US-Israel 400-Year-Roots

From the 1620 “Mayflower” to 2020 USA; the 400th Anniversary of the US-Israel Kinship

The Federalisthttps://bit.ly/3ldeYQN

Significance of the 400th anniversary

Four hundred years ago, in November 1620, the 102 pilgrims of the “Mayflower” landed in Plymouth Rock, which they considered the modern day Promised Land.  They were inspired by the Bible, in general, and the Mosaic legacy, in particular, which feature a civic covenant, cohesive peoplehood, a twelve-tribe-governance and a shared vision. They planted the seeds of the Federalist Papers, the 1776 American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, Bill of Rights, Separation of Powers, Checks and Balances and the overall US history, culture and political and justice systems. These seeds vaulted the US to the leadership of the Free World, economically, technologically, scientifically, educationally and militarily.

The 102 pilgrims of the “Mayflower” viewed themselves as “modern day Biblical Israelites,” seeking freedom from the bondage of the “British Pharaoh,” King James I.  They sought Biblical-driven liberty, planting the roots of the uniquely thriving, mutually-beneficial kinship between the US and Israel, historically, spiritually, culturally, technologically and geo-strategically.

Indeed, these roots eclipse the political beltway of Washington, DC, transcend the pertinent role of the Jewish community, and run deeper than geo-strategic considerations and formal agreements.  They precede the 1776 US Declaration of Independence and the 1948 reestablishment of the Jewish State, Israel.

These roots have yielded an exceptional bottom-up international relations phenomenon, whereby pro-Israel sentiments among most Americans have played a key role in shaping the mindset of their state and federal legislatures, as well as the actions of the person sitting behind the Resolute Desk of the Oval Office.

The Early Pilgrims

The Bible was the most widely read book in colonial America, inspiring the Early Pilgrims, the Founding Fathers, educators, the clergy, political leaders and the public at-large.

The Early Pilgrims referred to King James I as the Modern Day Pharaoh; their departure from England as the Modern Day Exodus; the sailing across the Atlantic Ocean as the Modern Day Parting of the Sea; and the New World as the New Canaan and the New Israel.  They considered themselves the Modern Day People of the Covenant and Modern Day Chosen People.

Hence, the litany of Biblically-named towns, cities, mountains, deserts, rivers, national parks and forests throughout the United States.  Thus, in the US, there are 18 Jerusalems, 30 Salems (the original name of Jerusalem), 83 Shilohs (where the first tabernacle stood), 34 Bethels, 27 Hebrons, 26 Goshens, 19 Jerichos, 18 Pisgahs, and many more.

William Bradford and John Winthrop, the leaders of the “Mayflower” (1620) and the “Arabella” (1630) were called Joshua and Moses respectively.

Moreover, the 1620 “Mayflower Compact” and the 1639 “Fundamental Orders of Connecticut” (the initial Constitutions), which highlighted the rights of the individual – and the limits to the central government – were partly inspired by the Mosaic laws and covenant.

In 2020, the 400-year-old roots of the special US and Israel ties are reflected by the statues and engravings of Moses and over 200 Ten Commandments monuments, which are featured in the US House of Representatives, the US Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the Justice Department, the National Archives, and throughout important buildings and landmarks across the US.

Early America and the Hebrew language

Familiarity with Hebrew was quite common among the Early Pilgrims’ intelligentsia and the better-educated clergy.  In fact, the initial ten colleges in the colonies offered Hebrew courses.

Moreover, the first two Presidents of Harvard University, Henry Dunster (1640-1654) and Charles Chauncy (1654-1672) were ardent Hebraists, as were Harvard’s 6th and 11th presidents, Increase Mather (1692-1701) and Samuel Langdon (1774-1780), who proposed to make Hebrew an official language in the new colonies. Valedictory addresses at Harvard, Yale and other institutions of higher learning were offered in Hebrew.

King’s College (Columbia University) founding President (1754-1763) Samuel Johnson installed Hebrew as a required course, and stated that “Hebrew was part of a gentleman’s education.”

Yale University’s 7th president, Ezra Stiles (1778-1795), spoke, read and taught Hebrew in addition to astronomy, chemistry and philosophy.  He corresponded with Hebron’s Rabbi, Hayyim Carregal, and noted that “Moses assembled 3 million people – the number of Americans in 1776.”  He urged graduate students to be able to recite Psalms in Hebrew, “because that is what St. Peter will expect of you at the Pearly Gates….”

The official seals of Yale University (“Light and Truth”), Columbia University (“Jehovah” and “Divine Light”) and Dartmouth College (“G-d Almighty”) feature key Biblical terms in Hebrew. The official seal of Princeton University features an open Bible with the Latin inscription: Old and New Testaments.

The special role of Hebrew in the formation of the US culture and university curricula was demonstrated by Prof. George Bush, the great grand-uncle of President George H. Bush. Prof. Bush was the first Hebrew professor at New York University (1831-1846), wrote books on the Bible and Hebrew, and urged the ingathering of Jews “to the Biblical Zion.”

