On Hanukkah, the Jewish people celebrate Israel ending the Greek occupation of Jerusalem and the restoring of Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem. The oil in the Menorah that stayed lit for eight nights was on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and below the Temple Mount is the Western Wall. If Democratic Rep. Andy Levin (Michigan) is celebrating Hanukkah he will be celebrating the restoration of Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem at a time that he is currently the lead sponsor of legislation in Congress to proclaim that the Temple Mount is actually in “Occupied Palestinian territory.”
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which decades later would become the Palestinian Authority, was formed in 1964, three years before the so-called Israeli “occupation” after the Six Day War.
In Article 24 of its original “National Covenant,” it states: “This organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberation, organizational, political and financial fields.”
In other words, from its inception, it had no interest in land that Israel won from Jordan in a defensive war in 1967 that was part of a joint Arab effort to destroy Israel. Its aim is and always has been to “liberate Palestine” – to destroy the Jewish state. This is why all efforts to reach a “two-state solution” have failed and continue to be doomed.
Israel’s legal right to east Jerusalem where the Temple Mount is located and which is celebrated on Hanukkah has always been clear. Nevertheless, Levin introduced J Street-sponsored “Two-State Solution Act” (HR 5344), which defines east Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” According to this attempt to rewrite history, the bill would counter the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which recognized a united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Levin’s proposed legislation has 38 Democratic cosponsors.
Ironically, not one is a member of the radical “Squad,” which considers the bill insufficiently anti-Israel. This means that an even greater number of Democrats share the false view that the Temple Mount and the Western Wall are in “occupied Palestinian territory.”
If Levin and his cosponsors’ vision for a Palestinian state were to be realized, this would mean the end of Jewish prayer at the Western Wall, as Jews do not enjoy freedom of worship in any Palestinian-Arab area. It would also lead to the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Jews from east Jerusalem.
The bipartisan consensus on supporting Israel has weakened dramatically. It is obvious that it is not due to a lack of Republican support, which is stronger than ever, but due to a J Street-inspired Democratic weakening of support for Israel as represented in the Levin legislation. The Levin bill is a repetition of the UN Resolution 2334 language that also described east Jerusalem as Palestinian territories, and the administration of former president Barak Obama abstained on that UN vote, eliciting, at the time, bipartisan outrage.
The Biden administration’s insistence on putting a US consulate for the Palestinians in Jerusalem in violation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act and Oslo 2 is in furtherance of the view of the Levin legislation that they do not recognize full Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. So too, is the Biden administration’s renewal of Obama’s policy not to veto all anti-Israel UN resolutions. Indeed, the Biden administration just abstained on the UN General Assembly resolution titled “Assistance to Palestine refugees.”
There has never been any basis for a concocted “right of return” for Palestinian Arabs. Take, for example, the first PLO president, Ahmad Shukeiri, who was born in Lebanon, and his successor Yasser Arafat, who later became the leader of the Palestinian Authority. Arafat was born in Egypt. Neither hailed from what is referred to as “Palestine,” so why would they have a right to “return” there?
The slogan “Free Palestine” like the term Palestine Liberation Organization does not mean “end the Israeli occupation.” It means “end Israel.”
J Street falsely claims they are a pro-Israel organization and Levin and the 38 cosponsors of this legislation are not pro-Israel either. The Levin legislation is the epitome of an anti-Israel legislation as is the Biden administration’s support for a US consulate to the Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem. At this time of Hanukkah where we celebrate the return of Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem 2,100 years ago, it is time for Democratic members of Congress to speak out for Israel and against these actions.
The writer, former president of the National Council of Young Israel, is an intellectual property attorney for the law firm of Weiss & Moy. The views expressed are the author’s, and not necessarily representative of NCYI.