On Defenses: Provocative and Legal / Unprovocative and Illegal

Each society makes rules to govern its citizenry. It considers the tastes and preferences of its inhabitants and tries to balance enabling human rights and the maintaining of public order. Some countries opt to ban certain activities if they might lead to violence, while others believe that human expression cannot be stifled because of the reactions that might ensue.

The world has seen this play out in the recent past, with an interesting wave of defenses and condemnations.

Charlie Hebdo Drawings of Mohammed

France is a deeply secular society that prizes its freedoms, including freedom of the press. It was perfectly legal for a French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, to draw pictures of the Islamic prophet even though it was highly provocative and upsetting to devout Muslims. Indeed, several Islamic radicals shot up the magazine’s headquarters, killing many of its writers. As part of the jihadists’ derangement, they followed up on that violent vengeance with a visit to a local kosher store to slaughter Jews who had nothing to do with the cartoons.

The western world rallied to the defense of France, with global leaders marching arm-in-arm in defense of freedom of expression and against reactive violence. The provocative nature of the drawings was dismissed as irrelevant.

World leaders march in support of France and freedom of expression in January 2015 (Photograph: AFP)

Gay Pride Parade and Israeli Pride Marches in Jerusalem

The city of Jerusalem is both holy and contentious. It is the holiest city for Jews, the third holiest city for Muslims, and holy for Christians who don’t rank cities as commonly as Jews and Muslims.

It is also a politically sensitive city. Recommended to be an international city (along with Bethlehem) by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, it became divided between Israel and Jordan in the 1948-9 Arab-Israeli War. After Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967, the reunited city became completely Israeli, even while much of the world still considers it to be international or under negotiations for a final settlement.

The holiness of the city makes the annual gay pride parade offensive to many religious Jews, Muslims and Christians. While legal, the provocative nature of holding the event in Jerusalem has sparked violence, such as occurred in July 2015 when a Jewish man just released from a mental hospital, stabbed six people, killing one. The public condemned the violence and defended the right to parade.

For their part, proud Jewish nationalists flew Israeli flags through Jerusalem, including in predominantly Arab sections of eastern Jerusalem, to mark the reunification of the city. When Palestinian groups claimed the parade was “provocative” and threatened violence, the United States asked Israel to reroute the march away from Arab areas, an action it did not take for the gay parade.

Both legal marches went on as planned, with left-wing groups labeling the nationalist march as provocative, and right-wing groups stating the same about the gay parade.

Israeli Jews on the Temple Mount

In sharp contrast to the legal actions above which are defended, the fundamental human right to pray at a holy site is deemed illegal and condemned. At least, only for Jews in Jerusalem.

The central point of prayer and holiest place on earth for Jews is the Jewish Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. Jews around the world pray facing it, and many around the world make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year, as commanded in the Jewish Bible.

It has historic significance as the place where two Jewish Temples stood, and deep relevance today, especially to Orthodox Jews.

Jews have a basic human right to pray at their holiest location, as detailed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Even more, they have an accepted right to visit the Jewish Temple Mount according to rules laid out by the Islamic Waqf which has administrative rights on the compound.

But Arab extremists want to have none of it.

  • Wafa, the official Palestinian news site saidIsraeli Jewish supremacist Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Tuesday stormed the compounds of al-Aqsa mosque in the occupied city of Jerusalem under heavy protection from the Israeli forces.
  • The political-terrorist group Hamas’s news site saidBen Gvir’s incursion into the Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyards on Tuesday morning constitutes a grave violation against the Palestinian people and their holy sites.” It condemned and mocked other Jews praying outside of the Temple Mount as “settlers [who] organized provocative dances and performed Talmudic rituals in the Old City and near Al-Aqsa Mosque.
  • Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Sinan Al Majali saidThe storming of the blessed Al Aqsa Mosque by one of the Israeli ministers and violating its sanctity is a provocative, condemned move.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir quietly visited the Temple Mount on the Jewish fast day of the 10th of Tevet, January 3, 2023. (Courtesy Minhelet Har Habayit)

While not directly condemning Ben-Gvir’s visit or mocking Jews who pray in Jerusalem, the US Embassy in Jerusalem said that Ambassador Thomas Nides “has been very clear in conversations with the Israeli government on the issue of preserving the status quo in Jerusalem’s holy sites. Actions that prevent that are unacceptable.”

It is deeply disturbing that Israeli Jews visiting their sacred site is greeted by condemnation by not only radical Islamists, but by the western media and governments. Did those same people argue for the “status quo” of banning gay marriage? Segregation? Why do liberal values melt before jihadi zealots when it comes to the Jews?

Jews visiting and praying on the Temple Mount do so because the site is dear to them, not to antagonize Muslims. The people who condemn Jewish visitation and call it and act of “provocation” are not simply echoing radical Islamist propaganda, but denying Jewish history and Judaism itself, while simultaneously trampling on a basic human right.

