David Horovitz: Palestinian campaign vs Balfour shows hostility undimmed after 100 years
Hidden away at the British Library — available for viewing only by special permission — is the original Balfour Declaration, foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour’s short but oh-so-resonant century-old letter of British government intent to revive Jewish sovereignty in the Holy Land. Also preserved, in an elegant folders kept under lock and key, is an earlier draft of the Declaration, a version that was circulated to various officials for their responses and possible amendments before the final text was issued on November 2, 1917.
Even after deciding on the legitimacy of the Zionist cause — and assessing its potential advantage to British interests — the Brits, as the various drafts of the Declaration make plain, recognized the spectacular sensitivities and potential repercussions of the decision to “view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
From the get-go, the British sought to square the circle — to restore Jewish statehood in the only place on earth where the Jewish people had ever been sovereign, but to do so while preserving the rights of the other communities living in the Holy Land. That effort to realize Jewish sovereign rights while also legitimizing the claims of the Arab peoples here was maintained when Britain ended its mandate and the UN in 1947 recommended partition — a revived Jewish state alongside a first-ever Palestinian state.
The Arab world opposed the Balfour Declaration from day one, opposed the UN partition plan, and sought to destroy the State of Israel in 1948. And on Monday, even though the Palestine Liberation Organization ostensibly came to terms with pre-1967 Israel when Yasser Arafat entered the ill-fated Oslo process with Yitzhak Rabin a quarter-century ago, a senior member of that same PLO proclaimed the Balfour Declaration to be a criminal “colonialist project” and formally launched what he promised will be a year-long campaign designed “to remind the world and particularly Britain that they should face their historic responsibility and to atone for the big crime Britain committed against the Palestinian people.”
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki welcomes United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the Muqataa, the PA headquarters, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on June 28, 2016. (FLASH90)
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki welcomes United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the Muqataa, the PA headquarters, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on June 28, 2016. (FLASH90)
A few months ago, the Palestinian Authority revealed it was also preparing a lawsuit against the British government over the Balfour Declaration, with the PA’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki holding London responsible for all “Israeli crimes” committed since the end of the British mandate. It was Britain that had committed the original sin of paving the way for Israel’s establishment, because the Balfour Declaration, said Malki, “gave people who don’t belong there something that wasn’t theirs.”
In an address before the EU parliament last month, Conference of European Rabbis president Pinchas Goldschmidt said that European Jews feel like they are standing in the middle of a railroad track with trains bearing down on them from both directions.
One train is “radical Islam and Islamic terrorism,” he said; the other is “the antisemitism of old Europe, the extreme Right.” Both “are existential threats” for European Jews, he warned. “Both trains have to be halted before it’s too late.”
Rabbi Goldschmidt’s analogy aptly summates why European Jews feel sufficiently threatened to be emigrating in record numbers. The vast majority of rampant anti-Jewish violence on the continent is committed by Muslims, and most of the rest is perpetrated by individuals (and sometimes groups) that can be broadly characterized as right-wing. Anti-Jewish violence in the United States, which “rose dramatically last year” according to the Anti-Defamation League, displays a similar breakdown.
But there is third train on an adjoining rail, advancing more slowly. This one isn’t producing physical assaults on Jews, or even (in most cases) explicit expressions of antipathy to Jews. However, it is fueling a different kind of Jewish emigration, made all the more disturbing by the fact that it elicits far less public attention and outrage.
Militant anti-Zionism first emerged in force in the West in the late 1960s, fueled by the growing popularity of far-left ideologies, hostility to allies of America, and Israel’s sweeping military victory in 1967.
The Palestinian “resistance” is not a struggle to create a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel.No group or leader within the “resistance” movement has ever considered that their goal. Their position is summed up in the slogan chanted by many students and pro-Palestinian groups, “Palestine will be free, From the river [Jordan] to the [Mediterranean] sea”.
