Today, the last Friday of Ramadan, many Muslims around the world keep a political holiday that is among the most disreputable and disgusting observances that can be found in our contemporary world. This festival is called International Qums Day, and its purpose can perhaps best be understood by the statements of the man who founded this detestable observance, the late Ayatollah Khomeini of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who said: “I invite Muslims all over the globe to consecrate the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as Al-Quds Day and to proclaim the international solidarity of Muslims in support of the legitimate rights of the Muslim people of Palestine. For many years, I have been notifying the Muslims of the danger posed by the usurper Israel which today has intensified its savage attacks against the Palestinian brothers and sisters, and which, in the south of Lebanon in particular, is continually bombing Palestinian homes in the hope of crushing the Palestinian struggle. I ask all the Muslims of the world and the Muslim governments to join together to sever the hand of this usurper and its supporters. I call on all the Muslims of the world to select as Al-Quds Day the last Friday in the holy month of Ramadan — which is itself a determining period and can also be the determiner of the Palestinian people’s fate — and through a ceremony demonstrating the solidarity of Muslims world-wide, announce their support for the legitimate rights of the Muslim people. I ask God Almighty for the victory of the Muslims over the infidels .” Since this time, there has been every lunar year an observance designed to fulminate on behalf of terrorists against a legitimate state seeking its own self-defense and rule over territory it won fairly by conquest against treacherous and ungodly foes, a wicked observance that is popular around the world  and that helps preserve the hostility of Muslims against the legitimate state of Israel.
This day may be most directly contrasted with Jerusalem Day, a celebration popular among religious Zionists in Israel who celebrate the conquest of East Jerusalem and its unification with West Jerusalem during the successful 1967 war . As context, Psalm 137 was written during the time when the people of Judah were in captivity by the waters of Babylon . During this time, they were asked by their captors to sing songs of their city, a request that filled them with bitter longing to return to their city. Of course, they remembered Jerusalem and its songs, as it is written in Psalm 137:4-6: “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.” And in a spirit which is not too dissimilar from those of the Muslims who protest their loss and dispossession from Jerusalem in the first place, this dark imprecatory psalm of lament ends as follows in Psalm 137:8-9: “O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed, happy the one who repays you as you have served us! Happy the one who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock!” These are the sentiments the people of Judah in exile felt about those who removed them from their homeland and destroyed Jerusalem. Truly Jerusalem is a city that inspires a great deal of venomous wrath and discontent, a reminder that our world is not a peaceful one and that some claims are impossible to compromise or mediate in our present age.
What is the claim that the Muslims have over any part of Jerusalem in the first place? For one, it comes from an interpretation of a bogus passage about an imaginary trip that Mohammed supposedly took in a vision, departing from the rock of Mount Moriah, otherwise known as the Temple Mount, and traveling directly to Paradise. Given that this never happened in reality, but was in fact a lying vision, it means that any claims that Muslims have over any part of Jerusalem only come from the right of conquest, apart from any other divine legitimacy. It was by the right of conquest that the Muslims razed whatever structures were present on the temple mount after their conquest of Jerusalem in 636AD and building the Al-Asqa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which currently reside on that often-contested flattened hill on Mount Moriah. Given the fact that Islamic claims of length of possession of the land cannot compare with the millennia in which the children of Israel have dwelt in the land, and that the vague and fictitious vision of travel from Jerusalem from Mohammed in the Quran cannot compete with the clear divine placing of His name in the Bible, in both the Hebrew and the Greek (and even the Aramaic), the only grounds by which Muslims can claim any legitimacy to their claims to land in and around Jerusalem is the right of conquest, especially given the Muslim tendency of driving out longtime Jewish inhabitants from such areas as Bethlehem.
Yet there is a tension at the heart of this reality. If Muslims seek to justify their possession of the Temple Mount and other parts of East Jerusalem from the historical right of conquest, or from the land patterns of ownership during Ottoman times, then they must grant the Israelis that same right of conquest over those lands since 1948 and especially since 1967. Conquest is a two-edged sword—if it is legitimate for Muslims to rule over areas by conquest, then their title is only as strong as the power of their armies and their scimitars and whatever other weapons they possess. Once they lose their territory by conquest to others, be they Spaniards or Greeks or Israelis or anyone else, that right of conquest no longer gives them any legitimacy to seek the restoration of what was gained and then lost by the sword. As it is written, he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword. If your claims depend on power, then your legitimacy depends on strength, and the absence of strength, as is the case for the Palestinian people, means an absence of legitimate claims over any land that is currently settled by Israelis or ruled over by the Israeli government. The facts on the ground, as they are, suggest that Israel’s army has been consistently stronger than its opponents, as can be seen by the fact that Israel has been consistently victorious in conventional battle and the Palestinians, Hezbollah, and other wicked agents of darkness have generally been reduced to whining, throwing temper tantrums about how Israelis are supposedly wicked bullies, and asymmetrical terrorist campaigns that concede their weakness in conventional warfare and seek to attack ordinary, peaceful citizens, giving the lie to their claims of moral superiority, or even equality, vis-à-vis the Israelis.
This lack of moral equality between the realms of Islam in the Middle East and that of Israel can be clearly seen in the contrasting treatment of Muslim sites under Israeli authority and those sites which have come under the rule of such Muslim polities like the Taliban of Afghanistan and the Islamic Caliphate of Syria and Iraq. Despite continual provocation, Israel has restrained those who, with just cause, wish to rebuild on the Temple Mount, and neither has Israel lifted its hand against the repellant Muslim buildings on that mountain, despite the fact that all of Jerusalem is under Israeli rule. As I have witnessed myself in my own travels, a trip to the Temple Mount on a quiet morning generally means suffering the harassment of Muslims looking to sell postcards while one looks at buildings that one is not allowed into because of the religious sensitivities of the Muslims in the aftermath of the Second Intifada. Yet while the Israelis, despite having the right of conquest over the Temple Mount, have acted in restraint, this restraint has not been considered to be a sign of civilization, or treated with appropriate respect. Instead, while some Muslim regimes seek to deliberately destroy all vestiges of any early Muslim or pre-Muslim past, such groups are not considered beyond the pale of Muslim civilization, despite their extreme harshness. By such means the Muslim world shows itself hypocritical, failing to accept that the wanton destruction of material after conquest is a precedent that does not ultimately serve their own interests where Israel is concerned, and yet Israel’s possession of Western mores, which include a respect for even alien and hostile historical artifacts and ruins, is not credited to them as a demonstration of honor.
So, what must be done about this? For now, the Muslims of the world are like the American in the story that goes as follows. An American once came to a native and said, “You will take the buzzard and I will take the turkey, or I will take the turkey and you will take the buzzard,” to which the native replied that the American never once talked turkey with him. So it is with the Muslim realms like Iran, or like the Palestinians. They claim to be wearied after years or even decades of conversation and negotiation and diplomacy, but they never once have talked turkey with anyone else. They do not recognize a mutuality of rules and principles, or recognize that by the standard they treat others, they set the same standard of treatment as appropriate to them. If they are treated with gentleness and kindness, they view that as a sign of weakness rather than a sign of honor and respect. If they are treated as they deserve, with harshness, they moan and cry about how unjust their treatment is and how others are horrible and vicious and oppressive bullies. What is to be done with such a people, that we may have justice and peace on this earth?