Beyond the Cusp

May 26, 2013

The Truth of Worsening British Israeli Relations

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Israeli Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz and British Foreign Secretary William Hague were at loggerheads this past week over the reason that the British people appear to be souring towards Israel. Yuval Steinitz told the Daily Telegraph on Thursday that there is a growing “animosity” towards Israel within the British Isles. He mentioned the main areas of contention as emanating from the British media, NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) and academics with many supporting the BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions). Yuval Steinitz described these emotional animosities as a form of “disguised anti-Semitism.”


British Foreign Secretary responded claiming, “Israel has lost some of its support in Britain and in other European countries over time – this is something I’ve often pointed out to Israeli leaders – because of settlement activity, which we condemn.” Hague told Sky News, “We strongly disagree with settlements on occupied land. Israel is a country we work with in many ways but we do disapprove of settlements.” He concluded adding that, “We want to see both Israelis and Palestinians really commit themselves to the peace process while there is still a chance of a two-state solution.”


These two opposing views need to be rectified and the truth uncovered as they are typical of the divide between the two sides of the Israel Palestinian debate, the Zionists and the anti-Zionists. Probably the best way to attack this issue is to actually look into the history, all of the history which will reveal that the British should know better than any other nation the promises made to the Jewish people and how those solemn promises were broken, compromised, broken again, and finally have been completely negated and forgotten by even the same peoples whose names appear as a primary guarantor of these promises. Well, maybe not all the history but we’ll cover the history since the start of World War I. Going into World War I the Ottoman Empire held the lands of the Middle East as well as Northern Africa and Iraq. The Ottoman Empire sided with Germany and the rest of the losing side in World War I. The Ottoman Empire had been slowly weakening in the century or two before World War I and was being propped up by Czarist Russia and a general lack of interest in starting any conflicts which allowed the Ottoman Empire to continue to limp along. After their defeat in World War I it became obvious that the Ottoman Empire had completely collapsed so the lands were divided up between two of the European victors which started a brief colonialist period. Of course Turkey was reduced to its current borders and was all that was left of the Ottoman Empire. Egypt was placed under British sovereignty with Egypt gaining their independence in 1922. Britain was also awarded the Iraqi Mandate from which Iraq gained their independence in 1932. Libya remained an Italian possession administered by Britain and France and finally received its independence on Christmas Eve of 1951. Algeria had been and remained a French colony wining its independence in 1962.


This leaves the main areas of the Middle East which are of concern with the history of promises, declarations, conferences and treaties concerning Israel. The area which today makes up Syria and Lebanon were placed under the French Mandate while the areas making up Jordan, Israel, and the contested lands claimed by the Palestinians and Israel made up the British Mandate. Upon this division of the area which the Arabs referred to as greater Syria there was a great commotion among the Arabs who were within the borders of the British Mandate. These Arab populations had two significant problems with being placed under the British Mandate while Damascus was relegated to the French Mandate. The British Mandate Arabs were greatly troubled that they no longer had easy access to Damascus which they viewed as their main Muslim holy city in the area previously known as Greater Syrian Province of the Ottoman Empire. They also demanded that they be referred to as Syrian and refused to accept the title of Palestinian Arabs. They had no problem with the Arab part but vehemently refused to accept the use of Palestinian instead of Syrian Arabs. The Arabs in 1920 when the two Mandates were formed dividing Greater Syria into a northern French Mandate for Syria and a Southern British Mandate for Palestine was referred to as Year of the Catastrophe (Am al-Naqba) which protested both their divisions from Damascus and being referred to as Palestinian rather than Syrian. This original use of the word Naqba to protest being labeled as Palestinian really does make its current use protesting the failure of the combined Arab Armies to destroy Israel immediately after the declaration of independence in 1948 quite strange and almost a complete reversal as they now demand recognition as being the Palestinian state.


