Weekly Update: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”

editor - 3 June 2021

A storm is brewing.

Over recent months, there have been increasing claims that Israel is an “apartheid” state, and calls for it to be ostracized, for boycotts and sanctions. Never before have we heard so many allegations that Israel is illegitimate, and that it should be prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

To this verbal violence has been added a new round of physical violence. During and after Israel’s recent conflict with Iran-sponsored Hamas, we have witnessed violent mobs roaming the streets not only in Israel but also in London, Amsterdam, New York and in many cities around the world, calling for Jews to be beaten and killed, and for Palestine to be freed “from the River to the Sea”.

Make no mistake, these are not calls for a two state solution. They are aggressive, violent demands for the annihilation of Israel as a Jewish homeland. They are an attack on Jews, and the Jewish people, as such. There is only one word for this: anti-Semitism.

It is deeply disturbing that many of these violent events are taking place – with impunity – in European and other Western cities.

The bottom line is: the Jews have a right to be Jews, they have a right to a secure homeland, safe from force and threats of force, and they have a right to defend that homeland against those who seek to annihilate them as a people.

This is an inherent right, not a right that has been conferred by the UN or any other nation.

The words of Israel’s first Ambassador to the UN, Abba Eban, on 21st May 1948, are as true today as they were then. Only five days after his appointment, Eban appeared before the UN Security Council, responding to the Arab rejection of the UN’s cease-fire resolution. His words were historic: “The sovereignty regained by an ancient people, after its long march through the dark night of exile,” he said, will not be “surrendered at pistol point.” And therefore:

“It becomes my duty to make our attitude clear, beyond ambiguity or doubt. If the Arab states want peace with Israel, they can have it. If they want war, they can have that too. But whether they want peace or war, they can have it only with the state of Israel.”

Israel is far from perfect, and, yes, there are many inequities and injustices both within Israel and in the territories conquered in 1967. But the argument that Israel is an apartheid state is a lie.

The argument that Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian Arab territory is also a lie. Israel is controlling those territories, and not abandoning them, because it was faced with (and survived at great loss of lives) existential attacks by the Arab world (including the Palestinian Arab leadership) in 1948, 1967 and 1973. To this day, the PLO has not abandoned its goal of destroying the Jewish state.

Understanding the existential threat posed to Israel in the Six Day (1967) and the Yom Kippur (1973) wars is the key to understanding how vulnerable Israel is, and how dangerous the so-called “1967 lines” are.

As Rick Richman has recently observed, in his speech after the 1973 war Eban drew a lesson from the war that is still instructive: “Imagine that in a mood of suicidal stupidity we had gone back to the previous armistice lines; . . . then the attacks of October 6 . . . would have done such destruction to our vital security that perhaps Israel and all its people, and all the memories, hopes, and visions which have moved our history, might now all be lost. . . . How right we were to insist on negotiating with the utmost precision the boundaries of a peace settlement! How wrong were those who counseled us otherwise!”

Eban’s speech articulated the principles that have guided Israel since 1973: (1) there can be no retreat to what he had previously termed the pre-1967 “Auschwitz” borders; (2) statements of Arab hostility are be taken at face value; and (3) peace can be achieved only in direct negotiations between the parties, resulting in new, agreed-upon boundaries.

In the 1990’s Israel made a genuine attempt to reach peace with the PLO. Since then, negotiations have failed – not because of Israeli settlements (as many claim), but because the Palestinian leadership has failed to internalize that it cannot have sovereignty over all of Palestine. To this day, the Palestine Charter calls for jihad to liberate all of Palestine.

What was true in 1973 is true today: there can be no peace with Israel unless and until its existence as a Jewish state – a safe haven for the Jewish people – is accepted. This means the PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad Movement, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Iran – and their other Islamic and left-wing secular allies in the West – must abandon the goal of liberating Palestine “from the river to the sea” , and return to the negotiating table.

The Editorial team

Israel & Christians Today

European Jews worry the war against antisemitism has been lost

In Germany, a man wearing a kippah was beaten on the street. In Austria, a student was harassed on the train for reading a book mentioning Jews in the title. In London, a nurse said she was threatened at her hospital for wearing a Star of David necklace. And in Belgium, an Orthodox Jewish woman was told “Get away, dirty Jewess” by a man with whom she tried to share a park bench.
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History is repeating itself
Edwin Black explains that the current calls for liberation of Palestine are disturbingly reminiscent of the violent eviction of Jews from the Arab world in the 1950’s. “The resurgence of Nazi-style, pro-Palestinian, anti-Jewish violence on our streets is not anti-Zionist or anti-Israel agitation, but rather vocal, visible and undisguised Jew-hatred.”
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The Palestinian leadership does not want only part of the land
Abba Eban has been described as one of the greatest communicators and diplomats of the 20th century. He was an advocate for Palestinian statehood, but perhaps did not understand the depth of Arab Palestinian determination to liberate the whole of the land of Palestine. Rick Richman writes in Mosaic: “Eban’s most famous observation—that the Palestinians never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity—thus missed the point: a Palestinian state in a portion of the Land was not the opportunity their leaders sought. They viewed the creation of Israel, pursuant to a 1947 UN resolution that recommended both a Jewish and an Arab state, as their continuing catastrophe (nakba)—not their missed opportunity to create their own state, at the same time, pursuant to the same resolution.”
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TikTok-inspired ‘Attack-a-Jew’ posts are a continuation of everything that’s come before
Steven Burg writes: “We must recognize the phenomenon for what it is—not an evil born of social media or other platforms or a political protest of any kind, but anti-Semitism, plain and simple.”
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Operation Solomon: 30 years since the biggest Aliyah mission ever
Last week, The Jewish Agency for Israel marked the 30th anniversary of a historic, record-breaking Aliyah operation. To date it’s the largest-ever individual Aliyah mission undertaken from any country in the world. More than 14,300 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted on 35 aircrafts from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia’s capital) to Israel in less than 36 hours during this historic military operation.
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The Land Purchase | In the Footsteps of Abraham with Johannes Gerloff 

Even “promised land” cannot simply be taken and occupied by the one to whom it has been promised by the Almighty One. It has to be legally purchased. This is what Scripture teaches.


Scripture for the week: Jeremiah 16:10-15

10 “When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the Lord decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?’ 11 then say to them, ‘It is because your ancestors forsook me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law. 12 But you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors. See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts instead of obeying me. 13 So I will throw you out of this land into a land neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.’
14 “However, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 15 but it will be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors.