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UK Jewish youth insist, 'not' marking Green Line is a political act

British Jewish youth want a more honest conversation, demand that their community leaders recognize reality on the ground when discussing Israel and the conflict.

By Jessica Weiss and Emily Hilton

America uses it. The EU uses it. There are even some maps in which the Israeli government uses it. So why then, is the British Jewish community so afraid of demarcating, let alone discussing the Green Line?

Regardless of your political perspective, in order to try and gain some understanding of the Israeli-Arab conflict, one must be able to identify contested areas, know the history that goes with them, and understand the significance of land. Areas over the Green Line are distinct from the rest of Israel, both legally and politically. They are treated differently by the Israeli army, the Israeli government, the majority of Israeli people and the entire international community.

Within many British Jewish organizations, synagogues and youth movements, the maps of Israel we are given to teach with, and to learn from, are drawn up as if the most formative of historical events never occurred. By using maps without the Green Line we fail to educate young people about the history of conflict. More importantly, doing so precludes any genuine discussion about the conflict — and the possibility of reaching a peaceful resolution – both in the classroom and the wider community. Maps that use the 1949 armistice lines allow us to accurately educate about the complex history, and show the present day realities of the region.

Yet, when 16 members of the next generation of Anglo-Jewry launched a campaign asking Jewish organisations to use maps of Israel with the Green Line last week, we were condescendingly told that representing the Green Line is to make a political statement. That to use these maps would be an indication of an organization’s position on the future final borders of Israel/Palestine.

However, what the Jewish community doesn’t want to acknowledge, is that using maps without the Green Line is in and of itself a political statement. Because almost all messaging relating to this conflict is in some way or another political, we think that this conversation is actually more about honesty.

It is patronising that the elders within our community do not want us to be informed. The condescending tone in which the Zionist Federation in Britain claims that we “hold little sway in the community,” shows how out of touch they are with the young British Jews. It doesn’t matter how many Birthright trips or summer camps one attends, or leads for that matter: we are tired of feeling like our voices don’t matter and that even the slightest deviation from the “milk and honey” narrative renders us irrelevant.

In Britain and beyond, questions are raised about the conflict constantly. Young British Jews are at a disadvantage because of the inadequacies of our knowledge. Maps are a key currency in this conflict and pretending that it is not a political choice to use a map without the Green Line does not allow for nuanced understanding of Israel’s history and future.

This isn’t about taking sides or about pre-determining a border. It is about allowing people to feel confident in their understanding so they can even begin to engage in the discussion. It’s about not being afraid of knowledge but rather empowering future generations with it.

The reality of Israel is difficult. Educating about it is difficult; it brings up questions that on occasion make us feel uncomfortable. But difficult does not always equate to bad. All we are asking for is an Israel education that does not consist solely of “sunshine, Herzl and falafel.” All we are asking for is that Jewish institutions use maps that recognize the Green Line.

Time is running out for the British Jewish leadership to have an honest and frank conversation about Israel and the West Bank. Not only are the youth of British Jewry ready, we are begging for it.

Jessica Weiss is a student of Middle Eastern studies at Manchester University. She is a former RSY-Netzer madricha and spent eight months last year traveling and volunteering in Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.

Emily Hilton is a history student at University College London. She has been involved in both the Netzer Olami and RSY-Netzer youth movements, for which she led a tour to Israel in 2013. She tweets at @emilyhilton.

Related:
Bringing the Green Line to Sir Paul McCartney
The Wall: 10 years on

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    COMMENTS

    1. Great work, keep it up.

      Reply to Comment
    2. dcomplex

      There was never a green line in the history of the world before 1949. It represents the furthest extent of Jordanian aggression, and the international legal instrument establishing it specifically mentions that it cannot be construed to be a territorial or political boundary. The Green line ceased to exist after 1967.

