Obstruction Of Free Exercise Of Religious Beliefs

The court trial of the man who killed eleven people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA began on May 30, 2023. The murderer, Robert Bowers, faces a total of 63 federal crimes which include:

  • 11 counts of obstruction of free religious exercise resulting in death;
  • 11 counts of hate crimes resulting in death;
  • Two counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury;
  • Two counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill;
  • Eight counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon, and resulting in bodily injury to public safety officers;
  • Four counts of obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs involving use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury to public safety officers;
  • 25 counts of discharging a firearm during those crimes

The case is not being built solely on the fact that Bowers killed eleven innocent people and threatened to kill others, but with the added emphasis on the “obstruction of free religious exercise” and of “hate crimes.”

The United States has a law which lays out the protection afforded to people and property associated with religious worship. 18 U.S. Code 247 is called “Damage to religious property; obstruction of persons in the free exercise of religious beliefs,” and lays out the principle of religious protection. Section (a)(2) refers to circumstances in which a person “intentionally obstructs, by force or threat of force, including by threat of force against religious real property, any person in the enjoyment of that person’s free exercise of religious beliefs, or attempts to do so.”

This US law has commonalities in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Articles 2 and 18 of the UDHR entitle everyone “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.”

Despite embracing the basic human rights to the free exercise of religious belief, the United States continues to support the “status quo” demanded by the Jordanian Islamic Waqf to prohibit Jews from praying at Judaism’s holiest site on the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

While Israel enabled over one million Muslims onto the Jewish Temple Mount during Ramadan, not a single Jew is afforded this basic human right. To add insult to injury, rather than denounce the heinous antisemitic law, the United Nations and United States decry the Jewish protestors as “extremists” inverting the right and the wronged.

Related articles:

Biden Doesn’t Believe In His Own Religious Freedom Declaration

The Inalienable Right of Jews to Pray on The Temple Mount

Ending Apartheid in Jerusalem


Tolerance at the Temple Mount

The Al Aqsa Mosque Is Not So Holy For Muslims

We often hear that the al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is the third holiest site for Muslims, behind Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. What remains unspoken is that the gap between numbers one and two to the distant number three is the size of the Grand Canyon.

Mecca is THE holy city of Muslims. It is there where Muslims perform the hajj, their pilgrimage to the Kaaba stone. During the week of the hajj, over 2 million people come to the city, of which roughly two-thirds are from outside Saudi Arabia.

During the hajj, many Muslims also visit Medina, where Muhammed is buried, about 280 miles away. Visitors come from Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia and Egypt, among other Muslim-majority countries.

Mecca and Median draw in the Islamic faithful from around the world. The religious sites make the desert country the most popular destination in the Arab world.

The same cannot be said for Muslim visitors to Jerusalem, which only draws local Arabs.

In 2019, before the pandemic dramatically impacted travel, Israel had over 4.5 million tourists visit the country. The two neighboring Arab countries with peace treaties with Israel barely came: Jordan had a mere 19,200 people visit Israel and Egypt had 8,000. Combined, the two countries accounted for 0.6% of tourists to the holy land. Amman, the capital of Jordan is less than a two hour drive from Jerusalem, an easy day trip.

Yet no one comes.

Turkey, which has long had relations with Israel, barely sends any tourists or pilgrims to Israel. The four Muslim majority countries, which recently struck normalization agreements with the Jewish State similarly have almost no visitors.

If al Aqsa is so holy, why don’t any Muslims from around the world come visit?

Some holy sites in the Jerusalem skyline, open to all under Israel

Christians make the pilgrimage to Israel all of the time. Italy alone had nearly 191,000 people come to see the various holy sites. Greece, with a population 1/10th the size of Egypt, had nearly 42,000 visitors to the Jewish State, or more than five times as many as Egypt. While Greece, Turkey and Israel were all once part of the Ottoman Empire, the Muslim interest in Jerusalem is vastly different. While roughly 417 Greeks per 100,000 go to Israel each year, only 37 per 100,000 Turks visit.

Israel allows access for Muslims to ascend the Temple Mount to visit al Aqsa every day, and even bars non-Muslims during Islamic holy days to facilitate Muslim prayers. Over one million Muslims went to Jerusalem during Ramadan in 2023, almost every one a local Arab, many who came repeatedly.

The al Aqsa Mosque is a holy shrine for local religious Muslims, while the entire Temple Mount is the holiest location for world Jewry and central focus of Judaism.

