Saturday, June 08, 2013

Iranian Presidential Candidate Saeed Jalili Calls for Enrichment to 100 Percent

From JCPA, 7 June 2013, by :

The Iranian nuclear file is one of the burning issues in the current presidential campaign. Two candidates, Saeed Jalili and Hasan Rowhani, have served as Iranian negotiators with the West and flaunt this fact in their election propaganda. Jalili currently heads the talks with the P-5 plus 1. This week, Jalili was quoted in Fars News, which is close to the Republican Guards who support it indirectly. He said: “It is prohibited to suspend the potential within youth [here he is a drawing an analogy between the potential of uranium and the potential of young people] and it should be enriched not to the level of 5 percent or 20 percent but to 100 percent enrichment.”
The headline of the Fars News article left no doubt about the intent behind Jalili’s statement: “We Will Raise the Percentage of Enrichment to 100 Percent.”1
The opening sentence of the article also clarifies what Jalili meant: “We must go up to a path that leads us to 100 percent enrichment.” Nothing is said here about enriching the youth of Iran.
The Farsi term “ghanisazi” is only used in the context uranium enrichment. Jalili used the term in a sophisticated way in order to present himself as someone who will advance the Iranian nuclear program far more than Rowhani, and if he is elected, he will take it to the next level, meaning enrichment for a nuclear bomb. Similarly, the use of the term “suspend” allows Jalili to sting Rowhani, who agreed to a temporary suspension of uranium enrichment during his negotiations with the Europeans between 2003 and 2005.

Friday, June 07, 2013

"Time seems to be on Israel's side."

From Israel Hayom, 6 June 2013, by Daniel Pipes* (and Efraim Inbar):

In a typically maladroit statement, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry recently complained that Israelis are too contented to end their conflict with the Palestinians: "People in Israel aren't waking up every day and wondering if tomorrow there will be peace because there is a sense of security and a sense of
accomplishment and of prosperity."

While Kerry misunderstands Israelis (Palestinian rejectionism, not prosperity, caused them to give up on diplomacy), he is right that Israelis have a "sense of security and … of prosperity." They are generally a happy lot. A recent poll found 93 percent of Jewish Israelis proud of be Israeli. Yes, Iranian nuclear weapons loom and confrontation with Moscow is possible, but things have never been so good. With thanks to Efraim Inbar of Bar-Ilan University for some of the following information, let us count the ways.

-- Women need to give birth to 2.1 children to sustain a country's population; Israel has a birthrate of 2.65, making it the only advanced country to exceed replacement (The next highest is France at 2.08; the lowest is Singapore at 0.79.). While haredim and Arabs account for some of this robust rate, secular Jews are the key.

-- Israel enjoyed a 14.5% growth of gross domestic product during the 2008-12 recession, giving it the highest economic growth rate of any OECD country. (In contrast, the advanced economies as a whole had a 2.3% growth rate, with the United States weighing in at 2.9% and the Euro zone at minus 0.4%.) Israel invests 4.5% of its GDP in research and development, the highest percentage of any country.

-- Due to major gas and oil finds, Walter Russell Mead observes, "the Promised Land, from a natural resource point of view, could be ... inch for inch the most valuable and energy-rich country anywhere in the world." These resources enhance Israel's position in the world.

-- With Syria and Egypt consumed by internal problems, the existential threat they once posed to Israel has, for the moment, nearly disappeared. Thanks to innovative tactics, terror attacks have been nearly eliminated. The IDF has outstanding human resources and stands at the forefront of military technologies; and Israeli society has proven its readiness to fight a protracted conflict. Inbar, a strategist, concludes that "the power differential between Israel and its Arab neighbors is continuously growing."
-- The Palestinian diplomatic focus that dominated the country's politics for decades after 1967 has receded, with only 10% of Jewish Israelis considering negotiations the top priority. Kerry may obsess over this issue but, in the acerbic words of one politico, "Debating the peace process to most Israelis is the equivalent of debating the color of the shirt you will wear when landing on Mars."
-- Even the Iranian nuclear issue may be less dire than it appears. Between the vastly greater destructive power of Israel's nuclear arsenal and its growing missile defense system, military analyst Anthony Cordesman predicts that an exchange of nuclear weapons would leave Israel damaged badly but Iranian civilization destroyed. "Iranian recovery is not possible in the normal sense of the term." Maniacal as the Iranian leadership is, will it really risk all?
-- Successes of the "boycott, divestment, and sanctions" movement are pretty meager (Stephen Hawking snubbed the president's invitation! A United Nations body passed another absurd condemnation). Israel has diplomatic relations with 156 out of the United Nations' 193 members. Looking at multiple indices, Inbar finds that, globally, "Israel is rather well integrated."
-- In public opinion surveys in the United States, the world's most important country and Israel's main ally, Israel regularly beats the Palestinians by a 4-to-1 ratio. And while universities are indeed hostile, I ask handwringers this question: Where would you rather be strong, the U.S. Congress or the campuses? To ask that question is to answer it.
-- Ashkenazi-Sephardi tensions have diminished over time due to a combination of intermarriage and cultural cross-pollination. The issue of haredi nonparticipation is finally being addressed.
-- Israelis have made impressive cultural contributions, especially to classical music, leading one critic, David Goldman, to call Israel a "pocket superpower in the arts."
Listen up, anti-Zionists and anti-Semites, Palestinians and Islamists, extreme right- and left-wingers: You are fighting a losing battle; the Jewish state is prevailing. As Inbar rightly concludes, "Time seems to be on Israel's side." Give up and find some other country to torment.
*Daniel Pipes ( is president of the Middle East Forum.

Hezbollah unmasked

From Saudi Gazette Thursday, 06 June 2013  -  27 Rajab 1434:


THERE will be those who wonder why the GCC did not declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization long ago. Hezbollah rode high in the opinion of some after it threw back the 2006 Israeli assault on southern Lebanon. However, the reality has always been that this is a group that is entirely preoccupied with its own agenda and has no interest in promoting the unity and reconstruction of Lebanon.

[see this earlier posting on this issue]

Indeed, in order to protect its mini-state within the country, the Hezbollah leadership has been prepared to act as an agent for Iran and its Syrian ally Bashar Al-Assad. In return for dancing to Tehran’s tune and seeking to carry out the disruptive interventions desired by the Iranian leadership, its militiamen have been armed and trained and the movement as a whole has seen many millions of Iranian dollars poured into its coffers.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah may, however, have now overreached himself. Some wonder if he has not become a victim of his own propaganda about a militant and victorious organization and really believes that his forces are actually capable of turning the tide of defeat that is engulfing the Assad regime.  Not only this, but he clearly had little idea of how, by throwing in its lot with the hated Assad, Hezbollah would unmask itself in the Arab world as an Iranian cipher. Even the leadership of Hamas, with which Hezbollah once had close relations, recoiled in disgust when it threw in its lot with the Assad dictatorship.

In recognizing that Hezbollah, for all its attempts to portray itself as a responsible political movement, is in fact simply a terror group, the GCC member states have taken a bold and decisive step.  No longer will Hezbollah be able to present itself convincingly as a champion of any Arab cause. No longer will it be able to pretend that its men are dying for the rest of the Arab world.
Indeed, by rushing to fight alongside Assad’s faltering army and Shabiha militiamen, this terror group has allied itself with a government that has sought and failed to terrorize its own people into obedience.

It must be wondered if some Hezbollah leaders do not already appreciate the considerable risks of rushing to the aid of a doomed regime. Once Assad is gone, there will be no easy supply line to Hezbollah-occupied areas of Lebanon.  Nasrallah might have argued that it was for this very reason, plus the need to keep Iranian support, that its commanders simply had to send young Lebanese to Syria to fight and die alongside Assad’s forces. But it will prove to be a desperate move.

When Syria is free, Hezbollah will be alone and isolated in its south Lebanon territory. Its murderous and malign influence in the country will be challenged by moderate Lebanese, who are fed up with its strutting thugs and the obstruction of its leaders in the country’s delicate political process.  The time is past when the Hezbollah leadership can pose as a champion of the Arab cause. Thanks to its slavish support for Iran and Syria, it has actually defined itself as an enemy of the Arab world in general and the Palestinian cause in particular.

