Paid propagandists for the radical anti-Israel group IfNotNow recently confronted presidential candidates in New Hampshire, demanding that the candidates support ending the presence of Jewish homes and communities in the historic Jewish homeland – land that the Jewish people are entitled to under international law.
But that’s not exactly how IfNotNow’s paid agitators put it. The IfNotNow agitators dishonestly asked the candidates to support “ending the occupation” – an Orwellian phrase that belies the fact that there is no “occupation.”
The Jewish people are not “occupiers” of our own land.
A nation can only be an “occupier” of another state’s sovereign land. There never was a “Palestinian state.” Ever. Hence, it is impossible for Israel to be an “occupier” of “Palestinian” Arab land.
The land in question was designated for the Jewish homeland under the 1922 Mandate, confirmed by the 1946 UN Charter, and under the Anglo-American Convention and other international treaties.
Nonetheless, Jordan illegally seized Judea/Samaria and the eastern portion of Jerusalem in the 1948-1949 Arab war to destroy Israel.
Jordan illegally occupied these areas for the next 19 years. During that time, Jordan killed and expelled the Jews who had lived in eastern Jerusalem for centuries; destroyed 58 synagogues; violated the armistice agreements by refusing to allow Jews any access to holy Jewish religious sites; and used thousands-of-years-old Jewish gravestones to line latrines. Jordanian snipers perched in eastern Jerusalem hills to shoot at Jewish children in the western part of Jerusalem. Israel recaptured Judea/Samaria and the eastern portion of Jerusalem in a defensive war in 1967.
IfNotNow’s paid haters also did not explain that IfNotNow was really asking Democratic candidates to support the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish people from the Old City of Jerusalem, where the Jewish people’s holiest sites are located; and from Jerusalem commuter suburbs such as Ma’aleh Adumim and Tekoa; and from Ariel University, where Arabs and Jews study together harmoniously; and from Beit El, where Jacob slept on a rock and dreamed of angels descending and ascending to heaven, and where the Maccabees lived.
IfNotNow also did not reveal that there is no “occupation” because in 2005 Israel gave away Gaza, which the Hamas terrorist organization promptly occupied and turned into a launching pad for 25,000 missiles attacking Israel. And because Israel gave away 40% of Judea/Samaria where 98% of “West Bank” (Judea/Samaria) Arabs live, governed by their own Palestinian Authority. Palestinian Arabs have their own PA government, parliament, media, police and schools. And there is no “occupation” because Jewish communities only comprise about 2% of Judea/Samaria.
IFNOTNOW ALSO neglected to mention the fact that since 1937, the Palestinian-Arabs turned down six offers for another Arab state on generous portions of the land legally designated for the Jewish state. The Arabs turned down these offers because they would have had to agree to live peaceably with the remaining Jewish state – and the Palestinian Arabs’ real goal is Israel’s destruction.
Appallingly, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg all voiced support for IfNotNow’s ugly, extreme anti-Jewish anti-Israel demands.
For instance, when IfNotNow’s Israelophobes asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren to “push the Israeli government to end occupation,” Warren responded: “Yes, yes. So I’m there” and then posed for pictures with the IfNotNow radicals.
Sickeningly, Warren also hired IfNotNow’s cofounder, Max Berger, to be her campaign’s “director of progressive partnerships.” Berger’s hobbies include tweeting his support for Hamas and his hatred towards Israel.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg told IfNotNow: “The occupation must end,” and patronizingly asserted that you can care about Israel “without being on board with right-wing policies by the Netanyahu government.”
The Jewish people’s presence in Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria is not a “right-wing policy” or exclusive to the Netanyahu government. The leftwing Labor/Mapai Party, which governed Israel throughout the first 30 years after Israel was reestablished (1948-1977), restarted the Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria. Israel also had left-wing governments for another dozen years (1984-1986, 1992-1996, 1999-2001 and 2006-2009), while the Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria continued. Right and Left strongly support Jerusalem as the eternal unified capital of Israel.
And numerous polls show that the Israeli public overwhelmingly supports the presence of the Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria, and opposes creating a Palestinian-Arab state there, by as much as a 10-to-one margin.
The hateful IfNotNow group usurped its name from a famous maxim by the great Talmudic teacher Hillel. Ironically, Hillel studied and established his school in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago – on the very same land from which today’s IfNotNow seeks to expel the Jewish people.
Hillel taught that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem was “the place that my heart loves. There do my feet lead me.”
IfNotNow and its “end the occupation” candidates should heed another Hillel maxim: “Go and study.”
Morton A. Klein is the president of the Zionist Organization of America. Elizabeth Berney, Esq. is ZOA’s director of special projects.
This Op-Ed was originally featured in the Jerusalem Post.