Related articles:

Judaism’s Particularism Protects Al Aqsa

Christians Love the Jewish State

Arabs of Eastern Jerusalem Are Favoring Israel

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

The Arguments over Jerusalem

While Over A Million Muslims Visit Al Aqsa Mosque Over Ramadan, Hamas Claims Palestinians Banned And Calls For Global Jihad

The crowds coming to Jerusalem were enormous during the holy month of Ramadan. Despite ongoing Palestinian terrorism slaughtering many Israeli civilians, Israel facilitated the large Muslim crowds into the Old City of Jerusalem.

Tens of thousands Muslim worshippers pray near the Dome of the Rock at Al-Aqsa mosque compound / Jewish Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem on April 17, 2023, on the night of 27 Ramadan, celebrated as Laylat al-Qadr, one of the holiest nights during Ramadan. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP)

On April 17, some 280,000 people in total entered the Temple Mount compound for prayers during Laylat Al Qadr, also known as the Night of Destiny. Police said that the crowds peaked at 130,000 inside the compound at any one time. Noon prayers the Friday before were estimated to have had 250,000 people.

The Israeli government banned all non-Muslims from visiting the site to make it easier for Muslims to reach the compound. Despite the efforts to accommodate prayer, many leading Palestinians turned what should have been a time of contemplation and appreciation, into caustic calls against the Jewish State.

The former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, said at Friday prayers “There is no room for compromise on Al-Aqsa or space for negotiations around it and we will not give up one iota of its land.”

The political-terrorist group Hamas which rules Gaza and makes up a majority of Palestinian parliament issued a statement calling “on international rights and legal groups to condemn and expose Israeli crimes against occupied Jerusalem and its Palestinian population. The Israeli occupation continues to target Palestinian Jerusalemites, by detaining them, banning them from accessing the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City, and imposing hefty fines on them, in a bid to force them from the holy city.” The statement further “called on all Palestinians and the Arab and Muslim world to provide the Palestinian population of occupied Jerusalem with all forms of financial and popular support to confront the Israeli occupation and its policies against them.”

Both Israel and Palestinians prove repeatedly that the Jewish State is the only honest and safe caretaker of the holy sites in the holy land.

Related articles:

Judaism’s Particularism Protects Al Aqsa

Palestinian Authority Continues To Incite Violence Against Jews On Temple Mount

Arabs of Eastern Jerusalem Are Favoring Israel

The U.N. Openly Declares Opposition To Jews in Jerusalem

“Palestinians and Israelis Alike are Experiencing Growing Insecurity, Growing Fear in Their Places of Worship”

Jews In Jerusalem Still Fighting For ‘Social Justice’

Enduring Peace Requires Unity AND Tolerance

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

Palestinian Authority Continues To Incite Violence Against Jews On Temple Mount

Nothing so inflames the passions of Muslims around the world as hearing that Jews are threatening the al Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem.

So the Palestinian Authority yells lies to incite people to jihad against Jews quietly visiting Judaism’s holiest location.

On May 4, 2023, just as it has done many times, Wafa, the official news agency of the PA posted the headline “Israeli settlers break into Jerusalem’s Aqsa mosque.” The inflammatory rhetoric and article had nothing to do with facts. The article said:

“Dozens of fanatic Israeli settlers Thursday morning broke into the compounds of al-Aqsa Mosque under heavy protection from the Israeli police.

“The Waqf said that settlers, divded into groups, raided the holy Islamic Mosque from al-Maghariba gate and took provocative tours in its compounds.

“It added that the extremist settlers performed Talmudic rituals in the eastern part of the Mosque.

This comes at a time as Israeli forces intensify measures against Palestinians coming from Jerusalem to enter the Mosque, inspecting their IDs and briefly detaining them.”

Jews quietly visiting the Temple Mount, which the PA called a “raid” of the al Aqsa Mosque

That the PA would label a few dozen Jews visiting during regular visiting hours – some with their sons for their bar mitzvahs – as an “extremist” and “provocative” “raid” and “break in” of the mosque (which they never entered) demonstrates the importance of having a police escort.

The Palestinian Authority repeatedly shows the world that it can never have control of Jerusalem, as it fosters extremism and violence and rejects peaceful coexistence.

