Sunday, September 15, 2019

Pushing Boundaries

I saw this here:

As a comic who also "pushes boundaries" part of the deal getting pushback. If you don't want pushback then don't "push boundaries".

The backstory is the reaction to a comic who slurred Chinese and gays and others.

His humor wasn't all that funny, it appears.

But I was just wondering, could I use that phrase on Israel's behalf?

Something like

If Arabs think they can push Israel's boundaries, they can expect pushback

What do you think?

Saturday, September 14, 2019


When pro-Palestinian groups use the word "peace", what do they mean?

Well, in the case of this campaign of "Wear the Peace", which pushes clothing, jewellry and accesories, it can mean "eradicate Israel".


Check out this necklace:

(I love how the Hebrew shows up thanks to whatever engine is involved).

Do you see any geographical illustration/representation of Israel in that map?

That's what I meant when I used the word "extinctify" in a tweet.


Friday, September 13, 2019

I Was Accused of Trolling

On Wednesday, I was accused of 'trolling' which appears to be a social media platform crime, a charge usually reserved for someone doing basically the same thing you are doing but from a different political viewpoint.

I noticed that Avi Scharf, editor of the English-language edition of Haaretz, had tweeted (by the way, you can learn so much following Israeli journalists on their Twitter feeds where they shed any modicum of objectivity or even fairness and lash out at each other, sometimes sarcastically but most times viciously) a tweet that read:

"Bibi is now channeling Kahane, whose party is projected to get 4 seats in the next Knesset"

and I retweeted that and added in commentary:

"Example how Haaretz English outdoes even the Hebrew edition at times is slanting, shaping, spinning, managing the news." 

Anyone who follows the English edition of Haaretz, and I suggest you check CAMERA's site as well as it's Israeli partner, Presspectiva, if you read Hebrew, knows that my assertion is not incorrect.  For five years I was Director of Israel Media's Watch and we also did studies, thanks to IMRA's Aaron Lerner's father, Dr. Joseph Lerner, that showed a particular venomous approach to the news if it dealt with issues of a right-wing/nationalist character from the period of the late David ("rape Israel") Landau and on to his successors. 

For example, recently they slyly "misconstrued" Netanyahu's Hebrew (here), intimating he was declaring 'Arabs want to annihilate us all' when he said "the Arabs who desire to kill us all", indicating a specific group.

For measure, I added

"If the Supreme Court allowed them to run, ipso facto they are not racist nor Kahanist"

After all, if the Left holds Israel’s High Court of Justice is esteem, their decision should be respected. But it seems that is true only if the court decides according to their world-view.

Scharf then responded

"You're full of crap. this is my personal tweet - not Haaretz English/Hebrew edition. Though it's def poss Haaretz editorial will have a say as well."

Even ignoring the lashing out and invective, I would fully accept that if his Tweeter bio had included a normative alert such as "my tweets are my personal opinion" or something similar that I would be in the wrong.

Scharf followed up with a clip of Netanyahu saying what he had quoted and added

And here's your supreme leader, calling out - IN ENGLISH - against elected Arab leaders - in the only democracy in the Middle East

I rejoined, if a bit sharply:

Using "supreme" only confirms my presumption that your journalism ethics course mark was F. Or that you run an ideological gazette rather than a newspaper. Next time, answer the point I made?

After all, I pointed out something quite a factual and logical: if the Supreme Court permitted Otzma Yehudit to participate in the democratic process of elections, they are, so to say, kosher. One may not like that. One can suggest no one vote for them. In fact, he was doing exactly what he was railing against what Netanyahu was doing, that is, attacking another political party. And in sharp and strident language.

His comeback?

you're a troll. feel free to unfollow

There it was. I am a troll. No argument about the rather nonsensical logic he was employing. Or the avoiding of countering my points. A simple slapdown and off he goes. I am unworthy. Bothersome.

The standards of newspaper editors these days.


Monday, September 09, 2019

I Was Asked About the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence

I never like to leave things open-ended, especially when asked a question. 

About a week ago, as I was attempting to provide some historical backdrop to the curent Arab Palestinian narrative, which one of their academics confirmed, I was asked, a bit out of the bue, about the McMahon-Hussein correspondence 

and the intentions of the British early on.

I say "out-of-the-blue" because not only is it quite a convoluted and complex matter but it is one of those items that old-time Arab propagandists trot out to try to fool an uninfrmed audience.

The best study, I think, of the affair is that of Elie Kedourie, here.

Basically, as George Antonius has written, did Great Britain break faith with the Arabs and 'steal' Palestine away from them?

