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Netanyahu can count on U.S. Jews to stay silent on the occupation

The prime minister sparked controversy when he announced he wouldn’t be speaking at the biggest Jewish American event of the year. But Bibi knows that no matter what, American Jews won’t speak out against his occupation policies.

By Joshua Leifer

Prime Minister Netanyahu attends a joint event of the Knesset and the U.S. Congress, at the Chagall state hall in the Knesset, Jerusalem, June 7, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Netanyahu attends a joint event of the Knesset and the U.S. Congress, at the Chagall state hall in the Knesset, Jerusalem, June 7, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Netanyahu knows that no matter what, he can count on American Jews not to speak out against the occupation.

Netanyahu initially announced last week that he would not be addressing the annual Jewish Federation of North America’s General Assembly, prompting journalists and Jewish leaders alike to speculate. Unnamed “senior sources” intimated to Haaretz that the prime minister was unwilling to share the GA stage with President Reuven Rivlin, while “a senior representative of one of the non-Orthodox movements” suggested that Netanyahu was afraid that he might be booed. A week later, Netanyahu announced he would address the GA after all.

These are unlikely reasons for Netanyahu’s hesitation. Despite the disagreements between Netanyahu and Rivlin, the two belong to the same party and often share the same stage. Boos from an American audience would hardly perturb a veteran Israeli politician like Netanyahu, accustomed to the debates in the Knesset where the decorum more closely resembles that of an American football game than a legislative assembly.

It is likelier that Netanyahu’s initial reluctance to address the GA stemmed from practical political concerns. His right-wing coalition is precarious and depends on the support of ultra-Orthodox parties — the same ones that sunk the Kotel compromise this past summer. Addressing the GA puts Netanyahu in an uncomfortable position; he has to make sure he doesn’t say anything that upsets his Haredi coalition partners, while trying to be gentle with the American Jewish groups, specifically the Reform and Conservative movements, who viewed the collapse of the compromise as a rejection of their way of life and religious identity. When Haredi leaders such as Moshe Gafni, chair of the Knesset’s Finance Committee, say things like, “Reform Jews are a group of clowns who stab the holy Torah,” this becomes no easy task.

Members of the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements hold torah scrolls during a mixed men and women prayer at the public square in front of the Western Wall, in Jerusalem's Old City, on May 18, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Members of the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements hold torah scrolls during a mixed men and women prayer at the public square in front of the Western Wall, in Jerusalem’s Old City, on May 18, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Netanyahu probably would have preferred to skip the whole ordeal, which would have signaled unequivocally to the Haredi parties that he is on their side. Now, when he addresses the JFNA, Netanyahu will again have to walk the tightrope between his religious-right coalition and the comparatively liberal American Jews at the GA.

Not that he fears the potential consequences of snubbing American Jews. He knows fully well that no matter what, they won’t speak out against funding the occupation and supporting attacks on BDS activists. A recent Haaretz investigation found that Federation funds have sent money to some of the most extreme settlers in Hebron, as well as the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. This year, the JFNA GA will feature a session on how to pass anti-boycott laws, like the one in Texas that denied relief after Hurricane Harvey to boycott supporters.

Private security guards stand atop a home taken over by Israeli settlers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, February 21, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Private security guards stand atop a home taken over by Israeli settlers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, February 21, 2016. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Netanyahu and the Israeli Right can also find comfort in the American Jewish establishment’s bold response to the rejection of the Kotel plan: a marketing campaign for Reform Judaism in Israel. The New York Times reported this week that Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, and other Jewish Agency leaders will be launching “an advertising and media campaign, educational efforts in Israeli schools, and trips for Israeli lawmakers and leaders” to the U.S. to better acquaint Israelis with American liberal Judaism.

It seems not to have occurred to Jewish institutional leaders that Israel might not need more Jewish educational initiatives, or that Israeli liberals might not be interested in importing American Jewishness. The past decade has seen a flourishing of local Israeli initiatives aimed at strengthening liberal and humanistic forms of Jewish expression, and there is now a plethora of secular Talmud study groups, venues for “Israeli prayer,” and organizations devoted to Jewish-Israeli culture.