Hezbollah needs to be seen for the ruthless terrorist organization that it really is and the GCC’s decision to call it such is surely a crucial nail in the terror group’s coffin.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Church of Scotland Shreds Bible, Canonizes Palestinian "Scripture," Flunks Exams

From the Gatestone Institute, 4 June 2013, by Malcolm Lowe:

Right Reverend Lorna Hood at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Right Reverend Lorna Hood at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Photo Credit: Stuart Littlewood

The Kirk has committed theological suicide in order to promote political inanities. The former Church of Scotland is defunct; the Church of Latter Day Scots has taken over the premises.
At its recent General Assembly (May 18-24, 2013), the Church of Scotland adopted a pro-Palestinian tract entitled The Inheritance of Abraham? Its Preface admits that a previous version “caused worry and concern in parts of the Jewish Community in Israel and beyond” and offers “clarification.” The clarification is mere window-dressing, but that is beside the point. It is rather “parts of the Christian Community in Scotland and beyond” that should be worried and concerned. To judge from the amateurish theological absurdities in this document, which passed through all the relevant levels of the bureaucracy up to the General Assembly, the whole Kirk is adrift. It has abandoned a glorious past for a dubious future.

We shall look at those absurdities in a moment, but first consider the dire situation of the Kirk. Its decline in recent decades parallels that of Christianity elsewhere in the UK. Nearly half the Scottish population still professes allegiance to the Kirk, but actual membership is below 10%. It was noted already in 2008 that “The number of new members joining each year has dropped by nearly 80% since 1981″ and that the average age of congregations is “maybe even over 60.”

Thanks in part to immigration, for the first time since John Knox there are more worshipers on a Sunday in Roman Catholic churches than in the Kirk. The Church of Rome, despite its recent travails, retains the advantage that it would never publish a document that had not been vetted by serious theologians.

The State of Israel, on the other hand, is doing very well, thank you, and need not care two hoots what the Church of Scotland thinks about it. Israel’s GDP is higher than Scotland’s. The GDP is still lower per capita, but that is because Scotland has benefited for decades from North Sea oil and gas, whereas Israel’s immense natural gas reserves are a recent discovery only now coming on tap. As it is, Israel’s growth rate is far higher than Scotland’s (2.8% versus 0.5%).

The Jewish Community in Scotland and the UK is another matter. As elsewhere in Europe today, its synagogues and institutions are under intense security surveillance. Any kind of anti-Israel agitation, whose major sources include churches and trades unions in the UK, is likely to encourage anti-Jewish violence.

Theological Absurdities

The sham theology of The Inheritance of Abraham? begins with its misunderstanding of the relationship between the Christian Old and New Testaments. The tract speaks as though the New Testament existed from the moment that Jesus and St. Paul uttered their words, and it immediately replaced any previous understanding of the Old Testament. This is the hermeneutic tool, to give it a name more dignified than it deserves, that the Scottish authors of the Kirk’s tract employ in their hatchet job on the Bible.

Anyone with a grain of theological education, however, knows that the original Scripture of the Early Church was exclusively the Scripture of the Jews, whether in Hebrew or in its Greek version as the Septuagint. It was only toward the end of the second Christian century that authoritative Church Fathers began to treat as Scripture the books of what we call the New Testament. In the mid-second century, for instance, Justin Martyr ignored St. Paul completely; Justin’s writings refer occasionally to the gospels as sources of information, but do not treat them as divinely inspired Scripture.

The books of the New Testament themselves show no consciousness or intention of presenting themselves as Scripture. They do repeatedly refer to Scripture, but in almost every case they are clearly referring to what later Christians would call the Old Testament.

Only in the fourth century did the Church Fathers establish a definite canon of the New Testament, out of the mass of other gospels, acts, epistles and apocalypses that existed at the time. On their way, they vehemently rejected the approach of Marcion, a second-century figure who suggested that Christians should discard the Jewish Bible. In its place, he proposed a new Scripture consisting of Luke’s Gospel and some epistles of Paul. Even from these books he selected only the verses that suited him, since they contain many quotations from or allusions to books of the Old Testament.

Marcionism was perhaps the oldest Christian heresy. Marcion’s approach is also that of the Scottish authors of The Inheritance of Abraham? They have put the Bible through the shredder, picking out for their purposes only a few verses from the New Testament that suit them, but giving them perverse interpretations that ignore the context as well as other statements in the New Testament itself.

We shall not bore readers with a comprehensive list of examples but confine ourselves to one paragraph that consists of three assertions. At any self-respecting university, a student would flunk the exams by writing such stuff.

Assertion One: “John’s gospel speaks of Jesus being lifted up and drawing all people to himself (John 12:32). Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple means not just that the Temple needs to be reformed, but that the Temple which by its order, kept some people separate from others is finished.” The Scottish authors are referring to John 2:13-22, which tells how Jesus drove out of the Temple money-changers and vendors of animals for sacrifice. Here Jesus says exactly why he did it (John 2:16): “Take these things away; you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” Obviously, this verse does describe a reform of the Temple wanted by Jesus, and, since Jesus did it because the Temple is “my Father’s house,” the Temple was not finished for Jesus. The Scottish authors have done a Marcion on this verse.

Assertion Two (punctuation error as in the original): “Stephen’s speech in Acts 7 makes it clear that God is no longer confined to the place of the Temple., God is in all places and for all people.” Here the words “no longer” are a manifestation of gross ignorance. The Old Testament makes it clear in many places that God is not confined to the Temple and that God is in all places and for all people. The relevant part of Stephen’s speech (Acts 7: 46-48) indeed quotes the Old Testament to that effect (Isaiah 66:1): “Heaven is my throne and earth my footstool. What house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?”

Also, when Solomon dedicated the Temple, he already said (1 Kings 8:27): “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!” The Scottish authors have committed the folly of seeing a New Testament innovation in something that had been familiar to Jews for centuries.

Moreover, Acts portrays the Apostles as constantly frequenting the Temple; it is the geographical center of their faith just as with other Jews. In particular, Paul recounts (Acts 22:17-21) that it was when he was praying in the Temple that Jesus appeared to him and sent him to the Gentiles.

Assertion Three: “Temple and land give way to a new understanding so Paul can say that all the barriers that separated people one from another are down – ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male or female, but all are one in Christ Jesus.’” The Scottish authors quote this verse (Galations 3:28) as if unaware that Paul contradicts each of its three clauses elsewhere.

Paul says explicitly that Jews have been given privileges by God that Gentiles do not have (Romans 9:4-5) and that these gifts of God to the Jews are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). He sends a runaway slave back to the latter’s master, albeit with a plea to treat him as a free person (Philemon). And he tells women to be silent in the church, to be subordinate to their husbands, and to consult those husbands at home if they wish to know anything (e.g. 1 Corinthians 14: 34-35). Are the Scottish authors ignorant of those other statements of Paul or do they just want others to be ignorant of them? They are doing a Marcion again, but a big one.

What Paul meant by his “neither-nor” in Galatians need not be pursued further here, because Paul’s own meaning is of no interest to the Scottish authors. Rather, let us ask them to be consistent in their misuse of Paul for their own political purposes. What they want to claim is that, according to Paul, Jews no more have any claim to the Land of Israel than Palestinians, if they have any claim at all.

So let us apply this principle to the upcoming referendum on independence for Scotland. According to their understanding of Paul, the Scottish authors should be telling their countrymen that “there is neither Scot nor Sassenach, but all are one in Christ Jesus,” so forget about Scottish independence. Currently, as it happens, Scots are about two to one in favor of maintaining the union with England. But we suspect that they would be very angry if the Kirk told them that to do so is a Christian duty.

The pretense of the Scottish authors that the New Testament says anything new about the Land of Israel is a vain one. The Old Testament is replete with passages that emphasize the permanent connection of the Jewish People with the Land of Israel, not just the handful of quotations from Genesis mentioned by the Scottish authors. In the New Testament, nothing is added to the Old Testament and nothing is changed; it is simply taken for granted that this is the land of Jews and Samaritans, where they worship at their respective sites.

There is no peculiarly Christian element even in the indications that Jesus feared that the Temple would be destroyed (while wishing that it could be otherwise). The Talmud recounts that Rabbi Zadok, too, had such fears at the same time; it is said that he fasted for forty years in the hope of averting the destruction of Jerusalem (Gittin 56a-b). A story is also told by Josephus (Wars 6.5.3) about another Jew, Jesus son of Ananus, who made such forecasts. So, no difference here either between Jesus of Nazareth and other Jews.

