JPost columnist David Pfeffer asked a host of time honored Hasbara “questions” and he got the answers from BBSNews’ Michael Hess, just not the answers he no doubt was looking for…
BBSNews 2016-01-13 — By Michael Hess. If you want to learn about the state of the state of Israel, Jerusalem Post is probably not the best place to do it given that it is more like Fox News in America instead of a news organization concerned with primary facts about a conflict which is reporting in the midst of. I was reading the news about Israel Monday with the usual sadness and trepidation about the future, that is no doubt also weighing heavily upon the remaining few Israeli Jews who are fighting against right wing fascism, when I came across yet another fallacy laden news article from JPost.
It was an article by a columnist named David Pfeffer entitled “I’m Tired of Defending Israel.” Mr. Pfeffer proved again, that JPost is not your place to go for factual information, the headline itself was a bait and switch. When I first saw it, I thought OMG, someone has finally sensibly realized that there is no “defense” for crimes against humanity, but no. What I found was a piece so packed with logical fallacies and non sequiturs that I’m surprised that even JPost editors let it through.
So snark aside, Mr. Pfeffer wanted answers to his poorly informed assertions, and from A to Zed, what follows is my dissection of his article with Mr. Pfeffer’s questions highlighted in Israeli blue, my answers follow:
Spain: Why do you recognize a state of “Palestine” that doesn’t exist? Palestine was the name imposed on the land of Israel by conquering Romans and used by conquering British. In all of history, there never was a state of Palestine nor is there one today. Except for the Kingdom of Jerusalem imposed by conquering Crusaders, the only state here was, and is, Israel.
The state of Palestine has had a troubled history since the Balfour Declaration in 1917, those in Palestine were not too keen on having some outsiders come and take their territory. The enmity that exists because of the territory that in the eyes of the Palestinians and the Arab world, was stolen from them, obviously is a wound that runs deep.
There is a grave inconsistency in claiming that Palestine is not a state, and yet the goal by nearly every government around the world is to achieve a state. However, Palestine under the Mandatory was a Class-A state held under a “sacred trust of civilisation” according to Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant in 1924. Britain became a mandatary state (an administrator state of mandatories) during the breakup of territories after the battles in those years and it was the thinking of the father of the League of Nations, Jan Smuts, that these were states that would need to be assisted. In Article 22 it states:
“To those colonies and territories which as a consequence of the late war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilisation and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant.”
In a study of international law and subsequent decades of the legal history of the state of Palestine since 1924, John Quigley, in an exhaustive review in The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict [Cambridge 2010], Quigley concluded:
The view that Palestine is not a state suffers from four errors. It disregards historical facts that show Palestine statehood dating from the mandate period. It applies criteria for Palestine statehood that are more stringent than those actually followed in the international community. It fails to account for the fact that Palestine’s territory is under belligerent occupation. It fails to account for facts showing the implied recognition of Palestine.
It seems quite a stretch given that the United Nations Partition for Economic Union resolution 181 was meant to carve out only a portion of Palestine as a Jewish national home, to then claim that the very state that the provisional state of Israel was carved out of “doesn’t exist.” Indeed it strains credulity. It is clear the resolution is primary especially seeing that Israel’s declaration of independence calls UNGA 181 “irrevocable.”
For the US State Department: Why do you prevent an American born in Jerusalem from listing Israel as his place of birth on his US passport? Should an American born in Washington not be allowed to list the United States as his place of birth?
This is a non sequitur. It does not follow that because Washington D.C. exists and is the legal capital of the United States and universally recognized as such, then that somehow that can be construed to mean that it’s status one way or another has anything to do with Israel’s clear lack of sovereignty in Jerusalem. Many readers will be familiar with my usual answer to this question. There is a reason that the US Embassy Act of 1995 has never been realized and that is because it would be illegal to do so under international law. From United Nations Security Council resolution 476 in 1980:
Reaffirming that acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible,
Reaffirming its resolutions relevant to the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, in particular resolutions 252 (1968) of 21 May 1968, 267 (1969) of 3 July 1969, 271 (1969) of 15 September 1969, 298 (1971) of 25 September 1971 and 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980,
Recalling the Fourth Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War,
Deploring the persistence of Israel, in changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem,
Gravely concerned over the legislative steps initiated in the Israeli Knesset with the aim of changing the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem,
1. Reaffirms the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;
2. Strongly deplores the continued refusal of Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly;
3. Reconfirms that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;
4. Reiterates that all such measures which have altered the geographic, demographic and historical character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council;
5. Urgently calls on Israel, the occupying Power, to abide by this and previous Security Council resolutions and to desist forthwith from persisting in the policy and measures affecting the character and status of the Holy city of Jerusalem;
6. Reaffirms its determination in the event of non-compliance by Israel with this resolution, to examine practical ways and means in accordance with relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations to secure the full implementation of this resolution.
Which brings us to Zivotofsky v. Kerry which held that the President of the United States has the vested power whether to recognize or not recognize the sovereignty of a state. Justice Kennedy writing for the majority of the Court said [Bold emphasis mine.]:
“1. The President has the exclusive power to grant formal recognition to a foreign sovereign. Pp. 6–26…
Functional considerations also suggest that the President’s recognition power is exclusive. The Nation must “speak . . . with one voice” regarding which governments are legitimate in the eyes of the United States and which are not, American Insurance Assn. v. Garamendi, 539 U. S. 396, 424, and only the Executive has the characteristic of unity at all times…
In 1948, President Truman formally recognized Israel in a signed statement of “recognition.” See Statement by the President Announcing Recognition of the State of Israel, Public Papers of the Presidents, May 14, 1948, p. 258 (1964). That statement did not recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Over the last 60 years, various actors have sought to assert full or partial sovereignty over the city, including Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians. Yet, in contrast to a consistent policy of formal recognition of Israel, neither President Truman nor any later United States President has issued an official statement or declaration acknowledging any country’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. Instead, the Executive Branch has maintained that “‘the status of Jerusalem … should be decided not unilaterally but in consultation with all concerned.’” “
For the New York Times: Why do you refer to Israeli Arab citizens as Palestinians? If some young Israeli Arabs consider themselves to be more Palestinian, does that mean they’re not Israeli? Why are Israeli Jews, many of whom were actually born in pre-state British Mandate Palestine, not also Palestinians?
In the British White Paper of 1922, long before Arafat and predating the state of Israel by twenty-six years, author Sir Winston Churchill proclaimed that all inhabitants of Palestine would be henceforth known as Palestinians [Bold emphasis mine.]:
Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that Palestine is to become “as Jewish as England is English.” His Majesty’s Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated, as appears to be feared by the Arab [delegation], the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language, or culture in Palestine. They would draw attention to the fact that 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.’ In this connection it has been observed with satisfaction that at a meeting of the Zionist Congress, the supreme governing body of the Zionist Organization, held at Carlsbad in September, 1921, a resolution was passed expressing as the official statement of Zionist aims “the determination of the Jewish people to live with the Arab people on terms of unity and mutual respect, and together with them to make the common home into a flourishing community, the upbuilding of which may assure to each of its peoples an undisturbed national development.”
It is also necessary to point out that the Zionist Commission in Palestine, now termed the Palestine Zionist Executive, has not desired to possess, and does not possess, any share in the general administration of the country. Nor does the special position assigned to the Zionist Organization in Article IV of the Draft Mandate for Palestine imply any such functions. That special position relates to the measures to be taken in Palestine affecting the Jewish population, and contemplates that the organization may assist in the general development of the country, but does not entitle it to share in any degree in its government.
Further, it is contemplated that the status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian, and it has never been intended that they, or any section of them, should possess any other juridical status. So far as the Jewish population of Palestine are concerned it appears that some among them are apprehensive that His Majesty’s Government may depart from the policy embodied in the Declaration of 1917. It is necessary, therefore, once more to affirm that these fears are unfounded, and that that Declaration, re affirmed by the Conference of the Principle Allied Powers at San Remo and again in the Treaty of Sevres, is not susceptible of change.
Israel was created in Palestine, there were Palestinians there, some of them Jewish but the vast majority of them Arab Palestinians. It again strains credulity that the Palestinians currently within Israel or without should be called or call themselves anything other than what they are, Palestinians. They were there when Israel was created in Palestine. In the broader view of this conflict and its available remedies, berating the Old Grey Lady for valid reporting hardly seems to be a valid argument.
For the Associated Press: Why do you report Palestinian-sourced allegation as fact and Israeli-sourced fact as allegation? Why do you routinely qualify Israeli police accounts as claims?