More importantly, however, Jacobs’ plan to sell Israelis Reform Judaism exemplifies the narrowness of the Jewish establishment’s moral vision. If American Jewish leaders truly cared about human rights, justice, and equality, they would use the money for their new marketing campaign to instead support Israeli civil society organizations that are under unceasing attack from Netanyahu and the Right. Furthermore, they could use their organizational clout to put pressure on Netanyahu to cease settlement building and return to the negotiating table. Finally, they could stop sending money to violent settlers in the West Bank, who have absolutely no interest in an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall.

But they won’t do any of this. Because when it comes to Israel, “the prophetic vision of social justice” professed by American liberal Jews extends only to the injustices they experience themselves.

Joshua Leifer is based in Jerusalem. His writing has also appeared in Dissent and Jacobin.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Timothy Porter

      Hmmm. Proof of the occupation? Anyone? I didn’t think so. Speaking of the elephant in the room.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        @Timothy porter:

        http://mondoweiss.net/2017/10/rapporteur-sanctions-palestinians/

        Last week there was a significant development in the international response to the Israeli occupation when the UN rapporteur for human rights in the occupied territories came out with a harsh report saying the world was too passive about the occupation….The “duration of this occupation is without precedent or parallel in today’s world,” the report said. Israel has “driven Gaza back to the dark ages” due to denial of water and electricity and freedom of movement. There is a “darkening stain” on the world’s legal framework because other countries have treated the occupation as normal, and done nothing to resist Israel’s “colonial ambition par excellence,” which includes two sets of laws for Israelis and Palestinians.

        Reply to Comment
        • Timothy Porter

          I repeat, where’s the proof of the occupation?

          Reply to Comment
          • You Asked

            Israeli control over the West Bank is maintained by the use of military orders issued by the IDF Commander, not by the passage of legislation in the Knesset.

            The “Civil Authority” is a part of the IDF, it is not a part of the Israeli civil service.

            That’s pretty much all the “proof” you need: authority over this territory has been established by the IDF, and is being exercised by the IDF.

            That is, indeed, the very definition of a “belligerent occupation”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Mark

            “two sets of laws for Israelis and Palestinians”

            I think you must mean one set of laws for Israelis and another set for Palestinians

            Reply to Comment
          • Timothy Porter

            Bruce, does Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria fall under the definition of a military occupation? Yes or no. That’s a simple question.

            I am not interested in reports from anti-Semitic organizations such as the UN.

            Reply to Comment
          • John Reynolds

            TP: “I am not interested in reports from anti-Semitic organizations such as the UN.”

            Would you prefer something a little more authoritative?

            Let’s try the supreme authority on Israeli law: the Israel High Court of Justice.

            HCJ 2056/04: “1. Since 1967, Israel has been holding the areas of Judea and Samaria (hereinafter – the area) in belligerent occupation.”

            HCJ 2056/04: “23. The general point of departure of all parties – which is also our point of departure – is that Israel holds the area in belligerent occupation (occupatio bellica).”

            If that isn’t good enough I can also point you to:
            HCJ 619/78
            HCJ 606/78
            HCJ 69/81
            HCJ 393/82
            all of which shows the court saying exactly the same thing: this territory is being held under a belligerent occupation, and the IDF is the occupying power.

            That must satisfy your question, because regardless of your opinion of “the law” it is pretty hard to describe the Israel Supreme Court amongst the “anti-Semitic organizations”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Timothy Porter

            You Asked and John Reynolds:

            For starters, let’s look at the LEGAL definition of a military occupation: “Military occupation occurs when a belligerent state invades the territory of another state with the intention of holding the territory at least temporarily.” In order for an area to be occupied, it needs to belong to a state and Judea and Samaria do not legally belong to any state. You are confusing military rule with a military occupation. A country can declare a martial law within its territory and it would in no way constitute an occupation. So, no You Asked, you have not provided any proof.

            John Reynolds: instead of make a case for the existence of the Israeli occupation, you are appealing to authority. For your information, appeal to authority is a logical fallacy. (Google it) It doesn’t matter if the United Nations, the Israeli Supreme Court or any other organization decides to treat a lie as a fact; it is still a lie through and through.

            Reply to Comment
          • John Reynolds

            TP: “In order for an area to be occupied, it needs to belong to a state and Judea and Samaria do not legally belong to any state.”

            Your argument is, of course, now 72 years too late.

