Earlier this week, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely was almost prevented from speaking at Princeton University after left-wing Jewish students claimed her work “causes irreparable damage to the prospects of a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Meekly genuflecting to this preposterous claim, Princeton Hillel, no less, abruptly canceled her invitation. The day was saved by Chabad, which provided a venue in which Hotovely could speak. Hillel officials subsequently apologized for this disgraceful episode, adding that this was “an isolated incident.”
Well no, it isn’t. I had an identical experience earlier this year when Berkeley Hillel, which had invited me to speak, disinvited me on the grounds that they couldn’t guarantee my safety. Similarly, it was Chabad which provided a “safe house” where I could speak to Berkeley’s Jewish students.
For years now there have been problems with “open Hillel,” a student-led movement which seeks to advance groups promoting anti-Israel agendas in mainstream Jewish campus life. It’s part of the twin phenomenon whereby pro-Israel students increasingly feel threatened and intimidated, while more and more Jewish students are frighteningly ignorant of both Judaism and the Middle East and are correspondingly hostile toward Israel.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, on Saturday night spoke at the opening plenary session of the Israeli American Council (IAC) National Conference in Washington, DC and vowed to continue to work to stop the Israel bashing at the international organization.
She noted that Israel is “the country the United Nations spends half its time on. Unfortunately, I’m not kidding. It seems the breakdown at the UN is to spend half the time on Israel, and half the time on the other member nations.”
While the UN is a hostile place for Israel, said Haley, before she became ambassador she witnessed “a shameful period the United States became a part of that hostility”. She was referring to the passing of UN Resolution 2334, passed by the UN Security Council last December and which “branded Israel as a violator of international law.”
The United States allowing this motion to pass by not vetoing it “was a cowardly act; and a real low point for America at the UN. What happened with 2334 was a betrayal of our friend in the very forum that has been one of its cruelest and most hostile foes. America was far from being a friend to Israel on that day,” said Haley.
“I was still governor of South Carolina, but I came away from the passage of Resolution 2334 certain of one thing: As long as I was U.S. Ambassador, such an act of betrayal would never happen again,” she stressed.
The Guardian’s efforts to amplify the “injustice” of Israel’s continued existence in the context of the Balfour Centennial went into high gear when they published an op-ed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The op-ed included nearly every distortion and lie within what’s known as the ‘Palestinian narrative.’
Here are some of Abbas’ claims from his missive (“Britain must atone for the Balfour declaration — and 100 years of suffering,”).
[Balfour] disregard[ed] the political rights of those who already lived there.
The language used by Abbas (“those who already lived there”) buttresses the broader narrative, advanced repeatedly by Palestinian leaders, in their media and education system, that falsely frames Jews as interlopers with no historical or religious connection to the land of Israel.
In fact, Jews “already lived there” when Balfour was issued. Jews are an indigenous people to the land, and small Jewish communities remained even after their exile in 70 CE, during Byzantine, Muslim and Crusader rule. There has been a continuous Jewish presence in the Land of Israel for more than 3,000 years.
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Rather than entrench itself in its century-long rejection of the “other” at the certain cost of prolonging its people’s suffering, the Palestinian leadership should accept the legitimacy of Jewish statehood. This was, in fact, acknowledged 100 years ago by the international community, including the world’s foremost Muslim power, the head of the pan-Arab movement, and most Palestinian Arabs.
“The Balfour Declaration promised Palestine – over which Britain had no legal right – to a people who had no claim whatsoever to the country, nor did even live there.”
So goes the standard Palestinian indictment of the British government’s pledge to facilitate “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” provided that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”
It’s an emotionally gripping claim, but is also the inverse of the truth in at least three key respects. Britain had the right to make the declaration; the Jewish people had a claim to Palestine deriving from a millenarian attachment to the land; and no other nation that could stake a similar claim existed at the time.
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BBC radio’s flagship Today programme broadcast this morning (around 0720, then again at around 0735) a vicious historical travesty to mark today’s centenary of the Balfour Declaration, the letter from Britain’s Foreign Secretary in 1917 committing the government to work towards the establishment of a national home in Palestine for the Jewish people.
Presenter Nick Robinson revealed a degree of historical illiteracy matched only by the aggression he displayed towards Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely – who herself gave a master-class in catastrophically missing the point, and thus utterly failed to address the central calumny being hurled at Israel from the other side of the microphone.
Robinson stated first that this letter promised a homeland for the Jewish people alongside another homeland for the Arabs. It did no such thing. The relevant text of the letter was as follows:
“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country” (my emphasis).
The crucial point is in the passage I have highlighted. For the British government did not offer, as Robinson falsely stated, a second homeland for the Arabs. Its undertook rather to protect the “civil and religious” rights of existing non-Jewish communities.
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