Sunday, April 21, 2019

From Ian:

The American Jewish Left declares war on Israel
We have entered a dark period in American Jewish history. In a letter to US President Donald Trump, nine mainstream Jewish organizations have urged him to embrace a “two-state solution” that almost 85% of Israelis oppose as a lethal threat to national security.

While all the signatories are clearly aligned with the Left, they are hardly fringe groups. The Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union for Reform Judaism represent the leadership of the Reform movement. Joining them were the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; its Rabbinical Assembly; and Mercaz, the Conservative movement’s Zionist affiliate. The Anti-Defamation League possesses what is arguably the most valuable brand in organizational Jewry. Those groups, along with Ameinu and the National Council of Jewish Women, are members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

After years of spin and lies, it’s important to understand where Israel actually stands on the issue of a Palestinian state. In the newly elected Knesset, parties that campaigned on any form of a two-state paradigm will hold only 8% (10 of 120 seats), with an equal number going to radical separatist Arab parties. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Center-Right Likud and Benny Ganz’s Center-Left Blue and White – together accounting for 70 seats – advocated variations of the status quo, in which Israel exercises security control over the West Bank while granting broad autonomy to peaceful Arab cities and villages. The remaining 30 seats will go to parties even less willing than Likud to gamble with Israeli security.
Meanwhile, President Trump ran on a GOP platform trusting Israel to know what is necessary for its own security, refusing to force Israel to risk the lives of its citizens and rejecting the widely accepted fallacy that Israel is an occupying power. And he has governed accordingly. His protection of Israel against the depredations of the plainly antisemitic United Nations and International Criminal Court has been extraordinary. His recognition of Jerusalem, the Golan and the truth about both the Palestinian Authority and the so-called “Palestinian refugees” has been long overdue. Longstanding threats of catastrophic Arab eruptions have proved baseless; instead, under Trump, Arab states have become increasingly accepting of the Jewish state.

The signatory organizations have opposed and boycotted every one of President Trump’s pro-Israel successes, defaming and vilifying him at every turn – including accusing him of antisemitism. Likewise, they’ve savaged Israel’s prime minister. Now, they attack Israel’s democracy. They have no credibility, no influence in this White House and they’re not dumb. If they truly believed that they had something useful to offer, they’d work through quiet back channels. Their very public letter cannot plausibly be taken as any kind of good-faith overture. (h/t MtTB)
Moral and Intellectual Bankruptcy at NYU
President Hamilton, I suspected, would balk at now saying that SJP makes a “significant and positive contribution to the University.” I was wrong.

On Wednesday, SJP received the President’s Service Award.

That’s despite the best efforts of Judea Pearl, a major figure in the field of computer science and a winner of NYU’S Distinguished Alumna award. After his son, the journalist Daniel Pearl, was murdered by Islamic militants, Pearl and his family set up a foundation that, among other things, supports Muslim-Jewish dialogue. SJP stands against dialogue. At UCLA, where Pearl teaches, SJP has, in Pearl’s words, “resorted to intimidation tactics that have made me, my colleagues and my students unwelcome and unsafe on our own campus.” After NYU met his inquiries with “platitudes about free speech,” Pearl, according to the Algemeiner, “renounced his status as a distinguished alumnus.”

It’s worth dwelling for a moment on those platitudes about free speech. NYU spokesman John Beckman told Pearl that although “many in our university community disagree with the SJP, NYU will continue to defend the rights of our students and others to express their opposing views.” By conflating respecting free speech and rewarding discriminatory behavior, Beckman managed in one brief statement to declare NYU both morally and intellectually bankrupt.

Those looking to excuse President Hamilton and NYU can point to how the ceremony was handled. SJP complained that Hamilton didn’t show and that “they [were] also not calling out the names of the award recipients. Pathetic.”

Here, I must agree for the first time with Students for Justice in Palestine. Even if SJP is right that Hamilton and NYU were sending a message in the way they handled the ceremony, this coward’s mode of distancing is, indeed, pathetic.
Edgar Davidson: Kay Wilson's book: a very important read
Kay Wilson is the British Israeli tour guide who, in 2010, miraculously survived a brutal machete attack by two sadistic Palestinian terrorists (Aiad Fatfata and Kifah Ghanimat) while hiking in a forest near Jerusalem. The American tourist she was escorting - Kristine Luken - was murdered in the attack. The terrorists simply wanted to 'kill some Jews' (although Kristine was in fact a Christian). In this book Kay describes in detail the attack, how she survived, and her long road to recovery. The book is both harrowing and inspiring, and while it is a very personal account it also provides many insights into Israeli society. Once you start reading it you will find it difficult to put down. Yet, publishers refused to publish it because it does not fit the mainstream narrative of "Palestinians as victims".

Although it is not a point that Kay focuses on herself in the book, it is important to note that the terrorists who were convicted of the attack are held in the highest esteem in Palestinian society (receiving a monthly stipend of $3,410 as reward for being officially 'Heroes of Palestine') and also received full legal support from the Israeli state, while being housed in the relative luxury of an Israeli prison. This contrasts with the struggle Kay and her carers have to cope with the aftermath of the attack. As a further example of this contrast, the book describes how, during the trial, the Israeli court failed to provide an English translator for the Luken's victim statement, yet provided Arabic translators for the terrorists.

There are many other remarkable insights in the book, including Kay's first meeting with Kristin's parents, the fact that the terrorists did not know Kay had survived the attack until she stood up to testify at their trial (this caused them to argue between themselves); and also how Kay first heard about the arrest of the terrorists who attacked her, during a shared taxi journey in Jerusalem (when she was going to complete the forms needed to get a meagre disability allowance). The other passengers did not know it was Kay they were talking about.

Friday, April 19, 2019

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Leaving Egypt to cross the (metaphorical) seas
In the face of all this, America’s Jewish leaders are largely and disgracefully silent. Most of them, that is, except the head of the Zionist Organisation of America, Mort Klein, who tells it as it is.

Sitting alongside Owens at the same judiciary committee hearing, Klein called for the removal of Omar and Tlaib from their committees. And he went much further.

While acknowledging the dangers of white nationalism, Klein identified the major issue threatening violence against Jews and all Americans as “Muslim antisemitism, which is strengthened by significant institutional support, and is becoming mainstream”.

He pointed to statistics showing that among American Muslims antisemitism was running at more than double the rate among than people of other faiths and none, and four times as much in parts of Europe. “It’s always about the Muslims and left attacking, verbally abusing, and threatening Jewish and pro-Israel students”, he said. And he also blamed institutional support for Jew-hatred by leading imams.

In a New York meeting a few days ago, Klein spoke further about the growing antisemitism from left-wing Muslims in Congress and how this is largely ignored not only by government officials and the media but also by the Jewish community.

In the current climate of intimidation, character assassination and cultural conformity, these are the words of an extremely brave man. He shames the craven Jewish community by speaking plain truths which others, including many diaspora Jewish leaders, seek all too successfully to suppress.

The epidemic of antisemitism and the twisting of the western mind are part of the great battle under way over the survival of western civilisation. It will require all our courage to fight for what’s right and true.

Personally, I shall be spending Passover in Israel, where the fight for freedom is in the very DNA of the people who have to defend it with their lives every day.

Have a good one.

Eugene Kontorovich: The Trump Effect Saves U.S. Soldiers From Runaway Prosecutors
"...The Trump foreign policy team scored a big victory in The Hague last Friday that will protect American soldiers from illegitimate and unaccountable foreign prosecutions.

