West Bank Annexation: US Democrats, Groups warn Israel

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Ocasio-Cortez, Jewish students urge Trump administration to withhold US military aid if Israel annexes the West Bank.


A coalition of progressive Democratic politicians and Jewish groups are calling for withholding US military aid to Israel in response to planned annexation of Palestinian territories by Israel.

US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is gathering legislators’ signatures on a letter urging the Trump administration to take steps to block Israel’s planned annexation.

“The United States must remain committed to a future in which all Israelis and Palestinians live with full rights, dignity, and democracy,” Ocasio-Cortez and a dozen other legislators said in the letter.

“We therefore urge you to make clear to the Israeli government that such a move is unacceptable,” they said in the letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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‘Lower standard’
Five other letters are circulating in the US Jewish community demanding accountability for the Israeli government and concrete actions by US Jewish institutions if a planned annexation goes forward.

Those letters have drawn more than 3,200 signatures, according to IfNotNow, a US Jewish group that opposes the occupation.

“It is time to stop holding America’s number one recipient of military funding – Israel – to a lower standard than we hold all other countries, exempting it from consequences when it violates our most basic values,” said Emily Mayer, political director of IfNotNow.

The influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) promptly condemned the Ocasio-Cortez letter, saying in a tweet that it threatens the US-Israel relationship.

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Senator Bernie Sanders and other progressives who signed the letter issued statements opposing annexation in strong terms.

“I have long believed that the United States needs to engage in an even-handed approach toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Sanders said in a statement.

“We need a resolution that ends the Israeli occupation and enables a future of security, self-determination, and prosperity for both peoples,” Sanders said.

“Conditioning US aid is one of the tools we can use to help achieve this goal,” Sanders said.

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The US politicians said they would pursue legislation that would tie future US military aid – now $3.8bn a year – to human rights conditions and withhold funding for Israeli arms purchases.

‘Perpetuate and entrench’
Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian American, said the Netanyahu government uses aid “to formalise an apartheid system”.

US taxpayers are helping to “perpetuate and entrench human rights violations in Palestine, including limitations on freedom of movement, further expansion of illegal land theft, home demolitions, and cutting off access to critical resources like clean water,” Tlaib said.

The letters and statements reflect a widening rift between the progressive and establishment wings of the US Democratic Party over support for Israel. While critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, leading Democrats like presidential candidate Joe Biden have been reluctant to condition US military support for Israel on changes in policy.

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In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz last week, more than 190 House members voiced “deep concern” about the annexation plans but stopped short of threatening to withhold US military support.

“We understand that historically, US refusal to use its leverage – as we would do with other countries – has enabled a right-wing annexationist agenda to succeed in Israeli politics in the first place,” said Zoe Goldblum, a Democratic political organiser and former student leader at J Street, a pro-Israel advocacy group.

“We want lawmakers to know that young Jews are behind them,” she said.

Support for Israel within the Democratic party has been shifting as newer politicians have come into office.

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Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, known in the US Congress as “The Squad” for their progressive stances, won election in 2016 and have been sharply critical of Trump administration policies towards Israel.

“Unilateral annexation is a violation of international law, a violation of Palestinian human rights, and directly counter to American values of democracy and self-determination,” Omar said.

Last week, progressive challenger Jamal Bowman won a primary election in New York, displacing Representative Eliot Engel, a 16-term member of the House who has been a strong backer of Israel and is currently chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Bowman, who has called for justice for Palestinians, was backed by Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders.


#Newsworthy…

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One thought on “West Bank Annexation: US Democrats, Groups warn Israel”

  1. Oppose Daf Yomi. Why? It fails to weigh that each sugia of Gemara learns as intact units. Raping the integrity of a sugia of Gemara – that’s Daf Yomi in a nut shell. The Talmud entails more than simply reading on a daily basis a page of Gemara. The sugiot of Gemara, they establish the basic order of the texts. Uprooting this basic order (logic requires order, Oral Torah stands upon the יסוד of logic. This Oral Torah logic system stands totally apart and different from the ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle who developed a completely different type of logic system format.

