Names and Narrative: CNN’s Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa Complex Inversion

temple mount protest
(Muslim and Israeli police confront each other at The Temple Mount,
September 13, 2015. Source: AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

On September 13, 2015, CNN reported on a confrontation between “Arab youths and Israeli police” in the Old City of Jerusalem using language that inverted the facts. The news discussed:

  • Palestinian protestors,” but of what? Jews visiting the Temple Mount which they had every legal and moral right to do? Perhaps they were protesting new Israeli laws meant to keep Muslim groups from attacking Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount. The report made it appear that the “protestors” were just seeking a right to pray.
  • The “Al Aqsa Complex” that CNN mentioned gives an Islamic name to the entire 35 acre compound, even though the Al Aqsa Mosque is located on just the southern tip of the platform. This entire platform was built for the Second Jewish Temple and is therefore historically known as the Temple Mount. Using an Islamic name as the official name and only stating that “Jews… call it the Temple Mount” divorces history, reality and Jews from the site. It is more accurate to use the default name “The Temple Mount” to the entire location and state that ‘Muslims call it the Al Aqsa Complex”.
  • “…Is one of the holiest sites in the world for Muslims” The mosque itself is the third holiest site, not the entire Temple Mount platform. The story does not clarify that Jews had no interest in visiting the mosque itself, but the other parts of the platform.
  • Stating that “the clashes ended when Muslim worshippers were allowed in the complex for prayers” makes the entire event seem like all the Arab protestors sought was a right to pray (which they had already completed doing), as oppose to stopping Jews from visiting the Temple Mount on their Jewish New Year. This was another inversion of the narrative.
  • CNN’s report that “Jordan, which is in charge of the complex” is incomplete. Jordan’s Islamic Waqf has religious oversight of the Temple Mount, but it is Israel that is in charge of security on the Mount. Article 9 of the 1994 Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty clearly states that “Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.” That is why the Israeli police legally deployed personnel to prevent Arab rock-throwers from attacking visiting Jews on the Mount.

Overall, CNN failed to report that Israel was legally trying to protect Jews visiting the Temple Mount, their holiest spot on one of their holiest days of the year. Instead they painted a picture of Israeli police blocking Arab youths from praying at the Al Aqsa Complex, one of their holiest places.

DSC00357
Al Aqsa Mosque at the very southern tip of the Temple Mount Platform
(Source: First One Through)


Related First One Through articles:

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

The Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

“Extremist” or “Courageous”

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

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5 thoughts on “Names and Narrative: CNN’s Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa Complex Inversion

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