It is not, in fact, illegal in the slightest for the Jews to be in a country in which they have continuously lived for 3000 years. The only title to the land the Palestinians seem to have is that under the Ottoman empire, the land had been subject to Muslim governance; and if one applies Islamic law, rather than common law, any land that has once been under Muslim control must stay that way forever — including of course “el-Andalus,” all of southern Spain and Portugal.
Seamus Milne added that Palestinians in Gaza have the right to “defend themselves” and claimed: “It isn’t terrorism to fight back. The terrorism is the killing of citizens by Israel on an industrial scale.” No, the terrorism is the tens of thousands of rockets and missiles fired from Gaza into Israel for more than a decade.
Given that Gaza had long been unoccupied by anyone at that date and that Israel had never killed “citizens” on an industrial scale, we can see something at play totally at odds with reason, fact, and political knowledge. That something is creeping out from beneath an unpleasant rock, and that it has a deep connection with anti-Semitism, if it is not anti-Semitism in its purest modern form.
Following the Hebron massacre and other riots across the country in 1929, the British set up a commission of inquiry at which the Grand Mufti blamed the violence on a broken pledge the British supposedly made in 1915 to grant the Arabs full independence in Palestine.
Part of the evidence of this pledge was a 1918 letter by Lord Balfour (yes, that Lord Balfour)!
This is all reported in a New York Times report from December 4th, 1929. Note also the following:
- The mention of Moroccan Moslems living in the vicinity of the Wailing Wall. So much for being indigenous!
- The Muslims wanted to deny the Jews any rights to the Wailing Wall, including the right to pray (in contrast, the Jews never sought to deny the Muslims their rights to places they considered holy)
- Despite this, the Mufti admitted the existence of the Jewish temple at the Temple Mount!
- The Mufti’s threats of violence if the Muslims did not get their way
- The Mufti bringing the antisemitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion as “evidence”
Dr. ‘Ali Sa’d Al-Moussa, a columnist for the Saudi daily Al-Watan, wrote on August 22, 2016 that the blood-soaked conflicts and struggles raging across the Arab world have nothing to do with Israel, and that blaming Israel for them is shallow. Al-Moussa wrote with nostalgia about the flowering of culture that took place in some Arab countries in the 1950s, contrasting it with the ignorance and extremism that are rampant there now. He argued that this decline, rather than Israel, is to blame for the devastation and ruin in today’s Arab world.
The following are excerpts from his article:
“[The world outside] the blood-soaked region between Mosul, [Syria] and Sirt, [Libya], and between Idlib, [Syria] and ‘Aden, [Yemen], does not see even a tenth of the strife [that goes on in that region]… not even between the two Koreas or between the Hutu and the Tutsi in Africa. This proves that the world could have been a safer and quieter place had the Middle East not been in its midst. And I ask that none of you place the blame for this on Israel, for that is [just] a shallow excuse. Israel has nothing to do with the struggle between ISIS and [Jabhat] Al-Nusra, or with what is happening between ‘Afash [a nickname for former Yemeni president ‘Ali Abdullah Saleh], [‘Abd Al-Malik] Al-Houthi [head of the Houthi Ansar Allah group in Yemen] and the Yemeni government, and has nothing to do with the ideological war that is raging in the distant deserts of Libya.
“We in this blood-red region on the world map are born [carrying] the gene of an unknown virus in our body, which soon awakens and multiplies, [triggering] destruction and war, hatred, exclusion and the despicable categorizing [of people]. In the last five years of internecine [fighting], we have killed tens of times more people from our own ranks than were killed in 50 years of historical wars with Israel.
A legendary baseball player mulling a run for the US Senate on the Republican ticket asked his interviewer on Friday why Jews support Democrats, CNN reported.
During an appearance on CNN’s “The Lead,” former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling posed this question to host Jake Tapper, who is Jewish, after being questioned about his support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, in spite of the candidate’s purportedly offensive comments about women.