The International Criminal Court dropped a more than decade-long inquiry into alleged crimes by U.S. personnel in Afghanistan. The action came soon after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. would deny a visa to the court's prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, and potentially other court officials, because of their possible prosecution of Americans. The court said in an opinion that it wouldn't proceed because of 'changes within the relevant political landscape' suggesting it would not get 'cooperation' from the U.S. In other words, the Trump Effect.

The U.S.-like most other non-European major military powers-never accepted the court's jurisdiction. According to its own statute, the ICC can only prosecute when a country is 'unwilling or unable' to prosecute its own war crimes. But the U.S. has no problem prosecuting its soldiers domestically in military courts if they violate the law.

If the ICC were to indict U.S. servicemen, no American president would turn them over, but it would have a real effect on their lives. They would face peril in traveling to countries that have joined the ICC, including all of Western Europe. They would be international fugitives...

President Trump, Mr. Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton correctly understand that their primary duty is to protect American nationals, not prop up the reputation of an already-failing treaty organization of which the U.S. is not a member. At very low cost, they have rescued American troops who served in Afghanistan from living under a Damocles sword of Hague-based prosecution..."
Dore Gold: America and the International Criminal Court
In April, the State Department revoked the U.S. visa of International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda after she declared her intention to conduct an investigation of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

The ICC had been based on the principle of complementarity - that is, it only has jurisdiction if an alleged crime occurred in a state that has no effective legal system to prosecute it, due to a lack of capacity or political will.

American critics rightfully are concerned that the ICC could be abused to drag American military personnel in front of the court, regardless of the fact that the U.S. military has its own system for investigating allegations.

Israel's concerns have been similar to those of the U.S., due to its bad experience with multilateral institutions in the past that have made baseless allegations against IDF soldiers, accusing them of war crimes.

U.S. law prohibits economic support for the Palestinian Authority if it prompts a process that places Israelis under an ICC investigation.

The debate over the creation of the ICC in 1998 illustrated that any political issue might be converted into a legal weapon. The U.S. has long been aware of this problem, which explains why, like Israel, it could not back what started as a noble cause but later became a seriously flawed idea.

  • Friday, April 19, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
Gaza Now "reports" that Israel's Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked insulted north African Muslims on Thursday night.

According to the ridiculous story, she said that Moroccans, Algerians and Tunisians are ignorant, stupid and deserve to be killed. The story says that she added that they will all be terminated and not one will remain alive.

Who did she supposedly say this to? Why, AIPAC, of course.

Yet this absurd story has already spread to Egyptian, Tunisian and other Arabic news media.

Usually there is some grain of truth to these stories, but apparently Gaza Now decided that it is easier to make things up from scratch.

(h/t Tomer Ilan)

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Friday, April 19, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon

Exactly a month ago, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani urged all Iranians to "Put all your curses on those who created the current situation," meaning to curse Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia.

Since then Iran has seen devastating floods.

And now....locusts.

From Iran News Wire:

Someone on Twitter says that there is also a plague of frogs in Djour, Egypt, but I have been unable to verify this and it appears to be not true (although the video is entertaining.)

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Friday, April 19, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
Wishing all of you who celebrate Pesach a chag kosher v'sameach, a wonderful and joyous holiday! (posted early for those in Israel to see it.)

I will not be posting from this afternoon EDT to at least Sunday night.

From the British Museum:
Detail of a page; Historiated initial-word panel Ha lahma aniya (The Bread of Affliction), at the beginning of the text of the Haggadah. Beneath the initial words, a miniature depicting a family by the Seder table with the master of the house placing the basket of unleavened bread on the head of one of his children. 
Origin: Spain, N. E., Catalonia (Barcelona) 

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
  • Friday, April 19, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon

I am reading an academic paper named "Making Jerusalem the centre of the Muslim World: Pan-Islam and the World Islamic congress of 1931." by N. E. Roberts.

It shows, as we have mentioned before, that Jerusalem was never an important part of Islamic thinking until the 1920s with the rise of the infamous antisemite (and later Nazi collaborator) Hajj Amin Husayni as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

Roberts notes:
Although Jerusalem was the third holiest city in Islam, it was not an important concern of Pan-Islamists in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Historically, the city had been peripheral to Islamic politics, having never been the capital of a major Islamic power, nor the site of a leading institution of Islamic learning, nor a prominent city in the Ottoman empire. So, while Muslims worried about the fate of Istanbul, Mecca, and Cairo, little sleep was lost over the status of Jerusalem, even while European interest in the Holy City increased in the late-Ottoman period.
The British were worried about the rise of pan-Islamism, and officials were divided on how to deal with it. They made a fatal mistake in thinking that they could use Islam as a means to keep the Muslims content without them engaging in political activities.

 In Palestine, British officials such as Ronald Storrs (1881–1855), the governor of Jerusalem, and Herbert Samuel (1870–1963), the high commissioner, identified the Husaynis as the notable family best placed to serve as intermediaries between the government and the country’s majority Muslim population. Their decision to embrace the Husaynis occurred shortly after the occupation of Palestine, when Storrs and Samuel cultivated friendly relations with the mufti Kamil al-Husayni who they viewed as being reliably pro-British and having the requisite influence and experience to exercise leadership over the local population. The government’s support for this family helps explain why they supported Hajj Amin al-Husayni becoming the mufti of Jerusalem following his older brother’s death in March 1921, despite the young man’s lack of religious qualifications and his participation a year earlier in violent anti-Zionist demonstrations during the Muslim Nabi Musa (Prophet Moses) festival in Jerusalem. It would also lead the government to place Hajj Amin at the head of the newly invented Supreme Muslim Council (an autonomous institution that oversaw the religious affairs of the Muslim community) so that he could function as the ethnarch of the Muslim community during the mandate period.
The event that started Husayni's embrace of Jerusalem as a rallying cry for Muslims was - a British idea:

When Herbert Samuel appointed Hajj Amin as mufti and promoted him to the head of the powerful Supreme Muslim Council he did so with the expectation that he would run the religious affairs of the Muslim community and keep the peace within his constituency. However, for this quid pro quo arrangement to work smoothly, the British needed Hajj Amin and his organisation to concentrate solely on local religious matters. But barely a year into Hajj Amin’s administration, British officials gave the mufti the perfect vehicle for involving himself in Pan-Islamic politics: a mission to the Muslim World to raise funds for the renovation of the Dome of the Rock.
The idea to renovate the Dome of the Rock originally came from Herbert Samuel who, in August 1920, wrote to Lord Curzon to request that the British government provide funds to renovate the Haram al-Sharif. Noting that the site was the third most important sacred site in Islam, he explained that the ‘effect’ of this act of magnanimity ‘would be favourable and instantaneous.’ There was just one problem: if the British repaired the site, Muslims might protest that Britain was taking over an Islamic space, a particular concern of the Indian government given that the Khilafat Committee had already used Britain’s control over Muslim holy places to propagandize against empire. As a result, the high commissioner of Palestine, the secretary of state, and the viceroy of India decided that it would be better for Hajj Amin al-Husayni to lead the campaign to repair the site with Britain providing background technical and financial assistance.
As the paper details, the Mufti immediately started fundraising to repair the Dome- in order to protect it and Jerusalem from being taken over by the Jews. (The paer says "Zionists" but the Mufti was not shy about his antisemitism.)

The entire reason the Dome of the Rock is so ubiquitous in Palestinian political life today is because the British thought they would get goodwill from the Arabs of Palestine if they helped repair the long-ignored site. Instead, it was used to fuel antisemitism and create Palestinian nationalism - which were, and remain, joined at the hip.

