Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Trouble in...Endowment Land

Do we have a new problem in Jerusalem?

This time between Muslims and...Christians?

See what was reported in the final paragraph below:

Abqirat: No changes to the Endowments Department     The diversion of Christian endowments is a diversion to the maximum [the Haram al-Sheikh]      2017-10-29

Sheikh Najah Abkirat Head of Manuscripts and Heritage Section at Al-Aqsa Mosque denied that there were any amendments or additions in connection with the Islamic Waqf Department in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Abekirat said in a statement to "Dunia al-Watan": "This subject has no basis, there are no cancellations or changes in the Department of Endowments since a long time so far, and everything published is pure lies."

He added: "The whole story is the transfer of one employee, Sheikh Raed Daana in the matter of the standing in the preaching and guidance in front of a mosque."

In this context, he cleared the earlier news about the removal of the director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, stripped of his powers and turned it into the mosque, saying that this is a slanderous speech.

He pointed out that the aim of these rumors is to weaken the circle of Palestinian Waqf in the Al-Aqsa Mosque at a time when the state of occupation to raise issues on the Palestinian Waqf, especially the issue of Bab al-Rahma, stressing at the same time that there is an intention by the occupation to weaken the Department of Awqaf until it comes Israeli religious

Regarding the sale or slippages in Jerusalem and the Holy City, Abekirat said: "The diversion of any centimeter from the Christian endowments is a diversion to the roofs of the Al-Aqsa Mosque."

Commentary: The Muslims would like the Christians to adopt their form of waqf system, of endowing or rather dedicating property for a sacred purpose to prevent its sale.

See here.  And here.

Monday, October 30, 2017

From "State" to Home", An Observation

Richard Meinertzhagen has written in his diary, Middle East Diary, 1917–1956, published in 1959, p. 104, that "L.G. [David Lllyod George] and A.J.B. [Arthur James Balfour] both said that by the declaration they always meant an eventual Jewish State".  This was stated at a meeting at Balfour's home on July 22, 1922. 

Indeed, the first real draft, as suggested by Harry Sacher, did include the word "state":

And that state was to be reconstituted, a term that was kept and appears in the original document as well as in the League of Nations decision to award Great Britain the Mandate over Palestine.

A second observation in reviewing the drafts is that the "non-Jewish communities" also appears early on

but not in the July 17th draft

It enters the text only in the Milner–Amery draft of October 4, 1917.


Pickling Olives: Whole or Crushed?

We have olives to pickle or, preserve or brine.

Do we crush them or keep them whole?
I went to the Mishnah and found this in Chapter 10 of Terumot:


(28) In salt water.(29) Once the olives of hullin are crushed they absorb the taste of those of terumah that are whole.(30) Water in which terumah olives had been pickled.(31) Because whole olives only emit flavour, but do not absorb that of the olives of terumah.

Both are possible.

That Labour Party's Unofficial Balfour Declaration

As we approach the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, let us recall the unofficial Balfour Declaration of 1944 when the British Labour Party adopted a platform position relating to Mandate Palestine, a surprising one if we consider today's Corbyn-led Labour Party.

The time is 1944 and the arena is the Labour Party's Conference and the decision was to transfer Arabs from Palestine to Iraq.

From a thesis I found:

[Labour MP Hugh] Dalton recalls in a sentence that clearly shows he understood the significance and thus likely reaction of the Foreign Office and the few Labour figures with knowledge and experience of the actually realities of Palestine and political Zionism, - the `informed quarters: '

`I all but tell them [Noel-Baker and Chaim Weizmann] that I have drafted a very hot paragraph for the Labour Party on post-war Palestine.' 327

Dalton's statement began by questioning the previous British policies, which had first allowed, then prevented Jewish immigration to Palestine as the government responded to sporadic violent events in Palestine and the responses of the various channels of pro-Arab and pro-political Zionist groups:

`Here,' we declared,`we have halted half-way, irresolute between conflicting policies. But there is surely neither hope nor meaning in a 'Jewish National Home' unless we are prepared to let Jews, if they wish, enter this tiny land in such numbers as to become a majority. There was a strong case for this before the war. There is an irresistible case now, after the unspeakable atrocities of the cold and calculated German Nazi plan to kill all Jews in Europe.' 328

The overt proposal to allow the Jews to become a majority in Palestine, with all accompanying implications, was radical enough in itself. But it was the following section of the statement that contained the most significant aspects of Labour's Policy, as Dalton continues:

`Here, too, in Palestine surely is a case, on human grounds and to promote a stable settlement, for transfer of population. Let the Arabs [Palestinians] be encouraged to move out as the Jews move in. Let them be compensated handsomely for their land and let their settlement elsewhere be carefully organised and generously financed. ' 329...

...Dalton reconciled this proposal - and presumably in an effort to allay his own dilemma of conscience - on the misguided assertion that:

`The Arabs have very wide territories of their own; they must not claim to exclude the Jews from this small part of Palestine, less than the size of Wales. Indeed, we should examine also the possibility of extending the boundaries by agreement with Egypt, Syria and Transjordan.' 331

In the contextual magnitude of a ruined Europe, Dalton claims the section on Palestine cause barely a ripple within Labour or conference. But the Conservative, Oliver Stanley, said, this was `Zionism plus plus.' 332 

For Dalton what mattered was that what he called a `strongly pro-Zionist' statement became policy. In the numbing climate of the Holocaust however, Dalton states he had little trouble securing the approval of the NEC or the Cabinet: 

`I put this in my draft and persuaded my colleagues to accept it - Laski expressed most emotional gratitude.' 333

...Dalton's biographer Pimlott notes that six months after its publication, and while the section on Europe divided personalities in the party into bitter acrimony, the section of the statement on Palestine had an easy passage into Labour Policy:

`At the December 1944 Party Conference, this extraordinary declaration aroused no interest. Nobody raised Palestine, or the possible difficulties that disposing of `this small area' ... might involve. In the end the whole document was accepted by Conference without a vote.' 336

In conclusion, the Post-War Statement and its adoption as policy were arguably as significant as any other statement on Palestine by a British political party; and certainly as a statement of policy by Labour. By late 1944 and early 1945 - and in the wake of the Holocaust - the pro-Palestinian safeguards had been abandoned by Labour to the extent that as Pimlott says:

`It had become a kind of unofficial Balfour Declaration.' 337 

Footnotes:327 Pimlott, Ben [Editor] (1986 [b]: 720) The Second World War Dairy of Hugh Dalton 1940- 45, quoting, Hugh Dalton, Wednesday, March 8,1944, (London: Cape)  328 Dalton, Hugh (1957: 425-426)  329 Ibid., (1957: 426)  330 In the context of 1944 the proposal to transfer the Palestinians was not a unique or isolated practice and policy: significant Kurdish (1915), Turkish and Greek populations had experienced similar fates; and the partition of the Indian sub-continent into Pakistan and India in 1947 was to follow with the transfer of millions.   331 Childs, David (1992: 48) [Third Edition] Britain Since 1945: A Political History, Chapter 3, Colonial Retreat and Cold War, War in Palestine, quoting, Hugh Dalton, (1957: 425-426) The Fateful Years: Memoirs 1931-1945, (London: Frederick Muller), (London: Routledge)   332 Pimlott, Ben (1985: 390) Chapter XXIII, Planning for Post-War, quoting, Hugh Dalton Dairies, April 28,1944   333 Dalton notes the extent of Harold Laski's gratitude: `Indeed, Laski had embarrassed and surprised me at the first meeting by saying how wonderful he thought it all was, and nearly weeping over my Palestine Paragraph, on which he afterwards wrote me a most emotional and effusive letter. ' Pimlott, Ben [Editor] (1986 [b]: 732) quoting, Hugh Dalton, Wednesday, April 5,1944...   336 Pimlott, Ben (1985: 390) quoting, Labour Parliamentary Archive Centre Records(LPACR), 1944, pp. 4-9,140  337 Ibid., (1985: 498) 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

How Will Instability Be Caused?

