeared on the front page).

Conversely, Netanyahu is portrayed as being racist and opposing peace.  His election night get-out-the-vote comment about Arabs was described as racist, even though he had an Arab on the Likud ticket. His comment about the unlikelihood of a two state peace deal in light of the Palestinian positions and Arab Spring were painted as anti-peace by the Obama administration, even though Netanyahu has repeatedly stated his support and has taken actions towards a two-state solution.

Obama’s team attacks Netanyahu in an effort to extract greater concessions from Israel, because of its failure to extract anything from the Palestinians. It attempts to force a peace treaty that offers no peace for Israel. It is an attempt to further US relationship with the Arab world.

 

Netanyahu has become the convenient scapegoat for Obama’s failure to negotiate with Islamic Iran and the Palestinian Arabs. In the case of Iran, Netanyahu is a diversion from the terrible deal. He is a straw man that the only alternative to his bad deal is a call for war rather than a better deal.  In regard to the Palestinians, Obama is attempting to portray the straw man Abbas as a real moderate negotiating partner by disparaging Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s refusal to engage in a bad/false treaty is portrayed by Obama as anti-peace.


Six years ago, US citizens hoped Obama’s outreach to the Arab and Islamic world would create an opportunity to advance global peace.  Instead, Obama continues to undermine global peace to foster a better relationship with the Arab and Islamic world.


Sources:

Obama on Abbas March 2014: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/17/remarks-president-obama-and-president-abbas-palestinian-authority?v=1362363401000%3F

Related First One Through articles:

Germany 1933, Gaza 2014

Recent Abbas comment on the Holocaust https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/frightening-new-york-times-42714-article-on-mahmoud-abbas-shifts-on-holocaust/