Monday, November 30, 2009

Mikdash Mystery Murder

Just came across a reference to this book today:

From Gil Student's review:-

Do you believe that the Messiah will come? Can you picture it? What will life be like in the Messianic Era? How will a monarchy/theocracy function in the modern world? How will the Temple work in a world with advanced telecommunications and complex securities markets?

It's hard to visualize it.

R. Dr. Gidon Rothstein does us all a favor in presenting his vision of the transitional period at the onset of the Messianic Era in his recent book Murderer in the Mikdash. Set within the plot of an exciting murder mystery that takes place a few years after the arrival of the Messiah, while the world is still in transition, R. Rothstein's book outlines a functioning model for a benign theocratic monarchy in which the laws of the Torah are followed. Levites, trained in public relations and pedagogy, guard the Temple Mount from the impure while educating the public. The police carefully monitor infractions of Torah law, preferring counseling to punishment. Expulsion from Israel is the last resort for serious offenders. Stoning and other forms of execution are unsurprisingly absent, given the Mishnah's statement of how rare such punishments are meted out. A two-class system of citizens exist -- haverim, who have officially accepted upon themselves strict observance of all laws, and non-haverim. The limitations and privileges of priests are described, including the care they need to take in what objects they can touch, particularly when handed over by a non-haver. The finances of the Temple, in particular, are described. How is money raised for all those utensils and sacrifices? The Temple's coffers must be constantly maintained and, let's face it, many people would prefer to give money to orphans than to a Temple in Jerusalem.

...The book is written from the perspective of a non-observant Jew, a woman who recently gave birth, whose husband has been mysteriously missing for months and whose best friend recently died under suspicious circumstances. Her lack of education in Jewish matters gives the author the opportunity to explain everything properly, allowing the book to be entirely understandable to someone with little Jewish background...

R. Rothstein's fidelity to Jewish tradition has him focusing on the Messianic Era and not the personality of the Messiah himself. There is very little mention of the Messiah, which I think adds to the message of the book. We have never really cared who the Messiah will be and have, instead, focused on the society that he will create. This book is all about that society and, to my knowledge, is the only book to realistically explore how it will function.

From Josh Yuter's review:

As you might expect, Murderer in the Mikdash is your basic murder mystery. We are quickly introduced to Rachel Tucker, a non-observant new mother whose husband has apparently vanished without a trace. Further complicating Rachel's life is the death of her friend Liat, and Rachel's newswoman's instinct that Liat's natural respiratory failure was really hiding something far more sinister. The backdrop of all this is of course the third temple period and Rachel's quest for truth requires her to confront a society and its bizarre amalgam of ancient laws and modern sensibilities.

...Of course the real novelty of Murderer in the Mikdash is the portrayal of a possible third temple society. R. Rothstein chooses what could best be described as a hyper-Maimonidean approach - that the only distinction between contemporary society and the Messianic age is the subjugation of other nations (shi'bud malchiyut) (Hilkhot Melachim 12:2) 2 - but in R. Rothstein's vision, the other nations have not yet accepted the new kingship of Israel. This minor distinction is not necessarily contradictory since the process of shi'bud malchiyut could be gradual, and if anything such international skepticism is a nice touch a detail emphasizing the very natural and rational Messianic era.

R. Rothstein's rationalist approach to the Messianic age is essential to the book for several reasons. Practically, it allows R. Rothstein the freedom to tell the story in a context which can be easily accepted - or at least understood - by most readers. Even among the Jewish audience, a perfectly natural Messianic society would probably seem more credible to the widest possible audience.

Theologically, this decidedly natural perspective provides R. Rothstein the vehicle for a compelling story. If the Messianic age will be a perfect utopia with everyone living carefree happy lives, then most stories will probably be boring descriptions of what people do all day.3 Instead R. Rothstein is free to project into the Messianic era many of the unfortunate vices and shortcomings of our own society, including religious elitism and the corruption of prominent and "respected" religious figures.

...I'm not entirely sure what R. Rothstein's original intent was in writing Murderer in the Mikdash. But that he is able to explain arcane halakhot, offer a subtle social critique, while maintaining his focus on the narrative at hand is impressive, especially for a first effort.

Obama, the Middle East and...Democracy

This is just terrible:-

...The Obama administration, in contrast, often speaks as if it does not recognize the existence of an Arab reform movement. Bush's frequently articulated argument that political and social liberalization offer the best antidote to Islamic extremism appears absent from this administration's thinking.

"People in Jordan are beginning to understand that the United States will not play the same role as under the old administration on democracy," said Musa Maaytah, Jordan's minister of political development -- who, like Awadhi, visited Washington recently for a conference sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy. "People think that the U.S. has many issues that for it are a priority, and they prefer to have stability in these countries more than democracy."

For the reformers, a big signal came this month in a speech Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered in Marrakech, Morocco. Clinton was attending a session of the Forum for the Future, a body the Bush administration established at the height of its pro-reform campaign. The idea was to foster a dialogue between Western and Arab countries about political and social reform that would resemble the Helsinki process between the West and the Soviet bloc during the 1970s.

Clinton began her speech by referring to Obama's call in Cairo for "a new beginning between the United States and Muslim communities around the world." She then said that after consulting with "local communities" the administration had "focused on three broad areas where we believe U.S. support can make a difference."

These turned out to be "entrepreneurship," "advancing science and technology" and education. As if citing the also-rans, Clinton added that "women's empowerment" was "a related priority" and that "the United States is committed to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East." The word "democracy" appeared nowhere in the speech, and there was no reference at all to the Arabs who are fighting to create independent newspapers, political parties or human rights organizations...

...For Arab liberals, the translation is easy, if painful: Regardless of what the president may have said in Cairo, Obama's vision for the Middle East doesn't include "a new beginning" in the old political order.

From the Archives

From the Israel Foreign Ministry site:

Speaking in the U.S. Senate, Charles H. Percy of Illinois, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, made certain remarks questioning the right of Jews to settle in the West Bank. While expressing full support for the existence of Israel, the Senator said he wanted to exchange views with the Prime Minister of Israel on this issue. Following is the reply of Mr. Begin to Senator Percy from June 10, 1979

Dear Friend,

I have read in extenso the statement you made from the floor of the Senate on June 5. May I, at the outset, readily and fully reciprocate your expressions of friendship.

