To Open a Palestinian Consulate in Jerusalem Would Ignore Thousands of Years of History

December 25, 2021 Updated: December 26, 2021

Commentary

The Biden State Department is seeking to create a consulate in Jerusalem that would serve only “Palestinians.” There are two possible explanations. One, the Biden administration has forgotten several thousand years of history. Two, they are aware of that history, but aim to sever the connection of the Jewish people to their ancient capital today. It increasingly seems both explanations are plausible.

The Christian world recently celebrated the birth of Jesus in the small town of Bethlehem, or Bet-Lehem, meaning “House of Bread” in Hebrew. Joseph and Mary were only there because the Roman colonialist governor had ordered a census of the Jews in Judea. Jesus was raised in Nazareth, Natzeret in Hebrew, meaning “offspring” or “sprout.”

Archaeologists recently announced the discovery of a second ancient Jewish synagogue in Migdal, a town close to Nazareth. Migdal was the place of origin of a woman famous in Christian scripture: Mary Magdalene. Both she and Jesus went to Jerusalem because it was the site of Solomon’s Temple, and, thus, the center of Jewish worship.

In other words, Jesus was born a Jew. He grew up in a Jewish family. He kept company with other Jews. He practiced Judaism. He went to the Jewish temple. All in Jewish territory that is now the Jewish State of Israel. All this is found in Christian gospel.

The idea of opening the Palestinian consulate was first floated in a memo written by Hady Amr, deputy assistant secretary for Israel and Palestinian affairs in the Biden administration. This is the same Hady Amr who called the Jewish homeland “occupied Palestine.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claims that the State of Israel was formed as “a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism.” He’s ignoring not just archeology and the historical record, but also the very foundation of Christian theology. You wouldn’t expect President Joe Biden to embrace Abbas’s anti-Christian, reality-denying position since the White House has declared that he’s “a devout Catholic.”

Yet here we are.

By calling Israel a “colonial project,” Abbas and others willfully ignore the fact that indigenous Jews never left Judea except at the point of a sword. They were scattered across Europe and Arab lands by the same Roman Empire that persecuted Jesus and his early followers.

It’s the colonialists, not the indigenous documented in the Bible, who stamped the name “Palestine” upon the Holy Land.

Still, even after repeated expulsions, Jews always returned to Israel, heeding the many exhortations ensconced in the Bible, Jewish law, and prayer. Every chapter of the Torah and page of Talmud reminds Jews that they have but one homeland, to which the Jewish faith binds them for all time.

This is why the great medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides migrated from Spain to the Holy Land, and why Rabbi Yosef Karo, author of the Code of Jewish Law, followed in his footsteps centuries later. It is why Rabbi Isaac Luria, father of modern Kabbalah, moved from Egypt, and why followers of the father of Hasidism, the Baal Shem Tov, and those of his leading opponent, Rabbi Eliyahu Cramer, the Vilna Gaon, made the arduous journey to Jerusalem.

They were not “colonialists” or “occupiers”—they were indigenous Jews returning home. Yet Jews in Israel today, including those who can trace their family trees back centuries, are ridiculously called both—directly by Israel’s sworn enemies and by proxy by the elected officials and bureaucrats alike of the U.S. government.

It’s long overdue that such false and malicious narratives be put to rest.

In particular, it would be a significant setback for indigenous rights and civil liberties if the United States were to create a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem. The current U.S. Embassy, opened by President Donald Trump in 2018, serves all who need its services. If a separate office were actually needed, its correct location would be in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority.

The Biden administration must recognize history as well as the Old and New Testaments, rather than listen to the dogmatic revisionist voices that would deprive the indigenous of Israel the God-given right to live and worship freely in their Holy City.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Rabbi Yaakov Menken is managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values.