The French Mandate for Syria eventually led to the formation of the modern states of Syria and Lebanon who would become completely independent in 1943 with all French forces removed by the end of 1946. Syria was established to continue as an Arab state while Lebanon was intended to be controlled and under the rule of Arab Christians remaining in that form through the end of the Twentieth Century. The entire of the British Mandate for Palestine was intended to fulfill the promise of the Balfour Declaration for the formation of a Jewish Homeland. Some have posited the notion that the sole reason that Israel was formed was due to the Holocaust, but that is impossible as it clashes with the fact that the Balfour Declaration was written in 1917, well before the Holocaust or the rise of Nazi Germany. The Balfour Declaration was formalized and codified by the League of Nations when establishing the British and French Mandate systems. In 1922 Britain issued the first of the White Papers. This one is often referred to as the Churchill White Paper. In this agreement the Zionist received promises that in exchange for their conceding the Mandate lands east of the Jordan River for the establishment of an Arab entity that the remainder of the Mandate lands west of the Jordan River would be reserved and indivisible for the future Jewish State. There were subsequent commissions and White Papers which mostly dealt with numbers of Jews allowed to immigrate each year, usually made in response to Arab violence in order to calm the situation. Such solutions never seemed to install a proper and lasting peace but that did not prevent the British from their constant attempts to pacify Arab anger. After World War II the Arabs were in a somewhat weakened position with the British as they had sided with Germany during the war. This situation did not persist and the British simply wished to be free of the entire problem. The United Nations General Assembly proposed a division of the Mandate lands west of the Jordan River into equal Arab and Jewish states with full British support despite their promises to the Zionist Agency. The Zionists accepted this proposed split feeling that any homeland was preferable to their current situation but the Arab League refused the proposed formation of two states as they refused to recognize any land being made into a Jewish State. The Zionist Agency and other Jewish groups declared their independence on May 14, 1948, and the combined armies of seven Arab countries (Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and militias and additional troops from Yemen and the Palestinian Arab militias) attacked the nascent Jewish state of Israel on the morning of May 15, 1948.


The genocidal intent of the war was made evident in the Arab leadership proudly claiming that this was to be a war of annihilation and that not a single Jew would be spared. When the Armistice was initiated, Israeli troops controlled over two-thirds of the lands west of the Jordan River. The Arab forces held on to some of the lands from the Mandate lands west of the Jordan River with Syria holding the Golan Heights, Jordan holding Judea, Samaria and portions of Binyamin (aka the West Bank), and Egypt held the Gaza Strip. Syria annexed the Golan Heights and this was recognized by most countries, Egypt never annexed Gaza and just ruled it as a semiautonomous colony, and Jordan annexed what they called their West Bank but this was recognized by all of two countries, Britain and Pakistan. When the combined armies of Syria and Egypt massed on Israeli borders threatening to once again hold a war of annihilation and Egypt cut off access through the Straits of Tiran, thus having committed a casus belli making war inevitable. During the first day’s fighting Jordan declared their intent to join the war reacting to the Egyptian and Syrian transmissions reporting on their glorious victories and the routing of the Israeli army and approaching Tel Aviv. The Israelis pleaded with Jordan not to enter the conflict telling them that the Egyptian and Syrian transmissions were lies and propaganda and that the reality was the Israelis were winning and winning convincingly. The Jordanians took the Israeli pleading as proof that Israel was losing and doing so badly and they first launched their attack into Western Jerusalem. By the end of the War after six days the Israelis held the Golan Heights and were on their way towards Damascus, held all of Judea and Samaria and all of Jerusalem holding everything west of the Jordan River, and held Gaza and the entire Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. Since then Israel pulled back to the Golan Heights on the Jordanian front, made a peace with Egypt and returned the Sinai Peninsula while Egypt refused to reoccupy Gaza and made peace with Jordan who surrendered all lands west of the Jordan River.


Subsequent to the Six Day War in 1967, there has been an additional war with Syria and Egypt in 1973 and two wars with Lebanon due to Fatah and Hezballah terrorism across the Israeli northern border. During the nineteen years for which Egypt and Jordan held between them Gaza and the West Bank there had been absolutely no mention or attempt to form a Palestinian state. Such an idea came only after Israel liberated these lands in 1967. The reason the Arab League stated for not recognizing the Jordanian annexation of the area they named the West Bank after the war in 1948 was because to have done so would have also meant recognizing borders for the state of Israel. Since the Arab League refused to recognize the existence of Israel they stated they could not recognize any Jordanian border with a state of Israel which does not exist. This makes their desire in the Saudi Plan to recognize borders for a Palestinian state which also denotes borders for Israel a real change of heart. There are other events which also never seem to be recognized such as the over three-quarters of a million Jews who were evicted and thrown from their properties, homes, businesses, and lives from one Arab nation after another from 1948 on through 1959 many of whom were absorbed into Israel. There have been other absorptions such as the Russian Jews from the old Soviet Union, the Ethiopian Jews brought out from wars and famines in Ethiopia, the gathering of the Menashe Tribe of Jews from India and the initial ingathering of the survivors of the Shoah in Europe. There are likely to be more ingatherings above the steady flow of Jews returning home making Aliyah from all over the world. There are those who predict, and we agree, that there is likely soon to be such from much of Europe and there are others who see the same eventuality to occur with the Jews of the United States. As we often end articles, let us just say, time will tell.


