Bar Ilan University political scientist Dr. Mordechai Kedar told a Moslem show host on the Arabic-language Al Jazeera television network, "Jews were in Jerusalem while your ancestors were drinking wine and bowing to idols." In a heated debate with the narrator, he added, "We don't need your permission to build" in the capital of Israel, Jerusalem.
The encounter occurred earlier this week, when Jews around the world celebrated Jerusalem Unification Day. Dr. Kedar has frequently appeared on the widely viewed Qatar-based network but this time encountered a sharp attack from the show's host, Jimal Rian.
"Building in Jerusalem is another nail in the coffin in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority," narrator Jimal Rian asserted. Dr. Kedar answered in fluent Arabic, "This was our capital 3,000 years ago, and we were here when your forefathers were drinking wine, burying girls alive and worshipping pre-Muslim idols. This is our city and it will be our city forever."
His reference to Muslims drinking wine, which is forbidden in Islam, infuriated the host. Rian wagged his finger in the air and said excitedly, "If you want to talk about history, you cannot erase Jerusalem from the Koran, and don’t attack the Muslim religion if we want to continue talking."
Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran. Jerusalem is a Jewish city.
Dr. Kedar replied, "Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran. Jerusalem is a Jewish city."
The Al Jazeera host responded by quoting a verse from the Koran in which he thought Jerusalem was mentioned by name, but stopped in the middle upon realizing that it only refers to "the farthest place."
Dr. Kedar: "Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran even once. You can't rewrite the Koran on air on Al Jazeera."
Rian changed the subject to "settlements" and asked Dr. Kedar why Israel is building 1,000 new apartments and deciding to build thousands more while there are rumors that "Jerusalem will include all of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].
The Bar Ilan researcher replied. "My friend, Israel is not counting the number of apartments that Qatar is building on the Qatar Peninsula so why are you doing so in Jerusalem? Jerusalem is our city forever and is not an issue for you, for Al Jazeera or for anyone else. Period. Jerusalem belongs only to Jews.
Replying to Rian's question if Dr. Behar's assessment is the basis for talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA), he declared, "My friend, I invite you to Jerusalem so you can see with your own eyes that it has become a flourishing city after it was in ruins under Arab rule until 1967. We rebuilt the city and opened it to Christians, Moslems and Jews equally, unlike under Muslim rule" that prohibited other religions.
The political scientist told Al Jazeera viewers, "The West bank does not belong to any nation because it was not under a nation's jurisdiction, unlike the Sinai Peninsula." No one can say it is occupied," he argued. "From what country did we take it? Until 1967, Jordan occupied it. Therefore, we can do what we want."
He explained that Al Jazeera takes a jihadic and anti-Israel stance in order to detract viewers' attention from the wealth of the oil-rich Arab kingdoms, including Qatar, where Al Jazeera is based.
"The amount of poison that they disseminate about us from our home is too dangerous, and something had to be done," he recently told the Jewish Forward, referring to the Israeli government's unannounced partial boycott of the network. He labeled Al Jazeera "the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood," the radical terrorist party that is gaining popularity in Egypt.
Al Jazeera television claims 100 million viewers and has Israel-based studios in Jerusalem, Gaza and Ramallah.