Friday, May 22, 2009

New Statesman Buys Old Propaganda

I just came back from attending the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism ceremony at David's City. Wonderful program, awesome winners. More about that later. And more about Choshen, a house with seven Jewish families on Mount of Olives, just at the final left turn before the cemetery parking plaza. It's the house with a huge Israeli flag that can be spotted from everywhere.

But when I checked around, I found this article: "Settlers or squatters?" by Edward Platt. In brief:

The politics of demolition and construction in East Jerusalem have always been fraught. Now Israeli settlers are using archaeological excavation as cover for a programme of expansion and dispossession – but the inhabitants of one Palestinian village won’t go quietly.

Some extracts:

Biblical chronology suggests that King David – the first ruler of the united kingdom of Israel – conquered Jerusalem in 1000BC and made it his capital. Though most reputable authorities regard David as a folkloric figure, El-Ad takes it for granted that he lived somewhere among the stone-clad walkways and winding streets of the historic city centre.


Daniel Seidemann of Ir Amim, an Israeli organisation that campaigns for a “stable and equitable” Jerusalem, believes that the settlers aim to connect it with the Hasmonean Tunnel beneath the Temple Mount, and another section of tunnel in the north of the Old City: “They want to be able to enter the Old City near Damascus Gate, traverse it without encountering a single Palestinian, emerge at the Western Wall, saunter across the plaza, re-enter the burrow and exit at Silwan.”


Alternative Archaeology, says El-Ad has a “vested interest in the site – they live here, and they combine archaeology and construction”. Architecture, he argues, has become just another way of dispossessing the marginalised inhabitants of Silwan. Jawad Siyam agrees: “We know that this area is full of history. We’re supposed to be proud of it, but, we’re afraid of it, because it’s used against us. The stones are more important than human beings.” [oh, so now he admits there is real Jewish history here]

Well, me being me, I left there this comment:

You have written: " one disputes ownership of the Temple Mount – save for a small minority of Jewish fanatics who would like to demolish the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque and rebuild Solomon’s Temple in their place."
If I understand you correctly, you seem to imply that the "ownership" of the Temple Mount is Muslim and that is "undisputed" and that only a fanatical minority of Jews believes otherwise and that they wish to demolish the Dome of the Rock. I would suggest you are wrong. Everyone knows, or should know, that the Temple Mount was where the two Jewish temples stood, and the site where Jesus overturned the tables of the moneychangers. And when he did that there was no mosque to be seen in the vicinity. When Muslims conquered and then occupied the Land of Israel in the 7th century, they usurped the area of Mount Moriah to build a mosque and other structures. Does that award them "ownership" or more simply, is it the legal term of belligerent occupation? If it is but the third most holy site for Muslims but the most sacred location for Jews, who has a better claim?

Why are archeological digs not permitted there (but the Waqf Trust could dump tons of dirt out of the compound to get rid of Jewish artifacts)? Why cannot a Jew be allowed any specific Jewish act but be restricted to appear only as a tourist, as one without any specific identity? Why is the Jewish past touted as a myth whereas Islamic visions are somehow fully accepted as truth?

One other point: if the author quotes only radical leftwing Israelis who oppose any Jewish presence in east Jerusalem neighborhoods and Arab residents, is this a balanced, well-researched piece of journalism or rather a propaganda screed of ideological opinion? Will an other perspective be allowed to appear? Will the "facts" here be challenged?

These issues are important and the readership of this periodical deserve better.

And here's another fanatic opponent of Jews in Jerusalem, one Max Blumenthal in the Huffington Post.

1 comment: said...

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