Thursday, October 27, 2016

From Ian:

Abraham Bell & Eugene Kontorovich: Palestine, Uti Possidetis Juris, and the Borders of Israel
Israel’s borders and territorial scope are a source of seemingly endless debate. Remarkably, despite the intensity of the debates, little attention has been paid to the relevance of the doctrine of uti possidetis juris to resolving legal aspects of the border dispute. Uti possidetis juris is widely acknowledged as the doctrine of customary international law that is central to determining territorial sovereignty in the era of decolonization. The doctrine provides that emerging states presumptively inherit their pre-independence administrative boundaries.
Applied to the case of Israel, uti possidetis juris would dictate that Israel inherit the boundaries of the Mandate of Palestine as they existed in May, 1948. The doctrine would thus support Israeli claims to any or all of the currently hotly disputed areas of Jerusalem (including East Jerusalem), the West Bank, and even potentially the Gaza Strip (though not the Golan Heights). View PDF
100 years later
Next week will mark the beginning of the 100th year since the Balfour Declaration. On Friday, Nov. 2, 1917, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour announced in a short letter to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild that "His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may 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."
Five years later, the Balfour Declaration was included in the League of Nations resolution to mandate Palestine to the British government, and another sentence was added to it: "Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, who, with the assistance of his colleague Nahum Sokolow, worked persistently and wisely on behalf of the World Zionist Organization to obtain the documents, aspired to a clearer commitment, but the modest version was still an important tier in building the State of Israel.
Arab leaders in Palestine opposed the Balfour Declaration as soon as it was made public. They protested the use of the terms "the Jewish people" and "national home" as well as the reference to the Arabs as one of the "communities" with civil and religious -- but not national -- rights. It is for these reasons that the Palestine Liberation Organization determined in article 18 of its 1964 charter, three years prior to "the occupation," that "the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate system and all that has been based upon them are considered fraud." In keeping with his organization's charter, PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas recently stated at the United Nations General Assembly (Sept. 21, 2016): "One hundred years have passed since the notorious Balfour Declaration, by which Britain gave, without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people. This paved the road for the Nakba of Palestinian people and their dispossession and displacement from their land." (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Bedouin family: We will continue to serve Israel
President Reuven Rivlin visited the home of Nimer Abu Amar, the 15-year-old youth from the Negev Bedouin town of Lakiya who was killed by fire from an Egyptian soldier at Israel's southern border Tuesday, to express his condolences to the boy's family.
"We are all citizens of the same country." Rivlin told the boy's father. "We have come to share in your profound grief."
"We are all equal in this country, and there is no difference between a child in Lakiya and a child in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, or Haifa." he added. The Defense Ministry treats a child from Lakiya exactly the same way as it treats every other child, and we will do our utmost to investigate the circumstances which led to this tragedy."
The boy's father, Bassam Abu-Amar, said "I expect the Defense Ministry to act justly in investigating the matter. Our pain is immeasurable. He was our first born son."
The boy's uncle said "We will continue to work with the Defense Ministry. Generation after generation will work for the nation and at the border. We know that the Defense Ministry will investigate and learn the appropriate lessons. He is our child, he is your child and he is my child, and there is no argument about that."
Rivlin the family members present and promised that the relevant officials at the president's office would continue to follow up on the investigation into this tragic incident.

  • Thursday, October 27, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
Yesterday was one of the more sickening scenes at the House of Lords:

When Sussex Friends of Israel posted this on Facebook, they wrote:
WATCH-Member of audience at last nights event in Parliament (hosted by Jenny Tonge) which called for Britain to apologize for the Balfour Declaration, says that 'if anyone is anti-Semitic it is the Israelis themselves!' Greeted with much applause by Tonge and her fellow panelists and all done in the House of Lords!

