In a new essay at Tablet, Shany Mor argues that though UNESCO was rightly criticized for passing a resolution omitting Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, what their resolution affirmed about the ‘connection’ between al-Aqsa Mosque and violence is much more troubling.
Here are some excerpts from the essay:
In the resolution’s long sections on the Mount’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, UNESCO “condemns the escalating Israeli aggressions” perpetrated “against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their holy site Al-Aqsa,” “deplores the continuous storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif by Israeli right-wing extremists,” and “deeply decries the continuous Israeli aggressions” committed by “the so-called ‘Israeli antiquities’ officials.”
It is crucial to understand the power that [the Palestinian] lie about Al-Aqsa being threatened [by Israel] has both in motivating violence and widening the conflict, which is crucial for the Palestinian cause. There’s a long history to Arab claims that Jews or Zionists or Israelis have threatened Al-Aqsa, dating all the way back past 1930. Such claims are part rallying cry, part conspiracy theory, and part a transparent projection of past actions against Jewish holy sites that fell into Muslim hands, as well as revenge fantasies for a future after such sites have been “liberated” from Zionist control.
This too has been the pattern in the violence of the past year in Israel and the West Bank. The attackers themselves—usually in social media posts—aver that their primary motivation is the “threat” to Al Aqsa. But the international media nearly always translates this for its readers as “frustration with the occupation” or, if the Al Aqsa issue is mentioned at all, it is treated as something in dispute (“The Israelis deny harming the Muslim holy sites”). Even if the violent reaction is condemned, the pathological mindset which gave rise to it is presented with understanding.
It would be as if we took Dylann Roof’s claims that black men were raping white women seriously as a motivation for his massacre of African-American worshipers at a Charleston church—or treated that as disputable, or even just condemned Roof but also called on the African-American community to rein in its behavior or some such obnoxious statement. Instead, we rightly see Roof’s paranoid fantasy as being just another manifestation of the same pathological racism which drove him to carry out his infamous rampage.
In the case of Jews and Israel, however, what is clearly a pathology is treated instead as a possible grievance—and, in the case of UNESCO, a genuine one.
Read the rest of the essay here.
- Sky News fails to challenge lie that Israel plans to destroy al-Aqsa (ukmediawatch.org)
- Thumbs up for BBC News’ Temple Mount archaeology report (bbcwatch.org)
- The Battle Over Jerusalem and The Temple Mount (CAMERA)