I understand from your statement that you would like to exchange views with me on the matter of Jewish settlements in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District. I, therefore, take this initiative to present to you my view as Prime Minister of Israel.

Dear Senator Percy:

Jews have a perfect right to live in any area of Eretz Israel which foreigners, since the days of Emperor Hadrianus, renamed or misnamed, Palestine. This is the land of our forefathers to which we returned as of right. Just as we are entitled to dwell in Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem so, no less, do we have the absolute right to live in Judea, Samaria and the District of Gaza.

This right is inseparably bound up with the needs and demands of our vital national security. I would ask you, dear Senator, to take a glimpse at the map. You will understand that from those areas mentioned above come the professional killers of the so-called PLO. They came to a town called Petah Tikva and killed a mother and her baby girl, just to mention one example of many throughout the country relating to recent terrorist atrocities and attempted attacks.

What, therefore, is the security importance of Jewish settlements? In answering this question five Justices of our Supreme Court handed down the following unanimous opinion. I quote:

"One does not have to be a military and a security expert to realize that terrorist elements operate more easily in an area inhabited only by a population that is indifferent or is sympathetic towards the enemy than in an area where there are also persons likely to look out for them and to report any suspicious movement to the authorities. Such persons will offer them no hideout, assistance or supplies. The matter is simple and needs no elaboration."

If anybody should ask me, as the head of the Government of Israel, to forego any effort humanly possible to prevent or to stem the movement of these professional killers - who, in Nahariya, for instance, smashed in the head of a four-year old child - I would never assume responsibility for such a gross dereliction of duty. True, I cannot guarantee that despite all the measures we undertake such atrocities will not be repeated. The reason is mathematically simple: when the civilian population is the target of attack then you have more than three million targets in the Land of Israel. But not to try, by every means to prevent such atrocities?!

Senator Percy, I gave an oath of allegiance in the Knesset to faithfully carry out my duties as Prime Minister of Israel. I am determined to do so. My generation witnessed one and a half million Jewish children dragged to a wanton death whilst nobody in the whole world did anything to try and rescue even one Jewish child. It is our responsibility therefore, to care for our own children and grandchildren. As I have said, Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel is an inalienable right per-se. It is also, however, crucially important for the protection of the lives of our children and grandchildren.

President Sadat and I signed a treaty of peace between our two countries. What our contribution has been to the achievement of this treaty is known. I am a friend of President Sadat and, of course, we should help each other. But what about my difficulties? President Sadat was cheered in El-Arish, my friends and I were jeered, and worse, at Neot Sinai.

In the presence of President Sadat, in Beersheba, I said:

"The constructive idea of autonomy is ours. At Camp David it was accepted by both the American and the Egyptian delegations. It is a progressive, noble idea. The Arab inhabitants of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District will elect their own Administrative Council, which will deal with all the aspects of their daily lives, without interference. We shall reserve security, which under the circumstances of the destructive, inhuman, bloodthirsty rampage of the genocidal so-called PLO is an absolute inescapable necessity of life, already recognized by every man of goodwill."

I believe with all my heart that you, Mr. Senator, feel goodwill towards Israel and its absolute need to live in peace. Please, consider our unique situation.

I must add that in pursuing this policy not one Arab is being evicted from his village or town. We want Jews and Arabs in the land to live together in peace, in security and in human dignity.

With my best wishes,

Yours in friendship,
Menachem Begin


In Hebrew, the new moratorium policy on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria is called


which actually means suspension.

In English, PM Netanyahu is calling it

a policy of restraint regarding settlements which will include
a suspension of new permits and new construction

'Restraint" has a problematic connotation in Zionist history.

You see

Berl Katzenelson, [was] a prominent figure in Mapai, the Palestine Workers Party headed by David Ben-Gurion. Widely regarded as Mapai’s moral conscience, Katzenelson spoke about havlaga, or “self-restraint,” the notion that Palestine’s Jewish community should not respond in kind to the anti-Jewish terrorism perpetrated by the Arab revolt that took place from 1936 to 1939. Havlaga was a key issue dividing the fighting forces of the left-wing Haganah and the right-wing Irgun, which advocated and practiced counter-terrorism, and Katzenelson said in his address:

“The meaning of havlaga is that our arms must remain pure [yehi nishkenu tahor]. We must learn to use arms, we must bear arms, we must defend ourselves against whoever attacks us. But we do not want our arms to be stained by innocent blood.”

This policy of restraint became a burden for Zionists as the Jewish population continued to be attacked despite the defensive measures. The Revisionists insisted that armed responses be undertaken with no cooperation with the British. The Irgun Tzvai Leumi (Etzel or Irgun) reorganized in 1937 and began a counter-terror bombing campaign against Arabs. The first such attack was in Jerusalem on November 11, 1937. On November 14, the Irgun carried out a number of fatal attacks throughout the country.

Are Revisionists Zionists reverting to restraint?

P.S. See the Dry Bones take.

Israeli McCarthyism - From the Progressive Left

McCarthyism is generally accepted as an ideologically motivated practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for objective standards of the use of evidence. It also indicates exploiting reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries.

In my opinion, the following phrases would indicate a McCarthyite campaign:

1. 'The government of Israel is waging an aggressive campaign to suppress internal dissent'

2. 'they are motivated by a general disrespect for the role of civil society in a democracy'

3. 'who led the charge this past summer to suppress any group that dared to advocate'

4. 'This organization has now partnered with'

5. 'it threatens to put Israel in the same camp as Putin's Russia and other autocracies'

6. 'a Christian Zionist fund'

And who wrote them?

Didi Remez.