Yet, this allegation was made and answered by the Associated Press, who if anything is often seen as leaning towards Israel simply by virtue of being too lazy to get out of their Jerusalem hotel bubble. Nevertheless, the AP responded to criticism like Mr. Pfeffer’s on December 14th, 2014 thusly:
“Over the past three months, in one media forum after another, Matti Friedman, a former reporter in the Jerusalem bureau of The Associated Press, has eagerly offered himself as an authority on international coverage of Israel and the Palestinian territories, repeatedly referencing the AP. His arguments have been filled with distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies, both about the recent Gaza war and more distant events. His suggestion of AP bias against Israel is false. There’s no “narrative” that says it is Israel that doesn’t want peace; the story of this century-long conflict is more complicated than that.
In covering the Gaza war, the AP aimed, as always, to present a fair and accurate picture. Like other media covering this story, we dealt with numerous obstacles, including Hamas intimidation, Israeli military censorship, anti-media incitement on both sides of the border, Hamas rocket fire and intense Israeli airstrikes that made it dangerous and difficult to get around Gaza during the fighting. “
For facebook: Why did you immediately shut down an anti-Palestinian hate page while letting an identical anti-Israeli hate page remain up and running for days afterward? Why do you allow hate pages at all?
In Jerusalem Post’s own reporting, they sought the opinion of an expert on that very thought:
Dr. Gilad Ravid, a lecturer and researcher of social networks from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, said on Wednesday that he was “not convinced that the conclusions drawn from this experiment are the correct ones…”
However, Ravid noted that since Tuesday, Facebook had removed the page with the anti-Israel incitement.
He added that, while similar, the content posted on the different pages were not identical and that the decision could have been technical, with reference to the use of specific words.
Ravid also criticized the experiment as “disturbing” for not notifying those exposed that it was an experiment and causing “significant discomfort,” while distracting from what he saw as the real issue – getting Facebook to supervise its own filtering algorithms…”
For the South African BDS: Why do you diminish your own history by claiming Israel is apartheid? Israeli Arabs vote and Arab parties constitute a significant portion of the Knesset. The last election review commission was headed by an Arab supreme court justice. My physician is Arab, my dentist is Arab, public restrooms are not segregated, nor are buses, schools, universities, restaurants, libraries, movie theaters nor any other public places, yet you identify with a Palestinian statehood movement that would forcibly remove all Jews from its territory. Why do you demean your own painful past?
This is clearly bait and switch. Mr. Pfeffer attempts to deflect from the fact that the occupation of Palestine has continued for nearly fifty years with increasingly obvious signs of Israel never intending to do anything other than send illegal colonists into Palestine and expand its borders with “facts on the ground,” Mr. Pfeffer’s argument is lacking.
According to the refused envoy to Brazil, Dani Dayan, in The Nation (via JPost), he said:
“The question is not whether I will be the ambassador to Brazil or not, what will be determined now is whether the next settler, the next resident of Judea and Samaria who is chosen to be an ambassador, can fill a diplomatic role, or whether we will agree that the 700,000 Israelis [living beyond the Green Line] are not eligible to be ambassadors.”
The answer is yes, the world will largely agree that illegal squatters in another nation are not suitable envoys for a nation, Israel, that purports to be a rule of law democracy. I point out Dayan because of his claim that the number of illegal squatters living outside of sovereign Israel in Palestine is now 700,000. Using Dayan’s logic, a Mexican immigrant in the US without proper documentation should be able to represent the United States as a foreign envoy! A ludicrous thought.
These illegal colonists get the added bonus of being able to vote in Israeli elections while the millions of Palestinians whose land they are disenfranchising get no vote, they are captive in Apartheid like conditions varying from abject poverty to being, literally, under fire.
When it comes to Israeli Apartheid it is instructive to learn what those who actually suffered under that regime and who have visited Israel have to say in comparison. Desmond Tutu said this, reported by the BBC in 2002:
“South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has accused Israel of practising apartheid in its policies towards the Palestinians.
The Nobel peace laureate said he was “very deeply distressed” by a visit to the Holy Land, adding that “it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa”.
In a speech in the United States, carried in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Archbishop Tutu said he saw “the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about”.
The archbishop, who was a leading opponent of apartheid in South Africa, said Israel would “never get true security and safety through oppressing another people”.”
