In 2010, on the first day of Rosh Hashana, Rabbi Shlomo Lewis of Marietta, Ga., delivered a sermon titled “Ehr Kumt,” which went viral on the Internet. It was based on a warning given by Zionist militant Ze’ev Jabotinsky as he traveled throughout Eastern Europe, from shtetl to shtetl, before World War II: “Ehr kumt. Yidn, farlawst ayer shtetl” — “He’s coming. Jews, abandon your town.” The warning presaged the coming Holocaust perpetrated by Hitler and the Nazis.
Four years later, Rabbi Lewis followed up with “Ehr Daw,” “They’re here,” a sermon in which he addressed the rise of Islamist radicals and the silence of the Muslim majority.
Rabbi Lewis did the math.
“There are one billion Muslims in the world and authorities agree that 5 percent are committed Islamists who embrace terror and wish to see, by any means possible, the Muslim flag fly over every capital, on every continent. I was relieved when I heard only 5 percent. Thank God it’s only 5 percent. Now I could sleep soundly. But wait, let me figure this out, 5 percent of a billion is 50 million Koran-waving, ‘Allah Akbar’-howling Muslim murderers out there planning to slit our throats, blow us up, or forcibly convert us.”
That is scary but not the biggest problem, as the rabbi pointed out.
“But what disturbs me is: Where are the other 950 million Muslims who are not terrorists? Who are not bomb-blasting, acid-throwing zealots? Where are the other 950 million Muslims who tuck their children in at night with a lullaby, who are okay with Christians and Jews, crave a peaceful world, and wish nothing more than a tasty bowl of hummus and a friendly game of Shesh Besh with a neighbor? I want to believe they are out there, for their sake and for ours. I want to believe they weep in pain over the desecration of their faith. I want to believe that we have partners who dream the dreams we do and wish upon the same star. I want to believe — but where are they? A silent partnership is no partnership. Sin is not just in the act of commission; it is also in the act of omission.”
Rabbi Lewis issued this admonition:
“To those who are morally obtuse, I say shame on you — from university professors to the useful idiots of the media, from liberal churches to Hollywood, from the United Nations to the clueless Left — let me remind all the ‘misguided do-gooders’: Your deeds do not go unnoticed. The world does not like a righteous Goliath especially if Goliath speaks Hebrew.”
Increasingly, we are getting examples of “moral obtuseness” based on a combination of political correctness, fear, fecklessness, ineptitude, and self-imposed blindness.
The latest comes from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in the form of resolution about the Temple Mount. Two weeks ago, UNESCO’s Program and External Relations Commission gave preliminary approval to a resolution that denies Jewish ties to its most holy sites: the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. The vote was 24-6, with 26 abstentions and two absentees. The six countries that voted in support of Israel were the United States, Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Germany, and Estonia.
(On Oct. 26, convening at its annual meeting in Paris, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee adopted the resolution, “Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls,” by a large majority, with 10 countries voting in favor, eight abstaining, and two opposing the text. Eight “yes” votes were needed for the resolution to pass.)
Notable among the cowardly abstainers were France, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Sweden, countries with problems caused by Muslim citizens, migrants, and refugees, as noted in last week’s PBS’s Frontline and the Pro Publica program “How Europe Left Itself Open to Terrorism.” The third largest voting bloc in the UN is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation with 56 members, itself the largest bloc in the two largest UN blocs, the G77 and Non-Aligned Movement.
The UNESCO resolution reportedly refers to the Temple Mount several times as Al Haram Al Sharif, the Islamic term for the Temple Mount, without mentioning that it is the holiest site in Judaism, according to UN Watch. It also uses the term Buraq Plaza, placing Western Wall Plaza in quotes, appearing to deny a Jewish connection to the site.
This goes beyond the anti-Zionism prevalent at the UN and the kneejerk reaction in many countries that should know better. The Temple Mount is the symbolic heart of Judaism. To deny this is to deny the legitimacy of Judaism and its place in the history of the Middle East, particularly Israel and Jerusalem. With this resolution, the UN’s anti-Israel actions (Israel is the favorite whipping boy of the UN Human Rights Council) crossed a dangerous line by covertly attacking the history of Judaism, hence Judaism itself.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “The theater of the absurd continues at the UN…. UNESCO adopted its second decision this year denying the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount, our holiest site for more than 3,000 years.”
World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder condemned the UNESCO vote as “shameful,” saying, “What happened…in Paris is anti-Semitism on steroids. It is a total travesty and an insult to the Jewish people to pretend that the holy sites in Jerusalem are only Muslim sites and to ignore the fact that the Temple Mount was already the holiest place of Judaism well before the advent of Islam.”
UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova attempted to distance herself from the resolution, saying, “I firmly believe that to deny or conceal any of the Jewish, Christian, or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the sites.” She washed her hands by claiming that member states, and not the agency’s director-general, had made the decision.
There is an increasing worldwide trend to conflate anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism; the UN is part of that trend. Ehr kumt.