    The mitzva of lighting the lights of Hanukkah, Jews dedicate to HaShem the commitment to interpret the Written Torah strictly and only by relying upon the Oral Torah logic system. Rabbi Akiva’s chariot mysticism stands upon פרדס scholarship. This kabbalah stands upon the mitzva of קידושין. P’shat and Dr’osh a working couple; Remez and Sod, likewise a working couple), Daf Yomi totally ignores פרדס, the basis by which Tannaim and Amoraim, from Rabbi to Rav Ashi and Ravina based the “definition” of how to learn – known as Talmud!

    Obvious: that the premise of this mussar, has an immediate appeal perhaps comparable to a lead balloon. Alas most Yidden do not have the slightest clue that perhaps the greatest chiddush of the Talmud, that it sets up a common law legal system which establishes lateral justice. Not till the American revolution by which the revolutionaries ditched the vertical Star Courts legal system by requiring a jury of one’s peers! Just as the jury system, those people do not receive a salary from the State so too the Torts court beit din Judges do not receive their salary from the State – both lateral type systems of justice!

    Mashgiachim, based upon this chiddush, should not receive their salaries from the places they police for Kashrut. But alas because most rabbis fail to grasp the biggest chiddush expressed throughout the entire Sha’s, the beit din judges fail to properly assume their function as an expression of the Talmudic model of justice. Pursue justice sums of all the mussar from the NaCH prophets! G’lut comes upon the nation when we fail to rule the oath sworn lands with justice. The 3 judges of a Torts court: One functions in the role of prosecutor. The second functions in the role of attorney for the defense. Both these judges argue their case before the 3rd Judge.

    Contrast the vertical legal system – popular in all none Jewish legal systems across the planet. Those vertical legal systems, the State pays the salary of both the Judge and the Prosecuting Attorney. A person who receives a salary from the State, hence in a court hearing its the State vs. so and so. Talmud reflects the mussar given by the Yethro prior to the revelation of the Torah at Sinai. To rule the nation requires the establishment of a workable legal system, no one man alone can judge the social and civil disputes of an entire nation.

    The entire purpose of establishment of the 48 Levitical cities, 42 Yeshivot to train Federal Sanhedrin judges. The 6 cities of refuge each had a “Federal” small Sanhedrin court – headed by a Cohen of the house of Aaron. These cities too had a private altar. Prior to carrying out a Capital Crimes ruling, the Cohen of the small Sanhedrin court dedicated a korban upon the altar, to publicly testify that the judges of the Court heard the case in tohor – that they took no bribes. The dedication of a korban requires that the Cohen must be tohor on pain of כרת. The small Sanhedrin Courts functioned as the spokes of the Federal Court legal system.

    The word ברית does not mean “covenant”, the popular translation in the Xtian Bible. Rather this key term בראשית\ברית אש serves as the יסוד of the entire Torah! Brit means alliance, the entire first Book of בראשית addresses the brit alliance in the face of g’lut. Brit vs. g’lut – Adam, Noach, and the unborn children of Avram (brit of pieces) experienced g’lut. The theology of the apostle Paul, by contrast, makes a focus upon “original sin” as the basis by which mankind needs Jesus son of Zeus to take the sins of the world away!

    How do you define the “Big Picture” interpretation of the Torah? G’lut vs. Original Sin. Prior to the establishment of Israeli Independence, Jews lived our lives as stateless refugee populations scattered across the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe/Golden Medina. Today, Yidden rule our homelands and Xtianity rots in g’lut, waiting for the 2nd Coming of Jesus son of Zeus. Stateless refugees have no rights by definition. How does the Torah describe the creation of the world? The world – filled with anarchy and chaos. The expulsion of Jews from England, France, Spain, and Germany — not a time of chaos and anarchy?

    Logic stands upon Order. No logic system works without disciplined Order. דרוש compares cases comparable to how the Gemara “learns” the Mishna! דרוש functions as the יסוד of פשט, רמז, וסוד of פרדס scholarship. To weave a garment requires a warp and its opposing woof. Talmud contains halaka opposed by aggadita. To divorce the halaka from its “wife” aggadita, compare to a man who sends his wife away without a Get!

