Whose Jerusalem Is It?

A Christian, a Muslim and a Jew host a panel discussion on America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The punchline: the Jew is a critic, not a supporter, of Israel.

Any appearance of political and ideological balance at the event, which was held at the University of Winnipeg on February 28, 2018, was just that: an appearance, an illusion.

In addition to biased speaker selection, the event – dubbed “My Jerusalem” – took place on the Jewish holiday of Purim.

University of Winnipeg

B’nai Brith Canada asked the organizers to re-schedule it to a day other than a Jewish holiday. The organizers turned down this request.

B’nai Brith Canada also asked them to replace the Jewish speaker, Rabbi David Mivasair, with someone who did not think that Israel was an apartheid and criminal state. Again, the organizers said No.

The discussion went on as planned and some people at the event uttered anti-Semitic statements.

A complaint was lodged with the university, which duly investigated, confirmed that, yes, anti-Semitic statements had indeed been made, and apologized. The Algemeiner reported the apology and, in so doing, highlighted other aspects of the panel discussion.

Exactly what anti-Semitic statements were uttered? Neither the university nor B’nai Brith nor anyone else has (yet) provided specifics.

Also buried – although hiding in plain sight – is a brief historical note that the organizers prepared to publicize the discussion. It provides key insights into their intentions and tactics.

According to this publicity note, the 1947 United Nations partition plan “recognized the international nature of the City of Jerusalem, and called for it to be administered by the United Nations Trusteeship Council.”

Fair enough: the U.N. plan did call for Jerusalem to be a corpus separatum for ten years, followed by a referendum.

The background note then asserts that “for the next 70 years the international community recognized and supported the unique nature of Jerusalem.”

Then, thanks to President Trump, seven decades of harmony came to an abrupt end with the American announcement of the embassy move.

This potted history is potty. It omits the fact that, in 1947, the Palestinian Arabs rejected, and the Jews accepted, the U.N. partition plan.

It also overlooks Jordan’s brutal occupation of the holy city.

When the fighting ended in 1948, Jordan occupied eastern Jerusalem (including the Old City) and later annexed it.

Contrary to the 1949 cease fire agreement that Jordan signed with Israel, Jordan expelled the Jewish inhabitants from the Old City and denied access to the Jewish holy sites. Jordanian troops also destroyed synagogues and desecrated Jewish cemeteries.

No corpus separatum, no U.N. trustees, and also no Jews.

How did the rest of the world, which supposedly “recognized and supported Jerusalem’s unique significance”, respond to two decades of Jordan’s tyrannical occupation? The international community said nothing and did nothing. The publicity material for the panel discussion also says nothing.

In the 70 years since Israel’s creation and the Arab rejection of the U.N. partition plan, Jerusalem’s unique appeal to the three Abrahamic religions actually was honored–not by Jordan or any other Arab state or neutral institution but by Israel after the Jewish state wrested control of the entire city in 1967. Again, this information is not worthy of inclusion in the historical note.

With the inclusion of Rabbi Mivasair, the panel discussion could not be totally Judenfrei, but pro-Israel voices were effectively discouraged from attending.

From inception to implementation, this university-affiliated event was intellectually, academically and morally shabby.

Maybe, they hoped, no one would notice. They planned it so that no one would care.



About the Author
Robert Liebman is an American-born London-based freelance journalist who has written for most British national newspapers, and many magazines. As a graduate student he specialized in Jewish-American literature and wrote his doctoral dissertation on Norman Mailer. As a journalist in Britain, Robert's primary topic was real estate, while his main interests currently are Israel and the Second World War.
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