I felt furious over the controversy this past December about whether the world should recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.
I am no fan of President Donald Trump and his administration. Yet I have to say that purely on the merits, he was right about this issue. In fact, the U.S. and the whole world should have done this decades ago.
I have become sick and tired of how so much of the rest of the world’s governments kowtow to Palestinian/Arab/Muslim bigotry about this subject.
Followers of Islam have in the past taken over the sacred cities, lands, shrines of other peoples and other religions and turned them into Muslim sites or destroyed them. These constitute acts of religious imperialism and religious supremacy that Christians, Hindus, Buddhists protest against when Muslims try to do it to them, but that most of the world’s people are willing to ignore when Muslims do it to Jews.
The Muslim veneration of Jerusalem is a case in point. The Qu’ran doesn’t mention Jerusalem by name even once, and I know that because I’ve read an entire translation of the Qu’ran. The adopting of Jerusalem as a holy city was one of many things Islam took from Judaism; and it was followers of Islam who deliberately built a mosque and a shrine on the Jewish Temple Mount as a demonstration of their belief that Islam should dominate Judaism and Jews.
That isn’t the only such instance. There were Muslims who took over the St. Sophia church in Constantinople/Istanbul and turned it into a mosque. In India in 1992, a Hindu group tried to reclaim the site of a Hindu temple upon which Muslims built a mosque, leading to Muslim vs. Hindu riots throughout the country. In 2001, the Taliban in Afghanistan destroyed statues of the Buddha that were 1,500 years old primarily as a demonstration of Muslim religious supremacy.
It’s a reality that there are Muslims who appear to believe that theirs are the only religious sensibilities that anyone should take seriously. Too many Muslims become angry to the point of violence when members of other religions, especially Jews, demand that Muslims should recognize that others have intense religious sensitivities that need to be respected. Both phenomena should disgust anybody with a sense of justice and fairness.
But they don’t. That so many of the member nations of the U.N. General Assembly — 128 of them — on Dec. 21 voted to condemn the proposed U.S. action shows how they generally consider Jewish concerns and rights to be expendable. The desire to dis Trump and placate Israel-hating Muslims proved more important than any consideration of the justice of the issue.
It is long past time that too many non-Jews, including Muslims, should have stopped their historic disrespect for Jewish ties to Jerusalem and many other aspects of Judaism.
Leon Cohen is former editor of The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle and chair-elect of the advisory committee of the Coalition for Jewish Learning of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.