The New York Times Pre-Occupation with Lies

On March 9, 2017, The New York Times wrote an editorial called “Israel Says Dissenters Are Unwelcome.” The NYT editorial board did not simply disagree with Israel’s decision to bar entry to people that advocated for boycotting the Jewish State, it mischaracterized the situation completely.


New York Times editorial on March 9, 2017

In the editorial, the paper littered the article with the words “occupation” and “settlements.” It never stated that Israel does not view Jews living on the east side of the arbitrary Green Line (EGL) as an occupation, as international law in 1920 and 1922 explicitly gave Jews those exact rights. It never stated that advocates of the BDS campaign are adopting an anti-Semitic platform that was instituted by the Jordanians who expelled all of the Jews from the region in 1949, then annexed it and gave citizenship only to non-Jews. It did not give the readers the facts that the Palestinian Arabs have adopted this policy and have a law that selling any land to a Jew is punishable by death.

Further, the Times wrote that “The United States, Israel’s strongest military supporter, has consistently held that settlement building in the occupied territories is illegal.” That is a boldface lie. President Carter was the only US president to call Jews living in EGL/West Bank illegal. All others – including President Obama – used language like “unhelpful” or, as Obama said “illegitimate.”

Lastly, the editorial stated that BDS supporters are those “who support the search for a lasting peace.” The BDS campaign is all about anti-normalization of Jews and Arabs living and working together. It is either a call by anti-Semites and Israel haters, or by others that believe that a Jew-free state is the only solution for peace. If that is true, then Israel should apply the same logic and expel every Arab from the Jewish State. But the NYT labeled Israelis who advocate such approach as “far-right extremists.” Why not use the same label for BDS-supporters?


The editorial page is a place where the paper makes its opinions, and the paper has every right to state its ignorant views. However, printing outright lies and misinformation does nothing to educate readers. Other than to the fact that the Times consistently ignores facts.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Legal Israeli Settlements

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

New York Times Lies about the Gentleness of Zionism

The Many Lies of Jimmy Carter

New York Times Confusion on Free Speech

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

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

The New York Times wants the military to defeat terrorists (but not Hamas)

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Heritage, Property and Sovereignty in the Holy Land

This land is my land, this land is your land. Whose land is this anyway?

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Silwan in the eastern half of Jerusalem
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

Events over the past few weeks both in Israel and at the United Nations warrant a review of three distinct concepts that seem to be alternatively ignored, refuted and merged: heritage, property and sovereignty in the holy land. They are each distinct concepts.

Heritage

Jews have a connection to the holy land that not only surpasses any other people in regards to that land, it surpasses other people’s ties to their homelands, as the Jewish connection combines both history and religion.

History: While Italian-Americans may feel a connection to Italy as their ancestors came from there some generations ago, there are very few people on the planet that have a widely accepted history in a land that extends back 3700 years.

Starting with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and extending for 1800 years, the majority of Jews on the planet lived in the holy land. During different periods they were self-governing while in others they were ruled by foreign powers that had control of the region as part of a broader kingdom. Only the Jews ruled the holy land as a distinct entity.

Religion: While some religions have holy sites like the Vatican, or a holy city like Medina, only the Jews have a holy LAND, in which the entirety of the land is viewed as a divine promise from God. For the last 2000 years, wherever Jews were in the world, they prayed facing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Yet despite the glaringly obvious ties of Jews to the entirety of the holy land, various entities – including many Arab countries and the United Nations – have sought to distance Jews from the holy land. The Arabs have declared themselves as the true indigenous people in the land, even though the introduction of Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula occurred 2000 years after the Jews were in the land. Further, many of today’s “Palestinian Arabs” arrived from elsewhere in the Middle East like Iraq and Egypt during the 1920s and 1930s, after the start of the British Mandate.

The arguments that the Jews do not have a deep connection to the entirety of the holy land is an absurdity and insulting. And it does nothing to advance peace.

Property

While Jews around the world are deeply connected to the holy land, such bonds do not give them title to any property. Should someone – Jew or non-Jew – want to own land, they can go through the process of taking out a checkbook and buying a home. This is the same basic rule that applies anywhere in the world, such as an Italian-American owning property in Rome.

Despite the clear and obvious distinction between property ownership and heritage, some people in Israel have felt no compunction in seizing lands that are owned by Arabs east of the Green Line (EGL)/West Bank, on the premise that the land was promised to the Jews. That’s an absurdity.

While international law in the San Remo Agreement (1920) and the Palestine Mandate (1922) clearly recognized the Jewish heritage in the holy land, it only sought to give Jews priority to settle in STATE LANDS, not private property. That is why new communities in EGL like Maale Adumim are completely legitimate, since none of the city was built on private property. However, legalizing the theft of private property in outposts has no legal or moral basis.

Sovereignty

A third distinction is sovereignty – that is, what country rules the land. An individual Arab can own a house in Beer Sheva which is ruled by the Jewish State, and a Jew should be able to own a home in EGL, even if it becomes part of a new Palestinian State. The government that administers the land should be completely distinct from who lives in the land.

Unfortunately, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), that is principally only true for Israel.

Most of the countries in MENA are almost completely Muslim and/or Arab. There is little tolerance in those countries for non-Muslims and non-Arabs.

The trend of creating Arab and Muslim-only areas has continued with Israel’s acquiescence, as demonstrated by the Jewish State’s removal of all Jews from the Sinai Peninsula (1982) and the Gaza Strip (2005). This has led to a presumption that Jews would once again be removed from EGL in a future peace deal. Should such an anti-Semitic condition be part of a peace deal, the notion that there is actually peace between the parties is laughable.


Jews have a connection to the holy land that surpasses any other people, and it is a major motivation for millions of Jews moving there, including both to Israel and EGL/West Bank. The UN and Arab countries are completely wrong in challenging the Jewish ties to their holy land.

Arabs that have demonstrated property rights must be respected as neighbors. Israel is wrong to take land that is privately owned, unless it is for a clear defensive purpose.

And the ultimate sovereignty of the disputed EGL/West Bank is a matter for the two sides to work out. Neither Jewish heritage nor Arab and Jewish property rights should be the defining considerations in determing sovereignty, but a thoughtful approach designed to improve the chance of a lasting peace for the people in the holy land.


Related First.One.Through articles:

“Settlements” Crossing the Line

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

Obama’s “Palestinian Land”

The Legal Israeli Settlements

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

Obama’s Select Religious Compassion

A “Viable” Palestinian State

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Samantha Power Breakthrough: Violence Erodes the Prospects for Peace

“1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;”

US Security Council Resolution 2334

On December 23, 2016, the United States opted to abstain from a UN Security Council resolution that allowed the body to condemn all Israeli “settlements” living east of the 1949 Armistice Lines/ the Green Line as illegal.  Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the United Nations addressed the council after the vote to explain her reasons.

