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  • Settler Marc Zell talks Jewish identity at the King David Hotel
    • Hostage, You wrote: “Well Mondo keeps eating my replies.” Does anyone know what is going on with this? Some of my comments have also disappeared into the void before even reaching the moderation phase.

      It had been happening to me for months before I said anything about it. It has nothing to do with the number or frequency of comments. See the discussion here: November 16, 2011 at 6:11 am

    • Exactly right, Citizen. The notion that this is something that originated in Judaism is clearly false.

      I only commented that they had a Jewish pedigree. Even the Jews believed that the Noahide commandments were a subset of a much older order of Divinely revealed laws that were universally accepted and enforceable.

      Some of the examples that Wikipedia cites are schools of ancient philosophy. They didn't necessarily attach any Divine origin to the rules or believe there were supernatural blessings or curses attached to them. In that sense, it's difficult to know if they had an origin in shared religious values or not. Hellenistic philosophy had its roots in the Mystery cults and societies. The exact details or meanings of their religious symbols were known only to the initiates. Josephus, Philo, and Paul compared the beliefs of the ancient Jewish sects to those held by the Stoics, Epicureans, and other schools of philosophy. Ezekiel's vision of secret idolatry carried on in the Temple may have had some basis in fact. The Stoa Poikile - the painted porch - may have looked very similar to the chambers of imagery or murals and tiled floors discovered in ancient Jewish synagogues. The wheel of the Zodiac is a recurring theme that would have correspond well to Ezekiel's description of every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about.

      But more to the point, the history of Judaism before the split between Judaism and Christianity is not the exclusive preserve of Judaism.

      I never said that it was. I've commented on the Samaritans and their Temple and the fact that ancient Jews had several Temples to choose from, beside the one in Jerusalem. I've also commented on the likelihood that the communities in Alexandria, Rome, and Palestine did not behave themselves according to the rules that were adopted by the Jerusalem Temple cult or the myths created by the latter-day rabbinical or Talmudic streams of Judaism about their rituals.

    • @ Klaus Bloemker

      Hostage, I don’t really understand what you refer to, “the two core Christian values”.

      Well Mondo keeps eating my replies. So here's one more stab at it. Another user commented on core Christian values and cited the Golden rule and a commandment from the Torah: to love your neighbor as yourself. He asked if there were any Jewish core values like those two, without realizing that they were examples of beliefs that originated in Judaism. All of the discussions in the Christian scriptures deal with topics from the Jewish Torah, Prophets, and other Scriptures and the speakers frequently use pre-existing Jewish scriptures as proof texts.

      My point was: Judaism – unlike Christianity – doesn’t have a concept of turning an enemy into a friend, turning evil into good.

      That idea is found in the Torah. The story of Joseph in Genesis Chapter 50:20 is a parable about that subject. He believed that what his brothers had intended for evil, God had turned into something good. So he forgave them. Jacob believed Laban''s attempts to defraud him, had similarly been turned into material blessings. Jacob did not seek revenge or try to harm Laban. David looked after King Saul's posterity, despite Saul's repeated attempts to murder David.

      There is an eternal struggle between the (good) Jews and the (evil) Gentiles.

      The doctrine that God is no respecter of persons originates with the Prophets of Israel. They teach that Israel is like the other nations:

      Are you not like the children of the Cushites to Me, O children of Israel? says the Lord. Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor and Aram from Kir?

      -- Amos 9:7

      The Prophet goes on to say that the other nations are called by his name too and that they may also seek after God. There certainly are Jewish sects with racist beliefs and traditions. But Conservative, Reform, and Humanist Jews aren't bound by those conventions. The story of Jonah is a parable about changing the people of Nineveh from children of darkness into children of light. They listened to Jonah and repented. The Prophet Hosea taught the God desired mercy above sacrifice. The Christians employed those Jewish stories to warn the 1st century Israelites that the men of Nineveh would rise up in judgment and condemn their generation if they failed to heed similar Divine warnings. So all of these things have a Jewish theological pedigree.

    • I forgot to ask you something Mooser.
      Tell me a core ethical concept of Judaism (I told you a Christian one).

      There was a similar request recently here:

      I pointed out that the two core Christian values that were cited in the original post were simply discussions about the commandments contained in much older Jewish scriptures. Those discussions were recorded and became part of the Christian bible.

    • And the first two sentences alone would have covered it.

      The third sentence was obviously meant to imply a fourth one, "In order to understand Jewishness, one must first understand Jewishness.” (or the attainment of enlightenment;-)

    • In a late interview he was asked about his occasional comments regarding his Jewishness, considering that for most of his life he had never said anything public about his Jewishness. He said, a snail comes with his homey shell, which changes over the snail’s life, but if one pulled off the snail’s shell, that one would see the snail was still a snail. He did not elaborate further.

      It's an analogy he had used many times. Here is an example. It's an article which tried to explain why Nazis and others disliked or hated secular Jews:

      Albert Einstein
      Collier’s Magazine, November 26, 1938.
      ...snip ...
      The formation of groups has an invigorating effect in all spheres of human striving, perhaps mostly due to the struggle between the convictions and aims represented by the different groups. The Jews, too, form such a group with a definite character of its own, and anti-Semitism is nothing but the antagonistic attitude produced in the non-Jews by the Jewish group. This is a normal social reaction. But for the political abuse resulting from it, it might never have been designated by a special name.

      What are the characteristics of the Jewish group? What, in the first place, is a Jew? There are no quick answers to this question. The most obvious answer would be the following: A Jew is a person professing the Jewish faith. The superficial character of this answer is easily recognized by means of a simple parallel. Let us ask the question: What is a snail? An answer similar in kind to the one given above might be: A snail is an animal inhabiting a snail shell. This answer is not altogether incorrect; nor, to be sure, is it exhaustive; for the snail shell happens to be but one of the material products of the snail. Similarly, the Jewish faith is but one of the characteristic products of the Jewish community. It is, furthermore, known that a snail can shed its shell without thereby ceasing to be a snail. The Jew who abandons his faith (in the formal sense of the word) is in a similar position. He remains a Jew.

      Difficulties of this kind appear whenever one seeks to explain the essential character of a group. The bond that has united the Jews for thousands of years and that unites them today is, above all, the democratic ideal of social justice, coupled with the ideal of mutual aid and tolerance among all men. Even the most ancient religious scriptures of the Jews are steeped in these social ideals, which have powerfully affected Christianity and Mohammedanism and have had a benign influence upon the social structure of a great part of mankind. The introduction of a weekly day of rest should be remembered here—a profound blessing to all mankind. Personalities such as Moses, Spinoza, and Karl Marx, dissimilar as they may be, all lived and sacrificed themselves for the ideal of social justice;

      The second characteristic trait of Jewish tradition is the high regard in which it holds every form of intellectual aspiration and spiritual effort. I am convinced that this great respect for intellectual striving is solely responsible for the contributions that the Jews have made toward the progress of knowledge, in the broadest sense of the term. In view of their relatively small number and the considerable external obstacles constantly placed in their way on all sides, the extent of those contributions deserves the admiration of all sincere men. I am convinced that this is not due to any special wealth of endowment, but to the fact that the esteem in which intellectual accomplishment is held among the Jews creates an atmosphere particularly favorable to the development of any talents that may exist. At the same time a strong critical spirit prevents blind obeisance to any mortal authority.

      I have confined myself here to these two traditional traits, which seem to me the most basic. These standards and ideals find expression in small things as in large. They are transmitted from parents to children; they color conversation and judgment among friends; they fill the religious scriptures; and they give to the community life of the group its characteristic stamp. It is in these distinctive ideals that I see the essence of Jewish nature. That these ideals are but imperfectly realized in the group—in its actual everyday life—is only natural. However, if one seeks to give brief expression to the essential character of a group, the approach must always be by the way of the ideal. ...snip ...

    • You should build a website from your source materials.

      LOL! I'm already on the MW automatic annual subscription plan. That's how I compensate Phil and Adam for the storage and bandwidth I use here;-)

    • Thanks for correction….. my mind is fuzzed….what was the occasion when the US was the single veto?….I know there was one but can’t remember which.

      There have been several occasions where the US has cast the lone veto. Many of them have resulted in Emergency Special Sessions of the General Assembly. The last one didn't go that far, but it occurred when Ambassador Rice vetoed the resolution on illegal settlements.

    • Sean McBride- Regarding scientists, Einstein was obviously someone who thought a lot about his Jewishness.

      FYI, He attended Catholic schools and publicly claimed that he didn't even know that he was a Jew, until he moved to Germany and found out thanks to the Gentiles:

      The Jews are a community bound together by ties of blood and tradition, and not of religion only: the attitude of the rest of the world toward them is sufficient proof of this. When I came to Germany fifteen years ago I discovered for the first time that I was a Jew, and I owe this discovery more to Gentiles than Jews.

      --A Letter To Professor Dr. Hellpach, Minister Of State Written in response to an article by Professor Hellpach which appeared in the Vossische Zeitung in 1929. Published in Mein Weltbild, Amsterdam: Querido Verlag, 1934.

    • And it’s getting ticklish, I might be misremembering, but believe the US was the Only one of the big five at the UNSC that vetoed the Palestine application for statehood.

      It never came to a vote. Russia and China recognized Palestine in 1988 and have had State of Palestine Embassies ever since. France threatened to vote in favor of recognition, and did so in the UNESCO vote. The US was looking pretty isolated, until the UK joined-in and said it would vote against membership and press for both sides to present border proposals within 90 days as part of a Quartet proposal to restart talks. The Palestinians submitted a map, but Israel let the deadline and an extension lapse.

      Now the US is asking for a delay until after the elections in November, on a vote in the General Assembly about upgrading Palestine's non-membership status.

    • “…and drive the Jews into the sea..”

      I hear this phrase an awful lot, but I’ve never found a source for this.

      Did anyone actually ever threaten to do this?

      The Torah contains an example. It was one of the founding myths of Israel. Moses and the children of Israel were pursued into the Red Sea, which was the sole avenue of escape by Pharaoh and his servants. They were only spared by an act of Divine intervention in which the Egyptians were drowned. See Exodus 14..

      In the Mandate era, some Palestinian and neighboring Arab leaders bragged about a final victory in which they would drive or throw the Jews into the sea. So naturally, the Zionist propagandists portrayed the results of the 1948 war as yet another national miracle or deliverance, e.g.

    • If someone is intensely preoccupied with Jewishness but not actually Jewish in the first place then they are quite likely an anti-semite, unless they want to join the religion for some reason.

      Evangelicals and missionaries don't fit neatly into those categories, but are none the less preoccupied with Israel and the Jews.

      For Sean’s rather intriguing recursive algorithm to work it would seem you have to be Jewish in the first place, or at least under the illusion that you are.

      Of course, personal beliefs and community social boundaries imposed extreme limitations on eligible spouses for many centuries. This stuff is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      Cohanim believe that they can't marry gentiles and that they are descended from a biblical character named Aaron. Genetic testing indicates that they're actually descended from three distinct patriarchal lines. Whoever those ancestors were, they were already very distant relatives by the time the Jewish people finally came into existence. 50 percent of the Ashkenazi Levites appear to be descended from an ancient European patriarch. The ancient myths and legends weren't necessarily true, but they still resulted in something like a breeding colony among the adherents. The Gentiles and the Jews were both responsible for the preoccupation and for erecting the social and physical barriers.

    • Jewishness is the state of being intensely preoccupied with one’s Jewishness. . . . how different is that than being intensely preoccupied with Jewishness?

      There's an interplay between Jews and Gentiles who are preoccupied with the significance of Jewishness. This significance is very much a self-fulfilling prophecy that yields results which normally confirm the pre-existing beliefs of both the parties concerned. That's also one of the truisms behind the maxim that "In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion."

    • Calling circumcision a “custom” understates its religious significance as a central symbol of the covenant between God and His chosen people.

      I've noted elsewhere today that you could take out an advertisement with MTA that described it as infant genital mutilation practiced by a bunch of ignorant savages.

  • Barak to US: Be afraid, be very afraid of 'the sword at our throat'
  • Richard Cohen and the Jewish man's burden
    • In this speech delivered to a Zionist audience in Berlin in 1921

      Yet another speech that doesn't mention a Jewish nation-state. In fact this one claims Palestine is first and foremost NOT supposed to be a refuge for east European Jews. It's just the cultural center that reawakens a "sense" or "feeling" of being a nation or community for Jews living everywhere.

      The speech contains no call for Jews to make aliyah and actually go and live in this community. The Jewish nation he describes is obviously not incompatible with the mixture of non-Jewish and Jewish communities in a single country that Weizmann, Sokolow, Magnes, and the Allies were promoting in 1921. In fact the nationality and rights of Jews living in any other country were the subject of a safeguarding clause in the Balfour Declaration and treaties that created the new states under the auspices of the post war peace conference.

      In 1930 Einstien published his own proposal for a bi-national system of government in Palestine:

      Mein Weltbild, Amsterdam: Querido Verlag, 1934.

      March 15, 1930
      SIR: Your letter has given me great pleasure. It shows me that there is good will available on your side, too, for solving the present difficulties in a manner worthy of both our nations. I believe that these difficulties are more psychological than real, and that they can be got over if both sides bring honesty and good will to the task.

      What makes the present position so bad is the fact that Jews and Arabs confront each other as opponents before the mandatory power. This state of affairs is unworthy of both nations and can only be altered by our finding a via media on which both sides agree.

      I will now tell you how I think that the present difficulties might be remedied; at the same time I must add that this is only my personal opinion, which I have discussed with nobody. I am writing this letter in German because I am not capable of writing it in English myself and because I want to bear the entire responsibility for it myself. You will, I am sure, be able to get some Jewish friend of conciliation to translate it.

      A Privy Council is to be formed to which the Jews and Arabs shall each send four representatives, who must be independent of all political parties:— Each group to be composed as follows:—
      A doctor, elected by the Medical Association.
      A lawyer, elected by the lawyers.
      A working men’s representative, elected by the trade unions.
      An ecclesiastic, elected by the ecclesiastics.

      These eight people are to meet once a week. They undertake not to espouse the sectional interests of their profession or nation but conscientiously and to the best of their power to aim at the welfare of the whole population of the country. Their deliberations shall be secret and they are strictly forbidden to give any information about them, even in private. When a decision has been reached on any subject in which not less than three members on each side concur, it may be published, but only in the name of the whole Council. If a member dissents he may retire from the Council, but he is not thereby released from the obligation to secrecy. If one of the elective bodies above specified is dissatisfied with a resolution of the Council, it may replace its representative by another.

      Even if this “Privy Council” has no definite powers, it may nevertheless bring about the gradual composition of differences, and secure a united representation of the common interests of the country before the mandatory power, clear of the dust of ephemeral politics.

    • Hostage, you have an impressive archive for every point. Can I ask how long you’ve been involved with the Israel-Palestine issue?

      Some of my earliest memories as a pre-schooler were debates between my grandfather, who was an anti-Zionist secular Jew, and his brothers on the subject. One, in particular, was an argumentative, "non-Zionist", who had worked in the Political Department of the Jewish Agency for Palestine during the Mandate. I've always been interested in reading and discussing anything remotely related to the subject, so I've learned a lot on my own initiative. Of course, I have a variety of other interests too.

    • What makes me happiest is the [prospective] realization of a Jewish state in Palestine. It seems to me that our brethren [Stammgenossenen] really are nicer [sympathische] (at least less brutal) than these awful [scheuslichen] Europeans. Letter to Paul Ehrenfest, March 22, 1919

      There wasn't even a mandate in 1919. So once again let's look at what he said after it was implemented:

      *"The greatest danger in the present situation is that blind chauvinism may gain ground in our ranks.”

      The lone reference to "The Jewish State" in Einstein's own book on the subject of Zionism was the inclusion of Herzl's pamphlet in the bibliography on page 67 -- See "About Zionism: speeches and letters by Professor Albert Einstein", The Soncino press, 1930

      *Just one more personal word on the question of partition. I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. Apart from practical consideration, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain – especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state. We are no longer the Jews of the Maccabee period. A return to a nation in the political sense of the word would be equivalent to turning away from the spiritualization of our community which we owe to the genius of our prophets.
      - From an address on the occasion of the celebration of the “Third Seder” by the National Labor Committee for Palestine, at the Commodore Hotel in New York City, April 17, 1938. Published in New Palestine, Washington, D. C.: April 28, 1938.