Related articles:

Open Letter To Politicians On Al Aqsa Mosque

Judaism’s Particularism Protects Al Aqsa

“Palestinians and Israelis Alike are Experiencing Growing Insecurity, Growing Fear in Their Places of Worship”

On Defenses: Provocative and Legal / Unprovocative and Illegal

Time for Jordan To Live Up To Its Peace Treaty With Israel And Support Jewish Prayer On The Temple Mount

“Settlers” Now Means Jews Stepping Over The Green Line

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

Open Letter To Politicians On Al Aqsa Mosque

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 statesEveryone 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

Related articles:

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


Tolerance at the Temple Mount

Republican and Democratic Politicians Discuss Israel’s Latest Fight

Coexistence Runs Through UAE, Anti-Semitism Through UN

The Abraham Accords struck between Israel and several Arab Muslim countries including the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco in 2020, have continued to advance the cause of peaceful coexistence.

On February 20, 2023, the U.A.E. invited many Jewish guests to be part of the opening ceremony of the first new synagogue in a Muslim country in generations. The Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue is part of the multi-faith Abrahamic Family House complex in Abu Dhabi which also includes a mosque and a church. The three places of worship sit beside one another in an effort to show harmony between the different faiths.

Beyond the proximity of each house of worship, the architects took care in designing each building: the mosque faces the Islamic holy city of Mecca, the church faces east towards the rising sun, and the synagogue faces Jerusalem, Judaism’s holist city.

Abrahamic Family Complex in Abu Dhabi, UAE

On that same February day, the United Nations took the polar opposite approach towards religious coexistence as the U.N. Security Council issued a statement condemning Jews and Judaism.

The official statement was a litany of complaints on the presence of Jews in their holy land. It expressed “strong opposition” to Jews building homes east of the 1949 Armistice Lines (E49AL). It condemned Israel’s killing Islamic terrorists planning attacks on Jewish civilians. It demanded that Jews continue to be forbidden from praying at the holiest site on the Jewish Temple Mount. And it urged that Jews and Christians take a backseat to Muslims when the holidays of Ramadan, Easter and Passover overlap this year, prioritizing Muslim access to Jerusalem over believers of the other faiths.

Remarkably, the “most right-wing government in Israeli history” as portrayed in the media, acquiesced to the anti-Semitic proposals. The Israeli government said that it would keep the “status quo” of banning Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and would ban Jews from the site during the last ten days of Ramdan. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also reportedly told the United States that it won’t authorize new Jewish towns in E49AL for the next few months and will limit incursions into Palestinian Authority towns to arrest terrorists.

While the United Arab Emirates works for religious coexistence, the United Nations works to foment religious animosity and segregation. If there’s a future for peace and coexistence in the region, it will run through the U.A.E. and not the U.N..

Related articles:

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

The UN’s Disinterest in Jewish Rights at Jewish Holy Places

The Arab Spring Blooms in the UAE

“Palestinians and Israelis Alike are Experiencing Growing Insecurity, Growing Fear in Their Places of Worship”

The Inalienable Right of Jews to Pray on The Temple Mount

“Palestinians and Israelis Alike are Experiencing Growing Insecurity, Growing Fear in Their Places of Worship”

Everyone understands that politics is a messy business. One has to pretend that the actors in the dance are more powerful, honest and deserving of respect, especially when being hosted. But that doesn’t make the theater attractive, nor does it bring about peace.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the President-for-Life Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, Area A, on January 31, 2023, just days after a series of attacks left many Israeli civilians and Palestinian terrorists dead. After a single sentence of welcome, Abbas launched a venomous rant against Israel with accusations of “changing the identity of Jerusalem and violating historical status quo, and the violation of sanctity of Al Aqsa Mosque.” He added that “our people will not accept the continuation of the occupation forever, and the regional security will not be strengthened by violating the sanctity of the holy sites.”

Blinken then responded.

After acknowledging the host and expressing condolences for Palestinian CIVILIANS who have been killed, he offered: “Palestinians and Israelis alike are experiencing growing insecurity, growing fear in their homes, in their communities, in their places of worship.”

Seven Jews had just been slaughtered outside of their synagogue the week before by a Palestinian gunman. The following day, a Palestinian youth shot a Jewish father and son walking to services on the Sabbath.

Jews fear for their physical well-being and safety as they pray amidst Arabs who want to ban them from their holiest city, and are killing Jews to drive them out of Jerusalem.

Among Palestinians, the “fear” is having Jews live in Jerusalem, visit their holiest site on the Temple Mount and pray there openly.