There was then this exchange between the great Kay Wilson and Jenny Tonge among others

Kay Wilson Jenny Tonge Jenny Tonge, Baroness Tonge is a revolting woman, unworthy of the position with which she has been entrusted.
LikeReply1921 hrs
Jenny Tonge Thank you for that accolade Kay Wilson. What a lovely reasonable person you seem to be.
LikeReply220 hrs
Geoffrey Bernstein Jenny Tonge Tonge, what a smug, self-satisfied and sarcastic reply. Kay Wilson was almost murdered by Palestinians, and her companion was murdered at the same time. They were simply walking in the countryside. Check it out for yourself.
LikeReply1420 hrsEdited
Kay Wilson I am actually. Despite being hacked at with a machete 13 times by Palestinian terrorists and watching my Christian friend murdered in front of my eyes, I have gone on to do all I can for peace. I have hidden a Muslim teenager in my house at the risk o...See More
LikeReply2120 hrs
Jenny Tonge Would some of you like to come to the Lords for a cup of tea? Why can't we talk.
LikeReply219 hrs
Kay Wilson Jenny Tonge I would love to. Please invite me and I courteously accept your invite
LikeReply619 hrs

Kay Wilson This is on record. Jenny Tonge has extended an invite to the House of Lords. As a survivor a Palestinian terrorism, I feel that "dialogue" could be important. I eagerly await confirmation of her invite
LikeReply818 hrs
Sussex Friends Of Israel Love to come Jenny but first I would ask you to to categorically distance yourself from the 'if anyone is anti-Semitic it is the Israelis themselves' comment as in the video above
LikeReply418 hrs
Jonathan Hoffman Jenny Tonge Do you still defend your suggestion that Israel should set up an inquiry to disprove allegations that its medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims for use in transplants?
LikeReply618 hrs
Kay Wilson Jonathan hopefully when she accepts my eagerness to meet her in the House of Lords, I can address this issue personally.
LikeReply618 hrs
David Collier Jenny Tonge My problem, as someone who was there last night, is why you seem to fail to recognise antisemitism even when it smacks the Jews across the face in front of you. If you don't see it, I mean really don't see it, isn't it just possible that the problem is with you, rather than me?
LikeReply1218 hrs

Jenny Tonge We can discuss these things when you come.
LikeReply17 hrs

Tonge also defended her call for an independent inquiry into whether Israel was stealing organs from earthquake victims in Haiti:

Jenny Tonge My exact words were via our press office and were
'I congratulate the IDF on their swift response after the earthquake. If they are concerned about these allegations they should have an independent inquiry .' What is wrong with that? I was.a doctor for many years in the NHS.
LikeReply117 hrs

The idea that Kay can break through the hate that Jenny Tonge has is more than fanciful. But it is amazing that she keeps trying.

(h/t Rob)

UPDATE: When I wrote this article, it was before this happened:
Jenny Tonge, a former Liberal Democat peer, has quit the party after she was suspended over alleged antisemitic comments.
She said she had resigned from the party “about the same time” as she was suspended as a party member by its leader on Thursday.
Earlier, a spokesman for the Liberal Democrats said: “She has been suspended. She was not a member of our group in the House of Lords; she was an independent peer, she has had her membership suspended.
“We take her comments very seriously and have acted accordingly.”
Tonge was Lib Dem MP for Richmond Park from 1997 to 2005, but has sat as an independent in the Lords since she was suspended in 2012, also for allegedly antisemitic comments.
Thursday’s move came after Tonge hosted a meeting at the House of Lords this week at which Israel was reportedly compared to terror group Islamic State and Jews were blamed for the Holocaust. The remarks were made by a speaker at the meeting, which was organised by the Palestinian Return Centre, which live-streamed the event on its Facebook page.
The Israeli embassy in London said the meeting was a “shameful event which gave voice to racist tropes against Jews and Israelis alike”.
Not sure that this tea party will ever occur.

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  • Thursday, October 27, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

Today the “discovery” of Jew-hatred among British politicians, particularly in the Labour Party, is news. But the relationship of the Jews to Albion, since the citizens of York wiped out their Jewish community in 1190, hasn’t been smooth. 

Recently, I read a review by Sheree Roth of a neglected 1938 book, William B. Ziff’s The Rape of Palestine. Although Roth is primarily concerned with the (very important and persuasive) evidence in Ziff’s book refuting the Arab claim to be the “original” or “indigenous” inhabitants of the Land of Israel, the book is primarily concerned with the history of the British Mandatory power over Palestine. The book is available at Amazon (though currently out of stock), but its copyright has lapsed and someone has placed the entire text here for our enjoyment.

