Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

The “Objective Truth” in the Strange Case of Migron

April 1, 2012 1:11 pm 0 comments

Children play in a garden at in Migron. Photo: Daniel Ventura.

Sara Hirschorn, in her recent op-ed in The Times of Israel, “Who Has the Monopoly on Truth at Migron?”, challenged my article “Something is Rotten in the State of Israel: The Strange Case of Migron” criticizing Israel’s Supreme Court’s decisions regarding Migron. While she is certainly entitled to disagree with me, her article missed the point.

Sara’s main contention follows the argument of the late history Professor Peter Novick of the University of Chicago that there is no objective truth. However, whether or not, objectively or subjectively, this is true or even makes sense – it is not relevant.

By definition, in a court of law the truth is determined by accepted procedures applying to evidence. In the case of Migron, the Peace Now lawyers represented Palestinian Arabs who were purported to be the registered owners of the land upon which Migron is built. The court of law that dealt with validating or rejecting the plaintiffs claim was the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.

In that case, the Arab plaintiffs who claimed to be the owners of what is actually only one quarter of the land upon which Migron was built were unable to produce evidence to prove their claim. In fact, Migron’s lawyer at the time, now Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer, proved that their claims were false, and in fact, the Peace Now lawyers of said plaintiffs subsequently withdrew their case.

Again, this did not stop Peace Now from pursuing their legally baseless petition in the Supreme Court. Justice Melcer, then Migron’s attorney, in his written response to the Peace Now petition to the Supreme Court wrote: “The picture the plaintiffs are presenting is simplistic, incomplete and inaccurate. The land in question is vacant and rocky that has never been worked upon, and was never used by the plaintiffs for the last several decades.”

Melcer also challenged Peace Now’s veracity. “The presentation of the facts in this petition,” he wrote, “is tendentious, selective and inaccurate and indicates a lack of innocence [on the part of Peace Now]….. There is no doubt that the nature of the issues focused upon in the petition is not legal, but rather political, and is not judicable, whereas Peace Now [by its petition] abuses the legal process.”

My contention that Migron was built “at the encouragement of the IDF at the time” is modest compared to what Mr. Melcer wrote. He noted that Ministers of Defense and the IDF both supported the establishment of Migron because of its key strategic location. Then Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer [Labor Party] declared that Migron would not be evacuated, and then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also supported Migron. Moreover, Melcer maintained, most of the land upon which Migron is built had already been bought and paid for in full by the residents of Migron, and therefore he rejected the claim that Migron is on privately owned Palestinian Arab land.

Sara in essence agrees and admits: “In truth, the Palestinian land claim to the plot of Migron is tendentious,” but attempts to muddy the waters nonetheless claiming “although Atlas ignores the complexity of the 400-year-old legal history of land tenure in the Jerusalem district beginning with the Ottoman territorial register, and its evolution under the British Mandate and the state of Israel.”

The answer is, of course, that neither I nor Migron’s lawyer, now Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer, “ignored” any “complexity” because this case is not complex. It is not objective or subjective truth at stake, it is truth or falsity. The Peace Now supplied and represented Palestinian Arab plaintiffs had no legal case because they could not prove they were the owners of the contested land. Moreover, Peace Now could not produce any alternative plaintiffs who could produce court validated documentation of ownership.

Hence, the fact that then Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch ignored the very core issue of a lack of documented land ownership by the Palestinian Arab plaintiffs represented in Peace Now’s petition, rejected then Attorney Hanan Melcer’s meticulous rebuttal, and summarily ruled to displace 50 Jewish families nonetheless, sort of strongly hints “that political correctness has made a mockery of justice,” and that Ms. Beinisch’s ruling, unfortunately, “characterizes the Supreme Court as a branch of government operating with ‘open political bias’.” These are facts Sara, not subjective musings.

Your digression, Sara, into a discussion that “Of course, the Israeli settler movement — and the broader Zionist project since the pre-state period — has long had a problematic relationship with objective reality” is simply more muddying of the waters. Yes, Gush Emunim followed the ideological methodology of Kibbutz Hanita, for example, which was founded in 1938 to establish a settlement beachhead to extend the Jewish presence in the north despite serious opposition from leaders of Jewish Zionist establishment organizations in Tel Aviv, and “create facts on the ground” in Judea and Samaria. But that has nothing to do with the documented bias of the Supreme Court that can apparently ignore contrary evidence when it suits the political viewpoint of the activist judge in question, i.e.: Hon. Dorit Beinisch.

While obviously we have differing political viewpoints -your use of the term “occupied territories” and “West Bank”, while I call them by their historical name “Judea and Samaria”, not to mention your completely subjective declaration that “There is no objective truth in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — each side makes its historical and moral claims to the best of its abilities” – but that should not be relevant to our discussion about the accuracy of my contentions about the case of Migron in the Supreme Court.

This is not a case of subjective versus the objective in determining a philosophical or historical truth. It is a simple matter, sadly, of fact versus fiction. The Supreme Court refused to wait until the Magistrate’s Court ruled and then when Peace Now’s lawyers withdrew their case in the lower court because of a lack of evidence, the Supreme Court still ruled in favor of Peace Now’s petition without documented evidence to prove Peace Now’s case. Any rational outside observer viewing these legal proceedings would easily conclude that in the strange case of Migron, something is indeed rotten in the State of Israel.

The author is a veteran journalist specializing in geo-political and geo-strategic affairs in the Middle East. His articles have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Insight Magazine, Nativ, The Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon. His articles have been reprinted by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the US Congressional Record. This article first appeared in The Times of Israel.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Book Reviews Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    It is cocktail hour on an April afternoon in 2004. The sun is hot on Amsterdam’s canals, and I am sitting at Café den Leeuw on the Herengracht with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali is still a member of the Dutch Parliament, and we talk about Islam. Specifically, we talk about the concept of “moderate Islam,” or what she calls “liberal Islam.” And she has one word for it. “It’s absurd,” she says. “It’s complete nonsense. There is no ‘liberal […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    Everybody knows that cooking varies from country to country. There are Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, etc. We associate different styles of cuisine with different languages. Do we also think of the association of different cuisines with different dialects? We should, because cooking also varies from region to region. Litvaks and Galitsyaners have their own traditions of preparing gefilte fish. Marvin I. Herzog, in his book The Yiddish Language in Northern Poland: Its Geography and History (Indiana University, Bloomington, and Mouton & Co., The […]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    An analysis of New York Times wedding announcements showed that women married in Jewish ceremonies were less likely to take their husband’s last names than those married in Roman Catholic ceremonies, the Times reported on Saturday. The largest gap between the two groups was in 1995 when 66 percent of Catholic women took their husband’s names and 33 percent of Jewish women did the same. Nearly half of the women featured in the publication’s wedding pages since 1985 took their husband’s name after marriage, while about […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    JNS.org – Through appreciation of both his comedy and humanitarian work, legendary Jewish entertainer Jerry Lewis is staying relevant at age 89. The only comic to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Lewis added another award to his trophy case in April, when he received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Gordon Smith, NAB’s president and CEO, said the organization was “honored to recognize not only [Lewis’s] comedic innovation, but also his remarkable […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli athletes marked a successful day on Sunday, as gymnasts won multiple bronze and silver medals in the 2015 European Games in Baku. The Gymnastics team won two silver medals and one bronze in group events, while Neta Rivkin, an Israeli Olympic gymnast, won bronze for the Solo Hoops event. Sunday’s gymnastics wins follow Sergey Richter’s bronze on June 16 for the Men’s 10 meter air-rifle, and Ilana Kratysh’s silver for women’s freestyle wrestling. The 2015 European Games in Baku are […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Russian-American Jews are some of the most successful ballroom dancing competitors in the U.S., South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) Radio reported on Thursday. Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, said their success can be traced back to Jewish discrimination in the former Soviet Union. Because of the prejudice they faced, Russian Jews had to perform better than their peers in every field, including dancing, in order to have a chance of getting ahead. “They knew that if they […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    An Israeli dancer made use of Jewish props in an extraordinary routine that left judges amazed when he auditioned for season 12 of TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance on Monday. At first, the panel of judges appeared confused when Asaf Goren, 23, began his audition in Los Angeles with a tallit (prayer shawl) over his head and the blowing of a shofar, which he explained “opens the sky” for people’s prayers. However, as soon as he started his “Hebrew breaking” performance, […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    Jewish Hoops Fairytale Falls Short as David Blatt’s Cavaliers Drop Game 6

    JNS.org – A fairytale ending to Jewish basketball coach David Blatt’s first season in the National Basketball Association (NBA) was not meant to be, as the Blatt-led Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night dropped Game 6 of the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, 105-97, to lose the best-of-seven series 4-2. Blatt, who just last year coached Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv franchise to a European basketball championship, failed to finish a second straight hoops season on top. But after the Cavaliers began the NBA […]

    Read more →