      *The state idea is not according to my heart. I cannot understand why it is needed. It is connected with many difficulties and narrow-mindedness. I believe it is bad.

      - From Einstein’s statement to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine, Jan. 11, 1946

      As for Truman's recognition being the fulfillment of Einstein's dream, you should keep in mind that the UN Ad Hoc Committee report, A/AC.14/32, dated 11 November 1947 noted the updated population figures supplied by the British mandatory government which indicated that, from the outset, Arabs would constitute a majority of the population of the proposed “Jewish” state – 509,780 Arabs and 499,020 Jews. See pdf file page 42 of 69.

    • In a 1947 letter to Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru intended to persuade India to support the establishment of a Jewish state, Einstein stated that the Balfour Declaration’s proposal to establish a national home for Jews in Palestine “redresses the balance” of justice and history.[29]

      This is citation to an article written by Benny Morris for the Guardian.

      Once again most of the key points of the narrative are supplied by Morris, not Einstein. His statements are constructed from a collection of snippets, with embellishments added by Morris. But they really only indicate that Einstein would have accepted the Ihad party proposals for a bi-national state, where Arabs didn't exercise exclusive national sovereignty:

      But then Einstein took the bull by the horns, "the nature of [the] Arab opposition. Though the Arab of Palestine has benefited... economically, he wants exclusive national sovereignty, such as is enjoyed by the Arabs of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria [sic]. It is a legitimate and natural desire, and justice would seem to call for its satisfaction." But at the end of the first world war, the Allies gave the Arabs 99% of the "vast, underpopulated territories" liberated from the Turks to satisfy their national aspirations and five independent Arab states were established. One per cent was reserved for the Jews "in the land of their origin". "In the august scale of justice, which weighs need against need, there is no doubt as to whose is more heavy." What the Jews were allotted in the Balfour Declaration "redresses the balance" of justice and history. He concluded by appealing to Nehru to brush aside "the rivalries of power politics and the egotism of petty nationalist appetites" and to support "the glorious renascence which has begun in Palestine".

      We are not treated to the quotes or details about the actual request for Einstien's assistance. Morris only explains that this exchange transpired in the summer of 1947. The UNSCOP heard testimony and collected written proposals for 1) a democratic Arab-Jewish State from Ihud (Judah Magnes, et al) and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Palestine;
      *Palestine--Divided Or United?: The Case for a Bi-National Palestine Before the United Nations, Judah Leon Magnes, Greenwood Press, 1947

      And 2) a partition proposal from the Jewish Agency.
      *Palestine and the United Nations: prelude to solution, Jacob Robinson, Public Affairs Press, 1947
      3) A proposal for a single democratic Arab state with constitutional protections of equality for minorities from the Arabs;
      *Chapter VIII, The Arab Higher Committee Before the United Nations, in Robinson, Palestine and the United Nations, page 127

      All I see in Einstein's remarks is support for continued Jewish immigration and the putting aside of "petty nationalist appetites", but nothing about a Jewish or Zionist state.

    • “When President Harry Truman recognized Israel in May 1948, Einstein declared it “the fulfillment of our dreams.” . . . . & etc.

      Ami Isseroff and the Wikimedia Foundation are the apparent sources of the anecdotal story that you've cited.

      Isseroff sets it off from the body of his article in an unattributed block quote. But the claims 1) that Einstein was reluctantly won over by the force of events; and 2) that these two snippets (supposedly taken from an Einstein letter) prove that he supported a separate Jewish state are material supplied by an anonymous narrator and Isseroff himself, not by Einstein.

      FYI, the Isseroff article is hasbara polemic about Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq's "farago of disinformation".
      *It's another lame attempt to establish that Einstein must have favored the establishment of a Jewish state, because he donated his papers to Hebrew University or the Weizmann Institute.
      *It present this 1921 Einstein quote as "massive supporting evidence": “Your leader, Dr. Weizmann, has spoken…Follow him and you will do well. That is all I have to say.”

      For all we know, Weizmann was only asking for university donations, not a Jewish state. It's a matter of public record that Weizmann continued to back proposals for a bi-national state until at least the mid-1940s.

    • Chaim Weizmann met Albert Einstein and the two scientists became good friends. Einstein was enlisted to help raise funds for the creation of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

      That fact is that you claimed that Einstein had emphatically campaigned with Weizmann to establish Israel. Now you seem to be implying that "Israel" was only the modest university campus on Mt Scopus. Einstein's reluctance and sarcastic remarks about acting as high priest and decoy don't sound very emphatic either. We know he was not very happy with the quality of the university. He said Magnus owed his position there to Felix Warburg and was:

      a failed American rabbi, who, through his dilettantish enterprises had become uncomfortable to his family in America, who very much hoped to dispatch him honorably to some exotic place. This ambitious and weak person surrounded himself with other morally inferior men, who did not allow any decent person to succeed there … These people managed to poison the atmosphere there totally and to keep the level of the institution low.

      --Albrecht Folsing, Albert Einstein: A Biography, (trans. Eald Osers), Penguin, 1998, 494–495.

    • A great article to read: link to

      That's fairly long-winded article that draws the tendentious conclusion that Einstein was merely disappointed by the less than utopian nature of Israeli society and that his repeated public statements in opposition to the establishment of a Jewish or Zionist state in Palestine didn't really mean exactly that.

      Tellingly Ralph Seliger, doesn't produce a shred of direct evidence to support his claim that "Jerome’s thesis that the scientist didn’t really support Israel’s establishment is over-stated in the extreme." That's especially telling, since Jerome supported his thesis by using Einstein's own words. Einstein's statement about Jews becoming part of an independent society did not contain an endorsement of a separate Jewish or Zionist state. Your claim that Einstein campaigned for the establishment of "Israel" implies that he approved of that, not a bi-national one as Seliger suggests.

      That was actually the Arab High Committee position that the representatives of the Jewish Agency rejected. On September 29, 1947, the representative of the Arab Higher Committee, Jamal Husseini, appeared before the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee hearing on Palestine. He said:

      "The future constitutional organization of Palestine should be based on the following principles: first, establishment on democratic lines of an Arab State comprising all Palestine; secondly, observance by the said Arab State of Palestine of human rights, fundamental freedoms and equality of all persons before the law; thirdly, protection by the Arab State of the legitimate rights and interests of all minorities; fourthly, guarantee to all of freedom of worship and access to the Holy Places."

      FYI, unlike the so-called Zionist wing of the Jewish Agency, the non-Zionist wing did not accept Herzl's beliefs that Jews must immigrate to Palestine or that they couldn't go right on living normal lives in other countries. Einstein, and some of my own relatives, were members of that non-Zionist wing of the Agency. They believed in a center of Jewish culture, but not in a Jewish state.

    • Great you cite a book that has been discredited for its bias. . . . The fact is that Einstein campaigned with Chaim Weizmann emphatically for the creation of Israel;

      LOL! I actually cited a two books and two websites which quote Einstein's correspondence and public testimony. So far, you haven't cited anything to support the claim that Einstein did any campaigning for a Jewish state, either emphatically or otherwise. Can you provide any third party verifiable sources to support your claim?

      I assume you are aware of the fact that Dr. Weizmann spent nearly as much time campaigning against a Jewish state as Einstein:

      Dr. Weizmann expressed the view that the most advantageous settlement of the Palestine question in his opinion would be the division of the country into Jewish and Arab cantons with wide powers of autonomy and the federation of Palestine and Trans-Jordan into one state under continued British supervision for some time to come. As Jewish cantons he would include Galilee (northern Palestine) and the coastal region of Palestine, and as Arab cantons the hill country and western Palestine, together with Trans-Jordan. The Negev or southern Palestine comprises 11,000,000 dunums of land inhabited by no more than 50,000 Bedouins. At least one-tenth of this region was cultivable and might serve as an eventual place of settlement of large numbers of people. He would leave this area, however, outside the cantonization plan for subsequent disposition.

      The hope was expressed by Dr. Weizmann that eventually such Jewish and Arab areas as might be set up in Palestine and Trans-Jordan could be merged in a larger federation of states, including Syria and Iraq, but he was afraid that the French might be an obstacle to this. The Jewish leader added that his proposed boundaries for cantonal settlement followed in general the lines of the partition proposals of the Royal Commission. He had succeeded in obtaining the approval of the partition proposals by the World Zionist Congress in 1937 as he felt that those proposals were something in hand which were worth accepting. Unfortunately, the partition scheme had had to be abandoned.

      Dr. Weizmann stated that he would be one of the first to admit that the Jews had made many mistakes in Palestine. Twenty years had not been enough in which to reach a durable basis of settlement. It would take many more years than that. Mr. Murray inquired what Dr. Weizmann’s reaction had been to the statement in Parliament in 1938 of Viscount Samuel that the Arab nationalist movement in Palestine was as genuine as the Egyptian nationalist movement, the Irish nationalist movement, or the Indian nationalist movement. Dr. Weizmann replied that he was in entire accord with Viscount Samuel as to this.

      Mr. Murray observed that he did not think that Dr. Weizmann’s views as to the advantages of the partition proposals of the Royal Commission or as to the significance of the Arab uprising of the past three years in Palestine were generally shared by American Zionists. Dr. Weizmann replied that with all due respect to American Zionists, he found them either too extreme in their views, on the one hand, or too lukewarm, on the other. By reason of their distance from the practical problems which the Jews had to face, American Zionists were insufficiently informed concerning the day-to-day development of those problems. As a result, American Zionists were either uncompromising in their outlook or completely disillusioned regarding the future.

      – See Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1940. The British Commonwealth, the Soviet Union, the Near East and Africa (1940), pages 837-838 link to

      Five years later in 1945 he still didn’t express any desire for a separate Jewish state:

      *10. As regards the possible government of Palestine, Mr. Blevin recently had a talk with Dr. Weizmann, who appears now to be against partition and talked about a Swiss constitution with cantons which would be a bilingual state with opportunities for both races to be represented abroad, and which would provide common services within. His Majesty’s Government would be willing for consideration to be given to this as well.

      – See Foreign relations of the United States : diplomatic papers, 1945, The Near East and Africa, page 776

      You can't change these facts.

      I've been discussing facts that are a matter of public record in many cases. You haven't been doing anything but making unsupported assertions.

    • He campaigned with Chaim Weizmann emphatically for the creation of Israel. In the eyes of people like you, that defines him as to supporting the Zionist cause.

      No he always spoke out against the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. You can read about that right here at Mondoweiss:

      Here are some quotes from the book, Einstein on Israel and Zionism:

      ”The first and most important necessity is the creation of a modus vivendi with the Arab people.

      The greatest danger in the present situation is that blind chauvinism may gain ground in our ranks.”

      - Einstein (About Zionism, 1930)

      It would seem that men always need some…fiction in the name of which they can hate one another. Once it was religion. Now it is the State.

      - Einstein to Hendrik A. Lorentz, 1915

      I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. …the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power….I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain – especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks…

      - Einstein speech in New York, April 17, 1938.

      The state idea is not according to my heart. I cannot understand why it is needed. It is connected with many difficulties and narrow-mindedness. I believe it is bad.

      - From Einstein’s statement to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine, Jan. 11, 1946

      Did it not come to your mind that the “Pilgrims” [who] came from England to colonize this country came to realize a plan very similar to your own? Do you also know how tyrannical, intolerant and aggressive these people became after a short while? Being baptized in Jewish water is no protection either.

      - Einstein to a Zionist (Louis Rabinowitz) in Brooklyn, March 17, 1952

      The most important aspect of our policy must be our ever-present, manifest desire to institute complete equality for the Arab citizens living in our midst….The attitude we adopt toward the Arab minority will provide the real test of our moral standards as a people.

      - Einstein to Zvi Lurie, January 4, 1955

      We had great hopes for Israel at first. We thought it might be better than other nations, but it is no better.

      - Einstein to Dorothy Schiff, publisher of the NY Post(in her “Dear Reader” column, March 13, 1955)


      P.S. For a discussion of what Alfred Lilienthal called the "kidnapping" of Albert Einstein by the Zionists, see Alfred Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection II, (New Brunswick, New Jersey: North American, 1982), pp. 340‑343 or this: Einstein, Zionism and Israel: Setting the Record Straight

  • Sodawater without settlements: alternatives to Sodastream
    • Does the U.S. have similar laws that you’re familar with?

      Yes. US Treasury Department directives prohibit labeling products from the West Bank and Gaza as "Made in Israel":

      [B]y letter dated October 24, 1994, the Department of State advised the Department of the Treasury that, in view of certain developments, principally the Israeli-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (signed on September 13, 1993), the primary purpose of 19 U.S.C. 1304 would be best served if goods produced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were permitted to be marked ‘‘West Bank’’ or ‘‘Gaza Strip.’’
      Accordingly, as Customs has previously relied upon advice received from the Department of State in making determinations regarding the ‘‘country of origin’’ of a good for marking purposes, Customs notified the public in T.D. 95–25 that, unless excepted from marking, goods produced in the West Bank or Gaza Strip shall be marked as ‘‘West Bank,’’ ‘‘Gaza,’’ or ‘‘Gaza Strip.’’ The T.D. further stated that the country of origin markings of such goods shall not contain the words ‘‘Israel,’’ ‘‘Made in Israel,’’ ‘‘Occupied Territories-Israel,’’ or words of similar meaning.
      By letter dated January 13, 1997, the Department of State advised the Department of the Treasury that the Palestinian Authority has asked that the U.S. accept the country of origin marking ‘‘West Bank/Gaza’’ so as to reaffirm the territorial unity of the two areas. The Department of State further advised that it considers the West Bank and Gaza Strip to be one area for political, economic, legal and other purposes.

      62 FR 12269 - Country of Origin Marking of Products From the West Bank and Gaza link to

      Prof James Crawford of Cambridge just wrote a 60 page opinion which explains that it would not violate any international law or the World Trade Agreement to ban imports of settlement products into the EU regardless of how they are labelled. So it looks like the UK may be poised to step-up the pressure another notch on settlement products. They led the charge on mislabeling:

  • Exile and the Prophetic: Have you been conquered by the bible?
    • Didn’t Solomon have a thousand wives?

      The archeologists advise us that there were probably about a thousand inhabitants in Jerusalem during the 9th and 10th centuries BCE. It's unlikely that they were all married to King Solomon.

  • Fallout of Attack: Egypt launches Sinai air raids
    • Where we differ, is that you blame Israel, and I blame the Arab states. Arab states expelled more Jews than the other way round. Yet, the Arab Jews were all absorbed in the tiny Israel without even the UN help.

      FYI, the Zionists allowed UNRWA and its predecessor to register, feed, and shelter at least 17,000 Jewish refugees from Palestine in Israel. link to

      Israel received a hundred million dollar loan from the US in 1949 and has been the largest recipient of foreign aid and loan guarantees since WWII.

      Article 13 of the UN Charter tasks the General Assembly with promoting the progressive codification of international law. So the majority of post WWII treaties are contained in UN General Assembly resolutions and their annexes. That means the same UN organ that defined the international crime of genocide in UN General Assembly resolution 260 A (III), also condemned the Sabra and Shatila camp massacres and declared them to be an act of Genocide. See the text of resolution 37/123 Part D

      *Resolution 260 A (III)
      *Resolution 37/123 Part D

      In the Jorgic v. Germany case, the defendant was found guilty by the German lower court of acting with intent to commit 11 counts of genocide, murder of 22 people and dangerous assault and deprivation of liberty. The judgment of Düsseldorf Court of Appeal remained final regarding the applicant's conviction for genocide and on eight of the counts of murder. The European Court of Human Rights upheld the conviction in the German courts for the crime of genocide based upon the necessary intent to destroy members of the group as a social unit:

      The court also found that the applicant had acted with intent to commit genocide within the meaning of Article 220a of the Criminal Code. Referring to the views expressed by several legal writers, it stated that the "destruction of a group" within the meaning of Article 220a of the Criminal Code meant destruction of the group as a social unit in its distinctiveness and particularity and its feeling of belonging together; a biological-physical destruction was not necessary. It concluded that the applicant had therefore acted with intent to destroy the group of Muslims in the North of Bosnia, or at least in the Doboj region.

      link to

      The Jewish militias and the IDF have carried out operations to destroy entire villages in Palestine and Jordan in which many more than 8 people were deliberately murdered. In the Kafr Kasem case a military court applied the Nuremberg rules against obeying a manifestly illegal order and found the soldiers guilty of crimes against humanity. In many cases, like the massacres at Deir Yassin, Qibya, Khan Yunis, Rafah, and Sammu no one was ever prosecuted.

