By Tina Swann, Zoning Board member
Mahwah, February 7 – If there’s one thing I’ve learned from studying international news, it’s the importance of the so-called Status Quo when it come to Jews and what governs their relations with non-Jews. Anything that disrupts or violates the status quo must be prevented. Well, that means we shouldn’t be letting Jews put up an Eruv in our town, because there never was one before, and as everyone with half a brain can tell, that would violate the status quo.
It’s a principle in play in numerous arenas. The international community castigates Israel for disrupting the status quo on the Temple Mount: no Jewish prayer there because it might disrupt the status quo, regardless of the fact that the status quo came to be only as a result of violent Islamic supremacism. The point is that Jews may not disrupt the status quo. In Mahwah, we wish to uphold that principle as well. Do not call us antisemites because we take the same principled stand as most of the world!
The same attitude prevails regarding Jewish settlements in areas beyond the 1949 armistice line with Jordan. Any new Jewish construction creates “facts on the ground” that risk prejudicing the final outcome or feasibility of a final status agreement with the Palestinians, so any Jewish move to alter the sacred status quo is met with international condemnation. All we are saying is apply that test to Mahwah. We cannot allow Jews to create facts on the ground that would prejudice the final demographic character of this township.
Note also that when non-Jews engage in those same activities, that is not considered a disruption of the status quo. Thus, Palestinian construction in areas previously controlled by Jordan cannot be deemed violations of the status quo, because we define the status quo only in relation to Jewish activities. Mahwah, as well, seeks to follow the same rationale.
Let us dispense, then, with the notion that we dislike Jews, even the most visibly orthodox ones who look and act different. Whether or not we dislike them is irrelevant. We are simply adhering to the venerable international double standard of only taking a critical view of Jewish construction or worship. Take your accusations of hypocrisy and prejudice elsewhere, such as the European Union, United Nations, State Department, human rights organizations, and myriad embassies of countries opposed to a sovereign Jewish presence beyond the Green Line.
Mahwah is beyond the Green Line, too.
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