Saturday, December 9, 2017

The US now has time to include “sovereignty” in the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act.

President Trump did Israel a favor that most people do not know about when he delayed the US embassy move to Jerusalem.

​There is much work to be done.

Current wording of the US Embassy Relocation Act deprives Israel over sovereignty in Jerusalem.

The  U.S. Embassy Relocation Act, as it now stands, does not  recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel.

That is why Trump did the right thing to delay the move until the the  US Embassy to Jerusalem Until US law is Changed.

The time is opportune to work with the US Embassy

​Relocation ​Act ​will be upgraded, so that the US will recognize Israel’s permanent legal  status in Jerusalem.

IF the wording of the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act is not corrected before the move of the US embassy, it will be  difficult to put the toothpaste back in the tube.


​As a journalist, I cover​ed events in the US capitol when Congress passed the “US Embassy Jerusalem and Recognition Act” in October 1995​.

​There were great expectations at the time that the US would abandon  US policy set in 1948  that Jerusalem would not be recognized as a part of Israel.

There was speculation at the time that the US would abandon its policy from 1948 that all of Jerusalem must be a “corpus separatum”– an international zone ​set apart from Israel.

However, ​the  final wording of the US Embassy Jerusalem and Recognition Act removed any references to Jerusalem as part of Israel and made no promises that Jerusalem would remain the exclusive capital of Israel.

The late Faisal Husseini, then head of the PLO Jerusalem committee, was present in Washington at the time, and he endorsed the wording of the

Law ​, since the US Embassy Relocation Act did not violate two cardinal rules of US policy since 1948 Jerusalem was not recognized as a part of Israel, and Jerusalem could still become an international zone.

The assassination of the UN envoy to Jerusalem in September 1948 suspended that process, but did not cancel that US policy.

The realities of the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act were not lost on American citizens whose children were born in Jerusalem and whose children’s U.S. passports said “Jerusalem”, with no country listed, as their place of birth.

For that reason, Jerusalem American citizens initiated a class action lawsuit which reached the U.S. Supreme Court last year, with a demand to stamp Jerusalem on their passports.

Spokespeople of the US State Department make it clear that under

​the current law, even if the US embassy indeed moves to Jerusalem, US birth certificates will still be stamped “​Jerusalem”, with no country listed.

If the US embassy moves to Jerusalem under the current policy constraints of US law, that would establish a “de jure” precedent that the US embassy would move to Jerusalem, without recognition of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.

If the US still does not recognize Jerusalem as a part of Israel, the next time Israel objects to an Arab war education curriculum in Jerusalem, and the next time Israel objects to a given policy at the

​Temple Mount​ , the US can simply repeat the mantra ​that ​ “ Jerusalem does not belong to you.”

Current wording of Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act in 1995, as passed into law, was watered down to only ​state the following:

  1. Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.
  2. Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel.

​Why, then, the vocal Arab resentment and  the loud Jewish enthusiasm over the  the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act?​​

It is doubtful whether either side has read the wording of the legislation.

The challenge is   whether the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel. Such a policy decision is more significant  than moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

From Israel: Next Stage and Forward

We’ve had the big announcement from President Trump, an announcement that was – as has been pointed out – both morally courageous and historic.

In case you didn’t catch his speech, you can see it here (move directly to minute 34):

Or you can read it here:


In most quarters in Israel (among Jews, that is), there was a joyous response to the president’s remarks. The words of Prime Minister Netanyahu provide an excellent example:

“Jerusalem has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia…So it’s rare to be able to speak of new and genuine milestones in the glorious history of this city.

“Yet today’s pronouncement by President Trump is such an occasion…

“This decision reflects the president’s commitment to an ancient but enduring truth, to fulfilling his promises and to advancing peace.”


For his part, Secretary of State Tillerson indicated very swiftly that the process of moving the embassy would begin – with the preliminaries of getting an architect, etc. There is much speculation, fueled by many rumors, regarding exactly where that embassy will be. I’m going to sit tight until there is more clarity on this issue.


One of the questions being asked is precisely what area the president intended to include when making reference to “Jerusalem.” Did he mean all of Jerusalem, or western Jerusalem?

It’s a bit vague, but the consensus seems to be that all of Jerusalem was intended. Law professor Eugene Kontorovich believes that Trump’s declaration

“does implicitly include all of Jerusalem, as all U.S. diplomatic references to ‘Jerusalem’ refer to the whole city.”

What is more, Kontorovich sees the president’s statement as more significant than the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act:

“The 1995 recognition was by Congress, but under the Constitution only the president has authority to formally recognize international borders, so this is decisive, binding and historic.”


What is being pondered, as well, is whether the State Department will now shift policy, so that birth certificates for children born in Jerusalem (and Jewish children are always born in western Jerusalem hospitals) will read born in “Jerusalem, Israel,” rather than just “Jerusalem.”

This would apply as well to passports secured or renewed by American citizens living here.

It is clear that this will be pursued both diplomatically and legally.

Should he opt to do so, the president would, as I understand it, have the jurisdiction to instruct the State Department to change its policy on this matter.


With all of this, however, there was also within Trump’s declaration a firm expression of intent to pursue “peace”:

This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement…We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.

This does not mean he recognizes Israeli sovereignty only in western Jerusalem, but rather that in a final agreement it might be possible to envision Israel pulling back and allowing Palestinian Arab control or sovereignty over some portion of the city.

It’s not going to happen, but he holds out this vision.


He also made it clear – and this was surely seen as necessary to reduce Arab anger at his decision – that he expects the status quo to be maintained in other regards. This is not just for Palestinian Arabs, but for Jordan, the Saudis and others:

“Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.

“Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque…

“I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif.”

The Temple Mount, of course, is also called Har Habayit, and Jews should be able to pray there, as well as at the Kotel. But this will not be acknowledged now. The reality is that we have made enormous steps but are not all the way home yet.


And then, lastly, he said this:

“The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides.”

He is not pushing it: he says the US will facilitate but it is the parties themselves that must determine borders. An enormous change from earlier administrations that spoke about the necessity for Israel to withdraw to the “’67 border” (sic). Enormous. But I would have preferred not hearing “two-state.”

Of course, Abbas’s position is that without Jerusalem there will be no Palestinian state.

In fact, Vice President Mike Pence is due here soon and was scheduled to meet with the Mahmoud Abbas, but the PA now says the vice president is not welcome.

The White House has responded that it would be “unfortunate” if that meeting were to be cancelled.


Credit: Times of Israel

As expected, Palestinian Arab violence erupted in the wake of the president’s declaration. This is what they threatened, this is what they do. The violence was in eastern Jerusalem and parts of Judaea and Samaria such as Bethlehem and Hevron; Israeli Arabs participated along with Arabs from the PA.

The IDF has called up reinforcements and is geared for the worst of it, expected to occur today after Muslim prayers (which undoubtedly will be accompanied by incitement by imams). Today is the “day of rage.”
There is expectation that it will diminish fairly quickly.

The specter of riots, surely, is one reason why Trump thought it necessary to speak about the status quo with regard to the Temple Mount. Those fomenting violence seek to incite via claims that the Jews are taking over Al Aksa.


Trump’s expectation, reports the Jerusalem Post this morning, is that the Palestinian Authority needs the US too much to simply walk away (as the Arab world no longer makes the Palestinian Authority a priority): he anticipates the anger will be temporary.

Administration officials told the Post they are sensitive to the Arab distress, but said they

“also believe that Israel’s presence in Jerusalem is right and just, no matter how negotiations ultimately settle its final status.”

Ultimately, they expect what they have done will be helpful with regard to peace “conversations”.

Pretty amazing, in my book.


The observation by political commentator Elliot Abrams is highly relevant here (emphasis added):

Trump, he advised,

“should say rioters are never going to have veto power on American foreign policy. The threat that there will be violence cannot control what an American president decides.”

That message was indeed delivered when Trump declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel in spite of the dire warnings that there would be terrible violence if he did. In this regard he was, truly, courageous.

He has now told them that their violent tantrums no longer work. That being the case, there is greatly diminished benefit to the Palestinian Arabs in sustaining prolonged violence.

And this, then, is another way in which the president’s declaration advances peace.


Comments by Dan Shapiro, who was the US ambassador to Israel under Obama and a firm ‘two-state’ man, were interesting:

He didn’t think Trump’s decision was “that big of a deal,” he told CNN.

“Essentially, the president did recognize a reality.”

He often left the embassy in Tel Aviv, he said, to have meetings with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem.

A breath of fresh air in the face of a great deal of left-wing media hysteria. He is talking sense.


It is perhaps important to note that US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has rejected the idea that the US would use the moves to extract concessions from Israel.

When asked whether the US had pressured Israel to soften its position in exchange for the recognition of Jerusalem, Haley replied

“Absolutely not.”

“This is following members of Congress, this is doing what the American people said.”

We must trust that she is reflecting her boss’s stance. There has been some anxiety with regard to this issue.


Recognizing that there is a great deal more to write about, I close now to prepare for Shabbat. Peace upon all of us.



Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper

Trump’s Speech Recognizing Jerusalem: What It Says and What It Doesn’t Say

Institute for Contemporary Affairs

Founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation

Vol. 17, No. 35

  • President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital  puts into deep-freeze  plans for a division of the city.
  • Until Trump’s speech, the U.S. did not recognize either west or east Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Trump’s speech did not distinguish between west and east. He referred to Jerusalem with all its parts as a single unit. At the same time, he made clear that the U.S. does not necessarily regard the current borders as sacrosanct.
  • Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem  will purportedly change the State Department’s practice regarding the passport registration of American citizens born in Jerusalem. Today, the place of birth of such Americans is registered as “Jerusalem,” but not “Jerusalem, Israel.”
  • However, there still is no easing of the major restrictions the U.S. has imposed on Israel regarding construction in Jewish neighborhoods within Jerusalem or in Greater Jerusalem. Moreover, diplomatic observers in Jerusalem are concerned that Trump will now request a “payment” for this historic step in the form of Israeli concessions connected to the ongoing talks.
  • If Hamas succeeds to convince the Palestinian public that the American recognition of Jerusalem means that the “Al-Aqsa mosque is in danger,” the masses will again take to the streets. But as long as Al-Aqsa is outside of the picture, the waves of protest will be lower.
  • Israel’s interest is to try to isolate Al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount from the current agitation and  prevent actors such as Hamas, the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, Turkey, or Qatar from again setting the field ablaze.

President Trump and Vice President Pence in the White House, December 6, 2017

President Trump and Vice President Pence in the White House, December 6, 2017

The U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel overturns American policy dating back 70 years and entails several immediate results, some of them declarative and some also practical:

Burial of the UN Resolution to Internationalize Jerusalem

Trump put paid to the notion of “internationalization,” which the United States had not officially renounced since November 29, 1947. That same day, of course, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 on dividing the Land of Israel between the Jews and the Arabs. The partition resolution stated, among other things, that: “The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations.”

According to the United Nations, the boundaries of Jerusalem then also encompassed the city of Bethlehem, and the internationalization of the city was to be in place for 10 years. However, it was never implemented. The outcomes of the Israel’s 1948-49 War of Independence and the division of Jerusalem between Israel and Jordan turned internationalization into a dead letter.

Until the “recognition speech,” the United States had never officially renounced internationalization while giving most of the emphasis in its policy to repeated statements that Jerusalem’s status would be determined in negotiations between the sides. Now that Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, internationalization has become, from the U.S. standpoint, irrelevant history.

Plans for Dividing the City – In Deep-Freeze

Trump’s speech puts into deep-freeze the audacious plans for a division of the city, which were on the negotiating table during the tenures of Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert.

Barak and Olmert were prepared to divide Jerusalem, and two U.S. administrations, that of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, were intensely involved in mediating between the sides and encouraging them to adopt such a plan in the hope of achieving peace. The countries of the European Union also took part in the negotiations on dividing Jerusalem at different stages.

In the wake of Trump’s speech and his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the chances that during his tenure such plans will again be broached are low.

A Single Territorial Unit without Sacrosanct Borders

Until Trump’s speech, the United States did not recognize either west or east Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, even though presidents, secretaries of state, and American diplomats were regularly hosted in the western part of the city.

Trump’s speech did not distinguish between west and east. He referred to Jerusalem with all its parts as a single unit. At the same time, the speech made clear that the United States does not necessarily regard the current borders as sacrosanct, or as the president himself put it: We are not taking a position on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.”

Formal Recognition of the Reality of “One Jerusalem”

Trump again mentioned the Jewish people’s historical bond to Jerusalem, while also emphasizing his awareness of the current reality in the city.

(Left) Jordanian soldier at the Western Wall after expulsion of the Jews from the Jewish Quarter, February 1948. (AP Photo) (Right) Worshippers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem during the Succoth holiday. (October 1995, Government Press Office)

The alley of the Western Wall has become a huge plaza. After many years, Jews can now visit the Temple Mount. The U.S. president now, in effect, recognizes all these places, along with the network of infrastructures, national parks, and governmental and national institutions that have been built in the added parts of Jerusalem – including on Mount Scopus, where Hadassah Hospital and the Hebrew University were re-established after 1967. In Atarot to the north, the Atarot Airport was put to use (and later closed). Numerous archaeological digs have been conducted in all parts of the city, and Jerusalem’s glorious past through the ages has been revealed.

All of this – along with, of course, the older reality in the western part of the city, where the government offices, the Knesset, the president’s residence, and the Supreme Court  are located – the United States now recognizes as part of “Jerusalem, capital of Israel.”

Symbolic Changes

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will purportedly change the State Department’s practice regarding the passport registration of American citizens born in Jerusalem. To this day, when an American is born in Paris, it is registered in his/her passport that the place of birth was in “Paris, France.” When an American is born in Tel Aviv, place of birth in the passport is recorded as “Tel Aviv, Israel.”

U.S. Passport

But when an American is born in Jerusalem, place of birth is registered as only “Jerusalem.” Now that the United States has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, perhaps it will be possible to change this practice and register “Jerusalem, Israel” on the passports of Americans born in Jerusalem.

What Is Missing from the American Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital?

There Are No Free Gifts

There still is no easing of the major restrictions the United States has imposed on Israel regarding construction in Jewish neighborhoods and areas that are over the Green Line, whether in Jerusalem itself or in Greater Jerusalem.