I, therefore, sent off the following material in hopes that the questioner would receive the material that I could not provide on the spot.


The British intended from the start that the Jews should be able to reconstitute their historic national home:

"It is none the less a historical fact that in drawing up the Balfour Declaration, Mr. Balfour did have a future Jewish State in Palestine definitely in mind. That fact is well known to those who were in touch with Mr. Balfour at the time. It was also made public by Mr. Lloyd George himself, who was Prime Minister at the time and who, in the evidence he gave before the Palestine Royal Commission, spoke as follows:

"The idea was, and this was the interpretation put upon it at the time, that a Jewish State was not to be set up immediately by the Peace Treaty without reference to the wishes of the. majority of the inhabitants. On the other hand, it was contemplated that when the time arrived for according representative institutions to Palestine, if the Jews had meanwhile responded to the opportunity afforded them by the idea of a national home and had become a definite majority of the inhabitants, then Palestine would thus become a Jewish Commonwealth."*

* From the Report of the Palestine Royal Commission, Cmd. 5479, 1939, Chapter II, paragraph 20 found in the the Lord Chancellor's Staement on February 24, 1939


From a speech of Lord Milner in the House of Lords on the 27th June, 1923: —

"I am a strong supporter of pro-Arab policy. ... I believe in the independence of the Arab countries. ... I look forward to an Arab Federation. ..., But Palestine can never be regarded as a country on the same footing as the other Arab countries. You cannot ignore all history and tradition in the matter. You cannot ignore the fact that this is the cradle of two of the great religions of the world. It is a sacred land to the Arabs, but it is also a sacred land to the Jew and the Christian, and the future of Palestine cannot possibly be left to be determined by the temporary impressions and feelings of the Arab majority in the country of the present day."


The following are the terms of the message which Commander Hogarth was instructed to deliver to King Husain when he visited Jedda in January, 1918:
"(3) Since the Jewish opinion of the world is in favour of a return of Jews to Palestine and inasmuch as this opinion must remain a constant factor, and further as His Majesty's Government view with favour the realisation of this aspiration, His Majesty's Government are determined that in so far as is compatible with the freedom of the existing population both economic and political, no obstacle should be put in the way of the realisation of this ideal.

Whatever the exact geographical definition, what is undisputed is that there existed a British intention, as indicated in this section of the correspondence:

"The two districts of Mersina and Alexandretta and portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo cannot be said to be purely Arab, and should be excluded from the limits demanded." 
that a territory was to be excluded from the area of an Arab state. That area was Palestine. Moreover, there is also the British undertaking that the holy places need be safeguarded and that would not have been necessary if Palestine was not part of the area to be separated from the future Arab state.


Last, in this context, it is obvious from the January 1919 Feisal-Weizmann Agreement that the intention that there would be a Jewish state in Palestine, separate from an Arab state, as for example, in Article II:

"Immediately following the completion of the deliberations of the Peace Conference, the definite boundaries between the Arab State and Palestine shall be determined by a Commission to be agreed upon by the parties hereto."

Taken all together, the above unreservedly indicate there was to be a Jewish national homeland developed under British tutelage in a territory separate from the area that was to become an Arab state.


Sunday, September 01, 2019

Jabotinsky, Jerusalem, Jewish Defense, 1920

I am getting prepared for the upcoming centenary of the formal outbreak of political organized Arab terror and violence directed at the Jewish community in Palestine to thwart the Balfour Declaration and the future Mandate which occurred during Passover 1920.

Following the April 1920 riots in Jerusalem, when Arabs, having been agitated for the past few months and demonstrating against Zionism (as in the case of the Balfour Day dust-up of November 2, 1918* and the exploiting of the April 2, 1920 Nebi Mussa Festival), 

fell upon Jews in the city and murdered 7 while injuring 211, 18 seriously and another 193 of various degrees, the British established the first of their many inquiry commissions, named after Major-General PC Palin.

Already, in January 1919, Jabotinsky had written to his wife

"The Arabs draw encouragement from the fact that the British do not uphold their promises; the situation is bound to end up like Kishinev." 

and on February 1 that year, he resigned from the Zionist Commission. He also sent a letter to General Allenby because of "the heavy burden of disappointment, despair, breached promises and anti-Semitism". Alllenby was furious that a junior officer would criticize him, and immediately released Jabotinsky from military service. 

When Jabotinsky understood that Colonel Storrs, Governor of Jerusalem, was ignoring his warnings that the Arabs were planning to carry out a massacre of Jews on the Festival of Nebi Musa, he organized some 600 demobilized soldiers, legion veterans and volunteers, along with Pinhas Rutenberg, thereby establishing the first defense unit in Eretz Israel. 