According to an academic paper composed by Tuğçe Ersoy, 

of Marmara University, Institute Research of Middle East and Islamic Countries, Political History and International Relations of the Middle East, İstanbul, entitled  Single State in Palestine: Constitutional Patriotism as A Conceptual Framework” and published in the Bulletin of Palestine Studies, no. 1 (Summer 2017): 36-60,  Prime Minister Ehud Barak' s offer during  the Camp David talks in 2000:

a Palestinian state would have no air space and no military force. Besides, Palestinians would have no sovereignty but custodianship on Jerusalem. The creation of an economically weak and militarily unviable Palestinian state would represent a permanent temptation to an Israel which would retain its armoury and would be able to insist upon continued U.S. or international support. [Michael Rice, False Inheritance: Israel in Palestine and the Search for a Solution, (London: Kegan Paul International,1994), p. 185] As a result, an instable Palestinian state would bring more instability and violence to Palestine and would make a permanent peace unlikely.


a permanent temptation to an Israel


an instable Palestinian state would bring more instability and violence 
to Palestine and would make a permanent peace unlikely

As to the first assertion, Israel had no actual designs of Judea and Samaria prior to 1967 and had it not been due to Arab violence and terror, the war of 1967 would not have broken out, at least on the Jordanian front.  If not for the fedayeen terror of 195-1956, the responsibility of a temptation of initiating incursions would not had been.

Moreover, any Palestinian state in any configuration would invite a situation of instability from radical and extremist Islamist groups to be followed by interference from Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Iran or Iraq or any combination thereof. It would be sine qua non unstable, by definition.

At Marmara University, they float a lot of odd reasoning.


How Many Revenant Residents Are There?

According to B'tselem's current web site entry, the number of Jewish Israelis residing beyond the Green Line, a category they term "settlers", is

an estimated 588,000...This figure is derived from two sources: According to data provided by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), at the end of 2015, 382,916 people were living in the settlements of the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem. According to data provided by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, the population of the Israeli neighborhoods in East Jerusalem numbered 205,220 people at the end of 2014.

However, as they note, the annual population increase of that population is 4.1%.

My calculation is that increase would be around 23,500 people. Two years have passed and so 588,000 + 47,000 (23,500 x 2) = 635,000. Correct? 

Peace Now's figures are 399, 300 in Judea and Samaria at end of 2016. And in "East Jerusalem" (what do they do with Jewish neighborhoods constructed since 1967 in the north and south of the city?) live 208,410 Jews.  That totals to 607,710. We then add 23,500 and that equals 631,210. Correct?

The Yesha Council lists 421,400 Israeli residents in the area as of January 2017, but excluding post-1967 Jerusalem neighborhoods.  An average of B'tselem's figure and Peace Now's figure for Jerusalem would be 206,815 and, added to the above number, would total 628,215. We'll leave the extra population figure off.

An average of those three figures results in 631,475.

So, in another two months, we can expect the number of Jewish Israelis residing in regions of the historic Jewish homeland not as yet under full Israel sovereignty to total, in my estimation, at least 640,000.

Ken yirbu ( & tfoo-tfoo)


Now I have to figure what percentage the Jewish Israelis are of the total population.  Off my head, in Judea and Samaria, that would be 20% approximately.


Palestinian Kitchen Frustration

Chef Joudie Kalla even made it into Haaretz (where she is noted as born in Qatar) and, of course, at Al-Jazeera (where she is listed as born in Syria).

She has Palestine on a plate.

But I found something interesting in this clip, besides the claim that seemingly she was born in...the UK:

and that is maqloobeh.

Ms. Kalla is upset:

Now, there are two things I wish to address.

