Dear elected official,
I know that you have been following matters in the Middle East and likely have access to materials and insiders that many do not. You may have concluded that while the Arab-Israeli Conflict is complicated, the thorniest issue is Jerusalem, and in that tinderbox the most sensitive is the al Aqsa Mosque / Jewish Temple Mount.
I reach that assessment based on your support of a position that the ban of Jews praying on the holy site should continue, a position known as the “status quo.”
It is likely based on comments from the leader of the Palestinian Authority who said that Israel is “playing with fire” if it allows Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, something he called allowing “settlers to desecrate holy sites.”
The leader of Hamas made similar comments, that there would be a “bloodbath” if Israel makes changes to the rights of Jews. He warned that “the action of the occupation targeting the Islamic and the Christian Holy sites in Jerusalem and Palestine, and specifically the Al Aqsa Mosque, brings about the angry Palestinian reaction.”
To avoid such bloodshed, you possibly decided to overlook the basic human rights of Jews to pray at their holiest site.
You may have convinced yourself that the only Jewish visitors who want to pray at the site are right-wing extremist “illegal settlers”, to further rationalize your position.
So let me ask you, do only Christian fanatics visit and pray at the Vatican?
Do you understand that Judaism is a particular religion, with no desire to convert or dominate anyone? That while Christians and Muslims fought crusades for over one hundred years over the holy land, and expelled the others, and converted their mosques to churches and churches to mosques, Israel did no such thing when it took control of the Temple Mount in 1967? Instead, it handed administrative control of the site to the Jordanian Waqf.
Judaism’s particularism protects al Aqsa.
Jerusalem’s Arabs who have been living under Israeli administration for decades have slowly internalized that Israel has no plans on the al Aqsa Mosque. In a December 2022 poll of Jerusalem’s Arabs, they showed that they have a greater fear of accessing the holy site if eastern Jerusalem was under Palestinian sovereignty (63%) than Israeli (41%).
This year is the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Article 18 states “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” Article 2 underscores the point that this relates to religious rights in disputed land: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”
This clearly includes the rights for Jews from around the world to pray at their holiest site of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
In 1776, Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.”
So it is with the status quo ban on Jews. It is morally wrong and a disgrace, and the world has blindly let it continue.
I ask that you stop facilitating the trampling of the fundamental human rights of Jews and vote to reverse the anti-Semitic “status quo” edict, and condemn the incendiary remarks and false accusations which block Jews from praying peacefully at their holiest site in their holiest city in the holy land.
Readers of First One Through
Contact details, click to email:
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-DE)
Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-CT)
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Sen. Cory A. Booker (D-NJ)
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Sen. James Risch (R-ID)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)
Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-NE)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Sen. Todd Young (R-IN)
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN)
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
House Foreign Affairs Committee
Pros And Cons Of Muslims Considering Jewish Holy Sites As Sacred Also
Active and Reactive Provocations: Charlie Hebdo and the Temple Mount
The UN’s Disinterest in Jewish Rights at Jewish Holy Places
Republican and Democratic Politicians Discuss Israel’s Latest Fight
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