Whatever is happening behind the scenes on that issue is not talked about. Building in Givat Hamatos in southern Jerusalem, which was approved a considerable time ago by the planning institutions in Jerusalem, is still frozen.

From an Israeli standpoint, this is a painful obstruction of a crucial urban-strategic link between the Gilo neighborhood and the Har Homa neighborhood. Construction is also frozen in the E1 area, where a neighborhood linking Maale Adumim and Jerusalem is supposed to be built.

Construction in the Greater Jerusalem area is approved sparingly under American supervision. Even within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, little construction is approved in neighborhoods that were added to the city after 1967.

Diplomatic observers in Jerusalem believe that reports in recent weeks about “progress” in talks on an Israeli-Palestinian “deal of the century” are not unrelated to the president’s declaration. According to this analysis, it is not inconceivable that Trump will now request a “payment” for this historic step in the form of Israeli concessions connected to the ongoing talks.

The Temple Mount – Not Part of the Game

The status quo on the Temple Mount will be maintained. Jews will not be permitted to pray there, only visit. The Israeli-Jordanian de facto joint management of the site will continue. The senior status on the Temple Mount that Israel granted Jordan in the two countries’ peace treaty will not change. Trump now understands the huge sensitivity and volatility of one of the most sensitive spots in the Middle East.

Jerusalem’s Borders

Trump’s speech does not promise, as noted, that Jerusalem will remain within its current boundaries when peace is achieved.

The American president recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but did not commit that its current borders are its final borders. He thereby left the Palestinians a narrow opening, but certainly not a wide-enough one to return to the grandiose and fanciful plans for the city’s division that arose in the past. It is possible, for example, that the New York Times report on a “Saudi proposal” to Mahmoud Abbas that revives the old notion of a Palestinian capital in Abu Dis (a neighborhood bordering Jerusalem on the east) hints at additional new thinking in the context of U.S. policy on the Jerusalem issue.

The Embassy Is Not Moving So Fast

Trump, like his predecessors, will not be moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem “tomorrow.” He is deterred by the Palestinian threats on this issue. The administration is talking about a “transfer process of three or four years.” The site to be chosen for the embassy will, apparently, be in West Jerusalem and not in the east of the city. The president is now talking about launching the logistical preparations for the embassy’s transfer.

Trump thereby joins a series of U.S. presidential candidates who promised but, upon becoming president, did not deliver. Perhaps this will change in the future.

Where Will the Recognition Lead?

The question of where Trump’s statements and the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will lead depends on the behavior of the sides.

At least on the rhetorical level, Trump’s declaration united the Muslim world (“moderates” and “extremists”) against Israel: Iran, Turkey, and Qatar, along with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, all denounced Trump’s move and warned of the repercussions.

At the same time, reality will ultimately be determined on the ground. The “three days of rage” that Fatah declared, and Hamas’ threat to renew the intifada, will test not only Israel’s ability to put out the fire if it erupts, but also the Palestinians’ ability to bring masses of people into the streets.

When the issue of Al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount was on the agenda in the summer (in the “metal detector” crisis after the terror attack on the Mount), masses of Palestinians did take to the streets, and eventually, Israel gave in and removed the detectors.

However, on other occasions during the past year when Hamas and Fatah called for a “day of rage” and protests, the street did not respond. If Hamas again succeeds to channel the protest in the Al-Aqsa direction and to convince the public that the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital once again means that “Al-Aqsa is in danger,” the masses will again take to the streets. But as long as Al-Aqsa is outside of the picture, the waves of protest will be lower.

One of the dangers of another religiously driven imbroglio lies in the cooperation between Jordan and Erdogan’s Turkey. In recent years Turkey has been trying to gain a foothold in Jerusalem by funneling funds to various institutions and endeavors in the Old City and on the Temple Mount, and it has indeed accrued influence among the east Jerusalem population.

Three hundred Turkish demonstrators on the Temple Mount, 2015

Turkish visitors to the Temple Mount

Erdogan has already started trying to incite anger over the American recognition on a religious footing. Israel’s interest, then, is to try to isolate the Temple Mount from the current agitation and to prevent actors such as Hamas, the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, Turkey, or Qatar from again setting the field ablaze.

Shameful…writes Michael Kuttner

On 31 October at Beersheba I listened to endless platitudes, mutual back slapping and great sounding sentiments from the Prime Ministers of Australia and Israel and the Governor General of New Zealand.

I instinctively knew that all the high-sounding rhetoric would evaporate like hot air in a short space of time as soon as hard decisions had to be made at the United Nations. Sure enough 30 November proved once again that all the “matey” speeches commemorating the Anzac liberation of Beersheba and later of Jerusalem were either deliberately designed to confuse or were just another example of political duplicity.