This is an early example of something we have seen over and over: Westerners think that when they do something magnanimous for the Arabs, the Arabs would reciprocate with goodwill and cooperation - and the results are  the exact opposite.

One cannot downplay how many people have been killed in the century since this decision by the Jewish Herbert Samuel and the British Empire.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

From Ian:

Enough Is Enough
When I was a student at Bennington College, I was screamed at in the dining hall by a fellow student who told everyone around us that I spent my time in Israel killing Palestinian babies. Another student told me he hoped my entire family was murdered by Palestinian terrorists. I had a classmate show up for a Halloween party dressed as a suicide bomber, and my roommates were puzzled when I threw him out of the party. While attending another party, I mentioned I was heading to Israel to do academic research. Someone around me actually booed. Still, I had supportive friends, colleagues, and professors, who ensured I never felt unsafe and was able to do work that sparked calm and civil discussions on campus about the conflict.

That was 10 years ago. Those experiences seem quaint now.

Let’s start with Israel Apartheid Week, which just came to a close. IAW—which now takes place on approximately 37 campuses around the country—is an annual event of protests, rallies, film screenings, lectures, and actions designed to promote BDS and the idea that Israel is a colonialist apartheid regime. It is increasingly funded by the schools themselves: This year at Harvard, funding for IAW came from the Undergraduate Council’s Grant for an Open Harvard College, which subsidizes student-led initiatives that address “mental health, race, culture, and faith relations, sexual assault and harassment prevention, social spaces, and financial accessibility.” Harvard provided the Palestinian Solidarity Committee with $2,050 to host Israel Apartheid Week.

But IAW is not designed to foster dialogue; it is designed as an expression of rage for the Palestinian cause and an attempt to enrage others into action. The Israeli government and its policies are out of the reach of these student activists, but Jewish students and other campus community members are right there—and boy do they make a convenient target. As a result, we are now watching as students who are members of a group of historically oppressed minority people—who were the primary targets of the largest genocide of the 20th century—are harassed across American universities. There is plenty of space to discuss policy and philosophy on campus, but there should be no quarter given to events designed to harass, intimidate, and ultimately silence any minority group. There are ways to discuss disagreement civilly. IAW does not seek discussion, only disruption and intimidation.

Universities are treating IAW as a political event, which allows them to ignore the clear and well-publicized ramifications on the emotional well-being of a minority group on campus. Yes, universities should encourage vigorous and civil debate. A student’s politics may change as they are exposed to new ideas—mine certainly did. But Israel Apartheid Week is sponsored intimidation. It isn’t about learning or debating; it’s entirely about attacking Harassing Jews because of their Jewishness is not a consequence; it’s the goal. Think about it: Could you imagine any other school-sanctioned event, in today’s climate, in which a minority is deliberately singled out for harassment? If Jewish students were standing outside halal meals and Muslim cultural centers harassing students, with their classmates taunting them with chants and slogans erasing Palestinian identity, I would advocate the university censure the students. Erasing a minority student group’s cultural heritage isn’t activism—it’s oppressive behavior that’s inappropriate in an educational setting.

Bethany Mandel: Jews have strong grounds for a new exodus — from the Democratic Party
A PEW poll this week found that while Republicans are more likely to perceive anti-Christian discrimination, Democrats are more likely to see discrimination against Muslims, gays and Jews. Would that that bit about Democratic sensitivity to anti-Semitism were true. If it were, more Democrats would be sounding the alarm about the cancer of Jew-hatred infesting their party.

Leading Democrats remain blasé at best, however. On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revealed herself to be in ­utter denial about the disease, telling CNN that “we have no taint of that in the Democratic Party.” Self-delusion on this scale is almost heroic, what with Rep. ­Ilhan Omar’s repeated evocations of classic anti-Semitic tropes about Israel “hypnotizing the world” and buying US support with “Benjamins, baby.”

The cancer is fast-moving and invasive, and if Democrats don’t excise it from their midst, they will make it impossible for Jews to comfortably remain. Is it possible for Jews to actually leave the Democratic Party en masse? It’s not as outlandish as some may think. Just look to how British Jews have handled Jeremy Corbyn, who has brought a once-honorable and philo-Semitic Labour party into league with the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah.

This month, the Jewish Labour Movement passed a no-confidence motion against Corbyn’s leadership. As The Guardian newspaper reported, Labour and Corbyn both “were dealt a blow” when the acting general meeting of the JLM “voted to describe the party as ‘institutionally ­anti-Semitic.’ ”

Sad to say, but the US Democratic Party is sliding toward a similar fate. Soon, “institutionally anti-Semitic” could serve as an apt description for the Democrats, as well. Consider: Just this week, Pelosi, the most powerful Democrat in government, sat down with . . . none other than Corbyn.

Jpost Editorial: Democrats and Israel
Democratic presidential candidates and key members of Congress have become openly critical of Israel in recent weeks, set off to some extent by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s preelection vow to annex parts of the West Bank.

“This provocation is harmful to Israeli, Palestinian and American interests,” Pete Buttigieg, one of the candidates running for the nomination, said. While he said he supports Israel, that does not mean agreeing with Netanyahu’s politics. “This calls for a president willing to counsel our ally against abandoning a two-state solution,” the South Bend, Indiana, mayor said.

US Sen. Bernie Sanders has been increasingly critical of Israel since he ran for president in 2016. He has also been linked closely with harsh critics of Israel. He helped name Cornel West and Keith Ellison to the Democratic platform committee that year. More recently, he claimed that Netanyahu was “extreme right-wing” and said that “I believe that we, in fact, need a two-state solution to the Middle East ongoing crisis, and that the United States needs to have an even-handed policy.”

Beto O’Rourke is also harshly critical of the prime minister, calling him racist. He tempered that with support of the overall relationship. “The US-Israel relationship is one of the most important relationships we have on the planet; and that relationship, if successful, must transcend partisanship in the United States.”

The criticism of Netanyahu is unprecedented among Democratic candidates critiquing a foreign leader. Few other leaders in the world receive as much attention and constant critique as Israel’s. Among allies, it is unique. US candidates, for instance, do not critique the president of Turkey in such a way, despite Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inflammatory rhetoric.

The issues facing Israel are deeper than some criticism of Netanyahu. Within the Democratic Party, a Gallup poll in March showed a 6% drop in support for Israel. A 2018 poll found that only 49% of Democrats sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians. Among younger Democrats and the progressive members of Congress who inspire them, the situation is even worse. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has accused her colleagues of having “allegiance to a foreign country,” which, along with other comments seen as vaguely antisemitic, riled many in February and March.
Lauren Chen Ben Shapiro on Western Faith & Avi Yemini's Deportation!
We interview Ben Shapiro on his 2019 book The Right Side of History, plus Avi Yemini tells us about exposing Jim Jefferies and his recent deportation from the US.

  • Thursday, April 18, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon

Gazans have been complaining about the intersection outside the Maghazi camp for nearly twenty years.

Known locally as the "junction of death," the area has been the scene of many traffic accidents.

Generally, when there are problems of this type, Palestinians know almost subconsciously that they cannot make a big stink about it because the media must be dedicated to bashing Israel and any discussions of internal problems (with the exception of Fatah and Hamas bashing each other) must be muted. Some local Facebook groups or the like are the only way to find out about these sorts of issues; even murders are barely reported.

It is Palestinian omertà, and it is barely reported on.

