Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday's Musings on Mideast Manipulations - the Amnesia of VP Biden and Secretary of State Clinton

As regular readers of this blog are aware, the Monday post is usually dedicated to my musings on sports stories from the previous weekend. However I feel compelled by the recent events in the Mideast to write about the maniacal manipulations in the Mideast which are being orchestrated in Washington.

The issue which has dominated by the press for the last week is Jerusalem. When the Oslo accords were first announced in 1993, there were certain issues that Israel and the Palestinians were able to agree on, while other topics were left for final status negotiations. One of the topics which the negotiators were unable to reach a resolution on was Jerusalem.

As those of the Jewish faith are well aware, the city of Jerusalem has been the focus of our existence for the last three thousand years. Abraham brought Isaac there at Hashem's command, David conquered the City of Jerusalem and his son Shlomo built the Beis Hamikdash there. It was later destroyed, but the Beis Hamikdash was rebuilt and it stood until the year 70 of the Common Era when it was destroyed by the Romans. Still, one wall of the Beis Hamikdash, the wall built by the poor of the Jewish people, has survived to this very day.

Muslims claim the City of Jerusalem as their "third holiest city" despite the fact that it is not mentioned in the Koran. Their link is based on subsequent writings which assert that Mohammad visited there some fourteen hundred years ago.

During the years following the destruction of the second Beis Hamikdash, Jewish access to the area was limited and the ability to pray at the wall depended upon the various governments which controlled the area. This changed in 1967 when Israel captured the area from Jordan and subsequently annexed Jerusalem and named it as the capital of Israel.

In the years following the Oslo accords, Congress took numerous steps to force the American government to recognize Israel's decision to name Jerusalem as its capital. One of those steps was the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which called on the American government to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize the designation of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

One of the sponsors of the 1995 bill was (then) Senator Joe Biden, who last week as Vice President publicly denounced Israel for building housing in the eastern portion of Jerusalem as it was a "provocation" and detrimental to the peace process. However, Mr. Biden had a different view of Jerusalem in 1995 when he made the following speech from the floor of the Senate:

With regard to the last point made by my colleague from Connecticut about the peace process, I have had the view for the past 24 years that the only way there will be peace in the Middle East is for the Arabs to know there is no division between the United States and Israel--none, zero, none.

I argue that is why we are where we are today, because we did not relent under the leadership of this President and others. We made it clear that no wedge would be put between us, thereby leaving no alternative but the pursuit, in an equitable manner, for peace.

Those familiar, and all are on this floor, with the Jewish people know the central meaning that the ancient city of Jerusalem has for Jews everywhere. Time and again, empires have tried to sever the umbilical cord that unites Jews with their capital.

They have destroyed the temple. They have banished the Jews from living in Jerusalem. They have limited the number of Jews allowed to immigrate to that city. And, finally, in this century, they tried simply to eliminate Jews.

They may have succeeded, Mr. President, in destroying physical structures and lives. But they have never succeeded in wholly eliminating Jewish presence in Jerusalem, or in cutting the spiritual bond between Jews and their cherished capital.

After the horrific events of the Holocaust, the Jewish people returned to claim what many rulers have tried to deny them for centuries: The right to peaceful existence in their own country in their own capital.

How many of us can forget that poignant photograph of an unnamed Israeli soldier breaking down in tears and prayer as he reached the Western Wall after his army liberated the eastern half of the city in the Six Day War?

Those tears told a story. A story of a people long denied their rightful place among nations. A people denied access to their most hallowed religious sites. A people who had finally, after long tribulation, come home.

Mr. President, it is unconscionable for us to refuse to recognize the right of the Jewish people to choose their own capital. What gives us the right to second-guess their decision?

For 47 years, we, and much of the rest of the international community, have been living a lie. For 47 years, Israel has had its government offices, its Parliament, and its national monuments in Jerusalem, not in Tel Aviv. And yet, nearly all embassies are located in Tel Aviv. I think this is a denial of fundamental reality.

Mr. President, are we, through the continued sham of maintaining our Embassy in Tel Aviv, to refuse to acknowledge what the Jewish people know in their hearts to be true? Regardless of what others may think, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

And Israel is not just any old country. It is a vital strategic ally.

As the Israelis and Palestinians begin the final status negotiations in May 1996--negotiations, I might add, that were made possible through the leadership of President Clinton--it should be clear to all that the United States stands squarely behind Israel, our close friend and ally.

Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem will send the right signal, not a destructive signal. To do less would be to play into the hands of those who will try their hardest to deny Israel the full attributes of statehood.

I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

The above text was diectly copied from the Congressional Record for October 24, 1995 and can be found here .

It is apparent that Mr. Biden has forgotten his history lesson which he spoke so passionately about less than fifteen years ago. Evidently, now that Mr Biden is Vice President in the Obama administration, he would like to return to "living a lie" and "continuing the sham" (his words, not mine) of debating the status of Jerusalem.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also added fuel to the fire, yet she (as Senator) was the sponsor of a resolution in June 2006 which:

(1) congratulates the residents of Jerusalem and the people of Israel on the 39th anniversary of the reunification of that historic city;
(2) strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected as they have been by Israel during the past 39 years;
(3) calls upon the President and Secretary of State to publicly affirm, as a matter of United States policy, that Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of the State of Israel;

The above text was found in Thomas (the library of Congress website) at and can also be found on the Congressional Record website at

So what has changed since Joe Biden's history lecture in 1995 and Hillary Clinton's sponsorship of a bill which demanded that the President and Secretary State publicly affirm that Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of Israel? Are they suffering from amnesia? Or are their actions a manifestation of their current employer who believes that "America does not presume to know what is best for everyone" except Israel.

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