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Traditional Rabbi Group Blasts House Democrats Over ‘False And Misleading’ Letter On Israeli ‘Settlements’

By  Josh Hammer
DailyWire.com
A picture taken on November 19, 2019 shows a general view of the Israeli settlement of Efrat near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem south of Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank. - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a US statement deeming Israeli settlement not to be illegal "rights a historical wrong". But the Palestinian Authority decried the US policy shift as "completely against international law". Both sides were responding to an announcement by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on November 18 saying that Washington "no longer considers Israeli settlements to be "inconsistent with international law".
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday, a prominent politically and religiously conservative Jewish organization took 106 House Democrats to task for signing a “false and misleading” letter with respect to the Trump administration’s recent unilateral decision to declare that so-called Israeli “settlements” are legal. The group, the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), identifies as “the largest rabbinic public policy organization in America” and “represent[s] over 1000 traditional Orthodox rabbis in matters of public policy.”

As The Daily Wire reported last Monday, “the Trump administration … revers[ed] an Obama-era policy and now does not view Israel’s settlements in [Judea and Samaria] as a violation of international law.” “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained at the time.

Led by Jewish Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), 106 House Democrats responded to Pompeo with a scathing letter that issued strong legal and policy objections to the Trump administration’s bold move. “If the U.S. unilaterally abandons international and human rights law, we can only expect a more chaotic and brutal twenty-first century for Americans and our allies, including the Israeli people,” the tendentious screed concluded.

CJV responded with a powerful letter of its own that systemically picks apart Rep. Levin’s own missive. “The signatories demonstrated an alarmingly callous attitude towards Israelis, their self-determination, and their human rights,” said Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, CJV eastern regional vice president, in a press release accompanying the letter. “Jews were ethnically cleansed from towns in Judea and Samaria in 1929 and 1936, and then driven out entirely by Jordan in 1948 — yet the signatories claim that the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits them from moving back. It is hard not to read that claim as unsympathetic to Jews and history.”

“The worst part of the letter is its condemnation of the ‘halting of aid’ to the West Bank and Gaza,” wrote Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer, chairman of the CJV Rabbinic Circle, in the same accompanying press release. “The Trump Administration is withholding that aid in accordance with the Taylor Force Act and the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018, because the Palestinian Authority, UNRWA (the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) and Hamas were using U.S. funds to encourage and reward terrorism. For members of Congress to declare that ‘this administration has undermined America’s moral standing’ by denying funding for terror turns reality on its head.”

Reached for exclusive comment by The Daily Wire, frequent Daily Wire contributor and CJV Managing Director Rabbi Yaakov Menken opined: “Notice the first four signatories are all Jewish. This is what’s called window dressing. Word to the wise: If you claim to be pro-Israel, and sign a letter regarding Israel along with Reps. Omar, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez, you’re fooling no one but yourself. It’s amazing to see congressmen telling the administration to ignore Acts of Congress. All the more so when those Acts prevent U.S. tax dollars from being spent to encourage terrorism.”

In a Daily Wire op-ed last week, I strongly applauded the Trump administration for its courageous move with respect to Judea and Samaria.

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