ZOA Condemns U.S. State Dept. & U.S. Amb. Nides For Siding with Antisemitic, Discriminatory Palestinian & Hamas Terrorists re: the Temple Mount, Violating Jews’ Religious Freedom
News Press Release
January 4, 2023

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

It is a fundamental American principle that religious and racial discrimination are impermissible, unacceptable and unjust. We Americans do not let threats of violence stop us from changing discriminatory “status quos.”

Thus, the Ku Klux Klan’s and other bigots’ violence and threats of violence did not stop the U.S. government from appropriately ending the longstanding “status quos” of racist segregated schools; “white only” drinking fountains; and restrictive covenants that prevented Jews and Blacks from living in many neighborhoods. Instead, we stood up to the racist Black-hating terrorists. For instance, when nine African American children were prevented from entering Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, then-President Eisenhower sent in 1,000 U.S. Army paratroopers to assure that the African American students could appropriately and peacefully attend school.

But today, the Biden administration is arrogantly demanding that Israel must maintain an antisemitic, racist, discriminatory, unjust “Muslims only” supposed “status quo” on the Jewish people’s holiest site – the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Temple Mount is the site of the First and Second Jewish Temples which stood for approximately 1,000 years, long before Islam was invented and long before Muslims built mosques on the site. Notice it’s called the Temple Mount, not the Mosque Mount.

King Solomon built the Jewish Temples as a place where all people were welcome to pray. Moreover, Israel’s 1967 “Protection of Holy Places Law” endorses free access to holy places. But now, wrongly and unjustly, Jews and other non-Muslims are denied rights to openly pray and bring prayer books on the Temple Mount. Non-Muslim visiting hours are severely restricted. Non-Muslims can only enter through one of the Temple Mount’s 12 gates – while Muslims can use all of the gates. Jews are not permitted to drink from the water fountain on the Temple Mount because some Jew-hating Muslims publicly deem Jews to be “unclean.” Sound familiar? Jews are usually not even permitted to silently mouth a Jewish prayer.

Meanwhile, Muslims have shown their “respect” for the site and for the “status quo” by playing soccer games on the Temple Mount; storing rocks, firebombs and weapons in the Al-Aqsa mosque; destroying literally tons of priceless Jewish antiquities and archeological materials on the Temple Mount; harassing and attacking Jews who visit the site; converting a Second Temple period structure into a new mosque; using the site to hurl boulders at Jews praying at the Western Wall below; and inciting anti-Jewish violence by broadcasting blood libels that Jews are “storming” and “destroying the sanctity of” the Al-Aqsa mosque. (See also ZOA Resource: Facts About the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit) – Summary.”)

Instead of opposing this unacceptable antisemitic discrimination, the Biden administration is wrongly condemning Israeli Minister Itamar Ben Gvir for briefly touring the periphery of the Jewish people’s holiest site.

For instance, hostile-to-Israel U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides arrogantly and disgracefully demanded after Minister Ben Gvir’s brief visit: “To be very clear – we want to preserve status quo and prevent actions that are unacceptable. We have been very clear in our conversations with the Israeli government on this issue.” (Incidentally, Minister Ben Gvir’s visit did nothing to change the Temple Mount’s so-called “status quo.”)

Similarly, during the U.S. State Department’s January 3, 2023 briefing, State Dept. spokesman Ned Price repeatedly insisted: “We oppose any unilateral actions that undercut the historic status quo. They are unacceptable. . . . This visit has the potential to exacerbate tensions and to provoke violence.” The State Department spokesman’s false assertion that a mere visit by a Jew to the Jewish people’s holiest site can “provoke violence” was like accusing Rosa Parks of “provoking violence” by not sitting in the back of the bus, or Black families legitimately and peacefully moving into “White” neighborhoods. The State Department thus adopted the same line as the Palestinian Authority terror dictatorship regime – which falsely claimed that the visit was a “provocation” as well as “an attack on Al-Aqsa.” Notably, to Arab terrorists, everything and anything – including the very existence of Israel – is a “provocation.” How dare the U.S. State Department buy into this!

