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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Torah Tidbits Audio
Yisrael Medad is a revenant resident of Shiloh, in the Hills of Efrayim north of Jerusalem. He arrived in Israel with his wife, Batya, in 1970 and lived in the renewing Jewish Quarter, eventually moving to Shiloh in 1981.
Currently the Menachem Begin Center's Information Resource Director, he has previously been director of Israel's Media Watch, a Knesset aide to three Members of Knesset and a lecturer in Zionist History. He assists the Yesha Council in it's contacts with the Foreign Media in a volunteer capacity, is active on behalf of Jewish rights on the Temple Mount and is involved in various Jewish and Zionist activist causes. He contributes a Hebrew-language media column to Besheva and publishes op-eds in the Jerusalem Post and other periodicals.
Adar 26, 5770, 3/12/2010
The Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will absent himself from the ceremony to reinaugurate the "Hurva" Synagogue in Jerusalem's wall old city neighborhood next week it has been reported. The presumption is that he doesn't want to annoy the Obama Administration.
Netanyahu, if anything, is a wizard at public diplomacy. How can he allow an event like this to pass by? What is he thinking?
The structure was built at the beginning of the 18th century, 300 years ago (that's longer than the United States of America has been around, with or without Obama). It was destroyed by Arabs. The building, along with others, symbolizes that Jerusalem, Green Line or not, is Jewish and that we are determined to assure, maintain and develop its Jewishness by increasing our presence there.
Of course, there are other opinions. Here's from this week's editorial of The Forward, which has just closed a co-distributive deal with Ha-Ha-Haaretz, the post-Zionist daily of Israel's progressive left camp, commenting on Vice-President Joe Biden's visit here and the 'surprise' announcement:-
As Americans, we feel insulted. Contrary to the spin generated in some quarters, the Obama administration has gone out of its way to support Israel and the Netanyahu government...Some Jews believe that all of Jerusalem belongs under Israeli control, but that is a political position, not an indisputable fact. Another people also lays claim to this holy city.
What really is the "fact" that the radical editorial writer ignored is that Jews who believe otherwise, that the city is actually all Israel's, are perhaps 98% of all world Jewry, excluding maybe Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni and Rahm Emanuel. Not only that but there is a common misconception. The claim is made is that Israel unnaturally "expanded" the city when it absorbed eastern areas after 1967.
But if we review the UN recommendation of November 29, 1947 (Part III, B) to partition the Mandate area, we will see that the borders of Jerusalem, as a corpus separatum, extend to Shuafat, past Abu Dis and to Bethlehem as well as to Motza, larger than the municipal boundaries today. So what are they talking about, these concessionists who wish to yield, surrender and kowtow?
In not showing up, Netanyahu will not be taking advantage of a wonderful opportunity to say this. To remind the world of Jerusalem's place in the soul of the Jewish people, its religion, culture, literature, art and history. To recall to his listeners that not only was the Hurva Synagogue destroyed by Arabs, but another 30 or so synagogues were desecrated after 1948, and that thousands of graves on Mount of Olives were destroyed and that on the Temple Mount, the Waqf authorities are destroying and ransacking Jewish artifacts.
We, as Zionists, as Jews returning to our homeland, build. We create. They destroy.
And as for that Forward editorial "another people lays claim to this holy city", let us remind them that the League of Nations decision, international law, by the way, obligated us to protect and preserve religious rights and holy sites of non-Jews, no more. No prerogative more than we.
I would assume that Prime Minister Netanyahu could have said all this, and more, perhaps more eloquently than I. But to do so, he would have to truly believe in these ideas and facts.
And, he would have to be there at the ceremony.
But he won't be there.
And that is too bad.
P.S. That doesn't mean that thousands of other Jews need stay away.
Tevet 1, 5770, 12/18/2009
According to this report, the publicity relating to a mass ascent to the Temple Mount was thwarted.
A report in an Israeli newspaper, disseminated worldwide by United Press International (UPI) stated that Jews planned a “mass pilgrimage” numbering in the “hundreds” to the Temple Mount on Thursday.
The “mass” throng actually consisted of only 200 Jews, but the reports set off panic among Arabs and left Jews outside the site as police blocked their entrance, as has happened several times in the past after Arab clerics spread fears of a “Jewish takeover.”
A spokesman for the activists said, “The police provided no reason for their arbitrary decision. At one point police claimed that the Mount was closed due to the Moslem new year, which occurs on Friday and not on Thursday.
Now, let's go back to the original story:
A group of activists dedicated to bringing Jews to the Temple Mount told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that they were hoping to see hundreds of participants take part in a planned "mass pilgrimage" to the site scheduled for Thursday morning in honor of Hannuka
...a representative of the Organization for the Renewal of the Temple (ORT) - which is organizing Thursday's event - told the Post on Tuesday there had been no indication the planned pilgrimage would cause renewed disturbances...[despite this] Yosef Rabin, an ORT member, told the Post that the scuffle broke out after a number of Arabs standing nearby became enraged when his colleagues started to sing Hannuka songs and dance as they departed.
