Midnight At Rachel's Tomb: Kind Of A Hush About Islamic Claim That Kever Rachel & Kotel Are Now Mosques
11/24/2010 - 19:44
Jonathan Mark

 

If you needed any more evidence that the Jewish left is really advocating surrender to the Palestinians instead of peace with the Palestinians, check out the reaction of the Jewish left to the Palestinian claim that Rachel's Tomb and the Kotel (Western Wall) are really mosques.

There's been almost no reaction at all.

Oh, the Jewish left has had their hands full with really important issues, such as defending the anti-Israel J Street sugar daddy George Soros, and letting Israel know how naughty she is for simply announcing plans for apartment houses in Jerusalem because that upsets the Palestinians and their attorney, Barack Hussein Obama.

But when UNESCO rules that under international law Israel can't touch Rachel's Tomb, the Jewish left has nothing to say. Nothing to say at all. They have faith in the UN. There is nothing more intrinsic to the left than faith in the goodness and wisdom of the "international community." Parochial is bad. International is good. We should send them millions more of our limited tzedakah money. If "the world" says -- poof! -- Rachel's Tomb is now a mosque, well, the whole world can't be wrong, can it?

All the bloggers and columnists and rabbis who have given sermons and rallied support for the Ground Zero mosque, all who have objected to new Jewish apartments in Jerusalem, how many have had anything to say -- anything at all -- about our potential loss of Rachel's Tomb and the Kotel? Please, let me know who has said anything.

Has the Rabbis for Human Rights said anything? Check out their web site. Nothing, last time I looked. They're more concerned with protecting Palestinian olive farmers than protecting the Jewish right to our holiest places.

How about J Street? They say that they are not anti-Israel, they are "pro-Israel" except they have a chokehold of a problem with the government's policies. Fine. Check out their web site and see if they're disappointed by Palestinian claims to Rachel's Tomb and the Kotel. Nothing.

After all, J Street does Obama's bidding. They claim to be a pro-Israel lobby but they are the only lobby in history that always takes the side of the government against the interests of the cause they ostensibly represent. Unless, of course, the Islamization of the Kotel and Rachel's Tomb is not considered an Israeli interest.

J Street has never defied Obama on one single thing. Every one of his policies regarding Israel is terrific. No one in America or the Middle East (Arabs and Israelis both) thinks any of his policies have done anything but push peace further away, but J Street people say every Obama pressure peace policy is  just terrific. J Street sees Obama like LeFou sees Gaston in "Beauty and the Beast."

So when Obama -- raised by a Moslem father and a Moslem step-father, schooled in Indonesia, friend of Rashid Khalidi, churched by Jeremiah Wright  --  decided that he had a problem with Israel declaring Rachel's Tomb and the Machpela (the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron) as Jewish Heritage Sites, J Street follows orders. That so-called "pro-Israel" lobby has nothing to say.

How about Dov Linzer, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Chovivei Torah, the left-wing rabbinical school? Linzer led the YCT delegation to the Rabbis for Human Rights conference when it was held in New York. Linzer's group was the only Orthodox  "Open Orthodox" group in a room of several hundred extreme leftists that had plenty to say about Palestinian olive trees and zero to say about Sderot or Gilad Shalit. Does Linzer have anything to say about our holy places being called mosques?

Linzer is not afraid of being political. Standing with the Rabbis for Human Rights is surely political, and Linzer has been known to make religious-political pronouncements about Israel, such as accepting the Orthophobe charge that Orthodox Jews needed to klop al-chayt, like on Yom Kippur, to somehow apologize for the gay murders in Tel Aviv (even when the Tel Aviv police said there was no reason to think so, and Linzer finally retracted under pressure). Has Linzer issued any similar encyclicals about UNESCO and the Palestinian claims on our holy places? Nothing.

Dear reader, how about your local rabbi? Did he or she have anything to say?

Check out the online archives of The New York Times. They didn't think the Islamization of the Kotel or Rachel's Tomb was a story either.

It's been more than a month (Oct. 21) since UNESCO went after Rachel's Tomb. Listen to the silence of the lambs. No one cares.

To Jews who want real peace, Israel has certain needs and rightful claims, such as the integrity and access to our holy places. But to those who confuse peace with surrender, what's a Progressive to do except surrender? The Palestinians call our most holy places a mosque? Fine. We surrender. A mosque? Peace in our time. Who cares?

Here's who cares. Here are the giants of this American Jewish generation who had a whole lot to say in defense of Jewish holy places. Check out the Jewish pride and the defense of Jewish interests articulated by The Anti-Defamation League and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the American Jewish Committe and the Zionist Organization of America.

But Peter Beinart in his Jewish leftist manifesto, "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment," in The New York Review of Books, singled out the Conference of Presidents, the ADL, and AJC, among others, because he said they support the Israeli government not wisely but too well; their “obsession with victimhood lies at the heart of why Zionism is dying among America’s secular Jewish young. It simply bears no relationship to their lived experience.”

