Tuesday, October 03, 2023

A Pro-Israel Question at a State Department Presser

 A rarety.

A pro-Israel question at a State Department Presser:

QUESTION:  Okay.  In light – thanks, Matt.  In light of UNRWA donors’ – that’s a UN agency – recent meetings at the UN, will the U.S. ask the UN to inspect and disarm UNRWA refugee camps that have become well-equipped arsenals?  And I have a follow-up question. 

MR MILLER:  Do you mean – where particularly do you mean? 

QUESTION:  In the Middle East. 

MR MILLER:  In the Middle – yeah. 

QUESTION:  In the Middle East. 

QUESTION:  UN Relief and Works Agency.

QUESTION:  Okay, so regarding Israel — 

MR MILLER:  I was – I wanted to get a little more specific. 

QUESTION:  — and the Palestinian idea.  But the UNRWA issue, so — 

MR MILLER:  So I will say that, as we have said before, we have long recognized Israel’s right to defend itself and take actions to secure its territory. 

QUESTION:  Okay.  The follow-up to that is:  Will the U.S. challenge the official Palestinian school curriculum, which rejects the two-state solution by teaching the next generation to reject any recognition of Israel?  

MR MILLER:  So, I will say that we support the two-state solution.  You’ve seen me asked about that on a number of occasions.  That will continue to be our policy, and that will be our policy as it pertains to anyone on either side of this longstanding conflict who wants to take a different position. 

QUESTION:  What about those well-equipped arsenals and the concerns that Israel has that are happening – that are occurring in the UN agency UNRWA camps? 

MR MILLER:  Again, as I’ve said, we support Israel’s right to secure its nation.

Who was the journalist?


Thursday, September 21, 2023

Marking the Centenary of Berlin's Scheunenviertel Pogrom

 It was, as claimed, the first pogrom in Berlin.

It took place in the Scheunenviertel (Barn) quarter in the first week of November 1923. It was termed the "Ostjudenpogrom". The area is today, less than one-half square mile, is now Berlin's Mitte district, not far from the historic city center, north of the city wall between Hackescher Markt and today's Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz.

Earlier in 1923:

the Berlin police chief Wilhelm Richter ordered a large-scale raid against the Jewish population in the Scheunenviertel, during which around 300 Jewish men [eventually to reach some 1500], women and children were picked up by the police and interned in a “Jewish camp” near Zossen, a chilling precursor to what would happen over the next 20 years.

That referred to

popular violence against Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe during the Weimar Republic, their incarceration in camps in Pomerania and Bavaria during the early 1920s

Specifically,  the so-called Bavarian “Ostjuden Deportation” of October 1923 when Gustav Ritter von Kahr was appointed by Bavarian President Eugen von Knilling (BVP) as state commissioner general (Generalstaatskommissar) with dictatorial powers under Article 64 of the Bamberg (Bavarian) Constitution. Kahr refused to ban the Nazi Party newspaper Völkischer Beobachter, on 29 September he suspended the enforcement in Bavaria of the Law for the Protection of the Republic and in mid-October, Kahr had several hundred Jewish families who had immigrated from Eastern Europe decades earlier expelled from Bavaria (See: "The Expulsion of Jews with Polish Citizenship from Bavaria in 1923, Józef Adelson, POLIN, 2008). 

As reported in the JTA on Ocotober 29, 

Two hundred Jewish families have already been expelled from Bavaria and as many are awaiting deportation... including Jews who, while not subjects of the Bavarian State, are citizens of the Reich...A number of East-European Jews from Austria are also among the evicted. The houses owned by the deportees have been requisitioned for the alleged purpose of housing the refugees from the Ruhr district...The Voelkishe Beabachter, organ of Adolph Hitler, disregarding the Jews’ plea, continues the publication of the names of Jews not yet expelled, demanding the confiscation of their property as well as of those already deported.

Moreover, "an order has been issued by Dictator von Kahr to the Jews expelled from Bavaria, that their property must not be removed from the country. Jewish business men and manufacturers have received orders from the police authorities that the machinery and equipment of their factories as well as their products must remain in Bavaria, and their factories must be conducted in their absence by managers appointed for the purpose." 

The event went international at the end of November when

Foreign Minister Roman Dmowski of Poland has addressed a new note to Bavaria protesting the expulsions from Bavaria of Jews who are Polish citizens...the deportations are contrary to international law as well as the common principles of humanity. In conclusion, M. Dmowski threatens to order the deportation of German citizens on Polish soil if the expulsions of Polish citizens are continued.

