Qatar’s emir, who earlier pledged $400-million for reconstruction of Gaza after Israel’s Cast Lead devastation, has vowed to create a $1-billion fund to preserve Arab Jerusalem:
Qatar’s emir proposed on Tuesday that the Arab League create a $1 billion fund to protect the Arabic and Islamic heritage of Jerusalem…
This initiative is a direct response to the well-funded efforts by Israeli ultra-nationalists to render Jerusalem Arab-rein through land thefts, housing expropriations and other forms of fraudulent-taking of Palestinian property. In this effort, groups like Elad and ideologue-funders like Irving Moskowitz and the Central Fund of Israel have been instrumental under the guise of redeeming the ancient Jewish heritage of neighborhoods like Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah.
It’s no accident that the Israeli foreign ministry flack released a statement that assumed any effort to maintain Jerusalem’s Arab heritage was an effort to destroy the city’s Jewish one:
A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry criticized the emir’s proposal, accusing him of seeking to negate the Jewish heritage of Jerusalem and promoting it as a city with an exclusively Islamic past.
“There is no history of Jerusalem without Jewish history,” said the spokesman, Yigal Palmor. “To deprive Jerusalem of its Jewish foundations would be like depriving Mecca of its Islamic foundations, which would be absurd.”
In a Bloomberg story, Palmor is quoted:
Qatar should use its “gazillions of petrodollars” to finance peacemaking, not confrontation, an Israeli official said today…
“This proposal is yet another Qatari attempt to spread ignorance and hatred, fueled by gazillions of petrodollars. They should try spending their money on peacemaking for a change.”
The irony here is that Palmor ignores the fact that Israel is doing to the Arabs precisely what he decries in the emir’s proposal. Jerusalem has many religious traditions, chief among them its Jewish and Arab ones. Affirming one doesn’t mean destroying the other. But under the maximalist approach of the settler radicals there can be only one nation, one religion in Jerusalem: Jewish. If they had their way I suppose, there would be something like what Hitler planned for post-Jewish Europe, an Exotic Museum of the Extinct Race, to remind the world of the continent’s former Jewish heritage. Elad would house this nostalgic nod to Jerusalem’s past in what used to be Al Aqsa mosque or perhaps wherever they’ll move the mosque to, once they assume control of the Temple Mount, restore the (Third) Temple to its original glory, and rid it of its former Muslim vestiges.
I suppose Palmor would welcome a Qatari contribution to this Museum of the Extinct Jerusalem Race. That would constitute peacemaking. Trying to preserve the city’s Arab character is meddling and provocation. Just so long as we understand our terms. Speaking of terms, it now appears that “gazillions” has become proper diplomatic usage, at least in Jerusalem if nowhere else.
It will be interesting to see if the proposed fund is established and the donors attempt to use it to pursue their vision in the city. Israel would then have to decide whether to frustrate their plans or allow them to proceed. Given the extremist nature of this government, it couldn’t very well allow such funds to support the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem. Which might allow the emir and Arab League donors to win a victory in the battle of wits between the settler government and Palestinian resistance.
“Qatar, an important United States ally, played a decisive role in the revolution in Libya and in financing the insurgency in Syria.”
Did Barack/Hillary have any idea what they were doing the last few years in the Middle-East? US has a history of supporting jihadists in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Libya and now Syria. Why do the bidding of extremists? The failure of understanding the Sunni-Shia divide has led to instability in the region and new nations to fill the power vacuum. No wonder Assad has a new, silent ally in Netanyahu. A bit late, don’t you think. Saudi king Abdullah will not be satisfied until all Western and US influence has been wiped out of the Middle-East. After being shunned by the EU, Turkey’s Erdogan has welcomed the chance to close ranks with his Muslim brethren.
William Burns says
Yes, the House of Saud just yearns for US influence to be wiped from the Middle East so that they can be left alone with the jihadis.
And no more fancy war toys to show off to its friends…. KSA can’t hold off the Arab Spring unless it keeps up its profitable friendship with the US.
Since the decision by Bush to shun the Saudi crown prince and his Peace Initiative in 2002 and rather invade Iraq, the Saudis will never again place trust in the US. Rightly so from their viewpoint. Withholding support for Mubarak by the Obama administration was another marker. The Saudis already had to save the Bahrain regime. Qatar decided to undercut US influence in the outcome of Assad’s overthrow by pushing forward “Texan” Ghassan Hitto as PM.