Having dismissed the Old and mangled the New Testament, the Scottish authors let the real cat out of the bag with the following statement: “To Christians in the 21st century, promises about the land of Israel shouldn’t be intended to be taken literally, or as applying to a defined geographical territory; they are a way of speaking about how to live under God so that justice and peace reign, the weak and poor are protected, the stranger is included, and all have a share in the community and a contribution to make to it. The ‘promised land’ in the Bible is not a place, so much as a metaphor of how things ought to be among the people of God. This ‘promised land’ can be found – or built – anywhere.”

What the Scottish authors are saying here is simply: “In the 21st century, we don’t actually care what the Bible says in either Testament. We just decide what we want to think and turn any inconvenient verses in the Bible into metaphors for expressing our made-up minds.”

Here we have the source of the Kirk’s decline and Roman Catholic survival. The Bible is no longer a source of inspiration for the Kirk; it is merely a storeroom of rhetorical flourishes, taken wildly out of contest, for political agendas. Now, Catholics have many sources besides the Bible: Church Fathers, medieval scholastics, canon law, the rules of monastic orders. A Protestant church that has scrapped the Bible has nothing.

Yet the Scottish authors have not given up the idea of Scripture. Rather, they have invented their own new Scripture made up of two kinds of books. One is books by marginal Jewish figures, such as Mark Braverman and Mark Ellis; the criterion for their selection is conformity to the anti-Israel attitudes of the Scottish authors themselves. The other is books by self-styled Palestinian Christians, above all the so-called Kairos Palestine Document (KPD). I wrote about the pretensions and deceptions of the KPD when it came out and also more recently, so there is no need to repeat that here. What is remarkable is that extracts from the KPD are scattered about The Inheritance of Abraham? in exactly the same way as verses from the Bible used to be set forth in old-time Protestant tracts: they head or conclude sections and they are treated as unchallenged statements of authority.

Thus, besides Marcionism, the Kirk has succumbed to Mormonism, the creation of a new Scripture. Only whereas the Church of Latter Day Saints does no harm to anyone but the vendors of tea, coffee and alcohol, in the Church of Latter Day Scots the KPD functions as their Scripture and The Inheritance of Abraham? is its exegesis.

In Gemany, by contrast, the KPD has come under intense scrutiny; both leading theologians and official church statements have taken issue with it. But then, the Germans have learned where agitation against Jews can lead. Not that the Scottish authors have forgotten the Holocaust. They just want Jews to forget about it. Rather than say that themselves, however, they prefer to let it be said by quoting from the Jewish authors of their new “gospels of Mark.” In the original version of The Inheritance of Abraham? this was done via a long passage quoted from Mark Braverman. This was so disgusting that the superiors of the Scottish authors decided to cut it out of the final version. Here, instead, they invoke Mark Ellis to the same effect. Both passages will be found in the Appendix to this article.

Political Delusions

The Inheritance of Abraham? only makes a pretence of being a theological document; its real purpose is to mobilize Scots for a series of political aims. Apart from some window-dressing, such as rejection of anti-Semitism and terrorism and admitting “that Israel is a country which is recognised within the international community of States,” all of the Kirk’s demands could have been written in Ramallah by the Palestinian Authority. Many of them consist of urging “the UK Government and the European Union” to do something. Here the Kirk is deluding itself. Whether in the UK or in Europe, today governments pay no attention whatsoever to the opinion of churches.

The Kirk’s aims also include demands that ignore reality. It claims, for instance, that “the current situation is characterised by an inequality in power and therefore reconciliation can only be possible if the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, are ended.” Then it urges “the UK Government and the European Union to use pressure to stop further expansion of in Israeli settlements and remove existing illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank” (“of in” as in the original).

There might seem to be an oddity here: “East Jerusalem” is missing in the second sentence. But actually it makes no difference. The large new Israeli housing estates that have been built in Jerusalem since 1967 are not in East Jerusalem but in the north and south of Jerusalem in what was previously the West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This is because Jerusalem lies on a mountain ridge that runs from north to south, so there is room for expansion only in those directions. Like most people outside Israel, the Kirk has no idea of the geographic reality because of the misleading chatter in the media about “Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.”

Anyway, the upshot is that the Kirk demands the removal of 40% of the Jewish population of Jerusalem, namely, the Jews who now live north and south of the ceasefire lines of 1949-1967. In other words, the Jewish majority in Jerusalem, which has existed for about 150 years, should be changed instantaneously into an Arab majority.

Obviously, not just Israel, but also no European or US government, could take that demand seriously. For some two decades now, the tacit understanding of those governments has been that Israel and the Palestinians should agree on land swaps that give the Palestinians the same amount of territory, but place all but scattered smaller Jewish settlements within the final borders of Israel. In April 2013, the Arab League itself indicated its openness to the idea of land swaps. So the Kirk has aligned itself with those Palestinian hardliners who are furious with the Arab League’s demonstration of flexibility.

The Inheritance of Abraham? also recalls that the Kirk has repeatedly called for “the right of return and / or compensation for Palestinian refugees.” The original version helpfully notes that it did so in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2012. In the meantime, the Kirk had time to learn that it was calling for the creation of an Arab majority inside the State of Israel, another impossible demand. In short: the Kirk has committed theological suicide in order to promote political inanities.

Historic Disconnect

The funniest part of the Kirk’s tract is its fulminations against “Christian Zionism.” Funny, because they are denouncing what was for long the default viewpoint of the Kirk’s ministers.

As the Kirk’s tract puts it: “In the early 19th century, some influential Christians, encouraged by the mores of the colonial and imperial age which pervaded all aspects of life, including the Church of Scotland led to the development of a political idea to create a new homeland for Jewish people in Palestine. It may well have been a Kirk minister, the Rev Alexander Keith, who coined the phrase ‘a land without people, for a people without land.’ This view of the land of Palestine was linked from the 1840s to a literalistic view of Hebrew Biblical prophecy being fulfilled and the widely held attitude that European colonialism meant that a land was ‘empty’ if western power and culture was not present.”

Here is a basic fact: that in the 19th and early 20th centuries the Church of Scotland was permeated with Christian Zionism. Only the Scottish authors have obscured that fact with ideological nonsense. European colonialism was a movement of territorial expansion inspired the example of ancient Rome, that is, by the Latin classics that formed the curriculum of grammar schools. The idea of resettling the Jewish People in its ancient homeland was precisely an exception to that: Christian Zionists held that there was one corner of the world, the Land of Israel, that Europeans must not take for themselves, and their inspiration was not Rome but the Bible.

Moreoever, when Keith spoke of an “empty” land, he was just stating an obvious fact. Demographers of Palestine in the 19th century differ, but their estimates of the population put it at 300,000 plus or minus 50,000. That was the population of Glasgow alone (c. 280,000) when Keith published his famous remark in1844, after traversing the land from Gaza to Syria. The Land of Israel was as empty as Scotland would have been if nobody lived anywhere in Scotland outside Glasgow.

In the meantime, the population of Scotland has increased threefold, but that of the Land of Israel close to 33 times. The case of Jerusalem is even more acute. Two hundred years ago, Jerusalem had some 9,000 inhabitants; it now has 90 times that number. But the authors of The Inheritance of Abraham? are no more interested in historical facts than in the Bible.

Rather, the Scottish authors have disconnected themselves from the history of their own church. A recent Scottish visitor to Jerusalem made a notable remark to us: “Forty years ago, the Kirk loved Israel and its churches were full; today it loves the Palestinians and the churches are empty.” That emptying is a fact, as was noted above at the beginning. His remark is also confirmed by the history of the Kirk’s presence in Israel.

Here the Kirk calls itself “The Church of Scotland in Israel / Palestine,” but it has only ever been present in what became Israel in 1948: in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Nazareth and Tiberias. Down to the late 1980s, St. Andrews Church in Jerusalem was staffed by Scottish Protestants of the old school, innately friendly to Israel. The change came with the appointment of Rev. Colin Morton. He was an amiable chap, but followed the policy dictated by his American wife, Carol.

