Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Caricature Redux

Apropos the whole Muhammed caricature controversy, I was reminded that back in 1929, after almost a year of contentious behavior by the Muslims of Mandate Palestine over the Kotel, riots broke out. One of the "justifications" the Mufti later used was that the above picture had been distributed by a Yeshiva as a fundraising instrument. According to him, it clearly showed the intention of the Jews to take over the Haram E-Sharif.

Here's an excerpt from the Shaw Commission to illustrate this:-

As appeared from page 31 of the Shaw report, the Mufti had addressed to the Administration on October 8th, 1928, only a few days, therefore, after the incident at the Wailing Wall, a memorandum in which he accused the Jews, among other things, of wishing to take possession of this Wall, called Ab Burch. This untruthful accusation had been denied by the Jewish National Council in Palestine, in an open letter, dated November 1928, addressed to the Moslem community in the country (page 30 of the Shaw report).

The accusation, however, had been maintained later and had continued to spread until finally it became a general belief that the Jews wished to take possession of the Mosque of Omar itself, as well as other Arab holy places. In spite of the absurdity of such allegations and repeated protests on the part of the Jews, this belief had persisted. There was no doubt that it had largely contributed to increasing the hostile feelings of the Arabs for the Jews.

The Jewish response was "who, we?" and "don't be silly".

But the Muslims didn't believe them and reacted to this poster as they have done to the Muhammed cartoons but with one difference.

If today they could at least say that the drawings that appeared in the Dannish press and then around the world were impugning the character of their Prophet and being a desecration, what was this poster doing comparable that should have brought about the murder of 133 Jews, 67 of them, men, women and infants in Hebron?

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