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Leo Rennert Writes to the Washington Post
Leo Rennert is a journalist and indefatigable letter-to-the-editor writer:
Dear Mr. Brauchli:
In its Nov. 17 edition, the Washington Post features an article by Jerusalem correspondent Howard Schneider about sporadic tensions and clashes on Temple Mount. But instead of laying out all the facts, Schneider's piece distorts and even censors the real history of Temple Mount - past and present -- in an absurd effort to draw an equivalence between supposed Jewish threats to Muslim shrines and actual Muslim threats to Judaism's most sacred site. ("To two faiths, a holy patch of land; to the world a powder keg -- Even when quiet, site is a flash point" page A 20.)
Here's how Schneider depicts concerns by both sides about access to and security on Temple Mount -- delusional Muslim scenarios about fanatical Jews threatening to bomb the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, juxtaposed with "Muslim denial of Jewish history in the area."
But the score is not as even as Schneider would have Post readers believe. To bolster denial that this is the site where both Jewish biblical temples stood the Muslim Wafq, which administers the plateau, has systematically destroyed anticent artifacts and relics dating back to the Second Temple. Schneider mentions neither the Second Temple, which stood for half a millennium until the Romand conquest in the year 70, nor the Wafq's systematic removal and disposal of antiquities in garbage heaps where Israeli archeologists have found important traces of Jewish presence. This blatant desecration has been a sad reality for a number of years and is in no way comparable to imagined threats from fanatical Jews, especially when one considers Israel's record of taking extra precautions to keep Al-Aqsa safe for tens of thousands of regular Muslim worshippers since it captured Temple Mount in 1967
Which brings me to another egregious example of historical amnesia in Schneider's piece. Schneider quotes Abdul Fattah Salah, Jordan's minister of religious affairs, which considers itself the Muslim guardian of Al-Aqsa, as asserting that only under Palestinian rule will Muslims from around the world be able to pray on Temple Mount.
Really!? Schneider somehow fails to notice the utter chutzpah of such a statement emanating from -- of all people -- a minister of an Arab nation that ruled over Jerusalem's Old City, including Temple Mount, from 1948 and 1967, when it desecrated and destroyed centuries-old synagogues near Temple Mount, using one Jewish prayer house as a stable for horses of a Jordanian cavalary unit, banned Jews from praying at Temple Mount's Western Wall, and used burial markers and stones from the most sacred Jewish cemetery to pave roads on the adjacent Mount of Olives.
That's real history that Schneider hides from Post readers. Real history that demolishes his attempts at painting equivalent threats by both sides. Real history, which shows the lengths to which Israel's Arab neighbors have gone to erase age-old Jewish ties to Temple Mount and its surroundings right down to the present, when Palestinian youths, inflamed by a massive incitement campaign under the aegis of the Palestinian Authority, periodically use Al-Aqsa and Temple Mount as a staging ground to pelt Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall with a barrage of stones.
Political correctness? Anti-Israel bias? Whatever impels Schneider and the Washington Post from erasing this history mocks basic standards of fair, objective journalism, which is supposed to let it all hang out there.