Thursday, April 26, 2018

Another Letter That Was Not Published

On April 18th, I submitted this letter to the New York Times:

Ayman Oudeh, member of Israel's Knesset, writes that "Seventy years ago, the world changed" for his family ("Israel Celebrates Its Independence, We Mourn Our Loss", April 18). Nowhere in that article can one learn why that happened.  

Could it have been caused when the Arabs of Mandate Palestine, following their violent terror campaign against any Jewish national revival in their historic national homeland since 1920, rejected the UN-proposed partition plan of November 29, 1947 which the Zionists accepted? And then, on the morrow of that UN vote, initiated a war to eradicate the Jewish community? A war they lost? A war in which they inflicted heavy casualties and loss of Jewish communities and the ethnic cleansing of parts of the Mandate territory?

It was not published.

To the Editor:

Thomas L. Friedman writes that if Yasir Arafat had "ever adopted the nonviolence of Gandhi," he would have had his Palestinian state -- "Israel's reckless settlements notwithstanding" ("Footprints in the Sand," column, Nov. 7). Mr. Friedman places the cart before the horse.

Yasir Arafat adopted the path of terror and violence years before any Jewish community had been built in the disputed territories, indeed, years before those territories came under Israeli administration in 1967.

Yisrael Medad Shiloh, West Bank, Nov. 8, 2004

 And I have been quoted:

Yisrael Medad, a spokesman for the Yesha Council, the body that represents settlers, urged Mr. Olmert to focus initially on social issues, rather than push an evacuation plan that is certain to face resistance and create division among Israelis.

"We should say to Olmert: hold off for two years, fix up the economic and social problems, and then let's see where we are," said Mr. Medad, who lives in Shiloh, a settlement that is also beyond the separation barrier. "If you start to move against the communities here, you will get demonstrations and protests."            

And more than once as on July 20, 2006:

“We’ve given over territory so our Arab enemies can now hit Haifa,” said Yisrael Medad, a spokesman for the Yesha Council, the main group representing settlers. “To put them even closer, where they could literally hit us by spitting over the fence, would be crazy.” [think Gaza and it's Great Return March - YM]

“Unilateral moves will never work,” he added, “because if you don’t have a mechanism in place to maintain security, groups like Hamas and Hezbollah will simply say, ‘We don’t have an agreement with you, and we will do what we like.’ ” [which they have done after the disengagement - YM]

 Maybe, just perhaps, my opinions and analysis are just not what the NYT wants to be read?


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

When Begin Assisted Ben-Gurion to Declare Statehood

Martin Kramer published an article on the crucial vote to establish the state of Israel in May 1948. It was crucial because B-G was not totally convinced he had a solid majority.  Some were wavering.

I left this comment
The vote itself was aided by Menachem Begin who was contacted by Eliezer Livneh and requested, in the name of Ben-Gurion to the object of assisting him overcome some of those who were wavering on the upcoming vote to declare statehood. As Begin writes on p. 478 in The Revolt (Futura Edition, 1980) which is the first paragraph in Chapter 30, Dawn, he had been in contact with the Hagana on the matter and notified them that the Irgun was prepared to pronounce statehood even without the official bodies. In the Hebrew edition, p. 504, there is this which doesn't appear in the English (לא בלי סיוענו הישיר) which reads "(not without our direct help)". A slogan had been published in the Herut underground paper, No, 93, April 1948, בדמנו ובנפשנו נקים את מדינתנו or, "With our blood and soul we will establish our state", page 4 that served as Ben-Gurion's 'proof'.
In Martin Sicker's article, "Pangs of the Messiah: The Troubled Birth of the Jewish State", we read: "On May 12, the National Administration voted 4 to 6 in favor of rejecting the truce, thereby effectively confirming the decision to proceed with the proclamation of the Jewish state on May 15. Several days before the vote, Ben-Gurion sent Eliezer Liebenstein [Livneh - YM] to see Begin. Begin later recalled: "He told me that Mr. Ben-Gurion 'appreciated very much' our proclamations demanding the establishment of a Jewish Government;".

which clarifies these following parts of Kramer's article:

According to the lore that would surround 1948, warnings like Marshall’s plunged some leaders of the yishuv into doubt. After all, until now the yishuv had faced only Palestinian Arab militias. If the Zionists declared a state, they would face invasion by Arab states...The most prominent waverer, according to lore, was Shertok himself....