How are these two things remotely equivalent? How did the United States make such an outrageous smear, and endorse the Palestinian Arab narrative that Jews should be banned from praying at their holiest site with opposing “disruptions to the historic status quo of the holy sites”?

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken visited the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (photo: Majdi Mohammed, New York Times)

Blinken said that the United States will “work toward the goal of Palestinians and Israelis enjoying equal measures of democracy, of opportunity, of dignity in their lives.” But there is no dignity for Jews without achieving the basic human right to pray at their holiest location. There is no equal measure of democracy when Palestinians demand a country free of any Jews.

Jews are scared for their lives when they go to pray, while Arabs are outraged by the physical presence of Jews. That’s not an equivalence of a “growing fear in their places of worship,” but the basic feature of jihadi anti-Semitic dementia. The U.S. State Department excusing and endorsing such Palestinian racist worldview will not resolve the tension in the region.

Related articles:

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Dignity for Israel: Jewish Prayer on the Temple Mount

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

Biden Doesn’t Believe In His Own Religious Freedom Declaration

There is no more inconsequential act by a president than declaring a particular day as devoted to a cause. The economy, national defense and well-beings of individuals are not furthered by the action. It’s a bit of light theater, like pardoning a turkey on Thanksgiving.

So one shouldn’t bother spending time reviewing such inanity. Except in this case, it symbolizes how President Biden believes his theater of goodwill while he undermines true freedoms.

On January 14, Biden proclaimed Religious Freedom Day. He correctly pointed out that in the early days of the country’s history, many people came seeking “religious liberty, risking everything to flee oppression, persecution, and discrimination because of their beliefs.” Because of those American roots and the belief in a new kind of democracy, “Our Founders enshrined the principle of religious freedom in the First Amendment to our Constitution, establishing it as a cornerstone of who we are as a Nation.  Today, America remains a religiously diverse Nation — a land uniquely strengthened by the routine and extraordinary commingling of faiths and belief systems.”

But Biden completely skipped over the very first clause in the First Amendment of the Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” It is not only that every person can freely exercise their faith in the United States, but that the country has no official religion as well.

So when Biden signed off his proclamation that “I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth,” he enshrined his Catholic faith into a presidential declaration. That was completely inappropriate.

Further, Biden attested that his administration was working on behalf of religious freedom around the world. “My Administration remains steadfast in our efforts to lead and advance human rights including the freedom of religion around the globe at a time when many people are subject to horrifying persecution for their faith and beliefs…. We can only fully realize the freedom we wish for ourselves by helping to ensure liberty for all.”

Yet the Biden Administration has backed the anti-Semitic call of the Muslim world to ban Jews from praying at their holiest site on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

How does Biden believe he helps ensure freedom and liberty for all faiths around the world, when he denies Jews their basic human right in their holy land? In the United States, how are non-Christian faiths to feel welcomed when its president ignores the very first clause of the first sentence of the Bill of Rights?

The United States criticized a Jewish lawmaker visiting Judaism’s holiest site during regular visiting hours

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The New York Times Lies About Ben-Gvir And Muslim Arabs Regarding Temple Mount Visit

Isabel Kershner deposited an article in the international section of The New York Times on January 4, 2023 about an Israeli member of Knesset visiting the Jewish Temple Mount. It should have been posted in the opinion pages.

The article led off with a comment lifted from the Muslim Arab world that Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to the holy site was “provocative.” Kershner used the term three times (highlighted in red boxes above). The visit was nothing of the sort. The Temple Mount has standard visiting hours as it did when Ben-Gvir visited on Tuesday.

That was unmentioned in the article. Instead the article was replete with characterizations of Israel as full of “right-wing” and “hard-line” extremists unfairly punishing Palestinian Arabs, rather than Israelis trying to live a normal life with genocidal anti-Semitic neighbors.

After Kershner said that Ben Gvir was provocative, she added this:

The visit under heavy guard to the site – a frequent flash point in the Old City of Jerusalem where past Israeli actions have set off broader conflagration – was the first by such high level official in years and passed without incident. But coming two days after Mr. Ben-Gvir took office, it was an early indicator of the difficulties Israel’s new government , its most right-wing and religiously conservative yet, will face in the domestic and global arenas.

This is a complete inversion of victim and aggressor. A visit by a prominent Israeli Jew to the holiest site in Judaism during regular visiting hours was not the trigger for violence, any more than a woman who rejected an unwanted incel’s advance deserves to be attacked. Adding the clause that Israel’s government is politically and religiously right-wing while saying nothing about the Islamic terrorist groups further paints Israelis as instigators of violence.

