Perspectives-Spring 2022


Thousands of Israelis marched in Tel Aviv’s HaBima Square and Rothschild Boulevard in late February and throughout March to protest the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The rally-goers marched toward the Russian embassy building, asking the Israel government to take a more active role in stopping the violence, yelling phrases like, “Israel, make your voice heard” and “Stop the war in Ukraine.” Meanwhile, in the Palestinian territories, an estimated 2,400 Palestinians returned to the West Bank and Gaza strip after living in Ukraine before the war. Most of them were Palestinian university students and were forced to flee their apartments and dormitories after Russian bombings. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has affected both Palestinians, and many Israelis who both have ties to Ukraine and Russia as well as those who are simply angered by Russia’s actions. This issue’s “Terror and Conflicts,” theme serves as a primer and introduction to acts of violence in the Palestinian territories and Israel that are only mirrored by the actions of Russia in Eastern Europe. The following articles focus primarily on material from both Jewish and Israeli sources. Palestinian sources are valuable, too, particularly for understanding Palestinian perspectives. The Promised Land Museum was founded to help provide a Jewish perspective and more complete understanding of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. A better understanding will lead to what we all truly desire: balance and peace for all people living in Israel and Palestine, for both Jewish and non-Jewish families alike. PERSPECTIVES • THE MAGAZINE OF PROMISED LAND MUSEUM 2

04 TERROR + CONFLICTS 06 1948 LETTER PUBLISHED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES COSIGNED BY ALBERT EINSTEIN 07 WANTED POSTER FEATURING MENACHEM BEGIN/THE IRGUN ATTACKS 08 CLAIMS OF ANTISEMITISM AT DUKE UNIVERSITY 10 A VOICE OF REASON IN THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT U.S. Representative Marc Pocan Visits the West Bank 14 WHAT CAN YOU DO? 15 A TIMELINE OF THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT 18 MORE INFORMATION & RESOURCES 19 ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION INSIDE THIS ISSUE COVER IMAGE: Chorazin or Korazim, an ancient village in the Roman and Byzantine periods that stood on the Korazim Plateau in the Upper Galilee on a hill above the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, in what is now the territory of modern Israel. Khirbat Karraza (also Karraza, Kh. Karazeh, Kerazeh) was a Palestinian village established at the site of the ancient village and depopulated during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine on May 4, 1948, by the Palmach’s First Battalion during Operation Yiftach. The nearby Israeli town of Korazim is named for this location. THIS PAGE: Gilbert Checkpoint


TERROR CONFLICTS Before the early 1900s, Palestine was a largely peaceful, multi-faith region. But after 1917, under the British mandate, there was more violence, including terrorist attacks by both Arab and Jewish groups. Members of Jewish terror groups, like the Irgun and the Stern Gang, were labeled as terrorists by the British government—and even by Jewish leaders. David Ben-Gurion, a founder and later Prime Minister of Israel, called the Irgun an “enemy of the Jewish people.” However, the leaders of the Irgun, Menachem Begin, and Stern Gang, Yitzhak Shamir, would both later become Prime Ministers of Israel. Today, Palestinians suffer continuous attacks on their homes and infrastructure as seen in Israel’s recent Operation Protective Edge, which nearly mirrored the devastation caused by 2008’s Operation Cast Lead. Palestinian suffering has become institutionalized as collective punishment by Israel. SPRING 2022 5

Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, both later to become Prime Ministers of Israel, were once universally recognized as terrorists by the British government and even by leaders of the nascent Jewish state. The rise of Begin’s party in Israeli politics was called “the most disturbing political phenomena of our time” in a 1948 letter published in the New York Times, which was cosigned by Albert Einstein. Despite their terrorist past, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir later would become leaders of Israel and are honored throughout Israel with main roads bearing their names. Just last year, Israeli leaders dedicated Jerusalem’s Highway 9 entrance to Shamir. Meanwhile, Highway 50 in western Jerusalem is officially known as Begin Boulevard and also called the Menachem Begin Expressway. Similarly, a major thoroughfare in Tel Aviv is known as Begin Road. Although before the 1900s, Jews, Muslims, and Christians lived in peace, Jewish terror attacks became a significant influence on the flight of Muslim and Christian Palestinians to neighboring countries. Today, Palestinians suffer continuous attacks on their homes and infrastructure as seen in Israel’s recent Operation Protective Edge, which nearly mirrored the devastation caused by 2008’s Operation Cast Lead. More severely, Palestinian suffering has become institutionalized as collective punishment by Israel. 1948 LETTER PUBLISHED IN THE NEW YORK TIMES COSIGNED BY ALBERT EINSTEIN PERSPECTIVES • THE MAGAZINE OF PROMISED LAND MUSEUM 6

Wanted Poster Featuring Menachem Begin/The Irgun Attacks David Ben-Gurion, a founder and later Prime Minister of Israel, called the Irgun an “enemy of the Jewish people.” However, leaders of the Irgun (Menachem Begin) and Stern Gang (Yitzhak Shamir) would become Prime Ministers of Israel. The Wanted Poster below includes Menachem Begin, who was recognized as a terrorist by the British government and leaders of the nascent Jewish state. The Irgun would be the cause of some of the deadliest attacks in the years from 1937 to 1938. In Benny Morris’s Righteous Victims: A history of the Zionist-Arab Conflict 1881‒2001, he writes that “the Irgun bombs of 1937‒38 sowed terror in the Arab population and substantially increased its casualties. Until 1937 almost all of these had been caused by British security forces (including British-directed Jewish supernumeraries) and were mostly among the actual rebels, but from now on, a substantial proportion would be caused by Jews and suffered by random victims.” At times, Israeli terror operations like those by the Irgun have been called a “response.” However, does Israel have a moral high ground for massive killings? Especially now that we know that Israel was created by keeping Palestinian families from their homes? SPRING 2022 7

Both claims of antisemitism and equal rights of non-Jewish Palestinian families were topics in the Duke University student newspaper, The Chronicle, late this past year. A mid-November Letter to the Editor sparked discussion of the intentions of student-led groups on campus. The letter, penned by the pro-Palestine student group Duke Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), called into question the mission of the pro-Israel campus chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI). The episode on campus began in early November when a Duke student published a Tweet saying Duke supported “settler colonialism” in Israel. In response, SSI posted a since-deleted screenshot of the Duke student’s tweet to their Instagram page with a caption offering to educate the student “on what ‘settler colonialism’ actually is and why Israel does not fall under this category.” DUKE SSI FAILS TO GAIN RECOGNITION AS A STUDENT GROUP After many negative comments in response to Duke SSI’s post, Christina Wang, Duke’s Student Government President, vetoed recognition for the Duke SSI Chapter on the grounds of harassment. The Duke student senate overwhelmingly supported the veto. According to The Fire, a publication dedicated to promoting free speech on college campuses, Wang stated that Duke SSI’s Instagram post “was unacceptable for any student group and appeared antithetical to the group’s stated mission to be welcoming and inclusive to all Duke students.” Claims of Antisemitism at Duke University PERSPECTIVES • THE MAGAZINE OF PROMISED LAND MUSEUM 8

FREE SPEECH AND THE ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT College campuses are known for being places of higher learning but are also notorious for being bastions of privilege where sometimes open discussion is shut down under the guise of political correctness. • Was Duke SSI’s singling out a particular student with an opposing viewpoint harassment? • Was the veto of the chapter’s group status an appropriate response or antisemitic? How one answers these questions may depend on the eye of the beholder. A MICROCOSM OF A GREATER CONFLICT Lives are affected on all sides. Even thousands of miles away, people want to talk about what is going on Israel and Palestine. Today graffiti that reads “Free Gaza” can be found spray-painted on walls around university libraries. • Is it possible that by vetoing Duke SSI’s recognition as a student group under the grounds of harassment that constructive exchange among America’s next generation of policymakers was suppressed? • Or is enforcement of courteous discussion of issues without singling out a single student for harassment a better way to achieve constructive exchange? • Is the tension at Duke University just another small mirror being held to the light that reflects the sadness, the sorrow of the situation in Israel and Palestine? The Israel-Palestine conflict is a tragedy that affects everyone who seeks a “promised land.” And the ongoing fighting is also a tragedy for people everywhere who pursue peace–no matter how large or small–in their own lives. CONSTRUCTIVE DISCUSSION ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES Whether other students agreed with Duke SSI’s objectives or not–to support grassroots pro-Israel advocacy–isn’t the point of university political activist groups to free up the space for discussion? A day after the letter was published, it was followed by an opinions piece by Jewish student, Lily Levin who wrote candidly about “the narrative of antisemitism that has dominated conversations about Israel and Palestine.” To put it simply, she states claims of antisemitism sometimes subvert Israel’s accountability for its part in the IsraeliPalestinian conflict and continue to cause harm to Palestinian families. IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT The theme of Levin’s argument is that claims of antisemitism, when false, serve as a diversion for the reality of the situation in Israel and Palestine. She explores how calling something “antisemitic” when it isn’t prevents Israel and its supporters from asking important questions. In the past, claims of antisemitism on college campuses have sometimes been recorded against students or faculty based on speech critical of Israeli policy. Although Levin identifies as a Jew, she identifies more with the objectives of Duke SJP than Duke SSI. Seeking peace, security, and equal treatment for everyone—Jewish and non-Jewish—in Israel/Palestine is consistent with Jewish values and is not anti-Semitic. DRIVING AWARENESS TO THE ISRAEL- PALESTINE CONFLICT In her letter, Levin expresses the wish for a community of Jewish students on campus that support the plight of the Palestinian people and drive awareness to the IsraelPalestine conflict. She negates the idea that Jews “cannot have strength without someone else having despair.” SPRING 2022 9

During his time in Congress, U.S. representative Marc Pocan has been vocal about the IsraelPalestine conflict. In June 2017, he was the only congressional sponsor of a briefing on Capitol Hill about “life for Palestinian children under Israeli military occupation.” In April 2018, Pocan wrote a joint letter asking Israel to permit Congress to enter Gaza after his request for entry was denied in a delegation to the West Bank. When in July 2019, The House of Representatives voted to pass a resolution condemning the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel and to endorse a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict, Pocan was among 17 House Democrats who voted against the resolution. Most recently, in November 2021 Pocan traveled to Israel and the Palestinian territories on a five-day congressional delegation sponsored by J Street, a U.S. nonprofit Israeli advocacy group. They met with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid as well as with President Issac Herzog, ministers Merav Michaeli and Essawi Frej, lawmakers and military representatives, and Palestinian Authority officials like Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh. The delegation traveled to Israel’s southern border to talk about the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the effects of rocket fire on Israeli border communities, the effect of the Iron Dome, and the human rights crisis in Gaza. In September 2021, a vast majority of Democratic House members voted in favor of $1 billion in supplemental funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system. It passed by a huge margin. A few House members opposed to Israel’s policy in the Palestinian territories voted against the funding. However, Pocan was not one of them. And perhaps this is the reason his position on the Israel-Palestine conflict is so finessed —he has managed to gain support from both Jewish leaders in the U.S. and Palestinian activists abroad: two demographics that sometimes have colliding viewpoints. WINNING THE SUPPORT OF TWO DIFFERENT DEMOGRAPHICS Local Jewish leaders praised Pocan’s support for the Iron Dome, which he has called a “de-escalation” tool, decreasing the need for Israeli retaliatory strikes against Gaza. They have also applauded his advocacy on other issues not necessarily related to foreign policy, such as fighting antisemitism. However, Pocan has taken a lot of criticism from both pro-Israel advocates (for his criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians after the delegation visit) and Palestinian rights activists (for his Iron Dome vote). “For some folks who are watching this maybe for the first time in their life, who have come on to this in the last year or two,” he said, “a lot of those folks are some of the most vocal against Iron Dome because they’re just tired of how we’ve had our policy,” Pocan recently told Jewish Insider. U.S. Representative Marc Pocan Visits the West Bank in the Israel-Palestine Conflict A Voice of Reason? PERSPECTIVES • THE MAGAZINE OF PROMISED LAND MUSEUM 10

A LETTER TO SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO Inspired by visiting the West Bank on November 18, Pocan released the following statement in response to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement that Israeli West Bank settlements do not violate international law. “Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal. Once again, the Trump administration is taking a massive step backwards and endangering any hopes of peace in the region with this destructive action. Reversing on decades-long bipartisan U.S. policy opposing the settlements in the West Bank is a blatant attempt to help Prime Minister Netanyahu—not promote peace in the region. With every policy they announce, this administration has made it clear: they don’t want peace, they want instability. This announcement is one in a series of destabilizing decisions made by this administration—from cutting Congressionally-approved humanitarian funding to Gaza and the West Bank to moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem—these actions don’t bring us any closer to peace. We need to pass House Resolution 326 and reaffirm our opposition to settlement expansion, support for a two-state solution, and opposition to the annexation of the West Bank.” U.S. Representative Marc Pocan embodies someone who supports justice and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. His recent November visit to the West Bank showed that he is not going to disregard Palestinians. Pocan is a symbol of hope and an indication of movement toward support of the human rights of all people in Israel/ Palestine. “I have this kind of finessed position, because my main goal is to make sure we don’t have to send American men and women over there in order to risk their lives,” Pocan said. “I also want to make sure that we have humanitarian conditions, and we don’t have loss of life [in the Palestinian territories].” A HIGHLY PUBLICIZED VISIT TO THE WEST BANK In November, the delegation also visited the West Bank, which was a key part of the trip and the ability of the representatives to understand the situation in Palestine. Pocan was perhaps most affected by meeting with both an Israeli settler movement representative and visiting Hebron and an Area C Palestinian community in the South Hebron Hills. Pocan returned from the J Street-sponsored trip invigorated but received little traction in Congress since November. Since early 2020, J Street has fashioned itself as a major voice in the U.S. on the Israel-Palestine conflict. They’ve used their power to attempt a more active role in holding Israel accountable for its part in the conflict and pushing the Biden administration to do the same. Like Pocan, J Street has also aligned itself with legislation designed to facilitate a two-state solution. Perhaps what was most controversial about the trip were Pocan’s comments on social media after his visit to the West Bank. After traveling to the Palestinian village of Susya, Pocan wrote on social media that he and the other representatives would be watching to make sure no violence occurs this weekend or anytime.” He posted a photo of himself with U.S. representative Jamaal Bowman and Palestinian activist Nasseer Nawajah after they discussed “Israeli settler violence to his village.” SPRING 2022 11

BE KNOWLEDGEABLE, SHARE THIS INFORMATION, AND CONSIDER HOSTING AN EXHIBIT. THE PROMISED LAND MUSEUM TRAVELING EXHIBIT IS A SIMPLE WAY TO BRING AWARENESS TO THE ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT AND THE PALESTINIAN QUEST FOR NATIONHOOD. WHAT CAN 6 REASONS TO CONSIDER HOSTING AN EXHIBIT YOU DO? 1 Give your community a better understanding of the Holy Land. 2 Support peace and justice by fostering awareness of the common humanity of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish families living in Israel and Palestine. 3 Attract people to your facility with an interesting, novel, moving, educational exhibit. 4 It could be a great way to raise funds for your church or civic organization. 5 It’s FREE! Voices for Justice in Palestine pays for shipping and promotion. 6 You can also invite museum curator, Steve Feldman, to speak at your event—either in person or virtually. PERSPECTIVES • THE MAGAZINE OF PROMISED LAND MUSEUM 12