Whatever the objective, the fact remains that the smell emanating from the deposits made on the streets of Beersheba by the parading horses was nothing compared to the stink wafting from the General Assembly of the UN on the last day of November.

During the centenary commemorations much was made of the fact that if not for the sacrifices of the Anzacs in liberating Beersheba it would not have been possible to liberate Jerusalem and defeat the Ottomans. Nothing can detract from the heroism of the Anzacs but I venture to suggest that if those gallant soldiers were alive today they would be appalled at the way current politicians continue to sell the Jewish State down the river.

Voting against one-sided and historically defective resolutions also takes courage and moral fortitude. Standing up to immoral majorities and refusing to join in the gang bashing of Israel would seem to be a natural course of action for Australia and New Zealand, both of whom originally voted in favour of the 1947 UN resolution to partition an already partitioned territory. One would have liked to believe that after 70 years of Arabs rejecting opportunities to establish two States and failure to destroy the Jewish one, that today’s Anzacs would have the guts to declare “dayenu” (enough already). Instead we witness Australia abstaining when it should be exposing hypocrisy and double standards and New Zealand shamefully voting against Israel and siding with dictatorships, human rights abusers and morally bankrupt nations.

Every year on the occasion of the 1947 resolution the UN gets together and passes the usual litany of lies and distortions which deny a Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount as well as condemning it for settling other parts of our historic homeland. Not only do those countries who vote in favour, deliberately ignore internationally binding decisions such as San Remo and the League of Nations Mandate provisions they also buy into the shameless rewriting of a Jewish connection to the land. Thus it transpired again when six resolutions were passed with huge majorities. These ranged from declaring Israel’s actions and indeed its very presence in Jerusalem and the Golan as illegal and null and void to condemnation of Israel’s “unilateral” actions in areas erroneously described as “occupied” plus accusations that freedom of religion and holy sites were under threat. Annually recycled it is astounding that Australia & New Zealand have still not screwed up the courage to vote against them.

It is ironic that as we are about to celebrate the Festival of Chanukah which is the commemoration of the liberation of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount from foreign control the international community with the acquiescence of the Anzacs condemns Israel today for asserting sovereignty in those very places. The fact that Islam and the Mosque never featured back then seems to be irrelevant to an organization hell-bent on rewriting historical facts. Some of the Chanukah greetings trotted out by politicians read like US Thanksgiving messages or ersatz Xmas cards and apart from a few notable exceptions they all ignore or are unaware of the real message of the Festival.

When the current governing Coalition was put together in New Zealand some innocent souls were euphoric over the fact that the new Foreign Minister was a perceived “friend” of Israel and would soon put right the flawed & disgraceful Resolution 2334. Co-sponsored with Malaysia and Venezuela this travesty of a resolution encapsulates everything that is rotten both in the UN and with New Zealand’s distorted perception of reality here in the Middle East. The previous Prime Minister (and now current Leader of the Opposition) refused to withdraw his support for it and still supports his Foreign Minister’s initiative.

The new FM engendered high hopes that things would be corrected and sanity would prevail. Alas, all that happened was that a note recording the resolution’s sponsorship was to be inserted into the Cabinet record, hardly a ringing denunciation of its poisonous contents. Now that New Zealand has voted not once but several times to support the annual hate fest against Israel at the UN it becomes plain that all previous expectations were just hot air. Obviously the NZ delegate at the UN would not have voted with the immoral majority if he had not been instructed to do so. A more shameful example of duplicitous diplomacy would be hard to find.

In 1949 the NZ Jewish Community held a dinner at which the Labour Prime Minister of the day, Peter Fraser, was presented with a certificate of appreciation for his support of the Jewish State. Here is an extract of part of his speech on that occasion:

There has been a long argument as to whether the Balfour Declaration when it used the term “Home” meant “State.” To me, there could be no Home unless the people concerned (the Jews) were masters in their own Home.

When the question of the resolution of the UN (1947) came before the Council of the UN, New Zealand did not hesitate. New Zealand could not hesitate. The right course was to honour what we understood was the pledge given to Israel – to the Jewish People. (Balfour, San Remo, League of Nations).  

There did not seem to us to be any room for division or for conditioning that promise that would destroy its obvious intent. Consequently New Zealand’s representative at the UN received his instructions and eloquently and forthrightly carried them out.

Israel, that small country, small like our own, not much bigger than the Province of Canterbury – yet contains within it, because of the precious seeds of freedom that it has generated in the hearts of the Jewish People throughout the many years of their scattering and persecution, that there are seeds of progress and of freedom and of tolerance. If the ideal of freedom and tolerance and the belief in the sacredness of every human soul, if that will be the predominant spirit of Israel – as I believe it will – then the history of its great past will be eclipsed by the glory of its future and may that be.