The Palin Commission's treatment of Ze'ev Jabotinsky is in part misinformed and prejudiced that I thought it proper to lay it all out.

Russian Bolshevism is undoubtedly working underneath the surface both southwards from the Caucasus to Damascus and in Palestine itself in the very heart of Zionism. Large numbers of the Jewish immigrants hold Bolshevist views and the Paola Zion Club of which Lt. Jabotinsky is said to be the organiser, is a definite Bolshevist institution. Attention is particularly drawn to the remarkable circular issued by this club and printed by Volpert and Company of Jaffa, subsequent to the riots, which definitely throws over the Zionist leaders and declares for the "world Proletariat and the Social Revolution." The appeal is to the Arab fellah and worker and it is said that the same kind of appeal is being made to the same classes on the other side of the Jordan.

All through the early years of the Mandate, charges of Zionism as Communism ('Jewish Bolshevism') were regular staple in the British Mandate administration. Anti-Semitism, as well, was rife. One of the leading officers of the British Military Administration, General Money 
made several remarks which would have to be considered prejudicial, claiming that the Jews "... were as a class inferior morally and intellectually to the bulk of the Muslim and Christian inhabitants of the country," and on another occasion referring to the "special characteristics of the Zionist Jewsthemselves, particularly to their exclusiveness, and to the fact that while other communities are ready to act for the common weal, the Jewish view is invariably to their own advantage..."

As even Weizmann was aware, writing in late March 1920 to the Zionist Commission in London: 
Relations between the Jews and the Administration have gone from bad to worse. […] In view of possible outbreaks of hostility against us, the Military Authorities have found it necessary to take measures, but the order which has been issued to the troops is in my opinion almost a direct provocation not to do anything in case outbreaks do take place. Weizmann, according to his own definition, was actually predicting a pogrom.

Even American Jews knew this later that year as evidence in this item from September 3, 1920:

To return to Jabotinsky's treatment by the Commission on this issue, while Jabotinsky was friends with Poale Zion members, for after all, they served in the Jewish Legion, and as he was a semi-member of the Zionist Commission and was in contact with all Yishuv elements, he was no Bolshevik.

And now, back to the story of the Jewish defense.

A singular incident was the offer by Mr. Jabotinsky and Mr. Ruthenberg to place at the disposal of the local authorities the volunteer bands which had recently been raised by these two gentlemen in anticipation of some such catastrophe as had occurred that day. The whole history of this movement is extremely unsatisfactory. It seems scarcely credible that the fact that these men had been got together and were openly drilling at the back of the Lemel School and on Mount Scopas should have been known as it undoubtedly was, to the population during the month of March - it was organised after the demonstration of the 8th [by the Jaffa Gate - YM]- 

Matson Collection

and yet no word of it reached either the Governorate or the Administation until after the riots. Yet this is what is alleged and this ignorance can only be attributed to the curious defects in the intelligence system which the evidence occasionally reveals. 

There also was a demonstration in February. Tel Chai had fallen in March. The British lied to the Commission about the preparations for and the knowledge of Jewish defense.

There was no attempt at secrecy. Mr. Ruthenberg actually went to Brig. General Waters Taylor in March and asked permission to arm the force [!!! - YM]. Brig. General Waters Taylor's answer to this is that he understood Mr. Ruthenberg to be referring to the question of arming outlying colonies of Jews. He admits that towards the end of March [Lt.] Colonel [Percy B.] Bramley [formerly Deputy Inspector-General of Police of the United Provinces of India,an assistant to Storrs and, later, until 1923, Head of Public Security and which time he was fired due to anti-Zionist opinions] reported that the Jews were drilling on Mount Scopas [sic], but neither of them appear to have associated this with the idea of a defence force. At any rate as the result of his interview, Mr. Ruthenberg appears to have understood that he must not arm his force. After this, Lieut. Jabotinsky asked Colonel Storrs for permission to arm the force - he was at the time drilling daily behind the Lemel School - but he also appears to have left Colonel Storrs under the impression that what he wanted was arms for outlying colonies and to have failed to have made it clear that he had raised a defence force. Dr. Eder in backing this application apparently made it no clearer. The organisers decided to arm their men in spite of the Administration although they were unable to raise more than about thirty pieces - so convinced were they that trouble was coming. It is claimed that the force kept guard in the city on the 2nd, but the police deny all knowledge of this.