    Gaonim scholarship produced Midrashim. The latter organize (emphasis on Order) aggadic stories in the Order of the T’NaCH. The Talmud by contrast organizes aggadita around a specific Mishna! Aggadita makes a T’NaCH דרוש, comparable to the halakic cases the Gemara brings to learn the Case/Rule of a specific Mishna. The logic compares to a simple Algebraic equation. Anything done on one side of the equation requires an equal opposite upon the other side of the equation.

    We have now gone full circle. Just as the T’NaCH has sugiot, so too does the Talmud. The sugiot function, they give Order to both T’NaCH and Talmud. Learning T’NaCH and Talmud divorced from the Order established by the sugiot violates the dedication of the lights of Hanukkah – mentioned in the opening paragraph of this letter of mussar. Mussar, by the way, defined as דרך ארץ, and דרך ארץ means justice.

    No man can tell or dictate to another that he must walk in דרך ארץ, that he must dedicate his life to seek justice. Hence the sages of the Talmud admitted that they did not know how to give a תוכחה to other Jews. This P’shat of the Talmud stands upon the יסוד of דרוש mussar. All the prophets of the T’NaCH command mussar. Why? Because mussar, applies equally across the board to each and every generation who walks upon the face of this earth.

    ‘Light unto the nations’, does not refer to Goyim, but rather g’lut Jewry dwelling in Goyim lands. Why? Goyim have no brit with the God of Israel. Goyim, despite their efforts to pretend otherwise, they do not sit as the Judges of Israel. My wife Karen, her metaphor by which she describes the failure of family and friends to rebuke immodest behavior by those whom they love, as “pollyanna naivate”. The behavior of דרך ארץ mussar stands upon the יסוד of emotional maturity. Sometimes, easier for others to recognize tuma behavior, than self awareness while breathing tuma spirits.

    Weigh the ברכה:
    השיבנו אבינו לתורתך, וקרבנו מלכנו לעבודתך, והחזירנו תבשובה שלמה לפניך: ברוך אתה ה’, הרוצה בתשובה.
    How does the NaCH learn the k’vanna of this blessing?מלכים א יט:י. ויאמר קנא קנאתי לה’ אלהי צבאות כי עזבו בריתך בני ישראל את מזבחתיך הרסו, ואת נביאיך הרגו בחרב, ואותר אני לבדי, ויבקשו את נפשי לקחתה.On the surface this statement, exceptionally difficult to understand based upon the p’sukim
    מלכים א יח:ד. ועבדיהו היה ירא את ה’ מאד וכו’.
    How could Eliyyahu declare that he alone lived as a prophet? The NaCH has Eliyyahu repeat his obtuse statement a second time to emphasize its inherent lack of clarity. What exactly burdened the heart of Eliyyahu? Contrast the language employed by ישעיה opposed by the similar language by which the prophet ירמיה conveys a matter of the heart.
    עמנו אל כנגד כי אתך אני.

    The former validates the harshest of times, but that language equally conveys a social togetherness, an optimism that the mussar commandment of the prophet – heard and accepted by both the king and others. The language of the latter communicates a lonely bitter isolation, an anguish of spirit and a depth of depression. The language that Eliyyahu addresses his vision of HaShem directly resembles the language spoken by ירמיה; it contrasts with the assumption that a child or wife would obey their father or husband, if either vowed or sworn an oath.

    Eliyyahu could not rely upon an Ovadyahu to deliver him from Izevel. The stark bitterness of ירמיה, that tuma spirits so dominated the Cohen people that they simply lacked the heart to do t’shuva; anymore than Izevel could suddenly prize the absolute necessity for justice.

    Yidden mourn during this period known as the 9 days. Easier to sit on low stools and decry the destruction of buildings made of wood and stone weeping in an inverse pollyanna spirit, than to learn tohor middot and dedicate as a holy korban unto HaShem our commitment to walk in דרך ארץ in how we behave and interact with family and friends. Shalom requires trust. No trust no shalom.

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