Hebrew words have been integrated into the English language.  For example, the origin of Jubilee is the Hebrew word Yovel (liberty in Hebrew), Jehovah is Yehovah (He was, He is, He will be), amen is a’men (faith in Hebrew), hallelujah is halleluyah (praise God in Hebrew), Abracadabra is Evra keDabra (creating while talking in Hebrew), evil is Eyval (the Biblical Mount of Curse), kosher is kasher (proper in Hebrew), tour’s origin is the Biblical word toor (Moses’ instruction to the leaders of the twelve tribes, who were assigned to scout the Land of Israel), etc.

The Founding Fathers and the Mosaic covenant

The Bay Psalm Book was the first book printed in 1640 in the New World in Cambridge, Mass.  1700 copies were printed, containing Hebrew characters. In 2013, one of the eleven existing copies was sold for $14.2MN, a record for a printed book.  Currently, some 20 million copies of the Bible are sold annually, making it still the best-selling book in the USA.

According to a February, 2020 Pew Research Poll, 49% of Americans say the Bible should have at least some influence on US laws, including 23% who say it should have a great deal of influence.

In fact, the name of the US political system – the Federalist system – is a derivative of Foedus, which is the Latin word for the Biblical Covenant between God and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, as well as the civic covenant among the Biblical Israelites during the forty years following the Exodus.

Moreover, the inscription on the Liberty Bell is from Leviticus, Chapter 25, Verse 10: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the Land, unto all the Inhabitants thereof.” This inscription is the essence of the Jubilee, which is the Biblical role model of liberty – freeing slaves and prisoners and returning land to original owners.

Furthermore, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, which was the moral and intellectual touchstone of the American Revolution, was influenced by the Old Testament: “For the will of the Almighty as declared by Gideon, and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by kings… (pp. 10-13).”

Harvard University’s 11th president, Samuel Langdon (1774-1780), opined: “the Jewish government… was a perfect republic…. Let us therefore look over [the Israelites’] constitution and laws…. They had both a civil and military establishment under divine direction, and a complete body of judicial laws drawn up and delivered to them by Moses in God’s name…. Instead of the twelve tribes of Israel, we may substitute the thirteen states of the American union….”

James Madison, the 4th President, the 5th Secretary of State, the “Father of the Constitution,” a key drafter of the Bill of Rights and a co-author of The Federalist Papers, was deeply influenced by his study of Hebrew and the Old Testament at the College of New Jersey (Princeton University).  In a 1778 speech at the General Assembly of Virginia, he stated: “…We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity… to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God….”

John Quincy Adams, the 6th President, asserted that “[The Bible] is the best book in the world…. The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code…. The Bible is the book to be read at all ages….”

The Abolitionist anti-slavery movement inspired by Moses

Moses and the Exodus played a key role in the formation of the Abolitionist anti-slavery movement. Thus, Harriet Tubman, who was born into slavery and escaped in 1849, was called Mama Moses, since she was among the initiators of the Underground Railroad, which freed Black slaves through a network of secret routes and safe houses,

In 1862, the anti-slavery informal anthem of Black slaves was composed with lyrics from Exodus 8:1: “Go Down Moses, way down in Egypt land, tell old Pharaoh to let my people go.” This black spiritual regained popularity in the 20th century when sung by Paul Leroy Robeson.

Martin Luther King, Jr., a leader of the Civil Rights Movement from 1955-1968, based many of his sermons and speeches – including “I have a dream” – on Moses and the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt, as well as on the Biblical books of Psalms, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Amos. His battle cry was: “Let My People Go (Exodus 5:1).”

President Abraham Lincoln was a student of the Bible, which bolstered his determination to abolish slavery.  In his second inaugural address, he stated: “[The Bible] is the best gift God has given to man…. The rebirth of Israel as a nation-state is a noble dream, shared by many Americans….“

The Bible, in general, and the Moses legacy, in particular, provided American Black slaves with much hope and strength, striving for their own Exodus, trusting that God opposes Black slavery in the US as he opposed Jewish slavery in Egypt.

400 years of US identification with the Jewish State

The chief engine behind the unique US-Israel kinship was the spirit of the Early Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers.  They considered the idea of a Jewish Commonwealth in the Land of Israel an authentic implementation of the Biblical vision.

For example, President John Adams supported the idea of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel: “I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.”

Most notably, on March 5, 1891 – six years before the convening of the 1897 First Zionist Congress by Theodore Herzl, the father of modern day Zionism – 431 US leaders, including the Chief Justice, House and Senate leaders and chairmen of Congressional committees, governors, mayors, businessmen, clergy, professors and editors, signed the Blackstone Memorial, which called for the reestablishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel. Pastor William Eugene Blackstone was a Christian Zionist, who dedicated his life to the reestablishment of the Jewish Commonwealth in its homeland.

