The ubiquitous accusation by Palestinians, their leaders and Islamist extremists across the globe that Israel or Jews are plotting to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque is an antisemitic conspiracy theory that has incited the murder of Jews for nearly a 100 years.
Yet, as our posts have demonsrated, British media outlets inexplicably often treat such allegations, which often serve as a pretext to violence, merely as a Palestinian “claim” which “Israel denies”, rather than a paranoid conspiracy – framed as a legitimate grievance rather than the political pathology that it is.
However, the British Muslim site 5 Pillars, which fancies itself a serious news outlet, but, as the counter-extremism organisation Quilliam Foundation demonstrates, has a track record of peddling anti-Israel conspiracy theories and defending Islamist hate preachers, didn’t merely legitimise the ‘mosque is in danger’ canard in the abstract. It leveled a completely unsubstantiated charge that an Israeli ambassador is promoting the mosque’s destruction.
Their Oct. 4th article on Tzipi Hoteveley, Israel’s new ambassador to London, (“Israel’s new far-right ambassador to UK arrives in London”), included the following:
The new ambassador, who describes herself as a “religious right-winger,” has…promoted the movement to destroy Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and once claimed that there is “no Palestinian people.”
In a speech to supporters of the Temple Institute in 2017, Hotovely called on them to enter the mosque compound – Islam’s third holiest site.
First, their claim that Hoteveley called for Jews to enter the “mosque compound” is extremely misleading, as the “mosque compound” is just another name for the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. The ambassador didn’t call for Jews to enter the actual mosque, as anti-Israel propaganda sites typically claim, just the area where Jews are legally permitted – under the status quo agreement – to visit.
More importantly, 5 Pillars failed to provide a source for their wildly incendiary claim that Hoteveley has “promoted the movement to destroy Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque“, and it’s in fact unclear what “movement” they’re even referring to, as most Israeli Temple Mount activists narrowly seek to overturn the ban on Jews praying at the site.
Though Hoteveley did once call for the Israeli flag to rise over the Temple Mount (for symbolic reasons, to signify Jerusalem’s sovereignty over the site), that’s of course not even remotely the same thing as calling for Israel to “destroy” Al-Aqsa. Moreover, Hoteveley’s comments about the flag were widely condemned, including by the prime minister.
The bottom line is that there is literally zero evidence that the new ambassador ever supported the destruction of Al-Aqsa, and we’ve complained to 5 Pillars – which is regulated by the independent press regulator IMPRESS – about this libel.
Back to Basics.
There is nothing new in this that has not been said before – the BBC quoted a similar line many years ago.
It all stems from the Arab attempt to classify and rewrite history. The whole of the Temple Mount Compound (Har Habayit) is in their nomenclature being the Al Aksa Mosque not just the actual mosque (“public”) itself that was erected later 1033 – thus using their definition the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat al-Sakhrah, Hebrew: כיפת הסלע Kippat ha-Sela) erected in 691 classified as a “private” mosque, is also part of the Al-Aksa mosque. Hence by their definition any changes, including Jewish access to the Temple Mount is “an attack on the Al-Aksa Mosque” and this is used very effectively in stirring up Muslims throughout the world.
The tragedy of letting this terminology be used rests fair and square on successive Israeli Governments who failed to ensure the major international media outlets did not use the Arab terminology!