But after two decades of complaints, these Gazans have had enough and decided to go to the media to pressure the Gaza government - Hamas - to do something.

A traffic light costs $75,000. Hamas spends millions on tunnels, rockets and other weapons - all at the expense of ordinary Gazans.

They know that Israel is not the issue, and that the Hamas/Fatah split is what is hurting them. But that cannot be said too loudly, and certainly not to Western reporters.

How many Western reporters even think about the dearth of local news from Palestinian media? Why are there so few articles on court cases or local resident complaints?

Sometimes, the absence of news indicates far more than the news itself. Assuming that Palestinian Arab media reports on local news the way we are used to seeing in local newspapers is a major mistake. In this story it explicitly says that the residents were so fed up with the situation that they resorted to going to the media, showing how unusual this is.

The truth is out there, if only reporters bothered to look for it. Unfortunately, too many share the Palestinian media agenda of only reporting what makes Israel look bad, whether true or not.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

Earlier this week, I wrote about the foolish and arrogant letter sent by the American Reform and Conservative movements and some of their associated organizations to President Trump, demanding that in the light of newly re-elected Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu’s intention to extend Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, he should act to preserve the holy “two-state solution” (2SS).

As Jonathan S. Tobin argued, Israelis democratically elected Netanyahu’s Likud party. And if you consider the breakdown between parties that favor the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state in Judea/Samaria vs. opponents of it, the election can be seen as referendum on the 2SS – a referendum that those opposed to the 2SS won by a true landslide. So the decision of American Jewish organizations to oppose the will of the great majority of Israeli citizens can be seen as contradicting the democratic right of Israeli citizens to decide their own fate, or, in Tobin’s words, “trashing the verdict of Israeli democracy.” The fact that the letter was addressed to Trump, rather than Netanyahu, shows even more strongly that they reject Israel’s pretension to self-government. The US, they think, guided by the “wisdom” of the leaders of its liberal Jewish community should force Israel to do its will. They are uncomfortable with a sovereign Jewish state, and would prefer a banana republic, with themselves calling the shots. 

I find myself speculating about the political and psychological motivations for this letter. And although the writers imply that they are moved by concern for Israel’s well-being, I suspect several other impulses that are both more likely and less admirable.

The movements have satellite movements in Israel, and would like to see them recognized by the Israeli government as legitimate forms of Judaism, and receive subsidies from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, like Orthodox synagogues. They would like their rabbis to be able to perform marriages and conversions in Israel, and they would like a measure of control over religious sites. They would like a section of the Kotel to be made available for mixed-gender prayer.

As long as the Chief Rabbinate is in control of these things, and as long as it in turn is dominated by the Haredim (the so-called “ultra-Orthodox” Jews) that represent some 12% of the Jewish population of Israel, these wants will never be satisfied, no matter how many Supreme Court decisions there are in their favor. Netanyahu has been forced – as his center-left opposition also probably would have been – to include Haredi parties in his coalition, and for this reason the demands of the liberal movements remain unmet. Netanyahu has made the political calculation that Haredi support for his government is more important than the approval of Diaspora Jews that can’t vote; and they are bitter about this.

Despite misleading poll results, very few Israelis – according to Shmuel Rosnerless than one-half of one percent – are affiliated with the Israeli versions of the liberal movements. But the egos of the American leaders are bound up with their success (or lack thereof) in attracting Israelis to them. They need to believe that there are strong reasons to attend a non-Orthodox synagogue other than a lack of Jewish education. So they are trying very hard to get their movements into the Israeli mainstream to prove this, and they see Netanyahu as an obstacle.

In addition, the Israeli Left has good connections with the liberal movements in the Diaspora. They speak English and are well-represented in the media. Directly, and through media outlets like the Ha’aretz English website, they present their point of view to the Diaspora much more effectively than Netanyahu’s supporters, many of whom are working-class people who speak only Hebrew.

Finally, there is the fact that most of the members of the liberal American Jewish denominations and virtually all of their leadership are sympathetic to the progressive wing of the Democratic party. This political constellation, especially beginning with the election of Barack Obama in 2008, has become increasingly anti-Israel. Although Obama made his pro-Arab sympathies evident from the very beginning, even by 2012 some 70% of Jewish voters voted to re-elect him. In his second term, he did not disappoint, ramming the Iran deal through Congress in a process which included viciously attacking PM Netanyahu. His administration played on traditional anti-Jewish themes when it suggested that Jewish opponents of the deal were more loyal to Israel than to the US, and wanted the US to engage in war with Iran for the benefit of Israel. His final gift to Israel was US abstention on (and some say, promotion of) an anti-Israel Security Council resolution.

Nevertheless, Liberal American Jews and their religious movements have continued to embrace the progressive ideology represented by Obama, and have for the most part joined the fierce Democratic opposition to the Republican president, Donald Trump.

And this has placed them at cross-purposes with Israel, because Trump has proven himself to be the most pro-Israel American president since Harry S. Truman. Trump recognized Jerusalem as capital of Israel, reversing an obnoxious policy that held since 1948 that no part of Jerusalem – not even the ground under Israel’s Knesset – belonged to Israel. He became the first president to enforce the will of Congress to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, after three previous presidents – Clinton, Bush, and Obama – found excuses not to do so. He removed the US from the disastrous Iran deal and re-imposed sanctions (compare this to Obama’s paying off the Iranians with pallets of cash). He cut US funding for the UNRWA Palestinian “refugee” scam, and began to enforce the Taylor Force Act, which deducts payments made to terrorists from the aid given to the Palestinian Authority. He recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. And – although this is not yet confirmed – it is beginning to look as though his “deal of the century” will not include a sovereign Palestinian state in Judea/Samaria.

Trump broke through Israel’s pariah status as the only nation in the world that can’t choose its own capital. He cracked the myth of the “Palestinian refugees” that must be nurtured and helped to grow like no other refugee population, and that can never be resettled anywhere but in Israel. He may yet put the final nail into the coffin of the Oslo process. These are accomplishments that a successor will find hard to reverse.

Can Netanyahu be excused for claiming that some of this is due to his “close personal relationship” with the American president? Apparently not for these “leaders,” for whom Trump is the Devil incarnate. 

Trump’s actions toward Israel have all been in both US and Israel’s interests. In some cases, such as Jerusalem, they have righted long-term wrongs that should have been corrected long ago. If any other President had done these things, he would have been applauded and embraced by American Jews that cared about Israel. But this president is Donald Trump – and these American Jews have forgotten why there needs to be a Jewish state and what their connection to it is.

And so we have American Jewish leaders attacking an Israeli Prime Minister that has been democratically elected, arrogantly implying that they know what’s better for Israel than Israelis that vote, pay taxes, and send their children to the army. They have chosen to attack him on an issue – whether or not there should be a sovereign Palestinian state in Judea/Samaria – that many Israelis consider existential; and they have done so for the narrow interests of the tiny Israeli branches of their movements and because of their political bias against the American president.

My guess is that Netanyahu doesn’t care. And fortunately for Israel, Trump – who knows that these “leaders” are without a single exception his bitter political enemies – is unlikely to take their advice.

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From Ian:

The False ‘Nakba’ Narrative
The term “Nakba,” originally coined to describe the magnitude of the self-inflicted Palestinian and Arab defeat in the 1948 war for Israel’s survival, has now become a synonym for Palestinian victimhood — with failed aggressors transformed into hapless victims and vice versa. Israel should do its utmost to uproot this false image by exposing its patently false historical basis.

