Arafat’s Legacy Lives!

Bill Clinton has said that one of Yasser Arafat’s biggest mistakes in their conversations was trying to convince him that there never was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem – that it had stood instead in Saudi Arabia. Clinton knew at that point that Arafat was nuts. (Arafat probably forgot that the Temple in Jerusalem figured in some Christian narratives as well.)

The madness did not stop with Arafat’s death. Many Palestinians are committed to cutting any ties between Eretz Yisrael and the Jewish people. Even Tehilim are more than they can handle, as this AP story demonstrates:

RAMALLAH, West Bank — When the iconic 1970s disco group Boney M rocked Ramallah this week, the local music festival prevented the band from performing one of its biggest hits.

Lead singer Maizie Williams said Palestinian concert organizers told her not to sing “Rivers of Babylon.” The song’s chorus quotes from the Book of Psalms, referring to the exiled Jewish people’s yearning to return to the biblical land of Israel.

Palestinians often question the Jewish historical connection to the Holy Land. Organizers said they asked for the song to be skipped, deeming it “inappropriate.”

“I don’t know if it is a political thing or what, but they asked us not to do it and we were a bit disappointed that we could not do it because we know that everybody loves this song no matter what,” she said.

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15 Responses

  1. Jacob T says:

    We are all making an assumption, based on the fact that concert organizers asked the band not to perform the song, that their reasoning was motivated by a desire to ignore the historic Jewish claim to the land–yet, no such motivation is mentioned in the article. It is equally possible that the organizers (representing, one presumes, themselves and not all Palestinian Arabs) objected to the word Zion, associating it with Zionism. Or Babylon, associating it with indiscriminate SCUD-firing Iraq. Mishneh Avot 1:6 cautions us against making negative assumptions about our neighbors…perhaps we should listen.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    “…we know that everybody loves this song no matter what,” she said.

    Palestinians hate us and most other people no matter what.

  3. aron feldman says:

    Has anyone heard a word of protest about this from any of the benighted Israeli academics or so called paragons of morality like Amos Oz and Uri Avneri?

  4. Raymond says:

    Claiming that our Holy Temple was in Saudi Arabia, is just one of many lies perpetrated by the teachings of islamofascism. What comes immediately to my mind is their blatantly obvious lie that Abraham almost sacrificed Ishmael, not Isaac, and that Mohammed dreamt of being transported to Jerusalem, despite our holiest of cities never being mentioned in the Koran even once. Then there are the lies that Israel is the aggressor who is illegally occupying islamofascist land, when the truth is that the islamofascists are illegally occupying Jewish land. Jews are portrayed as the killers of women and children, when it is the islamofascists who virtually always target the most unarmed, helpless victims. And perhaps most of all, islamofascism is constantly referred to as a religion of peace, when in reality it is an ideology that is the most brutally murderously cruel savage in all of human history.

  5. Jacob T says:

    Raymond, I agree with you that to a Torah-believing Jew it is clear in the text who was involved in the Akedah. That said, in the context of global dialogue what makes it so “blatantly obvious” that the Muslim tradition is a lie? It is written in their sacred text, which they hold to be the revealed word of G-d. If they believe in their tradition as fervently as you believe in yours, can they really be said to be lying, as you put it? I do not believe my fellow man is at fault for keeping the (non-idolatrous) traditions of his ancestors–if I were to blame him for it, he could just as easily blame me, and then where would we be?

  6. Big Maybe says:

    Jacob T, the Mishna in Avot you quoted does not apply to murderers or individuals who incite to murder. See Rambam’s commentary to that Mishna and Sefer Chafetz Chaim.

  7. btg241 says:

    I think Arafat claimed that the Temple was in Nablus, not in Saudi Arabia. Which, if I’m not mistaken, is technically correct because I think the Mishkan was there (Shechem or thereabouts) for a period of time. But he also denied the existence of the Beis Hamkidash in Yerushalyim which means that he really was nuts as Clintion surmised.

  8. Jacob T says:

    Big Maybe, how does that cogent point apply not just to the terrorists, but the majority of Palestinian Arabs who have not incited murder? Are you suggesting that the concert planners also incited people to murder, or just Arafat (if we’re just talking about Arafat, I would agree with you entirely).

  9. mb says:

    “(Arafat probably forgot that the Temple in Jerusalem figured in some Christian narratives as well.)”

    And Islamic one’s too!

