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TheJ.Ca talked to Professor Eugene Kontorovich of George Mason University about why Jews should have sovereignty over Judea and Samaria

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Professor Eugene Kontorovich says supporters of Israel must make it very clear to those lacking sufficient knowledge of the conflict that it is in fact the Palestinians are the ones trying to create apartheid - a Jew-free state | Photo: Twitter

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Though talk of Israel’s annexation of parts of the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria) has subsided, it is widely believed that the move has been postponed, rather than abandoned.

When the plan re-opens, it will be important for pro-Israel voices to be armed with the knowledge of precisely why these lands legally belong to the Jewish people. Whether it’s to combat ignorance on university campuses, challenge social media untruths, or act as watchdogs of the media – facts remain an important tool in the court of public opinion, in addition to educating our youth.

Professor Eugene Kontorovich is a noted speaker on this topic, and many others regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict.

He is a professor at George Mason University’s Scalia Law School, in Virginia. Previously, he was at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, where he was a Professor of Law from 2011-2018 and an Associate Professor from 2007-2011.

His expertise is often quoted by major news organizations, such as NPR, the New Yorker, and Fox News. His popular writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Haaretz, and other leading publications. 

In the lead-in to the new school year, TheJ.Ca caught up with the professor to ask him how to fight with facts.

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Cold hard facts and figures are one thing, but in the days of buzzwords, soundbites, Tweets, memes, and banner slogans, how do we square the intellectual debate when the “discussion” is dumbed down to “End the Occupation of Palestinian Land!” and social media screeds?

One problem with pro-Israel activists is they believe that nuance in arguments will help swap people. But those without fixed opinions are unlikely to delve into the level of nuance. If one side is saying it is apartheid, and the other is saying “yes, Israel is not perfect but…” the average listener will split the difference and conclude it is half apartheid.

What’s an important point to impart to the “on-the-fencers” or agnostics, who have little to no opinion on why Jews should have sovereignty over Judea and Samaria?

That the Palestinian claim is extraordinarily illiberal: they are saying that the area of the Jewish homeland, from which Jordan ethnically cleansed the entire Jewish population in 1949, must remain indefinitely or permanently Judenrein (“free of Jews”), and that Israel itself must enforce a “Jew-free zone,” to humour the Palestinian demand for a state pre-cleansed of Jews. The Palestinian position is one of apartheid.

What do you think keeps American and Israeli leaders from standing up and speaking out, expressing that Judea and Samaria are legally Jewish lands?

The U.S. has clearly stated that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are not illegal. Prime Minister Netanyahu says this too, but no one is listening.

In terms of annexation, legal or not, so many have feared the backlash, the protests, the international scorn, and riling of potential future Arab state peace partners. Do you see any credence in these predictions, and do you think Israel should go ahead with annexation anyway?

The same doom-and-gloom predictions about a diplomatic tsunami were made about the recognition of Jerusalem and the Golan. Both not only failed to materialize, but were followed by ever-closer relations with the Arab world. The Palestinian issue does not determine relations with the Arab states. Rather self-interest does, and currently, that is focused on the Iranian threat. That will ensure good relations regardless of small changes Israel makes in the governance of Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria.

Eugene Kontorovich will be a co-presenter of an HonestReporting webinar called “Under the Media’s Radar: Israel and the Jewish People’s Legal Rights to Judea and Samaria,” Sunday Aug. 30. Registration is free.

Dave Gordon is the managing editor of TheJ.ca. His work has appeared in more than a hundred media around the world, including all of the Toronto dailies, BBC, Washington Times, and UK Guardian.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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