In 1917, the Blackstone Memorial influenced President Woodrow Wilson’s support of the Balfour Declaration, and on March 3, 1919, President Wilson stated: “…In Palestine shall be laid the foundation of a Jewish Commonwealth….” “[The Bible] is the Magna Charta of the human soul.”  In 1918, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote in his best-selling “History of the American West”: “…It seems to me entirely proper to start a Zionist State around Jerusalem…. Many of the best backwoodsmen were Bible-readers…. They looked at their foes as the Hebrew Prophets looked at the enemies of Israel…. No man, educated or uneducated, can afford to be ignorant of the Bible.”

Highlighting the potency of these roots, on June 30, 1922 Congress passed a Joint Resolution, introduced by the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Henry Cabot Lodge (MA-R), and Representative Hamilton Fish III (NY-R), which was signed by President Warren Harding on September 21, 1922: “…. Favoring the establishment, in Palestine, of a national home for the Jewish people….”  The Resolution was opposed by the State Department and the New York Times, which also opposed the re-establishment of Israel in 1948.

On June 10, 1943, Alabama Governor Chauncey Sparks signed a unanimous Joint Resolution of the Alabama State House and Senate, which called for the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish Homeland, in accordance with the 1917 Balfour Declaration, as was approved by the 1922 Joint Congressional Resolution and the 1924 Anglo-American Treaty.

On May 12, 1948, during a critical session at the White House, Clark Clifford, a Special Assistant to President Truman (and Defense Secretary under President Lyndon Johnson), confronted Secretary of State, General George Marshall, who opposed the recognition of the Jewish State: “Behold, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore unto your Fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them (Deuteronomy, 1:8).” Clifford was not an evangelical Christian.

On May 14, 1948, during a special broadcast upon Israel’s declaration of independence, Lowell Thomas, a US radio icon stated: “Today, as the Jewish State is established, Americans read through the Bible as a historical reference book.”

Biblical impact on Modern day USA leaders

While the US Constitution does not require Presidents to be sworn in on a Bible, almost every Chief Executive since George Washington – except four Presidents – has chosen to do so.

Almost all US Presidents have integrated Biblical verses in their inaugural addresses and major speeches.

For example, on May 3, 1925, President Calvin Coolidge said: “Hebraic mortar cemented the foundations of American democracy… If American democracy is to remain the greatest hope of humanity, it must continue abundantly in the faith of the Bible.”

On February 15, 1950, President Harry S. Truman told the Attorney General’s Conference: “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount.  The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul.  I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days….”

On September 10, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson told a B’nai B’rith conference: “Bible stories are woven into my childhood memories as the gallant struggle of modern Jews to be free of persecution is also woven into our souls….”

In his 1969 inaugural addresses, President Richard Nixon referred to the book of Isaiah: “…. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more…. (Isaiah 2:4).”

President Ronald Reagan was known for his Biblical references such as: “Within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face…. Of the many influences that have shaped the United States of America into a distinctive Nation and people, none may be said to be more fundamental and enduring than the Bible.”

President Bush’s deep Biblical conviction was evident during his May 15, 2008 speech at Israel’s Knesset: “When Israel was declared independent, it was the Redemption of an ancient promise given to Abraham, Moses and David…. The source of our friendship runs deeper than any treaty…. It is grounded in the shored spirit of our peoples, the bonds of The Book, the ties of the soul.  When William Bradford stepped off the ‘Mayflower’ in 1620, he quoted the words of Jeremiah: ‘Come let us declare in Zion the word of God.’ The Founders [of the United States] saw a new Promised Land and bestowed upon their towns names like Bethlehem and New Canaan.  And, in time many Americans became passionate advocates for a Jewish State… Our alliance will be guided by clear principles, shared convictions rooted in moral clarity and un-swayed by popularity polls or the shifting opinions of international elites.”

President Barack Obama made a frequent use of Biblical quotes.  For example, Psalm 46 was recited at the unveiling of the 9/11 Memorial upon the 10th anniversary of that Islamic terror attack on the US: “God is our refuge and strength… therefore we will not fear….”

On December 24, 1968, the three astronauts of Apollo 8 – the first manned mission to orbit the moon – conducted a direct broadcast to earth, reciting the first ten verses from the Book of Genesis: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth….”  It was the most watched television broadcast at the time.

The May, 2009, House Resolution 397 highlights the Biblical milestones in US history.

The US civil religion

The depth and durability of the 400-year-old Biblical roots among most Americans – notwithstanding their gradual erosion – has been consistent with separation of religion and state, but not separation of religion and society.  It is demonstrated by the institutionalization of “In God We Trust,” inscribed above the seat of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 2020, all 50 State Constitutions refer to God.

In 2012, the National Democratic Convention reinstated God and Jerusalem into its platform.

On October 31, 2011, the House of Representatives voted 396:9, reaffirming “In God We Trust” as a national motto, as did Joint Resolution #396 (July 30, 1956), and a May 26, 1955 Resolution to inscribe “In God We Trust” on all US currency.

According to an NBC May 2019 poll, 86% of Americans favor “In God We Trust” and retaining “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

An April 2018 Gallup poll showed that 45% and 39% of Protestants and Catholics frequent church each Sunday.

About 20 million copies of the Bible are purchased annually in the US.

