by Ruthie Blum
During morning prayers at a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday, two Arabs with massacre on their minds entered the premises armed with guns and axes. They managed to kill four worshippers and wound several others before being shot down by police.
Immediately this was reported in the media as a revenge attack for the death of an Arab bus driver (employed by the Israeli company, Egged) on Sunday night. A forensic examination, conducted on Monday in the presence of an Arab coroner, showed that the deceased had hanged himself. But his parents insisted he was murdered by Jews. Riots ensued.
But then, mass protests against perceived Israeli crimes have been going on for months. Each is given a specific label, but they are all part of what I would call the "Temple Mount Intifada."
This latest war of attrition against Israel was ostensibly caused by a movement of Jews who wish to alter the status quo and be allowed to pray at the Temple Mount. But Muslims, who have free rein to worship at the Al-Aqsa mosque, consider this an assault.
They rationalize their rejection of religious coexistence by denying a Jewish connection to the site.
"Temple denial" is a term coined by Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs head Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.N. and current foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In his 2007 book, "The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City," Gold called the attempt on the part of Palestinian Liberation Organization chief Yasser Arafat to delegitimize Israel by rejecting Jewish claims to the holy city.
Since then, Gold has shown how Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has picked up where Arafat left off, continuing the campaign to cast aspersions on Israel's connection to Jerusalem in general and to the Temple Mount in particular. Indeed, Abbas and other PA figures have taken many opportunities to assert that if there was a Jewish Temple 2,000 years ago, it was located in Nablus.
When Gold first began to warn about Temple denial as a dangerous propaganda tool with a contagious message, some pundits shrugged it off. After all, there is not only a religious connection on the part of the Jews to the holiest site in Judaism; there is also abundant archaeological evidence on and around the site to prove it.
Furthermore, as Gold wrote in these pages ("Abbas' Temple denial," March 2, 2012), "The great irony of this new Palestinian version of Jerusalem's history is that it contradicts the original Islamic tradition. Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Jarir al-Tabari (839-923 C.E.) was a leading commentator on the Quran and is known as one of Islam's greatest historians. In his account of the conquest of Jerusalem by the second caliph, Umar bin al-Khattab, al-Tabari describes him heading toward 'the area where the Romans buried the Temple [bayt al-maqdis] at the time of the sons of Israel.'"
Gold's analysis and admonitions were prescient.
The current wave of Palestinian terrorism is the culmination of decades of revisionist history, raised by Arafat at the end of the Camp David summit in 2000, and relentlessly promoted since then by his successors in the PA and by radical Muslims elsewhere.
It is this, too, that is enabling Islamic State to gain a foothold in Jerusalem.
According to the online news site Vocativ, a campaign called "Recruitment for Al-Aqsa" has been circulating on Islamic State social media sites.
"The goal of this holy campaign is to prepare suicide and jihadi attacks against the Jews … in order to implement the law of Allah and liberate the captive Al-Aqsa mosque from the hands of the filthy Jews," says the group behind it.
This mission statement is accompanied by Skype, Twitter, phone and e-mail contacts, as well as calls for volunteers and a fund-raising pitch that reads as follows:
"Our Muslim brother, if you can't be a mujahid by yourself, then you should know that your brothers in Palestine promised to Allah to go in the path of jihad. Don't be cheap with your money."
When Vocativ called the number listed on the posting, a man answered and said that the aim is to recruit 50 fighters and pay each one a $2,500 stipend in cash, to cover the cost of a Kalashnikov rifle, magazines and bullets.
So here we have it. The Temple Mount is even being used by Islamic State supporters to attract recruits.
The United States and Europe have wasted precious energy and resources on myopic "solutions" to what has become an almost uncontainable global phenomenon. Blaming Israel for any of it not only reeks of anti-Semitism; it is also utterly counter-productive.
The Temple Mount is not the cause of the "controversy." Nor are Jews who insist on the right to pray there "provocateurs."
It is this fact that must be recognized and reckoned with. Otherwise, it won't be long before decapitation videos start going viral from Jerusalem.
Ruthie Blum is the author of "To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the 'Arab Spring.'"
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