The picture accompanying the article showed many “Israeli security personnel” surrounding the visitors, but the article failed to report that Jewish visitors are frequently assaulted during their visits by radical Islamists. The security personnel were not just “near visitors” but there to guard Jews from marauding jihadists.

Kershner’s article continued in the same noxious vein. She wrote that Israelis had “a nationalist and religious agenda,” and held “hard line policies,” and Ben-Gvir “support[ed] a terrorist group.” She failed to mention that Hamas is a recognized terrorist group by the United States which seeks the destruction of Israel. She did not write about the Palestinian Authority’s “pay-to-slay” terror-incentive program. She ignored Palestinian polls which show half of all Palestinians supporting the murder of Israeli Jews in their homes, and ADL polls which shows that almost every Palestinian is an anti-Semite.

Quite the opposite. Her opinion piece masked as reporting said that Israelis are “hard liners” and Arabs are peaceful victims.

Kershner claimed that former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ignited the “second Palestinian intifada”, when it was actually deliberately launched by Yasser Arafat in the collapse of the Oslo Accords in which he led the slaughter of over 1,000 Israeli civilians in hundreds of terrorist attacks (also unmentioned). She said that Israel’s new government had an “uncompromising approach to the Palestinians,” as if terrorism and threats to murder deserve a compromise.

Perhaps only kill Jewish males and leave the females alive, like the Egyptians in the bible?

To underscore Kershner’s fake narrative on the peaceful ways of Muslim Arabs regarding the Jewish Temple Mount, she added this bit of malarkey:

the [Temple Mount] compound was conquered by Israel during the Arab-Israeli War of 1967. Under an uneasy arrangement that has prevailed for decades under Jordanian custodianship, Jews are permitted to visit, as are non-Muslim tourists, but they are not supposed to pray there.”

This fantasy narrative for the ignorant has Israel forcefully seizing the Temple Mount and the Jordanians giving Jews and other non-Muslims the right to visit.

The Times is lying to its readership and inverting history.

The reality is the Jordan attacked Israel in 1948, ethnically cleansed all Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem, destroyed the synagogues and illegally annexed the Temple Mount compound, the Old City of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. During the eighteen years 1949-1967 while Jordan illegally held the Temple Mount, it barred Jews from even visiting the western wall/ Kotel, let alone the Temple Mount. Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967 and Israel took the Old City in a defensive battle. The Jewish State granted Jordan administrative rights on the Temple Mount while it provided security.

In short, it is Israel – not Arabs – which has tried to create a system of coexistence in the holy city and holy places, exactly the opposite of NYT reporting.

It is seemingly insufficient that Jews must fight to survive among genocidal jihadists in the Middle East and anti-Semites in the diaspora. Mainstream media is working to ensure that Jews will be hamstrung in public opinion, as the anti-Zionists attempt to sever the ties of the Jewish State’s critical backer, the United States, and leave Israel isolated among those hell-bent on its destruction.

Related articles:

The New York Times Refuses To State Judaism’s Holiest Site

Will The New York Times Write About Terrorism From Israelis’ Point Of View?

The New York Times Is Morphing Into The Notorious Dearborn Independent

New York Times Mum on Muslim Anti-Semitism

New York Times Buries Stories of Slaughtered Jews in Temple Mount Account

New York Times Recharacterizes Hamas as a Right-Wing Terrorist Group

For The New York Times, “From the River to the Sea” Is The Chant of Jewish and Christian Zealots

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On Defenses: Provocative and Legal / Unprovocative and Illegal

Each society makes rules to govern its citizenry. It considers the tastes and preferences of its inhabitants and tries to balance enabling human rights and the maintaining of public order. Some countries opt to ban certain activities if they might lead to violence, while others believe that human expression cannot be stifled because of the reactions that might ensue.

The world has seen this play out in the recent past, with an interesting wave of defenses and condemnations.

Charlie Hebdo Drawings of Mohammed

France is a deeply secular society that prizes its freedoms, including freedom of the press. It was perfectly legal for a French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, to draw pictures of the Islamic prophet even though it was highly provocative and upsetting to devout Muslims. Indeed, several Islamic radicals shot up the magazine’s headquarters, killing many of its writers. As part of the jihadists’ derangement, they followed up on that violent vengeance with a visit to a local kosher store to slaughter Jews who had nothing to do with the cartoons.

