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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The "scholarship" of Al Quds University

Al Quds University has on its website, in English, a "history" of Jerusalem aimed at erasing Jews. Quotes (after a section that claims that Biblical history is filled with lies):
The key to clarifying the history of Jerusalem and Palestine lies in distinguishing between literary tradition and recorded history, between imagined memory and material evidence. It is equally important that an effort be made to establish a history based on people and their continuity rather than a history based on which political power or religious ideology was present in the land and then left it.

Palestine was conquered in times past by ancient Egyptians, Hittites, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Muslim Arabs, Mamlukes, Ottomans, the British, the Zionists. [Note who is missing - EoZ].These are recorded conquests (not literary legends), whose facts and remains are documented. Meanwhile, another development was the evolution of monotheistic faiths that followed the "pagan" religions. It is crucial to keep these two developments as distinct as possible, for the sake of not confusing issues and identities. The people of Palestine may have become more mixed with each consecutive conquest, or may have changed religions, but essentially (especially in villages) the population remained constant-and is now still Palestinian, though many villagers were tragically dislocated in the 1948 Nakba.

The "temple" issue dominates the politics about Jerusalem today. An assumption is made that the present Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa compound is the same location of the "Temple Mount" or "Mount Moriah." But as Ernest L. Martin has demonstrated (working strictly within biblical scholarship), the Al-Aqsa compound cannot possibly be in the same place as the first or second temple. [Martin was a meteorologist and member of a religious cult that got some traction on this theory a couple of decades ago. - EoZ.]Further, what is called the "first temple," associated with the legendary Solomon, was in fact a pre-monotheistic place where many gods were worshipped. As scholars like Herbert Niehr document, the "first temple" was dominated by Syro-Phoenician traits and appealed to pagan worshippers living in the area. Various "pagan" sites existed until after Constantine converted to Christianity in the early 4th century. At that time, Constantine's mother Helena determined many biblical sites, most coinciding with pagan temple locations.

The Wailing or "Western" Wall is a focus of Jewish veneration. It is a site associated with a past memory, as Moshe Dayan once noted. The Wailing Wall is assumed to be what remains of Herod's Temple. But that Herod was a Jew is debated by some and rejected by others (he came from tribes east of the Jordan and had a Hellenistic cultural background). Judaism was different from how some see it today; like Christianity and Islam, it should not be confused with "ethnicity."

Further, the Wailing or "Western" Wall is a most likely candidate for being the wall of a fortress built for Roman legions (as Ernest Martin reports, citing other scholarship). Even if we assume that Herod built a "second temple," the building was reportedly destroyed in the 1st century AD. The Romans, then the Byzantine Christians, had prevented people of the Jewish faith from living in the city for hundreds of years. At other times, the two then-contending religious groups had exchanged expulsions and massacres, particularly before and during the Persian invasion of 614 AD. The hundreds of skulls at the Monastery of Mar Saba are said to be evidence of those massacres. One wonders then, under such circumstances, how the traces of any temple in Jerusalem could possibly have been preserved.

The Dome of the Rock is a focus of veneration for hundreds of millions of Muslim worshippers. It is also a visible and impressive work of architecture, around which much lore has developed. It was built in times of recorded history, on previously unoccupied ground, though the spot probably had ancient associations impossible to trace today.
This is only another small example of how Palestinian Arabs like to erase the eternal Jewish connection to the Land of Israel from history, often relying on outright lies as well as discredited "scholarship."

Of course, Al-Quds University is not only interested in erasing Jews from history; it is also supportive of terror attacks against them today. For example, it designated a week in honor of the Hamas innovator of suicide terrorism, Yahya Ayyash, "the engineer." Hamas and Fatah regularly schedule commemorations for terrorists there.

And an official university calendar included this graphic on every page, symbolizing the destruction of Israel by the Islamic sword.

Nevertheless, the US government seems to consider Al Quds University as a distinguished place. The US Consulate in Jerusalem often has programs in conjunction with Al-Quds, and is instrumental in fostering ties between US colleges and Al Quds. USAID has given Al-Quds millions of dollars.

But as far as I can find, only one US senator ever visited Al-Quds University:
Date: 15 / 01 / 2006 Time: 11:20
Ma'an Ramallah – US Democratic Senator Barak Obama, accompanied by US Consul Jacob Walles, visited the American Studies Center at Al Quds University in Abu Dis on Saturday.

The two officials were received by the head of the Center, Professor Mohammad Ad Dajiani, along with other University faculty and students.

Obama expressed his happiness at the visit and admired the academic services provided by the Center. He stressed the importance of such programs in order to create mutual understanding between the American and Palestinian people.

Professor Dajiani welcomed Obama and thanked him for accepting the University's invitation. He spoke about the importance of visits by US officials in order to develop the Masters program offered by the center.

Obama delivered a lecture on US policy and politics. Following the presentation, there was a brief debate and discussion.