Tuesday, March 02, 2021

A Return to the Hansell Memorandum?

From a State Department Press Briefing conducted on March 1, 2021 by Ned Price, Department Spokesperson:

QUESTION: Just briefly on Israel and Palestine. Has the State Department reversed the – Mr. Pompeo’s determination that the settlements in the occupied territories are not necessarily illegal?

MR PRICE: So we wouldn’t comment on any internal deliberative processes here, and that’s a rule across the board. What we would stress is that our focus is on encouraging Israel and the Palestinians to avoid, as I said before, unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and that make it more difficult to preserve the viability of a two-state solution.

QUESTION: So is it under review, then? Is it under review?

MR PRICE: Again, we’re not going to comment on any internal deliberative process.

QUESTION: Well, wait, wait, does that – that suggests that there is a deliberative process going on.


QUESTION: So the previous administration, when it came to a conclusion that it did not think that the Hansell Memorandum * was appropriate or accurate, came out and announced it. Will this administration, if it determines that either you’re going to keep it – the previous administration’s position – or change it, will you announce it? Or is that now a deliberative process that you won’t talk about?

MR PRICE: What I would stress is that what will not change is our longstanding position – our position and the longstanding position of successive administrations, is that —

QUESTION: Well, except for the last – well, except for the last one.

MR PRICE: — is – is encouraging – is discouraging, excuse me – unilateral steps that would put a two-state solution further out of reach. If we have —

MR PRICE: If we have something more to say on this, we will say it.

QUESTION: So there is no change right now?

MR PRICE: We have nothing – we have nothing more to announce. If we do, we will announce it.

QUESTION: All right.

And on the issue of UNRWA, there was this exchange:

QUESTION: Now, Ned, last week you issued a statement on the meeting of the AHLC, the Ad Hoc Committee. Now, there was no mention normally – on Palestine – there was no mention of UNRWA or restoring aid, or let’s say aiding the hospitals in East Jerusalem and so on. So tell us about what’s going on with UNRWA. Are you resuming aid to UNRWA? Is it going to be retroactive aid? Is it happening now? Is it not happening?

MR PRICE: Said, I think as you’ve heard me say before, we intend to provide assistance that will benefit all Palestinians, including refugees. We are in the process of determining how to move forward on resuming all forms of that assistance consistent with U.S. law.

QUESTION: But we’re not talking about refugees, we’re talking about UNRWA. Are you going to resume aid to UNRWA?

MR PRICE: Said, we have said before —

QUESTION: Very simple, UNRWA is – you’ve aided UNRWA all throughout its existence. Now, are you going to resume that aid, or are you not going to resume that?

MR PRICE: I don’t have anything new for you today beyond saying and reiterating that we intend to provide assistance that will benefit all Palestinians, including refugees.



That memorandum concluded that

the establishment of the civilian settlements in those territories is inconsistent with international law

On the flaws of that opinion see

International Law Professor Eugene Kontorovich

International Law Professor Avi Bell (in converstion with Eve Harow)

Former Ambassador Alan Baker 

The Kohelet Forum and its Conference

Former Ambassador David M. Friedman

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu


Sunday, February 28, 2021

Woody Guthrie Singing of Rebuilding the Holy Temple

Woody (Woodrow Wilson) Guthrie needs no introduction regarding his stature and presence within the American folk ballad scene. The January 29, 1961 get-together that Bob Dylan sought out with the ailing Guthrie in New Jersey five days after he arrived from Minnesota to New York is classic folk song history, resulting in the “Song to Woody”.

Guthrie’s second wife was Marjorie Mazia Greenblatt. And she was Jewish. Her parents were Isidore Greenblatt and Aliza nee Aharonson. Majorie’s mother was a well-known Yiddish poetess born in the Bukivina region and spending her early years Mohilev although her vibrant memories of the Ozaryntsi shtetl were her fondest. And her parents were Zionists. Among her accomplishments and positions was the founding of the Atlantic City branch of the Zionist Organization of America, senior membership in Hadassah and the Jewish National Fund and serving as national president of Pioneer Women.  In 1920, Isadore traveled to then Mandate Palestine to set up a fruit-canng business in preparation for immigration but returned. Another attempt at Aliyah some thirty years later failed as well but Aliza was a committed activist on behalf of the Jewish homeland.

Woody met Majorie while in New York and married her in 1945. The couple and their eventuall four children lived nearby the Greenblatt’s in Brooklyn and Woody became close to his mother-in-law and picked up some Jewish knowledge (Arlo was sent to Hebrew school tutoring). He ended up writing several songs with Jewish themes and one of them, for Chanukah, was recorded for his close firend and production associate Moses Asch who headed Folkways Records.

The song, “The Many and the Few”, contains twenty verses, opening with the proclamation of Cyrus and goes on to mention Ezra, Alexander the Great, Hannah, Mattathias, the Talmud, Jerusalem and much more. It ends with thanks to “God we are seeds of the Jews”. The song is unabashedly Zionist and Jewish through and through.