            It was definitely rules in the Nuremburg Tribunals that the Hague Regulations had become “declaratory of the laws AND CUSTOMS of war” and, therefore, those rules apply in all instances of armed conflict.

            That you attempt to claim that the West Bank does not “legally belong to any state” is therefore an irrelevant observation w.r.t. the applicability of the Hague Regulations.

            Though I will still ask everyone here to hold Timothy’s observation about the West Bank “not belonging to any state”, because riiiight after saying that he then said…….

            TP: “You are confusing military rule with a military occupation. A country can declare a martial law within its territory and it would in no way constitute an occupation.”

            Well, I can certainly see much confusion.

            After all, you appear to be able to say:
            1) “Judea and Samaria do not legally belong to any state”
            and in the same post then argue:
            2) “A country can declare a martial law within its territory”
            as two arguments why this is not an occupation.

            So – apparently – in Timothy-world the West Bank is a place that doesn’t belong to any state and, btw, it belongs to Israel.

            How wonderfully hasbarah of you, Tim.

            Reply to Comment
          • John Reynolds

            TP: “John Reynolds: instead of make a case for the existence of the Israeli occupation, you are appealing to authority.”

            Remind me again what the purpose of a court actually is?

            TP: “For your information, appeal to authority is a logical fallacy.”

            So asking a country’s Supreme Court to rule on a contentious issue is, logically speaking, fallacious?

            Remind me again, what is the purpose of courts?

            TP: “(Google it) It doesn’t matter if the United Nations, the Israeli Supreme Court or any other organization decides to treat a lie as a fact; it is still a lie through and through”

            I’ll remind everyone here of this line of text from that IHCJ ruling:
            HCJ 2056/04: “23. The general point of departure of all parties – which is also our point of departure – is that Israel holds the area in belligerent occupation (occupatio bellica).”

            Hmmmm…… I wonder who those “all parties” are?

            Well, the court, obviously. Plus:
            a) The Government of Israel,
            b) the IDF Commander in the West Bank, and
            c) the Beit Sourik Village Council.

            I can imagine the Monty Python sketch now.

            The IHCJ: It’s a belligerent occupation
            Timothy: Lies! Lies! All Lies!!!!!!!!!!

            Gov of Israel: Yeah, accepted, it’s a belligerent occupation.
            Timothy: You Lie! You Lie! Your Lying!!!!!!

            IDF Commander: I agree that it is a belligerent occupation.
            Timothy: You Lying Sack Of S**t! Is Not! Is Not! Is Not!

            Beit Sourik Council: I don’t know why I bother but, yeah, it’s an occupation.
            Timothy: [Head explodes in righteous anger].

            Timothy Porter, I have pointing you to a ruling where the HIGHEST COURT IN ISRAEL says that this is an occupation. Where the GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL agrees that this is an occupation. And where the GUY WHO IS ACTUALLY IN CHARGE OF OCCUPYING THE PLACE accepts that this is an occupation.

            And in response?

            TP: “It doesn’t matter”

            You, sir, are a certifiable idiot.

            Reply to Comment
          • Timothy Porter

            JR: I will not stoop to your level when it comes to childish insults and I will ignore your attempts at comedy, instead I’ll focus on your attempts at logic. I’ll start with your verbiage that seems to indicate that you think that you have refuted my argument against the existence of the occupation:

            “After all, you appear to be able to say:
            1) “Judea and Samaria do not legally belong to any state”
            and in the same post then argue:
            2) “A country can declare a martial law within its territory”
            as two arguments why this is not an occupation.

            So – apparently – in Timothy-world the West Bank is a place that doesn’t belong to any state and, btw, it belongs to Israel.”

            There is absolutely no contradiction between these two statements. Here, I merely provided you with an example of military rule that does NOT constitute a military occupation. My point here was that it IS possible to have a military rule without a military occupation. That does NOT however mean that a country may not declare military rule in a territory that does not belong to any sovereign, especially if that territory was won LEGALLY in a defensive war. You have made a leap of logic here by stating that I implied that Judea and Samaria legally belong to Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • John Reynolds

            TP “Here, I merely provided you with an example of military rule that does NOT constitute a military occupation.”

            And I agreed: declaring martial law WITHIN your own territory is not “belligerent occupation”.

