Archives for August 2015
We are approaching the time of the year when the United Nations meet in New York at the end of September. This year, the General Assembly will meet from Sept 28-Oct 6. As in previous years, the Palestinian Authority will do anything in their power to push for recognition by the United Nations. Considering the plethora of resolutions against Israel–being accused of crimes against humanity towards the Palestinians–the vote should be a no brainer, right?
While it hasn’t happened yet, international recognition of Palestine is closer than ever before. Palestinian opportunism has a lot to do with that. But why are we closer in 2015 than we were in 2014? For this we have to review how much has happened since the last United Nations General Assembly of September 2014. Palestine currently holds a seat at the UN with a “non-member permanent observer” status.
Sweden was the first Western European country to officially recognize the State of Palestine in October of 2014. They joined the only two other EU countries that already had made that move; Malta and Cyprus. It is interesting to note that Sweden’s move took place only a few months after the end of the 2014 Gaza War, at a time that common sense should have dictated the opposite. Sweden has long been know for its near all inclusive tolerance of immigrants. This has of course not alleviated the current danger of extreme Islamism in the country.
There are currently 136 countries that have recognized Palestine, but each attempt at a UN vote has been vetoed by the United States. Today, only the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and most of Europe are still resisting recognizing Palestine, although most of them would follow the United States if they chose to vote yes at the UN.
On April 1, 2015 (no joke here), the Palestinian Authority became an official member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in La Hague, Netherlands. They [The Palestinian Authority] expect the ICC to investigate Israeli war crimes during the 2014 Gaza War. If the ICC does its job ethically, this is a move that could eventually backfire for the PA.
Of course, the Vatican also made the news as they joined Sweden when a treaty was signed between the Palestinian Authority and the Vatican in June of 2015 leading the Holy See to officially recognized Palestine. The treaty took fifteen years and three popes to be ratified, but it is now official. So much so that the current pope used the expression “angel of peace” in a conversation about Mahmoud Abbas.
Additionally, France has been working very hard for a while, preparing a draft for a UN resolution to be passed this coming September. The same France whose Prime Minister Manuel Valls said after the January 2015 terrorist attack that “France without Jews is not France”, seems very interested in throwing Israel under the bus. If one was to look at the level of anti-Semitism in France alone, the push for the recognition of Palestine would come as no surprise.
So now, the PA is again on the threshold of pushing for a United Nation recognition. Yet, in their neverending opportunism, they have come-up with one more ploy to force the UN into compliance. This one involves the raising and flying of two flags. This seems so insignificant, yet I think it is devious at best.
Around the time of the United Nation Assembly, Pope Francis is scheduled to make his first visit to America. There are only two “entities” that have the status of a “non-member permanent observer” at the UN; the Vatican and the Palestinian Authority. The latter has chosen to make a clear statement by requesting that both flags be raised and flown at the time of the pope’s visit. I doubt that the pairing of the flags have anything to do with respect for the pope or Catholicism. Instead, the Palestinian Authority decided to “piggy back” on the pope’s visit to make it very difficult to say no to one and yes to the other or even worse, no to both and offend the pontiff. It would appear that yes to both is the only outcome possible. Time will tell.
This might not appear to be a major political move, yet it is just one more small step towards a (not so) forced recognition of the Palestinian State by the world. Frankly the more dangerous aspect of this year’s attempt at recognition is the French push. It includes a proposal for a divided Jerusalem capital and Israel boundaries going back to pre-1967. If Mr. Obama chooses to back France on their proposed resolution, most if not all of the rest of the non-supporting countries would change sides. This would give instant validation to a group of people run mostly by terrorists and funded by anti-Semitic, anti-American states like Iran. Not to mention the fact that it would squish Israel further into the current Middle East vise– its aim being the complete eradication of the Jewish State.
We are only a few weeks away and there is still time to pray for a reversal of the Iran deal as well as again, a veto on the Palestinian State recognition by the UN. In the meantime, I cannot help but remember God’s promise that He would punish all those who go after Israel. America might not be in the Bible by name but it is clearly in the Bible by deeds. Punishment awaits those who turn their back on Israel (Genesis 12:3, Joel 3:2, Zechariah 12:9).
I will gather all the nations And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land (Joel 3:2)
The dehumanization of the Jewish people came to its apex during World War Two and the Holocaust. The German phenomenon did not take place overnight, but rather was the result of an incremental, yet constant persecution of the European Jewish community over the centuries.
Hitler and the Nazi Party gained power in 1933 and within two years started to implement policies that would lead to the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question”, the infamous euphemism for the killing of six million Jews during the Holocaust.
The most notorious of these sets of laws was known as the “Nuremberg Race Laws” or more commonly “The Nuremberg Laws” (not to be confused with the post-war “Nuremberg Trials” of the Nazi murderers).
