Published by The Freeman Center
The Maccabean Online
Political Analysis and Commentary
Bill, Marvin, and Mitt…On Jerusalem
by Gerald A. Honigman
People of the Book! Bear in mind the words of Moses, “Enter, my people, the holy land which Allah has assigned for you”.
I was watching Fox News’ Bill Hemmer’s interview of veteran journalist Marvin Kalb the other day.
Unlike some other well-known Hebrew journalists, who specialize in taking Israel to task (especially Israeli leaders who do not sing the American State Department tune nor prostrate themselves low enough to others’ “no friends, just interests” expectations ) while too often treating Arab issues and guests with kid gloves, I don’t recall Kalb being of this same ilk. I can’t remember him pulling the same, oft-repeated, duplicitous nauseating shtick of Larry King, Mike Wallace, Wolf Blitzer, or their fellow dhimmicolleagues at places such as NPR, for example.
Hence my disappointment at Kalb’s response to Hemmer’s question regarding Governor Romney’s comments regarding Jerusalem.
Mitt, like other candidates before him, had endorsed Israel’s position that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and therefore feels that the American embassy should be located there–not Tel Aviv.
While the essence of what Kalb said was true (the worst of Realpolitik at play), hearing him (or any Jew) say it still enraged me. They were words I would have expected coming out of the mouths of Larry King, The New York Times’ Tom Friedman, or the “Progressive” media’s numerous other stick-it-to-the-Jews members of the Tribe. Somehow I had hoped Marvin was cut from something better, like say Phylum Chordata…something with a backbone. And, perhaps, he yet is. Maybe it just came out the wrong way.
But, when asked about the Jerusalem issue, Kalb immediately shot back something very much like the following…“Israel calls Jerusalem its capital–not the United States (nor the United States State Department).”
Also at issue was the earlier briefing of President Obama’s Press Secretary, Jay Carney, in which he refused to identify Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Now, again, I know the reality of what Kalb was implying…but it doesn’t make it feel any better, nonetheless.
First of all, if it was up to the same State Department which today refuses to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, there would be no Israel whatsoever right now. The Foggy Folks fought President Truman tooth and nail over Israel’s resurrection in May 1948 (right around the exact same moment that I was making my own debut onto Planet Earth myself). So much for heeding State Department Arabists’ advice…
Why is it that, of all the nations in the world, only Jews have to consult with others as to where their capital should be located?
Millennia before there ever was a London, Moscow, Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, Washington D.C., Istanbul, and so forth, Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish people. And ancient Arab historians knew this themselves.
Commenting on why the Muslim Prophet Muhammad had his followers face towards Jerusalem in prayer when he took refuge after his flight (the Hijra) from enemies in Mecca in the date palm oasis Jews founded in Medina, early Arab historians, such as Jalaluddin, came right out and stated that this was done to win support among the still influential Jewish tribes (the People of the Book) for Muhammad’s religio-political claims. And, related to this, take another look at the opening to this essay above. It is a quote from the Arabs’ own sacred book, Sura 5:20-21 (The Table), from the Qur’an itself.
There is a lot of evidence that Jews were quite familiar with the Arabian Peninsula in antiquity. Those in Medina very likely were earlier refugees themselves from the Roman wars in Judea. Their influence had grown so large that the modern nation of Yemen had a series of Jewish kings just prior to Muhammad’s birth.
Returning to Bill, Marvin, Mitt, and today’s news, that Arabs claim Jerusalem as solely their own (to the point of denying that the Jews ever had their Temple there)is no more relevant than the fact that they also claim virtually everything else in the region simply as solely theirs as well–as I’ve written often before…”purely Arab patrimony,” to be exact. In Arab eyes, it’s all just part of the Dar ul-Islam acquired in the wake of the forced conquests and Arabization which started in the 7th century C.E.–but continuing to this very day.
This cannot be repeated too often…and I do so deliberately.
Arabs have carved out almost two dozen states to date–largely on scores of millions of other, non-Arab peoples’ lands. They did not ask the permission of those whom they conquered, subjugated, and forcibly Arabized as to where to establish those twenty-one “Arab” League state capitals they now have–nor consult with anyone else either.
Furthermore, the attachment of the Jew to Zion–Jerusalem (and all of Israel as well)–has no counterparts among the nations of the world today.
When, via Jerusalem, Jews (in one way or another) would forever impact much of the rest of the world (a light unto the nations, as the Bible forecasted) by sharing the knowledge of G_d with Judaism’s two daughter religions–Christianity and Islam–most other peoples were still practicing such things as idol worship, child sacrifice, and fertility cults.
So, yes…I understand the cold essence of Realpolitik. But I refuse to accept it as the master of Israel’s destiny. Had Jews accepted this, in light of what they have faced over the millennia, they would have vanished long ago.
Arabs want possession of Jerusalem mainly as a renewed modern prize and symbol of conquest–the same reason why, after grabbing it from the Byzantine Empire almost fourteen centuries ago, they erected the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount of the Jews. Arabs then claimed that Muhammad flew to Heaven on his winged horse from that site. Many mosques today exist on the foundations of former churches and other major “Infidel” structures. And, not to bring up a sore point, but what do you think the location of the Ground Zero mosque is very likely mostly all about as well?
Besides the two holy shrines the Arab Umayyad Caliphal empire established on the holy site of the Jews on the Temple Mount, nothing else about Jerusalem was, or is, of importance to them. To claim that Jerusalem has the same meaning for Arabs and Muslims as it does for Jews is simply to tell a lie.
As has often been pointed out, in religious Jewish sources, Jerusalem is mentioned over 600 times. It is never mentioned even once in the Qur’an. It may be alluded to in the latter in passages about the Hebrew Kings, David and Solomon, and the destruction of the Temples of the Jews…yet even that statement is iffy. But a mention of Jerusalem itself is nowhere to be found in the Muslim holy book…interesting, since it was recorded in many other places besides the writings of the Jews themselves for over 1,500 years before the rise of Islam.
Mecca and Medina are the Arabs’ and Islam’s two holy cities. Jerusalem never was an Arab or Islamic capital, and there never, ever, ever was a separate Arab/Muslim entity of “Palestine” anywhere in the land of the Jews.
If a 22nd Arab state ever emerges–a second, not first, in the original April 25, 1920 Mandate of Palestine (Jordan was created from some 80% of it in 1922), there are many other cities for Arabs to choose from for their capital (and many of those, like Medina on the Arabian Peninsula, have Jewish roots as well).
Israel does not need anyone’s permission to call a united Jerusalem its capital and, more to the point given Marvin Kalb’s comments, has every right to expect that others–who are not their openly-proclaimed enemies–will display the backbone to treat it as such as well.