Valerie Sobel
Valerie Sobel

Israel vs. the world…again

In the court of public opinion, two familiar parties are at it again: the plaintiff – the world, the defendant – Israel. The case has been tried with every conflict between Palestinians and Israelis since the invention of Palestine as an occupied land. The outcome is always the same.

Hamas, Gaza’s officially elected Palestinian government, has never needed a special occasion to blitz Israel with missiles and send Jewish children into bomb shelters.  But who is Hamas, exactly? A terrorist organization, as formally designated  by United States and the 27-member European Union.
Yet the progressive narrative today has married this terrorist machine’s onslaught of terror to property evictions in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.  For convenience of perpetuating hatred against Israel, and no other reason.
Everyone, quickly and on queue,  jumped onboard to bash Israel.  BBC and CNN made sure to feed misinformation into the heads of Israel haters everywhere who only need the mere mention of Israel to lift up their “Free Palestine” signs.
What the mainstream media delivered is unvetted, undiscerning justification for the usual visceral condemnation of Israel. Social media, the gathering outhouse for the young and the intellectually lazy, has become the official publicist and press for everything “Palestine”.  They’ve swallowed all the lies hook, line and sinker to become the tongue lashing army for justice and human rights Hamas always knew they would be.
What we have in Sheikh Jarrah is exactly the opposite of what media paints and Israel-hating sheeple sharpen their knives on.
What began was an ordinary property dispute between private parties and had nothing to do with their ethnicity and everything to do with basic property law.  Both parties are Israeli citizens with exactly the same legal rights and responsibilities under the law.   Here is the history of the dispute notoriously antisemitic BBC, CNN and CBC will never lay out.
Supreme Court of Israel, which has always been stacked with Arab justices like George Karra, Miriam Naor and Salim Joubran, ruled on the legal ownership of eight (only eight!) properties in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
The Jewish claimants’ ownership of these few plots of land has been confirmed repeatedly in court, following laws that apply equally to all Israeli citizens. The case before the court is the issue of Israeli citizens who have not paid rent in those properties for half a century. They happen to be Palestinian. The courts have tolerated this lawlessness for five long decades and never evicted the tenants.  Too much accommodation and humanity that would never be extended to Jewish Israelis in the same circumstances.
The owner of the said properties is an Israeli corporation whose chain of property title is documented back to the original purchase in 1875.  The owners happen to be Jewish.
From 1875 until 1948, the neighborhood now known as Sheikh Jarrah was home to Jews and Arabs alike.  In 1948 Jordan invaded Israel, occupied half of Jerusalem, and expelled all Jewish inhabitants, seizing all their property.  Unmitigated ethnic cleansing – no different than the entire Arab world expelling 900,000 Jewish citizens from their homes shortly after the establishment of Israel.
In the years when Jordan occupied Israel, it transferred property titles of seized Jewish homes to Palestinians.  Exactly as Germans did when they put Jews on cattle cars in the 1940s.
In 1967 Israel reunited Jerusalem and ended the Jordanian occupation of indigenously Jewish city.  Now it had to decide what to do with the title-transferred confiscated Jewish properties.
Accommodation took place again: in cases of properties where Jordan officially switched title from Jewish-owned to Palestinian, Israel never reversed course and respected the new titles,  even though they were the spoils and gifts from ethnic cleansing of Jews from their own land and property.   Israel resisted restitution out of sheer humanity for the lucky new inhabitants.
Where title had never been transferred and remained rightfully Jewish, Israel confirmed the return of those properties to their owners.  The law at hand is entirely identity-neutral.
Jordan evicted Jews, stole their property and reassigned it to Palestinians. No one has evicted anyone or ruled against this ethnic-cleansing best practice.  Where Jordan retained ownership in Jewish hands, courts reaffirmed ownership, no more no less.
Discrimination did take place, certainly. And it was done by Jordan against the rightful owners, the Jews, to the financial advantage of the Palestinians.
This case has now been in front the courts for four decades.  At each legal stage, the courts have ruled in favor of the owners.  In the latest legal battles, the courts ruled that four of the defendants had no legal rights to the property and were, in fact, squatters. The other four had never paid rent for 50 years.
Had these illegal tenants paid rent, Israeli courts would’ve upheld a shield against their eviction under the umbrella of “protected tenants”. They refused to comply.
So what we have here is a simple legal issue of tenants refusing to pay the landlord. This law is clear and undisputed, unless the owners are Jewish, Israeli-God-forbid, and being tried in the court of public opinion.
Western progressives, human rights groups, the media, and every vacuous social media social justice warrior will have you ignore history, ignore legal title and fifty-year-long tenant non-compliance.  They want your focus only on the Jewishness of the title holders of the country they loathe.
In the usual go-to of identity politics and race cards, up to 200 progressive groups have noted the insufferable Jewish identity of the plaintiffs multiple times.  Referred to the owners as “settlers”, to suggest that Jews can’t live where Jews aren’t allowed, a familiar platform of Nazi Germany.
J Street, a left-wing Jewish organization, has gone as far as to suggest that the court ruling is a way to “Judaize primarily Palestinian neighborhoods”.  On the heals of their famous defamatory letters about President Trump, the Reform movements are tripping over themselves with Israel condemnation letters. That movement, too, is a gift of Germany, circa late 19th century.
This fabricated controversy, courtesy of very effective Palestinian advocacy for immediate dissemination by the media, is indiscriminately consumed by the general populace.  Very few will note that this is a path to conserve Jordan’s ethnic cleansing of Jews from Jewish property and land.  Fewer yet will note that this is also a way to sever Jews from their history and any claim to their indigenous land and legal rights.  In other words, it is the same old antisemitic stance, disguised ever-so-cleverly, against the very existence of a Jewish state.
The objection to Jewish property rights is hardly a newsflash.  Only today it serves to fuel and fan rampant anti-Israel sentiment preferred by leftist politics of the ruling class.  Biden’s pathetic silence and the recent $300M gift into Hamas’ pockets is pure cheerleading of terror in Israel.   Optics and substance – hand in hand.
Today, the woke left compassionately claims that the law-breaking Palestinians (Israeli citizens), of the mere eight properties, have no where to go if evicted.  Yet that argument has never been heard for 900,0000 Jews after their gun-point-forced expulsion from Arab lands .  Exactly like Biden, they uphold their silence on the biggest Jewish loss of property and possession since Nazi Germany.
Outside of commemorative ceremonies for dead Jews, western sensitivities have never aligned with Israel or diaspora Jewry.  Israel, no matter how legitimate, how identity-blind and lawful, is and will remain a point of contention on its perceivably conditional existence.
Israel’s crime in Sheikh Jarrah? Respecting ethnic cleansing laws established by an occupying force and putting up with unhinged lawlessness.
The real story behind Sheikh Jarrah is not property rights and unremarkable Israeli law, but the spark needed to mobilize terrorism and turn the world into a familiar proponent of Jew-hatred and judge and jury on the very existence of the Jewish state.
About the Author
Valerie Sobel is an Economist, writer, philanthropist, and a pianist living in Canada.