The western world rallied to the defense of France, with global leaders marching arm-in-arm in defense of freedom of expression and against reactive violence. The provocative nature of the drawings was dismissed as irrelevant.

World leaders march in support of France and freedom of expression in January 2015 (Photograph: AFP)

Gay Pride Parade and Israeli Pride Marches in Jerusalem

The city of Jerusalem is both holy and contentious. It is the holiest city for Jews, the third holiest city for Muslims, and holy for Christians who don’t rank cities as commonly as Jews and Muslims.

It is also a politically sensitive city. Recommended to be an international city (along with Bethlehem) by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, it became divided between Israel and Jordan in the 1948-9 Arab-Israeli War. After Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967, the reunited city became completely Israeli, even while much of the world still considers it to be international or under negotiations for a final settlement.

The holiness of the city makes the annual gay pride parade offensive to many religious Jews, Muslims and Christians. While legal, the provocative nature of holding the event in Jerusalem has sparked violence, such as occurred in July 2015 when a Jewish man just released from a mental hospital, stabbed six people, killing one. The public condemned the violence and defended the right to parade.

For their part, proud Jewish nationalists flew Israeli flags through Jerusalem, including in predominantly Arab sections of eastern Jerusalem, to mark the reunification of the city. When Palestinian groups claimed the parade was “provocative” and threatened violence, the United States asked Israel to reroute the march away from Arab areas, an action it did not take for the gay parade.

Both legal marches went on as planned, with left-wing groups labeling the nationalist march as provocative, and right-wing groups stating the same about the gay parade.

Israeli Jews on the Temple Mount

In sharp contrast to the legal actions above which are defended, the fundamental human right to pray at a holy site is deemed illegal and condemned. At least, only for Jews in Jerusalem.

The central point of prayer and holiest place on earth for Jews is the Jewish Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. Jews around the world pray facing it, and many around the world make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year, as commanded in the Jewish Bible.

It has historic significance as the place where two Jewish Temples stood, and deep relevance today, especially to Orthodox Jews.

Jews have a basic human right to pray at their holiest location, as detailed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Even more, they have an accepted right to visit the Jewish Temple Mount according to rules laid out by the Islamic Waqf which has administrative rights on the compound.

But Arab extremists want to have none of it.

  • Wafa, the official Palestinian news site saidIsraeli Jewish supremacist Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Tuesday stormed the compounds of al-Aqsa mosque in the occupied city of Jerusalem under heavy protection from the Israeli forces.
  • The political-terrorist group Hamas’s news site saidBen Gvir’s incursion into the Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyards on Tuesday morning constitutes a grave violation against the Palestinian people and their holy sites.” It condemned and mocked other Jews praying outside of the Temple Mount as “settlers [who] organized provocative dances and performed Talmudic rituals in the Old City and near Al-Aqsa Mosque.
  • Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Sinan Al Majali saidThe storming of the blessed Al Aqsa Mosque by one of the Israeli ministers and violating its sanctity is a provocative, condemned move.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir quietly visited the Temple Mount on the Jewish fast day of the 10th of Tevet, January 3, 2023. (Courtesy Minhelet Har Habayit)

While not directly condemning Ben-Gvir’s visit or mocking Jews who pray in Jerusalem, the US Embassy in Jerusalem said that Ambassador Thomas Nides “has been very clear in conversations with the Israeli government on the issue of preserving the status quo in Jerusalem’s holy sites. Actions that prevent that are unacceptable.”

It is deeply disturbing that Israeli Jews visiting their sacred site is greeted by condemnation by not only radical Islamists, but by the western media and governments. Did those same people argue for the “status quo” of banning gay marriage? Segregation? Why do liberal values melt before jihadi zealots when it comes to the Jews?

Jews visiting and praying on the Temple Mount do so because the site is dear to them, not to antagonize Muslims. The people who condemn Jewish visitation and call it and act of “provocation” are not simply echoing radical Islamist propaganda, but denying Jewish history and Judaism itself, while simultaneously trampling on a basic human right.

Related articles:

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

Active and Reactive Provocations: Charlie Hebdo and the Temple Mount

I’m Offended, You’re Dead

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

The Jewish Israeli Rosa Parks

The US State Department’s Selective Preference of “Status Quos”

Related music video:

Israel Provokes the Palestinians (music by The Clash)