When I grew up in an east coast city in Canada post WWII I never experienced any overt anti-Semitism. In my father’s day it was different. Anti-Semitism was woven into the warp and woof of society. The most blatant manifestation could be found at the entrance of a popular river beach. There was a sign there. It said: NO JEWS OR DOGS ALLOWED.
That sign expresses the essence of anti-Semitism. Human rights of any kind are for, well, humans. Jews are sub-humans. They are no different in genus from the other dumb animals except like dogs they are domesticated. Dogs have no right to intrude into places which humans have designated are reserved for humans. Nor, according to anti-Semites, do Jews.
This morning Likud MK Moshe Feiglin and an entourage went up to visit the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, the site of the destroyed Temple, which for many centuries was the centre of Jewish worship. The act for Jews was no different from Chinese wishing to walk on the Great Wall Of China except that as a rule the Jews go up to pray.
What happened? Hundreds of Arab youths began rioting and pelting the Feiglin group with stones. The police, and these cops are Israelis, reacted immediately. They moved smartly against the cause of the disturbance. The Arab rioters? No. The Feiglin group. And drove them out of there.
This is a scenario which repeats itself like a broken record, if you are old enough to remember what that is. The police fail to establish a sufficient presence to protect Jews entering there. So they kick them out and only then do they act against the perpetrators of violence, making arrests. Meanwhile the Jews have been deprived of their visit. There are no refunds and no rain tickets.
The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that Jews have a right to go up to the Temple Mount. But they added a caveat. The Jews may be expelled if the police believe their presence will incite a “disturbance to the public order.” The Arabs make it easy on the police to meet the letter of the law. At the first sight of a Jew, the rocks start to fly.
After Israel took possession of the Temple Mount in the Six-Day War in 1967 for reasons which have never been fully explained, they permitted a Muslim group the Waqf to manage the premises.
This set up a “who’s on first?” situation. The site is supposed to be open to anyone, citizen and tourist alike. And the management authority, the Waqf, is supposed to implement this policy. But they rely on the Israeli police who enforce the law as interpreted by the Supreme Court. The cops follow the path of least resistance without any directives originating from their bosses in the government whose heads have remained buried in the sand for 47 consecutive years breaking the record set by some ostrich in prehistoric times. The result is that Jews keep getting it in the neck.
The Knesset debated in February the topic whether the government should manage the Temple Mount directly and send the Waqf packing. During the debate Zehava Gal-On, the leader of the extreme leftist party Meretz, famous for its kneejerk pro-Arab apologetics, said that the Temple Mount is a powder keg waiting to explode. Leave well enough alone.
There was a time not so long ago when every restaurant in the US south was a powder keg waiting to explode. All it took was a black man or woman to enter the premises. That applied to schools, sporting teams, the front ends of buses, even gas station toilets.
If the judges on the Israeli Supreme Court had been sitting in Washington instead the American judges who were, there would never have been a Civil Rights movement. The US south today would be the same as the US south was then. Why? The police everywhere, and Bull Connor types would still be the only law in town, would immediately have sicced the dogs on the blacks at the first rock thrown by a segregationist. The Gal-Ons of the world would have triumphed.
There is a simple solution to the Temple Mount problem. Authority has been delegated to the Waqf. The government can tell it to implement the standing policy; the Temple Mount is open to everyone, that means all humans. As the authority it can request sufficient police presence so that there are no disturbances. And if the Waqf is incapable of running the site properly, then it will be replaced.
Failing that the Israeli government has a moral obligation to post a large sign at the entrance explaining clearly its real and actual Temple Mount policy: NO JEWS OR DOGS ALLOWED.