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November 4, 2014 12:27 pm

Haaretz Writer Says Jews Should Not Have Civil Rights

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Temple Mount. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Haaretz’s Nir Hasson is clearly upset that the major argument for giving Jews free access to the Temple Mount is a liberal one:

The success of right-wing activist Yehuda Glick and the Temple Mount movement in recent years stems in part from the change Glick led in the discourse about the Mount. Instead of fiery threats to blow up the mosques and build the Temple, Glick argued the right to worship as a human right. His main point: It is inconceivable for a Jew not to be able to pray at the site most sacred of all to Jews, and that Jews who visit the Temple Mount are considered unwanted guests and are closely scrutinized, prohibited from conduct considered provocative, and first and foremost prohibited from praying.

Glick was wise enough to uncover the absurdity created at the Temple Mount, where people are arrested because they mumbled a prayer, moved to the rhythm of prayer or, perish the thought, knelt at the holy place. Raised awareness of the status quo and Glick’s argument placed no small challenge on the doorstep of spokespeople of the left, who were forced to defend a policy on the Mount that discriminates against people because of their religion – in this case, Jews.

This is terrible! An argument that Jews have rights could undermine everything Haaretz stands for!

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Naturally, it is incumbent for Haaretz readers to know how to counter the argument that Jews have equal rights, and by golly, Hasson will give it his best shot. He enumerates a series of four “talking points” to counter Jewish religious, cultural, civil, and human rights:

But a number of counter-arguments can be made. The first and most common is the danger of changing the status quo. History has repeatedly shown, from 1929 through 1996 and 2000, that the Temple Mount is an incendiary focal point and that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is a unifier of the secular and the religious, the right and the left, in Palestinian, Arab and Muslim politics. While there is demagoguery and incitement in some Palestinian discourse surrounding the Mount, which Muslims worship as the Noble Sanctuary, it does not change the fact that any attempt to alter the status quo will almost certainly lead to bloodshed and a diplomatic debacle with the Muslim countries and the rest of the world.

1929? The murderous 1929 riots started over false Arab rumors fueled by the virulently antisemitic Mufti of Jerusalem that Jews were planning to take over the Temple Mount. By recalling 1929 as a reason to support the status quo,  Hasson is saying that Arab threats and violence trump Jewish human rights. This is a curious position for an avowed defender of human rights.

His other arguments against Jewish rights are even more absurd:

One can claim that framing the Temple Mount as the object of Zionism’s desire is a distortion of Zionism’s values. From Herzl, who preferred Haifa over Jerusalem, to Moshe Dayan, who gave the keys to the Temple Mount to the Waqf, the leaders of Zionism preferred to keep the Temple Mount outside national aspirations.

So because early anti-religious Zionist leaders felt nothing for Jerusalem, Jews who pray daily for the city are irrelevant? How on Earth is this an argument against Jewish rights to an unquestionably Jewish holy spot?

The third argument involves Judaism. Contemporary Judaism is a religion that developed over the past 2,000 years, and is based on the absence of a Temple. This is not an edict of fate that Judaism learned to live with; the absence of a Temple is in many ways the backbone of rabbinic Judaism, which is an entirely different religion than priestly Judaism, from Second Temple times. In his book “The End of Sacrifice,” Guy G. Stroumsa shows how around the first century C.E., the custom of offering animal sacrifices at the altar ended, not only among the Jews but also in the Roman creed and in the new religion, Christianity. A return to this custom would be a cultural and religious step backward 2,000 years – before halakha (Jewish religious law), the rabbis, the Mishna and the Talmud.

This is a straw man argument – an argument against the rebuilding of the Temple today, not an argument against Jewish prayer on the Mount. Hasson is floundering.

The fourth argument, and in my opinion the strongest, is that the Temple Mount must once again be connected to its surroundings. To hear the Israeli debate, one might think the Temple Mount is located in outer space, or at the very least in West Jerusalem, over which no one challenges Israel’s sovereignty. But the Temple Mount is a real place, located between the village of Silwan and the Old City’s Muslim and Jewish quarters. Annexing the Temple Mount and East Jerusalem to the State of Israel is not a fait accompli, as one might suppose listening to the Israeli media. And although there are many who recognize the Jewish relationship to the Temple Mount, there is not one country that recognizes Israel’s right to sovereignty over it.

That is also the case with regard to the vast majority of those who go to visit the Mount and those who live in the neighborhoods nearby. Thus any step to change the status quo on the Temple Mount must, in terms of international law and morality, be part of a dialogue with the Palestinians, that very dialogue that the prime minister has been avoiding for many years.

In other words, “occupation” is the keyword needed to stifle any discussion of human rights for Jews. It is just as ridiculous an argument as any other – Palestinian Arabs would never, ever agree to give Jews any religious rights in what they consider their land.

It is supremely ironic that Hasson is now saying that dialogue must precede any Jewish assertion of universal human rights. Anyone arguing that Palestinian Arab rights must be negotiated before they are granted would be vilified by Hasson’s left wing friends. Sure, they’ll pretend to admit Jews have rights – but Arabs have veto power over those rights.

Which means that to Hasson and the crowd that he is addressing in this piece, Jews really do not have human rights to begin with.

As we’ve seen, Hasson’s  specific arguments have no merit. But the fact that he feels compelled to create arguments against Jewish civil, religious, and human rights is most telling.

This article shows, beyond any doubt, the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Haaretz ultra-left crowd. Their anti-Zionism and (in this case) anti-Semitism are not based on any lofty ideals of international law or human rights or universal principles. When faced with a clear situation of a violation of Jewish human rights, instead of defending those rights they choose to create “talking points” to counter them. Resorting to absurd “talking points” to oppose Jewish human rights shows that for people like Hasson, the rights themselves are meaningless, and invoking “rights” is merely an excuse to arrive at their pre-determined positions. When a person who pretends to advocate human rights is willing to so strenuously argue against them, then that person is really against human rights.

This conflict is indeed about rights, and too many people think that Jews have none.  For hypocritical H’aretz writers like Hasson, human rights are not absolute: the only absolute is the minimization of Jewish national and religious rights. Ultimately, that is the crux of the entire anti-Israel argument – that Arab rights are sacred, and competing Jewish rights are non-existent in comparison.

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