On Sunday morning [April 4], as soon as they heard of the trouble, Messrs. Ruthenberg and Jabotinsky went to the Military Governor and offered the services of themselves and the force they had raised to assist in restoring order. What actually took place is narrated by Mr. Ruthenberg and as Colonel Storrs admits its general accuracy, it may be accepted. In the course of conversation both men admitted having arms; Mr. Jabotinsky as an ex-British officer - Mr. Jabotinsky was principally concerned in raising the Jewish Battalions which served with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in Palestine - surrendered his arm when ordered to do so. Mr. Ruthenberg was persuaded to give his up and it was not returned to him. A discussion ensued in which Ruthenberg and Jabotinsky refused to surrender the arms their men possessed but asked for the men to be armed by the Administration and used. Colonel Storrs said he must refer the matter to the Chief Administrator and arranged a meeting for the afternoon. 

At 4 p.m. they again met and Colonel Storrs tried to restore confidence in the Administration by relating the measure taken to protect the Jews. Messrs. Ruthenberg and Jabotinsky approved, but insisted on the Arab police - against whom by this time there were many complaints - being disarmed and the Jewish youth being armed under their responsibility if the Administration considered it necessary. As a compromise Colonel Bramley suggested the formation of a body of special constables to which Ruthenberg and Jabotinsky agreed, but Colonel Storrs refused. A number of other propositions were discussed and agreed on. During the evening and night the Jewish leaders made use of their men in a limited way as Colonel Storrs had promised that nobody should be arrested if they did not collect in bands. (It is only fair to state that Colonel Storrs denies giving any such promise), They patrolled the city and collected information. The events on Monday and Tuesday decided the authorities to use the force and on Tuesday Mr. Ruthenberg was summoned to the Governorate and informed by Colonel Storrs and Colonel Beddy O.O. Troops, that the Administration had decided to use his men and asked how many he could produce. It was explained they were to be used as special constables not armed. 

Late that night Mr. Ruthenberg was asked for a hundred men to be presented at 8 a.m. the next day. These they succeeded in presenting at the time and place named. Two companies of about fifty men were actually sworn in when the Administration decided to suspend the order and it was not proceeded with. It was Mr. Jabotinsky who selected the men and he was in constant consultation with the officials up to the time of his arrest on April 7th. On the 18th April Mr. Ruthenberg writes to Colonel Storrs stating that calm having been restored to the city, he had demobilised the "Self Defence", to which Colonel Storrs replied with the decidedly disingenous letter of the 21st April, asking what was meant by "Defence Corps" as the Administration had no cognisance of such a body. Mr. Ruthenberg admits that in arming the corps "the wishes of the Administration were disregarded for the reasons already alleged - but subsequent events proved we were right". The Administration disclaims all responsibility for Mr. Jabotinsky's arrest and places the onus upon the Military - yet the Legal Officers of the Administration were employed to draw the charges. This Court is unable to extend its mission into an inquiry into the conduct of the subsequent Military Court; but in view of the preceding circumstances into which the Court has been obliged to probe very thoroughly: the undoubted cause for anxiety among the Jewish Community, the admitted purely defensive intention of the organisers of the force, the constant consultation into which both the local officials and the Military entered with its leaders after the disturbances had broken out, the actual enrolment of a portion of the force as special constables with the active help of Mr. Jabotinsky: taking all these matters into account, together with Mr. Jabotinsky's record as the organiser of the Jewish Battalions for the service of the British Army, the Court feels itself obliged to record its opinion that the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Jabotinsky was ungenerous. No doubt the persistent impression that the Jews were in some way concerned as aggressors as well as the Arabs, in spite of the fact that the Arab casualties were practically negligible, is largely responsible for the attitude of the Military Authorities;

Jabotinsky spent the rest of April, having been arrested on April 7, 

all of May and June in Acco Prison with another 19 of his fellow self-defense activists.

They were released on July 7:

Here is a report on his speech after returning to Jerusalem:

Description from the Hebrew press, Haaretz, of the riots:


* From Jabotinsky's letter to Weizmann of November 12, 1918:

But all came to a head on the 2nd November. As you know, we had orders from you to celebrate the day – I must confess I personally was not in a mood for celebration, but since it was desired in London, efforts were made to arrange the thing decently. In both Jerusalem and Jaffa, Arab notables made representations to the government protesting against the proposed festivities. In Jerusalem, the Mufti, the Mayor and the Inspector of Education told Col. Storrs  that there was a “movement” among the Arabs to attack the procession. He answered that offenders would be put in prison and made wear prison garb whoever they might be. So they promised to discourage the “movement”. No one of the Arab notables came to the manifestations either in Jerusalem or in Jaffa. The procession was advised by Major Hadad Bey not to pass the Jaffa Gate, which they obeyed, but two schools – all children living in the Old City – had to go that way anyway. They were attacked by a group of Arabs, children and teachers were beaten and blue-white banners torn. Two of the ruffians were arrested and sentenced to 4 months imprisonment...But in the meantime the same Arab notables made a step of much greater importance. On the morrow of the celebration a deputation of about two hundred Arab leaders, Moslem and Christian, headed by the Mayor of Jerusalem Kazim Husseini  (the Mufti did not go this time) presented to the Governor a petition..."


