AP’s Historical Revisionism on Jerusalem

Revisionism is big, at least when it comes to Jerusalem. For example, Ikrima Sabri, until recently the Palestinian Authority-appointed mufti of Jerusalem, told the German daily Die Welt in 1997 that “In the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history… The Jews cannot legitimately claim [the Western] wall, neither religiously nor historically.”

But revisionism is not limited to Holocaust-denying Palestinian religious leaders. A somewhat less absurd, but nonetheless outrageously false, version of the city’s history has recently been promoted by major Western news organizations.

On CNN, Christiane Amanpour had insisted that the “tug of war over Jerusalem” began in 1967, when Israel removed homes abutting the Western Wall. “The 40-year tug of war over Jerusalem began when Israel bulldozed the Arab neighborhood next to the Western Wall and built a plaza where Jews now pray,” she said in the original version of CNN’s 2007 program God’s Jewish Warriors.

CNN later rebroadcast an updated version of the program that eliminated the inaccurate language.

The Associated Press has now made the same error. A March 10 article, “East Jerusalem lies at core of conflict,” asserts:

How did the conflict over east Jerusalem begin? Israel captured the city’s eastern sector from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war and immediately annexed it. The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty.

The idea that the “conflict over Jerusalem” began in 1967 is transparently false. The conflict raged, for example, in 1947-48, when Arabs rejected Resolution 181, launched violent attacks on Jews, laid siege to the city’s Jewish Quarter and eventually conquered the old city, destroyed synagogues, and cleared the area of Jews. (See here for images of newspaper headlines from the time.)

And the conflict commenced long before 1947. Arab riots in 1936 targeted Jews in Jerusalem and throughout the country. In 1929, disputes at the Western Wall gave way to deadly anti-Jewish riots by Jerusalem Arabs. And likewise in April 1920, violent mobs descended Jerusalem’s Jews. These incidents were all integral parts of the “conflict over Jerusalem.”

Although AP was informed of its error, it has not yet published a correction.
An April 11, 1948 story in the New York Times reports on the conflict over Jerusalem.
Jerusalem conflict 1948

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