Nowadays, the failed Palestinian Arab attempt to destroy the state of Israel at birth, and the attendant flight of some 600,000 Palestinian Arabs, has come to be known internationally as the Nakba.

This, ironically, was the opposite of the original meaning of the term, when it was first applied to the Arab-Israeli conflict by the Syrian historian Constantin Zureiq. In his 1948 pamphlet The Meaning of the Disaster (Ma’na al-Nakba), Zureiq attributed the Palestinian/Arab flight to the stillborn pan-Arab assault on the nascent Jewish state, rather than to a premeditated Zionist design to disinherit the Palestinian Arabs:

When the battle broke out, our public diplomacy began to speak of our imaginary victories, to put the Arab public to sleep and talk of the ability to overcome and win easily — until the Nakba happened … We must admit our mistakes … and recognize the extent of our responsibility for the disaster that is our lot.

Zureiq subscribed to this critical view for decades. In a later book, The Meaning of the Catastrophe Anew (Ma‘na al-Nakbah Mujaddadan), published after the June 1967 war, he defined that latest defeat as a “Nakba” rather than a “Naksa” (or setback), as it came to be known in Arab discourse.

In 1948, the term “Nakba” was glaringly absent from Arab and/or Palestinian discourse. Its first mention — in George Antonius’s influential 1938 book The Arab Awakening — had nothing to do with the (as yet non-existent) Arab-Israeli conflict, but rather with the post-World War I creation of the modern Middle East (“The year 1920 has an evil name in Arab annals: it is referred to as the Year of the Catastrophe or, in Arabic, Aam al-Nakba”).

The UN and Israel in the Nikki Haley Era
For decades, U.S. presidents were intimidated by the argument that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would trigger violent explosions throughout the Muslim world. Trump and key colleagues doubted this, and they turned out to be right. Violent reaction in the Palestinian territories was limited, and there was virtually none elsewhere in Arab and Islamic countries.

In international relations, challenging longstanding beliefs often frightens those who embrace conventional wisdom. This embrace makes such beliefs conventional, but it does not always make them wise.

In her speeches, votes, and actions at the UN and in Washington, Nikki Haley helped usher in a new era in U.S. policy toward the Arab–Israeli conflict. She upheld the prediction she made after her first UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East: “I am here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore. I am here to emphasize that the United States is determined to stand up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias.”

It’s a new era because Haley challenged and disproved some important basic assumptions about Middle East policy. It turns out that the United States can support Israel strongly and still work closely with Arab states to promote common interests such as opposing Iranian threats. The Arab street is not narrowly Israel-minded and is not as volatile as long believed. The sky won’t fall if the U.S. stops funding UN sacred cows such as UNRWA. Even if future U.S. administrations revert back to the policies of the past, these old assumptions will remain disproven. That is a valuable accomplishment that will last long after Nikki Haley’s UN tenure.
Ruthie Blum: Don’t worry about what the neighbors might think
In addition, the letter went on, “[Annexation] will create intense divisions in the United States and make unwavering support for Israel and its security far more difficult to maintain.”

This plea, dripping with nauseating false piety, would be laughable if it weren’t so vile.

In the first place, the only “undermining” and “eradicating” going on in Israel are being done by the PA. Secondly, the BDS movement uses any excuse to engage in “efforts to isolate and delegitimize” the Jewish state. That’s its whole purpose, of course.

Third, it is a complete lie that annexation would divide the United States and make its support for Israel “more difficult to maintain.”

America is already divided, as is Israel, between those who favor appeasing enemies while reprimanding friends, and those who espouse the opposite view. Jewish liberals and Israeli leftists who fear offending murderous Palestinians and hateful boycotters belong in the former category.

To be fair, Jews have a long-standing tradition of identifying with their captors. Many Israelites rescued from Egyptian bondage complained to Moses that conditions under slavery were better than their trek through the desert to arrive at the Promised Land. If those whiners had had their way, we would not be celebrating the Passover holiday that begins this Friday.

The other tendency of Diaspora liberals – to flinch whenever Israel asserts its heritage and power – stems from “mar’it ayin,” a concept in Halachah (Jewish law) according to which even legitimate actions are prohibited when they could be misconstrued by other people as impermissible. In other words, it’s the Jewish legalization of worrying about what the neighbors might think, and changing one’s behavior to stave off possible disapproval.

Thankfully, Netanyahu disregards mar’it ayin when making decisions for the country, whether Jews across the ocean like it or not.

There are two kinds of people who hate strong Jews: your run-of-the-mill Jew haters (classical antisemites) and colonized Jews.

2000 years of living as unwelcome guests in other people’s lands have taken a toll on the Jewish People. Putting your head down, being quiet in the face of abuse and minimizing signs of Jewishness have become habits, so deeply ingrained that many fail to recognize their existence. Judaism upholds the sanctity of life and, because of this, actions taken by Jews to hide their Jewishness in order to survive were approved. Even religious traditions were changed in order to adapt to the realities of living in places where it was not necessarily a good idea to be “too Jewish” – for example lighting and placing the Hanukah candles inside the home rather than in a public place where everyone passing by can see.

The re-establishment of the Jewish State led to a new alignment of powers. Now the classical antisemites can direct their Jew hatred at the Jewish State rather than their Jewish neighbors. The oldest hatred has been reborn with modern branding: “I don’t hate Jews, I just hate Israel.” Or, an even more sophisticated version: “I don’t hate Jews or Israelis, I just hate the Israeli government.”
For colonized Jews the statements are different. The fact that these are said by Jews and seem more “nuanced” makes them harder for most people to address: “I love Israel, that’s why I hate the policies of the Israeli government.” Or “Why does Israel have to make waves and cause problems? Why was it necessary to move the embassy to Jerusalem? Pass the Nation State Law? Those things were obvious and just upset people.”

Colonized Jews hate being told that they are colonized. The idea that the culture of the land in which they live dominated and swallowed up their Jewish identity is repugnant. Historically Jews have preferred to believe that are happily integrated and welcome in the society in which they live (“I’m not Jewish, I’m a German of the Mosaic faith”). Historically it has been non-Jewish neighbors who taught Jews otherwise.

Colonization is a harsh definition, it is more common to hear the softer terminology: “diaspora mentality” which means having the mentality of a scattered people, living at the mercy of others. In other words, this is the mentality of people who are not sovereign and lack the power to determine their own fate.

It is important to note that while Jews who live in the diaspora are more likely to have a diaspora mentality, there are plenty of Israelis with the same mindset.

This terminology enrages those who it most aptly describes.

I believe this rage comes from fear because it leads to the necessity of making a terrifying choice: become a proud, public Jew and risk being ostracized and any hate or violence that could ensue or allow your identity to become completely erased.

It is hard to be hated, pushed aside and seen as “the other.” Over the centuries many Jews sought to appease the haters by abandoning their Jewishness. Although it is not something that is discussed I believe, somewhere deep down, it is understood that those who chose the “easy route” eventually disappeared while appeasement does not actually diffuse hate – in fact it increases animosity and disrespect of those willing to abase themselves in this way. 

Israel just re-elected Prime Mister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his fifth term. How could one man be so hated and yet so loved?

In my opinion this seemingly paradoxical situation is a result of both supporters and haters seeing him in the same way – only one likes what he represents and the other does not. Netanyahu is the embodiment of a strong and unapologetic Jewish State, something that is repugnant to Jew haters and scary for colonized Jews, afraid of having attention drawn to their Jewishness.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Linda Sarsour, Robert Francis O'Rourke ("Beto"), any of the American Jewish organizations or rival Israeli politicians who denounce Netanyahu as “racist” and “not representative of the Israeli people.” The Israeli people elected Netanyahu over and over and accusing him of evil qualities, is by extension, an accusation of all his voters. Over and over Jew haters and “progressive” Jews alike ignore the fact that it is the Israeli people who chose this man to represent the Jewish State. To them this is incomprehensible, he most have “stolen” the elections, tricked the public somehow... Israelis must be racist or just stupid…

In Israel we are told of the widening divide between us and diaspora Jews. Usually this is said in an accusatory fashion, as if somehow we are to blame.

Jews of diaspora mentality, Americans and many Israelis, were horrified when Netanyahu publically denounced the policies of the Obama administration, particularly his speech against the Iran deal in the US Congress. They insisted it would be safer for Israel to bow down, go along to get along.
Jews of diaspora mentality were horrified when Netanyahu enraged the French following the 2015 terror attack in the Hyperkascher by telling the Jews of France that he represents them too and Israel is waiting for them with open arms.

Jews of diaspora mentality (including some of my own relatives) were terrified of “triggering” violence by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem.

On the other hand, strong Jews who have shed the shackles of colonization are frustrated that Netanyahu has not implemented bolder policies.

It should be obvious, not something that takes exceptional courage, to implement Israeli sovereignty on all of Israel and equally apply the law to all of her citizens. It should be obvious, not a political calculation of “how much we can upset the world” that attacks on Israeli civilians are utterly unacceptable and must be squashed with swift and inescapable might. Jews should be able to pray freely in the holiest place to the Jewish People which happens to be located in the heart of the capital of the Jewish State. Isn’t that obvious?

A sovereign nation owes no explanations to foreign “masters” or patrons.

Passover is the holiday of Jewish freedom, the historical moment when the world learned that slaves do not have to remain slaves forever. Israel’s national anthem speaks of the “2000 year old hope to be a free nation, in our own land.” The hope still remains because we are not yet completely free.

Usually when we speak of not yet being free, we refer to the need to fight our would-be killers. I say that freedom of the Jews will come when our Jewish brothers and sisters shake off their fear of being who we are. The divide of the diaspora is not an issue of Israeli policies, it is a lack of acceptance of Jewish freedom and sovereignty.

It is the shackles of the mind that are truly preventing freedom. No matter what Jews of diaspora mentality (or the world powers) say, we will not willingly join them in their bondage but our hands are outstretched to pull them into freedom.

“Next year in Jerusalem, rebuilt!” is the end of the Passover Haggadah because THAT is the true end of the journey from slavery to freedom.

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  • Thursday, April 18, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon

Like other liberal Jewish groups, Rabbis for Human Rights feels it is necessary to water down the Haggadah by trying to make it apply to whatever their current cause of the month is.

I was a little surprised to see that one of their additional texts (on asylum seekers) quoted the decidedly non-progressive Menachem Begin:

...and within our State, justice will be the supreme ruler, ruling even over the rulers. There will be no tyranny. There will be functionaries who serve society, rather than tyrannize it. There will be no parasitism. There will be no exploitation. There will be in our home no person, citizen or foreigner, who is hungry, lacking a roof, clothing or basic education. "Remember that you were a stranger in the Land of Egypt" – this supreme commandment will determine our relations with our neighbors. And "Justice, justice you shall pursue" – this supreme commandment will determine our relations, one person unto his comrade.
 -Menachem Begin, "Voice of Zion Fighting, "Radio broadcast at founding of state on Saturday night, 5 Iyar / 15 May 1948

I looked up the Begin speech, and it is incredible.

It is true that Begin had a very refined sense of morality. I only recently discovered that he was very much against the Israeli practice of administrative detention without trial, against either Arabs or Jews, an opinion that  Rabbis for Human Rights no doubt shares. He was also against applying martial law to Arabs, a law enforced by Israel's Labor Party until 1966. Begin's first act in office was to welcome 66 Vietnamese "boat people" and award them citizenship. It is unclear how Begin would have dealt with tens of thousands of asylum seekers, but almost certainly he would have agonized over the decision.

However, this speech by Menachem Begin also made it clear that while Israel must treat friends and residents well, it must treat enemies with no mercy.

 And yet, even before our state is able to establish its normal governing institutions, it is compelled to fight, or rather, to continue to fight satanic enemies and blood-thirsty mercenaries, on land, in the air and on the sea. ... We are surrounded by enemies who long for our destruction.  Our one-day old state is set up in the midst of the flames of battle. And the very first pillar of our state must therefore be victory, total victory, in the war which is raging all over the country. For this victory, without which we shall have neither freedom nor life, we need arms; weapons of all sorts, in order to strike the enemies, in order to disperse the invaders, in order to free the entire length and breadth of the country from its would-be destroyers. But in addition to these arms, each and every one of us has need of another weapon, a spiritual weapon, the weapon of unflinching endurance in face of attacks from the air; in face of grievous casualties; in face of local disasters and temporary defeats; unflinching resistance to threats and cajolery.

In his speech he also said "Our soldiers will unfurl that flag over the Tower of David and we will yet plow the fields of the Gilead." Gilead is in - Jordan! Begin was insisting that the original British mandate area be the Land of Israel, before it was partitioned into "Palestine" and "Transjordan."

I don't think Rabbis for Human Rights would like that!

Here is the entire Begin speech, which is not easy to find on the Internet.

Citizens of the Hebrew Homeland, Soldiers of Israel, Hebrew Youth, Sisters and Brothers in Zion!

After many years of underground warfare, years of persecution and moral and physical suffering, the rebels against the oppressors stand before you, with a blessing of thanks on their lips and a prayer in their hearts. The blessing is the age-old blessing with which our fathers and our forefathers have always greeted Holy Days. It was with this blessing that they used to taste any fruit for the first time in the season. Today is truly a holiday, a Holy Day, and a new fruit is visible before our very eyes.

The Hebrew Revolt of 1944-1948 has been blessed with success—the first Hebrew revolt since the Hasmonea insurrection that has ended in victory. The rule of oppression in our country has been beaten, uprooted; it has crumbled and been dispersed. The State of Israel has arisen in bloody battle. The high way for the mass return to Zion has been cast up. The foundation has been laid—but only the foundation—for true independence.

One phase of the battle for freedom, for the return of the entire People of Israel to its homeland, for the restoration of the whole Land of Israel to its God-covenanted owners, has ended. But only one phase. We should recall that this event has occurred after 70 generations of dispersion and unending wandering of an unarmed people and after a period of almost total destruction of the Jew as Jew. Thus, although our suffering is not yet over, it is our right and our obligation to proffer thanks to the Rock of Israel and His Redeemer for all the miracles that have been done this day, as in those times.

We therefore can say with full heart and soul on this first day of our liberation from the British occupier: Blessed is He who has sustained us and enabled us to have reached this time. The State of Israel has arisen. And it has risen ‘Only Thus’:—through blood, through fire, with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm, with sufferings and with sacrifices. It could not have been otherwise.

And yet, even before our state is able to establish its normal governing institutions, it is compelled to fight, or rather, to continue to fight satanic enemies and blood-thirsty mercenaries, on land, in the air and on the sea. In these circumstances, the warning sounded by the Philosopher-President Thomas Masaryk to the Czechoslovak nation when it attained its freedom after 300 years of slavery, has a special significance for us. In 1918, when Masaryk stepped out on to the Wilson railway station in Prague, he warned his cheering countrymen: ‘It is difficult to set up a state; it is even more difficult to keep it going’.

