November 15, 2019

Letters to the Editor: Response to U.N. Resolution

Response to U.N. Resolution

Rob Eshman’s column (“2017, Meet 1967,” Jan. 6) falsifies Israel’s history and wrongly asserts that anti-Israel United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2334 “supports the State of Israel” and doesn’t change longstanding policy.

First, Eshman wrongly characterizes the 1967 war as a “pre-emptive strike” with regard to the “West Bank” and “East Jerusalem” In fact, after Israel begged Jordan to remain out of the 1967 war, Jordan attacked and shelled Israel. To defend itself from the Jordanian assault, Israel retook eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Notably, San Remo, the League of Nations and Mandate, and U.N. Charter Article 80 lawfully designated these areas for the Jewish homeland — but Jordan illegally occupied eastern Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria for 19 years after Jordan attacked the Jewish state in 1948. 

Second, Eshman wrongly calls Hebron an “Arab city.” Hebron is the world’s oldest Jewish city, and is the site of Abraham and Sarah’s purchased burial place, David’s anointment as king, and longstanding Jewish communities — until Arabs slaughtered the Jewish inhabitants in the 1929 Hebron massacre.

Third, Eshman mischaracterizes UNSC Resolution 242 (adopted in 1967) and President Lyndon Johnson’s and succeeding U.S. policy. Resolution 242 does not call for Israel to give up “all” lands or any specific area such as eastern Jerusalem.  Resolution 242 entitles Israel to “secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force” — and free from claims and belligerency — and only contemplates Israel withdrawing from some territories as part of a peaceful settlement. President Johnson called an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines “a prescription … for renewed hostilities.” U.S. policy has never demanded a total Israeli withdrawal to the indefensible pre-1967 lines (the 1949 Armistice lines). 

Resolution 2334, which insists upon the indefensible 1949 lines and fails to guarantee Israel secure and recognized borders, is thus a huge change in U.S. policy that gravely harms Israel. 

Morton A. Klein, President Zionist Organization of America

Rob Eshman responds: My friend Mort Klein corrects errors I didn’t make. First, I said the Six-Day War, not any particular battle, began with a pre-emptive strike. I didn’t question Israel’s rights or motives in defending itself in 1967. Second, Hebron is a city of 163,000 Muslims and 500 full-time resident Jews. That’s why I called it an Arab city. If all that matters is history, the Tongva tribe should be deeded all rights to Los Angeles. Third, I never said, and don’t believe, Resolution 242 calls for Israel to trade “all” land. The language in English is clear that the amount of land will be up to the parties involved. Finally, UNSC Resolution 2334 does not insist on 1949 lines. It supports any borders “agreed by the parties through negotiations.”

But Mort and I know each other’s arguments well. He believes Israel must maintain the status quo until better conditions for eventual negotiations or unilateral actions evolve. I believe a negotiated settlement, sooner rather than later, is in Israel and America’s best interests. As to who, ultimately, is correct, I wouldn’t presume to know for certain.

As my father said more than 40 years ago, the raison d’etre for the U.N. Security Council is to condemn Israel. Although the U.N. does good work in other aspects, I now agree with my father about the Security Council — and Israel is the only country that can never be on it.

The recent vote against Israel destroyed the high approval rating for President Obama in the American Jewish community.

Edward Gilbert, Studio City

I just read the four recent views on the U.N. (including Rob Eshman’s well done piece). I congratulate you on presenting this balanced series (so rare these days). I have been following this issue closely and have read Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech in its entirety. I sincerely appreciate the reporting by you and your colleagues. I think you do the Jewish community a great service by the way you handle such complex issues.

Roberta Rosenthal Kwall, Raymond P. Niro Professor ,DePaul University College of Law

Let Israelis Decide

Israelis likely will not reach the same conclusion as Rob Eshman that if J Streeters are “kapos,” so are half of all Israelis (“Chanukah, Trump and David Friedman,” Dec. 23). Disdain for J Streeters is not because they favor a two-state solution; it is because they deign to believe they know what is better for Israel than do Israelis. Moreover, it is because they petition the U.S. government to impose that policy.

Events show that most Israelis do not favor J Street intervention. It supported U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which appalled nearly all Israelis. 

Israelis know the difference between choosing a two-state solution on their own and being forced into it by an American “Zionist” group.

Steven Teitelbaum via email