Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rabin on Jerusalem

There's a serious spat going on about Israeli building plans in Jerusalem. President Obama has rebuked the Israelis for the intention of building in neighborhoods of East Jerusalem which even the Geneva Accords people defined as Israeli. The Israeli lefties I follow on Twitter are all agog about the Israeli audacity (in the negative meaning of the term). Netanyahu has responded sharply: Jerusalem isn't a settlement, it's our capital. He's right, of course.

There are parts of the so-called peace-camp left who are so determined to force their agenda on Israel that in recent years they're moving ever closer to an overall denying of Jewish history. This is a subject I've alluded to occasionally, and probably ought to write about systematically someday. Today I won't go back centuries or millenia;15 years will suffice. A few months before his assassination, Yitzchak Rabin had a meeting with Dr. Israel Kimche, a scholar who knows Jerusalem and its issues as well as anyone alive; Kimche had managed to finagle a meeting with the prime minister because as he saw it, the peace process was heading towards a discussion of the division of Jerusalem, and he wanted Rabin to start thinking about it. Rabin's public position was that peace process or not, Jerusalem would not be divided and would remain under Israeli sovereignty; during the meeting he was extremely nervous and anxious to get it over with, fearing that even the appearance of listening to a scholarly presentation about division would be politically ruinous.

So far as anyone can know, he died convinced that peace could be reached without dividing the city.

No-one needs to expect the Palestinians negotiators to accept that position. But perhaps it might be reasonable for self-proclaimed Israeli champions of peace to recognize that on Jerusalem, their anointed saint the martyred Rabin held the same position Netanyahu does.


Bryan said...

To bolster Dr. Lozowick's argument: Rabin's last speech in the Knesset.

Salient points:

A) United Jerusalem--"which will include both Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev" (which, for those of us not good with Israeli geography, are located outside of the Jerusalem municipality)--will be the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty.
B) The "security border" of Israel will be in the Jordan Valley.
C) Trans-Green Line communities will be added to Israel; this includes Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar, etc.
D) Blocks of settlements willl be established in Judea and Samaria.

So it seems that Rabin then and Netanyahu now are really not so different really; that it is not Netanyahu who has moved right, but merely that "consensus" has moved left; and that the people invoking Rabin while berating "settlers" in Gush Etzion and Maale Adumim are hypocrites who don't really care about what Rabin actually said.

Anonymous said...

here's the whole thing about Obama leading the world, oops choir boys and girls
the list is disgusting and there you thought that 18 months would give him time to learn the job and now all he is doing is enhancing his Cairo inanity


Obama leads chorus against Israel settlements
(AFP) – 8 hours ago


NormanF said...

There is no longer even the pretense of peace talks and I think Netanyahu now could care less what Obama thinks now that he is checked at home by an incoming GOP Congress.

Barry Meislin said...

Well Bibi is Bibi.

Easy to criticize. Tailor made, in fact. We love to criticize Bibi. Even the name is wonderfully criticizable.

Bibi. Boo!

No matter that there has been no "progress" since Rabin, Barak, Sharon, and/or Olmert.

(Proof of course that it's all Israel's fault.)

Unless by "progress" one might mean epiphany....

Anonymous said...

Hi, Yaacov Lozowick –

ich lese hier schon lange mit (das Buch "Israels Existenzkampf" kenne ich übrigens fast auswendig ;)).

Ihre Blog-Kommentare vermitteln ein wunderbar lebendiges Bild von Israels Gesellschaft und den heißen Fragen, die diskutiert werden.
Auch Ihr Kommentar zu Rabin und einem ungeteilten Jerusalem hat mich sehr beeindruckt – und natürlich Ihre Anmerkungen, was die radikale israelische Linke betrifft.

*Seufz* - aber viele Linke sind hier bei uns leider genau so naiv und blind und dogmatisch. Es gibt eben keine "unterdrückte Arbeiterklasse" mehr, die sie befreien können. ;)

Nein - Jerusalem darf nicht geteilt werden, das wäre eine Katastrophe.

Naomi (jüdisch und aus Berlin)

Barry Meislin said...

Egads, I missed "Peres" and "Bibi 1". How could I possibly have missed Peres? And/or Bibi 1?

(That nails it. It really must be all Israel's fault.)

Y. Ben-David said...

I don't agree with Yaacov's view that Rabin believed there could be peace without destroying (...oops, I mean DIVIDING) Jerusalem. If Rabin were alive today and if he still believed in the peace process, he would be for dividing Jerusalem and accepting the Palestinian "Right of Return". So would Ariel Sharon if he were still functioning. Is there ANYONE today in Kadima or Labor or MERETZ that is not officially on record as favoring dividing the city? As late as 1999 people like Yossi Beilin and the rest of the Labor Party were officially against dividing the city. Beilin later stated that OF COURSE he was for dividing the city but it wasn't popular to say it.
What is my proof.....look at how Olmert, someone born and raised in the aristocracy of the Revisionist-HERUT-LIKUD movement offered to give up the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives Cemetary, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and all other Jewish holy places in Judea/Samaria to the Palestinians in the guise of having a "neutral internional body guarantee continued Jewish access" to these sites. I have only heard half-hearted criticism of it from Livni, Shneller and others of KADIMA.
Why is this. Because the Arabs have made it absolutely plain since Oslo in 1993 that their basid demands are NON-NEGOTIABLE---withdrawal to the pre-67 lines (every inch of it) and actual implementation of the Palestinan Right of Return of refugees...not merely "recognition of responsibility" by Israel and payment of compensation.
Recall the uproar a couple of weeks ago when the head of UNRWA said it was unrealistic to expect the refugeess to return to Israel?
The Arabs mean every word of their demands, these are not merely "negotating cards" which is the lie the 'Peace-process' Mafia has been telling us for years.
Anyone or any party that still believes in the 'peac process' HAS to accept Israel giving up all the Jewish holy places (which no matter what guarantees are given will end up being off limits to Jews) and allowing the refugees back. Anyone who says otherwise is simply being deceitful.