In addition, during the same State Department briefing, State Dept. spokesman Ned Price adopted the dangerous false Palestinian Arab claim that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s brief visit to the periphery of the Temple Mount on September 28, 2000 provoked the Second Intifada. In fact, as PA Communications Minister Imad Faluji admitted, Arafat planned the Second Intifada months before Sharon’s visit. The Second Intifada also began with Palestinian Arab terrorists murdering Jews before Ariel Sharon stepped foot on the Temple Mount. In addition, the PA security chief, Jibril Rajoub had assured Israeli security that if Sharon did not enter the mosques, no problems would arise from Sharon’s visit. Sharon did not enter the mosques – but the PA still turned around and used Sharon’s visit as a pretext for calling Muslims “to defend Al-Aqsa” – by attacking Jews praying at the Western Wall on Rosh Hashanah, murdering Jewish children in suicide bombings, etc. Moreover, the world dare not succumb to threats of violence by Islamist terrorists or we will simply get more terrorism by showing that threats of terrorism and terrorism achieve the terrorists’ goals.

The Biden State Department needs to be reminded that the Palestinian Arabs are the ones doing the “provoking” – regardless of whether any Jew exercises his basic religious right to visit the Temple Mount. Arab terrorists have repeatedly used false claims about Al-Aqsa to stir up anti-Jewish violence. In 1929, Arabs led by Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini circulated false rumors that Jews were marching on Al-Aqsa, raping and killing, in order to incite Arabs to murder Jews throughout Israel, including in the Hebron massacre of 67 innocent Jews. In 2015 and afterwards, PA terrorist dictator Mahmoud Abbas, who pays Arabs to murder Jews, incited a major years-long wave of terror by repeatedly broadcasting his speech urging Arabs to spill blood and become “martyrs” to prevent Jews and Christians from “defiling Al-Aqsa” with their “filthy feet.”

The current statements of the Palestinian Authority terror regime, Hamas, and various other Arab entities reveal that they are the ones that are again provoking violence. For instance, after Minister Ben Gvir’s brief, innocuous visit, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called on Palestinian Arabs to “confront the raids into al-Aqsa Mosque” – a clear call for anti-Jewish violence. There were of course no “raids,” and Minister Ben Gvir never entered the mosque. Terrorist Hamas similarly falsely accused Minister Ben Gvir of “invading” the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and reiterated Hamas’ ever-present calls to expel and “cleanse” the “filth” [Jews] from Israel. Various Arab governments (including Jordan, UAE and Saudi Arabia) falsely accused Israel of “storming” Al-Aqsa. These falsehoods are the real provocations.

Interestingly, in order to try to stir up more anti-Jewish hatred, PA Prime Minister Shtayyeh also falsely accused Israel of trying to turn the Al-Aqsa Mosque into the site of a “new” Jewish temple. By using the term “a new Jewish temple,” the PA unwittingly finally acknowledged that the Jewish Temples stood on the Temple Mount – one of the many historical facts about the Jewish people’s longstanding presence in Jerusalem and the land of Israel which the PA has attempted to deny.

Three other aspects of the January 3, 2023 State Department briefing are also worth noting.

First, State Dept. spokesman Ned Price boasted that the Biden administration is “now providing about a billion dollars of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.” This funding is provoking more anti-Jewish violence, by freeing up monies that the Palestinian Authority would otherwise have to spend on government services, thereby enabling the PA to continue spending $400 million per year on its “pay to slay” payments, giving lifetime pensions to Palestinian Arab terrorists to murder innocent Jews.

Second, the State Dept. spokesman insulted the Jewish people and Jewish history by first inserting a Muslim name for the Temple Mount every time he referred to the Jewish people’s holiest site.

Third, State Dept. spokesman Ned Price once again allowed Palestinian Arab “Al-Quds” newspaper reporter Said Arikat to viciously libel Israel during the briefing, without correcting the record. Arikat deceptively and falsely claimed that “Israelis killed a 15-year-old Palestinian boy” and that this was a “daily occurrence.” In fact, the “boy” was a terrorist affiliated with the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a U.S.-designated terror group) who was attacking and throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli Border Police when the police were trying to arrest a terrorism suspect. Moreover, instead of correcting the record, State Dept. spokesman Ned Price reprimanded all parties, thereby failing to distinguish terrorists from law enforcement, and denying the Israeli Border Police the right to protect themselves from deadly attacks. Price stated: “We re-emphasize the need for all parties to do everything in their power to de-escalate the situation.” (See also How a Palestinian Journalist Slanders Israel at the U.S. State Department: A reporter for the Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper continuously libels Israel during press briefings, and isn’t corrected by State Department spokespersons,” by Charles Bybelezer, JNS, Dec. 20, 2022.)

In sum, it is dangerous that instead of standing up to the Palestinian Arab terrorists, and instead of standing against anti-Jewish discrimination, the Biden administration is standing with the antisemitic terrorist Hamas and Palestinian Authority terrorist leaders who are invoking blood libels and inciting violence. Shame.

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