Jerusalem: Between our common humanity and a potential tinderbox, by Prof. Abubakar Liman

Daily Nigerian
Professor Abubakar Aliyu Liman

The declaration that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the State of Israel, by the leading Zionists and now President Donald Trump will not vitiate the historical fact that Israel is only created in 1948 by Europeans. Trump’s announcement has generated massive responses from individuals and groups the world over. If you really want to understand what humanities scholars and social scientists referred to as the conflict of point of view and perspective, there you have it.

On this issue, there are mixed bags of opinions and views. It all depends on the ideological standpoints of individuals and groups. In the midst of all the verbal push and shove and threats to peace, truth seems to be the major casualty, particularly looking at the expressions canvassed by the adherents of three Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Although these universal faith-systems share common history, common roots, common personalities and even common notion of transcendence, their adherents are for the greater part of the last two thousand years locked in unending existential confrontation with one another.

First, there are Jews and their ancestral claims to Jerusalem. And from the submission of their own scripture, there is no other evidence to dispute the fact that the Jews have a very valid case on what they called the Promised Land. But so are the Palestinian Arabs, Muslims and Christians alike. However, as a racial category Jews are not unanimous in their perception of the question of owning an ancestral homeland in Palestine. That was why when the State of Israel was created in 1948 not every Jew was amenable to the idea of migrating to the Zionist State of Israel or the Promised Land. A significant number of them refused to move out of where they are based in Europe. True, the Jews were one of the most persecuted groups in the Christendom because of what was perceived as their historical role of torturing and killing Jesus Christ the messiah in the Promised Land of Palestine. His consideration as the Son of God literally or metaphorically is an important article of faith amongst the Christians of different denominations. So, you cannot entirely blame them for their perception of the Jew.

This therefore explains one of the reasons why the different tribes of Jews were scattered across the world. Their negative representation or portrayal in European culture and literature such as found in Shakespearean plays may not entirely be unconnected with that notion of historical grievance ascribed to an entire racial group. This is also the basis of their denigration and bad treatment by especially the Christian Europe. The persecution of Jews in Europe happened to be one of the determining factors of their dispersion across the place, an act that culminated in the genocide of members of Jewish race. You and I are quite conversant with the devastating consequences of the Second World War, which was solely engineered by Adolf Hitler. In case, young people that have not read history don’t know it, Hitler is the 20th century European mass murderer of German extraction. The attempts to eliminate the Jews from the surface of the earth, according to Hitler, was to prove the superiority of his Indo-European Aryan race over and above the idea of Jews as some special human specie or the chosen people of God expressed in some of the scriptures of Abrahamic faiths. Ironically, what Hitler did to the Jews they are now doing worst to Palestinian Arabs with the tacit consent of Arab leaders.

In the centuries or millennia of inexplicable bloodletting and violence wrought against Jews and Jewish faith, acts initially ignited by the Church and Christian clergy in Europe and elsewhere, and which remained unabated until the culmination of such inhumanity with Hitler’s World War II genocide, there is no indication that the Zionist Jews have learnt any lesson from it. To date, the Jew is still perceived as enemy of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The mainstream media is always silent on this ugly state of things. Another irony is in the behavior of Zionist State of Israel to Islam and Muslims. History indeed is a living testimony to the fact that in their centuries of persecution the Jews could not secure sanctuary anywhere in the world other than in the midst of Muslims that have since conquered and established their capital at Constantinople, the modern day Istanbul that used to be the headquarters of the Eastern Roman Empire, almost the half of Christendom. As the capital of Ottoman Caliphate that dominated the world for more than 500 years before its inevitable conquest and the consequent balkanization of its Muslim territories by the rising powers of modern Europe, Muslim rulers held sway as the most powerful bloc on earth. And the Muslim empire too was not spared the fate that saw to the ultimate decline and fall of all empires in the world.

