Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Ray Hanania lies

Ray Hanania is one of the more moderate Arabs of Palestinian origin - an American-born commentator and sometimes comedian.

Yet he has no less of an urge to make up lies about Israel than his other PalArab comrades.

From the SW News Herald, copied from Palestine Note:
Jerusalem is a closed city. It has been for years. Every conqueror and occupier has restricted access to the city to certain people considered enemies.

The Ottomans did it. The Jordanians did it. And now Israel is doing it. Except that Israel is lying about it.

Israelis insist that Jerusalem is "finally" an open city. Yes, open to Jews from anywhere around the world and to most non-Arabs. But not to Arabs and especially not to Palestinians of the Christian and Muslim faiths.

Jerusalem under Israeli occupation is a closed city and the worst part about it is that most Israelis have closed their eyes and they don't care.

Israel's high powered propaganda machine - something the Arabs may not understand because they have no real professional communications at all - insists the "big lie" that Jews were banned from entering East Jerusalem after the cessation of fighting in the 1948 war and until Israel conquered it in their invasion in 1967.

That is an outright lie, of course. Jordan had the same policy that Israel has today. Exactly. Precisely. There is not a difference. During this Arab-Israeli conflict, ALL Arab countries banned Jews who had Israeli passports or who had visited Israel from entering their countries. They also banned pro-Israel activists. And that included East Jerusalem.

The Israelis focus on that fact without the accuracy, of course.

NOT BANNED, however, were Jews who did not travel to Israel and were from other countries who wished to visit East Jerusalem's Wailing Wall for religious, not political, reasons.

Jews prayed at the Wailing Wall all the time during the Jordanian occupation of East Jerusalem.

The difference is that Jordan didn't spend any time with clever public relations spin or professional communications explaining what they were doing.
Really? Jews prayed all the time at the Wailing Wall between 1948 and 1967??

Since there were approximately zero Jews in Jordan during that time period - they were all kicked out in 1948, including families who lived in Jerusalem for hundreds of years, without asking them if they were there for political or religious reasons - this is an astonishing assertion. Even more so since the newspapers of the 1950s and 1960s mention many, many times that Jews - not Israelis, but Jews - were banned from the Old City under Jordanian rule.

I found a single exception. During Christmas week in 1957, the Jewish and Arab mayors of Jerusalem opened up the Mandelbaum Gate and allowed a handful of religious Jews to the Old City. The Canadian Jewish Review mentions the incident, saying that the Jews cried far more for the ruins of the destroyed and desecrated synagogues than for the Temple, and some Arabs took advantage of the commotion to try to free some Arab prisoners from jail, causing the experiment in equal access to be aborted quickly.

Outside of that, the contemporaneous media uniformly mentions that Jews were not allowed to the Old City. Typical was this NYT snippet from January 13, 1957:
And there is the Wailing Wall, where the Jews may come no longer, barred now, as Christians or Moslems were from other shrines in ages past...
The Sydney Morning Herald, December 22, 1951, says
There is only silence to-day at the Wailing Wall, which is the western end of the great platform on which stood the Jewish Temple.
Is there "only silence" at the Al Aqsa Mosque today, Ray?

As far as the ability of Jews to travel to the Old City through Jordan, Dore Gold writes that "Jordan further barred non-Israeli Jews from the Western Wall, demanding that tourists present a certificate of baptism before a visa would be granted."

Hanania is claiming that Israeli policy today exactly mirrors that of Jordan during those infamous 19 years, in not allowing Arabs or Palestinian Christians to visit their holy sites. As I showed previously, not only did Israel hand out over 10,000 permits for Palestinian Christians to visit, but Israel also hosted hundreds of Jordanian and Egyptian Christians during Easter week this year.

To say that this is "exactly, precisely" the same policy that Jordan had when the Old City was Judenrein is nothing short of an absolute lie. If such a policy had existed, there would have been more Jews visiting holy places during Passover than there were Christians during Easter under Jordanian rule.

And, as I also mentioned, the number of religious visitors in Israel's undivided capital Jerusalem during the Passover/Easter season increased from 10,000 in under Jordanian rule in 1967 to over 100,000 this year.