      During the 2nd Intifada in 2000, the UN Commission on Human Rights fact finders reported "widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the Israeli occupying Power, in particular mass killings and collective punishments". The fact finding report after Operation Cast Lead contained similar evidence of mass killings. See

    • Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, did not. You are also mixing two issues. Recognizing the “Palestine” is not the same as granting Lebanese citizenship to “Palestinians” living there.

      Actually the Syrians claimed sovereignty over the ten villages in the DMZs as soon as the Israelis claimed (retroactively) that Israel wasn't a successor to the government of Palestine and that none of the refugees had ever been its citizens. So the jury is still out until the final settlement on those displaced "Palestinians" from Khan el Duweir in the northern sector; Baqqara, Ghannameh, Mansurat el Khayt, Yirda in the central sector; Samra, old and new Nuqeib, Kh. Tawafiq and al Hemma in the southern sector.

      States are spatial entities. It is a gross violation of the territorial integrity of Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and of international law to drive the unwanted Arab inhabitants of the Mandated State of Palestine into the sovereign territory of another state and maintain that situation by threats or use of force. No foreign country has any obligation to grant refugees citizenship, only asylum.

      The fact that 130 countries recognize “Palestine” does not mean anything. Palestine is not a viable state. They don’t have a legitimate government, and without the international, mostly Western help, they would be yet another failed state, of which there are more than enough in the Muslim world.

      Recognition by the executive branch of a government is legally binding under customary international law and common law. For example, the Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States § 201 Reporters note 3 says "The United States will treat States the territory of which is under foreign military occupation as continuing to exist."

      In Kletter v Dulles, the Court ruled that in 1932 the Executive branch of the US government had recognized Palestine as a separate foreign state in its treaties of commerce. See link to

      In 1995 the State Department published a Memorandum of Conversation between William Crawford Jr. and Mr. Shaul Bar-Haim from the Israeli Embassy (February 7, 1963) regarding Jerusalem. Bar-Haim said "The use of the term "Palestine" is historical fiction; it encourages the Palestine entity concept; its "revived usage enrages" individual Israelis". Crawford said "It is difficult to see how it "enrages" Israeli opinion. The practice is consistent with the fact that, ''in a de jure sense'', Jerusalem was part of Palestine and has not since become part of any other sovereignty.

      Of course the same thing applies to the territory of Gaza. The US government recognized the union between Arab Palestine and Transjordan and the sovereignty of the new entity over the combined territory. See "Memorandum of Conversation, between Mr. Stuart W. Rockwell of the Office of African and Near Eastern Affairs, US State department and Mr. Abdel Monem Rifai, Counselor, Jordan Legation in Washington, June 5, 1950" in Foreign relations of the United States, 1950. The Near East, South Asia, and Africa, Volume V (1950), Page 921

      The 1993 disengagement by the government of Jordan was without prejudice to the legal status of the territory captured by Israel in 1967 under the terms of the Peace Treaty between Jordan and Israel. The US is obliged to treat the West Bank as part of an occupied state that continues to exist in a de jure sense until it recognizes the State of Palestine as part of its own Phase II Road Map obligations:

      Phase II: Transition -- June 2003-December 2003 . . . Quartet members promote international recognition of Palestinian state, including possible UN membership.

    • So when will the Nakba be over, when the state of Israel is gone?

      Well it damn sure isn't going to be over while Israel is still occupying and forceably evicting Palestinians so that it can colonize their territory or while it's still persecuting them with inhuman restrictions on freedom of movement, choice of residence, and access to their own resources. The same thing applies to treating Israeli citizens like foreign aliens in the so called "Jewish State" just because they are "Arabs" who were born there.

    • Sure, it is better to keep the “Palestinian” brothers stateless

      They haven't. Jordan granted citizenship to their brethren in central Palestine. The Charter of the Arab League of States has an Annex on the State of Palestine, which has always recognized the its de jure existence. Today, there are about 130 countries that recognize the State of Palestine inside the 4 June 1967 borders, but Israel and the US continue to use blackmail and threats of annexation to deny its existence as a separate occupied country.

    • The comparison of the Palestinian Arab refugee crisis with the Holocaust is obscene.

      The Nakba wasn't limited to a refugees crisis. It was, and still is, an attempt by Zionism to destroy the Palestinians as a nation or social unit in whole or in part through persecution, massacres, and ethnic cleansing.

      Nakba or Holocaust denial violate the comment policies here. There's nothing obscene about comparing instances of the crimes enumerated in Article 6 of the Nuremberg Charter or Articles 6, 7, and 8 of the Rome Statute. The Holocaust and the Nakba provide many examples of each of those offenses.

      Governments have murdered hundreds of millions of their citizens and those under their control. The Holocaust and Nakba are only two of the many examples.

    • Among them were nearly 1 million Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim countries. Most went to Israel, where they were absorbed, and assimilated.

      How can you distinguish many of them from other Zionists making aliya? There were Zionist federations and unions in all of those countries during the mandate era complaining to high Heaven about British limits on immigration quotas. The Jewish Agency deliberately conducted campaigns to spread fear and trigger mass exoduses in Iraq and other countries after the State of Israel was established. –- See Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern Affairs (Jones), Secret [WASHINGTON,] August 2,1951.
      Subject: Israel’s Concern Re Peace With the Arabs and Other Matters.
      Participants: Mr. Theodore Kollek, Embassy of Israel and Mr. G. Lewis Jones, NE, Foreign relations of the United States, 1951. The Near East and Africa, page 815 link to

      Walter Laqueur noted that "Among the Irgun and the Stern Gang there were many youngsters from the Oriental Jewish community, which was not widely represented in the non-terrorist Hagana." See A history of terrorism, Transaction Publishers, 1977, page 122 link to

      One area where they were over-represented was in the Palmach's corps of assassins. Jewish undercover units, called “The Arabists of the Palmach” or Mista’arvim [literally, "Arab-pretenders"], are known to have been in operation in Palestine and neighboring Arab countries as early as 1942. The purpose of the units, which were part of the Palmach, was to gather intelligence information and carry out assassinations of Arabs, by infiltrating Arab towns and villages disguised as local Arabs. Primarily Jews who originated from Arab countries were recruited to the Mista ‘rivim. — See Targeting To Kill: Israel’s Undercover Units, Elia Zureik and Anita Vitullo, The Palestine Human Rights Information Center (PHRIC)
      *link to
      *link to
      and Zvika Dror, The ’Arabists’ of the Palmach (Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House, 1986)

      After a delegation of three top officials of the AJC visited Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria in late 1954, AJC Executive Vice President John Slawson was critical of Zionists who encouraged the "panic migration" of North African Jews. He said he saw "salesmen for the Jewish Agency actually empty out whole villages."347 The JA in fact decided to begin applying immigration selection criteria to immigrants from all regions beginning in 1952. In 1953 World Zionist Organization executive member Moshe Kol noted: "Today the Jews of Morocco have jobs and a source of livelihood. They receive disheartening letters from here; there is no work. Apart from that, the French are in control of the situation, so the Jews feel more secure and are in no hurry to leave. Those who do want to come here are the most wretched beggars."348 However, some Israeli officials were not above discussing Jewish immigration from Morocco in dramatic terms that stressed the financial burden upon Israel, efforts that other Jewish and Israeli officials felt were little more than publicity stunts to raise money from Jews abroad. Veteran Israeli diplomat Walter Eytan had this to say in a frank December 1955 letter to the WJC's Alex Easterman:

      It is true, of course, that in order to get more money for the U. J.A. [United Jewish Appeal] and other funds one has to put across a story that will loosen Jewish purse-strings, and the growing immigration from Morocco in a way speaks for itself. I don't know about the 100,000 who according to Mr. [Shlomo Zalman] Shragai are knocking at the Jewish Agency's doors, but it is a fact that immigration from Morocco has increased and it is increasing. . . . But I agree that there has been altogether too much loose talk of one kind and another, and I shall try to see whether something can be done about it— by means of a confidential directive or in some other way.349

      --pages 83-84 of Michael Fischbach, Jewish Property Claims Against Arab Countries

      There certainly were Jews who were deprived of property and citizenship or who had legitimate fears of persecution, but let's not pretend that there were no Zionists in the Oriental communities or that many of them did not serve as a Zionist fifth column at great risk to the interests of their Arab Jewish brethren.

  • Can you pass the Hezbollah quiz?
    • @Hostage. When Israel bombs Hamas terrorists in response to terrorist attacks on Israel, that’s a reprisal. Nothing in the definition of “reprisal” that means it is an attack on civilians.

      Fred we know for a fact that Israel has carried out reprisals against Palestinians for the wrongful acts committed by others in the case of the Eilat attacks. They've also used punitive home demolitions as reprisals in the past against real or perceived criminal or terrorist activities using the mandate era Defense Emergency Regulation and "military necessity" as justification. See the discussion in Bringing Down The House: Israeli Demolitions in the Occupied West Bank, at the Foreign Policy Journal link to

      Reprisals were by definition otherwise illegal acts committed in response to some alleged act by an enemy for the limited purpose of securing future compliance with the laws and customs of war. They were outlawed by Common Article 3 and 33 of the 4th Geneva Convention.

      The sinking of the Lusitania was an example:

      In the conduct of reprisals it is admitted that
      neutral lives should not be imperiled, and the
      destruction of the Lusitania, in so far as it
      endangered neutral lives, was therefore unjustifiable.
      Another summary, that of the New York
      " Times," is as follows :
      First, Germany, while considering reprisals
      against an enemy legal and knowing that the
      United States Government regards reprisals as
      illegal, admits that the attack upon the Lusitania
      was an act of retaliation that was not justifiable
      in so far as it involved the lives of neutrak,
      and also assumes liability for such loss of neutral

      During the trials of the WWII War Criminals, the opinion of Hersh Lauterpacht from Oppenheim’s International Law, 6th and 8th Editions was cited to define reprisals and to determine when reprisals against civilians, towns, and villages were customarily authorized in accordance with Article 50 of the Hague Convention (see pages 3 & 4)

      Article 33 of the 4th Geneva Convention states:

      No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
      Pillage is prohibited.
      Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

      Article 53 states:

      Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.

      Nowadays you can't drop a 2,000 pound bomb on a multiple family dwelling to kill a civilian that you've merely accused or suspected of committing a crime without first obtaining a sentence from a regularly constituted court.

    • Nope. Israel is not bound by any treaty that they haven’t ratified. Some people think that some parts of the treaty are customary law, that doesn’t make it binding, it just gives them an excuse to whine. The only exception being the Israeli High Court, which gets to decide these matters for Israel.

      First of all, there are 121 countries that have agreed that they will prosecute Israel, or any other state, for the violations of customary international law contained in the Rome Statute when those offenses are committed on the territory of another state. The international community of states and the Courts decide what the customary law says, not individual states. Palestine is current going through the process of establishing its standing to file a complaint for crimes committed on its territory since July 2002.

      Secondly, the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that customary law is automatically incorporated in the domestic law of Israel, but in many cases it has allowed the Knesset to overrule non-derogable norms of international law with specific legislation. That simply means the Judges and MKs are individually, criminally, responsible. But that is nothing new or surprising. The Courts and the Knesset have been engaged in a joint criminal enterprise over settlements and apartheid for many decades.

    • @Hostage No, it takes Lebanese and Palestinian terrorists prisoner, not civilians and not hostage.

      Fred we all know that they abducted civilians and used them for bargaining chips for a couple of decades, because the government and Supreme Court openly defended the practice, until 2000. Since then the Supreme Court has really only required that the government employ a fig leaf when it continues to employ the practice:

      Israel Court Bars 'Bargaining Chip' Detentions
      Mideast: Decision in case of Lebanese captives reverses 1997 ruling acknowledging practice aimed at securing release of missing soldiers.
      April 13, 2000
      JERUSALEM — In a landmark decision, Israel's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the state cannot continue to hold a group of Lebanese detainees as "bargaining chips" to secure the freedom of missing or captured Israeli soldiers.

      The decision reversed a ruling by the court in 1997 that had provided the first official admission of the practice. The latest ruling was hailed by human rights activists and legal experts here as marking an end to detentions that many have denounced as "legalized hostage-taking," but it was greeted with disappointment by relatives of the missing Israeli soldiers.


      Of course, we know that the government ignores the Supreme Court rulings on targeting killings, the neighbor policy, and the use of bargaining chips, because they publicly argue in favor of the continued use of those illegal practices. The bottom line is that these Lebanese and Palestinians are still just as dead, illegally coerced, or illegally imprisoned, it just takes a couple of months for the government to invent an excuse:

      AG refuses to ok use of Hamas officials as 'bargaining chips' G8: IDF detention of 64 lawmakers raises 'concerns'; Israel warns not even Haniyeh immune from detention
      Jun.29, 2006
      Attorney General Menachem Mazuz refused a request by the Shin Bet security service and the government to place dozens of senior Hamas officials under administrative detention or hold them as "bargaining chips" under the Unlawful Combatants Law.

      Mazuz insisted that the arrests be carried out under ordinary criminal warrants that would require legal proceedings against the Hamas officials under the Prevention of Terror Ordinance. They will probably be charged with membership in or leadership of a terrorist organization.

    • The remarks were made about the actions of an opposition former government in response to criticism from the out of power opposition, not about the present actions of the government. Might as well blame the U.S. government for whatever lies Romney makes up about what Obama is doing.

      You can't employ that excuse in the cases of past "reprisals" conducted against civilian objectives when they are listed by the sitting Prime Minister to justify his own continuing policy of reprisals against civilians. I've lost count of the number of times that the official IDF spokesperson has labeled an attack a "reprisal". That practice has been ipso jure illegal and criminal for decades.

    • 1st Additional protocol is rejected by the US and by Israel for exactly the reason that it does try to tie the hands of the good guys and give terrorists rights that are reserved in the 3rd GC for legitimate military forces. . . . Somehow, I can’t see Palestinian suicide bombers walking across the border openly displaying their weapons and wearing a uniform.

      Fred Common Article 3 simply and explicitly requires signatories to afford prisoners all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples. The bottom line is that Israel and the United States choose not to obey the fundamental laws recognized by civilized people.

      You're constantly misstating facts and desperately trying to re-frame the question after you've lost the original argument. We were talking about the fact that Israel takes Lebanese or Palestinian civilians hostage or abducts them for use as bargaining chips. That's something that the government of Israel and the Courts in Israel have readily admitted in a number of landmark cases. That's illegal whether you transfer them across an international border or international line of demarcation in violation Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention or not.

      Israel has routinely imprisoned up to 10,000 Palestinians at a time. The overwhelming majority of cases don't involve suicide bombers or armed attacks. Thousands of those prisoners were illegally transferred to prisons outside the occupied territories. The Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) rejected a petition to order the State to refrain from holding Palestinian prisoners and detainees in facilities located in Israeli territory within the Green Line. See HCJ Rejects Petition against Holding Detained Palestinians in Israeli Territory [HCJ 2690/09] [28.3.2010] link to
      The HCJ did not question the customary status of the prohibition in Article 49(6) of the Geneva Convention, it simply held that Israeli national legislation overrides the provisions of international conventions to which Israel is party, including conventions that codify customary norms of international law and war crimes.

      Nothing you've linked to says that the United States rejects Additional Protocol I or II for the purposes of the treatment of prisoners. In fact, the Reagan Administration transmittal for Protocol II that you cited is both senescent and inapplicable in that respect. It specifically noted that the Administration was working with our allies to develop appropriate methods for incorporating the positive provisions of Protocol I into the rules that govern our military operations, and as customary international law. That of course was a ludicrous statement, since the US actually rejects the jurisprudence of the ICJ, the ICTY, the ICTR and the pronouncements of international human rights treaty bodies on the applicability of codifications of customary human rights to armed conflicts. The fundamental non-derogable human rights and laws of war reflected in the Protocols are also reflected in the lengthy list of punishable offenses of customary international law enumerated in the Rome Statute of the ICC.

      In any event the President's fact sheet on Guantánamo and Detainee Policy stated that the US applies Protocol II and that Article 75 of Additional Protocol I, which sets forth fundamental guarantees for persons in the hands of opposing forces in an international armed conflict, is consistent with our current policies and practice and is one that the United States has historically supported.

      The Israeli High Court accepts that it's illegal to take hostages or abduct enemy civilians for use as bargaining chips. It also accepts that prolonged illegal imprisonment is a form of mental torture, and that torture is prohibited by customary norms reflected in the 1st Additional Protocol. See Public Committee against Torture in Israel v. Government of Israel, HCJ 769/02 at ¶ 20 (11 December 2005).

      The MFA advises that

      In particular, Israel’s High Court of Justice has confirmed that in the ongoing armed conflict with Palestinian terrorist organisations, including Hamas, Israel must adhere to the rules and principles in (a) the Fourth Geneva Convention,(9) (b) the Regulations annexed to the Fourth Hague Convention (which reflect customary international law), and (c) the customary international law principles reflected in certain provisions of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions on 1949.(10) Israel is not a party to the Additional Protocol I, but accepts that some of its provisions accurately reflect customary international law

      -- See Terrorism obstacles to peace, Hamas war against Israel, Operation in Gaza, Factual and legal aspects, Applicable legal framework, 5 Aug 2009 at the MFA website:

    • Have you got a cite in the 3rd GC that says that people who attack without openly bearing arms and without insignia get POW treatment?

      Surely, Article 4. A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:
      (1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict, as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

      Article 4 A.( 2) et seq adds additional categories of POWs, but does not modify Article 4 A. (1).

    • Oh, I see, so the Afrikaners should have just held the policy that the blacks weren’t merely non-citizens, but were an enemy people.

      That's a moot point, since that's exactly what the Afrikaners did in the case of the Namibians and SWAPO.

    • It’s not a question of a law, it is a question of the facts.

      That's incorrect, the crime of apartheid is a question of law. In the Namibia case, the ICJ used the UN Charter as a legal test. It determined that South Africa was in violation of the purposes and principles of the UN Organization contained in Article 1 of the Charter, namely the principle of self-determination of peoples.

      Remember that preemptive attack in 1967. You can't invade another territory and declare the indigenous people there non-citizens, a security threat, and deny their right of self-determination because they are now your "enemies". The Court cited Article 25(2)(b) of the Declaration Regarding Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts which precludes a state from invoking necessity to preclude the wrongfulness of an act when it has created the situation or contributed to the situation of necessity.

      The submissions of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, et al in the Wall case cited the list of constituent acts of the crime of apartheid from the suppression convention and the test used by the Court in the Namibia case. The Court's findings of facts affirmed those individual violations of the UN Charter and the corresponding rights that were being violated from the non-derogable ones in the ICCPR and ICESCR (the International Bill of Rights). So it's both a matter of law and the facts.

    • That is them politicking against the Labor government. Politics is rife with exaggeration, hyperbole, and outright lies. . . . These remarks were made by the ISraeli foreign minister.

      Bear in mind that Eban was responding to Prime Minister Menachim Begin's 1981 article in the JPost. So it was the Prime Minister himself who was discussing his government's continuation of a general policy of conducting retaliatory strikes against civilian objectives that existed under previous governments, including the Alignment-led Government of National Unity that Begin had joined in 1967.

    • Then you aren’t paying attention to the facts. Apartheid applies when it is your own citizens being denied rights because of race, not when an occupied enemy is denied rights because of his enmity.

      Fred that is a rule of hasbara, not a rule of law. The very first case of apartheid that was referred to the International Court of Justice involved an illegal regime imposed upon all of the citizens of the State of Namibia by the neighboring government of South Africa in order to deny them self-determination and independence. They used the same lame-assed excuse about the occupation and the claimed the members of SWAPO were their enemies. See:
      *Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa) notwithstanding Security Council Resolution 276 (1970)

      The ICJ received a similar complaint about continued Israeli occupation, colonialism, and apartheid in 2003. It's findings of fact found that Israel was systematically violating the human rights of the inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, with the notable exception of the citizens of Israel. It applied the same test that it used in the Namibia case, and advised that Israel was violating its obligations under the UN Charter to respect the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people.

      The Goldstone Fact Finding Mission cited those ICJ findings of fact and confirmed that:

      Despite prohibitions under international humanitarian law (IHL), Israel has applied its domestic laws throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967. . . . .[T]he application of Israeli domestic laws has resulted in institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory to the benefit of Jewish settlers, both Israeli citizens and others. Exclusive benefits reserved for Jews derive from the two-tiered civil status under Israel’s domestic legal regime based on a “Jewish nationality,” which entitles “persons of Jewish race or descendency” to superior rights and privileges, particularly in land use, housing, development, immigration and access to natural resources, as affirmed in key legislation. Administrative procedures qualify indigenous inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territory as “alien persons” and, thus, prohibited from building on, or renting, large portions of land designated by the Government of Israel as “State land” (para 206). . . . . From the facts available to it, the Mission believes that in the movement and access policy there has been a violation of the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of race or national origin (para 1548).

    • Well, as to protected persons, that only applies to occupied territories, which Lebanon is not currently.

      I cited a UN Security Council resolution which condemned both sides for taking hostages and abducting civilians during the occupation of Lebanon by Israel. Hezbollah was complaining that some of those persons were still being held in Israeli prisons in 2006.

      As to POWs, that applies to those who follow the laws of war, bear arms openly, fight with insignia of rank and if not in uniforms then at least in ways that visually distinguish them from civilians.

      I already cited the customary law reflected in the 1st Additional protocol. The Palestinian militias wear uniforms and carry arms openly, but Israel refuses to treat them as POWS or protected civilians at times when they are not engaged in hostilities.

      Terrorists do not get protections as POWs.

      You can label prisoners as war criminals, if they've actually attacked civilians in violation of the laws and customs of war. But you can't simply declare a belligerent state's militia to be terrorists under the rules of the Third Geneva Convention.

      UNIFIL provides cover for terrorist attacks on Israel. They get bombed by accident when Israel fires back at the terrorists.

      That's the usual hasbara nonsense. Israel demanded that UNIFIL share its military intelligence with the IDF. That would have required the UN to spy on one party to the conflict on behalf of an other party to the conflict.

    • As for the Abba Eban “quote”. You’ve come up with too many fake quotes in the past to be believed without providing a source by anyone but an anti-Semite.

      It comes from an exchange published in the Jerusalem Post. Here you go:

      A small glimpse into the reality was given by Prime Minister Menahem Begin in a letter published in the Israeli press in August 1981, written in response to what he regarded as hypocritical criticism of the Israeli bombing of Beirut, which killed hundreds of civilians Begin offered a "partial list" of military attacks on Arab civilians under the Labor governments, which included over 30 separate episodes that left many civilians dead. He concluded that "under the Alignment government, there were regular retaliatory actions against civilian Arab populations; the air force operated against them; the damage was directed against such structures as the canal, bridges and transport." "The picture that emerges," former UN Ambassador and Foreign Minister Abba Eban wrote in response, "is of an Israel wantonly inflicting every possible measure of death and anguish on civilian populations in a mood reminiscent of regimes which neither Mr. Begin nor I would dare to mention by name."

      -- Prof Edward S. Herman, "The Real Terror Network", South End Press, 1999, page 77.

      Here is another:

      Turning to the second major example of the pre-Reagan period, in southern Lebanon from the early 1970s the population was held hostage with the "rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that affected populations would exert pressure for the cessation of hostilities" and acceptance of Israeli arrangements for the region (Abba Eban, commenting on Prime Minister Menachem Begin's account of atrocities in Lebanon committed under the Labor government in the style "of regimes which neither Mr. Begin nor I would dare to mention by name," Eban observed, recognizing the accuracy of the account).31*

      *31 Jerusalem Post, Aug. 16, 1981; see Fateful Triangle, chapter 5, sections 1, 3.4, for further quotes, background, and description.

      "Necessary Illusions" Copyright © 1989 by Prof Noam Chomsky, Appendix V, Segment 5/33

    • In that case, what are you complaining about? If a state of war has existed between Lebanon and Israel over the entire period you mentioned then Israel could have invaded at any time. They didn’t even need the capture or killing of their soldiers as a reason for it.

      Also, holding terrorists and other fighters doesn’t fall under the 4th GC, which concerns civilian populations, it falls under the 3rd GC, covering POWs.

      I'm not complaining, that's what United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is for. You were the one talking about a casus belli. Israel has never treated any suspected terrorists or fighters as POWs or as internationally protected persons according to the rules of either convention. Israel has bombed UNIFIL. In a more perfect world, that would be considered a casus belli.

    • No, acts of war are not limited to inciting events. It is just that that is the main time when they are significant. Since people just expect that once a war is on, there will be constant acts of war by both sides.

      In the 2005 targeted killings case, the Israeli Supreme Court accepted the government’s position that "a continuous state of armed conflict has existed between Israel and the Palestinian militias operating in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza since the first intifada." The High Court said that the entire area is part and parcel of an armed conflict. See the subsection of the ruling under the heading “The General Normative Framework, A. International Armed Conflict”

      The government of Israel also says that the rights that accrue to humans do not accrue to Palestinians because they live in a part of a perpetual armed conflict. They also claim that the Occupied Palestinian Territories are not a part of Israel's sovereign territory and jurisdiction. See CCPR/C/ISR/2001/2, para 8 or E/1990/6/Add.32, para 6-7

      dimadok and Bing Bong have different ideas about that sovereign jurisdiction stuff. But it sounds like a slam dunk case of apartheid and persecution to me.

    • @Hostage . . . Partly right, you may notice that the USA hasn’t attacked Gaza.

      No but it has invaded Lebanon twice. FYI the General Assembly has gone into emergency special sessions and condemned the USA on several occasions over improper use of its veto to facilitate Israel's continued occupation and annexation of Arab territories captured in 1967. It has also condemned substantial US involvement in acts of aggression against Palestinians, including continued US arms sales to Israel in violation of UN resolutions regarding the maintenance of international peace and security. The US Corps of Engineers assisted in the design of a steel wall constructed between Gaza and Egypt after the UN and ICRC treaty monitoring bodies declared the closure/blockade an illegal form of collective punishment and persecution.

    • A state of war was not in effect when Hezbollah killed those Israeli soldiers.

      Correction: According to the regulations in Chapter V, "Armistices" attached to Hague IV (1907), a state of war has existed between Lebanon and Israel ever since Ben Gurion declared the 1949 armistice agreements null and void and reasserted a state of belligerency and belligerent claims, e.g.

      Art. 36.

      An armistice suspends military operations by mutual agreement between the belligerent parties. If its duration is not defined, the belligerent parties may resume operations at any time, provided always that the enemy is warned within the time agreed upon, in accordance with the terms of the armistice.

      Ben Gurion's act violated a number of Chapter VII Security Council resolutions, including number 73

      Israel invaded Lebanon and simply withdrew, but still designates it as an enemy state and refuses to terminate its claims and states of belligerency in accordance with Security Council resolution 242. Lebanon has similarly refused to drop some of its belligerent claims, e.g. Shebaa Farms and prisoners. In fact, we've mentioned that Israel was still holding Lebanese civilians as bargaining chips in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and UN Security Council resolutions on hostage taking and abductions, e.g.

      And of course since the Hezbollah jihadis were not legally part of Lebanon’s armed forces, it technically would be a crime for them to do what they did even if the two countries were at war.

      There is no requirement for volunteer, militia groups, or paramilitary groups comprised of inhabitants to be part of the national armed forces. They are only required to carry their weapons openly during each military engagement, and during such time as they are visible to the adversary while engaged in a military deployment preceding the launching of an attack. See Article 44(3) of the 1st Additional Protocol.

      Israel does not consider that Article 44(3) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I reflects customary international law, despite the fact that it has been ratified by 172 state parties and that various international criminal tribunals have ruled that it reflects customary practice.

      The Hezbollah attack certainly did violate UN Security Council resolutions, but it's not a crime to attack military objectives or to take members of the enemy's armed forces as prisoners. They have a legal status that is different from civilian hostages or civilian abductees.

    • It’s not a contradictory argument.

      Yes it is. Once a war is in progress, the rules of jus in bello apply without prejudice to questions of how or why the war began. Additional justifications for acts of war, casus belli, under the rules of jus ad bellum are irrelevant, because no additional acts are legally required before either side can conduct further offensive operations.

    • If you’d like to read the original source, it is available on Amazon.

      I have. It says that the northern border with Lebanon remained peaceful. So the Lebanese weren't guilty of any wrongful acts of state that warranted an invasion. The assassinations in Europe or attacks from Jordan did not constitute grounds for an invasion of Lebanon either. In fact, the government of Lebanon had already pointed out it had nothing to do with PLO commando operations when it obtained UN Security Council resolutions ordering Israel to cease its operations against Lebanon and to fully withdraw its forces in 1978. See S/RES/425(1978) & S/RES/426(1978):

      FYI Israel conducted assassinations in Europe from 1972 until at least 1992. According to reliable sources, including Time Magazine correspondent Aaron J. Klien, many of the victims had nothing to do with the Munich massacre and those most responsible escaped. See Kliens "Striking Back: The 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and Israel's Deadly Response", Random House, 2007 .

    • Fredblogs the Hezbollah Manifesto and the Palestine Annex to the Charter of the Arab League give everyone in the region a "special relationship" with Gaza exactly like the one Israel has with the US. Both sides have been playing the blame game and obliging the other with a series of wars. The notion that the belligerents on either side are behaving righteously at this point is risible.

    • “…Of course I read the post. But believing HB is entitled to their own army because they are part of the government is no different than believing the same about the American Democrats and Republicans….”

      LOL! An appropriate analogy would be the attempts by the United Nations to demilitarize the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) under the auspices of Chapter VII of the UN Charter and Security Council Resolution 1244.

      NATO was never able to implement that UN mandate, because the KLA asserted the inherent right of self-defense and rejected any role for Serbia in protecting ethnic Albanians.

    • Last time I checked, Gaza City was not part of Lebanon. So none of Hezbollah's business.

      The same logic would apply to Sderot and the "special relationship with Israel", which is not part of the USA. Although it's none of our business, the Republicans and Democrats always include Israel in their party platforms. For that matter, the anti-Sharia planks in many of the state party platforms read a lot like counterpoints to Hezbollah's 1985 Manifesto against Zionist colonialism and the US imperialism, except of course that there is no one pursuing pro-Sharia agendas in most US neighborhoods.

    • Sending an armed party across a border means you have just given causus belli, a reason for war, to the other side.

      That's a reference to jus ad bellum, or the law regarding justifications to engage in war. Israel had already invaded Lebanon and illegally transferred civilians across the international frontier to prisons inside Israel for use as bargaining chips in violation of the Geneva Conventions. So the proper body of law would be jus in bello or the limits to acceptable wartime conduct.

      Once states are at war with one another, jus ad bellum no longer applies. So long as Israel maintained a state of belligerency and held onto Lebanese prisoners, jus in bello applied. So the Lebanese had ample justification to remain on a war footing.

    • Annie, Hezbollah lost in 2009 (not sure why my response to that was censored before, i’ll try again) . . . Hezbollah accepts election loss, U.S. backs allies

      Using that metric George Bush Sr. lost the first Gulf War too.

    • Marc, you make no since, 1701 was a response to Lebanon 2, what does it matter if Israel planned anything in advance. What about Israel’s territorial integrity, the war started when Hezbollah crossed the border and slaughtered Israeli soldiers.

      Israel violated the territorial integrity of Lebanon when it invaded and occupied the country in violation of the UN Charter. It did so once again when it transferred Lebanese civilians across the international border and continued to hold them as bargaining chips, after its withdrawal, in violation of the Geneva Conventions. Then it violated Lebanese territorial integrity and the applicable UN Security Council resolutions by continuing to conduct fly-overs of Lebanese territory.

    • Yet, oddly enough, when I try to check this story out it doesn’t really hold up very well.

      Because Prime Minister Begin admitted quite publicly that Israel had started the war with Lebanon by choice. He claimed his policy had continuity to Ben Gurion's policy and that the only difference was that Ben Gurion had resorted to subtrefuge, while he pursued his policies openly. See Flapan, The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities, Pantheon, 1987, page 5.

      Avi Shlaim wrote:

      For many Israelis, especially liberal-minded ones, the Likud's ill-conceived and ill-fated invasion of Lebanon in 1982 marked a watershed. Until then, Zionist leaders had been careful to cultivate the image of peace-lovers who would stand up and fight only if war was forced upon them. Until then, the notion of ein breira, of no alternative, was central to the explanation of why Israel went to war and a means of legitimizing her involvement in wars. But while the fierce debate between supporters and opponents of the Lebanon War was still raging, Prime Minister Menachem Begin gave a lecture to the IDF Staff Academy on wars of choice and wars of no choice. He argued that the Lebanon War, like the Sinai War of 1956, was a war of choice designed to achieve national objectives. With this admission, unprecedented in the history of the Zionist movement, the national consensus round the notion of ein breira began to crumble, creating political space for a critical re-examination of the country's earlier history.