He is a communications consultant and claims to be proud to discover that he has been targeted by NGO Monitor although it seems this is a gross exaggeration. Remez blogs at

Those typical McCarthyite slogans are to be found here:

Bring on the transparency

Remez is upset. Persons are zeroing in on the funding the many so-called non-governmental amutot (NGOs) and what can only be referred to as politically-identified opposition groups in Israel originating from foreign governments and their agencies, semi-statist organizations and other political entities rather than your normal charitable donations from individuals. When a majority of funding comes from a foreign government, that would normally be considered illegitimate interference in the affairs-of-state of a sovereign and democratic country. I, for one, do not think it very democratic that one state is feeding the grassroots of another as long as there are elections, free press, transparency, independent courts, etc. Since Israel possesses all that and more, I can see where Remez is getting upset that some people might think him a 'subversive'. Oh, that's my right of free expression there, not my imaginary McCarthyism, Didi.

He accuses Ron Dermer of
"pass[ing] the ball to a political ally: Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. This organization has now partnered with the Institute for Zionist Strategies, led by Israel Harel, a founder of the Gush Emunim settler movement."
and Steinberg's group, NGO Monitor,

is not an objective watchdog: It is a partisan operation that suppresses its perceived ideological adversaries through the sophisticated use of McCarthyite techniques - blacklisting, guilt by association and selective filtering of facts.

That is classic McCarthyism. It's guilt by association.

"Ally". "Partner".

That's character assassination.

Steinberg, for example, wrote this:

Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s executive director, was the communications director for New Israel Fund (NIF). Ben-Ami is also the founder of the Israeli company Ben-Or Consulting (1998), which specializes in Strategic Communications and Consulting. Ben-Or works closely with many politicized Israeli NGOs, including Amnesty-Israel, Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Bimkom, Keshev, Peres Center for Peace, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHR-I), and Parents Circle. NGO funders NIF and the Ford Foundation are also Ben-Or clients.

If you go to Ben-Or's site, though, Jeremy isn't listed. Only at the J Street site will you fine that Jeremy:

started the Israeli firm, Ben-Or Communications while living in Israel in the late 1990s

That's selective use of facts.

You'll notice, immediately, the main difference: Steinberg presents verifiable facts (and see this on the issue at hand). Remez, well, he takes McCarthyite swipes.

Remez is upset about a meeting at the Knesset tomorrow.

"Israel's beleaguered human rights activists are bracing for yet another round of demonization and delegitimization",
he claims.

Breaking the Silence, a frequent subject of his organization's wrath, has financial reports for 2006-2008 posted on its Web site. NGO Monitor's site lists only one small U.S. charity as its current funder, providing no links for further information. The Institute for Zionist Strategies' site says nothing about its funding.

Remez thinks this "intellectual dishonesty". But the point is foreign governmental or quais-government funding. Does Remez truly think that Norway, Gt. Britain, Switzerland and, say, Holland are supporting the IZS? Or the NGO Monitor for that matter?

He puts it to his readers that there exists "Israeli government funding" of these groups and others like the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, the Israel Law Center and Regavim. Isn't that a conspiracy theory? Isn't that another McCarthyite weapon?

He does note, correctly that Elad, for example, has been "cited by the Registrar of Associations for refusing to disclose its donor identities". Well, yes, but it is not doing so illegally - just as J Street has not disclosed its donors, only those of its PAC-buddy.

He then, with all lack of decency, as Joseph N. Welch would perhaps have noted, claims that

One can understand their reticence [regarding transparency of funding]. What would the Israeli public say if the fact that Od Yosef Hai yeshiva, in Yitzhar, is the recipient of generous funding from the Israeli government had to be prominently displayed on the cover of its publications - which include "Baruch Hagever," an ode to Tomb of the Patriarchs killer Baruch Goldstein, and the "Handbook for the Killing of Gentiles"? How long would the U.S. taxpayer put up with the tax-exempt status of Shuva Israel, a Christian Zionist fund, if they knew that it supports the expansion of settlement outposts, illegal even under Israeli law?

First of all, the fact that Hesder Yeshivot receive government funding is well known and was prominently published recently after news reports on the "we refuse to remove" signs appeared. Second, the book "Baruch HaGever" was not connected to the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva but with Michael Ben-Horin from the Golan. Third, there is no "Handbook" for the killing of Gentiles. The book "Torat HaMelech" actually enumerates the cases when non-Jews cannot be killed and is a Rabbinic Halachic tract, sort of like an academic review on Mein Kampf.

Remez also suggests that money from " exemptions, mostly hidden from public view, are the driving force of the settlement enterprise". But actually, they aren't. In order for that tax-exempt status to be achieved and maintained, the American IRS periodically reviews the propriety of the finances of groups supporting charitable enterprises as protected by US law.

And as for public view, if it weren't for his op-ed, I wouldn't have known about him although I have come across his blog.



See my follow-up post on David Newman

Words of Wisdom

“The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones,” wrote Solomon ibn Gabirol, the Jewish philosopher, in the 11th century.

That Durn Freeze

Never Heard of Him Until This Morning

Funny that, but I never heard of Asher Naim previously until this morning when I read this:-

At a gathering late on Saturday organised by a Likud hardliner, the mayor of the West Bank settlement of Beit Aryeh said the administration posed a threat to believers in Eretz Israel (Greater Israel), the idea that Israel should have biblical-era borders.

"He hates the Jews and is an anti-Semite," Avi Naim charged, in remarks that were widely aired on Sunday on Israeli radio and in newspapers.

"His regime is the worst with which Eretz Israel has ever been confronted, and I tell Barack Hussein Obama that he will not be able to stop us," the mayor said, using the middle name to refer to the US president's Muslim father.

"We will survive Obama," he vowed.

Then again, how many people heard of Barack Obama until he got elected?

In any case, let's aim some darts at the Jews in his close coterie.

Benny Morris Pegs Down Avi Shalim

An excerpt from his book review:-

Nowhere in this book does Shlaim say a word about the Jewish people’s three-thousand-year-old connection to the Land of Israel--that this land was the Jewish people’s cradle; that they subsequently ruled it, on and off, for over a thousand years; and that for the next two millennia, after going into exile, they aspired and longed for repatriation. Nor does he mention that the Arabs, who had no connection to Palestine, in the seventh century conquered the land “unjustly” from the Byzantine Empire and “illegally” settled in it, forcibly converting it into an “Arab” land. If conquest does not grant rightful claim, then surely this should be true universally?

