Gerald Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral work in Middle East studies, has lectured on numerous university and other platforms. He has debated many of the best Arab and pro-Arab academics in public debates and on television. Mr. Honigman is widely published in academic journals, magazines, newspapers and other publications.
The following was the headline of NBC’s World News report on March 12th…
“Message … to the world: 99.8 percent of Falkland Islanders vote to retain British rule.”
No matter how many times this subject comes up, the irony never dissipates nor ceases to amaze. It would be funny if not so downright duplicitous.
It appears that the history of human habitation of Las Islas Malvinas, aka the Falkland Islands, was intermittent and goes back at least five centuries. Serious exploration and colonization of the archipelago did not take place until the 18th century, and arriving Europeans encountered no native population. At various times in history, the islands, off the Argentine coast, have been claimed by France, Great Britain, Spain, and Argentina. With the exception of latter, they sit thousands of miles away from those other claimants–in Great Britain’s case, over 8,000 miles from home.
It boggles the mind how imperial, colonial powers from afar can repeatedly stake claims to lands where they have no prior historical connections while at the same time taking Jews to task who assert that they have rights in lands in which their forefathers have called home for some four millennia.
The very word “Jew” comes from the land of Judea–and that, originally, from Judah, one of Jacob/Israel’s twelve sons.
No, this is not Zionist propaganda–unless the Roman conquerors of the land were Zionist propagandists. Open http://q4j-middle-east.com to see a Judaea Capta coin issued by Rome after the first revolt of the Judaeans–Jews–for freedom in 66-73 C.E. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from a contemporary Roman historian explaining this connection further:
It inflamed the emperor’s (Vespasian’s) ire that the Jews were the only nation who had not yet submitted…Titus was appointed by his father to complete the subjugation of Judaea…he commanded three legions in Judaea itself…To these he added the twelfth from Syria and the third and twenty-second from Alexandria…amongst his allies were a band of Arabs, formidable in themselves and harboring towards the Jews the bitter animosity usually subsisting between neighboring nations (Vol. II, Book V, The Works of Tacitus).
Not that British imperialism was worse than that of the French or Spanish (it was much more extensive), but Las Islas Malvinas became known as the Falkland Islands the same way that Judea and Samaria became renamed the “West Bank”…as a result of British imperial shenanigans.
As I am forced to remind too many folks who either simply don’t know or choose to remain ignorant, soon after the Ottoman Turkish Empire (which ruled most of the region for over four centuries) was defeated in World War I, in order to distinguish the western part of the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine from the Emirate of Transjordan which the Brits created in 1922 for their Arab allies on the east bank of the Jordan River (some 80% of the Mandate’s total area), the name “West Bank” came into use. This was further reinforced after Transjordan grabbed that non-apportioned area of the Mandate for itself after it invaded a re-born Israel in 1948. Holding both banks of the river, the Emirate renamed itself Jordan soon afterwards.
If there is a difference between such things as the Brits’ recent referendum and declaration of sovereignty over the Falklands and the Jews’ connections and claims elsewhere, it’s that long before there was a France, Spain, Argentina, or Great Britain, Jews were living, making history, and changing the world forever in the moral and spiritual legacy they left behind in Judea and Samaria.
A thousand years before Yeshua (Jesus), David was born in Bethlehem, was crowned King of Israel in Hebron, and had children there. He would later make Jerusalem his capital–over three millennia ago.
And a thousand years before David, Abraham made Hebron known to the world in the first place by purchasing a burial plot there for many of the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people.
Hannah dedicated her son, Samuel, to the service of G_d in the care of the High Priest, Eli, in Shiloh, and G_d renewed the promise of the Promised Land to Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, at Bethel.
In one of the most moving stories in the Hebrew Bible, Jacob would later make peace with his brother, Esau, at Penuel and by doing so was thus transformed by G_d into his higher moral self–Israel–in the process.
The oldest known version of Biblical scripture ever found was located in the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran in the Judean Wilderness, and the Jews held off the mighty Roman Empire for years at the fortress of Masada.
Regarding my Christian friends, does the Gospel of Matthew say that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea or Bethlehem of the West Bank?
The list goes on and on…
All of those places above are in Judea–where much of the world now insists that no Jew may live. Over one million Arabs can live without fear in Israel–the freest Arabs anywhere in the Middle East–but no Jew may live in Judea. Is there not something wrong with this picture?
Keep in mind that we are talking about Jews who indeed owned land and lived on the “West Bank” clear up until they were massacred by Arabs in the 1920s and 1930s. This is not just ancient history, and recall that the land in question was/is indeed non-apportioned territory of the original 1920 Mandate–where all the Mandate’s inhabitants had the legal right to live, regardless of Arab claims to the contrary.
When Jews dig in the soil of Judea, Samaria, and Israel–despite their forced exile, Diaspora, and Arabization of the land and its people after the Jihadi invasions of Muhammad’s successors in the 7th century C.E.–Jews continuously find their own roots and history. They are indeed home…
What do the Brits find when they dig on the Falklands? Where is the British Qumran, Hebron, Temple Mount, or Masada?
Okay, it’s true that, unlike the Falklands, the land in dispute between Jews and Arabs has been inhabited continuously for millennia, and the mix of peoples has varied over time. So, a territorial compromise is in order.
But, the plain fact is that the Falklands sit a few hundred miles off the coast of Argentina–and over eight thousand miles away from Great Britain. Yet the latter acquired them a third of Planet Earth’s circumference from London in the name of its own sovereignty, fought a war to retain them, and just conducted a referendum in which the Islanders’ loyalty to Great Britain was almost unanimously proclaimed.
Judea and Samaria are in Israel’s very backyard and have been an integral part of Jewish history for most of man’s recorded history.
Keep all of this in mind as more and more pressure is exerted upon Israel–even (or especially) by its friends–to make Judea and Samaria Judenrein.
The new Israeli government, being formed just as the American leader gets ready to make his first trip as President to the Jewish State, must insist upon a more just solution.
The framework for that solution has already been provided…decades ago. If followed, it will allow for a reasonable compromise over the lands in question.
In the wake of the June ’67 War, the architects of the final draft of UNSC Resolution 242 spent much time constructing this fair and balanced piece of wisdom. Israel’s leaders must have the backbone to insure that the justice built into it will not be abandoned.