Barry Meislin said...

Of course, it's purely speculative, and there's no way of knowing; but I don't believe that Rabin would have agreed to it.

Perhaps to a certain point; but no further.

In spite of all the pressure(s).

This---among several other things---is the tragedy (and stupidity) of the action of Yigal Amir (and those who continue to support him). The people of Israel have paid dearly for it, and will continue to pay.

Yaacov said...

I join Barry in his speculation. Rabin's personal biography was too deeply intertwined with the city, for him to reconcile himself to its division. Too many of his friends, and more important, his subordinates, had died fighting for it, under his command.

Yaacov said...

Danke fuer das Feedback, Naomi!

Bruce said...


Let me just offer this modest dissent. This brouhaha is not about the final disposition of Jerusalem; the problem is that an announcement was made that embarrasses the Administration when Netanyahu is in the United States. I don't believe that the timing of the announcement by the Interior Ministry was accidental, and all things equal, I'm not sure how embarassing Obama, whose culpability I'll address next, helps Israel in the short or long run.

That said, this is the president's fault. It was his decision to elevate the issue of a "settlement freeze," inclusive East Jerusalem, as a condition precedent for negotiations with the Palestinians. Even if one assumes for the sake of argument that Abu Mazen is serious about good faith negotiations, the Obama Administration's decision to draw a line in the sand so to speak on the settlement freeze prevents the Palestinians from taken a more moderate position on this issue.

In short, the Administration, in trying to show "daylight" between itself and the Israli Administration, carelessly focused on settlements. That said, the announcement about these housing units was ill-timed, and from my perspective at this point, counter-productive and unnecessary.


Bruce Levine

P.S. Y. Ben-David, it is always a pleasure to see you post; I hope all is well.

Y. Ben-David said...

Nice to hear from you as well. I remember your opposition to my being banned at TPMCafe!
Reports in Israel (e.g. the Israeli HaYom newspaper today) point out that these announcements are NOT timed to embarrass the Administration, they are leaked by elements within the Israeli ministries involved to the anti-Netanyahu media in order to embarrass Netanyahu at delicate moments such as Bibi's visit to the US. The decisions were actually made some time ago.

Rabbi Tony Jutner said...

Sorry but these statements will not fly. NewJudaism is geared to the 21st century because it states that anyone can build their own personal Jerusalem anywhere they live. San Francisco is my Jerusalem. My stance on this was based upon the late yeshayahu Leibowitz, who called the so callaed western wall a disco site, and was understandably upset about our fetishization of earthly Jerusalem. Here are the facts. The Palestinian people need Jersualem, ALL of Jerusalem, to gain their national honor. We dont. Therefore I make the no longer radical proposal that we give them all of it, starting with the Old City, then Sheikh Jarrah, which President Carter recently recognized would not be part of israel under any peace agreement. Then given them Rahavia and Baqa, and the world will no longer be against us

Anonymous said...

I was brought up in a kind of lapsed Christian surrounding and thus never got "it" but still for me there are enough stories attached to Jerusalem etc. that I want it in Jewish hands - I can't argue it, it is just something that feels right. It belongs to Jews. Anything else makes me feel very "crusaderish"

(Christians getting it would feel equally un-right as Muslim feels - on a very emotional level both have forfeited any right to it and would have even if they had been the earlier ones. Since they are not the whole demand is wrong, deeply wrong)


Barry Meislin said...

What is it with Jews and earthquake zones?

Y. Ben-David said...

Remember the Jews who said "Berlin is my Jerusalem"? Where are they and their decendents today? Many of those who survived are in Jerusalem. You need Israel a lot more than Israel needs you.

Y. Ben-David said...

(Part II)
Leibowitz was a Zionist. He lived in Jerusalem. Why do Palestinians "need national honor" and the Jews don't? If we give up the places you advocate, the world will be MORE against us (although it is not really that much against us today). Remember the first half of the 20th century?

Bryan said...

Y. Ben-David: Jutner is a caricature of an Israel-hating Jew, like the character Stephen Colbert plays on his show. He's not a real rabbi.

He's much funnier if you're inebriated.

Anonymous said...

once in a rare while Jutner manages to be really funny in a way that the "satyred" can laugh with him

most often he doesn't hit it at all

and sometimes he is really offensive in an ill-mannered inconsiderate immature even for a boy way