The UK Should End Its Confused and Absurd Position on Jerusalem

June 28 2022

To celebrate the 70th anniversary Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, British diplomats hosted festivities across the world, including two in Israel—one, for Palestinians, in the Israeli capital and another, for Israelis, in Tel Aviv. Alastair Kirk notes that this odd arrangement reflects London’s longstanding claim, supposedly based on UN Security Council Resolution 242, that Jerusalem is not really part of the Jewish state:

The British government may genuinely believe that the status of Jerusalem should be determined through negotiation, but no one knows the finalized borders should there be a future Palestinian state. A British consulate in Jerusalem might be in the wrong place for a future Palestinian state. Likewise, if Jerusalem “must” be shared [between Israel and Palestinians] in the United Kingdom’s opinion, then why does Britain not just recognize west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital today? After all, Israel has sovereignty over Jerusalem under international law.

There are two ways the United Kingdom can correct this hypocrisy. The first is to recognize the historic and legal fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and move the British embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The second option is to move the British consulate to the Palestinians from Jerusalem to Ramallah. Either of these actions would correct the double standard the government is currently deploying.

London refuses to locate its embassy in Jerusalem, despite the fact that Israel’s parliament and government are located in Jerusalem, the usual criteria for British embassies, more than 80 of which are in capital cities around the world. No other sovereign nation would accept being told where it should designate its capital.

It was British forces that liberated the holy city from Ottoman occupation in 1917, and it was the British Mandate for Palestine that preceded the rebirth of the modern-day state of Israel. Therefore, Britain has a unique responsibility to treat Israel honorably, and if it truly wants to be non-discriminatory, there is only one realistic option: move the embassy to Jerusalem.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at JNS

More about: Jerusalem, Queen Elizabeth II, United Kingdom

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter