June 5 protest showed that Netanyahu lied to Congress when he bragged on freedom of worship

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to a joint session of Congress last month, he proclaimed proudly that “only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all faiths in the city.”

This is a lie, as a key youth organizer based in Ramallah recently told me in a phone interview. A few days before he returned back to Palestine after a trip to the United States, Fadi Quran said that Israeli restrictions on Palestinian travel to Jerusalem would be plain to see on the June 5 protest commemorating the Naksa. Quran is an organizer with the March 15 youth movement, which first demonstrated in favor of Palestinian reconciliation.

He was right.

Hundreds of Palestinian protesters who marched on the Israeli Defense Forces’ Qalandia checkpoint that separates Jerusalem from Ramallah were met with tear-gas and rubber bullets. Dozens of injuries were reported. The demonstrators, as shown in this YouTube video circulated on the internet, demanded that they be allowed free access to Jerusalem. Israel strictly controls Palestinian access to Jerusalem.

Quran told me:

On June 5, we’re going to ask the world the question, ‘Why are five million Palestinians prevented from getting to Jerusalem?’ And if they are prevented, then didn’t Netanyahu just lie to the American Congress, and if so, why did they stand up and clap for him when he said that lie? We’re going to make these types of lies, and this type of false rhetoric, obvious. And the question then will be, are the people who believe in justice going to stand up on the side of those fighting for their rights, or are they going to stay on the side of those who are unfair and unjust and survive by stripping people of their dignity?

Alex Kane, a freelance journalist and blogger based in New York City, writes on Israel/Palestine and Islamophobia at alexbkane.wordpress.com, where this post originally appeared.  Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.
Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , , , , , ,

{ 6 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. RoHa says:

    What! Netanyahu lied?

    I’m shocked!

    Shocked, I tell you.

    Who would have thought it?

    • eljay says:

      >> RoHa: What! Netanyahu lied?
      >> Bibi: As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all faiths in the city.

      According to this thread’s article, Palestinians were prevented from entering Jerusalem. This doesn’t mean that the freedom of worship for all faiths already in the city aren’t protected.

      So, technically at least, he didn’t lie. He just fudged the truth. ;-)

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Except that if you factor in the ethnic cleansing of non-Jewish residents in Jerusalem…

        • eljay says:

          >> Except that if you factor in the ethnic cleansing of non-Jewish residents in Jerusalem…

          Well, now, that’s just “nuances”, dontcha know… :-)

      • tree says:

        This doesn’t mean that the freedom of worship for all faiths already in the city aren’t protected.

        So, technically at least, he didn’t lie.

        No. He flat out lied. From November 2010:

        US State Dept. says Israel violates religious freedom

        Religious Freedom Report places Israel with Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq and Sudan; cites lack of gov’t protection for non-Jewish holy sites.

        Government allocations favoring the Orthodox, extra legal protection to Jewish holy sites and Orthodox hegemony over life-cycle events are among Israel’s religious freedom violations highlighted in a US State Department report released Wednesday.

        While Israel’s Basic Law describes the country as a Jewish and democratic state, “Government policy continued to support the generally free practice of religion, although governmental and legal discrimination against non-Jews and non-Orthodox streams of Judaism continued,” according to the report.

        more at link.

        See also here:

        link to imemc.org

        US State Department report here:

        link to state.gov

  2. Kathleen says:

    Thanks for this post