Friday, August 30, 2019

Professor Clay Answered Abbas Already in 1921

Mahmoud Abbas called them "Canaanites".

So, who are the people who populated the area that would become the Mandate of Palestin in 1921?

Here is Albert T. Clay in The Atlantic Monthly (on Clay):

The inhabitants of the land should be called Syrians — or Palestinians, if Palestine is to be separated from Syria. True, there are many Arabs living there, more, for example, than Greeks, Germans, or Latins, because of the proximity of Arabia; but these are not the real Palestinians, nor do they represent the bulk of the substantial part of the nation. The people whom the Jews conquered when they entered Palestine were called by the general name of Amorites or Canaanites. While many were massacred by the Jews in certain cities, still only a portion of the country was conquered. Even after David took Jerusalem, Amorites continued to live in that city; besides, many foreign peoples, as the Hittites and Philistines, also lived in the land. There can be no question that the blood of the present Palestinian, or Syrian, includes that of the Jew as well as of the Amorite, Hittite, Phoenician, Philistine, Persian, Greek, Latin, and Arab. Such a fusion is not unlike that found in the veins of many Americans whose ancestors have lived here for several generations. When the whole population of Palestine became Mohammedan, there is little doubt that a large percentage of the Jews were also forced to accept this faith; their descendants are now classed by the Political Zionists as ‘Arabs.’ The Yemenites, who we know migrated from Arabia, and who in every respect resemble the Arab in physique, appearance, and bearing, they, none the less, call Jews, because of their faith. Then, also, in such Christian cities as Bethlehem and Ramallah a type is seen that is distinctively European, and doubtless largely represents remnants or descendants of the Crusaders, or of Christians who migrated to the Holy Land in the past centuries. Moreover, the Palestinian or Syrian is a composite race, largely Semitic, which has developed from the association of the different racial elements inhabiting the land for at least five thousand years past. And while the Arabs have in all periods filtered in from Arabia, and the language, as in Egypt and Mesopotamia, is Arabic, it is a deliberate misrepresentation to classify the inhabitants as ‘Arabs’.


Palestine Arab Rejectionism: The Beginning

The Arabs who resided in the area to become the Mandate of Palestine, intended originally to become, through the historic connection of the Jewish people to that country, the Jewish national home, adopted from the very beginning a diplomatic pose and policy of rejectionism. In essence, the later 1967 Khartoum Resolution adopted by the Arab League, of "no recognition", no peace" and "no negotiations", was the consistent framework of Arabs in their response to Zionism for the past century.

Already in late 1919, April 1920, May 1921 and November 1921, they were agitating, demonstrating, rioting and, of course, employing murderous terrorism, to further their political goals.

In those early years, these were the most prominent examples of that rejectionism.


When the League of Nations awarded Great Britain the Mandate to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine, Article 25 separated from the territory the Zionist presumed they would be permitted to settle in in accordance with previous discussions. All the area east of the Jordan River would become an apartheid state for Jews.

Despite a loss of 75% of the land, the Arabs, instead of accepting that first partition, which had excluded much of the area of historic Palestine, denying Jews the right to purchase land there and creating a fake monarchy, instead, they insisted they wanted all the remaining territory west of the Jordan River also to be transformed solely into an Arab state.

The Arabs of Palestine, who preferred to be termed Southern Syrians and demanded that "Palestine" be joined to the French Mandate over Syria, rejected any "territorial compromise" and were unsatisfied with a possible "two-state solution". They wanted the Jews to completely "withdraw".


Herbert Samuel, the first High Commissioner, following the Mandate decision to  foster the "development of self-governing institutions", proposed in August 1922 the establishment of a legislative council. It was to be made up of 23 members: 11 British, all appointed, and twelve elected members — eight Muslims, two Christians and two Jews. Despite the fact that this make-up would have doomed Jews to a permanent minority status in any future government, Arabs declared participation in the council as acceptance of the British mandate and Balfour policy as well as considering they should be granted further limitations on Jewish immigration. 