Austria and Spain became involved.

To return to the events of the Berlin pogrom:

Jews of Berlin Attacked by Mob of 30,000  November 6, 1923

"...a mob of 30,000 stronge invaded the Jewish sections of the city and carried out the first pogrom in the history of Berlin. Anti-Jewish riots commencing in the afternoon in Grenadierstrasse, and Dragonerstrasse, inhabited largely by East-European Jews, 

spread by the evening to all quarters of the city housing Jewish residents...No Jew was safe on Berlin streets yesterday and it is too early to say that greater security prevails today. Jewish passers by were stopped at every turn, were searched, maltreated, robbed of their possessions and stripped of their clothes, some being left only in their undergarments. Homes of Jews were searched for food and money, owners offering the least resistance being severely beaten.

Shops owned by Jews were plundered of their contents which were hurled through the windows smashed by the hooligans in order to gain entrance. Jewish tenement dwellers were dragged from their beds and driven to the streets in their night clothes.

...That the anti-Jewish riots were premeditated and well-organized is shown by the fact that on a given signal the plundering and mobbing would begin, and at a sign from a specially organized corp the anti-Jewish excesses would end.

...The Tageblatt and the Local Anzeiger remark it is significant that the mob attack was not sporadic, but broke out simultaneously in the Muezastrasse, Gormmanstrasse, Linienstrasse, Grenadierstrasse, Dragonerstrasse. Lilienstrasse, where many residences and practically all shops were systematically plundered, the wares being distributed among the waiting crowd. Especially in the clothing and piece-goods district were the wares seized and cut up to be carried away by the rioters...Herr Kopf, manager of the “Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith” received several blows from a black-jack as he was caught in a crowd swarming towards the Boerse and shouting “Death to Jews”.

Reports {as referenced in Dunker, Der Reichsbund judischer Frontsoldaten 1919-1938: Geschichte eines judischen Abwehrvereins, 53; "Der Bund judischer Frontsoldaten vor Gericht," Judische Rundschau, no. 40 (1924)}  noted

While the police had not arrived members of the Reichsbund Judischer Frontsoldaten (Jewish Veteran Association) assembled at the Jewish community centre on the nearby Rosenstrasse. Cadres of members, some of which were armed with pistols and rubber truncheons were formed and began patrolling the area, guarding synagogues and defending local Jews against the looters. On Bulowplatz, the Reichsbund cadres clashed with a group of some hundred rioters. In this situation, the veterans seek support from a passing by police patrol that refuses and leaves the area. In the following melee, a shot rang out fatally wounding a rioter.

The failure of the Munich Beer Hall Putsch in Bavaria did not deter the authorities there from halting the earlier deportations.

A precursor to the atmosphere which allowed Hitler to commence the Holocaust.


Thursday, August 10, 2023

Timeline of the Crisis

Taking an idea from Yishai Friedman of Shvi'i, here is a contribution to understanding how we in Israel got to where we are in the summer of 2023:


1980 Aharon Barak, appointed as a Supreme Court Justice in 1978, employs for the first time the Reasonableness Standard that would justify a governmental institution decision

1986 Ressler case and Barak devoted twenty-five pages to the issue of justiciability and delineated two classic categories of justiciability, normative and institutional. By doing away with institutional non-justiciability, Barak challenges the common conception of the separation of powers.

1992 In March, the Knesset passes two basic laws aimed at protecting human rights: Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation and Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. Both those basic laws contain a “limitation clause”: “One is not to violate the rights in accordance to this Basic Law save by means of a law that corresponds to the values of the state of Israel”. Pre-1992 legislation was shielded from constitutionality review.  Criticism maintained that the 1992 basic laws did not really authorize the Court to strike down legislation as this was allegedly not the legislative intent and because the laws were adopted were not sufficient to afford them with constitutional status superior to ordinary legislation. (For instance, Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty was supported by 32 members of the Knesset, and 21 members opposed it—most members did not vote. Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation was adopted by 21 members without opposition.) Moreover, the review involves value judgments and those should be decided by democratically elected representatives and not unaccountable judges.

1995 Barak, then president of the Supreme Court, announced that a constitutional revolution, a phrase he coined, was taking place in Israel based on his own interpretation of the Basic Laws enacted by the Knesset in 1992 as having the force of a constitution. Since then the Supreme Court has struck down 22 laws that were enacted by the Knesset. It intervened in decisions of the Israeli security agencies and even invalidated administrative decisions of the Israeli government and its ministers.  All this was done without any legal basis; that is, without the consent of the Knesset, which is solely invested with the power to draft and adopt a constitution.

