Discussion of the Promised Land
October 14, 2000

From: Mesha Zalman <meshazalman@yahoo.com>
To: zevei@optonline.net <zevei@optonline.net>
Date: Saturday, October 14, 2000 2:34 AM
Subject: Rebutal

>     I too have no time to write to a person too dense
>to understand my arguments.

[ Dear Mesha Zalman:  Then why did you send me ten e-mail copies of this

  But, in view of
>Palestinian terrorism that has occurred in the Middle
>East, I feel that I owe it to you.

[ I appreciate that, but one copy would have been more than sufficient.]

>      Your reply states that you do not believe that
>God gave Jews the land (words say "allowing that that
>myth is true").

[ Yes, I happen to be a secular humanist, which is a nice word for atheist.
So the myth that I am allowing is that God exists in the first place, and
then on top of that, takes an active role in human affairs.  Now there are
people being copied on this who are devout Muslims, Christians and Jews; so
I did not want my personal point of view to enter the debate, therefore my
comment "allowing that that myth is true." ]

 Let alone the Jews, most Christian
>sects also believe this.

[ Well that just about proves my point, doesn't it. :-) ]

>     You further state that the "vast majority of Jews
>in the world lived OUTSIDE of Jerusalem."  This per se
>is illogical.

[ How can the fact that it is historically known that at the time of the
destruction of the second temple most Jews lived outside of Jerusalem be

  Why would Jews have their Temple in
>Jerusalem without Jews?

[ No one said that Jerusalem was DEVOID of Jews, only that the majority of
Jews at that time did not live there.  In fact, for most of the history of
the Jews, the vast majority have lived outside of Jerusalem, so what is your
point?   Why is there a Holocaust museum on the Mall in Washington DC when
the United States did not directly participate in the mass murder of the
Jews of Europe by the Nazis?  There was no government sanctioned pogrom
against Jews who were citizens of the United States during World War II as
there was against Japanese Americans who were placed in Concentration Camps
here (albeit not as malevolent as the Nazi camps).  Why by the same token is
there no Museum on the Mall to the U.S.'s egregious treatment of the Native
American Indians, or the African Slaves who were the backbone of the U.S.
economy for the first half century of its existence?  Hmmm?  ]

 That is like saying that the
>vast majority of Calthoics live outside the Vatican
>State so the Vatican State is not Catholic.  Just
>because a majority of people of a religion do not live
>solely in that place does not deny that land their

[ Oh sure it does.  Being a member of a particular religion does not confer
citizenship automatically on that particular person.  As for Catholics, I
don't think 800 million of them could fit inside the Vatican.  Moreover,
although the Vatican is the seat of the Catholic religion, no one expects
Catholics to give allegiance to the Independent Vatican City State, over
their own country.  That in fact was an argument that was maliciously used
against Sen. John F. Kennedy when he ran for the Presidency of the United
States - That he was "a papist", and would take his orders from the Pope
rather than from the American People.
   On the other hand, Israel by law, designates itself as The Jewish State,
and confers upon those who observe Judaism, the right to enter that state as
fully enfranchised nationals, virtually instantly, over anyone else, even
people who have lived there for quite a long time, who are not of the Jewish
religion.  The absurdity of this was pointed out by you yourself, when you
indicated that if someone converts from another religion to Judaism, they
may then "return" to Israel, even though they had never been there at all. ]

When the Temple was destroyed by the Romans,
>Jews were either forceably exiled, taken as slaves, or
>lived there in smaller numbers. Just the fact that the
>Jews lived there after the destruction is still the
>legal basis of enduring possession.

[ Please site the international law that gives that legal basis.  Under your
reasoning, the native American Indians who were not killed by the European
settlers, and their descendants have a priori right to take possession of
North America back from all those who have come here.  The same would hold
true for South America, Australia, New Zealand, Finland and other places on
the planet.]

 Unless you are an
>illiterate attorney, this IS a basis of property

[ Once again please cite the statute.  By the way citing the Bible is
insufficient as a deed, since one may cite competing holy texts to dispute
that. ]

 As absurd as it sounds, there is truth
>to the adage that "possession is 9/10ths of the law."

