High Holy Sites

“At a time when Israelis and Palestinians have returned to direct dialogue,” Barack Obama said, marking the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah on Tuesday, “it is up to us to encourage and support those who are willing to move beyond their differences and work towards security and peace in the Holy Land.” 1

Obama’s remarks showed his ignorance of the traditions about which he spoke with dangerous implications of historical equivalence. Israel is the Holy Land in Judaism, with its cornerstone in Jerusalem; and Islam identifies its Holy Land as Saudi Arabia, which contains the holiest of Muslim sites in Mecca and Medina.2

With a fundamentalist Iranian theocracy in pursuit of nuclear weapons, claiming that Israel must be “wiped off the map” through Palestinian attacks, there is a genuine threat in Obama’s extremist remarks for American national security.3

References

1.  Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on the Occasion of Rosh Hashanah,” The White House, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/07/remarks-president-occasion-rosh-hashanah

2.  Charles Levinson, “On Tour of Middle East, Pope Visits Holy Sites of Islam and Judaism,” The Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2009, World News.

3.  Nazila Fathi, “Wipe Israel ‘off the map’ Iranian Says,” The New York Times, October 27, 2005, Africa.

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