Does “Palestine” Exist?
Two weeks ago, a local New York City Councilman named Kalman Yeger noted on Twitter that "Palestine does not exist." That statement, controversial as it is, is grounded in fact — in the sense that the United Nations Security Council, the only UN body capable of establishing international law through binding resolutions, has never conferred legal status to "Palestine," and never accepted "Palestine" as a UN member state. In 2012, the UN General Assembly by a majority vote granted the "State of Palestine" non-member observer status.
General Assembly resolutions have no binding legal authority. In fact, the United Nations charter which spells out the powers of the General Assembly does not convey rule-making powers to that body. As such, the UNGA’s 2012 vote amounts to meaningless nomenclature that does not change the legal status of "Palestine." Moreover, the United States and most of the Western world does not recognize an independent, amorphous entity called "Palestine."
Following the British government’s decision to terminate its mandate over the area referred to by Jews as "Eretz Israel" (Land of Israel) and to Arabs as "Palestine," the UN General Assembly voted to partition the territory on a roughly 50-50 basis into Arab and Jewish states. The Jews accepted the 1947 UNGA Partition Plan whereas the Arabs rejected it outright.
The Arab view was that "Palestine" was holy Muslim soil and that the Jews were not entitled to a centimeter of it. Had the Arabs accepted the UNGA Partition Plan, the "State of Palestine" would have come to fruition and the borders between the Jewish and Arab states would have been finalized and recognized as international boundaries under international law. That course of action never materialized. Arab gangs and militias backed by the Arab world at large and former SS officers who were welcomed and received safe haven in Arab lands immediately began attacking Jewish targets. In what has become a familiar pattern, the Jews counter-attacked and defeated their Arab enemies.
The victorious Israelis expanded their territorial size while Jordan seized east Jerusalem and Judea & Samaria (West Bank) and the Egyptians seized Gaza. Nineteen years later, Egypt, Jordan and Syria attacked Israel again in a failed effort to accomplish what they could not in 1948. The war ended once again in humiliation for the Arabs. Judea & Samaria, east Jerusalem, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan Heights fell to Israeli forces in six days.
Yeger’s factually accurate statement instantly raised a firestorm, and leading the charge was the foul-mouthed, Farrakhan-supporting Linda Sarsour. Sarsour is an antisemite to her core and her litany of antisemitic vitriol is well documented. She routinely uses phrases like "Jewish media" and "white Jews" in an effort to marginalize and denigrate her critics. Sarsour accused Yeger of engaging in "bigotry."
This is Sarsour’s modus operandi. She attempts to shut down and stifle debate by referring to her opponents as "bigots," "racists" and "Nazis." It’s an all too common practice fine-tuned by the radical Left. No effort is made to engage in civil discourse and debate the facts. Instead, the opposition is smeared with pejoratives and baseless labels.
In editorials on the subject, the New York Daily News and the New York Post both noted that Yeger’s comments had a factual basis and defended his right to engage in free speech. The enemies of free speech succeeded in conflating hate speech with legitimate, fact-based speech.
Despite this, Council Speaker Corey Johnson demanded an apology from Yeger and threatened to boot him from the Council’s immigration committee unless one was forthcoming. Yeger stood his ground and noted that he had no reason to apologize. Johnson followed through with his threat and removed Yeger from the committee. In so doing, Johnson sided with the Jew-hating Sarsour and concurrently sent a chilling message to proponents of free speech; if you engage in politically incorrect speech, even if that speech is fact-based, you will be sanctioned. In the world of the Left, the only speech that is tolerated is one that conforms to Leftist ideology. All other speech is deemed "hate speech."
Meanwhile, Ilhan Omar, the freshman democratic congresswoman from Minnesota, who flirted with numerous antisemitic tropes involving Jewish hypnotic powers, Jewish money and Jewish dual loyalties, still maintains her seat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. We are witnessing the rapid decay of the Democratic Party and its troubling descent into Corbynism.
[ Ari Lieberman ]