From HonestReporting, March 12, 2007: the Los Angeles Times gave “Palestinian” activist and UCLA professor Saree Makdisi op-ed space to question the right of Israel to exist. Of course this has everything to do with a nationalistic struggle for independence and freedom from oppression, and nothing to do with Jew-hatred—of course, that’s why Israel is the only country in the world whose right to exist it is acceptable to dispute (more on this from Yediot Achronot columnist Uri Elitzur, whose op-ed from last Friday I have already scanned and will, G-d willing, translate and post soon)… But I have not come here to vent my frustration, although I harbor plenty of that; I wish to show how this gentleman refutes his stance, the general “Palestinian” stance that “Israel is a fantasy of the Jews”, before he begins to write even a single word. How he is gainsaid by his very name.
G-d describes Ishmael’s kleptomania from the very beginning, in Genesis 16. Ishmael’s thievery is bad enough in and of itself, but it is compounded with a sense of entitlement, which makes it nearly impossible for him to repent. So it is that the Muslims of Israel (and many Christian useful idiots of theirs) show no shame in visiting countries that are officially at war with Israel, and no pang of conscience in opining that the kidnapping of the three Jewish soldiers that led to the Summer 2006 Lebanon War was justified, and no gratitude for living conditions far more favorable than those of any of their brethren in the entire Arab and Islamic worlds. Ghaleb Majadle is appointed Minister of Science of a state that strictly speaking does not owe him a thing, yet he uses his platform to decry the “racism of the Zionist state from its very inception”. And finally, any seasoned driver in Israel will tell you to be specially careful when driving near the Arab towns and villages (in the north of Israel, for example), because “the Arab drivers drive like they own the country”. Ishmael steals, and steals without regret, for he feels entitled to it all.
Likewise in the spiritual plane: Islam copies very many things from Judaism, looking like a sincere attempt to partake in the holiness, but really being theft, for the Muslims say Judaism is a corruption of the original and Islam the restoration of the original. Judaism has the Torah, Torah readings with cantillation, the Oral Tradition, the Halakhah, dietary laws (kosher food), three daily prayers, the fast on the Day of Atonement and the pilgrimage to the Temple at Jerusalem; Islam has the Koran, Koran readings with cantillation, the Hadith, shariah law, dietary laws (halal food), five daily prayers, the daytime fast in the month of Ramadan and the pilgrimage to the shrine at Mecca. The two religions are close enough for Maimonides to have regarded Islam as one of G-d’s tools for spreading the truth of monotheism, and yet he spared no harsh judgment on Islam, and prohibited Jews for posterity to teach the Torah to Muslims (while, on the other hand, permitting Jews to teach the Torah to Christians, for they accept the text as-is, and only their interpretation of it differs). Even the monotheism part of Islam is a marred copy: because the Koran describes the Creator differently than does the Torah, Muslims worship one deity but have the wrong conception of Him. Islam, meaning “submission”, elevates the truth of the kingship and sovereignty of G-d to the detriment of the truth of His fatherhood and love. This may be acceptable to G-d for furthering His plan to rid the world of idolatry, but Jews should not delude themselves that Islamic countries are countries where G-d’s mission—that all men may know Him—is accomplished. The truth is still waiting for the final hour.
Islam, the Muslims believe, supersedes all: Abraham was not a Jew (nor a Christian) but a Muslim; the Torah as given to Moses at Sinai no longer in the possession of the Jews, but rather in the hands of the Muslims, in its restored form, the Koran; the Land of Israel not a special place, but designated to be part of Dar Al Islam like the rest of the world; and, last but not least, the Temple at Jerusalem nothing but a fiction (cursed be they who say this), its site being only the location of the cornerstone of the world, and its remaining wall, the Western Wall, only a post for Mohammad to tie his flying horse that brought him there, to the mosque that now stands on top of Judaism’s one and only holy site, cementing the doctrine of Temple Denial with a fact on the ground. Here it is that I come back to our friend Saree Makdisi.
Makdisi is faithful to Islam’s kleptocratic tradition of denying all that was before. As he believes Israel is a fantasy of the Jews, it is safe to say he displays the same sentiment toward the Temple. It is easy to make that claim: Does there not remain of the Temple only a single wall? Is not a mere wall insufficient evidence? How can you compare a wall to a mosque standing there in full glory? Ah, what an open and shut case. But… Makdisi.