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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power
December 23, 2016

Ms. Power began her speech by underscoring “the United States’ deep and long-standing commitment to achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”  But her rationale really took aim with the goal of two states, not a comprehensive peace.

The Israeli Actions

She claimed that the “United States’ long-standing position that Israeli settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967:

  • undermines Israel’s security,
  • harms the viability of a negotiated two-state outcome, and
  • erodes prospects for peace and stability in the region.”

Each point is deeply flawed.

Israel is the tiniest and most isolated country in the Middle East and much of the world. It is only 15km across (without the West Bank) around its most densely populated areas.  The capital sits on the border of the West Bank, a situation that is impossible from a security perspective, especially considering the country has been in a state of war with its neighbors for virtually the entirety of its existence. To state that enlarging its narrow borders undermines its security is obviously false.

The second comment that the settlements harm the viability of a Palestinian State is ridiculous. Annexing portions of Area C of the West Bank such as E1 and Maale Adumim would make a Palestinian State in the West Bank 15km across at a single narrow place- not for many kilometers as is the case for Israel. The argument that a Palestinian state cannot be viable if it is 15km narrow at a single point underscores that Israel should annex the entire middle of the land.

Ms. Power reserved her comment about peace – theoretically what most concerned her – for the very end.  Because the connection to settlements it is nonsensical.  How can Jews in a new Palestinian State undermine peace? Doesn’t peace mean getting along?

Not for the Obama administration.

Power clarified that: “One cannot simultaneously champion expanding Israeli settlements and champion a viable two-state solution that would end the conflict. One has to make a choice between settlements and separation.

If that is indeed the US position that peace can only be achieved by completely separating the parties, ensuring that no Jews be allowed to live east of the Green Line, then it would stand to reason that the US must be promoting the notion that all Arabs be expelled from Israel. How can Israel incorporate over 1 million Arabs if separation is the key to peace?

The essence of Power’s comments is that Israel thinks about peace the wrong way. It isn’t about coexistence, trade and commerce. It’s about distinct existences. Israel is looking for normalization while the Arabs are in divorce proceedings.

Palestinian Actions

The Obama administration pulled their world-view together when Power addressed the problems stemming from the actions of Palestinian Arabs:

“For Palestinian leaders, that means recognizing the obvious: that in addition to taking innocent lives – the incitement to violence, the glorification of terrorists, and the growth of violent extremism erodes prospects for peace, as this resolution makes crystal clear.

The comment that violent extremism and the murder of innocents “erodes the prospects for peace,” is not stating the obvious; it NEGATES the obvious by destroying its very definition. Killing someone doesn’t undermine the prospects for living, it ENDS living.

  • When acting-President of the Palestinian Authority names schools, squares and soccer tournaments after terrorists who killed civilians, it CONTRADICTS peace.
  • When Abbas takes to the loudspeakers asking for martyrs to converge on Jerusalem, he NEGATES peace.
  • When Palestinian Arabs vote the terrorist group Hamas – which has the most anti-Semitic charter in the world which calls for the complete destruction of Israel and murder of Jews – to a whopping 58% of the parliament, they DESTROY peace.
  • When 93% of Palestinian Arabs are anti-Semites, they NULLIFY peace.
  • When the UN Secretary General says that he supports the integration of Hamas into a Palestinian unity government, the global body UNDERMINES peace.

Power conflated the “prospects for peace” and a new Palestinian state.  She essentially argued that Palestinian Arabs are only killing now to get a new state, and will stop when they get independence.  Such approach willfully ignored the inconvenient fact that Hamas launched three wars from Gaza since Israel withdrew from the region.

Power recognized the threat of violence; she just felt that enough military hardware would make the inconvenient violence manageable:

“Israelis are rightfully concerned about making sure there is not a new terrorist haven next door. President Obama and this administration have shown an unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security because that is what we believe in.”

While Power argued that the United States would supply enough military equipment to ensure a viable and secure Israel, even in narrow borders, she stated the armament was intended to combat “a new terrorist haven.”  She seemed to have missed the point that the terrorists are not new. They are part of the established elected Palestinian government itself, and supported by the world body that just condemned Israel.

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When Power opened her remarks at the UNSC discussing a “comprehensive and lasting peace,” she was only addressing the Israelis.  Only the Israelis are seeking peace; the Palestinian Arabs are seeking a state.

The notion that Palestinian Arab violence undermines the “prospects for peace” is wishful thinking that the violence will stop once a Palestinian State is created. The violence that is incited and celebrated by Palestinian leadership is pure evil, and undermines the rationale of allowing such a state to come into being at all. While all people deserve freedom and self-determination, should the United Nations actively endorse the creation of a violent and anti-Semitic regime as a pathway towards peace and stability?


Related First.One.Through articles:

Stopping the Purveyors of Hateful Propaganda

An Inconvenient Truth: Palestinian Polls

Stabbing the Palestinian “Right of Return”

“Peace” According to Palestinian “Moderates”

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“Settlements” Crossing the Line

Jews living in various parts of the Holy Land is problematic for some people. Different statements and actions in the fall of 2016 brought various matters to the public attention, but few people understand which “settlements” actually “crossed the line.”

 

Moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem
(Not over the Green Line and not Crossing the Line)

President-elect Donald Trump made statements after his election victory, that he planned on moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which Israel has long designated as its capital. Today, it is not nearly as controversial as it once was.

The initial controversy of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital stemmed from the 1947 UN Partition Plan which allocated Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem into a “corpus separatum,” an international zone called the “Holy Basin.” While the Jews accepted the proposal, the Arabs rejected it and launched a war to eliminate the Jewish State. At war’s end, Israel controlled the western part of Jerusalem, while the Arabs took all of Greater Bethlehem and the eastern part of Jerusalem. Jordan expelled all of the Jews from the region, granted citizenship to all of the Arabs (specifically excluding Jews) and annexed the region, in a move never recognized by any country in the world.

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1947 UN Proposal for the Holy Basin including
Greater Bethlehem and Greater Jerusalem

While the western half of Jerusalem has been always been inside of the 1949 Armistice Lines / the Green Line, many countries still did not want to move their embassies to Jerusalem in the expectation that some solution would evolve to create a two state solution, which would also settle the question of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.  After Jordan attacked Israel in 1967 and lost all of the land east of the Green Line (EGL) including Bethlehem and the eastern part of Jerusalem, a solution appeared even more distant.

Indeed, things did change.

  • In 1980, Israel extended the borders of Jerusalem and declared that the city, “complete and united, is the capital of Israel.”
  • In 1988, Jordan gave up all claims to the EGL lands, and in 1994, it signed a peace agreement with Israel. The peace agreement acknowledged Jordan’s special role on the Jewish Temple Mount, but did not give Jordan any sovereignty in Jerusalem whatsoever.
  • In 1993 and then in 1995, the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs signed the Oslo I and Oslo II Accords, respectively.  As part of those agreements, the Palestinian Authority (PA) effectively agreed that Israel has sovereignty over the western part of Jerusalem. And as part of that agreement, Israel handed control to the PA of half of the Holy Basin, the city of Bethlehem.

Today, the only part of the Holy Basin that remains disputed is the eastern half of Jerusalem. (Granted there are terrorist groups like Hamas that refuse to acknowledge Israel’s rights over the western part of the Jerusalem, but for that matter, Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist at all.) As of today, the only countries that do not recognize that the western part of Jerusalem is part of Israel are the same countries that do not believe in Israel’s right to exist.

As such, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is no longer controversial, any more than recognizing the Jewish State.  Congress voted to approve moving the embassy in October 1995, at the time of Oslo II. However, US presidents have withheld executing the move as the broader Israeli-Arab peace has still not been realized.

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US Consulate in Jerusalem is not an embassy
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem does nothing to alter the negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs that want to make peace. Withholding the move simply rewards entities like Hamas that are at war with Israel.

Jews in Apartments in the Eastern Part of Jerusalem
(Over the Green Line, but not Crossing the Line)

After Jews reunified the city of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War, they moved back into the eastern half of their holiest city. Not only did they return to the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, but to other sections outside of the Old City walls, like Silwan, which was founded in the second half of the 19th century by Yemenite Jews.

Jews returning to the area was viewed as controversial by Arabs, who had banned Jews from the region while they controlled the area from 1949 to 1967.  However, international law clearly stated that “No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.” (Mandate of Palestine, Article 15).

Yet US President Obama preferred to endorse the anti-Semitic agenda of the Palestinian Authority in condemning Jews for moving into apartments that they legally purchased in Silwan. In October 2014, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said The US condemns the recent occupation of residential buildings in the neighborhood of Silwan by people whose agenda provokes tensions.”

The scenario was hard to fathom. The first black president in US history condemned people for moving into a neighborhood because such action was viewed with hostility by the current residents. Would Obama have sided with white racists in the 1950s in Selma, GA that were against blacks moving into the neighborhood?

The apartments which Jews had purchased were in existing buildings in their holiest city. To characterize the actions as a “occupation of residential buildings” made the action sound like a military maneuver against Arabs, rather than a normalization of people coexisting.

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Silwan, in the eastern part of Jerusalem
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

While the apartments were over the invisible Green Line (which was clearly defined as not a permanent border in the 1949 Armistice Agreement), the Obama administration was completely wrong that such actions crossed the line of appropriate behavior.

 

Settlements on Private Palestinian Arab Land
(Over the Line and Crossing the Line)

On November 15, 2016, the Israeli Knesset voted to legalize Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria that were built on private Palestinian Arab land.

That was wrong.

International law gave Jews the right live anywhere in Palestine, as described in Article 6 of the Mandate of Palestine “shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage… close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.”  But private property is not state land.  The introduction of Article 6 states “The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced…”  It is unjust and immoral to seize an individual’s private property unless there are extenuating circumstances.

This does not appear to be one of those cases.


There is a broad movement to delegitimize Jews who are living anywhere in the Holy Land. That is wrong and anti-Semitic. However, those disgusting calls to expel and ban Jews from living in homes they have every legal and moral right to inhabit, should not override the rights of Arabs to live on their private property as well.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Palestinians agree that Israel rules all of Jerusalem, but the World Treats the City as Divided

“East Jerusalem” – the 0.5% Molehill

“Extremist” or “Courageous”

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

New York Times Lies about the Gentleness of Zionism

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Obama’s “Palestinian Land”

On September 20, 2016, US President Barack Obama spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. His passing comment on Palestinian Arab-Israel conflict underscored why peace did not advance, and his relationship with Israel worsened over his term.

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US President Barack Obama addressing the United Nations
September 20, 2016

Obama’s UN remarks covered a lot of activities during his eight years in office, including the Iranian nuclear deal; opening relations with Cuba; and tackling climate change. He spoke about the Arab-Israeli conflict very briefly, but the remark was telling:

“…surely, Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel, but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.  We all have to do better as leaders in tamping down, rather than encouraging, a notion of identity that leads us to diminish others.”

“Palestinian land.”  What exactly is Palestinian land, according to the parties themselves? According to the United States? According to Obama?

Oslo Agreements

Since 1993, successive US governments have stood behind the Oslo Accords signed by both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel, and its successor document, Oslo II signed in 1995.  That document was the last agreement signed by the two parties to settle the “Question of Palestine.”

Oslo II clearly spelled out what was “Palestinian land” to be fully governed by the Palestinian Authority in regards to military and civil administration.  That area is known as “Area A” in EGL (east of the Green Line) and the Gaza Strip.  Israel handed over all of that land to the Palestinians over a decade ago.

“Area B” in EGL/west bank of the Jordan River, is a mixed territory, in which the Palestinian Authority has responsibilities for civil matters, and military matters are coordinated jointly.  That land is neither “Palestinian Authority” nor “Israeli” exclusively.

“Area C” makes up the majority of EGL, and is “Israeli Territory,” in which Israel administers all matters, including civil and security responsibilities.

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Map showing Areas A, B and C, east of the Green Line

The Israelis and Palestinians negotiated and agreed to the contours of these three blocks.  The parties also worked on a plan for additional land to be transferred from “Israeli Territory” to “Palestinian Authority Territory” over the years 1995 to 2000.  However, Yasser Arafat (fungus be upon him) rejected those negotiations at the last moment, and launched the Second Intifada in September 2000, as the interim Oslo II Accord was due to become permanent.  As such, no additional transfer from Israeli Territory to Palestinian Authority Territory has occurred.

As every US administration has pushed for the two parties to negotiate a two-state agreement on the basis of the Oslo Accords, there is NO BASIS for Obama to refer to Area C as “Palestinian Land.”  That land will continue to be Israeli land until such time as they agree to transfer parts of it to the PA.

As there is no Israeli “occupation” or “settlement” activity in the Israeli territory of Area C, Obama’s mischaracterization of Israeli actions in that land that they legally administer explains his comments and treatment of Israel since he took office in 2009.

Mandate of Palestine

It is also worth noting that international law, established in the 1920 San Remo agreement and the 1922 Mandate of Palestine, specifically gave Jews the legal rights to live and settle throughout Judea and Samaria (the entity known as EGL/West Bank did not even exist when five Arab armies illegally attacked Israel (1948-9) and Jordan annexed the region in 1950.)

