Wednesday, November 29, 2017

10 Years, 70 Years, 24 Years

Remembering My Father:  On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling for Palestine to be partitioned between Arabs and Jews.

That was 70 years ago, before Abq Jew was born. Yet he remembers that day as if it were yesterday.

Here is a map of the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

Wikipedia tells us:
The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was a plan for the future government of Palestine. The Plan was described as a Plan of Partition with Economic Union which, after the termination of the British Mandate, would lead to the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem. On 29 November 1947, the General Assembly adopted a resolution recommending the adoption and implementation of the Plan as Resolution 181(II).
A lot of things have changed since then. But just as important - a lot of things changed before then.

Let's start with the map itself. Do you notice anything missing?

Most people who were born after 1922 don't.

So let's look at this map to the right, which shows the area of the original British Mandate.

What's missing in the 1949 map above is the entire area of Palestine that lies east of the Jordan River.

What happened to all that land? Abq Jew hears you ask. Well ....

The British government decided to remove 78% of the area of the Palestine Mandate from the jurisdiction of that Mandate.

As the map to the left shows, the British created a separate Arab entity there, called Transjordan. They then gave that land to Emir (later, King) Abdullah.

How could the British do that, Abq Jew hears you ask. Well ....

Let's look at the document that (in a sense) started it all - the Balfour Declaration. Wikipedia tells us:
The Balfour Declaration (dated 2 November 1917) was a letter from the United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.
His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
The "Balfour Declaration" was later incorporated into the Sèvres peace treaty with Turkey and the Mandate for Palestine. The original document is kept at the British Library.
1. As you can easily see, the Balfour Declaration supports a national home for the Jewish people in "Palestine." And when the Balfour Declaration was written, "Palestine" meant all of Palestine - both west and east of the Jordan River.

2. As you can also easily see, the Balfour Declaration supports a national home for the Jewish people "in Palestine." And "in Palestine" meant exactly that, and was never intended to imply all of Palestine.

The British, for their own reasons, went with the second interpretation. There are others, of course (followers of Vladimir Jabotinsky, for example), who still hold with the first interpretation.

In any event, everyone (perhaps) recalls what happened right after the UN vote on November 29, 1947. Wikipedia (and The New York Times) reminds us:
The Plan was accepted by the leaders of the Jewish community in Palestine, through the Jewish Agency. The Plan was rejected by leaders of the Arab community, including the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee, who were supported in their rejection by the states of the Arab League. The Arab leadership (in and out of Palestine) opposed partition and claimed all of Palestine.
The rest, as they say, is history. Go and learn!

My father, Richard W Yellin, of blessed memory, certainly chose an already memorable day on which to pass on to the World to Come.

Abq Jew has often written on his father's yahrzeit - in 2016 (Starting With Aunt Bea), in 2013, (For the 19th of Kislev 5774), in 2012 (5 Years, 65 Years, 19 Years), in 2011 (Boogie Woogie), and in 2010 (My Father's Yahrzeit).

This time around, ten years after his father's passing, it's the civil date (yahrzeit is still several days away) that Abq Jew recalls. November 29 also turns out to be the day in 2001 that George Harrison died, at age 58, following a battle with cancer.

But let's return to the Land of the Living. And let's start with Tom Lehrer. Wikipedia tells us:
Thomas Andrew Lehrer (/ˈlɛrər/; born April 9, 1928) is a retired American musician, singer-songwriter, satirist, and mathematician. 
He has lectured on mathematics and musical theater. He is best known for the pithy, humorous songs he recorded in the 1950s and 1960s. 
Lehrer was born to a Jewish family and grew up in Manhattan's Upper East Side. 
His work often parodies popular song forms, though he usually creates original melodies when doing so. A notable exception is "The Elements", where he sets the names of the chemical elements to the tune of the Major-General's song from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. 
Lehrer's early work typically dealt with non-topical subject matter and was noted for its black humor in songs such as "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park". 
In the 1960s, he produced a number of songs dealing with social and political issues of the day, particularly when he wrote for the U.S. version of the television show That Was the Week That Was
Despite their topical subjects and references, the popularity of these songs has endured; Lehrer quoted a friend's explanation: 
"Always predict the worst and you'll be hailed as a prophet." 
In the early 1970s, he mostly retired from public performances to devote his time to teaching mathematics and music theatre at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Well, it's getting close to Christmas, also known as Xmas, but in politically correct circles referred to as "The Holidays." Along with Chanukah, Hanukkah, Khanikeh, and Kwanzaa.

Anyway, Abq Jew's father (and mother, also of blessed memory) loved Tom Lehrer. 70 years, 10 years, and soon (for Mom) 24 years. Abq Jew remembers, with Tom Lehrer's A Christmas Carol.

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