Simon Wiesenthal Center to US, EU Leaders: Denounce Abbas’ Incendiary Incitement Against Jewish People’s Rights to Their Religious Sites

October 20, 2014
Jerusalem, Israel

Abbas Urging Muslim Defense Against Non-Existent Threat

The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged President Obama, the EU and Interfaith leaders to denounce Mahmoud Abbas’ assault on the religious freedom of the Jewish people for stating that Jews visiting Jerusalem’s Temple Mount are desecrating the Al Aqsa Mosque.

“Mr. Abbas sounds no different than Hamas when he labels Jews visiting the Temple Mount—Judaism’s holiest site—a “desecration” and calls upon Muslims to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque against a non-existent threat,” charged Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate Dean of the major international Jewish human rights group.

“The PA President’s latest assault is consistent with Palestinian leadership’s efforts in word and deed to deny the Jewish people’s historic connection to The Holy Land. The PA is seeking to rebrand Rachel’s Tomb, where a matriarch of the Jewish nation is buried, as a mosque. Palestinians have tried to burn down Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus and have made it virtually impossible for Jews to worship there safely, without the presence of the Israeli military. Palestinian leaders from Yasser Arafat to Mahmoud Abbas deny that Solomon’s Temple stood atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.”

“This outrageous campaign is a new phenomenon as historically Muslims often revered and protected Jewish Holy sites, including Rachel’s Tomb for hundreds of years. Indeed, from 1924 (through 1953), the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem published, “A Brief Guide to Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” an annual English-language guide to the Temple Mount. It states on the opening page: “Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot according to the universal belief, on which [quoting Hebrew Scripture] ‘David built there an altar unto the Lord.”

“We live in a time when Muslims, Christians and Jews are beheaded by a so-called Islamic State, when Christians have been ethnically cleansed from historic communities in Iraq and threatened throughout the Middle East. Israel is the only country where the religious rights of all faiths are protected and respected. Indeed, people of all faiths—including Muslims— are welcome to visit the Western Wall; Jews should be equally welcomed to visit the Temple Mount,” Wiesenthal Center officials added.

“It is time for President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry and other political and religious leaders to tell President Abbas to stop the canards, to finally acknowledge that, in fact, The Temple Mount is Holy to two religions— as the Supreme Muslim Council and the archeological facts on the ground confirm. Left unchallenged, Abbas’ lies will surely incite to violence,” Hier and Cooper concluded.

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).