In light of the reactions from Washington to the Hamas- and Fatah-inspired Arab violence in Jerusalem, it is hard to see how Israel will be able to maintain a constructive dialogue about its relations with the Palestinians with the Biden administration or more broadly, with the Democrat Party. Indeed, the reactions coming out of Washington to the Arab violence in Jerusalem indicate that Israel will be hard-pressed to conduct a constructive dialogue with Washington about anything, and that this will be the case regardless of who forms the next Israeli government.
On Saturday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) published a shocking post on her Twitter account in response to the Arab riots in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which started in earnest last Thursday. The progressive powerhouse wrote, “The forced removal of long-time Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah is abhorrent and unacceptable. The Administration should make it clear to the Israeli government that these evictions are illegal and must stop immediately.”
Warren’s statement isn’t a demand for justice for Arabs. It is a demand for injustice for Jews. Warren has become the first senior U.S. official to call for Jews to be barred from doing something specifically because they are Jewish since Ulysses Grant barred Jews from entering Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky at the height of the Civil War.
When Israel liberated the Jordanian-occupied areas of Jerusalem in 1967, the owners of the buildings reasserted their property rights. Their ownership over the properties in Sheikh Jarrah was duly registered in Israel’s land registry in 1973. But when the owners tried to retake possession a 48-year legal battle between the owners and the squatters began, which is scheduled to finally come to an end this week.
In countless court decisions, judges found time after time that the Jewish owners were the legitimate owners and the Arabs illegal squatters. The squatters admitted this was the case in 1982. And yet, 39 years later, the children and grandchildren of the squatters from 1982 still refuse to leave the buildings.
Following a last-ditch appeal of the Jerusalem District Court ruling that ordered their forced evacuation, the Supreme Court is scheduled to issue a final—and unappealable—ruling on the issue this week. The current Arab violence in Sheikh Jarrah and surrounding areas of Jerusalem has been incited by Hamas. It serves a dual purpose. It invents a rationale for a new Palestinian terror onslaught against Israel. And it pressures Israeli judges, government ministers and police commanders to weigh the possibility of discriminating against the Jewish owners in the hopes of stymying Hamas’s declared plan to renew its terror offensive.
It is in this context that Warren made her demand, that the Biden administration insinuate itself into the middle of a legal dispute in a foreign country on behalf of the side that is clearly in the wrong against the side that is clearly right.
Warren has adopted this position—and is demanding that the Biden administration adopt it as well—for one reason. Warren is only demanding an action that empowers terror groups presently engaged in organized violence against Jews because the property owners are Jewish. If they were Muslims or Christians or members of any other group, she wouldn’t have cared. But since they are Jews, Warren is spreading blatant lies that effectively justify terrorism, thuggery and mob violence.
This brings us to the Biden administration and to the issue of its position on Warren’s anti-Semitic demand for Jews to be denied their legal right to property simply because they are Jewish. Unfortunately, there is very little daylight between Warren’s anti-Semitic position and the administration’s stand on the issue.
Even before Warren opened her mouth, on Friday the State Department issued a statement on the events in Sheikh Jarrah. It read: “We are … deeply concerned about the potential eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrh and Silwan neighborhoods of Jerusalem, many of whom have lived in their homes for generations. As we have consistently said, it is critical to avoid steps that exacerbate tensions or take us farther away from peace. This includes evictions in East Jerusalem, settlement activity, home demolitions, and acts of terrorism.”
People can argue about what a peaceful settlement between the Palestinians and Israel should look like. There is a wide spectrum of legitimate positions in this policy dispute. But those who seek to deny Jews their well-established property rights simply because they are Jews are not a legitimate side in that policy debate or any other policy debate. They are antisemites.
Statements like Warren’s and the State Department’s don’t serve to calm the situation and restore peace to Jerusalem. They serve to incite still more violence by inspiring the likes of Fatah and Hamas to believe that the United States supports them as they threaten an all-out terror offensive, beat Jews, burn Jewish property and intimidate Israeli judges, government ministers and police into unlawfully discriminating against Jews. In light of the administration’s hostile behavior, and the even more hostile positions of the dominant progressive wing of the Democrat Party, the prospects for constructive relations between the Biden administration and Israel have all but disappeared.