Notwithstanding the fact that many former Israeli leaders have come out and admitted that Israel was/is becoming Apartheid and one of the earliest warnings was by none other than Yitzhak Rabin himself in 1976. But I’ll leave it with the words of a man who should know, Nelson Mandela, who told the African National Congress in 1997:
“It is in this spirit that I have come to join you today to add our own voice to the universal call for Palestinian self-determination and statehood.
We would be beneath our own reason for existence as government and as a nation, if the resolution of the problems of the Middle East did not feature prominently on our agenda.
When in 1977, the United Nations passed the resolution inaugurating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, it was asserting the recognition that injustice and gross human rights violations were being perpetrated in Palestine. In the same period, the UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system.
But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians; without the resolution of conflicts in East Timor, the Sudan and other parts of the world.
We are proud as a government, and as the overwhelming majority of South Africans to be part of an international consensus taking root that the time has come to resolve the problems of Palestine.”
For China: When will you recognize the right of self-determination for Tibet?
Yet another Hasbara non sequitur. Neither China nor the self-determination of Tibet or lack thereof has anything whatsoever to do with Israel’s fifty year occupation of Palestine. Forcefully and illegally transferring 700,000 squatters into another state, Palestine, is contrary to Article 2, paragraph 4 of the UN Charter, and Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention. Tangentially, it does however bolster the case of the Palestinians that Mr. Pfeffer all of a sudden now cares about self-determination of indigenous people.
For the United States: Why did you forcibly drive the plains Indians to Oklahoma and then drive them into restricted reservations as you took over Oklahoma for white settlement? When will you end the illegal occupation of Oklahoma?
As an American Indian in New Mexico it pains me greatly when someone tries to use early American history as a bludgeon against customary international law and the United Nations in the here and now. Let’s leave aside the apology that we got, let’s leave aside the fact that discrimination against the marriage of American Indians to white folks was eliminated by the US Supreme Court in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia. Continuing from the US Library of Congress:
“After the passage of the 1924 citizenship bill, it still took over forty years for all fifty states to allow Native Americans to vote. In 1948, the Arizona Supreme Court struck down a provision of its state constitution that kept Indians from voting. Other states eventually followed suit, concluding with New Mexico in 1962, the last state to enfranchise Native Americans.
Even with the lawful right to vote in every state, Native Americans suffered from the same mechanisms and strategies, such as poll taxes, literacy tests, fraud and intimidation, that kept African Americans from exercising that right. In 1965, with passage of the Voting Rights Act and subsequent legislation in 1970, 1975, and 1982, protections for non-English speakers and other citizen voters were reaffirmed and strengthened.”
But let’s focus on the logical fallacy of Mr. Pfeffer’s argument. He seems to be saying that “look at what the United States did to American Indians! If they can do it hundreds of years ago, we can do it in the here and now and pretend that there is no Hague Convention, no UN Charter, no Geneva Conventions, no customary international law. Because the United States engaged in genocide against the indigenous inhabitants of early America, then it obviously follows that Israel should be allowed to partake in this kind of behavior…”
This kind of Hasbara is embarrassing. You guys have got to get a new shtick.
For Great Britain: When will you withdraw from Las Malvinas, which you call the Falklands, thousands of miles from the UK? Because of your settlements, you waged war to stop Argentina from taking the islands back, yet you express concern over Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the heart of ancient Israel. When will you withdraw from Gibraltar and return this occupied territory to Spain?
Yet more specious argumentation. Let’s stipulate for a moment that Mr. Pfeffer is correct in all of his assertions which have all been quite dubious thus far with the jibes at Britain no less so. Again he is using the [bad] behavior of other actors to enable and justify what is clearly illegal and a crime against humanity by the state of Israel. “But mommy, he did it too!”
But Mr. Pfeffer is again incorrect. In 2013 the people of the Falkland Islands held a vote with international observers and decided:
“2013 Referendum held in March, overseen by international observers. Falkland Islanders voted to determine their future, 99.8% of the electorate voted YES to maintaining current political status as a British Overseas Territory.”
For the European Union: How does labeling Israeli products from the West Bank as “not from Israel” differ from labeling businesses in Nazi Germany as “Jewish”? How does such labeling protect consumers, as you claim? Given your history concerning Jews, does it surprise you that Israel views this action as deeply offensive?
The labeling regulation has nothing whatsoever to do with “Jewish” products. Mr. Pfeffer seems to be getting more strident and off-the-wall with every assertion. As the European Union has made clear, they preferred to keep this in the technical realm of regulation but the state of Israel decided to make a stink out of it. That’s probably not the best idea because it highlights the central issue of this entire conflict.
Palestine is not Israel. It is another country. For Israel or Mr. Pfeffer to erupt in outrage that the European Union won’t mislabel goods coming out of another country as instead belonging to the occupier country, Israel, is ludicrous.
As is the claim that the EU is labeling “Jewish” products. These kinds of assertions are not helpful to Israel at all and it is a mystery why Mr. Pfeffer ever thought that making these kinds of ridiculous assertions were ever going to fly in the real world.
For the New Israel Fund: Why does Israel’s incredible success as a modern, tolerant, eco-friendly, environmentally-conscious democratic state in the middle of the most backward, anti-gay, misogynistic, autocratic region of the world discomfit you?
Again. Mr. Pfeffer appears to be only interested in logical fallacies (such as pinkwashing) as arguments because the facts simply do not support his claims. He misrepresents the history of the NIF, and the huge amount of money that the social humanitarian organization has raised for Israeli and Arab causes, and the successes that the organization has had. From NIF’s missions statement page:
“From Israel’s first rape crisis centers, to the passage of the law banning torture in civilian interrogations, NIF- funded organizations have driven positive social change and furthered justice and equality. Widely credited with building Israeli progressive civil society, we have provided over $250 million to more than 850 organizations since our inception in 1979. And we are more than a funder; NIF is at philanthropy’s cutting edge thanks in large part to our action arm Shatil, the New Israel Fund Initiative for Social Change. Today, NIF is a leading advocate for democratic values, builds coalitions, empowers activists and often takes the initiative in setting the public agenda.”
In addition, it is a stretch to call an Apartheid State that denies basic rights to those it occupies, who illegally sends colonists into the midst of those who are occupied, who is in violation of many UN Security Council resolutions and international laws, “modern and tolerant” and anything other than “backward.”
Colonialism is dead all over the world except for the state of Israel being outside of its declared borders and using military force contrary to international law and the UN Charter to do so. That is what is backwards, it is Mr. Pfeffer’s mischaracterizations and outright falsehoods in his entire piece at JPost that is backwards and regressive historical revisionism.
For the UN Human Rights Commission: In this savage world why do you spend so much time on Israel? Why don’t you have time to address the dictatorial suppression, especially of women, in Arab states?
Throughout his essay Mr. Pfeffer has relied on innuendo and outright falsehood as he has above. The HRC certainly does spend a lot of time dissecting the actions of the occupier state of Israel precisely because Israel claims to be a democratic state operating under the rule of law. (This is a dubious assertion, see above.)
In the resolutions from the latest HRC session there are adopted resolutions and issued reports on Syria, the Central African Republic, Burundi, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mongolia, Panama, the Maldives, Bulgaria, Honduras, Liberia, the Marshall Islands, Croatia, Libya and Jamaica with issues ranging from indigenous rights to HIV/AIDS.
In fact, it is patently obvious that Mr. Pfeffer is completely mystified about the extent of the activities of the HRC that have nothing to do at all with Israel.
For Breaking the Silence: Why do you not use Israeli courts to address your allegations of war crimes? Other groups put cases before the courts, not infrequently meeting success. Why don’t you keep your dirty laundry at home?
In a free and democratic society, it is not infrequent for citizens, including members of the military, to voice criticism of their government and even the military they serve. I24 reported at the end of December 2015 on former Israeli heads of security who said:
“In the difficult circumstances imposed on the soldiers, they must battle every day to maintain a high moral standard. Breaking the Silence protects Israeli soldiers placed in impossible situations by the politicians who deserted them,” wrote former Navy and Shin Bet commander Ami Ayalon and former Northern District police chief Alik Ron in an ad they took out in the daily Haaretz.
“As one who served as a fighter and commander in the Israel Defense Forces, and as a citizen who believes that the IDF is only a moral army as long as those serving in it recount what they saw, I am breaking the silence,” Ayalon added.”
Mr. Pfeffer’s efforts along with other like-minded anti-democratic, anti-human rights, anti-rule-of-law right wing Israeli officials have encouraged violence and it is happening in continued “price-tag” attacks by right wing extremist Israelis. One supposes that Mr. Pfeffer would not be alarmed at members of Breaking The Silence being ostracized from society by virtue of them speaking out about wrongdoing and probable war crimes during the maintenance and expansion of the illegal occupation of the state of Palestine. I hope not, but the tone and values of Mr. Pfeffer’s essay have been bordering on the unhinged thus far.