      Reply to Comment
    3. bob wisby

      I doubt Israel will make the mistake of working toward the definition of any boundaries in either the near or distant future. Who knows, perhaps future conflicts in the region will bring large swathes of new territory under Israeli control. If so, a prematurely set national boundary agreed on today might jeopardize Israel’s right to annex (or simply occupy) tomorrow. So meantime, it hurts nobody to continue the endless blather on details. Israel has no borders. That’s the way she like it.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Average American

      The article mentions the Zionist Federation in Britain. Israel was founded by Zionism, right? And the founding Zionists said “The Land Of Israel” is to be far bigger than the current Israel, reaching from the Euphrates to the Nile, including Syria and Jordan. So it appears Israel does not define its borders now since it intends to expand greatly.

      Reply to Comment
      • bob wisby

        Let’s just say we didn’t open this corner store because we had some ambition to own a corner store. Think, Walmart.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        AA, Israel’s borders stretches from the River to the Sea. AT THE SAME TIME, Israel recognizes (a) that there are people living in the West Bank OF said River, (b) that she can neither absorb said people nor expel them and, as such, is (c) more than willing to grant said people an independent State of their own on the territory the live, to rule over themselves and be masters of their own destiny. It’s that simple. This means that Israel cannot define its borders by itself. If the Palestinians continue to reject every offer made to them by Israel and Israel and the Palestinians as a result cannot agree on borders, nature will ultimately take its course. Only G-d knows what that would mean on the ground.

        Reply to Comment
        • bob wisby

          “…an independent State of their own on the territory the live, to rule over themselves and be masters of their own destiny…”

          Just so long as they don’t want an airport, sea-port, any kind of defense force, or to do anything we don’t agree with. Otherwise, we’ll come down on them like a tonne of bricks.

          Reply to Comment
    5. Tomer

      Ignoring the Elephant in the Room.

      Its not too important what British Jews think given that they are rapidly assimilating into nothing. About half intermarry, 30% stay single and only 20% actually pass their heritage into the next generation. In another 30 years, only the Frum will remain.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ginger Eis

      This article is intrinsically disingenuous, contains lots of internal conflicts and reads like an angry rant. Here are a few reasons why: (1) The authors claim that “demarcating” “the Green Line” (GL)’ is apolitical, yet the goal of ALL the arguments they advanced to support that claim is wholly political, albeit disguised as academic; (2) the only contested areas are (a) Area C and East Jerusalem, while (b) it is clear to both parties that Israel will keep all major settlement blocs in Area C and that (c) East Jerusalem, at the very least, will remain within Israeli sovereign boundaries in any future peace agreement. Thus, the “GL” has neither the meaning nor the relevance the authors attach to it; (3) the argument that British Jews are somehow academically disadvantaged because the “GL” is not “demarcated” on a map is a fatal non-sequitur; (4) lastly, the authors assume that the opinion of “16” radical members of their org. is representative the majority of Jewish youths in GB and that, as such, anyone who disagrees with them is out of touch with young British Jews. That’s quite pretentious, pompous and juvenile!

      Reply to Comment
    7. bob wisby

      Ginger, you are a master of obfuscation. Reading your replies, one would hardly realize that actual, real people are suffering. You make it all sound so academic, so clinical, so far removed from things like bulldozers, rubber-bullets, tear gas and torture. Well done!

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Indeed, I did not just forget the rubber bullets and the teargasses, I also forgot for example a Jewish mother in her late twenties and her baby who were shred to pieces in a Palestinian suicide attack. The baby’s severed head was found several meters away from her torso, et cetera!

        Reply to Comment
        • bob wisby

          You see? That wasn’t so difficult. Now you’re talking on the appropriate level. It’s a human drama, after all. We ought to people our narratives with humans, I think.

          Reply to Comment
    8. bar

      I think you should also mark the security barrier. After all, it is just as much a border as the “Green Line.” 😉

      Reply to Comment
    9. Gabe

      Personally I’ve never met a Jew in the UK that wouldn’t discuss the Green Line from any part of the political spectrum.

      “So why then, is the British Jewish community so afraid of demarcating, let alone discussing the Green Line?” is such a sweeping (and inaccurate) statement, it has no basis in reality.

