Paris, May 10, 2010
Fasten your seat belts! Part 5 will include a first hand report of the Paris press conference of Tayssir Tamimi, Chief Mufti of alQuds. Unless I am mistaken there was no JCaller present to Appeal to the Mufti’s reason or even to listen to his Reasons for demanding... We’ll get to that later. But this visit of the Mufti on the very day when I had planned to tie up the JCall saga, puts a great big green bow on the package. Because, if I’m not mistaken, he is the one who stirred up the faithful who threw the stones at the French tourists on Temple Mount… and then ran to complain that the Jews were defiling Al Aqsa. I think I am the only journalist who caught this huge non sequitur: “Palestinian Muslims pelt French tourists and blame it on the Jews” was published here at NER. It was a flagrant example of Palestinians fabricating an incident to justify attacks on Jews worshipping at the kotel [Western wall] and violence in the old city. Extremists? A lunatic fringe that would peel off and disappear if only Israeli heeded the Call to Reason?
Here’s what happened after Palestinians threw rocks at French tourists:
Saeb Erekat accuses Israel of “deliberately escalating tensions in Jerusalem” by sending police to the mosque compound just when President Obama is striving to bring peace to the region. The Palestinian Authority Information Ministry accuses “Israeli occupation police and extremist settlers of breaking into the courtyard of the mosque, firing tear gas bombs and live bullets” against Palestinian worshipers. The PA demands an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Gaza government spokesman Tahar an Nazou calls the Islamic nation to defend the al Aqsa mosque against aggression. Hamas authorities order the PA and Fatah to break off “useless” talks with the “occupation,” and advise Arab governments to speak out forcefully against Israeli crimes against al Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian people, and stop hoping for an American solution. Islamic Jihad leader Abdallah Chami calls the Palestinian people to unite against Israeli plans to undermine the al Aqsa mosque and “Judaize” al-Quds (= Jerusalem). The residents of al-Quds, he adds, will firmly resist Zionist attempts to attack the mosque. PA President Mahmoud Abbas accuses Israeli authorities of “a crime that calls for an immediate intervention of the international community” and warns that these actions “destroy all efforts to bring peace and establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
I repeat: what sparked these cries of alarm was Palestinians pelting French tourists on the Temple Mount. That was in October 2009. It was the opening salvo of an operation that did finally make it into mainstream media with the announcement of residential construction in Ramat Shlomo, an insult to VP Biden, an outrage to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, an ethical transgression for President Barack Hussein Obama. As a result of Palestinians pelting French tourists on Temple Mount in October, Israel is now threatened with the imposition of a two-state solution if the proximity (meaning “at a distance”) talks now underway do not rapidly yield a Palestinian state. Saeb Erekat has declared: if one single building is built in Jerusalem or the West Bank, the proximity talks will be immediately terminated.
I checked out the Mufti. Yes, he’s the instigator of the staged Temple Mount incident last October. On Friday evening he spoke in Aulnay sous bois along with Olivia Zemmour, president of CAPJPO-EuroPalestine—BDS promoter (anti-Israel Boycott movement). Tamimi was preaching in banlieue mosques all last week.
As I predicted, JCall is a flop. What’s more, our strong European reaction has crossed the Atlantic where it might add depth and muscle to American résistance against JCall’s role model. If JStreet was planning to send carpetbaggers to set up boutique in our old world, they’ll have to think again.
As for “faute morale” or transgression, yes, the JCall petition is indecent. You don’t pile on Israel with specious arguments when the nation you claim to love stands alone on the front lines of defense against jihad. It is indecent to claim moral and intellectual superiority for egging on the multitude of hypocrites who point the finger at Israel while crouching for cover behind that small shield (Magen David).
It was not indecent to carry the controversy into the public square (though the public square has shown no interest either way). It was a miscalculation. Before these wise guys claimed to speak for a silent majority of the European Diaspora they should have done a bit of market research. They can dance circles around their noble reasons for signing but they’ll never fool me: they didn’t expect to be outranked by the clear minded defenders of Zion. Why is this eminently concrete fact obscured?
May 10, 6:30 PM:
Be Reasonable 8035
+ Con Israele 2346
(Con Israelie Con la Ragione, the Italian petition launched by Fiamma Nirenstein, may include some overlap signatures with Be Reasonable)
Quirky journalism in Jewish media is, with rare exceptions, shielding JCall from its rightful disgrace. Analysts and interviewers focused on the big “you are here” arrow printed on JCall's map, were glibly announcing, “more than 5,000 have already signed the Appeal”… when more than 7,000 had signed the counter petition.