...Nevertheless, Rabin said, the trip had been calm and quiet up until the fighting broke out, and he added that his group was pursuing its goal of promoting awareness of the mount "through legal means only."
"We do everything legally and in conjunction with the police," Rabin said. "And as long as we do, there shouldn't be any problem."
...Rabin said he had personally spoken with police about Thursday's pilgrimage and that they had told him there was no reason to believe problems would occur.
"Our focus is on bringing people to the Temple Mount, nothing else," Rabin said. "And we've been making hundreds of phone calls, using lists we have, and sending out e-mails and Facebook messages to try and get as many people as possible to come."
"Little by little, we're going to take back the mount," he continued. "And it will be done without violence or force."
The spokesperson, who I checked, is not know to most other activists, perhaps should have spoken to the press after the ascent unless, of course, this Rabin fellow was a GSS agent. Now, there's a neat conspiracy theory.
If Rabin does exist, please contact me so I can clear your name.
As for your political sophistication, that's another matter altogether.
P.S. There is indeed a Yosef Rabin (pronounced Ray-bin). And yes, he is upset. However, as I informed him, the two most major and central Temple Mount activists could not, when I contacted them, confirm his existence. He insists he has been active for the last four months and feels that what I wrote above in my blog "might be legally considered character assassination". I doubt that. He does admit "going to the media may not have been the best move". Okay, we can agree on that. It seems that a very central Temple Mount leader actually told him that this week and hopefully, will be aiding him in his enthusiasm.
He also claims that he is a "part of the very few that safeguard the last thread of sovereignty for the Jewish People on the Mount". I applaud him. Indeed, as someone who substituted as tour leader for Dr. Yoel Elitzur the Thursday before Chanukah and ended up sharing tour guide duties with Rabbi Chaim Richman, has ascended the Mount a few times ever since my first ascent in September 1970, just 39 years ago, and who has written not-a-bad monograph (here) - I welcome him into the few. I would guess that in the future, there will be no need for me to question not only his existence, and not only the extent of his activism but also his political sophistication which, of course, was the main point of my blog post. My apologies, Yosef. And good work for Har Habayit
Oh, and that GSS throwaway? That was just in jest. Why should I presume that an activist would be in cahoots with them?
Kislev 23, 5770, 12/10/2009
Further to my previous post on Yossi Melman's disparaging suggestion that we move the capital of Jerusalem, even temporarily, I searched for the following and here it is, General Charles De Gaulle's speech on the liberation of Paris, August 25, 1944. Here are words that express the true genuine feelings of a people for their capital:
"Why do you desire that we hide the emotion which seizes us all, men and women, who are here, at home, in Paris that stood up to liberate itself and that succeeded in doing this with its own hands?
No! We will not hide this deep and sacred emotion. These are minutes which go beyond each of our poor lives. Paris! Outraged Paris! Broken Paris! Martyred Paris! But liberated Paris!
Liberated by itself, liberated by its people with the help of the French armies, with the support and the help of all France, of the France that fights, of the only France, of the real France, of the eternal France! Well! Since the enemy which held Paris has capitulated into our hands, France returns to Paris, to her home. She returns bloody, but quite resolute. She returns there enlightened by the immense lesson, but more certain than ever of her duties and of her rights. I speak of her duties first, and I will sum them all up by saying that for now, it is a matter of the duties of war...
...It is for this revenge, this vengeance and justice, that we will keep fighting until the last day, until the day of total and complete victory. This duty of war, all the men who are here and all those who hear us in France know that it demands national unity. We, who have lived the greatest hours of our History, we have nothing else to wish than to show ourselves, up to the end, worthy of France. Long live France!"
Those are the words of a nationalist, of a patriot, of a lover of his country and its capital city.
We Jews have no need to feel inferior to any nation or people.
Kislev 21, 5770, 12/8/2009
Yossi Melman of Ha-Ha-Haaretz has clarified the extent of post-Zionist pottiness.
In his "Give Up Jerusalem" op-ed, he kisses Jerusalem good-bye. From the text:-
There are about 200 countries in the world, but it seems that only two attribute holiness to their capital: Israel and Palestine...Jerusalem has always been an obstacle to a settlement...The leaders on both sides, not only the religious leadership but also secular politicians, consider Jerusalem not merely their "eternal capital" but attribute holiness to its stones, its homes and its symbols.