Mrs. Morton immediately set up a gift shop on the premises of the church’s guest house for handicrafts from Gaza. She rejected the suggestion that she should include handicrafts from disadvantaged groups in Israel, so as to maintain a balance. On the contrary, she insisted that the shop’s purpose was not just commercial but “educational.” By that she meant the PLO propaganda leaflets that were now spread out for visitors. Since the State of Israel grants tax exemptions to places of Christian worship, she utilized them to avoid taxes on the sale of those handicrafts.

Curiously, Colin Morton’s obituary ascribes the creation of the gift shop to him alone, although we who witnessed it saw that his role was to acquiesce. The obituary also describes him as “the Church of Scotland’s leading apologist for the Palestinian people” and recalls his constant question: “How can we blame the Palestinians for being mildly aggressive if the Israelis constantly flout international law?” Mildly?

Previously, the congregation had included just four Arab Christian members, the rest being foreign residents who were engaged either in Israel or with the Palestinians. All had happily worshiped and cooperated, giving each other help whenever needed. Now everyone connected with Israel drifted away. Also many Israeli Jews, who had previously felt welcome, were driven off by the PLO propaganda. It was now Jews working for the Palestinian cause who were warmly embraced. A later minister (not the current one) kept an online pro-Palestinian blog. It was the same change that has overcome the Kirk in general.

What has happened is similar to what the world of business calls a “hostile takeover.” A business has been successfully making certain products for its clientele for a long period. Then some group manages to buy up the business despite opposition from the management and many shareholders. The new management changes the products, or at least their quality, and the old clientele vanishes. Either a new clientele is found or the takeover leads to the demise of the business.

This is what has happened to the Kirk within living memory. Since the 1980s, a new management with new products has established itself. Much of the old clientele has disappeared, while the rate of acquisition of new clientele has dropped by four-fifths, but the new management persists in its little-loved course. Yet the assets, in property that can be sold off, are still considerable, so the new management can waste resources on unwanted products for some time to come. The former Church of Scotland is defunct; the Church of Latter Day Scots has taken over the premises.


Below is the passage from Braverman that was included in the original version of The Inheritance of Abraham? but dropped in the final version. Nevertheless, the final version commends the book of Braverman from which it comes. Thus, indirectly, the Kirk continues to encourage its members to embrace the lies that Israel is engaged in ethnic cleansing, etc., as well as Braverman’s call to revoke the repentance expressed by various churches for their role in facilitating the Holocaust.
“Braverman is adamant that Christians must not sacrifice the universalist, inclusive dimension of Christianity and revert to the particular exclusivism of the Jewish faith because we feel guilty about the Holocaust. He is equally clear that the Jewish people have to repent of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians between 1947 and 1949. They must be challenged, too, to stop thinking of themselves as victims and special, and recognise that the present immoral, unjust treatment of Palestinian people is unsustainable. Braverman challenges, too, what he calls ‘revisionist Christian theology’, more widely known as Western post-Holocaust theology, i.e. theology which takes away Jesus’ radical critique of Jewish theology and practice in order to provide no excuse for Christian anti-Semitism. In this approach, he claims, the Jewish people are and remain God’s chosen. This gives them the right to land, to triumph over enemies and a sense of specialness. Other people’s part in this is limited to being pushed aside to make way for occupation, being agents of God’s punishment of the Jews for their disobedience and witnessing to God’s glory through Jewish survival and prosperity.”

The final version of The Inheritance of Abraham? replaced that passage with one from Mark Ellis, which uses less obviously revolting language but achieves the same aim.
“It seems late in the Israel / Palestine political game – and it is late indeed – but the mainstream Churches are breaking what I have called the interfaith ecumenical deal. That deal is usually referred to as the interfaith ecumenical dialogue, the post-Holocaust place where Jews and Christians have mended their relationship. Israel was huge in this dialogue. Christians supported Israel as repentance for anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. Then as Israel became more controversial with their abuse of Palestinians, Christians remained silent. Non-support and, worse, criticism of Israeli policies, was seen by the Jewish dialoguers as backtracking to anti-Semitism. That’s where the dialogue became a deal: Silence on the Christian side brings no criticism of anti-Semitism from the Jewish side.”
The aim of the exercise has been paraphrased by Ben Cohen, writing on “The Church of Scotland’s War on Judaism.” He says: “Let’s translate the above lines minus the academic, ostensibly reasonable tone in which they are couched: ‘Jews! Stop whining about the Holocaust. Stop making us feel guilty about the Holocaust. Repent, every single one of you, for the evil you have committed against the Palestinians. And, oh yeah, enough of the “Chosen People” thing—you people are so arrogant, no wonder nobody likes you. Even Jesus himself ran out of patience with you…’”

The original version of The Inheritance of Abraham? contained other outrageous passages that were removed in the revision . They led one commentator to remark facetiously that “in the view of the Church of Scotland, Israel has a right to exist, just not in Israel.”

To date, the original version is still available on another anti-Israel church website and also here. It shows what was truly going on in the minds of the Scottish authors. The Kirk should have realized that the whole document was a disgrace to its reputation, one that could not be redeemed by cosmetic surgery. By merely removing selected passages, the Kirk allows the remainder of the document to achieve the same ends in a better disguised manner.

The Kirk’s revised employment of Braverman is paralleled by its endorsement of the KPD. The increasingly aggressive successor documents to the KPD are not mentioned, but Scots are encouraged to find them and become radicalized by them on their own.

On this, one can do no better than quote the excellent document issued in May 2013 by the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) and entitled Reflections on the Role of Religious and Interreligious Groups in Promoting Reconciliation about and in the Troubled Middle East. After trying to conduct a discussion with the KPD’s authors, the ICCJ was disappointed to discover the following:
“Whereas the original ‘Kairos Palestine’ had offered ‘a word of faith, hope and love’, a December 2011 statement, ‘The Bethlehem Call – Here We Stand, Stand with Us’, began in a strikingly different tone by instructing readers to ‘Read and interpret this text with a Kairos consciousness and gaze of prophetic anger’. More recently, a December 2012 text called ‘Kairos Palestine: A Strategy for Life in a Steadfast Way towards Liberation’ called ‘for the rejection of the idea of a Jewish State of Israel …’ This phrasing can be interpreted in several different ways, including urging the dissolution of the State of Israel as it has been defined since 1948.”

The ICCJ adds: “ICCJ believes that one-sided or unclear declarations – whether composed by Israelis or Palestinians; by Jews, Christians, or Muslims; by people in the Middle East or elsewhere – provoke only insecurity and fear, and so do not increase the likelihood of peace, either for the Middle East or for interreligious relations elsewhere in the world.” The Inheritance of Abraham? is a case in point.

Israeli sovereignty derives from San Remo

BARUCH DAYAN EMET: Attorney Howard Grief passed away Sunday night.  He recently wrote a book on Israel's right to Judea and Samaria.
Read his 2004 article, posted below, for a taste of his legal arguments. It's long, but worth the reading.... 

From Arutz Sheva, 3 June 2013: 
Attorney Grief recently authored the book "Legal Rights and Title of Sovereignty of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel and Palestine under International Law." He was “a passionate lover of Israel and fighter for the rights of the Jewish People to their homeland,” said his friends, activists Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar of Women in Green.
Attorney Grief was one of the speakers at Women in Green's recent Second Conference for the Application of Israeli Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.

“In the name of the entire Women in Green family we are sending to the family of Howard Grief our sincere condolences. May you be comforted among the builders of Zion and Eretz Yisrael. We will always remember Howard and be inspired by his total devotion and loyalty to the People and the Land of Israel.”...