...all in the room knew that if they didn’t declare the state, someone else would. In his book, Sharef noted the sense around the table that “any deferment might provoke internal dissension, which would be likely to impair the yishuv’s combative mood and the morale of its troops.” This “internal dissension” had an unspoken name: Menachem Begin, leader of the Irgun, who had promised to declare a state if the People’s Administration didn’t.

In early May, Begin had published a notice including precisely this warning:
The Hebrew government will be established. There is no maybe—it will rise. If the official leadership establishes a government, we will back it. But if the government gives in to threats, our forces and the majority of the land’s youth will back the free government that will grow from the underground.
Begin thus prepared two alternative messages for broadcast on May 16: the first, professing loyalty to the state if Ben-Gurion declared one; the second, declaring a state himself if Ben-Gurion did not. Everyone in the room knew Begin’s intent. Bechor-Shalom Sheetrit (representing the Sephardim) put it bluntly: “We are alert to the street and we know the mood there. And if we now seem to go soft and retreat from what the street hopes from us, we’ll unleash war in the street.”


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

German Jewry Leadership, Then and Now

German Jewish leader advises against wearing yarmulkes in cities
Warning by Josef Schuster, head of Central Council of Jews in Germany, follows assault by Syrian asylum-seeker on Arab Israeli wearing skullcap in Berlin

Then, from Robert Weltsch in the Juedische Rundschau, No. 27, April 4, 1933

The first of April, 1933, will remain an important date in the history of German Jewry – indeed, in the history of the entire Jewish people.. Many Jews suffered a crushing experience on Saturday. Suddenly they were revealed as Jews, not as a matter of inner avowal, not in loyalty to their own community, not in pride in a great past and great achievements, but by the impress of a red placard with a yellow patch...It was intended as dishonor. Jews, take it up, the Shield of David, and wear it with pride!...


Chaim Weizman on the Old-New Diasporism

I caught this in Rick Richman's new book, Racing Against History, on the visits of three Zionist leaders to America in 1940.

Chaim Weizmann wrote the following in 1937 as an observation of American Jews

and is as relevant now as it was then.

As the Shappell Foundation site highlights,

Weizmann also assails the temerity and faithlessness of the “assimilated Jew.” With American Jewry clearly in his sights, he blasts these Jews as thinking of themselves as Americans and not Jews. Their religion, he sniffs, is “a poor imitation of Protestantism. It has nothing in it of the austerity, severity and the real tradition of Jewry sanctified by so much martyrdom.” These people will send money, but Palestine is a challenge to them: “It stirs some memories… that they have tried to bury under their American civilization.

and as seen above, he emphasizes something quite familiar nowadays

"They fasten on the Arab problem which offers them a sort of escape from their Jewish consciousness; they are mostly useless to us, if not harmful.” 

Nothing new under the sun for those who promote Diasporism.


Sunday, April 22, 2018


Yes, "Samaria":


Reaction to Natalie Portman (An Artistic Work-In-Progress)










From her statement:

My decision not to attend the Genesis Prize ceremony has been mischaracterized by others. Let me speak for myself. I chose not to attend because...the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power.

P.S.  Atrocity is an extremely cruel, violent, or shocking acta shockingly bad or atrocious act, object, or situation and, most relevant, (usually pl) acts of extreme cruelty, esp against prisoners or civilians in wartime.


Saturday, April 21, 2018

The IDF vs. Gaza's "Great Return" March

The fourth Friday of the "Great Return" March from Gaza, April 20, whereby many thousands of Arabs are attempting to breach the border with Israel and in the process are shooting, tossing firebombs, damaging the fence itself, flying kites with molotov cocktails attached and other violent acts, has finished.  The IDF made a special effort to warn people not to approach the fence.

