Incitement Watch - Flashpoint: Al Aksa
Posted: August 24, 2005
Alarming allegations that the Israeli government is plotting to demolish or desecrate the Al Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem have become widespread across the Arab and Muslim world. These inflammatory claims – which are often accompanied by warnings of dire consequences to Israel and Jewry should damage befall the mosque – are not new, but have increased significantly in the rhetoric of clerics, political leaders and newsmakers in the past several months. This amounts to a campaign of incitement against the Jewish state, which has devoted huge resources to ensuring that the Mosque remains a safe location for religious pilgrimage and worship.
This propaganda campaign is a response to the recent actions of several tiny Jewish extremist groups, who have militated for the curtailment or reduction of Muslim worship on the Temple Mount or who have sought to carry out acts of terrorism against Al Aksa. Israel has taken these threats seriously and has responded forcefully to these groups, disrupting their activities, arresting their leaders and in some cases banning them entirely. It is not the purpose of this report to minimize the seriousness of the danger posed by these groups, but to draw attention to the way a real threat, which has been treated seriously by Israeli authorities, is being magnified and distorted almost beyond recognition by Arab and Muslim propagandists, with concomitant increases in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment worldwide.
The increase in incitement has already resulted in violent clashes in Jerusalem, which were initiated by Muslim crowds that answered calls by Palestinian Authority's religious leaders to "protect Al Aksa," and has contributed to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups violating a ceasefire and resuming terror attacks on Israelis. It has also encouraged Muslims worldwide to take to the streets in rallies that were characterized by anti-Semitism and support for violence against Jews.