Monday, December 16, 2019

The NY Times, International Law and the Legitimacy of Jewish Settlements - by Jerold Auerbach

If ancient history is on the side of Jewish settlements, international law ever since World War I reinforces their legitimacy.

Jerold Auerbach..
13 December '19..

“Most of my ethnic group,” New York Times columnist Paul Krugman recently wrote (evading his identity as a Jew), “understands that Trump is bad for the Jews.” Why? According to the paper’s Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement that the United States does not consider Israeli settlements to be a violation of international law was an unwarranted “political gift” from the Trump administration to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The truth of Pompeo’s statement was, to Halbfinger, irrelevant.

Such judgements — whether by publishers, editors, columnists or Jerusalem bureau chiefs — have long reflected the conventional Times wisdom that Jewish statehood is bad for Jews, especially assimilated American Jews, lest they be accused of divided loyalty. The problem with their reflexively negative response to the reality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria — the biblical homeland of the Jewish people — is that Jewish history and international law undermine their claim.

The Hebron tombs of the patriarchs and matriarchs, the most ancient Jewish holy site, are located in biblical Judea. King David reigned from Hebron before relocating his throne to Jerusalem. Samaria was the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel in the 9th and 8th centuries BCE. More than a millennium before the emergence of Islam, Jewish history was embedded in Judea and Samaria. Despite Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s absurd claim that Palestinians are descended from ancient Canaanites, “Palestinians” had yet to make their appearance as a distinctive people, nor would they until well into the 20th century.

If ancient history is on the side of Jewish settlements, international law ever since World War I reinforces their legitimacy.

(Continue to Full Column)

Jerold S. Auerbach is the author of Print to Fit: The New York Times, Zionism and Israel 1896-2016, published by Academic Studies Press.

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