Related articles:

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

Active and Reactive Provocations: Charlie Hebdo and the Temple Mount

I’m Offended, You’re Dead

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

The Jewish Israeli Rosa Parks

The US State Department’s Selective Preference of “Status Quos”

Related music video:

Israel Provokes the Palestinians (music by The Clash)

The Menorahs of Defiance

On December 19, 2022, The New York Times published an article about a menorah that was lit in the window of a Jewish home across from a Nazi flag in Germany, in defiance of the edicts to ban Jews from participating in society. The descendants of that German family brought the menorah back to Germany to rekindle it once again.

It’s an interesting story on many levels. To consider the defiance and fear that the Jewish family must have felt in 1931 as Nazis gathered power in Germany, to openly declare their Judaism in the face of growing anti-Semitism. And then, eighty years later, to return to Germany after the genocide of European Jewry with that same menorah.

Chanukah candles lit in the ashes of millions of slaughtered Jews.

Yehuda Mansbach, the grandson of the Jewish couple who lit that menorah in the iconic 1931 photograph, wept openly after lighting the two candles to mark the holiday of Chanukah in Germany in 2022.

It was the only story that the New York paper would write about the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, other than some recipes for latke cocktails and how to make a DIY menorah. The actual holiday story of Jews expelling the Hellenist pagan rituals from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and throughout the Jewish holy land 2,200 years ago must have been considered too political for the anti-Zionist paper.

During the holiday, the paper preferred to write stories about Arabs who had “ancestors” in “modern day Israel” whose towns were destroyed at Israel’s creation. These “Palestinian citizens of Israel” (commonly called Israeli Arabs) have been trying to get back to the homes where their grandparents lived but have been blocked from doing so by the Israeli military and courts because the town sits in a buffer zone along Lebanon which is in a state of war with the Jewish State.

These are stories that neatly contour to the Times’ jaundiced narrative: Jews are native to Europe but were pushed out by Nazis, and Arabs are native to Palestine but were pushed out by Jews.

The actual Chanukah story disrupts the anti-Zionist propaganda, that Jews have thousands of years of history in Israel and not just throughout the land, but on the Jewish Temple Mount itself. That is where the original menorah of the Jews was lit, not in defiance of any edict but as a basic part of Jewish religious ritual.

Today, while Arabs may be blocked from returning to living in villages alongside the border of a hostile country by Israel’s military, Jews are considered to be in violation of United Nations edicts for going to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. While Israeli Arabs freely drive around Israel as recognized citizens of the Jewish State, countries around the world demand that Jews be forbidden from living and praying in their holiest city.

Jews have been lighting menorahs for 2,200 years, even in the face of blatant anti-Semitism from neighbors, governments and media propaganda. And Jews will continue to light their menorahs in their windows as proud Jews, and visit the reestablished Jewish State, as they use the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel propaganda as the rags that they are.

A single menorah of defiance lit before a Nazi flag in Germany, dozens of menorahs held aloft in Montana in 1993 amidst a wave of anti-Semitic attacks, and thousands of menorahs lit in Jewish homes in Jerusalem and around the world today in the face of blatantly anti-Semitic articles and resolutions. Jews are indigenous to Israel and will always insist on the basic human right to practice their faith everywhere, especially in their holiest city.

Related articles:

The UN Talks About Jews Building In Jerusalem On Chanukah

Chanukah And The Puppets Of Power

For Chanukah, Arab League Shines Light On Why It Should Be Condemned

Chanukah and Fighting on Sabbath

Today’s Inverted Chanukah: The Holiday of Rights in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria

The UN Talks About Jews Building In Jerusalem On Chanukah

The United Nations Security Council met on December 19, 2022 during the Jewish holiday of Chanukah which marks Jews rededicating their temple in Jerusalem 2,200 years ago. The council heard from Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process (aka Coordinator For Palestinian Demands) about the situation in the region during the period September 21 to December 7.

The comments and replies from various countries hit upon Jews in Jerusalem several times.

Wennesland called the Old City of Jerusalem and its surroundings as “occupied East Jerusalem,” and bemoaned the fact that the “number [of new housing units for Jews] more than tripled from some 900 units in 2021 to some 3,100 units in 2021 with tenders doubling from 200 to 400.”

Other countries chimed in.

  • The spokesperson from France said “The priority today is to halt the Israeli settlement building policy in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.”
  • The agent from Russia offered that “the expropriation of Palestinian property, the demolition of houses and the systematic violation of the status quo of Jerusalem’s holy sites continue.”
  • UAE, Israel’s new theoretical ally in the region, said “Any unilateral measures affecting the legal status of Jerusalem and the holy sites are a violation of international law which threatens to exacerbate tensions,” and added “the need to respect Jordan’s custodianship of Jerusalem’s holy sites,” making it sound like Jordan had authority over all Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites, when in fact it only has a “special role” regarding Islamic sites.
  • The representative of Ghana urged “Israel’s Government to not continue with plans to expand or create settlements, particularly in and around East Jerusalem.”

The basic idea that Jews should be banned from living somewhere, let alone in their holiest city of Jerusalem, is anti-Semitic at its core. That many countries would publicly call for such action at the United Nations during the Jewish holiday celebrating Jewish rights in Jerusalem adds a noxious element of antagonism towards global Jewry.

