Daniel Seidemann: A realistic voice in Jerusalem’s sea of conflict

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CHARLOTTE, N.C, April 30, 2015 – When Daniel Seidemann speaks, everybody listens – intently. What the world needs now, other than “love sweet love” is more commentary from Mr. Seidemann and much larger audiences.

Daniel Seidemann just may be the most knowledgeable person in the world on the subject of Jerusalem and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict whom you never heard of. Though he was born in the United States, Seidemann is Israeli by choice and an unabashed Zionist who makes no apologies for his beliefs.

As director of Terrestrial Jerusalem, a non-governmental organization he founded in 2010, Seidemann understands better than anyone that his home city of Jerusalem is a key piece to a solution “acceptable to all sides” of the Israeli/Palestinian issue.

As a reserve major in the Israeli army and an attorney, Seidemann may seem like a walking contradiction when he talks of a two-state solution and the need to slow the surge of Israeli settlements in and around Jerusalem.


Speaking to the New Jersey Jewish News, the 61-year-old Jewish patriot minced no words (he never does) when he said, “I am a reserve major in the Israeli army so it is really hard for me take a condescending attitude from an armchair Zionist who lives in the U.S. The least you owe me is a civil and respectful conversation; if not, you are one of those creeps willing to fight to our last drop of blood.”

Seidemann has spent the better part of the last two decades studying the nuances of Jerusalem, a Rubik’s Cube city of history, antiquity, culture and religion. It, like the rest of the Middle East, is frequently afire in a burning sea of controversy, but unlike most who speak of the conflicts in the region, Daniel Seidemann understands it far better than most.

Seidemann explains the situation with a metaphor. “The quip in Hebrew,” he says, “is ‘everyone pisses in the swimming pool. Not everyone does it from the diving board.’ What we’ve been watching in the last year is an unprecedented surge in settlement activities. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pissing from the high board, and what we hear from D.C. is, ‘hey, there is a light rain.’”

Those words not only sum up the role Jerusalem plays in the process to resolve the schism between Israel and Palestine, but are also quintessential Seidemann.

Seidemann is not a flag-burning, soap-box spouting talking head who can be seen on a regular basis on Sunday morning news programs. His work is far more productive, which is done primarily in the behind-the-scenes anonymity of speaking with officials who have enough clout to make something happen.

Todd Deatherage, a member of the State Department during the tenure of Condoleeza Rice, says, “If you work in the United States government on Jerusalem, you will encounter Danny.” In other words, Seidemann just may be the most influential person you probably never heard of.

Some say he has more access than any non-government official in Washington.

The key is Seidemann’s blunt honesty. What Daniel Seidemann says he means, and when he says it, it is the truth. A rare commodity in the nation’s capital these days. “What makes him so interesting is that he’s a deeply committed patriot with and understanding that the Israel – the Jerusalem – he wants is predicated on two national groups and three faith communities coming to accommodation who all have legitimate claims. And he does that (with an eye) to current contemporary geopolitical Jerusalem and a sense of history,” adds Deatherage.

Seidemann describes Jerusalem as slogging along within the layers of history that have made it a melting pot of three major religions. If you witness it on a daily basis, despite differences and centuries of conflict, when not influenced by the ignorance of outside forces, it somehow manages to find a way to work.

One of the primary areas of conflict is called E1, the land connecting Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Maaleh Adunim.

Seidemann explained its significance to the New Jersey Jewish News this way: “A two-state solution is going to take place inside of Jerusalem or not take place at all. We will head for a politically divided city: parts of Jerusalem will be Palestinian, parts of Jerusalem will be Israeli. That is the sine qua non of any agreement.… For that to happen, I have to be able to draw a line on a map which will carve out a viable Palestinian city and leave an equally or more viable Israeli city in its wake. I have to be able to draw a line that will allow every Israeli to go home at night, including in what are now settler neighborhoods that will be incorporated, without crossing an international boundary, and allow every Palestinian to go home or visit a mosque without seeing an Israeli policeman.”

Seidemann sums it up saying, “Treat the de facto borders as political ones and you have achieved 95 percent of the solution in Jerusalem.”

Daniel Seidemann is as complex as the city and the region in which he lives, but most of all he is honest, blunt and realistic. We can only hope somebody, anybody, eventually chooses his wisdom over politics.

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.

Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)

Read more of What in the World and Bob Taylor at Communities Digital News

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  • Barrack Hussein Obama face it – Israel is Jewish territory and it is not negotiable.
    The Arabs already have 46,000 sq. miles of Jewish land (5 times the size of Israel) that they confiscated from the million Jews they expelled from Arab countries in the past 90 years. They also have the Jewish territory of Jordan.
    I think you do not have your facts straight – Israel belongs to the Jews.
    The Quran states it clearly.
    Israel is a Jewish State its territories are non-negotiable. It has been a Jewish country for over 4,000 years.
    The Arab-Palestinians are the occupiers. All they want is to destroy the Jews. They educated their children and the masses to commit terror and violence against Israel. The dance in the streets when the twin towers in 9-11 collapsed and 3,000 Americans died.
    It is amazing how you and many others choose to ignore that the Arab countries have expelled over a million Jews from their countries in the last 90 years. Jews who lived there for over 2,000 years. The Arabs confiscated their assets, businesses, homes and real estate 5-6 times the size of Israel – 120,000 sq. km. or 46,000 sq. miles which is valued in the trillions of dollars.
    Any Arab who is not happy to live under the Israeli government can move there.
    Study your history; Muhammed in 627 about 1,500 years ago beheaded 700 Jews in Medina which was a Jewish town in Saudi Arabia, he killed all the men took the women as slaves and raped their daughters. This is just the tip of history.
    Do you want more study the complete unbiased history objectively.
    YJ Draiman
    P.S.
    There was never an Arab-Palestinian State in Greater Israel and there will never be – face it.
    The Ottoman land records of Palestine confirm that the Arabs did not own land, the were sharecroppers. Over 90% of the land was owned by the government the balance was owned by absentee wealthy Arabs from Lebanon who sold it to the Jews at premium prices.
    It is time to implement population transfer for all the Arabs.
    who create violence, riot and attack Jews and anyone else. They could be relocated to the home and land of the million Jewish people, expelled from Arab countries or Jordan.
    YJ Draiman.

    Tell the White House official to return occupied Texas and other states to Mexico and the rest of the United States to the Indians.
    The Jews have a history with Israel going over 4,000 years. The Americans have only a few hundred years of occupation and deliberate destruction of the Indians.
    YJ Draiman.

  • The Jewish heart and mind is eternally connected to Jerusalem and Israel for thousands of years.

    “For three thousand years, Jerusalem has been the center of Jewish hope and longing. No other city has played such a dominant role in the history, culture, religion and consciousness of a people as has Jerusalem in the life of Jewry and Judaism. Throughout centuries of exile, Jerusalem remained alive in the hearts of Jews everywhere as the focal point of Jewish history, the symbol of ancient glory, spiritual fulfillment and modern renewal. This heart and soul of the Jewish people engenders the thought that if you want one simple word to symbolize all of Jewish history, that word would be ‘Jerusalem.’ “.

    “Every Jew has a spark in his soul from the light of God above that illuminates his way during difficult times. And when it seems to him that he is lost and that there is no way out, the spark flares and lights his way. This is the little jug of oil that is revealed in time to save the Jew in times of despair and to light up his life in desperate times.”.

    “Let the world know that we were granted our right to exist by the God of our fathers at the glimmer of the dawn of human civilization 4,000 years ago. The Jewish people have a historic, eternal and inalienable right to the whole of the land of our forefathers. And for that right, which has been sanctified in Jewish blood from generation to generation, we have paid a price unprecedented in the annals of nations.”.

    How many holidays do the Arabs-Muslims celebrate due to historical events in the land of ancient Israel and Jerusalem.
    The Jewish people celebrate most of their holidays and fast days in memory of Jerusalem and Israel and the goal and aspiration to return to Israel and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem – where it was before it was destroyed and desecrated by the enemies of the Jews.
    Many of the Jewish prayers for thousands of years recite the love of Israel and the Jewish aspirations to return to their ancestral land and bring back its glory and holiness.
    YJ Draiman

    P.S.
    It is time to re-institute the teaching of the Jewish Bible in all Jewish Schools as was in Israel before 1987.
    Many of the Israelis today know nothing about our Jewish Heritage and history, it is due to the termination of studying the bible at all Jewish schools in Israel which was implemented by the than Israeli education minister in 1987.