Monday, 7 June 2010

How I changed my mind

 (Gaza Strip, October 2000, photo by: Reuters) 

(photo taken outside Ramalla checkpoint, March 19th, 2010)

Apparently, the picture posted in connection with my previous post needs some explanation. Out of context, it seems purely offensive and doesn't carry the meaning I intended to give it. I apologize for that. But what I meant was that our history books (again, this famous history that is on our side) have omitted an interesting page. 

I have therefore chosen to move the picture to this post to make some parallels a little bit more obvious. I also hope that a few short paragraphs will make it clear how I changed my whole outlook on politics, history and Israel's place in it. 

Despite the suddenly very popular rhetoric equaling modern Israel with Nazis - I actually fell for it myself in my first month there - the truth is actually plain to see for anyone who might be interested to look into it. The problem is, of course, that interest is absent. We seem to be suffering from collective historical amnesia.

Let me give you a few quotes to explain what I mean. For example, this one:

"The Jews have a dangerous aim by which they challenge four hundred million Moslems, and that is their express wish to occupy the holy Islamic institutions including the El Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem under the pretext that this Mosque is the Temple of Solomon. This was openly admitted by a number of political religious and official leaders and their recognized institutions.”

Brings back the sweet memories of those days when the guys in the kitchen were convinced that the Jews were going to blow up the Mosque and blame it on the earthquake - for Tuesday was such a lovely day to build the Third Temple. Actually, this quote is from the speech made by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, in March 1943.

"Shall we go to protect the Mosque and fight the Jews?", a Christian came running downstairs after one of such fiery speeches in March 2010. Or how about this one:

"...uncompromising war against the Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine, which was nothing other than a center, in the form of a state, for the exercise of destructive influence by Jewish interests. Germany was also aware that the assertion that the Jews were carrying out the functions of economic pioneers in Palestine was a lie. The work there was done only by the Arabs, not the Jews" (Minutes of the meeting between German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin Al-Husseini in Berlin on November 28, 1941; as published in Documents on German Foreign Policy 1918-1945, London, 1964).

Already in the 1920s, the Grand Mufti was known for inciting the anti-Jewish riots in Jerusalem by claiming that the Jews were plotting to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque. In 1951, a close relative of the Mufti named Rahman Abdul Rauf el-Qudwa el-Husseini matriculated to the University of Cairo. The student decided to conceal his true identity and enlisted as "Yasser Arafat." The rest is history... Or, how about this, more recent one:

"You have supported the Jews in their idea that Jerusalem is their eternal capital, and agreed to move your embassy there. With your help and under your protection, the Israelis are planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque. Under the protection of your weapons, Sharon entered the Al-Aqsa mosque to pollute it as a preparation to destroy and capture it".

What a relief, this is certainly not addressed to us. We would have never permitted anyone to build an embassy in Jerusalem. Indeed, this is a quote from Osama bin Laden's Letter to the American People from 2002. We have come full circle.

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