A boycott campaign of the council elections, scheduled for February 1923, was launched. The Jews, by the way, had accepted the proposal. The very low turnout dashed the proposal.

The Arabs rejected a possible political resolution of the conflict, based on democratic values.


A dampening of the religious element of the focus was possible, one that could have avoided the later 1929 riots, when serious attempts were made to purchase or lease the Western Wall courtyard area. In fact, already in 1919, an offer was made.

As sourced here:
In 1919 Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann approached the British Military Governor of Jerusalem, Colonel Sir Ronald Storrs, and offered...approx. £5m in modern terms to purchase the area at the foot of the Wall and rehouse the occupants. Storrs was enthusiastic about the idea because he hoped some of the money would be used to improve Muslim education. Although they appeared promising at first, negotiations broke down after strong Muslim opposition. Storrs wrote two decades later:

"The acceptance of the proposals, had it been practicable, would have obviated years of wretched humiliations, including the befouling of the Wall and pavement and the unmannerly braying of the tragi-comic Arab band during Jewish prayer, and culminating in the horrible outrages of 1929"

In early 1920, the first Jewish-Arab dispute over the Wall occurred when the Muslim authorities were carrying out minor repair works to the Wall's upper courses...In 1926 an effort was made to lease the Maghrebi waqf, which included the wall, with the plan of eventually buying it. Negotiations were begun in secret by the Jewish judge Gad Frumkin, with financial backing from American millionaire Nathan Straus...However, Straus withdrew when the price became excessive and the plan came to nothing. The Va'ad Leumi, against the advice of the Palestine Zionist Executive, demanded that the British expropriate the wall and give it to the Jews, but the British refused
The Arabs leaders and their followers preferred to run a zero-sum game.  All rejection. No compromise.

They lost.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Arabs Meet Jews at the Kotel June 1967

As soon as the curfew was lifted for an hour to enable residents to get food supplies,
my father rushed to gather us from all around the house, like a shepherd gathering his
flock, announcing that we will return to our house outside the gates in Wadi Hilwa in
Silwan, amidst the protests and dismay of everyone, horrified by my father’s irrational
and irresponsible decision. My father, however, was ill with worry over his new house
which he had not yet enjoyed, and that is why he insisted on going back. He said that
he would die only in his house and that he would never leave it, and neither he nor any
of his offspring would ever become refugees anywhere. We left my grandfather’s house
quickly to face the unknown. Afraid, we headed slowly and cautiously north towards
Bab al-Silsila Street. We went down the steps, steps we had trodden thousands of times
in the past, and knew so well that we could walk down even blindfolded. We saw nothing
suspicious along our way: we did not see any soldiers or any destruction despite the
sound of bulldozers and explosions that we had heard while at my grandfather’s house.
We did encounter, however, people running silently without uttering a word, with anger
and fear written all over their faces. Some of them were carrying heavy suitcases, while
others were dragging children behind them and even an older woman who couldn’t walk.
Given the circumstances none of this raised our suspicions. As soon as we reached Bab
al-Silsila Street we turned right toward the east, and continued for fifty meters before
turning south to enter Abu Madyan al-Ghawth’s Ascent, where we walked through a
small alley and then began descending down the stairs.

What we saw upon reaching Zawiyat Abu Madyan al-Ghawth, facing east, was
indescribably horrific. Right there, at the bottom of the stairs, we saw soldiers, so many
of them, heavily armed from head to toe, dancing and singing in a language that we did
not understand, and behind them − emptiness. The Moroccan quarter no longer existed.
The fig and pomegranate trees were gone, and so were the alleys I used to walk and
play in. Muhammad, Sa‘id, Si Yusif, Masluhi and his fig tree were not there, the only
thing visible under June’s hot sun was a cloud of dust hovering over a heap of rubble.
Bulldozers, which I had never seen before in my life, were roaring along their metal
chains to the tunes of victory music, completing a job as yet unfinished. That day I saw
Ashkenazi rabbis for the first time; they were there in their black attire and strange hats
(shtreimels), dancing over the rubble … dancing over my memories, over the homes of
my friends and the paths that I so often frequented. For the first time in my life, I saw
the Buraq Wall so huge. It looked unfamiliar, because it had been small, and difficult to
see without going down an alley and through a gate first. But now the wall was in the
center of the scene, and it was even possible to see al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of
the Rock from that point, which had never been possible before, blocked by the crowded
buildings in the Moroccan quarter.