Beyond the Cusp


September 3, 2011

An Unending Hatred

A World War II Memorial Monument was vandalized and defaced sometime during the night before September 1, 2011. But this was more than simply the mischief of some bored youth making one last ruckus at the end of the summer. This was more to this particular act of hatred than the Swastikas and the hateful phrases emblazoned in green paint on the Memorial for the 1500 Jews who were murdered in Jedwabne, Poland as the World War was in its initial stages. This was a particularly ugly hate that has festered in Jedwabne leading up to the original slaughter straight through the placing of the memorial and obviously continuing still as I write. What form of hate causes one to write on a memorial to 1500 Jews who were herded into a barn and then burned to death as the barn was set ablaze that, “They were highly flammable” and “I’m not sorry for Jedwabne.” What person has such a monstrous hatred burning inside them to commit an act in a town where I seriously doubt much of a Jewish presence remains.

This was a different and special memorial to World War II death of Jews in some location. In Jedwabne, the murder of nearly the entire Jewish population of the town occurred before the German Nazi troops had entered the town. In August of 1941, this little town in Poland with a total population of approximately 3100 citizens, half of the town rounded up the other half of the town, the 1500 member Jewish population of the town, and locked them in a barn and then proceeded to set the barn ablaze then made sure they all perished in the inferno. Less than a dozen Jews survived, two families had fled ahead of the act and one young man survived as he had been sent back by his father to lock the house that had been left unsecured. The young man witnessed the entire pogrom and lived to bear witness. This was an act of annihilation against the Jews of Jedwabne by their Polish neighbors perpetrated before the town had been taken by the Nazis. And the story does not end with this one horrid event.

After the war, the good citizens of Jedwabne erected a memorial to the 1500 citizens of their little town that had died during the earliest parts of the War. The memorial read, “In memory of the 1,500 Poles murdered by the Hitlerites.” But this massacre occurred before the Hitlerites had come to Jedwabne, and the people of the town were fully aware of this fact. Yet, this was the memorial that best fit their remembrance and consciences. It took decades of efforts to finally have corrections made to have the memorial be made more accurate, but simply more accurate. After decades, the memorial was altered to the more fitting admission, “In memory of the 1500 Jews who were murdered.” Yet, somehow it still did not correctly name those who had committed the murder of the town’s Jews. I guess it was best left unsaid and allow those who did not know assume that it was the Nazis, no need to implicate the good people of Jedwabne, after all, the Nazis had so much Jewish blood on their hands, what would placing a paltry 1500 more onto their totals be. Nothing. And, by doing so, it made the townspeople able to put this episode behind them and wash their hands of any complicity in this heinous event.

With this latest act it would appear that issues still need to be reckoned with and one small Polish town named Jedwabne might consider finally owning up to their past in order to straighten out the present and set an example of honest remembrance for their future. I am aware that the perpetrators of this ghastly murder of innocents have most likely passed on, but apparently their motivation remains and is as healthy and strong as is their refusal to admit their past hatreds. It is entirely possible that making an honest admission and making one last permanent sincere reckoning by giving a proper tribute with an truthful accounting of the abhorrent actions of August 1941 in Jedwabne replete with a respectful recounting of the fate of the 1500 Jews might also set things in a light where present hatreds could more easily be rectified. This latest disrespect will most likely not be the last until the truth will eventually be owned and the little town of Jedwabne finally returns things to a righteous balance.

Beyond the Cusp

June 17, 2011

World Sending Mixed Messages to Jews

On one side, we do not have to search the news too deeply to find a cornucopia of proclamations demanding measures to isolate Israel or other measures all designed to remove Israel from among the nations of the world. The excuses do not vary much with most boiling down to the refusal of allowing Jews owning land for a country of their own or any other reasons. Forbidding Jews from property rights is far from a new idea. Such decrees were made by the Babylonians, the Seleucid Empire (Syrian Greeks), the Romans, virtually every country in Europe took a turn at such exclusions throughout the Middle Ages into the modern times, throughout the Arab and Muslim Worlds in the Middle Eastern and North African lands in turns by whim of each ruler, the Russians under both the Czars and the Communists, and in recent history by the Nazis in occupied Europe and North Africa. The calls today being shouted from every corner of the world are simply a continuation of a recurring theme against the Jews as a people, when they were a nation, and oft due simply to religious persecution. –The three main groups of sufficient size calling for the destruction or simple dissolution of Israel as a Jewish State are the Muslim World, Progressives occupying the extreme left of the political spectrum and the Pale-Conservatives who are to the extreme right of the political spectrum. The extreme leftists have taken the path of allying their efforts with the Muslim anti-Israel and anti-Zionist people. When inspected a little more deeply, much of the hatred from all of these groups boils down to being driven by the ever-present anti-Semitism.

On the other end of the messages are those people who are applying their talents and efforts to outlaw many traditions and Covenant Practices demanded by Torah. One such example currently in the news is the Dutch Parliament discussion to enact ordinance that would outlaw Shechita, the ritual method of slaughter required to allow meats to be considered Kosher. The attempt is done through duplicitous means by requiring animals be stunned before slaughter which is not allowed under the rules of Shechita. Driving this argument is Marianne Thieme, leader of the small Party for the Animals in the Dutch Parliament. Another equally underhanded attack on Jewish rituals and religious life comes from San Francisco in the form of a referendum placing a ban on circumcision worded as Male Genital Mutilation. Such a ban is an old measure used throughout history against the Jewish people first recorded as being an edict by the Seleucid Empire (Syrian Greeks) under the rule of King Antiochus. Once again, in modern times the Communists in Russia outlawed circumcision that forced Jews to carry out the commandment at great risk in secret, while others ended up asking to undergo circumcisions as adults once Communism fell and they made Aliyah to Israel. The original argument made by the people behind the anti-circumcision referendum was they were protecting male children from brutality perpetrated against their will in the form of unnecessary genital mutilation. They listed a number of studies which proclaimed the potential consequences and complications caused by circumcision while downplaying the medical advantages which have led to the majority of male children to be circumcised in the hospital before release. They denied any possible tie to anti-Semitism or anti-Semitic motivations behind their efforts; it was purely for the children. Since this became known, some further investigations have uncovered a cartoon style set of pamphlets produced by the sponsors of this referendum. The comic’s hero was “Foreskin Man” whose villain he had to save young male children from was “Monster Mohel” who had to be prevented from performing the Brit Mila ceremony (aka Briss), the Jewish rite of circumcision performed when a male child reaches eight days after birth. Below is a picture from the pamphlet which pretty much removes any denial of anti-Semitic origins of their efforts.

What can be concluded from these two seemingly opposite views? Obviously, outside Israel country after country, city after city, at any level of governance, there exists a drive to remove the right of Jews to their rituals, customs, and mitzvahs commanded by Torah. Jews are being legislated out of society on such a broad level that the only seeming solution for Jews who wish to continue to practice Judaism would be to move to Israel. Meanwhile, much of the same peoples and forces are behind efforts to delegitimize and destroy Israel and forcing Israeli Jews to return to living in exile as part of the Diaspora. Critically looking at this set of circumstances, there is but one logical and necessary solution for the Jewish People. Since it is being made obvious that there are sufficient numbers throughout the world, in some countries they make up a vast majority while in others they are simply a sizeable minority, who will stop at nothing to remove all vestiges of Jewish practices, traditions, and religious observance from their society. Seemingly, these people wish to allow Jews to remain in their presence as long as they are not particularly Jewish. The message is simply, if you wish to be a practicing Jew on any measurable level, then get yourself to Israel as you are no longer welcome anywhere else. But this brings out the other side of the coin, the desire to eradicate Israel, and for many also the Jews living within. Israel is being constantly castigated for existing and having the audacity to take measures in order to assure Israel’s continued existence. The simple conclusion is that the world is going towards pushing as many Jews as possible to go to Israel and no longer “pollute” their lands while also doing everything in their power to bring to fruition the destruction of Israel and her Jews. We Jews have seen such conditions before, usually right before terrible consequences befell the Jewish people, the Jewish nation. We saw it in Egypt, then later Babylonia, followed by the Seleucid Empire, the Roman Empire, the expansion of Islam in the later years of the first millennium, and on through to the pogroms of Europe and Russia and the dhimmitude classification within the world of Islam, the Holocaust of the Nazis (Shoah), and all of the growing perils that are becoming more obvious as the acceptance of Jew-hatred once again is losing its stigmas and becoming acceptable in “polite society” and even the halls of governance. The sole piece of advice Jews should heed is to make Aliyah and work to protect our Promised Land and become good stewards of the lands the L-rd our G-d promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and to us as their seed as long as we live the Covenant we have sworn to by our acceptance of Torah. Israel and Torah are the only viable future for the Jewish faith, the Jewish people, and the Jewish nation, and this might be the final chance we will have to live Torah in the Land of the L-rd thus making us worthy of living in His lands. No matter what our efforts, the Diaspora will wither and die in the near future, there will not be any other option for the Jews than Israel.

Beyond the Cusp

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