For roughly 1,000 years a temple stood on top of the Temple Mount in the center of Jerusalem. This temple was the center of Jewish life, serving as the religious, social, and at times even political center of the Jewish world. And, when Solomon completed the building of this temple around 950 BCE, Jerusalem was officially consecrated to be the holiest city in the world for Jews.
This is an accepted fact. It is as much of a historical fact as the American Revolution, the World Wars, and the existence of China. It is an accepted fact that no reputable historian would even dream of denying, as its validity has been backed by the fields of archaeology, literature, history and religion - just to name a few. It is an accepted fact that has been central to the Jewish tradition over 2,000 years of exile, having been prayed for thrice daily by Jews from Baghdad to Poland over the millenia.
It is this accepted fact that the UN seems to have either forgotten or purposely ignores.
On Friday Nov 15, 2019 a resolution was passed in the UN
(by a margin of 154-8) that refers to the Temple Mount soley by its Muslim name, Haram al-Sharif, presumably forgetting that for 3000 years this has been the holiest site in the Jewish tradition.
Now none of this should be news. People who follow the UN vis-a-vis the lens of Israel probably know by now that Israel is treated by a horrendous double standard. The Jewish state has been the target of over 45% of the UN Human Rights Council’s resolutions since its formation
- meaning that according to this council Israel is responsible for nearly half of the world’s human rights violations. Consistently the UN has demonized Israel and erased Jewish history all while seemingly giving some of the most nefarious nations in human history a free pass.
Now aside from the obvious pathology of anti-Israel bias/anti-semtism that these resolutions represent - a true continuation of a multi-thousand tradition of Jew hatred - there is another fundamental reason as to why the UN stymies progress when it comes to Israel.
I consider myself a leftist when it comes to Israel. I am pro-two states, have much criticism reserved for the last Israeli government (we aren’t sure what the next one will be), and believe that Israel has both a moral and political imperative to change many of its policies. I cringe at the way that the government has enabled exclusionary Haredi theocratic policies and believe that the radical right-wing in Israel is one of the biggest threats
to its future. And, perhaps most pertinent to this subject, as a proud Jew who believes that Judaism has an exceptional set of ideas and practices, I too want the Jewish state to be held to an exceptional standard by the Jewish community
But the UN is disastrous for this side of the argument. It’s disastrous for anyone who has any criticism reserved for the way that the Palestinians are treated by Israel. It’s disastrous for anyone who supports two-states or might want Israeli public policy to change in any way. It’s disastrous because it is abundantly clear that the UN has historically been fueled by an anti-semitic agenda - whether led by Soviet Leftists
or parts of the Arab world. This in turn is enough to convince the majority of Israel and the Jewish world to simply ignore any criticism of Israel - waving it off as just more anti-semitism. A position that I disagree with but for which I certainly see the strength of the argument and even at times sympathize with.
Before I even consider my political orientation I am first and foremost a Jew. I am a Jew who values tradition, Jewish thought, and is obsessed with Jewish history. When there is an active erasure of Jewish history - erasure of the type that is quite ubiquitous throughout the UN - I can no longer respect the source. My imperative to speak out against active erasure of Jewish history will always come before specific policy. And, when the UN is involved in Jewish historical revisionism, an endeavor undertaken by anti-semites for thousands of years, I no longer care about what they have to say.
Although I believe that there should not be Jews living in the modern city of Hebron (until some future treaty)- it must be recognized that this is a Jewish holy site. Although I am fine with the Islamic Waqf maintaining control over the Temple Mount (until some future treaty) - it must be recognized that this a Jewish holy site. And, most importantly, while I am pro a two-state solution in which a Palestinian state would potentially exist in the West Bank, it must be recognized that Judea and Samaria is a Jewish historical site. Anything else is policy based on malicious lies. Lies which the Jewish community will never allow to actualize.
Moshe Daniel Levine is a regular contributor of blog postings on Jewish Values Online. His blog entries were selected as one of the three best for the third and fourth quarters of 5779. You can find them on the Jewish Values Online website at the top left.
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