Truth must prevail over chic
Your March 8 editorial states, “It often no longer is chic to support Israel — and often Israel acts in ways that make it hard for Americans to support it.”
It would be more accurate to say it’s hard for Left Wing Americans to support it. The Left’s most important priority is to support, as you say, “chic” causes, right or wrong, even when they have no idea what they’re talking about. The Left rationalizes its desertion of Israel by abandoning objective truth and imposing standards and hyper criticism on Israel that no country in history has or could ever satisfy.
For example, the Left could not care less that the Muslim Middle East now has only a remnant of its millennia old Christian and Jewish communities due to unremitting religious persecution. It’s not chic to care about persecuted Christians. Lebanon has virtually enslaved its Palestinians for 71 years, keeping them in closed camps and denying them citizenship, decent jobs, property rights and education. No Leftist suggests a BDS movement against Lebanon. It’s not chic to care about persecuted Palestinians unless the Left can, no matter how wrongly, blame their plight on Israel.
US support of Israel is dwarfed by the manpower and money we dedicate to defending South Korea and Europe. 33,652 US soldiers died defending South Korea and 28,000 US soldiers are still stationed on its front lines. 200,000 American soldiers are still stationed in Europe. Europe is nevertheless rife with anti-Semitism, racism, unfair trade practices and a refusal to bear a more equitable share of NATO defense costs. Yet the Left does not endlessly hyperventilate about Europe or South Korea.
Your editorial unfortunately appears to support abandoning truth for the newest chic advice: the alleged need for what you call coexistence between subjective truths. Rashida Tlaib, the Palestinian American Congressperson, was recently filmed telling a CAIR gathering, “Jesus was born in my country, in Palestine.” It may be chic to call that “subjective truth,” but it is not truth. Here is truth: Jesus was a Jew. He was born in Judea, a Jewish country. Judea was conquered by the Romans. Over 100 years after Jesus’ time, the Romans changed Judea’s name to Syria Palaestina and Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina, in an attempt to erase the previous 1,500 year Jewish history in that land. There has never been a country of Palestine and Arabs did not think of or refer to themselves as Palestinians until the recent past. The 1947 UN Partition Resolution refers to a Jewish State and an Arab State, not a Palestinian State.
We can all agree that the path of peace includes an appreciation of the other party’s point of view and its sufferings and your editorial is correctly concerned with an impending societal abyss. But we will not avoid that abyss, and we will not reach peace, if we bow to what is chic and allow it to prevail over what is right and what is true.
Harry J. Reidler
Don’t speculate about annexation
I was extremely disturbed to read Larry Yudelson’s discussion of the potential annexation of area C of the West Bank (“Israel’s election stakes,” March 1). The profile’s subject, Dr. Koplow, was opposed to the idea, but only on transparently flimsy and technocratic grounds. He claims it would look bad and it would cost too much, but in no way did he substantially challenge the idea. Later in the article, by presenting the building of more walls inside the West Bank as an acceptable alternative, he implicitly lends support to annexationist views. He essentially supports the idea, and merely wants it to be executed competently; in his words “taking small, easily digestible positive steps in the West Bank.”
But what the article leaves out is that there are far more compelling reasons to oppose annexation; it would be blatantly illegal and immoral. The Geneva conventions, which Israel has signed, prohibit the acquiring of territory via war and forbid the occupying power from transferring its population into the territories. They extend the Hague conventions, which require the occupying power to protect the interests of the population under occupation and maintain the prevailing legal environment. The same principles have been repeatedly recognized by the world’s governments, international bodies, and civil society.
Furthermore, the UN resolution 242, which Israel has accepted as part of its treaties with Egypt, requires Israel to withdraw from all the areas it occupied in 1967. Clearly any attempt to annex area C would run afoul of international law, as well as Israel’s international agreements.
More compelling is the fact that it would be a moral crime to annex the land of area C. What would happen to the 300,000 Palestinians who live in area C? Will they have any say in whether they want to be a part of a state that explicitly declares it is not and never will be for them? They already suffer from a regime that they didn’t get to vote for having absolute control over their lives, while their settler neighbors live under an entirely different legal system and have the ballot.
Since the majority of the West Bank’s natural resources and development potential lie in area C, while the majority of Palestinians live in areas A and B, cleaving them apart would be a massive theft of wealth from the West Bank’s inhabitants, and a fundamentally ugly act. Life in the areas unannexed would become intolerable; an archipelago of isolated population centers surrounded by international borders and shorn of the region’s resources would be economically doomed and in effect would remain occupied by Israel. Living inside would mean being consigned to poverty and harshly constrained horizons for the foreseeable future. Whatever statelet was left would contain millions of people at the will of the surrounding polity, but without a voice, a vote, or a future. Imagine if something analogous were to happen in Bergen County. If a few municipalities were declared “independent” and the rest annexed to Canada. Going to a job outside your city required crossing an international border and checkpoint everyday. Opposing the new legal status could lead to you being denied the ability to cross. Englewood has no airport or coast, so there is no other way out. Paramus and Teaneck don’t share a border, so travelling between them would become impossible. All the food, medicine, gasoline, and building supplies have to be imported and it can be withheld at the border arbitrarily. It’s not hard to see how quickly the situation would deteriorate, how much hatred would be sown, and how great a crime would have been committed.
So why in the world is it acceptable to speculate about annexation in the Jewish Standard?