Jerusalem Is Israel’s Capital, No Matter What Anyone Says

Anticipating the announcement by President Trump that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state and begin the process of relocating the American embassy from Tel Aviv, Shmuel Rosner writes:

[F]or about 3,000 years, Jerusalem has been the center of the Jewish people: a physical center when a temple was standing, and a center for prayer and longing from afar after the Jews were dispersed around the globe. Every year, at the very end of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, and at the end of the Passover seder, Jews recite, “Next year in Jerusalem.” . . . [But] even the United States, Israel’s closest ally, has not recognized the city as [Israel’s] capital even though [its] government has been based there since 1949. . . .

[A] statement from an American president will [not] actually change Israelis’ commitment to Jerusalem. This is [their] capital and it always will be. It was taken away from the Jewish people by force. It was recaptured by force. If necessary, it will be preserved under Israel’s jurisdiction by force, too. . . .

In 1947, ahead of the United Nations vote [to partition Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state], the CIA warned that “armed hostilities between Jews and Arabs will break out if the UN General Assembly accepts the plan to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.” President Harry Truman decided to support partition despite the warnings. The CIA was right; the Arabs responded with violence, leading to Israel’s War of Independence. Thanks to that, the Jewish state was even larger than the borders mandated by the United Nations, and the Palestinians still don’t have a state. But Truman was right, too; he proved himself a friend of the Jewish people, willing to take risks for what was right.

Will a statement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital ignite a similar round of defiance and violence? It’s possible. . . . If [it is], we will all regret it. But it is worth remembering that Truman’s recognition of Israel was also met with violence—and it is still remembered as a great American moment.

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More about: Donald Trump, Harry Truman, Israel & Zionism, Jerusalem, US-Israel relations

A University of Michigan Professor Exposes the Full Implications of Academic Boycotts of Israel

Sept. 26 2018

A few weeks ago, Professor John Cheney-Lippold of the University of Michigan told an undergraduate student he would write a letter of recommendation for her to participate in a study-abroad program. But upon examining her application more carefully and realizing that she wished to spend a semester in Israel, he sent her a polite email declining to follow through. His explanation: “many university departments have pledged an academic boycott against Israel in support of Palestinians living in Palestine,” and “for reasons of these politics” he would no longer write the letter. Jonathan Marks comments:

We are routinely told . . . that boycott actions against Israel are “limited to institutions and their official representatives.” But Cheney-Lippold reminds us that the boycott, even if read in this narrow way, obligates professors to refuse to assist their own students when those students seek to participate in study-abroad programs in Israel. Dan Avnon, an Israeli academic, learned years ago that the same goes for Israel faculty members seeking to participate in exchange programs sponsored by Israeli universities. They, too, must be turned away regardless of their position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. . . .

Cheney-Lippold, like other boycott defenders, points to the supposed 2005 “call of Palestinian civil society” to justify his singling out of Israel. “I support,” he says in comments to the [Michigan] student newspaper, “communities who organize themselves and ask for international support to achieve equal rights [and] freedom and to prevent violations of international law.”

Set aside the absurdity of this reasoning (“Why am I not boycotting China on behalf of Tibet? Because China has been much more effective in stifling civil society!”). Focus instead on what Cheney-Lippold could have found out by using Google. The first endorser of the call of “civil society” is the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, which includes Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other groups that trade not only in violent “resistance” but in violence that directly targets noncombatants.

That’s remained par for the course for the boycott movement. In October 2015, in the midst of the series of stabbings deemed “the knife intifada,” the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel shared a call for an international day of solidarity with the “new generation of Palestinians” who were then “rising up against Israel’s brutal, decades-old system of occupation.” To be sure, they did not directly endorse attacks on civilians, but they did issue their statement of solidarity with “Palestinian popular resistance” one day after four attacks that left three Israelis—all civilians—dead.

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More about: Academia, Academic Boycotts, BDS, Israel & Zionism, Knife intifada