From NATIV Online, Vol. 2, 2004, by Howard Grief:

Legal Rights and Title of Sovereignty of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel and Palestine under International Law
The objective of this paper is to set down in a brief, yet clear and precise manner the legal rights and title of sovereignty of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and Palestine under international law. These rights originated in the global political and legal settlement, conceived during World War I and carried into execution in the post-war years between 1919 and 1923. Insofar as the Ottoman Turkish Empire was concerned, the settlement embraced the claims of the Zionist Organization, the Arab National movement, the Kurds, the Assyrians and the Armenians.
As part of the settlement in which the Arabs received most of the lands formerly under Turkish sovereignty in the Middle East, the whole of Palestine, on both sides of the Jordan, was reserved exclusively for the Jewish people as their national home and future independent state.
Under the terms of the settlement that were made by the Principal Allied Powers consisting of Britain, France, Italy and Japan, there would be no annexation of the conquered Turkish territories by any of the Powers, as had been planned in the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 9 and 16, 1916. Instead, these territories, including the peoples for whom they were designated, would be placed under the Mandates System and administered by an advanced nation until they were ready to stand by themselves. The Mandates System was established and governed by Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, contained in the Treaty of Versailles and all the other peace treaties made with the Central Powers – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey. The Covenant was the idea of US President Woodrow Wilson and contained in it his program of Fourteen Points of January 8, 1918, while Article 22 which established the Mandates System, was largely the work of Jan Christiaan Smuts who formulated the details in a memorandum that became known as the Smuts Resolution, officially endorsed by the Council of Ten on January 30, 1919, in which Palestine as envisaged in the Balfour Declaration was named as one of the mandated states to be created. The official creation of the country took place at the San Remo Peace Conference where the Balfour Declaration was adopted by the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers as the basis for the future administration of Palestine which would henceforth be recognized as the Jewish National Home.
The moment of birth of Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty thus took place at the same time Palestine was created a mandated state, since it was created for no other reason than to reconstitute the ancient Jewish state of Judea in fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration and the general provisions of Article 22 of the League Covenant. This meant that Palestine from the start was legally a Jewish state in theory that was to be guided towards independence by a Mandatory or Trustee, also acting as Tutor, and who would take the necessary political, administrative and economic measures to establish the Jewish National Home. The chief means for accomplishing this was by encouraging large-scale Jewish immigration to Palestine, which would eventually result in making Palestine an independent Jewish state, not only legally but also in the demographic and cultural senses.
The details for the planned independent Jewish state were set forth in three basic documents, which may be termed the founding documents of mandated Palestine and the modern Jewish state of Israel that arose from it. These were the San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920, the Mandate for Palestine conferred on Britain by the Principal Allied Powers and confirmed by the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, and the Franco-British Boundary Convention of December 23, 1920. These founding documents were supplemented by the Anglo-American Convention of December 3, 1924 respecting the Mandate for Palestine. It is of supreme importance to remember always that these documents were the source or well-spring of Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty over Palestine and the Land of Israel under international law, because of the near-universal but completely false belief that it was the United Nations General Assembly Partition Resolution of November 29, 1947 that brought the State of Israel into existence. In fact, the UN resolution was an illegal abrogation of Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty to the whole of Palestine and the Land of Israel, rather than an affirmation of such rights or progenitor of them.
The San Remo Resolution converted the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917 from a mere statement of British policy expressing sympathy with the goal of the Zionist movement to create a Jewish state into a binding act of international law that required specific fulfillment by Britain of this object in active cooperation with the Jewish people. Under the Balfour Declaration as originally issued by the British government, the latter only promised to use their best endeavors to facilitate the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. But under the San Remo Resolution of April 24-25, 1920, the Principal Allied Powers as a cohesive group charged the British government with the responsibility or legal obligation of putting into effect the Balfour Declaration. A legal onus was thus placed on Britain to ensure that the Jewish National Home would be duly established. This onus the British Government willingly accepted because at the time the Balfour Declaration was issued and adopted at the San Remo Peace Conference, Palestine was considered a valuable strategic asset and communications center, and so a vital necessity for protecting far-flung British imperial interests extending from Egypt to India. Britain was fearful of having any major country or power other than itself, especially France or Germany, positioned alongside the Suez Canal.
The term “Jewish National Home” was defined to mean a state by the British government at the Cabinet session which approved the Balfour Declaration on October 31, 1917. That was also the meaning originally given to this phrase by the program committee which drafted the Basel Program at the first Zionist Congress in August 1897 and by Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist Organization. The word “home” as used in the Balfour Declaration and subsequently in the San Remo Resolution was simply the euphemism for a state originally adopted by the Zionist Organization when the territory of Palestine was subject to the rule of the Ottoman Empire, so as not to arouse the sharp opposition of the Sultan and his government to the Zionist aim, which involved a potential loss of this territory by the Empire. There was no doubt in the minds of the authors of the Basel Program and the Balfour Declaration regarding the true meaning of this word, a meaning reinforced by the addition of the adjective “national” to “home”. However, as a result of not using the word “state” directly and proclaiming that meaning openly or even attempting to hide its true meaning when it was first used to denote the aim of Zionism, ammunition was provided to those who sought to prevent the emergence of a Jewish state or who saw the Home only in cultural terms.
The phrase “in Palestine”, another expression found in the Balfour Declaration that generated much controversy, referred to the whole country, including both Cisjordan and Transjordan. It was absurd to imagine that this phrase could be used to indicate that only a part of Palestine was reserved for the future Jewish National Home, since both were created simultaneously and used interchangeably, with the term “Palestine” pointing out the geographical location of the future independent Jewish state. Had “Palestine” meant a partitioned country with certain areas of it set aside for Jews and others for Arabs, that intention would have been stated explicitly at the time the Balfour Declaration was drafted and approved and later adopted by the Principal Allied Powers. No such allusion was ever made in the prolonged discussions that took place in fashioning the Declaration and ensuring it international approval.
There is therefore no juridical or factual basis for asserting that the phrase "in Palestine" limited the establishment of the Jewish National Home to only a part of the country. On the contrary, Palestine and the Jewish National Home were synonymous terms, as is evidenced by the use of the same phrase in the second half of the Balfour Declaration which refers to the existing non-Jewish communities "in Palestine", clearly indicating the whole country. Similar evidence exists in the preamble and terms of the Mandate Charter.
The San Remo Resolution on Palestine combined the Balfour Declaration with Article 22 of the League Covenant. This meant that the general provisions of Article 22 applied to the Jewish people exclusively, who would set up their home and state in Palestine. There was no intention to apply Article 22 to the Arabs of the country, as was mistakenly concluded by the Palestine Royal Commission which relied on that article of the Covenant as the legal basis to justify the partition of Palestine, apart from the other reasons it gave. The proof of the applicability of Article 22 to the Jewish people, including not only those in Palestine at the time, but those who were expected to arrive in large numbers in the future, is found in the Smuts Resolution, which became Article 22 of the Covenant. It specifically names Palestine as one of the countries to which this article would apply. There was no doubt that when Palestine was named in the context of Article 22, it was linked exclusively to the Jewish National Home, as set down in the Balfour Declaration, a fact everyone was aware of at the time, including the representatives of the Arab national movement, as evidenced by the agreement between Emir Feisal and Dr. Chaim Weizmann dated January 3, 1919 as well as an important letter sent by the Emir to future US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter dated March 3, 1919. In that letter, Feisal characterized as “moderate and proper” the Zionist proposals presented by Nahum Sokolow and Weizmann to the Council of Ten at the Paris Peace Conference on February 27, 1919, which called for the development of Palestine into a Jewish commonwealth with extensive boundaries. The argument later made by Arab leaders that the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine were incompatible with Article 22 of the Covenant is totally undermined by the fact that the Smuts Resolution – the precursor of Article 22 – specifically included Palestine within its legal framework.