In the US, there are some 300 Christian TV (9 in 1974) and 3,000 Christian radio stations.

Since 1974, Congress opens daily deliberations with a prayer and “God bless America;” and US Presidents conclude their oath of office, State of the Union and other major statements with God Bless America and So Help Me God.

On June 28, 2005, Chief Justice William Rehnquist ruled that the Ten Commandment monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol was constitutional, underlining the impact of the legacy of Moses and the Ten Commandments on the US culture and civic life: “Since 1935, Moses has stood, holding two tablets that reveal portions of the Ten Commandments, written in Hebrew, among other lawgivers in the [Supreme Court’s] south frieze…. Moses sits on the exterior east façade, holding the Ten Commandments… Since 1897, a large statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments alongside a statue of the Apostle Paul, has overlooked the rotunda of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building. A two-tablet-medallion depicting the Ten Commandments decorates the floor of the National Archives. In the Justice Department, a statue entitled ‘The Spirit of Law’ has two tablets representing the Ten Commandments. In front of the Ronald Reagan Building stands a sculpture that includes a depiction of the Ten Commandments. A 24-foot-tall sculpture, outside the Federal Courthouse [in Washington, DC], depicts the Ten Commandments and a cross. Moses is prominently featured in the Chamber of the US House of Representatives…. Moses was a lawgiver and a religious leader, and the Ten Commandments have undeniable historical meaning….”

A February 2005 Gallup Poll documented 76%:21% support of a display of the Ten Commandments Monument in Texas and a 56%:20% support, with 24% indifferent, of such a display on the ground of their own state capitols.

The lasting US-Israel Kinship

While there has been a gradual erosion of the 400-year-old roots and core values – as a result of the dramatic demographic and ideological transformation of the US population – they created the healthy foundations of US-Israel relations, which have been cultivated by the state of mind of most Americans.

The recent dramatic enhancement of such a unique and mutually-beneficial relationship – militarily, industrially, technologically, agriculturally and medically – has evolved in response to mutual threats and challenges, but in defiance of the State Department bureaucracy and much of the “elite” media, which opposed Israel’s establishment in 1948.

Israel remains the top unconditional ally of the US in the Middle East and beyond, wholeheartedly reciprocating the value-driven unconditional identification by most Americans with the Jewish State.  And, as suggested by The Ethics of the Fathers, a second century compilation of Jewish ethical teachings: “Conditional love is tenuous; unconditional love is eternal.”

 

 

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Demography

2024 artificially inflated Palestinian demography

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
March 25, 2024

Palestinian demographic numbers are highly-inflated, as documented by a study, which has audited the Palestinian data since 2004.  For example:

*500,000 Arabs, who have been away for over a year, are included in the census, contrary to international regulations. 325,000 were included in the 1997 census, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, and 400,000 in 2005, according to the Palestinian Election Commission. The number grows steadily due to births.

*350,000 East Jerusalem Arabs are doubly-counted – by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority. The number grows steadily due to births.

*Over 150,000 Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs are similarly doubly counted. The number expands steadily due to births.   

*A 413,000 net-emigration (since the 1997 first Palestinian census) is ignored by the Palestinian census, overlooking the annual net-emigration since 1950. A 23,445 net-emigration in 2022 and a 20,000 annual average in recent years have been documented by Israel’s Population and Migration Authority in all international passages.  

*A 32% artificial inflation of Palestinian births was documented by the World Bank (page 8, item 6) in a 2006 audit.

*The Judea & Samaria Arab fertility rate has been westernized: from 9 births per woman in the 1960s to 2.9 births in 2022 (In Jordan – similar to Judea & Samaria), reflecting the sweeping urbanization, a growing female enrollment in higher education, rising marriage age and the rising use of contraceptives.

*The number of deaths is under-reported for political and financial reasons.

*The aforementioned artificial inflation of 1.7 million documents a population of 1.55 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, not the official 3.25 million. In 2024: a 69% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel, benefitting from a tailwind of fertility and net-immigration, while Arab demography is westernized. In 1947 and 1897: a 39% and 9% Jewish minority.
No Arab demographic time bomb; but, a Jewish demographic momentum. More data in these articles and this short video.

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Iran

FBI Director Chris Wray: Iranian terrorism on US soil

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
April 10, 2024

The State Department has adhered to the diplomatic option toward Iran, rewarding the Ayatollahs with a financial and diplomatic bonanza, waiving and softening economic sanctions. However, FBI Director Chris Wray has concluded that Iran and its Islamic terrorist proxies are set to hit the US mainland. Iran is leveraging its cooperation with US criminal organizations and with Latin American drug cartels in the areas of terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking and money laundering.

Addressing cadets at the West Point US Military Academy, Wray stated: “The ongoing war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans inside the US to a whole another level…. Although we cannot discount the possibility of another coordinated 9/11-style attack by a foreign terrorist organization, our most immediate concern has been that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home….”