Jewish Chanukiah at the Kotel in Jerusalem (photo: First One Through)

Jews will never abandon Jerusalem. The perpetual calls at the United Nations for them to do so is pure inflammatory rhetoric, and makes any resolution from the organization about the conflict fall on hostile ears.

Related articles:

Amid The Terror, The United Nations Once Again Protects Palestinians

While Palestinians Fire 400 Rockets, the United Nations Meets to Give Them Money

The United Nations Can Hear the Songs of Gazans, but Cannot See Their Rockets

What’s “Outrageous” for the United Nations

The Only Religious Extremists for the United Nations are “Jewish Extremists”

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

UN Lies About Palestinians Favoring Two States

The UN Continues To Absolve Palestinian Attacks Against Israelis In The “West Bank”

Today, Only Orthodox Jews Yearn For Prayers On The Temple Mount

Chanukah is a celebration of Jews purging the pagan practices of their holy Second Temple in Jerusalem, and expunging the Hellenists from the holy land. It is a worthwhile time to consider how Jews today think about the Jewish Temple Mount and the future of Jewish prayers on the site.

Reform Judaism

Reform Jews are the largest denomination of American Jews, accounting for roughly 33% of American Jews (right ahead of 29% of Jews of no religion) according to a 2021 Pew poll. Their authoritative rabbinic body, the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) issued a resolution in 2015 about the Reform movement’s view of the Temple Mount. While it said that Jews considered it “holy”, it noted that it only was so because of historic significance. It added some important points:

  • There is “not to any hope for rebuilding the Temple, reestablishing sacrificial rites, or restoring any future Jewish worship where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock now stand”
  • Supports the status quo on the Temple Mount which restricts prayer to Islamic, not Jewish, prayer.”
  • Stands in opposition to those Jews who attempt to alter the status quo by praying on the Temple Mount, which is contrary both to traditional Jewish law and practice as well as peaceful co-existence.”
  • “Affirms the freedom of religion and the right of persons to pray where they choose, while at the same time, asserts that the interests of peace and safety are, in this unique and extraordinary circumstance, best served when some rights are suspended and legitimate religious passions restrained in deference to the rights and sensibilities of others.”
  • “Encourages efforts of the [Reform Movement’s] Israel Religious Action Center, in cooperation with the Religious Action Center, to maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount while combating terror and incitement to violence.”

The Reform Movement repeatedly makes clear that it opposes Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount now and forever. It believes that Temple Mount is simply a relic of the past, and any Jew who seeks to pray at Judaism’s holy site is essentially inciting violence.

The Reform movement’s leaders echo this theme. Rabbi Rick Jacobs lied to his base during Chanukah 2016 that the Maccabees of 2,200-years ago fought for religious tolerance when they did did the opposite. The Maccabees fought for a Jewish Temple, period. Further, it is perplexing (revolting) that the movement advocates for religious tolerance seemingly for all religions except for Jews at their holiest location.

Conservative Movement

The Conservative Movement is the fastest shrinking denomination of American Jewry. For every Jew who joins, three leave according to Pew, with the vast majority migrating to Reform or Jews with no denomination.

The movement has said remarkably little about the Temple Mount.

Way back in 2001, the Rabbinical Assembly issued a resolution which said almost nothing about its position about the sacred site, other than confirming its holiness to Jews, and respectfully asking Islamists to stop proclaiming otherwise. It has issued no other official comments about the holy compound.

Its silence can be found in other places as well.

In 2016, the Conservative movement published a new prayer book, a siddur, meant to be more egalitarian which included a wide variety of contemporary commentators. The siddur sits somewhere between Reform and Orthodox denominations’ liturgy, but much closer to Reform as it relates to the Temple Mount.

While Orthodox Jews recite a short prayer after the central Amidah service three times a day (four times on Sabbath and holidays), as well as earlier in the morning service, asking for the Temple to be rebuilt, the Conservative Movement omitted it:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּ֒פָנֶֽיךָ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ שֶׁיִּבָּנֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽינוּ וְתֵן חֶלְקֵֽנוּ בְּתוֹרָתֶֽךָ: וְשָׁם נַעֲבָדְךָ בְּיִרְאָה כִּימֵי עוֹלָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמוֹנִיּוֹת: וְעָרְ֒בָה לַיהוָֹה מִנְחַת יְהוּדָה וִירוּשָׁלָֽםִ כִּימֵי עוֹלָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמוֹנִיּוֹת:

May it be Your will, Adonoy, our God, and the God of our Fathers that the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days, and grant us our share in Your Torah. And there we will serve You reverently as in the days of old, and in earlier years. And let Adonoy be pleased with the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem as in the days of old and in earlier years.

Perhaps the Conservative movement agrees with Reform Jews that there is no need for a Third Jewish Temple and that Jews should be banned from the site. Or maybe it is just staying out of the fray.

View of the Jewish Temple Mount from the top of the rebuilt Hurva Synagogue in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter (Photo: First One Through)

Orthodox Jews

While most non-Orthodox American Jews do not focus on the Temple Mount even as they might pray facing it, the small Orthodox community actively prays about rebuilding the Third Temple, as seen above. Many have gone to the site in recent years, during the few hours in which visitation for non-Muslims is currently permissible.

In December 2013, the Chief Rabbis of Israel reimposed a ban on Jews ascending the Temple Mount, as Orthodox Jews began to do so with greater frequency. The rationale had nothing to do with angering Islamists, as it did with potentially walking on the most holy of spots, which is not permitted for Jews other than a High Priest, according to Jewish law.

Despite the ban, the number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount has jumped in recent years as Orthodox Jews have rationalized that the location of the holy of holies is understood. In 2012, the total number of Jewish visitors was about 7,700. In October 2022 during the Jewish month of Tishrei, the figure was almost 8,000 according to Beyadeynu, an activist group encouraging Jewish visitation. The group estimates that the total this year doubled to about 50,000 from last year and it hopes to double again – to 100,000 Jews – in the coming year.

That figure remains a small fraction of the millions of Muslims who frequent the site at all hours.

In Israel, the Ultra-Orthodox Haredi community makes up 13% of the population and it is growing twice as fast as the rest of the country. There is roughly another 10% of Jews who are dati, or Modern Orthodox religious. Taken together, the 20%-plus Orthodox Israeli Jews is quite a bit larger than the 8% of Orthodox American Jews. Israel – and Jerusalem in particular – is much more Orthodox than world Jewry, as the devout Jews are drawn to the holy city much more than other Jews.

The increasingly secular nature of the majority of America’s Jews has fed a narrative that the Temple Mount is not central to Jewish prayer or aspirations. As Israel’s new government includes several Orthodox parties in the ruling coalition, the likely promotion of a greater Jewish presence at Judaism’s holiest spot will be cast as foreign and extreme around the world, when it is, and has always been, a basic component of Orthodox Judaism.

Related articles:

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

Active and Reactive Provocations: Charlie Hebdo and the Temple Mount

The Inalienable Right of Jews to Pray on The Temple Mount

Losing the Temples, Knowledge and Caring

The Dark Side of Jerusalem Day: Magnifying the Kotel and Minimizing the Temple Mount

The Reform Movement’s Rick Jacobs Has no Understanding of Tolerance

Netanyahu’s Positions Are Not Leaving

Jews, Judaism and Israel

Fertility Rates and Household Wealth

NY Times Ignores Centrality of the Jewish Temple Mount

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

The New York Times All Out Assault on Jewish Jerusalem

This Day in Palestinians Resorting To Violence History: December 1 (Pedestrian Mall)

On December 1, 2001, two frustrated Palestinian Arabs from Abu Dis, just east of Jerusalem, could not stand seeing so many Jews walking around on a Saturday night in a popular Jerusalem pedestrian mall. Osama Bahar, age 25, and Nabil Abu Habaliya, age 24, took explosives which were supplied by the terrorist group Hamas and blew themselves up amongst the young Israelis strolling on Ben Yehuda Street. A short time later, another terrorist blew up a car nearby.

The eleven dead included: Assaf Avitan, 15, of Jerusalem; Michael Moshe Dahan, 21, of Jerusalem; Israel Ya’akov Danino, 17, of Jerusalem; Yosef El-Ezra, 18, of Jerusalem; Sgt. Nir Haftzadi, 19, of Jerusalem; Yuri (Yoni) Korganov, 20, of Ma’alei Adumim; Golan Turgeman, 15, of Jerusalem; Guy Vaknin, 19, of Jerusalem; Adam Weinstein, 14, of Givon Hahadasha; Moshe Yedid-Levy, 19, of Jerusalem; and Ido Cohen, 17, of Jerusalem. Roughly 180 others were injured, 17 seriously.

Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism at a popular pedestrian mall on Saturday night December 1, 2001

The Martyr Izz ad-Deen al-Qassam Brigades – Information office described how angry the Arabs were with the Jews, stating:

As part of our retaliation to [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon’s madness and with the success granted by Allah and His protection, the two fighting martyr brothers, Osama Bahar and Nabil Abu Habaliya, have carried out on Saturday evening, 12/1/2001, the night of Ramadan 17, their bold and painful attack in one of the enemy’s dens in occupied west
Jerusalem
as a revenge for the blood of our martyrs and a punishment to all the reckless leaders in the enemy’s army and ministry.

We do not only do this in self-protection or in retaliation of a future killing, but we also do this as part of our absolute right to react towards the continual aggression and usurpation of our country for more than 50 years. We also wish to emphasize our right of resistance and our right to die as martyrs [istishhad], which is the pinnacle of resistance – that is to say, to sacrifice one’s self, spirit and blood is an absolute right, despite the aggressive attack by the enemy and some liars, meant to rob us of this right.

Saudi Arabia funded the families of these terrorists in cooperation with the Arab Bank as part of the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada al Quds. As the support for terrorism was too blatant (or to keep the funds flowing after the end of the intifada), the committee changed its name in 2004 to the Saudi Committee for the Relief of the Palestinian People. The Saudis also cannot stand Jews enjoying a Saturday night in Jerusalem.

