Incitement leads to action
Op-ed: Sheikh Raed Salah is following in Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini’s footsteps with the ‘Al-Aqsa is in danger’ libel, which asserts that the Jews are planning to replace the Temple Mount mosques with the Third Temple. Whoever thinks brainwashing doesn’t work is wrong, and Friday's terror attack is proof.
Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini turned Al-Aqsa into the main focus of his incitement against Jews. Salah is following in the mufti’s footsteps when it comes to Al-Aqsa. These two specialized in incitement. The younger people are getting down to business. We received another example on Friday.
The focus is on the “Al-Aqsa is in danger” libel. According to the libel, which was spread by the mufti in the 1920s, the Jews are planning to take over the Temple Mount mosques and build the Third Temple on their ruins. Since then, the Al-Aqsa libel has been one of the main causes of the waves of terror. Salah himself has called on his followers to sacrifice their lives “to defend Al-Aqsa.” Whoever thinks brainwashing doesn’t work is wrong.
The state commission of inquiry into the September 2000 clashes between Israeli Arabs and the security forces, which was led by Justice Theodor Or, reached controversial conclusions. But even then, it pointed an accusing finger at Salah, stating that “he worked against an alleged plan of the Israeli government to replace the Al-Aqsa mosques with a Jewish temple—a plan which had nothing to do with reality.”
Since the conclusions were published, Salah has been waging his incitement campaign in full pace. Researcher Nadav Shragai, who wrote a book about it, determined that “Salah intensified the ‘Al-Aqsa is in danger’ libel, bringing it up to levels and strengths that had never been reached by his predecessors and competitors.”
As expected, Salah’s statements deteriorated to sermons preaching the creation of an Islamic caliphate and to blatant anti-Semitism: “We are not the ones who once allowed ourselves to eat bread dipped in children’s blood.” This comment was at the center of a legal discussion in London, after Salah was banned entry to Britain. The ruling rejected Salah’s claim that the comment was not in reference to the famous blood libel against Jews.
For years, Salah sponsored an annual conference in Umm al-Fahm under the banner “Al-Aqsa is in danger,” and the speakers—led by Salah himself—grew increasingly radical every year. The alliance with Hamas became much more open, and Ismail Haniyeh referred to Salah as “the person carrying the honor of the Palestinian people, of the Arab and Islamic nation and of Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa.”
And it got worse and worse. According to Salah, history is marching towards the establishment of “the global caliphate with Jerusalem as its capital,” which will be “the last stage in the history of the Islamic nation till the end of days.” When it looks like ISIS, incites like ISIS and sounds like ISIS—it’s ISIS.
I can go on and on describing the activity of jihad supporters in the Arab sector in general, and in Umm al-Fah, in particular. Not all Israeli Arabs supported this direction. But out of nearly a million and a half Muslims, there are thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—who have been brainwashed by this propaganda. So far, only few Israeli Arabs have crossed the line from talk to action. They are neither one percent nor one-tenth of Israel’s Arabs. They are much less. But any attack by these individuals, Salah’s loyal followers, is bad.
So there’s a need for two things. First of all, it’s time for the Israeli authorities to realize that talk leads to action. Salah and his likes should be silenced, and any legal way will do. Second, Israel’s Arabs, the majority, must speak up much more blatantly. Salah and his followers are the enemy. They are the strife mongers. They are harming the justified struggle for equality. They are spreading lies and nurturing incitement. For our sake, for their sake, Israel’s Arabs should also get rid of this nuisance.