The Palestine Mandate stated:

secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion” (Article 1) Jews were to have full civil rights throughout Palestine, such as buying and building homes.

The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power.” (Article 5) which Britain did anyway when it separated the east bank of the Jordan River to the Hashemite Kingdom, but which wasn’t a foreign power.

The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.” (Article 6) specifically stating that Jews were to settle throughout Palestine, including lands that Obama believes Jews “occupy”.

The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine.” (Article 7) in which Jews do not only move and settle the land, but become citizens of the country if they live ANYWHERE in the land, including Judea and Samaria.

No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.” (Article 15) clearly states that no person should be barred from living anywhere in the land just because they are Jewish – as if human rights law wasn’t enough.

International law – and human rights law – clearly allow Jews to live throughout EGL/the West Bank. The Oslo Accords signed between the parties specifically state that Israel controls all of Area C until such time as the parties negotiate the transfer of more lands.

The notion that Jews living in houses that they have every legal and moral right to live in, is somehow connected to Obama’s belief of a “permanent occupation of Palestinian land” is false, misleading and arguably anti-Semitic on every level.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Palestinians agree that Israel rules all of Jerusalem, but the World Treats the City as Divided

The Illogic of Land Swaps

The Legal Israeli Settlements

Names and Narrative: Palestinian Territories/ Israeli Territories

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

New York Times’ Tales of Israeli Messianic War-Mongering

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

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The Illogic of Land Swaps

The argument that using the “1967 lines” as the basis for the borders of Israel and Palestine in a two-state solution is flawed at the outset.  “Land swaps” simply underscore that absurdity of the argument.

Obama on Israel-Palestine Borders

In May 2011, US President Barack Obama shared his thoughts on the contours of the ultimate borders of Israel and Palestine in a two-state solution: “We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.

The comment infuriated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pro-Israel advocates. Obama clarified his comments before a pro-Israel group a few days later: “By definition, it means that the parties themselves, Israelis and Palestinians will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967… it allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years…. Including the new demographic realities on the ground, and the needs of both sides.”

Obama’s second statement moved away from his comments about “1967 lines.” By stating that the border would be arrived at through mutual negotiations and look “different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967,” Obama made the comment about the 1967 lines moot.  If the parties agree to an entirely new construct for borders, than that would be acceptable too.  There is no reason to even mention the “1967 lines” or land swaps.

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President Barack Obama at AIPAC May 2011

But the left-wing group J Street was much more aggressive than Obama on the contours of Israel, and lobbied the US government about the 1967 lines and land swaps.

J Street on Israel-Palestine Borders

J Street clearly calls for a two-state solution to be based on the 1967 lines with land swaps as detailed on its site: “This border will be based on the pre-1967 Green Line, with equivalent swaps of land…  land of equivalent quantity and quality will be swapped from within the pre-1967 Green Line.

The group also urged the US government and Jewish groups to strongly condemn any Jews living east of the Green Line (EGL/West Bank).  More specificaly, J Street stated:

J Street is deeply concerned that the pre-1967 Green Line separating Israel and the occupied territory is being effectively erased both on the ground and in the consciousness of Israelis, Jews and others around the world.

The resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will require establishing a border through negotiations between Israel and the new state of Palestine – based, as noted previously, on the pre-1967 Green Line with adjustments. Until that border is negotiated, the Green Line remains the internationally-recognized separation between the state of Israel and the territory won in the Six Day War in 1967.

A disturbing and growing lack of awareness of the Green Line is partially responsible for the 47-year occupation fading from the consciousness of the Israeli and international Jewish publics. Efforts to erase the Green Line from maps and from public awareness serve the interests only of those who seek to establish control over all the territory to the Jordan River.

One step American community groups, businesses, schools and governments could take to foster memory of the distinction between pre-1967 Israel and the subsequently occupied territory would be to use only maps that include the pre-1967 Green Line – a visual reminder of the Green Line and its significance.”

j street bookmark

All of J Street’s arguments: negotiations based on 1967 lines; equivalent swaps of land; and using equivalent “quality” are all illogical.  The desire to push the US government to punish Israel was demonic.

The Illogic of “Land Swaps”

There are a number of issues regarding using the 1967 lines and subsequent land swaps as envisioned by J Street.

The 1967 Lines Rewards Aggression.  Using the 1967 lines as a starting point for negotiations rewards aggression.  When Israel declared itself as an independent state in 1948, it was immediately attacked by five Arab armies from Egypt; Jordan; Syria; Lebanon; and Iraq.  The 1967 lines were the Armistice Lines where the warring parties stopped fighting in 1949.

Imagine that in 1948-9, Egypt conquered the entire southern part of Israel, all of the way up until Bethlehem, and Jordan conquered the entire eastern part of the country, leaving Israel as a narrow sliver of coastline from Tel Aviv to Rosh Hanikra. Consequently, imagine that it is this small state that becomes recognized by the United Nations in 1949, within Armistice Lines with Egypt and Jordan.

Further consider that history played out precisely as it did: in 1967 the Arab armies once again threatened to destroy Israel, so Israel pre-emptively attacked Egypt and Syria and then Jordan attacked Israel. Egypt and Jordan lost all of the territory that it took from the 1922 Palestine Mandate for a Jewish homeland in the war.

How would the world react?  Would the world demand that Israel needs to return to a stub of a state and give Egypt and Jordan all of the land past the 1949 Armistice Lines? Even if Egypt and Jordan ultimately relinquished their claims to the lands they seized in favor of Palestinian Arabs, would those borders somehow be considered the appropriate borders for Israel and Palestine?

Of course not.

Pushing Israel to accept the borders that the UN endorsed in 1949 would be rewarding the five Arab armies assault on Israel. The areas within the Jewish homeland mandate that are some refer to as “Arab land,” are simply lands that were seized by Arab aggression.  Using such 1967 lines/ the 1949 Armistice Lines, is a direct reward to an aggressive war to destroy the Jewish State.

Land Swaps Acknowledges that 1967 Lines are not Borders.  Those parties that suggest that land swaps between Israel and a future Palestinian state, inherently admit that the 1967 lines have no merit.  How could anyone suggest that a sovereign nation (Israel) give up some of its own land?  How could a country annex land of another country (Palestine)?  It can do so, if the two parties both acknowledge that the lines are not borders.

This was clearly spelled out in the Armistice Agreement with Egypt that stated “[t]he Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary.” Similarly, the Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan which stated “The Armistice Demarcation Lines defined in articles V and VI of this Agreement are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto.