In his testimony at the House Committee on Homeland Security, Director Wray stated: “As the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, the Iranians [who collaborate with all Latin American drug cartels] have directly, or by hiring criminals, mounted assassination attempts against dissidents and high ranking current and former US officials, including right here on American soil…. Hezbollah, Iran’s primary strategic partner, has tried to seed operatives, establish infrastructure and engage in spying here domestically… planning future operations in the US….

“In a year when the terrorism threat was already elevated, the ongoing [Israel-Hamas] war has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the US to a whole other level…. Since October 7, we’ve seen a rogue gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against Americans and our allies. Hezbollah [which trains Latin American drug traffickers in the areas of car bombing and IEDs] threatened to attack US interests in the Middle East. Al-Qaeda issued its most specific call to attack the US….

“Our most immediate concern is that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home. That includes homegrown violent extremists inspired by a foreign terrorist organization…. We cannot discount the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization may exploit the current conflict to conduct attacks here, on our own soil….”

In his testimony at the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Wray highlighted the central role of Iran’s Ayatollahs in the intensified anti-US Islamic terrorism: “Nations such as the PRC, Russia and Iran are becoming more aggressive and more capable than ever before. These nations seek to undermine our core democratic, economic and scientific institutions….[They] conduct sophisticated intelligence operations using coercion, subversion, malign influence, cyber and economic espionage, traditional spying and non-traditional human intelligence collection.  They pose a continuous threat to US national security and our economy by targeting strategic technologies, industries, sectors and critical infrastructure…. [Iran’s collaboration with US criminal organizations] should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with both the scope of Iran’s penetration of the Western hemisphere and its association with TCOs (Transnational Criminal Organizations) at every level.  Understanding both the nature of this new combination requires some knowledge of TCOs, the security apparatus of the Iranian state and their links….”

Col. (ret.) Robert Killebrew of the Center for a New American Security sheds light on the connection between Iran’s Ayatollahs, Hezbollah and Latin American anti-US terrorism and drug trafficking: “That Iran has relationships with TCOs [e.g., MS-13] with deep ties inside the US is a fact…. Hostility toward the US is fundamental to the ideological outlook of Iran’s ruling theocracy, which considers itself at war with the US…. The Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas [aimed to undermine the US posture in Latin America], which includes states like Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua, has forged close military ties with Iran…. Along with senior members of the Venezuelan government, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard is involved in the illicit narcotics trade… training of local forces and in illicit drug trade that weakens the US at home….

“Reports of Iranian activity in South and Central America continue to roll in, along with Hezbollah’s hefty fund-raising and training activities in South America…. The coordinated US response to the growing presence of Iranian agents in Central and South America has been tepid at best…. Despite the presence of the armed forces of a hostile state (Iran) to our south, and clear evidence that those forces will use TCOs to attack targets inside the US, the possibility of converted action against the cartels and, by implication, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard, remains elusive….”

The bottom line:

*There is a direct connection between the US homeland security, on the one hand, and Iran’s Ayatollahs’ anti-US fanatic and imperialistic ideology, their oppression of women and ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, and their role as the leading regional and global epicenter of anti-US terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and proliferation of advance weaponry, on the other hand.

*As documented since their February 1979 rise to power, Iran’s Ayatollahs’ fanatic, religious and imperialistic vision – which aims to bring “The Great American Satan” to submission – transcends any financial and diplomatic bonanza extended by the US.

*While Hamas and Hezbollah constitute a threat to all pro-US Arab regimes, intensify the volcanic nature of the Middle East, and undermine the national and homeland security of the US, it is Iran which is the generator of these terror organizations. Disabling the Iranian generator is a prerequisite for minimizing the wrath of Islamic terrorism.

*The 45-year-old track record of the US diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs – which has bolstered the anti-US capabilities of the Ayatollahs, while undermining US interests – requires a reassessment and a shift to the regime-change option.

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Judea & Samaria

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
February 27, 2024

Secretary of State Antony Blinken represents conventional wisdom when claiming that “It’s been longstanding US policy… that new settlements are… inconsistent with international law.”

However, conventional wisdom is frequently demolished by the march of facts

For instance:

*According to Prof. Eugene Rostow, who was the co-author of the November 22, 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242, served as Undersecretary of State and was the Dean of Yale University Law School: “Jews have the same right to settle in the West Bank as they have in Haifa.”

*According to UN Resolution 242, Israel is required to withdraw from territories, not the territories, nor from all the territories, but some of the territories, which included Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights.  Moreover, according to Prof. Rostow, “resolutions calling for withdrawal from all the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly…. Israel was not to be forced back to the fragile and vulnerable [9-15 mile-wide] lines… but to secure and recognized boundaries, agreed to by the parties…. In making peace with Egypt in 1979, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai… [which amounts to] more than 90% of the territories occupied in 1967….”

