Guardian

Guardian story characterizes Jerusalem’s Light Rail project as a violation of international law


A group of European immigrants settled in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem on the 27th of October 1700, and began building a synagogue. On the 27th of October, 1721, marauding Arabs burnt the synagogue and courtyard, destroying both.

In 1816, almost 100 years after the synagogue was first destroyed, Jews managed to obtain a license from the Turkish authorities in Kushta, annulling previous debts and permitting the rebuilding of the synagogue. It was inaugurated a second time in 1864.

The Synagogue was destroyed a second time by Jordanian forces after they attacked and expelled the Jewish population of the Old City in 1948, and erased all presence of Jewish history – a symbolic deed to express their victory in capturing the historically Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

On March 15, 2010, nearly 43 years after Israel reclaimed Jerusalem following the Six Day War the newly rebuilt Hurva Synagogue was dedicated.

On that date, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned the rededication of the Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem as a “war crime,” and called on EU member states to boycott Israeli goods in protest. 

On March 18th, 2010, my wife and I were married on the rooftop of the home of our rabbi, which stands next to and overlooks the newly restored Hurva Synagogue.

We now joke that our marriage was, arguably, an accessory to a war crime and a violation of international law.

This came to mind upon reading Harriet Sherwood’s latest post for the Guardian, Jerusalem’s long-awaited light railway splits opinion“, which characterizes Jerusalem’s Light Rail project – which runs through the “East” and West” parts of the city, thus serving Arab neighborhoods, such as Shu’afat, as well as majority Jewish neighborhoods – as a violation of international law.

Phase One of Jerusalem's Light Rail Route

As I noted on July 6th – a post written after my participation in a test run of the Light Rail project – National Public Radio (NPR) and New York Times correspondents who also rode the Light Rail that day, and questioned Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, on whether the fact that the route runs though the East part of the city (serving Arab neighborhoods) was an impediment to peace, were parroting the specious argument that any Jewish presence in “East” Jerusalem was inherently illegal.

Of course, the mainstream media myth of “historically Arab” East Jerusalem is predicated upon the fact that “East” Jerusalem was only “Arab” after Jordanian forces ethnically cleansed every Jew from the territory they controlled after the 1948 War – a racist segregation of the city between Jew and non-Jew which only ended  in 1967.

I also noted polls indicating that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem DO NOT want to divide the city as part of any future peace agreement.

Sherwood’s characterization of Jerusalem’s Light Rail project as “illegal” is based on a quote by Omar Barghouti, a BDS activist currently studying at Tel Aviv University, who explicitly calls for the end of the Jewish state within any borders.

For Barghouti, Israel’s mere existence is illegal and the issue of which particular policies the “illegal” state of Israel adopts are of no particular consequence. 

Further, imagine what the reaction would be if the Arab neighborhoods were excluded from the Rail’s route?  Is there any question that the dominant narrative would have been one of racism and discrimination against Jerusalem’s Arabs?

This is how debased the debate about Israel has become.

A Light Rail project that serves Arab neighborhoods is racist, and an instrument of oppression.

As an Israeli, and resident of Jerusalem, I fully intend to use my city’s new Light Rail service and so, once again, by Barghouti’s and Sherwood’s logic, will become an accessory to a violation of international law.

9 replies »

  1. I didn’t get to read the Guardian’s article yesterday. Today there is a line at the end stating:

    • This article has been amended to correct language inconsistent with Guardian editorial guidelines

    What was in there that shouldn’t have been? Can you spot what was taken out and was it related to this post? I am bursting with curiosity!

    • My best guess is that there was a conflation of Jewish and Israeli by Sherwood – not surprising given that the Islamism the Guardian supports does not bother to distinguish between the two either.

      If that was the case, then it offers a very useful insight into what passes for Sherwood’s mind and her perceptions, and into the Guardian world view.

      And it also means that the Guardian is becoming more mindful and careful…. but would need much more proof before I could believe that.

  2. Further, imagine what the reaction would be if the Arab neighborhoods were excluded from the Rail’s route? Is there any question that the dominant narrative would have been one of racism and discrimination against Jerusalem’s Arabs?

    That was my immediate thought too. With the Guardian, Israel can never win. A permanent lose-lose situation.

  3. the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned the rededication of the Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem as a “war crime”

    That is simply ludicrous. If the Israelis were e.g. at the same time razing the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, then they’d have a case. But obviously nothing of the kind is happening.

    Further, imagine what the reaction would be if the Arab neighborhoods were excluded from the Rail’s route? Is there any question that the dominant narrative would have been one of racism and discrimination against Jerusalem’s Arabs?

    There’d certainly be articles on CiF with precisely that line of argument!

    But it’d be interesting to know what the amendments cited by anneinpt were.

    • Why hasn’t the Israeli government kicked this dumb woman out,throw her out,she is a nasty and stupid shit-stirrer…….Send her to Libya,Syria,Iran all enlightened states that are favorites with the Guardian and their posters…..

  4. benorr, could it be that the Israeli authorities want her to be the equivalent of the rope for the Guardian, with which, if given enough, it would eventually hang itself?

    Sherwood IS stupid and lazy to boot. Perhaps the Groan wants her to get into deep water in Israel so that they can tell her to pack her bags?

    Just a thought…..

  5. Anything Sherwood says or writes should be taken with sacks full of salt. She probably knows more about chickens than about international law. Likewise Omar Barghouti is hardly disinterested, much less an authority, and anything he says should be taken with the same amount of salt.

    Nevertheless, the Guardian still prints Sherwood’s drivel and enough below the line swallow it uncritically.

    Which is why it has to be countered and knocked on the head.

  6. Again, please try to keep these threads from devolving into personal attacks and insults. All such comments will be deleted.