Evelyn Gordon didn’t even mention the Be Reasonable petition that had gathered 6269 signatures to JCall’s 4749 in her critique of JCall (Commentary blog, Contentions, May 5 “JCall and the Distress of European Jewry”). She dumped on us collectively:
It’s hard being a Jew in Europe today. So it’s understandable that some would seize on anything, however irrational, that labels itself “pro-Israel” while not violating the European consensus. But their Israeli and American brethren must remind them of the truth: being “pro-Israel” in Europe today requires emphasizing Palestinian guilt, which Europeans routinely ignore, rather than reinforcing their “blame Israel” reflex. And it requires lobbying against “pressure” that can only be manifest through BDS.
As if we didn’t know!
Michaël Bar Zvi, stalwart lucid author of Après la Shoah, Eloge de la guerre [After the Shoah, in praise of war] was interviewed on Radio J last week. Though he deplored the incoherence of the JCall petition, he didn’t sign Be Reasonable because he doesn’t sign any petitions. “You never know what kind of company you’re going to keep.” I agree. I don’t sign or circulate petitions. Be Reasonable is an exception. It’s a petition to end a petition and create a movement. And it saves the honor of Europeans, Jewish and non-Jewish, who reacted appropriately to JCall’s abrupt display of pretentious ignorance.
Trying to pawn off a mummified Peace Now mentality as a fresh new voice, the framers of the Appeal to Reason haven’t noticed that the ante has been upped. The October assault on Temple Mount was the prelude to a new phase in the ongoing war against Israel. It was followed by other fabrications designed to intensify the negative image of Israel. The endless production of false evidence connected with the Dubai hit made the Mossad look both clumsy and guilty. This was rubbed in by the high profile scolding of Israeli ambassadors for the alleged use of fake “friendly- nation” passports for the said hit. That dragged on until the approval of housing construction in Ramat Shlomo could be added to the list of sins. The building of apartments in Jerusalem justified bringing Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in through the servant’s entrance and dressing him down like an incompetent bellboy. Behind all the clamor, Obama craftily shifted the cards. Jerusalem went from undivided capital of the Jewish state to illegal settlement…
Each of these issues was another hundred lashes on Israel’s back, and you can imagine JCallers wincing from the pain and embarrassment… to themselves! Does that justify begging for more lashes until Israel cries Uncle?
No one thinks the proximity talks will lead to a two-state solution and now that Barack Hussein Obama has taken the whip in hand, who cares? The old deal—withdrawal to the ’49 lines, creation of a Palestinian state with X% of Jerusalem as capital, solution to the refugee problem—has lost its charm. The new deal is a nuclear-free Middle East. And guess who has to make the painful concessions on that one?
Your money and your life! The U.S., Russia, China, Great Britain, and France are now calling for a nuclear-free Middle East, meaning Israel would give up the nuclear weapons it doesn’t officially possess and Iran would continue to develop the nuclear arms program it denies. The vast majority of Israelis understand that relations with the Palestinians, partially calmed since the Cast Lead operation, are on the back burner. The Iranian threat is volatile. Israel is at the far end of the red alert spectrum that loses intensity as it goes through Europe and fades to pale pink in the United States. If Israel does not stand firm, we will all be in high alert.
The distress of American Jewry is that they still do not realize what they have wrought. Their blind support of Barack Hussein Obama cannot be undone with the current flutters of self-righteous regrets. He’s there now! And nobody and nothing is stopping him.
The new locale of the CAPE (Centre d’accueil de la presse étrangère) is tucked right inside the great hall of culture, the Grand Palais. Friday’s press conference, organized by the Centre d’accueil de la presse arabe, was almost a private affair. The Grand Mufti spoke in Arabic, sparsely and awkwardly translated, and the French-speaking Arab journalists asked their questions in Arabic. None of them identified themselves. There were no questions from the four or five infidels who attended.
The turbaned Mufti began with a lament. He is not allowed into Jerusalem because he protests against the occupation. Muslim men under the age of fifty are not allowed to pray in al Aqsa mosque. Why does the world stand by and let this injustice persist? Who will help the Palestinians?