            TP: “My point here was that it IS possible to have a military rule without a military occupation.”

            And I agreed: declaring martial law WITHIN your own territory is not “belligerent occupation”.

            TP: “That does NOT however mean that a country may not declare military rule in a territory that does not belong to any sovereign, especially if that territory was won LEGALLY in a defensive war.”

            Bzzzzzzzzzt. Nice try, but you are much mistaken.

            A country can not “declare military rule” anywhere outside of its own territory because – du’oh! – a declaration of martial law is declaration within Israeli DOMESTIC law, and Israeli law simply has no jurisdiction outside of its own territory.

            A country seizes a territory that is outside its own borders.

            That seizure is a “belligerent occupation”, precisely because the imposition of “martial law” is only something that a country can do WHERE ITS OWN LAWS HAVE JURISDICTION.

            And, by definition, a country’s own laws only have jurisdiction within its own borders.

            Q: Why?
            A: Extra-territoriality!!!

            You really are a tedious, boorish little man. Someone who knows so little of the topic under discussion that he Doesn’t Even Know That He Is Ignorant.

            This is really very, very simple: domestic law ends at the border, and no country – not Israel, not the USA, not Russia – can unilaterally extend the jurisdiction of its own domestic laws to territory that lies outside of its own borders.

            So “martial law” is not an option that is available to Israel in the West Bank, because that is a feature of Israeli DOMESTIC law.

            And the jurisdiction of Israeli DOMESTIC law (did I mention this? I think I did) does not and can not extend to any territory that lies outside of Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Timothy Porter

            JR: The term “hasbara” means explanation, and you and the likes of you clearly need a considerable amount of it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t keep making utterly desperate and pathetic attempts at concocting ludicrous accusations.

            Case in point your second post which is one wordy appeal to authority. And let’s not forget that it constitutes a logical fallacy.

            You state:

            “Remind me again what the purpose of a court actually is?”

            I suppose you think that courts have the authority to rule over mankind without mankind ever being questioned. Yes, many in the Israeli society use the term “occupation”, especially if they are on the leftist side of the political spectrum. And of course, it has been pointed out that the Israeli Supreme Court is also a very leftist institution, despite its claim to impartiality. There have been voices in the Israeli government that have questioned the existence of the occupation such as the former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy. We can argue all day what this party or that part thinks, and it would make our discussion irrelevant. Are you, sir, actually capable of making a case for the existence of the occupation without appealing to authority? I challenge you not to deviate from the question at hand and not to make incessant appeals to authority.

            Reply to Comment
          • Timothy Porter

            Correction: Instead of “without mankind ever being questioned” I meant to say “without the mankind being able to question the decisions.” I would add that there is no reason in the world to believe something just because some judge says so. Critical thinking is your friend.

            Reply to Comment
          • Timothy Porter

            JR: Galileo Galilei was convicted of heresy for not believing that the Earth is the center of the Universe. Had we lived in 1610, I am sure you would have held this judicial decision in the highest regard. The court after all IS the authority, is it not?

            Reply to Comment
          • John Reynolds

            Timothy, courts are always “authoritative” regarding the law.

            That’s why courts exist, and that’s why people insist on having “their day in court”. Taking a case to court is, by definition, an “appeal to authority”, and it is neither “illogical” nor “fallacious” to do that nor to point that out to you, no matter have often you refuse to listen.

            Yours is such a wonderful insight into the Zionist-settler mentality: courts are just a nothing, and a court ruling can simply be dismissed with a sneer.

            International law? Hah! Meaningless.

            All that matters is that you have looked inside yourself and you know – with an absolute certainty – that this territory belongs to your tribe.

            Except… you’ve already agreed that this territory does belong to any state.

            How disappointing. Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

            Reply to Comment
          • John Reynolds

            So. Very. Tedious.

            You asked for proof that this is a belligerent occupation.
            Someone quoted from the UN, which you dismissed as being an “anti-Semitic organization”.

            Soooo, I quote from an organization that is, by any definition, the very opposite of an “anti-Semitic organization” i.e. the Israel High Court of Justice.

            This you state to be an “appeal to authority” and therefore can be dismissed as a “logical fallacy”.

            It is a manifestly absurd argument, since any attempt by anyone to bring a contentious case before a court for its adjudication is, by definition, “an appeal to authority”.

            BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT A COURT CASE IS.

            Honestly, are you for real?
            Of course taking a case to court is “an appeal to authority” BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT A COURT IS.
            Of course quoting a ruling of a court is “an appeal to authority” BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT A COURT IS.

            Because (and you may want to sit down when you hear this, because it will come as a shock) A COURT OF LAW IS AUTHORITATIVE.

            Sheesh…… and now this Straw Man……

            TP: “I suppose you think that courts have the authority to rule over mankind without mankind ever being questioned.”

            No, but I think that THE ISRAEL SUPREME COURT is authoritative to rule on wether the IDF’s authority over the West Bank derives from Israeli Domestic Law (answer: no, it doesn’t) or from the international humanitarian laws that pertain to a belligerent occupation (answer: yes, it does).

            Timothy, matey, you are in a majority of…. one.

            Not just sitting there on your lonesome, but the dudes in the OTHER corner are…
            a) The Government of Israel
            b) The IDF Commander in the West Bank
            c) The entire bench of the Supreme Court of Israel

            They all side with me.
            And you’ve got…. nothin’. Nothin’ at all.

            Reply to Comment
          • John Reynolds

            TP: “Are you, sir, actually capable of making a case for the existence of the occupation without appealing to authority?”

            Ho Hum.

            June 1967. The IDF rolled into the West Bank and seized it at the point of a gun.
            The very next day the IDF commander of Central Command issued Military Order Number 1 asserting his authority over this territory.

            That is, by definition, the “establishment of authority”.

            To this very day all Israeli activity inside the West Bank is authorized by Military Orders issued by the IDF Commander of Central Command i.e. it has remained utterly unchanged since the issuance of Military Order Number 1.

            That is, by definition, the “exercise of authority”.

            Now, onto the very definition of a belligerent occupation: “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.”

            The. Territory. Where. Such. Authority. Has. Been. Established. And. Can. Be. Exercised.

            It’s an occupation, Timothy.

            Reply to Comment
          • Timothy Porter

            You are grasping at straws there, Mr. Reynolds.

            I would expect someone of your stature (Yes, I’ve done some googling), to be able to make a much better case than you have so far.

            I humbly presume (though I cannot be sure) that even you would agree that a judge has no AUTHORITY to rule on the chemical composition of water. No matter how enlightened her opinion is, the chemical composition of fresh water is H2O, simply because it’s a fact of nature.

            When it comes to abstract concepts, concepts that only exist in the minds of people such as “occupation”, “nation state”, “law” and so on, we are forced to rely on legal definitions. Here’s the definition of the occupation that you have provided: “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.
            The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised. “
            This comes from Section III of Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907 entitled: “Military Authority over the territory of the hostile state.”

            Clearly, this is talking about one state taking over the territory of another state. The “hostile state” is the state on whose territory the Military Authority is being imposed. And since Judea and Samaria do not LEGALLY belong to any state, these territories cannot be considered occupied. I rest my case.

            I find it baffling that a law professor has such poor reading comprehension.

            Reply to Comment
          • Timothy Porter

            JR: “declaring martial law WITHIN your own territory is not “belligerent occupation”.”
            Does every single instance of a state controlling territory that is not its own constitute an “occupation”? If so, make a case for it.

            JR: “Israeli law simply has no jurisdiction outside of its own territory.” Judea and Samaria were won legally in a defensive war. Yes, it is very much legal and proper for Israel to declare military law in the territory. Even if Israel’s control over Judea and Samaria constituted a military occupation, which it doesn’t, the imposition of Israeli military law is completely legal.

            JR: “Timothy, courts are always “authoritative” regarding the law.” The court is authoritative regarding the law, however it is not always authorities regarding REALITY. If they were, then Mr. Galilei was indeed wrong because he was guilty of herecy. If a court of law declares the color of the sky to be yellow, are we obliged to respect and uphold such a decision? As we’ve seen from history, the courts are quite capable of making decisions that are contrary to science, common sense or basic human decency. The Israeli High Court thinks that the occupation exists, despite the fact that it does not meet the definition of the occupation.