The first is that maqloobeh/makluba is a traditional Middle Eastern dish, not specifically "Palestinian".  And "Palestinian" does not necessarily mean Arab, by the way. Yes, it is popular among Arabs-who-refer-to-themselves-as-Palestinians but it is not exclusive to that sub-group of the Arab people, even if some recipes call it the national dish of Palestine.  In fact, many cultures have developed “upside-down” dishes. You can find it listed as Jordanian specialty. Oh, Jordan is part of Palestine, right?

The second point is that many Israelis speak Arabic. Many were born (and fled) from Arab countries. Arab and Arabic culture and gastronomy are not either foreign or repressed in Israel.

The maqloobeh I have eaten and quite enjoyed is at the Eucalyptus Restaurant opposite the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, prepared and served extraordinarily by my friend, Chef Moshe Basson.

Ms. Kalla is highlighted another time in Haaretz.

How many Israeli cooks/chefs are afforded the same treatment in the Palestinian Authority media?

Oh, and one more thing.

If Ms. Kalla attempted to serve lentils in Gaza today dressed like this:

I wouldn't be surprised if she would be physically attacked.

But that's her Palestinian problem to digest.


Prehistoric Shiloh

I found out that this past Saturday there was an Indian Festival at Shiloh on Saturday.

Not in my Shiloh but at the one in Tennessee.

It was the Chickasaw Heritage Festival held at the Shiloh Indian National Historic Landmark, located on Shiloh battlefield.

The festival brings together traditional Native American music, demonstrations, storytelling, and scholarly talks. Tribe members from the Chickasaw Nation will return to their ancestral homeland for a day of cultural demonstrations that include stickball, the Chickasaw Nation dance troupe, archaeology, storytelling and demonstration of pre-historic weapons.

Shiloh is one of the very few places in the eastern United States where remains of prehistoric houses are still visible on the ground’s surface. About 800 years ago, a town occupied the high Tennessee River bluff at the eastern edge of the Shiloh plateau.

If pre-historic is 800 years ago, what is the standard at my Shiloh in Binyamin where we have finds going back over 3500 years? 


Luther's 500th

Five-hundred years ago this month, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg. 

He also wrote some other works:

The Jews and Their Lies, was written by Luther in 1543, three years before his death. It was closely followed by another anti-Semitic treatise: Vom Schem Hamphoras (On the Ineffable Name). Oxford University historian Lyndal Roper summarizes the content of these two works in her recent highly acclaimed biography, Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet [review]:
The Jews, he alleges, look for biblical truth “under the sow’s tail,” that is, their interpretation of the Bible comes from looking in a pig’s anus. . . . They defame Christian belief, “impelled by the Devil, to fall into this like filthy sows fall into the trough.” If they see a Jew, Christians should “throw sow dung at him . . . and chase him away.” Luther calls for the secular authorities to burn down all the synagogues and schools, and “what won’t burn should be covered over with earth, so that not a stone or piece of slag of it should be seen for all eternity.” The Jews’ houses should be destroyed and they should be put under one roof, like the gypsies. The Talmud and prayer books should be destroyed and Jewish teachers banned. They should be prevented from using the roads, usury banned, and the Jews forced to undertake physical labor instead. Assets from moneylending should be confiscated and used to support Jews who converted. This was a program of complete cultural eradication. And Luther meant it. . . . Luther’s anti-Semitism then reached a crescendo of physical revulsion. He imagined Jews kissing and praying to the Devil’s excrement: “the Devil has emptied . . . his stomach again and again, that is a true relic, which the Jews, and those who want to be a Jew, kiss, eat, drink, and worship.” In a kind of inverted baptismal exorcism, the Devil fills the mouth, nose, and ears of the Jews with filth: “He stuffs and squirts them so full, that it overflows and swims out of every place, pure Devil’s filth, yes, it tastes so good to their hearts, and they guzzle it like sows.” Whipping himself into a frenzy, Luther invokes Judas, the ultimate Jew: “When Judas hanged himself, so that his guts ripped, and as happens to those who are hanged, his bladder burst, then the Jews had their golden cans and silver bowls ready, to catch the Judas piss (as one calls it) with the other relics, and afterwards together they ate the shit and drank, from which they got such sharp sight that they are able to see such complex glosses in Scripture.”  
This summary provides only a sampling of Luther’s hate-filled vitriol. Multiple passages in his 1543 writings against the Jews are just as abhorrent.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Maximalist Israel

