Monday, August 13, 2012

Dear Hillary, What were you thinking?!

Dear Madame Secretary Mrs. Hillary Clinton,

Shalom from Israel.  Pardon my directness, but I was flabbergasted by some of the findings of the USA's State Department's newly published, "International Religious Freedom Report for 2011," regarding religious freedom in Israel.  Obviously, it goes without saying that the State Department would find fault with the characteristics of a Jewish State, using the report to scold Israel for a myriad of issues,  ranging from the use of halacha for determining conversions to the "discriminatory" nature of Israel's view towards missionaries trying to sway Israel's citizens away from Judaism.

Yet in the State Department's attempt for "completeness," I did not expect the following criticism, which is in direct conflict to the US State Department's worldview on Israel.
"The 1967 Protection of Holy Sites Law safeguards the holy sites of all religious groups, including in Jerusalem. All holy sites enjoy certain protections under the penal law, which makes it a criminal offense to damage any holy site, while historic sites are protected by the antiquities law. The government provided resources for the upkeep of holy places of all recognized religious communities, but provided significantly greater levels of government resources to Jewish holy places.

A government policy since 1967, repeatedly upheld by the Supreme Court and routinely enforced by the police citing security concerns, denies all non-Muslims opportunities to worship at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. While the government ensured limited access to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif to everyone regardless of religious beliefs, only Muslims are allowed to pray at the site, although their access has been occasionally restricted due to security concerns. Police regulated traffic in and out of the compound and removed non-Muslim visitors if they appeared to be praying. Since 2000 the Jordanian Waqf that manages the site has restricted non-Muslims from entering the Dome of the Rock shrine and Al-Aqsa Mosque. Non-Muslim religious symbols are not allowed to be worn on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif."
 Is the State Department out of it's mind?  Do you honestly want there to be equal, or even semi-equal time for non-Muslims to pray, or even whisper words of prayer, on the Temple Mount?

The State Department wont let the Jerusalem-born children of US parents, to list Jerusalem, ISRAEL on their US passport for fear of upsetting the Arab world, yet you criticize Israel for not allowing Jews freedom of prayer on the Temple Mount?  Does not your worldview understand that allowing Jews to openly pray, freely, on the Temple Mount will release far more anger in the Arab world that writing "Jerusalem, Israel" on a passport, and will cause far more Arab angst than the construction of Jewish homes in the West Bank?

Have you lost your minds -- do you even realize what you have written?  Then again, I could be naive in the reading of "non-Muslim" to include, "Jews."  I could be mistaken, and your intentions were for non-Muslims, excluding Jews, which would fully match the State Department's policy towards Israel. 

While I personally have no issue with  Jews openly praying on the Temple Mount, I would appreciate your clarification on the issue.


Jameel Rashid
The Muqata Blog

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Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Rat Fink said...

Sorry, I disagree with you on this one. The State Department is for once being consistent.

To the State Department, the question about Jews praying on the Temple Mount is not a question of national rights, but rather human rights. If the Temple Mount were controlled by the British or the Arabs (as it once was), the State Department could have the same argument. (Whether they would or not is a different question).

I think that, in this case, the State Department made the right call, and should be commended.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

The State Department "made the right call" -- its simply amazing how they managed to get this one right, when it goes against their world view.

According to the State Department, Jews should not be able to build or live in East Jerusalem. That is the State Department's apartheid policy against Jews and a violation of Human Rights. So how can they have such diametrically opposed viewpoints?

Anonymous said...

State Department report on religious freedom:

Canada: 5 pages
Saudi Arabia: 17 pages
Iran: 18 pages
India: 22 pages
Pakistan: 23 pages

Israel (and PA): 39 pages

LI Reader said...

Sorry; sarcasm does not become you. (And it doesn't work well on blogs which are normally serious.)

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