I cannot say that any of us, the twelve people walking in the ruins of the Moroccan
quarter, grasped what was going on, and I still don’t know how it was that no one fainted, other than the fact that we were already expecting the worst. Within seconds soldiers surrounded us, raising their guns to our faces. They forced us to stop and bombarded us with words that we did not understand. Arrogantly, a soldier whose face was blue and indistinguishable from the dust that covered it, inspected us slowly and finally selected my eldest brother, who was in his late-twenties, and pulled him away from us, blindfolded him, and ordered us to continue walking. We walked without my brother, heading towards Bab al-Maghariba, leaving behind us a neighborhood reduced to rubble, dancing soldiers, a huge jarring wall, rabbis swaying their heads in front of it, bulldozers razing what was left of the quarter, and an arrested brother whose fate was unknown. We carried with us our humiliation, disgrace, tears and defeat, glancing back every now and then until the whole scene disappeared from behind us as we descended to the unknown, down the hill to the southern gate to leave the Old City through Bab al- Maghariba. Soldiers were everywhere. 


Revisiting "Palestine is Southern Syria; Palestinians are Southern Syrians"

I see Elder of Ziyon has found more interesting material confirming my assertion that "Palestine" was never an independent entity in Arab history (and if it weren't for the Zionists, Palestine would have disappeared from out memory).

He quotes Nazmi Al Jubeh, Bir Zeit University's Associate Professor of History and Archaeology and the director of Birzeit University Museum.

Elder quotes from this article: "Palestinian Identity and Cultural Heritage" and I will limit my quotations to a few excerpts:

The Palestinian people are not different from other Greater Syrian (Bilad al-Sham) peoples. They are the result of accumulated ethnic, racial, and religious groups, who once lived, conquered, occupied, and passed through this strip of land. Wars and invasions have never totally replaced the local population in any period of history; they rather added to, mixed with and reformulated the local identity. The Palestinian people are the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Jabousites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Aramaeans, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Turks, the Crusaders, and the Kurds, who once settled, conquered, occupied or just passed through Palestine. [no Jews. or Israelites, or Judahides? In another section he complains that the "treatment of the history of Palestine starts with abstaining from deliberately marginalizing or even erasing the history of others."]
...The artificial division of Greater Syria [after World War One] was imposed on the people. If there had been no Sykes-Picot Agreement, I am not sure that the Palestinian people would have chosen an independent state as a container of their identity...The idea of an independent Palestinian state was raised quite recently; as a matter of fact, the Palestinian national movement continued to market the conflict as an “Arab-Israeli” one and not as a “Palestinian-Israeli” one. The idea of the Palestinian independent state was raised in 1973 in the aftermath of the October War and specific international, regional, and national political developments;...

Oh, and as regards "Palestine" being the name of a country, he notes:

the word “Palestine” is not clear; there are different interpretations of its meaning. (Brug 1985, Deger-Jalkotzy 1983, p. 99-120). As an administrative terminology, it was used since the Greco-Roman period in the first and second centuries BC. It is worth mentioning that Herodotus (ca. 490-430 BC) had already written about Palestine, meaning of more or less the now familiar land of Palestine...Herodotus extends the term “Palestinian Syria” to the entire coastal strip between Phoenicia (roughly today’s Lebanon) and Egypt. The Greek term “Palestine” was then transferred into Latin: “Palestina”. This Latin term, starting from 135 A.D., meant to the Romans the entire province of “Judea” and was introduced in order to erase the use of the term “Judea” after they had put down the Jewish rebellion against the Romans, to challenge the memory of the Jews. Jerusalem was renamed “Aelia Capitolina” (Wilkinson 1975, p. 118-136).

Thank you Prof. Al-Jubeh who, I am positive, I heard at lectures I attended at the Abright Institute (and about which I may have blogged).



On the Syria aspect:

The Peace Conference, as a result of the dissatisfaction, appointed [in 1919] an inter-Allied commission to ascertain the wishes of the people. France, who claimed the whole of Syria, which included Palestine, declined to send out her representatives; and her example was followed by England. The work of the Commission, therefore, devolved upon the two American representatives, Ambassador Crane and President King. This Commission held a most impartial and exhaustive inquiry, hearing delegates from almost every town and village. In order to be ready to give useful information before the Commission, branches of the Moslem and Christian League were formed at Jaffa, Gaza, Hebron, Djenin, Nablus, Acre, Haifa, Safed, and other places. All branches worked under a constitution approved by the Military Governor of Jerusalem. It was decided to draw up three resolutions to be presented to the Commission:

1. The independence of Syria, from the Taurus Mountains to Rafeh, the frontier of Egypt.
2. Palestine not to be separated from Syria, but to form one whole country.
3. Jewish immigration to be restricted.