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were divided into two categories. One was The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour and the other was The Reich Citizenship Law. Both were based on the false science of Eugenics or racial purity. In their entirety, the The Nuremberg Laws were aimed at ostracizing the Jews from German society to the point of making work, life and socializing virtually impossible. They represented the foundation for the Nazi definition of who is a Jew, who is Aryan and as a result who deserved to live and who deserved to die.
Marriage between Jews and non-Jews became forbidden. Jewish owned stores were taken over. Jews wanting to leave Germany were taxed up to 90% of their estates. Jews were required to carry identity cards with the letter “J” stamped on, a well as being forced to insert the middle name of “Israel” for males and “Sara” for females on their papers. Jewish doctors could no longer treat non-Jewish patients.
A complicated bureaucracy of anti-Semitic statutes was enacted, transforming the Jews from humans to animals to parasites, and thus requiring their “extermination” for the betterment of the world, or of the Third Reich at the very least.
The Nuremberg Laws were incremental but key to the systematic attempt at the destruction of European Jewry.
Is it possible that only eighty years later, we are starting to see what could be called “a new set global Nuremberg Laws?” Just like most of the German populace didn’t notice or even react to the racial purity laws, today’s global community seems unaware or worse; uninterested about this new phenomenon.
The fact that the global Jewish community suffers from anti-Semitism can no longer be denied. But it is no longer only racial purity that is being promoted. Much is being attempted to reduce the Jews to a nuisance to society. This compilation of anti-Jewish acts, decrees, exhibits, marches and even UN resolutions is seeing an exponential growth without much resistance from anybody at all.
Recently, the Brazilian government has passed a law that all Brazilian Jews born in Jerusalem will no longer have the word “Israel” on their passport. While the number of affected people is minimal in Brazil, the politically correct statement is clear: Jerusalem can no longer simply remain the Jewish Capital! Unbeknownst to most, this is also the standard procedure for the United States, Canada and France. It has of course become highly offensive and reeking with intolerance to many who are so “invested” in the Israeli-Arab conflict!
Just a couple of weeks ago, on some Air France in-flight maps of the middle East, Israel, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were omitted and replaced with the words “Gaza” and “West Bank”. It took no time for passengers to notice and start flooding the social networks with photos of the erroneous maps. Within days, Air France issued an apology and fixed what they called a “technical problem.” I am at a loss trying to understand how this could possibly be a technical glitch. Words disappeared and were replaced by other words that are usually not on the map at any scale. Was it technical or political? Don’t get me started?
In Spain, just a few days ago, the Jewish reggae singer Matisyahu was asked to recognize the Palestinian State to be allowed to participate in a music festival. After the artist categorically refused to flex under the political pressure, his show was cancelled by the festival.
These might appear as very little waves in an ocean of anti-Israel sentiment often hit by more devastating anti-Semitic tsunamis. They nevertheless are becoming more and more common and they are a sign of the times for the global Jew. They are little stabs in the Jewish identity that often go unnoticed but set-up the stage for more and more acceptance of the propaganda coming from the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) movement.
It is obvious that these are not laws against the Jews like we saw in the mid-thirties out of Germany. But in many ways, these attempts at demonizing the Jews and Israel can even be as lethal as simple laws. They come from many organizations, agencies and even common people who have naively (or some even willingly) bought into the Palestinian narrative.
There is nonetheless a greater danger looming on the Jewish horizon. As we see more and more of the world being conditioned against the Jews and the State of Israel, it is only logical to expect very little resistance when real laws are enacted against them [the Jews].
A new set of Nuremberg Laws might not be a reality yet, but I have no doubt that the tentacles of a global anti-Jewish legislation are coming. When these laws become a reality to the Jews, will they be enough of a reality to you to say/do something?
In 1942, French Pastor André Trocmé answered a Vichy official about hiding and saving Jews in his village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and said:“These people came here for help and for shelter. I am their shepherd. A shepherd does not forsake his flock… I do not know what a Jew is. I know only human beings.”
Will there be any “André Trocmé” left around when my people are hunted down again?
Depending on which side of the Middle East fence you are on, Palestine and the Palestinians can be defined in very different ways. Of course, your understanding and supporting of the Arab/Israeli conflict will vary greatly based on which definition you adhere to.
One of the major reasons why there is so much strife in the region is because of the lack of clarity in these definitions as well as the amount of historical inaccuracy supporting them. Modern day Palestinians and their supporters often speak of “historic Palestine” in an attempt at validating its existence prior to that of the Jewish people. But was there such a thing as a historic Palestine and if there was, how could it be defined?
Let us start with what we know from history and define a geographical Palestine. At this point, my use of the word Palestine will only be to describe geographical boundaries in the Middle East. It is therefore critical to differentiate between the “Land of Palestine” as a geographical area and the “State of Palestine” as a political entity. Palestine is a piece of land in Eastern Asia between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, squeezed in a very strategic region between Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq.
The word “Palestine” has been etymologically altered over the last 50 years. Until then, it was simply the name of a region. Biblically, it was actually NEVER called Palestine but “The Land of Canaan”. It was God’s choice to give the Land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants as we read in Genesis 17:8: “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
Nevertheless, the first use of the word itself might go back to the 5th century BCE out of Greece. It came from Herodotus who penned The Histories, considered a foundational work on history in Western literature. In Book III of The Histories, he calls it Palaestine. Many authors and historians such as Aristotle, Plutarch and Josephus followed Herodotus in the use of the name which always described a geographical area.
Fast forward to the last Jewish revolt against the Romans known as the Bar Kochba Revolt (132-135 CE) and you now have the official renaming of that area as Palaestina to further humiliate the remaining Jewish people after their defeat. Additionally, Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina by emperor Hadrian. There is no archeological or historical evidence for the survival of the people known as the Canaanites–from whom many believe the Palestinians come from. On the other hand, we can trace the first Hebrews in the Land of Canaan back to 1,300 BCE.
The name Palestine continued to be used for that area of the world through the centuries, and Jewish presence was never put into question. In the early 1880s, Diaspora Jews who had been spread out all over the world since the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 CE, had started to return to Palestine in a series of Aliyot due to intense persecution. In 1916, the region was divided under the Sykes-Picot Agreement between France and Grand Britain. Lebanon and Syria were assigned to France and Palestine was assigned or “mandated” to Great Britain. The 1917 Balfour Declaration established that because of the “historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine“, The Jewish people were entitled to return to the area. The statement was very clear: “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.”
While there might have been some tension as to who really belonged in the land and its exact boundaries, Palestine remained a descriptive for a geographical area and not a political movement or people group. It is then accurate to say that historically we can support geographical Palestine.
The area known as Palestine under the British Mandate actually included what was then known as Trans-Jordan (East of Jewish Palestine). One is to wonder why Trans-Jordan or “Eastern Palestine” is never mentioned and never included in the modern quest for the Palestinian State? That area known today as Jordan, represented 85% of the Entire British Mandate, yet it apparently wasn’t enough! Incidentally, the Palestinian flag is almost identical to the Jordanian flag.
The tide began to turn in 1929 during the Hebron Massacres and the Arab revolt of 1936-39. Around that time, it was still appropriate to speak of ” Palestinian Jews” and “Palestinian Arabs”. In 1948, Palestinian Jews became known as Israelis and Palestinian Arabs started to be called Palestinians as the narrative switched from geographical Palestine to “historic” Palestine. Yet many arabs from neighboring countries continued to call themselves Arabs and not Palestinians for a while longer.
Yassir Arafat (born in Egypt) came on the scene and the pressure was increased on the modern state of Israel. The terms Palestine and Palestinian continued to be deconstructed and re-defined. Today Egyptians and Jordanians of the past are calling themselves Palestinians and claiming right to the Land of Palestine in the name of “self-determination.” Arab victims of the War of Independence (1948), the Six-Day War (1967) and the Kippur War (1973) have been made into political refugees, forcing Israel to become the “occupier.”
Historical revisionism will work for two reasons. On one hand, the lies propagated by its supporters are constantly placated on the news, in books, interviews and the internet. On the other hand they are for the most part never challenged. A repeated lie that is never challenged eventually will become the new accepted truth.
This new truth of a displaced people [the Palestinians] and an occupier [the Israelis] is what currently punctuates the news. Unfortunately, it also dictates the world’s response to the Middle East crisis. But it is based on revisionism and not on historical facts. Any serious student of history, while not blindly exonerating Israel of all guilt over the last 67 years, will recognize Israel’s right to exist and be in the land. Israel’s right to the land can be proven biblically, historically, geographically and archeologically.
You can choose to call that land the Holy Land, Eretz Yisrael, Jewish Palestine or even Western Palestine as we could agree that all these term are inter-changeable, as long as the name refers to a geographical area. From that angle, I support Palestine. The moment that Palestine becomes a political entity with a fictitious displaced people is the moment that I draw the line.
Geographical Palestine exists while historic Palestine never did. More than the Israelis, the real victims are the Jordanians, Egyptians and other Arab neighbors of Israel who were made into something they are not. Of course, their children and grand-children, innocently born as “refugees” only exacerbates the problem. We might not be able to come-up with a viable solution any time soon, but this shouldn’t give us the liberty to ignore the problem and its root cause.