Guardian

Dejudaising Jerusalem: Guardian Helps Promote Palestinian Lies


This is cross posted from Honest Reporting

Does The Guardian buy into Palestinian claims that Israel and the Jewish people have no spiritual or historical connection to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount?

An official paper published Monday by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information in Ramallah, claiming that the Western Wall belongs to Muslims and is an integral part of Al-Aqsa Mosque and Haram al-Sharif (the Islamic term for the Temple Mount complex, meaning the Noble Sanctuary) barely deserves a response.

Other than to demonstrate just how low the PA is prepared to go to delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people’s connection to Jerusalem, perhaps it indicates to those who believe that settlements represent the biggest obstacle to peace, that the real obstacles are far more deep-rooted and existential.

So far, the UK media has not given this “study” the credibility that the oxygen of publicity brings with it. At some point, professional journalists need to ask themselves whether reporting the equivalent of “flat earth” theories should even be on the news agenda.

Unfortunately, either through gross ignorance or a penchant for unquestioningly accepting the Palestinian narrative, The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood contributes to the Palestinian delegitimization Jewish history and ties to Jerusalem.

Writing about Palestinian protests over a multi-million pound development of facilities in the area of the Western Wall, described as a “major tourist site in occupied East Jerusalem”, Sherwood refers to the Western Wall as “Judaism’s most holy site“.

Wrong.

Some basic background information that Jerusalem-based journalists like Sherwood should know is that the Temple Mount – and not the Western Wall – is Judaism’s holiest site.

While this faux pas could be brushed off, Sherwood compounds the error by then promoting the Palestinian Muslim narrative at the expense of legitimate Jewish rights and history:

Immediately above the wall is the Muslim compound known as Haram al-Sharif, which houses the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque, the third most holy site in Islam. The area is known to Jews as Temple Mount.

Sherwood does the work of the Palestinian Authority and airbrushes out 3,000 years of Jewish history.

As Myths and Facts points out about Palestinian denials of Jewish history on the Temple Mount:

These views are contradicted by a book entitled A Brief Guide to al-Haram al-Sharif, published by the Supreme Moslem Council in 1930. The Council, the supreme Moslem body in Jerusalem during the British Mandate, said in the guide that the Temple Mount site “is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest times. Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.” …

The Jewish connection to the Temple Mount dates back more than 3,000 years and is rooted in tradition and history. When Abraham bound his son Isaac upon an altar as a sacrifice to God, he is believed to have done so atop Mount Moriah, today’s Temple Mount. The First Temple’s Holy of Holies contained the original Ark of the Covenant, and both the First and Second Temples were the centers of Jewish religious and social life until the Second Temple’s destruction by the Romans. After the destruction of the Second Temple, control of the Temple Mount passed through several conquering powers. It was during the early period of Muslim control that the Dome of the Rock was built on the site of the ancient temples.

Harriet Sherwood and The Guardian may not be expected to include a detailed history of Jerusalem’s holy sites in their reports. But the least that can be expected is historical accuracy.

Please send your considered comments to The Guardian –letters@guardian.co.uk


21 replies »

  1. Islam is such a pretentious, greedy little sect. Whereas other religions are content to have holy SITES like a Temple, a Church where someone was buried (or not) or, say, a wall, Islam claims whole cities or even COUNTRIES as religious “sites”, e.g. Saudi Arabia.

    Or indeed everywhere that was ever controlled by an Islamic despot for a while.

  2. Sherwood does the work of the Palestinian Authority and airbrushes out 3,000 years of Jewish history.

    She refers to the wall as being “revered by Jews as the last remnant of the Second Temple”. How does that constitute “airbrushing out 3,000 years of Jewish history”? How does it “Help Promote Palestinian Lies”?

  3. Geary-

    “Islam claims whole cities or even COUNTRIES as religious “sites”, e.g. Saudi Arabia.”

    Presumably you can back up your assertion with reference to Quranic texts- also is it Muslims that make reference to “the Holy LAND”?

  4. Pretzel

    Please read the article. The most holiest site for Jews is not the Wall but the Temple Mount itself. Wouldn’t you consider this “revered by Jews” an understatement? Wouldn’t be more correct to say that the Temple (incl. the Wailing Wall) is the physical centre of the Jewish religion?

