At the end of July, Jews concluded three weeks of mourning commemorating the first and second fall of Jerusalem and its two temples. In a perfect bit of timing, Obama chose that period to ratchet up pressure over Israeli construction in Jerusalem. Because there is no better time to demand that Jews stop living in Jerusalem, than the Jewish commemoration of two bloody conquests and exiles.
After 2000 years of exile, a reasonable question to ask is, if Jews have no right to live in their own capital, where do they have a right to live? Obama’s answer is clearly, nowhere. The same man who has cynically banked on America’s guilt over racial segregation in the American South, is working overtime to impose segregation south of Tel Aviv. The media has responded by giving much coverage to Fatah and Hamas terrorist groups complaining about the “Judaizing of Jerusalem.” This is an absurdity as the common use of Jerusalem originates from the Hebrew Bible. Arabs call Jerusalem, “Al-Quds”, based on a dream that Mohammed once had, which was reinterpreted by Muslim colonialism as referring to Jerusalem in order to Dejudaize and Islamize the city.
It is no more possible to Judaize, Jerusalem… than it is to Anglicise, London or Russify, Moscow. It is a place that for billions of people around the world is closely associated with the Jewish people. And that is a reality that cannot be erased by any amounts of propaganda from its former Muslim conquerors, who have been obliged to step down from ruling the city, and forced to participate in a democratic political system, in which non-Muslims are not forced to defer to Muslim law.
Under Muslim rule, Jews were repeatedly barred from access from the former site of the Temple, the holiest place in Judaism, using it at one point as a garbage dump. Tombstones from the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, which includes the tomb of the Prophet Zechariah, were used as paving stones and as flooring for latrines. Virtually every single synagogue in the Jewish Quarter was destroyed between 1948 and 1967, as the Jordanian commander who seized Jerusalem in 1948 proclaimed, “For the first time in 1,000 years not a single Jew remains in the Jewish Quarter. Not a single building remains intact. This makes the Jews’ return here impossible.”
There could hardly be a better demonstration of Apartheid in action than Muslim actions during their control over Jerusalem. And the world should have cheered Israel’s liberation of East Jerusalem in 1967, making it a place where Jews, Christians and Muslims could live together, for the first time in a generation. Instead the world has done the opposite. The U.K. which recognized the Jordanian apartheid annexation of East Jerusalem, and the resulting ethnic cleansing of the area, has never recognized its reunification by Israel. And Obama has used the Three Weeks commemoration of the Fall of Jerusalem– to put every effort into pressuring Israel to deny housing construction to Jews in Jerusalem.
The modern day siege of Jerusalem is today led by Obama who insists that Jews have no right to their own capital. This is of course not a new position. It is one Nebuchadnezzar and Titus shared. It is one that the Jordanian commander who shelled the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem until not one building remained intact, reducing thousands of years of history to rubble in a matter of days, shared as well.
Obama’s Muslim roots give him a great deal of sympathy with the view of city’s Islamic conquerors who imposed their own history on the city, and none with the thousands of years of Jewish history and memory that is attached to Jerusalem. His assault on Jewish life in Jerusalem however is an inexcusable case of allowing those sympathies to dictate international policy, all the more inexcusable as his campaign was premised on not dictating terms to other countries. Yet all too clearly the man who can fluently recite the Muslim call to prayer, is working to pressure Israel into accepting the apartheid Muslim narrative of an Islamized Jerusalem.
Meanwhile the same Muslim regimes which would never countenance turning over half of their holy city of Mecca to the Jews, even though Mecca once had a sizable Jewish population, before it was ethnically cleansed by Mohammed and the rise of Islam– demand a return to the division of Jerusalem that was so heartrendingly described in “Jerusalem of Gold”, a song that nearly became Israel’s second national anthem. “Solitary lies the city, and in its heart– a wall.“
The annual mourning for the fall of Jerusalem for thousands of years demonstrates with painful clarity the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Yet the same media that seizes on the Nakba’s annual key parties turn their heads away. Just as the 800,000 Jewish refugees from Muslim lands go unrepresented, so too do the 19,000 Jewish refugees from East Jerusalem who were ethnically cleansed, and replaced with Arabs. But perhaps when the Nakba parties have gone on for 2000 years, then the former Arab rulers of the land will have standing to speak to us about attachment to the land.
What Obama should remember is that the Jerusalem is at the heart of Jewish history and identity. Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem which has Jerusalem as its final word, was partly inspired by a poem written in the 11th century by Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi, “My heart is in the East, and I am at the ends of the West. How can I taste what I eat and how could it be pleasing to me? How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while yet Zion lies beneath the fetter of Edom, and I am in the chains of Arabia?” When Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi finally made the perilous journey from the West all the way to Jerusalem, a city in the “Chains of Arabia”, he was murdered near the Temple Mount by an Arab horseman. The poet died, but his songs of Zion lived on, and would inspire those farmers and soldiers who would break the “Chains of Arabia” over 800 years later to proclaim the modern State of Israel.
And no matter what the modern day would be Muslim rulers of Jerusalem intend, Obama might do well to remember that betting against the Jews in Jerusalem is never a good long term prediction. 2600 years ago Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem and drove out its Jewish inhabitants into exile as slaves. The Persian Empire conquered the Babylonian Empire. The Greeks in turn conquered the Persian Empire and found that there were Jews once again living in Jerusalem. Their attempt to Dejudaize Israel led to the Maccabean wars, which led to the Hasmonean kingdom, the first Jewish kingdom since the fall of the First Temple.
When the Romans got done with the Greeks, they turned their attention to Israel. They appointed the non-Jewish Herod as King, and repeatedly conquered Jerusalem. It took half the Roman army and the destruction of the entire 22nd legion, but Rome finally got its way. Those Jews who survived the extensive massacres were exiled, Jerusalem was demolished down to its foundation and emptied of any Jewish presence. The city was renamed Aelia Capitolina, after Hardian himself.
Today Aelia Capitolina is a name only used by historians. Al Quds, part of the nomenclature of Islamic colonialism, will in time join Aelia Capitolina, from the nomenclature of Roman colonialism– when Allah will join Jupiter and Nebuchadnezzar in the pantheon of dead gods from dead empires. Obama who has spent years building up a cult of personality more in line with that of a Babylonian ruler or a Roman Emperor, might profit by their example.
While Obama conducts a political siege of Jerusalem, its former Arab conquerors conduct a plainer one. The massacre of students at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, the bulldozer attacks on busy Jerusalem streets, as well as the unreported tide of knife attacks, threats and hit and runs; are the way that Fatah and Hamas mean to lay claim to Jerusalem, by once again driving out its Jewish inhabitants. By aiding and abetting their political ambitions, Obama also takes responsibility for their crimes.
By leading a modern day political siege against Jerusalem, Obama is working to further the ethnic cleansing and apartheid of Jews, by the Muslim terrorists to whom he has clear connections of faith and blood. His evident solidarity with the Muslim majority in the Middle East however comes at the expense of the region’s many oppressed minorities, including the Copts, the Sufis, the Bahai and the Jews. Obama may have a great deal of sympathy for Muslims, but they have none for America. And Obama’s political siege of Jerusalem damages America’s ties with Israel, as well as undermining the one Pro-American democracy in the region. The American people have a right to ask himself whether Obama’s policy on Jerusalem is defined by American interests, or his own cultural and familial ties to Islam.
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