An Editorial



In today's Houston Chronicle (May 28, 1999, page 27A) there is an article, Violent Clashes in east Jerusalem, which raises questions about the Chronicle's objectivity, moral perspective, and historical knowledge. The article concerns the building of Jewish apartments in Jerusalem and a violent protest by some Arabs including officials of the Palestine Authority. This is a classic example demonstrating how the media can distort and mislead its readers according to a political agenda. The article contains both significant omissions as well as linguistic obfuscation. I recommend that you read the article and then make note of the following:

1. The area of the disturbances is referred to as traditional Arab east Jerusalem. This is a politically charged misnomer. Jews lived throughout Jerusalem (east and west) for 3000 years. This is approximately 2400 years before the first Moslem stepped foot in the city. During Israel's War of Independence (1948-9) the eastern portion of the city was occupied by the Jordanian army. All of the Jews were either murdered or ethnically cleansed from the eastern portion of Jerusalem. The Jordanians destroyed 56 synagogues, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, and made latrines of the tombstones from the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. Despite solemn treaty obligations with Israel the Jordanians refused to allow Jews to pray at their Holy Places including the Western Wall. Since the 1967 Six Day War, Israeli has controlled the entire city of Jerusalem and has kept the Holy Places open to all religions. By what right does the Houston Chronicle reach back 32 years and declare that the ethnic cleansing of Jews at that time period should stand as right and just. And, of course by contrast, the ethnically cleansed Albanians have an indefinite right to return to Kosover.

2. Nowhere in the Chronicle article is it mentioned that the land to be built on was legally owned by Jews. Nowhere is it mentioned that building on the property does not dispossess a single Arab. The Chronicle calls it an Arab neighborhood. Jerusalem is a very mixed city ethnically and there are Arabs and Jews in the immediate proximity of the apartment project. But even if it was an Arab neighborhood is the Chronicle suggesting that in Houston it would be OK to keep an Afro-American from moving into a white neighborhood.

3. The most absurd inference in the article is that the Israelis should avoid doing anything in their own capital that would annoy the Arabs who plan to make Jerusalem the capital of 'Palestine'. Is it OK for Israel to demand Mecca as its capital? I would like to make it perfectly clear that the existence of a single Jew between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean has annoyed the Arabs. A lot of people have been annoyed with the presence of Jews, including the Romans, the Greeks, Assyrians, Babylonians, the Catholic Church, the Nazis, Islam etc ad nauseam. Yet we persist and survive, much to the displeasure of some.

The truth, however disconcerting, is that King David made Jerusalem the capital of Israel while most of the world lived in caves and had not yet mastered the art of language. This includes the writers of this Houston Chronicle story.

.......Bernard J. Shapiro, Editor

 HOME  Maccabean  comments