by Hugh Fitzgerald
Elder of Ziyon has a fascinating article: a Saudi Arab journalist, Ali al-Ameem, working for a major Arab paper, has thoroughly debunked a wild tale about Israelis desecrating Al-Aqsa on June 6, 1967, the day Israel took control of the Old City of Jerusalem. His report is here.
This is something you don’t often see – an Arab at a major Arab newspaper debunking an antisemitic rumor that has become an accepted part of the narrative.
For decades, Arabs have been taught that the Jewish men and women of the IDF, upon conquering the Old City of Jerusalem, went through the Al Aqsa Mosque in a drunken and half-naked state, chanting, “Mohammed is dead, and he left only daughters!”
Even though this story is absurd to begin with, Ali al-Ameem, a Saudi journalist, traces the rumor back to its origin and debunks it thoroughly.
The first mention of the story comes from Iraqi Islamic writer Mahmoud Sheet Khattab in his 1969 book “Arab Military Unity.” He wrote, “When the Jews entered the city of Jerusalem on June 6, 1967, they were chanting in Al-Aqsa Mosque in Hebrew, with the meaning: Muhammad died, he died… He left daughters, and I listened to the silly joking, broadcasting a text from an Arab radio station, and commenting on it by the announcer, translating it to Arabic. Perhaps many Arabs and Muslims listened as I listened to that radio, and felt as I felt that a poisoned arrow hit my liver, which is bleeding blood, bitterness, sadness and pain.”
By June 6, 1967, Jerusalem was crawling with Western journalists. They came to the Old City. Yet not a single one of them reported that Israeli soldiers – or any Israelis – had entered Al-Aqsa Mosque. Nor did a single Arab in Jerusalem mention, in any oral or written communication, that he (or she) had seen such a thing. Al-Aqsa was not closed; there were Arabs there at prayer. Yet none of them reported seeing any Israelis coming inside, much less chanting tauntingly about Muhammad.
And we are also being asked to believe that this story was carried on an Arab radio station – one that presumably beamed into Iraq where Mahmoud Sheet Khattab lived. But why then was there not a single comment from anyone in that Arab audience? Wouldn’t such news have created an uproar? Khattab writes that “perhaps many Arabs and Muslims listened as I listened to that radio, and felt as I felt that a poisoned arrow hit my liver, which is bleeding blood, bitterness, sadness and pain.” Yet even Khattab, having heard this terrible story, waited more than two years to write about it? What was holding him back, or all the others who had been listening to the story?
Yet Mahmoud Sheet Khattab, the author of this farcical tale – but not too farcical for millions of Arabs who still believe it – waited two full years before bothering to write up this story of the supposed Israeli desecration of Al-Aqsa. Why?
The story morphed. In a 1970 book by the same author, “Israel’s Expansionist Objectives in the Arab Countries” Khattab wrote:
On June 6, 1967, Israel occupied the ancient city of Jerusalem. So the President of the Israeli State, the Prime Minister of Israel and the Ministers of Israel, led by the Israeli Chief Rabbi, proceeded to march towards the Western Wall, and there Moshe Dayan said: Today the road to the city is open.
The Jews desecrated the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque by allowing the Israeli male and female soldiers to enter it wearing revealing clothes while they were drunk as if they were in bars or places of prostitution.
Here Khattab added important details that he had for some reason neglected to include in his earlier, 1969 version, of the story: the “revealing clothes” and the inebriated state of the Israeli soldiers. An absurdity. On June 6, Israel was still in the middle of the war, that started on June 4 and ended on June 10. Yet Khattab wants us to believe that these soldiers all managed to go home, change out of their uniforms – no offices apparently around to discipline them – and to change into “revealing clothes.” Khattab was no doubt fantasizing about “scantily-clad Israeli women.” And then, now out of uniform, and apparently unseen by any officers, these young soldiers in their “revealing” dress went from their houses back to the Old City, climbed the stairs to the Temple Mount, and then they entered Al-Aqsa without a single Arab or Muslim there to try to stop them, including those praying inside the mosque. And once inside, those Israeli soldiers chose to wantonly disport themselves as if “they were in bars or places of prostitution.” What could be more horrifying to a Muslim than this bacchanalia by Jews in Al-Aqsa? And what could be more preposterous?
More from Mahmoud Sheet Khattab:
The Israeli army and the Jews violated the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque. They were chanting in his courtyards on June 6, 1967: Muhammad died, he died… He left behind daughters!
And another comment from Elder of Ziyon:
Ameem points out the inconsistencies between these two stories as well as more embellishments that Khattab added in years later. He notes that the phrase “Mohammed dies, and left daughters” only rhymes in Arabic, not Hebrew (Mohammad mat wakhalf banat.) He mentions that it makes no sense [to claim that] Israelis, who have had women in the army since 1948, would say anything disparaging about Mohammed having only daughters. He points out that if the phrase had been on Arabic radio then many Arabs would have condemned it immediately and not waited until 1969.…
Not only is Khattab’s story, in both its 1969 and 1970 versions, preposterous in every detail, but there is one thing that the Israelis did do that very day concerning Al-Aqsa Mosque, about which the world, including Arabs and Muslims, need to be better informed. Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan’s first act on the Temple Mount, only a few hours after IDF Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren blew the shofar and gave the Shehecheyanu blessing beside the Western Wall, was to immediately remove the Israeli flag that the paratroopers had raised on the Mount.
Dayan’s second act was to clear out the paratroop company that was supposed to remain permanently stationed in the northern part of the Mount. And his third, and most important act, was to lay down the law for Jews: they might visit the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, but they were forbidden from praying on the Temple Mount, or even from mouthing silent prayers, lest they offend Muslims. Far from sanctioning blasphemy and sacrilege, revealing clothes and wild chanting, the Israelis bent over backwards to accommodate Muslim sensibilities. Perhaps the Saudi journalist, Ali al-Ameem, will find an occasion, at some point, to add this information to his demolition of the fictions of Mahmoud Sheet Khattab.
First published in Jihad Watch.