Saudi Arab Bank convicted of funneling money to Hamas and to terrorists in US courts

Two frustrated Palestinian Arabs had to contend with Jews walking the streets of Jerusalem for their whole lives. The Saudis well understood their frustration and supported their “right of resistance to die as martyrs.” All had internalized that the Muslim world can have no dignity as long as Jews walk the streets of Jerusalem with impunity.

Related articles:

This Day in Palestinians Resorting to Violence History: December 27 (Tourists)

This Day in Palestinians Resorting to Violence History: December 27 (Kitchen Staff)

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

Amidst Calmer Voices, The Jordanian King Yells ‘Fire’

September 20, 2022 started off much better than usual for the Middle East. A region, normally aflame with hatred seeking the end of the Jewish State, began with calmer voices.

The Palestinian Arabs published their quarterly poll of sentiment on the street. It showed a more moderate, albeit still troubling, tone regarding making peace with Israel.

Palestinian Arabs favored the political terrorist group Hamas over the more moderate Fatah in theoretical presidential elections, by 15 points, down from 22 points three months earlier. Support for a two-state solution rose to 37% from 28% in the prior quarter (60% still oppose a two-state solution). Currently, 48% support armed attacks against Israel, down from 55% in favor of returning to intifada-terrorism, just three months prior.

The pollsters believe that the rise in moderating positions stems from “greater appreciation of the [Israeli confidence building] measure in which a larger number of work permits are issued by Israel for laborers from the Gaza Strip.” It added that there was also “negative public assessment of the last armed confrontation between Islamic Jihad and Israel [in which most Arabs believe Palestinians lost and noted Hamas stayed out of the fight], the findings indicate a significant decline in support for armed attacks or a return to an armed intifada and a significant rise in support for Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.

So far, so good.

At the United Nations in New York City, the General Assembly got underway in an annual ritual in which leaders of the world explain why their country was noble and everyone else was terrible.

Qatar, a state sponsor of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, did not slam Israel, but only called for a two-state solution. Turkey, which also has supported Hamas, took a softer tone about Israel. It obnoxiously called for a two-state solution that only could have the contours of the 1967 “borders” (they were never borders) with eastern Jerusalem as its capital, but still, a far better statement than in years past.

Unfortunately, the positive direction fell apart with the address from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. While his English was wonderful and his voice soothing, King Abdullah II disappoints every year.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

As he’s done frequently, Abdullah incorrectly said several things such as UNRWA helping Palestinian “refugees” rather than compelling them to remain wards of the world. But the king went so much deeper than a bad opinion, as he waged an attack on the Jewish State regarding Jerusalem. At 9:09 of his speech, he ramped up the temperature:

Today, the future of Jerusalem is of urgent concern. The city is holy to millions of Muslims, Christians and Jews around the world. Undermining Jerusalem’s legal and historical status quo triggers global tensions and deepens religious divides. The holy city must not be a place for hatred and division.

As custodians of Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian holy sites, we are committed to protecting the historical and legal status quo and to their safety and future. And as a Muslim leader, let me say clearly, that we are committed to defending the rights, the precious heritage, and the historic identity of the Christian people of our region. Nowhere is that more important than in Jerusalem.

Today, Christianity in the holy city is under fire. The rights of churches in Jerusalem are threatened. This cannot continue. Christianity is vital to the past and present of our region and the holy land. It must remain an integral part of our future.”

This is outrageous and pathological.

At the most basic, churches in Jerusalem and all around Israel are not threatened. Israel actually helped build the Mormon church in Jerusalem. Christian pilgrims are found everywhere, as Christian tourists to Israel outnumber Jewish ones. There is not a single Muslim-majority country in the world where Christian tourists outnumber Muslim visitors.

Further, the Jordanian-Israeli Peace Treaty of 1994 specifically addressed Jerusalem in Article 9.2. It said:

in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.

Jordan has no “custodianship” and no role to “protect” any shrine, let alone non-Muslim sites which are never mentioned. To assert a special role as savior of Christians from fabricated non-existent threats is delusion of the highest order.

The king not only suffers from a messiah complex, he is abrogating the peace treaty signed with Israel. The following sentence, Article 9.3, clearly states that the countries will work together to promote religious cooexistence:

The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.

The Jordanian monarch is promoting the opposite, seeking a religious confrontation of Muslims and Christians against the Jews.

The Jordanian king is inciting a religious war against the Jewish state, seeking to alarm the Christian world that ‘Jerusalem is in danger’ the same way radical jihadists scream ‘al Aqsa is in danger’ to Muslims, in the hopes of killing Jews and the Jewish State. It is an alarming development and one which must be addressed swiftly, such as demanding a public recanting and apology from the king, or risk the 1994 peace treaty which he defecated upon.

Related articles:

Oh Abdullah, Jordan is Not So Special

The Jordanian King Abdullah’s Absurdities

Time for Jordan To Live Up To Its Peace Treaty With Israel And Support Jewish Prayer On The Temple Mount

Replacing the Jordanian Waqf on The Temple Mount

Jerusalem’s Old City Is a Religious War for Muslim Arabs

The New York Times Refuses To State Judaism’s Holiest Site

The New York Times used four journalists to cover the August 14 Arab terrorist attack on Israeli Jews in Jerusalem. The journalists reporting from Jerusalem, Seoul and Hong Kong (I have no idea why correspondents from thousands of miles away were needed) could not muster a clear and balanced report.

