US Congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib, tweeted the other day, questioning why Israel was attacking Muslims on the Al Aqsa Mosque (also known as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem) on their holiest day while they were down on their knees praying. She said the reason Israel does this is to “continue dehumanizing Palestinians even in prayer. It’s not enough to bomb them while they sleep or demolish their homes.”

Now, it’s no secret that when it comes to Israel, Rashida Tlaib is a pathological liar.

This tweet is no exception.

For Israel didn’t “attack Muslims while they were praying”. Israeli security forces were responding to people there who had ambushed them with rocks and stones. This was not some spontaneous action, but a deliberate campaign carried out for years, as shown often by photographic evidence of the stockpiles of stones that are kept in the Al Asqa Mosque.

And it was also not the holiest day for Muslims, but a full 24 hours before the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha even began. And finally, the incident took place after Muslim morning prayers – not while they were “down on their knees praying.”

As I mentioned – a pathological liar.

But it’s no surprise really for those of us who know Rashida Tlaib and her feelings towards Jews and Israel, for her tweets often contain lies and accusations against both. On the map in her US Congress office, she has pasted a post-it stamp labelled ‘Palestine’ pointing to Israel, and last year she retweeted a post with the phrase, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” This is a phrase that endorses genocide against the Jewish people – for it means getting rid of all Jews in all parts of Israel. After much criticism, her tweet mysteriously disappeared.

But when it comes to the Temple Mount in particular, her knowledge is not made up of history, but fantasy. Her accusations are not based on fact, but fiction. She would have her readers and all those who follow her, believe in a fairy tale of a narrative that doesn’t exist – a narrative that says Jews are foreigners in their own land.

But just like her tweets and her accusations and her post-it sticker – it’s a lie.

The Temple Mount is not some foreign place for Jews, but it is the core of our people, our holiest and most important and historical one too. It is the reason that, historically, pagan temples and churches and finally the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock have been built on top of it, upon the ruins of the Jewish Temples, as a massive insult to the Jewish people.

To the Jewish people, this is a site that radiates with almost four thousand years of Jewish history. It glows with an undying and never-ending spirituality. It whispers with the ancient voices of prophets and kings. It is a place in which the heart of the Jewish people can be heard, beating rhythmically, hypnotically, mystically like an old tune playing throughout the ages of time – and it’s being violated every day.

The site and Jerusalem are both claimed by the general Muslim population worldwide as their 3rd holiest site after Mecca and Medina, however it is noteworthy that it’s not mentioned in the Koran even once, yet appears in the Hebrew Bible hundreds of times. Unlike Muslims, Jews turn to face Jerusalem when they pray, not away from it.

Yet it is on this site, where Rashida claims her outrage at so-called Jewish violations of Islam, while ignoring the attacks on Jewish worshipers on the Kotel (the Western Wall) below.

But these attacks are not new.

Between 1948 and 1967, the Jordanians illegally occupied Jerusalem including the Temple Mount and during that time, they committed a series of atrocities and human rights violations while the world stood silently by and ignored these.

They looted, desecrated and destroyed 58 Jewish synagogues. They turned Jewish religious sites into chicken coops and animal stalls. They ransacked the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives – where Jews had been buried for thousands of years, and desecrated the graves, using the tombstones for building materials and latrines. They also expelled the remaining Jewish residents.

And in direct violation of the 1949 armistice deal, they refused to allow Jews access to their holiest sites – including the Temple Mount.

But in 1967, as the Arab armies clamoured together to destroy the Jewish state, a miracle of modern warfare occurred when Israel struck first, defeating the Arab armies and liberating Jerusalem, and so the Temple Mount was once again under Jewish control.

And yet… through some misguided attempt at creating a peaceful future, Israel took that victory in Jerusalem and turned it into a kind of defeat by handing our most holy site back to the very same people who just days earlier had dreamed of our destruction.

They gave it back to the Jordanian Waqf, a bunch of foreign thugs who encourage violence, allowing them to control this Jewish site, dictating who can pray and who can’t, who can walk with pride, or be forced to cower in fear. And that has been the status quo ever since – only Muslims are allowed to pray and Jews are forcibly prevented from doing so.

It is a travesty of justice that Jews in their own capital do not have the same religious freedoms as Muslims. It is an absolute violation of human decency that the Muslim authorities who were granted control to maintain the Temple Mount have turned it into an epicentre of terror, intimidating and threating innocent people who simply want the freedom to be able to visit and pray at their holiest site.

Unfortunately, much of the world, rather than standing up for religious freedom are standing against it, by refusing to put any pressure on the Muslim authorities but on Israel instead. Rashida Tlaib, who does not believe Israel should even exist, is not the defender of freedom, but the champion of oppression.

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Justin Amler is a noted South African born, Australia-based writer and commentator on international affairs.

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