      See "The War of the Israeli Historians", Annales, 59:1, January-February 2004, 161-67. --

    • i thought there was some kind of deal whereby hezbollah was allowed to keep their militia in exchange for something political.

      No there have been a number of Security Council resolutions that call on the government of Lebanon to disarm all armed groups in Lebanon, so that there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese State, e.g. 1559 (2004) , 1680 (2006), and 1701 (2006), e.g.

    • Maybe Iran and Syria should be giving weapons systems the Lebanese military instead of private proxy armies.

      No, the UN should stop interfering in matters of defense which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the inhabitants. Our own Constitution reserved war powers for the individual States, so that they could deal with actual invasions or cases of imminent danger. See the third paragraph of Article 1 Section 10

      For example, in the Bosnia genocide case, Judge Elihu Lauterpacht affirmed a preliminary objection (paras 98-107 on Pages 64-71) which held that the Security Council arms embargo was illegal and exceeded the organ's authority under the Charter. He said it had, in effect, required the other member states to assist in Serbia’s genocidal activities, while denying the Bosnians the ability to exercise an inherent and customary right of self-defense.

      The failure of the Lebanese armed forces to stop routine Israeli incursions into Lebanese air space - coupled with the history of Israeli attacks, invasions, military occupation, and collusion with neighboring Lebanese factions in carrying out serious crimes - make it imperative that the inhabitants of Southern Lebanon retain the capability to look after their own defense.

  • Trapped
    • What were the borders of Palestine? Please tell me?

      You see, I think your ‘Palestine’ had been a set of Ottoman administrative districts( none of which were called Palestine).

      There was actually a confidential Ottoman policy against using the term "Palestine" (more below). Nonetheless, the central government eventually relented and the official Ottoman Atlas for 1907 added the additional identifier "Filistin" to the District of Jerusalem. See the discussion on page 57 and the map on page 58 of Johann Büssow, "Hamidian Palestine:
      Politics and Society in the District of Jerusalem 1872-1908", BRILL, Aug 11, 2011:

      So you're wrong. At least one of those districts was officially called Palestine and the inhabitants of all six Ottoman districts had repeatedly petitioned the central government to name it their provincial capital beginning in the mid 1870s.

      It's a matter of public record that the juridical boundaries of the Consular District of Palestine that were established by the German Consul General in Jerusalem included all six Ottoman administrative districts. The American Consul General in Jerusalem advised the State Department that he too considered all six of the districts of Palestine to be inside the juridical boundaries of his area of supervision. The jurisdiction of the British Consul General of Jerusalem only included five of the six. Prussia, Austria, and Spain had similar consular jurisdictions. The Holy See, Russia, and France had similar consular jurisdictions as well as protectorates for various confessions through out the Miudle East. Under the terms of the capitulations those were official criminal and civil jurisdictions.

      For example, In Reid v Covert the Supreme Court noted that Palestine had been an international condominium with mixed courts and jurisdictions since at least 1535, when the French concluded the first treaty in a series that became known as "The Capitulations".

      American consular jurisdiction had existed since before the adoption of the US Constitution, it had been exercised for 170 years by the time it was described in Reid v Covert in 1956. At least one individual had been hanged pursuant to the sentence of an American consular court, but the President usually commuted sentences to life at hard labor. See In re Ross, 140 U.S. 453 (1891)

      The US treaty of 1830 with the Ottomans was codified by Congress in 8 Stat. 408. It gave the Consul all executive, legislative, and judicial powers and authorized funding for his marshals and the clerks of the Consular Courts. That statute was repealed by 70 Stat. 773 in the post-mandate era. The Consul General in Jerusalem, Palestine played a dual role. He was the Consul for the Ottoman district of Jerusalem, and at the same time, he was the superior of the consular offices in the other five Ottoman districts within the juridical boundaries of Palestine. That included everything from the region of Eilat to the territory north of Safed. Note that the Galilee panhandle was not yet considered part of the country, before the era of Trumpeldor and Tel Hai. Under the terms of the agreement on land ownership between the Ottomans and the USA, the local authorities could not enter the home of an American citizen living in a locality within 9 hours travel time from a consular residence without obtaining the assistance of a Consul. Americans in the two northern districts could call upon nearby consuls for the Syrian Pashalik for protection too. So the two Consul Generals had overlapping jurisdiction there. Here is a link to the official map of the juridical boundaries of Palestine as of 1910 and the National Archives and Records Administration accession number. The map shows the locations of the Consulate General, the US Consulates, and the Consular Agencies:

      FYI, many of the Ashkenazi Jews of Palestine were proteges of the German, American, or other consuls when the Basel Congress adopted the platform calling for the establishment of a national home in "Palaestina". Unlike Eretz Yisroel, Palaestina was a multilateral legal jurisdiction with boundaries - and it was under the protection of a statutory consular regime aka "the Capitulations".

      Zionists always lay great stress upon the Ottoman administrative districts as if they governed daily life in Palestine. But in 1884 a member of the Sultan's entourage in the Yildiz Palace, Ahmed Hamdi, complained that between Aqaba in the south and the northern towns of Nablus and Salt there was a stretch of 800 hours travel distance of an anarchic nature where no single government employee was ever seen or heard from and which was entirely left to the Bedouin shaykhs ('urban mesayihine
      terk olan)”. He went on to say that in order to effectively strengthen the state’s authority in the region, it should be discussed whether it was not wise to unite all territories around the District of Jerusalem into a new province. However, he strongly advised that this entity should not be called ‘Palestine’ (Filistin), as this might arouse the curiosity of the Europeans, especially the British. He noted self-critically that the Ottomans did not even possess a map of the southern deserts of Palestine. See the discussion on pages 53 & 54

      Producing maps had been the first order of business for Napoleon's expedition. The British Ordnance Survey of Jerusalem and Palestine were performed in the 1860s by the same group of British engineers who had performed the survey of Egypt. General Wilson went from being a map maker to head-up the military intelligence section during the British invasion and occupation of Egypt in 1882. Afterward he returned to head-up the Palestine Exploration Society's on-going efforts.

    • It would probably be fairer to say they simply didn’t think that way. To a profoundly religious, pre-modern people living before the nation state was even invented, the notion of physically acquiring Israel and holding it in a form of title that simply didn’t exist would have been — to say the least — novel.

      No, that is exactly what the Torah and ancient Judaism were all about. It was always a systematic theology based upon the idea that the chosen people were the congregation of God, or Israel, and that they are a nation. Each of its members has a personal inheritance in a Promised Land. That was an integral part of the Divine Covenant, which entailed a commandment to conqueror it, by driving out the seven nations living there, and possessing it.

      Most Jews had no desire to go there, because they believed the arrival of the Messiah was a prerequisite to the reconstruction of the Temple and the establishment of a proper, functioning, Jewish society in the Holy Land. The Talmud instructed them that the destruction of the first Temple occurred because hatred without cause had been rampant in Jewish society. They also believed that the exile was Divinely ordained and they were obliged to fulfill the Three Oaths before they could ever return to Palestine in mass.

      For an overview of the doctrines regarding the nation and land see Deuteronomy Chapter 7:1-9 and 26:1-10:

      When the Lord, your God, brings you into the land to to which you are coming to possess it, He will cast away many nations from before you: the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivvites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and powerful that you.

      And the Lord, your God, will deliver them to you, and you shall smite them. You shall utterly destroy them; neither shall you make a covenant with them, nor be gracious to them.

      You shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughter to his son, and you shall not take his daughter for your son.

      For he will turn away your son from following Me, and they will worship the gods of others, and the wrath of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will quickly destroy you.

      But so shall you do to them: You shall demolish their altars and smash their monuments, and cut down their asherim trees, and burn their graven images with fire.

      For you are a holy people to the Lord, your God: the Lord your God has chosen you to be His treasured people, out of all the peoples upon the face of the earth.

      Not because you are more numerous than any people did the Lord delight in you and choose you, for you are the least of all the peoples.

      But because of the Lord's love for you, and because He keeps the oath He swore to your forefathers, the Lord took you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.

      Know, therefore, that the Lord, your God He is God, the faithful God, Who keeps the covenant and loving kindness with those who love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations.
      . . . .
      And it will be, when you come into the land which the Lord, your God, gives you for an inheritance, and you possess it and settle in it,

      that you shall take of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you will bring from your land, which the Lord, your God, is giving you. And you shall put [them] into a basket and go to the place which the Lord, your God, will choose to have His Name dwell there.

      And you shall come to the kohen who will be [serving] in those days, and say to him, "I declare this day to the Lord, your God, that I have come to the land which the Lord swore to our forefathers to give us."

      And the kohen will take the basket from your hand, laying it before the altar of the Lord, your God."

      And you shall call out and say before the Lord, your God, "An Aramean [sought to] destroy my forefather, and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there with a small number of people, and there, he became a great, mighty, and numerous nation.

      And the Egyptians treated us cruelly and afflicted us, and they imposed hard labor upon us.

      So we cried out to the Lord, God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.

      And the Lord brought us out from Egypt with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm, with great awe, and with signs and wonders.

      And He brought us to this place, and He gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

      And now, behold, I have brought the first of the fruit of the ground which you, O Lord, have given to me."

    • So what you seem go be saying is that Jews lost their historical connection to Eretz Yisroel because the local Jewish population had been wiped out by foreign invaders and because the efforts of diaspora Jews to return to the Land was meager.

      No, I'm saying that only the people who actually lived there had any connection that mattered. Your "historical connections" are only a form of irredentism, which is legally irrelevant. The notion of a "historical connection" was concocted to downplay the fact that the Allied Powers determined that the Zionists lacked any legal standing to assert a claim to the territory of Palestine during the Post-WWI peace conferences at Versailles and San Remo under the applicable laws of that day and age.

      The Principle Allied Powers decided there were no bases for a legal entitlement. So Lord Balfour suggested that some polite words about recognizing the "historical connection" of the Jewish people and "immigration under suitable conditions" be added to the Mandate instead. The travaux préparatoires of the British Foreign Office Committee that was tasked with drafting the Mandate said:

      “It was agreed that they had no claim, whatever might be done for them on sentimental grounds; further that all that was necessary was to make room for Zionists in Palestine, not that they should turn “it”, that is the whole country, into their home.

      – See PRO FO 371/5245, cited in Doreen Ingrams, Palestine Papers 1917-1922: Seeds of Conflict, George Brazziler, 1972, pages 99-100

      FYI even if foreign Jews had legal ties, including some rights to the land, that would still not imply they still have a right to colonize Palestine or that they can exercise sovereignty there. Legal ties do not override the right of self-determination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the Territory. See UN General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) and the summary of the judgement in the Western Sahara case:

      The materials and information presented to the Court show the existence, at the time of Spanish colonization, of legal ties of allegiance between the Sultan of Morocco and some of the tribes living in the territory of Western Sahara. They equally show the existence of rights, including some rights relating to the land, which constituted legal ties between the Mauritanian entity, as understood by the Court, and the territory of Western Sahara. On the other hand, the Court's conclusion is that the materials and information presented to it do not establish any tie of territorial sovereignty between the territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco or the Mauritanian entity. Thus the Court has not found legal ties of such a nature as might affect the application of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) in the decolonization of Western Sahara and, in particular, of the principle of self-determination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the Territory.


      *In a 1949 Israeli Supreme Court decision, "CApp 41/49 Simshon Palestine Portland Cement Factory LTD. v. Attorney-General," the Court ruled that all rights under the Mandate ended when it was terminated by the UN and the Mandatory in 1948.

    • What is your point? That the Ashkenazi Jewish population suffered a pogrom in 18th century Jerusalem and fled the city?

      The point is that foreign Jews did not acquire a new "homeland" because 200 other Jews were living in Jerusalem in 1700. The Ashkenazim were banned because they did not pay their community's debts. Many of the dead beats disguised themselves as Sephardim and never went anywhere. The rest simply moved to one of the other traditional Holy Cities.

    • “It was the pogrom of 1720 that finally caused the kehillah [Jewish community]to flee the city.

      LOL! There were only 200 Ashkenazim, including the new arrivals, there were 1,200. Many of them simply disguised themselves as Sephardim and ignored the ban on Ashkenazim. There were only about 1,000 Sephardim in all (see below).

      You're ignoring the official structures. There were several congregations or kehillahim. They were separate, autonomous groups that regulated their own affairs, education, synagogues, properties, and communal debts. They were not considered to be members of one nationality. See Avigdor Levy, The Jews of the Ottoman Empire, Darwin Press, 1994, Chapter 3, pages 42-70. An extract is available here:

      Here is the background on the Jerusalem ban from the Jewish Virtual Library:

      They arrived in Jerusalem in on October 14, 1700 creating a variety of major crises. At that time only about 200 Ashkenazic Jews lived in Jerusalem. (There were about 1,000 Sephardic Jews.) The sudden influx of 1,000 Ashkenazic Jews created an economic crisis, because the Jerusalem community had no infrastructure or facilities to help such a large group. Imagine doubling your population overnight! To make matters worse, the new arrivals had contracted debts with their Arab guides and had been forced to offer the Turkish authorities financial guarantees from the local community in exchange for permission to enter the country. The local community didn't have the money.

      Moreover, the local Ashkenazic Jews were not Shabbateans, and they viewed the newcomers with great hostility. They sent emissaries to the Council of the Four Lands for aid to fight the Shabbeteans. Help didn't arrive, but there was tremendous friction in Jerusalem.

      To top off all these crises, Judah HeChassid died within days of his arrival to Jerusalem, thus depressing his followers

      Matters got worse.

      Arab creditors, fed up with waiting for their money, broke into the Ashkenazi synagogue in 1720, set it on fire, and took over the area. The Turkish authorities blamed Ashkenazic Jews for the mess. They refused to make a distinction between the Old Jerusalem community and the newcomers. They banned Ashkenazic Jews from the area. Anyone who looked like an Ashkenazic Jews was held responsible for the debts.

      The Ashkenazic community responded with typical creativity. Some moved to other cities (mainly Hebron, Tiberius, and Tzfat). Others carefully dressed themselves in white and gold striped robes. Thus costumed, they looked to the authorities like Sephardic Jews (although the Sephardic Jews could tell the difference) and were not molested. They built a small synagogue called Churvat Yehudah HeChassid, the Destroyed Place of Judah HeChassid. That synagogue later became the chief Ashkenazic synagogue in Jerusalem. Judah HeChassid's followers can still be recognized in Jerusalem. They continue to wear the white and gold striped robes of their ancestors. They no longer have Shabbatean tendencies.


    • Need I continue?

      You still aren't citing your sources, so why bother? Those two items appear in a hasbara pamphlet, "Gerald M. Adler, LLM, JSD, The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1860-2006: Legal Aspects in a Historical and Political Context, Aug. 2008".

      The author has cobbled together anything that makes it appear that Jews maintained a link, however tenuous, with "Eretz Israel". These two items come from a section which purports to provide evidence that Jewish aliyah attempts to return to Palestine were frustrated by Christian Millenium Crusades, but neither item supports that claim, much less that anyone wanted to make aliyah to Palestine.

      Adler employs a variety of sources, including Wikipedia, but he doesn't provide any source for the anecdote about the presumably undelivered letter to the Jewish community at Rafah. He simply claims there was one discovered among the +200,000 items discovered in the Cairo Genizah. I'm aware of other examples, like a letter from the community in Hebron to Joshua ben Abraham Maimonides in the Cairo Genizah cited in Brill's. See Elinoar Bareket. " Maimonides, Joshua ben Abraham." Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World. Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Brill Online , 2012. Reference. 12 August 2012 But those letters are not evidence of frustrated attempts to make aliya. They don't establish that foreign Jews were actually exiled or that they could be considered part of the indigenous population.

      Using a reference from a travelogue written by a Persian on his way to Mecca as part of The Hajj is really no better evidence than citing Mark Twain's travelouge from "Innocents Abroad". The quote above is one of rare references to Jews or synagogues in the entire account. It simply says that foreign Jews visited synagogues when they came to Jerusalem. The author describes a Muslim city of Al-Quds and provides details about the Muslim and Christian shrines, but not the synagogues. In fact, there's no description of the size of the indigenous Jewish community or any frustrated attempts by others to make Aliya. See Wheeler Thackston (translator), Naser-E Khoshraw's Book of Travels, SUNY Press, 1986, page 10 --

    • But then, the ‘uniqueness’ of Zionism is non-existent,
      (except in the minds of both the Jews/Zionists and their critics).

      After the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1960, many of them were emancipated and became UN member states. The worst remaining examples were Israel/Palestine and South Africa/Namibia. By the time the late Tony Judt wrote his article for the New York Review in 2003, Israel truly was something of a lone anachronism.

    • @ proudzionist777 . . . *yawn* Arab Rule, 640-1099

      I see you don't bother to cite your sources. We've discussed Zionist historiography here before. Hannah Arendt described the habit of Jews and Gentiles to construct distorted historical views in Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and tolerance: studies in Jewish-Gentile relations in medieval and modern times, Behrman House, Inc, 1961:

      The history of antisemitism, like the history of Jew-hatred, is part and parcel of the long and intricate story of Jewish-Gentile relations under the conditions of Jewish dispersion. Interest in this history was practically nonexistent prior to the middle of the nineteenth century, when it coincided with the rise of antisemitism and its furious reaction to emancipated and assimilated Jewry—obviously the worst possible constellation for establishing reliable historical records.
      Since then, it has been the common fallacy of Jewish and non-Jewish historiography—though mostly for opposite reasons—to isolate the hostile elements in Christian and Jewish sources and to stress the series of catastrophes, expulsions, and massacres that have punctuated Jewish history just as armed and unarmed conflicts, war, famine, and pestilence have punctuated the history of Europe. Needless to add, it was Jewish historiography, with its strong polemical and apologetical bias, that undertook to trace the record of Jew-hatred in Christian history, while it was left to the antisemites to trace an intellectually not too dissimilar record from ancient Jewish authorities. When this Jewish tradition of an often violent antagonism to Christians and Gentiles came to light, “the general Jewish public was not only outraged but genuinely astonished,” so well had its spokesmen succeeded in convincing themselves and everybody else of the non-fact that Jewish separateness was due exclusively to Gentile hostility and lack of enlightenment. Judaism, it was now maintained chiefly by Jewish historians, had always been superior to other religions in that it believed in human equality and tolerance. That this self-deceiving theory, accompanied by the belief that the Jewish people had always been the passive, suffering object of Christian persecutions, actually amounted to a prolongation and modernization of the old myth of chosenness and was bound to end in new and often very complicated practices of separation, destined to uphold the ancient dichotomy, is perhaps one of those ironies which seem to be in store for those who, for whatever reasons, try to embellish and manipulate political facts and historical records.

    • They are as representative of Israeli society as the KKK is of American.

      I cited articles about a Conservative Rabbi who served as an advisor to President Clinton, A popular American Chabad Rabbi, a former Chief Rabbi of Israel, the Chief Rabbi of the IDF, settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, the head of the regional council for Judea and Samaria, and several members of the Knesset who wish to immunize them from incitement laws. They all publicly targeted the Palestinians for destruction or ethnic cleansing and many of them figuratively invoked Amalek.

      It’s not taken as a justification for genocide especially since there’s no “genocide” in the megillah itself, except the one that was to be perpetrated on the Jews.

      The 9th chapter of the scroll of Esther says that 75,800 Gentiles were killed. See The Megillah:

      As to pre-emptive action, I wouldn’t rule it out in all cases. The opening of the 6 Days War is a good example of a justified pre-empive strike.

      The American Society of International Law created a President's Task Force on Terrorism in 2002. Society Vice President, Mary Ellen O’Connell, published a report "The Myth of Preemptive Self-Defense". O'Connell said that in the past commentators had defended Israel’s attack on Egypt on the grounds that it was anticipatory self-defense. She cited contrary evidence, like General Rabin's remarks in the now infamous Le Monde interview, and said: "Israel stated that it had convincing intelligence that Egypt would attack and that Egyptian preparations were underway. We now know that the Israel acted on less than convincing evidence. Thus, the 1967 Arab-Israeli war does not provide an actual example of lawful anticipatory self-defense."

      In "Assessing Claims of a New Doctrine of Preemptive War Under the Doctrine of Sources", James Thuo Gathii says that many scholars and state officials do not support the notion that customary law permits the unilateral use of preemptive force without UN approval. He notes that State practice, opinio juris, and some legal scholars do distinguish between preemptive wars (which are illegal) and preemptive strikes under certain rare circumstances, i.e. anticipatory self-defense when a threat is imminent. He says 'there has yet to be a good case in which the very limited and contested notion of anticipatory self-defense met the Caroline test. The closest case that might have, but is now regarded as not having met the criteria, was Israel’s first strike against Egypt in the 1967. Few regarded it as a good example of a permissible anticipatory attack, especially after it became clear following the attack that there was no overwhelming threat that justified the measure to ensure Israel’s survival. Many States criticized the attack, which made it clear that the attack would not serve as a precedent to legitimize “a general right of anticipatory self defense." see Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp. 1-34

    • The Zionists WERE unique insofar as New World colonists had no historical ties to the New World whereas Jews had a two thousand year tie to Eretz Yisroel.

      There were 6 million converts to Judaism living throughout the Roman Empire. There is no reason to suspect that many of them ever visited Palestine. Even the Jews in nearby Egypt had their own Temples at Elephantine Island and in Leontopolis (aka Heliopolis in the land of Onias). We know it's possible to make passover outside Eretz Yisroel, because the very first one was conducted in Egypt.

      The Talmud mentions how a Theudas, the leader of the Roman community, refused to change the way the paschal lamb was butchered by the Jews in the city of Rome.

      There is evidence of similar practices by Jews living in Alexandria. See Nils Martola, “Eating the Passover lamb in house-temples at Alexandria; some notes on Passover in Philo.” in Jewish Studies in a New Europe. Proceedings of the Fifth Congress of Jewish Studies in Copenhagen 1994, Reitzel (1998) pages 521-531. In Philo's "Special Laws" he wrote:

      tens of thousands of sheep are offered, from noon till evening, by young and old alike: they consider themselves to be serving as priests on this occasion, and to be performing a sacrifice; their homes are given the appearance and solemn character of temples; after the sacrifice the animals are prepared for the festive meal; the guests are purified by lustrations; they follow ancestral custom, intoning prayers and hymns.

      Some scholars have proposed that the Passover lamb continued to be sacrificed for a while after the Temple was destroyed on the basis of the evidence in Pesahim 7:2, i.e. R. Gamaliel ordered his servant to go and roast a passover lamb for them on the grill. But there is no reason to suppose that Jews living elsewhere, like Philo and Theudas, felt an obligation to go to the Temple in Jerusalem while it was still standing.

    • “That must be the beginning of any analysis, and that is why speaking of Israel as simply another colonialist project is very wrong-headed.”

      Baloney. How much of a real difference does it make to the analysis of the what the Belgians did to the Congolese or the British to the Indians to dwell on what motivated them to engage in the colonial project?

      Actually the largest period of growth during the mandate era resulted from a partnership between the Jewish Colonial Trust Bank, the Templar Bank and the German government via the Haavara Ltd. agreement. It was a classic example of mercantilism and franchised windfall profits. On many levels, Palestine functioned as a German satellite or a colony.

      I agree that Hophmi is trying to re-frame the debate. By the time the Zionists got into the business, neomercantile-style colonialism was a standard methodology. Between 1810 and 1895, the American colonies in the northern and southern hemispheres gained their independence from their European mother countries; adopted the inherently anti-mercantile Monroe Doctrine; and started to acquire their own outlying territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. These "civilized" countries pursued economic dominance over others through neomercantilism.

      By the time that the the Monroe Doctrine and the Mandates were enshrined as principles of international law in the Covenant of the League of Nations (LoN), the prohibition against annexation of territory as a consequence of war and the LoN policy of "the Open Door" for international trade had made it all but impossible to establish new mercantile-style colonies anyway. See for example, the refusal of the US and the League to recognize the Japanese annexation of Manchuria.

      The "advanced" countries capitalized on establishing minority rule and bringing the benefits of key inventions and advanced manufacturing and agricultural methods to less advanced societies. Decolonization finally resulted in the adoption of neocolonialism, where there was no direct military or political control.

      Zionist propaganda about the economic and environmental benefits that accrued as a result of Jewish settlement in Palestine is indistinguishable from British, French, German, Belgian, and American colonial propaganda from the same era.

    • I don’t think you can find very many early Israelis motivated by greed and a desire for imperial conquest.

      Who cares? The the Zionist leaders who established the charters for a colonial Empire were certainly motivated by greed and a desire for conquest. Herzl met the Kaiser in Palestine to obtain his support for a draft Charter of the Jewish-Ottoman Land Company (JOLC) that contained an article which reserved the right of the Zionists to involuntarily transfer the non-Jewish population to other parts of the Ottoman Empire.

      He also had "behind the barn" correspondence with others, like Max Nordau, about his schemes for an Empire and the conquest of Palestine from the Zionist's colonies in Africa and elsewhere:

      “It is precisely the duty of the leader to set the people on the path which, by apparent detours, leads to the goal. You refuse the life which is offered you out of fear, cowardice. Miserable eunuchs that you are, you sacrifice the sources of your power. Look at Britain! It pours its excess popula­tion into the vast empire that it was able to acquire. Are we then so craven as to be frightened of the offer made to us? Starting from their national base, nations have built colonial empires that have made their fortunes. Let us accept the chance offered us to become a miniature England. Let us start by acquiring our colonies! From them, we shall launch the conquest of our Homeland. Let the lands between Kilimanjaro and Kenya become those of the first colony of Israel! They, rather than Edmond de Rothschild’s philanthropic supported refugees, will constitute the real Rishon le-Zion, the first- fruits of Zionism, of the New Israel. If we accept Chamberlain’s offer with gratitude, we strengthen our position, we oblige him to do something wise for us should our commission of enquiry reject the land proposed. In our transactions with this mighty nation we shall acquire the status of a national power. We will not stop there! Other States will follow Britain’s example, new “reserves of power” will be created in Mozambique with the Portuguese, in the Congo with the Belgians, in Tripolitania with the Italians.”

      link to

      David Ben Gurion started out as a crooked union organizer like Jimmy Hoffa. He formed a band of Zionist thugs who extorted money for Palestine from wealthy Polish Jews, at gunpoint. The 1919 charter of Ben Gurion's political party, Ahdut Ha'avodah, called for the establishment of a Jewish Socialist Republic in all of Palestine and demanded “the transfer of Palestine’s land, water, and natural resources to the people of Israel as their eternal possession.” See Ben Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs, Shabtai Teveth, page 99. For years he used the Zionist principle of The Conquest of Labor to insure that lands held in trust for persons of Jewish descendancy were lost to the Palestinians. Finally he advised the head of the JNF in Februaray of 1948 that "Jews didn't need to purchase land anymore, but to conquer it." See the record of the conversation between Ben Gurion and Joseph Weitz, director of the JNF Land and Forestry Department in Josef Weitz, "My Diary and Letters to the Children", volume 3, Masada, Ramat Gan, 1965, page 279 and Shlomo Ben Ami, Scars of War Wounds of Peace, page 45

      In fact the landholdings of the JNF alone more than doubled from the proceeds of a illegal sale engineered by Ben Gurion of proterties stolen from Palestinian Arabs. See With all due respect for the 'blue box:

    • and what do you think of the Deutscher paradigm of person escaping burning building? im reading Koestler’s zionist history of White Paper and he tells wrenching stories of Jews fleeing Europe, and denied entry all over the place… How significant a factor was escape in building yishuv?

      In my comment above I pointed out the parallels between the colonization of the New World and Palestine and noted that some colonists were motivated by greed and conquest, while many others were escaping persecution. That was true of the Christians, Jews, and Conversos who fled to the New World. In many cases they narrowly missed being tortured, massacred, or getting burnt at the stake for their religious beliefs. The Zionists were hardly a unique example of colonists who thought of themselves as holy pilgrims or a holy community. In many instances, the colonists in the New World thought of themselves as the "New Israel".

    • There is this recurring nonsense to interpret Israel as a sort of European colonial project.

      There are many parallels between the European colonization of the USA by Spanish, French, British, Dutch, and Jewish chartered colonial companies and the colonization of Palestine. In both cases, charters were initially obtained from the Sultan or Pope for religious pilgrims to establish missions or settlements. In both cases there were some colonists who thought of themselves as the true successors of biblical Israel, who wished to escape persecution and those who were motivated by greed and military conquest. In both cases, the settlers themselves established new satellite colonies, once the original colonies were going concerns. In both cases rapid expansion of the population took place as a result of waves of subsequent immigration to the major cities, not through natural growth of the established agricultural settlements.

      The Ottoman government presented the Alliance Israélite Universelle, of Paris with 250 hectares (617 acres) of land near Jaffa for the Jewish children of Palestine and those of other Oriental countries. The population of this colony in 1898 totaled 225 persons, including 100 pupils in an agricultural school.

      Afterward agricultural colonies were established by Jews from various chartered colonial companies and colonial societies located in Russia, Russian Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Canada, the United States, and of course Palestine itself.

      See the article on the Agricultural Colonies from the Jewish Encyclopedia

      Rothschild and Herzl had the most familiar chartered European colonial companies, but there had been and were many others, like the Bulgarian and Romanian ones. The League of Nations Mandate is associated with Europe, but many of the founding members of the League were Caribbean and Latin American States - and the USA entered into the Anglo-American Palestine Mandate Convention. Palestine was administered by the British Secretary for the Colonies, who dealt with both the Jewish Agency and the pre-existing Jewish chartered colonies.

    • I doubt whether either goy candidate looked at just what all’s justified in the Story of Esther.

      Now there's a guarded understatement. According to Jewish legend, Mordechai was pimping his wife to the King of Persia:

      The Book of Esther says, "And he adopted Haddasah, i.e., Esther...and when her mother and father died, Mordechai took her to him as a daughter." (Esther 2)

      There are three apparent snags in this verse. First, since the verse says that Mordechai "adopted Haddasah," why does it seem to repeat the fact that he "took her to him as a daughter?" Isn't that the same thing? Second, there is no legal status of "adoptive parent" in Judaism; that is, you raise an orphan girl in your home, but you don't "take her as a daughter." Finally and most notably, "took her to him" is always used in the Torah to refer to marriage.

      Literally, then, the verse is saying that he married her.

      Why does it use the term "daughter?" The terms "sister" and "daughter" are common expressions of endearment, as we see in other places in the Torah (e.g., Ruth 2:8, Shir Hashirim 4:9) and Talmud (e.g., Shabbat 13b). The idea is that a husband and wife should develop a loving and giving relationship as one naturally has with one's child and sibling.

      So, it's not hard to see how the Talmudic Sages saw in this verse support for the oral tradition that says Mordechai, Esther's cousin, was also her husband.

      From Ask The Rabbi at Ohr Somayach

      Here's Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotofsky, "Tzarich Iyun: Mordechai and Esther" from the Orthodox Union website:

      There is an additional relationship found in the midrash. Rashi (on Esther 2:7) cites the Talmudic (Megillah 13a) exegesis that Mordechai not only raised, but later married, Esther.[4] The Talmud (Megillah 13b) further derives from Esther 2:20 that they actually lived as husband and wife even subsequent to Esther’s being taken to the royal residence, up until the time she voluntarily went to Achashverosh. [5] However, these rabbinic interpretations supplement the straightforward meaning of the text, and do not contradict it. In contrast, I have been unable to find any traditional source that says that Mordechai was Esther’s uncle, for to say so would contradict the text. . . .4. This exegesis is already found in the Septuagint (Esther 2:7) which reads: “When her parents were dead, he [Mordechai] brought her up as a wife for himself ...” Some modern commentators suggest that the Greek translator may have misread “bayit” instead of “bat,” a difference of a small yud. It is more likely he was familiar with the already well-known oral tradition that was later recorded in the Talmud.

    • Some theoretical statement that if we knew who it was it would be a mitzvah is beside the point.