[ I'm glad you mentioned that.  In 1917 when the Balfour Declaration was
formulated and presented to Lord Rothschild by Lord Balfour (without the
participation in the formulation of said document by any Arabs), 9/10ths of
Palestine was inhabited by the "non-Jewish population". ]

>This is not a "Zionist" argument, it is a legal
>argument.  (By the tone of your reply, you seem to
>have some hatred of Zionists. Spread by the milk of
>some Palestinian mother's milk?)

[ I happen to be Jewish, sir.  So that makes me "self-hating", right?  As I
recall my mom didn't breast feed me, she used Formula.  However I was raised
to believe in secular democracy over the enfranchisement of one particular
group against another.  See that happens to be an American ideal which we
are still trying to live up to.  Israel does not even make the attempt to do
so as is patently evident by her Basic Laws.]

  In ancient times,
>the Jews built a nation there.  By 135AD Roman
>conquerers renamed the area Palestine.  It was later
>occupied by Arabs and Turks, but Jews still lived
>there.  Great Britain took control during WW1.

[ Well thanks very much for that capsule history.  I'm only just a bit
familiar with it. ]

>     While Israel doesn't have a constitution,

[ But in your prior message you said it did!  Shall I quote you?  My only
conclusion is that you do not know what you are talking about.  So what is
it, does Israel have a constitution or doesn't it?  Don't bother replying,
it's a rhetorical question.  Israel DOES NOT have a Constitution.  The
committee on the Constitution was placed on permanent and indefinite hiatus
by Ben-Gurion. ]

>government is based on laws passed by the parliament.
>Some of these laws were planned to form a written
>constitution someday.  But these FUNDAMENTAL laws may
>be changed or dropped only by a 2/3rds vote of the
>parliament.  This is a de facto form of a

[ I know that.  In as much as Israel follows the British structure rather
than the American Structure, it is not a major point except that you stated
categorically that it has a constitution (neither in fact does the UK).
However Israel's three most BASIC LAWS confer "national" status on Jews
alone.  Other citizens of Israel are NOT nationals.  This is entirely
different than every western democracy where citizenship and nationality are
one and the same.]

>The right of return in guaranteed by these Israeli
>laws.  (Your Alice in Wonderland reference to return
>is either pure ignorance or an attempt to be "cute" --

[ I'm always a cutie pie, girl. :-) ]

>some Jews did not have to return because they already
>lived there, others did have to return.  This right is
>based on Israeli law, period.)

[ Yes it is based on the Basic Law known as The Law of Return which is
racist on its face. ]

>     As for the Balfour Declaration, your views are
>wishful Arab views.

[ Are you aware of the fact that at that time in history the vast majority
of Jews in the world were anti-Zionist and deplored the Balfour Declaration.
This position was held by Jews ranging from Reform to Ultra-Orthodox.  My
views are not Arab views, they are my own considered views.  I never hold
"group" views.
To do so would be to abandon my own integrity as a "man of mind". ]

  Whatever the political reason for
>Britain to issue the Balfour Declaration, it does
>read, "His Majesty's Government view with favour the
>establishment in Palestine a NATIONAL HOME FOR THE
>JEWISH PEOPLE, and will use their best endeavors to
>faciliate the achievement of this object, it being
>clearly understood that nothing shall be done which
>may prejudice the civil and religions rights of
>existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the
>rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any
>other country."  Clearly, Israel is the national home
>for the Jewish people.  And the Jews there have
>allowed Arabs their civil and religious rights.

[ Hey, that's mighty white of them, dontcha think, massa? ]

>can vote (women were given the right to vote before
>they were allowed to do so in most Muslim nations),

[ Here is the typical non-sequitor Zionist argument. I.E; because many
Muslim nations are backward when it comes to enfranchisement, that therefore
makes Israel far better.  The fact that there are certain economic
advantages for SOME Arabs living in Israel (most do not have them) is the
"indoor-plumbing theory" of why the Arabs living in Israel should be happy
with their lot. ]

>they can own land,

[ How can they own land when 93% of the land is owned by either The Jewish
National Fund (Keren Kayemeth L'Israel) whose contractual covenant restricts
ownership to "the Jewish people", only Jews may lease land from the JNF, and
non-Jews are not permitted to either sublease or work on that land, by
contractual covenant?  Or by the State which owns the balance.  Of course
since the JNF is a subdivision of the WZO/JA which by two other Basic Laws
passed by the state, are in fact arms of the state, it really makes no
difference to which body the land is assigned to.  Arabs still can't own any
of it. ]

 they have free speech (Arabic
>newspapers and other media exist), they have the right
>to practice their religion, etc.  They are not
>deprived of the court system.

[ Yes, so did the people living in the Soviet Union.  They had the right to
say anything they wanted..........once.
  Moreover ALL papers in Israel undergo military censorship, which has
admittedly been relaxed in recent years but it still exists, unlike other
"democracies".   By the way what is the Arab religion?
  As for that last bit about not being deprived of the court system, you
make me laugh.  Palestinians in the occupied territories have been arrested
"from time immemorial", just to bring Joan Peters into this; on no charges,
for indefinite periods, without right to counsel and without writ of Habeas
Corpus. ]

  They are, however, not
>allowed to serve in the armed forces.

[ Why not? Aren't they citizens with equal rights?  I don't think that's
fair.  Since they can't serve in the Armed Forces by law, they are then
deprived of all the benefits that accrue to IDF veterans from the state.]

 While there are
>some deprival of civil liberties in times of national
>crisis, this is true in most civilized countries,
>including the United States.

[ I don't recall the last time the U.S. instituted marshall law, however it
seems as if Israel operates on a constant state of "national crisis".  So
much for being normal. ]

 What also was glossed
>over was that the Balfour Declaration was endorsed by
>the League of Nations and gave Britain a mandate over

[ I didn't gloss over it. I stated it rather clearly, and also pointed out
that the Balfour Declaration was incorporated into the Mandate.  The
Declaration was endorsed as part of international recognition of giving the
mandate to Palestine to Great Britain; even though in reality they gave it
to themselves since the truth is that Britain together with France virtually
controlled the League, since the U.S. Senate did not approve Wilson's
fervent desire to become part of it.]

  While Arabs falsely believed that the
>declaration allowed a homeland ONLY if Arabs agreed to
>it, this was not the wishes of either Britain or the
>League of Nations.  There was no need to consult with
>the Arabs -- Britain controlled the land under the

[ So therefore, native populations have no say in their own destiny?  It is
all a matter of power politics and international agreements between
colonialist and imperialist powers? ]

  But then lets go a bit further.  Are you
>telling me that Jordan had the right to prevent
>Israeli Jews from worshiping at the Western Wall while
>they were in control of Jerusalem?

[ This action was taken because during the time that this was prevented,
Israel and Jordan were still officially in a state of War and so the
entrance of Jews from the self declared Jewish State was deemed not to be in
Jordan's best interests during a state of war. ]

  Then Jordan was
>also in violation of the Balfour Declaration.  Why did
>it take you so long to admit this?  And Arabs, if they
>adhere to the Balfour Declaration, should not have
>permitted the destruction of religious sites (Jacob's

[ You seem to hang a lot of your argument on a bilateral document that was
formulated without the knowledge of Arabs, or their approval, and since they
were the majority inhabitants, I find that more than a bit absurd.
Moreover, the Arabs have never recognized the legal validity of the B.D. and
rightly so.  Therefore how could Jordan be in violation of something it does
not even recognize.
   As for the incidents based on utter hatred going on right now, which by
the way I absolutely deplore; you have not mentioned that Jews have burned
mosques to the ground in Nazareth, Tiberias and elsewhere during these past
weeks.  So let us not play the tit-for-tat game. It serves no useful
   Frankly as an atheist, in my own opinion, if every religious institution
in the world were torn down, the world would be a far better place, but
that's just my opinion.  Of course I could be wrong, right Dennis Miller? ]

>     As for the argument that Israel would never be
>admitted to the UN today, you are badly misinformed.
>Probably the only countries that would veto their
>admission would be Moslem countries, and that is based
>on hatred and jealousy..  If you would look around,
>there is a trend to favoring democratic republics,
>which Israel is.  Monarchies and dictatorships are out
>of favor with world opinion now.

[ So are countries that practice a blatant form of racism, and somethng
tells me you would be hesitant to put it to a vote.  I'd put it to a vote
tommorrow.  In fact, I think it more than likely that Israel will be tossed
out of the General Assembly just as the former Apartheid Union of South
Africa was, and the former Yugoslavia was.
I think this might even happen during this session of the GA. ]

>     On the statement of the rejection of "chosen
>people" by Jews themselves, perhaps you better become
>more informed about Judaism.

[ Perhaps, although two of my relatives are rabbis. One was the head Jewish
chaplain of the U.S. Navy. I'm sure you would NOT like to hear his opinion
of Zionism.  His name was Joshua Goldberg, he died about two years ago at
the age of 101. z'tl. The other one is a woman, is that a shanda to you?]

 According to the Bible,
>Abraham led his tribe to Canaan (later called Israel
>and then Palestine) about 4,000 years ago.

[ Really?  Actually you had the southern kingdom of Judea, and the northern
kingdom of Israel, that except for a brief period under the reigns of David
and Solomon were more often than not at odds with each other.
By the way, can you prove that Abraham actually existed as a human being.
Moreover he did not lead his "tribe" he actually only led the members of his
family who are listed in the Bible.  But then that is all contingent on
tribal memory and whether or not Abraham is nothing more than an archtype,
rather than a patriarch. ]

 In the
>Bible, God promised the land to Abraham and his heirs,

[ Yes YHVH keeps promising this ad nauseum in Genesis, but always attaches
conditions to the promise.]
> This is viewed by Jews as their spiritual birthplace
>because Judaism developed there.

[ Historically, modern rabbinic Judaism developed in the "diaspora",
specifically in Babylon after the Temple Priesthood of the Zadokites was
destroyed.  Of course the Zadokites were a greedy lot, and forbade all other
temple priests in the combined kingdoms from obtaining alms from the people.
Thus you were left with an itinerant class of defrocked priests who were not
very happy with their situation. ]

  Orthodox Jews in
>other countries still pray to return to Palestine.

[ Yes, "Next year in Jerusalem, but this year in Cancun".  I'm familiar with

>Conservative Jews, like me, have NOT rejected the idea
>that we are the chosen people or that this is our
>land.  Even Reformed Jews

[ It's Reform not ReformED. It is and always has been present tense.  In
other parts of the world it is known as Progressive Judaism.  That you as an
individual have not rejected such a notion is your own personal p.o.v. but
the movement as a whole, especially the egalitarian wing has greatly
de-emphasized it. ]

 with few reservations still
>believe this as I have attended Reformed services

[ No, you atttended ReforM services, and since you are not that familiar
with Reform even to the point of consistently misstating its name, I will
tell you categorically that "chosenness" is NOT part of Reform doctrine.
How some ill-informed individuals feel on the matter, within the movement is
their own problem.]

  You need to know more about Judaism before you
>go flying off at the mouth with false statements.

[ Oh, ok. I'll keep that in mind. ]

>for Jews for Jesus, this is hardly mainstream Judaism!

[ No, actually it is Christianity.  If one accepts Jesus as the Messiah (the
Christ) then by definition one is a Christian.]

> Both Jews and Arabs trace their ancestry back to
>Abraham.  Jews trace their descent through Isaac,
>Abraham's son. The Arabs trace back to Ishmael,
>Isaac's half-brother.

