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  • February 18, 2013

    The legal case for Israel

    By Eugene Kontorovich at the National Jewish Retreat

    My lecture “The Legal Case for Israel” is, for what it is worth, now the
    most popular lecture ever on Chabad’s TorahCafe website, which features
    something like 3000 videos by wonderful speakers. Over 70K views.

    Watch on TorahCafé.com!
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  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 5:39 pm | 6 Comments »

    6 Comments to The legal case for Israel

    1. Shy Guy says:


    2. Bernard Ross says:

      Although I found the speaker to be excellent and articulate up to a point, I was very disappointed to find that he makes the same omissions as most others then addressing the legal issue. First, In discussing the expiration of the mandate he does not mention that the beneficiary’s rights in a trust do not expire when the trust expires. Second, regarding Jewish settlement of the west bank he never refers to the unexpired internationally guaranteed rights of the “jewish people” to settlement west of the Jordan River. He discusses how the GC does not apply but never mentions the absurdity of trying to apply it to the only people who have been “encouraged to settle west of the Jordan river”. Surely the internationally guaranteed rights of the Jewish people according to International law are the FIRST issue to address when discussing international law and the applicability of the GC. Furthermore, I maintain that all the confusion that results in the ignoring of Jewish rights is due to treating “Jewish” rights as synonymous with “state of Israel’s” rights. It is unbelievable to me that these explicitly stated Jewish legal rights have not even been mentioned in this video which purports to be discussing the legality of Israel and Jewish settlement.

    3. Ted Belman says:

      @ Bernard Ross:
      I sent your comment to Eugene believing that he would agree with you. He replied in the affirmative and said that there were other things he could have said but was constrained by time.

    4. Bernard Ross says:

      Ted Belman Said:

      He replied in the affirmative and said that there were other things he could have said but was constrained by time.

      thank you, Ted. I am fascinated with this issue because I find it incredible that is repeatedly ignored even by those who consider it important. The answer is interesting and points, I believe, to the problem: If there is not enough time for discussion then why is it placed last or not at all. Here are I believe the 3 issues of prime interest to the Jewish people(not necessarily the state of Israel) which should always take precedence:
      1- The unexpired, internationally guaranteed legal right of jewish settlement west of the Jordan river
      2- the breach, and reneging, of the unexpired, internationally legal binding agreements by those signatories and guarantors of San Remo, LON,UN charter art 80 and the demand for the relevant subscribers to cease the breaches and to fulfill their still binding legal agreements.
      3-The need to adopt a strategy whose goal is to mitigate the damage, and restore Justice, to the sole of interest of global Jewry, in the west bank, caused by the occupations of the state of Israel and the state of Jordan by their obstruction of jewish settlement rights and their failure to encourage those rights. [My suggestion is the adoption of a now widely accepted legal principle of affirmative action in the form of a US style HOmestead Act which would grant free land grants to Jews wishing to settle in the designated area. In order to make up for lost time the plan should be of a grand scale and a short time. I see no other approach which would mitigate damage and restore justice in the shortest time. that is if one believes the validity of Jewish rights to settlement and that agreements with Jews must be honored.] If the state of Israel wishes to totally avoid any GC questions it may populate the area with diaspora Jews rather than Israeli Jews. However, there is no reason other than rendering specious arguments moot.

      Mr. Kontorovich employed arguments deriving from Jewish settlement rights up until the creation of the state of Israel at which point he, like everyone else, assumed that Jewish rights and the state of Israels rights were synonymous. However, this is impossible as a Jewish state has only been fulfilled to the green line whereas “Global Jewry” has settlement rights to the Jordan river. All GC arguments emanate from the confusion between the rights and obligations of the state of Israel and the rights of “global Jewry”. They are not synonymous. Politically the GOI can withdraw all claims of sovereignty to YS but still facilitate Jewish settlement in YS as the current administrator of the area in discussion in accordance with the legal obligation of the international community to the Jewish people. IN fact, this may be the greatest legal justification for the occupation of the west bank by the state of Israel without claiming sovereignty. Any state in administration of the west bank is bound by law to jewish legal settlement. Israel has a right to determine its sovereignty and occupation but not to cancel, waive or ignore global Jewry’s settlement rights in the area. Theoretically speaking, the UN in the absence of Israeli occupation should be bound to appoint a trustee who facilitates the rights of the beneficiary.

      A prime reason for putting the Jewish interests first in any legal discussion rather than GC discussions is that once the argument of Jewish settlement is proven the GC argument becomes absurd in relation to the Jewish people. The only way the GC can be mentioned as relevant is in discussion of the state of Israel and only as to whether the state of Israel has the legal authority to cancel the rights of global Jewry in the west bank.

      If time is limited then the legal rights and interests of jews must be discussed first. Jews have a reflexive habit of giving precedence to the arguments and interests of others and therefore tend to deal first with the GC red herring. The GC red herring must be last. The state of Israel and global Jewry are two separate legal entities. They may become intertwined but this is where the detractors spring to advance disingenuous red herrings. It is only under this confusion that the orwellian argument that “jewish settlement is illegal” can be advanced, by confusing Jewish settlement with Israeli settlement. The state of Israel has damaged the sole interest of global Jewry in YS as much as the state of Jordan has by obstructing jewish settlement rather than encouraging it.

      Sorry, I keep beating this drum because I believe it is a crucial error being committed by all. Mr. Kontorovich is one of the most articulate and understandable speakers that I have heard on this issue. If he were to fine tune his arguments, with a priority towards “jewish” interests, I believe he would be an excellent ambassador for Jewish settlement rights in YS.

    5. Bernard Ross says:

      I want to add to my last post that there is a logical progression in the global jewish settlement rights legal arguments as follows:
      -If one accepts the indisputable, unexpired, legal rights of Jews to settle west of the Jordan river,
      -If one accepts that the legal obligations of the international signatories, guarantors, and subscribers to the relevant agreements are unexpired and still apply
      It follows that the relevant obligated parties be demanded to:
      -cease to obstruct the rights,
      -mitigate the damage to those rights resulting from the actions and inaction of the relevant parties,
      -restore Justice to the Jewish people,
      -adopt active policies to encourage those rights which account for time lost,

      But then the international opinion is that Jews are not expected to have their agreements honored or their rights claimed. This must also be the majority opinion of Jews because what I have stated is never mentioned by the representatives of the Jewish people. These policies should begin in Israel.
      (NB I have not even mentioned the ethnic cleansing of the jews from arab lands after the advent of the GC. If the GC is to have any validity it must apply to all if not it loses legal credibility. I have heard NO ONE who uses GC arguments, mention this atrocity. My rebuttal to GC arguments is to first deal with this atrocity in order to establish credence of the GC at all on other issues. A precedent for transfer has been set.)

    6. Andrew says:

      Really good lecture. It is the forth Geneva convention which is really abused in the international law war on Israel.