The entire Christian and Moslem population agreed to these resolutions.

And at IV here:

"It should be said here that there is no justification, from an ethnological or geographical point of view, for dividing Syria into the northern part under the French and a southern part, namely Palestine, under the British. This has already been pointed out by the greatest authority on the history and geography of Palestine, Sir George Adam Smith. One race, the Syrian, or Palestinian, is dominant throughout the territory, from Aleppo to Beersheba; and there is no natural frontier that can divide the two halves of this land."


Monday, August 19, 2019

A Matter of Origin

The EU guidelines on wine seem to inist on a "region" as the geographical identification unit as to where a product is made where as where the grapes are grown is another matter: 

"For most products, at least one of the stages of distillation or preparation takes place in the region. However, raw products do not need to come from the region". 

You might then ask why then does the EU insist on "Palestine" when "Judea & Samaria", regions, would do?

Well, it doesn't actually.

But in the first instance, those guidelines above refer solely to EU countries.  

In other words, what is good for the EU is not good for other countries.

The official EU position as regards Israel, however, as clarified for me from an official spokesperson, is this

The indication of origin of products from territories occupied by Israel is a technical consumer protection issue, based on the EU recognising Israel within its 1967 border. Goods of origin from these territories, as  other goods for import into the EU, need to be correctly labelled so that consumers in the EU have full clarity where the products come from.  

The EU does not support any elements of the so-called ‘BDS’ approach (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel, and hence also not the boycott of products from Israeli settlements.  

An Interpretative Notice of the European Commission was issued in November 2015 and it provides some clarity on the existing EU rules. The main purpose is to be helpful to a consumer in that an improper labeling would "mislead the consumer as to the true origin of the product".  It demands that the mandatory indication of origin be "correct and not misleading".  As they note

"Made in Israel" used for the products coming from Israeli settlements would mislead the consumer and therefore is inconsistent with existing EU legislation.

And further,

'product from Israel' should not be used for products from the Golan Heights or the West Bank (including East Jerusalem). For products from West Bank or the Golan Heights that originate from settlements, an indication limited to 'product from Golan Heights' or 'product from West Bank' would not be acceptable. In such cases the expression 'Israeli settlement' or equivalent needs to be added

Before we deal with why that instruction is in place, one more element need be emphasized. The EU asserts that the geographical area of origin must be "internationally recognised" and for the EU, Israel was and continues to be internationally recognized as defined by its "pre-1967 borders' so

In line with UNSC resolution 2334 of 2016, the EU considers Israeli settlements in occupied territories as illegal under international law.

Let's deconstruct this.

In the first instance, we need be clear there were no "borders" prior to 1967. They were, as defined in an internationally recognized Armistice Agreement and those lines were specifically categorized in Article II that being demarcated,

no military or political advantage should be gained

Furthermore there,

no provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either Party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine question

In other words, Israel and Jordan could both put forward territorial claims beyond those lines. Indeed,

The basic purpose of the Armistice Demarcation Lines is to delineate the lines beyond which the armed forces of the respective Parties shall not move

Nothing political but rather a simple marking at which point the military forces had stopped operations.

Moreover, those lines were temporary in the extreme, with no permanancy as per

Article XII 3 which reads

The Parties to this Agreement may, by mutual consent, revise this Agreement or any of its provisions, or may suspend its application, other than articles I and III, at any time.
Jordan, invading Israel in June 1967, effectively put an end to the legitimacy of those lines.

To sanctify, as it were, the "pre-1967 borders" is an act of nonsense.

Now, between you and me, everyone knows Israel has extended its administrative rule to those regions of the Land of Israel that were under British Mandate rule until 1948, a rule quite legal and internationally recognized. That is the meaning of "belligerent occupation", that it si the rrsult of military engagement. Israel, in an act of self-defense, thwarted the intentions of the invaders and assumed administrationn over Judea and Samaria, as well as Gaza.

Those regions were geographically part of the area of 'historic Palestine' the League of nations awarded to the Jewish people to, among other purposes:

encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency. referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews, on the land, including State lands and waste lands
From 1922 until 1967, no recognized country or state legally ruled those areas except the Mandate. In Hebrew, the Mandate was translated as "Land of Israel". Jordan was an illegal occupier. 

All this leaves us with a simple solution for the requirement of the EU to note the origin of the product: the Land of Israel.