Guthrie has Cyrus giving the order that enables the Jews to go back home “To build your holy temple again, In the land of Palestine”. The Jews go “Back to Eretz Yisroel’s land” to work it “with plow and rake and hoe”, blessing “the works of our hands”. The Jews are urged to “keep your Torah true” which will result in them being “fertile and multiply”.

Two verses are worth quoting in full:

If My name is Jerusalem where Judah came back

To build up my Temple once more

To cut down the weeds and thorny brush

That grows ‘round my windows and doors

Whole stones, whole stones, we’ll build and pray

To God as a wholehearted Jew

God’s love the hateful many did place

In the hands of a God loving few”.

Indeed, this land of Israel is our land.


Monday, February 15, 2021

What Has a Map of the Khazar Empire to Do with "Palestine"?

If you visit this site, you'll observe a list of maps of Palestine.

And at the bottom you can see one of the Khazarian Empire:


In 1976, Arthur Koestler...in The Thirteenth Tribe, argued that most Ashkenazi Jews are descended from the Khazars, a Central Asian people who ruled a large kingdom on the Black Sea and apparently converted to Judaism in the 8th century. This hypothesis has been taken up more recently by Shlomo Sand in a book called The Invention of the Jewish People. Koestler, one of the oddest and most extraordinary public intellectuals of the 20th century, wanted to weaken anti-Semitism by demonstrating that many Jews weren’t Semites at all. Sand, a self-avowed post-Zionist who teaches at Tel Aviv University, is apparently driven by the desire to prove that Ashkenazi Israelis are interlopers in the Middle East. 

An anti-Semitic canard, it has been going through yet another revival.

Al Jazeera and many other Arabs believe it as it would justify their claim of European Jews being a foreign entity as it is for Russian nationalists, a:

pretext for arguing that Jewish intrigues and dominance were to be found from the very beginning of Russian history. In this context the term “Khazars” became popular as a euphemism for the so-called “Jewish occupation regime.”

That's why you will read of pro-Palestine propagandists demanding Jews of Israel 'go back to Europe'. 


Tuesday, February 09, 2021

'Rebuilding Solomon's Temple' in an Appeal to Bahrain's Ruler

In this file is a translation of an appeal made to the ruler of Bahrain during the 1936-1939 'Disturbances', the reign of terror initated by the Mufti Amin Al-Husseini against Jews in the Palestine Mandate territory.

And I have underlined a claim that sounds as if it was written yeterday, not yesteryear. It is what we know as the "Al-Aqsa Is In Danger" slogan.

"The dream of the establishment of Solomon's Temple; Jewish ceremonies instead of Mohammedan prayers performed in the surrounding [the Western Wall - YM] which have been blessed by God [in that Al-Buraq, Muhammed's mystical steed was tethered there, supposedly - YM] of the Mosque of Aqsa..."


'From Time Immemorial': Jews in Arabia

 From ‘The travels of Ludovico di Varthema in Egypt, Syria, Arabia Deserta and Arabia Felix, in Persia, India, and Ethiopia, A.D. 1503 to 1508’ published 1863

Jews came from Judea to Arabia.

The Khan al-Lubban

I came across an archaeological survey article on the Al-Lubban Khan.

But I noticed something I thought in error.

So I wrote to the author Mahmoud K. Hawari at the The Khalili Research Centre in Oxford.

Dr. Hawari,

I appreciated your article which I have only now come across.

Regarding the "Location" section at the beginning, you place the Khan at the northern edge of the al-Lubban plain.

Having lived in the area for almost 40 years now, having passed it many hundreds of times and even walking by it, my impression is that it actually is at the southern edge, with the plain extending beyond As-Awiya village.

I attach a satellite picture* which shows the Khan at the bottom-left and the plain continuing on to the north.


Yisrael Medad


Incidentally, the village is Lubban e-Sharkiya as there is another Lubban, Al-Lubban al-Gharbi.

Hawari is also the Director-Heneral of the Palestine Museum. Sorry, former Director-General.

If I receive a reply, I will update.


Thursday, February 04, 2021

UNRWA and the Pals Are Baaack in the State Department

A version of this was published at JNS.

At the State Department Press Conference of February 2, there was a question (and I have added underlines of important items)

I’m Said Arikat with Al-Quds daily newspaper. Sir, I wanted to ask you very quickly, last Tuesday, U.S. envoy to the United Nations told the Security Council that the United States is going to restore aid to UNRWA, the work and relief agency, and will probably open the consulate in East Jerusalem as well as reopening the office here in Washington for the Palestinians. My question to you: Is there a timetable, one? And on UNRWA aid, considering that the United States was the largest contributor – so will that be retroactive? I mean, that’s close to like $900 million since 2018.

Retroactive? Those funds were withheld because of bad management, anti-Semitic promotion and terror-support that was confirmed in reports

And the answer was

The United States does intend to restore humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people. We’re not doing that as a favor, but because it’s in the interest of the United States to do so. Globally, our humanitarian assistance provides critical relief, such as emergency food assistance, health care, education. And the suspension of aid to the Palestinian people has neither produced political progress nor secured concessions from the Palestinian leadership. Of course, it has only harmed innocent Palestinians.

The United States will reinvigorate our humanitarian leadership and work to galvanize the international community to meet its humanitarian obligations, including to the Palestinian people.

As for "innocent", let's leave that to the Hamas recrutiment agencies. But what interest is it to for the United States to continue a fiction (millions of refugees), to enable a non-productive economy (relying on aid handouts instead) and to ignore the Palestinian Authority's continued policies of anti-normalization, diplomatic rejectionism, denouncing the Abraham Accords (see next question) as well as continuing terror incitement?

And then Nicholas Wadhams of Bloomberg asked

are you prepared to give the previous administration credit for the Kosovo-Israel deal, for the other Abraham Accords? 

To which Ned Price replied

When it comes to the Abraham Accords and to your question, I believe this was something that Secretary-Designate Blinken has spoken to, and he has spoken to the Abraham Accords as something that was welcome during the previous administration, something that indeed we hope to build on. The United States will continue to urge other countries to normalize relations with Israel, and we’ll look for other opportunities to expand cooperation among countries in the region.

While we support normalization between Israel and countries in the Arab world, it’s also not a substitute for Israeli-Palestinian peace, and that’s very important. We hope that as Israel and other countries in the region join together in a common effort to build bridges and create new avenues for dialogue and exchange, these efforts contribute to tangible progress towards the goal of advancing a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Nomalization is not a substitute, for sure, but without it, there definitely will not be peace.

In connection with that exchange, it would be good to review what Steve Postal has written:

the Biden administration is well on its way to reversing the significant gains in Middle East peace brokered by the Trump administration. By undermining the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel and strengthening the Palestinian Authority and Iran, the Biden administration will greatly undermine prospects of peace in the region. The Biden administration will likely undermine other current and potential normalization agreements through the following:

Weakening relations with the UAE

Strengthening Iran

Strengthening the Palestinian Authority

Potentially alienating Morocco

Potentially ignoring Indonesia

With the new people coming on board, and I hope have read, or will, Shany Mor's The Return of the Peace Processors, Daniel Greenfield on Maher Bitar and on Hady Amr and others, you will realize that there are stormy waters ahead.


Saturday, January 30, 2021

Jabotinsky in the New York Times, 1915

I learned from reading a JTA archived news item, while looking from something else entirely (I love researching), that sent me to another source that:

On 2 February 1915, the New York Times headlined an article “Zionist in Peril of Turkish Attack.” The source was “a well-known Moscow journalist” named Vladimir Jabotinski,, whose name would become associated with Revisionist Zionism. Jabotinski reported that there was the “gravest fear” for fifteen thousand Jewish colonists in “Galilee, Judea, Samaria” because the Turks were ‘inciting’ the Arabs to violence.  

I contacted a friend, EOZ, who managed to obtain for me this:

There it is: Jabotinsky in the New York Times, 1915.


My January 22, 2021 Letter in JPost Magazine

As published in the Jerusalem Post Weekend Magazine, January 22, 2021:

I was astounded, nay, discombobulated, reading Glenn C. Altschuler's review of Aharon Nathan's memoir ("A better Israel and world", Jan. 15). Altschuler, a university professor, finds that a 90-year old, in reminiscing about his female teachers during his teenage school years, wrote in a way that is "inappropriate in 2021". This was, for me, a stupefying moment.

In 2021, it seems he is suggesting that memories need be erased, that reality be reordered, that what was, well, wasn't quite the way it was. Honesty in history is to be avoided.

Was Nathan's language one of suggesting after-school liaisons or encouraging  adult-minor intimacy? He was, to be clear, recalling his feelings and those of his classmates. No vulgarities seem to have been employed. I can only wonder what Altschuler would have allowed in that chapter.

If in academia the cancel culture so reigns in that we cannot read what actually  happened, if only in a young man's mind, that we may never be permitted to know exactly what occurred so that we cannot discuss, argue and deliberate events and thinking, we might as well start burning books and torching films.

Yisrael Medad

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Pali Necklace Intended to Strangle Israel

I have tried over the past few years to highlight this accessories company which commercializes clothing and jewelry inteneded to erase Israel.

They have now begun to push the "Pali Necklace".

Comes in different shades:

But that configuration of borders:

erases Israel. All of Palestine is...Arab is the claim. And the slogan "from the River to the Sea: promotes that geographical conceptualization.

If Zionists promoted a map that reflected the original borders of so-called "historic Palestine", up until Article 25 of the League of Nations Mandate separated TransJordan

we'd be accused of expansionism.

The same with the Zionist proposal of the Jewish National Home to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919

Imagine the contretemps if I would upload the Revisionist "Both Banks of the Jordan" map. Okay, I will:

A historical representation of the Tribal Portions:

And there's the Sullam map of From the River to the River (Genesis 15:18):

That "Pali Necklace" is intended to educate and mobilize a consciousness that Israel doesn't belong in that region, that only an Arab Palestine should exist and that Israel should not exist.

That's a strangling necklace.