*Former President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, stated: “Between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967 (according to Article 52 of the UN Charter), on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has better title in the territory of what was [British Mandate] Palestine…. It follows that modifications of the 1949 armistice lines among those States within former Palestinian territory are lawful…. [The 1967] Israeli conquest of territory was defensive rather than aggressive… [as] indicated by Egypt’s prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat, and the amassing of [Egyptian] troops in Sinai, coupled with its ejection of the UN Emergency Force…[and] Jordan’s initiated hostilities against Israel…. The 1948 Arab invasion of the nascent State of Israel further demonstrated that Egypt’s seizure of the Gaza Strip, and Jordan’s seizure and subsequent annexation of the West Bank and the old city of Jerusalem, were unlawful….” 

*The legal status of Judea and Samaria is embedded in the following 4 authoritative, binding, internationally-ratified documents, which recognize the area for what it has been: the cradle of Jewish history, culture, language, aspirations and religion.

(I) The November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, issued by Britain, calling for “the establishment in Palestine (a synonym to the Land of Israel) of a national home for the Jewish people….”
(II) The April 24, 1920 resolution, by the post-First World War San Remo Peace Conference of the Allied Powers Supreme Council, entrusted both sides of the Jordan River to the British Mandate for Palestine, for the reestablishment of the Jewish Commonwealth: “the Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the [Balfour] declaration originally made on November 2, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” It was one of over 20 Mandates (trusteeships) established following WW1, responsible for the boundaries of most Arab countries.
(III) The July 24, 1922 Mandate for Palestine was ratified by the Council of the League of Nations, entrusted Britain to establish a Jewish state in the entire area west of the Jordan River, as demonstrated by its 6th article: “[to] encourage… close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands….” The Mandate was dedicated exclusively to Jewish national rights, while guaranteeing the civic rights of all other religious and ethnic groups. On July 23, 1923, the Ottoman Empire signed the Treaty of Lausanne, which included the Mandate for Palestine.  
(IV) The October 24, 1945 Article 80 of the UN Charter incorporated the Mandate for Palestine into the UN Charter.  Accordingly, the UN or any other entity cannot transfer Jewish rights in Palestine – including immigration and settlement – to any other party. According to Article 80 of the UN Charter and the Mandate for Palestine, the 1967 war of self-defense returned Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria to its legal owner, the Jewish state.  Legally and geo-strategically the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, since they are not “foreign territory,” and Jordan did not have a legitimate title over the West Bank.  Moreover, the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply in view of the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty. The 1950-67 Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria violated international law and was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan.

*The 1949 4th Geneva Convention prohibits the forced transfer of populations to areas previously occupied by a legitimate sovereign power. However, Israel has not forced Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, and Jordan’s sovereignty there was never legal.

*The November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly Partition Resolution 181 was a recommendation, lacking legal stature, superseded by the Mandate for Palestine. The 1949 Armistice (non-peace) Agreements between Israel and its neighbors delineated “non-territorial boundaries.”   

*The term “Palestine” was a Greek and then a Roman attempt (following the 135 CE Jewish rebellion) to eradicate Jews and Judaism from human memory. It substituted “Israel, Judea and Samaria” with “Palaestina,” a derivative of the Philistines, an arch enemy of the Jewish people, whose origin was not in Arabia, but in the Greek Aegian islands.    

*The aforementioned march of facts demonstrates that Secretary Blinken’s conventional wisdom on the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria is based on gross misperceptions and misrepresentations, which fuels infidelity to law, undermining the pursuit of peace.

*More on the legality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria in this article by George Mason University Law School Prof. Eugene Kontrovich.

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Jerusalem

United Jerusalem – a shared US-Israel legacy and interest

US departure from the recognition of a United Jerusalem as the exclusive capital of the Jewish State, and the site of the US Embassy to Israel, would be consistent with the track record of the State Department, which has been systematically wrong on Middle East issues, such as its opposition to the establishment of the Jewish State; stabbing the back of the pro-US Shah of Iran and Mubarak of Egypt, and pressuring the pro-US Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while courting the anti-US Ayatollahs of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Arafat, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the Houthis of Yemen; transforming Libya into a platform of global Islamic terrorism and civil wars; etc..

However, such departure would violate US law, defy a 3,000 year old reality – documented by a litany of archeological sites and a multitude of documents from Biblical time until today – spurn US history and geography, and undermine US national and homeland security.

United Jerusalem and the US law

Establishing a US Consulate General in Jerusalem – which would be a de facto US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority – would violate the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which became US law on November 8, 1995 with substantially more than a veto-override majority on Capitol Hill.

According to the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which enjoys massive support among the US population and, therefore, in both chambers of Congress:

“Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….

“Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the state of Israel; and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem….

“In 1990, Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that Congress ‘strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….’

“In 1992, the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 113… to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and reaffirming Congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city….

“In 1996, the state of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry….

“The term ‘United States Embassy’ means the offices of the United States diplomatic mission and the residence of the United States chief of mission.”

United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers

The US Early Pilgrims and Founding Fathers were inspired – in their unification of the 13 colonies – by King David’s unification of the 12 Jewish tribes into a united political entity, and establishing Jerusalem as the capital city, which did not belong to any of the tribes (hence, Washington, DC does not belong to any state). King David entered Jerusalem 3,000 years before modern day US presidents entered the White House and 2,755 years before the US gained its independence.