      There's nothing theoretical about the Rabbis above who've publicly targeted the Palestinians for destruction or ethnic cleansing. They are not a few crazy extremists, they've included the Chief Rabbis of the State of Israel and the IDF:

      *No Safe Place – The Report of the Arab League’s Independent Fact Finding Committee Following “Operation Cast Lead” noted that some individual IDF soldiers may have had the mens rea and actus reus of crimes of genocide and might therefore be prosecuted for this crime. That finding was based on the brutality of some of the killing and reliable public reports that some soldiers had acted under the influence of rabbis who had encouraged them to believe that the Holy Land should be cleansed of non-Jews.
      link to
      *Stories circulated in the wake of Operation Cast Lead that an IDF officer handed out booklets to troops during Israel’s military incursion in the Gaza Strip urging soldiers to show no mercy to their enemies. The IDF merely reprimanded the officer. Several months later the IDF did nothing at all when its Chief Rabbi engaged in the same form of incitement saying: Troops who show mercy to the enemy will be ‘damned’ -
      #link to
      #link to
      *Former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza. Eliyahu delivered the ruling in a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert published in Olam Katan, a weekly pamphlet distributed in synagogues nationwide. He called for carpet bombing and cited the biblical story of the Shechem massacre (Genesis 34) and Maimonides’ commentary (Laws of Kings 9, 14) on the story as proof texts for his legal decision. Eliyahu wrote that according to Jewish war ethics an entire city holds collective responsibility and said the entire populace of Gaza is responsible. The former chief rabbi also said it was forbidden to risk the lives of IDF soldiers for fear of injuring or killing Palestinian noncombatants living in Gaza. link to
      *Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira, Yosef Elitzur of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar and Rabbi Dov Lior have written that “The prohibition ‘Thou Shalt Not Murder’” applies only “to a Jew who kills a Jew.” and that Non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and attacks on them “curb their evil inclination,” while babies and children of Israel’s enemies may be killed since “it is clear that they will grow to harm us.” The State Rabbinate has refused to comment and Knesset members from Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and National Union have introduced bills which seek to absolve rabbis of criminal responsibility, and make them immune to legal action in such cases.
      link to
      link to
      *Moment Magazine quoted Chabad Rabbi Manis Friedman as saying: “I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral. The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children and cattle. link to

    • This is another antisemitic game. No celebration of Purim that I have been to

      Hophmi you're function here is to play the antisemite card. I provided a book from Princeton University Press about the legacy of Jewish violence associated with Purim and two notable and recent examples. Here are some more articles which note that Purim and the eternal war against Amalek can be used as an excuse for modern-day Jewish aggression:
      *The Ghosts of Purim Past: The holiday's violent beginnings—and what they mean for the Jewish future.
      *Israel’s Orthodox Rabbis: ‘Palestinians to the Ovens!’
      * Judaism: Amalek: War Against the Root of Evil: The obligation to kill every single Amalekite, only applies in a case where they refuse to accept the fundamental mitzvoth which the Torah places upon all of the Children of Noah. Today, the seed of Amalek has been lost; however, if becomes clear that a certain person is an Amalekite, following in their ways, it would be a mitzvah to kill him (see, Kol Mevaser 2:42).
      *Israeli settlers in Hebron attack a Palestinian school during the festival of Purim

      Here is an example where this particular form of hate speech was the object of a lengthy exercise in wishy-washy apologetics:

      The point, of course, is that an invocation of Amalek is serious business. Rabbi Reimer wasn't issuing a literal call to arms, but by associating "Islamo-Fascists" with Amalek, Rabbi Reimer was referencing the Jewish tradition's genocidal instincts. Jewish authorities have struggled with this commandment for centuries, but the issue is perhaps even more urgent now.

      For the last 2,000 years the Jewish people have lacked political sovereignty. With the return to the land of Israel, however, this is no longer the case. Invoking Amalek during the centuries of military impotency was one thing. Today, when there is a Jewish state with an army--and armed citizenry--it is quite another. . . . . Even if most people would not invoke the commandment to destroy Amalek today, there are certainly those, like Rabbi Riemer, who have ventured to do so. And there has been no dearth of similar, violent invocations in reference to the Palestinians, as well. For example, Benzi Lieberman, the chairman of the Council of Settlements said in no uncertain terms: "The Palestinians are Amalek! We will destroy them. We won't kill them all. But we will destroy their ability to think as a nation. We will destroy Palestinian nationalism."

      The general consensus among today's Jewish community seems to be that our energies can and must be used to stop the perpetuation of genocidal activity occurring throughout the world, to become agents for peace, and to dismiss any contemporary comparisons to the biblical paradigm. But clearly there are difficult texts and teaching that remain in our tradition that must be remembered and reckoned with.

      Regardless of the nature of your Purim celebrations, it's not antisemetic to call attention to the undeniable beliefs of other practitioners of Judaism who are not so circumspect in their words and deeds.

    • A religious, observant Jew has to struggle with hundreds of rules to be ‘righteous’ (agreeable to God) whereas a gentile has to follow just the 7 simple Noachic rules to become ‘righteous’ — and go to paradise.

      And what idiot would make his life miserable by converting to Judaism?

      The idea is that people get more blessings and rewards on the basis of their merits or calling in this world and the world to come. Christianity has similar teachings about gifts, the calling, and the concomitant eternal rewards and punishments. In fact, according to Christian theology some Jews will get a hotter place in Hell than the ancient Sodomites:

      -- Matthew 11:24 "But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

      The book of Revelations indicates that the vast majority of Jews are destined for damnation, while the Christian saints assume the roles formerly reserved for their brethren, the Angels. For example, the 24 Elders and the 4 "Living Beasts" appear to be redeemed men in their new, glorified forms:

      And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

      And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

      That is in-line with the belief that mankind was made a little lower than the Angels, but will eventually be elevated above them through the works of the Messiah. So neither Judaism nor Christianity have closed-up Heaven to others on the basis of a person's race, just on the grounds of their beliefs and deeds.

      I tend to agree with the proposition that Christian and Jewish eschatology is a bunch of superstitious nonsense.

    • “The hateful story of Esther”- The story of Esther is a wonderful story of the Jews succesfully dodging a premeditated genocide and the holiday of Purim is a happy, harmless, kid-friendly festival.

      I've commented in the past on the proposition that many Jews have used charges of "blood libel" and Purim to excuse and conceal violence against others. That fact is fairly incontrovertible. See for example:
      *Elliott Horowitz, "Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence",
      *The report about the pipe bomb concealed in a Purim basket delivered to to a Messianic household
      *Sheikh Jarrah Jews praise Baruch Goldstein on Purim: Residents of east Jerusalem neighborhood celebrate holiday with songs of praise for Cave of Patriarchs massacre.,7340,L-3857671,00.html

    • I bet most Zionists/Israelis will contest your assertion. When you leave out “racist” and just say: ‘Our movement is indistinguishable from other ethnic-nationalist movements’, I bet most will say: ‘No, we are unique.’

      No doubt Nicolas Chauvin thought the French people were unique. Nonetheless, that and the many other examples of Chauvinism are all pretty much the same.

    • In any event, ancient Judaism is brimming over with values of universal justice, civil rights, self-defense against aggressive enemies, subservience to G-d and miracles.

      True enough, but that particular prophetic vision wasn't realized in the days of leaders like Ezra, Nehemiah, and the disciples of Beit Shammai. They rejected universalism. In fact, they persecuted and killed people who subscribed to those beliefs and destroyed their families. Works like the Zohar, Shulchan Aruch, and Tanya offer very little encouragement for universalist beliefs. Even Reform Rabbis preach about "the disease of assimilation". Those sentiments have become part of Israeli culture. Hanah Arendt wrote:

      Hence it is hardly respect for the faith or the power of the fanatically religious minority that prevents the government of Israel from substituting secular jurisdiction for rabbinical law in matters of marriage and divorce. Israeli citizens, religious and nonreligious, seem agreed upon the desirability of having a law which pro­hibits intermarriage, and it is chiefly for this reason—as Israeli officials outside the courtroom were willing to admit—that they are also agreed upon the undesirability of a written constitution in which such a law would embarrassingly have to be spelled out.

      -- Eichmann in Jerusalem: a report on the banality of evil, Google ebook, page 7

      There are plenty of religious Jews in this country who subscribe to universalist views, civil rights, and modernity. Hannah Arendt also discussed the habit of Jews and Gentiles to construct distorted historical views in Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and tolerance: studies in Jewish-Gentile relations in medieval and modern times, Behrman House, Inc, 1961:

      The history of antisemitism, like the history of Jew-hatred, is part and parcel of the long and intricate story of Jewish-Gentile relations under the conditions of Jewish dispersion. Interest in this history was practically nonexistent prior to the middle of the nineteenth century, when it coincided with the rise of antisemitism and its furious reaction to emancipated and assimilated Jewry—obviously the worst possible constellation for establishing reliable historical records.

      Since then, it has been the common fallacy of Jewish and non-Jewish historiography—though mostly for opposite reasons—to isolate the hostile elements in Christian and Jewish sources and to stress the series of catastrophes, expulsions, and massacres that have punctuated Jewish history just as armed and unarmed conflicts, war, famine, and pestilence have punctuated the history of Europe. Needless to add, it was Jewish historiography, with its strong polemical and apologetical bias, that undertook to trace the record of Jew-hatred in Christian history, while it was left to the antisemites to trace an intellectually not too dissimilar record from ancient Jewish authorities. When this Jewish tradition of an often violent antagonism to Christians and Gentiles came to light, “the general Jewish public was not only outraged but genuinely astonished,” so well had its spokesmen succeeded in convincing themselves and everybody else of the non-fact that Jewish separateness was due exclusively to Gentile hostility and lack of enlightenment. Judaism, it was now maintained chiefly by Jewish historians, had always been superior to other religions in that it believed in human equality and tolerance. That this self-deceiving theory, accompanied by the belief that the Jewish people had always been the passive, suffering object of Christian persecutions, actually amounted to a prolongation and modernization of the old myth of chosenness and was bound to end in new and often very complicated practices of separation, destined to uphold the ancient dichotomy, is perhaps one of those ironies which seem to be in store for those who, for whatever reasons, try to embellish and manipulate political facts and historical records.

      Jews have perpetrated no genocides or mass murders.

      The history of modern Israel is punctuated by small wars and massacres (i.e. the act or an instance of killing a large number of humans indiscriminately and cruelly) at places like Gaza City, Kafr Qasim, Khan Yunis, Rafah, Qibya, Sammu, Sabra, Shatila, and Qana.

    • You have to choose. Is it a 19th century movement based on 19th century ethnonationalism? Or is it based on ancient Judaism?

      A while back I noted that:

      On the day he introduced the Law of Return and the Nationality Laws, during the 160th Sitting of the First Knesset, David Ben Gurion said that Israel was the revival of the ancient Jewish State. He quoted the Jewish historian Josephus and also said: “These two laws determine the special character and destiny of Israel as bearer of the vision of the redemption of the Jewish Nation. . . . On 14 May 1948 the Jewish State was established not as something completely new but as the restoration of our ancient glory, 1813 years after our independence had been destroyed, supposedly forever, at the time of Bar Kochba and Rabbi Akiva. . . . Neither can the revival of the Jewish State be understood without knowing the history of the Jewish people during the period of the First and Second Temples, the history of Jewish prophecy, spirit and vision, the history of the Jewish diaspora and the concept of messianism, and its various manifestations, the incessant attempts of the wandering nation throughout the generations to return to its land and the history of the eternal culture which was forged in this land and its influence on the Jews and the rest of the world.” The motives for unconditional immigration to Israel that he cited were “yearning for redemption, ancient memories, religious sentiments and love of the homeland”. He said “The Law of Return is one of the State of Israel’s Basic Laws. It encompasses one of the central missions of our country, the in-gathering of the exiles.” See Lorch, Netanel (ed), Major Knesset Debates, 1948-1981, Volume 2, JCPA/University Press of America, 1993, pp 611 – 613 (pdf pages 142-143)

      So, he invoked the First and Second Temples, the prophets, messianism, redemption, The Antiquities of The Jews by Josephus (aka the Bible), the in-gathering of purported exiles, and the revival of the Jewish State.

      Hitler's movement was based upon a fusion of old German myths and legends and a new Aryan mythology that was largely a product of the 19th century. The same could be said for the Zionist national movement.

    • Here’s another one from the NY Times . . . Are you still lol?

      Yes. Here is a bogus NYT story which reports that "Iraq has stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb". --

      Here's another NYT story from last August which falsely claimed that Gazans crossed into Egypt and were responsible for attacks near Eilat. Only the part about the Israeli Defense Minister murdering Gazans in a retaliatory strike was correct. Please note that these stories remain online with no updates, corrections, or retractions. You have to look elsewhere to find that sort of thing:

      JERUSALEM — Armed attackers, described by the authorities as Gazans who had crossed into Israel from Egypt, carried out multiple deadly attacks near the popular Red Sea resort of Eilat on Thursday, prompting a fierce Israeli bombing raid on Gaza and threatening to escalate tensions there.


      *Evidence undermines gov’t's claim that terrorists were Gazans
      *IDF mum on Eilat attacks that justified Gaza bombing
      *Escalation in south: IDF takes summer Gaza spin out for 2nd round

      You shouldn't base your judgement on a NYT report that simply echos vague government allegations, as if they are reliable. That's especially true when they're repeating self-serving claims made by Egyptian and Israeli security sources.

    • If you’re talking about “my illusions”, they are irrelevant. The point is the game that is played in the US, where claims of support for the 2SS are used as fig leaves (a term I borrowed from you) to cover up support for the status quo.

      I don't think two states is a final solution. But I think that the status quo is inequitable, precisely because it gives the Zionists all of the rights and privileges of a state, while they dally around negotiating their own uncertain frontiers. Extending the same interim rights to Palestinians is simply equity, not a final solution.

    • I prepared a post that listed links to same kinds of resolutions in US Congress back to 2003 but the ethernet ate it.

      The Zionists have prevented a settlement of any and all claims from the very beginning for their own selfish reasons. There are a pair of good books on the subject by Michael Fischbach, "Records of Dispossession: Palestinian Refugee Property and the Arab-Israeli Conflict" and "Jewish Property Claims Against Arab Countries.

      The government of Israel has always preserved the results of its own wrongdoing and ethnic cleansing by refusing "to go back to 49" or to accept the terms of UN GA resolution 194 (III) regarding compensation of the refugees. The Palestinians don't owe any compensation to Jews from other Arab countries. It's completely improper for MKs or members of Congress to address those unassigned third party claims to the Palestinians.

      Israel doesn't honestly seek restoration of property or personal compensation for Jews who were forced to leave Arab countries or those who were legitimate asylum seekers. It's a matter of public record that Israel has utilized legitimate third party claims in illegitimate attempts to offset the amount that it owes individual Palestinians, e.g. See Foreign Minister Golda Meir's remarks in the 1958-1960 FRUS

      The fact of the matter is that Palestinians are not responsible for wrongful acts of state committed by the Egyptians, Iraqis, et al., because they didn't profit from those schemes. The state of Israel was the largest shareholder in the banks that earned windfall profits from the Jewish refugees. They typically charged fees ranging from one third to one half for currency exchange transactions.

      Why on Earth Israel should be allowed to offset compensation that it owes, on the basis of claims belonging to Jews living in Europe, and the Americas remains a complete mystery that only makes sense to the brainwashed Zionists.

    • Angry Arab has posted a very straightforward letter supporting the one state solution. . . . link to

      In a perfect world everyone supports the one state solution. But even an ex-patriot from Lebanon who teaches political science in California ought to realize that Israel has declared open season on Palestinians. So recognition of Palestinian statehood within the 4 June 1967 borders has become a humanitarian imperative. Israel has declared that it is legal to commit serious crimes against humanity in the Palestinian territories, e.g. Cast Lead, & etc. that would be patently illegal if they were committed against the civilian population of any State. The Israelis don't have any final borders, but they enjoy the protections of the UN Charter and could join the ICC if they so desired.

      The Palestinian leadership wants the borders recognized as the basis or starting point for any future negotiations. The Quartet Road map always has contained a Phase II requirement for the Quartet, including the UN, to promote recognition of interim borders; recognition of Palestinian statehood; and possible UN membership prior to the Phase III the final settlement negotiations. So no one is talking about a final decision on a partition. We're talking about giving Palestinians the same legal rights and protections Israelis have enjoyed since 1948 while we're all waiting around for the arrival of the all signing, all dancing, 1 state solution.

    • A US blockade against Cuba has been waged for a half century, aimed at regime change in Havana.