The new FRUS volume is out:

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977–1980, Volume XVII, Part 3, North Africa. This volume is part of a Foreign Relations subseries that documents the foreign policy decisions of the administration of President Jimmy Carter. 

So far as I have persued, I think this excerpt is interesting:

The President’s Administration, he noted, is the first Democratic Administration to work for peace in the Middle East on a basis other than maximalist Israeli positions. We are not supporting a separate Israeli-Egyptian agreement; rather we want to use the Israeli-Egyptian agreements as a catalyst leading to a larger settlement. We will try, in the next phase of negotiations, to move toward Palestinian autonomy. We hope to draw some moderate Palestinians directly into this process. We hope transitional arrangements will emerge which will, in time, modify both Israeli and Palestinian expectations, out of which will come eventual recognition of Israel’s right to exist. Our policy is based on the premise that Palestinians have the right to participate in the shaping of their own future. We expect this process to move forward, with the result that there will be both restoration of territories and self-government—for Arabs in general and for the Palestinians in particular.

That was Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs to Algerian Foreign Minister Mohamed Benyahia, Algiers, November 1, 1979ץ

To be fair, he did add there:

Indeed, Dr. Brzezinski noted, he has often said that if the PLO ever fought like the FLN, Israel would be in serious difficulty.


Friday, October 27, 2017

Apartheid in Palestine

Yes, there was apartheid in Palestine.

"Was", not "is".


When the British regulated land purchases as part of their new White Paper policy in 1940, a policy that reneged on the League of Nations Mandate decision to promote the Jewish reconstitution of their national home in the country.  That White Paper altered the purpose, intent and meaning of the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Conference decision as well as the Mandate decision of the League of Nations and the sense of the deliberations at the Versailles Peace Conference and stated:

The objective of His Majesty's Government is the establishment within 10 years of an independent Palestine State...The independent State should be one in which Arabs and Jews share government 

Here is the introductory page to the 1940 regulations:

There were also Zones A and B.  Today, we've progressed and we have A, B and C, courtesy of the Oslo Accords.

As my friend EG reminded to me, the regulations:
set up three [2.5] distinct kinds of zones in the country, A and B zones along the coast and in the lower and eastern upper Galilee

where Jews were to continue to be allowed to buy real estate. However, A zones, where Jews were to be allowed to buy real estate freely, made up only 5% of the country west of the Jorda. In B zone, 31.6% of the country, Jews could only buy land from non-Palestinian Arab owners, such as churches. In  the overwhelming majority of the country, including nearly all of Judea & Samaria and half or more of the Galilee [western Galilee] plus the Negev, Jews were totally forbidden to buy land. This was in 1940 at the beginning of the Shoah. 

Even Jerusalem:

So, not only was this a betrayal of the Mandate, and here's from the front page of the Palestine Post in May 18, 1939:

and not only was this an apartheid move by separating on the basis of Jews/Arabs, national and/or racial lines or however you wish to phrase it, but it was immoral in that this new arrangement, which included severe immigration restrictions and limitations, led to the containing of Jews in Nazi Europe, effectively keeping them there and allowing Hitler to murder them more easily.

For shame.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Balfour Bluster

Here is a former Member of Knesset talking about protests planned for the Balfour Declaration centenary:

Mohammed Baraka, the chairman of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, concurred. “I don’t see anything wrong with Palestinian citizens of Israel expressing their opposition to the declaration, which had consequences for the entire Palestinian nation everywhere. There was no British Mandate in the country in 1917, and yet someone without a mandate awarded national rights to someone who didn’t deserve them and completely ignored the national rights of the Palestinians in the country, and the ramifications of this declaration continue until today, including the nation-state bill laid before the Knesset.”

Let us consider four elements in that excerpt.

1.  "the entire Palestinian nation everywhere"

The Palestinian nation considered itself as the Southern Syrians until the 1920s. They demanded of the League of Nations to be rejoined to Syria rather than be a Palestine Mandate.  In fact, they had no specific "Palestine" national consciousness. Nowhere was there a "Palestinian nation".

2. "someone without a mandate"

The Allies were the liberators of the Ottoman Empire and possessed all legal rights to allot territories.  In fact, Arabs appealed to them to obtain recognition for their own states.

3. "someone who didn’t deserve them"

Jews most assuredly did deserve to have their historic national homeland reconstituted.

4.  "ignored the national rights of the Palestinians in the country"

Arabs were seen to have no national rights but only civil and religious rights.  The national rights were not ignored but rather not recognized.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

America's Public Affair

Here is the raison d'etre of the United States Consulate in Jerusalem:

Welcome to the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Consulate General, Jerusalem. As the public diplomacy arm of the U.S. Consulate, the primary goals of our office are to support the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis, strengthen democratic institutions by supporting civics and rule of law programs, promote a free and professional media, encourage economic growth and regional commerce, advance the empowerment of women, and promote understanding of American values and society among Palestinians. To achieve these goals, we have at our disposal a wide variety of programs, working with all levels of society. We oversee programs in education, press/media, culture, civil society, conflict resolution, foreign policy, American political, economic and social systems, and much more –- all areas of importance to the U.S.-Palestinian relationship. Our public affairs activities in the Palestinian Territories and in the United States promote professional exchanges between U.S. and Palestinian individuals and institutions with the aim of cultivating mutual understanding and cooperation at the people-to-people level.
Our specific programming responsibilities are limited to Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

Screen snap: 

No Jewish Israelis, seemingly, reside in those "Palestinian territories" since we do not get to share in those programs with other residents in the area nor are we invited to benefit from them or the accompanying coexistence possibilities that should develop from working together with fellow residents. I have blogged many times on this issue and that what results from such an approach is:

a) Arabs assume the US does not want the Jewish communities to exist - out of sight, out of mind.

b) If America acts in a semi-apartheid fashion, why not them.

c) If those are the "Palestinian territories", is that because they were the Palestine Mandate or they belong to a supposed national grouping called "Palestinians" as opposed to "Israelis"? And that group legitimately excludes Jewish residents?

d) "Among Palestinians" means not among Jewish Israelis?

Some affair.

Limited to Arabs only.


I Reject Any Conspiracy Theory Concerning Daniel Shaprio

I doubt the outlandish idea that President Barack Obama ordered or suggested to his Ambassador to Israel to remain in the country to make sure the incoming Administration's overtly pro-Israel orientation will be sabotaged.

On the other hand, one cannot ignore the constant interference Daniel Shapiro provides.

In the Wall Street Journal on October 24, he published an op-ed, "Move the Embassy to Jerusalem and Promote Peace", containing these lines:

Mr. Trump must be clear on two points: The embassy will relocate to West Jerusalem, the area of the city under undisputed Israeli sovereignty. He also must explain that East Jerusalem’s status will need to be negotiated, and the U.S. expects the outcome to include a Palestinian capital in the city’s Arab neighborhoods, as part of a unified city.

Since 1948, and under Obama, the United States refused not only to move its embassy to the city but quite ridiculously refused to recognize Israel's undisputed sovereignty over any part of the city.  As I blogged previously, that policy ignores the facts on the ground, ignores the fact that as it is based on the internationalization of Jerusalem recommended by the UN in November 1947, before there was a state in Palestine at the end of the Mandate, an idea the Arabs rejected - and went to war over - and thus was a dead letter the moment it was voted on and ignores the plebiscite element in the corpus separatum plan after a decade in which Jerusalem's residents were to vote to which state it would join - the Jewish or the Arab one.