Ah, but what is Israel’s excuse for shunning the Arab Peace Initiative? This is why Palmor’s complaints cannot be taken seriously.
This is interesting and good. IMO a complete roll-back of Israel’s settlement program is necessary both as a precurser to 2SS (if there is ever to be such) and (whether or not there is to be a 2SS) — by serving as a corrective to Israeli hubris — as a precurser to whatever happens next (e.g., democratic 1SS, genuine 2SS, something else, who knows). And the destruction of Israeli hubris is absolutely necessary, in any and all cases, and must begin in Occupied Jerusalem. So the Emir is on the right track.
Do you suppose the Emir could found or influence a few corporations for the purpose of entering the post-Citizens-United America to propagandize against Israeli settlement, etc.? Might be a better way to use $1B. More leverage. AIPAC doesn’t begin to spend that much, I believe. think of all the subway ads! Think of all the Congressmen falling all over themselves to prevent ads from appearing challenging them at election time. As far as I know — I never read the opinion — Citizens United does not discriminate against foreign corporations!
As to foreign corporations working inside USA politics, see this petition to stop some of it.
WNYC, looking at the question of foreign influence in USA elections:
In a 2009 paper that preceded the Citizens United ruling, Teachout estimated that by 2030, a third of all money spent on elections for Senate, Congress, and governorships will come from non-American interests:
Foreign private interests will put substantial money into viral videos about candidates; foreign newspapers will editorialize with an eye to actually influencing elections, not merely expressing opinions; foreign television stations, broadcasting online, will do the same. Foreign unions will fund cross-national phone banking, literature drops, and door-to-door canvassing around issues that are likely to influence elections. Foreign governments will funnel money into organizations that do all of these kinds of electioneering.
“The vast majority of these activities will either be legal or, if illegal, their prohibitions unenforceable,” Teachout concluded.
Fred Plester says
I think the Customer of Qatar is doing what he’s doing, precisely because he’s seeking to avoid the meddling confrontation that he’s naturally accused of.
Interfering in American politics simply isn’t his style.
The Qatari concept of “soft power” consists of using their wealth to create economic opportunities around the world and simply leaving it to people to recognize where their own best interests lie. AIPAC’s leading donor can be seen to build casinos and fleece countless Americans, the Customer of Qatar builds a new container port for London and floods Essex with jobs and Southern England with trade. The former buys AIPAC a few transparently corrupt friends in high places, the latter breeds genuine goodwill across the board.
It’s something of a calumny to accuse Qatar of plotting an exclusively Muslim, let alone Sunni, Jerusalem, because the government has helped fund the building of prominent Christian places of worship in Doha, which sets them about as far apart from the Saudis as they are from Israel. The proposal should be taken at face value, because that’s how it’s meant. This concept may, of course, be impossible for a twisted mind to grasp.
Your critical note about the Central Fund of Israel may risk another LtE from Naftali Bennett and Jay Marcus.
“In reality, these Israeli communities act as a defensive shield for the State of Israel, ensuring long-term stability for both Israelis and Palestinians and limiting the global spread of radical Islam.”
Fred Plester says
Defensive Shield? Certainly.
To ensure long-term stability for Palestinians?
Only if this structure was intended to ensure long-term stability for Channel Islanders and Englishmen:
“to protect the Arabic and Islamic heritage of Jerusalem”
100 years ago the were hardly any people living outside the Old City walls. The ‘Arabic and Islamic heritage’ of East Jerusalem is a very recent phenomena.
Richard Silverstein says
You’re truly daft. The Islamic heritage of Jerusalem goes back well before the Crusades to the building of the mosques on the Temple Mount.
Kevin Herbert says
One really sees the view of a bigot in Joel’s historically unsupported claims.
Sadly this is the disposition of many religious Jews in Australia, who have been spreading such race supremacist views without question in out society for decades.
[Off topic comments will not be published & may lead to restriction of comment privileges]
Kevin Herbert says
Bruce T: both you & Joel have a made a claim without any supporting evidence.
Put up or shut up.
[off topic comments will not be published]
Funny, don’t you see – they cannot give you “supporting evidence” – their comments are deleted.
