The airwaves are thick with the sound of raucous voices and clashing swords. O Jerusalem — well, ok, East Jerusalem — and the thundering hooves will brook no opposition! Get Israel!
At the slightest twinge of international pain from a geographical region known as the “Mideast conflict” they cry out, “Cut it off! Get rid of it, and the worldwide body politic will finally live in peace.” Ahmadinejad has promised hundreds of times to wipe Israel off the map without provoking much of a reaction. His proxies stock arms, poke and prod, without raising international eyebrows. Then Israel approves housing construction in Jerusalem and the sleeping warriors awake. Grrrrrr!
The Obama administration bares its fangs and the troops go into action. General Petraeus warns that the unresolved Israel-Palestine conflict is disturbing Muslim nations, stimulating extremism, and putting our boys in danger. Walt & Mearsheimer point the finger at homegrown Zionists who are twisting the arm of this vast nation, bringing it to its knees, and forcing Israel down our throats. The brave Petraeus denies he ever implied that our friendship with Israel could be a direct or indirect cause of American military casualties in friendly Muslim countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. But the hot potato has already been passed to Robert Gates who runs it smack between the White House goalposts and into the mouth of President Obama who can scold Israel off the top of his head. Naughty boys… you’re costing us “blood and treasure.” Nothing less.
Israel is a pain. Dr. Quack has the solution. Cut out that festering appendix and the ummah will welcome us with open arms.
And just when we start to catch on, the president and his hired guns speak from the other side of their mouths. They were only kidding. Treating Prime Minister Netanyahu like a vacuum cleaner salesman at the White House was a sign of unfailing friendship. Israel and the United States are bosom buddies. Count on us! If blood and treasure must be spent by Big Friend America to save the neck of little guy Israel, we won’t be stingy. All we ask in return is…
THE “TWO-STATE SOLUTION that “everyone knows will resolve the conflict” is brandished like a scimitar: Israeli withdrawal to the ’67 (’49 armistice) lines, dismantlement of settlements, a mini territorial tradeoff, a “solution” to the refugee problem, and the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital… Why is this “everyone knows the solution” religiously repeated when it has been amply demonstrated that neither Israel nor any Palestinian entity can accept it? It is not a solution, it is a lethal narrative. A soft outer wrapping of apparently legitimate Palestinian aspirations hides a knife aimed at the heart of Jerusalem that would cripple Jewish sovereignty in the homeland. The insistence on a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem is inextricably joined to claims for statehood conceived as a natural right. The aim of the narrative is lethal — the destruction of Israel — and its constant repetition is a form of warfare.
On what grounds can Islam lay claim to any part of Jerusalem?
WHAT MAKES JERUSALEM SO PRECIOUS? — THE JEWS. Mecca was sanctified by Islam, even though the black stone pre-existed the founding gesture, and Jerusalem was sanctified by Judaism. Subsequent religious claims to the city are accretions to the original consecration. Jerusalem is the Christian holy land because Jesus was a Jew. And Islam’s claim is based on a scriptural injunction to supersede Judaism and Christianity. If claims to Jerusalem are based on religion, Judaism takes precedence.
If Muslim claims to Jerusalem are not religious but secular they are inexplicable. Ramallah would be more suitable as the capital of a Palestinian state that truly intended to live peacefully side by side with Israel. Why should the world be dragged into a fierce tug of war when the territorial issue — if that is what it is really about — could be so easily resolved?