Nowhere does Shlaim tell us of the persecution, oppression, and occasional mass murder of Jews by Muslim Arabs over the centuries, starting with Muhammad’s destruction of the Jewish communities in Hijaz and ending with the pogroms in Aden and Morocco in 1947–1948. And nowhere does Shlaim point out that the Palestinian Arabs had an indirect hand in causing the death of European Jewry during the Holocaust, by driving the British, through anti-British and anti-Zionist violence, to shut the gates of Palestine, which was the only possible safe haven, after the United States and the Anglo-Saxon world had shut their gates to escaping European Jews. And, more directly, Palestinian (and other Arab) leaders contributed to the Holocaust by politically supporting Hitler and, in the case of Haj Amin al Husseini, actually working in Berlin for the Third Reich, peddling Nazi propaganda to the Arab world and raising troops for the Wehrmacht.

...One-sidedness and plain unfairness permeate almost every subject touched and every argument propounded in Israel and Palestine, perverting and distorting history.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

That Anglo-American Convention of 1924

Isn't it about time a specific group be established, one that represents the rights of American Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to campaign on our behalf?

You may have seen this story (and I have discussed this Convention previously):-

NGO to Clinton: Settlements are legal

The Office for Israeli Constitutional Law, a non-governmental legal action organization, sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, warning that by labeling Jewish settlements in the West Bank illegal, she is violating international law.

The little-known Anglo-American Convention, a treaty signed by the US and British governments in 1924, stipulated that the US fully accepted upon itself the Mandate for Palestine, which declared all of the West Bank within its borders.

...the American-Anglo convention was a treaty that was connected to the mandate. Treaties themselves have no statute of limitations, so their rights go on ad infinitum."

...The OFICL letter also warned Clinton that if her office does not comply with the civil rights recognized in the Anglo-American convention, OFICL will file a class-action suit in a US district court.

Now, about that Convention, I found this in a discussion about whether the US should recognize TransJordan:

...[regarding] certain matters such as foreign relations, financial and fiscal policy, jurisdiction over foreigners and freedom of conscience. United States rights, as specified in the American-British Convention of December 3,1924, include guarantees of vested American property rights in Trans-Jordan, the right of United States nationals freely to establish and maintain educational, philanthropic, and religious institutions there, and all the general rights and benefits secured under the terms of the mandate to members of the League of Nations and their nationals. Extradition and consular rights, guaranteed under treaties and conventions between the United States and Great Britain, are likewise extended to Trans-Jordan. Article 7 of this Convention provides that the rights of the United States and its nationals as stated in the Convention shall not be affected by any modification of the terms of the Mandate to which the United States does not give its assent...

...In the past the Government of the United States has taken the position that it is not empowered, under the articles of the American-British Convention of December 3, 1924, to prevent the modification of the terms of any of the mandates. Under their provisions, however, this government can decline to recognize the validity of the application to American interests of any modification of the mandates unless such modification has been assented to by the Government of the United States... is our present policy, subject to the approval of the Secretary, to recognize the independence of Trans-Jordan, as in the case of the Levant States, on securing a satisfactory assurance of the continuation of the rights guaranteed the United States under the American-British Convention of 1924...

My understanding is that, as I have always maintained, American citizens have a special role to play in championing Jewish rights in the Jewish people's national home.

Not only are Jews as individuals granted internationally legally recognized rights of "close settlement" on the land of a reconstituted Jewish national home as a result of the historic connection of the Jewish people to that territory which, at the least extends over all of CisJordan, that is what is Israel, Judea, Samaria and Gaza today, and not only are Jews as a collective possessing those same rights even if a separate political entity be established in that area, but as American citizens, Jews residing in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, who own land, property, businesses and run institutions of religion, philanthropy, charity, social welfare, health, etc., are protected by that 1924 Convention.

If I am not mistaken, the Revisionist Zionists attempted to use this instrument to encourage the United States, in the summer of 1939, to intervene at Geneva and overturn the British 1939 White Paper as a violation of the terms of the 1924 Convention as it applies to the Mandate - that Gt. Britain, without American approval, could not limit immigration and land purchases as they did and surely not declare that the Jewish National Home was no longer the goal of the Mandate but rather a nebulous Palestinian state.

A blog post on November 23 has this up:

America’s ratification of the 1924 “Anglo-American Convention on Palestine” made the U.S. a "contracting party" to the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. Assigned to Britain for administration, the Mandate was not only devoid of any provision for an Arab state within Palestine’s borders, it specifically prohibited the partition of the land and its use for any purpose other than the creation of a National Jewish Home.

With President Calvin Coolidge’s signature on the Anglo-American Convention, the terms of the Mandate for Palestine became incorporated into American law. The words of America’s 29th president, in proclaiming the treaty, made it clear that this was no mere ceremonial act. "Now , therefore, be it known," he declared, that “I, Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States of America, have caused the said Convention to be made public to the end that the same and every article and clause thereof may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof.”

Coolidge wasn’t plowing new American legal ground with these words. In fact, he was simply reinforcing a unanimous joint resolution of the 67th Congress of the United States three years earlier, signed by his predecessor, President Warren G. Harding, recognizing a future Jewish state in “the whole of Palestine.”

President have put yourself at legal and moral odds with the very law you took an oath to uphold. It is clearly time for a reversal of this tragic course.

And this too:-

...The United States Senate had not ratified the Treaty of Versailles, in part, due to reservations about the legitimacy of the League of Nations System of Mandates. The US government subsequently entered into individual treaties to secure legal rights for its citizens, and to protect property rights and businesses interests in the mandates. In the case of the Palestine Mandate Convention, it recited the terms of the League of Nations mandate, and subjected them to eight amendments. One of those precluded any unilateral changes to the terms of the mandate. The United States insisted that the convention say that it 'consents' rather than 'concurs' with the terms of the mandate and declined to mention the Balfour Declaration in the preamble of its portion of the agreement. It did not agree to mutual defense, to provisionally recognize a Jewish State, or to pledge itself to maintain the territorial integrity of the mandate...

And see here. And here's the full text starting on page 212.

As noted in "Great power discord in Palestine" by Amikam Nachman, the United States had adopted a non-political approach of interpretation of the Convention but following World War II, utilized it as a justification for becoming involved.

