by Shirley Walton
There was a lovely tourist-oriented photo showing the Western Wall (also called The Wailing Wall), with the Islamic Dome of the Rock mosque gleaming its gold dome above the Wall.
With the photo went words to the effect that “you can travel the length of Israel in six hours ... imagine what you could do in four days!” The sky was a cloudless blue and the photo beckoned the tourist to come visit “The Holy Land.”
The only problem is, this photo has been banned in the United Kingdom!
Why in the world do you suppose the Advertising Standard Agency (ASA) would ban such a photo? There were no naked bodies, no salacious language, no cigarettes, no drugs, no crime; just the Wall, the Dome of the Rock and the blue sky.
Because the ASA deemed the photo was “misleading,” since the scene shown was allegedly in “Israeli-occupied territories.” The ASA and other British publications went on to explain that the Dome of the Rock was the oldest Islamic structure in the world (built in the 7th century) and was officially in East Jerusalem, which was being “illegally” occupied by Israel.
While this may seem to be a trivial episode in the greater scheme of the world, it is absolutely typical of the almost constant campaign being waged by groups in Europe and Britain, to delegitimize the nation of Israel.
In truth, the decision by the ASA is far, far more “misleading” than the original photo from the Israeli Tourist Agency and here are but a few reasons why.
Firstly, while the Western Wall is officially over the “Green Line” established in the Old City of Jerusalem after the 1967 War, it is at the outer perimeter of the old Jewish Quarter of the City -- a quarter that the Jordanian army took over in the 1948 War of Independence and literally razed. In other words there is not a single building in the old Jewish Quarter which has not been rebuilt in the last 50 years, since Israel regained the City!
Secondly, while the Dome of the Rock may be the oldest Islamic structure in the world, and was indeed built in the 7th Century, it was built INTENTIONALLY on the remains of the First Jewish Temple, supposed to have been built by King Solomon in 960 BCE, which the Romans destroyed in the 1st century. The Western Wall is the last remnant of that Temple, and is at least 1,000 years older than Al Aksa. It is, without question, the holiest of holy places to the Jews, while the Dome of the Rock is only the third holiest place to Moslems.
Thirdly, as part of several written agreements -- the last being in 1995 and also agreed to by the Palestinians -- Israel has official (and legal) charge of ALL the holy sites in “the Holy Land.” The Israeli Knesset also passed a law right after the 1967 war absolutely guaranteeing the preservation of all holy sites, regardless of religion. They chose, too, to leave management of the Dome of the Rock and Al Aksa by the Moslem Waqf, which has been in control since Islam reconquered Jerusalem in 1267 CE.
Another such site is Qumram, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered half a century ago. I think few people outside Israel are aware that the Palestinians have demanded that the scrolls -- written by a pre-Christian Jewish sect known as the Essenes -- be given to them. Why? Because Qumram, bordering the northern tip of the Dead Sea, is officially part of today’s West Bank. Therefore, according to the Palestinians, the scrolls are “theirs!”
Last of all, if you take a picture of your back yard to help advertise the sale of your home, and the photo happens to show your neighbor’s flowering magnolia tree over the fence, does that mean your neighbor can prevent you from using that photo to help sell the house? I mean, come on, people!
It’s patently clear that most of the world disliked the Jews less when they were patsies and fall guys -- when they quietly and meekly “allowed” yesterday’s bad guys to exterminate six million Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals
Today’ Jews, particularly the state of Israel, have equally as clearly become today’s bad guys (apparently we should forget Mugabe, Somalia, Darfur, Myanmar, North Korea and 20 other repressive, genocidal regimes). Worse, they’ve become bad guys who are competent and thorough in defending themselves and their democracy (the only one in existence in the Middle East).
And for all of this, Israel is condemned and boycotted because a photo includes a part of Jerusalem that has belonged to the Jews a thousand years longer than the Brits, Celts, Scots, Gaels, Jutes and Saxons even began slaughtering each other to create what would become the British Isles?