So, I let myself be captured by Irfan’s cultured, bright, well-spoken, and fact-studded critique. He is right, on the main. My short essay is loose on many facts. I did not know what I did not know. And where it’s not completely wrong, it’s often sloppy. So, for example, I shouldn’t have said that Jews were not allowed on the mosque’s esplanade. I should have said (and the damned thing is that I knew it) that they were not allowed to pray there – but then, what if a Jew takes a walk on the esplanade and prays inside his head, and what if, unbeknownst to him, his lips move a little? As they say in French: “Irfan m’a mené en bateau.” At any rate, I will simply confess that nearly all my facts are wrong so I can recover my purpose, at last. Don’t worry, I won’t take much of your time. Here are a handful of real real facts and their obvious implications:
- Palestinian Muslims (or a single one) assassinated two Israeli police officers a few weeks ago on the mosques esplanade or near it.
- The assassin or assassins used a gun or guns.
- Israeli authorities – that exercise de facto control over the area- responded by setting up metal detectors on entrances to the mosque’s esplanade.
- Metal detectors are useful to alert to the presence of most firearms and of some bombs.
- Palestinian Muslims protested this measure in several ways, including with riots.
- The people whose safety could have been improved by the existence of the metal detectors were both Israeli security forces in the area and the great many Palestinian Muslims who constitute the bulk of the visitors to the same area.
- Thus, Palestinian Muslims protested -including with rioting – security measures that were likely to benefit them most (in terms of numbers).*
That is collective irrationality.
I suppose that Irfan, or another subtle defender of irrationality, will argue that the installation of metal detectors at those sites is another step in Palestinians’ loss of sovereignty over the Holy Places, and thus the violent reaction. Sure thing! This defense implies that Palestinian Muslims have to be ready to be assassinated by other Palestinian Muslims in order to enforce a shred of Palestinian Muslim sovereignty over that small area.
That is insane.
*I ignore, of course, the idiotic view that Muslim terrorists could not possibly kill other Muslims at a sacred site of Islam. Muslims have been killing tens of thousands of Muslims, specifically, for the past twenty years. Some terrorists, who called themselves Muslims, chose to engage precisely in mass killing at Muslim religious sites such as mosques. And then, there are Jewish terrorists, and even the occasional dangerous illuminated Christian.