While J Street urges Israel and Jewish groups to “know its boundaries,” the actual suggestion to engage in land swaps undermines the J Street argument that the 1967 lines have any real significance.  If there is any doubt, the Armistice Agreements that created those specific Armistice Lines stated those lines were not borders.

Land Swaps Undermine a call to limit Jewish “Settlements.” J Street and other groups that suggest that no Jewish Israelis should be allowed to live east of the Green Line (EGL/ West Bank), undermine their own argument when they suggest that there should be land swaps.  If Israel should give over some of its land west of the Green Line to a future Palestinian State, that would mean that Jews should also be prohibited from living in those border areas in Israel too.  Swapping land means that those Jewish communities in Israel would be considered a similar threat towards peace as the “settlements” in EGL/West Bank.

If people really believe that Jewish communities threaten the viability of a Palestinian State, the same parties that argue for banning Israelis in EGL/West Bank should argue similarly argue against Jewish communities in Israel that threaten the ability to effectively conclude land swaps.

That suggestion is clearly absurd.

Therefore if it is not a problem for Jews to move into communities that are west of the Green Line, than it is not an issue for Jews to move east of the Green Line.

Phantom Size.  The suggestion that the exact number of square kilometers of the “West Bank” and Gaza that were created by the 1949 Armistice Lines is somehow a sacred amount is ridiculuous.  As described above, the “West Bank” was an artifice created by a war of Arab aggression against Israel in 1948.  There is/was nothing inherently special about where the warring parties stopped fighting.

It is therefore non-sensical to suggest that the “equivalent quantity”of land be exchanged between the parties.  The Armistice Lines were arbitrary, non-permanent lines, and therefore the amount of land on either side of those lines are also arbitrary.

Further Absurdity of “Equivalent Quality.” J Street outdid itself in promoting a concept that went beyond the illogical suggestions of the 1967 lines land swaps.  It proposed that the land swaps between Israel and the Palestinian Authority should be based on land of “equivalent quality.”  In other words, J Street did not only propose that there be a swap of 50 square km on one side of the Green Line for 50km on the other side.  J Street introduced the concept of “quality.”  The far left-wing group argued that desert land would not be equivalent to an aquifer.  Holy land would not be equivalent to non-Holy land.

What is the conversion factor between the different types of land? Who knows!  Just add some subjective requirements to simplify negotiations that are already going nowhere for decades and are illogical at the start.  That should speed things up!

 benami-J Street
J Street leader Jeremy Ben Ami

When people pick on Obama for being anti-Israel, they should consider his rather moderate stance compared to the advice he receives from J Street.


Related First.One.Through articles:

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

The Legal Israeli Settlements

The Left-Wing’s Two State Solution: 1.5 States for Arabs, 0.5 for Jews

The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

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New York Times Lies about the Gentleness of Zionism

“Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
– Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)

The famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas penned a poem called “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night.”  In it, he urged people to not accept their deaths meekly, without a fight.

Written for his dying father, the poem struck a chord among the broad public.  While the sentiments were intimate, they could be read on a grander scale, as it was published after the end of World War II and the Genocide of the Jews.  The British withstood a pounding by the German Nazi forces, but they fought on and prevailed.  The Jews of Europe were unarmed, and managed only a few resistance movements.  Two-thirds of the Jewish population perished.

Gentleness is normally pursued and praised.  But Thomas – and his fans – declared that one should not acquiesce to death.  At such times, gentleness is to be shunned.

NY Times Rage Against “Displacement”

On February 7, 2016, New York Times reporter Steven Erlander wrote an article called “Who Are the True Heirs of Zionism?” It’s an interesting question for someone who fails to understand Zionism.

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The article launched with Erlander’s negative bias:

Zionism was never the gentlest of ideologies. The return of the Jewish people to their biblical homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty there have always carried within them the displacement of those already living in the land.”

Quite an opening paragraph to direct readers that Zionism – whatever its future – is evil at its core. Erlander claimed that Zionism lacks a gentleness since it seeks to displace indigenous people.  It did so at its founding when the secular founders of Zionism created the State of Israel, and the religious settlers do so now, as they seek to annex the “West Bank,” east of the Green Line (EGL). Such claim is completely false and repeats an anti-Israel narrative of Jews as “colonial occupiers” (as acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas claimed).

In reality, Zionism is about fighting against and fleeing from anti-Semitism.  It was the case when Theodore Herzl wrote “The Jewish State” in 1896, and it is the case today.  The essence was not about “displacing” people, but creating a safe place for Jews by reestablishing them in their homeland.

Some facts:

  1. Jews always lived in the Holy Land. While the mass expulsion of Jews happened in 135 CE by the Romans, Jews always maintained a presence in Israel. As evidence, Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem since the 1860s, thirty years before the first Zionist Congress.  In other words, Jews were not newcomers – they were part of “those already living in the land.”
  2. Jews were the only people that moved to the Holy Land during the last century of Ottoman Rule. From 1800 until the end of the Ottoman Empire, the annual growth rate of Muslims in the Holy Land was just 1.0% – the rate of growth of births minus deaths. That means that no Muslims migrated there. However, the Jewish rate of growth was 2.1% over that time period.
  3. Muslims only began to come to the Holy Land after the British Mandate. After a century of zero Muslim migration, Arab Muslims started to move to the Holy Land after the British Mandate of Palestine took effect. More Muslims moved to Palestine under the British Mandate than Jews.
  4. Jews did not intend to “displace” non-Jews. The Jews did not intend to remove the non-Jews – neither those that lived in Palestine for generations, nor the incredible number of Arab newcomers. The intent of Zionism was to bring in Jews from around the world, not to displace others as Erlander claimed. As evidence, Israel gave citizenship to every non-Jew when it declared statehood in 1948.

When Zionism was first broadly advanced in the 1890s after the Dreyfus Affair in France, there were roughly 540,000 people living in Palestine, and millions of Jews living in Europe and Russia. The dream of Zionism’s founders was to move millions of Jews from Europe and Russia to the sparsely populated, unpopular land of Palestine. As history would have it, two-thirds of the Jews in Europe would be massacred, and the Arabs would expel the Jews from their countries, many of whom were to then move to Israel and become the largest segment of the Israeli population.

Today, there are 8.1 million people in Israel, in just a fraction of the original Mandate of Palestine. Roughly 25% of the people – about 2 million – are non-Jews.  That is over four times the number of non-Jews in the entirety of Palestine in 1890. Clearly, Zionism created a place for non-Jews, counter to Erlander’s slander.

Zionism’s Next Phase According to the NY Times:
Secular Israelis versus Religious Jews

Erlander continued to paint a story of the “new Zionists – religious Zionists” who also seek to displace Arabs:

“In that gap between idealism and pragmatism is the fierce battle now going on in Israel, some 65 years after the founding of the state, about the true inheritors of Zionism. Are they those who hold to a secular and internationalist vision of the nation’s founders, or are they the nationalist religious settlers who create communities beyond the 1967 boundaries and seek to annex more of the biblical land of Israel?”