...it might be better if they agreed on the following: Israel would announce that at least temporarily it would move its capital to a different city...In parallel, the Palestinians will agree that Jerusalem will not be declared their capital...Would this mean that Israel is giving up on the Jewish connection to Jerusalem? Of course not. The religious, historic and emotional connection will remain, precisely like it did during 2,000 years of exile, which did not blur that link. Does this mean that the two sides are relinquishing their historic rights or sovereignty over the city? Of course not...Even if the proposed hiatus does not advance peace, it may bring healing to the dying city. And when Jerusalem goes back to being Israel's capital it will also be a city worthy of such standing, a city in which life is good...
Ha-Ha-Haretz strikes again.
Uri Tzvi Greenberg expressed it well some 50 years ago:
"כל העולם לא כדאי לנו באין זיו מקדש ירושלים.
שבעים אומות – שבעים אימות, באין כתר ירושלים.
שקול שקלנו בהר הבית כנגד כל זהב פרוים
ובאינו-עוד זה שקלנו אביוני ירושלים.
גם כל יהב גאוננו המון שלכת אלי מים
כי מה ערכנו בלאומים בלי כבוד-ישות ירושלים..."
For us, the entire world has no worth without the shine of the Temple in Jerusalem
Seventy nations - seventy fears, without the crown of Jerusalem.
We have measured our shekels on the Temple Mount more than all the gold of their furs
And without it, we are the paupers of Jerusalem.
All our hope of pride is also as the mass of fallen leaves at the water
For what is our value amongst the nations without the honor of essential being that is Jerusalem.
Collected Works, Vol. 11, p. 168
If Melman represents the level of secular nationalism, of a-historicism, of the total lack of political astuteness of Israel's elites, woe are we.
Kislev 12, 5770, 11/29/2009
Isn't it about time a specific group be established, one that represents the rights of American Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to campaign on our behalf?
You may have seen this story:-
NGO to Clinton: Settlements are legal
The Office for Israeli Constitutional Law, a non-governmental legal action organization, sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, warning that by labeling Jewish settlements in the West Bank illegal, she is violating international law.
The little-known Anglo-American Convention, a treaty signed by the US and British governments in 1924, stipulated that the US fully accepted upon itself the Mandate for Palestine, which declared all of the West Bank within its borders.
...the American-Anglo convention was a treaty that was connected to the mandate. Treaties themselves have no statute of limitations, so their rights go on ad infinitum."
...The OFICL letter also warned Clinton that if her office does not comply with the civil rights recognized in the Anglo-American convention, OFICL will file a class-action suit in a US district court.
Now, about that Convention, I found this in a discussion about whether the US should recognize TransJordan:
...[regarding] certain matters such as foreign relations, financial and fiscal policy, jurisdiction over foreigners and freedom of conscience. United States rights, as specified in the American-British Convention of December 3,1924, include guarantees of vested American property rights in Trans-Jordan, the right of United States nationals freely to establish and maintain educational, philanthropic, and religious institutions there, and all the general rights and benefits secured under the terms of the mandate to members of the League of Nations and their nationals. Extradition and consular rights, guaranteed under treaties and conventions between the United States and Great Britain, are likewise extended to Trans-Jordan. Article 7 of this Convention provides that the rights of the United States and its nationals as stated in the Convention shall not be affected by any modification of the terms of the Mandate to which the United States does not give its assent...
...In the past the Government of the United States has taken the position that it is not empowered, under the articles of the American-British Convention of December 3, 1924, to prevent the modification of the terms of any of the mandates. Under their provisions, however, this government can decline to recognize the validity of the application to American interests of any modification of the mandates unless such modification has been assented to by the Government of the United States...
...it is our present policy, subject to the approval of the Secretary, to recognize the independence of Trans-Jordan, as in the case of the Levant States, on securing a satisfactory assurance of the continuation of the rights guaranteed the United States under the American-British Convention of 1924...
My understanding is that, as I have always maintained, American citizens have a special role to play in championing Jewish rights in the Jewish people's national home.
Not only are Jews as individuals granted internationally legally recognized rights of "close settlement" on the land of a reconstituted Jewish national home as a result of the historic connection of the Jewish people to that territory which, at the least extends over all of CisJordan, that is what is Israel, Judea, Samaria and Gaza today, and not only are Jews as a collective possessing those same rights even if a separate political entity be established in that area, but as American citizens, Jews residing in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, who own land, property, businesses and run institutions of religion, philanthropy, charity, social welfare, health, etc., are protected by that 1924 Convention.
If I am not mistaken, the Revisionist Zionists attempted to use this instrument to encourage the United States, in the summer of 1939, to intervene at Geneva and overturn the British 1939 White Paper as a violation of the terms of the 1924 Convention as it applies to the Mandate - that Gt. Britain, without American approval, could not limit immigration and land purchases as they did and surely not declare that the Jewish National Home was no longer the goal of the Mandate but rather a nebulous Palestinian state.
