You may not be familiar with the term Eretz Yisrael. Let’s look at a definition before we go any further here.

Eretz Yisrael is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the Torah, especially the books of Genesis and Exodus, as well as the Prophets. According to the Book of Genesis, the land was promised by God to the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and to the Israelites, descendants of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson. A literal reading of the text suggests that the land promise is (or was at one time) one of the Biblical covenants between God and the Israelites.

 

The definition of the limits of this territory varies between Biblical passages, specifically Genesis 15, Exodus 23, Numbers 34 and Ezekiel 47. Elsewhere in the Bible, this land is often referred as “from Dan to Beersheba”. The Land of Canaan is another Biblical name for this region. References to the land of Israel are also made in the New Testament, for example in Matthew 2:19-21.

 

The Israel of the Bible could be defined as a pretty large area, depending on what passage you like when trying to decide. But here is one interpretation (click for a larger view.)

Now you’re asking yourselves: what does this have to do with anything? And I’m glad you asked that question.

This has to do with the special election in New York last night that saw Bob Turner defeat David Weprin in a district held by the dems for over 80 years. There are a lot of issues to cover here, so let’s try going through them, one by one.

-The District is 95% white, heavily Orthodox Jewish, and aging. In 2008, the McCoot/Quitler campaign did much better here than they did in much of the rest of New York.

-Weprin is Jewish, which should have helped against Turner, a Roman Catholic. But Weprin favors same-sex marrage, which the vast majority of the District’s voters do not.

-Many of the voters polled expressed a desire to “send Washington a message” to “work together,” which would indicate that a whole lot of these people are getting their “news” from traditional MSM sources. You could not possibly think that sending another Rushpubliscum to Congress is going to persuade anyone to “work together” otherwise.

But the largest issue overshadowing everything else in this election seems to have been a deep dissatisfaction with the President’s policies towards Israel. Namely, that the President supports a 2-state solution to the Palestinian problem, a position that also happened to be held by 4 of his predecessors, including the most immediate one. Although the President has been nearly as slavish in his support of anything Israel does as any of his predecessors had been, for these voters, it just isn’t enough.

And these voters are dead wrong.

If you can stomach this rag at all, you know I haven’t been a big fan of the President’s policies. But not only do I agree with his position on the Israel/Palestine dispute, I don’t think he goes far enough. It is past time that someone drew a line in the sand with Israel, and forced them to start behaving in a manner that one would expect of a civilized, democratic state. They used to do that, you know; 15 years ago I would have argued that Israel was the only democratic state in the region.

I wouldn’t make that argument now. Far from it. A whole lot has changed in the last 15 years.

-Nonviolent protestors, Israeli Jew and Arab alike, are now routinely detained for protesting nonviolently.

-Thefts of Palestinian property by Israeli settlers in the occupied territories are overlooked by the authorities. In some cases, they are tacitly encouraged.

-The Israeli authorities regularly destroy the homes of Palestinians who are arrested for violent activities against the occupational authorities. This results, quite often, in innocent women, children, and elderly people being thrown out in the street with absolutely nothing. This policy resembles nothing so much as it resembles the “3 generations” policy of detaining 3 generations of a North Korean family, should even one member run afoul of the North Korean authorities.

-The Israelis have shot, and killed, nonviolent people trying to bring basic food and medical supplies to Palestinians in occupied Gaza by boat. As a result of this, Turkey has broken off diplomatic relations with Israel, and Turkish escort boats may well accompany the next attempt at humanitarian relief.

-The innocent children of Palestinian protesters are regularly detained, without notification, for days at a time, usually as the result of raids conducted in the hours after midnight. I don’t even have to tell you where this idea might have come from.

-Any Israeli citizen who calls for a boycott of Israel as a result of the continuing occupation of Palestinian territories is now a criminal, and could face fines and jail time.

There are a lot of other points that could be made here, and I’m sure you know what a lot of them are. The overriding theme here is that Israel under Bibi Netanyahu is turning away from its democratic roots, and towards a repressive, militaristic state where the gun is the law and dissent is treason. This is what the fringe right wing in Israel has wanted all along. The Israeli fringe, like our own fringe, is made up of religious zealots, who believe that God has given them the territory they call Eretz Yisrael. They would like to clean everything out of Eretz Yisrael that isn’t exactly what they want there. And with Bibi in charge, that seems to be what they aim to do.

This is not the time to be propping them up. They are only encouraged to be even more belligerent, and more repressive, when our politicians get down on their knees before them. Objecting to Israeli repressions and violence isn’t anti-Semitic in the least. It’s the right thing to do. Israel can’t be allowed to run roughshod over that part of the world any more than we can. The Turks, as a matter of fact, seem to have concluded that if nobody else will try to curb Israel, then THEY may well have to do it themselves.

How long will we stick with them? Will we still be there after the rest of the world is fed up enough to begin arming the locals? After China cuts us off because Israel attacked one of their local allies? Until we, ourselves, run out of money and implode?

Now is not the time to reinforce the “Israel does whatever it wants” policy. Now is the time to try to bring Israel back into the fold of civilized nations. Their future depends on it. Ours may well depend on it too.

 

 

 

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