January 1 Two rockets from Gaza land close to Tel Aviv and Palmachim, The Israeli Air Force responds with strikes on Hamas targets. January 5 Israel releases Palestinian prisoner Hisham Abu Hawwash after his 141-day hunger strike. January 19 Israel authorities evict a Palestinian family from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and demolish their home. January 13 Bedouin protesters and the Israeli police clash in the Negev Desert after a government plan to formalize the status of unrecognized Bedouin settlements. January 20 The U.N. approves a resolution to combat Holocaust denial on the 80th anniversary of The Wannsee Conference. February 1 Israel announces it will discipline three military commanders over the death of an elderly Palestinian man with U.S. citizenship, who died from a stressrelated heart attack. February 7 Former Israel and Palestinian negotiators, Hiba Husseini and Yossi Beilin, unveil a new proposal for a two-state solution. February 9 The World Bank asks Israel to allow Palestinian territories to upgrade its 2G and 3G mobile networks to 5G technology. February 15 A Palestinian man is killed by the Israeli military in the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh. February 21 Israeli border police shuts down Palestinian protesters in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. February 24 Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine and offers humanitarian assistance to Ukraine citizens. February 26 Thousands of Israelis protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in Tel Aviv. March 2 The Israel High Court of Justice rules that 4 Palestinian families facing eviction in Sheikh Jarrah can stay in their homes. March 11 Israel’s Knesset approves a law that denies the naturalization of Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza, who are married to Israeli citizens. March 19 A Palestinian man, who allegedly stabbed an Israeli in Jerusalem, is shot by Israeli police. March 25 The EU delays authorization of its annual donation to the PA following the demand of the Hungarian representative that aid be conditioned on reforms in the PA’s curriculum. The representative objected because the textbooks used in Palestinian schools include elements of anti-Semitism and incitement. March 29 For the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, Israel will allow families of prisoners from the Gaza Strip to visit relatives in Israeli prisons. March 8 The Israeli military demolishes the homes of 2 Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly attacks in The West Bank. March 15 3 Palestinians are killed by Israeli forces in a raid in the West Bank city of Nablus. March 22 4 Palestinians are killed in The 2022 Beersheba Attack, a string of stabbings and a vehicle-ramming between Israeli security forces and Palestinians. March 27 Israel increased the number of Gazans entering Israel for work from 12,000 to 20,000. The workers will be employed in construction and agriculture. March 30 Land Day – Palestinians in Gaza call for their right to return to the land they were displaced from in 1948, when Israel was created on the majority of historic Palestine. Note: This timeline highlights some events and does not account for the many daily stresses and injustices occurring in people’s lives. Israel-Palestine Timeline January 1, 2022 – March 30, 2022 13 SPRING 2022

MORE INFORMATION & RESOURCES INTERESTED IN TAKING PART IN THIS GLOBAL CONVERSATION? BE SURE TO CONNECT WITH THE PROMISED LAND MUSEUM ONLINE AND ON SOCIAL MEDIA. MORE RESOURCES @promisedlandmuseum @LandMuseum @PromisedLand For more information or to share this message of peace with your community, contact the Voices for Justice in Palestine, PO Box 2081, Chapel Hill, NC 27515. PERSPECTIVES • THE MAGAZINE OF PROMISED LAND MUSEUM 14

ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION This magazine has been developed by the Promised Land Museum, a project of Voices for Justice in Palestine. The Promised Land Museum was founded to provide a Jewish Perspective on the Israel/Palestine conflict. This perspective is rooted in Jewish values, to treat our neighbor as we would want to be treated. The mission of Voices for Justice in Palestine is to work for a just and sustainable peace in Israel-Palestine. We educate the public, advocate for change based on equal rights, and directly support peace builders in Israel-Palestine. If you are interested in contributing to a future issue, visit us on social media or contact us via email at

For more information or to share this message of peace with your community, contact Voices for Justice in Palestine, PO Box 2081, Chapel Hill, NC 27515. @Promised Land @promisedlandmuseum @LandMuseum @PromisedLand