A blog post on November 23 has this up:
America’s ratification of the 1924 “Anglo-American Convention on Palestine” made the U.S. a "contracting party" to the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. Assigned to Britain for administration, the Mandate was not only devoid of any provision for an Arab state within Palestine’s borders, it specifically prohibited the partition of the land and its use for any purpose other than the creation of a National Jewish Home.
With President Calvin Coolidge’s signature on the Anglo-American Convention, the terms of the Mandate for Palestine became incorporated into American law. The words of America’s 29th president, in proclaiming the treaty, made it clear that this was no mere ceremonial act. "Now , therefore, be it known," he declared, that “I, Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States of America, have caused the said Convention to be made public to the end that the same and every article and clause thereof may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof.”
Coolidge wasn’t plowing new American legal ground with these words. In fact, he was simply reinforcing a unanimous joint resolution of the 67th Congress of the United States three years earlier, signed by his predecessor, President Warren G. Harding, recognizing a future Jewish state in “the whole of Palestine.”
President Obama...you have put yourself at legal and moral odds with the very law you took an oath to uphold. It is clearly time for a reversal of this tragic course.
And see here.
As noted in the book "Great power discord in Palestine" by Amikam Nachman, the United States had adopted a non-political approach of interpretation of the Convention but following World War II, utilized it as a justification for becoming involved.
On this issue, here is Howard Grief's position from 2003:
The United States agreed to the British administration of Palestine pursuant to the Mandate when it signed and ratified the Anglo-American Convention of December 3, 1924. This imposed a solemn obligation on the US Government to protest any British violation of this treaty, which had repeated every word, jot and tittle of the Mandate Charter in the preamble of the Convention, regardless of whether the violation affected American rights or those of the Jewish people. Yet when the White Paper was issued in the year of 1939, the US Government did not lift a finger to point out the blaring illegalities contained in the new statement of British policy that smashed to smithereens the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate, and brought immense joy to the Arab side.
It accepted the incredible British contention that changes in the terms of the Mandate effected by the White Paper did not require American consent because no US rights or those of its nationals were impaired, an argument that was demonstrably false. This US passivity in the face of British perfidy, which was strongly denounced by the venerable David Lloyd George and even by Winston Churchill who had himself contributed to the betrayal of the Jewish people and their rights to Palestine, allowed the British Government to get away with the highest violation of international law at the very moment when the Jewish people were about to suffer the greatest catastrophe in their history. There can be no doubt that the Holocaust could have largely been prevented or its effects greatly mitigated, had the terms of the Mandate been duly implemented to allow for a massive influx of Jews to their national home.
American inaction against the British Government was particularly unforgivable in view of the fact that the articles of the Mandate were a part of American domestic law and the US was the only state which could have forced the British to repudiate the malevolent White Paper and restore the right of the Jews of Europe to gain refuge in their homeland.
Both the Mandate and the Anglo-American Convention have ceased to exist. However, all the rights of the Jewish people that derive from the Mandate remain in full force. This is the consequence of the principle of acquired legal rights which, as applied to the Jewish people, means that the rights they acquired or were recognized as belonging to them when Palestine was legally created as the Jewish National Home are not affected by the termination of the treaty or the acts of international law which were the source of those rights. This principle already existed when the Anglo-American Convention came to an end simultaneously with the termination of the Mandate for Palestine on May 14-15, 1948. It has since been codified in Article 70(1)(b) of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. This principle of international law would apply even if one of the parties to the treaty failed to perform the obligations imposed on it, as was the case with the British Government in regard to the Mandate for Palestine.
The reverse side of the principle of acquired legal rights is the doctrine of estoppel which is also of great importance in preserving Jewish national rights. This doctrine prohibits any state from denying what it previously admitted or recognized in a treaty or other international agreement. In the Convention of 1924, the United States recognized all the rights granted to the Jewish people under the Mandate, in particular the right of Jewish settlement anywhere in Palestine or the Land of Israel. Therefore the US Government is legally estopped today from denying the right of Jews in Israel to establish settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which have been approved by the Government of Israel.
In addition, the United States is also debarred from protesting the establishment of these settlements because they are based on a right which became embedded in US domestic law after the 1924 Convention was ratified by the US Senate and proclaimed by President Calvin Coolidge on December 5, 1925. This convention has terminated, but not the rights granted under it to the Jewish people. The American policy opposing Jewish settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is a fit subject for judicial review in US Courts because it violates Jewish legal rights formerly recognized by the United States and which still remain part of its domestic law. A legal action to overturn this policy if it was to be adjudicated might also put an end to the American initiative to promote a so-called "Palestinian" state which would abrogate the existing right of Jewish settlement in all areas of the Land of Israel that fall under its illegal rule.
Isn't it about time a specific group be established, one that represents the rights of American Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to campaign on our behalf?