            As you probably know, there has been a right-wing shift in the Israeli politics. A judicial reform is already in the works, and eventually the Israeli Supreme Court might acknowledge the obvious fact that the Israeli control over Judea and Samaria does not constitute an occupation. And hypothetically, there might be a tremendous shift in global politics as well and even the UN might come to the same conclusion. Would you respect such a decision/conclusion? Or are you going to consult the actual definition of the occupation?

            Reply to Comment
          • Timothy Porter

            JR: “Yours is such a wonderful insight into the Zionist-settler mentality: courts are just a nothing, and a court ruling can simply be dismissed with a sneer.
            International law? Hah! Meaningless.”

            The amusing thing is that this is coming from a man who will later on accuse me of a straw man. I never said that court decisions are meaningless, however they can and should be questioned, unless we decide to live in a judicial dictatorship. And as far as the International Law is concerned, I am still waiting for you to explain how the Israeli control of Judea and Samaria meets the definition of the occupation. I know I am “tedious” and “repetitive”, and I promise to stay that way until you actually make your case.

            JR: “an absolute certainty – that this territory belongs to your tribe.” Well, the Jews are pretty much the only large group of people who can make a claim to the territory on the basis of their identity. We’re deviating from the discussion of legality here.

            JR: “How disappointing. Cognitive dissonance, anyone?” Nope, read above.

            JR: “I quote from an organization that is, by any definition, the very opposite of an “anti-Semitic organization” Anti-Semitism is a fascinating topic, and I could write a huge essay on what is and is not anti-semitic and how to properly use the term. I’ll save this discussion for another time, right now I’m waiting for you to make a case for the occupation.

            JR: This you state to be an “appeal to authority” and therefore can be dismissed as a “logical fallacy”.
            It is a manifestly absurd argument, since any attempt by anyone to bring a contentious case before a court for its adjudication is, by definition, “an appeal to authority”.
            We are not in a courtroom. There is no reason in the world why I cannot disagree with a court decision. I am trying to get you to make a case for the existence of the occupation according to the definition of occupation. I can apply your logic to “prove” that Gallilei was wrong because he was a heretic. However, was Gallilei wrong? We might employ telescopes to figure out whether he was or he wasn’t. Just like we can employ the definition of the occupation to figure out whether it exists or not.
            You seem to have this strange idea that a court decision is REALITY.

            JR: “Not just sitting there on your lonesome, but the dudes in the OTHER corner are…
            a) The Government of Israel
            b) The IDF Commander in the West Bank
            c) The entire bench of the Supreme Court of Israel”
            Appeal to popularity. Yet another logical fallacy. If I were in a position of AUTHORITY at your university I would revoke your tenure because of endless logical fallacies and ad hominem attacks you employ to make your case.

            JR: “June 1967. The IDF rolled into the West Bank and seized it at the point of a gun.
            The very next day the IDF commander of Central Command issued Military Order Number 1 asserting his authority over this territory.”
            Agreed. The territory was taken in a defensive war. How does an imposition of authority constitute an occupation? If we build a spaceship, travel to Mars and establish a gov’t there, does it mean Mars is occupied? Clearly, the law we are arguing about applies only to sovereign territory, which Judea and Samaria are not.

            Reply to Comment
          • Timothy Porter

            JR: What you seem to be implying that whatever the court says IS the law. And you are right, on an official level, Israel considers itself an occupying power. It is the law in Israel. However, what’s stopping an Israeli court from declaring Israel to be in occupation of let’s say Bolivia? Of course, such a law would not reflect the reality on the ground. But it nevertheless would still be the LAW. This is precisely what I am talking about. I am talking about the REALITY as opposed to the LAW. Clearly, Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria does NOT meet the legal definition of the occupation (if we look at the Hague Convention that you cited). Therefore, the occupation does not exist as a reality, no matter what the Israeli or any other kind of law says. Let’s not confuse the law with reality.

            Reply to Comment
          • John Reynolds

            Timothy Porter began with oh-so-tedious post with this cocky assertion……

            TP: “Hmmm. Proof of the occupation? Anyone? I didn’t think so. Speaking of the elephant in the room.”

            Much nonsense followed from him, until we finally come to this……

            TP: “And you are right, on an official level, Israel considers itself an occupying power.”

            So there you have it: Timothy admits that the occupying power itself accepts that this is an occupation.

            He has therefore answered his own question, and so from this point on Timothy will be arguing with….. himself.

            Sad, but true.

            Reply to Comment
          • John Reynolds

            TP: “However, what’s stopping an Israeli court from declaring Israel to be in occupation of let’s say Bolivia?”

            The absence of an army of occupation inside Bolivia, for one thing.

            Courts don’t just make their s**t up, Timothy.

            I understand that’s a foreign concept for you.

            Really, I do, because the above is a classic example of Tim Making His S**t Up As He Goes Along.

            Sad, but true.

            Reply to Comment
          • John Reynolds

            TP: “Clearly, Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria does NOT meet the legal definition of the occupation (if we look at the Hague Convention that you cited).:

            This is the citation that Timothy refuses to comprehend:
            “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised”

            The West Bank was “considered occupied” when the IDF commander of Central Command issued Military Order 1 in June 1967, placing the West Bank under his direct authority.

            That’s the “actually placed” and “has been established” part of that definition.

            To this very day all activity inside the West Bank is authorized by Military Orders issued by the IDF commander in the West Bank.

            Want to built a settler squat? You need that IDF commander’s signature.
            Want to elevate a college in Arial to a “University”? He needs to sign the paper.
            Want to build a “security wall”? The IDF commander has to order it built.

            That – all that and more – is the “can be exercised” part of that definition.

            Timothy, matey, it is a BELLIGERENT OCCUTATION according to the definition of a belligerent occupation, and that isn’t just my opinion.

            That is the stated policy of all 192 states on Planet Earth (including Israel)
            That is the learned judgement of both the Israel High Court of Justice and the International Court of Justice.
            That is the orders as issued by the Commander of the Army of Occupation.
            That is the authoritative opinion of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

            That is, indeed, the universally-acknowledged understanding of each and every relevant international body of any standing whatsoever to comment on this situation.

            They all say, without dissent, that Timothy Porter Does Not Know What He Is Talking About.

            And as for you? Heck, no wonder you keep spewing out your nonsense about “appeal to authority is a logical fallacy”. That is no surprise at all, since every authoritative voice on this planet is telling you that you are….. wrong.

            You do know that sticking your fingers in your ears is, logically-speaking, a fallacious attempt to avoid hearing the truth?

            You do know that, don’t you?

            Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Timothy

            Agree with where you are going but technically the territory needs to be hostile, there doesn’t need to be a state for hostility. Belonging to another state one is at war with is one way a territory can be hostile. But it is not the only way. For example the territory can belong to your own state but have a population in rebellion against the government. So for example the south of the United States was occupied right after the civil war between the time it was defeated and the time the federal government reestablished civil law. There can also be situations where territory is friendly but not under full control. For example the USA occupation of Iraq.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “Agree with where you are going but…”

            Please explain. What does it mean? Does it mean “Your argument is fatally flawed and you can’t get where you’re going but I like the conclusion you would get to if you could get there, and I have magic beans that grow a beanstalk into the heavens of where you and I want to go”?

            Reply to Comment
          • carmen

            I love it! Answer my questions but you can only use the zionist-approved resources, eh Timothy? Aren’t you sore being on your knees all the time and your jaw must be killing you. File your Hasbara work comp claim while you can, there’s a few guys in front of you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tom Parker

            Is this supposed to be an argument?

            Carmen: “Answer my questions but you can only use the zionist-approved resources, eh Timothy?”

            How do you deduce that from anything I have said?

            Carmen: “Aren’t you sore being on your knees all the time and your jaw must be killing you. ”

            It certainly sounds like it’s a very familiar feeling to you.

            If you don’t see that the professor got his behind handed to him then your reading comprehension is as poor as his.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Indeed “hasbara” is the proper term for what Timothy Porter is doing here, however incoherent are his arguments. (Personally I think they are quite funny* in their contradictory ineptitude, dissected and dismantled entertainingly by John Reynolds.) Hasbara in the sense also of an occupation-justifying argument crafted from bits and pieces cobbled together to fit, just so, a predetermined conclusion. But anyone can see it’s contradictory, cobbled-together nature and its poor fit to reality.

            Folks who want to understand how Timothy is parroting the latest right wing Israeli state propaganda line, in all its brutality and heartlessness and contempt for human rights, should read Akiva Eldar:

            For Israeli right, there is no occupation
            https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/08/israel-palestinians-miri-regev-al-jazeera-udi-aloni-press.html

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            * RE “quite funny”: I find it amusing that, aside from the inanities involved in Timothy’s incoherent flipping back and forth between his insistence that we “look at the legal definition of occupation” and his insistence at one and the same time that the rulings of courts of law can be conveniently disregarded and disrespected when one disagrees with them (which is, essentially, an anti-enlightenment, un-American tossing out of a government of laws ethos in favor of a government of men ethos, and in Israeli terms, a distinct move towards the ‘popular democratic’ ethos of Feiglinism—but I digress)
            —aside from all that, or rather as a companion piece to that, we have the spectacle of Timothy nattering on about the “logical fallacy of relying on authority” when his whole argument is predicated on appealing to the authority of a particular definition of belligerent occupation. A particular definition, the source of which he did not even cite, a definition he just pulled off the internet and asserted is “the legal definition,” as if this were legally exhaustive, necessary and sufficient, as if it were…a supreme authority!
            Timothy shrouds everything in either a cloak of ambiguity and uncertainty (anarchy) when that suits him or a cloak of specious exactitude and definitiveness (authority!) when that suits him. It all adds up to a layered incoherence, and at bottom is a kind of unprincipled opportunism.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            With regard to the legalistically-tinged propaganda Timothy is purveying, see, in addition to John Reynold’s legal dismantlement above, this dissection of Israel’s insistence on what could be called “the neo-colonialist principle of self-determination for Jews but not for Palestinians.” And of Israel’s “we want to have it both ways” strategy:

            If There Are No Palestinians, There’s No Israeli Occupation
            Analysis: The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits occupying powers from settling in occupied lands. But that’s not a problem for Israel, according to the committee set up by Netanyahu, because Israel is not a ‘military occupier.’
            Aeyal Gross Jul 10, 2012 2:36 AM

            “…Thus, since 1967, Israel has been trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, it accepts the authority vested in the army that controls the conquered area, as per the Hague Convention, while on the other hand denying its obligations to the residents of the occupied area and denying their rights as laid out in the Geneva Convention. Thus there was a blurring of the legal status of the territories, as occupied or not occupied, that for all these years has been the heart of the occupation’s legal structure….”

            read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/if-there-are-no-palestinians-there-s-no-israeli-occupation-1.449988

            This blurring is precisely what Timothy Porter is trying so mightily to make so much hay out of, and in my view, he fails. As Aeyal Gross says, it is utter hypocrisy.

            Reply to Comment
          • Tom Parker

            Ben, you can be rather tiresome. I never said that court decisions can or should be disregarded. Yes, I am appealing to the authority of a legal definition because of the reasons I listed above. And yes, I did cite it. You and Mr. Reynolds can benefit from some remedial reading classes.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            You aren’t Timothy. The claims that an occupation doesn’t exist, is the desperate mewling of a corrupt govt and it’s zionist supporters. The occupation is decades old, has been proven over and over again and is recognized as being such by most of the world. Whether you believe it or acknowledge it is most definitely your problem. The onus isn’t on antizionists to defend their POV doubting Thomas, it’s up to zionists to defend a racist xenophobic policy in 2017.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Lewis from Afula

      American Jews?
      Is that the group of people of which HALF have Christmas trees in their homes, intermarry at a rate of 75% and cannot speak a word of Hebrew?
      In another generation, only a hard core of haredim will remain in America. The rest will be gone.

      Reply to Comment
      • Mark

        From a British point of view, there’s a superficial link to religion but essentially Christmas is an inescapable, wholly commercialised, winter festivity with lots of pagan elements reintroduced in the 19th century, enjoyed by the whole community. The frenzy lasts for about a month.

        Things can get very pressurised for the typical family as it is the only such thing they have. As my sister wisely put it, Christmas lunch is just a boshed up Shabbat dinner. We have all all the other Xmas trimmings spread out over various festivals through the year, except for the tree.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Gershom

      OMG ! I LOVE you guys, woman and yes even the yutz T.P. (those initials;”are we out again?!”) without whom such beautiful excersizing of heart and mind would not have been possible. Seriously, I am qvelling here.

      Reply to Comment
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