The article started with the usual anti-Israel bias with the headline “Eight Injured in Shooting in Jerusalem” which did not clearly label the attacker as an Arab Muslim nor the victims as Israeli and American Jews. While the article would eventually reveal that the attacker was a “Palestinian man”, it would never clearly state that the victims were all Jewish. Instead, the attack was crafted as between warring countries, continuing a trend of Palestinians and Israelis killed over the past few months.

Israeli security forces at the scene of a shooting attack outside Jerusalem Old City, August 14,2022.
(photo
: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The Times then mentioned Silwan, the neighborhood from where the Arab terrorist came, as having tension “between its Palestinian residents and a small but growing number of Israeli settlers.” While the Palestinian Arabs and Israelis are both “residents”, the Times opted to use the biased Palestinian narrative to describe the Israelis.

At that point, the paper shifted squarely to religion:

Sacred to both Jews and Muslims, the nearby Temple Mount houses the third-holiest mosque in Islam and was the location in antiquity of two ancient Jewish temples that remain important to Jewish identity.

According to the Times, while the Temple Mount is “sacred to both Jews and Muslims”, the site is really more important to Islam, as it “houses the third-holiest mosque in Islam”. For Jews, the site is merely a talisman and “important to Jewish identity.”

That’s a deliberate insult to millions of Jews around the world. The Temple Mount is THE holiest location for Judaism.

Continuing the trend, the article mentioned that “Hamas, the Islamist militant group that runs the Gaza Strip” celebrated the attack, but did not quote Fatah, the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cheering the shooting as well, posting on Facebook “Praise to the one whose rifle only speaks against his enemy. Long live our people’s unity and long live the free hero. Praise to the rifle muzzles, our people will fight the occupation with all kinds of resistance. Save your bullets and use them against the occupation, only the occupation!!”

Why did the paper opt to only refer to the “Islamist” political-terrorist group but not the secular political one which controls the presidency and Areas A and B? Does the Times believe that the conflict is a religious one or a political one? It pivoted back-and-forth in the article inelegantly.

The four journalists contributing to the story made a final pivot at the end of the article, writing “Israeli efforts to build archaeological and tourism attractions in Silwan, mostly celebrating the area’s ancient Jewish heritage, are perceived by Palestinians as a means of eroding Palestinian claims to the city.” This pivoted the conflict as neither political nor religious but a historical one. In this case, the Times seemed more comfortable pointing out that Jews have a much longer history in the region than the Arabs who first came more recently. Perhaps it does so, questioning whether history truly fuels the conflict, or is a talking point between the parties.

The Times is dancing around the political and religious nature of the Israeli-Arab conflict. While the anti-Zionist paper is comfortable making political arguments which make Israel look like the larger and more powerful political actor, it is loathe to point out that Israel has a much deeper religious claim to the land and Jerusalem. Perhaps the liberal media fears that too much information will educate readers about the profound logic of Israel retaining full control of the Old City of Jerusalem, in direct opposition of Palestinian political goals of seizing the site from the Jewish State.

Related articles:

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Eight Attestations On Jerusalem

Evicting 70,000 Dead Settlers From Jerusalem

“Settlers” Now Means Jews Stepping Over The Green Line

NY Times Ignores Centrality of the Jewish Temple Mount

Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Jews In Jerusalem Still Fighting For ‘Social Justice’

Social justice is a concept that has been advanced by left-wing Americans into mainstream conversation. The idea covers a number of principles:

  • Access
  • Human rights
  • Participation
  • Equity
  • Diversity

The Jews in Jerusalem are slowly advancing in their movement on each of these principles, however, systemic anti-Semitism at the United Nations and for many Arab Muslim nations, has slowed progress.

Access

Despite the facts that only Jews consider Jerusalem as its holiest location and uniquely made the city its capital, Arab Muslim nations ethnically-cleansed the Old City of Jerusalem of its Jews in the 1948-9 Arab-Israeli war. Transjordan illegally annexed the eastern part of the city including the Old City and the west bank of the Jordan River, and subsequently denied any Jew the ability to visit their holiest sites.

Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967 but lost the ‘West Bank’ and eastern Jerusalem to Israel. While Israel once again allowed Jews to live and visit their holiest city, the Jordanian Waqf was given permission by Israel to administer the Jewish Temple Mount, and limits the time and number of Jews who can visit.

Human Rights

Not long after Jordan annexed lands west of the Jordan River in a move not recognized by almost every country in the world, it passed a citizenship law specifically excluding Jews in article 3. Now under Israeli rule, the Jews of Jerusalem – as well as Arabs – are afforded citizenship in a reversal to Jordan’s anti-Semitic law.

Jordan still enforces its ban on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, a flagrant violation of the basic human rights of Jews. Remarkably, the world stays mum on the subject, fearing radical Islamic violence.

Participation

The Jews in Jerusalem are marginalized by the United Nations and much of the world. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 2334 which stated that “Israelis” could not move to eastern Jerusalem. The anti-Zionists call Jews who live and visit ‘settlers’, even if they are not Israeli, and do not use the label for Israeli Arabs who do the same, clearly demonstrating the anti-Jewish nature of the smear.

The UN has set up distinct agencies, committees and inquiries uniquely for the Jewish State and does not afford Israel an opportunity to participate on the same basis as others in a forum stacked against it.

As noted above, the administration of the Temple Mount which holds the al Aqsa mosque is administered solely by Arab Muslims of the Jordanian waqf. Such formulation does not allow Jews to participate in the administration of their holiest site, and has led to their being completely marginalized.

Equity / Restorative Justice

There has been some measure of restorative justice for Jews, in facilitating the migration of Jews back to their ancestral homeland over the past hundred years. Germany has paid the state compensation for its actions in the Holocaust. The United States has invested in the fledgling state and facilitated its ascendency out of a third world emerging state to a thriving liberal democracy. The most persecuted people who faced a genocide have established a safe haven.

But evil still lurks. The Islamic Republic of Iran has stated its desire to destroy Israel. It has several terrorist proxies abutting the Jewish State including Hamas and Hezbollah which have thousands of missiles directed at it. The world is debating how to handle the leading state sponsor of terrorism’s quest for nuclear weapons, even though the answer is obvious to any toddler.

In relation to Jerusalem, the world has done the opposite of restorative justice. It did – and still does not – facilitate and recognize Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem. Israel had to reunite the city on its own in a defensive battle. It rebuilds the synagogues (like the Hurva) that Jordan destroyed in the face of global condemnation.

The Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, shortly after its re-opening in March 2010 (photo: First One Through)

Diversity

Israel’s neighbors like Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Iraq and others, are each over 90% Muslim. In contrast, Israel is only 73.9% Jewish and has over 26% of the population from a variety of religions including Muslims, Christians, Druze, Baha’i, Samaritans and others.

Israel’s diversity is seen in its schools and hospitals. The signs in the country are written in Hebrew, Arabic and English. Its parliament and Supreme Court have people of different religions, ethnic backgrounds, genders and orientation. All of those dynamics are lacking in the other countries of the Middle East.

Many of those same countries that lack diversity attack Israel economically, politically and militarily. They deny the history of the Jews, their rights and any acceptance of the Jewish State. They have stood against ‘normalizing’ the Jewish State in any manner in an aggressive campaign of ‘three denials.‘ These efforts are most pronounced regarding Israel’s capital of Jerusalem, which they seek to revert back to the Arab-only, Jew-free situation they enforced in the eastern half from 1949 to 1967.


Regarding the principles of access, human rights, participation, equity and diversity, Israel stands as a beacon in the Middle East. However, the country still faces many obstacles, mostly from the biased United Nations and at the Jewish Temple Mount. Hopefully those committed to social justice will engage in the hard work to end the systemic anti-Semitism, xenophobia, Islamic privilege, religious persecution and isolation of the indigenous Jewish people in their ancient homeland and in their holy capital city of Jerusalem.

Related articles:

Israel, the Liberal Country of the Middle East

The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

Zionism is Justice

Arabs in Jerusalem

Considering Israel’s Model for Arabs Applied to Jews in a Palestinian State

Israel’s Peers and Neighbors

Examining Ilhan Omar’s Point About Muslim Antisemitism

New York Times Recycles Story To Slam Israel While The Country Mourns Its Dead

The New York Times never lets an opportunity pass to slam Israel, even when there’s no news.

As the country celebrated its three days of Holocaust Remembrance, Memorial Day for those killed protecting the country and victims of Arab terrorism, and Independence Day, the anti-Zionist paper opted to skip writing about those events and dusted off an article written three years prior.

The May 3, 2022 article called “Holy City or Theme Park? Israel Plans Zip Line for Ancient Jerusalem,” by Isabel Kershner was essentially the same article written by the paper’s architectural critic Michael Kimmelman on September 14, 2019 called “A Challenge to the Essence of Old Jerusalem, Coming by Cable Car.” Kimmelman’s article contended that Israel was trying to pretend that the city was only important to Jews and wanted tourists to imagine that the city had no Christians or Muslims in creating a cable car to facilitate the movement of visitors. He wrote that the plan “has provoked howls of protest from horrified Israeli preservationists, environmentalists, planners, architects and others who picture a global heritage site turned into a Jewish-themed Epcot.

I wonder if Kimmelman will sue Kershner for plagiarism.

Kershner opted to lead her piece that Israel is building a ride for Jews in the same location as Judas betrayed Jesus, seemingly in an attempt to roil the Christian world that the Jews are thumbing their noses at Christians. She essentially said that not only do Jews not truly believe in the sanctity of the Temple Mount and holy city (much like Jesus had said two thousand years ago), but they’re smug in their attempted takeover of the holy basin. The meaning is clear: Christians should not let the Jews assert any more claims on the city under the guise that it’s Judaism’s holist location.

NY Times article stating that Israel is planning tourist rides in the same spot as Judas betrayed Jesus

On the bright side, at least that insidious comment was new in Kershner’s article.

Kershner’s article was replete with comments and pictures of a so-called “Palestinian East Jerusalem,” as part of a concerted disinformation campaign by the liberal rag.

  • “East Jerusalem” exists no more than “East Berlin.” It existed for a blip in time from 1949 to 1967 because of the Arab invasion to destroy the Jewish State at its founding right after the Holocaust.
  • The United States does not recognize any country called “Palestine” so how can there be a city in such fantasy land?
  • The Palestinian Authority signed the Oslo Accord in 1995 that specifically recognized Israel as the authority in all of Jerusalem.

The full page article quoted a number of “anti-settlement” groups including Emek Shaveh, Ir Amim an Peace Now. According to NGO Monitor, these groups are mostly funded by foreign governments including the European Union, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, as well as Ireland and Oxfam. In a twist of logic only progressive radicals may understand, Keshner referred to Ir Amim as “an anti-settlement advocacy group that works for an equitable solution for Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem.” How can a group be simultaneously opposed to Jews living in parts of Jerusalem and also for equity?

Full page article slamming Israel’s activities in Jerusalem, published on Israel’s Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism

This non-news article quoting biased foreign-backed NGOs was somehow viewed as appropriate on Israel’s Memorial Day.

The Times didn’t discuss Neta Sorek, a peace activist slaughtered while she went for a stroll in the garden of a monastery. It avoided writing about Rina Shnerb, a 17-year old girl killed while on a nature hike, a killing celebrated by over 80% of Gaza’s Arabs. It opted to not spill ink on the Fogel family, butchered in their sleep.

The former newspaper could not find a Holocaust survivor who watched five Arab armies invade the nascent Jewish State in an attempt at a second Holocaust, in an independence war that claimed almost 1% of the population. The Times could not spend the effort to interview Israelis who feared for their lives in 1967 as the surrounding Arab armies positioned themselves to wipe out the Jews again, or during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

It avoided telling readers about Palestinian Arab leadership glorifying terrorists, how they teach their young girls that the murderer of 30 Jews eating a Passover seder was a hero, how the Palestinian Authority denies the existence of the Jewish Temples, how the PA incites violence because Jews visit their holiest location of the Temple Mount, and how the PA continues to reward terrorism.

Instead, Kershner dusted off a colleague’s work and wrote an article that Jews don’t really believe in the holiness of Jerusalem; are actively insulting Christians and Muslims; and are taking over Palestinian land.

As Israelis spent a day remembering and mourning those killed solely for being Jews in the Jewish homeland, the New York Times informed its readers that the living Israelis are worthy of global scorn and condemnation.

While there may be problems of disinformation on social media, the mainstream media invites it, as they deliberately post biased editorials instead of news.

Related articles:

The New York Times All Out Assault on Jewish Jerusalem

The New York Times will Keep on Telling You: Jews are not Native to Israel

The Remarkable Tel Jerusalem

The Jews of Jerusalem In Situ

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem

The New York Times Inverts the History of Jerusalem

Time for Jordan To Live Up To Its Peace Treaty With Israel And Support Jewish Prayer On The Temple Mount

In 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty that saw Israel relinquish roughly 380 square kilometers to Jordan and set a framework for the two countries to live peacefully together side-by-side.

The treaty had a section that dealt with religious tolerance. Article 9.2 is often misquoted by Jordanian King Abdullah that he is a “custodian” of Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, when it merely states that “Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem.” Abdullah never talks about clause 9.3:

The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.

Jordanian – Israeli peace treaty, article 9.3

Despite the treaty to promote religious tolerance, peace and freedom of worship, Jordan praised Palestinian Arab rioters on the Jewish Temple Mount in April 2022. Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh saidI salute every Palestinian, and all the employees of the Jordanian Islamic Waqf, who proudly stand like minarets, hurling their stones in a volley of clay at the Zionist sympathizers defiling the Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli occupation government.

This is appalling on its own – a senior government official promoting violence against civilians – and flies in the face of the tenet of the peace treaty signed between the parties. Article 4.3B states that each country will “refrain from organizing, instigating, inciting, assisting or participating in acts or threats of belligerency, hostility, subversion or violence against the other Party,” which is exactly what the Jordanian Foreign Minister did.

It gets worse.

It was reported that Jordan is now asking the United States to pressure Israel to give complete control of the Jewish Temple Mount Compound to the Jordanian Waqf, and to forcibly ban Jewish prayer at Judaism’s holiest site.

Jordan seemingly doesn’t believe there is any price to pay for instigating violence against Israeli Jews, and should actually be rewarded with a greater role in the land Jordan illegally seized in 1949 and then formally withdrew from in 1988.

Israel might want to keep its part of the peace treaty with Jordan in acknowledging the “special role” Jordan plays narrowly at the al-Aqsa Mosque, much the way a guardian takes care of a ward with “special needs.” Make them feel important. But everyone understands that the guardian is in control and will make all substantive decisions.

Israel could always offer actual custodianship of the revered mosque to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in exchange for another peace treaty.

An obscured view of the Jewish Temple Mount from the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. al-Aqsa Mosque is the dark-domed building at right (photo: First One Through)

Related articles:

Time for King Abdullah of Jordan to Denounce the Mourabitoun

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount