Why They Scrawl “Free Palestine” on Synagogues

Aug. 31 2020

When the unrest that has been striking so many American cities hit Kenosha, Wisconsin, someone spray painted “Free Palestine” on the driveway of Beth Hillel Temple. Jonathan Tobin observes:

Stacked up against the toll of dead and injured, the businesses and homes that have been destroyed along with the savings and lifetimes of hard work they represented, as well as the concerns about the shooting [by police of Jacob] Blake, a slogan scrawled on a sidewalk or even on the walls of synagogues or other Jewish institutions—as happened in Los Angeles during the post-George Floyd riots there three months ago—doesn’t amount to much.

But it is still important to ask why, with so much else going on, there seems almost always to be both time and effort available to lash out at symbols of the Jews.

[T]here is also no escaping the fact that the driving force behind the justifications for the Black Lives Matter protests and some of those protesting is a belief in “intersectionalism.” Intersectional ideology holds that, among other causes, the Palestinian war to eliminate Israel is a struggle of “indigenous people of color” against white colonialists [and thus] somehow analogous to the struggle for civil rights in the United States.

That this claim is a lie in every respect doesn’t make the notion any less toxic. Far-left groups that are loud and increasingly influential voices in American politics have promoted such ideas. That creates a national constituency for the demonization of Israel on college campuses, as well as in minority communities. Add to that the way it is amplified by sympathizers of the Nation of Islam, whose leader, Louis Farrakhan, is the leading purveyor of anti-Semitism in the African-American community, and you have a growing audience for claims that saying “free Palestine” is the moral equivalent of uttering slogans like “black lives matter.”

Read more at JNS

More about: 2020 Riots, Anti-Semitism, Black Lives Matter, Intersectionality, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Nation of Islam

When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount