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Monday, September 23, 2013

Meanwhile, at the New York Times...

Meanwhile, at the New York Times, this week's worry is the 'massive' number of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount. This is Leo Rennert.
What does concern the Times and warrants an alarming two-page spread in the Sept. 22 edition is Jewish presence on Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site. Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren pulls out all the stops in warning that any increase in Jewish visitors is bound to be seen as a provocation by Palestinians -- with God knows what consequences. The headlines set the tone: "Claiming the Heart of Jerusalem" and "Jews Increasingly Challenge Rules to Claim Heart of Jerusalem."
[Jodi Rudoren's] agenda instead is to depict Jewish visitors to Temple Mount as a major source of friction and a threat to peace negotiations.
So how massive is this Jewish invasion of Temple Mount? Rudoren has to acknowledge that in all of 2011 there was a mere pittance of 8,247 Jews on Temple Mount, and the numbers "dipped slightly last year." And even she concedes that "the numbers remain tiny compared with the 10 million annual visitors to the Western Wall below."
So why such great alarm about peaceful Jewish visits to Temple Mount? What counts for Rudoren is that "Palestinian officials say what used to be a trickle of individuals has given way to "groups of 40, 60, 90." And for this, Rudoren and the Times pump up a kind of breathless warning a la The Jews Are Coming, the Jews Are Coming.
Jonathan Tobin adds:
But however dangerous any idea of endangering the Dome of the Rock or the Al Aqsa Mosque might be to world peace, the Jews are not the problem in Jerusalem. That’s because the dispute in the city isn’t really so much about who controls the Temple Mount but the Muslim effort to deny the Jewish history that is literally under their feet. Were it just a question of sharing sacred space, reasonable compromises that would give full Muslim autonomy over their holy sites while allowing Jewish prayer at the spiritual center of Judaism would be possible since Jewish extremists who want to evict Islam from the place are a tiny minority. Yet as long as the official position of both the Muslim Wakf religious authority, which has been allowed by Israel to govern the place since the 1967 Six-Day War, and the Palestinian Authority is that the Temples never existed and that Jews have no rights to their ancient capital, that will constitute the real obstacle to peace.

At the heart of this conundrum is an error in Times Jerusalem Bureau chief Jodi Rudoren’s story. In an effort to give some historical background to the dispute, she writes the following:
In 2000, a visit by Ariel Sharon, then Israel’s opposition leader, accompanied by 1,000 police officers, prompted a violent outbreak and, many argue, set off the second intifada.
Many may argue that, but it is a flat-out lie. As figures within the Palestinian Authority have long since publicly admitted, the intifada was planned by then leader Yasir Arafat long before Sharon took a stroll on the site of the Temples around the Jewish New Year. The intifada was a deliberate strategy in which Arafat answered Israel’s offer of an independent Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza, and a share of Jerusalem that would have included the Temple Mount. The terrorist war of attrition was intended to beat down the Israelis and force them and the United States to offer even more concessions without forcing the Palestinians to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state no matter where its borders were drawn. Sharon’s visit was merely a pretext that has long since been debunked.
Rudoren deserves to be roasted for passing along this piece of propaganda without even noting the proof to the contrary. But the problem here is more than just an error that shows the way she tends to swallow Palestinian lies hook, line, and sinker. That’s because the significance of the Sharon story lies in the way, Palestinian leaders have used the Temple Mount for generations to gin up hate against Israelis.
Thus while many friends of Israel will read Rudoren’s article and shake their heads about Israeli foolishness, the real story in Jerusalem remains the Palestinians’ unshakable determination to extinguish Jewish history as part of their effort to delegitimize the Jewish state. In the face of their intransigence and the fact that such intolerance is mainstream Palestinian opinion rather than the view of a few extremists, the desire of many Jews to visit a place that is the historic center of their faith (the Western Wall is, after all, merely the vestige of the Temple’s outer enclosure) doesn’t seem quite so crazy.
And perhaps this is the place to pass on The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming.

Let's go to the videotape.

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