In truth, it has been difficult for us to set up our state. Tens of generations, and millions of wanderers, from one land of massacre to another, were needed; it was necessary that there be exile, burning at the stake and torture in the dungeons; we had to suffer agonizing disillusionments; we needed the warnings—though they often went unheeded—of prophets and seers; we needed the sweat and toil of generations of pioneers and builders; we had to have an uprising of rebels to crush the enemy; we had to have the gallows, the banishments beyond seas, the prisons and the cages in the deserts—all this was necessary that we might reach the present stage where 600,000 Jews are in the Homeland, where the direct rule of oppression has been driven out and Hebrew independence declared in at least part of the country, the whole of which is ours.

It has been difficult to create our state. But it will be even more difficult to keep it going. We are surrounded by enemies who long for our destruction. And that same oppressor, who has been defeated by us directly, is trying indirectly to make us surrender with the aid of mercenaries from the south, the north and the east. Our one-day old state is set up in the midst of the flames of battle. And the very first pillar of our state must therefore be victory, total victory, in the war which is raging all over the country.

For this victory, without which we shall have neither freedom nor life, we need arms; weapons of all sorts, in order to strike the enemies, in order to disperse the invaders, in order to free the entire length and breadth of the country from its would-be destroyers. But in addition to these arms, each and everyone of us has need of another weapon, a spiritual weapon, the weapon of unflinching endurance in face of attacks from the air; in face of grievous casualties; in face of local disasters and temporary defeats; unflinching resistance to threats and cajolery. If, within the coming days and weeks, we can put on this whole armor of an undying nation in resurrection, we shall in the meantime receive the blessed arms with which to drive off the enemy and bring freedom and peace to our nation and country.

But, even after emerging victorious from this campaign—and victorious we shall be—we shall still have to exert superhuman efforts in order to remain independent, in order to free our country. First of all, it will be necessary to increase and strengthen the fighting arm of Israel, without which there can be no freedom and no survival for our Homeland. Our Jewish army should be, and must be, one of the best trained and equipped of the world’s military forces. In modern warfare, it is not quantity that counts but brainpower and spirit are the determining factors. All of our youth proved that they possess this spirit—those of the Hagana, the Lehi, the Irgun, youth that no other nation has merited. Indeed, no generation since Bar-Kochba and until the Bilu pioneers has seen such spirit.

As for brainpower, after 120 generations, the creativity of the Hebrew mind is one of the most developed and unlimited. Our military science will be built up on the Jewish mind and will be the world’s best. We will yet achieve strength for we possess the power of the brain.

In order to free our country and maintain our state, we shall need a wise foreign policy. We must turn our declaration of independence into a reality. And we must grasp this fact: that so long as even one British or any other foreign soldier treads the soil of our country, our sovereign independence remains nothing but an aspiration, an aspiration for whose fulfillment we must be ready to fight not only on the battlefront but also in the international arena.

Secondly, we must establish and maintain the principle of reciprocity in our relations with the nations of the world. There must be no self-denigration. There must be reciprocity. Enmity for enmity. Aid for aid. Friendship must be repaid with friendship. We must foster friendship and understanding between us and every nation, great or small, strong or weak, near or far, which recognizes our independence, which aids our national regeneration and which is interested, even as we are, in international justice and peace among nations.

Of no less importance is our internal policy. The first pillar of this policy is the Return to Zion. Ships! For Heaven’s sake, let us have ships! Let us not be [complacent] poisoned with inertia. Let us not talk empty words about absorptive capacity. Let us not make restrictions for the sake of so-called order. Quickly, quickly! Our nation has no time! Bring in hundreds of thousands. If there will not be enough houses, we’ll find tents or even the skies, the blue skies of our land, as a roof. As we have seen from other nations, there is no limit to the sacrifices a fighting nation is prepared to make in order to obtain its homeland and assure its future.

We are now in the midst of a war for survival; and our tomorrow and theirs depend on the quickest concentration of our nation’s exiles. And within our Homeland, justice shall be the supreme ruler, the ruler over all rulers. There must be no tyranny. The Ministers and officials must be the servants of the nation and not their masters. There must be no exploitation. There must be no man within our country—be he citizen or foreigner—compelled to go hungry, to want for a roof over his head or to lack elementary education. ‘Remember you were strangers in the land of Egypt’—this supreme rule must continually light our way in our relations with the strangers within our gates. ‘Righteousness, righteousness shall you pursue’ will be the guiding principle in our relations amongst ourselves.

We will protect our state well, our Israel. It is for these goals and principles, and in the framework of democracy, that the Herut Movement will struggle, arising out of the underground and fashioned by the fighting family, a movement made up of all circles, all exiles, all streams around the flag of the Irgun. The Irgun Zvai Leumi is leaving the underground inside the boundaries of the Hebrew independent state. We went underground, we arose in the underground, under a rule of oppression in order to strike at oppression and to overthrow it. And right well have we struck.

Now, for the time being, we have a Hebrew rule in part of our homeland. And as in this part there will be Hebrew Law—and that is the only rightful law in this country—there is no need for a Hebrew underground. In the State of Israel, we shall be soldiers and builders. And we shall respect it government, for it is our government. We expect that this provisional government and every other government will take care not to surrender to external elements or act in tyranny against internal bodies. The government must protect human and civil rights, without discrimination and favoritism. It shall safeguard the principles of justice and freedom and our house shall shine with fraternity and brotherly love.

The State of Israel has arisen, but we must remember that our country is not yet liberated. The battle continues, and you see now that the words of your Irgun fighters were not vain words: it is Hebrew arms which decide the boundaries of the Hebrew State. So it is now in this battle; so it will be in the future. Our God-given country is a unity, an integral historical and geographical whole. The attempt to dissect it is not only a crime but a blasphemy and an abortion. Whoever does not recognize our natural right to our entire homeland, does not recognize our right to any part of it. And we shall never forego this natural right.

We shall continue to foster the aspiration of full independence. We shall assume the burden of the vision of complete redemption. There can be no distinction between the nation-state and its homeland. That line of differentiation is artificial. This is not irredentism. We refer to five-sixths of our land, land we need to make bloom, land we need for future generations, land we need for security and peace. We will yet fly the flag of freedom, of peace, of progress. Our soldiers will unfurl that flag over the Tower of David and we will yet plow the fields of the Gilead.

Citizens of the Hebrew State, soldiers of Israel, we are in the midst of battles. Difficult days lie ahead of us. Much blood will be spilled. Fortify yourselves. Strengthen your morale. There is no other way. We cannot buy peace from our enemies with appeasement. There is only one kind of ‘peace’ than can be bought— the peace of the graveyard, the peace of Treblinka.

Be brave of spirit and ready for more trials. We shall withstand them. The Lord of Hosts will help us; He will sustain the bravery of the Hebrew youth, the bravery of the Hebrew mothers who, like Hannah, offer their sons on the altar of God. This supreme valor will save us from our enemy and bring us out from slavery to freedom, from the danger of annihilation to safety.

And you, brothers of the fighting family, do you remember how we started? With what we started? You were alone and persecuted, rejected, despised and numbered with transgressors But you fought on with deep faith and did not retreat. You were cast into prison and you were exiled from your country but your spirit was not crushed. You were driven to the gallows but went forth with a song. You have written a glorious page in history. You will not recall past grievances; you will ask for no reward. But for the time-being, let us think of the battle, for only the outcome of the battle will decide our fate and future.