 Can anyone imagine that such a speech would ever be delivered today by a NZ Prime Minister, Foreign Minister or leader of a major political party? The answer is no. Just listen to the latest reactions of the PM and FM to recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital. They are locked in an embrace of denial and as continuing supporters of the infamous UN Resolution 2334 there is no hope of common decency taking hold.

One can only repeat – shameful.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.

Palestinian Reactions on Jerusalem – “Popular Protests” Are Not Spontaneous

The Palestinians’ threats of a new wave of violence prove again that the “spontaneous popular protest” are pre-planned actions by the senior echelon of the Palestinian leadership.

Palestinian social media poster

A Palestinian call in social media to action to protect al Quds (Jerusalem) against the occupation

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to transfer the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been met with Palestinian threats of violence.1

The American administration’s intent to change the status of Jerusalem motivated the Palestinians to carry out a comprehensive diplomatic counterattack. The following are the main lines of Palestinian actions:

Diplomacy: The Palestinian Authority (representing Fatah) and the Hamas movement launched diplomatic activities to convene an Arab/Islamic conference to discuss the status of Jerusalem and motivate the Arab League and influential countries, such as Turkey, to dissuade the United States from taking its planned action. While Fatah and Hamas publicly declare their commitment towards national reconciliation and to partnership in decision-making, in practice the bitter rivalry between them, based on the struggle for control of the PLO and the representation of the Palestinian people, continues.

Demonstration of Hamas Rule in the Gaza Strip: On December 4, 2017, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh convened the leaders of the Palestinian organizations in the Hamas offices in Gaza to discuss “threats” against Jerusalem; later they met with a Egyptian security delegation.2  The meeting, which was also attended by the Hamas leader, reflects the de facto control of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and demonstrates that the transfer of authority to the Palestinian Authority within the framework of the reconciliation initiative is only superficial.

Threatening a New Outbreak of Violence, Days of Rage – The Hamas newspaper Felesteen reported on December 4, 2017, that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority had agreed on the need for mass protest activities throughout the territories in response to the American move.3 Senior officials in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have openly warned of undermining the stability in the territories and the entire Middle East. These warnings translate to acts of violence and terror directed against Israeli, Western, and American targets.4 These current threats show once more that the “spontaneous popular protests” emerge from pre-planning by the senior echelons of the Palestinian leadership.

A Sense of Accomplishment and Power – Any delay of the American decision on Jerusalem will strengthen the Palestinian (and Arab) leadership’s view that the Trump administration is limited in its ability to exert effective pressure on the Palestinians because of their “deterrent power” of violence and terror that will undermine regional stability. The Palestinian Authority has already indicated that it will respond to the anticipated announcement by President Donald Trump by initiating a new wave of violence, refusing to accept the U.S. as a honest and unbiased broker in the peace process and hardening the Palestinian positions in future talks.

* * *



Despite the fact that many Muslims do not recognize Israel’s right to exist, this is not the original attitude reflected in the Qur’an, which actually recognizes the Land of Israel as belonging to the Jews, Raheel Raza told a captivated crowd at the Berney Theatre on Sept 25.

Raza was referring to the following passage in the Qur’an which says: “Pharoah sought to scare them [the Israelites] out of the land [of Israel]: but We [Allah] drowned him [Pharoah] together with all who were with him. Then We [Allah] said to the Israelites: ‘Dwell in this land [the Land of Israel]. When the promise of the hereafter [End of Days] comes to be fulfilled, We [Allah] shall assemble you [the Israelites] all together [in the Land of Israel].”

“We [Allah] have revealed the Qur’an with the truth, and with the truth it has come down. We have sent you [Muhammed] forth only to proclaim good news and to give warning.” [Qur’an, “Night Journey,” chapter 17: 100-104.]

After the lecture Raza referred specifically to the writings of Shaykh Prof. Palazzi, who relying on the above passage in the Qur’an, writes: “The Qur’an says that Allah gave the land of Israel to the Jews.” As Shaykh Palazzzi has written, “God wanted to give Avraham a double blessing, through Ishmael and through Isaac, and ordered that Ishmael’s descendants should live in the desert of Arabia and Isaac’s in Canaan. The Qur’an recognizes the land of Israel as the heritage of the Jews and it explains that, before the Last Judgment, Jews will return to dwell there. This prophecy has already been fulfilled.” (To read Shaykh Palazzi’s full comments click here.)

Raza, a reformist Muslim Canadian journalist, author and grassroots activist of Pakistani descent, who has been to Israel numerous times, told the crowd that there is nothing in the Qur’an that prohibits Muslims from recognizing Israel’s right to exist in the region and that the notion of using Islam as a weapon for preventing Arabs from recognizing any sovereign right of Jews over the land of Israel is not found in “authentic” and “classical Islamic sources.”

As she explained, Islamic fundamentalist movements made anti-Zionism the primary feature of their propaganda but this is not derived from authentic Islamic religious principles.

Mrs. Raza’s lecture was hosted by the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, and introduced by its founding director, Dr. Catherine Chatterley. “Raheel Raza deserves the support of all Canadians for her principled stand in support of the rights of women, girls, gays and lesbians, and religious minorities within the Islamic world,” Dr. Chatterley told the Winnipeg Jewish Review. “Raheel is a very brave and principled activist who is critical of her own religious tradition and of its political manipulation at the hands of those committed to Jihadist violence and supremacy. Her critique of the oppressive, patriarchal nature of Islam, here and abroad, is necessary just as it has been in the history of Judaism and Christianity.”

Raza, who is a believing Muslim, explained that one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith is praying “five times a day.” She added that “when we pray we give blessings on the progeny of Abraham, who are Jews and Christians.” She said that “it [The Qur’an] affirms the history of the Jews as the original people of the book,” and indicated it was not legitimate to use the Qur’an as a basis “to discriminate against Jews.”

Raza, who is the author of “Their Jihad—Not My Jihad: A Muslim Canadian Woman Speaks Out (2005),” referred to verses in the Qur’an “where Jews are admonished for their opposition to the prophet Mohammed,” but she indicated that these verses belong to their own historical context and “cannot be used against Jews today.” She also said that these verses should not override Islam’s “universal message” which gives no basis to discriminate against Christians or Jews.

“The peoples of the book have to be respected,” Raza said, who noted that the first pillar of Islam is “belief in one God,” and that “Islamist ideology can be challenged by Islamic theology.”

According to Raza, who is President of The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, one of the main problems with understanding what the Qur’an actually says is that there is a lot of illiteracy in the Muslim world, such that many Muslims have not actually read the Qur’an, and have been “brainwashed’ into thinking that it negates Israel’s right to exist. She quoted Salim Mansur, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, who says that “Islamism as a totalitarian ideology is a perversion of Islam.”

Growing up as a Sunni Muslim in Pakistan, Raza “fell in love with a Shia man,” which is one reason why they left Pakistan for Canada (via Dubai). She joked that her children are “sushis” because they are half Sunni and half Shia. She told the audience that she grew up in a “patriarchal” culture where women were supposed to “be seen and not heard” and that educating Muslim women is an important factor in bringing about needed change in Muslim society.

Raza spoke about Al-Quds day in Toronto, which she said is “a hate fest.” She also noted that “ironically” most of the people who come out for it are of Pakistani origin. She indicated that nobody ever asks why they aren’t demonstrating against the injustices and intolerance against minorities in Pakistan.

When Dr. Chatterley asked Raza about the prevalence of antisemitism in the Muslim community here in Canada she said that “in the Pakistani community there is rampant antisemitism,” which is directed against Israel and that most people fail to “separate Israel and Jews” in this regard. She said many people in Pakistan are illiterate “and they don’t even know where Palestine is on a map.” She added that in Pakistan there “used to be a thriving Christian community,” she was educated in English Catholic schools, but after the rise of Wahhabism, there has “been persecution of Christians.”

Raza said that more conservative elements in the Canadian Muslim community do not react well to a woman, such as herself, who knows the Qur’an and who promotes women’s rights, and who does not believe that Shariah law should creep into Canadian society. Raza, who is the first Muslim woman in Canada to lead mixed gender prayers, indicated that after 9/11 she was invited to be a speaker at a United Church event because the organizers wanted to hear from a Muslim woman. She said that since that time, “I find myself standing at church pulpits every Sunday.” She noted that her husband, who fully supports her work, is “known as a Muslim Zionist.”

Raza also said that those who want to support the position of moderate Muslims who expose radical Islam can sign up for the newsletter of The Clarion Project.

A video of the lecture and discussion is available on CISA’s website.


Editor’s Note: This report deals with only one part of Raza’s remarks in her very informative and educational lecture. In a separate article the Winnipeg Jewish Review will cover her opposition to Motion 103, a non-binding but contentious motion that calls on the Canadian government to “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination,” which Parliament has passed by a margin of 201-91. Raza opposes the contentious motion, which led to demonstrations and protests by both supporters and opponents around the country in early March 2017, and also calls on the government to take steps to “quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear.” She opposes the use of the motion which she says will stifle legitimate conversation that in any way criticizes Islamist ideology, and is “in sync with a constant push by the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) to turn any criticism of Islam or Muslims into blasphemy.”

Who Will Protect Children From The Morally Bankrupt Palestinian Children Protection Act?

Killing children, no matter the number, is the ultimate crime against the present and future. The Jewish people having suffered the unfathomable blow of having a generation of their children—1.5 million futures wiped out by the Nazis during the Holocaust—are acutely sensitive to this issue.

But how to react when adults entomb children to dig tunnels on a mission-to-murder other children? What to do when those in power groom youngsters to be the next generation of human shields, or axe wielders, or suicide bombers?