Instead of responding to Tapper’s query, Schilling, who announced plans to contend against incumbent democratic Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren in 2018, said,
I would like to ask you something as a person who is practicing the Jewish faith and has since you were young. I don’t understand — and maybe this is the amateur non-politician in me — I don’t understand how people of Jewish faith can back the Democratic Party which over the last 50 years has been so clearly anti-Israel, so clearly anti-Jewish Israel. I don’t know what else would need to be done, said or happen for people to understand that… the Democratic [party] is only aligned with Israel because we have agreements in place that make them have to be.
Tapper replied that though he does “not speak for the Jews,” he “would imagine… that one of the reasons many Jews are Democrats has more to do with Democrat support for social welfare programs and that sort of thing than it does for Israel. And I know that a lot of Jews who are strong supporters of Israel do support the Republican Party.”
Attorney David Friedman, Donald Trump’s senior adviser on US-Israel relations and a longtime Arutz Sheva contributor, told Israel’s Channel 2 television Tuesday that the danger to Jews and Israel in the United States comes from the left, not the right.
Channel 2 anchor Yonit Levy asked Friedman about an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) report regarding a reported surge in anti-Semitic abuse against Jewish reporters, and wanted to know if there was anti-Semitic sentiment among Trump supporters.
“No, there is anti-Semitic sentiment among Clinton supporters,” he replied. “The danger in the United States is on the left. It’s not on the right. I’m not saying there aren’t some neo-Nazis floating around in the United States, because I’m sure there are. But the movement that we ought to be concerned about in the United States is the movement on the left.
“I can’t speak about a particular group of victims – about journalists in particular,” he went on. “I think that the danger as I said is on the left, and I think the ADL – given that who now is in charge of the ADL is a former J Street advocate – has lost frankly all credibility.”
Michael Lumnish: Bibliography of SFSU Controversies
I am in the process of compiling a more-or-less comprehensive, politically non-biased, on-line bibliography of newspaper articles, blog pieces, television reports, and so forth, concerning the various recent controversies at San Francisco State University (SFSU) around questions of anti-Semitism, primarily from about 2006 until the present.
This material can be easily accessed from the front page of Israel Thrives under the tab reading, Bibliography of SFSU Controversies.
These controversies include, in reverse order:
1) The David Horowitz Poster Campaign
2) The Disruption of Jerusalem Mayor, Nir Barkat
3) The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SFSU and An-Najah University
4) Professor Abdulhadi’s visit with terrorist Leila Khaled
5) Former GUPS President Muhammad H. Hammad and his trusty blade.
6) The Edward Said mural controversy
My hope is that this series of links may prove useful to those looking for easy access to what has been written publicly on these matters.
Daphne Anson: Can a Vicar Change his Spots?
This is a little postscript to my previous post regarding Stephen Sizer’s “Peacemaker Mediators” charity.
Will that organisation be an “Israel Bash society?” wonders a commenter on that post.
That, I suppose, depends on the correct answers to the questions posed in Jeremiah Chapter 13 verse 23.
If that commenter is a betting man, he might want to consider these latest posts from Sizer:
The above initiative appears to be the brainchild of the Palestine Return Centre (you can see its poster directly behind event chairperson Baroness Tonge’s head).
From the Palestine Return Centre’s website:
The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) invites you to the House of Lords to discuss the Launch of the Balfour Apology Campaign: Time to Say Sorry
The Palestinian Return Centre is hosting an event inside the UK Parliament a week ahead of the 99th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration which will be on November 2nd. The Balfour Declaration, which had no basis of legal authority, promised the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, where the indigenous Palestinians amounted to 90% of the total population.
After the Balfour Declaration Palestine became the victim of colonialism and Britain’s legacy is still evident today as Palestinians continue to be denied the right to self-determination and suffer from living under military occupation or as refugees. As the 100th year since the Balfour declaration approaches, the Palestinian Return Centre has decided to re-launch its campaign which started in 2013 called Balfour Apology Campaign which asks the UK Government to officially apologies for its past colonial crimes in Palestine.
The president of Germany’s teachers’ union, Marlis Tepe, apologized in a letter to her Israeli counterpart Yossi Wassermann for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions initiative against the Jewish state that was spearheaded by German teachers in the northwest city of Oldenburg.
“I want to inform you, that GEW [Education and Science Workers’ Union] is being publicly confronted with allegations of supporting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against Israel,” wrote Tepe in a late September letter obtained by The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. She added, ”I would like to apologize for the irritation and uncertainty caused by this incident which is also disturbing for GEW members and damages the reputation of our union.”
The letter from the president of the nearly 281,000 member Education and Science Workers’ Union to Wassermann, the secretary-general of Histadrut Hamorim (teachers’ union), was a clear rebuke of the anti-Israel leadership of the local GEW in Oldenburg.
“As president of the GEW I would like to expressly emphasize that our union does not support any kind of BDS or anti-Israeli initiatives. On the contrary: For many years we have been supporting the cooperation between Israel and Germany, particularly youth exchanges, and we are committed to Holocaust education,” wrote Tepe.
Here’s the crux of White’s argument:
The concept is straightforward enough: a Jewish couple – Rachel and Jacob – live in a comfortable modern home that represents the “Land of Israel”. The pair then experience a series of “invasions” by the likes of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans, Crusaders and Ottoman Empire. Finally, the British Empire arrives, to announce that their home is finally theirs – before, right at the end, two Palestinians appear at the door.
The video has been rightly criticised for its historical inaccuracies and racist caricatures: the Jewish couple remain in suburban jeans-ware throughout while, as critics have pointed out, “portraying non-Jews over 3,000 years of history as primitive barbarians” in stereotypical dress.“
Though we’re all too used to such radical anti-Israel commentators stretching the definition of the word ‘racism’ to comical lengths, this is the first time we recall this charge in the context of Jewish attitudes towards Crusaders, Babylonians and Romans!
Of course, what likely really annoys White about the film is that – in the context of Palestinian efforts to erase Jewish history and delegitimize Israelis as “colonial” interlopers – it proudly asserts the unbreakable spiritual and physical bond between Jews and Eretz Israel and the fact that the reborn Jewish state merely represents a return of the land’s indigenous community.
Beyond the risible charge that Israel is guilty of ‘perpetuating’ racist stereotypes towards ancient communities within extinct empires, the Indy op-ed demonstrates how Jews’ historically undeniable connection to Israel is seen by activists like White as necessarily undermining the anti-Zionist agitprop which lies at the very core of the pro-Palestinian movement.
Like the previous article, this one too failed to provide BBC audiences with any of the relevant context concerning prior UNESCO motions and resolutions which have similarly erased Jewish history.
Readers were again not told of the repeated episodes of pre-planned Palestinian rioting on Temple Mount which have necessitated measures mentioned in the BBC’s report:
“It [the resolution] criticises Israel’s activities at holy places in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. […]
The resolution repeatedly denounced Israeli actions, including the use of force, imposition of restrictions on Muslim worshippers and archaeological work.”
No factual information was provided to enable audiences to put the allegations made in the resolution’s wording into their correct context.
And yet again, the context of the role of this document in the long-standing Palestinian campaign to erase Jewish heritage and history as part of the tactical delegitimisation of Israel was erased from audience view. Readers were not informed that both the PA’s ruling party Fatah and Hamas lauded the UNESCO resolution’s denial of Jewish history.
We pointed out two substantive problems with the report.
The Indy failed to note that the “news organizations” in question (Quds News Network and Shehab News Agency) are both reportedly affiliated with terror groups, and neglected to tell readers that the “journalists” had their Facebook accounts reinstated within a day of the suspension. A Facebook spokesperson apologized, saying the suspensions had been “accidental”.
So, there was really no story here – certainly nothing to support the Indy’s suggestion that Palestinian Facebook accounts were suspended because of the agreement between Israel and Facebook.
Though we complained to the Indy shortly after the article was published, we only recently heard back from editors, who informed us that they upheld the part of our complaint regarding Facebook’s prompt reinstatement of the Palestinian accounts.
Indeed, they took the rare step (rare for the Indy, at least) of adding an addendum at the bottom of the article.
In recent weeks the BBC has produced two backgrounders concerning the ongoing war in Yemen.
An article headlined “Yemen crisis: Who is fighting whom?” was promoted in the ‘Features’ section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page on October 14th and a week later – on October 21st – a filmed item titled “Yemen crisis: ‘The forgotten war’” also appeared on the same page, as well as on BBC television.yemen-mai-norman
Both those items include statements relating to Iranian involvement in the conflict in Yemen. In the filmed report Mai Norman tells viewers:
“But just like Syria and Iraq, regional power struggles are also at play and in the Middle East that almost always means Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Saudis back Hadi and they accuse Iran – a Shia country – of supporting the Houthis.” [emphasis added]
Readers of the written article are told that:
Eti Sionit Goshen helped countless Jews flee Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but it was 10 years before she and her family could escape • She dreams of being asked to light a torch on Independence Day, saying, “That would be our true victory.”
“People usually speak of three periods of time: the past, the present and the future. For Persians who were born in Iran before the 1979 Revolution, there are only two periods of time: the shah’s time and Khomeini’s time.”
Just like that, in a sentence that reveals nothing of her and her husband’s heroic exploits, 65-year-old Eti Sionit Goshen begins telling her life story.
Even today, 30 years after fleeing Iran with her husband Houshang and two children, and after helping countless Jews escape the iron fist of the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s regime, recalling those years still makes her agitated.
Her son, Houman Goshe, who kept the family’s original surname, and who was just 11 when his parents made their daring escape from Iran, is a lieutenant colonel with the Israeli Air Force.
“When you stand on a mountain and look back, you realize that life has given you the tools to deal with what is in front of you here and now,” he says. “You appreciate something when you barely get it or almost lose it. That’s the story of our family and the State of Israel.”
Goshen was born in Touyserkan, a small city in western Iran.
South Korea is reportedly considering using an Israeli spy satellite to peek at North Korea’s military and nuclear facilities as it ramps up its defense capabilities in response to threats from Pyongyang.
A South Korean Ministry of National Defense official said last week the country was looking to foreign intelligence agencies to provide information on North Korean activities, as it will take several years for the country to develop its own surveillance satellites, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
Seoul has become increasingly concerned after North Korea conducted five nuclear tests in the last ten years, several recently, and a series of missile tests, including of intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
According to a report on the Ynet news website on Saturday, Israel’s Ofek 11 spy satellite could be in position to provide information on North Korea.
Proofpoint, a cybersecurity company based in California, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire FireLayers, an Israeli innovator in cloud security. The acquisition deal is said to be worth $55 million — approximately $46 million in cash and some $9 million in Proofpoint stock.
FireLayers is a three-year-old startup based in Herzliya. It was founded by Yair Grindlinger, CEO, and president Doron Elgressy.
The Israeli office will now become the US cyber security company’s local development center.
FireLayers specializes in helping enterprises secure their cloud applications.
“We built FireLayers with one goal: to help enterprises secure their cloud applications—and we are thrilled to accelerate our mission and bring Proofpoint’s exceptional capabilities to SaaS applications,” said Yair Grindlinger, CEO and co-founder of FireLayers. “Our decision to join Proofpoint is based on its high caliber cybersecurity innovation and effectiveness at protecting customers worldwide from advanced threats. And the new Proofpoint Israel office extends that exceptional leadership presence into Israel for long-term success.”
A delegation of Israeli start-ups that are developing technologies to assist people with disabilities will meet Australian and international investors, government officials and organizations at events in Sydney this week.
Among the start-ups participating in the delegation, organized by PresenTense Israel, are Paratrek, a tourist venture that offers treks and extreme sports to people with disabilities through the use of their Paratrekker, an offroad wheelchair with frontal and rear supports; Sesame Enable, a company that has developed a touch-free smartphone — controlled by head movements — for people with disabilities who have limited or no use of their hands; NiNiSpeech, the creator of a digital platform that enables people with speech disorders to take control over their speech in day-to-day life; and yooocan, a global online community for people with disabilities and their families to share stories, buy products and derive inspiration.
PresenTense, led by Sydney-born Guy Spigelman, is a largely volunteer-run community that encourages entrepreneurs to invest resources and technology in socially oriented causes, with the aim to promote both profitability and a social mission. The organization has founded and runs, together with Israel’s Bet Issie Shapiro, A3i, an accelerator that aims to promote assistive technologies.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz are set to attend a cornerstone-laying ceremony on Wednesday evening for a new business district at the entrance to Jerusalem, flagged as a “game-changer” for the nation’s capital and one of the most prominent business projects in the country.
“This project we are initiating is a game-changer for Jerusalem. It is the biggest, most significant and essential project for the future of the city,” said Barkat in an emailed statement to The Times of Israel. “Jerusalem after the completion of this new business district will be different from before,” transformed from a city with stalled economic growth and a declining population to “an attractive city for young people,” competitive and empowered.
With an investment of NIS 1.4 billion (approximately $364 million) by the government and the Jerusalem municipality, the Jerusalem Gateway project district will spread out over an area of approximately 700,000 square meters (173 acres), starting from the Chords Bridge that greets visitors at the entrance to the city and leading to a renovated Binyanei Ha’uma – International Convention Center and right up to Ben Zvi Boulevard, where the popular Ima restaurant is located.
“The project is huge and will create an area that will be completely integrated with the rest of the city and throbbing with cultural and commercial activities during the day and the night,” Lior Grunhaus, a vice president of Eden, the municipal company that is managing the project, said in an interview. “Today the entrance to Jerusalem is peppered with empty parking lots and bus lots that are not what you’d like to see entering the capital of the country.”
Even as Israeli and foreign VC funds reduced their investment activity in Israeli tech firms, crowdfunding platforms and private investors picked up the slack, with the sector raising a total of $1.19 billion in the third quarter of 2016, the second-highest quarterly amount in 10 years, a new report shows.
According to the IVC-KPMG report, by the IVC Research Center and the KPMG auditing company, the quarterly figure was markedly affected by one deal totaling $204 million, which represented 17 percent of total capital raised in the quarter. Excluding that transaction, the quarterly funds raised totaled $982 million, similar to the $1 billion quarterly average raised in the past three years, the report said.
Since the beginning of 2016, Israeli high-tech companies raised a total of $4 billion in 510 deals, 27 percent above the $3.15 billion raised in 491 deals in the first nine months of 2015, and only 7 percent below 2015’s annual record of $4.3 billion. The average transaction reached $7.8 million, a noticeable increase, compared with the $6.4 million average in Q1-Q3/2015. In the third quarter of 2016, the average company financing round stood at $8.4 million, including the one-off $204 million transaction.
Foreign investor participation in financing rounds of Israeli tech companies, particularly by foreign VC funds, declined for the quarter, the report said. “This is a reflection of the global downtrend in VC investment that has been going on for over a year,” Koby Simana, the CEO of Tel Aviv-based IVC Research Center which tracks the industry, said in a statement. Fourth-quarter data needs to be available to determine if the Israeli market is also indeed following the global trend, he said.
“In any case, we expect 2016 to close as a record year in terms of capital raising, so short of a dramatic surprise in the coming months, we are still far from declaring that the global VC crisis has hit Israel,” Simana said.
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.