The San Remo Resolution on Palestine became Article 95 of the Treaty of Sevres which was intended to end the war with Turkey, but though this treaty was never ratified by the Turkish National Government of Kemal Ataturk, the Resolution retained its validity as an independent act of international law when it was inserted into the Preamble of the Mandate for Palestine and confirmed by 52 states. The San Remo Resolution is the base document upon which the Mandate was constructed and to which it had to conform. It is therefore the pre-eminent foundation document of the State of Israel and the crowning achievement of pre-state Zionism. It has been accurately described as the Magna Carta of the Jewish people. It is the best proof that the whole country of Palestine and the Land of Israel belong exclusively to the Jewish people under international law.
The Mandate for Palestine implemented both the Balfour Declaration and Article 22 of the League Covenant, i.e. the San Remo Resolution. All four of these acts were building blocks in the legal structure that was created for the purpose of bringing about the establishment of an independent Jewish state. The Balfour Declaration in essence stated the principle or object of a Jewish state. The San Remo Resolution gave it the stamp of international law. The Mandate furnished all the details and means for the realization of the Jewish state. As noted, Britain’s chief obligation as Mandatory, Trustee and Tutor was the creation of the appropriate political, administrative and economic conditions to secure the Jewish state. All 28 articles of the Mandate were directed to this objective, including those articles that did not specifically mention the Jewish National Home. The Mandate created a right of return for the Jewish people to Palestine and the right to establish settlements on the land throughout the country in order to create the envisaged Jewish state.
In conferring the Mandate for Palestine on Britain, a contractual bond was created between the Principal Allied Powers and Britain, the former as Mandator and the latter as Mandatory. The Principal Allied Powers designated the Council of the League of Nations as the supervisor of the Mandatory to ensure that all the terms of the Mandate Charter would be strictly observed. The Mandate was drawn up in the form of a Decision of the League Council confirming the Mandate rather than making it part of a treaty with Turkey signed by the High Contracting Parties, as originally contemplated. To ensure compliance with the Mandate, the Mandatory had to submit an annual report to the League Council reporting on all its activities and the measures taken during the preceding year to realize the purpose of the Mandate and for the fulfillment of its obligations. This also created a contractual relationship between the League of Nations and Britain.
The first drafts of the Mandate for Palestine were formulated by the Zionist Organization and were presented to the British delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The content, style and mold of the Mandate was thus determined by the Zionist Organization. The British Peace Delegation at the Conference produced a draft of their own and the two then cooperated in formulating a joint draft. This cooperation which took place while Arthur James Balfour was Foreign Minister came to an end only after Lord Curzon, the Foreign Secretary who replaced Balfour on October 24, 1919, took personal charge of the Mandate drafting process in March 1920. He shut out the Zionist Organization from further direct participation in the actual drafting, but the Zionist leader, Chaim Weizmann, was kept informed of new changes made in the Draft Mandate and allowed to comment on them. The changes engineered by Curzon watered down the obvious Jewish character of the Mandate, but did not succeed in suppressing its aim – the creation of a Jewish state. The participation of the Zionist Organization in the Mandate drafting process confirmed the fact that the Jewish people were the exclusive beneficiary of the national rights enshrined in the Mandate. No Arab party was ever consulted regarding its views on the terms of the Mandate prior to the submission of this instrument to the League Council for confirmation, on December 6, 1920. By contrast, the civil and religious rights of all existing religious communities in Palestine, whether Moslem or Christian, were safeguarded, as well as the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion. The rights of Arabs, whether as individuals or as members of religious communities, but not as a nation, were therefore legally assured. In addition, no prejudice was to be caused to their financial and economic position by the expected growth of the Jewish population.
It was originally intended that the Mandate Charter would delineate the boundaries of Palestine, but that proved to be a lengthy process involving negotiations with France over the northern and northeastern borders of Palestine with Syria. It was therefore decided to fix these boundaries in a separate treaty, which was done in the Franco-British Boundary Convention of December 23, 1920. The borders were based on a formula first put forth by the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George when he met his French counterpart, Georges Clemenceau, in London on December 1, 1918 and defined Palestine as extending from the ancient towns of Dan to Beersheba. This definition was immediately accepted by Clemenceau, which meant that Palestine would have the borders that included all areas of the country settled by the Twelve Tribes of Israel during the First Temple Period, embracing historic Palestine both east and west of the Jordan River. The very words “from Dan to Beersheba” implied that the whole of Jewish Palestine would be reconstituted as a Jewish state. Though the San Remo Resolution did not specifically delineate the borders of Palestine, it was understood by the Principal Allied Powers that this formula would be the criterion to be used in delineating them. However, when the actual boundary negotiations began after the San Remo Peace Conference, the French illegally and stubbornly insisted on following the defunct Sykes-Picot line for the northern border of Palestine, accompanied by Gallic outbursts of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist sentiments, though they agreed to extend this border to include the Galilee but not any of the water sources from the Litani valley and the land adjoining it. As a result, some parts of historic Palestine in the north and northeast were illegally excluded from the Jewish National Home. The 1920 Boundary Convention was amended by another British-French Agreement respecting the boundary line between Syria and Palestine dated February 3, 1922, which took effect on March 10, 1923. It illegally removed the portion of the Golan that had previously been included in Palestine in the 1920 Convention, in exchange for placing the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) wholly within the bounds of the Jewish National Home, and made other small territorial adjustments. The British and French negotiators had no legal right to remove or exclude any “Palestine territory” from the limits of Palestine, but could only ensure that all such territory was included. The exchange of “Palestine territory” for other “Palestine territory” between Britain and France was therefore prohibited as a violation of the Lloyd George formula accepted at the San Remo Peace Conference.
The 1920 Convention also included Transjordan in the area of the Jewish National Home, but a surprise last-minute intervention by the US government unnecessarily delayed the confirmation of the pending Mandate. This gave an unexpected opportunity to Winston Churchill, the new Colonial Secretary placed in charge of the affairs of Palestine, to change the character of the Mandate: first, by having a new article inserted (Article 25) which allowed for the provisional administrative separation of Transjordan from Cisjordan; second, by redefining the Jewish National Home to mean not an eventual independent Jewish state but limited to a cultural or spiritual center for the Jewish people. These radical changes were officially introduced in the Churchill White Paper of June 3, 1922 and led directly to the sabotage of the Mandate. Thereafter, the British never departed from the false interpretation they gave to the Jewish National Home which ended all hope of achieving the envisaged Jewish state under their auspices.
The question of which state, nation or entity held sovereignty over a mandated territory sparked great debate throughout the Mandate period, and no definitive answer was ever given. That is extremely surprising because the Treaty of Versailles, signed on June 28, 1919 and ratified on January 10, 1920, stated flatly in Article 22 that the states which formerly governed those territories which were subsequently administered by a Mandatory had lost their sovereignty as a consequence of World War I. That meant that Germany no longer had sovereignty over its former colonies in Africa and the Pacific, while Turkey no longer had sovereignty over its possessions in the Middle East, prior to the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The date when the change of sovereignty occurred could only have been on January 30, 1919, the date when it was irrevocably decided by the Council of Ten in adopting the Smuts Resolution, that none of the ex-German and ex-Turkish territories would be returned to their former owners. These territories were then placed in the collective hands of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers for their disposition. In the case of Palestine, that decision was made in favor of the Jewish people at the session of the San Remo Peace Conference that took place on April 24, 1920 when the Balfour Declaration was adopted as the reason for creating and administering the new country of Palestine that, until then, had had no official existence. Inasmuch as the Balfour Declaration was made in favor of the Jewish people, it was the latter upon whom de jure sovereignty was devolved over all of Palestine. However, during the Mandate period, the British government and not the Jewish people exercised the attributes of sovereignty, while sovereignty in the purely theoretical or nominal sense (i.e. de jure sovereignty) remained vested in the Jewish people. This state of affairs was reflected in the Mandate Charter where the components of the title of sovereignty of the Jewish people over Palestine are specifically mentioned in the first three recitals of the Preamble, namely, Article 22, the Balfour Declaration and the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine. These three components of the title of sovereignty were the grounds for reconstituting the Jewish National Home in Palestine as specifically stated in the third recital of the Preamble. On the other hand, since the Jewish people were under the tutelage of Great Britain during the Mandate Period, it was the latter which exercised the attributes of Jewish sovereignty over Palestine, as confirmed by Article 1 of the Mandate, which placed full powers of legislation and of administration in the hands of the Mandatory, save as they may be limited by the terms of the Mandate.