      Other than the quarantine during the Cuban Missile Crisis, there has never been anything but a trade embargo. Even during the Missile Crisis, the US armed forces did not prevent most foreign vessels or aircraft from going to Cuba - only ones carrying missiles or related support items. So Cubans have not suffered under the same conditions as the people of Gaza.

      What do Iran and Cuba have in common? Both were US colonies.

      I'd agree that Cuba and Iran had puppet governments and were treated as US protectorates. In both cases the benefits accrued to US corporate interests, not to groups of US colonists. Iran was never settled by US ex-patriots. Cuba was colonized by Spain and has been occupied by the US military. Neither country has been subjected to the same regime of settlements blockades, checkpoints, and separation walls that we've witnessed in Palestine.

    • Citizen, I’m not aware of who “Natalie Portman” is, and I can’t see why I’d want to know.

      From the New York Post and Uri Dan in Jerusalem ;-)

      February 24, 2005 -- Memo to Natalie Portman: It's called the Western Wall, not the Kissing Wall.

      The Oscar-nominated star was chased off her Jerusalem set by a large group of Orthodox Jews who were enraged when she and actor Aki Avni kissed near Judaism's holiest site, the Yediot Ahronoth newspaper reported.

      Portman and Avni were performing the supposedly salacious act in a parking lot near the Western Wall — the last surviving relic of the sacred Second Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.

      "Whores! Whores!" chanted dozens of Orthodox Jewish men, the paper reported. The cast and crew packed up abruptly and fled.

      The Israel-born Portman and Israeli star Avni were filming a scene for the forthcoming movie "Free Zone," which is being directed by Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai.

      According to the paper, Gitai had not asked for permission to shoot the scene so close to the hallowed spot.

      He denied that the incident occurred, but the paper, quoting the wall's site manager and a source in the Jerusalem Police Department, confirmed that the actors and crew had, indeed, been chased.


    • “I think you have to make a distinction between people who say they support a 2SS but don’t want any pressure placed on Israel and people who are willing to exert pressure. ”

      Well, that’s a complicated question. I think you need to qualify it and say that they don’t want US pressure placed on Israel

      Trolling again Hophmi? I support the idea that Israel should not be allowed to profit from its own wrongdoing. The Palestinians should obviously be insured equal human rights, including the same rights, privileges, and obligations of "stateyness" that Jews have enjoyed since 1949. Palestinians should be able to join the ICC, WTO, & etc. That would allow someone else besides the US to apply the appropriate criminal, trade, and civil sanctions.

    • But if Israel openly proclaims that the West Bank is theirs, the game is up.

      That's already happened with the university at Ariel. The Palestinians will pursue the UN statehood bid. If they succeed they'll join the WTO and the ICC and ask for some sanctions the US won't be able to veto. The Zionist right will demand that the government annex Area C or the entire West Bank.

      If the US and Israel pull out the stops and use blackmail and threats to defeat the UN bid, then there'll be another uprising and very possibly another war in the region. The Palestinians may demand Israeli citizenship and the vote, but that's the least likely outcome. Regardless, I don't see how the status quo can be maintained for many more months. You've already got smug NYT OpEds declaring "Israel's Settlers Are Here to Stay". So, there's nothing left to negotiate about.

    • P.S. It's impossible to imagine a bi-national state if you're a Zionist ideologue who claims that there is no Palestinian nation or an "Israeli" one for that matter, separate from the Jewish people and diaspora Jewries.

    • Anyone with any sense of the real conditions understands that the two state solution is over.

      In dozens of instances statehood has been reduced to nothing more than long term recognition of a legal status or capacity. South Africa claimed it had the right to annex the mandate of South West Africa in exactly the same way Zionists claim the right to annex Judea and Samaria. When the international community opposed those moves, the reactions were very different. The Israelis and the South African governments continued their illegal policies of apartheid and Bantustanization for several decades. The UN created a subsidiary organ to act on behalf of the people of Namibia and it fulfilled certain of the roles of a government in exile, like signing treaties on behalf of the inhabitants.

      The problem is that Palestine did not receive similar treatment. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was not empowered to exercise rights and sign treaties, such as the Geneva Conventions or the Rome Statute.

      that last link is a knockout jwp

      That's what the one state solution is going to look like. There will be nothing but more of the "same old same old", unless Israel is given some incentives or legal threats. If there's really only one state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, then you can't complain about the ways it secures its own borders. That's a matter of domestic jurisdiction. But we all know that there are two widely recognized state governments there, and one of them is interfering in the foreign relations of the other in violation of the Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations:

      "Israel's treatment of Palestine as an internal issue and its attempts to isolate the Palestinian people from the rest of the world further emphasize why we need to achieve state status at the United Nations as a step towards our exercise of self-determination and freedom."

      -- PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi

  • Jon Stewart on Romney's painfully oblivious racism against Palestinians
  • Shelly Adelson rides to Mitt's rescue in West Jerusalem
    • This show on Romney’s part is about the evangelicals not the Jews.

      If my neighbors out here in the "Bible belt" are any indication, evangelicals aren't willing to touch a devout Mormon like Romney with a barge pole.

  • Michael Sfard: Addicted to the process
    • Sfard is fighting to save the “2 state solution” which is racist apartheid codified into a treaty which says the Palestinians accept a cluster of bantustans.

      Correction: Michael Sfard is an attorney who is fighting for equal human rights for everyone regardless of where they live. He was a contributor and consultant on the South African HSRC- University of London SOAS study "Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid". The organizations that he represents routinely call for criminal accountability for Israeli Security Forces and Israeli Civilians.

      In a typical case, where the major human rights organizations are the petitioners, they are actually represented in the Supreme Court by Michael Sfard. For example in HCJ 196/07 he represented:
      1. Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights, Registered Association No. 58-0442622
      2. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
      3. Gisha – Center for the Legal Protection of Freedom of Movement
      4. The Public Committee against Torture in Israel
      5. HaMoked – Center for the Defence of the Individual, founded by Dr. Lotte Saltzberger
      6. Machsom Watch
      7. Physicians for Human Rights
      8. Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights

      He has the distinction of being one of the very few legal advocates, together with Limor Yehuda and Dan Yakir, who have been brave enough to actually charge the State of Israel with adopting policies and practices that constitute the very definition of apartheid in petitions and oral arguments presented before the Israeli High Court of Justice:
      *HCJ 196/07 Yesh Din - Volunteers for Human Rights et al. v. The Minister of Defense Amir Peretz et al.
      *HCJ 2150/07, Ali Hussein Mahmoud Abu Safiyeh, Beit Sira Village Council Head

    • I was talking a about the political right Hostage. Michael Sfard is the political left and i don’t think that he defines himself as Anti Zionist.

      So what? I was talking about the Zionist's too. The original Zionist program adopted by the political right and left was predicated upon the fundamental principle that the Jewish national home would be secured in accordance with public law.

      The legal arguments employed by the political right in the Edmond Levy committee report are identical to those used by Moshe Shertok and the political left during the UN deliberations in 1947. He claimed that the Balfour Declaration had become "part of the law of the United Nations" under Article 80 of the Charter.$FILE/gapal20.pdf

      Since that's the case, Michael Sfard must be doing "God's work" for both the political right and left, while laboring within the Zionist fold to insure that the national home is only secured using lawful methods.

      Eli Likovski wrote an essay on the Status of the Jewish Agency and WZO which explained that when the Zionist Congress said "to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine, secured under public law" that they meant "public international law". See page 32 of Daniel Judah Elazar, Alysa M. Dortort (editors) "Understanding the Jewish Agency: a handbook, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs*, 1984. (*Note: the JCPA represents the views of the political right).

      Jacob Robinson was one of the lawyers advising the Jewish Agency when the UN Charter was adopted. The Yalta Conference recommended that the mandates be abolished or established under completely new rules as UN trusteeships. So, the Jewish Agency began planning for independence. Robinson explained that it also wrote a memo to the San Francisco Conference on the UN organization requesting that a safeguarding clause be included in the Charter which would say that no trusteeship agreement could alter the Jewish right to nationhood secured by the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate.

      However, the UN conference rejected that suggestion and stipulated in article 80 of the Charter that the UN COULD conclude trusteeship agreements that altered or abolished rights contained in a mandate. See Jacob Robinson, Palestine and the United Nations: Prelude to a Solution, Greenwood Press, 1971 Reprint (1947), page 2-3

      We all know that the General Assembly retained the international status of Jerusalem under a new statute authored by the trusteeship council. That action was taken in accordance with the content and intent of Article 28 of the League of Nations Mandate. The General Assembly also partitioned the territory into two states and terminated the remaining provisions of the League Mandate. Both the UN and the Israeli Supreme Court have decided that rights conferred by the mandate ceased to exist when it was terminated.

    • There are at least three examples of pro-settler Israeli NGOs engaged in "lawfare," as defined by NGO Monitor: the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, the Israel Law Center and Regavim, but you will not find even an acknowledgment of their existence among the hundreds of documents on its Web site.

      Lawfare has always been one of the Zionist's favorite tactics. They challenged citizenship laws, trade preferences, land transfer ordinances, you name it. They have franchises in every country with imaginative names like, wait for it, The Lawfare Project.

      Of course they're the ones using the Law as a weapon of war, like the attempt to legalize Israel's occupation and annexation of Jerusalem after it was acquired by force, i.e.

  • Romney visits Western Wall, ignores question, Does Israel have a right to annex West Bank
    • The US referred to the Taliban, not the Northern Alliance, as “the de facto government” and treated like a state with jurisdiction when it demanded that the regime extradite Bin Laden. ”

      This I do not understand. The Northern Alliance [they use to call themselves the "United Front"] occupied the Afghan UN seat. The Northern Alliance also occupied all of Afghanistan’s international embassies except for three (KSA, UAE, Pakistan).

      Recognition of a belligerent de facto government doesn't have to result in the establishment of normal diplomatic relations or functions. It has nothing to do with democracy or legitimacy. In many cases, quite the opposite of all of that is true. A military dictatorship can demand the allegiance of an unwilling population. Other states can't impose an international duty that requires the inhabitants to disobey a de facto regime, i.e. placing them between the proverbial "rock and a hard place". It's important to remember that belligerent recognition only requires that the belligerent community be afforded all of the rights and privileges of neutrality and commerce enjoyed by other states.

      The foreign relations law of the United States stipulates that when other existing states treat an entity "as if" it's a state, that is conclusive evidence of its statehood.

      Is it possible for a nation state such as the United States to simultaneously recognize two governments for the same state? Are there precedents for this? Please elaborate.

      Of course. The USA and CSA were both recognized by other governments during the American Civil War. In the Kosovo case, the ICJ noted that there is no prohibition against secession in international law. In that case, some countries recognized Kosovo as the de facto government, while others continued to recognize Serbia as the legitimate government of the territory in question. You'd be surprised at the number of civilized western states who claimed that the territorial integrity norm trumps democracy and the self-determination norm. The Written statements are available here:

      I've mentioned other examples here in the past. Israel and the US routinely describe Hamas as the "de facto government" of Gaza in travel advisories & etc. Under customary international law, they are obliged to treat the thing that Hamas is governing as if it's a state:
      *The U.S. State Department explains that blockades have historically resulted in belligerent recognition, because they are "a weapon of war between sovereign states."
      *Israel has legally designated Gaza as an "enemy entity". It routinely requests Security Council action in response to Hamas violations of international laws and agreements or applies conventional rules of international law that only apply to contracting entities which happen to be states. At one and the same time, Israel refuses to treat Palestine as a de jure contracting party to the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols and claims that it is not eligible to make valid accessions to those or any other treaties because it isn't a state. Nonetheless:
      --Israeli Military Intelligence Director Yadlin advised US officials that Israel would be "happy" if Hamas took over Gaza, because the IDF could then deal with Gaza as a "HOSTILE STATE". [emphasis added]
      --According to the Washington Post and many other sources, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev cited the San Remo Manual and maintained that it was clearly within its rights to stop the aid flotilla, saying “any state has the right to blockade ANOTHER STATE in the midst of an armed conflict.” [emphasis added] link to
      --The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that the conflict with Hamas is an international one. See the subsection of the ruling in the targeted killings case under the heading “The General Normative Framework, A. International Armed Conflict”
      --Inexplicably, the IDF targets the Hamas municipal police force, because it's a uniformed militia that openly carries weapons. But it refuses to treat any Palestinian militia members as POW's under the general normative framework of the applicable international law. The Israeli Supreme Court also refuses to enforce the prohibition against transferring or deporting them out of the occupied territory to prisons in Israel as part of the protected civilian population. See HCJ Rejects Petition against Holding Detained Palestinians in Israeli Territory [HCJ 2690/09] [28.3.2010] link to

      The US and Israel obviously would like to impose all of the duties of statehood on Hamas and the PA, while denying that either of those entities are entitled to the corresponding rights of statehood. That's actually a flagrant violation of US and Israeli obligations under customary international law and conventional US obligations under the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States and Chapter IV of the Charter of the Organization of American States.

      This is a long way of saying that, yes, the US has treated the Taliban, Hamas, and other entities as states.

    • Religions have many things which are obscure, are impossible of logical or factual proof, which you may choose to believe or not. But religions don't have secrets. Cults have secrets. That delineation is one of the main ways to tell a cult from a religion.

      Clarification: the ancient mystery religions were cults with secret rites of initiation and hidden or esoteric teachings. There were prohibitions in Judaism against teaching Gentiles the Tanach and Talmud (Oral Torah); or admitting Gentiles into the precincts of the Temple cult, which were reserved for the exclusive ritual use of initiated Jews. There were similar prohibitions pertaining to sharing meals or fellowship with Gentiles in ancient Talmudic Synagogues and curses against anyone who revealed even mundane community secrets. See for example the inscriptions in the Ein Gedi Synagogue regarding curse on anyone revealing the secret of the local balsam industry or the modern-day rediscovery elsewhere of the secret of making Tekhelet dye.

    • Could this precedent be used to declare the Taliban/Al Qaeda syndicate to be a de facto regime independent of their state sponsors [not as a statement of fact, but as a legal device?]?

      Al Qaeda is not a governmental or territorial entity. Under the public international law of the US and UK, there has been no legal difference between a de facto government and a de jure government since the Tinoco arbitration case. The US referred to the Taliban, not the Northern Alliance, as "the de facto government" and treated like a state with jurisdiction when it demanded that the regime extradite Bin Laden.

      Would the UN mandated UNAMA and ISAF forces or possibly the UN itself be considered a “High Contracting Party” in this situation? Something to think about.

      The Geneva Conventions have been universally ratified and recognized as part of the body of customary international law that is binding on all parties who engage in armed conflicts. The Security Council has adopted resolutions and criminal statutes for the ICTY, ICTR, & etc. which direct all members to cooperate with the tribunals to enforce that decision.

      Article 43 of the UN Charter envisioned that the Security Council would enter into treaty agreements granting it dedicated armed forces which would be under its direct day-to-day operational control. That's never happened. So transitional measures, like those mentioned in Article 106, continue to be employed and the Security Council simply delegates its authority to use coercive force to one or more member states under a written mandate. In the Lockerbie or Libya extradiction case, the ICJ ruled that the "supremacy" and "every assistance" clauses in articles 2(5) and 103 of the UN Charter supercede other international agreements. In the Bosnia genocide case, it ruled that the supremacy clause does not supersede the customary right of self defense in international law and that Security Council resolutions on arms embargoes that violate that norm are subject to judicial review and remedies. So the Security Council is unconditionally bound to abide by the terms of the Geneva Conventions and there are recognized limits to its authority.

      There is general agreement that the prohibition against threats or use of force by non-member states (reflected in Article 2(6) of the Chater and the Declaration on Friendly Relations Between States) is customary law applicable to non-signatory states. The extent to which the customary rules in the UN Charter apply to non-state actors is unresolved in many cases. In the Kosovo UDI case, the US and UK both argued that the UN Security Council resolutions cited by Serbia did not prohibit a unilateral declaration by Kosovo, since SC resolutions are not considered legally binding on non-state actors or parties which are not specifically mentioned - and the resolutions did not deal with a customary rule enforceable against a non-member state.

      The ICJ agreed that the provisions of the Security Council resolutions which prohibited the parties to the conflict from making unilateral changes to the status of the territory did not preclude a unilateral act of secession by Kosovo. So it isn't clear that the Security Council has the right to intervene, except to maintain international peace and security, or that the Taliban are under any obligation to accept the terms of Security Council resolutions.

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