On this issue, here is Howard Grief's position from 2003:

The United States agreed to the British administration of Palestine pursuant to the Mandate when it signed and ratified the Anglo-American Convention of December 3, 1924. This imposed a solemn obligation on the US Government to protest any British violation of this treaty, which had repeated every word, jot and tittle of the Mandate Charter in the preamble of the Convention, regardless of whether the violation affected American rights or those of the Jewish people. Yet when the White Paper was issued in the year of 1939, the US Government did not lift a finger to point out the blaring illegalities contained in the new statement of British policy that smashed to smithereens the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate, and brought immense joy to the Arab side.

It accepted the incredible British contention that changes in the terms of the Mandate effected by the White Paper did not require American consent because no US rights or those of its nationals were impaired, an argument that was demonstrably false. This US passivity in the face of British perfidy, which was strongly denounced by the venerable David Lloyd George and even by Winston Churchill who had himself contributed to the betrayal of the Jewish people and their rights to Palestine, allowed the British Government to get away with the highest violation of international law at the very moment when the Jewish people were about to suffer the greatest catastrophe in their history. There can be no doubt that the Holocaust could have largely been prevented or its effects greatly mitigated, had the terms of the Mandate been duly implemented to allow for a massive influx of Jews to their national home.

American inaction against the British Government was particularly unforgivable in view of the fact that the articles of the Mandate were a part of American domestic law and the US was the only state which could have forced the British to repudiate the malevolent White Paper and restore the right of the Jews of Europe to gain refuge in their homeland.

Both the Mandate and the Anglo-American Convention have ceased to exist. However, all the rights of the Jewish people that derive from the Mandate remain in full force. This is the consequence of the principle of acquired legal rights which, as applied to the Jewish people, means that the rights they acquired or were recognized as belonging to them when Palestine was legally created as the Jewish National Home are not affected by the termination of the treaty or the acts of international law which were the source of those rights. This principle already existed when the Anglo-American Convention came to an end simultaneously with the termination of the Mandate for Palestine on May 14-15, 1948. It has since been codified in Article 70(1)(b) of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. This principle of international law would apply even if one of the parties to the treaty failed to perform the obligations imposed on it, as was the case with the British Government in regard to the Mandate for Palestine.

The reverse side of the principle of acquired legal rights is the doctrine of estoppel which is also of great importance in preserving Jewish national rights. This doctrine prohibits any state from denying what it previously admitted or recognized in a treaty or other international agreement. In the Convention of 1924, the United States recognized all the rights granted to the Jewish people under the Mandate, in particular the right of Jewish settlement anywhere in Palestine or the Land of Israel. Therefore the US Government is legally estopped today from denying the right of Jews in Israel to establish settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which have been approved by the Government of Israel.

In addition, the United States is also debarred from protesting the establishment of these settlements because they are based on a right which became embedded in US domestic law after the 1924 Convention was ratified by the US Senate and proclaimed by President Calvin Coolidge on December 5, 1925. This convention has terminated, but not the rights granted under it to the Jewish people. The American policy opposing Jewish settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is a fit subject for judicial review in US Courts because it violates Jewish legal rights formerly recognized by the United States and which still remain part of its domestic law. A legal action to overturn this policy if it was to be adjudicated might also put an end to the American initiative to promote a so-called "Palestinian" state which would abrogate the existing right of Jewish settlement in all areas of the Land of Israel that fall under its illegal rule.

I repeat:

Isn't it about time a specific group be established, one that represents the rights of American Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to campaign on our behalf?


Okay, by popular demand.

The Convention:

Aloni Baloney

Shulamit Aloni is such a lover of Zion.

And to think we once cheek-pecked each other before a Pesach break when I worked in the Knesset.

She now is of the opinion that we Israelis "are a nefarious people".

From the story:

Former Meretz leader tells Ynet on 81st birthday that 'what we do in West Bank is worse than all pogroms'

Former Meretz leader Shulamit Aloni told Ynet on her 81st birthday Sunday that she was dissatisfied with the condition of the State of Israel.

"It's hard for me to say a kind word about the state today," she said. "We are in great distress morally and socially, as well as in the realms of politics and law."

..."No one should be speaking this nonsense about 'blood on the hands'. Since 2000, with the launching of the second intifada, we have murdered thousands. We too have blood on our hands," she remarked.

..."We are a nefarious people. What we are doing in the West Bank is worse than all the pogroms done to the Jews." But she qualified her statement by saying she was "not referring to the Nazis, but the Cossacks".

So, terrorists kill us, we defend ourselves and so we are all equal?

We're Russian antisemites in disguise?

There's been no violent campaign of Jew-killing since 1920 by Arabs?

Aloni lives in a warped ideological world of make-believe.

Computers Can Be Sooo Frustrating

And That Flag Is?

Shot from the parapet outside Mishkenot Shaananim, looking south.

At that flag in the distance?

It's the flag of Scotland flying over St. Andrews Church, Jerusalem opened in 1927:

Then and Now

Israel government statement on settlements, 12 February 1978.

US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance had declared in a press conference on 10 February that the Sinai settlements "should not exist." This led the government of Israel to issue a sharp statement.

The Text:

The government of Israel expresses its regret and protest over the statement made by Secretary of State Vance at the press conference of February 10, 1978.

The Secretary of State declared, inter-alia:

"With respect to the Sinai settlements, we have said that we believe that all of these settlements are contrary to international law and that, therefore, they should not exist."

...The government of Israel stands by its view that the Israeli settlement program is in full harmony with international law and that it always has been legal, legitimate and essential. The United States holds a different viewpoint. However, no communication was transmitted to us, even during the seven weeks after having forwarded on December 27, 1977 the full text of the peace plan in writing to the government of the United States that the settlements "Should not exist."

Immediately after having made this part of his statement the Secretary added that, "This, however, is a problem that has to be resolved by the parties. They are going to have to negotiate it themselves."

We face here an obvious contradiction-in-terms between taking sides by a "Mediator" and his advice to conduct negotiations.

With regard to the areas of Eretz Israel, Judea and Samaria, the Secretary of State announced that "There should be a homeland for the Palestinians and that it should be linked to Jordan."

Whatever the theoretical assumptions and interpretations, there is absolutely no doubt that this plan would lead, in reality and unavoidably, to the establishment of a Palestinian state ruled by the terrorist organizations as the front-line spearhead of a potential military alignment of Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq...Israel, under such conditions, would find itself nine miles from the sea and a situation would thus be created of mortal danger to its very existence. No political goal, whatever it be, can move Israel to place almost all its civilian population within the range of an enemy's fire and endanger the very existence of the Jewish state.

...The Cabinet expresses its hope that the government of the United States will reconsider its position in light of the positive talks held between the President and the Prime Minister in December 1977, in connection with the Israeli peace plan.

and a Statement by Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan on February 26, 1978:

"I do not know of a single settlement which has been established, not only since Sadat's visit, but since this Government was formed. When we submitted our peace proposal to Egypt, it was a package deal. We did not say we would evacuate Sinai under all conditions. Our approach was that of a general conception, which included demilitarization and the maintaining of Israeli settlements as a security strip along the border and which would be protected by an Israeli civilian police force. We said: Egyptian sovereignty and the maintaining of settlements under the U.N. flag and without an Israeli military force. Egypt could have and still can propose a different plan.

"The policy of this government is not to establish new settlements. No new settlements have been established. The Cabinet's most recent resolution repeated this policy of refraining from establishing new settlements while strengthening existing ones. If immigrants wish to settle in Yamit they may do so. If there is room in a settlement for 80 families and there are only 60, there is no reason not to add another 20, and if more water is required, we shall provide more water.

"It was decided at the time to establish three settlement within the framework of IDF camps in Judea and Samaria. One of these has been established, and the Cabinet decided not to annul its resolution regarding the other two, which will be established when the time comes

A Letter of Mine in the Jerusalem Post

Erekat's gift with numbers...

Sir, - Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat has been quoted as saying, "The last I know, Washington is 6,000 miles from Jerusalem, while Jericho is 67" ("Erekat: Settlement halt is insignificant," Online Edition, November 26). Actually, the distance between Jerusalem and Jericho, where Erekat lives, is approximately 17 miles, which is about 27.2 kilometers. But then, Erekat is always exaggerating, as with his figure of "500 massacred" in Jenin.


Does Bibi Recall?

Israel's prime minister has said that Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank will continue to be expanded.

"I have no intention to construct new settlements," Binyamin Netanyahu was quoted by officials as telling his cabinet on Sunday.

"... but it makes no sense to ask us not to answer to the needs of natural growth and to stop all construction," he added.

You Just Never Know

Saudi emergency services have said the toll from floods that tore through the port city of Jeddah this week has risen to 106.

Torrents of water inundated the Red Sea port on Wednesday after Saudi Arabia saw some of the heaviest rainfall in years. Some 1,400 residents had to be rescued.

Many of the victims were drowned or were killed by collapsing bridges and in car crashes.

New Haveil Havalim Up

Number 245 here at Torat Yisrael.

Is There A 'Palestinian People'?

From a statement in the Knesset by Prime Minister Begin on November 28, 1977:-

...We want the peace to be between ourselves and all our neighbours. And again: let these things be heard in Damascus and in Amman, in Beirut and in Baghdad, and in all the Arab capitals from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf…And we want peace with King Hussein so that we may be able to build our lives together, and to think how to open a new era for this country… We propose to all of them that they should send delegations...

(Interjection: The Palestinian people as well?)

Mr. Wilner, listen to me now, please. I am talking to you as one Jew to another. Listen and don't interrupt. I speak Hebrew. That word you used is not Hebrew, it is jargon. When the first British High Commissioner was here and it was necessary to decide what name for the country could be stamped on the coins - those with a hole in them -then in English, of course, they engraved "Palestine" - there was no doubt: in English the name of the country was Palestine, and in Arabic, "Filastin" - there is no doubt about it, that is the name of the country in Arabic. But it had to be decided how it should be in Hebrew, and they said: Of course, "Eretz Yisrael." That has always been the name of the country, since days of old, in all generations. But there were protests: How can we say "Eretz Yisrael" so expressly? And then, that British High Commissioner found a compromise. He would write "Palestina", which is not Hebrew at all, but he would add in parentheses, "Aleph Yud" - so the Jews read it "Eretz Yisrael" - and those who did not understand so well read "Palestina (Ai)". And now do you know the origin of this word? And I speak Hebrew, my dear sir, not Sovietish.

(Interjection: Is there a Palestinian people or not?)

There is an Arab people.

(Interjection: A Palestinian people?)

I have already told you: I speak Hebrew, not Sovietish. When you are in Moscow you can speak in your own language.

Mr. Speaker, We have set foot on the road to the establishment of peace. I ask the House to give its blessing for this road on which we are going to go. And I have an appeal to all the members of the Knesset, without distinction between most of the parties. Dear friends, honoured rivals, ladies and gentlemen, members of the Knesset..There is no need to compete in "concessionism." We are not in exile, but in our homeland, not in the ghetto, but in our sovereign state. It is not fitting that there should be competition as to who is a more peace-loving Jew and who is a less peace-loving Jew. The truth is that we all want peace with all our hearts and all our souls. We want peace, we pray for it and long for it, and we also hope to bring it about. True we have straightened our backs in the Land of Israel. We shall not grow arrogant, but we shall not bow our heads either. We shall insist on our people's rights, on its security and peace, and with God's help we shall succeed in bringing true peace to our people and our neighbours, because peace is necessary to us and also to them.

And Why Did The British Terminate the Mandate Over Palestine?

Let's go to the official documantation.

There was a last White Paper:

and it said:

"insufficient to maintain law and order..."
"in the face of a campaign of terrorism..."
"highly organised Jewish forces..."
"cost the British taxpayer 100 million pounds sterling..."
"against the declared wishes of the majority of inhabitants..."
"...could no longer be justified..."
"in these circumstances...bring to an end..."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Who Loves Tel Aviv?

Who is under that "I Love Tel Aviv" cap?