The lethal narrative carries a double secular-religious warhead. Topography trumps chronology in a dazzling Muslim claim to the centrality of Jerusalem staked on the Al Aqsa mosque and the gilded Dome of the Rock that dominate the Temple Mount (the French call it l’esplanade des mosquées). That’s not centrality, it’s replacement theology! If that claim is granted, the heart of our civilization will be broken. The precedent established in Jerusalem will be extended to Paris, New York, London, the Hague, Detroit, Washington D.C… wherever a mosque is built, Islam will extend its political sovereignty. It will be the end of separation of church and state, the end of religious and political freedom. Al Aqsa, built on the ruins of the Jewish Temple, is not proof of centrality, it is the emblem of replacement theology. Europeans, who are so eager to impose the division of Jerusalem, are awakening to the dangers that threaten their own capitals. The Swiss said no to minarets, France and Belgium don’t want veiled women in their streets, plans for mega-mosques in Rome and London, were nixed…
But the belated, timid European awakening pales in the face of an American president who has raised anti-Zionism to new heights. Take this sequence: Last month, mosque-goers threw rocks down from the Temple Mount at Jews worshipping at the kotel (Western Wall). Local Islamists regularly stir up the masses with false claims that Israel is violating the sanctity of al Aqsa. Then President Obama worked up a fury against the Israeli government with false claims that housing construction in “East” Jerusalem (as if it were another state, like South Dakota!) jeopardizes the peace process. Ramat Shlomo is in north Jerusalem but ideology doesn’t have a compass. The restoration of the Har Hova synagogue, “right next to Islam’s holiest sites,” was a further affront to Islam dutifully relayed by the world’s pundits, bereft of the slightest notions of logic and chronology. Barack Hussein Obama dragged Benyamin Netanyahu into the coal shed and bound him hand and foot with ultimatums. Add it all up: in the space of two short weeks the free world bowed to the will of Temple Mount Islamists!
The faulty religious justification for the division of Israel’s capital alternates with a secular narrative that stands on a falsified baseline where all of Israel was Palestinian land stolen by Jewish colonizers who created an illegal state which was subsequently extended by military conquests to include “East Jerusalem.” Out of the goodness of their hearts the Palestinians will reluctantly accept the fait accompli for a rump state within the 1949 armistice line. But that’s all! Everything else is illegal and all means of reconquest are justified.
Jerusalem was divided by the sword. The neighborhoods claimed today as exclusively reserved for Arab-Muslims are Jewish neighborhoods that were emptied of their rightful residents by atrocious massacres during the first war of independence. The survivors fled for their lives. Arabs moved in. When Europe — followed now by the United States — validates that sort of zoning regulation, the rules will apply to their own cities. No need for tanks rumbling down the Champs Elysèes or bombs raining down on Coventry. Just increase the pressure on the pesky State of Israel, cut off its blood supply, and discover — too late — that you’ve given yourself a massive heart attack.
Hillary Clinton’s “tough love” AIPAC speech concluded with a Passover homily. Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, preached the Secretary of State, and at every step of liberation and up to the threshold of the Promised Land, there were always hangers-back who said it was “too dangerous, too hard, too risky.” Today, she would have us believe, the Promised Land is a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Israelis, like their hero Moses, should just do the right thing!
Was there a rabbi in the house?
THE LESSON OF PESACH is that the children of Israel were liberated from slavery in Egypt by the alliance between their own determination and the “outstretched hand.” The Jewish people have remained faithful to this Alliance, which is inseparable from the integrity of Jerusalem. The Pesach seder is not the commemoration of a dead past, it is expressly the here and now of liberation. “I was a slave in Egypt…” We do not bow our heads to pharaohs, to presidents, or to international opinion.
The emissaries sent to Canaan to get the lay of the land came back and warned that it would be too hard to redeem the divine promise. “It’s no Paradise. And besides there’s all kinds of tough guys there,” they said, shivering in their sandals. Deemed unworthy of the promised homeland, the liberated slaves spent forty years in the wilderness, learning to be free. They gave birth to a new generation that had the courage to build a sovereign Jewish nation with Jerusalem as its capital.
The values they forged during that period of apprenticeship are at the heart of Western civilization. The most salutary lesson of the current crisis is that Israel is not suicidal. Jews will choose life, and assaults on Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem and its outskirts are stabs in the back of the free world.
Nidra Poller in author, novelist, translator and journalist. She is based in Paris and writes about the Muslims in Europe, anti-semitism and the French media and politicians. An earlier version of this essay was published by www.atlasshrugs.com and Makor Rishon.