This situation continued so long as the Mandate was in force and the Jewish people living in Palestine were not able to stand alone and hence not able to exercise the sovereignty awarded them by the Principal Allied Powers under international law.
The decisive moment of change came on May 14, 1948 when the representatives of the Jewish people in Palestine and of the Zionist Organization proclaimed the independence of a Jewish state whose military forces held only a small portion of the territory originally allocated for the Jewish National Home. The rest of the country was in the illegal possession of neighboring Arab states who had no sovereign rights over the areas they illegally occupied, that were historically a part of Palestine and the Land of Israel and were not meant for Arab independence or the creation of another Arab state. It is for this reason that Israel, which inherited the sovereign rights of the Jewish people over Palestine, has the legal right to keep all the lands it liberated in the Six Day War that were either included in the Jewish National Home during the time of the Mandate or formed integral parts of the Land of Israel that were illegally detached from the Jewish National Home when the boundaries of Palestine were fixed in 1920 and 1923. For the same reason, Israel cannot be accused by anyone of “occupying” lands under international law that were clearly part of the Jewish National Home or the Land of Israel. Thus the whole debate today that centers on the question of whether Israel must return “occupied territories” to their alleged Arab owners in order to obtain peace is one of the greatest falsehoods of international law and diplomacy.
The most amazing development concerning the question of sovereignty over Palestine is that the State of Israel, when it finally had an opportunity to exercise its sovereignty over all of the country west of the Jordan, after being victorious in the Six Day War of June 5-10, 1967, did not do so – except in the case of Jerusalem. The Knesset did, however, pass an amendment to the Law and Administration Ordinance of 1948, adding Section 11B, which allowed for that possibility and was premised on the idea that Israel possessed such sovereignty. Israel did not even enforce the existing law on sovereignty passed by the Ben Gurion government in September 1948, known as the Area of Jurisdiction and Powers Ordinance, which required it to incorporate immediately any area of the Land of Israel which the Minister of Defense had defined by proclamation as being held by the Defense Army of Israel.
Israel’s legal rights and title of sovereignty over all of the Land of Israel – specifically in regard to Judea, Samaria and Gaza – suffered a severe setback when the Government of Prime Minister Menahem Begin approved the Camp David Framework Agreement for Peace in the Middle East, under which it was proposed that negotiations would take place to determine the “final status” of those territories. The phrase “final status” was a synonym for the word “sovereignty”. It was inexcusable that neither Begin nor his legal advisers, including Aharon Barak, the future President of the Israel Supreme Court, knew that sovereignty had already been vested in the Jewish people and hence the State of Israel many years before, at the San Remo Peace Conference. The situation became much worse, reaching the level of treason when the Government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the Declaration of Principles (DOP) with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and agreed to give it about 90% or more of Judea and Samaria and most of Gaza over a five-year transitional period in order to “achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful settlement and historic reconciliation through the agreed political process” with the Arabs of Palestine. The illegal surrender of territory to the “Palestinian Authority” originally called the “Council” in Article IV of the DOP was hidden by the use of the word “jurisdiction” instead of “sovereignty” in that article. Further dissimulation was shown by the sanitized reference to “redeployment of Israeli military forces in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip” to disguise the illegal act of transferring parts of the Jewish National Home to the PLO. A spade was not called a spade.
To understand why even the State of Israel does not believe in its own title of sovereignty over what are wrongfully termed “occupied territories” even by leading politicians and jurists in Israel, it is necessary to locate the causes in the Mandate period:
  1. The non-ratification of the Treaty of Sevres of August 10, 1920 with Turkey which contained the San Remo Resolution on Palestine and the non-inclusion of this Resolution in the Treaty of Lausanne of July 24, 1923. This gave the wrong impression that the legal status of Palestine as a whole was never settled definitively as being the Jewish National Home under international law and that Turkey did not lose its sovereignty until the signing of this latter treaty.
  2. The non-enforcement of most of the terms of the Mandate within Palestine itself, according to their true intent and meaning, by both the British government and the British-administered judiciary which servilely served the former to the point of misfeasance.
  3. The deliberate misinterpretation of the meaning of the Mandate by the British government to include obligations of equal weight which it supposedly had undertaken in favor of the Arabs of Palestine, when in actual fact no such obligations ever existed, particularly the obligation to develop self-governing institutions for their benefit, which – on the contrary – were meant for the Jewish National Home.
  4. The issuance of several White Papers beginning with the Churchill White Paper of June 3, 1922 and culminating with the Malcolm MacDonald White Paper of May 17, 1939, whose effect was to nullify the fundamental terms of the Mandate and prevent a Jewish state covering the whole of Palestine from ever coming into being during the British administration of the country. What the British essentially did in governing Palestine was to implement their false interpretations of the Mandate rather than its plain language and meaning. This turned the Mandate Charter upside down and made its aim of a Jewish state unrealizable.
  5. The illegal introduction of Article 25 into the Mandate Charter that after its application on September 16, 1922 led to the dislocation of Transjordan from the Jewish National Home and also had a deleterious influence on the administration of Cisjordan by encouraging the false idea that Arab national rights existed not only in the severed part of the Jewish National Home across the Jordan, but in the remaining part as well.
    The end result of British sabotage, misinterpretation, distortion and outright denial of what the Mandate stood for was that Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty over the whole of Palestine as originally envisaged in the San Remo Resolution and the Mandate became so blurred, obfuscated and confused by the time the Mandate ended that it was no longer understood or held to be true. Not even the legal experts of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the Zionist Organization asserted Jewish sovereignty over the whole country in any official paper or memorandum submitted to the British government or to the League of Nations.
    The mutilation of the Mandate Charter was continued by the United Nations when this new world organization considered the question of Palestine. On August 31, 1947, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) proposed an illegal partition plan which recognized Arab national rights in western Palestine, specifically in the areas of western Galilee, Judea, Samaria, the southern coastal plain from Ashdod to the Egyptian frontier and a portion of the western Negev including Beersheba and what became Eilat. It apparently did not occur to the members of the Committee representing 11 states headed by Swedish Chief Justice Emil Sandstrom, that the UN did not have the legal authority to partition the country in favor of the Arabs of Palestine who were not the national beneficiary of the Mandate entitled to self-determination. The trampling of the legal rights of the Jewish people to the whole of Palestine by the United Nations was in clear violation of the Mandate which forbade partition and also Article 80 of the UN Charter which, in effect, prevented the alteration of Jewish rights granted under the Mandate whether or not a trusteeship was set up to replace it, which could only be done by a prior agreement made by the states directly concerned. The illegal partition plan, with some territorial modifications made in the original majority plan presented by UNSCOP, was then approved by the General Assembly on November 29, 1947 as Resolution 181 (II). The Jewish Agency for Palestine, recoiling from the loss of six million Jews in the Holocaust and trying to salvage something from British misrule of Palestine, accepted this illegal Resolution. 