Tamimi’s accusations against Israel were delivered in the same plaintive tone. What do they mean by “a Jewish state”? We don’t say ours will be an Islamic state! Islam teaches us to treat Jews properly. They lived peacefully in Muslim lands. We appeal (there you have it…they too Appeal) to the whole world to help us live in peace. What do they mean, including the mosque of Hebron [Cave of the Patriarchs] in the Jewish patrimony? Mosques have been burned in the West Bank. When you harm a religion it is the worst crime.
Then he broadened his constituency: alQuds does not only belong to the Palestinians, it belongs to a billion and a half Muslims in the world. It does not only belong to the Muslims, it belongs to over a billion Christians. I am president of the Muslim-Christian association. When the Pope [Benedict] visited I asked him to make a statement. He didn’t. [In fact Tamimi stood up, uninvited, and delivered a tirade against Israel in the Pope’s presence]. Israel pursues its policy of expelling Muslims and replacing them with colonists.
Sociologist Nacéra Guénif intervened, over the objections of journalists who wanted to ask questions like one does in a real press conference. She spoke in French so I was able to capture her discourse in all its dimensions. Guénif compared the Bataille d’alQuds to the Bataille d’Alger, that is, the ultimate image of a heroic struggle against a colonial power, culminating in Algerian independence. Being a sociologist Guénif spoke in terms of “problématiques.” The use of the term “Holy Land” is problematical in secular France because it reinforces a link with the Christian past. And they say “Jerusalem” instead of alQuds. This is problematical for young French people of “diverse” origins. The problematical issue of alQuds is subordinated to the problematical issue of Palestine. This explains why they know so little about what we have heard here today. They are more easily mobilized by the question of Gaza. They inhabit an imaginary geography elaborated in France. Look at those who are mobilized for the BDS campaigns.
If the problematical issue is reconceptualized, taking into account the extreme secularization of French society, it re-emerges with a focus on the policy of colonization-- settling Jews, what’s more, observant Jews, in alQuds. But alQuds does not belong only to religious people. Focusing heavily on the religious issue keeps it from appealing to the masses of Muslims in France, who are not religious. AlQuds is a universal issue!
The question & answer session finally began. Asked about the persecution of Christians in Gaza, the Mufti was categorical: Palestine has the best relations between Christians and Muslims anywhere in the world. I’m not a member of Hamas, but… On Al Jazeera, Michel Sabah [Latin patriarch of Jerusalem] thanked Hamas for protecting the Christian population. No one is allowed to harm Christians in the West Bank. It’s an Islamic tradition. [A bit of research reveals that Tayssir Tamimi is known for his hatred of Christians. ]
The jackpot question concerned the eventual sharing of Jerusalem. Would the Mufti be satisfied by an agreement that would attach the Arab quarters to the Palestinian state and leave the Jewish quarters in Israel?
The Mufti is not in favor of separate neighborhoods for Jews and Arabs. He is against ethnic separation. Why separate? We should all live together in peace. In alQuds, the Palestinian capital. The Oslo agreement says Jerusalem will be the Palestinian capital. And the Israelis immediately shut down all Palestinian institutions in alQuds. We do not recognize any other city as our capital. There will be no peace if Jerusalem is not recognized as our capital.
Your money and your life. The right of return and Jerusalem. The right to fill Jerusalem with right-of-returnees, obliterate it, and replace it with alQuds. Withdrawal to the ’49 armistice line and renunciation of the right to hold weapons of last resort. Relinquish the territories and relinquish the ultimate defense against extermination.
Is Tamimi the extremist spawned by the unsustainable status quo that Israel can reverse by surrender to EU and Obamist-American pressure? Is the turbaned Mufti a fringe Islamist who would have no constituency if only Israel would listen to Reason?
Look again. There is an unbroken chain from Tamimi who fabricates Temple Mount incidents to Abbas who uses them as grounds for an appeal to the UN and, beyond Abbas, to Obama who is bringing the full weight of American power to bear on the Jewish state. No American president, no leader of a democratic country has ever been so ruthless with Israel. And American voters put him there. They were misled by the same kind of muddled thinking that gave birth to the JCall Appeal to Reason.
Common sense shows us the stark situation. Iran will not be stopped by anything short of a military attack. The task is being left to Israel. Israel is preparing for retaliation from all directions if and when it strikes. Jews in France will be exposed to a wave of violence far worse than all we have seen since October 2000. And it will hit American Jews too.
Are we ready?