We shall go on our way into battle, soldiers of the Lord of Hosts, inspired by the spirit of our ancient heroes, from the conquerors of Canaan to the Rebels of Judah. We shall be accompanied by the spirit of those who revived our nation, Zeev Benjamin Herzl, Max Nordau, Joseph Trumpeldor and the father of resurrected Hebrew heroism, Zeev Jabotinsky. We shall be accompanied by the spirit of David Raziel, greatest of our Hebrew commanders of our day; and by Dov Gruner, one of the greatest of Hebrew soldiers. We shall be accompanied into battle by the spirit of the heroes of the gallows, the conquerors of death. And we shall be accompanied by the spirit of the millions of our martyrs, our ancestors tortured and burned for their faith, our murdered fathers and butchered mothers, our murdered brothers and strangled children.

And in this battle, we shall break the enemy and bring salvation to our people, tried in the furnace of persecution, thirsting only for freedom, for righteousness and for justice. God, Lord of Israel, protect your soldiers. Grant blessing to their sword that is renewing the covenant that was made between your chosen people and your chosen land. Arise O Lion of Judea for our people, for our land. On to battle. Forward to victory.” 

They don't make leaders like that any more.

Yes, Begin supported justice and human rights - but for everyone, prioritizing his own people. Too many groups forget that Jews have rights, too.

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  • Thursday, April 18, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon

A few days ago, many liberal Jewish groups sent a letter to President Trump asking him to act against any Israeli annexation of land in Judea and Samaria.

The groups were the ADL, Ameinu, ARZA, Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform), Jewish Women International, Israel Policy Forum, MERCAZ USA, National Council of Jewish Women, Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative),Union for Reform Judaism and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

Some of the arguments are based on the idea that Netanyahu will annex the entire territory, which is clearly not going to happen which makes it a straw man argument. The demographic threat of annexing the entire territory is real - but if Israel only annexes the settlement blocs near the Green Line, which is a far more likely scenario, there is no demographic threat.

The letter says "We strongly urge you to pledge that any peace initiative your administration proposes will be based upon the principle of a negotiated two-state solution... and to clearly express your opposition to unilateral measures outside of this framework, including annexation by Israel of any territory in the West Bank."

Any areas Israel would annex would remain Israeli under any conceivable two state solution - which means that such an annexation would not jeopardize a two-state solution.

And every day the Palestinian Arabs, with European help, take unilateral measures to grab land in the disputed areas of Area C. They are explicitly trying to sever Maale Adumim from Jerusalem by building illegal villages there, with EU flags prominently displayed and schools ready for photo-ops if and when Israel demolishes them.

Have any of these Jewish groups ever condemned these unilateral moves against a negotiated solution? How come only Israel has to freeze building in areas it intends to keep, but not Palestinians?

"Annexation of the West Bank, whether in whole or in part, could destroy any chance of a negotiated two-state solution between the parties. We believe that it will lead to greater conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, severely undermine, if not entirely eradicate, the successful security coordination between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and galvanize efforts such as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that are intended to isolate and delegitimize Israel."

These same people asserted that Trump's recognition of Jerusalem would cause an eruption of Arab anger, cause Abbas to cancel security cooperation, and galvanize BDS. Pretty much nothing happened. Saying Israel cannot act in its best interests out of fear of what "experts" say Arabs or Israel haters will do is foolish advice - Israel haters will not change no matter what. The people who signed this letter should know that.

"It will create intense divisions in the United States and make unwavering support for Israel and its security far more difficult to maintain."

Only if liberal Jews refuse to respect what Israel's democratically elected government decides to do. This letter and similar statement from liberal Jewish leaders is what causes division among American Jews, not Israeli actions. These groups clearly do not have any idea how to counter anti-Israel propaganda among their own followers, so instead they are surrendering to pressure Israel into doing that the holy New York Times - which appears to be their Bible - wants it to do.

I had a brief Twitter conversation with Michael Koplow, head of the Israel Policy Forum, over his support of the letter.

EoZ: I thought the demographic problem with annexation was controlling a huge Arab population. If Israel only annexes areas that are predominantly Jewish then the democracy problem goes away, no?

MK: The problem is the assumption that Israel can only annex Jewish areas without eventually having to take control of the whole thing. Area C is 60% of the West Bank - you confident the PA will survive or stick around to take care of the rest?

EoZ: I would bet that any annexation would only be the blocs that would become Israeli in any conceivable peace plan anyway.

MK: I’m sure it will start that way but it’s unlikely to end there

EoZ: Making assumptions about what will inevitably happen if Israel does  X has a very, very poor track record.

MK: It’s not about assumptions. Most proponents of annexation have stated that the plan is blocs first, then Area C.

EoZ: Still an assumption. Any annexation would require easy to defend borders. Area C isn't.

MK: I agree entirely on that point.

I was too polite to point out that Koplow had testified to Congress with doomsday predictions about massive riots in the Arab world if the US moves its embassy to Jerusalem. He was wrong then and the same predictions are likely to be wrong now.

The real question is whether Israel has anything to gain by annexing the settlement blocs.

The answer is that it stands to gain exactly what it gains from asserting Israeli control over Jerusalem and the Golan: recognizing facts. Israel is never going to give up the settlement blocs, so why not formalize the obvious? It is counterproductive to allow the Palestinian leaders - and the EU- to believe that the 1967 lines will be the boundaries of a two state solution. As mentioned, Palestinians are creating facts on the ground and have somehow convinced the world that the entire area east of the Green Line is legally theirs, rather than disputed, which all of Area C certainly is. (Oslo has taken Area A out of dispute, and Area B is a grey area.)

Israel can disrupt this false thinking by annexing at least the settlement blocs and having the US recognize it.

Real peace cannot come about without both sides, and the world, facing facts. Major settlement blocs will never be evacuated. Treating them as negotiable should be as ridiculous to world diplomats as treating Ramallah as negotiable would be today.

The brilliance of Trump's Middle East moves is that they are recognizing reality in the face of frightened "experts" who assert, invariably incorrectly, how terrible an idea it is to accept the truth. It happened in Jerusalem, it happened in the Golan, it happened with labeling the IRGC as a terrorist group - all of which are simply supporting what everyone knows. Pretending otherwise to bring parties to the table means that the negotiations are based on fiction, and it is difficult to succeed in making a deal if one or both sides are in fantasy land.

A two-state solution is not possible with the PLO as it currently exists. They have spent their entire time since Oslo working not to build a state but to destroy one. But maybe, down the road, a Palestinian leadership that no longer fantasizes about destroying Israel can arise. The only way that scenario is remotely possible is if they accept that Israel is not going anywhere, and the only way that could happen is by Israel asserting its rights in a consistent, unapologetic and unflinching way.

Annexation of areas that are unquestioningly going to be part of Israel is more likely to bring peace than pretending that Gush Etzion is on the table could ever do.

And guess what? When Israel acts with pride rather than pandering to liberal American Jewish leaders who are in turn pandering to the New York Times, American Jews who are actually proud of their Jewishness will support them. If these liberal groups want to help Israel, they need to instill pride in their flocks, both in Judaism and in Zionism. These leaders need to learn how to answer the questions that Israel's critics hurl at the Jewish state without acting like frightened shtetl Jews. A big reason Israel is losing the support of young American Jews is because their own Jewish role models are too ignorant or cowed to proudly support Israel unequivocally, and to explain why Israel does what it does.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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