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Vespasian to Obama

July 14, 2011

What’s a denominator common to Vespasian, Hadrian, Byzantium, the Crusaders, some Ottomans, Jordan, the Arab League, the United Nations, international law, and Obama?

At one point or another they all forbade Jewish settlement in Jerusalem. Of course, the circumstances were different in each case, and the motivations for the forbidding were different, but seen from a Jewish perspective the result was always the same: Jews were told not to settle in Jerusalem (or recently, not to settle in the historical parts, only in the parts that weren’t Jerusalem at all until less than a century ago). Seen from the perspective of Jewish history, their demands were and are all equally unjust.

Or, in a different formulation, Jews may be forgiven if they perceive the current international consensus on the illegitimacy of their settling in Jerusalem merely another phase in a long and very dishonorable tradition.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. NormanF permalink
    July 14, 2011 10:28 pm

    That’s true. Israeli Jews see it as anti-Semitism. The various proposals to divide the capital are not made out of concern for the well-being of its inhabitants but simply to strip Israel of its sovereignty over it. No one recognized Jewish rule over West Jerusalem when the city was divided with Jordan. Israeli skepticism about the world’s motives concerning a city for which it never fought, bled and died for are well-founded. This dishonorable tradition is exactly why well-intentioned proposals to re-divide the city again will go nowhere.

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