Can anyone think what the results of that vote would have been?

As for the rest of his content, the US need not expect a Palestinian capital.  It could suggest the autonomy plan or one of a federation or another. The negotiations are between Israel and its possible peace partner which could even be Jordan.  The Arabs who refer to themselves as 'Palestinans' seem not to be quite able to make peace among themselves.

In addition, that Arab neighborhoods reference, a throwback to the Clinton parameters and the Holy Basin idea, should be rejected. The Arabs should be thwarted from their habit of demanding the most, refusing to back down and even after achieving some success, expect not to be punished for their diplomatic refusals and terror and again and again, raise their maximalist demands.

Too bad INSS provides Shapiro with a platform.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Where Rock Throwing Is A Serious Crime

Where is it a serious crime?

In the United States:

5 Teenagers Are Charged With Murder After a Man Is Struck by a Rock From an Overpass

Five teenagers in Michigan, accused of killing a man with a six-pound rock hurled from an overpass on a school night last week, were denied bond on Tuesday after being charged with second-degree murder.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office said Ken White, a 32-year-old father of four, was driving on Interstate 75 near Flint on Wednesday, headed home from a construction job, when a rock shattered his windshield and struck his chest and head, breaking his skull and clavicle. An autopsy ruled that his cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton accused the teenagers of “a willful and wanton act that resulted in somebody’s death.” Mr. Leyton said they would be tried as adults.

The teenagers range in age from 15 to 17...

Similar episodes have menaced highways around the country for decades. In 1991, Karen Zentner, 22, was killed when a man pushed a 52-pound boulder onto her car from a bridge in New Paltz, N.Y. In Jersey City in 1994, a baby tucked into the back seat of an Audi was mortally injured by a 16-pound bowling ball that a teenager sent pinballing through the windshield.

And in 2014, Sharon Budd of Uniontown, Ohio, suffered permanent brain damage and required several facial reconstruction surgeries when she was struck by a rock while driving under an overpass in Pennsylvania.

...“If there’s any warning that both David and I can give,” Sheriff Pickell said at the news conference, referring to himself and the prosecutor, “it’s telling young people: You make a bad decision, you could be spending the rest of your life in prison.”


Monday, October 23, 2017

BICOM Redefines the Balfour Declaration

James Sorene, CEO at the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre (Bicom), penned an op-ed on the Balfour Declaration published in The Telegraph.  I quickly tweeted a reaction and now, I enlarge my thoughts.

As the Jewish Chronicle informed us last year, "eyebrows were raised when James Sorene was appointed as chief executive of research group Bicom" as he was a key adviser to Nick Clegg during the former Liberal Democrat leader's time as Deputy Prime Minister, a time of a not very delightful relationship of that party with the Jewish community.  One excuse offered was that as "Clegg's official spokesman and communications director, he was a senior civil servant, completely detached from party politics." 

Sorry, but that is, and I know from personal experience, well, let's just say an exaggerated untruth.

He seems to have started his career in public affairs at the Israeli embassy in London.  So how did he arrive at the content he published?  Or should I actually write 'it's no wonder he wrote what he wrote'?

I don't criticise necessarily his personal political outlook.  My experience in London taught me that.  I am disappointed simple historical narratives are either insufficient or a bit twisted.

For example, Exhibit One:

Britain was now in control of vast territories, including Egypt, Palestine and another new creation – Iraq. In addition, Britain offered the Arabs independence in return for fighting the Ottomans, but they also promised the Zionists a Jewish home in Palestine.

In which countries was that independence promised?  Not in Palestine.  That country was to be for the Jews.  In it, Jews were to be the primary national grouping whereas others, defined simply as "non-Jews", and "Arabs" were not specifically mentioned in this context - not in Balfour, nor San Remo nor the Mandate.  A country, until July 1922, that included all of Transjordan, a country whose boundaries to the east were quite unclear at the time which is why Article 25 of the Mandate reads

In the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined

In fact, the Arabs residing in the area that became Palestine demanded reunion with a Greater Syria as they considered themselves then, and for many years afterward, to be Southern Syrians.

Exhibit Two:

Winston Churchill, the colonial secretary, told Arab leaders the declaration was “manifestly right”, while assuring them the Jewish national home wouldn’t be created in all of Palestine, but without suggesting where it would be.

That, of course, is referring to the 1922 White Paper, formulated basically by Herbert Samuel, once a maximalist and now, a High Commissioner.  But to be correct, that policy statement was forthcoming because in April 1920, May 1921 and November 1921 Arabs rioted and killed Jews.  British policy didn't alter do to a reassessment of Zionism's value but the British were fearful.  And cowardly.  Samuel 'helped' matters by appointing Haj Amin al-Husseini as the Mufti.  

That White Paper baldly reinterpreted the Balfour Declaration with hindsight born of fear and from quite some pressure from anti-Semitic British officials in Jerusalem and stated:

the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded `in Palestine.' 

And let us not forget that Churchill already in March 1921 awarded a Saudi Arabian, who first came to Transjordan in November 1920 to assist his brother regain a throne in Damascus, that land mass as an emirate and later, a kingdom.

The White Paper, as an example, quotes a 1921 Zionist Congress resolution in its favor but in 1923, the Zionist Congress bemoaned the loss of Transjordan which the delegates viewed as
"one historical, geographic and economic unit" and "in accordance with the legitimate demands of the Jewish people", the Congress expected that an expression of such will be achieved in Transjordan and eventually it will be carried out.

Exhibit Three:

Balfour’s declaration had great moral purpose, but was implemented without clarity, vision or the necessary resources. The sad truth is that British rule amounted to conflict management, when its focus should have been to design a two-state solution from the beginning.

But there was, from the beginning, however unfortunate I think that "solution", a two-state solution: Jewish Palestine and an Arab Palestine.  Should there now be a three-state solution? Two Arab countries in historic Palestine and one Jewish one? Two Arab states with no Jews and one Jewish state with, at present, almost 20% Arabs?  Is that a moral political policy? Is that visionary? 

I also would suggest there was much clarity of purpose and intent, and it was to minimize Jewish national aspirations and accomplishments.  It was to limit land purchases.  It was to prevent millions of Jews escaping Hitler's clutches in Europe.  It was to to coddle the most racist and vicious terror master that was the Mufti.  It was to establish a discriminatory status quo at Jewish religious sites.  It was to accept separate seating of the Arab and Zionist delegations, on two separate floors, at the St. James Conference in early 1939.  It was to thwart the 1938 Evian Conference.

The Palestinian Authority's dictator, now in his eleventh year since his election, demands Britain apologize for the Balfour Declaration.  As many have noted, Great Britain should apologize for not fulfilling the Balfour Declaration.

Some of the above could have been included in Sorene's piece for after all, BICOM's aim is 

to increase understanding of Israel and the Middle East in the UK. We believe in the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security"

even as it believes in 

the right of the Palestinians to an independent state brought about through a negotiated agreement. 

That aim does include beclouding historical truths.


Sorene has seen this post and is not impressed.

He has an article in the Fathom's Balfour Centenary booklet, "BRITISH POLICY IN PALESTINE 1917–1925", and I bring just one short bit:

Notice his confusing the concept of the borders of the Mandate, which until the July 1922 decision still included Transjordan in the international bodies dealing with the issue and the British machinations to remove Transjordan already begun in 1920 and basically finalized, in their minds, in March 1921.  The British were already formulating a reneging on the promises of the territory.

But what is more important, Sorene, representing a pro-Israel group, should certainly highlight that essentially, the two-state plan began at that time - and was a failure then just as it was in 1937 and later at the UN in 1947.  Why is he still beating a dead horse?