By Lee Bender and Jerome R. Verlin
It’s not for American Jews to tell Israeli Jews how to define their national borders, which is not hyperbole, but an existential decision. It’s for Israelis to do whatever they need to.
(May 3, 2019 / JNS) In the final volume of the Harry Potter book series, the evil wizard Voldemort seizes control of the magical world (until overthrown by Potter in the end) and remolds the Ministry of Magic atrium’s statue set to show the Muggles (England’s non-magical population) cowering in subservience to the land’s Wizards.
There’s a real-world model for author J.K. Rowling’s Wizards-Triumph-Over-Muggles statue set. On the facade of a prominent building in Europe have long been two prominent statues capturing attitudes of Christians towards Jews:
“On the right, one woman stands ragged, defeated, her eyes are covered by a snake and her head is bowed. She holds a broken scepter and tablets of Jewish law are slipping from her grasp. Under her feet lies a crown trodden into the dust. She is ‘Synagoga,’ representing the synagogue or Judaism in general …
“On her left is a finely dressed woman standing upright, carrying a chalice and a staff with a cross at its peak, seemingly triumphant. She is known as ‘Ecclesia,’ representing the victorious Catholic Church.”
That European building is none other than Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Today, there are two places on earth where Jews are at home: the United States and Israel. It’s a crime against ourselves that American Jewry, through its main Reform and Conservative religious movements’ leaders, has set itself against the just-expressed will of the homeland’s Jews by publicly exhorting the president to force upon Israel creation, inside the historic Jewish homeland, of a “demilitarized” Palestinian Arab state.
The respected Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies just issued a thorough study concluding that from a military strategic standpoint, a “two-state solution” along the pre-June 1967 lines “will not only deprive Israel of defensible borders, but will almost certainly lead to the advent of a terrorist entity like the one created in the Gaza Strip.”
It’s not for American Jews to tell Israeli Jews how to define their national borders, which is not hyperbole, but an existential decision. It’s for Israeli Jews to do whatever they need to.
But we can fairly make some suggestions to Israelis concerning our jointly made case for the Jewish homeland:
• Stop calling Jews in Judea-Samaria communities “Jewish settlers in Jewish settlements,” which the media revels in contrasting with “Palestinian residents of nearby villages and towns.” In today’s world, “settlements” is a dirty word.
• Stop referring to Palestinian Arabs as “THE Palestinians.” Back during the British Mandate, Palestinian Jews were “Palestinians.”
• Stop taking visiting VIPs exclusively to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Introduce them to live Jews, not just those who were murdered. Build adjacent to Yad Vashem a museum vividly documenting the Jewish people’s uninterrupted three millennia homeland presence.
• Stop talking “exile and return.” Jews never left. Modern Israel is the land’s next-native-state after Roman-destroyed Jewish Judaea, every ruler in between having been a foreign conqueror, and except between 638 and 1099, non-Arab at that.
• Explain why western Palestine had fewer Jews than Arabs—600,000 vs. 1,000,000—in 1948. Reference the before, during and after the Holocaust British blockade and European decrees over the centuries against “transport of Jews to the East.” Reference Roman, Byzantine, Crusader and other foreign conquerors’ wholesale slaughters of homeland Jews.
• Adamantly reject that Jews are Jerusalem “settlers.” Except during expulsions by foreign conquerors, from which we relentlessly returned, Jews have lived as Jews in Jerusalem, capital of three Jewish states and with a renewed Jewish majority since Turkish rule in the 1800s, for 3,000 years, for 2,900 plus of which nobody called Jews in Jerusalem “settlers.”
• Explain that Israel’s absorption of Middle Eastern Jews displaced from vast Arab and other Muslim lands shows Israel’s bona fides as indigenously Middle Eastern, not a “European colonial implant.”
• Get across to the West that the Green Line—the 1949 Israel-Jordan military ceasefire line expressly declared in its defining document to be a military ceasefire line only, and not a political border—was replaced by its successor post-1967 war ceasefire line, the Jordan River, and is not among the Holy Land’s holy places.
• Put value on the Palestine Mandate’s already in effect partition into two states for two peoples: the severance of the eastern 78 percent as all-Arab Transjordan, today’s Jordan with its Palestinian Arab majority population.
• Vigorously contest the Western media’s loaded lexicon of Jewish homeland delegitimizing pejoratives—the United Nations attempt to partition so-called Palestine into “Palestinian and Jewish states,” when it said “Arab” and Jewish states; “Israel’s 1948 creation and founding,” as though artificial and sudden; “[Arab] East Jerusalem,” which never existed before 1948; “West Bank,” when the United Nations itself used “Samaria and Judea” in 1947; “Israel’s 1967 borders,” that were actually only 1949 military ceasefire lines; “captured by Israel in 1967,” as though we had no pre-1967 equity in historic Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria; “settlers and settlements,” “occupied territories … Palestinian territories … occupied Palestinian territories”; Palestinian Arabs as “THE Palestinians,” etc., etc.
Lee Bender is the co-author of the book, “Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-Z,” author of dozens of published articles, co-founder of the website www.factsonisrael.com and co-president of the Zionist Organization of America-Greater Philadelphia Chapter.
Jerome R. Verlin, a former vice president of ZOA’s Greater Philadelphia Chapter, is the author of the book, “Israel 3,000 Years: The Jewish People’s 3,000 Year Presence in Palestine,” co-author of “Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-Z” and co-founder of www.factsonisrael.com.