However, one of the most significant developments arising from the historical intersection of the two world wars was the Balfour declaration of 1917 in which the British ceded Palestine to the Jews as their lost promised ancestral homeland. The British conveniently ignored the intricate historical realities embodying the land and peoples of Palestine when they decided to come up with their fateful decision to ship Jews to that contested so called ancestral land. A lot of Jews scattered across the world were initially hesitant to migrate to Palestine. They have almost blended with cultures, peoples and nations in which they found themselves. Perhaps that is the source of strength of the world Jewry in addition to other enviable qualities associated with members of Jewish race wherever they are clustered. With the benefits of hindsight, the inhuman racist ideology of Zionism in whose name that the state of Israel was created is turning out to be its Achilles heel. Not everybody understands it. But the biggest threat that is egging the Jews to another round of historical disaster is the racist ideology of Zionism. It is an incontrovertible fact that the mainstream global media is hiding from their audiences the deadly double-edged sword of Zionism, a secular creed that is brutally used to discriminate against Palestinians through in an apartheid fashion. Zionism is also contradictorily a weapon to coerce Jews to repatriate themselves to Israel masquerading under the scriptural expected signs of the end of times.

For Muslims, the conquest of Jerusalem is the first clear evidence of the centuries of lethargy and decline of Islam as the leading power and beacon of human civilization, which has not just awaken Europe from its own centuries of deep slumber but also culturally mediated its modernity. To understand this, one needs to recall the implications of the string of tragedies and disasters European colonialism visited on Muslim territories in the world. This is of course the sense in which the creation of Saudi Arabia on the basis of a skewed and distorted Wahhabi Islamic ideology almost at the same time with the creation of the state of Israel on the racist ideology of Zionism can be seen as the twin policy of divide and conquer deployed by the forces of imperialism in once peaceful abodes of Islam in the Middle East. Until now, the Middle East is the most strategically important region of the world. In any case, the petro-dollars of Saudi Arabia were used to shore up imperialism in the Muslim territories across the world. That is also how the significance of the role that Saudi Arabia played in planting its inhuman ideology all over the place to saw the seeds of dissention, conflict, disaster and violence throughout the Muslim world. Anyway, to broader Muslim world, Jerusalem is its first center before Mecca. Masjid Al-Aqsa it is where the Prophet of Islam embarked on his spiritual journey of mi’iraj. The significance of that should not be underestimated by anyone.

At stake now are the interlocking complex issues bordering on scramble for total world dominance by old, not so old and emergent powers and players. In his attempts to advance the interests of global hegemony of American military industrial complex, together with his co-travelling, warmongering neo-conservative cohorts and their supercilious Christian right constituency in America, President Trump has only helped to accelerate the globalization of the notion of fin-de-siècle nurtured by his own political support base. From its scriptural readings, the Armageddon impulses of what is now known as Christian Zionism has anticipated Jerusalem as the theatre for the unveiling of the final showdown between the Manichean forces of good and evil, in which the ultimate defeat of the later would take place. That is the significance of Jerusalem, the great city of peace in the Jewish Promised Land. Jerusalem is veritably the hub in which the resolution of all age-old human conflicts will take place, according to such beliefs. A number of major spiritual civilizations of the East also think so.

Anyway, what is unfolding now is a situation in which the dominant neo-conservative military global order hoisted by the United States is forcing upon other nations and peoples of the world a new order where might is now said to be the only recognizable right. This development has almost suffocated the withering structures, institutions and values of the dying liberal global order and its ideological purveyors, who upheld the view that Jerusalem is the key to global peace and stability. Indeed, liberal ideologues have since advocated to all contending forces of the Abrahamic faith to exercise tolerance based on the liberal ethos and values of democracy, whether Palestine survives as one or two states. They expected in any process of the final determination of the status of Jerusalem to see it turned into a city under the custody of an international arrangement in which both Judaism, Christianity and Islam and their adherents are given space to thrive based on the existing historical segmentation of the city and its spiritual sites.

Meanwhile, the announcement made by President Donald Trump should be seen as the beginning (not the end) of the unfolding of another round of historical drama that would seal the fate of the United States of America as a global superpower, exactly in the same manner that Balfour declaration saw to the end of the British Empire 100 years ago.