Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jerusalem Day Soon

Two sides of an issue.

Here is someone arguing from the middle-right on the issue of Jerusalem within the current (Obama) context:

Both the right and the left, but mostly the right, are misrepresenting the issues regarding Jerusalem. Israel says it liberated and unified the city in 1967 and that we are a democracy according (in principle at least) equal rights to everyone. So the question regarding new construction and takeovers of existing buildings in Jerusalem is, does Israeli policy enable Jews and Palestinians to live anywhere they choose anywhere in the city? The answer to the first is yes. Jews not only can do that, they get full government backing. New neighborhoods are built with state sponsorship and subsidies; takeovers of Palestinian homes get aid as well, including security. On the other hand, does anyone honestly believe that an Israeli Arab could turn to the government and ask to build a mixed or exclusively Muslim neighborhood and get a positive response? If he chose to buy a home in Rehavia or Gilo, would the police provide 24-hour protection if needed? Would anyone sell it to him? The 4,000 Muslims in west Jerusalem are mostly holdovers from before 1948 (there are some in my neighborhood) and exceptions that prove the rule – west Jerusalem is Jewish and east Jerusalem is up for grabs.

Either Jerusalem is a city for all its residents – thereby upholding Israel’s claim to exclusive sovereignty – or it is a city where Jews enjoy privileges, in which case all the argument about who started the war in 1948 or who conquered what neighborhoods is irrelevant and correctly so.

Here is one response:-

This is a gross and offensive misrepresentation.

Jews do not get full backing to live anywhere they want. In fact, the government oftentimes takes strong measures to prevent Jews from exercising their legal rights over property they legally own in Arab areas. It may be that the government has taken enforcement measures against Arabs seeking to enforce their rights to property they legally own in Jewish areas, but I have yet to see the case. State enforcement of Jewish private property rights does happen, but it is by no means universal. By contrast, I am not aware of a single case where police have refused to enforce private Arab property rights against a Jew on political grounds.

In addition, while state authorities are stingier with building rights to Arab neighborhoods than they are with Jewish ones, they rarely enforce any of the building restrictions in Arab areas such that de facto Arabs have an easier time building than do Jews. In general Israel is excessively stingy with building rights, which is a problem that will hopefully be corrected by both national and local reforms. Of course, the “liberal” left is at the forefront of opposing the reforms, including the reforms that would massively increase Arab building rights in Jerusalem.

If Arabs living in Rehavia – and yes, there are such – were threatened with death by their neighbors, they would without any doubt get police protection. The police protection given Jews in Arab areas is a reflection of overt Arab violence, encouraged by “human rights” activists, not of police discrimination.

Jews and Arabs have the same right under law to buy anywhere. Yes, there is a great deal of private housing discrimination against Jews, but its rather rich to question whether anyone would sell to an Israeli Arab or to claim that Israel permits only Jews to buy but not Arabs. The private discrimination against Arabs by Jews is matched by private Arab discrimination against Jewish buyers. And it is completely outclassed by Arab intimidation and murder, backed by Palestinian Authority law, against anyone who *fails* to discriminate against Jews. Arabs have been executed, judicially and extrajudicially for selling to Jews. The Greek Orthodox patriarch was forced out of the country for renting commercial property to Jews. Who was the last Jew killed or expelled from the country for selling land to an Arab?

You can truthfully say that government housing is built almost exclusively for Jews in Jerusalem, and in much of the rest of the country (the Negev being the outstanding exception), and you can truthfully say that government services are poorer in Arab areas (though this is partly a reflection of Arab attacks on city workers and Arab non-payment of taxes), but there’s a long distance from these statements to your misrepresentations. And it is true that Israel could do a great deal to promote private Arab building were it to accelerate orderly registration of private property rights in Arab areas of Jerusalem, but this registration would be most strongly opposed by the same Arabs and “human rights” activists that favor segregation when it works against Jews.

Hyperbole and demagoguery by others does not excuse it from you.


The first refugees in the war who could not go home afterwards were the Jews of the Shimon haTsadiq driven out of their homes in December 1947. Jews were driven out of south Tel Aviv at the same time but could go home after the war since Jewish forces had taken Jaffa. Now, the crowd that Ezrahi belongs to --if I am not mistaken-- wants to enforce apartheid in "east Jerusalem", retroactively approving Arab "ethnic cleansing" in 1947 and early 1948 by denying the Jewish right to live on Jewish-owned real estate from which Jews were driven out in December 1947.

Another point that you could have made was to point out that many Arab families have moved into the Jewish neighborhoods of French Hill, Pisgat Zeev and Neveh Ya`aqov which are considered "east Jerusalem." I can personally attest to having Arab neighbors where I live. This is hardly apartheid. Obama and his State Dept and his administration generally advocate, indeed demand, apartheid in Jerusalem against Jews as does the EU, especially the UK.


Quite, and I am also sure that as soon is there is peace, and Arabs stop there attempts to redivide the city and perform acts of terror in it, that great forward strides will be made. of course, what you describe is what has happened over the past few centuries in that before Jews came to anywhere in Eretz-Yisrael under Muslim rule, except for very small pockets of Jews, if at all, Jerusalem, Tiberia, Safad and Hebron, Jews didn't live anywhere else and so wherever they ended up, they were "invading Arab neighborhoods", so to say.

Just terrible, that. Such bad behavior.

And then, after Arabs decided to stop such a process by stone-throwing, theft, rape, and murder, Jews fought back and after the Arabs tried to eradicate the small territorially compromised state, well, you know the rest of the story leading all the way up to Jordan shelling Jerusalem-West which brought about a situation of aggression, then defeat and now, Jews can live anywhere and Arabs can't (and now, go back to my first point above).

And to contest their situation, unfair for sure, Arabs hope that Jews will help them.

Which they do. Well, some Jews do.

One more:-

The foreign policy of entire nations has been moved by relatively precise arguments over who took over what neighborhoods on what days. Why should Israel be the only country that's categorically forbidden from appealing to historical precedent (bracketing the democracy argument, which while empirically true doesn't seem to be doing the Jewish State much good, which is why Walt+Mearsheimer-style concern trolling about Israel's "democratic institutions" is so disingenuous). The Old City had a continuous Jewish presence for thousands of years - I know because there are quotes from Jordanian commanders bragging about having suffocated it in 1948 - so I'm curious why restoring that presence via government subsidies is such an atrocity. Democratic nations undertake on-face discriminatory policies all the time in order to justify historical wrongs, and - to the extent that those historical wrongs created lingering imbalances - those policies are generally embraced by a broad spectrum of the body politic.

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