The article painted a picture of secular Israelis today seeking a pragmatic vision of Zionism within 1949 boundaries (as the Times and left-wing group J Street demand) on one side, and irrational religious Israelis, “settlers [that] are the epitome of a particularism, of localism, and they give a bad name to Zionism,” on the other.

Yet the article continued to ignore basic facts:

  1. Zionism continues to be principally about a haven from Anti-Semitism. The vast majority of people moving to Israel, making Aliyah, are people escaping persecution. The countries that dominate moving to Israel every year are Russia and Ukraine. When things get bad in France, French Aliyah spikes. Almost all of these Jews are not religious and are not moving for religious reasons, similar to Zionism of a century ago.
  2. Jews are moving to Judea and Samaria according to International Law, not the Bible.  The “religious settlers” are not seeking to resettle all of the biblical kingdoms of Israel. They are not moving into southern Lebanon, southern Syria or western Jordan which were all part of the Jewish kingdoms. They are moving into those areas that were established in international law in the San Remo Conference of 1920 that outlined that Jews could live throughout the land of Palestine. That land included Judea and Samaria. Just because the Jordanians attacked Israel in 1948, illegally annexed the land in 1950, and evicted all of the Jews counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention, does not mean that these lands are somehow not an integral part of the lands set for a Jewish homeland by international law.
  3. Non-Jews have not been expelled from the West Bank/EGL or Gaza.  The contention that the “religious settlers” are continuing this rage of Zionism by displacing yet more non-Jews is absurd.  The only people that the Israeli government expelled from their homes were Jews, as happened in Sinai (1982) and Gaza (2005).
  4. “Religious Settlers” are not primitive.  Erlander seemed to draw a contrast against the cosmopolitan, pluralistic, secular Israelis involved in art and technology living in Tel Aviv to “religious nationalists.”  Erlander would do well to visit Maale Adumim, Efrat and many other “settlements” to see that these “settlers” are more cosmopolitan than many of the people living in Bat Yam, just south of Tel Aviv.

The founders of Zionism in the 19th century knew the sentiment of Dylan Thomas’s poem before he was even born: “do not go gentle into the good night.”  They fought against hatred and persecution and set up a liberal democracy in the heart of the illiberal Middle East.  Had Zionism flourished earlier, and the Arabs and British not delayed the creation of the State of Israel, perhaps a million Jews would have been saved from the Holocaust.

Today, Jews continue to come to Israel, fleeing persecution. They live throughout Israel and Area C in the West Bank/EGL. They believe in the international law that gave them the right to settle and reconstitute their homeland.  Just as they would not tolerate the anti-Semitism from where they left, they do no support the anti-Semitic wishes of a Palestinian Authority that demands land free of any Jews.

Erlander is right that “Zionism was never the gentlest of ideologies,” but he misses the crucial point.  Zionism’s rage is against anti-Semitism and persecution; it has never been about displacement.

The gentleness of Zionism, in which “every high tech start-up, every new Thai restaurant and every successful film” flourishes, is found when and where anti-Semitism and persecution are absent.  As the world embraces the anti-Semitic credo of Palestinians demanding Jews be barred from living or working in the West Bank/EGL, Israelis will continue to “rage, rage against the dying of the light.”


Related First.One.Through articles:

New York Times’ Tales of Israeli Messianic War-Mongering

A Native American, An African American and a Hispanic American walk into Israel…

Rick Jacobs’ Particular Reform Judaism

Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015

Squeezing Zionism

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

Obama’s “Values” Red Herring

A Flower in Terra Barbarus

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New York Times’ Tales of Israeli Messianic War-Mongering

Summary:  One year after acknowledging that Palestinians were to blame for the failed Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace process, left-wing NY Times contributor Roger Cohen cast Israelis as fanatical nationalists and Palestinians as passive, despondent victims. The Times’ cure for Jews’ violent adherence to their religious texts is punishing settlers with BDS, while the paper distanced Muslims from their religion and called for greater compassion towards these innocents.

 

Just in time for Christmas, Roger Cohen decided to write about the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict. Again.

In an article called “The Assassination in Israel that Worked,” Cohen portrayed an Israeli society overrun with religious fanatical murderers. He described the killer of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Yigal Amir, as “a religious-nationalist follower of Baruch Goldstein, the American-born killer of 29 Palestinian worshipers in Hebron in 1994.” He wrote about Jews living east of the Green Line (EGL) as obsessed with “Messianic Zionism,” at odds with the concept of democracy. Because Palestinians are desperate for their own state, Jews living in EGL make “violence inevitable” according to Cohen. He argued that the UN’s creation of Israel “was territorial compromise, as envisaged in Resolution 181 of 1947, calling for two states, one Jewish and one Arab, in the Holy Land. This was humankind’s decision, not God’s.” In short, according to Cohen, the vast Messianic cult of violence in Israel seeks all of the Holy Land, but the rights of Jews are limited to just half of the land as dictated by man’s laws.

Lastly, Cohen argued, the only way to push back against the right-wing Israelis and their government was to employ different angles of the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) in which Obama should “close American loopholes that benefit Israeli settlers.”

Here is a bit of education for Roger Cohen (maybe the byline was wrong and this was written by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, the loud advocate of BDS?):

A smaller percentage of Jewish “settlers” are murderers, than are terrorists which are Muslim.  The Cohen opinion piece would lead a person to believe that every Jewish “settler” takes up arms against Arabs, while the reality is that almost every Jew living in the land seeks to live in peace with their Arab neighbors. Baruch Goldstein was an anomaly, not the rule.

Why would the Times print such an inflammatory piece against Jews when it is in the midst of a blitz about the dangers of “Islamophobia”?  The Times wrote over-and-again that most Muslims are peaceful and that Muslim terrorist abuse the interpretation of Islamic holy texts.  Yet the Times was eager to describe Jewish killers as motivated by the plain reading of the Jewish holy texts, and suggested that any Jew living in Judea and Samaria is either a potential killer, or instigates Palestinian violence.

It is untrue, unfair and reeks of hypocrisy to portray Jews in such a manner.  There are almost no Jews in Judea and Samaria that committed murders, but the Times labelled all “settlers” as devout killers.  Meanwhile, the global jihadist movement enlisted thousands and slaughtered thousands, and the Times rallied to the defense of Muslims.