The British betrayal of the Jewish people must be reckoned as one of the great crimes of the 20th century. Entrusted with the Mandate to ultimately make possible a Jewish National Home, Britain instead fought its realization tooth and nail, ultimately becoming complicit in the Nazi Holocaust. Even after the war, when the evil consequences of its policies should have been clear, when Germany herself began to recognize her obligation to what was left of the Jewish people, Britain continued to fight against the establishment of a Jewish state, battling attempts to resettle Jewish refugees, even arming and providing military advisors to the Arab armies that in 1948 tried to finish the job Hitler started.

Everyone knows about the series of White Papers issued by the Mandatory Government, which progressively limited Jewish immigration, culminating in the MacDonald White Paper of 1939 which – just as the furnaces of the Holocaust were about to be lit – effectively closed the doors of Palestine to Jews and doomed millions to destruction. 

But Ziff explains how, long before 1939, British authorities used every bureaucratic device possible to reduce the number of Jews allowed into the country, while completely overlooking the uncontrolled immigration of Arabs who flocked in to take advantage of the jobs created by the Zionists. “Illegal” Jews were hunted down and punished. Roth quotes Ziff,

Hunting "illegal" Jews became a major game, with illegal Arab newcomers enlisting gleefully in the chase. Savage Bedouins joined in under promise of a reward for any Jewish man, woman, or child they could catch. Palestine was under a virtual reign of terror. Anyone who could not immediately prove his citizenship, or produce his or her certificate of entry, was tracked down, jailed, and brutally beaten. ...

A fair example is the case of a woman and six small children, who had arrived legally with the proper passport and visa from Turkestan. On the way, her husband had been killed at a railway station. The whole family was arrested on the grounds that the passport provided not for a woman and six children but for a man, a woman and six children. On this pretext the woman and her children were ordered to prison. [pp. 245-6]

Not only did the authorities try to prevent Jews from arriving, they viciously discriminated against the ones that were already here. The Jewish population was heavily taxed (as they do today, the Arabs tended to favor informal business practices that avoided taxation), but the revenues, which Ziff tells us were plentiful thanks to Jewish enterprise, were either retained by the government for its own purposes or used almost entirely to benefit the Arab sector.  The government school system,

…is purely Arab in character. The language of instruction is Arabic . Hebrew is not even taught as a foreign tongue. When in 1937 a rumor circulated that the study of Hebrew was to be introduced, it only evoked incredulity and rendered the Government's hasty denial superfluous. "Apart from scientific subjects," the Peel Commission acknowledges, "the curriculum is almost wholly devoted to the literature, history and tradition of the Arabs; and all the school masters from the humblest village teacher to the head of the Government Arab college, are Arabs." School masters in Palestine appear to have been recruited from the ranks of the most exaggerated pan-Arab agitators. The result, as Lord Peel candidly admits, is to turn the children out as violent "Arab patriots ." "The schools," he tells us, "have become seminaries of Arab nationalism." [p. 310]

Jewish schools were built and supported mostly by overseas donors. “During the whole period of British occupation there has never been a single Jewish school built in Palestine out of the public funds,” Ziff reports. Health and sanitation expenditures were allocated similarly. Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem paid full price for its water while Arab hospitals were supplied at no charge. Jews were severely discriminated against for government jobs, and if a Jew did manage to get hired, for promotions. Telegraph messages were only accepted in English or Arabic, until the international commission governing mandates forced the postal service to accept Hebrew messages; but equipment was only installed in a few cities making it worthless in practice. Government employees were required to be fluent in English and Arabic but not in Hebrew, and many did not speak or understand the language. [chap. VII].