The Arabic name for Jerusalem today is Al Quds. It is already reminiscent enough of the Hebrew word, “kodesh” (holiness) to arouse suspicion, but let it be granted that the name was tagged on to Jerusalem because it is a holy city to the Muslims as well (the third holiest; but don’t tell them first trumps third, because that’d be Islamophobic). But Jerusalem had an earlier Arabic name: Beit El Makdis. This name is so transparent to any Jew of minimal religious upbringing as to be obvious at first glance: beit ha-mikdash, Hebrew for “House of the Temple”; or in the short version: the Temple. From this, dropping the first part, the surname Makdisi is formed.
In the view of the fact that Temple Denial is now a linchpin of the Islamic jihad against the Jewish state (marketed fraudulently as “The Palestinian Struggle for Independence”), how can this surname exist at all?
When the Muslims conquered the Land of Israel in the 7th century CE, it was not Jews they took it from, but Byzantines. The Muslims vied with people for whom the Jewish Temple was no concern, was an artifact of the Old Covenant, done away with when Jesus died on the cross. The concern of Islam back then was to undercut the legitimacy of Christianity, while Judaism was a non-factor. The Muslims had heard the expression, “Beit El Makdis” from their Arabic-speaking Jewish and Christian contemporaries, and had no trouble using it as the name for the whole city, as was customary for the Jews and Christians of the time (“Jerusalem” and “The Temple” are interchanged numerous times in the Jewish prayers). Little did they know that that surname would prove them liars about 1,300 years hence.
Like the 19th-century British photos and literary descriptions (most famously by Mark Twain) of the Land of Israel, giving the lie to the claim that the Zionists ousted a copious people from a teeming land, the surname Makdisi lays naked and bare the truth of this land’s spiritual significance to the Jews: the land which G-d has promised them. It is our land, and our only land; we concede the Arabs their 22 existing states, and the Muslims their 57 existing states, and all the non-Jews the entirety of the rest of the world, but we insist on the ownership of the one and only Land of Israel, and we insist on inhabiting it all, and ruling it according to the law G-d gave us at Sinai, and we dream of being able to observe all the 613 mitzvot of the Torah again, when G-d sees it fit to build the Temple again, speedily in our days, amen.
Thus we also see why any anti-Zionist “peace initiative” is unacceptable. Ricocheting regularly on the walls of the Daily Kos Israel/“Palestine” diaries are proposals to relocate all the Jews from Israel to some other part of the world. “Six million Jews in Israel, just about the population of New York—is it all worth the global turmoil?” say the Kossacks. See, apart from their misguided belief in the ability to appease the Islamic enemy through sacrificial offerings, they are only too eager to do what they despise President Bush for doing in Iraq: interventionism, down to the level of deciding the fates of entire populations. But it goes beyond the normal Leftist hypocrisy—these people, awash in a willingness to concede the entirety of Western culture to the diktats of the Islamic colonial invaders, show no tolerance, no sensitivity, no understanding whatsoever to the needs of Jewish religious believers. Let a Muslim complain that his student life is jeopardized by the lack of ablution fountains and the ACLU will be on his case immediately; but the fact that a generous portion of the mitzvot of the Torah can be observed only on the Land of Israel inspires a yawn from them at best, “Oh, shut up, you with your irrational bronze-age beliefs!” usually, and “Yes, but you have no right to put the whole world in danger on account of your religious beliefs” from those who wish to put on an enlightened, considerate veneer.
The mind of today may not be favorably disposed (and that’s putting it mildly) toward the renewal of Temple worship; then again, today’s “enlightened minds” are trying to redefine marriage, parenting, childhood and the very fabric of society as a totality, so one might not want to take after the zeitgeist in all things. Also, I did not hear many shrieks of horror from the Leftists about the pictures of animals slaughtered by the Muslims on Eid Al Adha, so I guess some “barbaric customs” are more equal than others. Ultimately, the truth is not obliged to agree with our feelings. Anti-Zionist Joseph Massad, in his screed Israel’s Right to Be Racist (courtesy of Al-Ahram, the principal newspaper of Egypt, with whom Israel is “at peace”), rants sarcastically:
God has given this land to the Jews and told them to safeguard themselves against gentiles who hate them. To make Israel a non-Jewish state then would run the risk of challenging God Himself.
I have no doubt it gives you a bad feeling, Mr. Massad. And to you too, Mr. Makdisi. But, Mr. Massad, we Jews are here according to our belief in the truth, the truth that G-d had promised this land to our three patriarchs, and given it to us to inhabit after getting us out from Egypt, a historical truth which we celebrate every year, this very Hebrew month. G-d chose this people to inhabit this land in order to see His glory in His Temple, the temple to which your surname, Mr. Makdisi, bears witness. And although it is in a state of ruin because of our sins, G-d has promised its restoration, speedily in our days, amen. If this is the truth, then there is nothing the uproar of the nations can do against it, for G-d rules all the nations, and it is better for them that they heed His law.