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Thursday, July 05, 2012 

Michael Freund on the anti-semitism at the Temple Mount

Michael Freund at the Jerusalem Post has written about the disturbing silence on the Israeli police's appeasement of the Muslim Wakf at the Temple Mount:
In recent weeks, there have been a string of incidents that should have sparked outrage across the Jewish world but instead were met with stony silence.

On a number of occasions, Jews seeking to exercise their basic human rights such as freedom of worship and assembly, and freedom of speech, have seen their liberties callously disregarded, and even trampled upon.

Those wishing to pray have been hushed and even threatened with arrest, while others have been asked to remove their yarmulkes while in public.

Needless to say, these detestable acts of anti-Semitism elicited neither a single press release nor even a peep of public protest from world Jewish leaders or organizations.

Had they occurred in Paris, London or New York, the guardian lions of civil rights would surely have made their roars heard. But since these affronts against Jews have all taken place on the Temple Mount, in the heart of Jerusalem, the raucous lions have instead turned into silent lambs, refusing even to bleat in disapproval.

Consider the following. According to a report in Ma’ariv (May 22), the Israeli police have issued new instructions which forbid Jews on the Temple Mount from rocking back and forth, moving their lips or even closing their eyes, as these all might be construed as acts of prayer.

Under pressure from the Muslim Wakf which administers the site, Israel’s finest also warned Jewish visitors against removing a note of paper from one’s pocket and reading it, ostensibly out of fear that the offending page might contain Biblical verses or words of entreaty to Heaven.

Don’t let the absurdity of these regulations detract from their seriousness: this is a shocking and extreme violation of every person’s fundamental freedoms. [...]

The root of the problem lies in the humiliating arrangements that exist on the Mount, where the extremist Muslim Wakf is allowed a large measure of control. In addition to doing their utmost to erase any trace of Israel’s historical heritage at the site, the Wakf has also regularly harassed Jewish pilgrims who, despite all the restrictions, continue to visit the Mount.

Ten days ago, a young British Jewish student was reportedly accosted by Wakf officials, who demanded that he remove his yarmulke, which they said they found to be “offensive.” Rather than get into an altercation, the student chose to leave, later telling reporters that, “I have experienced anti-Semitism in England, but I never thought that in Judaism’s holiest site I would be subjugated to such discrimination.”

He is right – and no one else should be subjected to it either.
Nor should anybody remain silent on the matter anymore. If anti-semitism is not acceptable abroad, then it's not acceptable at home either, and any person who considers themselves pro-Israel, whether a reporter or a blogger or a diplomat, no matter what their race or nationality, who fails to speak out about this is putting their credentials in jeopardy. I find that offensive that anybody would think it's wrong to be critical of a right-wing Israeli leader for any reason whatsoever, and it's going to have to change sooner or later.

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