Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told North American Jews Tuesday that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is changing to status quo on the Temple Mount by trying to bar Jews from visiting the holy site.
Speaking at the annual General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America in Maryland, the Prime Minister thumped two themes – the Iranian nuclear threat and Palestinian Authority incitement.
After the usual platitudes for support from American and Canadian Jews and gratitude for ”standing up for Israel” – which is far from true – he said that the world’s most important challenge is “the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”
“Iran is openly committed to Israel’s destruction,” he said. “And even as Iran negotiates a nuclear deal with the leading powers in the international community, its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, brazenly calls for Israel’s annihilation. These are not my words, these are his words: Israel’s annihilation….
“These aren’t mere words; they’re not just statements thrown out in the air, which is harmful enough. The regime in Iran’s wild rhetoric is also backed by murderous action…. “Iran’s savagery abroad is also matched by its brutality at home. The ayatollah regime executes political opponents, religious and ethnic minorities, gays, feminists and journalists. And executions have increased, not decreased, under the supposedly moderate Rouhani regime.
“This is how Iran acts without nuclear weapons; now imagine how Iran will act if a deal is made that leaves it as a threshold nuclear power.”
The problem for Israel is that Iran is a lot closer to Jerusalem than it is to Washington, and liberal Americans, especially Jews, often feel that what happens in Tehran can’t affect them. They apparently were not around during Pearl Harbor.
Netanyahu tried to bring things closer to home by declaring, “The Islamic State of Iran is not a partner of America. It’s an enemy of America. And it should be treated as an enemy – by keeping tough sanctions on the regime; by making clear that the international community is determined to do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from breaking out or sneaking out to get the bomb.”
Israel has the same problem when it comes to explaining to Jews, who often are more concerned with working for their home-grown organizations than working on behalf of Israel, that the “two-state solution” is a fantasy and a camouflage for incitement aimed at promoting an all-out Arab civilian attack on Israel.
“These attacks have been accompanied by a systemic campaign of incitement, including libels about Israel trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount and even wild allegations that we are planning to destroy Muslim holy sites,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said.
“Status quo” is a magical phrase for Americans who don’t understand that using the term is like saying “negotiations.” Everyone understand it differently
Israel goes by Webster’s and considers negotiations to be talks for a give-and-take compromise. The Palestinian Authority understands the word as synonym for “ultimatum.”
The same is true for the phrase ”status quo on the Temple Mount”
“Last week, I spoke to King Abdullah of Jordan, and I reiterated Israel’s commitment to maintain the religious status quo on the Temple Mount,” explained Netanyahu.
“But I regret to say that the Palestinian Authority, which should also be working to calm tensions, has joined Hamas and other radical Islamists in fanning the flames.
“President Abbas himself called on Palestinians to prevent Jews from entering the Temple Mount. He used the words: ‘by any means possible.’
“See, this – the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, where Jews have visited peacefully for years – President Abbas says we should not set foot there. That’s changing the status quo.”