The law enforcement and court system were corrupt and biased. Almost all court records were kept in Arabic [p. 326], which makes sense since almost all magistrates, notaries and prosecutors were Arabs. Prison conditions were unspeakable, so bad that prisoners released after a few years were often crippled for life by starvation rations. Justice was anything but blind: Ziff tells of a case of a Jewish watchman at Bat Galim (near Haifa) sentenced to prison for attempted murder, after he wounded an Arab – who was among a gang attacking the settlement. Meanwhile, a Bedouin who took part in the murder of a Jewish boy and girl received a light sentence because the murder was committed consequent to raping the girl, and therefore unintentional (the boy was killed trying to defend her)! Four other Bedouins, who also raped the girl, were set  free [pp. 330-1].

I’ve only scratched the surface, but it should be clear that the administration of the Mandate by the “civilized” nation of Great Britain was as ugly as any colonial enterprise, and particularly evil because of the discriminatory way it treated a part of the native population – indeed, the ones the Mandate was intended to benefit. The question is “why?” Why was it so important to the British to prevent Jewish immigration and to support the Arab community in opposition to the Jews?

The common understanding is that the British did not want an independent state to arise in Palestine, which sits in a critical position as the gateway to the “Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire,” India. Possibly they felt that even if they had to accept an independent state, an Arab one – like the British client monarchies of Jordan, Iraq and Egypt – would be more controllable than a democratic Jewish state. They also wanted to stay on the good side of the Arab oil-producing nations, as oil had become much more important as a strategic commodity after WWI.

One problem with this theory is that by 1947 there was no longer a need for a gateway to India, now independent. But Britain fought as hard as ever during the last year of the Mandate to prevent Jews from reaching Palestine. Jewish refugees were kept in “internment camps,” some of them on the sites of former Nazi concentration camps. Although US President Truman wanted to allow them to go to Palestine, the British refused. As mentioned above, they armed and even provided officers to the invading Arab nations – despite their clearly genocidal goals – during Israel’s War of Independence. 

What about oil? The fact is that the importance of Arab oil during that period was minimal. In 1945, the five top oil-producers were the US (65.8%), Venezuela (13.2%), USSR (5.5%), Iran (4.9%) and Mexico (1.8%). Iraq was in 7th place with 1.3%, and Saudi Arabia 11th with 0.8%. By 1948, Saudi Arabia had moved up to 5th place, with 4.1%. All of these sources with the exception of the USSR were strongly in the Western (i.e., American) orbit. There was no OPEC in those days, either. It is a stretch to think that Britain needed to be concerned about offending Arab oil producers during the mandate period, even after 1945. Arab oil was a potent political force in the 1970s, but it had not yet become one in 1948.

No, there is another reason that Britain betrayed the Jewish people, and it is that with some very notable exceptions such as Winston Churchill, Jew-hatred was rampant in its military, its Foreign Office,  and its ruling classes in general. For example, the commander of British forces in Palestine from 1946-7 was Gen. Evelyn Hugh Barker. Barker famously wrote to his Arab mistress regarding Jews that, 

Yes, I loathe the lot - whether they be Zionists or not. Why should we be afraid of saying we hate them. Its time this damned race knew what we think of them - loathsome people.

Barker favored the death penalty for “Zionist guerrillas,” and applied it whenever he could. He suggested that the reason there was so much unrest was that previous administrations hadn’t hanged enough Jews. After the bombing of the King David Hotel, he issued an order that read in part, 

I am determined that [the Jews] shall suffer punishment and be made aware of the contempt and loathing with which we regard their conduct. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by the hypocritical sympathy shown by their leaders and representative bodies, or by their protests that they are in no way responsible for these acts ... I have decided that with effect on receipt of this letter you will put out of bounds to all ranks all Jewish establishments, restaurants, shop, and private dwellings. No British soldier is to have social intercourse with any Jew. … I appreciate that these measures will inflict some hardship on the troops, yet I am certain that if my reasons are fully explained to them they will understand their propriety and will be punishing the Jews in a way the race dislikes as much as any, by striking at their pockets and showing our contempt of them.

Ziff’s book, full of details about the countless humiliations and punishments with which the British military and colonial service afflicted the Jews of the yishuv, suggests that there were many Barkers, large and small, in their ranks. And this, at bottom, is the reason Britain fought so hard against the creation of a Jewish state. Not oil, not access to India. Just Jew-hatred.

Are things different today, in Britain or anywhere else that irrational anti-Israel expression is found? 

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