Monday, July 24, 2017

By Petra Marquardt-Bigman

As is by now widely known, it was Haj Amin al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who first used the vicious libel that Jews were threatening the Al Aqsa mosque to incite murderous violence in the 1920s. Husseini is now notorious as “Hitler’s Mufti” – and has even been described as “Hitler of the Holy Land” – but his legacy is alive and well: all over the Arab and Muslim world, political and religious leaders as well as the media are eager to invent ever new versions of Husseini’s libel when there are tensions around the place Muslims claim as Islam’s “third holiest” site, while ignoring, if not outright denying, that this is also Judaism’s most holy site.

So it is perhaps not surprising that “progressive” icon Linda Sarsour is happily joining in, sharing her version of the Al-Aqsa libel on Facebook. In recent days, she published two related posts.
On July 21, she wrote in part (full post archived here, original here):

“On this holy Friday, I pray for my Palestinian sisters and brothers, for Al Aqsa, for a free and liberated Palestine. Israeli government continues to collectively punish Palestinians and deny them entrance to Al Aqsa mosque, they are met with tear gas and rubber bullets and they still stand strong - they continue to show resolve and resilience as they pray in the thousands on the streets outside the gates in an act of non-violent resistance. Muslim Palestinians joined by their Christian Palestinian siblings.”

You see: Muslim Palestinians and Christian Palestinians are just wonderful, pious and peaceful; whereas Israel – i.e. the world’s only Jewish state – is a brutal and cruel oppressor. But Linda Sarsour was simply lying, just as Husseini lied back in the 1920s. The Israeli government wasn’t denying Palestinians entrance to the Al Aqsa mosque; instead, Muslim leaders had called on Palestinians not to enter the site in protest against metal detectors that had been installed well away from the mosque, at the entrances to the Temple Mount, after three Arab-Israeli Muslims had used the mosque a week earlier to receive guns from an accomplice for a deadly terror attack targeting  Israeli police officers. Sarsour’s false claim that the “Israeli government continues to collectively punish Palestinians” was the only hint that might be construed as referring to this murderous terror attack – which Sarsour didn’t find worthwhile mentioning, let alone condemning.

Given that Sarsour never tires of emphasizing her religiosity, it is also noteworthy that she has apparently no problem with terrorists using the Al Aqsa mosque to get weapons; indeed, her enthusiastic support for the protests against the newly installed metal detectors and her failure to condemn the terror attack arguably amount to an implicit endorsement.

This is especially true since Sarsour followed up her first post with another that merely repeated what she had already said, but was posted a day after a Palestinian terrorist had slaughtered three members of a family at their home. Again, Sarsour pointedly ignored the horrific massacre (and of course the fact that Palestinians were proudly celebrating it); and as in her previous post, she also preferred to ignore the fact that the protests were not all as peaceful as she claimed, but escalated into violent riots.

Yet, Sarsour posted an image of Palestinians kneeling in prayer in a street, and wrote (archived):

 “This is resilience. This is perseverance. This is faith. This is commitment. This is inspiration. This is Palestine. Denied access to pray at Al Aqsa Mosque in their own homeland, Palestinians pray on the streets in an act of non-violent resistance. They are met with tear gas and rubber bullets. But you still can’t keep them from God. While the world powers continue to turn a blind eye to the blatant injustice against and the suffering of the Palestinian people, they remain steadfast and teach us life, determination and patience. Palestine will be free, it’s not a question of if, its when. Long live Palestine!”

Interestingly, one of her followers challenged her about her lie that the Palestinians were denied access to the Al Aqsa mosque, asking where this had been reported and pointing out that a link she provided in response did not support her claim. Sarsour was clearly upset and replied:

“it sounds like you are justifying the current situation. The point is that the Palestinian people are engaging in mass non-violent civil disobedience to bring awareness to the longstanding brutal military occupation and the increased control over Jerusalem which is still international terrain. Israeli govt continues to violate the human rights of Palestinians and denies them religious freedom.”

But as Sarsour knows full well, the only people being denied religious freedom in Jerusalem are Christians and Jews who want to visit the Temple Mount: due to the rules set by the Muslim authorities that Israel left in charge of the Temple Mount plaza in 1967, non-Muslims can visit only at severely restricted hours and are strictly forbidden from praying and performing any religious ritual.
Interestingly enough, this time around, Sarsour’s lies and her studied silence about Palestinian violence and terror attacks were widely noted. Even Ha’aretz found it newsworthy and published an article under the title “Linda Sarsour Praises Non-violent Palestinian Resistance, Fails to Mention West Bank Attack” – which could be read as: Linda Sarsour is a hypocrite and liar who tries hard to whitewash Palestinian violence and terrorism.

But the man now known as “Hitler’s Mufti” would surely applaud her: on Facebook, she has more than 184K followers – which means that her posts praising Palestinian “resistance” reach a fairly wide audience. And the way she tries to whitewash Palestinian terrorism reminds me of what the mufti said in an interview in September 1929, shortly after he had incited the notorious Hebron massacre and the subsequent Arab violence, which left 133 Jews dead:

“When politely told that world opinion is holding him personally responsible and partially guilty for the savagery and unspeakable assaults, the Mufti smiled and with a sweeping gesture, showing delicate manicured hands, he declared: ‘My hands are clean, I declare before God. Moreover, it is untrue that the world is siding with the Jews. Telegrams are pouring in from all parts of the world expressing sympathy and offering to help the Palestine Arabs. We have telegrams from Moscow, also the Paris and Berlin branches of the Anti-Imperialist League. We are further assured of the solidarity of the entire Moslem world and have actually offers of armies to help us if necessary. Help is unnecessary. We will win through an economic boycott.’”

As it happens, Linda Sarsour is of course also for an economic boycott.

And as it happens, in 1929, many Jewish homes in Hebron looked pretty much like the home of the family who was attacked by a Palestinian terrorist last Friday evening.

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