    The prophet’s night journey is described in Surah 17: “Glory be to Him who made His servant go by night from the Sacred Temple [Mecca] to the farther Temple [Al-Aksa, Jerusalem], whose surroundings We have blessed…” It goes on to say, “We solemnly declared to the Israelites: ‘Twice you shall commit great evil in the land… and We sent against you a formidable army which ravaged your land… and when the prophecy of your second transgression came to be fulfilled, We sent another army to afflict you and to enter the Temple, as the former entered it before…”

    Thus the Koran itself gives us the evidence of the destruction of the two Temples that had stood on the site of Al-Aksa.
    (Thanks to Dr. Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg)

  10. Chareidi Leumi says:

    >That said, in the context of global dialogue what makes it so “blatantly obvious” that the Muslim tradition is a lie?

    I think that just like we must answer to challenges to our faith that come from the general world – which includes people with an historicist mindset. We can expect the Arabs to respond to the general world. If it is true that up until the 7th century CE there is no textual record of Ishmael being the son who participated in the akeida. And since Muhamad had a political interest in making his flock believe that they are the true spiritual heirs of Abraham. It is fair to assume that he conciously manufactured an alternate holy History. This may not convince a believing Muslim but it is sure important that the other 5 billion members of humanity should know who we are dealing with.

  11. Raymond says:

    Jacob T, you seem to be suggesting that one has just as much reason to believe in the Koran as one does to believe in the Torah. But both what created each of those two documents, as well as the consequences of those two documents, are entirely different.

    The Koran was created when one very angry man made rather self-serving, absurd claims about himself, and when nobody was buying into it, forced people on pain of death to accept it. The result has been the creation of an ideology calling for murdering anybody who stands in the way of world domination by its adherents.

    This contrasts sharply with Judaism, whose founding was witnessed by its entire nation as well as its neighbors, and whose followers adhere to an ideology that places ethics as its highest value, that is thoroughly pro-life, enhancing life and making more positive contributions to civilization than any other group in history, despite being constantly persecuted for being so life-affirming.

    So how exactly can the Koran and the Torah be thought of as having equivalent validity? Inquiring minds want to know.

  12. Ori says:

    Raymond: The Koran was created when one very angry man made rather self-serving, absurd claims about himself, and when nobody was buying into it, forced people on pain of death to accept it.

    Ori: If nobody had bought it, how could Muhammed force people on pain of death to accept the Koran? He was not a king, nor a giant. People followed him initially because he convinced them, and later because he provided unity which the Arab tribes needed.

  13. Jacob T says:

    Raymond: you misread me. I merely took issue your use of the word lie, as in, to intentionally or deliberately obfuscate or conceal the truth. The Koran and the Torah are both texts that many people believe in fervently. To call an observant Muslim who bases his belief in an event recorded in his sacred book a “liar” implies that all Muslims know that theirs is not the way of truth, and choose it anyway; this, to me, seems implausible. There is one world, and for better or for worse we all have to live on it.

    I might add that, were you in disputation with a knowledgeable Muslim, he could turn your argument against you and make spiteful claims about Moshe Rabbeinu. Better not to walk down that path (and to consider what is life affirming about casting aspersions on and making threats against one billion of our fellow men, women, and children).

  14. Raymond says:

    Assuming that a moslem would even want to get into a civilized discussion with a Jew like me, which I highly doubt, he can make all the negative claims about Moses that he wants, but the facts will not be on his side. Even putting aside the differences in our theologies, simply looking at human history, to see how we Jews have behaved compared to how they have behaved, is all the proof one really needs to decide which ideology is the admirable one and which one is the despicably evil one.

    As for most followers of islam, I most definitely think that the overwhelming majority of them have been completely brainwashed into believing some very dangerous nonsense. But I do not cut even that much slack for its leaders; for if their leaders truly believed that murdering Jews gets them 72 virgins in Heaven, then why don’t those leaders ever do the suicide bombings themselves? They must know something that their gullible followers do not.

  15. pk says:

    Jacob T, You don’t have to be against Islam to have objective people wonder about

    their version in the Koran saying that Ishmael was bought up on the Akeida by Abraham.

    The Torah was given 3000 years ago. Christianity started 2000 years ago and they

    accepted the “Old Testament” version as written (they just added a “New Testament”).

    Christians are not known as lovers of Judaism. Muhamad came on the scene in about 600

    A.D. and changed the story that had been accepted for 1500 years before he appeared.

    Whose version do you thing reasonable people should accept?

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