And so, according to Beinart, because of those mean ol' Jewish leaders Abe Foxman, Malcolm Hoenlein, Mort Klein and the rest, young Jews all over America are being forced -- they can't help themselves -- to assimilate, intermarry and be overall ornery to Zionism and Jewish continuity.

Rachel's Tomb? Beinart's Lost Boys couldn't care less.

Here's my Valentine to Beinart's thumb-suckers: Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Really, I wish you all the best. Beinart threatens that the young will be lost? Fine, I don't fear intermarriage and assimilation. I welcome it. I think its good in the long run because if all young people who hate Foxman and Hoenlein and Mort Klein end up intermarrying and assimilating, here's what's going to happen. The children and grandchildren of these anti-Zionist alienated Jews will likely end up Christian, and no one loves Israel like American Christians. The tens of millions of American Christian Zionists are the real engine behind America's support for Israel. Beinart threatens? I honor his threat.

Tolerance and pluralism are fine, but if that tolerance and pluralism can't extend from the left to the crisis at hand for the Kotel and the Machpela and  Rachel's Tomb, well, then there's not too much tolerance for Judaism's holiest places, is there? Or has the Kotel and Rachel's Tomb become only a right-wing concern? Judging by which organizations are speaking out, it has.

Jewish journalists have scolded the right-wing Jews plenty for their lack of tolerance. When it comes to Rachel's Tomb and the Kotel, the left needs some  scolding, as well.

Don't think that the Kotel can't turn into a mosque. It's a myth that Jews had access to the Wall prior to 1948. As far back as the 1920s, it was illegal according to the British Mandate and the League of Nations for Jews to bring a Torah to the Wall or conduct a recognizable traditional prayer service there. Islam claimed the Wall as a mosque, and the British, not wanting to be called Islamophobes, went along.

Here's a brief item from The New York Times about the close of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem, 1946.

Jerusalem, Oct. 5 -- Seven young Jews were arrested at the Wailing Wall tonight after the Shofar (ram's horn) had been sounded by one of them. They were later released on bail. Sounding the Shofar near the Wailing Wall has been forbidden by police since 1929 when riots flared from Arab resentment at the blowing of the horn so close to to the Mosque el Aksa... British constables who tried to reach the trumpeter were blocked by a solid wall of worshippers and used rifle butts. The shofar was passed to a boy, who ran away.

Check out this video of the criminal shofar blowers at the scene of the crime.

Us Islamophobes fear it can happen again. The Kotel is in "Occupied East Jerusalem," where neither the United States nor the United Nations recognize Israeli sovereignty. And now the Palestinians of the PA -- the moderates, don't you know, like Ground Zero Rauf -- say our Wall is Al-Buraq Wall, the western wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

It is the season not only for lighting candles but -- as in the original Chanukah -- resistance. Our holy places are in the beginning of siege.

The sky and world darken. It is midnight at Rachel's Tomb. The clock strikes 13. Are you in or out?

 
 

Comments

I'm in
I'm Christian and I'm in. An attack on Judaism is an attack on Christianity. The Muslims are asserting that there were no Jews and there was no Israel; that means there was no Jesus and no Jewish sect called Christians. Without Judaism, there is no Christianity cuz Christianity only makes sense in the context of Judaism, which is the foundation on which it properly rests. Therefore, the Muslims are going for a two-fer here. If Israel cedes any more of its holy places to the Muslims who came along only 600 or so years after Christ, then Israel will deserve what's happening. These places are important because of what they symbolize: Israel's sovereignty and enduring historical presence in the land.
Jonathan Mark is outraged that no one on the left is objecting to the UNESCO assertion that the Tomb of Rachel is a mosque, but he never addresses the underlying issue: is that assertion actually untrue? In point of fact, it was indeed a mosque up to the point when Israel took it over in 1967. In 2001, the mainstream Israeli daily Jerusalem Post ran a warm and informative feature on Rachel’s Tomb, “Who weeps for Rachel?” which provided specific details on how “Rachel’s Tomb was clearly changed from a mosque to a synagogue”, e.g. niches used by Moslems for candles were turned into places for prayerbooks and books of Psalms. You can read the piece at http://bit.ly/9BFILy The question, then, is whether it lost its “mosque-ness” when the conversion was done. It's not clear to me why it would. At Machpela, Israel, admirably, established a system allowing both Jews and Moslems to pray there. That 2001 essay also describes how, prior to 1948, Jews and Moslems would pray at Rachel's Tomb at the same time. It's sad that the same shared set-up was not established by Israel at Rachel's Tomb as well.
Great piece Jonathan! Linzer should keep to his seforim as he is a man of great knowledge but not fit for leadership of anything.
This is the best writting article ever in the JewishWeek! No doubt!

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