William Henry Bartlett (1809-1854) – “Jews’ Place of Wailing.”
One of the key weapons used by Jews who advocate for the Palestinians, almost always by advocating against Israel, is that they blur the line of what constitutes “Pro-Israel.”
The argument usually goes something like this: “Of course we are pro-Israel, we are seeking to find a peaceful resolution for Israel that allows it to live securely without an occupation.” So far, it sounds good and when they pull out the “We want Israel to abide by international law and maintain human rights,” who can argue with that?
Then they advocate harshly against Israel and its society. Typically the criticism is bitter and harsh, unfair and without a reasonable context. The people who do this often align themselves with groups that are clearly anti-Israel and in some cases actually anti-Semitic. The language used is one that attacks Israel in a manner reserved for some of the world’s worst human rights offenders, which Israel isn’t (though many of the countries and origins of the groups attacking it are). The tactics used are often dishonest and hypocritical.
However, these groups and individuals maintain that they are “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace.” They do this even though many of them side with the Palestinian refusal to negotiate or come to a deal with Israel on the basis of the very solid peace offers Israel has made to them.
This week, however, the Palestinian Authority, which is the government of the Palestinians, has made public a research paper claiming that the Jewish people have no religious connection to the Kotel, the Western Wall.
Needless to say, that’s ludicrous.
However, it is the official position of the Palestinians. We don’t even need to bring Hamas in Gaza into the equation because their Charter has them rejecting all Jewish claims or historical link to Israel anyway. In other words, both Palestinian governments, representing the two key political Palestinian movements in Palestinian society and which have the support of the Palestinian people who voted for these parties in previously held elections that were ratified by Jimmy Carter, reject any Jewish connection or rights to the Western Wall.
My feeling is that every Jewish advocate for the Palestinians or Jewish advocates for a peace deal that is driven by Palestinian goals needs to do some serious soul searching. After all, the link to Jerusalem and the Temple goes back to the First Temple and Babylonian exile. The Second Temple goes back to Persian and Hellenist eras. Throughout, there was a Judean presence and a capital in Jerusalem. That is what our sources say. This is what external sources say.
We have Assyrian tablets and the Siloam Inscription proving millenia-old Jewish ties to Jerusalem, and we also have Roman and Greek historians verifying the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem, not to mention its importance. We find the same in the Dead Sea Scrolls and subsequently in the mishnah. Visit the Israel Museum and you will see ample evidence of the connection of Jews to the Temple, such as the “Trumpeting Place” stone from the Temple’s exterior wall where the priest would call the Israelites to pray on Fridays.
It is a fact also that Jewish tradition and faith over the past couple of millenia establish the location of the Temple at the Temple Mount and the Kotel as the outside wall of the barrier surrounding the Temple. This place has been, for as long as the Temple has been destroyed, the only physical location where Jews can connect to the holiest site in Judaism. When Judah HaLevy came to Israel in the 1100s, it was the Kotel to which he went to pray. How could he not? It was the heart of Zion and the Jewish people’s collective dream of return to their historic homeland.
None of this is disputable. It is history. It is also in our sources.
There is only one action open to pro-Palestinian Jewish advocates and that is to publicly, loudly and vociferously repudiate this Palestinian attack on Jewish history and Jewish rights in the Land of Israel.
Otherwise, call yourselves whatever you want and feel free to throw in all the key words you like such as “peace,” “human rights,” “apartheid” or whatever. But don’t call yourselves “pro-Israel” and stop lying about your support for the state called Israel which was founded because of a movement named for Zion. Har Zion. Jerusalem. And at its heart the Temple Mount.
If on this occasion you cannot come out and loudly criticize the Palestinian people for their absolute disrespect for Jewish history, Jewish faith and the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel, just admit what you are: anti-Israel. You also put politics above integrity and reason.
And yes, J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, Peace Now, Gush Shalom and similar groups and their advocates, I’m talking to you.