Read More:

‘Embassy would move without recognition of sovereignty’

Investigative journalist David Bedein, the head of the Center for Near East Policy Research,warned that the law requiring the US embassy to be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over its capital, and that it would be better for Israel if US President Donald Trump signed the Security Waiver delaying the implementation of the law in order to provide time for Congress to fix the problems with the legislation.

“I was in Washington, in the capital, when the law was passed. I watched the negotiation go on, when Faisal Husseini, representing the PLO, and Yossi Beilin, representing the Israeli government, watered down the law. Instead of a law which would recognize the sovereignty over Jerusalem by Israel, but instead just moves the embassy without sovereignty,” Bedein said.

“It goes according to the American law which, number one, doesn’t recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel, and number two, makes [Jerusalem] into a Corpus separatum, separate from Israel. If Trump delays the move of the embassy, that is very good, because it allows for a change in the law,” he said.

He warned that the law “is phrased in such a way that it can allow another embassy to come in here, another capital to come in here, and it does not recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel.”

He called on US citizens to contact their representatives in Congress to amend the law in the coming months to add recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem to the legislation.

Ask US Ambassador: With violence on the horizon, Reconsider support for US funded schools of indoctrination.

At this point in time, the US ​funds PA and UNRWA education​ with no restrictions.

If you did ​not ​know about  PA/UNRWA school books and the orientation of their teachers, you would instinctively think that aid to education is a good thing.

​However, this year, the Center for Near East Policy Research, with partial funding from the Simon Wie​sennthal Center, hired journ​alists with Phd’s in Islamic Studies to translate all  PA schoolbooks taught to 492,000 children in the schools of the UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, funded with a $640 million education budget from  68 nations.

Biggest donor is the US, which contributed $300 million this year to UNRWA, with  54% of the UNRWA budget allocated to education​.​ ​Results: The 205 school books examined in the PA/UNRWA curriculum​ indoctrinate children to make war against the Jews.

New PA school books openly discuss the fate of  six  million Jews who live in the country after its “liberation” of Palestine: Expulsion of the usurper (code name for Israel) and extermination of the foreigners’ defeated and scattered remnants.

This element in PA schoolbooks used by UNRWA sounds the alarm:

“Let us sing and learn by heart: The Nobles’ Land [Ard al-Kurama’]
I have sworn! I shall sacrifice my blood
To water the nobles’ land
And I shall remove the usurper [ghaseb] from my country
And shall exterminate [ubid] the foreigners’ scattered remnants [fulul al-ghuraba’]
O land of Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and the sacred place [haram],
O cradle of pride and nobility
Patience, patience, for victory is ours
And dawn will peep out from darkness”

Taken from “Our Beautiful Language”, Grade 3, Part 2 (2016) p. 64

This year, the Center for Near East Policy Research commissioned a new investigation to determine the extent to which  terrorist organizations ​continue to  ​dominate the faculty and administration of UNRWA schools.​

The results of the study: Terrorist organizations rule the roost in Gaza UNRWA schools, with the US as the primary funder. ​

​Now is the time for  US citizens to give feedback to the US ambassador to Israel, and to the US Congressional Committees that oversee US Middle East policy, about US funded schools.

How to communicate Middle East policy concerns to the US Congress

Individualized letters to public officials from concerned citizens are taken seriously.

What follows is a suggested communication  to the US ambassador to Israel, which could be used as a model letter to members of Congress to stop US funding of war indoctrination.

​The Hon. David Friedman

​US Ambassador to ​Israel

​Dear Ambassador Friedman,

​As a​ US ​ citizen, I wish to bring ​a ​concern​​ to your attention, since UNRWA & Gaza ​ ​come within areas of your jurisdiction.​

​The US allocates funds to Palestinian Authority schools in the UNRWA system. A ​new study ​of Palestinian Authority textbooks conducted by the Center for Near East Policy Research, underwritten by ​the Simon Wiesenthal center​,​​ reveals that Palestinian Authority text books used by UNRWA reflect a system of war indoctrination.

Full study of school books now used by UNRWA & the Palestinian Authority

A new study of UNRWA schools in Gaza,  conducted by the Center for Near East Policy Research​,​​ reveals that Hamas, designated by the US, UN, EU, Canada, the UK and Australia as   terror organization, dominates UNRWA schools in Gaza, since Hamas maintains tight control over the UNRWA workers union in Gaza and the UNRWA teachers union in Gaza.

Hamas continues to operate freely in UNRWA schools in GAZA

The more feedback that Ambassador Friedman gets in reasonable, individualized letters, the better.

The key question to ask: Why the US ​does not ​condition funds to UNRWA and the PA ​on the removal of inciteful text​s and removal of ​​terrorists ​fr​om US-funded UNRWA schools?