A Guardian report on March 20th by Peter Beaumont, Jerusalem at boiling point of polarisation and violence – EU report, was illustrated with the following photo:
However, as CAMERA noted back in 2009 when AP first published the photo, the caption is extremely misleading.
This caption gives the misimpression that the man is actually standing in front of the mosque, on the Temple Mount…[when] in reality, he is apparently standing at the top of the steps that lead down to the Western Wall. He is resting his left arm on something, most likely the wall at the overlook at the top of those steps. From where he stands, he is separated from the Temple Mount by the Western Wall plaza. Especially in light of the sensitivity of the site, there is a huge difference between an ultra-Orthodox man standing on the entrance steps to the Western Wall, an area next to the Temple Mount and completely under Israeli control, versus an ultra-Orthodox man standing in front of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, on the Temple Mount itself, which is under the day-to-day control of the Islamic Waqf.
(Interestingly, in 2009 the BBC revised their caption for the photo above after receiving a complaint from blogger Yisrael Medad. It now more accurately reads: An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man pauses near the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, an area which Jews revere as the Temple Mount.)
Of course, the misleading caption and photo (of an “ultra Orthodox Jewish man” pausing “in front of the al-Aqsa mosque”) serves an important editorial point for the Guardian. Beaumont’s article cites a “leaked” EU report on Jerusalem which alleges the following about the cause of “tensions” in Jerusalem.
A second key factor identified by the report for the deteriorating security situation in Jerusalem is the continuing tensions over the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount complex, which it blames on “serious radicalisation” on both sides.
The report notes: “Almost on a daily basis settlers and national religious activists have ascended on to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount under the protection of Israeli forces.”
Guardian editors no doubt pounced on the chance to show a religious Jew allegedly “ascending” to al-Aqsa – illustrating the specific charge in the EU report.
Even leaving aside the fact that the orthodox Jew in the photo was not where they claimed he was, the fact is that the aim of such religious Jews is to visit the Temple Mount (Judaism’s holiest site), not the mosque located on the greater Temple Mount compound. Guardian readers are led to believe that radical Jews are attempting to stir trouble and heighten tensions by encroaching on a site which is only sacred to Muslims.
However, the “root cause” of violence in Jerusalem is not Jews peacefully visiting their holiest site, but, rather, continuous Palestinian rioting at the Temple Mount, and lethal Palestinian terrorist attacks against innocent Jews with guns, knives, hatchets and automobiles.
The Guardian’s use of the misleading six-year-old photo once again serves to reinforce prejudices about Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the root cause of violence in the holy city.