Jordan Peterson slams critics who say he ‘stormed’ Temple Mount

Peterson, 60, was captured on camera by a passersby who claimed that Peterson was storming the Temple Mount with a group of Israeli settlers.

 Jordan Peterson.  (photo credit: COURTESY OF SELLA MEIR PUBLISHING)
Jordan Peterson.

Canadian professor and psychologist Jordan Peterson, who has gained a large following in the last several years and become the subject of controversy for his views on cultural and political issues, slammed critics who accused him of ‘storming’ the Al Aqsa Temple Mount on October 11th, claiming he was actually invited to tour the site for an upcoming documentary.

“There was nothing particularly political about our activities. We traveled there as part of... An upcoming documentary about the Holy City.”

Peterson, 60, was captured on camera by a passersby who claimed that Peterson and the documentary crew were storming the Temple Mount with a gang of aggressive Israeli settlers.

“All of those who are claiming that… the Daily Wire crew and I were violating rules… that I stormed the ground with recalcitrant Israeli settlers, are either ignorant of the facts… or purposely misrepresenting what occurred and stirring up unnecessary and unwarranted trouble.” 

Jordan Peterson delivering a lecture at the University of Toronto in 2017 (credit: ADAM JACOBS)Jordan Peterson delivering a lecture at the University of Toronto in 2017 (credit: ADAM JACOBS)

Peterson, who visited the site with Daily Wire editor-in-chief and founder Ben Shapiro—who is himself a frequent subject of controversy for his political views—also called out the restriction of prayer by non-Muslims at the Temple Mount.

“When we arrived, a Rabbi who had been agitating for the right of Jews to pray on that site—something currently forbidden by the same authorities who arranged our right to walk and film there—made his presence known nearby. He and his followers were not part of our group and were not given permission to undertake their activities under our auspices.” 

“Christians and Jews are not permitted to pray there… that presented a problem for me, because I was talking on the site, and it is true to say that I endeavored to pray while doing so.”

Peterson went on to explain that prayer is personal for many—Peterson said he personally prays by speaking truth, especially if it is devoted to good—and so if he was talking at the site, he would argue that he did in fact pray at the site. 

“While I was walking and talking with Ben Shapiro and insofar that I was doing so truthfully… and in devotion to the highest good, was I not simultaneously praying to the god of the Muslims, Jews and Christians? Isn’t god one, and doesn't that god who is one hear my prayers wherever I may be?”

“Who is it exactly, or what, that says that I cannot and should not do so (pray)? Everything in me that is good seems opposed to that forbidding spirit,” Peterson concluded. 

Temple Mount prayer controversies

The Temple Mount is the holiest place for Jews, as the site of the biblical temples, and the compound’s Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest shrine in Islam, turning the area into a major flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The site is administered by the Waqf, a religious trust run and funded by Jordan, in collaboration with Israeli forces. 

According to an agreement in place since 1967, non-Muslims are allowed onto the site during visiting hours, but they are barred from praying there. 

Right-wing Jewish groups, such as controversial Israeli MK Itamar Ben Gvir’s Religious Zionism party, have challenged this decision in the past—Ben Gvir has taken his supporters up the Temple Mount numerous times, most recently in Jerusalem Day last May, where they waved Israeli flags, which was seen as a provocation.