Yesterday's claimed injuries and fatalities were:

4 Civilians, including [1] Child, and Wounding 274, including 41 Children, 6 Women and 1 Journalist

I found there this cumulative table:

Let's retrace:

On 13 April 2018...2 Palestinian civilians were killed...393 Palestinian civilians, including 67 children, 10 women, 4 journalists and 3 paramedics were wounded

On 06 April 2018...9 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children and a journalist, were killed while 3 other civilians succumbed to their wounds they sustained on the first Friday of the Return March. Moreover, 608 others, including 80 children, 8 women, 4 journalists and 6 paramedics, sustained wounds...

and on 30 March 2018...13 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed on the same day, while 1067 others, including 208 children and 40 women, sustained wounds...

Obviously, either IDF snipers are improving their technical capabilities, or there is less smoke or the Gazans are getting more careful, the drop in the statistics of dead and wounded is quite impressive.

While all figures of dead and wounded must be treated with certain circumspection and even doubt, especially as regards the number of injured, and to the identity label of "journalists", it should be obvious that the "Great March" is but a great demarche by Hamas to hide their goals of Israel's extinction as a Jewish state which the world press and diplomatic echelons refuse to counter.

And it isn't working except as a propaganda tool.

For example, so tweeted Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process:
It is OUTRAGEOUS to shoot at children! How does the killing of a child in #Gaza today help #peace? It doesn’t! It fuels anger and breeds more killing. #Children must be protected from #violence, not exposed to it, not killed! This tragic incident must be investigated.

That is propping up propaganda*.  As a friend of mine tweeted back:

The age of criminal responsibility in Bulgaria is 14.

and I tweeted

I want to know too what exactly were the circumstances of what this 15 yr old was doing there? Was he playing with fire? Was he easily identifiable as 15 yrs old or perhaps his age wasn't on his forehead & he was engaged in endangering actions?

Is it not outrageous to swarm attack a border? Seek to breach it?

Until the "international community" and "human rights groups" align themselves with facts and truths, their emotions are not enough to solve problems.




Friday, April 20, 2018

Rooted Cosmopolitans

I tweeted on April 16, in response to yet another IfNotNow demo on behalf of the terrorist Hamas-sponsored Great March on Israel's Gaza boundary that they were

rootless cosmopolitans

and took flack. That that was an anti-Semitic term. An anti-Semitic slur. A slur against Diaspora activists.

It seems that I was slightly in error.

There do exist Jews who are rooted cosmopolitans, or at least more precisely, promoters of such. They are Diaspora-rooted.

Jane Eisner, the Forward’s editor-in-chief, has now published

Here are some extracts of yet another attempt to slow down Zionism, block it, halt it and recreate a Diaspora existence:

...the relationship between the world’s two largest Jewish communities [Israel and America] is growing more and more strained...I’m going to offer an alternative idea:...let’s acknowledge and celebrate their separate identities and embark on a new kind of relationship. To begin with, let’s leave behind the outdated notion of “Diaspora.”

I do not suggest that the two parties should divorce...We turn away from [Israel] at our peril, and our detriment.

...We need a new vocabulary, one that reflects a more egalitarian relationship...

...North American Jews stress personal morality and social ethics; Israeli Jews focus on history and destiny....

...Israelis can learn from us about living in pluralistic [mixed marriages?] families and communities, and developing innovative [anti-traditionalist?] expressions of Jewish faith and culture...

...I suggest that those of us in the Diaspora think of ourselves as being at home...While we live as equal Jewish citizens here.

Well, Jane, you seem to denounce the current parameters of Israel-Diaspora relations, even while distorting their reality, and you  justify a new situation that will only increase the ongoing dissolution of Diaspora Jewry.  You seek to create an equality between a Diaspora existence and that which is one of a homeland where, in Judaism, tithes are taken, where the soil possesses a form of sanctity, where all the elements of the Bible make sense: spiritually, geographically, agriculturally and even environmentally.

She, of course, casts blame on Netanyahu for most of this but also makes a bizarre claim that Israel's doesn't promote Hebrew-language studies. First of all, it does. Secondly, and before 1948, Jews learned Jews don't have a peoplehood obligation to know their native tongue? How do they read the Siddur? Wait, they still do read it, yes?

Representatives and leaders of the Diaspora Jewry, in the form of those who seek to dilute traditions, values and practices and demand equal standing as in the matter of the Western Wall as if that site is a political plaything, are on an ego trip not realizing that without Israel, their status would be one of precariousness and their security even less.

They seek to root their cosmopolitanism, that is, their desire to be not citizens of Israel but of the world, by negatively portraying Israel. They seek to reject the specific national identity of the Jew and thereby escape an political problem these few have with Israel.

That will not work. It never has.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Who Rules the Temple Mount?

As we all know, the (in)famous June 1967 arrangement of Moshe Dayan, then Defense Minister, the "status quo", set a policy that while Israel asserted sovereignty over the site, the practical day-to-day administration is in the hands of the Waqf.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expanded on that, in a statement that explicitly downgraded the status of Jews there when he declared

“Israel reaffirms its commitment to upholding unchanged the status quo of the Temple Mount, in word and in practice. Israel will continue to enforce its longstanding policy: Muslims pray on the Temple Mount; non-Muslims visit the Temple Mount.”

That was in late October 2015. It was thought that those words were said to placate Jordan's King Abdullah and US Secretary of State John Kerry as part of the failed surveillance camera deal.  The cameras were never affixed and neither the US or Jordan paid for that whereas that statement was a significant yielding up of rights which until then had never been so starkly spelled out.

In that connection, it has been pointed out that the next attempt to assure security at the site but also to collect proof who initiated the violence, who had stored weapons of various sorts in the mosques and who was cooperating with terrorists and rabble-rousers which was the metal detectors of summer 2017, was foiled because:
the Palestinian and Muslim discourse the central issue is the need to combat what they believe to be guiding the Israeli policy, namely, the Jewish (or Zionist or settler) effort to take over the holy compound that includes the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and to destroy the mosque and the Dome of the Rock so as to turn the Temple Mount into a place of Jewish prayer. Hence, the Palestinians and the Muslims did not see the installation of the metal detectors as a measure to improve security, but instead, as an obvious way to prepare the groundwork for changing the status quo and thereby advancing the objective that they ascribe to the Jews.

Before then we had statements such as these regarding the nature of the "status quo":

Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, said on Thursday: “At last night’s security consultation, the prime minister made it clear that there will be no change in the status quo on the Temple Mount and that whoever expresses a different opinion is presenting a personal view and not the policy of the government.”

Regev said Netanyahu had made the comment at a meeting with security officials late on Wednesday. 

That was in November 2014.  The headline interpreted Netanyahu:

Binyamin Netanyahu rejects calls to let Jews pray at Jerusalem holy site

As Nadav Shragai wrote, it was obvious by then that

the old status quo has been greatly degraded, increasing Muslim control and status on the Mount and greatly undermining the status of Jews and the State of Israel on the Mount.

How degraded has it become?

This past Holocaust Day fell on a Thursday and according to the standing arrangements, Jews and other non-Muslim tourists should have been able to enter the holy compound. But they couldn't because of a Muslim holiday (I discussed that in detail here). But what was clear was that the Palestinian Authority celebrated that holiday on Thursday night-Friday and so the Mount should have been open, at least for morning visiting hours.

A letter from the Israel Police received by Michael Puah who complained explains the situation. The holiday was celebrated on Thursday in Jordan and so, the Temple Mount was closed to all non-Muslims:

If my understanding is correct, the Temple Mount basically is Jordanian property which Israel simply guards and assures that its Muslim status remains supreme and primary. Jordan customs are to be taken into consideration above all other regimes, including the Palestinian Authority (I presume because of the March 2013 agreement) and, of course, that of Israel. That agreement reads in the preamble of:

The continuity of Hashemite King of Jordan's custodianship of the holy sites since 1924 makes His Majesty more able to maintain the holy sites and to preserve Al Masjid Al Aqsa (Al Haram Al Sharif)

Jordan rules and pushes anti-Israel resolutions in such international bodies as UNESCO.

Jordan also is a signatory to a peace treaty with Israel which states in Article 9 that it will:

provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance...promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.

That has never happened.  And Israel has never, to my knowledge, complained about Jordanian moves on the matter.

Jordan rules.