|Thinking Jerusalem. . .2012|
By Gerald A. HonigmanOn March 30th of this year, Arabs and their assorted mouthpieces and derriere-kissers will begin a massive protest march towards Israel's borders from all directions as they begin their “Global March To Jerusalem.” The organizers claim that their aim is to highlight the alleged sins of the racist Zionists who live there.
Numerous Arabized Iranian stooges have already landed in good buddy Syria--that other beacon of enlightenment, besides the one of the murderous mullahs themselves.
Now that the truth about the so-called Arab Spring is beginning to unfold more and more each day--revealing the likely rise of fascistic, intolerant, Islamist states taking the place of more secular varieties of the same that they replaced--shifting the focus onto Israel is actually a wise move from their perspective.
Think about it...
All who foolishly dreamed that a more tolerant era was actually being planned by the opponents of Mubarak, Qaddafi, and so forth now largely wound up with lots of egg on their faces. But, since those are also mostly the same folks who have behaved deaf, dumb, and blind to practically all sins other than Israel's alleged ones for decades, the time is ripe for some good old Jew-baiting once again.
Now, please don't laugh at what I will say next...I'm quite serious.
Besides other non-lethal methods that the Jews utilize to repel those approaching their country (and, of course, if those marching on Israel are armed with lethal weapons, Israel must do what it must do as a result), keep in mind that Christians in Israel raise pigs. If it has not done so already, Israel must create pig manure and/or pig blood-launching weaponry to blast the marchers with if they attempt to cross into Israel. Think rppmgs instead of rpgs...rocket propelled pig manure grenades.
Okay, now that I've covered defensive tactics, let's tackle the actual subject matter at hand--that involving conflicting claims to Jerusalem. Some of you who have followed me over the years may recall earlier, widely-published versions of this analysis...
Unfortunately, it's time to once again resurrect it.
Indeed, while it has continuously gotten shoved onto the back burner for fear of the intense heat that it will generate, there's no doubt that Jerusalem will be one of the most difficult issues to resolve in any so-called "peace process." Given this, and the Global March by Israel's numerous enemies, it's time to expose some of the blunt facts regarding this issue--despite the risk of ruffling even some friendly feathers.
While Christians, Muslims, and Jews all have ties to Jerusalem, these ties are in no way "equal."
In religious Jewish sources, for instance, Jerusalem is mentioned over 600 times, but it is never mentioned even once in the Qur'an. It may be alluded to in the latter in passages about the Hebrew Kings, David and Solomon, and the destruction of the Temples of the Jews. Earlier and modern-day Arafatians deny a Jewish Temple ever existed there. They call the Temple Mount "Buraq's Mount" instead, after Muhammad's supposedly winged horse. But a mention of Jerusalem itself is no where to be found in the Muslim holy book...interesting, since it was recorded in many other places besides the writings of the Jews themselves for over 1,500 years before the rise of Islam.
Religious claims of both Christians and Muslims to Jerusalem exist primarily because of both of their links to the Jews.
Political claims--based upon facts on the ground--are, admittedly, more complicated. Even so, throughout over three millennia since King David conquered it from the Jebusites, renamed it, and gave it its Jewish character, no other people except the Jews has ever made Jerusalem their capital, despite its conquest by many imperial powers, including that of the Arab caliphal successors to Muhammad as they burst out of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century C.E. and spread in all directions. Damascus and Baghdad were the seats of Arab imperial power, and Mecca and Medina the holy cities. Imperialism is evidently a nasty word only when Arabs themselves are not indulging in it.
This is not to say that Jerusalem was ignored by its Muslim conquerors (i.e. the Umayyads built the Dome of the Rock/Mosque of 'Umar on the Temple Mount making it Islam's allegedly third holiest city), but it is to say that Jerusalem was and is in no way the focus for Islam that it is for Jews and Judaism.
Since David made Jerusalem his capital and it became the site of his son Solomon's Temple, Zion became the heart and soul of Jewish national and religious existence.
Jews from all over the early diaspora made their pilgrimages and sent offerings to its Temple.
"By the Rivers of Babylon we wept..." and "If I forget thee O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning..." were just a few of the many Biblical expressions of the Jews for Zion. Such yearning persisted throughout subsequent millennia in the Diaspora as well.
"Next Year in Jerusalem" sustained the Jew throughout countless degradations and humiliations--culminating in the Holocaust.
There is no Arab/Muslim parallel to these claims, regardless of efforts to portray Palestinian Arabs (many of whom were new arrivals into the land themselves) as the "new Jews." Jews, from a hundred different lands, didn't have almost two dozen other states to potentially choose from and suffered dearly for this statelessness. Most Muslim Arabs and others set to march on Israel want sole rights over Jerusalem the same way they want sole rights over Tel Aviv...in their eyes, only they have legitimate political rights anywhere in what they regard as purely Arab patrimony and the Dar ul-Islam.
Regardless of whatever theology one clings to, Jesus' actual historical experiences in Roman-occupied Judaea and Jerusalem were those of a Judaean/Jew living under very precarious conditions. Thousands of his countrymen had already been killed, crucified, and so forth in the subjugation/pacification process. The contemporary Roman and Roman-sponsored historians themselves--Tacitus, Josephus, Dio Cassius, etc.--had much to say about all of this.
Listen to just this one telling quote from Volume II, Book V, of The Works Of Tacitus...
Vespasian succeeded to the throne...it infuriated his resentment that the Jews were the only nation who had not yet submitted.
These oppressive conditions led to open revolts and guerilla warfare to rid the land of its mighty pagan conqueror--wars which would eventually lead the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, to rename the land itself from Judaea to Syria Palaestina in 135 C.E. in an attempt to stamp out any remaining hopes for Jewish independence and national existence. Judaea was thus renamed after the Jews' historic enemies, the Philistines, a non-Semitic sea people from the Greek islands near Crete to drive home the point.
For a modern analogy, imagine Lithuania (which is actually much larger than modern Israel) as it was engulfed by the Soviet Union in the latter's heyday of power. Or a Hungarian freedom fighter or Greek partisan taking on the Soviets or the Nazis.
Think of the sympathy and admiration normally given to such situations...
But now also think about the treatment Jews have received over the ages for longing for this same freedom and dignity in the human realm. Only they were expected and told to just think of the Heavenly Jerusalem instead--ignoring their wordly subjugation. Whatever Jesus did or did not mean in his alleged statement, "render unto Caesar...," this passage and others in the New Testament have been used to belittle this same desire for freedom and independence among the Jews.
Judaea Capta (not "Palaestina" Capta) coins were issued (see the front cover of my book http://q4j-middle-east.com for a picture of one), and the towering Arch of Titus was erected after the first major revolt in 70 C.E. and shows, among other things, the Romans carrying away the giant Menorah and other objects from the Jewish Temple that at least many, if not most Arabs, and many other Muslims claim never existed. It stands in Rome to this very day to commemorate Rome's victory over the Jews and Jewish Jerusalem.
When Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, fled Mecca to Medina in 622 C.E. (the Hijrah), the inhabitants welcomed him. Medina had been developed centuries earlier as a thriving date palm oasis by Jews fleeing the Roman assault (the banu-Qurayzah and banu-al-Nadir tribes, etc.), and its mixed population of Jews and pagan Arabs had thus become conditioned for a native prophet speaking the word of G_d.
Muhammad learned much from the Jews.
While the actual timing of his decision on the direction of prayer may never be known, during his long sojourn with the Jews of Medina, his followers were instructed to pray towards Jerusalem. Early prominent Arab historians such as Jalaluddin came right out and stated that this was done primarily as an attempt to win support among the influential Jewish tribes (the People of the Book) for Muhammad's religio-political claims.
It is from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem where Muslims believe Muhammad ascended to Heaven on his winged horse. A shrine, the Dome of the Rock, would later be erected on this Jewish holy site after the Arab imperial conquest of the land in the 7th century C.E.
There is no doubt among objective scholars that Jews had an enormous impact on both Muhammad and the religion that he founded.
The holy sites for Muslims in Jerusalem (i.e. the shrine and mosque erected on the Temple Mount of the Jews) are now deemed "holy" precisely because of the critical years Muhammad spent after the Hijrah with the Jews. The Temple Mount had no prior meaning to pagan Arabs. While there was some early Christian influence as well, intense scholarship has shown that the Holy Law (Halakha) and Holy Scriptures of the Jews had a tremendous influence on the Qur'an, Islamic Holy Law (Shari'a), and so forth.
Furthermore, Muhammad's alleged "Jerusalem connection" was most likely not established until after his extended stay with his Jewish hosts. This was no mere coincidence...Muslim religious beliefs regarding their Prophet's conversations with the Angel Gabriel notwithstanding.
When the Jews refused to recognize Muhammad as the chief political honcho and the "Seal of the Prophets," he turned on them with a vengeance. Before long, with the exception of Yemen, there were virtually no Jews left on the Arabian Peninsula. And the direction of prayer was changed away from Jerusalem and towards the Ka'aba in Mecca instead...To say that Jerusalem has the same meaning for Muslims as it has for Jews is to simply tell a lie.
In modern times, Jews constituted the majority of Jerusalem's population from 1840 onwards.
When Jordanian Arabs--whose nation itself was formed from nearly 80% of the original Mandate for Palestine issued to Britain on April 25, 1920--seized East Jerusalem after their invasion of reborn Israel in 1948, they destroyed dozens of synagogues and thousands of Jewish graves, using tombstones to pave roads, build latrines, etc.
When the Jews were denied access to their holy sites for almost two decades, the whole world remained silent. After Israel was forced to fight a defensive war in 1967 due to its being blockaded by Egypt's Nasser at the Straits of Tiran (a casus belli ) and other hostile acts, Jerusalem became reunited. Access to all peoples and faiths subsequently became unhindered under Jewish rule. It was at that moment that much of the world suddenly rediscovered Jerusalem--demanding its redivision, internationalization, and the like.
In light of what's in store for Israel not only on March 30th but in the months and years which lie ahead in dealing with this issue, please keep the following in mind...
For centuries, Jews were forcibly converted and/or expelled, massacred, demonized, inquisitioned, ghettoized, declared to be the "deicide people," killers of prophets, dogs, sons of apes and pigs, and subjected to countless other humiliations, to one extent or another, in both the Muslim East as well as the Christian West. They are determined that their rights in Jerusalem--the sole capital of the sole, microscopic, reborn state that Jews now posses and home to them for over three thousand years--will not be sacrificed on behalf of any 22nd state created for Arabs.