About Time by Valerie Sobel
We are all aware of what transpired this week. Not referring to the galactic widening of sclera around Schiff's pupils as he presides over his Kangaroo court, but to the Trump administration's historic affirmation of Israel's "settlements" in the "West Bank" being consistent with international law.
As if on cue and pained by the sting of a thousand bees, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ, Jewish Reformist Movement) raced the clock to beat out Israel-loving Tlaib/Omar/Sanders/Sarsour Democratic Party to impeach Trump's verdict first.
The first natural question that begs asking is: Why would any Jew condemn an American policy for the benefit of a Jewish State, a gesture of extraordinary support of Israel that immediately corrects historical wrongs?
The quick answer is: the Reformist movement is the most secular of all Jewish movements and has deviated from traditional Judaism by leaps and bounds. It has adopted social justice positions at the core of its main beliefs to rival any grass roots religiosity. The movement, by and large, sees Israel's policies, not Iranian-backed Hamas, not martyrs-seeking Abbas nor the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as the root cause for the Palestinian plight. "Land for Peace" is their position come hell or high water.
The truthful answer is...like most of the readers and people in the world - this faction of secular Judaism is utterly uninformed as to the roots of the "settlement" issue in the first place. Their triggered outrage roots itself in continued preference for failed appeasement policies, media-conditioned Israel-bashing and its most favourite pastime; Trump-hate. They are just like the rest of the Middle East conflict-uninformed cabal and their Jewishness is no ticket to enlightenment or insurance policy for critical thinking.
Shall we parse through the forest?
The word "West Bank" has been ascribed to a chunk of land west of the Jordan river. Done so arbitrarily by Transjordan and the Brits after zero consultation with Abraham, Moses and the twelve tribes of Israel.
Jews, historically, never lived in any "West Bank", east bank or sperm bank. They lived, by the thousands, in Judea and Samaria (Shomron); an area of 5600 square kilometers. It is this stretch of land (courtesy of its recent faux rulers) the world so ignorantly refers to as "West Bank", that gives Jews heartburn every time we hear it.
This unfortunate invented language does little more than distance the Jews from their geographic heritage. The tragic use of this easy peasy, anglicized "West Bank" ever so perfectly conceals the umbilical cord between the word "Jew" and Judea. In fact, it severs it categorically.
Now that the world has disconnected the Jew from Judea, feigning the Jews have no inherent or legal claim to the land is a much easier sell.
And so it went: Samaria never existed. And neither did Judea. And today the Jew exists only, since, and because of the Holocaust. Hence, all the history of the land is erased from public view and education. By some evil happenstance, the Jews are now somehow imposing themselves on Palestinian real estate.
To speak nothing of ancient history, even recent history of Judea and Samaria is anything but Palestinian. Yet the media, the Sanders, the Omars, the Tlaibs, the European Unions and the URJs will have you believing Israel has no right to set foot in what they push as the irrefutable Palestinian domain.
Prior to 1917, the Ottomans ruled over these Jewish lands. When the Europeans finally defeated the Empire that enslaved and subjugated millions for about 500 years, the Brits reluctantly took over the land where Jews were constantly present throughout history.
After the fall of the British Mandate and just as the surviving skeletal Holocaust Jews arrived in Israel to re-establish their state in 1948, Transjordan (now Jordan) launched war on Israel, and as a result conquered and began occupying and administering Judea and Samaria where Jews lived and owned land. And since the world wants no recollection of Jewish roots or property rights in these parts, invented words "West Bank" fit the bill to a tee.
Jordan has never had sovereignty over the land. And neither did any Palestinian nation which has yet to exist in the history of this planet.
The word "Palestinian" is another linguistic erosion of the truth; these Arabic peoples are Egyptian and Jordanian citizens exiled from their own countries.
The word "Palestinian" is an adaptation from the long-extinct Philistines, a tribe of ancient peoples who waged war on Israelites and of which Goliath was a part of. Choosing to call themselves "Palestinian", these Egyptian and Jordanian expats were hoping to add insult to injury, but more importantly, to create an imaginary connectivity between them and the land of Israel.
In 1950, Jordan conveniently and timely annexes Judea and Samaria while the 2 year-old Israel, with zero weaponry and budget, struggles to form an army from its membership of exhausted mothers, orphaned children and Holocaust surviving fathers barely recovering from Arab League's war on them 2 years prior.
Included in the so-called "West Bank" annexation is East Jerusalem! (When we say "West Bank", it's important to be cognizant of inclusion of East Jerusalem, always.)
In other words, when we hear Omar, the EU, Bernie Sanders, Reformist Jews and the accompanied-by-the-European-choir-of-antisemites Jeremy Corbyn proclaim that Jewish "settlements" are illegal in "West Bank" - they are, de facto, telling us that part of Jerusalem (Yerushalaim), the capital of Kingdom of Judah, the eternal Hebrew-speaking city of the Jews, the city of King David, Herod the Great, King Solomon, Hillel The Elder and Judas Maccabee, the birthplace of the First and Second Temples, and the city on top of Mount Zion (Zion..!)...is illegitimate in Jewish hands.
...if this doesn't give you shivers, nothing will. If this doesn't pique your interest in congenital antisemitism guising as "legit" opposition to Israel's policies, nothing will.
Jordan ruled over the "West Bank" (an area a UN resolution called "the hill country of Samaria and Judea) from 1948 until 1967. Jordan's annexation was never formally recognized by the international community, with the exception of the United Kingdom. (Who is shocked?)
Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were now granted Jordanian citizenship and half of the Jordanian Parliament seats. Let's repeat...Palestinians are granted Jordanian citizenship on the occupied Samaria and Judea. But did we just learn that they're, in fact, Jordanian by passport now? Keep that in mind...
In June 1967, the West Bank and East Jerusalem were captured by Israel as a result of the horrendous Six-Day War launched on Israel by Egypt, Jordan and Syria. East Jerusalem is immediately repatriated but the "West Bank" remained un-annexed by Israel. Ultimately, the region came under Israeli military control and this is exactly where Israel's leadership makes a colossal mistake. If not repatriating its ancestral land wasn't bad enough, they called the reclaimed Judea and Samaria..."disputed". This dismally punitive terminology has been plaguing Israel ever since.
Jordan, for its part, did not officially relinquish its claim to the area until 1988, when it severed all administrative and legal ties with the "West Bank" and eventually stripped West Bank Palestinians of Jordanian citizenship. (No damning UN resolutions or international uproar about that, were there...?) Not a big stretch of the imagination to understand the reason for the elimination of Jordanian passports from Palestinian hands: King Hussein wanted Palestinians on mainland Jordan as much as he wanted rectal bleeding.
Since 1993 Oslo Accords, Judea and Samaria have been partitioned into 3 areas: Area A (approx. 11% of total) is controlled by Abbas of Palestinian Authority. Area B (approx. 28%) is subject to joint Israeli-Palestinian military and Palestinian civil control. And Area C (approx. 61%) is under full Israeli control.
Notwithstanding that the majority of Judea and Samaria is under Israeli control, 164 Nations refer to Judea and Samaria (inclusive of East Jerusalem) as "Occupied Palestinian Territory". Not occupied Jordanian territory, not occupied British Mandate territory, no..."Occupied Palestinian Territory"! As if Israel had conquered a sovereign Palestinian nation.
Painfully obvious is a tiny detail: neither Jordan nor "Palestine" (a country that never existed) ever had sovereignty over the "West Bank", which means the territory cannot be considered "occupied".
Let's presume for one minute that the entirely false narrative of this land being Palestinian is correct. We are here in 2019 with the international community and the Reformist movement of the Jewish Diaspora screaming illegality of Jewish settlement on this land. Ergo, what they are in fact saying is that, for any peace to occur, this "Arab" land needs to be ethnically cleansed of Jews! Nothing more, nothing less.
Might we point out that Israel is home to just under 2 Million Palestinian Arabs with democratically installed Israeli citizenry rights. Supreme Court judges of Israel are Muslim Arabs. The Joint Arab List Party now holds 15 seats in the Knesset. If the EU and the Reformists suggest Israel ethnically cleanse West Bank of Jews, shouldn't Israel, then, ethnically cleanse itself of 1.9 Million Arabs...?
Not to be outdone, Barack Obama's administration had declared Israeli "settlements" "illegal", also. So had Jimmy Carter. The most cascading damage came with Obama's orchestration of UN resolution #2334 against Israel calling most of Israel illegitimate. That's when BDS got its real wings.
We should ask ourselves: where did this "illegality" and delegitimization business take root?
Why, the European Union, of course!
The EU made a malicious determination that Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria are illegal on the basis of its hostility and discriminatory economic and political policies towards Israel. In fact, the European Court of Justice now requires EU member states to place distinct labels on Jewish-made exports from Judea, Samaria, united Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. This is nothing more but an evidentiary bid to use a deliberate misinterpretation of international law to implement an antisemitic policy. Yesterday's statement by Mike Pompeo is a complete rebuke of the EU. About time!
So what do we have today w.r.t. ancestral Jewish lands of Judea and Samaria? We have over 3 million Palestinian and 380,000+ Jewish inhabitants.
Settlements have never displaced Palestinians, nor does the tiny Jewish population there preclude any territorial compromise. Settlements do not violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. To boot, the Palestinians accepted the existence of settlements by signing the Oslo accords.
Stunningly but not surprisingly, Trump's realignment of internal US policy to correct historic wrongs and anti-Israel policies is met with immediate calls to reverse his actions. Leftist Jews calling on the leader of the free world to once again demonize Israel, disassociate Jews from their ancestral lands and to ethnically cleanse Judea and Samaria of Jews. Anything else, they claim, prohibits a two-state solution. Their calls are echoed by the Democrats and the wonderful neighbors across the pond.
Where do I stand?
I cannot process, for the life of me, why Donald J. Trump puts himself in the continuous line of fire for us, Jews. It would be so much easier for his administration to not rock the boat of accepted popular anti-Zionism and antisemitism. But heroes don't do anything for accolades and public adulation, do they? They do what they do because it's the right thing to do and nothing more.
Like so many, I'm grateful for all his (DJT's) deeds and immensely embarrassed for the ignorant and ungrateful cross-section of my community. Forgive them, for they not know what they do.
As for the others, nothing will shift them away from intrinsic Jew-hatred. The more Trump does for Israel, the more they will hate him for it.
No matter how much of her land Israel had offered in the past in exchange for peace, no matter all the concessions, no matter the extraordinary offering of East Jerusalem by the ever-so-stupid Ehud Barak, no matter all the millions in Israeli financial aid to the Palestinians, no matter all the Gaza pull-outs, Israel will always receive only war in return. And the world will standby in acceptance and silent approval. All, with the exception of U.S. of A. under the courageous current administration.
November 23, 2019