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The duplicity and violence of Quds Day

Beginning with the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has hosted an annual worldwide hate-fest against Jews, celebrated on the last Friday of Ramadan.

“Quds Day” protests in Tehran, July 1, 2016. Credit: Meghdad Madadi via Wikimedia Commons.
“Quds Day” protests in Tehran, July 1, 2016. Credit: Meghdad Madadi via Wikimedia Commons.
Thane Rosenbaum. Credit: Courtesy.
Thane Rosenbaum
Thane Rosenbaum is a novelist, essayist, law professor and Distinguished University Professor at Touro University, where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture & Society. His most recent book is titled “Saving Free Speech ... From Itself.”

What will you all be wearing for Quds Day this Friday? If you’re Jewish, you should really be giving it some serious thought. I wouldn’t take the day too lightly.

Those who observe the holiday are hoping for a bash, which is what Iran and its Palestinian proxies always desire—not so much a celebration of Islam’s ties to Jerusalem, but more pointedly, the pummeling of Jews, wherever they might be found.

Beginning with the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has hosted an annual worldwide hate-fest against Jews, celebrated on the last Friday of Ramadan. What a sad but revealing coda to the most pious month in the Islamic calendar—end your fast, and then get back to the joyous business of replenishing your rage against Israel. It’s a special day each year where Muslims pledge themselves to the destruction of the Jewish people by first eliminating their state.

Think of Quds as a whirlwind of anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist propaganda—a Passion Play for Muslims, with Jews, naturally, typecast as villains. Ostensibly it’s a day of solidarity with the Palestinians, but in actuality, it’s just another excuse to burn flags and incite violence against Israel.

How do I know that despite all the hoopla, Quds is only peripheral to the Palestinians? Well, when Jordan truly “occupied” Jerusalem and the West Bank during Israel’s first 19 years of existence (unlike Israel, Jordan had no lawful claims to the land), the rights of Palestinians were notably unmentioned in the Arab world. Statehood hardly ever came up. Muslims didn’t demand that Jordan surrender the land to the Palestinian people.

It was only when Israel recaptured and reclaimed those territories in the Six-Day War that Arabs and Persians began to pay duplicitous lip service to Palestinian national aspirations.

Now, imagine if Luxembourg set aside a day for the exclusive purpose of hating France and its people—regardless of where they might live. The world would be outraged. Yet, when it comes to the unremitting Arab hostility toward Jews, double standards are the order of the day, and the lowest of expectations are accepted. How can we not expect Arabs to incite violence against Jews at the conclusion of Ramadan?

Were it not for Israeli control over Jerusalem, would Muslims really need a day dedicated to this particular holy city? Yes, of course there is the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, but in Islamic sacred scripture, Jerusalem isn’t even a footnote. I’m not kidding. Jerusalem appears in the Bible 670 times. In the Koran—not once. If Jerusalem is that important to Muslims, how come it got left entirely out of Islam’s holy text?

Moreover, if Quds was really about Palestinian self-determination, there would be less burning of Israeli and American flags, and far less trash talk. Nor are Palestinians on the minds of those who finance the holiday. In 2018, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani celebrated Quds by stating that “Israel can never feel that it is in a safe place.” In 2012, Iran’s then president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said that “confronting the Zionist regime is a national and religious duty.”

Worse still, the bloodthirstiness of Quds is not confined to the region. It is celebrated internationally, in over 80 countries, in New York, London, Paris, Stockholm, Berlin and Toronto. In London it attracts as many as 3,000 people. In Berlin, 1,600 protesters showed up in 2018. The United States can expect to see rallies in as many as 18 cities, especially on college campuses, accompanied by great fanfare.

Remember last year? Unlike other holidays, which were canceled during the pandemic, Al-Quds was deemed too essential to skip. The demonization of Israel is more infectious than the coronavirus. It got a boost, too, from tensions over the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. On May 10, just two days after Quds Day, Hamas sparked a war by launching a barrage of rockets at Jerusalem.

Muslims living in London, Paris, Los Angeles, New York and Miami attacked Jews in those cities, who had not realized they were IDF reservists. Why were they being targeted so far away from the actual theater of war? No one even asked them if they were Zionists.

The bloody festivities began early this year, with a wave of terrorism against Israelis throughout March and early April. Fourteen have been killed: a terror attack in Bnei Brak and another in a bar in Tel Aviv; additional murders in Hadera and Beersheva. On Friday, April 15, Al-Aqsa mosque was once again used as a pretext to bait Israel into a fight. Palestinians hurled stones at Jews celebrating Passover at the Western Wall. Israeli security forces restored order with stun grenades and tear gas. On April 21, after Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system intercepted Hamas rockets, Israeli warplanes struck military targets in Gaza.

Conditions overseas are equally dire. In New York City on April 22, outside the Israeli consulate, one of a number of pro-Palestinian demonstrators savagely attacked a man carrying an Israeli flag. No surprise. Anti-Semitic attacks have doubled this year in New York. The United Kingdom has reported an alarming spike in anti-Semitic violence, too. German domestic intelligence officials fear that increased hostilities against Jews will only get worse. In France, a Jewish man was punched and kicked, and then killed by an oncoming tram when chased by a gang onto the tracks.

Brace yourselves, Jews. And consider wearing a flak jacket this week. Some extremist might be sporting a different kind of vest. Something very loud—and I’m not referring to color.

Thane Rosenbaum is a novelist, essayist, law professor and Distinguished University Professor at Touro College, where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture & Society. His latest work, “Saving Free Speech … from Itself,” was just published. He can be reached via his website.

This article was first published by the Jewish Journal.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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