An opinion piece about Jerusalem in the October 18, 2005 edition of the Portland State University Vanguard was so riddled with factual errors and antisemitic statements that the editors of the newspaper removed the article from their Web site on October 27 and replaced it with this text:
Editor’s note, Oct. 27, 2005: This article has been removed from the web site by the editors because after review, we find it does not meet the editorial standards of the Vanguard. A statement on the article by the editorial board will be published Oct. 28.
Plenty of comments about the article, pretty much all negative, were posted on the page where the article appeared before it was removed, before those comments, too, were removed from the site.
It was not hard to retrieve the text of the original article by looking at Google’s cached copy of its page. The Vanguard may wish to retract it, but I think it’s important for things like this not to be lost to history, so I’m reprinting the text here.
A city divided
Religious disputes over Jerusalem require diplomacy
By Caelan MacTavish
October 18, 2005
Wars have been fought over Jerusalem since its inception. It is a city that is holy to three major world religions. The Jews want Jerusalem because it is the city that King David ruled ancient Judea from. The Muslims want Jerusalem because it was there the prophet Mohammed ascended into heaven. The Christians want Jerusalem because they have always wanted the Holy Land. Maybe nobody should have it.
Currently, Jerusalem is deep inside the West Bank, and may be the single biggest impediment to a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. After the Diaspora, or scattering, Jews left their ancient seat of government and went all across Europe. Then the Holocaust came, the Great Burning, and Jews started to leave the Europe that hated them for centuries because of their exclusive religion. Nobody can really convert to Judaism — you are born Jewish, or you are not.
The Jews did not like to integrate with other peoples. When the Greeks met the Egyptians, they said, “Oh, your Ammon is our Zeus. We worship the same gods. Let’s feast together and exchange presents.” When the Greeks met the Jews, the Jews told them, “No, our God is not your God. Our God belongs to us alone. Take your God and shove it.”
People didn’t like Jews because of this; they feared whatever secrets their exclusive god might be hiding. Scholars think this attributed to the hereditary prejudice against Jews, and in response, Zionism attracted the scattered Jews back to the land their ancient kingdom once rested upon. Israel was formed.
Instead of keeping the barriers put in place by the United Nations after the Six-Day War, in 1967, Israel proceeded to grab as much land as possible over the last century. Crazy religious zealots believe that the entire realm of Palestine is theirs, since an ancient book says an invisible being in the clouds gave it to them. This argument doesn’t hold up too well in real estate law. Try it sometime.
But the crazy religious zealots, affectionately termed “settlers” by sympathetic press, go and squat on occupied Palestinian orchards, cut down all the trees, and built a little town. The Palestinians get upset, and the Jews take all the water and resources. Leaving Palestinians in little more than cages is not an appropriate act for a race released from concentration camps. But, monkey see, monkey do.
The new apartheid wall is not helping things either. This wall cuts off some Palestinian towns entirely from anything else — jobs, commercial centers, roads, everything. Left with no options (Palestinians are not citizens, cannot vote, and have no rights) some people are blowing themselves up.
Why can’t they work it out? Both sides claim Jerusalem as their own city.
Dividing a city didn’t work with Berlin. Some proposals to separate Jerusalem between Israeli and Palestinian sectors have been floated, but they have fallen apart due to the inability to agree on who gets what. Temple Mount is a site claimed to be holy by three different religions. Which one should get exclusive rights to it?
This issue was always settled with war before the present time. That hill has seen bloodshed because everybody wants it.
Let’s take Jerusalem away from both Israel and Palestine, and give it to the United Nations. They can move their headquarters from New York, since the United States doesn’t really like the U.N. anyway. John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., has a stated purpose to see the U.N. destroyed.
If Jerusalem were made an international city, free from all of the battles and wars that have consumed the Middle East for millennia, and turned into a diplomatic center, then there would be a viable chance for a peaceful resolution.
Everyone agrees that the U.N. is in need of reform. What better way to usher in reform than to move everything, offices, files, people, and all to a new city on the other side of the world?
And what better city to be the host of a diplomatic organization so committed to the best interests of the world? We could even build the new U.N. building squarely on the Temple Mount. Diplomacy, and peaceful negotiation, would become a holy act. Who could argue with that?