November 9, 1995 the landmark case United Mizrahi Bank v. Migdal when the Supreme Court declared that basic laws are superior to regular laws and declared it may strike down Knesset statutes that are incompatible with the terms of the limitation clauses in the two basic laws from 1992. It would do so based on an evaluation process consisting of three main stages: if there is an infringement of a constitutionally protected right with an expansive interpretation of constitutional rights necessary for a dignified existence. If a protected right has been infringed, the second stage is whether the infringement was grounded in legislation that corresponds to the values of the state of Israel (defined in the two basic laws from 1992 as Jewish and Democratic) and serves an appropriate purpose. The third stage is the “proportionality” stage, i.e., if the harm to constitutional rights does not outweigh the social gains achieved by the reviewed law. If the harm clearly exceeds the gains, the law will be invalidated.

February 14, 1999 an estimated 350,000 Haredi demonstrators called on the justices not to interfere in matters of religion.

2015 Elections. Seven months later, investigation of Gidi Wetz on Netanyahu's influence on Walla! News site. It will develop into Case 4000 (see below). In August, demonstrations against the gas deal led by Orly Bar-Lev, Gonen Ben-Yitzhak and others.

2016 Police open investigations into Case 1000 (benefits from Milchen and Parker); Case 2000 (Netanyahu and Noni Mozes of Yedioth Ahronot); and Case 3000 (the submarine affair). Attorney-General Avicahi Mandleblit was under pressure of weekly demos at his Petah Tikva house to authorize, as per law, investigations of a sitting Prime Minister.

June 2017 Case 4000 (Eluvitz and Netanyahu charged for favorable financial terms for Bezeq purchase, in essence, bribery). Later that year, the "Balfour Protest" erupts. August Ari Harow turns state's witness after incarceration. September Supreme Court annuls, again, amended Mobilization Law.

2018 Shlomo Filber, former Director-General of the Telecommunications Ministry turns state's witness after incarceration. Avigdor Lieberman leaves the coalition. Yair Lapid refuses to vote for an additional Mobilization Law.

2019 April – Knesset elections. September – second round of elections. November 21 – Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit charges Netanyahu with behavior of briberyfraud, and breach of trust.

2020 – March – elections for 23rd Knesset. Unity government formed. "Black Flags" demonstrations begin led by siblings Yarden, Shikma (Bressler) and Eyal Schwartzman.

October - Amit Segal leaks tape of Attorney-General Mandelblit implying he was being blackmailed to tailor a case against Netanyahu thus feeding supporting an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that the attorney general had been blackmailed by the State Attorney Shai Nitzan. Government fails to pass the budget, Netanyahu rather than passing premiership to Gantz calls for elections.

2021 – March 23 elections held but only in late May was a coalition formed when Netanyahu failed and then Bennett's Yamina joined with Bennett, with 6 seats, becoming first of a new prime minister rotation agreement. In May, Arab-Jewish mixed-city riots broke out. Black Flags demos halt whereas rightwing demonstrators pressure Yamina MKs.

2022 – April 6 MK Idit Silman resigns leading to elections which took place on November 1, the fifth round in four years. According to the rotation agreement, upon the dissolution of the Knesset, Yair Lapid became Prime Minister on July 1. The new coalition was represented by 64 MKs. In December, opponents of the new coalition began to meet to plan grassroots campaign of demonstrations.

2023 – January 3 – Yariv Levin, Justice Minister, announces elements of a judicial reform legislation. January 14 – protests begin.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

"Palestine" - Part of Greater Syria

From "Missouri Zion, Missouri Intifada: Mormonism, Zionism and the Palestine Conflict", Graham St. John Stott, Holy Land Studies: A Multidisciplinary Journal, Volume 6, Number 1, May 2007, Edinburgh University Press:


Friday, June 16, 2023

The Palestine Mandate Flag

Thanks to this story of the arrival from Germany in 1935 of the tourist ship, Tel Aviv, we know that flag of the mandate was not as many have claimed - the blue-and-white version similar to our current flag - but one with a Union Jack and a circle with 'Palestine' inside

Description in the Haaretz news item:


Monday, June 12, 2023

Jabotinsky, Zionism and ... Mormonism

From "Missouri Zion, Missouri Intifada: Mormonism, Zionism and the Palestine Conflict" by Graham St. John Stott, published in Holy Land Studies: A Multidisciplinary Journal, Edinburgh University Press, Volume 6, Number 1, May 2007: