Israel’s Critics Only Care about Law and Rights When It Suits Them to

While the legal case of landowners trying to evict delinquent tenants from property in Jerusalem may have little to do with the hundreds of rockets that Hamas and its allies launched into Israel in the past few days, or the mob violence in Israeli cities, it has frequently been cited as a proximate cause. The affair (explained here and here), concerns Jews who lost their property when Jordan cleansed the neighborhood of Jews in 1948, to whom it was returned through normal legal procedures after 1967. Elliott Abrams compares this case to those of works of art stolen from European Jews by the Nazis—which have similarly been returned to their owners through ordinary litigation:

The principle is not controversial: title to the property in question was not legally obtained, and just compensation was not paid. This . . . seems to be willfully ignored when it comes to the eviction cases that are now before Israel’s Supreme Court. . . . Israel’s courts, sometimes viewed as too sympathetic to—or indeed part of—the Israeli “left,” have consistently applied standard property law, as would courts in any Western country, and consistently found that the rights of ownership have not been obliterated just because people moved into these homes when the Jews who lived in them were driven out.

Now let’s return to the paintings forcibly seized from Jews by the Nazis. There is widespread sympathy for the owners of those paintings, and it is visible in newspaper accounts and in court decisions and international conventions. Why is there so little sympathy for those who own the properties in contention in Jerusalem? Why the bias in most accounts of these eviction proceedings. . . . Is the criticism of Israel here explained by the bitter old conclusion that the world likes dead Jews (and their paintings) more than living Jews who are fighting for their rights?

Here’s a theory: Israel’s critics here don’t care about law and rights. Yesterday, before his meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Jordanian foreign minister spoke of “provocative measures against . . . the peoples of Sheikh Jarrah” to describe court cases in which ownership rights are being asserted. The theory seems to be that the Jews were downtrodden by the Nazis, so the Jews can recover their stolen paintings—but the Palestinians are downtrodden by the Israelis, so the stolen properties cannot be recovered. In other words: forget rights, forget courts.

[D]oes the rule of law apply only in Europe, when it comes to old Nazi cases where there’s no political risk in siding with the Jews?

Read more at National Review

More about: Holocaust restitution, Israeli law, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy