I’ve laid off politics for a while because frankly, it’s exhausting enough to live in a place where politics is served with your cornflakes at breakfast without writing about it all the time.
But I really can’t be silent about the recent dust raised over Israel’s naming of national heritage sites in the country for the purposes of preservation and renovation.
It started with Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem (Nablus), where Arabs accused the Jews of “fabricating” their connection to the site (you can thank Hanan Ashrawi for that little nugget) and after Arabs rioted there in 2000, then-PM Ehud Barak ordered the IDF to abandon it. It was subsequently handed over to Palestinian police who, despite their commitment to protect the site, stood by and watched while it was ransacked and burned by an Arab mob. After thousands of years of being venerated as Joseph’s burial place (including by Arab geographers), the PA suddenly claimed that the tomb is not that of Joseph the Jew, but of some Muslim named Joseph, serving as their excuse for making it into a mosque. I don’t believe such ridiculous claims and I suspect, given the fact that these Arabs had no difficulty reducing the place to rubble, they don’t either.
Next we move on to the Cave of the Patriarchs. Located in Hevron, this site is the burial place of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah (none of whom Muslims can claim any connection with except possibly Abraham, according to tradition). As a result of the Wye River Accords, the site has been divided, giving the Muslim Waqf control over 80% of the site and limiting the access of Jews to the tombs of Isaac and Rebecca to ten days a year. To acknowledge the Cave of the Patriarchs as the second holiest site in Judaism, PM Binyamin Netanyahu officially added it to the list of national heritage sites. This declaration has met with outrage from the UN, Arab governments, and the United States (which I have noticed are becoming increasingly indistinguishable from one another in their policies and attitudes), and UNESCO has called for this site to be removed from Israel’s list of national holy sites.
If the world wants to deny the Jews any connection to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, what of Rachel’s Tomb? Well, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, so the little minds have been hard at work cooking up a cock-and-bull story about Rachel’s Tomb. Here it is: As of 1996, the tomb, which has always has been acknowledged as Rachel’s burial place by everyone who has been here (British, Turks, Arabs, Jews), was renamed by Palestinian Arab spin doctors the Mosque of Bilal Ibn Rabah, after an Ethiopian slave in Mohammed’s household who was killed in the wars in Syria and is buried in Damascus. Not only are Arabs reduced to making up stories to try to lay claim to Jewish holy sites in the Jewish State, they’re declaring a “holy war” to back up those new claims.
But wait—there’s more! According to a recent statement by a PA official, the Western Wall is not Jewish! That’s right. A PA-backed “study” shows that the Western Wall is NOT part of the Temple Mount, but an integral part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque (which is not contiguous with the wall, but never mind the facts). This study claims that “the Temple Mount never stood in the area,” that the Western Wall is Waqf property and belongs to an Algerian-Moroccan Muslim family, that none of the stones in the current Temple Mount wall date from the time of King Solomon, and that the path next to the Wall was never a public road, but was established for Muslim use to access the mosques on the Mount. The author of the “study” states, “No one has the right to claim ownership over it or change its features or original character. Also, no one has the right to agree with the occupation state’s racist and oppressive measures against history and holy sites.” Which measures are those? The ones that comply with the version of history accepted by educated, sane, objective, politically disinterested historians? Or the ones that seek to explore through archeology the area’s use and workings in ancient times? Or perhaps the ones that say that Jews have a right to live freely in their own land rather than be voted out of existence by a bunch of ragtag Muslim zealots bent on grabbing this land for themselves any way they can get it? Anyone who makes the absurdly false claims these PA nutjobs are making, or believes them (as it’s only a matter of time before the UN and America will) is buying a story that says that the Dome of the Rock (dating from 691 CE) and the Al-Aqsa Mosque (the most recent building dating from 1035) have always been there, were built on bare ground (presumably under the personal direction of Mohammed), and on land the Jews never occupied. Riiiiiiigggghhhhht.
I believe in freedom of speech. I believe that people have the right to believe whatever they wish, and to speak about it freely. If, despite Columbus’s successful voyage, satellite pictures, and man’s visit to the moon, someone wants to claim that the earth is flat, that’s their right. If someone thinks the moon is made of cheese, let them. (And don’t forget to bring me back some next time you go.) If someone wants to cook up conspiracy theories about JFK’s assassination, about UFOs, or about Hitler’s brain being kept alive in Paraguay, be my guest. But just as people have the right to claim anything they like, it is the right of the rest of us to ridicule them, refute them, or simply ignore them. In fact, it is the obligation of every responsible citizen (and more so those in positions of influence and decision-making) to examine the facts and ask questions rather than simply believe a tall tale because he or she doesn’t know any better. To allow ignorance, conventional wisdom, and politics to play a role in policy-making at an international level is to delegitimize the very policy-making body to which they belong. Given how the UN has behaved for the past several decades, how its conduct and voting record has gotten less and less rational, and now how UNESCO is rewriting history in the Jewish State, it is actually the UN that is being delegitimized. (How long, after all, will it be before the UN building in New York itself gets voted an ancient Muslim holy site, is given an phony Arabic name and converted into a mosque?) As far as I can see, the UN is the greatest purveyor of incitement, disinformation, political intrigue, and outright lies in the world, and as such, the greatest threat to world peace.
What are the takeaway messages to be gleaned from all this insanity?
- The only people worse at history than Arabs are lazy Westerners.
- Ignorant Christians are as dangerous as zealous Muslims.
- If a Muslim says it, it must be true (contrary facts notwithstanding).
- Israel has no holy sites. Anything that has been claimed by them for thousands of years and is supported by texts (holy and secular), archeology, and tradition, becomes instantly invalid once Arabs come up with a story claiming that those sites are sacred to Muslims.
- If we want to return places to their “original” names, then Nablus should be universally known as Shechem, London should be Londinium, New York should be New Amsterdam, Iraq should be Babylon, and Mecca should be Terok Nor.
- Arab vandalism of Jewish planting on state lands has led to several clashes in the Gush. Four settlers were shot dead by an Arab at point-blank range last August. There have been several stonings of Jewish cars by Arabs on the road near the northern entrance to Efrat. An Arab attempted to stab hitchhikers near the Gush Junction the other day. Arabs have launched a full campaign to delegitimize the spiritual connection of Jews to this land. And the West is buying it all, hook, line and sinker.
It’s time to push back, people.
Read Full Post »