Jordan’s King Abdullah gave a flowery speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. To the casual listener, his words sounded progressive in his call for “loving our neighbour, showing respect to those different from us,” and to “amplify the voice of moderation,” especially from a region so caught up in violent Islamic extremism.
To a listener who was more familiar with Jordan’s history in the region, some of the king’s comments appeared as a welcome change from the actions of his late father. Others could question whether Abdullah harkens to his own voice. Consider Abdullah’s call:
“let us recognise deceit. When we examine the motives of these outlaws, the khawarej – and indeed, the motives of extremists on all sides – we find hunger for power and control: of people, of money, of land. They use religion as a mask. Is there a worse crime than twisting God’s word to promote your own interests?”
“nothing can be more important and can have more impact in framing this respect and coexistence than Jerusalem. The Hashemite Custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian Holy Sites is a sacred duty, and we join Muslims and Christians everywhere in rejecting threats to the Holy Places
and the Arab character of this Holy City.”
When it comes to “respect and coexistence in Jerusalem,” let’s remind the Jordanian king of some plain facts:
- Jordan attacked Israel in 1948, together with four Arab armies in an attempt to completely destroy the new Jewish State, and then Jordan illegally seized the eastern half of Jerusalem.
- Jordan evicted all Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in 1949, counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
- Jordan explicitly denied Jews citizenship when it granted Arabs in its conquered territory citizenship in 1954.
- Jordan barred any Jews from even visiting their holy sites when they controlled Jerusalem from 1949-1967.
- Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967 and lost the area it had illegally annexed.
- Jordan condemned the 2010 rebuilding of a prominent synagogue in Jerusalem that Jordan itself had destroyed in 1949.
Despite Jordan’s complete lack of religious tolerance for Jews and hostility towards Israel, Israel has always sought to maintain religious freedom and coexistence in the holy city:
- Israel granted the Jordanian Islamic Waqf custodian rights to the Temple Mount when it reunified Jerusalem in 1967.
- Israel enshrined the religious protections of all religions in its laws and safeguarded access to holy sites for all religions.
- Israel reiterated the special role that Jordan plays on the Temple Mount in the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty in 1994.
- Today, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu repeatedly reiterates that Israel will maintain the “status quo” of the Jordanian Waqf’s anti-Semitic edict of barring Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount.
When the Jordanian king spoke of “rejecting threats to the Holy Places and the Arab character of this Holy City [Jerusalem]” in a speech that was theoretically about tolerance, did he once mention Judaism? Did he make a passing reference to the Jerusalem being the holiest city to only one religion – Judaism? Did he mention that Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority since the 1860s? A passing comment about the Jewish Temples or Western Wall? Or did he define the holy city as solely having an “Arab character”?
In his choice of the phrase “threats to the Holy Places,” was Abdullah suggesting that Jews should no longer be permitted to visit the Temple Mount, or that Israeli police should be prevented from protecting Jewish visitors from Arab harassment and stone throwers, even though the Jordanian peace treaty with Israel specifically gave Jews and Israel both of those rights?
To Abdullah’s comment of gathering “Muslims and Christians everywhere,” was he suggesting gathering 2 billion people against Israel on a trumped up non-existent threat to Islamic holy places? Was Abdullah calling for a global jihad in “twisting” facts to create a religious battle to promote a greater role for himself? Was that his idea of “amplify[ing] the voice of moderation”?
It is Abdullah that must “recognize his own deceit” and “hunger for power and control” of Judaism’s holiest spot in the capital of Israel. His opening line taken from the Jewish bible of “love thy neighbor as thyself” and “showing respect to those different” was a red herring in his call to cast himself as a loving moderate while calling for a global jihad against Israel on a non-existent cause.
The “progressive” voices attacking Jews and the Jewish State are becoming more numerous and growing louder. Beware of the velvet tongue as much as the iron fist.
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