  5. Moody Yahudi

    Maybe you are not aware of the fact that the Holy Land is a Christian name of historic Israel. And you should point out any reference regarding any claim by any Christian church on Jerusalem or Israel.

  6. PeterTHungarian: I knew that there was a reason that they call him Muddly. You’ve just pointed it out. I am most grateful

  7. @ peter

    Perhaps she wasn’t strictly accurate – but I still don’t see how her comments airbrush out 3,000 years of Jewish history or help promote Palestinian lies.

  8. peterthehungarian

    Perhaps you’re unaware that historically the Christian powers fought several military campaigns (known as “the Crusades”) over several centuries to assert Christian sovereignty over the soc-called “Holy Land”. I merely pointed out to Geary that Islam does not have a monopoly on supposedly claiming entire territories for religious reasons. It’s hardly a contentious point….is it?

  9. mita

    “I knew there was a reason they call him Muddly”

    In this context, “they” means “I”-perhaps it’s you that is “muddly”.

  10. Moody Yahudi

    Perhaps you’re unaware that historically the Christian powers fought several military campaigns (known as “the Crusades”) over several centuries to assert Christian sovereignty over the soc-called “Holy Land”.

    And maybe you are unaware of the fact that the last crusader attempt to occupy the ME happened exactly 738 years ago. I’mbe really unaware of any present Christian claim, maybe you do.

    I merely pointed out to Geary that Islam does not have a monopoly on supposedly claiming entire territories for religious reasons.

    Geary’s comment was absolutely clear about the present territorial claims of the Islam world. Maybe you should have written that “… Islam did not have a monopoly on supposedly claiming entire territories for religious reasons.” – hundreds of years ago.

  11. In ’67 Israel should have transferred all the Palestinians that were in East Jerusalem to Jordan.That is what what Jordan would have done and did. And taken full control of the Al Aksa mosque.

    Instead Israel gave these wankers Israeli citizenship.Now we will be paying for the rest of our lives for this dumb mistake.

  12. Pretzel

    Perhaps she wasn’t strictly accurate – but I still don’t see how her comments airbrush out 3,000 years of Jewish history or help promote Palestinian lies.

    You can’t see?
    Then consider these similar factually correct statements:

    “The RAF and the USAF executed a nightly air raid on Dresden. The resulting fires in the city caused extensive damages.”

    “The US used a new type of bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The until now unknown weapon caused some collateral damages in civilians lives and property.”

    “The Holland peacekeepers in Serebrnica successfully avoided a potential bloodbath leaving the area for their Serb opponents.”

    “The French and Swiss authorities deported some illegal German immigrants back to Germany according to the law.”

    Distorting or leaving out relevant historical facts, keeping quiet about context, understating the significance of important historical factors – all of these can be called – “the airbrushing of history and promoting lies.”

  13. The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism. To only mention it as the third holiest site in Islam without mentioning its relative significance for Jews looks like appeasement of Palestinian Arab Islamic nationalist sensibilities.

    If she said, for instance, that the Haram is partly composed of and on the blocks and foundation of the Herodian temple, I suspect The Guardian would take a hit from its Muslim readership that would represent an obstacle to its policy to woo them.

    Note her language: ‘the area is KNOWN to Jews as the Temple Mount’. She is careful not to make anything that could be construed as an existential assertion.

    But she could have had at least the grace to acknowledge that it is KNOWN to Jews as the centre of the Jewish temporal universe. But only Muslims are accorded anything like that honour.

    Appeasement.

  14. ‘The Western, or Wailing, Wall – revered by Jews as the last remnant of the Second Temple’

    It is the last pristine standing wall of the temple. But the Haram is built on and from its pediment. Its largest blocks, some 40 feet in length, are identifiably Herodian. The Muslims did not demolish the pediment, they built on and extended it.

  15. peterthehungarian

    “Geary’s comment was absolutely clear about the present territorial claims of the Islam world. ”

    No it wasn’t- anyway let’s have a link to the Quranic texts making these claims. Show me a single instance of “Islam” claiming an entire country as a “holy site”.

  16. ‘Show me a single instance of “Islam” claiming an entire country as a “holy site”.’

    The Hijaz?

  17. Hapenny

    “The Hijaz?”

    You’ve mentioned a territory but you haven’t indicated where and when “Islam” claimed this territory as a “holy site”. Please elaborate as wikipedia sheds no further light or was the question mark used in a purely speculative way?