      Reply to Comment
      • bob wisby

        Gabe, the accepted term in blue-pill society is ‘Jewish person’, rather than ‘Jew’. The ‘ish’ suffix makes the word sound less aggressive, more cuddly. Words are funny things, aren’t they?

        Reply to Comment
    10. David T.

      Israel legally binding proclaimed statehood within frontiers approved by Resolution 181 in May 1948:
      http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/epsteinlet.html

      One week later it declared to the Security Council that all areas it controlled outside these frontiers are “outside the territory of the State of Israel”, including Jerusalem.
      http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/B4085A930E0529C98025649D00410973

      So it is no suprise that the Security Council declared Jerusalem as occupied by Israel and its annexation as illegal.
      http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/b86613e7d92097880525672e007227a7/6de6da8a650b4c3b852560df00663826?OpenDocument

      Because the acquisition of territory by war is inadmissable:
      http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/0/7D35E1F729DF491C85256EE700686136

      Reply to Comment
      • Average American

        Yes you are correct, all those things would be true in a normal universe. But for Israel for some reason we suspend reality in a pretend universe. But what is the reason? And not Jewish Virtual Library’s reason. That site is as self-biased as Stormfront.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          AA, knowledge/information should be judged not based on its source but based on its content. Is there anything you found in the Jewish Virtual Library that is (a) (factually) not correct and/or (b) objectionable? If yes, what is it/what are they and why? What is your basis for the comparison between the Jewish Virtual Library and the Stormfront? Why do you like- and hang out at +972mag.com which is a Jewish site?

          Reply to Comment
          • bob wisby

            You write: “knowledge/information should be judged not based on its source but based on its content.”

            But surely you understand that ‘content’ is totally determined by ‘source’? Or do you think a special group of human beings exists who remain aloof, objective and dispassionate? Who could that group be? We certainly need to listen to them, wouldn’t you agree?

            Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Wrong, David. Here are a few reason why. (1) The non-binding UNGA Res.181 divided the Land Of Israel into Jewish and Arab States and established J’lem as a “corpus separatum”. On May 14, 1948, Israel declared independence and informed the UN of such on May 15, 1948. Said declaration is the legal basis for Israel’s founding, NOT the Res.181 – as you claim. (2) The Arab rejection of Res.181-boundaries and the war that followed render them meaningless. (3) In the letter of 22nd May 1948 Israel merely informed the UN of IDF’s positions during the course of an ongoing war (that resulted to the Green Line which is diff. from Res. 181-boundaries) and was merely using Res.181-boundaries as reference point! (4) Res.242 requires the parties to establish negotiated boundaries. UNSC Res.476 (which contradicts Res.181 re J’lem) (a) is by its nature NOT binding, (b) was introduced by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan representing the Organization Of Islamic Conference, and has since been regurgitated in six different UNGA Res. Israel’s Basic Law establishes Jerusalem as the united capital of the State Of Israel. the Basic Law is SUPERIOR to non-binding UN Resolutions, (hierarchy of laws).

        Reply to Comment
        • bob wisby

          Ginger, you indulge in this endless blather of nit-picking legalese, quoting this or that paragraph or sub-section, and yet you seem remote, spiritually or emotionally, from the horrors and cruelty being perpetrated in your name. Aren’t you even the tiniest little bit ashamed? Don’t you feel the smallest twinge of guilt?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Honestly, I have patience nor tolerance for buffoons. Got it?! Now, be gone!

            Reply to Comment
          • bob wisby

            You’re not standing at the gates of your Moshav now, Ginger, talking to a bunch of itinerant foreign laborers. This is a forum for people to exchange ideas and debate the things which seem important to them. Your imperious, colonizer tone won’t cut any ice here I’m afraid. Try Ynet or the Jerusalem Post. I hear they welcome rabble-rousers there.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            “Exchange ideas and debate things”? That’s exactly what I and David T. were doing. David T. made a substantive legal presentation. I provided a pure legal – albeit by necessity – rigorous rebuttal. But then you came along with your raw sewage and the stench is everywhere. I am not unaware of your repugnant ideology, but such will never stop me from debating you, because exposing and defeating your ilk is a moral obligation and an honor. Now, if you are serious about “exchanging ideas and debate things”, make then (an) argument(s) based on (a) the facts and/or (b) the law, to (c) support- or rebut the case presented by David T. or myself. No ad hominem attacks. This is a challenge! Let’s hear your arguments, now. The is ticking.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            ‘The clock is ticking’ (is what was meant).