For Students for Justice in Palestine: If Israel, having “occupied” the West Bank for forty-eight years, commits genocide, why is the Palestinian population growing? What’s taking so long to do the job?
This is an odious oldie but a goodie in the world of Hasbara propaganda. It’s fitting that Mr. Pfeffer would work it in near his finish. It betrays a complete lack of mastery of reading comprehension of the definition of genocide. It shows that Mr. Pfeffer is confused about the UN Convention on Genocide, and its meaning. And it begs the question, would Mr. Pfeffer like to rescind NEVER AGAIN?
In any case, the convention is specific and Israel does not fare well under a plain reading. So let’s take a look. The definition of genocide under the treaty is as follows:
“The treaty’s generally accepted definition of genocide is “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group” [92 ] .”
I submit to you dear reader that Mr. Pfeffer met one of these criteria at the outset of his essay when he denied that there is a Palestine, and he denied that there is any such thing as a Palestinian.The attempts are so pervasive that the perpetrators and cheerleaders of genocide don’t even realize that they are indulging in the language of genocide, and they impart the false notion that genocide requires that all people must be exterminated; apparently it would take millions of dead Palestinians before Mr. Pfeffer and others would be troubled to learn that “any [Emphasis mine.] of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” includes the enumerated crime, “Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.” Without any other consideration, Israel’s 700,000 illegal colonists in Palestine along with a belligerent occupation army that “protects” them by enforcing and ever expanding that occupation, most certainly meets or at least partially meets paragraphs a., b. and c. of the definition of genocide.
For the whole world: Why can’t a Jew pray on the Temple Mount? The Muslim Waqf has near absolute sway over the ancient site of the Jewish temples; the slightest movement of a Jew’s lip runs the risk of riot. But the Quran says Israel belongs to the Jews. So why can’t a Jew pray on the Temple Mount?
Historical perspective is important when considering Al Aqsa. First of all, while it is under effective control by the Israeli military occupation of Palestine, there are guarantees to the sanctity of the Muslim holy sites going back to the Palestine Mandate wherein articles 9 and 13 in 1922 presented rules governing who had responsibility for Al Aqsa. They have the authority to decide what those of other faiths do when they are at the site. It is also important to bear in mind that the articles for the Palestine Mandate incorporated the Balfour Declaration verbatim in addition to referring to Palestine as a “country” where Jews could reestablish a national home.
The Council of the League of Nations
“Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and
Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country;”
“The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that the judicial system established in Palestine shall assure to foreigners, as well as to natives, a complete guarantee of their rights.
Respect for the personal status of the various peoples and communities and for their religious interests shall be fully guaranteed. In particular, the control and administration of Wakfs shall be exercised in accordance with religious law and the dispositions of the founders.”
All responsibility in connection with the Holy Places and religious buildings or sites in Palestine, including that of preserving existing rights and of securing free access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites and the free exercise of worship, while ensuring the requirements of public order and decorum, is assumed by the Mandatory, who shall be responsible solely to the League of Nations in all matters connected herewith, provided that nothing in this article shall prevent the Mandatory from entering into such arrangements as he may deem reasonable with the Administration for the purpose of carrying the provisions of this article into effect; and provided also that nothing in this mandate shall be construed as conferring upon the Mandatory authority to interfere with the fabric or the management of purely Moslem sacred shrines, the immunities of which are guaranteed.
In October The Jewish Daily Forward published an article entitled, “How the Temple Mount Obsession Could Destroy Judaism.” Hillel Ben-Sasson, a visiting assistant professor of Israel studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, penned a thoughtful answer to those who wish to destroy that status quo at Al Haram Al Sharif and his conclusion was brilliant:
We need not renew the Temple as of old. Meat eaters and vegans alike can agree that there are worthier ways of addressing the Divine than through animal sacrifice. But even if this new temple burned only plants, indeed even if it were solely a shrine of liturgical worship, the temple would mark the end of Judaism. For Judaism today believes that God can be equally approached from any place. If a single geographical holy spot becomes the privileged site of connection with God, current forms of addressing Him will be pushed aside…
Preaching that a new “third“ temple is the full realization of Judaism is not only audacious, it is offensive. For the sake of both Zionism and Judaism, Israeli leaders and their Jewish voters ought to let go of the Temple Mount obsession, or it will destroy all that is so dear to them.