This morning’s One Jerusalem conference call was with Eric Cantor (R-VA 7), the Republican Chief Deputy Whip in the House. He’s otherwise known as “one of the people who was rightfully insulted when Dean branded the GOP ‘white, Christian party’” (because apparently no slur is off limits if it’s impossible for you to lose the Jewish vote). The big news today is that Cantor’s introduced a bipartisan bill, HR 756, to condemn the Muslim Wakf’s destruction and desecration of Jewish artifacts – and thus of America’s Judeo-Christian heritage – on the Temple Mount.
Daled Amos (Daled Amos), Avi Green (Tel Chai Nation, Rick Richman (Jewish Current Issues), Anne Lieberman (Boker Tov, Boulder). As usual OJ’s Allen Roth was moderating the call and the audio should be up on the One Jerusalem frontpage within a few hours. This is one you might want to download and listen to all the way through. It was a pretty brisk call, with the Congressman fielding a couple questions that were not exactly softballs (see also: Fatah security assistance, well-known State Department failures; Annapolis conference, jblogosphere attitude towards). Also, if you’ve ever wanted to hear what Anne Lieberman’s dog sounds like, this is your chance. Real cute puppy.
First things first: One Jerusalem petition to keep Israel united. Click. After the jump: a fuller description of the conference call, the bill, and the decades of Arab efforts to physically destroy the Judeo-Christian heritage in Jerusalem.
From Cantor’s brief description – and we’re sure that OJ will compile more on this as the day goes by – the bill he introduced this morning is a bipartisan bill cosponsored with Shelley Berkley of Nevada to condemn the Wakf’s destruction and desecration of the Temple Mount. For years the Wakf Authority – given control over the Temple Mount by Israel as a gesture of peace and trust after 1967 – unblinkingly denied that they were destroying artifacts. Then – as the Congressman noted – priceless ancient Jewish artifacts were found in a landfill where the Wakf had dumped tons and tons of soil removed from the area. After proof of the desecration was published, the Wakf transitioned from “we’re not doing anything wrong” to “we have the right to do what we’re doing.”
That’s why it’s doubtful that a US expression of outrage will have any effect on the Wakf. Judeo-Christian sensibilities are not exactly the kind of thing that he’s inclined to be attentive towards (ergo the destruction in the first place). The Wakf’s campaign is deliberate and it has a very straightforward purpose – to make it impossible for Israel to claim any connection to Jerusalem. And if you think that’s insane, we’d like to welcome you to the wonderland of Middle East peacemaking. No anti-Israel claim is so surreal that it won’t be trotted out and repeated endlessly until it becomes a reasonable point for debate:
The recent statements of Palestinian leaders warning of “grave consequences” of the “provocative” decision by Israel to allow Jews to visit the Temple Mount are only the latest in a history of attempts by Arab leaders to minimize or deny the historical connection between Jews and the Temple Mount. Arab newspapers and speakers consistently refer to Jewish connections to the Temple Mount as “alleged.”
That’s from half a decade ago and it’s got about a dozen of the more prominent quotes from the more visible Palestinian and Arab leaders. The political goal has always quite explicitly been (1) deny the historical connection of Jews to Jerusalem in order to (2) deny Jews physical access to Jerusalem as part of the peace process.
But the purpose of the bill is not really to stop the Wakf – as if anything short of decisive Israeli action to assert some kind of legal control could do that. The purpose of the bill is to call attention to why Israel must retain sovereignty over Jerusalem. Every time an Arab country has been given authority over East Jerusalem they have used it to destroy the Judeo-Christian heritage of the city:
In violation of the 1949 Armistice Agreement, Jordan denied Israelis access to the Temple Wall and to the cemetery on the Mount of Olives, where Jews have been burying their dead for 2,500 years. Jordan actually went further and desecrated Jewish holy places. King Hussein permitted the construction of a road to the Intercontinental Hotel across the Mount of Olives cemetery. Hundreds of Jewish graves were destroyed by a highway that could have easily been built elsewhere. The gravestones, honoring the memory of rabbis and sages, were used by the engineer corps of the Jordanian Arab Legion as pavement and latrines in army camps.
The American public already knows that the Palestinians can’t be trusted. But very few people know the absolute shamelessness with which the Palestinians conduct affairs that would be off limits to anyone except the world’s anointed victims. There was a global outcry when the Taliban blew up Buddhist statues that were critical but certainly not absolutely central to Buddhist practice. The Temple Mount has been a focal point of Jewish prayer for 2,000 years, and the lack of public outcry is a combination of antipathy towards Israel and a lack of knowledge about the extent of the desecration. While it’s getting increasingly difficult to do anything about the former, HR 756 has the potential to focus debate and raise public awareness about the latter.References:
* Eric Cantor
* MR Has A Question For Democratic Jews: Are You Fucking Retarded?
* Bush: “Now Is The Time To Lay Out A Vision” For A Palestinian State
* State Dept Pushing Congress To Move Abject Failure Keith Dayton To West Bank
* Petition for A Unified Jerusalem
* Shelley Berkley
* Arab Leaders Deny Jewish History on The Temple Mount
* Arafat: ‘Grave consequences’ if Jews Keep Visiting Temple Mount.
* Compare and Contrast
* OneJerusalem.org Conference Call: Pastor John Hagee, Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church [FAQ: Debunking Liberal Myths About Evangelical Support For Israel]
* One Jerusalem Conference Call – Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay
* One Jerusalem Conference Call: Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
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