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Well, well, well, it seems Bob Wisby does NOT have the knowledge to “exchange ideas and debate things”! He is on the run! What a coward!

            Reply to Comment
          • Mandelbrot

            Why should he debate with someone with a mindset of a 12-year old like you?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Mandelbrot, the challenge is also for you! Now, if you are serious about: “exchange ideas and debate things” as Bob Wisby claimed to be (!!), make then (an) argument(s) based on (a) the facts and/or (b) the law, to (c) support- or rebut the case presented by David T. or myself. If you can’t do that, then please just keep quite. We have neither need of thugs (e.g. like yourself) here coming to the rescue of their gang-members (e.g. Bob Wisby) who they feel are in trouble and cannot defend themselves nor do we need this thread filled up with non-substantive stuff from you and your ilk. If you have nothing substantive to offer, stay the F out of the fight, Ok?!

            Reply to Comment
          • bob wisby

            “We have neither need of thugs (e.g. like yourself) here coming to the rescue of their gang-members…”

            We’re busted, Mandelbrot. Your first visit to +972 and already Commissar Ginger has identified us as fellow ‘gang-members’.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            The audience is still waiting for your well-reasoned argument(s) based on (a) the facts and/or (b) the law, to (c) support- or rebut the case presented by David T. or myself. [Both of] You can try changing the subject all you want, but it won’t work; you can run, but you can’t hide. The clock is ticking!

            Reply to Comment
          • bob wisby

            Ginger, I’m afraid it’s all rather pointless. I’ve just realized, in my naivety, that +972 is playing with a stacked deck. A poster calling himself The Trespasser, who is a ‘right-wing’ pro-Israeli commentator, has just removed his post on Larry’s article ‘The Dark Heart…’. I had just responded to TT’s comment when suddenly, TT’s comment was removed. Now, as he’s a pro-IDF type, it struck me as odd he would have the ability to do so. Can anyone explain how this could be?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            You need to say this word: PLEASE?. Then I will give a more than satisfactory answer to your question. You must write said word wiith capital letters. Do not say any other word other than the word PLEASE? – or else no deal!

            Reply to Comment
          • bob wisby

            I’ll pass on that, ginger. Judging from the content of your postings generally, I doubt you know anything I need to know.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Arrogance and ignorance are a deadly combination. All you need to do is say one word and trust that no honorable Jewess makes empty promises!

            Reply to Comment
          • bob wisby

            “…no honorable Jewess makes empty promises!”

            Do you promise not to let me down, Delilah?

            Reply to Comment
          • bob wisby

            I was thinking the same thing, Mandelbrot. And then I was given to understand that Ginger’s actually a sheila. So that explains that.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Larry Derfner applied Sharia law on TT an K9 and went Jihadi on them on 12 feb. 2014 as demonstrated in the comment section of: The boycott isn’t economic warfare, it’s psychological

            “Larry Derfner
            Wednesday
            February 12, 2014

            For the record, I’m banning Kolumn9 from my channel for aggravated slander against me, and I’m banning Rehmat for aggravated anti-Semitism. The other commenter I banned, previously, was The Trespasser, for aggravated anti-Muslim bigotry. Enough aggravation.”

            Reply to Comment
          • bob wisby

            Hold on, so you think slander, antisemitism and anti-muslim bigotry should be allowed? I don’t see your problem.

            Reply to Comment
          • bob wisby

            Is there anybody else? Is there anybody else!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            All you have to do is to bow your head before me and say: “thank you, Ginger”. You need not be a gentleman or have a good sense of humor to understand that’s what you need to do when someone puts an end to your fears of the Shin Bet and stops you from freaking out. End of story.

            Reply to Comment
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