Antisemitism is defined as: Antisemitism is prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. Well considering what is daily said in Israel and about the Jewish state do “you” have the moral right to demand the protection against prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination of your Jewish heritage when “you” spread all the time prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination against those whose lands and property “you” have stolen and intend to steal. Palestinians do not resist Jews because of their religion (Islam and Christianity). They resist because what is done to them.
On Wiki’s Jerusalem page is a chart of the historical periods of Jerusalem. On that we can notice that Jews have controlled/ruled Jerusalem only for some 300 years during the past 4000 years.
Amusingly one Israeli fanatic explained in his/hers recent comment in Jerusalem Post that Jerusalem is a purely Jewish city because the word Jew could be “found” in the word Jerusalem. Well in Finland is a former municipality named Jepua (Jeppo in Swedish). It must also be an old Jewish village because the world Jew can be “found” in the name with equal accuracy as in Jerusalem. This example of the Zionist “etymology” is revealing. Equal “historical/scientific accuracy” can be recognized in so many other Zionist historical fairy tales.
[off topic comments will NOT be published]
SimoHurtta asks, “do ‘you’ have the moral right to demand the protection against prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination of your Jewish heritage [when] ‘you’ spread all the time prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination”? I assume you also ask the same of Palestinians. You write: “Palestinians do not resist Jews because of their religion (Islam and Christianity). They resist because what is done to them.” According to your interpretation of the Middle East, this conflict began in the second half of the 20th Century. Whatever narrative of the conflict you accept, Arab attitudes towards Jews and Jewish attitudes towards Arabs go back many centuries further.
Your selectively noting that “Jews have controlled/ruled Jerusalem only for some 300 years during the past 4000 years” is telling. During the other 3,700 years, I’m sure Jews were afforded full rights in Arab-controlled land, right?
Richard Silverstein says
I assume this is your inarticulate way of saying that hatred of Jews by Arabs goes back many centuries farther. If this was your intent, it was false. Though Arab relations with Jews have always been fraught with tension, they were never anywhere near as violent and hateful as Christian attitudes toward Jews. Such hatred and violence by Arabs against Israelis goes back only as far as the turn of the last century when Jewish aliyah began in earnest. Before then, Arabs (meaning Palestinians) and Jews got along well.
As for what rights Jews had in Arab lands–one thing I’ll assure you: they had far more rights than they had in Christian lands, possibly as many rights or more as Arabs have in Israel itself now.
That’s a red hearing, Richard. The history of Jews in Christian Europe is a whole ‘nother can of worms and completely irrelevant to what we’re talking about. Also: “Before then, Arabs (meaning Palestinians) and Jews got along well.” For someone who prides himself on sensitivity to oppression, that’s a stunningly offensive comment.
Richard Silverstein says
@djf: The comparative security of Jews in Arab and Christian lands is most apt at measuring the level of tolerance of the respective religions. In Palestine, Arabs and Jews got along relatively well in the centuries preceding the first Aliyah.
Pointing out that Jews had it worse in Christendom doesn’t say much. Jews were second-class citizens in the Arab world for the vast majority of the last millennium. It’s little comfort to me that we weren’t ghettoized, expelled, and murdered quite as often.
As I’ve said here several times, I don’t deny Jewish anti-Muslim sentiment and discrimination. But when you completely ignore antisemitism in the Middle East – both historic and modern – you distort the conflict. Both Jewish attitudes about Islam & Muslims, and Muslim attitudes about Jews & Judaism are many centuries old. Your utterly one-sided portrayal does a disservice to anyone who cares about the conflict and its (hopeful) resolution.
Richard Silverstein says
It’s little comfort to you that Jews were treated vastly better by Muslims than by Christians? And that under Christianity they were subject to Crusades, martyrdom, pogroms, blood libels, etc.? While under Islam they were not treated the same as Muslims, but free to become doctors, teachers, philosophers, poets, financiers, etc. Do you really know anything about Jewish history under Islam? I strongly doubt it. You’re more interested in propaganda pts than in rigorous examination of historical fact.
And the only one here doing a disservice is YOU.
My last post was a reply to this one. Sorry for the mis-posting.
‘we’? Does your family hail from Arab countries? Or do you internalize any oppression of Jews, anywhere, anytime?