[ Now, note carefully how you phrased that sentence.  "...Isaac, Abraham's
son." but "Ishmael, Isaac's half brother."  First of all, Ishmael was ALSO
Abraham's son. In fact he was the Elder son, and by the rules of inheritance
of the time, Primogeniture should have conferred all of Abrahams possessions
upon his death on Ishmael.  However Sarah in a fit of jealously had Abraham
expel Hagar and Ishmael into the wilderness.
How'm I doin' with bible history, Mesha? ]

  Both Isaac and Ishmael were
>rivals to inherit the land that God had promised
>Abraham.  Abraham chose Isaac as his heir after being
>told to do by God.

[ Yes, that's the Hebrew Bible version. Have you read the Qu'ran?  This is
why holy texts are not deeds to anything. ]

  This was Abraham's land to give
>and he chose Isaac.  Arabs who also revere Abraham,
>should abide by his wishes.

[ How laughable you are.  You want people in the 21st century c.e. to abide
by the wishes of someone who may or may not have lived four millenia ago?
Should I become a rabbi because my great-great-Maternal grandfather thought
all male descendents should be so? ]

>     The right of even a recent convert to "return" to
>Israel is because under Judaic Law, a convert is just
>as much a Jew as an existing Jew.  (A few  rabbis even
>view a convert as more of a Jew because the convert
>had to actively choose his religion rather than it
>being handed down to him.)

[ No kidding?  I knew that.  But now since you are a Conservative, you of
course realise that in Israel Conservative conversions are not recognized if
performed inside Israel.  They are however recognized if performed outside
Israel.  This of course has no religious basis whatsover but is purely
political.  Are you aware that the only purported western style democracy in
the world where all branches of Judaism are not treated equally is The
Jewish State.  Do you find that at least a tad ironic?  ]

>     As for a Jewish child, Jewish Law holds a child
>is only Jewish if it was born of a Jewish mother.  It
>is not carried by the father   This is true of
>Orthodox and Conservative Judaism.

[ But it is not true of Reconstructionism or Reform where a child is
considered Jewish if raised as such if only the Father is Jewish, in
addition to a situation where only the mother is Jewish.
  See that is why Judaism is vibrant in a free country, and that's what
makes horse races. ]

>     So now you are buying the argument that Ariel
>Sharon is a murderer.  I never saw any picture of him
>killing anyone.

[ Well that would be dumb wouldn't it. I mean to actually have someone make
a film of the raid on Qibya or on el-Bureij, or Sabra and Shatilla.  What
kind of stupid answer is this?  What I find so typical is that apologists
for the Zionist project such as yourself, always are so adept at pulling non
sequiters out of a hat.

Did Jeffrey Dalmer take pictures while eating?  ]

 He may have allowed Christians in
>Lebanon to massacre some Palestinians in Lebanon, but
>to the best of my knowledge he never pulled the

[ Well frankly sir, I find your "knowledge" egregiously wanting.  Now John
Gotti never had to pull a trigger either after he became a made man; he had
others to carry out his work.  That by the way under U.S. law did not free
him from the crime of murder, as his trial proved. So what is your point? ]

  That is the same argument that President
>Arafat is a murderer because some of his Palestinian
>police killed Jews.

[ Yes, I agree.  You can absolutely make that argument validly.]

>     Your argument that taking land as a result of a
>war is illegal according to the Geneva IV is further
>basis for Israel having the right to reclaim
>Jerusalem.  The land was forcefully taken from Jews as
>a result of a war with the Romans.  Therefore, if
>Israel is obligated to return land it took as a result
>of a war, Jews have the right to reclaim land taken
>from it as a result of a war.  What is the Arab basis
>of their claim to the land?  Precisely because they
>conquered the land in 600 AD and have lived there

[ Yes, that's a pretty strong claim.]

 Precisely the reasons you say Israel has no
>right to the land (won in war and living there is not
>a basis of a claim.).  But the Jews have lived their
>2000 years or so longer than the Arabs.
>     Your argument that "spoils of war" is passe?  The
>basis of Islam law is based on the Old Testament law
>of retaliation (an eye for an eye. . .) while "modern
>law" threw out this concept years ago.  It is nice to
>be able to pick and choose which laws you wish to
>observe and which you do not.

[ You mean just the way Conservative Jews do with Halacha? ]