Sunday, September 17, 2017

July 21, 1938: Five Dead by Arab Terror

During the "Disturbances" or the Great Arab Revolt of 1936-1939, the Mufti succeeded in causing the British to alter their concept of what was the purpose of the League of Nations Mandate - from reconstituting  the Jewish people's national home in Palestine in a territory from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River (taking into consideration that the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined, the Mandatory shall be entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application of such provisions of this mandate) and that stems from a recognition given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with that country, to a decision that "His Majesty's Government therefore now declare unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State" which members of the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission considered an illegal act, one that reneged on what had been decided 17 years earlier.

That move by the British, which was accompanied by a severe restriction of immigration certificates to 75,000 over the next five years, obliquely aided Hitler's mission to eradicate the Jews of Europe by keeping them within his grasp, as they had no where to go,

In addition, over 500 Jews who were in Palestine were killed by Arab terrorist gangs and untold Jewish property was burned, uprooted and destroyed.

The Yishuv , in general, maintained a policy a Havlaga, self-restraint, whereas the Irgun, from mid-1937 on, conducted counter-terrorist operations which included marketplace bombings, bus bombings, incursions into Arab villages and assassinations.  At times, the Hagana also engaged in such actions, especially in the Haifa district.

Whether or not these Havlaga-breaking actions more moral or not has been argued since that time, most recently in a new, rather tendentious and error-ridden book.

I picked one incident that, perhaps, provides an insight into the thinking of the Yishuv's defense forces at that time.

It is not mentioned in this Wikipedia entry.

In Parliament, on July 20, 1938, the Secretary of State for the Colonies Mr. M. MacDonald informed the members of the House that

"During the fortnight ended the 19th July, 77 persons were killed and 247 wounded, and there were 32 cases of bomb-throwing. Other terrorist acts included 52 cases of sniping, seven armed robberies and one kidnapping. There were two outbreaks of arson at Haifa, which were suppressed, and a number of acts of sabotage against Jewish, Arab and Government property; but I am unable to estimate the extent of the damage to property sustained during the period."

The very same night, at a location called Kiriat HaCharoshet (now within Kiryat Tivon) then populated by 60 families with a train station, marked in blue:

now an upscale area:

an attack by Arabs took place. Here's Davar of July 21:

In the upper left-hand corner is the short report.   This is the following day's item on the funerals:

Here is the Palestine Post report in English on another terror attack at a nearby location:

On that very same page, you can read about other events just to get an idea of what was happening:

This record informs the the five people murdered were Shmuel Gutterman, Leah (Lotte) Gutterman (34), Bilhah Gutterman, Rivka (Regina) Spiegler and Yaakov Spiegler. The Guttermans were three years in the country and Shmuel, 38, worked as a baker. That evening, the family was in the midst of sitting Shiva for their oldest boy who had died of cancer, it seems. Their daughter was less than two years old.  The Arabs who broke into their shack shot and stabbed them to death and then set the place alight.  They then broke into the nearby shack where the husband had not yet returned home.  The mohter and son were stabbed and burnt alive while a daughter, six-year old Ora, managed somehow to slip out and hide in the yard until rescued by defenders who, despite shooting and wounding several attackers, were outnumbered and had to withdraw to the center of the neighborhood.

The next day's Palestine Post:

Was this an isolated incident?

Here's more of page 2:

and from the previous day's paper:

And the following day's edition

Maybe now you have a better perspective on whether restraint or response was the policy to be adopted.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Englander Cannot Realize Reality

In an interview, author Nathan Englander uses this example to illustrate why the two sides in the Arab-Israel conflict, or rather the Arab Conflict with Israel, simply is "not the same reality":-

He realized that a Jewish person could stand on a hill in Jerusalem and recognize it as the holy Temple Mount, while a Palestinian could stand in the same place - "literally the same spot" - and view it as a different holy site, the Haram al-Sharif.

Actually, the real problem is not with a "reality" but with a process of denial of reality.  And Englander, I fear, may bot be able to grasp that or, at the least, accept it.

It is that while the Jews all recognize there is a Haram al-Sharif and an Al-Aqsa, Muslims do not accept that there is a Temple Mount.

In fact, it's worse.  Muslims deny the hill was Mount Moriah where the Temple stood.  And those Arabs who call themselves Palestinians, think even worse:

Jerusalem's Jewish connection is denied.

Temple denied. Yes, really. The book.

Jerusalem must be purely Arab.

Jews have no right to a Temple.

Violence is the proper response to Jews.

Jews defile Jerusalem's Temple Mount:

There is so much more.  As Dennis Ross wrote:

On the ninth day of the 2000 Camp David Summit, Yasir Arafat, then Palestinian National Authority President, told President Bill Clinton that “Solomon’s Temple was not in Jerusalem, but Nablus.”

So, why does a seemingly intelligent author get things wrong and then pass them on to his audiences so they remain ignorant, too?


Friday, September 15, 2017

Beaten-up Betarim

How bad were the relations between the political and ideological camps in the Yishuv?

This clipping illustrates the situation:

It relates how members of Betar, who refused to pay the voluntary tax imposed in late 1938 by the National Institutions to fund the Hagana, the Kofer HaYishuv, were denied the right to get on a bus to Netanya from probably the Rechovot-Rishon L'Tzion area.

Despite the Revisionist Party being informed that indeed, the Betarim need not contribute the tax to be able to ride the buses, they were beaten up when they refused to pay and six required first aid.

Now you know why it was easy to carry out the Saison operation.


You're Wrong and Unhelpful Yourself, Mr. Ambassador

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro spoke to a crowded ASEAN Auditorium at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts this week.

Among the things Shapiro said was this about "expanding settlements in the West Bank Judea and Samaria"

“It’s unhelpful both because it changes the map over time … but also because of the political impact and the way it suggests to Palestinians that decisions are being made before they are at the negotiating table.”

You see, Mr. Ambassador, calling the territory of regions of the historic Land of Israel as the "West Bank", a geo-political term of obfuscation created in April 1950 when the illegal occupier of Judea and Samaria, Jordan's King Abdallah I annexed that land to his kingdom, is unhelpful, an interference with the neogtiaons for a peaceful settlement, discriminatory to Jewish rights and claims as well as being unauthentic as even the United Nations 1947 Partition Plan used the terms Judea and Samaria to delineate the borders of the future two states (a compromise plan rejected by the Arabs, incidentally, and due to their subsequent aggression, the map changed).

Using "West Bank" has quite a negative impact.

It affords the Arab side an ability to claim, before they are at the negotiating table, that they have a right to all of that territory.

But I suspect you intended that.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

This Wasn't the Headline

This story did not have this as its headline:

Jordanian Minister Condemns Terror Against Jews

Decries Violence and Exploiting 

Sacred Site for Islam and Also Judaism

Instead, here's the actual story:

Amman, Sept 12 (Petra) –– Jordan on Tuesday strongly condemned a recent decision by the Israeli Magistrates Court to close down the Bab Al Rahma building on the Al Aqsa Mosque/ Haram Al Sharif compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

State Minister for Media Affairs, Mohammad Momani, said that the Israeli judiciary had no jurisdiction over East Jerusalem and its holy sites, top of which is the holy Al Aqsa Mosque, as the site is occupied territory that is subject to the international law and the international humanitarian law.

Israel, as the occupying power, should respect its commitments in this regard, he demanded.

Jordan, he added, categorically rejects all the ongoing illegal Israeli attempts to impose the Israeli laws on Al Aqsa Mosque/ Haram Al Sharif as a flagrant violation of the international law, and deems these laws as part of Israeli policies designed to change the historical and legal status quo at the holy compound.

Momani, who is also the government's official spokesman, said that the Israeli police's appeal to the court to permanently close down the Bab Al Rahma structure under the anti-terrorism law, is a matter of extreme gravity that would have serious consequences as it amounts to an aggression against the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic Waqf (trust), which has the jurisdiction in this matter, and all Muslims.

Momani urged Israel as the occupying power to immediately revoke "this politicized and provocative decision" and live up to its obligations under the international law, and also respect the Jerusalem Waqf, which has the exclusive jurisdiction over all the affairs of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

But you expected that, correct?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Palestinian Experience: Little Social/Communal Cohesion

Ar a General Zionist Council meeting in 1938, an trend that was to become critical to the creation of the 1947-48 Arab exodus of Palestine phenomenon, which then developed into the "Palestine refugee" situation was described by Moshe Shertok (Sharrett):-

Arabs, particularly wealthier ones, fled early when terror undermined Jewish-Arab relations and economic possibilities.  Little social communal cohesion.

That's what happened a decade later that led to the virtual collapse of local Arab society.

It was not new but rather a near-permanent aspect of Arab social instability or, in other words, lack of national spirit.


From Dissent to Degradation

I hope this won't be too deep an observation and I will not make it long (extended references and details are in the embedded links).

Far left forces, mainly but not exclusively American,  consider Israel's military government regime in the territories liberated from Jordanian occupation as immoral, illegal and un-Jewish.  They began and continually attempt to affect a tectonic change in Diaspora Jewry's mutually important relationship with Israel by declaring that military government to be an illegal occupation in the face of major evidence to the contrary 

That "occupation", I think, despite all sorts of outlandish claims, is fair and just in the conditions in comparison to that existed which before 1967, when that administration was applied to regions of the historic Land of Israel as well as today, under the despotic Palestinian Authority rule.  

These forces, in one apparition or another, in one manifestation or another, have always been with us. They fought Herzl. They struggled against the Balfour Declaration. They denied Jewish nationalism. They were either non-Zionist or anti-Zionist. They waged campaigns against President Woodrow Wilson approving the idea of a Mandate that would reconstitute the Jewish National Home. They insisted, despite all past and current evidence, that there should not be a Jewish state, or something quite less than a political entity.

They were called the Bund. The Reform Movment until 1937.  Neturei Karta. The American Council for Judaism. Jewish Fellowship in England. Palestine Communist Party (who actively supported Arab terror in the 1920s and 1930s* and see: Budeiri, Musa. The Palestine Communist Party, 1919-1948: Arab and Jews in the Struggle for Internationalism)

Brit Shalom. Ihud. Breira. Jewish Voice for PeaceIfNotNow. Open Zion. V15's interference in Israel's democratic process. NIF's previous assistance to subversive groups.  Rabbi Kaufmann KohlerLord Montagu, Peter Beinart. Michael Chyabon & Ayelet Waldman, Tony Judt. The "tragic mockery" of Leon Trotsky. IJAN. Haaretz. Jews supporting Boycott. Breaking the Silence. Mondoweiss. Richard Falk. Ken Roth. George Soros. Noam Chomsky. Norman Finkelstein. Gideon Levy. Amira Hass and Haaretz's owner, Amos Schocken. They, among others, are ideological opponents, and less than pragmatic critics.

And they lost because their thinking was wrong, because their observance of events was incorrect, because their understanding of political, economic, military and cultural elements was in error and worse, they have not learned from their mistakes in the past.

Now, more than ever, the trend of their promotions is leading not to a singular criticism of a specific policy, of an approach, or lack thereof, of a party or a person.  It is directing anger, frustration and self-impotence against Israel as a whole.

Israel, it is claimed, is an "apartheid" state. It has always been a project of settler colonialism is the assertion. It is "racist". And worse. Now, Nazi memes are employed a la Rogel Alpher.

Basically, what has developed, is that the very idea of Israel is to be rejected and it is being pushed forcefully and prominently.  To be generous, it is difficult to think of these op-ed columnists and bloggers and 'intellectuals' and such as truly intelligent, for any claim that that language and contextualization they employ is not what they intend, although many quite openly do, cannot they see what they are creating?

They present an "Israel situation" that is, in the end, a la Judt** and Mick Davis, bad for the Jews.  As Daniel Gordis phrased it, "It’s not about what Israel does. It’s about what, to their minds, Israel is."  Israel is less important than Diaspora Jews and the existence of a Diaspora. Babylon is better than Jerusalem.  That was done in the 1930s by socialists, non-nationalists and ultra-Orthodox and we know that in a few years, they were all proven wrong.  Shalom Asch declared in 1938 that “what Jabotinsky is now doing in Poland [his evacuation plan] goes beyond all limits…Heaven help a people with such leaders.” Asch eventually declared at a press conference in Jerusalem in 1952: “I deeply regret that I fought against Jabotinsky’s evacuation plan”. 

In the past, these ideas led those that held them to betray Judaism, assimilate, join revolutionary movements, assist the detractors of Jews or be eliminated by anti-Semites.

For these new critics of Zion, these new dissenters, the line of their opposition to certain or any specifics has moved to that of generalities and soon, the line to a totality of rejection will be crossed. And they were learn the lessons of those who trod this path before them, while Israel and Zionism continues to triumph.

For example, as described here:  "A squad led by Daniel Abramovich scattered nails on the roads for a few nights, to harass Jewish transportation, and also cut down electricity poles. Two bombs were thrown in Haifa, one of them at the building of the Labor Council. There was also a plan to attack the new dock that was then under construction in Tel Aviv, but it was too well guarded, so the activists set fire instead to a pavilion of the Orient Fair.  Dothan maintains that [Simcha] Tzabari, who was then the only Jew on the Central Committee (Meir Slonim was in prison), bore responsibility for the terrorist policy...Dothan quotes a leaflet written by Tzabari in July 1936 [but not distributed], which explained that by “destroying the economy of the Zionist occupiers through acts of sabotage and partisan attacks, the Arab liberation movement seeks to make the continuation of Zionist colonization impossible.” 

"Diaspora Jews cannot influence Israeli policies, but they are implicitly identified with them, not least by Israel’s own insistent claims upon their allegiance. The behavior of a self-described Jewish state affects the way everyone else looks at Jews. The increased incidence of attacks on Jews in Europe and elsewhere is primarily attributable to misdirected efforts, often by young Muslims, to get back at Israel. The depressing truth is that Israel’s current behavior is not just bad for America, though it surely is. It is not even just bad for Israel itself, as many Israelis silently acknowledge. The depressing truth is that Israel today is bad for the Jews."


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

And That Other Holy Site

Back in 2010, Nadav Shragai wrote


He does note that

an official of the Sephardi kollels (religious study centers) in Jerusalem, Avraham Behar Avraham...obtained recognition for the status and rights of Jews at the site from the Turkish authorities. This was, in practice, the original firman (royal decree) issued by the Ottoman authorities in Turkey recognizing Jewish rights at Rachel’s Tomb.

The firman was necessary since the Muslims disputed ownership by the Jews of Rachel’s Tomb and even tried by brute force to prevent Jewish visits to the site. From time to time Jews were robbed or beaten by Arab residents of the vicinity, and even the protection money that was paid did not always prevail. Avraham Behar Avraham approached the authorities in Istanbul on this matter and in 1827 the Turks issued the firman that gave legal force to Rachel’s Tomb being recognized as a Jewish holy site.

And I found this

In 2010,

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu bitterly attacked as “absurd” a UN statement that the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem are an integral part of the “occupied” Palestinian territories.

“The attempt to disconnect the nation of Israel from its heritage is absurd,” he said in a statement his office issued on Friday, in response to an October 21 decision regarding both sites by the executive board of the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.

It Was the Hagana

Don't say I do not relate sympathetically to the Hagana.

This event

was an action by the Hagana actually.

A local sheikh had been engaged in anti-Jewish incitement in the neighborhood.

Hillel Cohen mentions it in his Year Zero book, p. 72.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Can I Lecture?

In previous posts, I highlighted what I saw as the futility as well as the repetitiveness of such contemporary groups as JVP and IfNotNow.  All they target, all their claims and, most importantly, all their failures, were experienced by the Bund, the Palestine Communist Party, Brit Shalom, Ihud, Progressive Party, American Council for Judaism, Breirah, and on and on.

Zionism and the state of Israel not only bested them but all these negative ideologies, most Diaspora-focused, all failed whether through religious and political assimilation or the Holocaust.

All their claims, in essence, have been made consistently and constantly over the past century and a quarter against Zionism, Jewish nationalism and Israel.  But they have been overtaken by time and their inability to deal with Arab animosity and rejectionism, usually via terror, a staple response since 1920 and before.

And here is another example proving my point - a study of political movements that challenged Zionism including the bi-nationalist movement of the British Mandate period; the Palestinian Communist Party of the same period and the anti-Zionist Matzpen group from the 1960s to the 1980s.

And now we have this campaign of "You Never Told Me":-

Our Open Letter to Fellow Alumni

To our friends and fellow alumni of Jewish camps, schools, and youth movements across the country:

...We, your friends in IfNotNow, are compelled to compassionately call in these institutions to reflect with us and to change their Israel education to include an honest understanding of the Occupation and Palestinian narratives.

We are alumni of different institutions... [and] Across denominations and organizations, we have had formative experiences at camps, day schools, and youth groups. And yet, universally, we were never told the honest truth about the Occupation.

We can no longer accept an educational approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is at worst silence and at best nuanced. We can no longer accept a communal norm that will force another generation to only learn about the occupation only once they leave these institutions. We can no longer sit idly by while the institutions we care so deeply about lose moral legitimacy.

...After 50 years of Occupation, we say that enough is enough.  We invite you -- alumni and supporters from across the country -- to join us in asking our institutions to reimagine Israel education in a way that engages directly with the realities of the Occupation and reflects the ethics our institutions aim to teach.

I have but one question: can I teach and lecture in such a course on Israel's administration of Judea and Samaria and on its legal, ethical, moral and historical rights to these lands?