Esther, the Kabbalah Kutie:

Rahm Gets Really Rammed

The New York Times editorial lays it into Rahm Emanuel:-

Peacemaking takes strategic skill. But we see no sign that President Obama and Mr. Mitchell were thinking more than one move down the board. The president went public with his demand for a full freeze on settlements before securing Israel’s commitment. And he and his aides apparently had no plan for what they would do if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said no.

Most important, they allowed the controversy to obscure the real goal: nudging Israel and the Palestinians into peace talks. (We don’t know exactly what happened but we are told that Mr. Obama relied more on the judgment of his political advisers — specifically his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel — than of his Mideast specialists.)

But then the writer (Tom Friedman?) goes too far on another point:

At some point extremists will try to provoke another war. and the absence of a dialogue will only make things worse.
Now, we know there are Arab extremists capable of launching a war but are there Jewish/Israeli extremists who can?

I'm a Co-Vocabularist

Read the last lines of Paul Schott's post:

November 27, 2009, 7:02 am


A term used to describe the vilification of female Republicans (as well as other associations with Sarah Palin).

Discussing sexism in the media, Julia Baird observed in Newsweek:

Now an ugly new term has entered the lexicon: being Palinized, usually intended to mean being viciously attacked for being female and Republican. GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann wrote in a letter to supporters that she did not want to be “Palinized” with personal attacks or “liberals’ scorn.” Former beauty queen Carrie Prejean claims she has been “Palinized” by the “liberal media” for her anti-gay-marriage views. And now Palin thinks she has been Palinized by NEWSWEEK, for last week’s cover image of her looking fit and posing in running shorts, even though she has been photographed and filmed more than once in aerobic gear (most recently on Oprah just a few days ago).

Palinization has been used in a variety of ways since Sarah Palin’s vice-presidential nomination:

· In September 2008, spectacle wearers hoping to emulate the “soccer mom” look reportedly asked opticians to “Palinize” them.

· At a Democratic fund-raising concert in October 2008, Bruce Springsteen joked that the audience ought not to expect the highest quality performance: “Palinize your expectations,” he quipped.

· Some observers discussed the Palinization of the McCain campaign – noting his concessions to the Christian Right.

· In December 2008, commentators suggested that Caroline Kennedy’s senatorial campaign managers had Palinized her, observing that her media appearances – like Sarah Palin’s – were carefully stage-managed.

· Other usages can be found in the Urban Dictionary.

(The co-vocabularist Yisrael Medad recently emailed Schott’s Vocab another Palin-related term, used in The Washington Post: Palinista – a Palin supporter.)

Wigs, Again

I previously posted some wall posters (like here) denouncing the use pof wigs, preferring some other head-covering thatwould not 'fool' men.

The campaign is now a sticker:

Here, a close view:

It reads, in poorly spelled Hebrew (the word is פאה, without the yud):

The natural and long wig
Steals health and blessing
the Wig gets longer - automatically, the clothes get shorter...

So, We Were Attacking The Mosque Even Then?

From a UN Security Council document:-

18 May 2004


"In the course of yesterday's Jewish offensive actions against the old City of Jerusalem a mortar shell fell within the Mosque Compound in front of the dome above the Sacred Rock. We inform you of this incident coupled with our protest. Thanks to the Almighty the bomb caused no damage.

Abdullah R."

I think that should be 1948.

On The Sidewalks of Jerusalem

You are at the corner of King David Street, Nahon Street and Remez Street, opposite the gas station on Emeq Refaim Street at the entrance of the Bloomfield Park and the Lions' Fountain.

Do you see that?

Still don't see it?

Is it dangerous for pedestrians?

Yes, for the water pipe protrudes out of the sidewalk and you can easily trip over it?

Got insurance?

Is Canada A Militaristic Society?

This is a photograph by Corporal Shawn McDonald, 41 Canadian Brigade Group:

It is a character study of Sergeant Chris Tucker, on exercise at Fort Lewis, Washington in March 2004.

As the site of the Calgary Highlanders explains:

Sergeant Tucker was presented the J.Fred Scott Memorial Cup at the St. Julien's Dinner in April 2004 as Top Athlete in the Regiment, having captained the Oak Leafs in the 2003-2004 season. The team's penalty minute statistics stand in mute tribute to his competitiveness. Off the ice, Sergeant Tucker commanded an infantry section of the Regiment's CRIC (Composite Reserve Infantry Company) Platoon that served in the former Yugoslavia as part of Roto 11 in the winter of 2002-2003.

Sergeant Tucker epitomizes the idea that an Infantry Regiment lives or dies by the toughness, experience, and professionalism of its senior non-commissioned officers.

And Israel is accused of being a 'militaristic society'.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Found here:


We are a Jewish couple with an international friend base. This year, everyone is doing foods from their culture. I thought that it might be fun to devise a manishevitz cocktail (mulled mani., mani belilini) but nothing is working. Our foodie friend contends that manishevitz is good for cleaning drains but nothing else. What have you got up your sleeve to prove him wrong? Rachel, Philadelphia


Much as I hesitate to correct you on something to do with your culture, the wine is called Manischewitz. The indispensable mixologist and Times columnist Jonny Miles wrote about it last spring, when he found it used in the Drunken Pharaoh, a bourbon and Manischewitz cocktail served here in Manhattan. (Me, I’d just serve a lot of slivovitz after the meal. It’s Philadelphia. You need a release.)

Rally 'Round Campell

No, not in Scotland.

In the New York Times.

Where can you find:

Jewish theater of the ecumenical, no-gentile-left-behind sort


Kol Hakavod to Yisrael Campbell.

To All My Arabic-language Readers

Whether you agree or do not agree with my views, I nevertheless wish you on your holiday

‘Īd mubārak and ‘Īd sa‘īd

عيد اضحى مبارك

although it was Yitzhak bound on the altar.

J Street Turns Into a Thoroughfare

WND is reporting:

Obama appoints anti-Israel lobbyist to anti-Semitism post
J Street pick hints Jewish state to blame for hatred against its people

President Obama's new anti-Semitism czar serves on the board of a controversial Israel lobby group accused of working against the Jewish state, while her writings suggest Israel's policies are to blame for anti-Semitism.

Hannah Rosenthal, a former Health Department regional director under the Clinton administration, started her position earlier this week as the State Department's new special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism. She previously headed the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, an umbrella U.S. Jewish organization.

Rosenthal, however, serves on the board of J Street, a lobby group that is mostly led by left-leaning Israelis and that receives funds from Arab and Muslim Americans.

Getting appointed to such position can be easy:-

Rosenthal, a longtime Madison resident, is the former head of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs in New York City. In 2005, Rosenthal became director of the Chicago Foundation for Women. She returned to Madison in 2008 to take the position at WPS [Health Insurance]. Rosenthal has long ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton. She chaired Bill Clinton's Wisconsin campaign in 1992, and three years later was named regional director for the U.S. Health and Human Services department. Rosenthal also was an active supporter of the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. As Secretary of State, Clinton will be Rosenthal's boss.

And it further notes that the Weekly Standard published that Rosenthal had attacked the speakers an Israel Solidarity Rally for their "narrow, ultra-conservative views of what it means to be pro-Israel..." and been upbraided by the ADL.

So, what we have is "an anti-Semitism czar who has been criticized by the ADL, who has been a vocal critic of even left-wing Israeli governments, who sits on the advisory council of a group that is pro-Goldstone and anti-sanctions".

That's just great. Not really.

She simplistically shoves the dispute over J Street to the most essential element possible: age -

She believes that some of the controversy over J Street can be attributed to generational issues. “If the older generation doesn’t look to the younger generation for ideas and support,” she said, “we’re going to be isolated and so will Israel.”

By the way, she's 58 so what's her problem?

And another by the way, I found this about her former husband:

...former Dane County Exec Rick Phelps and his wife Hannah Rosenthal. In 1998, Rick Phelps was running in the primary against Tammy Baldwin, for the Second District congressional seat vacated by Republican Scott Klug.

and this:

Richard J. Phelps...has been elected three times as County Executive of Dane County, home to Wisconsin's capital city, Madison, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also is president of the National Council of County Executives (NCECE) and is that organization's liaison to the White House and congressional leaders.

Phelps grew up in rural Wisconsin, living in Rio, Blue River, and Sextonville before moving to Milwaukee, where he graduated from high school in 1964. He has over 25 years of public service experience and has hold numerous state posts. He currently lives in Madison with his wife and their two teenage daughters.

Phelps earned a bacholor of arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1968 and his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1971. In 1987, Phelps was awarded a fellowship to study public management at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

and he claims that

Our Seders are chaotic and noisy and, oh yeah, the messages are shamelessly progressive and liberal.

Can I presume he is Jewish?



From a reporter in Wisconsin:

Yes he is. Best, JN

-----Original Message-----
From: Yisrael Medad
Sent: Fri 11/27/2009 3:39 AM
To: John Nichols
Subject: Fact Check re: Rick Phelps

Is the former husband of Hannah Rosenthal Jewish?

So, You Want to Play Territorial Poker

(DPA) reports from Amman:

The Jordanian government Thursday rejected Israel’s latest [^] offer to temporarily freeze settlement activity in the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem, which Israel seized from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war.

TransJordan, this is CisJordan speaking.

If you want to play poker, you've got to put something in the pot.

How about some territories?

That way, with a larger pot, we can work out a better and more peaceful solution to our conflict.

If not, I's prefer that you stay out of this.

On Religion and Terror

In today's NYTimes, one Ayman Hakki agrees, in a letter-to-the-editor, that Robert Wright’s Op-Ed article, “Who Created Major Hasan?”, is correct in attacking a conservative news media’s attempt to link Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood to his religion as opposed to homicidal lunacy.

In other words, he was just your normal abnormal murderer. Just a killer. No ideology, no rational and especially no religious motive. At the most Hasan’s act "may have been inspired by his incorrect interpretation of Islam".

But then he writes:

We Muslims allowed a mind-set (which may have influenced Major Hasan) by letting immoderate voices drown out more moderate ones.

Excuse me but he's contradicting himself. And worse, he's admitting the complicity, essentially, of Hakki and like-minded Muslims.

And why would he be liable for complicity is Hassan was simply your average lunatic?

Because of his shared religion?


Dear, dear, so there is a problem of religion mixing with terror.

And why were 'moderate voice' drowned out?

Where they terrorized?

Or did they view the immoderates and within the fold and not lunatics?

Photos From My Temple Mount Ascent Yesterday

Yesterday, Thursday morning, bright but overcast at 7:30 AM, I stood outside the gate to the right of the entrance into the Western Wall Plaza to hand in my Identification Card to be checked and about 10 minutes later, was allowed in for the security check (a group of non-Jewish tourists who arrived a bit later went through first perfunctorily).

We few ascended to the Mughrabi Gate where a policeman and Waqf guard were waiting and off we went.

This is me at the southern section with the Dome of the Rock behind:

Such litter. That is an Arabic-language newspaper. And where?

In this Islamic structure near the Mughrabi Gate:

At the Southern Wall, wood beams and stone columns of historic and archeological interest:

A peek towards Mount of Olives where the ceremony of the Red Heifer was conducted:

Song of Songs, 2:15:

The entrance to the underground Marwani Mosque, the construction of which was a major factor in the loss of many historical artifacts:

Double Demnity

Well, well, just read this:-

...Eli Barak, 57, music store employee by day and bus driver by night, has been arm-wrestling with right wingers on radio talk shows for years. In February 2008...said [Nissim Cohen] was a bum who didn't serve in the army. I heard him say three months earlier on an Army Radio show that he studied the Torah and did not serve in the army."

Cohen, of Bnei Brak, who did serve in the army and works for a living, sued Barak through the Human Rights Organization of Judea and Samaria (West Bank), an NGO dedicated to defending settlers' rights.

Last week Netanya Magistrate Court judge Erez Yakuel ordered Barak to compensate Cohen NIS 40,000 plus index linkage to the day the suit was filed, and send him a written apology. "The judge is also a religious man with a skullcap. I don't understand what I was fined NIS 40,000 for, he's [Cohen] just a parasite from Bnei Brak who nobody ever heard of. Cohen is persecuting me for political motives," says Barak.

I think you should be sued again for that parasite remark.