    By doing so, it lent credence to the false idea that Palestine belonged to both Arabs and Jews, which was an idea foreign to the San Remo Resolution, the Mandate and the Franco-British Boundary Convention of December 23, 1920. The Jewish Agency should have relied on these three documents exclusively in declaring the Jewish state over all of Palestine, even if it was unable to control all areas of the country, following the example of what was done in Syria and Lebanon during World War II.
    Another facet of the story that concerned the illegal denial of Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty over Palestine was the attitude adopted by the United States government towards the infamous British White Paper of May 17, 1939. The United States agreed to the British administration of Palestine pursuant to the Mandate when it signed and ratified the Anglo-American Convention of December 3, 1924. This imposed a solemn obligation on the US government to protest any British violation of this treaty, which had repeated every word, jot and tittle of the Mandate Charter in the preamble of the Convention, regardless of whether the violation affected American rights or those of the Jewish people. Yet when the White Paper was issued in the year of 1939, the US government did not lift a finger to point out the blaring illegalities contained in the new statement of British policy that smashed to smithereens the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate, and brought immense joy to the Arab side. It accepted the incredible British contention that changes in the terms of the Mandate effected by the White Paper did not require American consent because no US rights or those of its nationals were impaired, an argument that was demonstrably false.

    This US passivity in the face of British perfidy, which was strongly denounced by the venerable David Lloyd George and even by Winston Churchill who had himself contributed to the betrayal of the Jewish people and their rights to Palestine, allowed the British government to get away with the highest violation of international law at the very moment when the Jewish people were about to suffer the greatest catastrophe in their history. There can be no doubt that the Holocaust could have largely been prevented or its effects greatly mitigated had the terms of the Mandate been duly implemented to allow for a massive influx of Jews to their national home.
    American inaction against the British government was particularly unforgivable in view of the fact that the articles of the Mandate were a part of American domestic law and the US was the only state which could have forced the British to repudiate the malevolent White Paper and restore the right of the Jews of Europe to gain refuge in their homeland.
    Both the Mandate and the Anglo-American Convention have ceased to exist. However, all the rights of the Jewish people that derive from the Mandate remain in full force. This is the consequence of the principle of acquired legal rights which, as applied to the Jewish people, means that the rights they acquired or were recognized as belonging to them when Palestine was legally created as the Jewish National Home are not affected by the termination of the treaty or the acts of international law which were the source of those rights. This principle already existed when the Anglo-American Convention came to an end simultaneously with the termination of the Mandate for Palestine on May 14-15, 1948. It has since been codified in Article 70(1)(b) of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. This principle of international law would apply even if one of the parties to the treaty failed to perform the obligations imposed on it, as was the case with the British government in regard to the Mandate for Palestine.
    The reverse side of the principle of acquired legal rights is the doctrine of estoppel which is also of great importance in preserving Jewish national rights. This doctrine prohibits any state from denying what it previously admitted or recognized in a treaty or other international agreement. In the Convention of 1924, the United States recognized all the rights granted to the Jewish people under the Mandate, in particular the right of Jewish settlement anywhere in Palestine or the Land of Israel. Therefore the US government is legally estopped today from denying the right of Jews in Israel to establish settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which have been approved by the government of Israel. In addition, the United States is also debarred from protesting the establishment of these settlements because they are based on a right which became embedded in US domestic law after the 1924 Convention was ratified by the US Senate and proclaimed by President Calvin Coolidge on December 5, 1925. This convention has terminated, but not the rights granted under it to the Jewish people. The American policy opposing Jewish settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is a fit subject for judicial review in US courts because it violates Jewish legal rights formerly recognized by the United States and which still remain part of its domestic law. A legal action to overturn this policy if it was to be adjudicated might also put an end to the American initiative to promote a so-called “Palestinian” state which would abrogate the existing right of Jewish settlement in all areas of the Land of Israel that fall under its illegal rule.
    The gravest threat to Jewish legal rights and title of sovereignty over the Land of Israel still comes from the same source that has always fought the return of the Jews to their homeland, namely, the medley of Arabic-speaking Gentiles who inhabit the land alongside the Jews. They no longer call themselves Arabs or Syrians, but “Palestinians”. This has resulted in a switch of national identity. The Palestinians used to be the Jews during the Mandate Period, but the Arabs adopted the name after the Jews of Palestine established the State of Israel and began to be called Israelis. The use of the name “Palestinians” for Arabs did not take general hold until 1969 when the United Nations recognized the existence of this supposed new nation, and began passing resolutions thereafter affirming its legitimate and inalienable rights to Palestine. The whole idea that such a nation exists is the greatest hoax of the 20th century and continues unabated into the 21st century. This hoax is easily exposed by the fact that the “Palestinians” possess no distinctive history, language or culture, and are not essentially different in the ethnological sense from the Arabs living in the neighboring countries of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. The very name of the supposed nation is non-Arabic in origin and derives from Hebrew root letters. The Arabs of Palestine have no connection or relationship to the ancient Philistines from whom they have taken their new name.
    It is a matter of the greatest irony and astonishment that the so-called Palestinian nation has received its greatest boost from Israel itself when it allowed a “Palestinian” administration to be set up in the areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza under the leadership of Yasser Arafat.
    The situation in which the Arabs of Palestine and the Land of Israel claim the same legal rights as the Jewish people violates the authentic international law that was created by the San Remo Resolution, the Mandate and the 1920 Franco-British Convention. It is part of the worldwide folly that has occurred since 1969 when the “Palestinian people” were first accorded international recognition, that authentic international law has been replaced by an ersatz international law composed of illegal UN Resolutions. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Hague Regulations of 1907 are acts of genuine international law, but they have no direct application or relevance to the legal status of Judea, Samaria and Gaza which are integral territories of the Jewish National Home and the Land of Israel under the sovereignty of the State of Israel. These acts would apply only to the Arab occupation of Jewish territories, as occurred between 1948 and 1967, and not to the case of Israeli rule over the Jewish homeland. The hoax of the Palestinian people and their alleged rights to the Land of Israel as well as the farce that results from citing pseudo-international law to support their fabricated case must be exposed and brought to an end.
    The Arabs of the Land of Israel have ignited a terrorist war against Israel to recover what they consider to be their occupied homeland. Their aim is a fantasy based on a gross myth and lie that can never be satisfied, since that would mean the conversion of the Land of Israel into an Arab country. It is up to the government of Israel to take the necessary steps to remedy what has become an intolerable situation that threatens the Jewish people with the loss of their immutable rights to their one and only homeland.

Iran’s next president won’t be a ‘moderate’

Iranian presidential candidate Ali Akbar Velayati walks past a portrait of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Iranian presidential candidate Ali Akbar Velayati walks past a portrait of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. [AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi] 
When Iranian voters go to the polls to elect a new president on June 14, their choice will not matter in any real sense: Whoever wins the contest, the next president won’t be a moderate. And he won’t be someone inclined to clean up the corruption that infests the Islamic Republic.
Western observers tend to fret about Iranian politicians’ supposed credentials as “moderates,” “reformers” or “hardliners” — usually with an eye to the nuclear issue and relations with the West. Former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who recently was disqualified from running for President, had been pegged a moderate, and some also use that term to describe his suave one-time foreign minister, Ali Akbar Velayati. Others speculate about whether Hassan Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator during the reformist presidency of Mohammad Khatami, is more reasonable than his successor, Saeed Jalili, who appears to be the front-runner among the eight candidates left in the race.
But such handicapping is useless: No matter who is elected as Iran’s President, the man who actually would be in charge of negotiations with the West is the unelected Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. This is a theocrat who would rather “eat grass” than renounce nuclear weapons.
Thanks to the machinations of the “Guardian Council” which has the power to approve or ban politicians from elections, there is no truly moderate voice in the field of presidential candidates. Mr. Velayati, a supposed moderate, was foreign minister when Iranian agents, with the aid of Iranian diplomatic missions, murdered exiled opponents in Vienna, Paris, Geneva and Berlin in the early 1990s. On his watch, Iran’s embassy in Argentina played a critical role in the terror attack on a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires in 1994, which left 85 people dead. Mr. Velayati is wanted for that crime along with former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezai, another presumed “moderate” candidate who has also been accused of running a mafia-style cigarette-smuggling business.
Westerners hope for an Iranian president who will at least not deny the Holocaust or prophesize the coming of End Times. The man likeliest to fit that description is the current mayor of Tehran, former Revolutionary Guard officer Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf. In a recent jibe at the outgoing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Qalibaf decried Ahmadinejad’s obsession with Holocaust denial — something that Western media seized upon immediately with a sigh of relief. Pity they did not read between the lines. Qalibaf was just decrying the damage caused to Iran and the Palestinian cause by Holocaust denial. He then went on to observe that Israel was “a cancerous tumor” in the region.
Affirming the Holocaust’s historical truth while auguring for a modern recurrence is not exactly moderation’s trademark, but it is in line with Qalibaf’s other rather immoderate credentials: He has publicly bragged about his leading role in putting down the 1999 and 2003 Tehran student riots.
Iranian voters, for their part, are not that concerned about whether the regime will eventually build nukes or get along with the West. Instead, they worry about their empty stomachs and bank accounts. Voters harbor little hope of drastic political change after the June 14 vote; they would settle for someone who will run their economy more honestly and competently.
But it is doubtful whether such concerns were a factor in the Iranian Guardian Council’s decisions about who to approve and who to disqualify as candidates. Take conservative candidate, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, the former speaker of Iran’s parliament, and the father-in-law of the Supreme Leader’s son, Mojtaba Khamenei. His familial ties have made him a rich man — especially since Khamenei had him appointed to the board of directors of Petro Nahad alongside his son Mojtaba.
Khamenei himself recently established Petro Nahad to control all energy-sector contracts, thereby evading any parliamentary oversight or public scrutiny. The country’s energy sector is being crushed under the weight of sanctions and mismanagement — but Haddad Ali is making a profit.
At least Iranians will be spared Ahmadinejad’s vice-presidents, Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, in next month’s contest. Neither is known for either honesty or moderation.
Rahimi was accused by his opponents of participating in the biggest insurance fraud in Iran’s history. He is also a rabid anti-Semite, having blamed the Talmud, the central text of Rabbinic Judaism, for the global spread of drugs. Mashaei, for his part, has all too often thrown his weight behind questionable business figures caught up in corruption cases, including, most notably, Amir Mansour Khosravi, the leading suspect in Iran’s biggest embezzlement case to date.
With their choices ranging from assassin to crony, Iranians have no real choice at the ballot box.
There is neither reform nor moderation in store for an ideologically driven religious autocracy. The only hope for Iran is regime change — which must be the goal of Western foreign policy.

*Mr. Ottolenghi is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.
**Mr. Ghasseminejad is a Ph.D. candidate at Baruch College in New York.