Richard Silverstein says
It’s the royal, Godlike “we.”
looking back and passing judgement on the past through the distorting lense of present day conflicts is anachronistic. Judging previous societies by the standards of today is also anachronistic- if your desire is to understand them on thier own terms and in context. The past is a foreign country as someone once said…
Also setting up black and white dichotomies of us versus them or Jew versus Palestinian or my histroy/heritage versus your history etc is a misleading misrepresentation of reality- it is inaccurate. Lines between peoples are blurred especially over centuries with mixing and matching gene flows. From my readings[ both Palestinian, non palestinian and Jewish writers], the majority of those who today identify as ‘Palestinian’ are the sum total of all the peoples who have ever lived and/or migrated to the Holy Land. They are the living descendants of the original inhabitants as well as incoming groups…Their history, if you like, is in their genes….as it is in all of us. So it is that they share common ancestry with many jewish people. There have been scientific/ genetic studies published on this topic[ Hebrew University for one] confirming this… Given this common origin and legacy, any ‘jewish heritage’ in the Holy Land, is as much a Palestinian one as those who identify as Jewish still. That Palestinians may not choose to recognise and/or celebrate their common roots ie those that they share with their Jewish bretheran is very sad and says a lot i think. I think it comes from being excluded and cleansed. But i think this common heritage is the one thing that can provide a basis for reconciliation and future peaceful coexistence. Recignition that Palestinians are family and people of the land who should never have been expelled and oppressed in the manner they were and are. The must be justice- one standard for all, otherwsie there will be no peace or future for anyone.
I’m done with you and this third rate shell-game you call a website.
You’re a oddball on a warped vengeance mission against that long dead rabbi who threw you out of the camp mess because you forgot your kippah.
Richard Silverstein says
The only shell game going here is the hasbara campaign of you & yr. buddies who deliberately ignore the comment rules to refight past Zionist battles & history in order to prove Israel=good, Arab=bad. We don’t play that game around here, which is why you’ve grown frustrated. Move on to bluer & whiter pastures.
What is interesting here is how easily the hasbarists changed the subject from that of the blog post, and how no one seemed to care. This is one of their most common ways of making sure they get their “talking points” in, and they gain control of the whole discussion. Not a word was said here about this money being given to Jerusalem preservation or what possible future plans Qatar may have in this regard, which is something we should all be wondering. Qatar has thrown a big chunk of money at Egypt, too – out of the goodness of its heart? since when does any country do anything that does not involve a dose of self-interest?
Fred Plester says
The world will still come for Qatar’s gas if the Middle East is a war zone.
The world will not come to use harbours, airports and freight terminals if the Middle East is a warzone, so war and instability threatens Qatar’s long-term economic strategy, which is to harness passing trade in as many places as it can.
They want to tame Israel and stabilise Egypt, and they most definitely want an end to Somali piracy, too (hence diplomatic support for Kenyan Army’s projection of power in support of a newly discovered Somali government). They’ve even put investment into Greece, which, I have to say, was a great deal more constructive in its nature than the German/EU “bailout” which amounted to a grudging bit of debt relief in return for Greece continuing to wear a strait jacket.
The Qatari investment in Greece was designed to provide work for otherwise workless construction companies to build a gas handling terminal which could work with Russian gas piped through Turkey as well as Qatari gas in tankers.
They want a profit, but mainly they want a world quiet enough to make a profit in. All sorts of people are offering all sorts of prescription’s for Greece’s ills: the Qataris are the only ones offering jobs and a long-term real world economic asset.
“While under Islam they were not treated the same as Muslims, but free to become doctors, teachers, philosophers, poets, financiers, etc.”
Are you comforted by the fact that Palestinians “while [in Israel] they [are] not treated the same as [Jews], [they are] free to become doctors, teachers, philosophers, poets, financiers, etc.”? I’m not.
Richard Silverstein says
There is no way I can go back in history and lobby Islam to offer Jews equality with Muslims. Unlike in latter day Israel (for Palestinians) Jews seemed to be able to make extraordinary contributions to their Muslim societies. While it may not have been a perfect world, it was far better than the way Jews were treated in Christendom & far better than Palestinians are treated inside Israel.
Unlike you, I’d rather focus on what I can change & not blame Islam for the real or imagined or exaggerated sins of the past. Especially since you’re singling out Islam in particular when Christianity’s sins were far worse.