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“Islamophobia” Op-Eds from Paul Krugman on December 11, 2015, and
Nicholas Kristof on December 13, 2015

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Front Page of NY Times Sunday Review on “Islamophobia”
on December 13, 2015

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Front Page New York Times story on December 15, 2015 about
Young Muslims suffering from “Islamophobia”

Jews are entitled to live in EGL/ Judea and Samaria according to international law. The 1922 Mandate of Palestine by the League of Nations clearly and specifically encouraged Jews to live throughout the Holy Land, including areas now known as the “West Bank.” The Mandate included language that specified that no one should be prevented from living anywhere because of their religion.

“Messianic Zionism” may be a driving force motivating some Jewish families to move to the region, just as they might move to Haifa or Be’er Sheva. Some people are motivated by Zionism without a Messianic component, while others go for good jobs in the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.  The motivation for living there is irrelevant; the right of Jews to live anywhere in the Holy Land was established in international law.

“Violence is inevitable” because Arab don’t want Jews as neighbors, not because Arabs want a state.  Arabs have been killing Jews in the Holy Land for 100 years.  In several episodes in the 1920s, including the brutal Hebron massacre in 1929, Arabs called for ridding the land of Jews.  On the eve of the Holocaust, they launched multi-year riots (1936-9) slaughtering dozens of Palestinian Jews and convinced the British to limit Jewish immigration, causing the death of hundreds of thousands of European Jews.

Whites in the 1950s also did not want to live with black neighbors. Racism and anti-Semitism are to be condemned, not rationalized.  Shame on the New York Times for defending Arab attacks on Jews.

The establishment of Israel as a Jewish State has been rejected by the Arabs for 100 years, and counting.  Cohen pointed to the United Nations Partition Plan which called for creating a Jewish State in 1947.  He failed to say that the Arabs REJECTED that plan.  They opted to launch a war against Israel instead.

Israel has continued to seek peace with its neighboring Arab countries: Jews approved the partition plan in 1947; the country uprooted Jews living in Sinai in 1982; it handed various cities to the Palestinian Authority in 1995; it uprooted Jews from Gaza in 2005. Israel made various peace offers to the Palestinians, including in 2000 and 2008. The Palestinians reacted to each offer with wars, and continue to reject Israel as the Jewish State to this day.

Conclusion

One year ago, Cohen wrote Why Israeli-Palestinian Peace Failed. “ In the article, he acknowledged various Israeli peace efforts including settlement freezes and prisoner releases.  In exchange for the Israeli gestures, the Palestinian Authority created a reconciliation government with the terrorist group Hamas, and joined international bodies counter to the agreed upon peace framework.  The peace talks collapsed.

Cohen has now concluded that while the Palestinians suffer from ineptitude and corruption, at the end of the day, their cause is just.  The Palestinians are not only despondent, but desperate for an external force to advance their vision of a state.  Cohen believes that Obama should begin to advance various iterations of BDS on Jews living east of the Green Line to assure the Palestinians goal of a Jew-free state (Obama has indicated in the past that he approves of a Judenfrei Palestine). Cohen had no suggestions – or concerns – of how to make Palestinians approve of the Jewish State living in security.

The radical left-wing call for BDS of the Israeli territories is easier to make when one ignores the 99% of peaceful families living in Judea and Samaria.  So Cohen, and other Israel-bashers paint all of these Jews as “Messianic Zionists” who are out of touch with reality.  They are either murderers of Arabs like Baruch Goldstein, or of the peace process with Arabs like Yigal Amir.

Cohen fails two of Natan Sharansky “Three Ds” test for anti-Semitism: demonization and double standards.  To rephrase the great ballad-rocker Meatloaf, Two of the Three IS Bad.

When will the Times and the left-wing fringe look at the Jewish families with an iota of the compassion they shower upon peaceful Muslims?


Related First.One.Through articles:

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

Framing the Israeli-Palestinian Arab Conflict: WSJ and NY Times

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

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

Every Picture Tells A Story: Only Palestinians are Victims

The Narrative that Prevents Peace in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Israel and Wars

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The New York Times on the History of Gush Etzion

The New York Times actually tried to give its readers some history of Gush Etzion for a change. Unfortunately, it still missed the critical points.
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New York Times article from December 15, 2015
In an article entitled “West Bank Shopping Center, a Symbol of Coexistence, is Shaken by Violence,” the Times gave more detailed history than typical when it provided background on the Gush Etzion “settlements” in Judea and Samaria/ West Bank of the Jordan River.  While the paper would typically state that “the world considers all settlements seized by Israel in 1967 as illegal,” it opted to give more historical context on December 15th.  It wrote:
“Gush Etzion, or the Etzion block, a cluster of more than a dozen Jewish settlements, lies south of Jerusalem, in the Bethlehem area. It is often described as part of the Israeli “national consensus,” a chunk of West Bank land seized from Jordan in the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 that many Jewish Israelis assume will always be part of Israel, and it holds a special status in the country’s psyche, associated with tragedy and triumph.

The first Jewish settlers arrived in the 1920s. Four communities were established by the 1940s but they were destroyed in the war of 1948 over the creation of Israel. Jordanian forces killed scores of Jews who tried to defend the area and took scores more captive.

After Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 war, a group of Israelis, including some descendants of those who had fought to defend it in 1948, reestablished Jewish settlements there.

The Palestinians and much of the world consider all settlements in the territories seized in 1967 as illegal and an obstacle to establishing a Palestinian state. While most peace plans envisage exchanges of land that could leave at least part of Gush Etzion under Israeli sovereignty, Israelis and Palestinians have never agreed on the size of the block.”

The Times opted to repeat its often used language – twice – but it did give much more history than it normally does.  However, while it described Jews moving to area in the 1920s, and some of the new residents as descendants of those original settlers, the reader was still left with the wrong impression that Jews are living there illegally.
Key points that were omitted from the article:
  • The 1922 League of Nations Mandate specifically gave Jews the right to live and establish themselves THROUGHOUT the Holy Land. This was a matter of international law and the Jews availed themselves of this legal right.  In 1922, there was no concept of a “West Bank.”  It was all just “Palestine” and Jews legally purchased land and built homes in Gush Etzion.  As stated in Article 6, the Mandate “shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.”  Further, Article 15 of the Mandate specifically stated that no part of Palestine should be off-limits to people based on their religion: “No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.”
  • When Jordan illegally attacked Israel in 1949 and killed the Jews in Gush Etzion, it did not undermine the legal rights Jews had for living in their homes.
  • Jordan’s illegal expulsion of all of the Jews from the region in 1949 counter to the fourth Geneva Convention was not mentioned by the Times.
  • The fact that Jordan illegally annexed the region in 1950 in an action that was never recognized by any country was also omitted.
  • Jordan (and Palestinians who had been granted Jordanian citizenship) attacked Israel in 1967, counter the Israel-Jordan Armistice agreement, and Israel was legally justified in responding in self-defense.
  • Jordan gave up all claim to the region in 1988.
It was nice to see the Times take steps to educate readers a bit more about Gush Etzion.  However, the details provided still left a reader with the impression that Jews live in Gush Etzion illegally, and it is only a matter of “national consensus” that leads Israelis to believe that the bloc will be formally part of Israel.  The many illegal activities of Jordan also continue to be ignored.
Perhaps the full facts disturb the Times’ narrative too profoundly to detail.

