The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the Obama Administration for failing to condemn a Palestinian attack upon peaceful Jewish visitors on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and instead engaging in false equivalence by equating the Palestinian assailants with the Israeli defenders and calling upon them both to “exercise restraint.”
On Sunday night, the eve of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, Muslims who had barricaded themselves inside the Al Aqsa Mosque atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, proceeded to pelt with stones Israeli police who were merely seeking to protect Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount. Israeli police used stun grenades and tear gas against the Muslim assailants.
Despite complete clarity as to the fact that Palestinians, not Israelis breached the peace; that they sought to attack Jews peacefully visiting the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site; and that they did so from behind barricades inside the Al Aqsa Mosque, Vice-President Joseph Biden did not condemn the attack on peaceful Jewish visitors to Temple Mount and the police protecting them. Instead, he “called on all parties to exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions, and to uphold the historic status quo at the holy site” (‘Readout of the Vice President’s Call with King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,’ September 15, 2015).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “First and foremost, Vice-President Biden should have condemned those who instigated the violence –– Palestinian assailants who used a Muslim shrine, the Al Aqsa Mosque, to attack Israeli policemen who were merely present to protect lawful Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.
“Incidentally, Vice-President Biden referred to the Temple Mount as ‘Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount’, placing the Muslim name for the site first. To my knowledge, the U.S. government has never given preferment to the Muslim name for Judaism’s holiest site.
“Does this represent a step in the direction of appeasing the falsified Muslim narrative that Jews have no historic and religious connection the the Temple Mount at the expense of Jewish history?
“While Palestinian Authority (PA) officials have a long record of denying Jewish history and making historically absurd claims, there is no serious scholarly doubt as the the prior existence of the biblical temples at this site.
‘In making this statement, Vice-President Biden engaged in unacceptable false equivalence between Palestinian assailants and Israeli police, who had attacked no-one.
“Worse, he implied that Jews visiting the holiest site in Judaism is a ‘provocative action’ which should be stopped.
“We call upon Vice-President Biden to reaffirm that peaceful Jews have a perfect right to visit Judaism’s holiest site and to clarify that he did not mean in his statement to call this into doubt.”