The impact of Jerusalem on the US founders of the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist system and overall civic life is reflected by the existence, in the US, of 18 Jerusalems (4 in Maryland; 2 in Vermont, Georgia and New York; and 1 in Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Utah, Rhode Island and Tennessee), 32 Salems (the original Biblical name of Jerusalem) and many Zions (a Biblical synonym for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel).  Moreover, in the US there are thousands of cities, towns, mountains, cliffs, deserts, national parks and streets bearing Biblical names.

The Jerusalem reality and US interests

Recognizing the Jerusalem reality and adherence to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act – and the subsequent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the site of the US Embassy to Israel – bolstered the US posture of deterrence in defiance of Arab/Islamic pressure and threats.

Contrary to the doomsday assessments by the State Department and the “elite” US media – which have been wrong on most Middle East issues – the May 2018 implementation of the 1995 law did not intensify Palestinian, Arab and Islamic terrorism. State Department “wise men” were equally wrong when they warned that Israel’s 1967 reunification of Jerusalem would ignite a worldwide anti-Israel and anti-US Islamic volcanic eruption.

Adherence to the 1995 law distinguishes the US President, Congress and most Americans from the state of mind of rogue regimes and terror organizations, the anti-US UN, the vacillating Europe, and the cosmopolitan worldview of the State Department, which has systematically played-down the US’ unilateral, independent and (sometimes) defiant national security action.

On the other hand, US procrastination on the implementation of the 1995 law – by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama – eroded the US posture of deterrence, since it was rightly perceived by the world as appeasement in the face of pressure and threats from Arab/Muslim regimes and terrorists.  As expected, it radicalized Arab expectations and demands, failed to advance the cause of Israel-Arab peace, fueled Islamic terrorism, and severely undermined US national and homeland security. For example, blowing up the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and murdering 224 persons in August 1998; blowing up the USS Cole destroyer in the port of Aden and murdering 17 US sailors in October 2000; the 9/11 Twin Towers massacre, etc.

Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure

In 1949, President Truman followed Secretary of State Marshall’s policy, pressuring Israel to refrain from annexing West Jerusalem and to accept the internationalization of the ancient capital of the Jewish people.

in 1950, in defiance of brutal US and global pressure to internationalize Jerusalem, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion reacted constructively by proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish State, relocating government agencies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and settling tens of thousands of Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel) in Jerusalem. He upgraded the transportation infrastructure to Jerusalem, erected new Jewish neighborhoods along the 1949 cease fire lines in Jerusalem, and provided the city land reserves for long-term growth.

In 1953, Ben Gurion rebuffed President Eisenhower’s pressure – inspired by Secretary of State Dulles – to refrain from relocating Israel’s Foreign Ministry from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In 1967, President Johnson followed the advice of Secretary of State Rusk – who opposed Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence – highlighting the international status of Jerusalem, and warned Israel against the reunification of Jerusalem and construction in its eastern section. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol adopted Ben Gurion’s statesmanship, fended off the US pressure, reunited Jerusalem, built the first Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines, Ramat Eshkol, in addition to the first wave of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights.

In 1970, President Nixon collaborated with Secretary of State Rogers, attempting to repartition Jerusalem, pressuring Israel to relinquish control of Jerusalem’s Holy Basin, and to stop Israel’s plans to construct additional neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.  However, Prime Minister Golda Meir refused to rescind the reunification of Jerusalem, and proceeded to lay the foundation for additional Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines: Gilo, Ramot Alon, French Hill and Neve’ Yaakov, currently home to 150,000 people.

In 1977-1992, Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir defied US and global pressure, expanding construction in Jerusalem, sending a clear message: “Jerusalem is the exclusive and non-negotiable capital of Israel!”

“[In 1978], at the very end of [Prime Minister Begin’s] successful Camp David talks with President Jimmy Carter and President Anwar Sadat, literally minutes before the signing ceremony, the American president had approached [Begin] with ‘Just one final formal item.’ Sadat, said the president, was asking that Begin put his signature to a simple letter committing him to place Jerusalem on the negotiating table of the final peace accord.  ‘I refused to accept the letter, let alone sign it,’ rumbled Begin. ‘If I forgot thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning,’ said [Begin] to the president of the United States of America, ‘and may my tongue cleave to my mouth’ (The Prime Ministers – An Intimate Portrait of Leaders of Israel, 2010)”

In 2021, Prime Minister Bennett should follow in the footsteps of Israel’s Founding Father, Ben Gurion, who stated: “Jerusalem is equal to the whole of the Land of Israel. Jerusalem is not just a central Jewish settlement. Jerusalem is an invaluable global historical symbol. The Jewish People and the entire world shall judge us in accordance with our steadfastness on Jerusalem (“We and Our Neighbors,” p. 175. 1929).”

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Jewish Holidays

Chanukah guide for the perplexed, 2023

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
November 29, 2023

More on Jewish holidays: SmashwordsAmazon

1. According to Israel’s Founding Father, David Ben Gurion: Chanukah commemorates “the struggle of the Maccabees, which was one of the most dramatic clashes of civilizations in human history, not merely a political-military struggle against foreign oppression…. Unlike many peoples, the meager Jewish people did not assimilate.  The Jewish people prevailed, won, sustained and enhanced their independence and unique civilization…. It was the spirit of the people, rather than the failed spirit of the establishment, which enabled the Hasmoneans to overcome one of the most magnificent spiritual, political and military challenges in Jewish history….” (Uniqueness and Destiny, pp 20-22, David Ben Gurion, IDF Publishing, 1953).

2. A Jewish national liberation holiday.  Chanukah (evening of December 7 – December 15, 2023) is the only Jewish holiday that commemorates an ancient national liberation struggle in the Land of Israel, unlike the national liberation holidays, Passover, Sukkot/Tabernacles and Shavu’ot/Pentecost, which commemorate the liberation from slavery in Egypt to independence in the land of Israel, and unlike Purim, which commemorates liberation from a Persian attempt to annihilate the Jewish people.

3. Chanukah and the Land of Israel.  When ordered by Emperor Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Seleucid region to end the Jewish “occupation” of Jerusalem, Jaffa, Gaza, Gezer and Akron, Shimon the Maccabee responded: “We have not occupied a foreign land…. We have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation (Book of Maccabees A: 15:33).”

Chanukah highlights the centrality of the Land of Israel in the formation of Jewish history, religion, culture and language. The mountain ridges of Judea and Southern Samaria (the West Bank) were the platform for the Maccabean military battles: Mitzpah (the burial site of the Prophet Samuel, overlooking Jerusalem), Beth El (the site of the Ark of the Covenant and Judah the Maccabee’s initial headquarters), Beth Horon (Judah’s victory over Seron), Hadashah (Judah’s victory over Nicanor), Beth Zur (Judah’s victory over Lysias), Ma’aleh Levona (Judah’s victory over Apolonius), Adora’yim (a Maccabean fortress), Eleazar (named after Mattityahu’s youngest Maccabee son), Beit Zachariya (Judah’s first defeat), Ba’al Hatzor (where Judah was defeated and killed), Te’qoah, Mikhmash and Gophnah (bases of Shimon and Yonatan), the Judean Desert, etc.

4. Historical context  Chanukah is narrated in the four Books of the MaccabeesThe Scroll of Antiochus and The Wars of the Jews.

In 323 BCE, following the death of Alexander the Great (Alexander III) who held Judaism in high esteem, the Greek Empire was split into three independent and rival mini-empires: Greece, Seleucid/Syria and Ptolemaic/Egypt.

In 175 BCE, the Seleucid/Syrian Emperor Antiochus (IV) Epiphanes claimed the Land of Israel. He suspected that the Jews were allies of his Ptolemaic/Egyptian enemy.  The Seleucid emperor was known for eccentric behavior, hence his name, Epiphanes, which means “divine manifestation.”  He aimed to exterminate Judaism and convert Jews to Hellenism. In 169 BCE, he devastated Jerusalem, attempting to decimate the Jewish population, and outlaw the practice of Judaism.

In 166/7 BCE, a Jewish rebellion was led by the non-establishment Hasmonean (Maccabee) family from the rural town of Modi’in, half-way between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean.  The rebellion was headed by Mattityahu, the priest, and his five sons, Yochanan, Judah, Shimon, Yonatan and Eleazar, who fought the Seleucid occupier and restored Jewish independence.  The Hasmonean dynasty was replete with external and internal wars and lasted until 37 BCE, when Herod the Great (a proxy of Rome) defeated Antigonus II Mattathias.

5. The reputation of Jews as superb warriors was reaffirmed by the success of the Maccabees on the battlefield. In fact, they were frequently hired as mercenaries by Egypt, Syria, Carthage, Rome and other global and regional powers.

6. The significance of Chanukah. Chanukah celebrates the Maccabean-led national liberation by conducting in-house family education and lighting candles for 8 days in commemoration of the re-inauguration of Jerusalem’s Jewish Temple and its Menorah (candelabra).

The Hebrew words Chanukah (חנוכה), inauguration (חנוכ) and education ((חנוך possess the same root.

7. As was prophesized by the Prophet Hagai in 520 BCE, the re-inauguration of the Temple took place on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, which is the month of miracles, such as the post-flood appearance of Noah’s rainbow, the completion of the construction of the Holy Ark by Moses, the laying of the foundations of the Second Temple by Nehemiah, etc.

In 1777, Chanukah candles were lit during the most critical battle at Valley Forge, which solidified the victory of George Washington’s Continental Army over the British monarchy.

The 25th Hebrew word in Genesis is “light,” and the 25th stop during the Exodus was Hashmona (the same Hebrew spelling as Hasmonean-Maccabees).

The first day of Chanukah is celebrated when daylight hours are equal to darkness hours – and when moonlight is hardly noticed – ushering in brighter days.

8. Chanukah highlights the defeat of darkness, disbelief, forgetfulness and pessimism by the spirit of light, faith, commemoration and optimism over.

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