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The Long History of Dictating Where Jews Can Live Continues

The world has a long established track record of telling Jews where they can and cannot live. It is a phenomenon that uniquely relates to Jews which continues to this day in the holy land.

Pluralistic World, Narrowly Defined

The “Western World” likes to think of itself as modern and “progressive.” Its leaders believe they have largely overcome rampant bigotry in their societies. For example, western leaders would never suggest that black people be only allowed to live in certain cities, or declare that gays be confined to ghettos. Even during this wave of radical Islamic terrorism, no leader would ever say that all Muslims should be expelled from the country. Modern civilized society would never tolerate such positions.

The “Western” pluralistic approach is not confined to opinions within its own borders. Wherever there is ethnic strife, western officials promote parties getting along.  In northern Cyprus, Christians and Muslims are urged to reconcile.  In Myanmar, the US calls for Muslims and Buddhists to try to live together in peace.

However, the attitudes change when it comes to Jews in the Middle East. Pluralism is passé east of the Green Line.

Jews are Treated Differently

Today, it has become all too common for Europeans to protest in the streets chanting “Free Palestine” in calls for the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel. University professors give legitimacy to Hamas, a terrorist group, which openly calls for killing Jews and destroying Israel. The leaders of the European Union call for Jews to be expelled from Judea and Samaria. And the President of the United States, Barack Obama, condemned Jews living in apartments they legally purchased in eastern Jerusalem.

While pluralism is an embraced ideal, the open tent does not cover Israel.  The western world that prides itself on fraternity, believes that Jews should be banned from living in predominantly Arab neighborhoods.  The modern culture that seeks a global community, wants to deny Jews the right to live in their homes. The progressive left which advocates for human rights, condemns Jews rather than Palestinian Arabs who fight for a Jew-free state.

Ideally, everyone should be able live anywhere.  Except for Jews who should be banned from living east of the invisible Green Line.

It should not surprise people that the Jewish State is treated differently. These same “progressive” countries have a long history of forcing Jews into ghettos and expelling them from their homes.  Dictating where Jews are allowed to live is second nature. It’s the Jewish “Pen Policy.”

Here is a list of the Pen Policy in action, after the Crusades. This list ignores the brutal slaughter of millions of Jews over that time.  There is no comparable treatment of any other ethnic or religious minority.

History of Expelling Jews

Many governments expelled all of their Jewish inhabitants, both on the local city level and on the national level.

Austria: Jews expelled from Vienna in 1670.

Brazil: Jews expelled from Recife in 1654.

Czech Republic: Jews expelled from Prague in 1745.

England: Expelled all of the Jews in 1290. Jews could not live in England for another 360 years.

Egypt: Jews expelled in 1956.
Israel removes Jews from Sinai in peace deal with Egypt in 1982.

France: 100,000 Jews expelled in 1306 and then again in 1322.
Charles VI expelled the Jews in 1394.
In 1420, the Jews were expelled from Lyons.

Germany: Jews expelled from Brandenburg in 1510.
In 1593, Jews expelled from Bavaria.
In 1614, Jews expelled from Frankfurt.

Hungary: Marie Theresa (still an all-time favorite leader among Hungarians) expelled all Jews from Hungary and Bohemia in 1744.

Italy: Jews expelled from Southern Italy in 1288.
In 1491, Jews expelled from Ravenna.
In 1492, Jews expelled from Sicily and Sardinia.
In 1494, Jews expelled from Florence and Tuscany.
In 1510, Jews expelled from southern Rome.
In 1541, last Jews evicted from Naples.
In 1550, Jews expelled from Genoa.
In 1558, Jews expelled from Recanati.
In 1569, all Jews forced out of Papal states by decree of Pope Pius V.
In 1571, Venice decides to evict all remaining Jews, but does not carry it out.
In 1593, Pope Clement VIII evicts Jews from all papal states, except Rome.
In 1597, almost all of the Jews of Milan are expelled.

Lithuania: Jews expelled in 1495.

Martinique: King Louis XIV ordered all Jews expelled from French colonies in the New World in 1683.

Netherlands: Jews banned from Utrecht in 1444.

Palestinian Authority: After massacre of 69 Jews by local Arabs, British forces remove remaining Jewish community of Hebron in 1929.
In 1949, after attacking Israel when it declared independence, Jordanians expel all Jews from Judea and Samaria and the eastern half of Jerusalem which they illegally annex.
In 2005, Israel removes all Jews from Gaza Strip.

Poland: Jews expelled from Warsaw in 1483.

Portugal: Some Jews expelled in 1483.
In 1497, choice of conversion or expulsion of all Jews.

Spain: Jews expelled from Seville in 1483.
All 200,000 Jews expelled from country in 1492.

Switzerland: Jews expelled from Basel in 1349.

Tunisia: Jews expelled or massacred in 1535.

Ghettos

Some governments did not expel their Jews, but forced them to live in concentrated areas. Street signs can still be found in European cities named “Street of the Jews.”

Austria: Vienna’s Leopoldstadt goes back hundreds of years.

Czech Republic: Prague has one of the most famous Jewish Quarters, which was created as a restrictive ghetto.

Italy: Venice instituted the first ghetto by papal decree in Europe in 1516.  Others were developed in Ferrara (1624) and Rome (1555).

Germany: Created over 1000 in Germany and Poland during World War II, including the infamous Warsaw Ghetto.

Russia: Jews were confined to the “Pale of Settlements” in 1791.  Jews were forbidden to live in 75% of Russia.

DSC_0121
“Jew Street” in Obernai, France
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

The world has grown very comfortable dictating where Jews may live. It is well past time for Europeans to condemn the racist Jew-free attitudes of Jordanians (1949-1967) and Palestinian Arabs today, and adopt a pluralistic and welcoming approach towards Jews in Judea and Samaria.

In November 2015, in a speech about attitudes towards Muslims, US President Barack Obama said, “we don’t have religious tests for our compassion… We don’t discriminate against people because of their faith.” If only he and others held such feelings about Jews as well.


Related First.One.Through articles and videos:

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

Names and Narrative: Palestinian Territories/ Israeli Territories

Video: Judea and Samaria (Foo Fighters)

Video: The “1967 Borders” (The Kinks)

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